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.
Lu Tian Chen stared at Tang Feng. He wanted to obtain some sort of answer from the actor’s eyes, but he couldn’t find anything within the other’s beautiful irises.
It wasn’t the first time that Lu Tian Chen had tested Tang Feng, but it was a bit different this time around. Rather than staring at Tang Feng with an interrogating gaze, Lu Tian Chen was gazing at the actor with a sense of appreciation and obsession, transmitting across an emotion that even he didn’t suspect.
As an actor, Tang Feng believed that he understood the emotions behind different gazes. What could Lu Tian Chen mean by gazing at him that deeply?
The intensity of the president’s gaze made Tang Feng unable to look away. It was like a blaze trying to burn him alive. He wanted to escape from the reaches of the fire, but he felt as if he’d been glued to his spot.
Who didn’t desire the love of another?
Humans naturally paid more attention to individuals who were kind to them. People would remember who smiled at them that morning, who bought breakfast for them, and who helped them carry their bag. They would commit those faces to memory and recall them when they next came across the person.
As humans, it was natural to crave attention, to crave love, and to crave recognition.
When Tang Feng had walked onto the path of an actor, was it also to obtain the attention he couldn’t receive in his normal life? As an abandoned orphan, he’d already been denied the recognition he deserved as a human being. He needed to prove that he wasn’t worthless in the eyes of society. There was a meaning to his existence. He wasn’t born so that he could be abandoned.
People often said that Fiennes was a miracle. He’d turned from an abandoned orphan to an actor loved by millions. As Fiennes, he knew that his fans loved him, but he craved the love of the people around him much more than the love of the audience separated by the screen. Only the people close to him knew what he was like in real life, and not as the Fiennes that the media and his agency had created.
“Good night.” Lu Tian Chen leaned forward and kissed Tang Feng on the forehead. He got up from the bed and turned the light off.
Tang Feng stared at the ceiling in the darkened room. “Lu Tian Chen, what exactly is this supposed to be?”
“A warm up for your performance tomorrow,” Lu Tian Chen replied calmly, as if it were completely logical.
“You know what I mean, don’t change the topic. Explain clearly, we aren’t children here.” Tang Feng blinked forcefully and opened his eyes again. He turned his back to Lu Tian Chen and pulled the blanket up to his chin.
As the two of them were sleeping in the same bed, there were two sets of blankets. Tang Feng had the habit of hugging his blankets while sleeping. He didn’t like sharing them with another person; it meant that he had to hug something else in order to sleep.
“Then what kind of answer do you want from me?” Lu Tian Chen’s low voice sounded like a poet’s recitation in the dark. Every word was a story, a poem.
“You… Do you have feelings for me?” Tang Feng clicked his tongue lightly in annoyance.
After asking his question, Tang Feng found that he didn’t quite want to know the answer. Whether it was yes or no, he wasn’t happy with either.
“If you mean whether I want to sleep with you, then the answer is yes.” Lu Tian Chen’s blunt reply made Tang Feng smile. The man continued, “Do you remember what I’ve said? I may be a businessman, but I am also a man. If you’re so keen on seducing me, then I’m not against having an office love with one of my employees.”
Hearing those words come out of Lu Tian Chen’s mouth made Tang Feng feel as if he were watching a dry comedy.
Tang Feng burrowed his head into the blankets. He said with a voice slightly muffled, “I said I haven’t been seducing you. Why don’t you go back to your own room and sleep?”
Not two seconds later, Tang Feng felt a warmth slide up his back and spread toward his limbs. Lu Tian Chen was hugging him from behind. Even through the layers of blankets, the heat between them was enough to burn. “You’ve been really fragile lately.”
“Oh… I’ve been trying to get in touch with my character. Can you let go a bit? It’s too hot.”
“Hot? Since when did you wear pajamas to bed?” Lu Tian Chen chuckled. Tang Feng could feel the other’s hot breath on the back of his neck. “Are you afraid that I would attempt something? Did you know? A person is at their least appealing state when they are completely naked. It’s in bad taste and only makes them appear low.”
“Wait a second…” Tang Feng frowned. “Are you trying to make me take my clothes off?”
Lu Tian Chen farfetched reasoning wasn’t convincing at all.
“You can take it that way.”
Heavens, he didn’t know that a serious man like Lu Tian Chen also had a thick-skinned and perverted side to him. Truly, one shouldn’t judge another by their appearance. Tang Feng covered his face with both hands. Exactly what was happening? “No, I feel like you’re trying to drag me into a trap. From this moment on, I’m not answering any of your questions. Why don’t we just sleep, all right?”
MOVIE: SATAN’S ALLEY
EXT. INSIDE A CHURCH—NIGHT
The days passed by one by one. With night’s fall, the monks of the church had already returned to their own rooms. All that remained behind in the church were brightly burning candles that danced in the salty sea breeze, and one solitary monk.
Tang had been at the church for three months already. He believed that news of his crime would never cross the sea and reach where he was. He had to believe that was the case. Wearing the simple black robe, Tang knelt in front of the figure of God and prayed. He prayed that God would forgive his lies, for he had lied to everyone at the church here.
The fake letter he had given them, none of them knew the truth.
Occasionally, he’d wake up during the night, ears ringing with the accusations of his past companions. They accused him of being dirty. The foul words and glaring eyes threatened to swallow him like the sea outside. He was drowning in the waters, sinking deeper and deeper. He couldn’t breathe and the light in front of his eyes dimmed bit by bit. Finally, he sank into a cold and painful world filled with darkness.
Tang continued to pray and memorize the scriptures.
The sea breeze outside crashed against the windows, making the old, wooden frames creak in protest. Some of the candles went out with a whoosh.
After half an hour of praying, Tang felt much better. He could feel his heart calming down with every word of prayer. He opened his eyes and looked around; he was the only person left in the church.
It was about time for him to return to his room. He had to wake up early and water the garden tomorrow morning. The monks at the church lived a self-sufficient life. As a foreigner and a newcomer, he was responsible for a large amount of work around the church. Tang didn’t complain, he knew it was God’s way of punishing him.
Tang walked toward the candlesticks. He picked one up and blew on it, the dancing flame quickly extinguished itself, leaving behind a smoldering wick.
He turned and blew out the remaining candles one by one.
Soon, Tang heard footsteps behind him. They were clear and steady, like the approach of a sudden breeze.
Tang turned and looked in the direction of the footsteps. The person he saw was concealed from head to toe by his black robe. Their monk robes all came with a large hood. With the hood pulled up, all that could be seen from the outside was the person’s chin.
The person walked through the door and stopped three steps away from Tang. He reached up with pale hands and pulled off the hood of his robe. Tang knew the man; it was the first person he’d seen after waking up: Chris.
Aside from the first few days, Chris hadn’t spoken to him again. Tang understood, no one liked talking to someone who couldn’t respond. But he could often find Chris standing in different places observing him with a deep gaze.
Chris’ attention made Tang tense and uncomfortable. He could feel his heart racing, trying to jump out from his chest.
Chris walked toward him. Tang stared at the other monk, not knowing what to do. A burning candle remained gripped in his hand, forgotten. The molten wax streamed down the body of the candle and dripped onto his hand. Tang jolted at the pain and instinctively dropped the candle.
The white candle landed on the ground and cracked into two. The wax flowed like tears down its body and collected into a pool on the cold, hard ground.
Tang stared at the broken candle. He bent down to pick up the pieces, but Chris grabbed his wrist. The voice that was as enticing as the devil’s sounded beside his ear.
“I know…I know you have your own secret. You might have fooled the others with that letter, but you can’t fool my eyes, Tang.”
Tang raised his head and looked at Chris. There was a battle in his eyes, patience fighting with fear and fragility. At the same time, Chris cradled Tang’s face and kissed him on the lips. Tang struggled in the other’s hold, sweeping more candles onto the ground in the process.
The candles rolled across the ground and threw light all over the dark church. The wind outside crashed against the walls with a frenzy, while the broken moonlight reflected their intertwined shadows onto the figure of God.
At that moment, a streak of lightning flashed across the sky.
The filming for today had wrapped up smoothly. Staff members who were still single were discussing where they should go for dinner. Married individuals like Director Li Wei had rejected their offer to eat together and were heading home to eat with their family.
“Tang Feng, let’s go eat.” Gino walked out of his trailer after changing and taking off his makeup. Seeing that Tang Feng was half-way into a car, he quickly called out to the actor.
Tang Feng waved at Gino without turning his head. He got into the car and said, “No, I have things to do tonight. See you tomorrow.”
The car started, leaving behind a trail of white dust.
Gino sighed and stuffed his hands into his pockets. He stared in the direction Tang Feng had left, not moving for a long while. Somewhat irritated, he kicked at the pebbles in front of his feet. He still remembered what he had seen at Tang Feng’s apartment two days ago, but he didn’t believe that there was anything between Tang Feng and Lu Tian Chen. Even though in the entertainment industry where fame was everything, it was common for celebrities to have questionable ties to their bosses.
But he knew Tang Feng wasn’t that sort of person. He wasn’t the type to sell his body for the chance to act.
Tang Feng didn’t want to admit that he was avoiding Gino. Maybe it was because the Gino that he knew now was different from the Gino he knew then. It could also be because he was startled at the sudden closeness in their relationship. But in the end, only he himself knew the true reason.
While filming, he was required to be intimate with Gino. He wasn’t an idiot. Although Lu Tian Chen and Charles hadn’t said anything, he could tell whether someone was happy or sad based on their actions. As long as it was work-related, then his intimacy with Gino was understandable. However, being close off screen as well could easily lead people’s minds astray.
Compared to before, Lu Tian Chen and Charles were focusing more attention on him. It wasn’t related to love; it definitely didn’t mean that the other two had suddenly fallen in love with him. It was much simpler, like a pet you’d raised for years suddenly started sticking to someone else instead. Anyone would be uncomfortable at the change.
If one didn’t want any trouble, then it was best to avoid all possible sources of trouble.
Two days ago, Lu Tian Chen had filled Tang Feng’s closet with his own clothes. Ever since then, he had been sleeping with Tang Feng in the same room. Often, when Tang Feng came home from filming, Lu Tian Chen was home as well. They would eat dinner together and chat about their day.
Afterwards, Tang Feng would go to an empty room and practice his lines in front of the mirror. Lu Tian Chen would go to his study and take care of his own work. During this time, neither of them would bother the other. Around nine or ten at night, they would meet back up at the living room. They would watch TV and chat again. Occasionally, they’d go to a bar or for a walk outside.
Such an orderly life sometimes gave Tang Feng a strange feeling, but this type of life didn’t last long.
It was another evening. After watching TV for a while, Tang Feng and Lu Tian Chen went back to their own rooms to shower. Usually, after Tang Feng meandered back into the room from his long shower, Lu Tian Chen would already be sitting on the bed with a book in hand. Tonight was the same, except for one detail.
“If my eyes aren’t deceiving me, is that my script?” Tang Feng walked over while rubbing his hair with a towel. He climbed onto the bed from the other side. Walking on all fours, he appeared like a giant cat. His slow and awkward movements drew Lu Tian Chen’s eyes.
Seeing that the other was staring at him, Tang Feng rubbed his face with a hand. “What is it? Do I still have stubble on my face?”
“Yup, you missed a spot.” Lu Tian Chen reached over and rubbed a spot on Tang Feng’s face, despite it being completely clean.
Calmly, Lu Tian Chen rubbed the actor’s face again. He then lowered his head and continued looking at the marked-up script. The pages were filled with Tang Feng’s handwriting. For some scenes, Tang Feng had even used three different colors to outline three different ways of acting it out. When it came to the real thing, Tang Feng would choose the best out of the three to act.
Lu Tian Chen knew Tang Feng was a hard worker. Back in China, aside from work, Tang Feng had spent all his extra time on reading or practicing martial arts. Now faced with the meticulous notes Tang Feng had made on the script, Lu Tian Chen felt that he had never understood the actor.
He hadn’t before, but now he was slowly understanding Tang Feng bit by bit.
“Is there a kiss scene tomorrow?” Lu Tian Chen asked.
“That’s right.” And the one getting kissed was Tang Feng himself.
Always running away, Tang would finally be forced to face Chris’ feelings. The kiss scene would be the most important scene tomorrow. As the director wanted the scene to feel fresh and real, he and Gino hadn’t practiced at all.
“Like this?” Without giving Tang Feng the chance to reply, Lu Tian Chen leaned sideways and pulled the actor into his arms.
Tang Feng was a bit shocked when he felt the kiss on his lips. During the time they’d been living together, Lu Tian Chen had never made a move on him. The force of the kiss forced him back onto the sheets, falling into a sea of white blankets.
Placing a hand on Lu Tian Chen’s wrist, Tang Feng tried to avoid the other’s lips. Unfortunately, Lu Tian Chen didn’t plan on letting him get away. After forcing the actor onto the sheets, Lu Tian Chen came crashing down, meeting Tang Feng chest to chest. The scent of shower gel and cologne mixed together and filled the air. Kissed breathless, Tang Feng opened his mouth to breathe. Grasping onto the opening like a cheetah, Lu Tian Chen forced his tongue past Tang Feng’s teeth and invaded the latter’s mouth.
“Umph¾” The whole thing had happened too fast for Tang Feng to resist. He tried pushing at Lu Tian Chen, but the president wasn’t a pushover like Su Qi Cheng. Lu Tian Chen had undergone extensive training. He wasn’t the type that Tang Feng could easily push or kick aside.
Lu Tian Chen held down Tang Feng’s limbs, removing all possibilities of him escaping. He continued to kiss Tang Feng ferociously, as if wanting to swallow the man whole.
Quickened breaths filled the room, along with the sound of shifting sheets and bodies.
It definitely wasn’t the first time that Tang Feng had kissed someone. It also wasn’t the first time that he’d had such a passionate kiss. But it was his first time being crushed from head to toe while being kissed breathless. He couldn’t move any of his limbs, heightening his other senses such as hearing and touch.
He could hear Lu Tian Chen’s heavy breaths beside his ear, mixed along with his own. Their chests together, he could hear their hearts thumping erratically. When their dissimilar heartbeats gradually melded into one and thumped in time together, Tang Feng could feel the sound magnified in his ears. Quickly, the sound overtook and controlled his entire world.
They could have kissed for half a minute, but it could also have been five minutes long.
When Lu Tian Chen released Tang Feng, the actor had his eyes closed. His lips were wet from the kiss and shone with a pearly sheen under the light. His eyelashes trembled in time with his rapid breaths. Lu Tian Chen bent down and kissed Tang Feng on the lips again.
“What is this?” Tang Feng opened his eyes; a pair of eyes that always made others unable to look away.
“A warm up.” Lu Tian Chen’s voice was gentler than usual, but his tone was even. If not for the fact that his chest was rising heavily, it would be difficult to tell that he had been embroiled in a passionate kiss just a moment ago.
Tang Feng narrowed his eyes and inspected the man above him suspiciously.
“Are you planning to lie on top of me all night? Or do you really think…that I believe that joke of yours?” Tang Feng applied a bit more force and tried to push Lu Tian Chen off.
“Then why do you think I did this?” Once again holding his place, Lu Tian Chen grabbed Tang Feng’s hands and held them tightly. Their proximity allowed them both to feel the heat rising off their bodies. With time, the temperature only rose higher, soon the room seem to have been suffused with the scent of a blaze.
As an old fox, Tang Feng shouldn’t be panicking, but he couldn’t help but feel as if Lu Tian Chen was trying to see into his soul with his piercing gaze.
“Why don’t you tell me yourself?”
“You’re seducing me.”
Tang Feng burst into laughter at Lu Tian Chen’s reply. What was the man saying? Since when had he tried to seduce Lu Tian Chen?
“No I’m not. President Lu, try to curb your narcissism.” Tang Feng laughed again, the intimate atmosphere in the room immediately dissipating with his laughter.
“How can you not be when you’re Tang Feng? You used to be infatuated with me, to the point that you would accept the deal Charles had offered in order to make me jealous. Right now as well, you deliberately act like you’re close with Charles and Gino, while distancing yourself from me. You’re doing it to make me feel miserable.”
“No, I haven’t done any of that.” Lu Tian Chen was definitely overthinking the problem.
“If you haven’t, then who are you? Would a person completely turn into someone else just from amnesia?”
“I’m Tang Feng.” Tang Feng wasn’t scared. He gazed at Lu Tian Chen and enunciated his words clearly. “I am Tang Feng. You might not understand it, but that doesn’t mean it’s a lie.”