Xie Yang silently counted as he went upstairs.
One, two, three…
Xie Yang’s lips curved up and then he quickly controlled it. He stopped and looked back. “Is there something?”
Qiu Xing saw Xie Yang’s calm face and the question, ‘Why aren’t you grabbing my hand today?’ rolled around in his throat. He couldn’t say it and finally choked out a sentence. “It’s nothing.” Then he strode to his study and closed the door hard.
Xie Yang smiled and continued upstairs.
At 10 o’clock in the evening, Qiu Xing tidied up his hair, pulled his dressing gown and sat in a chair closest to the door, waiting for the mouse to come. He concluded that if Xie Yang didn’t hold his hand when going upstairs then Xie Yang would definitely knock on the door before going to bed. Lately, this sticky bad thing would never be obedient without touching Qiu Xing’s hand for the day.
At 10 o’clock, there was no knock on the door.
Qiu Xing sat in a different position.
10:20 and there still wasn’t a knock on the door.
Qiu Xing started to frequently watch the time.
At 10:30, there was still nothing at the door.
“Staying up late again!”
Qiu Xing opened the door, strode up to the third floor and knocked on Xie Yang’s door. After a long time, the door opened. Xie Yang stood there with sleepy eyes, messy hair and pyjamas askew. He frowned and asked, “What is it?”
Qiu Xing’s gloomy and angry expression froze. His eyes uncontrollably moved over Xie Yang’s body before he reluctantly retracted his gaze and asked in a dry voice, “You… were sleeping?”
Xie Yang stared at Qiu Xing for two seconds before closing the door.
“Wait a minute.” Qiu Xing hurriedly reached out and pressed his hand against the door. His eyes shifted to Xie Yang’s slender fingers holding the door. Finally, he met Xie Yang’s eyes full of sleepiness and anger and he asked, “Did you… have your glass of milk today?”
Xie Yang closed the door with no emotion. Then he smiled at the closed door before opening it again. Seeing Qiu Xing’s gloomy face, he leaned forward and grabbed Qiu Xing’s hand. “Good night.” Then he took back his hand and closed the door again.
After a while, there was a hum of anger and pride outside the door. Then the sound of footsteps heading away. Xie Yang smiled again and returned to the bed. He picked up the script on the bedside table and continued reading.
Zhou Huairen’s movie this time was called ‘I see Xuanyuan.’ It was set in the Republic of China and was about the decline of a large family in that turbulent era.
The role Xie Yang was auditioning for was the youngest son of the Su family who returned home from studying abroad. He was a pampered young master full of perfect ideals.
The role of the young master started from his most brilliant point. He successfully completed his studies abroad and won the grand prize in the international piano competition. He declined the invitation of many foreign orchestras and returned home with the idea of ‘letting more people in China know and learn the piano.’
However, after returning home, his life fell all the way to the bottom.
After enjoying a period of family care at home, the young master’s mother arranged for the young master to marry his cousin. The young master had received advanced education and naturally refused to obey. He rebelled at home and simply ran away from home.
Later, the young master experienced being cheated, bullied and being led astray. Finally, the war broke out and he awakened. He rushed home only to find his home was no longer home. The Su house was smashed, most of his relatives were dead and his mother and cousin were imprisoned by the enemy.
The young master was angry and frightened. He wanted to save his relatives but he had no way. Just as he was feeling desperate, the male lead of the movie, the adopted son of the Su family appeared and secretly hid him. He was encouraged to cheer up and was brought into the army, giving him a direction for his efforts.
The brothers participated in the army’s rescue attempt of their mother. During the rescue process, the young master’s hand was injured and he could no longer play the piano. His face was disfigured and he ultimately couldn’t save his mother.
At the end of the story, the adopted son of the Su family and the rescued cousin got married. The army moved to the front lines and the young master was left behind as a wounded soldier.
After sending away the adopted son and the cousin, the young master fled the army and returned to the decaying Su family home. He found the piano he used when learning the piano as a child. It was damaged by the enemy so he awkwardly repaired it. Then he sat on it and played his favourite tune with his broken fingers. Finally, he held a photo of his mother and turned himself and the old and decaying Su house into ashes by setting a fire.
Years later, the war ended and the adopted son of the Su family, who had many military achievements, returned home with the pregnant cousin. The two of them found a severed finger bone in the old location of the Su house that was long overgrown with weeds. The adopted son used this finger bone and the toy piano that the young master had given the cousin when he was a child to build a tomb for the young master.
The broken finger bone and the toy piano, this was the final outcome of the young master.
Xie Yang closed the script and stared into the air for a while. Then he put down the script and lay down to sleep.
On Monday, Xie Yang and Qin Cheng went to the audition location together by car.
Xie Yang had closed his eyes to rest and Qin Cheng spoke from next to him, “Even if the result of the audition isn’t successful, you must do well. It is okay not to have acting skills but you must have the correct attitude. Show Director Zhou your hard work and sincerity, understood?”
Xie Yang let out a hum and didn’t open his eyes.
Half an hour later, the car stopped at the door of an old theatre.
Xie Yang opened his eyes and got out of the car with Qin Cheng. Qin Cheng told him while walking, “Director Zhou has always been cautious when casting rooms. Every time there is an audition, he will set up one or two plot-related scenes for the main characters. He will have the auditioning actors match the scenes and then choose the most suitable one among them. Your true age is the closest to the young master in the script. This is your advantage. You can strengthen your acting skills later.”
Xie Yang nodded.
The two of them soon arrived at the location for the audition of the second male lead. Director Zhou was auditioning for the first female lead in another room and this side wouldn’t start until after a meeting. The staff first led Xie Yang into a lounge for the actors auditioning for the second male lead.
There was already a person sitting in the lounge. He was a stranger and looked around 27 or 28. His height and appearance weren’t outstanding in the entertainment industry but he had a good temperament. His special single-lidded phoenix eyes were easy to remember.
Xie Yang had searched up the photos of the audition opponents in advance and recognized this person as Yan Xin. He saw this person look over and greeted him politely. Yan Xin also said hello.
The agent wasn’t allowed to stay in the lounge for a long time. Qin Cheng sent Xie Yang here and left. Xie Yang found a corner to sit down in and took out the script from his backpack to continue reading.
“Agent Qin had already left when I entered Huanyu. I heard he is very good to his artists?”
Xie Yang looked up at Yan Xin and couldn’t see the meaning in this person’s words. He replied, “Qin Cheng is indeed very good.”
Yan Xin nodded. “I’m envious of you.”
Xie Yang thought this Yan Xin was a bit interesting and asked, “You are envious that my agent is Qin Cheng?”
Yan Xin shook his head and replied, “I’m envious of your background. I come from the countryside and don’t have the type of self-confidence and pride that the role of the young master requires. I only started to learn the piano after my debut. I don’t play it well and my posture isn’t good enough. I studied hard but I can’t do it well.”
“However, your acting skills are very good. I’ve seen your works and they are great.” Xie Yang got up and walked to sit next to Yan Xin. He raised his hand and pretended there was a piano in front of him. He played a few times before glancing at Yan Xin. “Does this posture look good?”
Yan Xin raised his hand and tried it himself. He nodded before shaking his head. “It looks good but I can’t learn it.”
“It isn’t that you aren’t learning it. You are too tense. Relax. Don’t use the piano as a tool to decorate yourself. Try to love it. In the case where you have solid basic skills, you have to play the piano with love and enthusiasm. This is your best posture.”
Yan Xin frowned thoughtfully.
Xie Yang sat back in the corner and continued reading the script.
10 minutes later, Fang Chengnan also arrived. He was wearing a retro suit and his dark brown hair was dyed to black. He had youthful bangs and looked similar to the description of the young master in the script.
Fang Chengnan took the initiative to greet Xie Yang and Yan Xin after entering the room. The two of them responded politely. Everyone finally arrived and the staff sent a short audition clip to let the actors familiarize themselves in advance.
There were two audition scenes, both of which required playing the piano. The first one was the young master playing the piano to celebrate his mother’s birthday after returning to China. The second one was the young master’s last performance before he burned himself.
The emotions required for the two scenes were different and the difficulty was quite high.
The staff member said, “Director Zhou mentioned that you can choose the music you want to play during the audition.”
There was no designated track and the difficulty doubled.
Xie Yang noticed that Yan Xin frowned after hearing the staff member’s words and showed a distressed look. Fang Chengnan immediately lowered his head to read the script. Once the staff member left, Yan Xin hesitated before walking over to sit beside Xie Yang. Xie Yang looked at Yan Xin. Fang Chengnan, who was sitting in the other corner, also glanced sideways.
Yan Xin was a bit embarrassed as he spoke. “I heard that you are good at playing the piano. If it is convenient, can I ask what song you think is better to play?”
Xie Yang questioned, “What songs can you play? It is better for them to be songs you are skilled in.”
Yan Xin gave the names of some songs.
Xie Yang thought for a while before replying. “I suggest you play Ode to Spring in the first audition. It is fast-paced and has low difficulty. Everyone is familiar with it and it can set off the atmosphere of a birthday party. In the second audition, you can play the second excerpt of Black Fantasy. To be honest, this doesn’t fit perfectly in line with the emotions of the young master at the time but it can express some of it. You can use your expressions and body to fill in the missing parts of the song.”
Yan Xin finally had a direction and spoke sincerely. “Thank you.”
Yan Xin took out a notebook from his bag and turned to one of the pages. He handed it to Xie Yang and told him “I made my own biography of the character. You can use it.”
Xie Yang took the notebook and also sincerely thanked him. “Thank you.”
The two people finished the exchange. One person plugged in headphones and started to familiarize himself with the music. The other looked at the character biography. The atmosphere was harmonious.
Fang Chengnan frowned and slowly retracted his gaze.
Around 20 minutes later, the staff member came in again and asked the three of them to draw lots to choose the audition order. Fang Chengnan had made his debut first and had higher qualifications. Yan Xin and Xie Yang asked him to draw first and then Yan Xin would be second.
In the end, Fang Chengnan drew the third audition while Yan Xin drew the first.
10 minutes later, the audition officially began. Yan Xin followed the staff member to the next room and Xie Yang and Fang Chengnan were left in the lounge.
Fang Chengnan glanced at Xie Yang and joked, “You answered all the questions of your competitor so well. There aren’t many pure and enthusiastic people like you in the circle. Yan Xin is really too much. As a senior, he didn’t give you any advice and even bothered you so much.”
Xie Yang heard the provocation on Fang Chengnan’s words and replied with a smile, “I’m not enthusiastic. I just thought that if I can’t pass the audition, I want Yan Xin to beat you. You worked so hard to blacken me. It is fair to pay you back.”
Fang Chengnan froze and the smile on his face disappeared gradually.