Zhao Tong: “…”

Who was the one that said eating those kinds of barbeque would make you more likely to get cancer?

“Okay, okay, okay. When everyone’s done with filming and the set is getting packed up, we can set off in two different groups.” Wang Cheng said routinely and with ease.

After they all agreed on a time, Su Shen could only return to her hotel room and change her outfit. Although she wasn’t popular, recently memes of her were widely spread online. To avoid being recognised, she wore a cap.

“Su jie, do you want to go out tomorrow?” Xiao Zhou asked while playing with her phone on the sofa. 

Su Shen was tying up her hair and only responded with, “You go have fun tomorrow, I’m going to visit my sister.”

She had no scenes to film tomorrow so Su Shen decided to go to her sister’s house as tomorrow was her nephew’s birthday. Unlike in her past life, the original Su Shen’s sister truly treated her well. Her sister used everything in her power to support Su Shen and protected her from a lot of the unspoken rules of the industry. Su Shen hoped that she would be able to help her sister in some way later on.

“Okay then, you have to be careful later. I saw a lot of paparazzi around today. Especially be careful with Wang Cheng, he’s so popular right now, a lot of paparazzi are definitely secretly tailing him.” At this, Xiao Zhou suddenly thought of something and looked up from her phone, “Actually, I think it’s good if you get close with Wang Cheng. You don’t even need to hype up a cp with him, just getting some of his clout* is enough. Look at that Mu Yao, she’s used almost every single popular young star in the nation, otherwise she definitely wouldn’t be as popular as she is now.”

clout – being famous and having influence

“With my current “acting” reputation, you want me to try to use Wang Cheng’s popularity for attention? Do you want me to be cursed to death by his fans?” Su Shen was rather indifferent. She didn’t want to use or exploit others.

At this, Xiao Zhou seemed to agree, and could only look down and keep playing on her phone.

Wang Cheng called her just as Su Shen was getting ready to leave. She wore a simple strap dress and white T-shirt. Her cap was pulled down low so nobody could see her face clearly.

When she got down to the first floor of the hotel, she saw Wang Cheng standing at the doorway, dressed in all black. His assistant stood in front of him, blocking the view of his face from passers-by. The two of them together looked furtive and especially strange.

“Hey, quickly, let’s go.” Wang Cheng saw her walk over and immediately beckoned to her.

Su Shen pulled down her cap and followed closely behind him. After they left the hotel, they walked into a restaurant, then used the back door to enter an alleyway. Then, they wandered around and finally arrived in front of a BBQ restaurant.

Reservations seemed to have been made already and with the assistant leading, the two of them successfully made their way to a private room on the second floor.

There were a lot of film crews in the area nearby so the waiters were already numb to masked people entering or leaving the restaurant. After seeing so many stars and actors, the sense of novelty was gone.

But when they entered the private room and Wang Cheng removed his face mask, the female server responsible for taking their order suddenly screamed.  

“Wang Cheng!” She ran over in excitement and shakily took a pen out of her pocket, “Can… can you please sign for me?”

“Of course!” Without hesitation, Wang Cheng took the pen and signed his name on her shirt.

The female server was still too excited to control herself. Then she saw Su Shen and she calmed down immediately, as if a basin of water had been poured over her head. She even glanced over at Su Shen frequently, with a strange look in her eyes.

After ordering, Wang Cheng made sure to close the curtains on the windows, “A paparazzi has been following me around for more than half a year. Now, I’m not even brave enough to open the curtains at home.”  

Su Shen laughed in response. Suddenly, the door opened and a huge group of people walked in. They were basically all actors and principal staff from the film crew. Li Hao seemed to have invited as many people as possible.

“Sit, sit, sit. Wang Cheng’s treating us today, do your best!” Li Hao yelled at the top of his lungs.

The atmosphere in the room heated up immediately. The large table was soon filled with people. Su Shen had someone sitting on either side. One was the film crew’s female project planner. Surprisingly, the other was Xie Yan.

“Hao ge, you’re trying to make me break the bank!” Wang Cheng clutched at his chest with his hands, as if his heart was hurt. Everyone laughed.  

“As if, you earn tens of millions of RMB with every production. How much can a meal for all of us cost!” Li Hao said as he grabbed bottles of alcohol from the floor and placed them on the table.

At this, Wang Cheng felt wronged. He immediately looked towards Xie Yan, who was dressed casually. “That’s just because Yan ge doesn’t act in TV dramas. I heard that Jin Nianzhi’s production team offered him a hundred million RMB and he refused. What we earn is just mosquito’s meat in comparison.”

The male actors in the film crew all had different images and career paths so there were no conflicts of interest. This meant that they talked without scheming or mind games. After all, the subjects they talked about were already public knowledge.

Since the topic turned to Xie Yan, everyone turned to look at him. However, he kept his head down and only looked at his phone. It was already a surprise that he agreed to come, everyone wanted to see what he looked like when he grilled kebabs.

“Xie Yan’s just lazy. He only acts in a maximum of two films a year! Sometimes, he doesn’t even attend the promotional tours. You expect him to act in idol dramas? He doesn’t even have a girlfriend! Hahaha!” Li Hao seemed to be close to Xie Yan so he made fun of him freely.

When they heard that he was single, some of the female workers blushed and glanced at him. Then, Fan Meng, who still had light makeup on, suddenly pulled out her phone. “You guys don’t move. I’m going to take a picture and post it on Weibo later.”

It was allowed for pictures of the film crew’s social gatherings to be posted on Weibo. Some workers asked for their faces to be blurred out before posting. Fan Meng agreed and turned so her back was facing Xie Yan. She made a peace sign and took a picture of everyone at the table.

In no time, all the food was served. Li Hao ordered some more cases of alcohol, unafraid of getting drunk later.

After they started drinking alcohol, everyone started talking about anything and everything. Some even complained about other artists in the industry. Su Shen grilled two lamb kebabs for herself, then noticed that Xie Yan hadn’t really grilled anything.

After a pause, she handed one of her grilled lamb kebabs to him, “Do you want this?”

She then bit a chunk of lamb off her other lamb kebab, without any attempt at maintaining her image. Next to her, Xie Yan looked at the kebab in her hand, slightly shocked. Instead of taking it, he looked towards the raw eggplants still on the table.

“Do you want to grill the eggplant?” Su Shen thought he didn’t know how to grill, so she asked kindly, “Do you need me to help you?”

Xie Yan turned his head and saw her with a lamb kebab still in her mouth. His lips parted slightly. “Okay.”

Su Shen considered the fact that he might not have eaten this sort of thing before, so it was normal that he didn’t know how to grill it. She took two eggplants and began to grill them.

“Xie Yan, do you eat chicken drumstick?” On his other side, Fan Meng attentively placed a drumstick in Xie Yan’s bowl without even waiting for his answer.

“Thank you, I don’t eat meat.” Xie Yan gave the drumstick back to her.

In response, Fan Meng glanced at Su Shen, who was still grilling the eggplants. She looked rather unhappy but turned back around and didn’t say anything else.  

After she finished grilling the eggplants, Su Shen gave both to Xie Yan. Then she started grilling corn for herself and sprinkled on some cumin.

Xie Yan took a bite of the eggplant and it didn’t taste bad. Then, he looked towards her cob of corn.

Su Shen noticed the direction of his gaze and tentatively passed him the corn.

Xie Yan: “Thank you.”

Su Shen: “…”

After that, Su Shen didn’t bother to take care of him anymore and ate everything she grilled herself. Li Hao and his friends all drank dozens of bottles of alcohol but none of them seemed to be too drunk.

Time passed, and the workers began leaving one after another. Su Shen left with them.

Back in her hotel room, she took a shower. Some of the smoky smell from the barbecue remained. Then coincidentally, Liu jie called her.

“Hello?” She dove under her blankets.

“You went out for dinner with the film crew today?” Liu jie’s voice sounded calm.

Su Shen thought Xiao Zhou told her, so she didn’t really pay attention, “En, what about it?”

Liu jie: “Nothing much, it has nothing to do with you anyway. Just don’t pay it any attention.”

What she said confused Su Shen. Liu jie only said a few more sentences before she hung up.

Su Shen thought of something and immediately logged onto Weibo. She discovered that the number one trending topic on hot search was #XieYanFanMeng#.

Fan Meng had added a heart between her and Xie Yan in the group picture she had just posted to blur out the face of one of the workers. Before she had just been holding up a peace sign, but the heart was in the middle of her two fingers, and it caused a commotion online. The netizens went crazy, especially Xie Yan’s fans. They even dug up Fan Meng’s black history from years ago.

Netizen A: The plastic surgery dog is out to use someone else’s popularity again [vomit]

Netizen B: I’m begging Ms. Fan to please spare my hubby, choose someone else to use for hype!

Netizen C: The film hasn’t even been released in theatres yet and she’s already starting? This isn’t even the angle the film crew would choose for promotion.

Netizen D: Look at the picture. My hubby had his head down the whole time. He obviously didn’t want to take the picture with her and didn’t want to pay attention to the plastic surgery dog. Only plastic surgery dog was there hyping by herself. Also, who’s the pretty girl sitting on my hubby’s other side?

Netizen E: Although I really want to see more of my hubby’s selfies and pictures, I don’t want to see them if they’re from people trying to use him for clout. [vomit]

Netizen F: “Is the girl next to Xie Yan, Su Shen? Hahaha, even though I really dislike Ms. Fan, isn’t Su Shen’s acting going to be crushed by Fan Meng?

Netizen G: Carrying away my Cheng ge, and taking Li Hao along as well. Thank you, Ms. Fan, for sparing them [90-degree bow]

It was clear to everyone what exactly Fan Meng wanted to do. Such an obvious heart in the middle. If it wasn’t on purpose, her EQ would be very low. But who could have access to such valuable resources their whole career in the entertainment industry if they had low EQ?

It wasn’t any of her business anyways, so Su Shen just scrolled for a while. Just as she was about to sleep, a message came in on WeChat.

Wang Cheng: You should be prepared. I just received word that Fan Meng’s publicity team is about to buy a water army to draw the public opinion and hate onto you instead.

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