It was a short flight to S City. After the group reached S City’s airport, they were received by the staff from Tomato Station.
Joyous Gathering was Tomato Station’s most popular variety show. The audience were always amazed at the show, because it was always able to invite top celebrities, retired bigwigs, as well as artistic personalities that even the most popular variety shows couldn’t invite. Yet, Tomato Station had the ability to bring these distinguished guests onto their show.
The Unrivalled 2’s male and female leads were global celebrities, and domestically, they also had a huge following. Hence, the programme’s staff paid a lot of attention to their arrival.
“Director, our crew who picked up the cast of The Unrivalled 2 said that Chang Shi Gui was part of the entourage.” The show's producer immediately called and informed the director after receiving the news.
Coincidentally, Joyous Gathering’s main sponsor was a brand under Chang Enterprises. Hence, when they heard that Chang Shi Gui had accompanied the cast, the director was shocked. “Why did he come here?”
After saying this, he smiled sheepishly and answered his own question. “Looks like his love for Ning Xi is true.”
There were all sorts of relationships in the industry. They could break up today, and get back together tomorrow. She could have a change of heart today, and he could cheat on her the day after. These topics trended all the time, pushing the viewers to take sides, or argue with one another. In the end, the two protagonists would only see an increase in their value due to the scandal, and earn countless endorsements.
When Ning Xi’s relationship with Chang Shi Gui was revealed, he didn’t take it seriously, as he thought that they were going to break up sooner or later.
The current situation was beyond his expectations, that Chang Shi Gui’s feelings towards Ning Xi was …
He could only say, if this wasn’t considered love, then true love was really rare in this world.
“Has he arrived at the station?” The director put on his blazer, then spoke to the producer on the line. “I’m rushing down to the station now, make sure that the staff takes good care of him in the meantime.”
He hung up the call, then looked at the wall clock. It was now 5.30PM, and the programme’s staff should first arrange for them to have a meal. As the thought struck him, he instructed his assistant to reserve a restaurant at a hotel, then got the staff who was receiving the guests from The Unrivalled 2 to send them to the hotel.
Ning Xi had only visited S City a few times. Apart from coming for work, she seldom spent time in this flourishing city.
“Miss Ning, Mr. Chang, the crew has arranged a place for dinner. If you don’t mind, shall we have a meal first before filming?” The staff that was seated beside the driver’s seat gave a friendly smile as he looked back at Ning Xi, Chang Shi Gui and Zhang Qingyun.
Chang Shi Gui turned to look at Ning Xi, and didn’t say a word. Ning Xi nodded with a smile, “We’ll have to trouble you then.” Last year, when she attended another programme with Tomato Station, she wasn’t given this sort of treatment. Back then, her schedule was very tight. She could only gulp down a few mouthfuls of rice in a hurry, and when another popular celebrity had arrived before schedule, the station’s staff immediately started putting on make-up for Ning Xi, and even brought forward the filming.
However, this wasn’t surprising to her. This was how the industry worked. The higher she stood, the better the treatment. She couldn’t blame the staff; they were also often helpless.
The dishes at the restaurant were very simple and plain, likely to suit the palates of the guests. Ning Xi didn’t have much of an appetite, so she put down her chopsticks after a few bites.
Chang Shi Gui observed her movements, then handed a cup of cider to her and whispered, “Eat a little first. We’ll have other food when we return tonight.”
When the director noticed that Ning Xi didn’t touch her food much, he quickly asked in a concerned tone, “Is Miss Ning alright? Is the food not to your palate?”
“She has a bit of a cold today, otherwise I wouldn’t have specially joined her on this trip.” Chang Shi Gui placed a piece of pickled bamboo shoot into Ning Xi’s bowl, then turned and smiled at the director apologetically.
“I’ve long heard of Miss Ning’s professionalism, and I'm finally witnessing it today.” The director heaved a sigh of relief, and when he saw that Ning Xi didn’t look well, he asked, “We’ve also booked a room upstairs. Would Miss Ning like to rest for a while?”
“It’s fine,” Ning Xi smiled at the director. “I ate some flu meds before I left the house, so I’m feeling much better now.” In order to keep up with the standards of the show, she had to do her make-up and run her lines with the others. If she went for a rest now, it would make things hard for the host during filming.
The dishes were not to Ning Xi’s liking, but the rest of the production crew appeared pleased with their meal. Even Juliana forgot that she was in the midst of a diet, and ate her fill.
When they finished their meal, Juliana looked regretfully at Ning Xi. “It’s all because Chinese food is just too tasty!”
Ning Xi shrugged. “I will take this as a compliment for my country’s food.”
“Alright.” Juliana rubbed her belly. “In front of food, everyone has the right to deprave themselves.”
The staff for Joyous Gathering observed Ning Xi and Juliana’s interactions and immediately knew that the reports were true - Ning Xi truly was on good terms with the crew of The Unrivalled 2.
When they returned to the set and the preparations had completed, the filming officially started. Chang Shi Gui sat offstage. Coincidentally, seated behind him were a few rows of Ning Xi’s fans who were raising lighted banners with Ning Xi’s name.
It wasn’t as bright offstage than it was onstage, so the goddess’ fans didn’t recognise him immediately; all their attention was on the stage.
When he heard the fans around him complimenting Ning Xi, Chang Shi Gui couldn’t help but turn back and look at them. The majority of fans were female, but their gazes at Ning Xi was even brighter than when they looked at the most handsome men.
Chang Shi Gui's feelings were complicated at this moment.
“Are you a fan of the goddess?” The young lady frowned when she saw that he came without bringing anything. This was such an unprofessional fan. It wasn’t easy for them to see the goddess in person, how could he come empty-handed?!
Chang Shi Gui nodded, before he saw the unwitting look of disdain in the young lady’s eyes.
“First time chasing after celebrities?” The young lady asked again.
Chang Shi Gui nodded again.
Comprehension grew on the young lady’s face as she saw him dressed in his suit - no wonder he didn’t bring his fan gear. She looked into her bag and dug around, then pulled out a lightstick in the shape of a heart and shoved it into Chang Shi Gui’s hand. “This time, there’s only a handful of our goddess’ fans. The rest of them are Hart and Juliana’s fans. Later, after our goddess speaks, remember to clap as hard as you can. You must let others think that our Xixi has many hardcore fans. Otherwise, when the show is broadcasted, other fans will mock our goddess for having too little fans. Do you understand?”
This was the first time that Chang Shi Gui knew that being a fan … was actually so difficult. However, looking at the earnest gazes of the young ladies around him, he … still nodded his head.
Screams from the venue would make the viewers watching from their TVs feel that the fans were unprofessional. But if the applause was enthusiastic, no one could fault them. Hence, when Ning Xi finished her greetings, the applause from the goddess’ fans were the loudest, making the other fan groups appear somewhat reserved.
“The live audience is really enthusiastic.” After the host said this, the cameraman’s lens swept across the audience, and stopped for a moment on where the goddess’ fans were sitting.
Ning Xi bowed towards the audience, as her gaze fell upon the group that applauded the loudest. “Thanks everyone.”
“Goddess! I want to marry you! I want to give birth to your monkeys !”
“Goddess! I’m your fan-wife ! I love you AAHHHH!!!”
The fans were immediately stirred up. If they didn’t have self-control, they would probably have rushed onto the stage to hug Ning Xi.
Sitting among these enthusiastic fans, Chang Shi Gui had an indescribable feeling. He was looking at Ning Xi, who was expertly handling her interactions with the hosts and other guests. The corners of his lips lifted up into a smile.
All those comments about giving birth to monkeys and being fan-wives, yet he’s the authentic boyfriend.
Chang Shi Gui suddenly felt an inexplicable sense of pride. However, he always had a stern demeanour, hence nobody was able to see from his face the glee that he felt inside.
Towards the end of the filming, the host suddenly said, “Actually, there’s another person who’s here with us today. Can everyone guess who this is?”
The entire audience was stumped. Could it be that a special guest had arrived?
“Looks like everyone is still in the dark.” The host looked pleased at this reaction. “Everyone here might see that Ning Xi is in good condition today, but in actual fact, she’s here filming even though she’s sick. I heard that someone was worried about her, so he came especially to the set today. Can anyone guess who this is?”
Immediately, a burst of screams sounded from the crowd; even Juliana and Hart’s fans followed suit.
“Boss Chang!” The audience directly shouted out.
The cameraman gave Chang Shi Gui a close-up. Chang Shi Gui nodded at the camera, then waved. Even though he was holding a small lightstick, it did not affect the air of nobility and grace that he exuded.
The goddess’ fans were stunned. They were actually in such close proximity to Boss Chang? However … he treated their goddess so well that they decided not to hate him for snatching away their goddess.
The young lady who gave Chang Shi Gui the lightstick couldn’t help but secretly cover her face. As she thought about the disdain she felt towards Boss Chang’s lack of knowledge towards fan-chasing, she couldn’t help but blush.
Someone like Boss Chang would definitely have never chased after celebrities. However, as she thought about how he had actually applauded heartily for the goddess, and even waved the lightstick around, she suddenly felt that Boss Chan truly pampered the goddess, and even treated her fans warmly.
She suddenly understood why the goddess would choose to be with him.
After leaving the filming venue, the goddess intentionally left a long post on Weibo. She used a humorous tone to detail her silliness onstage and the pampering that Boss Chang showered upon her. This made many readers cry out against their affectionate displays.
It turned out that Boss Chang would wave a lightstick for the goddess, applaud for her like an ordinary fan, and even specially accompany her to filming just because she was feeling unwell. An exemplary man like him … was truly a fair match for the goddess.
However, it was a post from a user named “Unscented Roses” that brought tears to many.
Unscented Roses: Truthfully, when I found out that Chang Shi Gui was the goddess’ boyfriend, I was fearful. The world of the rich is so complex; even if everyone cannot experience it, they should be able to imagine it. The goddess has been through so much pain and suffered so much hardship. Every time I think about what she has been through, I would be on the verge of tears from the pain. Fortunately, Boss Chang treats the goddess so well that I could start putting down my worries. Boss Chang, please treat the goddess well. Don’t let her be hurt again. Even if she’s old and her youth is gone, or the fans around her start liking other celebrities, please love her well. Don’t make her sad, don’t make her cry. She may look like she has many things; from powerful friends, to an increasing popularity, but these friends would eventually have people that they need to protect, and her popularity will one day fade. The only one she truly has is you. I beg of you, please don’t disappoint her, and don’t disappoint us fans. This is my plea to you.
This post touched many fans. They couldn’t help but recall what Ning Xi had been through all these years. Her parents died a pitiful death, and her relatives were vicious and materialistic. Now, she might look as though her future was limitless, but as celebrities, who could stay on top forever? The fans who were screaming about how much they loved Ning Xi, how many could guarantee that their love for her would remain unchanged?
Those friends of hers were truly quite powerful, but they all had their own families and relatives. No matter how important Ning Xi was to them, she would never be the most important.
Chang Shi Gui: I will. Even if everyone doesn’t love her anymore, she still has me.
“Are you alright?” On the flight back to the capital, Ning Xi observed that Chang Shi Gui was staring silently as his phone for a long time. “Did something happen to the company?”
“It’s fine. There were some problems with one of the company’s projects, but it’s all settled now.” Chang Shi Gui turned off his phone and looked up into Ning Xi’s eyes, his gaze full of love for Ning Xi.
“Xixi, I’ll always be by your side.” He couldn’t resist touching her cheeks, his movements gentle beyond belief.
Ning Xi was dumbfounded. Even though she didn’t know why Chang Shi Gui suddenly said this, she still smiled back at him.
Hart, who was seated across the aisle, looked over at them, then closed his eyes and pretended to sleep.
It was already late into the night when they arrived. Ning Xi was already sound asleep before she reached home. Chang Shi Gui released her seatbelt, then carried her up.
It must be said that a sleeping person was especially heavy to carry. Fortunately, Chang Shi Gui kept to a strict exercise regime, otherwise … he might not have been able to carry her all the way up.
After removing Ning Xi’s heels, he noticed that Ning Xi’s heels were calloused. This was an outcome of wearing heels, and sometimes unfitting shoes, over a long time.
As he thought about the past photos of Ning Xi, Chang Shi Gui’s fingers trembled slightly. After tucking Ning Xi in, he sat by her side without falling asleep.
Ning Xi found herself in bed when she woke up. She was in disbelief; she only remembered going up the car after bidding goodbye to Juliana and the others. What happened after that?
She really didn’t have any recollections about what happened after. When was she able to sleep so well even after being physically moved around by others?
After coming out of the shower, Ning Xi found a note from Chang Shi Gui saying that he went to the office, and had left breakfast in the kitchen.
Looking at the post-it printed with cartoon characters, Ning Xi couldn’t hold back her laughter. She really couldn’t imagine how the usually mature Chang Shi Gui could write these words on such a piece of paper.
She walked downstairs towards the kitchen, and found that breakfast was still warm. She finished her breakfast slowly, after which she found a romance novel and flipped through it leisurely in the study.
She read about how the tyrannical CEO would bully the female character, then treat her otherwise, then working together to dispel the antagonists and the second male lead, then live happily ever after.
Ning Xi only felt that such plots were … unfathomable.
She couldn’t help but think, if Chang Shi Gui was such a tyrannical CEO …
She probably wouldn’t be able to resist beating him up.
The sun shone through the window and onto her. She suddenly felt a sense of bliss, something that she hadn’t felt in awhile. Putting down her book, she pulled the French window open and walked into the balcony. As she observed the view outside the window, she laughed out loudly.
When Jiang Chang reached the house, the first thing he saw was Ning Xi standing by the French window. Her face was relaxed and natural as she laughed, as if she had no worries in the world.
He stopped in his tracks, not knowing if he should take the next step forward.
“Cheng?” The companion standing behind him saw him stop, and asked curiously, “Didn’t you say that you were going to wait here for Boss?”
“Boss will only return after some time. You guys should go ahead and have fun first, I’ll look for you guys later.” Jiang Cheng looked at the second floor, then lit a cigarette in frustration.
Even though his companions didn’t know why he looked like he was in a bad mood, they still left him alone.
Chang Shi Gui and Jiang Cheng might not be well acquainted, but they were cousins, hence Jiang Cheng still had to respect Chang Shi Gui.
When Chang Shi Gui returned, Jiang Cheng was squatting by a tree near his house.
“Brother Chang.” Jiang Cheng saw Chang Shi Gui and stood up, his expression somewhat gloomy.
“Why didn’t you go in?” Chang Shi Gui opened the electronic door, and brought Jiang Chang into the yard.
Jiang Cheng observed the well-maintained garden. “You weren’t home, so it wasn’t suitable for me to go in.” Moreover, it would be awkward for him to meet with Ning Xi alone.
Chang Shi Gui had never expected him to say something like this one day; he looked at Jiang Cheng, then opened the door to the house. Chang Shi Gui left Jiang Cheng at the sofa before going to the kitchen to pour him a drink.
Jiang Cheng was used to drinking all sorts of stimulating drinks, but he didn’t reject Chang Shi Gui’s drink, even though he didn’t like tea. He only lowered his head and sipped his drink.
Chang Shi Gui looked at him and asked, “What happened?”
Jiang Chang tightened his grip on the cup and shook the cup in his hand. After a while, he said, “Brother Chang, my mother is preparing to divorce my father.”
 生猴子 (shēng hóu zi) - literally translates as “giving birth to monkeys”, an Internet slang for giving birth to babies.
 老婆粉 (lǎo pó fěn)- literally translates as “wife fan”. Refers to fans who think that they are the wife of the celebrity.