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10.000 Hours

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Chapter 15

 

 

 

Hour 6420  

 

„You’re done in the bathroom?“ Gulf asks Mew, as Mew is walking towards where he is sitting on Mew’s couch, playing some game on his phone. 

„Mmh,“ Mew replies and throws himself down on the sofa next to him. While Gulf is wearing grey sweatpants and a black T-shirt, Mew is wearing black shorts and a neon yellow shirt. Both are barefoot, hair only blowdried but not styled at all and neither wears any kind of make-up. Quite the opposite, since Gulf’s face has several pimple patches stuck to it and Mew hasn’t shaved in two days, his stubble patchy and slowly becoming scratchy as well.

Mew takes his own phone and places his head on Gulf’s lap before he checks his text messages. Some of his manager, a couple from friends and one from his phone provider, telling him the next bill is available online.

 Mew can feel Gulf’s eyes on his face for a moment, and then Gulf suddenly sticks a pimple patch on Mew’s forehead, where he knows he needs one. Gulf has offered it the days before, but then they both forgot again. Now that the package is lying on the sofa next to Gulf, it seems that Gulf remembered.

„There,“ Gulf comments and presses it tightly to Mew’s forehead, making sure it won’t fall off.

„Thanks,“ Mew replies and turns his head to look up at him as he speaks. He finds Gulf giving him a little smile that is just wide enough so it lets his retainer show.

 Suddenly Mew is overcome by the hilarity of the situation and starts chuckling. His chuckles soon turn into full belly laughter as he keeps looking at his boyfriend, who wrinkles his forehead in confusion.

„Did you hit your head in the shower or why are you laughing like a mad man, phi?“ Gulf grumps when Mew just can’t stop laughing.

„No, it’s just…“ Mew has to stop again, because he is laughing so hard. „Look at us!“ He finally wheezes and wipes his eyes.

„What?“ Gulf doesn’t get it, even if he starts laughing with Mew, simply because he can’t help it.

„We’re here in our sweats, with pimple patches, retainers and glasses. Our hair is not done and neither of us has shaved. One week of curfew and the first weekend we spend together again and this happens. What’s next? We stop showering and fart in front of each other? Where’s the romance?“ Mew finally voices what he’s thinking. They behave like a couple that’s been married for forty years and not like a young couple, who should still make an effort to look their best in front of each other.

„You’re crazy P’Mew,“ Gulf says and runs his hand through Mew’s hair, trying to comb it a bit, but ultimately just messing it up even more. „We’ve seen it all.“

„All?“ Now Mew sits up, because he doesn’t agree with that statement.

„During workshop we were always just in sweats and I always wear my retainer around you. You’ve never complained before.And I’ve seen you sick, you’ve seen me throwing up once and with swollen hands and red eyes and I’ve seen you with a bloody nose and bags under your eyes…and you already drooled on me in your sleep during workshop when we only knew each other for like a month or two.“

„I’m used to your retainer,“ Mew replies and has to smile, because it’s true. For the first couple of months of their time together Gulf had rarely been without it. So much so, that Mew thought he looked weird when he saw him without it again for the first time when they started rehearsing the kissing scenes. „And I don’t drool.“

„And I like the glasses on you. They’re sexy and also it’s like… look, you only wear them at home or when there’s no fans or cameras. When you wear your glasses, I know that there’s no press around and we can act however we want. Right?“

„Right,“ Mew confirms.

„And you definitely drool in your sleep.“ Gulf insists. „Why do you think it’s weird that we are like this around each other?“

„Because we’ve been together for just about four months and I don’t know about you, but at this stage I usually still try to always look my best in front of my partner.“

„Yeah, me too, but I’ve never spent every day with my girlfriends before we got together. One I saw at school for some classes before we dated and some at like modeling jobs and stuff, but not like this with us,“ Gulf replies. „Do you think it’s a bad sign that we are like this?“

„I don’t know. I’m just so comfortable around you that I didn’t even think twice about walking out dressed like this with pimples and my glasses on.“

„It’s good, right? To be comfortable around each other?“

„If it doesn’t destroy the romance, I guess,“ Mew wonders.

„I still find you sexy, if that’s really what you’re worried about,“ Gulf shakes his head a little as he speaks, like he can’t believe he even has to say it.

„Same. You’re much cuddlier and softer this way.“ Mew wraps his arms around Gulf’s waist and pulls him close. „And you don’t leave make-up stains on my clothes when I hug you.“ Gulf laughs and Mew leans down to kiss him, just a peck. „Just kissing you is more difficult when you’re wearing the retainer.“ Mew chuckles.

„Teenagers manage somehow even when both of them wear them.“

„Or you could just take it out.“

„I could… Why? You wanna kiss me and make out now?“ Gulf smirks up at him.

„Hmpf… maybe I don’t want to kiss you anymore,“ Mew pretends to have changed his mind and pulls away from Gulf. Sometimes he’s just so done with the cheek his boyfriend has. Gulf can tease him endlessly, bicker with him and make him angry and pouty like no one else. Why can’t he ever just give in to him without arguing back or asking a lot of questions. For someone who used to be so quiet, Gulf is now asking questions all the time like a three year old, who always wants to know ‚Why?‘.

„Aoooow, don’t sulk Phi. Give me a second to take it out,“ Gulf complains and gets off the couch. He disappears into the bathroom for a moment and Mew can hear him brush his teeth and wash his hands before he comes back out. Gulf doesn’t sit back down next to Mew, but straddles his lap instead.

„We should go on a date or something,“ Mew thinks out loud and pulls Gulf closer, so their chests nearly touch. It feels nice to feel his weight against him, since he hasn’t seem him all week. Sure, they made up for it last night, but they had both been tired and haven’t really talked in person since last weekend. Even this morning during breakfast they were both too tired to talk much and now is the first opportunity.

„How? We can’t go out because of the public and because of the curfew.“

Mew thinks about it while he runs his fingers through Gulf’s hair on the back of his head. „How about tonight, we do something romantic?“

„We have sex all the time,“ Gulf deadpans and Mew gives him another ‚I’m so done look‘ before he slaps the back of his head, both of which makes Gulf chuckle.

„I was talking about romance not sex, Nong.“

„Fine, no sex for you tonight.“ Gulf rolls his eyes. „What’s the plan?“

„We order food and set it up like a candle lit dinner. And then we retreat to the living room with the large screen and watch a movie like on a date.“

„With your family and maids constantly walking in on us and Chopper barking in the background?“

Mew lets his head drop to Gulf’s shoulder for a second. Why does his boyfriend always have to be so realistic and unromantic. Why did he fall for him again? Sure, Mew’s  plan would be a lot easier at one of their condos, but they are here now and that’s what they have to work with. „The house is big enough and I’ll talk to them. My ma can keep Chopper away and I’ll make sure they’ll leave us alone.“

„I don’t want to limit your family in their own home, just because I’m here. They shouldn’t have to hide.“

„They won’t have to hide. Just stay out of two rooms for one evening.“ Mew knows that his family won’t mind at all. Most likely they will all help him make this romantic evening happen for them by decorating the rooms and setting up the table. His sister has a great eye for decorations and loves romance as much as he does, maybe even more.

„Or we could wait a week or so until we’re back at one of the condos.“

Mew is starting to pout because he fears Gulf’s hesitance might have another reason. „You don’t like the idea.“

„I do.“

„You don’t. You hate it. You don’t want a candle light dinner and a movie night with me.“

Gulf pulls him close by his ears and kisses him for a moment, just pressing his plump lips to his. He still tastes faintly of toothpaste. „Arrange the evening. But I get to choose the movie.“

„No action movie. No horror movies,“ Mew pouts even more now, just because he can. And because he wants another kiss. 

„A comedy?“

„Yes, but an American one. I hate the stupid word jokes in the Thai comedies.“

„Fine,“ Gulf gives in, even though Mew knows that Gulf loves the word games and tries them on him all the time – not that he ever gets it until Gulf becomes exasperate and points out to him what he was supposed to say or do so the joke would work.

„Or something else? Like a gay movie? We could watch ‚Call me by your name‘ again or ‚God’s own country‘.“

„Phi, I know you’ll only study their acting all night, if we watch either of these movies. You can show me that ‚God’s country‘ one another time, when I will actually pay attention to the movie. Don’t want you to get angry at me tonight when it’s a date.“

„Why would I get angry at you? What will you do when we’re watching the movie other than actually watching the movie?“ Mew asks confused.

Gulf chuckles about his obliviousness and decides to show his idiot boyfriend what movie watching at a date is actually like: He wraps both arms around his neck and then kisses him deeply.

 

***

 

„Nong? Nong, where are you?“ Mew calls out as he slowly wanders through the house, looking for his missing boyfriend.

After lazing around all afternoon, both of them either playing video games, reading or making out, Mew had talked to his mother and sister, who had agreed to help him out with his date plans. His mother had tackled ordering the food and getting clothes ironed for Mew, while his sister had set up the decorations together with him and had insisted on making dessert herself.

Once he was done, Mew had hopped into the shower and told his man to get ready as well and dress nice. Since then he hasn’t seen him. It is impossible though that Gulf is still getting ready, because Mew always takes so much longer in the bathroom.

„Ma, have you seen Gulf?“ Mew asks his mother when he is back downstairs in the kitchen and hasn’t found him yet.

„Yes, he’s with Chopper in Chopper’s room.“

„Oh god,“ Mew worries, because so far his dog barely tolerates his boyfriend and Mew is scared what the little devil would do to him. Gulf has been a good sport about Chopper’s behavior, meaning his constant barking and attempts to bite him, but who knows when he will have enough.

„Don’t worry. He has a plan,“ his mother laughs. „And he looks really nice, even if your shirt is a bit too large on him.“

„Why is he wearing my shirt?“

„He said you told him to dress nice and he hasn’t brougt anything by T-shirts. So I had one of your shirts ironed for him.“

Mew kisses his mother’s cheek. „Thank you, Ma.“

„You’re welcome. Enjoy your night and I hope you like the food. Tell Gulf I paid attention that there’s nothing in it that he’s allergic to.“ With another kiss on her cheek Mew walks off and goes to find Gulf. 

When he does, he finds him sitting on the floor in the living room that the family refers to as Chopper’s room, because he usually naps in there during the day. In front of Gulf is Chopper, who seems to wait for something and doesn’t even spare Mew a glance when he enters.

„N’Gulf, I’ve been looking for you. What are you doing?“

Gulf glances at him for a second and then focusses back on the dog. „Trying to bribe Chopper into behaving better. Look,“ Gulf tells him and pats the floor beside him.  When Mew has sat down, Gulf shows Chopper a treat that he is holding and then holds out his hand. To Mew’s biggest surprise the dog taps it with his paw and does it on the other side as well, when Gulf holds out his other hand. That’s when Chopper gets the treat.

„You’ve become the dog whisperer now?“ Mew smiles proudly at his man.

„I was bored because you take forever to get ready and Chopper was getting on my nerves with his barking. It was either train him with treats or kick his ass.“ Gulf chuckles and makes Chopper lie down before he gives him another treat.

„You wouldn’t dare to hurt my dog!“

„You would have never known because you were taking hours in the bathroom.“ Gulf turns on the floor so he is facing him. „Seriously, what do you do in there? Shower, five minutes including washing my hair. Getting dressed another five tops. Drying my hair another five and I’m done. Meaning I’m showered and ready after fifteen to twenty minutes, while you took close to two hours!“

„I’m here now,“ Mew shrugs, not willing to tell Gulf exactly why he always takes so long. There have to be some secrets left and Mew also fears Gulf will mock him endlessly of he ever finds out the full extend of his beauty regimen. Gulf has already made fun of him for what he’s seen so far and that’s just been the tip of the iceberg of lotions, serums, peeling and masks.

„You smell nice,“ Gulf compliments him and leans towards him, sniffing his neck.

„So do you. Guess someone did not only steal my dress shirt but also my aftershave.“

„Your mom said it’s ok,“ Gulf smiles.

„Of course it is,“ Mew confirms and pecks Gulf’s lips. He just wants to lean in again and kiss him for real when Chopper jumps in between them and starts barking.

„Hey,“ Gulf warns the dog, but Mew has already scooped him up in his arms and cuddles him. He just wants some attention, right? „Look, this is exactly why he’s behaving like this. You’re rewarding his barking by petting him.“

„I can’t help it. He’s my baby and so cute,“ Mew gushes and kisses the top of Chopper’s head.

Gulf laughs. „You want to have date night with Chopper? Then I’ll just go and change back into my sweats.“

Mew sighs. „No, let’s go and eat. Food’s already here.“ He pets his baby once more before he puts him down and then leads Gulf to the table they set for them in the dining room. There’s a white table cloth on there and his sister has dug out the crystal candle holders and put candles in them. The only other light in the room comes from the fairy lights they hung from the ceiling.

„Aooow, look at this.“ Gulf stops in his tracks when he sees the set-up. „You’re not going to propose, are you phi?“

The comment makes Mew laugh. „No, I’m not. I know you wouldn’t say yes.“ Mew teases him right back.

„You first get the dowry together and get the ok from my parents before you propose. Then I might think about it one day,“ Gulf snarks back and they both have to laugh. They’ve only been together for such a short time that even thinking about marriage is completely crazy, especially given how young Gulf still is.

„If I ever propose and you say no, I’ll tell the wanjais and send them after you.“

„I think they would truly pay the made up dowry if they think that’s what'd make us get hitched.“ Gulf sits down in the chair and Mew in the other, the candle light flickering between them.

„I truly think it's a fine line when it comes to them and our relationship. I believe some would be truly happy for us, if they knew we’re ‚real‘, but others wouldn’t like it that their fantasy becomes reality and at the same time destroys their idea that they will become our girlfriends one day. It’s kind of a weird role they’re giving us.“

„Mmh, like as long as it’s cute and pretend it’s cool to tease and make us do all kind of cutesy crap and love confessions, but when it gets too real it’s suddenly not okay anymore,“ Gulf nods. „But lets forget about that for now. We don’t have to worry about any of this, as long as this Corona mess continues.“

„Mmh, and also it’s not good date talk.“

„What’s date talk?“ Gulf wonders and crinkles his nose.

„Like… we should decide what we want to eat for one.“ Mew gets up again and pulls the cloth back that hides all the different kinds of foods his mother has ordered.

„What the fuck!“ Escapes Gulf when he sees the variety and amount of food that’s spread all over the other half of the large living room table.

„Mom didn’t know what we’d feel like so she ordered a little bit of everything.“

„You’re crazy! You know what I like.“

Mew shakes his head. „You’re not eating Pad Krapow again.“

„But it’s my favorite!“

„We have other of your favorites.“

„Fine,“ Gulf mutters and looks over the selection of food more closely, arms crossed in front of his chest.

Mew watches him for a while as he tries to make a decision. „I can still order it if you really want it. I want you to enjoy tonight. I’m sorry,“ he offers quietly, worried that he has already ruined their night by telling his mother not to order his boyfriend’s favorite food.

„P’Mew, calm down. I love this,“ Gulf tells him with a small smile on his face and pecks his cheek. „I’ll just eat a little bit of everything and see what I like best.“

„Good plan,“ Mew agrees, relieved that their night isn’t ruined after all. „I’ll do the same.“

 

***

 

Mew is halfway lying, halfway sitting on the couch, his head resting against Gulf’s shoulder as they are watching the movie. From time to time Mew tries to feed  Gulf some popcorn, but he keeps turning his head away.

„Eat some, Nong. I made it for you myself,“ Mew points out and holds another one up to his lips. Reluctantly Gulf opens his mouth and lets Mew feed him. Slowly he starts chewing and then his eyes widen.

„Oh, it’s not sweet.“

Mew rolls his eyes. „I know you don’t like sweet things. Why do you think the sorbet my sister made was so sour? This is salty popcorn.“ Gulf nods and stuffs his face with the popcorn all of a sudden, shoving a whole hand full of it in his mouth all at once. „Slow down or you’ll choke,“ Mew chuckles and holds the bowl away from Gulf.

The younger tries to go after it, but Mew presses him down with his body weight as he takes the bowl further away from him. Gulf, of course, knows how to get his way though and starts tickling Mew so he can get to the bowl of popcorn. Once he holds it in his hands, he throws one piece of popcorn up at Mew’s face.

„Catch,“ he giggles as the popcorn hits Mew’s nose. He knows there is no way Mew can catch popcorn with his mouth while he is still laughing about being tickled.

„You’re being naughty again, Nong. I arranged this whole date for us and made popcorn myself and you literally throw it in my face?“

„Hey, don’t get upset, Phi. I’m only teasing you,“ Gulf ruffles Mew’s hair as he speaks.

„Naughty, like I said.“ Now Mew is teasing Gulf. Gulf takes the bowl of popcorn and places it on the table in front of them before he turns around, sitting sideways on the sofa and faces Mew.

„Want me to make it up to you?“ Gulf picks the stray popcorn off the couch and holds it up to Mew’s face.

„You’re gonna feed me now?“ Mew asks, after he has carefully taken the treat from Gulf’s fingers and chews it.

„You want me to?“ Gulf’s eyes have become darker somehow, Mew thinks and he knows what that means. The not so subtle way Gulf’s eyes linger on Mew’s lips is another indicator that Gulf isn’t thinking about feeding Mew popcorn for much longer.

„Not really.“ As soon as Mew wraps one arm around Gulf’s shoulders, the younger is already leaning in. When Mew captures Gulf’s lips with his, the kiss is surprisingly tender and for a long while neither man tries to deepen it. It’s just soft brushes of the lips, sometimes their tongues which barely touch and gentle nibbles. Gulf changes his position slightly and once he has his hands free starts unbuttoning Mew’s shirt, just so his chest is as exposed at it usually is during fan events. When he slips his hands in, they are warm against Mew’s skin which is a welcome contrast to the cold air that blows down from the A/C over their heads.

„We’re missing the movie,“ Mew points out after a while, his forehead coming to rest against Gulf’s.

„We can finish it…. If you want to,“ Gulf replies quietly and kisses Mew again before he pulls back, their lips making a loud smacking sound.

„You wanted to watch it,“ Mew smiles, his eyes crinkling.

„Turn it off,“ Gulf decides and glides his hands over Mew’s chest again.

They are both quiet as Mew turns off the tv and they quickly straighten up the living room and take the rest of the popcorn and their glasses back into the kitchen.  They don’t switch on the lights as they climb the stairs, both now familiar enough with the outline of the house so that it’s not necessary.

Back upstairs in Mew’s room, they are quickly  in each other’s arms again. Mew’s lips press against Gulf’s. He parts them slowly then licks into his mouth as he feels his hot breath tickle his own mouth. The kiss deepens as their tongues chase and explore and Gulf unbuttons the rest of Mew’s shirt. He strokes it off his shoulders and Mew let’s it drop to the floor. For a while they simply kiss as Gulf explores Mew’s upper body with his hands. It’s something he does a lot, basically whenever he gets the opportunity to. Sometimes Gulf does it to arouse, other times simply to feel him and get to know him by touch, Mew has learned.

Mew wants to feel, too but he’s not as patient anymore, not that he usually is. He tries to unbutton Gulf’s shirt, but when he can’t get it open fast enough, he starts to pull at the fabric.

„Hey, you’re gonna ruin the shirt,“ Gulf giggles and breaks the kiss.

„It’s my shirt,“ Mew grumbles a bit, because he really has no patience for such discussions with his boyfriends. He wants this damn shirt off of him… now!

„Not anymore,“ Gulf replies cheekily and quickly unbuttons it himself until it’s open enough so he can simply pull it over his head.

„Lose the jeans, too,“ Mew requests and already steps out of his own pants.

„Yes, Khun Phi,“ the younger humors him, but keeps his boxers on when Mew is already naked.

„Gulf!“ His growl sounds as impatient as he feels, but Gulf simply gives him a push so he stumbles backwards on the bed.

„You wanted a romantic date night, so we’re taking it slow tonight.“ Gulf lies down on top of Mew, their whole bodies touching.

„Nong!“ The growl has become whine as he pushes his crotch up against Gulf’s so he can feel what he does to him, how desperate he already is.

„Top or bottom?“ Gulf asks and to Mew's biggest surprise pulls a condom and the lube out from underneath the pillow. „I can prepare a surprise, too. You did take forever in the bathroom,“ Gulf giggles when he sees Mew’s surprised look.

„Bottom.“ Mew pushes his hips up again and pushes Gulf’s boxer shorts down over his hips.

„Ok, then let’s get you ready.“ Gulf kisses him again, his tongue pushing in Mew’s mouth and plundering it in a way that stops him from thinking. All he can do is kiss back. When Mew hears the lube open, he finds some working braincells though.

„Already did. That’s why…“ He pants, breathless from the kiss.

Gulf answers with a loud groan. „We should have skipped the movie completely. We would have, if I’d known you'd got ready before,“ he lets him know. „You’re…“

Mew however is done with their discussions and bickering. He flips them over and sits up so he’s on top. „Stop talking!“ Who would have thought that he’d ever say that to the man who’d barely talked when they met.

They do stop talking when Mew sinks down on Gulf, taking him in and their mouths find each other once more.

 

 

TBC