[NW] The Little Merman - Chapter 28
After the wrap-up party ended, Jiang Yu returned to Lin Cheng’s home. Lin Cheng had also finished filming his drama, but these few days, he had a few promotional events for his upcoming album.
When Jiang Yu woke up in the morning, Lin Cheng had already left the house. Jiang Yu ate two boiled eggs for breakfast, and after lying prone on the sofa watching TV for a while, Lin Cheng called.
“Yu’er, my event this afternoon has been rescheduled. Come out, I’ll take you shopping.”
Jiang Yu had only come ashore for a few days before he joined a production, so he haven’t had a chance to explore the city. Jiang Yu got up from the sofa and changed, then rushed out cheerily towards the address that Lin Cheng mentioned.
The address that Lin Cheng gave was a café. He had an endorsement event nearby, and promised to come to look for Jiang Yu after his event ended.
Jiang Yu didn’t like coffee, so he ordered a cake and ate as he waited for Lin Cheng.
The café had a nice environment; there were many plants, and sufficient privacy between the seats. Soothing music was played in the café. There weren’t many customers, but all of them were drinking their coffee, and hushed conversations could be heard occasionally.
Jiang Yu used his spoon to eat two mouthfuls of cake, then noticed a young man acting suspiciously at the seat near the wall. The man wore a cap that was pulled down very low, and his face couldn’t be seen. Using the plants as a cover, he leaned close to the table and was sneakily watching a couple.
That couple was seated beside Jiang Yu, probably on a date. The man looked about the age of forty, with a stately appearance. The woman probably wasn’t even thirty, and even though she wasn’t extremely beautiful, she exuded a gentle aura. The couple was chatting; the mood between them was harmonious, and they both smiled when their eyes met occasionally.
The spying youth was extremely angry when he saw them smiling, and he used his fork to poke the cake before him roughly.
Was the youth in the midst of catching a couple cheating? Was his girlfriend on a date with someone else? Immediately, Jiang Yu pictured a scene from a drama, as he stared at the trio with curiosity.
After a while, the man at the table beside him stood up and went to the washroom. When the young man saw that he had left, he looked up, and when his eyes met Jiang Yu’s, he was stunned.
Jiang Yu looked at the young man’s eyes and thought he looked familiar, but before he could recall who it was, the young man suddenly walked and sat down beside him.
“You…” Jiang Yu started to speak when the man quickly slung his arm around his shoulder, then leaned towards him and whispered, “Shhh, don’t let others discover me.”
“... Fang Miao?” Jiang Yu didn’t recognise him just then, but he could tell that it was him from his voice. He had spent a few days in Lin Cheng’s production, and could discern Fang Miao’s voice.
Fang Miao was about to speak when the other man returned from the restroom. Fang Miao quickly lowered his cap again, and there was a large plant beside him, so he shrunk behind the plant.
With the plant as a cover, that man didn’t notice that there was another person beside Jiang Yu. He continued speaking to the woman while having coffee, and bits of their conversation would travel over to their ears intermittently.
Jiang Yu eavesdropped on them; it seemed as though the couple was talking about preparations for a movie.
After sitting for a while more, the couple paid the bill and left. When the couple pushed the door out, Fang Miao took out a hundred dollar bill from his pocket and threw it on the table, then got up hastily and followed them out.
Before Jiang Yu could react, his phone rang. Lin Cheng had called to say that another of his endorsement projects was rescheduled for filming today, so he couldn’t bring him shopping that afternoon, and asked him to go home first.
Since he couldn’t shop anymore, Jiang Yu paid the bill and prepared to return home. Just as he pushed the glass door open, he was face to face with Fang Miao, who had made a hasty return. Fang Miao was about to enter the café but when he saw Jiang Yu, he pulled him out and asked him directly, “Did you bring more money?”
Jiang Yu replied, “… I did.”
“Quick, lend me a hundred.” Fang Miao reached a hand out towards him.
Jiang Yu snuck a glance at him before taking the money out of his pocket.
As Fang Miao waited for Jiang Yu to take out the money, he continued looking out at the road. When he saw a car pulling away slowly, he immediately dragged Jiang Yu out and boarded a cab, then said to the driver, “Hurry, follow that car in front.”
Jiang Yu, who had been pulled into the cab, blinked for a moment before asking, “What are you doing?”
“It’s all because you took so long with the money. I forgot to bring money with me, so help me pay for the cab fare later.” Fang Miao watched the car in front closely. He came out in a hurry, so he forgot both his phone and his wallet. He only had a hundred dollars with him, which he had left on the table back in the café.
“Who are you chasing?” Jiang Yu was curious, so he asked honestly, “Is that your girlfriend, and she went on a date with someone else?”
Hearing such a scandalous piece of gossip, the driver immediately straightened up and listened.
“That woman is so old and ugly, how could she be my girlfriend?” Fang Miao glared unhappily at Jiang Yu.
The driver turned around and shot him a look, berating him internally. Young people nowadays really have high standards. He had seen that woman in the luxurious car in front; she didn’t look much older. This young man’s words were simply too insulting.
“Young man, you’ll have to explain why you want to chase that car in front. If it’s for anything illegal, I won’t help you.” The driver said cautiously, as he looked at Fang Miao’s covered face and could only see only a pair of eyes.
“...” Fang Miao spoke in a depressed tone, “The one driving in front is my father. He’s having a date with another woman behind my mother’s back.”
“Young man, I’ll surely help you follow them. We won’t be discovered.” It turned out that his father was having an affair. The driver immediately turned serious and promised him.
Jiang Yu gave Fang Miao a pitiful glance, then reached out and patted his back in consolation, “Don’t be upset.”
Fang Miao snorted.
The driver was true to his words. He followed the car amidst the heavy traffic for close to an hour, and not only did he not lose them, the car in front didn’t notice them either. Fang Miao’s father stopped his car in front of a clubhouse, and upon seeing the couple enter, Fang Miao and Jiang Yu also quickly alighted from the cab.
The two men reached the entrance of the clubhouse, but were stopped by the guards as only members could enter. Fang Miao waved his hand in a sweeping manner, “Sign me up as a member too.”
The guards smiled in a polite manner, “I’m sorry, gentlemen. This is a private club. The memberships are on invitation basis, and not open to the public.”
The two were dejected after being stopped at the door. Jiang Yu asked Fang Miao, “What can we do if we can’t enter?”
Fang Miao was extremely unhappy, and he said two words decisively, “We'll wait.”
Jiang Yu accompanied him on his wait. The winds were strong, and Jiang Yu was only wearing a sweater and a windbreaker. Fang Miao wore even less than he did, only a loose-fitting sweater, and the two men were so cold that they hugged their chests and stomped their feet.
“Why… why do we need to wait here? What if your father doesn’t come out?” Jiang Yu trembled as he asked.
“No… It can’t be…” Fang Miao was also shivering from the cold, and he looked up and pointed towards a café nearby, “You… Go and buy a coffee, it’s too cold…”
Jiang Yu’s frozen fingers pulled out some money, and his small face was red from the wind, “It’s not enough, I’m only left with a hundred dollars.”
Fang Miao glared at him, “How could you bring so little money out? What about your phone? You can pay using your phone too.”
“... I don’t know how to do that.” Jiang Yu stomped his foot, unable to withstand it anymore, and said, “You can wait here alone. I’m freezing, so I’ll go back first.”
He was just about to take a step away when Fang Miao grabbed him, “You’ve to leave some money for me. Otherwise, how am I going to return home?”
Jiang Yu could only go to the café to split the hundred dollar note, left fifty for Fang Miao, then took a cab home.
Lin Cheng only reached home close to seven. He brought a large amount of seafood with his assistant, and they had steamboat at home.
After eating their fill and getting the assistant to bring the trash along with him as he left, the two men lay down on the sofa, watching TV and eating fruits. As Lin Cheng peeled an orange, he asked, “Yu’er, what did you do in the afternoon?”
Jiang Yu told him about his encounter with Fang Miao.
Lin Cheng handed the peeled orange to him and said, “His parents are divorced. Isn’t it perfectly normal that his father goes on a date with another woman?”
Jiang Yu took the orange and halved it, “Divorced?”
Lin Cheng took a napkin and wiped his hand, “That’s right, Fang Hua and Qiao Xin divorced two years ago. It was rumoured that they didn’t spend enough time together, so they grew apart. One was a famous director who needed to stay with his crew to film all the time, another was a renowned actress who spent most of her time developing her career in Hollywood. Since they don’t meet most of the time, it’d be strange if they didn’t divorce.”
“What is Fang Miao doing? His father has already been divorced for a few years, why doesn’t he allow his father to date other women?” Lin Cheng bit the orange that Jiang Yu fed him and muttered inaudibly.
Jiang Yu had just completed filming for his new show, and didn’t have anything to do these two days. When he woke up the second morning, Lin Cheng had already left the house. Just when he had washed up, he received a call from an unknown number. It was Fang Miao, who asked him out so that he could return the money to him.
The address that Fang Miao gave was not far from here. Jiang Yu bought some buns and a cup of soybean from outside the estate and boarded a cab. Before he finished his food, he had already arrived at his destination.
It was a park. The weather was good; the sun was out, and since it was the weekend, there were many people who were out for runs. Jiang Yu walked in the park for some time, then spotted a man wearing a cap and mask, seated on a bench under a tree, pretending to read the newspapers.
Jiang Yu walked over. Fang Miao folded the newspapers when he saw him, took out two one hundred dollar notes and handed it over to him. “There, here’s your money, keep the change. What’s in your hand?”
“Breakfast. It’s some buns that I haven’t finished eating.” Jiang Yu took the money, then shook the plastic bag in his hand. There were still two buns left.
“Is it tasty? I haven’t had breakfast yet.” Fang Miao didn’t stand on ceremony as he took it, pulled down his mask and bit into one. Seeing Jiang Yu standing there, Fang Miao pulled him and sat him down beside him, then handed the newspaper to him. “Cover me. I’m so popular, it’ll be bad if people recognise me.”
Jiang Yu took the papers and helped him to block his face before asking, “If you hadn’t had breakfast, why did you come here?”
“They’re here.” Fang Miao didn’t reply his question as he finished his bun in a few bites and quickly put his mask back on. Jiang Yu raised his head and saw a couple dressed casually and walking in their direction, jogging slowly as they chatted. The male was Fang Miao’s father, while the female wasn’t the one they saw yesterday, but a tall and beautiful woman.
Jiang Yu was shocked; was Fang Miao’s father dating two women at the same time?
“How could your father date two women at once?” Jiang Yu chided softly.
Even though Fang Miao was unhappy with his father, he couldn’t help but speak up for his father when others criticized him. “My dad isn’t dating two people at the same time.”
Jiang Yu was somewhat confused. This man was secretly tailing his father, so why would he speak up for him?
Fang Miao hesitated for a moment, then explained, “As you know, my parents are divorced. Recently, my mother moved back permanently. I want them to reconcile, but there seems to be someone in my father's life, so I want to find out who this person is.”
No wonder he was secretly following his father. Jiang Yu finally understood his intentions.
Once Fang Miao started talking, he couldn’t stop, so he continued telling Jiang Yu, “Actually, my parents still have feelings for each other. In the two years that they divorced, my dad would visit my mom every time he travels. My father is a famous director, and there are so many women who want to climb into his bed. That woman beside him is surely attracted to his money and reputation. My parents can only get back together if she leaves my dad.”
Jiang Yu thought that his actions weren’t too good, and he said subtly, “Reconciliation is a matter between your parents. It wouldn’t be too good if you interfered, right?”
Fang Miao said unhappily, “I don’t care. I’m bent on interfering. That woman wants to be my stepmother? Fat hope!”
He rolled his eyes, then suddenly reached out his arm and slung it over Jiang Yu’s shoulder, “I’ve told you so much, and it's not for nothing. You have to help me.”
He couldn’t watch them alone, and his assistant was someone from the company. If the assistant knew that he was following his father, he would certainly tell Qin Shen, and once the latter knew, his mother would find out too. His mother was rather cold to his father, hence if she found out, there would be no hope of reconciliation.
Jiang Yu was stupefied, “... I have to help you?”
“That’s right,” Fang Miao nodded. “My dad is preparing for a movie. If you help me, I’ll get you a cameo in the film. Not all celebrities have the chance to star in my dad’s films. There are so many of them who fight hard for it but don’t get a chance to.”
Jiang Yu hesitated for a moment, so Fang Miao patted his shoulder forcefully, “I’ll take it that you’ve agreed.”
Before Jiang Yu could reply, Fang Hua and that woman walked out of the park as they wiped their perspiration off with the towels on their necks, as though they were about to leave. Fang Miao caught Jiang Yu’s wrist and hastily followed.
Jiang Yu was somehow shoved into the car, and they followed Fang Hua’s car for an entire morning. After lunch, they arrived at a hot spring resort.
“They are spending so much time alone, and even come to a hot spring resort together. The one who wants to be my stepmother must be this woman.” Fang Miao alighted from the car furiously, threw down a card at the reception, and entered the resort.
It was Jiang Yu’s first visit to a hot spring resort. He trailed after Fang Miao as he observed his surroundings, and was ushered by the service crew to the changing room.
Once the two men were changed, Fang Miao, who was afraid that he might be recognized, wore his mask and dismissed the service staff. It was only after he entered this place that he realized that all the rooms were private baths. It wasn’t clear which room Fang Hua and the lady went into, and he couldn’t possibly knock on every single door.
The two men walked around aimlessly along the corridor, then turned to the public baths. Jiang Yu kneeled down by the pool, then reached out to touch the water.
“Do you want to take a dip? I give up, let’s go for a dip too.” Fang Miao was tired from searching. He threw his father to the back of his mind, then turned back to ask the service staff for a private room, removed his clothes and mask, then jumped into the bath naked.
Fang Miao didn’t like to share the pool with others, so he requested a room with two small pools separated by a screen. Jiang Yu took off his clothes, then went into the other bath.
Initially, the water was so hot that he almost jumped out of the bath, but once he got used to the temperature, he was so comfortable that he didn’t want to move. He lay by the side of the pool, closed his eyes and let out a satisfied groan, finally relaxing. After soaking for a while, he wanted to move his legs, but he heard a splash, and opened his eyes in shock. His legs had turned back into a tail!
“Jiang Yu, what are you doing?” Fang Miao was enjoying the soak with his eyes closed when he heard the endless splashing sounds from beside him. He opened his eyes and looked across the screen; Jiang Yu was sitting at the side of the pool, a huge towel covering him.
“It’s nothing. I got dizzy from soaking, so I came out.” Jiang Yu clutched his towel tightly and smiled at Fang Miao.
“I’ll soak for a while more.” Fang Miao returned to his pool.
Jiang Yu heaved a sigh of relief. He took the towel and wiped the water droplets off his face. That was a close shave; he was almost discovered. If the mermen ashore soaked in the water for too long, their legs would turn back into tails. Next time, he would definitely not soak in the water for such a long time again.
Someone knocked on the door. Fang Miao lay lazily by the pool and said, “It must be the service staff sending some fruits up. Jiang Yu, go and open the door.”
Jiang Yu climbed up from the floor and wrapped himself in a towel before he opened the door. Standing before him was a tall man wearing a yukata. His belt wasn’t properly tied, exposing a part of his chest, and there were still water droplets clinging onto it. He looked up and was stupefied when he saw the man’s face. It was Qin Shen.
Qin Shen was dumbstruck when he saw Jiang Yu too. When Fang Miao didn’t hear anything at the door, he opened his eyes and asked, “Jiang Yu, why aren’t you bringing the fruits in?”
When Qin Shen heard the voice, he pushed the door wider open. When Fang Miao saw him, he stood up from the pool, “Brother, why are you here?”
… Brother? Jiang Yu stared at Qin Shen, then at Fang Miao.