Don’t Be a Kept Man
Chapter 79: Secretly Filming
Most people would be willing to privately start a battle of words with Chen Yi online, but they would never do so right to his face.
Because Chen Yi had never cared about things like seniors, juniors, experience, newbies, status, age, or any normal considerations as a celebrity, the moment someone gave him no face, he would drag them straight into the cameras’ view to have no face with him.
So considering that everyone who worked in front of the cameras was all about the “image”, no one was willing to start a fire with this kind of thug.
Zhang Duo was from the dancing community however, and with Chen Yi filming on the down-low for so long, he had never heard of such a person.
And so, after Chen Yi said those words, his smile immediately dropped from his face, and he was going to say something when Tong Lao-shi knocked on the judge’s table.
She said with a solemn voice,
“There is not a lot of time left.
We have to hurry and get through the rest of the contestants within the remaining time.
After lunch, the filming must start.”
She was a much older senior and so once she opened her mouth, Zhang Duo naturally would not say anything else.
But he was evidently not happy and during the remaining time left for rehearsals, his face looked quite foul, putting all the contestants practicing on stage on the edge of their seats.
When the official filming for the show started in the afternoon, the audience were slowly let in to fill up the seats behind the judges panel.
Because many youngsters like trendy things, Zhang Duo’s fans were in high numbers, but besides those fans, most of the other audience members were Chen Yi’s fans.
In their hands, they held silver LED or handmade cloth signs, but they were still dressed in all black, making them easily recognizable.
There was one thing Chen Yi did not expect today which was that Chen Xiao Meng would also sneak over to the studio to watch him.
She was sitting in the first row, hands holding a silver light stick, and when no one was paying attention, she discreetly poked the back of Chen Yi, smiling like a cat that got the canary.
There were some snacks on the judges’ panel, and so Chen Yi grabbed a handful of popcorn and without even looking, threw it right behind him.
He heard her quietly going “ah” as she held her forehead in pain before pouting and retracting her hand.
Right beside Chen Xiao Meng was a person in a well fitted black shirt.
From their sleeves to their wrists, pale white muscular forearms were on display, and following their shape upwards, there was a clear Adam’s apple; evidently this was a man.
The man was holding a silver support cloth sign, and he wore a mask and a black baseball cap, covering himself up tightly with only his pair of eyes showing.
Seeing Chen Xiao Meng look over at him, he unconsciously avoided her gaze.
When Fu Xiu Nian normally bought tickets for a show, he was used to buying the seats closest to Chen Yi’s position.
He had just finished sorting out his uncle’s situation at the hospital and rushed over here, but no way in the world did he expect that he would be sitting right next to Chen Yi’s sister.
Although the knowledge that the two of them were in a relationship wouldn’t be hidden forever, whenever Fu Xiu Nian saw Chen Xiao Meng, his gut reaction was to hide out of anxiety.
And so, most of the time, his head was lowered, trying to avoid eye contact with her.
Chen Yi’s fans were 99% female and so with this incredibly rare occurrence of a male fan, Chen Xiao Meng felt very bewildered, and she couldn’t help but ask,
“You…… are you also Chen Yi’s fan?”
Fu Xiu Nian pulled up the mask on his face and nodded his head, but he didn’t say anything.
Chen Xiao Meng thought he was a bit weird and hesitated before asking curiously,
“…… Why are you wearing a mask? Don’t you feel stuffy?”
With his head lowered, Fu Xiu Nian coughed, feeling as if he was sitting on pins and needles,
“I had caught a bit of a cold recently.”
Chen Xiao Meng only nodded her head in understanding and then didn’t continue to probe.
The program was officially starting and the MC first went up on the stage to hype up the atmosphere and then introduced this season’s panel of judges along with the special judge.
Fans were also giving it their all, cheering and almost blowing off the studio’s roof with their yells.
After waiting a while for the studio to calm down, the main program officially began.
The contestants would have already gone through the first round of elimination on a more countrywide scale, but that did not mean that all of them were of the skillful category.
There were a few that would have made it through by their connections, and there were some contestants strung along, added to the roster only to be eliminated, making the contestant pool quite messy and convoluted.
The first few contestants in the beginning did not get any passing tickets from the judges and one of them was a contestant who had passed the preliminary rounds only due to their connections and during this stage, he made a mistake.
When he jumped and landed on the floor, he was very unstable and even wobbled, showing that he had not mastered the basics yet.
Tong Lao-shi and Ying Zi Lao-shi gave a very brief judgment whereas Zhang Duo immediately started pulling words out of his ass.
I can tell your rhythm is strong, and you have a personality that’s strong too.
Your basics aren’t that stable, but that can be practiced.
However there are some things that are meant to be born within you and, seeing that in you, I will give you my vote as a pass.
I hope the next time we see you, you will give us a better show of your strengths.”
After Zhang Duo was finished, it was Chen Yi’s turn.
The PD signalled at him from below the stage, meaning to have him follow up on the compliments.
Chen Yi slightly smiled and nodded his head, signalling back that he understood.
And then, right in front of everyone, he slowly gave a big thumbs up to the contestant on stage,
“Although I don’t understand dancing and its intricacies, I could feel that you have such a deep innate understanding and knowledge of it.
Especially that jump in midair at the end.
When you fell on the ground, your main leg seemed to twitch a few times.
That takes technique, high level skill.
It’s not something someone normal could do.
Your excellence is off the charts!”
The audience were not experts, and perhaps someone did figure out something, but they were not sure.
The moment Chen Yi poked this hornet’s nest, the rest of the audience immediately reacted.
What kind of high level action is this? His jump had obviously been unstable, and the studio immediately fell into a hush.
Fu Xiu Nian was watching from below and he couldn’t help but laugh.
He then remembered that Chen Xiao Meng was sitting right beside him and he coughed to hold it in.
In the latter half of the program, Chen Yi was basically going head to head with Zhang Duo, and the entire time, the studio could hear them going at each other.
A contestant with no connections had made a mistake:
Zhang Duo: You stumble once, fine.
But you even stumble twice?! Are you falling there to do push ups? Do you need to find a stage crew member to see if there are nails there that suddenly tripped you?
Chen Yi: No problem.
Wherever you fall, you can crawl back up.
The stage hasn’t been maintained for so long, so it’s really possible for it to have nails.
We should get someone to check it after.
Zhang Duo: Eyes high, hands low.
Can you not stabilize yourself and start slowly? Are there even shortcuts in dancing? If you can’t even walk, why are you learning to run? However high you climb, the worse your fall!
Chen Yi: Humans must always look up to walk; water will always be flowing downwards.1 When I was young, I first learned to run before learning to walk.
Do your best and keep at it.
Perhaps you will be the second me.
Zhang Duo: Ribbon Dance? You sure you want to dance the ribbon dance? This is the first time I saw someone dance the ribbon dance and trip themselves!
Chen Yi: From your dancing, I can see that you have the determination to defy fate.
The ribbon is just like a dead weight holding you down, like a web that can trap you, and you are a butterfly, ready to break through the cocoon at any time.
Besides laughing, the audience could only laugh more.
The entire studio was filled with explosive laughter, and by the end of the filming session, Zhang Duo was about to have a stroke.
The mustache on his face was shaking and his face was pale and just plain terrible.
At last, the first round ended, leaving only twenty-four contestants.
According to the program rules, it would be up to them to choose their mentor now.
There was a contestant within the twenty-four that all the judges were eying up: No.
6, Deng Zhan Ting.
She was not from a powerful background nor did she have any connections, but she had learned through many professionals at a young age.
She had been exposed to all kinds of dances and, before the show, she had even been the center of a dance group, which she unfortunately had to leave when she sustained an injury.
Her skill level was way higher than anyone else there and all three judges had the mind to take her into their group, even Zhang Duo.
Zhang Duo said to Deng Zhan Ting,
“Your movements are so alive.
You are a person who was born to dance.
Your feelings and emotions are so strong, and you have the skills to back them.
If you can choose a teacher that can give you more guidance, you would be even better.
Tong Lao-shi’s expertise is in classical dance, Ying Zi Lao-shi is in ethnic dance and I am pretty alright in street dancing, and Chen Yi…….”
He paused at this point, which Chen Yi immediately followed up with,
If anyone has the interest, come find me.”
The moment his words dropped, the audience was at first shocked and then their next reaction was to burst out in laughter.
Chen Xiao Meng on one hand was laughing, and on the other she was discreetly giving the back of Zhang Duo the middle finger and quietly cursing him,
Fu Xiu Nian nodded his head, thinking just the same.
Deng Zhan Ting herself seemed to be partial to classical dances, and she smiled, thanked the judges for their consideration and chose to join Tong Lao-shi’s team.
By the end, there were eight members under each judge; each of them paired up and had to come up with a new program within one week, continuing through to the next elimination round.
The filming session for the program was almost done, and Chen Yi was inadvertently looking back, when he spotted a man right beside Chen Xiao Meng.
And as Fu Xiu Nian was focusing on Chen Yi with everything he had, their eyes locked onto each other the moment Chen Yi looked at him.
Just one glance, and Chen Yi could immediately recognize Fu Xiu Nian.
He paused and then a smile began to grow widely on his face.
He discreetly gave a hand signal for Fu Xiu Nian to wait for him after this.
Fu Xiu Nian could only nod his head.
When the program finished filming, the audience began to disperse.
Chen Xiao Meng’s leg wasn’t fully healed, and Chen Yi rarely let her go out.
This time she had secretly left the house without Chen Yi’s permission, and seeing that it was ending, she quickly grabbed her crutches, ready to scatter.
Yet when she stood up, she fell right back into her seat.
Fu Xiu Nian subconsciously stood to hold her,
“Um…… You seem to be Chen Yi’s sister.
Do you want to wait for him?”
Chen Xiao Meng did not think that Fu Xiu Nian could recognize her and immediately smiled and waved her hands,
When he sees me later, he’s going to scold me with no end in sight.
I’ll call for a taxi up front, and I’ll get home pretty fast.”
Filming the program took about five hours and a normal person’s legs would have gone numb, so there was no doubt that Chen Xiao Meng would have an even worse experience.
Seeing that he couldn’t hold her back, Fu Xiu Nian did not feel comfortable enough to let her go by herself and so followed her all the way to the taxi.
When Chen Xiao Meng got into the taxi, she thanked him through the window,
“Thank you! Yi-Ge is really nice.
Please continue to support him in the future!”
Fu Xiu Nian nodded his head and waved her goodbye.
The temperature was getting very cold in the late autumn, but the pedestrians moving on the streets had not diminished any less.
The traffic lights on the roads were shining with bright colours, illuminating the night, and the cars flew past nonstop, seemingly even more boisterous and lively than in the day.
Chen Yi let Ling Dang go back first by herself, and he himself went to Fu Xiu Nian’s car.
When he opened the car door and stepped in, he brought with him a breeze of cold air and a few seconds later, it disappeared into nothingness.
Chen Yi’s mouth was still eating a lollipop, but as it was almost done, he was really just biting the white stick.
In the eyes of others, and for those from far away, it looked like he was smoking.
Fu Xiu Nian reached out to pull that stick out of his mouth and passed a newly opened lollipop over to him,
“Don’t bite onto the plastic stick.
Chen Yi smirked,
Fu Xiu Nian wanted to laugh at that, but instead he turned on the car as he said,
“Today was a rare sight for me to see you compliment someone.
That Zhang Duo is only passable with his dancing, always doing something wacky.
When he first debuted, he had been roasted for that, but he achieved his bucket of gold when he went out of the country.
Half of his fame is due to his marketing team driving it up.”
Chen Yi didn’t understand this and so he didn’t make any judgment.
He thought about something else however,
“The person sitting beside you today was my sister.”
Fu Xiu Nian shook his head in laughter,
“I know, so I sat there all day, not daring to speak at all.
When the program sent off its viewers, she had gone off by herself to call for a taxi.”
Chen Yi sighed and flicked off the dust on his pants,
“Why are you so afraid? She just sent me a message.
Probably afraid that I would scold her as I normally don’t let her go out.”
And then asked,
“Right, how’s your uncle doing?”
The shadows of trees were flying quickly past the car windows and Fu Xiu Nian’s clean and gentle jade-like face fell halfway into the shadows.
Yet the warm smile on his face dispersed some of its darkness,
The doctor said he needs to cut off smoking, but he’s not happy.
He’s been smoking since he was a teen and so to make him stop is harder to accept than if you were to take away his life.”
Chen Yi bit the candy in his mouth into shards and licked around his mouth to taste the flavour,
“Life is more important isn’t it?”
Fu Xiu Nian drove the car all the way to the gates of Chen Yi’s community, and after he parked in front of the gates, he lay over the wheel, looking up at him.
After a while, he finally said,
Go back now, otherwise your family will worry about you.”
His heart was still yearning and not willing, but his hands reached out to push Chen Yi away.
The only exception was his hands tightening on Chen Yi’s sleeves in the dark, just like a cat who wouldn’t leave his master’s side.
Chen Yi thought that to be in a relationship, being so secretive was indeed very troublesome.
His heart started to silently calculate which way to go public would be the best.
He hooked Fu Xiu Nian by the chin to kiss him and then gently ruffled his hair as he said,
“Then I’ll go now.
Be careful when you drive back.”
The community was very quiet and the faint yellow street lamps made the road feel even colder.
Normally there would only be the rare car flying by, and so when Chen Yi opened the car door to step out, his eyes immediately sharpened up.
His footsteps slowed and his eyes seemed to look somewhere far away.
Away from the community gates, about a hundred metres away, a black car was silently parked.
Through its window, there seemed to be the suspicious shadow of a camera and seeing Chen Yi look over, it quickly moved away.
He leaned against the car, with his arms above the window and facing Fu Xiu Nian sitting inside, and hooked his fingers at him,
Fu Xiu Nian didn’t understand what was going on and opened the door to get out,
Chen Yi didn’t speak and only reached out to pull him into his embrace.
His chin fell against Fu Xiu Nian’s soft hair and nudged against him.
There was a streetlamp behind him, and in the faint yellow light showering down, dropping softly onto his shoulders, it warmed up and gentled his cold and stoic face.
Fu Xiu Nian was so mesmerized by him that his mind blanked out.
After a while he finally came back to his senses and he reached out to grab Chen Yi by the collar and asked,
“What’s going on?”
For some reason, Fu Xiu Nian’s pockets started to always have something inside.
Chen Yi slipped his hand inside Fu Xiu Nian’s outer pocket and without even needing to guess, he had already patted out a piece of candy.
Fu Xiu Nian smiled, revealing his white teeth,
You’re going to get toothaches.”
“If your pockets didn’t hold candy, then I wouldn’t have eaten any.”
Chen Yi squinted his eyes, eyes that were playful and full of other thoughts more suitable for the night, and nodded to show that he knew.
He leaned down to kiss Fu Xiu Nian, as if he called him out just to grab a piece of candy.
“Then I’ll head home.”
Be careful on the road.”
Fu Xiu Nian drove the car away and Chen Yi watched him leave, eyes never leaving that shadow within the darkness, before finally turning around to head back into his house.
*1 This is a proverb/idiom saying that basically means humans must look upwards/head upwards as that is their will and passion to go beyond what they can do, to always keep bettering themselves, to keep improving and becoming better, “heading up” for a better place to be in versus water flowing downwards is a “natural” rule because that’s how nature is, with gravity and all scientific rules of how things are, water will always naturally be flowing downwards.
And so this becomes where if you don’t do anything, you will just be like water, following what it’s “supposed” to be/following the flow whereas as humans, we should really be motivating ourselves/to push ourselves to become better, to improve and succeed with greater rewards.
*2 I forgot to add this when it was mentioned a bit earlier in the volume, but as reference in volume 1, square dancing here is not the western style of square dancing.
This is people, usually older females (middle-aged), gathering in plaza squares and dancing (hence the “square dancing”.
If you have not seen the footnote in volume 1 , you can check out this link on youtube for a bit more information and visuals)
Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year everyone! Hope your new year goes better and safer than the one before and may we all bask and swim in comfort and riches!
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