Chapter 39 – Astray Actor (11)

Bai Mingwei saw the person who had put down the cup after taking the medicine pick up the phone again.

He took away the cup and vaguely heard some sounds, but they weren’t very clear, seemingly coming from the phone.

After taking the cup away and returning to the desk to hand over the final documents, he heard it clearly this time. He heard the name “Zhou Ji.”

A video was playing on the phone of the person sitting behind the desk. The man on the screen was wearing a suit, holding a trophy in his hand, smiling, and looking straight at the camera as if he was looking at someone beyond it.

Although he felt that the person looked somewhat different, Bai Mingwei could still recognize him. It was Zhou Ji, whom he hadn’t seen for a while. He said, “Has he lost weight?”

Chen Luosong nodded, “He has lost quite a bit of weight.”

He remembered that the other person was playing a thin, blind man and had lost weight to better fit the role. Compared to when he was in the production crew, the person in the video seemed much more spirited.

Pausing the video on the phone, the person sitting in the chair propped his face with one hand, slowly twirling a pen in the other, and said, “This is troublesome.”


When the news of the award came back, the country was flooded with topics related to the film. However, the film’s main creators were still abroad, attending a few more awards and doing promotions.

When the main creative team returned from abroad a month later, just as the buzz was gradually fading, their return stirred up another wave of excitement. The airport was bustling with fans and reporters.

The group returned together, but those present noticed that Zhou Ji, who should have been among them, was nowhere to be seen.


Zhou Ji changed his ticket at the last minute and took an earlier flight, returning late at night. He arrived quietly and left the airport just as quietly.

He went straight to the place he always visited first upon returning.

Sitting in the car, the streets on either side gradually became familiar. He looked down and tapped his phone twice, lighting up the screen.

The person on the screen was standing amidst a flurry of ginkgo leaves, wearing the same familiar smile.

In the dim light, the person in the back seat couldn’t help but lift the corners of his mouth.

Further along, outside vehicles were not allowed to enter, so Zhou Ji got out of the car at the intersection.

Walking along the familiar road again, he saw the familiar rooftop from a distance and his pace quickened, eventually breaking into a run.

His footsteps grew faster, then steadied, and his breathing was particularly noticeable in the quiet space.

After catching his breath, he stood at the door and pressed the doorbell.

When the doorbell rang, Chen Luosong was upstairs pondering how to deal with the consolation prize. Hearing the sound, he got up from the sofa and went downstairs.

As the door opened, he looked up slightly and saw a familiar face.

The other person was wearing a trench coat, looking travel-worn, and it must have taken considerable time to get here.

“You’re back,” Chen Luosong smiled and said, “Why didn’t you let me know in advance…”

The rest of his words were buried in a warm embrace.

Surrounded by the familiar and pleasant scent, Zhou Ji held him tightly, took a deep breath, and smiled:

“Brother Chen, I’m back.”

It was already late, and the person who had just returned and was still holding on tight got a gentle tap on the head before finally letting go, being sent to his room to take a shower.

Though it was late and time to rest, the one who had just returned from abroad hadn’t adjusted to the time difference yet. Additionally, there were other significant reasons, and he couldn’t sleep.

Turning over and getting out of bed, Zhou Ji opened his room door and saw a light still shining through the crack of the door next to his.

Brother Chen was still awake.

Without any hesitation, he knocked on the door of the adjacent room and, upon getting a response, opened the door.

Chen Luosong wasn’t asleep; he was still on the sofa with a laptop on his lap. Hearing the sound, he turned his head and immediately saw the person standing at the door.

The person was wearing pajamas, his hair messy, aligning perfectly with the figure in his memory. Out of habit, he called out, “Zhou Xiaokai,” and asked, “Had a nightmare again?”

The person at the door paused and asked, “Who’s Zhou Xiaokai?”

“Someone I used to know,” Chen Luosong said, rubbing his hair. “Can’t sleep?”

Zhou Ji walked into the room, closing the door behind him. “I haven’t adjusted to the time difference.”

Since he couldn’t sleep, there was no need to force it. Chen Luosong moved the laptop off his lap and decided to stay up with him.

After a brief discussion, they both agreed to watch TV.

Zhou Ji, familiar with the room, sat down and took the initiative to turn on the TV, selecting a light-hearted animated movie.

Two grown men, staying up late at night, sat together watching cartoons.

Halfway through, Zhou Ji even sliced a fruit platter, primarily taking charge of feeding.

As the images on the TV changed, he handed a strawberry to the person next to him, glancing sideways at the other’s eyes, quietly watching the TV.

The light-colored pupils were as calm as ever, looking no different from before.

When the animation temporarily fell silent, he handed over another strawberry and said, “Brother Chen, I won an award.”

The person next to him turned to look at him and said, “Congratulations.”

Zhou Ji wasn’t looking for a simple congratulation. Watching the talking fat cat on the TV, he said, “Brother Chen, do you remember the promise you made to me before? Does it still count?”

Chen Luosong replied, “I remember. It still counts.”

The room fell silent again, with only the sound of the TV in the background.

In the midst of silence, the person holding the fruit platter slowly placed it on the table. His hand at his side unconsciously tightened, and he said in a low voice, “Brother Chen, I want to taste the flavor of strawberries.”

Hearing this, Chen Luosong leaned slightly to reach for the fruit platter on the table. Just as he was halfway through the motion, he was stopped, a figure blocking his view.

One hand sank into the fine, soft hair of the person in front of him, and the other hand grasped a slender, cold wrist. Zhou Ji did something he had always wanted to do.

He didn’t know when it started, but he was no longer satisfied with just simple hugs.

As they exchanged breaths, he tasted the flavor of strawberries mixed with a faint taste of alcohol.

Sweet and intense.

The person on the sofa gradually shifted his weight downward, eventually lying down on the sofa. His hair sank deeply into the soft pillow, and a thin layer of sweat appeared on his forehead. His free hand hung down the side of the sofa.

While giving the person beneath him time to rest and catch his breath, Zhou Ji took the hand hanging off the sofa and slowly placed it on his back.

It was the first time he looked at these eyes so closely. Seeing the surprise in the light-colored pupils reflecting his own image, his Adam’s apple moved involuntarily. He asked in a low voice, “Is this not allowed?”

He continued, “Even though I’m already Brother Chen’s boyfriend, is it still not allowed?”

His voice carried a hint of grievance.

The half-open eyes closed, the long eyelashes casting a shadow in the light, falling obliquely around the eyes.

With the eyes closed, Zhou Ji could more recklessly observe the face in front of him.

Due to the natural pressure exerted by the person in a higher position and the secret feelings he harbored, he had never dared to look directly at the other’s face or examine it closely. Only now did he realize that the other’s eyelashes were very long, and there was a small mole hidden at the base of the eyelashes at the corner of his eye.

Sensing the breathing of the person beneath him gradually calming, he leaned down again.

Outside the window, the night was deep and dark. Inside the room, there was only the sound of the television and the faint, slightly labored breathing.

The one indulging in the taste of strawberries finally lifted his head slightly and said, “Brother Chen, did you drink a lot of alcohol today?”

The person, who had kept his eyes closed and remained silent, slightly opened his eyes and responded hoarsely, “Yes.”

It was a very soft sound, probably because he didn’t have much strength. It sounded more like a muffled grunt than a response.

Zhou Ji’s hand tightened unconsciously around the other’s wrist. He leaned closer again and whispered, “Brother Chen, I don’t want to sleep tonight.”

Then he got a gentle tap on the head.

The person lying on the sofa took a deep breath and said, “I have work tomorrow.”

Unable to go further, Zhou Ji held him tightly and said, “Then you must remember, Brother Chen, you already have me. You can’t have anyone else.”

Chen Luosong, with a hand already somewhat weak, patted the head of the person on top of him.

The animated movie ended, but neither of them knew what happened in the latter half.

The next morning, as usual, Chen Luosong woke up and, upon leaving the bedroom, immediately saw the person lying on the sofa.

The other person had likely stayed up late watching TV last night and preferred to move a pillow and blanket to the sofa rather than return to the bedroom. He lay there with his long limbs curled up, looking somewhat aggrieved but sleeping soundly, completely undisturbed by the surrounding activity.

Skirting around the sofa, Chen Luosong went to the washroom.

After washing his face, he lifted his head slightly, his gaze falling on his own lips.


In the washroom, the person quietly looking at the mirror slowly closed his eyes.

That morning, the early-arriving employees on the same floor were lucky enough to witness their boss’s bitten and broken lip.

It might have been a bit swollen, but they couldn’t see clearly. The only certainty was that his lower lip was definitely broken.

The early-arriving employees had something to talk about, but those who arrived right on time missed out and had to rely on second-hand accounts, listening to others describe what they had seen in the morning.

Bai Mingwei arrived at the company in the afternoon. As he walked through the office area, he had a feeling—perhaps it was just a misconception—that the seemingly calm office area was not as peaceful as it appeared, and there was even a hint of excitement in the air.

The first thing he did upon arriving at the company was go to the innermost office. Once inside, he finally understood why the atmosphere outside was like that.

While handing over a report, the person sitting behind the desk looked up, causing the hand holding the paper to suddenly tighten.

Since hearing the second-hand news, the employees who hadn’t witnessed the spectacle themselves were almost bursting with curiosity. But throughout the entire morning and into the afternoon, they never saw the person who had entered the office in the morning come out again. The next bit of activity occurred in the afternoon when Assistant Bai returned from a business trip and went to the office immediately upon arrival.

They tried to catch a glimpse of something when the office door opened, but the door was opened and closed in an instant, revealing nothing.

Though they saw nothing, they noticed that shortly after, Assistant Bai emerged from the office with a thoroughly darkened expression.

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