EXT. OUTSIDE THE CHURCH NEAR THE SEA―DAWN
With a wooden tub beside him, Tang was washing clothes by the sea. His long fingers appeared all the paler when submerged in the dirty water. His gaze was unfocused, staring blankly at the grey suds on the dirty robes. It was difficult to tell what he was thinking.
It was early in the morning. The sun had yet to rise fully into the sky; there was only a smidgeon of white decorating the border that divided the sky and the sea. It was a peaceful morning, with a hint of mysterious anticipation of the day’s start.
The sky gradually lit up, like a fish leaping out of the sea and exposing its white belly. The waves slapped against the seaside rocks, while a freezing wind blew over the shore. Submerged in the icy water, Tang’s fingers gradually turned a bright red.
What was he thinking about?
Perhaps he was thinking of all the candles that had fallen on the ground that night. Perhaps he was thinking of Chris’ bold and passionate kiss.
He had once again committed an unforgivable crime in front of God. In his shame, he had pushed Chris away and ran back to the small room that he’d been allotted. He wasn’t permitted to speak, so he ran his trembling fingers over the words of the bible and repeated them silently to himself. But he couldn’t help but also brush a finger over his lips; he could still feel the warmth of Chris’ lips against his.
He couldn’t believe that he had been defeated in the face of temptation. He couldn’t stand that his heart had been sent racing just because of a single kiss.
Had he been born like this?
He didn’t know, but he could feel the pain from his conflicting heart. From that day froth, he avoided Chris whenever possible. Similarly, Chris stopped sneaking glances at him. but that only made it more difficult for Tang to resist the urge to turn around and check whether the golden-haired monk was near.
The answer was unfortunate; Chris had stopped paying attention to him altogether. The memories of that night seemed like an alluring dream that a devil would use to tempt someone into wrongdoing. It was as if nothing had happened.
Was Chris playing with him? Tang’s thoughts ran wild as he scrubbed the dirty clothes in a numb manner. He had already lost all feeling in his fingers due to the icy water. The cold was climbing up his hand, his arm, and all the way to his heart.
“When I’m not there behind you, are you disappointed or are you hurt?”
The voice that had appeared in his dreams countless times sounded behind him. Tang kept his head lowered and gazed at the surface of the sea. It was a hallucination. He would not reply.
“Just because you can’t speak doesn’t mean you can escape from everything.” Chris walked toward Tang and stood behind the latter. He called out lightly, “Tang.”
The pronunciation was perfect, as if coming from the other side of the world. In an instant, Tang could feel the sadness and loneliness well up in his heart.
Tang shut his eyes. He prayed that the other monk would stop coming near him. He prayed for Chris to stop tempting him.
But reality was cruelly different from what he desired. When Tang’d least expected it, Chris came up and enveloped him in a hug. For a moment, Tang was still, but he then struggled to get out of the hold. But compared to the young and strong Chris, Tang couldn’t do anything.
The two of them fell and rolled onto the patch of grass beside the seaside rocks. Tang couldn’t breathe and wasn’t able to speak. He didn’t even know whether he should call out for help or not.
Chris’ breath was rough, but he kept his arms around Tang. They encircled the other like a pair of iron claws; Tang felt as if he would snap in two.
The warmth Tang felt on his hands and body was in sharp contrast to the cold sea breeze. He felt as if his senses had been amplified; every touch was made more vivid. Tang bit hard into his lip as they rolled into a field of overgrown weeds. Chris started pulling at his pants.
Heavens. He could feel the fiery heat from Chris’ palms on his skin.
“Cut! Very good! Let’s take a break and prepare for the next scene,” the director called at the most important moment. His clear voice snapped the staff out of their engrossment.
It was an exciting scene to watch even without the postproduction effects and music added in. Once they were added in though, this scene would definitely become one of the most memorable in the audience’s minds. After all, it was an exhilarating yet poetically beautiful scene.
Tang Feng and Gino’s assistants walked over to help them up, but Gino waved them off, indicating that they were fine. Gino stood up and pulled Tang Feng along with him, the latter had already firmly buttoned up his pants.
“Did I scare you earlier?” Gino said with a teasing smile in his eyes. As a professional actor, he would never take advantage of a scene and place his hands where he shouldn’t, but being absorbed in his role, it was natural to have a few slip-ups. He had pulled Tang Feng’s pants off earlier, but the actor had been wearing underwear inside. What a shame.
At Gino’s question, Tang Feng pretended to be angry and glared at the other. “Obviously, you almost scared me to death.” He brushed aside the awkward atmosphere with a joking answer.
The two of them walked off the set and sat down to rest and get a drink of water. The makeup-up artist immediately came over to touch up their faces.
The other staff walked around them, busy preparing the set for the next scene. Although they were filming intimate scenes in the wide open, the area they had chosen was rather isolated. There wasn’t anyone unrelated disturbing them, or standing around and watching them film.
Despite that, the director had told the crew to put up barriers around the set, preventing potential curious onlookers from walking in.
“The two of you, remember to relax in the next scene. Tang Feng, this might be your first time filming these type of scenes, but don’t be tense. We aren’t filming porn after all. However, for the sake of artistry and in order to create tension between the characters, we have to have a bed scene.” Director Li Wei came over to chat.
To everybody else, Tang Feng was someone who had grown up in China. As a result, as a fellow Chinese man, the director automatically assumed that Tang Feng would be reserved and shy about filming intimate scenes. Adding on his quiet and gentle demeanor, Tang Feng often gave others the impression that he was a reserved individual.
Li Wei was also worried that as a new actor, Tang Feng would burden himself with too many thoughts and considerations when it came to the bed scene.
“In the next scene, I want you guys to act with the image of a cat and tiger in mind. Tang Feng, you’re going to act as the cat that has been forced into a corner. Gino, I want you to be a bit overbearing, and a bit forceful. Not only do you need to get through to Tang through his body, but also his heart. You need to show passion, but also conflict.” The director left after leaving a few words of advice, giving Tang Feng and Gino the time to prepare and get into the proper mindset.
Gino swatted at Tang Feng like a tiger. “This is great. Since I’m the tiger, I’m going to eat you all up.”
Although Gino joked around like usual, Tang Feng had a suspicion that the other was forcing himself.
Did it have something to do with what happened at the party?
Tang Feng wanted to ask Gino about it, but they had to film in a few minutes. It was better to wait until their work was over.
EXT. NEAR THE SEA―DAWN
Lying on top of Tang, Chris tore brutishly at the other’s clothes. The fabric bunched in his hands and soon ripped apart.
“Don’t refuse. Don’t refuse me…” Chris pulled the collar of Tang’s robe down, laying a hesitant yet fervent kiss on the back of the other’s neck.
His movements were rough, yet his words were gentle and almost begging in tone.
Tang couldn’t speak, but broken gasps escaped his throat. He widened his eyes, he didn’t feel any pain or humiliation, but he felt a bewilderment and oppressiveness that he couldn’t understand.
At that moment, Tang Feng felt something wet drip onto his neck. Before he could understand what was happening, Gino pulled him into a hug and he heard the sounds of crying beside his ear.
“Cut!” the director immediately yelled.
“Are you all right?” Tang Feng asked worriedly. He was the one being assaulted in the scene, yet Gino was the one who had started crying.
“I’m fine.” Gino shook his head and managed a smile. Despite his words, Gino didn’t seem fine. He appeared gloomy and miserable, which was a bit different from the sorrowful yet hopeful and determined feeling that the director was trying to express.
They took another ten-minute break and tried the scene again, but the results were even worse than the first time around. Gino didn’t cry again, but he had trouble getting into character. Tang Feng didn’t even need to look at the replay footage to know that Gino’s words were coming out too soft for his character.
The director took Gino aside and explained the scene again to him, but nothing seemed to work. They’d spent an entire morning on a simple bed scene, yet what they had to show wasn’t good enough to get a pass from the director.
Even if Gino wasn’t tired, Tang Feng was starting to feel a bit exhausted.
The pale morning sky had already turned a clear blue. The sun was also hanging high in the clouds. The director told Gino to go home and rest. Instead of struggling with the bed scene again, they were going to film some of Tang Feng’s individual scenes this afternoon.
Like usual, Tang Feng finished his scenes in a smooth manner.
It was time for him to have a talk with Gino.
Gino ended up dragging Lilith home with him. Despite that, the image of Lilith crying her heart out was ingrained in Tang Feng’s mind. He couldn’t forget the shocking words the girl had said.
Gino liked Fiennes? Gino liked him? So much that Gino had called out his name during the night?
That was impossible!
Even after returning home, Tang Feng was preoccupied with Lilith’s words. It was simply too shocking and unexplainable, so much that he drove Charles and Lu Tian Chen out of his room.
He needed time alone. He needed to think and calm down.
In his past life, he’d had a strange relationship with Gino. The media and the public had the impression that the two of them were close, but that was far from the truth. From the start, Gino had treated him like an eyesore. Gino had picked on him every time they came across each other. Not one to back down, Tang Feng had thrown back his fair share of snark.
Could their relationship even be described as that of a senior and a junior?
Just remembering those times made Tang Feng sigh at his immaturity. At that time, just seeing Gino’s annoying face and hearing his annoying voice made him want to beat the youngster down a notch or two.
He’d always thought that Gino had picked on him because of dislike. There was no way that he could be wrong about that.
After being reborn, Tang Feng discovered that Gino actually wasn’t a bad person. He was occasionally childish, and also willful and a show-off. Even then, Tang Feng never thought that Gino had come troubling him at every turn because the youngster liked him.
Tang Feng wasn’t narcissistic enough to think that.
But Lilith’s attitude while she was drunk, her pain and her curses, they were all telling Tang Feng that Gino had loved Fiennes, that all their petty fights were a means for Gino to attract Fiennes’, meaning his attention.
Tang Feng had never expected for such a childish love to occur in an adult, but it appeared that he was wrong. Gino had never spoken a kind word to him in the past, much less a confession of love. It appeared that Gino truly believed that arguing with him was the best way to get his attention.
“My god…” Tang Feng fell on the bed and covered his eyes. He couldn’t believe that this was happening.
This was definitely a joke. He must have misunderstood something.
Tang Feng decided that he needed to have a talk with Gino tomorrow. There was no way he could ignore this!
“He’s acting a bit strange today,” Lu Tian Chen said while sitting on the couch in his pajamas. They only had a square, modern floor lamp turned on. The artistic lines of the lamp were accentuated by the gentle light it emitted, appearing like a work of art. However gentle the light was, it couldn’t soften the sharpness of the two men’s eyes.
Charles had a cup of coffee in his hands; he clearly had no plans of sleeping tonight. At Lu Tian Chen’s words, he chuckled. “Why don’t you just ask me whether I’ve done anything to him on the way back? You probably think I forced him, right? All right, I’ll admit that was what I had planned in mind, but unfortunately, I had to push back my bedtime date with Tang Feng.”
Lu Tian Chen and Charles were college classmates. Because of their similar values and the fact that they liked each other, they’d decided to work together.
They’d created their own businesses and worked hand in hand while experimenting with new fields. They had created their wealth together.
They were very good friends, but one of them was arrogant and proud, while the other was realistic and selfish. As a result, the terms of their friendship changed depending on the benefits they could gain in each situation.
At the moment, working together brought them more benefits than working against each other.
Unless it was absolutely necessary, the two intelligent men would never make the other his enemy. As that was the case, was the current situation something that required them to rethink their partnership?
Perhaps, and perhaps not.
Lu Tian Chen and Charles were both standing in front of a crossroad. They paced back and forth, hesitating over whether they should continue down the same path together or split up and find their own way. Slowly but surely, they became aware of the root of the problem.
All of this for a man?
It was something that would make them laugh for three days in the past. A beautiful woman wasn’t even enough to make them work against each other, much less a man.
But that was also because they’d never come cross anyone who had made them care that much. Then what about now? They didn’t have the answer to that. As they interacted more and more with Tang Feng, they’d discovered that there was someone who was capable of capturing all of their attention.
They had a tacit understanding between them, yet they couldn’t resist testing each other. The seemingly peaceful three-way tie was a secret battleground, and the two contenders were both trying to ascertain the other’s limits.
“Then what’s wrong with him?” Lu Tian Chen asked. Unknowingly, he had started paying more attention to Tang Feng. It was to the point that even he had noticed his own anomaly. But despite knowing the problem, he couldn’t prevent himself from caring. Moreover, Lu Tian Chen didn’t want to stop caring.
Charles sighed deeply. “I don’t know. He’d played hero today and saved a woman from the hands of an idiot. The woman’s the girlfriend of the co-actor from his movie. We’d looked after her while Tang Feng called Gino, who then came and took her home.”
It was a simple and matter-of-fact explanation.
“That’s it. Though there was something strange.” Charles frowned and recalled what Lilith had said. “That woman had said something strange while she was crying.”
Lu Tian Chen lifted his head. “What did she say?”
“I hate you. I hate you. I’m not Fiennes, do you understand? That man is dead, how can you have such disgusting thoughts…” Charles repeated Lilith’s outburst word for word. He tapped his knee and said, “The strange part is that Gino loves a man who’s already dead. Moreover, that man was almost forty when he’d died. No wonder that woman was about to go crazy. Haha.”
“Fiennes…” Lu Tian Chen rubbed his chin. He remembered Tang Feng saying that Fiennes Tang was his idol. Was he simply unhappy because he’d learned something new about his idol?
That couldn’t be right. After getting to know Tang Feng over the past few months, Lu Tian Chen knew that the actor wasn’t foolish enough to become sad and conflicted over an idol.
Tang Feng was simply too calm and mature. It only made the rare moments when he’d lose his composure all that more apparent, to the point that everyone around him would be curious of the reason.
“How did Tang Feng react when he heard her?” Lu Tian Chen continued.
“He seemed a bit shocked.” Charles glanced at the other. “Do you think that Tang Feng and Fiennes Tang are somehow related? That I know. They both have the family name ‘Tang.’”
It was an unfunny joke.
“Tang Feng has never met Fiennes.” That was the case in Lu Tian Chen’s memories, but after being discharged from the hospital, Tang Feng was completely different from the person he once knew.
Perhaps Fiennes had something to do with Tang Feng’s change? Lu Tian Chen carefully stored the name “Fiennes Tang” away inside his mind.
“Did you think of something?” Charles had caught on to Lu Tian Chen’s silence. He hadn’t known Tang Feng before the three-month deal. As that was the case, he’d never noticed that Tang Feng had changed. But he wasn’t stupid.
Lu Tian Chen had treated Tang Feng like utter garbage before and wasn’t willing to spare the man a minute’s attention. Lu Tian Chen had even been willing to send Tang Feng to his bed. Charles wasn’t stupid enough to believe that his friend had started paying attention to Tang Feng because the actor had great potential. He didn’t believe that Lu Tian Chen would follow Tang Feng all the way to America because of that. That wouldn’t be the Lu Tian Chen he knew.
There was only one plausible explanation: Lu Tian Chen had set his heart on Tang Feng, and it’d occurred out of the blue.
Charles had his suspicions about the kind of relationship Tang Feng and Lu Tian Chen had before. He was also curious as to how the two had managed to repair their relationship.
“Tang Feng is very different from before. I don’t know if a person would turn into someone else after losing all their memories, but it’s obvious that an amnesic man shouldn’t be so familiar with American culture. On top of that, Tang Feng knows how he should communicate with the film crew. He can speak fluent English. And he’s somehow developed astounding acting skills.” Lu Tian Chen paused and frowned. He then concluded, “He’s like a completely different person.”
Charles placed his cup on the table. He spread his arms on the back of the couch and laughed. “I know, Tang Feng’s an angel who’s come down to earth.”
“And not a devil?”
“Oh, a devil isn’t bad either. I’m willing to go to hell with him if he’s a devil.”
There was no point in discussing it any further. They couldn’t reach a conclusion with the minimal information they had. Any of the reasons they could have offered sounded strange to their own ears.
The only thing they were sure of was the amount of attention they both exhibited toward Tang Feng during their talk. What did that mean?
Perhaps they would know the answer soon.
“You…” With his sight blurred, Lan Kuang could vaguely see the man with the demon mask approach him, but the man’s bewitching voice was clear beside his ears.
“Hah, idiot. The drug isn’t in the wine, it’s on the glass. People say you’re a cautious man who’s sharp and clever. But perhaps you’re too smart for your own good.” The man smirked at Lan Kuang. He wrapped the whip around his left hand, playing with it. “But don’t worry. I won’t do anything to harm you. The drug was merely an aphrodisiac. You’ll be fine as long as you find a person to help you later.”
Lan Kuang struggled to get up while also trying to get a good kick at the man. The latter dodged easily and added, “I forgot to mention, but the drug isn’t simply an aphrodisiac. I’ve mixed some anesthetics in there as well. It’s normal for you to not be able to control your limbs right now. Don’t even think about trying to kick me. We have to be realistic here. If you have the time to attempt something so pointless, why don’t you try to conserve your energy instead?”
Lan Kuang’s angry expression was immediately replaced by a look of nonchalance. He even chuckled and said, “Oh? My dear, did you bring a whip because you thought it would more exciting? What heavy tastes you have! But if that’s the case, I can go wild with you. Come on, I can’t wait!”
The man in the mask had never faced such a situation before. Why did Lan Kuang suddenly turn passionate and wild? Was he trying to tease him with those words? He couldn’t believe the thickness of Lan Kuang’s skin. Lan Kuang should be glaring at him and demanding to know what he had planned in mind. Why was he being so…so obscene?
Thank god that he was wearing a mask. He wouldn’t be able to live if Lan Kuang noticed the blush creeping up his face. He forced himself to calm down and restrained his mind from wandering into dark places. He glanced over Lan Kuang, who was half-naked on the bed. He then knelt on the sheets and reached to pull Lan Kuang’s pants down.
At the touch of the other’s cold fingers, Lan Kuang felt a wave of cool relief flow through him. Without a hint of embarrassment, Lan Kuang started moaning, trying to get a crack at the man still wearing the mask. “Ah… Darling, just a single touch from you is enough to get me reacting like this. Ah… I feel so good. Oh… Darling, you’re too slow. Don’t just take off my clothes. Do yours too. I can’t wait!”
Hearing those words, the man in the mask could feel his ears turning red and his fingers trembling as he pulled Lan Kuang’s pants down the thighs, calves, and ankles. Before moving any further, he calmed himself, and then ripped off Lan Kuang’s pants in one smooth move. He leaned toward Lan Kuang and lifted the man’s chin with the whip that was still wrapped around his hand. He asked in a low voice, “Where’s the data?”
“What data?” Lan Kuang was shocked.
“Don’t pretend in front of me.” The smile that appeared on the man’s face was rather wicked. He waved the whip in front of Lan Kuang. “If you don’t tell me now, you’ll have a tough time later.”
Lan Kuang’s expression finally turned serious again. “What are you planning?”
The man in the mask swung the whip around a few times and glanced warningly at Lan Kuang. He chuckled and said, “I’ll ask you again. Where’s the customer data from the Long Wei Group?”
Lan Kuang sneered coldly. “Your methods are a little too despicable, don’t you think?”
The man raised an eyebrow underneath the mask. “As they say, all’s fair in love and war. The business world is akin to a battlefield. In a war like this, who can claim to be a gentleman all the time? Even if you can, they are the words of a hypocrite. As for me… Isn’t it better to be straight up vile instead of hiding behind a barrier of pretenses?”
The man swung the whip down to mark the end of his words. A red lash appeared on Lan Kuang’s chest. The man swung the whip again, adding another lash that crisscrossed with the other, making a giant X.
“Where’s the data?” The man’s voice was harsher than before. Lan Kuang now knew he was serious.
Lan Kuang winced at the pain on his chest, but he didn’t say anything. He was more curious about the other’s identity. “Who are you? What are you going to do with the data? What use do you have for it? Who ordered you? Moreover, don’t you know that a cautious person like me never carries important data on my person?”
“That’s a lot of questions.” The man frowned at Lan Kuang. The marks on the latter’s chest were starting to bleed in parts. He turned his head away. “There’s no benefit from knowing too much. I’ll say it again: I won’t harm you, I simply don’t want the Long Wei Group to have it too easy. If you’d been willing to cooperate, then I wouldn’t have whipped you.”
The man turned around and started rifling through Lan Kuang’s clothes. He pulled out Lan Kuang’s wallet, ID, and keys, not a single thing slipping his eyes.
While examining Lan Kuang’s keys, the man found a small flash drive strapped to the keychain. The flash drive was made to resemble a monkey dressed up in hip-hop style. At first glance, it appeared like a normal keychain charm, but pulling off the monkey’s head revealed the USB plug inside.
The most dangerous place was the safest at the same time, was it? Luckily, he had seen plenty of cartoon flash drives before. Otherwise, he’d have completely disregarded the monkey as a simple charm.
Like the demon mask he was wearing, the man smiled wickedly. He pulled the monkey off the keychain and said, “I should’ve known beforehand. For an overly cautious person who pretends to be smart, you’d definitely carry everything on your person. I apologize, but I’ll be borrowing this from you. Please forgive me if I’ve caused you any problems.”
Lan Kuang was already feeling the effects of the drug. The man in the mask noticed his reaction and smiled deeply. “I’ve only given you a taste of your own medicine. You’d followed me out of your own free will. You can’t blame me for this.” He paused, then continued, “But seeing as you rather like me, I’ve decreased the dosage of the drug. Just bear with it. Or…you can go ahead and help yourself. Don’t try to resist it though, I’d feel bad if anything happens.”
Lan Kuang was silent. He was filled with self-hate due to his carelessness. He also hated the brilliant method the other had used in order to capture him.
“Then… Goodbye! Thank you for the data.” The man blew a kiss at Lan Kuang and walked toward the door.
Barely two steps later, the man turned around. Meeting Lan Kuang’s cold gaze, he said, “I guess you can say we are acquaintances now. If not for the data you have in your hands, we might have become friends. Since we’re hitting it off so well, let me teach you something.”
The man raised a finger and smiled, “One, the business world is a battlefield. People who randomly get close to you either have bad intentions or they are corporal spies. Don’t trust anything such as a one-night stand. Especially when it comes to people like me, who are capable of letting go of ourselves in order to trap our target. You should’ve realized that something was wrong the second I insisted on pouring you a glass of wine. But I did take advantage of that. I can only say that you aren’t careful enough. Too much confidence isn’t a good thing.”
The man added a second finger to the first, his smile widening. “Two, don’t suddenly change your approach when you’re capable of controlling the situation. Never let another person take command. The most innocent people are often the most manipulative. Like the smooth surface of a lake, you never know what’s inside the waters. You never know when something might jump out and bite apart your throat.”
The man raised a third finger and leaned down to look at Lan Kuang. He rubbed the latter’s chin in a teasing manner. “Three, don’t carry valuable information on your person. It’ll be the end of you if you come across a calculating man like me.”
The man straightened and added, “How about this? I’ll teach you a good way to back up information. You should go and register for two email accounts. When you come across valuable information, upload it onto one account, then use that account to send it to the second one. Even if one system were to break down, you’d still have another to rely on. You’d never have to worry about losing your information. As long as you have access to the internet, you can view it whenever. As for other people, even if they were to ransack your home or beat you down into the ground, they’d never find it.”
A crafty and arrogant smile appeared on the man’s face. “I feel a bit guilty that you fell for my trap today. In the future…you should be careful.” He patted Lan Kuang on the face. “I won’t say goodbye again. I hope we never see each other again.”
The man leaned down and kissed the whip marks on Lan Kuang’s chest. He then turned around and left, leaving behind an elegant and proud figure.
Completely naked on the bed with both hands tied above his head, Lan Kuang watched angrily as the other man walked away step by step. When the figure disappeared from his sight, he finally broke down in laughter, a dangerous edge in his voice.
Very well! We are enemies from this day forth! You better prepare yourself for revenge.
Lan Kuang glanced at his lower half and another wave of anger rolled through him. With great difficulty, he managed to flip over and rubbed himself against the bedsheet. The rampaging heat inside him subsided for a moment, only to return at full force the next second.
Despite the anger in his eyes, Lan Kuang’s face was icy. He gritted his teeth and glared at the door, as if trying to bore a hole into the wood.
Goddamn it. If I ever learn of who’s behind this, they are dead for sure. My methods aren’t as simple as yours.
Forcing me to do it by myself… Next time, I’ll do it until you’re screaming for help, until you can’t get out of bed for three days!
You will pay me back in double! In triple! I’ll make you penniless, but that would be letting you off too easy!
Shit! Not being able to do anything while this drug is inside my body makes me want to kill someone!
Lan Kuang had never been in such a sorry state in his whole life.
By the time the effects of the analgesic wore off, Lan Kuang was drenched in sweat. His lower half was still swollen to the point of pain. He leaned up and used his teeth to bite apart the belt that was tied around his hands. He then reached down and took care of himself a few times, finally, he felt the heat recede.
Still feeling a bit weak in the limbs, Lan Kuang quickly dressed himself. He left the room and ran in the direction of the security control room.
In Lan Kuang’s mind, that night was unforgettable.
He had always been unruly and arrogant, but he had met someone even more so that night.
When he’d come across that person, he was engulfed by a desperate need to conquer them. He had wanted to claim them!
That night, after meeting with a few business partners, Lan Kuang had gone up to the balcony and opened a window to clear his mind. He had drunk too much during the meeting. Rubbing his temples, he glanced down at the people who were still mingling on the dancefloor, and sneered in contempt.
The people dancing below were all single-mindedly focused on finding someone for the night, they paid no attention to their rough moves that were jarringly out of place. It was an ugly sight.
As his business was over, Lan Kuang had no reason to stay any longer.
Just when he was about to turn away, he picked up on the sound of cheering coming from the dancefloor. The music had been switched to a fast-paced dance track. Lan Kuang wasn’t interested in that type of music, so he didn’t know the name of the song. However, just by listening to it, he could feel his blood strum in excitement.
The cheers became louder as the heavy beat of the track thrummed through the room like a steady clock.
Lan Kuang looked down.
A man wearing a demon mask was dancing slowly at the center of the dancefloor.
He moved his shoulders, flipped his hair, rotated his waist, and thrusted his hips.
It was carefree. It was confident. It was willful. And it was insolent.
The eyes hidden behind the mask were especially bright.
When the music slowed down, the man’s moves also became gentler. If his earlier moves were aggressive and arrogant, then he could only be described as alluring and seductive now.
The man with the mask fingered the buttons of his shirt, pulling it open and off his body. With a swing of his arm, he threw the shirt into the air.
The crowd cheered and screamed, the noise deafening to the ears.
Lan Kuang found that he couldn’t move his eyes away.
For the entire track, he found himself fixated on the man who was tearing up the dancefloor.
He could feel the desire to conquer welling up inside his heart.
Lan Kuang had always lived under the principle of “If someone dares to be wild in front of me, I’ll be even wilder.”
He pulled out the vampire masquerade mask he’d been given when he’d entered the dance party. Lan Kuang smiled to himself. He put the mask on, put one hand on the railings, and leapt down from the balcony.
It was at least a two-story drop.
Some of the onlookers screamed when they noticed a man falling from above. They went silent and stared intensely at the spot where Lan Kuang had landed.
Lan Kuang had bent his knees during his fall to lessen the impact on his legs. His bent position had an indescribable charm to it.
The man wearing the demon mask had already stopped dancing. He’d collected his shirt and was putting it on, preparing to leave. Before he could step away, Lan Kuang grabbed his arm.
“Is something wrong?” A simple and direct question.
“Why don’t we dance together?”
“Sorry, I’ve just finished so I’m a bit tired right now. Sir, please go find someone else.” The man pulled his arm out of Lan Kuang’s grasp and turned to walk away. But underneath his mask, he was smiling.
Very good. For such an egotistical man, Lan Kuang had taken the bait as expected.
“Then why don’t we get a drink together?” Lan Kuang didn’t force the issue, but he quickly followed after the other.
It’d been a long time since he’d taken an interest in someone. He had to get to know the man better.
As for conquering him, that could come after he’d gotten to know the man.
“All right, my treat.”
“No, it’ll be my treat!” Lan Kuang insisted. He was used to getting his way.
“Then…I gladly accept!”
The crowd watched as the two walked away. For some unknown reason, they felt that the two men matched each other rather well.
Without any further disturbances, the dancefloor resumed its previous noisiness, as if the period of silence had never existed.
The two men each picked up a glass of alcohol and sat down in a corner. After sitting together for a while, Lan Kuang said, “Don’t you think the air is stuffy in here?”
“No, not at all. I think it’s fine.” The man in the demon mask smiled.
Lan Kuang chuckled, his eyes narrowing behind his mask. He leaned next to the other’s ear and murmured, “Have you…done it with a man before?”
The other stiffened in shock, but replied honestly, “No.”
“Do you want to try?” Lan Kuang reached toward the other’s collar, the image of the man’s smooth chest replaying inside his mind. He felt his abs tighten and spoke in an alluring voice, “Try it. I promise, you will die from how good it feels.”
“But I don’t like to be controlled by others.” The man grabbed Lan Kuang’s wrist and stopped it from moving. He emphasized, “Also, my tastes are a bit heavy. Are you sure…you can handle it?”
Lan Kuang watched as an enticing smile bloomed on the man’s face, his smooth lips shining under the light. Although the upper half of the man’s face was hidden behind the mask, Lan Kuang was sure that the other’s expression was one of provocation.
He was the first one to challenge his authority.
Good. Lan Kuang liked it very much.
“All right, I’ve never tried being on the bottom before, but I can make an exception for you tonight.” Lan Kuang was a bit scary when he suddenly acts gentle. “Be nice with me!”
“Then what are we waiting for?” The man with the demon mask stood up first. He pulled Lan Kuang out of the hall they were in and pressed the elevator for the top floor.
Lan Kuang understood what was going on. He’d heard of the popular trend that was going on in society. Young men and women of all kinds gathered at parties to pick out their target for the night. It was common for one-night stands to occur, and deals that lasted past the night happened as well. For men who liked to play around with other men, they were eager to resort to this sort of method.
Only, Lan Kuang was a bit curious as to how the current situation had turned out this way. Even though he had been the one to offer the invitation, why did it feel like the other was laying a trap for him?
Could it be that the other had something in mind? Was that why he had resorted to such an eye-catching dance to draw his attention?
Lan Kuang glanced at the man with the demon mask, who was leaning against a corner of the elevator and studying him. Lan Kuang’s smile deepened.
Ha… Interesting! It was the first time that someone had dared to have any ideas about him. If he didn’t play along, he would be wasting the man’s efforts.
It hadn’t been decided which of them was going to play the demon yet!
The two of them smiled at each other; the meanings behind those smiles impossible to decipher.
When they entered the hotel room, the man with the demon mask pressed his hands against Lan Kuang’s chest and kissed him.
Both of them were wearing masks, but it didn’t prevent them from kissing as the lower halves of their faces were exposed.
Leaning against the door, Lan Kuang tilted his head and kissed the other man back. They ground their lips together, biting and twisting their tongues against each other. Soon, their lips became linked with a thread of saliva.
They could feel the heat rising.
Even though he was unused to being so passive, Lan Kuang allowed the other man to do as he liked.
Of course, he didn’t play along for long. Lan Kuang grabbed the other’s waist and switched their positions, pushing the man against the door. He crushed their lips together in a violent kiss.
Taking the initiative felt very different from being passive. Having everything under his control was a fantastic feeling.
The more they kissed, the more rugged their breaths became.
“Wait…” When Lan Kuang reached down to unbuckle the man’s belt, the latter stopped him with a hoarse voice.
Lan Kuang raised a brow, not understanding what the other meant.
Asking him to wait at a time like this? What kind of person did that?
“Why don’t we have a drink to liven things up?” The man pushed Lan Kuang toward the bed. He then opened one of the cupboards inside the room and as expected, found it stocked with alcohol.
Lan Kuang leaned backwards, supporting himself with both hands on the bed. It was a lazy, yet charming position. “I thought that the glasses we’ve had earlier were enough.”
“But I don’t feel excited.” The man popped the bottle open, and pulled out two wineglasses from the cupboard. “They only have wine here. Do we need to call for something different?”
“No, wine is enough.” Lan Kuang glanced over the other’s body with a satisfied smile on his face. “I’m confident in my skills to make you feel excited in all sorts of places.”
The man with the demon mask gave an enigmatic smile. He poured the wine into a glass. “Here, have a glass.”
Lan Kuang accepted it and raised it to his lips, but he did not take a sip. He stared at the man and asked casually, “There isn’t anything in here, right?”
“Are you scared?” A light flashed across the other’s eyes, bright like the stars in the sky.
“Of course. If something’s in this wine and we end up going overboard because of it… What are we going to do? Although I’m making an exception to be on the bottom for you tonight, I still have my limits. If you’re too rough, I won’t be able to take it.” Lan Kuang swirled the liquid in the glass, staring at its deep red color, his gaze as intense as if he were staring at a glass of poison.
“Then we don’t have to drink.” The man turned to place his glass down. Although he didn’t voice it out loud, it was obvious that he’d lost interest and wasn’t willing to play anymore.
Lan Kuang grabbed his wrist. “Don’t be angry. Why don’t you drink my glass then? I’ll take care of yours.” He exchanged wineglasses with the man and added, “Don’t you think this is fair?”
“All right.” The other quickly downed half of the wine that was in Lan Kuang’s glass. “Are you satisfied now?”
Lan Kuang stared at him. His expression and pose remained unchanged.
The man in the demon mask sighed. “Aren’t you too cautious? Here, why don’t you take the one I’ve drunk from? You can return my glass to me. It’s only a one-night stand. Why do you have to turn it into an assassination attempt?”
The man handed Lan Kuang’s glass back. He took the glass that was originally his and took a sip.
Lan Kuang took another glance at him, and finally drank the wine.
The minute Lan Kuang swallowed, the other man came over and took his glass, tossing it onto the carpet along with his own. He then pressed Lan Kuang down onto the bed, kissing and touching all the while.
The taste of the wine remained in Lan Kuang’s mouth, but he could feel the heat rising from his groin. It felt as if something were trying to burst through his body.
“Hey, you aren’t bad at taking the initiative.” Lan Kuang noticed that the other hadn’t spoken a single word; the man was purely focused on kissing him. Despite that, the man’s hands weren’t idle. They pulled at his clothes and smoothed over his body in an erratic dance. Lan Kuang could feel his body heating up. His eyes were also glazing over. Was his desire muddling with his head?
The man with the demon mask pulled off his belt. Lan Kuang thought, how could he let someone else do as they liked with him? He was determined to switch their positions. Just as he lifted his hand however, he felt his head spin. His body gave way and he fell back onto the bed. His body was hot to the point of agony.
Lan Kuang knew something was wrong. The next second, the man used the belt he’d taken off to bind Lan Kuang’s hands around the headboard. He then got up and took out a leather whip from the cupboard where he’d found the wine. The whip snapped through the air, the sharp sound filling the room. He stared down at the half-naked Lan Kuang, an ambiguous smile on his face and disdain in his eyes.
Next: Chapter 11: It’d Be Best If We Never See Each Other Again
Previous: Chapter 9: Difficulty Breathing
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“I saw that you came together with Charles. Are you friends with him?”
“I guess you could put it that way, but he’s also my boss. He’s an investor of the movie that I’m currently acting in. He brought me here today to meet people,” Tang Feng replied with a smile, and wondered if they could move the conversation outside the restroom.
“Oh, I’ve heard of Charles before, but I’ve never met him personally. It seems like the rumors about him are false, as he appears like a rather good boss. Meeting with people is a good thing. You can learn many useful things just from talking with others. All right, Tang Feng, I might not be good at Chinese, but I will remember your name.” Robert laughed. “It seems like we’ve been chatting here in the restroom for quite a while now.”
Tang Feng nodded. “If you don’t mind, we can go grab some cocktails outside.”
“That sounds like a great idea. Hahaha.” Robert and Tang Feng laughed out loud. They both found it quite hilarious that they were having such a serious conversation in the restroom.
While their physical appearances were radically different, both men were about the same age on the inside. They left the bathroom and grabbed a few pastries and two glasses of cocktails. Just as they were about to find a quiet place and have a long chat together, a scuffle broke out in a corner of the party; a man and a woman seemed to be arguing about something.
Robert wasn’t the least bit surprised. “It’s normal for fights to break out at parties. You get used to it.”
“Wait, I’m sorry Robert. I seem to know that woman.” Just as he was about to turn away, Tang Feng recognized the woman wearing the black suede dress. After apologizing to Robert, he quickly walked over to the two people still arguing with each other.
It was a huge opportunity being able to talk with the chief advisor of D Media Corporation, but Tang Feng had something more important to do at the moment.
“What a strange man.” Robert chuckled to himself. He leaned against a nearby tree and gazed after Tang Feng’s back with admiration. It was normal for smalltime celebrities and people who wanted to enter the entertainment industry to come and talk to him during gatherings, but he had been the one to strike up a conversation with a stranger this time. He’d thought that Tang Feng was a distinguished figure in the industry and was surprised to know that the actor had just entered Hollywood after talking with him.
“There aren’t enough warmhearted young people around these days.”
Many people had gathered to see the fight, but none had stepped forward to put a stop to it.
The man and woman arguing with each other were both young. From appearances, they were either celebrities or models. The woman in question was someone Tang Feng had met just a few days ago: Lilith, Gino’s girlfriend.
“You fucking psychopath! Slut!” The man yelled at Lilith and grabbed her wrist, his other hand aiming for a slap. If the argument had simply remained an argument, none of the bystanders would have stepped in to help. Upon seeing that it was escalating into a physical fight, a few stepped forward. But someone else had beaten them to the punch.
Tang Feng ran over and grabbed the man’s wrist, pushing Lilith aside. “That’s enough. Don’t hit her!”
Faced with an intruder, the man raised his chin and glared. “Who are you? You want a fight? Do you think you’re saving a damsel in distress or something? Why don’t you look at yourself first, you yellow monkey!”
Tang Feng could smell the alcohol on the other’s breath.
Seeing that the intruder was Asian, the man didn’t appear discouraged at all. He lifted his arm and tried to throw Tang Feng’s hand off, but the actor had a tight grip on his arm. In the end, Tang Feng was the one to let go first.
“You’re a disgusting man.” Tang Feng walked over to help Lilith, who smelled similarly of alcohol. Lilith leaned against him, appearing completely drained and powerless. He asked concernedly, “Lilith, are you all right?”
“How can she not be? Shameless slut! Hey, yellow monkey, you should worry about yourself first. Let go of her, she’s my friend. What are you going to do? You want a fight? Then come on, I’ll punch you so hard that nobody will be able to recognize that pretty little face of yours.”
The young man seemed possessed as he glared at Tang Feng viciously. He rolled up his sleeves and headed for Tang Feng.
None of the bystanders could withstand seeing a man hit a woman, but it was the opposite for a fight between men. Some of them clapped their hands and whistled, clearly waiting for a good fight.
Trying to reason with a drunkard was more ridiculous than . Tang Feng handed Lilith over to a girl nearby. He wasn’t afraid of a fight. Men who willingly harassed women needed a punch to the face in any case.
“Did your mom not teach you basic social etiquette? Don’t worry, I will teach you instead.” Charles appeared from the crowd just as Tang Feng was about to show off the moves he’d recently learned.
Seeing that someone else had come to interrupt him, the young man made to retort about Charles’ skills in bed, but a punch to the nose made him swallow the words instead. He howled in pain as blood spurted from his nose.
“Fuck!” The young man turned and punched at Charles. Although the punch appeared strong and clean, it was weak compared to Charles’ own. Charles easily grabbed the young man’s wrist and threw him over his shoulder.
Slammed against the ground, the young man howled in pain again. He didn’t have the energy to stand up and make another move. He wrapped an arm around his belly and covered his bleeding nose with the other hand, rolling back and forth on the ground like a wild boar. Charles walked over and kicked him in the butt.
“The showy moves and fancy footwork that you learned from your personal trainer doesn’t work in an actual fight. If you ever want to learn how to beat someone like me, I can teach you.” Satisfied at the fact that he was able to show off in front of Tang Feng, Charles turned to look at the actor with a pleased smile. Unluckily, Tang Feng had already walked away, taking Lilith to the lounge nearby.
“Shit! I will remember this!” Still laying on the ground, the young man yelled stubbornly.
Charles clicked his tongue in annoyance and aimed another kick at him. He was taking out his irritation at being ignored on the young man, but the latter only had himself to blame for his bad luck.
Tang Feng helped Lilith into the lounge. She immediately scrambled to the bathroom and threw up in the toilet; she had clearly drunk too much.
When Charles walked inside, he saw Tang Feng taking care of Lilith. He immediately called for a waiter and pulled the actor aside.
“Enough, you can leave that kind of dirty work to someone else. I have to say darling, I never knew that you were the kind of hero who would rush in to save a damsel in distress.” Charles shut the bathroom door but didn’t completely close it. He slipped an arm around Tang Feng’s waist and laughed in a low voice. “Don’t rush in by yourself next time. If your face becomes injured, I would be very sad and angry.”
“My face?” Tang Feng chuckled coldly and pushed Charles aside. It didn’t matter if Charles treated him well, the bear only had one thing in mind. Charles liked sleeping with him; he liked his youth, his face, and his body.
“Ah, of course! I’m simply afraid that it would interfere with filming! Did you think I was only after your looks? Oh, darling, do you see how many beautiful models and celebrities are at this party? I’m not saying that you aren’t handsome and beautiful, but if I were simply after looks, I would’ve turned around and chased after someone else a long time ago!”
Charles followed after Tang Feng like a needy large dog. Tang Feng felt his anger deflate at the other’s comical appearance.
“Do you like that woman? I don’t see what’s so good about her.” Charles glanced at the bathroom, a look of despise on his face. “Her perfume makes me sick. She also looks too skinny, like a lean rib. Darling, don’t ever date a female celebrity. Most of them are too dirty. Who knows how many men they’ve slept with.”
“I’ve slept with you.” Tang Feng glared at Charles. There were female celebrities who traded sex with influential men in order to advance their career, but that didn’t mean everyone was like that. Tang Feng didn’t like Charles’ arrogant tone, as if he were looking down on those women. Moreover, Lilith was Gino’s girlfriend.
No matter what happened, Tang Feng thought he should call Gino first.
Listening to Tang Feng’s conversation with Gino, Charles sat down on a leather chair inside the lounge. He remarked sharply, “Looking at that woman, her boyfriend can’t be any better.”
Tang Feng turned and glared at him again. Charles shrugged and smirked, but remained silent.
The waiter supported Lilith from the bathroom and Tang Feng quickly walked over to help set her down on the bed. He paid the waiter a tip and told him to bring in a glass of water.
“And two glasses of champagne!” Charles added before the waiter left. Seeing that Tang Feng was still busying about Lilith, he said, “Just leave her there. She only had too much to drink.”
Tang Feng sat down beside Charles and waited. Ten minutes later, Gino rushed into the lounge. He noticed Charles, but didn’t bother to greet him.
“She had too much to drink,” Tang Feng said.
“Thank you, Tang Feng. Truly.” Gino sighed. He walked over to the bed and looked down at Lilith, a frown on his face.
Tang Feng added, “No matter what have happened between you two, I think it’d be a good idea for you guys to sit down and talk through it.”
At the sound of conversation, Lilith woke up. She opened her eyes slowly, seemingly still disoriented. Upon noticing Gino however, her expression immediately turned. She sat up and pushed at Gino, yelling, “Leave! Get lost!”
“Lilith! Stop it!” Gino tried to approach Lilith again, but she quickly started crying.
“I hate you. I hate you! I’m not Fiennes! Do you understand? That man is dead! How can you have such disgusting thoughts!”
Tang Feng paused in shock at Lilith’s angry words. Did he just hear his past name?