Chapter 1 — What if?
The capital city was always extremely hot in the month of June. Ning Xi came out of the airport and searched among the crowd, spotting a young man in a white shirt wearing black-rimmed sunglasses holding a signboard in his hand. Her name was written on the board, so she walked towards the man.
Wang He was very displeased in his heart. No one would be happy to pick up a new person for the company on a such a hot day. However, without any connections within the company, he had finally gained a firm foothold as an employee. So even though his heart was somewhat unhappy, he didn’t let it show on his face.
The flight was nearly two hours, and he was relieved when he heard from the announcements that the plane he was waiting for had finally arrived.
When he was thinking to himself that the person wasn’t coming, he saw an extremely beautiful lady come out; she had fair skin, soft, gorgeous lips and wavy black hair. She was simply stunning.
When such a stunning beauty appeared so close that Wang He could vaguely smell her scent, his cheeks couldn’t help but go red.
“Hello, I am Ning Xi.” Ning Xi approached the young man, smiling at him.
Wang He greeted her respectfully, putting down the signboard. “So you are Miss Ning? My name is Wang He, the company arranged for me to pick you up. You can call me Xiao Wang.” When he finished, he rubbed his hands before he held out one to Ning Xi.
“It’s nice to meet you, Brother Wang.” Ning Xi shook his hands, “I will have to bother you today.”
“It’s no bother, no bother,” Wang He denied with a smile on his face. “You just returned home. You were also signed by a new company. If you have any problems, you can ask me.”
He didn’t know much about where Ning Xi came from, but since she was personally signed by Liu Kun and Zhang Qingyun when she was abroad, and the company arranged for her to be treated quite well, then she must have been an extraordinary talent. That’s why, even though he waited so long, he didn’t dare complain.
They both conversed as they walked out of the airport. Ning Xi felt as if the hot sun was roasting her body and was very uncomfortable; fortunately, Wang He’s car wasn’t too far away and they didn’t walk for long.
When the AC was switched on, Ning Xi exhaled in relief. She took out her phone to take a look. It was already late noon.
Wang He accompanied Ning Xi to a restaurant for dinner and later to a good apartment where the company had arranged for her to live.
The place had one room and one bathroom. The location was good, there was plenty of greenery about. Wang He helped Ning Xi carry her luggage, unlocked the door, and handed the key over.
“Miss Ning, this is a temporary arrangement for your stay that the company has prepared for you. If you are not satisfied, please wait for the company to find a better place and shift later.” Wang He put the suitcase in the corner. He was a little curious. Despite staying abroad for so many years, this Miss Ning did not have much luggage.
The furniture in the house was all there. Even the beds were covered with a new, clean quilt. Sensing the respect that the company was giving her, Ning Xi smiled and thanked Wang He.
Wang He made a little polite talk. He informed her about the traffic around there and the major supermarkets. He gave her the company staff manual and the map of the capital and left.
Ning Xi politely tried to detain him and finally sent him out.
She brought in a couple of things and arranged her belongings in the house when the phone rang. The caller was Zhang Qingyun.
“Brother Zhang.” Ning Xi walked to the window with opened curtains to see the vast area of green. It was a very nice, pleasant view.
Listening to the other speak, Ning Xi smiled. “Yes, I will arrive on time tomorrow.”
Hanging up, she went to take a bath, dried her hair, put on comfortable pyjamas and lay down on the bed with her laptop. She sent an email to her friends abroad and put away the laptop. She stared absently into space.
Inside the house, it was as cool as spring.
In the evening, it was not all that hot. So, Ning Xi took her wallet and went out.
Because it was nearly dinner time, there were not a lot of people in the supermarket. Ning Xi slowly pushed her shopping cart, reaching for a box of yoghurt. At the same time, another hand also reached for the same box.
Seeing the beautiful hand on the box, Sun Xiumei could not help but sigh with emotion. The wrist wore a unique silver bracelet which was also very pretty.
“Sorry,” She heard the other say and take another box.
Hearing the melodious voice, her heart trembled a bit. She couldn’t help but glance at the other woman several times. Her features seemed very familiar, so she asked uncertainly, “You are…Ning Xi?”
Ning Xi, who was putting the box into the shopping cart, was slightly puzzled and looked back at the young woman. When she was abroad, she didn’t have much contact with her old classmates. For the other to recognise her after five or six years was simply miraculous.
She didn’t speak, just looking at her in a puzzled manner.
“Ning Xi, is it you?” Sun Xiumei was pleasantly surprised. She took off her hat, showing her face. “I’m Sun Xiumei!”
This was quite sudden. Sun Xiumei was a nice girl. While Ning Xi was not very close to her, their relationship was not bad. When she had returned to China four years ago, they had met on the streets coincidentally. It was no wonder that she could recognise her now. Thinking about it, she exposed a smile. “Long time no see.”
“Yes, long time no see.” Sun Xiumei examined her from head to toe. She said emotionally, “After four years, you’ve become thinner and more beautiful.”
She remembered seeing Ning Xi last time, she was already much thinner than when she was in high school. But at that time, her mental state didn’t seem good. People who saw her would worry.
When she learnt later about what happened to Ning Xi, she too was worried. Now seeing her well and good standing before her, she seemed to be living a good life. She felt relieved, and the vague guilt feeling inside her disappeared by half.
Growing up over time, people become more mature. When she saw Ning Xi, she remembered what happened six-seven years ago. Although she wasn’t involved, she still felt ashamed. She knew that she was only a few paces away from those prankster classmates of hers.
“You… how have you been all these years?” Sun Xiumei came behind her and whispered.
“Pretty good,” Ning Xi turned around and looked at her. “How about you?”
“I’m also fine,” Sun Xiumei nodded. She noticed the men and women in the supermarket secretly staring at Ning Xi. The latter didn’t seem to notice their gazes. “You’re coming back this time…to visit your relatives?”
“I returned home to settle down here,” Ning Xi shook her head and pushed the shopping cart to the checkout queue. “I still prefer food from home.”
“Yes, our food is delicious.” Sun Xiumei didn’t know what else the two of them could talk about and blandly replied with that sentence.
Finally, it was Ning Xi’s turn and the cashier billed all the items from her cart. “310 yuan.”
Ning Xi took out 400 yuan and gave it to the cashier. The cashier asked, “Do you have change?”
Ning Xi shook her head. Sun Xiumei was about to say that she could lend it to her when a young man quickly handed Ning Xi the change, “I have it, here you go.”
“Thank you.” Ning Xi smiled at the young man and handed him an apple.
“No, it’s alright.”The young man looked at the apple Ning Xi gave him. He went red in the face and laughingly accepted her goodwill, holding the apple cautiously.
Seeing this scene, Sun Xiumei could not help but smile.
Once they stepped out of the supermarket, Sun Xiumei saw that the day was quite hot. The heat was fiery and even Ning Xi’s cheeks were red. She handed her a business card. “You haven’t been in the country for a few years, you may not be familiar with some places. If there is anything, give me a call.”
“Thank you.” Ning Xi took the business card and put it in her wallet. She would gladly accept her goodwill, although it was unlikely that she would have much contact with Sun Xiumei in the future.
Seeing her being so polite, Sun Xiumei opened her mouth, not knowing what to say. “Then… goodbye. If there is a chance, then let’s catch up.”
“Goodbye.” Ning Xi nodded. Carrying two fully stuffed bags, she headed in the direction of her apartment when she was stopped by Sun Xiumei.
“Ning Xi, Chen Yijun and Wei Siqi are holding their wedding ceremony this weekend,” Sun Xiumei did not know whether what she was saying was right or wrong, “Are you going to attend it?”
“Are the two of them still together?”
Sun Xiumei saw that Ning Xi had a smile on her face, but this smile looked a little strange.
“Oh, this is really touching. I have to believe in love again.” Ning Xi raised her eyebrows, sweeping her hair back from her shoulder, “Please give them my regards. I have something to do this weekend. I cannot go.”
Sun Xiumei nodded quickly. In fact, she now regretted telling Ning Xi about this. Fortunately, Ning Xi’s reaction was not that big, otherwise, she would have no face to talk to her in the future.
When she returned home, Ning Xi made herself a bowl of egg noodles which didn’t taste very good. Browsing online for a while, she went to bed.
Tomorrow, she had to go to the company to see her agent and some members of the senior management. She didn’t want to look gaunt and sleep-deprived in front of them.
Jiuji Entertainment Company was a trailblazer in China’s entertainment industry, flourishing everywhere. It had managed to squeeze into the ranks of first-rank companies and could be considered a strong force in the industry.
Jiuji Entertainment excelled in training actors. It had trained a variety of teen idols, entertainment princes, even emperors. But no one is perfect, and neither was the company. It lacked a presentable and strong actress.
They didn’t know if it was the company’s bad luck, or the agents of the company could only scout good male talents. The actresses in the company were either not popular or weren’t popular for very long as if it was a curse.
It was only because of this that actresses of little fame were afraid to sign with this company. As an actor, who didn’t want to be famous? Who wanted to join a company where no actress was famous?
To become a top entertainment company, it had to have successful actors and actresses. With only actors and no actresses, the company would inevitably decline.
For the chief of the company, this issue was a major headache. So when he heard that Zhang Qingyun signed an actress while travelling abroad, although she had a small role in a foreign TV drama, he was willing to meet her personally.
While trying to cure a dead horse, what if it actually worked?