Zhuo Yue hastily wiped away the tears on his face with the back of his hand. He stood up and picked up his clothes in embarrassment. He really couldn’t hold his liquor well, and now he was walking a little unsteadily. He finally managed to put on his clothes, lowered his eyes and apologised, “I’m sorry for bothering you tonight…” After saying that, he was about to run away in a hurry, but his legs were stuck on the low stool beside him. His balance shifted, and he fell toward the coffee table filled with bottles and glasses. Fortunately, Fang Mingyan grabbed his waist in time. Zhuo Yue, who was still in shock, clutched the other person’s arm tightly. It took him a long time to recover and let go of his hand in embarrassment.

       “Okay, I’ll take you back.” Fang Mingyan spoke.

       “No need, I…”

       “If something happens to you tonight, I will not be able to get out of it.” The man interrupted and glanced at him lightly, “Don’t worry, I don’t have a hobby of forcing others to go to bed.”

       It would be unreasonable to refuse at this point, so Zhuo Yue got into Fang Mingyan’s car. He was silent the rest of the journey after telling him the address. With the surge of alcohol, his stomach felt uncomfortable, and his head felt heavy, so he leaned on the back seat and fell asleep in a daze.

       The driver followed the address and drove the car to an old urban area. The government initially wanted to requisition this area, but it had to be put on hold because of the large number of residents and the difficulty of demolition. These houses were quite old, built densely and crowded, and the plaster on many exterior walls had peeled off to reveal the red bricks. A row of hair salons opened along the street, with pink gauze covering the windows. Inside, women with exposed milky-white thighs awaited customers. In the dark and narrow alley, one or two unhappy cats occasionally popped out.

       This area belonged to the Black Eagle Society’s sphere of influence, and the police didn’t have much control over it. There were a lot of people from all sorts of religions, and there had been a murder and dismemberment case a while ago, which had not been solved yet.

       The driver stopped the car on the side of the road and said, “Mr. Fang, the front is too narrow, and we can’t drive in.”

       “Just stop here.” Fang Mingyan looked sideways at Zhuo Yue beside him and said.

       He was sleeping peacefully, his brows furrowed slightly as if he had had a bad dream. Under the light of the street lamp that came in, the eyelashes cast a small shadow under the eyes, and there seemed to be traces of tears remaining in the corners of the eyes. Because of the alcohol, his breathing was slightly heavy.

       Compared with when they met two years ago, he had lost a lot of weight, his chin was sharpened, his face was haggard, and he did not look as bright as he did at that time.

       “Mmmm…” The person who had been asleep jolted awake with a sudden tremor in their throat. He covered his mouth and opened the car door in a panic. He stumbled out and vomited while holding on to a tree on the side of the road.

       Fang Mingyan was stunned by his sudden movement, chuckled to himself, and got out of the car helplessly.

       Zhuo Yue hadn’t had dinner and had nothing in his stomach except alcohol. At this moment, it was the reaction to alcohol intoxication. He vomited thoroughly, almost regurgitating the bitter bile. His body was limp and powerless, and his arms were supported by the person next to him.

       “Open your mouth and rinse your mouth.” A mineral water was handed to his mouth, and Zhuo Yue followed the instructions in a daze.

       Fang Mingyan helped him sit back in the car. After vomiting and regaining consciousness, he said softly, “Thank you…”

       “How long have you lived here?” the man asked.

       He pursed his lips and replied, “Two weeks.” He never appeared on variety shows before, and he was picky about advertisements. He didn’t earn much money. The money from selling the house plus his savings were not enough to pay off his foster father’s debt, so he could only afford to rent a more affordable place in the neighbourhood.

       “How much money does your dad owe?” Fang Mingyan saw Zhuo Yue looking at him in shock and smiled, “It’s not difficult to have someone check your current situation.”

       Zhuo Yue knew that he had many connections and did not hide it from him. He told the truth, “He co-signed a loan for someone, and that person disappeared with the money. The debt fell on him, and fearing his family would find out, he resorted to taking out high-interest loans from a loanshark to settle it. However, the interest kept accumulating, and now, even with all my money and selling the house, I’m still short by over three million yuan. I don’t have a job or any income, and starting this month, I can’t make the payments anymore…”

       “Where is the other person now?”

       “I asked the old couple to go to a relative’s house in the countryside for the time being.”

       “You want to shoulder it alone?”

       Zhuo Yue lowered his eyes and said nothing.

       “I can give you a chance. But what I want you to sign is a contract. For the next ten years, regardless of what I arrange for you, you must comply. This includes taking on roles you’re not good at, participating in variety shows and events you don’t like, and attending social functions. Your scandals, your love life, and all sorts of publicity will be all under my control. You will have no choice or right to oppose. I will control all of your time, and you won’t have personal time without my permission. Can you accept these terms?”

       This sudden turn of events shocked Zhuo Yue, and it took him a long time to react. He pursed his lips and said softly, “I know I am not qualified to make any demands, but…” His eyes trembled, “Is it possible to exclude any involvement in sexual activities?”

       The man chuckled, “The company won’t force you to sleep with me. As for situations like that when socializing, it’s up to you how to deal with them skillfully.”

       He lowered his eyes to hide all the emotions in his eyes and said, “I accept.”

       Fang Mingyan slightly hooked his lips and told the driver, “Chen Li, drive home.” He looked at Zhu Ye’s confused and bewildered expression, and he said, “I won’t allow my artist to live in a place like this. Until we find a suitable apartment for you, you’ll stay temporarily at my place.”

       Fang Mingyan lived in a villa area in the east of the city.

       It was already so late, and he was so groggy that Zhuo Yue was in a daze and couldn’t see the name at the entrance clearly. When the car stopped, the driver came over and opened the door. As soon as he got out, someone hugged him. Zhuo Yue was startled and moved and heard the man say in a deep voice, “Don’t move.”

       The other party was now not only his boss but also his benefactor. Zhuo Yue had no choice but to remain still as he was carried. At a height of 179 centimetres, it was the first time he had been carried like a young lady, and his hands awkwardly didn’t know where to rest, making his whole body tense.

       Fang Mingyan carried him directly into the guest room on the third floor and put him on the bed, “You should rest first and talk about it tomorrow.” After that, he turned and left.

       The room was warm. Zhuo Yue was still drunk; his head was dazed from the alcohol, and he didn’t have much strength. He reluctantly took off his coat, pulled the quilt to wrap himself up, and fell asleep in a short while.

       He had many disorganized dreams one night in which debt collector gangsters came to his door with axes and machetes. He panicked and ran away, but he could not get rid of those people no matter what. With no way to escape, he fell from the tall building and woke up suddenly.

       The quilt was kicked to the ground by him at some point. His throat was dry, and his head was numb, all from the reaction of being hungover. He sat for a while, then stood up and opened the curtains and was suddenly startled.

       Wrapped around the villa was an exquisite courtyard. Snow covered the tall trees with fallen leaves, showing a unique winter beauty. On a distant hillside, there seemed to be other similar single-family houses, obscured by the shadows of the trees, which made it difficult to see them clearly. There was a lake as far as the eye could see. The vast mist on the water gradually dissipated, and the sun poured down from the clouds, casting a sparkling golden light on the lake.

       K City, which had been engulfed by high-rise buildings, still had such a quiet place.

       Sunlight streamed into the room through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The post-modern decoration style revealed a bit of yuppie1Yuppie, short for “young urban professional” or “young upwardly-mobile professional”, is a term coined in the early 1980s for a young professional person working in a city characteristic. The white undulating three-dimensional decorations on the wall formed a wave-like pattern, and a black pendant lamp hung in a simple inverted triangle shape. An exaggerated portrait of a certain country’s leader hung on the wall. The room was predominantly in black and white tones, with minimal red accents on decorative items and embellished by green plants, exuding a bold, lively, yet stable atmosphere.

       Just as Zhuo Yue was looking around, there was a knock on the door.

       He opened the door, and outside was a middle-aged man in a black suit. He handed him the clothes in his hand with a smile, “Mr. Zhuo, my name is Zhou Chi, and I am Young Master Ming’s butler. This is the clean clothes he asked me to prepare for you.”

       “…Thank you.” Zhuo Yue looked down and saw the light grey underwear on the top, and his face turned red.

       “Please come downstairs for breakfast after changing.” Zhou Chi’s attitude was generous and polite, and he didn’t forget to close the door for him before leaving.

       Those clothes were all new, the tags had been cut off, and the price could not be seen. But Zhuo Yue knew this brand. It was a practical, high-end brand that discreetly marked its presence in inconspicuous places like cuffs or the back collar. It was definitely not inexpensive.

       The smell of alcohol still lingered on his body, so he simply went to take a shower and put on his clothes one by one.

       They were the right size, even his underwear and shoes.

       He looked at himself wrapped in new clothes in the standing mirror and felt dazed for a moment. It seems like he had returned to the time two years ago when he was in high spirits, well-dressed and waiting to go to various events. It was a pity that he had long been like a different person, and now he was in such dire straits that even underwear had to be gifted by others.

       The Zhuo Yue in the mirror smiled bitterly.

       In the dining room on the first floor, Fang Mingyan was sitting, browsing and looking at the tablet in his hand. When he saw Zhuo Yue coming down, he took a sip of coffee and asked, “Did you sleep well last night?”

       “Very good.” Zhuo Yue paused and said, “Thank you for yesterday…”

       “I’m not interested in accepting thanks.” The man interrupted, “I’m a businessman. I don’t accept you to do good things but to gain profits from you. In short, you are my tool to make money.”

       Zhuo Yue’s expression stiffened a little.

       Fang Mingyan swept him a glance, “What, I said it too bluntly, you can’t accept it?”

       “No.” He lowered his head slightly, “You are my boss. No matter what you say, I will accept it.”

       This attitude was a bit out of Fang Mingyan’s expectation, and there was a pleasant smile on his lips, “Eat breakfast first, and then go out with me.”

       Zhou Chi on the side immediately brought hot porridge and placed it in front of Zhu Ye together with several plates of refreshing side dishes. He didn’t know what was put in the porridge, but it smelled good. He had thrown up like that yesterday and was now hungry. He lowered his head and took a bite before remembering to ask, “Aren’t you going to eat?”

       “I have already eaten.”

       “Oh.” He responded, scooped a spoonful of porridge and put it into his mouth. It was probably hot. He swallowed it with difficulty and hurriedly stuck out his tongue to inhale. Seeing Fang Mingyan looking at him with interest, he immediately blushed and covered his mouth with his hands.

       “Do you need me to ask Zhou Chi to cool you down?” The man teased him deliberately.

       “…No need.” Zhuo Yue paused for a while, lowered his head and continued eating. When he looked up, he saw Fang Mingyan sitting opposite, still looking at him with interest, and whispered in embarrassment, “Do you have to watch me eat like this?”

       “How can you be an actor if you are so afraid of being seen?”

       He was stunned by the other person’s rhetorical question, and it was only after a long time that he stifled his frustration and said, “I’m not acting right now.”

       “Are you so shy when you’re not acting?” The man asked with a half-smile, “Or do you get shy so easily when I’m watching you?”

       He was stunned, and his face turned red uncontrollably until even the base of his ears felt hot. He hurriedly lowered his head to avoid the sight, took a few more bites and said, “I’m full.”

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