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Chapter 19: Physically Present In The Excitement But Also Not


The seafood restaurant chosen by Feng Tangtang indeed couldn’t be considered upscale.

In fact, it wasn’t even considered decent for Xi Mo, who had been living in wealth and honor.

Their seats were by a window on the second floor. Xi Mo went up the greasy stairs that had already been stepped by many other customers, with Feng Tangtang on her left and Yan Tinghuan on her right. She was pressed on both sides by these two, like cheese in the middle of a sandwich. Arriving at their seats, her heart was about to explode in rage, but she had to act like they were longtime friends and joined in their conversation from time to time.

No matter what she was thinking about, the past Ruan Yesheng often smiled whenever she was with someone she knew. She always made people feel that she had a good temper. She looked especially like a coquettish and alluring woman whenever she smiled, so Xi Mo had to force herself to smile a few times.

… Ruan Yesheng, are you trying to sell your smile?

Xi Mo looked at the two women to her left and right and felt the muscles on her face gradually cramp. 

I’m not familiar with you guys at all!

Feng Tangtang talked excitedly about some of the interesting stuff happening in her company and also talked about the joke a new assistant told her.

Xi Mo pulled the chair back and sat on it, then smiled and said, “Really? That’s quite interesting.”

What’s so interesting about it!?

Aren’t you embarrassed telling me about it? Do you think that I’ve never heard of jokes before?

“Right, Ruan Ruan? I find it very funny too.” Feng Tangtang sat down and continued talking, “I feel that he is quite funny sometimes. Most importantly, he is handsome.”

“I don’t think he can be considered handsome.” Xi Mo casually said, “I feel that he is a little old. What’s going on with your company? Isn’t Lu Qingming in charge of finding new assistants for Xi Mo? Why did he find a 30+ year old man this time?”

The assistants in her company were all young, regardless whether they were male or female. They were motivated and could endure hardship. Most importantly, they were more obedient and easier to control. They also didn’t need too much pay. Once they got older, they would not work as assistants anymore and would change to other job positions. As for personal assistants, male assistants would usually go with male artists while female assistants would go with female artists, as it was much more convenient this way. For example, Feng Tangtang was Xi Mo’s personal assistant. Of course, most artists have more than one assistant. It was especially so for famous artists, who had various kinds of assistants. However, there were no strict requirements on the gender and age of the assistant if they were in charge of other aspects.

Feng Tangtang waved her hand hurriedly, “No no. He’s really handsome. 30+ years old is a man’s prime age, when their hormones are the strongest. I think there was originally no intention to recruit him, as the company wanted to find someone younger. However, he was very fit. He could run especially fast and also had great strength. He had been in the special forces in the past. After what had happened at the hotel, the company probably wanted him to act as both an assistant and a bodyguard. If anything happened, he could quickly solve it for Sister Xi. In short, it doesn’t matter if he is over 30. Moreover, you were born in 1984, Ruan Ruan. Aren’t you also hitting 30 soon?”[1]

Yan Tinghuan received the menu from the waiter and passed it to Xi Mo first. She then said with a smile, “Tangtang, I remember that your Sister Xi and Ruan Ruan are born in the same year. Doesn’t that mean that she’s also a little old?”

Xi Mo: “…”

Feng Tangtang laughed foolishly after hearing her and said, “Tinghuan, don’t speak so carelessly just because Sister Xi can’t hear it. Fortunately she didn’t hear that, or else she will definitely become angry. I’m so scared that she will scold me whenever she becomes angry.”

Xi Mo: “…”

When did I scold you!?

How about making it clear to me!?

Do you want to get fired!?

Yan Tinghuan winked and said, “Don’t worry, we’re talking behind her back. Your Sister Xi won’t be able to hear it and won’t fire you. Isn’t that right Ruan Ruan?”

Xi Mo: “…”

Xi Mo replied with a smile, “Mm, she can’t hear it anyway. Xi Mo is only pretending to be cold and noble anyway.”

Feng Tangtang said seriously, “Then again, you look very young Ruan Ruan. You don’t look like someone approaching 30 at all. It’s also the same for Sister Xi. Maybe both of you are the type that looks younger. Brother Gu also doesn’t look like he is over 30. He looks very handsome and young. I couldn’t believe it when he told me he was approaching 40. I only believed it when he took out his ID card. I should have taken a picture of him. Next time, I will show you a picture. However, the actual person looks better than his picture. Ah, Ruan Ruan, you will be in the same show as Sister Xi soon. You will definitely see him then.”

Reaching this topic, she became especially excited; her eyebrows seemed like they were about to fly off in happiness. “You’re going to film again, and it’s actually with Sister Xi. I… I’m so happy. We can work together then.”

Xi Mo responded, “… Tangtang, you have already said that a hundred times on our way here.”

Feng Tangtang started feeling embarrassed. She pointed to the menu and said, “You order first. Order whatever you like.”

Xi Mo lowered her head and looked at the various pictures of seafood on the menu: “…”

She felt her stomach, no, Ruan Yesheng’s stomach cramp just by looking at the pictures.

Of course, the stomach cramp she was feeling was just a psychological one. Ruan Yesheng’s stomach had no problems at all. However, Xi Mo’s original body was severely allergic to seafood and couldn’t touch it at all. Her trauma was especially strong, seeing seafood was like seeing cockroaches. Despite exchanging bodies, she still avoided seafood as a conditioned reflex. 

“You guys pick.” Xi Mo pushed the menu back to them and said, “I don’t really mind whichever, since I like them all.”

Feng Tangtang and Yan Tinghuan each ordered a few dishes and also ordered some cans of beer. Xi Mo’s heart trembled as she looked at the dishes of prawn, crab, shellfish, etc. being placed on the table. Yan Tinghuan, who was by her side, poured her a large glass of beer and was ready to clink glasses with her. “Cheers!”

Xi Mo: “…”

She hated drinking beer. It was too rough, and she got drunk easily. The most she would drink was a bit of red wine.

On the other hand, Ruan Yesheng loved seafood and also drank beer. Ruan Yesheng liked whatever she hated. She must have owed Ruan Yesheng in her previous life.

Xi Mo felt a huge headache thinking about it. She could only bite the bullet and continue acting. She held up the glass with a smile and said, “Cheers.”

“Wait, me too!” Feng Tangtang put down the crab legs and joined in, “Praying that Ruan Ruan becomes famous!”

A clink sounded as their three cups met. Xi Mo drank a mouthful, swallowing it down while suppressing the disgust in her heart.

Yan Tinghuan deshelled a prawn and passed it to Xi Mo very considerately, saying, “Here Ruan Ruan, eat this.”

Xi Mo turned her head and looked at the prawn: “…”

“You won’t eat it even after I deshelled it.” Yan Tinghuan looked pretty hurt.

“…” Xi Mo took the prawn.

She wanted to call the police or perhaps call an ambulance in advance.

Feng Tangtang spoke while eating, “Ruan Ruan, you used to be so diligent, peeling the prawns and even giving us some to eat. What happened to you today? Do you have no appetite? Hey, Ruan Ruan? Why is your hand trembling so much?”

Xi Mo took one bite of the prawn before she put down her trembling hands. She said with a smile, “It might be a residual effect after staying in the hospital. My hands tremble sometimes and are not convenient for peeling prawns.”

“Should we go to the hospital again and ask about it?” Yan Tinghuan looked quite concerned.

Xi Mo replied, “No worries, I just have to take it slowly. But the doctor did remind me before I got discharged that I should avoid certain foods. The doctor mentioned that I should eat less seafood, and avoid smoking, drinking, eating spicy food, etc.”

Feng Tangtang got a shock. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier? Then I wouldn’t… wouldn’t have ordered seafood. What should we do? We even drank beer just now.”

Xi Mo acted like she didn’t care and said with a gentle voice, “You’ve already booked the place, wouldn’t I be ruining the mood if I said it? I just have to eat less. I like seafood anyway.”

… She wanted to vomit!

Feng Tangtang hurriedly said ‘how can we do this’, and quickly ordered some light, non-seafood dishes and fresh juice. Yan Tinghuan laughed. Xi Mo wished she could peel Yan Tinghuan’s skin as she watched her peel the prawns.

It was fortunate that she was using Ruan Yesheng’s body now. All she had to do was overcome the hurdle in her heart, as there were no actual effects on her body. She would be laying in the hospital bed already if she was in her original body.

Feng Tangtang was very drunk after the dinner gathering. Xi Mo once thought that she looked like an obedient girl and the type that wouldn’t drink. Who knew that she would drink so much in one go. When they were going down the stairs, she imitated the Titanic pose, shouting that she wanted to fly down and even wanted Jack to hug her. Fortunately, Xi Mo managed to catch her. Otherwise, this piece of candy would definitely become crushed candy if she fell down.

Yan Tinghuan helped the drunk Feng Tangtang down the stairs. Feng Tangtang was still singing loudly, “The big river flows to the east, the stars in the sky pay homage to the Big Dipper”. All the customers on the first floor were looking at the three of them. Xi Mo’s face was turning green, but she immediately calmed down when she remembered that it wasn’t her own face. She went out coldly and nobly.

Yan Tinghuan also drank quite a bit. However, she had a good alcohol tolerance and wasn’t too visibly drunk. Xi Mo didn’t dare to drink. She didn’t drink much in the beginning as she was only putting on an act. Afterwards, she received the ‘no drinking card’ from the hospital. Whenever she acted like she wanted to drink, she would be stopped by Feng Tangtang. Feng Tangtang reminded her to follow the doctor’s advice.

Xi Mo was afraid that Feng Tangtang and Yan Tinghuan would have an accident if they drove drunk, so she drove and sent them back. She had never served as the driver for anyone before in her life and even had to serve two drunkards. She was on the brink of collapse by the time she returned home.

The curtain was drawn open halfway and the moonlight quietly illuminated the living room floor. Xi Mo’s shadow fell within the moonlight. It was very quiet.

She poured herself a cup of water, sat on the sofa, and gazed outside the window while slowly drinking.

She didn’t have many real friends. She had so many activities she had to attend to, and when work finally ended, she would be back home alone. When she went out with Feng Tangtang and Yan Tinghuan earlier today, she actually experienced some liveliness, which she could reminisce about despite how noisy and irritating it had been. It was especially so now that she was sitting at home after all the liveliness. A greater sense of loneliness could be felt, causing her to actually miss the liveliness a little.

No matter how lively it was, it belonged to Ruan Yesheng.

Although she stepped into the liveliness by accident, it was ultimately not her life.

However, she sometimes felt that Ruan Yesheng was also quite lonely. She wasn’t sure if she was thinking too much, but she felt that Ruan Yesheng was physically present in the excitement but also not.

Otherwise, why did no one come and see her when she was hospitalised, nor did anyone contact her?

Xi Mo took out her phone and saw that Ruan Yesheng’s number was on the top of her message inbox. Ruan Yesheng was the last person to message her today, asking how her interview went. Xi Mo felt that Lin Qitang would definitely tell her, so she didn’t reply.

Xi Mo put down the cup. While sitting in the moonlight, she sent Ruan Yesheng a message: “Passed.”

After a period of time, she finished her cup of water but Ruan Yesheng still hadn’t responded.

Xi Mo stood up, suddenly feeling displeased. She stared at the phone with a cold face. Then, she realised that her action seemed like she was waiting for Ruan Yesheng’s reply and felt even more displeased. She switched off her phone in a snap, then turned towards the bathroom for a bath.

Ruan Yesheng didn’t have her phone with her. Lu Qingming came and knocked on her door just now, so she went out of the room and talked to him.

Lu Qingming looked at the haughty-looking woman before him and spoke after some deliberation, “You have been staying in the company recently without going back home. What’s wrong?”

Ruan Yesheng acted very coldly in the company. This was Xi Mo’s usual image, and she had grasped it very well.

She replied calmly, “I don’t want to go back.”

“Did something happen?” Lu Qingming was a little worried. He had obviously been holding back for the past few days and finally came to ask when he could no longer bear it. It was quite remarkable.

Ruan Yesheng was too lazy to raise her eyes as she replied, “I just don’t want to go back. I will stay wherever I wish to stay.”


Footnotes:

[1]The raw chapter came out around 2014.


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2 thoughts on “[AES] Chapter 19: Physically Present In The Excitement But Also Not

  1. smarshum says:

    Thank you. ^^ I really want to read it all the way to the end haha. Maybe I should start learning Chinese?

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  2. jes says:

    Thank you for the chapter..

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