Downstairs, in one of the hotel rooms, the assistant Mu Yue was on a call with T.ATW's manager Zhao Ya.
"Don't take pity on him. When you need to confiscate his phone, confiscate it," Manager Zhao said. "He can get himself trending again with just one wrong 'like'."
"I understand, Zhao-jie." Mu Yue gave it some thought, and in the end decided not to report what she had seen on Gu Wei's phone earlier that day. "Weiwei worked really hard today, he's very serious about this role."
"I know he's a hard worker. He's usually the one I have to worry about the least, but sometimes it's necessary to help him stay out of the spotlight," Manager Zhao said. "He just told me he isn't in a relationship. Did he really go over to Jiang Xun's place for work?"
"That's… probably right," Mu Yue answered haltingly. "They just… became normal friends after recording that variety show together. I could tell Weiwei had a really good time while filming that show."
"That's true," Manager Zhao said. "Before, when he was filming 'Wandering With You', I never got the sense that he was enjoying it. But, this time, he was great. He pulled in a lot of new fans with this, and he didn't give his anti-fans any new fodder to bash him with. Jiang Xun really did bring out the best in him."
"Right," Mu Yue affirmed. "So you don't need to worry too much, Zhao-jie."
But Mu Yue didn't even fully believe her own words. Still, she bit her tongue and kept Gu Wei's secret. The secret of the 'Husband' on WeChat.
"It's not that we won't allow him to date, it's just that it can't be too sudden. He's still quite controversial. If he does get into a relationship, the agency needs time to put together a PR plan," Manager Zhao said, sighing. "Alright, let's just observe for now. It's good that those two will be apart for a while with Gu Wei filming this drama.
"I have to go now, I need to make another call. I'll contact Gu Wei again later to go over some new work stuff with him."
Back in Gu Wei's hotel room, the video call connected and Jiang Xun appeared on his cell phone screen.
"Jiang Xun?" he greeted. "Why…"
Why didn't you send a message?
Why are you calling me?
Gu Wei moved his phone this way and that, adjusting the camera to find a more suitable angle.
"Stop moving around, I just wanted to see you," Jiang Xun said. "I was going to write you a message earlier, but something came up."
Jiang Xun looked like he had just gotten out of the shower. The top of his pajamas was draped over his shoulders, and his skin was still dotted with little beads of water that had yet to be wiped away.
"You just saw me this morning," Gu Wei argued. But even as he said that, he could feel the disappointment and loneliness from earlier that day start to fade.
"The cast photos for your new drama look good," Jiang Xun said, feeling compelled to praise Gu Wei a little as soon as he laid eyes on him.
Gu Wei perked up instantly. "Really? I was afraid I wouldn't be able to pull off this hair color."
"If I could run my fingers through your hair right now, that would be even better," Jiang Xun added. He could still feel the phantom sensation of Gu Wei's soft locks slipping between his fingers from when he'd helped the kid dry his hair.
Gu Wei sulked quietly for a moment.
Dream on, he thought. Jiang Xun wouldn't get a chance to pat his head again for at least two weeks or so.
"It's a shame," Jiang Xun continued, almost as though reading Gu Wei's mind. "I won't get to see you for two weeks or so. Once my next tournament is over, I'll come visit you on set."
"So… you have to go train now?" Gu Wei's mind drifted back to thoughts of Jiang Xun practicing so hard every day and every night. "Don't stay up too late, though."
It seemed the two of them would both be quite busy for a while. Gu Wei felt a faint sense of disappointment creep back over him.
"I don't need to go yet," Jiang Xun said. "We're taking a break, so I thought I'd come bother Little Gu for a while."
Jiang Xun started to dry his own hair with a towel. His cell phone had most likely been propped up on the table. "Weiwei, that reminds me. Why didn't you respond to the messages I sent earlier today?"
As soon as Jiang Xun brought up those messages, Gu Wei's cheeks started to heat up a little.
The content of those three messages drifted back into the forefront of his mind.
Those messages were the sort that made people blush as soon as they laid eyes on them… and Jiang Xun had the gall to ask him why he didn't respond?
"Did you not want to answer me?" Jiang Xun persisted. "Or did you not want to answer 'Husband'?"
Gu Wei deftly ignored that question and explained, "Because I made a little mistake, my manager had my assistant confiscate my phone."
Jiang Xun suddenly remembered the 'incident' from earlier, which Jiang Ying had told him about. "That wasn't really a mistake, was it?" Jiang Xun teased. "The 'little sweetheart' is also you, right?"
Gu Wei was silent.
Jiang Xun wasn't wrong, but the netizens didn't know that. And the netizens couldn't be allowed to find out, or else Gu Wei's manager was going to implode.
Gu Wei had told her that he and Jiang Xun weren't together. That was probably the last tenuous thread that was holding her sanity together.
Jiang Xun didn't force Gu Wei to give him an answer to that. Instead, he asked, "You missed my call earlier, too. Were you busy?"
"I was…" Gu Wei thought back to being kicked out of his group for the second time in one day and still felt a little distraught about it. "Playing a game."
"The one from last time?" Jiang Xun had helped him with it once, back at the hotel they'd stayed at after filming their variety show together.
Gu Wei nodded. "Yeah, they had three people and needed one more to form a team. So they got me to join in, and then… you called, the notification popped up, I got distracted, and… exploded them to death."
And then he'd gotten kicked out of the group chat. Again.
Jiang Xun saw the sullen look on Gu Wei's face and instantly pieced together what had happened.
"Open up the game," Jiang Xun said. "I'll make it up to you."
"Huh?" Gu Wei didn't understand.
"Angel, I'll carry you."
Gu Wei hesitated. "But I'm really bad."
He was so bad that his own bandmates, who had declared friendship to be the 'spirit' of their group, had kicked him out.
"Don't worry," Jiang Xun said, smiling. "Go log in, we can chat through the game."
And so, Gu Wei ended the video call and opened up the game again. He accepted the invitation Jiang Xun sent him and joined his waiting room. Jiang Xun's username was Pika Pika of all things; Gu Wei couldn't help but laugh.
"You're that happy to be playing with me?" Jiang Xun asked, his voice drifting out from Gu Wei's earbuds.
"I'm laughing at your name," Gu Wei said.
It was only then that Gu Wei noticed two other players were in the waiting room already. He didn't recognize their names, so he naturally assumed they had been randomly assigned to Jiang Xun's team.
Compared to the outlandish outfits the guys from T.ATW wore in the game, Jiang Xun's character was dressed rather plainly.
"I told you before, I don't play this game very often," Jiang Xun said. "Jiang Ying plays a lot, but I'm still good enough to carry you."
Gu Wei got into their team's voice channel and continued chatting with Jiang Xun as they loaded into a match.
The T.ATW group chat, without Gu Wei's input, had changed its name again. Now it was the 'T.ATW Senior Citizens Cardroom'.
[Fu Zhi]: Just got back from my event, I'm freezing.
[Fu Zhi]: New group name again?
[Fu Zhi]: And Gu Wei's gone again too? Why are there only four people left in here? I just added Gu Wei back.
[Fu Zhi]: Hello?
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: Captain, one sec. We're playing cards right now and I'm about to kick everyone's ass.
Three minutes later, the other group members trickled into the chat.
[stone]: Alright, we're done.
[The Sun At Dawn]: I feel refreshed.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: Like I thought, this kind of old-timey card game is much more relaxing. I can feel the spirit of our group healing right now.
[Fu Zhi]: I just looked in the game and Gu Wei is still online. He's in a match right now. You guys aren't playing with him?
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: He sucks too bad, we couldn't carry him anymore.
[Fu Zhi]: You kicked our very own lead dancer out of the group over a game?
[stone]: He's really still playing?
[The Sun At Dawn]: Let's spectate for a while, we can see him drag his new teammates down.
[stone]: Hehehe, good idea.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: I'm in. I want to see other people suffer like us. That'll make me feel better for sure.
The four other members of T.ATW loaded up the game again and started to spectate the match that Gu Wei was currently playing.
Five minutes later—
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: THE FUCK?
[The Sun At Dawn]: wtf???
[stone]: Am I seeing things? Where did he find these teammates?
[Fu Zhi]: Yeah, who's carrying him?
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: This positioning, these techniques… is this even a human being?
[The Sun At Dawn]: I'll record my screen.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: Seriously, how did he find an MVP to carry him???
[Fu Zhi]: I actually have a guess.
[stone]: It can't be the person I'm thinking of, right?
[Yunkai Sees Moncakes]: …...it's very possible, huh.
[The Sun At Dawn]: Weiwei is never going to get any better now. If it's like this, he can win without lifting a finger.
In the game, Gu Wei could only watch Jiang Xun move about, demonstrating a level of skill that left Gu Wei completely speechless. It didn't feel much like Gu Wei was playing the game at all.
The worst part was that Jiang Xun, while mercilessly trouncing their opponents, didn't stop teasing Gu Wei. With his voice right in Gu Wei's ears, he kept asking questions like—
"What do you think?"
"How's this angle?"
"Do you like that?"
Gu Wei said nothing.
In the context of the game, these questions all seemed innocent enough. But on their own, they were… a little problematic.
"Answer," Jiang Xun prompted.
"I… I like it," Gu Wei mumbled. He didn't dare point out the problems with Jiang Xun's questions, instead just playing along and answering a few times until he heard Jiang Xun let out a soft laugh.
Gu Wei gave a start.
He knew it. He knew it. Jiang Xun was doing it all on purpose.
"Ge…" Gu Wei had been so startled by that little laugh that his knees felt weak. He had to protest, "Can you not be a pervert for one second?"
There were two complete strangers in the voice chat with them, after all.
Finally, the 'complete strangers' couldn't handle it anymore. They unmuted their mics, and one of them said, "Captain, we're begging you, please restrain yourself."
"Captain, it's like you're forgetting we're here…" West complained. "You shouldn't reveal your true nature to your little friend just because he's too innocent to realize what you're up to."
"I won't be able to see him for half a month, what's wrong with teasing him a little?" Jiang Xun sounded completely unflustered, as though convinced he had done no wrong. "Isn't that right, Weiwei?"
Gu Wei was silent.
It was only after he heard these two familiar voices that he realized these 'complete strangers' were actually Jiang Xun's teammates from TMW.
Three world champions were carrying a complete newbie like Gu Wei. Jiang Xun's way of doting on someone was really… special.
Gu Wei felt compelled to offer a heartfelt word of gratitude.
"No need for that, I just want to spoil my hard-working little friend a little," Jiang Xun said, brushing off Gu Wei's thanks. "If you really want to thank me, you can dance for me again next time."
A knock suddenly came at the door. The match wasn't over, so Gu Wei could only get up to answer the door while still wearing his earphones and carrying his cell phone.
"Playing a game?" Mu Yue whispered. She was holding her phone as well, covering the mouthpiece with one hand.
Gu Wei nodded and gave her an inquisitive look.
"Manager Zhao called you but couldn't get through, so she sent me up to check on you," Mu Yue said, holding her phone out to Gu Wei. "It's about work. A new gig, I think."
"I'll take it," Gu Wei whispered back.
His manager's call probably hadn't gone through because he was in the middle of a game.
"Didi, just stick to work, don't mention Jiang Xun," Mu Yue added, still whispering at the lowest possible volume. "I just calmed Zhao-jie down, so don't rile her up again."
Gu Wei understood and nodded his thanks to the assistant. "Got it, don't worry."
He took Mu Yue's cell phone, where Manager Zhao was still waiting on the line, and greeted, "Zhao-jie, I think the reception here isn't great, so I missed your call earlier. What's up? If you have…"
Gu Wei had meant to set his own phone aside for a moment. However, it suddenly slipped out of his hand. His reaction was as quick as lightning. He reached out to snatch it out of the air, but only succeeded in grabbing the cord of his earphones. The phone continued to fall, and the earbuds came unplugged.
A foreboding sensation crashed into Gu Wei, and next to him, Mu Yue felt the exact same chill.
The two of them reached out at the same time, but neither of them managed to catch the falling phone.
The phone landed on the ground, and the game continued undisturbed. The chatter from the game continued to flow out as well, until the round finally ended and displayed the player rankings on the screen.
At that very moment, Jiang Xun's voice came out, playing through the phone's speakers, which had tragically been turned up to quite a high volume—
"What's the matter, Weiwei? Aren't you having fun, playing with your husband?"
Gu Wei froze.
Mu Yue froze.
And the manager said nothing.