Jiang Ying leaned against the door to the outhouse next to the farm where they were spending the night, and he finally told his mother Song Jingxi all about what was weighing so heavily on his mind—
[Song Jingxi]: I see. I happen to have business in C City, so I'll meet you there tomorrow and have a look.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Okay. Good night, Mom.
Next, Jiang Ying opened up his text conversation with his assistant.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Tomorrow, can you buy me two chicken feather dusters?
[Assistant Zhang]: What are you planning to do? [terrified.jpg]
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Execute justice. Straighten out the Jiang family's affairs.
[Assistant Zhang]: Stop messing around.
[Assistant Zhang]: Promise me you won't do anything that gets you trending.
[Big-Clawed Crab]: Relax, it's a private matter. I'll resolve it privately.
[Assistant Zhang]: Then I'll buy them tomorrow morning. You go to bed now.
"You want chicken feather dusters?" The voice came from behind Jiang Ying. He turned around and saw Jiang Enyuan standing behind him. Jiang Enyuan continued, "What are you doing out here this late, buying chicken feather dusters? I didn't think there would be anyone out here."
"What are you looking at my phone for?" Jiang Ying complained, quickly hiding his screen. "Rude."
"How long have you been out there?" Jiang Enyuan asked, pointedly giving the air a sniff.
"None of your business," Jiang Ying snapped. He just couldn't stand being around Jiang Enyuan. Without any cameras on them, he had even less of a reason to pretend to be nice, so he turned and walked away without another word.
Gu Wei had had something he wanted to say to Jiang Ying, but after taking his daily medicine, he fell asleep before his nemesis returned.
By the time Jiang Ying returned from the outhouse, with the stench of a rustic toilet clinging to his clothes, Gu Wei was in no condition to carry on a conversation.
"Gu Wei…" Jiang Ying hesitated over his words. "You…"
Gu Wei wrinkled his nose at the odor he detected even in his sleep. He rolled away in disgust, bundling himself up in the covers and leaving barely a corner for Jiang Ying.
The cameras that had been left in the room were still recording, so Jiang Ying didn't dare say too much. He lay down and tried to get to sleep.
"Gu Wei, give me some of the blankets!" Jiang Ying stood back up on the tatami mat and grabbed a corner of the comforter, trying to tug it out from Gu Wei's grasp. "You're being so unfair."
Jiang Ying lost the battle for the comforter in the end. He had no choice but to steal Gu Wei's pillow and go to sleep in a huff, hogging both pillows.
The recording session on the morning of the second day was pretty easy for Gu Wei. The showrunners hadn't planned any particularly daunting tasks, and the guests only had to help the villagers harvest some fruit.
But Gu Wei couldn't get his spirits up all morning. He wasn't sure if it was a problem with the pillow or if he had just slept wrong, but he woke up with some intense neck pain. His neck hurt so much that he couldn't turn his head around. Whenever someone called for him, he had to turn his whole body around to answer.
"Gu Wei," Jiang Ying called from behind him.
Gu Wei turned around. "Hm?"
"Is your neck…" Jiang Ying hesitated. "…okay?"
Gu Wei blinked, stunned. He never would have expected his nemesis to care about his neck. Maybe he was doing a good job of following his manager's orders after all. Maybe he and Jiang Ying were actually getting along.
"It's fine," Gu Wei said, even though his neck felt as stiff as a corpse. "It'll be all better by tomorrow, probably."
Jiang Ying looked a little guilty and even helped Gu Wei with the tasks assigned by the director. Gu Wei couldn't figure out why his neck pain would make his nemesis look so guilty, but he supposed it didn't matter in the end. With some help, the rest of the morning went by smoothly.
The hours flew by, and soon enough the filming for the sixth installment of Wandering With You had concluded. The guests all quickly said their goodbyes to one another and gathered up their belongings, hurrying off to their next destinations.
"Didi, you're going to see Jiang Xun?" Mu Yue whispered to Gu Wei.
"Yeah." Gu Wei nodded. "I won't stay long. We'll go back to H City together tomorrow. Don't tell Zhao-jie."
"No problem," Mu Yue said. "You're originally scheduled to return to the set for your drama tomorrow afternoon, anyway. It won't affect your work."
While the two of them whispered to each other with their heads bowed together, Jiang Ying passed behind them along with his own assistant. He seemed a little distracted, and his eyes were unfocused.
"Jiang Ying, do you want to head out with me?" Gu Wei asked.
"Why would I go anywhere with you?" Jiang Ying looked genuinely baffled before he turned and got into the car his company had sent for him.
Gu Wei thought for a moment.
They were still surrounded by other people from the cast and crew, so it wasn't a good time to try to explain.
A Bentley was parked at the side of the road. Gu Wei waved a goodbye to Mu Yue, then made his way over and climbed into the back of the car with his head bowed.
Before he got a chance to properly sit down, the person inside the car wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled him in.
Gu Wei jumped and struggled for a moment, until he smelled a familiar cold, woodsy scent. At that, his whole body relaxed.
"What are you doing here?" he asked, a little surprised. "Didn't you say you were going to have someone pick me up?"
"I got impatient," Jiang Xun said. "I couldn't wait any longer."
"Ge, don't mess with me." Gu Wei was still a little startled after being pulled into Jiang Xun's lap so abruptly. He didn't dare move away.
They hadn't seen each other in half a month, but Gu Wei somehow got the feeling their relationship had deepened in intangible ways.
"You lost weight," Jiang Xun mused. He wrapped a hand around one of Gu Wei's wrists. "Have you been controlling your diet?"
"Yeah," Gu Wei admitted obediently. "The director said to slim down and look a little bony, to better capture Miao Zihan's look as a teenager."
In the first half of the popular novel Like the Moon, the teenager Miao Zihan was a thin and somewhat antisocial character. For the sake of matching Miao Zihan's description as closely as possible, Gu Wei had been strictly controlling his own intake of food and drink.
"Let's make up all that nutrition once you finish filming this drama," Jiang Xun suggested. "If you get any thinner, your little hedgehogs will start to worry."
"You know about the little hedgehogs?" Gu Wei asked, surprised.
Jiang Xun had said they would be each other's fan, but he was really taking it seriously. He had even learned about the name Gu Wei's fans had given themselves.
"One of our rookies is a little hedgehog. How could I not know?" Jiang Xun said. "Her name is Yi Qing, I think you met her before. She's a pretty promising rookie."
Gu Wei did remember Yi Qing, the girl with the twin buns and lollipops. He also remembered, with perfect clarity, her livestream in which she taught that mouthy rival of theirs a lesson.
"She has a bad attitude, but her skills are fierce. There aren't many other rookies who are bold enough to challenge her," Jiang Xun continued. "And she's a big fan of yours. She has tons of your merch in her dorm. Calendars, banners, stickers, keychains… that sort of thing. She said she got it all through your fan club."
"How do you know so much?" Gu Wei asked. He was even more surprised now.
Jiang Xun couldn't resist any longer. He reached out and pinched Gu Wei's cheek as he continued to explain, "I asked Yi Qing before I set out for C City. She told me all about it."
"You asked her? To her face?"
"Yeah." Jiang Xun nodded. "She seemed pretty happy about it."
Gu Wei fell silent.
He suddenly understood why Yi Qing's mood had been so turbulent some time ago.
So there was an idol-chaser in TMW's club. No wonder Jiang Xun had learned so many fannish terms in just half a month.
Gu Wei suddenly remembered the finals that he'd missed yesterday. He suggested, "Ge, I didn't get a chance to watch your match yesterday while I was filming. Let me watch the recording now."
"Oh, so you've learned to follow my games now?" Jiang Xun was still pinching Gu Wei's cheek. Little Gu's cheeks were so soft that Jiang Xun was pretty sure he could get addicted to this.
"I learned ages ago," Gu Wei insisted. He batted Jiang Xun's hand away. They still had some time before they would arrive at the hotel, so he decided to scoot over to the other side of the car and watch the recording for a while.
But of course, Jiang Xun had no intention of letting him go. He wrapped his arms more securely around Gu Wei's waist and firmly pinned Gu Wei to his lap.
"What are you doing?" Gu Wei tugged on the fabric of Jiang Xun's pants. "Let me go."
"You can still watch the recording like this," Jiang Xun said. He sighed, feigning discontent, and complained, "I haven't seen my fiancé in half a month, and now he won't even let me bully him a little?"
"So you know you're a bully," Gu Wei huffed, shaking his head. Jiang Xun was clearly incorrigible.
"We've already slept together," Jiang Xun teased. "What's wrong with a hug?"
"We slept next to each other, we didn't sleep together," Gu Wei corrected hastily, shooting a glance at the driver in the front seat.
"Stay still," Jiang Xun warned, "or I'll bully you some more."
Gu Wei froze. He wouldn't move. He definitely wouldn't move.
"What's the matter with your neck?" Jiang Xun asked. He had noticed Gu Wei moving a little unnaturally when he turned his head. "Did you sprain it while filming?"
"I think I slept on it wrong," Gu Wei guessed. "The bedding the show provided for us wasn't very comfortable."
"I'll massage it for you later," Jiang Xun said.
Gu Wei found a recording of yesterday's match on his phone and hit play, starting to watch the finals that Jiang Xun had played in. The Jiang Xun at his side explained some of the finer details of the competition as Gu Wei watched.
After explaining a common maneuver in the game, Jiang Xun looked over and admired Gu Wei's long eyelashes. "Weiwei?"
Gu Wei stared unwaveringly at the game on the screen. "Hm?"
"Are you watching me or are you watching the game?" Jiang Xun asked.
"Both," Gu Wei said. He ducked his head and hid a smile.
"Do you still get dizzy from watching the games?" Jiang Xun asked, remembering how nauseous Gu Wei had gotten when he'd tried playing.
"It hasn't been as bad lately," Gu Wei answered. "I'm getting used to it."
Jiang Xun's cell phone suddenly rang.
He kept one arm wrapped around Gu Wei's waist and grabbed his phone with his other hand to answer. "You keep watching," he said. "I'll take this call."
Gu Wei did just that. He continued to watch, also sparing one ear to listen in on Jiang Xun's call.
It was Song Jingxi.
Jiang Xun leaned back in his seat and greeted, "Mom, what's up?"
"You're done with your tournament?" Song Jingxi asked.
"We just finished yesterday," Jiang Xun said. "I'm taking a break tonight and flying back tomorrow morning."
Song Jingxi hummed her acknowledgement, then asked, "What are you doing now?"
Now Gu Wei was curiously listening to the call with both ears.
"I'm in the car," Jiang Xun said. "I went out for a bit, and now I'm heading back to the hotel."
"Is there anyone with you?" Song Jingxi prompted.
Gu Wei paused the video on his phone and gave Jiang Xun's call his full attention.
Jiang Xun's smile grew a little bigger. "There is."
There was a little fan of his, happily watching his match.
"Who?" Song Jingxi asked casually, as though it was just a fleeting curiosity of hers.
"The little fiancé you arranged for me, of course," Jiang Xun said. His voice was light and carefree, and his other hand was trying to sneak under the hem of Gu Wei's shirt while Gu Wei was distracted.
Gu Wei grabbed the big pervert's hand and pushed it away.
"You two are together?" Song Jingxi asked, her tone seeming to lighten up as well.
"Yeah," Jiang Xun said. "You're the one who told me, Mom, to properly convey our feelings to each other. It just so happens we're both in C City right now."
As he spoke, Jiang Xun pinched Gu Wei's waist. Gu Wei's neck was still too sore for him to move around too much, so he could only glare at Jiang Xun and scold him with his eyes.
"Okay, that's good," Song Jingxi said. "Then I won't bother you two anymore."
"Wait," Jiang Xun said.
"What is it?" Song Jingxi asked.
"Mom, is there a goose next to you or something?" Jiang Xun asked. "Why do I keep hearing this 'oh, oh, oh' sound?"
Gu Wei froze.