Edited by Isalee
Lights, stage, cameras, backgrounds. Everything had already been prepared, and the audience that had been seated ahead of time had also been prepped by the staff.
At the front of the stage, an opening performance was happening to warm up the crowd. Gu Yiliang and I stood behind a huge prop background, waiting to go on stage, communicating with hand gestures about what we were going to eat for supper after the recording.
Right now, it was already past nine at night. The planned duration of this live variety show was supposed to be an hour and a half. Even if midway through the filming, the producer or the host decided to veer off script and improvise something, dragging the filming, the latest they would be done should be before 11 pm. Even if it took them until midnight to finish packing up, they could still find a small shop for some claypot congee or something.
It wasn’t that I was so mentally prepared that I wasn’t the slightest bit nervous going on the show. It was mainly that among the guest CPs that would be participating, there was one rather famous male star that had been late without any notice, and he went on to join the rehearsal with an extremely nonchalant attitude.
The one the show wanted to highlight was him, and the one who wasn’t prepared enough was him. Thus, if anything wrong happened during the broadcast, it could also only be because of him as well.
Furthermore, we had all already compared their scripts. I remembered that the games in the program consisted of simple ones that weren’t very outrageous, and they had been tested during the rehearsals. Even if Gu Yiliang unknowingly sold fan service, it wouldn’t create too big of a hoo-hah.
Feeling extremely at ease in my heart, I was elegantly sipping at a teacup with my pinky up. Both Gu Yiliang and I had a well practised, professional smile on our faces, and we were calmly watching the background board slowly slide apart.
This was the concept for the CPs.
A male and female CP, the male and female leads of a movie, full of doting.
A CP of two males, two young, wolfhounds who excelled in variety shows, giving people a feeling of being in a campus romance.
Gu Yiliang and me.
If we were to be counted as well, there were a total of 3 showmance CPs. The six of us stood in a row, joking with the two hosts as we spoke words of platitude to the cameras. A round of self-introductions, then a round of mutual praises that were expected of them, and a round of promotion for their new shows that had just either finished filming or were ongoing. Next, they split into three teams according to the direction of the script, sitting down on the platform stage and listening to the host introduce the rules of the game to the audience.
The general flow of the entire show would go along with the rhythm of how they interacted in speech, body, and speech again, but they needed to make sure that it was entertaining and did not go overboard. The game the hosts were introducing was the most basic, clichéd game called Guess the Lyrics. One person would look at the card and then describe it, and the other person would guess the lyrics according to the description.
This was not a problem, not a problem at all. Everything was within my control.
Completely at ease, in my heart, I continued sipping on my hot tea.
BG CP’s Male: “Looking up while walking, and counting the stars?”
BG CP’s Female: “Ah, I know! Jay Chou’s Xing Qing, right?! Hand-in-hand, one step, two step…”
BG CP’s Male: “You’re right!”
BL CP’s Male 1: “It’s been very long, uhh, our relationship has changed, uhh—”
BL CP’s Male 2: “What is that?!”
BL CP’s Male 1: “It’s Eason Chan’s Ten Years! That line before ten years ago! You’re so dumb!”
Gu Yiliang: “Two things you’ll definitely never do to me.”
Me: “…… A hint?”
Gu Yiliang: “Drink a little more.”
Me: “…… ‘You got me drunk, you made me cry?'”
Gu Yiliang: “Correct.”
BG CP’s Male: “Walking, uhh, enjoying the breeze, the sun…”
BG CP’s Female: “M-mayday’s Tenderness? Walking in the wind, and the sunlight today suddenly became very gentle?”
BG CP’s Male: “You’re right, you’re right, you’re so smart—”
BL CP’s Male 1: “Feelings! Wind! Howling! Blowing away!”
BL CP’s Male 2: “What is that?!”
BL CP’s Male 1: “Love is like a breeze blowing through and it’s gone?! You’re so dumb!”
Gu Yiliang: “Something that doesn’t exist, something that I don’t want to see.”
Me: “…… ‘The tears of the North Star, your eyes that are red from crying?'”
Gu Yiliang: “Correct.”
The hot tea was now scalding my heart. I started to panic.
I eyed him madly—”That’s enough, restrain yourself!”
He looked back at me, puzzled—”But I didn’t do anything?”
I continued eyeing him—”It’s a live broadcast, and in front of everyone!”
Again, he shot me another puzzled look—”But I really didn’t do anything?”
The host’s tone was both ambiguous and teasing. “Oh—I thought that you guys had secretly practised for this, but it turns out that you guys were cheating by communicating with your eyes?”
The audience uniformly chimed in, “Ooh—”
Me: ? No, wait, Host, don’t come and add to my troubles. The teacup in my heart is already about to shatter?!!
Blinking, I laughed it off. “Hahahaha, it’s only a coincidence.”
Smiling, Gu Yiliang wrapped an arm around my shoulders. “Yes, it’s like that when we have a tacit understanding of each other.”
Me: ? No, wait, I think right now, we have no tacit understanding at all?!
Anxiously, I tugged at Gu Yiliang’s clothes before abruptly stopping what I was doing.
No, hold on, it must be because I had a guilty conscience, and that’s why I felt that our degree of fanservice was overboard! Standing in the audience’s shoes and looking at this objectively, there was nothing wrong, right?!
There were still quite a few more rounds coming up. We should dim our brightness, hide our lights, and work together to highlight the male and female movie leads. After selling that well, when we return back to being out of sight from the cameras, we can share whatever tacit understanding we want, and be as sweet as we want to be.
In the span of a breath, I adjusted my mental state, pouring out another cup of hot tea again in my heart.
However, while I was pouring out a cup of tea dazedly, the hosts had already finished introducing the next game.
The gist was that the show had prepared a few short scenes, and we would be drawing lots and acting the scenes out live so as to be able to openly “behave flirtatiously” and to also sell our acting skills.
To my knowledge, the scenes prepared were basically things like melodramatic feuds of rich people, love stories where a domineering CEO fell in love with a sweet, young thing, ancient Chinese stories with enemies on the paths of good and evil and yet in love, or passionate, youthful innocent campus stories.
I wasn’t the one panicking. In any case, no matter which scene I drew, my acting skills were already at the bottom of the barrel. I would definitely be able to allow the male and female movie leads to shine brightly!
Host: “Come on, come on, get ready to draw a lot! It’s time to put your acting skills to the test! Ah, Yanyan, it’s your chance to prove yourself in front of the audience now~”
My eyes curving in a smile, I accepted a few of the jabs, rubbing my hands in enthusiasm.
How else could I have been reincarnated as lao-Huang’s son? My luck had always been blessed by the heavens. Basically, as long as I wanted to draw a certain thing, I had never failed before.
I secretly started planning if I should pick the Mrs. Rich Man version of Gu Yiliang, or the sweet young thing version of Gu Yiliang, or…
I turned to ask Gu Yiliang, “Which one do you want—”
Before I could finish my sentence, he had already reached out and drawn one card.
Me: ? Whatever happened to our tacit understanding?
Host: “Ok, come, let me take a look… The movie stars got the fight scene between the good and the evil, the young, fierce pups got the melodramatic rich family script, and as for xiao-Gu and Yanyan—”
Host: “Wow, this is very interesting. Do you guys know what ‘CP’ means?”
I had a bad feeling about this.
Simultaneously, Gu Yiliang and I shook our heads together, as well as putting on an earnestly studious expression as though we were awaiting enlightenment. At the same time, we recited, “I don’t know. What’s that?”
The hosts turned back to the audience, explained to them what ‘CP’ meant, then turned back to us.
Host: “On the internet, there’s a group like this—”
The bad feeling was getting even stronger. What was I supposed to do?
Host: “For your ‘CP’, your fans created quite a number of literary works—”
Host: “Haha! That’s right! What your team has drawn is… ‘fanfiction’!”
Producer! Is the producer here?!! Is it too late for me to refuse to film?!!
It was as though the heavens had heard my pleas. A host reached up and adjusted their hair, imperceptibly tapping on their ear mic.
A face full of hope, I gazed at the host.
The host gave me a quick smile before they turned and said to everyone, “If the scene’s to be acted out according to the script, it might be a little lacking in meaning. As such, the production team added a special note, requesting for you to improvise as you want during the acting process, and to tell the other something along the lines of of a romantic but clichéd trope—”
Me: ? How exactly would this be more meaningful?! No, wait, why isn’t this variety show behaving like it’s a top variety program!?!
The background music swelled sorrowfully. There was hatred in the male movie lead’s eyes, but within that loathing gaze was a subtle quiver, and his voice was low and hurt. “You—really want to kill me?”
The female movie lead had an evil expression on her face, but her fair hand was shaking slightly. She clenched her jaws, and a coldly gleaming longsword rested on the man’s neck, the blade trembling. “Yes!”
The male movie lead gritted his teeth. “Great, great, great! Then, do it!”
The female movie lead swung her sword, and the sharp sound sliced through the air. The male movie lead fell heavily onto the ground, gasping for air weakly, “…… I-in the end, it’s all a mistake… Now that we’re here, I still want to tell you… Eye… loaf… ewe…”
The female movie lead was stunned. Her longsword clattered to the ground, and she lunged onto the male movie lead. “Why didn’t you tell me earlier?! Why?! Eye loaf ewe! Eye loaf ewe too!!”
The background music rose overwhelmingly. The older wolfhound sat on the couch, straightening his sleeves in an unconcerned manner. “Didi, do—you know why I called you here?”
The younger wolfhound had his fists clenched so tight that his knuckles were white. A look of naivety and incomprehension on his face, he tilted his head, looking at the other man.
The older wolfhound tugged at his tie, snorting as he said gravely, “There’s no need to pretend anymore. As for the little things you were doing behind my back, I’ve known about them for a long time already.”
The younger wolfhound continued looking at him with incomprehension, and not drawing any attention to his actions, he put his hands in his pockets. “Gege, w-what are you saying? Why don’t I understand anything?”
The older wolfhound shot to his feet, grabbing hold of the younger wolfhound’s collar. “That piece! Why did you have to take that piece?!”
Panic started to finally appear in the younger wolfhound’s eyes, and his breathing too became rather chaotic. “W-what piece…?”
The older wolfhound let him go, drawing a finger across his collar and giving a small smile. “A piece of my heart.”
Producer, is the producer around? Is it too late for me to refuse to film?
Finally, it was our turn.
That thin piece of paper with the fanfiction printed on it had been placed in Gu Yiliang and my hands. It! Weighed! Like! A! Thousand! Pieces! Of! Gold!
I gripped that piece of paper like I was gripping onto Gu Yiliang and my future that seemed as thin as a cicada’s wing. Would it be able to endure such a blow?!
Host: “Haha, you don’t have to worry. When the show was selecting the work it would use, we had gotten the author’s permission…”
Oh? So you guys were actually so mindful of copyrights? Should I give you a round of applause? My eyes drifted down onto the paper—
No, wait, why is it you again, WilLiam?!
Looking at this piece of vintage fluff, I felt waves crashing wildly upon my heart.
Gu Yiliang meticulously finished reading every word. He gave a dull chuckle, then patted me on my shoulder. “Then, we’ll start?”
“Uhh… Oh.”In a daze, I returned that piece of paper to the hosts.
Gu Yiliang looked at me curiously. “You didn’t read it thoroughly. Do you remember the details?”
I already read this fanfic a long time ago!! Due to having a reader’s block, I even read it quite a few times!!
Wasn’t this section just about us having had a mutual crush on each other for a long time, then, at work, we came across each other at the turn of a corridor, our eyes met and sparks flew?! It was a plot of love just around the corner!!
“That’s because I have a good memory,” I laughed. “Let’s start, let’s start.”
The background music was Truth Is Real. I fell into his arms, and Gu Yiliang had me in a half-embrace. His head lowered, his eyes met mine, and a warm, gentle wave washed into my heart. “… You’re not hurt anyway, right?”
Aren’t we acting?! Why is this so serious?!! The look in his eyes is way too touching!!
I looked up at him, red flushing all the way to my eyes. In a trance, I nodded before realising what he was asking and then quickly shook my head.
Giving a small smile, he pinched the tip of my nose. “Why are you so careless, hm…”
My god, I only just realised that WilLiam had added this particular line right here!!
Timidly, I answered, “S-sorry… Did I knock into you too hard?”
A smile in his voice, he said softly, “If I said—you knocked straight into my heart, would that be a little too rude?”
WilLiam, what sort of things did you write?! Wasn’t this supposed to be a game of clichés?!
My eyes widening abruptly, I looked at him with what seemed like disbelief. “… You, I- I…”
He was still hugging me, and looking into my eyes, it was like he had read a confirmation in them. The corners of his lips raised up, and he tightened his arm, dragging me further into his embrace. “You—share my thoughts, don’t you? You and me…”
Our hearts as one, from one world1. What sort of lines are these?! Are we not at the cliché part yet?!!
Unable to help myself, I grabbed onto his lapels, my other hand sliding around his waist, and with my eyelashes trembling slightly, I said, “Right, w-we, I also want… ‘Us’…”
The hosts cupped their hands around their mouths. “Clichés! Clichés! Why are we not feeling the clichés here?!”
Because all your senses are failing you?! The clichés here are about to flood the entire studio, all right?!
I looked at Gu Yiliang, and he also looked back at me. Quietly, the two of us hugged each other on centre stage, neither of us mentioning anything about the cliché.
Actually, just hugging like this was pretty nice…
No, wait, the main issue was that we really couldn’t come up with anything!
Host: “Hey, are the two of you pretending to come up with sweet nothings just to continue hugging each other for a while more—”
I gritted my teeth. “D-do you know why I’m called William?”
Gu Yiliang: “Hmm?”
With great difficulty, I said, “B-because you’re called Liam, so I’m Will-liam. I will have you, I will want you, I will need you…”
Host: “Wait, wait, wait, what? That’s not right. When you put will and Liam together, there’s supposed to be one more L, isn’t it? It doesn’t count if it doesn’t work!”
No, wait, hosts, were you purposely hired by the show to come and dig us into a hole?!
Pursing my lips, I glanced at Gu Yiliang.
Gu Yiliang smiled lightly, patting me on the head as though he was still in the act.”… That extra ‘L’ represents our ‘LOVE’—”
Expert! The true king! The top player!
You’re still the cheesiest of them all!