Chapter 34 – Astray Actor (6)

The film crew’s shoot lasted for six months, transitioning from spring into summer.

During this half-year period, Chen Luosong spent most of his free time with Zhou Xiaoji, and the rest was dedicated to work.

Work consumed the majority of his time.

It was the same for Bai Mingwei.

Before the car accident, the person involved rarely came to the office. After the accident, his visits significantly increased. Since work occupied most of his time and was closely intertwined with each other, Bai Mingwei spent most of his day with this person, whether on business trips or attending banquets.

By now, he didn’t need navigation to drive from the company to Mr. Chen’s residence, always carrying the other person’s medicine and favorite pens.

He knew his preferred tea, his habitual mannerisms, and that he would habitually unbutton the second button of his shirt when not wearing a tie.

Everyone thought he was an excellent assistant in every aspect.

He did not think so himself. He knew the other’s preferences and habits, but he still didn’t truly understand that person, neither in work nor in life.

As Mr. Chen had predicted, Zhang Zheng’s company didn’t survive the summer and collapsed two months ago. The executives were taken away for investigation, and the investors lost everything.

He thought that was the end of it, but the person who usually wore a calm and gentle smile turned around and invested in another company, swiftly capturing the market share that Zhang Zheng’s company had originally held. Moreover, he acquired nearly half of the company’s equity, gaining absolute control and decision-making power.

This was not the end, but the beginning, the beginning of the company’s expansion.

The other party called it the simplest first step.

Bai Mingwei indeed did not understand this person. He didn’t even know when the other party had thought of using Zhang Zheng’s company for expansion. Perhaps it was when they arranged to drink together, or maybe it was even earlier.

Perhaps when that company was at its peak and rapidly developing, the other party had already foreseen the current outcome and had decided to use it as a pawn.

An impressive insight and foresight.

The less he understood, the more he wanted to know. He wanted to truly understand this person.

On Thursday, another workday, just as he finished organizing the files on hand, his phone alarm went off.

Turning off the alarm, Bai Mingwei got up, took the medicine placed on the edge of the desk, fetched some warm water, and also took the organized files to the office at the end of the corridor.

It was already noon, and there was still some time until lunch break. He needed to take the medicine before eating.

When he walked into the office, the person sitting behind the desk was resting his face on his hand, eyes lowered, reading the documents in his hand.

Putting the files aside, Bai Mingwei took out the medicine, poured it out, and handed it over with the warm water, saying, “Mr. Chen, it’s time to take your medicine.”

His gaze finally moved away from the documents. Chen Luosong thanked him softly and took the water and medicine.

The bitterness of the medicine instantly spread in his mouth, and the warm water couldn’t dilute the taste at all.

A drop of water overflowed from the rim of the cup, sliding down from where the cup met his skin, from his jaw down to his upturned neck.

Without any thought, Bai Mingwei lowered his head and extended his hand.

The person holding the cup raised his eyes and leaned slightly back in his chair. The hand Bai Mingwei extended to intercept the water droplet just barely grazed the side of his neck, only feeling a faint warmth.

Realizing what he had just done, Bai Mingwei withdrew his hand and apologized.

The transparent droplet of water continued to slide down, eventually disappearing into the collar of the shirt.

Chen Luosong did not say much. After putting down the cup, he took a sip from the nearby teacup and asked, “Is the medicine more bitter now?”

Bai Mingwei retrieved the now empty cup and said, “The doctor said the previous medicine doesn’t need to be taken anymore. It’s been stopped and replaced with new medicine.”

Chen Luosong acknowledged this with a nod.

With the medicine taken and the files delivered, there was no longer any reason to stay. Before leaving the office, Bai Mingwei asked about the arrangements for the next day.

Turning the pen slowly in his hand, Chen Luosong said, “Just make sure to keep the evening free.”

Bai Mingwei was silent at first, then indicated that he understood.

He could roughly guess why the other party wanted to keep tomorrow evening free.

The film crew that the little actor, taken from Zhang Zheng, belonged to would wrap up filming tomorrow. After the wrap party, work would be considered finished. That little actor had likely arranged to meet again in advance.

With the answer obtained, Bai Mingwei left the office.

As the office door closed, he did not leave immediately but instead looked down at his own hand.

Even though it had only barely touched, the faint sensation seemed to linger on his hand.

It was a strange feeling. He didn’t know why he had instinctively done that.

He didn’t understand, and couldn’t figure it out. His grip on the cup tightened continuously until he finally walked away.

…Everything was in disarray.


The next day, after the wrap-up, there was a wrap party. The sponsors were very wealthy, and the crew was generous, choosing a large restaurant for the celebration.

The filming ended as scheduled, and with the work concluded, the atmosphere inside and out of the large room was joyous.

The liveliest area was the main table, where the lead actors and the director sat, along with major investors. People constantly approached to toast them.

The atmosphere was lively, glasses clinking, and a phone vibrated in someone’s pocket.

Someone set down their glass, told the person who had come to toast to wait a moment, and went out to answer the call.

When the person holding the phone returned, he did not immediately go back to his seat but searched the crowd, his eyes scanning around.

The director, holding a glass, came over and asked what he was looking for. He replied, “I’m looking for Zhou Ji. The person above said not to let him drink.”

“Zhou Ji,” the director said, looking towards a spot, “is over there.”

The person with the phone looked in that direction, saying, “Thank—”

The table where they found Zhou Ji was very lively, and just as they looked over, the group was toasting.

They watched as everyone at the table downed their drinks.

The expression of the person holding the phone shifted from gratitude to indifference in the time it took to drink a glass of wine.

Under his and the director’s gaze, the person holding the glass slowly collapsed onto the table.


A heart that had been suspended finally sank.

Prevention was certainly out of the question now, so everyone quickly tried to take remedial measures.

It was understood that the drink the person had just consumed under the director’s nose was his third.

After the first drink, he became silent and withdrawn; after the second, he was unsteady on his feet; and after the third, he collapsed on the spot.

The director remarked, “Alright, there’s no saving this one.”

They tried to contact the agent of the person who had passed out, but the agent seemed busy and didn’t answer the phone. Unable to reach them, they called another number.

Chen Luosong received the call while he was already on his way. He had anticipated this situation from the moment he couldn’t get through to Zhou Xiaoji. The only surprise was that the person, who usually passed out after one drink, had managed three this time before going down.

From a certain perspective, this could be considered progress.

When he arrived at the restaurant, someone was already waiting.

To be precise, two people were holding up another person who was waiting.

Although Zhou Xiaoji was often called “Little Chick,” he was actually tall and well-built, too much for one person to support alone.

Seeing a car finally stop by the curb, the director and the other person supporting Zhou Xiaoji breathed a sigh of relief and looked expectantly at the person getting out of the car, their eyes lighting up involuntarily.

It was an unexpectedly good-looking man. He had a faint smile on his face and thanked them.

Before the director and the other person could say anything, the one who had been motionless like a corpse suddenly stirred, struggling forward and shouting, “Brother Chen.”

Not expecting this sudden movement, the director and the other person, who were not used to handling heavy lifting, failed to react in time and let the person break free.

Chen Luosong stepped forward and caught the person who lunged at him.

The body, weakened by years of medication, couldn’t support such a heavy person. Chen Luosong was forced to step back two more steps, his back pressing against the car door. His previously neat shirt was now disheveled, and his tousled hair was a mess.

The director and the other person were initially stunned, then they quickly helped lift the person into the car.

Getting the person into the car was much harder than moving them from the restaurant to the car. The main difficulty was that, after seeing Brother Chen, the drunken person refused to let anyone else touch him, clinging only to Chen Luosong like a bottle of alcohol-infused glue.

The process was extremely arduous, but they finally managed to get the person into the car. As the car door closed, the director and the other person let out a long sigh of relief.

Inside the car, Chen Luosong had a large human pendant hanging on him. The streetlights reflected in his light-colored pupils beneath his messy hair, and he politely thanked them.

The two watched as the vehicle drove away.

The director wiped the sweat off his face and said, “As expected, rumors are not to be trusted.”

The person next to him nodded.

Chen Luosong took the drunkard back to their place.

Before getting in the car, the drunkard couldn’t walk. By the time they arrived, he was somewhat mobile, at least able to be supported into the room.

With one hand holding the person and the other supporting himself against the wall, they slowly moved. As he opened the door to the room, Chen Luosong felt a sharp pain in his shoulder.

The drunkard had started biting him again.

With both hands occupied, he could only say, “Stop it.”

The person clinging to him clearly chose to ignore his words, continuing to bite, with the pain spreading from his shoulder to the back of his neck.

After the sound of the door opening came a series of chaotic footsteps, followed by the heavy thud of a body falling onto the bed and the sound of clothes rustling.


The next morning, Chen Luo was awakened by the vibration of his phone.

When he woke up, it was already daylight. Sunlight streamed through the floor-to-ceiling windows, casting a direct beam onto the wooden floor. The phone’s vibration continued incessantly. He raised his hand to reach for it and realized that an arm was draped across him.

He gently moved the arm off him and picked up the phone.

Just as he grabbed it, the vibration stopped, and the screen displayed a missed call.

It was from Assistant Bai. Not only had he called, but he had also sent several messages.

The earliest message was at 9:36, saying that the morning medication was still with him and asking if he was home so that he could bring it over. The next message, at 10:32, said that he was on the way to deliver the medication.

Following the messages was the recent missed call.

Assistant Bai was already there, still outside the gate.

After replying to the message, Chen Luosong got up, buttoning a few undone buttons on his shirt, and walked out of the room.

Outside the gate, by the courtyard wall, Bai Mingwei was holding the medication and quietly looking at his phone.

Missing one dose wouldn’t cause major issues; he knew that, but he came anyway.

He had a vague sense that something was amiss. Mr. Chen usually had a very regular routine. He habitually got up early and checked his messages after waking up, never failing to respond.

It was summer, and the temperature had already begun to rise in the morning, accompanied by the constant chirping of cicadas.

Standing quietly at the gate for a while, amidst the noisy cicada calls, he finally heard faint footsteps growing closer. Then the gate opened.

Bai Mingwei put down his phone, looked up, and greeted, “Good morning, Mr. Chen…”

The rest of his words stuck in his throat, and the smile on his face seemed frozen.

The first thing he noticed was the messy hair, and the second was the unusually wrinkled shirt.

The collar’s edge revealed red marks on the cold, white skin, strikingly visible.

His breath nearly stopped, and Bai Mingwei’s pupils contracted sharply. He couldn’t move and couldn’t look away.

Noticing his gaze, Chen Luosong turned his head and casually touched his neck, saying, “Don’t mind this.”

These were all the drunkard’s handiwork. Fortunately, Zhou Xiaoji had fallen asleep after biting for a while and hadn’t bitten too many places; wearing a turtleneck would cover it up.

Chen Luosong took the medicine from the person in front of him and noticed that the bag felt slightly heavy, so he asked, “So much medication?”

Bai Mingwei slowly hid his hand behind his back and clenched it tightly. He lowered his eyes slightly and glanced at the unfamiliar shoes scattered in the entryway that shouldn’t have been there, saying, “I thought Mr. Chen probably hadn’t eaten, so I brought some breakfast.”

Chen Luosong thanked him.

With the medicine delivered, Bai Mingwei had no reason to stay. He mentioned he had other things to attend to and left.

Leaving the entryway, he closed the gate and walked out of the courtyard. Returning to his car parked by the roadside, he slowly leaned on the steering wheel and glanced at his hand.

The previously clean palm now had several red and purple marks.

He had no right to touch, no identity or reason to ask anything.

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