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.