There was a lot of greenery in the film and television city and because there were very few modern elements, birds had flown into the trees outside the hotel and had begun to chirp before the morning dawn.
The curtains were not pulled tightly and sunlight penetrated through the gaps, falling on Duan Xiubo’s face.
Duan Xiubo had fallen asleep late last night and had consumed alcohol as such his head hurt badly. After being awakened by the sun, his mind went blank for a moment, and then he instantly remembered everything that happened last night. His first action was to grab the pillow which served as a partition in the center of the bed and threw into a chair on the side.
He must have lost his mind last night to come up with such a terrible idea. His IQ had simply fallen back to AD 500!
He nervously propped up his body and rose up to look at Luo Ding. Luo Ding had fallen asleep with his back to him and had maintained his posture and was not moving. It was clear he was not awake.
Duan Xiubo turned over and sighed. He stared at the ceiling and waited for the pillar between his legs to gradually weaken before blinking vigorously and getting up to make tea.
“Luo Xiaoding? Luo Ding?” Duan Xiubo sat next to the bed holding the tea cup in one hand and tried to poke Luo Ding’s arm with the other.
With only a touch of his fingertips, Luo Ding’s eyes suddenly opened, his gaze sharp and alert. Then he frowned in pain and closed his eyes tightly. After a few seconds, he forced himself to open his eyes again and again. A few more repetitions later —
— “Duan ge.” Luo Ding finally woke up. His first thought was that his head was hurting. His second thought was, where was he? His third thought quickly overwhelmed the first two. “Why are you here?”
There was no ambiguity in Duan Xiubo’s expression and he smiled as warmly as an older brother next door: “Your alcohol tolerance is really bad, and you couldn’t handle it after drinking so much. The logistics department knew that your character had been killed off so they had checked you out of your room. Wu Fangyuan was also not in the crew and the new cast members had reserved all the hotel rooms. Director Huo saw that the two of us normally have a good relationship, so he asked me to take care of you.”
A few words seemingly explained matters, but in fact, each explanation perfectly addressed Luo Ding’s misgivings. He had come here with Duan Xiubo and everyone in the crew was aware of it. There was also an objective reason for Duan Xiubo’s presence. Finally, in view of Duan Xiubo’s upright attitude, there was absolutely no over the line behavior between the two.
Luo Ding calmed his heart and then quickly sat up, clutching his somewhat dizzy head and smiled gratefully, “Thank you, Duan ge. Last night …… Did I?”
“Ha ha ha ha ha …” Duan Xiubo started to laugh. “You should drink more to improve your alcohol tolerance. You are really still young”.
Luo Ding was puzzled: “What … do you mean?”
“Don’t worry.” Duan Xiubo placed the strong tea he had brewed on Luo Ding’s bedside table, stood up, stretched out and walked towards the bathroom, “I’m going to brush my teeth. Have a cup of tea to ease your headache.”
When Duan Xiubo closed the door the mild smile on his face faded instantly and he stood against the door with his head down, desperately trying to restrain the turbulence in his heart.
Luo Ding’s messy hair combined with his usual calm expression was… too … too … too cute!
Suppressing a little bit of the uneasiness in his heart, Duan Xiubo let out a long sigh, He had believed his choice was correct and Luo Ding’s vigilant attitude when he woke up this morning undoubtedly illustrated this. Luo Ding did not want to have any relationship with him beyond the boundary of friendship.
In that case …
….then everyone is happy.
Luo Ding sipped his tea and the hot liquid slipped through his throat and entered his stomach. He felt a little embarrassed about suspecting Duan Xiubo just now. Sure enough, He had seen too much darkness and he could hardly distinguish between bad guys and good guys. Duan Xiubo had taken care of him all night yesterday, yet his first thought when he got up this morning was to question the other party. What on earth was he thinking?
Did he really think the everyone in the world was also interested in men?
Luo Ding shook his head. He was the weird one. To Duan Xiubo, his relationship with Luo Ding was probably purely that of a senior appreciating a junior, right? At best, he only held more friendly sentiments. Anything more …. would be outlandish.
After thinking this way, Luo Ding prepared to get up and opened the quilt only to meet the sight of his own naked thighs.
Feeling a breeze blow over his thighs, he had a bad feeling in his heart. He slammed his hand to cover the base of his thighs, raised his head, looked around and saw his under shorts that were fluttering over the air vents …
Duan Xiubo discovered that Luo Ding had been looking at him strangely since he came out of the bathroom.
Did Luo Ding have memories of being drunk? But he didn’t do too much last night. Even in the bath he had used a towel when scrubbing Luo Ding’s body. Standing so far away, he would have had to rely on his imagination if he had wanted to do anything. What could Luo Ding remember? After racking his brains Duan Xiubo could not come up with any mistakes he had made so he stopped paying the issue any attention. He will just observe. Besides if it wasn’t for his guilty conscience he would have been happy to be noticed by Luo Ding.
Duan Xiubo carefully folded the shirt Luo Ding had worn last night as pajamas and put it back into his suitcase, While bent over Duan Xiubo asked: “Today Director Huo has given the day off and you have to leave the group, Wu Fangyuan is not here, should I send you home?”
Luo Ding felt embarrassed at the thought of the man in front of him washing his underwear. Although he did not grasp the boundaries of his private life tightly, he could not help but feel that this kind of thing was too personal for an outsider to do. Even if it was clear that Duan Xiubo had no nasty thoughts about Luo Ding, it still felt like the contents of his diary had been peeked at by a family member. While there was probably no prohibited content in the diary, it felt like his defenses had been turned upside down and there was a sense of panic and shame.
Luo Ding called Wu Fangyuan, but probably because it was only six o’clock, it was too early, and Wu Fangyuan did not answer after several tries.
In terms of their ability to sleep in, Gu Yaxing and Wu Fangyuan were unexpectedly the same. After another five or six calls were not answered, Luo Ding turned his head with a twitch and calmly looked at Duan Xiubo who stood watching the show with his arms crossed in front of his chest. Luo Ding smiled without any embarrassment and said, then, I’ll trouble Duan ge to send me back … ” Just then, he remembered that Hu Xiao had barged into his company apartment, vomited and fell asleep. Luo Ding frowned in disgust at the memory and added” …. send me back to the company. “
“You won’t return to the company apartment?” Duan Xiubo asked.
“It’s going to be changed” Luo Ding spread his hands “It’s not safe there now and I can’t live there any longer.”
Duan Xiubo was well aware that one of the most common things in the entertainment industry were the people who wanted to climb up by all means. He had encountered countless “chance encounters” every day, as well as painstaking efforts by others for a mere chance to secure his number. Luo Ding was now popular and living in such a place was no different from living in a group home.
The car’s steering wheel turned as it drove away from the gate of the film and television city. Luo Ding looked at the scenery that was gradually becoming distant in the rear-view mirror and felt a subtle sentiment in his heart that he had not experienced in many years.
He didn’t get the chance to say goodbye to the crew. Everyone was drunk after dinner last night and they were all probably resting at this time.
Behind the wheel, Duan Xiubo, who had nothing to say asked: “Is your new residence ready?”
Luo Ding came to himself and shook his head: “Not yet, Mr. Gu and Fang Yuan had said it would be best to pick a place once and for all, but there are currently no good options.”
Duan Xiubo laughed: “Once and for all? Is the company renting a place for you right now? If you keep working at this pace you should be able to buy one for yourself by next year at the latest.”
After getting drunk Luo Ding’s head was a little groggy. Although it was much better after drinking tea his reaction was still slower than usual. He bowed his head and calculated. It was true that his work in the entertainment industry was already profitable. Before, when he had helped Pan Yiming to shoot her mv and later to promote it, Tian Media Entertainment had paid a lot for his efforts though it was not considered salary. His rate charged for his appearance rate was not low. His fee just hovered within five digits and for this film it had gone up reaching the middle of six digits.
This was why people wanted to be celebrities. In addition to envying the wonderful life in the spotlight, the generous rewards were are also very tempting. Stars, who appeared in photos, were often covered in luxury goods that ordinary people may never encounter in their lives. They traveled in and out of luxury cars, first class cabins or even private jets. They lived in suburban villas, penthouse apartments or in luxury mansions.
Just like Luo Ding, it had not been long since he was reborn and was living in a collective apartment prepared for him by a small brokerage company yet he had already started making plans to buy an expensive house in the city.
He smiled, feeling the vagaries of fate. In his last life, he had experienced this period of youth, as such now, knowing what lay ahead, he had no sense of excitement.
Duan Xiubo frowned slightly, seeing that Luo Ding’s face had a cracked smile for a moment. He did not understand Luo Ding’s thoughts but recalling the young man who, last night, sat at the bay window smoking quietly, he could vaguely sense that Luo Ding carried more burdens in his heart than he had imagined.
Duan Xiubo opened the window, and the whistling wind turned Luo Ding’s attention back to his surroundings.
“I have a good place to recommend. Would you like to take it?”
Luo Ding turned his head and met Duan Xiubo’s gaze with a slightly more gentle and playful smile than usual.
Unconsciously, Duan Xiubo also turned the corners of his mouth upwards.
Life in a crew was not to be lived by humans. For 20 years, Wu Fangyuan had maintained this physique that couldn’t be slimmed down, yet only after a few days he had lost five pounds of meat. Yesterday, in the afternoon both Luo Ding and Huo Xie had allowed him to take a break from the group so Wu Fangyuan had covered himself with a quilt and had immediately gone to sleep at home. After waking up, he saw six missed calls from Luo Ding on the screen. It felt like thunder on a sunny day.
Gu Yaxing yawned and rubbed his hands. The warm sun fell on the body. Summer was about to pass thus the morning was not too hot, and the air was refreshing.
Luo Ding was busy filming, and so naturally he didn’t have any work to do. The current E.P was probably the most serious album Gu Yaxing had worked on since the establishment of the company. With how gorgeous the big-name production lineup was, so had the burden on him multiplied. Discussing lyrics with Ye Zhou and arguing about the style and direction of the E.P was not easy. This group of old artists had won high honors in their field and more or less had some pride. While they were polite to Luo Ding, they were not as polite to Gu Yaxing. Each suggestion meant that a verbal battle was incoming. Under such work pressure, Gu Yaxing felt that sleeping twelve hours a day was not enough.
“What did Luo Ding say?” Gu Yaxing asked, “What does he want to do?”
Wu Fangyuan was also not very clear on the specifics. He did not know when he had learned not to challenge Luo Ding’s decisions. Usually, when he received an order, he immediately executed it with confidence. Gu Yaxing asking for details caught him unawares: “It seems to be about the house, that’s what I heard him say. You wait a minute, he would be here soon anyway.”
Gu Yaxing squinted and stared at this blonde fat man beside him with his hair which looked especially dazzling in the sun. How could this little fat man who was so timid he looked like an ennuch when facing Yang Kangding become like this? Time could change anything.
In the morning light, an unobtrusive silver Chevrolet nanny car approached the gate and finally stopped.
The window of the driver’s seat slowly rolled down and Duan Xiubo’s bright smiling face appeared: “Get in the car.”
Luo Ding poked his head out from the front passenger seat and nodded to them.
Gu Yaxing: “…”
Wu Fangyuan: “…”
They were actually together? At this time? Gu Yaxing was in shock.
While the name of Greentown Apartments was very low-key, its location was not low-key. It was one street away from the busiest section of the city center. It had the most complete security facilities, 24-hour armed patrol, password fingerprint entry and alarm systems in every corner.
Duan Xiubo owned real estate here. Yuan Bing, He Guan, and several other equally famous artists in the circle also chose to buy a home here, so naturally it made sense.
The real estate agent had apparently already shown the property to many customers and was reluctant to show up but a verified phone call from the owner had caused him to agree to let the security guard show the property being leased.
“I live on the 30th floor. Your Yuan jie is on the 26th floor. There are also others on the higher floors… I’m not familiar with them but I have probably encountered them a few times.”
Duan Xiubo walked at the forefront in a leisurely manner. He walked straight to the deepest part of the living room, opened the curtains, and waved at the house: “The owner’s family are clearly real estate speculators. They obviously bought this house earlier than I did. I also wanted an apartment on the 35th floor but I was not as fast as they were. “
He seemed a bit helpless. For this kind of apartment, the higher the floor the more comfortable it was. However, in recent years, real estate in the urban areas had become more and more popular. Many high-rise apartments like this were sold out as soon as they opened. Fortunately, the 30th floor was not bad. Duan Xiubo also had other homes in the city so he spent less than half of his time in this apartment, so any deficiency was not so obvious.
Luo Ding walked around slowly and lifted the white cloth covering the furniture. This was a house specifically purchased by the owner to be used as a rental property. To rent it out at a good price, the decor was naturally at the highest standards. The warm and refreshing colors which matched with modern furniture were easy on the eyes. Luo Ding raised his head and fixed his eyes on the floor-to-ceiling windows that let in in the sun. The 35-story building was not terrifyingly high, but it was enough for him to see much of the city’s views that he had neglected in the past. Pedestrians, shrunken to the size of an ant, noiselessly strolled around the lively downtown streets.
Busied by work, Cao Dingkun had spent 300 days a year in various film crews. Yet he only owned one property, a suburban villa that he bought 20 years ago. He never had enough money. The more he earned, the faster he spent. He had to take care of himself, keep up appearances, sponsor films for Xu Zhen, etc. He didn’t live in that suburban villa much and while it had been popular 20 years ago, now the building now looked outdated, yet he had not thought there was anything wrong with living there.
Luo Ding laughed self-depreciatingly, only thinking that he was stupid enough to have died like an old ox. People in this world had found too many things worth enjoying and even housing could also become one of the joys of life.
Gu Yaxing was a bit disturbed after asking about the price.
This split-level house had a total area of 200 square meters, and cost 20,000 yuan a month. Tenants also had to pay high property management fees. Of course, this property fee was not paid in vain, at least, as Duan Xiubo said, since he had started living here, neither he nor Yuan Bing had ever been photographed by paparazzi.
Gu Yaxing was the one who had promised that the company will pay for a “good place to rent”. Yet, at this time, the one who was embarrassed naturally became him.
As a thrifty boss, an artist’s rental expenses of nearly 300,000 yuan a year was really too much for him. After all, though its operating status had slowly started to improve after Luo Ding became popular, Yaxing Entertainment was not a big company with a lot of money. Now in addition to Luo Ding’s E.P, money also needed to be spent on training the newly recruited artists and improving the existing artist resources in the studio.
“Twenty thousand …” This was somewhat beyond his expectations.
Luo Ding glanced at Gu Yaxing. Yaxing Entertainment’s earnings were not low. With only the courtesy payment from Pan Yiming’s album last time, Gu Yaxing had earned more than that number. In addition, Luo Ding only received part of the payments from filming. Thus, Luo Ding felt no psychological burden in digging some flesh and blood from the exploiting class. He gave Duan Xiubo a look with a smile.
Duan Xiubo stepped forward and put his arm around Luo Ding’s shoulder: “Last time when Ji Jiahe asked me to be on the cover of the Fashion magazine anniversary issue he also talked about Luo Ding, and during the interview with Yu Shaotian last week he said …”
“Wait!” Gu Yaxing’s eyebrows suddenly sharpened, raising his hand to interrupt Duan Xiubo’s unspoken words, and suddenly turned to Luo Ding. “Do you need new furniture? I think the model of the refrigerator is a little bit old.”
Luo Ding could not help laughing. They were all acquaintances in private, so he did not bother to pretend anymore. His eyes bent into a crescent shape and he looked up at Duan Xiubo.
Then they exchanged a high five.
Luo Ding’s new film set was set up at another base. Luo Ding’s role was almost over. In fact, in terms of the number of appearances, he was actually only playing a minor supporting role. It was just that the excellent personality of this character made this supporting role surpass any other ordinary small role. It was as impactful as the final boss, who only made his appearance at the very last minute.
This film camp was farther away than the previous one. So, when he returned to the group, the cart full of snacks he and Wu Fangyuan brought were robbed clean as soon as they arrived.
Wu Yuan, who Luo Ding had not seen for a long time, was now at least two shades darker. He was also thinner and looked more energetic than before. The two men had talked in private, as such there was no awkwardness even after a half-month separation. After Wu Yuan’s scene was filmed, he jumped off the horse in his costume and ran towards Luo Ding, giving him a solid hug.
“Why are you still so handsome!” Wu Yuan clutched Luo Ding’s shoulders, pushed him away a little bit and looked him up and down. “How does it feel to make a movie? It’s cool, isn’t it?”
Luo Ding smiled and allowed him to act like a doting elder. Seeing Wu Yuan, he was relieved. Wu Yuan had made some great achievements in the TV circle and had finally gathered sufficient momentum to move into the movie circle. Yet as a little-known artist, Luo Ding had filmed a movie even before his first TV series was finished. The human heart was hard to measure. Wu Yuan being hostile to him was a result no one was willing to see.
Fortunately, Wu Yuan was open-minded. It was no wonder he could merge into the entertainment industry at such a young age. Among the people who Luo Ding had known in his last life, including himself, there were those who could maintain their popularity for a long time and most of them were like Wu Yuan. Their first thought was to improve themselves rather than deal with others.
Pan Yiming came out of the dressing room and her face was covered with much more youthful-looking makeup than before. The current progress of filming had reached the part of the plot prior to Li Shimin ’s ascension to the throne, thus she was naturally playing the role of the heroine in her youth. Pan Yiming was talking to the assistant next to her when she heard the news of Luo Ding’s return. She immediately twisted her head and the blue silk ornaments smacked against the face of the people around her.
When Luo Ding was attacked, she had opened her mouth and had spoken on his behalf. Naturally, she also knew how big the storm online was not long ago. Now, not far away, she saw the young man who talking and laughing with Wu Yuan just as before. A smile appeared on her face and her worries were immediately put down.
“Okay, so you are going to release an EP huh! Before I released my album, I had wanted you to collaborate with me on a song but unfortunately my songs had already been recorded. We must collaborate again next time.” Pan Yiming was more familiar with Luo Ding than Wu Yuan and landed a few punches and kicks in jest.
The other artists who had also finished their work and changed costumes all rushed over to welcome Luo Ding’s return to the group. Compared with the beginning when he entered the group and knew almost no one except for the two main characters, the situation had turned upside down.
Among the calls of “Luo Ding this” and “Luo Ding that”, several actors of the same age also called out “Luo ge” as an honorable title without the slightest amount of discomfort.
Luo Ding was not a mind reader nor was he clairvoyant, so he could not ascertain what thoughts lay underneath everyone’s smile. Nevertheless, he changed his mode of interaction a little bit. Though his smile was still mild and tolerant, the undifferentiated respect it had carried was lessened. This was the key to communication. Whatever the other party’s attitude was, he should respond well, but if others were willing to cooperate then his task will be relatively easier.
Standing on the fringes of the crowd, the mood of many people was just as Luo Ding had guessed. There was nothing but mixed feelings.
Watching Luo Ding in the crowd it was clear that they had debuted at about the same time, and they even had to work harder for longer. They were all the competitors at the starting line yet how could he have reached the sky in a single bound?
That was Huo Xie’s movie and he had acted as a rival to the film emperor. An ordinary actor could not reach this level in their entire life. Yet Luo Ding easily reached it.
Even though there was a thousand jealousies in their heart, It couldn’t be shown on their face. The group still had to laugh, exchange greetings and make a warm gesture of welcome. Meanwhile, the envy in their heart was sour and bitter.
For Luo Ding’s filming of Fu Zhu in his youth, Zheng Kezhen had originally intended to find another actual 18-year-old young man to play the character, but after Luo Ding’s popularity exploded following the announcement of the drama casting, Zheng Kezhen thought it through and decided to let him film.
It was almost eleven o’clock in the morning when Luo Ding arrived in the crew, and the actor who played Li Jiancheng had not yet arrived. Prior to this, Luo Ding had not met him because the scenes filmed at the other film and television city did not have this gentleman’s part.
Putting on a blue costume that looked younger and livelier than the plain white clothes in the later stages, Luo Ding wore his hair piece and closed his eyes to allow the makeup artist to work.
But despite applying layer after layer of makeup, the makeup artist could not find the right feeling. The freshness and tenderness of youth was covered by the rouge and powder. Out of nowhere it appeared greasy. This kind of flaw was something that he couldn’t stand on a face as eye-catching as Luo Ding’s.
The hair stylist thought about it and decided to give amateur advice: “Why not remove the base makeup and play with the highlighting a little to emphasize the eyebrow lines. Is that feasible?”
A fine layer of sweat had broken out across the makeup artist’s anxious forehead. Seeing that it was almost twelve o’clock and he was almost late, He could only bite the bullet and ask Luo Ding to wash his face clean and start over again.
With only a layer of sunblock to protect the skin, he applied some contouring and highlights. He frowned as he skipped over the foundation makeup and reapplied the eyeliner again.
Luo Ding’s skin was really good. He had no red blood streaks and no acne scars. Probably because he had a good amount of rest in recent days, the few spots had completely disappeared and were almost invisible.
The make up artist stepped back and said nervously, “Luo … Luo ge, open your eyes and show me?”
Luo Ding gathered his emotions and relaxed his expression. Inspired by the clear and innocent gaze of a young man, he widened his eyes with a smile, and blinked quickly at the other party.
“Wow!” A few assistants in the make-up department exclaimed. Several other actors who were sitting with their eyes closed while having their make-up applied, raised their hands for their makeup artists to stop and opened their eyes to see what was causing the excitement.
In front of the dressing mirror, Luo Ding’s hair was bound by a blue silk scarf. The traces of makeup on his face was fresh and natural, his skin was pale and fair, and his pores were nearly invisible. The lines around his eyes were intentionally thickened to make his elongated eyes look slightly closer to an almond shape. His eyes had always been surprisingly large, but now he had deliberately opened them wider. His pupils reflected a simple gaze and it was unknown how he did it, but his expression was full of playfulness even though his smile was not very wide.
He was leaning down against his makeup chair, his legs were outstretched and his hands were held in between his thighs. His foot was shaking slightly and his expression, which looked like he was asking for a compliment, blinked at the makeup artist.
The makeup artist who was holding on to his makeup brush immediately stiffened and several assistants who were facing Luo Ding’s attack fell to the ground coughing one after the other.
Luo Ding’s posture was only maintained for a brief moment and then he returned to his usual calm and gentle smile: “How about it, will this pass?”
The makeup artist nodded, and suddenly he covered his face, turned and squatted down: “Don’t look at me!”
Luo Ding raised his eyebrows slightly, and turned to some of the staff members who were putting away their phones, and asked, “Is this possible?”
All of the staff members who had been stunned also squatted down like the make-up artist, and said: “Don’t look at me!”
“…” Luo Ding thought to himself, this group of crazy people.
Duan Xiubo getting the impression that Luo Ding is not interested. Which for now is probably the truth. -__-
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