Chapter 10: Warm Up

On June 1, 2017, Posted by , In True Star, tagged in ,, , With 27 Comments

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.”

 

Next:
Previous: Chapter 9: Acting Together for the First Time
Return: Main Page

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Translator: Nannyn
Proofreaders:

Chapter 9: Acting Together for the First Time

On June 1, 2017, Posted by , In True Star, tagged in ,, , With 3 Comments

“I asked him if he had anyone he liked, like how Daddy likes Mommy.” The devilish girl blinked mischievously. Winding her arms around Albert’s shoulders, she stuck out her tongue playfully.

“That was a smart question. How did he reply?” Albert was unperturbed by how Annie had phrased her question. He was unmarried; the so-called “love between Daddy and Mommy” was inapplicable in his case. He simply needed a child. That was the only reason.

He had no idea who Annie’s birth mother was. There was no need for Annie to know either.

“He said he didn’t like anyone.”

“What did you ask after that?” Albert was unsurprised by his daughter’s reply; he had already expected that to be the answer. And he was right.

“I asked what type of person he likes. Daddy, his answer is so stupid.” Annie wrinkled her nose. She deepened her voice and said in a tone that resembled Tang Feng’s, “‘Hmm, for appearance, it’s fine as long as I like how they look. As for character, I hope they would be a kind person. Someone with a sunny outlook on life. I also hope they have the same values as me.’”

Annie had relayed Tang Feng’s answer word for word. The gentle and mature tone she had taken while reciting was at odds with her young appearance, making it a quite comical display.

“A kind person with a sunny outlook on life…” Albert chuckled coldly. “Haha, what a foolish man. An idealist to the end. I can’t help but be worried for you. Like Esmeralda, will you fall in love with someone you shouldn’t?”

Most people would never believe that a four-and-a-half-year-old child could lie to an adult. The obvious reason was because most people carried a friendly outlook on life, choosing to believe in the positives instead of the negatives.

Similarly, the kind people residing at the seaside church in Ireland would never choose to be suspicious of the new monk from the east. He had carried the ashes of the old priest all the way home by himself. He was dusty and shaken from his long journey. Even after arriving, he had yet to speak a single word. Everyone simply assumed that the monk named Tang was especially avid to his holy cause.

Tang had arrived at the strange and remote land during a rainstorm in the night.

Thunder clashed and roared in the dark sky above. The man who appeared shrunken in his black robes clutched a dried branch in his hand as a crutch. His shoes sank into the soft mud underneath with every step he took. He felt as if the ground was trying to swallow his legs. Who was that clutching at his heels below the ground? Was it the devil from hell?

He didn’t know, but he was alarmed. He felt cold from the top of his head to the ends of his toes. And hunger ate at him constantly from the inside.

Bean-sized raindrops fell unrelentingly from the sky and splattered onto his hood and shoulders. His robes were completely drenched. Luckily, the fabric was black. If it had been a lighter color, it would have already been dyed a dirty grey by all the mud and filth that had collected on the fabric.

The rain had been falling for five days, and he had also been walking in the rain for five days. He couldn’t turn back now. The only thing he could do was walk, walk without ever stopping…

He rearranged the thin robes around him and tied the urn of ashes around his stomach using a piece of cloth. He could better protect the urn this way and prevent it from colliding against something and breaking apart.

After stepping on his journey to this foreign land, Tang had relied on written words to relay his intents: what he wanted, where he wanted to go, which road he should take.

Kind individuals he met on the road would give him food and water. They praised him for his staunch character as a monk who had given the entirety of his life to God. People assumed that he didn’t speak because he had devoted his everything to God. They were surprised to learn that such a dedicated monk came from the far east.

Heavens, he had walked for so long, only chasing after the guidance and footsteps of God.

Tang made no efforts to dissuade people’s assumptions about him. He was glad that he was unable to speak. He hadn’t lost the ability to speak; he simply wasn’t allowed to speak. The people of his original church had made him promise that he wouldn’t utter a single word for fifty years. Additionally, he had to write down the doctrines of God every day and commit the words to heart.

They forced him to leave the land he had grown up in to bring the old priest’s ashes to this foreign place.

Tang didn’t feel hurt or hopeless due to the harsh punishment, he was even happy. The new land he had come to was far away from his homeland. The disgusting and shameless crime he had committed there would never reach the ears of the people here. He didn’t ask for much anymore. He didn’t have the courage to attempt anything that would turn him away from God’s teachings. He only wanted to pass the fifty years he had left in peace and quiet in a small church somewhere.

Due to hunger and exhaustion, Tang fell onto the muddy path. Before losing consciousness, he looked one last time at the sky above him. It was dark and heavy like the black robes he wore. The sky seemed to inch ever closer to him, becoming an icy and impermeable black cloth that gradually enveloped him.

You are an embarrassment to God…

Monk, you have committed a dirty crime. Your punishment is to keep your voice to yourself for fifty years. You will bear the consequences of your crime!

Tang took a deep breath and abruptly opened his eyes. He sat up with a pale face. His black eyes glittered with the light of the stars, appearing on the verge of shattering at any moment. They were eyes of helplessness, pain, and repentance.

“You’re awake.” A weak ray of sunlight shot into the room from the wooden window. A blond-haired man was sitting next to the young monk. When Tang looked at him, the blond-haired man revealed a brilliant smile. Like the sun, the smile pierced Tang’s eyes and he instinctively recoiled from the pain. Compared to the blond man, he was the mud bubbling in the mire, dirty and dark.

“I don’t know if you can understand me, but you’d fainted by the sea. The priest had saved you. God have mercy, you are alive. A moment later, you would have died and been swallowed by the sea god.” The blond man smiled again. Despite his sincerity, Tang couldn’t figure out what he was saying exactly.

Tang decided to stay silent and listen instead. “We found a letter on you. Luckily, it’d been wrapped tightly or it’d have been soaked by the water. We know you’re a monk from the east. We thank you for bringing Priest Dolen’s ashes back. The head priest has already given his permission for you to stay. Tang, will you stay?”

Tang lowered his head, his eyes unfocused. He knew of the letter the other man was talking about. Heavens, the letter had been written by the people of his original church. It detailed the crime he had committed. During his journey through Europe, he had thrown the letter into the ocean. The letter the young monk had read belonged to his own hand.

He couldn’t calm the panic within his heart, rendering himself all the more weakened and pitiful on the outside.

“You seem frightened. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. We know you were close to Priest Dolen. Everyone sees you as a friend here.” The young monk leaned toward Tang. Their close proximity allowed Tang to clearly see the other’s features. The blond man was handsome and had a pair of blue eyes that shone like gems.

Among Europeans, the young monk should be quite handsome. At that, Tang was shocked that such a dirty thought had crossed his mind again. He couldn’t, he couldn’t make another mistake.

Tang quickly lowered his head and nodded, indicating that he had understood.

The blond man chuckled beside his ear, his warm breath brushing lightly against Tang’s cheeks. “My name is Chris. Although you can’t speak, I hope that one day I can hear you call my name.” Chris paused, and continued in a low voice, “Do all Easterners have eyes like yours? They are beautiful. They are the most beautiful eyes…I have ever seen, Tang.”

Chris. Tang mumbled the name to himself, over and over.

He felt a warmth spread within his chest and a strange feeling pervade his body. Perhaps everything would turn out to be all right. Quickly, Tang recovered his health and officially joined the seaside church. Everyone welcomed him, but aside from the initial curiosity of seeing a foreigner, most people left him alone.

To Tang, that was a good thing. He was glad that he couldn’t speak. That way, he could avoid accidentally saying ugly words to people.

There was an exception to this: the monk called Chris. He’d heard others say that Chris was extremely intelligent. A small church by the seaside wasn’t enough to satisfy him. Very soon, Chris would be going to a bigger town to further his studies.

When he’d first waken up, it took Tang a while to realize that he was completely naked under the bedsheets. He grabbed onto the sheets and glanced around the room in panic for his dirty and ripped black robes.

“Your robes are beyond repair. The head priest told me to prepare another set for you,” said Chris. He then smiled. “I’d taken off your clothes for you. I’d also wiped down your body.”

Tang did his best to ignore the teasing in Chris’ eyes as he spoke. These past few days, he could feel Chris’ eyes trailing behind him wherever he walked. But Chris never spoke with him, only gazing at him while standing far away.

What a strange person.

“Cut! Very good!” the director yelled. Tang Feng’s first scene with Gino had passed smoothly.

Wearing matching monk robes, Tang Feng and Gino looked at each other and smiled at the same time. It seemed that discussing the script two days ago had been a good idea.

 

Next: Chapter 10: Warm Up
Previous: Chapter 8: Little Annie
Return: Main Page

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Translator: Nannyn
Proofreaders:

Chapter 8: Little Annie

On May 15, 2017, Posted by , In True Star, tagged in ,, , With 30 Comments

Seeing that the girl was alone, Tang Feng walked over and kneeled in front of her. Looking at her eye to eye, he said in a gentle voice, “Hi, I’m Tang Feng. What are you doing here alone?”

The little girl stared at him with her tear-streaked face. Far away, the girl’s eyes had appeared black, but kneeling right in front of her, Tang Feng could see that her eyes were actually brown. Her large eyes were filled with tears. Blinking at Tang Feng, the tears in her eyes overflowed and streaked down her cheeks. “Daddy’s gone. Annie and Daddy lost each other.” Like her appearance, her childishly high voice was also adorable.

The park wasn’t big. The girl’s father was probably looking for her right this moment. Tang Feng thought he could probably help her find her father as well.

Tang Feng comforted the child and soon she started laughing. While he was happy that she wasn’t crying anymore, he was also worried that she had opened up to a stranger so quickly. If someone with ill intentions had come across her instead, she would surely have been kidnapped. Forget it. This conversation could be saved for when he comes across Annie’s father.

If the girl’s father noticed that his daughter was gone, he should be retracing his steps right now. Rather than running all over the park, it would be smarter for them to stay right where they were. Tang Feng sat with the little girl on one of the park benches and waited together with her.

Annie was adorable. Although she was young, her looks were as delicate as a Barbie doll’s. Westerners were all rather adorable at a young age, but it was rare to come across a child as beautiful as Annie. Her parents were definitely attractive people as well. Judging from the clothes she was wearing, her family was also quite well-off.

“Annie, do you remember where you lost your daddy?”

“There were a lot of people, then Annie couldn’t find Daddy anymore. Mister, can you help Annie find him?” Annie grabbed onto Tang Feng’s wrist.

“Of course.” Tang Feng smiled at her.

Looking at Annie, he was reminded of himself. It was hard for him not to pity her. As he had lived a loveless childhood, after growing up, he couldn’t resist the tenderness that welled up inside him whenever he saw a detached or frail child. To keep Annie calm, Tang Feng tried talking with her. “Annie, what games do you like to play?”

The girl raised her hand and said excitedly, “I like playing Truth or Dare with Daddy the most. Mister, you can play with Annie too! Annie will start first!”

“Okay,” Tang Feng agreed.

“Mister, do you have someone you like? Like how Daddy likes Mommy.” Annie blinked her big eyes at Tang Feng. Her innocent appearance prevented Tang Feng from guessing at the meaning of her question.

“Ah…Not right now,” Tang Feng answered after thinking for a bit.

There were people he was interested in, but it was too soon to talk about having a serious relationship with anyone. Tang Feng would never lie to a child, so he spoke the truth.

“It’s my turn now. How old are you Annie?”

“Annie’s four and a half.” Annie asked another question, “Mister, what type of person do you like?”

“What type of person do I like…” Tang Feng had never thought about it. He paused for a moment, and responded, “Hmm, for appearance, it’s fine as long as I like how they look. As for character, I hope they would be a kind person. Someone with a sunny outlook on life. I also hope they have the same values as me.”

“Mister, you’re such a good person. Can we be friends?”

“Of course, I would love to be friends with Annie.” Faced with an innocent child, Tang Feng couldn’t resist a smile. The world of adults was complicated and full of twists and turns. Only children could have such pure looks in their eyes; they were lovable at first glance.

“You have to pinkie promise!” Annie blinked and held out her pinkie, a look of excitement on her face.

“Okay, I pinky promise, for a hundred years.” Tang Feng rubbed Annie’s hair, smiling indulgently at her.

At that moment, they heard the anxious call of a man. “Annie! My god. Daddy finally found you.”

Looking at the man who had appeared at the edge of the thicket, Tang Feng stood up and pulled Annie along with him. The girl appeared a bit disgruntled. Tang Feng said quietly, “Annie, is he your daddy? Go to him.”

Keeping her head down, a look of despise flashed across Annie’s eyes. When she looked up, only innocence could be found again. She looked at Tang Feng, and then at the man who was running toward her. Finally, she chose to run to her father.

“Daddy, you’re awful! You’ve only found me now!” While running, Annie yelled out loud.

“Yes, it’s all Daddy’s fault. Annie, please don’t be angry with Daddy, okay?” Catching his daughter in a hug, the man smiled at Tang Feng. “Thank you for taking care of my daughter.”

“It’s not a problem. I’m glad to help.”

Tang Feng then conversed a bit more with Annie’s father. He expressed his worry and hoped that Annie’s father could take care of the little girl better. He should teach Annie that it wasn’t right to talk with strangers so easily. The purpose of instilling vigilance in Annie wasn’t to destroy her innocence, but to raise her guard as a child who was incapable of defending herself.

As Annie wanted to be friends with him, Tang Feng ended up giving them his address and phone number as well before they left.

When Lu Tian Chen came to find him, Annie and her father were just leaving.

“Who are they?” Looking at the retreating figures, Lu Tian Chen frowned. He wasn’t too happy at the moment. Someone had brushed against his car in the parking lot just now, because of that, he had wasted so much time. Glancing at the father-daughter pair, Lu Tian Chen instinctively felt that something was off.

“They are Little Annie and her father.” Tang Feng quickly recounted the details of their encounter to Lu Tian Chen.

“They look like a strange pair. You should be wary of them. Don’t regard everybody around you as friends,” Lu Tian Chen concluded bluntly.

Was this youngster who wasn’t even thirty trying to educate an old fox like him? Tang Feng objected to Lu Tian Chen’s warning. Annie was an adorable child. He could believe it if it were an adult in question, but an innocent child couldn’t have any ulterior motives.

Moreover, he didn’t have any money, power, or enemies at the moment. He was also in America. Who would chase him all the way to America to take revenge on him?

Su Qi Cheng? That was impossible. Charles had emphasized that Su Qi Cheng wouldn’t dare touch him anymore.

“You’re overthinking it. Annie’s a little girl. Stop viewing her with your cruel businessman eyes.” Tang Feng was slightly unhappy. Lu Tian Chen was a good businessman, but that didn’t conflict with the fact that Tang Feng didn’t like parts of Lu Tian Chen’s personality. He didn’t have the right to critique the other, but he had the right to voice out his displeasure.

“Are you dissatisfied with me?”

“No, I simply think you can treat the people around you more kindly. Don’t think that every single person who’s trying to become closer to you has ill intentions.”

Lu Tian Chen chuckled coldly. “There are definitely people like that.”

“Would you uproot a whole garden of roses just because one had stung your hand?” Tang Feng shot back. The world wasn’t perfect, but so what? Nothing was perfect. If people chose to focus on someone’s shortcomings instead of strengths, then it would bring them nothing other than suffering. There was an old saying: The world didn’t lack beauty, only the eyes to find it.

It was normal for people to be on guard against strangers, but going overboard wasn’t good.

Tang Feng thought Lu Tian Chen would argue back. Either that or the atmosphere would dwindle into awkward silence. But Lu Tian Chen merely glanced at him and said softly, “I was only worried about you.”

Tang Feng was suddenly speechless.

“Let’s go back after walking around for a bit.” Tang Feng forced out a sentence after a long while. Lu Tian Chen was going against the rules. He wasn’t used dealing with such a logical Lu Tian Chen.

“Okay, tell me more about what happened earlier. About your new friend, Little Annie.”

A black car was parked on the street opposite of the park. It couldn’t be a more common sight in America.

“Go away! You stupid pig!” A cute little girl yelled at the man who was holding her. The man placed her down on the ground and stepped away respectfully. The sight made numerous passersby glance at them. A bodyguard standing near the car pulled open the door to the backseat. The little girl immediately jumped in. Her face didn’t possess any of the innocence that had previously decorated it. Like a little devil, she revealed a proud smile, “Daddy, that Tang is so dumb. He believed everything I said.”

Leaning against the back of the seat, Albert placed down the wineglass he had in his hand. He spread his arms and said, “My little Annie is so smart.”

Annie rushed into his arms. Laughing, she leaned against Albert’s chest. “Daddy, I like him.”

“Is that so? Daddy is the same as Annie. Daddy also likes that dumb man.” Albert smiled at her. “Come, tell Daddy what you two did earlier. How did he respond to the questions Daddy had told you to ask?”

 

Next: Chapter 9: Acting Together for the First Time
Previous: Chapter 7: On Purpose
Return: Main Page

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Translator: Nannyn
Proofreaders:

Chapter 7: On Purpose

On May 15, 2017, Posted by , In True Star, tagged in ,, , With 7 Comments

“Did you forget that we had to kiss each other when we’d first met? Chris, I’m disappointed.” Tang Feng directed the conversation to a safe topic. To him, it was better to have a clear distinction between his private and public life. Even if he saw Gino as a friend, they weren’t close enough to be discussing deep topics such as life and love.

At Tang Feng’s prompting, a look of realization hit Gino. His eyes brightened and anticipation appeared on his face. “Ah, this is bad. I’m not ready to film this scene yet. When don’t we attempt it now and try to get a feel for it. This way, we’ll be able to pass easily when it comes to the actual take.”

“I don’t feel that way.” Tang Feng rejected Gino’s proposal. “The director said that we need to carry a sense of unfamiliarity and nervousness when we act out this scene. We need to be young and inexperienced, like an unripe green apple. If we practice, then we would be a red apple instead of a green one.”

“Come, come, Tang.” Gino wasn’t willing to give up.

“No, I refuse.” Tang Feng shook his head. He wasn’t opposed to becoming closer to Gino, but anything outside of work was unnecessary. It was enough for him to be able to act with Gino in films. In their private lives, they could only be friends. He didn’t want any of the troubles that came along with joking around intimately.

It was too commonplace for acting to turn into reality in the entertainment world. During the period of filming, the male and female lead of a movie could end up rolling around in the same bed despite having stable partners at home. It wasn’t anything new in Hollywood. But when an actor placed too much importance on his private life, it could easily affect the rest of his acting career.

Gino was powerless in the face of Tang Feng’s stubbornness. He finally raised his hands in defeat.

“You Chinese men are too old-fashioned!” Gino was a little indignant at his loss. “And here I thought I could get a kiss from you after making a meal for you. Tang Feng, you’re hurting my heart.”

“I’m not being old-fashioned. This is simply my personal value. All right, let’s end it here today. You can get lost now and go act cute with your girlfriend.”

“Is this jealousy I hear?” Gino’s response made Tang Feng speechless.

He glared at Gino. “You’re too in love with yourself.”

While they were arguing, someone opened the door to the apartment. When they looked up, they saw a handsome but cold man standing by the door. Seeing Tang Feng and Gino arguing together on the couch, the man blinked. He asked, “Tang Feng, a guest?”

“I’m going over the script with Gino.” Tang Feng frowned as Lu Tian Chen closed the door and walked inside. “Where did you go today?”

“I had something to take care of this morning. I didn’t mention it as I didn’t want to disturb you. Did you not notice the note that I’d left beside your bed?” Lu Tian Chen completely ignored Gino’s presence. He was only focused on Tang Feng.

“Oh, I didn’t see it.” Gino had woken him up this morning. Then he’d gone back to sleep and woke up to the smell of food. He didn’t look at the bedside table at all.

“Seems like I need to tape it to the bathroom mirror next time.” Lu Tian Chen smiled somewhat gently. He walked over to Tang Feng and hugged him. In a rare move, he joked, “Did you miss me?”

“Yup, I miss having you here to take care of the food bill.” Tang Feng smiled and hugged Lu Tian Chen back.

Lu Tian Chen replied, “That’s not a problem.” He then glanced at Gino, who was sitting with a complicated expression. Speaking like a master of the house, he asked, “Mr. Gino, you haven’t had dinner yet, right? Would you like to eat with us?”

Lu Tian Chen’s words made two points clear to Gino.

One: “Us” clearly referred to Lu Tian Chen and Tang Feng.

Two: “Would you like to eat with us” was clearly a polite way of telling him to leave. Otherwise, Lu Tian Chen would have phrased it as “come eat with us.”

“No, that’s all right. I have a date tonight,” Gino refused tactfully. He said goodbye to Tang Feng and Lu Tian Chen and left afterwards. During the whole process, Tang Feng didn’t raise a single word to keep Gino.

After Gino left, Lu Tian Chen walked to the stairs. While climbing up, he said, “It seems like he’s interested in you.”

Tang Feng chuckled and cleaned up the pile of papers that was on the table. He picked up the script and walked upstairs as well. “When an actor immerses himself too much in a script, they can become confused about their feelings. This is why when an actor cheats in a relationship, it’s usually with their co-actor.”

Cheating was common when people took their roles too far. Not only did they pull the characters from the script into their own lives, they would fall in love with the person they loved in the script.

Falling in love with someone else was quite easy. Sometimes, all it took was a second.

“Have you been drawn in by him yet?” Lu Tian Chen’s voice drifted out from behind a half-closed door.

“Not at the moment. Wait a second…” Tang Feng walked in after Lu Tian Chen. He watched as the man took off his shirt, exposing his toned upper body. When the president started reaching for his pants, Tang Feng raised his voice, “This is my bedroom. President Lu, yours is next door.”

Lu Tian Chen took off his pants and opened the closet. He pulled out a set of clothes that didn’t belong to Tang Feng.

“Right now, it’s also my bedroom.” Turning his back on Tang Feng, Lu Tian Chen started changing into the clean set of clothes.

“Why are your clothes inside my closet?’

“Because I put them there. That’s why they are in your closet.” Lu Tian Chen pulled on his pants and turned around while buttoning up his shirt. A slight smile appeared on his face. “I’ll be sleeping in your room quite often this month. It’s too bothersome to walk back and forth. That’s why I’ve decided to just bring my clothes here.”

“Why? Are you afraid of the dark?” Tang Feng couldn’t resist a snarky comment. He furrowed his brows in irritation. Please, couldn’t he at least have a private room to himself? He wasn’t used to sharing a bed with someone else, not to mention Lu Tian Chen at that. This was too strange. He found it difficult to accept the change in arrangement.

“Don’t forget the agreement that we have.” Lu Tian Chen smoothed out his shirt and put on his belt. He then picked up a random grey jacket and put it on. “Go get changed. We’re eating out.”

“I don’t remember the agreement saying that I have to sleep in the same room as you.” Tang Feng felt a headache coming on. Exactly what was going on with Lu Tian Chen?

He didn’t mind sharing a bed with someone occasionally. But it was another matter altogether when it came to sharing a bed for a long period of time.

“Would you like to sleep with Charles in the same room then?”

“Why do I have to sleep with him in the same room?”

“He’s a man who acts on his whims. Tang Feng, if you aren’t interested in him, then try not to get close to him. Charles may appear fickle on the outside, but once he sets his mind on something, he won’t rest until he has it in his hands,” Lu Tian Chen said seriously.

Tang Feng nodded in response. He knew Lu Tian Chen was right about Charles. Despite knowing that, he had ended up sleeping with Charles again when he felt down in the dumps last time. All right, he would do his best to prevent that from happening again. How “lucky” was he to have met Charles and Lu Tian Chen in this life. Not to mention, there was still an Albert lurking around the corner somewhere.

“It’s still early right now. Why don’t you drive me to the bookstore first? I’m going to buy a few books before dinner.” Tang Feng decided to throw everything Lu Tian Chen had mentioned to the back of his mind. At the moment, his work was more important.

Tang Feng and Lu Tian Chen ate dinner at a nearby restaurant. Before that, he had bought a few books on Christianity. Although he had looked over similar materials when he first read through the script, brushing up on the religious background while filming would help him get in character.

The apartment they were living at was close to the filming location. There were restaurants nearby and also a park. After staying inside all day, Tang Feng wanted to go for a walk inside the park. Lu Tian Chen agreed without any arguments.

Tang Feng walked by himself on the sidewalk. Lu Tian Chen had gone to find a parking space, and wouldn’t be back for a few minutes. As it was close to night, there was scarcely anyone inside the park. The street lights off to the sides of the path illuminated the park with a warm light. Shining through the cracks between the blanket of leaves above, the light made erratic marks on the ground. The cool breeze blowing through the park was chilly, but refreshing to the skin. Occasionally, Tang Feng could also hear the strums of a guitar nearby.

Quickly, Tang Feng’s attention was caught by the sound of sobs and sniffling.

The quiet off and on sniffling sounded like something a kitten would make. Tang Feng paused in his steps and looked in the direction of the sniffling. It was coming from a thicket of trees nearby. Listening closely, Tang Feng could discern that it was a child making those sounds. What was a child doing alone in the park at a time like this?

He walked over to the thicket and parted the branches blocking his way. He saw a three or four-year-old girl sitting on the ground wiping at her eyes. Her pale cheeks were streaked with tears. Similarly, her dark eyes were swimming in tears as well. At first glance, she was simply adorable.

She had probably wandered astray from her parents.

 

Next: Chapter 8: Little Annie
Previous: Chapter 6: Script Reading
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Translator: Nannyn
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Chapter 6: Script Reading

On April 15, 2017, Posted by , In True Star, tagged in ,, , With 36 Comments

A week had passed since the start of filming for Satan’s Alley. Aside from the first day when Tang Feng had almost been pushed to the breaking point by the director, it had been a smooth ride for him after his acting breakthrough. Although the film had two male leads, Tang Feng had more scenes than Gino. However, most of the publicity having to do with the film focused on its two biggest names, Director Li Wei and Gino, for promotional reasons.

For the first week, the film crew had mainly been going through Tang Feng’s own individual scenes. Tang Feng and Gino would only act together the day after tomorrow.

Hollywood’s filming style could be considered the most perfect system within the industry. It never stopped evolving, but there were still underlying rules that everyone followed. Tang Feng liked this very much. They had two days off every week. It had been written clearly in the contract that he’d signed. His salary had also been clearly stated in the clauses.

As a newcomer, Tang Feng would only be paid a small amount of five-hundred thousand dollars for his role. It was a scratch of what Gino was getting. As a Hollywood superstar, Gino was getting paid 12.5 million dollars, and that was after the friend price discount.

It was Tang Feng’s day off today. After working for the whole day yesterday, Tang Feng had greedily latched onto the and was going downhill with him. He didn’t know who it was that was hounding him in the early morning by pressing the doorbell and calling his phone nonstop.

“Charles…” Tang Feng called out incoherently, but no one answered him. He grabbed a pillow and pulled it over his head.

That was right. Charles had said yesterday that he had to go to New York for two days for a business deal.

“Lu Tian Chen, go open the door…” The doorbell was still ringing. Tang Feng yanked at the blankets and pulled them over his head, exposing his legs to the air. Once again, no one answered him.

Where did Lu Tian Chen go? He thought that someone had come over to his room last night to sleep beside him. If Charles was in New York, then it could only have been Lu Tian Chen. There was no helping it, Tang Feng fought a difficult battle with the sheets before climbing out of bed. Half sleepwalking, he opened the door and saw a black shadow flash in front of him. “Tang Feng, I brought breakfast!” A blond man carrying a white bag jumped into his vision. Gino was deliberately trying to be cute with his cheerful voice.

“Hmm…” Tang Feng shut the door in a daze and walked barefoot toward his bedroom. He was simply too tired. “You can take a seat, wherever is fine. I’m going to sleep for a bit more.” Compared to Gino’s bright smile, Tang Feng’s reaction was like a downpour of cold rain. There was no hint of surprise or shock to his voice, it was calm to the point of frustration.

Tang Feng left without waiting for Gino’s response. He lay on the bed and pulled the blankets over himself, falling asleep once again.

Tang Feng had planned to meet with Gino today to go over the script, but he hadn’t expected Gino to arrive this early.

Before going back to bed, he’d glanced at the clock on the wall. It was only seven-thirty in the morning. Please let him sleep for another hour.

Tang Feng woke up to the smell of food. He left his bedroom in his pajamas and found the figure of a young man busying about in the kitchen. The man turned around at his entrance, lifting his brows and raising the corners of his lips, exposing a row of teeth that gleamed like white shells.

When Tang Feng had first met Gino, he’d thought that the young actor was quite handsome. He recalled that Gino seemed to have filmed a toothpaste commercial a few years ago. His teeth certainly were straight and white.

“Awake? You can go shower first, and then come eat breakfast.” Gino flashed a smile at Tang Feng before turning around to face the stove again.

Tang Feng walked to the bathroom. He took off his clothes and turned on the shower, letting the water stream down his body. Thinking back to the image of Gino busying about in the kitchen, Tang Feng startled chuckling. Gino knew how to cook? In his past life, he had mostly lived alone. At certain times, a nutritionist would come over and plan out his diet. The recipes changed every month, but they were all the same type and flavor. Even the most delicious of foods would become bland after eating them repetitively for years.

After his shower, Tang Feng walked to the living room while wearing a bathrobe and rubbing his hair with a towel. He immediately noticed the colorful dishes displayed on the dining table. There were both vegetable and meat-based dishes, not only did they look pretty, they also smelled amazing. He wondered how they actually tasted.

“Did you make all of these? You know how to make Chinese food?” Tang Feng was hungry. He picked up a fried prawn and bit into it. The taste was rather authentic.

Gino caught sight of Tang Feng stealing bites from the table as he came out of the kitchen with two cups of soy milk. Tang Feng had already finished the prawn he’d snatched off the plate. Some bread crumbs from the coating were stuck to his fingers. He looked around for a napkin but couldn’t find one. He licked the crumbs off his fingers instead, his red tongue brushing over his pale skin.

Gino suddenly felt extremely hungry. His throat also seemed to be on fire.

“Soy milk?” Tang Feng turned to look at the cups in Gino’s hands. He didn’t remember there being any soymilk in the fridge.

“I bought a carton this morning. I’ve warmed it up, you don’t mind, right? I think you wouldn’t.” Gino smiled as he answered his own question, setting the cups on the table.

“I like soy milk.” Tang Feng held a cup in both hands and took a drink. The soymilk warmed him up from the inside. “I’m surprised that you can cook, and authentic Chinese food at that.”

Gino smiled and took a seat opposite of Tang Feng. “I have many good sides to me. Do I seem that horrible of a person to you?”

Tang Feng licked the soy milk mustache off his upper lip. “That’s because you’re so childish sometimes. You always like making trouble for everyone.” With his guard down, Tang Feng spoke of his past opinion on Gino.

Gino took Tang Feng’s words as a joke and didn’t take them to heart, similar to how aside from the initial surprise, Tang Feng didn’t linger on the fact that Gino can cook Chinese food.

Gino was a rather good cook, so much that Tang Feng ate more than usual. Smiling, Gino went to the kitchen to bring Tang Feng another bowl of rice. The two of them weren’t the type to talk while eating, even if they did talk, it was mostly work-related topics.

After breakfast, Tang Feng and Gino started cleaning up the table. As Gino had cooked, Tang Feng insisted that he would do the dishes. Gino didn’t fight with him. He merely leaned against the door frame with his arms crossed as he watched Tang Feng go about the job. In a deliberate teasing manner, his eyes trailed from Tang Feng’s neck, to his broad shoulders, to the elegant lines of his back, to his waist, and…

Tang Feng turned around and glared at him. “Go clean up the living room if you have nothing to do.”

“I’ve never noticed that you were quite fit.” Gino whistled and scratched his nose. He then smiled and ran out of the kitchen before Tang Feng threw a plate at him.

The two of them had gone over the script numerous times already. The scene they were going to film the day after tomorrow would be the one when Tang and Chris first come across each other. Carrying the urn of ashes with him, Tang had left his home for the first time and arrived in a foreign land. In that foreign land, he’d also met a man who would change the rest of his life.

When Gino had first received the script, he’d stayed up to read the whole thing. The story of Chris and Tang was captivating to him. The script had perfectly described complicated topics such as homosexuality and the clash of cultures in a religious environment that didn’t allow for much change or freedom.

The film was cruel and realistic, yet beautiful all the same.

While the two of them were reading over the script, Gino didn’t forget to praise his character, Chris, in front of Tang Feng. How many people would one person fall in love with during their entire life? There might be only one such person. A firm belief in religion was fine, and so were other pursuits. But in the end, they were all solitary lives. In the era they lived in, Chris was undoubtedly a courageous person. Even if he had lived in the modern world, people would still admire and be envious of his character.

“If I could be with someone I love, I’d be happy even if I had to become a farmer growing vegetables and raising cattle in a tiny village,” Gino expressed with a sigh.

Tang Feng paused for a moment, but then laughed. “That’s a good thought.”

“You don’t believe me?” Gino raised an eyebrow and glanced at the other. His exaggerated expression was quite funny.

“I believe you. Of course I believe you.” Tang Feng set the script down. He teased, “Then have you found the love of your life yet? Actually, you should probably go buy a farm first.”

“Hah!” Gino smiled craftily. “Aren’t you the one I love? I’m going to buy a dairy cow, and you’ll be responsible for milking her.”

“In a few weeks, we’ll have to act in more intimate scenes. I think the director means for us to film the bed scene first. Are you ready for it?” Gino dragged the conversation back to the movie. Scenes were never shot sequentially like the script was laid out. Most of the time, all of the scenes taking place in one location would be grouped and shot together. It saved a lot of time and money this way.

“I don’t think I’ll have any problems with it. I’m not the one getting the short end of the stick here.” Tang Feng’s mindset was still that of an old man going on forty.

“Hey, why does it sound like you’re the one taking advantage of me instead? Don’t talk as if you’re so innocent. All right, I admit I’m famous with a lot of fans, but I’m happy to kiss you nonetheless.” Gino smiled and blinked at Tang Feng. “Why are you so confident? Have you kissed a man before?”

 

Next: Chapter 7: On Purpose
Previous: Chapter 5: Understanding in the Night
Return: Main Page

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Translator: Nannyn
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周公 (Zhōu Gōng) A member of the royal family during the Zhou Dynasty who is credited with writing I Ching. Also known as the God of Dreams.