Very soon, it was almost the New Year’s holiday. ZhouXiang realized that YanMingXiu’s mood is getting worse and worse with each passing day. At times, he would often hide himself in the study room for a long time. Sometimes he would just sit in front of the TV, not saying a word.
One day, ZhouXiang finally couldn’t help himself from asking whether his business wasn't going well. After all, the year-end is usually very busy.
He actually never knew what YanMingXiu does. It seems to be related to finance or investment banking and the like. But those are things ZhouXiang don’t understand and have always been too lazy to ask. He knew that YanMingXiu has good income. The things he buys are always the best. The two never did separate their spending for the home; it's always been whoever buying whatever they need, neither of them really bickered over financial matters.
Borrowing YanMingXiu’s glory, ZhouXiang also got to use many good things.
Generally, there are many pressing things that needed to be resolved at the end of the year so being busy is inevitable. Even ZhouXiang, who usually doesn't have to go to work, had to go help prepare for the company's annual meeting these days. Seeing YanMingXiu's expression, he's obviously been overworked.
YanMingXiu shook his head, “It's nothing," After that, he sullenly went into the room.
ZhouXiang wanted to help him but even with good intentions, he was powerless.
Early this morning, ZhouXiang went to the company again. CaiWei made him the assistant to help with the planning and preparation of the annual meeting. The hotel venue has not yet been decided. ZhouXiang went with the event planner to scope out several hotels, but they have yet to find a suitable venue.
He has just gotten into the company door when CaiWei saw him and pulled him over, his face full of caution as he uttered, “Ah Xiang, I really didn’t think that you were this capable.”
ZhouXiang is baffled.
“Did you know that Director Wang designated you to take part in the filming of this new movie? He said that he would give you a supporting role.”
ZhouXiang was surprised, “Really?”
“Yes, really. How did you convince this old madman?”
“I also don’t know, maybe because I can relatively endure his craziness?"
CaiWei scoffed and smiled, “That's possible, regardless, you can't miss this opportunity. How many people would want to snatch this chance to show their faces in his movies? After getting this role, maybe you'll never have to be a stuntman ever again.”
ZhouXiang is already thirty years old. In the first few years, he dreamt of hitting it big with a signature role. However, after drifting along for such a long time and having experienced so many things, he knew that even if he wanted to become famous and all the stars are aligned, it is something that is hard to attain. Especially with his ordinary conditions, he didn't think that this opportunity would really come.
ZhouXiang's desire to be a star is not great, but he wanted to make more money. To pursue a better quality of life is human nature. Although ZhouXiang is not strongly materialistic, he didn't want to let go of the opportunity to make money.
“Hey, why care about him? This time you're not his stuntman. It is Director Wang who insisted on you. You're not acting the same role as him. You can't possibly offend him. President Wang also supports you. You just get yourself ready to invite the screenwriter out for a meal so he can give you and LanXiRong a few more scenes." CaiWei happily patted his arm, "Ah Xiang, Wei Ge has always hoped to bring you to a better place, you're just on your own, you must make as much money as you can while you're still young."
ZhouXiang said with a smile, “Thank you Wei Ge, then … then, should I be contacting Director Wang’s assistant?”
"Yeah, go now, they're in the conference room.”
“President Wang, Director Wang, and people from WangYuDong’s side. Oh, there are also two other investors. It just so happened that they are here for a meeting. But LanXiRong has commitment and couldn't come."
“That's not too appropriate right? So many people are in the meeting, what am I going to do in there?”
“What are you afraid of? Aren't you part of the cast? Just go,” CaiWei dragged him to the conference room.
President Wang nodded at him. ZhouXiang greeted them one by one. Lastly, he smiled at Director Wang. This big director was extremely difficult to please. ZhouXiang humbly felt a bit overwhelmed.
Director Wang is still is usual self, responding but paying no attention, "Sit…"
WangYuDong faintly glanced at him, his expression extremely chilling.
ZhouXiang’s heart trembled. It seems that WangYuDong’s forbidding opinion of him is so great that he no longer even bothered with showing common courtesy. After all, YanMingXiu is his future brother-in law. Who would like his brother-in-law to be a homosexual and also be with someone that is around him? Just thinking about this is awkward.
ZhouXiang also simply didn't look at him, trying to evade him as much as he could. WangYuDong didn't look at him but at President Wang and Director Wang.
The atmosphere of the meeting was very strange. Several investors were trying to harmonize Director Wang and WangYuDong's relationship. Director Wang is already sixty this year so nobody felt ashamed in sweet-talking to him. But ZhouXiang seeing WangYuDong's expression, he's obviously doesn't look sincere. He felt that something will likely happen again in this film. When that time comes, he will stay away as far as possible.
After the meeting, Director Wang left with some people. The people from the company also dispersed. President Wang wanted to say a few words to him but then saw that WangYuDong was waiting for ZhouXiang not too far away.
ZhouXiang knew what he wanted to say. He most certainly didn't want to go.
President Wang looked between the two, “YuDong, are you looking for ZhouXiang?”
“I'll recommend another stuntman for you. I know one that is quite suitable."
WangYuDong smiled politely. “Thank you, Wang Ge, I'll look into it when I have time.”
President Wang raised an eyebrow, “Then you guys go ahead. ZhouXiang, you come to my office after you're done.”
After saying that, President Wang and CaiWei left.
With only the two of them remaining in the conference room, ZhouXiang smiled politely, “Dong Ge, is there something the matter?”
“I heard that you didn't want to be my stuntman this time?”
ZhouXiang nodded, "I have been working too much recently, too busy…"
“ZhouXiang, stop with the lies. This supporting role has way more scenes than my stuntman. How do you have the time?”
ZhouXiang smiled awkwardly, “Dong Ge, It's not easy for me to get a role, can you be a bit more understanding?”
“How can I not, but we have worked together several times after all. You're asking me to change to someone else in this instant; I'm a bit not use to it. What if the new stuntman is not as skilled as you? It will reduce my performance in the movie. How can I not care?"
ZhouXiang sweated coldly, “Dong Ge, you think…”
“Not that I think. Aren't you doing this because of the matter with MingXiu, wanting to hide from me? The entertainment circle is so big, can you really hide?”
ZhouXiang didn’t say anything.
“With MingXiu's matters, it is reasonable to say that I don't have the right to have a say, but I dare not let his sister know. MingXiu has a promising future in front of him; he can't possibly continue to be involved with you."
ZhouXiang secretly clenched his fist but still did not speak.
"ZhouXiang," WangYuDong said with heartfelt sincerity, "Honest people don't say deceitful words. I know what you are scheming. To be a part of the Yan family, you won't have any worries your entire life. But you are a smart person. How can you not know? You're both men. Can you have his child? Or marry him? If you provoke their family, nobody can protect you. We've known each other for three to four years. I'm sincerely giving you a few cautionary words. For you to be able to get this role is already very good. Stop while you still can.”
WangYuDong's remarks were quite rude. ZhouXiang was so furious that he was trembling. Why beat around the bushes in insulting people, it'd be much more satisfying to simple point him in the nose and say that he wants to live off of the Yan family.
The problem is…he doesn't even fucking know anything about YanMingXiu's family.
WangYuDong looked at ZhouXiang's livid expression as he smiled scornfully, “ZhouXiang, MingXiu's sister and I will be engaged on New Year’s Day. At that time, our relationship will be announced. I will be considered a part of the Yan family. You say, if people were to dig up this news and find out that my future brother-in-law and my stuntman are involved, isn't this enough to entertain them for half a year? Will you be bearing the consequences? I don't believe you want to.”
ZhouXiang said gloomily, “We never intended for the public know about us, you're thinking too much.”
WangYuDong sneered, “How many secrets in this circle are forced by the involved parties to be exposed regardless of their unwillingness?"
ZhouXiang clenched his fist, fearing that he wouldn't be able to control himself from wanting to swear at someone. He's not naïve nor inexperienced, he knows who he can't afford to offend.
WangYuDong looked at him, “Regarding the issue with my stuntman, it's still better for you to do it. I don't trust others. This film is heavily invested. It's a vital role for me to enter the Asian market. I don’t want my image to be affected because the martial arts are not up to par. I still trust you more. You'll be satisfied with the pay. I've said it as such, you can't possibly not give me face?"
ZhouXiang endured and endured, so much that he was suppressing his heart and lungs from exploding.
He told himself that this is how the world is and this is life.
He nodded as he gritted his teeth, “Dong Ge said it as such, I dare not.”
WangYuDong nodded with satisfaction as he looked at ZhouXiang’s expression. He knew that his two goals have been achieved today. He walked over and patted ZhouXiang’s shoulder. “What I told you today, go back and think it over. I don't oppose if you work more but I'm advising you to break up with MingXiu sooner. You may not like to hear these words, but I'm really saying it for your own good.”
Long after WangYuDong left, ZhouXiang was not able to come back to his senses. He stood in the conference room for a long time until his legs were numb. He laughed at himself and turned away from the meeting room, heading straight to President Wang's office.
President Wang is reading a book with his legs crossed. ZhouXiang sat down on the sofa next to him. President Wang, “It's nothing important, I just wanted to say a few things. For one, if there are any issues with Director Wang and WangYuDong, let me know immediately. Two, I'm trying to increase your screen time; you have to grasp onto this opportunity. In fact, you are quite unique. Seizing the opportunity might get you popular."
ZhouXiang nodded with his heart beating extremely fast. After considering it again and again, he finally couldn’t help but ask, “President Wang, can I mentioned a bit of gossip?”
“Ohhh? What gossip?”
"Regarding WangYuDong’s girlfriend. He told me that he's getting engaged.”
“Oh, you know it too, yeah, New Year’s Day, I'm also invited."
“He… his girlfriend’s family, what is her background? I heard that it's very impressive?”
President Wang shook his head with a smile. “This news is way too old. It's not a particularly big secret. It may have been before but now that the two are stable, WangYuDong can’t wait for the world to know.”
ZhouXiang only felt a gust of anxiety rising to his head, “President Wang, don’t play this guessing game with me, just tell me directly.”
President Wang narrowed his eyes and embarrassingly uttered, “Is it that difficult to guess? How many families have the surname 'Yan' in Beijing? Isn't there only one?”
ZhouXiang blinked and it suddenly dawned on him, “Yan…YanDeJiang?”
“Yeah, which other family can make WangYuDong arrogant like this, humph.” President Wang snorted and sneered. “This pretty boy really got himself into an influential family, this round he should be feeling exuberant."
ZhouXiang's entire body exuded cold sweat.
If he doesn’t even know YanDeJiang, who often appears in the news network from time to time, then he's been living in this information age in vain.
Although he used to think that the surname 'Yan' was quite unique, but even if he was to borrow and put ten minds together, he would never have guessed that YanMingXiu would be YanDeJiang's grandson. This powerfully wealthy character in Beijing, how could they be of the same world?
This is just ridiculous, completely ridiculous.
President Wang saw his paled face and wondered, “What’s wrong? It’s not that shocking right? It's just that the male god (referring to WangYuDong) is getting married.”
ZhouXiang shook his head, “I just didn’t think…”
“Who would have thought that back then when WangYuDong's father wanted to send some gifts (as in raising the family's societal position), he couldn't even touch these doors. They no longer have to worry about this. He's really raised a good son (since his son is marrying into the prestigious Yan family)." President Wang's tone is a bit disdainful. He is also from a third generation wealthy family, but is not the same level as the 'Yan' family. For WangYuDong, who used to also depend on him, right now, he can use his relation with the family to suppress him. His felt a bit of discontent.
The two of them chatted for a while. President Wang revealed a lot of how pompous WangYuDong had become after dating this Miss. Yan. ZhouXiang was not in any mood to listen. His mind was constantly on YanMingXiu.
He finally understood how YanMingXiu’s unique character was cultivated. It has got to be hard for him to be willing to cram himself into an old shabby house of no more than 70 square meters (753 sq.ft) with him. Soon, it'll be a year. ZhouXiang felt that this is becoming increasingly unreal.
On the way home, ZhouXiang is completely in a daze, so much that he almost hit the car he was tailgating. He thought about it all the way home, finally deciding on pretending that he didn't know. Except for YanMingXiu himself… he didn’t know anything. Since YanMingXiu didn’t tell him, he didn't need to ask. Continuing on like this is also good.
End of the chapter