完美关系 羲和清零 032

The Perfect Relationship by Xi He Qing Ling

Chapter 32: Follow on Weibo

Next to him, Lu Lingxuan summarized the profiles: “Bai Xiaozhi and Jia Siqi are artists in our company. Even though they aren’t as popular as you are, the three of you will go to the show together. Primarily, they are there to highlight and support you. Yu Ruize and Wang Chen are from Tianyue Media and I guess Yu Ruize is Wang Chen’s support.”

Yin Chang: “The three of us are representing our company?”

Lu Lingxuan smiled and said: “Yes. Three to two. We don’t have to be afraid of them.”

Yin Chang was amused by her metaphor. She said it wasn’t a game and yet, it was three to two.

Lu Lingxuan added: “To get acquainted with one another, I will make arrangements for you to meet Bai Xiaozhi and Jia Siqi in two days.”

Yin Chang nodded: “No problem.”

At home resting on the couch, Yin Chang looked over the information that Lu Lingxuan gave him. Like an encyclopedia, there were notes about height, weight, birthday, blood type, hobbies, etc.… Without an in-depth description, a persons’ true character wouldn’t be understood from such statistics. As a result, Yin Chang turned to the internet and searched Weibo for their respective social media accounts.

Among the four, Wang Chen had the most fans, even more so than Yin Chang. Since his Weibo account only posted very official statements about his activities and advertisements,  his account was likely managed by his agent.

At the top of his Weibo page, the short watch advertisement he shot for VI not long ago was running. Yin Chang sighed when it was over. After all of the production involved in creating the commercial such as the lighting, the makeup, the set…. Yin Chang doesn’t even know if the person in the commercial was the same Wang Chen he had met.

He recalled something Yao Manhuai said about ‘Idols rely on packaging’, but he didn’t know what that meant at the time. After watching the video, he completely understood how the entertainment industry has the means to make ordinary people sparkle.

Yu Ruize had the second-highest fan base but even so, from tens of millions to only a million, it was nearly a 10-fold magnitude difference between them.

According to the information, Yu Ruize was an actor in a successful drama last year.  Even though the cast consisted of new actors, the drama won several awards. In the past, Yu Ruize often participated in activities with the other members of the cast but recently, several of them have moved on to newer works.

Tianyue Media, where Yu Ruize and Wang Chen work, was a large company with deep pockets and plentiful resources. Like Yin Chang, Yu Ruize was also in the magazine ‘New People’. Going by what Yin Chang saw on Yu Ruize’s Weibo pages, it seems like he was filming a new TV drama.

Next, he wanted to look at Nova Entertainment’s Bai Xiaozhi and Jia Siqi. The difference between the numbers of fans was surprising. Their fan base was much less. Together, they barely managed to scrape up 900,000 fans.

Moreover, the person with the least number of fans posted the most on Weibo. Yin Chang browsed through them. Jia Siqi posted more than 4000 statements about his daily life such as his activities and places he visited. The documentary style painted a colorful self-portrait of a young man at the peak of his youth.

Interestingly, he frequently referenced Bai Xiaozhi.  Almost half of Jia Siqi posts were directed at him. Even so, Bai Xiaozhi rarely ever replied. That’s right. Out of ten Weibo comments by Jia Siqi, nine of them were directed at Bai Xiaozhi.

Under a picture of food and beer was the comment: “Happily out tonight with Bai Xiaozhi !”

– Bai Xiaozhi replied: “Says the guy who can’t even pour himself a glass.”

– Fan replied: “Ha-ha-ha-ha. Are you even old enough to drink?”

Below a photo of them together at the restaurant was a statement: “Our agents say we are like a couple. What do you think?”

– Fans having fun: “Ahhhhh! To be together…… Love it!”

– Bai Xiaozhi replied: “Fuck off.”

– Fans laughing wildly: “Today, we are also abandoned by Xiaozhi!”

An image of a blue Porsche sports car with Jia Siqi’s comment: “A birthday gift from my mother! I love my mother!”

– Fans: “Wow! So rich!”

– Bai Xiaozhi commented: “Did you get your driver’s license?”

Many Fans laughed and poked fun. While some copy-pasted Bo Xiaozhi’s comment, others asked if he was old enough to drive.”

With a cropped photo of just someone’s legs on exercise equipment: “If the words ‘give up’ come to mind, you must simply tell yourself you have nothing. If you have nothing, then there is no reason to give up!”

– Bai Xiaozhi replied: If it isn’t broken, there is nothing to fix. Who doesn’t know how lavish your house really is! [Hate]

– Fan: “Ha-ha. I’m in pain just looking. Don’t work so hard! Go and be a rich second generation kid instead!”

  ……

After reading several posts and subsequent comments, Yin Chang laughed out loud. The play between friends, roasting and poking fun, the whole account was cheerful and lively. An image of a cool and collected person paired with a boisterous character came to mind.

The banter was inviting and the positive feelings were contagious. Yin Chang couldn’t help but want to be friends too. However, when he wanted to follow them on Weibo, he realized he was logged-in as an anonymous person.

He enthusiastically launched WeChat and sent a message to Lu Lingxuan: “Can you tell me the login and password of my official Weibo account?”

Lu Lingxuan: “Huh? What are you going to do?”

Yin Chang: “I want to friend and follow both Jia Siqi and Bo Xiaozhi.”

Lu Lingxuan: “Okay. I’ll send it to you! You can also message them privately and make  arrangements to meet them in advance.”

After logging into his account, Yin Chang ignored the tens of thousands of unread private messages and searched directly for Jia Siqi and Bo Xiaozhi on Weibo in order to add them as friends. Little did he realize that they had already been following Yin Chang.

Just now, Jia Siqi posted a new Weibo comment.

Jia Siqi: “My agent just surprised me! I’m about to go on a popular show with Bai Xiaozhi! [Happy] [Happy]

Although his fans aren’t many, they were very active. In just a few minutes, his fans had already begun to make speculations and inundated him with comments already.

– “What show are you going to participate in?”

– “Is it “My Best Friend”?”

“My Best Friend” was a new variety show that was growing in popularity. Even so, it still had a long way to go to match the audience of ‘Idols Face to Face’.  Through their banter, clearly, the fans have a good relationship with their idol.

– Someone replied: “If Jia Siqi is going with Bai Xiaozhi, it must be “My Best Friend”, right? [Har-Har]

– “No, no, no. It should be “Roasting My Best Friend!”

– “Oh, my God! My Best Friend! When? I can’t miss it!”

  ……

Yin Chang thought the comments were interesting. Not only did the fans give their praise, they also sent comments and emoticons. Unlike the plain and uniform message Yin Chang got on his Weibo account, Jia Siqi’s fans seemed genuine. That’s right, only friends can speak unscrupulously without worrying whether or not the other person will be angry.

After following the two, Yin Chang couldn’t help but give Jia Siqi post a like.

Looking at the time, it was getting pretty late. Yin Chang put down his phone and got ready to go to bed. When he was washing, he thought of Yu Ruize and started feeling bad. Even though he and Wang Chen were in the same company, he hadn’t yet met Yu Ruize. Since they were going to meet eventually on the show Yin Chang went to search for his Weibo.

When he finished brushing his teeth, he searched for Yu Ruize’s Weibo, followed him then turned off his phone and went to bed.

Twenty minutes ago…. In Nova Entertainment’s dormitory, since training was finished for the day, Jia Siqi and Bo Xiaozhi were lying in bed relaxing and playing with their phones.

Two years ago, 16-year-old Jia Siqi and 17-year-old Bo Xiaozhi along with Yang Yan, registered with Nova Entertainment. After one year of training, the three stood out from the pack and formed the YJB boy-band. They debuted together as pop-stars.

However, the road wasn’t so glamorous after their debut as they thought it would be. Their album fell flat and the company had no intention of producing another. In order to grow, they decided to split and seek other avenues for development. Now, Yang Yan was an actor and has achieved some fame through a recent hit drama.

Since Bo Xiaozhi and Jia Siqi were very young, they opted to stay with the company to train further and wait for better opportunities. In fact, because they had the right image and personality, their popularity should have been explosive, but it was not. However, the company continued to invest in their future.

Today, Jia Siqi and Bo Xiaozhi heard from their agent that she had secured them a new opportunity.

When they learned that they were going to participate on the show, Idols Face-to-Face, the two were quite excited. However, when they learned they were only there to support Yin Chang, the two of them had mixed feelings.

On the side, they had been watching Yin Chang account for the last several months and witnessed Yin Chang’s fan base rise from nothing to millions in such a short time.

The entertainment industry was such a cruel place. Every year, a new person emerges at the top of the class and was promoted as the next greatest star. In reality, it’s not easy. A super-star was very rare.

Bai Xiaozhi opened Weibo and browsed through Yin Chang’s social media postings. His stats and popularity made him envious: “Hey, some people were born to royalty. No matter how hard we try, a peasant will always be a peasant.”

Nearby, Jia Siqi bitterly said: “Bai Xiaozhi, don’t say it out load. I’m a bit upset.”

Over the past two years they have had many setbacks. It’s frustrating. The dream of becoming a super-star is long past. They know very well that they are simply there as side characters to support Yin Chang.

Depressed, Jia Siqi tried to cheer himself up: “No matter what, it’s good news! This is our biggest exposure in two months! I’m going to tweet to my fans!”

Bai Xiaozhi glanced at him helplessly. He really doesn’t know why he could be so motivated. The amount of energy he spent during the past two years without results was exhausting.

After posting on Weibo, Jia Siqi nudged him and routinely said: “Come on, go retweet!”

Bai Xiaozhi tossed away his mobile phone in annoyance and turned around to think about it.

He was different from Jia Siqi because unlike Jia Siqi’s wealthy family, his was an ordinary middle-class family. From the start, he had trouble getting permission from his parents to let him come and try his hand out in the entertainment industry. If he hasn’t made it by the end of the year, he planned to go back home and study for the college entrance exam. Studying and taking the standardized tests… what a headache!

Ten minutes later, Jia Siqi suddenly exclaimed: “…Ah!”

Bai Xiaozhi ignored him. The kid always made such a fuss.

But then, Jia Siqi continuously cried: “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!”

“What are you doing?” Bai Xiaozhi was so annoyed that he wanted to hit him with a pillow.

Jia Siqi faced him excitedly: “Yin Chang…. He followed me!”

Bai Xiaozhi: “???”

Bai Xiaozhi quickly grabbed his mobile phone and took a look. His eyes widened unbelievably. There was a notification – Yin Chang is now following you.

Jia Siqi: “Ah, ah, Yin Chang also liked my post I just made! I’m gaining followers! I’m gaining followers!!!”

“Maybe he knew we were going to participate on the tv show with him so he paid attention to us.” Bai Xiaozhi looked much calmer than Jia Siqi. Even though he stated it so matter-of-fact, he was also very excited because he witnessed the power of Yin Chang’s comment in an instant.

At the same time, Wang Chen also got a call from his own agent: “Wang Chen, Yin Chang is following the Weibo of the guests who’s going to be on “Idols Face-to-Face” with him including Yu Ruize.”

Wang Chen: “Huh? So what?”

Agent: “I suggest you also look up the other two stars from his company, Bai Xiaozhi and Jia Siqi.”

Wang Chen: “What Weibo? Who are they?”

The agent repeated the names of Bo Xiaozhi and Jia Siqi and also explained their backgrounds.

Wang Chen said in disbelief: “Their resume is so short, why?  I don’t know them!”

Agent: “As soon as the guest list of Idols Face-to-Face is announced tomorrow, fans will know that you are going to be on the show together. Yin Chang is acting so generously and friendly now, I’m afraid if you don’t respond, someone will bad-mouth you and say that you are too arrogant.”

Wang Chen was so angry that he hung up the phone on his agent and anxiously paced in the room. …….What is Yin Chang doing, why does he want to pay attention to Yu Ruize!

After staying up all night thinking about the situation, in order to protect himself, Wang Chen gritted his teeth and followed Bo Xiaozhi and Jia Siqi on Weibo.

On the other side of town, two young men stayed up all night watching the number of Weibo fans rise steadily. When they discovered Wang Chen was one of the new followers, they were completely witless.

____________________

Vignette

ONE:

   Yin Chang: The entertainment industry really has a way to make ordinary people sparkle!

  Wang Chen: What? You said I’m just an ordinary person! ?

   Yin Chang: If you aren’t ordinary, are you a fairy?

   Wang Chen:…

  ————

TWO:

   Wang Chen: Look what you did!

   Yin Chang (innocent): What did I do?

  Wang Chen: You forced me to pay attention to two nobodies! And that damn Bo Xiaozhi, he hasn’t even paid attention to me at all!

   Yin Chang (touching chin): He seems to be quite cold.

  Wang Chen: What qualifications does he have for snubbing me!?  (╯‵□′)┻━┻

完美关系 羲和清零 031

The Perfect Relationship by Xi He Qing Ling

Chapter 31: Idols Face-to-Face

Since he had already carried his pillow and blanket to the study, Yin Chang didn’t want to ask Shao Junling to go back. He could only acquiesce in his early move.

After the bedding was moved, Yin Chang watched Shao Junling walk back to the hall bathroom, come out with his toothbrush, cup, and small towel in hand and bring them to the master bathroom.

Yin Chang: “……” This little guy really doesn’t care about privacy?

Yin Chang watched Shao Junling wash his face and brush his teeth with trepidation. Sure enough, when Yin Chang followed him into the study, he saw the mess on the bed. Shao Junling never made the bed. He ignored the sheets and simply laid down.

“You stand aside…” Yin Chang properly tucked in the sheets and folded the blanket before letting Shao Junling into the bed.

Indeed, the bed in the study was a lot smaller than the bed in the guest room. However, Yin Chang specifically bought him a new bedside table as to allow a place for Shao Junling to put a small night lamp on. The warm light illuminating the study made it cozy.

When Shao Junling went to lie down, Yin Chang asked him: “Are you comfortable?”

Shao Junling whispered:  “Mmm”.

Looking at him, Yin Chang suddenly thought of the photos he found two days ago while packing his father’s belongings in the study. He couldn’t help but ask: “Shao Junling, do you remember what happened to you before you went to the welfare institute?”

On hearing this, Shao Junling narrowed his eyes and pulled up the quilt nervously.

“What’s wrong?” Yin said to his consternation. Can you tell me?”

Shao Junling’s strong reaction surprised Yin Chang. He probed further: “What’s the matter? Can you tell me about it? ”

Shao Junling quickly refused with a stern face: “No.”

Yin Chang: “……”

His simple admission ‘no’ rather than ‘don’t remember’ suggested he does know something about his experiences before he was five but for some reason, he didn’t want to say.

After hearing Shao Junling’s straightforward rejection, Yin Chang didn’t want to pry further, so he gave up: “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. Good night.”

After turning off the lights for him, Yin Chang went back to his own bed and went to sleep.

On the small bed in the study, holding the quilt tight, Shao Junling clenched the blankets and shut his eyes. He did not know how long it took for him to finally fall asleep.

In the middle of the night, Yu Chang was suddenly awakened by groaning noises coming from the study.

Yin Chang suddenly got off the bed and rushed over. Turning on the light, he saw the figure on the bed curled up into a ball, babbling unconsciously, covered in sweat, and trembling.

“Shao Junling?” Yin Chang was startled. He quickly squatted down to wake him up: “Are you having a nightmare?”

Even though the little guy opened his eyes slightly, he seemed to be in a trance. Feeling Yin Chang’s hand on his cheeks, Shao Junling looked at Yin Chang in a daze.

Subconsciously, Yin Chang leaned forward and rubbed his forehead and cheeks, offering some small comfort. Normally, Shao Junling was like a stubborn donkey. Rarely has Yin Chang seen him look so weak and helpless. With such a pitiful appearance, Yin Chang felt sorry for him and in a low, soothing voice he said: “It’s okay….”

Relieved by Yin Chang touch and calming tone, Shao closed his eyes again and gradually fell back to sleep.

Yin Chang looked at him for a while with a myriad of thoughts in his mind. What kind of nightmare does a ten-year-old child have that could put him in so much distress? Could it be related to his past? Was it because of the questions Yin Chang asked? If that’s the case, he won’t ask Shao Junling about his past ever again.

The next day, Shao Junling acted like nothing happened during the night. Yin Chang watched him eat his breakfast like he usually did in silence. Since it seemed like Shao Junling had no recollection of his nightmare, Yin Chang didn’t bring it up.

Five days later, Fiona arrived. The next time Shao Junling came home for the weekend, the two of them officially met.

Making the introductions, Yin Chang said: “This is Shao Junling; the child whom my father planned to adopt.”

Fiona looked at the boy in front of her and smiled lovingly: “He really resembles Mr. Yin…”

Although Yin Chang knew it was true, when he heard Fiona admit it out loud, he felt his heart sour.

He suppressed his unsettled emotions and said to Shao Junling: “This is Fiona.”

Shao Junling repeated obediently: “Yang Na.”

Yin Chang corrected his pronunciation: “It’s Fiona, Fi-on-na…there is an F sound in front.”

Without expression, Shao Junling repeated: “Yang Na.”

Yin Chang: “……”

Chuckling, Fiona commented: “Yang Na is Yang Na. This is a good name too. From now on, you can call me Yang Na.”

Shao Junling seemed pleased. After the new housekeeper “Yang Na” was introduced, she spent the afternoon in the kitchen cooking a hearty home-cooked meal for the brothers. Her superb cooking skills quickly won over Shao Junling. In only two days, this little guy followed her everywhere like a puppy, eager to be fed.


 ***

From the beginning of autumn to the end, the leaves naturally fell. December arrived in a blink of an eye.

In the private lounge of Tianyue Media, Wang Chen was leaning on a sofa while watching the commercial he shot for VI. Today was the launch of the new VI watch advertising campaign and Wang Chen image had replaced the previous spokesperson. As a result, Wang Chen’s recent popularity had increased.

Although Yin Chang got the luxury BG endorsement, Wang Chen’s agent tried to appease him with his own analysis. The BG watch was too expensive for an everyday person. In other words, Yin Chang’s endorsement was very limited in scope and thus, offered him much less exposure. In contrast, VI’s audience was much broader. Since success in the entertainment industry was linked to popularity, once a celebrity was out of site and out of mind, they were already standing with one foot in a grave.

After listening to the agent’s comments, Wang Chen felt better. In any case, the new advertising campaign for BG won’t be released until next year. Wang Chen is still the most popular rookie in the entertainment industry.

As Wang Chen was immersed in his own thoughts, his agent came over and smacked him on the head with a small stack of rolled-up documents: “What kind of fantasy are you dreaming about that drool is flowing out of your mouth!”

“Eh?” Wang Chen hurriedly closed his lips and said with attitude: “What’s that for? Is something going on?”

The agent pretended to be dramatic: “There’s good news and bad news. Which one do you want to hear first?”

Wang Chen sneered: “Don’t be so cliché. Hurry up and just say it. Don’t stall!”

The agent smiled and said: “The TV program, Idols Face-to-Face, wants you to be a guest on their variety show.”

Wang Chen jumped up excitedly: “Wow! Really?”

His agent raised his eyebrows: “You think I’m lying?”

“Idols Face-to-Face” was a highly rated variety show that interviews celebrities. It specially invites the most popular young idols to be guests. As was the case with the magazine ‘New People’, being on the show was a mark of being a true celebrity. Both standards are used as criteria for other celebrities to gauge whether or not a person is truly famous.

Since Wang Chen won the newcomer title from “Absolute Idol”, he has been waiting for an invitation to appear on the show for almost four months.

Having disregarded any sense of ‘bad news’, Wang Chen spat out: “Finally, they invited me. Ha-ha! It seems this young master’s popularity is so great that they have to pay attention to me!”

Before Wand Chen could say more, the agent interrupted him. He couldn’t afford to let Wang Chen continue his dream so he bluntly delivered the bad news: “Yin Chang was also invited.”

Each broadcast of Idol Face to Face involves more than one celebrity. In addition to the interview, there are various activities for the celebrities to participate in during the show. Normally, two high-profile stars are invited officially. There are a few less-known people on the show to help highlight the stars and facilitate the games.

As soon as he heard it, he exclaimed: “What!? Yin Chang again!? ”

…..Is that guy trying to snuff me out? Last time it was the watch endorsement and this time it’s a talk show!

The agent tried to comfort him by saying: “I’ve already inquired about the invitations so you don’t have to worry about it. They invited Yin Chang first. It was just coincidence that the two of you would be together. I heard Yin Chang already accepted the offer. The producer said if you don’t want to meet him, he can make you the guest star of the next episode!”

When Wang Chen heard what his Agent said, he nearly exploded. What’s this? …the producer invited Yin Chang first?  … he could be the star of the next episode? Can’t he be the star of this episode?

Wang Chen: “No! I’m going! I can’t go to this show after Yin Chang!” ….Otherwise, I’ll lose!

Agent: “……”

However, now that he said it, Wang Chen was reminded of the crushing feeling he had during the audition for VI. Wang Chen could act, sing and dance for he was the Absolute Idol! But, what if they went together and Yin Chang stole the show? It’s not possible to be as good as him, right? Wang Chen couldn’t help but be scared.  

The agent seemed to see his concerns and offered comfort: “Yin Chang is only strong in fashion shoots. In other respects, he is very stiff. You saw it that day in the audition. Besides, you have already had experience fighting to the top on Absolute Idol. Since it’s the first time he will be on TV, he will probably be more nervous than you will be so you don’t need to worry so much.”

Hearing what the agent had said, Wang Chen recalled Yin Chang’s stiff acting when he was filming the commercial for VI. He sneered and said: “That’s right. I am much better than him.”

The agent added: “Furthermore, the members of the live audience are prearranged. Since the producers invited the both of you, they will make sure your respective fans are equal in numbers sitting in the audience.”

Relaxing noticeably, Wang Chen waved his hand: “Then let’s do it.”

Agent: “Okay. The show will be recorded in the afternoon on December 29. It will be aired two weeks later on Saturday night. I will ask the program manager to send the script to you in advance so you can prepare for it carefully.”

Wang Chen: “The afternoon on the 29th? I’m supposed to go to my sister’s place for dinner that day. I guess I’ll just go afterwards”

The agent asked, “What? There’s another family dinner?”

Wang Chen pushed his bangs out of his eyes and said: “No. My little nephew asked me to come home for dinner to meet his classmate. I heard his classmate wants to meet me. Even elementary kids are my fans so I have to go back and meet him.”

Agent: “Yes. Your fan base is greatly expanding.”

***

At the same time, in the practice room of Nova Entertainment, Lu Lingxuan is teaching Yin Chang how to deal with the TV show by explaining the script of Idols Face-to-Face to him.

“There are five guests on the show. The host will ask you questions one-by-one, most of which are written here….. How well you interact with each other on the fly is the key to a variety show. In addition, it’s important to know the people on the show in advance so you can prepare. One of your biggest strengths is your looks. As long as you can behave normally, it will be enough to attract viewers…”

Lu Lingxuan  continued: “I’ve compiled information about the other four guests for you. Look over the profiles and think of them as your friends. When you get on stage, it will be like chatting with your buds. It’ll be very easy….”

Yin Chang looked down and quickly glanced at the list of artists scheduled to be on Idols Face to Face:  Bai Xiao Zhi, Jia Siqi, Yu Ruize, Wang Chen……

  …. Wang Chen again?

____________________

Vignette

ONE:

   Wang Chen: “We are all dependent on the amount of viewers we have. The endorsement for BG is useless for you!”

   Yin Chang: “What misunderstandings do you have about me?”

  Wang Chen: “???” Damn, do you even want to be a celebrity?”

   Yin Chang: “I am just a magazine model now, thank you :)”

  Wang Chen: “…” Why is my honor being smashed in by a magazine model!?  (#°Д°)

TWO:

  Wang Chen: Why aren’t I the protagonist even when Yin Chang is with me!?

   Author (unconcered):  Because he’s the main character of this book.

___________________

next chapter >>>

完美关系 羲和清零 030

The Perfect Relationship by Xi He Qing Ling

Chapter 30: Another Name

The vibe in the room changed suddenly. Since the marketing manager noticed Wang Chen’s pale complexion, he smiled and urged everyone on: “Everyone to dinner first. We can talk more later.”

“That’s right, let’s eat first,” Wang Chen’s agent reiterated. “Everyone is tired after a long day of work.”

Heading out, the crowd of people huddling around Wang Chen, lead him away. Was Wang Chen even in the mood to eat? Even though he earned the endorsement for VI, Yin Chang once again jumped ahead and earned an invitation to represent a luxury brand for the elite. The whole thing was unbelievable. Even so, as the main character tonight, he was the one that had to go to dinner.

At the banquet, people from VI’s China division congratulated him, including the other models who had come to audition as supportive players. Even in their presence, Wang Chen’s attention had been on Yin Chang and Luca across the way.

Since their arrival to the banquet, Luca had been next to Yin Chang. Sitting side by side, they were happily engrossed in conversation, none of which could Wang Chen follow.

From beginning to end, the art director of VI never saw him as the real “winner.”

The most annoying part about the whole thing was when Yin Chang got up after dinner and walked over to Wang Chen and said: “Congratulations.”

Wang Chen: “……” Congratulations? Screw you!! (╯‵□′)╯︵┻━┻

On the way back home, since Yin Chang was puzzled about Wang Chen attitude, he asked Lu Lingxuan for her opinion: “Didn’t Wang Chen get the endorsement for VI? Why did he seem so upset?”

Lu Lingxuan: “Uh…. Are you really wondering or are you pretending to be stupid?”

Yin Chang: “???”

Lu Lingxuan was really at a loss when she saw his bewilderment so she explained: “Although Wang Chen won the audition for VI, your invitation for BG is a luxury brand that is normally carried by well-known A-list stars. It would be something on the level as your Father and thus, it isn’t surprising he may be unhappy.”

Sitting in the front passenger seat, Yao Manhuai was also laughing. It turned out that Yin Chang had no clue how lucky he really was.

After a moment of reflection, Yin Chang said: “Well, even if I wasn’t there, Wang Chen wouldn’t have gotten the BG endorsement either. So, what’s he so upset about?”

Lu Lingxuan choked – That’s the point!

Yao Manhuai turned around to face Yin Chang and said: “He probably thinks of you as a rival.”

Yin Chang: “…really?”  Is that why he talked trash behind his back – to feel empowered by demeaning his competitor? That’s in poor taste and lacks sportsmanship.

Yao Manhuai: “Overall, I think today turned out well. He got the Vi endorsement on his own, and you got the BG endorsement on yours. It’s a win-win situation. If you had taken his endorsement away, the relationship between our agencies would be tested and potentially could cause problems in the future.”

Yin Chang nodded in understanding: “Hmm…”

Since Yin Chang and Wang Chen were similar in age, they would inevitably cross paths again. Yao Manhuai wondered what he thought about him: “You met Wang Chen today so what do you think of him?”

Yin Chang thought for a while: “Do you want me to tell you the truth?”

Yao Manhuai: “Of course, everyone in the car is part of my agency. Just say whatever you want.”

Yin Chang frowned than commented: “In person, he is different than the magazine photos. It’s like a trick. I didn’t even recognize him when I first saw him today.”

Yao Manhuai: “……”

Lu Lingxuan: “……”

In unison, they remarked: “This kind of thing must never be said to his face in the future!!”

Feeling anxious, Lu Lingxuan quickly warned: “It’s not just him! No matter how large the gap is, you can’t say those things to any celebrity in the future! Otherwise, people will take offense!”

Yin Chang was speechless: “I know that. Didn’t you just ask me to tell you truthfully?” Of course, Yin Chang is not without emotional intelligence. Certainly, he would not say those comments out loud to someone.

   ***

After the watch endorsement incident passed, Yin Chang resumed his daily work. Aside from the fashion and magazine photo-shoots, he regularly went to the company to attend an assortment of classes.

Yin Chang took the opportunity between shoots and activities to talk to Teacher Lin about Shao Junling’s progress at school. He hasn’t caused any trouble recently. Every day he was going to all of his classes and getting along with the other kids, even Xue Zi.

Yu Chang was relieved when he heard about it. It seemed, the small cupcake that Shao Junling brought in played a role in making peace.

In the morning, Yin Chang received news from Fiona. With the furniture covered in large dust-cloths and household items packed, she had finished cleaning and prepping his foreign house for a long-term absence. She was ready to come over at any time.

Yin Chang was very happy. Suddenly, he thought of the fact that there were only two bedrooms in the apartment. He didn’t know where Fiona would stay when she comes.

He didn’t want it to cause a problem, but he also didn’t want to move anymore, so he asked security if there were any vacant houses being rented in the same community. Regretfully, the security guards told him no. The community attaches great importance to privacy and the real-estate owners weren’t short of money. As a result, many of them would rather leave the house empty, save for the furniture, than to rent it out.

After thinking about it all day at work, Yin Chang went home and looked around for a solution. In fact, his home was not small. The master bedroom alone was nearly a hundred square meters, never mind the adjacent den and connected cloakroom.

Yin Chang measured the size of the study and found by adjusting the placement of his father’s desk, a single bed could easily fit in the space. Since Shao Junling occasionally returned to the apartment, he could sleep here and Fiona could use the second bedroom.

The only drawback was the lack of a door in the study. Since the large master bed was directly opposite, there wouldn’t be any privacy at all. Yin Chang felt like it might be asking too much of Shao Junling to sleep here.

On one hand, he doesn’t know how difficult it will be to get along. On the other hand, Shao Junling lives at school. Since he was required to stay at school for another year, even if he came back for a few of weekends, it wouldn’t be hard to bear.

For the moment, it’s the only method Yin Chang can use to temporarily solve the problem. When Shao Junling starts to study, or when he gets older, it will be inconvenient. He will simply have to find a new solution when the time comes.

Now that his decision was made, to make space in the den for Shao Junling, Yin Chang took the time to pack and seal up his father’s mementos, books, awards and certificates. Even though four months have passed since his father’s death, going through his belongings invoked his cherished memories of his father and made him feel sad.

Once, his father told him that all things related to his mother were destroyed because he was afraid of remembering her. Even if it was a lie to deceive him, now he fully understood his father’s reasons.

The more he thought about it, the more difficult it would be emotionally. In order to assuage his feelings, Yin Chang packed up the room as fast as he could. Even though he moved fast, he wasn’t haphazardly putting his father’s things away. As he was moving items from the desk, an envelope slipped out of a notebook and onto the floor.

Yin Chang picked it up and was taken by surprise when he read the writing on the front. It said “Jingxue Welfare Institute.”

Opening the envelope, there was a photo inside. Taking it out, Yin Chang looked at it and saw an image of a child that was maybe two or three years old. The child in the photo was smiling. As Yin Chang stared at it for a while, he realized the photo was that of Shao Junling. Flipping it over, there was a note written on the backside:

— Shao Jun

— December 29, 200X

….Shao Jun? Not Shao Junling?

Turning it over, Yin Chang inspected the photograph carefully, making sure the image was in fact Shao Junling. Since Yin Chang was present on the day Yao Manhuai adopted Shao Junling, he remembered the information in his adoption papers. His birthday matched the date written on the back of the photo.

….What’s going on – Shao Junling had another name?

After the news broke, Yao Manhuai and Lawyer Wang investigated thoroughly. To gather as much information as possible, not only did they travel to many places locally, they also went to the Civil Affairs Bureau in the capital to look up his registration. Since there weren’t records of the child before they found him on the streets at the age of five, the Bureau assigned him the name “Shao Junling.”

Yin Chang eyes bore a hole in the photograph with a newfound understanding. Previously, he thought the lack of information about Shao Junling was due to his father’s intervention to cover-up an illegitimate child. However, his conjecture was unclear. Simply. if the child’s origin was unknown, how could Yin Dong know of his existence? This photograph seemed to prove Yin Chang’s initial train of thought.

Grabbing the envelope, he looked at it more carefully. Without a postmark or return address, it was unclear from where it came. The letter was probably hand-delivered to his father. That person, whomever they were, was probably the only person who knew the truth.

….But why didn’t the person come forward when there was a public outcry?

Recalling the notebook that this letter fell from, Yin Chang reached over to pick it up and inspected it. As he flipped through it, he noticed most of the pages were in Yin Dong’s own handwriting, until there was a page with the name, Jing Xue, written on it at the bottom. Presumably, this is the spot in the notebook where the letter fell from.

Opening the book to get a closer look, Yin Chang saw the faint scrawl of handwriting. Next to the name, there was a telephone number that looked familiar. Searching the internet, he confirmed that the phone number was the same number as the Welfare Institute.

In addition, below was another string of numbers: 138XXXXXXXX”

Yin Chang hesitated for a moment, took a deep breath, and dialed the number with his mobile phone. However, a “not in service” message answered his call.

Yin Chang was startled by the recorded message and hung up in frustration. The incident made him upset because he wasn’t able to learn anything more about Shao Junling’s past than he already knew. Although he had confirmed Shao Junling’s relation to Yin Dong because of the paternity test he found, he still wanted to know why Yin Dong seemingly hid the boy. What happened to Shao Junling? Who was his mother? Was he really abandoned?

……

Over the weekend, Shao Junling came home.

In advance, Yin Chang spoke to him about Fiona. She was the housekeeper Yin Chang grew up with and will be returning from abroad to take care of their daily lives.

Shao Junling seemed a little confused about the news. However, when Yin Chang mentioned the food that she will prepare for them, his eyes lit up and he nodded vigorously.

“Fiona will have to stay in your room when she comes. Since you are here for less time, I want you to move to the study. It’s the one next to my bedroom. Okay?”, Yin Chang explained as he showed him the recently cleared room with a new single bed.

Shao Junling glanced at the inside of his new room then looked at Yin Chang’s bedroom. Turning red he nodded.

Yin Chang further elaborated: “Since there isn’t a door here, we could install a curtain or something in the meantime…”

Listening, Shao Junling started shaking his head quickly side to side.

Yin Chang frowned: “Speak up. Don’t just nod and shake your head to answer.”

Shao Junling’s voice was muffled: “No…no need.”

Yin Chang: “…”  Without privacy, Yin Chang thought Shao Junling wouldn’t accept the idea. Now that it’s like this, Yin Chang didn’t think it was he, who wouldn’t be able to adapt. Yin Chang could only replay with: “We’ll wait and see how it goes.”

Now that his sleeping arrangements were handled, Yin Chang booked Fiona’s flight back to China.

After dinner that night, the brothers worked independently for some time. When Yin Chang felt tired, he told Shao Junling goodnight and went to his room to go to bed.

Separated by glass, the master bedroom came with its own bathroom. Through it, he saw Shao Junling half carrying and half dragging his pillow and blankets out of the study.

“You…” Yin Chang walked out with a toothbrush in his hand and said in a daze: “What are you doing?”

Shao Junling stopped and declared: “Sleep here.”

___________________

Vignette

ONE:

On the way back, the distraught Wang Chen told his agent: “You get me an English teacher right away!”

Agent: “???”

Wang Chen: “I’m going to learn English! I will speak English tomorrow!” (Cannot lose to Yin Chang)

Agent: “That’s what you said three years ago but after three days of learning, you lost the book crying and went to Korea.”

Wang Chen: “Shut up!” (╰╯)

TWO:

Yin Chang pointed to the study room: “You will sleep here in the future.”

Shao Junling: I can take care of my brother more closely. Awesome! o( ̄ヘ ̄o)

____________________

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