The sound of the young man’s uniform breathing came from the phone along with the faint noise from the film studio. Yan Ting took his phone and pushed open the door connected to the rest room, taking off his coat and lying down on it. The bed was cold but the breathing sound on the phone was warm.
The silent room, his breathing and Li Zhao’s breathing fused together. His noisy brain finally got a moment of serenity. Sleepiness gradually came. He seemed to see fat lambs skipping. It was like Li Zhao was riding on the back of the sheep, dancing in front of him, jumping into his mind.
“Li Zhao, Li Zhao!” Song Yu found Li Zhao sitting on the chair and sleeping soundly with a coat covering him. He stretched out his feet to kick the chair but in the middle, he took his legs back and poked Li Zhao in the forehead. “Surnamed Li, it’s your scene.”
The dazed Li Zhao subconsciously covered the microphone of the phone, not wanting the sound to be conveyed to Yan Ting.
“Brother Song?” Li opened his eyes. He had just stood up when he shivered from the cold wind. He put his phone to his ear and listened carefully. He could only hear a faint breathing. Ting Ting should be asleep.
He hung up the phone and thanked Song Yu. “Thank you for waking me up, Brother Song.”
“Who would be willing to take care of you if it wasn’t for the fact that I have an opponent play with you?” Song Yu sneered and casually looked at Zhao Junnan chatting with a few small actors in the distance. “Since he joined the crew, the crew has disrupted our schedule. You received the most night shoots.”
For three days in a row, shooting night scenes until three or four in the morning, who could last?
“Does your team get paid for not working? Why aren’t they dealing with the crew?” Song Yu looked at the black circles on Li Zhao’s face. “Or do you think your company will wrong you for the sake of this drama?”
Li Zhao shook his head without saying a word. Song Yu saw the other person like this and felt like his heart was full of fire. “Okay, I won’t bother to tell you. Forget it, you idiot!”
“Zhao Zhao, drink some hot tea first.” Da Ke came with Li Zhao’s hot tea, followed by the crew’s make-up artist.
“Da Ke, it’s hard for you. Go back to the hotel and wake me up tomorrow morning.” Li Zhao looked at the time and told Da Ke. “You have nothing to do for me here. I will go back to sleep after filming.”
“It’s fine I’ll lie down in the RV for a while.” Da Ke told him. “The company heard that you have been filming night scenes for the past two days and are worried your body can’t stand it. They specifically arranged an RV for you so it is more convenient for you to rest.”
Once the makeup artists heard this, they knew that Strawberry Entertainment wasn’t very satisfied with the arrangement of the crew. One of them left and told the crew.
The crew heard the news and suddenly understood that this was the investor’s euphemistic expression of dissatisfaction. It was just that Director Yang had a status in the TV drama circle and Strawberry Entertainment didn’t want to make things too embarrassing for him. They could only use this type of gentle means.
Zhao Junnan currently had popularity but it wasn’t worth mentioning when compared to the main investors. There had always been no shortage of actors in the entertainment circle. This year there was Zhao Junnan. Next year, there might Li Junnan or Zhang Junnan.
In this circle, it was difficult and not difficult to become popular. Things were easy once they understood the investor’s meaning. That night, the crew set up a new production schedule and gave several actors half a day off, including Li Zhao.
“Brother Nan, this is the crew’s new schedule. You have two night scenes tonight.” The moment the assistant received the schedule from the crew, he found that something was wrong.
A few days ago, they had communicated with the crew and said that Brother Nan was weak lately and try not to arrange any night scenes for him. The crew was very understanding and soon transferred the night shoots to Li Zhao to let Brother Nan rest. Unexpectedly, they changed their mind so soon.
What did the Sky Song crew mean? Zhao Junnan saw the filming schedule and his expression sank. His scenes were either in the morning or after the evening meal. There was even a new shoot. It took ages just to get into costume. According to this schedule, he would need to wake up early in the morning to do makeup and then do his makeup again the evening.
Zhao Junnan took the schedule from the table and got up, walking out.
“Brother Nan, Brother Nan!” His assistants saw this and quickly stopped him. “Brother Nan, this is something we can slowly discuss with the crew. Don’t be impulsive.”
The investors of Sky Song were big companies in the circle and making a big scene wasn’t good for Brother Nan.
“This is their attitude after they invited me to participate?” Zhao Junnan breathed heavily and pushed away his assistant. He reluctantly calmed down his anger. “Go and inquire about Li Zhao’s filming time.”
After a while, the assistant came back. “Brother Nan, the team said that Li Zhao had night shoots for three consecutive days. Today, they will let him go back to the hotel to rest.”
“Damn, they’re playing me!” Zhao Junnan kicked at a chair. “They are treating me like this for a new person. Don’t blame me for not being polite.”
It was the next morning when Yan Ting woke up. For the first time in ages, he looked at the sunshine outside the window and didn’t hate it as much. The phone had less than 10% power left and his call with Li Zhao was already over. At 5 o’clock in the morning, Li Zhao sent him a message.
Zhao Zhao Has Good Luck: Tomorrow I get half a day of rest. I can finally sleep for eight hours. Happy!
The happiness jumped out from the simple words and danced.
Yan Ting put down his phone and went to the bathroom to take a shower. He changed into clean clothes, made an internal phone call and had someone bring breakfast in.
“Special Assistant Qin, the boss was at the company for hours. Surely he wasn’t awake the whole time?” The new assistant looked sweet, warm and had a lovely personality. Soon after coming to the assistant department, she became familiar with her colleagues.
Special Assistant Qin held the breakfast tray and looked at the new employee with long black hair. “I heard that your results were very good in school?”
The little assistant was modest and shy. “It might be good luck that allowed me to get good grades every time.”
“Now that you are in the assistant department, you need to understand that it is no use doing anything with luck.” Special Assistant Qin removed the smile on his face. He looked very serious when he wasn’t smiling. “The first thing you need to understand when working for the assistant department is to not discuss the boss’ habits in private.”
He added, “Or do you want to take my place after just entering the assistant department?”
The little assistance’s face was white and she shook her head. “Special Assistant Qin, I have no special meaning.”
“If you didn’t mean it then learn.” Special Assistant Qin raised his wrist to look at the time, his tone cold. “What is your name?”
The small assistant looked even more embarrassed. She didn’t expect that after coming to the assistant department for nearly half a month, Special Assistant Qin didn’t even know her name. She bowed her head, biting her lips. “My name is Wei Tian.”
Special Assistant Qin glanced at her and didn’t say anything else, turning to walk toward the office. Wei Tian looked at his back with tears in her eyes but no one around her dared to comfort her.
The big boss usually didn’t appear in front of employees. Special Assistant Qin was the boss’ right hand and even the department executives didn’t dare to offend him. This new colleague was really powerful to be able to anger Special Assistant Qin to this extent.
After a while, Wei Tian adjusted her mood and reluctantly raised her spirit to continue working.
“Tian.” The colleague sitting next to her whispered to her, “The big boss is worth a lot of money and there are many people who want to come find him every day. Therefore, the big boss’ schedule is a secret and only Special Assistant Qin is clear about it. This is a taboo in the workplace and you shouldn’t do it again.”
“Thank you.” Wei Tian was sweet-faced. “I just saw that the office lights were on and asked a sentence. There wasn’t any other meaning.”
The colleague next to her sent her a look and didn’t say anything else. The office was once again quiet, a quiet that made people feel depressed.
The next few days, Zhao Junnan worked very hard for the filming. In any case, he was a guest actor and didn’t have too many scenes. After filming all his scenes, the crew held a party for him at a restaurant in the movie and television city.
At first, the atmosphere at the dinner table was very good. This lasted until Zhao Junnan took the initiative to raise a glass for Li Zhao. “Come, Xiao Zhao. Brother Nan will toast you. When you were in the Heroic Ruler drama, you were an actor with no lines and weren’t seen for a year. Now you are able to play an important role in Director Yang’s drama. It is really daunting. Don’t forget to guide and support me when you go higher and higher.”
Zhao Junnan’s words sounded good but he was actually implying that Li Zhao’s current role wasn’t right. As a newcomer who made his popularity through an online drama, what ability did he have to guide and support a first-tier actor?
The people who could sit at this table were the elites of the circle. They could hear that Zhao Junnan’s tone wasn’t right and even his joking tone was low.
“Brother Nan, you kidding again.” Li Zhao picked up a glass of wine and drank it in front of the table fill of people with a smile. “In my filming path, I am more familiar with playing a small role and running to be a stand-in. It was extremely lucky that I could play such an important role in Director Yang’s crew.”
Zhao Junnan frowned at the words ‘stand-in.” He looked at Li Zhao’s innocent smile and guessed that Li Zhao was either speaking casually or deliberately implying something.
“Hahaha.” Zhao Junnan laughed. “This child, you are so serious and don’t know how to joke.” He picked up the glass and drank it clean.
The dinner ended and Zhao Junnan was drunk. He placed his hand on Li Zhao’s shoulder and said, “Xiao Li, can I trouble you to send me to my car. My assistant had something to do and went down first.’
“How can I let you trouble Xiao Li? Let my assistant send you down.” Director Yang smiled. “I see that Xiao Li drank a lot tonight. I’m afraid that if the two of you are seen drunk in the elevator, it will be the hot search on major platforms tomorrow.”
“That is good. It can help save our crew some publicity fees.” Zhao Junnan ignored Director Yang’s obstruction and looked at Li Zhao with a smile. “Xiao Li, do you want to send me?”
“Brother Nan, be careful with your feet.” Li Zhao smiled and told Director Yang, “Director Yang, I’ll send Brother Nan back.”
Director Yang paused before finally saying, “Go early and come back early. If there is something then call me.”
Zhao Junnan dragged Li Zhao into the elevator, stretched his neck and leaned against the elevator in an expressionless manner. He glared cold-eyed at Li Zhao. “The words I said in the lounge that day, you heard it?”
Li Zhao blinked.”Brother Nan, what are you saying?”
“Young man, it isn’t easy to be popular. You shouldn’t go the wrong way and bury your future.” Zhao Junnan lit up a cigarette and slowly blew the smoke at Li Zhao. “What to say and what not to say, you should have an idea in your heart.”
Li Zhao stared at the cigarette in Zhao Junnan’s hand with a solemn expression.
“What, you aren’t happy?” Zhao Junnan sneered. “Say it, how much will it take to buy your silence?”
“Smoking isn’t allowed in the elevator.” Li Zhao’s expression was serious. “For the health of others, please abide by public morality.”
Zhao Junnan paused while smoking and he played with the cigarette like he had heard a joke. “Morality, are you still a child who hasn’t gone to kindergarten? Don’t turn the subject around. Make a direct offer.”
Just then, the elevator door slowly opened. It revealed Song Yu, his two assistants and several other crew members.
“Mr Zhao hasn’t left yet?” Song Yu used his hand to fan the smoke and raised his voice. “Who is so shameless as to smoke in the elevator? Are they lacking virtue?”
The others looked silently at Zhao Junnan’s hand holding the cigarette and then retracted their gaze like nothing happened. The atmosphere became very awkward.
“I’m sorry, I forgot to press the floor number.” Li Zhao showed an innocent smile and turned to Zhao Junnan. “I just drank wine and my brain is somewhat fuzzy. I let Brother Nan see something so funny.”
Then he pressed the floor button and the elevator slowly closed again. It was quiet in the elevator until the door opened again. Zhao Junnan didn’t speak.
Zhao Junnan calmly exited the elevator and turned to look at Li Zhao. “You and I will speak in the car.”
Li Zhao looked at the RV in front of him and sat in it without hesitation.
“You are courageous. You actually dare to come in and sit?” Zhao Junnan scoffed and placed his leg up on the chair. “Is one million enough to buy your silence?”
“The entire crew saw me send Brother Nan out. What can happen to me?” Li Zhao put his hands on his knees, like a child in kindergarten waiting for the teacher to come to class, very obedient. Yet in Zhao Junnan’s eyes, Li Zhao was ugly to the extreme. He wanted to see Li Zhao disappear from the world tonight. It was because only the dead couldn’t speak.
Li Zhao was still looking at him like a good baby.
Li Zhao blinked and smiled innocently.
Zhao Junnan’s face became completely gloomy. “Do you want 10 million? A poor boy like you who came out from a smelly mountain ditch, have you ever seen so much money in your life? Don’t be too ugly! Li Zhao, shedding all pretense of courtesy isn’t good for you.”
“I’ve seen it.” Li Zhao put up two fingers with a bright smile. “My friend has two buildings, two!”
The two bent fingers looked very proud.
Zhao Junnan looked at the bent fingers with rage. “What do the two buildings have to do with you?”
“Didn’t you ask me if I have ever seen 10 million?” Li Zhao had a ‘this person is really unreasonable’ expression as he looked at Zhao Junnan. “I’m just seriously answering your questions.”
“Don’t play the fool with me.” Zhao Junnan took a deep breath. “The fact that you acted as a stand-in for me, never mention it in your entire life. Even if someone asks you about it, you have to deny it. As long as you do this, I can give you six million.”
Li Zhao looked at Zhao Junnan sympathetically like he was caring for a fool. “So many people in the Heroic Ruler crew knew that I acted as your stand-in. Can you silence all of them?”
“It’s none of your business as long as you shut up.” Zhao Junnan lost patience and his expression gradually became ferocious. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree. Now you have lost endorsements and movie resources. As for what happens in the future, don’t blame me.”
Li Zhao was stunned. Was he being… threatened? He was just a stand-in to make money. How did his personal safety become involved?
“Tap tap tap.” Just then, the window was knocked on.
Zhao Junnan looked over and saw a pale, beautiful man in a suit standing by the window. The man looked into the car at will and Zhao Junnan inexplicably felt that the man’s eyes were penetrating the car and could see everything inside.
The assistant silently sitting in front opened the door, his tone not very good. “Sir, my artist doesn’t accept any private requests from fans. You should immediately leave here.”
The man ignored it and his dark eyes stared into the car. “Zhao Zhao, get out of the car.”
“Ting Ting.” Li Zhao squeezed past Zhao Junnan’s legs and Zhao Junnan almost fell to the ground.
Li Zhao didn’t care about the embarrassed Zhao Junnan. He smiled and jumped out the car door, walking to Yan Ting’s side. “How did you come?”
“I came here to see you.” Yan Ting reached out and handed the scarf in his hand to Li Zhao. “Let’s go.”
“Wait a minute.” Zhao Junnan chased outside the car. “LI Zhao, the things I mentioned, think about it. I need a reply before noon tomorrow.”
Yan Ting stopped and looked back at Zhao Junnan, his eyes like looking at roadside rubble.
Li Zhao pulled at his sleeve. “Ting Ting, let’s go.”
Seeing that Li Zhao didn’t show any reaction, Zhao Junnan’s face was very ugly. As a star, no matter where he went, someone would secretly take photos of him with their phones or ask for his signature.
This was the first time he had been treated as roadside weed since he became popular.
“What did he want with you?” Yan Ting’s pace wasn’t fast, like nothing could upset his rhythm.
“He wanted to give me six million to make me promise one thing.” Li Zhao placed his hands in his pocket. “Seeing that I didn’t agree, he laughed that I have never seen so much money in my life. I said I saw it and he wasn’t happy again. It is really a headache.”
Yan Ting’s footsteps slightly slowed. “He is called Zhao Junnan?”
“Yes.” Li Zhao nodded.
“I see.” Yan Ting’s eyelids slightly drooped, covering the darkness in his eyes.
“Let’s not talk about this anymore. When did you get here? Have you eaten?” Li Zhao didn’t want to let the messy things in the entertainment circle affect his pure and smart friend. He jumped forward and danced next to Yan Ting. “What hotel are you staying in? Do you have to go back?”
“No.” Yan Ting looked at the smiling Li Zhao. “You go back first, I’ll find a place to eat on my own.”
“How can I do that? We haven’t seen each other in several days. How can I let you eat alone.” Li Zhao reached for Yan Ting’s neck. “Just now, I didn’t have enough to eat. Let’s find a place to sit down and eat slowly.”
“Okay.” Yan Ting looked at the child hanging off his body and felt the faint scene of wine. Yan Ting let Li Zhao hang off him like a pendant.
“Have you been having trouble sleeping lately?” The dishes hadn’t arrived at the table yet. Li Zhao poured a cup of hot tea for Yan Ting.
Yan Ting looked at the glass of milk and didn’t move.
“Drinking milk is good for sleep. No one will see you drink it except for me.” Li Zhao also poured himself a glass. “I’ll accompany you to drink and no one will suspect that we aren’t men.”
His cheeks had a light red halo and the effect of the wine hadn’t completely faded yet.
Yan Ting took a sip of milk and the taste spread in his mouth. “I can’t sleep.”
Li Zhao held his cup and drank most of it in one breath. Hearing Yan Ting say that he still couldn’t sleep, Li Zhao looked up. “Counting sheep is useless?”
Yan Ting shook his head slightly.
“Some people say that counting sheep isn’t in line with your country’s habits. It is more useful to count dumplings when you can’t sleep.” Li Zhao put down his cup of milk and touched his chin thoughtfully. “Why don’t you count dumplings? I’m just afraid that the more you count, the hungrier you will become.”
Yan Ting looked at Li Zhao. “That night, your counting of the sheep was very useful.”
“Really?” Li Zhao raised his spirit. “I also feel that my speaking skills are really good and are particularly magnetic. You are worthy of being my good friend. You know how to appreciate me.”
He was very excited. Although Yan Ting didn’t praise his speaking skills from beginning to end, this didn’t stop Li Zhao from interpreting Yan Ting’s meaning. “Wait, I’ll record an audio of counting sheep and dumplings for you. If you can’t sleep at night, you can listen to it. Maybe it will be useful.”
“Okay.” Yan Ting didn’t hesitate to agree like he had been waiting for Li Zhao to say so.
After dinner, Li Zhao sat in Yan Ting’s car and counted the sheep and dumplings. Then he said goodbye to Yan Ting. “Ting Ting, come to the crew tomorrow if you have time.”
“One dumpling fell into a bowl, two dumplings fell into a bowl… one hundred dumplings are finished. Ting Ting, sleep obediently. I’ll tell you good night.”
The boy’s voice was clear and clean. Yan Ting was standing in front of a huge floor to ceiling window as he listened to dumplings falling into the bowl. He reached out to turn on the light at the head of the bed, pulling the audio progress bar forward.
“Ting Ting, sleep well. I’ll tell you good night…”
“Ting Ting, sleep well. I’ll tell you good night…”
The bedside lights went out and the room was dark again.
At 4 o’clock in the morning when everyone was sleeping, Zhao Junnan’s work team was hit by bad news. They had been talking to a world-renowned luxury brand to have Zhao Junnan act as the Asian spokesperson for this season’s new products. The print photos would appear in the major squares.
Facing the envy of other competitors, Zhao Junnan’s team had been very proud and even told the news to some big fans in advance. They would reveal the news to other fans to strengthen their pursuit of the artist.
However, just before the official announcement, the brand suddenly called to say that Zhao Junnan’s image wasn’t suitable for their products and cooperation would be discussed later. What else would be discussed later? This was clearly a lie by the brand’s side. The team felt urgent and angry but they couldn’t offend a big brand. They could only hold an emergency meeting to discuss countermeasures.
In order to raise Zhao Junnan’s value, a few days ago they had arranged a water army to spread speculation about Zhao Junnan cooperating with a luxury brand through the major forums and public platforms. Zhao Junnan had also forwarded a Weibo post from the brand yesterday.
Now the brand side suddenly backtracked and they would become a joke in the eyes of other competitors. Nevertheless, they didn’t dare fall out with the brand side and could only hold an emergency meeting to find a way to minimize their loss.
Just as they were discussing a solution, two more brands talking about cooperation called and cancelled the plans.
“It could be considered a coincidence for one brand to cancel the cooperation but overnight, three brands cancelled it. In other words, someone is getting in the way.” Zhao Junnan’s company held an emergency meeting overnight to discuss coping strategies. “Now we must find out who is going against us.”
Luxury endorsements were very important for first-tier artists. It was something for the fans to be proud of. Now that the endorsements were flying away like ducks, the company was naturally anxious.
Zhao Junnan had blocked many first-tier male artists when he first became popular. From the point of view of his company, the male artists in competition with Zhao Junnan were very suspicious.
However, who had so much ability?
The author has something to say:
One Zhao Zhao jumped over, two Zhao Zhao jumped over, all of them end up carried in Ting Ting’s pocket.