Chapter 38 – Astray Actor (10)

He had spoken as if he were hypothesizing, yet it also seemed like he was stating something.

Chen Luosong replied, “Hmm?”

Glancing at the rearview mirror, Zhou Ji turned on the blinker and switched lanes, asking, “Is it not okay?”

“Brother Chen just said,” his voice lowered, and his eyes followed suit, “As long as I can make it happen.”

Chen Luosong had indeed just said that.

Without immediately answering the person in the driver’s seat, he loosened his tie and laughed, “You shouldn’t date someone like me, Zhou Xiaoji.”

At the intersection, the light changed from yellow to red, and Zhou Ji slowly stopped the car, asking again, “Brother Chen, is it okay?”

In some aspects, he did indeed have different convictions compared to ordinary people.

The roadside lights flickered, the car interior was silent, and then a voice was heard.

When the green light lit up, the person holding the steering wheel smiled, squinting his eyes.

The vehicle entered the familiar area, and then the navigation was no longer needed. Upon reaching the familiar place, Zhou Ji parked the car, immediately got out, and opened the passenger door.

He did look quite like a real driver.

It was already very late, and it took some time to get here from the company. After opening the door and entering the house, Chen Luosong told Zhou Xiaoji to rest on his own. He went to his room, took a shower, and before sleeping, opened his computer to handle two files that had been pending.

The faint glow from the computer screen illuminated his pupils, with continuous text and charts reflecting off his light-colored eyes.

His neck felt a bit stiff, so Chen Luosong shifted his position, propped his face with one hand, and continued to look up at the screen.

If he remembered correctly, Zhou Xiaoji would win an award, frustrating Xu Wen, and also becoming the direct reason for Xu Wen’s resurgence.

But that wouldn’t happen now, nor the following year, but much later.

This time, the other party might get a nomination, but he wouldn’t actually win.

As time ticked forward, the person sitting by the desk finally shut down the computer and walked towards the bedroom.

The room then fell into darkness.


In the neighboring room, Zhou Ji, watching the light disappear from the courtyard and plunge everything into darkness, stood by the window and bent down to set down the cup he was holding.

The cup was placed steadily on the table, causing slight ripples on the water’s surface before it settled back to stillness. He slowly sat down on the sofa by the tea table where he had placed the cup, looked at the now dark courtyard, and whispered, “Brother Chen, I’m sorry.”

He knew Brother Chen was very responsible, both for what he did and what he said. Once he said something, he would definitely see it through to the end.

Because he understood him, he had said those things today to get Brother Chen’s commitment. It was a very underhanded method, but he did it anyway.

He was very sorry, but he still wanted to monopolize Brother Chen, no matter what means he had to use.

The wind outside swept away the fallen leaves, clouds covered the moon, and the whole world turned completely dark.

The next morning, Chef Zhou went to the airport after making breakfast, and after eating, Chen Luosong went to the company as usual.

After this busy period, everything returned to normal again.

When Assistant Bai came to the office at noon as usual to deliver the medicine, Chen Luosong was not behind his desk but was already sitting on the sofa, holding a cup of water and slowly looking at his laptop screen.

As Bai Mingwei handed over the medicine, he glanced at the screen. It wasn’t work-related but a webpage about real estate. Handing over the water along with the medicine, he asked, “Mr. Chen, are you planning to buy a house?”

“In a way,” Chen Luosong replied, “it’s just right as a consolation prize.”

“Consolation prize?” Bai Mingwei questioned.

Chen Luosong smiled slightly and didn’t elaborate further, taking the medicine.

As he swallowed the medicine in one gulp, his phone vibrated. Handing back the water cup, Assistant Bai took it and left the office.

His gaze still fixed on the laptop screen, Chen Luosong answered the call.

It was a call from Xu Wen. Ever since the previous agreement took effect, Xu Wen had formed the habit of calling to inform Chen Luosong every time he made a payment. Although this task had been delegated to Assistant Bai, Chen Luosong still politely answered each call. Xu Wen didn’t say much each time, just a few minutes of conversation before ending the call.

This time was no different, with Xu Wen giving a brief update. However, before hanging up, he suddenly asked, “Mr. Chen, are you free these days?”

Xu Wen continued, “Our crew is coming to A City for some location shots. The filming location is quite close to you. Would you be available for a meal?”

Chen Luosong, his eyes still on the laptop screen, tapped the keyboard twice and smiled, “Rare free time should be reserved for myself to rest.”

After a brief silence, Xu Wen agreed, saying, “That’s true,” and, as usual, ended the call without any delay.

In the following days, Chen Luosong selected the consolation prize.

The selection of the consolation prize was quick, but giving it away could only happen much later.

In the latter half of the year, Zhou Ji, who was eager to win a major award, flew around completing previously scheduled work. In the first half of the following year, similar to Xu Wen’s sudden silence, or perhaps even more thoroughly, he did not arrange any work at all. There were no major scenes or minor commercial appearances scheduled. Without any work arrangements, he also didn’t take any rest.

According to his manager, he was studying.

In name, he was studying, but in reality, he was preparing for his next role. During this six-month period, he spent most of his time in a humid, rainy city in the south, completely living as someone entirely different from himself, refining every habit, and capturing every detail.

At a dinner event, Chen Luosong encountered Zhou Ji’s manager, who happened to be at the same hotel. Having some free time, he chatted briefly with the manager.

The manager mentioned that Zhou Ji would probably stay in the southern city for six months and then directly join the filming crew to maintain his state. The script’s filming was expected to take a year and a half.

This meant that for the next two years, Zhou Ji would remain out of the public eye.

Two years is almost enough to change a person’s original path in an era where things change so rapidly. It was more like a gamble, betting two years on the future of the film and his own future.

Most people in the industry believed that Zhou Ji was trying to replicate Xu Wen’s miracle, but they held a pessimistic view. If it were that easy to replicate, it wouldn’t be called a miracle.

Sitting by the high bar in the hotel, Chen Luosong turned his head and asked, “Why is he so motivated this time?”

The manager first analyzed the objective reasons and briefly said, “He probably realized the burden on his shoulders is too heavy.”

This time, Zhou Ji originally auditioned for a supporting role, but upon arrival, the producer and director unanimously felt he fit the still undecided lead role. They pushed through the opposition to cast him.

This film was a major investment, with nearly three years of preparation before casting, including over twenty revisions of the script. With a significant budget, a renowned director, top-tier cinematography, and meticulous casting, the film already carried the weight of numerous expectations and efforts from various stakeholders.

Despite having previously taken on leading roles, this was an entirely new level for him.

To meet these expectations required not only effort but absolute dedication.

Chen Luosong took a sip from his water cup and responded with a hum.

The manager took a sip of his drink and added, “The main reason is that he wants to win an award.”

The crew, from the script to the director to the cinematography and costumes, was filled with award-winning talent. From the lineup alone, it was clear they were aiming for accolades. Zhou Ji likely wanted to join this crew for that very reason.

Zhou Ji had previously been indifferent to awards or achievements, with no particular ambitions and a focus solely on earning money.

This time, it seemed as if he had a revelation. Setting aside other considerations, at least the manager was pleased that Zhou Ji finally showed ambition.

Putting down his water cup, Chen Luosong slightly loosened his tie, picked up a nearby wine glass, and took a sip.

As he drank, the manager mentioned that the film’s name was “Anonymous.”

Chen Luosong first heard about Anonymous while drinking with the manager. The second time he heard about it was in the employee workspace on the same floor, during lunch break.

A group of employees gathered, discussing news from overseas friends that Anonymous, though yet to be released, had already been shortlisted for the main competition at a major award festival, along with nominations for several other awards.

The award results were to be announced the next day during a live broadcast, which would air during work hours. Before hearing the employees plan how to sneak in watching the live stream, Chen Luosong left the workspace.

The announcement was scheduled for the evening, but due to the time difference, their evening corresponded to the morning in China, just half an hour before lunch break.

In the morning, Chen Luosong continued working and then had an impromptu short meeting.

After the meeting ended, the department heads returned to their posts, and he went back to his office.

Bai Mingwei followed him to the office to organize the materials for immediate use. While scanning the last document, Chen Luosong’s phone vibrated in his pocket. He picked it up and saw it was the alarm he had set.

It was time to take his medicine again.

Sitting behind his desk, Chen Luosong glanced at the phone and finally remembered something, casually picking up his phone from the side.

The live stream was still ongoing, but it seemed to have passed the relevant segment and was announcing other awards.

As long as the results were out, they could be easily checked. Chen Luosong looked at his phone, and just as the page was about to load the results, a familiar sight appeared before him—his medicine and a cup of water blocking his view.

Ever vigilant in reminding him to take his medicine, Assistant Bai said, “Mr. Chen, please take your medicine first.”

Chen Luosong then set his phone aside, took the medicine, and swallowed it with the warm water.


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