The next morning, Ji Zhinong was going to leave together with Li Shaoyao according to plan.
During breakfast, he accidentally revealed this, and the old man’s face immediately darkened. He put down his bowl, took Zhinong’s hand, and pressed it on the table, saying, “You stay. Stay here for a few days.”
Li Shaoyao’s head was lowered as he used his chopsticks to count rice grains, not daring to object.
Zhinong wasn’t in the know and explained while smiling, “Grandpa, I have work today.”
Ji Qingshan: “The production crew’s on break. What other work do you have?”
So Zhinong told the old man the work arrangements he’d been notified about just the night before. “I have to rush to City X to participate in a weekly recording of a variety show and take the plane at 2 pm.”
And he told his grandfather some information in detail.
Ji Qingshan glanced at Li Shaoyao, who didn’t dare to make a sound, and thought to himself that Li Shaoyao really was willing to put in the effort to support Zhinong. Although Ji Qingshan didn’t understand how the entertainment circle functioned exactly, he knew that the opportunity for this week’s variety show recording was rare upon just hearing the name of the director.
With Ji Qingshan’s connections, if he set his mind on supporting Zhinong, he definitely wouldn’t lose to Li Shaoyao. But doing that would make the other members of the Ji family resentful, as in the past decade, aside from supervising and urging his grandchildren to study hard, he very rarely let them through back doors or gave them shortcuts. That was one of the rules of the Ji family.
For the same reason, if Zhinong could only improve his career relying on his grandfather’s connections, naturally, others wouldn’t accept it.
He couldn’t rely on Ji family members, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t rely on an outsider.
The old man also understood that with the type of situation Zhinong was in, if he didn’t have outside help, he’d never reverse his fortune in this lifetime. When Ji Qingshan passed away from old age, the unaccomplished Zhinong, who wasn’t liked by his biological parents, wouldn’t have any foothold in the Ji family.
Ji Qingshan could turn a blind eye to Li Shaoyao sincerely helping him and actually being able to help him. As long as the boy from the Li family didn’t go overboard and bring up marriage, however he supported Zhinong, however he pampered and loved him, it was all okay.
Li Shaoyao didn’t dare to say a single word the entire time, being a coward for once. Instead, it was a few words from Zhinong that made his grandfather agree.
It was only when he got in the car that Zhinong realized in retrospect that in front of his grandfather, Li Shaoyao seemed to be much more restrained.
He couldn’t help being curious about the teacher and student relationship between the two.
Li Shaoyao didn’t hide it from him either. “A few years ago, when I just took over the family business, I was forced into an extremely difficult situation by those old foxes from the board of executives, and the newly made rules couldn’t be established in the corporation. Mr. Ji was the one who offered me advice and taught me that to catch brigands, one has to first catch their king. Only when I ferreted out the business traitors did I beat down the arrogance of my opponents, and the entire Li Corporation accepted me as the young head.”
“So it was like that.”
“After that, I called him ‘teacher’. Whenever I was free, I would come to the old mansion to play chess and chat with him. By listening to his guidance, I was able to save time and energy.”
Li Shaoyao thought of something and sat up straight slightly, turning his head to look at Zhinong, “We also met a few times in the past two years. You don’t remember?”
Ji Zhinong was curious. “You even interacted with me before?”
Li Shaoyao found it stranger and stranger. His reaction wasn’t like that of one involved, but instead like that of a third party who just heard some new gossip.
“I didn’t interact with you much in the past, but I knew more or less about you. Do you not have any impression of me at all?”
“That’s strange. You don’t remember who the plum trees in the old mansion’s courtyard were planted for, nor do you remember how many times we met before.” Li Shaoyao said half-seriously and half-jokingly, “Unless you aren’t Ji Zhinong?”
Wen Che enjoyed his careful deliberation and knew this was an offhand joke. He also got playful, meeting Li Shaoyao’s gaze and revealing a cunning smile. “Then take a guess as to who I would be.”
Li Shaoyao raised his hand to lift Zhinong’s chin, making him raise his head slightly. It seemed as if he wanted to see the soul inside Zhinong through his watery eyes.
But what could an ordinary person see?
In the end, he simply kissed Zhinong’s eyes, unable to help himself. His finger slid past that tear mole as he said quietly, “It doesn’t matter who you are. It’s enough that you’re currently mine.”
City X was an island, and only this island city wasn’t affected by a southbound cold wave,
As soon as Ji Zhinong got off the plane, he took off his thick fur coat and switched into a lighter, more convenient sweater, suddenly leaving wintery snow days to plunge into the spring days by the coast. He shouted carefreely and impassionedly a few times at the endless sea, attracting stares from a few tourists. But because they didn’t recognize him, no one cared.
On the second morning, Zhinong’s phone rang before his alarm. Li Shaoyao was sleeping lightly, the smallest movement capable of jerking him awake from his dreams. He picked up the call in place of the sound asleep Zhinong. It was Yang Yi, who was pressing Ji Zhinong to review the script before the variety show recording.
Li Shaoyao glanced at the time. It was already 7 am.
He patted a certain little piglet sleeping next to him. “Get up and go to work.”
A certain worker turned, coincidentally turning right into a certain sugar daddy’s embrace, and continued snoring lightly, sleeping even more soundly.
Li Shaoyao used one hand to support his upper body and was just able to enclose Zhinong in his embrace.
Seeing him sound asleep, Li Shaoyao didn’t have the heart to disturb him again, allowing him to laze on the bed for ten minutes.
He placed his hand on Ji Zhinong’s neck, which was left outside of the blanket, rubbing it every now and then.
It was only until Yang Yi’s second call came that Li Shaoyao shifted his hand to a certain little piglet’s ear, pulling it lightly. “Ji Zhinong, time to get up and make money.”
“Mhm…How much?” It was unknown whether he was asleep or awake while haggling about money blearily.
Li Shaoyao teased him. “A dollar.”
“…I’m not going.”
Li Shaoyao laughed as he said, “Then a hundred dollars.”
“…” The snoring sounds started again.
“One million. Are you going?”
Before he knew it, he saw a shadow flicker past his eyes. When the sugar daddy’s eyes refocused, the blanket was already empty. A certain worker picked up his phone and checked. It was almost 8 am.
He ran into the bathroom barefooted. Li Shaoyao held in his laughter to remind him “Wear your shoes.”
“There’s not enough time, don’t interfere with me making money!”
When he finished washing up, the completely awake Zhinong just remembered that his remuneration for acting in the film was simply a pitiful one hundred thousand.
He immediately felt like he had been tricked.
During breakfast, the milk wasn’t sweet anymore, nor was the beef savory.
He complained resentfully, “You lied. The one million dollars of my dreams.”
A certain sugar daddy: “Perform well today, and I’ll make up the remaining nine hundred thousand to you as your allowance.”
Ji Zhinong: “The milk is so fragrant and sweet today!”
What a great change of mind. Li Shaoyao laughed as he scolded, “Little miser.”
The little miser arrived at the variety show recording location with the sugar daddy personally accompanying him.
The variety show was called Perfect Vacation. This was already its second season, and it was deserving of its title of national variety show.
A-list celebrities who wanted to make a public appearance through this variety show were racking their heads open, but one of those chances landed on the “flop” Ji Zhinong.
Li Shaoyao simply pulled a few strings and gave the variety show’s director’s son the chance to intern at Li Corporation, successfully negotiating this week’s variety show for Ji Zhinong.
It made things a lot simpler compared to Yang Yi personally going herself to strive for the opportunity.
There were three permanent MCs of the variety show. One of them, who was responsible for the viewership, was An Baicheng. He was also the one who had the greatest say in the entire production crew aside from the director.
Zhinong was forcibly pushed in by Li Shaoyao. Meanwhile, the other two guests invited in the same week were not only popular, but also didn’t get along in private.
In order to prevent Zhinong from getting bullied, Li Shaoyao had sent people to bribe the direction crew early on. Others were mostly bribed with material benefits, but An Baicheng was an exception.
They became friends early on four years ago. Asking him to take care of Zhinong on the variety show was just a matter of words.
Before the official recording of the variety show started, Ji Zhinong was personally referred to An Baicheng by Li Shaoyao.
An Baicheng was born with a smile. Anyone who saw him would feel especially close to him. And thus, his affinity with audiences was especially high.
But him having his current position was closely tied to one person’s guidance and help.
Tracing back to eight years ago, the reason why An Baicheng could stand out from a crowd of actors was that Wen Che had a keen eye for talent back then and made an exception to choose him to be his second male lead.
But now the person of great talent and the judge of talent from back then had switched positions.
An Baicheng patted Ji Zhinong’s shoulders, telling him, “Don’t get stage fright later. I’ll cover you.”
Li Shaoyao also said by Zhinong’s ear, “Just treat it like you came to play and relax. Don’t feel stressed.” He pushed Zhinong towards An Baicheng. “Baicheng, I’ll have to trouble you with taking care of Zhinong. Don’t let anyone bully him.”
Ji Zhinong turned his head to look towards Li Shaoyao. How familiar this moment was.
Eight years ago, Father Li had pushed Li Shaoyao, who had been as fat as a 5AA battery, into Wen Che’s hands in the same way.
Back then, Li Shaoyao was recognized by the Li family only after his elder brother’s accidental and sudden death. He was even an illegitimate son. The outside world had made a lot of speculation about his life experiences. Some even said that he had brought disaster upon1Chinese superstition of some people bringing bad luck and disaster to others; used to explain bad incidents that occur after an outsider enters the family his biological brother. His situation hadn’t been much better than the current Ji Zhinong.
Before that banquet began, Mr. Li had brought Li Shaoyao, whose face was still flushed, before him, placing his son’s hand in the hands of Wen Che, who had been already prospering in the upper circles at that time, and earnestly telling him, “Ah Che, this is my son Shaoyao. He’s young and doesn’t know the ways of the world. I’ll have to trouble you with taking care of him tonight. Don’t let anyone bully him.”
Wen Che still remembered to this day the soft feeling from pinching those two heaps of red flushes on the face of Li Shaoyao, who was still a little fatty at 19 years old.
He didn’t think that eight years later the two’s positions would completely switch.
Currently, he became the target of care, and Li Shaoyao turned into the one to worry about him.
How magical life was.
After everything was ready, the recording for the variety show officially started.
This week’s show used both livestream and recorded broadcast concurrently, meaning from the moment Ji Zhinong stood under the camera, he would be completely exposed to the gazes of tens of thousands of audience members. Any mistake could be interpreted in amplified terms.
Wen Che originally wouldn’t get stage fright in front of the camera. Maybe it was because he’d died once or because he hadn’t participated in this type of recording for six years, but he felt nervous for some reason.
But just as he felt a little helpless staring at the camera, his gaze passed the bulky machine, and he noticed that Li Shaoyao was standing just behind the cameraman of that camera stand, waving towards him, and smiling at him.
Just like a warm reassurer.
Wen Che wasn’t afraid anymore.
A certain sugar daddy: I was originally supposed to be a little wolfhound2Internet slang for handsome, cool, and overbearing guys who give girls a sense of security
Sorry there was no update last week! Here’s a double update to make up for it~
- 1Chinese superstition of some people bringing bad luck and disaster to others; used to explain bad incidents that occur after an outsider enters the family
- 2Internet slang for handsome, cool, and overbearing guys who give girls a sense of security