After staying in the apartment for a week, the injuries on his body were almost healed.
At the end of the year, the company’s annual meeting was scheduled two weeks before the Chinese New Year. Huasheng had a large number of artists under its umbrella, and the annual meeting was like a grand awards ceremony. The female stars walked on the long red carpet, each trying to outshine the others, while the male stars displayed various levels of sophistication. The artists had already made appointments with each other, entering the venue in pairs, leaving Zhuo Yue, who was alone, looking somewhat solitary.
He vaguely heard someone calling him. Zhuo Yue turned around and saw Lu Chenyang in a silver-grey suit walking towards him. He said with a smile, “Coincidentally, I don’t have a companion either. Shall we go in together?”
Zhuo Yue nodded. Lu Chenyang had a mild personality and was very considerate, and he always took good care of him. After working together, the relationship between the two became closer. On the red carpet, he smiled and teasingly said, “It would be a bit embarrassing if word got out that the prestigious Best Actor doesn’t have a female companion.”
Lu Chenyang smiled and said, “The male companion saves much trouble than the female companion. At least he can walk faster.”
Both of them had outstanding looks and tall bodies, and they were very eye-catching when walking together. Zhuo Yue himself was not used to socializing with others, and on such occasions, his whole body tensed up, and the smile on his face froze. Fortunately, Lu Chenyang was around to help him out.
On the small stage in the centre of the large banquet hall, four big boys were sweating and singing hard to warm up the show. They were a newly debuted band and were said to be very popular. After the singing and dancing, the company’s top executives took the stage to deliver a speech. Fang Mingyan, the president of the company, walked up slowly, looked around, said some words of encouragement and thanks, then walked down and sat at the same table with the company’s major shareholders. The venue was noisy again, singing, dancing, and drinking glasses.
Zhuo Yue was about to hide out from the crowd but was pulled into a toast by Lu Chenyang. Before he could finish the sentence ‘I’m a bad drinker…’, he was already dragged to the table of directors. When he met Fang Mingyan’s gaze, he froze.
Ordinary artists were not qualified to come and toast. Lu Chenyang was an A-list actor and made a lot of money for the company in a year. He was naturally comfortable in front of these people. He brought Zhuo Yue here to get him closer to these directors. He admired Zhu Yue’s acting skills and felt that he should have more room for development.
However, there were rules for toasting. Starting from the main seat, one by one goes around in a circle to toast one cup at a time, and every cup must be drunk. Zhuo Yue was not a big drinker, so he only poured a small layer of red wine into his glass, following Lu Chenyang’s example.
Fang Mingyan, who was sitting in the main seat, casually touched the goblet in his hand to him without saying anything. Arriving in front of a man in a white suit, the man glanced at the wine in his glass and curled his lips, “Such a small amount of wine, that’s not very sincere. I won’t drink with this kind of toast.”
“I’m not a good drinker. I’ll lose my temper if I drink too much. Please forgive me.” Zhuo Yue said sincerely.
Lu Chenyang also helped him out and said, “Young Master Zhang, he really can’t drink well…”
“It’s a rare night to get together and have a good time, so don’t be so formal.” The man looked at him sideways, “If you don’t want to refill the wine, do you want me to pour it for you myself?”
Zhuo Yue could feel Fang Mingyan’s eyes looking at him. He recalled the coping strategies he learned in Hanguan, forcing a smile and retreating to take advantage of the situation, “I will do it myself.” He took a bottle of red wine and wanted to pour a little symbolically into the cup as a token of appreciation. Unexpectedly, Young Master Zhang pressed down the slender mouth of the bottle, and the red liquid filled the tall glass to two-thirds before he released.
How could anyone drink red wine like this? It’s obvious he was deliberately trying to force him to drink.
Lu Chenyang furrowed his brow. This Young Master Zhang, whose full name was Zhang Qinzhou, was notorious for his bad behavior in high society circles. A year ago, when his scandalous photos with a female star were exposed by the media, his father was so angry that he suffered a heart attack and passed away. As a result, five percent of Huasheng’s shares fell into his hands. Zhang Qinzhou was known for his promiscuity, especially with attractive artists. There were rumors that he had played a role in landing a newly debuted artist in the hospital. His behavior today clearly indicated that he had set his sights on Zhuo Yue. Lu Chenyang picked up the glass and said, “Zhuo Yue got quite drunk from just half a cup last time. Today is a rare gathering, and if he gets too intoxicated, he might miss out on a lot of good moments. How about I drink this wine on his behalf?”
“Put it down.” Zhang Qinzhou said coldly, “When did it become your turn to make the decision at this table?”
He said this in a way that did not even give him any face, and the atmosphere was a bit stiff for a while.
Zhuo Yue looked at Fang Mingyan again. He could not help but look at the man. Their eyes crossed each other, and there was some playfulness in the other man’s eyes as if he was watching an interesting drama without any intention of intervening. Zhuo Yue felt a little stuffy in his heart. He picked up the cup and said to Zhang Qinzhou, “Your Master Zhang, I offer you this toast.” After saying that, he raised his head and drank the glass of wine in one gulp.
“Hey… why did you drink so fast?” the man said, shaking the wine glass in his hand. “Is it considered a toast if you are not even clinking the glasses?”
“In that case, I’ll give you another toast.” Zhuo Yue took the cup and filled it himself, touched it with him, raised his neck again, and drank it all. He narrowed his eyes and asked, “Are you satisfied, Young Master Zhang?”
The somewhat arrogant and cold look between his eyebrows made Zhang Qinzhou’s heart beat wildly, and he curled his lips and said, “Satisfied, of course, I am satisfied.”
He drank these two glasses of wine fast and hard. The soreness in his throat and discomfort in his stomach made Zhuo Yue uncomfortable. He said, “Excuse me,” and left. Lu Chenyang exchanged pleasantries with the people at the table and then went to find him. After walking around the venue, he finally saw Zhuo Yue’s figure. They forcibly pulled him onto the stage as a guest for the lucky draw, causing a commotion. When the excitement settled, Zhuo Yue was nowhere to be found.
Zhuo Yue felt hot all over as he was drunk, so he simply went to the balcony to enjoy the air alone.
The New Year was approaching, and thousands of lights were scattered among the tall buildings, warming the city on cold winter nights. Zhuo Yue looked at those lights and felt empty in his heart. He didn’t like such family-friendly festivals, as it reminded him of what it meant to be alone. He turned around and looked through the glass door at the excitement and noises that did not belong to him, sipping the c0cktail in the glass.
“What are you doing hiding here?” a man’s voice sounded.
Zhuo Yue turned his head and looked at Zhang Qinzhou, who was standing beside him, without saying anything. He hated the greasy feeling emanating from this man’s body.
“You’re not a good drinker, yet you drank so quickly. It must be hard.” Zhang Qinzhou pretended to be concerned and put his hand on his shoulder.
Zhuo Yue took a step back quietly, avoiding his hand, “My stomach feels uncomfortable, Young Master Zhang. You’d better stay away from me lest I vomit on you.”
“Want to vomit? Let me help you go to the bathroom.” Zhang Qinzhou had been looking for him since just now. Now that he got the opportunity to be alone with him, he would not let it go, so he simply came over and hugged him.
Zhuo Yue didn’t expect that he would dare to do something so blatantly, so he broke away suddenly in surprise. He was dizzy after drinking and couldn’t control his strength. He hit the wall and felt a dull pain in the injury on his back.
“Tsk, look, where did you get hit?” The man came closer and put his hand on his chest.
Zhuo Yue endured it hard and said with a pale face: “Young Master Zhang, this is an annual meeting, and there are people outside.”
“How interesting,” Zhang Qinzhou grinned. “Why don’t you try shouting? Tomorrow, news of you seducing me will spread from the mouths of your celebrity friends to all the media outlets. I know quite a few directors. If I ask, I can make you the lead actor. Give it some thought.” With that, he reached up and caressed Zhuo Yue’s face, leaning in close to his ear. “I have connections,” he continued, licking his earlobe provocatively.
The sticky and disgusting feeling made Zhu Yue’s psychological structure completely collapse. He couldn’t deal with it any longer. He pushed the man away and said angrily, “I am not the kind of artist who sleeps around.”
Zhang Qinzhou sneered, “Don’t put on this virtuous act in front of me. Do you think I can’t see the subtle exchanges between you and Fang Mingyan? He’s willing to spend money on you just because you’re good in bed, right? I advise you not to waste your efforts. He changes bed partners faster than he changes clothes. Did he even acknowledge you when you were just pitifully staring at him earlier?”
Zhuo Yue was so angry that he tried to leave, but the man grabbed his arm and pushed him against the wall.
“Being polite to you is just a courtesy. Don’t push your luck.” Zhang Qinzhou pressed him tightly and gritted his teeth. “I’m going to r4p3 you here today, and no one dares to stop me.”
“Let go!” Zhuo Yue punched him in the face with the help of alcohol.
Zhang Qinzhou received the punch without any precautions, and his face hurt. Now, he was completely irritated. He pounced on Zhu Yue like a hungry tiger and roughly tore open Zhu Yue’s clothes, causing the buttons to fall to the ground.
Zhuo Yue’s head was dizzy, and he couldn’t use much strength, so he pressed his hands firmly against the opponent. At this moment, a familiar voice suddenly came from behind, “Young Master Zhang, it doesn’t seem appropriate to do this kind of thing at the annual meeting.
Zhang Qinzhou was stunned, turned around, and saw Fang Mingyan standing on the balcony. He let go of his hand and smiled nonchalantly, “We deliberately found a secluded place to cultivate our relationship, and Chairman Fang bumped into us.” This implied that the relationship between him and Zhuo Yue was nothing more than a consensual and passionate affair, and Fang Minyan was the one interrupting them.
Zhuo Yue said nothing, grabbing the torn front with his hands as he stared at Fang Mingyan with a pair of mist-stained eyes.
Seeing that the other party did not deny his statement, Zhang Qinzhou was secretly happy and said, “Zhuo Yue drank too much. I’ll send him back.” He grabbed his wrist.
“I’m afraid not.” Fang Mingyan’s dark eyes were like a bottomless abyss with incomprehensible emotions, but there was a cold smile on the corner of his mouth, “He is mine.”
Zhang Qinzhou’s expression changed. He let go of his hand and said with a smile, “It turned out he was Chairman Fang’s people; it seems I was rude. Zhuo Yue didn’t explain it to me when we got close just now, Chairman Fang, please don’t be offended.”
“I don’t blame those who don’t know.” Fang Mingyan smiled, but his eyes were filled with a cold dark light, “But in the future, Young Master Zhang, please keep a distance from him. I am a petty person, and I can easily lose control when I get jealous.”
This warning sounded more like a blatant threat.
Zhang Qinzhou froze and laughed dryly, “If it’s Chairman Fang’s people, I naturally know my limits.” With that, he quickly excused himself, saying, “I won’t disturb you two,” and hastily left.
There were only two people left on the balcony.
The dishevelled Zhuo Yue lowered his eyes, lowered his long eyelashes, and showed a pale smile, “I have studied for so long and still haven’t learned anything. I am really a failure of a student.”
“That kind of person is indeed a bit tricky.” Fang Mingyan took off his suit and covered him, “He probably won’t attack you in the future.”
Zhuo Yue looked at him quietly for a while and smiled slowly with a hint of drunkenness. In that smile, there was actually some incomprehensible sadness, which was so thick that it was hard to get rid of it in his eyes. His pitch-black yet bright eyes seemed like stars falling from the celestial dome or a lake mirroring the lights, intertwining gloominess and brilliance as if harboring numerous unspoken emotions. He spoke softly, “Chairman Fang’s acting skills are too good. Not only did he deceive him, but he almost fooled me as well…”
Fang Mingyan was startled.
At that moment, a huge fireworks suddenly exploded in the sky, and the sparkling light illuminated the faces of the two people. Then rounds of fireworks appeared alternately, lighting up the sky. The light of the fireworks flickered in their eyes, reflecting pure black into brilliant colours. The noisy sound in the hall flooded this corner like a tide.
“I’m leaving…” Zhuo Yue murmured, stumbled forward, and was embraced in a warm embrace.
In a daze, the familiar scent of the man’s body allowed him to settle down and let his exhausted spirit drift off to sleep.
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