Having worked for many years, no matter if it was a new customer or a regular, Wen Yu had always insisted on speaking face-to-face.
“I live very far away, I won’t be able to make it today.”
“Then you can come over the next time you’re free.”
After he hung up, Wen Yu looked at the unique customer who was sitting across the dining table.
Technology had come a long way, there were mobile phones and computers, a person’s voice and visual could be transmitted from thousands of miles away, but he still liked to talk face-to-face, because only then could the little body movements and expressions speak for the person.
The words that couldn’t be spoken.
Within ten minutes, Ning Ning had already drunk three cups of tea, Wen Yu called the waiter to take the already empty teapot away and bring a new pot of flower tea. He refilled her cup as he smiled. “Are you very thirsty?”
“Ah…a little.” Ning Ning raised her tea cup with slight embarrassment.
She was not thirsty, she just wanted to ask him something.
“Feeling troubled recently?” Wen Yu took the initiative and asked so that she would not continue to hesitate, words stuck in her throat.
She quickly took a glimpse around her. This glimpse did not escape Wen Yu’s eyes, he looked to her side. “Big Brother, do you want something to drink?”
“…He’s not here today.” Ning Ning said in a quiet voice, “I have something that I wanted to say to you alone.”
Wen Yu immediately understood, she wanted to say something related to his brother.
“How have you two been recently?” He probed.
“We’re fine.” Ning Ning’s expression was tangled up for a moment before she suddenly asked, “Can I ask you a question?”
“How do you see the two of us?”
“In what sense?”
“Every sense.” Ning Ning hesitated for a long while, then asked with a stammer, “If, if…the two of us want to be together?”
The little finger that was on his thigh trembled a little, Wen Yu quickly thought to himself, “The two of them are the people I love the most in the world, of course I hope the two of them would be together.”
How good he was at seeing through a person’s feelings was how good he was at controlling his own feelings. He leaned back onto the sofa, both his eyebrows were knitted inwards, his eyes drooped as he murmured, “You guys are in a unique situation…”
Ning Ning held her heart and calmed down as she stared at him.
“My brother might not be able to give you an official wedding.” He suddenly looked up towards Ning Ning as he asked with a serious expression, “Do you mind that?”
Ning Ning was stunned for a moment, then she chuckled.
That smile was full of reminiscence, Wen Yu thought that Big Brother most probably had asked her the same question.
“I don’t mind.” Sure enough, she gave a definite answer without thinking.
“There’s also the secular views of the world.” Wen Yu looked out of the window, there were a few reporters lying in wait downstairs. “It would be fine if you were still the ‘Queen of Crap Films’, but you’re popular now. You will get even more popular in the future, the media will dig up everything about you and show them to the public, especially your relationship matters.”
“I know.” Ning Ning picked up the teacup, rose petals floated on the surface of the cup along with dense white steam from the tea, smiling. “At first, they will say that I am an old virgin. Next, they will suspect that I am having mental issues, hallucinating having a boyfriend.”
“Will you be able to take it?”
“I don’t know.”
“Will you be able to give up?”
“…” This time Ning Ning thought for a very long before she put the teacup down, “I won’t.”
She looked at Wen Yu helplessly, her eyes were filled with yearning, she yearned for him to say something to her again, but Wen Yu did not say anything. There were things Wen Yu could help her sort out, but there were things that she had to decide for herself.
“…I don’t know if I would be able to take it, I think I’m not a very strong person.” Ning Ning sighed. She leaned back on the sofa and closed her eyes for quite a while, then she slowly opened them. “But I…am willing to try.”
She had finally made up her mind.
This was all thanks to one person.
“Thank you, Little Yu.” Ning Ning reached out and covered the back of his hand with her hand, she looked at him gently and intimately.
Wen Yu tried his best to control himself so that his hand would not tremble, he smiled at her as usual, “You’re welcome…Aunt Xiao Ning.”
A phone rang. Ning Ning retracted her hand, picked up her phone and took a look. “I should go back to the set. Thank you, I’ll treat you to a meal next time.”
She left in a hurry, leaving only the tea cup with two rose petals in it.
Wen Yu sat alone in front of the dining table. This was a coffee shop that was full of vintage flavour, the waiters who were walking about were dressed up as butlers and maids from England, behind him was a cuckoo wall clock—rather than calling it a clock, it might be better to call it an art piece.
A little theater carved out of wood, there were the female lead and male lead as well as other wooden puppets. They stood quietly outside of the theater, seemingly waiting for the clock to strike twelve, there were three more seconds, three…
Wen Yu sighed.
Wen Yu reached out towards the tea cup in front of him.
Wen Yu’s finger touched the handle on the side of the tea cup.
Time’s up! Ding dong!
The cuckoo clock made a happy sound, the unmoving puppets that were silent seemed to come alive with the music, they spun around and danced.
“Ding dong!” Not only did the outstretched finger not pick up the tea cup, it pushed forward instead, the tea cup fell to the floors and broke into a few pieces.
Wen Yu’s upper body sprawled on the table, his cheek were pressed down on it, he stopped moving, his breathing seemed to have stopped as well.
A waiter holding a steak knocked on the door, he called out to Wen Yu a few times. He carefully pushed open a crack, then immediately followed by screaming, he rushed in and said, “Sir, are you alright?”
Wen Yu remained face down without moving, his right hand quickly grabbed the dining knife on the table. In the instant the waiter got close, the knife reached the throat of the waiter.
“Apologies,” after a moment, Wen Yu cracked a satisfied smile, “conditioned reflex.”
The waiter looked down and stared at the knife in front of his throat, he was afraid that it would pierce him, he slowly cracked a timid and ingratiating smile. “It’s-it’s fine…”
Wen Yu put the knife back, then took out some cash to give to the waiter. He thought about it, then added another note. He put the dining knife in his bag.
“Will that do?” He asked politely after he was done with the cash and knife.
The waiter nodded incessantly as he stiffly took the money.
Wen Yu smiled at him gently. “Thank you.”
He walked by the waiter. Just as the waiter finally breathed a sigh of relief, his voice suddenly rang out behind him, “One final question.”
The waiter immediately stiffened up, he looked over as he trembled. “Ask away!”
“<<Phantom of the Theater>>,” as if he was chewing carefully, Wen Yu masticated these four words once, then slowly asked the other, “has this movie screened yet?”
Filming for <<Phantom of the Theater>> had already gotten past the halfway point.
The male lead that Chen Shuang He portrayed had his skills improved tremendously under the guidance and help of the mysterious Phantom. It just so happened that the leading actor was injured from an accident and could not perform, so he replaced the leading actor in the performance and achieved overnight fame.
The next part they were filming was the part where Lu Yun He rushed back to the theater excitedly after getting applauded by thousands of people, wanting to share his success and happiness with another person.
“Teacher!” The door was pushed open suddenly, Chen Shuang He rushed in amidst the snowy winds, white puffs of breath came out of his mouth as he breathed. He wore only one layer of clothes but did not feel cold, shouting excitedly, “Teacher, did you watch my performance today? Teacher, are you here? Teacher, Teacher!”
“I heard you.” A lazy voice rang out from the darkness at the same time as a lantern lighting up.
The night was too dark, he could not see the face of the other party, all he saw was the hand that was beside the lantern, gently beckoning in a charming manner. “Come over.”
Chen Shuang He was like an innocent and pure white lamb walking towards the other party.
Before he got to the front of the other party, a hand came out of the darkness like a snake coming out of a dark cave, wrapping around his arm and impatiently pulling him in.
Amidst the darkness, a pair of bright eyes stared at him.
“You did very well.” Ning Ning loosened her grip, her fingers lightly caressing his cheek, gently and sweetly. “Extremely well.”
Her movement and voice placated Chen Shuang He, his nervous expression gradually loosened up.
“I saw everything. Those fools submitted themselves under your feet.” Ning Ning laughed, her voice was filled with sarcasm and pride, her fingers teased Chen Shuang He’s chin as if she was teasing a pet. “My disciple, my…substitute.”
A trace of pain appeared on Chen Shuang He’s face.
But at that moment, Ning Ning had already been completely absorbed in her own world, she did not see his pain. One hand held the lantern, the other was pressing on the mask on her face, she laughed out even more bitingly. “I cannot let anyone see me, hear me, but I have you now! You are my substitute! You can sing for me, act for me, people can see me through you! Submit to me! Hahaha!”
Her laughter stopped, she slowly looked back at Chen Shuang He. “…Look up.”
As she said so, she brought the lantern towards him.
Chen Shuang He did not look up. The lantern illuminated the tears that rolled down his chin, sparkling like crystal.
“…Why are you crying?” Ning Ning was surprised, then asked stiffly.
Chen Shuang He took a quick glance at her before he quickly looked back down, his tears falling drop by drop.
“…This is not the only reason I’ve taught you how to perform.” Under his vision, a pair of feet slowly walked up in front of him, then a pair of hands gently hugged him, the world’s most moving voice gently said by his ear, “Their sight are just a fleeting moment of ostentatious vanity, only your eyes…can turn me from a phantom that doesn’t exist, into a person who does exist, so…”
Chen Shuang He slowly looked up at her.
Ning Ning smiled at him from the darkness. “Look at me, sing for me.”
Chen Shuang He looked at her like he was bewitched. After half an instant, he opened his mouth, like a canary in a cage singing for its master, “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.”
“There, just beyond this railing, peony lined against the mound of weather Tai-hu rocks.”
Halfway through the song, a long-haired woman fell behind Chen Shuang He, her hair dancing in the air like seaweed.
Ning Ning locked eyes with her.
Then, a thud.
The sound of a heavy object falling.