Step Into The Light

Chapter 7

"Just a peck. One tiny little peck. No big deal at all. A tini tiny peck that's all."

We had just entered the park for Bright's precious big reveal, while Kong had immediately launched into one of his patented pep talks. Murmuring quietly under his breath as I tried desperately to hide my smile.

"Just like kissing grandma. Or Oak's cat. Yup. Just like that."

"Kissing a cat? Really Kong?"

"Oops, you heard that?"

"Kind of hard to miss when you are trying to imagine a feline instead of kissing me."

"Well to be fair, he is a rather good looking cat."

"Better looking than me?"

To which Kong blushed again. Naturally.

Now anyone who knows me even in passing would guarantee those words would have never left my mouth. Flirting was something I did not do. Ever.

And yet somehow teasing him about one stupid kiss, only to see his adorable reaction came a little too naturally. Smiling down at him as we lazily made our way deeper into the park, I bent low to whisper softly in his ear. Gaining weirdly delicious pleasure at watching his slight shiver when he felt my breath on his ear.

"We don't need to kiss if you don't want to Kong. We don't need to do anything you are not comfortable with."

"Really?"

The boy visibly relaxed next to me, the first genuine smile creeping up on his face since the time he first overheard the dreaded kiss conversation. Taking both the palms of his hands he rubbed them down vigorously against his pants, just like I have watched him do multiple times in the past 10 minutes to rid himself of all the nervous sweat before he slipped a lightly trembling hand into mine. My heart feeling a rather uncharacteristic pinch as I looked over his anxious demeanor.

And not for the first time the thought crossed my head. Maybe we should call all of this off. Maybe trying to avoid this scandal was not worth putting him through this. He didn't even know why we were doing any of this, let alone just how bad things could really get. Which made me keep coming back to the one question I didn't really understand the answer to.

If Kong was this nervous about facing the cameras, if he was this anxious about this fake relationship, if one tiny peck had him palpitating, why the hell would he ever agree to this ridiculous farce.

Maybe it was just the money. Understandable perhaps seeing how hard he had to work to pay off his tuition and rent. Or maybe it was the excitement, the thrill of dating an actor. Somehow as much in awe Kong looked around me, he still didn't seem like the type of guy who would drastically change his life for a few seconds of fame. Maybe he genuinely was scared about handling the press on his own. Wonder how he will react if he finds out we actually contrived this whole scenario. That he would have been involved in none of this if it wasn't for us.

My gaze automatically lowered as guilt washed over me again. Somehow it feels that it is an emotion I am most intimate with nowadays. Hating the fact that with everything else now I was loaded with guilt over Kong too. I knew this was a bad idea. I should never have agreed to go along with Bright's dumb plan.

Almost unconsciously I found myself squeezing Kong's hand even tighter, as if I held on to his hand tight enough I would be able to protect him from everything that was to come. But I knew that was not true. I knew I had unleashed something that would not simply go away. Something that had the potential to consume me and all I hold dear until nothing but ashes were left around me.

But now that I had already committed the sin of involving Kong, perhaps I should do all I can to avoid the disaster from becoming a tsunami that would drown us all.

Interlacing our fingers, I softly pulled him closer to my body as we continued strolling down the park. A surprised yelp, immediately followed by another intense blush graced Kong's face, but thankfully he seemed to accept my actions without any resistance. Infact even his silent pep talking had complete ceased while he hummed a soothing tune under his breath.

It wasn't until we were practically at the edge of the park did Kong finally speak up again, breaking the harmonious silence between us.

"So when exactly do they show up?"

"Who?"

"The press ofcourse. We have been walking for almost an hour and there is absolutely no one. I swear I'm tired of even being nervous. Shouldn't they be a lot better at their job if they want to be tracking the love life of the great Arthit?"

"Ummm... they are here already."

"What? Where? There is no one here."

Whipping his head left and right he scanned his eyes across the barren grounds of the park but turning back to face me with clear doubt shrouding his face.

Chuckling softly at his expressions, somehow I seemed to do that a lot around him, I raised our linked fingers to my lips, pressing a soft kiss on the back of his hand as a show of fake affection before I began discreetly pointing out the horde of press.

"They are hiding. There in the bushes you can see a couple. And in that tree over there. And some are in that one too. Actually, if you look closely enough they are all around us.

Mr. Sleuth next to me squinted his eyes and went into full detective mode as he kept trying to spot more reporters hanging off the trees, giving a shocked gasp every time he spotted a new one.

"Why are they hiding? The only reason we are here is because of them anyway."

"Well, this is to give us some semblance of privacy."

"But you already know they are there."

"Yup. Unfortunately, after so many years it's a skill I have developed to spot one even in the wild."

Taking a moment to ponder, dabbing his forefinger on his chin as if in deep thought, he looked around him again.

"Do they know that you know they are there?"

"Oh definitely. You will be amazed at how much those buggers know."

"Seriously? Then this is the stupidest charade ever. Won't they know that this is all fake? I mean even I'm not convinced we could ever be dating."

"Well, ever is a rather strong word. But we aren't trying to convince them, we are trying to...

And just as I was about to give him the slightest hint of what the fuck this was all about, a peek into the window of what he should expect for the next few months, we heard a loud crash, which was immediately followed by a pained groan. From the looks of it, a branch had snapped causing a reporter to have fallen straight on his butt.

The curses from said individual barely making way to us as I couldn't help but burst out in laughter simply at imagining the scene, about to turn to Kong to share the hilarity of the situation when I suddenly realized the blank space next to me as the boy was speeding his way towards the source of the sound.

"Hey, Kong, wait, don't do that..."

Launching after him, I reached a little too late to tell him that the whole purpose of them hiding is to maintain this facade. The whole reason for us pretending they don't exist even while we purposely pose for this charade is to keep this illusion of reality. It's the mutual love and hate relationship between us stars and the reporters haunting our every step. And after decades of carefully crafting the sinister bond, they don't think of us as people anymore, a piece of news, a juicy gossip is all we are. While they are nothing more than a pen, a camera that keeps us relevant. It's nothing more. Nothing less.

So you have to understand my utter shock when completely ignoring all the rules of engagement, Kong rushes right towards the snapped tree branch, and crouches down next to the fallen man.

"Mister? Are you ok? Are you hurt? Did you hit your head anywhere?"

The thin young man was still orienting himself as Kong began checking him for injuries.

"Yeah, yeah....owww... I think I will live, i'm just a little.... Oh my God! You are.... and that is...holy fuck!"

The man's eyes practically bulged out of his face as he finally noticed who was squatting next to him, brushing off the leaves from his clothes. His mouth gaping open in shock when he saw me standing next to them. Slight irritation lining my expression with just how close Kong was getting to this random stranger.

Clasping my hand around Kong's elbow I began tugging him away, almost desperate to get back to the path and hopefully back home soon.

"I'm sure the gentleman is doing just fine. C'mon we need to get back Kong."

But instead of listening to me, or clutching at my hand like his life depended on it, the way he was doing less than five minutes ago, he simply shrugged my grip away and continued pouring attention over the flabbergasted reporter.

"Hang on Arthit. The poor man clearly has a concussion. Mister? Where are you hurt? Do you need to go to the hospital?"

Still trying to get through the man who was staring between the two of us in utter shock, Kong began dabbing his handkerchief on the wounds on the man's hand. While the other one dug deep within his pocket to fish out band-aids, that he softly placed in the reporter's hand.

"Here, unfortunately these are all I have. Do you think you need more?"

"I...I... I am fine. You are Kongpob right?"

"Yes, how are you feeling? Are you hurt anywhere? That looked like quite a fall."

Now all of us knew at that moment Kong was being beyond genuine in his worry for the reporter who quickly glanced at me before devolving into blushes. The ridiculousness of a grown man hanging from a tree to take pictures of us like we were some animals on a safari didn't escape the two of us while the innocent little Kong kept pattering about remedies for the back pain the man would surely be experiencing soon.

"No, no. I'm fine. Really. I'm sorry I disturbed your... uh...date. It was a date right? How long exactly have guys been dating? How did you two meet? How did...?"

"C'mon Kong, we need to head out now. I'm sure the gentleman is doing just fine."

Tugging at Kong's arm a little harder this time I pulled him up to his feet. Now that the farce of this stupid simple walk in the park had all but shattered, we needed to go before the rest of the reporters descended upon us. Either ways I'm sure Bright was going to chew our ears out for not having stuck to his plan.

And that is when it happened.

Kong slowly pushed himself up, stretching out a helping hand to the reporter, when he flashed him that one smile I know is going to cause us all sorts of trouble.

If I hadn't seen the blushing man in front of me physically melt under Kong's attention I might have chalked it up to my paranoia, but unfortunately, the one thing I am actually a professional about are expressions. The same one I could see reflecting in the man's face that has featured on mine every time Kong captivates me with his smile.

Squeezing his hand even tighter I practically dragged him away from the man. Nothing good ever comes from getting this close to reporters. And although Kong let me lead him away from the tree, towards the parked car, he kept looking back to check on the fallen man. And the more he looked, the more my irritation grew. Almost desperate to bring his attention back to me, I tugged at his hand and asked him the first question that popped into my head.

"Was this easier than you thought? Atleast you didn't have to imagine kissing a cat."

Slightly taken aback at my random inquiry, he looked at me with slight confusion before gave another one of his sheepish smiles.

"Oh... yeah...I'm sorry about that...I was just...just...nervous you know. I mean I didn't want to mess it all up with my first kiss being in front of so many people. I am obviously not talented like you in acting and..."

I had stopped listening.

Of course I had stopped listening.

First kiss?

Ok, maybe Bright was correct. I do want to get into his pants.

Fuck!


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