In that instant, all sorts of feelings welled up in ZhouXiang's heart.
He wanted to laugh, to cry, to flip the table and kick the wall.
WangYuDong… it is WangYuDong again! Stuntman… stuntman again!
He really has no doubt that he has been cursed. Even with a completely new life, he still can’t get rid of being WangYuDong's shadow. It's likely that this curse is branded on his soul, having nothing to do with his physical body.
He hated WangYuDong, hated being WangYuDong's substitute, whether it is in films or outside.
At that moment, he only had the feeling of being played by God. It seemed that something invisible is dragging him forward, making it impossible for him to escape. He felt that he is surrounded by heavy barriers and can't breathe.
He took a deep breath and forcefully revealed a smile, "Of course I know who he is. Zhang Jie, thank you very much.”
Zhang Jie also smiled, “It's nothing. This is a win-win situation.” In her opinion, ZhouXiang will certainly agree. Not to mentioned that he would be greatly compensated for being a stuntman of a superstar like WangYuDong. Even if there is no monetary compensation, many people would desperately vie for such opportunity. Even if they don't get to reveal their faces in the film, but to be able to be a part of the WangYuDong's filming crew and get to know a few people or even casually get a few pointers for promotion is a great opportunity for anyone's future development. This is a golden opportunity. ZhouXiang is a merely a handyman, how could he refuse?
However, she didn't expect ZhouXiang to politely say, “Zhang Jie, this is indeed a very good opportunity, but I have to discuss it with Wei Ge.”
“Wei Ge? CaiWei?”
“Yeah, I’m an employee from JuXing and work for him. Wei Ge won't allow me to casually accept any jobs; I have to get his consent.”
Zhang Jie burst into laughter, "You… young man is really……” She wanted to say naive, but in the end, she didn't say it. She smiled and said, "Xiao… what is your surname?”
“Well, Xiao Zhou, let Zhang Jie tell you a few real words. Just listen but don’t say it out, okay?”
ZhouXiang could guess what she wanted to say. This woman may be a few years older than him, but the way she handle matters is not as good as himself, so he nodded quietly.
Zhang Jie smiled, "CaiWei is a good person and also takes great care of his subordinates. But with this matter, you really don't need to discuss it with him. Think about it yourself. You become WangYuDong's stuntman. You don't even have to show your face on the film. It's just a few shots from your back. And if you prefer, your name won't even appear on the credits. And you can still get a lot of money. Who would know that it's you? I know that each company's rules are different. Most won't allow for employees to take on private jobs. They have to follow the company's policies. It's so troublesome. You just have to come over quickly and don't tell others. CaiWei would never know. And if you have to go through the company, at most, the most money that will be in your hands is 30%. Are you willing? Zhang Jie don't think that it's worthwhile for you to do that."
Zhang Jie has her own considerations. If ZhouXiang really wanted to go through his management company, there is indeed no loses to her. But according to industry rules, since she was the one that introduced ZhouXiang to such a big job, besides have to pay a commission to his brokerage company, he must still have to give her a portion. So the money that ZhouXiang actually gets in his hands is very less. She is also worried that ZhouXiang is not willing to the job because it is so little money. If ZhouXiang was to accept this job privately, her introduction fee is definitely more.
ZhouXiang understood her sentiments clearly. But he would never agree to it.
First of all, to not inform CaiWei before accepting any job is just being greedy for momentary petty gains. It's a stupid thing to do. Only new people will such things for immediate benefit. This surname Zhang is really selfish to be sabotaging new people for monetary gains. The entertainment industry is so small. CaiWei's prominence is so widespread that the possibility of taking on a private job without being discovered is almost zero. If he did this, CaiWei will be utterly disappointed in him. It is like him taking the initiative to pave his alternative future path. Most importantly, he definitely didn't want to be WangYuDong's stuntman again. He doesn't even want to see WangYuDong again. When he thought of WangYuDong revealing that familiar hypocritical smile, he just wanted to throw his fist.
ZhouXiang smiled, “Zhang Jie, what you say is very reasonable. But Wei Ge is very caring of me. If I don't tell him, I definitely won't feel at ease. I still want to discuss it with him. I think he will agree. Let's do this. Why don't we exchange our phone numbers? I'll give you a call back. Is that okay with you?"
Zhang Jie’s expression didn't look good, but she tried to suppress from expressing it, "That's also fine. Give me a call after you discuss it. But you really should think over what I said, okay?”
Zhang Jie dialed ZhouXiang’s cell phone with her phone and then left heavy-heartedly.
ZhouXiang dragged his exhaustive body home. He didn't have time at all to relax today, working tirelessly the entire day.
As soon as he entered the home, he heard someone's sobbing noise. He was stunned. Taking a closer look, shocked, he saw ChenYing lying on the sofa bursting in convulsive sobs.
“Mom? What happened?” ZhouXiang quickly walked over, feeling extremely worried.
ChenYing saw that he had returned. She quickly wiped away her tears, "You're back, I forgot to cook…”
“Mom, it's fine. I'm not hungry, why are you crying? What happened?”
ChenYing kept her head down for a long time and didn’t say anything. After ZhouXiang repeatedly asked, she cried and told him that she went to the agency yesterday to apply for the caretaker training. But it was a sham after all. She gave a deposit of ¥300, but now those people are nowhere to be found.
Although it wasn't a lot of money, they are now living in poverty and ChenYing is really dejected.
This woman had already experienced so much misfortune in her life that any small thing can deeply affect her.
ZhouXiang felt such unbearable pain. He couldn’t blame ChenYing for not waiting for him to go with her. He comes home looking extremely exhausted everyday so ChenYing likely guessed that he couldn’t find the time to go with her, but she didn't actually expect it to be a sham.
Money… not having money is really depressing.
It's not that ZhouXiang can't bear the suffering. He lost his parents when he was in elementary school and had been alone for so many years. But ever since he was young, he never had to worry over money. His parents left him with the condo and their bank savings. Adding on, there was the compensation given by the responsible party for the accident as well as the support for the cost of upbringing and monetary support given by his parents' families and relatives. Even though most of that has been depleted as he grew older, but by then, he had already started working and earning a living so he had never been burdened by debts. Thus, he had never felt such anxiety and desperation over money.
This is like a big rock, pressed against his shoulders, and he couldn’t breathe.
ChenYing whimpered, “I thought that since you had woken up, the nightmare would be over, but… so much money, when can we pay it off?”
ZhouXiang held this frail woman in his arms and comforted her. Although he feels physically and mentally exhausted, he can’t leave this mother alone. It would be too wrong for him to do that. He can't do it. No matter how difficult it is, he is a man, a son, and is ChenYing’s only hope, he must clench his teeth and endure it (the hardship).
ZhouXiang remembered his own bankbook. As long as he can get a hold of his bankbook, he has his password and could take the money out. But he is already 'dead.' What can he do if the bank account has already been cancelled? He didn't know how his possessions were managed after his death. There are no relatives in his family and had no contact with any distant relatives, who could help him deal with all these things?
He knew that it was impossible for him to get the condo back. But the money, his bank savings, he must find a way to get it back. As long as he got the ¥300,000 plus, the remaining ¥10,000 plus can be repaid within two to three years if he lives frugally.
That is his greatest hope.
The next day, he left work an hour earlier and went to the local police station in his district to check on his death certificate. He took a prop from his company – a fake reporter's ID card and cropped his own picture onto the card. He informed the civil police officer that he was here to follow up on the story of the documentary film crew that encountered an accident in heavy rain and mudslide in the mountains two years ago.
He deliberately chose to go to the station five minutes before it closes. The only employee left at the police station is a very young female police officer. It's likely that she had just started the job and didn't know that this is not in line with the regulations. But everyone was basically gone so she couldn't find anyone to ask. She was a bit nervous. ZhouXiang patiently coaxed her, saying a lot of good words. ZhouXiang is a bit handsome and could sweet-talk, so with the fake reporters ID card, the female police officer agreed to let him check.
He checked for a long time but still couldn't find his own death certificate. He searched using his name, home address, and even his ID number and he still found nothing.
Does he not have a death certificate? ZhouXiang’s heart ignited a glimmer of hope.
He then went to the Internet cafe and checked. If he disappeared from an accident, it would take two years for him to have been missing before a death certificate could be issued. It has just been two years since the date of his accident, so now it can be issued. The point is who will initiate the issuance of his death certificate? There is no one that would come here to do that for him. Unless his relatives was informed and wanted to take his property, but they haven't had any contact for so many years. They might not even have known about his passing.
If there is no death certificate, doesn't that mean that his assets have not been divided and his bank account not cancelled? He can get it as long as he goes home? ZhouXiang feels his heart thumping. When he thought of his bankbook that could possibly still be in his home, he got extremely excited. His eyes seemingly brighten with this new prospect.
When he returned home, he deliberately bought some fruits. The life of going to the supermarket and just casually throwing anything that he wanted into the shopping cart is gone forever but ZhouXiang is still full of hope for life.
He did not tell CaiWei what Zhang Jei had said to him. He didn’t plan on doing it anyway.
When he got to the company the next morning, CaiWei called him into the office.
CaiWei asked him when the game magazine will be filmed; ZhouXiang told him on the 16th.
CaiWei patted his thighs, “That’s perfect. Go to the filming studio city the day after tomorrow, I got a small role for you in a republic era drama. It'll just take you two days to shoot this, so do this first."
ZhouXiang's eyes radiated. He didn’t expect to have a chance to participate in a TV series so soon. CaiWei basically gave him all the jobs that he could get. He really didn’t know how to thank CaiWei.
CaiWei smiled, “Stop it, don’t thank me again. I am not doing it for you. I just want your mom to live a little better. And also, I feel that you and my buddy have a predestined connection. When I see you, I always think of him.”
ZhouXiang can understand CaiWei's mindset in wanting to make it up to him. But he really didn't want CaiWei to feel guilty because of him. His accident is definitely not CaiWei's fault.
He endured and endured, finally he couldn't help himself from voicing, "Wei Ge that was not your fault, why do you blame yourself?”
CaiWei raised his eyebrow, "How do you know about that?”
“I… I've heard a bit and you've mentioned it so I went online to look and somewhat guessed it.”
CaiWei heaved a sigh, “You don’t understand…” He waved his hand, “Get on with your work.”
ZhouXiang looked at CaiWei's somber expression, his heart feeling endless excruciating pain.
On the 12th, he went to the filming studio city on the outskirts of Beijing to report to work. This movie studio was opened in the past two years. Now many ancient dramas are shot here. There could be at two to three crews working simultaneously. Of course, there are also journalists and fans.
ZhouXiang found the person in charge of the crew but he was extremely busy. He merely gave a quick assessment looking him up and down and exaggeratedly snapped his finger, "Yes, qualified. Go change clothes and have makeup done first. Then just wait. Your scene is not for a while. If you're bored just go stroll around but don’t go too far."
The person in charge spitted words quickly like a machine gun. Before ZhouXiang could even react, he was already gone.”
ZhouXiang smiled helplessly and took the initiative to head toward the dressing room. He hasn’t seen such a chaotic crew for a long time. The entire studio set was chaotically busy. There is no order at all. If he was the one managing, he would definitely not do it like this. He couldn't even find anyone to let him know what his role was or what he should be wearing.
After wasting more than an hour, he changed into the costume and got his make-up done. At this time, it was already time for lunch. After ZhouXiang finished eating, he realized that it was still very early for his scene and decided to go look around. It's the first time he came to this filming studio city, the area is definitely not small.
He strolled to another studio set where they were filming an ancient movie. Standing in front of a replica of the ancient looking building, he carefully observed the meticulous carvings on the eaves and was amazed at how well the studio was built.
He was so fixated that he didn't even realize that there was a suddenly rush of footsteps behind him. Before he could react, his shoulders were violently gripped by someone, forcing him to turn his body around.
He widened his eyes and sees YanMingXiu's face unexpectedly appearing in front of him.
Time seems to blur at once; the space between the two completely distorted. Three years ago, the boy who hugged him from behind coincided with the face of the man who is half a head taller than him now. His facial features didn't change, still so beautiful that people can’t look away. But the youthful naivety and arrogance has already faded from this person in front of him. Instead, it has changed into an expression that is chilling cold.
Moreover, the distance between them has changed from their formerly intimate copulation to a distance between life and death.
YanMingXiu’s lips trembled as he gripped onto ZhouXiang’s shoulders, unconsciously tightening.
Not him. It's really not him.
Obviously he knew that it was impossible. But when he saw that similar back silhouette, he still held onto that glimmer of hope, hoping that he would be able to see a miracle.
YanMingXiu's expression is pale, almost without a trace of blood.
ZhouXiang’s body also trembled. YanMingXiu was gripping his shoulder so hard that it hurt, but he didn’t say anything. He needed this pain to remind him to stay calm.
His legs went soft. When he faced YanMingXiu again, he can’t be as calm as he imagined. He wanted to run, to get as far away from him as possible. Otherwise, he would become someone that is not himself.
He forcefully opened his mouth, “You…..what are you doing?”
As if lighting has struck, YanMingXiu immediately took back his hand and looked at him coldly.
It's not him, just a stranger. But, he has met this 'stranger' once. He usually doesn't remember unrelated people, but he clearly remembered the first time he saw this person. The throbbing in his heart is like the raging waves rising in the stormy seas. Twice in a row, this person had made him lose control. Who exactly is he?
YanMingXiu’s assistant stared at him blankly on the side, for one who never acknowledges others, why is he so interested in this person (ZhouXiang)? This is the second time.
The assistant asked softly, “MingXiu? Do you know him?”
YanMingXiu didn’t move at all, his eyes still stared at ZhouXiang as he coldly uttered, “Don’t know.” He wanted to turn around and leave, but he couldn’t move. This person gave him an indescribable feeling. He didn’t know what is happening to him.
ZhouXiang secretly pinched himself. The pain made him wake up. He said calmly, “Mr. Yan, I know who you are, but you definitely don’t know me. Maybe I ask what business do you want with me?”
YanMingXiu didn’t saying anything. He looked at him from top to bottom, once again confirming that the person in front of him is not one he would give a second glance and should not have such impact on him.
Just as he turned his body around, wanting to go, a voice sounded from afar, “ZhouXiang, it's your turn, come over and get ready!”
YanMingXiu’s body stopped again. He stared at ZhouXiang with widened eyes, "What is your name?”
ZhouXiang clenched his fist, his forehead protruding cold sweat, "My name is ZhouXiang.”
End of the chapter