Qu Yanting retracted his gaze. He stared at the column on water washing on the back of his hand and replied: “It’s a coincidence.”
Lu Wen bent over to wash his hands without saying anything. There was only the sound of open water mingled with each other.
He scrubbed the foam, washed it off, repeated it twice, and then dried his hands. He picked up a hand cream in the silver plate, adjusted the cuffs and collar after applying it, and checked out his hairstyle.
After he was done, Lu Wen noticed that the sound of water beside him kept ringing. He glanced at Qu Yanting’s flushed hands and asked, “Do you have mysophobia?”
Qu Yanting didn’t have mysophobia so he ignored him.
Lu Wen was afraid that Qu yanting would shed off a layer of skin if he kept washing. He looked at his watch and said: “The banquet has already begun, so don’t wait until you finish washing.”
Qu Yanting said impatiently: “Since it has started, why don’t you hurry and go?”
Lu Wen leaned back against the edge of the platform. Before he came out, he was playing poker in the cubicle just to delay time. He said : “No hurry, I just came out to relax.”
The word “relax” poked Qu Yanting’s mind. He didn’t come here to relax.
“Are you nervous?”
“It’s kind of, mainly because it’s a little annoying.”
Lu Wen crossed his arms in front of his chest and said: “I will have to greet the actors while faking a smile. The amount of times I call other people this teacher and that teacher are more than the times I had been calling my teachers for four years in college.”
Qu Yanting did not answer his words, but agreed inwardly.
Lu Wen said: “More than that, it’s even more annoying for people at the back. That group of directors and chairmen are equivalent to the leaders of the crew, I have to pretend to be a grandson when greeting them.”
Qu Yanting thought, this was also true.
Lu Wen also said: “And today there is a big shot coming so you have to be more careful.”
Qu Yanting asked: “Big shot?”
“You don’t know?” Lu Wen said word by word, “Qu Yanting, the screenwriter of this drama, has come to the crew and is attending the banquet tonight. He is probably drinking in the box at the moment.”
Qu Yanting said calmly, “Oh.”
Lu Wen continued: “Oh what? It is said that Teacher Qu rarely followed the filming crew. Probably because he was involved in investment, he came to take a look. As for who he would look at, I don’t need to say it out loud right?”
Qu Yanting said, “You should say it clearly.”
Lu Wen said: “The other does not matter. It is the soul of the whole drama who is important “
Qu Yanting was full of doubt: “What is the soul? “
Lu Wen replied: “The male lead ah.”
Quyan Ting finally withdrew his hand back. The water droplets fell from his hands and soaked a small part of his cuffs. He ignored it and inclined his head to look at Lu Wen’s side profile: “You mean, Qu Yanting came to the crew to see you?”
Lu Wen said: “What level of understanding do you have? Can you pass the Chinese language? People like to see who they want to see. But to come here, they must want to see me right?”
In his entire life, this was the first time that Qu Yanting was being questioned about his comprehension and language performance. He paused and asked: “After he saw you, what if he regret letting you play the leading actor?”
“What do you mean ah?” Lu Wen frowned. He felt a bit wronged. “Hey you, you didn’t even pay attention to me last night and now you’re saying such a thing. Is it because I got the wrong car? But I got out of the car at that time. Or do you blame me for drinking your Paris water? You wait, I’ll buy you a box tomorrow.”
Without waiting for Qu Yanting to speak, he came to a realization: “I understand, are you jealous of me?”
Qu Yanting was all ears: “Why am I jealous of you?”
Lu Wen said: “You are jealous because I’m the male lead.”
They had only met for three times but the word “male lead” was emphasized for eight hundred times already. Qu Yan Ting remembered that Lu Wen asked him which role he was playing, and since this young actor was determined to treat him as a colleague, he deliberately said, “What if I am a special guest?”
“Let’s drop it.” Lu Wen was confident. “I have read the actors information sheet and you are not among them. It’s ok to be a soy sauce,1T/n: being a passerby, someone with low sense of presence, just here to enjoy the show etc. there’s no need to be embarrassed. Since you could sit in the director’s private car, it means that you have a bit of background. It won’t take a long time to reach the eighteenth tier.”
Qu Yanting couldn’t bear it anymore. “Actually— “
Lu Wen interrupted him: “In fact you didn’t participate in the script reading today so I guess your role.”
Qu Yanting said: “The director invited me to participate, but I refused.”
“You continue to pretend.”
Qu Yanting hinted: “The purpose of reading is to digest the script. I have completely digested it, so there is no need to participate.”
Lu Wen laughed. “I really admired you. The director didn’t even dare to day he had digest the whole script. Have you digested it all? What kind of gut do you have?”
“Why don’t you just say that you are Qu Yangting then.”
Qu Yanting’s eyebrows twitched. He pulled out a piece of tissue paper and carefully wiped the water droplets between his fingers: “Don’t I look like a screenwriter?”
When the voice fell, Qu Yanting turned to face Lu Wen who was moving closer until they were only two fists away from each other. He could smell the fragrance of Lu Wen’s body. A fresh citrus scent, but it was washed out by the scent of hand cream.
Qu Yanting raised his head slightly, catching the sight of Lu Wen lowered eyes.
Lu Wen looked at him with a serious face: “Don’t I look like a movie emperor?”
Qu Yanting: “…”
After that, Lu Wen shifted his gaze and glanced at Qu Yanting’s watch. Unknowingly, a quarter of an hour had passed. He returned to his original position and said, “Let’s end our conversation. Have you finished washing? Let’s go together?”
Qu Yanting said, “You go first, after all, you are the number one male lead.”
“That’s right, then I will go first.”
When Lu Wen left, the dressing room was completely quiet. Qu Yanting picked up the hand cream that Lu Wen had used and squeezed a little.
He smeared it slowly on his hands. He could feel his heart beating steadily, and inexplicably relaxed.
In the banquet hall, Lu Wen arrived late.
The huge hall was separated into a small half-open space with a collection of screens, half-covered and tables were placed under each gilded copper lamp. The vase on the table was filled with delphinium, and there was a scarlet carpet under the feet. The light was warm and dim, hitting on the scarlet and blue décor. It was very eye pleasing.
There was a row of couches in front of the window, the actors and actress were socializing in twos or threes with the night cityscape behind them.
Sun Xiaojian waited anxiously: “Ancestor, how did you go for so long?”
Lu Wen took a glass of champagne from the waiter’s tray and took a sip. He said, “I met someone, and exchanged a few words.”
Lu Wen paused for a bit, he forgot to ask that person’s name: “The one in Porsche.”
Sun Xiaojian said strangely: “In the morning he acted like a noble and cold person. How did you guys chat?”
Lu Wen said with satisfaction: “This time I won a round.”
Sun Xiaojian said: “Then stop talking nonsense, just say hello to the actors.”
There were not too many roles in this play. The most famous one was teacher Tao Meifan, who played mother Ye in the drama. She was forty-eight years old this year and had been in the arts circle for nearly 30 years. From a state-owned film studio to the National Theatre, she had a place in it. She had won the Drama Plum Blossom Award and the Golden Lion Award for drama. When she was young, she usually played the role of an educated young girl. Now that she got older, she didn’t star in many films. She only appeared when she encountered the story that she liked.
The role of his father was Teacher Yang Bin, a national first-class actor and a director of the Actor Working Committee of the China Television Association. He was invited as a special guest because father Ye did not have many scenes.
The female lead was called Xianqi, a very special name. Xianqi looked just like her name, a fairy maiden. When Xianqi debuted, she was well-known to the audience for her innocent look. Later she played some gentle roles, which set her characteristics and limitations.
Lu Wen went around and greeted everyone, but he didn’t see the male number two, Ruan Feng.
During the script reading, he didn’t see him either. He asked a staff member who was passing by: “Ruan Feng hasn’t joined the crew yet?”
Xiao Zhang said: “Ruan Feng had some activities abroad two days ago and could have entered the crew on time but the flight was cancelled due to bad weather.”
After greeting most of the actors, Lu Wen walked to the window and sat down on the couch to catch his breath. Drinking a few glasses of champagne on an empty stomach was not very comfortable. He wanted to eat something, but was afraid that Editor Qu would be suffocated by the smell.
Inside the box, the table was full of alcohol.
There were seven or eight bottles of wine on the thick round table. The foreign one had Kruger, and the local one has Wuliangye2T/n: Famous Chinese liquor., half empty. There was a circle of armchairs around the table. The deputy director was toasting to the producer, and Director Liu was whispering with a representative of the co-producer. They all looked like they had been drinking three rounds of wine.
Ren Shu was at the main seat, with Zhou Zong of Haoyang Culture on his right, and Qu yanting on the left.
When no one toasted or talked to each other, Qu Yanting was silent. When he raised his head, a just right smile appeared on his face, which was shallow, generous and natural.
The banquet lasted for forty minutes. One person toasted a glass of champagne and the other person toasted a glass of white wine. He didn’t drink it, and no one dared to force him. However he still drank a glass, because alcohol could calm his nerves.
The conversations at the dinner table ranged from TV, movies, and personal relationships with a director, to industry trends, policy changes, and the relationship between capital and literature and art…
The conversation went into Qu Yanting’s left ear and then went out of his right ear. In this wandering state he remembered Lu Wen. He was so right. It was really annoying to face these people.
“What are you thinking about?” Ren Shu leaned over.
Qu Yanting replied: “Nothing, I’m thinking of Er Bai Wu3T/n: 二百五. Literal translation is 250. A slang which mean idiot, stupid person or a simpleton…It’s a nickname that Qu Yangting gave to Lu Wen, so you will see this a lot in the future..”
Ren Shu asked again: “What Er Bai Wu?”
Qu Yanting added a definition: “The fancy Er Bai Wu.”
In fact, what he thought of was the “true” persona. No compliments, no overwhelming respect, or even a smile. If Lu Wen knew his identity, what would happen to that “truth”?
The director’s assistant walked around from the opposite side, bent down between Qu Yanting and Ren Shu and said, “Director Ren, Editor Qu, the actors in the crew know that Editor Qu is attending the banquet so they are very excited and want to come and greet him.”
Ren Shu directly asked: “You promised to let them come?”
“I didn’t dare.” The assistant said, “All the agents have come to ask me and I promised to ask questions for them. It all depends on what Editor Qu wants. If you are willing, I will arrange them to toast a glass of wine. It won’t take too much time.”
Ren Shu waved his hand: “Forget it.”
He put his hand on the back of Qu Yanting’s chair: “As your buddy I still understand this. Unless it is necessary for shooting, you don’t like to contact the actors. Don’t worry about it. You will see them in the crew tomorrow anyway.”
Only then did Qu Yanting figured out. So Lu Wen was bothered for half a day because he was not sure he would meet the leaders? All dressed up like a peacock was to display the fine tail feathers?
That Er Bai Wu wouldn’t be disappointed until he lost hope right?
He was really tired of looking at the people in this room so he said in a deep thought: “Leave everyone else, let’s see the soul of the whole play.”
Ren Shu: “And Who is that?”
Qu Yanting stroked the cold watch. There was a hint of laughter in his tone: “The one surname Lu, the male lead number one.”
- 1T/n: being a passerby, someone with low sense of presence, just here to enjoy the show etc.
- 2T/n: Famous Chinese liquor.
- 3T/n: 二百五. Literal translation is 250. A slang which mean idiot, stupid person or a simpleton…It’s a nickname that Qu Yangting gave to Lu Wen, so you will see this a lot in the future.