What were the consequences of a hangover?
Xu Xinyi actually had a lot to say on that subject right now.
There was dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, weakness, sudden inexplicable onset of allergies that lead to red spots that trail from the jaw all the way down to the ankles, bruises, and general immobility.
Because of these symptoms, Xu Xinyi had been sitting motionlessly at the head of the bed for a full twenty minutes after she woke up. At first she had been able to move a little bit and only experience some slight discomfort, but by now it had expanded to the point where she felt a terrible pain all over her body every time she moved so much as a finger.
Even though Xu Xinyi had never eaten pork or seen this particular type of pig run, what happened to her last night was self-evident.
Yi Yang had taken advantage of the situation and made a move on her.
But that wasn’t that important.
The important thing was, she was drunk yesterday.
Drunk and promiscuous.
“Just look at all the other couples out there. It’s always ‘baby, honey, darling, with them but what about you?”
“From now on, don’t call me Xu Xinyi. Just call my first name… Come on, let me hear it!”
“It’s too rigid. Not sweet at all. Just think how sweet other lovers’ are when they’re calling ‘baby’.”
“Do you like it when I call you husband?”
As the memories washed over her Xu Xinyi could only think that last night all the blood in her body must have been boiling so violently that it had all rushed upward until her brain was filled with water. It was the only explanation.
The tears she was shedding today were all the result of indulging in wine.
It was stupid.
Why did people have to become idiots when they were drunk?
The scenes from last night seemed to flicker in front of her eyes one after another. Meanwhile, the Xu Xinyi from today looked on from the side as a cold-eyed observer, watching the drunken Xu Xinyi from last night clinging and sticking to Yi Yang shamelessly.
Baby? Honey? Darling?
Xu Xinyi shivered and asked herself, “Xu Xinyi, how could you say something so disgusting?”
As she recalled more and more of the night before, every new scene was cause for fresh tears.
Suddenly, there was a noise outside the room. Xu Xinyi felt that she really could not afford to face that man right now, so, when she heard the sound, she quickly covered her head with the quilt and pretended to be asleep.
Yi Yang walked in carrying some ointment and his face was abnormally flushed. It was unclear if his flush was due to the heat or perhaps due to some other, more indescribable, reason.
There was a lump on the bed where Xu Xinyi was busy acting like she hadn’t woken up.
The ointment Yi Yang brought had to be applied every twelve hours but the effect was supposedly very quick. He had made sure to find something fast-acting because, with Xu Xinyi’s personality, he estimated she would vent her temper on him for a few days if the ointment worked too slowly.
Yi Yang lifted the quilt. Underneath, Xu Xinyi’s silk nightgown was messy and disheveled, and there were marks on her skin that told a clear story of what happened last night.
–“Last night was so humiliating! Didn’t I just lose all my face?!”
–“No! I can’t get up now! It’s too humiliating! It would be better to kill me now than for me to get me up!”
“I… I want to sleep some more. Don’t bother me.”
Xu Xinyi’s eyelashes that were buried against the pillow trembled slightly. And while Yi Yang watched, her muscles tightened and goose bumps appeared all over her body.
Yi Yang almost wanted to laugh out loud, but he knew that his wife had a strong sense of self-esteem so if he stayed here right now Xu Xinyi wouldn’t be able to relax at all.
“Then go ahead and get some more sleep. I’ve brought some ointment for you, I’ll set it on the table. When you get up, remember to apply the medicine. The kitchen is keeping your food ready for you, they can warm it up whenever you want to eat. I have some things to do at the office, give me a call if you need anything.”
There was a vague whimper from the pillow.
Yi Yang smiled lightly then turned to leave the room to give Xu Xinyi her personal space.
After the door closed, Xu Xinyi poked her head out of the quilt and looked over at the closed door, then breathed a sigh of relief.
She looked around and noticed that the ointment Yi Yang had brought was sitting on the bedside table. Xu Xinyi could easily reach out and grab it. She looked down at the traces all over her body and thought about it briefly before making a decision. Internally, she cursed Yi Yang for his lack of restraint as she applied the ointment to the various red marks. She really hoped that this medicine would take effect quickly because she wanted these marks all over her body to disappear as soon as possible.
After applying the medicine, most of the ointment inside the tube was gone, and Xu Xinyi continued to scold Yi Yang over and over again in her heart. Then, the moment her feet touched the ground she felt a burst of unspeakable pain, and she really killed Yi Yang a few times over in her mind.
The food prepared by the kitchen was indeed warm, but Xu Xinyi had an upset stomach so she couldn’t eat. She could only barely drink the hang-over soup that Yi Yang had prepared for her which, she was pleasantly surprised to find, was very sweet and delicious.
After drinking the soup Xu Xinyi’s stomachache abated a bit, which left her feeling very hungry. So Xu Xinyi ate heartily until she was satisfied, only leaving some scraps of leftovers on the table when she was done.
As a famous actress, Xu Xinyi always had to be careful and manage her figure properly, so it was rare for her to eat such a good meal.
Xu Xinyi idly thought that maybe it was because of the excessive amount of exercise she did last night that caused her to need to replenish her energy this morning.
Xu Xinyi felt that she was right all along. Men were all bastards who seemed neatly dressed and thoughtful outside but who would then suddenly transform into something else entirely when they were on top of a bed. They were all beasts, without exception.
Her eyes glazed as she remembered a particular exchange from the previous night.
“Don’t bite my neck. I’m joining the crew to start filming in a few days.”
Feeling her warm breath brushing against his chin, Yi Yang’s eyes were muddy with lust. He murmured in a low voice, “How many days from now?”
He really asked her that question in bed?
“…I don’t remember. “
“Then it doesn’t matter.”
Thus, they ‘agreed’ to enjoy the present, who would bother thinking about the future?
But now, the next day, Xu Xinyi looked in the mirror and saw the red marks that almost spread to her chin, and a flush of crimson rose from her neck to the tips of her ears.
“You dog man! I won’t let you do whatever you want tonight!”
However, it turned out that a man who had been abstinent for many years would stop thinking with their brain entirely once they broke their celibacy.
Over the next few days, Xu Xinyi fully learned this truth with a series of harsh lessons composed of blood, sweat, and tears. Only on the third day, after fully armoring herself with a coat, hat, sunglasses, and a scarf, did Xu Xinyi finally leave Lanting to head to her studio.
Fortunately, in the past, she had often dressed like this to avoid paparazzi, so no one in the studio noticed anything unnatural.
Then as soon as she entered her office, Anya came in half a step behind her and handed several important documents over to Xu Xinyi. “What on Earth have you been doing these past few days? Asking you to come to the studio feels like trying to invite God Himself.” She glanced at Xu Xinyi. “And why are you wearing that scarf? Don’t you feel hot?”
“I don’t feel hot. I’ve been… I haven’t been feeling well. “
“Well, alright, just take a look at these documents, please. Sign them if you don’t see any problems.”
Xu Xinyi silently accepted the folders Anya passed her and began to read the through them carefully.
Anya sat down across from her to wait for Xu Xinyi’s signature. But maybe the scarf around Xu Xinyi’s neck was just too eye-catching because her eyes kept focusing around there. Suddenly, her restless eyes paused, and Anya’s brows furrowed slightly before she said, “Xinyi, what happened to your neck?”
Xu Xinyi subconsciously covered her neck with her hand and said, “Uhm… allergies.”
Anya leaned forward to take a closer look and instantly knew what was really going on.
“Come on, don’t try to pretend in front of me. Your powder has already been rubbed off by the scarf.”
Xu Xinyi smiled awkwardly.
But Anya obviously had no interest in this topic, instead, she said. “I mentioned your idea to Jiang Nian, but he didn’t give me a clear reply. He just said he wanted to meet with you.”
Anya looked at her in disbelief. “Did you forget what you said about having Jiang Nian go abroad to study?”
“…I didn’t forget! How could I possibly forget?” Xu Xinyi asked nervously. Then she continued, “Is he in the company now?”
“I think he should be in the practice room.”
“Alright, I’ll go talk to him later.”
After receiving all the freshly signed documents Anya turned and left. At the same time, Xu Xinyi was thinking about how to talk to Jiang Nian.
After mulling it over for a while, Xu Xinyi decided the best idea was to have a conversation with him. She would pay attention, try to communicate well, and try to clarify whether or not it was a good idea for him to go abroad for further study, or if it would be better to continue working in the entertainment industry. The final result would need to be mainly based on what Jiang Nian himself wanted to do, so she needed to talk to him and be sure that he thought things through properly.
With those thoughts in mind, Xu Xinyi got up and headed to the practice room.
And sure enough, Jiang Nian was in the practice room dancing.
Over the past months, he had learned to dance very well. Nowadays his movements were neat and fluid, and he had learned how to dance in a way that was pleasing to the eyes and, combined with his good-looks, watching him was something of a visual feast.
When she knocked on the door, Jiang Nian stopped practicing and turned his head to look over toward the sound. When he saw Xu Xinyi outside smiling at him, he quickly walked over to turn off the music.
Xu Xinyi opened the door, walked over, and handed him a bottle of water with a smile.
Jiang Nian accepted the water silently.
“Why are you here in the company? It’s only been a few days and I still haven’t arranged anything new for you yet.”
“I can’t just stay idle at home, so I came to the company to practice.”
“…I’m sorry about your father. I’m sorry for your loss.”
Jiang Nian picked up a towel and wiped the sweat from his face, then said in a casual tone, “It’s all in the past now.”
“If you can think like that, I’ll be glad. I’ve been worried about you.”
“Worried about me?”
Xu Xinyi said with a smile, “You are one of my artists so, of course, I worry about you.”
Jiang Nian took a sip from the water bottle and didn’t reply.
“Well, let’s talk about business now. Anya should have mentioned that you could perhaps do some further studying abroad.” Xu Xinyi spoke quickly lest Jiang Nian, this guy with delicate sensibilities, had some misunderstanding. “In fact, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed about this matter or overthink. I just want to give you another option if you want to take it. But, in the end, it’s up to you to decide whether to go abroad and further your studies or if you want to stay in the entertainment industry. I won’t interfere with your decision.”
Jiang Nian lowered his eyes and still didn’t say anything.
“Well, hear me out first. I want to say that I personally think you have great potential. You can dance well, since well, and generally you are very malleable, which are big advantages in our industry. But… Jiang Nian, you should know that in this industry those things can make you popular for a while, but they usually aren’t enough to create a firm foothold. In the future, whether you want to develop into film, or into television, or into music, it will be difficult if you don’t have certain basic skills firmly internalized. You should be able to see yourself that, although we have been asking teachers to give you lessons alone, the effect has not been very good. And in the end, you are still young, so you have both time and energy right now, and this is your best opportunity to learn.”
Xu Xinyi continued: “Of course, with your family background, it shouldn’t be difficult for you to stay in the entertainment industry no matter what. You will easily be able to get all kinds of resources, so your success will never be a problem, so maybe I’m suggesting something unnecessary. At any rate, Jiang Nian, what do you think?”
“Sister Xinyi, do you want me to go abroad?”
Xu Xinyi said bluntly: “To be honest, my opinion has always been that it would be best for you to go abroad. Since you are still young, it would be best for you to be studying in a classroom. Rather than seeing all kinds of messy things in a dirty place like the entertainment industry, I would wish that you could experience a more clean and pure youth while on campus. I don’t want your only experience with a college campus to come from a TV drama that happens to have a campus theme.”
Jiang Nian’s pair of clear eyes looked straight at Xu Xinyi and seemed to notice some traces at the edge where her scarf met her jaw. His eyes became dull and he seemed to guess at something. Then the corners of his lips turned up in a wry smile, “Sister Xinyi, you… will you always treat me like a child?”
“Of course not,” Xu Xinyi reached out and patted him on the head. “But you are so much younger than me so I have always treated you like a younger brother.”
“A younger brother…”
“Of course. So tell me what you think kiddo. You don’t have to feel any pressure when making your decision, you should do whatever you want.”
Jiang Nian’s eyes sank but, eventually, he spoke in a voice that was so low even he himself could barely hear it, “I’ll go abroad.”
“You want to go abroad? You don’t have to rush to make a decision now. You should go back and think about it, or maybe discuss it with your brother.”
“No, I’ve already talked to my brother. I told him I plan to leave to go abroad next Tuesday.”
That was really beyond Xu Xinyi’s expectations.
“You already planned to leave?”
Xu Xinyi nodded, “Then…”
“You don’t have to say anymore. I understand what you’re thinking. You want to do what’s best for me, I know that. If there’s nothing else, I’d like to go back to practicing now.”
Xu Xinyi could only give a dry smile and say: “Well, you practice hard then. Next Tuesday, I’ll go to see you off.”
Soon Jiang Nian was again alone in the practice room.
He turned on the music and danced his routine a few more times, but gradually he slowed down until, eventually, he stopped. He sank down in front of the mirror and looked at the reflection of his own blank face for a moment before he slowly buried it in the palms of his hands.
Xu Xinyi went to see Jiang Nian off on the day he went abroad. When she arrived she saw Jiang Huai was there chattering endlessly by his side.
“Jiang Nian!” Xu Xinyi had rushed over hurriedly so she was a bit out of breath, “It’s a good thing I wasn’t too late.”
Jiang Huai raised his eyebrows, “It’s not too late but that’s because the flight was delayed. But now the flight is about to take off.”
“…there was a bit of a traffic jam on the road.”
Jiang Nian said, “It’s fine, it doesn’t matter.”
“That… anyway, since you are about to take off, I’ll make a long story short. I hope you will have a good time while you are on campus abroad. In addition, my studio will always have a spot reserved for you. When you return to China, if you want to sign a contract with my studio again, you will always be welcome.”
Jiang Nian hummed briefly.
Jiang Huai looked impatiently at his watch. “Alright, it’s about time. Let’s board the plane.”
Jiang Nian looked over at Xu Xinyi and hesitated for an instant before he said, “Could I have a hug?”
Xu Xinyi opened her arms and hugged Jiang Nian intimately.
Then she patted Jiang Nian on the back as if he were her brother and said, “Alright, it’s about time for you to board the plane.”
But Jiang Nian whispered in Xu Xinyi’s ear, “I will study hard and try to be an excellent person. I will grow up quickly and, when I grow up, if Yi Yang is not being good to you, or if you don’t like Yi Yang, will you think of me?”
“Xinyi.” He murmured.
Xu Xinyi’s brows furrowed and she loosened her grip.
Jiang Nian smiled faintly and his ears were a bit red, finally showing some of the shyness of a boy his age. “Anyway, I’m leaving.”
With that said he turned around and started dragging his luggage. He walked alone towards the boarding gate without hesitation.
“He wouldn’t let me arrange an assistant or a nanny. He said that no one in that place would know him, so that way he could grow into an excellent person on his own.”
“That’s good,” Xu Xinyi murmured as she watched Jiang Nian disappear into the boarding gate. “I hope he can forget everything and start all over again.”
From the glass window of the waiting room, she watched as a plane flew slowly into the blue sky and disappeared from her sight.
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.
tl note: Well. That’s not a super satisfying resolution to Jiang Nian’s arc if I’m being honest. But given the overall wordcount and total number of characters in the story it’s probably the best we could have expected. And, in my opinion, at least, it’s not bad, right? Finishing school and getting a new start on life is an alright outcome for a highschool dropout who spent years chasing an unrequited love…
Though it is kind of fucked up that Xu Xinyi apparently would have missed him entirely if his flight wasn’t delayed because she was stuck in traffic? What was the author trying to tell us with that little tidbit, huh?