Chapter 24 — Lunch
“It should be right here,” said Chen Yijun who was trying to scrape the mud off his feet. “I heard that he invested in a movie recently. Today, he had come here to visit the crew.”
“I’m worried that even if we find him, he may not necessarily be willing to work with us,” He Dong gasped, his voice trembling. “What do you suggest we do when we arrive?”
Chen Yijun chewed his cheek and didn’t speak. If it was two months ago, he wouldn’t bother putting this much importance on flattering him, but now…
He took a deep breath in when he thought of his own business. “He Dong, you know that situation in my family. I can only try my best to fight for this.”
He Dong patted his shoulder and said, “I know. Anyway, let’s give it a try first.”
“I’ll shoot this scene once again. Okay.” After getting the exact scene that he wanted, Qian Cong Hai out down his megaphone and turned to find that the big boss was still sitting on the bench. He remembered that he had left this big shot on this cold stool for a long time.
“Mr Chang,” Qian Cong Hai squeezed out a smile turning to him, “Shooting a scene is actually very boring. It will keep you waiting.”
Chang Shi Gui’s eyes swept over the sets. He smiled at Qian Cong Hai, “Looking at Director Qian shooting is actually interesting.”
Qian Cong Hai simply laughed. One couldn’t really understand the hobbies of the rich.
“Ning Xi, Zhang Peipei, you’ve worked hard.” The director looked at the time.
Just do not think when filming, waiting for the next Wia, Zhang Peipei found Ning Xi bending some unnatural movements, she whispered near the Ning Xi asked: “just hurt the back?”
Zhang Peipei had been acting for several years without becoming red. This time, getting the role of the second female villain was a rare good role. Now, because of Zhu Moli explicitly bullying Ning Xi, Qian Cong Hai had cut a lot of her Zhu Moli’s scenes and by coincidence, she, Zhang Peipei had gotten the chance. Even her agent had laughed joyfully saying that she had relied on Ning Xi for good luck.
Her looks were not the best among the top actresses. Her acting was not the best. It was worth mentioning that her attitude and mentality was good. It didn’t matter even if she didn’t become popular. If she could get enough roles to act for her sustenance, that was enough. Ning Xi and her played opposite sides in the shoot. The age gap between the two was not a lot, so in private, their friendship was good.
“It’s a little painful,” Ning Xi said in her ear in a low voice. “It might have already turned green.”
“I have medicinal oil which improves blood circulation. I’ll give it to Xiao Yang, let her rub it on your back at night.” A young newcomer like Ning Xi might have got a little fame because of a movie, but in such big productions, it was really nothing. So she could understand why Ning Xi insisted on shooting even with injuries. It wasn’t that she didn’t care enough about herself, it was just that the competition in the circle was too intense. If she accidentally left a bad impression in any of these big names, her career would be at best dented and at worst ruined.
Establishing a good reputation was hard work and was not easy to manage, but bad impressions were just a matter of one word.
Ning Xi laughed, thanking Zhang Peipei. The two of them left the set and hadn’t yet gotten their lunch boxes from their assistants before the director’s assistant came to call Ning Xi saying that Director Qian was calling her.
Usually, Director Qian spoke to the actors during lunch, so Ning Xi didn’t think this was anything unusual. She held her lunchbox and took her chopsticks and followed the director’s assistant.
“Little Ning, come and sit,”Director Qian saw Ning Xi coming over and waved his chopsticks in greeting.
Ning Xi looked at the small table. Surrounding the table were Director Qian, Assistant Liu and Chang Shi Gui. Her footsteps paused. Seeing the situation, she sat down on the seat next to Chang Shi Gui.
The moment she opened the box, she discovered the tiny difference between hers and Chang Shi Gui’s lunch box.
Obviously, it was the same dish. Why did Chang Shi Gui’s lunchbox have more meat than hers?
Noticing her gaze, Chang Shi Gui looked at both the boxes and, seeing that she hadn’t started, pushed his box towards hers.
Director Qian and Assistant Liu both looked up and stared at the lunch box between those two and quickly withdrew their gaze.
Ning Xi: …
She always had a feeling that something was not quite right.
From a far-off place, Zhu Moli who was staring at Ning Xi unblinkingly was almost unable to breathe properly out of anger. But despite this, she didn’t dare to provoke Ning Xi again in the recent days. Since Ning Xi had schemed against her, she thought that she was a little scary. So she was ready to obediently follow the arrangements made for her.
The endorsement that she had worked hard to get was cancelled from the company’s side, the reality show who had been in contact with her had no news, not to mention so many scenes of hers had been cut. Not a single thing was going right for her.
What was the relationship between Ning Xi and Chang’s president?
Getting more and more frightened, Zhu Moli began to regret her actions.
“Xiao Ning’s scenes are finished with only a little more left,” Director Qian said. “These scenes are a little harder. Will you be able to manage?”
“Rest assured, I won’t drag the crew behind with me.” Her words were neither too arrogant nor too humble. Ning Xi wiped her mouth before saying, “Please don’t worry.”
“I am completely convinced of your acting skills.” Qian Cong Hai laughed cheerfully. “I think you are also very skilled in martial arts. Have you ever practised or learnt it before?”
“Before I returned to China, I played several small roles in some productions,” Ning Xi said, smiling. “As you know, many foreigners find Chinese martial arts very fascinating and magical. So I often played Chinese characters with strong martial arts skills or as substitutes. In fact, it’s only for show, that’s all.”
Hearing this, Qian Cong Hai couldn’t help but give Ning Xi another glance. Such a young girl playing small roles in a foreign country, even sometimes as a substitute. How much bitterness must she have experienced?
Assistant Liu was also in a daze. He didn’t expect Ning Xi to have such a life experience. It was no wonder that shortly after entering the entertainment circle, she got a role in a big movie. Originally, she had practised abroad.
“It must not have been easy,” Assistant Liu said sympathetically. “Us Chinese performers have very little scope in foreign countries.”
“At that time, I wasn’t thinking about acting at all. It was only when I was short of money and a crew was coincidentally looking for an actor that I tried out for it.” Ning Xi wasn’t ashamed of talking about her past experiences. “After I graduated from college, although I wasn’t short of money, I had a few friends in the circle and occasionally helped them out.”
As for the problems she faced such as racial discrimination, she didn’t want to talk about it in order to not affect the mood of the three people present.
Chang Shi Gui looked at Ning Xi and his eyes quivered slightly. He closed his eyes to conceal the emotions in them.
How much and what had she experienced that she could speak about them with such indifference?
“Ning Xi…” He whispered. He wanted to ask her if she had been good abroad all these years, but he couldn’t bring himself to ask. Being alone abroad, without money, without the care of family, how did she survive?
“En?” Ning Xi smiled, looking at Chang Shi Gui. Her every expression was flawless and revealed nothing.
“You’re awesome,” He said, barely smiling. “What you have done is extraordinary.”
“It’s nothing, really,” Her lips curved, “Mr Chang overpraises. It makes one embarrassed.”
There was nothing remarkable about it. When people come to that step, they have only two choices. Forcing yourself to be extraordinary or be willing to fail. She couldn’t choose the second road, so she could only grit her teeth and fight in the first road.
“Boss,” Chang Shi Gui’s assistant came and bent to speak in his ear. “The young master of the Chen consortium has come here to meet you.”
Ning Xi’s brow moved slightly, and she bowed her head to continue eating as if she hadn’t heard what the assistant said.
Chang Shi Gui subconsciously looked at Ning Xi and said in a cold tone, “How did he know that I am here?”
“This…” The assistant also was unaware who had leaked the big boss’ itinerary. He hesitated and said, “I’m sorry, boss. I’ll check once I go back.”
“Let him come first.” Chang Shi Gui turned to Director Qian, “I’m sorry, some people have found out that I have come here to see the crew and have followed me.’”
“No problem,” Qian Cong Hai laughed. “Since we have just finished eating, we won’t bother Mr Chang about other things.”
Every day there were many people looking for him to invest in their projects. It wasn’t strange that these people followed him here.
Ning Xi saw Director Qian and Assistant Liu get up and walk away. She looked at her own half-eaten lunch. She had to put aside her chopsticks and leave with them
“It’s alright, I just said that to send the people away.” Chang Shi Gui smiled and gave her a bottle of water to drink. “You eat slowly and don’t worry.”
Looking at the unscrewed bottle of water, Ning Xi laughed and thanked him, bowing down and continuing to eat.
When Chen Yijun walked into the sets, he saw a supporting actor sitting down and eating with relish. He couldn’t see what the food was but the greasy flavour assaulted his nose, again and again, causing him to frown.
“Mr Chen, please come this way.” The assistant led him and He Dong to walk inside. He glanced around and quickly followed him. They hadn’t walked far before he saw Chang Shi Gui sitting by an old table. He was sitting facing a two half-eaten lunch boxes, next to an actress in ancient clothing and hairdo with a large coat over her body. The actress was sitting next to him and eating with her head bowed so they couldn’t see her identity.
Although he was curious, he put aside the thought and smiled eagerly, “Sorry, Mr Chang, we interrupted your lunch.”
“It’s nothing, I just finished eating.” Chang Shi Gui drank some water and gestured for the both of them to sit.
After Chen Yijun and He Dong looked around, they saw only two plastic stools. They hesitated for a second and then sat down honestly.
At this time, Chen Yijun saw the actress who was eating raise her head. He couldn’t help but move back until even the stool fell down.
“It’s… It’s you?!”