When Ji Sheng opened his eyes, he was lying on the bed in the villa.
He propped himself up and grimaced for a while at the pain in his lower back and hips, and then raised his head to realise that he was in Xie Xuanming’s bedroom.
Xie Xuanming must have brought him back.
Ji Sheng looked down at himself; his clothes had been changed and his body cleaned.
Xie Xuanming still had a conscience.
Ji Sheng bowed and hammered his waist a few times. In the midst of the pain, he remembered the dream he had just had.
Xie Xuanming was ridiculed for breach of contract, his company’s reputation in the industry dropped to a freezing point. No one wanted to use him for a while. This situation continued until the release of his first movie “A Letter in a Frame” that grossed more than 2 billion at the box office, and Xie Xuanming won the best actor award.
On the other hand, Sheng Kongzhi’s momentary popularity with passers-by allowed him to proceed smoothly, but his acting skills were so bad that since the release of “Wanna Stick It to the President” his rating kept falling and his various expressions in the series were cut into memes and mocked in forums.
A good hand was played badly. Even though Sheng Kongzhi could still rely on a huge number of fans to maintain endorsements and cut the leeks, the downgrade of acting resources was inevitable. The management did not want to let the reputation of ”bad acting” artists corrupt its image. Sheng Kongzhi had not received a good script since then and the gap in status between him and Xie Xuanming in the entertainment industry continued to get wider.
After making some comparisons, one could only lament that playing smart could gain a short-term profit but would not support you for a lifetime. Only by relying on real strength could you sit firmly at the top of the pyramid.
After Xie Xuanming’s ascension to glory he became more and more distant from Ji Sheng. For a long time afterwards they were cut off from each other. Until Ji Sheng asked for something… and only then did they get in touch again.
But with a stance more alienated than strangers.
After recalling the past, Ji Sheng slapped his back and sat up straight. The hammering had not eased the soreness in his back much, but his stomach had been hammered into a few “gurgles” of protest.
He hadn’t eaten enough at lunch, skipped dinner and ended up being dragged through some strenuous exercise.
Even the best land could not afford to be ploughed like this.
Ji Sheng complained in his heart and raised his head to say a few words to Xie Xuanming, only to realise that he was the only one in the room.
“Xie Xuanming?” Ji Sheng called out with some surprise, “Is anyone there?”
What responded to him was the cold breeze from the air conditioner.
“Where did you go so late…” Ji Sheng lowered his head and muttered, deciding to solve his own sustenance needs first.
The mobile phone was placed at the head of the bed. Ji Sheng fumbled over and was about to unlock it and order a takeaway, but when he turned on the screen, he was bombarded with messages from an unfamiliar number.
[This is Su Jing, please send me a message when you see it]
Ji Sheng paused, his fingers hesitatingly hovering above the screen.
With a few more growls from his stomach, Ji Sheng briefly let go of his tangled emotions and tapped into the takeaway app to place a quick order before exiting and going back to read the unread messages.
Su Jing sent several messages.
[Xie Xuanming used your mobile phone to blacklist me, I contacted you many times before but couldn’t get in touch]
Ji Sheng exchanged numbers with Su Jing when they cooperated on the live broadcast, but now he rummaged through his phone and couldn’t find Su Jing’s name in the address book. After looking at the blacklist, he was shocked to find Su Jing’s name in it.
Ji Sheng clicked on WeChat and also found that “Su Jing” had been blacklisted.
When did it happen?
Ji Sheng was a little puzzled but quickly understood.
He had been participating in the show some time ago and hadn’t had his phone in his hands for a long time. It was indeed not difficult for Xie Xuanming to quietly blacklist Su Jing.
[This is my friend’s number, I will use it to contact you in the future, so save it]
[But Xie Xuanming might find out soon, with his dead-head temper he will be angry again]
[If the one who sees these messages is Xie Xuanming, your ancestral grave will be dug tonight]
[Does Xie Xuanming have anything on you? Why do you want to stay with him? If you want to leave, just contact me, I have a way to take you away from him]
“What is he talking about…” Ji Sheng couldn’t help but whisper when he saw this, “It makes me look like a child who has been abducted and sold.”
He pulled Su Jing out of the blacklist and sent him a message to report his safety. While he was waiting for a reply, the takeaway guy called and said that the takeaway was downstairs.
“Okay, I’ll go down and get it now, you wait.” Ji Sheng said, standing up.
Xie Xuanming didn’t bring him slippers. Ji Sheng went downstairs barefoot. He walked to the door, held the handle and pressed it down, but the handle of the door didn’t move.
Ji Sheng was taken aback for a moment and increased his strength.
It still wouldn’t budge.
He lowered his head to check the door lock, muttering: “Is this broken or locked… ah.”
A strong arm wrapped around his waist, and his whole body was violently pulled backwards.
Ji Sheng took two steps back and was firmly pressed against the man behind him. Before he could recover from the back pain, he saw Xie Xuanming hold him with one arm, while inserting the key into the keyhole with the other hand, turning it a few times.
Before pressing the handle of the door, Xie Xuanming stopped and glanced down at Ji Sheng: “Su Jing is outside the door?”
“What does it have to do with Su Jing?” Ji Sheng was surprised for a second, then explained, “I ordered takeaway.”
Xie Xuanming remained motionless, staring at him insistently.
When no one opened the door for a long time, the takeaway guy grew impatient and rang the doorbell.
“It’s really a takeaway.” When the doorbell rang, Ji Sheng explained again. Probably because he had just engaged in intimate activities not long ago, his body was surprisingly sensitive, and at the moment, he was a little embarrassed with Xie Xuanming pressed against him.
Ji Sheng struggled to break free, arguing, “Do you think if it was really Su Jing, he would have rang the doorbell instead of smashing the door?”
His argument was very reasonable. Xie Xuanming’s expression relaxed. He pushed Ji Sheng to stand behind him, turned the handle and opened the anti-theft door.
Ji Sheng watched as he pulled the takeaway bag through the crack in the door and closed the door again.
Xie Xuanming used the key to unlock the door.
This action suddenly flashed in Ji Sheng’s mind, and he inexplicably remembered the locked car door…
That picture that had not been noticed before was now mirrored in the locked door.
Xie Xuanming turned back and lifted the takeaway to observe it carefully, as if he was carrying not a food bag but a time bomb in his hand.
Ji Sheng endured it for a while but his stomach was so empty that he had to take two steps forward and ask, “Can you give it to me?”
“Why are you ordering takeaway?” Xie Xuanming was still distrustful. He looked at the takeaway bag intently, as if trying to dig Su Jing out of it.
“I’m hungry.” Ji Sheng was so hungry that his mood was bad, “Asking people to work and not giving them food, my friend, don’t you think it’s a bit too much to squeeze people like this?”
He sounded indignant. Xie Xuanming was pierced by the sarcasm in his words, was silent for a second and handed over the takeaway bag.
“If you are hungry, I can cook, there is no need to order takeaway.”
“I called you.” Ji Sheng carried the takeaway to the dining table, pulled back a chair and said, “There was no reply. I thought you were not at home.”
He sat down and muttered while unpacking the takeaway: “Who knew you were monitoring me, do you have a voyeuristic fetish?”
Xie Xuanming stood still without answering, his face showing no emotion.
Ji Sheng did not quite understand why this guy slept with someone and still felt justified to be so cold and silent; good thing he himself was good-tempered even when hungry and angry.
Ji Sheng praised himself for his magnanimity and decided not to bother with Xie Xuanming.
He took out the takeaway boxes and pushed one of them forward.
“Do you eat grass jelly(1)? I ordered an extra one.”
Xie Xuanming didn’t reply, and Ji Sheng didn’t ask again. He lowered his head and continued to open the other boxes. After a few seconds, he heard the chair in front of him being pulled away.
The corners of Ji Sheng’s mouth rose slightly, and without raising his head he asked, “Don’t you want to say thank you?”
Only then did Ji Sheng contentedly hand over a spoon.
The two sat quietly at the table to eat dinner or rather a midnight snack. Ji Sheng was so hungry that he gobbled up, while Xie Xuanming ate gracefully, and the time it took for the two of them to put down the cutlery was not much different.
Ji Sheng cleared the bottom of the bowl, burped, leaned back in satisfaction, looked up and said to Xie Xuanming, “I want to talk to you.”
“If it’s about the web series, I don’t want to talk about it.” Now it was Xie Xuanming’s turn not to look up, “So is the matter of Su Jing.”
“It’s not these things.” Ji Sheng paused for a second and asked, “Why do you hate Su Jing? I feel that you are not even that repulsed by Sheng Kongzhi.”
“He’s even more annoying than Sheng Kongzhi.” Xie Xuanming finally raised his eyes, “Su Jing also knows your identity.”
“He thinks I’m bullying you and wants to take you away.”
“So I hate him.”
“Oh.” Ji Sheng muttered, “But you did bully, ah…”
“Nothing.” Ji Sheng didn’t want to talk more about it, “Anyway, you can’t just blacklist people on my mobile phone.”
“…” Xie Xuanming’s eyes drifted away; then he changed the subject, “What do you want to talk to me about?”
“…” Ji Sheng was quiet for a while, then said, “Niepan has plans to start a tour. The agent will tell you about it.”
“I don’t know the details.”
“Probably go to seven or eight cities. It won’t be long. It looks like two months or something…”
“Are you afraid that I won’t let you go?” Xie Xuanming asked coldly.
“Then are you afraid that I will run away if I go?” Ji Sheng turned the tables on him.
“…it’s rude to answer a question with a question.” Xie Xuanming was deflated.
“Alright.” Ji Sheng smiled and stopped teasing him, “I just wanted to ask if you are interested in being a guest on tour.”
Xie Xuanming raised his eyes to look at him.
“This itinerary might clash with your web drama… I’m not trying to persuade you to give up the web drama, just stating the facts… Of course your celebrity appearance on a little band tour might not be too good, if you don’t think it’s appropriate…”
“Quite appropriate.” Xie Xuanming said.
“En?” Ji Sheng didn’t expect him to agree so readily. His eyes widened in surprise and narrowed again, as he smiled, “That’s great, but what about the web drama?”
“Just postpone the shooting, anyway, I’m the sole owner.” Xie Xuanming said lightly, “And the lead actor has not been successfully persuaded yet, so it can’t be filmed right now.”
“Why do you have to ask me to act?” Ji Sheng felt helpless, “There are so many good actors…”
“…” Xie Xuanming didn’t say anything.
The two of them were quiet for a while, and then Xie Xuanming said, “I promise to be a guest on the tour. If there is nothing else, let’s rest. You are tired too.”
“Yes, thanks to you.” Ji Sheng stabbed him again, rubbed the hickey on his neck, causing Xie Xuanming to avert his eyes, and added, “But I have one more thing to say.”
“What is it?”
“We’ve slept together at least twice, are you really not going to take responsibility?”
The plastic spoon was squeezed tightly, and the sound of the plastic cracking was very clear in the silence.
Ji Sheng looked at Xie Xuanming, who was calm but blue veins on his forearms became visible. His face finally showed a bit of embarrassment.
He finished the sentence in a heartbeat.
“If you aren’t, I can be the one who takes responsibility.”
1. A jelly-like dessert that has a mild, slightly bitter taste.