After settling down in the room, Qi Cong took out the chocolate given by Gu Xun and looked at it. It had a dark package featuring two dancing bears and had a sweet milk flavor, the kind he used to eat. He didn’t think Gu Xun would even remember such things. He sat on the bed, tore open the bag, broke off one piece and put it in his mouth. Will he make contact after eating it?
Overall, such a bar of chocolate could be broken off into six pieces, one piece amounted to one bite; one bite of chocolate was supposed to be chewed twenty-four times, twenty-four times. Under . . . he turned on his phone timer. It only takes only fifteen seconds to swallow.
With the rich, silky sweet taste of the chocolate left in his mouth, he broke off another piece and counted silently. Fifteen seconds times six equals ninety seconds, minus the time spent breaking the chocolate in the middle that needed to be added. It was not too creamy; a chocolate can be eaten in two minutes. The reason why he often ate this brand of chocolate was because it was sweet and not too greasy.
The mobile phone suddenly vibrated, and WeChat messages came in. Qi Cong regained his senses and opened the WeChat app.
Mom: Have you reached Hengcheng yet? I’ve checked. It’s going to cool down there for a few days. Don’t forget to dress up.
Not Gu Xun. Qi Cong put down the chocolate and typed back a message to Qi Yin. After returning the message, he looked at the chocolate which he had only eaten two pieces of and put it away carefully.
Let’s eat it slowly. As soon as he thought so, his phone vibrated again. Qi Cong thought it was Qi Yin who replied to his text and picked up his cell phone again.
Gu Xun: I’m back in my room. It’s 1109. Where are you?
The chocolate in his mouth was still slowly melting. Qi Cong was probably fooled by the sweetness, so without thinking about it, he typed and replied, “I haven’t finished the chocolate yet.”
Gu Xun replied with a voice message.
When Qi Cong realized what he had done, he almost choked on the chocolate. After coughing a few times, he stretched out his fingers to open the voice message.
Gu Xun’s slightly helpless voice came out: “CongCong, this chocolate is not big. Just take pity on me. Can you eat a little faster?”
It really wasn’t big. This was just a very common sentence, but Qi Cong suddenly felt an impulse. He wanted to call Gu Xun and meet him directly. He wanted to cover Gu Xun’s eyes and ears so that he could not hear or see . . . He wanted to completely separate Gu Xun from Jiang Zhaoyan.
He didn’t want Gu Xun to know his absurdity in the past three years. He didn’t want him to know how much low self-esteem and stupidity he displayed in front of Jiang Zhaoyan in the past three years. He didn’t want to disappoint Gu Xun and didn’t want to become a stranger in Gu Xun’s eyes. He didn’t want to be hated. He didn’t want Gu Xun to show that same depressed and sad look as he did last time.
Qi Cong raised his hand and pressed his face, taking a deep breath before quickly typing out his room number to Gu Xun and then added, “I’m going to help JiaJia unpack his luggage. I’ll get in touch with you later.”
After sending it, he no longer waited for Gu Xun’s reply. He put down his hand and adjusted his expression before putting away his mobile phone going to the next room.
When Qi Cong entered Shen Jia’s room, he found that there were only Shen Jia and Zhao Zhenxun in the room. Shen Jia’s suitcases were piled all over the entrance, but there was no Xiao Han and others to sort them out.
Zhao Zhenxun was holding his cell phone and seemed to have just finished a call. Seeing Qi Cong come in, he turned his head and motioned to the couch in the room. “Come here and talk.”
Qi Cong stepped over a suitcase and sat down on the couch.
Shen Jia immediately moved to Qi Cong and looked at Zhao Zhenxun. “Brother Zhao, what’s up? What was this talk about?”
“The investor said that Yanhuang was indeed talking to the crew about sponsorship of the crew, and it was a preliminary negotiation.” Zhao Zhenxun sat on the slanted side of the long couch and looked at Qi Cong, “You and Jiang Zhaoyan . . . what are your thoughts? Tell me.”
Qi Cong bowed his head and apologized solemnly, “Brother Zhao, I’m sorry that I’ve upset everyone so much because of my personal relationship. I’ll try my best to keep my personal matters from affecting JiaJia’s work.”
Hearing this, Shen Jia felt uncomfortable and retorted, “Brother Cong, you didn’t affect me. All blame is on Jiang Zhaoyan! What did he think of coming here to sponsor my TV series!”
“JiaJia, work cannot be influenced by Jiang Zhaoyan. Jiang Zhaoyan is only a sponsor, not an investor. The biggest part of investment in Legend of Youth is Manju Entertainment Company, and Jiang Zhaoyan won’t have any influence on JiaJia.” Zhao Zhenxun stressed, “Now it’s Jiang Zhaoyin who is asking for more exposure instead of Legend of Youth’s crew begging for Jiang Zhaoyin’s cooperation. Do you understand?”
Qi Cong was stunned and looked up at Zhao Zhenxun.
Zhao Zhenxun looked at Qi Cong with no anger in his eyes and continued, “I asked you what you thought because I wanted to know if you wanted to avoid possible contact with Jiang Zhaoyan. If you want to, I can transfer you back to Beishi instead of continuing your work with JiaJia. You can also take advantage of this time to take an acting class. With regard to your career plan, Mr. Shen and I have worked out a prototype. The singing and dancing idol path is not suitable for you. The company is prepared to let you focus on singing and acting and take a low-key and powerful line of relying on works to speak. We won’t over-package you. We won’t give you a new image. We won’t give you extensive marketing and hype, but we will only give you the opportunity to try and produce works, to let you grow and grow in popularity little by little. In this way, it may be slow to make money, or you may not even be able to become famous in the end, but you will develop solidly, and no one will pay too much attention to and criticize your private life. Can you understand what I mean?”
Understand. How could he not understand? Zhao Zhenxun and Shen Man were trying to stand in his shoes, preparing a path for him that tried to match his pace as much as possible and even considered his complicated personal relationship. They were trying to protect him.
“Understood.” Qi Cong nodded and couldn’t help repeating, “I understand. Thank you, Brother Zhao. Thank you, Mr. Shen too.”
“What is your attitude towards Jiang Zhaoyan’s sponsorship of this project?”
Qi Cong looked at Shen Jia next to him and replied, “Business is business. I will do what I have to do. If Jiang Zhaoyan is really here because of me, then I will deal with him and will not let him further affect JiaJia.”
Evasion could not solve any problems. Since Jiang Zhaoyan dared to come, he would dare to face him. He would not allow himself to run away and leave the mess for Zhao Zhenxun and Shen Jia to deal with.
Zhao Zhenxun gave Qi Cong a deep look and nodded. “Very good. Starting from tomorrow, every day after JiaJia’s work end, come to JiaJia’s room to have an online class with him and learn the acting skills. All right, pack up.”
Qi Cong responded, got up, and walked towards Shen Jia’s suitcases.
Xiao Han and others soon came to help Shen Jia put things together, and after finishing sorting, Qi Cong avoided the crowd and called to Shen Jia, saying, “JiaJia, can you tell me in detail what happened between Jiang Zhaoyan and me in the past three years?”
As soon as Shen Jia heard it, he froze up, and his eyes wandered, obviously trying to dodge his gaze. “I’ve told you all these things before, but I-I’m going to work for Jiang Zhaoyan. There is nothing worth talking about in detail.”
“JiaJia.” Qi Cong stopped Shen Jia’s evasive eyes. “What I want to know is the details, all the details you know.”
Shen Jia looked at Qi Cong and said in a tone filled with resistance, “Brother, let’s move forward, can’t we?”
“I’m asking this because I want to move on properly.”
They looked at each other, and finally, Shen Jia compromised first. His expression wrinkled. “Then wait until tonight. I’ll tell you.”
. . .
After lunch, Shen Jia and Zhao Zhenxun went on a meeting with the producers, directors, and writers of Legend of the Youth while Qi Cong stayed in the hotel room and took advantage of this idle time to take out his cell phone and access WeChat.
There were six unread messages on WeChat, two from Qi Yin and four from Gu Xun. Two of the messages from Gu Xun were reporting on the trip, two were asking if Qi Cong had a good lunch, the last message was sent at 1:43.
Qi Cong looked at the time on his cell phone; it was almost three o’clock. At this time, Gu Xun should have already left the hotel and gone to the film and television city to meet up with the crew and prepare to shoot the night scene.
He typed a reply.
Qi Cong: Until what time will you be busy tonight?
Gu Xun replied in seconds: If the shooting goes well, around eleven o’clock [pitiful]. Have you finished your work?
Qi Cong looked at the pitiful expression, lowered his eyes and replied, “Well, are you free tomorrow? I want to take you out to dinner.”
Gu Xun directly send a voice message. Qi Cong tapped on it.
“Okay. What do you want to eat? I’m familiar with this place. Do you want me to recommend it? Crabs are good this season. Do you want to eat crabs? Or for porridge? There is a porridge shop here that makes particularly good cinnamon porridge. Well, or would you like some soup?”
Gu Xun’s voice was full of joy, his tone upbeat and full of tantalizing expectations. His suggestions were considerate, knowing that Qi Cong was not good at spicy food, he only recommended food that was light.
Qi Cong was silent for a moment, and also returned with a voice message: “All right. I have to schedule an update. I’ll contact you tomorrow?”
Gu Xun quickly returned to the voice message with a sigh: “I will contact you tomorrow. Then . . . can I send you a good-night text tonight?”
Qi Cong listened to the voice repeatedly and remembered the promise he made with Shen Jia to talk this evening. He clicked on voice message and replied, “Yes”
. . .
This afternoon, Qi Cong writing efficiency was extremely poor. He would usually only spend two hours to write a chapter. But he couldn’t finish the chapter until Xiao Hian knocked on the door and informed him to have dinner.
He closed the computer, looked at the paper bag with the two calligraphies on the cabinet and got up, picked up his mobile phone, and left the room.
The dinner was with the entire crew of Legend of Youth. They occupied two private rooms of the hotel’s restaurant, and it was very lively. Qi Cong, as an assistant, was arranged to be in the second hall with Xiao Han and others and not with the director and others.
During the meal, the female assistant of an unknown actor who sat on the same table suddenly exclaimed with her cell phone in her hand. Then she approached her companion and said in a low voice, “Oh my God, I heard that Gu Xun did not stay in the hotel set by Above the Dynasty and stays alone in Dingli on the eleventh floor! It’s just downstairs!”
Her companion was so frightened that he almost choked, his eyes wide. “Really?”
“Really. Someone saw him, and all the photos were passed to the group. Wow, Gu Xun’s downstairs. Shen Jia and Lian Pengxing are upstairs. I am in heaven!”
“Keep your voice down!”
Qi Cong glanced over there and squeezed his chopsticks. Did Gu Xun leave the cast to live alone? Before he thought that the crew of Above the Dynasty also happened to choose Dingli.
When the second room’s side finished eating, the first room’s side where the director and others are dining was having a lively drinking session. Xiao Han asked Zhao Zhenxun and got the permission that all the assistants could go back to their rooms in advance to have a rest, so a group of assistants retreated ahead of time and followed the other group of people who left after dinner and went to the hall to wait for the elevators to go upstairs. Soon, the elevator on the right stopped, the doors opened, and the figures of Jiang Zhaoyan and a man with a slightly cold and proud temperament appeared.
Qi Cong’s expression, which was relaxed, instantly sank as he looked at Jiang Zhaoyan; his deeply buried hatred was stirred. Obviously, he has been warned and had gone this far, so why did he appear again? He finally had a direction in his life, and he and Gu Xun . . . It was not easy to start all over again.
Jiang Zhaoyan also saw Qi Cong outside the elevator car. He was obviously stunned for a moment, and then his eyes immediately locked on Qi Cong as he scanned Qi Cong from top to bottom like a barcode scanner. Then his brow slowly wrinkled, and his mouth reprimanded, “What the hell are you doing? Who told you to dress like that?”
The man standing next to Jiang Zhaoyan tilted his head, followed Jiang Zhaoyan’s line of sight, and raised his eyebrow as he smiled at Qi Cong. “I didn’t expect to see the young master of the Sanmu family here. I’m An Xiahe. I don’t know if you remember me, but in junior high school, we were classmates in adjacent classes for a while.”
Everyone in the elevator room looked at Qi Cong. Xiao Han and others smelled that something was wrong, YuanYuan pulled Qi Cong’s clothes and asked in low voice, “Brother Cong, is that someone you know?”
“Yes,” Qi Cong replied, glancing over Jiang Zhaoyan and An Xiahe, hardening the ice and bringing the knife, “A former boss who unscrupulously exploited his employees and a small punk with an impressive history of school violence.”
As soon as these words came out, the place became quiet, and the expressions of Jiang Zhaoyan and An Xiahe changed.
Edited by: Faro