Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
In the business car, Gao Kai wiped the sweat from his forehead and sighed, “The fans are so enthusiastic, it’s like a war when they leave the airport. There was even a male fan shouting ‘husband’, did you hear that?”
“That’s true, we’re all about An.” Xiao Chu said proudly.
Shen Jize took off his sunglasses and glanced at him, his gaze cool.
“Ah, no, he’s an all-killer.” Xiao Chu rubbed the back of her neck.
Shen Jize put on his sunglasses and looked out the car window without saying a word.
Kate, who was sitting next to him, asked, “By the way, your house in Fei Hongxie has been renovated. Should we move there now or wait a few days?”
Shen Jize frowned and said, “Move, the sooner the better.”
“Okay, Gao Kai, go do that later. Find a reliable moving company, and move An’s stuff to Fei Hongxie.”
Gao Kai followed the out-of-town promotion for a few days, he originally wanted to come back to take two days off to rest, but when he heard this, his heart was in pain, but he had to agree to it.
“What about the bodyguard?” Kate asked Xiao Chu again.
Xiao Chu replied, “I have contacted several security companies in the city, and asked them to pick the best candidates, their ability must be beyond words. They will come to the company in a couple of days, and then An will choose the one he likes.”
Gao Kai agreed, “Indeed, you have to pick your own. After all, food and housing are to be included, so their living habits must be good. To put it in detail, being a sound sleeper, having foot odor or breath odor and such things also should be taken into account.”
“We can’t live together.” Shen Jize, who hadn’t said anything before, frowned, “Let’s rent a suite for him where I live.”
“But if you don’t live together, how will he protect you?”
Shen Jize said, “He just needs to live nearby and be able to get there in time if something happens.”
Gao Kai said reluctantly, “Okay.”
Xiao Chu said, “And he has to look good, not crooked, he has to be worthy of our An.”
“It’s hard to look good enough for An…”
Shen Jize listened to their increasingly biased comments, then simply took out his headphones, plugged them into his ears to listen to music, closed his eyes and leaned back in the chair.
Lu Rong finished his shift at night and sat on his bed to video chat with Grandpa Cai. He pointed the camera at himself, just enough to reveal the window in the attic, and looked at the setting quite well.
“Grandpa～～” Lu Rong began to pout as soon as Grandpa Cai’s face appeared on the screen.
Grandpa Cai looked at him carefully, “You’ve lost weight.”
“We video chatted just the day before yesterday, and today you say I’ve lost weight. It’s not that fast.” Lu Rong said in surprise.
Grandpa Cai added, “You just took a shower? Don’t lie down until your hair is dry, wait until it’s dry before you sleep.”
“You have to eat meat every meal, remember? Don’t ask Li Song to buy it, go by yourself, there’s enough money here for grandpa.”
Grandpa Cai thought he was still at Li Song’s house and that two people were cooking and eating.
Lu Rong grabbed a piece of meat on his face and said vaguely, “I eat meat for every meal. Look, I still have so much meat on my face.”
“What kind of meat is that? You can’t even cut it down to two chopsticks, so don’t save that much money anyway. Is Li Song here? I’ll talk to Li Song, you don’t know how to cook, it’s hard for you, kid.”
Lu Rong rolled his eyes sheepishly, “Li Song has gone out, he’s not here.”
Grandpa Cai said, “Then you should learn to cook too, no one should spoil you like grandpa when you go out.”
As he was talking, Puppy’s face appeared on the screen.
Puppy was huddled next to Grandpa Cai, and when he saw Lu Rong, he frantically wagged his tail and stuck out his tongue to lick the phone screen repeatedly.
“Puppy, Puppy, did you miss me?” Lu Rong stretched out his finger and nodded at Puppy on the screen.
Puppy whined pitifully at the screen, and Lu Rong rambled on the other end of the phone, one person and one dog each talking about the pain of missing each other.
Grandpa Cai laughed and set the phone on the table, “Take your time, I’ll go water the flowers in the yard.”
Only when the dog licked the phone off did Lu Rong lie down in disgust, staring at the low ceiling.
A few strands of wet hair rested next to his face with cool dampnesses. Remembering Grandpa Cai’s admonition earlier, he sat up and waited for his hair to dry, his two long, thin legs hanging over the side of the bed, swaying gently.
After two days, it was time for a break, and Lu Rong went to the door of the film company where Shen Jize was working again. It was raining today, so there were no other fans. He was the only one standing across the street, holding a small umbrella he had taken from the store.
He stood patiently in the rain, watching the people coming in and out of the gate across the street. The rain snapped on the umbrella, and the lower part of his pants leg was wet from the rain, which felt slightly cold against his calf.
After waiting for a while, he didn’t see Shen Jize’s shadow, but the rain was getting heavier and heavier. He hesitated, simply walked across the street, put away the umbrella in his hand, and entered the gate of the film company.
The building was occupied, so the security guard took one look at him and didn’t ask any questions, just let him put his umbrella on the umbrella stand next to the door.
Lu Rong surveyed the spacious ground floor lobby and saw seven or eight people sitting on the sofa on the left. These people were tall and stern-looking, wearing black suits, and didn’t look too much like company employees.
He thought about it and went over to find an empty seat to sit down.
The group of black suits were sitting upright, none of them turned their heads to look, they all only stared ahead, close mouthed without saying a word.
Lu Rong was affected by this atmosphere, also sitting, both hands on his knees, only looking at the elevator door, afraid to miss the appearance of Shen Jize.
After waiting for a while, the elevator door opened and a young woman in a dress came out. She walked straight to the sofa and said, “Hello, I’m Secretary Lee, please come upstairs with me, An will interview you.”
An will interview you… Lu Rong ran the words through his ears and got a jolt.
An will interview you?!
My brother is upstairs!
Seeing that the group of black suits had already followed, he had an idea, grabbed his backpack, and followed at the very end of the line.
The black suits were more than 180 tall, sturdy and fit, and he was a thin young man so it was like a string of eagles with a small chicken boy following. The group of people moved into the elevator, Li secretly pressed the number key 18, and the elevator moved.
The elevator was very quiet, Lu Rong squeezed in the middle of the group of black suits, his heart thumping. He didn’t know what the group was going to interview for, but it was fine whatever it was, as long as he could see Shen Jize.
He peeked to the left, it was someone’s chest, and turned his head to the right, it was still a chest. His line of sight slowly went up the chest and saw everyone staring straight ahead with expressionless faces.
No matter, first he must follow.
Lu Rong also stopped sneaking around and followed the example of this group of people, only looking straight ahead at the black fabric. With a ding, the elevator stopped on the 18th floor and everyone walked out.
Lu Rong walked at the end of the line, through a long passage, and stopped in front of a closed door of a room.
“An is having a meeting upstairs in the conference room, so wait a moment, he will have half an hour free after the meeting, and will let you in for an interview then.” Secretary Li said.
Lu Rong followed the black suits and sat on the bench in the passage. He was at the end of the line, and he was as upright and dignified as the others.
Secretary Li also sat down on a bench not far from them, looking down at the documents in her hands. Across the way, a male employee came over with coffee in his hand and greeted her familiarly.
“Secretary Li, why are you here? Isn’t your office downstairs?”
Secretary Li was the secretary of the chief financial officer, her office was one floor down, and as a rule, she wouldn’t come upstairs.
Secretary Li let out a breath and whispered, “An’s agent and assistant are busy, so they asked me to come up temporarily to fill in.”
“So these are… The company’s newcomers?” The male employee’s eyes swept past the faces of Lu Rong and the black suits, and his tone was somewhat indecisive.
The black suits’ aura and body shape didn’t look like artists at first glance, but the pretty boy might be a newcomer the company just signed.
“No.” Secretary Li lowered his voice and said, “Because of the events An has experienced, he went to the security company to hire a bodyguard, and now they’re here for an interview.”
This matter wasn’t a secret, the whole company knew, the male employee suddenly said, “Oh… For personal safety, it’s better to hire one. But the one sitting on the side as well? He doesn’t look like it.”
Lu Rong was wearing a basic white T-shirt with the hem tucked into beige shorts, a pair of sneakers on his feet and an old backpack on his back. He sat upright on the bench, looking clean and fresh, but like a childish student.
Secretary Li looked at Lu Rong and said to the male employee, “I’ve heard that security companies train those who don’t look like bodyguards, so I guess this is one like that.”
The male employee agreed and nodded, “Yes, the less like a bodyguard, the more the other party will let down their guard. Don’t look at this little boy’s appearance, he may be a tough guy inside, a practitioner, practicing the so-called youth’s kung fu.”
Secretary Li said, “Yes, this kind of bodyguard can confuse the opponent.”
“But why are they all sitting outside? Is An not here?”
“They said they are in a meeting upstairs and they have to wait for a while.”
The male employee said confusedly, “But I just came down from upstairs to report on my work, and several senior executives were busy, so I didn’t see anyone in the meeting.”
Secretary Li thought about it, “Maybe they just finished the meeting.”
Shen Jize leaned back on the wide leather sofa, hands on his phone, his feet on the coffee table in front of him swayed gently, the laces on his boots swung with his movement. The door was knocked on twice and pushed open, and Xiao Chu, the assistant, stood at the door.
“Brother An, I’m back from my business, those who applied for bodyguards downstairs have arrived and are waiting at the entrance of your lounge. Do you want to go to the interview now?”
“How long have they been here?” Shen Jize didn’t lift his eyelids, staring intently at his phone.
Xiao Chu said, “I just asked Secretary Li of the finance department, she said she’s been waiting for about ten minutes.”
Shen Jize didn’t reply, so Xiao Chu stood at the door and didn’t move. After a moment he put away his phone and stood up, saying, “Let’s go do the interviews.”
Xiao Chu waited for Shen Jize to leave the door and followed him towards the elevator, asking curiously, “Brother An, why don’t you wait in your own lounge instead of coming?”
Shen Jize walked lazily with his hands in his trouser pockets, “Do you think I would be so idle in the company that I would sit in the lounge and play games instead of meeting and reading scripts?”
“Yes.” Xiao Chu replied blankly.
Whenever An didn’t have a schedule, didn’t he just sit in his office and play games?
Shen Jize stopped, turned around, and looked at him coldly with downcast eyes.
Xiao Chu had a flash of realization, “That’s definitely not possible. This movie star is so busy that he spends all his free time thinking about new roles.”
“Basically, there’s no free time, there’s still a lot of things to do after the schedule is over.” Shen Jize slapped Xiao Chu on the back of the head, “There’s only one bodyguard position, but so many candidates. How do you know the unsuccessful ones won’t go out and talk nonsense?”
“…What is there to tell?” Xiao Chu mumbled.
“There’s a lot to tell.” Shen Jize gave a snort and turned around to continue walking, “Those gossip reporters and marketing numbers love to destroy an actor’s persona. You only have to be idle for a while, and they’ll say you’re confused, have no more scenes to shoot, have a long beard and scribble face, and can only shrink in the company as a cleaner.”
“But… but An’s new movie just aired, so they won’t say you’re a mess even if you’re idle.”
Shen Jize said, “Do you know how to prepare for a rainy day? The persona is slowly reflected in every detail, understand? When they publish, they don’t care how you are now.”
Xiao Chu didn’t understand, and stood there for a few seconds, thinking that An’s words were so profound. But whatever An said must make sense, so he didn’t force himself to understand, rubbing the back of his head and following.
Lu Rong sat on the bench without breathing, his upper body straight, in line with the black suits next to him. He only occasionally rolled his eyes, to peek around the situation. Although he didn’t know what these people were going to do, since Shen Jize was personally interviewing them, he would be able to meet him.
This time, he would finally meet his brother face to face.
Ba-thump, ba-thump, ba-thump.
He suspected his heartbeat could be heard by the black suit next to him.
The whole floor was quiet, only one or two employees passing occasionally, Secretary Li was looking down at the documents in her hands, and the black suits were like a group of sullen gourd tightly closed mouths.
“Excuse me, are we here to apply for a job? What is the content of the interview later?” Lu Rong finally couldn’t help but ask the person beside him in a low voice.
The person slowly turned his head, glanced at him indifferently and then slowly turned back.
Lu Rong: …
Well, let’s continue to wait like this.
The elevator sounded softly and stopped at this floor, and two people stepped out.
The one in front had a rather distinguished demeanor, with a cold and arrogant look in the corner of his eyes. He was wearing a black jacket and boots, which made him look tall, broad-shouldered and narrow-waisted, and the soles of his boots hit the tile floor with a muffled thud.
When Lu Rong looked at him, everything around him became a backdrop, became a shadow, his eyes were left on this man. He settled on the bench and couldn’t move, watching Shen Jize stride towards him, then brushed past him without a glance, and went straight into the adjacent office.
Secretary Li stood up and said to a group of people, “An is already here, so let’s do the interviews in order.”
“Yes.” A group of black suits returned neatly.
The door of the room opened and an assistant-like person stood at the door and said to the first person in line, “Please come in.”
The first black suit got up and dusted off his shoulders, walked in with his head held high.
Lu Rong stared blearily at the open door, trying to see Shen Jize in the room, but before he could see what was inside, the door was closed again. The hallway was quiet, and he knew that his brother and himself were only a wall away from each other, and that they would soon meet.
Inside the room, Xiao Chu was holding a piece of paper and asking questions.
“So, do you have any hobbies? Like smoking and drinking.”
“Do you have a problem with following your employer 24 hours a day?”
Shen Jize had been standing in front of the floor-to-ceiling window, looking out of the window with his back facing the interior, and although he didn’t say a word from the beginning to the end, he gave the others a lot of pressure. After answering all the questions, No.1 black suit glanced at the back of the window a little apprehensively, hoping he would make a comment or something.
But Shen Jize never spoke up, while Xiao Chu shook his hand politely, “Mr. Li, we will inform you of the exact result in two days. Please go back and wait for the news first.”
Lu Rong sat uneasily on the bench, envisioning what would happen when he met Shen Jize later. If he recognized him at once, it would be fine, but if he didn’t, how should he start his speech? Brother, I am Rong Rong, the Rong Rong of Longguan Mountain, do you remember me?
If Shen Jize was looking at him with a blank look, he had to prompt: Deer Warrior, Moon God temple, Puppy…
If he still couldn’t remember, then he’d have to give a reminder.
‘Brother, do you remember the female ghost in red at the construction site?’
He should remember it like that.
Lu Rong sat here rambling, the black-clad man beside him was no longer calm, his mouth muttering something. Although the reason was different, but the tension was the same, Lu Rong heard him chanting words like hitting the opponent’s ribs and then backhanding to restrain.
What the hell was going on here? Lu Rong’s heart became more nervous. His fingers unconsciously scratched the bench surface, making a prickly sound. When the people next to him were staring at him, he came to his senses, panicked and withdrew his hand.
The door of the room opened, the first black suit came out without looking at him. His face was still solemn, unable to see how the interview had turned out, and under the eyes of the crowd, he went to the elevator at a steady pace.
“This gentleman please come in.” The assistant-like person informed the second black suit.
Lu Rong looked down and saw that he was at the very end of the bench, so, in eighth place.
As the third, fourth, and fifth went in and came out, he again scratched his chair uncontrollably. When a staff member passed by and found that the candidate’s face was white and his gaze was straight, he rushed to hand him a cup of hot water, only then did he stop scratching.
After another ten minutes or so, Xiao Chu was asking questions to the number seven black suit.
Shen Jize looked no different than at first, but would tap his fingers rapidly on the window pane as he stood in front of it. If someone familiar with the situation were present, they would know that he was impatient.
He returned to his desk and sat down again, propping his elbows on the arm of his chair and resting his forehead against his closed eyes in contemplation. Finally, he couldn’t bear it and took out his cell phone, and his finger swiped quickly on it.
“Mr. Wang, this next question may be a bit personal, if you don’t want to answer, you can choose not to answer.” Xiao Chu mechanically asked, “Does Mr. Wang’s body have any body odor that is heavier than normal? Of course, body odor can be removed with a minor surgery. Do you usually like to eat heavy food?”
Shen Jize picked up the coffee on the table and took a sip, putting it down with a crisp clink between the bottom of the cup and the small plate.
Xiao Chu turned his head to look over as he continued to look at his phone, his mouth faintly saying, “Ask them on your own, I’ll discuss the new script with director Wang.”
When the seventh black suit finished answering all the questions and went out the door, Shen Jize asked, “How many more are left? I’m not going to choose. I’m going to show you the record later, and I’m going to choose one of the first ones.”
Xiao Chu recalled, “But there’s only one left out there.”
“Just one? Let him go back.” Shen Jize said impatiently.
Xiao Chu hesitated, “Brother An, just one more. Why not interview him together?”
Shen Jize closed his eyes and frowned, and after a moment said, “Then let’s ask, lest he develop any discontent and talk nonsense of the entertainment company to the press.”
Now only Lu Rong was left outside. He knew it would be his turn soon, so his feet started to get weak, his palms became hot, and his heart was beating so hard it was going to burst out of his throat.
Don’t panic, don’t panic, you finally get to see your brother, what are you panicking about now? Calm down, you have to calm down ah.
He shook his shoulders desperately in his mind.
The door of the room opened with a click. The assistant shouted to Lu Rong, “Sir, please come here!”
When Lu Rong stood up, both his knees looked like they were rusted to one another, and his movements were like those of a robot. When he stood up slowly, Xiao Chu looked at his height and thin body, and his eyes gradually became suspicious.
Lu Rong saw his thoughts, holding the wall and taking several deep breaths, explaining in a small voice, “Sitting, a little dizzy after sitting for a long time.”
Xiao Chu: ????
This kind of person was still here to be a bodyguard?
But he was a qualified assistant, so no matter what he thought in his heart, his face was still courteous, as he made a gesture and said, “Please.”
Lu Rong forced himself to calm down and followed Xiao Chu into the room.
Xiao Chu pointed to the stool in the center of the room and said, “Please sit down.”
Lu Rong stood still, only staring at the person behind the desk who was looking down at his phone.
Xiao Chu coughed and raised his voice, “Please sit down, sir.”
“…Oh.” Lu Rong went around to the chair and sat down, clutching his backpack tightly.
Xiao Chu took out the piece of paper filled with questions and began to ask, “May I ask your name? What security company are you from?”
Shen Jize looked down and pressed his phone, and Lu Rong could see his slightly furrowed brow and lowered eyelids. The sunlight poured in through the floor-to-ceiling window on one side, dividing his face into bright and dark colors with the bridge of his high nose as the boundary.
This kind of Shen Jize was both familiar and unfamiliar to Lu Rong, who suddenly lost the courage to call out brother regardless, and only opened and closed his lips in silence.
Shen Jize then adjusted his posture and leaned back on the back of the chair. He was still staring at his phone, only to reveal his perfectly defined jaw and lips.
“Sir, sir!” Xiao Chu raised his volume.
Lu Rong returned to his senses in a bit of a trance, taking his eyes off Shen Jize and looking at Xiao Chu.
Xiao Chu sensed something unusual about this applicant and alertly reminded, “Sir, An is talking to Director Wang about the new drama, and I’m the one asking the questions.”
Lu Rong gave a perfunctory ‘oh’ and nodded his head, then turned his head to look at Shen Jize again.
Xiao Chu: …
He cleared his throat with the intention of pulling back the applicant’s attention, “Sir, I don’t have your information here. What’s your name? What security company are you from?”
Lu Rong took a deep breath, his fingers tightening white as he wrapped his arms around his backpack. With his eyes fixed on Shen Jize, he summoned all his courage and said in a clear but slightly shaky voice, “My name is Lu Rong, Rong is the character for furry.”
Shen Jize’s finger was swiping rapidly on the phone screen, and it stopped abruptly when Lu Rong’s words fell.
“When I was a child, I lived in Longquan Village on Longquan Mountain, and I lived with my grandfather. There was a big yellow dog named Puppy. There was a small river to the right of our village, a small temple in the back of the mountain, and a healing center nearby—”
“Excuse me for interrupting, Mr. Lu, you just need to give your name.” Xiao Chu said.
Lu Rong didn’t stop, but sped up, so excited that the words took on a crying tone. One hand also let go of his backpack and couldn’t help but scratch the chair beneath him.
“I have another brother, he’s very, very good. He once told me one summer that he would come to me on winter break and that I must not forget him. I haven’t forgotten him, not for a day…”
Shen Jize remained in his original posture like a stone statue, but his hand suddenly trembled, and he didn’t know what button he pressed, and the phone played a clear female voice, “Unbelievable!”
Xiao Chu: …You’ ve been exposed, my brother.