ZhouXiang received a call from President Wang Saturday morning. He was sleeping at the time and quickly got up as soon as he saw the caller ID.
“Hello, President Wang.”
“Xiao Zhou ah, you still haven't gotten up yet?”
“Yeah. Too tired from yesterday.”
"I'm afraid you'll be more tired today. Get up. I arranged an ad for you. Head over there now."
“Huh? Right now?”
“Yes, the big star specifically indicated for you to go. He even called me directly," President Wang’s tone sounded a bit odd.
ZhouXiang rubbed his face, “Who is it?”
ZhouXiang's entire person became instantly alert, “Yan…YanMingXiu?”
President Wang thought that he was too excited, “Yea, it's that YanMingXiu. Although I don’t know what he saw in you but this is a golden opportunity. You are very lucky…getting to shoot an ad with YanMingXiu and also get to expose your face in XiRong's MV. Your future will be much brighter. However, XiRong's MV is still in the planning stage. It will be several more months before shooting starts. This ad is just in front of you. Since luck is on your side, hurry up and head over there."
“This… Wei Ge didn’t tell me.”
“Who knows what CaiWei is thinking in not letting you take on this job. So the call came to me. I'll ask him about it later. Get up and get ready."
ZhouXiang is thinking of how to refuse. He astoundingly voiced, “President Wang, it's not that I don’t want to go, but I have something to do today.”
“What do you have to do?”
“I have… I have another ad that is also coincidentally today.”
“It's no big deal. Have CaiWei to send someone else. Those are minor ads; just randomly sending any handsome guy will do. It doesn't have to be you. But for this one, YanMingXiu specifically chose you, so you must go. Don't say anymore. Hurry up and get ready. Give me your address. I'll send a driver to pick you up."
ZhouXiang knew that it is useless to say anything else. This little favor for YanMingXiu with such minimal cost, of course President Wang willingly obliges. To President Wang, he is merely lending his own staff to YanMingXiu. But for ZhouXiang, he had to endure his heart's torment to be in close proximity to YanMingXiu.
ZhouXiang got up and washed his face, patting his cheeks loudly to try and calm himself down as soon as possible.
ChenYing ran over after hearing the noise and shockingly asked, “Son, what are you doing? Hitting your face so hard it's red.”
ZhouXiang smiled, "Nothing. I have to go to a job. Wouldn't this wake me up even more?"
ChenYing agonizingly said, “Since you started working, you almost never had a weekend off. Though we really need the money, your health is most important. If you get sick again, everything would be meaningless. Don’t just neglect your health to work so tirelessly."
“Mom, you're thinking too much. My work is not tiring. I just do a few moves in front of the camera, how tiring can it be? But you… you have to rest more. Your face looks so pallid lately.”
When ZhouXiang looked at ChenYing, he wondered where the nutrients from the chicken soup went? While he gained some weight, ChenYing also drank it with him, but how can her complexion still look so bad?
ChenYing smiled, "Your mother is almost sixty; I can't still be fair skin like a young girl right? I don’t need to rest at all. It's boring staying home. Come back early today. I'm going to go buy some big prawns this afternoon."
ChenYing was mumbling what's for dinner while wiping the water that ZhouXiang splashed onto the floor. ZhouXiang lowered his head and looked at ChenYing’s frail, bulging spine, feeling pain in his heart.
Don’t think about YanMingXiu… think about the money. Doing this ad with YanMingXiu, the pay must be pretty good. This is what he should be thinking about.
Although he is extremely baffled as to why YanMingXiu would ask him to do this ad.
Half an hour later, the driver that President Wang sent arrived at the downstairs of his apartment.
While sitting in the car, ZhouXiang pondered over why CaiWei didn’t let him take this job. Could it be that he hated YanMingXiu? But with CaiWei doing that, it actually benefited President Wang because now he is able to do a cheap favor for YanMingXiu. As for his feelings and difficulties, it is obvious that a person like President Wang would not consider.
In President Wang’s mind, to be in an ad with YanMingXiu, for a minor unknown person like ZhouXiang, he should really be giving his thanks profusely.
ZhouXiang exposed a sarcastic smile.
It had been more than two months since he had awakened in this body. From the very beginning, it was uncomfortable and awkward. Now he finally has the feeling of being completely integrated with this body.
In the past two months, he had been trembling with fear and trepidation. In fact, he even became a bit of a ‘yes’ man, having no personal opinions, especially when facing people he is familiar with. He was really afraid of saying the wrong things or doing the wrong things, which might cause others to be suspicious. Even though he repeatedly reminded himself that he is no longer that ZhouXiang, he still misspoke a few times regardless of how careful he was. For a completely matured person to subconsciously change and force himself to adapt to a new identity is an extremely hard thing to do. It is beyond imagination, but he had gradually overcame it.
After acknowledging this body, he also fell back into his previous personality bit by bit. He, ZhouXiang, should not be such a coward with a guilty conscience when seeing anyone. No one could accept such outrageously bizarre thing as soul transferring. This will be the secret of his life. But it didn’t mean that he should live in a shadow his entire life. He must get out and bring out his former easy-going and optimistic self to start a new life. He is younger compared to before, with more advantages. He even has a family now. No matter how he looked at this, he is lucky because it could have been worst. The only thing he needed to do is completely abandon his past and get rid of YanMingXiu entirely from his life. This process will be extremely painful, but he will still do it. Otherwise, he won't be considered as having new life… his heart will still be the same as before, imprisoned in his painful past
The first step he should take is to calmly confront YanMingXiu… to face this person he had lived with, whom he had once loved but never loved him in return. He should completely forget this failed relationship and let the two of them become true strangers.
After doing all sorts of thorough mental analysis in the car, ZhouXiang felt a lot better from the anxiety and nervousness he felt since receiving the call.
When he got out of the car, he saw YanMingXiu's assistant. Taking a deep breath, he put on a calm smile, "Greetings, I'm ZhouXiang. We seemed to have seen each other last time. What is Dai Ge's (T/N) name?"
T/N: Dai Ge means older brother or a respectful way of calling someone older.
“My surname is Jiang. We're about the same age so you can call me Xiao Jiang." As YanMingXiu's assistant, Xiao Jiang's position in the entertainment industry should not be underestimated. However, when faced with the only person (ZhouXiang) YanMingXiu had ever been interested in, Xiao Jiang didn't dare to be even a bit pretentious.
“Jiang Ge, you're being modest. I've not shot an ad before so please give me some guidance." ZhouXiang took out the cigarette and handed it to Assistant Jiang, "Jiang Ge, would you like a smoke?"
Assistant Jiang shook his head, “I don’t smoke. Let’s go in. MingXiu is waiting for us.”
ZhouXiang’s heart jumped fiercely. Clenching his fist secretly, he went to the set talking and laughing with Assistant Jiang.
They are to shoot an ad for a branded suit today. The plot is to mimic Men in Black. The general idea is for everyone to wear sunglasses with YanMingXiu leading a group of people wearing black suits walking by.
Although the scene looks silly, but after incorporating computer special effects, they will look like they are traveling back and forth in space with full of mind-blowing powers.
After ZhouXiang arrived at the scene, he realized that he is one of a dozen members wearing a black suit. He led out a sigh of relief. Although assistant Jiang arranged for him to be in the front, with him wearing sunglasses and the same black suit with the others, adding on an abstract background, he will become less conspicuous.
When he entered the studio, YanMingXiu came out of the dressing room after finishing his makeup and styled dress-up. He didn’t need to wear sunglasses, so the corners of his eyes are painted with obvious eye makeup. How to describe the eye makeup? The corners of his eyes are slightly raised, aligning with YanMingXiu's expressionless but beautiful and flawless face, it gives people a very strange and bewitching feeling. When he swept his eyes, it's exceptionally captivating to people, just like the evil spirits who had the power to drive men crazy in ancient literature.
Although ZhouXiang had slept with him for a year, there are times that he would still be stunned by his appearance. Today is no exception. Beauty is an eternal joy. No one could evade this norm. If it wasn’t for YanMingXiu looking like this, ZhouXiang wouldn’t have wanted to approach him in the first place, leading to him falling so deeply.
YanMingXiu also saw him; with eyes like that of a deep natural pond quietly fixated at him for a full three seconds…it is enough to make ZhouXiang break out in cold sweat.
ZhouXiang didn't want to be appear passive, so before YanMingXiu could react, he simply walked toward him with a happy smile, "President Yan, we meet again. I really didn’t expect you to seek me out to shoot an ad with you. I don't know how to thank you. Would you like a cigarette?"
He knew that YanMingXiu is most annoyed with flattery people. It's best that YanMingXiu is so annoyed that he won't want to see him again.
If he could just see YanMingXiu's indescribable unsurpassed beauty once in a while and yet YanMingXiu never knew that there is such a person like him existing in this world, this is the best ending between them.
Sure enough, YanMingXiu is dumbfounded as he raised his brows. Perhaps because ZhouXiang’s initiative and enthusiasm are completely different from the previous two encounters, it made YanMingXiu find him a bit strange. And the way he tried to kiss-up to him is so similar to many other people, how can YanMingXiu feel that this kind of person is even a bit like 'him'? YanMingXiu’s expression had a trace of anger.
He looked ZhouXiang silently and then walked passed him, as if undisturbed by what he had seen.
ZhouXiang's hand was still in mid-air; he didn't feel embarrassed. He calmly retracted his hand, turned and walked into the dressing room.
Changing clothes, applying makeup, getting the props, ZhouXiang prepared for everything like the other ten plus models dressed in black suits.
ZhouXiang gradually calmed down. Regardless of what YanMingXiu's purpose is in requesting that he come, now he (YanMingXiu) didn’t even look at him. He (ZhouXiang) is just happy to shoot the ad, then take the money and leave.
After putting on his suit, he glanced at the mirror and felt that it's very fitting. The time when he was in the hospital, he only thought that this young man's face was not bad. Unfortunately, he was skin to the bones. Now that he’s gained some weight and with his exercises, this figure is becoming more accentuated. Looking at it now, this figure is the same height as his original body and even the body shape is similar.
Perhaps men with the same body height and shape all look about the same right? It's not like a woman's body where the breast cup size is an obvious characteristic.
No matter what, ZhouXiang didn’t want to admit that his back is still similar to WangYuDong's. Even though he couldn’t see his own back silhouette, he also didn’t want to see it.
The scriptwriter came over and told them to assemble. ZhouXiang and the others head toward the studio. The scriptwriter gave instructions on when to walk and how to walk. Then the ten plus people lined up and practiced the walking speed, the frequency, and also how to control their facial expression to remain expressionless.
Halfway into it, many of them laughed because a bunch of people walked around in black suits is really funny.
ZhouXiang was standing at the front center of the line-up; with the exception of YanMingXiu, his is the best position. The entire time, his performance is very much aligned. He was not distinctive nor did he bothered the crews. However, what made him most uncomfortable was that he noticed that YanMingXiu would look at him from time to time. His kind of careful probing expression made him feel very uneasy.
They spent almost the entire morning practicing walking in team formation. When walking, they have to be uniform and consistent. It is a bit of a challenge for this group of young people who have just met.
YanMingXiu is a lot more relaxed; he just practiced a few times and essentially knew what to do so he sat on the side. Sometimes he would stare around blankly, other times he would glance over and look at ZhouXiang.
ZhouXiang remembered that three years ago, YanMingXiu had also sat on the side like he is now, watching him film in front of the camera. That day, they made love in the dimly lit toilet stall. Afterwards, YanMingXiu waited for him from morning till evening. That frenzied passion is forever gone, yet sealed in his mind. Does he really want to still stir up and break through his restraint to reminisce on his feelings from that time?
He must suppress these ridiculous impulses.
After filming for an entire afternoon, the ad finally took shape.
ZhouXiang also consciously observed YanMingXiu while he was filming. YanMingXiu can’t be considered an actor with talent; this having a lot to do with his lack of expressions. But unexpectedly, his fans like him like this. He's definitely the only one who can create a name for himself in the entertainment industry solely by relying on having no expressions.
It had been said that YanMingXiu only smiled when he was a guest star in his brother-in-law's films. Just to see YanMingXiu's smile, the people who went to see the films is probably no less than those who went to see WangYuDong.
ZhouXiang could certainly imagine that YanMingXiu, who normally treated everyone indifferently, will only smile when facing WangYuDong.
After the shooting, ZhouXiang changed his clothes, removed his makeup, intending to go home.
He had just walked out when Assistant Jiang came over, “ZhouXiang.”
ZhouXiang answered, “Jiang Ge, thank you for today. I don’t know anything. I didn't give you any trouble right?"
Assistant Jiang smiled, "You're too modest. You said that you're a newbie, but I could see that you're very familiar with filming. Your performance is the best."
ZhouXiang smiled, "That’s great. Then I will leave first."
“Hey, wait…” Assistant Jiang pulled him to the side. When he was sure that no one else could hear them, he whispered, “ZhouXiang, our MingXiu wants to invite you for a meal. He's waiting for you in the underground garage. Go.”
ZhouXiang said with surprise, “This… why?”
Assistant Jiang glanced at him strangely, “You have to ask yourself this. How would I know?”
ZhouXiang smiled forcefully, "I don’t know either. Are you not mistaken?”
“How is that possible? Hurry up and go. MingXiu doesn’t like to wait on people. Be careful when eating with him. He has a bad temper. When talking, just go along with whatever he says."
“You… you're not going?” ZhouXiang heart sunk.
Assistant Jiang pushed him out, “Why would I go? Hurry and go.”
ZhouXiang sighed heavily and he took the elevator down to the garage. He could immediately see YanMingXiu’s low-profile Lexus.
In his mind, these capital princes will typically flaunt their identities with something that ordinary people can't afford. To say the least, their President Wang’s car is very expensive. While YanMingXiu's food and clothing must be of superior quality, he is not one to be flamboyant. If not for ZhouXiang having lived with him for nearly a year, he would not have known that YanMingXiu's background is so impressive when he initially thought it was only good.
After becoming an star, YanMingXiu seemed to be even more low-profile. It is indeed safe for him to be driving this kind of car. No one will believe that such a prominent star like YanMingXiu would be hidden inside. Only ZhouXiang knew because they have had sex in this car many times.
He walked over, opened the passenger door and sat in, “President Yan.”
YanMingXiu looked at him faintly and asked, “What do you want to eat?”
“Anything is fine.”
YanMingXiu started the car and drove out of the parking lot.
This is the first time that they met alone since ZhouXiang was reborn again and it is in such a narrow space.
ZhouXiang’s heart beat like a drum. He repeatedly asked himself, Why… why is YanMingXiu paying such special attention to him? Could it be that he saw something?
Impossible. He did not reveal any flaws. No one would know, YanMingXiu could not have known.
The only possibility is that…
ZhouXiang remembered that day when he ran into Zhang Jie during the audition. He still remembered what Zhang Jie had said, “Your back looks very much like WangYuDong’s.”
ZhouXiang’s heart sank to the bottom.
End of the chapter