Dressed in a black tuxedo, Meng Huazhang, who was already approaching seventy, with greying hair at his temples, had a gentle demeanor. He spoke slowly, like a kind elder. “I’ve seen your performances, they are very impressive.”
Xu Luoyang’s heart skipped a beat, but he maintained his tone and pace. “Thank you for your praise, Director Meng. But,” he asked somewhat sheepishly, “may I ask which work you saw? My acting skills in the past…. were quite average, but I’ve been improving.”
Raising the glass in his hand, Meng Huazhang smiled as he replied, “I saw ‘Divergent Road’, where you played the character Qin Chao.”
Xu Luoyang quickly realized that Meng Huazhang was a judge at the Flanders Film Festival, and that Director Zhang had already submitted ‘Divergent Road’ to the festival.
At this moment, Qi Chang’an, who had remained silent, spoke up. “Luoyang, this time it was Director Meng who asked me to introduce him to you.”
“Chang’an is right.” Meng Huazhang didn’t even pause, immediately throwing out the next sentence, “I have a script on hand that I would like you to take a look at.”
A….. a script?!
The more excited he felt inside, the calmer Xu Luoyang appeared on the outside, handling it very gracefully and with poise. There was a touch of satisfaction in Meng Huazhang’s eyes and his smile deepened. “I will have my assistant deliver the script the day after tomorrow. If you can give me a definite answer within three days after receiving the script, I would be very happy.” Then he clinked glasses with Xu Luoyang. “I’m looking forward to your response.”
As they left the banquet hall, Xu Luoyang still felt as if he were floating. The moment they got into the car, he couldn’t help but tug at Qi Chang’an’s sleeve. “Chang’an, kiss me to check if I’m dreaming!”
Leaning in closer, Qi Chang’an kissed him as requested, nibbling on his lips lightly. “Did you feel that?”
“Very much so.” Xu Luoyang sat quietly for almost ten seconds, then suddenly burst out, “I’m so happy I could jump out of the galaxy!”
Qi Chang’an chuckled as he started the car. “Don’t jump so far. How about considering the solar system? It’ll be easier for me to find you if the range is a little smaller.”
“Okay, okay, okay!” Xu Luoyang nodded repeatedly, a silly smile on his face. “I keep on feeling that I’m dreaming! Although I’ve had daydreams like this before.”
As the car merged into the traffic, Xu Luoyang shook his head then asked Qi Chang’an, “Do you think I should tell Zheng Ge about this now?” Zheng Dong had been with him the whole time during the previous event, but had had to leave early before the grand opening due to some issues.
Reaching out, Qi Chang’an rubbed his hair. “It’s safe to say that Meng Huazhang is indeed interested in collaborating.”
With that, Xu Luoyang made a phone call, “Zheng Ge, I have good news to tell you.”
On the other end, Zheng Dong seemed to be flipping through some documents as he asked casually, “What good news? You’ve lost weight again?”
“No, today at Stu’s celebration banquet, I met Meng Huazhang and he said he has a script he wants me to take a look at.”
There was silence for a few seconds, then the call suddenly got disconnected. Just as Xu Luoyang didn’t quite understand this situation and was about to call again, he saw that Zheng Dong had called him back. “There might have been a problem with my phone just now. Say it again, who said they have a script for you?”
Xu Luoyang laughed, “Zheng Ge, don’t hang up, stay calm!”
“….” Zheng Dong had excellent mental resilience, because he accepted the news quickly. However he still confirmed once again, “You’re not joking, right?” He had been scarred by Du Ruan Lan’s tricks.
“Yes, he said he watched ‘Divergent Road’ and contacted me through Chang’an.” Xu Luoyang said in reply, then he heard Zheng Dong say, “If you really get a movie offer from Meng Huazhang, in correlation to the Du Ruan Lan situation, it would be like the face slapping event of the year! Luoyang, please do your best!”
“I will definitely give it my all!”
After hanging up, Xu Luoyang noticed, “Chang’an, where are we going?” They were clearly not heading back to the hotel.
“Tonight, we’re staying somewhere else.” Qi Chang’an told him.
The car drove out of the city and after more than three hours, Xu Luoyang leaned against the car window, only to discover that Qi Chang’an had driven the car straight into the forest!
He looked at Qi Chang’an, his eyes shining. “Are we going camping?”
“No, but you’ll definitely like it.”
Finally, the car stopped next to a large tree trunk. Following Qi Chang’an out of the car, Xu Luoyang found endless forests stretching before and behind them. The sun had already set and a thin mist blanketed the mountains, the sounds of birds chirping and the rustling of leaves clear and distinct. And beneath his feet was a thick layer of fallen leaves that felt incredibly soft when stepped on.
Filled with anticipation, he asked eagerly, “Chang’an, what are we going to do here? Have a barbecue? Explore the jungle at night?”
Kissing the corners of his lips, Qi Chang’an said softly, “Nao Nao, look up.”
Not prepared, Xu Luoyang lifted his head and saw a treehouse appear in his field of view. The treehouse, round in shape, built around a sturdy tree trunk and suspended in mid-air, resembled the exquisite little houses described in fairy tales.
“Nao Nao, didn’t you say before that you wanted to lie in a treehouse and gaze at the stars?”
Xu Luoyang turned his head to look at him, his throat a little dry. It was only after a while that he could open his mouth, “You remembered?”
“En, I remembered.”
Emotions spread like spring grass in Xu Luoyang’s heart— there was someone who would remember every little wish he mentioned casually and who would do his best to fulfill it.
Blinking his slightly teary eyes, he put his hand out. “Then, Mr. Omnipotent demon, can you take me up now?”
The two of them climbed up the makeshift wooden ladder attached to a nearby tree trunk carefully and reached the treetop, then stepped onto the suspension bridge connecting the two trees. Just as they took a step, the suspension bridge swayed, frightening Xu Luoyang, who immediately clutched Qi Chang’an’s hand.
But after walking a few steps, he got used to it and so quickening his pace, after crossing the suspension bridge, he stood at the entrance of the treehouse. Looking at the lock hanging on the wooden door, he asked excitedly, “Are we really staying here tonight? Just the two of us?”
“En, we’re really staying here, just the two of us.”
Pushing open the wooden door, Qi Chang’an reached out and turned on the warm orange light. Then Xu Luoyang saw that inside the treehouse, there was a bed, a table, chairs, and utensils all made of wood, with glass embedded between the wooden window frames, providing a view of the vast night sky as well as the endless forest outside.
At this moment, Xu Luoyang felt that the world was vast, like a distant forest, yet, the world was also small, with only him and Qi Chang’an in it.
After a simple dinner, Qi Chang’an pressed a button on the wall and after a slight ‘zipping’ sound, the wooden roof began to transform— several wooden panels moved slowly to the sides, revealing transparent glass and in less than a minute, the ‘zippinh’ sound disappeared, together with half of the roof that had turned transparent.
Now, when the people inside the treehouse looked up, they could see the dense foliage as well as the stars peeking through the branches.
Pulling Qi Chang’an down onto the hand-woven rug with him, Xu Luoyang poked the back of Qi Chang’an’s hand gently with his fingertips and after a while, his hand was held in a reverse grip. Pausing for a moment, he used his fingertips to trace patterns on Qi Chang’an’s palm a little restlessly.
“Chang’an, I’m really happy!”
“En.” Qi Chang’an replied, his gaze as gentle as the mist in the forest as he felt the tickle in the palm of his hand.
The two lay on the rug in the treehouse, gazing at the stars while chatting endlessly. From movies, to constellations in the sky, and even stories about stars from mythology, they talked about everything, their topics even shifting to memories from their school days.
Listening to the sound of the wind outside and the rustling of the leaves, Xu Luoyang turned his head to look at Qi Chang’an’s profile, his heart gradually beating faster and faster.
“En?” Qi Chang’an turned his head to look at him as well.
Xu Luoyang realized that when one was in love with someone, even the smallest details like their breath, response, or a smile could be savored repeatedly. These tiny details could then transform into tender vines that entwined one tightly.
Going on to finish his sentence, he continued, “Chang’an, the injuries on my calf have healed.”
“I know.” Qi Chang’an’s gaze carried a tinge of concern. “Is it that it’s itchy because the wounds are scabbing over?”
It’s not the wounds that are itchy. No, although they are also itchy, my heart is more itchy and there’s no way to relieve that itch.
Licking his dry lips, he looked directly at Qi Chang’an and whispered softly, “Since…. the timing is right, the place is right and the people are also right, how about we….. explore dual cultivation together?”
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