In that moment, the three people who had heard Jiang Xun speak all had different thoughts racing through their mind—
Mu Yue was pretty sure she was about to be unemployed. Manager Zhao was pretty sure she was about to be diagnosed with hypertension. And Gu Wei was pretty sure he was just plain screwed.
And so, for a short while, a deceptively peaceful silence descended upon the room.
"Do you… think she heard?" Gu Wei mouthed to Mu Yue, almost silently.
"Oh, definitely," Mu Yue answered. She could practically imagine what the manager's face looked like on the other end of the line.
"Should I hang up on her?" Gu Wei whispered. "We can wait a few days, then go smooth things out together?"
Mu Yue said nothing to that.
It was too late. The cat was out of the bag, and there was no getting it back in. Zhao-jie was probably about to explode.
"Gu Wei!" Manager Zhao finally spoke, her voice ringing out from the phone. "What the hell?!"
She had always thought Gu Wei was the easiest idol to manage. Controversial, but well-behaved. But now he didn't seem well-behaved at all.
Just a short while ago, he had solemnly sworn to her that he was not in a relationship with Jiang Xun.
But now? Now, this was no mere relationship. This wasn't just dating. Just how far had these two gone? The word 'husband' was already in play?
Gu Wei had already been stunned stupid by that line from Jiang Xun, and he heard himself blurting out, "Zhao-jie, I really didn't do anything. I'm just playing with Jiang Xun for a bit, don't listen to him, he's talking nonsense. Me and Jiang Xun…"
He really, really, really had just been playing a game with Jiang Xun before bed.
Mu Yue was close to blacking out. She had just smoothed things over with the manager earlier, and she had even cautioned Gu Wei against talking about Jiang Xun. How many times did he mention Jiang Xun just now?
There was no light at the end of this tunnel.
To make matters worse, even though there were clearly only two people standing in that room, there were four people invested in that conversation.
Jiang Xun's voice started to drift out from Gu Wei's phone again: "Weiwei, who are you on the phone with? Do you still want to play?"
Mu Yue couldn't help but think that this was the greatest obstacle she had encountered in her career to date. To Gu Wei's phone, she softly said, "He's done playing."
"Shut up," the manager said. "Put Jiang Xun on the phone."
"But…" Gu Wei wanted to say Jiang Xun wasn't in the room with them, but Mu Yue quickly shushed him.
Flapping a hand at him, Mu Yue signaled for him to stop talking. Then she took both phones and put them side by side on the cabinet. "Didi, let's not put the final nail in Zhao-jie's coffin."
Gu Wei couldn't argue with that.
He could only watch as his cell phone was placed next to Mu Yue's cell phone, and the two voices on the two lines began to talk—
Mu Yue's cell phone said, "Jiang-zong, Gu Wei belongs to our agency."
Gu Wei's cell phone answered, "Call me Jiang Xun, no need to be a stranger."
"Who's saying you aren't a stranger?" the manager Zhao Ya fired back, speaking rapidly now. "If you want to play, go pick someone from your own agency. Must you get our top boy band's lead dancer involved in your affairs?"
Shamelessly, Jiang Xun answered, "Mhm. I must."
The manager's head was starting to ache. "You can't behave this way. Gu Wei still needs to work tomorrow."
As soon as Gu Wei heard this, he knew Jiang Xun's earlier words had caused a major misunderstanding. But before he could explain anything to his manager, Jiang Xun continued, "We'll be sure to exercise moderation, but Weiwei is also enjoying himself."
Gu Wei froze.
On the surface, there was no problem with that. Playing a moderate amount of games was fine, and Weiwei did enjoy playing games with Jiang Xun.
But when these words fell upon his manager's ears, they sounded wrong in every conceivable way!
The conversation between the two cell phones continued. Mu Yue couldn't stand to hear it anymore. She took Gu Wei, whose face was turning redder and redder, and led him out into the hall.
"Let them talk," she urged.
After retreating to the hallway and leaving that hot mess behind, Gu Wei finally managed to start calming down. But when he thought of all the things Jiang Xun had spoken in his ear earlier, his face reddened again and his pulse sped up.
"We really were just playing games," Gu Wei tried to explain.
"I know," Mu Yue reassured. Her headache was threatening to split open her skull. "But Zhao-jie doesn't know."
She met Gu Wei's gaze with a look of complete seriousness in her eyes. "Didi, please be totally honest with me right now. For the sake of our future working relationship. What exactly is going on between you and Jiang Xun?"
What exactly was going on… was something Gu Wei didn't know how to explain. He wanted to say they were pretty good friends, but when he thought about it, he had to admit 'pretty good friends' didn't act this way.
A 'pretty good friend' wouldn't block him in against a wall and call him a 'bride', and a 'pretty good friend' wouldn't push him down onto a bed and… threaten his virtue either.
It seemed, at some point, without Gu Wei's notice, their relationship had stepped over the line of 'just friends'.
"Don't tell me you're just friends," Mu Yue warned, as though sensing exactly what Gu Wei was thinking. "Would you have Chi Yunkai, Luo Chenxuan, or any of your other friends in your phone as 'Husband'?"
"Of course not," Gu Wei blurted out.
"See?" Mu Yue spread her hands as though presenting Gu Wei with all the incriminating evidence that was stacked up against him. "Regardless of who set that nickname, the way you feel about Jiang Xun, isn't it… different?"
Gu Wei gave it some serious thought, then finally gave Mu Yue a brief summary of everything that had happened between him and Jiang Xun.
"You're engaged to Jiang Xun?" Mu Yue was reasonably a little surprised, to say the least, once Gu Wei finished recounting recent events.
If the shippers found out about that, they were sure to go out of their minds with glee.
"No! I don't think it counts as a real engagement, but our parents did talk about setting an engagement," Gu Wei said. He lowered his head and fixed his gaze on the tips of his own toes. "My dad and Auntie Song are colleagues. They thought we would be a good match when they talked to each other, so I guess they just wanted us to give it a shot."
"Then, you two…?" Mu Yue asked.
"We're super not engaged yet," Gu Wei said, shaking his head. "I originally thought my dad was just messing around, but he and Auntie Song were serious, so then I wanted my dad to call it off, but now…"
Now, he didn't want it called off.
Now, he didn't know what he was supposed to do.
"Then, what are you two planning to do?" Mu Yue asked.
"I don't know." Gu Wei shook his head again. "I'm worried about burdening him, but…"
But it seemed he had gradually become so tangled up in this web of emotions that he no longer had any way to retreat. When he waited for a message from Jiang Xun and didn't receive one, he was disappointed. When Jiang Xun invited him into a video call, he was thrilled.
What kind of 'just friends' relationship was that?
"Did Jiang Xun ever say you were a burden?" Mu Yue asked.
"No," Gu Wei said.
"See, you always assume you know what others are thinking, but it's only your assumption," Mu Yue said. "Why do you think you'll have a negative impact on his life? In this world, there are so many people who adore you and support you. In their eyes, you're incredible."
"What about in Jiang Xun's eyes?" Gu Wei asked. A hopeful yet uncertain light flickered through his own eyes. "I'm not good enough yet. I want to work hard and become someone who's truly incredible."
He wanted to become someone who never disappointed his fans. He wanted to become someone worthy of standing beside the person next to him.
Mu Yue sighed. "You really are still just a kid."
When she first took this job, she had completely bought into what rumors said about Gu Wei. About how difficult he would be to work with. But now, it was obvious all those rumors had been wrong.
"These are the things you should talk to Jiang Xun about," Mu Yue said. "I think he'll be very happy to have that conversation with you."
When Gu Wei and Mu Yue reentered the room, the two cell phones seemed to have reached a temporary truce.
Everything was calm. By all appearances, the storm had passed.
"Weiwei, work hard and do a good job tomorrow," Manager Zhao said. "Don't think about dating when you're filming. Once you're done, what you do is up to you."
Gu Wei hesitated for a moment, then answered, "…okay."
He had no idea what the two phones had talked about, but it seemed his manager had somehow, miraculously, come to terms with reality.
After the calls were over, Gu Wei took some time to calm down and reviewed his script some more. Then he took a shower and got ready for bed, but suddenly remembered what Jiang Xun had told him about drying his hair. So he picked up the hair dryer on the table in the hotel room and—
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: Ge, I'm going to dry my hair properly today.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: [image]
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: CuteBlush.jpg
[Husband]: Good boy. I'll remember to reward you later.
[Husband]: Get some rest. As soon as my tournament is over, I'll come visit you.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: Ge, I'm a little curious. What did you say to my manager?
[Husband]: Not much.
[Husband]: I just told her that we're very well-suited for each other, and that things have already gone beyond the point of no return, and that I can't even count how many times you've called me 'husband' anymore, and… do you want to hear more?
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: ……I do not.
Gu Wei understood now. No wonder his agent had signed off with such an immense note of resignation in her tone.
[Husband]: Go to sleep now, work hard tomorrow.
[Husband]: Call me if anything comes up.
Gu Wei stared at that familiar reaction meme for a moment. His chest filled up with warmth.
The photo album on his phone had once been full of hilariously angry and aggressive Jiang Xun memes. At some point, those memes had been replaced by photos of Jiang Xun from various articles about his tournaments and career. As Gu Wei admired Jiang Xun's handsome profile, he couldn't help but smile.
After drying his hair, Gu Wei planned on taking his medicine and going to sleep. When he saw his medicine box, he suddenly remembered what had happened last night.
Last night, at Jiang Xun's place, he had danced for Jiang Xun. Then he had been pushed down onto the bed where his virtue was threatened, and then…
Then, with his head and his heart full of Jiang Xun, he'd forgotten to take his medicine and fallen asleep just like that.
Gu Wei stared at the medicine box.
What was that all about? Could it be that being teased by a big pervert before bed could cure insomnia?
Then, in the future, would he need…
No, no, no. That was impossible. He had just spent too much time with Jiang Xun. Even his own thoughts were starting to become twisted. Gu Wei shook his head and forced himself to forget all about last night.
Just as he finally got ready to sleep, he saw some activity on WeChat. He had been added to a group called 'T.ATW Senior Citizens Cardroom', and the group was getting pretty lively.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: Salt. So much salt.
[The Sun At Dawn]: Weiwei, are you having fun with your partner?
[stone]: You don't even need to try to get better anymore. Just keep being the literal worst.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: Doesn't your husband have another tournament soon? Will we have something new to watch?
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: Ahh, that's true love. He'll carry you in a different game even when he has a tournament coming up soon.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: angry.jpg
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: Does this group see me as some sort of vagrant? I feel no love from T.ATW today.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: I'm going to sleep.
[Fu Zhi]: Wait.
[Fu Zhi]: Don't sleep yet. Let's dish.
Gu Wei perked up. This was a special pre-bedtime routine shared between the members of T.ATW.
When they were all at the dorm, they would gather in the living room, with one of them holding the big mug Captain Fu Zhi brought from home, and scroll through posts on Tianya Club. They would pick out the juiciest and most dramatic threads to share, ones about interfering mistresses or mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws clawing at each other's throats.
When they were all busy, they would share those links in their chat group instead. Like now—
[stone]: My turn today.
[stone]: This one makes me feel a lot of things. [link]
Gu Wei clicked open the link and read the topic of the thread.
My big brother is getting married soon, and his match is pretty much ideal. Good-looking, kind, and well-behaved. But recently I caught my brother flirting with my nemesis and being all secretive about it. What should I do…?
[Fu Zhi]: I like this kind of plot, I feel it's very moving.
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: The way it's written, it's someone from our industry, isn't it?
[Yunkai Sees Mooncakes]: I think OP should scold his brother.
[The Sun At Dawn]: Yeah, this brother seems a bit scummy to me.
Gu Wei continued to read through the post. According to the poster, their big brother was sharing a roof with his partner, yet at the very same time occasionally expressed favor and affection for the poster's sworn nemesis.
It did seem to be a pretty juicy and dramatic situation, but Gu Wei got the weird sensation that the situation described was… eerily familiar.
Gu Wei glanced at the post details and saw that it had been posted twenty minutes ago by a user named Tianguang Yunying.
Gu Wei gave that some thought and felt increasingly restless. Just in case his bad feeling was somehow right, he went back to WeChat and pulled up his nemesis's contact information.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: Did you already go to sleep?
[Big-Clawed Crab]: If you have something to say, just say it.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: What are you doing right now?
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Boosting my ranking, managing my comments, eradicating my antis. Oh, and collecting dirt on people.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Why?
His rival's attitude was just as high and mighty as usual. Gu Wei breathed a sigh of relief.
[If You Love Me Please Send Me Money]: It's nothing. Work hard, good luck, don't stay up too late.
It wasn't him. That post… probably definitely didn't have anything to do with Jiang Ying.
Gu Wei was just overthinking things.