Their company's boss booked a banquet hall at a hotel to hold a welcoming reception for Lan Xirong. Lan Xirong had actually come back to China twice before, apparently to prepare to record a single. However, that movie really did take over a year to finish shooting. After the filming finished, Lan Xirong’s status in the China was already substantially different.
Almost all of people in their company had come today. Their company wouldn't be considered big, but it had seventy to eighty employees, and always performed pretty well financially. The boss was the child of an official. He owned a wide range of businesses, and his personality was also relatively weird. However, he was a good person and gave his employees good company benefits. Whether it was Zhou Xiang or some other employee, everyone felt really comfortable working for this company.
As soon as Zhou Xiang walked into the hotel, he saw Cai Wei greeting and welcoming guests. Zhou Xiang called out to him and then walked over.
Cai Wei was too busy to pay attention to him. "Go up by yourself, second floor."
When someone was famous and popular, it really was a hundred answers to a single call. At least three hundred people had come today. There were over ten reporters, and also many entertainment industry bigshots. Their Chief Wang obviously wanted to create hype for Lan Xirong.
Although Zhou Xiang was just a little no-name martial arts stuntman, his face was widely known and he knew a lot of people. In addition, he had a good personality, and could get along with almost anyone. On the way up, he came across quite a few acquaintances. He had his hands full greeting them.
After he went upstairs, he finally saw Lan Xirong and their Chief Wang. They were surrounded by people in the centre of the banquet hall.
Like his appearance on TV, Lan Xirong was young and handsome and his face was like a crowned jade. Two dimples appeared on his face whenever he smiled, and was extremely cute. His fresh and clean temperament, which lay somewhere in between a boy and a man, had the ability to make people's favourability factor of him double.
Seeing Lan Xirong flushed with success like this, Zhou Xiang found it really difficult to connect him with that boy who had just graduated from a film academy, whose future prospects were a big blur, and always carried hotpot ingredients to his house to eat with him.
Zhou Xiang aimlessly wandered over.
Lan Xirong and Chief Wang noticed him at the same time. Lan Xirong's eyes suddenly brightened and he gazed steadily at Zhou Xiang. He looked a bit excited.
Zhou Xiang calmly walked over to greet him. "Xirong, Xiang'ge congratulates you for your triumphant return." After that, he smiled at Chief Wang. "Chief Wang, you're back." He then deliberately stood to the side of Chief Wang, not setting aside excessive time for Lan Xirong.
Disappointment flashed across Lan Xirong's eyes. However, there were loads of people around him, and so he couldn’t get side-tracked, and only snuck peeks at Zhou Xiang's direction from time to time.
Zhou Xiang said quietly to their originally white and plumb Chief Wang, "Chief Wang, you got black."
Chief Wang snorted twice, "What?"
Zhou Xiang winked as he said, "You went to Tibet to abstain from meat and pray to the Buddha, you haven't touched meat and fish for three months. After coming back, does everyone look strangely good-looking?"
Chief Wang glared at him. "You look strangely good-looking to me, want me to use the unwritten rule on you?"
Zhou Xiang laughed, "Come at me, that's exactly what I want."
Chief Wang gave him a supercilious look, "Bullshit, come over, I want to ask you something."
The two walked off to the side. Chief Wang asked, "I heard that Director Wang and Wang Yudong aren't getting along. You're on set, do you know what that's all about?"
"They don't mesh too well. Director Wang has a bad temper, and Wang Yudong has never been mistreated before, so they gradually started having some disagreements."
Chief Wang frowned. "I invested quite a lot in that movie, there'd better not be any setbacks. I'll find Xiao Wang to have a talk with him next time.
"It'll definitely make a difference if you go talk to him."
Director Wang said sheepishly, "Not necessarily, Xiao Wang's status is not the same as it used to be."
"What's going on?"
"He's climbed up a high tree."
"What do you mean? Climbed on who?"
Chief Wang glared at Zhou Xiang, "Brat, why are you such a gossip?"
Zhou Xiang felt really wronged, "You brought it up first."
They were about to say something else, when Lan Xirong's voice sounded from behind Zhou Xiang.
Zhou Xiang turned his head around. Lan Xirong had already thrown off the other people and was quietly staring at him. Zhou Xiang knew that he couldn't escape this time. He pulled at his own hair, "Let's talk at the balcony?"
The two walked to the balcony and closed the French window. It was a bit cold outside. Zhou Xiang lit a cigarette and laughed, "Xirong, you’ve done really well for yourself, congratulations."
Lan Xirong's beautiful eyes gazed at Zhou Xiang's face. He said softly, "Xiang'ge, I'm sorry. At that time, I was too thoughtless."
"Forget it, it's all in the past, don't mention it."
Lan Xirong dropped his head, and said gloomily, "I don't know what was wrong with me at that time either... At first I thought that you treated me well and helped me because you thought of me as a friend. I didn’t expect that you had other ideas so I felt I had been insulted. But, in fact, no matter what thoughts you had towards me, you really did help me a lot, but I..."
Zhou Xiang took a puff of his cigarette and said indifferently, "I really did consider you my friend, or rather a younger brother. But you also already knew beforehand that I was gay. For instance, even you would get ideas when you see a beautiful woman, right? And even more if that person appears in front of you every day. At that time, I just wanted to ask you, in the end, are you straight or bent? If you don't like men, then I won't go pestering you either, we will still be friends... Forget about it, let's not talk about the past anymore, I was also in the wrong, I frightened you."
Lan Xirong raised his head, and said agitatedly, "Xiang'ge, I'm sorry. It really was my fault. I was fully aware that you were gay, but I liked how you were nice to me, and made you misunderstand. I said that stuff about you, but you were still magnanimous and let it slide, I... Can you forgive me?"
Zhou Xiang thought about what happened in the past, and felt that it was really f***ed up.
During the unpleasantness between the two of them, he had really wanted to ask, Lan Xirong, you say that you're not gay, then why did you come to my house all the time, and always cling all over me? I declare my position, and then you f***ing feel that you've been wronged, who behaves like that?
However, even though Lan Xirong misunderstood him, Zhou Xiang didn't get angry at him. Zhou Xiang consoled himself, ‘He is young and immature’, and endured it. After all, he truly did really like this young boy. He didn't want to have a nasty falling out with him. If worst came to worst, he'd just stay far away from him.
Lan Xirong was able to acknowledge his mistakes, and come back to apologise. Zhou Xiang felt that this matter had come to a satisfactory conclusion.
Zhou Xiang said gently, "Xiang'ge doesn't blame you. Don't think too much. We belong to the same company, we'll see each other all the time. In the future, do what you ought to do. Keep your mind free from burdens, okay?"
The rims of Lan Xirong's eyes were a bit red. He took one stride forward and firmly hugged Zhou Xiang. His voice was slightly choked, "Xiang'ge, I missed you so much this past year."
Now what’s this about? Zhou Xiang was startled.
"When I just went to America, I couldn't speak English properly, everything was so unfamiliar, just like when I first came to Beijing. But no one was nice to me like you were. So many times I wanted to give you a phone call, but I didn't dare to. I felt more and more regretful, I really wanted to come back to find you... Xiang'ge, I'm sorry, can we still return to how we were in the past?" Lan Xirong cuddled against Zhou Xiang's chest like a child, voicing out his feelings, growing sadder and sadder as he spoke.
Zhou Xiang sighed. His heart softened slightly. He patted Lan Xirong's shoulder. "I really don't blame you. Don't cry."
Lan Xirong managed to hold back his tears but his voice had already gone strange. He wiped his eyes, grabbed Zhou Xiang by the arm, and said, "Xiang'ge, can we be like before? Can I still go over to your house to eat hotpot?"
Zhou Xiang recalled that he was already raising a living being at home. However, he couldn't keep refusing to eat a meal with him, so he said frankly, "What problem is there? You're welcome any time."
Lan Xirong finally smiled.
"Hey, hurry and go back. Everyone has arrived now. The main lead shouldn’t be missing."
They returned to the banquet hall. The presenter started passionately embellishing Lan Xirong's achievements. Lan Xirong went on stage and confidently thanked a heap of people, and although what he said were all civilities, they were very appropriate for this occasion.
Zhou Xiang was deeply moved. That absentminded young boy had truly grown up.
Because there were too many acquaintances at the party, that night Zhou Xiang was forced to drink until he couldn’t stand. When it was time to go home, it was Lan Xirong's driver who sent him back.
Lan Xirong couldn't be more familiar with Zhou Xiang's apartment. In those lonely months in America, he couldn't remember how many dreams he had of himself walking through this familiar housing district while carrying some ingredients, and ringing the bell of this warm door, and have a warm, generous and humorous big brother listen to him talk about the rough times at work, and help him resolve difficulties and leave worries behind.
The car stopped at the apartment building. Lan Xirong told the driver to leave first, and he helped Zhou Xiang up the stairs, intending to stay at Zhou Xiang's place tonight.
He fished out Zhou Xiang's keys and opened the door. The room was pitch-dark. He easily found the switch on the wall, and turned on the light.
Suddenly, footsteps sounded from inside. A person wearing loose fitting pyjamas walked out of the bedroom. Lan Xirong raised his head, and locked eyes with Yan Mingxiu. The two of them froze.
Lan Xirong looked at Yan Mingxiu's attire. It was clear that he lived here. Was he... Zhou Xiang's boyfriend? This fact made Lan Xirong feel like he had been struck by lightning. He asked sternly, "Who are you?" He strongly wished that Yan Mingxiu was some thief that randomly broke in. However he knew that no thief would look as sinful as Yan Mingxiu.
Yan Mingxiu was so angry that his fingertips were shaking. A handsome young man was carrying an intoxicated Zhou Xiang in his arms, and they even came home together in the middle of the night past two o'clock!
From the fact that Zhou Xiang wanted to sleep with him on the first day they met, Yan Mingxiu knew that in the past Zhou Xiang definitely wasn't some light-saving lightbulb, but as he was already together with him, how dare he bring a man back home in the middle of the night!
The two people angrily glared at each other, daggers drawn.
Yan Mingxiu said coldly, "That's what I should be asking you. Who let you casually walk into our home?" Yan Mingxiu purposely emphasized the word 'our'.
Lan Xirong's handsome face which was originally flushed pink from alcohol instantly turned pallid.
Xiang'ge has a boyfriend... Right, why can't he have a boyfriend? Why wouldn't Xiang'ge have a boyfriend? Why would he continue waiting for me?
Pain gripped Lan Xirong's heart. He hated the man in front of him with every fibre of his being. What right did he have to stand in this living room? This was his and Xiang'ge's hangout!
Yan Mingxiu had a naturally bad temper. Right now, he was so mad, he wanted to sweep Lan Xirong out with a broom. He went forward and roughly tried to take Zhou Xiang from him. "He's home now, hurry and get lost."
Lan Xirong was unwilling to let go. The two people pulled back and forth for a while. Zhou Xiang's body tilted, and started falling towards the ground.
Yan Mingxiu immediately caught him.
Lan Xirong stared at his own empty hands, and his heart hurt like mad.
Yan Mingxiu coldly glared at him. "Don't keep standing here. Zhou Xiang has a master now, you don't need to think about him ever again."
Lan Xirong glared at him with loathing, turned, slammed the door and left.
Yan Mingxiu stared at Zhou Xiang who was sleeping like the log on his chest. The rage in his heart blazed higher and higher.
He couldn't stand Zhou Xiang having thoughts for another person. Zhou Xiang's eyes should only be looking at him.