Xinming watched Shen Chuchu walk out without a hint of remorse. He picked up the contract and threw it to the ground. Did she really think that the company would be unable to carry on without her? Who does she think she is? She wants to become famous but refuses to bend the rules? Only in her dreams!

On that thought, Xinming took out his phone and decided to call over an actress who was far more pretty and obedient.

As expected, she was even willing to do it for free when she heard that it was an advertisement from the Han Group.

As he hung up the phone, Xinming had a thought. Now, this was the right path for a star to begin! Ignorant people like Shen Chuchu could forget about their careers in the entertainment industry.

It wasn’t until Shen Chuchu was hit by a cold gust of wind as she walked out the door that she realized what a stupid thing she had just done. Although she had argued with her manager before, she had never had the guts to escalate it further like that. She felt sure that this time she had completely and utterly offended him.

There were a lot of companies who would use a myriad of ways to pressure their actors. She even remembered that when she signed the initial contract with Mei Jia there was a phrase which said ‘except in special circumstances’. Although the company breached the contract and was at fault, there was nothing she could do.

She could only blame herself for being too enticed by the prospect of being a famous star when she left school three months ago.  Even when she felt that something was not right, she still signed the contract without a second thought.

As she looked up at the company name “Mei Jia Entertainment”, Shen Chuchu’s feelings became more complicated.

Shen Chuchu looked up at the sky and felt as if her dream to become famous had suddenly come to a halt. Although Mei Jia was not a top-ranking company, she knew it was good enough for someone like her with no background.

More importantly, she had even rejected the Han Group! Maybe the air conditioner inside had fried her brain.

It was such an easy route to becoming famous!

She lifted her hands and firmly slapped herself in the face and then told herself to stop having any thoughts of regret. It was too late, she better just go home now and continue to earn money as a “fake quack”.

At that moment, she suddenly remembered the ten thousand yuan. Since she was already outside, she might as well give it back to them. However, she had no cash on herself; if only she could use Alipay* to send the money over. If that didn’t work, she would withdraw the money and deliver it to them. She should have over ten thousand yuan in there from the fortune-telling she did this morning.

*TL-note: Alipay is an online payment platform that is widely used in China. People actually don’t carry cash anymore or even credit cards, they just use Alipay to pay by QR code. Even the poorest street vendors simply scan your phone to receive payment.

Shen Chuchu took out her phone and dialled Secretary Wang’s number.

A little while later, just as she thought that maybe no one would pick up, it finally went through.

Shen Chuchu immediately made it clear who she was and said, “I want to return the ten thousand you left behind last time. Can you tell me if your Alipay account is this phone number?”

Secretary Wang immediately responded, “No, and that money was not mine. It belonged to my boss. You don’t have to return the money. Also, miss, have you been feeling nauseous or sick lately?”

Shen Chuchu replied, “No, but this money……”

Secretary Wang cut off Shen Chuchu and said, “That’s good. I wish you good health.”  

Shen Chuchu frowned at the disconnected call. This was the second time that this had happened. It seemed like they really didn’t want her to return the money. She thought back to the time when the luxury car had almost hit her and remembered the man who was referred to as boss. Although she did not recognise the brand, she could clearly assume that this person was very wealthy.

Shen Chuchu let out a breath and whispered to herself, “No matter, I will keep it myself then.” She then fixed her scarf and called a taxi.

On the other hand, Secretary Wang walked back into Han Xingyan’s office.

“Boss, that lady you almost hit last time, Miss Shen, called again. It seems that she doesn’t have any negative side effects.”

Han Xingyan paused his writing hand and furrowed his handsome brows. “Then why did she call, unless she knows about……”

Without waiting for Han Xingyan to finish his sentence, Secretary Wang already knew what he was about to say and shook his head. “From Miss Shen’s tone, it seemed that she doesn’t know. She just wanted to return that ten thousand to you again but I refused it.”

When Han Xingyan heard this, his impression of Shen Chuchu increased by a small margin and he relaxed. He remembered how scared she was on that day and figured he was overthinking again. “That’s good. By the way, remember to follow up on the jewellery ad. That’s my compensation towards her.”

Naturally, Shen Chuchu was unaware of that conversation. As soon as she returned home, she laid down on the sofa. The capital really was bitter cold during the winter! Her body felt cold but her heartfelt even colder.

While she was moping by herself, her phone rang. Shen Chuhu’s heart sank when she saw the word “Mom” on the screen.

“Chuchu, stop dreaming about becoming an actress in the capital and come back home to take over the shop. The shop’s business is doing so great that I don’t even have time to play mahjong* anymore. Let me tell you this if you can’t make any more money, just come back home! Even if you can’t stay in the entertainment circle anymore, don’t waste the good looks I gave you. Just hurry home and be our shop’s Xi Shi.*”

*TL-note: Mahjong is a tile-based game that was developed in China during the Qing dynasty and has spread throughout the world since the early 20th century. It is commonly played by four players.

*TL-note: Xi Shi was a famous Chinese beauty, foremost of the four legendary beauties.

Her mother’s voice thundered over the receiver which made Shen Chuchu move the phone slightly away. She was beginning to suspect that maybe her mother had installed a surveillance monitor on her. Just when she had a fight with her manager and had thoughts about going home to open a shop, her mum suddenly decided to call to persuade her to go home.

Shen Chuchu feebly replied, “Who said I can’t earn money. I’m about to get the big bucks, the company has just given me an advertisement.”

Without hesitation, Chu Guizhi* responded, “It’s been like this every time and it has already been three months. I, your mother, have yet to see any of your advertisements, so for your own good, hurry on home. The shop really needs you so stop daydreaming.”

*TL-note: Women don’t change their surname when they get married in China.

Before Shen Chuchu could reply, she heard her father, Shen Mingfu’s voice.

“How could you speak to your daughter like that. She doesn’t have a future if she works in the shop, just let her do what she wants.”

When Chu Guizhi heard this, she stopped and switched to scolding Shen Mingfu, “You’ve only got two years before you retire and I’ve been looking after this shop all by myself. The entertainment circle is not even a good environment, didn’t you see the news today? That ‘whats-her-name’ actress slept with a director and the director was much older than her. Such an old pervert.”

Shen Mingfu reminded her, “Shh, our daughter is still listening. Can you not be quieter?”

Chu Guizhi paused then continued talking, “So Chuchu, that’s all I have to say. I will hang up now. You should really consider your mother’s opinion.”

When she finished talking, Shen Chuchu heard a bang as if the phone had been placed on the coffee table. She then heard her mother continued scolding her father, “Shen Mingfu, I really don’t know what you are thinking! Our daughter is so pretty, what if she gets taken advantage of……did you really think I wanted her to take over the shop? I wanted to trick her to come home first then she could find a proper job. If she is under our eyes then at least we can protect her and when the time is right, we will find an honest man for her to marry……”

“Our daughter isn’t like that……”  

“Of course I know our daughter isn’t like that. This is why it’s impossible for her to make a living in the entertainment industry! Ah, she was clearly studying finance at the start which was perfect for our shop so I initially thought that she wanted to eventually take over. Why did she suddenly want to become an actress?”

When their voices gradually disappeared, Shen Chuchu hung up.

In truth, she had never been ambitious and initially did plan to inherit the family shop. But when she met Xinming, she was swayed by his words that she would definitely make a name for herself with her looks and talents. But now, everything was lost.

When she thought about the incident in the company and her parents’ words, Shen Chuchu buried her head into the pillow and started to cry non-stop. She almost told her mother that she wanted to come home but she just couldn’t say it.

After crying for a while, she drifted off to sleep. When she woke up, her thoughts strayed for a bit however she hardened her heart. She couldn’t return. She couldn’t let her parents worry and she must make a name for herself in the capital!

She still had the marriage system. If she completed a lot of tasks then her acting skills would increase! She was also pretty and fairly clever so with the increase in her acting skills, she refused to believe that she wouldn’t be able to make it as an actor!

Mei Jia wasn’t the only company around, she would just have to wait until her contract ended and then change companies. Three months had already passed, so there were nine more to go. Her manager would probably never give her another chance again so instead, she decided that she would just stay at home and complete tasks to increase her acting skills.

Once the contract expired, her acting skills would surely have reached a new climax. Then she could use that opportunity to test her luck on some film studios.

This is it!

It had been decided. Shen Chuchu opened Taobao and continued fortune-telling.

A few days later, when she had risen her level to three, Xinming called her again.

Shen Chuchu’s mood turned sour when she saw his name on the screen. She did not want to answer it but they still had a contract and he was still her manager. After a moment of hesitation, she picked up. In pressing times, you have to be humble when trapped in an inferior situation.

“Chuchu, are you home? I’m coming to pick you up.”

Chapter 5 | Index | Chapter 7