“I saw that you came together with Charles. Are you friends with him?”
“I guess you could put it that way, but he’s also my boss. He’s an investor of the movie that I’m currently acting in. He brought me here today to meet people,” Tang Feng replied with a smile, and wondered if they could move the conversation outside the restroom.
“Oh, I’ve heard of Charles before, but I’ve never met him personally. It seems like the rumors about him are false, as he appears like a rather good boss. Meeting with people is a good thing. You can learn many useful things just from talking with others. All right, Tang Feng, I might not be good at Chinese, but I will remember your name.” Robert laughed. “It seems like we’ve been chatting here in the restroom for quite a while now.”
Tang Feng nodded. “If you don’t mind, we can go grab some cocktails outside.”
“That sounds like a great idea. Hahaha.” Robert and Tang Feng laughed out loud. They both found it quite hilarious that they were having such a serious conversation in the restroom.
While their physical appearances were radically different, both men were about the same age on the inside. They left the bathroom and grabbed a few pastries and two glasses of cocktails. Just as they were about to find a quiet place and have a long chat together, a scuffle broke out in a corner of the party; a man and a woman seemed to be arguing about something.
Robert wasn’t the least bit surprised. “It’s normal for fights to break out at parties. You get used to it.”
“Wait, I’m sorry Robert. I seem to know that woman.” Just as he was about to turn away, Tang Feng recognized the woman wearing the black suede dress. After apologizing to Robert, he quickly walked over to the two people still arguing with each other.
It was a huge opportunity being able to talk with the chief advisor of D Media Corporation, but Tang Feng had something more important to do at the moment.
“What a strange man.” Robert chuckled to himself. He leaned against a nearby tree and gazed after Tang Feng’s back with admiration. It was normal for smalltime celebrities and people who wanted to enter the entertainment industry to come and talk to him during gatherings, but he had been the one to strike up a conversation with a stranger this time. He’d thought that Tang Feng was a distinguished figure in the industry and was surprised to know that the actor had just entered Hollywood after talking with him.
“There aren’t enough warmhearted young people around these days.”
Many people had gathered to see the fight, but none had stepped forward to put a stop to it.
The man and woman arguing with each other were both young. From appearances, they were either celebrities or models. The woman in question was someone Tang Feng had met just a few days ago: Lilith, Gino’s girlfriend.
“You fucking psychopath! Slut!” The man yelled at Lilith and grabbed her wrist, his other hand aiming for a slap. If the argument had simply remained an argument, none of the bystanders would have stepped in to help. Upon seeing that it was escalating into a physical fight, a few stepped forward. But someone else had beaten them to the punch.
Tang Feng ran over and grabbed the man’s wrist, pushing Lilith aside. “That’s enough. Don’t hit her!”
Faced with an intruder, the man raised his chin and glared. “Who are you? You want a fight? Do you think you’re saving a damsel in distress or something? Why don’t you look at yourself first, you yellow monkey!”
Tang Feng could smell the alcohol on the other’s breath.
Seeing that the intruder was Asian, the man didn’t appear discouraged at all. He lifted his arm and tried to throw Tang Feng’s hand off, but the actor had a tight grip on his arm. In the end, Tang Feng was the one to let go first.
“You’re a disgusting man.” Tang Feng walked over to help Lilith, who smelled similarly of alcohol. Lilith leaned against him, appearing completely drained and powerless. He asked concernedly, “Lilith, are you all right?”
“How can she not be? Shameless slut! Hey, yellow monkey, you should worry about yourself first. Let go of her, she’s my friend. What are you going to do? You want a fight? Then come on, I’ll punch you so hard that nobody will be able to recognize that pretty little face of yours.”
The young man seemed possessed as he glared at Tang Feng viciously. He rolled up his sleeves and headed for Tang Feng.
None of the bystanders could withstand seeing a man hit a woman, but it was the opposite for a fight between men. Some of them clapped their hands and whistled, clearly waiting for a good fight.
Trying to reason with a drunkard was more ridiculous than . Tang Feng handed Lilith over to a girl nearby. He wasn’t afraid of a fight. Men who willingly harassed women needed a punch to the face in any case.
“Did your mom not teach you basic social etiquette? Don’t worry, I will teach you instead.” Charles appeared from the crowd just as Tang Feng was about to show off the moves he’d recently learned.
Seeing that someone else had come to interrupt him, the young man made to retort about Charles’ skills in bed, but a punch to the nose made him swallow the words instead. He howled in pain as blood spurted from his nose.
“Fuck!” The young man turned and punched at Charles. Although the punch appeared strong and clean, it was weak compared to Charles’ own. Charles easily grabbed the young man’s wrist and threw him over his shoulder.
Slammed against the ground, the young man howled in pain again. He didn’t have the energy to stand up and make another move. He wrapped an arm around his belly and covered his bleeding nose with the other hand, rolling back and forth on the ground like a wild boar. Charles walked over and kicked him in the butt.
“The showy moves and fancy footwork that you learned from your personal trainer doesn’t work in an actual fight. If you ever want to learn how to beat someone like me, I can teach you.” Satisfied at the fact that he was able to show off in front of Tang Feng, Charles turned to look at the actor with a pleased smile. Unluckily, Tang Feng had already walked away, taking Lilith to the lounge nearby.
“Shit! I will remember this!” Still laying on the ground, the young man yelled stubbornly.
Charles clicked his tongue in annoyance and aimed another kick at him. He was taking out his irritation at being ignored on the young man, but the latter only had himself to blame for his bad luck.
Tang Feng helped Lilith into the lounge. She immediately scrambled to the bathroom and threw up in the toilet; she had clearly drunk too much.
When Charles walked inside, he saw Tang Feng taking care of Lilith. He immediately called for a waiter and pulled the actor aside.
“Enough, you can leave that kind of dirty work to someone else. I have to say darling, I never knew that you were the kind of hero who would rush in to save a damsel in distress.” Charles shut the bathroom door but didn’t completely close it. He slipped an arm around Tang Feng’s waist and laughed in a low voice. “Don’t rush in by yourself next time. If your face becomes injured, I would be very sad and angry.”
“My face?” Tang Feng chuckled coldly and pushed Charles aside. It didn’t matter if Charles treated him well, the bear only had one thing in mind. Charles liked sleeping with him; he liked his youth, his face, and his body.
“Ah, of course! I’m simply afraid that it would interfere with filming! Did you think I was only after your looks? Oh, darling, do you see how many beautiful models and celebrities are at this party? I’m not saying that you aren’t handsome and beautiful, but if I were simply after looks, I would’ve turned around and chased after someone else a long time ago!”
Charles followed after Tang Feng like a needy large dog. Tang Feng felt his anger deflate at the other’s comical appearance.
“Do you like that woman? I don’t see what’s so good about her.” Charles glanced at the bathroom, a look of despise on his face. “Her perfume makes me sick. She also looks too skinny, like a lean rib. Darling, don’t ever date a female celebrity. Most of them are too dirty. Who knows how many men they’ve slept with.”
“I’ve slept with you.” Tang Feng glared at Charles. There were female celebrities who traded sex with influential men in order to advance their career, but that didn’t mean everyone was like that. Tang Feng didn’t like Charles’ arrogant tone, as if he were looking down on those women. Moreover, Lilith was Gino’s girlfriend.
No matter what happened, Tang Feng thought he should call Gino first.
Listening to Tang Feng’s conversation with Gino, Charles sat down on a leather chair inside the lounge. He remarked sharply, “Looking at that woman, her boyfriend can’t be any better.”
Tang Feng turned and glared at him again. Charles shrugged and smirked, but remained silent.
The waiter supported Lilith from the bathroom and Tang Feng quickly walked over to help set her down on the bed. He paid the waiter a tip and told him to bring in a glass of water.
“And two glasses of champagne!” Charles added before the waiter left. Seeing that Tang Feng was still busying about Lilith, he said, “Just leave her there. She only had too much to drink.”
Tang Feng sat down beside Charles and waited. Ten minutes later, Gino rushed into the lounge. He noticed Charles, but didn’t bother to greet him.
“She had too much to drink,” Tang Feng said.
“Thank you, Tang Feng. Truly.” Gino sighed. He walked over to the bed and looked down at Lilith, a frown on his face.
Tang Feng added, “No matter what have happened between you two, I think it’d be a good idea for you guys to sit down and talk through it.”
At the sound of conversation, Lilith woke up. She opened her eyes slowly, seemingly still disoriented. Upon noticing Gino however, her expression immediately turned. She sat up and pushed at Gino, yelling, “Leave! Get lost!”
“Lilith! Stop it!” Gino tried to approach Lilith again, but she quickly started crying.
“I hate you. I hate you! I’m not Fiennes! Do you understand? That man is dead! How can you have such disgusting thoughts!”
Tang Feng paused in shock at Lilith’s angry words. Did he just hear his past name?
Only three words were needed to describe the state of Hollywood: A vanity fair.
Calculating a celebrity’s success was also easy: Were they famous? Were they profitable? The two always came hand in hand with each other.
Every year, all major film festivals would produce a Best Actor and a Best Actress. It was easy to guess how many people would be awarded those titles every year. There were plenty of good actors and actresses in the world, but it was rare to find someone who was both charming onscreen and off-screen.
If a Best Actor or a Best Actress were to leave the type of film and role they were comfortable with, most would find that the quality of their acting would drop compared to before. Another scenario would be if they were hindered by faulty judgement and chose to act in a series of mediocre films, only to turn around and find that their career was slowly going downhill. Many actors who’d won prestigious awards would often find themselves making do with roles in low-budget films, or playing a supporting role to a newcomer.
Tang Feng had good acting skills and he was charming as well, but he lacked the qualifications to pick his own roles and the social connections to strike it out in Hollywood.
One couldn’t act aloof in Hollywood. Fortunately, Tang Feng didn’t think it was a bad thing to have a wide circle of friends. True, there were lowlifes in the industry, but there were even more talented people. In Hollywood, one could meet world-renowned directors, editors of large magazines, outstanding photographers, and brilliant investors.
Hollywood was a gathering of successful and talented people. An unexpected reward could come out of a simple chat with just one of them.
For someone to be successful, they definitely had a personal strength to support them.
At the moment, beside acting in Satan’s Alley and practicing martial arts, Tang Feng also took the time to participate in social events in order to make connections. There wasn’t any need to deliberately curry favor with someone, just simply enjoying the food, the wine, and the delightful conversations between friends was enough. There weren’t any fools here; it was easy to tell when someone was being insincere.
From the experience of his past life, Tang Feng knew that it was enough to stay true to oneself.
Charles’ business partner was holding a private party tonight. Besides the usual businessmen, many celebrities and models had been invited as well.
In other words, one could find all sorts of people at the party, from talented individuals to people who were seeking their own personal gain.
As the party organizer was someone he knew, Charles had asked for another invitation card. Under Charles’ persuasion, Tang Feng was going to attend as well.
As Fiennes, he had plenty of friends in Hollywood. He’d welcomed anyone who sought friendship with him, but there were few he was especially close to. Most of his truly good friends were from outside the entertainment circle, with most being doctors.
Tang Feng had no plans of contacting the people he once knew. The majority of his old friends would probably think of him as a smalltime celebrity who was desperate for fame. No one would take him seriously. Moreover, he didn’t want to be sent to the psychiatric ward.
Despite that, he couldn’t live just going to and fro from the filming location and his apartment. One had to interact with others in order to meet new people.
The theme of the party tonight was “Forest.” Most of the invitees were wearing clothes made from natural, coarse materials. For accessories, most chose to decorate with fruit, leaves, and flowers.
Charles and Tang Feng were both wearing suits made from hemp. In order to fit the theme of the party, they had chosen colors that represent the forest. Their black suit jackets and pants represented the ground, while their dark green ties represented leaves. For cufflinks, they’d used a cute pair of crystal, brown fruits. The entrance to the party had also been especially decorated. Tang Feng and Charles had entered under an arch made of leaves, flowers, and branches. The waiters standing beside the arch were also dressed like dwarfs from a fairytale. They were responsible for checking invitations and welcoming the guests.
The lighting inside was dark. A series of dishes meticulously arranged to look like fruits and flowers were displayed on a row of hardwood tables decorated with red fruits and dark, brown branches. A few crystal trees stood in pots nearby, their branches laden down with crystals. It was clear that the organizer had spent quite a lot of money on the party.
“What do you think?” Charles walked around the party with Tang Feng, chatting and exchanging business cards with the people they came across.
It was an interesting party. People milled about the venue, making conversations and connections. A few partygoers were hitting up the female models lounging around. They soon disappeared in pairs, only to reemerge half an hour later.
Good music, good wine, and beautiful women.
“The party is great.” Tang Feng smiled. He didn’t go out to party often, but that didn’t mean he didn’t know to socialize with others. At the moment, everything was going well.
“Hey, Charles!” A middle-aged man who had his arm around a model walked over.
“I’m going to walk around by myself for a bit.” The purpose of socializing was to make friends, but not every person was worth his friendship. Tang Feng was familiar with the man who’d called out to Charles just now. He’d seen the man’s face on magazines before; he’d been involved in several scandals with female celebrities. The man definitely didn’t lead a healthy lifestyle. Tang Feng didn’t see him in a good light.
Charles didn’t force the actor to stay. He merely reminded, “Be careful. Don’t walk too far away. I’ll come look for you soon.”
Tang Feng walked over to the buffet tables and ate a few morsels of food. He then picked up a glass of cocktail from a passing waiter and took a walk around the party guests. As he was a no-name celebrity in Hollywood at the moment, his expensive suit had been provided by Charles. His striking appearance soon drew the eyes of several people and a few came over to flirt. The female celebrities and models who had gathered around him thought of him as an Asian millionaire, and quickly conveyed their interest in him.
Tang Feng was somewhat peeved when a few of the girls mistook him for Japanese. When one of them greeted him in Japanese, he replied in Chinese instead. Shock decorated the girl’s face when she exclaimed, “Chinese!”
Rather than discouraging the girls from hanging around him, Tang Feng readily started chatting about the current state of Hollywood with them. He spoke about the changing times and how actors didn’t rule the industry anymore. The rise of brilliant directors and powerful businessmen had gradually pushed actors down from the top of the pyramid. They then switched to talking about fashion. Tang Feng mentioned how a model’s success depended on the favor of designers and other famous people as well as one’s own personal appearance. The girls couldn’t help but admit, trends were often made popular by boasting rather than the power of the actual design.
“Then according to you, all we have to do is latch onto a designer or a wealthy fellow?” The models surrounding Tang Feng were amused by his words and laughed often at his jokes.
“It would be great if you could bring inspiration to the designers you come across. If you can inspire a designer, then it would mean something special when he offers you the chance to walk in his show or to be on the front cover of a magazine. Inspiring people is a trick that works anywhere,” Tang Feng replied with a smile.
After learning that Tang Feng was Chinese, the extroverted girls kept on asking him about things having to do with China, like martial arts and Chinese cuisine. Tang Feng immediately pulled up everything on martial arts he’d heard from Lu Tian Chen and showed off a few moves. The girls stared at him with wide-eyed surprise.
Afterwards, a few of them hinted that they were interested in getting a drink or a cup of coffee with him, but Tang Feng politely declined all their offers. For the ones who were especially persistent, he directly tossed out his trump card and said, “I have a boyfriend.”
The girls looked at him in understanding and replied, “Wow, that’s so cool. We understand.” However, that didn’t prevent them from asking Tang Feng details about his boyfriend. Faced with the numerous questions, Tang Feng couldn’t help but use “having to use the restroom” as an excuse to escape.
Staring at his reflection in the mirror, Tang Feng fixed a few stray strands of hair. He’d stayed long enough inside the restroom; it was about time for him to leave.
“I saw you earlier. You seem popular with women.” A forty-year-old man with a protruding belly walked to the sink next to Tang Feng and washed his hands.
The man chuckled. “True, it isn’t. Can I ask you a question?”
“You’re Chinese, right?”
“Thank god. I’ve finally found someone who didn’t mistake me for Japanese,” Tang Feng said jokingly.
The man laughed again. “It’s pretty rare coming across a Chinese man with a good sense of humor like you. I mean, most of your countrymen seem like the serious kind. Luckily, I’ve met a few Japanese people before. You’re different from them.”
Of course there is a difference. Tang Feng smiled in response.
“Can I ask you another question?” The man seemed greatly curious in Tang Feng.
“I can’t reject anything you ask while we are in the restroom. So please, ask away.”
“Haha, you’re an amusing fellow. What I want to ask is, how does a Chinese man interpret ‘beliefs’ and ‘hero?’” The man leaned against the sink.
Fortunately, Tang Feng was familiar with Chinese culture. He pondered for a moment, and said, “For most people who only seek after food, clothes, and a roof over their heads, belief would mean leading a good life. It’s more realistic and important than any luxury in the world. Personally however, I think belief should be love.”
“And not believing in a hero or some other type of leader?”
“Believing in others means you’re willing to show them your weak side. On the other hand, believing in God can lead to fanaticism, while believing in oneself is sometimes ill-advised. I know that most people in America would choose to believe in oneself and emphasize the ego. However, that often leads to arrogance. I think that the majority of humans have this shortcoming. We inflate our own egos all too easily.”
“A good interpretation. My name is Robert,” the man replied with a smile.
Tang Feng reached out his hand. “Tang Feng.”
Did this count as a coincidence? He was surprised to come across the chief advisor to one of America’s top entertainment companies in the restroom of a party.
Robert wasn’t familiar with the current Tang Feng, but Fiennes had collaborated many times with him in the past.
Having been banished to the cold palace, Charles went to take a shower. Afterwards, he slathered some shaving cream onto his cheeks and chin and slowly shaved himself clean. The carefulness in which he conducted the act made it seem as if he had an important date coming up.
Due to the unfair contract Tang Feng had signed with Charles today, Tang Feng had to give Charles a massage, even though Charles had been the one causing him trouble.
Charles quickly came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist. His face was smooth and his hair had been swept backwards. The clean hairstyle only highlighted his distinctive features. Charles had always been manly.
Tang Feng frowned when he noticed the towel that seemed on the verge of slipping off wrapped around the other man’s waist. “Can’t you put your clothes on properly?” Tang Feng narrowed his eyes, standing beside a table prepared with a series of massage and body oils.
“Aren’t you supposed to take off your clothes for a massage?” Charles blinked flirtatiously at Tang Feng.
Charles reached down to pull his towel off, but then he noticed someone very familiar sitting in the corner of the room.
“Lu Tian Chen, are you going to watch the whole time? Enough, my dear friend, why don’t you leave? I don’t want you to see me naked. You’ll be wrapped in an inferiority complex after seeing me. I’m miserable just thinking about how you’ll have to live in my shadow for the rest of your life,” Charles boasted, clearly leading people to misunderstand.
Lu Tian Chen was sitting in an armchair and reading a book. He glanced up at Charles, who was showing off his naked chest and abdomen. He shut his book with a clean snap; Tang Feng glanced back at the sound.
“I live here,” Lu Tian Chen said simply.
“What?” They were in Tang Feng’s room for god’s sake. Charles looked as if he’d swallowed a smelly egg. He then reacted and smiled. “What a coincidence, I live here as well.”
“Oh, babe, harder! Yup, yup, right there. It’s so comfortable…” Laying with his face down on the mattress and a towel covering the lower half of his body, Charles kept on giving out misleading moans.
Tang Feng was sitting at Charles’s side, his fingers on the man’s spine. Charles had a good body; his skin also felt great to the touch after rubbing it with oils. But that wasn’t good enough of a reason for Tang Feng to like giving Charles massages. He didn’t like serving others at all.
“Right here?” Tang Feng moved his fingers to Charles’ butt. An evil smile on his face, he pinched it forcefully. Then copying Charles’ exaggerated tone, he said, “Wow, babe, your little butt is so firm.”
Tang Feng heard a chuckle come from Lu Tian Chen’s corner.
In all the years Lu Tian Chen had known Charles, it was the first time he came across someone who dared to tease the wild bear, and for it to be Tang Feng out of all people.
Who could have imagined it? Half a year ago, Tang Feng had been an arrogant second-generation rich idiot. He appeared fierce on the outside, but was a coward at heart. The first time he’d met Charles, he appeared like a rabbit standing stock-still in front of a predator, unable to utter a word.
Half a year later, Charles had turned from a ferocious wild bear into a tame brown bear that knows how to smile at people.
Then what about himself? Lu Tian Chen placed his book down and walked toward the other two. He made sure that he slept with them in the same room every night. Otherwise, a certain bear was going to swallow up the rabbit overnight.
The three of them usually never cooked while at home. Oftentimes, they went out to eat at restaurants or would hire someone to come and cook for them. When Tang Feng opened the fridge the next morning, he found it largely dominated by cans of beer, jugs of milk, and a few cartons of juice. Luckily, there was a small selection of simple ingredients he could use to make breakfast.
Tang Feng stooped down and picked out a few that seemed easy to cook: Eggs, sausages, and a few potatoes.
“My dear god, darling, are you going to make breakfast for me? I am moved beyond belief. I never knew you were good with housework. I feel like I got a bargain.” Charles had woken up at the same time as Tang Feng, but the actor had been fast and got to the bathroom first. Charles didn’t want to shower in another bathroom, so he had to wait until Tang Feng was finished. After showering, Charles strolled out late to see Tang Feng pulling out stuff from the fridge.
Lu Tian Chen on the other hand, had chosen to shower in his own room and was already sitting on the couch reading the newspaper.
“No, it’s not for you.” Tang Feng pulled out the eggs, sausages, and potatoes and walked over to the open kitchen situated beside the living room. What should he make first? Right, cut the sausages apart, chop up the potatoes, and he also needed some cooking oil.
“If not for me, then who is it for?” Charles walked down the stairs. He felt something was off the second the question left his mouth. He abruptly turned to glare at Lu Tian Chen.
Lu Tian Chen turned over a page, and said calmly, “It’s for me.”
“Why?” Charles wasn’t happy.
“Because Tang Feng feels like it,” Lu Tian Chen responded in the same calm voice.
Tang Feng looked through the cupboards and finally found a bottle of oil. He’d completely ignored the battle of jealousy occurring in the living room.
Standing before the cutting board, Tang Feng picked up a knife and cut one of the sausages in half. He gave his work an appreciative glance. See, he was quite good at cutting sausages.
He arranged the two halves of the sausage on the plate next to the cutting board and quickly turned to tackle the potatoes. He said to himself, “I only need to chop them into big pieces. That should be fairly easy.”
Reality however, turned out differently. Just because someone liked to eat potatoes, it didn’t mean they were good at chopping them. Tang Feng picked up the cutting knife and swung it down hard on the potatoes. At the loud sound, both Lu Tian Chen and Charles paused in their bickering and looked in the direction of the kitchen.
They walked over to see what Tang Feng was doing. The actor had already finished cutting the potatoes apart. Seeing the other two, he pointed proudly at the irregular pieces on the cutting board, each still carrying the skin. “Look, didn’t I chop them well?”
Tang Feng’s smile showed that he was waiting for praises. Charles immediately swallowed the snarky remarks he was about to make.
“You did well.” There was a reason why Lu Tian Chen was a good businessman. He lied without thinking too much about it, as smooth as singing a song.
“It’s great!” Charles wasn’t willing to lose. In any case, he wasn’t going to be eating those potatoes.
After cutting apart the sausages and potatoes, Tang Feng turned on the stove. Lu Tian Chen reminded him, “You have to warm up the oil before putting in the potatoes.”
“I know that. I’ve seen it on those cooking shows.” Tang Feng picked up the bottle of oil and poured it into the pan. When he set it down, half the bottle was empty.
“It’s fried potatoes anyways. It doesn’t matter how much oil he puts in.” Charles chuckled off to the side, a mischievous glee in his eyes.
Tang Feng didn’t disappoint Charles. He tossed everything he’d chopped up into the pan of oil. Beside the potatoes and sausages, he also added two eggs.
Luckily, Tang Feng knew that he had to break the eggshell before adding in the eggs.
Charles and Lu Tian Chen watched as Tang Feng added a large spoonful of salt. Probably thinking that it wasn’t enough, the actor then dumped some ketchup and black pepper into the pan.
In the end, Tang Feng had turned up the stove too much. The eggs were a misshapen burnt lump, the potatoes were more black than gold, and the sausages were charred in places.
“Oh, the ketchup and black pepper should have gone in dip bowls on the plate, right?” After turning off the heat, Tang Feng finally remembered that the potatoes he’d eaten before were usually paired with a series of condiment bowls.
The other two didn’t know how to reply to his question.
Charles patted Lu Tian Chen on the shoulder. “Tang Feng had especially prepared this breakfast for you. You should eat all of it up.”
“I know it looks a bit ugly, but I think it should taste fine. You can try a bit if you want. If you don’t, then just toss it into the trashcan. I’ve already called for takeout.” The doorbell ringed right at that moment. Tang Feng washed his hands and handed the plate piled to the top with his loving breakfast to Lu Tian Chen. “The takeout is here. I’ll go get the door.”
Lu Tian Chen silently accepted the plate. Charles couldn’t resist a laugh as he walked past to chase after Tang Feng. The actor had already accepted the box of takeout. Lu Tian Chen’s condition was “to make him breakfast.” He didn’t say how the breakfast should taste. Tang Feng had fulfilled his task perfectly, but he knew that the plate of food he’d made looked rather terrible. The taste probably wouldn’t be great either.
“I bought congee, a lot of it.” Tang Feng added with a hint of embarrassment, “It’s the first time I’ve made breakfast. You don’t have to eat it.”
He was afraid Lu Tian Chen was going to have an upset stomach afterwards.
Lu Tian Chen picked up a piece of fried potato and put it in his mouth. “The taste is okay. It’s your first time, isn’t it?” It was a reply that led one’s mind into the gutters. From one perspective, Tang Feng’s first time definitely belonged to Lu Tian Chen. From another, Tang Feng’s first time in this life occurred on the night when Charles had drugged him.
But Tang Feng didn’t want to waste time explaining that.
Charles’ face darkened at his friend’s words. “I am an openminded man.”
They passed the morning in the strange atmosphere. Keeping up a straight face, Lu Tian Chen managed to eat all of the unknown matter that Tang Feng had made. The actor didn’t feel a single ounce of guilt; he didn’t force Lu Tian Chen to eat after all.
In the afternoon, Charles drove Tang Feng to the filming location. As for why it wasn’t Lu Tian Chen, that was because the president was suffering from a case of upset stomach.
Gino gritted his teeth in pain as Tang Feng forcefully rubbed the places he’d been hit. “Is this how you should treat your savior?”
“Aren’t I the one who saved you in the end? Otherwise, you’d be a bloody mess by the time Charles is through with you.”
“Why do you know a violent bastard like that? He doesn’t suit you at all. Tang, you should keep your distance from people like that. They’re all heartless vampires who’ll suck you dry and then leave you to rot on the floor.” Gino stared at the other actor. Tang Feng’s lips were a bit swollen. It didn’t take much for Gino to figure out how it’d happened.
Gino felt as if that goddamn Charles had kicked him in the chest along with the stomach, otherwise his chest wouldn’t feel so heavy.
“I feel like I have internal injuries. My chest hurts a lot right now. Goddamn it, I’m going to sue him!” Not only did his chest hurt, Gino was having trouble breathing. He felt was if he were on the verge of dying.
“Don’t be a child. If you sue him, the two of you will probably end up with the same sentence. Don’t forget that you made the first move, Mr. Michael Gino.” Tang Feng was surprised by Gino’s brashness. The latter had swung a fist at Charles without asking anything beforehand. Charles also liked to hold grudges; Gino’s name was probably already on his blacklist. Tang Feng decided that he needs to give Charles a few good kicks after returning home.
Tang Feng glanced at Gino, the other actor was staring at him like a child who’d been reprimanded for something he didn’t do. As expected, the good-natured image Gino had projected when they’d first met in China was something that Tang Feng had conjured up himself. The willful and demanding overgrown child that was sitting in front of him right now was the Gino that he once knew.
Gino had been born in a wealthy family and been given a top-class education; a fortunate life indeed. Of course, that meant Gino had the terrible attitude that was the result of all the pampering from his family and his manager.
“Next time, I’m going to beat him into the ground!” Gino promised to himself.
Tang Feng chuckled. Charles didn’t get his muscles by training in the gym, that was obvious from the way he had fought with Gino earlier.
Gino’s punches had clearly been learned from a coach in a gym, with an emphasis on rules and a good form.
On the other hand, Charles fought like a gangster on the street. There were no rules or patterns in his way of fighting, but one look and Tang Feng knew that Charles had plenty of fighting experience; he was going for the kill with every punch and kick he’d landed on Gino.
As for good sportsmanship?
When it came to a fight with real knives and guns, who had the time to care about sportsmanship? In any case, they weren’t competitors fighting a fair match in a competition.
Due to the fight, Gino had a difficult time filming his scenes during the afternoon. He ended up having a long chat with the director about his role and what he should portray. Tang Feng got to leave early as a result.
There was a violent bear named Charles waiting for him at home. Tang Feng had to sign an unfair contract with Charles during lunch in order to make the bear leave “calmly.”
While Tang Feng was collecting his things and preparing to leave with his assistant, Lu Tian Chen drove over to pick him up.
“President Lu, aren’t you busy?” Tang Feng sat beside Lu Tian Chen in the car. This routine of theirs had been occurring for a few days already. Lu Tian Chen would come pick him up whenever he had time. Though theoretically, Lu Tian Chen shouldn’t have so much free time as the CEO of a large company.
“I only need to assign tasks for my employees to do and then wait for the money to roll into my bank account.” Lu Tian Chen slowly pulled the car out of the filming location. While turning the steering wheel, he glanced at Tang Feng. “I’m an investor, a businessman. Not a laborer, okay?”
“Right, of course, I’m the laborer.” Goddamn capitalists who only know how to exploit the working class.
Lu Tian Chen smiled and said nothing in response. Tang Feng suddenly found that he was getting along more naturally and peacefully with both Lu Tian Chen and Charles. The initial conflicts and wariness that had existed between them were being eroded away by their daily conversations. This should count as a good thing.
Perhaps they could become good friends in the end, emphasis on “good friends.”
“Charles came over to visit you today, right? He said he was going to give you a surprise,” Lu Tian Chen said.
“Yes, a surprise. Though an unpleasant shock would be more accurate. He’d beaten up Gino, even though Gino did make the first move. But it was all a misunderstanding in the end.” Tang Feng sighed as he glanced out the window. The temperature wouldn’t go down until the evening. The wind that blew over his face brought the heat along with it. He quickly rolled up the window.
“Charles has a hard fist.”
Tang Feng smiled and looked at Lu Tian Chen. “It sounds like you’ve fought with him before?”
“There are times when men have to compare their fists.” Lu Tian Chen smiled and seemed to be recalling a memory.
Tang Feng imagined Lu Tian Chen and Charles beating each other up. Out of curiosity, he asked, “Where did you guys fight? In an arena? Who won?”
“Who do you want to win?”
“Hmm… I bet it was a draw. I’ve never seen you fight before, but I remember you saying that you’re good at beating people up. As for Charles, I just had an opportunity to see him fight. I’m guessing the two of you are around the same level,” Tang Feng analyzed with a furrowed brow.
Lu Tian Chen laughed, he seemed quite amused from the sound of his deep chuckle.
“Yup, you’re right. You’re not far off the mark.”
“Tell me more about it?” Lu Tian Chen always stopped in the middle of a story. Tang Feng was curious to know more. As someone who was practicing martial arts at the moment, he was interested in anything having to do with fighting.
Despite being of Chinese descent in his past life, he only counted as half-Chinese at most. He had grown up in America, even though he’d delved into the Chinese language and culture, his education was still solidly rooted in American culture. His friends had also been American. As a result, he didn’t have a deep understanding of Chinese culture or martial arts.
Charles was half-Chinese to begin with, so he was practically the same as Tang Feng. But Lu Tian Chen was different. From appearances, Lu Tian Chen was a full easterner.
“Then like Charles, am I supposed to obtain a promise from you in exchange?” Even though Lu Tian Chen had phrased it like a question, his tone of voice showed that he was serious. As a businessman, Lu Tian Chen didn’t offer free services.
“You rely on your power too much, you vampire-like capitalist.”
“Thank you for the compliment.” Lu Tian Chen’s skin was getting to be as thick as the Great Wall of China. Tang Feng hated coming across thick-skinned people.
After hesitating for a moment, he asked, “What do you want in exchange?” He would decide whether to accept or not after hearing the conditions.
“Aren’t you free tomorrow morning? Why don’t you make me breakfast,” Lu Tian Chen stated.
Tang Feng raised an eyebrow. Had he heard him correctly? Had Lu Tian Chen just asked him to make breakfast?
“Are you sure?” Tang Feng remembered mentioning that he couldn’t cook, so he didn’t how to make breakfast. He was inept at even the simple tasks of frying an egg and making toast.
Everyone had their strengths and weaknesses. He had a lot of strengths, but cooking was definitely one of his weaknesses. But he didn’t plan on jogging Lu Tian Chen’s memory about that. After all, a request like making breakfast was well within his capabilities.
“Yes, is there a problem?”
“No, of course not.” There wasn’t a problem at all. He wouldn’t be the one eating the breakfast he made.
“Only for me,” Lu Tian Chen added after a long while.
“I know.” Tang Feng had no plans of poisoning someone else, though it didn’t matter if it were Charles. If they could shove it down their throats, then he could make whatever they wanted to eat.
Staring out the window, Tang Feng chuckled to himself.
When Lu Tian Chen and Tang Feng returned to their apartment, Charles was already sitting on the dark leather couch inside, waiting for them. A cigar was hanging from his mouth, the corner of which was still red, clearly a result of the fight with Gino. Rather than ruining the perverted bear’s looks, the wound added a rugged handsomeness to his appearance.
“You’re hurting my heart, babe!” Charles started complaining the minute he saw the other two.
“I’m not your babe, Charles.” Tang Feng walked in and hung the black bag he’d been carrying on a hook beside the door. The bag held an assortment of vitamins, his phone, and eyedrops; they were all things that came in handy while he was onset.
“You kissed an idiot this morning, then you let that idiot punch me during lunch. And now you’re standing in front of me with my best friend and acting like you two are married!” Charles’ exaggerated tone made Tang Feng laugh. The perverted bear was letting his imagination run wild again. Like how Lu Tian Chen had developed a penchant for cracking dry jokes here and there, Charles was also getting better at his cringeworthy humor.
Tang Feng felt as if he were living with two lunatics.
“That’s right.” Going along with Charles’ words, Tang Feng smiled and wrapped an arm around Lu Tian Chen’s waist. He raised his chin and said, “I have a new favorite. You’ve been banished to the , Charles.”
Lu Tian Chen smiled and made no response. Charles glared at the other two. “You two have hurt me deeply.”
All the scenes planned for the morning were completed in a smooth fashion. The director was glad to see that Tang Feng and Gino’s collaboration were up to his standards, but there were still a few hiccups here and there during filming. For the first take of the kiss scene, Gino had used too much force and ended up pushing Tang Feng into the ground.
For the second take, Tang Feng held his spot, Gino also used less force, but the director was the one unhappy this time. “Have the two of you been dating for ten years? Come on, I want to see some excitement and conflict! Now’s not the time to be lovey-dovey.”
Everybody laughed at the director’s remarks.
They finally passed the scene during the third take. However, Gino had bitten Tang Feng’s lips during the kiss, and a trace of blood lingered beside Tang Feng’s lips when they broke apart. The director quickly ordered a close-up shot of Tang Feng’s face and praised Gino for his unintended mistake. The followers of God were kissing in front of the figure of God, and one of the monks had received a bitten lip in the process. They had broken another taboo; exactly as the director had wanted it.
Tang Feng took a break in his trailer while a few assistants took off his makeup and cleaned up the wound on his lip. It was common for celebrities to have a few assistants around them. It wasn’t for the sake of appearing important, it was simply a necessary step in becoming a professional actor. A professional actor needed a professional team backing him up.
Lu Tian Chen had found quite a few people from Hollywood to help him, but it’d turned out the same as the last time that Lu Tian Chen had found a tutor for him: Tang Feng ended up becoming the tutor himself. In the end, Tang Feng picked out the members of his team himself. After spending a few decades in the industry, Tang Feng had a pair of discerning eyes. He knew where to look to find the people he needed.
Sometimes, a foreign billionaire wasn’t as efficient and resourceful as a native of the country.
For the majority of the time, Tang Feng liked to hole up in his trailer alone. After the assistants finished their work, they left the trailer without exchanging any small talk. Tang Feng especially liked this professionality of theirs.
Small talk and other conversations could be saved for outside of work. Even if he were taking a break, he was still focused on the movie.
He had to go over the script for the scenes this afternoon and prepare himself.
“Gino sure used a lot of force.” Tang Feng stared at his lip in the mirror. He was missing a layer of skin, but it wasn’t too bad. His efforts weren’t all for naught; they’d passed in just three takes.
At that moment, the sound of knocking came on his trailer door.
Tang Feng stood up. Was it one of the staff members who’d forgotten to tell him about something? Or was Gino here to go over the script again?
He’d only opened the door a smidgeon, but the person outside immediately forced the door open themselves. Tang Feng was forced to take a few steps backwards. The person squeezed themselves into the trailer and shut the door behind them.
“Charles, when did―” When did you come back?
Before Tang Feng could finish his words, Charles had already caught his mouth in a kiss. The man wrapped his arms tightly around Tang Feng’s shoulders and waist, his tongue attacking the other’s mouth like a machine gun firing at a wall. Tang Feng pushed at him, but Charles forced him step by step onto the trailer’s bed like a stubborn ox.
Tang Feng crashed onto the bed. Even though the mattress was soft, the landing still hurt. Tang Feng grabbed a fistful of Charles’ collar and slammed his other fist against the man’s abdomen. Charles grunted and finally released Tang Feng, whose lips were red and swollen.
“Are you in your mating period again? Then go find someone out on the streets, don’t treat me as―”
Charles smiled and rubbed a finger against Tang Feng’s lips, cutting the actor off. He stared down at Tang Feng with a lecherous smile on his face. “My dear, I’ve missed you. Don’t you miss me at all?”
“I miss kicking you in the butt.” Who would miss a pervert like Charles? Tang Feng would rather Charles go on a trip somewhere far away and never come looking for him again. It’d be even better if Charles could find someone else to stick to on his trip.
“I’ll let you kick me all you want tonight.” Charles waggled his eyebrows suggestively at Tang Feng.
At Charles’ reply, Tang Feng felt as if he’d swallowed a disgusting fly. Irritated, he placed his hands on Charles’ shoulders and warned, “It’d be best if a masochist like you could get off me now. Otherwise, I’m going to kick you in your Little Charlie.”
“Oh no, it’s not Little Charlie. It’s very big…” Charles chuckled and lowered his head. He said next to the actor’s ear, in that low voice of his, “You should be well aware of that. It even told me to bring you a message: It misses you as well.”
“You’re obscene.” Tang Feng punched Charles in the shoulder. “All right, get off.”
Between filming, if Tang Feng wasn’t studying the script, then he was practicing martial arts. In his past life, he’d already developed the habit of drinking tea and practicing tai chi. With a basic knowledge of tai chi, it wasn’t too difficult to learn the fist.
“No, we still have one more step to go through.” Charles was persistent, and refused to let Tang Feng escape from his hold.
Having just trained in Wing Chun for a few months, Tang Feng was still incapable of kicking aside Charles or Lu Tian Chen; both men had years of fighting experience on him. Tang Feng could attempt to stand up while Charles was still laying on top of him, but that would make too much noise. If someone got curious and came to see what was going on, it wouldn’t be a pretty sight.
“Exactly what do you want?”
“A purging,” Charles firmly spit out two words.
Tang Feng didn’t understand what Charles meant. He raised an eyebrow, and asked, “What?”
“You kissed another man this morning. Look, I’m a gentleman from head to toe. I’m also more openminded than most people. I know I should be supportive of your job and everything that comes with it. I also know that I shouldn’t take offense at the fact that you must kiss someone else for the sake of your job.” Charles suddenly paused. He inched closer to Tang Feng and stared deeply at the actor.
Just when Tang Feng was about to speak, Charles picked up his words in a radically different tone. Somewhat viciously, he said, “But you know what, I don’t like it at all! I don’t like seeing you kiss other people. I seriously want to blow that Michael Gino into fucking bits and pieces right now!
“Oh god, I swore. Excuse my profanity, dear. It’s a bit difficult trying to control myself right now. You know, I simply care too much for you. I care for you more than anyone else in the world.” Charles appeared a bit drained and helpless after his outburst. Pretending to be cute, he blinked innocently at Tang Feng.
“What an honor.” Tang Feng had waited patiently during Charles’ entire outburst. He knew that no matter the reason, Charles wouldn’t stop until he’d vented his fill.
“Tang, you’re a truly understanding man. I love you to death. Come, give me a kiss.” Charles pursed his lips and conducted his “purging” like he said he would.
Tang Feng pushed at Charles. Enough was enough, he didn’t want to get dragged into a French kiss or some other ordeal while he was onset for the movie.
“Babe, it’s not enough. I want―”
“Hey! You bastard, let go of him!”
Before Charles could spew out more disgustingly sugary words, he received a fist right across the face. The force knocked him sideways and he almost fell onto the ground. For a man who was all about keeping up appearances, it was a once in a lifetime experience.
Tang Feng looked up to see Gino standing inside his trailer.
The blond man rolled up his sleeves and leveled another punch at Charles. Having just being punched, Charles wasn’t going to wait around for a repeat. He dodged Gino’s fist and sent out a kick of his own. “What kind of place did trash like you spring from?”
Quickly, Charles and Gino ended up in an all-out brawl. Tang Feng slammed the trailer door shut and yelled, “Hey! The two of you, stop it!”
“Ow! Lighter, lighter! Are my looks ruined?” Half an hour later, Tang Feng was sitting beside Gino with some rubbing alcohol in his hands. Gino sucked in a breath and stared at himself in the mirror. The corner of his mouth was bleeding.
“Deal with it if you’re a man. Stop complaining like a little kid.” Fortunately, Charles had only punched Gino once in the face. Compared to Gino, Charles was someone who truly knew how to fight; every punch and kick he’d landed was in a spot hidden by clothes.
But Tang Feng didn’t want to praise Charles. Beside the first sneak attack from Gino, Charles had been the one beating the other to death. If he hadn’t kicked Charles aside, Gino surely would’ve ended up crippled.
“Tang, don’t be so heartless. I saved you!” Gino lifted his shirt and exposed the patches of purple on his well-defined abdomen. This was the difference between people who’d only worked out in the gym and people who’d survived real fights with knives and guns.
“Also here, this place needs to be massaged as well.” Gino pointed at his abdomen.
Tang Feng rolled his eyes. He poured out some rubbing alcohol and slapped his hand onto the spot Gino had pointed at, rubbing forcefully all the while. The other actor’s face twisted into a bunch at the pain.