Movie: Satan’s Alley
Scene One: outdoor shoot, evening, beach outside the church, field clear
He didn’t expect Chris to be gone for three years once he left. Three years, not three days nor three months, but he left for a whole three years.
This morning, the monk was copying scriptures as per usual. It had already been four years since he came to this church by the beach. Similarly, it has already been four years since he last spoke.
He sat in the dim light with his head bent, quietly copying scriptures in the small room. Suddenly, there was a commotion outside the house.
“Chris! Chris came back!”
The pen fell from the monk’s grasp. He almost immediately left his chair and rushed out with the others. Standing within the crowd, he saw the golden-haired youth he had not seen for three years.
Chris had a face full of wild hair, his whole body full of tiredness and dust, showing that he rushed back.
They said Chris returned from studying in a distant place. They also said Chris would go to a church in the big city to work in the future and Chris would become a prestigious person in the future.
The monk was squeezed outside of the crowd, unable to touch Chris. He could not do anything but stand to the side and watch. At this time, the Chris who was surrounded by people glanced towards him. Their gazes meeting in the air felt like fire burning away the distance of the last three years. Everything seemed to return to that last moment at the beach; all the intimate touches, the kisses, and caresses became clear in an instant.
That night, after the monk blew out the candles in the church, he went to the beach alone. He walked very far, yet he could still see that conspicuous golden colour in the distance that shone even in the dark of the night. “I went to France, England, and faraway China.” The first sentence Chris said to the monk, he listed the places he went to these past three years.
Upon hearing the last location, the monk’s eyes widened.
“Are you asking why I went to China?” Chris stepped forward, his face had been shaven clean without a single sign of stubble. Three years have passed, and time only left the marks of maturity in this young man now.
“I went looking for your hometown, searching for any stories related to you. I followed the road you took that year, travelling from the east and walked it from the start. This way, our life paths would have intersected.”
The night ocean breeze always brought the cold sting of the deep ocean. The monk stared at the young man in front of him, his mind endlessly repeating every single word the other said. Every time he understood a word, his body warmed by a degree.
“I know your story.” Chris brought his arms around the monk, hugging him tightly, unwilling to let go.
The monk faced the slightly salty sea breeze, his thoughts travelling across the ocean back to four years ago. That time, the Old Priest was bedridden with illness so he went out to pray for him. When he was travelling, his pouch was stolen by a thief. He gave chase while shouting for help, but the passers-by only blankly stared at him, and gave the thief an escape route.
Only one young man helped him to apprehend the thief. That man was Li Feng, the young master of the city’s biggest family. That was how Tang met Li Feng.
Li Feng frequently came over to help him look after the Old Priest. As time went on, they gradually developed a more intimate relationship. But paper cannot hold fire (the truth cannot be hidden for long). During one of the times they stayed together, someone saw everything through the window.
Very quickly, the Li Family’s people dragged Li Feng away. He still remembered that young man shouting as he struggled against them, “Everything is my fault, it had nothing to do with Tang! I forced him!” Li Feng attempted to pin all the blame on himself.
How could that man say things like that?
I was willing; no one forced me. I love him, I love the man named Li Feng.
In that backwater place, they were supposed to be punished. Luckily, the Li Family had status and power, so no one dared to touch Li Feng, and the terminally ill Old Priest had requested for Tang to send his ashes back to his hometown.
Afterwards, the monk never saw Li Feng again. They told him Li Feng had settled down, married a woman, and became the proper heir of a distinguished family.
And so, Tang took the Old Priest’s remains and left that oppressive and backward society.
This was his secret; an untold secret that had been deeply hidden in his heart for four years.
“Tang, are you still unwilling to speak? Do you not want to know … Li Feng’s current situation?” The words Chris said were enticing.
After four years, the monk once again opened his mouth to speak. “Is…he alright?” The voice was hoarse due to years of not using it, but Chris had no problem understanding Tang’s words.
“You don’t hate him getting married to someone else?”
Tang shook his head vigorously. He doesn’t hate. In those circumstances, they were nothing more than two ants under the mercy of fate; powerless against everything. He will remember how well Li Feng treated him, remember how beautiful and fortunate the moments they had together were.
“I found him. He told me because his father was seriously ill at that time, he could only listen to his parents to settle down and produce an heir. He said, after he has a son, he will come out to find you. But I told him, you are currently happily together with me. Tang, do you hate me?” Chris asked.
“No.” The man shook his head vigorously again. Li Feng should stay at home, that was where he had his family and businesses.
Chris grabbed the monk’s hand, “Run away with me. Let’s leave this place!”
The ocean breeze blew softly, as though trying to blow them towards a faraway place.
Tang Feng didn’t tell Gino the things Harvey told him that day when he dropped by, as based on Gino’s personality, he would definitely kick up a huge argument with his family. Tang Feng knew Gino’s family. He was even acquainted with Gino’s older brother, that slightly inflexible and overly serious workaholic. Even though those two were brothers, their personalities were like night and day.
Additionally, Gino’s brother, Jack, cherished his younger brother deeply. This was a well-known fact.
So, there was a very high chance Jack instigated Harvey to come find him for a talk. It seems it was not a good thing to be so overprotective of his younger brother.
With regards to other people’s family affairs, Tang Feng has no say in them.
The film shooting was already more than halfway done. The rest of the scenes were basically following the life of Gino and Tang Feng together. The production company has also arranged to start scheduling media appearances to build up momentum for the movie.
The two main actors both agreed to do an interview with a TV station. Tang Feng was long accustomed to similar kinds of interviews and could always find suitable answers for the interviewer’s questions.
As an actor, other than acting well in films, one must also put in effort to promote the movie propaganda. During the interview, Tang Feng and Gino would occasionally say a few complimentary words to the other; most of them are honest words with few perfunctory words, and those straightforward words would occasionally reveal ambiguity, leading people to form their own fantasies.
The movie’s theme is related to homosexuality, which means this topic would be used to hype up promotions for the movie.
Tang Feng has long heard that it is popular to sell rot in the entertainment world nowadays.
Previously, most of the TV series starred a man and a woman. Now, it has become popular to star two male leads engaging in vague and ambiguous situations to abuse the audience, earning high ratings for the show and making both sides happy.
Starting from next week, the filming site will shift to Los Angeles. Tang Feng will have to follow the move. This time, because they will not stay in Los Angeles for long, they chose to stay in a hotel. The hotel’s accommodation fee is covered by the film producers. Extra service expenses incurred would have to be paid by the actors themselves.
The previous apartment in North Carolina was paid for by Charles, while the daily expenses were paid by Lu Tian Chen. Tang Feng didn’t want to keep using the money of these two people. This time, for the hotel’s miscellaneous fees, he said he wanted to pay for it himself.
“You are my employee. Your expenses during working hours should be reimbursed by the company.” Lu Tian Chen rested his legs on the hotel room sofa. The company is his. He is willing to cover Tang Feng’s expenses.
“I say baby, you see you have to work so hard to make a movie. Not only were you kissed but also pushed down, only to earn a measly 500,000 US dollars. And you still must give 20 percent to Lu Tian Chen, the director of your evil agency. As a result, your take home salary is only 100,000 USD. Dear, you just need to kiss me, I will give you this hotel right away!” Charles arrogantly boasted. He could throw away thousands to win over his beloved.
Tang Feng squinted at Charles, “That’s great! So, if I kiss you a few more times, you’ll give me a few hotels?”
“It looks like you’ve been spoilt rotten.” Charles would only go bankrupt. At that time, it would become the wealthy Tang Feng pushing down the poor Charles.
Tang Feng looked at Lu Tian Chen again: “I don’t think the contract I signed stated that all my expenses must be paid by the company, such as the hotel massage, gym, and room service.”
He doesn’t have much money right now, but he doesn’t need to save everything.
Charles and Lu Tian Chen couldn’t change his mind, so they went along with his opinion. Just that, not even two days later, Tang Feng realized a terrible thing. They would be in Los Angeles until they finished shooting the movie. There was still one month remaining, which means the three of them must stay at the hotel for a month.
In the first three days, even excluding the room fees paid by the film company, the hotel bills already accumulated up to the point where Tang Feng was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Charles requested for a suite, on the grounds that he didn’t like to crowd in the elevator with others, but waiting for the luxury suite with a private elevator meant that the extra room rate had to be paid by themselves.
Lu Tian Chen agreed, so they now have a suite with three bedrooms, equipped with bulletproof glass, their own private elevator, private spas, and beautiful private garden balconies.
Adding in other expenses, in not even a week, Tang Feng will be forced to go bankrupt and become a debtor.
Proofreaders: Charlotte Grey, Lyrick
“Tang Feng, do you know a Doctor Harvey? He says he wants to meet you.” Manager Xiaoyu opened the RV door and walked in. There was someone claiming to be a ‘Doctor Harvey’ who came to visit. Xiaoyu didn’t even know Tang Feng knew this man.
Seeing Tang Feng’s somewhat unwell face, she worriedly asked, “Did you call for a doctor because you’re overworked? Where does it hurt, quickly let me see.”
Xiaoyu immediately rushed over worriedly, grabbing Tang Feng’s shoulder and anxiously examining him left and right.
“I’m not sick; my body could not be healthier. It’s alright, Xiaoyu. Let Doctor Harvey in, he’s Gino’s friend.” Tang Feng replied puzzled as he didn’t know why Harvey would want to see him.
The last time Tang Feng met Harvey was just last week. Although Tang Feng’s distant attitude at then couldn’t be considered warm or impolite, it should have been cold enough for Harvey to understand he didn’t want to be friends.
Why had Harvey come to find him?
Tang Feng laid on the sofa gently furrowing his eyebrows, don’t tell me this has something to do with Gino? It seemed like Harvey had only got to know Gino recently.
The world is so big, but contrary to expectations, they ended up meeting again. Is this what they mean by ‘fated to meet’?
But now, he is no longer Fiennes, and Harvey has already settled down with a beautiful, virtuous wife and a clever and adorable child. They each have their own lives, vastly irrelevant to each other.
Not long later, Xiaoyu brought Harvey over. Tang Feng didn’t let Xiaoyu leave because he didn’t want to be left alone with Harvey; the guy who used to take care of him, give him promises and hope, had carelessly ate his words, and left.
A beautiful and fantasy-like love, in reality, is that weak; just a light touch and it’ll immediately shatter.
Tang Feng gave thanks to all those who hurt him before in his life journey, letting him know the many realities of this world. Normally, Tang Feng avoids being too pessimistic, it’s just that the real world is originally like that.
One moment, they’ll be telling you they want to spend their whole life with you, proclaiming how much they love you, how they want to buy a piece of farmland up north to create your own lovers’ world for two. And, the very next moment, they’ll come in front of you to apologize.
“I’m sorry, let’s break up.”
“We’re both men. We can’t have children or create a family. There is no future for us.” They’re all just excuses. This world has so many abandoned children; they could have adopted a few orphans. What future? What family? It’s only that they have given up too early.
The tediousness and disdain upon hearing about having a northern farmland lifestyle, only because they were unable to give up the comfortable lifestyle they have now, unable to leave the upper echelons of society and have only cattle and sheep as companions, unable to withstand the pressure from their surroundings, and even more, unable to leave that environment.
In the end, aren’t they just people who are not able to persevere in love? The more excuses you make, the more people will lower their impressions of you.
Those without courage are cowards. Who asked Fiennes to not only be a man, but also be a terminally ill man?
“Doctor Harvey, why are you here?” Tang Feng smiled at the guy who was always dressed like a gentleman. Even after all these years, Harvey’s habits haven’t changed; he liked the exquisite lifestyle. His clothes were all high quality and tailor-made, his food choices were even more high-class, all leaning towards gourmet-style.
He actually used to think that Harvey could give up the lavish lifestyle for him, and instead, raise cattle and sheep together in the north. Even now, he thinks the him of the past was really stupid to the max. At that point in time, he even wholeheartedly thought he could give up his own acting career just like that.
Not to mention, the Fiennes of that time had just received the three biggest International Film Awards of his life, and was at the brightest moment of his career.
Should he thank Harvey?
If not for Harvey fleeing to respect his family’s wishes and settling down with Ramona, then there wouldn’t have been the true star, Fiennes, who had the world at his feet.
Similarly, Harvey’s betrayal had let Fiennes understand a lot of principles.
Those who haven’t been cut by the knife will never know how sharp the knife is.
“Are you here to look for Gino? His parts will be filmed in the afternoon. He should be at his home rehearsing the script this morning.” Gino actually wanted to come over in the morning but was blocked by Tang Feng’s words “Don’t disrupt my shoot”. He didn’t believe Gino would behave himself and stay quietly in his trailer to practice his lines once he came to the filming location.
“Oh, I stay near here and since you guys were filming now, I decided to drop by. It was such a pity that you weren’t able to stay that afternoon; Gino and I talked a lot about you.” Harvey’s mouth tilted upwards, his eyes already showing the beginnings of crow‘s feet, but this still didn’t lower this man’s charm at all.
How dignified, how gentlemanly. Considerate men attracting other people is always a matter of fact.
“Really?” Tang Feng casually replied.
“Mr. Harvey is a doctor?” Xiaoyu, at the side, asked.
“Yes. I’m currently Gino’s father’s family doctor, but what’s worth mentioning is that I only met Gino half a year ago. He really admired Fiennes, and I just so happened to be Fiennes’ friend. That’s how we met.” After replying to Xiaoyu’s question, Harvey returned his attention to Tang Feng, where he smilingly asked, “Actually, this time round, when Gino accepted this movie, his family was very opposed to it.”
“Because of the material?” The one who continued the conversation was Xiaoyu. Xiaoyu was a lady who loves to talk, which was also why Tang Feng wanted her to stay behind.
If he can avoid talking to Harvey, then he didn’t want to talk all.
It’s just that, every time he hears Harvey mention his past life’s name, it made it hard for Tang Feng to resist laughing coldly. The man is already gone, what reason is there to keep mentioning him?
“Yeah. Gino’s family in Los Angeles can be considered famous. His father is a devout Christian, and it just so happens that this time around, your movie touched upon both religion and homosexuality, thereby, angering Gino’s parents.” Harvey laughed rather helplessly.
“Gino’s family has three kids; Gino is the youngest, he still has an older brother and sister. Because his brother took over the family business, Gino could pursue his own dreams and immerse himself into the entertainment industry, but his family still wishes he could have a wife and a normal family.” These words coming from Harvey’s mouth seemed to contain a weird taste.
People always hope that they are right, that’s why, they would always find various opportunities to prove that their own choices were right.
What’s the basis for right or wrong?
Whether their own choices were right or wrong, only the person themselves would know.
“Doctor Harvey, you didn’t come just for a visit today, but to diplomatically tell me not to develop any such relations with Gino. Because all this dictates that if Gino and I were to love each other, there would be no future; we would lose our friends and family, as well as our careers. That’s what you want to tell me, right?” Tang Feng directly said it.
He knew Harvey too well, he was even more familiar with this man’s hypocrisy.
Tang Feng’s straightforwardness stunned Harvey for a moment, then this fine man warmly chuckled, “Gino was right, you are really smart.”
“Isn’t it that you’re too stupid? Friends that would leave you because of your choice of partner can’t be considered genuine friends. It doesn’t matter even if those kind of friends don’t want you. True family would hope for you to live happily, and not ruin their own children’s future for the sake of some family values. Such a hypocritical future, hypocritical happiness….” Tang Feng stopped.
He asked Harvey a question he didn’t manage to ask him in his previous life: “Doctor Harvey, you tell me, is such a life happy?” Tell me, did your choice really allow you to be happy, to feel good and satisfied?
“Of course, I’m happy. I have a beautiful, virtuous wife and an adorable, lovely son, a job that people envy, and a perfect family.” When Harvey reached the end, he hesitated slightly, his jade green eyes flashing for a moment.
“This is the kind of life people should choose,” Harvey emphasized.
Very good. Now, Tang Feng knew Harvey’s answer.
The one who couldn’t let go wasn’t him, rather, it was the well-dressed doctor in front of him. “It’s very obvious this is only your opinion. Different people have different choices. No matter what they choose, so long as they themselves feel it’s good, then everything else doesn’t matter.” Tang Feng lightly said, he was looking forward to chasing Harvey away.
“Okay. Doctor Harvey, I still have work to do so, I don’t have much time to debate about life with you. Regarding Gino, you can rest assured, even if he is interested in me, I have no interest in him. You can say it however you want to Gino’s family, but please help me pass on a message to the person who sent you. If they are somewhat close, then please tell them not to meddle with Gino’s life.”
Xiaoyu having found out that Harvey was sent by someone was also rather unhappy, standing up and gesturing towards the trailer door, “Please, Doctor Harvey. I hope you never come around again, you’re such a brute.”
It’s so nice to have a fierce manager.
Harvey looked towards Tang Feng, but the latter just turned his body away. Right when Harvey had already walked to the door, he stopped again and asked, “That day, at Fiennes’ grave, why did you gift red roses?”
“Then, why did you bring white roses?”
He obviously knew Fiennes loved red roses, but he was scared it would be too obvious, so he gave white roses instead – such was the style of this cautious doctor.
Proofreaders: Charlotte Grey, Lyrick
The movie’s 43rd scene successfully completed, indicating that the shooting for the movie ‘Satan Alley’ was already half complete. It had already been more than a month since filming first started, and the whole movie was estimated to finish shooting within 3 months’ time.
Director Li Wei had kept to the movie production schedule very well, allowing them to finish shooting the movie in time to participate in this year’s major film festivals. Regardless of whether they’re a movie production crew member or an actor, they would all have the chance to receive their corresponding nominations or even win the greatest award.
Tang Feng met Gino in the dressing room when he was removing his makeup. Today, Gino didn’t have any parts to film. He only came down to the filming site to greet a few of the crew members, after which, he immediately came to find Tang Feng. “I came to apologize now that I’m not under the influence of alcohol nor being willful. Tang Feng, please accept my sincerest apologies. I’m very ashamed of my loss of control the other night. I’m sorry.”
He was the image of a good child, admitting his wrongs from the start, that Tang Feng almost couldn’t resist reaching out to pat Gino’s head.
“There’s no sincerity at all, just using words to apologize.” Tang Feng glanced at his watch and said, “It’s nearly lunchtime, treat me to a meal. I know a good Japanese cuisine restaurant nearby.”
Thirty minutes later.
Tang Feng picked up a piece of sashimi after putting wasabi on it and shoved it into his mouth. Since the other was treating him to a free lunch, he didn’t hold back at all. Besides, such a meal of ordinary dishes was nothing to the Gino whose net worth was in the billions.
“If you like eating sashimi, I know an even better place. I’ll bring you there next time.” Gino sat opposite Tang Feng, spending the majority of the time staring at the other man as he ate, only occasionally moving his own chopsticks.
“There’s no need to go to so much trouble. Next time, I’ll treat you. But do you know how to eat hotpot? I like it. Whenever I eat hotpot, it always makes me feel somewhat fortunate.”
He ate it once after being reborn and had been unable to forget about it. Only after he was born in China, did Tang Feng realize how lacking the Chinese cuisine he ate before was, in comparison.
Of course, Gino nodded in agreement. He could ask for nothing better.
“Tang Feng, I have something I need to say to you.” Putting down his chopsticks, Gino placed both his hands on his knees, straightening up.
His serious appearance also made Tang Feng pause in his movements. He took a sip of green tea, asking, “Mm, what is it?”
“From now onwards, I want to court you. I must clarify that I’m not treating you as Fiennes’ replacement; I know that you’re Tang Feng. Right now, I’m very clear on what my heart wants.” Gino furrowed his brows, both eyes staring straight at Tang Feng, looking very serious.
Gino continued, “I think you’re right. If I really loved Fiennes, I wouldn’t have only realized my love for him after 7 years, but it’s different now. My heart has this strong desire. Every time I see you, I feel like life is full of vitality and meaning.”
“You’re the meaning of my life, Tang Feng.” Gino’s eyes ignited twin fires, burning strongly.
This time, it was Tang Feng who did not know how to reply. Gino’s persistence left him at a loss. He kept rejecting the man, but it looked like Gino was not resigned, instead, pursuing him even stronger than before. The reverse psychology of youths was astounding.
“Okay, but you need to be prepared for the long term,” Tang Feng readily answered. Regardless of him agreeing or not, Gino would still do what he wanted to, anyway.
Giving the other a chance, letting the test of time verify everything, Tang Feng knew what the final result would be.
Because he’d seen it all before too many times already.
After eating lunch, Gino immediately offered to send Tang Feng back to his apartment. He had, of course, suggested Tang Feng move out before. After all, that apartment also housed those two people, but Tang Feng had used the excuse of it being too troublesome and rejected it.
Right now, his situation only allowed him to stay with both Lu Tian Chen and Charles. Besides, those two men can be said to possess gentlemanly facades. There was no need to worry they would do anything untoward to him. They also had a considerable number of things in common; he still had pretty good feelings towards his living situation.
Gino didn’t force Tang Feng. Just as the two people paid and were preparing to leave, they bumped into a familiar person at the door.
“Doctor Harvey, you came here to eat too?” Upon recognizing the person, Gino immediately raised his hand to greet him. On the other hand, Tang Feng stood silently at the side, carelessly giving the woman and the child next to Harvey a glance.
Harvey’s parents were college professors while he was an exemplary doctor, and his wife, a similarly outstanding piano teacher. They’ve been married nearly 10 years and were blessed with a cute 6 year-old boy with big beautiful green eyes.
That pair of eyes were identical to Harvey’s, as green as clear emeralds, with an unparalleled shine, sparkling like the surface of a lake in the sun.
“Mm. I frequently bring my family here for vacation during my rest days. Who knew we would meet again? Recently, it really seems like fate.” Harvey laughed, then naturally moved his gaze towards the man by Gino’s side, still maintaining the gentlemanly smile on his face. “This must be the often-mentioned partner in Gino’s newest movie, Mr. Tang. Gino was full of praise for you the previous time we met.”
“Hi, I’m Harvey. It’s nice to meet you.”
Tang Feng smiled mildly, reaching out to gingerly shake his hand once, then letting go. “Me too.”
Harvey then introduced his wife, Ramona, and his son, Bain, to Tang Feng. Everyone familiarized themselves with each other for a while and the whole time, Tang Feng maintained his smile; mildly, politely, distantly.
“Your eyes look like black grapes, just like Uncle Fiennes.” Six year-old Bain tilted his head, looking somewhat silly as he gazed up at Tang Feng.
“Thank you for your praise, Bain.” Tang Feng automatically knelt to converse with Bain on an equal level. He extended his hand, revealing a naturally radiant smile, “I’m Tang Feng.”
“Bain. I’m very glad to meet you.” Smiling bashfully, little Bain reached out to gently hug him. Tang Feng closed his eyes and returned the hug. When was the last time he hugged Bain?
Seems like it was two years ago. He didn’t expect Bain to still remember him, to still remember Uncle Fiennes.
“He really likes you; that’s rare. Normally, when he meets strangers, he always ignores them. Today, he actually initiated hugging you.” Harvey was pleasantly surprised, his line of sight gradually falling onto Tang Feng. Really, like what Bain had said, Tang Feng had the same shiny black eyes as Fiennes.
It was like they were unfathomable depths, drawing people in, making it irresistible to want to study them, to explore them.
Gino laughed uproariously, proudly raising his chin as he said, “But, of course. I mentioned before, Tang Feng is very charming, right? Those who meet him will all like him.”
Tang Feng chose to ignore Gino’s exaggerated praise. He gently patted little Bain’s head, then stood up.
“You have a very adorable son.”
He had more to say, but no matter how he wanted to, he wouldn’t be able to say the words.
“Thanks.” Harvey nodded smilingly, still standing at the door but not entering. “Were you guys planning to leave?”
“Yeah, there’s no work scheduled in the afternoon so we’re going to head back and rest for a while,” Gino honestly replied.
Harvey proposed, “Then why don’t we spend the afternoon drinking tea together? Fiennes loved to drink tea the most……” After saying this, it was as though his mood darkened a little, as his wife stepped forward to comfort him.
“It wasn’t your fault, darling.” Ramona held her husband’s hand, appearing every bit that of a virtuous woman. Tang Feng wasn’t sure whether she knew at the time of her marriage, that he used to date her husband before. Maybe she knew, maybe she didn’t, but either way, she and Harvey were now a blessed couple.
“Ah, if only I always stayed by his side……”
Tang Feng interrupted him, “You have your family, your wife, and child. Even if you’re Fiennes’ family doctor, you also cannot spend every second of the day beside him.”
“Thank you for your consolation.” Harvey smiled at Tang Feng.
Tang Feng casually smiled. He didn’t really like drinking tea, just that previously, in order to maintain his health, he learned to drink it. He also didn’t wish for Harvey to stay at his side because he didn’t like him. In fact, he even hated this bastard who had betrayed him.
Even until now, it’s still the same.
“Mr. Tang, let’s drink tea together this afternoon.” Harvey extended the invitation towards Tang Feng as well.
Gino, standing at the side, revealed an expectant expression, but Tang Feng shook his head, rejecting it. “I’m sorry, I still have some matters to attend to in the afternoon.”
“It’s really such a shame.” Revealing a disappointed expression, Harvey very quickly regained his gentlemanly smile. “Then, next time there’s a chance, we must drink tea together.”
“Actually, I prefer coffee.”
“Coffee is not bad either.” Harvey replied.
Tang Feng turned towards Gino, “Why don’t I go back on my own? You can catch up with Mr. Harvey.”
“No, no, no. I’m sending you back, we already agreed on this.” Gino immediately bid farewell to Harvey and his family, “Harvey, I’m sending Tang Feng back first. I’ll contact you again later.”
“Goodbye.” Tang Feng turned and left immediately after saying so, with Gino hurrying to follow right after him.
Even though Tang Feng appeared courteous throughout, Gino, who had known Tang Feng for more than a month already, very clearly understood that Tang Feng wasn’t as warm and comforting as usual. “Do you not like Harvey?” Gino tentatively asked.
Tang Feng continued walking forwards with large strides, “I just don’t like doctors.”
… and hospitals, and continuously-prescribed medicine, and a never-ending flow of tea, and bland, monotonous food, and a doctor called ‘Harvey’.
Proofreaders: Charlotte Grey, Lyrick
A lot of things were left unsaid. Tang Feng didn’t think his words would have much of an effect on Gino but it would at least allow the man to reflect clearly on the past and leave Fiennes’ shadow behind as quickly as possible. He was certain Gino would one day leave his memories of Fiennes in the past, he only hoped that it would happen sooner.
He was willing to become friends with Gino, but anything more and it was better to leave it.
“How come there weren’t as many people who confessed to me in my previous life?” Tang Feng thought as he dressed in front of a mirror.
He’d had no scenes to film the last few days so he’d had time to focus on other things. Yesterday, Little Annie called to invite him over to her house. He couldn’t go last time because he was visiting Fiennes’ grave so if he rejected her again, he might really hurt the little girl’s feelings. Tang Feng couldn’t bear to be so cruel to a cute, innocent child and he had a few days off, so he readily accepted.
Annie’s home in Philadelphia was only two hours from Tang Feng’s apartment. Tang Feng planned to go over there today, stay the night, and then take a coach back the next morning.
“Your previous life? It sounds like you didn’t feel very welcome in your previous life, you were over the moon at Lu Tian Chen’s confession, my pitiful darling.” There was no one who could speak so smoothly in such a frivolous tone but Charles. The man was wearing light gray lounge wear and while leaning against the doorjamb. Who knew when he’d come over; compared to Lu Tian Chen, Charles was the real idler.
“That’s right, before I fell into the water, there weren’t many people wanting me.” As he finished dressing, Tang Feng walked to the bedside to put on his watch and check the time. It was 8 AM. He could make it to Little Annie’s before lunch.
“It seems I’m the one who really discovered your charm, darling.”
“Oh, thank you.” Taking out the box of delicate desserts he bought yesterday from the drawer as a visitor’s gift, Tang Feng headed for the doorway. When he shifted sideways to pass by Charles, the latter pulled at his arm.
“I really like kids.” Charles stated while smiling brilliantly, “Especially cute little girls.”
Why did his expression look so sinister to Tang Feng?
“What a creepy uncle.” Tang Feng shook his head and freed himself from Charles’ grasp to go downstairs.
Seeing Lu Tian Chen, who was sitting at the table reading the newspaper, Tang Feng asked “I’m going to Little Annie’s house for two days, are you coming?”
Charles followed behind him and coldly sneered.
Lu Tian Chen peered over the newspapers and indifferently replied, “I dislike children.”
“Do you really like little girls?” Lu Tian Chen asked while sitting on the sofa with his arms crossed.
“No, I hate children.” Charles sat in a similar pose beside Lu Tian Chen. They were both looking outside at Tang Feng who was playing water guns with Annie through the French window. They couldn’t really understand what was so fun about a dumb, stubborn kid. Not only did kids at four or five years old not listen to anything, most of them became little devils after being spoiled by their parents.
Lu Tian Chen didn’t like children because he lacked the patience to play and communicate with them.
Charles didn’t like children because kids shouting and screaming and jumping around resembled sparrows, making him annoyed.
That’s why neither of them paid attention to the little girl who resembling a western doll. Instead, they were watching Tang Feng, whose hair and shirt had been soaked by the water gun.
“I didn’t think you would come. Didn’t you have a drinking party to attend?” Charles asked while looking over at his old friend beside him.
“Don’t you also have business to discuss these days?” Lu Tian Chen’s gaze shifted from Tang Feng to Little Annie beside him. He narrowed his eyes. “I think this Annie is a bit familiar.”
“Is she your secret daughter?” Charles cracked a bad joke indifferently. “Doesn’t she look more like your child? Look at her russet hair, she looks exactly like you.”
Outside the window, Tang Feng waved at the two men sitting inside the house, beckoning Charles and Lu Tian Chen to come out and play. The two men waved back, shook their heads and silently smiled in accordance with each other, expressing that they’d rather sit indoors.
If they weren’t worried about Tang Feng, they wouldn’t have come here to play with some kid.
Charles’ ringing phone caught Lu Tian Chen’s attention.
“Safety first.” Charles smiled as he unlocked his phone. Upon their arrival at Little Annie’s house, by coach a little while ago, he’d took down the name of Annie’s father and address to look into the girl’s origins.
What a wonderful occupational habit. No matter where he was, he was used to investigating the identities of strangers.
After skimming through the email’s contents, Charles calmly put his phone away and looked outside at Little Annie. Smiling, he unenthusiastically said, “No problems.”
“Boss, they’ve left.” The man said in a lowered voice.
“Is the young lady playing happily?” On the other end of the line, Albert’s deep, distinctive voice came through. It sounded rich, like a Shakespearean play narrator.
“Young Lady Annie and Mister Tang Feng are playing very happily together.” The man reported honestly. No matter how smart or precocious a child was, their playful nature remained unchanged.
“Boss, should we take action?” The man asked.
“No, it’s all good. I hope there is a trace of me in his growth process, but I don’t wish to prematurely pluck an under ripe fruit. Let Annie stay in touch with Tang Feng.”
First, lower his guard, and then slowly, step by step, enjoy the pleasure of the hunt.
FILM: SATAN’S ALLEY
DAYTIME, A VILLAGE BY THE CHURCH, OUTDOORS, MONK TANG
The monk, along with some people from the church, went to the village nearby to pick up supplies. Because they had a lot of different items to purchase, they divided up the duties and each went off on their own.
Tang had to buy a few simple, everyday items such as flour. He only ate rice in his hometown and although the old father would also eat rice with him, he would also make him eat some bread. He really liked the soft and tasty food, only now that he eats a lot of it, he began to miss eating rice.
He missed many things, including some people.
Chris had already been gone for half a year and if not for their occasional contact, he would’ve thought that the man with whom he once had intimate moments with was gone from his world.
Tang arrived at the store that sold flour. The store owner already knew him so he no longer had to gesture or write on a piece of paper to buy flour.
After he paid for it, a store worker helped him carry the flour to the cart. The amount of flour the entire church needed was much more than just one bag.
He thought of Chris. The first time he came to the village to buy supplies was together with Chris. The latter taught him how to communicate with the shop owners and how to ride the horse cart. He suddenly began to miss Chris. As time passed, the more he became unable to control his longing for the young and handsome blond man.
This was a sin but he suddenly didn’t care. The days were so dull that he felt suffocated.
“Hi, monk, leave the rough and heavy work to me. Heavens, your hands are so pale and soft that they’re even prettier than Andrew’s young lady’s hands. Monk, since you’re the first person from the East to come here, is it true that people there know how to fly? Oh God, monk, do all the girls there have soft and smooth skin like yours? T-They look really…” The flour store’s worker gulped and extended his coarse palms, wanting to touch the man.
“Tom! Get back to work and stop bothering the monk!” The store owner yelled from the inside. Tom grinned and spat on the ground before he continued to load the bags of flour into the cart.
Tang walked alongside the horse cart to watch. He didn’t like Tom. After Chris left, every time he came here to buy flour, Tom would always stare at him unpleasantly. It might be that Tom had started to say some very crass words into his ears after finding out he couldn’t speak.
The people here were more well-mannered than he imagined but some were also more vulgar.
The difference between Tom and Chris was like the difference between mud soaked with rainwater and white clouds in the sky.
He missed Chris even more.
Chris, when will you come back?
Chris, I already have an answer in my heart.
Proofreaders: Jinny, Lyrick
After filming wrapped up, the crew went to the nearby barbecue restaurant for a celebratory dinner. Naturally, the director and the main crew, as well as the two main leads, sat at the same table. Director Li Wei was full of appreciation for Tang Feng, asking him a series of questions related to his future plans, with Tang Feng also sincerely interacting with the other.
Tang Feng wished to progress into Hollywood so he needed to familiarize himself with the film making process even more. While the mainland’s prospects weren’t bad, movies there underwent stricter regulations than in the States. Moviegoers weren’t the problem; the fault lie on film studios and a few production investors.
Tang Feng felt that although he had been reborn, he remained an insignificant third-rate actor. Even if he could use Director Li Wei’s movie to jump to the second tier, ultimately, he was the main lead for a homosexual movie and even participated in a hyped-up homosexual romantic program before. Who knew if he would be subjected to harsher restrictions as a result?
Hollywood was much more open-minded. As long as you had the charisma, acting skills, and you don’t commit too heinous a crime, you would forever have the opportunity to make it big there.
While there’s opportunity, however, the competition was also much fiercer. If one were to overtake the competition and snatch the lead role, they would turn into a superstar. Tang Feng understood all the unspoken rules of the game better than anyone else—humans were always good at analyzing their own business—and could do it even better.
Once he had established his status and fame, the factors that would have caused him to be censored in the past would all evaporate like smoke. This was an irrefutable fact.
So, what if you could act? Those without persuasive skills would not have willing supporters, which meant the scripts they could choose from are limited.
Everyone wanted to act in a good movie, but the question is whether you would even have choices to select from.
“I feel that your thinking is very good. Honestly speaking though, if you were planning an immediate return to China after you finish recording my film, I would have stopped you. Returning to China is a safe choice but as an actor, you must know that in this industry, you can never spend your days in safety. A good actor must always expand his repertoire. Only then will you increase your opportunities, expand your connections, and see more of the world.” Li Wei rested his hand on his leg and nodded his head vigorously while expressing his opinion.
“Hollywood is currently filled with exemplary people. I’m not the first, nor will I be the second. Similarly, there are promising people appearing here. Fiennes’ existence is what all these outstanding actors should aim towards. Hollywood doesn’t lack foreign actors.” Director Li Wei stated as he stopped to take a sip of wine.
Unfortunately, Fiennes had already passed on.
He continued, “It’s common knowledge that there are many English actors here. These past few years, Australians have also started coming to Hollywood. For instance, Chris Hemsworth who played Thor in ‘The Avengers’ recently appeared in another new movie, ‘Snow White and The Huntsman’ with another lead actress Charlize Theron who was born in South Africa.”
“Following the globalization and spreading collaboration of movies, Hollywood will employ more and more foreign actors. China will become the world’s second largest powerhouse before long, second only to America.” Li Wei patted Tang Feng’s shoulder, admitting the other still has a long way to go, saying, “You will have a very good chance, Tang Feng. You’re a great actor, and I believe you will gain the recognition you deserve.”
Tang Feng smiled and replied, “Thank you, Director. I will work hard.”
Tang Feng chatted with other members of the crew, many of whom were from his home country. They each have their own jobs and missions yet at the same time, they harbored dreams of being in the movie industry. Everyone maintained communication with each other, making it convenient for them to keep in touch and help each other in the future.
When in a foreign land, the actors and movie crew from the same country would always helped each other out, all with the common goal of developing further, but this is limited solely to when one is starting out. In the end, one could only rely on one’s own strength if they wish to stand on the international stage.
When Tang Feng went to the washroom, he saw Gino in the yard so he walked over to him.
“How are you and Lilith?” Tang Feng asked Gino.
“That’s my own business.” Gino replied while glancing back at Tang Feng, Gino coldly turned back around, ignoring the guy behind him.
Ever since they came back from Los Angeles, Gino’s attitude towards Tang Feng seemed colder and he was unsure how he had offended the former.
“Are you mad at me?” Tang Feng asked.
Gino silently stood with his back facing him. Tang Feng didn’t feel anxious. He patiently waited for the other’s reply. He knew Gino. This kind of person would be unable to resist; all young people were like that.
Sure enough, not even three minutes later, Gino was speaking already.
“Why must you sell yourself short like that?!” Gino yelled.
“I’m selling myself short?” Tang Feng replied dubiously. Tang Feng could not recall when he belittled himself.
Gino turned violently to face Tang Feng, eyes angry, lecturing in a reproachful tone, “Did you not? Why on earth did you sleep with Charles and that Lu Tian Chen? Is it just to film movies and get famous?”
The slander was unwarranted, but Tang Feng didn’t get angry. He just laughingly shook his head. “If you’re implying that I had relations with them to become famous and get film roles, then does that mean that if I get together with a non-famous, non-wealthy individual, it will definitely be true love? Gino, be a little more mature. We’re all adults here. We have the right to choose freely and I didn’t sleep with anyone just to gain fame.”
Gino still looked mad about what happened in Los Angeles but this was Tang Feng’s private matter and he didn’t like other people lecturing him about it or telling him what kind of morals he should have. He doesn’t bother about other people’s relationships, and wished other people wouldn’t constrain him. He’s a grown man; he knew what he was doing.
Just because he had relations with Charles or Lu Tian Chen did not mean he was an easy-going person.
In both his previous life as the introspective Fiennes, and in this life as Tang Feng who lived as he liked, other people’s opinions hadn’t mattered to him. His life was his own. He had enough first-hand life experience. He knew what he should and shouldn’t do. He was not inclined to suppress himself just to please others.
This was the real Fiennes, and also, the real Tang Feng.
“It shouldn’t be like this.” Gino shook his head in frustration, as though the Tang Feng he imagined shouldn’t behave like this.
“Then, what do you think I should be like?” Tang Feng asked.
Gino looked at the man in front of him, helplessly sighing, “I don’t know.”
“Did you think I’m some kind of saint? That I won’t get mad, won’t get furious? Keeping myself pure does not mean I must forbid myself. Yet, at the same time, you feel that I need to be protected? No, Gino, that isn’t me.” Tang Feng said and came forward to pat Gino on the shoulder, “I’m a guy like you; I have the basic nature of all guys, it’s just, I have better control of myself.”
“Then you shouldn’t have slept with Lu Tian Chen!” Gino spoke a little loudly. Fortunately, they were in a more isolated area, otherwise, Tang Feng would have punched Gino. No one would have liked other people announcing their private matters to the world.
“Gino.” Tang Feng reprimanded Gina in a calm voice.
Gino suddenly gripped Tang Feng’s shoulder, his chest heaving agitatedly as his eyes stared straight at the other, “I …… I don’t like you behaving like that. I don’t like it at all.”
Gino continued “If Charles and Lu Tian Chen can do it, then does that mean I…..”
Tang Feng did not let Gino finish. He reached out to clamp the other’s mouth shut, firmly saying, “No!”
“Why not? Why can’t I?” Gino removed Tang Feng’s hand and took advantage of their position to kiss the other. The two of them were pressed together as Gino recklessly kissed Tang Feng. Tang Feng used one hand to hold the other’s shoulder, while using the other to punch Gino in the abdomen.
The drunk man immediately retreated a couple of steps back before squatting on the floor. Tang Feng didn’t have the heart to scold Gino, when the other looked like a wounded puppy hugging his stomach as he squatted on the floor, emitting pained whimpers.
“Gino,” Tang Feng called.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I know I shouldn’t have done that. I also know you’re not Fiennes, but I still felt upset when I saw you with Lu Tian Chen…… I don’t know what happened to me.” Gino replied while lightly shaking his head.
Tang Feng walked over and bent over to pat Gino on the shoulder, “Alright, don’t behave like a child throwing a tantrum on the floor. The next time you mess with me or say such unpleasant things again, I might just beat you up for real.”
“You already beat me up.” Gino bitterly laughed. After getting punched, he was more or less sobered up now.
“Then you know I’m not someone to mess with.” Tang Feng held his hands at his side and smiled, “Don’t treat me like Fiennes, Gino. You should walk out from Fiennes’ shadow and decide if you really loved him that much. If you loved him, then why did you never realize it for 7 years and only knew when he died?”
“I….” Gino’s voice drifted off.
“Go back and think it through.” replied Tang Feng.
If a person really loved someone to death, if he wanted to love, he would have already done so.
Why bother waiting and never realizing their own feelings?
This was also an issue Tang Feng only started contemplating after his rebirth. Maybe what Gino loved was merely an imperfect ending, believing the dead person as someone perfect.
Proofreaders: Charlotte, Jinny