When Li Luo leaves the company, Deng Liang, who had been kicked out of the office, finally gets the chance to keep up. He follows his boss back to the latter’s downtown house.
The moment they arrive, he drags the heap of presents they received at the airport to the collection room as usual. His cheeks flushed once more.
Boxes of all sizes reside in the room, some holding fan-letters and others handmade gifts. In one obscure corner is a shelf, atop which stand all of the awards Li Luo has received since his debut.
In the dozen-or-so days of his trip, the trophies had not been cleaned. A thin layer of dust has already fallen over them.
The only award that holds any weight is a famous annual film-and-television award of popularity. By now, Li Luo has received it for four years in a row.
However, popularity awards cannot compare to acting awards. The former depends on how hard the fans work, while the latter calls for an actor’s true ability.
It’s definitely not that Li Luo is untalented. At least, to Deng Liang, if his Luo-ge tries just a little harder and just a little more seriously, he could definitely become as excellent a young actor as Jiang Liushen.
One time, a well-known director who had received many awards invited Li Luo to take on the main lead in his new film. It was an opportunity that others couldn’t even dream of, yet Li Luo declined it without any hesitation, instead accepting the offer of a popularity-based historical romance drama.
Even Deng Liang grieved for his sake. “Luo-ge! Why did you waste such a good opportunity?!”
Li Luo replied without much care, “Dramas are easy to film and not too demanding; they have short cycles and the money comes in quickly. Why bother?”
Deng Liang was speechless.
Similar incidents have been enough to prove that Young Master Li, or ex-Young Master Li, doesn’t have much passion for being an actor at all. He entered show-biz to play around.
When Deng Liang first became Li Luo’s personal assistant, the former still tried to be optimistic. With the sprinkle of inside information Luo Peng revealed to him, he knew Li Luo’s background and guessed that he had to make his living by acting because of what happened to his family. Once he became a millionaire in the future, he’d say goodbye to the industry and retire to the backstage, or even become a CEO of the business world and re-establish his family’s status.
But all these guesses turned to ashes as Deng Liang got to know Li Luo better.
As of right now, Deng Liang feels that Li Luo—sitting barefoot, cross-legged on the sofa, focused on the battle in his mobile game while using in-game equipment that has costed him tens of thousands of dollars—is clearly not the kind who’s good at finance and management.
“How come I lost again?!” Li Luo yells, slamming his phone on the sofa. “This is a bad game.”
Stretching his neck, Deng Liang takes a look. Huh, the opponent is twenty-or-so levels beneath him. And he still managed to lose?
“It’s definitely ‘cause he’s got the ultimate card. Why is it that I can never get it? I’ve spent well over ten thousand already.” Li Luo sulks, blaming the reason for his defeat on the game once more. “The probabilities are messed up. Not gonna spend any more money on this shitty game. What a waste.”
Deng Liang watches as Li Luo, calling the game a waste, delete the game on which he had spent over ten thousand.
… Is there some kind of misunderstanding to his definition of “waste”?
“You’ve only played this for a couple of days. It’s only natural to lose. Just play for a little longer. You might win more once you get more used to the game.”
Li Luo is in the middle of opening the App Store and downloading another game. “I don’t want to have to try. It’s just a game. And I already got tired of that one anyway.”
In terms of being fickle, Deng Liang feels that not a single one of the currently popular actors can compare to his boss.
It’s not only just games. Li Luo also replaces his rumored lovers as though he’s changing clothes, so frequently that some of the paparazzi have even lost their motivation to stalk him. After all, even if they uncovered anything, it wouldn’t create much of a stir.
A while ago, when his new drama was in the midst of serializing, Li Luo was caught on camera eating alone with the female lead, Zhao Shanshan. He was even acting quite intimately towards her.
After a gossip account posted the sneak shot, all of the comments below looked like this.
“They’re just eating together. Boring. Can’t you guys spill something exciting?”
“It’s been a whole month, and Li Luo finally changed his partner. If any more time had passed, I would’ve started doubting his playboy persona.”
“I’m still holding a number and patiently waiting for my turn to sleep with Luo-ge. “
“On the other hand, I’m waiting for Luo-ge to go gay. He’s the typical ‘pretty top’ type. What a shame if he doesn’t.”
He doesn’t even need a public relations manager. In some ways, one really doesn’t have to worry about him.
“You’ve put away all the presents?” After downloading the new game, he tosses his phone aside, lies down, and turns around to ask.
“Yeah, I put them away as usual. I noticed that the collection room is starting to gather dust. Should I have the housekeeper come and clean it up later?”
“It’s fine. I want to be alone for a bit. You can go when you’re done.”
Deng Liang, who’s being kicked out for the second time today, sighs but can only obey. “Sure. I’ll go unpack the suitcase for you.”
There’s really not much to unpack. On this trip, all of Li Luo’s outfits were provided by the brand. The hotel had most of the toiletries as well. Only a few personal items are left in the suitcase.
Deng Liang puts everything away and, in the end, stuffs an unopened pack of hair ties into an inner layer.
His boss always loses things. Every time, even after bringing with him a whole pack of hair ties, he’d return with just a few left.
It’s sure difficult maintaining long hair. He doesn’t know why Li Luo insists on it either. It’s not that he likes this hair style in particular—Deng Liang has often heard him complaining that it’s too hot in long hair or that it looks too gay. But after all these years, he still hasn’t made up his mind to cut it short, keeping it at the same length. He throws a tantrum even if the stylist cuts it an inch too short.
From these instances, Deng Liang feels that his Luo-ge may be a little softer than he appears to be.
When he returns to the living room, Li Luo is calling someone.
“Somebody wanted me gone, so I borrowed your name for a bit. Sorry about it.”
“Yeah, yeah, I owe you a favor now. Look how smug you got with such a small favor. I know there’ll come a day when you need me for something.”
“It’s nothing too big. You don’t need to help. You know how Lao-Luo is. He’s such a scaredy-cat. Got threatened and didn’t have the guts to let out a peep. I’m not scared.”
“Yeah, I know. Stop yapping. I’ll call you if something really happens. I’m hanging up, ‘kay?”
Li Luo hangs up and lets out a long breath, rubbing his temples in fatigue. As he opens his eyes, he sees Deng Liang who just finished organizing, and gives him a smile of self-mockery.
“Can’t believe I’ve succumbed so low that I have to owe Jiang Liushen a favor. I’m such a disaster.”
Deng Liang shakes his head. “You’re not a disaster at all, Ge—I think you’re the coolest!”
“Enough, stop complimenting me. I know I’m aging. I can’t compare to the fresh meat anymore.” Lying on the sofa, Li Luo stares at the chandelier above, his mind wandering. “That kid Lin Cheng is younger than me for sure. He’s only nineteen. He’s got potential and he’s obedient. If I were his boss, I’d favor him too.”
“But your style is unmatched, Ge! And you’ve got ten times his popularity too, haven’t you?”
“Things like popularity are here today and gone tomorrow. The fans are all like ‘I’ll love you forever’ when they like you, but they won’t even say goodbye when they get tired of you and leave. It’s already been five years since I debuted. None of my works are strong enough. With only my face left, I’ve almost reached the peak of my popularity.”
Deng Liang hurriedly speaks, worried. “Luo-ge, don’t be so pessimistic. We’ve still got a long time ahead of us. Don’t lose confidence just because what happened with the endorsement this time, okay?”
“I’m being pessimistic?” Li Luo regains his composure. He can’t help but grin, “Xiao-Dengzi, you got it wrong. I don’t care about things like popularity and endorsements. If the endorsement this time weren’t related to a personal matter, I wouldn’t even have the energy to fight for it with Lin Cheng. It’s not as if I have anything against him.”
“Oh… I see…” Deng Liang is confused, but he’s not at a position to ask about Li Luo’s personal matters. He can only ask, “Then would you care if you were forced out of the industry?”
“That’s different. If I were to leave the industry, I have to leave on my own will. If someone else is forcing me out, I’m not gonna leave no matter what.”
All right, all right. Assistant Deng hasn’t lost his job yet. He lets out a sigh of relief.
Bzzt… Li Luo’s phone suddenly vibrates. Deng Liang glimpses the caller, it was their poor Mr. Luo.
“Hey, Lao-Luo. Let’s hope you called to tell me good news.”
The call only lasts for a mere half minute. With an “I got it,” Li Luo hangs up, his expression unchanged. He stands up from the sofa and stretches before walking into his closet.
“Where are you going, Ge?” Deng Liang shouts from behind.
“To choose my armor.”
Li Luo tilts his head and gives Deng Liang a cool glance. His dark hair hangs by his neck, adding a touch of unbridled allure.
“Lao-Luo said this Saturday the company is holding a pre-acquisition party. The new boss agreed to have me attend.”
Li Luo narrows his eyes. “I’m going to make that blind bastard open his eyes and see who really deserves the endorsement position.”