Zhou Yan anxiously read Weibo. The comments area was full of smoke and conspiracy theories. She hesitated for a moment before deciding to ask President Pei for advice. [President Pei, Cheng Xia is being scolded and it has gone onto the hot search. There are many people who suspect you’re taking care of Cheng Xia and want to support him, which is why you pushed him into Director Zhu’s crew. Do you want to have the PR department act?]
Pei Shaoze had naturally seen the messy speculations in the hot search topic. This wasn’t easily explained because Pei Shaoze really did want to support Cheng Xia and the two of them were in love. However, Cheng Xia was right in the interview. Xu Ziyang’s role wasn’t won with money. Cheng Xia won it himself. It was impossible to negate his efforts and strength just because of Tianxuan’s additional investment. The fans in the entertainment industry would just be hot for a few days and then it would pass.
Pei Shaoze calmly answered, [Give it the cold treatment and don’t spend money to get rid of the hot search. Instead, take care of Cheng Xia. Let the netizens scold and guess. The more they question it, the more Cheng Xia will conquer the audience with his acting skills when the drama is released and these black fans will have nothing to say. Rational passersby will like Cheng Xia more.]
Zhou Yan, [You mean to let public opinion spread and to not care about it?]
Pei Shaoze, [Yes. This type of speculation will be suppressed by new gossip within three days. There is no need to clarify it. Cheng Xia’s psychological endurance isn’t so fragile. Look at his new Weibo. He is cheering for himself and ignoring the black fans.]
“……” It was true. She had just checked Cheng Xia’s Weibo and he didn’t seem affected at all. The number of comments on the new Weibo post had exceeded 10,000. Many people called him shameless but Cheng Xia ignored them all. Zhou Yan’s worried mood finally relaxed. [I understand, President Pei. The heat regarding this matter will naturally go down and I believe Cheng Xia will prove himself.]
On the Internet, Cheng Xia’s evaluation had reached the bottom. Once the show was released, word of mouth meant he would rebound and the black fans will have nothing to say. Instead, they had helped the crew promote the drama for free. Cheng Xia could achieve a beautiful turnaround and make his name known in one fell swoop.
Zhou Yan prayed silently in her heart. ‘Cheng Xia, we are all very confident in you. It’s up to you next.’
Early the next morning, Cheng Xia arrived at the shooting location on time. Everyone in the crew knew that Cheng Xia had been scolded onto the hot search last night and some people watched the show in secret. Apart from the few people who saw Cheng Xia’s acting skills, others didn’t quite understand why Director Zhu would choose a newcomer. There were even some doubts within the crew.
However, Cheng Xia was full of smiles and energy. He greeted the staff along the way and didn’t look depressed at all. Everyone was really confused. Did this newcomer really not care or was he not aware of the hot search?
The deputy director was worried he would be affected so he went all the way to Cheng Xia’s dressing room to comfort him. “Cheng Xia, many keyboard warriors on the Internet just curse for fun. Don’t be uncomfortable by their scolding and don’t mind their words. Director Zhu and I think you’re particularly suitable for the role of Xu Ziyang.”
Cheng Xia smiled. “Thank you, deputy director. There is no need to worry, I don’t care about it at all.”
The young man looked honest and not like he was pretending. The deputy director was relieved and patted him on the shoulder. “Keep thinking like this.” Many of the newcomer actors he met before couldn’t stand the attacks of the netizens. They were distracted when filming and some secretly hid and cried. There were few who were optimistic like Cheng Xia.
Zhou Yan came in and saw Cheng Xia and the deputy director talking and laughing. The atmosphere was very relaxed. It seemed that Cheng Xia had adjusted his mentality.
After finishing makeup and styling, Zhou Yan took Cheng Xia to the set. There were several buildings in the studio that could be used to film police dramas. Today, the crew replaced one of the buildings with the sign ‘West District Public Several Bureau of Longhua City.’ Longhua City was the location of the drama.
The scene had been set up and all the lighting and photography were in place. Director Zhu beckoned to Cheng Xia. “Cheng Xia, come here and go through the script first with Old Liu.”
Cheng Xia walked up to the actor playing Group Leader Liu and respectfully said, “Hello Senior.”
Liu Yuhang was a 45-year-old alpha male and he played the role of the group leader of the criminal investigations team and Cheng Xia’s immediate supervisor. He had an ordinary appearance and wasn’t very famous in the entertainment industry. However, his acting skills were very powerful so he often appeared in important supporting roles in major crews.
Cheng Xia came over and Liu Yuhang lit up a cigarette with a smile. “You can directly call me Group Leader Liu. There is no need to be so polite and call me Senior.”
His surname was Liu and the group leader in the drama also happened to be surnamed Liu. Cheng Xia called him Group Leader Liu according to his meaning.
The two of them acted out the script carefully several times. Liu Yuhang saw that the young man in front of him was very powerful. He thoroughly remembered the script and his line skills weren’t bad. Liu Yuhang had a good impression of this serious newcomer and led Cheng Xia into the act. If Cheng Xia didn’t do the right thing in some places then Liu Yuhang would patiently teach him. Thanks to his senior, Cheng Xia soon threw himself into the role.
A while later, the deputy director came over. “How are your preparations? The extras are in place.”
Liu Yuhang pinched his cigarette butt and smiled heartily. “I have no problems. Cheng Xia?”
Cheng Xia answered earnestly, “I also have no problems. I will try my best to keep up with Group Leader Liu later.”
The deputy director took them to the set and Director Zhu shouted, “Extras, be prepared. Act 1, start!”
Cheng Xia appeared alone in the camera.
In the first act, he came to the police station to report alone. The newly graduated trainee police officer wore a clean white t-shirt and jeans. He stood at the gate of the solemn public security bureau and stared up at the sign with a slightly excited smile on his face. Then he quickly ran up the stairs. As he reached the door, he took a deep breath, tidied up his clothing, and walked into the building nervously.
It was a one-man show with no lines and Cheng Xia’s complexion wasn’t bad. Director Zhu looked at the replay and instructed Cheng Xia, “Do it again. Pay attention to your feet when running and don’t be too rushed!”
Cheng Xia returned to his original position and started climbing the stairs again.
Zhu Zheng added. “There is no one around. You’re alone and can let go of some of your excitement.”
Cheng Xia came back and ran again.
Director Zhu’s requirements for each shot were very strict. Cheng Xia ran back and forth five times before this scene was passed. Due to running back and forth, there was a layer of sweat on his forehead. Zhou Yan hurriedly had the assistant wipe it for him. Sister Rong smiled and asked, “You ran back and forth five times. Are you tired? Take a sip of water.”
Cheng Xia took a small sip of the water she handed over and smiled. “It’s fine, I’m not tired.”
The second scene was indoors. Cheng Xia met the group leader at the door and his legs moved quickly as he stood at attention, “Hello, Group Leader Liu! I am Xu Ziyang, police officer number 73508, here to report!”
In front of his superiors, Xu Ziyang had a very serious look and a standard salute posture.
Director Zhu called out to let the scene pass and asked Cheng Xia, “Cheng Xia, did you specifically practice this salute?”
“Yes, I went to the police academy previously and the instructor taught me.” Cheng Xia shifted his gaze to Pei Shaoze who was sitting next to the director. The latter nodded at him, eyes full of appreciation. Cheng Xia smiled at Pei Shaoze to express his gratitude. If it hadn’t been for Pei Shaoze taking him to the police academy, he wouldn’t have found the feeling of a police academy graduate so quickly.
The next few scenes went well.
Cheng Xia entered the act very quickly as if he was Xu Ziyang who just graduated from the police academy. It was the first day he came to report to the police station and he was full of curiosity about the criminal investigations team and confidence in his future career. He felt that in the future, he would definitely follow the group leader to solve cases and catch criminals. Therefore, he was full of smiles. The young man’s smile was bright and his entire body was full of youthful vigor.
Once he received the police officer uniform that his group leader personally handed him, Cheng Xia stood upright and took it with a serious expression. He gently and reverently touched the straight collar of the uniform with his fingers and his eyes were serious as they stared at the police badge on the shoulders.
Director Zhu particularly liked this detail. Cheng Xia’s eyes were full of excitement and joy when looking at the police uniform. It was as if he was seeing his long-awaited baby. He didn’t dare to get it dirty so he held it cautiously. This was in line with the mentality of the police academy graduates when they first got their formal uniforms.
Screenwriters didn’t write things like touching the nose or scratching the head in the script. Actors often needed to act on the spot. Their eyes and the details of their actions were an actor’s ‘spirit.’ An actor with aura didn’t need the director to teach them how to act.
Cheng Xia was undoubtedly a newcomer with both talent and aura. He was willing to work hard and he memorized his lines. Director Zhu thought that it would take Cheng Xia a long time to enter the role today. Surprisingly, Cheng Xia’s performance on the first day far exceeded his expectations.
Pei Shaoze saw Director Zhu’s eyes full of admiration and couldn’t help asking, “Director Zhu, is the performance of our Cheng Xia okay?”
Director Zhu nodded with a smile. “It’s really good. His performance is very detailed.”
“Next, I won’t have much time to spend with the crew. I will have to ask Director Zhu to look after Cheng Xia.” Pei Shaoze looked at Director Zhu with a serious expression. “Today’s scenes don’t require an explosive force and Cheng Xia’s control is good. I’ve seen the script and there are some intense emotional scenes later. Cheng Xia has no experience and I would like to ask Director Zhu to give him more guidance. You’re a professional director and your understanding of acting is definitely much better than Cheng Xia’s understanding.”
Zhu Zheng understood Pei Shaoze’s meaning. It was to have him teach Cheng Xia so that Cheng Xia’s expressiveness in the drama would be better while improving Cheng Xia’s acting skills along the way. The relationship between director and actor was ‘mutual achievement.’ Pei Shaoze asked Zhu Zheng to be a teacher for Cheng Xia. Zhu Zheng liked talented newcomers who were willing to work hard so he gladly accepted. “Don’t worry, I am willing to teach such a good seedling.”
Pei Shaoze nodded. “Yes, I am going back to Rong City tomorrow. I will send an assistant here to follow up with any matters. If Director Zhu encounters any difficult problems then you can contact me directly.”
Few producers would stay at the set all the time. Pei Shaoze was very busy. He planned to send Pei Shaoyan to the crew to learn and take care of Cheng Xia along the way. Pei Shaoyan knew the importance of Cheng Xia to his older brother. He would let Pei Shaoze know in time if anything happened to Cheng Xia.
Pei Shaoze had checked the cast and crew of this drama and their backgrounds had no problems. In addition, the agent and his younger brother were in the crew. He could rest assured of Cheng Xia’s safety.
That evening, Pei Shaoze packed his luggage and sent a message to Cheng Xia. [Is there anyone in your room? I’ll come over and say a few words to you.]
Cheng Xia hurriedly replied, [There is no one. I’ll go out and check if there is anyone in the corridor.]
Cheng Xia opened the door, looked around, and saw there was no one in the corridor. Then he sent a message to Pei Shaoze. [It’s safe. You can come out!]
Pei Shaoze’s room was just around the corner from Cheng Xia’s room. Within half a minute, Cheng Xia saw Pei Shaoze’s figure. He hurriedly pulled Pei Shaoze into his room and quickly closed the door. This little guy was as careful as a thief, and Pei Shaoze couldn’t help coughing. “We are like this. Does it count as a secret love affair?”
Cheng Xia nodded. “You’re coming to me so I should investigate. When I came to your room last time, didn’t you go out to investigate?”
Indeed, both of them were thinking about each other out of fear that being discovered would cause trouble.
Pei Shaoze thought that once Cheng Xia’s name, acting skills, and strength were acknowledged by the public, he would announce to the world that Cheng Xia was the one he loved and wanted to protect for a lifetime. For now, the two of them could only meet in such a sneaky manner.
Pei Shaoze took Cheng Xia and sat on the edge of the bed. He gently held Cheng Xia’s hand and told this person softly, “I’m here to say goodbye. Tomorrow morning, I have a flight back to Rong City at 7 o’clock. I have to head to the airport at 5:30 a.m. and I don’t want to wake you up early in the morning. I came over to tell you this.”
Cheng Xia was startled. “You’re going back so soon?”
“Yes, the post-production of Folding Paper is about to be completed. I have to hurry and submit it for review while discussing the scheduling and profit share with the video website. I will be busy in the next period of time and won’t be able to come to the crew to see you often.”
Cheng Xia smiled with understanding. “It’s fine. You should go if you’re busy. I will seriously film this drama. We will work together to be better in the future. I understand it!”
Pei Shaoze reached out and rubbed his head. “It’s good if you understand. I hope your efforts will be recognized. Folding Paper is your first work and I have to choose the broadcasting platform carefully.”
The young man suddenly hugged Pei Shaoze’s waist and buried his head in Pei Shaoze’s arms. “Let me hold you.”
He was like a good cat in front of Pei Shaoze. The tiger’s claws that he showed to the reporters yesterday had been completely retracted. Pei Shaoze’s heart instantly softened and he hugged the young man tightly, his voice gentle to the extreme. “Is this… acting spoiled?”
Cheng Xia blushed and whispered, “I can’t? You will be gone for a long time so I want to hold you for a while.”
Pei Shaoze, “……”
How could there be such a forthright and cute little guy?
Pei Shaoze simply lifted Cheng Xia’s chin and leaned in, suggesting in a low voice, “Why don’t we kiss for a bit longer?”
Cheng Xia, “……”
The gentle kiss fell. Cheng Xia closed his eyes and opened his mouth to respond shyly. Yesterday, he was kissed until his lips were red and swollen. He had asked Pei Shaoze to be more restrained in the future but Pei Shaoze was going to leave the crew. It wasn’t known when they would meet next. Just… just let the alpha kiss him for a while. He also wanted to be more intimate with Brother Pei.
The two people lingered in the room for a long time and Cheng Xia was bold enough to initiate a kiss back. Pei Shaoze was dizzy by the young man’s inexperienced kiss. His back stiffened and he almost couldn’t hold back…
It was just that Cheng Xia would be filming tomorrow. The two men forced themselves back to their senses.
The temperature in the room kept rising. Once the two of them separated, their lips seemed to be burning and their heartbeat was ridiculously fast. Pei Shaoze took a deep breath to calm down. He gently wiped Cheng Xia’s lips with his thumb and whispered, “Take care of yourself, you know?”
Cheng Xia seriously told him, “You too. Don’t work too hard, don’t work overtime, and don’t stay up late. In addition, don’t drink too much alcohol when going out to socialize! Drinking too much can hurt your stomach. Just excuse yourself and say you have taken cephalosporins-based cold medicine. Then they’ll stop toasting you.”
Pei Shaoze chuckled. “I have noted it down.”
This feeling of being cared for was really warm.