ITTMB 161

Choose Me

What exactly are my feelings towards him?

She could not help but have her vision lingered on him. It was impossible to say that she was completely indifferent about him, but to say that she was passionately in love with him like how Director Chen…not many people could do that.

Because Director Chen loved too insanely, he burned everything, sacrificed everything. In the end, he was going to sacrifice himself as well.


“Ready up.”

Ning Ning suddenly came back to her senses, she realised that everyone in the crew was looking at her.

“Ready up.” Director Chen said coldly to her while seated in his wheelchair, “<<Phantom of the Theater>>, scene fifteen—Seeing Heaven—has already begun.”

The one who portrayed the male lead Lu Yun He was still Director Chen’s son, Chen Shuang He.


For the sake of this role, he had especially lost five kilograms of weight. He was wearing a blanched t-shirt, making him look even more skinny and pitiful. Amidst the autumn wind, he was holding a broom, sweeping, then abruptly looking back at the stage behind him with eyes filled with envy and yearning.

He looked to the left and right, then all of a sudden, he smiled happily and placed the broom to the side, climbing onto the stage with both his arms and legs. He clapped his hands as he stood up, copying the main actor in his memory, taking a few steps pretentiously as he put his hands behind his back and sang, “I am the partner born of the fairest line, for whom you wait as the river of years rolls past.”

It was haphazard, he was just singing for his own pleasure.


He sang this song back and forth a few times. When he finally sang it for the fourth time, just as he was singing the second part, an answer came from the floor above, “I am the partner born of the fairest line, for whom you wait as the river of years rolls past.”

It was so genteel, it was so moving, it was such an unfamiliar…female voice.

She stopped after singing one line, as if waiting for Chen Shuang He to continue.

Chen Shuang He was astonished for a moment. He frantically pinched his throat, gulped down mouthfuls of water to moisten his throat, then corrected his tone and copied how she sang, “I am the partner born of the fairest line, for whom you wait as the river of years rolls past.”


“Everywhere I have searched in compassion for you, secluded in your chamber.”

“Everywhere I have searched in compassion for you, secluded in your chamber.”


“There, just beyond this railing, peony lined against the mound of weather Tai-hu rocks.”

“There, just beyond this railing, peony lined against the mound of weather Tai-hu rocks.”


Line by line, she sang a line, he sang a line.

Until her voice no longer rang out, Chen Shuang He opened his eyes that had been long closed, his chest undulated a little, his body slightly shivered for a reason unknown to him.

He took deep breaths while he stood on the spot, then he walked towards the second floor.

The camera followed after his footsteps. The wooden staircase creaked as his shoes stepped on it, there was the sound of a door opening. On the box seat that could look down on the entire audience, there was an old-fashioned wooden armchair in the center. He carefully walked over, but there was no one in sight.

He looked at the old-fashioned wooden armchair for a good while before he abruptly sat in it, placing both his hands nervously on the armrests, then slowly brought them up to the ala of his nose. It was as if he was grasping the mark of her presence into his hands, then giving it a whiff as he brought them up to the ala of his nose.


“Cut.” Director Chen’s voice rang out, he frowned and said, “This part will not do…this action is a little extraneous.”

Chen Shuang He put his hands down, turning his head to look at him.

“You’re putting too much into it, Lu Yun He’s love is not so deep-rooted.” Director Chen scolded him curtly, “Remember, you are slowly getting attracted to the phantom, you are not supposed to get closer on your own. Moreover, the story has just begun, you don’t love her at all, you are just curious with a little adoration.”

“And you…” Director Chen turned his head and looked towards Ning Ning, his brows furrowed. “…Your acting is too bland again. Go ponder over it yourself, how you should captivate a man as a woman.”

Captivating men as women, there were all sorts of ways—relying on their looks, their talent, even pity, but it was very obvious that Director Chen did not want any of these.


After bumping about, the first day of filming finally ended. Everyone was sweating, some people were sweaty from tiredness, the others were sweaty from being scolded by Director Chen.

“I have a suggestion,” On the way back, Chen Shuang He called out to Ning Ning, “do you want to hear it?”

“What is it?” Ning Ning stopped in her tracks and looked at him.

Chen Shuang He did not answer her immediately, he scanned the surroundings cautiously instead. He pulled to a deserted corner, looked down and asked her, “What do you…think of me?”

Ning Ning, “???”


Chen Shuang He gulped down some saliva. Currently, he looked like the male lead—Lu Yun He. He moistened his throat then said, “Your problem, my father had discussed it with me previously. Do…you want to go into a relationship with me?”

At that moment, Ning Ning reflexively wanted to look behind her.

Cough, what I mean to say is…you can make use of me, I don’t mind.” Chen Shuang He put his fist up to his lips, coughing as he tried his best to organised his words, but he was still a little incoherent, “I will work hard to coordinate with you, you can start it anytime, you can also end it anytime, I won’t cause you troubles. Will…you consider it?”

After that, afraid that Ning Ning would give him an answer on the spot, Chen Shuang He frantically found an excuse to leave.


As Ning Ning watched his figure escaping in a frenzy, a voice rang out behind her.

“I can’t compare to him.”

Ning Ning looked back and saw Shi Zhong Tang standing behind her.

“With him by your side, you will be well-regarded, along with envious looks from others.” Shi Zhong Tang shifted his eyes away from Chen Shuang He and slowly looked at her, his smile hid a trace of his pain. “But I… Only you can see me.”

“I don’t need to be well-regarded, neither do I need to be envied.” Ning Ning said.


“I cannot even give you a wedding…” Shi Zhong Tang said.

“I have never thought of getting married,” Ning Ning interrupted him, “I have long decided to follow in Mama’s footsteps, giving my life to the stage.”

“What he can do for you, I cannot do…” Shi Zhong Tang said again.

“What you can do for me, he cannot do!” Ning Ning’s voice was a little agitated, she did not know what she was so agitated about, she further did not know what he was trying to prove.


Shi Zhong Tang looked down at her. They looked into each other’s eyes, both of them remained silent for a while. Shi Zhong Tang then spoke slowly, “Actually his suggestion is not bad, why not…make use of him?”

Ning Ning did not know where the chagrin and rage in her heart came from, she only heard herself scream, “I can’t do that!”

Shi Zhong Tang suddenly raised his hand to cover her mouth, pushing her into the room behind her then closing the door behind him.

Upon hearing the scream, the crew member who peeked out looked around for a moment before they turned and left.

Behind the door, Shi Zhong Tang pressed Ning Ning to the wall, his eyes were smiling as he looked at her.

“…Because you can’t just do it with anyone.” He covered her mouth, then said the answer in her heart for her, “Ning Ning, you love me.”


After that day, filming was suddenly on the right track.

Or maybe one could say that Ning Ning’s performance was suddenly able to reach Director Chen’s standards.

Everything went very smoothly, Director Chen even looked for Chen Shuang He and asked him privately, “What happened? She accepted your suggestion?”

Chen Shuang He turned to look outside the window, her figure reflected in his pupils from a distance. He laughed bitterly. “She didn’t, but I think…I know what happened…”


Anxiety.

Unparalleled anxiety.

Ning Ning did not know where her anxiety came from, every time Director Chen told her: “very good” and “passed”, her anxiety got worse. She wished she could look at him and shout, “Why don’t you continue shouting cut at me! This is absolutely terrible!”

Because by doing that…it felt like he was telling her: You have fallen in love with someone…

No!! She was not prepared yet!!


Back home, Ning Ning laid down on her bed, burying her face deep in her blanket.

“What’s the matter?” The bed dented in, Ning Ning looked over and saw Shi Zhong Tang lie down on his belly beside her, holding up his cheek with one hand as he looked at her. He smiled happily as he asked, “What are you thinking of?”

What else could she be thinking of?

“…I don’t want to be like this.” Ning Ning told him, “Yes, I admit I have feelings towards you, but…we should be a little more careful. I’m currently very doubtful of myself, am I in love with you because of the needs of the movie? I don’t want it to be like this, I don’t want it to be because of a movie…I feel like I’m using you…”

After speaking incoherently for a long while, Ning Ning looked away. She rubbed her face and murmured in a low voice, “What exactly am I saying…”

Wouldn’t that be admitting that she was seriously considering the feelings they had for each other?

She said that she didn’t want to get married, she swore that she did not want to fall in love, but what was she doing now? What was she saying now?


Shi Zhong Tang tilted his head and looked at her, Ning Ning’s bed was placed against the window, it was open, the white curtains were floating towards the two of them like the wings of a dove. There was a small potted plant on the windowsill, there was a little green on it, a sprout had broken through the dirt, waiting to bloom into a flower.

“Don’t be that anxious.” Shi Zhong Tang started laughing. “I’ll sing a song for you.”

“There’s no need.” Ning Ning buried her face in her palms as she said so.

I am the partner born of the fairest line,” Shi Zhong Tang started singing to her, “for whom you wait as the river of years rolls past.


A flock of doves flew over outside the window.

Only she could see the man, only she could hear him sing.

He sang the song to her three times, Shi Zhong Tang suddenly grabbed her wrist and shifted her fingers away from her face.


“Why are you blushing?” He asked with a smile.

“None of your business.” Ning Ning looked away, leaving him with only one red ear.

Shi Zhong Tang pulled her fingers to the front of him, he looked down at her slender fingers with pity, “What a pity, it’s not convenient to have this mask on. Right now, I want to kiss your fingers. Ning Ning, do you know? The finger is actually much more sensitive than the lips, there’s no need to actually kiss it, you only need to gently rub your lips on it…”

“Shut up! What are you talking about? I-I don’t understand dirty talk!” Ning Ning looked back with an exasperated expression.


“Alright, I’ll say something you understand.” Shi Zhong Tang clung onto her hand. “Let me be the first to say, I love you. I’ll let you make the final decision…”

After a pause, he got serious, he said solemnly with a little bit of nervousness, “Choose me.”

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2 thoughts on “ITTMB 161”

  1. a real heart-to-heart!!! i can understand NN’s anxieties…ironically, it’s because she takes SZT very seriously and wants to avoid hurting him. ahhhh thanks for the chapters~~~~ I can’t believe we’re almost wrapping up

  2. No no no no no! I’m feeling like NN. I don’t want her to choose SZT, because of what it implies, despite the feelings they have for each other. Sigh… Why did he have to be a masked person?

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