The lights in the auditorium slowly dimmed.
Ji Li took a breath and suddenly became nervous.
Perhaps it was because he had invested unprecedented emotions into the role in ‘Long Island Iced Tea’, or perhaps the relationship between Lu Yao and Wen Qiong touched him too deeply.
Once the movie was released, his body and mind returned to that small world.
Suddenly, Qin Yue’s warm palm touched his and secretly interlocked their fingers together. The strength coming from his hand was very heavy.
Ji Li instinctively looked sideways.
In the darkness, Qin Yue’s eyes were as deep and affectionate as ever, but there was no shadow of Wen Qiong there.
Ji Li’s mind returned, and he slowly smiled. “I know. I am Ji Li.”
The corners of Qin Yue’s mouth curved up slowly.
The smile on Ji Li’s face became even more obvious. He gently scratched at Qin Yue’s palm before letting go and whispering, “Mr. Qin, appreciate the work of the two of us.”
The moment these words came out, the brief opening title on the big screen ended.
The movie started in a bar. A bartender stood behind the bar, his nimble hands swinging the shaker bottle.
The new apprentice of the bar approached. “Teacher, there are no guests at this time in the afternoon. Who are you making that for?”
The bartender glanced at the closed door, his hands still moving. “There is a customer who always comes here every year on this day to order a drink. He should be here soon.”
The apprentice asked curiously, “Oh? So what drink does he order?”
The moment these words came out, there was a slight creaking sound from the dilapidated wooden door of the bar.
The camera focused on a good-looking back and followed its owner slowly to the front of the bar.
The bartender looked at the customer in silence. He just poured the prepared liquid into the transparent, vintage wine glass. The ice cubes that were at the bottom of the glass swirled up, making a nice bubbling sound.
[Long Island Iced Tea]
After a short opening, the minimalist movie title finally appeared and disappeared with the black screen.
The big screen lit up again, and the movie officially started.
In a warm and bright hotel lobby, a figure in a bright purple suit stood at the edge of the counter. “Excuse me, is there a bar nearby?”
It was the standard and fluent spoken language. The ending note was slightly raised like a small hook, and he was charming.
The moment the audience became a bit intoxicated, the camera turned around.
Lu Yao, played by Ji Li, propped his hands against the counter. There was a bright and touching smile on his face which made people feel happy when they saw it.
Under the refinement and magnification of the big screen, Ji Li’s skin was white and delicate. It seemed to have been specially soaked in cow’s milk and was impeccable with a faint luster.
It had to be known that foreign movies hardly ever used filters to smooth the skin. At most they used post-color grading.
Under the illumination of the real lens, the skin condition of each actor could be clearly seen. Due to the geographical location, Americans generally had dry and poor skin, and it was often difficult to cover up even with makeup.
A skin condition like Ji Li’s was enough to make some people feel envious.
Sure enough, there were already women present who sighed.
They couldn’t help staring at Ji Li’s delicate face, revealing an appreciative and obsessive look. At the same time, they felt very surprised.
Just now, Cameron had made it clear during his interview that the original voice of the actors was used throughout the movie.
When they first heard the questioning voice in the movie, they thought this standard spoken language would be from a foreign actor. Unexpectedly, it was from Ji Li, one of the leading actors.
It was all because the reporters didn’t pay attention during the interview just now. Their questions were so perfunctory that Ji Li didn’t need to answer the questions well. This caused them to almost ignore Ji Li’s charming voice.
In the movie, the smooth conversation with no accent between Lu Yao and the front desk employee was enough to impress many audience members.
If one wanted to be acknowledged by a foreigner, language communication was absolutely the most essential thing.
It wasn’t just the foreign audiences. Even domestic fans such as Fang Yue were fascinated by Ji Li’s English.
“Ji Li speaks English so well! Amazing!”
“Yes! It really feels different to watch a movie on the big screen and listen to the sound effects from big equipment!”
It was a thousand times more charming than the trailer!
In the movie, Lu Yao got the address of the bar from the front desk and went out without any incidents.
On October nights in Iceland, the cold wind could penetrate through the flesh and pierce through the bones. Lu Yao wrapped his clothes around him and finally found the bar before his patience wore off.
He pushed open the door.
Dancing, smoking, drinking, and cheering all combined together. In this luxurious country, the illusion created by the lively celebration seemed to easily drive away loneliness.
Loneliness flashed in Lu Yao’s eyes. It was subtle, but it was easy to catch and make people feel distressed.
What was wrong?
Many viewers had such questions in their minds, so they continued to watch patiently.
Lu Yao faced the waiter’s greeting and looked around casually. Then his eyes froze on the bar.
The camera shifted. Wen Qiong, played by Qin Yue, finally appeared. His old clothes couldn’t hide his innate sense of nobility, allowing people to notice him in the crowd at a glance.
The eyes scanning the drinks menu, the slightly rolling Adam’s apple, the straight and slender legs… every time the close-up shot swept over him, there was more s*xy male hormones.
Such a Wen Qiong not only poked at Lu Yao’s sense of aesthetics but also poked at the hearts of all the audience members at the scene.
“Qin, I love him so much!”
“He is my favorite Chinese actor, bar none.”
“Qin is so charming. He is completely my ideal work-love type.”
Foreigners never hid their passionate love. Amidst this slight discussion, Lu Yao took the initiative to walk up to the other person.
“I want a cup of Long Island Iced Tea. I will invite this gentleman to drink with me.” Lu Yao looked at Wen Qiong with blatant eyes.
Wen Qiong asked rhetorically, “You want to invite me to drink?”
Lu Yao cocked his head, his eyes tentatively shining, “Can’t I?”
It wasn’t known who whistled from the audience. “Phew, come quickly baby. This will be your future husband.”
The audience knew very well that this was a gay movie. This joke caused many people to laugh. Everyone’s eyes unanimously showed interest, and they started to look forward to the next development.
Lu Yao really ‘responded’ to the audience’s thoughts.
He persistently invited Wen Qiong to drink a glass of $8 Long Island Iced Tea and said the most provocative hints with the purest appearance.
Wen Qiong was unwilling to accept such conditional handouts and also indifferently refused.
The two of them pulled back and forth. Their blending aura built an enchantment that outsiders couldn’t enter. One was hot and one was cold, one retreated and one moved forward. People couldn’t help smiling when they saw it.
Lu Yao saw that he couldn’t provoke this person with his words and started to use his body. His fingertips landed on Wen Qiong’s lips before moving to his Adam’s apple.
Perhaps this type of teasing was too hot. Wen Qiong changed from his previous composure and grabbed the restless hand.
In an instant, a hint of strength exploded in the man’s cold eyes as if he was hinting at a disobedient, little wild cat.
–Touch me again, and you will be in danger.
Sure enough, this time it was Lu Yao’s turn to be confused.
“It is my birthday today, and I am just inviting a stranger to share a drink and chat. If you don’t think it’ll work, I’ll find someone else.”
Lu Yao retreated in a panic with a hint of submissiveness. It was as if he had become the ‘victim’, and he was unbelievably cute.
The two of them were very close together.
One person’s eyes were at a loss, while the other person’s eyes seemed to be smiling. The tension brought about by this contrast couldn’t be broken, making people’s heartbeats increase.
“Oh my god, are these two flirting?”
“This is the perfect time for a kiss.”
“I love Lu Yao, this little kitten. Baby, come and buy me a drink at a bar. I am willing.”
“I already kind of like this duo. They feel great.”
The audience couldn’t help whispering to their friends while the plot continued to develop.
After the confrontation just now, Wen Qiong finally agreed to the drink, and Lu Yao also restrained his teasing.
Night deepened and the bar was still lively. Under the intoxication of drunkenness, the two of them started to reveal themselves.
It was only then that the audience understood the two protagonists for the first time. They understood the reason for Lu Yao’s initial fall from grace.
His father’s cheating and his mother’s suicide. Lu Yao’s childhood was accompanied by a huge shadow. Years of solitude taught him how to pretend. He had a smile on his face but a wound in his heart.
He was a scarred little bear, living forever in the cold darkness where no one cared and loved him. So at the moment of his birthday, he longed for this bar to create an illusory warmth.
The moment Lu Yao said that he was ‘bullied due to his Chinese identity’, the faces of all the foreign audience members became serious. It was because they clearly realized—
Such prejudice occurred not only in movies but also in real life.
When the official poster was released, Ji Li was maliciously ridiculed by many netizens with racial prejudice. During the premiere interview, Ji Li was ignored by the entertainment reporters as a small actor.
If they hadn’t watched the movie, how could they know that the Lu Yao interpreted by Ji Li was so charming and cute? Just because they didn’t know the person well, it was a big mistake to judge and hurt others based on stereotypical impressions!
“If you ask me, those entertainment reporters should apologize to Ji Li. They shouldn’t treat actors with such an arrogant attitude!”
“I was ridiculed and suffered contempt when I was little due to my body. These people should pay the price! No matter whether it is Ji Li or Lu Yao, their experiences resonate with me and anger me too much.”
“I hope Ji Li won’t hate our country because of some scumbags.”
“Is it too late to apologize? I also criticized the casting online, and I was wrong. So far, Ji Li has played Lu Yao very well! Really!”
Some viewers blushed with shame and looked at Ji Li in the front row with apologetic eyes.
It was a pity that the other person wasn’t aware of their confession.
With a feeling of self-blame and reflection, many people watched this movie more seriously.
In addition to Lu Yao, who lacked love, Wen Qiong also bore heavy pressure. He saw through the warmth and coldness of the world.
In this way, the two lonely souls met on this night in a foreign country due to a cup of Long Island Iced Tea.
After becoming drunk, Lu Yao broke down and cried on the cold street, causing many audience members to feel distressed. Fortunately, the seemingly indifferent Wen Qiong tolerated him and took him back to the shabby accommodation.
The moment the small attic where Wen Qiong stayed came out, Fang Yue almost wanted to scream!
Look at what she found? The environment of this attic in the movie was similar to the accommodation environment of the Iceland trip in ‘Poor Travel Notes.’
It was no wonder that during the competition in the hot spring, Brother Yue suddenly lost when he always won every battle. Wasn’t the reason obvious now?
“I didn’t expect to get real candy while watching the movie,” Fang Yue murmured vaguely. Then she instinctively observed the career fan sisters on both sides.
Okay, their expressions were complicated.
They came all this way to watch the premiere of the movie and were real fans. Naturally, they remembered every link of their idol in ‘Poor Travel Notes.’
The moment this scene came out in the movie, the fans of the two actors were dumbfounded.
What should they do?
They seemed to have really noticed something wrong!
Fang Yue forced a smile and continued to watch the movie. However, the ensuing scene made her inner little person continue to jump.
After sobering up, Lu Yao and Wen Qiong hugged each other on the wooden bed.
At the last second before midnight, Wen Qiong’s ‘Happy Birthday’ not only moved Lu Yao but also made the audience feel warm.
In the end, it was Lu Yao who moved first.
He hooked Wen Qiong’s little finger, tentatively rubbed against the tip of his nose, and kissed the thin lips along with the sound of warm breathing.
There was no urgency or tricks, but his trembling eyelashes betrayed the tension in his heart. He was like a stray kitten brought home by his owner, trying to curry favor in the most clumsy way.
The shyness that Lu Yao showed formed a strong contrast with the initial teasing.
They thought he was a wastrel when it came to relationships, but he was unexpectedly an innocent little cutie.
“Oh my god, he is so beautiful! I seem to have completely fallen in love with Lu Yao! No, it should be Ji.”
“Where can I pick up such a cutie?”
“Qin, Wen Qiong, what are you doing? Don’t let him go.”
Everyone was moved by Ji Li’s Lu Yao. Of course, this included Wen Qiong on the screen. He forcefully grabbed the back of Lu Yao’s head and kissed back.
The more the two of them kissed, the more intense they became. There were no explicit images, only a strong and ambiguous breathing sound. This crashed into everyone’s eardrums due to the sound effects of the theater being amplified.
There were gasps at the scene, and many women stared at this scene with excited faces.
“I apologize for my ignorance before the opening. They look so good and are well-matched!”
“Oh my god, how did they manage to make the air hot here? I can’t breathe!”
“I was just supporting Director Cameron, but Qin and Ji are acting too well. I announce that I have become their fan.”
“Kiss longer! Longer! A bit longer! No, you should just do it directly!”
In the first half an hour, everyone was brought into the movie and felt unprecedented pleasure from the kiss of the two protagonists.
After all, a good love was always sweet and moving.
Sure enough, the next plot didn’t disappoint anyone.
Ever since this drunken kiss, Lu Yao was completely attached to Wen Qiong. They traveled to every corner of Iceland together, and their souls that had been lonely for a long time got closer in this type of night and day.
Under the bright stars in the sky, the two of them expressed their feelings to each other and formally communicated.
The real and sweet heat poured out of the screen, making everyone immersed in it together. The ensuing bed scene made the whole theater boil.
Lu Yao wore a coat that barely revealed his body and occasionally showed the collar bone that was flushed an attractive red.
Wen Qiong had his shirt open, and his strong abdominal muscles made people’s hearts beat faster.
From a forced wrist grip to interlocked fingers.
From the tips of the ears that gradually turned pink to the momentarily tense insteps.
From fingertips moving through hair to the uncontrolled back scratching.
All the scenes were partial close-ups, and there wasn’t a single explicit shot. It was even the smallest scale work directed by Cameron, but this hazy beauty that carried an unprecedented heat shook the whole audience in place.
Fang Yue’s eyes were extremely bright, and she didn’t care about whether or not she would expose her identity as a CP fan.
The two protagonists were both acting fiercely on the screen. How could she remain indifferent?
Wu wu wu.
After waiting for a long time, the day had come. Her CP finally got married!
Fang Yue found that she was definitely the happiest CP fan in the Chinese Rose pit. Since then, there were images of the Chinese Rose couple’s midnight scenes in her writings.
It wasn’t just Fang Yue. The foreign audience at the scene went crazy.
“Are Qin and Ji a couple? I’m about to fall in love with both of them.”
“Wen Qiong and Lu Yao are happily together. Please let Qin and Ji happily be together as well!”
“If Qin and Ji become a couple in real life, I will definitely bless them!”
The attitude of foreign couples toward shipping real people had always been tolerant and open. The movie was only halfway through, but they couldn’t help shipping the real people in advance.
However, there were also a small number of viewers who were feeling uneasy while eating sugar. “Isn’t there still half of the movie left? There won’t be an accident, right?”
“No, don’t scare me.”
“I also think there is a problem. How can the protagonist of a movie directed by Cameron be so logical? It is too unlike his style.”
What they were afraid of always came.
Just as everyone thought Wen Qiong and Lu Yao were going to leave Iceland and start a beautiful and progressive new life together, the car accident caught them off guard and brought tragedy into their eyes.
From this time onwards, the movie seemed to become Lu Yao’s one-man show.
Father Lu rushed in and loudly accused Lu Yao after he woke up from the car accident, disrespecting him, and calling him shameless. The nurse couldn’t bear Lu Yao being kept in the dark and told the truth about Wen Qiong taking his money and ruthlessly abandoning him.
Wen Qiong, who said he would take good care of Lu Yao for the rest of his life, became a complete liar in the mouths of outsiders?
The audience didn’t believe it, and Lu Yao in the movie didn’t believe it.
In the coldest winter in Iceland, Lu Yao dragged his injured leg that hadn’t healed and looked for Wen Qiong all over the streets like an abandoned fool.
Ji Li acted very well, and the light in his eyes dimmed little by little.
The audience saw these scenes, and their hearts ached like they had been cut by a knife.
Some women who cried easily started crying. They were eager to rush into the movie to love Lu Yao well. There were also men who put themselves in Lu Yao’s perspective and couldn’t help scolding Wen Qiong for being a scumbag.
However, their heartache and grief outside the screen couldn’t affect Lu Yao’s feelings for Wen Qiong at all.
“I had a beautiful dream in the polar night of Reykjavik. The moment dawn arrived, I woke up from the dream and that person disappeared.”
“I go back to that attic room every year. The heating is still broken and the light bulbs flash. Nothing has changed, but everything can’t be recovered.”
Ji Li’s slow narration swept the audience into an unprecedented heartache.
Wen Qiong took everything from Lu Yao, but left him with a glimmer of luxurious hope to be able to live in the world.
Lu Yao returned to Iceland every year to stay in the shabby attic. He learned from Wen Qiong’s hobby of painting and fell in love with attending all exhibitions, large and small.
Qin Yue frowned when he saw the plots that he didn’t know.
He felt distressed for Lu Yao and even more for Ji Li, who devoted himself wholeheartedly to filming. How much pressure did his lover, who empathized with the character, suffer?
The passage of time in the movie slowed down. Finally, Lu Yao wore Wen Qiong’s coat and came to a newly opened art exhibition.
“Will he meet Wen Qiong here?”
“Please! Give them a happy ending!”
The audience smelled something unusual, and their eager gazes were about to pierce the screen. They didn’t expect a critical attack to follow!
Lu Yao saw a painting in the corner of the exhibition.
The young man in the painting was standing under the aurora, but his eyes were directly on the person ‘outside the painting.’ The smile on his face was brighter than thousands of stars.
To my love.
The simple three words were an extremely romantic confession. It came after a long period of longing and made Lu Yao’s long-cold heart warm up again.
This wasn’t the beginning of a reunion but a preview of a farewell.
Wen Qiong was dead.
These four words covered all complex explanations. They were like a sharp blade piercing Lu Yao’s heart and killing the audience at the scene.
It wasn’t until the end that everyone understood the meaning of the words ‘Long Island Iced Tea.’
Back then, Lu Yao invited Wen Qiong to drink a cup of Long Island Iced Tea that was worth $8.
Now Wen Qiong repaid Lu Yao’s love for him with his dying painting.
The pair of lovers, who were treated mercilessly by fate, made a big gamble with their lifelong feelings.
Fortunately, they bet right.
The camera slowly zoomed out.
Lu Yao crouched down on the ground and burst into tears. In contrast, he was always smiling brightly in Wen Qiong’s painting.
The screen faded to black.
In the end, Ji Li was still touched by the movie and lowered his head a bit uncomfortably.
Qin Yue couldn’t care about other factors at this time. He held his lover’s hand again in the darkness. “Ji Li, I’m here.”
The simple words seriously pulled Ji Li out of the movie. Ji Li didn’t let go this time and subconsciously held on tighter.
Suddenly, Lu Yao’s voice was heard again.
“I dreamed that you painted me a picture and said I was your muse.”
Before the crying of everyone could stop, they were pulled back into the movie. The blackened big screen lit up again.
A small rental house was full of discarded paint.
In front of a huge canvas, the sickly Wen Qiong stood with a cane. He used his weak vision to depict the lover from his memory little by little.
Sometimes, he would stare at the painting for a whole day. Sometimes, he would be so tired that he fell asleep on the ground. But more often than not, he was so tormented by his illness that it was difficult for him to get up.
Qin Yue expressed the character’s terminally ill and increasingly weak state very subtly. By the time the last stroke fell on the canvas, Wen Qiong’s hand was almost out of strength.
“Wen Qiong, do you love me?” This was what the two of them said when they hugged each other in the past. Lu Yao, who lacked love, always wanted something to prove their relationship.
On the hospital bed, the dying Wen Qiong used all his strength to say the words of affection that no one could hear.
“I’ve always loved you.”
This was where the movie completely ended.
Cameron seemed to understand the psychology of the audience and specifically instructed the theater to delay turning on the lights by five minutes.
It wasn’t known where it started, but bursts of crying were heard. The dimly lit theater soon became a sea of tears.
Touching emotions had no borders.
Fang Yue had already used up all the tissues she had brought. Even the sleeves of her clothes were covered with tear stains.
Before the movie started, she prayed that Baby Ji Li could play a good role. At the very least, he shouldn’t die in the ending. The result was good, but it was Brother Yue’s turn to die?
Director Cameron was too ruthless!
How sweet was the first half, and how cruel was the second half? Wu wu wu! How could it be like this?
The lights of the theater finally came on.
At this moment, the audience’s crying made them look embarrassed, but their grief showed their recognition of the movie.
Who said there was something wrong with Director Cameron’s casting? Who said that Chinese actors couldn’t play scripted roles well?
All those rubbish and biased evaluations should get lost!
They really hoped these bugs would roll into the theater to see what a good and touching movie ‘Long Island Iced Tea’ was!
In less than two hours, they laughed and cried for Lu Yao and Wen Qiong’s love story. They were completely impressed by Ji Li and Qin Yue’s acting skills.
In particular, Ji Li’s Lu Yao was the brightest existence of the entire movie!
The movie was over, but the audience’s love for Lu Yao was all transferred to Ji Li.
They thought of the cold treatment that Ji Li received before the movie screening and felt extremely regretful. Why didn’t they stand up and say something to Ji Li?
After all, he was the protagonist of the movie! He rushed thousands of kilometers to participate in the premiere but suffered from such prejudice. It was too painful!
A black woman couldn’t help standing up and shouting, “Ji, you acted very well! I like you very much!”
There was a strong response to this affirmation. The audience stood up from their positions and shouted the names of Ji Li and Qin Yue one after another.
It wasn’t just the ordinary viewers. At this moment, even the entertainment reporters didn’t have time to wipe away their tears.
The cheers of the audience entered their ears and they finally fully realized that they had made a big mistake.
In the interview before the release of the movie, they actually ignored such an excellent Chinese actor like Ji Li? Oh my god! What stupid thing did they do?
Was it too late to apologize?
Would Ji Li still give them an interview?
TL: Advance chapters are available over on my Patreon. You can go check out the details on my Patreon page.