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The Game

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Mew doesn't know why Gulf reminds him of old love songs. Some of them are older than himself. They're simple songs, nothing fancy like the overproduced stuff these days. Just pretty melodies, and yet how easily they tug at his heartstrings. 

Ever since the bed scenes, Mew hasn't stopped wondering about him and Gulf. About whether there's something between them. Whether there could ever be a them. It seems so far fetched, and yet Mew finds himself willing to try. That's something, isn't it? He finds himself prepared to tackle the questions that have stood in his way. Has Gulf moved on from his break-up? Is Gulf ready to start seeing someone? Is Gulf interested in Mew? Does the age difference bother him? And of course the most important question: Does Gulf even like men? 

They're waiting for lighting and sound to set up. Mew is singing again. He doesn't even remember the name of the song, just that it's about being too shy to confess your love, so you show it in other ways. Okay, so he has an idea of why the songs remind him of Gulf. 

He doesn't know why he does it. Maybe because Gulf looks so beautiful in the half-lit hallway, with the shadows softening his features. Maybe it's because Gulf put on Tharn's shirt by accident this morning, so now Mew can detect that crisp shampoo smell all over him. And god, he would love to spend all day with Gulf's scent clinging to him. Or maybe it's because of the way Gulf is standing, hands clasped behind his back, as if waiting for someone to ask him to dance. And so Mew does it. 

He reaches for Gulf's hand and tugs, pulling him close as he continues to sing. His junior doesn't even look surprised. He just smiles, as if he were waiting for Mew to touch him. How he wishes that were true. All it takes is him placing Gulf's hand on his shoulder and his nong is already moving his feet, already leaning in to hear his singing. Mew is reminded of their chemistry, their bond, whatever people want to call it. The synchronicity of their working relationship. Mew may be in the leading position, but it's Gulf who controls the dance. He's not even sure if Gulf realizes it, just as Gulf doesn't realize the power he holds over him. Probably best that way. 

He looks at his Yai Nong. Gulf's eyes seem to hint at something, but he doesn't know what. One day he'll know. One day he'll be able to translate his eye contact and know what Gulf is saying without using words. For now, Mew feels compelled to speak, to move forward with his endeavor to be with him. He pauses in his singing. What should he say?

"Oooooyyyy!" Says one of the crew members. He's followed by several wolf whistles. 

Mew rolls his eyes. It's not like he could think of anything anyway. He turns to them and shakes his head. "Quit interrupting. Can't you see I'm trying to seduce Nong Stress Ball?" He laughs along with them. 

"Will you give in to hubby?" Someone asks Gulf. At least someone has the guts to bring it up.  

His junior shakes his head. Mew tries not to frown. At least he won't have to waste his time now. He starts to look away, but then he sees him smile.

"Khun Phi has to try harder to earn me khrab," says Gulf. 

More howls, more cheering. Mew feels his face grow warm and he knows his cheeks are red. He's laughing out of shock. His nong never ceases to surprise. 

Another crew member waves at him. "What's your plan now, P'Mew?" He's still getting used to older crew members calling him P'Mew. Everyone on set calls him whatever Gulf calls him, including Khun Phi. 

Mew holds a finger to his lips. "Shh! I don't have one!" At least he can still make jokes. He looks into Gulf's eyes, and he can't imagine his junior looking more lovely than in this moment. "How does Yai Nong want to be wooed?" He isn't sure if he's joking anymore. 

Gulf looks up in thought. Is he actually thinking about it? He smiles and looks back at his senior.  "Khun Phi should know things about me, like what I like to eat." 

Noted. Mew already knows some of that stuff.

"Nong likes to eat P'Mew!" Someone shouts. 

Mew gives him a dirty look. Nobody talks to his Yai Nong like that. The crew member makes an apologetic Wai, but Gulf is actually laughing.

"Khun Phi has to earn that, too," says Gulf. 

Wa ngi na? Mew's eyes are wide as he looks around. Gulf is laughing so hard that his eyes are watering. He stops and clears his throat. "But! But. Phi should encourage me to try new things, not just what I already like." 

Mew can't help but smile. His introverted nong wants to be adventurous. Will he ever stop admiring him? "Anything else?" He asks. 

Gulf's smile is somehow both bold yet shy. A smile that only his Yai Nong would be capable of. It's so utterly Gulf that Mew finds himself captivated. 

"Phi should like to cuddle and hold me," Gulf answers. 

Mew is going to marry him. He's going to marry him and feed him all his favorite foods and take him all over the world to try new things and then fall asleep with him in his arms. It's settled. 

"Ah…" he gives Gulf a mischievous look. "Have my cuddles not been enough for Yai Nong?" He already worried he was getting too handsy with him. Could he possibly want more? Because Mew can give more. God, he could give so much more.

He can't read the way his junior is looking at him. Gulf is smiling, but he doesn't know what it means. It's familiar but unfamiliar at the same time. 

"It's not enough for me," Gulf recites. 

Just when Mew thinks he can't possibly be more smitten with his Yai Nong, he does this. Something both unexpected and clever. He quotes Tharn back at him. His line after Type's small kiss (all 3-5 seconds of it). It's not enough for me . And Mew couldn't relate more. Every touch and embrace just leaves him wanting more. 

The crew members laugh. "P'Mew, your wifey's using your own lines against you." Someone says. "He's more clever than you are."

How true. Mew brushes some stray hairs from Gulf's forehead. "That's why I'm pursuing him." 

"Be careful," Gulf warns, "or you'll make me fall for you." 

Mew shrugs. "Apparently, that's the plan."

________________________

Mew stared at the guy across the room. Messy hair, round and beautiful eyes, and lips that… he shook his head. This was not the place to be scoping out men. It was his first time at a college party and he didn't want to cause trouble. Mew wasn't even a college student. His older friend, P'Book, was a freshman and invited him under one condition: "Don't hit on my seniors." 

Mew had to smile at himself. Was he that much of a flirt that Book had to make such a comment? He thought about the guys from school. He hadn't kissed too many of them. Besides, how many was too many? 

He walked away from the handsome senior in search of P'Book. He would throw in his face how well behaved he was that he didn't hit on the ridiculously handsome guy with lips that… anyway. Mew leaned against a wall and closed his eyes. How long had it been since he'd kissed anyone? His friends called him a horny bastard but they had it wrong. Mew wasn't all about the sexual gratification (although he had recently discovered just how amazing 2nd base was). He liked the romance of it. He liked the flirting and the butterflies. He liked the eye contact and the soft touches. He especially liked making other boys blush. And he'd certainly never flirted with a college boy before. 

"Wadee." Hey .

Mew opened his eyes. The handsome senior was standing in front of him. His full lips were pursed in a smirk. Mew stared at those lips, wondering what they would feel like against his own. "Sawadee-khrab." He made Wai. 

"So polite," he said. "Are you a freshman?" 

Mew shook his head. "I, uh, came with my friend." He looked around for Book, but couldn't find him.

His phi eyed him up and down. "You're telling me you're a highschooler?" 

Mew nodded. He liked the way his phi looked at him. He liked how close he was standing. "A senior." 

"A cute senior." 

Mew had to turn away to hide his smile. "Khap khun khrab." Thank you . He wasn't supposed to be flirting. "Phi is very handsome." Oops. 

"Bank," he told him. He pulled out his phone and pressed it against Mew's chest. "Can I have your LINE number?" 

Mew looked back at his senior. Technically, he didn't hit on P'Bank. Technically, Book couldn't be mad at him. Technically, he could do what he wanted. He smiled and covered his senior's hand with his own. He loved how much bigger his was than his phi's, and he stroked it with his fingers. His sudden boldness surprised P'Bank, and the fire in his eyes told him it was a good surprise. 

"Just my number?" Mew asked. He stepped away from the wall and towered over him. "It's not useful until I'm gone. What does Phi want from me right now?" 

His senior raised an eyebrow. "Hmm. I thought you were shy, but I was wrong." He took his phone back. "I think it's you who should be asking for my number. But what do you want from me right now?" 

Mew leaned down to whisper in P'Bank's ear. "I want to taste your lips." 

"Come upstairs with me." 

________________________

Mild scoops himself another spoonful of ice cream. "Okay, okay na… if you could sleep with any BL star- besides Gulf!- who would you pick?" 

Mew makes a face. He hates these kinds of questions. Mild always makes fun of his answers. "I don't want to play." 

"Yes, you do." 

"Who do you pick, then?" 

Mild licks the ice cream scooper before tossing it into the sink. "Mmm… Mond Thanuchai." 

"Predictable." 

"Ow!" Mild clutches at his heart. "Let's see you do better!" 

Mew takes a bite of his ice cream. He and Mild haven't played this game in so long he's forgotten his old answers. Who the hell would he pick? "Krist Perawat." He's always had a cute face.

Mild groans. "Of course. Round eyes. Small, pouty lips. Lame. Give me something unexpected!" 

"You first!" 

Mild slaps the kitchen counter. "Off Jumpol!" 

Alai wa? Mew looks at him. "You'd sleep with Off?" 

"Again? Yeah, sure." 

Wa ngi na? Did he just say again? Mew drops his spoon. "What do you mean again?" 

"He's very gentle." 

"I can't unhear this." Mew rinses his spoon in the sink. "Does Gun know?" 

His junior laughs. "I hope so," he pours chocolate syrup over his ice cream. "Cus he was there, too." 

Mew drops his spoon again. "For fuck's sake, Mild." He decides to leave the spoon there.. "You can't just say shit like that. You're joking, right?" Right? Mew can't really interpret his smile. And that's what scares him. 

Mild shrugs. "I mean…"

He senses bullshit. "Okay so, who's got the bigger-"

"Gun does."

Mew laughs so hard his eyes are watering. He grabs a new spoon and shoves a huge scoop of ice cream in his mouth. He hates himself for having asked. It's a good thing they don't travel in the same circles. He rarely interacts with the GMMTV actors. 

Mild walks over and lays his head on Mew's shoulder. "Your turn. Make it a good one na." 

He sighs and chews on his ice cream because there's so much of it in his mouth. Why does he always take such big bites? "Um…" he gives Mild a sideways glance. "Victor Chatchawit." 

His junior looks impressed. "Oooooyyyy! Victor! He's very handsome." 

Mew rolls his eyes. "Okay na, you've had your fun. Let's watch anime."

"Wait, wait!" Mild helps himself to Mew's ice cream. "Who would you pick for me?" 

"Alai?" 

His junior nods. "Who would you ship me with?" 

For crying out… Mew laughs and takes some of Mild's ice cream. "Why are you so thirsty lately?" 

"Probably cus of the two jackasses who keep dry humping on set…" 

Mew chokes on his ice cream. Mild pats his back and speaks baby talk to him. He struggles to laugh and breathe and swallow at the same time. He grabs his forehead to soothe his brain freeze. "Am I your child na?" 

"Yes." Mild stands on his toes and kisses his forehead. "You're my child, but you're Gulf's baby." He giggles and ducks in time to miss Mew's playful swat. 

"Come on na, Pa khrab," says Mew, making Wai. "Let's watch some anime na khrab, dearest respected father." 

They lean against each other on the couch, sitting cross legged and eating ice cream. Mew feels like he's 15 again, having a friend spend the night, eating junk food, watching anime, and talking about cute boys. 

"So, you gonna go for it or what?" Asks Mild.

"Huh?"

"The pretty one," he says, jabbing his cheek with his spoon. "You're gonna do some flirty flirty, some kissy kissy, some oh yes Khun Phi, yes, right there yes don't stop, I'm gonna…" He flicks a bit of ice cream onto Mew's face, leaving a white splatter on his skin. 

Mew would punch him if he weren't laughing so hard. He wipes the ice cream from his cheek and licks it off his fingers. "Yeah, something like that," he says between laughs. 

"So, he's definitely into men?" 

Mew stops laughing. Oh, right. "Well…"

"You still don't know?" 

"How would I?" 

"I don't know, show him a picture of Singto?" 

Mew throws a hand up. "What is his thing with Singto?" 

"I mean, have you seen him?" Mild looks at the ceiling and sighs. "He's a masterpiece." 

Mew sinks into the sofa cushions. "I'm pretty good, too," he pouts. Didn't P'Pee say he was everyone's taste? 

"Aaaaaawwww, baby!" Mild throws an arm around his shoulder and shakes him. "I'm sure Gulf finds you… not bad looking." He yelps and tries to scramble off the couch before Mew can tickle him. 

"Wa ngi na?" Mew manages to get a few pokes to Mild's waist before he's up and gone. His junior giggles all the way to the kitchen and stops at the doorway. "Can we order pizza?" 

It's halfway through the second pizza that Mild drops his slice and gasps. "Phi!"

Mew looks up, his cheeks stuffed with the gigantic bite he just took. "Mrhph?" 

Mild gives him a look. "Do you always have to eat like an orangutan?" He sighs and shakes his head. "Anyway, I know how to find out!" 

Mew's still working on his pizza. He stares at Mild as he continues to chew. 

"I'll just play the game with him!" He laughs at Mew's wide eyed expression. "It's so simple! I'll ask which BL star he would pick to work with… then do a love scene with… then kiss in real life… then- it's a gradual progression!"

Mew finally swallows. "What's the point of this?" 

"Well, how many BL stars can a straight boy know?" 

"Lots, if he works in BL." 

Mild makes a noise. "Okay, fine." He picks his pizza back up. "I'll just gossip about you and see how he reacts." 

Mew groans. "Okay, play the game with him na." 

"Yesss…" 

________________________

For fuck's sake. Mew looks down at the bag in Gulf's hands. "Alai wa?" What the hell? 

Gulf looks at the durian chip in his hand. "Huh?" It takes him a second to realize. "Ah, Shia… I forgot na, Khun Phi." 

Mew closes his eyes. He can already taste the sickly sweet and rancid flavor of durian in his mouth. He can remember a kiss from long ago, a night he came home and there was his lover, stuffing his face with those god awful chips. And how he had kissed him anyway. Kissed him because he had wanted it that much. 

His chest is constricting, and he fights down a wave of nausea. "Gulf…" he sits down and takes a few deep breaths. 

"Khun Phi?" Gulf's hand is on his back, light and warm. 

Mew can feel the anger rising in his gut, can feel it spreading through his veins. "I asked you one thing, damnit." His hands are forming into fists. 

"I forgot."

He gives him a bitter laugh. "You forgot? It's not that hard to remember, Gulf." His voice has an audible edge to it. He wants Gulf to realize what he's done, but he knows if they keep talking, things will escalate. 

"I said I forgot, okay?" Gulf crunches up the bag and throws it in the trash. "There, happy na? It was an accident." He mumbles something under his breath. For once, Mew can't hear him. 

"What did you say?" He growls. If his junior is being quiet, it must be something worth hiding. 

Gulf looks at him, eyebrows brought together in irritation. A little closer and he would look like Type. "I said it was an accident and you should get over it. I'll chew some gum if it's that big of a deal." 

"It IS that big of a deal." Mew stands and glares at him, rage washing over his body. "What part of please don't eat durian before kissing scenes is so hard to understand?" 

Gulf takes a deep breath, stepping closer, asserting his height for once. "What part of it was an accident is so hard to understand?" 

"I don't want to taste durian when I kiss you!" 

"What do you want, then?" Gulf shouts. "Does Khun Phi want pineapple? Strawberry? Should I put together a menu?" 

Mew gets in his face, his skin tingling and on fire. "I don't want to taste durian, and I don't want to taste the fucking produce aisle, damnit! I just want to taste you!" 

They stare at each other, Mew's words hanging in the air between them in what little space remains. Close. He and Gulf are always so close. 

Gulf takes a step back. His eyes stay fierce, but in a different way. A way that Mew has only seen as Type. It's the way he looks at Tharn in those moments of inner conflict, when Type is confronted by his feelings. What is Gulf thinking about right now?

"I'm sorry," he says to Mew. His eyes scan the room and he shifts his weight awkwardly. "I'll see if P'Pee has another toothbrush." He walks off and Mew feels the tightness in his chest increase. He's not sure what just happened. He's not sure how he feels about it. 

When Gulf returns from the restroom, he has a guarded expression on his face. He walks up to Mew and in the most Type way ever, he tells him, "I brushed three times na. Teeth and tongue. I hope you're happy." 

Mew softens his eyes. His anger is gone, and all he sees before him is the most beautiful person imaginable. The most beautiful, and the cutest. He can't help but laugh at Gulf's indignant expression. "Did you really?"  

His junior rolls his eyes. "Khrab." He leans forward and grins. "Does Khun Phi want to check for himself?" 

Something short circuits in Mew's brain. Something is failing to compute. Something is telling him that Gulf is flirting, but that can't be possible because… well, there is no because. 

There is no because. 

Mew moves even closer, challenging his junior to back away, if he dares. His eyes devour Gulf's lips and his gaze is intense. He tells himself that if Gulf backs off, he'll give it all up. He'll keep his distance and maintain his boundaries. But if Gulf stays here, if he withstands the intensity, well… that's worth pursuing, isn't it? 

"Is that what you want?" He asks his junior. 

Gulf moves after all. A centimeter, perhaps. A centimeter, but not away from him. He moves closer. Because he and Gulf are always so close. 

"Did Khun Phi forget na?" Gulf's eyes roam his face, looking for something. "I already told you what I want." 

"Alai?" He locks onto his eyes and holds him there, trying to discern what his junior is telling him. He's not there yet, though. He's not at the level where he can communicate with him wordlessly. Not fluently, anyway. But god, how he wants to be. 

Gulf licks his lips. "During workshop. You asked me what I wanted from you." 

It feels so long ago. Mew can't remember what he's talking about. He was in such bad shape at the time, he only remembers scattered fragments. Gulf kissing him for real. Mild lying on his chest. Kok tugging at Gulf's legs. Gulf dragging him to sleep on the fake bed. Staring into Gulf's eyes for 12 minutes. But nothing about what Gulf wants… 

"Ooooooyyyy!" Says a staff member. "Are we all the air? Look how they don't even notice us!" 

Mew blinks. His co-star looks different now. Smiling. Amused. Like he just told him something special, but Mew can't bring himself to remember. 

Gulf closes the final bit of distance and boops their noses together. "Maybe Khun Phi should count chairs to spark his memory." He smiles and walks off. 

Mew stands there, speechless. Motionless. Clueless. What just happened? He watches Gulf leave, and damnit, he checks out his ass. It's tiny but so, so cute. 

He passes some chairs on the way to the set. One, two, three… he wonders what the point of it is. Why would anyone have to count… chairs. Mew stops in his tracks, causing a small pileup behind him. 

"Sorry na khrab. Sorry khrab pom." He makes Wai to the people behind him. He steps to the side to catch his breath. 

Empty conference rooms. Him and Gulf walking hand in hand, counting chairs and forgetting to keep track. Gulf asking for a reward if they could get through their skinship exercises in one day. An order from his bruised and damaged heart. A reply that made it beat again. 

"Tell me what you want from me."

"Everything." 

___________________

Mew missed his nap. He had a pocket of time between scenes 3 and 5, but he ended up chatting with P'Pee, as always. Now they're at scene 7 of 15 and he's fucking dragging. It's the last day they're shooting in the dorms. Tharn and Type are packing up and bidding goodbye to their seniors. They just started filming the Khlui and Seo scene, but there's been a delay on some equipment. Mew is desperate for a cat nap. 

"And so they threw it out the window!" Says one of the staff members. 

Mew laughs uproariously, not having a single clue what the story was about. He holds his stomach and wipes the fake tears from his eyes. "Oh, Phi, you're killing me!" He makes Wai. "Excuse me na, Phi. I'm going to rest before my next scene."

He wanders around the dormitory hallway, running his hand along the wall to say goodbye. His feet take him to the most familiar place of all, the room where Tharn and Type shared so much of themselves. Where they fell in love. He spots Gulf on Tharn's bed, playing on his phone. He stands in the doorway, just watching him, taking in the sight of his serious gaming face and his beautiful features lit by the screen's illumination. He can't stand it anymore, watching his soft and cuddly nong lounging on the bed like that. He has to be in his arms, has to feel his warmth and softness around him. After all, Gulf wanted him to cuddle more, didn't he? 

He shuffles over to him. "Phi is sleepy," he murmurs. His junior has an amused smile on his face as he crawls into bed. "Cuddle with me?" 

Gulf doesn't hesitate. He opens his arms, almost as if he knows, just knows that's where Mew wants to be. He smiles and curls against his chest, rubbing little circles on his tummy. What he wouldn't give to fall asleep every night rubbing this tummy, feeling how squishy and soft it is. He feels Gulf's arms tighten around him and he snuggles closer. He remembers how he wanted to feel taken care of every now and then, to be the one who's held. His hand continues to rub at Gulf's belly as he slowly slips from consciousness. 

 

It had to have been an old video. It couldn't be recent, because his boyfriend would never do such a thing. P'Bank was too good to cheat on him. P'Bank loved him. He texted his friend back.

New

Where did you get this video?

Boom

Took it last night at the bar

New

He wasn't at the bar last night. He said he was working on a class project

Boom

I'm just sharing what I saw, New

New

You're not lying, right? This is from last night?

Boom

How long have we been friends na? What benefit would I get from this? He's the one who lies to you

New

You're right. Sorry na khrab. I just… I wish it wasn't true. Thanks na for looking out for me

Boom

You know I have your back

Mew watched the video again. The quality of it was too clear and too sharp to mistake anything. It was P'Bank at the bar, seated at a back table with another guy. He talked to him and laughed, then they held hands on the tabletop. And finally P'Bank leaned over and kissed him. Kissed him as if it were natural and normal. As if he had kissed this guy many times already. 

Mew felt the tears building up in his eyes, felt the tightness at his chest from holding in his emotions. How could this be happening? Hadn't P'Bank told him he loved him? They had just made love last night, and P'Bank had said to him. 

"Fuck, New, you're so good. You're so good, baby. I could fall in love with you…" 

Could. That was the word he had missed. 

He decided he would give P'Bank a chance to explain himself. Maybe there was an explanation that Mew hadn't anticipated. Because even if Bank didn't love him, he was still too good to cheat on him. His boyfriend would never do such a thing. 

Except he had. For a while. On the day he confronted him, P'Bank didn't even try to deny it. He held Mew's hands and confessed everything. He cried and told him he was sorry. He never wanted to hurt him. 

Mew stared at Bank's face all red and splotchy. "I forgive you, Phi." He kissed his hands and pressed them to his cheeks. "I won't leave you. Just tell me why you did it na."

P'Bank was a mess. He sobbed the whole time, shaking his head when Mew told him he forgave him. "New… baby." He pulled his hands back and covered his face. "New, I want to break up. I need to be with someone my own age. I'm sorry." 

Mew sat there frozen. What was he hearing? P'Bank wanted to break up? He wanted someone his own age? He forgave him and yet it was still over? He felt hot tears run down his cheeks. One day he would learn how to keep his tears from falling so easily. He closed his hands and they became fists. He felt the overwhelming sadness wash over him and harden his heart. His eyes turned to fire and his tears dried up. He looked at P'Bank and saw him as a different man. A weak man. A selfish man. A man unworthy of his love. 

He stood up from the couch. "Why couldn't you have talked to me about this?" 

"I know," said P'Bank. "I'm sorry."

"That's not an answer."

"I never meant to hurt you, New."

"How hard is it to talk to your boyfriend?"

"I know. I just-"

Mew glared at him. "I'm done with your excuses." 

"I didn't mean for things to go that far with him. It's just… he's 21 and we just… connected." 

Connected. Mew must have been an idiot, because he thought he and P'Bank had connected. He thought they had something special. And when he asked if the age difference bothered him, he thought Bank had been honest. 

"What couldn't I do?" He asked his senior. "What does his age give him that I don't have?" He regretted the question as soon as he asked it. 

P'Bank only shook his head. "It's complicated. You'll understand when…"

Mew took a step back. He grabbed his wallet and phone from the coffee table and shoved them in his pocket. "I'll understand when I'm older?" He walked to the door and put on his shoes. P'Bank let him, and that was the worst part. He didn't want him back. He didn't want him at all. He turned to face his now ex boyfriend. He hated Bank for making him love him. For making him feel like an adult and then tossing him aside like a child. He said the only thing his hurt and hot tempered heart could think of. 

"Fuck you, pedophile." And he slammed the door behind him. 

"Khun Phi khrab?" Someone is shaking his arm. Mew groans and burrows into the warmth around him. It's soft and squishy and smells like shampoo. It reminds him of something he wants, something that makes him happy. And right now he needs that. He needs this warmth to banish the memories of his first heartbreak. 

"P'Mew?" 

He hears a voice that makes him want to smile. It sounds ducky but slightly babyish. A cute voice that tries to sound sweet but is just off the mark. He squeezes the softness in his arms, willing the pain in his chest to lessen. He wants to hear that voice again. 

"P'Mew khrab?" 

He opens his eyes. The image of P'Bank's apartment fades from his mind's eye. He looks around, disoriented and sweating. He glances at the warm and soft thing in his arms and realizes that it's Gulf. 

"Khor thot…" I'm sorry . He grumbles and releases him. The sudden cold air makes him shiver. 

"You were talking in your sleep again," says Gulf. "Something about an age difference." He looks disappointed. Does he think Mew's talking about him? 

Mew runs a hand through his hair. He yawns and stretches, lying back on the pillows. "My ex was 20 and I was 17." 

Gulf raises his eyebrows and nods his slow and exaggerated nod. "I thought you would be the older one." 

Mew laughs and closes his eyes. "I wasn't always this old, you know." 

Gulf repositions himself on the bed. Their legs end up touching, but he doesn't move away. "Not like there's anything wrong with older," he says. There's a hint in his voice, but Mew's too sleepy to understand it.

"It was a problem for my ex." Mew's careful of using gendered pronouns. "I was cheated on." 

His junior looks angry. "Asshole. Could've at least talked to you." 

Mew nods. He notices how Gulf skirts around pronouns, too." 

A staff member pokes their head in the doorway. "Ready na khrab." 

They walk next door toward Seo and Khlui's room for the scene where they say goodbye. Gulf nudges him with his elbow. "Phi?"

"Hm?" 

"Sorry you still dream about your ex. If you ask me, he didn't deserve you." He gives Mew a sad smile and walks to his mark. 

He. Gulf, quite confidently, had used the masculine pronoun. Mew stands rooted to his spot. He can't move. Or he won't move. He stares at Gulf, who's avoiding his eye contact. How long has Gulf known? 

_________________________

Mild

Results are in! 

Mew

You actually played the game with him?

Mild

Hey, you said I could. 

Mew

And I'm starting to regret it. 

Mild

Oh, you won't. Trust me. 

Behold: who would Gulf want to...

Work with- Saint Suppapong bc he seems nice

Love scene with- Mek Jirakit bc he's handsome and they would look good in series together (said not Singto bc they would look weird together) (pointed out Mek isn't BL star but he said it counts bc of Dark Blue Kiss)

Kiss in real life- Khun Phi bc wants to compare to Tharn

Mew stares at his screen. How is he supposed to take this? Is it good? Is it predictable? Is it bad? Gulf wants to kiss him in real life. But it's out of curiosity. He wants to compare the flawed and damaged Mew to Tharn the sex god. Great. 

___________________

P'Tee takes them all out to dinner. The other cast members have saved a seat for Gulf next to Mew. Next to hubby , they all said. Mew doesn't mind in the least. P'Tee has ordered a little of everything from the menu and they all help themselves. As Mew expected, his co-star is timid when it comes to grabbing dishes. All of them seem to get passed around his junior, and sometimes to him out of politeness. Mew only has eyes on two plates in particular. He looks at Run and Pee across the table. Pee is pretending to scoop beef laab onto his plate, but he's really only pushing the food around with the serving spoon. Mew asked them to run interference so they wouldn't run out of Gulf's favorites. Pee hands him the laab while Run reaches for the pad see eiw. 

Mew can't help but smile as he sees Gulf's thinly disguised disappointment. He's such a baby at times. 

"Did you think I didn't know?" Mew asks him. He serves the last of the laab onto Gulf's plate. "Yai Nong's favorites are beef laab and pad see eiw."

Mew takes the pad see eiw from Run and serves that, too. Oooohs erupt from the cast and crew. Mew isn't sure why he feels shy. How often does the staff and crew tease them for their skinship and flirting? He supposes it's different now that it's real- for him, anyway. Before it was mostly work and partially sustenance. A way to keep his heart beating. And with Gulf, it's often racing. But now, well, it's one of his three requirements, isn't it? Can Gulf tell how bashful he feels as he blatantly completes one of his tasks? 

"Yai Nong," calls one of the crew members. "Has P'Mew earned your love yet?" 

Gulf laughs and avoids Mew's eyes. "Not yet, khrab," he shouts back. "He hasn't fulfilled all the requirements." 

Mew rolls his eyes. How the fuck is he supposed to encourage him to try new things? Every hour of their day is scheduled and controlled. 

Mild nudges him. "Quit wasting time! There are only a few weeks left of filming." He leans in closer. "I've got 1000 baht on the line that you and Yai Nong get together before we air." 

Mew gives him a look. He knows there's no bet. So, why is Mild making shit up?

Gulf leans forward to look at Mild. "You're betting on us? You've actually become Techno." 

Mild laughs and shrugs. "What can I say? You started a trend!"

Mew thinks about those words for the rest of dinner. Is Mild right? Is it possible that Gulf only acts this way because he's been spending so much time as Type? All the love scenes and the closeness and the flirting. The damn skinship. What if Gulf is conflating Type's feelings for his own? 

People linger after dinner. They stand on the sidewalk chatting, joking, taking selfies. Mew tries to stand near Gulf, but somehow a crowd of people forms around him, and Gulf looks further and further away. He stares at him now, noting the soft and far away look on his face. Where does his Yai Nong go in moments like this? 

Run grabs Gulf to join a group picture. Despite his height, he looks small. Mew doesn't waste any time. He reaches for Gulf's arms and wraps them around his waist. 

"It looks like Nong could use his own stress ball," he says over his shoulder. Almost immediately, he feels Gulf rest his cheek on his back, and the arms around his waist tighten. Mew wants to believe it's Gulf who does these things. Gulf, and not Type. Because Mew knows how Type feels. Hasn't he discussed it at length with his junior? But Mew never knows how Gulf feels, and whether those emotions are separate from their characters. Mew closes his eyes, willing himself to remember the feeling of Gulf holding him. Even if it's Type, Mew will accept the touch.