The air in the beginning of spring was still relatively cold.
Zhuang Yan knew that Xie Ning was prone to coldness, so their indoor air conditioner would always be fully turned on at night.
When they were lying on the bed, he would also hug Xie Ning close, then wrap the quilt roll after roll on him, making his body as hot as a stove.
Even then, Xie Ning still caught a cold.
Xie Ning had a weak physique, and he wasn’t acclimated to the southern’s weather to start with. He would always fell sick too in the past. This time he only caught a cold and not down with a fever was also largely thanks to Zhuang Yan’s considerate care.
Before going out of the room, Zhuang Yan touched his forehead and tested the temperature.
It wasn’t high, so he was slightly relieved. He gave Wang Jianjian a call to tell him Xie Ning wouldn’t be coming to work these few days, and for him to help oversee the matter over there.
Wang Jianjian agreed, and concernedly asked, “How did he get sick? Was it serious?”
“Not serious,” Zhuang Yan was also heating a glass of milk for Xie Ning while they chatted.
He had to hurry to the set, so it wasn’t convenient to go to the details.
Wang Jianjian laughed at that, mischiveousness in his eyes, “It wouldn’t be that you tossed the other too hard yesterday night that he couldn’t get out of bed today, would it?”
“Fuck off,” Zhuang Yan rubbed his forehead, having a headache because of Wang Jianjian’s lack of filter in his mouth.
“Eh, you even cursed! Did I guess it right?”
Zhuan Yan replied sternly, “Don’t talk nonsense. His body is unwell, he can’t bear the weather on this side.”
Wang Jianjian paused, then said, “Well, yes. He does look like those weak scholarly-type very much, like a young master who grew up on the cup of someone’s hands. “
Zhuang Yan sneered in his heart, he couldn’t agree with Wang Jianjian’s words.
He naturally wouldn’t exaggerate about Xie Ning’s past. Anyways, what Wang Jianjian had said wasn’t entirely wrong. Xie Ning was indeed weak, and Zhuang Yan was also willing to pamper him in the cup of his palms.
He felt sorry for the hardships that Xie Ning had suffered in the past, and he wanted be protect him well in the future.
Zhuang Yan’s thought took twists and turns, but when mocking Wang Jianjian, he was as expressionless as before, “Right, not rough and thick-skinned like you, very able to take on suffering.”
Wang Jianjian was helpless, “We’re brothers at the very least, leave me some face, will you?”
After hanging up the call, Zhuang Yan put the warmed milk into a glass and carried it back to the room.
Xie Ning wasn’t sleeping restfully, his nose felt stuffy and his throat felt unbearably itchy.
Zhuang Yan put the warm milk on the bedside table. He turned around only to meet Xie Ning’s eyes, staring wide at him in a daze.
Xie Ning’s voice was a bit nasally, “What time is it?”
Zhuang Yan rubbed his hair, his voice softening, “It’s still early. I’ve helped you asked for a leave. Sleep a little more?”
Xie Ning shook his head, “I can’t sleep.”
Zhuang Yan couldn’t help feeling guilty, “Did I wake you up just now?”
“Not that,” Xie Ning consoled him, “It’s my body too sweaty. I’m not, cough, not very comfortable.”
His throat got itchy, he couldn’t stop coughing just after saying these few words. Zhuang Yan hurriedly handed him the warm milk to moisten his throat.
Xie Ning checked the time and was taken aback, he rushed Zhuang Yan out, “It’s this late already. I remember there’s a scene to shoot in the morning. Hurry up and go, don’t let others wait.”
Zhuan Yan wouldn’t be relieved to go before seeing him finish the milk.
Xie Ning drank in hurry, causing a circle of white foam to be left on his lips after he finished. Zhuang Yan thus couldn’t help but reached out to help him wipe them.
Seeing Xie Ning’s reddening face, Zhuang Yan got worried thinking he was having a fever. But a press on his forehead and the normal temperature later told him that Xie Ning was just being shy.
He laughed for a while, then went to the set under Xie Ning’s urging.
Even though it was just a slight cold, Zhuang Yang behaved as if he was faced with a great enemy, getting Xie Ning days of rest time.
At the end of his vacation period, Xie Ning’s condition had considerably improved. He also wasn’t coughing anymore despite his voice still being a bit hoarse, which only adding itch to the listerners’ heart.
Xie Ning was bored from staying in the room. It wasn’t raining today and the weather was nice, so he planned to go watch the filming on set.
Zhuang Yan never allowed unrelated people to watch around on the filming. Thus, before Xie Ning even went close, he was blocked.
Xie Ning was stunned, he was slightly at loss.
Today’s weather was great. The temperatur was also high. He wore a light-colored knitted top matched with some casual pants, looking very leisurely and youthful.
He only held a phone in his hand. He brought no coat with him nor did his sweater have any pocket, it was only to be expected that he would forget to bring his staff ID.
If he really want to go in, it would be as easy as giving Zhuang Yan a call.
But Xie Ning didn’t want to disturb his filming. Because he wasn’t allowed in, then he’d just have take a look around the vicinity.
He hadn’t walk far before unexpectedly meeting Sheng Shisong.
Sheng Shisong was also stunned upon seeing him, then he started to smile, “It’s you.”
Xie Ning blinked his eyes bewilderedly, “You know me?”
Himself knowing Sheng Shisong wouldn’t be strange, he’s a big celebrity after all. The sunglasses he wore hardly do a thing to conceal the temprament on his self.
And also those shooting costume he wore, Xie Ning was, in essence, the one who had personally designed them.
Yet Sheng Shisong unexpectedly remembered him, which let him be baffled. When push comes to shove, both of them had only met twice, and had never even exchanged any word.
The second meeting was also when he was in the middle of a crowd, whether Sheng Shisong really saw him was a question in itself.
“We’ve met before,” Sheng Shisong thought he didn’t remember and even kindly reminded, “You were there beside the director when I auditioned for <The Past of Two Cities>’s male lead.”
He even introduce himself, “I’m called Sheng Shisong.”
“I know that...” Xie Ning nodded his head and smiled, “I’m Xie Ning.”
Following Sheng Shisong, this male lead, he was very smoothly let in this time, no longer obstructed.
On the way, Sheng Shisong chatted, “My impression on you is very deep.”
Xie Ning curiously asked, “Why?”
“That time my agent thought you were there to grab the role from me,” Sheng Shisong gave him a glance, then continued without waiting for his respond, “Yet I didn’t think so.”
Xie Ning didn’t expect that there’d be this misunderstanding, he shook his head, “Of course I’m not.”
“Yeah, I also saw you in the opening ceremony.” Sheng Shisong quirked up his lips, “But never saw you again since then.”
Xie Ning said, “I didn’t go to the set again after that.”
Sheng Shisong turned his head at him, asking, “Was it because of the schedule? By the way, I still don’t know which character you will act as even until today.”
Xie Ning blanked, he bit his lips, smiling, “You seemed to have misunderstood something... I’m not an actor, nor is there a character for me to act as.”
Sheng Shisong became stupefied.
Xie Ning explained, “I’m the art director for <The Past of Two Cities>. You should be able to find my name in the staff list.”
Sheng Shisong couldn’t resist putting his gaze back on Xie Ning, examining him afresh.
He thought that him having this kind of misunderstanding wasn’t all that weird.
Xie Ning’s appearance was indeed just that handsome. Even in the entertainment circle, this unforgettable appearance of his would still be uniquely special.
Secondly, his taste in clothing were fine. Most stylists for artist might not even be able to recreate that natural, suitable style that he had on him.
More importantly, he had that temprament that differentiated him from the masses. It was as those manner and temprament specifically trained by artists so that they could show their best side under the camera.
He was shocked, but his expression then returned normal.
These were just his guesses, it would be presumptuous of him to speak them out.
The two of them couldn’t talk longer because the next scene would be Sheng Shisong’s. He was called to do his make-up just after arriving on the set.
Xie Ning was probably mistaken as Sheng Shisong’s assistant, so none of the staff busy in preparation paid him any mind.
He found a shaded place with no one around, then proceeded to watch Director Zhuang Yan from afar.
This Zhuang Yan had his eyebrows scrunched up, no smile on his face, and his lips pursed. He would say a few words from time to time to the actress before him.
Because it was quite faraway, he couldn’t hear them clearly. But looking at the actrees’ lowered head, those shouldn’t be any gentle words he was saying.
He looked quite fierce, actually.
Xie Ning found that novel.
He had never seen this kind of Zhuang Yan. Even when he was angry, he had never made this kind of fierce appearance in front of him.
This fierceness was ultimately not what a regular people could bear.
The actress that he scolded—at least he looked to be scolding her— had her eyes reddened not long after. She had probably done her very best to not let herself cry.
When Sheng Shisong came out after putting make-up, this was exactly the scene he saw.
He helplessy tugged the corner of his lips, asking the assistant on his side, “Has Luo Zixin been scolded again?”
The assistant nodded, “NG-ing in the same place thrice. Director Zhuang is fuming, you see.”
In actuality, the words that Zhuang Yan said wasn’t excessively severe. It’s just his fierce tone that made them sounded too harsh sometimes.
Luo Zixian was thin-skinned, thus being criticized before so many people left her very embarassed.
Shen Shisong had experienced this too. When Zhuang Yan was dissatisfied, regardless if you’re a superstar or an eighteen line artist, what should be criticize would still be criticized.
He felt as if it had happened to himself, so he took out a handkerchief for Luo Zixin. “Wipe it.”
Luo Zixin raised her eyes.
Shen Shisong smiled at her, “Your make-up is ruined. Go retouch it first before we continue shooting.”
Luo Zixin couldn’t hold the gratefulness that spilled from her gaze towards him.
Sheng Shisong also had another thing in his mind.
He was still thinking of Xie Ning, mainly curious as to why he saw him beside Zhuang Yan when he was auditioning that day.
While they were taking the filler shots for the previous scene, he swept his gaze around before finally finding Xie Ning in a scarcely noticed corner.
Xie Ning was leisurely leaning on a tree, his unblinking gaze was casted to this side in rapt attention.
Sheng Shisong followed his line of sight, yet it wasn’t the actors and actresses under the lens that he was seeing.
It was the one sitting behind the director’s screen, the frigid-faced Zhuang Yan.
After this scene was finished, the staffs started to run around. The photographers, the lighting engineers, and others all changed to a new position in preparation for the next scene —Which was precisely the one where Shen Shisong and Luo Zixin would be acting in.
Luo Zixin was still feeling nervous, so Shen Shisong soundlessly mouthed her a ‘relax’.
The dissatisfication from the last scene’s shooting caused Zhuang Yan’s scrunched up brows to have never loosened from start to finish.
He kneeded the space between his eyebrows, his gaze casted unintentionalaly to a certain direction, and then was left stunned.
Xie Ning was watching him from afar.
Even though there’s a distance separating them, he could still see Xie Ning waving his hand while smiling at him.
Hence, Zhuang Yan’s eyebrows unconciously softened. His lips imperceptibly bent into an arc.
After that, the staff and actors clearly noted how Zhuang Yan’s tone of voice became way milder that it was before.
Even Luo Zixin was astonished. Zhuang Yan actually didn’t scold her but gave her pointers in pleasant voice instead—Although the content wasn’t that different, the tone was gentle nonetheless.
Maybe it was the common troubles of couples in love. Although they were separated by a crowd, although their number of eye contacts was pitifully low, as long as both were in the same space, they could always find that inextricably linked connection and create that unwitstandable ambiguous air.
Shen Shisong looked at Xie Ning from the side, then looked at Zhuang Yan. He seemed to have discovered something.
Author’s note: Shen Shishong won’t have any emotional entanglement with the gong and the shou. He is a character that is very gentle to others and have strong self-confidence.
Mainly, a third person’s perspective was needed to find out that ‘clearly was so far apart but still inextricably connected’ feeling of Zhuangzhuang and Ningning.
PDA also needs audience, alright!