Chapter 33 – Astray Actor (5)

Zhou Ji didn’t quite understand what “I guess you could say I know him” meant. His interpretation was that people who processed words would classify it as knowing Xu Wen, but not well.

This casually mentioned topic ended just like that.

It was still morning. Although it was early, Zhou Ji had already taken out his phone to start looking for a place to have lunch. As he searched, he asked the person sitting next to him, “Brother Chen, besides cherry tomatoes, is there anything else you don’t eat?”

Chen Luosong said no.

Zhou Xiaoji nodded.

The only thing avoided was cherry tomatoes.

A slightly cool breeze blew continuously, causing ripples on the river before it returned to calm. Small pink petals swirled down, landing on the phone screen.

They were peach blossom petals. Recently, as the temperature gradually rose, these flowers had started to bloom.

As he was about to brush away the petals, his phone vibrated, and the screen was taken over by an incoming call. The petal landed right where the answer button was.

Quickly apologizing to the person next to him, Zhou Ji stood up to take the call.

Chen Luosong replied with a “hmm”, watched him walk away, and then shifted his gaze slightly upward.

The petals had fallen from the peach branches above. Peach trees lined the riverbank, and when they bloomed, the entire riverbank was a sea of pink and white.

The person on the phone returned shortly, with a noticeably less cheerful expression than before.

Chen Luosong tilted his head and asked, “What’s wrong?”

Zhou Ji said it was the assistant director who called. They needed him back at the filming set urgently, and it would take about half an hour.

Chen Luosong waved his hand and said, “Go ahead.”

Meeting the other person’s gaze, he added, “I’ll wait for you here.”

Half an hour wasn’t too long; he could wait.

The person wearing the yellow hoodie with a little chicken design left reluctantly, looking back every few steps as he returned to the set.


By the river, people came and went. The next filming hadn’t started yet, and the set was bustling with noise.

Someone walked in carrying convenience store bags and placed them on a makeshift table, shouting, “I got the stuff you asked for.”

A crowd immediately gathered around.

Pulling up a chair, the person wiped the sweat from his forehead. He looked tired but was smiling, saying, “I just saw someone really good-looking outside.”

He opened a bottle of water and took a big gulp, adding, “If it weren’t for the gender, I’d have asked for their contact info.”

It was unclear what the person was doing sitting there.

“Is it the person by the river?” someone passing by with a water bottle asked. “If it is, I asked, and he said he’s waiting for someone.”

Others looked at him, extending their hands, “So, did you get the contact info?”

The passerby grimaced, “No, he refused.”

The others sighed in disappointment, then curiously asked what the person looked like.

Given their work environment, they regularly encountered exceptionally good-looking people. Someone being praised like this must indeed be extraordinary.

The person who bought the items had taken a photo on his way back.

Everyone gathered around to look.

A chorus of appreciative sounds rose from the group. A blonde person passing by was given space to take a look, as he was the male lead and thus somewhat privileged.

Xu Wen wasn’t particularly interested but glanced at the photo out of courtesy.


With just that one glance, his hand hanging at his side unconsciously clenched, and he asked, “What is he doing here?”

The others didn’t think much of it, assuming he was just curious, so they repeated, “He said he’s waiting for someone.”

Xu Wen left, greeted the director, borrowed a piece of clothing from the staff, and temporarily left the crew.

When he left, his face didn’t look good.

The others watched him appear and then leave, somewhat puzzled, and asked, “What’s up with him?”

“Oh, you don’t know?” someone among the crowd pointed to the person on the phone and said, “This person is his former sponsor.”

It was said that a few years ago, the other party liked to visit the set a lot. To be more precise, he was harassing him, causing a bit of a scandal. He hadn’t been seen for a while because he was sponsoring someone else. No one expected him to show up again now.

“Sponsor” – a somewhat euphemistic but very direct term.

Unprepared for this unexpected news, the others quietly gasped.


Wearing the staff member’s coat, Xu Wen walked out of the crew and headed towards the river. He pulled his baseball cap down low, covering most of his face and hiding his heavy gaze.

Maybe the others didn’t know, but he recognized this person and would remember him no matter what.

After seeing the person nearby a few nights ago, he had felt that something might happen. When he started to think that the person might just be passing by, he appeared.

“Waiting for someone” – it was obvious who that someone was.

Walking along the riverside railing, stepping over the fallen petals, he finally saw the person sitting on the bench from a distance.

Noticing his gaze, the other person turned to look at him.

Zhou Xiaoji had left not even ten minutes ago. Chen Luosong, after seeing off two people who had come to chat, soon saw someone else walking straight towards him.

As the person got closer, he slightly raised his eyes and saw the face under the baseball cap, along with the light blond hair peeking from beneath the brim.

Amid the distant noise, the other person spoke first in a deep voice, asking, “What are you doing here?”

There was no polite greeting, just a direct question.

Apart from the different hair color, the face matched perfectly with the one he had seen in advertisements before. Knowing who it was, Chen Luosong still didn’t say much. He smiled and, as before, replied, “Waiting for someone.”

Despite the faint smile on his face, his eyes and tone remained completely calm.

Today, the sunlight was very good, casting dappled light spots on the bench through the clusters of peach blossoms.

Xu Wen’s clenched hand tightened further, and he raised his voice, saying, “I asked what you’re here to see me for!”

He reached out and pressed the brim of his cap down hard, gritting his teeth as he said, “We have nothing to do with each other anymore.”

He had struggled through that period, enduring others’ criticisms and contemptuous looks, and finally became the respected “Mr. Xu” in their mouths. Seeing this person again felt like time had reverted to several years ago, rendering all his efforts futile.

Chen Luosong did not deny Xu Wen’s statement about having no connection, simply saying, “I am waiting for someone else.”

Xu Wen gritted his teeth.

The person still had a faint smile on his face, unchanged, making Xu Wen’s anger and frustration feel like a punch into thin air.

It was also like a pebble sinking into the deep sea, unable to stir any waves.

Unlike before, Xu Wen couldn’t fathom this person’s intentions this time and had no idea what he truly wanted.

Unable to grasp it, he continued, “There’s no one here except me that you—”

Before Xu Wen could finish his sentence, the person sitting on the bench stood up, nodded slightly to him, and said, “Excuse me.”

After saying that, he really left without any hesitation.

In the distance, a yellow figure appeared, especially conspicuous under the sunlight, and it was getting closer.

Zhou Ji rushed over as soon as he finished his work. Seeing the figure standing by the roadside, he took a running start and unhesitatingly pounced, embracing the person fully.

Chen Luosong was pushed back two steps before coming to a stop. He patted the person’s back and said, “Next time, use less force.”

Zhou Ji took a deep breath, savoring the pleasant scent on the other person, and couldn’t help but smile.

—There would be a next time.

Restraining the smile on his face, he agreed, albeit somewhat awkwardly letting go, and then said, “The staff introduced me to a place where the food is good, and there are no cherry tomatoes.”

Chen Luosong responded with a nod.

Tasked with finding lunch, Zhou Ji took out his phone and checked the navigation as he led the way.


Just before leaving the street, he sensed something and turned his head.

By the riverside, under the peach trees, stood a person by the bench where his companion had been. Under the baseball cap, there was light blond hair.

He recognized that person—it was Xu Wen.

Zhou Ji looked down at the person walking beside him.

Noticing his gaze, the other person slightly raised their eyes to look at him. Their light-colored pupils showed no emotion, and their eyelashes cast long shadows in the light. “What is it?” they asked.

He rubbed his hair and smiled, “It’s nothing.”

The break lasted only half a day. In the afternoon, as the sky darkened, Zhou Xiaoji needed to return to work, and Chen Luosong got into the car to head back.

Lights flashed continuously outside the car window, reflecting in his pale eyes. After a long silence, the person in the back seat withdrew his gaze and glanced at the time.

This task might be completed soon.

Without the pressure of the surrounding environment, Zhou Ji’s character wouldn’t be distorted, and he wouldn’t be driven to a life-or-death struggle with the protagonist. Now that the environmental pressure was gone, it was just a matter of waiting until he fully matured and wouldn’t be influenced by his surroundings anymore. Then the task would be considered complete.

The vehicle sped down the road, leaving behind a quiet stretch of pavement.


In the afternoon, Zhou Ji returned to the film crew and immediately resumed his work.

During a break, he sat in a corner of the set, took out his phone, and first checked his messages. Then, he opened a search engine.

[ Xu Wen ]

After searching for Xu Wen, the initial results were mostly various news reports and a lot of praise from fans. Scrolling through line after line on his phone, his eyes moved across the text. After going through over a hundred entries, his gaze settled on a news article from a few years ago.

[ Actor suspected of entering a hotel with an investor ]

The news was clearly a fabricated story, using a single photo to spin an illogical narrative of so-called facts.

While the authenticity of the text was questionable, the photo was real.

He was all too familiar with the investor’s figure walking beside the actor. Knowing the truth made it impossible to deceive himself.

His hand holding the phone tightened, and his other hand slowly moved to his chest.

The agent, who had just returned from out of town, sat down beside him and asked, “What’s up? What are you looking at?”

“Tell me.” Zhou Ji looked at the agent, the smile that had been on his face since he returned in the afternoon fading. He asked, “If it were between me and Xu Wen, who would have a better chance?”

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