Ji Jiahe had drank a lot tonight and his mood was a little high.
He was normally a playful person and now he was even more reckless. He had sent someone to lure Pan Yiming away and as soon as the lights went out he made a beeline towards Luo Ding’s position.
He was looking forward to finally getting together with Luo Ding.
Feeling the texture of the jacket in his hands, suddenly, the complaints he had heard as he forced his way through the crowd were nothing because his palms had finally touched Luo Ding’s clothes.
The surrounding area was still dark but the riotous crowd had subsided a little. People who were initially scared quickly recalled Ji Jiahe’s usual playfulness and laughed as they tried to decipher this new game.
The background music suddenly changed from melodious to intense and when a voice sounded over the speakers it was not Ji Jiahe: “Please be quiet !!”
The laughing crowd subconsciously closed their mouths after hearing this. Luo Ding was still unable to move. He pushed Duan Xiubo’s chest with one hand and tried to brush Ji Jiahe’s hand off his shoulder with the other but he heard the host say, “Let’s play a game, shall we?! Hold onto someone near you and we will choose a pair to start the show!”
Cheers sounded as both men and women screamed excitedly. The ostentatious playfulness of the entertainment circle was more intense than that of ordinary persons. Those who could stand here were all people who could afford to gamble.
Ji Jiahe grabbed onto Luo Ding and refused to let him move. He had noticed that the spotlight had lit up in the darkness and swayed wildly above the crowd thus he absentmindedly reaffirmed that Luo Ding was indeed the one he had caught and he approached happily. “Come, “Xiao Luo Ding, don’t be frightened, maybe we will be chosen soon–“
While Ji Jiahe was still speaking, the spotlight which had been swinging in Luo Ding’s direction stopped suddenly and the light fell obliquely from above.
“… It’s.” Ji Jiahe’s head was still moving towards Luo Ding’s ears but in the reflection of the spotlight his gaze was caught by the person who was holding Luo Ding in a protective posture.
“… Lǎo … Lǎo Duan? When did you arrive?” Thinking of Duan Xiubo’s warning to him concerning Luo Ding and Gong Liangguang’s relationship at the anniversary banquet Ji Jiahe who was still a little buzzed from wine sobered up a little.
Duan Xiubo pursed his lips. Although the curl on the corners of his mouth remained upward his mood was definitely not good. His cool, unsmiling gaze swept over Ji Jiahe and his hand that was still clasping Luo Ding’s shoulder tightly. Then, he and Ji Jiahe looked at one other directly.
Everyone knew of Jia Jiahe’s intentions towards Luo Ding. Ji Jiahe and Duan Xiubo had been friends for so many years, naturally he knew that Ji Jiahe’s taste run to men and women in their twenties. In the past, he had been a little uncomfortable with Ji Jiahe’s behavior and his games but now, inexplicably, that discomfort had escalated to disgust.
Duan Xiubo rarely looked down on anyone. He had a small heart and few people could be accommodated in it. Further, whatever irrelevant people did meant nothing to him. Ji Jiahe was one of his few sincere friends and for this reason when this discomfort arose directly and violently he didn’t even want to conceal it.
“What are you doing?” Duan Xiubo stared at Ji Jiahe’s hand on Luo Ding’s shoulder and whispered.
Withdrawing his paws as if scalded, Ji Jiahe looked at Duan Xiubo with a guilty conscience: ” … Dancing.”
When the lights turned on, Luo Ding did his best to break away from Duan Xiubo’s embrace. Although all he did was to turn to the side, from where he and Duan Xiubo were standing, one could see no trace of any ambiguity when the bright spotlight fell from above. The entertainment industry is a place where three men make a tiger. Thus Luo Ding had become accustomed to staying away from people anytime and anywhere.
Duan Xiubo’s arms were empty. Luo Ding’s scent still lingered but the person had already moved away. He glanced at Luo Ding and couldn’t see the latter’s usual smile. He looked at Ji Jiahe, his messy clothing and his inebriated look and he couldn’t explain the dismay in his heart.
The people in the surrounding area had already started cheering when the lights turned on. By casually pick up Duan Xiubo and Ji Jiahe, who could be considered the main protagonists at this party, as well as Luo Ding, who had also been attracting much attention since his entrance onto the entertainment scene, this opening act was more than enough.
It did not make sense for three men to be dancing without companions and everyone wondered why Ji Jiahe who had been on the stage a few minutes ago was also now on the dance floor. But such doubts did not last long in the lively carnival-like atmosphere, and no one noticed the awkward undertones between the three men who were all good at disguises.
The host laughed loudly on the stage, as if he had no knowledge of Ji Jiahe’s plans and had not attempted to give him an advantage with the spotlights. He encouraged the crowd to shout: “Can you afford to not dance? Can you afford to not dance?!”
The crowd also started to coax.
Luo Ding glanced at the two men and saw that the duo were also looking at him. He raised his eyebrows. Weren’t they good friends? It was better for them to cooperate and start this game.
Guessing Luo Ding’s intentions, Duan Xiubo choked as though he had swallowed a fly and almost couldn’t hold back his disgusted expression. He took a look at Ji Jiahe and saw that the other’s face was no better than his own. Duan Xiubo came to the sudden realization that his dislike was actually mutual.
An unsuccessful man will be benevolent.
Ji Jiahe was at a loss in his heart thus he simply ignored the threatening look in Duan Xiubo’s eyes and spoke directly to Luo Ding: “You …”
“Will you dance?” Duan Xiubo’s voice interrupted Ji Jiahe directly.
Luo Ding raised his head and in the darkness, he peered into Duan Xiubo’s quiet eyes which were deep like the sea. The peace and calm buried within them was similar to Luo Ding’s.
Before an audience Luo Ding would never shy away: He replied, “Rumba, Samba, Waltz, I will only lead.”
“Coincidentally…” Duan Xiubo smiled slightly, concealing his evil intentions in the depths of his eyes, …”I will also only lead.”
“…” Luo Ding couldn’t decide what his next move should be but he saw Duan Xiubo stretch out a hand and with a very gentlemanly gesture, he said “Dance with me?”
The surrounding cheers and noisy applause gave Luo Ding no way to retreat. He could only nod his head but instead of putting his hand in Duan Xiubo’s palm, he used his other hand to give Duan Xiubo a crisp and easy high-five, tapped him on his shoulder and walked towards the center of the dance floor.
Duan Xiubo paused for two seconds then immediately retracted the hand that was patted, unconsciously rubbed his fingertips together and laughed deeply. Luo Ding was indeed a character who refused to accept any loss at all.
The crowd voluntarily parted to give way to them. Ji Jiahe stayed put and watched them get further away from him as he looked around in a mess. He squeezed into the rest area, refilled his drink and shrunk up quietly.
Pan Yiming poked a piece of cantaloupe into her mouth, glanced at the newly seated Ji Jiahe and then looked at Mi Rui who was also seated on the other side.
Mi Rui pushed up his glasses. He didn’t know what going on tonight. After entering the door with a promise of five times the salary he couldn’t find the boss.
These three forgotten people did not speak to one another but the atmosphere between them was very harmonious for a while.
The original owner could not dance but Cao Dingkun had specifically studied dance for about 17 years prior to his death. His foundational skills were very solid and although he had not participated in any professional evaluations his dance skills were probably not worse than that of a professional dancer.
The passionate, rhythmic and sensual sound of the Rumba began. Luo Ding took off his suit jacket and threw it to the crowd while walking. This manly and chic action caused a riot among the onlookers. He had already mastered the skill of knowing what kind of personality to present at different times and as such he would never allow himself to slip before the eyes of the public.
With the rising pace of the music, his overall momentum gradually changed. From the look in his eyes to the movement of his limbs, from restrained silence to gradually matching the passionate music.
Duan Xiubo was almost instantly bewitched by Luo Ding’s eyes. Even if he already knew that the other party was an unpredictable person he couldn’t help but be stunned for a moment.
Luo Ding moved. He waved his arm slightly and assumed a very aggressive posture. His entire momentum was charged, giving people the illusion that he was a sovereign that had descended into the world.
Duan Xiubo recovered from his rare distraction and narrowed his eyes slightly at the sight of Luo Ding. He was feeling the rare urge to compete. He chuckled slightly, gliding two steps closer and flirtatiously made a light lap around Luo Ding. Their eyes met and neither person’s aura was inferior to the other.
This dance that symbolizes love is a combination of strength and softness. This was the first time that they had cooperated and although it was clash between two leads the pair had a tacit understanding. Shoulder to shoulder, with no rustiness, twirls or wrong steps. The most primitive and powerful interaction between a man and a man was clear at a glance.
The audience voluntarily gave up free space on the dance floor. The applause was sporadic at first, however, when the dance entered the most intense stage the venue was so quiet that no noise could be heard except the music.
Luo Ding snaked his hands around Duan Xiubo’s straight arms, slipped out his foot, and walked behind his opponent with a half-step in an elegant arc, as he tried to make Duan Xiubo finish the set with feminine flourish.
Duan Xiubo cleverly avoided this move because he had also planned the same thing half a minute ago. He squinted, smiled and gave Luo Ding a look that said “not by a long shot”.
The gunpowder-filled dance was coming to an end, and the pair did not dare to get too close to one another for fear of being overcome by the other
The music suddenly intensified.
Luo Ding and Duan Xiubo glanced at each other and saw the unwavering insistence in the other’s eyes.
At the same time, they both reached a consensus to give up ground to the other. They approached one another, at a safe distance, back to back and with their hands clasped together they threw their heads back simultaneously as the music ended. Together, they finished the dance with a flick of their head.
Sweat fell from the slightly wet ends of their hair, drawing a subtle arc in the air. Luo Ding had not danced so energetically for a long time. Although the intense exercise had left him out of breath, the pleasure in his limbs caused him completely disregard this little discomfort. He gasped and let go of Duan Xiubo’s hands, took a step back, combed his hair off his forehead with his hand, made a handsome closing gesture towards the onlooking guests, and then ended with a gentleman’s bow.
There was a moment of silence.
Three seconds later the ladies started cheering crazily.
“Who is this?!!!!!!”
“Luo Ding! Luo Ding !!!”
It was rather baffling how suddenly one could acquire goodwill.
Luo ding approached the lady who was cheering while holding his jacket for him and said thank you softly. She immediately blushed and handed over his jacket. Her actions were even a little shy.
Facing these industry seniors, Luo Ding naturally did not wear his celebrity mask like he did when faced with fans. In fact, women who were familiar with the rules of the entertainment industry were much more sober than fans and their fangirling always passed swiftly. Thus, taking advantage of their current enthusiasm, Luo Ding quickly and quietly broke into their inner circle in a subtle manner by giving them a better impression of himself.
Luo Ding did not turn to look at Duan Xiubo. Just now, at the end of their dance routine, Duan Xiubo had annoyed him by forcing him to follow his lead in their dance set. Besides he also knew that Duan Xiubo would take care of the aftermath because while the latter appeared cold and indifferent his true temperament was as slippery as an eel.
Duan Xiubo stood in the middle of a crowded circle and with a smile received praise for their dance routine while absentmindedly paying attention to Luo Ding’s movements in the fading light.
Under the spotlight, Luo Ding’s hair was still damp, the slight red tint on his skin following the intense exercise still lingered and his flushed appearance made his introverted smile a little more tempting than usual.
Duan Xiubo unconsciously swallowed and licked his dry lips.
How strange. His heart was beating a little too fast.
 Three men make a tiger” (Chinese: 三人成虎; pinyin: sān rén chéng hǔ) is a Chinese proverb or chengyu (four-character idiom). It refers to an individual’s tendency to accept absurd or false information as long as it is repeated by enough people. Think fake news and Donald Trump.
 The actual phrase translated to “Can you afford to play”. It didn’t make much sense so I changed it to “dance” as that fits the context better.
不成功便成仁 (Bù chéng gōng biàn chéngrén). An Idiom – It means to succeed or die trying. In this context it means “all or nothing.” Clearly Ji Jiahe was ready to risk it all.
Translator Notes: It’s getting hot in here! whew!
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