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Lucky To Have Stayed Where We Have Stayed

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[PART I]

 

"You wanna know something?" Nanon begins casually while swirling the liquor inside his glass, him and Ohm sitting beside each other on one of the sofas in Chimon's condo. The unit owner himself is sleeping facedown on another couch, knocked out by the several shots that Ohm and Nanon had goaded him into downing. Thankfully he passed out before he could puke all over the floor, his two friends carrying him to the sofa and tucking him in before pouring each other another glass of whiskey.

 

The trio had decided to celebrate the airing of Bad Buddy's last episode, but privately this time. A large party with the whole production crew and cast and the executives was fun, but nothing beats being in a cozy space with only the people who matter the most.

 

"Of course I wanna know," Ohm replies incredulously, throwing him a look and quirking an eyebrow in a Why the hell are you even asking? sort of way. "Out with it, bro."

 

"First, promise not to laugh. Or judge. And definitely don't drink yet because I'd rather not get sprayed by a mouthful of whiskey, if you end up spitting it out."

 

"What in the fuck," Ohm mutters, but makes sure to put his glass down on the dinner table, and even raises his hands in surrender for full dramatic effect. "Okay. I'm ready. Spill the tea."

 

"I've actually been feeling in love with you since we started working on Bad Buddy," Nanon reveals nonchalantly, and that makes Ohm choke on his spit. He hacks as he deals with his saliva going down the wrong pipe, but Nanon doesn't even bother patting his back or fussing over him or something. "I think it started halfway through. Or maybe a little early on? I don't remember anymore."

 

"Bro," Ohm managed to gasp out after his coughing fit. "What."

 

"Before you go planning how to avoid me for the next few months or whatever, remember that I struggle with breaking character after filming," the actor explains, eyes fixed on the drink in his hands. "Pran is still very much in here." He thumps the space where his heart is for emphasis. "I've been living with him for about a year now, and since you happen to be the vessel for Pat...well, I guess this was bound to happen."

 

Ohm opens and closes his mouth several times before finally managing to respond. "So…. are you okay? Do you need help?"

 

"I think I'll be fine. It usually passes with time." Nanon downs his drink, puts his glass down, then raises his eyes to meet Ohm's. "Just figured I'd give you a heads up."

 

Ohm chews on that thought in silence for the next few moments, until Nanon speaks again.

 

"Another confession. The whole time we were promoting, I'd been indulging myself. Whenever we do on-cam skinship for fanservice and all that, I pretend that it's all real, just to satisfy Pran." His eyes turn apologetic. "Sorry for fantasizing like that. It was a necessary evil. Otherwise I'd feel too sad from all the pining to function."

 

"Are you telling me that you've been living a roleplay deep inside, all this time? Because of character bleed?" Ohm asks in horror, wide-eyed and worried. "Non, you should've told me. We could've figured something out to help break you out of character."

 

Nanon shakes his head. "No. I've actually been using it to my advantage. Feeling in love with you has been very helpful to me. It makes me cheesy, yes, but it inspires me and gives me the strength I need to continue pushing at school and at work, even if juggling both is difficult." He smiles lopsidedly, his signature dimples making their presence known, but it's tinged with self-deprecation. "Helps a lot that you're as sweet and supportive and touchy with me as Pat is to Pran. Even if my rational self knows that you don't feel the same way, you made it easy for my Pran to feel loved anyway." Then he grins fully this time, happy and grateful and his smile so blinding that it almost makes Ohm want to look away. "Thank you for that."

 

In the end, Ohm does look away, and even fidgets on top of that. "You're very welcome, I guess."

 

"I wasn't going to tell you so you wouldn't change how you treat me, but I'm feeling too guilty now," Nanon continues ruefully. "We're buddies after all. I don't want to do you dirty by using you like that, without you knowing."

 

"So now that you've told me, how do you want me to act?" Ohm mumbles, before taking his glass and knocking the alcohol back greedily. "Do you want me to stay the same and forget that you said this? Do you want me to roleplay as Pat to...I don't know, help somehow?" He takes the bottle and pours himself another helping, mind spinning, but fighting to keep up and not look as rattled as he really is.

 

If Nanon notices how his hand shakes, he doesn't mention it.

 

"Honestly, just however you want," Nanon answers, and it's almost infuriating how calm he is about all this. Meanwhile Ohm feels like combusting and like a fish out of water, not knowing how to deal with this information. "I'll adapt. If you choose to avoid me because it's awkward - I'll accept it and give you space. Maybe the heartbreak will force Pran out of me. If you remain the same, thank you. Maybe you can also help me break character this time, like how you helped me shed Pang before." Then his eyes darken. "But definitely do not act like a smitten Pat on purpose. I'm not trying to make Pran stay forever. I'm just indulging him a little so he doesn't bog me down with his angsting or whatever."

 

"I'm really confused though. How did you manage to live with this for so long?" Ohm asks. He doesn't try to conceal his worry. "Pat is still here somewhere, too, but I wouldn't say that he affects me as much as Pran affects you."

 

"For the last year or so I've been thinking like how Pran thinks," Nanon explains patiently. He thinks it's mind-boggling, how his friend's veneer doesn't crack. Ohm doesn't know whether to feel relieved or to shake Nanon by the shoulders and force him into showing his true feelings, because pretending and bottling it all up couldn't be healthy, could it? "In the beginning it was terrible. Pran's overthinking was difficult to bear. It still is, but when he and Pat finally got together in the series and overcame all their struggles? It all changed." He turns fully to face Ohm and he thinks he sees it now - the smitten gaze of someone head over heels for you. Ohm shivers. 

 

"Seeing you and remembering everything that you've done - are able to do - for me gives me strength. Makes me very happy, too. Your kindness and laugh and mere presence fills me with so much warmth and joy and I just-" To his horror, a tear finally falls down his beloved friend's cheek. "I love you so much, Ohm."

 

Without even thinking about it, Ohm puts his glass down and scoots lightning-fast closer to Nanon, gathering his crying friend into a fierce embrace. "I love you too," he declares with all the conviction he could muster. "So, so much. Don't you dare think I don't feel the same way."

 

"Of course you don't feel the same way, this is romantic love that I'm talking about," Nanon answers nasally with a matching bonk to his head, but hugs him back anyway. "And don't you dare say otherwise just to comfort me. Like I said, it's Pran that's making me feel like this. It's not me; it's not real. You don't have to take it seriously."

 

How come Ohm's chest is tightening painfully in response? It's not me, it's not real, he said. That ought to be a relief. He certainly doesn't think of Nanon that way, but…

 

A traitorous voice inside him whispers: It wouldn't be all that bad if it were real, would it?

 

But instead, he says: "Whew. I'm glad you're not requiring me to be lovey dovey with you now. I love you, yes, but not enough to start calling you teerak or tua aeng or something."

 

"Likewise, asshole," Nanon says in a watery yet snotty tone which elicits a snort out of Ohm. "In your dreams."

 

"But I'm definitely treating you the same," he says firmly, shaking Nanon a little. "I'm not gonna run away from you. I'm still gonna be the same old clingy bastard who annoys you like I'm paid to do it."

 

"I would love that," his friend answers shakily. "Thank you."

 

"I love you too, Non," he repeats fiercely, and he thinks he feels a tear fall down his own cheek. "Very much so. Okay?"

 

"Okay," Nanon echoes, and somehow Ohm knows that everything will be alright. 

 


 

They don't talk about it after that. They don't tell anyone - not even Chimon - and Ohm feels a little guilty, but he figures it's better like this. 

 

Nanon deserves to ride this confusing phase out in peace, after all. Having to explain to others wouldn't make it any easier.

 

"I think I'm going to stop taking any more romantic roles," Nanon shares out of the blue, one time while Ohm was driving him home after an interview and live. It was around 8 in the evening. They'd stayed after work and eaten dinner with some of the staff, but Nanon had chosen to go home alone with him. Of course he did, Ohm thinks smugly, then almost immediately chastises himself for taking pride in that. He reminds himself that it's not Nanon who has feelings for him, but Pran. Don't let it get to your head, dumbass. And why are you even smug about it in the first place? "I know I said I was open to pretty much any role in the future, but that's something I'll actively avoid now. Just so you know."

 

"This is so your situation with Pran doesn't happen again, right?" Ohm asks sympathetically. Nanon nods. "Yeah, I support that."

 

"In other news… I wonder who your next partner would be?" Nanon thinks out loud cheekily. "I saw on Twitter that some people ship you with Tu. Come to think of it, that would look very dope."

 

Ohm snorted. "Yeah, they're contemplating it. But they're gonna see how her current series goes first. I don't think anything will be final until then."

 

"Who do you want your next partner to be?" Nanon inquires, sounding really curious. Ohm turns briefly to scan his face for signs of jealousy - why he feels the need to, he has no idea - and when he finds nothing he feels his stomach drop with disappointment. Really, what is wrong with him? 

 

"I don't have a preference," he answers honestly. It's true - he's almost never had one. Acting is his passion and he's willing to take on any role with any partner, if the story is interesting. "Just whoever the big cheese wants to pair me with, I guess."

 

"Okay. I hope your next partner is great and your next work met with critical acclaim too," Nanon says sincerely and when he sneaks another glance at his friend, the blindingly bright smile and adorable dimples causes his heart to squeeze . "You're an acting genius. You deserve more recognition. Much more than what you have now."

 

"And likewise," he manages before turning back to the road. For reasons unknown, his chest starts hurting at the thought of not partnering with Nanon anymore. He knows his friend had wished him well, and that was sweet, but it's as if his brain had chosen to throw that part away and fixate on another thing. 

 

That was probably Nanon's last BL, he thinks in a panic. We'll likely never act together as a couple again. Then eventually, he'll move on from Pran and no longer be in love with me.

 

Why the fuck does he feel like crying?

 

"If they offer us another BL," Ohm starts slowly, not sure if he should even ask this, but also thinks Fuck it. "You and me. Would you still pass on it?"

 

Nanon makes a sound of confusion. "Huh? I thought you're trying to stay away from BL now? You said you wanted to branch out."

 

"I am. It's a hypothetical question."

 

The other actor stays silent for a few seconds as he mulls it over. "Honestly? I would probably decline it. It's not going to help my current situation and it wouldn't be fair to you. I'd hate to be the one holding you back."

 

It's a perfectly sensible answer, but all that runs through Ohm's head is: Nanon doesn't want to work with me anymore. Being in love with me is so bad that he's willing to let opportunities go, just so he could fall out of love.

 

He's seriously going to cry - any second now. He doesn't bother answering anymore.

 

"Ohm, are you okay?" Nanon asks carefully after a few minutes of uncomfortable silence. Ohm suddenly feels angry and it's irrational; very much so. Nanon supports him wholeheartedly, feelings be damned, and meanwhile he is feeling butthurt over something that's completely reasonable. He feels a little twinge of self-loathing. Get yourself the fuck together, Pawat. 

 

"I'm fine," he croaks out, but with his obviously forced cheer he worries about Nanon calling him out on lying through his teeth. "Just a little sad that our on-screen partnership is coming to an end so soon. But I know that there's other great opportunities waiting for us, anyway."

 

"When one door closes, another opens," Nanon murmurs. The way he seems not to notice - or ignores? - Ohm's turmoil allows him to exhale the breath that he'd been holding. "I'm excited."

 

Ohm continues to feel hurt, but he swallows it down. He has no business feeling like this if Nanon is at peace with it, after all.

 


 

In the coming months Nanon takes pretty much everything that GMM throws at him, except for roles that have a love interest, while Ohm bids BL farewell for good and branches out into mainstream lakorn . They don't speak about their little secret again.




Then time flies by and makes unexpected changes to their circumstances.

 

Drastic ones.

 


 

[PART II]

 

10 years later…

 

"Khun Ohm, how do you feel about bagging the Best Actor award for your latest movie?" a reporter asks at his celebratory press conference. Ohm puffs his chest out and flashes his trademark megawatt smile at the camera. 

 

"I've only been taking on villain or anti-hero roles for the last couple of years to test my mettle, and this is my first award for such a role. I'm over the moon about it," he answers proudly. "I'm thankful to my fans for believing in me and for supporting my characters, even if they're not easy to love."

 

"What's next for you, Ohm?" a different reporter asks. "Anything specific that you're targeting for your next project?"

 

He pauses to think about that. "Hmm. Nothing, really. I'm happy to take it easy and just ride waves as they come. But this I can say-" He looks into the camera and shoots it a determined yet smoldering look - one that's been tested and proven to capture the hearts of viewers - for maximum effect. "Whatever is thrown my way, you can trust that I'll give it my 200%."

 

"That's what we all love about you," another reporter gushes. "I'm sure some of your fans are wondering, though. You haven't been in any love stories or had any on-screen partners for the last 5 or so years. And it's been a decade now since your last BL, which was the talk of the town back in its day. Any interest in making a comeback to the romance genre?"

 

Of course they would ask this question. Ohm, for the life of him, doesn't understand why they're still asking this years later when he's already answered it time and again, but that's simply how the press works. They're never gonna quit until they hear the answer that they want. "Anything is possible," he answers vaguely, like he usually does when it comes to that question. They don't have to know that he doesn't mean it because he is avoiding roles like that on purpose...for a reason he doesn't like thinking about, thank you very much. "If I'm being honest I've become really passionate about action, suspense, and horror themes. They stretch me beyond my limits every time, which means growth. But if I come across a romance script that piques my interest, why not?"

 

"In that case - if it's a mafia vs. cops or an apocalyptic times sort of romance, would you take it?" the reporter probes. Honestly, it's still a no , but he has to hand it to her for covering all her bases. He doesn't say that, of course. 

 

Instead: "Sounds interesting. If I like the script, I'd definitely go for it."

 

Another press member swoops in and assertively points his mic at Ohm. "I have a question. I'm sure you already know, but word on the street is that Director Nanon Korapat Kirdpan is now back from the US with an MFA in Film and TV Production under his belt. He's had a pretty exciting career in America, but he's reportedly come back to finally grace Thai media with his works. Since you two are friends, any plans for a potential tie-up?"

 

Well - so much for not thinking about the reason why he's been avoiding romantic roles.





He and Nanon had fallen out of touch shortly after his highly talented and ambitious friend, at the tender age of 25, decided to transition from acting to directing and left for America to pursue an MFA. 

 

"Eventually I want to get into producing too," Nanon had confided over drinks, the night that he disclosed his overseas study plans to Ohm and their other GMM buddies. Ohm remembers feeling both vicarious excitement and near-crippling sadness at the thought of Nanon leaving the country for a long time. "This is the first step. Imagine the possibilities!"

 

"Make sure to cast me when you finally direct your first film or series," Ohm had enthused, as was his duty as a supportive best friend. He still recalls how proud he had been of his ability to pretend, when all he wanted was to cry and beg Nanon not to go. "I'm sure it'll be the bomb. Ugh, I'm getting goosebumps just from imagining it."

 

"That goes without saying," Nanon had replied giddily, his trademark dimples showing, and Ohm - surprise, surprise - was struck with the irrational urge to pull his friend close and kiss him senseless. Desperately, pleadingly.

 

Which of course he didn't do. 

 

The rest of the impromptu send-off party (namely Chimon, Neo, Force, and Jimmy) simply continued to fantasize about Nanon's directing and producing future - even brainstormed about his debut feature film - and if they were all teary-eyed by the end of the night because it'd sunk in that Nanon was leaving , nobody said a word, because they'd all wanted it to be a happy parting.





Ironically, Ohm only realized his true feelings for Nanon after learning that he was flying out, despite having had so much time before to figure it out.

 

Talk about taking what you have for granted until it's gone. 

 

He vividly remembers hating himself with a passion for being dense, and for wasting the time that he could've spent with Nanon as his significant other, if only he had recognized and admitted his feelings earlier.

 

(But it was probably moot anyway, because his friend actually broke free from the clutches of Pran within a year after Bad Buddy ended. The day Nanon realized it, he immediately announced proudly that he no longer felt the lingering affections of his old persona for Ohm. "I'm free!" he had declared with a wide grin while they were homebound in Ohm's car from some GMM event, leaving Ohm reeling from equal parts relief and disappointment. "Pran's finally gone. I'm just plain old Nanon again. My days of being uncontrollably soft for you are over, thank goodness.")

 

And unfortunately for Ohm, despite his supposedly more mature age of 26, he somehow fucked up and failed to manage his unconfessed love well when Nanon finally moved abroad. He'd suddenly become needy, wanting to talk to Nanon almost daily despite his busy schedule and the time difference, and became unreasonably possessive whenever mentions of new friends were made. That had made him and Nanon fight like never before. "What the hell is wrong with you, Ohm?" Nanon had demanded during one video call, after a near-screaming match about Nanon missing their scheduled chat because he went out with friends from film school. "Why are you acting as if we're required to talk? And I already apologized! The dinner with my classmates was unplanned and I didn't mean to forget about our appointment. Why the fuck is it such a big deal?"

 

"Because you barely have time for me anymore!" Ohm had screamed back and he knew it was dumb, dumb, dumb , but he was angry and hurting and didn't know how else to deal with his broken heart. "It's always them, them, them ! It's like I don't matter to you anymore!"

 

"They're my classmates so of course I have to spend time with them! They're important connections for the future. And why should I bend over backwards to make time for you?" Nanon had smirked cruelly. "We're not a thing, Ohm. You're acting like my goddamn faen, but you're not. Are you projecting because of a recent breakup or something? Trying to control me instead because you no longer have a girlfriend to obsess about?"

 

That was a low blow. Ohm indeed had a long-term, non-showbiz girlfriend who broke up with him because she couldn't handle the nature of Ohm's job. That had left him in tatters, yes, but they'd been over for a year, well before Nanon's departure.

 

He understood why Nanon brought her up. Still, that didn't make him less mad.

 

"Don't make this about her," he growled. "I just hate feeling devalued by my best friend. How would you feel if you were in my shoes?"

 

"I would be more understanding and respectful of my time if I were you, Ohm!" Nanon answered frustratedly. "Our worlds don't revolve around each other. They never have. I don't understand why you're being so immature right now."

 

"Fine!" Ohm screamed. He vaguely noticed how Nanon's expression turned frosty at his outburst. "Fine. Be that way. Put less and less value on me, we'll see if you'll still have our friendship to return home to."

 

"Fine!" Nanon had screamed back, and the incredibly rare sound of Nanon Korapat Kirdpan losing his temper made him freeze and his blood run cold. "Not like I'm still interested in your friendship anyway if you're gonna be like this. Good riddance."

 

Then Nanon cut the video call off, promptly blocked him on all social media, and never talked to him again. For five years.

 

Since then, he had unexplainably lost interest in being paired with anybody else, despite his recent successful lakorn pairings and him and Nanon not having played lovers in years. It didn't make sense, but he's sure that the shift had been caused by his broken heart.

 

Not that he misses it, anyway. Because nobody had managed to top Nanon as the best romantic co-lead in his book, chemistry and synergy-wise, even after all these years. 

 

Nobody else is worthy. Nobody.  





Somehow, despite the mention of Nanon unearthing his long-buried memories, Ohm manages to stay in the present well enough to smile and answer: "Let's talk about the tie-up later. First, allow me to catch up with my dear buddy! So much has happened in our lives, we'd need at least a week of talking each other's ears off before we're officially caught up."

 

The press chuckles at that. The asker of the question grins toothily, blissfully oblivious of the havoc that he'd wreaked on Ohm. "Fair enough. Well, we'll keep our eyes peeled for news of a Kirdpan production starring Ohm Pawat Chittsawangdee in the near future."

 

He winks at the camera, making some of the female press squeal, and thanks his superior acting skills for helping him keep it together. "Stay tuned, everyone. It's gonna be mind blowing.

 


 

To Ohm's utter shock, he gets a message from him right the next day.

 




Director Nanon

@mynameisnanon 

 

Hey stranger

 

Been a while

 

How've you been?

 


 

His mind spins. Nanon reaching out first is… from how Ohm knows - knew? - Nanon, no way in hell would he be the first to reach out after a fight. He apologizes in his own way in person, yes, but he would never be caught dead texting or calling to apologize first.

 

So Nanon reaching out to him shortly after returning to Thailand, after five years of radio silence is quite the plot twist.




 

Ohm Pawat

@ohmpawatt

 

Oh god

 

Am I dreaming?

 

You're reaching out to me first? For real?



Director Nanon

@mynameisnanon 

 

You're not dreaming, no

 

Congrats on the best actor award by the way

 

You were amazing as a sociopath psychiatrist

 

It reminded me of Hannibal a little bit. Oh, the chills.



Ohm Pawat

@ohmpawatt

 

Oh, you watched it?

 

Thanks for noticing how I slightly channeled Hannibal haha

 

The reference flew over the head of most. Pretty refreshing to have someone catch it 😁



Director Nanon

@mynameisnanon 

 

Ohm, listen

 

Can we meet? Please?




The sudden shift in mood gives him whiplash. He still can't believe he's having this conversation right now.




Ohm Pawat

@ohmpawatt

 

Oh, Non. I thought you'd never ask

 

We can. When and where?



Director Nanon

@mynameisnanon 

 

The sooner the better

 

If you can tomorrow that would be great



Ohm Pawat

@ohmpawatt

 

Well, someone's in a rush

 

Are you due back in the US soon? 



Director Nanon

@mynameisnanon 

 

No, I'm back in Thailand for good

 

It's just

 

I miss you so much, Ohm

 

There's so much we need to talk about

 

Please tell me we can meet soon

 




Ohm's lower lip trembles. The desperation in the tone of Nanon's texts makes him feel like crying. Mostly with relief because honestly - if their situations were reversed, he would practically be begging to meet with Nanon too. Maybe ( definitely ) doing it in a more embarrassing way, even.

 


 

Ohm Pawat

@ohmpawatt

 

Goddamnit

 

It's been years of complete silence from you. I shouldn't even be talking to you right now

 

Revenge for cutting me off or something

 

Yet here we are



Director Nanon

@mynameisnanon 

 

You can take revenge on me however you like

 

In some other way

 

I'll even help you think of how

 

But for now I really need to see you

 

Talk to you

 

Please?



Ohm Pawat

@ohmpawatt

 

OF COURSE I'm gonna say yes

 

You bastard, watch me put you in a headlock when I see you

 

Or maybe I should beat you up??



Director Nanon

@mynameisnanon 

 

You can do whatever the hell you want as long as you agree to meet 

 

That's all that matters to me right now




 

Ohm actually sobs out loud in relief at that. If only you knew how long I've wanted to see you. 

 


 

Ohm Pawat

@ohmpawatt

 

Tomorrow night it is then

 

Around 7 PM



Director Nanon

@mynameisnanon 

 

Thank you, Ohm

 

I'll text you the location later

 

See you soon.




 

They meet for dinner at the VIP room of an up-scale Japanese restaurant, somewhere in a low-traffic area where they're less likely to be seen, and Ohm feels his world stop when he sees Nanon.

 

The 30-year-old version of his friend is almost completely different from the guy he knew before. For one, he's more muscular now; still not a full-on alpha male like Ohm, but his shoulders and arms and chest have filled out nicely. He's also become much, much more tan than he's ever been, and Ohm doesn't know how to explain it, but his vibe has become more...relaxed, and self-assured. 

 

Not to mention sexy . Whatever Southern California did to Nanon, it was good for him.

 

"Hey," Nanon greets, and the mere sound of his voice pops the cork on Ohm's bottled up longing. He surges forward and wraps Nanon in a tight hug, the back of his eyes burning, and hot tears overflow until they're dropping down from his eyes onto Nanon's shoulder.

 

"Ohm," his friend says in a tone that's half-protesting, half-watery, making him feel indescribable relief at the thought that he isn't the only one who missed this. "You're crushing me. You're still as much of a brick wall as ever."

 

"Non," Ohm chokes out. He feels like he should be more embarrassed by how it comes out sounding like a plea - a prayer - but he's too overwhelmed to care. " Non . You're back."

 

"I am," the other man answers softly, rubbing his back in a soothing manner. "How have you been, Ohm?"

 

"Ssshh, later," he replies in a strangled whisper. "Just let me hold you for now."

 

Nanon hums then embraces him back fully, shifting his weight from foot to foot slowly and rocking Ohm from side to side. It should feel silly, but instead it makes Ohm sob, suddenly stricken by a random desire to slow dance with Nanon in a beautiful garden, under the shine of the moon and a thousand stars.

 

It's terribly cheesy and too out there, so he definitely doesn't share that vision with the man in his arms.

 

"I hate to ruin your moment, but I'm actually really hungry," Nanon says sheepishly, and as if on cue his stomach growls pitifully. That forces a surprised laugh out of Ohm. "Maybe let's eat first?"

 

"I'm sorry," he apologizes nasally and sniffles before pulling away. "I was just. I don't even know."

 

Nanon approaches the table, takes a handful of paper towels, and to Ohm's surprise wipes his eyes directly with it. Once he's satisfied that Ohm's eyes are dry, Nanon hands him the rest of it. "There you go. I'm not wiping your snot for you, though, so you better do that yourself."

 

"I'll take care of it," he answers, but instead of doing so he reaches up and wipes Nanon's eyes instead. The actor-turned-director just gazes at him with an unreadable expression as he does so, making him shift under the scrutiny, and when he's done he musters the courage to gaze back. 

 

Time seems to stop as they stare at each other. Nanon's eyes project a sort of calm, while Ohm is sure that his  are nowhere near as serene. The other man's expression softens at whatever he sees in Ohm's eyes.

 

"Let's eat?" Nanon asks gently, and the spell is broken. Ohm jerks as if waking from a dream, only managing to nod dumbly before turning around, wiping his nose, then walking to the table to take a seat.

 

They fall into idle, meaningless talk - superficial comments about the changes to their physical appearance, and gushing about each other's recent accolades - until all of the food that they ordered is served in full. 

 

And somehow, the mood shifts completely as soon as the server leaves the room.

 

"Ohm," Nanon begins solemnly. "I'm sorry."

 

"For what?" He knows what for, of course. Doesn't stop him from wanting to hear the other say it.

 

"I'm not gonna say you didn't deserve it for being an asshole back then, but I'm still sorry for cutting you off," Nanon elaborates contritely, half-indulging him. "I was under a lot of stress, you know? Culture shock, readjusting to student life, the language barrier. It all piled up and the next thing I knew, I had blocked you everywhere."

 

"You could've unblocked me," Ohm says sulkily. He doesn't even bother hiding his pout. He could try and project himself as a more mature adult who doesn't sulk anymore, but what would be the point? This is Nanon . They know each other inside out. Pretending to impress him would be in vain.

 

"I could've, yes, but I was too prideful to do so." Nanon pauses to take a bite. "And anyway, life happened. I'd become too busy to worry about it, and the next thing I knew 5 years had passed."

 

Well, that stings. But it's all in the past now, so he chooses to ignore it. "What made you decide to come back?" A part of him hopes for Nanon to say something cheesy, like Because I missed you, but he immediately snorts mentally at the thought. He might've gotten lucky with Nanon's messages but in person? Dream on

 

"It's a career move," comes the simple answer. "I had a lot of fun creating indie stuff while I was in California, but now I wanna try directing something mainstream. Getting into Hollywood or any of the big production houses is tough shit, so I figured the fastest way to make that happen is to go back home, you know? Leverage what influence I'd already built here, as opposed to fighting to get my name out there from scratch."

 

Ohm hums while chewing a mouthful of his chirashi sushi. "Actually, yeah. The press mentioned your return in my interview the other day. Given the buzz, I'd say you're already off to a good start."

 

"And on top of that, I missed Thailand. Nothing beats home, in the end."

 

"And me too, right?" he tries his luck cheekily. Nanon frowns in confusion. "You missed me too, didn't you? You told me earlier."

 

Nanon chooses that moment to refocus on his ramen. A handful of seconds tick by in tense silence.

 

I told you so, Ohm thinks to himself sulkily.

 

"Anyway. Tell me all about grad school. How was USC? Did you get to see any Hollywood stars up close?" he backpedals in a hurry, trying to sound nonchalant and like he's not feeling dejected. Nope, not at all. To his relief, Nanon's eyes sparkle and he rides the change in direction with no resistance at all.

 

"Oh my goodness. It was glorious . So during the first year…"




They cover a lot of ground as the hour ticks by. Nanon waxes poetic about the USC's famed School of Cinematic Arts; how well-equipped and well-connected and intense the whole program is, and how much of an eye-opening and humbling experience it was to learn at the foot of industry veterans. "Working behind the camera and being deep in the creative process is a different sort of magic," he shares excitedly, dimples showing and god, how badly Ohm wants to experience doing Nanon's bidding on the set, and listening to him explain what exactly he ought to bring to life after the camera starts rolling. "I've always loved acting, but going beyond it was the best decision I've ever made. I'm so in love with this side of the craft now."

 

They also discuss the short films and series that Nanon directed, under the wing of an indie producer whom Nanon met in film school. Ohm listens with rapt attention as Nanon discusses the plots, the thought processes behind them, and the technicalities, even proudly sending him his YouTube channel containing his finished works and behind the scenes. "I even vlogged with my producer for a bit. Just thought I'd try it. But then I realized, nah, I much prefer being behind the camera now."

 

Ohm's jaw actually clenches when he clicks on some of the vlogs and sees how close Nanon and his producer seem to be. But he swallows the feeling down because misplaced jealousy was what caused their fall out in the first place, right? He's definitely not trying to repeat history. 

 

Instead of dwelling on that, he takes the opportunity to transition the conversation towards himself. He talks about his recent villain roles; his morally gray, anti-hero characters; the rigors of being an action star; the morbid fun of Thai horror.

 

"Oh, yes. I've seen all those actually," Nanon reveals casually, making Ohm's chest swell with pride. "Stop me if I launch into a critique of how those could've been directed better - I know we're not here for that - but trust me, I barely have anything to say about your performance. You nail it every time. Any other comment would be plain nitpicking."

 

"Thank you," Ohm replies shyly. Nanon had always lifted him up, but it hits different hearing his friend praise him again after several years. "I'd love to hear your thoughts on how they could be better, though. For future reference."




Eventually, their exchange of stories runs its course. They sit in silence for a few moments, a wistful smile on their lips while reeling from just how much has happened during the time they spent apart.

 

Then Nanon breaks the silence.

 

"Do you want to drink at my place?" he asks Ohm with an unreadable, infuriatingly neutral expression. "I have a nice bottle of whiskey at home. Thought it would be good to talk more in private."

 

"Sure. I brought my car. Do you have a ride or should I drive us there?" Ohm asks calmly, as if he's not heating up at the thought of being in Nanon's home. Why on earth is he even feeling that way in the first place? They've been at each other's places countless times before and it was never a big deal.

 

(Like he doesn't actually know. But he's pretty sure Nanon doesn't feel the same anymore, so better not to get his hopes up.)

 

"No, I took a cab going here. If you can give me a ride that would be great." Nanon glances at his watch. "Looks like we still have time for dessert. Shall I ask for the dessert menu?"

 

"No," Ohm answers almost too quickly. "I mean, I'm good. We can go now." Nanon quirks an eyebrow. He curses himself for being blatantly overeager. "But if you want dessert then you can go ahead and order, I guess."

 

The director thinks about it, but soon after shakes his head. "You know what, I think I'm full too. I'll take the check."

 

They finally end up walking to the parking lot to Ohm's BMW, after a little tug of war on the logistics of paying. ("Tonight's my treat, Ohm." "No. I insist on paying." "And I insist on not letting you." "It's just me, Non. No need to impress me." "You'll accept it or I'll block you everywhere again?" "...low blow. That was a low blow, Non." " Nong khrab? Kep tang khrab. Yes, I'm paying with my card. No, Nong , don't take the other gentleman's money please.") Nanon snickers as he settles down in the passenger's seat and straps himself in. "Another BMW, huh? I'm guessing this is the latest model? I see your bias for this brand still hasn't gone away."

 

"Nope," Ohm says proudly after clicking his seatbelt closed, patting the steering wheel fondly. "I'm still a sucker for BMW. Always have been, always will be."

 

The drive passes in silence, save for Nanon singing along to the songs on the car radio, and the sound of it makes his heart flip. It's been way, way too long since he last heard that angelic voice. 

 

Hearing it again feels like coming home.

 

The silence persists even when they reach Nanon's bachelor pad, the only sound being the jangling of the homeowner's keys as he turns it in the lock and their toeing off of their shoes in the doorway, and after a muttered "Make yourself at home on the couch for now," Nanon leaves for the kitchen while Ohm perches on the sofa, taking in the sight of the simple yet tastefully furnished apartment.

 

Nanon soon returns with the bottle of whiskey and two glasses, even taking the trouble of pouring for them both before sitting down. Ohm mumbles his thanks before accepting the proffered glass.

 

They drink quietly for a while until the man beside him sees fit to break the silence.

 

"You wanna know something?" Nanon begins casually while swirling the liquor inside his glass. Ohm is hit with a distinct sense of déjà vu. "I actually lied to you, once."

 

Ohm feels his blood run cold as he wracks his brain for anything, anything at all that Nanon could've lied to him about. He knocks his whiskey back then places the glass back down on the table. "Huh?"

 

"Wait. I don't know about lying. I guess technically I didn't lie," Nanon debates with himself. Less thinking, more explaining! Ohm almost wants to screech as anticipation gnaws at him. "You know what, I'm not sure how to classify it after all. But anyway…" He turns to Ohm fully with a serious expression. "When I told you that I finally broke free from Pran, several years ago, I didn't tell you the whole truth."

 

"So are you going to tell me now?" Ohm manages amidst the sudden pounding of his heart. 

 

"I'm about to. But first: promise not to laugh, or judge. And definitely don't drink yet because I'd rather not get sprayed by a mouthful of whiskey, if you end up spitting it out," Nanon continues, and oh - that cheeky smile means that he knows exactly what he's doing. If he's reenacting that conversation, then does that mean…

 

"I'd finally shed Pran, that was true. But there was one thing I didn't shed." A pause. Ohm feels close to bursting. "I was still in love with you, despite Pran being gone. I'm sorry."

 

Ohm's ears ring loudly. I was still in love with you. I was still in love with you. I was still in love with you despite Pran being gone. I'm sorry.

 

"Why didn't you tell me?" Ohm whispers angrily. He turns his body completely in Nanon's direction and edges a little closer, the lines of his shoulders tensing. If only he had known. They'd wasted so much time. "Why didn't you tell me, Non?"

 

"Because I know you don't swing my way," Nanon answers levelly, voice barely cracking. There goes that strong facade again. Ohm wants to scream . "Come on. The countless girls you dated in secret or had a fling with. You weren't interested in BL anymore. And we're friends. Brothers. I'll never dare step out of line."

 

"You still should've told me."

 

"And what? Subject myself to your pity?" Nanon claps back, gaze challenging. "No thanks. You wouldn't treat me any different but I'm sure you'd feel pity inside, somewhere." He takes his glass and drinks from it. There is no trace of being unsettled as he does so, and his hands don't even shake. How is Ohm the one shaking instead?

 

"Non, put your glass down," Ohm says in a low voice as he adjusts, getting his knees on the couch and advancing on Nanon. The other man tenses, watching Ohm with defensive eyes as he crawls forward. "I'm serious. Put it down."

 

Nanon just continues to stare at him for a few beats but eventually, after realizing how serious his friend is, obeys and carefully places his glass of whiskey on the center table.

 

Once that's over and done with, Ohm wastes no further time and charges forward, claiming Nanon's mouth in a kiss.

 

Nanon lets out a sound of protest, obviously caught off guard by the action. Ohm lays his hands lightly on the other's shoulders and gives them a gentle - pleading - squeeze while moving his mouth carefully, coaxingly against Nanon's. It takes a bit, but eventually the man underneath him responds - he starts reciprocating the push and pull and twists his upper body to face Ohm, even boldly resting his hands on Ohm's waist.

 

The shift draws a desperate whine from him. Suddenly Nanon is adjusting so that his legs are stretched out on the sofa, Ohm accommodating his movements blindly until he's straddling his friend (his beloved , his mind cheesily supplies) with his knees digging into the sofa on either side of Nanon's thighs. He kisses like a man starved, not waiting long to lick the seam of Nanon's lower lip, to which the other man responds by parting his lips and giving him further access. He takes the invitation immediately and probes Nanon's mouth, moaning when their tongues meet and tangle, hips grinding down involuntarily on Nanon's crotch.

 

That makes Nanon pull back, and only the tightening of his hold on Ohm's sides makes Ohm pause from chasing his lips, though not without groaning in protest first. "Well, I certainly didn't expect a pity kiss," Nanon breathes into the scant space between them. Ohm shakes his head vigorously.

 

"You couldn't be more wrong. That wasn't out of pity at all," Ohm protests hoarsely. He grinds down again, now half-hard and the way Nanon inhales sharply at that makes his cock jerk. "Tell me if that felt like pity."

 

"I'm not willing to be a sexual experiment for you, Ohm," Nanon says in a hard voice and he thinks in a panic: No! No. You're misunderstanding me. "Just because I told you I was in love with you doesn't give you the license to do this."

 

"I already know that I'm bi, Non. I've done it with men before," he reveals, tone pleading. Not too long after Nanon had cut him off, he had fallen into an experimentation phase and found that he enjoyed the rough, calloused touch of a man as much as he did the soft, round curves of a woman. It was quite the life-changing realization. "I swear this is not a sexual experiment."

 

Silence. "Then why?" Nanon asks after a few stunned beats, and did his voice just shake? A curse flies out of Ohm's mouth as he sees the sudden tear that makes its way down his dearest's cheek. "What are you doing, Ohm?"

 

"I was dumb," he says fiercely. Not that that's an explanation in any way, but his mind is a jumbled mess right now. "I was dumb and wasted so much time." Nanon opens his mouth to say something, but he plows on. "Non, tell me. You keep saying was . Are you no longer in love with me?"

 

The other man freezes with his mouth hanging, caught off guard by the question. Eventually, he gathers his wits together and levels Ohm with a hard gaze. "What's it to you? What does it matter?"

 

"It's everything!" Ohm half-screams, shaking Nanon by the shoulders. He immediately feels apologetic at how rough he's being. "When you left, it broke me, okay? I don't know how I managed all these years without you. I'm successful and I've been living my dream but you know what? There's still this void inside me that's not getting filled no matter what I do."

 

"What do you mean to say, Ohm," Nanon asks, practically pleads , and more tears stream down his face.

 

"Remember what I told you in Chimon's condo almost a decade ago?" he whispers, and the air between them is so fraught with anticipation that he almost finds himself struggling to breathe. "I said: I love you too. So much." He cups Nanon's cheeks with both of his hands, trying to convey all of his pent up and unspoken feelings from all these years. "And don't you dare think I don't feel the same way."

 

When he closes in for another kiss he is gentler this time, and makes it chaste - none of the tongue tying and primal heat from earlier. Only the intention of showing him just how much he means what he said.

 

After what feels like forever, they part and Ohm's heart breaks at the mixture of confusion, hope, and fear in Nanon's eyes. "In case it wasn't clear, I love you, Non," Ohm repeats himself gently. Some of the uncertainty bleeds away from Nanon's gaze, and that encourages him to keep going. "And I don't just mean in a friendly or brotherly way, or because my inner Pat is making me feel things for your inner Pran." He presses their foreheads together and closes his eyes. "I love you as in, if soulmates exist, I think you're mine, and I wish I could spend the rest of my life with you."

 

"Then make love to me tonight," Nanon whispers after a few beats. Ohm wonders how he doesn't explode into a million brilliant pieces from how happy that makes him. "Make me yours."





Time seems to flow in slow motion as they get up and make their way to Nanon's bedroom, though not in a smooth manner, given how Ohm could barely keep his hands and lips off his soon-to-be lover, and how he starts shedding his and Nanon's formal button-ups on the way. When they finally make it to the bed Nanon throws him down on the mattress, making him grunt in surprise, and the proof of how much stronger the other man had gotten in the years they spent apart turns him on like you wouldn't believe. 

 

Nanon descends on him and continues to kiss him senseless after getting on the bed, sucking and biting his lower lip and squeezing his arms, greedily trailing his fingers over the ridges of Ohm's biceps. "Like what you see and feel?" he asks smugly once Nanon has moved his head down to start mouthing at his pecs. "Oh, fuck yes," Nanon answers casually, and the straightforward way that he said it - in between licking and nipping at his chest, at that - makes his already rock hard dick even harder . "You have no idea how long I've salivated over these arms." He curls his tongue over Ohm's right nipple, making him moan, then laves at it while reaching up to roll the other between his thumb and forefinger. "And your abs...your thighs…" he continues to drawl after he's popped his mouth off, this time trailing bites and licks over the taut planes of Ohm's stomach. He presses a reverent kiss to Ohm's happy trail before raising his head. "I wish I were sorry about the fact that I jerked off to the thought of them a bunch of times, when we were younger, but I'm really not."

 

Ohm keens at that. He immediately reaches for his slacks, making to remove them but Nanon stops him with a firm hand. "Ah ah. I will do it."

 

His lover removes his pants and tight briefs excruciatingly slowly, almost seeming to enjoy the frustration that his pace is causing. Once the offending garments are on the floor he carefully strokes Ohm's exposed cock, flushed and throbbing and jutting out proudly, and in the tone of someone talking about the weather asks: "Are you a top, Ohm?"

 

Ohm chokes on air. "Um. I. I am."

 

"Figures," the man at his crotch purrs and seriously - has Nanon always been this seductive? "This would stretch me well. I look forward to it."

 

An impulse flows through Ohm. "Actually, I'm a switch," he blurts out. Nanon's head whips up to stare at him, surprise flitting through his features. "And. Um. If you top, I'd very much like you to."

 

One. Two. Three seconds pass in silence. "You want me to top?" Nanon asks disbelievingly. "I mean. I'm a switch too so I can. I just...didn't expect that, is all."

 

Honestly, Ohm likes topping. It's his preference. But looking at this older Nanon's guns and lightly defined abs and pecs? 

 

He wants nothing more tonight than to experience that new strength for himself.

 

The next moments seem to pass in a haze - Nanon sucking him to completion, the careful prep, his uncontrollable gasps and moans as his lover enters him. His thoughts devolve into a delirious, horny mess as Nanon moves above him, and he barely registers babbling "Faster, harder….I can take it, Non-" before his beloved actually snaps his hips and fucks him into oblivion, supporting Ohm's legs while they're draped over his shoulders. Those nicely muscled shoulders. Ohm suddenly wants to graze his teeth along the ridges of that upper back and sink them into the meat of it while thrusting from behind. 

 

Maybe he can ask if he can top next round. If he's lucky.

 

And apparently the stars have aligned that night, because after Nanon comes and collapses over Ohm, his whispered request of "Can I top next?" is met with an enthusiastic "Oh, fuck yes, I've always wondered how it would feel to be split open on your cock-" before Nanon swoops down and reclaims his lips, kissing like they were back in foreplay mode. (And in fact, they were.)

 

Ohm does bite into that shoulder while claiming Nanon from behind, enjoying how shattered and submissive he suddenly sounds. For all his self-assurance and composure while on top, he's apparently a vocal bottom and that does all sorts of things to Ohm's insides. He reaches down to jerk Nanon off when he's close, savoring the feeling of his long, slender cock and moans in tandem with him as he comes, Ohm following him over the edge soon after.

 

And before he calls it a night, Ohm continues to kiss and worship Nanon's body while waiting out his cock's refractory period, then when he's up and running again re-enters Nanon and actually makes love to him this time. He presses soft, butterfly kisses all over his lover's forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin while rocking into him slowly, lovingly, and whispering I love you and I'll never let you go again and Nobody is as divine as you and other declarations of affection, up until they both come for the third time.




Ohm's heart feels full and fit to bursting for the first time in years as they fall asleep in each other's arms.

 


 

The morning after, Ohm wakes up to the sight of Nanon dressing up quietly and tiptoeing towards the door of his bedroom.

 

"Where are you going?" Ohm asks in a sleep-hoarse voice just before Nanon's hand reaches the doorknob, eyes only half-open. He has no idea what time it is but he's willing to bet that it's around 6 AM, given how his body likes to wake him up at that time daily, even if he doesn't need to.

 

Nanon turns slowly to look at him. "Was gonna make breakfast," he mutters. Ohm raises a doubtful eyebrow. 

 

"Oh. But you look like you're headed outside."

 

"I dress like this at home."

 

"You don't," he answers flatly. "And okay, fine, maybe your clothing style had changed while you were in California. But still." He gets up and glares at his friend. "You're running away from me, aren't you?"

 

"No? I'm not. Why would I run away?"

 

"Because you're doubting my feelings."

 

Nanon freezes in place for the next few seconds, and that's how Ohm knows that he's hit the nail on the head. "Fine. I was gonna head out for a jog to clear my head. Can I not do that?"

 

Ohm's frown melts away. "You know, I'm glad we went to your place. At least I'm sure that you'll be back at some point." He grins toothily, bringing out his fluffy wide smile that, according to some, makes him look like a huge puppy that's just too darn irresistible. "And we'll talk more when you get back, right?"

 

Nanon turns away. Ohm is willing to bet his latest earnings that that was meant to hide a blush. "Yeah. Later then."





In the meantime, Ohm takes care of putting away their abandoned whiskey and glasses from last night, and of cooking breakfast. When Nanon returns, slightly flushed and sweaty from his jog, Ohm smiles sweetly while dutifully piling fried crispy pork with broccoli and fried rice onto a plate, and even pours a cup of steaming coffee to go along with it. "I hope you don't mind that I snooped around in your kitchen," Ohm chirps, and the futile way Nanon tries to bite back his smile makes his heart swell with fondness. 

 

After settling down for breakfast they finally have their long overdue heart-to-heart talk. Nanon admits how he quickly figured out years ago that he was legit in love with Ohm, but chose to blame it on Pran in an effort not to shake the status quo.

 

Ohm, meanwhile, apologizes for his immature behavior during Nanon's first few months in the States and for not realizing his feelings earlier.

 

And after clarifying each other's feelings, making sure that they were finally on the same page, they fill each other in on their romantic history for the last 5 years. 

 

"I knew there was something," Ohm grumbles after Nanon admitted that he and his producer in the States actually used to date. "I could see it loud and clear."

 

"He wanted to try long-distance but I discouraged him," Nanon says ruefully. "After all, I had no intention of going back to the US full-time. Him moving here was not an option either. In the end, we thought it best to have a clean break."

 

"And you guys splitting up was predestined because you're meant to end up with me," Ohm says cheekily. Nanon huffs and rolls his eyes. His dimples and the hint of a smile shine through, anyway. "Seriously though. It's been, what? A week? A couple weeks since you returned? And look where we are now."

 

"You sap," Nanon accuses. Ohm nods enthusiastically. 

 

"For you, sir, I always am."

 

"Where do we go from here, though?" Nanon asks quietly. Ohm hates that he still hears insecurity in his beloved's voice. What does he need to do to eliminate that? "Given… well... everything. What's next?"

 

"Become my faen, " he answers in a heartbeat. "There is no other correct answer, Non. I swear."

 

"Is it really that easy?" the other man asks in a small, uncertain voice. Ohm tuts in response before reaching out to take the troubled director's hand.

 

"Seriously, Non. I see no complications here. You're single, I'm single. I don't have any love teams to maintain. Same sex marriage is now legal here and people are more accepting nowadays. I'm fricking 31 and you're 30. Surely nobody has the right to be mad if they find out that I'm dating a hot director, who happens to be a dude and my previous co-star, right?" Surely Nanon wouldn't find any loopholes in that argument, right ? "Come on. Say yes."

 

"Let me think about it anyway," Nanon answers stubbornly. Ohm groans.

 

"What is there to think about?"

 

"I don't get into relationships at the snap of a finger, Ohm. Either you give me time or we're not doing this."

 

"Fine, fine," he grumbles defeatedly. "And if you don't say yes eventually I am going to throw hands ."

 


 

"Director Nanon! We're glad to have you back. How's your time back in Bangkok so far?"

 

Nanon finally held his first press conference a month after his return. He immediately becomes the darling of the press, everybody in awe of the fact that he chose to return when could've stayed in California and focused on breaking into Hollywood instead.

 

"It's almost like I never went away," Nanon answers the interviewer warmly, his trademark dimpled smile blindingly bright and probably charming the hell out of everybody watching. It's definitely charming the hell out of Ohm right now as he's watching the press con on his phone. "Had to adjust a little bit, but it was no hardship. In the end nothing beats being back home."

 

"We take it you've had a lot of catching up to do?"

 

"Oh yeah." A small grin that's a tad secretive pulls the corners of his mouth up. Ohm smirks. "A whole lot."

 

"We saw on your YouTube channel that you've already been directing indie short films and web series in the States. What made you decide to come back?"

 

"In the end, it didn't feel right to use my talents purely outside of my homeland," the director replies. "I'm planning on collaborating with local production houses to deliver fresh works; stories that you don't often see going mainstream, now given the spotlight."

 

"Sounds exciting!" the interviewer enthuses. "Anything you want to share with us regarding your future works?"

 

"I can't spoil too much, of course, but I can tell you that my upcoming production would be slice of life with some social commentary," he answers mysteriously with an equally intriguing grin. "It'll be a film about two actors who worked together, parted ways, and crossed paths again in the far future, and how the world around them evolved in the meantime. I hope you'll all find it interesting."

 

"It does sound interesting to me already. Is that by chance inspired by real life events?"

 

"I can't say anything more at this point." There goes that secretive grin again. Ohm couldn't help but snicker. Oh, to have the insider view that he's privileged with. "But please, look forward to it."

 


 

"We heard that you and Director Nanon have been seen meeting up in public a few times. Can we expect any sort of involvement in his upcoming production?"

 

"Oh, I'm definitely involved in it," Ohm chirps. He's attending another awards show today and the press, of course, doesn't dare miss the chance to squeeze something juicy out of him. "Spoiler alert: I wouldn't be acting in his movie. But this upcoming film is something that we're working on behind the scenes and something that's dear to both of us." He winks. "Should I go into directing myself? I might have a future in it after all."

 

"Oh? Are you co-directing with Khun Nanon, by any chance?"

 

"Kind of, but not really," he answers evasively. "Now, I'm not allowed to say anything more than that, so I'll conclude by asking you all to stay tuned and support Nanon's upcoming film. It's gonna be amazing."

 


 

When the movie finally releases several months later, Ohm isn't surprised when the media descends on both him and Nanon to satisfy their burning curiosity.

 

"Khun Ohm, you had mentioned in a previous interview that you're involved in Director Nanon's latest film, and that it's something very dear to both of you. Now, we noticed that some elements of the plot seem to closely match your and Nanon's real life story. Could it be that this is based on you two?"

 

"I can neither confirm nor deny that statement," Ohm answers cheekily. He could just imagine the wild speculation on social media that's sure to follow - he knows there are people out there who still ship them after all this time. "What were your thoughts on it? Did you like the movie?

 

"Oh, absolutely. The way it touched on harsh realities behind the camera and the social commentary were quite the shock. Very thought-provoking." He has to give it to this interviewer. She managed to answer without being flustered. "You and Khun Nanon must be very proud."

 

"Indeed we are. We're happy to see our efforts bearing fruit."

 

"Can we expect your involvement in future works of his?"

 

"Most definitely," he answers immediately with a matching wink. "I'm excited for our next project. Everyone, please continue to support Nanon in his future endeavors."

 


 

"You assholes. I'm hurt that you didn't tell me until now," Chimon grumbles during their lunch out, in celebration of the movie's success - he's vocally butthurt and resentful, and with good reason. They loved Chimon dearly, yes, but the peace of dating in secret with nobody the wiser (save for the prying of the press, but it's not like they matter) was pretty addictive. They only decided to come clean to their closest friends when the theories on social media came frighteningly close to hitting the nail on the head. "How did you guys manage to keep your feelings under wraps for years? You were both incredibly dumb ."

 

"We were," Ohm laments. Nanon just snorts. "The dumbest ever, Mon."

 

"I typically pride myself on my smarts, but I'm actually with Ohm on this one," Nanon admits. "I was so convinced it was a lost cause that I didn't even try again. I guess I'd assumed that Ohm would make the first move, if he were interested, and since he didn't I automatically concluded that he wasn't."

 

"I wish I had, trust me. But I didn't figure it out until much later."

 

"So dumb!" Chimon screeches again. The couple laughs at their friend's frustration. "I hate both of you. All those years that you wasted."

 

"But you know what? I don't regret it," Nanon says, eyes sparkling. "Imagine. If we had gotten together after Bad Buddy, it might not have worked out because we were still young and immature. Plus I was still too entangled in Pran, so I wouldn't have been sure yet that it was valid."

 

Ohm's mouth falls open. Realization also dawns on him. "Oh man. You're right. Come to think of it: if we got together before you went to grad school, my clingy young self probably would've tried to stop you."

 

"And honestly I probably would've gone along with what you wanted, at the expense of my dream," his faen says wryly. "No guarantees that my younger self would've made the best decisions."

 

Ohm takes his lover's hand and squeezes it tightly. "Which means everything happened at exactly the right time. Man, I'm getting goosebumps over here."

 

"Sheesh, miss me with your lovey dovey selves. No respect for the single community!" Chimon whines, to which the couple just responds with more laughter.

 


 

It doesn't take long before they are "exposed" by the media. Not that it matters, because they weren't necessarily hiding it anyways.

 

"Khun Nanon, rumor has it that you and award-winning actor Ohm Pawat are dating. Is this true?"

 

"It is," he confirms nonchalantly. A hush falls over the room at the casual revelation. "And before you ask anything else, that's all I'm sharing. How it happened and all other details are off limits." He winks to soften the statement. "I'm sure you'd all understand."

 

Ohm, who's watching the interview on his phone, covers his mouth to keep from squealing. His manager scowls at him.

 

"Ai'Ohm, watch your faen later. You're only on a 10-minute break, I'm not tolerating you being distracted on set."

 

"Yessir," he mumbles while grudgingly putting his phone away. "But first: Did you hear that, Phi? Nanon is actually crazy. I'm living for it."

 

"If I hear about OhmNanon shippers getting a heart attack from the news, no way in hell will I let the company pay for it. You're on your own."

 

Ohm guffaws at that. "You're soooo dramatic. You should be an actor too, Phi."

 

"I'm serious, Pawat."




When he gets back to their shared apartment that night - they actually moved in together barely a month into being official, because Ohm moves quickly like that - and pulls his director faen into a big tight hug, Nanon simply snorts. (He doesn't hug back yet, but Ohm knows that he'll give in eventually. He never manages to keep his "chill" and "unaffected" facade around his lover anymore.) "I take it you saw that, huh?"

 

"You were soooo brave," Ohm gushes. "I hope someone helped them pick their jaws off the floor. 10 out of 10 for shock factor. I absolutely loved it."

 

"They'll move on soon enough. Then finally we can live in peace without the goddamn paparazzi speculating."

 

"I love you," he says fondly out of the blue like the whipped faen that he is, just because. "So much. I think you're it for me."

 

A few beats, and then - "And likewise," that brilliant and creative treasure of a human being that he calls his best friend, partner, and soulmate mumbles, and it's enough to make his heart soar. "Now go shower so we can finally eat dinner, you sap."

 


 

Lucky I'm in love with my best friend

Lucky to have been where I have been

Lucky to be coming home again

 

Lucky we're in love in every way

Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed

Lucky to be coming home someday...

 

Jason Mraz, Lucky

 

[END]