“Witness” was to be Director Xu’s transformational work. The cast was strong and Director Xu had been preparing to make the film for a long time.
The male lead was Han Xiao, who was a known box office heavyweight, while the female lead was Xu Xinyi, who had been in the limelight recently.
In fact, Han Xiao alone was enough to carry the whole film. As long as the film didn’t somehow offend the audience, the box office wouldn’t look too bad at the end of the day just based on his presence alone.
The film was shot in the same Film City on the outskirts of City A that Xu Xinyi had worked at before. It was about an hour and a half drive away from the city center.
Yi Yang had especially cleared his schedule on the day when Xu Xinyi was joining the crew so he could personally send her there.
His relationship with Xu Xinyi was already a semi-transparent affair within the entertainment industry. Although they had not made things public yet, it was clear to everyone who knew them that it would happen sooner or later.
As soon as they got out of the car, some hotel staff appeared to lead Xu Xinyi and Yi Yang into the hotel to get some rest.
Xu Xinyi followed Yi Yang into the hotel in her mask and sunglasses and when they reached the hotel lobby they were discovered by some fans who had been squatting there. As soon as the fans saw someone coming, even before they knew who it was, the cameras in their hands began shooting wildly.
Yi Yang’s staff wanted to interfere, but Yi Yang didn’t seem to care at all. He just gestured to let them take all the pictures they wanted.
When some fans realized that the people in front of them weren’t the stars they were fans of, they lost interest and stopped shooting. But some other fans recognized Xu Xinyi despite her sunglasses, and they became excited and started shooting non-stop.
At this point in time, there weren’t many crews filming in Film City, so there were many vacant rooms in the hotel. Because of that the crew managed to arrange for Xu Xinyi to stay in the hotel’s best suite for the duration of her stay.
Ever since the moment Yi Yang stepped foot into the hotel his brow had never smoothed out, even for a second.
This hotel could be regarded as the best hotel in or around the Film City, but because of its age some of its facilities were inevitably flawed. Xu Xinyi didn’t notice anything, but the president of the Yi Group by her side was not satisfied with the hotel at all. Unfortunately, after he learned that this was the best hotel in the area, he could only swallow his grievances.
“Well, I think the conditions here are alright, so don’t make such a stormy face. I’ll only be staying for two months anyway.”
Xu Xinyi reached up and rubbed Yi Yang’s furrowed brows “If there’s nothing else, you should just head back first. You’re busy with work. I’ll call you if I have something.”
Yi Yang’s brows gradually loosened and smoothed out. “I don’t have any work today, also I’m planning to talk to Director Xu later.” That said, he stopped a staff member nearby and asked, “Where is Director Xu?”
The staff member smiled and said, “Director Xu is with the crew…”
“I’m asking you which room he’s staying in.”
“…he’s staying in room 1409.”
Yi Yang asked one more question, seemingly casually: “Where do the other actors on his crew live?”
The staff member smiled. “I don’t know about that. Anyway, there are people living on every floor.”
Xu Xinyi rolled her eyes at him, stood on tiptoe, and lowered her voice to whisper in his ear, “I just asked, Han Xiao lives on the 23rd floor, does that make you feel at ease?”
They were on the 19th floor now.
But after she said that it was obvious that Yi Yang did not care that Han Xiao was on the 23rd floor at all, instead, he looked at Xu Xinyi seriously and asked, “You asked about Han Xiao? What do you want to do that you need to know where he lives?”
“…” Xu Xinyi was speechless.
–“When someone is jealous, they will only act jealous all day long.”
–“When you leave, I’ll go visit Han Xiao just to spite you! Then I’ll open a video call for you to see, let’s see what you can do!”
“…Xu Xinyi, you…”
They had only just walked into the room when there was a knock at the door behind them, interrupting the conversation between the two people.
Yi Yang opened the door to have a look and saw that it was Director Xu. The other man’s cheerful voice rang out from the doorway, “President Yi, long time no see.”
Yi Yang greeted him quietly, “Director Xu.”
Director Xu smiled and looked between him and Xu Xinyi. “President Yi, why didn’t you give us any advance notice you were coming? I happened to hear downstairs that President Yi was here to send Xinyi over personally and I really couldn’t believe it. I wonder if President Yi has time to have dinner with me tonight?”
“Unfortunately, I still have work to do at the company so I will have to leave soon.” Yi Yang hugged Xu Xinyi then looked at Director Xu and said, “Director Xu, I’m handing my wife to you for the next two months, please take good care of her.”
“She hasn’t been feeling well recently, so I hired two more assistants to take care of her. They will live next door,” After he said that Yi Yang lowered his head to look at Xu Xinyi. “You’re not in good health, so don’t always run around at night.”
Xu Xinyi rolled her eyes silently.
–“I’ve already rolled in bed with you but you still don’t trust me. Is it really necessary to guard against everyone around me like they’re thieves?”
–“How old am I already but you want to ask someone else to take good care of me.”
When he saw that Xu Xinyi looked pale, Director Xu said with a smile, “The time to shoot this film is a little tight so I really won’t be idle for these two months but, President Yi, you can rest assured that I will adjust things appropriately according to everyone’s ability to handle the intensity of the workload.”
“Then, I’ll thank you in advance, Director Xu.”
“It’s what I should do. Since President Yi doesn’t have time to stay for dinner tonight, I’ll be sure to invite President Yi next time. Anyway, I have something to do later, so I’ll withdraw first. President Yi, just let me know if you have anything you want, I’ll try to satisfy you to the best of my ability.”
“Director Xu is too polite.”
After saying a few more pleasantries, Director Xu left with a smile.
After Director Xu left, Yi Yang rapped his knuckles on Xu Xinyi’s head. “If there’s nothing important, don’t go out at night. Always take your assistant with you. This place is a ways from the city so if anything happens I won’t be able to get here in time myself. Also, remember to video call me every night. If you’re filming at night so you don’t have time, then have your assistant call me. Xu Xinyi, are you listening to me? What are you thinking about all day long?”
Xu Xinyi looked up and smiled at him. “I’ll miss you.”
“…” Suddenly his temper disappeared.
She was too good at saying nice things to cajole him.
“Well, don’t worry so much. I’ll take good care of myself. Don’t you have work to do in the company? You’ve seen the crew and the hotel now so, if you have nothing else, you should head back first. I have a lot to do, so I won’t send you off.”
Nevermind, she was too good at saying things to send him out the door!
Yi Yang had no choice but to leave with his flock of assistants.
Once he was in the elevator he looked at one of his assistants and said, “Have you explained everything to the two people left to follow my wife?”
The assistant said hurriedly: “Don’t worry, everything that should be explained has been explained, and they are professionals with a sense of propriety.”
The elevator slowly went down until it opened into the hotel lobby. But when the doors opened, outside the elevator, there was a wall of hotel security personnel who were surrounding a man in a suit. Yi Yang could vaguely hear the lovestruck screams of crazy Han Xiao fans from beyond the human wall of security.
It was clear that the people outside wanted to get in the elevator, but Yi Yang didn’t make any movement to leave the elevator or make room.
There were not many people in Yi Yang’s party but by standing just right they could block the people outside the elevator who wanted to come in.
After a moment of silent confrontation, the man outside the elevator said, “Is Mr. Yi headed to the underground garage?”
Yi Yang just looked at him coldly and said nothing.
“Then, after you, Mr. Yi.”
The elevator door slowly closed and for a long moment, Yi Yang looked at the face that made countless women crazy that was outside the elevator, before slowly withdrawing his eyes.
The second day after Xu Xinyi joined the crew was the ribbon-cutting ceremony and, after the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the crew would officially start filming.
For this film, Xu Xinyi had changed away from the glamorous image she usually showed on the TV screen. In this script, she was cast as an ordinary woman, the type that would go to a vegetable market carrying a basket. If her fans saw her, none of them would believe that this was Xu Xinyi.
The first scene they were filming was actually one of the climaxes of the film.
Xu Xinyi’s role was to have someone suddenly cover her mouth and nose and then drag her away to his car to interrogate her about something she saw earlier in the script.
“Xinyi, this scene hinges on the eye contact between the two of you and the subtle movements of your bodies. Remember, you and Han Xiao are against each other.”
Han Xiao was wearing a black trench coat for this scene. The collar was turned up to cover his face, so his expression was unclear in the dim light. His character was written ambiguously in a way that made it hard to tell if he was good or evil, so his trench-coated appearance fir very well.
Director Xu pointed at a spot on the side of the road, “Right here. Han Xiao, you drag Xinyi from this spot, and Xinyi, when he grabs you, you will start to struggle until one of your shoes falls off. Anyway, let’s try it first.”
Xu Xinyi nodded and looked at Han Xiao.
“Teacher Han, shall we begin?”
Han Xiao hummed in agreement.
The whole room was quiet.
Xu Xinyi walked along the side of the road carrying a cloth bag from when she had been shopping. Suddenly she heard a sound and Xu Xinyi looked around warily. Her hands clasped around the cloth bag nervously and her pace slowed down for a moment as she listened carefully to her surroundings.
But after she slowed down, there were no further sounds. So Xu Xinyi thought she had heard wrong and breathed a sigh of relief.
But her relief did not last long because, as she started walking forward again, she heard the sound of the footsteps quickening in pace with her own footsteps.
Someone was following her!
When she became aware of this, Xu Xinyi began to hurry forward. In front of her, she could see light and hear voices, so she was rushing toward that.
But as soon as she opened her mouth to scream, a big hand reached out from behind her and covered her mouth and nose, while at the same time another hand wrapped around her body and began to drag her towards a parked car.
During the struggle, one of Xu Xinyi’s shoes fell off.
“Good. Cut! Hm, it seems fine but Han Xiao, you must pay more attention here. When Xinyi opens her mouth to call for help, she has to be able to let out the first sound, but before the sound is completely called out, you need to cover her mouth. Do you understand?”
Han Xiao nodded. “I understand.”
With that, they started over from the beginning.
Under the blotchy shadows cast by the trees along the roadside, Han Xiao reached out and covered Xu Xinyi’s mouth and nose before dragging her into his car off to one side, which had one door open and waiting.
There was no light inside so people outside the car could only vaguely see a pair of muddy silhouettes moving around inside, thanks to the light from the street lights.
Xu Xinyi struggled wildly the whole time but, ultimately, she could only look on fearfully as Han Xiao sealed her mouth with duct tape and then used a rope to tie up her hands and feet. For the whole process, Xu Xinyi was screaming her lungs out but, because of the tape, only muffled cries escaped.
But even while Xu Xinyi was panicking and full of fear, Han Xiao was icy calm, without so much as a tremor in his hands as he worked. After Xu Xinyi’s hands and feet were tied, he looked at her with oddly compassionate eyes. The way he looked at her was completely at odds with the fact that he had actually kidnapped the woman in front of him.
As the two pairs of eyes met and bored into each other, the panic deep in Xu Xinyi’s eyes did not abate at all, rather it became more and more obvious and intense.
She groped around blindly with her hands that were tied behind her and, suddenly, she touched something. A hint of delight skittered through the depths of her eyes when she felt it.
Han Xiao suddenly reached forward and fiercely grabbed her jaw, which caused the back of her head to slam hard against the car. And with that impact, Xu Xinyi fainted.
“Cut– good, good! That’s the feeling I’m looking for!”
Ths assistants Yi Yang sent and some members of staff from the crew all came forward to untie the rope binding Xu Xinyi.
The moment the rope came off they saw two blueish-purple marks on her wrists.
The assistant said in a surprised voice, “Your wrists are all purple…”
Han Xiao suddenly looked over in her direction with questions in his eyes.
Xu Xinyi lightly smiled while rubbing her wrist. “It’s fine. It will disappear in a day or two.”
A staff member brought over some ointment and other medicines and at the same time, Han Xiao came forward and looked at the marks on her wrists. His brows furrowed and he said apologetically, “I’m sorry, I accidentally used too much strength. Where were you hurt?”
“It’s alright, it’s just a minor injury.”
But then the assistant exclaimed, “Sister Xinyi, your knees and ankles are also bruised.”
“Just put some medicine on it,” she said airily. “Do you think we can shoot this kind of film without even a bruise?”
Because she had been struggling so fiercely just now Xu Xinyi’s normally neat clothes were slightly disheveled. Her neckline had been slightly pulled down and, because Han Xiao had moved close to her, he saw some obvious traces around her collarbone.
Red kiss marks.
It was so obvious.
The concern in Han Xiao’s eyes faded a lot, and he took an involuntary step backward.
Because this was Director Xu’s first foray into directing a film, the progress was much slower than when he was making a TV series. He carefully combed over every scene and small detail, and if he felt dissatisfied with anything it would easily mean the crew would have to start all over again.
However, his attitude was understandable. After all, this was his first step into the film industry, and this film would be a transformative work that would have a significant impact on his future.
Today, the crew was busy until midnight before they finally finished work and went back to the hotel to rest.
Xu Xinyi took a hot bath and then reluctantly began to sterilize and treat the wounds and bruises on her ankles and wrists with the ointment her assistant had given her.
She couldn’t let Yi Yang see this during the video call, otherwise, he would definitely start to nag her again.
“How is grandpa doing? Didn’t he go out for a health exam two days ago? Have the results come back yet?”
As she talked Xu Xinyi purposefully avoided the camera so that Yi Yang could only see part of her face on his end.
“The results were good and he’s in good health. What about you? How was filming today?”
“It was fine, it’s easy work. You can rest assured, the crew have been treating me as if I were their ancestor, just like you told them to. No one dares to bully m- hiss–” As Xu Xinyi was busily applying the ointment to her bruised knee she felt a sudden burst of pain and sucked in a cold breath.
Yi Yang instantly noticed something was off. He asked with concern, “What’s wrong?”
“It’s nothing, I just stubbed my toe. But anyway, it’s getting late now and I’m tired. I want to get some sleep. You should go to bed early too.”
But a second before the video turned off, Yi Yang heard a knock on Xu Xinyi’s knock door.
Xu Xinyi’s hand that was reaching for her phone paused, and the call didn’t disconnect.
Because Xu Xinyi heard a knock on the door she hurriedly moved to put the cotton swabs and ointment tube on the table in front of her, and during the process, she knocked her phone off of its mount.
On Yi Yang’s end, the scene suddenly changed and he could only see the white ceiling of the hotel room and hear the dialogue coming from outside the room.
“…Teacher Han…” Xu Xinyi’s distant voice said.
Yi Yang’s brows furrowed unhappily. Han Xiao?
He came to see Xu Xinyi so late at night?
Yi Yang pause to think. He picked up his phone but, he didn’t want to look like he cared too much, so just as he was halfway through dialing the assistant who he had put next door to Xu Xinyi, his fingers hesitated over the phone.
It was just a small thing. Was there a need for him to make a fuss?
After thinking it through, Yi Yang decided to listen patiently and carefully to the tiny sounds coming from the distant door.
But even after listening for a long time, he didn’t hear Xu Xinyi come back.
Did it really take so long just to say a few words?
Yi Yang decisively dialed the assistant in the next room.
Xu Xinyi was at the door looking surprisedly at Luo Jie, who had come to deliver some medicine.
“Please thank Teacher Han for his kindness but I’m really fine. These injuries are nothing and the crew gave me medicine already, so you can take this back.”
Luo Jie stood outside the door. Xu Xinyi had not invited him in, and he also had no intention to enter. “Just take it. After all, Han Xiao was the one who hurt you. If he didn’t want to avoid suspicion, he would have sent this over himself.”
“A few bruises while filming are inevitable,” Xu Xinyi said with a deep sigh. She really couldn’t just stand around in her doorway and wait to be photographed so she compromised. It was just medicine anyway, it should be fine and to accept it. “…I’ll take it. Please thank him for me.”
After taking the medicine, Xu Xinyi looked at Luo Jie, who was still standing at the door. “Was there anything else?” She asked when she saw he didn’t seem to be leaving.
Luo Jie rubbed his hands together uncomfortably and seemed to have something to say.
“Just say whatever you have to say.”
Luo Jie hesitated for a long time but, in the end, he just showed a lonely smile, “Forget it, it’s nothing.”
But Xu Xinyi obviously knew that he wanted to say something, so she spoke up, “I guess it’s about Anya?”
When she saw Luo Jie’s face turn grim and serious in an instant, Xu Xinyi knew that she had guessed right.
“Luo Jie, she is a friend of mine, a very good friend. So no matter how badly she acts, I will always stand by her side and only speak for her. But I have known Anya for many years and I really haven’t ever seen her fall in love with any man. She has always been a ‘smile at you today; kick you to the curb tomorrow’ type of woman and as far as I know that has always been her attitude towards life. I know that probably no man could accept such a woman. So if you are not sure you can make her fall in love with you and change her ways for you, you had better just leave her alone.”
Luo Jie was silent for a moment, “But I don’t want to give up so easily.”
“If you had a hundred beautiful girls around you, would you abandon them and choose Anya?”
“Of course I would.”
“Because you love her, you would, but if you didn’t love her, of course, you wouldn’t choose a single Anya over a hundred other women. And it’s the same for Anya. And after all, it’s impossible to force a relationship between two people, not to mention that Anya already made it very clear that she doesn’t like you.”
Luo Jie smiled bitterly and seemed to laugh at himself. “Do you think it’s completely impossible for me to be with her?”
If Xu Xinyi was being honest, she did not think it was possible. But at the same time, she didn’t want to say that and deal a blow to Luo Jie’s confidence. After all, over her years in the circle, she had only ever heard rumors that Luo Jie was gay. There had never been any other news, so it could be seen that he was very serious.
“That depends on your perseverance and persistence. If you really like her, there’s still a long road ahead. You have to fight!”
There came the sound of an opening door from the next room.
The assistant Yi Yang had prepared suddenly stuck his head out of the room next door.
The assistant looked at the two people in the hallway with an awkward expression, neither advancing nor retreating.
Xu Xinyi was the first one to regain her senses. She let out a low cough and said, “Thank you for coming to especially send me this medicine. I appreciate it. You should go back first.”
At this point, Luo Jie couldn’t say anything more so he turned around and left.
“Is something wrong? What’s the matter? ” Xu Xinyi looked at the assistant who seemed to not know where to put his eyes. So she said, “Look at me.”
The assistant reluctantly looked her in the eye and said, “President Yi called. He said you should have a glass of warm milk before going to bed at night.”
“That’s it? Nothing else?”
Xu Xinyi muttered, “Why didn’t he just say it during our call just now? Whatever, I got the message. You should head to bed.”
“Alright, Sister Xinyi. You should get some rest too.”
He closed the door.
When Xu Xinyi returned to her she saw that the call with Yi Yang hadn’t disconnected. She didn’t think too much though, she just said goodnight and went to bed.
At the same time, Luo Jie returned to Han Xiao’s room after delivering the medicine.
“You don’t have to worry, I think she just has some minor bruising. But next time you should just go give her medicine on the set in front of everyone, you shouldn’t have me go over at night to do it. It wouldn’t be good for anyone if we were photographed.”
“She’s already married and you’re chasing someone else. What’s the problem?”
Luo Jie raised his eyebrow. “So you do know she’s married?”
Han Xiao’s hand that had been turning the page of the script he was reading paused.
“Han Xiao, as your agent, I need to remind you of something,” He sat down next to Han Xiao and sighed. “Xu Xinyi is married.”
“The person she is married to is Yi Yang.”
Luo Jie looked at him for a long time before saying, “Since you know, you should also know that you need to stay away from a woman who is married, right?”
Han Xiao took a deep breath and set the script in his hands down. “I know.”
Since Han Xiao had responded so cleanly and crisply without saying a single extra word, Luo Jie, judging by his experience after working with the other man for many years, thought that he really did understand.
“Well, since you already know, I won’t say any more. It’s already come to this point, and we can’t lose our integrity at the very end*. Anyway, it’s getting late. You should get some rest.”
Luo Jie patted him on the shoulder heavily and then got up to leave.
But as he walked to the door, Han Xiao stopped him.
“Luo Jie, how long have we been working together?”
It seemed a bit of a foreboding to ask this kind of question all of a sudden but Luo Jie answered dutifully, “It’s been seven years since I took you on as an artist.”
“Seven years…” Han Xiao murmured.
“Why, what’s the matter?”
“It’s nothing, I was just asking. You should go get some rest.”
Although Luo Jie didn’t understand why Han Xiao would suddenly ask a question like that, he didn’t ask any more, he just turned to leave.
Early the next morning, Xu Xinyi headed over to join the crew after spending a while in the makeup department. As she approached she noticed that for some reason, today, the crew were all busy whispering to each other and no one was at their usual post.
Xu Xinyi asked curiously, “What’s going on?”
An assistant who she knew rushed over and whispered in her ear, “Teacher Han has been in a meeting with Director Xu for almost an hour already.”
“What are they talking about that’s taking so long?”
“I don’t know.”
Xu Xinyi was confused but she just shrugged and turned away from the assistant to go walk over and knock on the door of the lounge.
The door opened from the inside and she saw Luo Jie standing there with furrowed brows.
“What’s the matter?”
“Is that Xu Xinyi?” From inside the room, Director Xu smiled and beckoned for Xu Xinyi to come in. “It’s good that you’re here, it just so happened that I was about to go looking for you.”
Xu Xinyi sent Luo Jie a questioning gaze as she entered the room but he just gave her a helpless look in return.
“Xinyi, come here, sit down.”
Xu Xinyi quietly sat down opposite Director Xu.
Director Xu’s face looked heavy. He sighed before continuing to speak. “Well, we may have to re-shoot some of the scenes from the past while.”
“Why, what’s going on?”
“Han Xiao is resigning from the male lead role for personal reasons.”
“Resigning?” Xu Xinyi couldn’t understand this sudden development, she looked at Han Xiao and asked, “Why are you resigning? Haven’t we already started shooting? What on earth happened?”
Xu Xinyi knew that sometimes people would be replaced in the middle of filming. For instance, the time that Direction Xu had replaced one of the supporting actresses in a TV series he was directing because her acting skills were so bad that Director Xu had felt forced to replace her, even at the risk of offending the investors. But that sort of situation was clearly not the case if they were talking about Han Xiao.
So why would Han Xiao need to be replaced?
“I have to withdraw for personal reasons.” Han Xiao looked over at Xu Xinyi and said, “But don’t worry, I’ve been discussing things with Director Xu and I’ve recommended a replacement that Director Xu agrees is very appropriate. I’ve known him for many years so I can guarantee that he is a very skilled actor.”
Director Xu stood up and sighed, “Well, you guys can talk. As for my side… there are a lot of things I need to do if we’re changing the leading role. I guess that I’ll have to go and get in touch with the new actor right now.”
Luo Jie gritted his teeth unhappily, but eventually, he said with a sigh. “Since this is happening there are a lot of things I need to take care of on my end as well, so I’m going to go deal with that.”
The two people left one after another and soon only Han Xiao and Xu Xinyi were left in the lounge.
“Teacher Han, didn’t we shoot a scene very well yesterday? What kind of personal reason do you have that would make you want to resign? I don’t understand. “
When Han Xiao heard her question a thin smile flitted across his face before it returned to its usual mask of indifference. He said to Xu Xinyi: “In the entertainment circle people always curious: Which stars are secretly married, which stars are keeping a lover, and which ones are quietly getting divorced? These types of things are all exotic mysteries to the fans but, in truth, they aren’t really secrets to the people inside the circle. If someone is secretly married, everyone in the circle will know.”
Although Xu Xinyi did not know why he had suddenly started talking about her, she had a vague premonition that Han Xiao’s next words would probably…
“Do you know why I have never acted in any intimate scenes with an actress?”
“My childhood was not a happy one. I have a past that I don’t even want to think about and any intimate contact with a woman tends to remind me of… unpleasant memories. But after receiving therapy for some time my therapist and I thought that I was at a point where I could overcome my phobia. That’s why I agreed to Director Xu’s invitation to work on ‘The Way of the Phoenix’.”
“Then… could you overcome it?”
“I thought that I could, but I couldn’t.”
Xu Xinyi slowly heaved a sigh. “Then did yesterday’s shooting make you uncomfortable?”
“Xu Xinyi, you are married.”
Xu Xinyi’s brows furrowed more and more.
Han Xiao had been looking at her very seriously but all of a sudden he laughed. “I’ve spent so many years in the entertainment industry and I’ve never let the media catch any flaw. I’ve always strictly followed the rules…” He opened his mouth but then slowly closed it. His Adam’s apple rolled and then he lowered his head and gave a low chuckle, more at himself than anything, “So how can I let my reputation accumulated over many years be destroyed by your hands?”
Xu Xinyi’s heart froze when she heard his words. She instantly understood, or maybe she didn’t, or maybe she just pretended not to. She got up, plastered on a business smile, and said, “Well… Teacher Han, since you’ve already made a decision I will of course respect your wishes. Maybe if we have a chance in the future…”
“We won’t work together again,” Han Xiao said.
“…then, I’ll wish Teacher Han a bright future going forward.”
With that, she pulled open the door like she was running away.
And, right outside the door, stood Xie Chi and his assistant.
The three people looked at each other dazedly.
But after recovering from her surprise, Xu Xinyi didn’t care too much, she just smiled perfunctorily at Xie Chi before leaving quickly.
The door slowly swung shut after she left.
Xie Chi’s assistant seemed amazed, “Oh, my God! This is big news! I’ll…”
“Forget about it.”
Xie Chi frowned and looked in the direction of Xu Xinyi’s ‘escape’. “Forget it. You didn’t hear anything today.” He could just count this as returning the favor.
The news of Han Xiao’s resignation soon spread among the crew.
After all, it was no secret. Before long Director Xu even made an announcement on Weibo. Han Xiao’s side as released a statement explaining that he could not work during this period of time because of personal health reasons but that Han Xiao and the crew had parted amicably and Han Xiao hoped they would carry on without him.
As soon as the announcements came out, the fans were heartbroken and left a flood of messages telling Han Xiao to have a good rest and get better.
The new actor who would be replacing Han Xiao as the male lead entered the crew a week later. And, as Han Xiao said, he was actually a very strong and qualified actor. In the past two years, he had been silently working on stage dramas to hone his acting skills, so now his style was full of explosive power. In fact, his style was so strong that while acting with him Xu Xinyi felt slightly overwhelmed and a scene that she did in one take with Han Xiao needed several NG with the new actor.
She didn’t know if it was because she had been feeling overwhelmed by the new male lead’s style of acting recently or for if it was for some other reason but Xu Xinyi felt somewhat listless these days. She would no longer go and mingle with the crew during the breaks in shooting, instead, she would sit silently on one side and read her script.
Seeing her like this, Director Xu worried and asked, “Xinyi, are you alright recently? You don’t look so good.”
“I’m fine,” Xu Xinyi forced a smile. “I just haven’t had a good appetite or gotten enough sleep recently, so I don’t have much energy. But don’t worry, I won’t affect the progress of shooting.”
“What are you talking about? I’m not worried that you’ll affect the progress of shooting, I’m worried about you. Alright, you should really get some rest. I’ll give you a half-day off tonight. Maybe you should go to the hospital and let them have a look.”
Although she tried to force herself to cheer up, Xu Xinyi was still in the same listless state all day. But fortunately, her acting skills were enough to let her pass her scenes, so she did not delay the progress of the shooting.
Xu Xinyi, who had not eaten much all day, looked at the food brought over by her assistant and uncomfortably turned her head to the side to retch. “Take that away. I can’t eat it.”
“But Sister Xinyi, you haven’t eaten anything all day. Is something wrong? Are you sick?”
“I’m fine. I just have a bad appetite and I feel a little nauseous.”
“You feel nauseous?”
“It’s no big deal. I just…” Suddenly a pregnant woman working on the crew walked by and when Xu Xinyi saw that her heart skipped a beat. She forgot what she was saying to the assistant as she quickly began secretly calculating the time from her last period.
After thinking it over, even though she was a bit uncertain, she felt shocked.
She hadn’t been paying much attention because she had been so busy with filming but it seemed that her period hadn’t come for a month or two already now?
Could she be pregnant?
She subconsciously touched her belly.
No, no one could know about this.
That was her instant reaction.
“I’m fine. Just put the food down for now, I’ll eat it later.”
The assistant nodded, then put the food down and left.
Xu Xinyi hurriedly took out her phone to check the symptoms that would appear in the early stages of pregnancy and, the more she checked, the more she felt that she was pregnant.
After thinking about it for a while, she finally decided to call Anya.
“Anya, this is very important. I need you to immediately put down all your work and come here right now.”
“What’s so urgent? Can I come tomorrow…? I have to…”
“Bring me a pregnancy test when you come.”
As soon as she mentioned the words ‘pregnancy test’, Xu Xinyi didn’t have to say anything more.
“I’ll be right there.”
Anya put down everything and drove two hours to the Film City. When she arrived she secretly took a pregnancy test stick out of her bag and handed it to Xu Xinyi. Xu Xinyi took it with a very serious look and turned to walk into the bathroom.
From the way they behaved, it was like they were trafficking something shady.
Then half an hour later, Anya knocked on the bathroom door for the fifth time.
“Miss Xu, are you okay?”
The bathroom door opened.
Xu Xinyi stood behind the door with a huge smile on her face. “Anya, I’m pregnant!”
Although she had most of the afternoon to psychologically prepare herself, Anya still felt floored by the news, “Pregnant? Really?”
“Really! I checked it many times but it was always two bars, that means I’m really pregnant!”
“Well done, Xu Xinyi, just look at how quickly you got pregnant!” Anya had the same joyful expression as she looked at Xu Xinyi’s flat belly.
“I really didn’t notice it but, after thinking about it, during this recent period I’ve always had a bad appetite, plus I’ve been experiencing nausea, vomiting, and a feeling of listlessness. At first, I just thought I was tired from acting, but who would have thought that I was actually pregnant.” Xu Xinyi exclaimed.
“Then hurry up, call Yi Yang, ah~.” Anya said excitedly.
Xu Xinyi hurriedly took out her phone and but then her fingertips paused the second before she called Yi Yang.
“No, Yi Yang can’t know about this right now.” Xu Xinyi said.
“Why?” Anya gasped.
“If he knew, I would be out of this film.”
That was true.
“But are you sure you don’t want to tell him?”
Xu Xinyi frowned and thought it over again and again.
This film did not have too many action elements, so it shouldn’t impact her baby at all even if she kept filming. Plus, there was only about a month left for filming, so it wouldn’t be too late if she just told Yi Yang about it when the filming was over.
“I won’t tell him.”
“But what if…”
“No what if.” Xu Xinyi caressed her belly and smiled and said, “I want both the child and the film!”
When she heard Xu Xinyi’s grand ambition, Anya really couldn’t relax. “Then for the duration of shooting, I will accompany you here in the Film City. I’ll take care of you like a personal servant.”
Anya really didn’t dare to slack off in this matter. If the child in Xu Xinyi’s belly was harmed due to negligence, Yi Yang would probably twist her head off and use it as a stool, right?
Thus, during the next month of shooting Anya followed Xu Xinyi every day in constant fear. It was to the point that she was frightened by a chilly breeze. Anya would get scared even when Xu Xinyi was drinking or eating, afraid that the other woman might choke. And whenever Xu Xinyi would begin crying hysterically in one of her mood swings, Anya’s back would be covered in cold sweat. For more than a month she could hardly sleep or eat as she constantly had to run errands for this great god called Xu Xinyi.
On the day it was finally over, Anya breathed a huge sigh of relief and just laid limply in the back seat of the car as a driver took them back to City A.
“My little ancestor, we finally did it.”
Xu Xinyi was practically glowing as she sat in the back seat. She said, “Alright, it was no big deal. You were just worried to death all day over nothing.”
“Could I not be worried? That’s the future prince of the Yi Group in your belly.”
“What if it’s a little princess?”
“Whatever. Either way, it’s Yi Yang’s first child. My life wouldn’t be enough to compensate if something went wrong on my watch.”
“Bah, why are you saying something so unlucky.”
“My mistake, I said the wrong thing, I take it back.”
“By the way, Luo Jie has been…”
Anya glared at her. “Can you not mention him?” I’m sick of hearing his name.”
“He hasn’t caught you yet?”
Anya really wanted to roar up at the sky right now but Xinyi was pregnant so she just said, “Give me a break. Someone like me doesn’t fit with someone like him.”
“How do you know if you two don’t fit if you haven’t tried it?”
Anya didn’t want to talk about this topic. “Anyway, I’m tired, just let me off this time, huh?”
With that, she leaned her head against the seat and closed her eyes.
Xu Xinyi smiled silently. It seemed that Luo Jie’s pursuit might have made some small progress.
“You’ve been working hard these past days, you deserve a rest.” Xu Xinyi looked absently out of the window and said, “As for… well, I just can’t wait to tell Yi Yang the news.”
After the two hour journey, they finally arrived.
Xu Xinyi didn’t call ahead to tell her family she was coming home so when she came back, Old Master Yi was not there, and neither was Mrs. Yi. When she saw that no one was home she wandered around the villa with her phone in her hand for a while, looking uncertainly between Yi Yang’s phone number and his Wechat avatar. But in the end, she didn’t want to disturb Yi Yang while he was at work. Instead, she stood by the window with a face full of longing and expectation, waiting for Yi Yang to come home.
Evening began to fall over City A and the sky turned a dazzling orange.
Yi Yang’s car drove into the villa as the sunset reached its peak.
When he strode in the door, Butler Chen was there to greet him. He smiled and told Yi Yang that his wife had come back today and that she had been waiting for him upstairs for a long time now.
The news that Xu Xinyi had returned really gave Yi Yang a pleasant surprise. After he heard, he didn’t ask or say anything else, he just strode quickly upstairs. When he reached the top of the third-floor staircase, a door opened and Xu Xinyi’s smiling face popped out.
When he saw her in front of him for the first time in months, Yi Yang froze.
At the same moment, Xu Xinyi ran barefoot out of the door towards Yi Yang. From far away, she opened her arms and leapt towards him as lightly as a swallow. In an instant, she had jumped onto Yi Yang, with her arms hugging his neck and her legs tightly wrapped around his waist. Then she lowered her head, smiled, and kissed him.
Seeing her leap, Yi Yang caught Xu Xinyi firmly and held her steadily.
Then a familiar pair of lips pressed against his, feather-light. But that quickly changed as a deeper kiss and a more intimate hug was initiated, and the two-months of pent up fire in Yi Yang’s body ignited with a bang.
They were so passionate that, even when Old Master Yi and Mrs. Yi walked upstairs, neither of them heard anything.
“Wait– there’s something I want to tell you.”
“What’s is it?”
Xu Xingyi hugged Yi Yang’s neck tightly and her eyes sparkled like two shiny diamonds. Those eyes seemed full of Yi Yang as if he were the only thing in this world they could hold.
Yi Yang was shocked, he seemed to be in disbelief.
When Xu Xinyi saw his expression she suspected that he thought that the child in her belly was not his but that of some wild man.
“I have a baby,” She stressed the next words. “It’s yours.”
“Pregnant?” A cry of surprise interrupted Xu Xinyi’s thoughts.
She looked over and saw that the Yi Elders were standing at the top of the staircase with identical looks of surprise on their faces.
“Really! It’s true!”
“Dad, I told you didn’t I? My left eye has been twitching a lot recently, which means something good must have happened. Just look, isn’t this a happy event?”
“You’re right. Recently I’ve also always felt that something happy was going to happen. Now everything that we prepared before can finally be used.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll arrange everything right away!” Mrs. Yi looked at Xinyi with an expression filled with joy, then she noticed her son at the side. “Yi Yang, what are you still doing standing here? Why don’t you take Xinyi inside? Just look at her, this child, why aren’t you even wearing shoes? “
The two feet clamped around Yi Yang’s waist shrank.
“Husband. Feet cold, cover.”
Yi Yang smiled and carried her with one hand while covering her bare ankles with the other, then he directly carried her into the room.
He set Xu Xinyi down on the bed, then crouched in front of her. He looked at Xu Xinyi’s flat belly as if he were dealing with a fragile and precious treasure and said, “I have a baby?”
Xu Xinyi took his hand and put it on her belly. “Mhm. Mr. Yi, you’re going to be a father.”
Xu Xinyi could feel that Yi Yang’s palm that she had put on her belly was very stiff, as if he were afraid of hurting the baby inside. Yi Yang only touched her lower abdomen very gently, seemingly not daring to move.
Xu Xinyi smiled and looked at Yi Yang leisurely. “Mr. Yi, are you nervous? You don’t need to be that nervous around me.”
Yi Yang smiled and said in a low voice. “It’s not nervousness, it’s excitement.”
Then he half stood up and leaned over Xu Xinyi before gently kissing her ear and whispering. “Thank you.”
“I love you.”
Xu Xinyi replied, “Me, too.”
“What do you mean by too?”
“I love you, too.”
The last glow of the setting sun faded as the stars took the sky.
The was quiet and warm and, after Xu Xinyi said those three words, there was no further sound.
Shortly after that, Xu Xinyi posted something intriguing on Weibo. It only featured one person and it was accompanied by a certain photo she had taken during her previous trip to Paris.
In the picture, there was a huge square, and a flock of white pigeons were spreading their wings to fly in a sky painted orange by the setting sun. In the center of the photo, there was a man in a suit reaching out his hand to feed the pigeons.
At the same time, Yi Yang’s officially certified Weibo also posted a certain photo.
In the photo, Xu Xinyi was smiling up to her eyes while holding up her phone to take a picture of Yi Yang. The golden afterglow of the setting sun shone between them and the flock of white pigeons fluttered their wings and surrounded the two people.
The picture overflowed with a gentle and beautiful light.
And the picture that Xu Xinyi was taking was exactly the same picture sent out by her Weibo.
The moment the two people released those Weibo posts, their comments instantly exceeded 10,000, and Weibo stuttered under the weight of all the traffic.
“! ! !”
“? ? ? Am I blind? Xu Xinyi got married? And with Yi Yang, the boss of the Yi Group? Oh, my God! So you really married into a wealthy family? When did it happen?”
“Look at you, look at the way you look like you’ve never seen the world before. Haven’t there long been posts online about their hidden marriage? [munching melon seeds] “
“She has already been married for at least two years. Xu Xinyi is really amazing to keep it under wraps when she has such an excellent husband.”
“Ahhhhhhhhhh, my husband is taken? I don’t believe it!”
“This old fan can’t help but burst into tears today. I’ve licked Xinyi’s face on screen for many years and I was always afraid that Xinyi would find an ordinary uncle to get married and have children with and waste that beautiful face of hers. Now mama is relieved!”
“Ahhhhhhhhh, I knew it! I always knew about Xinyi’s marriage to Yi Yang. Hahahahahaha! You two are a perfect match. Best wishes!”
“Ooooooooh, suddenly I want to cry! Sister Xinyi, I wish that you and Yi Yang will have a good marriage that lasts a hundred years and that you will give birth soon to a noble son!”
“We fans are so confused. This is so sudden! Sister Xinyi, you didn’t even give us notice in advance?!?! Best wishes!”
“He’s talented and she’s beautiful, what kind of immortal couple is this? I’m a big fan!”
“What kind of life winner is Xu Xinyi? After reaping a bumper harvest in her career, she somehow won over President Yi boss and became the boss’s wife. In the future, won’t she be able to walk sideways in the entertainment industry?”
“Sister Xinyi, wishing you all the best!”
“Sherlock Holmes here! I’m sure there must be something wrong since they choose to go public! I think Xu Xinyi is pregnant!”
“Pregnancy +1! Just wait to see the new steamed bun by the end of the year!”
“My Weibo is frozen! Programmers, quickly put in some overtime and repair Weibo!”
The comment sections under Xu Xinyi and Yi Yang’s Weibo’s became a scene filled with screaming fans.
And many stars who had cooperated with Xu Xinyi in the past, whether they had a good relationship or a bad relationship, all acted like they were on great terms and sent their congratulations.
But many fans commented on the posts made by those stars that leaned with the wind.
“Didn’t you once publicly say Xu Xinyi’s character was terrible and that you would never cooperate with her again? Why is your relationship so good now all of a sudden?”
“Didn’t you recently have a scandal with another actress? Why are you now on another woman’s Weibo?”
All in all, Xu Xinyi’s Weibo became very lively overnight as many fans joked and played around and, for a little while, Xu Xinyi’s comment section could be called an exposé on all sorts of drama in the entertainment industry.
They reached the top of Weibo’s hot search in less than 10 minutes while Weibo itself was temporarily paralyzed because of the sudden rush of traffic. It was late at night, so several heads of various core departments in Weibo were woken from their dreams and told to come to the company to deal with the matter. In the Weibo office, there was a great gnashing of teeth among the employees as they all cursed those two over and over again for announcing their relationship in the middle of the night.
Xu Xinyi idly flipped through the Weibo comments while laying in Yi Yang’s arms. Then she looked up and asked him, “Why didn’t I get an @ from your post?”
“Because you blocked me.”
“…” Xu Xinyi hurriedly removed him from her blocklist.
Yi Yang looked down into her quick and clever eyes, and thought that he would never get tired of this scenery for the rest of his life.
Although their marriage had not begun with love, it was fortunate that it could end with love.
“I love you.”
— The End Of The Text–.
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.
*this is an idiom (晚节不终) which according to the dictionary I checked means ‘lose one’s integrity in one’s closing years’. So like, don’t crash and burn at the end of your career