1 1. Washed Up

Good stepped off the plane and into the terminal connection. A heavy sense of dread and excitement mixed together in the pit of his stomach.

The moment he could see Bangkok from the airplane window, he had instantly felt excited to be home. Everything was overwhelming, all the familiar sites, the familiar feelings, it made him want to cry with relief. Yet, at the same time, he was scared of the welcome he would get.

So much had changed in two years.

'He had changed; His fans had changed, and he had spent so much time being someone that he wasn't. Good couldn't even be sure who he was anymore.'

He felt exhausted.

He walked through the airport and tried not to feel disheartened by the lack of security needed.

He tried not to feel disheartened by the emptiness of the airport other than the regular, everyday flyers and people going about their day. There was no screaming to greet him. Or flashing signs. Mobs of people chanting his name.

Signs and posters plastered with his face on them.

Instead, the world around him looked ordinary.

When he left two years ago, he hadn't been able to get inside the airport without eight bodyguards to keep people from reaching out to touch him. He had felt surrounded. Smothered.

He had hated it.

But also, he had loved it.

'He wasn't alone. He was surrounded. Never alone.'

He didn't have to give in to that hollow emptiness in the pit of his stomach.

He could just look into someone's eyes, and he could feel love.

Part of him knew it was adoration. 'Was that so bad? Being adored? He hadn't felt anything else before. So what was wrong with a little adoration? He had earned it. He had been training for seven years before he debuted. Seven lonely years of living life like a zombie.'

No one had cared back then whether he dropped into bed and cried himself to sleep; Whether he had eaten at all that day. Drank water took a shower.

The only other people ever in that place had been other poor lost souls striving for the same spotlight he wanted. A friend, but not a friend. A camaraderie. A rival.

Other than the others, there were only adults.

Adults who wanted to make money off him. Who looked at him with their eyes filled with dollar signs as they watched. They didn't care what his dreams were, what his passions were.

If he even missed home at all.

Whether he had felt scared, alone.

They trained him in everything.

You wanted to sing.

You learned to act.

You wanted to act, and they made you sing.

It was a cycle of relentless, tiring dream walking. As the people controlling the strings of your fate walked you through your life all while you tried to reach that euphoria.

Your happy ending.

'It is all so we can feel that love we were searching for.'

But the reality is we were all just weary and broken.

We had all lost things to get where we were.

And once you made it, you had to cling to it.

'He had made it.' He reminded himself.

'He really had.'

'He had become the superstar everyone dreamed of.'

Then GATV had told him he was going to the USA to become a global star to star in big movies with the big names. You know the one anybody would die to be standing next too.

'I told them it wasn't my dream, they sent me anyway.'

'I never wanted to be an actor... I just wanted to sing.' He looked out into the arrivals area. And spotted a small group of maybe fifty or sixty people holding fans and posters.

He immediately felt disappointed, he knew that he shouldn't be disappointed, that instead, he should be happy there were any fans at all.

But he knew it in his soul. He had ruined his career, his life. His fame, that he wouldn't feel that love again. That the loneliness would return, and it was because he had to do something he was inherently horrid at.

'Should I walk over and see them or try to get out of here without a scene?'

"There he is!'

'Crap... Well, it's too late now. Didn't you want the adoration...' He reminded himself.

'Not like this. This is humiliating.'

'He had gone from hundreds of thousands to not even one hundred fans standing there waiting for him.'

'He was over.'

He waved at them after pressing his black hat down over his dark red hair. He was still dressed like the star he was. He knew he looked good and immediately started to pose for pictures. Trying his best not to let the way he was feeling show on his face.

The girls squealed and clicked their phones and cameras.

A few of them held out bags that were clearly gifts. Before, he had to refuse the gifts as there were so many that would end up rotting or being thrown away. So he, unfortunately, had to break some of their hearts and had to tell his fans not to waste their money. That he would never use or even see their gifts, except for the few lucky selected ones.

Now he took them with a soft bow and a polite word of thanks. And underneath it all, he hoped he could hide his embarrassment from them. Because he was grateful. He really was! But it still stung a little to have fallen so far.

It was embarrassing that now he didn't even have enough to need a second person to take some. He could easily carry all these back and look like he simply went shopping for an hour or two.

He sighed, said a few mindless words. Interacted, gave high fives and cute poses, and then said goodbye.

When he got outside, he tried not to show any signs of anger or annoyance at the provided transportation. His fans were watching.

He turned and made a few more final poses then got into the waiting car they had provided.

GATV used to send a large black van with tinted windows for the star that they couldn't risk getting hurt. This car, he scoffed. This was, essentially; what someone in the states would call an Uber or nice Taxi cab. He doubted the person even worked for the company at all.

"Take me home." He said authoritatively to the driver. 'It wasn't necessary to say his address everyone in Bangkok knew where he lived.'

"I'm taking you to the company, sir.'

'I just got off a very long flight, I would prefer to go home. Tell Rocky, my manager, to meet me there instead.'

'Sorry, Strict orders...' The man paused uncomfortably.

Since it's their account..." he started up the and zoomed off.

Good folded his arms unhappily. 'This day couldn't get worse, could it?'