He should have gone along with this snide reply and asked “Do fireworks count as flowers?” But Yi Hui looked at this word with a smile frozen on his lips, not really interested in joking.
Of the countless promises made in his previous life, fireworks was the one that made quite an impression on him, as it was his birthday wish for three consecutive years.
In the first year, not long after they had their wedding and started living together, Zhou Jinheng happened to be out of work for a while. Under the strict supervision of both families, he had to stay at home all day and stare at Yi Hui.
It was not that they hadn’t thought about finding common topics, but what could a normal person talk about with a fool? If you can’t have a conversation, they could only go to bed to communicate. During that time, the two of them did it almost every day. Zhou Jinheng had just developed a strong sexual appetite, often making Yi Hui’s back sore and legs too weak to get out of bed. His birthday was spent in bed in a daze.
The next year, it coincided with Zhou Jinheng’s filming on site and Yi Hui made a cake for him. In the crowd of fans visiting the site, he was squeezed, pushed and almost fell. After he was taken to the crew lounge by the assistant, Zhou Jinheng scolded him, asking if he was crazy. Running here instead of staying at home, what if someone found out?
Yi Hui knew that he was in the wrong but couldn’t restrain the grievances in his heart, so he hugged the cake and left.
He didn’t go far, for fear that Zhou Jinheng would not find him. He squatted at the back door of the hotel where Zhou Jinheng was staying. His birthday was at the end of winter and it was still very cold that day. By the time Zhou Jinheng returned from work and carried him into the hotel, he was so cold he couldn’t speak clearly. His birthday had long passed and the cake had been squashed beyond recognition.
In the third year, Yi Hui learned to be smart. Since the city banned fireworks and firecrackers, he booked a hotel somewhere in a foreign country, inquired in advance where fireworks were sold and was prepared to buy them as soon as he got there. But before the trip, it rained and rained and even hailed, so all the flights to the place were cancelled and the plan was ruined again.
At that time, Zhou Jinheng teased him about the matter: “I don’t think you will ever successfully prepare for a trip in your life.” Seeing that his eyes were red and he was about to cry again, he changed his tone and said perfunctorily, “Forget it, it’s better to leave it to someone else in the future, don’t waste your time making your own arrangements.”
In retrospect, this was true. Later on, he made another plan before Zhou Jinheng’s birthday, only to have an accident happen to him before he could fulfill it.
Yi Hui smiled helplessly, wondering whether he should be happy for his improving memory or sad that God felt that he and Zhou Jinheng were not suitable for each other and desperately prevented them from being together.
When he was a fool, these things were the only things he knew that could be called romantic. Now they didn’t seem to be anything special, just ordinary things that every couple experienced. Even though they hadn’t done it, Zhou Jinheng must have done it with that other man, maybe more than once.
Yi Hui took a deep breath, regained his senses and replied as quickly as possible: Yes, no problem [ok]
After New Year’s, Chinese New Year quietly approached.
Yi Hui became more and more busy. In addition to the previous commissions, he signed up for a drawing competition. Since it was an online selection, the draft could be sent by email. He just wanted to see how good his drawing level was; if he won the prize, it would be a bonus.
It was just that the competition schedule was very tight with drafts due by the end of the year and the prizes to be awarded at the beginning of the new year. Because of the competition, Yi Hui was so busy that his sleep time was cut down and the geese hadn’t been taken for a walk for a few days. Aunt Qiu came to visit and said that the youngest goose was wilting recently, probably because she missed him too much.
Yi Hui felt very guilty. He went to see the geese, carrying new rations he bought on the Internet and complained to Hum-Hum on the way back: My geese has lost weight, it hurts so much [sad].
Dora-Hum-Hum: I have also lost weight.
Yi Hui: [Doraemon is surprised]
Recently, Dora-Hum-Hum occasionally said something that made him unable to answer. Yi Hui scratched his head and was thinking about how to reply without being rude and how to reverse this unexplained ambiguous atmosphere. Dora-Hum-Hum must have also felt that he’d said something inappropriate, so he changed the subject quickly: Feed them more food and they will be fat.
Yi Hui breathed a sigh of relief: Then you should eat more food too! [very happy]
He didn’t know if this had an effect, but Dora-Hum-Hum became more diligent and would send Yi Hui photos of his three meals a day. Normally, Yi Hui might not have paid much attention; but at this moment, he felt the trepidation of being called to account by Party A, so he took the initiative to report his own progress: The line draft is finished, will start colouring immediately [cheers].
Dora-Hum-Hum sent a string of emoticons and then said: I’m not rushing you, draw slowly, I’m not in a hurry.
He was not in a hurry, but Yi Hui was in a hurry. Yi Hui took up a lot of work and didn’t do it. Although there were no exact time requirements, he inexplicably felt it was as if winter vacation had passed day by day and he hadn’t started doing his homework. He couldn’t relax and it felt like a waste of time to sleep for one more minute. What’s more, it was a painting for a good friend. He drafted three line drafts alone and revised them for several days before he was satisfied.
When he got home, Yi Hui sat down, propping his chin, and the more he looked at the drawing, the better it seemed, so he wrote to Hum-Hum: “Wow, it’s nice, it’s really nice, it’ll be a world famous painting when it’s finished! [sprinkle flowers]
Dora-Hum-Hum: Looking forward to it [rose][rose][rose]
Seeing the long-forgotten roses, Yi Hui guessed that the man on the other end must be laughing, and his mood changed for the better: Hum-Hum, are you in S City? How has the weather been over there recently?
Dora-Hum-Hum: I’m not there these days, but I’ll be back right away. What happened?
Yi Hui: My sister is going there next week. It has been so cold recently. I will help her prepare her clothes in advance
Dora-Hum-Hum: You are not coming?
Yi Hui: She is chasing a star, what am I going to do?
The two often talked about Jiang Yimang, and Yi Hui felt that there was nothing to hide. Anyway, no one knew who the person on the opposite side was after logging off the internet. He also learned this from Jiang Yimang. His 17-year-old sister recently became his life mentor. She taught him urban culture and various online idioms; the small gifts did not stop either. Yesterday, she actually gave him a flashlight and asked him to be careful when he went up the mountains next time.
Faced with such care and attention from his younger sister, Yi Hui was willing to work hard for her. First, he helped her persuade Jiang Xuemei to let her go to S City. Although she clearly used the excuse of “playing with her sisters”, Yi Hui thought that a group of young girls chasing a star counted as playing together and there should be no need to worry about safety. In addition, he sponsored the round-trip fare and helped book a hotel, using the money he earned from receiving the commissions recently.
Dora-Hum-Hum: Which star?
Yi Hui thought for a while and felt that there were few people in the country who didn’t know Zhou Jinheng, so he typed his full name bluntly.
Dora-Hum-Hum: Oh, does your sister like him?
Speaking of this, Yi Hui wrote with a little bit of helplessness in his doting: More than like, her room is full of his photo posters. She bought a camera to take pictures of him on the frontline. A while ago, she said that she was going to the movie set, and she is also cross stitching his portrait… she likes him so much that she can’t wait to marry him [sad]
After a few minutes without reply, Yi Hui thought that as an ordinary office worker, he likely couldn’t understand “frontline” and “movie set” or something. He was just about to enthusiastically explain the terms when his phone suddenly vibrated: What about you, what do you think of him?
Yi Hui was stunned, ignoring how random this question was. The first thing he remembered was the sentence “You said you liked me” that man said at the door of the convenience store at the bottom of the mountain that day.
Listening to how bitter those words were, it was bewildering to look back at it now.
But whether he liked him or hated him, it was no longer a question that he needed to think about. Yi Hui gathered his thoughts, took a deep breath, picked up the phone and typed: Very handsome [cute]
When he saw these words, Zhou Jinheng had just bid farewell to the crew and got in the car heading to the airport.
In a hurry, his scenes were finally finished before the end of the year. His assistant Xiao Lin came to pick him up in person, saw Zhou Jinheng smiling at his mobile phone in the rearview mirror and said happily: “Let me just say, based on your current popularity, even if you stay idle for half a year, fans will not forget you… If you don’t believe it, wait and see at the awards ceremony next week, the popularity award of the year will definitely be in your bag again.”
Xiao Lin had been concerned about Zhou Jinheng’s state of mind before, but Zhou Jinheng didn’t bother to explain, citing “I was worried that no one would know me after a few months of filming” as the reason for stalling. Xiao Lin really believed it. From time to time these days, he showed him the rainbow farts from the super topic. Seeing that he didn’t refuse, Xiao Lin thought that he actually enjoyed it very much. Now, as soon as he left the crew, he was busy reviewing Weibo.
Zhou Jinheng didn’t deny it. He focused all his attention on the conversation with ① Xiao Hui Xia and looked at the words “pretty handsome” several times, the corners of his mouth rising higher.
He had previously asked Yi Hui about his impression of him, and although he only got the word “okay”, when added to the current “pretty handsome”, didn’t that equate to “not too bad”?
He was brooding about Yi Hui’s evaluation of “you are the most reliable” for Dora-Hum-Hum. Even if Dora-Hum-Hum was a mask he was wearing, it still tasted so delicious that he wished he was the one being complimented.
As their chats continued, it was not that Zhou Jinheng hadn’t thought about confessing to Yi Hui; but whenever he wanted to say it, he eventually held back. Reason told him that it was not the time yet. He had to be patient and behave well, and strive to merge the seemingly unrelated people “Zhou Jinheng” and “Dora-Hum-Hum” into one as soon as possible to make it as easy as possible for Yi Hui to accept.
Even though he would be angry the moment he knew the truth, afterwards, he would calm down and think back about all the happy things. The little fool was so kind and soft-hearted, how could he not forgive him?
Zhou Jinheng filled himself with peace of mind, replied with a rose emoticon, then relaxed. He leaned back in the back seat and closed his eyes to recuperate.
Due to the long filming cycle this time, other appointments were delayed and Zhou Jinheng plunged into the busy work at the end of the year without taking a break.
In less than a week, two advertisements were shot, one interview was recorded, three magazine covers were shot and he even acted as a guest of honour at a music festival. The fans in super topic were both distressed and happy. While shouting, “Brother has lost weight again, don’t be busy and have a good rest”, they proudly announced everywhere, “He is indispensable, everyone needs him.”
The major awards ceremony at the end of the year was extremely lively. One of the most highly regarded was the Hundred Flowers Award. They said that “Mid-year gold flowers, end of the year hundred flowers”. The Hundred Flowers Awards were not only a recognition of the achievements in the film and television industry over the past year, but also a decisive opportunity for ambitious people who wanted to build a career to gain recognition. To come back with a prestigious award would certainly be a great way to gild the lily.
Therefore, the fans were well prepared. On the day of the award ceremony, flower baskets and banners from various support groups filled the inside and outside of the venue. Among them, Zhou Jinheng’s support was the most eye-catching. The huge flower wall with his name and photos were placed in a prominent position at the beginning of the red carpet. There were twenty two hot air balloons, which was exactly the age of Zhou Jinheng.
Not to mention other fans, there were even a few newcomers who hadn’t seen the scene before and were secretly speechless with envy, despite smiling on the surface. “Popular indeed ah.”
The subject of the topic, Zhou Jinheng, had no time to care about what other people said at this moment. All his thoughts were on the photos brought by Jiang Yimang.
The photos had just been printed. The main character of all of them was Yi Hui. He was painting, eating, herding the geese with a small bamboo pole, sleeping in various poses… It practically covered Yi Hui’s everyday life. Zhou Jinheng smiled when he looked at the pictures, then looked at a few photos again and frowned: “He has lost weight.”
“He’s been rushing to draw recently, he’s too tired.” Jiang Yimang, who entered the backstage for the first time, was still a little nervous and spoke as she looked around, “Especially the one you want, my brother is very serious about this painting, more serious than about the painting for the competition.”
Zhou Jinheng loved hearing this and a smile returned to his face: “Did he like the gift I gave him a few days ago?”
“That umbrella? He liked it, couldn’t bear to put it away, saying that he wanted to sleep inside Doraemon.” Jiang Yimang also found it funny, “Later, Mom said that those who play with an umbrella at home don’t grow tall, so he reluctantly put it away.”
Zhou Jinheng smiled even more when he heard this and the depression of not seeing him dissipated a lot.
This was Yi Hui, this was what his little fool would do.
Before going to the stage, Zhou Jinheng took out a small box and asked Jiang Yimang to take it back and give it to Yi Hui: “Since you are here, I won’t mail it this time. It’s a bottle of essential oil with a soothing effect. Didn’t you say that he hasn’t slept well recently? He likes sweet ones, so I bought the sweeter flavour.”
Jiang Yimang took it, looked envious for a while and then said with a sad expression on her face: “On average, I give him gifts every week, and he is already suspicious. Christmas, New Year’s Day, Midwinter, Thanksgiving Day, Laba Festival, Lantern Festival… I don’t know what other excuses I can make.”
Zhou Jinheng had come up with a countermeasure a long time ago, took out another bottle and handed it to Jiang Yimang: “Just say that you wanted to buy it yourself. It just happened that there was a promotion in the store, buy one get one free. He will definitely accept it.”
He was at the award ceremony, but his heart was tied to a small southern town thousands of kilometres away.
A few hours later, Zhou Jinheng returned triumphantly with the two weighty awards for best actor and most popular actor of the year. The first thing he did when he got his phone was not to post his acceptance speech on Weibo, but to log on his second account to see if there was any unread news.
There was no news, but there was one unexpected thing.
Someone posted a long Weibo post on Yi Hui. Roughly glancing, the general meaning of it was that the privately commissioned work of the web artist ① Xiao Hui Xia copied a painting made public by artist A last year. The work also involved commercial use. It was recommended that artist A should entrust a lawyer to prosecute ① Xiao Hui Xia.
The contradictions behind closed doors in this kind of circle were generally not seen by outsiders. The reason Zhou Jinheng could see it was that ① Xiao Hui Xia reposted this Weibo and only wrote two words – I didn’t.
As Zhou Jinheng looked through the many comments full of personal attacks from the people who hadn’t gotten to the bottom of the situation, his forehead suddenly throbbed, his heart hanging in his throat. He couldn’t wait to fly to Yi Hui right now. The little fool had a kind heart and a soft temper. He had been bullied a lot in the past. He was worried that he would do stupid things when he was alone and helpless.
First he sent a private message to ask and waited for a long time, until on the highway to the south, he received a reply from Xiao Hui Xia: I didn’t [cry]
His heart clenched abruptly; Zhou Jinheng seemed to see Yi Hui’s tearful face through this emoticon, and his breath stalled for an instant.
I said I would never let him cry again, so why did I break my promise so quickly?
While telling the driver to drive faster, Zhou Jinheng persuaded himself to calm down and not to mess up, and then quickly typed out a line of words: I know you didn’t. Don’t cry, don’t be afraid, I’m here.