Chapter 9 — First Meeting
“Turn this way! Yes! Smile more beautifully! More affectionate!” The advertising director had his eyes fixed on the screen, guiding Ning Xi through the megaphone.
“Okay, done.” The director was very satisfied with Ning Xi’s understanding and intuition. “Let’s go near the sea, the air-blowers are ready.”
Creamy-white legs, the boundless sea, eye-catching blood-red dress flying because of the wind… the beauty of the scene was indescribable. When the director yelled, “Cut!” Ning Xi jumped away from the sea and scurried back hurriedly, and her entire enchanting image disappeared without a trace.
Zhang Qingyun immediately wrapped a thick blanket around her and draped a coat over her shoulders. Xiao Yang gave her a cup of hot tea. Ning Xi held the cup with her icy hands and wished that her entire being would bury itself in the chair.
Fortunately, her makeup today was heavier than usual for the sake of the camera. Otherwise, her lipstick would have looked quite bizarre on the screen.
She blew out a breath and wiped her red nose with a tissue. She asked Zhang Qingyun, “Brother Zhang, do I still have to do more shots?”
When the advertisement would be broadcast, she might not have many scenes; but that didn’t mean that she had to shoot only a few. To make the ad more effective, the director was trying many ideas and scenes and after selecting the best, he would make Zhou Zhengchuan shoot accordingly.
Compared with Zhou Zhengchuan, this senior brother of hers, she was a newcomer. Naturally, it was the difference between heaven and earth. So, it was normal for everyone to give priority to him.
“Junior sister, are you feeling okay, now?” Zhou Zhengchuan came over, wearing a suit given by Blue Crane Apparel. His aura was very imposing.
“I’m okay,” Ning Xi smiled at him gratefully. Wisps of hair had fallen on her pale, white neck; she looked so delicate.
Zhou Zhengchuan smiled and opened his mouth to speak when he suddenly heard a noise from behind them. When he turned to see what the commotion was, he saw a man striding towards them, surrounded by many people.
The man was in a black suit and his hair was done neatly. He had the aura of a king as he walked among the crowd. He seemed to be the most important person amongst them.
Seeing the cautious attitude of the manager of Blue Crane Apparel, Zhou Zhengchuan deduced that the identity of this person was extraordinary.
“Zhengchuan, Ning Xi, this is our big boss from the head office,” The staff members were afraid that the two actors didn’t know the identity of the man and would displease him, so they quickly reminded them in a whisper.
“Hello, Mr Chang,” Zhou Zhengchuan understood very well that although his own status wasn’t low, in front of such a man, he was actually nothing. With only a few words from this big boss, all his years of hard work could go up in smoke.
“Hello,” the man called Mr Chang didn’t put on any airs. Instead, he nodded towards him lightly, “You’ve worked hard.”
“It’s my pleasure to represent Blue Crane Apparel,” Zhou Zhengchuan had seen many successful people and most of them had good etiquette and spoke elegantly. But if someone mistook their elegant demeanour for having a gentle personality, they would be courting death.
Etiquette and elegance were just masks of these aristocrats. Under this mask, they killed and played tricks. How else could these people stand on top of the food chain?
“Boss, he is the brand ambassador for the products of our subsidiary. His name is Zhou Zhengchuan and he is Jiuji Entertainment’s artist.” The manager saw that the big boss was very satisfied with their choice of brand ambassador and sighed with relief.
“Hm.” Mr Chang nodded his eyes sweeping past Zhou Zhengchuan and landing on Ning Xi who stood behind him.
Ning Xi was wrapped in a towel and had a coat draped over her. Her hair was still wet; she looked like she was in an awkward situation.
Seeing that the boss was looking at Ning Xi, the manager quickly introduced her. “This is the actor who is the supporting role for the ads for Zhou Zhengchuan.”As for her name, he didn’t remember clearly.
At that time, when he was going through the pile of photographs, he felt that this actress’ eyes were the most appealing and stood out from the crowd. When he saw other pictures, he couldn’t even differentiate between all the female artists. When Zhou Zhengchuan recommended her to him, he took advantage of this opportunity to invite her.
Jiuji Entertainment had cooperated with Blue Crane Apparel many times. So as a favour, he proposed good terms for her in the contract.
This actress seemed to be called… Xi something?
“Hello, Mr Chang, my name is Ning Xi. It’s an honour to meet you.” Ning Xi tucked her hair behind her ear. The coat she had worn fell and the towel couldn’t cover her exposed shoulder.
Mr Chang looked at the coat which had fallen and bent down to pick it up. He put it on for her like a gentleman and took two steps back. “The wind by the sea is great.”
Some people felt that when a man was too close to a woman, she would feel that it was aggressive. Ning Xi found that when Mr Chang took those two steps back, it was at a safe and polite distance.
“Thank you,” She pulled at the coat and smiled at him courteously.
Mr Chang stretched his hand towards her, “Hopefully, I will have a chance to work with Miss Ning in the future.”
“I look forward to the opportunity,” Ning Xi smiled and shook his hand. Her hand was too cold; his hand was very warm.
They quickly took back their hands. The assistant behind Mr Chang handed her a business card.
The card had a simple design. It was square-shaped with three large characters printed in the centre. It wasn’t very fancy or ostentatious.
Ning Xi gave the card to Zhang Qingyun. She wanted to give it to her regular assistant but who knew that he would receive it personally. She smiled and didn’t continue to speak. With her identity, it wasn’t appropriate to say too much.
Mr Chang turned to the director and said, “Continue shooting, don’t bother about me.”
The director nodded. He was actually afraid that the shooting would be delayed. After four, five o’clock, it would get colder and the impact of the actors’ performance would be lesser. In turn, the ad’s quality would also be reduced.
Mr Chang sat on a chair looking around calmly at the men and women holding hands on the beach.
As a large wave hit the beach, a woman wearing a red skirt staggered back and was held by a man beside her.
“Alright, alright, let’s continue!” Since the big boss was sitting right here, the director’s voice was naturally smaller.
Mr Chang stood up again.
“Boss?” The assistant looked at him nervously.
“I’ll take a walk around.” Speaking from time to time, he kept glancing at the coast and walked in the opposite direction, leaving his footprints on the sand.
The people accompanied him silently, afraid of making a mistake and making him dissatisfied.
“Boss, at 4 pm, you have a meeting with Hong Cheng International’s CEO. You also have to attend a reception tonight at 6.30.” His assistant looked at his watch and whispered, “Do you want me to find a place to have lunch now?”
Mr Chang turned his watch to look at the time. It was 12 in the afternoon. He nodded. “Arrange for lunch for the advertisement staff also.”
“Yes,” The assistant nodded respectfully and turned to inform the manager about this.
The manager of Blue Crane Apparel listened to him speak and remembered the attitude of the big boss towards the small actress, and a doubt crept into his heart. Was the boss interested in the female artist?
But it was known that the boss had always been clean and hadn’t played around with any woman. Was he just thinking too much?
Forget it, he thought, it wouldn’t be a mistake to be a little more polite to the actress.
After the shoot, Ning Xi received the luxurious lunch from the staff. She opened the box and saw rich, steaming food, so she curiously asked Zhou Zhengchuan, “Senior brother, is the crew always this generous?”
Zhou Zhengchuan drank water and shook his head, “You’re lucky, it’s not always this good.” This was not the first time he was cooperating with this company. All the times before, the lunch wasn’t this rich.
“Large companies are really different.” Ning Xi was really hungry and, seeing that all the dishes were her favourite, she couldn’t help but eat more.
Fortunately, she didn’t get a small belly, or the director would have been really depressed.
The shooting in the afternoon went smoothly. Ning Xi wrapped up her scenes before 4 pm. She put back the costumes and put on her clothes. She said goodbye to the crew and sat inside the car with Zhang Qingyun.
Shortly after their car left the parking lot, she saw a black car followed by a series of branded cars.
Zhang Qingyun slowed down and drove to the side to allow the cars to go first.
After all the cars passed them, Zhang Qingyun continued to drive, asking, “Do you know who Mr Chang is?”
Ning Xi replied thoughtfully, “The employees there called him big boss, and his surname is Chang so I can guess his identity more or less.”
“Keep the card he gave you carefully. Even if you don’t use it, you can use it to show off. Whatever the case, President Chang has personally given you the card. Even if others wanted it, they couldn’t get it.” Zhang Qingyun laughed loudly. “The reason the afternoon shoot went so smoothly was because of that one handshake he gave you.”
Otherwise, with Ning Xi’s status in the circle, she would have been tossed about much more while shooting.
“The world respects those with status and money,” Ning Xi said. She looked at the business card the assistant had given her. She smiled at the name and number and put it into her bag. “That’s quite normal.”
Zhang Qingyun laughed: “Fortunately, you don’t treat the rich and the powerful with disdain.”
“Am I such a person?” Ning Xi shook her finger. “Being influential is not a crime, why should ordinary people disdain them?”
“It’s not shameful to admit that I’m a vulgar person.” She said, holding her chin. There was a cool smile on her face. “It’s shameful to use money which is not theirs to manipulate others and throw their weight around.”
Sitting beside Ning Xi, Xiao Yang saw the other’s eyes chilled and filled with ridicule. But even this aspect of her was so beautiful and soul-stirring like the goddess of the night. People couldn’t help but tremble at this aura.