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The surroundings fell into a moment of silence. Yi Wenze was standing to her right, a cup of tea raised in his hand as he wordlessly looked at her computer screen.
Jia He forced a stiff smile. Right as she was about to double-click on the file folder, he unexpectedly stretched out his arm and pointed at a spot, asking, “Is this the 2007 cover for Vogue?”
“Mm-hmm.” She gripped the white mouse, her palms tingling.
“A-Qing all this time has been trying to find this particular issue.” He paused briefly, then continued, “If you have time, give a copy to her.”
Jia He gave another “mm-hmm” and then at once double-clicked on the folder and plugged in her USB flash drive. A red light continuously blinked on the USB drive, indicating that it had been successfully recognized.
Liao Jing suddenly let out a laugh, and picking up the teapot, she reached over and refilled Director Jiang’s teacup for him. “Didn’t expect that Jia He is actually A-Ze’s fan.”
Taking a sip from his tea, Director Jiang appeared to all of a sudden think of something. “I had forgotten until you brought it up. The first time I met Jia He, her story editor had already mentioned that Jia He’s reason for becoming a screenwriter was that one day she could write a script for A-Ze.”
I said that?!
Jia He had a sudden urge to plunk a boulder on her chest and have someone swing a sledgehammer onto it…
Yi Wenze gave a smile, then switched to Cantonese and began chatting with Director Jiang about Jia He’s story editor. Everyone here was smart. This was no more than a case of the screenwriter happening to be a hardcore fan of the drama’s male lead. Before long, he had moved the conversation past this topic. Jia He swiftly saved a copy of the revised script. Then, making up an excuse, she fled from that room.
It was not until she was out in the hallway that she finally sensed that her face was so hot she felt dizzy. Seriously, that was utterly humiliating.
In the space of the ten steps it took to walk from Director Jiang’s room to her own, she ran through a dozen or more hypothetical situations about how she could weasel her way out of this and get a different screenwriter to be here on location for filming… Only when she saw Qiao Qiao curled up on her bed did she somewhat regain her soul. “Why are you here? Where’s your O great bass-playing talent?”
Through gritted teeth, Qiao Qiao answered, “He said he has a performance, so he’s not coming.” Saying this, she wiped her nose with a tissue. “They’re being so nice, releasing you to come back first?”
Jia He threw a resenting look at her and quickly recounted her mortifying situation of not too long ago. Qiao Qiao’s tears instantly turned to chortles. Patting the bed, she had Jia He sit down beside her and then slipped an arm around her shoulders. “Bring him onto your casting couch. Just think, Yi Wenze’s emotional pain from being hurt by love is very intense at this time. Now is the best time to exploit that.”
Jia He instantaneously flew off the handle. “You weren’t able to put your own raunchy thoughts into action and now you’re not resigned to that or something?”
Qiao Qiao let out a wail of anguish. Squeezing a pillow against herself, she fell back onto the bed. “Hey, missy, I’m in depression right now. Please be careful with your word choice.”
“Since that time in second-year uni when you had your breakup and made me climb a wall to get out, you’ve had no hope of hearing any more nice words from me in your entire lifetime.”
Laughingly snapping some words back at her, Qiao Qiao hugged the pillow in her arms, felt for her mobile phone, and began madly firing off text messages.
With those few sentences of hers, Jia He finally recovered all the pieces of her soul again.
There are some things that will never change, even all the way to eternity. For example, there are always romantic rumours or scandals involving the male and female lead of a film. Or for example, every love relationship Qiao Qiao had was guaranteed to come to an end. Or for example, Jia He had a super ability when it came to comforting herself. She even gradually began to sigh feelingly over Yi Wenze’s very gentlemanly and gracious reaction. Sure enough, he was her idol! He could even defuse such an awkward situation…
“He’s been popular for a dozen-ish years already. Even my mom is his fan. Don’t think that just because you’ve become a screenwriter, you understand the whole showbiz industry. If you throw a radish into the vat, it gets pickled; if you throw a person into the great dye vat of his surroundings for twenty years, he’s going to really early on be pickled through and through by all the bad waters around him.” After stating this, Qiao Qiao flopped down and went to sleep. A screenwriter’s hours of rest are from three o’clock in the middle of the night to ten o’clock in the morning. Qiao Qiao, though, needed to tear herself out of bed at seven in the morning for the wardrobe and makeup trials. She could not afford to drag things out.
The next morning at seven o’clock, Jia He was still passed out in slumber when Xiao Ou’s [Little Ou’s] phone call woke her. When she answered it, the person on the other end was already near tears. “Is Qiao Qiao over there where you are? Her mobile is shut off.” She tossed the phone onto Qiao Qiao’s face, then carried on sleeping with the covers pulled over her head. For ten minutes, she listened to the jingling sounds of Qiao Qiao busying about, before things finally fell back into quiet.
Just as the Duke of Zhou was about to let bygones be bygones and take her in again, her mobile phone once more abruptly began buzzing.
“Don’t call me before nine.” Jia He could not even open her eyes. “I will die from lack of sleep…”
“This is crazy. Guess who I saw.” Caring not for her own life, Qiao Qiao kept jabbering away noisily.
“You know, the one who was originally just some little reporter but later, after by stupid luck managing to crawl to the role of editor-in-chief of a magazine, dumped you—that Gu Yu!”
“… I know.” Was there really a need to recap things in such detail?
“He personally brought his journalist along to do a special interview with Liao Jing. I swear, there’s definitely something fishy there!”
“… And then?”
“Liao Jing mentioned your name, and then he actually wanted you to come be part of the interview. I turned it down for you.”
Jia He felt at her laptop that was by her hand and began playing music from it, helping herself to completely waken from the land of dreams.
“Just let it be. If he wants to give out favours, we’ll take them.”
The song that was slowly coming out from the computer was “While it’s Still Early,” and Phil Chang’s cover of it particularly brought out a feeling of bleakness. After asking for the room number, Jia He hung up the phone and curled herself up under the covers. Struggling with herself for a long time, she finally felt around for her clothes and slipped each item on. Still feeling as if in a trance, she sighed over the surprising coincidence, while also automatically filing away this completely cheesy plot element into her mind’s vault of potential material: a former love had somehow struck up a relationship of some sort with a female celebrity—such a meaty piece that could be used. Viewers would definitely be waiting eagerly with clenched fists to see how the female lead would explode at that.
Explode? As she faced the bathroom mirror, she recalled that she and that Friend Gu had not seen one another for five years already.
The notion that a love relationship should only be between individuals of equal social status is something that is applicable in any era. Back then, she had just been a little, unknown reporter; it was not as if she could expect a magazine editor-in-chief’s heart to be devoted to her and her only, right?
Actually, she truly had not been that hurt at the time of the breakup, likely because she was well aware of who and what she was. Her views on relationships had always followed the principle of “Be astute and know your place,” that “If he takes one step forward, I’ll take half a step forward, and if he withdraws by one step, I’ll withdraw by three steps.”
Therefore, when Gu Yu wanted to withdraw, she had already withdrawn to the point that there was no more room to retreat, and she could only wholly remove herself from that particular industry.
The owner of the Wanhao Hotel very much knew how to do business. The central heating in the lobby and hallways were shut off all year round, and it was so cold you were left shivering. Rubbing her palms together, she wound her scarf around her neck three times before following the hallway to that room and giving a few light knocks on its door.
As a result of feeling too abashed last night, she had not completely fallen asleep until four-thirty in the morning. Now, as she left her room, she truly was exhausted from head to toe and, on top of that, owing to the icy bite of February weather, chilled to her very insides.
The person who opened the door was Qiao Qiao. She flashed her teeth at Jia He, then made way to let her into the room.
As this suite was specifically for doing makeup, its heating was very adequate.
The people inside were all busily doing their things. The drama’s lead actress, though, sat in the outside room, waiting to be interviewed. She had put on her makeup and costume very early on. With her hair piled high on her head and garbed in Tang dynasty attire, she was very pleasing to look at, holding a microphone in her hand and, with bowed head, reading through the draft interview that had already been prepared. A young reporter stood to one side. The person sitting beside Liao Jing wore a fitting suit with no tie, and his side profile was elegantly handsome. At this moment, he was quietly discussing with Liao Jing the details of the interview.
“Teacher Gu,” Qiao Qiao said with a smile that was only skin deep, “our screenwriter has arrived.”
Right when Gu Yu lifted his head, Liao Jing also set down the draft interview write-up. “Jia He, I heard Teacher Gu mention that the two of you used to be colleagues.”
“We were, a long time ago.” Jia He’s eyes were on Gu Yu. “I wasn’t as good as Teacher Gu, when it came to being a journalist, so I had no choice but to switch careers in order to earn a living.”
Gu Yu returned her gaze, but he merely smiled and did not speak.
“That’s perfect, then. In just a bit, you and I will take a photo with A-Ze. We’ll release it at the same time as the official character stills for the drama.” After saying this, she gave a soft smile to Gu Yu, one that was lovely, yet not coquettish; it was just right.
“Jia He has always been besotted with Yi Wenze.” Clearing his throat, Gu Yu remarked with a smile, “This time could be considered fate.”
“So you know, too?” Liao Jing laughed aloud. “Director Jiang also mentioned this yesterday, saying it was for A-Ze that Jia He came into this line of work.”
Gu Yu looked up with interest and cast a glance at Jia He.
“You know it; I’ve liked him since I was thirteen years old.” Jia He very honestly stated this truth, but it was also as if she was using this one sentence to tell him, If you really want to start talking about who came first and who came later, you, Gu Yu, absolutely were not the first person in my life.
Qiao Qiao, pressing a hand to her forehead, did not know whether she should cringe or laugh at this as she signaled at Jia He with her eyes.
Sensing something subtle in the atmosphere, Jia He whipped her head around and looked in the direction of the dressing room. At some point in time, Yi Wenze, clothed in a historical period costume that was white as the moon’s glow, had stepped out from there and was watching them, a smile in his eyes. A light robe with a loosely fastened belt, and facial features so handsome they seemed as if from a painting. Jia He’s thoughts were actually pulled away for a moment as she gazed upon him, her mind filled only with that sentence that was written in the screenplay: Though so young and elegantly charming he could be of a painting, he also exudes his own aura that a brush cannot capture.
At this moment, she was bundled in a heavy down coat, and a scarf concealed more than half her face. Because she had been speaking this entire time, she had forgotten to remove her outer clothing, and her face was already a little flushed from being hot. However, in the eyes of other people, this red tinge, naturally, carried another meaning.
Liao Jing was someone who was astute, and immediately she began to chortle. “A-Ze, how does it feel to get at such a close distance a love profession from a fan?”
Yi Wenze’s smile gradually deepened. “I am very honoured.”
This type of interview was very simple. The draft write-up, in fact, had already been done beforehand. The discussion between Gu Yu and Liao Jing just now was merely to make slight adjustments. If he were a slightly lazier journalist, he could have just directly asked the drama’s production team for some photographs and then published the article; there was no need at all to make this trip. These were all things that Jia He certainly understood, so it was no wonder that Qiao Qiao said there was something “fishy” in all of this.
Of course, to the production team, any sort of promotional help from mainstream media was something they were more than willing to have. Who, therefore, would even bother to care about the various associations and interactions within it?
At the end, when photographs were to be taken, Liao Jing really did not forget to bring Jia He in, and it was only with Jia He’s repeated insistence that this was against normal practice that she finally let the idea go. Jia He sat off to the side, her head bowed sleepily. While she was pondering over whether she should go back and make up her missed sleep, over on that other side, photographs were already finished. Out of the blue, however, Yi Wenze stood, walked over, and took a seat beside Jia He. “Qiao Qiao, could I trouble you to take a picture of me and Jia He together?”
Everyone was startled for a moment. Yi Wenze extended an arm and, with natural motions, slipped it around Jia He’s shoulder, a smile on his lips, unperturbed like there was no one else present.
Her brain exploded. There was only one thought left in it: Sure enough, he totally deserved to be called her idol. He even took on the task of helping a fan give a blow to her former love…
 周公 “Zhou Gong.” The Duke of Zhou was a statesman of the Zhou dynasty, a man of significant political achievements and influence on the Chinese culture. He is credited with writing the I Ching and the Book of Poetry. There is also a well-known dream interpretation dictionary 《周公解梦》Zhou Gong’s Book of Auspicious and Inauspicious Dreams, to which he is attributed. He is known sometimes as “the god of dreams” and, according to folklore, the Duke of Zhou will visit your dreams to tell you of anything significant that will be happening to you. Hence, there is a saying that you will “dream of the Duke of Zhou.” If you say the Duke of Zhou is finally willing to take you in, that means you are finally able to fall asleep.
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