Act I Part 1
Gulf was a simple boy, who favored sleep over worry.
Things were uncontrollable and if you wait long enough, sleep it off long enough, they can become trivial and fleet.
In his simpleness he was constant. He could eat Pad Kra Pao in all its forms, three meals a day, and rarely strayed from the norm of his predilections.
He followed a routine of university, football practice, though now with the onslaught of modeling gigs and small roles in ads and the occasional T.V. spot that he'd yet to see on screen, his favorite sport had become more akin to a recharging past-time, and if he wasn't too tired, gaming with friends into the wee hours of the night.
It was predictable and he liked predictability because predictability was safe and stable and simple.
And Gulf was a simple boy.
But to be human is to be born of complexities.
And no amount of iron he'd laden into his armor of bricks, a life of being an introvert had amassed, could prevent the off-chance of something slipping through. The off-chance of something touching a nerve, despite conditioning it to be numb and unaffected.
Because it was more than just being an introvert.
In the quiet darkness of his bedroom, away from the concern of his sweet and kind Mae, who he was still so attached to. Who still dropped and picked him up from university tho his 20 years and ability to drive on his own said she need not. In the solace of his room, he allowed himself to cry.
Tears for things he had yet to understand and too scared to.
Whispers in his head that he tries to hush with sleep, but they are loud and cling, stubborn to his consciousness. With hooks and claws, they threaten to rip and tear through to what's hidden beneath and he's frightened.
It's still unknown but they whisper incessant, bringing new meaning to past moments he'd thought nothing of at the time. Or perhaps self-preservation made him clueless.
Moments where play kisses among his male friends, left lingering thoughts that he'd quickly push away like curls of smoke because why would the red softness of his classmate's lips make him so curious and warm blushed to want another taste?
He'd always been delicate, with slender fingers and bird-boned wrists, rivaling the tiny circumference of his sister's. Lips, heart-shaped and plump, some of his more blunt relatives would tut away and say what a waste of lips on a boy when it suited more a pretty girl.
Perhaps he would make a decent girl, the few times he'd indulge his vanity, as he preened in front of the mirror. Followed the sensual arch of his back, down to an ample behind, and a waist so small a phi on the football field had once wondered, breathless from trying to score a goal with the football caught in between Gulf's nimble feet, "God you're tiny...", his large, very masculine hands wrapped around him, engulfing.
He'd blushed, and laughed it off, grimacing at the giggle he tried to control, ears suddenly hot. Tries to forget how he carries the memory way into the night, ignoring the sudden heat that bubbles in the space below his belly. A space dangerous and aching.
His family was open and accepting, his Pho instilling in them to leave out room for discrimination. From them he feared no judgement.
But there was his family and there was the world.
And the world had already curated for him a box he must fill appropriately the minute his sex was assigned at birth.
A box further curated with specifics after being scouted by his talent agency. They had a vision of him and he need only trust and follow because they knew what the public and the media wanted. It's a small price to pay, he figures, if it allowed entrance into the massive arena of acting. The bug had bitten hard and early, deep and forever impressed into his very being, for he loved it as much as he loved soccer, loved his Pho and Mae, and on occasion loved P'Grace.
So he carved muscles into his once slim and willowy frame, grew and embraced his height, and hid away the softness, became a tough sports boy. Rarely smiling, during candid and off days, when not mandated to smile for the camera, preferring to be hard faced on the cusp of a scowl, because his smile was once deemed too pretty.
"Your resting bitch face could cut glass, Kanawut," a classmate had once snickered. He'd rolled his eyes and scowled on.
Because was that not what the world wanted of him? What the world deemed appropriate. And besides his simpleness, he aimed to please.
"You need a girlfriend."
It was a command, under the guise of advice from the higher ups in his agency. P'Best, his handler, and current best-friend for how much time they've come to spend with each other, answered the rise of his left brow with a shrug. There's a flash of something in P'Best eyes, that disappears as quickly as it comes, leaves him wondering if it was a trick of the light or something only meant for him to see. But he's distracted when the higher up continues.
"It's for your image."
He'd eventually meet her during a modeling gig. She's Poom and is all legs, creamy and enticing, with voluptuous curves, beckoning his virgin hands to chart.
The waggling hungry tongues of the other models there whispered, excited, "She's a Playboy Bunny! Damn, what I would do to---".
But there was a disconnect. He should feel certain things. Should want to share the almost lewd sentiments of his colleagues as they drooled over her.
Even so, encouraged by the gentle push of P'Best's hand on the small of his back, he follows the choreographed dance instilled into his DNA by society. She smiles and he smiles back, a smile he hopes is strong and confident, asking for her line id and number.
And begins a two year relationship of forced affection and romance, tho it's tame behind closed doors. The affection they share is laughable. It's goes as far as exchanging only lackluster pecks after a sloppy first kiss ends in awkward silence and Gulf excusing himself to flee as quick as he could from the confused yet accusatory gaze of Poom's knowing eyes.
Because their relationship reeks of pre-arranged, contractual agreement. His image is strengthened by his Playboy Bunny girlfriend; he must be something else to have garnered such a catch. Her's gains a sense of domesticity and wholesomeness; she's a Bunny but she's also got morals, to have such a handsome and loving boyfriend.
But he can't help the nagging something that perches incessant at his nape, weighing him down with thoughts that perhaps his agency knew more of the things of Gulf that hid beneath.
And those things need be stayed hidden.
It's all futile, pointless efforts, because 6 months into his relationship with Poom, he stumbles upon an old short film, while doing research for class. It's a heartbreaking story of captured memories and lost love. Both leads wrench emotions from his soul and he's touched; could only wish one day he'd be able to immerse so deeply in a role.
But the male lead--
The male lead of sparkling brown eyes, that disappear into endearing crescents when he smiles. The male lead of infectious laughter, that makes him almost childlike, a pleasant juxtaposition to his imposing height.
The male lead makes him pause and stutter; he's entranced and breathless.
Mew Suppasit, is his name.
The name lingers on his lips and into his dreams.