The shouts in his ears were so excited that they merged into noise; there were arms tightened around his chest, robbing him of oxygen.
Ji Sheng nearly suffocated.
Sheng Kongzhi grabbed Ji Sheng by the shoulders and shook him, his face filled with surprise and his expression so out of control that it was a bit like a grimace.
Ji Sheng stared blankly at this distorted face. The desire to vomit that he had suppressed suddenly returned but before he could react, Sheng Kongzhi’s shoulder was yanked hard and his white face flew away like a kite.
Xie Xuanming violently pulled Sheng Kongzhi away and punched hard in the face.
His jaw swelled up visibly to the naked eye; Sheng Kongzhi cried out in pain, reflexively raising his hands in defence, while Xie Xuanming punched him again, hitting him in the stomach and sending him staggering backwards, making him gag a few times and fall to the ground, holding his belly.
A bathroom, a washbasin, a man on the floor.
The scene repeated itself, and Ji Sheng was so confused for a moment that he might have laughed out loud if it hadn’t been for the wave of nausea that washed over him.
Xie Xuanming took two steps forward, blocking Ji Sheng behind him, and looked down at Sheng Kongzhi grimly: “Don’t go crazy.”
Sheng Kongzhi spat out a mouthful of bloody saliva, wondering whether it was a tooth knocked out or he had bitten his tongue.
When he looked up, he was no longer his usual gentle self, roaring uncontrollably, “Xie Xuanming, you are not qualified to say that!”
Xie Xuanming’s face was grim and silent.
“You knew he was Ji Sheng and deliberately hid him from me to get back at me!” Sheng Kongzhi’s eye twitched as he lost his composure and yelled, “Xie Xuanming, I always thought you were just crazy, but I never thought you were so despicable!”
Sheng Kongzhi looked frantic, but his angry questioning was like a spark crashing into an iceberg, not even causing a tiny pit in the frozen surface.
Xie Xuanming looked at him coldly and sneered, “In what capacity are you questioning me? As Ji Sheng’s ex-teammate? Ji Sheng’s ex-boyfriend? Or as a victim of Ji Sheng’s harassment?”
Sheng Kongzhi’s face went white.
Xie Xuanming did not intend to take it lying down, overwhelmed with belated hostility, enunciating every word heavily. “Sheng Kongzhi, if Ji Sheng were here, guess how many times you would have to kneel down and kowtow before he would forgive you.”
Sheng Kongzhi’s face was as white as paper, his body shaking, his lips quivering as he argued, “No, Xiao Sheng wouldn’t do that, he’s so kind and loves me so much…”
“Shut up!” Xie Xuanming suddenly stepped forward and crouched down, squeezed his jaw fiercely and slammed the back of his head straight into the wall.
“Don’t call him that, you’re not qualified.” Xie Xuanming’s eyes were terrifying, “King of Songs Sheng, there are two ambulances parked outside the recording site, do you want to be on the news?”
Like a duck being pinched by the neck, Sheng Kongzhi suddenly stopped talking.
The ruthlessness in Xie Xuanming’s eyes was unmistakable; looking at the madness in his eyes, Sheng Kongzhi knew clearly that he was not joking.
His survival instinct won over his emotions; he trembled, silent and shaking his head frantically.
“Then get lost.” Xie Xuanming said grimly, “Don’t keep popping up in front of me in the future, when I see your face and think of the things you’ve done… I just want to kill you too much.”
He suddenly let go of his hand, allowing him to breathe. Sheng Kongzhi covered his jaw and coughed.
Sheng Kongzhi struggled to his feet and ran out the door without looking back.
On his way out he heard a sound of retching coming from the toilet cubicle, but never had the guts to look back.
With Sheng Kongzhi gone, Ji Sheng finally couldn’t stop the urge to vomit, stumbling into the stall, clutching the toilet pod and throwing up.
He felt his stomach was turning inside out, but since he hadn’t eaten anything all day because he had to go on stage, he only threw up some gastric acid for a long time, his throat feeling sour and sore.
After Ji Sheng finished throwing up, he pressed the flush button and crouched on the floor for a while before standing up, propping himself on the toilet seat. When he turned around, he saw Xie Xuanming leaning against the cubicle door, his eyes downcast as he watched nonchalantly.
“Yeah.” Ji Sheng whispered, “I’ll go wash my face.”
Xie Xuanming moved out of the way.
Ji Sheng squeezed past him, went to the sink, poured two handfuls of water and rinsed his mouth. When he looked up at the mirror, he met Xie Xuanming’s eyes again.
“Don’t you have to record?” Ji Sheng asked in a muffled voice.
“They can do without me.” Xie Xuanming said, “Let’s go?”
Xie Xuanming took the lead and walked out; Ji Sheng rubbed his stomach and followed him.
The pain in his throat cleared up his chaotic thoughts a little, but Xie Xuanming’s evasive and vague attitude left him in a state of uncertainty.
Ji Sheng was looking down and wondering whether he should explain something in a roundabout way or just pretend to be deaf and mute when Xie Xuanming suddenly stopped in front of him.
“Huh!” Ji Sheng was so distracted that he bumped into him head on, the bridge of his nose slamming against Xie Xuanming’s spine and tears coming out of his eyes.
“You’re afraid of heights?” Xie Xuanming turned and looked down at him.
“En…” Ji Sheng replied uncertainly, covering his nose and feeling his eyes tear up. It took him a moment to straighten and pretend to be puzzled, “What’s wrong?”
“Not much.” Xie Xuanming glanced at him lightly, with little to no expression on his face, “I didn’t hear you mention it before.”
“You didn’t ask.” Ji Sheng said. His heart fluttering, he raised his eyes boldly and preemptively asked, “Senior Ji Sheng… was also afraid of heights?”
“En.” Xie Xuanming flatly averted his eyes, “How do you know?”
“I guessed from Teacher Sheng Kongzhi’s reaction.” Ji Sheng said, “It was a bit of a surprise, I’ve seen senior Senior Ji’s performances and his style is particularly flamboyant, I thought he was a very thrill-loving type.”
He rashly commented on “Ji Sheng”, but Xie Xuanming did not get angry, only turned around and took a step, saying inaudibly, “Let’s go, come out with me today.”
Ji Sheng breathed a sigh of relief, did not dare to question why he was taking him out and just followed.
After walking for a while, he suddenly heard Xie Xuanming speak again.
“He was not.”
Ji Sheng froze; it took him a moment to realise that Xie Xuanming was replying to his last sentence.
“He was a coward.”
No emotion could be heard in Xie Xuanming’s voice.
Niepan took first place, but when it was time to receive the award, Ji Sheng didn’t even go on stage.
Xie Xuanming swaggered out of the closed recording site with him, and by the way, even asked the staff for Ji Hui’s mobile phone back.
“Take it.” Xie Xuanming tossed the phone to Ji Sheng, “Don’t let them post things indiscriminately.”
“It has a password.” Ji Sheng caught the phone.
“Who could have imagined.” Xie Xuanming sneered.
Ji Sheng also knew about KUZI’s virtues, and the show’s team was really capable of doing such unethical things as using his number to message or post things. He did not say anything else and followed Xie Xuanming to the car with his phone and went to the hotel where the mentors were staying.
The presidential suite that the program team booked for Xie Xuanming was even bigger than the two-bedroom apartment Ji Sheng owned in his previous life. Ji Sheng was shocked by the large double-door fridge right opposite the front door, smacking his lips and thinking that although Sheng Kongzhi lied a lot, he was right about one thing…
Xie Xuanming’s debut in a movie brought him more benefits than being in a band.
Although he had known that Xie Xuanming was on a rise, facing KUZI’s 180 degree turn in attitude before and after Xie Xuanming’s coming to fame, Ji Sheng once again refreshed his understanding of the term “top star”.
Xie Xuanming told Ji Sheng to do whatever he wanted, so Ji Sheng found a sofa and nestled down comfortably to watch Xie Xuanming call his assistant and ask him to prepare for public relations work.
While calling, Xie Xuanming was standing with his profile turned to him. His nose was straight and the tip of his nose was slightly curved upwards.
A very typical portrait of a beauty.
Ji Sheng looked at him and suddenly his hand itched to pinch the tip of his nose like he did when Xiao Xie was a kid.
Before he could suppress this bold idea, his phone vibrated and he received a message.
Sheng Kongzhi [Ji Hui, I’m sorry.]
Ji Sheng came to his senses. He didn’t expect this guy, Sheng Kongzhi, to be able to make his presence felt even though his face was swollen. Ji Sheng sat up straighter, ready to see what he was up to.
[I’m sorry for disturbing you today.]
[My old friend, Ji Sheng, also has a psychological disorder of fear of heights, and I miss him so much that I had some surreal associations, and that’s why I accidentally offended you, I’m really sorry.]
He didn’t know if it was voice to text, but Sheng Kongzhi’s messages were sent very quickly, and Ji Sheng had just finished reading the last one when his finger slipped and a few more came in.
[Apart from apologising, I also want to remind you to be careful of Xie Xuanming.]
[He has many unhealthy obsessions about Ji Sheng, and he is one of the few people who knows that Ji Sheng had a fear of heights.]
[The accident today was probably not a stage design, but a deliberate ploy to test you.]
[Xie Xuanming is always unscrupulous, so you should be careful.]
The phone was jerked away as soon as Ji Sheng scrolled to the bottom and just glanced at the words hurriedly.
When he looked up, it turned out that Xie Xuanming walked over at some point and now stood in front of him with the phone squeezed between his two fingers.
“Who is it?” Xie Xuanming asked Ji Sheng without looking at the screen.
“Senior Sheng Kongzhi.” Ji Sheng answered truthfully, “He added me earlier.”
“Oh.” Only then did Xie Xuanming raise his hand to look at the screen, swiping his finger three or two times, locking the screen and handing the phone back, “I deleted him, do you mind?”
Ji Sheng took the phone and casually shoved it into his pocket.
He said, “I don’t mind.”
Ji Sheng originally thought that since he had said those words on the live broadcast, tonight there would be another battle on the Internet, with the passers-by attacking the program and the water army fighting back hard.
But in fact, the “Music First” crew dropped on their knees faster than anyone expected.
Before the public opinion had a chance to ferment, the show’s official blog had already come out and tagged Ji Hui’s Weibo and Niepan’s Weibo, solemnly apologising.
KUZI, a shit-stirrer that was afraid of nothing, rarely admitted committing a faux pas. Show fans who used to suffer from it came running to mock it, quickly catapulting the apology post into the hot search and drawing the attention of an even bigger amount of melon-eating passers-by.
Niepan’s official blog and Ji Hui’s small account had already made a lot of KU money and attracted a lot of traffic overnight. They had acquired tens of thousands of fans, and even brands came to privately message them to inquire about business cooperation.
With things developing like this, Ji Sheng was a little puzzled and quite happy. KUZI’s sincere attitude was really different from its usual muddying the water mode.
Ji Sheng couldn’t understand why KUZI had suddenly changed its tune, until he saw Xie Xuanming’s fans’ majestic comments full of protection of the rights and accusations under the apology post. He took a glance at Xie Xuanming’s Weibo and then it dawned on him.
Xie Xuanming had posted an hour ago.
He didn’t say anything, just tagged the official blog of “Music First 2”.
It was just a short, cold post, but Ji Sheng was laughing at it for half a day.
It was almost like holding a gun to the show’s head, yet still asking politely, “Will you apologise?”
Nice, cool and very Xie Xuanming.
Ji Sheng liked it.
He was having fun when Xie Xuanming came out of the shower.
Xie Xuanming dried his hair, went to the window to make a phone call, and walked back.
He sat down at the head of the bed and spoke.
Still immersed in the joyful atmosphere, Ji Sheng didn’t react for a moment and said “huh?” in confusion.
Xie Xuanming’s next words were like a pot of cold water pouring down on Ji Sheng, making him snap right back to reality.
“Ji Sheng.” Xie Xuanming said, “Come here.”
Ji Sheng looked down at his phone and didn’t move a muscle, feeling his neck stiffen.
After a few seconds, he slowly put down the phone, raised his eyes to look over, and said again in confusion, “Huh?”
Xie Xuanming repeated, “Come here.”
Ji Sheng couldn’t avoid it, so he could only put down his phone, stand up from the sofa and walk to the bedside. The window was open and the evening breeze brought the remnant scent of shower gel and cigarettes to him.
Did he just smoke?
Ji Sheng was thinking about it when Xie Xuanming raised his hand and took hold of his wrist, the warmth of the contact giving him goosebumps.
Ji Sheng was standing and Xie Xuanming was sitting, looking up at him intently.
“You’re Ji Sheng, aren’t you?” He said serenely.
Ji Sheng didn’t say anything, only lowered his head and tried his best to maintain his calm as he looked at Xie Xuanming.
The two were silent for a while, and an invisible crack gradually appeared in Xie Xuanming’s eyes as he spoke in a low voice.
“You must be Ji Sheng, right?”