*** = Scene change
***** = Timeskip
“Being an actress is a waste.”
From start to finish, Qingruo obediently kept by Feng Qi’s side. She was very much like a lazy cat that had been brought out by its owner.
Although five years had already passed since her debut, it was her first time accompanying a money tree and being pulled into this kind of circle. She wasn’t anyone famous, so she became a new face in the group.
Because she had an attractive face, a pleasant attitude, and was with Feng Qi, the others paid her some extra attention. That was inevitable.
When Feng Qi saw that she was constantly trying to shy away, obviously less than willing to step forth and make connections for herself, he wordlessly wrapped an arm around her slender waist and domineeringly told the others to stop trying to talk to her.
Then, things started to get heated in the private room. Having already stripped down to their undergarments, the other girls were lying suggestively on a long sofa. Qingruo stared at them as she sat there on the same sofa with Feng Qi’s arm draped around her shoulders.
Her widened eyes were filled with curiosity and horror.
After touching glasses with the man sitting beside him, Feng Qi turned back to see her staring at the other end of the sofa. A hint of lust appeared in his eyes as he leaned in and whispered in her ear, “Baby, you’ve never seen this before?”
She trembled from the pet name and the warmth of his hot breath against her ear, grabbed his shirt, and responded, “No.”
He was about to tell her that he could teach her when he suddenly heard a certain sound coming from one of the women at the other side. The room soon filled with obscene, teasing laughter, but the woman persisted in her shameless act.
His expression darkening, Feng Qi covered Qingruo’s eyes with a large hand and drew her into his embrace, making sure that her face was buried in his chest before pulling her up. His hand moved from her eyes to the back of her head, holding it in place. When they walked past some of the people he was more familiar with, he mercilessly kicked them and ordered, “Throw the ones over there out.”
His tone was gloomy. Even under the colorful lights of the private room, his eyes were dark like those of King Yama1. At this moment, no one dared to provoke him, so they all complied.
He led her out of the room and into the corridor before finally removing his hand from the back of her head. After pulling her over to stand near a handrail, he reached out and started to twirl a strand of her hair around his fingertip.
“You’ve mingled all these years for nothing2.”
She reacted by shooting him a scowl, giving the impression that she couldn’t be bothered to retort. Happy, Feng Qi reached down and lightly patted her bottom. He had downed quite a few shots and was starting to feel the effects of the alcohol.
Faced with her angry little expression and glaring doe eyes, he said “be good” in a tone that was neither light nor heavy, making it difficult for one to tell if he was chiding her or indulging her.
Qingruo sniffled and turned away, leaning against the handrail to peer down at the people going to and fro the lobby below. Feng Qi walked around behind her.
Then, he heard a familiar voice and looked over.
An Qi and Jing Cheng.
He continued to pace around, even as he was introducing them to Qingruo and Qingruo to them. Shortly after, Jing Cheng bid them farewell, “We’ll be leaving first. An Qi is pregnant, so she needs to go home and rest.”
“Mhm,” Feng Qi nodded with a smile, slightly dazed as he watched the two walk away in each other’s warm embrace.
Later, Feng Qi took Qingruo back into the private room. His notorious friends had done as told and thrown out the shameless woman from before, as well as her accomplices. He began to play games and drink again, downing every shot that was offered to him.
Eventually, he remembered that there was still someone with him and finally showed some restraint.
Without even having to ask, the chauffeur knew where to go. He drove them to Qingruo’s apartment.
Although Feng Qi was feeling muddle-headed, he wasn’t as drunk as he was last time. The words “An Qi is pregnant” running through his mind had rendered him mute and motionless.
Last time, he was in a stupor and didn’t notice. This time, he did.
Once they were inside her apartment, Qingruo settled him on the sofa and covered him with a thin blanket. She entered the kitchen to make some preparations and came out with a basin of water to wash his face and hands with. He faked unconsciousness.
Afterward, she fed him a bowl of hangover soup and brought over another basin of water.
Feng Qi had guessed what she wanted to do. Having already faked unconsciousness before, this time he tried to utilize his drunkenness to raise a noisy protest. Qingruo patiently coaxed him as she would a child, “Be good, okay? You’ll sleep better if you wash your feet.”
Maybe it was because her voice sounded too gentle and patient… he quieted down and obediently let her do as she pleased.
Qingruo moved him to the bed in the guest room and took a seat. When she pressed down on the acupoints of his head, he felt both comfort and pain. The stench of alcohol did not pervade his senses; rather, it was the faint fragrance of her body that surrounded him.
Was it magnolia, or bombax ceiba?3
When Qingruo finished and got up to leave, Feng Qi subconsciously wanted to reach out and pull her back. He wasn’t completely drunk, and he wanted —needed— to do some exercising on the bed. But in the end, he didn’t reach out.
She turned off the lights before leaving. The apartment was small and the soundproofing wasn’t very good either, so he could still hear the sound of running water in the kitchen and her light footsteps as she moved around in her slippers.
As he listened, he eventually drifted to sleep.
He woke up from another good night’s sleep, feeling no discomfort at all. At the head of his bed, he spotted a simple alarm clock that was clearly brand new. The pajamas he was wearing this time were also new; they fit him perfectly, and the silky fabric felt very comfortable against his skin.
After checking the time, he found his phone near the bed and gave Chu Yang a call.
“I know—bring clothes,” Chu Yang said before he could even open his mouth. The corners of Feng Qi’s lips curved slightly.
“Mhm. Tell someone to bring some more clothes over later,” he paused and added, “and have the stores deliver a set of the newest women’s bags.”
“Tut-tut. May I know how many are in a ‘set,’ boss?”
“Of all the bags released this month, send every single one that suits her age. Do the same next month.”
Well, Chu Yang was now completely floored by Qingruo. Last time, his boss granted ten scripts without batting an eye, and this time, the cost of the night was clearly sky-high4. Feng Qi was always very generous and easygoing to the people he kept, but never had he been this extravagant.
Before, Chu Yang had believed that the girl definitely had something wrong with her brain. Why else would someone as good-looking as her remain unpopular for a whole five years? But now, he realized that if she had wanted to make it big from the start, she probably would’ve won a hand-cramping number of awards already.
Just then, Qingruo knocked on the door. Feng Qi still had some business-related instructions to give Chu Yang, but he let her in without bothering to hang up first. She half-leaned against the doorframe, holding a cup.
“Don’t send me the bags.”
Feng Qi looked up at her and gave a small smile. “Okay.”
“Don’t send the bags,” he relayed back to Chu Yang.
Chu Yang’s lips twitched. He asked tentatively, “Then, boss, what do you want to send instead?”
Feng Qi ignored the question and finished up the call. Qingruo had already left with her cup.
Knowing that Feng Qi would stay for lunch, Chu Yang took his time driving over. When he arrived, the two had already finished eating. Feng Qi was in the living room watching the afternoon news, and Qingruo was in her bedroom taking a nap.
Again it was Feng Qi who opened the door, letting Chu Yang and a group of staff from a custom tailor shop in. They carried Feng Qi’s clothes into the guest room. After they left, Chu Yang walked around the small room and asked Feng Qi, “You guys sleep here?”
“I sleep here.”
Chu Yang’s mouth rounded to form an ‘O.’ He stared as Feng Qi walked over to the desk near the bed and tapped on it.
“Tell me, if I add a cabinet here on the wall, will there be enough space for my computer and file holder?”
Chu Yang frowned at Feng Qi’s odd behavior, but at least this behavior was better than the despairing state An Qi had left him in. With that thought in mind, Chu Yang walked over and earnestly gauged the width of the space between the corner of the bed and the wall.
“I’m afraid not,” he answered. “A chair still needs to be added.”
Feng Qi took a look and nodded in agreement.
“Or I can just sit on the bed, without a chair?”
“… Your house is so big, what are you trying to accommodate this little room for?”
Feng Qi realized, “Ah, you’re right. She could just move in with me.”
“…” Chu Yang suddenly felt worried, very worried. This man didn’t seem like the usual cunning and resolute Feng Qi.
Afterward, Feng Qi took his assistant to the living room and waited diligently for Qingruo to wake up from her nap. They had decided to discuss the matter of moving with her. They couldn’t turn on the television because it would be too loud, so Feng Qi took two books from the bookshelf and suggested that Chu Yang read them to pass the time. Then he lowered his voice and said, “New editions, you probably haven’t read them yet. Although I think it’s all just a bunch of bullsh*t, it’s well-written bullsh*t.”
Since she had to return to the television station for a continuation of the cooking show that afternoon, Qingruo didn’t nap for long. An unknown actress like her didn’t have a personal makeup artist or stylist to help her get ready, so she had to do her makeup and pick out an outfit herself. She would have to trouble the hairstylist at the television station to help her fix up her hair a bit.
Once she was ready, she put the things she needed into her bag and opened her bedroom door.
“Hm?” Her expression turned skeptical. Why was Feng Qi still here?
But since she was in a hurry, she greeted him and then went straight to the front door with her bag. Feng Qi stood up and followed her. “Going out?” he asked.
“Mhm, I have to go to the television station to film for the cooking show.”
She stood by the shoe rack changing her shoes, but her bag made it difficult. Just as she was about to give up and put the bag down, Feng Qi appeared and held her arm to help her regain her balance. Simultaneously, he bent down to change his own shoes.
“I’ll send you there,” he said.
“Okay.” She lifted her head and smiled.
Chu Yang was wearing his own shoes since the beginning. After stacking together the books and putting them back onto the shelves, he quickly followed after them.
They sat in the back with Chu Yang in the driver’s seat. Feng Qi turned to look at her, taking in the exquisite makeup on her face. She looked like a crystal doll, much more charming than usual, but he preferred her face when it was bare, clean and comfortable.
“When will the recording end? I’ll have my chauffeur pick you up and take you to my house.”
He said it casually, but Chu Yang knew that by “house” he meant the old Feng Manor, a place that even An Qi had rarely frequented. And yet Feng Qi brought it up as casually as he would if he was inviting a friend to a meal.
“Five.” Qingruo looked up and lightly bit her bottom lip. “My home is too small?” she asked.
Feng Qi nodded. “There’s no space for an office desk.”
She smiled and said, “There’s no need to go to your house, I have a vacant room that I used to practice dancing in. I don’t use it anymore.”
Smiling back, he had also realized that he might’ve been too casual with his invitation. But did this girl understand what that invitation meant? That her value in their deal had increased? Clearly not.
She got off in front of the television station entrance and happily bid them goodbye.
Feng Qi didn’t speak, and Chu Yang didn’t start the engine. The former watched as she went up the steps and disappeared into the building. He tapped a finger on his knee and said coldly, with a dark smile, “Being an actress is a waste.5”
This cutting remark would’ve caused anyone else to feel terrified, but Chu Yang had known him for several years already. Chu Yang looked in the direction Qingruo had disappeared and started the car.
“No,” he said. “You should believe that there is good everywhere in this world.”
If Qingruo was indeed acting and had deliberately planned everything so far, then with this expertise in scheming, five years in the industry, and her face, it would be simply impossible for her to not make it big. In that case, what “poor acting skills”? Chu Yang admitted that he himself wore a mask every day, but even he couldn’t wear it as naturally as she might be.
If she wasn’t acting… Chu Yang shook his head. If she wasn’t acting, then he didn’t know whether it was a blessing or a curse for Feng Qi.
Two times, I got drunk.
Both times, I was taken care of.
But I don’t want to get drunk again.
VIN: As you can tell from all the footnotes, the author just loves being vague. And in this chapter, you realize how childish Feng Qi can be. He was embarrassed that she had to help him wipe his face, hands, and feet while he was in that state.