T/N: Weird. This was suppose to post 8 hours ago 😦 …
The company’s annual meeting was held one week before Christmas. In addition to the company’s employees, there were many people from the media. Up until that day, ZhouXiang was still busy working behind the scenes.
LanXiRong, who should have been in the banquet hall, found him at the back of the hotel.
Sneaking in a smoking break, ZhouXiang saw him and asked surprisingly, “How come you're over here?”
LanXiRong smiled, "I've been looking for you all night, didn't expect you to hide here.”
“I am not hiding here. I was working back there. Hurry back, someone should be looking for you shortly.”
“I came out to take a breather.” LanXiRong looked at him warmly, “Xiang Ge, you've worked hard.”
“It's nothing. It's not like I'm working for free." ZhouXiang extinguished his cigarette.
“I didn’t expect that we could act in a film together. I'm really looking forward to acting with you," LanXiRong said with some expectation.
ZhouXiang stared blankly, “We have scenes together?"
“Yes, you haven't read the script.”
“Oh, you're playing the role of WangYuDong’s younger brother. We'll definitely have interactions.”
“No, it’s not the part where you are his stuntman. The supporting role you're playing, we will have interaction.”
ZhouXiang smiled, "I don’t know. My role is not that heavy. Director Wang didn't give me the script."
“That’s because the script isn’t finished editing yet. President Wang helped secured a few more scenes for you. I've read the old script. Your role has good exposure. Xiang Ge, I'm really looking forward to it.” LanXiRong’s eyes sparkled as he looked at him without blinking.
ZhouXiang heart is also a bit excited but he is embarrassed to show it, “I'll ask the screenwriter about it in a few days.”
“There will be a meeting after Christmas; you can ask him again then.”
LanXiRong smiled faintly, “Xiang Ge, how are you spending Christmas? With your……boyfriend?”
“Yea, should be. We're both too busy so we haven't talked about it yet.” Although ZhouXiang had thought about it himself, he had yet to ask YanMingXiu. He didn't know whether he will be rejected.
LanXiRong lowered his eyes dejectedly, “Xiang Ge, if you haven't made plans for Christmas, spend it with me. We can go eat hot pot.”
ZhouXiang smiled, “You’re so busy; I don’t think you have time.”
“If you're going to spend it with me, I will cancel everything. I'm serious,” LanXiRong looked at him very seriously.
ZhouXiang lowered his head uncomfortably, “Let’s talk about it later.”
The two people casually said a few words; LanXiRong glance at his watch and reluctantly returned to the banquet hall. ZhouXiang smoked one cigarette after another. He looked up at the blue sky; his mind was in chaos, thinking about everything but no results came up.
When he returned home that night, it was almost two o’clock. He was busy for an entire day and is extremely exhausted.
To his surprise, YanMingXiu wasn't asleep and seeming to be waiting up for him, making ZhouXiang felt very touched.
YanMingXiu poured him a cup of hot water, “Come and have some water.”
ZhouXiang removed his coat and sat down on the table, his cold hand holding the warm cup.
YanMingXiu looked at his frozen red face, reached out and caressed it, frowning, "You didn’t drive? Freezing yourself like this.”
“I went to help move some things after the annual meeting ended.”
YanMingXiu definitely didn't like seeing ZhouXiang's exhaustive expression. No matter how dazzling the entertainment circle might me, in YanMingXiu's opinion, the value in the work that ZhouXiang does is too insignificant. But still, ZhouXiang enjoys it.
He asked softly, “Did LanXiRong also attended your annual meeting?”
ZhouXiang froze, "Hmm.”
“Did you guys talked?”
“……No, he was in the banquet hall. I was busy backstage. I didn't see him." ZhouXiang felt a bit guilty. Thinking about what LanXiRong said to him today, he was even more worried. He has been waiting for the opportunity to tell YanMingXiu that he wanted to participate in WangYuDong’s film and that LanXiRong is also in the film. But seeing YanMingXiu’s attitude, he is even more afraid to speak.
YanMingXiu nodded satisfactorily and then moved his hand from his face to his ears, “In the future, things that you shouldn't do, don't be proactive on it. What are you aiming for? Getting yourself so frozen like this."
ZhouXiang naturally responded, "They are my colleagues; it's normal to help.”
YanMingXiu shook his head, “Go take a shower and sleep early.”
ZhouXiang finished drinking the water and went to take a comfortable hot shower. When he entered the bedroom, he saw that YanMingXiu had already lied down.
He got into bed and embraced YanMingXiu from behind, softly murmuring, “MingXiu, do you have any plans for Christmas?”
YanMingXiu turned around, “What do you want to do?"
ZhouXiang smiled, "Are you letting me plan Christmas? Then you're giving me your time that day?"
YanMingXiu nodded, “This kind of holiday is no big deal, nothing special.”
“Join in on the fun. Let's go eat and then watch a movie? Last time a friend recommended a Western restaurant, saying that it has great ambiance. There is a three month reservation waiting list. This friend of mine knows the boss. I can find him to make arrangement?"
"Okay, you do that." YanMingXiu is not interested in these kinds of festive holidays but seeing how important it seems to be for ZhouXiang, he is also willing to accompany ZhouXiang in the excitement. He added, "Then I'll book the hotel. Let's change a place……"
Change a place to do what?… Naturally it goes without saying that is to have sex in a different place. ZhouXiang smiled wickedly, "Good idea. I just want to say that.”
YanMingXiu put a hand on his waist; his dark black eyes looked quietly at ZhouXiang through the rays of moonlight.
ZhouXiang felt himself being sucked in by YanMingXiu's expression. So much that he couldn't look away. The two of them looked at each other so serenely. They had not look at each other this closely for a long time.
ZhouXiang lowered his voice, “What are you thinking?”
ZhouXiang smiled lightly, “MingXiu, I feel very happy now. You?”
YanMingXiu blinked and gently 'hmm' a sound. He didn't say yes nor say no, just a simply a 'hmm'.
ZhouXiang smiled and closed his eyes.
YanMingXiu leaned closer and wrapped his strong arms around ZhouXiang's back, almost wanting to put ZhouXiang into his arms. Although with ZhouXiang’s body shape, this posture is a bit funny, YanMingXiu could feel ZhouXiang’s breaths on his neck. He felt very warm.
Let's just be like this; there is nothing wrong with it.
On Christmas Day, YanMingXiu came back early. ZhouXiang was waiting for him at home. After YanMingXiu changed, they took advantage of the time and started to head out early.
This day is both a holiday and a Friday. The traffic congestion is so bad that it's slower than walking. Fortunately, the restaurant is not far from them. A distance that usually takes them 15 minutes took an hour today.
The restaurant is also packed today but the ambiance within is very quiet, a stark contrast to the crowds outside.
Many couples sat around them. Two grown men having a candlelight dinner directly facing each other is a bit awkward. Especially with YanMingXiu's looks, it is even more eye-catching. Almost everyone had to sneak a glance at them.
ZhouXiang didn’t expect to have such an awkward scene so he kept paying attention to YanMingXiu’s expression, fearing that he would get angry.
But YanMingXiu acted as though there were nobody else around. Seeing ZhouXiang looking at him, he even laughed, "Why are you so nervous? Don’t let strangers influence your mood.”
Only then ZhouXiang feel relieved. He smiled, "Are you used to being ogle at?”
YanMingXiu shrugged his shoulders lightly and didn't comment.
“Just from your calm and collected nature, it's a pity that you're not a star."
YanMingXiu shook his head with a smile, “I hate those kinds of career that essentially have no privacy. It’s inconvenient to do anything.”
ZhouXiang, "Yeah, you can’t imagine it. Some reporters are terrible. They can even dig up old matters from more than ten years ago that even the party involved had forgotten. Being a star is really not something people can do. The greatest thing in the world is to have money without others knowing."
ZhouXiang chatted to YanMingXiu about some of the typical gossip going around in the entertainment circle. They usually don’t talk about these things because YanMingXiu didn't seem too interested. But today he listened with great interest. The two haven’t chatted so much for a long time. This meal was very enjoyable.
After they finished eating, they went to the underground parking lot. Just when they were about to get into the car, a female voice suddenly sounded from behind, “MingXiu?”
When the both of them turned around, they saw a tall and beautiful woman holding a man wearing a pair of sunglasses standing behind them.
At a glance, ZhouXiang could see that the person wearing sunglasses is WangYuDong.
When YanMingXiu saw the two people, his expression immediately changed. He vaguely said, “Jie (T/N).”
T/N: Older sister
“MingXiu, you came here to eat too? Why didn’t I see you earlier?” YanMingMei asked as she walked up to him. But when she noticed ZhouXiang, she paused.
WangYuDong also removed his sunglasses. He looked at ZhouXiang with his expression full of caution.
ZhouXiang felt so embarrassed momentarily that he didn't know where to hide. He could only force himself to calm down and smile politely at YanMingMei.
YanMingMei didn’t smile. She almost immediately began to doubt the relationship her brother has with this man. It's not that YanMingMei is not aware of YanMingXiu's sexual orientation, but like her parents, she's always chosen to forget it.
She looked at ZhouXiang and then looked at YanMingXiu, “MingXiu, is this your friend?”
YanMingXiu’s lips trembled a bit. His eyes were focused on YanMingMei's hand on WangYuDong's arm. No matter how he looked, it's an eyesore.
WangYuDong held YanMingMei's waist and softly murmured, "This person is a colleague I have collaborated with. I was the one who introduced them.”
YanMingMei seemed to sigh in relief but still turned her head restlessly to give WangYuDong an inquiring look.
WangYuDong gave her a reassuring looking, “They probably have something to do today.”
YanMingXiu said bluntly, “We still have things to do; we'll leave first.”
“Hey” YanMingMei pulled him, "What's the hurry? WangYuDong and I are going to watch a movie. Let's go together." She was still apprehensive and wanted to observe the relationship between the two.
YanMingXiu impatiently said, "I've said that we still have things to do, no time to watch a movie. You two go ahead."
YanMingMei perceptively sensed the fluctuation in YanMingXiu’s mood. Furrowing her brows, "What’s wrong with you? What's the hurry?”
YanMingXiu heavily emphasized, “I'm busy.” After saying that, he pressed to unlock the car doors and said to ZhouXiang, "Let’s go.” Then, got into the driver's seat.
ZhouXiang didn't turn his head as he got into the passenger seat. He felt two pairs of eyes staring at him.
They didn’t go to watch the movie as ZhouXiang expected.
The mood was very heavy along the way. YanMingXiu didn't say a word, his expression was very bad.
ZhouXiang thought that YanMingXiu was worried about his sister finding out about him being gay so he also said nothing. He couldn't even say anything to comfort him. He could only follow along in silence.
YanMingXiu drove back home and went straight into the study upon entering the home. Then, slammed into the door to the study.
ZhouXiang looked at the closed door. He knew that he is once again locked out of YanMingXiu’s heart. And still, he couldn’t see him being able to step into his heart.
After the incident on Christmas Day, they did not mention it again, as if nothing had happened, but YanMingXiu became increasingly quiet.
Two days before New Year’s, Director Wang convened another meeting. For a minor role like ZhouXiang, it was not necessary for him to attend so no one notified him. It was after President Wang arrived and realized that he wasn't in attendance that he specially called to tell him to come over, wanting him to get in touch with some of the people.
ZhouXiang rushed over after receiving the call, but he was still half an hour late. He didn’t expect that once he entered, he would see the scene of Director Wang and WangYuDong in a heated argument.
As soon as he entered, everyone’s eyes were on him. ZhouXiang wished he could become an invisible person. At this time, who would want to attract gunpowder?
President Wang did not expect that the two people would end up arguing. He quickly used his discreet expressions to signal for ZhouXiang to find a place to sit.
ZhouXiang lowered his back and ran over to sit next to President Wang.
WangYuDong says coldly, “My engagement is a major life event. Others have agreed to postpone the film launching ceremony. Why can't Director Wang just accommodate it? I must go on this vacation, hope Director Wang can understand."
Director Wang slammed his hand on the table, "This date was set two months ago. You think you can just say to change and it can change?! This delays many things! The date cannot be changed. If you don't come then your name won't be on the list of cast!"
Since these words are said to such extent, the relationship between the two is almost irreparable. The three investors all looked gloomy. President Wang rolled his eyes as if he's too lazy to care.
WangYuDong is so enraged that the muscles on his face are a bit distorted, "Fine. Director Wang can find someone else to replace me then. Hope you can find a satisfactory candidate.”
“There are many people who can replace you!” Director Wang is so furious that he was blowing his beard with glaring eyes. He glanced at ZhouXiang, who had just sat down, and said sternly, "ZhouXiang!”
ZhouXiang was so scared that he was shaking; everyone looked at him.
Director Wang gave a heavy ‘humph’ and said, "I think ZhouXiang is good. You have always been WangYuDong's stuntman and also know how to act. This time you can take on WangYuDong's role, not as a stuntman. I want you to be the lead.”
As soon as these words came out, everyone's eyes widen and the entire conference room became quiet. ZhouXiang was scared witless; he didn't dare to breathe.
Those people who have a good relationship with ZhouXiang looked at him sympathetically.
Everyone could understand that Director Wang saying this is not because ZhouXiang is talented nor really qualified. It was just to humiliate WangYuDong to the greatest extent.
Being replaced by his own stuntman, if this is becomes confirmed, WangYuDong will become the greatest joke in the entire entertainment industry.
This move of Director Wang's is really ruthless, pushing ZhouXiang to the heart of their struggle
End of the chapter