Chapter 32 – Astray Actor (4)

In the afternoon, Zhou Ji had an IV and took some medication. By dinner time, his fever had subsided, and his dehydration symptoms had also eased.

After dinner, he couldn’t resist falling asleep again. When he woke up, it was completely dark outside, and the hallway was no longer as noisy as before.

He took a few seconds to gather himself after waking up, then suddenly remembered something and quickly turned his head to look at the seat next to him.

The chair where someone had been sitting was now empty.

After fumbling around for a while, he finally found his phone and checked the time.

[22:13]

It was already this late. Brother Chen had indeed left by now.

Unable to describe his feelings, Zhou Ji held his phone, knowing he should send a message to express his gratitude. However, his fingers remained motionless as he watched the time on the screen tick by, then watched the screen go dark.

“Click—”

As the screen went dark, the door to the hospital room opened.

He turned his head and immediately saw the person walking in from outside.

It was the person who should have already left. He looked the same as before Zhou Ji had fallen asleep, except now he had a cup of warm water in his hand.

Chen Luosong, holding the cup of warm water, raised his eyebrows slightly, “You’re awake.”

He had been sitting there for a while. The person on the bed hadn’t woken up, so he just went to get some water, and Zhou Ji woke up at that exact moment.

The room seemed to brighten instantly. Zhou Ji sat up and couldn’t help but smile, saying he was awake.

Chen Luosong handed him the cup of warm water.

As the warm water went down, Zhou Ji’s body instantly felt warmer. Holding the cup, he couldn’t help but glance sideways at the person sitting next to him.

Whenever he woke up, there was never anyone by his side, whether in the hospital or elsewhere. Over the years, he had gotten used to it and learned not to care.

So this is what it feels like to wake up with someone beside you.

It was a feeling he had never experienced before.

When he finished the cup of warm water, Chen Luosong stood up and mentioned that he was leaving. He ruffled Zhou Ji’s hair and said, “I’ll come to see you in a few days.”

It sounded like a common, casual remark, as if said offhandedly. Zhou Ji couldn’t help but smile and replied, “Okay.”

A simple promise, and there was something to look forward to in his ordinary life.

Chen Luosong put on his coat and left the hospital.

Returning from the hospital to his place meant passing by the hotel he had visited earlier.

By now, the evening rush hour had passed, there was no traffic, and there were significantly fewer pedestrians than during the day.

From a distance, the hotel’s name was visible. At the intersection, the red light turned on, and he stopped the car at the crosswalk.

A person walked across the street, wearing a hat and mask, making it impossible to see their face. As they passed in front of the car, the golden hair peeking from under the hat’s brim was visible.

Chen Luosong only glanced briefly before looking away.

The green light came on, and the vehicles started moving again, heading towards the end of the road.

The person who had crossed the street stopped, lifted the brim of their hat slightly, and watched the vehicle disappear almost entirely from view.

——

Chen Luosong returned the car keys to Assistant Bai the next day when the latter happened to be delivering documents to the office.

Bai Mingwei knew that Chen Luosong had borrowed the car to visit a young star who had recently fallen ill and whom he had taken a liking to. Tactfully, he didn’t say much and only mentioned the schedule for the next few days after receiving the keys.

For the entire following week, they needed to go on an out-of-town inspection, interspersed with meetings with local department officials. The inspection sites were far from their current location, making it difficult to return easily.

Chen Luosong glanced at the schedule and agreed, then said, “Keep the second day after we return free.”

Bai Mingwei roughly guessed what Chen was reserving that time for.

After Xu Wen, had he taken a liking to another young star?

They were set to depart for the inspection the day after. Most of the arrangements were handled by Assistant Bai; Chen Luosong only needed to be on time for the car and the airport.

The flight took several hours, and they landed in the afternoon, where someone was already waiting at the airport.

There were no work arrangements for the day; they only had a dinner appointment in the evening, after which they could head directly to the hotel.

The traveling party was small and simple, consisting only of the boss, the assistant, and one accompanying aide. They booked three rooms for the three of them, and for convenience, Bai Mingwei had his room arranged next to Chen Luosong’s.

Though they only had dinner, by the time they returned to the hotel, it was already late.

After returning to his room, Chen Luosong habitually asked Zhou Xiaoji about his cold. After putting down his phone, he took a shower.

The sound of the shower in the bathroom began and then ended. When the frosted glass door reopened, the steam billowed out along with the person inside.

The lights flickered outside the room’s floor-to-ceiling window, revealing the familiar city nightscape. After taking a shower, Chen Luosong casually put on a bathrobe, his damp hair continuously dripping water, leaving a trail of wet footprints behind him.

Not having the habit of drying his hair after a shower, Chen Luosong merely patted his damp hair twice with a towel before draping it around his neck.

He did this perfunctorily and without much care.

There were no other plans for the evening, and it was not yet time to sleep. When he came here, he had casually brought a book, and now was a perfect time to read it.

The noise of traffic and the hustle and bustle were kept outside the window. Inside the quiet room, the only sound was that of Chen Luosong sitting on the sofa, slowly turning the pages of his book.

In the room next door, separated by a wall, it was equally quiet.

Having prepared everything for the next day, and before getting ready to take a shower, Bai Mingwei opened his suitcase and saw several medicine bottles placed to one side.

He remembered that Mr. Chen had not yet taken his medication today.

These medicines were Mr. Chen’s, prescribed by the doctor when he was discharged from the hospital after a car accident. Mr. Chen often forgot to take his medication and frequently needed reminders. For convenience, these medicines ended up with him.

It was still within the time frame for taking the medication. Setting aside his change of clothes, Bai Mingwei picked up the medicine bottles, left his room, and walked next door, knocking on the room’s door.

After a brief moment of silence, footsteps approached from afar, and then the door opened.

“Mr. Chen, you haven’t taken your medicine today.”

As the door opened, Bai Mingwei saw Chen Luosong’s damp hair, still slowly gathering droplets of water, and his loosely tied bathrobe.

His brain hadn’t yet reacted, but his eyes instinctively looked away at the first moment. Lowering his gaze, he saw the pale, prominent ankle.

Chen Luosong still had the book in his hand and couldn’t take the medicine, so he turned around, letting Bai Mingwei into the room.

Bai Mingwei followed him towards the sofa, holding the medicine bottles, and said, “You need to take these medicines with warm water.”

Chen Luosong returned to the sofa, put down the book, looked back, and reminded, “There’s water on the floor, it’s slippery.”

Upon hearing this, Bai Mingwei looked down at the floor and saw the scattered water droplets right in front of him.

He reflexively stepped to the side but didn’t notice the sofa leg that matched the floor’s color, and his shin abruptly hit it.

“Thud—”

After the collision, his balance shifted, and his perspective changed. As the pain registered in his brain, he saw the light-colored eyes of the person standing by the sofa looking back at him.

The medicine bottles scattered, making a clattering sound, followed by an infinite silence and slightly disordered breathing.

The two of them ended up falling onto the sofa together.

Realizing he was about to collide with the other person, Bai Mingwei instinctively reached out to protect the back of the person’s head, then they both crashed onto the sofa.

Bai Mingwei’s arm hit the edge of the sofa, going numb instantly and becoming immobile. He looked down at the person beneath him and immediately apologized, “Sorry…”

The rest of his words got stuck in his throat and couldn’t come out.

The person lying on the sofa had his tousled hair falling back, and his already loose bathrobe was now in disarray. Bai Mingwei’s hand was still behind Chen Luosong’s head, and he could clearly feel the slightly damp, soft strands of hair.

They were too close.

Normally, Bai Mingwei seldom looked at Chen Luosong so closely, but now, from this distance, he could clearly see his long eyelashes and light-colored pupils.

It felt as if he could touch him just by lowering his head.

Up close, it was even more breathtaking than usual. He could also catch a faint scent, not like shampoo or anything else, more like the elusive fragrance of morning mist in the mountains.

He could hear a rapid heartbeat. It wasn’t Chen Luosong’s; it was his own, each beat faster than the last, clearly audible in the quiet space.

With someone lying on top of him, Chen Luosong lay quietly for a moment before slightly raising his eyes and asking, “Can you move?”

Bai Mingwei closed his eyes, not daring to meet Chen Luosong’s gaze, and said, “…Still a bit numb, sorry.”

His voice sounded much more hoarse than usual.

Chen Luosong didn’t say anything more.

Time passed quietly. The person propped up on the sofa finally regained some mobility and awkwardly sat up, careful not to touch the person beneath him. His movements appeared oddly stiff.

Chen Luosong sat up and retied his nearly undone bathrobe. He casually remarked, “You’re pretty good at planking.”

Bai Mingwei picked up the medicine bottles from the floor, avoiding looking in Chen’s direction, and apologized again.

The places where his leg and arm had hit were still throbbing with pain, but he acted as if he felt nothing. He quickly gathered the medicine bottles without taking out any pills or preparing warm water, and swiftly left the room.

Chen Luosong didn’t necessarily need someone else to prepare his medicine and water. After the door closed again, he read a couple more pages before getting up to fetch a glass of warm water.

When he returned to the living room, his phone on the sofa beeped twice. He picked it up and glanced at it.

The message was from Assistant Bai, who had just left. He detailed how to take the medication and ended with another apology.

Chen Luosong put the pills in his mouth, tilted his head back, and swallowed them with a gulp of water. He then set the glass down and resumed reading his book. The brief interruption hadn’t affected him at all.

The night passed quietly.

The next morning, at breakfast in the hotel restaurant, the aide couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off.

Something was definitely off, especially with Assistant Bai, who had dark circles under his eyes and looked noticeably more fatigued than usual.

It puzzled the aide, as there hadn’t been any exhausting work the previous day.

Curious, he asked, “Assistant Bai, did you not sleep well last night?”

Bai Mingwei slightly averted his gaze and responded, “Not really.”

His mind had been preoccupied, and in fact, he hadn’t managed to fall asleep at all.

The previous night, he had found himself reacting—unexpectedly and inappropriately—to his boss, someone he never thought he would. That was why he had hurriedly left Chen Luosong’s room, not even taking the time to prepare the medicine and water, only sending a message afterward.

Chen Luosong took a sip of his porridge and asked, “Is it because your leg still hurts?”

Bai Mingwei finally looked at him.

Chen Luosong appeared as composed as ever, showing no signs of any change from his usual demeanor.

For a moment, Bai Mingwei couldn’t tell whether Chen Luosong was indifferent or insensitive to such things or if he had simply experienced so much that he no longer cared.

After a brief silence, Bai Mingwei answered, “No.”

Then he added, “It’s nothing.”

Nothing or not, work had to continue.

The week-long inspection ended on the morning of the last day, and they returned to A City by noon, with the afternoon becoming an extra rest period.

After resting for an afternoon, they still had to work for half a day the next day.

On the morning of the second day back, Bai Mingwei made tea as usual.

It wasn’t until he entered the office and saw the empty desk that he remembered the office’s occupant had no work scheduled for today and was probably already at the film set visiting the young actor.

Looking down at the tea in his hand, he finally closed the door and left the office.

——

Chen Luosong went to the place he had visited before in the morning, but this time he went to the nearby filming location instead of the hotel. After recovering from his cold last time, Zhou Xiaoji worked overtime to catch up on progress. Chen Luosong got half a day off, and the time off happened to be the day after he returned from the inspection.

He didn’t enter the filming location but found a nearby place to meet. He had just arrived when a yellow figure quickly rushed over from a distance.

Indeed, it was rushing over. The tassels of the hoodie and the hair were flying, and it seemed as if the shape of the wind could be faintly felt. When the figure got closer, it almost couldn’t stop in time.

The familiar figure got closer and closer. Without thinking, as if by instinct or long-standing habit, Zhou Ji stretched out his hand, wanting to hug the person. Just before hugging, he barely regained his composure and stopped himself, though not very promptly.

He looked at his hand, then glanced at the person standing opposite him. He wanted to explain something, but then realized there was nothing to explain.

The wind by the river blew past his ears. Chen Luosong, hands in his pockets, slightly raised his eyes and smiled, saying, “If you want to hug, just hug.”

In an instant, his vision was filled with a swath of yellow as the other person hugged him without any hesitation or courtesy.

Taking advantage of his height, Zhou Ji embraced him fully, his arms full. Smiling with narrowed eyes, he said, “Sorry, Brother Chen, I’m late.”

After holding him for a while, Zhou Ji’s hands tightened slightly around him. Taking a deep breath, he finally let go.

This was by the river, where there were benches. He led the person beside him to a place to sit down and explained, “There were fans visiting Xu Wen today, so the filming set was a bit chaotic. That’s why I’m late.”

“Xu Wen is the male lead of this show,” he added, realizing he needed to clarify. Afterward, he casually asked, “Brother Chen, do you know him?”

Chen Luosong, his hair tousled and the lake surface shimmering with light, smiled and said, “I guess you could say I know him.”

<< _ >>

Related Posts

Leave a Reply