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10.000 Hours

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Hour 6515

 

After nearly two weeks of spending all their time together, Thai New Year comes and neither Gulf nor Mew want to celebrate without their families. Because of the pandemic celebrating with both families is out of the question and so they decide to separate for the time being. 

Mew is having a hard time being without his boyfriend after so much time spent together. He misses Gulf and can’t stop sulking during dinner with his family. The fact that he hasn’t talked to Gulf all day makes it even harder.  And there is the fact that according to their plan it will be another 4 days until he gets to see him again. He misses Gulf and feels like his chest aches a little bit more each moment he has to be away from him. The new year celebrations suck, the pandemic sucks and gulf’s internship sucks… everything sucks right now Mew thinks as he pushes his plate away from him; he’s not hungry anymore.

„You do know we wouldn’t have minded having Gulf celebrate with us,“ his father tells him, while Mew can see his mother and sister exchange knowing looks.

„I know, but he wanted to celebrate with his family, see his grandma again and go to merit with them.“

„As he should be,“ he father nods. „And so should you.“

„I know, I’m sorry, pa,“ Mew apologizes, now feeling bad for the mood he is in.“It’s just… I guess the whole situation is getting to me today. Nothing is as it used to be or should be. We should be able to have everyone over for the usual large dinner and Gulf and his family should be able to join. I want to travel again….It’s  just… I just feel weird today.“

„I had a day like this last week,“ his father admits. „I was supposed to go on a business trip first to Europe, then to the US and had to cancel everything the same day we had to cancel dinner plans with friends. It’s a weird time we live in.“ Mew doesn’t know why, but hearing his father, the strongest person he knows, admit that he’s also having a hard time dealing with the reality of the pandemic is strangely comforting.

„It is,“ Mew nods and gives his father a small smile.

„But we are all healthy, Gulf and his family are healthy, Chopper is healthy, your show is becoming more successful every day… we are very lucky,“ his mother points out and pulls him in a quick  hug.

Mew pulls back when his phone vibrates and he finds a text from his boyfriend which only consists of a tweet he made. „Happy Thai New Year, daddy“ Gulf has tweeted at him and Mew burst out laughing when he reads it.

„What?“ His sister asks.

„My bratty Nong strikes again. He wished me a happy new year on Twitter by writing ‚happy new year, daddy‘. The fans will lose their minds.“ His sister joins his laughter when he tells her.

„Daddy?“ His father wrinkles his forehead.

„Nong is teasing me because I’m older.“ Mew explains. „Two days ago he called me ‚grandpa‘ when he won at basketball.“ Now Mew’s parents start laughing as well.

„But, Mew, you do know that ‚daddy’ in your context can be taken very differently, right?“ His sister is now laughing even more.

„Huh?“

„Hello, how often have we watched drag race together?“

Mew’s eyes widen when he understands what his sister is hinting at. „Oh my god!“ He starts laughing again. „There’s no way Gulf knows that, but … god, P’Best will have his head.“

„Do we want to know?“ His father asks the two sibling who are laughing so hard now they have tears in their eyes.

„Uhm, no pa, you really don’t,“ Mew shakes his head but just can’t stop laughing. His boyfriend will be the death of him one day, with the way Gulf sticks his foot in his mouth all the time. 

 

***

 

Later, when they are done with dinner, Mew quickly escapes to his room and calls Gulf.

„Hey, you didn’t reply yet,“ Gulf greets him on the phone.

„To be honest I’m not quite sure what to reply as long as I don’t know which way to take it.“ Mew smirks as he speaks, even though Gulf can’t see him.

„What do you mean, old man?“ Gulf chuckles.

„Ah, so you were referring to my age and the fact that fans keep calling you a cute baby.“

„Mmh, what else would I refer to?“

„You know, there’s this thing in the gay world, where ‚daddy‘ describes an older guy having a thing for young gay guys and might also be the dominant one in the relationship. And in bed,“ Mew explains to his boyfriend and wishes he could see him, so he could see him blush.

„So what’s wrong with that definition, going by your age and the fact that you nearly made me choke on your dick in the bathroom the day before yesterday?“ Gulf replies as calmly as he would be talking about the weather. Mew is speechless for a moment, both with surprise and because he vividly remembers the incident Gulf is referring to. Gulf had been teasing him all evening and finally, after his shower before bed, Mew had had enough. Gulf had been on his knees sucking him in no time and Mew had been carried away by the phantasy of owning Gulf and making him his and only his, a bit too much. He had grabbed his hair, lost in pleasure and only Gulf's gagging noises along with a swat to his thigh had snapped him out of it. Mew had apologizes profusely, but Gulf had just laughed and finished what they had started. 

„You knew,“ he realizes. 

„I know my way around internet porn too, daddy,“ Gulf teases him again. Whoever came up with the idea that his man is an innocent, cute baby, has apparently never met or talked to this dirty minded troublemaker, Mew thinks.

„You are such a brat, Nong.“

„What do you want to do? Spank me?“ Gulf chuckles into the speaker.

„Is that your new kink? I thought you didn’t like pain in bed? Or maybe it's the domination?“

„I don’t, but it’s fun teasing you. I know you’re blushing and trying to hide behind something. A pillow maybe?“

„My blanket,“ Mew admits when he realizes that he’s holding the duvet up. Their laughter flows through the speakers.

„I miss you, P’Mew,“ Gulf  suddenly admits, which is out of character for him, much more so than the dirty jokes before.

„I miss you, too. It’s only been a day and a half and it already sucks. I was pretty down earlier, also because of the pandemic mess, but then your tweet came.“

„Can’t you come over?“ Gulf’s voice is unusually small.

„I would, but I wouldn’t be able to get back home before curfew. It’s already half past seven,“ Mew knows.

„Then stay over. You’ve never stayed over at my parents' place. They might start thinking something’s wrong with our house, because you’re never here. You haven’t even met Ju.“

„N’Gulf…“ Mew says slowly. They have talked about it. Gulf knows that they can’t stay at his house, because he only has his small bedroom, right next to his parents'  and his sister’s rooms. That’s a lot different from Mew’s house, where they basically have one wing of the upstairs floor to themselves.

„My parents don’t mind, really.“

Mew sighs, because he is helpless when it comes to his boyfriend. „Fine… but ask your mom to get a mattress on the floor for me.“

„Why?“

„I’m not sleeping in one bed with you in your parents’ house. They’d know we have sex. That’s just weird.“

„And your parents think we sleep in different corners of your bedroom without touching when I’m over? Stop being ridiculous, pack your over night bag and come over before the curfew hits! See you!“ Gulf hangs up before Mew can argue back. He thinks about what his boyfriend just said, but the shakes his head, weirded out by the train of thought and distracts himself by quickly packing some clothes, his toothbrush and his other toiletries.

 

***

 

„You could have opened the door yourself,“ Mew says when he walks into Gulf’s room and closes the door behind him. Of course, Gulf had to put him through his father opening the door, which resulted in half an hour of friendly small talk with Gulf’s parents before Mew could finally climb the stairs and find his boyfriend.

„You could have called instead of ringing the bell,“ Gulf shrugs and puts his phone away. He’s sitting on his bed, watching and was playing video games again. „Now come here,“ he grabs Mew’s wrist and pulls him forward so he nearly tumbles down on top of Gulf.

„What are you doing?“ Mew steadies himself with one hand on the wall at the last second.

„Wanting to greet you properly?“

„On your bed? I don’t think so,“ Mew shakes his head. Gulf’s parents are literally below them in the living room.

„Fine,“ Gulf mutters and hugs him around his middle a second later, his cheek resting again Mew’s belly, hands slipping into the back-pokets of his jeans.

„Nong,“ Mew huffs, but doesn’t have it in him to untangle from his boyfriend. Instead he places his free hand on Gulf’s head and runs his fingers through his hair. „You’re sleepy?“ Mew breaks the silence after a while.

„No, not really, I took a nap this afternoon. You want to watch some tv?“ Gulf looks up and leans his chin against Mew’s belly.

„Sure,“ Mew shrugs, because cuddling with Gulf in front of the tv sounds innocent enough. They could even leave the door open, just in case.

„Ok, then come on,“ Gulf slowly gets up and wraps one arm around Mew’s middle. That’s when Mew takes a closer look around the room and realizes there’s no tv in here.

„Oh, you mean downstairs?“

„It’s the only tv in the house,“ Gulf explains and already leads him back to the stairway.

„Oh, you’re joining us?“ Gulf’s father asks when he sees them coming in.

„Yes, pa. What are you watching?“ Gulf pushes Mew down on the sofa and then sits down beside him.

„Some movie your mother wants to see.“

„It’s a romantic comedy and I didn’t want to see it, your father did,“ Gulf’s mother corrects.

„See, you’re not the only guy who’s a total sap,“ Gulf quietly tells Mew and lifts his arm so he can snuggle up to his side. Mew still feels weird and a bit uncomfortable about being this cozy in front of Gulf’s parents in their living room.

„What? I like all kinds of movies not only romance.“ Mew tries to defend himself and stiffens when Gulf places a hand on his thigh.

„Relax,“ Gulf whispers and leans closer. „My mom’s been around us since the workshops. I could sit on your lap and they wouldn’t find it weird.“

Mew thinks about it and has to admit that Gulf has a point. Slowly he forces himself to relax and also allows himself to get lost in the movie. By the end of it, he’s crying into Gulf’s shoulder, while Gulf’s dad wipes away a tear or two as well. Gulf and his mom just exchange an amused look.

 

***

 

When Mew opens his eyes, he wonders where he is for a moment and then recognizes the green walls and, of course, the man pressed up against him; So much for sleeping apart. Instead, they had fallen into Gulf’s small bed last night after watching one more movie with Gulf’s family. Gulf is lying on his side, facing away from him, while Mew is pressed up against the wall. It’s a miracle he didn’t hit his head during night and Gulf didn’t fall out of bed. Mew grabs his phone from the nightstand -  which is the only advantage of the narrow bed, that he can reach his phone without moving too much. It’s already way past his usual breakfast time and Mew wonders if Gulf’s sleeping habits have been transferred to him. 

Mew quickly checks his messages and social media, but there’s nothing interesting besides several texts from Mild, basically begging for attention.

After placing the phone down on the bed,  Mew slowly runs his hands up and down Gulf’s back underneath the covers.

„Mmmh… tired. Sleep,“ Gulf mumbles, but turns around and hides his face in Mew’s chest. Mew chuckles and hugs him close. He loves these moments when Gulf is in his arms, sleepy, warm and cuddly. Only then does he get the fans analogy of Gulf being a baby. The second Gulf opens his eyes though, Mew doesn’t see it anymore. Awake, Gulf’s not soft any longer. He talks roughly, straightforward. His words are not romantic. His touches necessary, not tender. His thoughts naughty, not caring. His humor dirty and not silly. And still, Mew wouldn’t change anything about him. Because he gets to see Gulf like this and he gets to witness it when Gulf drops his guard and becomes all these things he usually isn’t.

Gulf also gets to see a lot of sides of Mew that not many people get to see, least of all the public, but Mew’s hidden sides are much less endearing: his constant overthinking, his need too control every thing, his trust issues, his temper… sometimes Mew still wonders when Gulf will have enough of discovering all his bad habits.

„Stop thinking,“ Gulf’s grumbling brings Mew out of his revery. When he looks down he finds his boyfriend tiredly blinking up at him.

„Good morning,“ Mew pecks his lips and doesn’t comment on his thoughts. It doesn’t matter anyway.

„Morning,“Gulf places a kiss on Mew’s chest and closes his eyes again, apparently trying to go right back to sleep.

„Mild texted me, complaining about the lockdown and being stuck in his house and without friends … I think we should try and spend some time with him soon,“ Mew says to keep Gulf from falling asleep.

„We can invite him to the KFC cooking thing. They always deliver way too much food and us two cooking will be a disaster anyway,“ Gulf replies and yawns widely.

„Mmh, and afterwards we can tell him.“

„Tell him?“

„About us. We wanted to start with him and then tell P’Mame, remember?“

„Mmmh, I do,“ Gulf’s eyes close again.

„And Mild kind of knows half of the story already. I told him about my feelings for you a while back.“

Gulf opens his eyes again. „Why am I only hearing about this now?“

„It didn’t come up before.“

„Tell me,“ Gulf asks and pokes Mew in his side.

„Mild was there when that whole disaster happened, you know, before,“ Mew starts. „And then, when I was driving him home after we all watched the first episode together and he knew that something was wrong. So, I told him about my feelings for you and how hard it was for me to try and create a distance when you just kept pushing back in all the time.“ Mew feels shy now, but also sad because he remembers his own desperation and agony.

A soft punch to his chest snaps him out of his melancholy. „Ow!“ He looks down to the spot, like he expects a bruise to be visible.

„You should’ve talked to me, like you promised all along and you wouldn’t have to go through this. So stop feeling sorry for yourself,“ Gulf huffs and sits up.

„Are you angry at me?“ Mew asks, aware of the pout on his face.

„No, hungry. You’re exhausting and it makes me hungry.“ Gulf stretches and yawns again, before he rubs his eyes. „Get up and put on a shirt. We have to go downstairs for breakfast.“ Finally Gulf leans back towards Mew and pecks his lips.

„Can I take a shower and get ready before facing your parents?“

„Yes, Mr.Vain. I’m coming with you.“ Gulf nods and gets off the bed.

„We’re not showering together in your parents’ house!“ Mew gets up as well.

„I need to take out my retainer and brush my teeth before breakfast. Shouldn’t you know that by now?“

„I do know that, but usually after you’ve brushed your teeth you join me in the shower. And I am telling you that’s not going to happen here.“

„Why? The shower’s big enough,“ Gulf shrugs and takes some clothes out of his wardrobe. So he is planing on showering with him, Mew notices.

„What will your parents think? They are right… there,“ Mew gesticulates on the direction of the floor.

„That it’s a good idea to shower in the morning?“

„Gulf!“ Mew follows him out of the room and down the hallway.

„Did you bring the shower gel I like?“

„Nong!“

„…“

They are still bickering by the time they join Gulf’s parents downstairs for breakfast, which makes Mew forget about the awkwardness of the moment. Mew is exasperated and annoyed, while Gulf is bratty and teasing him by throwing him verbal curveballs, intent to throw him off balance with the blunt statements that come out of his mouth. It’s their usual game, one Gulf’s parents haven’t been subjected to in their own home so far.

„Boys! Can’t you just let us all talk about the weather during breakfast?“ Gulf’s father interrupts the bickering at some point.

„But, pa, it’s ridiculous what he’s saying.“

„You’re being disrespectful, son,“ his father points out and Mew nods quickly.

„He’s my boyfriend, I don’t have to agree with everything just because he’s older. Especially when it’s ridiculous!“ Gulf insists.

„It’s not! There’s a difference, I told you, and you just donÄt want to accept it.“ Mew pouts.

„Ok, I’m going to end this because you two are giving me a headache,“ Gulf’s mother joins the conversation. „N’Mew,  I appreciate how respectful you’re being in our house. But Gulf’s also right, we don’t mind having you here and we don’t mind you two being in the bathroom together… in a general capacity. We’ve watched the show, that’s more than we ever wanted to see when it comes to our son’s love life. Let’s keep it at that.“ Silence follows Ma’s words and it occurs to Mew that Gulf has his bluntness from his mother.

 

***

 

Hour 6621

 

 

 

„That was fun,“ Mild says as soon as they have switched off the live they just did for KFC.

„It was really nice to see some fans again,“ Mew agrees as he and Gulf start cleaning up his sister’s baking kitchen, where they filmed the live for the most part.

„We’ll go to the living room?“ Gulf asks.

„Yes,“ Mew nods. „If you want you can check if there’s something to drink there and if not…“

„Get it from the kitchen, I know,“ Gulf nods. „I’m just gonna change real quick into something more comfy.“

„Can you take this with you and throw it in the laundry?“ Mew takes off the red shirt he is wearing over a white T-shirt, of which the only purpose was to wear something red for the KFC aspect of the live.

„Sure,“ Gulf takes the dress shirt and quickly leaves.

„One could think he lives here as well, the way he is walking through your house,“ Mild laughs, obviously trying to tease Mew. Mew laughs with him, even if it’s only because he knows something Mild doesn’t know yet.

Mild and Mew have just sat down in the living room when Gulf comes in with three beer and hands them one each.

„What’s with Fongdoo today and the constant barking? For once Chopper shuts up and now that one starts,“ Gulf asks and sits down beside Mew.

„There’s new gardeners around because of the curfew and the lockdown and as a guard dog, she barks. She’d probably chase or attack them as well, but she’s locked up in the kennel at this time.“

„Well, she didn’t bite me when I met her the first time, only your precious Chopper did,“ Gulf points out and takes a swing of his beer.

„I didn’t know you had other dogs beside Chopper,“ Mild asks.

„We have three. But Chopper is the only family dog. The other two are to guard the grounds at night. But they’re beautiful, especially Milo.“

„Will she bite me?“ Gulf teases.

„No, but I’ll bite you, if you don’t stop bashing Chopper,“ Mew threatens playfully.

„Aoooo, the live is over, you two can stop flirting now. There’s only me here,“ Mild complains from the other side of the couch when they slip back into their own world for a second.

„We’re not flirting.“ Gulf disagrees.

„Sure, you’re not. You’re so used to being a pretend couple that it seems like you can’t stop in private either.“

„Well, about that…“ Mew clears his throat. „Do you remember our talk?“

„Talk?“

„The one in my car, when I drove you home?“

„Which time?“ Mild is still clueless.

„That time after watching the first episode at Koaw’s place?“

„You drove me home after that?“

„For god’s sake…“ Gulf curses, „We’re really together now.“

„Huh?“ Mild looks cluelessly from Gulf to Mew and back.

„I told you back then that I have feelings for Gulf that go beyond colleagues or friends, remember?“ Mew tries to jog his memory. „And now we’re together, Gulf and I.“

„You and Gulf?“ Mild’s expression still doesn’t change.

„No, him and Chopper,“ Gulf loses his patience. 

„What?“

Gulf turns to Mew with a fed up look. „Just kiss me so he’ll believe it.“

Mew laughs. „Why don’t you kiss me?“

„You’re the one who can never keep his hands to himself,“ Gulf shoots back.

„What? Who was the one who insisted on showering together even at your parents house?“

„Aiiiiii,“ Mild’s scream shuts them up and they turn their attention back to their friend, who is covering both of his ears with his hands. „I really don’t want to hear this.“

„Such a prude,“ Gulf snorts and chuckles with Mew, who at least turns a little bit red.

„I’m not a prude! I just don’t want to know all the dirty details,“ Mild says. „Just some of them,“ he admits with a smirk and lets out another, more excited squeal and then hugs Mew tightly.

Mew just laughs, happy that their friend is excited about this. „Finally!“ Mild adds once he lets go of Mew and pulls Gulf in a hug as well, one Gulf doesn’t seem too comfortable with. He is still not used to other people but Mew touching him in any way.

„Yeah, finally you get it,“ Gulf grumps when Mild lets him go.

„When did that happen? Aren’t you supposed to socially distance? And you two get together during the Corona crisis?“

„We didn’t,“ Mew says and the confused look on Mild’s face makes him laugh once more. Sometimes he is sure Techno was written for Mild, because he is Techno.

„But then… when?“ Mild points from one to the other.

„December, after I got back from India,“

„But that’s… 5 months!“ Mild’s eyes widen comically. „You confessed your undying love five months ago?“

„He didn’t,“ Gulf snorts. „He yelled at me and hung up on me.“

„You were late.“

„I was stuck at work and you were being overdramatic.“

„And then?“ Mild smirks.

„And then I insisted that we’d meet and talk and then I told him that I liked him and he didn’t really believe me at first, but then…“ Gulf looks at Mew with a smirk and Mew acts quickly, before his boyfriend drops another bomb.

„He convinced me and we decided to give this a chance.“ He quickly says. Gulf just chuckles but snuggles up to him when he pulls him to his side.

„Aw, I’m so happy for you.“ Mild gushes. 

„Thank you, we’re pretty happy too,“ Mew replies and looks at Gulf.

„Sap,“ Gulf says playfully and giggles when Mew sniff kisses his cheek.

„Are you going to make it official ?“ Comes Mild’s next question, which is a bit more serious.

„No,“ Mew shakes his head. „We can’t predict what wold happen to either of us and as long as TharnType is still around anything we do is considered fanservice anyway. So we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing without confirming or denying anything.“

„What about on set? I mean, once we start filming again, whenever that#s going to be.“ Mild wonders.

„We just want you and P’Mame to know, because we know you and trust you. After what happened with P’Mew last time, we think it’s better when people don’t know. Less chance for anyone to spill anything,“ Gulf adds.

„True,“ Mild nods.

„Also, we were hoping now that you know you can help us out on set if there are rumors or we slip or something. We could use a friend who brushes it off as ‚It’s just them‘ or ‚It’s just fan service‘, you know,“ Mew finishes their explanation.

„It’s not even a lie. Even if I didn’t know you were together I wouldn’t think twice about seeing you sitting like this on set.“

„Who would have thought that fanservice and behind the scenes videos would save our asses one day?“ Gulf asks and they all have to laugh.

„To fanservice,“ Mild holds up his beer bottle.

„To fanservice,“ Mew and Gulf agree and clink their bottles against Mild’s.

 

TBC