ZhouXiang’s face paled. He didn't dare to lift his head. He could feel many pairs of eyes on him. Those piercing eyes are like needles, making it impossible for him to sit or stand from his nervousness.


He cursed Director Wang and WangYuDong a hundred times in his heart. These two bastards fighting, why must they always involve him?


President Wang tried to appease the atmosphere, “Aiyah. Director Wang, calm down. There are some misunderstandings between you two. Let's discuss of ways to resolve it. No need to be so agitated.”


Director Wang is far from agitated; he wanted to stand up and slam the table, "There is nothing to discuss. I think ZhouXiang is good. I'm recommending him to be the lead. ZhouXiang, do you dare to accept the role?”


ZhouXiang looked up and WangYuDong's eyes are like a knife that fell sharply on his face. ZhouXiang smiled reluctantly, "Director Wang, you must be joking.”


“Who is joking with you, I never joke. I've spent my lifetime making films. My assessment of people is pretty good. If I feel that you can take it on, then you definitely can. Agree to it now. As long as you agree, the lead role is yours!"


Several investors were unable to sit still and began to mediate between the quarrelling parties.


They've invested money into the film and had publicly promoted WangYuDong as the leading actor. So changing the lead role to a merely unknown stuntman at the last minute, who is going to be fine with that? Even President Wang wouldn't be.


ZhouXiang really wished that he can get up and leave at this time. Now he doesn't even want a penny or any supporting role. He just wanted to be farther away from this production team. WangYuDong's power is now flourishing. Adding on, he has the Yan family's backing, if he offended WangYuDong, will he still be able to work in the Entertainment industry in the future?


He just wanted to make a living; he didn't want to hit it big with significant ups and downs.


WangYuDong implicitly asked, "ZhouXiang, what's your stance? Director Wang is so adamant on recommending you, you can’t let him down, right?”


CaiWei wanted to help ZhouXiang but before he could even open his mouth, President Wang stopped him. CaiWei does not have enough weight; whoever talks at this time may become cannon fodder.


President Wang stood up, his expression unsightly and his tone not very polite, "We've already cooperated to this extent, the promotion costs have been expended and the budget has also already been invested, to have such fall-out at this time is not beneficial to anyone right? Now with all three investors present, to say this bluntly, the bosses are the ones putting out the money. The grievances that you two have are personal grievances. How about give us investors some faces. Don't let your emotions affect your decision and bring your personal grievances to work, okay?"


President Wang's background is not to be underestimated. With that being said, no one really dared to offend him and the conference room is silent once again.


After a long while, WangYuDong said, “Wang Ge (referring to President Wang), I definitely don't' dare to not give you face, but Director Wang really went too far. Talking about what's at stake, I am also someone with prestige. Director Wang have already given this role to someone else, I can't be shameless enough to demand it from him."


These words implied that Director Wang would have to swallow the words he spit out.


Director Wang, this stubborn old man is determined not to compromise. He drank some water and slowly uttered, “President Wang, I am not letting my emotions affect my decision. In my heart, ZhouXiang is more suitable for this role than WangYuDong. I can give you many reasons and also be able to convince all of you."


"It's definitely not the first time that a newcomer has been used for my films. As long as it's my film, I've been responsible for it to the end every single time. Not once has it disappointed the investors. I can't cooperate with WangYuDong. Forcing us to do so, I can't do this film to my liking. Even if it's not ZhouXiang, it will be someone else. In short, it will definitely not be with WangYuDong."


WangYuDong is so furious that his lips trembled. If it wasn't for his assistant holding him, he would've already gotten up and left.


Director Wang looked at WangYuDong with deliberate provocation, and then said to the investors, “I am not talking nonsense. ZhouXiang can take on this role. In fact, he can do it well. This file can be filmed well. I don’t need WangYuDong. I definitely will never cooperate with him again. To put it bluntly, it is either him or me. You guys can replace me."


No one dared to replace the director. Director Wang is really determined this time.


Several investors exchanged helpless expressions. WangYuDong's face is livid. He had wanted to stand up and leave a few times. Others didn't even dare to breathe heavily.


Director Wang asked ZhouXiang, “ZhouXiang? Say something. Do you dare to accept this role? If you accept the role, your value will immediately increase and you will have everything.”


ZhouXiang is not stupid; how can he easily believe his words. To get popular from filming this role is definitely a possibility; however, the biggest and likeliest possibility is that he will be damned by WangYuDong's fans and pushed aside by others in the entertainment circle. No one would dare cooperate with him after taking on this film. So in the end, he could only find another way to make a living.


Just thinking of these consequences would make a person's scalp numb.


ZhouXiang is just a minor actor. Although he had dreamt of being a big star but when faced with such possibility that this might really happen, his first instinct is fear.


President Wang sighed heavily, "This matter can't be decided now. You also have to give ZhouXiang time. Let's end this today. Director Wang, I'll talk to you alone tomorrow.” After saying that, he pulled ZhouXiang and left. CaiWei followed closely behind them.


—–


After entering President Wang's office, he (President Wang) is so enraged that he kicked his chair away and lashed out, "An old dumb fuck and a young dumb fuck! Fucking giving problems to LaoZi!"


The two of them were both afraid to breathe.


It was said that President Wang had invested more than 10 million in this film and it is one of his prime investment projects for next year. How can he not worry?


President Wang paced back and forth for a long time before he gaspingly went back to his chair and sat down, narrowing his eyes at ZhouXiang.


ZhouXiang also glanced at him and softly uttered "President Wang, can you point me in some direction? I still want to make a living in the circle. I don't want to be used as anyone's ammunition."


President Wang tapped his finger on the table, looking very irritated, “Go back first. Let me think about this. I'll talk to Director Wang tomorrow. If he really insist on not wanting WangYuDong, then he has to find someone else. I reckon it likely won't be you. But if he does insist on using you, then just take it, better than giving someone else this advantage."


ZhouXiang quietly muttered, "President Wang, I can’t take on the lead actor. I've always been a stuntman."


“If you only have the heart to be a stuntman your entire life, then you are a wimp.” President Wang tapped the table, “Go back. Let me think. I'll call you in two days.”


ZhouXiang turned to go and CaiWei also wanted to follow him out but President Wang stopped him, “CaiWei, you stay.”


CaiWei softly kneaded ZhouXiang's shoulder, his caring expression made ZhouXiang feel a little better. ZhouXiang forcefully grinned, lowered his head and left.


—–


It would be New Year’s Day in two days but ZhouXiang’s mood was heavy all along.


During these days, he is full of fear and trepidation as he waited for President Wang’s phone call. But the call never came. Moreover, YanMingXiu didn’t come home these days, not even giving him a call. ZhouXiang assumed that he likely went home for the holidays. After the holidays, he still has to attend WangYuDong’s engagement party so he shouldn't be back for a few days. Normally, ZhouXiang would definitely call or send him text messages, but his mind is in chaos at the moment, having no mood to do so. Adding on, he likely won't be able to get in touch with YanMingXiu.


CaiWei called him. His words were very direct and blunt, essentially telling him that as long as Director Wang persists, ZhouXiang would have to take on this role, because even if ZhouXiang don't take this role, WangYuDong is already offended. His future days won't be easy. If ZhouXiang takes on this role, at least there is still that chance he could get popular and his career will rise astronomically from then on. Then WangYuDong can't mess with him. This is actually a gamble, a gamble on whether ZhouXiang has that kind of life (to be popular).


ZhouXiang felt that CaiWei words sounded reasonable. He then asked CaiWei if this is President Wang's idea.


CaiWei hesitated for a long time, only to say no and that it is his own idea.


ZhouXiang did not express his position at the time; he only said that he will think about it. In fact, he particularly hoped that President Wang can give him some direction. He really can't think it through. He hoped that the usually wise, farsighted, and knowledgeable President Wang could make this decision for him. So he had been anxiously waiting for President Wang’s call.


On the second day of the New Year’s, which is also the day of WangYuDong's engagement, he still did not get a call from President Wang. But, he got a call from YanMingXiu phone.


It was already past 2 in the middle of the night at the time. ZhouXiang had already fallen asleep, but was woken up by the call.


When he saw that it was YanMingXiu, he pressed the answer button without thinking. A strange voice sounded from the other line, “Hello, is the owner of this phone your friend?”


The other party added, “Your friend is drunk. This phone number is his most frequent contact. Come pick him up; we still have an hour before we close."


ZhouXiang sighed, "Drunk? Is he alone?”


“Yes, he came alone.”


As ZhouXiang was putting on his pants, he said, “Please text the address to my phone.”


ZhouXiang drove to the bar expeditiously. Only employees remained in the bar mopping the floors and cleaning the glasses, preparing to close down. YanMingXiu was lying on the couch next to him completely drunk.


ZhouXiang squatted beside him and patted his bright red face. YanMingXiu had no reaction at all.


He asked the bartender, “How long has he been drinking?”


“He came at a little past 9pm, didn't say anything but kept drinking.”


This is obviously an indication of using alcohol to drown out his sorrows. He had no idea why YanMingXiu would do that. Isn't tonight his sister and WangYuDong engagement? Why didn't he stay at home?


ZhouXiang paid the bill and got YanMingXiu in his car with the bartender's help.


ZhouXiang lives on the third floor and the old house has no elevator. So by the time he got YanMingXiu into the home, he was already sweating profusely even in winter weather.


After throwing YanMingXiu onto the bed, ZhouXiang sat on the bed and breathe heavily for a long time. YanMingXiu is too heavy.


After taking a break, he got up to remove YanMingXiu’s jacket, pants, shoes and socks until he was only in his underwear. Then he put him under the blanket. He was afraid that YanMingXiu would catch a cold so he turned on the electric blanket.


ZhouXiang went to grab a towel from the bathroom, soaked in hot water and then squeezed out the water to wipe YanMingXiu's face.


YanMingXiu reeked of alcohol. He wiped his face a few times. YanMingXiu turned over, and even slowly opened his eyes, but his expression is very dazed without any focus.


ZhouXiang gently uttered, "MingXiu?”


YanMingXiu opened his mouth, his throat made some strange sounds. ZhouXiang couldn't hear it clearly.


ZhouXiang intended to get up to pour him a glass of water but YanMingXiu grabbed onto him. This time ZhouXiang could hear coarse words coming from YanMingXiu's mouth.


ZhouXiang leaned over, wanting to hear what YanMingXiu said. YanMingXiu grabbed his neck and faintly murmured, “Dong Ge.”


End of the chapter


T/N: Will be posting another chapter very shortly. Have some time and don’t want to leave ya’ll hanging with this ending…. but brace yourself for the next chapter. It is very very 😦