This time around, Luo Ding’s popularity was a little higher than the previous time he attended the “Fashion” anniversary celebration.
Many of the guests, who were currently present, overlapped with those at the anniversary party. So, when Luo Ding arrived, several guests who had talked with him at the previous banquet quickly gathered around to say hello.
Although Pan Yiming had not been able to enter the film industry, her position at the fore of the television drama industry was not low and it was unexpected that Luo Ding could invite her as a female companion.
It was not a secret in drama circles that Luo Ding had started filming and the news of Luo Ding’s role as Fu Zhu had also gradually become known.
But a small supporting actor and Pan Yiming, who was starring as the female lead, should have minor interactions at most. Pan Yiming did not have many friends in the industry and she paid particular attention to drawing a line of friendship between herself and male colleagues. In order to avoid gossip, other than for special events such as the red-carpet awards, she seldom appeared alone with male friends. What sort of personal relationship did Luo Ding rely on to make Pan Yiming ignore the bladed tongues of tabloid reporters and appear as his companion?
Members of the group exchanged private looks on seeing that though Luo Ding and Pan Yiming got along well with each other they were not in an ambiguous relationship. They could also tell that the personal relationship between the two was based on friendship. Gong Liangguang, Wu Yuan, Duan Xiubo, and Pan Yiming, none of these people were small-time characters. Yet since Luo Ding appeared in the public view, one by one, they had happily become his supporters.
Pan Yiming was familiar with many of the people present. Though she was cheerful and generous it did not mean that she was truly a silly elder sister. Her outgoing liveliness was the true face shown only to close friends. To the outside world, a woman who could still take titles despite debuting at young age naturally had her own way of communicating.
Pan Yiming gave the floor to Luo Ding while holding on to his wrist and smiling. As she calmly clinked her glass with the people who came around to greet him, her understanding of Luo Ding changed once again.
Under the light, the young man standing tall like a white birch tree was different from Luo Ding’s usual pure silence. After entering the banquet area, Pan Yiming felt that his aura was different. Calm, restrained, gentle, and leisurely, he was still silent, but it was obviously different from his languid silence when he was in private.
Pan Yiming could not resist looking up at him secretly. This Luo Ding often made her feel weird. He was obviously so many years younger than her but in conversations she always had the illusion that she was instead the junior. It was not that she was being too narcissistic, but that Luo Ding’s aura was too mature and not like a young man in his twenties! She could clearly feel that Luo Ding’s responses, which were not inferior to those of veteran seniors in the circle, was not a disguise. The distinction between self-confidence and arrogance could not be clearer to her perceptive eyes.
For Ji Jiahe and other fun-loving people, it was impossible for this private party to be as formal as the “Fashion” anniversary banquet. The people who attended this party were clearly two steps younger than at the last event. Most of them were young men and women between the ages of 20 and 35. The lights were dim, and the music was as dense as drums. Everyone was quite entertained. Groups of three to five people, even if they didn’t know each other, gathered together to pop champagne and to dance. The atmosphere was lively.
“Luo Ding!” Ji Jiahe’s voice cut through the noise with its characteristic husky sex appeal.
Luo Ding turned around and found that Ji Jiahe was wearing a playful dark green suit today. The other party seemed to have drunk some wine and was staring with extreme focus at Luo Ding. His eyes bright and fiery. When he drew closer, he found Pan Yiming holding on to Luo Ding’s arm and his brows furrowed slightly. He smiled and grinned a bit: “Accompanied by a beautiful lady, you have good luck!”
Luo Ding smiled and avoided Ji Jiahe’s attempt to grab his waist by shaking his hand: “The good care Pan jie has given me has become impure the moment you mentioned it.”
Ji Jiahe had run into a soft nail. He squinted and stared at Luo Ding’s cool eyes and felt like he had been forced to swallow terrible tasting medicine. But no matter how bitter it was he didn’t dare to act rashly after being rejected. Ji Jiahe didn’t know what was wrong with him. Clearly, he had dated countless big-name stars in the entertainment circle, yet in front of Luo Ding, he couldn’t help being timid.
He had no choice but to smile and take a step back while pretending to be indifferent: “Purity? It is wishful thinking for you to look for such a thing here!”
Ji Jiahe smiled and went to talk to Pan Yiming again. His eyes appeared to fall on the delicate hand with which Pan Yiming hung on to Luo Ding’s elbow and his fist clenched harder behind his back.
“The party will begin in ten minutes.” After a moment, he smiled ambiguously and pointed backwards. “The two of you should go over to the backyard to rest first?”
The backyard had an unbelievably large space and a furnished pool was raised above the ground. The translucent glass had a very interesting texture. The crystalline water surface reflected the lights from both sides which fell on the faces of the guests giving them the illusion that they were underwater.
A secluded nook was partitioned into a rest area, and the small standalone table was almost half full. Luo Ding considered Pan Yiming’s high heels which were not less than ten centimeters high and helped her to find a seat there.
The arrival of the duo attracted the attention of many people and not long after they sat down a man in an Armani suit came forward and patted Pan Yiming’s shoulder.
The smile in Pan Yiming’s eyes suddenly disappeared: “Mr. Lu?”
Luo Ding observed the change in her expression when she had first noticed this person. He looked to be about only twenty years old, had fashionably short brown curly hair and was dressed very expensively. The diamond watch on his wrist was nearly eight digits in value.
He was not a media person, and was unlike a celebrity, looking at his disposition he was by no means an actor. Thus, he was probably a rich man’s son.
Pan Yiming frowned slightly and nodded politely: “Thank you.” This man, named Lu Yuan had been pursuing her for six years now and his methods were quite fierce. He used to pull up with a truck full of roses every day at the entrance of the studio where she was filming to show his love. For a short while, Pan Yiming was even touched until she later heard the history of the Lu family’s rise in the underworld. Lu Yuan, as the fourth young master of the Lu family, had been wandering among this group of thugs since he was a child. He was an expert in smoking, drinking, drugs and gambling. Such people, even if they had money, will soon be dead.
It would be hard to tell but at first Lu Yuan had approached her with a playful mentality. After Pan Yiming had rejected him, he became serious. Luxury cars, villas, yachts, private jets, he promised it all yet he saw Pan Yiming retreating farther and farther away, and like a psychopath he became more and more interested.
Lu Yuan stared at Pan Yiming’s smile. He could feel the emptiness in his heart. The An group had too much influence. He didn’t dare to vie with a member of the An family for a woman. But for the first time in so many years, he had experienced the loss of rejection, and Pan Yiming had become like an unforgettable and unobtainable white rose.
Now, after seeing her for the first time in a long while, the other person was intimate with a young good-looking man, Lu Yuan’s heart seemed to have caught on fire and he couldn’t calm down.
Luo Ding saw that Pan Yiming didn’t want to have any interaction with the other party and quickly got up and stood beside her, while pushing her behind his arm to protect her.
Lu Yuan grabbed Luo Ding’s arm at once, and with a frown said: “Who are you?”
Luo Ding turned his head, a smile at the corner of his mouth. The placid look in his gaze was like a steel blade piercing into Lu Yuan’s eyes. For a moment, Lu Yuan unconsciously retracted his hands as if they were scalded.
“My name is Luo Ding.” Luo Ding adjusted his slightly wrinkled cuffs and stretched out his hand with a smile. “Hello, Mr. Lu.”
Lu Yuan’s palpitations did not fade, and he stared for a little while at the young man in front of him. Clearly, they were both at about the same age, and yet he had just felt the sense of deterrence he normally only felt from his father and brothers.
Unwittingly, he shook hands with Luo Ding and then looked back. Lu Yuan was both indignant and ashamed and thus his eyes that were fixed on Luo Ding spewed fire.
His band of brothers behind him noticed that there was something wrong with the scene and gathered around behind Lu Yuan with some distrust.
Luo Ding’s eyebrow was slightly raised, and just as he about to speak, his shoulder was suddenly pressed by a sturdy hand.
Duan Xiubo’s voice which carried a smile sounded from the side: “How long has it been since I last saw you, Lu Yuan?”
The look in everyone’s eyes suddenly changed, and even Luo Ding could not react fast enough. Two seconds later, he smiled in cooperation: “Duan ge, you are here?”
Duan Xiubo pulled on the hair on Luo Ding’s forehead, smiled down, and in a very familiar manner he then looked up at Lu Yuan: “Eighteen years old, you’ve grown up. Some time ago, your older brother had said that he couldn’t find you. Lu Yuan be careful you don’t play too close to Ji Jiahe, he will destroy you.”
Lu Yuan took a step back, opened his mouth, and shouted, “Duan ge.”
He looked at Luo Ding with some doubt. The tension that was on the verge of erupting was long gone, and he asked uncertainly, “This … who is this?”
“Have you not introduced yourself to them yet?” Duan Xiubo looked down at Luo Ding and did not find any uneasiness in the other’s determined eyes. Thus, Duan Xiubo’s smile became more real. “Ah Ding is Gong Lianguang’s protegee and a junior brother to me. In future you should consider me and take care of him more.”
Lu Yuan bit his lip, flashed a slightly reluctant smile, and nodded at Luo Ding.
Luo Ding also smiled and nodded, as if the recent unhappiness was just an illusion. Duan Xiubo’s arm was heavy on his shoulder, and his tousled hair also made him irritated. He wanted to fix it in a mirror but for now he could only pretend to be calm and smile.
The lights suddenly dimmed, and Ji Jiahe, wearing a dark green suit, jumped wildly onto the podium.
“Thank you all for coming !!!” He shouted while holding the mic and low muffled laughter sounded, “Now, I ask everyone to drop their glasses and leave their companions, in 3! 2! 1!”
Luo Ding’s back was suddenly shoved and the laughter around him became even more boisterous. Before anyone could expect it, the surrounding lights suddenly went out.
“!!!” Luo Ding immediately turned and fumbled around looking Pan Yiming, but though there were people around him, he could not find any trace of her.
He frowned and tried to squeeze into the crowd to continue searching but his back was suddenly hugged by a pair of strong arms.
Luo Ding was startled and struggled reflexively.
Suddenly there was a heated breath by his ears, and Duan Xiubo’s voice whispered slightly: “Don’t move, there are too many people, Pan Yiming is hiding in the rest area, nothing will happen to her.”
Pushed around, Luo Ding had no time to answer, but only felt that someone had bumped into him and because there was less and less space behind him, he was directly squeezed into Duan Xiubo’s arms.
Duan Xiubo’s low laughter reached Luo Ding’s ears and was accompanied by a tremor in his chest. Luo Ding had no time to break free when his shoulder was suddenly caught by yet another hand.
Ji Jiahe’s hoarse and raspy voice sounded in the dark: “Haha, I caught you!”
 Referring to Luo Ding’s firm but polite refusal of his advances
Translator Notes: We have some progress! Also does this mean Lu Yuan started hunting after Pan Yiming at age 12? Was he looking for a mother or a girlfriend? Cackles. Webnovel Math!
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