YanMingXiu didn't realize that anyone was peeking at him. He pushed down his cap, locked the doors and went downstairs.
ZhouXiang had been bending over hiding on the stairwell. He was even afraid to breathe too deeply. It wasn't until he saw that YanMingXiu had walked out the building's door through the stairwell did he dare to stand up. His heart continued to beat wildly as he silently looked at the closed security door, feeling all sorts of emotions.
Why would YanMingXiu be here? He shouldn't be living here. Even if he was to disguise himself very well, coming and going from this place every day, he will definitely be discovered by people nearby. No celebrity has ever lived in such a densely populated old neighborhood. This would certainly cause an inconvenience to a celebrity's livelihood.
But on their last phone call before his accident, YanMingXiu had said, “I will stay in your home and wait for you to come back.” ZhouXiang couldn't get his mind off this thought. So he actually clearly remembered every word that YanMingXiu said. In fact, he can even remember the tone that YanMingXiu used when he said these words, as well as the penetration of this sentence in the surrounding quiet air, reaching to the bottom of his heart.
Could it be that he had really been waiting for him to return all this time?
It merely just crossed ZhouXiang mind, then he immediately rejected this thought.
He's already dead. Why would YanMingXiu wait for him? People who over-estimate themselves would always live harder days. YanMingXiu appearing here is very likely because he had to come back to get something. After all, he had lived here for a year. Everywhere in this condo is full of his traces.
Whatever the truth may be, one just needs to open the door and go in to take a look and will know. But ZhouXiang didn’t dare. He was already scared out of his wits seeing YanMingXiu suddenly coming out of the condo.
ZhouXiang decided to check and see if the spare key was still in the fire hydrant box and then plan again.
He snuck down the stairs like a thief. His eyes kept moving, looking at his surroundings as his ears carefully try to distinguish any subtle sounds. After all, he is now considered to be 'someone else'. If he hastily goes in, then he's really a thief.
After he determined that there was no one around, he quickly opened the fire hydrant box and reached his finger into the place where he had hidden the key. With a touch, sure enough, he felt a small piece of metal. He took it out and saw that it was really his spare key!
The only people who knew of the location of this spare key are him and YanMingXiu. But he only mentioned this once to YanMingXiu when he had just moved in. Most likely he (YanMingXiu) had long since forgotten about this. So after his accident, the key had just stayed there, not having been touched.
ZhouXiang was unexpectedly overjoyed. He really wanted to open the door right now and to see what changes there have been with his condo. This unbearable excitement seemed to be rushing out of his body, but he exerted all his energy to suppress this urge.
He put the key back in its original place and planned on waiting till a time that he thinks is safe before coming back. In case there is someone in the condo… in case someone suddenly comes back, this is a risk that he can't take.
ZhouXiang left his former home.
He decided to look into how his things were managed after his death, especially with his assets. There was ¥200,000 in the bank account that was his hard-earned money from his many years of work. He must find a way to get it back. Otherwise, with just his meager salary of ¥3,000 a month, he still had to pay rent and support two adults. Adding on, the debt he incurred while staying in the hospital is still unclear.
After he got home, he saw ChenYing looking at an ad with her reading glasses. ZhouXiang walked over and noticed that it is a job advertisement from a housekeeping agency.
ZhouXiang creased his brows, “Mom, you're almost sixty; you still want to work as a housekeeper?”
ChenYing is still looking at it intently, "It’s not a housekeeper, but a caretaker (T/N). I ran into my former colleague in the supermarket today. Her daughter-in-law just gave birth to a child. Do you know how much a caretaker gets paid a month?”
T/N: the term used is 保姆. It refers to a person that is hired to care for both newborn child and the mother in the month after birth.
ZhouXiang shook his head.
“¥6,000,” ChenYing sighed, "That is really good money. Just working for a month and can earn ¥6,000. I wanted to go get some training to become a caretaker."
“Mom, does this kind of training require money? The employer will give ¥6,000 but the intermediary fees will be withdrawn. At most, you'll get is half in your hands.”
“Half is fine too. It is still better than just sitting here. Earning any little bit helps.”
Looking at ChenYing’s pale face and thinly frail body and thinking that she still have to worry about working for a living at this age, ZhouXiang’s heart burst with waves of sadness.
But he can’t stop her. They are really desperate for money right now. What ChenYing said is right, earning every bit helps. He turned over the ad and felt that it was done too simply and look disreputable, "Mom, this doesn't look reliable. It could be a scam. Wait till I can go with you.”
“How about Monday?”
“I can't ah. I have to work.”
“Those people are only there during work days, what should we do?”
ZhouXiang thought for a moment, “I've just started work. It's inappropriate for me to take time off. Let's wait two weeks. I'll go with you then. You also rest your body a bit. You've been taking care of me all this time, it's tiring enough."
ChenYing furrowed her brows, “That’s also good.”
After ZhouXiang finished eating, he called CaiWei. He has just entered the company. Nobody thinks of him as anything so his salary now is just a meager. He wanted to ask CaiWei to help introduce some private work for him on the weekends. It can be anything as long as he can make some money.
The average person will never mention this request to a person he had just known for a few days, especially if the other party has given him a stable job. But perhaps because ZhouXiang knew CaiWei too well, and subconsciously, he still felt very familiar to him, so he didn't think too much when making this request.
From CaiWei's perspective, for a newcomer who had just entered the company to dare ask him this request, he would have quickly hung up. But he don't know why, he especially wanted to help ZhouXiang.
ZhouXiang told him very genuinely on the phone that his mother had to sell their two condos for his hospital care. They owe a large amount of debt. What he needs most now is to make money.
After CaiWei heard this, his heart felt very heavy. Perhaps, it is because ZhouXiang gave him a sense of familiarity… perhaps it is because ChenYing helped him take care of his father many times… or perhaps it was just because he is also called ZhouXiang, which made him continuously think of his buddy whose body still can't be found. Thinking of this buddy made him feel full of guilt. He wanted to make himself feel a bit better by helping this ZhouXiang.
In short, CaiWei immediately agreed. He has many printed and media ads all year round. The decision to use any new person is up to him. He had heard from ChenYing that ZhouXiang had wanted to become a star before his accident. Now is just the time to pull him in. It's not that ZhouXiang don't have the potential to become popular.
CaiWei arranged an audition for him on Sunday. It is a printed magazine ad for men’s skincare and is a job that CaiWei placed him in at the last minute.
ZhouXiang is very happy. This kind of face-only advertisement he had never thought about doing before. But this young ZhouXiang has a handsome face. Although he had no distinguishing features, it is enough to shoot this kind of low-cost advertisement.
ZhouXiang went out early the next morning and got to the audition site half an hour early. He went into the place and looked, it was a home modified to be a photo studio. The area is small and looked quite unprofessional.
The other two young boys who came together to audition looked disappointed. ZhouXiang can understand their mentality. The newbies who had just entered this industry always had unrealistic fantasies about their career prospects, and then become disappointed when faced with the reality gap in front of them.
This kind of low-cost magazine print advertisement will give the brokerage company a maximum of ¥6,000 to ¥7,000. The model could probably get the remaining ¥2,000 left. But even if it wasn't for the money, some people will fight for the chance to get their faced exposed. Even if it was just to take a few photos in a sleazy studio for a magazine that is not popular, there is competition.
Reality is so cruel.
These two boys obviously looked down at such a shabby workplace. So when they were auditioning, it is inevitable that they would reveal their discontent, making the staff displeased. On the contrary, ZhouXiang is much more calm and at ease. His spoken words were polite and he looked sincere and responsible. So even though he is a little older and his appearance is not as good as the other two, he got the job effortlessly.
ZhouXiang spent the entire day in this small studio. For three photos on the magazine, he smiled for hours, smiled so much that his cheeks hurt from having to constantly repeat the same movements over and over again to be in alignment with the ad's requirements. All in all, he took more than 400 photos.
After the job ended, ZhouXiang dragged his tired body back home.
After dinner, CaiWei called him and asked him about the progress of his work today. ZhouXiang briefed him and CaiWei was elated saying that he'll give ZhouXiang 50% of the pay. After doing more jobs in the future, he will find a way to increase his price.
ZhouXiang is infinitely grateful to CaiWei. Their company has rigid rules. On the basis of this rule, CaiWei can decide on what percentage of pay to give a model. Generally, for a newcomer to get 30% is already not bad. The management company gets an agency fee. But CaiWei gave him half of it so he's definitely being especially caring towards him.
CaiWei had always been like that. When he went to take on stuntman work previously, CaiWei would give him a bigger share, usually 20-30%. Without CaiWei, ZhouXiang didn't know how many jobs he would have had to work in order to have a stable income after graduating from sports university. It was CaiWei who gave him a way to make a living and not have to worry about his livelihood. And now that he has died and lived once again, it is still CaiWei who is helping him.
This advertising job alone gave him a month’s of his salary. If he can continue to get these private jobs, his life with ChenYing will improve a lot.
He decided that after he got the money, he would first buy a TV so that ChenYing won’t be too bored at home.
End of the Chapter