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10.000 Hours

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Prologue

Mew is late for once and he thinks that maybe it’s a sign; a sign that he shouldn’t be here, shouldn’t do this and that he should just give up. 

His fans are surrounding him, taking pictures, asking for selfies with him and give him encouragement. That’s why he came here after all: so he doesn’t let them down. Without their constant enthusiasm he would have just stayed in bed, spend the day inside. It’s easier these days than showing his face somewhere, but they don't need to know of his inner turmoil and how badly he is still hurting.

Mew goes inside, takes care of the paperwork that is necessary for the casting and then goes right into the first round of the audition. It goes okay, he thinks,  and he tells his fans so, once he is back out and they are still waiting for him right at the entrance of the conference hall where the audition is being held. 

While he chats with his supporters, he looks around the room and checks for familiar faces of former colleagues or just those he knows from other castings and music videos. There are some people he recognises, but no one Mew really knows and he is grateful for that. It’s a small mercy that day that he doesn’t have to face someone he really knows and someone who could pretend now to not know him anymore. Just in case, he goes into the waiting room and tells his fans he needs to prepare for the next round – which isn’t a total lie.

”Knew you had to be hiding somewhere with the crazy girls waiting outside wearing your name on their shirts.” It’s Mild who interrupts his solitude a while later as he steps into the room, but it’s ok, because Mild does so with a large smile and hugs Mew tightly as soon as he’s close enough. ”It’s good to see you, man.”

”Yeah, you too.” Mew really means it.

”You could have called, you know. I meant what I said in my text,” Mild cuts straight through the chase, as he sits down beside Mew. They are alone in the small room with just four chairs and the door is closed.

”I needed some time after this mess.” Mew sighs deeply and runs his hand through his hair, before smoothing it back down.

”You’re good now?”

”I’m….” Mew doesn’t know how to continue. He doesn't want to lie but neither does he want to tell the truth. 

”It wasn’t your fault,” Mild interrupts his search for words with his statement. ”At least not all of it.”

”What does that mean?” Shock overrides the anger that flares up inside of Mew for a moment. What could Mild blame him for in this mess? He didn't do anything! He was the one who was screwed over and betrayed.

”You were both being idiots for posting all that shit online. Stuff like that, that’s private like fights and sulking doesn’t belong on twitter or IG or anywhere else. You can tease, you can joke, but real fighting isn’t supposed to be on there.”

”I know,” Mew admits lowering his head because he knows his friend is right. It was a childish and immature thing to do. ”I was just so angry and I wanted a reaction because he was ghosting me. I didn’t think it would get that much attention. That’s why after I left social media for a while after that last spat, so I wouldn’t be tempted again. For me that whole thing was done after that horrible interview.”

”Until he went and posted that fucking video, I guess.” Leave it to Mild to speak the truth out loud once again.

”Yeah.”

”How did your family react?”

The question surprises Mew. ”You mean about the allegations or about the fact that he outed me?”

”Both.”

”They know that I’m bi. I had a steady boyfriend for a while at college. He knew that, so maybe that’s why he thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to put it out there. I don’t think… it’s stupid, because it could ruin my career in the industry, but at the same time I don’t mind it that much. We’re playing in BL series so it should be ok to be bi or gay or whatever. People who want only straight guys play gay characters are hypocrites. But still… it’s not ok to do that to someone, you know?” Mew rambles as Mild nods but remains quiet and just listens for once. ”But about the rest, the allegations that I basically forced myself on him and he was just too scared to say something and how I lied and badmouthed him, texted his friends… My parents were angry. My dad wanted to sue, my mom cried. But it’s not like… it was only him and me there that night. It’s his word against mine. And I don’t want to sue, I just want to get over it and move on. There's no point in a 'he said, he said' kind of game that neither one could win.”

”He hurt you.”

”He did, that's the worst part for me. I thought it was mutual, I really did, otherwise I wouldn’t have kissed him.” Mew swallows hard. "I trusted him and thought he was my friend and wanted more, too."

”To be fair we all did. You were both all over each other all the time. Sure, you’re more tactile than he is, but you are that way with everyone. Honestly, I thought you already were a couple and just didn’t want to tell anyone. Especially after your vacation together and all the lives and pics you showed us. I mean, I don't pull down the pants of my straight friends to look at their naked butts while I'm in IG live…” Mild chuckles when he says the last part.

”I still don't get why he never said anything. All this time, not a single word. I know I'm  a hot head, but what's the worst that could happen? I'd yell at him, so what? But he stayed at my house, slept in my bed, went on vacation with me, had dinner with my family so it couldn't have been that bad right? And then… like, even when I kissed him, he didn’t stop me. He kissed me back. And then when he left, he said he didn’t want things to move too fast and so he shouldn’t stay that night. I thought we were on the same page, I was so happy. And then a couple of days later he texts me that he doesn’t feel the same. Just like that. He didn’t even call me or meet me in person. I felt… if he had just stopped me at some point and told me that he only wanted to be friends, it would have been ok. But…now I feel like I can’t trust my instinct anymore. Now, every time I go and hug a friend or touch them, I’m thinking: ‘Is this too much? Do I make them uncomfortable?’ It’s so fucked up.” Mew takes a deep breath to calm down.

”You can hug me and touch me all you want. But if you ever wanna kiss me…. Please no tongue, ok? Just a peck on the cheek.” Mew and Mild both have to laugh.

”That’s good to know.” Mew pulls Mild in for a hug.

”I’m really glad to see you here. I was scared you’d stop acting.” ild speaks into his shoulder.

”I thought about it, but first my manager talked me into a casting, now my fans…”

”What role are you auditioning for?” They finally let go of one another.

”I came here for P’San, but they just told me they want me to audition for Tharn as well. And you?”

”Techno.”

”You’d be good as the comic relief of the show. I hope you get the part.”

”You know, you’d be a good Tharn,” Mild says and cocks his head to the side looking at him. ”Maybe a bit old.”

”Asshole!” Mew slaps the back of his head, before they both start laughing again. 

”Mew?  You’re ready? We’d like and see you as Tharn with the Types now.” One of the assistants interrupts them and Mew gets up.

”If we don’t see each other at the next round tomorrow, let’s have dinner together soon, ok?” Mild asks and Mew nods in agreement. Even if he doesn’t get the role, he’s still glad that he came to the casting, just for this talk alone.

 

***

 

”Congratulations,” Mew says as soon as he slides into the booth beside Mild a day later.

”I should be congratulating you. You, grandpa,  got the main role!” Mew just laughs and shakes his head at his friend's teasing.

”You already know what you’re going to eat?”

”Why? Am I invited? You sure can afford it now.”

”I could afford it before.” Mew rolls his eyes as he checks out the menu himself. The waitress arrives a second later and they both order their drinks and food, Mew inviting Mild.

”I’m happy we’re going to be shooting together again. It's nice to know someone on set,” Mild starts chattering as soon as they are alone again.

”True. Although I’m curious about all the newbies this time. Some of them got the big parts as a first gig, so they must be good.”

”How about that kid who gets to play Type? He any good? I don’t even know what he looks like.”

”He’s…” Mew thinks about how to phrase it. ”It’s a weird story.” He finally says.

”How so?”

”Yesterday, with the first round of Types nothing clicked. And then today, when I got to the audition, my fan club was babbling about a guy they had chatted up and how he was auditioning for Type and how cute he was and how nice and how I needed to meet him. I didn’t even know who they were talking about. They showed me a guy sitting in a corner, starring blankly ahead or just kept playing on his phone. And then later, I had to play with him. It was like… instantly there was the chemistry I was missing with all other partners I had played with and he's a really good actor.  It was funny, because after the scene we did, he was completely red, like even his ears were burning because he was blushing so hard. So when they asked me who I would choose as Type, I said that I’d choose him. To make it even weirder when I stepped outside my fans were waiting with him and had us take a picture together that they sent me. It’s like… fate, even though that sounds cheesy.”

”Awwww…. That is fate,” Mild gushes. ”So, show me! I wanna see the Type to your Tharn!”Mew takes out his phone and shows him the photograph his fans took. ”Look at him! He’s a baby! A really, really tall baby, but… awwww. You look cute together. It’s his first job, right? What’s his name? Who is he?”

”His name is Gulf, it’s his first part and… that’s basically all I know. I’ll have the managers set up a meeting because, honestly, I don’t want to sign the contract before we hash out some important things. I need to know that he’s aware what he signed up for with this part and that he can handle what’s coming, especially concerning my history.”

”You’re gonna tell him about the mess and the accusations?”

”I think it’s more likely he already knows, but I want him to hear my side. It’s better he tells me now he doesn’t want to be a BL couple with me, than have him find out later and freak out. I don’t want another scandal.”

”Sounds about right,” Mild nods and seems to contemplate Mews words. ”What’s he like?”

”Hard to say, he didn’t talk much. Kind of quiet. Can’t tell if he’s just shy or arrogant. I think I’d go with shy… that blush. Yeah, shy.” Mew makes up his mind.

”He looks nice though. I hope the meeting goes ok, because you, my friend, need to be on this show with me.” Mild points his finger at Mew’s face and only takes it down when their drinks arrive a couple of seconds later.

 

***

 

”You’re ready?” his manager Boss asks Mew as they step out of the elevator in the office building.

”Yeah,” he nods. ”You know his manager?”

”I do. He’s a good guy and has been in the industry for a long time. There have never been any problems with him as far as I know.”  It’s a relief to know that, with the recent stunts and pettiness that go on between managers on sets on other BL shows. Mew hates that kind of crap and it can become impossible to work with certain actors, simply because their managers are assholes.

”Good, then let’s get this over with,” Mew nods as Boss opens the door to the meeting room.

Mew hasn’t seen or talked to Gulf since the casting a couple of days ago, but Mew is already running out of time for signing the contract. Yet, Mew couldn’t do it, without having this talk first, because he had learned from his past mistakes. This time Mew needs clear rules for this ship and he needs them in an official capacity.

When Mew steps inside the small conference room, he is surprised that there aren’t only Gulf and his manager, but two more people. Looks like his unknown costar always comes with a large team around him.

”Good afternoon,” they all greet each other. 

”Good afternoon. Let me introduce you,” Gulf’s manager, P’Best, says. ”This is Boss, Mew’s manager, Gulf, Mew you know each other already.  And these are Gulf's parents,” he introduces  everyone and immediately Mew greets them again. For a second he wonders how old Gulf is, because he brought his parents, but then Gulf’s father is already speaking.

”We just had to come and see the guy our son’s going to fall in love with,” he says and his joke breaks the tension as they all start to laugh; all except for Gulf, who seems embarrassed by his father’s joke, as he blushes again and mutters something.

”Nice to meet you both,” Mew tells them.

”I was surprised you wanted to meet in advance. Production told me you haven’t signed the contract yet,” Best says as they all sit down and he passes out drinks.

”You already signed?” Boss asks Gulf, who just nods.

”Lead in a BL series by Mame after the success of the last one? Sure deal,” Best shrugs. ”What's stopping you?”

”There are some things that we need to talk about before,” Mew answers before his manager can reply.

”Okay. What things?” Gulf’s mother looks intrigued.

”I need to be sure that you know what taking that role entails. It’s a lot of pressure, a lot of work and there’s the whole fan service thing… we’ll need clear rules and communication for that.”

”I explained it all to Gulf before he went to the first casting for a BL show. And you’ve been through it, you can help him out, right?” Gulf’s manager asks and Mew does a double take. Surely he can’t be serious.

”Actually about that… you do know what happened last year, right? The scandal involving Mew?” Boss asks, when Mew can’t find the words and simply looks down at his hands. This is humiliating as well as hurting him, especially with Gulf’s parents in the room.

”We know,” Best nods and so do Gulf’s parents. The only one who looks completely clueless is Gulf himself.

”What scandal?” he asks and looks to Mew.

”It happened after the…” Boss starts to explain but Mew stops him with a hand on his arm.

”Could I talk to Gulf alone for a moment?” He looks at Gulf's parents when he asks the question.

”Of course. We’ll grab some coffee at the coffee shop downstairs and get to know each other better, right? Just call when you’re done,” Gulf’s mother decides and has the other three men get up and follow her out. 

Mew takes a deep breath and then starts to speak. ”You know I’ve been on WTD, right?”

”Yes.”

”And I was in another couple on the show.”

”Yes, I know. I watched the show.” Gulf seems unbothered.

”Thing is that I fell for my partner. I’m bisexual.” Mew admits to get it over with.

”I have a girlfriend.” Gulf shrugs again. ”I mean, I went to an all boys school and like kissed guys and stuff. I don’t mind you’re bi or gay or whatever.”

Mew can only gape at him. The blunt way Gulf speaks and just puts it out there, while he seems to be absolutely nonplussed by any of it, puzzles Mew. He didn’t expect that from this quiet kid.

”Thing is, that the feelings weren’t mutual. I didn’t know that though and so one night, while we were hanging out as friends, I kissed him. Instead of talking to me and telling me off, he didn’t though and things got crazy on social media and it became a huge mess. Then one night he wanted to get his version of events out and basically outed me in the video and made people think I’m a sexual predator or something and had molested him for quite a while. At least that’s what people made of it, even though I’m sure that’s not what he meant.”

”What a dick,” Gulf grumbles.

”I don’t mean to bash him. He had his reasons to be mad at me. I'm someone who likes to hug and touch people and not everyone is comfortable with that. I have a temper, I know that, too. I just… I don’t want you to be dragged into this mess in any way. But if I take this part then you will be dragged into it some way or another. Any skin-ship we’ll have to do, will be scrutinised all the time and some people might start rumours, especially because you’re new in the business and much younger than me.”

”Why did you audition for Tharn then, if you’re scared of the drama being brought back up?” Again Gulf surprises him with his pointed question.

”I didn’t at first. I came in for P’San and they asked me to audition for Tharn as well.”

”Yeah me, too. Audition for P’San that is…” Gulf mutters and looks at him for a moment.”I want you to be Tharn. I even told them when they asked me. It just… it didn’t feel right with the others.”

Mew's chin drops at the unexpected statement. Gulf picked him too after casting! Mew is speechless for a moment, then nods. ”I told them I wanted you as Type.”

A smile forms on Gulf’s face and his ears turn red once again. It’s endearing. ”Sooo….” Gulf says with a smile that looks kind of cheeky. ”I keep my girlfriend a secret, you keep your lips to yourself when we’re not shooting and we got a deal?”

Mew laughs out loud. That kid is certainly not what he expected and he has guts, he has to give him that. ”We’ll need to talk about rules for working together, for skin-ship, for fan service.”

”Like what?”

”Like… we can’t hang out alone in private, because it would start rumours if people notice. And you need to tell me when I make you uncomfortable, always and at any point. And we’ll need to have an agreement what touches are ok… that kind of thing. Just… talk to me and don’t put it online or tell others.”

Gulf looks at him for a long moment. ”I’m not a guy for hugging and touching and all that, but I’ll have to get used to it anyway. And I’d rather you show me and teach me than anyone else. You can trust me. I’m not known for talking too much or holding back,” Gulf says with another shrug. ”I’m more the 'kick and punch' kinda guy.” The smirk is back and Mew laughs again. ”You can deal with that?”

”Yes.” Mew nods.

”So you’ll sign the contract and be the Tharn to my Type?”

”I will,” Mew vows and suddenly feels so much lighter. It’s not only that he will work again and star as the lead for the first time, but also that he has a good feeling about working with Gulf. The chemistry that made him pick Gulf after the audition is still there and he likes him.

”You've read the books yet?” Gulf suddenly changes the topic.

”No, not yet. You?”

”A bit. It’s… interesting.” Gulf is smirking again.

”Don’t spoil it!” Mew says quickly and laughs. 

Gulf snorts. ”I couldn’t. Just wait! All I say is, we better get used to skin-ship really fast.”

This time Mew blushes at the implication and giggles. ”We should probably talk about the characters while we read the books. It’ll still be a week or two until we get the scripts.”

”Sure. We can meet and talk about it.”

”Uhm, I think calling each other would be better.”

”Fine,” Gulf is back to shrugging. ”Hey, you play games?” he asks then and again changes the topic abruptly. Mew nods and so before they even exchange Line IDs and phone numbers, they exchange their game IDs. That’s as far as they get, before Mew’s phone vibrates with a text from Boss, asking if everything is ok. He lets him know they can come back.

”So, you gonna be my son’s love interest or what?” Gulf’s father asked when they all came back. "You better have the dowry ready!"

”Pa!” Gulf grumbles.

”Yes, it looks that way. That is, if you’re ok with it, once you heard the whole story.” Mew says, after taking a deep breath. He owes these people honesty, because their son will spend the next months constantly around him and they will all be in each others life, especially if the show has any success.

”We know,” Gulf’s mom stops him.  ”And it’s not your fault and shouldn’t be an issue here.” She even gives his arm a squeeze, what makes Mew tear up.

”Thank you.” A wave of gratitude flows through him. These people are strangers who believe him, while people he's known for years have turned their backs on him after the scandal.

”Oh, don’t thank us. Give it a couple of weeks and you’d wish we’d have stopped you from dealing with this brat all day,” Gulf’s father jokes again.

”You’re that bad, Nong?” Mew turns to tease his younger partner.

”Stop teasing me,” Gulf whines and Mew can’t help but smile at the adorable display. He’ll definitely sign the contract as soon as he gets home.

”Shall we talk about the details then?” Best brings them all back to business.

”Thank god, yes!” Boss agrees and they start the more official part of the meeting, which means setting up some rules for working together and communication between managers. Mew listens carefully and partakes in the lively discussion, but when he looks to Gulf, he is zoned out and clearly not paying attention. 

That’s the moment when Mew fully understands that he will have to take the lead on everything with Gulf, especially interviews and public events. If Gulf won’t speak and focus in a room with just his parents and both of their managers, he can only guess that it will be a lot worse in a room full of fans or reporters screaming questions at them at events. And the first interview will come rather sooner than later.

 

***

 

”Why? Why won’t you just tell me on which page this scene stops?” Mew whines into the phone, where he sees Gulf’s laughing face.

”I had to read it, you have to read it, too!”

”But I don’t want to! This is too much!”

”Aren’t you the one who said he likes guys? You should be into this.” Gulf teases and points one accusing finger at Mew through the screen.

”Nooo! I don’t want to read in graphic detail about a hand job.”

”And where the cum is landing,” Gulf laughs as Mew scrunches up his face in disgust. He is no prude and he likes getting to the bottom of a character, but usually that doesn’t include reading sex scenes in such detail. ”Just be glad we don’t have to film it.”

”Then it would be a porn movie not a BL show,” Mew snorts.

”My parents would kick my ass.”

”And your girlfriend wouldn’t be too happy either,” Mew can’t help but point out.

”Maybe not,” Gulf nods. ”She told me to say hi. Maybe once we start the workshop we can all go out for dinner so you can meet?” Gulf suggests.

”Sounds good. We’ll have to take a couple of other people though, in case we’ll get photographed.”

”Mmmh,” Gulf makes. ”But about that interview tomorrow…”

”You’re nervous?”

”A bit. It’s in English and my English sucks.” Gulf admits freely.

”It’ll be fine. There are interpreters nearby so you can ask when you don’t understand a question and they will also translate when you want to answer in Thai.”

”How is she? You’ve been interviewed by her already, right?”

”Patty? She’s nice. Very easy going. Just, last time I did an interview with her, it was in the middle of that whole drama between me and … you know. We weren’t really talking at the time, but both tried to pretend that nothing was wrong. Looking back, you can cut the tension with a knife at several points during the interview. I owe Patty an apology for that.”

”You better do that before she’s going to ask mean questions,” Gulf grumbles a bit, but then smiles, which is when Mew understand that he is being teased again.

”You already know what you’re going to wear?”

”Jeans, Black or white shirt and my black jeans jacket. You think that’s ok? I mean, they told us to dress casually.”

”Sounds good. I’ll pick something similar so we won’t clash color-wise on screen.”

”Talking about clash… you’re ready to play another round? I’d rather dream of kicking your ass in the game than Tharn sucking Type off.”

It’s that comment that makes Mew guffaw as he quickly agrees to the game, glad that he can postpone reading the graphic descriptions in the novel.

 

***

 

Both Gulf and Mew are nervous the next day as they are sitting in make-up before the interview. Patty has already stopped by to chat a bit and she managed to put them at least a bit at ease.

Mic’ed and powdered they are sitting on bar stools beside each other. Patty quickly starts the interview and Mew answers the first question in Thai, simply to show Gulf that it isn’t a big deal. He talks about his first impression of Gulf when they met and Gulf does the same. Mew can’t help but tease Gulf a bit about how red his ears got back then, just like they do right then.

Patty wants to know more and addresses Gulf directly, asking him about his shyness and if Mew, being known already, made him insecure when they met at the audition. The question makes Mew tense, because any hint that he is intimidating, for whatever reason, could complicate things further down the line. So he waits with crossed arms for Gulf’s answer.

”No,” Gulf says in English and searches for the right words in the foreign language. ”I think that he will protect me.”Gulf smiles proudly and Mew is surprised and mirrors his smile. 

”Really? I will protect you?”  Mew teases, but is so incredibly touched by the answer. Mew has started to trust Gulf after their first meeting, but he hasn’t been aware of how much Gulf seems to trust him. It's the biggest compliment Gulf could ever give him.

”Yes, absolutely.” Gulf nods along with his words, giving them even more emphasis. It’s all Mew can do not to give him a hug right then and there. He is aware of the cameras though, so he tries to get his smile under control and focusses back on the interview.

 It’s not the only time though, that Gulf surprises him with his answers and the absolute trusts he puts in him: How to prepare for love scenes they are asked - Mew will help, Gulf answers. With questions Gulf doesn’t understand, Gulf turns to Mew for help and ignores the translator.

Another surprise is how open minded Gulf is. Would he rather have a role in a BG series than a BL one and he answers that for him there is no difference, because actors should be able to take on any role. Mew feels weirdly proud of this answer. It couldn’t have been better had they rehearsed it before.

As the interview goes on Mew realises that the tension vanishes and he simply has fun, because he and Gulf actually get on great, even in front of a camera and with someone interviewing them.

Mew can't remember the last time he laughed as much as he does during the interview and a couple of times he nearly hugs Gulf close, as they both laugh and giggle away. Mew doesn't want this interview to end and the laughter fills his soul to the brim with happiness. What a difference from the last time he was interviewed by Patty.  

It only really hits him how well everything went, when he finds Boss and Best beaming back at them once the interview is over. MewGulf has officially started and it couldn’t have gone better. Mew feels like he's walking on air and the smile doesn't leave his face for the rest of the day. Suddenly he looks forward to the workshop, the filming and everything else concerning the show, because he knows Gulf will be right there by his side. 

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 1

 

Hour 1 

 

Mew has barely stepped into the workshop room when someone crashes into him and wraps his arms around his middle. ”Meeeeeew, I’m so happyyyy and excited! And it’s so good to see you!” TeeMild squeals and hugs him even tighter as he buries his head in Mew’s shoulder.

Mew chuckles and hugs him back. ”Me, too. First day of workshop is always exciting. I can’t wait to meet everyone.”

”Aaaah, I already know all of them because I read all the applications during casting.”

”You did what?” Mew laughs and takes a step back so he can look at Mild’s face.

”What? I had to know who all of these people were and also I was asked to help.”

Mew snorts. ”Yeah sure, Mr. Nosy.”

”Heyyy! Mean!” Mild pouts exaggeratedly. ”Want me to introduce you?” TeeMild perks up again.

”Let me just put down my backpack and change my shirt.” Mew walks over to where the others already put their bags and backpacks. ”And have you seen Gulf somewhere?” Mew asks and looks around the room trying to find his soon-to-be on screen love interest.

”Oh, Gulf,” Mild nods. ”He’s been hiding in the corner over there since he got here. Even I didn’t dare to go up to him because he’s scowling at everyone walking his way.”

Mew sighs. ”I’m gonna try and talk to him. Give me a  minute?” Mew takes off his own shirt and pulls the supplied workshop-shirt over his head.

”Sure, sure.” Mild is nodding his head again. ”I just… I’m gonna stay here… he’s scary.”

Mew chuckles and shakes his head as he walks into the direction TeeMild pointed to. Behind a row of chairs he finds Gulf siting on the floor leaning against the wall as he scowls at his phone.

”Losing again?” Mew teases when he is close enough.

”I’m not losing,” Gulf grumbles without looking up from the phone screen.

”You wanna get up and join me?  Mild is going to introduce me to the rest of the cast.”

”Mmhpf” This time Gulf only grumbles and doesn’t even use real words. He’s still not looking up from his phone.

”You’re feeling ok?”

”Mmh.”

”Are you mad at me?”

”Huh?” This time Gulf actually looks up with a surprised look on his face.

Mew takes this as a good sign and crouches down in front of his junior. ”You don’t look at me and you don’t talk to me. You’re mad at me?” He explains  his train of thought, even though he has no idea why Gulf could possibly angry with him. Just last night they talked on the phone and everything was fine between them.

”No. Tired.” Gulf looks more pouty than angry now and it makes Mew smile. It’s a miracle, he thinks, how a 1,85m tall man can transform into a pouting baby in seconds.

”Come on, N’Gulf, get up. Just sitting  here won’t help and some of the cast are already scared of you, because you sit here scowling at everyone. That’s not a good first impression, you know?” Mew stands back up and holds out his hand to help him up.

”Fine,” Gulf sticks with the monosyllabic answers, but puts his phone away and takes Mew’s hand as he stands up. He lets go as soon as he’s standing upright, so Mew puts an arm around his shoulder because he doesn’t want to take a chance on Gulf simply hiding behind him as they walk towards Mild.

”I think you two have already met at casting. This is TeeMild,” Mew introduces them. ”Mild, this is your new best friend on screen, Gulf. Be nice to him or I’ll have to kick your ass.”

”Heyyy, I’m always nice!” Mild protests.  ”What if he isn’t nice to me? He’s the one who looked at me like he wanted to kill me when I just wanted to say good morning.” Mew looks from the pouting Mild to Gulf, who doesn’t show any reaction at all.

”Nong, what do you say to that?” 

”Sorry, khub. Just tired,” Gulf admits shyly and looks sufficiently chastised. 

”Oh, I don’t mind, my friend. Techno and Mild are nice guys, I’ll help you wake up, ok? Let’s go Gulf, Mew, introduce you two to the rest of the guys. You know, you better get a snack first though, because this guy over there, he eats and eats and eats and there’ll be nothing left if you’re not…” Mild chatters away and Mew exchanges an amused look with Gulf over his head while Mild leads them through the room.

 

***

Hour 6

 

After several introduction games and talks with the whole group, they are all set up in teams of two for the first time in workshop. Of course, Mew and Gulf are paired together, it’s the only thing that makes sense after all.

”You’re up now?” Mew teases Gulf, who so far has been incredibly quiet and still looks like he might fall asleep any second.

”Hungry,” Gulf supplies, again without any further explanation or even giving a full sentence.

”Ok, let’s get through this exercise and then get some lunch,” Mew decides. ”We’re supposed to get more comfortable and get to know each other here.”

”How? Ask questions?”

”We could start like that,” Mew agrees to the first suggestion Gulf has made all morning without being prodded to do so.

”Your birthday?” Gulf asks.

”February 21st ’91. And yours?” Mew knows his birthday already from the paperwork their managers exchanged, but he follows Gulf’s lead.

”December 4th.” Then there is silence.

”Ok,” Mew breaks the silence. ”What do you think will be the hardest things for you when it comes to playing Type?” Mew decides to dig deeper.

Gulf thinks about his question for a while, his head cocked to the side. ”The emotional scenes, getting them right and feeling stuff I haven’t felt in my own life. And the touching,” Gulf finally answers. His answer gives Mew an idea.

”Can we try something?”

”What?”

”In acting class, to get a better connection and get over the awkwardness with each partner, we always did this exercise. Maybe we should try it?”

”Which one?”

”Come closer,” Gulf follows his instruction. ”Now take my hands.” Gulf does so reluctantly. ”And now we look into each other’s eyes until it’s not awkward anymore, ok?”

Gulf meets his eyes for a couple of seconds before he looks away, starts giggling and pulls his hands back. ”This really stops being weird at some point? I don’t even do that shit with my girlfriend.”

”We were told it’s some kind of therapy exercise in couple’s therapy. It strengthens your bond and creates trust as well as get you closer. It’s always worked for me so far.”

”Ok, let’s try again,” Gulf decides with a determined look on his face and takes Mew’s hands again. At first he starts smiling once more, but bites his lips to keep from laughing. After about a minute, he is able to stop smiling, but it still takes effort from him. Three minutes in Gulf finally relaxes,  his grip on Mew’s hands loosens  and Mew feels the magic of the exercise happening.

Gulf has beautiful eyes, Mew decides, as a soft look enters them. Mew is slightly aware that at some point pictures or videos of them are being taken, but he refuses to acknowledge it.

 For a while they are  lost in each other’s eyes. Then Gulf starts running his thumbs over the back of Mew’s hands without seeming to be aware of it and it snaps Mew out of his daze. This just got more intimate than he wanted it to be. Mew gives Gulf’s hands a squeeze and then pulls back slowly, bringing them both back to reality.

”That was cool.” A smile spreads over Gulf’s face.

 ”Yeah, want to get something to eat now and continue with the questions during lunch?” Mew is the one who is slightly flustered now, but he tries to hide it by distracting Gulf with food, which seems to work.

”Yup,” Gulf is up on his feet, moving quicker than he has all morning and it makes Mew chuckle.

”So, questions…” Gulf restarts their conversation once they both have a plate of food in their hands and are sitting back in their spot on the floor. ”What’s going to be the hardest part for you?” Gulf refers back to Mew’s earlier question.

”The crying scenes, I think. I’m really bad at crying.”

”What’s it like filming the NC scenes? You know the kissing and bed scenes?” Gulf goes on and Mew is glad he doesn’t have food in his mouth so he can’t choke at Gulf’s question that seems to come out of nowhere.

”I guess it depends… With WTD we rehearsed the scenes during workshop so much, that once we filmed, it was just going through the motions, just with real kisses instead of pretending. People always think it’s romantic or something, but there’s like ten people around you and you have to make it look pretty and hold your head a certain angle and be aware of your facial expression. And then they stop you and make you do it all over again until you get a cramp in your neck or whoever is on top gets too heavy.” 

”Earlier you hugged P'Mild when we were listing to P’Tee. Was that skinship exercise even though you don’t have any romantic scenes with Techno?” Mew is surprised once again, because he wasn’t aware that Gulf saw it and also that he shows some interest.

”No, it’s just that I know Mild from WTD and we’re friends and both like hugging and touching people. I knew he wouldn’t be uncomfortable and he knows I don’t mind either when he does it with me.”

”You can hug me and touch me, I don’t mind,” Gulf shrugs as he speaks with his mouth full of rice. ”Like… it’s gonna be weird at first, but I have to get used to it, so we can be comfortable while playing our roles together. Like with the exercise we just did. It was funny at first and then it wasn’t anymore. Just don’t hold back, ok? Even if it takes me a while, but I’ll learn.”

”Ok,” Mew agrees, touched by Gulf’s eagerness. ”But you promise to tell me when you’re not ok or uncomfortable or something, right?”

”Promise,” Gulf agrees and holds out his pinky finger. Mew laughs and wraps his own pinky around it, sealing the promise. Then he keeps Gulf’s warm and slightly sweaty hand in his as they eat their lunch and his co-star slowly becomes more and more animated. By the end of their lunch Gulf is chattering away and seems to make up for the hours he spent in silence all morning. Mew doesn’t mind. It’s fun to pick Gulf’s brain and find out more about what goes on in that pretty head of his, as their hands stay linked for the rest of the day.

 

***

Hour 197

 

It’s late already, but Mew can’t sleep. His brain keeps replaying the events at workshop earlier that day over and over.  He tosses and turns in bed for a while and finally gives up and switches the light back on before he grabs his cellphone. He knows that Gulf is still up, most likely still playing video games and so he calls him. Mew usually calls him in the evenings and they talk about their characters or simply about their day and the other actors at workshop. Yet, today he wasn’t in the mood earlier, still too shaken and didn’t really know what to say.

”P’Mew! I thought you forgot about me today,” Gulf greets him. Mew shakes his head. When will this boy stop surprising him constantly? There is simply no way to predict what will come out of Gulf’s mouth or what he will do.

”No, of course not. I was just busy,” he lies.

”You wanna talk about the next part of the script?” Gulf sounds eager and Mew wishes he had video called him so he could see his expression. Then again, he has a reason for not video calling him.

”Uhm, not really. I just… can we talk about what happened at workshop today?” Mew feels his cheeks redden as he says the words aloud.

”The movie scenes? I still don’t know the other movies, P’Mew.” Gulf sounds confused. ”I really need to watch more movies and play less games.”

”No, I mean the kiss.”

”Our kiss?”

”Yes.”

”What about it?”

Mew takes a deep breath about N’Gulf’s cluelessness and shakes his head. ”During workshop, usually you don’t kiss for real,” Mew finally enlightens him.

”Oh…” There is silence for a moment. ”I know.”

”What?!” Mew’s eyes widen and a nervous giggle escapes him.

”I know you’re not supposed to kiss for real during workshop. I’m a new actor, but not that new.” Mew just knows that Gulf has a nonchalant look on his face,

”Then why did you kiss me for real?”

”I just thought like… once we’re shooting we need to really kiss and then that’s gonna be all awkward and we will take longer than we should, because we have to get used to it and all. But if we’ve already kissed for real, then it’s not a big deal anymore. Just like with skinship. You hug me and touch me and I’m kind of getting used to it now, so why not add kissing when we're rehearsing? And you’ve already done NC scenes and kisses in a BL series, so I didn’t think you’d have a problem with it. I mean, that proposal scene was a lot more passionate than the kiss today.”

For a moment Mew is speechless. This brat is going to be the end of him. ”It was, but… you surprised me today.” Mew finally says. ”Just tell me in advance next time you pull a stunt like this?”

”Aw, was P’Mew shocked?” Gulf has the guts to laugh at him.

”Yes.” Mew has to laugh as well.

”Sorry! But you don’t mind right? It wasn’t bad or anything?”

”No, it wasn’t bad,” Mew confirms and smiles a bit wider about how not bad the kiss was, not that Gulf needs to know that. ”But we agreed to talk and set boundaries together. So tell me next time, ok?”

”How about we just kiss for real all the time now? It’s not a big deal and like I said, we need to get used to it anyway.”

”Fine, let’s kiss for real,” Mew knows he won’t stand a chance anyway.

”Good. You wanna talk about the script now?”

”No, it’s kind of late and I should get some sleep.” Mew sighs and lays back down.

”Haha, you just called me to talk about the kiss?” Gulf teases and laughs. 

”I didn’t just…”

”Admit it, P’Mew! You so did! You always want to talk about the script or play games and this time, it’s neither.”

”Not true,” Mew pouts.

”True!”

”Not true!”

”True,” Gulf is just teasing him now. ”Are you blushing now? Like when I kissed you today, you were blushing! First time you blush.”

”I wasn’t blushing.”

”You were! Your whole face was red!”

”Stop it!” Mew laughs with him and is glad that Gulf can’t see him.

”Fine, you big baby.”

”Is that a way to talk to Phi?”

”Maybe I should call you N’Mew?”

Mew guffaws. ”You’re such a brat!”

”Mayyybeee.” Gulf is being cheeky and Mew loves it.

”I’m going to sleep  now and so should you. No more video games for you tonight. You’re being a bad boy!”

”Fine,” Gulf finally gives in. ”Is it the yellow shirt or white shirt tomorrow?”

”Yellow.”

”Damn, I think I forgot mine at the workshop.”

”No, you didn’t. I packed it when you left it the last time and had it washed for you. I’ll bring it tomorrow,” Mew lets him know. He’s used to keeping track of Gulf’s belongings at this point, after just a bit over a week in workshop.

”Awwwww, you’re being such a good Phi, P’Mew. Thank you!”

”You’re welcome. Now go to bed, so you won’t be as grumpy to your Phi tomorrow.”

”I’ll try,” Gulf chuckles. ”Good night.”

”Good night.”

 

***

Hour 310

 

”You already know what you’re going to wear for the Line Awards?” Mew asks Gulf as they video chat that night.

”I’m not going.” Gulf sounds and looks like he’s sulking.

”What do you mean you’re not going?”

”I mean, that I am not going.”

”You have to go.”

”No.” 

Mew feels like he’s talking to a petulant child and takes a deep breath to keep his temper in check. ”Why don’t you want to go?”

”Because…. I don’t know anyone there and P’Berm doesn’t have time for me and P’Best is always so strict and you won’t sit with me and I’ll be all alone and I hate that kind of stuff. It makes me feel stupid.” Definitely pouting and sulking, Mew realizes.

”Why do you think I won’t sit with you?”

”Because Mild told me that you both have to walk in and sit with the WTD cast all night.”

”Nong, it shouldn’t matter if Mild or I walk in with you. You’re the lead actor in a BL series now and that comes with certain responsibilities and events where you have to show your face.”

”The show hasn’t even started filming yet.” Gulf crosses his arms in front of his chest and leans back against the wall behind his bed.

”What if I walk in with you?” Mew offers. If he’s honest, he’d love to walk in with Gulf instead of with the WTD cast. He hasn’t seen most of them in a couple of weeks and now it's always awkward, especially if his former film partner is also there, which he will be.

”You can’t. It would look weird if you walk in two times and they wouldn’t want your picture anymore, because it’s all the same.” Still pouting.

”I’ll bring a second set of clothes and I’ll walk in with you and then sit with you.” Mew knows it’s a crazy idea, but he can’t let Gulf miss his first award show.

”You’d really do that?”

”Yes.”

”Why?”

”Because next year, if everything goes well, we will maybe be nominated in a category and then you should already know what goes on at these ceremonies. And also, you know I’m not too crazy about hanging out with certain former cast mates.” Mew spells it out for his oblivious Nong.

”Oh…. He’s going to be there, too?”

”Yes.”

”You need me to protect you? Maybe like, go all Type on him?” Gulf offers with a smile.

”Oh please, no more drama,” Mew laughs and suddenly feels much better about this than just a minute before.

”Ok,” Gulf nods once. ”But I might just keep an eye on him that night.” He juts out his chin and tries to look threatening, but Mew thinks he still looks like a cute puppy.

”Fine,” Mew chuckles. ”So back to my original question: What are you going to wear?”

”A black tux, duh!”

Mew laughs again. ”Who knew you’d own something like that. I thought maybe you’ll just show up in your soccer outfit.”

”Asshole!” Gulf laughs. ”But I don’t own one yet. I’m gonna buy one tomorrow after workshop with my mom and P’Berm. You wanna come?”

”To go clothes shopping with you?”

”Yes.”

”No, thanks.”

”Oh come on! You know what to wear to look sharp at these events.”

”You’re going to wear a tie or a bow-tie?” Mew tries to distract Gulf with another question.

”I’ll let you decide if you come shopping with me.” Gulf smirks and the way his eyes crinkle at the corner makes Mew feel flushed all of a sudden. ”Please! Pleeeease!” Gulf suddenly starts begging and in a split second Mew lacks any form of willpower.

”Fine. Who knows what you’ll choose otherwise,” he tries to play it cool.

”Ha! I knew I’d make you cave!” Gulf laughs out loud and points a finger at him.

”I should whoop your ass, Yai Nong,” Mew grumbles.

”Yai Nong?” Gulf asks surprised.

”When the shoe fits….”

”I like it!” Gulf beams at him. ”Then you’re Khun Phi!”

Mew laughs out loud. ”Khun Phi? Really?”

”Yes! I’ll even change your name in my phone to that once we hang up.”

”Then I’ll change yours to Yai Nong.” It’s meant as a threat, but again Gulf just beams.

”Let’s do it now! And don’t forget: After workshop tomorrow you’ll go suit shopping with us. Bye Khun Phi.”

”Bye bratty Yai Nong. Sleep well.” Mew replies and the call is ended. He chuckles to himself as he really changes Gulf’s name in his contacts. He’s said it before, he’s thought it before, but it’s a simple truth a this point: Bratty Yai Nong will be the death of him one day… he’s just too cute.

 

***

Hour 396

 

The award ceremony goes better than Mew could have ever imagined. While he does’t win anything, he has fun with Gulf. And with Mild, who joins them at some point. The three of them chat and have fun and even go out for drinks later that night, with the managers in tow. 

Gulf sticks to his side all night and when  Mew catches him throwing an evil look in the direction of his former partner at some point, he tells him to stop it. Mew is flattered though, flattered by Gulf’s protectiveness over him, even though they've only known each other for barely two months.

Mew’s flying high for three days and lets himself hope that he can form a true friendship with Gulf as they work together. He knows by now that they have great chemistry as a pretend couple and he hopes that this time working together will be easy, stress-free and founded on mutual trust and respect, that has nothing to do with the cameras and everything to do with them as people.

Mew even lets himself follow his instinct again, knowing Gulf gave him the ok already, and hugs and cuddles gulf now whenever he feels like it – which is a lot.

His junior is simply the cutest and they need the skinship exercise anyway, Mew knows. And it simply feels damn good, not that Mew would ever admit that out loud.

For the first time since that damn video came out, his doubts about being too touchy, too clingy and too much, have disappeared completely.

Until one morning, they hit him again like a ton of bricks.

 It’s early, they are all just warmed up in front of the mirrors in the large workshop room and Mew walks over to Gulf. He hasn’t really told him Good morning yet and he also wants a hug. Mew is quite tired this morning, since he stayed up late to work on his thesis. 

Mew wraps his arms around Gulf, who stays limp like usual, but this time Mew can see Gulf’s expression in the mirror behind them. He sees Gulf rolling his eyes and wrinkle his forehead.

The warmth he felt just a second before is gone and in its place is a feeling of ice cold dread.

Mew recoils and let’s go of Gulf, steps back.

He’s done it again, Mew thinks. He’s let himself be fooled into thinking his hugs are welcome and his touches are ok. He let himself believe once more that his partner would be honest and tell him when he gets to be too much. Instead he’s rolling his eyes at him behind his back.

”You’re alright?” Gulf asks with the same blank expression he usually wears in the mornings. Normally Mew doesn’t care, because he’s used to his grumpy film partner. Now it makes him livid.

”Yes,” he hisses at him and walks off before he loses it and yells at Gulf in front of everyone. Mew pushes the double doors open and steps outside in the lobby. He feels like breaking something, slamming a door shut or hitting something… or someone. He can’t though, because this is work and there are too many people around and he doesn’t want to fuck up during workshop already.

He uses the breathing exercises he’s learned before to calm himself down and then walks back into the workshop room, his mind set on staying away from Gulf as much as possible.

Professional distance, that’s what he’ll exercise from now on. No more hugs. No more touches if not for the cameras around them. And certainly no more real kisses.

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 2

 

Hour 420

 

When Mew thought that creating distance from Gulf and trying to establish a simple professional distance would solve the problem and get rid of his anger, he was sadly mistaken.

The thing is, that Gulf seems completely oblivious to the change in Mew's behaviour, which in turn upsets Mew even more. So instead of just stopping the hugs and hand holding, Mew stops touching Gulf altogether when it’s not unavoidable for work. 

The next morning he even goes so far as not to approach Gulf at all, doesn’t bring him tea and doesn’t sit with him during lunch, meaning that Gulf sits by himself watching videos on his phone, because he has yet to establish some connections with his other co-workers. It’s not like Mew even cares, because Gulf doesn’t care. Gulf doesn’t even notice!

Mew is glad when during the team exercise he gets paired with Run and later when they start rehearsing the scene it's nothing too intimate. There is no way he could pretend to be a loved up Tharn, when in reality he wants to wring Gulf's neck.

In the afternoon he’s been approached by Mild, P’Mame, P’Tee and even Kaownah, who is like the least nosy person ever, simply to be asked if everything is ok. He tells them everything is fine, there is no problem. They all at least pretend to believe him, except for Mild. He’s like a dog with a bone and doesn’t stop nagging until Mew finally gives in and tells him during a short break what's going on.  Mew’s anger erupts as he tells his story about the eye-rolling and about his uncaring and oblivious costar.

Mild nods but doesn’t say much, because he knows that Mew needs to calm down first before he is even willing to listen to the voice of reason. He simply gives Mew's hand a squeeze and then walks off, leaving Mew alone with his hurt and anger.

”Mild says you’re angry at me.” Gulf says in a monotone kind of voice as he sits down beside Mew during dinner. Everybody is spread out in the dining room, some joking and eating with co-stars, others, like Mew, sitting alone to recharge after a long workshop day that is still far from over.

”Mh,” Mew makes and doesn’t look up from his phone. He’s certainly not getting into this here in front of everyone.

”Why are you angry?”

When Mew looks at him, he finds Gulf without any food in front of him; he’s nearly sure Gulf didn’t have lunch either.

”You should eat something.” Mew knows Gulf's eating habits are none of his problems, but he can't help it. No matter how angry he is, he still took on the responsibility to look after his junior and keeping him alive is definitely on the list.

”P’Mew!” Gulf is whining now and Mew finds it hard to resist just giving in and pretend nothing is wrong. Then remembers the scene and the betrayal and anger runs through him like hot lava.

”I don’t want to talk to you, ok?” he barks at Gulf and slams his spoon down on the table. Gulf’s eyes widen and Mew hopes that he’ll just simply walk away. Then however Gulf’s eyes narrow at him and go black. 

”Don’t yell at me, asshole! Either tell me what’s wrong or stop sulking!” Gulf raises his voice enough that everyone is now staring at them, even those who hadn't overheard the spoon hitting the table. Mew can feel P’Mame’s eyes boring into the back of his head. Shit! He's fighting with his costar and on-screen love interest in front of his boss. It’s this knowledge that makes him get up.

”Come with me,” Mew growls and makes his way into one of the empty rehearsal and workshop rooms. Once Gulf is inside as well, he closes the door behind them.

”You’re gonna tell me now what the fuck is wrong with you or are you gonna try and beat me up? That’s why you brought me here?” Gulf provokes him, his arms crossed in front of his chest.

”I’m not some school kid who gets into fist fights.”

”You’re sure acting like one.”

”You are such a cold, uncaring, immature jerk.” Mew screams and stabs his finger in Gulf’s direction before he turns around. He doesn’t even want to look at him at the moment.

”What did I do?” Gulf asks, his voice raised but more in frustration than anger.

”You lied and you didn’t stick to our agreement. How am I supposed to trust you, when you’re already being dishonest with me?”

”What the fuck are you talking about? I never lied to you.”

”You rolled your eyes!” 

Gulf remains silent, crosses his arms and wrinkles his forehead. As he thinks about Mew’s words and most likely what excuse he’ll make up, Mew takes a few deep breaths and tries to calm down.”P’Mew?” Gulf’s voice is a lot quieter now. ”I really don’t know what you mean.”

It’s the sad look in his pretty eyes that let Mew finally say the words. ”Yesterday, when I hugged you, you rolled your eyes about it.”

”Huh?”

”Don’t pretend it didn’t happen. I saw it in the mirror.” Mew points to the exact mirror, because they are actually in the exact room where it all happened.

”Oooohh.” Gulf’s eyes widen and his arms fall limply to his sides.

”You rolled your eyes when I hugged you, instead of telling me that you don’t want me to hug you. You’ve been going along with it and I thought it was ok, but apparently you can’t tell me to my face either when my touch isn’t welcome. And I told you how important that is to me. You promised!”

”Aoooh, you pressed on my bruise.”

”What?” Mew is stopped cold, because has no idea what Gulf is talking about.

”I was fouled during football the day before yesterday and hurt my shoulder. Usually you hug me around the waist, but yesterday you touched my shoulders and it hurt. Stupid fucking coincidence, that’s why I rolled my eyes.” It’s the longest explanation Gulf has ever given for anything – other that his character analysis for Type or talking about video games.  Mew can’t focus on that though, because something else is now on he forefront of his mind.

”You’re hurt?”

”Just a bruise.” Gulf shrugs.

”Let me see,” Mew requests and takes the few steps until he’s right in front of Gulf. Gulf slowly pulls his T-shirt to the side, baring his shoulder. The view makes Mew gasp. ”A bruise? It’s completely back and blue!” He can’t help but raise his voice again as he touches the skin carefully. Gulf doesn’t flinch, but he does roll his eyes again.

”That’s what a bruise is.”

”Don’t roll your eyes at me,” Mew warns him. Gulf just smiles and rolls his eyes playfully once more. ”Brat.” Mew grumbles.

”It’s really not that bad, P’Mew. I put ice on it whenever I can.”

”Ice is only effective right after it happens to stop the blood flow. Now you should put warmth on it, it helps getting rid of bruise.”

”Really? How do you know?” Gulf looks to his shoulder and Mew realises that his hand is still resting on the black bruise. Slowly he pulls his hand away.

”I used to play rugby fo a while.”

”You? Rugby?” Gulf laughs out loud. ”You can’t hurt a fly or beat up anyone.”

”Don’t underestimate my temper.” Mew warns him but pouts at the same time.

”How many fights have you been in? Physical fights, I mean.” Gulf raises both eyebrows challengingly.

”Fine. None,” Mew admits grumpily. ”Why you some kind of expert?”

”Kind of. At school I always got in trouble for fighting.” There’s a weird kind of pride when Gulf says it.

”You’re a real trouble maker, aren’t you?”

”Kind of.” The cheeky smile is back.

”Come on then. Let’s get some food into you and put a heat pack on your shoulder before the break is over.”

”I’m fine, Phi.”

”I know. Still, a little bit of care can’t hurt,” Mew insists and puts one arm around Gulf’s shoulders as they exit the room, careful not to press down on the large bruise. To his biggest surprise Gulf actually leans into him for the first time since they've known each other.

”P’Mew, you didn’t tell me either, you know.” Gulf says as they enter the break room, oblivious that all eyes are on them. 

”Tell you what?” Mew replies quietly because he’s not really keen on being overheard.

”That you thought I was rolling my eyes at you and your hugs. If you’d just asked me, I would have told you and you wouldn’t have ignored me all day. It sucked.” Gulf’s words are spoken so quietly that Mew would have missed them if it wasn’t so silent in the room all of a sudden.  The words take Mew by surprise, because it shows that Gulf is not as oblivious as it seems; he noticed the distance between them.

”You’re right,” Mew admits. ”I’m sorry, Nong.”

”I’ll tell you when I don’t want you to hug me, I promise. But you have to tell me stuff, too.”

”Ok,” Mew nods and gives Gulf’s uninjured shoulder a squeeze. ”Then I tell you now that you sit down and I’m gonna get you something to eat and warmth for your shoulder.”

”Thank you, Khun Phi, khub.” 

”You’re welcome Yai Nong.” A smile slowly blossoms on Gulf’s face until it’s toothy and wide and makes Mew forget all about his anger and the misunderstanding.

 

***

Hour 543

 

”Do you think Type likes to party and drink?” Mew asks and pulls Chopper closer so he won’t fall off his lap, then he leans back against the couch.

”Type likes to get drunk and hang out with the guys, but I don’t think he’s one for big parties or clubbing.” Gulf sits down on his bed, which Mew recognises from the video calls. They talk every night, no matter how long workshop lasts and no matter what else they have to do. It started with analysing their characters and talking about work, and they still do that. Just now, more often than not, they change topics quickly, from friends they have to things they did or shows they watched.

”Really? I think he loves to go to the clubs with his mates and then hook up with girls.” Mew muses as he scratches Choppers ears and chin.

”You're wrong, P’Mew.” Gulf shakes his head. ”Type hates gays but it’s because he fights so much being gay himself. He dates girls he knows, that are easily approachable and show interest, but he doesn’t do random hook-ups.”

”I disagree. I think he might be sleeping around just to prove to himself that he’s not gay. ”

”No! Type is an asshole, but he’s not really attracted to girls.” Gulf insists vehemently.

”So he isn’t bi?”

Gulf groans loudly. ”You don’t fucking know Type at all! You can’t have read the book or the script.”

”I read both!”

”Then you don’t get Type. You have no clue who he is.”

”Does he know who he is?” Mew shoots back.

”That’s not the point. Type might not know stuff yet, but I do and so should you.”

”So you’re saying that Type is not a one night stand kind of guy?”

”No! How many dates does it take him to go to Pufai’s apartment?!”

”That could have been because he’s thinking of Tharn.”

”Can we just stop talking about this for tonight? You make me want to yell at you,” Gulf grumbles.

”Why do you always take this so personal? It’s not about you, but about a character.” Mew asks.

”Because everyone is always bashing Type, while Tharn is so goddamn perfect.”

”You don’t think he is? Tharn is a great guy. I wish I was like Tharn! I could learn a ton from him because he’s so good.”

”In the books he’s basically sexually assaulting Type and he also can’t say no to his ex or P’San, even though he knows it hurts Type. He should look out for his boyfriend and not for the other guys.”

 ”You can’t expect him to abandon his friends just because Type doesn’t like them. No one should do that.”

”They’re not his friends, they’re his exes!” Gulf basically yells into the phone, frustration radiating off him through the screen.

”He’s known P’San forever! He’s basically family.” Mew yells back and it makes Chopper jump off his lap and run out of the room, what pisses him off even more.

”So you would be ok if your boyfriend was still friends with his ex and the ex would tease you and show you how much better he knows him than you?”

”I don’t know, but I’d try to get along with him.”

”Like hell you would. No one is that good.”

”What would you do?” Mew asks upset.

”I’d tell my man that I expect him to be on my side and not meet with his ex anymore.”

Mew opens his mouth to argue back, but then it registers with him what Gulf just said. He itches to ask him about the ‘my man’ part, but it might not be the best time to ask for sensitive personal information while they are fighting. Maybe it was just a slip of the tongue because they were discussion Type and Tharn before?

”Fine,” he finally says and swallows his curiosity. 

”What? That’s it? You just giving in?” Gulf is surprised.

”I’m tired, Nong, I don’t wanna fight anymore.”

”We didn’t get any sleep today during workshop.”

”I’m surprised you made it through, sleepy head.”

”Hey, you’re the one who always falls asleep on top of me,” Gulf chuckles. The blunt, but very true statement makes Mew blush.

”And that’s ok?” 

”Aaah, Phi, I didn’t complain or anything.” Gulf looks at him with a small pout. ”But why are you so tired? You always tell me to go to bed once we finish playing games, but you’re the one who’s even more tired than me.”

”I really have to make some progress on my master’s thesis. I’m so behind on my research and reading,” Mew admits.

”Aw, P’Mew, I’m sorry. I didn’t know. If it helps, you can fall asleep on me any time.”

Mew chuckles. ”You’re comfy, N’Gulf, especially your tummy.”

”Good, then keep doing it. You can even have my blanket, if you want.”

”God, where are you when I can’t sleep at night?!” Mew sighs and his eyes widen in shock  a second later, when he realises what he just said.

”Why can’t you sleep at night?” Gulf completely misses the weirdness-factor of the statement and Mew is grateful for it.

”Lots of things going through my head. My studies and things we learn at workshop about our characters and then there’s more interviews about WTD coming out. And the vet said Chopper’s too fat. I just… I have weird dreams about this stuff and then wake up way too early for how late I’m up every night.”

”You spoil that dog too much. Stop feeding him treats and you’ll have one problem less.” 

”True, oh wise Nong, but he’s just too cute and I can’t resist his begging face.” Mew admits with a smile. He’s glad that Gulf doesn’t start to dissect each of his problems and bushed over most of what he just revealed.

”You’re such a wimp for that dog it’s not even funny.”

”Don’t mock me.”

”I’m not.” Gulf nods once. ”And I’ll hang up now and you, Phi, go straight to bed. No more studying or worrying, ok? And tomorrow your Nong pillow will be right there at workshop. We’re rehearsing the sex scenes , so you’ll lie on top of me anyway.”

Gulfs bluntness makes Mew laugh. ”Ok. Sleep well.”

”You too. See you tomorrow.” Gulf hangs up and Mew looks at his phone in disbelieve. 

No matter what they talk about, if it’s characters or private matters, the things that come out of his Nong’s mouth are still unpredictable. Mew wonders if there will ever come a time when he’ll know Gulf well enough to predict what he’ll say or do. Contemplating this question he gets up and walks upstairs into his bedroom to do what Gulf just ordered: Go straight to sleep.

 

***

Hour 1217

 

Mew holds Gulf tight as he turns one more time, holding his partner up in his arms. Lifting him has started as an exercise and evolved in a game: To see how long he can lift him or how often they can twirl around without falling. 

This time though, Mew uses the playfulness of lifting Gulf up and throwing him over his shoulder as a distraction and a way to lift Gulf’s mood and get him out of his head by fooling around a bit.

It’s been a draining day so far. They rehearsed the scene with Type telling the story of his assault to Tharn and Gulf had to cry time and time again.

The break-through had come after the fourth try and Gulf had cried and sobbed and hadn’t been able to stop for a while after. The emotions, he needed to portray and feel, were strong and Mew held him as he slowly came back to himself, didn’t let go when Gulf kept dabbing his eyes with a tissue and hugged him still when he was finally able to stop the tears. A trace of Type and his trauma remained though and both Mew and Gulf could feel it.

”P’Mew?” Gulf asks and the tone of his voice lets Mew know that there is something on his mind. He slowly puts Gulf back down on the ground, but Gulf is the one who doesn’t let go of him completely, his hand grasping mew's sleeve. Together they sit down on the floor in the middle of the workshops room and Gulf moves close. He rarely initiates physical contact, but they have a familiarity with each others bodies that makes it ok, no matter who touches the other. They have kissed with and without tongue, fallen asleep on each other, kissed each other’s bodies all over and held hands so often that letting go feels weird at times. 

Mew hugs Gulf around the middle, his hands coming to rest on Nong’s tummy, which Mew loves so much and Gulf places his head on Mew’s shoulder.

”What, Yai Nong?” Mew asks him when Gulf doesn’t speak again.

”Thank you for earlier. For bringing me back and being there. I needed that,” Gulf admits quietly.

”Nothing to thank me for. That’s what you do for your partner,” Mew replies in the same low volume.

”Sometimes….” Gulf whispers in Mew’s should and looks around. They are surrounded by so many people. ”Sometimes I hate the cameras that are always filming us during workshop. Workshop is supposed to help you and let you rehearse. But it’s like they want us to act even when we’re not acting.”

”It’s gonna get worse during the actual shooting. Here, it’s only one camera for all of the workshop, but they actually have a crew and photographers that will constantly be on us while shooting. Especially the two of us,” Mew knows and it’s better if Gulf knows as well, so he can prepare himself.

”I just… I don’t want to pretend all the time. I just want to be me sometimes,” Gulf whispers back and shuffles even closer, like he wants to disappear into Mew’s body. Without thinking Mew pulls him in his lap.

”Then we just won’t pretend, ok? We’ll just be us. Don’t let them talk you into something or do something you don’t want or like. And if it gets too much, you tell me and I’ll get them out of your face, ok?” Mew offers and vows to himself once more that he will protect N’Gulf. Gulf trusts him to keep him safe and Mew gladly takes it on.

”If we do this with all the cameras around they’ll think it’s just skinship or they’ll play it up to something it’s not.” Gulf waves his hands around, pointing to the way they are sitting, all tangled up in each other.

”Does that mean you want to stop or you want to continue?”

”I don’t want to stop you hugging me. I never thought I’d want this and it felt weird at first, but now it’s like… this is us. Not Tharn and Type, but me and you and it’s what makes it possible for me to fully become Type, because I know you’ll be there and keep me safe.”

”Same here, Yai Nong. I couldn’t play the scenes the way I do, if I didn’t trust you one hundred percent.” Mew can feel Gulf smile against his own cheek more than he sees it. ”So we’re gonna keep doing this. Forget about the cameras.”

”Ok. Forget about the cameras.” Gulf becomes even heavier against Mew as he slumps against Mew’s body completely. ”I’m tired.”

”Hey, you two! What are you whispering about?” Mild interrupts them and Gulf greets him with a wide yawn.

”Nothing,” Mew answers his question.

”Tsk, you two…. You either cling to each other, are in your own world and ignore us mere humans, or you’re fighting.” Mild teases.

”Right now we’re just tired. Gulf had to cry all day,” Mew replies and starts drumming a gentle beat on Gulf’s tummy with his fingers.

”We’re all tired, that’s why I talked the boss lady into giving us a short break. Second lunch?”

”Nong, you want some more food?” Mew nudges him with his nose, but Gulf doesn’t react. ”N’Gulf,” he says again when there’s no reaction.

”Looks like your boyfriend’s asleep,” Mild laughs. ”Want me to bring you some food or do you want to wake him up?”

”No, let him sleep,” Mew decides. ”And food would be good. Could you add a bit more to the plate, so Gulf can eat something once he’s awake?”

”I can do you one better: I can get Gulf his own plate and his own spoon. It's a revolutionary concept!” Mild laughs. ”If one of you’ll get sick during workshop or shooting we’re all screwed, because the other one will catch it as well…” With a wink Mild walks off but keeps talking to seemingly no one now. Mew shakes his head as he watches him walk off. He wraps his arms both tightly around Gulf’s waist so he won't fall and buries his nose in Gulf’s hair.  He’s surrounded by Gulf’s scent, while Gulf is surrounded by him.

 

***

Hour 2657

 

They are lying on the ground of the workshop room, blankets splayed out beneath and all around them, as both Mew and Gulf are panting heavily. The rehearsal of yet another bed scene had turned into a wrestling match that ended with Gulf on top of Mew, pinning him down with unexpected strength. After proclaiming his victory to the rest of the room, Gulf simply lay down on top of Mew, his head on his chest and that’s how they still remain.

The others have left by now, hurried outside to get some dinner and Mew wants to get up too, because he’s starving. Yet, Gulf seems content where he is and so Mew stays in place.

”P’Mew?”

”Mmh?”

”What are you doing tonight after workshop?” Gulf asks and Mew winces as the younger man pushes himself up with a hand on Mew’s chest, pressing down painfully on his rib cage.

”Go home, study, maybe watch a series, take care of Chopper, shower, sleep,” he lists his plans. ” Why?”

”It’s Saturday and all my friends are out partying or whatever. I can’t though. Maybe… you wanna come over and play some video game? You know, hang out for real for once.” Gulf props his chin on his hand that is still resting on Mew’s chest and looks at Mew with wide eyes.

”We can’t do that.”

”Why? You’re free, right?”

”I told you, we can’t hang out on our own. It would start rumours, if the press or the fans find out.” Mew spells it out for Gulf. The younger man’s eyebrows draw together and for a second he looks like Type.

”That's just fucked up. I’m literally lying on top of you and we’ve been kissing so much today that my lips feel bruised, but we can’t hang out to play video games without babysitters?” 

”I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.” Mew’s reply makes Gulf sit up and get off him. Mew feels chilly now that the body heat of his partner is gone, but he sits up as well.

”Then who made these fucking rules?” Gulf is angry now, it’s obvious by his snide tone and the cursing.

Mew sighs. ”Gulf, the last time I hung out with my film partner all the time, because I thought we were friends…”

Gulf interrupts him. ”So you still don’t trust me? You still think I’m not your friend?”

”Let me finish, please,” Mew says and tries to stay calm and ignore the tightening in his chest that starts when he hears the hurt in Gulf’s words. ”We ate together, we played games together, we watched movies and even slept at each other’s places all the time. It got out because co-stars commented on it and because we recorded some of it. At some point, there was no more boundary between us and our characters, not for us and not for others. I think that’s what set us up for disaster.” Mew takes Gulf’s hand in his. ”I want to hang out with you, but we can’t be alone. The hype for the series has already started and once we start shooting next week it’ll be even worse. Believe me when I say we’ll need a separation between work and our friendship, ok? Once this is all over, we can hang out if you still want. But until then, I can’t risk your reputation. I don’t want any damage to your career or this series.” Mew tries to explain, but it’s hard. Sometimes his own rules seem stupid even to him. However, he’s talked it over with their managers and they agreed with him. With his history and Gulf being new in the industry, there is no room for any kind of rumours or speculations. When the show starts airing Gulf's image needs to be squeaky clean.

”Fine,” Gulf huffs. ”I still think it sucks and you’re overreacting, but fine. If you don’t wanna hang our with me…” Gulf crosses his arms in front of his chest and pouts.

”Aooo, Yai Nong, don’t be like this,” Mew laughs, because he finds Gulf’s pouting face incredibly cute. From behind he wraps his arms around him and hugs him again, making them both tumble back down on the ground.

”You suck, P’Mew,” Gulf mutters but uncrosses his arms.

”Meaning I’ll call you tonight and we play games online?”

”Fine…” Gulf gives in. ”You need some ROV training anyway before I let you play on my team.”

”You take this game way too serious,” Mew chuckles, ruffles Gulf’s hair and then sits up. He feels lighter again, now that they are back to normal and the possible threat to their comfortable relationship has been banned. ”And now come on. I’m starving.”

Gulf takes the offered hand and lets himself be pulled behind Mew, out of the room and towards the food. ”P’Mew? Say we had more people hanging out with us, would it be ok then?” he asks then.

”Yes,” Mew chuckles. ”But aren’t you sick of me? Why do you want to hang out with your old Phi? We’re together all day during workshop.”

”And soon we’ll be together even longer during shooting. I’m just trying to find a way to get used to being around you even longer. You’re that annoying! It'll take time.”

Mew laughs out loud at the tease and gently slaps the back of Gulf’s head. He certainly wouldn’t mind being around his cheeky Junior for longer than the ten hours of workshop every day. Preferably alone, pops in Mew's head, but he pushes that thought away as quickly as its come. This thought, though, is even more of a reason not be alone with Gulf any time soon.

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 3

 

Hour 2831

 

It’s the first day of shooting and Mew can’t believe he got so lucky: not only does he get to play the lead role on a series, but he also gets to sleep in a bit on the first day. 

Gulf, who had to be on set by six, has been complaining about it for days, ever since they got the shooting schedule. He called it unfair and sabotage and even Mew pointing out that the show would open with a scene of Gulf alone, hadn’t been enough to placate the younger man.

It is widely known around the cast and crew that Gulf isn’t morning person at all and so Mew has to smile when he pictures what the morning must have been like for the team, the crew and Gulf’s fellow cast members in the scene. Whoever made the shooting schedule has brought the wrath of Gulf on all of them and should be the one suffering the consequences. Yet, Mew highly doubts that’s the case.

Usually, he is the one dealing with his grumpy Nong, but it’s already nine o’clock now, so three hours too late to rescue anyone. They have established a routine and he understands Gulf’s more subtle clues. When he’s covered by his blanket and faces a wall one better leaves him alone. If he’s lying down on his back, light touches are allowed. When Gulf is sitting upright, it’s ok for Mew to pull him against him. And if he even looks at Mew for a second, then he can cuddle him for real and try to start a conversation.

Mew walks past security, showing them the badge that lets them know he is an actor and then he follows the sounds of the set until he finds one of the assistants, who points him in the direction of the changing room, where he can leave his backpack and change into Tharn’s clothes. He greets people left and right until he reaches the room. He quickly changes and makes his way to hair and make-up. 

Mew is surprised by the large room and he simply waves at everyone, because there are so many people there and he can’t really see them too clearly. He left his glasses in his backpack and has yet to put in his contacts, because it’s more convenient to do it after the make-up is done and he doesn’t have to fear getting anything in his eyes.

He chats with the make-up artist and gets to know her a bit while she does his hair and his face. She has just started pluck his eyebrows when they are interrupted by Mild. 

”P’Mew, P’Mew, oh thank god! You’re here! I’ve been looking everywhere for you since the sound crew told me you got here!” Mild sounds out of breath, the words spoken at such a fast pace that Mew has trouble understanding him clearly.

”Did something happen? Everything ok?” Mew worries. Did they change the schedule? Is he late? 

”Ok? My head hurts so bad I think I’m seeing double. I might even have a concussion!” Mild starts rubbing the back of his head. ”Oooh, he slapped me so hard. And it wasn’t even in the script! No reason at all to slap me. Not even Type is that cruel!” Mild continues rambling.

”Who slapped you? What are you talking about?” Mew can’t follow, but leans back in his chair once more and let’s the make-up artist continue her work, now that he knows that there is no real emergency.

”What am I…? Just a second,” Mild holds up one finger before he runs out of the room. A couple of seconds later he is back, dragging a very grumpy Gulf behind him by his wrist. Gulf mutters and tries to get out of Mild’s grip, threatens him with physical harm while he barely has his eyes open. Behind him Mew feels the woman stiffen as she stops for a second with his make-up.

”You tell him, P’Mew. Tell N’Gulf how he can’t go around and slap me up the back of my head with full force when there is nothing, nothing about it in the script. And just because he’s tired! He’s been rude all morning, not talking, just grunting…I’ve been nothing but patient.” Mild complains. Mew wishes he had his contacts in, so he could see Gulf’s expression more clearly.

”That true?” Mew asks him and raises his eyebrows, careful not to mess up his make-up.

”P’Meeeew,” Gulf whines, which doesn’t really answer his question, but then again knowing his co-start the way Mew does, it does answer the question.

Mew holds out his hand and when Gulf grasps it, he pulls him closer. There is no resistance at all and Gulf tumbles in his lap, his back against Mew’s front. It’s a position they’ve gotten used to and Mew wraps his arms around Gulf’s waist, his hands seeking out Gulf’s squishy tummy. Gulf becomes dead-weight on top of him in seconds and presses him into the chair. Gulf’s head lolls on his shoulder and Mew has to tilt his head to the side so his make-up can get finished.

”So? You slapped Mild? And you were rude to him, Nong?”

”He wouldn’t stop babbling,” Gulf replies and by the tone of his voice Mew is sure he has his eyes closed. 

”Have you been rude to anyone else?”

”Nooo.”

”He was basically still asleep when  he got here,” the make-up artists supplies and Mew knows he’s found an ally in her, if he ever needs intel on anyone.

”When did you go to sleep last night?” Mew nudges Gulf. ”Hey, Yai Nong!” He pinches Gulf’s waist, which makes him wiggle on top of him as he lets out a grunt.

”Late. I needed to get another star.”

”Oh, Yai Nong, ” Mew sighs dramatically, squeezes him tightly with both arms around his waist and lets his forehead come to rest on his shoulder, so he can breathe him in for a second. ”You have to stop playing games until the early hours of the morning. We have to be here at six every day.”

”Not you! You got to sleep in,” Gulf complains and lightly elbows Mew in the stomach.

”Only this once,” Mew laughs.

”You tell him, Mew,” another voice joins their conversation and this voice makes Mew sit up straight because he knows it. Shit! ”I’ve been telling him that for a long time, but he never listens. Maybe he’ll listen to you,” Gulf’s mother continues. 

Mew feels incredibly awkward now. He’s sitting here barely seeing clearly, with make up on while his face is being covered in powder as she speaks, and her son, his Yai Nong, is sitting in his lap, sprawled all over him like a rag doll. And Mew does not only  hug him, but he just squeezed Gulf’s tummy repeatedly in front of her and buried his nose in her son’s neck. The only way this could get any more awkward is if she’ll be there when they film the sex scenes, and even then he could simply blame the script. There is no script to blame for this scene here though, not even a v-log camera anywhere in sight so he could say it’s just skinship. What the fuck is he doing anyway, cuddling his co-star like this? Wasn’t he supposed to keep his distance? Colleagues only, when there are no cameras?

”See, that’s what I’m telling you! You need to get your Nong under control!” Mild adds while he nods his head vigorously. This whole thing has just become even more ridiculous. Since when is he responsible for Gulf? 

”You do realise he’s in his twenties and not three, right?” Mew asks TeeMild, because that’s easier to do than face the fact that Gulf’s mother is still somewhere close by and her son ist still sitting in his lap.

”I do. But look at him: When he’s with you he’s like a cuddly puppy, but when he’s with anyone else he turns into… a vicious beast, every morning.”

Mew guffaws. ”You’re a vicious beast?” he asks Gulf.

”Mmh,” Gulf grunts in reply and doesn’t even open his eyes.

”I better go before he wakes up and becomes violent again,” Mild excuses himself.

”And I need another cup of coffee,” the make up artist leaves as well and it seems to Mew like all other people follow her out, not that he can see clearly who they are.

”Here,” Gulf’s mom spreads the light blue blanket over them. Mew feels like Gulf gets heavier as soon as they are covered. ”He has the rest of his scenes with you anyway today, so I can go to the market. Tell him to call me when I can pick him up.” She grabs her bag and walks out, too.

”Hey! You can’t leave me here with him! I haven’t even got my contacts in yet!” Mew calls out, but all he gets in reply is a content sigh from Gulf who has fallen asleep.

 

***

 

Hour 2955

 

Mew is absolutely fuming in the van during the drive to the mall where they will shoot their scene, not that Gulf cares. N’Gulf is typing away on his phone and chuckling from time to time about whatever replies he gets from the friends he’s chatting with. 

He should talk to him and address the issue, Mew knows, but this won’t be resolved as quickly as their usual spats. This cuts him deep. Talking will have to wait however, because they have work to do first.

While Gulf had been off shooting somewhere, Mew had a very interesting lunch break with TeeMild. They had talked about the shoot, the crew and their colleagues. How nice everyone was and how stress-free the atmosphere was. No huge drama, except for when Mew’s and Gulf’s temper clashed from time to time and they would fight. Gulf hates it when Mew raises his voice, and Mew hates it how careless Gulf can be. He’s often late simply because he’s playing on his phone. He forgets the names of people on set, doesn’t remember a single thing they’ve done a day before and sometimes simply doesn’t listen to Mew. All of these things lead to their spats, which rarely become real fights these days. But the talk with TeeMild leaves him so furious it takes everything in Mew not to explode.

 

”You know, Gulf isn’t bothered by anything. He has the emotional depth of a goldfish, which makes me wonder how he can be such a good actor. That kid didn’t even care when he broke up with the girlfriend he’s been with for years! No tears, no sadness, he wasn’t even sad or grumpier than usual. I really can’t believe him!” Mild says over his soup and Mew freezes.

”What?”

Mild must mistake his shock for anger and holds up his hands. ”I didn’t mean to insult your Nong… maybe he’s feeling stuff, you know, but just doesn’t show it?”

”He broke up with his girlfriend?” Mew asks, just to make sure he got it right.

”Oh shit, he didn’t tell you? Fuck, I thought you knew. I mean, everyone knows…” Mild hides his face behind his hands.

”When?” Is all Mew says.

”It’s not really my place to…”

”When?” Mew raises his voice and Mild caves.

”As far as I know, first month of workshop. I found out towards the end of workshop, because he left during a break to bring her the rest of her stuff that was still at his condo and came back a bit late for our rehearsal.”

 

They get out of the van and step into the mall. 

”P’Mew, look! I took that video of Ju last night. She seems to like rain as much as you do.” Gulf shoves his cellphone under Mew’s nose as they hurry through the mall, the make-up team in front of them, V-log camera behind them.

Mew doesn’t reply. He turns his head to the side and speeds up his steps. He just wants to get this shoot over with, because afterwards there are no more scenes with Gulf for the rest of the day and at this point that is something to look forward to. 

”Hey! P’Mew!” Gulf catches up and falls into step with him again. ”It was really pouring last night. I was still up running my lines and the rain was so loud.” Gulf wraps his finger’s around Mew’s arm as he speaks but Mew pulls away.

”Jane?” Mew calls out to the make-up artist. He needs some distraction and someone else to talk to.

”Yes, darling?” she asks.

”Did I tell you I tried that lotion you recommended?” he starts the conversation. Gulf is still walking beside him and out of the corner of his eye Mew can see the wrinkled forehead, but he doesn’t care. Gulf apparently doesn’t talk to him, even when he absolutely should about essential things, then why should he chat with him? He’s here to do his job and he can do that without speaking with the traitorous Nong.

Said Nong messes up the scene again and again. He botches up his lines, misses his cues and messes up the very minimal blocking they have to do in this scene. In between takes, he stares at Mew with large, confused puppy eyes. It makes Mew even more angry.

”Will you just concentrate and do your fucking job? I have two more scenes to shoot and I don’t want to be here all fucking day!” Mew finally explodes after yet another ”cut” echoes through the furniture store.

The crew has gone quiet many takes ago, picking up on the tension between them. For once Mew doesn’t care that everybody knows they are fighting. The V-log camera is turned off, which means there is no reason for fake skinship or pleasantries.

Gulf looks to the floor and bites his lip, making Mew wonder if he’ll start crying any second. He doesn’t even feel sympathy at the thought. Right now, all Mew feels is anger and betrayal is gnawing in his gut.

It takes him by surprise when Gulf grasps his wrist all of a sudden. ”We’re taking five,” the younger man announces and drags Mew to the side, as far away as he can from the crew. Mew waits until his back is turned to the crew before he rips his hand out of Gulf’s grasp.

”Don’t fucking touch me!”

”Mew, you remember when we said you’d talk to me when you’re angry? And tell me why you’re angry? Yet, I have no fucking idea what’s going on.”

”You’re fucking up the scene, that’s what’s going on.”

”You were ignoring me before then! And I don’t know what I did.”

”Nothing. You did nothing,” Mew replies, his words quiet but the tone biting.

”So you’re just not talking to me? Without telling me why?” Gulf crosses his arms in front of his chest and Mew realises for the first time that Gulf is taler than him.

”It’s not like you tell me anything!” Mew mirrors Gulf’s stance.

”Fine, be like that. But don’t come and give me some bullshit about Nong needing to apologise or something, because right now you’re behaving like a fucking prick!”

”I don’t want an apology from you. All I want is to finish this fucking scene so I won’t have to see you anymore.” With that Mew turns around and walks back towards the team that is waiting for them.

”Fine, asshole, be like that. But tomorrow morning first thing we’ll have a scene together and I even get to hit you! You better remember that.”

 

***

 

They get through the scene somehow and Gulf is able to concentrate long enough after Mew ran the lines with him, prompted by the director. After that it’s back to ignoring Gulf.

 Gulf’s words haunt Mew all the way back to set, during his next two scenes, on his way home, and the whole next day, which he spends actively avoiding Gulf. 

Mew just shakes his head when his mother tells him that there’s food waiting for him and makes his way upstairs to his bedroom. He reaches the door when his phone starts ringing, but when he sees that it’s Gulf calling, he just switches it to silent and places it on his nightstand.

The hot shower doesn’t help him relax at all, as the anger is slowly replaced by sadness, that seems to rise up further and further inside of him, until it fills his entire being.

Angrily he shuts off the water when he feels like crying, because he never cries, ever – except when he’s watching movies. Mew doesn’t know what to do with this feeling. Why does it hurt so much when Gulf ignores him? Why does he feel like he’s falling apart simply because Gulf didn’t tell him about the break-up? Yes, it concerns them both once they start going to more fan events and interviews and Mew is allowed to feel angry about the lack of information in a business way; it doesn’t explain the pain though at the thought that Gulf doesn’t really trust him. He told Mild, for god’s sake, the biggest gossip on and off set, but he never told Mew.

He dresses in a wide T-shirt and baggy grey sweats, an outfit that is comfortable and warm at the same time and puts on his glasses.

When he plugs in his phone he sees that there are eight more missed calls from Gulf and ten text messages. He ignores all of them and grabs his laptop instead. Nothing like some research to take his mind off things.

He’s barely opened JSTOR when there’s a knock on his door. He calls out and one of the maids enters with an apologetic look on her face.

”I’m sorry, but you have a visitor downstairs.” 

Mew thanks her and quickly walks downstairs to find out who would pay him a visit at this hour.

He finds Gulf sitting at the dining table chatting with his mother, a cup of tea in front of him.

”What are you doing here?” Mew can hardly believe his eyes to find his jerk of a co-star at his house. ”And how did you get in?” It’s not like anyone can just walk onto their property, especially not at night.

”Mew, son, that’s not a way to talk to your guest,” his mother lectures him. ”And I let him in. It’s obvious that you need to talk. Preferably yesterday,” she tells him with a pointed look, gets up and leaves them alone.

”We can take this outside if you don’t want me in the house, but you didn’t answer my calls…” Gulf says, looking sheepishly around the large room, his words echoing off the marble floors. During the day with many people around, it hardly ever echos in here, but with just the two of them, the room is simply too large.

”No, but let’s go into the black living room.” He sighs and leads the way.

”You have a black living room? Does that mean that there’s more than one?” Gulf asks curiously.

”The couch in the living room where I play video games is black, that’s why we call it the black living room. There’s another one with a brown couch, that has no tv and then there are… it doesn’t matter,” Mew stops himself. It’s not like Gulf needs to know anything about his home. When they are both inside, he closes the glass door behind them and sits down the leather sofa.

”P’Mew, I really don’t know what I did to upset you. And I came here to talk, because fighting with you sucks, especially if I have no idea what we are even fighting about.” Gulf plops down beside him.

”Yesterday at lunch, Mild and I talked and he told me about your breakup with your girlfriend during workshop.” Silence follows.

”Ok, and?” Gulf shrugs.

”TeeMild told me about it. Not you.”

”I told you!” Gulf claims.

”You didn’t tell me.”

”I did! I’m sure I told you when…” Gulf stops and thinks. ”Fuck! I wanted to tell you and then I forgot.”

”Gulf, soon we’re going to be pretend-dating professionally! I need to know about that kind of stuff to make this business thing work.” Mew gets upset again. How can he forget to tell him something like this?

”But I told P’Boss.” Gulf shoots back defensively.

”You what?” Mew can only gape at him.

”Well, technically I told P’Berm who then called P’Boss. That’s why I thought you knew.”

”He didn’t tell me.” Mew’s stomach feels like a rock. Gulf even told his manager, but he didn’t tell him! He clenches and unclenches his fingers because it gives him something to look at and it distracts him from the pain behind his eyes.

”But if management already knew and I didn’t fuck up our business agreement then why are you so angry at me?” Gulf breaks the silence with his innocent question. With anyone else Mew would think the person was shitting him, but with Gulf… he can be really dim.

”Because you told everyone else but me. At the time we already spent all day together at workshop and you never said a word. I thought we were colleagues at least, colleagues who tell each other that kind of stuff. Obviously, you were telling the other colleagues…” Mew knows he’s pouting and the hurt is audible in his words, but he doesn’t care. It’s what he feels after all.

”I’m sorry,” Gulf says and moves closer on the couch. ”I wanted to tell you, P’Mew. But you know I don’t like talking in the morning and then after lunch I just forgot, I guess, because we were having so much fun during workshop. I let our managers know in the evening when I was home, to be responsible business wise. And I thought I told you on the phone later that evening, but I guess I forgot again because we were playing games.” Mew huffs, because he thinks it’s a stupid excuse, but he doesn’t pull away when Gulf places his hand on Mew’s knee. ”It wasn’t even that big a deal. Since workshop started I didn’t have time for her anymore and I didn’t really try to make time to be honest. I guess it’s been over for a long time really and we’re better as friends anyway. She didn’t cry or anything and I’m not… we’re still friends and text sometimes.” Gulf gives Mew’s knee a squeeze.

”You must really suck as a boyfriend,” Mew snorts when he hears the break-up story that sounds so much like the Gulf he first met. The Gulf he knows now wouldn’t act like that anymore, Mew is pretty sure. The hand on his knee and the fact that Gulf came to his house to resolve the issue between them are proof of that.

”I guess,” Gulf shrugs. ”There really was no drama and no heartbreak and nothing. And I really wanted to tell you. I’m sorry.”

”Fine, I believe you,” Mew mutters, still pouting.

”Forgive me?” Gulf asks with another squeeze to his knee. ”Please? He starts shaking Mew’s leg while giving him the puppy eyes again. ”Pleeeease, P’Mew, pleeeease,” he begs. Mew can’t help it, he starts to laugh at the cute display. 

”Yes, you’re forgiven.”Gulf smiles back at him when he hears the words and the smile washes away the last of Mew’s annoyance.

”Come here, you drama queen,” Gulf teases and pulls him in his arms. It’s the first time ever that Gulf holds Mew when it’s not on camera and Mew finds he likes the feeling of being held by his on-screen boyfriend. Gulf pats his back a bit awkwardly, but it still manages to loosen the knot in Mew’s stomach. The pain in his head lessens. 

”P’Mew?” Gulf breaks the silence again.

”Mmh?”

”Next time you’re mad at me can you please not yell at me? I really hate it. It makes me want to punch you in the face.”

Mew chuckles against Gulf’s shoulder. ”You yelled back.”

”Of course I did. I’m not some wimp who’s scared of you,” Gulf huffs, which makes Mew sigh in relief. Gulf might not tell him things for whatever reason, but he always fights back and he always tells him when he dislikes something. And while that might cause their spats sometimes, it’s also a welcome difference from his last on screen partnership, because it lets Mew know what’s real - and what isn’t.

”I’m glad you’re not.”

”And so you say?” Gulf prods and pokes Mew’s ribs with one finger, making him laugh because he’s so ticklish – something the little shit knows.

”I’m sorry for yelling at you,” he giggles and then relaxes back against Gulf.

”Apology accepted.” Gulf squeezes him tightly. ”Does that mean you’re going to introduce me to Chopper now, to make it up to me?”

Mew chuckles. ”Chopper’s in bed already.”

”In your bed?”

”In his own bed.” Mew replies with an eye-roll.

”Your dog has its own bed?” 

”He has his own room and closet,” Mew admits and joins Gulf’s laughter. He’s sprawled all over him once they’ve calmed down.

”You know that we shouldn’t do this… being alone together like this,” Mew points out when it occurs to him what position they are in and what people could make of it.

”My dad’s outside in the car waiting for me, if that’s any consolation.”

Mew sits up when he hears this. ”You had your dad drive you here and then left him outside in the car, this whole time?”

”He picked me up from set and I told him I needed to talk to you.” Gulf is unimpressed.

”You should have brought him inside. It’s rude to let him wait in the car. He’s not your driver!”

”He doesn’t know that I invited myself here and also I didn’t want him to hear you yelling at me again. My parents think you’re so perfect and if they knew you’re mad at me, they’d think it was my fault and I’d never hear the end of it.” Gulf admits grumpily and makes Mew laugh.

”Come on then. Let me walk you out to the car and say goodnight to your dad, you rude idiot.”

Gulf gets up and wraps his arm around Mew’s waist as Mew wraps his arm around Gulf’s shoulders.

”You’re the worst, Khun Phi. Always perfect for everyone, but then you have the worst temper and a bad mouth and you take it out on me.”

”Hey, I didn’t take anything out on you. You fucked up and I lost my temper, that’s the story,” Mew corrects as they walk outside to the driveway that leads up to their house.

”Fine. Have it your way,” Gulf smirks. ”See you tomorrow?”

”See you tomorrow. No more video games!” Mew says and opens the car door for him, before he greets Gulf’s father.

”And no more studying for you!”

Mew rolls his eyes and laughs. ”Good night!” he closes the door behind Gulf and waves at them as they drive off.

 He feels incredibly tired all of a sudden, lighter and happier, but really, really tired. The last two days took a toll on him and he’s asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow.

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 4

 

Hour 3100

 

Mew doesn’t really know how it happened, but here they are again: sulking at each other.

After spending the last weeks and months quite literally on top of each other with a couple of fights and spats in between, he shouldn’t be too surprised; yet, he is. 

Last night when it had all started on the phone, there was no big issue, nothing really to explain why Gulf popped off at him first, raising his voice slightly. On a normal day, Mew would have brushed it off, but even he has felt his annoyance with Gulf mount a little bit each day. If asked, he wouldn’t know what to say about why he is annoyed with his co-star. He just knows that Gulf must feel the same by the way their spat had escalated quickly and today they aren’t talking to each other.

Well, Mew isn’t talking to Gulf, because that’s just the way he is when he is mad at someone. It’s a good thing they are on their way to Ko Samet island and not shooting. Mew helps Run film his V-Log and tries to pick the brain of the actor who plays Type’s dad. Mew always likes learning from more seasoned actors and while Type’s dad is scary, the actor who plays him is easy-going and kind. Meanwhile, Gulf is wrapped in his light blue blanket and sleeps the drive away, sitting in between his parents.

During the quick stop to wait for the ferry there’s no need to talk, even though Mew notices that Gulf stays close to him without his parents anywhere nearby. Maybe he wants to talk, maybe he wants to make-up, but Mew isn’t ready for that yet. 

Mew figures they just need some time away from each other. It’s been six months already and they’ve spent nearly every day with each other. They see each other first thing in the morning, work together all day, have lunch and dinner together and then talk on the phone as soon as they are home each night to go over scenes, prepare for public outings and interviews or simply blow of some steam playing video games. Most married couples don’t see each other as often as they do and so it’s only natural that they would get on each other’s nerves, right?

Yes, they know each other much better now and mostly get each other. Mew knows what to make of Gulf’s grumpiness when he’s tired and Gulf takes Mew’s hot headed reactions with a grain of salt most of the time. Sometimes Mew calls Gulf out for being rude, and sometimes Gulf yells back at Mew just to tell him not to yell at him – and that’s ok. 

Just right now, they need a break from each other. Filming will stop in two weeks and for the first time Mew is looking forward to the end. His workload will be a little bit lighter, there won’t be cameras anymore filming him sleeping and eating and he and Gulf will only have to see each other for interviews and events. It’ll still be a lot, but not nearly as excessive as it is right now.

The ferry ride is rocky and half of the team gets sea-sick. Mew doesn’t know how Gulf is faring, because he can’t see him. For a second he wants to get up and check on him, but then he remembers that they aren’t talking right now and also Gulf brought his parents along, so he doesn’t need Mew. Mew can’t help asking him if he’s alright when he gets off the boat, but it’s from afar and he’s being filmed and so it’s ok to show he cares, right?

Once they arrive at the resort they all check in and are shown to their rooms. Run is filming Mew’s room and for whatever reason Gulf is also there. He lingers as the others leave, but Mew follows them out to explore the resort a bit more. Once Run stops filming, Mew walks around the resort, finds the dining room and a space where they are setting up a large bonfire. They won’t shoot today and so he has time to take a shower and take a nap before dinner, that he spends with his senior actor once again. Gulf’s father joins them later at the bonfire as they talk and drink some beer.

When Mew returns to his room it’s not that late yet, but he has to be up early. There’s a knock on his door though and Run comes in with Gulf in tow.

”I need a few more scenes for the V-Log. It’s not long enough yet,” Run says and Mew sees that Gulf is carrying his script.

”We can’t rehearse the script on camera,” Mew shakes his head.

”Oh, don’t mind him. No idea what he’s doing here. I thought you could play on the guitar and sing a song, because you didn’t do it by the fire?”

”Fine, but just one song. I’m tired,” Mew sighs and sits down on his bed and grabs the guitar he brought from home. As he plays Gulf climbs up on the bed behind him.

The tension mounts in the room the longer he plays and once Run has enough footage, he flees and leaves the two of them alone.

”What do you want?” Mew sighs and puts the guitar back in its bag before he turns to face his co-star.

”We need to rehearse.” Gulf holds up the script.

”I’m tired.”

”So am I, but we still need to run our lines, otherwise we’ll fuck up tomorrow and we don’t have time for that,” Gulf points out and Mew knows he’s right. The weather isn’t as beautiful as they need it to be and so any second when it won’t rain will count.

”Fine,” Mew gives in and moves closer to Gulf so he can read along, too lazy to dig his own script out of his bag.

They go through their scenes once, then twice and finally a third time. Somewhere along the line they end up lying on the bed as they say their lines. By the third time they can do it all by heart, even though they can barely keep their eyes open.

”You should go to your room.” Mew rubs his eyes and rolls onto his back. He stretches and knows he should shower before going to sleep. He’s just too tired though.

”Too far,” Gulf mumbles and rolls onto his side, his head bumping against Mew’s shoulder.

”Guuulf,” Mew whines and nudges him.

”My dad snores.” Gulf rolls away from him and uses his arm as a pillow; just like Type does with Tharn. Mew knows that he should kick him out, that they should not sleep in one bed, while being alone in his room, especially not when they are fighting. It’s different when it’s on set with all the people around because no one can make up any stories about it then. But Mew is too tired and Gulf’s presence beside him is too familiar. He falls asleep before he can do anything about it.

 

***

 

The next morning is awkward. Mew nudges Gulf awake, who trudges back to his own room, his eyes barely open. Mew doesn’t even want to think about what Gulf tells his parents where he spent the night or what they’ll say if somebody saw them.

So he goes back to sulking during filming, only speaking to Gulf when it’s absolutely necessary. It makes the whole shoot awkward and the team tiptoes around them as they stay away from each other as much as possible.

”Hey, you two!” Thanayong, the actor who plays Type’s father calls them both over to where he is standing by the refreshment stand. Mew  doesn’t know what he wants, but it’s not his place to question when a senior actor wants something. ”You know before I came here with you two, all the production team told me how ridiculously close you were and how I’d have trouble playing being angry, because you two are so cute together – their words not mine. And now, here I am and you two are sulking all day, which upsets the team and makes working with you guys uncomfortable.”

 Mew feels his face grow hot and looks down. He’s barely ever felt as embarrassed as he does right now. When he glances at Gulf, he pretty much looks the same. 

”I want to know what’s going on so we can resolve this.” They both keep staring at their shoes. ”Mew? Why are you sulking with your Nong?”

Mew sighs deeply. ”To be honest I don’t know. Not one single reason. He just… he annoys me.”

”You’re annoying, too!” Gulf huffs.

”How is he annoying you, N’Gulf?”

”He’s… he always claims he knows everything, he never listens to me and he treats me like I’m a complete idiot. I’m 22 not 2 and still he always tells me what to do, how to behave, what to eat… he’s not my dad.”

”I have to because you’re irresponsible and act like a spoiled teenager. You’re up too late, you spend your money on video games, you don’t eat or drink enough, you’re grumpy to others and you never care about anything or anyone.” 

”Have you talked about this before? About what to change to work better together?”

”We work fine together, it’s the rest of the time that we spend together that he gets on my nerves,” Gulf answers before Mew has even thought about the question.

”How much time do you two spend together?”

”I’d say 12 - 17 hours each day?” Mew guesses.

”When we’re not together on set we talk on the phone. Prepare the scenes for the next day or talk about interviews.”

”Do you ever do something just for fun when you’re together?”

”Play video games.”

”I mean something that involves talking.”

”No, not really,” Mew admits.

”I’ve been in the industry for a long time and I’ve seen what’s coming your way for the next couple of months. You will need each other to lean on, be each others biggest support as well as biggest critics. You need to learn to communicate, even about the small things. But you also need to have fun together, live a little, relax.” With the last word spoken he looks at Mew. ”No parent, no manager, PR team or friend will understand what you will go through, only you two. You will have to carry each other through this, be there for each other, not one more than the other or one better than the other. Remember that, ok?”

”Ok,” Gulf replies quietly and looks contemplative.

”You’re right,” Mew agrees as Thanayong walks off.

”Two minutes until the next scene,” a production assistant yells from somewhere.

”I’m sorry N’Gulf.” Mew admits quietly. Suddenly he can’t remember anymore what he was angry about a minute ago. ”I guess I’m just stressed and took it out on you.”

”I’m sorry, too.” Gulf says and lets himself be pulled into Mew’s arms. It’s crazy how good it feels to have him back there. ”I’m stressed too. With all the promo that’s already starting and shooting ending… it’s a lot of pressure. I don’t know…Together right? We’ll do this together?” Gulf asks, rubbing his nose against Mew’s neck as his hands grasp his shirt.

”Yes, together.” Mew confirms, closes his eyes and breathes him in. Just like when they bring each other back from the emotions of a scene, they calm each other at the moment.

”Boys, you’re ready?” Someone calls and they slowly let go.

”Ready to face the machete again P’Mew?” Gulf smiles and doesn’t let go of Mew’s hand as they walk towards their spots.

”Ready if your are,” Mew confirms and smiles.

 

***

 

The next day they film at the beach and Mew is worried when he sees the seafood on the table.

”You know that Gulf can’t eat any of this, right?” he asks the director.

”Don’t worry, Mew. Gulf doesn’t have to eat it, just peel some crabs,” they shrug and Mew hopes that they cleared this with Gulf before.

There’s no time to ask him though when he finally arrives from filming the scene with his friend, he has to change his costume and then they have to start right away. As they play during the first scene Mew teases ‘Type’ a bit and rubs one of the crabs on his hand. The director has barely called cut when Gulf starts scratching.

”Shit! That itches!” he calls out and rubs over the spot Mew touched with the crab.

”Nong? What’s wrong?” Mew asks and catches his hands over the table. When he sees how red the spot is on Gulf’s left hand, he’s shocked. ”Could someone get us some water, please?! He calls out to no one in particular. ”I’m sorry, I didn’t know.” Mew apologises  and stops Gulf from scratching again.

”Shit, I didn’t know either. I mean, I know I can’t eat this stuff, but this…urgh,” Gulf curses. The water arrives and Mew pours it over Gulf’s hand, trying to wash off whatever crab residue is left on Gulf’s skin.

”Guys, what’s going on?” the director calls. ”You’re ready for the next take?”

”Yes, ready,” Gulf answers and quickly dries his hands.

”Nong, you can’t peel these crabs if that’s what happens when they so much as touch your hands.” Mew lectures, ignoring the director.

”It’s just itchy as shit. I’ll make it through the scene and then it’ll be ok,” Gulf shrugs it off.

”You’re sure?”

”I’m sure.”

They start the scene again and this time make it to the part where Gulf has to peel the crabs. He starts doing it, makes it through the next couple of sentences and then starts fidgeting. It’s subtle and he stays in character, but Mew picks up on it. The scene continues but Mew has problems staying in character now, because he’s worried again. Is he imagining the slight reddish tint underneath Gulf’s make-up? Does Gulf get even more fidgety? Mew gets his answer when he sees Gulf’s hands, when he offers him another piece of crab meat.

”Shit, Gulf,” Mew calls out and grabs Gulf’s hands; both of them swollen and red at this point.

”What’s wrong?” the director asks and hurries over as they cut the scene.

”Looks like I’m not only allergic to eating sea food, but also to touching it,” Gulf supplies as Mew is already pouring water over Gulf’s hands once again.

”Can you breathe alright?”

”P’Mew, I just get like hives and swell up like a balloon when I have seafood. I’ve never had trouble breathing.”

”We need some allergy meds and some ointment. Better yet, we take you to the doctor. What if you’re going into an anaphylactic shock?”

”Into what?” Gulf laughs and starts scratching again.

”Don’t scratch!” Mew takes both of his hands in his. ”Is someone getting the meds? And more water? And some ice?” He looks around at all the assistants who are just standing there watching them. ”Now!” Mew’s temper flares.

”Yes, sorry, we’ll go,” two of them say.

”And hurry!” He yells after them.

”P’Mew, calm down. Let’s just go over there and wait in the shade, ok?” Gulf tells him and get up.

”Why? Are you feeling feverish?”

”No, you idiot, I’m worried you’ll get sunburned and ruin your complexion,” Gulf laughs and pulls him behind him in the shade. They climb onto the chairs that are waiting for them.

”I don’t remember if I put on sunblock this morning,” Mew admits.

”See, Khun Phi, sometimes you need to listen Yai Nong,” Gulf smirks and starts scratching again. ”Fuck, this is really itchy.”

”Gulf, stop,” Mew asks and just then the ice arrives, which he quickly applies to both of Gulf’s hands as he wraps the towels around the swollen fingers and palms.  While he holds the ice with one hand, he starts massaging Gulf’s hands with his other.

”This is good,” Gulf nods appreciatively. 

”Yeah, the ice should help.”

”I mean the hand massage. Stops the itchiness.” Gulf corrects.

”So, I should keep doing it?” Mew smiles.

”Yes, khub,” Gulf smiles back and for a moment Mew gets lost in his eyes.

”Look at these two, flirting even when he’s having an allergic reaction,” Gulf’s father says as both of Gulf’s parents walk up to them. Mew feels his cheek heat in embarrassment and lets go of Gulf’s hands.

”Noooo, Meeeew,” Gulf whines. ”Don’t stop!”

”Just let me take a quick look,” Gulf’s mom stops him and lifts the towels to look at his hands. ”Did you wash your hands to get the residue off?”

”Mew did,” Gulf confirms.

”I think you’ll still need some anti-histamine and ointment. We were on our way into town anyway, so we can get it real quick.”

”Mew already sent some of the assistants off to get it. He even yelled a bit,” Gulf reports and again Mew turns a couple of shades redder.

”They were just standing there, not moving,” he defends himself.

”You overreacted.” Gulf is teasing him.

”I was worried. I thought you’d suffocate next. What do I know about your allergies?”

”Now you know.” Gulf’s father stops their bickering.

”Alright, then you’re taken care of and we can leave. After all we’re here for a quick vacation and not to look after our adult son all day,” his mom smiles.

”Mean,” Gulf huffs.

”What? You have your boyfriend to look after you. Bye,” Gulf’s dad gets another teasing comment in before they walk off.

”It’s annoying that my parents always call you my boyfriend all the time. Last week they did it in front of my grandma and she nearly had a heart-attack.” Gulf grumbling makes Mew laugh out loud as he is once again massaging Gulf’s hands.

”So do my mom and my sister. My dad didn’t get that they are just joking at first and asked when I’d bring you for dinner.” They’re both cracking up after that.

Just then the assistants come back from their run to the pharmacy and Gulf laughs when he sees the various ointments and meds they brought. Mew doesn’t get the joke and quickly checks them all out and helps Gulf applying the lotions, so they can get back to work, where Mew has an eye on the seafood, so that it doesn’t come close to Gulf anymore.

 

***

 

It’s late in the afternoon when they finally get to the bedroom scene. In between the two scenes they were able to take a nap , which was needed after the shock in the morning. Gulf’s hands are still a bit red, but not swollen any longer – to Mew’s biggest relief. While Gulf slept, Mew googled remedies for itchy skin and what to do with this kind of allergy, just in case something happens again. He’s known about the allergy since Gulf accidentally ate seafood and got complete red eyes afterwards while they were still doing workshop, but today scared him. He still hasn’t completely calmed down.

Once everything is ready for shooting, he wakes Gulf up and quickly takes off the blue shirt he’s wearing. Mew needs some sit-ups to really wake up and also because he’ll be shirtless in the scene and a bit of exercise always make his muscles pop more.

He’s just reached 36 when P’Tee calls him. ”Hey, Mew! I think you’ve got a  nosebleed.” Mew rubs the back of his hand underneath his nose and finds it bloody afterwards.

”Shit! What did you do?” It’s Gulf, who’s beside him in a flash. He’s holding the towel with ice, that Mew keeps insisting on exchanging constantly. Before Mew knows what’s happening Gulf has him lying with his head in his lap, has wiped the blood off his face, grabbed a tissue and stuck it in his nose and is holding the ice to his nose.

”It’s not that bad,” Mew says, his voice sounding weird because of his blocked nose.

”Yeah, you tell that to the tissue that’s completely soaked through already,” Gulf shoots back, takes out the bloody tissue and exchanges it for a new one.

”That’s gross,” Mew comments as Gulf wipes his bloody hand on the towel.

”What? You bleeding?”

”No, that you just stuck your finger up my nose twice and touched the bloody and snotty tissue,” Mew chuckles.

”I stuck my tongue in your mouth more often than I can count, so a finger up your nose when you’re bleeding is nothing. I’m just taking care of you,” Gulf’s teasing at first, but then becomes serious.

”It’s nice,” Mew admits. ”Thank you.”

”Shh, P’Mew,” Gulf shushes him and starts cleaning his face with wet wipes, while he keeps holding the ice with the other hand. Out of the corner of his eyes he can see Run coming with his Vlog camera. 

”You’re alright, P’Mew?” Run asks him while filming the scene. Since Gulf shushed him before, Mew just holds up his hand and shows the victory sign. Gulf only shakes his head in exasperation.

”Can you let him be, please? He needs to relax so he won’t get a nosebleed again,” Gulf basically sends Run away and actually holds up one hand to block the camera from filming them any further. Gulf has never done that before. As soon as the camera is turned off, Gulf starts running his fingers through Mew’s hair, giving him a gentle massage.

As Mew is lying there, nearly lulled to sleep by Gulf’s tenderness, it occurs to him that Gulf’s being protective of him, the way he usually is protective of Gulf. He’s often complained and grumbled about the fact that Gulf doesn’t care and that he doesn’t pay any attention, which sometimes leads Mew to wonder if Gulf even cares about him.

Yet, here Gulf is, actively violating their contract about the Vlogs just to protect Mew’s privacy and also being worried about Mew’s well being. Mew is so incredibly touched by this and he has to think of their Phi’s words. They have to be there for each other and have each other’s backs. He knew before that he was right, but Mew kind of doubted that the burden could be shared. He was the Phi, he had to carry his Nong. Just…. Not always, he thinks. Sometimes he can let Gulf take over while he leans back. He can let Gulf take care of him, he can trust him and rely on him as much as Gulf relies on Mew.

The epiphany calms his heart and Mew seeks out Gulf’s hand and laces his fingers through his.

”You’re ok now, Mew?” Gulf asks, his eyes worried and tender.

”Yes,” Mew nods and slowly sits up. ”Give me a minute to get cleaned up and have them fix my hair and make-up and then start working. Afterwards I’ll take you to dinner. After the day we’ve had I think we need it.”

”Yay! Let’s make out!” Gulf replies and throws his hands up in the air, which has the whole set erupt in laughter.

 

***

 

Something shifts after that, Mew knows. He doesn’t know what it is exactly, but it does. The kissing scene is fitting for the new feeling in a way, because while they are given instructions for blocking, they have none for the kisses. Usually every kiss is scripted in detail, they are told how and where to kiss and with which intensity. This time there’s none of that and it makes it seem different. Just like the atmosphere between them is.

Is this how Gulf really kisses, Mew wonders. Gulf always goes right for his lips, clings to him and is tender yet passionate. They don’t need many takes to get the scene shot and Mew kind of wishes they had more time to explore, so he could find out what it is that is different in their kisses and in their relationship.

They change and go to dinner together, sitting apart from the rest of the crew and the team as they talk and talk. About the day, about the day before and at some point about what it is that made them fight in the first place. They analyse their interactions together and seek out their individual triggers for annoyance. It’s yet another layer they discover of each other and the bond that tightened earlier that day with no verbal communication, is now addressed directly in words. They stay up until the early hours of the morning, simply being together, talking, laughing and exchanging stories, memories and opinions. 

On the ferry ride back to Bangkok the next day, Gulf keeps talking and Mew keeps listening, taking everything in that he’s sharing. When they arrive Gulf still isn’t done.

”Mew, you want to join us for lunch? Or have your ears already fallen off now that my son’s suddenly so chatty?” Gulf’s father asked when they catch up with  them on the pier.

”I’d love to, but I should go home and check on Chopper. I also have a meeting later today.”

”Call me later?” Gulf asks.

”Like every evening,” Mew nod with a smile and pulls him into a hug. ”I like it when you tell me stuff, don’t let them tell you otherwise,” he whispers in Gulf’s ear before he lets him go again.

”I won’t,” Gulf promises with a wide smile and squeezes him tightly before he lets go and leaves with his parents. 

Mew looks after them and tries to comprehend what exactly happened in the last 48 hours, but that he doesn’t manage.

 

***

Hour 3323

 

It’s over: The last day of shooting, the last scene, the last take. They’ve changed back into their own clothes, said goodbye to the team and the crew and packed their things.

All around them is chaos as people are saying goodbye, exchange phone numbers and well wishes for the future.

In the midst of it all, Gulf clings to Mew, Mew clings to Gulf, their eyes closed, unwilling to let go of one another. One last time they hug, say goodbye to Tharn and Type in the way they usually let go of their characters.

Mew squeezes tighter, squeezes his eyes shut at the same time and hides in Gulf’s shoulder for a moment to block everything else out. 

Mew knows he will see Gulf again in two days for a photo shoot. After that they will have to prep for the interviews and the advertisement for the show. It’s not like they won’t see each other again, and yet it’s so hard to let go.

Gulf feels the same, Mew knows. Well, mostly the same.  His Nong needs this hug to say goodbye to their characters and to charge the energy he’ll need in the upcoming days and weeks. The hugs cement their agreement and commitment to each other: It’s just them now, no matter if their show fails or succeeds, they will face the brunt of it either way and no one else will understand what they’ll go through.

That’s what they share in this moment, the calm in the eye of the storm. 

And yet, there’s a small part that Mew keeps hidden from Gulf and from all the rest, maybe even a tiny bit from himself. He can’t allow himself to acknowledge what can’t be… shouldn’t be…. He takes a deep breath and decides to let it go right there, once and for all. 

He admits to himself for the first time that he’s fallen for his co-star, head over heels, stupid in love. It’s just another moment, there in Gulf’s arms. 

And then he lets the realisation go, together with his character Tharn and buries the feelings he has for Gulf. There is no way he will fuck up another partnership, because of his feelings for his on-screen love interest. Gulf needs him as his partner, not as his lover.

From now on it’s them against the rest of the world…. And against Mew’s stupid romantic heart.

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 5

 

Hour 3539

 

It’s easy for Mew to get lost in his studies, in his work and in his other responsibilities. The welcome distraction of a rigid schedule even after the filming of the series is over is truly everything Mew needs to get over his stupid infatuation with his co-star – that and the fact that he doesn’t have to see Gulf for a couple of weeks. It’s bittersweet as he misses him and his fingers itch to call him several times a day, but Mew knows it’s what he needs, what they both need.

Mew doesn’t call him and lets his manager take care of all arrangements. Gulf doesn’t ask why he doesn’t call him anymore and neither is Gulf calling him, which strengthens Mew’s conviction that creating some distance is exactly the right thing to do. The closeness they had during the time of shooting was only temporary and apparently one-sided. Mew already feared that might be the case, but now he has proof. It hurts him and embarrasses him at the same time how little Gulf seems to care for him after all those months together. They made so much progress when it came to Gulf showing interest and being caring and thoughtful towards him. Now it turns out its an out-of-sight out-of-mind kind of thing for Gulf, while all other cast members at least text once in a while; Mild more than once or… ten times a day.

After nearly two weeks of no contact at all the Kaz Sport’s day is the first time they see each other again and it’s in a group setting. Mew makes a point of being a couple of minutes late, but already dressed and ready.

Gulf and the others are already there, most of their managers and mothers there with them. When did groups events become family gatherings? When you work with a cast that’s barely left their teen years behind, Mew guesses.

Gulf looks tired, Mew notices, but the dark blue shirt suits him. Mew’s heart beats faster and any hope he had that he’s already over Gulf has been in vain. His hands itch to touch him and all he wants is to wrap his arms around him and hold him tight like he used to during workshop and filming.

”P’Mew!” Gulf smiles when he sees him and wakes up from whatever daze he seemed to be in before. ”Where have you been?” Gulf comes towards him and Mew wonders if he’s going to hug him for once; Mew’s not sure if he wants the hug or fears it, so he avoids it by greeting Gulf’s mother and his manager who have come with him.

”I’m sorry, traffic,” he shrugs.

”I’m not talking about today,” Gulf grasps his wrist and pulls him to the side, away from the group before Mew can even greet the rest of the cast. He wrinkles his forehead and exchanges a look with Mild who mouths ‘Uh-oh’ in his direction.

”What? Did I miss an appointment?”

”You don’t call me anymore!”  Gulf complains, his eyebrows drawn together which makes him look so much like Type.

”I’m busy,” Mew defends himself. ”But last time I checked you owned a working cellphone as well,” he can’t help but point out.

”You told me you would be busy so I didn’t want to interrupt you or keep you from studying. I just didn’t think you wouldn’t call me at all! Every evening I’m home and get ready for our usual video call but you never do call me anymore. You not even text me anymore.” Gulf is truly pissed, Mew can tell and this is certainly not the time to fight when they have to play stupid games in front of a camera and fans in a couple of minutes.

”I’m sorry, Nong. I lost track of time with all the work and in the evenings. I’m just exhausted.” Mew isn’t lying, all he’s said is true, but he leaves out the fact that he’s been actively avoiding talking to Gulf.

”Fine, just do better from now on. I always think you’re mad at me when you stop talking to me and I can never figure out what I’ve done, ‘cause you fucking suck at communicating,” Gulf is still grumbling and Mew thinks he’s adorable doing so.

”I will,” he vows, because he knows very well that the time away from Gulf that he so desperately needs, will be given to him once more after this event, no matter what Gulf wants, ”after you’re back from your vacation.”

”Fuck, I forgot about that.” Gulf sighs and rests his forehead against Mew’s shoulder for a second.

”Don’t tell me you’re pissed about a vacation with your family. I’d sure take it if I could instead of studying all the time.”

”How’s it going?” Gulf wants to know.

”Alright I think. I’m just exhausted and glad when it’s over,” Mew admits.

”Soon, Phi, soon. Keep fighting, yes?” Gulf pats his shoulder and the unexpected touch makes Mew’s heart speed up.

”Hey, lovebirds!” Mild calls them and they both roll their eyes. ”The games are starting and you better get back here.” They make their way over. ”We decided I’m the flag bearer.”

”Who’s we?” Mew challenges with a chuckle.

”Kaow and me,” Mild shrugs unimpressed.

”Suit yourself,” Gulf doesn’t care anyway and leans sideways against Mew. When Mew turns his head to look at Gulf to check his expression, something else catches his eyes, or better: Someone else, who is staring at him from the other side of the room, eyebrows raised at the position Gulf is in. 

Mew can feel the judgement from all the way over there and slowly steps back, making Gulf stumble slightly. That look from the person who once was in Gulf’s shoes as his on-screen partner and, what Mew thought, real-life friend, is enough to put Mew’s walls back up and let him hide behind them once more.

Colleagues, he repeats in his head. Colleagues only, nothing else. Not even Gulf’s confused eyes staring up at him can stop the mantra in his head that he uses to fight the nausea that he feels.

For the rest of the games Mew is careful to talk to everyone, which also means that for once his sole focus isn’t Gulf alone. The younger follows him around the room like a lost puppy, always close, always a step or two behind him. Gulf keeps talking to him, insists on sitting beside him, even if Mew made sure someone else was sitting in between them. Gulf actually got up and changed chairs, just to sit next to him again.

 It feels like now that Mew is pushing Gulf away, Gulf fights his way forward, when all the time before it always looked like he didn’t care too much as he was lost in his own world. 

Mew knows that’s where he needs Gulf to go back to for both of their sakes, but he has to achieve it without a fight. They still have work to do.

 

***

 

After the sports day Gulf leaves for a fanmeet in Manila and a short vacation with his family thereafter.

It’s Mew’s graduation day and he knows Gulf will be there, because Boss told him. There’s a photo op scheduled for fans and reporters and Mild and Kaownah will be there as well.

 A little promo opportunity for the series on his private big day. He’s too happy to dwell on it, giddy with excitement.

What surprises Mew is when he sees Gulf sitting with his family in the large auditorium, as he walks in with his fellow students to get his diploma. Wasn’t Gulf supposed to come by later? What is he doing there sitting beside his mother, taking pictures like a proud boyfriend that he’s only supposed to be on screen? Gulf’s face lights up when their eyes meet and he waves at Mew. He can’t help it, Mew smiles and waves back.

Unlike all the other students, Mew can’t simply walk out into the yard and take pictures with his family. Instead he’s led into an empty computer lab, where a make-up table is set up, refreshments await and his very giddy co-star is slouching on a chair.

”Gulf, what are you already doing here?” he finally gets to ask.

”Look at you in your white robe! Congratulations, Phi!” Gulf gets up and gives him a hug.

”Thank you!” The full body hug feels so good after all this time of barely any contact.

”And I was told to wait here for the make-up team. Mild and Kaow are on their way and your family and Boss are handling the press and coordinate it with the university officials or something,” Gulf knows and Mew wonders how much Gulf is actually involved in the planing of all of this.

”I thought you’d just get here for the fan photos.”

”And miss your ceremony? After bearing with you and your foul mood whenever you studied too much for all these months ?” Gulf jokes and Mew swats him lightly.

”I’m happy you’re here, Nong” he admits.

”Yup, me too. You’ll get your presents later, Phi. But come on, sit down. You’ll have to work after this,” Gulf pulls him down on a chair beside him.

”Work?”

”Judging by the twitter hashtags, you’ll have to lift me again later and be all lovey-dovey with yours truly for the fan pics.”

Mew groans. ”But you’re heavy and it’s fucking hot outside.”

”Hey, you started this lifting shit to show how strong you are.  Now you deal with it,” Gulf laughs and Mew slouches over and rests his forehead on his back. 

”Let me rest then,” he only half jokes and closes his eyes.

”You rest, Khun Phi. I’ll wake you up when the others are here to make you pretty.” Mew can feel Gulf’s chuckles against his cheek and wraps his arms around Gulf’s waist. This is his own personal reward for all of his hard work over the last years. Mew will allow himself to indulge in this moment with Gulf and revert back to his clinginess for today. Tomorrow he’ll be good again.

 

***

 

Tomorrow starts with Mew lying awake in bed until the early hours of the morning. Gulf was at his graduation ceremony. Gulf was there for the press and fan photo op. Gulf was there for the family dinner with just his parents and sister present, not even their managers around for once. And now Gulf is asleep in the guest room next door, staying over at his house, per his mother’s invitation. 

Mew is happy about all of it, unspeakably happy. 

Yet, he is also upset about all of it. 

His feelings are all over the place. He got to touch Gulf today, hug him, lift him up and stare into his eyes, all under the pretence of fan service. Mew runs his hands through his hair as he stares up at the ceiling in the darkness. He has to get used to this, he knows, and he has to do it fast, because in just a week the first episode will air and he and Gulf will be back together all the time for interviews and fan-meets, advertisements and photoshoots. 

Being in love with your co-star sucks, but lying to yourself won’t help either. As Mew thinks his situation over and can’t find a solution, he admits that he’s a mess. He knows that this time he can’t dig himself out of this hole alone. He’ll have to talk to someone and ask for advice. The question only is: Who? Pondering that problem, he falls asleep in the early hours of the morning.

 

***

Hour 3700

 

They are all gathered in the small apartment and Mew goes live as he lies on the bed, Kaownah beside him, Mild nearly on top of him and Gulf somewhere in the back, as P’Best hovers over him and seems to give Gulf instructions and updates on his schedule. Mew knows Boss will do the same tomorrow, but for now he just wants to goof around with his colleagues, as they get ready to watch the first episode together of the show they all worked so hard for.

”Ok, guys, ten minutes… anyone needs the toilets or drinks and snacks?” Mild asks and drops his full weight on top of Mew.

”Ooof, you’re heavy!”

”Hey, are you calling me fat?” Mild screeches. ”Not everyone is as skinny as you.” A second later Mild digs his fingers into Mew’s side, making him writhe underneath him on the bed as he howls with laughter.

”Mew,” Gulf calls him once he has slapped Mild’s fingers away and has stopped laughing.

”Mmh?”

”Got you a beer,” his junior holds up a bottle and pats the chair behind him in an unmistakable invitation to sit there. Mew already knows how this will end judging by the setup. At some point gulf will end up leaning against him, halfway lying in his lap as they touch and cuddle as they watch the episode.

For a split second Mew wants to decline, just take the beer and stay on the bed, but then he just…He can’t. The distance he’s trying to create whenever there are no fans or cameras nearby still feels unnatural to him and judging by Gulf’s constant puppy eyes and questioning looks he must feel the same. So Mew gets up and takes the seat on the office chair and the beer.

”Don’t  get drunk though, remember you’re my ride home,” Mild nags.

”Oh, you are?” Gulf turns around and looks surprised.

”Yes, we also came together.”

”We’ve never driven anywhere together,” Gulf remarks and while his tone is light the statement is too pointed to be just a casual comment.

”You live on the other side of town, N’Gulf. It wouldn’t really make sense to drive together.”

”Not yet. The new condo will be closer to your place.”

”My parents’ house or my condo?”

”Both, I guess. My university is halfway between them and the new condo will be around the corner from my faculty.”

”You bought it?” Mew wonders.

Gulf snorts. ”Yeah, sure. My mother bought it. Driving back and forth all the time between the city and our house is just too much, when we have to be somewhere super early.”

”Super early, meaning before noon,” Mew teases.

”Asshole Mew,” Gulf chuckles and rolls his chair back until it hits Mew’s knees. Then Gulf leans back until his back comes to rest against Mew’s chest. They stay like this as they watch the episode, exchange looks every now and then and both join the teasing with the rest of the cast as they share the beer.

”Hey, you two. Why do you always have to drink from one bottle, eat from one spoon, can you tell me that?” Kaownah teases and jokes about exchanging spit fly.

”What? I’ve had his tongue down my throat for hours on end and his lips and hands all over my body.” Gulf shrugs unimpressed and Mew nearly spits out his drink.

”And vice versa,” he feels the need to point out.

”Exactly. So why would we mind drinking from one bottle?” Gulf turns back around to the screen, resting against Mew once more, discussion apparently over for him.

 

***

 

Later, as they drive home Mew ponders his hopeless situation once more. It feels so right to be close to Gulf and it re-charges his batteries like nothing else. But it’s wrong and he shouldn’t do it…

”P’Mew?” Mild snaps him out of his thoughts as he pulls into his street on auto-pilot.

”Yes?”

”You know you can talk to me, right? If you want to… or need to.” It’s the opportunity Mew has been hoping for for a while, unsure who he could open up to. But would TeeMild be able to keep his secret and not act differently around Gulf? Then again, Mild would be there for a lot of the press outings and could help him through without it being too suspicious. 

”You’ve got a minute?” Mew asks as he parks the car in front of Mild’s house.

”Yes. You want to come in?”

”No.. Uhm… no,” Mew prefers the car and the darkness that surrounds them as the car is only illuminated by the moon.

”So, what’s going on? Why are you acting so weird? Talk to uncle Mild.”

It makes Mew smile faintly. ”Promise you won’t tell anyone. Absolutely no one.”

”Promise,” Mild nods and holds up his hands.

”I fucked up really bad and I don’t know what to do. I’m stuck…” Mew starts and with the first words comes the urge to cry. 

”Hey, just talk to me,” Mild places his hand on his shoulder and Mew takes a deep breath.

”I think I’m in love with Gulf,” Mew says out loud for the first time. ”Looks like I have a serious problem keeping fiction and reality separate. You better hope I’ll never play a killer,” Mew jokes self-deprecatingly.

”Does Gulf know?”

”No! I have to figure this out first and see… Tomorrow promo will start and there’s one interview and promo after the next. We’ll be together 24/7 but thankfully never alone. It’s just work and the managers will be there and his mother, my mother… I can’t throw a wrench in it, it wouldn’t be fair to him or the show.”

”But you’ll have to play it up for the fans all the time.”

”No need to play it up… more like I’m having trouble holding back.” Mew hides his face in his hands for a moment. ”I feel so guilty.”

”Why?”

”Because Gulf and I we agreed that we’d always talk and always be honest and now I’m pretending to flirt with him while I really want to flirt with him, which I can’t… so I need space, which I also can’t have and… fuck,” Mew slams his fists against the steering wheel. ”It’s all such a fucking mess.”

”You can say that again,” Mild nods. ”Do you think he feels the same?” He asks after a moment of silence.

”Gulf had a girlfriend, he’s as straight as guys come. There’s no way he feels the same.”

”I wouldn’t say that. You two are really cuddly and way too close, if you ask me. You know I like to hug, but you two… that’s next level, my friend. Half the team and cast think you’re already a couple and just haven’t made it official yet. And it all doesn’t look to weird on Gulf, if you get my drift.”

”I tried to stop it or tone it down, but Gulf wasn’t too happy about it and thought I was mad at him. I waited if he would starts the skinship, but he didn’t take too kindly to that lesson either. I don’t want to fight with him or make him feel like something is off. It’s hard enough already for him. I spend half the time in interviews either answering questions for him or clarifying what he actually means, as he stumbles over his words or bursts out stuff that could be taken a completely wrong way. And he always wanders off in the wrong direction. Three appointments in the mall or larger spaces and I’m tempted to tie him to me so I won’t lose him. Everybody thinks it’s romantic we’re holding hands as we walk, but I have to because otherwise who knows where he’ll end up. P’Best keeps joking that we should put a tracker on him.”

”But only when he’s with you.” Mild smirks.

”What?” Mew can’t follow.

”Gulf only reverts to a toddler when you’re nearby. If he’s on his own, he can find his way alright from what I’ve seen.”

”So it’s my fault?”

”No, I just mean that he trusts you so much, he basically stops thinking on his own when you’re nearby. Which is my point: He trusts you and that you care for him, no matter if it’s as a friend or more. He knows you wouldn’t hurt him on purpose or let him down. Trust yourself a bit more, stop feeling guilty and just do your job and have fun. And if it really gets too much, then tell him. I’m sure you two would find a way to work it out. Just… don’t kiss him without cameras present,” Mild teases.

”I’m not even kissing him with cameras present. We have these rules in writing. If a kiss is asked for by fans or one of these stupid games, then we’ll pretend, angle, bump noses or something.”

”What happened to ‘We’ve had our tongues down each others throats for hours’?”

Mew smiles and shakes his head. ”Oh look, we’re here. Good night,Mild,” Mew says and points to the house.

”Night Mew,” the other man chuckles and opens the door. ”Don’t worry too much, ok? Gulf is not the same as you know who. Even if you fuck up, it won’t end up on facebook or social media. It’s much more likely he’ll just kick you or punch you in the face, if that’s any consolation.”

”Yeah, such a relief!” Mew calls after Mild laughingly, as he closes the car door. Mew waits until his friend is inside the house, then he drives home and has the first full night’s sleep in a long time.

 

***

 

The interview is a mess from the moment it starts. There have been good interviews and bad interviews in the last months, sometimes even great interviews. But this one…Gulf is fine at first and even jokes, but the host doesn’t take it too well. Not the joke or the fact that Mew’s hand comes to rest on Gulf’s knee by sheer habit. 

They’ve established an elaborated system of non-verbal communication with each other during interviews at this point. A squeeze and a smile means ‘well done, keep going’, a single tap means ‘stop’, pulling him close helps calming Gulf down, laughing after exchanging a look gives them time to come up with an answer – usually when Gulf looks at Mew and has no idea what he’s supposed to say. 

This host keep freaking out whenever they touch though, screwing up their system and irritating them to the point that Run, who is there with them picks up on their annoyance and tries to explain that it’s just how they are and doesn’t mean anything. She can’t let it go though and they have to keep their hands to themselves.

Another thing that pushes Gulf into near silence and makes Mew struggle to stay friendly, is the way she phrases questions, so that it could be about their private lives. More than once he exchanges a shocked look with Bosser, just to have her ‘correct’ herself quickly and clarify she only meant their characters.

By the end of the interview Run is the one talking, while both Mew and Gulf sit there with their arms crossed in front of their chests. When the cameras finally stop rolling, Gulf storms off to the changing room without so much as a goodbye, Run takes over the goodbyes with the host and Mew makes his way to Bosser.

”Please make sure we never get interviewed by her again, at least not live. Next time I want her questions cleared in advance and the whole thing recorded,” Mew tells his manager.

”You read my mind,” he agrees.

”Mew,” P’Best walks up to them. ”Can you talk to Gulf? He looks like he’s ready to commit murder but doesn’t want to talk to me.”

”Sure,” Mew nods and  goes to find his partner. Gulf is shirtless when he finds him in the changing room and wipes the make-up off his face angrily.

”You’ll take your skin off if you keep going like this,” Mew points out only half joking and takes the wet wipe from him. He throws it away and takes a new one, before he gently takes over cleaning Gulf’s face.

”I hate her!” Gulf spits out with the first touch.

”Shh, not so loud.”

”I don’t care! How dare she!” Gulf fumes.

”Nong, you have to calm down. You can rant as soon as we’re out of here, but she can’t overhear you. That’s not good for the show.”

”So what? She can be fucking rude on live and tell us not to touch and tell you to take your hands off of me? Who does she think she is? If she has a problem with gay couples she shouldn’t interview the cast of a BL show! And that’s not even it! I fucking need you touching me to make it through these interviews. How else would I know when to speak and when to stay quiet? Or when I did good? When you like my answer? When I surprise you? I feel it in your touch, because we can’t really turn to each other and talk it through while on camera. She has no right…no right! Especially when you barely touch me anymore without a camera nearby! After seven months of being cuddled like a baby all day every day, that’s fucking harsh and I miss it like an addict misses his drug, but hey, I can’t complain, because you have your boundaries too and I have to respect them as well. And that’s why she has no right to take it from me in front of the cameras. She just… she has no right!” Gulf rants and leaves Mew stunned with the things that come out of his mouth.

It’s hard for Mew not to put too much into the words he just heard. Still, it’s nice to know that Gulf not only tolerates his touch, but wants it, even behind the cameras – misses it.

”N’Gulf, you can always touch me,” Mew reassures him and pulls him in a hug, realising too late that it might not be the best idea while Gulf is still shirtless.

”I kinda thought you’re sick of me. Sick of taking care of me all the time. There must be a limit for your patience and hugs, right?” Gulf’s anger is gone and he sounds like a pouting toddler once more. 

”Oh Yai Nong, not for you. Never for you,” Mew chuckles and tightens his hold on him, as Gulf slips his hands around Mew’s waist and underneath his T-shirt as he hugs him back. 

Gulf’s hands are seeking out Mew’s naked skin for reasons Mew doesn’t dare to think about. He closes his eyes and just enjoys it.

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 6

 

Hour 3940

 

It’s early in the morning and the rest of the cast and crew are already there in the waiting room next to the temple, all except for Gulf. Mew merely turns his head when his co-star finally arrives, nods at him and turns his attention back to the screen of his phone, answering some last emails.

Gulf looks as tired as Mew feels, but the older is able to hide it better. The mothers and make-up artists chatter in the background and at this point the women all know each other well. Sometimes too well, Mew knows, because his mother knows everything that goes on through the grapevine that is the connection of mothers, assistants and make-up artists and their constant chatter and several text app groups.

Mew joins the conversation with Mild and Kaownah at some point, an assistant delivers cold drinks and Gulf is still silent on the chair beside him. There is no need to worry though, at least not about his silence, because Mew knows that it’s too early for Gulf, especially because he has a cold. From time to time he keeps sniffing and coughing discreetly.

”You took the meds I told you about last night?” Mew dresses him quietly.

”Yes, I’m a bit better,” Gulf confirms and they go back to not talking. They will have to talk after the merit, press conference and interviews will follow in short succession and sometimes Mew wonders how often he answers the exact same questions. The answers are automatic at this point, rehearsed without being meant to be rehearsed, just as their actions and poses in front of the camera and fans.

‘Describe your first meeting or your first impression of each other’ and they tell the story of choosing each other and never forget to point out how much Gulf blushed, as a sweet detail that makes the fans go crazy. ‘Are you possessive?’ Yes, of course they are when asked, Mew more than Gulf. Mews isn’t sure how much truth lies in that answer because it’s very hard to tell as long as you’re not in a real relationship. Would Mew be jealous if Gulf would find a new partner? Depends on how much success he would have. He wants Gulf to be successful and go on to do great things, so most likely Mew would support him every step of the way. Would Mew be possessive if he was his boyfriend and someone else would flirt with him? Hell yes, but he would also trust him to not flirt back. ‘What’s the status of your relationship’ Friends, brothers, Yai Nong and Khun Phi…. Anything but what Mew really wants, but it’s ok, really. You answer the same way so many times you might actually start to believe it yourself.

So they have the repertoire of answers, gestures and poses by now and the MewGulf ship is a well rehearsed show by now. Mew is grateful for that, because it lets him have moments when he can slip and mess up without anyone noticing it, not even Gulf.

”Mew, can I talk to you for a second?” Bosser asks him quietly and leads him into the next room when he follows him. To Mew’s surprise both his mother and Gulf’s mother are waiting there for him together with P’Best. The set-up makes him nervous, especially because Gulf’s presence apparently hasn’t been requested.

”The two of us were just talking and had an idea and we wanted to run it by you,” Gulf’s mother lets the three men know and Boss and Best look as curious as Mew. ”Gulf’s a bit upset that you don’t have time for him on his birthday because of your schedule,” she starts and Mew’s eyebrows nearly disappear into his hairline, ”and I know you two tried to fix it, but can’t, but you’re also worried how it’ll look if there’s no footage of Mew and Gulf together on his birthday. So we thought,” she points between herself and Mew’s mother, ”that Mew could be at the fanmeet on the 8th.”

”I checked the schedule and it should be possible if he can show up a bit late,” Mew’s mother nods.

”What does Gulf say to that? I mean, I’d crash his first fanmeet and it wouldn’t be only ‘his’ anymore,” Mew wonders.

”I know he’d love it,” Gulf’s mom is sure. ”He’s always very nervous when he’s on his own with these things and he prefers it if you’re with him. But we haven’t asked him, because we think it should be a surprise.”

”That’s a great idea. He could walk in with a cake and candles or sing or something. The fans would lose their minds,” P’Best nods.

”Like after showing the birthday video we still have to record, when everybody thinks he won’t show and then you can only hear his voice…” Boss spins the scenario further.

”Singing their song…” Mew’s mom gushes.

”While rose pedals rain from the ceiling and violins start to play,” Mew remarks sarcastically at the sappy set setup.

”Come on, son, don’t be like that.”

”Gulf is the least romantic person I know. Most likely he’ll just die laughing on stage if you overdo it,” Mew reminds them.

”But you’re on board?”

”Yes, fine I’ll do it,” Mew agrees with a sigh. As much as he likes the thought of surprising Gulf, he isn’t too sure of his Nong’s reaction to this plan. The whole thing could get incredibly awkward if Gulf doesn’t take it well.

”Great!” Gulf’s mom smiles widely. ”But don’t tell him! We’ll discuss the details and let you know.” With that Mew is send back into the waiting room, just as all the others are ready to go to the temple. Gulf hangs back, looking around and gives Mew a small smile when he sees him.

”Everything ok?” Mew asks him when Gulf starts coughing again.

”Yes, I was just waiting for you, Phi,” Gulf replies with a small smile and together they make their way outside to face the fans.

 

***

 

”I’d give him a watch,” Gulf says when asked by the interviewer what gift he’d give Mew for New Year.

”Why a watch?” the MC of the shop event asks the question that Mew has himself.

”Because Khun Phi doesn’t have time for me anymore,” Gulf replies into the microphone. It’s one of the rare moments when Mew is actually still surprised by the answer, but he’s also shocked and a bit touched. Mew knows where this answer is coming from, Gulf apparently not as cool with the whole situation as he pretended to be. 

Earlier, as they got changed into their on-stage clothes, Gulf brought up his birthday.

”P’Mew?” 

”Mmh?”

”I know you’re really busy, but… can’t you stop by for my birthday? Just for some cake?”

Mew pulls the shirt over his head and turns around. ”I’m shooting promos all day. I’m sorry Nong.”

”It’s ok,” Gulf says quietly. ”How about for the fan meet though? The fans would love it if you were there and I… I haven’t done anything this big on my own.”

”You’re gonna be just fine, Yai Nong,” Mew replies and gives his shoulder a squeeze. ”You don’t need me there, when all these fans come just for you to celebrate your birthday.” After that he quickly leaves, before Gulf catches on to the fact that he’s lying to his face.

Mew laughs his helplessness off as screams erupt around them from the fans and even the MCs seem at a loss for words. There’s no way he’ll bring up Gulf’s birthday, because he surely doesn’t want to open that can of worms in front of the fans and MCs. After a while he finds the words he needs to defend himself, he just can’t let it stand like that.

”Why would you say I don’t have time for you? I always call you as soon as I finish work, don’t I?” The fans scream again and Gulf smirks. He knows exactly that he set Mew up.

”That’s true,” he admits and laughs, fans screaming again. Mew keeps smiling as he takes a deep breath. Danger averted once more, as his Nong unknowingly makes him sweat in front of hundreds of cameras.

 

***

 

”You’re staying, right Phi? You’re coming to dinner with me and my family?” Gulf asks once the fan meeting is over, while the presents are being packed up and Mild and Kaownah have already left.

Mew couldn’t say no if he wanted to. Since the first note of the song he sang as he entered the venue and the fans had gone wild, the smile on Gulf’s face hasn’t left for a second. At first he’d been so flustered and shy that he didn’t know what to do with himself up on that stage as Mew walked closer and watched the adorable spectacle. Gulf rarely got flustered beyond blushing, but he did this time. He blushed, he giggled and beamed. He even went so far as to introduce Mew to every single one of his family members while they were still up on the stage. It was unnecessary; it was adorable.

”Yes, I’ll come,” Mew confirms and Gulf’s smile gets a bit wider, something Mew didn’t think was possible.

”I can’t believe you came. You said you don’t have time.”

”I couldn’t ruin the surprise by telling you before,” Mew chuckles.

”True… Can I ride with you? My parents have to take all the presents and my sister in the car.”

”Sure,” Mew agrees for once. He doesn’t have any willpower left today to deny anything Gulf wants. The look on Gulf’s face when Mew reached the stage is too fresh in his mind and makes him all tingly and happy.

”Come one then! I know the way to the restaurant and the others can follow!” Gulf grabs his hand and pulls him towards the backstage exit where their cars are parked.

”Hey!” Gulf’s dad calls out to them.

”What Pa?”

”Don’t be lazy son! You and your boyfriend can take some of these flowers with you,” he tells them and Gulf groans as Mew laughs.

”It’s my birthday, pa!”

”Your birthday was four days ago,” his father shoots back.

”Come on, Yai Nong. The quicker we’re all done here, the quicker we can get some food,” Mew nudges him in the side.

”Listen to your boyfriend, little brother,” Gulf’s sister joins the teasing and Mew wonders when Gulf will correct them like he always does.

”We could just start dinner without them,” Gulf mutters instead, but starts walking towards the large boxes with flowers. Gulf only lets go of Mew’s hand once he they have to lift the boxes and once they are in the car, Gulf laces their fingers together again. Mew notices, but he doesn’t comment. He’ll let Gulf live the boyfriend phantasy he’s caught up in for this one evening. Tomorrow it’s going to be back to square one.

 

***

 

Hour 4300

 

The text messages are constant and start coming in way before take off.

‘Don’t forget your passport’

‘I’m so tired. Wanna sleep.’

‘Is your flight on time?’

‘Have a safe flight’

‘Saw that your flight touched down. Were you able to get some sleep?’

‘Got another star playing the game last night.’

‘Have you arrived yet?’

‘How’s the weather?’

‘P’Best is really annoying today’

Mew dutifully replies to all of them and video calls Gulf as soon as he’s checked into his hotel room.

”Show me the room, P’Mew!” Gulf says and Mew switches to the other camera as he gives him the grand tour of the suit he’s booked in India. ”It’s huge! I could have easily come along,” Gulf comments, lying on his bed in his own room at home.

”Yes, the suite is quite large,” Mew replies, ignoring the comment about Gulf coming along. He doesn’t know where his crazy Nong even gets he idea, it’s not like they ever even discussed it.

”Will you start your merit tour today or tomorrow?”

”Later today. I’m going to take a nap and then drive to the first temple late in the afternoon.”

”Ok, then I’ll let you go. Send me some pics, ok?” Gulf is full of enthusiasm for this trip.

”I will. I’ll see you at the airport when I get back, ok?” Mew reminds, him because they plan on surprising their fans by Gulf showing up at the airport when Mew gets back.

”You’re gonna see me before then, because I expect my nightly video call. Being on vacation doesn’t count as an excuse to bail on your Yai Nong, Khun Phi.”

”My Yai Nong is a spoiled brat, how could I forget?” Mew laughs.

Gulf smirks. ”You’re the one who spoils me, so you’re not allowed to complain.”

 

***

 

Mew looks around, checks his cellphone again and feels so furious he wants to hurl the damn thing against the nearest wall.

Gulf isn’t only late, he’s simply not there and their surprise for the fans doesn’t happen. Mew takes extra time to take pictures with them at the airport and takes all the presents and flowers with him, while he’s fuming on the inside.

He and his team are halfway to the parking garage when his phone rings.

”P’Mew I’m so sorry! They didn’t let me leave and the interview…” Gulf starts right away.

”Stop! I don’t give a fuck! You said you’d be here!” Mew interrupts him and has trouble controlling the volume of his voice. With one hand he unlocks his car, while he holds the phone with the other.

”It wasn’t my fault!”

”No, it’s never your fault.”

”What’s that supposed to mean?”

”Nothing. I shouldn’t have trusted you to be here today. You let down the fans.”

”They didn’t even know I would be there!”

”And that makes it ok?” Ok, now he is yelling into the phone.

”If you’d just let me explain.” Gulf yells back.

”I don’t wanna hear it, ok? You fucked up, that’s it. End of story. Just go back to whatever it was you’re doing. I have to drive home now.” With that Mew hangs up and throws his phone on the passenger’s seat.

”What happened?” Boss asks as he puts the last presents into the back seat.

”I don’t know and I don’t care. Maybe video games were more important once more,” Mew says, closes the car door and drives off with a small wave to his manager and the rest of the team.

It’ been only four days, four days of being away from Gulf and it felt like an eternity. No amount of text messages or hour long video calls at night could help with how much Mew missed Gulf while being away from him. The closer they get to each other, the more he misses him when he isn’t around.

His heart clenches painfully in his chest at the thought of how deep he is into this, while Mew is a business partner for Gulf, maybe a friend and mentor sometimes, and that’s all they will ever be. He has no right to be angry about it and usually he isn’t, but when Gulf is being careless with Mew’s time or his heart, it hurts so much more than it should.

After Gulf’s birthday dinner he’d unwillingly let down the last barriers he’s been holding on to and now he has to pay the price, barely a week later.

Mew blinks and wipes away a tear. He shouldn’t be crying while driving.

When Mew reaches his house he’s come to the conclusion that he overreacted. He should have just brushed it off like it was nothing. Then he wouldn’t have to explain why he was so angry. Mew couldn’t tell Gulf that he was hurt because he’d been looking forward to seeing him. He couldn’t tell him how much he missed him. He couldn’t tell him that he was in love with him.

The house is empty, meaning only the cook and the maids are there but none of his family members. His parents are on a business trip and his sister stays at her condo, which means he can go to his room and sulk for the next three days until he has himself back under control.

He unpacks his suitcases, puts the presents and flowers away and takes a quick shower. He’s not hungry, so he simply turns on the tv in his bedroom, starts some Netflix show and tries to push any thought about Gulf from his mind.

He’s not successful, because the later it gets the more upset he becomes. They always talk in the evening, always. And they never, never go to bed fighting since their last big fight on Ko Samet. Yet, Mew can’t call him. He can’t let Gulf see him like this.

His phone beeps as a text message comes in after midnight. ‘Either you come here or I’ll come to you, but we’re not going to bed fighting.’ The text message reads and Mew groans. He knows Gulf well enough to know that he’s not bluffing. Mew doesn’t have a choice anymore: He is going to see Gulf tonight, wether he wants to or not. Not even pretending to sleep would save him, because all the household staff know about Gulf at this point and would let him in, as per his mother’s instructions.

‘I’ll come to you. Condo or your parents house?’ Mew writes back. He hopes it’s the later, because there’s no way they should be unsupervised while he feels this raw. 

‘Condo,’ comes the reply he feared. For a second he’s tempted to call Bosser and ask him to come along. But boy, would have have some explaining to do to his manager, if he did that.

Mew does some breathing exercises in the car and channels all his inner strength for this talk. 

‘I’m here, parked in front of the building,’ Mew texts.

‘Come on up.’

‘No. We’ll talk in the car,” he writes back. It’s safer this way. They will be somewhat in public, there’s the risk of being seen and recognised that makes this a good idea. Less chance to wring Gulf’s neck if the mood strikes him… or to ravish him.

”You’re acting like an idiot,” is the first thing Gulf says as he gets into the passenger’s seat and closes the door behind him.

”I told you from the start we can’t be alone together.”

”We’re just talking,” Gulf argues.

”We’re fighting,” Mew corrects.

Gulf opens his mouth and looks like he’s going to yell at him, but then he closes his mouth again and shakes his head. ”Why are we even fighting?” he asks then.

”Because you didn’t show up when you were supposed to and didn’t inform me in time,” Mew uses the obvious reason.

”P’Mew, I wanted to be there and I wanted to let you know, but I couldn’t ok?” Gulf gets upset again. ”Today everything was fucked up right from the start. The first shooting took forever, then we got stuck in traffic and I couldn’t even get anything to eat in between the interviews. Then the last one started with one hour delay and the MCs kept going on and on, but it was live and there was nothing I could do. I hoped that P’Best texted you, but he forgot and I called you as soon as they called cut, but it was already too late and you yelled at me and hung up.”

”I understand,” Mew nods, but he doesn’t feel any less hurt as before, which has nothing to do with what happened and everything to do with the fact that by sitting beside Gulf right now, he’s reminded that his feelings aren’t returned and he will have to get used to it. He’s tired, irritated and hungry and in no condition to deal with any of it at the moment.

”But you’re still angry.”

”No, I’m not. You’re right, it wasn’t your fault. Sorry, for yelling.” Mew sighs and runs his hand through his hair. ”I just wanna go home. I’m exhausted.” He looks out to the dark street in front of him.

”Didn’t you miss me at all?” Gulf’s words are barely above a whisper, but in the dark car they seem to echo over and over, getting louder each time.

”What?” Mew whips his head around, looking at Gulf with wide eyes.

”Fuck, sorry,” Gulf hides his face in his hands and looks straight ahead. Then he takes a breath and seems to steel himself. ”No, you know what? That’s a lie. I’m not sorry.” He looks back at Mew. ”I missed you, ok? I like you.”

”You like me?” Mew repeats slowly, disbelieving what he just heard.

”Yes.” Gulf nods once. ”And I think you like me, too.”

The statement hangs in the air between them for a while, because Mew can’t form words. ”Do you  even know what you’re saying? What you’re doing?” Mew asks, when he overcomes his speechlessness.

”We promised to always be honest with each other, that’s what I’m doing. I’m saying that I like you as more than a colleague or a friend.” Gulf speaks in that no-nonsense way of his, where he just blurts out whatever he needs to say without considering the consequences.

”But…”

Gulf interrupts him. ”No, no buts. The only question now is if you really like me too.”

Mew is starting to feel panicked. This can’t be happening. What the hell is Gulf thinking? They can’t do this! ”I do, but…” Mew can’t get further, because suddenly Gulf’s lips are pressed against his own in a simple, soft kiss.

”I knew it!” Gulf’s smile is wide and cheeky and he’s still holding onto Mew’s shirt. Mew’s heartbeat thunders away in his own ears, as he stares at his cheeky Nong.

”We need to talk about this,” Mew says slowly and cups Gulf’s cheek. ”This isn’t only about what we want.”

”Ok. Fine.”

”Have you eaten anything yet?” Mew asks, because talking over dinner is safer than just talking somewhere alone. And he’s also starving all of sudden, because his stomach is no longer in knots and simply filled with butterflies.

”No. I couldn’t eat because you were mad at me.” A cute pout appears on Gulf’s face.

”How about we get some take-out somewhere and then talk this through?”

”Can’t you just kiss me back and we’ll see where this is going?” Gulf rolls his eyes but buckles the seatbelt.

”There’s too much at stake here, Yai Nong.”

”Fine,” Gulf gives in as Mew starts the car. ”But you better find me some Phat Kaphrao, boo, if you wanna talk.” He adds and Mew bursts out laughing.

 

***

 

”This is awkward,” Gulf says with a small smile once they have finished their very late dinner and thrown the containers away. They are sitting on Gulf’s couch, a respectable distance between them, which is filled with subtle looks and weird silence, now that they’ve also run out of light dinner conversation.

”Yeah,” Mew agrees with a chuckle. They have to talk at some point, so he decides to dive in. After all Gulf was the one who was brave enough to even bring this all up in the first place. ”I never thought we’d ever have this conversation, because I thought you were straight and wouldn’t ever feel this way about me.”

”I never said I was straight.”

”Yeah, maybe, but I just assumed.” Mew chuckles about the way Gulf says it. ” But are you sure? I don’t want you to be just caught up in the roles we are playing and then later find out it’s not what you want after all.”

”Sure, khub.” Gulf nods once.

Mew sniggers again. ”N’Gulf, I need more words than this.”

”What? I told you already. You’re the one who hasn’t really said anything yet.” Gulf moves closer to Mew on the couch.

”You’re right,” Mew has to admit, leans back against the backrest, takes Gulf’s hand in his and lets the warmth of his palm calm his nerves. ”I’ve known that I like you for a while now and I thought about telling you, but just to make you understand why I sometimes act like I act… I didn’t want to ruin anything… It never even crossed my mind that you could like me back.”

Gulf’s loud snort stops him from continuing. ”You’re an idiot, boo. Everybody knew but you. Even our parents have been teasing us for months, but you didn’t know? Seriously?” Gulf giggles and bumps his shoulder against Mew’s.

”I was scared. I still am. You know what happened the last time. This is all just too similar,” Mew looks to his knees and adjusts his glasses on his nose as they start sliding down.

”But we’re not.” Gulf insists. ”You don’t have to be scared that I’ll reject you.”

”No?”

Gulf doesn’t answer him with words. Instead he leans forward and captures Mew’s lips in a passionate kiss. ”There! That’ll give you something, in case you gonna run away now and make a video about it tomorrow.”

Mew guffaws. ”You’re such a little shit!” he pulls Gulf in his arms as he laughs, so that he lies in the sideway hold Gulf used to be in so often while they were still filming, just this time they are chest to chest and Gulf is smiling up at him.

”You better pick another nickname,” he points his index finger at Mew’s face. 

”Isn’t Yai Nong enough?”

”Everybody calls me that now.”

”So? I was the one who did it first.”

”Fine, boo, you can keep calling me Yai Nong.” Another eye roll accompanies the words.

”So nice of you to accept that,” Mew says and they both have to laugh again. For this moment everything feels light and warm and Mew is so happy that he feels like he’s going to burst any second, when just two hours ago he was lying on his bed crying and sulking and none of this seemed possible. 

This time it’s Mew who initiates the kiss and deepens it after a while. They explore each other’s mouths unhurriedly because there are no cameras, no one who tells them how to angle their heads or how the kiss should feel. It’s just them and their feelings as they get lost in a blur of lips, tongues and soft nibbles.

Mew finally gets his answer and yes, Gulf kisses differently than he does as Type. He can’t describe how, he just knows that Gulf does and he might taste and feel different, too, which is surprising.

At some point Gulf ends up straddling Mew’s lap, his arms slung around Mew’s neck as they make out on the couch, both of them breathing hard. Everything about this is arousing to Mew: Gulf’s kisses, his weight on top of him, the way he breathes and moans.

”Tua-eng*, we have to stop,” Mew pants when he feels his control slipping.

”Why?”

”We’re not done talking and we should take this slow.” Mew doesn’t let go of Gulf as he speaks and slowly strokes his hands up and down Gulf’s back to calm them both down.

”You’re not going to shut me out again, right?”

”When did I shut you out?”

”Maybe it’s not like… how to say… like, you were creating space and weren’t around as much as before. And can we also lose the stupid ”not being alone” rule now?”

”I needed time away from you sometimes, because I didn’t think you reciprocated my feelings. I wouldn’t have been able to be around you the other half of the time otherwise.”

”And now?”

”Now…” Mew takes a moment to think about what he wants. ”I want to see where this goes, but I still think we should take it slow, talk, get to know each other away from other people and the cameras. And most of all, learn how to navigate this. Because even if we fuck this up, we still have to work together months from now.” Mew runs his hand through Gulf’s hair and combs it back from his forehead.

”Ok. No more space, though as we keep this between us.” Gulf agrees. ”That’s what you want right? Keep it between us?”

”Yes, if you don’t mind. If it doesn’t work out… it’ll be easier this way.”

”Mmh, ”Gulf makes. ”You know that our moms even set up a Christmas dinner together?”

”What?” Mew is truly surprised by this. ”When did that happen?”

”While you were in India. The Linechat strikes again. I swear, if I didn’t know better, I’d say they want to play match maker.”  They both chuckle.

”What’s their official reason?”

”Christmas promo for the fans.”

”We’re already doing that.”

”I know. And usually this doesn’t include family dinner with both families and managers present.”

Mew shakes his head and then rests his forehead against Gulf’s. ”You wanna do this?”

”Why not? We can hang out, there’s food and we can do a quick live or something. It’s less suspicious than us just randomly hanging out at your house or mine.”

”True… speaking of hanging out: I should get going.” Mew says sadly and tries to untangle from Gulf, which is difficult while he’s still sitting on top of him.

”Why? You can stay. Wouldn’t be the first time we sleep in one bed together.”

”But it would be the first time spending the night together and we just talked about taking it slow.” Mew gently takes Gulf’s hands in his and unwraps his arms from his neck.

”Stay… you’re comfy.” Gulf tries to tighten his hold on him as he whines. 

”Tua-eng, it’s not like I want to. I have to! Come on, please, let me get up.” Mew begs and places a soft kiss on Gulf’s forehead.

”Fine,” he huffs and lets himself falls to the side and lands on the sofa. ”But only because I like the new name, boo.” The cheekiness is back and it takes Mew a second to realise what he’s been calling Gulf. He didn’t even realise… He’s so screwed.

”See you tomorrow?” Mew asks, knowing they have to have some sort of work appointment.

”See you tomorrow,” Gulf nods and accepts his goodbye kiss. Then Mew finally finds the strength to leave with another small wave and a full heart.

 

TBC

 

*Darling

Chapter Text

Chapter 7

 

 

Hour 4360

 

”Today was fun,” Gulf smiles into the phone camera as he glances at it for a moment and then proceeds washing his face.

”Yeah it was,” Mew nods as he pours the cleaning fluid over his contacts, his glasses already sitting on his nose, so he can see what he’s doing. ”Do you think we overdid it today with the fan service?” he wonders.

”What fanservice?” Gulf mumbles into the towel he’s drying his face with. His reply makes Mew smile.

”Sometimes during the interview, I thought they were having a heart attack the way they were screaming every time we only looked at each other.”

”Imagine their reactions, if they knew we’re actually a couple.” Gulf takes his cellphone with him as he leaves the bathroom and walks up to his room. Mew remains quiet, knowing that Gulf’s family is already asleep. This is certainly not their first phone call in the middle of the night and the rules have long been established.

”Is that what we are?” Mew asks once Gulf has closed the door behind him.

”I didn’t know that was even a question.”

”I mean… we agreed we’ll take it slow and that we’ll see where this is going but… like… we never defined it.”

Gulf groans loudly. ”Fuck, Mew, why do you always have to be so complicated?”

”What? I’m not!” He protests. ”I just like clarity.”

”Clarity? We made out on my couch, we talk every night and if you weren’t such a wimp we’d have spent the night together already,” Gulf holds up his hand when Mew opens his mouth, ”and yes maybe we would fuck, maybe not… but how much clearer can it get without going ‘Will you be my boyfriend’? This is not one of the sappy movies you like so much. Who does shit like that in real life?”

”Fucked? You have such a way with words,” Mew rolls his eyes but has to laugh.

”Don’t try and distract me, idiot. I asked you a question!” Gulf simply knows him too well.

”I just… it’s weird ok? It’s like it was before in the way that we’re together all day and we touch and flirt on camera. And then we go home and talk on the phone. But… it’s not the same because I know you have feelings for me and I for you and all and…There’s the roles we play on camera and the roles we play for the fans, but we are being us at the same time and then there’s us and…”

”Mew stop rambling!” Gulf apparently has had enough. ”Do you want to change anything on or off camera?”

Mew thinks about it for a while and Gulf patiently waits as he mulls it over. ”Can we spend some time together just the two of us? Watch a movie or something?”

”Sure. You were the one who said we shouldn’t be alone together just yet. Like we’d just rip each others clothes off,” Gulf mocks him.

”I don’t know about you, but for me that’s a very real possibility sometimes,” Mew admits to throw Gulf off balance.

”Ha! As if I’d stop you,” his attempt fails and Mew is the one gaping into the camera like a goldfish. He blushes bright red a moment later and goes on to hide his face in his hands which makes Gulf laugh out loud.

”You’re so bad, Yai Nong.”

”How about tomorrow after the dinner with our families? We could go to my condo and play some video games?”

”Sounds good, but what are we gonna tell them?”

”The truth? My parents know how addicted I am to my new game. They won’t think too much of it. It’s not like I never have any friends over.”

”You do?” Mew is surprised and for whatever reason that info doesn’t sit too well with him. ”Ok.” He agrees to Gulf’s plan.

”But P’Mew? Would you be angry if I told my parents about us? You know, if it comes up?”Gulf turns serious again.

”No, of course not. I wouldn’t want you to lie to your parents because of me.”

Gulf chuckles. ”Wouldn’t be the first time. I used to lie to my parents so much.”

”About what?” Mew laughs but tries to look scandalised.

”About skipping school or classes at uni. Hitting the clubs when I was barely sixteen. Getting drunk on the regular with my friends… smoking,” Gulf lists and finds this highly amusing.

”You are naughty, Nong. The actual worst!” Mew accuses him and shakes his head. ”And I thought you admitting to being a bully in school was bad.”

”Why do you think my mom loves you so much? Since I started working and hanging out with you, she doesn’t have to worry about me getting into trouble all the time.” It should be a compliment, but the way Gulf says it, it’s more teasing.

”What? You think I can’t party?”

”I haven’t seen it yet, Mr. Goody-Goody,” Gulf just shrugs.

”You have no idea! You haven’t really partied yet, if you haven’t been to the engineering faculty parties…” Mew says and goes on to tell Gulf about their parties and the time he was so drunk he accidentally called his father….

 

***

 

”Bosser is on to us,” Mew says as soon as the door of Gulf’s condo closes behind them.

”Why’d you think that? Has he said anything?” Gulf pulls his phone and wallet out of his pockets and places them on the small side table before takes off his shoes and kicks them in the direction of the other shoes by the wall. Mew follows him, takes off his shoes as well, and hangs up his jacket.

”No, but he kept staring at us all during dinner with this weird knowing look on his face.”

”We didn’t do anything during dinner besides eating and doing the live. The questions and comments we read out loud weren’t even that bad,” Gulf throws himself onto the sofa and struggles to take off the checkered black and red shirt he’s wearing over his white undershirt. ”We didn’t even touch.”

Mew suddenly has to laugh when he remembers some of the questions. ”Can you imagine reading out loud some of the dirty ones right in front of our mothers?” 

”‘How many times have you kissed with tongue?’ A lot! More rice, ma? ‘Have you ever got aroused during filming?’ No hardons during the shoot, but how about off camera? Oh, you want some dessert Ma’ Mew?” Gulf acts the scene out and Mew is laughing so hard he snorts as he falls down beside Gulf on he couch.

”We’d be in so much shit if we did that. I think P’Best’s head would explode and Boss would probably kill me.”

”People are hypocrites!” Gulf huffs. ”They always want us to be loved up, romantic and ask indiscreet questions, but if someone would ever get real or you touch a bit too much or it gets a bit racy all hell breaks loose. We’re not 14 year olds on the Disney channel. Have any of them read P’Mame’s books? This is like… porn. But if I place my hand on your thigh we’re supposed to blush and be shy?”

”You place your hand on my knee or thigh quite a bit these days,” Mew points out with a smirk, he can’t help it. ”You didn’t do it before.” He agrees with all that Gulf just said, but that’s a whole other kind of story.

”Are you complaining?” Gulf smiles and places his hand on Mew’s knee.

”Nooo, just pointing it out,” Mew smiles back.

”Good,” Gulf nods once, wraps his arm around Mew’s neck and pulls him down to him in a kiss. It’s the first time they are really alone together since the night they decided to give this a try and the few quick pecks they were able to sneak in in between interviews and fanmeets surely don’t come close to this. 

Mew has missed Gulf, even though he is around him all day. He lets one hand glide into Gulf’s hair and angles his head as he deepens the kiss. Mew can’t remember the last time he felt as desperate for a kiss as he does for this one.

”P’Mew?” Slowly Gulf pushes him back with a hand on his chest.

”Mmh?” Mew keeps placing random kisses all over Gulf’s lips, cheeks, nose and throat.

”One: if we keep going, the ‘slow’ you want will be out the window. And two: I really want to show you my new video game. It’s really good!”

Mew stops dead in his tracks. ”You prefer your video game to kissing me?”

”No, idiot!” Gulf actually slaps his arm. ”But I know how sulky you are. If we keep going and we end up fucking when you’re not ready, you’ll be all sulky afterwards and that’s not what I wanna deal with after sex.”

Gulf does it again: His blunt reply leaves Mew speechless for a moment and he blushes.

”I… you… we wouldn’t…” Mew stutters and Gulf starts laughing.

”Why do you always get so flustered when we’re talking about sex? You got all shy when we read the novels before shooting and you can barely look me in the eye now. You’re not a virgin, right?”

”No!” Mew protest and sits up. He’s so embarrassed, he doesn’t even know where to look. Does he kiss like a virgin? Well, it’s not like he’s had a lot of practice off-camera recently. ”It’s just… it’s been a while.” He finally admits.

”Aooow,” Gulf smiles and pulls him in his arms. ”Just calm down, boo. I won’t jump you today or anything, I promise.” Mew can feel Gulf’s laughter against his chest.

”I haven’t been with anyone in a while and my last relationship, where I talked openly about sex has been… a really long time ago. I’m just not used to it anymore. You’ve only been single for months, but for me… let’s just say it’s been longer.”

”You’ll get used to it,” Gulf shrugs and sits up, forcing Mew do to the same. ”Video game? You’re ready for the epic adventure?”

”Yes,” Mew breathes and is actually glad for the change of topic. He likes kissing more than any video game, but as long as he is not ready to take this any further, games might be the safer option.

 

***

 

Mew is woken up by someone running their fingers through his hair and gently blowing cold air on his face. When he opens his eyes he finds Gulf smiling down on him. Mew has no recollection of how he ended up sleeping against Gulf’s shoulder. The last thing he remembers is being beaten again and again by Gulf in the his newest video game.

”Let’s go to bed,” Gulf tells him and slowly pulls him up with him in a standing position.

”Have to drive home,” Mew mumbles, because he knows he should go home, even if he’s barely awake.

”You can’t drive like this. Come on…” Gulf shuffles him into the bedroom, takes his shirt and jeans off and does the same before he joins him under the covers.

”Shower,” Mew remembers something else.

”Tomorrow, boo. Sleep now.” Mew closes his eyes as he feels his cheek coming to rest against Gulf’s naked chest. A kiss is pressed to his forehead and Mew is asleep once more.

 

***

 

The next time Mew wakes up he smiles, because the weight on his chest is familiar as is the scent around him. Slowly he opens his eyes and finds Gulf lying pressed to his side with his arm slung over his middle. They slept together on set often enough, but what is new, is that they are both only in their underwear. He lets his hand slowly wander up Gulf’s back, feels his smooth skin underneath his palm and then touches his face. The morning stubble is rough and makes Mew want to kiss it.  Quickly he pulls his hand away. It’s not fair to wake Gulf up like this when Mew still stands by his words that they should not move too fast.

Instead of exploring Gulf some more, he looks around and finds his cellphone on the night stand beside the bed. There’s a text message from his mom, sent a few minutes ago, which is most likely what woke him up.

‘Where are you? Will you be back for lunch?’ her message reads.

‘Sorry, ma. Fell asleep playing video games with Gulf. I’ll be back for lunch.’ He writes back and slowly untangles from the other man. 

He helps himself to shampoo and a towel in the shower and finds a spare tooth brush as well. 

”You want some fresh clothes?” Gulf, awake by now, asks him when he steps back into the bedroom and starts picking his clothes off the floor.

”Thank you, but I’ll just change when I get home.” Mew pulls his shirt over his head.

”You’re leaving already?”

”Already?” Mew chuckles and leans over the bed to give Gulf a quick peck. ”I was supposed to go home last night. My mother already texted me, asking where I am.”

”What did you tell her?”

”The truth. That I fell asleep playing video games with you.”

”Good boy,” Gulf smiles sleepily and ruffles Mew’s hair. ”Will you stay for breakfast? I’d get up especially for you,” Gulf offers, his voice still rough with sleep and his eyes already closing again.

”I really should head back. I’ll call you later?”

”Mmmh,” Gulf nods and lies back down.

”Sleep tight, Tua-eng,” Mew tells him with a smile still on his face, places another peck on his cheek and then finally drives back home.

 

 

***

Hour 4408

 

Mew’s phone rings and he smiles when he sees who is calling, even though he’s kind of surprised. Usually, he is the one calling Gulf, that still hasn’t changed. In his weak moments, small things like this make him wonder, if the feelings are actually mutual. Kind of like he’s waiting for the other shoe to drop. For now, he’s happy to see him call though.

”Yai Nong?” he asks when he picks up and goes looking for a quiet corner in the dance studio.

”Mew have you already seen twitter?” Gulf asks excitedly.

”No. Why? Did something happen? I told you, I’ve been rehearsing since this morning,” he replies.

”Last night’s episode, the crying scene… it’s trending world wide. You crying broke the internet, boo,” Gulf laughs into the phone.

”No way!”

”Way! You don’t believe me? Check your messages!” Gulf huffs playfully.

”No… I mean , yes I believe you. But I can’t believe this! With every episode we get more and more fans and now this? That’s crazy!” Mew doesn’t know if he’s shocked or just happy.

”The guy who said he can’t cry, trends world wide because he’s crying,” Gulf has to tease him, of course. 

Mew simply laughs. ”You’re the one who made me cry!”

”Not me, Type did. Or better P’Mame did! I was the one who consoled you.”

”You’re right. You did.” Mew realises the rest of the dancers are waiting for him. ”Babe, I have to get back to rehearsal. I’ll check twitter afterwards and then call you, ok?”

”I’m going to be shooting commercials later, so we probably won’t get to talk until tonight.”

”Tonight then.”

”But, wait! I need to ask you something before you hang up, because I have to tell P’Boss if you agree.”

Mew is curious now. ”Ok, what is it?”

”You told me you don’t have plans yet for New Years and I thought maybe we could go to merit together? Sometime in the evening?” Gulf asks, suddenly very shy.

”You want to spend New Year’s Eve with me?”

”Yes, khub.”

”And go to merit with me?”

”Yes.”

”You want that for the fans or…”

”No, for us!” Gulf interrupts him. ”I mean, if we wanna go live we will, but you said it yourself, we need to spend some time together. Like Christmas dinner, just without the family and the managers.”

Mew’s smile widens. ”So you’re asking me out on a date?”

”That’s not a date!”

”You asked me to hang out with you.”

”Still not a date!”

 ”Just the two of us, and do something usually couples do. It is a date!”

”Fine,” Gulf grumbles. ”You can call it a date, if that means you’re in.”

”I’m in,” Mew quickly agrees.

”Finally!” Gulf is too cute when he exclaims something like this.

”I really have to go now. Talk to you tonight.”

”Byyyye!”

 

***

 

Hour 4844

 

Since the start of the new year and Gulf’s internship, they have barely seen each other away from cameras, fans and managers. The only time they get together is during the rehearsal for the big Bangkok fanmeet. And there both of them are usually exhausted and Mew fears that he might come down with something. He’s had a sore throat for days and feels so tired all the time he can barely keep his eyes open.

Gulf doesn’t notice though, because he’s caught up in his own issues. He has to get up every morning for his internship and his sparse freetime is spend preparing for the fanmeet or attending events and doing interviews. Those he can’t attend, Mew has to do alone, which results in Mew having more work in general, on top of his recently started phd program.

Ever since their episode trended worldwide, their lives have become a whirlwind of fans, messages, meetings, gifts, promos, more meetings with managers, contracts for advertisement and talks about future projects. Everybody wants Mew and Gulf, preferably together, while they play games, answer questions and advertise whatever product is thrown their way. 

Mew has stopped really paying attention, he’s in way over his head and even Bosser starts complaining that he can’t handle it on his own anymore. There are talks about fanmeets and shows, dancing and singing and all of it without any proper rehearsal time. The perfectionist in Mew cringes at some of it. Sad truth is though, and that’s what he also told Gulf during one of their phone conversations: You don’t make money being an actor, at least not in Thailand. You don’t make a career simply showing up on set and doing your job. What makes you famous and well paid, is what’s going on aside from it. Advertisement deals, fanmeets and shows; that’s how you get exposure and money. And because of the exposure you get more people interested in your actual work, gain more fans and get better deals… It’s still exhausting, though.

Sometime in the second week of January their nightly phone calls become every other night, sometimes even just every third night. Mew misses Gulf a lot, but there’s nothing they can do. 

Lying in bed one night, Mew feels so lonely he could cry. He opens Instagram and scrolls through the pictures on there, the image he portrays where he’s happy all the time these days, not a single worry in his mind as he applies skin care products and smiles for the cameras. He chooses a more serious picture and writes ‘Missing you’ in the caption, for once something he really feels with every fibre of his being. 

The likes climb in seconds and after a couple of minutes his phone vibrates with the notification of a comment. ‘Missing too’ Gulf has replied and Mew isn’t sure if he’s left the ‘you’ out on purpose or not; without it the message is more ambiguous and not as in your face. ‘I know’ Mew replies and then quickly calls him, knowing he is still up.

”Hey, P’Mew,” Gulf sounds tired, but Mew can hear the smile in his voice.

”Hey, you’re still up,” he replies. And adjusts his position on his pillows.

”Yeah, I can’t sleep. I was editing a video for my internship until half an hour ago and now my brain just won’t stop.” Gulf sighs. ”Why are you still up?”

”Couldn’t sleep either.”

”Awww, you miss me that much?” Gulf teases.

”Yeah, I do. I feel like we never get any time together anymore, even though we see each other nearly every day. I don’t know, it’s weird.”

”I’m so stressed I can’t really miss you.” The reply causes Mew’s stomach to tighten and feel like a stone all of a sudden. He doesn’t know what to say to that. ”But after next week it’ll get better, right? Once the special episode is out and the huge fanmeet over? We won’t have any more rehearsals, just the usual stuff, which means we can hang out afterwards.”

”I don’t know,” Mew shrugs, sulking slightly. ”From what I’ve seen our schedules get more busy every day. Bosser finished the preparations for our anniversary video for the fans today and he also told me I’ll be off to Manilla in February for fanmeets and promo.”

”But not for your birthday, right?”

”No, but I have meetings all day on my birthday and my mother is planing a large merit with Bosser for the day after, some kind of fan event.”

”Yeah, I think P’Best mentioned something.”

”It won’t get better, Gulf.” The tone of his voice reveals how much Mew worries.

”Hey, it is going to get better. We just have to wait. After the last episode has aired things will cool down eventually. We just have to be patient.”

”I meant what I wrote. I miss you,” Mew points out again.

”I know. But you’ll see me the day after tomorrow. Let’s try and steal away for lunch, ok?” These are not the words Mew wanted to hear, but he’ll take it.

”Fine,” he agrees. ”See you then.”

When they hang up, Mew doesn’t feel any better than before, because all he can focus on is the fact that in private Gulf hasn’t said that he misses him, too. And he didn’t make any effort to see him sooner. His anxious brain can’t help but worry about what that means.

 

***

 

Being on stage twice in one day, joking and laughing with colleagues and friends while the crowd goes wild is euphoria, there’s no other word for it. The fact that the person he loves is by his side all day, makes it even sweeter.

Holding Gulf’s hand in public isn’t for the fans this time, it’s just for them – at least for Mew. The last weeks have planted seeds of doubts in his mind about Gulf though. Gulf didn’t greet him any differently than the other colleagues. On stage he kept talking to Mild instead of him. He didn’t initiate any kind of physical contact backstage, he didn’t even come with him when he went to get lunch or icecream later.

When they are done for the day and Gulf simply leaves with his father and his manager with nothing more than a wave goodbye, as Mew still gets changed, the euphoria vanishes and leaves more doubts in its wake that bloom fully. 

He smiles for the couple of fans who still hang around the cinema as he leaves, but seeing the strawberry hat lying on top of all the other presents leaves a sour taste in Mew’s mouth. He had hoped they would spend the rest of the night together. Dinner, movie, video games, anything really – but Gulf just left. Again he wonders how much time would pass between their conversations if he waited for Gulf to contact him. How much time would pass without them touching, if he waited for Gulf to initiate it.

”Big brother, shouldn’t you be flying in here smiling and screaming? I saw the social media posts and you’re all trending again. The last episode was such a hit.” His sister greets him when he gets home. She’s still up albeit dressed in her pjs, while he knows his parents are already asleep.

”It was, but I haven’t had time yet to look at anything. It was very stressful. Can you help me carry in the gifts?”

”Yes, sure.” Together they carry in the bags filled with stuffed animals, letters, clothes and all kinds of individualised presents. Most have his name or face on them, some of them Gulf’s. They place all the bags in the storage room and he knows he’ll have to go through them tomorrow if he finds the time.

He meets his sister back in the kitchen where they both grab a bottle of water. 

”Want to tell me what’s going on?” she asks him. She knows him better than anyone and she’s always been one of his confidants, so of course she’s picked up on the fact that something is off.

”Do I have a choice?” he claims to protest anyway.

”You do, but you know I’ve never done you wrong with my advise and wisdom,” she smiles and leans against the counter, propping her chin up on her hand as she looks at him.

”There’s something… a while ago… I might be dating Gulf for real,” he finally admits.

”Might be?”

”We talked about it and we’re dating,” he corrects.

”Duh,” his sister starts giggling. ”So what’s the problem?”

”Since the end of last year we barely find any time together because of Gulf’s internship and work. And I don’t think he minds it as much as I do. He never calls, never seeks me out when we’re together and tonight he just left… I thought we’d celebrate today, but he was gone before I could even ask.”

”Doesn’t ‘work’ mean you’re together anyway?”

”Yes, but always with other people around, even if it’s just our managers.”

”You haven’t told them?”

”No. We haven’t told anyone. You’re the first,” he admits and she nods. ”We wanted to see if this works or not, without any pressure from others.” He shakes his head.

”And now it’s not working?”

”It’s working when we’re together. We’re just …. not anymore.”

She places her hand on his arm and gives it a squeeze. ”Why don’t you schedule some time then?”

”Why do I have to be the one who always does it? He never… I told him I missed him a couple of days ago and he said nothing.”

”But I saw his reply on instagram.”

”That was for the fans. I told him on the phone and he replied that he doesn’t miss me because he has too many other things to do. What crappy answer is that?” Mew finally gets to voice his frustration.

”Have you talked to him about it?”

”No, when was I supposed to do that? During the photo shoot or the fanmeet? Or during an interview with dozens of cameras shoved in our faces?”

”Hey calm down! It was just a question. I think you should talk to him.

”What’s there to talk about? You can’t talk someone into caring. He does or he doesn’t.”

”Now you’re just sulking,” his sister wraps her arms around his shoulder and gives him a hug. ”You’re tired, overworked and judging by your sniffing you’ve got a cold. Why don’t you go and take a relaxing bath? Tomorrow will be your calendar fanmeet and you can try and talk to Gulf. If there’s no opportunity tomorrow, then create one, ask him when he has time. The way I’ve got to know Gulf is, he probably doesn’t know you feel that way and wonders why you’re sulking.”

”He should pay attention for once, then he would know.” His sister just laughs again at his annoyance, takes him by the shoulder and pushes him out the kitchen and up the stairs into his bathroom, where she runs him a bath and leaves him to it with a kiss on his forehead. Deep down Mew knows she’s right, but for tonight he decides to hold his grudge, even while he relaxes in the lavender scented water.

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 8

 

Hour 4868

 

”Did Nong Gulf really call you ‘boo’ in his IG post?” Mew’s sister asks him as she comes into his room where he is hunched over his research papers. ”If you’re going for subtle, he just failed miserably,” she laughs.

”It’s just fan service,” Mew shrugs it off. ”And he did it on camera recently.”

”For your one year anniversary? It doesn’t feel like fan service.”

”With Gulf you never know. It’s even possible that P’Best posted it.”

She turns Mew’s office chair around so he’s looking at her. ”You’re still sulking. So you haven’t talked to him yet?”

”I’m not sulking.”

”Your face and tone say differently.” She pinches his cheek. ”Big, brother, come on! You have to talk to him.”

”What for? He doesn’t even realise that something is off. We see each other every day for work events and every day he treats me like he’d treat any other friend. Since I’ve stopped the skinship behind the cameras we haven’t even hugged each other. We still talk on the phone every night, where I ramble about my day and he talks about his games. That’s it. He doesn’t care.”

”Didn’t you say that he was the one who actually brought it all up? And he was the one who talked openly about wanting to hang out. Maybe he’s sulking too , thinking you don’t want him anymore.” 

Mew thinks about it for a moment, but a coughing fit interrupts his musings. ”Nah, he’s just lost in his own world again and I’m not allowed access.”

”Your cough isn’t getting any better either huh?” His sister changes the topic.

”Not really. I’ve been taking meds because my throat is killing me, but it doesn’t seem to work.”

”You should rest more.”

”Maybe, but I can’t. My professor wants an outline in three weeks and I’m working every day for the next week.”

She sighs and gets up. ”I’m gonna get you some tea then. If your boyfriend’s not around, it seems like I have to do it as the Nong who’s present.”

”Thank you, sis,” Mew smiles and feels a wave of gratitude towards his sister. Especially since the concept if his boyfriend ever taking care of him seems so foreign it makes him laugh. Gulf would hire a nurse or send his mother over if Mew ever needed someone to look after him, but before that happened it would take him collapsing or bleeding profusely for Gulf to even  notice something was wrong. Why did he have to fall in love with a kid whose first priority are video games?

 

***

Hour 4960

 

Mew feels like crap. His head is killing him, his throat hurts and the stupid cough has kept him up for the last two nights. Everything hurts and he suspects he might have a fever. Still, he’s smiling as he looks at his phone screen, because somewhere hidden in the deep and secret depths of his heart, Gulf cares about him and while Mew shouldn’t be surprised to learn that, he kind of is. Even if he had to drag the info out of the younger man.

At first Mew thought Gulf was annoyed by his constant coughing and had taken the ”You should see a doctor” as a reprimand. No ‘How are you feeling?’, ‘Can I get you anything?’ or ‘Get well soon’. No, his man had ignored his coughing all day and had then addressed him when the event was over by telling him to see a doctor. Mew declined, telling him he just wanted to go home. Once at home Gulf texted him, again telling him to see a doctor. Mew wanted to hear something else though and had asked him why. After some evasion and mocking Gulf finally admitted that he was worried and that’s all it took for Mew to smile again, no matter how bad he felt. Because Mew now understands that just because Gulf doesn’t show that he cares in a way that is familiar to Mew, it doesn’t mean that he’s not feeling anything or that he doesn’t care.

Mew thinks about calling him for a second, but then falls asleep before he can make a conscious decision.

Like during the last couple of days, he sleeps fitfully, wakes up coughing and shivering. Between sleeping and being awake, dazed and miserable, he loses all sense of time.

It’s his mother who finds him some time in the afternoon, when they realise no one has seen him all day. Boss is there as well and it’s him who helps him out of bed and shoves him into the shower that is only luke warm. Mew just lets it all happen. It’s hard enough to stay upright being as dizzy as he is.

Then he’s in a car, then at the hospital and all he wants to do is sleep – which he can’t.

He becomes more alert when suddenly Gulf and his mom and P’Best are there as well. Gulf takes his hand and he can see his worried eyes looking at him over the mask he's wearing.

”I told you to go see a doctor. Why can’t you ever listen to me?” Gulf reprimands him gently and Mew is dimly aware that their managers are taking pictures of them.

”Why are you here? I thought you have a fanmeet?” he croaks.

”I did. I came here as soon as it was over, because P’Boss texted us.”

”Thank you for coming.” The doubts are back suddenly. Is he only here for the pictures and because their managers made him?

”Listen… the fans are already outside because they found out you’re here and they saw me coming. I’ll leave with my mom for a bit and will come back shortly after, ok? They are checking which back entrance I can use.”

”You don’t have to do that. I’ll probably be home in an hour or two.”

”Nope. They are admitting you, boo,” Gulf lets him know. ”Your fever is too high and you are dehydrated.”

”Oh.”

”Yes, oh… next time I’ll make you listen and if I have to drag you to the doctor myself!” Gulf grumbles and gives Mew’s hand a squeeze.

”Your room is ready,” a nurse interrupts them.

”Thank you,” Gulf replies for him and leans closer. ”I’ll be back, ok? Be a good boy meanwhile and rest,” he tells him quietly, apparently afraid that someone will overhear them.

”Promise?” Mew asks and doesn’t want to let go of Gulf’s hand.

”Promise.” He can see the smile even with the masks they are both wearing. Gulf leaves with his mother and manager and Mew is wheeled to his room where they quickly hook him up to an IV.

 

***

 

Mew sees the pictures on social media because he gets tagged in some of them; the pictures of Gulf coming to the hospital, then leaving the hospital. The pictures Boss posts of him and his mother in Mew’s hospital room. Mew has nothing else to do than scroll through the pictures. He’s still tired but he can’t sleep as he’s hooked up to the IV, lying in a strange bed under the watchful eyes of his mother and his manager.

It’s really late when the door to his room opens and Gulf steps in, baseball hat pulled deep in his face, mask on and in jogging pants and a wide sweat shirt. He quickly greets the other two guests and talks to them quietly before he makes his way to Mew’s bed.

”You’re still awake.” Gulf states.

”Yes. Can’t sleep,” Mew lets him know and feels himself relax some more against the bed when Gulf takes his hand. ”The fans still outside?”

”No, they’re gone now, it’s really late. I had to sneak my way back in here,” Gulf admits with a small proud smile, that makes Mew chuckle.

”Boys, we're going home now. Gulf, let us know when we can pick you up tomorrow morning, ok?” Mew’s mother addresses them, gets up from the sofa and stretches.

”I will. ” Gulf nods.

”Did you tell P’Best to cancel the plans for tomorrow morning?” Boss asks Gulf.

”I did. We talked on the way home. We’ll do the urban decay live in the evening, but the rest was postponed.”

”Alright, see you tomorrow then.”

Just like that Boss and Mew’s mother are gone and it’s just the two of them. Gulf takes off his hat and places it on the bedside table, then leans down and seems to untie his shoes. 

”Can you move over a bit?” He nudges Mew’s side, who doesn’t really understand what the younger man wants from him.

”Why?” He moves a bit to the side anyway.

”I’m not sleeping in this chair,” Gulf shrugs and climbs into bed beside Mew.

”What are you doing? What if someone sees us like this? Isn’t it against hospital policy?”

”No idea. And people should be used to this by now.”  Gulf wiggles around a bit and adjusts their positions until Gulf is lying on his back and Mew resting with his head on his chest.

”We shouldn’t do this. You’ll get sick, too.”

”We spend all day every day together, so I most likely have caught it already,” Mew can feel the vibrations of Gulf’s voice against his cheek. 

”This is nice.”

”What? Being sick in a hospital bed?”

”No,” Mew smiles and tilts his head upwards to look at him. ”You caring for me for once.”

”I always care about you.”

”I mean like… looking after me.” Mew pauses. ”And I wasn’t sure you do.” 

”You weren’t sure I cared for you?”

”We never spent any time together anymore.”

”I gave you space because you were sick and exhausted! If I have a cold, I just want people to leave me alone so I can sleep.”

”I couldn’t sleep. I missed my Nong.”

”You’re such a sulky baby, Khun Phi. You are the real Yai Nong!” Gulf chuckles and runs his hand up and down Mew’s back in a comforting rhythm. ”Next time tell me.”

”Next time ask.” Mew shoots back.

”Fine. I’ll ask and you’ll talk. Haven’t we had this talk before? But now you sleep.”

”You’re really gonna stay?” Mew can’t believe his luck.

”Yes, all night and all day tomorrow until I have to leave for the event.”

”Until we have to leave for the event.”

”Let’s wait and see. If you’re still running a fever, you’ll not go anywhere tomorrow, other than your own bed at home that is.”

”Bossy,” Mew pouts.

”Looks like someone needs me to be bossy sometimes, otherwise he’ll land himself in hospital by being a complete work-a-holic.”

Mew opens his mouth to protest, but Gulf shuts him up with a quick peck. ”Sleep now, Phi.”

”I want to, but I don’t think I can.” Mew whines and turns his head away when he has to cough.

”I’m very good at sleeping, boo. Just follow my example,” Gulf smirks as he speaks and runs one hand through Mew’s hair. He starts massaging Mew’s head and it’s so relaxing that Mew closes his eyes and is asleep in a matter of minutes.

 

***

 

When Mew wakes up the next morning he feels so much better and the misery of yesterday seems like a bad fever dream. He looks around the room and can’t see Gulf anywhere, so maybe that was a dream, too? Then, however, the bathroom door opens and Gulf walks out, still in the same clothes as last night sans sweater.

”Morning Phi, you’re up. I got us toothbrushes and something to eat.” He ducks back into the bathroom and comes back with a toothbrush that already has toothpaste on it.

”Since when are you so chipper in the morning?” Mew smiles and accepts the toothbrush, rubbing the sleep out if his eyes with the other.

”Since I have my Phi to take care of. I can sleep later,” Gulf shrugs and unpacks whatever he brought them for dinner. ”Hey, what do you think you’re doing?” Gulf asks when Mew sits up and gets out of bed.

”What? I can’t brush my teeth here.”

”Yes, you can.”

”What would I do with the foam?”

”Swallow it?” Gulf suggests.

”That’s disgusting! I also need to wash and pee. I’ll be back in a few ok?”

”Stop!” Gulf calls out to him and comes close when Mew does stop. Then Gulf places his palm on Mew’s forehead and checks his temperature. ”The fever seems to be gone.”

”I feel so much better,” Mew confirms. ”Whatever they gave me last night worked.” That’s when Mew also notices that the IV is gone when he glances at his hand.

”They took it out earlier this morning when they woke me up. You were dead to the world.”

”I haven’t really slept in weeks,” Mew admits.

”Why?”

”I was sulking and then I got sick and then I was sick and sulking,” Mew admits with a chuckle and hurries into the bathroom before Gulf can ask any questions. He brushes his teeth, washes himself as best as he can with the hospital soap and the washcloth and then joins Gulf for breakfast.

”They said to tell them once you’re up, because after a quick check-up you can go home.”

”Have you already texted Boss so he can pick us up?” 

”No, I’ll do that when we’re done with breakfast.”

”How did you get here anyway? Your mom drove you again?”

”No, I took a taxi. I was afraid the fans would recognise the car.”

”And you didn’t want them to know you’re here checking on me?” Mew wonders why such measures were necessary.

”I don’t care about that, but I was scared some of the more ambitious ones would enter the hospital at some point and pay you a visit. You need your rest and not people around you who you need to work for.” Gulf hands him a cup of green tea.

”We’ll work later anyway.”

”You’re not going.”

”I am! I am fine now, we have a contract and the fans are waiting. I can’t just stay in bed all day.”

”Fine, I’ll let you go to urban decay, if you stay in bed the rest of the day. And you let me take the lead in the interview. I’ll try not to fuck it up this time,” Gulf giggles and seems to remember his latest fuck ups. Spilling a song title, calling him ‘boo’ on camera and making Mew laugh so hard he had tears in his eyes, just to name a few.

”You let me?” Mew raises his eyebrows challengingly.

”Boyfriend privilege,” Gulf shrugs unimpressed and starts eating his porridge.

”Speaking of which…” Mew starts, because he needs to have this out of the way now. He’s been upset for too long and sitting here with Gulf, he feels stupid. ”I really appreciate you being here and looking after me. I… sometimes during the last weeks I though you didn’t really care anymore.”

”Why?” Gulf’s voice is monotone and he keeps eating.

”We didn’t hang out anymore and you never said anything, didn’t even take my hand, if I didn’t initiate it. And the night of the movie premier I thought we’d do something after, but you just left.”

”You were already having a cold and I thought you needed some rest. You never sleep enough anyway, you don’t need me hanging out with you at night to keep you up more.” The explanation was simple and very Gulf.

”I sleep better when you’re with me.”

”I thought you wanted to take this slow. There’s no way that will happen, if we sleep in one bed all the time.”

”We did last night,” Mew points out even though he knows it’s not the same.

Gulf snorts. ”Yeah in a hospital with you knocked out with meds.” He fixates Mew with an unreadable look. ”You have to stop doubting and second guessing everything. I’m not him. I’m a simple guy. If you’re wondering why I do something it’s probably less complicated than you think. So just ask.”

Mew holds his look and nods. He knows that Gulf is right. Projecting his own insecurities that are rooted in the past onto Gulf is not fair. So he takes Gulf’s hand and holds it, plays with the fingers as he says: ”Stay with me today, please?”

”Ok,” Gulf agrees quickly and keeps eating as he holds Mew’s hand and feeds him some porridge as well.

 

***

 

Back at Mew’s house he insists that both he and Gulf take a shower before they lie down on his bed. His mother brings them drinks and some fruits and snacks. Mew was cleared earlier at the hospital and beside the slight cough he feels totally fine.

”Hey Phi?” Gulf asks him while they are watching some action hero movie.

”Mmh?”

”I want to stop trying this.”

”Huh?” Mew has no idea what Gulf is talking about. For a split second he panics, but the look in Gulf’s eyes makes him calm down just as fast.

”I told my mom last night when we drove home from the hospital, you know, about us. She wasn’t surprised.”

Mew isn’t really sure what he’s supposed to say to that. ”Ok,” he simply agrees.

”So I don’t have to ask anymore?”

”Ask what?”

”If I can do this…” Gulf says and a second later his lips press against Mew’s.

”You can always do this,” Mew whispers against Gulf’s lips when he pulls back.

”And can we be just us in front of the cameras?”

Mew gives Gulf another kiss before he replies. ”Aren’t we always us?”

”You’ve been super careful since we got together. I just want… you said if you had someone you wouldn’t announce it, but you wouldn’t hide either. Can we do that?”

”When did I say that?” Mew wonders. It’s true, but he has no recollection of ever saying that out loud.

”During an interview once.”

Mew has to laugh. ”I don’t remember.” Then he kisses Gulf again, a bit longer this time. ”This is what you want to do in front of fans and the camera?” He teases.

”Maybe not kiss me on the lips, but the stupid pretend kisses on the cheek can stop. We should just kiss for real.” Gulf demonstrates what he means by pressing his lips to Mew’s cheek. He places a peck there and kisses his way over to Mew’s lips. Mew kisses him Gulf back as he teases him with the soft pecks. When Mew can’t stand it anymore he wraps his arms around Gulf’s waist, pulls him closer and can finally deepen the kiss. Mew doesn’t know how long t’s been since he was able to kiss his man like this, but it feels like forever.

Gulf rests his full weight on Mew as he pulls him on top of him and Mew welcomes the weight. The kisses get deeper and more heated and Mew craves Gulf’s skin.  He slips his hand underneath Gulf’s T-shirt, well Mew’s shirt because he gave him fresh clothes when they got home, and finally, finally gets to feel Gulf’s warm skin. He runs his hand up and down his back, bunching up Gulf’s shirt in the process. When Mew can’t stand it anymore he breaks the kiss for a second and pulls the damn thing over Gulf’s head. They lips and tongues meet again and Mew rolls them over, hovering over Gulf as he kisses him. 

Gulf is the one who breaks the kiss to take off Mew’s tank top and loses no time to explore Mew’s exposed chest with his lips, tongue and hands.

Mew’s stuck torn between arousal, gasps and laughter, as Gulf’s caresses tickle sometimes. Yet, every time Mew laughs, Gulf just does it again, laughing along against Mew’s skin. When he has a little too much fun dipping his tongue into Mew’s belly button, driving him crazy with arousal and laughter, Mew’s had enough and rolls them back over once more. With Gulf on top of him he seeks out his mouth, then puts his hands on his butt, squeezing it and running his hands over it. When he slips his hands underneath the waistband and seeks out Gulf’s skin again, Gulf pulls his head back and breaks the kiss.

”The door’s not locked,” he points out, but Mew doesn’t care. He wants him. He seals Gulf’s lips with his.

”Your mom, sister or one of the maids could walk in,” Gulf pulls back again.

”They knock,” Mew mutters and licks Gulf’s lips.

”You left the hospital just two hours ago,” Gulf interrupts again and Mew groans loudly and drops his head on Gulf’s shoulder.

”I don’t care, bii. I want you,” Mew whines and Gulf chuckles. He pecks Mew’s cheek and gets up, making Mew whine again. Gulf locks the door and then comes back to bed and rests on his side next to Mew. He’s too far away for Mew’s taste and so he rolls onto his side, presses up against Gulf’s front and kisses him again.

”I’ll get you off and then you go back to sleep. Deal?” Gulf asks him as they are nose to nose.

”But I….” Mew starts to protest and is shut up with Gulf’s hand over his mouth.

”We can’t have sex now.”

”Whyyyy?” Mew actually whines, which he would be embarrassed about, if he wasn’t too fucking horny to care.

”Many reasons: Your family, you’re sick, we haven’t talked about it at all and neither of us is prepared,” Gulf taps his chest with each point he makes.

”I don’t think I have condoms or lube here,” Mew admits now that he thinks about it.

”See!” Gulf smirks. Mew can’t reply because a second later Gulf slips his hand down Mew’s pants and wraps his hand around his hard dick. ”That ok for now?” Gulf whispers against Mew’s neck where he leaves soft kisses and nibbles on his skin, careful not to leave a mark.

”Pants… off,” Mew groans, hoping it will give Gulf more room to work and therefor make it faster and quicker. Gulf has barely touched him and already Mew can hardly stand it; it’s been too long. He needs more, he needs the release.

”Nope… don’t want the bed messy if someone comes in.” Gulf speeds up his movements and rubs his thumb over the head of his hardness. Mew groans and bites his lips in a desperate attempt not to cum yet.

”Pants and underwear will get messy,” Mew pants, eyes half closed.

”But no one can see that.” Gulf kisses him again, his tongue mirroring the rhythm with which he strokes him. It’s messy and wet loud smacking noises can be heard in the otherwise silent room. Until Gulf squeezes Mew’s ass with his free hand, gently bites down on his lip and speeds up his movements. Mew cums with a hoarse groan as his world erupts in pleasure.

”God…” he is breathing hard and rolls onto his back again, taking Gulf with him, who has just wiped his hand on Mew’s jogging pants. Mew just has to kiss him again, needs to touch him again… wants to give him the same pleasure Gulf just gave him.

Gulf stops him by catching his hand just as he wanted to slip it inside his pants. ”Sleep, P’Mew, that was the deal.”

”But you…” Mew points to the very noticeable bulge.

”I will survive until tonight. You’re free, right?”

”Yes,” Mew is already smiling like an idiot.

”My condo tonight after the event? We just need to stop somewhere on the way home and buy some condoms. I think I’m out,” Gulf seems not too sure about it and wrinkles his forehead.

Mew soothes out the wrinkle between Gulf’s eyebrows with his thumb and leans up to kiss him softly. ”Ok. You’re sure?” He eyes his crotch again.

”I’m sure. And now go get cleaned up so we can take a nap and unlock the door again before your mom comes back or we have to leave.” They smile at each other, amused by the situation and both looking forward to tonight. Mew presses his lips against Gulf’s cheek before he gets out of bed. By the time he comes back out of the bedroom he feels so tired again he can barely keep his eyes open. He pulls Gulf close, buries his nose in his hair and closes his eyes.

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

 

Hour 4970

 

”Phi, can you hand me the water, please?” Gulf asks, his mouth full of rice. They are sitting at the dining table in Gulf's condo, all kinds of salads, fish and meat between them, because while Gulf had been hungry when the event was over, Mew didn’t really feel like eating anything. The cough drops he had popped throughout the event had messed with his stomach. 

Gulf had send him home ahead of him, while he himself stayed longer for the fans. When Gulf finally arrived at his condo, nearly two hours after Mew, he carried all kinds of foods in hopes of making Mew at least eat something. Mew really appreciated the thoughtfulness and ate a little salmon and Sushi, just so his boyfriend’s efforts weren’t in vain.

”Here,” Mew hands Gulf the bottle and watches as he fills two glasses and hands one to Mew.

”Drink. You didn’t drink enough today. I don’t want your fever to come back. And have you taken your meds?”

Mew shakes his head. ”I’m gonna take them after we’re done eating. There’s one that makes everything taste funny.”

”At least you ate something now. I was worried,” Gulf says and smirks a bit as he says the last part, apparently remembering Mew’s unnerved text messages about the fact that he hadn’t been able to say when he was worried about him.

”Awww,” Mew smiles, rests his left hand on Gulf’s shoulder and kisses his cheek.

”What? You said you wanted me to tell you,” Gulf shrugs at the same time as Mew yawns widely, he can’t help it. He’s so tired all of a sudden. ”Why don’t you go and take a shower and then get ready for bed?” Gulf keeps shuffling more rice into his mouth. The proposition surprises Mew, because he thought they were pretty clear on their plans for tonight. Or could Gulf mean ‘ready for bed’ in a more M-rated way?

”Ready for bed, you mean like….?” He asks, just so they’re clear.

”Brush your teeth, wash your face, put your pjs on?” Gulf explains, still more interested in the food than the topic of their conversation.

Mew takes a deep breath, because he knows he has to address this heads on with his boyfriend or they won’t get anywhere. ”Didn’t we make plans for tonight?” He knows he’s pouting, but he can’t help it. He might have a slight headache and he might be tired, but he still finally wants to make love with his man.

”I googled it,” Gulf says, happily munching his crispy pork. 

”Huh?” It’s one of these moments when Mew is absolutely lost as to what his Nong is talking about.

”I googled, you know, how it works and like… what to do and stuff, because this ice cube stuff is just bullshit. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into it, with like douching and cleaning and lube and stretching… I mean, they say there’s something called ‘poppers’ but I have no idea where we’d get that… Gay sex is a lot of work! And you’re already exhausted, sooo,” Gulf shrugs. ”And I don’t think we’ve decided yet who’s going to be the bottom.” More rice is eaten as Gulf adds this. Mew’s chin is somewhere on the floor as he listens. He knows he blushes at some point and finally just starts laughing, because this is certainly not the way he thought they’d talk about this.

”You googled all of this while riding in the car with your mom and your manager?” Mew can barely talk because he’s laughing so hard. He knows it’s the only time Gulf had the time to do such in-depth research.

”Yeah, why?” Mew only laughs harder as the last of his embarrassment leaves at his boyfriend’s complete nonchalance.

”Why are you even googling any of that?”

”How else would I know? I never had gay sex, like… all the way.”

”You could have talked to me?” 

”I didn’t want to ruin the mood if it just… happened, tonight. I didn’t really know you can’t just… do it, without half an hour of preparation.”

”Not always. But there’s lots of stuff you can do without actually doing it,” Mew tries to stay vague.

”Ok, but we said we wanna do it. And I don’t know if I want to be the bottom. I mean, what if I don’t like it?”

”You don’t have to be anything.”

”But one of us has to.”

Mew sighs. ”Bii, this is not a BL series. There are no roles here. We don’t have to be one thing or the other. We can do whatever we like and we stop doing what we don’t like.” Mew takes one of Gulf’s hands in his now that he  has become serious again.

Gulf finally stops eating and listens, nods along to Mew’s words. ”So you’re going to bottom?” He finally concludes and makes Mew laugh again.

”If you want me to.”

”Have you done it before?”

”Yes.”

”Did you like it?”

”Yes.”

”So you’re a bottom?”

”No,” Mew shakes his head with a smile. ”I like both.”

”Greedy,” Gulf teases and smirks. Mew just has to kiss him again and leans forwards, catching his lips in a tender kiss.

”So? Bed?”

”Get ready and take your meds. I’m gonna clean up here. If you’re not too tired by the time we’re both done… let’s do it.”

”You’re such a romantic!” Mew teases him, noisily kisses his cheek and pokes the double chin that is showing again.

”And you’re the horny one who wants to fuck when he’s so sick he had to be hospitalised,” bratty Gulf is back and Mew guffaws. God, he loves him, Mew thinks,  but it’s way too early to tell him that. So he kisses him again, on the lips and with a lot of passion before he gets up and makes his way to the shower.

 

***

 

Mew takes his time in the shower and feels a bit more awake afterwards. He still doesn’t really know what exactly their plans for the night are, but he takes the necessary preparations for all eventualities.

Gulf is right, gay sex is anything but spontaneous, no matter how much the porn movies make it look like it is; at least if you want to go all the way. Also it’s been a long time for him, no matter which role he takes.

 It’s not for the lack of opportunity both with males and females, but Mew’s not one for one night stands or hook-ups. He’s told Gulf about this, but it still means Mew’s equally excited as he’s nervous about the rest of the night. It’s also a bit of a blow to his ego, that his boyfriend would be ok with just going to sleep, even though they had an agreement about the night. He’s not that sick, right? It’s just a bronchitis and he’s already so much better. Maybe Gulf doesn't really want to have sex with him? He knows it's bullshit as soon as he thinks it, because there was no doubt in his mind earlier about this.

Mew only dresses in his boxer shorts, the way he usually sleeps when it’s this warm, exchanges his contacts for his glasses and makes his way into the bedroom. He checks on his social media accounts and reassures fans that he’s alright, while Mew hears the shower running.

As soon as Gulf walks in, dressed in a similar way as himself, Mew puts his phone aside. Their eyes meet and they both have to smile.

”Come here,” Mew holds out one hand and Gulf takes it as he climbs onto the bed and straddles Mew’s lap.

”Hey Mr. PhD,” Gulf smirks and wraps his arms around Mew’s neck before he kisses him softly. ”This is sexy.”

Mew laughs. ”Really? You find the glasses sexy?”

”I do,” Gulf confirms and takes them off Mew’s nose and puts them on his own. ”How do I look?” he asks Mew.

”Blurry,” Mew admits, making them both laugh and Gulf quickly puts the glasses back. Mew has to adjust them a bit because they are too low. 

Mew leans in again and the kiss starts slow as they explore each other. Gulf’s chest comes to rest against his own, as the younger tightens the hold around his neck. The kiss gets deeper Mew opens his mouth to meet Gulf’s tongue with his own. When Gulf starts to move on top of him, his butt rubbing against Mew’s crotch, he feels himself harden quickly. There’s only the thin fabric of their shorts between them.

Gulf breaks the kiss simply to kiss down Mew’s neck, which tickles and gives Mew goosebumps at the same time. He’d expected hot and heavy from his Nong, not this show of tenderness. He can also hear him breathe in deeply, the warm air of the exhalation caressing his skin and he knows that Gulf is breathing him in. He’s also tasting him, his tongue wetting Mew’s skin before lips follow and suck. Mew wonders if he’s leaving marks and can’t quite decide if he wants them or dreads them.

Mew is pushed back against the headboard when his boyfriend reaches his chest and explores it the same way he’s caressed his neck: with his lips and his tongue. Gulf's hands join and run over his skin as Mew watches him with lidded eyes. Gasps and moans escape him from time to time, he can’t help it. When Gulf reaches his rib cage however, Mew starts laughing, because it tickles too much. Gulf stops and looks up at him with a smile. 

”Your stubble is tickling me,”Mew points out and runs his fingers over Gulf’s chin and cheeks.

”I shaved before the event but it grows back so fast,” Gulf rubs his own chin with his hand.

”You’re gonna give me stubble burns,” Mew smiles and pulls Gulf back up to him so he can kiss him again.

”You’re not exactly clean shaven either, Mister Phi,” Gulf points out when he breaks the kiss. Before Mew can reply, Gulf slips his hands into the back of Mew’s underwear and squeezes, making him moan loudly. Mew can’t wait any longer, he finally wants to explore his boyfriend as well, since he didn’t get to do it this morning. So he turns to the side and takes Gulf with him,  Mew hovering over him. He presses kisses to all the places he’s been dreaming of before, tastes his skin and leaves a mark on his waist, just because he can.

When he finally pulls down Gulf’s boxer-shorts, Mew is so hard he feels uncomfortable and gets rid of his own as well.

The both moan when Mew tastes him for the first time, one hand teasing Gulf along with his mouth, while he strokes himself with the other. He takes his time and memories his boyfriend’s reactions to his ministrations as he glides his tongue over him, sucks, and licks.

”Stop,” Gulf stops him after a while and tugs on his hair. He pulls him back up to him and kisses him again with a lot of tongue and Mew wonders if their lips will end up bruised. He’s flipped on his back before he can reach a conclusion and just like this morning Gulf’s mouth and hand wraps around him.

”God, why are you so good at this?” Mew groans.

”Because I like it,” Gulf smirks and keeps licking him like ice-cream. Suddenly, he starts giggling.

”What? What’s going on in that wicked brain of yours?” Mew asks him and lifts his head off the pillows so he can see him better.

”I'm just glad that you’re not as unnaturally gifted as Tharn is described to be. ‘Cause when I’ll be the one taking it, hopefully it won’t be as painful.”

Mew’s mouth drops open. ”Are you saying that…”

Gulf covers Mew's mouth with his hand and stops him, while he’s still giggling. ”No, I’m not calling you small, idiot. We’re about the same size,” Gulf looks between them and seems to compare their dicks.

”Are we really turning this into a ‘who’s got the bigger’ competition?”

”Not ‘We’! You are doing it. I was just innocently stating a fact.”

”Innocent? You?” It makes me Mew laugh. ” You, Tua-eng are a lot of things, but surely not innocent, as much as you like to pretend you are.” The cheeky smile on Gulf’s face confirms Mew’s words.  ”Come here, you brat,” he tells him and finally Gulf is back in his arms, his full weight resting against him as their crotches press together. They kiss again, can’t seem to stop even when they start moving so they are grinding against one another. They are slick with precum which makes it easier, but also less intense. They both need more and so Mew wraps one hand around both of their dicks and strokes them.

The condoms and lube lie forgotten on the nightstand as they grind, kiss and moan. They are both wound up from waiting all day and from the months of lusting after each other. Unsurprisingly, Gulf comes first since he had no release all day and Mew follows him a moment later, gasping against Gulf’s lips. They don’t stop kissing for a while and when they do, Mew grabs the towel on the nightstand and cleans his hand before he cleans them both up.

”What a mess,” Gulf sniggers and lifts himself up a bit, so Mew can reach better.

”Isn’t sex always messy?” Mew smiles and throws the towel on the floor.

”Even if we didn’t really get there.” Gulf raises his eyebrows.

”Sorry?”

”Nothing to be sorry for. I liked this.” Gulf snuggles back up to his boyfriend and Mew welcomes the weight on top of him once more.

”We’ve got time.”

”Yup, all night.” It’s not exactly what Mew meant, but his boyfriend’s enthusiasm makes him laugh.

”You’re already planning round two?”

”Mmh… can’t let all your preparation go to waste.” Gulf kisses him noisily. ”And I really want to fuck you,” he goes on, whispering the words in Mew’s ear, which shoot straight to his cock.

”Mmh, give me a minute. I’m not exactly a teenager anymore.” Mew wraps his arms around him and hugs him tightly. He feels so relaxed now that he can’t stifle the yawn.

”Sure, daddy, that was convincing.”Gulf is teasing him, but rests his head against Mew’s chest and closes his eyes. Looks like they are both the ”orgasm and go to sleep”- kind of guys, because before either can initiate the next round, they are both asleep.

 

***

Hour 4978

 

They are late, they both know it and that’s why they are hurrying through the apartment, packing their outfits, cellphone, chargers and what else they need.

Showering together hadn’t been the best idea time wise, but Mew is glad they’d got  some relief before being stuck together all day, flirting on script while not really being allowed to touch or kiss.

”Urgh,” Gulf groans after checking his cellphone.

”What?”

”My mom’s already downstairs and she brought my grandma along.”

”You like your grandma.”

"True, but it means that I’ll be stuck at family lunch and dinner, which I can’t get out of, instead of hanging out with my boyfriend.”

”You’re going to hang out with your boyfriend all day,” Mew points out, playing dumb.

”Yes, but I cannot do this,” Gulf pulls him into a passionate kiss. ”See you at the venue,” Gulf peck this lips goodbye, because they both know Boss will arrive in a second to pick Mew up.

”See you then,” Mew replies and Gulf is gone. He doesn’t get a chance to feel awkward about the fact that he’s alone again at his boyfriend’s condo, because his phone rings a minute later when his manager has arrived.

”Good morning,” Mew greets him.

”Morning. How are you feeling?”

”Better,” Mew tells him. ”I slept through the night and Gulf made sure I take all my meds.”

”Oh, I thought you two would just play video games late into the night, like usual.”

”No,” Mew laughs, ”I wasn’t able to keep my eyes open.” It’s not really a lie, is it? He didn’t say for what kind of games he was too tired.

”I brought the script for later. You might want to take a look.” Boss points to several sheets of paper in the backseat. It has the schedule, some of the questions they will be asked and an explanation of the games and shenanigans on stage and what they are supposed to advertise. Mew flips through the sheets.

”No instructions for skinship or behaviour?”

”Not this time. I think they will get the skinship during the scenes ‘in bed’ they will make you act out and improvise.”

”How will they film us in bed?” Mew wonders.

”There won’t be a real bed, just a screen behind you with the picture of one.”

”Ahh, ok,” Mew finally understands the concept of it all.

”Do you already know if I can drop you off at home tonight? I’m going out with some friends and it would be on the way.”

”Yes, my house it is.” Mew confirms, his eyes still studying the script.

”Gulf’s busy?”

”Yes, his grandma will join us today, so they’re all having dinner together.”

”Oh nice, I haven’t seen her in a while. She’s a hoot.”

”She sure is,” Mew agrees. The rest of the drive goes by in silence as Mew tries to familiarise himself with the script.

 

***

 

The event is fun and it helps that both hosts are familiar with both of them, even if they both blush more than your average teenage girl, no matter if Mew and Gulf are just flirting, touching or hugging on stage. It’s what they are here for, and it also feels nice.

When they both change back into their own clothes backstage after the event, Mew gives the jeans he had to wear a disapproving look.

”What? Why are you frowning, Phi?” Gulf picks up on it.

”I really did not like the cut of these jeans.”

”Mine weren’t better,” Gulf points out and Mew has to agree with him. Even the black sweatpants Gulf’s wearing now are much better and Mew is relieved when he’s wearing his own jeans again.

Mew looks around and sees that they are alone for now, because people give them some privacy while they change. Quickly he wraps his arms around Gulf’s waist and pulls him close for a much needed kiss. ”I’m gonna miss you tonight.” He pouts a bit.

”Aww, poor P’Mew,” Gulf chuckles and hugs him. ”Ao-e, Ao-e, poor guy already getting abandoned by his boyfriend,” he rubs his back in fake sympathy.

”The correct answer would have been ‘I’m gonna miss you, too’,” Mew points out.

”Am I getting graded?” Gulf is still laughing at him.

”Yes, and you’re failing the test.”

”How about tomorrow after rehearsal we go and have dinner?”

”And then spend the night at your condo again?” The pout on Mew’s face is replaced with a hopeful smile.

”Horny,” Gulf whispers teasingly and kisses Mew again. They quickly jump apart when they door opens and P’Best walks in.

”Gulf, you’re ready? Your mother is waiting and we need to stop by the office real quick to pick up the boxes for the advertisement instagram pics.”

”Yes, I am,” Gulf confirms and secretly gives Mew’s hand a squeeze before he follows his manager out the door with a small wave in Mew’s direction.

 

***

 

The next evening they are both exhausted from the rehearsals for the big TharnType fanevent. They talk a bit over their late dinner, but don’t have the energy for more than lazy hand jobs in the shower, once they reach the condo.

”We’re pathetic. We can’t even find the energy to have sex. I feel like we’re sixty,” Gulf grumbles as he climbs into bed beside Mew.

”We’ve been working like mad without any off days for months. I think we’re allowed to be tired,” Mew soothes him and spoons him from behind.

”When will it get better?” Gulf asks and looks over his shoulder at him with wide eyes. It’s not exactly a sad look, but Mew can see the exhaustion in them.

”After the fan event it’ll most likely stay like this for a month or two. But then once the next show comes on and TharnType won’t be as hyped anymore, I think the excitement will lessen.”

”But then we’ll have to find new projects, new shows, new endorsements and advertisement deals.”

”True, but I doubt it’ll be as intense as this.” Mew runs his fingers through Gulf’s hair.

”What if one of us gets paired up with someone else?”

Mew thinks about it for a moment, but he knows that he trusts Gulf and he only wishes him all the best. ”If you get cast on a new show with someone else, I’ll become your biggest fan and cheer you on. As long as I get this,” he squeezes him tightly, ”then we can handle the rest.”

”I’d hate to see you with someone else,” Gulf grumbles.

”We’ll discuss it once I get an offer, ok? Nothing you have to worry about now.” Mew smiles as he speaks, touched by Gulf’s display of possessiveness. Again, Mew is reminded how much he loves the man in his arms, even if he hasn’t told him yet, not really, not when it wasn’t part of a game or event for fans.

”Ok,” Gulf agrees and kisses his cheek, pulling back with a smack. ”Good night, boo.”

”Good night,” Mew replies and keeps running his fingers through Gulf’s hair.

 

***

Hour 5140

 

An incredible sadness and nostalgia sweeps over Mew as he is standing on stage with the others. P’Mame has started to cry a while ago, so have Mild and some others and Mew knows he will lose it soon as well. This will be the last official event with all of the cast, the last time they will all be together and the last time they will go somewhere officially as Tharn and Type.

In a way it feels like mourning and this event like a funeral in some ways. It’s cheerful and loud and should be joyful, but Mew wants to weep. What will await them after this day? When will he get to act with Gulf again?

He feels a hand come to rets on the small of his back and the warmth of Gulf’s palm reminds him that this is also a chance; a chance for new and bigger projects, different roles, maybe movies. And Gulf will be by his side in private. Maybe now they can get more desperately needed time together? Over the last week the rehearsal, events and fanmeets have drained all of their energy. There was nothing left for some romance or more. On a good night they managed to get dinner together before falling into bed. On a bad night they were barely able to keep their eyes open during a video call.

The microphone is handed to Mew and he knows his prepared speech by heart, but decides at the last second to simply speak from the heart. He admits to feeling empty and explains why. He can hear Mild and Kaownah sniff beside him and when his voice breaks the first time, he manages to smile it away as Mild rubs his shoulder. Gulf is standing tensely beside him and Mew knows that he is trying to keep his own emotions at bay, but Mew feels his eyes on him.

”Let me be selfish for once,” Mew continues once he’s able to speak again and turns to Gulf. He has to do this or he’ll burst. ”Thank you, that we met each other,” he manages to tell him and then loses the battle against the tears as Gulf wraps him in his arms and holds him. The rest of the cast and crew are crying, the fans as well, but Mew doesn’t care about anyone else right now. This is his chance to show his boyfriend how much he means to him, in front of everyone and yet, without anyone catching on.

”Don’t cry, boo, or I’ll cry too,” Gulf tells him and sniffs in his ear.

Mew pulls back and remembers the microphone at the last moment. ”Phi loves Nong,” he tells Gulf and everyone else, because it’s the truth. He loves him. They hold each other once more and Mew closes his eyes so he can gets lost in Gulf all around him.

”I love you, too,” Gulf replies and speaks directly in his ear. The speakers remain quiet though. 

Gulf didn’t use his microphone. 

This was just for him and the realisation makes Mew cry a bit harder for a second, but then gives him the strength to pull away and get a grip. This here, TharnType the series might be over, but he and Gulf are only starting.

”Ok, the time for my selfishness is up,” he jokes and goes on to say thank you to the fans and the team, P’Mame and all the rest, aware that Gulf keeps one arm wrapped around his waist the whole time.

P’Mame holds the last speech of the night before they all sit down on stage, to watch the 'best of' reel they have been promised.

”After this we’re going straight home,” Gulf whispers to Mew as they adjust their positions. They haven’t let go since their love confessions.

”One last video,” Mew nods.

”Try not to cry too much. You’ll lose your contacts,” Gulf teases him to lighten the mood and Mew really has to laugh.

Mew is a bit underwhelmed when the screen goes black and all that has been shown were some tweets, some reactions and the cast photos. He’s expected more. Then, ‘TharnType the series…. Season 2’ shows on screen and the fans go berserk in the audience, while the cast all stare disbelievingly at the screen. Some of them start clapping, but Mew can’t really react. He props his head up on one arm, because he fears otherwise it would fall off. Gulf seems equally stunned.

”We’ll talk contracts soon,” P’Mame yells at the two of them over the screaming fans. They all stand up and golden tinsel is shot in the air.

”We will so celebrate tonight!” Gulf smiles widely as he looks at Mew. 

”You bet we do!” Mild yells from the other side and keeps hugging everyone around him.

”Not what I meant,” Gulf leans closer to Mew, who laughs out loud at the statement.

”I got it the first time, Tua-eng,” Mew lets him know and ruffles his hair.

”Good… cause I won’t repeat myself,” Gulf huffs playfully and has them both cracking up on stage while P’Tee holds a very important speech. They’ll catch the details later.

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 10

 

Hour 5141

 

Gulf’s reply on stage has unlocked something in Mew’s chest. His heart feels lighter than ever before, beats a bit faster and breathing is easier. 

Mew knows that their plans of having more free time and being less in the public eye have been destroyed by the announcement of season 2 of their series, especially because their show becomes more and more popular and Mew has noticed an increase of international fans flooding his social media profiles.

However, none of that matters to him because Gulf’s whispered love confession on stage, with the risk of being caught by a random microphone somewhere, means more to Mew than any of the obstacles that might be thrown their way. They are together and Gulf feels the same way about him as he Mew feels about his Nong. No more questions, no more doubts: His love is accepted, welcome and met with Gulf’s own feelings.  Mew knows that it has taken him months to get it in his head and in his heart, but he can finally trust that they are going to be together and stay together. He only needs to be himself, nothing else necessary. Gulf will tell him if he messes up and Gulf won’t leave and won’t betray him. 

There are people everywhere around them in the changing room backstage when Mew and Gulf get there after meeting their fans for a bit longer than their colleagues. The whole cast is in various stages of undressed as they are already busy changing back into their own street clothes. 

Neither Gulf nor Mew care about the chaos around them and as soon as the door is closed behind them, Mew pulls Gulf in a tight hug and buries his face in his shoulder. He loves the fact that Gulf is a bit taller than he is, because he can get lost in him, be surrounded by him and vice versa; something else Mew never had before with anyone he’s been with.

Gulf hugs him back and Mew can feel him smile against his temple, his hands tapping against his back in a rhythm that only makes sense to Gulf. Mew doesn’t really care who sees when he kisses Gulf’s shoulder, then turns his head and presses his lips against his neck. No one will think anything of it here, they are used to his displays of affection. And even if they do, Mew doesn’t care any longer. Let them see, let them talk, because Gulf loves him back and that’s all that matters.

”Argh,” Mew hears Mild groan. ”You two again. Can you please stop this lovey-dovey clingy stuff and get changed? We’re all hungry and we need to celebrate!”

Gulf keeps patting Mew’s back as he replies: ”I’m sorry but can’t we celebrate another day? I’ve had to work for my internship all day before coming here. I’m beat.”

”But you’re too young to be this lazy!” Mild protests. ”Mew, tell him, come on!”

”Sorry, but same for me. I’ve had a meeting with my supervisor this morning, then a shooting and another meeting about a contract before I came here. All I want is a hot shower and my bed.” He finally lifts his head off Gulf’s shoulder as he speaks.

”You’ve become boring, phi. You used to be quite the party animal just last year,” Mild huffs and starts pouting as he crosses his arms in front of his chest.

”I’ve never been a party animal in my life. I’m a home buddy, always have been.” Mew chuckles and lets his arms drop to Gulf’s waist.

”Leave them alone, Mild,” Kaownah comes to their rescue unexpectedly, ”I can’t either today, because Turbo is already waiting for me and it’s his mom’s birthday. But we have to get together soon so you can celebrate the new season and I can say goodbye.”

”Why?” Gulf asks and turns around so he can see their friend.

”P’Mame told me about the new season a couple of days ago, but only to prepare me that I wouldn’t be part of it. No Longh, no me,” he shrugs.

”Nooo! Tell me that isn’t true!” Mild whines and grabs Koawnah’s hands.

”They can always just write Longh into the script. What’s Tharn without his asshole best friend?,” Mew also protests. It doesn’t feel right to do a new season without their friend.

”That sucks,” Gulf grumbles and his arm finally slides off Mew’s back and he makes his way over to the table to grab some make up wipes.

”Don’t worry. Schedule wise it would have been a problem anyway. I might have something lined up,” Kaownah smiles. ”And there’ll be a lot of new cast members and all, so you won’t miss me too much.”

”We will definitely all get together soon to send you off the right way,” Mew tells him. He’s had a lot of scenes with the younger man and it will be strange not to have him around anymore. Especially because his shy personality always made it fun to mess with him a bit in between takes.

Mew unbuttons his shirt and takes off the jacket. He places both items in the laundry basket by the door. He takes his places beside Gulf and wipes off his own make-up while Gulf changes beside him.

”Lipstick,” Gulf reminds him, because he always forgets to wipe that off.

”Thanks,” Mew replies and tries to see in the mirror if all the make-up is gone. Problem is that the light is not the best in here and his eyes are tired after wearing his contacts all day. ”All gone?” he asks Gulf after some squinting in front of the mirror.

Gulf checks him, angles his head by holding his chin, takes another wipe and rubs it under his left eye. For a moment Gulf comes close and sniff-kisses Mew’s cheek, surprising him. ”All gone.” Gulf’s voice is quiet and deep and the sound shoots straight to Mew’s groin. ”Condo tonight?” Gulf adds in a whisper, now just pretending to check for make-up residue.

”Mmmh… I have to go home first though. I have class tomorrow and need fresh clothes,” Mew whispers back.

”Ok.” Gulf pulls back and grabs his backpack from the chair beside him. ”I’m gonna go. P’Best is waiting. See you everyone!” 

”Bye Gulf!” echoes through the room and he leaves. Mew gives him a small wave.

”You don’t need to say goodbye. When are you gonna see him again? Tomorrow? The day after tomorrow?” Mild teases Mew.

”Our next event is Love of Siam in three days. I have class in between.”

”Poor P'Mew, won’t get to see his favorite Nong for three days,” Mild concludes from Mew’s words and he doesn’t correct him. He simply pretends to slap him, which makes Mild screech and jump away.

 

***

 

Gulf is in Mew’s arms as soon as he steps through the door. He’s changed into shorts and a shirt, both of which are completely unnecessary, if you ask Mew. They stumble through the small living room and into the bedroom, kissing and groping each other. Mew just drops his bag with his clothes somewhere on the floor, he’ll find it later. He certainly won’t need any clothes for what’s next.

”You took too long,” Gulf complains, barely breaking the kiss and their tongues are exploring again before Mew can reply. But Mew's not too keen on telling him what exactly made him take so long. They'll have that discussion again if Gulf ever wants to try it the other way around.

There’s nothing graceful the way they each rip their own clothes off before they tumble onto the bed, with limbs flailing everywhere. Mew loses his glasses sometime during their make-out session and hopes it won’t break as he has no idea where it fell.

He kisses Gulf’s mouth noisily and then pulls back. Mew is glad he is close enough he can still see his boyfriend’s beautiful face clearly.

”I love you,” he tells him, Gulf’s panting breaths hitting Mew’s face.

”You planed spilling this on stage today?” Gulf asks him and smirks.

”No. I just… had to tell you. Didn’t expect you to say it back. Not yet. It’s all so new,” Mew replies between pecks.

”Phi… you’re an idiot.”

”I really didn’t plan it. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done it on stage and…”

Gulf first rolls his eyes, then shuts Mew up by kissing him. ”New? Didn’t expect me to say it back?” Gulf’s eyebrows nearly disappear into his hairline. The unnerved expression makes Mew laugh.

”So you do? And I get to hug you and kiss you and love you whenever I want now?” Mew peppers Gulf’s face and neck with kisses while he speaks. How is it possible that Gulf’s skin always tastes like strawberry chapstick even though he doesn’t use it?

”You’re gonna be even more clingy now, huh?” Gulf is still teasing him and suddenly pulls Mew down completely on top of him before he rolls them over, so Mew is now on his back and looking up at Gulf.

”Yes,” Mew confirms, because there’s no denying it anyway. He’s so in love with this man that he won’t be able to help himself from now on. It’s not like he had much self-control before and only the doubts that plagued his mind from time to time had kept him from being as affectionate as he had wanted to be. 

Now, to Mew’s biggest surprise, it’s his boyfriend’s turn to be affectionate though. He kisses him passionately and goes on to explore his body with his hands and lips. Gulf’s tongue and teeth play with his nipples and his palms glide over his six pack.

Mew is panting by the time Gulf reaches his hard dick.

He licks him and sucks him while one hand plays with his balls. Mew wants to see him, but he can’t because he’s too far away and all Mew can see is his blurry outline. He can feel Gulf though and hear him. He hears it when the cap pops open and he feels it when something cold and slippery gets spread between his butt cheeks. Mew hears his own moans and groans echo in the room, his own panting as his Nong enters him first with one finger, then with two. It’s been a while since Mew has been in this position, but he’s also waited for what feels like an eternity to have this with Gulf. It doesn’t surprise him that the man he loves is careful with him, maybe a bit tentative but enthusiastic when he finds out which moves Mew likes.

A third finger stretches him even more and Mew groans again. ”Tua-eng, so good…” He knows he’s going to come any moment if Gulf keeps this up. But just when he thinks he’s going to find release, his man pulls his mouth off his dick and kisses his way back up.

"Can I give you hickey?" Gulf asks quietly, his breath warm against the wet spots he’s left on Mew’s skin with his tongue. So far they’ve avoided leaving marks, because they are always a pain to cover in photo shoots, fan meets or live shows. But this time Mew wants this, he wants Gulf to mark him as his for everyone to see. And it will remind him of this moment, when Gulf showered him with  caresses and showed him how much he loves him.

"Yes!" he breathes and finally Gulf’s lips are back to sucking on his neck and the sounds of it can be heard in the otherwise silent room. Gulf gently adds his teeth to the mix and seems to make sure he does a thorough job at marking him. Once Gulf is done he pulls back and must be looking at his work, while he is still buried inside of Mew, his fingertips gently moving against the spot that makes Mew nearly lose his mind. How is it possible that he’s already found it? First times usually are awkward and not as sexy as it gets with time, at least that’s been Mew’s experience so far.  Yet, here he is, a panting mess and he can feel his cock leaking against his stomach. He must look a mess – not that he cares.

”You’re sure?” Gulf asks him and pulls his fingers away. He’s hovering over Mew and finally he can see him clearly again. Mew leans up and kisses him as an answer. When they break the kiss after a while Gulf pulls away and Mew hears the foil being ripped open and the condom being rolled down.

”Wait,” Mew asks gently when Gulf wants to lie down on top of him. He grabs a pillow and places it under his hips, knowing the angle will help a lot. Maybe from behind would be the best position pain and control wise, but he wants his boyfriend close and he wants to see him when they make love. Once his hips are propped up, Mew holds his arms open and Gulf quickly climbs between his legs and rests his upper body against Mew’s chest. Their lips find each other again in an open mouthed kiss and Mew thinks he might go crazy from the anticipation. While Gulf’s hands are tangled in his hair as he kisses him, Mew finds the lube on the bed next to his right thigh. He squeezes some on his hands, throws the bottle on the floor and wraps his hands around his lover’s hard and condom covered cock. Gulf nips at his lower lip when he first touches him, but then starts moving his hips in the rhythm of Mew’s caresses.

”Ready?” 

”Yes… please,” Mew nods eagerly when Gulf can’t wait any longer.

It doesn’t really hurt, but the stretch is definitely uncomfortable at first, even with all the preparation he's done before coming here and all the lube they used . They go slow and Mew guides Gulf with a hand on his hip, letting him know when to push and when to stop and when to wait.

”Ti-Lak,” Gulf whispers against Mew’s lips when he’s fully inside. He’s not exactly small and Mew needs a moment so they kiss and kiss again.

”Tua-eng,” Mew says when he feels ready for Gulf to move. When he does it’s good, better than he remembers from his very limited experience of being in this position. He’s liked it before, but not as much. He’s never found release while being in this position and yet, his amazing boyfriend manages to bump into the right spot after only a couple of thrusts and the little shit notices and keeps doing it. Mew can’t even kiss him properly anymore, because his mouth falls open to moan loudly whenever Gulf moves his hips forward. The slow rhythm is torture and Mew needs more, now! With both hands he grabs Gulf’s ass and pulls him forward into him, harder and faster.

”Mew, fuck!” Gulf curses and nearly topples down on top of Mew but catches himself the last second with one hand beside Mew’s head. ”Want me to break your nose?” Gulf asks, because of his near fall.  When their eyes meet they both have to laugh.

”No,” Mew chuckles. ”Want you to fuck me.” Gulf’s eyes go black with want and then he does just what Mew asked him to. He quickens his pace, goes faster and harder with Mew’s enthusiastic encouragement. It’s still not enough and Mew wraps one hand around his own aching cock, while the other is still digging into Gulf’s ass, his nails surely leaving marks there. He'll have to check later. Gulf’s breath comes out in pants against Mew’s neck and by his sounds Mew knows Gulf is just as close as he is. They might not have had full-on sex before, but they have made each other come a couple of times, so the sounds and signs are familiar.

Mew is getting closer and closer, but he can’t quite reach….

 ”Love you,” Gulf pants in his ear and it’s what pushes Mew over the edge.  Mew is still groaning when his lover pulls out, takes the condom off and reaches his climax after a few pumps of his hand, spilling on Mew's stomach and chest as well.

Gulf lies back down between Mew’s still spread legs, but pulls the pillow out from under his hips before he does.

”Why haven’t we done this sooner? Like months ago?” Mew asks once he finds his voice and last few brain cells.

”Idiots… told you,” Gulf is still pretty much out of it. His eyes are closed and his forehead rests against Mew’s. Mew smiles and kisses him deeply. ”I love you so much, Tua-eng,” he vows then and wraps his arms tightly around his Nong, rocking them both from side to side.

”Same.”

The reply is so much ‘Gulf’ that Mew chuckles about the cuteness of it and places pecks and sniff-kisses all over Gulf’s cute face, behind his red ears and his delicious lips.

”Shower?” Gulf asks and opens one eye.

”I’m not done yet,” Mew protests and keeps kissing Gulf’s skin.

”We’re a mess. If you get pimples tomorrow, I know you’ll be sulking with me,” Gulf points out and isn’t really wrong. ”Come on. Up!” Gulf slowly sits up and holds his hand out for Mew. He pulls him out of bed and once Mew is upright he realises how wobbly his legs still are. So Mew wraps himself around Gulf from behind, resting his chin on his shoulder as they make their way into the shower.

A shower that later turns out to be a waste of water, because back in bed they can’t keep their hands off each other and soon find themselves just as messy after round two.

 

***

Hour 5160

 

A day later, after missing each other all day in their separate university classes, appointments and a hurried dinner together, things are just heating up again when Gulf’s cellphone goes off. They ignore it. Then Mew’s phone starts ringing. Then Gulf’s again.

”It’s Boss,” Mew groans when he finally checks his phone and zips his jeans back up. 

”P’Best,” Gulf shows him his screen and pulls his shorts back up.

”Coincidence?” Mew wonders, wrinkles his forehead and walks outside on the balcony before he answers his call. He can hear Gulf picking up as well through the open door.

”Hey, it’s kind of late,” he greets his manager even though he’s not really angry. It’s just unusual for Boss to call him this late of they are not at some event. If not playing with Gulf – video games as far as his manager knows – Mew’s usually asleep at this time.

”Sorry, I know. But there’s a problem and I don’t want you to wake up tomorrow and be unprepared for what’s awaiting you.” Mew is starting to get worried now. ”It’s about Gulf.” Mew’s blood runs cold. What about Gulf? What is going on? Have people found out? Are there pictures of them out somehow? But how..? ”Some people found out about his ex and think they are still together because of some photo and the background in said picture. Personally, I don’t really get it, but the problem is that it’s all over social media and the press has picked it up. They’re calling Gulf a liar and play it like he’s been with his girlfriend the whole time and has simply been lying to his fans this whole time.”

”Fuck.”

”Yeah. I shortly talked to P’Best and P’Berm and we are going to have to do some damage control soon. We’ll talk about it tomorrow. Best wanted to talk to Gulf and prepare him for the hate that’s been poured out on the internet and the media, but maybe… I think he’ll need you, talk to you. His family won’t be able to understand what it’s like. And he’ll sure need someone who understand, someone who’s been through it.” Boss says. Mew is touched when he understands that the main reason for Boss calling him is his worry for Gulf and not keeping Mew updated late at night.

”I’ll take care of him, don’t worry. I have to go now. I’ll talk to you tomorrow, ok?”

He finds Gulf on the sofa in the living room, his phone pressed to his ear and one hand pressed to his mouth. His eyes are wide and swimming with tears. Mew can hear bits and pieces of what P’Best is saying as he is bringing him up to date about the awful things people on social media and the press are writing about him. This is exactly what Mew always wanted to protect him of and wishes he could. Now that the damage is done all he can do is be by his side and help him get things on track.

”But it’s not true, Phi! I have no idea why they think….I haven’t even seen her in months! Why are they doing this?” Gulf says and his voice breaks when he asks the last question.  Mew gently takes the phone from him as he sits down beside him and pulls him in his arms.

”P’Best? It’s Mew. Can we talk about all of this in detail tomorrow? Boss has already told me what#s going on.”

”Yes, sure, Mew. I’m glad you’re there now with him. Otherwise I would have called his mother and send her over.”

”It’s not necessary. I’m here. I’ll take care of him and stay with him.”

”Great. See you tomorrow morning then,” Boss replies and they hang up. Mew places the phone on the table and then works his other arm around Gulf as well. For a while they just sit like this, with Gulf clinging to Mew, who holds him tight and kisses his hair from time to time.

”Is this what it felt like for you? Back then?” Gulf asks through tears when he looks up after what feels like hours.

”I won’t ever let you feel what I felt like back then. We’ll get through this. We all know it’s not true and we’ll let them know, ok?”

”Phi,” Gulf sighs, sits up and wipes his tears away. ”This is my mess. You shouldn't be dragged into this. I’m so sorry.” His eyes fill again.

Mew kisses him softly. ”Even before this happened,” Mew says and kisses him again, ”we agreed that we’re in this together. And I promised I would protect you and be by your side. So that’s what we’re gonna do. Ok?”

He gets a teary smile and another kiss in reply.

”What can I do to take your mind off this mess? You need to be well rested for tomorrow.”

A salacious smirk spreads over Gulf’s face, but doesn't quite reach his eyes. ”There’s something I can think of.”

”We can’t go all the way today. I’m still a bit sore from yesterday,” Mew admits. He’d wanted to bring this up earlier as well, but then had forgotten about it, with Gulf’s hand around his dick and his tongue down Mew’s throat.

Gulf sniggers. ”I was talking about video games, you horn dog.” 

”Yeah, sure,” Mew snorts, knowing this was absolutely not what Gulf had in mind. He places his hand on Gulf’s crotch, where he finds him half-hard again. Or still, even after all the drama?

”If you insist… I guess that works as well.” The smile Gulf gives him still isn’t as bright as it usually is and his eyes are still red from crying. For a while though they manage to take their minds of the publicity mess they find themselves in.

When they’ve calmed down and cleaned up, they stay up late anyway with Gulf resting against Mew’s chest as he listens to Mew’s tale of what really happened back then and how alone, betrayed and violated he had felt. It’s the first time Mew really opens up about it to anyone, spills every horrible thought  and feeling he’d had. Mew talks and vows that Gulf won’t be alone and that they will get this under control quickly. 

”And I’ll always be by your side, too, Ti-Lak. Together, right?” Gulf says when Mew’s done speaking.

”Together,” Mew confirms and switches off the light on the nightstand. It’s time they get some sleep, so they can face the press and social media tomorrow.

”P’Mew?” Gulf asks into the darkness.

”Yai Nong?”

”Does Boss know about us? Like, have you told him?”

”No, not yet. Why?”

”I had planned to tell P’Best and P’Berm soon, but now I think we should maybe wait? Wait for one mess to be over before we shock them again?”

”Mmh,” Mew agrees with a tired groan. ”Your mom knows, that’s important.”

”True. So we don’t tell them tomorrow during the meeting?”

”No, not if you don’t want P’Best to die of a heart attack.” Mew feels Gulf’s chuckles against his chest.

”Night, boo.”

”Good night,  my love.” Then they finally both fall asleep.

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Hour 5178 

 

The day is a complete drag, from the moment they wake up and hurriedly get ready so they can squeeze in an emergency meeting with their managers, to the moment Gulf leaves after to talk to his ex and apologise to her for the mess she finds herself in without having done anything wrong. And then finally there’s the event where they have to wear clothes neither of them likes, especially because the pink and red colors couldn’t be further from the way they feel. Gulf’s been nervous and quiet all day because he knows he has to face the press and the situation by the end of the event all on his own.

Oh how Mew wishes he could be by his side like he usually is, and he even got into a heated argument with both managers in the morning when he had insisted that he wouldn’t leave Gulf to fend off the horde of hyenas. He’d lost when Gulf had placed a hand on his thigh and told him it would be ok. 

In Mew’s mind it isn’t though, because Gulf shouldn’t be in this situation in the first place. For a split second he’d wanted to tell their managers to just use their real relationship to squelch the rumours about Gulf’s ex and Gulf being a liar. Yet, seeing these two pros scramble to come up with a strategy that works while being angry at some fans who stirred up this shit and cursing the press – it wasn’t the right moment to throw the curveball of their real relationship at them and so both Mew and Gulf had kept it to themselves.

”I know you were supposed to have some days off with only separate engagements until the Line Awards, but we need you two to be seen together as much as possible now. We’ll see if we can squeeze something in.” P’Best had told them during their morning meeting.

”You know I’m leaving on the 14th for the fan meet in Manilla?” Mew reminded them and that plan had ended with their cursing managers.

Given the situation and how Gulf clung to Mew after the event was over, it didn’t raise any questions when Mew offered to drive Gulf home to the condo, because everyone kind of hoped fans and press would see them and snap some pictures.

 

”What a fucked up day,” Gulf sighs when he  closes the door behind them and kicks his shoes off.

”You can say that again,” Mew agrees and follows him into the living room. He sinks down on the sofa, leans his head back, closes his eyes and groans. ”I’m so tired.” While the day might not have been physically tiresome, it has certainly been emotionally draining. 

”You don’t have to stay, P’Mew. I’m fine and you should get some sleep.” Gulf’s words make Mew open his eyes again. He finds his boyfriend standing awkwardly in front of him with his eyes focussed on his hands. Mew grabs Gulf’s wrist and pulls him down next to him on the sofa and wraps his arms around him.

”If you need some time to yourself to regroup or recharge or whatever just tell me and I’ll leave ok? But if you want me to stay, I’ll stay. There’s nowhere I sleep better than when you’re lying next to me.” It’s the truth and Mew would hate to leave, yet he knows that people are different. Gulf being such an introvert comes with the fact that he sometimes just needs time for himself, alone. It has nothing to do with their relationship or him, it’s just how Gulf is and Mew is fine with that.

”You’re so cheesy, P’Mew,” Gulf chuckles and rests his head against Mew’s shoulder.

”Mmmh, I call it romantic,” Mew smiles, happy that his sappiness made his man smile. Gulf is chuckling again about his words and Mew uses the opportunity to nuzzle his nose against Gulf’s cheek and then place a couple of kisses there.

”Mew, I’m beat, but I’m also hungry. I think I’ll go downstairs and get some fried rice from the shop. You want something, too?”  Gulf pecks his lips before he sits up and stretches.

”Not really. I’ll just steal some of yours if that’s ok? Right now what I really need is a shower,” Mew replies and also sits up.

”Sure, go ahead. I’m gonna be back in a couple of minutes.” With another peck Gulf leaves to get his dinner and Mew hops into the shower. It doesn’t feel weird any longer to be alone in Gulf’s condo or to be in his shower or make breakfast in his kitchen. Since they got together this has been their little hideaway and while he showers Mew wonders if he should go back to using his own condo in the city again. He hasn’t been there in a while, because his parents’ house was much more convenient these days. However, now with Gulf around and considering the fact that he still hasn’t told anyone beside his sister, he might want to change that soon. Of course he has to tell his parents soon, he doesn’t want to hide it, but having Gulf stay over the first time he’s over… somehow that feels weird. He wouldn’t want to pretend that they are not sleeping in the same bed, even if it does come with all the implications. He will just talk to his parents, he decides and then see what they say.

”Hey so, what are you doing the day after tomorrow?” Gulf asks when he is back and they are sitting at the dining table. Gulf eats his rice and feeds Mew a spoonful every now and then. ”I’m at school all day tomorrow and have a very late photoshoot so we probably won’t get to see each other. But I only have a couple of classes the day after.”

”The 14th?  Valentine’s day?” Mew asks.

”Oh fuck, it is!” Gulf’s eyes widen and it makes Mew laugh. Of course, his oblivious boyfriend would not realise which day it is. ”Are we like… do you expect some kind for gift or something? Or a romantic date? Damn, I really didn’t think about it being Valentine’s day,” Gulf looks truly ashamed.

”To be honest I didn’t think of it either,” Mew admits laughingly. ”I’m gonna have classes all day until like nine? And then I have to be at the airport I think around eleven to catch the last flight out to Manilla.”

”Oh right, the fan-meet you mentioned today.” Gulf puts his spoon down and turns to face Mew with puppy eyes. ”You’re really going to leave me all alone here for days? On Valentine’s Day?”

Mew knows he is being played but Gulf’s pitiful expression still doesn’t miss its aim.

”I’ll only be gone for three days, Tua-Eng.” Mew chuckles about the exaggerated pout on Gulf’s face.

”Three days too long,” his Nong huffs and makes Mew laugh for real.

”You’ll survive, baby.” 

Gulf eats the rest of his food with the pout on his face and Mew starts to wonder if maybe he’s not trying to play him and is really pouting. They get ready for bed in silence and the Mew climbs into bed the put is back on Gulf’s face, more pronounced than before.

”Stop pouting, please. I’m sorry I won’t be here, but I can’t do anything about it.”

”Huh?” Gulf looks confused when his eyes snap up at Mew.

”You’ve been pouting for nearly half any hour now,” Mew clarifies and pulls the blanket up.

”Oh…” Gulf seems to think about it. ”Sorry, I was just thinking about today and the press and what P’Best said about having to spend more time together in public and all. Just thinking, you know.” Mew is relieved when he hears that Gulf was just lost in thought and the most likely playful pout became a real pout, but not because of anything he has done. Mew waits, because he knows by the look on his face that Gulf is going to continue when he has found the right words to express himself.

After a couple of minutes in silence Gulf moves and rests his head on Mew’s chest. Quickly Mew wraps his arms around him and lets his hands glide up and down the naked skin of Gulf’s back.

”I want to spend more time with you, but I don’t like the thought of it being just for the press. It’s like… it gets tainted by making it a publicity stunt to clean my reputation.”

”It won’t be like that. Honestly, I am happy about every minute we get together. People are used to us acting like a couple so they won’t spot a difference now that we actually are a couple when we’re at events. We can have some fun with that. Let’s be pragmatic and see it as a chance to get more time together, when otherwise our managements would try and book us apart as much as possible before season two starts.”

”Mmmh,” Gulf makes and seems to think about it. ”See that’s why I’m dating someone older, Phi. P’Mew is so wise,” Gulf giggles agains his chest and Mew is happy to have his bratty nong back for the first time all day. So he lets him get away with it, places a kiss on his hair and turns off the light.

 

***

Hour 5222

 

”Hey, Tua-Eng, you’re still free later?” Mew asks his boyfriend over the phone. He’s walking out of the university building towards his car and he wants to see his boyfriend. He misses him. 

”Later? Your flight leaves in two hours,” Gulf knows.

”Nope, my flight got rescheduled to early tomorrow morning because I kept nagging and yammering to Bosser, which means that I am free tonight and could pick you up in, like, half an hour?”

”Yes!” Gulf is quick to agree. ”We gonna get some dinner?”

”That’s the plan. I thought we could go to this hot pot place we both like?”

”Sounds good. I just have to shower real quick, because I just got back from playing football.”

”Alright, see you in a few.”

”See you!”  Gulf has hung up before Mew can say anything more.

Mew thinks it’s only right that he gets to see his man today. It’s their first Valentine’s day together as a real couple and the flower bouquets they sent each other just don’t do. They agreed on no presents, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t take his boyfriend out. Nothing too romantic, because that’s not Gulf’s style and would just make him mock Mew from now until eternity. But a little time together without managers or fans nearby is needed.

When he reaches Gulf’s condo Mew stays in the car and simply rings him to come down.

”Hey,” Gulf smiles widely when he jumps into the car and pulls Mew into a kiss before he can reply.

”Hey.” Mew sniggers when they break apart. ”You know I love this, but maybe we shouldn’t greet each other like this in public, because that’s not the way to get you out of the line of fire.”

”We were told to spend more time together,” Gulf shrugs and buckles his seatbelt as Mew pulls away from the curb.

”True, but I don’t think kissing with tongue was what P’Best had in mind.” They both have to laugh.

”P’Mew, what if we get caught one day? Like someone takes a picture of us in a moment like just now?”

”We just have to be a bit more careful and not as obvious in public.”

”But what if they still do? What then?”

”Then we’ll deal with it and decide which way to approach it. Depending on where we’ll be in life, we might just be able to confirm it, ignore it or maybe even have to deny it.”

”How? Like… how could we deny that?”

”Say we were just rehearsing a scene? It’s not what it looked like? There are ways. People do it all the time.”

”Yeah, but why would we do that?”

”Maybe if one of us is in another couple, maybe not for a BL show?”

”I don’t wanna be in another ship with anyone.”

”You might not like it, but realistically that’s what is going to happen, if you want to stay in the business.”

Gulf ponders it for moment. ”We could just ask P’Mame to write more seasons? TharnType Season 3 to 18 or something?” Gulf makes them both laugh. ”Or we’ll go on and play on another show together? Maybe this time I get to be the husband.”

”No way!” Mew protests and is still laughing.

”Why? Sometimes art imitates life,” Gulf teases him.

”That’s your way of saying you’re paying for dinner tonight?”

”No way! You invited me, you’re paying.” Gulf protests just as they pull up in front of the restaurant. ”It looks closed,” he points out.

”True. And now?”

”I’m a cheap date, Tilak, we could just go to a street food stand and get something there.”

”Fine,” Mew sighs, because that’s not what he had in mind. ”I’ll take you on a fancier date once I’m back and we have some time.”

”You could just take me back to the condo afterwards and show me a fancy time there,” Gulf smirks and trails his fingers over Mew’s hand.

”I have an early flight to catch.”

”So? Don’t tell me your suitcase isn’t already in the trunk of your car?” Gulf just knows him too well.

”Fine, but no whining when I wake you up early tomorrow morning!”

”Depends on how you wake me up.” Sometimes Gulf’s brattiness really knows no bounds.

”Naughty boy,” Mew shakes his head, but his smile mirrors the one on Gulf’s face.

 

***

Hour 5390

 

Mew is sitting in the living room watching the sixth episode of ‘Elite’ when the doorbell rings. He’s dressed in shorts and a T-shirt, relaxing after the birthday dinner with his family earlier. 

He doesn’t really expect anyone, especially not this late in the evening, but he has a suspicion who it might be; one that makes him smile and hurry to open the door.

He hasn’t seen Gulf all day, because of a fan-meet the younger had hours away from Bangkok and one that could not be cancelled just because Mew wanted him around for his birthday.

The day before they had been swept away by the madness of the award show which barely left any time for a private word. They were simply too aware that cameras of press, fans and colleagues were on them all the time. However, at the end of the night they got a magic moment when the lights went out while they were showing their fans their award for the best kissing scene and suddenly the fans lit up the room with their cellphone flashlights. Mew had been moved to tears and only Gulf’s hand on his shoulder had grounded him. How he had wished he could lean over and just kiss him.

When Mew thought about it last night after coming home, it occurred to him that he’d been able to talk to Gulf more and joke with him more by wearing a T-shirt that claimed him as Gulf’s while he'd been away, than when they were together at the award show. How odd.

Mew opens the door and is greeted with the sight of his boyfriend  – and his boyfriend's manager who is filming it all – holding a cake that is completely made of salmon and sings ‘Happy Birthday’ for him. Mew is dimly aware that his own manager Bosser has popped out of nowhere and followed him through the house, phone camera in hand.

”Make a wish,” Gulf tells him and Mew closes his eyes and does just that after blowing out the candle. He wants to pull Gulf close and get his birthday kiss, but both managers are still filming and so he awkwardly pats Gulf’s arm. He doesn’t really know what else to do.

”Come in,” Boss opens the door behind him and invites them all into Mew’s house. ”Let’s take some pictures with the salmon cake and the balloons.” They do exactly that and Mew feels really underdressed standing next to Gulf who is dressed in a white suit and white turtleneck.

”Alright, I have to leave again. It’s getting late,” P’Best says once each manager has the right amount of pictures.

”Ok, see you tomorrow,” Gulf replies and surprises Mew with his answer.

”You’re not going with him?”

”No, I invited Gulf to stay for tonight.” Mew’s mother walks in with his dog Chopper in her arms. ”We’re going to the merit tomorrow anyway so it makes no sense for N’Gulf to drive back home. Hello, darling,” she greets Gulf who smiles at her and returns the greeting. 

”Chopper is a ladybug today,” Boss speaks up, referring to Choppers outfit.

”Yeah, but he just woke up when N’Gulf came. He’s still a bit grumpy,” Mew lets them know to explain Choppers barking. ”You want to pet him?” He asks Gulf.

”He’ll bite me, he’s still growling,” Gulf knows and quickly pulls his outstretched finger back.

”He won’t bite you. Let me show you,” Mew basically covers Gulf’s hand with his before he makes his boyfriend touch his dog. The little traitor however barks again.

”I should get him out of this outfit and then we can try with some treats. You’ll be his best friend in no time,” his mother laughs and leaves again with the dog.

”You’re really staying here tonight?” Mew turns to Gulf.

”Your mom asked me to when we planned the surprise and I thought it was a good idea. I’ve never been here before,” Gulf points out. 

”You want a tour?”

”Later? First you should probably put the fish in the fridge or it’ll go bad.”

They chat with Bosser until his mother comes back with Chopper and some treats. To Mew’s mortification Chopper really bites Gulf, even though his boyfriend plays it down at first, aware that Mew’s manager is filming the scene. When a drop of blood stains his white trousers though, they can’t ignore it anymore.

”Oh no, Nong, you’re bleeding,” Mew says and quickly takes anther look. ”Bad dog!” he tells Chopper who is still barking at them.

”Do you have a bandaid?” Gulf asks sheepishly.

”In the kitchen. There’s also some disinfectant,” Mew’s mother lets them know, before she places a hand on Gulf’s shoulder and leads him in the right direction. Mew can only follow. He keeps his dog in check as his mother takes care of Gulf and says goodbye to his manager who finally leaves as well.

”Best left your overnight bag by the door over there. You can change if you want and leave the white pants so we can put them in some water, otherwise the blood won’t come out with this material.”

”Thank you, Khun Mae,” Gulf says politely and gives Mew a small smile before he goes to change in the bathroom.

”Bad dog,” Mew grumbles again, still mad at Chopper for biting his boyfriend.

”You raised him to be so possessive of you,” his mother gently reprimands him.

”I know,” Mew admits. ”Did you already have one of  the guest rooms prepared?”  He asks more to know where he’ll find his boyfriend later, than because he really plans on spending the night apart.

”Guest-room?” his mother looks surprised. ”I didn’t think one was needed. Not anymore.” There’s a small smile on her face and a knowing look in her eyes. Mew is speechless for a moment.

”Did Jom…?” he wonders.

”No, your sister didn’t say anything. I have eyes and I know my son,” his mother laughs. ”Tell N’Gulf goodnight. Chopper and I are going to bed.” His mother kisses his cheek. ”Good night, son.”

”G’night,” Mew mumbles, totally shocked.

It’s Gulf who snaps him out of his daze when he comes back into the kitchen. ”You’re ok?” He is now wearing an outfit very similar to Mew’s, his legs on full display.

”Yeah,” Mew nods. ”My mom knows.”

”Knows?”

”About us.”

”Oh,” Gulf looks surprised. ”You told her?”

”No, she figured it out on her own and dropped the bomb on me when I asked about which guest room you’re staying in.” He wraps his arms around Gulf’s waist, when he realises that they’re really alone now.

”And which room am I staying in?” Gulf raises both eyebrows.

”Mine,” Mew smiles widely and leans in to kiss Gulf, but is stopped with a hand on his chest.

”You’re sure?”

”Am I…? It’s my birthday and my boyfriend just showed up as a surprise. Of course I am sure!” Mew laughs and finally gets the kiss he’s been craving since Gulf showed up. He presses him against the counter as he tastes his mouth, their hands clutching and pulling on each other’s shirts.

”Show me your room,” Gulf whispers against his lips. ”Your bed… now!” Mew answers the request with more passionate kisses, before he finally manages to disentangle enough from the man he loves, to lead him up the stairs and to his bedroom. The short way feels like forever.

”I missed you,” he breathes against Gulf’s lips and kisses them again, after closing and locking the door behind them.

”You promised a tour of the room,” Gulf teases and pulls Mew’s shirt over his head.

”Tomorrow.” Gulf’s shirt goes flying as well. They kiss until they are panting, both desperate for skin contact, deeper kisses and just … more. They lose their shorts before they fall onto the bed, hands everywhere they can reach on each other’s bodies, groping and touching.

”I didn’t shower and I’m still in your bed,” Gulf pants, his breath hitting Mew’s chest as he kisses and nibbles his way downwards. Yes, Mew knows he has weird habits and yes, usually no one gets to be in his bed without showering first, not even himself. His OCD is overridden by the need to be with Gulf again.

”Don’t care.” Gulf takes off both of their underwear, which join their shorts on the floor. Mew uses the opportunity to grab the condoms and lube which are in a drawer of the nightstand, before he lies back down. He is surprised when Gulf crawls back up his body and straddles him. He leans down and kisses Mew again.

”‘I’ve got another present,” he tells Mew.

”Another present? You already got me the figurine and the flowers and the salmon cake,” Mew lists all the presents he’s been given by Gulf over the course of the day. They’d all been delivered at different times and different people.

”This present won’t be an object,” Gulf’s tone is seductive and Mew’s eyes widen.

”What? I mean, I, you, huh?” he stutters.

”I want you to make love to me.” Gulf kisses him softly.

Mew kisses him back, but stops when the words fully register with him. ”Tua-eng, wait,” he makes him look at him. ”I don’t want you to give me this as a ‘present’. If you want it, then yes, I’ll gladly make love to you, but… don’t do it just to please me, ok?”

Gulf surprises him again when he starts laughing. ”Not everyone’s as selfless as you, boo.”

”Does that mean, that…?”

”I want you to fuck me, that’s what it means,” his boyfriend finally spells it out for him. The blunt words spur Mew into action and a second later he has Gulf underneath him and stares at him hungrily. Mew sure is going to enjoy his favorite present.

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 12

 

Hour 5398

 

Mew barely notices when Gulf nudges him very early the next morning.

”Mew… P’Mew, I’m thirsty. Do you have some water here?” the younger whispers in his ear.

”Kitchen,” Mew mutters back and is asleep again before Gulf has gotten out of bed. 

Mew’s second round of blissful and well needed rest is interrupted quickly once more, when Gulf comes back into the room, turns on the lights and wakes him up again.

”Mew!” He’s certainly not whispering anymore and sounds slightly upset. Mew opens his eyes, blinks and is instantly awake and alert because of Gulf’s expression.

”What? What happened?”

”I just ran into your father downstairs in the kitchen!”

Mew turns his head and checks his alarm clock on his night stand. ”Mmh, he gets up at half past five every morning. He’s having breakfast now.”

A slap to the back of his head makes him turn around to glare at the culprit: His boyfriend. ”You could have warned me!”

”He’s not Chopper, he doesn’t bite you. Or did he?” Mew replies, yawns and slowly sits up. He really doesn’t understand what the big deal is. His mother knows Gulf is staying over and Gulf knows most of his immediate family members, so where is the problem with him running into his father, who is the only person of his family that Gulf hasn’t been introduced to before.

”No, he didn’t. But I’ve never met your dad before and I would’ve preferred not meeting him for the first time in my underwear and your shirt.”

Mew chuckles as he takes in the outfit. ”Why are you wearing my shirt?”

”First thing I found on the floor.” Gulf is still grumbling.

”Sorry, I wasn’t really awake yet and didn’t think.” Mew pulls his pouting Nong in his arms. Gulf comes willingly and snuggles up to him, leaning his head against Mew’s shoulder. ”Was he nice to you?”

”Yes,” Gulf nods. ”It was still awkward. I think he knew that it’s your shirt.”

”My mom would know. My dad most likely knows I own one like this, but you might just own the same one. He won’t even think about it too much, I promise.”

Gulf snorts. ”Me owning a Balenciaga T-shirt for 16.000 baht? My mom would slap me for the idea alone of buying one. What kind of money do you think I have?”

”Looks like we need to get you some better endorsement deals,” Mew simply shrugs and places a kiss on Gulf’s hair. ”And I think it was my dad who bought me the first shirts from London or Paris from a business trip. I just liked the quality and design.” Mew closes his eyes again.

”You’re such a brand whore.” The kiss against Mew’s neck softens the blow of the words a lot and Mew can actually laugh about them. It’s true after all: Mew loves his designer shirts and brands.

”How are you feeling? You’re ok?” Mew asks, remembering the events of last night and the very personal and awesome gift he received.

”Yes, I am. I told you last night.”

”I know, but it might have changed over night.”

”It never does anymore. The first few times it was a bit painful and I was sore the next day. Guess I’m used to it now.”

”What?” Mew’s eyes fly open and he gapes at his boyfriend.  Slowly  Mew pushes his off , so he can see his face.

”What?” Gulf asks back, clueless as to what Mew is surprised about.

”I thought last night was your first time, you know…” He gestures with the hand that is not still holding on to Gulf’s shoulder to keep him from snuggling back against him.

”Taking it, you mean? It was. Doesn’t mean I haven't been preparing for it for a while.” Gulf manages to shrugs Mew’s hand off and snuggles back into his shoulder with a content sigh.

”Preparing?” Mew repeats like a complete idiot, but can’t help it. He simply cannot believe what his boyfriend just casually threw at him.

”I told you I googled it. It said that the more you’re prepared and the more you’re used to it, the less it’ll hurt. And it didn’t. Hurt, that is.” Mew is still gaping at him like a fish. ”I don’t like pain in bed. Just so you know.”

That’s the moment Mew groans loudly while his face is flushing in seconds. ”Would you stop, please.” He hides his face in Gulf’s shoulder and wishes he could just disappear into him and hide there until his face isn’t burning with embarrassment anymore..

”Why are you always so shy when talking about sex?  You know maybe you shouldn’t have it, if you can’t talk about it.”

”I’m not… I just… You always just blurt out this stuff when I don’t expect it and take me by surprise. Seriously, Tua- eng, the first thing you tell me when I wake up in the morning is that you used a toy on yourself to prepare for having sex with me?” Mew kind of manages to look at Gulf again, but he’s still blushing as his face feels so hot it might be burning.

”Toy?” Gulf just raises his eyebrows. ”Fingers will do, you perv.”’

”Stop,” Mew starts laughing. ”I can’t with you! The pictures in my head will drive me crazy for the rest of the day.”

”Oh so I’m turning you on and that’s the problem?” A smirk slowly forms on Gulf’s lips. ”And I thought I was making you shy.”

”Yes…No… both.”

”I don’t see any problem with it.”

”It’s six o’clock in the morning! We should be asleep and not getting turned on!”

”We can take care of it now and then go back to sleep. I have the day off because of the merit.” Gulf’s lips wander down Mew’s neck and to his defined chest. Gulf’s stubbly is scratchy against Mew’s skin. Mew hopes it won’t leave any marks or he’ll have to button his shirt all the way up – again.

”We haven’t even brushed our teeth yet.” Mew’s protest is weak. Yes, he is tired and yes they should get some more rest, but it’s not like he really wants Gulf to stop.

”Fine, then let’s just go back to sleep,” Gulf gives in uncharacteristically quickly, which is certainly not what Mew expected. He wants… He doesn’t even know why he protested in the first place. Mew stops Gulf from lying down by tugging on the hem of his shirt, then takes it off with Gulf hovering over him still. ”So no sleep?” Gulf smirks. Little brat, knows exactly what he’s doing.

”Shut up!” Mew orders, pushes Gulf’s boxer’s past his hips and pulls him up so he is straddling his chest.  Then he takes him into his mouth, before more surprises can spill from his beautiful chestnut shaped mouth. The moans are all the sounds he can take for now.

 

***

5471

 

”Good morning, Ma,” Mew greets his mother a couple of days later. It’s early, but Mew is already up because he can’t sleep anymore anyway – insomnia something that he should be used to by now, but still isn’t  – and so he decides to hit the gym before he has to attend his first class at university. 

”Good morning, darling.” She hands him a glass of juice while he grabs a plate. ”Couldn’t sleep again?”

”Yeah,” Mew sighs heavily and ads some fruits and vegetable to his plate. He shouldn’t eat anything else before his workout, otherwise he might get sick on the treadmill. ”I don’t know what this is. No matter how late I go to bed, I’m still up at seven or eight. It’s annoying.”

”You slept in when Gulf was over,” his mother points out and Mew hopes he doesn’t blush too much. Yes, they slept in and only woke up when they had been woken up at eleven, but his mother surely doesn’t need to know about the passionate interlude very early in the morning.

”I guess I’m used to Gulf sleeping next to me now. We’ve fallen asleep around and on top of each other since the workshop.” There, that’s innocent enough, right?

”He hasn’t been over since your birthday.” Ain’t that the truth, Mew thinks but doesn’t want to get into this topic with his mother. He misses Gulf and if Mew had his way they would not spend a single second apart, but that’s neither realistic nor healthy. Especially because Gulf needs time alone to recharge; it’s written in his personality the same way the extreme clinginess is part of Mew.

”He has to work all day at his internship and then arrange all the other work for the show around it. Last night he called me around midnight just to ask what I’m thinking about some endorsement deal he got offered. He wanted to know what I think,” Mew explains to his mother. He likes that Gulf always wants his opinion about the solo projects and deals he is offered. ”And then he plays video games to relax in the evening and I just started acting classes and dance classes again… It’s a lot.”

His mother nods but looks contemplative. ”You know I don’t mind if he’s staying over and neither do your father or your sister. And if you you’re staying at his place, just let us know so we don’t worry. But what I really wanted to say is that you should make sure to get some time together. I know how much you like him and it’d be a shame if it didn’t work, because you’re not making each other a priority. Why don’t you take him out on a date?”

Mew is touched by his mother’s words and by how much she cares. ” Thank you, ma. And I’d love to take him out. I think I’ll just ask him when he’s free.”

”He’s a good boy and he’s good for you. He makes you less tense and calmer. You’re not as hot headed anymore these days.”

”He hates it when I lose my temper,” Mew admits chuckling. ”Khun Phi stop yelling and being angry or I’ll slap you!” Mew mimics Gulf’s words that are always just as angry and loud as his own. ”But I really have to go now. See you tonight, ma.”

”See you tonight. Take care and say hi to Gulf from me, if you talk to him!”

”Will do. Bye!” With that Mew grabs his gym bag, his backpack, car keys and wallet and leaves.

 

***

 

Later that day, during his lunch break Mew actually manages to give Gulf a call, after Gulf line texted him a couple of times before, which Mew takes to mean that Gulf has some time.

”Hey, Mew. What’s up?”

”I just wanted to ask you something really quick. You have second?”

”Literally a second. There’s a meeting in five minutes I have to attend,” Gulf sounds stressed.

”Alright, then I make it quick. I just wanted to know if you’re free today in the afternoon or evening? I’d like to take you out and because I don’t have dance or acting classes, I could just skip my studying…” Mew trails off and waits.

”You could have texted.”

Gulf’s reply makes him roll his eyes. Typical. ”I also wanted to hear your voice.”

”Sap,” Gulf giggles.. ”But I’m sorry, I can’t tonight or tomorrow. They have a shoot scheduled and I have to be there and help with the set-up. How about the day after tomorrow?”

”I have acting class after uni, so from nine to eleven pm.”

”Mhpf,” Gulf makes.

”Agreed. Should I have my manager call your manager so they can schedule some time for us? Seriously, this is ridiculous,” Mew tries to joke, but his frustration is clearly audible.

”Sorry, boo.” There’s some voices in the background on Gulf’s side, but Mew can’t make out what’s being said. ”Listen, I gotta go. I’ll check my schedule later and we’ll find some time, ok? Don’t sulk! Bye!” Before Mew can reply Gulf has hung up. Mew stares at his phone screen, a pout on his face, but  it’s not like he can change much. He’s as busy as Gulf.

 

***

Hour 5502

 

It’s after university, but before his dance class that Mew checks his social media for the first time and what he sees there doesn’t sit right with him. Apparently Gulf is not as busy as he pretended the day before. He’s posting about getting juice ad joking with Mild that he could bring him some. Looks like he has time to hang out with Mild if he wants to, but now with Mew. Mew comments with some random ”Mmh” comment that Mild replies to after seconds, wondering what’s going on, while Gulf just ignores it. 

When dance class is over he has five missed calls from Mild and a worried text from the same sender, but absolutely nothing from Gulf. His annoyance becomes anger and he throws all of his clothes and other stuff into his gym bag and leaves the studio without showering. He needs to get away from people before he can blow up at them about something they have nothing to do with.

At home he doesn’t just shower, but takes a bath for once, adding a bath bomb with some calming and relaxing scents – at leasts that’s what it says on the wrapping. Lying in the tub he tries to read at first, but finally gives up and just closes his eyes. Mew’s glad he left his cellphone on his desk, because he knows that if he’d brought it to the bathroom, he would check it every five seconds.

Now, Mew knows that he means as much to Gulf as he means to him, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still feel angry and slighted whenever Gulf doesn’t act as caring as Mew does. If he’d had a second to spare, he would call Gulf. And if he had time to stop by the food stalls and get fresh juices, he would have called Gulf and asked if he wanted one as well, no matter where he was in Bangkok. However, Gulf is different; less complicated, more straightforward, simpler. He had time, he wanted juice, he got juice, end of story. In his head Mew knows that and he knows it’s ridiculous that he’s making such a big deal out of it. In his heart though, his insecurities rear their ugly head again and make him feel unsure and unloved.

Mew gets out and rinses the suds off, before he takes his sweet time  applying body lotion, shaving and brushing his teeth. Looking in the mirror, he notices that he needs another injection of botox and maybe some facial treatment as well. His schedule is giving him bags under his eyes and wrinkles that remind him of his real age, which he does not like one bit. He likes to pretend he’s much younger, about Gulf’s age. Someone who is just starting out in the business and has all the time in the world to build his career and make money. Sadly, that’s not the reality for him: He only has a couple of years left until he can’t be cast in any BL series anyone, at least not as a romantic lead. Until then he needs to be established as an actor and whatever else he wants to be. He needs to have enough fans to get good endorsement deals and therefor make good money. He can’t live with his parents forever and at some point he needs to be able to support himself financially as well as support his family, no matter what kind of money his parents have, that he will inherit one day. He’s supposed to add to the family fortune, not spend it. And if Mew has his way then he will earn his living in the entertainment industry, not as an engineer. That’s why he works so hard to achieve his dream, he simply can’t allow himself to fail. He needs to be a better actor, better singer better dancer, better entertainer, better director. He needs to have more fans, more roles, better roles and better offers. It’s what he wants, but it’s exhausting to fight so hard for it every single day, when all he wants sometimes is just some rest, just for a couple of days. But his dreams of a vacation can’t keep him from achieving his dream of fame, fortune and making his family proud at the same time.

Back in his room he shares his thoughts when he tweets ‘I’m tired’ before he grabs one of the research articles he still needs to read. The message is layered, which most people won’t pick up on. 

His phone keeps distracting him and when Mew checks, he sees that his tweet caused quite the stir. Looks like Mild and Run picked up on the fact that the message is not as straight forward as it looks. They also hint that it has something to do with his earlier sulking.

 Reminded of harder and more tumultuous times, Mew quickly deletes his tweets. Some things don’t belong on Social Media as many people pointed out to him a while ago and he agrees. He apparently just hasn’t learned his lesson yet.

Mew is just done with his article when he gets another notification from twitter, which means that it has to be a post by someone he knows. ”Just got back from football. Don’t know what happened, but goodnight,” Gulf has tweeted at him and added a photo of his hair in a funny palm tree style, the way Mew used to put it during workshop. It makes Mew smile, even though he doesn’t want to. He loves this look on Gulf, mainly because he was  the one who has come up with it, which makes him feel like Gulf is a bit more ‘his’ when he wears his hair like this.

Mew wants to call Gulf and talk to him,  but then decides against it. He’s still sulking and Gulf most likely won’t miss his call anyway, otherwise Gulf would have called him earlier when he had time.

 So he goes to bed, reads a bit and every now and then glances at the picture Gulf posted, before he finally falls asleep. The night will be over way too soo for him anyway.

 

***

 

Mew’s in his car and on the way to class when his phone rings the next morning. 

”Hey, boo,” Gulf greets him with a large smile.

”Hey,” Mew replies but doesn’t take the face mask off, which he is still wearing after getting gas. With the Corona Virus, flue season and his own barely cured bronchitis behind him, Mew is better safe than sorry these days.

”Are you still mad at me?” Gulf wants to know and has the guts to chuckle at him.

”I don’t see how that’s funny?”

”I don’t even know what the problem is. That’s why I’m laughing,” Gulf explains his amusement, but Mew can’t agree.

”You said you had no time when I asked you out, but then you’re getting juice and playing football?”

”The shoot yesterday got cancelled and I had some time. I knew you had dance class scheduled, so it didn’t make any sense to ask you to join me. And I haven’t played football in so long. I fear I’m getting fat if I continue skipping it. Also it was nice to see all the guys again.”

”Nice,” Mew repeats. So Gulf prefers all of his friends to him. That’s good to know.

”Mew, come on. This is stupid. I promise we’ll find some time soon, ok? I have to go and shower and get ready now before I’m late for my internship, Ok? We’re good?”

”Mmh,” Mew makes. He doesn’t want to fight, but neither is he really able to let it go.

”Good. I’ll talk to you later. Love you!” With this Gulf hangs up. His last words are nearly enough to make Mew forget he was ever mad at all. 

Traffic continues to be a nightmare and so Mew sees it when Gulf sends out another tweet. It’s a screenshot of their conversation just now and  Gulf tells him to stop sulking and that he’s sorry.

‘Finish your breakfast and hurry to work’, Mew replies while absolutely nothing moves on the streets.

‘Don’t tell me that I’m late!’ comes Gulf’s reply.

‘You are the one who is being late,’ Mew replies and then finally, finally the cars in front of his move and he can continue his way to university.

 

***

 

To his biggest surprise, later in the afternoon when he’s home studying, Gulf really calls him and asks him to pick him up from his internship and have dinner together. 

They go live during yet another traffic jam, because Gulf had tweeted that he’s being kidnapped by Mew. They bicker their way through the live and turn it off then they get close to their chosen restaurant.

”See, now it’s been me who asked you out,” Gulf smiles proudly from across the table as they wait for their drinks.

”You should. You have something to make up for.”

”Are you still sulking?” Gulf seems to find this highly amusing. ”I still don’t really get what the problem was.”

”I just felt … ignored or slighted or something when I realised that you had time after all and didn’t think of telling me or coming to see me or even call me.”

”I thought of calling you, but I knew you were busy. And because I was free and I knew you didn’t have time, that’s why I made other plans. You’re still my number one, ok?”

Now Mew has to smile. ”Ok,” he nods.

”Can we drop this now?”

”Yes.”

”But Mew, you really have to stop thinking like that. I really don’t know what more I could do to make you believe me that I really like you.”

”I know,” Mew sighs. ”It’s not you, or anything you did or do. It’s me and my past experiences. So far people always lost interest in me and then I was left behind or they cheated.”

”I know, you told me before. But I’m not them. And just… you know how hard it is for me to talk to others or realise things. How do you think I’d meet someone I could cheat on you with? Have you thought of that? They could hop naked onto a table in front of me and I’d probably not even notice because I’m too tired. And if I did notice… It’s just weird.”

Mew can just picture it and the scene playing in his head makes him laugh. ”You’d blush bright red and then leave as quickly as possible. Or make some weird joke.”

”See! But no cheating,” Gulf chuckles and squeezes his hand lying on top of the table for a second, before he lets go again. They are in public after all.

”No cheating,” Mew nods. ”But I actually wanted to talk to you about something else.” Gulf looks at him, giving him his full attention and so Mew continues. ”We really have to come up with a system for some time together. I don’t know what that could look like or how it could work, but it’s driving me crazy that I never know when I’ll get to see you alone again. Work is work and it’s amazing to have you there, but I need ‘us’ time, too.”

”I was thinking the same thing last night.”

”I just don’t know how. Like do we agree on a certain ‘date day’ or insist one free evening a week together or… I don’t know.”

”I think we should start our daily phone calls again to say goodnight and talk about our days. And then we should have sleepovers whenever possible. I don’t know about dates and all that, but  we could get some take out, play some games, watch some movies, have sex. You know, couple things.”

Mew chuckles again. ”Ok, how about we block at least one night a week for us?”

”Only one? That means we’ll sleep apart for six nights?” Now Gulf is whining.

”Two? And then see how it goes with work?”

”Better.” Gulf nods and leans back into his seat as their drinks come.

”To us,” Mew lifts his glass.

”To at least two nights a week,” Gulf smiles and they clink their glasses to seal the deal. ”And now tell me about your acting class and how it goes!”

 

***

Hour 5550

 

They are just having breakfast together in Gulf’s condo when both of their cellphones go off, nearly at the same time and their managers call. Gulf is already in the bedroom talking to Best when Mew picks up and listens to what Boss has to say.

All four agree that it’s easiest to meet at Gulf’s condo, since it concerns both of them and Mew asks for enough time so he can get there, leaving aside the fact that he woke up at said apartment. 

”Do you know what’s going on? I just checked twitter and Instagram, but beside the usual mewgulf madness there’s nothing wrong,” Gulf asks him as he comes out of the bedroom and sees that Mew is also done with his call.

”No idea, Boss was very vague on the phone. But you’re right, it’s strange that they want a meeting with all four of us. Last time that happened the whole thing with that stupid picture went haywire.”

”Urgh, don’t remind me.” Gulf lets himself falls back into his chair.

”Come on, finish your breakfast. We have enough time to clean up a bit afterwards and shower before they get here. I just have to hide my overnight bag.”

”And your toothbrush and assortment of skin care products  in the bathroom, in case one of them needs to use it,” Gulf reminds him.

 

***

 

Both Boss and Best get there at the same time, making Mew wonder if they came together.  They sit down on the chairs opposite the couch where Mew and Gulf are waiting for whatever they have to say.

”P’Best, P’ Berm and I got talking a couple of days ago and there’s something we have to talk to you about.”

”Did something happen? Is something wrong?” Mew worries.

”We have noticed that over the last couple of weeks the two of you have gotten even closer. And while in general that’s a good thing, we also noticed a change of tone during your lives and the messages on social media that you write yourselves.”

”Huh?” Gulf has no idea what they mean, while Mew has an idea where this is going. It’s dawning on him that they might be in some serious trouble.

”Mew, you let ‘Tua-eng’ slip at least five times over the last week,” Boss points out.

”And you, Gulf, wrote ‘boo’ in three of your comments and messages online.”P’Best adds.

”So?” Gulf shrugs. He doesn’t say the word ‘fan service’, but his demeanour kind of implies it.

”Let’s cut to the chase here: What is going on between the two of you?” P’Best is done beating around the bush.

Boss looks at Mew, Mew looks at Gulf, Gulf meets Mew’s eyes for a second and then looks P’Best dead in the eyes. ”We’re together. A real couple, I mean. No fanservice.” He finally says and Mew is so proud of is boyfriend that he places a hand on his knee and squeezes it.

”Have you lost your damn minds?!” P’Best exclaims and looks from one to the other with a less than pleased look on his face.

Boss groans loudly, hides his face in his hands and slumps in his chair as the tension in the room mounts quickly. ”We’re fucked!” 

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 13

 

Hour 5551

 

Mew can feel Gulf’s eyes on him as they take in their managers shocked expressions. Gulf has made the first step by telling them that they are really a couple, now it’s apparently Mew’s turn to continue this conversation.

”It’s not like we have a choice,” he finally says with a small, helpless shrug.

”Not a choice?” P’Best repeats and shakes his head. 

”We feel what we feel. We didn’t plan on this to happen. To be frank, it was the last thing I wanted to happen, but…” Mew shrugs again and gesticulates helplessly in Gulf’s direction, like his looks alone would explain everything. And really, it’s beyond Mew how anyone can not fall for Gulf once they get to know him better. His boyfriend is so much more than just his pretty face.

Bosser’s face is still hidden in his hands, but Best sighs deeply and sits up straighter than before. ”Listen, it’s not like we hadn’t feared this could happen for a while now, but to be honest I hoped that you had more common sense after what happened the last time.” He is looking directly at Mew as he speaks. ”N’Mew, you’ve been in this business long enough to know what will happen to you if this gets out. The press will rip you apart, both of you. There won’t be any career left after that, not  for you but also not for N’Gulf. You will be the predator who molests and seduces his co-stars and Gulf will be painted as the guy gullible enough to give in to you, which will set him up for all kinds of sexual molestation that is already a problem in our business. What happened to your promise to protect him?” Now Best is raising his voice slightly, frustration swinging with every word he says. ”I trusted you Mew, I told Gulf and his parents to trust you and now this happens?!”

Mew is lost for words, because Best is putting every doubt he ever had into pointed accusations. The doubts had been gone for a while, ever since he let Gulf convince him that this was right and they were right for each other and they would make it work, no matter what. But now all the doubts come back full force in the form of Best’s voice and accusations. He’s right. Mew knows better, he knows how the entertainment industry works and he knows what Gulf will have to face, if their relationship ever becomes public. Only the thought makes his breath hitch. Suddenly he feels sick.

”Enough!” Gulf speaks up. ”You make it sound like he seduced me or something and I had no say in this. I am a new actor, but I am not an idiot! I know what could happen even when you all think I’m some tall baby who can’t think. I talked to my mom about this. I talked to my dad. They all told me to go for it!”

”Your parents know nothing about how ruthless the public eye can be. You think the thing with your ex was bad? Gulf, it’ll be nothing compared to the shitshow that will go down if this gets out.” Best points between them. ”You want to be an actor? Then this has to stop.”

For a long moment there is silence. Gulf is glaring at P’Best, Boss is slumped in his chair and Mew is barely keeping his own panic at bay. He doesn’t know what to do? Is it better for Gulf if they break up now? Should they keep hiding it? Pause their relationship until season 2 is done and dealt with? What options do they realistically have? Yes, he has fucked up by giving into his feelings, but Mew doesn’t know how to change it now, how to make this all better for Gulf.

”Boss, you agree with him?” Gulf breaks the tense silence.

”I’m not your manager Gulf, but I understand P’Best’s anger. Honestly, I think I’m having a panic attack thinking about this getting out.” He pauses and waits until Mew is looking at him before he continues. ”You’ll be done if this gets out. They will portray you exactly the way Best just said. You have to know that, Mew. Last time was a mess that took you nearly two years to recover from. Your career won’t survive another time.”

Mew can only nod. He knows all of this, but he wouldn’t think twice about dating Gulf, if it was only his career on the line. He’d choose Gulf any time. But he risked Gulf’s future by being with him and he doesn’t know how to forgive himself for that.

”I want to be a sports commentator, not an actor. That’s never been my final goal. It’s a way to get known and make money, but… it’s not forever. But even if… it’s a job, nothing more. This,” Gulf takes Mew’s limp hand in his as he speaks, ”is my private life and I won’t have you, or the fans or any fucking newspaper tell me who I can be with.” Gulf looks remarkably similar to Type now, with his eyebrows drawn together and anger radiating from him. He’s not yelling though, no, his voice is dangerously quiet. ”And if our relationship becomes public, then we will deal with it together. So if you came here to break us up, then you can leave, both of you.”

His monosyllabic boyfriend just delivered a powerful, albeit angry, speech to their managers who look as dumbfounded as Mew feels. ”And if you even think about breaking up with me because of any of this, I will kick your ass and then tell our mothers!” Gulf threatens and the picture of their mothers showing up to avenge Gulf and talk to Mew, makes Mew chuckle, even with all the guilt and panic he still feels. 

”Your families both know?” Best asks disbelievingly.

”Yes,” Mew confirms.

”Who else knows?”

”No one.”

”Good,” Boss nods and seems relieved.

”I think we should tell P’Mame and Mild so we have someone on our side during filming,” Gulf proposes and Mew lets out a surprised sound. Since when has his boyfriend become Mr. In Charge? Then again, now that Mew thinks about it, he realizes that ever since they met each other Gulf has always been the one to address the important issues: Their fights, their feelings, them becoming intimate… And people think Mew is the ”CEO” in this relationship and Gulf the baby, how wrong they all are. Mew slightly shakes his head, realising how upside down the assessment actually is. If anything his younger boyfriend, is the mature one, after all.

”I think that’s a good idea. What do you think P’Best?” Boss agrees.

”Mmh, maybe. Can you give a day or two so I can talk this over with Berm and come up with a strategy?”

”Sure,” Boss agrees.

”That’s all?” Gulf sounds grumpy now.

”Yes, for now. We’ll talk again soon.” Best tells them and all four men get up and make their way to the door. Once the managers are gone, Gulf drops Mew’s hand and swirls around. 

”Thanks for your help defending our relationship!” 

Mew knows he deserves Gulf’s anger, but at the moment it’s more than he can take. The panic is still very much simmering just underneath the surface. ”I’m gonna leave, too.”

”No, you’re not,” Gulf shakes his head. He grabs Mew’s sleeve and drags him back to he sofa. ”Stupid, sulky, pouting boyfriend,” he mutters. Mew is pushed back onto the sofa and Gulf straddles his lap. ”Do you love me?”

”Yes,” Mew replies without hesitation. This was never the question here. ”But…”

”No! I love you too, so get over it!”

”But what if…”

”We don’t know what will happen, so it makes no sense to worry about it. Like… We can’t change things we’ve done in the past, so we have to stop freaking out about them. And we don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, so no point in freaking out about it now.”

”Can I freak out if this ever gets out?” Mew asks quietly, only partially joking.

”Yes, but no breaking up because of it.” Gulf gives Mew a small smile that loosens the tightness in Mew’s chest a bit. He pulls Gulf towards him and hugs him tightly, hides his face in Gulf’s neck. He can smell the shower gel and the body lotion, a whiff of shampoo and Gulf’s very own, unique scent.

”If you ever want out because of any of this, just tell me. I’ll let you go without any drama, I promise,” Mew vows against Gulf’s skin.

The slap to the back of his head make Mew’s forehead bump against Gulf’s shoulder. ”Idiot,” Gulf grunts. ”I want you to fight for us, not give up.”

Mew takes the words in, thinks them over and places a kiss on Gulf’s neck in reply. Then he pulls back and winces, when he realizes how tense he still is. His shoulders, his back, everything hurts all of a sudden. ”Ah, I really need to work out again,” Mew mumbles and tilts his neck from side to side. Going to the gym always helps him dealing with his emotions and helps getting rid of the tension.

”Want me to give you a massage?” Gulf offers and  starts rubbing Mew’s neck.

”Mmmh… thank you, but no,” Mew shakes his head while Gulf rubs his neck with one hand. Usually his boyfriend’s hands on him are either relaxing or exciting him, but today he can’t shake the anxiety that still rages inside of him. 

”What can I do?” Gulf asks, picking up on his state of mind.

”I don’t know,” Mew admits. ”I’m feeling… restless,” Mew comes up with.

”How about we do what you just said and stop by the gym? You can blow off some steam, work out and show me some stuff. Maybe I’ll finally get some visible muscles.”

”You want a sixpack?” Mew has to chuckle and covers Gulf’s soft belly with his wide palm.

”Mmmh, might help me get more shirtless modelling jobs in the future.”

Mew knows he is being played when he sees the smirk on Gulf’s face, but he can’t help but react. ”No shirtless shootings for you!”

”Someone is being possessive, huh?”

”You know me.”

”Then come one, get up. You better stay in shape then.”

”Naughty Nong,” Mew rolls his eyes and then remembers something else, which makes him giggle.”Did you really threaten our managers with our mothers earlier?”

”Hey, they’ve been playing matchmaker long before we got together, so they were my safest bet. As if my parents would ever blame you for anything. They know I was the one to kiss you and talk you into it,” Gulf chuckles.

”You told them that?” Mew laughs.

”Sure.”

”What did they say?”

”My mom wasn’t surprised. My dad patted my on the shoulder and gave me an ‘atta boy’. They know you were too chicken to initiate anything.”

Mew gasps. ”I was not too…” 

Gulf shuts him up with a kiss. ”Stop arguing with me or I’ll rat you out to your mom later.  And now get your gym bag!”

With a loud sigh Mew gives in and hopes the dread he still feels won’t withstand a workout at the gym.

 

***

Hour 5640

 

All Gulf said to Mew was ‘Have a safe flight’ on social media and ‘I’ll miss you’ in private when Mew leaves for his fanmeet in Manilla.

He knows that the Corona Virus s kind of everywhere at this point and he’s read the news about mounting case numbers everywhere in Asia, Europe and slowly in the US. Everybody is talking about the start of a pandemic, about the symptoms and what to do to not get sick, but Mew has to travel. There is no Corona warning in Thailand or Manilla and he has no official reason to cancel the fanmeet, his flights or the hotel reservation. He’d lose a lot of money if he cancelled and, worse than that, he’d disappoint his fans. All of this doesn’t mean that he isn’t worried though.

He doesn’t want to be the reason anyone gets sick, not his fans,  not his family and not his boyfriend. He does everything he can to stay safe, from wearing a face mask basically all day to disinfecting and washing his hands constantly. His hands are rough and dry at this point, but it’s still better than the alternative. There aren’t  any hugs at the meet and greet, no physical contact at all and they are all as safe as they can be at this point. The trip has been cut shot to just one day.

It’s not enough, it turns out.

At least not for the people on social media and some of the press, who accuse him of being careless and risking Gulf’s health. They tell him to stay away from Gulf once he gets back, tell him to quarantine for at least two weeks. They insult him, blame him, even before he gets back. 

How can anyone think he’d risk the health of his parents and his boyfriend? Sure, they don’t know he’s his boyfriend, but still. It’s not like any of them stay home all day and hied inside from what he can tell. He clicked on some profiles on Instagram and found pictures of exactly those who call him a threat to Gulf, partying with their friends and getting drunk. How is that safer? But there is no point in arguing with these trolls anyway.

Mew knows all of that, and still, once he gets back he moves into his condo and tells his parents he will stay there for a while until he knows he hasn’t caught anything. They accept his decision and send food every day and a maid to clean up after him, even when he tells them that’s not quarantine conform.

Gulf is way harder to appease. 

”But Mew, this is stupid! I haven’t seen you in a week,” he whines into the phone when they video chat the night of fourth quarantine day. They didn’t have much time together after their talk with their managers before his trip.

”I know, but it’s to keep you safe.”

”Do you have any symptoms?”

”No, I’m fine, but I can’t risk it.”

”Mew, we have an award show three days from now. What are you gonna do then? Keep a mask on the whole time? Stay away from me?”

”I would if I could,” Mew adits grumpily.

”You don’t miss me?” Gulf is full on putting now.

”Of course I miss you. This is the longest we’ve been apart since…” Mew thinks about it.

”Since we’ve met. Even India wasn’t as long.”

”It sucks. But everything is already crazy again and the fans on social media,” Gulf interrupts him before he can continue.

”This is about some shit on social media? You’re refusing to see me because of some shit online? By people who don’t know anything?” Before Mew can reply Gulf has hung up on him. Mew’s first reflex is to call him again, but then he stops himself. The look in Gulf’s eyes before he hung up, hit him full force. Mew can’t place it, but it wasn’t good. Hurt somehow, disappointed, angry… all messed up and stirred well. 

Doesn’t his idiot Nong get that he is trying to protect him? From the Virus as well as from the stupid people online.

 

***

 

Later that day, in the early evening, Mew is lying in the bathtub trying to relax and also because he has nothing else to do. He doesn’t feel like working or playing a game, he can’t concentrate on a movie or a book and talking to his boyfriend on the phone isn’t an option either. He will call him later and talk to him again. They still have the agreement about not going to sleep when they are still fighting. But are they really fighting? Is that what Gulf hanging up on him means?

Mew sighs when he hears the apartment door open, knowing he has to get out of the tub, because the maid cleans the bathroom every day without fail.

He pulls the plug to drain the water and quickly dries himself before he wraps the towel around his hips. He is still surprised when he hears the bathroom door open, but it’s not the first time one of the maids sees him half-naked. 

It’s not the maid who makes him turn around by placing a hand on his naked waist. Instead he comes face to face with his boyfriend.

”Gulf,” is all he can get out before Gulf kisses him deeply. Mew responds, of course, because how could he not? - but the he remembers why he is even here at this apartment and slowly pushes Gulf back by his shoulders.

”What are you doing? You can’t kiss me! What if you get sick?!” Mew accidentally raises his voice at Gulf, shock and surprise makes him do it.

”Then you better play nurse the way Tharn did for Type!” Gulf wraps his arms around Mew’s waist. ”But I trust you and I know you’ve been safe. And Mew, if one of us gets this shitty virus then I’d rather spent all the time I got with you than apart. We can stay away from all friends and other people, but not from each other. We work together and we are together. No social distancing for us,” Gulf insists.

”What about our parents? Our families? When you go back home now you put them at risk, too!”

”I brought clothes with me and I’ll just stay here until after the award show. We would have seen each other then anyway.” Gulf shrugs and comes even closer, so the whole length of their bodies is pressed together.

”You can stay, of course you can. But nong, don’t make such decisions alone next time. Your health is no joke to me and this virus doesn’t seem to be a simple flue.”

”But you’re doing the same. You’ve made the decision to stay apart without even asking me first.”

”So you’re here to prove a point?” Mew feels himself getting angrier.

”No, I’m here because I missed you and because your plan sucks and you refused to talk about it. Also you’ve become more sulky every day. You’re starting to overthink everything again. I can see it when we’re video calling.”

Mew slumps forward and rests his forehead against Gulf’s shoulder for a moment. How is it possible that Gulf is oblivious to everything, just not the things Mew wants him to be oblivious about? ”I’m still thinking about what Best and Boss said.”

Gulf rolls his eyes and lets the towel around Mew’s hips drop to the floor. ”Let me distract you then,” he offers and his lips trail over Mew’s neck to his chest and slowly further down.

”Sex will only work for a while, but it won’t solve anything,” Mew tells him. It’s the truth, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t feel good.

”If you don’t shut up now, I’ll make you go without for as long as your stupid quarantine would have lasted.” Gulf is still grumpy, but shuts up to let his mouth do other things but talking.

 

***

Hour 5700

 

Before the award show the reporters bring up his controversial trip once more, but Mew knows now that they have no right to meddle in their business. They don’t ask Gulf if he feels threatened by Mew travelling or if he was opposed to it. They just assume, that Mew put him at risk and now has the guile to show up at Gulf’s side for an award show. Mew explains, tells them which measures he took to protect himself, his fans, his family and Gulf. Tells them that Gulf isn’t worried. Yet, it’s not like they actually listen to anything he has to say. Only Gulf’s stoic silence beside him and reassuring hand on his back keeps him calm and friendly.

Mew is glad when they are finally inside and get shown to their seats.

That’s when his crazy boyfriend strikes. Following the motto ‘Actions speak louder than words’ he sticks close to him all evening, touches his arm, fixes his hair and even hugs him. Gulf insists on feeding him his food. When Mew looks at him questioningly he shrugs and smirks a bit and Mew knows what Gulf’s thinking. What does a spoon full of food matter, when you basically spent the last two days having sex non-stop? And he’s right of course.

So Mew relaxes and lets his man guide him through the award show. When they win, Mew is the one who holds the speech, but it’s Gulf who holds his hand as they leave the stage. 

Best is with them the whole time and he has accepted that there is nothing he can do about it. Mew knows Gulf must have talked to him, because the manager actually apologised to Mew for his harsh accusations.

”Let’s go home?” Gulf whispers to Mew at the earliest time possible.

”Sure. We leave separately and meet back at my condo?”

”Yup, we still have to clean up.” Gulf agrees. ”You sure you wanna go back to your parents place tomorrow?”

”I have to. I need other clothes and I miss Chopper and my parents. I haven’t seen them since I got back.”

”I know. It’ll be harder to stay over though.”

”Why? You can always stay at my place, no matter where.”

Gulf thinks about it. ”Fine, but then lets make use of condo tonight. And celebrate… we can’t be as loud with your parents down the hallway.” Gulf smirks and Mew is sure he is trying to make him blush.

”Don’t worry about that, Tua-eng, my parents are on the other side of the house. They aren’t able to hear you. I’ll prove it to you,” Mew whispers back and laughs when Gulf blushes bright red. Mew pulls Gulf tightly against his side, making their fans scream loudly somewhere in the background. But neither man cares, because this night will be theirs alone. Their fans will have them back tomorrow.

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 14

 

Hour 5896

 

With the corona virus spreading more and more in Thailand as it is everywhere in the world, their own world starts to become a little bit smaller each day, Mew notices. Fanmeets out of the country get cancelled or are threatened of being cancelled, his university classes get switched to online more and more and even inside of Thailand one event after the next gets postponed. Even interviews are being talked about to be performed online soon. 

The only thing that hasn’t changed so far is that Gulf has to show up at his internship every day, which worries Mew. He doesn’t mind being more reclusive, he doesn’t mind working more from home, but he’d be even calmer if his boyfriend wouldn’t have to go to his internship every day.

Since Mew is staying with his parents again and  Gulf has to work, they see each other a lot less than before. Gulf even insisted that Mew cleared it with his parents that it was ok for them to meet at all. Of course, it was, his mother only insisted that they don’t see each other if one of them shows any symptoms.

 

”You are such a cheater, it’s not even funny!” Gulf snorts when Mew, admittedly, tries to cheat once more while they are playing Monopoly. It had been his sister’s idea and all the family plays together, Gulf included. Gulf puts his figure back one street.

Mew laughs about being caught. ”I’m not cheating!” he insists anyway.

”Now you’re lying as well. The dice says five, you were here and five means you land on my street, with two houses, which means you have to pay through your nose.” Gulf shakes his head in exasperation as he speaks, making Mew’s parents and his sister laugh. ”Has he always been such a cheater in games? He always does it. Always. Every game we play at any event, he always cheats.” Mew just keeps laughing and doesn't really feel embarrassed at all.not about the cheating and not about being called out about it.

”We let him get away with too much when he was younger. He hated losing and used to throw himself on the ground and scream until we gave in,” his father tells Gulf.

”You want to do that now, too, phi? Go ahead, just wait until I have the camera ready,” Gulf teases him and Mew pouts.

”Mean. Why are you so mean to me?” he whines playfully and pretends to hide his face in Gulf's shoulder, when it's really just an excuse to touch his man in front of his family. 

”Oh, it’s already starting,” his sister laughs.

”Poor N’Mew, doesn’t get away with it this time,” Gulf pats his head as he says it and makes everyone laugh again.

”Fine, how much do I owe you?” Mew gives in, knowing he won’t win this time and sits back up straight.

”Two houses on this street… that would be 35.0000 dollars, which you don’t have… meaning it’s game over for you,” Gulf tells him with satisfaction.

”But… but…” Mew’s pout gets more pronounced again and he moves closer to Gulf, hugging him from the side the time and places his chin on Gulf’s shoulder. ”But you’re my boyfriend and what’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine, which means that I don’t owe you,” he tries and sniff kisses Gulf's cheek.

”You are shameless, P’Mew. And by the way: We’re not married, so what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is yours, especially in Monopoly.” 

”Remember that when you steal my shirt again or make me pay for your food,” Mew mutters, not willing to give up yet.

”Oh, now it’s getting ugly,” Mew's father laughs. ”How about we stop here before our son really throws a temper tantrum in front of his boyfriend. It’s late anyway and you two boys have to get up tomorrow for the donations,” he reminds them.

”Urgh,” Gulf groans. ”When will Boss get here?” he asks Mew.

”Eight,” Mew lets him know.

”Whyyy? Why couldn’t you tell him some time in the afternoon?” Gulf whines.

”Because the hospital officials are waiting for us at ten and that’s the time they told us.” Mew lets him know.

”I’m proud of you two to donate all the money from the birthday merit to the hospital for the covid patients and also the food you will be handing out tomorrow. It’s a good thing to give back, especially during these hard times,” Mew’s mum compliments them and packs up the game. ”Good night,” she tells them then and gives each a kiss and a hug.

”Good night,” Mew’s father hugs them both good night as well before following his wife and Chopper.

”I think I’ll head up as well. I want to try out new recipes tomorrow,” his sister heads off to bed with another hug.

”Bed?” Mew turns to Gulf who nods and gets off the sofa as well.

”Guess I found out now, where you get the constant hugging from,” he whispers to Mew, which makes him laugh.

”You don’t like it when I hug you?” Mew asks just when they reach his room.

”I do. But your whole family hugging me all the time now? Weird."

”Should I tell them to stop?”

”No! I’ll… I’ll get used to it,” Gulf decides and starts taking off his jeans.

”You have to if you’re staying over more and more. You’ve been here the whole weekend and you’ll stay tomorrow as well for the donation day.”

”You’re sure your parents don’t mind? We could have stayed at the condo,” Gulf mutters and pulls his t-shirt over his head.

”They like having you here. And even Chopper doesn’t try to bite you anymore.”Mew says like his dog not biting anyone is a sign of love.

”Your dog is a spoiled devil,” Gulf rolls his eyes.

”Don’t insult my baby,” Mew is back to pouting.

”You’re gonna join me in the shower or you shower afterwards?” Gulf ignores it by changing the topic.

Mew smiles when he hears the offer and wraps his arms around Gulf’s naked waist. ”I’d love to shower with you, but I haven’t worked out yet today and I need to get some crunches and sit-ups in before bed.” He kisses Gulf quickly, before he can tease him some more. ”And we also have to get up tomorrow and it’s already late.” He adds when he breaks the kiss. ”I’ll make it up to you tomorrow?”

Gulf chuckles and pecks his lips once again. ”Make it up to me? I was just talking about a shower, nothing more.” The way Gulf walks towards the bathroom says something else and Mew gets his conformation when Gulf steps out of his boxer shorts in front of the bathroom door and looks at him over his shoulder, checking if Mew sees him and throws his discarded underwear at Mew.

”Tease! Go shower!” Mew laughs and throws a pillow after his boyfriend, that only hits the closing door though.

 

***

Hour 6060

 

Two days after making the donations, the state of emergency is declared in Thailand due to Covid-19 and Gulf’s internship is finally switched to working from home. And while Mew feels incredibly relieved, Gulf also moves back to stay with his parents for the time being. It makes a lot of sense for work, for money and for food, but it also means that Gulf won’t be around as much.

”Are you coming over tomorrow?” Mew asks him during their nightly phone calls. ”You don’t have to work and we still have to talk about the event in the evening on Friday.”

”Sure. We haven’t seen each other all week and we have the Lazada interview thing,” Gulf agrees immediately and fluffs the pillow behind him.

”It’s weird not seeing you as often,” Mew says out loud what he’s been thinking for the last couple of days, each day a bit more often. For a moment Mew allows himself to let his eyes roam over Gulf’s naked chest. If he didn’t know that Gulf always sleeps just in his boxers and without a shirt, he’d think he’s teasing him on purpose.

”I guess that’s what would have happened without the pandemic, if Tharn Type wouldn’t get another season. I mean, nearly everything is postponed now, but we know it’ll be coming.”

”Mmh, this kind of enforced the two nights a week rule on its own,” Mew chuckles and refers to their agreement about how much time they should spend together.

Gulf wrinkled his nose and nods. ”Look, it’s still more time than I ever spent with my girlfriend, but feels like we’re apart all the time. It’s weird.”

”I guess, because we’ve spent nearly every day together for over a year at this point. Which is crazy when I think about it, because I don’t think I ever spent so much time with anyone beside my family.”

”What about, you know, him… for the other series?” Gulf wants to know and Mew isn’t quite sure if he’s simply curious or there’s something else swinging in his words.

”No. Workshop wasn’t as long and as intense. And we weren’t the main couple, so we didn’t have as many scenes or press events.”

”But you went on trips together and vacations.”

”Mmmh, but then there’d be weeks when we’d barely talk at all and wouldn’t see each other.”

”Okay.” Gulf nods.

”Okay?” His reaction makes Mew chuckle.

”Yeah, okay.  I win,” he smirks. So, it was jealousy, mew thinks with satisfaction.

”You always win, if one wants to compare you two, no matter in which aspect. Not that I am comparing you two, but… just saying.”

Now Gulf laughs. ”Aoooow, stop stuttering. I wasn’t serious.”

”Then stop asking such questions,” Mew laughs with him.

”Fine. So what did you do today?”

”I went with Chopper to get his fur trimmed and then to the vets. He’s still too fat and the vet says he needs to lose weight as soon as possible. He told me he should walk more and not be pushed around in his stroller.”

”Good luck telling this to your mom,” Gulf chuckles with a knowing look on his face.

”My sister joked that one of us needs to give her a grandchild before she stops pushing Chopper around in his stroller.”

”Just so we’re clear: You’re carrying the baby. I’m not getting an even bigger belly by getting pregnant,” Gulf deadpans and makes Mew laugh out loud.

”But you already have a belly. And what would the fans say? They expect you to be the wifey.” He teases back.

”Well, maybe then they would stop the wifey crap.”

”They also call you baby Gulf. You’re interested in stroller rides?”

”Oh shut up!” Now they are both laughing hard.

”Where was I? Oh yeah,” Mew continues once he has got a grip again. ”Then I had lunch with my sister and afterwards I worked on an article my professor wants me to write for one of the scientific journals. We want to see, if we can get it published there. So, yeah… that’s pretty much it. And you?”

”I edited videos all day and then organised the folders that they should go in, because they were a mess and one couldn’t find anything. Turns out two videos had already been edited but saved under a wrong name. Other than that I just went over some new offers with P’Best during my lunch break.”

”Anything good?”

”There are a couple of things that look ok. Lots of make up ads that pay pretty well. We just have to pay attention they don’t cancel each other out. I can’t promote one brand of foundation one day and another brand the next. It’ll look strange.”

”True,” Mew nods.

”Did Vogue also contact you? And have you decided yet about the mother’s day shooting?”

”Uh, no, not yet. My mom says she’ll do it if your mom does it.”

”Good, my mom said the same, so I guess we’ll do this. The other shooting is fine by me as well, if you haven’t signed yet.”

”I haven’t. We’re so behind on these things these day. I really have to go ahead and set up the studio so Bosser will get some help.” Mew sighs.

”Have you a least signed the Sketchers deal yet? Because, you know, if you don’t want it, for that amount of money I’ll do it gladly,” Gulf smiles.

”Yes, we signed that contract. It was pretty high on our priority list.”

”Good, so see you tomorrow then? What time should I stop by?”

”I don’t know, whenever you’re up and your parents can drive you. Or do you want me to pick you up?” Mew offers.

”I think that might be best, because I think my mom said something about having plans tomorrow? I don’t know.”

”You know, maybe you should get your own car. That would really make it easier,” Mew points out, and not for the first time.

”Actually a car was another thing we talked about today. I got offered a pretty good deal on one.”

”Really? What kind?”

”A VW, a big one with all the new stuff. My mom got pretty excited about it. She loves cars,” Gulf giggles.

”So, the new car would be for your mom, so she’d still drive you around, not for you?”

”What do I need a car for? I hate driving and when I have to work my mom drives me or P’Best does and when I go somewhere else I can always ask my boyfriend to be my chauffeur. He hates it when my other friends drive me around, because he trusts no one younger than himself. So, that means he has to drive me.”

”You really are such a spoiled brat, N’Gulf,” Mew laughs and rolls his eyes.

”So that’s a yes and you’re gonna pick me up tomorrow?”

”Yes, I’ll pick you up tomorrow. Around noon?”

”See you then. Good night!” Gulf waves, a large grin still on his face and then hangs up.

”I’m so fucking whipped, it’s not even funny anymore,” Mew mutters and puts his phone down, so he can go and take a shower before bed.

 

***

Hour 6104

 

”You two know that you two just cost me at least a year of my life with this interview, right?” Best tells them when they are backstage and alone after the interview is over. They are still having their make-up on, but at least they took their masks off now, which are ruined by foundation and lipstick. Mew didn’t even think about when their make-up artists out it on, but now that he sees it on their masks, he wonders what sense it makes to put in lipstick when their mouths are covered by masks.

”What? I don’t think we did too bad, even with the masks on the whole time,” Mew protests and really has no clue what Gulf’s manager means.

”Eeeeh, what did we do?” Gulf speaks at the same time.

”‘P’Mew should know that I’m not wearing a shirt when I go to sleep’,” Best repeats Gulf’s earlier statement.

”Hey, I saved us there by saying it’s about the video calls!” Mew points out, because he caught that slip up by his boyfriend.

”Yeah, because it’s better to admit you only wear a shirt for the fan lives, but not for your private video calls. Guys, that’s stuff even I don’t want to know!”

”Hey, I did this way before we got together. If you video called me before bed, I wouldn’t put on a shirt for you either.” Gulf lets him know and makes Mew chuckle.

”And ‘We are usually together’.” Best points out the next tidbit.

”What? It’s true. We work together all the time, so they can interpret it like that.”

”He wasn’t talking about work, he was talking about parties or staying at home!” Best playfully slaps the back of Mew’s head, like he wants to wake him up.

”Oh,” Mew says, when it registers with him that the older man might be right. ”But why are you slapping me? Boss isn’t even here to do it!”

”Consider it a slap from him.” Best grumbles exaggeratedly.  ”Also, making it obvious how often you eat together and what you order? Making even P’Off speechless with your weird flirting attempts? Bickering like an old married couple again? And what the hell happened to social distancing? You were explicitly told to keep some distance in between you two! You’re supposed to social distance and be a role models for your fans. You were getting closer and closer. Viewers don’t need to know you two woke up together this morning!”

”But we did,” Gulf shrugs. ”I forget to keep my distance, because it’s stupid and makes no sense. And Mew sucks at keeping his hands to himself all the time. We need to tie him up next time, so he won’t touch me,” Gulf makes them all laugh, even though it’s the absolute truth.

”I think we should just make it clear in the other interviews that we have too many events and interviews together to socially distance from one another, but that otherwise we are staying home.”

”Just, please, for the love of everything holy, don’t tell them you’re staying at each other’s houses. The pandemic is enough of a mess right now, I can’t take you two spilling the beans on top.”

”Fine,” they both agree. ”Can we leave now or do you have any other complaints?” Mew asks him.

”I’m done for now. I’ll send you the rest via Line when the first hashtags show up online.” Best snarks.

”Have a nice weekend anyway,” Gulf tells him, chuckling about his managers playful annoyance. It’s nothing new, just, ever since they confirmed their relationship to their managers, they have got more paranoid and more careful. What before would have been brushed off as skinship or fanservice, is now scrutinised in a different light.

”You too. And please stay at home! No dinner dates together for now, please!”

”Promise,” Mew nods and they all make their way to their cars and knowing there won’t be any fans around, Gulf can just hop into his boyfriend’s car and let him take him home the same way they came earlier that day: Together.

 

***

Hour 6250  

 

”Phi, are you done?” Gulf asks and keeps running his hand through Mew’s hair. Mew is currently lying on his sofa, his head in Gulf’s lap as he is reading a paper for university. Up until a few minutes ago, his boyfriend was happily playing a video game, but now he seems bored. 

”No,” Mew replies and Gulf keeps playing with his hair.

”You’re getting a pimple right here,” he points out and taps a spot on Mew’s forehead with one finger.

”I know.” Mew replies absentmindedly.

”Mew, can you stop reading please?” Gulf starts whining.

”Sure, I can stop. You're tired, you wanna go to bed?” Mew asks him and slowly sits up.

”No, I’m not tired. I’m…” Gulf struggles to find the right words. ”I don’t know. Restless maybe?”

”What do you want to do?”

”Want? Go outside, get some take out, play football, walk around… I just… I hate this curfew. I feel trapped.”

Mew chuckles. ”You never wanted to do any of these things at this time of night when we still could.”

”I know,” Gulf mutters.

”You know that the trap is in your head not in the curfew, right?”

”Doesn’t make me feel better, though.” Gulf is now pouting fully.

”How about we go outside and play some basketball. I can turn the lights on outside on the court ?” Mew suggests.

”Really?” Gulf’s face lights up with a large smile in seconds.

”Really.”

”The neighbours or your parents won’t mind? It’s kind of late.”

”It’s far back in the garden. No one will hear us,” Mew knows.

”Then come on, get your shoes!” Gulf jumps off the couch and tugs on Mew’s hand to get him to follow him.

”Slow down! I didn’t know you were that excited about basketball or I would have suggested it earlier.” Mew wraps both of his arms around Gulf’s waist from behind.

”Aoow, you can cuddle me later. Now hurry! I haven’t played any sports for weeks and I miss it. I could even teach you football right now.”

”Uh, no thanks,” Mew declines the offer and places a wet kiss on Gulf’s cheek before he lets him go. ”We’ll stick to basketball, so I stand a chance.”

”I’ll still kick your ass.” Gulf is pretty sure of himself. They are putting their trainers on before they hurry outside, now Gulf following Mew through the dimly lit garden. They round the garages and Mew disappears into one that holds the sport equipments to switch on the lights and get a ball.

”Here, catch,” he says and throws the ball at Gulf full force. To Mew’s surprise Gulf really catches it, then turns around and throws the ball towards the basket. He nearly scores, but then the ball bounces away at the last second. Quickly Mew sprints to get it and then scores his first point.

”Game on, Khun Phi, game on!” Gulf’s competitive side comes out as well as his poker face. Mew thinks it's s damn sexy to see him like this, all excited and competitive.

For a while they run around the court and play basketball, more or less according to the rules. They sprint, they block, they throw and jump. Then, however, Mew falls behind score wise and his cheating habit shows again. First, he tries to uses his height to his advantage, because that’s what usually helps him when he’s playing basketball. But he forgets that his boyfriend is actually taller than him, resulting in Gulf scoring two more times. That’s when Mew gets annoyed for real and all bets are off. He holds Gulf back my his pants or shirt, lifts him off the ground and attaches himself to his back, just to keep him from scoring. Gulf complains, laughs and pushes him away playfully, but Mew doesn’t stop.

Finally Gulf has had enough of his boyfriend's ridiculous antics and just when Mew wants to throw the ball, he starts tickling him mercilessly. Mew ends up on the ground, laughing like crazy and wiggles as he tries to get away from Gulf’s hands. He’s barely able to breathe when Gulf finally stops. At this point Gulf is straddling him on the ground, a proud look on his face.

”How did you like that, huh, Mr. Cheater?” he chuckles as well.

”I like this a lot,” Mew cockily smirks and runs his palms up Gulf’s thighs.

”Perv,” Gulf replies, but leans down and kisses Mew deeply. Mew’s hands wander up over Gulf’s hips and slip under his shirt and then up his back, feeling his warm skin. They are both sweaty and sticky messes, but that doesn’t stop them from kissing passionately in the middle of the basketball court, their tongues battling this time.

”We need a shower,” Mew says when he breaks their kiss after a while. He’s even more breathless now and horny as well. ”Or a bath.”

”Don’t care as long as it’s together,” Gulf nods eagerly kisses Mew passionately once more.

”You’re feeling better now, Tua-eng?” They both scramble off the ground and get the ball from where it has landed.

”Not yet,” Gulf raises both eyebrows as he eyes Mew’s crotch and makes Mew laugh out loud once more.

”Who is the perv now?” Mew comments, but Gulf doesn’t reply. He simply pulls him close by the front of his shirt, kisses him with tongue to shut him up this way, a sure indicator that he’s done talking for now. Gulf wants something else, and who is Mew to refuse him?

 

TBC

Chapter Text

Chapter 15

 

 

 

Hour 6420  

 

„You’re done in the bathroom?“ Gulf asks Mew, as Mew is walking towards where he is sitting on Mew’s couch, playing some game on his phone. 

„Mmh,“ Mew replies and throws himself down on the sofa next to him. While Gulf is wearing grey sweatpants and a black T-shirt, Mew is wearing black shorts and a neon yellow shirt. Both are barefoot, hair only blowdried but not styled at all and neither wears any kind of make-up. Quite the opposite, since Gulf’s face has several pimple patches stuck to it and Mew hasn’t shaved in two days, his stubble patchy and slowly becoming scratchy as well.

Mew takes his own phone and places his head on Gulf’s lap before he checks his text messages. Some of his manager, a couple from friends and one from his phone provider, telling him the next bill is available online.

 Mew can feel Gulf’s eyes on his face for a moment, and then Gulf suddenly sticks a pimple patch on Mew’s forehead, where he knows he needs one. Gulf has offered it the days before, but then they both forgot again. Now that the package is lying on the sofa next to Gulf, it seems that Gulf remembered.

„There,“ Gulf comments and presses it tightly to Mew’s forehead, making sure it won’t fall off.

„Thanks,“ Mew replies and turns his head to look up at him as he speaks. He finds Gulf giving him a little smile that is just wide enough so it lets his retainer show.

 Suddenly Mew is overcome by the hilarity of the situation and starts chuckling. His chuckles soon turn into full belly laughter as he keeps looking at his boyfriend, who wrinkles his forehead in confusion.

„Did you hit your head in the shower or why are you laughing like a mad man, phi?“ Gulf grumps when Mew just can’t stop laughing.

„No, it’s just…“ Mew has to stop again, because he is laughing so hard. „Look at us!“ He finally wheezes and wipes his eyes.

„What?“ Gulf doesn’t get it, even if he starts laughing with Mew, simply because he can’t help it.

„We’re here in our sweats, with pimple patches, retainers and glasses. Our hair is not done and neither of us has shaved. One week of curfew and the first weekend we spend together again and this happens. What’s next? We stop showering and fart in front of each other? Where’s the romance?“ Mew finally voices what he’s thinking. They behave like a couple that’s been married for forty years and not like a young couple, who should still make an effort to look their best in front of each other.

„You’re crazy P’Mew,“ Gulf says and runs his hand through Mew’s hair, trying to comb it a bit, but ultimately just messing it up even more. „We’ve seen it all.“

„All?“ Now Mew sits up, because he doesn’t agree with that statement.

„During workshop we were always just in sweats and I always wear my retainer around you. You’ve never complained before.And I’ve seen you sick, you’ve seen me throwing up once and with swollen hands and red eyes and I’ve seen you with a bloody nose and bags under your eyes…and you already drooled on me in your sleep during workshop when we only knew each other for like a month or two.“

„I’m used to your retainer,“ Mew replies and has to smile, because it’s true. For the first couple of months of their time together Gulf had rarely been without it. So much so, that Mew thought he looked weird when he saw him without it again for the first time when they started rehearsing the kissing scenes. „And I don’t drool.“

„And I like the glasses on you. They’re sexy and also it’s like… look, you only wear them at home or when there’s no fans or cameras. When you wear your glasses, I know that there’s no press around and we can act however we want. Right?“

„Right,“ Mew confirms.

„And you definitely drool in your sleep.“ Gulf insists. „Why do you think it’s weird that we are like this around each other?“

„Because we’ve been together for just about four months and I don’t know about you, but at this stage I usually still try to always look my best in front of my partner.“

„Yeah, me too, but I’ve never spent every day with my girlfriends before we got together. One I saw at school for some classes before we dated and some at like modeling jobs and stuff, but not like this with us,“ Gulf replies. „Do you think it’s a bad sign that we are like this?“

„I don’t know. I’m just so comfortable around you that I didn’t even think twice about walking out dressed like this with pimples and my glasses on.“

„It’s good, right? To be comfortable around each other?“

„If it doesn’t destroy the romance, I guess,“ Mew wonders.

„I still find you sexy, if that’s really what you’re worried about,“ Gulf shakes his head a little as he speaks, like he can’t believe he even has to say it.

„Same. You’re much cuddlier and softer this way.“ Mew wraps his arms around Gulf’s waist and pulls him close. „And you don’t leave make-up stains on my clothes when I hug you.“ Gulf laughs and Mew leans down to kiss him, just a peck. „Just kissing you is more difficult when you’re wearing the retainer.“ Mew chuckles.

„Teenagers manage somehow even when both of them wear them.“

„Or you could just take it out.“

„I could… Why? You wanna kiss me and make out now?“ Gulf smirks up at him.

„Hmpf… maybe I don’t want to kiss you anymore,“ Mew pretends to have changed his mind and pulls away from Gulf. Sometimes he’s just so done with the cheek his boyfriend has. Gulf can tease him endlessly, bicker with him and make him angry and pouty like no one else. Why can’t he ever just give in to him without arguing back or asking a lot of questions. For someone who used to be so quiet, Gulf is now asking questions all the time like a three year old, who always wants to know ‚Why?‘.

„Aoooow, don’t sulk Phi. Give me a second to take it out,“ Gulf complains and gets off the couch. He disappears into the bathroom for a moment and Mew can hear him brush his teeth and wash his hands before he comes back out. Gulf doesn’t sit back down next to Mew, but straddles his lap instead.

„We should go on a date or something,“ Mew thinks out loud and pulls Gulf closer, so their chests nearly touch. It feels nice to feel his weight against him, since he hasn’t seem him all week. Sure, they made up for it last night, but they had both been tired and haven’t really talked in person since last weekend. Even this morning during breakfast they were both too tired to talk much and now is the first opportunity.

„How? We can’t go out because of the public and because of the curfew.“

Mew thinks about it while he runs his fingers through Gulf’s hair on the back of his head. „How about tonight, we do something romantic?“

„We have sex all the time,“ Gulf deadpans and Mew gives him another ‚I’m so done look‘ before he slaps the back of his head, both of which makes Gulf chuckle.

„I was talking about romance not sex, Nong.“

„Fine, no sex for you tonight.“ Gulf rolls his eyes. „What’s the plan?“

„We order food and set it up like a candle lit dinner. And then we retreat to the living room with the large screen and watch a movie like on a date.“

„With your family and maids constantly walking in on us and Chopper barking in the background?“

Mew lets his head drop to Gulf’s shoulder for a second. Why does his boyfriend always have to be so realistic and unromantic. Why did he fall for him again? Sure, Mew’s  plan would be a lot easier at one of their condos, but they are here now and that’s what they have to work with. „The house is big enough and I’ll talk to them. My ma can keep Chopper away and I’ll make sure they’ll leave us alone.“

„I don’t want to limit your family in their own home, just because I’m here. They shouldn’t have to hide.“

„They won’t have to hide. Just stay out of two rooms for one evening.“ Mew knows that his family won’t mind at all. Most likely they will all help him make this romantic evening happen for them by decorating the rooms and setting up the table. His sister has a great eye for decorations and loves romance as much as he does, maybe even more.

„Or we could wait a week or so until we’re back at one of the condos.“

Mew is starting to pout because he fears Gulf’s hesitance might have another reason. „You don’t like the idea.“

„I do.“

„You don’t. You hate it. You don’t want a candle light dinner and a movie night with me.“

Gulf pulls him close by his ears and kisses him for a moment, just pressing his plump lips to his. He still tastes faintly of toothpaste. „Arrange the evening. But I get to choose the movie.“

„No action movie. No horror movies,“ Mew pouts even more now, just because he can. And because he wants another kiss. 

„A comedy?“

„Yes, but an American one. I hate the stupid word jokes in the Thai comedies.“

„Fine,“ Gulf gives in, even though Mew knows that Gulf loves the word games and tries them on him all the time – not that he ever gets it until Gulf becomes exasperate and points out to him what he was supposed to say or do so the joke would work.

„Or something else? Like a gay movie? We could watch ‚Call me by your name‘ again or ‚God’s own country‘.“

„Phi, I know you’ll only study their acting all night, if we watch either of these movies. You can show me that ‚God’s country‘ one another time, when I will actually pay attention to the movie. Don’t want you to get angry at me tonight when it’s a date.“

„Why would I get angry at you? What will you do when we’re watching the movie other than actually watching the movie?“ Mew asks confused.

Gulf chuckles about his obliviousness and decides to show his idiot boyfriend what movie watching at a date is actually like: He wraps both arms around his neck and then kisses him deeply.

 

***

 

„Nong? Nong, where are you?“ Mew calls out as he slowly wanders through the house, looking for his missing boyfriend.

After lazing around all afternoon, both of them either playing video games, reading or making out, Mew had talked to his mother and sister, who had agreed to help him out with his date plans. His mother had tackled ordering the food and getting clothes ironed for Mew, while his sister had set up the decorations together with him and had insisted on making dessert herself.

Once he was done, Mew had hopped into the shower and told his man to get ready as well and dress nice. Since then he hasn’t seen him. It is impossible though that Gulf is still getting ready, because Mew always takes so much longer in the bathroom.

„Ma, have you seen Gulf?“ Mew asks his mother when he is back downstairs in the kitchen and hasn’t found him yet.

„Yes, he’s with Chopper in Chopper’s room.“

„Oh god,“ Mew worries, because so far his dog barely tolerates his boyfriend and Mew is scared what the little devil would do to him. Gulf has been a good sport about Chopper’s behavior, meaning his constant barking and attempts to bite him, but who knows when he will have enough.

„Don’t worry. He has a plan,“ his mother laughs. „And he looks really nice, even if your shirt is a bit too large on him.“

„Why is he wearing my shirt?“

„He said you told him to dress nice and he hasn’t brougt anything by T-shirts. So I had one of your shirts ironed for him.“

Mew kisses his mother’s cheek. „Thank you, Ma.“

„You’re welcome. Enjoy your night and I hope you like the food. Tell Gulf I paid attention that there’s nothing in it that he’s allergic to.“ With another kiss on her cheek Mew walks off and goes to find Gulf. 

When he does, he finds him sitting on the floor in the living room that the family refers to as Chopper’s room, because he usually naps in there during the day. In front of Gulf is Chopper, who seems to wait for something and doesn’t even spare Mew a glance when he enters.

„N’Gulf, I’ve been looking for you. What are you doing?“

Gulf glances at him for a second and then focusses back on the dog. „Trying to bribe Chopper into behaving better. Look,“ Gulf tells him and pats the floor beside him.  When Mew has sat down, Gulf shows Chopper a treat that he is holding and then holds out his hand. To Mew’s biggest surprise the dog taps it with his paw and does it on the other side as well, when Gulf holds out his other hand. That’s when Chopper gets the treat.

„You’ve become the dog whisperer now?“ Mew smiles proudly at his man.

„I was bored because you take forever to get ready and Chopper was getting on my nerves with his barking. It was either train him with treats or kick his ass.“ Gulf chuckles and makes Chopper lie down before he gives him another treat.

„You wouldn’t dare to hurt my dog!“

„You would have never known because you were taking hours in the bathroom.“ Gulf turns on the floor so he is facing him. „Seriously, what do you do in there? Shower, five minutes including washing my hair. Getting dressed another five tops. Drying my hair another five and I’m done. Meaning I’m showered and ready after fifteen to twenty minutes, while you took close to two hours!“

„I’m here now,“ Mew shrugs, not willing to tell Gulf exactly why he always takes so long. There have to be some secrets left and Mew also fears Gulf will mock him endlessly of he ever finds out the full extend of his beauty regimen. Gulf has already made fun of him for what he’s seen so far and that’s just been the tip of the iceberg of lotions, serums, peeling and masks.

„You smell nice,“ Gulf compliments him and leans towards him, sniffing his neck.

„So do you. Guess someone did not only steal my dress shirt but also my aftershave.“

„Your mom said it’s ok,“ Gulf smiles.

„Of course it is,“ Mew confirms and pecks Gulf’s lips. He just wants to lean in again and kiss him for real when Chopper jumps in between them and starts barking.

„Hey,“ Gulf warns the dog, but Mew has already scooped him up in his arms and cuddles him. He just wants some attention, right? „Look, this is exactly why he’s behaving like this. You’re rewarding his barking by petting him.“

„I can’t help it. He’s my baby and so cute,“ Mew gushes and kisses the top of Chopper’s head.

Gulf laughs. „You want to have date night with Chopper? Then I’ll just go and change back into my sweats.“

Mew sighs. „No, let’s go and eat. Food’s already here.“ He pets his baby once more before he puts him down and then leads Gulf to the table they set for them in the dining room. There’s a white table cloth on there and his sister has dug out the crystal candle holders and put candles in them. The only other light in the room comes from the fairy lights they hung from the ceiling.

„Aooow, look at this.“ Gulf stops in his tracks when he sees the set-up. „You’re not going to propose, are you phi?“

The comment makes Mew laugh. „No, I’m not. I know you wouldn’t say yes.“ Mew teases him right back.

„You first get the dowry together and get the ok from my parents before you propose. Then I might think about it one day,“ Gulf snarks back and they both have to laugh. They’ve only been together for such a short time that even thinking about marriage is completely crazy, especially given how young Gulf still is.

„If I ever propose and you say no, I’ll tell the wanjais and send them after you.“

„I think they would truly pay the made up dowry if they think that’s what'd make us get hitched.“ Gulf sits down in the chair and Mew in the other, the candle light flickering between them.

„I truly think it's a fine line when it comes to them and our relationship. I believe some would be truly happy for us, if they knew we’re ‚real‘, but others wouldn’t like it that their fantasy becomes reality and at the same time destroys their idea that they will become our girlfriends one day. It’s kind of a weird role they’re giving us.“

„Mmh, like as long as it’s cute and pretend it’s cool to tease and make us do all kind of cutesy crap and love confessions, but when it gets too real it’s suddenly not okay anymore,“ Gulf nods. „But lets forget about that for now. We don’t have to worry about any of this, as long as this Corona mess continues.“

„Mmh, and also it’s not good date talk.“

„What’s date talk?“ Gulf wonders and crinkles his nose.

„Like… we should decide what we want to eat for one.“ Mew gets up again and pulls the cloth back that hides all the different kinds of foods his mother has ordered.

„What the fuck!“ Escapes Gulf when he sees the variety and amount of food that’s spread all over the other half of the large living room table.

„Mom didn’t know what we’d feel like so she ordered a little bit of everything.“

„You’re crazy! You know what I like.“

Mew shakes his head. „You’re not eating Pad Krapow again.“

„But it’s my favorite!“

„We have other of your favorites.“

„Fine,“ Gulf mutters and looks over the selection of food more closely, arms crossed in front of his chest.

Mew watches him for a while as he tries to make a decision. „I can still order it if you really want it. I want you to enjoy tonight. I’m sorry,“ he offers quietly, worried that he has already ruined their night by telling his mother not to order his boyfriend’s favorite food.

„P’Mew, calm down. I love this,“ Gulf tells him with a small smile on his face and pecks his cheek. „I’ll just eat a little bit of everything and see what I like best.“

„Good plan,“ Mew agrees, relieved that their night isn’t ruined after all. „I’ll do the same.“

 

***

 

Mew is halfway lying, halfway sitting on the couch, his head resting against Gulf’s shoulder as they are watching the movie. From time to time Mew tries to feed  Gulf some popcorn, but he keeps turning his head away.

„Eat some, Nong. I made it for you myself,“ Mew points out and holds another one up to his lips. Reluctantly Gulf opens his mouth and lets Mew feed him. Slowly he starts chewing and then his eyes widen.

„Oh, it’s not sweet.“

Mew rolls his eyes. „I know you don’t like sweet things. Why do you think the sorbet my sister made was so sour? This is salty popcorn.“ Gulf nods and stuffs his face with the popcorn all of a sudden, shoving a whole hand full of it in his mouth all at once. „Slow down or you’ll choke,“ Mew chuckles and holds the bowl away from Gulf.

The younger tries to go after it, but Mew presses him down with his body weight as he takes the bowl further away from him. Gulf, of course, knows how to get his way though and starts tickling Mew so he can get to the bowl of popcorn. Once he holds it in his hands, he throws one piece of popcorn up at Mew’s face.

„Catch,“ he giggles as the popcorn hits Mew’s nose. He knows there is no way Mew can catch popcorn with his mouth while he is still laughing about being tickled.

„You’re being naughty again, Nong. I arranged this whole date for us and made popcorn myself and you literally throw it in my face?“

„Hey, don’t get upset, Phi. I’m only teasing you,“ Gulf ruffles Mew’s hair as he speaks.

„Naughty, like I said.“ Now Mew is teasing Gulf. Gulf takes the bowl of popcorn and places it on the table in front of them before he turns around, sitting sideways on the sofa and faces Mew.

„Want me to make it up to you?“ Gulf picks the stray popcorn off the couch and holds it up to Mew’s face.

„You’re gonna feed me now?“ Mew asks, after he has carefully taken the treat from Gulf’s fingers and chews it.

„You want me to?“ Gulf’s eyes have become darker somehow, Mew thinks and he knows what that means. The not so subtle way Gulf’s eyes linger on Mew’s lips is another indicator that Gulf isn’t thinking about feeding Mew popcorn for much longer.

„Not really.“ As soon as Mew wraps one arm around Gulf’s shoulders, the younger is already leaning in. When Mew captures Gulf’s lips with his, the kiss is surprisingly tender and for a long while neither man tries to deepen it. It’s just soft brushes of the lips, sometimes their tongues which barely touch and gentle nibbles. Gulf changes his position slightly and once he has his hands free starts unbuttoning Mew’s shirt, just so his chest is as exposed at it usually is during fan events. When he slips his hands in, they are warm against Mew’s skin which is a welcome contrast to the cold air that blows down from the A/C over their heads.

„We’re missing the movie,“ Mew points out after a while, his forehead coming to rest against Gulf’s.

„We can finish it…. If you want to,“ Gulf replies quietly and kisses Mew again before he pulls back, their lips making a loud smacking sound.

„You wanted to watch it,“ Mew smiles, his eyes crinkling.

„Turn it off,“ Gulf decides and glides his hands over Mew’s chest again.

They are both quiet as Mew turns off the tv and they quickly straighten up the living room and take the rest of the popcorn and their glasses back into the kitchen.  They don’t switch on the lights as they climb the stairs, both now familiar enough with the outline of the house so that it’s not necessary.

Back upstairs in Mew’s room, they are quickly  in each other’s arms again. Mew’s lips press against Gulf’s. He parts them slowly then licks into his mouth as he feels his hot breath tickle his own mouth. The kiss deepens as their tongues chase and explore and Gulf unbuttons the rest of Mew’s shirt. He strokes it off his shoulders and Mew let’s it drop to the floor. For a while they simply kiss as Gulf explores Mew’s upper body with his hands. It’s something he does a lot, basically whenever he gets the opportunity to. Sometimes Gulf does it to arouse, other times simply to feel him and get to know him by touch, Mew has learned.

Mew wants to feel, too but he’s not as patient anymore, not that he usually is. He tries to unbutton Gulf’s shirt, but when he can’t get it open fast enough, he starts to pull at the fabric.

„Hey, you’re gonna ruin the shirt,“ Gulf giggles and breaks the kiss.

„It’s my shirt,“ Mew grumbles a bit, because he really has no patience for such discussions with his boyfriends. He wants this damn shirt off of him… now!

„Not anymore,“ Gulf replies cheekily and quickly unbuttons it himself until it’s open enough so he can simply pull it over his head.

„Lose the jeans, too,“ Mew requests and already steps out of his own pants.

„Yes, Khun Phi,“ the younger humors him, but keeps his boxers on when Mew is already naked.

„Gulf!“ His growl sounds as impatient as he feels, but Gulf simply gives him a push so he stumbles backwards on the bed.

„You wanted a romantic date night, so we’re taking it slow tonight.“ Gulf lies down on top of Mew, their whole bodies touching.

„Nong!“ The growl has become whine as he pushes his crotch up against Gulf’s so he can feel what he does to him, how desperate he already is.

„Top or bottom?“ Gulf asks and to Mew's biggest surprise pulls a condom and the lube out from underneath the pillow. „I can prepare a surprise, too. You did take forever in the bathroom,“ Gulf giggles when he sees Mew’s surprised look.

„Bottom.“ Mew pushes his hips up again and pushes Gulf’s boxer shorts down over his hips.

„Ok, then let’s get you ready.“ Gulf kisses him again, his tongue pushing in Mew’s mouth and plundering it in a way that stops him from thinking. All he can do is kiss back. When Mew hears the lube open, he finds some working braincells though.

„Already did. That’s why…“ He pants, breathless from the kiss.

Gulf answers with a loud groan. „We should have skipped the movie completely. We would have, if I’d known you'd got ready before,“ he lets him know. „You’re…“

Mew however is done with their discussions and bickering. He flips them over and sits up so he’s on top. „Stop talking!“ Who would have thought that he’d ever say that to the man who’d barely talked when they met.

They do stop talking when Mew sinks down on Gulf, taking him in and their mouths find each other once more.

 

 

TBC

Chapter Text

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

Chapter Text

Hour 6800

 

Mew is absolutely exhausted. He doesn’t think he’s ever felt such bone-deep tiredness in his life before. Whose fucking stupid idea was it to start setting up his own studio in middle of a global pandemic, while he had to finish his dissertation proposal and do promotions online for all kinds of products, without a team present since no-one was supposed to be in his house.

He’s so exhausted he even yelled at his boyfriend over the phone earlier in the day, when they had discussed their next interviews and Gulf had disagreed with him on a minor detail. Mew had lost it, pretty much in the same intensity like he had exploded when they’d first known each other. His temper had flared and he had cursed and yelled at Gulf over the phone, causing the younger to tell him to „calm the fuck down“ and hang up on him. This had resulted in Mew smashing his phone against the wall, a move that cost him dearly at the store just now, when he had hurried out to buy a new one before curfew hit again.

He’s also texted Gulf a short ‚I’m sorry‘ to which his Nong hasn’t replied yet.

It’s just before ten, shortly before curfew starts and Mew takes his shoes off as he enters his house, bag with his new phone in hand. He throws his mask into the laundry room and quickly washes his hand before he makes his way upstairs to his room. He wants a hot bath, he wants his fluffy pyjamas and, if he had one more wish, he’d want his boyfriend with him to hold him and cuddle him as he falls asleep. They haven’t seen each other in person for the last seven days, which doesn’t help with his overall mood. However, with the way he talked to him and with curfew a few minutes away the hot bath will have to do.

„What are you doing here?“ escapes Mew when he enters his bedroom and finds Gulf sitting on the floor in front of his bed watching tv.

„Want me to go again?“ Gulf replies and raises one eyebrow.

„Curfew is in four minutes, you wouldn’t make it home.“ It’s apparently the wrong thing to say judging by Gulf’s expression.

„I’ll go to the guest bedroom downstairs.“ Gulf gets up and shuts off the tv. When he tries to walk past him, Mew gently stops him by grasping his arm.

„I’m sorry,“ Mew tells him quietly.

„Mmh,“ Gulf just makes and nods his head once. „You’ve already eaten?“

„I had a sandwich in the afternoon.“

„I thought maybe you left to get some food.“

„No, I had to buy a new phone.“

Gulf looks down at the bag Mew is still holding. „Old one’s not working anymore?“

„No,“ Mew admits sheepishly, „I smashed it against the wall after you hung up on me.“ Mew feels the anger bubble up again inside of him. He doesn’t want to be angry at Gulf, he knows he has no real reason and he’s also simply tired of being upset and angry all the time.

Gulf shakes his head slowly and his eyes bore into Mew’s. He’s assessing him, trying to figure out what’s going on.

„Wanna eat something? Your mother left us some curry in the kitchen,“ his boyfriend then changes the topic.

„Later. First I really want a bath,“ Mew admits.

„You look tired. Go take a bath, I’ll get us something to eat,“ Gulf offers and wants to move, but again Mew holds him back by still holding on to Gulf’s shirt sleeve. 

„Take the bath with me?“ Mew’s voice is quiet, soft and pleading. It suddenly feels unbearable to be away from Gulf for even just a second.

„Sure. Come on, boo.“ Gulf leads him into the bathroom and takes over. Usually it’s Mew who looks after his Nong, but this time Gulf lets the water into the tub, chooses the bathing oil and even undresses them both while Mew is just standing there and lets it happen. Mew likes being in charge, but now, in this moment, he likes being taken care of by the person he trusts the most.

The roles are switched to the point that Gulf sits behind Mew and lets him rest against his chest.

Immersed in the warm water  and with Gulf’s arms around him, Mew lets out a content sigh as the  tension seems to flow out of him.

„Why are you so angry? It’s been going on for a couple of days,“ Gulf breaks the silence and runs his hands through Mew’s damp hair.

„I’m just exhausted. I’ve been working non-stop since you left last week. It’s hard to find  people who I like and trust and who are capable for the studio. All the photoshoots which take forever because of all the safety precautions… I think I haven’t slept more than four hours each night.“

„Can’t leave you alone,“ Gulf says and Mew can hear the teasing smile in his voice, he doesn’t need to turn around. 

„So you just have to stay,“ Mew shrugs and really likes the idea of Gulf staying with him again.

„Brought my work laptop with me and some clothes, so I can stay at least until the Woody interview.“ Now Mew turns around because he just has to kiss Gulf for his answer. He has the absolute best boyfriend ever.

„You’re the best,“ he tells him so.

„Don’t you forget it again. You know I hate it when you yell at me,“ Gulf reminds him of his earlier behavior after Mew breaks the gentle kiss.

„Aooo, I already said I was sorry,“ Mew pouts.

„Just wanted to tell you again.“ This time Gulf pecks his lips, but then untangles from Mew and gets up. He steps out of the tub and into the shower to rinse off then suds. „You stay. I’m just gonna get the food. Just don’t falls asleep on me while I’m gone,“ Gulf lets him know when Mew moves to get up as well.

When Gulf comes back they eat nearly in silence; Mew is too tired to concentrate on two things at the same time and Gulf is just being himself.

They put the empty plates on the tray in the hallway outside Mew’s room and relax back against the bed, the tv playing  but Mew isn’t watching whatever Gulf has put on.

„Gulf?“ Mew asks, because he has to. He’s dead tired but too antsy to sleep because he knows he needs to speak – he promised.

„Hm?“ Gulf turns his head in his direction and lowers the volume of the tv.

„I just… I know you don’t like me being too cheesy and I’m already too clingy on a good day,“ Mew starts slowly and quietly and can barely look Gulf in the eyes. „But, I liked this today and I really needed it, you know, you taking care of me and coming here.“

„You could have had this sooner if you had said something. Instead you yelled at me over some stupid shit and I realized something’s off. i feel like we’ve had this talk a thousand times before, but I can’t look inside your head and I can’t know you look like the walking dead cause you’re so tired when we don’t see each other.“

„I’m your Phi, I’m supposed to take care of you and look after you, Nong. I get  embarrassed when I feel so needy.“ Mew is staring at his comforter again, but Gulf wraps one arm around his shoulder and makes him tumble against his side.

„We’re boyfriends and partners first and phi and Nong second. Next time you’re too tired to sleep and want me around, tell me. Just because I can always sleep the days away doesn’t mean I don’t miss you. And when you’re feeling better you can go back to making me look like an overgrown toddler in front of everyone again.“ Gulf’s tone of voice is as harsh as usual, but his words make Mew chuckle and losen the knot in his stomach.

„Mmmmh,“ Mew makes and rubs his face against Gulf’s upper arm, breathing him in and feeling content for the first time in days. „Cuddle me?“ He requests in the most baby voice he can manage, making Gulf laugh out loud. Nevertheless, he wraps both arms around Mew and holds him tight.

„I love you, boo.“ It’s rare that Gulf tells him first and completely out of the blue and that makes Mew smile into Gulf’s chest like the completely loved-up fool that he is.

„I love you, too, Tua-eng. I’m sorry I can’t make it up to you tonight. I’m too tired.“

„Idiot,“ Gulf snorts. „Do you really think I just come here to have sex?“

„No?“ Mew’s reply makes Gulf shake his head and then turn off the tv.

„Go to sleep before you make me angry with the stupid stuff you say. Your brain’s really not working right now.“

Mew nods his head; it’s true really. He feels like his brain is shrouded in thick fog. He tries to open his mouth and reply something, anything, but then falls asleep before he can even start thinking about what to say.

 

***

Hour 6861

 

The new shift in their relationship is one that is visible to those around them, who they trust and who know they are a couple. The first time P’Best sees them sitting closer than usual, before Mew suddenly hugs Gulf close just because he feels like it and sniff kisses him, he rolls his eyes.

„So, you’re going to be like this even with no cameras around but with people present?“

„We’ve always hugged,“ Mew shrugs without letting go of Gulf. The younger is leaning sideways against him, while Mew has wrapped both arms around him, rests his chin on Gulf shoulder and he keeps bumping his nose against Gulf's cheek. 

„There are hugs and hugs,“ Best says and Mew wonders if this is really too much. They’ve been all cuddled up like this in front of his parents and sister yesterday and they didn’t even blink, but Mew doesn’t want to make Gulf’s manager uncomfortable. So he loosens his grip on the younger and moves to pull back.

„Aaooow,“ comes Gulf’s complaint as he pulls him back. „I’ll get cold.“ Mew just chuckles and shrugs in P’Bests direction  before he assumes his previous position.

The older man sighs. „You should get some sweaters then. Your live with Mame starts in ten minutes and who knows what else you two might do to warm up.“ They both laugh as Best gets up and checks the camera set up once more.

„We really should have turned down the AC earlier. It’s really chilly in here,“ Mew admits. 

„We had two PC’s running earlier and had the AC switched off. It was like a sauna,“ Gulf tells him and is right. Mew had been working on his thesis all day, while Gulf had first answered some emails and then done some work for his internship next to Mew at his office.

„I’ll go and grab us some sweaters you get us something to drink?“

„I didn’t bring a sweater and we’ll ruin our make up and hair.“

„I’ll give you one of mine and the ladies can quickly fix it. They’re just in living room.“ It’s the first time since the lockdown that Gulf’s manager and a team of make-up artists are back at the house. They’ve decided to go live with P’Mame to do some promo for TharnType season 2 and create some buzz. 

The live doesn’t go like they expected at all. First Mame isn’t able to join them in their live. They fight the technical difficulties for the first thirty minutes until they decide to just invite Mild while Mame and Best take care of the problem. It takes only six minutes though until Mew can’t help himself and is draped all over Gulf and from then on they keep touching, some of which gets picked up by the camera. At least Mew doesn’t have to worry about the camera getting a peek down Gulf’s pants this time, since he made the younger wear long jogging pants, knowing Gulf won’t be able to sit properly for too long. He’s right; barely two minutes in and Gulf would have exposed himself once more without the long pants.

When Mild joins them, Mew’s mischievous streak comes through as he insists that Mild has to sing, knowing full well Mild hates to sing in public.  He gets the idea when Gulf teases their friend as soon as he accepts their request be reciting one of Techno’s lines, „Your roommate, he’s gay!“, in a perfect imitation of his tone.

Kaownah is their next victim. First, Mew makes him speak English, which results in the younger speaking complete gibberish and is only spared some teasing because of Gulf’s nonchalance about it and the pinch he gives Mew’s waist, when he won’t let it go. They both know Kaownah doesn’t speak much English, even less than Gulf, and Mew doesn’t need to flaunt it, that he’s not half bad at speaking who knows how many other languages.

In their teasing mode they lose all inhibitions when Kaownah lets it slip that he’s feeling lonely during the lockdown.

„Where’s Turbo?“ Mew asks before he can think about it. The question itself they would get away with, but Kaownah being his usual shy self freezes and then starts laughing when he’s asked about his boyfriend’s whereabouts. Just as with Mew and Gulf themselves, they don’t confirm or deny anything, but most people in the industry know and everyone who worked on TharnType knows. The series they shot together was never released and so the pretense of skinship and fanservice never provided them any cover.

Mew nearly chokes on his water when he sees Kaownah’s reaction. „Dead air,“ he tells P’Best who is laughing about Mew at this point.

„Your very intimate friend,“ Gulf continues the teasing of their friend.

„Everyone, when you watch this video back, please stop the time how long Kaownah just froze,“ Mew one-ups his boyfriend and makes their friend blush and laugh, even though he tries to save himself with the excuse of a lost signal. To make it up to him they ask him to sing, something the younger is really good at and comfortable with. So comfortable, that he teases them back when they start talking amongst themselves again and seem to forget that he’s there live with them.

Finally, after an eternity they finally get P’Mame on their live, who then tells them that the script should be coming their way soon and that the sex scenes will be even spicier this time and in its of different places.

„A car?“ Gulf asks later that night when they are in bed watching tv.

„Huh?“ Mew can’t follow.

„Sex in a car? How’s that gonna work?“ Now Mew knows that his boyfriend is thinking about the shooting.

„Don’t know. It’s gonna be a tight squeeze, that’s for sure,“ Mew chuckles.

„No, seriously: how do people have sex in a car? Especially two guys? That doesn’t work,“ Gulf insist.

„No one ever said sex scenes in BL shows were realistic. They’re either in pain all the time, which isn’t true or they just jump each other which isn’t really possible either.“

„If they just jump each other without preparation or lube then it’s painful. Maybe that’s why,“ Gulf muses.

„And completely disgusting,“ Mew wrinkles his nose and makes both of then chuckle. „But I guess the reality of it isn’t as romantic as most straight girls who watch the show would want it to be. Even straight sex is romanticized in the movies. Just cuddling and falling asleep after you’re done?“

„Condoms don’t exists in movies, so they don’t need to get rid of them.“

„Speaking of condoms: We need to get some. We’re out,“ Mew tells Gulf.

„What? How can we be out? We just bought some!“

„Yeah, and left them at your condo.“

„Damn… so we can’t have sex tonight? I thought now that you’re finally caught up on your sleep we could do it tonight.“ Gulf is pouting a bit, which is too cute.

„Aw, I’m sorry, Tua-eng. I forgot to get some before curfew. But we can do some things,“ Mew points out. He rolls onto his side and starts kissing Gulf’s neck and his throat and down to his naked chest.

„Or we can do it without condoms? We’ll get messy anyway,“ Gulf’s hand cups the back up Mew’s head and doesn’t slip when Mew suddenly looks up.

„You wanna have unprotected sex?“ This is serious and Mew rests his chin on Gulf’s chest so he can look at him and see his expression.

„Why not? We’ve been together for nearly six months, neither of us is cheating....“ Gulf seems serious as well. „But we don’t have to, if you don’t want to,“ he adds when Mew remains silent.

„I want to, believe me, I do. But I think we should both get tested before, just to be sure.“

Gulf wrinkles his forehead. „I’ve never had unprotected sex with anyone. I was always scared they’d get pregnant.“

„And I’ve been tested since the last time I had sex, even though it was with a condom. But I still want to be sure. Please,“ Mew insists. This is important, their health is important and only the thought that he could transmit some disease to his boyfriend just because they were too lazy to get tested, makes his stomach clench.

„Fine. But we’re not going together to the clinic. There’s no way we’d get out of that mess, if anyone caught us there together,“ Gulf finally nods and Mew smiles widely, overcome with love for his amazing man.

„Ok. I’ll make my appointment tomorrow.“ He kisses Gulf deeply.

„Me too.“ Gulf replies and initiates the next kiss. „But get some condoms anyway. We’re not making do with hand jobs and blowjobs until the results are in…just for tonight.“

„Ok, bii,“ Mew agrees and lets his lips wander down Gulf’s body again.

 

***

Hour 6900

 

Another day, another live, this time with even more people around them. There are both managers now, a make up team and a tech guy. For Woody at home they are even back to the couple outfits that they haven’t worn in a while, even if it’s just the same dress shirt.

„You’re ready?“ Mew asks Gulf.

„Yup,“ the younger nods and grabs a pillow so his hands have something to hold on to during the live.

„And please, kids, behave. Your contract states that they will have you hug and stare lovingly at each other for some games, but fanservice is not really required,“ Best reminds them.

„When have we ever done fanservice?“ Mew asks.

„He’s just still shocked from when he saw us kiss earlier,“ Gulf chuckles, teasing his manager.

 „Kiss? I saw where your hands were, Nong.“

„It’s not our fault you just walk in when we were changing.“

„You weren’t changing! You were making out!“

There’s no time to continue this spat, because the interview is starting.

Five minutes in, Woody tells them that he feels like talking to a recently married couple. Mew looks quickly to P’Best as they laugh it off and faces raised eyebrows, before Best closes his eyes and shakes his head slowly. They are a lost cause and he can’t do anything to save them anymore.

When Mew looks back at Gulf and then the camera, he realizes that he’s wrapped one arm around Gulf’s shoulders and wonders when that happened. He’s really screwed, because now it’s just instinct, he doesn’t even realize it anymore when he’s touching his boyfriend. No reason to change it though, right?

„How often do you video call each other?“ They are asked.

„Almost every day,“ Gulf admits and leaves out the fact that they video call all the time, except for when they are actually together. And even then Gulf might call Mew when he finally wakes up and Mew is already working.

„If I go to bed early, I wake up around eleven. When I go to bed late, then I wake up sometime in the afternoon,“ Gulf admits a couple of seconds later.

„Once I saw him wake up at five in the afternoon,“ Mew adds and sees Best and Boss desperately wave their hands around from behind the camera. Ok, he could have phrased that better, more innocent, but who cares. Luckily, Woody doesn’t pick up on the wording and the truth behind it. At least he didn’t admit that Gulf woke up in Mew’s bed when he witnessed that! Overall, Mew thinks, that he’s doing better this time than Gulf, who keeps giggling and blushing and is just being obvious whenever they tell one of their half-truths.

They have to show their phones, the names under which they have saved each other and some pictures – which they knew beforehand of course. Best had nearly expected them to have some weird names for each other in their phones and was really relieved when he found out that they didn’t have to change it. ‚Khun Phi‘ and ‚Yai Nong‘ are innocent enough.

Things get a bit rocky again when they are asked if they can access each others phones. While they have never officially told each other their passwords and given permission, there have been enough situations in the car or while they were together where they’ve used each other’s phones and told each other their passwords for that purpose in the situation.

When it’s time to tell each other’s secrets, something they have been preparing and clearing answers for beforehand, Mew exposes that Gulf always touches his feet. Which is true and clashes with Mew’s OCD behavior at times. What they can’t expose is Gulf’s real answer when Mew brought it up before. „You had my dick nearly everywhere on and in your body and you’re complaining about me touching my feet and then touching you? Are you serious?“ – That tidbit wouldn’t go well live on air.

They nearly make it through the fan questions, which are the wild card because they didn’t see them beforehand. They’d eat and sleep and teach each other football and playing the guitar, if they were together non stop for 24. Hours – as if they haven’t been the last three days. Woody keeps pushing for more, which makes Gulf laugh and blush even more. Does he seriously want them to spill what exactly they do in private? Beside the fact that Mew would die out of embarrassment – Gulf not so much – this is a PG rated interview, not an R-rated one. Still, it goes well until they are asked after their status in their last question. Gulf smirks and looks at Mew, Mew stutters out their usual ‚brothers who love each other‘ statement but isn’t able to keep a straight face. 

If they are brothers in any other way than an honorific one, then what they are doing in private would be way beyond Tar and his brother, some real fucked up shit. But they can’t just change their status now to something less weird, everybody would pick up on it. Friends who love each other? Too obvious. Confidants who love each other? Even more so. They are stuck with the ‚brothers‘ label, but on a day like today, with Gulf already cracking up beside him, even Mew can’t pull that lie off anymore, even though he’s actually a great liar and great at fabricating half truths the can get away with. Until they can’t anymore.

„Do brothers usually look at each other as sweetly as this?“ Woody calls them out on it. 

Mew has just enough braincells left to finally take his hand out if Gulf’s back pocket of his jeans and Gulf puts the final nail in the coffin when he laughs and says: „I don’t know.“ P’Best just shakes his head again, while Boss face palms so hard Mew is sure the sound gets picked up by the microphone.

„I give up,“ Best says and holds up both arms as soon as the interview is done and the camera and microphones are shut off. „From now on my strategy will switch from prevention to damage control if needed. You two can’t be trusted to behave.“

„Heyyy, what did we do?“ Gulf asks, gets off the couch and stretches.

„We didn’t do anything bad,“ Mew protests as well.

„It’s not what you do, it’s how you look at each other.“

„And not what you say, but how you say it,“ Boss agrees and gets ready to leave as well.

„You’re just lucky TharnType got a second season. By the time the second round of press will be done after the end of the show, the two of you will hopefully have left the honeymoon phase and will be able to act like normal colleagues again.“

„When were these two ever acting like normal colleagues? They were either bickering, fighting or cuddling from then start,“ Boss turns to Best.

„Mean,“ Gulf huffs and walks closer to his manager. „Did you bring what I asked you for?“

„Yes, and I will send you an extra bill for it. It’s not in my job description,“ the older teases him and then throws a paper box at Gulf, who catches it after it bounced off his forehead.

„Thank you!“ Gulf just shrugs and Mew gets up to see their managers and the rest of the team out.

„What did P'Best bring you?“ Mew asks when he comes back.

„This,“ Gulf replies and holds up the box.

„You had P'Best buy you condoms?“ Mew’s eyes wide comically.

„No, I had P'Best get us the condoms from my condo, since someone forgot to buy them three days in a row.“ Gulf is unbothered as always.

„Why did you have to do that?“ Mew is full on whining now.

„My first idea was to call my mom, but she didn’t pick up. Bet you’re happy she didn’t, right?“ Gulf’s bratty chuckles snap Mew out of his embarrassment and he pushes his boyfriend back on the couch.

„You better distract me and make use of the condoms, before I change my mind and strangle you,“ he mutters lowly until Gulf shuts him up with a kiss.

Mew just has Gulf out of his shirt when his phone starts ringing.

„Why’d you stop?“ Gulf complains when Mew sits up.

„That’s Tul. He texted me earlier that he’d call me after our interview. I just forgot,“ Mew excuses and then picks up the call. While he talks to his friend, Gulf quickly changes out of the dress shirt and into the black T-shirt he wore earlier. By the time Mew is done with his call, Gulf has left and come back with his packed over night bag.

„You don’t need to leave. You can just stay here,“ Mew points out, knowing that Gulf heard that he’s going over to Tul’s place because his friend needs him. 

„Nah, just drop me off at my condo. You can walk over in case you go out drinking. Having to give up his spot at the US university sounds like a good reason to go out and drink,“ Gulf tells him.

„Mmh, he’s worked so hard for his dream to go to Berkley and now he can’t because of the fucking pandemic.“ Mew runs a hand through his hair and studies Gulf. „You really don’t mind?“

„No, go see your friend! I already packed you some clothes for tonight cause we’ll have to come back here for the KFC live and photoshoot tomorrow anyway. Just try not to wake me up when you stumble into the condo before curfew starts. And please don’t drink and drive,“ Gulf pecks his lips and grabs his phone and wallet off the table.

„Thank you,“ Mew replies and follows him out of the living room, grabbing his car keys on the way. He freezes as they put on their shoes. „Wait… did P'Best just bring over the condoms from your condo for nothing? We could have just grabbed them ourselves.“ Mew stutters, the embarrassment back full force.

„Pretty much, boo, pretty much,“ Gulf nods and opens the front door.

 

TBC