“You…” With his sight blurred, Lan Kuang could vaguely see the man with the demon mask approach him, but the man’s bewitching voice was clear beside his ears.
“Hah, idiot. The drug isn’t in the wine, it’s on the glass. People say you’re a cautious man who’s sharp and clever. But perhaps you’re too smart for your own good.” The man smirked at Lan Kuang. He wrapped the whip around his left hand, playing with it. “But don’t worry. I won’t do anything to harm you. The drug was merely an aphrodisiac. You’ll be fine as long as you find a person to help you later.”
Lan Kuang struggled to get up while also trying to get a good kick at the man. The latter dodged easily and added, “I forgot to mention, but the drug isn’t simply an aphrodisiac. I’ve mixed some anesthetics in there as well. It’s normal for you to not be able to control your limbs right now. Don’t even think about trying to kick me. We have to be realistic here. If you have the time to attempt something so pointless, why don’t you try to conserve your energy instead?”
Lan Kuang’s angry expression was immediately replaced by a look of nonchalance. He even chuckled and said, “Oh? My dear, did you bring a whip because you thought it would more exciting? What heavy tastes you have! But if that’s the case, I can go wild with you. Come on, I can’t wait!”
The man in the mask had never faced such a situation before. Why did Lan Kuang suddenly turn passionate and wild? Was he trying to tease him with those words? He couldn’t believe the thickness of Lan Kuang’s skin. Lan Kuang should be glaring at him and demanding to know what he had planned in mind. Why was he being so…so obscene?
Thank god that he was wearing a mask. He wouldn’t be able to live if Lan Kuang noticed the blush creeping up his face. He forced himself to calm down and restrained his mind from wandering into dark places. He glanced over Lan Kuang, who was half-naked on the bed. He then knelt on the sheets and reached to pull Lan Kuang’s pants down.
At the touch of the other’s cold fingers, Lan Kuang felt a wave of cool relief flow through him. Without a hint of embarrassment, Lan Kuang started moaning, trying to get a crack at the man still wearing the mask. “Ah… Darling, just a single touch from you is enough to get me reacting like this. Ah… I feel so good. Oh… Darling, you’re too slow. Don’t just take off my clothes. Do yours too. I can’t wait!”
Hearing those words, the man in the mask could feel his ears turning red and his fingers trembling as he pulled Lan Kuang’s pants down the thighs, calves, and ankles. Before moving any further, he calmed himself, and then ripped off Lan Kuang’s pants in one smooth move. He leaned toward Lan Kuang and lifted the man’s chin with the whip that was still wrapped around his hand. He asked in a low voice, “Where’s the data?”
“What data?” Lan Kuang was shocked.
“Don’t pretend in front of me.” The smile that appeared on the man’s face was rather wicked. He waved the whip in front of Lan Kuang. “If you don’t tell me now, you’ll have a tough time later.”
Lan Kuang’s expression finally turned serious again. “What are you planning?”
The man in the mask swung the whip around a few times and glanced warningly at Lan Kuang. He chuckled and said, “I’ll ask you again. Where’s the customer data from the Long Wei Group?”
Lan Kuang sneered coldly. “Your methods are a little too despicable, don’t you think?”
The man raised an eyebrow underneath the mask. “As they say, all’s fair in love and war. The business world is akin to a battlefield. In a war like this, who can claim to be a gentleman all the time? Even if you can, they are the words of a hypocrite. As for me… Isn’t it better to be straight up vile instead of hiding behind a barrier of pretenses?”
The man swung the whip down to mark the end of his words. A red lash appeared on Lan Kuang’s chest. The man swung the whip again, adding another lash that crisscrossed with the other, making a giant X.
“Where’s the data?” The man’s voice was harsher than before. Lan Kuang now knew he was serious.
Lan Kuang winced at the pain on his chest, but he didn’t say anything. He was more curious about the other’s identity. “Who are you? What are you going to do with the data? What use do you have for it? Who ordered you? Moreover, don’t you know that a cautious person like me never carries important data on my person?”
“That’s a lot of questions.” The man frowned at Lan Kuang. The marks on the latter’s chest were starting to bleed in parts. He turned his head away. “There’s no benefit from knowing too much. I’ll say it again: I won’t harm you, I simply don’t want the Long Wei Group to have it too easy. If you’d been willing to cooperate, then I wouldn’t have whipped you.”
The man turned around and started rifling through Lan Kuang’s clothes. He pulled out Lan Kuang’s wallet, ID, and keys, not a single thing slipping his eyes.
While examining Lan Kuang’s keys, the man found a small flash drive strapped to the keychain. The flash drive was made to resemble a monkey dressed up in hip-hop style. At first glance, it appeared like a normal keychain charm, but pulling off the monkey’s head revealed the USB plug inside.
The most dangerous place was the safest at the same time, was it? Luckily, he had seen plenty of cartoon flash drives before. Otherwise, he’d have completely disregarded the monkey as a simple charm.
Like the demon mask he was wearing, the man smiled wickedly. He pulled the monkey off the keychain and said, “I should’ve known beforehand. For an overly cautious person who pretends to be smart, you’d definitely carry everything on your person. I apologize, but I’ll be borrowing this from you. Please forgive me if I’ve caused you any problems.”
Lan Kuang was already feeling the effects of the drug. The man in the mask noticed his reaction and smiled deeply. “I’ve only given you a taste of your own medicine. You’d followed me out of your own free will. You can’t blame me for this.” He paused, then continued, “But seeing as you rather like me, I’ve decreased the dosage of the drug. Just bear with it. Or…you can go ahead and help yourself. Don’t try to resist it though, I’d feel bad if anything happens.”
Lan Kuang was silent. He was filled with self-hate due to his carelessness. He also hated the brilliant method the other had used in order to capture him.
“Then… Goodbye! Thank you for the data.” The man blew a kiss at Lan Kuang and walked toward the door.
Barely two steps later, the man turned around. Meeting Lan Kuang’s cold gaze, he said, “I guess you can say we are acquaintances now. If not for the data you have in your hands, we might have become friends. Since we’re hitting it off so well, let me teach you something.”
The man raised a finger and smiled, “One, the business world is a battlefield. People who randomly get close to you either have bad intentions or they are corporal spies. Don’t trust anything such as a one-night stand. Especially when it comes to people like me, who are capable of letting go of ourselves in order to trap our target. You should’ve realized that something was wrong the second I insisted on pouring you a glass of wine. But I did take advantage of that. I can only say that you aren’t careful enough. Too much confidence isn’t a good thing.”
The man added a second finger to the first, his smile widening. “Two, don’t suddenly change your approach when you’re capable of controlling the situation. Never let another person take command. The most innocent people are often the most manipulative. Like the smooth surface of a lake, you never know what’s inside the waters. You never know when something might jump out and bite apart your throat.”
The man raised a third finger and leaned down to look at Lan Kuang. He rubbed the latter’s chin in a teasing manner. “Three, don’t carry valuable information on your person. It’ll be the end of you if you come across a calculating man like me.”
The man straightened and added, “How about this? I’ll teach you a good way to back up information. You should go and register for two email accounts. When you come across valuable information, upload it onto one account, then use that account to send it to the second one. Even if one system were to break down, you’d still have another to rely on. You’d never have to worry about losing your information. As long as you have access to the internet, you can view it whenever. As for other people, even if they were to ransack your home or beat you down into the ground, they’d never find it.”
A crafty and arrogant smile appeared on the man’s face. “I feel a bit guilty that you fell for my trap today. In the future…you should be careful.” He patted Lan Kuang on the face. “I won’t say goodbye again. I hope we never see each other again.”
The man leaned down and kissed the whip marks on Lan Kuang’s chest. He then turned around and left, leaving behind an elegant and proud figure.
Completely naked on the bed with both hands tied above his head, Lan Kuang watched angrily as the other man walked away step by step. When the figure disappeared from his sight, he finally broke down in laughter, a dangerous edge in his voice.
Very well! We are enemies from this day forth! You better prepare yourself for revenge.
Lan Kuang glanced at his lower half and another wave of anger rolled through him. With great difficulty, he managed to flip over and rubbed himself against the bedsheet. The rampaging heat inside him subsided for a moment, only to return at full force the next second.
Despite the anger in his eyes, Lan Kuang’s face was icy. He gritted his teeth and glared at the door, as if trying to bore a hole into the wood.
Goddamn it. If I ever learn of who’s behind this, they are dead for sure. My methods aren’t as simple as yours.
Forcing me to do it by myself… Next time, I’ll do it until you’re screaming for help, until you can’t get out of bed for three days!
You will pay me back in double! In triple! I’ll make you penniless, but that would be letting you off too easy!
Shit! Not being able to do anything while this drug is inside my body makes me want to kill someone!
Lan Kuang had never been in such a sorry state in his whole life.
By the time the effects of the analgesic wore off, Lan Kuang was drenched in sweat. His lower half was still swollen to the point of pain. He leaned up and used his teeth to bite apart the belt that was tied around his hands. He then reached down and took care of himself a few times, finally, he felt the heat recede.
Still feeling a bit weak in the limbs, Lan Kuang quickly dressed himself. He left the room and ran in the direction of the security control room.
In Lan Kuang’s mind, that night was unforgettable.
He had always been unruly and arrogant, but he had met someone even more so that night.
When he’d come across that person, he was engulfed by a desperate need to conquer them. He had wanted to claim them!
That night, after meeting with a few business partners, Lan Kuang had gone up to the balcony and opened a window to clear his mind. He had drunk too much during the meeting. Rubbing his temples, he glanced down at the people who were still mingling on the dancefloor, and sneered in contempt.
The people dancing below were all single-mindedly focused on finding someone for the night, they paid no attention to their rough moves that were jarringly out of place. It was an ugly sight.
As his business was over, Lan Kuang had no reason to stay any longer.
Just when he was about to turn away, he picked up on the sound of cheering coming from the dancefloor. The music had been switched to a fast-paced dance track. Lan Kuang wasn’t interested in that type of music, so he didn’t know the name of the song. However, just by listening to it, he could feel his blood strum in excitement.
The cheers became louder as the heavy beat of the track thrummed through the room like a steady clock.
Lan Kuang looked down.
A man wearing a demon mask was dancing slowly at the center of the dancefloor.
He moved his shoulders, flipped his hair, rotated his waist, and thrusted his hips.
It was carefree. It was confident. It was willful. And it was insolent.
The eyes hidden behind the mask were especially bright.
When the music slowed down, the man’s moves also became gentler. If his earlier moves were aggressive and arrogant, then he could only be described as alluring and seductive now.
The man with the mask fingered the buttons of his shirt, pulling it open and off his body. With a swing of his arm, he threw the shirt into the air.
The crowd cheered and screamed, the noise deafening to the ears.
Lan Kuang found that he couldn’t move his eyes away.
For the entire track, he found himself fixated on the man who was tearing up the dancefloor.
He could feel the desire to conquer welling up inside his heart.
Lan Kuang had always lived under the principle of “If someone dares to be wild in front of me, I’ll be even wilder.”
He pulled out the vampire masquerade mask he’d been given when he’d entered the dance party. Lan Kuang smiled to himself. He put the mask on, put one hand on the railings, and leapt down from the balcony.
It was at least a two-story drop.
Some of the onlookers screamed when they noticed a man falling from above. They went silent and stared intensely at the spot where Lan Kuang had landed.
Lan Kuang had bent his knees during his fall to lessen the impact on his legs. His bent position had an indescribable charm to it.
The man wearing the demon mask had already stopped dancing. He’d collected his shirt and was putting it on, preparing to leave. Before he could step away, Lan Kuang grabbed his arm.
“Is something wrong?” A simple and direct question.
“Why don’t we dance together?”
“Sorry, I’ve just finished so I’m a bit tired right now. Sir, please go find someone else.” The man pulled his arm out of Lan Kuang’s grasp and turned to walk away. But underneath his mask, he was smiling.
Very good. For such an egotistical man, Lan Kuang had taken the bait as expected.
“Then why don’t we get a drink together?” Lan Kuang didn’t force the issue, but he quickly followed after the other.
It’d been a long time since he’d taken an interest in someone. He had to get to know the man better.
As for conquering him, that could come after he’d gotten to know the man.
“All right, my treat.”
“No, it’ll be my treat!” Lan Kuang insisted. He was used to getting his way.
“Then…I gladly accept!”
The crowd watched as the two walked away. For some unknown reason, they felt that the two men matched each other rather well.
Without any further disturbances, the dancefloor resumed its previous noisiness, as if the period of silence had never existed.
The two men each picked up a glass of alcohol and sat down in a corner. After sitting together for a while, Lan Kuang said, “Don’t you think the air is stuffy in here?”
“No, not at all. I think it’s fine.” The man in the demon mask smiled.
Lan Kuang chuckled, his eyes narrowing behind his mask. He leaned next to the other’s ear and murmured, “Have you…done it with a man before?”
The other stiffened in shock, but replied honestly, “No.”
“Do you want to try?” Lan Kuang reached toward the other’s collar, the image of the man’s smooth chest replaying inside his mind. He felt his abs tighten and spoke in an alluring voice, “Try it. I promise, you will die from how good it feels.”
“But I don’t like to be controlled by others.” The man grabbed Lan Kuang’s wrist and stopped it from moving. He emphasized, “Also, my tastes are a bit heavy. Are you sure…you can handle it?”
Lan Kuang watched as an enticing smile bloomed on the man’s face, his smooth lips shining under the light. Although the upper half of the man’s face was hidden behind the mask, Lan Kuang was sure that the other’s expression was one of provocation.
He was the first one to challenge his authority.
Good. Lan Kuang liked it very much.
“All right, I’ve never tried being on the bottom before, but I can make an exception for you tonight.” Lan Kuang was a bit scary when he suddenly acts gentle. “Be nice with me!”
“Then what are we waiting for?” The man with the demon mask stood up first. He pulled Lan Kuang out of the hall they were in and pressed the elevator for the top floor.
Lan Kuang understood what was going on. He’d heard of the popular trend that was going on in society. Young men and women of all kinds gathered at parties to pick out their target for the night. It was common for one-night stands to occur, and deals that lasted past the night happened as well. For men who liked to play around with other men, they were eager to resort to this sort of method.
Only, Lan Kuang was a bit curious as to how the current situation had turned out this way. Even though he had been the one to offer the invitation, why did it feel like the other was laying a trap for him?
Could it be that the other had something in mind? Was that why he had resorted to such an eye-catching dance to draw his attention?
Lan Kuang glanced at the man with the demon mask, who was leaning against a corner of the elevator and studying him. Lan Kuang’s smile deepened.
Ha… Interesting! It was the first time that someone had dared to have any ideas about him. If he didn’t play along, he would be wasting the man’s efforts.
It hadn’t been decided which of them was going to play the demon yet!
The two of them smiled at each other; the meanings behind those smiles impossible to decipher.
When they entered the hotel room, the man with the demon mask pressed his hands against Lan Kuang’s chest and kissed him.
Both of them were wearing masks, but it didn’t prevent them from kissing as the lower halves of their faces were exposed.
Leaning against the door, Lan Kuang tilted his head and kissed the other man back. They ground their lips together, biting and twisting their tongues against each other. Soon, their lips became linked with a thread of saliva.
They could feel the heat rising.
Even though he was unused to being so passive, Lan Kuang allowed the other man to do as he liked.
Of course, he didn’t play along for long. Lan Kuang grabbed the other’s waist and switched their positions, pushing the man against the door. He crushed their lips together in a violent kiss.
Taking the initiative felt very different from being passive. Having everything under his control was a fantastic feeling.
The more they kissed, the more rugged their breaths became.
“Wait…” When Lan Kuang reached down to unbuckle the man’s belt, the latter stopped him with a hoarse voice.
Lan Kuang raised a brow, not understanding what the other meant.
Asking him to wait at a time like this? What kind of person did that?
“Why don’t we have a drink to liven things up?” The man pushed Lan Kuang toward the bed. He then opened one of the cupboards inside the room and as expected, found it stocked with alcohol.
Lan Kuang leaned backwards, supporting himself with both hands on the bed. It was a lazy, yet charming position. “I thought that the glasses we’ve had earlier were enough.”
“But I don’t feel excited.” The man popped the bottle open, and pulled out two wineglasses from the cupboard. “They only have wine here. Do we need to call for something different?”
“No, wine is enough.” Lan Kuang glanced over the other’s body with a satisfied smile on his face. “I’m confident in my skills to make you feel excited in all sorts of places.”
The man with the demon mask gave an enigmatic smile. He poured the wine into a glass. “Here, have a glass.”
Lan Kuang accepted it and raised it to his lips, but he did not take a sip. He stared at the man and asked casually, “There isn’t anything in here, right?”
“Are you scared?” A light flashed across the other’s eyes, bright like the stars in the sky.
“Of course. If something’s in this wine and we end up going overboard because of it… What are we going to do? Although I’m making an exception to be on the bottom for you tonight, I still have my limits. If you’re too rough, I won’t be able to take it.” Lan Kuang swirled the liquid in the glass, staring at its deep red color, his gaze as intense as if he were staring at a glass of poison.
“Then we don’t have to drink.” The man turned to place his glass down. Although he didn’t voice it out loud, it was obvious that he’d lost interest and wasn’t willing to play anymore.
Lan Kuang grabbed his wrist. “Don’t be angry. Why don’t you drink my glass then? I’ll take care of yours.” He exchanged wineglasses with the man and added, “Don’t you think this is fair?”
“All right.” The other quickly downed half of the wine that was in Lan Kuang’s glass. “Are you satisfied now?”
Lan Kuang stared at him. His expression and pose remained unchanged.
The man in the demon mask sighed. “Aren’t you too cautious? Here, why don’t you take the one I’ve drunk from? You can return my glass to me. It’s only a one-night stand. Why do you have to turn it into an assassination attempt?”
The man handed Lan Kuang’s glass back. He took the glass that was originally his and took a sip.
Lan Kuang took another glance at him, and finally drank the wine.
The minute Lan Kuang swallowed, the other man came over and took his glass, tossing it onto the carpet along with his own. He then pressed Lan Kuang down onto the bed, kissing and touching all the while.
The taste of the wine remained in Lan Kuang’s mouth, but he could feel the heat rising from his groin. It felt as if something were trying to burst through his body.
“Hey, you aren’t bad at taking the initiative.” Lan Kuang noticed that the other hadn’t spoken a single word; the man was purely focused on kissing him. Despite that, the man’s hands weren’t idle. They pulled at his clothes and smoothed over his body in an erratic dance. Lan Kuang could feel his body heating up. His eyes were also glazing over. Was his desire muddling with his head?
The man with the demon mask pulled off his belt. Lan Kuang thought, how could he let someone else do as they liked with him? He was determined to switch their positions. Just as he lifted his hand however, he felt his head spin. His body gave way and he fell back onto the bed. His body was hot to the point of agony.
Lan Kuang knew something was wrong. The next second, the man used the belt he’d taken off to bind Lan Kuang’s hands around the headboard. He then got up and took out a leather whip from the cupboard where he’d found the wine. The whip snapped through the air, the sharp sound filling the room. He stared down at the half-naked Lan Kuang, an ambiguous smile on his face and disdain in his eyes.
Next: Chapter 11: It’d Be Best If We Never See Each Other Again
Previous: Chapter 9: Difficulty Breathing
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“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.