Ji Sheng was waiting at the elevator entrance. As soon as the light turned on, Xie Xuanming, drenched all over, came out of the elevator door.
He looked at Ji Sheng with gentle eyes: “Brother Ji.”
In response, Ji Sheng threw a big towel at him angrily.
When the two entered the apartment, Ji Sheng began to babble.
“What were you thinking? At this hour, it’s raining heavily, and you actually come downstairs of my place.” Ji Sheng handed the towel over, “Your photos will be taken.”
“The crew doesn’t have a scene for me tonight… At this hour if you let someone in your dorm, your pictures might also be taken.” Xie Xuanming looked at Ji Sheng without blinking, “If you thought we could be photographed, why did you let me in?”
“Call me brother, kid.” Ji Sheng yanked the towel away and rudely wiped the water from the face of the man who was standing in place like a fool. He pulled Xie Xuanming to his feet and pushed him into the bathroom, “Otherwise you will be drenched downstairs? Are you stupid, waiting in such heavy rain, why do you need to come?”
Xie Xuanming was obediently pushed to the door and held on the frame: “Because I am worried about you.”
“Worried about me?” Ji Sheng was stunned, then said with some amusement, “Don’t worry, I’m fine, your brother is fine. Film your movie well, do your PR, try to win an award or something, and slap KUZI’s face until it’s swollen.”
Xie Xuanming looked at him quietly: “Did you say the same thing to Sheng Kongzhi?”
“Him?” Ji Sheng laughed, “What qualifications does he have to win the award? He didn’t study acting, he specialises in art!”
“You know that’s not what I’m talking about.” Xie Xuanming stood up straighter, and the drops of water from his hair fell on the floor. He was still looking at Ji Sheng, his gaze like cold light shining through the mist.
Ji Sheng stopped smiling: “You know I don’t want to talk about this.”
The light dimmed; Xie Xuanming lowered his eyes, his eyelashes dripping with rain.
The two were quiet for a moment; Ji Sheng sighed and pushed the man towards the bathroom again, “Go take a shower, you’re going to catch a cold if you don’t change your clothes.”
Ji Sheng was right, there were indeed many reporters lurking under the dormitory building, or sisheng fans, or someone filming to sell the photos.
Some of these people went back because of heavy rain and late hour, and the remaining ones who were dedicated enough to hide in the pouring rain successfully took pictures of Xie Xuanming entering Ji Sheng’s dormitory in the middle of the night.
It was a normal thing to spend the night at a friend’s house, but when combined with Xie Xuanming’s confusing sexuality that had been rumoured by the media, it became intriguing.
The entertainment industry is always well-informed; early in the morning, people from all parties gathered under the dormitory building. Ji Sheng pulled open the curtains, glanced at the dense crowd downstairs and rubbed his temples, feeling a splitting headache.
“Where is the nanny car parked?” He turned to ask Xie Xuanming.
“On the side of the road, the security won’t let unfamiliar vehicles into the parking lot.”
The side of the road was ten metres away from the gate, and there was a high probability that you would have to pass through a “zombie siege”.
“Is there any security coming?”
“Let’s go, I’ll take you there.” Ji Sheng turned his head to glance at the crowd through the gap in the curtains, and said decisively.
I am not a child who needs protection.
Xie Xuanming watched Ji Sheng put on a coat, put on a mask and change his shoes in one go, and licked his tiger teeth lightly: “Okay.”
Three minutes later, Ji Sheng took Xie Xuanming out of the door. Ji Sheng was wearing a hood and a mask that covered his face up to his lower eyelids, while Xie Xuanming was wearing a baseball cap that hid two thirds of his face.
Two people who wanted to conceal their identities made the reporters instantly cheer up, run closer and gather, surrounding the two of them and yelling incomprehensibly to ask some questions.
There were too many people, and physical confrontations were a regular occurrence.
Ji Sheng clasped Xie Xuanming’s shoulder in a reverse grip and walked forward with him.
Halfway through the walk, Ji Sheng tripped over someone and stumbled forward. Xie Xuanming paused for half a second and quickly flipped his hand to pull him along, changing from being shielded by Ji Sheng to walking together with him.
The two broke through the many obstacles and finally came to the nanny’s car.
The security guards at the gate took over and helped to stop the crowd one metre away.
Ji Sheng opened the door, and Xie Xuanming jumped into the nanny’s car lightly. As soon as he sat down, he saw Ji Sheng put one foot on the side of the car and leaned in.
He stretched out his hand to push away the hair blocking Xie Xuanming’s eyes and pulled off his mask: “Film well, I’m going back.”
After saying a brief goodbye, Ji Sheng leaned back, ready to withdraw.
His hood was crooked, and his loose hair hung over his cheeks.
“Wait a minute.” Xie Xuanming said.
“Huh?” Ji Sheng didn’t hear what he said, stopped abruptly and drilled back into the car.
Xie Xuanming took off his cap and put it on Ji Sheng’s head.
He brushed aside a strand of hair that was stuck to Ji Sheng’s cheek, and said softly, “There.”
Ji Sheng put on the cap and tried to squeeze back into the dormitory. As soon as he entered, he received a call from Li Tan.
“Xie Xuanming came to your place?” Li Tan got straight to the point.
“Ah yes.” Ji Sheng said, “How do you know?”
“Someone posted a picture on Weibo.”
“So fast?” Ji Sheng had a headache,”Don’t they even photo-edit it?”
“There are also people live streaming.”
“Is Xie Xuanming still with you?” Li Tan asked.
“Just left, what’s the matter?”
“…” Li Tan was silent for a while, “It’s okay. I wanted to discuss some things with Xiao Xie, so forget it if he left.”
He paused for a moment and asked, “Do you know that there are a lot of rumours about his sexuality now?”
Ji Sheng: ……
He also knew that the rumours were indeed true.
Ji Sheng: “I know, it was KUZI who created the black materials, right?”
“It doesn’t matter who made it.” Li Tan said, “The important thing is that he has a bad reputation now, and you don’t avoid suspicion and just run straight into it…”
Li Tan suddenly paused: “You wait a moment, I have something to do here, I’ll call you later.”
Li Tan hung up the phone. Ji Sheng took off his hat, threw it on the table and rubbed his hair.
He really disliked a life where any little action was constrained and second guessed.
Li Tan’s call did not come for a long time. During this period, Ji Sheng called Ji Yueming’s hospital and confirmed that the nurse he had hired was already on duty and that Ji Yueming’s condition was stable, so he ended the call with some relief.
As soon as the call ended, Li Tan happened to call again.
“There’s something going on with the legal department.” After explaining, Li Tan asked, “Have you read the public opinion on Weibo yet?”
“I didn’t have time.”
“The public opinion situation is okay. The fans are keeping the scene under control, but there’s something strange going on with the passers-by, so the PR department met and discussed it and came up with an idea.”
“What idea?” Ji Sheng asked.
“We plan to steer this towards the cp hype.” Li Tan showed his cards.
“Huh?” Ji Sheng thought he had heard it wrong, “Xiao Xie and me? Hype cp? Aren’t we both guys?”
“Why didn’t you think you were both guys when you two got together and made out?” Li Tan couldn’t hold back his sarcasm, “If I were Kongzhi, I would have had a heart attack looking at the pictures of your unclean private life and feel like my hat was turning green(1).”
Ji Sheng heard the irony in his words, frowned a little, offended, and his tone became more blunt: “What does it have to do with Sheng Kongzhi, I can take in a friend of the same sex for the night and it doesn’t make my private life less clean.”
“Who knows.” Li Tan said, “The media thinks you are unclean, and the public thinks you are unclean. How can you prove that you are clean? Instead of letting others come and pull the wool over the public’s eyes, why not turn passivity into initiative and use the rumours as benefits in a big way, making money from your traffic?”
What Li Tan said was true. Ji Sheng was silent for a while, “I’m still… not willing to do this.”
“Guess so.” Li Tan said, unsurprised, “But this is indeed a rare ‘good’ public relations method, good for you and good for Xiao Xie.”
“I have a question.” He mentioned Xie Xuanming, and Ji Sheng suddenly thought of something, “Have you discussed it with Xiao Xie’s side? What did they say?”
“The PR department approached, the situation is a bit complicated.” Li Tan said, “Xie Xuanming’s company was quite in favour of it, but Xie Xuanming himself refused.”
“Refused.” Ji Sheng was taken aback, and whispered to himself, “Why…”
“What?” He said it so quietly that Li Tan didn’t hear him.
“Nothing.” Ji Sheng didn’t want to continue, so he just said, “It just so happens that I also think this method is inappropriate. So reject it if possible.”
“You know I came here to ask you to persuade Xiao Xie not to be so dead-brained(2), right?” Li Tan felt helpless.
“Then you should know that I am also dead-brained.” Ji Sheng chuckled in a low voice.
“…true.” Li Tan compromised, “Then I’ll have PR just dispel the rumours… How is your mother’s situation?”
“That’s great, the tour will start the day after tomorrow, right? Go ahead, get ready, I’ll hang up first.”
“Yeah, will do.” Ji Sheng said, “Bye.”
Ji Sheng’s popularity was still high. Even though he himself urged on Weibo not to buy high-priced tickets, when the tickets went on sale, the ticket pool, including VIP tickets, was empty in seconds. From the scalpers, the prices of ordinary tickets were speculated to be even more expensive than the original VIP.
After Ji Sheng repeatedly confirmed with Hemei that it was not them who speculated on the ticket prices, he posted several Weibo posts to warn fans not to spend money… But how well it worked was a matter of opinion(3).
When the first show of the tour ended, Sheng Kongzhi gave Ji Sheng a rare call.
“Today is the first solo performance, congratulations.” Sheng Kongzhi just finished his acting class and his tone was tired.
“There is nothing to congratulate me on.” Ji Sheng said, “I had no choice.”
Sheng Kongzhi paused: “Did it go well?”
“It went well.”
“How is Auntie doing?”
The two of them went back and forth for a few minutes; then Sheng Kongzhi laughed a little and said, “I really miss…”
Before the words were finished, a violent doorbell rang suddenly, the sharp sound interrupting the conversation.
The sound was so loud that Ji Sheng couldn’t help but notice: “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing…” Sheng Kongzhi walked to the door.
He looked through the cat’s eye, was silent on the other end of the phone for a while, and said, “It’s a sisheng fan.”
Ji Sheng frowned: “A sisheng stalking in the training location? Isn’t it closed?”
“En.” Sheng Kongzhi said, “I don’t know how she got in.”
“Ask the security to take her away, or just call the police.”
Sheng Kongzhi didn’t answer.
Ji Sheng waited for a while, then frowned: “Are you listening?”
“Listening…” Sheng Kongzhi replied hurriedly, “I think… there is no need. I will open the door and talk to her and tell her to go. After all, she’s also a fan, and she’s still a child…”
“What are you thinking?” Ji Sheng’s voice became stern, “Sishengs are not fans. If you treat them nicely, you will only be hurt.”
“I know.” Sheng Kongzhi’s voice was helpless and a little stiff, “But… Forget it, you don’t understand.”
“What does this have to do with whether I understand or not?” Ji Sheng was a little angry. The doorbell was still ringing, and the sound was very harsh. He wanted to say something, but as soon as he opened his mouth, he was interrupted by the vibration of his mobile phone.
Ji Sheng froze, took the phone off his ear and looked at the screen.
Ji Sheng was suddenly silent. Sheng Kongzhi called his name twice, then realized something was wrong and asked, “What’s the matter?”
“I have a call over here.” Ji Sheng replied absent-mindedly, “I’ll take it, you wait.”
“Xie Xuanming?” Sheng Kongzhi asked. His tone suddenly turned very bad, “Don’t answer it.”
Ji Sheng hesitated for a second, for some reason suddenly recalling Li Tan’s “green hat” statement two days ago, and felt a little embarrassed inexplicably.
Ji Sheng was confused by Sheng Kongzhi’s questioning for a second, then realised that he was in a bad mood and frowned, “What’s wrong with you today?”
“I don’t want you to pick it up.” Sheng Kongzhi said.
Xie Xuanming’s name flashed twice on the screen and disappeared.
Ji Sheng’s mood also went down with it disappearing. The sisheng was still ringing the doorbell. This sound made him irritable, and Sheng Kongzhi’s stinging words made him even more annoyed.
“Do you want to quarrel with me now?” Ji Sheng said in an unpleasant tone, “You are kind to your sisheng, but you are tit-for-tat to me. Do you think you are doing the right thing?”
“It’s not a question of right or wrong.” Sheng Kongzhi said and suddenly heard the mobile phone on the other end vibrate again.
Xie Xuanming was calling again.
He was really persistent.
Sheng Kongzhi’s mood sank: ”Don’t…”
The busy tone filled his ears before the word “answer” came out.
Ji Sheng hung up the phone without saying a word.
To take Xie Xuanming’s call.
1. Being cheated on
2. Single-minded and instinctively slow to react to things
3. The literal expression is “the benevolent sees benevolence, the wise sees wisdom”