After Yi Yang’s confession that night, Xu Xinyi’s studio received fresh budding roses every day afterward.
In a few days, the number of roses in Xu Xinyi’s studio increased to disastrous proportions until they gradually became unbearable because the whole studio was filled with a constant scent of roses.
Anya, who had to smell the scent of roses all over her office, had a tiny bud of resentment against Xu Xinyi sprout and then deepen more than just a little bit. “That evil capitalist, even the roses he sends over create a physiologically uncomfortable and sour smell.”
“That’s the smell of jealousy.”
“Jealousy?” Anya took out her phone and quickly pulled up her hundred fresh meats on WeChat. “Xu Xinyi, you tell me, where would I envy you? Would I be jealous of you clinging to one single tree and giving up the forest? Alright, I’m not going to talk with you about this.” She moved back to the point, “What’s going on with Jiang Nian recently?”
“What do you mean? He didn’t contact you?”
“No, he hasn’t been in touch with me since his father died. So I thought that he must have been in touch with you.”
Xu Xinyi sighed. “His father’s death was probably a big blow to him. I gave him a few days off. We should delay any of his upcoming arrangements.”
“I already delayed them a long time ago.”
“Then that’s fine.” On the topic of Jiang Nian, Xu Xinyi could not help saying, “But I do have some thoughts about Jiang Nian’s matter. Hear me out and tell me what you think.”
“What do you mean?”
“I think Jiang Nian should go abroad and further his studies.”
“Go abroad? To further his studies?”
Xu Xinyi nodded, “Scrambling to take lessons in his free time is really not suitable for him, plus he has been very busy recently but the effects have been marginal. So I think that now, while he is still young, he has time to go abroad to further his studies and gain experience. Even though he is young and famous, he has no foundation, so I’m worried about the future.”
There were many such people in the entertainment industry.
People who were young and popular for a while but, because there were many stars who could sing and dance, it ended up being not enough to get a foothold. And then it was only a matter of time before they get eliminated.
“You’re right, but it’s up to Jiang Nian to decide on that kind of thing. I’ll talk to him sometime and ask what he thinks about it. After that, we can only respect his opinion.”
Xu Xinyi nodded. “Then I’ll leave it to you.”
“One more thing, Director Xu’s movie is about to begin filming, so prepare yourself for it.”
“It’s starting filming?”
Anya teased her, “What? You can’t bear to leave your loving husband behind?”
Xu Xinyi rolled her eyes at her with an expression that said ‘This person doesn’t know good from bad’. Why would friends want to hurt each other?
“It’s not that I can’t bear to leave him behind. It just feels a little sudden. By the way, how are things with you and your boyfriend recently?”
“Which one are you asking about?”
“Take it as me asking about whichever one you’re with now.”
“I don’t have a boyfriend now.”
“You don’t have a boyfriend?”
Anya said succinctly and to the point, “We split up.”
“And that Luo Jie…”
Xu Xinyi applauded, “It’s good that he’s dead.”
Anya looked at her. “I’ve already said it, can you not mention that bastard?”
“I also didn’t want to mention him but since I’m going to be cooperating with Han Xiao I’ll have to deal with that bastard one way or another. So I wanted to ask for your thoughts so I can decide how to deal with him.”
“As your manager, my opinion is that if you can castrate him, you should castrate him, and if you can’t castrate him, you should mutilate him! Anyway, don’t let me see him again or I’ll beat him to death!”
There was a knock at the office.
“Sister Anya, someone is looking for you outside.”
“Someone is looking for me? Who is it?”
“He said his name was Luo Jie.”
Xu Xinyi and Anya exchanged looks.
Anya stood up and started walking around Xu Xinyi’s office as if she were looking for something.
“Anya, what are you looking for?”
Anya didn’t say a word but when she found a guitar in one corner of Xu Xinyi’s office, she picked it up and walked out.
Seeing this, Xu Xinyi couldn’t just sit still, so she immediately got up to stop her. She was afraid Anya might really impulsively beat Luo Jie on the spot, “Anya, calm down! If you break the law, you’ll really go to jail! It’s not worth paying for the rest of your life over this kind of asshole.”
“I won’t kill anyone,” Anya said calmly. “I’ll just break all three of his legs and we’ll be over.”
“That won’t work either! It’s not worth sending yourself to jail over one asshole. Listen to me! Calm down!”
“Xu Xinyi, if you treat me as a friend, you need to let me go.”
“Of course you are my friend! But as your friend, how can I just watch as you make a mess of things? Let’s talk and not fight, okay?”
Anya looked down and saw that Xu Xinyi was hugging her waist tightly, completely in a posture that said ‘If you don’t promise me now, I’ll never let you go’.
Xu Xinyi slowly let her go. “That’s right. We are all civilized people here, we don’t have to kick up a racket.”
Five minutes later, the two stood side by side in front of the door to the lounge.
Anya was carrying the guitar and Xu Xinyi was holding a baseball bat.
Although they wouldn’t really do anything, they couldn’t lose in terms of momentum, right? They had to make sure Luo Jie started on the back foot.
Anya opened the door.
Inside the lounge, Luo Jie was anxiously pacing around the room. When he heard the sound of the door opening, he glanced up.
“Anya, you’re here? You’re finally willing to see me, I came here today because I wanted to explain to you about what happened the other night…” Luo Jie had already begun his explanation as he walked forward with his eyes fixed on Anya, but after taking a step he noticed the guitar slung over Anya’s shoulder and Xu Xinyi, who was carrying a baseball bat, by her side. Time seemed to freeze and his expression slowly turned cautious.
“Anya, I have an explanation! We are all civilized people here, so there’s no need to get physical.” He spoke nervously.
Anya looked at him with something unclear flickering in her eyes.
Then the two women walked into the room together.
The door to the lounge closed and the click of the lock rang out.
Luo Jie swallowed. He began to regret marching here to his own death today.
As the two approached, Luo Jie gradually retreated until his back was against the wall. He panicked and decided that this was not the moment to talk nonsense, “Anya, what happened wasn’t intentional. You should know that you were very drunk that night. Although you may not remember exactly what happened after you were drunk, the car recorder and the hotel surveillance tapes from that night can fully explain the situation.”
“Plus, even if you don’t know me, you should have at least heard about me. Am I the kind of man who sleeps around casually with women? How could I put myself in danger by taking advantage of you? But that night you were really out of your mind, you kept throwing yourself at me.”
“Kept throwing herself at you?” Xu Xinyi sneered and rested the baseball bat on her shoulder, “You’re saying, Anya was sticking to you?”
“No, no, no, I don’t mean that. It was me. I’m the one who has been clinging to Anya all the time. I’m the one who stuck to her.” When he saw Xu Xinyi’s grip on the baseball bat loosening a bit, Luo Jie breathed a sigh of relief. “But as for that night, Anya, you really have to believe that it was all an accident. We were both drunk, a lonely man and woman together…”
As he saw Anya raising her guitar, Luo Jie hurriedly said, “In any case, it’s already a fact that we had sex so, regardless of the reason, I will take responsibility!”
“Take responsibility?” Anya laughed. “Do I need you to take responsibility? Luo Jie, we are all adults here okay, so will you grow up? We just had sex one time and you want to be responsible for me? Did I ask you to take responsibility? Yes, I know I was drunk that day, and I also watched the recordings. So I know that, yes, I took the initiative, but I never asked you to take responsibility. We can just think of it as sharing a brief night of spring. I don’t think you’re at a loss like that?”
Luo Jie’s brows furrowed slightly. “What do you mean?”
“What I mean is, I don’t need you to take responsibility. Didn’t you ask before if I wanted to play with you? Well, now we’ve played and, to be fair, you are in the top five among all the boyfriends I’ve dated, but please be clear that even if I have sex with you, that’s as far as our relationship goes. I won’t pester you to take responsibility, and you don’t have to come to me and give an ‘explanation’. We rolled in bed for one night but once we put our pants back on the next day I am still me and you are still you. We are both adults and we only need to be responsible for ourselves.”
Anya took the guitar and threw it down on the lounge carpet. “I don’t need you to take responsibility. And from now on we can be the same as before, two friends who know each other by chance. Don’t be so serious.”
“Have I made myself clear?”
As Anya spoke the smile on Luo Jie’s face disappeared little by little. His face became heavier and heavier, and the furrows on his brow got deeper and deeper.
Seeing things turn like this, Xu Xinyi felt that it wasn’t good to stay any longer.
“This… you guys chat. My baseball bat is a little too heavy so I’ll go… find another one.” Xu Xinyi quickly slipped out.
She had never expected that Anya, who would usually never say a harsh word in front of a handsome man, who always had a soft heart and an easy-going personality, would suddenly become like a different person in front of Luo Jie and say those kinds of things out so directly.
It seemed clear that she wanted to sever her relationship with Luo Jie.
Being reasonable, although Luo Jie was not an earth-shakingly handsome guy, he was pretty good-looking. With his facial features, even if he entered the entertainment industry, he would be recognized as a handsome man. So Anya’s hostility was a little inexplicable considering her usual way of operating.
Xu Xinyi racked her brains trying to recall all of Anya and Luo Jie’s interactions, and she concluded there had never been much in the way of contradictions or misunderstandings. It just seemed that Anya had shown a particularly strong rejection toward Luo Jie from the very beginning and now, after rolling bed, her attitude shifted even further until she was treating him like an enemy.
Although she didn’t know what Anya was thinking, it was business between the two of them at the end of the day. As a friend, she couldn’t interfere too much.
Xu Xinyi stayed outside the door for a long time but she didn’t hear any raised voices, let alone the sound of fists flying. After about half an hour, Anya came out of the lounge with an indifferent expression. Under the eyes of the people in the studio, she strode purposefully along back to her office with her back straight, her high heels clicking, and her head held high.
She was like a queen from the past regally marching among her subjects.
About ten minutes later, Luo Jie came out of the lounge. His face showed no clue to his thoughts and he just left the studio silently.
The incident could be regarded as a stone being dropped into a calm lake. There was a moment of ripples before everything returned to stillness.
After that, Xu Xinyi never mentioned Luo Jie in front of Anya again and Luo Jie never sent any more roses to Xu Xinyi’s studio. And, for a long time after that, the two people’s incidence of meeting one another was reduced to almost zero.
A few days later, the variety show which Xu Xinyi and Jiang Nian had gone on together began its broadcast. Back on the day of recording, Jiang Nian had caused an uproar among his fans because he could borrow a million yuan with a phone call. It had been news that had climbed the hot search, although it didn’t take long for it to fall off.
But the internet remembered.
As soon as the program started airing various netizens took screenshots of the ‘borrowing money’ scene on their phones and forwarded it everywhere one after another. The story of Jiang Nian secretly being a second generation rich had already been spread widely thanks to the marketing accounts someone had hired before and that caused the news regarding Xu Xinyi to be suppressed and, ultimately, it was not being discussed by many people.
So for a while, topics like: #Jiang Nian secret rich second generation#, # Jiang Nian almost went home to inherit the family business#, # Jiang Nian’s million yuan phone call# and other similar topics rocketed up the popular search list.
Jiang Nian had established an image as a good person who seemed young and slightly naive. Also, he was less than twenty years old, which was rare in the industry. Because of that he did not have many fan ‘girlfriends’, instead, most of his fans on Weibo were more like mother bears shouting to protect their cub.
Because BIG_FIVE had never been popular, which caused Jiang Nian to languish as an unknown star for many years, no one knew how many grievances he must have suffered during his time in the entertainment industry, which was a place that was known to praise the strong and trample the weak. The increasingly wild speculations caused many fans to feel deeply distressed.
But what was the saying?
Fame from abuse was still fame.*
Some people thought that it was just one set of tricks after another.
After the variety show broadcast, Jiang Nian’s Weibo suddenly exploded with over two million new followers, which surpassed the popularity of many of his contemporaries. With this, Jiang Nian was suddenly in the sights of all major media corporations and their numerous partners, and brands who wanted to discuss contracts or cooperation with him began contacting Xu Xinyi’s studio one after another.
However, there were also many anti-fans who would smear him using Jiang Nian’s education. They would speculate that a rich second generation who did not even attend high school or university must be a very lazy person, and then go on to give examples of dropouts like Zhang Xiaoshan, Wang Ergou, and other similar characters from their own hometowns**. They would maliciously say that people who did not have a high quality education all had flawed characters and terrible personalities that would ensure that they would never amount to anything in the future.
The real fans didn’t bother to listen to these absurd remarks so they soon disappeared among the vast flood of comments on Weibo.
But in any case, an artist’s rising popularity was a good sign for Xu Xinyi’s studio.
Shortly after the variety show was broadcast, ‘The Way of the Phoenix’ starring Xu Xinyi and Han Xiao started its official broadcast in the prime time slot on Mango Satellite TV.
Xu Xinyi’s acting skills on the show were commendable and there was also Han Xiao, whose name was a well-known guarantee of success in the box office. This was his first appearance in a TV series, which was the biggest gimmick the advertising blitz ran on to arouse the curiosity of countless fans.
On the first day of the broadcast, the bullet screen on the video streaming website was dense with commenters.
“Oh, I’ve died and gone to heaven! Xu Xinyi looks so handsome again! “
“Han Xiao is so handsome. I can lick the screen all day with this face alone!”
“The director of this drama is so good at picking his people, there are no ugly people even among the supporting roles. They are all beautiful immortals or handsome young fresh meats, it makes these cast photos simply a buffet of superior aesthetics!”
“There are only two episodes released a day! I hate it!”
The plot was fast-paced, the actors’ acting skills were all on-point, plus the special effects department and the martial arts choreography were both comparable to that of the high-quality movies that had been released this year. Among a sea of shoddy TV series’, they quickly stood out and became one of the most popular dramas currently airing thanks to word-of-mouth.
The actors and actresses playing supporting roles who had their own advantages were all quickly dug up by the fans and suddenly had the potential to become the next big stars.
And as a result, Xu Xinyi was also flying high. The word-of-mouth recommendations exploded everywhere and her popularity soared, ten million Weibo followers materialized as if from nowhere. There were brands begging for endorsements and scripts from famous directors coming to her door one after another. Because of this show, the fans were given a new perspective on Xu Xinyi because of her acting skills and her Weibo was full of people singing her praises for the first time, instead of the typical abusive and sarcastic fare.
On the day ‘The Way of The Phoenix’ started broadcasting, Director Xu Siming called her and asked her to come and meet with him in person.
Xu Xinyi had always had a decent relationship with Director Xu but she didn’t know what he would need her for that they had to meet in person?
When she asked, Director Xu’s voice became a little evasive. “It just so happens that I want to see you, so when can we meet?”
Eventually, she made an appointment with Director Xu and, the next day, Xu Xinyi went to meet him at his office.
Xu Xinyi arrived at his office at around four in the afternoon, by which point Director Xu had been waiting for her for a long time.
“Director Xu, what did you need me for so urgently?”
As soon as she entered the office, Director Xu personally poured her a cup of tea. “There is a matter regarding the movie’s script and I thought it would be better to meet with you in person to clear the air in advance and ask for your opinion.”
“What matter is so big that you want to clear the air in advance for? You’re even personally pouring tea for me, I really can’t afford this treatment.” Xu Xinyi and Director Xu had worked together several times in the past so she was actually quite familiar with him. That’s why, despite what she said with her mouth, she really wasn’t too polite with him. “Just tell me if you need anything.”
Director Xu hesitated slightly, but eventually nodded, “Okay. The thing is, so far, I have been in close contact with the various actors who will be in our movie. Originally I planned to start filming on the 3rd of next month but the actor I picked for the second male lead cited scheduling conflicts and suddenly withdrew from the role. After that one of the investors, uh, stuffed another individual in. The new second male lead ‘recommended’ to me by the investor has worked with me before, and his acting skills are pretty good, plus his image is similar to the image of the actor he is replacing.”
After he said so much, Xu Xinyi was a little curious, “Who is it?”
Director Xu smiled wryly. “Actually, you know him too. His name is Xie Chi.”
The smile on Xu Xinyi’s face disappeared instantly.
“Director Xu, is that why you called me here?”
“I know there is some friction between you and Xie Chi. So that’s why I asked you to come here today and discuss it. As you know, this is my first film so I have to seriously weigh all aspects. If there is friction between the actors and actresses, filming will not be very smooth. So if your side really can’t compromise on this, well, I’m not a difficult person to talk to.”
“What Director Xu means to say is that if I don’t agree, you will remove Xie Chi from the cast?”
Director Xu nervously touched his gradually receding hairline and said, “That’s right.”
Xu Xinyi was silent for a moment.
When she thought about it carefully, she used to really feel that Xie Chi was a good actor. But then Xie Chi caused her to lose a magazine shoot and she caused Xie Chi to lose an endorsement. So although she considered them to be even at this point, their relationship could only be described as bad. She had planned to let him cross his own proverbial wooden bridge while she walked her own proverbial Yangguan road***, and they would each have nothing to do with each other henceforth.
Xu Xinyi really never expected to have any further contact or cooperation with Xie Chi.
But when she looked at Director Xu’s expression it was obvious that the matter with Xie Chi wouldn’t be simple to settle.
Investors were hard to get rid of, so Xie Chi was probably more or less guaranteed the role unless Director Xu did something drastic.
“Director Xu, you are the director of this film so you have the final say. If you think Xie Chi is qualified to be the second male lead, then sign him on. As long as we make a good movie, I will understand.” It was just a role after all, and Xu Xinyi had never thought to try to shut Xie Chi out or anything. “What’s more, Xie Chi really does have acting skills so, if you ask me, I think he is qualified for the role.”
Xu Siming smiled and patted his thigh. “I knew you weren’t that stingy!”
Xu Xinyi shrugged. “Director Xu, you have misunderstood me. I am, in fact, very stingy. So you should introduce me to more high-quality scripts in the future, I don’t want to see any bad ones.”
“Alright, alright, don’t worry.”
With that, the decision was settled.
“Was that it? You didn’t need anything else?”
Xu Siming shook his head. “That was it.”
Xu Xinyi got up and said, “Couldn’t we have just talked about this kind of thing on the phone? Did I really have to be called out to say it in person… alright, I’m leaving.”
“By the way, I almost forgot but there is one more thing. The day after tomorrow there will be a celebration party for ‘The Way of The Phoenix’, you are the female lead so you have to come.”
Xu Xinyi promised, “OK, I’ll be there on time. Don’t worry.”
As soon as she left Director Xu’s office Xie Chi came out from a side room with an indescribable look on his face.
Xu Siming was feeling refreshed and even poured himself some more tea before he remembered Xie Chi’s existence.
“I told you before that Xinyi was not a stingy person. And I told you that she always used to praise you for your acting skills, but you didn’t believe it. Come on, tell me, how did you end up in conflict with Xinyi? Why do you think so poorly of her?”
Actually, Xie Chi had come to Xu Siming early that morning to talk about the screenplay. When he heard that Xu Xinyi was coming, he had been sure that she would never let him stay on the crew, while Xu Siming had been sure that Xu Xinyi was not the kind of stingy person who would hold a grudge.
“Back when I was shooting my first drama with you, didn’t she ask you to change me from the second male lead to the third male lead?” Xie Chi said.
Hearing his words, Xu Siming thought about it for a long time and found that he did have some impression of that event.
“Is there something wrong with that?”
Xie Chi, who had endured for two years, lashed out. “Director Xu, back then I was very new in the industry, do you know how important a second male lead role was to me? The third male lead had far less time on screen than the second male lead. If it hadn’t been for a fluke which gained me some popularity back then, I don’t even know…”
“A fluke?” Xu Siming interrupted him and said with a smile, “Do you really think that was just a fluke?”
Xie Chi frowned and asked. “What do you mean?”
“You were able to gain popularity because you were well suited to the third male lead role. Do you know where the actor who played the second male lead is now?”
Xie Chi shook his head.
“You don’t know and I don’t know either. Do you think that if you had played the second male lead, you would currently be doing better than that star is now?”
“Forget it, I won’t beat about the bush with you. Back then, Xinyi did suggest that I should change you from the second male lead to the third male lead, but she didn’t do it to deliberately reduce your screen time or to sabotage you. Do you really think that I would change who was in what role just because someone asked me to? Back then, Xinyi clearly analyzed it out for me and said that your image was much more suitable for the third male lead role. She pestered me about it for three days before I decided to ask you to try acting some scenes in that role. And even when I asked you back then I hadn’t expected her to be so right, it was obvious that you really were much more suitable for the third male lead.”
Xie Chi’s face suddenly changed, “But back then, she…”
“After working with her for so many years, I know what kind of person she is. If anything, you should really be thanking her for getting popular in the first place.” Director Xu muttered, “I always wondered what was going on between you two, I never would have expected that it was just because of this. Anyway, have your agent come and iron out the details another day. You just take the script and go for today, I’ll let you know when it’s time to start filming.”
With that said Director Xu passed him the script.
Xie Chi seemed dazed, as if he was awakening from a dream, as he took the script. Eventually, he looked down at the script in his hands uncertainly and the look in his eyes was as if he had lost his soul.
The next day, at the celebration banquet, Xu Xinyi had gotten very drunk. Many people, from Director Xu to the various cast members, all came to toast Xu Xinyi. She exchanged thanks and pleasantries with them one after another. At first, her words were clear but as time went on they became so muddled and vague that it was hard to know what she was talking about.
Eventually, she was leaning heavily on Han Xiao’s shoulder like they were the best of friends, “Teacher Han, I really… I wanted to say thank you very much. Did you know? For a long time… no actor was willing to act with me at all. They were all afraid they would lose their fans if they acted with me… you were the first actor who was willing to act with me… or was it the first male lead?”
Xu Xinyi’s face was red, her eyes were hazy, and her lips were unconsciously slightly opened. A faint fragrance, like flowers and alcohol, was wafting from her small body.
After Xu Xinyi said her piece, she suddenly pushed away from Han Xiao and went over to cling on to Director Xu instead.
“Director Xu, thank you for your help this time. Despite all the opposition, you decided to choose me as the female lead. Since you trust me, I will never let you down. You can rest assured that I will not let our film tank in the box office, instead, it will soar!”
Her words were resounding, and if she spoke in a serious tone they might even have been moving. Unfortunately, she was drunk to the point that she could not speak clearly and seemed to be tripping over her own tongue while staggering around randomly, barely able to stand.
“Xinyi, I understand your thoughts. But you should stop drinking and go home to get some rest now.” Director Xu motioned Xu Xinyi’s assistant over and asked her to help with Xu Xinyi, but then he noticed something, “Her agent didn’t come?”
The assistant shook her head. “Sister Anya had something important today, she couldn’t get away.”
Director Xu was frowning in his heart. As the director, he couldn’t leave the victory celebration early, but he also didn’t want to send Xinyi away in this state with someone he didn’t know.
“I’ll take her back.” Han Xiao put down his wine glass. “Xinyi and I live in the same place, so it’s on the way.”
“Oh that’s right, you both live in Lanting. It is on your way.”
Director Xu had no doubts about Han Xiao so he happily entrusted Xu Xinyi to him.
Han Xiao and his assistant accompanied Xu Xinyi and her assistant to leave. Xu Xinyi’s assistant was trying to help Xu Xinyi walk but because the assistant was a small girl herself she was having some trouble. Meanwhile, Han Xiao’s assistant was a man so it wasn’t easy for him to make a move in this situation. As he watched the artist/assistant pair who could barely walk, Han Xiao really couldn’t bear it, so he reached out to support Xinyi.
But just as he was about to support Xu Xinyi’s arm, there seemed to be a crackle in the air, and someone else appeared as if out of thin air, grabbed Xu Xinyi’s arm, and tugged. Xu Xinyi was weak and dizzy so when she felt her arm being tugged she stumbled and spun limply until she was wrapped a strong embrace.
She had already been dizzy to the point that she almost wanted to vomit, so the feeling got even worse after being tugged and spun. She opened her blurry eyes and looked up, where she saw a man’s face. He had fair and handsome features, with sword-like brows and lips that were pressed together in the displeasure.
Xu Xinyi was in a daze and her muddled mind could only think that this man looked a lot like Yi Yang.
Actually, this man did not just look like Yi Yang. He was Yi Yang.
He had been here today attending a business banquet. Then, mid-way through the business banquet, he heard that in another one of the hotel’s banquet halls the staff of ‘The Way of The Phoenix’ were having a victory celebration, so he wanted to go take a look. But as soon as he went out, he saw Xu Xinyi staggering into the hallway while supported by her small assistant, with Han Xiao beside her.
Yi Yang’s face had sunk in an instant, and he quickly stepped forward and pulled Xu Xinyi away from Han Xiao, and into his arms. Then he looked at Han Xiao gloomily and spoke in a voice that was cold and fierce. “I won’t trouble Mr. Han to help my wife.”
Han Xiao was slightly stunned by this development. His eyes shifted uncertainly between Yi Yang and Xu Xinyi, who was now in Yi Yang’s arms.
Xu Xinyi was still looking up and she seemed to finally realize that it was really Yi Yang. She started grinning incessantly and wrapped her arms around Yi Yang’s neck. Then, as if no one else was there, she rubbed her nose against his nose in a display of drunken affection.
“You… what are you doing here?”
Suddenly, there was warm breath sprinkling against Yi Yang’s face and he caught a faint flowery fragrance mixed with wine wafting from Xu Xinyi’s body. He looked down and saw her cheeks were rosy red while her eyes were dewy and unclear. The sudden intimacy caught Yi Yang off guard and he froze for a moment, it was as if there was something tickling at his heart.
Yi Yang’s Adam’s apple rolled up and down. He struggled internally for a moment before hugging Xu Xinyi’s waist.
“Why are you drinking like this?”
“It’s getting late. Let’s go home.”
Xu Xinyi nodded and leaned her head on his shoulder drowsily.
Yi Yang swept Xu Xinyi up and was quickly carrying her in his arms. But he didn’t leave immediately, instead, he looked at Han Xiao. He didn’t act like a man who was showing off, he just spoke in a flat tone, “I believe Mr. Han is a highly educated and reasonable man. I have confidence that you know the principles of propriety, righteousness, and shame. Although some things are not judged by the law in our society, we are all aware that they are immoral and cannot be done. It’s my hope that Mr. Han can keep within the boundaries of morality.”
The meaning of his words was very clear.
Han Xiao frowned but didn’t say a word. He just watched Yi Yang leave with Xu Xinyi in his arms.
A staff member from the hotel noticed Han Xiao standing there and hesitated for a while before coming forward to ask him for his autograph.
“Han Xiao, I’m a fan of yours. Could I have your autograph?”
Han Xiao looked at the staff member who had rushed up excitedly and took an uncomfortable step back. His eyes lingered on the staff member for a moment and his eyes were unclear. Suddenly, at this moment, he was overwhelmed by familiar feelings of self-loathing and disgust.
But Han Xiao didn’t let any of that show on his face, he just neatly rejected the staff member with a: “Please excuse me.”
And then he left.
Yi Yang’s Bentley was filled with the fragrance of flowers and wine but he didn’t think that it smelled bad. However, the drunk Xu Xinyi was quite a handful. One moment she was cold, the next she was hot, she opened the windows and then closed them again, all the while singing and crawling around on Yi Yang, really running wild.
Yi Yang frowned. “Xu Xinyi, how much did you drink?”
Xu Xinyi looked at him with her hazy eyes. She saw his furrowed brows and unfriendly gaze, and spoke aggrievedly, “Are you scolding me?”
“Why do you think I scolded you?” Yi Yang said calmly.
“Are you yelling at me?”
“…I didn’t yell at you,” He lowered his voice and softened his tone. “You should drink less in the future.”
Xu Xinyi leaned against him bonelessly. “It’s such a happy day so, of course, I have to drink one or two more drinks… Yi Yang, do you like me?”
“When have I ever not liked you?”
Xu Xinyi rolled over, pressed her hands against his sturdy chest, and looked at him directly. “Then why do you always call me by my full name?”
Yi Yang couldn’t follow her train of thought at all.
“Just look at all the other couples out there. It’s always ‘baby, honey, darling, with them but what about you?” Xu Xinyi imitated his usual frosty tone, “‘Xu Xinyi!’ Xu Xinyi! Just listen to that, am I your wife or your enemy?”
“…when did I call you that?”
“You don’t want to admit it? That’s what you called me just now. You said: ‘Xu Xinyi! How much did you drink?’ and it almost scared me to death.”
Yi Yang: “…”
“Then what do you want me to call you?”
“From now on, don’t call me Xu Xinyi. Just call my first name… Come on, let me hear it!”
Yi Yang coughed. He looked over to make sure the divider between the front and back seats was up. When he was sure that the driver and assistant in the front seat would not hear it, he opened his mouth and said softly, “Xinyi.”
Xu Xinyi was disdainful, “There were no feelings at all! Start over!”
“Alright, you’re drunk. Stop messing around. Just sit down and get some rest.”
“Are you defying me?”
“Then call my name again.”
Yi Yang decided that there was no need to argue with a drunk, “Xinyi.”
“Still no feelings!”
Yi Yang lowered his voice. “Xinyi.”
“It’s too rigid. Not sweet at all. Just think how sweet other lovers’ are when they’re calling ‘baby’.”
Xu Xinyi looked at him dazedly but suddenly seemed to have a flash of inspiration, “I know!”
Then, before Yi Yang could ask her what she ‘knew’, Xu Xinyi leaned forward and kissed him. He felt her soft lips press against his and he seemed to be drawn into the swirling fragrance of flowers and wine wafting from her body.
The thudding of his own heart told him that this was sweet.
“Wasn’t that sweet?”
Yi Yang’s voice sounded a little dumbstruck as he said, “Sweet.”
“Then like that. My name.”
He gave her a smile and spoke with gentle affection, “Xinyi.”
Finally satisfied, Xu Xinyi sat back down and leaned against his chest. “That’s what you should call me from now on. You’re not allowed to call me by my full name anymore.”
Yi Yang was still lost in her kiss but eventually, he smiled and said, “En.”
The Bentley parked smoothly at Lanting and Yi Yang carried the drunken Xu Xinyi upstairs.
He put her to bed and was about to undress her so that she wouldn’t have to sleep in her clothes when Xu Xinyi seemed to wake up. She jolted and rolled around for a while, and it was unclear whether she was awake or not.
“What are you doing?” Xu Xinyi muttered eventually.
“Taking off your clothes.”
“Why are you taking off my clothes?”
“You are drunk and need to rest properly, so you shouldn’t be wearing these clothes.”
Xu Xinyi, who was laying on the bed, suddenly grabbed his tie. “What about you?”
Yi Yang looked down at her, at her blurred eyes, flushed cheeks, and red lips that he had tasted again and again, and said. “I’ll take care of you.”
“Take care of me?”
“Well, I’ll watch over you.”
They looked into each other’s eyes.
They were close enough to touch.
Xu Xinyi slowly exhaled but, for some reason, Yi Yang could not smell the alcohol, instead, there was only something sickly sweet in the air. At that instant, his desire as a man stirred.
“Yi Yang,” Xu Xinyi called softly, “Do you like it when I call your full name?”
“You can call me whatever you want.”
Xu Xinyi suddenly smiled, her cherry red lips and tiny white teeth flashing. There was something soft and sweet deep inside her eyes which made Yi Yang’s heart pound uncontrollably.
“Do you like it when I call you husband?”
Yi Yang did not answer.
She yanked on Yi Yang’s tie and pulled him down so that he was in range for her to lean forward and bite his lip.
Her teeth ground lightly on his upper lip for a moment, but then Xu Xinyi backed up and grinned.
Yi Yang’s eyes darkened. He looked straight down at Xu Xinyi motionlessly.
After holding his gaze for a long time, Xu Xinyi seemed tired. She let go of Yi Yang and flopped back on the bed while murmuring: “This is boring. I’m going to bed.”
Yi Yang stood frozen by the bed and looked at Xu Xinyi. “Is this how you act when you’re drunk?”
Xu Xinyi did not answer, as if she had already fallen asleep.
“You won’t be responsible?”
Xu Xinyi opened her eyes vaguely and said, “Responsible for…”
She clearly had more to say but suddenly she couldn’t say another word. Her lips were blocked and the mattress sank under sudden addition weight of another body. A hand reached out blindly from the bed and flicked the light switch off.
The whole room was plunged into silent darkness that was only broken by an occasional pant or delicate moan.
Strong arms clasped her body tightly. A pair of pale and delicate hands fruitlessly pressed against a firm chest, but they ultimately failed to break free from his bondage or even move him by an inch.
tl note: I made a discord. Just sort of testing the waters to see if there’s any interest. You can chat about my current projects or read my gripes about my new projects.
*‘虐粉就是固粉’ is the line here and I reworked it a bit to make the meaning more clear. It’s a turn of phrase that basically means that ‘fame’ gained from sympathy is still ‘fame’. Like it would be used in the context of a star’s company purposefully hyping a sob story about the star to drum up sympathy among fans.
**so are people on the internet really randomly referring to some nobodies who also happen to be dropouts in this line? …as far as I can tell yes? The names given are ‘王二狗’ (wang ergou) and ‘张小山’ (zhang xiaoshan) which are both names used in real life. I did some searching and I couldn’t find any ‘famous dropouts’ with either of those names (after sifting through a whole bunch of people who did have those names but generally weren’t dropouts lol). So I could be wrong, but if there are infamous dropouts with those names I couldn’t find em.
***so obviously some stuff is being lost in translation here. I considered just entirely scrapping the line and replacing it with ‘going their separate ways’ or some other equivalent English idiom but I dunno… I like the imagery so I left it in.