Even on the day before his birthday, Ji Sheng still needed to rush out on business in the early morning.
Considering that Sheng Kongzhi also had a rare break, Ji Sheng set an alarm clock on vibration before going to bed, planning to get up early to catch up with the business matters.
After setting the time, Ji Sheng fell asleep quickly.
However, in the early morning he was awakened by the sound of an urgent low voice.
“…What does it matter to you where I spend the night? How many times have I said, don’t interfere with my private life!”
“…why are you here? Did you set it up?”
“…what are you doing here? You don’t know him…”
The sound of arguing came from the bathroom, with a vague tendency to intensify.
Ji Sheng propped up and glanced at his mobile phone; there was still an hour before the alarm clock went off.
A few sentences later, Sheng Kongzhi suddenly became agitated.
“Yes, I am in love. Are you satisfied with this answer? Don’t call me again! And don’t follow my car!”
The voice stopped; after a while, the bathroom door opened and Sheng Kongzhi peeked out from inside, his face gloom.
He raised his eyes, stunned to see Ji Sheng sitting up. He froze for a moment, then pulled himself together and asked, “Did I wake you up?”
“En…” Ji Sheng yawned, rubbed his eyes and asked, “What are you doing so early?”
“Nothing, just taking care of a little personal business.” Sheng Kongzhi lay down on the bed and said vaguely, “Go to sleep, it’s still early, you can get another hour of sleep.”
“Oh.” Ji Sheng lay down next to him, opened his eyes and looked at the ceiling, not asking any more questions.
He felt a little confused. He and Sheng Kongzhi were bamboo horses who grew up sharing a pair of pants. Later, they took a step closer and became sweethearts.
In the past, such words as “personal business” would never have appeared in their conversation.
However, Ji Sheng was now surprised to find that there was this “personal business”, and what shocked him even more was that he had no desire to probe into it and blandly accepted the fact that Sheng Kongzhi was hiding a secret.
It seemed perfectly normal for Sheng Kongzhi to have a personal business.
It was as normal as when he realised last night that he didn’t want to get any closer to Sheng Kongzhi.
Lying on the bed, before falling asleep again in a daze, Ji Sheng faintly admitted in his heart that there was a thick layer of estrangement between him and Sheng Kongzhi.
It could be seen and touched.
It could not be broken.
The morning’s business meeting ended early and there were no plans for the next half day, so Ji Sheng went back to the hotel to sleep for a while, got up, washed his face and casually asked Sheng Kongzhi when they were going to the party.
After he asked, Sheng Kongzhi, who was sitting on the edge of the bed, was silent for a while; then, contrary to yesterday’s encouragement, he said, “If you don’t want to go, we won’t go.”
“I didn’t want to go.” Ji Sheng pushed back his hair, looking down at Sheng Kongzhi, “But weren’t we going to meet the fans? Why not go?”
Sheng Kongzhi avoided his gaze: “I think you have a show tomorrow. You will be too tired to rush like this…”
“I’m not tired.” Ji Sheng interrupted.
Sheng Kongzhi was quiet for a while and said, “Okay, I’ll change clothes and we’ll go.”
The venue for the party was a place between a bar and a nightclub. Ji Sheng was a frequent visitor there before he became famous, but he usually appeared on stage and his surroundings were far less comfortable than this bar today.
Sitting in a booth and watching the show from the audience’s point of view was a novel experience.
Ji Sheng was engrossed in the performance when Sheng Kongzhi appeared at the booth with some strangers.
There were a few familiar faces among them. Ji Sheng recalled them and matched them with the audience that jumped excitedly under the stage a few years ago.
They were indeed the fans of Qingchu, and they were all old fans.
Those fans were very excited when they saw Ji Sheng. At first they were a bit shy, but after Ji Sheng took the initiative to say a few words, they relaxed a lot. They gathered around to talk and laugh and wish Ji Sheng a happy birthday, and also sighed remembering their past days of chasing live shows.
“So when’s the tour?” One of the fans, a green-haired guy, asked excitedly, “I really want to see Qingchu live again!”
Ji Sheng’s smile disappeared for a moment and then immediately returned to its brilliance: “Next year, I think, there will be a national tour next year.”
“Will it be the original line-up? Will Xiao Xie and Lao Tan participate?”
The green-haired guy stepped back in satisfaction. After Ji Sheng finished walking around the circle of fans, he turned his gaze and noticed a girl wearing a mask in the corner.
The girl didn’t take off the mask from the moment she came in and was leaning against the door from beginning to end, not approaching the crowd.
Ji Sheng walked over to her: “Hello.”
The girl didn’t say anything, but her eyes peeked from under her overly long bangs as she looked at Ji Sheng.
Ji Sheng asked, “Are you a fan of Qingchu?”
“No.” The girl said.
“Then why are you here?”
The girl was silent for a while and said, “I am a fan of Sheng Kongzhi.”
“The fans of Sheng Kongzhi are the fans of Qingchu. Qingchu is a band.” Ji Sheng said warmly.
The girl gave a “tsk”, very softly, but Ji Sheng still caught it.
He was just about to say something when he heard the green-haired guy shout, waving his hand over there, “Brother Ji, are you playing cards?”
“Sure.” Before Ji Sheng could reply, Sheng Kongzhi answered with a smile.” What do you want to play?”
“Texas Hold’em?” Someone suggested, “Don’t you often play this in Qingchu documentary?”
The so-called Qingzhe documentary was shot by Su Jing with a second-hand camera and in the few small videos that were made, Texas Hold’em did appear quite frequently.
“Can do.” Sheng Kongzhi turned his head, “Is Xiao Sheng coming?”
“Cards, ah… I don’t play well.” Ji Sheng said.
He was telling the truth. Ji Sheng’s card skills were extremely poor. He used to play Texas Hold’em with Xie Xuanming and never ended without losing miserably. He was forced to sing and dance and call him “brother”… It was embarrassing.
“Just play casually.” The green-haired guy smiled and said, “It’s your birthday, join the fun.”
Sheng Kongzhi took advantage of the situation, led him out of the corner and sat down on the sofa.
“That’s right!” The green-haired guy pushed the drinks he had ordered in front of them, “Birthdays are meant to be lively.”
After sitting down, Ji Sheng had no choice and could only join the game. The girl he had confronted just now occupied the corner of the sofa not far away and silently took a card.
When she sat down, Sheng Kongzhi’s body stiffened visibly for a moment. Ji Sheng glanced down, picked up the drink, made two sips and put it down quietly.
It contained alcohol and was very sour. Ji Sheng didn’t like it, so he was not going to taste it for the second time.
The cards were played badly. Ji Sheng was very lucky and had a good chance to win with all the cards he was dealt, but the girl in the corner insisted on playing against him no matter what cards he had, and the two of them went back and forth, often going on even after everyone had folded.
It was good they didn’t bet real money, otherwise they would have been heading for bankruptcy.
After a few rounds, others also became aware of the confrontation between the two and gradually quieted down, leaving the table in an eerie atmosphere.
When Ji Sheng and the girl reached the end of another hand, Sheng Kongzhi finally couldn’t help himself and said softly, “Xiao Sheng.”
Ji Sheng paused and pushed his bottom card forward: “Fold.”
After that, he got up and walked out, “I’ll go to the bathroom, you guys play.”
Ji Sheng came out of the toilet cabin, opened the water to wash his hands, raised his eyes and unexpectedly saw the girl’s face reflected in the mirror.
“Friend.” Ji Sheng said calmly, “This is the gents.”
“It doesn’t matter.” The girl shrugged, “It’s not like I’ve never been there before.”
Really experienced. Ji Sheng wiped his hands, turned around and asked bluntly, “Are you a sisheng?”
“Did Kongzhi tell you that?” The sisheng’s expression was calm as she acquiesced to Ji Sheng’s statement. At the mention of Sheng Kongzhi, a trace of darkness flashed in her eyes, “Has he ever told you how he got his web drama, or rather how he snatched one from you?”
“Lao Sheng didn’t mention you, but I still remember who hit our nanny car.” Ji Sheng said lightly, “As for the rest, I am not interested in listening to you.”
“Really?” The sisheng tilted her head, “Are you not interested, or are you afraid to know that Sheng Kongzhi and I are very close?”
Ji Sheng was amused by her words: “My friend, delusions need to be cured.”
He stuck his hands in his pockets and said with a touch of mockery in his seriousness, “Who do you think I should believe: a criminal or a bamboo horse I’ve known for eighteen years?”
Finally irritated by him, the sisheng stood up straight and said, “You guys are really close.”
She said every word heavily, her expression full of unconcealed jealousy, “But you really are quite annoying, can you please stay away from your bamboo horse? You’re an eyesore!”
“…in what capacity are you talking?” Ji Sheng tilted his head slightly, “As a well-known sisheng fan who was detected and warned officially?”
“At least I made Kongzhi remember me.” The sisheng was not ashamed but proud, with a little smugness in her words.
“That’s pretty impressive.” Ji Sheng said sarcastically and paused for a moment, “I’m quite curious, what is the purpose of you following Sheng Kongzhi? To fall in love with him? You didn’t think that Sheng Kongzhi would fall for a stalker, did you?”
He waited a little and added meaningfully: “Or do you already know that he has someone in his heart?”
It was just a casual shot from Ji Sheng, but the expression of the sisheng completely changed. She scowled, her eyes full of hatred. Ji Sheng raised his eyebrows in surprise: “You really know…”
But presumably she did not know the object.
Otherwise, it was unlikely for her to stand and talk to him so calmly.
“Don’t say useless things.” The sisheng’s face was grim, “I am here today for two purposes, one, to warn you to stay away from Sheng Kongzhi, stop rubbing off his heat and sucking his blood…”
“Unlikely to do that.” Ji Sheng refused bluntly, “Sheng Kongzhi and I are teammates. We don’t look up and don’t look down at each other. It’s not me who should stay away from him, it’s you, a psychopathic sisheng fan.”
The sisheng didn’t care about the sting in his words, and continued: “Second, I want to know where Sheng Kongzhi spent the night yesterday.”
“Huh?” Ji Sheng was surprised, “You’re asking me?”
Although she didn’t want to admit it, the sisheng said reluctantly: “You are indeed the most likely person to know.”
“But why should I tell you?” Ji Sheng snorted and walked to the door, “It’s none of your business where Sheng Kongzhi spends the night, stop thinking about prying into other people’s privacy all day long.”
The bathroom was stuffy and Ji Sheng felt a little hypoxic, so he was going to leave. But before he could take two steps he was tugged back by the sisheng.
Ji Sheng jerked his hand, but the sisheng was surprisingly strong and he couldn’t break away from her. He didn’t want to fight with a girl in public, so he stopped and said with emphasis: “Let go.”
“Where did Sheng Kongzhi spend the night? With whom?” The sisheng asked through the clenched teeth.
Ji Sheng frowned: “Lady, speaking of which, I also have two things to say. First, don’t pester Sheng Kongzhi, otherwise our company will take legal measures. Second, this is my birthday party. Please leave.”
“I will go.” The girl still held him tightly, “You tell me, and I’ll go.”
Ji Sheng was annoyed and said with a smile: “Okay. Sheng Kongzhi didn’t go out. He was resting in my room. Can you go now?”
He lifted his hand and shook it off with force.
Ji Sheng originally thought that telling the sisheng that Sheng Kongzhi had spent the night with him would calm her down for a while, but who knew that after hearing the news, she would become even crazier.
“It turned out to be you…” Her complexion changed, her capillaries bursting. Her face was so red that it was terrifying.
She raised her eyes abruptly, focused her gaze on Ji Sheng and screamed, “I knew it was you! Bitch! Bitch!”
She lunged forward and bit Ji Sheng’s arm like crazy. In pain, Ji Sheng instinctively shoved her away, not paying attention where.
The sisheng was pushed a few steps away, slamming into the sink and shattering it.
Ji Sheng took a half step back, looked down, saw his arm bleeding and said angrily: “You…”
Before he finished speaking, the trembling messy figure on the floor suddenly jumped up.
The sisheng lunged at Ji Sheng, knocking him down to the floor heavily. Ji Sheng briefly saw something flash in her hand, coming towards his face.
He instinctively raised his hand to block…
Ji Sheng didn’t remember what happened next. He remembered that he fell to the ground, his hand painted in sudden red, with severe pain following.
Immediately afterwards Sheng Kongzhi rushed in with other men, shouting and dragging the girl away from him, trembling as he pulled him up.
Ji Sheng couldn’t remember what he was yelling, the pain and numbness in his right hand occupying all his memory.
The next step was the ambulance and the hospital. The lights in the operating room were dazzling, and Ji Sheng was given general anaesthesia. After a while, he fell asleep.
When he woke up, the doctor came to say something, and Sheng Kongzhi was sitting at the foot of the bed.
The doctor’s mouth opened and closed, and Sheng Kongzhi’s eyes were red.
Ji Sheng remembered telling them to leave, very uncoolly, and throwing a pillow.
He also remembered that he cried so loudly that half of the hospital could hear him.
He didn’t know how long it took for him to get tired of screaming and crying and shrink back to sleep.
The pain was still lingering in his sleep, and the noise outside the ward still reached his ears.
When he opened his eyes again, Xie Xuanming was sitting on the edge of the bed; his cheek was swollen and the corner of his mouth was split.
Ji Sheng opened his eyes but it took him a while to react. He slowly made his way up to sit, not having the strength to call out to anyone, but just letting the red-eyed Xie Xuanming hold him upright, and asked, “Is this a special makeup for the movie?”
“No.” Xie Xuanming said softly, “I got into a fight with Sheng Kongzhi.”
“What were you fighting with him for?” Ji Sheng wanted to laugh, but didn’t succeed in laughing. As soon as he wanted to say something, he saw Xie Xuanming move forward and carefully squeeze his fingers under the startling white gauze.
“The nerves are broken, the bones are misaligned… there should be no way to play drums for a short while…” Ji Sheng paused and said, “Probably for a long while…”
He was a little unable to continue, and Xie Xuanming could not listen either.
Xie Xuanming grabbed Ji Sheng’s hand, bowed and bent down a little bit, and pressed his forehead to the back of his exposed, cold hand.
The anaesthetic passed; Ji Sheng was trembling from pain, and Xie Xuanming was also trembling.
They didn’t know how much time passed. The clock on the wall rang, announcing that it was midnight.
Ji Sheng tried to lift up the corner of his mouth and succeeded this time.
“Don’t cry.” He smiled helplessly, moved his fingers tentatively, ignoring the pain of thousands of needles, and wiped away the wetness on Xie Xuanming’s cheeks.
“I’m already very sad and you crying will only make me feel worse… How about wishing me a happy birthday to cheer me up?”