The reporters turned their heads one by one. When they saw YanMingXiu coming over with his bodyguards, no one dared to go up to stop them. Instead, they voluntarily gave him way.
YanMingXiu is the most unusual person in the circle. Not only is he an actor, but he also represents one of the most powerfully prestigious family in the capital city so no one dares to provoke him. Although he conducts himself in a coldly indifferent and arrogant manner, no media would say anything negative about him. Seeing him looking so unsightly coming over at this time, naturally nobody would dare block him.
YanMingXiu looked directly at ZhouXiang. Approaching him calmly, then gently grabbed his arm and said softly, "Let's go.”
Although his voice was very low, it is completely quiet all around so the two words he said were clearly heard by everyone.
Regarding this newcomer ZhouXiang, his gossip and exposure has recently been increasing exponentially. Oftentimes, it is associated with big-name stars such as LanXiRong, WangYuDong, and YanMingXiu. Even though nobody dared to say it publicly, it doesn't mean that they won't gossip behind closed doors. At least the news of ZhouXiang being "bought" by YanMingXiu had already entered many people's ears ever since the crew returned from GuiZhou. With the two making actual contact in public at this time, the reporters naturally would not let go of this good opportunity. All eyes stared at them like searchlights waiting for YanMingXiu to turn around so they could fervently snap a bunch of pictures.
ZhouXiang maintained his composure and smiled, “President Yan, you first please.” After saying that, he lightly pulled YanMingXiu's hand that was on him away and made an inviting gesture.
The muscles on YanMingXiu’s face slowly moved. He faintly glanced at the reporter who was standing in front of them, obviously giving a warning, his slightly raised eyebrows made his expression all the more forceful.
The reporters who had stopped LanXiRong also dispersed. ZhouXiang nodded politely at the reporters and maneuvered onto the stage.
YanMingXiu followed up from behind and gently supported his hand on his back. His movements are not deliberate. It merely looked as though he and ZhouXiang have always been close.
This made LanXiRong frown slightly.
The few people stood on the stage. The host first excitedly thanked President Wang and YanMingXiu for coming and then had LanXiRong take the lead. Each took their turns to present their release speeches.
When it was ZhouXiang’s turn, there were more than a hundred pairs of eyes looking at him. For a moment, ZhouXiang became stiff. When he was standing on the stage earlier, he didn't feel nervous but now with so many people watching him, so many flashes shining on him, he immediately felt the numbness in his scalp and the sweat in his palm.
He really couldn’t imagine how LanXiRong could have a concert at the stadium with so many people. He was only nervous for two to three seconds before he was able to calm down and present the speech he prepared. His speech is especially appropriate and fitting, thanking everyone that should be thanked.
Following is the questioning session. Most of the questions were concentrated on LanXiRong. Basically none had anything to do with ZhouXiang. Finally, there is the cake-cutting and fan raffles types of activities. This entire event took nearly three hours.
President Wang booked a dinner banquet at the hotel. After the event, all the participants went to eat.
ZhouXiang was arranged to sit on the main table. LanXiRong and YanMingXiu were also on the same table, but they were situated on both sides of President Wang, far from him.
During the meal, someone would constantly come to the main table to give them a toast. The people at the main table also toasted each other. ZhouXiang, being the lowliest person on the main table toasted each person on the table. When he got to YanMingXiu, YanMingXiu stood up.
This really gave ZhouXiang face. Before when everyone toasted, YanMingXiu never once got up.
President Wang pursed his lips and smiled, “ZhouXiang. Did the filming in GuiZhou with President Yan go smoothly?"
ZhouXiang nodded, "Didn't make President Wang lose face.”
President Wang laughed, “When this movie is released, your worth is going to be extraordinary. You should thank MingXiu at that time. If it weren’t for him, you would not have gotten the chance to act in that role.”
ZhouXiang smiled, “Thank you President Yan, thank you President Wang. I'll toast to the both of you again.”
He picked up the glass and poured a little for President Wang and YanMingXiu but poured himself a full glass, then raised his glass, “Bottoms up, you both go right ahead.”
Just when he was about to drink, YanMingXiu grabbed his hand.
ZhouXiang is startled. Everyone on the table looked at them.
YanMingXiu’s hands are dry and warm. The skin on his palm is delicate and soft like a girl’s hand, this is a pair of pampered hands. ZhouXiang’s smile froze on his face. He didn't know what YanMingXiu wanted to do.
YanMingXiu's deep, dark eyes silently stared at him for a long while. He then poured most of the wine from ZhouXiang's glass into his and downed it.
The rest of the people on the table are silent.
YanMingXiu’s actions are too unusual, adding on these rumors, everyone looked at ZhouXiang a bit evasively.
The atmosphere became a bit awkward.
President Wang swirled his glass of wine and observed the two people standing, revealing a perceptive smile.
ZhouXiang smiled, “President Yan, I'm overwhelmingly flattered. In fact, my stomach is already fine. I can drink. If I can't, I won't dare to toast you.”
Although everyone could hear that it's an excuse, this was a way out of the awkward situation. ZhouXiang clashed his glass with President Wang's glass and finished the wine in his glass.
President Wang smiled, “A thing like stomach disease needs to have life-long preventive measures. Just because it doesn't hurt today doesn't mean that you can just casually let your guard down. Remember that Xiao Zhou.”
"Thanks to President Wang for your concern."
ZhouXiang had just put down his glass when CaiWei immediately stood up and toasted the entire table, bringing an end to this unusual little episode.
After the meal, everyone gradually left. ZhouXiang was planning on leaving with CaiWei or LanXiRong but President Wang called him over.
“Xiao Zhou, go with me.”
ZhouXiang responded, “President Wang, I don't want to bother you. It's along the way for many colleagues here; I can just hitch a ride with them."
“Hey, hitch what ride? Let's go…let's go.”
LanXiRong was about to say something but bit his tongue. He could only watch ZhouXiang leave with President Wang.
President Wang drank a bit too much. After getting out the door, he grabbed ZhouXiang and spoke to him about the plans for his promising future. ZhouXiang is very familiar with this kind of talk from President Wang. President Wang's mouth is quite awesome. If he wanted to paint a pie (overall interest) for someone, he'll surely make the painting of the pie round and full, making people yearn for it. ZhouXiang had been his employee for a long time so he knew how much truth there are in his words. He merely listened with a smile but didn't put it to heart.
Finally, ZhouXiang supported President Wang to the hotel's entrance. There was several luxury cars parked outside. At this time, the reporters were basically gone so these big and minor stars dared to leave from the main entrance. He could see that that LanXiRong had already gotten into a car and the driver quickly drove away.
President Wang clutched ZhouXiang’s arm tightly and half-drunkenly spoke while smiling, “ZhouXiang, I see that you're not too old, your temperament is still quite stable, I am very optimistic for you, let Wang Ge tells you some truths, so listen.”
"In this circle, there are many beautiful men and women coming and going. Why is it that someone can be popular and others can not? It's because those who can't be popular either didn't seize the opportunities or even have the chance to meet such opportunities. You… you are very lucky."
President Wang pointed at his nose, "ZhouXiang, you need to be smarter. With an opportunity in front of you and if you let it go, then you're an idiot… a fool."
ZhouXiang turned his head, wondering what President Wang is referring to.
He soon found out because President Wang clutched him down the steps, took the initiative to open a Bentley door and shoved him in, “Well, I've said so much. President Yan will take you back.”
At a glance, surely YanMingXiu is sitting on the other side looking at him quietly.
ZhouXiang is stunned. He wanted to stand up but when he did, his shoulders reached President Wang's thick hands, preventing him. His body is in a posture that couldn't go up or down, just frozen in place.
President Wang smiled at him.
ZhouXiang's forehead sweated cold bullets. He reluctantly smiled and sat down.
President Wang patted him on the shoulder and helped him close the door.
The driver drove away.
ZhouXiang sat on the left side with YanMingXiu sitting on the right side. The distance between the two was only a seat, but it seemed to be an insurmountable obstacle. No one made a move.
ZhouXiang turned his head slightly, “President Yan, my home on the east side, you're heading toward the west of Fourth Ring Road.”
He was telling this to YanMingXiu and also to the driver. But the driver is like a piece of wood. He didn’t even move his head and continued to drive in the opposite direction.
YanMingXiu softly said, “We're going to my place.”
ZhouXiang tried to suppress his anger, “I'm not going, find a place to drop me off.”
YanMingXiu turned to look at him, “ZhouXiang, I want to find a place to have a good talk with you.”
“We can talk anywhere, why does it have to be your home?”
"If you don’t want to go to my home, I could go with you to your home. I also wanted to see your mother."
ZhouXiang narrowed his eyes, “YanMingXiu, what is it that you really want?”
YanMingXiu bitterly smiled a bit, “What I want… you really don't understand?”
ZhouXiang opened his mouth but stopped talking. There was another person in the car. It's not that he cared to give face to YanMingXiu but this is merely a relationship between two men. He was too embarrassed to speak about it in front of others, let alone, his story is utterly unworthy to be mentioned.
The both of them stopped talking. After more than 20 minutes, they arrived at the place where YanMingXiu lived.
ZhouXiang had been to this place a few times, even spending the night here. So to actually come as "another person,” one can really have nothing to fear. A body that doesn't truly belong to him is like the safest umbrella, allowing him to hide within and do whatever he thinks is not honorable. Right now, he really didn't want to go in.
But he still went in. If he didn't go in today, he'd still be forced to go in sooner or later. Each and every word from President Wang has been imprinted in his mind. This is fucking reality.
He thought… he must have a good talk with YanMingXiu and clearly say whatever it is that he wanted to say.
After YanMingXiu got into the house, he poured a cup of water for the both of them. Then sat on the sofa and sighed exhaustedly, “ZhouXiang, you asked me what I want. I only want a chance, a chance for you to accept me again. You can’t possibly not give me chance to atone for my mistakes and sentenced me to death. I absolutely can't accept it."
ZhouXiang shook his head, “YanMingXiu, if someone treated you as someone else's substitute for a year, being such a proud and arrogant person like yourself, would you have forgiven him? Although I am not as ambitious nor do I have such a superiorly noble life like you, what you did to me was far more than that.”
YanMingXiu's hand that was holding the cup trembled.
"In that year, I tried my hardest to please you. I asked you whether or not I could date you. You can't possibly not understand the meaning of that. I seriously want to be with you. If you were only treating me as fuckbuddy, you should have clearly said so from the beginning. I'm not an idiot to still be pestering you, not letting you go. You were leading me on while at the same time trying to get the feeling of being with WangYuDong from me. Am I right?"
YanMingXiu's expression paled. He could not refute any of ZhouXiang's words.
“Maybe you like me very much. Otherwise, I'm not all that good looking, you could have anyone you wanted. You didn't have to live with me in that small shabby condo for a year. What did you like about me? You liked that I treated you well, liked that I do everything for you and took very good care of you. Mostly, you liked that I have a back that is very much like WangYuDong. So in that year, every time you fucked me, you liked to use the back position. And I fucking thought that it was just your obsession. If the person you fucked was really WangYuDong, you'll definitely want to take a few more glances at his beautiful face, right?" Toward the end of these words, ZhouXiang's voice trembled. He had been suppressing these words for a long time. From the time he broke up with YanMingXiu, he had wanted to say it. But unfortunately, he didn't have the chance. If it wasn’t for YanMingXiu forcing him, he still wouldn't have said it because he needed to preserve his dignity. He also knew that he is shameful. He also didn't want to say in front of this person who had humiliated him and tell him how pathetic he was.
YanMingXiu's voice is hoarse, “It's not, not like that! ZhouXiang. From when I was 16 years old, I thought that the person I liked was WangYuDong. Up until I met you, after I met you, everything changed. But when I finally realized who was really in my heart, you have already… before I could tell you this, you were no longer here. ZhouXiang. I never thought of humiliating you. The year we were together was my most precious experience, irreplaceable by anyone. I just… I just didn’t realize it at the time that I had…..” YanMingXiu looked at ZhouXiang with bloodshot eyes, not knowing how to express to ZhouXiang how much he loves him.
His mistakes had hurt ZhouXiang to such an extreme that is impossible to erase. No matter what he says, he can't change this fact.
ZhouXiang smiled bitterly, “You can’t even refute that yourself, right? Do you think I'm stupid? After my accident, you felt guilty, remorseful. But what is the use? What if I didn't wake up in this body? I wouldn't have known even when I died that you actually still have some feelings for me." ZhouXiang pressed his hand over his heart, feeling that it is bleeding. "YanMingXiu, I'm still alive now, so you can save your guilt. There are many roads under the vast skies; we can each go our separate ways. You don't have to force me anymore. I've already let go of you. Isn't this good? God has given me this new life, please let me start over and live it well.”
YanMingXiu responed hoarsely, “ZhouXiang, why don’t you believe my feelings for you? You obviously loved me before. Could it be that there is not a trace of feelings left? Everything that you had hoped to get from me, I could give it to you now. You just have to nod your head; I'll do anything for you. For this, you really can't forgive me?”
ZhouXiang is silent for a long time before responding, “I can’t do it. When I see my corpse, I can't do it.”
YanMingXiu seemed to hear the sounds of his heart shattering. He slowly gripped his hair, his mind buzzing with a voice that kept reminding him that ZhouXiang refused to forgive him, over and over again, cruelly and clearly.
ZhouXiang stood up. He forced himself to not to look at YanMingXiu and turned to the door.
He can’t listen anymore, can't see anymore. This person's heart (young ZhouXiang's heart) has been infected by his (YanMingXiu) lonely soul. His heart actually endlessly pitied YanMingXiu. This should not be. It's not right. His heart should have died with his body.
“ZhouXiang, don’t leave," YanMingXiu’s hollowed voice came from behind.
ZhouXiang’s hand was already gripping the door handle.
YanMingXiu's lowly-hoarse voice sounded quietly, "ZhouXiang, have you forgotten, we still have half a year left to our deal."
ZhouXiang is shocked. He slowly turned around.
YanMingXiu stood up, with his eyes inflamed with his expression a bit distorted. He walked step by step to ZhouXiang.
ZhouXiang dropped his hand that was on the door handle. His entire body felt cold all over, wanting to smile but can't, “President Yan, how could I forget?” How could he have forgotten this? He actually forgot that he took ¥2 million and a condo from YanMingXiu and sold himself to him for a year.
Such a valuable deal, he might not even have gotten in his entire lifetime, but he actually forgot, or it could be said, he simply dared not think about it.
YanMingXiu came close and touched his face gently. His eyes full of emotions, softly whispering, “Do you remember it now?”
“Remembered." ZhouXiang looked at him quietly, his expression cold, “Till May of next year.”
YanMingXiu leaned close and gently pecked Zhou Xiang's lips. His voice hoarse, "ZhouXiang. I don't want to do this, but I can't just watch you walk away from me."
ZhouXiang coldly said, “I need the money. I don’t want the condo.”
“That won't do. The condo had already been transferred; you can’t back out (of the deal).”
ZhouXiang lightly trembled.
“Half a year, in this half years' time, following our deal, stay with me.” YanMingXiu stroked ZhouXiang’s smooth face with his fingertips, his other hand wrapped around ZhouXiang’s waist, hugging him tightly.
ZhouXiang took a deep breath. The heater in the room is turned on sufficiently but his entire body felt chillingly cold.
“Say something, ZhouXiang.” YanMingXiu kissed and sucked ZhouXiang’s neck, leaving his marks on his skin.
ZhouXiang softly uttered, “I've nothing to say. President Yan. The skill of exerting your influence, you win.”
YanMingXiu's arm suddenly tightened, hugging ZhouXiang so tightly that he was almost breathless.
“ZhouXiang, I don’t want to do this. I'll be good to you. Be with me. My only own wish is that you stay by my side. Don’t hate me. Don’t resent me. ZhouXiang…” YanMingXiu is like a child, leaning his entire body weight on ZhouXiang, using all his strength to hold him for fear that he would disappear.
ZhouXiang's depressing sunken eyes looked outside the windows at the dark night sky, not knowing what to say.
Going around and around, stumbling and bumping, in fact he had never been in control of himself.
This is ridiculous. The more he wanted something, the more reality opposes it. When he wanted it, he can’t get it. When he wanted to escape from it, he can't avoid it.
No matter at what time, he can't get his way.
Even though he lost his parents in his childhood, he didn't feel that his life was bad. But now he has this terrifying feeling that his fate had already been laid out, and it's a complete farce.
End of the Chapter