Chapter 3: Dinner

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April 13, 2023Merchie

Once they got to the table, Xu Yan ordered a bottle of 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, and warmly stood up to pour the wine.
He was all smiles as he asked Li Yangxiao: “What movies has our big celebrity acted in?”

Li Yangxiao feared being asked this question the most; for the past few days after he had come home for New Year’s, he stayed out of the house from sunrise to sunset, just to avoid the interrogations from his aunts and great aunts.
It was already the third day of the new year; Li Yangxiao thought he had managed to avoid everything perfectly.
He did not expect that because of a rear-end collision, he would actually tumble right into Xu Yan’s hands!

Li Yangxiao’s smile was very forced: “They were all just a few unpopular melodramas.
They’ve never been shown in cinemas.”

“Oh, independent films? You’re still as classy as ever.” Xu Yan sat down and took a sip of wine, “No wonder my cinema has never shown any of your films before.
True, it wouldn’t matter if these trashy movies hadn’t been made in the first place.”

Li Yangxiao laughed dryly and did not respond.
He thought to himself, this little rascal Xu Yan had actually gotten smarter.
He had learned how to praise openly and mock inwardly, and even managed to slip in the fact that he had opened his own cinema.

Seeing that Li Yangxiao was not saying anything, Xu Yan began trying to curry favor with Chi Mingyao.
He passed Chi Mingyao a cigarette, and politely leaned over to light it for him: “That kid from earlier looked like he was still a student.
When he goes home and tells his parents about this, do you think they’ll break his legs?”

Chi Mingyao took a puff of the cigarette and said with narrowed eyes: “I’ll cover the repair fees for now.
I’ll find someone to take care of this later.
You should stay out of this.”

“That won’t do! It’s my fault too.
I was the one who insisted on showing off by lending you my Cayenne.
Now that this has happened, I’m feeling really embarrassed!”

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Chi Mingyao let out a very quiet chuckle.
He had never met anyone with a face as thick as Xu Yan’s; he probably would not be able to return this favor so easily.

At this moment, Li Yangxiao spoke up: “Xu Yan, how are you planning to deal with this? What if that boy can’t repay the money?”

“Can’t repay the money?” Xu Yan exhaled a mouthful of smoke, “We can settle it in court, then.”

“Is there any other way? For example, by making him work at your place? Or set a deadline and allow him to pay you back slowly? ” Li Yangxiao laughed sheepishly; he really felt sorry for that boy, “I thought about this.
If it happened to me…” Li Yangxiao raised his hand to rub his nose and did not continue.

“Aiyo… you’re such a big celebrity and you’re worried about such a small sum of money? Yangxiao, I think you’ve acted in too many melodramas, they’ve made you far too sentimental…”

Li Yangxiao smiled and did not say anything more.
Every time Xu Yan called him a big celebrity, it made him feel a bit uncomfortable.

“Besides, aren’t you acquainted with Young Master Chi now? He’s got all sorts of industry connections, after all.” Xu Yan looked at Chi Mingyao and said with a smile, “Isn’t that right, Young Master Chi?”

The corners of Chi Mingyao’s mouth twitched, and he laughed enigmatically.

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“Come on, let’s add each other on WeChat.
Yangxiao, in the future, if you run into any problems in Beijing, just ask Young Master Chi to take care of it.
But it has to be something important! After all, Young Master Chi’s status is pretty obvious!”

Chi Mingyao tapped the ash out of his cigarette, lifting his eyes to glance at Xu Yan.
He had the slight urge to flip the table over and walk out.

Of course, the reason Chi Mingyao was still sitting here was not merely because of a crashed Cayenne, but also because the cinemas owned by Xu Yan and his family were doing quite well.
For the last two years, Mingtai Group had been trying to put more resources into the film distribution and the cinema business; if they could become business partners with the Xu family, then Mingtai Group would have an almost complete monopoly on the cinema chains in W City.
In the past, Mingtai Group’s dealings in the film industry had been overseen by Chi Mingyao’s older brother, Chi Mingkai.
But Chi Mingkai had gone out of the country to visit his mother-in-law for New Year’s, so he had entrusted this important task to Chi Mingyao.

So for the moment, Chi Mingyao remained seated, watching Xu Yan make a fool out of himself.

Li Yangxiao had obviously noticed the displeasure in Chi Mingyao’s expression.
He knew that in revealing his connection to Chi Mingyao, he was trying to prove how much he was thriving.
Li Yangxiao’s phobia of embarrassment had been thoroughly exploited.
He thought to himself, how the fuck could this idiot have opened a cinema? And how could he be driving a Porsche Cayenne?!

Under Xu Yan’s watchful gaze, Li Yangxiao was forced to add Chi Mingyao as a friend.
The two had not exchanged many words during the meal, relying solely on Xu Yan’s mouth to carry the the duration of the dinner.

Li Yangxiao felt quite depressed as he ate this meal.
Fortunately, in the two years after he graduated, he had honed his ninja skills1.
Otherwise, with the temperament he had while he was still in school, he would have dusted his ass off and left a long time ago.

Once they were done eating, Chi Mingyao came up with an excuse and left first.
Xu Yan insisted on dropping Li Yangxiao off.
He called a driver and sat with Li Yangxiao in the backseat row.

They were halfway there, when Xu Yan leaned against the backseat and said to Li Yangxiao, his words slurred: “Li Yangxiao, do you remember, back in school… your eyeballs were on the top of your head.
Be honest, back then, you really looked down on me, didn’t you?”

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Li Yangxiao could tell that he was very drunk, so he did not answer.

“Now… now, you’re a big celebrity, so why have your eyeballs grown back upside-down, ah?” Xu Yan straightened up, leaning toward Li Yangxiao as he spoke.

Li Yangxiao suddenly felt a bit sad.
He did not understand how the boy who had stuttered a confession to him back then would know how down-and-out his life had become, yet he would use his words to humiliate him time and time again.
Li Yangxiao thought back to the past; at that time, he really had been a little arrogant, but his excessive pride and aloofness had stemmed from the fear concealed in his heart–the fear that, because he was gay, he would be completely incompatible with those around him.
Besides, after he found out that Xu Yan was also gay, his opinion of Xu Yan had actually become a little less indifferent.

Ai, how could it become such a mess? Li Yangxiao sighed.

Xu Yan was still leaning in, staring at him, trying to pressure him into speaking.

“Xu Yan,” Li Yangxiao lifted his head to look at him.
The car was dark and cramped, which made Xu Yan’s eyes seem especially bright, “I’m not some big celebrity.
I can’t even be called a celebrity.
I don’t act in those trashy movies not because I don’t want to, but because the movies that make it to theaters don’t want me.
But the reason my eyes have grown back upside-down isn’t because of how shitty my life has become.
It’s because now, I understand that everyone has struggles, and that no one needs to look down on anyone.”

Li Yangxiao’s sudden insight made Xu Yan freeze for a moment.
He leaned back into the seat again, closed his eyes, and did not say anything more.

Li Yangxiao got out of Xu Yan’s car and paced outside the door for a while.
He did not want to go home–the little Xiali had been wrecked; although it was not his fault in the slightest, that definitely would not spare him from a scolding from his father.

In the morning, the director who had informed him that he had passed the audition had given him the news that he had found a more suitable candidate,

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At noon, the man he had secretly loved for eight years had told him, red-faced, that he was going to propose to someone else,

In the afternoon, he had been minding his own business, driving a little Xiali, yet he had been involved in a chain of rear-end collisions,

And in the evening, the person who had pursued him in high school drove up in a Porsche Cayenne and had called him a “big celebrity” over and over again just to humiliate him–

This man was so unlucky that cold water would clog the gaps of his teeth2.
Li Yangxiao was someone who had a profound understanding of that sentence’s meaning. 


Noo, this is like a quadruple whammy ;-;

Thanks for reading~

忍者神功 (rěn zhě shén gōng): Literally “ninja skills”.
When I searched it up, I found an article about actresses who continued their relationships with their scummy husbands, so I’m assuming it has something to do with staying still/in one place for a long time. This is just a way to describe someone who is extremely unlucky, since cold water is… not supposed to do that.

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