Chapter 21: She Wanted To Give Her a Good Start
On the internet, people were still talking about the show and the more they talked, the more hype there was. The day set by the crew to start filming arrived. Yan Tinghuan bought the tickets. Xi Mo and her first flew to Yiwu, then rode a car to Hengdian.
After losing the company’s protection, Xi Mo only had the unreliable looking manager, Yan Tinghuan, and felt extremely desolate. There was no private car to pick her up nor bodyguards following by the side. There were also no camera flashes from reporters nor enthusiastic fans to see her at the airport. Xi Mo’s heart was crumbling. In the past, the frenzied pursuit of the media and fans brought her a lot of trouble. Now that it was suddenly all gone, she was still unable to fully adapt to the desolation brought by the contrast.
The weather was hot. Yan Tinghuan enthusiastically bought two cans of cold beer and handed one to Xi Mo. Hengdian Film City was very big. Yan Tinghuan dragged Xi Mo to wander around under the hot sun, looking here and there. Xi Mo was angry enough that she was about to get a heatstroke.
She felt unhappy in her heart, but couldn’t express it openly on her face. Ruan Yesheng and Yan Tinghuan were good friends. To Xi Mo, they were both inferior and no different from each other. Since they were the same, how could one possibly get angry with the other? Xi Mo felt that this didn’t fit Ruan Yesheng’s character. Although all she wanted to do was throw her down and strangle her, Xi Mo still drank the beer together with Yan Tinghuan, continuing to act on the surface. “Tinghuan, the weather is so hot, let’s not walk around anymore. Do you actually know where the hotel is?”
She had come to Hengdian countless times, and was always picked up by a car before her feet touched the ground. When was there ever a need for her to worry about these things? But it was strange. The navigation map on her phone couldn’t find the specific location of the hotel, and the taxi driver unexpectedly said that he had never heard of it either. She didn’t know which unknown corner Lin Qitang had arranged their accommodations. According to the landmarks described by the staff through the phone, they should already be nearby when they got off the taxi, but they just couldn’t find it.
Yan Tinghuan replied heartlessly as she shrugged, “I don’t know. I’m not familiar with Hengdian.”
Xi Mo: “…”
She was intolerant to heat and only felt her temples twitching. She could faint any moment now. “Then why did you drag me around like you knew the way? I thought that you knew better than me.”
Yan Tinghuan responded, “I felt that this place was interesting, so I played around, treating it as a tour. Why, you didn’t like it, Ruan Ruan? You have to tell me if you don’t like it. How would I know if you don’t tell me?”
Xi Mo: “…”
What kind of manager are you!?
You’re simply torturing me!
Yan Tinghuan put her arm around Xi Mo’s shoulder and said with a smile, “It’s okay, we can just ask for directions. It’s just a hotel, we can definitely find it.”
The weather was very hot and they were covered in sweat. Xi Mo’s heart was saying ‘move your hand’ as she calmly moved her body away. “The people from the crew’s side didn’t send someone to pick us up?”
Yan Tinghuan pouted, “I tried to fight for you, but Director Lin’s side said that they were too busy and couldn’t arrange someone to come fetch us, so they asked us to go there ourselves. The people from the crew probably went to get the other actors. After all, there are many actors this time, why would they spare time for two small fries like us?”
Xi Mo lowered her head and agreed. Now that she was using Ruan Yesheng’s identity, they truly were nothing. They were able to get the role only because they used Xi Mo’s name. The funny thing was that she had hugged her own thigh to enter the show. She had to recognize the reality of the situation and be more patient if she wanted to do well in the crew. After thinking about it, she felt more relieved. She calmly walked forward, politely asking a few passersby and learned that the hotel was newly opened. Many people still didn’t know about it yet and the GPS had yet to add it, which was why they couldn’t find it.
Xi Mo asked for the detailed route to the hotel and finally reached their destination, exhausted. When they arrived, she saw Feng Tangtang waiting in the lobby. When Feng Tangtang saw them, she quickly walked over to welcome them.
“Ruan Ruan!” Feng Tangtang happily gave Xi Mo a big and sweet hug.
Xi Mo already hated bodily contact with others. Now, she was full of sweat and felt like vomiting because of the hot weather, so she naturally felt even more uncomfortable. However, she couldn’t hurt Feng Tangtang’s heart either, so she bit the bullet and hugged her. Her heart felt like exploding.
Ruan Yesheng, just what kind of sin did you commit!?
“Tangtang, why are you here?” Xi Mo felt strange, “At this time, shouldn’t you be following your “Sister Xi’?”
Feng Tangtang was her assistant, so she should be by Ruan Yesheng’s side now.
“Sister Xi is staying here.” Feng Tangtang smiled and said, “We are all here. After receiving Tinghuan’s message, I learned that you two would be arriving soon. Since there was nothing to do at the moment, I thought I would wait here and see if I could meet you guys. I actually got to see you two.”
When Xi Mo heard this, she frowned slightly.
When she was filming in the past, she would never stay in the same hotel as the crew. There were too many people, and for various reasons, she always got Lu Qingming to pick another hotel for herself. She was a first class actor, so they naturally held her with great importance. If she wished to stay separately from the crew, they would give her special care. It was like this for most first class actors. However, most other actors don’t get to choose. In order to facilitate efficient and faster arrangements and transfers between crew members to ensure the filming progress, most people stayed in the same hotel.
According to Lu Qingming’s character, there was no need to remind him, and he would properly handle everything according to Xi Mo’s past practices, including the hotel arrangements.
But now, things weren’t going like she expected. So that woman, Ruan Yesheng, had decided to stay here? If she asked for it, Lu Qingming would agree.
“Your Sister Xi didn’t seem to stay in the same hotel as the crew in the past?” After speaking, Xi Mo felt something and looked sideways.
A woman walked over slowly from the other side of the lobby. Her straight, long hair hung down like noodles, and she was tall with long legs. She wore a dignified, custom made long skirt and high heels. It was hard to find any flaws in her appearance or temperament. She could stand anywhere and still look like diamond, shining so bright she dazzled people’s eyes.
Xi Mo: “…”
It was inexplicably strange seeing the scene of her own face and her own familiar figure walking towards her direction. The “good temper” she had practiced these past few days almost broke instantly.
Other than Lu Qingming, there was another tall and unknown man by Ruan Yesheng’s side. His expression was grim and he looked unfriendly, standing there.
At that moment, someone came over. Lu Qingming stopped to talk to the person who came, probably discussing something.
Seeing this, Ruan Yesheng also stopped. She turned to look at Xi Mo, squinted her eyes, hooking them up to give Xi Mo a smile.
Xi Mo: “…”
This woman was wearing her skin. With no one watching by the side, she actually dared to be so coquettish. Her reputation and morals were at risk.
For many days and nights, she had secretly hypnotised herself to accept their state of exchanging bodies. But now, she still couldn’t overcome this threshold.
Unexpectedly, Ruan Yesheng looked like she was enjoying it a lot.
Xi Mo looked away and pretended that she didn’t see her.
Feng Tangtang did not notice this and continued speaking, “I also felt that it was strange. Sister Xi was actually willing to stay in the hotel arranged by the crew. I heard that it was also her who made this suggestion.”
“Is that so?” Xi Mo sneered.
“That’s right.” Feng Tangtang was someone who doesn’t scheme, how would she know about the mysteries regarding this? She continued, “But who cares? I’m just happy about the fact that I can stay in the same hotel as you guys.”
Yan Tinghuan smiled and said, “Which floor are you staying on, Tangtang? We are in room 0825. If you have nothing to do at night, come down and play Dou Di Zhu with us.”
“Sure, sure. I’m in room 1219. Feng Tangtang nodded her head.
“Feng Tangtang.” A magnificent female voice sounded.
Xi Mo’s veins were almost popping out in anger. This woman used her skin and voice to pretend and act. Ruan Yesheng could trick others, but she was able to clearly hear the cheerfulness under her faked cold voice.
Feng Tangtang was shocked by the call and immediately looked over.
Ruan Yesheng stood there with a very indifferent expression. She beckoned Tangtang over.
Feng Tangtang was obviously very reluctant, but she had no choice, judging by the situation. She bid Xi Mo goodbye, saying that they would play tonight, then she left with her short legs, like a corgi, running to her “Sister Xi” like a cheerful child. Ruan Yesheng seemed to have told Feng Tangtang something plainly, causing her to nod her head in a hurry.
After Lu Qingming was done talking, he walked inside briskly, followed by the unknown man and Feng Tangtang. Ruan Yesheng twisted and turned her waist seriously. When she was done, she looked at Xi Mo. The light in her eyes flickered, and her smile was just enough for Xi Mo to see. Xi Mo felt a chill. She didn’t know what this coquettish freak was planning. Following that, she saw the smile on Ruan Yesheng’s face disappearing. With a cold face, Ruan Yesheng walked away while putting on extremely great airs.
Xi Mo: “…”
Was she giving me a demonstration!?
Did I really walk like this in the past!?
She didn’t learn it well at all! I asked her to act as me well, but her preparations as an actress got eaten by dogs!
Hugging her arms, Xi Mo said, while pretending to be disdainful, “What’s wrong with this ‘Xi Mo’? I don’t think she walked like this in the past. She’s acting so pretentious. Is her brain not working recently?”
Yan Tinghuan made a confused sound and said, “I don’t think so? Based on my understanding, hasn’t Xi Mo always been walking so glamorously?”
Xi Mo: “…”
Yan Tinghuan looked into her eyes and smiled meaningfully, “Anyway, there’s no mirror by her side when she is walking. She is putting on so many airs it could reach the sky, so it’s normal if Xi Mo doesn’t know that she is like this. Ruan Ruan, let’s not learn from her. We should learn well.”
Xi Mo: “…”
“I think I’m having a heat stroke. I will go to the room and take a nap first.” Xi Mo only felt that her head hurt and decided to avoid the plague named Yan Tinghuan.
According to her speculation, Yan Tinghuan will call Feng Tangtang down to play at night. The two of them always make a ruckus and love to toss her about the most. There was a 200% chance they would choose her room. At that time, it wouldn’t be good of her to reject and she wouldn’t be able to be at peace. She might as well go to sleep now, beforehand, so that it will be easier for her to deal with it later.
“You really have a heat stroke?” Yan Tinghuan looked at Xi Mo’s face and only saw that she had a serious look. Her cheeks were slightly rosy and made her look a little drunk. Yan Tinghuan’s tone couldn’t help but turn more serious.
“Can it be that I’m faking it?” Xi Mo gave her a glance and walked towards the lift with slightly swaying steps. She waved her hand and said, “I’m going. You can walk about, but don’t go under the sun or you will end up like me. And don’t wake me up for dinner. I want to sleep.”
Yan Tinghuan didn’t follow after her and watched Xi Mo leave from behind. She smacked her lips and her expression seemed to have mixed feelings.
Other than Ruan Yesheng and Xi Mo themselves, only she knew the big secret of the two of them exchanging bodies. She had a playful heart, and felt that it was interesting seeing such a big celebrity like Xi Mo encountering this kind of situation, so she couldn’t help but play tricks sometimes. Today, she led Xi Mo around a few rounds but did not expect that Xi Mo would get a heat stroke. She also didn’t lose her temper but bore with it all the way here. Yan Tinghuan had gotten a heat stroke before and the feeling was really uncomfortable. It may even take the lives of people with poor physiques.
In the past, she had heard rumours that Xi Mo behaved differently in public. It was said that compared to her goddess-like act, her temper was very bad in private, and she was very hard to please, seemingly like an empress. During the past few days of interaction, she knew that Xi Mo was acting as Ruan Yesheng and that there would be components of disguise in it. But if her temper was really as bad and excessive as the rumours in the circle suggested, she would not be able to act like how she was now.
Enduring was the most uncomfortable thing in the world. It was like going through Lingchi with a blunt knife and was very miserable. There were many people who pushed themselves and others into the abyss of trouble because they weren’t able to endure.
Since she was able to endure on the surface and didn’t go out of line, keeping the big picture in mind, how could she truly be hard to please?
Thinking about this, Yan Tinghuan suddenly felt that it was uninteresting. She went to a nearby pharmacy to buy medicine for heat stroke and went upstairs to knock on Xi Mo’s door. It took a while before Xi Mo opened the door with squinted eyes, her hair and clothes were very neat. In front of outsiders, she really does place great importance in her image, as she paid attention to tidying herself up. This seemed to be caused by her family upbringing, a trait developed since young. No matter what state she was in, she had to look dignified and could not be rude to others.
“What’s wrong?” Her mind was in a mess and Xi Mo forgot her identity as Ruan Yesheng for a moment, as her tone was indifferent.
Yan Tinghuan handed over the medicine in her hand, “Ruan Ruan, take this before you sleep.”
Xi Mo was a little surprised. She wasn’t aware that Yan Tinghuan already knew her true identity. After receiving the medicine, she suddenly felt that even though Yan Tinghuan was unreliable and liked tossing people about, her concern for Ruan Yesheng was real. She deserved to be called a friend. Xi Mo decided to forgive her for a few minutes.
Yan Tinghuan added, “I received the notification just now. The crew will be having a banquet tonight. With your state, you shouldn’t go. I will help you talk to Director Lin and ask for leave.”
Xi Mo frowned. “Tonight? Wasn’t it tomorrow night?”
“There was a sudden change in the arrangements and the date was changed.”
Xi Mo didn’t say anything.
Before the start of filming, it was inevitable that the crew would gather together for a meal. What happened afterwards would be long hours of shooting. By then, the crew members would often see each other, and teamwork was important. The degree of cooperation between members greatly affects the progress of filming. Chinese people like to connect and network through a meal. They eat, drink, and chat aimlessly together, and relationships would be quickly established. From the major actors to the staff behind the scenes, most of them might be unfamiliar with each other and would be working together for the first time. The banquet tonight was to let them familiarise themselves with each other before the filming started. That way, work can proceed more smoothly in the future.
One could see how important the banquet was, and it was indispensable in both participation attitude and practical sense. In the past, Xi Mo would attend every time. She may be indifferent and arrogant, but she was dedicated when working. The crew staff she worked with before generally had a good impression of her.
Xi Mo shook her head, “I will go tonight.”
Yan Tinghuan wanted to dissuade her, “You don’t seem to be in a good state, what if you have to drink later? You’re currently a newcomer at best. If they really want you to drink, it might be hard for you to refuse.”
“It’s okay, I know my limits. This is my first show after so long and is very important, I have to leave people with a good impression. This will also be more convenient for me to work in the future. If I don’t go, people might think badly of me, impacting me in a bad way.” Now that she was in Ruan Yesheng’s body, she was more and more able to consider issues from the perspective of Ruan Yesheng. Even though she had a bad opinion of Ruan Yesheng, maintaining her image is still a basic principle. If Ruan Yesheng was really like what Feng Tangtang had said, longing to and liking to act so much, she would definitely treasure this hard-won opportunity.
For some reason, she wanted to give her a good start. It might be due to her dedication and personal feelings regarding this matter.
“Alright then.” Yan Tinghuan couldn’t dissuade her. She had heard from Ruan Yesheng before that Xi Mo was sometimes very stubborn. Once she decided on something, it was very hard to change it. Just as expected, she could only let Xi Mo have her way. “Sleep first. I will call you before the banquet starts.”
Xi Mo nodded tiredly. She didn’t speak any further and closed the door after taking the medicine.