"I'll head out now. If anything comes up, give me a call. We can arrange another appointment for you two." Chu Yi pulled open the door and found Gu Wei standing right outside, thoroughly dumbstruck. Chu Yi turned back around and raised his eyebrows at Jiang Xun. "This is what you get for talking nonsense. I'll leave you to smooth things over."
Gu Wei had planned on getting the hell out of there, but the door was opened from the inside before he could move.
Chu Yi smiled warmly at him and said, "Gu Wei, believe me when I say people have the ability to heal themselves. Once you get to the root of this problem, you'll start to get better."
"I got it," Gu Wei promised.
He would look for that root. For himself, and for Jiang Xun.
"Go on. We're leaving soon too," Jiang Xun said. After Chu Yi departed, Jiang Xun led Gu Wei back into the underground parking lot. "It's already dark. I'll make sure you get home in time for your livestream."
Gu Wei now knew that Jiang Xun had brought him to the club just so he could meet with Chu Yi for a counseling session. It wasn't anything like what Gu Wei had dreaded. Chu Yi didn't ask him any difficult questions or pry into subjects Gu Wei didn't want to think about. He only had a light and easy conversation with Gu Wei, and he only asked Gu Wei to draw some pictures.
It seemed a few strokes of the pencil and some light conversation could start to crack open the tightly sealed doors to his heart.
"Did you hear?" Jiang Xun asked. "What I said."
Gu Wei came back to his senses. "What do you want me to say?"
He had just been teased and taught a lesson not too long ago. He was afraid to say he'd heard, but he also didn't dare lie and say he hadn't.
"Whatever you want," Jiang Xun said. "To me, it doesn't make a difference."
Gu Wei was silent for a moment.
"I won't cry so easily," Gu Wei declared earnestly. "All the times you… well, I never cried."
Jiang Xun ignored him, which was rare; he almost never ignored anything Gu Wei said. He opened the car door for Gu Wei instead, and simply said, "Get in."
In the dead of night, Jiang Xun drove them away from the club and headed towards the outskirts of the city.
"Where did you live in the past?" Jiang Xun asked as he drove.
Gu Wei thought back and recited the name of a rather remote place. Then he said, "Gu Cai and Ling Yixuan divorced when I was really little."
This was the first time Jiang Xun had heard Gu Wei utter the name Ling Yixuan, but the name wasn't unfamiliar to him. Twenty years ago, Ling Yixuan had been a fairly famous dancer in H City. But eventually she started to perform less, and her fame faded away as well. Jiang Xun vaguely recalled hearing somewhere that she'd remarried a few years ago.
That was everything Jiang Xun knew about Ling Yixuan.
But with that connection brought to light, Jiang Xun could only assume Gu Wei's dancing abilities had something to do with his mother. Jiang Ying had also once mentioned that Gu Wei had the choreography skills of a professional.
"You lived with your mother?" Jiang Xun asked.
Gu Wei nodded. "I didn't find out that I had a father who was a screenwriter until my third year of middle school. It was around the time of my high school entrance exams. My mom met someone else, and nobody wanted me, so Gu Cai appeared and asked if I wanted to move to H City with him. The first time I met him, I thought he was some sort of con artist."
As he spoke, Gu Wei adopted a half-joking tone. But when Jiang Xun glanced at him, he couldn't see any hint of a smile on Gu Wei's face.
"Did you move in with Gu Cai?" Jiang Xun asked. Based on what he knew, Gu Cai was a very busy person.
"No, I went to boarding school." Gu Wei had lived in school dormitories ever since he moved to H City. He stayed there until his mood problems arose in his second year of high school, at which point he stayed in a hospital for a while. After that, he moved directly into his agency's dorms.
He'd never had a place he could truly call 'home'.
"Now you do," Jiang Xun said. "I want you, and my home is also your home. I'll give you a key to our place, and when you don't want to stay at the dorms, you can come over anytime."
Jiang Xun parked the car, got out, and opened the passenger side door. He unbuckled Gu Wei's seatbelt for him, then offered Gu Wei his hand. "Come on. We're home."
They had stopped at the small villa Jiang Xun owned on the outskirts of H City. He was normally so busy with training that he didn't come back often, so he kept a staff to keep the place clean. As soon as Jiang Xun opened the door, an excited burst of woof woof noises sounded out from inside.
"Don't scare our Weiwei," Jiang Xun chided. He swiftly scooped up the corgi that pounced on him. Though he didn't come back often, the dog was incredibly fond of him.
"A corgi?" Gu Wei's eyes lit up at the sight of the dog. "You have a dog! Gimme, let me hold it!"
"You're not afraid?" Jiang Xun passed his own corgi into Gu Wei's arms.
"Ah, you looked into my scandals?" Gu Wei rubbed the corgi's little butt, where the fur had been trimmed into the shape of a heart. "I didn't give a very clear answer in that interview. It's not that I don't like dogs. I just don't like my dad's golden retriever. It scares me."
But this corgi wasn't vicious at all. Gu Wei happily pet it all over as he asked Jiang Xun, "What's its name?"
"In Chinese it's Jiang Jixiang," Jiang Xun said. "And in English it's MVP."
Gu Wei laughed out loud at that answer. "I thought you world champions wouldn't be superstitious."
"World champions are people too. And who doesn't like to win?" Jiang Xun helped Gu Wei up from where he'd sprawled out on the floor with the corgi. "Don't sit down here, the floor is cold."
Gu Wei moved into the living room of Jiang Xun's house and sat down on the couch to keep playing with Jiang Jixiang. Jiang Xun had called ahead and asked for dinner to be prepared for them long ago.
At the sight of all the food laid out on the table, Gu Wei frowned.
"Open your mouth," Jiang Xun instructed as he lifted a bite with his chopsticks for Gu Wei.
"I won't eat spinach," Gu Wei said.
"I won't eat tonghao," he added.
"And I won't eat jiaobai," he finished.
Jiang Xun snapped the chopsticks down on the table and rubbed his wrist. "Gu Weiwei, would you like me to make you cry right now?"
"No thank you," Gu Wei answered hastily. He picked up a pair of chopsticks for himself and obediently began to eat.
After Gu Wei finished filming Like the Moon, Jiang Xun and Gu Wei's manager had somehow come to a miraculous agreement. They would both work hard to make sure Gu Wei stuck to a proper nutrition plan.
"Do you want some grape juice?" Jiang Xun asked after dinner, bringing over a cup for Gu Wei.
Gu Wei, unsuspectingly, said, "Sure."
Jiang Xun gave him a long look, then took a drink from the glass he held. He pressed Gu Wei back against the chair, lowered his head, and kissed him on the mouth.
Gu Wei froze.
He didn't say he wanted to drink like that!
Jiang Xun's kiss was fierce and heated. Gu Wei's jaw had gone slack, as he could only passively accept the kiss that had come without any warning. He tasted the faint sweetness of the grape juice on his tongue, but the heat that coursed through his veins dominated all his senses. What he couldn't swallow bled out from the corners of his lips; the light red grape juice trickled over his cheeks, over his jaw, and down his throat, staining the band-aid on the crook of his neck.
Gu Wei finally pushed Jiang Xun off and slumped back in his chair, breathing shallowly. Jiang Xun went to fetch a damp towel and started cleaning the juice from Gu Wei's skin. His fingertips brushed the colorful band-aid that Gu Wei had put on, and after a second he unceremoniously tore it off.
Breathlessly, Gu Wei protested, "Are you forgetting I have a livestream…"
"I wouldn't forget," Jiang Xun said, holding the wasted band-aid in one hand. "Go wash your face. I'll get you a replacement."
When Gu Wei emerged from the bathroom, his bangs were slightly damp. He'd spent a long time washing his face after noticing how red and hot his cheeks looked in the bathroom mirror.
As the time of the livestream drew near, his manager gave him a call to make sure he wasn't late.
"With the recent broadcast of the second installment of 'Escape Without a Trace', your shippers have been extremely… energetic. But you aren't officially engaged yet, and things could change in the future. So during the livestream, you aren't allowed to mention Jiang Xun," Manager Zhao said. "Do you understand?"
"I got it," Gu Wei agreed. That sounded reasonable to him.
"There won't be any changes in the future," Jiang Xun said from where he stood behind Gu Wei. He had brought a new band-aid, which he unwrapped and put on for Gu Wei, covering up the love bite.
Manager Zhao had grown very good at automatically blocking out Jiang Xun's voice. She chose not to hear him and continued to explain to Gu Wei, "In any case, not a word about Jiang Xun. If you see any questions about him, ignore them. Understand?"
"I got it," Gu Wei repeated.
At precisely nine in the evening, Gu Wei's Weibo page sent out the link to his livestream. The little hedgehogs that had been eagerly awaiting the stream for several days all rushed into the room.
[Weiwei, good evening~]
[Weiwei, long time no see, have you been busy with work lately?]
[Ahhhhhhh, Weiwei! I love you!]
[Good work on your drama. We haven't seen much of you lately, except on your variety shows.]
Gu Wei started by giving the little hedgehogs a greeting. "Good evening, everyone. I missed you guys a lot. Work has been busy, but we're all done filming the drama now. It should be broadcast sometime in the new year. I hope I won't let anyone down when it airs.
"I don't mind being busy with work. It's nice to be a bit busy, actually. I'll become a washout if I don't stay busy…
"Don't worry about me too much! I'll work hard to become better and better for you guys."
It wasn't his first time doing a livestream, and he naturally knew what he was supposed to talk to his fans about. Gu Wei usually picked out some questions from his little hedgehogs and gave some short and sweet answers.
[Didi, are you at the T.ATW dorms? It doesn't look like it.]
"You're right, I'm not at the dorms," Gu Wei answered.
[Wow! Is this your own house? This is so different, you've always streamed from the dorms before!]
"It's not my house, I'm at a friend's place."
[WHICH FRIEND? Is it THAT friend? The one who you've been really close to lately?]
[Where's your friend? Where's the friend?]
Gu Wei remembered what his manager had said about Jiang Xun, so he kept his mouth shut.
[Weiwei, did you hurt your neck? Your band-aid is so cute.]
[It's a pikachu band-aid, right? That's too cute!]
It was only then that Gu Wei noticed the band-aid Jiang Xun had put on him was bright, sparkly, and printed with a super cute pikachu.
Gu Wei froze.
[Weiwei, what happened? You weren't hurt in your interviews this afternoon. How did you hurt yourself in just a few hours?]
"I'm okay," Gu Wei answered hesitantly. "I just… accidentally scratched myself."
He looked at Jiang Xun, who was sitting at the table with him. That diabolical criminal mastermind was innocently holding a book while his cell phone charged out in the living room. When Jiang Xun saw Gu Wei look over, he mouthed a silent reminder for him to focus on his stream, promising he wouldn't interrupt.
[Ahhh, poor didi!]
[Weiwei, you scratched yourself?]
[AHHHHHHHH, when did you change your band-aid? That's not the one you had on this afternoon!]
[Previous commenter up there, the one named Sunny Doll. Do you know something?]
[Nope. I know nothing.]
"Shall we talk about the upcoming drama?" Gu Wei suggested faintly, doing his best to avoid the subject.
[We'll definitely watch the drama when it comes out. Don't worry, didi!]
[The drama is a must-watch! I subscribed on a bunch of different channels just to watch it everywhere.]
@T.ATW-ShiXinyan, @T.ATW-LuoChenxuan, @T.ATW-FuZhi, @T.ATW-ChiYunkai have entered the room.
The barrage of comments instantly picked up speed.
[AHHHHHHHHHHH, ARE THESE ALL REAL?]
[All of T.ATW is here???]
[Oh my god, the fans in this stream are too lucky!]
[Gu Wei is the group's most precious darling now!]
"What are you guys doing here?" Gu Wei asked.
@T.ATW-FuZhi: Checking in on our lead dancer who's staying out all night.
@T.ATW-ChiYunkai: Everyone make some room, let us get in on this party.
@T.ATW-ShiXinyan: Guys, let's keep a low profile. Our manager told us just to watch.
@T.ATW-LuoChenxuan: Zhao-jie, are you watching? Don't worry, we'll just spectate. We won't talk much.
For a while, all the comments that flooded the screen were about these special guests who were there to keep a 'low profile'. Then—
@JiangYingKANI has entered the room.
Suddenly, the comments took a turn—
[Is this Jiang Ying? Like, THE Jiang Ying?]
[Shoo, shoo! Get out!]
Gu Wei made an inquisitive sound. "Wait, it's really you?"
@JiangYingKANI: Really really. If I'm a fake, I'll guarantee you an authentic replacement.
@JiangYingKANI: My brother is with you, right? Go tell him our mom wants him to answer his phone.
Gu Wei fell silent.