"No, no. No hmmm-ing. No snorting. No grunting. Talk to me in words, please. Are you guys absolutely, a hundred percent, without a doubt sure what needs to happen today? Arthit?"
"So what are you going to do?"
"Take a walk. Look pretty. Pretend to be romantic"
"Good, good. And what are you NOT going to do? Kong?"
"Talk to any reporters."
I rolled my eyes as I tried to ignore Bright as much as possible seeing how the man had squeezed himself between Kong and me in the back seat of the car that was racing towards our attempt number two at a public date. This time we were making our way to 'lazily saunter' across the beach to look beautiful in front of the sunset. Although you could have easily thought we were off to war the way Bright was constructing our battle strategy about exactly where we would start our walk, how many steps we should take, even down to how many times we should splash each other with water playfully.
It's like my own best friend doesn't know me at all. In fact, I don't think that word even exists in my dictionary. My whole persona is formed on the backs of being brooding and mysterious. Which on one hand has been spectacular at keep wagging tongues at bay. The lesser I talk, that's how little the hungry media can twist my words. On the other hand, I have struggled all my life to form truly meaningful fulfilling relationships. Bright along with my family the only people who have managed to peek through the window of my soul, and even then I have a habit to slam it shut every chance I get.
And this life long practice of keeping all my emotions tightly locked within my chest feels like the perfect remedy I need to get over this simmering attraction for Kong that seems to slowly consume most of my waking thoughts. And all of them when I am not awake. Turns out even after close to 30 years of perfecting my techniques I seem to be failing rather spectacularly in this one particular case.
It has been only five days since our disastrous walk in the park and Bright had practically attached himself to Kong's hip as he iterated over and over about sticking exactly to the script of the plan and not talking to any media folks before our official press release. And every one of those blasted five days I have haunted Kong's shadow as a creepy old ghost.
When he sat at the dining table animatedly talking with Bright I normally found myself parked comfortably on my seat by the huge window, pretending to stare out at the city when I was really hanging on to every word coming out of his mouth. When he moved into the kitchen to make an attempt at cooking even the basics of things I found myself rushing right behind him to ensure he wasn't cutting or burning himself. Even the few times Kong would hang out in his own bedroom with the excuse of studying I found myself wandering aimlessly outside the door as if I had appointed myself as his personal security. The worst part of behaving like an absolute idiot was that the entire time Bright was ever-present to witness my lunacy all the while shooting lasers at me even when I so much as looked at Kong's way for more the 10 seconds.
And to make it super clear once again, to Bright, and to the whole world, I absolutely had no intention of sleeping with Kong. I just wanted to...I would just like to...to...I don't know, spend a little more time with him, I guess. Was that really so bad?
Taking a deep cleaning breath I stepped out of the car, catching the gaze of a yet again nervous Kong before I attempted a calming smile towards him. This time everything was almost guaranteed to go just right, cause I am pretty sure even at the slightest hint of aberration in the plan Bright will personally descend upon us to make sure we straighten out our acts.
Quietly slipping Kong's hand into mine, interlacing our fingers, briefly squeezing his soft palm we made our way down the deserted beach. The wind blowing in just the right direction for Kong's perfume mixed with his musky smell to tickle my nostrils intoxicatingly. Finally getting to enjoy this quiet moment walking next to him without the ever-present persistent bickering from Bright. So lost in my own little world of thoughts where a simple walk on the beach with Kong was an actual reality instead of some twisted game we were playing for the benefit of others that I didn't even immediately realize Kong was talking to me. His voice sounding so soft, so soothing that I bet I could simply hear him talk for hours.
"When are you leaving?"
"Huh? Sorry, I wasn't paying attention. Did you say something?"
"I was asking when were you leaving. Bright said your shooting for the next movie starts soon and that you will be traveling all over."
"Yeah, next week I have to fly to Tokyo. And then a few other places around Japan and Korea but we will keep coming back of course cause...I mean...you know...Bright's plan and all."
I pointedly looked at our linked hands while he just nodded.
"That's really cool that you get to travel so much."
"Yeah, it's nice. I guess. Have you ever been?"
"To Tokyo? That's a nice joke. Arthit, I have never been on a plane before. Hell, I haven't even left the city before."
"Really? How come?"
To which he simply shrugged his shoulder. The wide smile on his face fading ever so slightly when for the first time I saw his eyes glaze over a little. The normally chirpy boy looking strangely melancholic about a rather mundane conversation. And that is when it struck me that I don't actually know too much about him.
I mean, I know everything that could be captured within a file ofcourse. Bright doing a rather thorough job about digging up his whole life history. An only child to a very average lower middle class family. Got decent grades in school, never got into any trouble, worked hard to get into Engineering and had done odd jobs since high school to pay for his own tuition. He wasn't very close to his parents and had barely a handful of people he even spoke to on a regular basis. When we first started this charade this seemed like everything we ever need to know about Kong.
What I didn't know was anything that actually mattered. His hopes, his dreams, his fears. Things he aspired to become, places he wanted to visit. What were his likes, dislikes, things he hated and loved. Long story short I knew nothing about Kong. I think I want to change that.
Swinging around to face him, I suddenly halted our slow saunter as I spoke up with a little too much excitement that even I could barely recognize my own voice.
"Come with me."
"Come with me for the shooting."
And this is where Bright officially starts plotting my murder.
"Are you serious?"
"Extremely. It will be perfect. Think about it. You still have a break from your classes, going back to your old place will still have reporters haunting your apartment all the time, staying at my place alone will be lonely and boring. It will all be after our press release and we will be officially dating in the eyes of the world so you traveling with me will actually look quite normal." And the best of it all, I will get to personally show Kong around Japan.
"Are...are you sure?"
"What about Bright? I am pretty sure this is totally not in his oh so precious plan. In fact just today he gave me a list of acceptable things to do and places to go while both of you are away."
"Toss it out and leave convincing Bright to me."
Yeah, Bright is totally going to murder me.
But all the begging and screaming and tantrums I will have to face with Bright was going to be worth it seeing the brilliant smile Kong was flashing at me in that instant. Sending a sharp crack through my own defenses when I couldn't help but return his right back.
"Oh wow, you really are gorgeous. How come you don't show off that dimple more often?"
Taken slightly aback at his very frank compliment, I did the one thing which is even more uncharacteristic for me to do than flash my dimples. I blushed.
Bright. Deep. Red.
Rubbing a hand at the back of my neck, as I ineffectively tried to conceal my embarrassment at having Kong's eyes boring straight into me, I automatically lowered my gaze. Feeling shy was not something I was used to feeling too often.
Still stuttering my shock when all of a sudden I found moist lips pressed against mine. The briefest of pecks before Kong was already pulling back.
Words on my mouth instantly freezing as my eyes widened in surprise. Staring back at Kong as he began nervously chewing on that plump lower lip he had just kissed me with.
"I...thought...it looked like a good time...to...uh...kiss...I mean boyfriends in a romantic setting would...normally....ummm....kiss right?"
My jaw was still hanging open as I stared blankly while he nervously returned my look. But the longer I took to get my brain function back, the more the anxiety began rising in his face, his smile almost fading into a frown when all the chains I have been trying to carefully wrap around my control since the first moment I recognized my attraction to him, finally snapped.
Reaching out, I clutched one hand around his neck before I pulled him flushed against my body.
"Yes...we should kiss."