Came Back Early

“But, that’s too direct. There should be a buffer period,” said Yao Yin.

She had the typical mindset of doing publicity stunts in the entertainment industry, but Su Shen was really tired of all the hype. It wasn’t good to have too much hype. Wherever she went, people were secretly taking photos of her. Some passersby liked to take pictures of her when filming and leak them online too. She didn’t even dare to talk more than necessary with Zheng Tong, afraid that someone would photograph it.

“I need to discuss this with Xie Yan,” Su Shen said. 

Hearing this, Yao Yin naturally didn’t say anything further and left after exchanging a few words. She had other matters to attend to.

Su Shen naturally wouldn’t discuss this with Xie Yan, since he was indifferent about such matters. But, she didn’t want to continue with the publicity stunts. It was definitely not a good idea to say this to Yao Yin right now, considering that they were still getting to know each other. Instead, she planned to let Xie Yan discuss it with He Hua, since He Hua’s familiar with Xie Yan’s personality. This way, she could avoid rejecting Yao Yin outright. 

In the evening, Su Shen gave her dad a call and bashfully mentioned the dinner invitation from Xie Yan’s dad. Her dad readily agreed, thinking it was about time they met. They decided to set the meeting on the day of the Dragon Boat Festival.

With everything packed together, Su Shen didn’t say much more about it and simply just informed Xie Yan about the matter. He said that he would come back in a few days. Su Shen told him not to rush, as there were still many days left. However, she had a feeling that Xie Yan might not listen to her. 

The drama was only 35 episodes, so it was soon going to finish airing. On the 16th, the day Su Shen wrapped up filming, the drama had already aired its third-to-last episode, and the viewership had reached nearly the peak. The drama was practically trending almost every day, and Yao Yin mentioned that the quality of scripts offered to her had improved significantly. Her remuneration had also increased to 450,000 RMB per episode, with some reaching as high as 500,000 RMB. However, Yao Yin did not accept any more idol dramas for her, only accepting some endorsements. 

On the day Su Shen wrapped up with filming, it was only she whose scenes were done. The main leads still weren’t. The supporting female lead died early. For her final scene, Su Shen spent a long time delving deep into the character. Perhaps to match the storyline, there was no scorching sun that day. Instead, the sky was covered with dark clouds, as if it was about to rain at any moment. 

The previous gunfight scene had already been filmed, so this time they only needed to shoot the scene where the supporting female lead got shot while saving the male lead.

With a blood pack in her mouth, she rested as the makeup artist continued to touch up her makeup. The props team was busy tidying up the set when the director approached her with a rolled-up script in hand.

“Su Shen, you need to relax. Don’t be nervous. Act in your most natural state. If this take NGs, we can film it again. Definitely don’t be nervous, okay?”

Seeing the serious expression on the director’s face, it was hard for anyone not to feel nervous. Su Shen smiled and mumbled with the blood pack in her mouth, “Got it.”

The old desolate streets were stained with blood, and the debris of broken street stalls was scattered on the ground, with a few candied hawthorn skewers rolling on the ground. The sky was covered with dark clouds, and a chilly south wind swept through the desolate streets, giving an eerie and sinister atmosphere. 

All departments were prepared and ready. Su Shen’s hair was intentionally disheveled. As she and Zheng Tong got into position, surrounded by closely positioned cameras, she still felt a hint of nervousness. For any character, the first and last scenes were crucial and left the most lasting impression on the audience. 

“Okay, all departments ready, action!”

As the director’s words fell, the blower fans placed on the street began to blow vigorously, causing the banners on the street to flutter in all directions. Coupled with the dark clouds in the sky, it seemed as if a thunderstorm was about to descend at any moment. 

“Stop! Don’t run away!”

A group of pursuers chased relentlessly from behind, gunshots echoing throughout the street. Su Shen, while wearing high heels, was pulled frantically by Zheng Tong as they dashed forward. Zheng Tong would turn around and fire shots at the pursuing soldiers from time to time.

“I… I can’t run anymore!” Su Shen’s steps began to slow down, gasping for breath as she looked at Zheng Tong.

“Do you want to die?!” Zheng Tong glared at her, then turned back and fired a shot before pulling Su Shen and running forward frantically. 

The cameraman followed after her as she ran. Parting her mouth, Su Shen turned to look at the pursuers behind her. As if something caught her eye, her pupils dilated. After a momentary pause, she abruptly turned around and shielded Zheng Tong. Her body trembled as she placed her hand over her chest, quietly bursting the blood pack. The vivid red liquid spread from her chest to her palm, and her entire body began to fall backward.

“Mu Mian!”

Zheng Tong widened his eyes in disbelief as he supported her. Immediately, he raised his hand and fired a shot, taking down one of the pursuers. Then, he quickly helped Su Shen up and hurriedly led her into an alley ahead. 

Navigating through the winding alleys, where twists and turns seemed endless, he had managed to lose sight of the pursuers. He then carefully placed Su Shen on the ground and leaned her against the wall.

As the crimson liquid trickled from the corner of her mouth, Su Shen parted her eyes slightly as she leaned against the wall. She slowly extended her hand which was stained with blood. Zheng Tong was taken aback before reaching out to grasp it.

“I… I saved you… once again…” Her vermilion lips curled into a bewitching yet melancholic smile. 

The production crew had prepared a sprinkler truck, and at this time, it began sprinkling water, as if it was pouring rain from the sky. The patter of rain flowed from her forehead to the corners of her lips, creating an imperceivable beauty. 

Zheng Tong tightly held her hand and hesitated for a few moments before swallowing hard, his eyes turning bloodshot. “I… I will definitely save you!”

Just at this moment, a thunderous roar echoed in the sky, and it really did begin to pour heavily. The director didn’t call for a stop, and Su Shen forgot to pause as well. With half-opened eyes and heavy breathing, she smiled. “You… You’re not the kind of person who deceives oneself.”

The heavy rain seemed to have washed away her makeup, and the color of her vermillion lips faded. Rain trickled down her fair neck and reached her chest, but it couldn’t wash away that patch of crimson.

“Don’t talk anymore, I’ll go and take you to a doctor!” Zheng Tong said, immediately reaching out to support her shoulder.

Leaning there still, Su Shen looked at him insipidly with a perplexed expression, her breath barely discernible. “Do you think… anyone will remember me?”

“Yes! Definitely!” Zheng Tong grasped her hand tightly, unable to distinguish whether it was rain or tears on his face. He simply stared at her, this woman who was obsessed with money as if it were her life. 

Looking at the man in front of her, Su Shen smiled. Raindrops slid through the crevices of her lips as she gently moved them. “But… I… I don’t like… being a hero…”

Looking as she slowly closed her eyes, the thunder in the sky continued to rumble. Her last words echoed in his ears. The alluring and bewitching face before him shed its facade, revealing a pureness that stirred a sense of empathy within people. 

Zheng Tong pounded his fist on the ground, his body already soaked by the rain. The camera pulled back until the director called “cut,” and his assistant immediately came over with an umbrella and a dry towel for him. 

Xiao Zhou quickly came over, holding an umbrella. Su Shen opened her eyes and looked at the sky full of rain. She was still in low spirits as warm tears mixed with rain trickled down from the corners of her eyes. Draping the towel over her shoulders, she walked toward the constructed studio. The director was sitting in front of the monitor speaking with a man dressed in black. Seeing him, Su Shen sniffled and walked over to them. 

Seeing her soaked appearance and her seeming to be immersed in the emotions of the scene, Xie Yan immediately took a few steps forward and embraced her in his arms. His large hand gently caressed her damp hair as he softly whispered, “It’s alright now.”

Smelling the familiar scent from him, Su Shen’s nerves finally found a sense of belonging. Realizing that there were still many people around, she quickly raised her head and looked around with a hint of embarrassment. 

The other crew members carried on with their tasks as if nothing had happened, but occasionally, their gazes would be directed in their direction. Only the director, sitting in front of the monitor, spoke frankly, “This take passed. I didn’t expect you two to cooperate so well. I thought it would take us the whole day.”

At that moment, Su Shen didn’t think about any acting techniques. She simply let herself be immersed in the character and went with the flow. Even now, she still felt terrible. The feeling of being fully immersed in the role was truly difficult to bear. 

“It’s all thanks to director’s guidance,” Su Shen said earnestly as she wiped the rain off her face with the towel.

Hearing this, the director simply smiled. “Even a talented director needs exceptional actors to bring out their potential. It was your own ability that made it possible. Alright, go change your clothes quickly, or Xie Yan might start cursing.”

At that, several staff members around them couldn’t help but laugh. Nevertheless, they all envied Su Shen. Her current fame and success, although partly attributed to her talent, were undeniably intertwined with her relationship with Xie Yan. Being able to find a boyfriend who could pave the way for her was definitely a fortunate opportunity.

Just at this time, Ding Yan, who was sitting and reading the script over there, cast a displeased look at Su Shen. It seemed that she regarded Su Shen as someone who had merely relied on a man to achieve success and fame.

Teased by the director, Su Shen forced a laugh and walked to the lounge area. Once inside the lounge, her spirits remained low. She forgot that Xie Yan was also present and proceeded to the partitioned area to change into clean clothes, lost in her own thoughts.

When she came out and saw the person sitting on the sofa, she couldn’t help but be startled, “What are you doing here?”

Xie Yan: “……..”

He leaned back on the sofa and said nothing, just kept staring at her.

Su Shen rubbed her damp hair. As if realizing something, she placed the changed clothes into her bag in a daze.

The lounge was quiet. Looking at her quietly tidying up her belongings, Xie Yan suddenly took a step forward and wrapped his arms around her waist, burying into her neck and taking a deep breath. “It’s just acting, it’s not real.”

The familiar sensations of his breath made Su Shen blink, and her mood seemed to have improved slightly, but before she could regain her senses, she found herself pressed against the wall. A large hand suddenly rested on her thigh, giving a light pat on her tender bum. “Shouldn’t we settle the matter from last time now?”

As their eyes met, Su Shen suddenly remembered the prank she played on him the last time. She immediately tensed up, and all the low spirits vanished in an instant before saying cautiously, “I… I was just joking with you.”

“Oh? A joke?” Xie Yan narrowed his eyes slightly, his voice deepening. “Then, how about I play a joke on you too?”

“No!” Su Shen immediately covered her mouth with her hand, staring at him with wide eyes, and whispered, “You… you can’t do this. It was you who didn’t keep your word.”

Her clear eyes reflected his figure. Xie Yan leaned in and whispered into her ear, “En? How about I don’t move this time?”

Blushing, Su Shen shook her head vigorously, refusing to believe him. She tightly covered her mouth with both hands, afraid that he would seek revenge on her.

Seeing her nervous and guarded expression, Xie Yan chuckled and caressed her head. He smiled and walked over to the table to pick up his phone. “Let’s go. I never hold grudges.”

Su Shen: “……..”

Only an idiot would believe his words, but Su Shen said nothing further. After some playful banter, she completely stepped out of the role. It was still raining heavily outside, and there was an unwritten rule in the industry that when someone played a dead person, they would receive a red envelope. Thus, the assistant director gave her a red envelope. It was a symbolic gesture so it was just a small amount. 

As they were leaving, Xue Zhixin hinted to Su Shen to remember to invite her to their wedding in the future. Su Shen pretended to be calm and said “sure” before packing her things and getting into the car.

The chauffeur was driving in the front with Xiao Zhou sitting at the front as well. Su Shen sat in the rear and looked at the person beside her as if she thought of something. “Why did you come back so early?”

The Dragon Boat Festival was the day after tomorrow. Why did Xie Yan come back a day earlier?

The heavy rain was pouring outside, relentlessly hitting the car windows. Xie Yan leaned back against the sofa and looked at his phone. Upon hearing her words, he put his arm around her shoulder and whispered, “I came back because I missed you.”

Xiao Zhou: “…….”

She clutched her heart, trying her best to control her expression. She couldn’t handle it. Why is she so excited even when eating dog food?!

Su Shen glanced at him unhappily. They weren’t the only people in the car.

“After I finish shooting this movie, let’s go look at houses. What kind of house do you like?” Xie Yan suddenly turned to look at her in all seriousness.

Su Shen frowned and had a puzzled expression. They hadn’t even decided whether they wanted to get married yet, and he was already talking about looking at houses?

Xiao Zhou, who was sitting in the front, felt like she had stumbled upon some exclusive news. However, she tried her best to control her expression and dared not make a sound.

“I don’t want to go and see. You haven’t even proposed to me, so why should I go and look at houses with you?” Su Shen turned away, closed her eyes, and leaned back to rest.

Seeing her leaning there without saying a word, Xie Yan leaned in and tightly embraced her waist, his voice deep, “So, are you saying that as long as I propose, you will marry me?”

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