Xu Xinyi did not expect that she would meet Jiang Nian in the Film City.
This unlucky guy, when she saw him a month or two ago, was still a sunny teenager in high spirits. Although he was in an awkward situation, he should not have been reduced to this point in such a short time.
When she saw Jiang Nian’s tired and dusty face, she was afraid he hadn’t been having a good time recently.
Could his thin little arms and legs do the work of a porter?
“I still have a few scenes to shoot today. But I think you don’t look good so I’ll ask my assistant to accompany you to the hospital to see a doctor.”
“No, I’m fine. I just need some rest.” Jiang Nian bowed his head to try to cover up the signs of fatigue on his face.
Was this dying kid really trying to save face?
Xu Xinyi did not insist, “Alright, I’ll let my assistant take you to the hotel to take a bath and change your clothes. You have a good rest and when I’m done on set, I’ll talk to you.”
“Talk?” Jiang Nian’s eyes seemed to shine, he looked at Xu Xinyi with a mix of hope and uneasiness. “What do you want to talk to me about?”
Director Xu was calling for her and Xu Xinyi was in a hurry so she hurriedly left while leaving the words “We’ll talk later”.
Watching Xu Xinyi’s retreating back, Jiang Nian hesitated but did not speak.
“Jiang Nian, where do you live now?” Xu Xinyi’s assistant was a cute little girl with a round face. The top of her head barely reached Jiang Nian’s chin. Back when they were working in the same company, the little girl occasionally saw him from time to time.
Back then he was a sunny and handsome boy and when she inadvertently bumped into him in the hallways she would be dazzled by his looks.
“I live…” Jiang Nian paused. “I don’t have a place to live now.”
“Then tell you what, I’ll rent a room for you at the hotel where Sister Xinyi is staying. Come with me.”
“Where have you been all this time? I heard that Sister Xinyi and Sister Anya have been looking for you for a long time, but they couldn’t find you.” The assistant chatted with him as they walked.
Jiang Nian was slightly stupefied, and his face flushed with a trace of unexpected joy. He said in a tone of amazement, “Looking for me? Sister Xinyi, she was looking for me?”
“Yes, but I don’t know exactly why. I didn’t expect you to be here at the Film City. Have you been staying with the crew all this time? Do you want to act?”
Jiang Nian did not know how to describe his current mood at the moment.
It seemed he didn’t need to go through so many twists and turns. Just by showing his face, it was easy to get what he wanted.
The scarred hands hidden under his sleeves clenched were clenched into fists. It didn’t matter. As long as the outcome was good, the process didn’t matter.
“Yes, I want to act.”
After a day of shooting, Xu Xinyi dragged her tired body back to the hotel. After taking off her makeup and soaking in a hot bath, her eyes were so heavy that she was almost ready to collapse into bed. But then her assistant called her and asked her when she had time to meet Jiang Nian.
Xu Xinyi woke up instantly.
She had almost forgotten this unlucky child.
“Ask him to come over now.”
Xu Xinyi casually wrapped a coat around herself and gave Anya a call to tell her about finding Jiang Nian in the Film City.
“I don’t have any problems with Jiang Nian but his current contract is still with Tianyu. Are you sure you can handle Tianyu?”
“Speaking of this, I will have to thank Yi Yang. After the last time he helped me terminate my contract, President Gao probably thinks that Yi Yang is supporting me. He probably wouldn’t want to fall out with me over a little Jiang Nian, would he?”
“That does sound feasible.”
“OK, it’s settled then. I’ll talk to Jiang Nian later.” As soon as she finished talking, there was a knock on the door. “That’s probably Jiang Nian now. I’ll go first.”
Xu Xinyi hung up the phone and went to answer the door.
Jiang Nian was alone outside the door. He was wearing a t-shirt and jeans under a trench coat. He looked clean and refreshed but he was much thinner than before and his clothes seemed to dangle off of his body.
“Come on in.” Xu Xinyi opened the door and stepped to one side.
Jiang Nian walked into the room.
“Has Xiao Yuan* arranged a room for you?”
Jiang Nian looked awkward like he didn’t know where to put his hands. “Yes, it’s been arranged. I’m on the 12th floor.”
Xu Xinyi smiled, poured him a glass of hot milk, and put it in front of him. “Sit down.”
Xu Xinyi sat opposite him and rested her cheek on her palm. She watched him holding the milk as if he didn’t know what to do.
Noticing the gauze wrapped around Jiang Nian’s hands, “Are the wounds on your hands so serious?”
Jiang Nian averted his eyes and looked down at the steaming milk and said, “It’s better now.”
Xu Xinyi nodded.
She remembered that she had seen Jiang Nian dancing on the stage and in the training room before. Back then, Jiang Nian was in high spirits and looked like how a guy his age should look like, but now his face was so evasive and shy that he dared not even look at her.
Was it because the company forced him to ‘accompany’ clients that had hurt his confidence?
That should be what it was.
He had encountered that kind of thing, then he was buried by his company, and now he was bullied again in Film City. It seemed all his former pride and arrogance of youth had been worn down.
“We’ve talked a few times before now. I wonder if you’d mind telling me about your future plans.”
Jiang Nian clenched his hands around the milk cup.
“You must have been staying here in Film City for a long time, haven’t you? You want to act?”
Jiang Nian nodded.
“Because you like it, or because you need to find a way to eat?”
Jiang Nian’s wide and watery eyes and looked at Xu Xinyi for a long moment.
When she saw his attitude, Xu Xinyi felt that Jiang Nian was a little wary of her.
But then, as a person who he had met less than a few times, why would he trust her?
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t want to talk about it, I just…”
“It’s because I like it.” Jiang Nian said, “I’ve always dreamed that I could someday act with my favorite star.”
“Your favorite star? Who’s that?”
The sweet smell of hot milk wafted in his nose. Then Jiang Nian took a deep breath and wanted to say ‘Xu Xinyi, my favorite star is you’ but instead when it came out of his mouth he said, “Teacher Han Xiao, and …”
“Han Xiao? You’re very discerning, Teacher Han is handsome and has good acting skills. He has won a lot of film festival awards. No wonder you appeared on our crew. “
After she said that, Jiang Nian swallowed down his next words and said with a smile, “Well, I like him very much.”
“Since you like him so much, you can come with me to the set some other day and meet your idol.”
“Thank you. Sister Xinyi. ” Facing Xu Xinyi, he was inexplicably nervous. He couldn’t think of anything to say or do so he just clutched the mug. He took a sip of milk.
“You’re welcome, but…” Xu Xinyi smiled at the milk stain at the corner of his mouth. She pulled out a tissue and handed it to him.
Jiang Nian was stupefied for a moment.
Xu Xinyi pointed at the corner of her mouth, “Corner of your mouth.”
If she had Anya’s skills she might do it herself suavely but since she didn’t, she was afraid that he would just have to wipe it himself.
Jiang Nian hurriedly took the tissue and wiped the corners of his mouth.
“You must have been working as a porter in Film City for a while now, haven’t you? But this isn’t a long-term solution. I have a little friendship with the boss of Tianyu. How about I intercede on your behalf with him?”
Jiang Nian said, “This… I’m ashamed.”
“It’s just a lift of my hand.” With that, Xu Xinyi sighed and said sadly, “Tianyu seems pretty good from the outside but you’ve been in Tianyu for almost two years now. That company is under great pressure, the resources are all carved up by the upper echelons, and the lower level artists can’t even drink soup. It will be a little difficult for you to get ahead.”
Jiang Nian didn’t care about Tianyu. Hearing what Xu Xinyi said, Jiang Nian didn’t say anything.
“Jiang Nian, I am very optimistic about you. You are good-looking, have a good foundation, and are good at singing and dancing. You just lack a team and company that pays attention to you.” Xu Xinyi began laying the groundwork before she finally showed her cards. “It’s like this. After I broke off my contract with Tianyu, I opened my own studio but I have not signed any other artists yet. You are the most talented and promising star I have seen. Although my studio is still in its infancy and the resources may be a little small but I believe there will be more resources in the future, especially for promising young stars.”
She leaned close to Jiang Nian and said, “So, would you like to come over to my studio?”
When she leaned in close to Jiang Nian he caught a whiff of her fragrance. He was, after all, a thin faced young man. His ears unconsciously turned red and he scooted back a little, “I …”
Xu Xinyi continued to seduce, “At any rate. I’ve laid out the pros and cons of my studio compared to Tianyu for you. You can think about it. But I promise you that as long as you sign with my studio, I will certainly invest a lot of resources to boost you. I will never let you suffer the same treatment as you did in Tianyu. How about that?”
Seeing that Jiang Nian was still hesitant, Xu Xunyi reflected on whether she had gone too far? Was she like a creepy old woman who tried to bribe a child with candy?
“Or do you need to discuss it with your family?”
“My family doesn’t approve of me entering the entertainment industry.”
Jiang Nian nodded. “They think that the entertainment circle is too messy. They hope I can go home and continue my studies so I can inherit later. They want me to go abroad for further studies.”
“How old are you?”
“A teenager?” Xu Xinyi sounded shocked.
Jiang Nian hurriedly changed his answer, “No! I’m in my twenties.”
Xu Xinyi breathed a sigh of relief. She had been worried that he was really a child when he said he was a teenager.
“As a matter of fact, your family does have a point. It’s good to study a little more in your twenties.”
“I don’t like studying, I just want to…”
“Act with Han Xiao, right?” Xu Xinyi read the answer from his face. “Think carefully about signing then. But don’t worry. There’s no pressure. I just think you have potential and shouldn’t be buried. Even if you don’t sign on with my studio, I will still help you deal with Tianyu.”
She checked the time, then Xu Xinyi got up and said, “That’s all for today. You go back and have a rest. I’ll take you to the crew in two days and meet Han Xiao.”
Jiang Nian got up and walked to the door, hesitated for a long time before making up his mind, and asked, “Sister Xinyi, I don’t have a job now. Can I be your assistant? I don’t need to get paid, so long as…”
“I just need to feed you, right?”
Xu Xinyi was amused.
Why did it sound more and more like he was selling his body?
Jiang Nian nodded in embarrassment.
“OK, you can come if you’re not afraid of being tired. I happen to be short of an assistant,” She opened the door. “It’s getting late. You should go to bed early and think about signing the contract.”
“Thank you, Sister Xinyi.”
She closed the door and let out a sigh.
This Jiang Nian seemed to have a thin face, but he was actually quite resourceful. It was easy to tell that he was so willing to come work as her assistant, all for the sake of his favorite star.
It seemed that he had his own ideas. She was afraid it would not be that easy to get him to sign a contract.
Jiang Nian stood outside the door, and a cold breeze brushed by him.
Remembering that Xu Xinyi had just now asked him to sign on with her studio, but he immediately didn’t agree to the offer, he was so annoyed that he wanted to give himself a slap in the face.
Why didn’t he say yes! What was he even thinking?
Jiang Nian stood in front of the elevator full of chagrin and waited for it to arrive.
The elevator came up and stopped on his floor.
The elevator door opened.
Han Xiao, who was about to get out of the elevator, along with his agent and several assistants and makeup artists, looked at Jiang Nian outside the elevator and was stunned for a moment.
Jiang Nian looked at the elevator full of people, frowned slightly, and moved to one side without saying a word.
Han Xiao scanned Jiang Nian from top to bottom before he stepped out of the elevator.
Jiang Nian got into the elevator after waiting for the crowd to come out.
Before the elevator door closed, Han Xiao suddenly stopped and turned to look at Jiang Nian. “You are Xu Xinyi’s…”
Han Xiao’s assistant stopped the elevator door that was about to close.
“I’m Sister Xinyi’s assistant.”
“Assistant? I haven’t seen you before.”
Jiang Nian spoke quietly, his tone neither humble nor arrogant: “Before, I was an artist under Tianyu, and Sister Xinyi said she wanted to sign me to her studio.”
Han Xiaomian was expressionless. “I see. You should take advantage of this opportunity.”
Jiang Nian nodded. “I will.”
With that, Han Xiao turned and left.
The elevator door closed and slowly went down.
Han Xiao’s agent Luo Jie was a little puzzled, “What was that about?”
“Nothing, I was just asking.”
Han Xiao did not like to say anything to outsiders. He kept what he was thinking in his heart. Luo Jie was used to his character. It was not an important thing so he didn’t bother to risk annoying Han Xiao by pressing him for answers.
Back in his room, after taking off his makeup and changing clothes, the makeup artist pointed at Han Xiao’s shoulder and back with surprise.
“What’s the matter?” Luo Jie asked.
The makeup artist said in a low voice, “Teacher Han has a lot of scratches on his back…”
Han Xiao spoke as if nothing was wrong, “It’s nothing.”
Luo Jie said to an assistant, “Go and find some medicine.”
The assistant went immediately after hearing that.
Luo Jie looked at the bruises on Han Xiao’s back. There was no big problem, but the area of the bruise was too large and there was a broken skin. Even the clothes inside had dry blood stains and were pressed into the wound. They would have to be torn off.
“When did this happen?”
“it’s probably happened during the stunt on the city wall.” An assistant spoke.
Han Xiao’s eyes landed on the assistant, and the little assistant bowed his head and did not speak anymore.
Han Xiao made a gesture to undress.
“Wait a minute, wait for the medicine to come.” Before Luo Jie finished his words, Han Xiao yanked off his vest and the bloody scab under his clothes was also torn off. His wound began oozing blood.
“Look what you’re doing…”
“It’s all right, it doesn’t hurt much.” Using the mirror, Han Xiao looked at the injury on his shoulder and back.
Luo Jie wanted to say something more, but he was stopped by the bespectacled psychiatrist.
Not long after the assistant brought medicine. After applying the medicine, the assistants and the makeup artists all left, and the psychiatrist said: “Han Xiao, let’s talk.”
Han Xiao was silent for a moment and then sat opposite the psychiatrist.
“I have been giving you psychological treatment and your symptoms were showing signs of improvement. That’s why I advised you to take a TV show and try to get in contact with an actress, but Luo Jie told me that your condition seems to have gotten worse recently.”
“I don’t know why, but all of a sudden it seems to be back like how it was in the past.”
“But from what I saw on set today, things don’t seem to be as serious as Luo Jie described.”
Han Xiao was silent.
He really didn’t know why.
When he was standing on the city wall, he really felt afraid to jump, not because he didn’t dare to jump, but because he didn’t dare to do what he would have to do after he jumped.
But when he saw Xu Xinyi’s frightened expression, he suddenly thought it was no big deal, as if there was a power inside helping him resist his inner fear.
“Han Xiao, I’m your psychiatrist. You shouldn’t hide things from me. You should trust me and tell me what’s on your mind.”
Han Xiao looked down at his right hand and recalled the scene of jumping off the city wall and hugging Xu Xinyi today.
There seemed to be no feelings of fear.
Unlike other women, Xu Xinyi would not lean forward and try to press herself into his life. Instead, she would think for him and accept it when he rejected her approach.
Since he wasn’t forced to accept her and get close, he was more willing to approach on his own.
It made him feel more comfortable.
“I’m fine.” Han Xiao said.
Early the next morning, Jiang Nian went directly to start work as Xu Xinyi’s assistant and followed Xu Xinyi to the crew.
“Teacher Han, let me introduce you. His name is Jiang Nian. He is a fan of yours. He has always wanted to meet you. I wonder if Teacher Han can give this little brother fan a chance to take a group photo.”
Han Xiao frowned slightly, “A fan? Of mine?”
Standing behind Xu Xinyi, Jiang Nian had no choice but to step forward and say politely to Han Xiao: “Yes, Teacher Han, I have always admired you very much.”
It was not that he liked him, it was that he had no choice but to like him.
Xu Xinyi watched on one side, thinking of Jiang Nian, this hapless child. If she wanted to sign him to her studio, she would have to give him some benefits so that he could trust her more thoroughly.
So she said to Han Xiao, “Teacher Han, why don’t I take a picture of you two? It will be a good souvenir. “
Han Xiao and Jiang Nian looked at each other and said, “OK.”
Xu Xinyi retreated a few meters with her phone. She looked at Jiang Nian, who seemed shy and did not dare stand close to Han Xiao, and hated that iron could not become steel.**
Such a rare chance to get close to his idol. This unlucky boy looked smart but why did he drop the ball at this critical moment?
“Jiang Nian, please move over, stand closer, yes, don’t move.” She held up her phone and said, “Smile.”
Jiang Nian reluctantly tugged the corners of his mouth up.
There was an expressionless faced man and a pretty boy with a fake smile in the photo. The two of them looked like they wanted to be hundreds of miles apart. The more she looked at it, the more awkward they seemed.
“…well, at least they’re both handsome.”
Han Xiao’s assistant trotted over, “Teacher Han, the director wants you for something.”
Han Xiao looked at Xu Xinyi and said, “I’ll go first.”
Xu Xinyi turned off her cell phone and nodded.
After Han Jing left, Jiang Nian said to Xu Xinyi, “Sister Xinyi, Teacher Han doesn’t seem to like me very much.”
“Don’t think too much about it. Teacher Han, that’s just how he is. If you get in touch with him more, you’ll know it too. It’s all right.”
Jiang Nian hesitated, as if he had something to say.
“What’s the matter? Is there anything else?”
“I… I thought about it for a long time last night. If Sister Xinyi can help me solve Tianyu’s contract, I will sign up for your studio. “
Xu Xinyi looked at him carefully. “Have you thought it over?”
“En, I thought it over.”
Xu Xinyi smiled and patted him on the shoulder. “Good. I’ll talk to Anya tonight and ask her to arrange it for you, but you’ll have to wait until I have time. Recently, on the crew…”
“It doesn’t matter,” Jiang Nian said hurriedly. “I’ll help you as an assistant while you’re filming. Anyway, I can watch while you are filming and learn.”
Seemed he was very thoughtful.
After the deal was settled, Xu Xinyi sent a message to Anya to explain the matter. She estimated that if the crew worked quickly, it would take more than two months, and if it was slow, it would take more than three months, but she was not worried. If she kept Jiang Nian by her side during this period of time, there wouldn’t be any change.
Today’s filming schedule was quite heavy. She was filming until evening and then Xu Xinyi still had three more scenes in the evening. It seemed she would be up until the wee hours of the morning.
After filming a scene, Xu Xinyi finally had time to rest for a few minutes.
Host, let me remind you, you haven’t contacted Yi Yang for more than a week.
Xu Xinyi patted her forehead. She had almost forgotten about her cheap husband.
“Alright, I’ll give him a call.”
She picked up her phone and sent Yi Yang a video call request while there was no one around. She put on her headphones and waited a long time for the video call to connect. When it did she first delivered an intimate kiss to the phone camera. “Husband, I haven’t seen you for a long time!”
On the other end of the video call, Mrs. Yi coughed slightly, smiled awkwardly and said, “Xinyi, it’s me.”
Xu Xinyi blushed and really wanted to dig a hole for her to jump into on the spot, and said with a smile, “So it was mom, this… Have you and grandpa been in good health?”
“We’ve been fine. Yi Yang is in the study but his cell phone was in the living room. Shall I bring it to him for you? “
“OK, thanks, mom.”
After a short suffocating moment of embarrassment, the phone was delivered to Yi Yang.
“What’s the matter?”
“I just wanted to call you. I missed you and wanted to see you.” Then she whispered, “Is mom gone?”
Xu Xinyi breathed a sigh of relief. Now she could perform freely, so she immediately kissed the camera warmly, “Husband, I haven’t seen you for such a long time. I missed you so much! Did you miss me?”
Yi Yang lifted his eyes and looked at the scene behind Xu Xinyi. “Where are you?”
“Where else could I be? Filming on the set!” Saying that, Xu Xinyi adjusted the phone to the rear camera mode and showed him the environment on set.
Several spotlights were used to illuminate the whole area as bright as daylight.
“I have two more scenes tonight, and I may have to shoot until the middle of the night,” She complained in a pitiful tone. “Husband, I’m so tired from filming.”
“You can choose to quit the entertainment industry and come home to be Mrs. Yi.”
…this dead straight man***!
Xu Xinyi rolled her eyes where Yi Yang couldn’t see her.
“Honey, I know you love me. You are so kind to me and I am so touched. I really want to go home and be with you right away.”
He couldn’t see Xu Xinyi’s face and could only hear her infectious tone that easily went in one ear and out the other.
“That’s good to know. Was there anything else? If not, I have to work.”
“Gee, I just wanted to talk to you and look at you more.”
“If there’s nothing then I’ll hang up first. I have work to do.”
“Alright…” Xu Xinyi sounded reluctant to part.
Suddenly a bright and crisp voice sounded.
“Sister Xinyi, I’ve poured you a glass of honey water. You’ll have a lot of lines later. Moisten your throat first.”
Yi Yang, who was about to hang up the video, suddenly slowed his hand.
Xu Xinyi casually placed her mobile phone on a small table with other random sundries piled up on her side, and by coincidence the phone camera was still on the set.
“Honey water?” Xu Xinyi took it, and found it was slightly warm honey water. She repeatedly sighed in her heart. Jiang Nian, this child, was too sweet.
She took a sip, and in line with the idea of letting Jiang Nian get in touch with his idol, she said: “You could also send a cup to Teacher Han.”
Jiang Nian was reluctant in his heart, but he pretended to be very willing, “Good idea.”
Yi Yang watched the video coldly, who was this guy who brought water to Xu Xinyi? How come he hadn’t seen him before? He doesn’t remember him at all?
Xu Xinyi, who thought that Yi Yang had hung up the video a long time ago, ignored her phone, and went straight to the middle of a group of fresh meats to chat with them.
“What are you all talking about? We have a few scenes together later. Is there anything you don’t understand?”
Chen Shu would not miss any opportunity to communicate with Xu Xinyi, so he immediately came over with his script, “Sister Xinyi, I am not very clear about this paragraph.”
Xu Xinyi leaned over to look, and from afar it looked as if the two were bumping their heads against each other.
Yi Yang put down his pen and looked deeply at the camera where he saw an amused Xu Xinyi mingling with a group of teenagers. He saw Xu Xinyi, who was trembling with laughter, and frowned.
There were quite a lot of young actors in this crew.
He thought it was just Han Xiao.
Then for Xu Xinyi, wasn’t she in heaven?
She wanted to come home and be with him right away? Why didn’t he think that was true at all?
After chatting for a long time, Xu Xinyi eventually walked back to her chair and began to read her script.
“Xu Xinyi, you are a woman with a family and a husband. Keep some distance from other men outside!”
With the headphones plugged into Xu Xinyi’s mobile phone, how could she hear what Yi Yang said?
“Xu Xinyi, do you hear me?”
Xu Xinyi was reading the script carefully and couldn’t hear the phone at all.
Han Xiao came over and said, “Thank you for the honey water.”
Xu Xinyi did not get up but responded with a relaxed face. She seemed to be very well acquainted with Han Xiao, “It’s nothing. Teacher Han, it will be a bit difficult for us to act this scene later. Can you take a look at it with me?”
When asking for help, Xu Xinyi tilted her head and unconsciously used a soft tone.
Her voice sounded a bit gentle.
“Of course. But don’t call me Teacher Han like an outsider.”
“Then… Brother Han?”
“Sister Xinyi, it’s a little cold at night. Please wear your coat to keep out the chill so you don’t catch a cold.” Jiang Nian appeared with a long black cotton-padded coat.
Xu Xinyi got up and put it on.
“I was just thinking of asking you to bring me a coat but I didn’t expect you to bring it to me yourself. I’ll give you a raise tomorrow.”
Jiang Nian was a little embarrassed when he was praised. “Thank you, Sister Xinyi. This is what I’m supposed to do.”
Several people were in front of the mobile phone, and the whole scene was enlarged in front of Yi Yang.
He watched all this in silence.
Xu Xinyi, who had just put on a long cotton-padded coat, shivered for no reason, like she felt something cold and murderous in the wind.
*‘小圆’ / xiao yuan is her assistant I guess. No proper name yet
**the ‘hate iron for not being steel’ thing has come up before. It means be annoyed with someone for failing to live up to expectations but I can’t think of a good English idiom with a similar enough meaning to replace it so I’m just leaving it as is.
***99% sure this ‘straight’ is referring to his personality and not his sexuality lol