Edited by Isalee
We were really were among a crowded audience speaking of our hidden love to the utmost—
Because of Gu Yiliang’s clichéd words of romance, I was left in a trance. At the same time, I felt that in this very second, if the show made us marry each other on this resplendent stage, in front of all these witnesses, I would not hesitate in the slightest.
His eyes were really beautiful. Were they an ocean? How could they contain such deep emotions?
The shape of his lips was really beautiful. Were they little yachts? How could they carry such a solid and heavy warmth on them?
His voice was really pleasant to the ears. Was he a siren? How could he say such romantic clichés and still be so intoxicating?
It felt like I was on a boat, tossing and turning within the swells!
These stormy waves were too big!
Analogies ran through my head non-stop. I was standing there, frozen for too long, and so I was dragged to the side by a smiling host. “And people actually say that Yanyan’s bad at acting. I’m almost about believe in the act already—”
Me: ? Who was the one over there shouting to experience some romantic clichés just now??
Host, “So how? This should be Yanyan’s first time acting out a fanfiction about himself, right? How do you feel about it? Did your heart skip a beat?”
No, wait, who in the world would go and act out fanfiction written about themselves?
—However, to be fair, although this was the first time we had acted out any fanfiction, in private, we were even more like a fanfiction couple than fanfiction…
The cameras were still filming, and so I smiled, avoiding the topic as I said, “Haha, Gu-ge‘s acting has always been excellent. Acting with him, I’m always—”
Unexpectedly, the host interrupted me. “—What? Wanting kisses from the man that made your heart skip a beat?”
Me: “? No. I was saying—”
Host: “Kissing?! Kisses?!”
Host 2: “Eh? Yanyan wants kisses? What a coincidence that we’ve prepared a little plate here for fake kissing—”
No, wait, hosts! Aren’t you guys from Hunan? Why are you stealing tropes from Tieling? You’re even acting in accord with each other?!
No, wait, why is there still fake kissing in this variety show?! Isn’t this something from the last century?! Is it getting revitalised?!
Are you guys trying to kill me here?!
Host: “Ahem! All right, this is actually the punishment. Although both your acting just now was perfect, your cliché didn’t reach its mark. It wasn’t cheesy enough, and it was even quite awkward, so…”
Me: ? Who was the one who decided the standard?! The script never mentioned this?! For ratings, you guys were willing to sacrifice my life, no?!
Gu Yiliang’s lips were in the shape of a crescent, and he placidly said, “Oh, is that so? Then fine, ahh…”
Me: ? Who allowed you to think that it was fine? Why did your sigh carry a smile within it? Why did you even look quite happy about it?
I exaggerated my actions deliberately, reaching out to hit him. “Hey, no way! This is my first onscreen kiss! Where’s the management company? Management company—”
I was desperately reminding the crowd that we did belong to an artiste management company.
Turning a deaf ear, the hosts handed the heart-shaped plastic film board over to Gu Yiliang while laughing. “Wow, Yanyan’s already blushing. Is xiao-Gu that fatally attractive?”
Gu Yiliang shrugged, accepting the board with one hand and grabbing my flailing wrist with the other without even looking at me. “What can I do? He’s just like that, always so shy.”
Before I could even type out the ellipses in my heart, he took that board and held it right in front of my face. Holding my wrist uncompromisingly, he pressed his lips right up against the board.
The plastic sheet was so thin that it felt non-existent, as though it wasn’t there at all. A familiar pair of soft lips pressed against mine, and in an instant, all colours in the rest of the world disappeared.
The whooping and cheering audience, the hosts that were reading jokes off the cards, the other two CPs that were patting their chests congratulating themselves for having dodged a bullet, the Niangzi Army that might be screaming behind their computers, the anti-fans that were having heart attacks… They all faded away, transforming into smoke and clouds.
I was only able to see Gu Yiliang’s eyes, carrying in them a dauntless smile.
I realised that Gu Yiliang really wasn’t afraid.
Whether it was getting discovered by others when we went to watch a movie together, or our various interactions on social media, even accepting such punishments that were meant to make headlines on variety shows, compared to me who was forcing myself to drink tea with a guilty conscience, he was so open and frank that it was basically as though that person who woke me up in the morning and urged me out of the bed to catch the flight wasn’t him.
Was it his acting that was too good, or did he feel that even if there was something between us, it was something honest and decent, and there was no need to hide or conceal it, so he was extra calm?
I didn’t know. I never knew whatever was hidden within his eyes.
Other than an emotion called “like”, this was the only point that was beyond doubt.
As they say, things change direction when they hit their limits.
People, when their emotions reach their peak, they would instead calm down.
Just like me at this very moment and place.
This unworthy world, this gay and purple mortal realm, I’ve seen through it all.
Life is too short. We should bend and bask, doing “fanservice” to our heart’s delight, and victory will always come. I thoroughly comprehend it now, I’ve been enlightened.
I didn’t keep on thinking about drinking tea anymore. Now, I sat up straight on the lotus bloom seat, enjoying myself.
“It’s been ten seconds already!” Wiping my mouth, I pushed Gu Yiliang away. “Male lead and older wolfhound, stop laughing! Keep that board! We’ll definitely not lose in the upcoming rounds!”
Laughing, Gu Yiliang ruffled my hair. “Eh? You’re so full of fighting spirit.”
Did he even need to say that? We were the real stuff right here but faking to be nothing, while they’re faking to be real in front of the cameras. If we can still lose, then we should just break up.
In the most basic sense, weren’t we just competing in distributing fluff? Fluff! All the fluff! Maximum amounts of fluff!
The Niangzi Army in front of their screens right now! You’re in luck!
I’ll bless you with a willow leaf and Guanyin’s vase, and let you all know what it means to experience an equal distribution of benefits!
As such, in the next rounds.
When the hosts were talking, Gu Yiliang and I were looking at each other and smiling. Our lips were curved and our eyelashes were trembling, and our gazes intertwined.
During the round where we were asked to spill secrets about each other, knowing each other’s backgrounds thoroughly, we had the perfect balance, and our every action screamed tacit understanding.
While waiting for the spotlight to be on us, we were continuously playing around. He would wrap his arm around my shoulders, while I would pinch his waist.
When the spotlight was on us, our bodies were touching constantly, and we were helping each other, aiding each other, touching each other and supporting each other. We were in each other’s pocket the whole time that there was no room for any other people to perform.
After the round, he smiled and very naturally wiped away the thin layer of sweat on my temples, while I smiled slyly as I tapped on the back of his hand to show my gratitude.
During the truth or dare segment, each time I picked truth, I would say something that was laden with ambiguous meaning, and when I picked dare, I went all out with no restraint.
I was asked to lift him, but I still wasn’t able to do it, and in the end I settled the matter by picking him up in a princess carry. He laughed as he shared with everyone about our old bet, and gracefully, he called me Gu Yanzi.
Others came to add fuel to the flames. The younger wolfhound improvised, singing a section from Jacky Cheung’s Your First Name, My Last Name, to tease the crowd, while the older wolfhound harmonised along with him in an off-key manner.
We really did not waste a single second. Every frame, every sound, we attached meaning to them, and the entire screen was filled with the word “Niangzi”!
It was still the truth or dare segment, and Gu Yiliang was dared to show his Wechat contact list. Under the eyes of everyone, “Your Baby Wei Yanzi”, the nickname he established for me, was extremely eye-catching among all the other properly written names.
The hosts immediately whooped and cheered, saying that it was too amazing, and that oops, they accidentally dug something out.
To be honest, even I was stunned. Why did I not know that this was the nickname he established for me?
Furthermore, before going onto variety shows, even I would make a special effort to tidy up the contents of my phone. Was he such a careless person?
Was this coming out of the closet together after being caught off-guard?
Gu Yiliang laughed nonchalantly, smiling as he explained that he was cosplaying as a member of the Super Fan Club. Then, looking straight at the camera, he succinctly advocated and promoted the Super Fan Club app.
I was even more stunned. Why did he…Why did it seem as though he came fully prepared?
So, that day… When I subscribed to his Super Fan Club, he still saw it?
He even took the opportunity to turn it into an avenue of promotion?
This person really had too many tricks up his sleeves!!
The older wolfhound cupped his hands in respect. “You two have gone all out.”
The younger wolfhound nodded. “Really.”
The older wolfhound swung his arm out. “We’ve lost. We really can’t win this round, truly.”
The younger wolfhound cupped his hands in salute. “We willingly admit our defeat.”
Me: ? No, wait, I feel like the way you guys are talking, your sentences work off each other’s, you guys share quite a tacit understanding as well, and you’re quite compatible too?
The older wolfhound threw an arm around Gu Yiliang’s shoulders. “Gu-ge, how about we negotiate a deal here? Why don’t we switch for this round? Give me Yanyan, and I’ll give you this dumb wolfhound. Otherwise, I really can’t prop him up on this show.”
The younger wolfhound pursed his lips and widened his eyes. A hand covering his heart, he pointed, his fingers trembling, at him. “Y-y-y-you—”
Smiling, Gu Yiliang hid me behind him. “No way, Yanyan is mine.”
I meeped quietly in my heart to express my affection, but outwardly, I rolled my eyes at him. Taking the guitar that the hosts handed over, I shoved it at him. “Enough, enough, don’t waste any more time! Hurry up and learn this!”
The time limit was 15 minutes. The female lead needed to teach the clumsy male lead a folk dance, the younger wolfhound needed to teach the tone-deaf older wolfhound to sing, and I needed to teach Gu Yiliang, who didn’t know anything about music, to play the guitar.
—It was really difficult to say which team had the task with the highest difficulty.
The other two teams all started to go to work. Under the hosts’ egging, the BG CP were holding onto each other’s waists. With the hosts spurring them on, the BL CP was now doing a duet of a love song, and pink, romantic bubbles were surrounding them.
Me: “Is there anyone who holds the guitar like you? You look like you’re holding a pipa instead!”
Gu Yiliang changed his position.
Me, “You’re basically holding a pipa on the reverse side now—no, wait, are you getting ready to ascend to the heavens or what?”
Gu Yiliang changed his position.
Me: “You got it the wrong way, the wrong way! Your left hand should be pressing on the strings!”
Gu Yiliang didn’t move.
I leaned over, fiddling about within his arms for a while to help him hold the guitar correctly, then tugging his hand and placing it on the strings. “You never played a guitar before, but you’ve never seen others play—”
Me: “Did you do that on purpose.”
Quietly chuckling into my ear, he reached out and adjusted my arm.
The hosts who had eyes all over their heads joked, “Xiao-Gu, we’re asking you to let Yanyan teach you how to play the guitar, not how to play him. What are you guys doing?”
Gu Yiliang: “Playing…?”
Me: “—The guitar!”
Me: “Do you know how to finger the guitar?”
Him: “I don’t.”
Me: “Do you know how to strum the guitar?”
Him: “I don’t.”
Me: “Come come come, give me the guitar, I’ll demonstrate it for you.”
Me: “Do you get it now?”
Him: “I don’t.”
Me: “…… Carry the guitar properly. Yes, put your index finger there, shift your middle finger one section down…”
He blinked. “I don’t understand.”
Me: “How about this? Maintain this position and place your hands there—I’ll hold your hand and teach you step by step, all right?!”
Half-kneeling in front of him, I picked his fingers one by one and placed them in the correct position, then I pulled his other hand and used it to strum across the strings twice. “Ok, this is F minor—”
Smiling, he pinched the tip of my finger. “F minor 7, right? And the finger position is T132? You’re going to teach me Mayday’s Embrace?”
You’re really a smart kid, huh?!
My voice threatening but quiet, I asked him, “You know how to play the guitar? You lied to the production team? You cheater! I’m going to expose you! I’m going to tattle to the teacher!”
With an innocent look on his face, he said, “I really don’t know… It’s just that I looked through an online tutorial once before, and so I still remember a little.”
Me: “Huh? Why were you looking at a guitar tutorial?”
Me: “…… Oh, you wanted…”
Him: “…… This song’s at the foundation level.”
I couldn’t hide the delight on my face at all. “All right all right, I’m not going to ask anymore! Hurry up and learn!”
I was still waiting to eat claypot porridge after the filming was over.
This song was simple. Four chords, two beats, one fingering method, strumming, and one could play the song. I borrowed a piece of paper and drew out a music score for him, and after demonstrating it once, he was able to stumble, stagger, and limp his way through with many mistakes and misses.
Putting aside whether his melody was pleasant to the ears, just focusing on how he was solemnly playing the guitar, his head bent low, it couldn’t be solely described as just being visually pleasing.
Fortunately, this coincidence had allowed me to teach him how to play this song on the show first, and he did not get the opportunity to secretly learn it and use it to coax me. Otherwise, I was afraid I would truly die as a cause of his flirtations.
He turned around, glancing at the other two teams who were progressing nicely, and then he strummed a couple of times dejectedly. “The guitar is so difficult—”
I duly encouraged him. “You’re already learning very quickly, and there’s still time. Practise a couple more times, and if we lose, it’s fine. In any case, the punishment—”
His eyes brightened.
Me: “You’re not allowed to lose deliberately! No, not allowed!”
It had to be said that, looking at the extremely uncoordinated male lead and the flexible female lead who had training dancing closely with each other, it was really quite entertaining. The female lead kept the male lead at arm’s length, and he tried many times to catch her, but always failed—it felt a little like watching a game of cat and mouse.
The wolfhounds’ duet was not lacking in entertainment value either. It was clearly a love song, but they managed to make it sound like a revolutionary opera. The older wolfhound clearly had his own unique concept about singing, and he also had a special singing ability. The younger wolfhound tried his hardest and still was not able to pull his out-of-the-world wails back on track. After the song was over, he immediately lunged onto him, angrily pummeling him all over, and that caused the females in the audience to all howl and cheer.
Our peers were already going all out to serve as a foil already. When it came to Gu Yiliang, I gazed at him with high hopes and patted him on the shoulder.
The host: “Eh? Yanyan has to perform as well.”
The host: “Of course you need to perform together. You’re a group, a team, so you must have team spirit, get it?”
Me: “Then I’ll…… be the background dancer for him? Do you have a fan or something I can use as a prop? Or shall I pretend to be a peacock? Or shall I do a yangge1 dance?”
The host: “……”
The host: “Yanyan really doesn’t hold himself like an idol at all, hahaha.”
The host: “Of course you’ll need to sing! Don’t be scared. Just look at the older wolfhound, daringly singing like this despite his voice. Come come come, face the audience—”
No, wait, the main thing was that I had promised Gu Yiliang that I would only sing for him?
Just look, just look, Gu Yiliang’s looking over unhappily already!
Breaking a lover’s promise, how could I go on to accomplish anything?!
I thought for a bit. “All right.”
Huffing and puffing, I moved a little stool over to Gu Yiliang’s side. The next second, I sat down on it, turning to look at him. “Let’s start, let’s start.”
He froze for a moment, then with a curve of his lips, he started playing the prelude.
Reality proved that fifteen minutes wasn’t enough to learn to play a song properly on the guitar. Gu Yiliang’s eyes weren’t on the score at all. He was strumming wildly on the strings, almost about to create a completely new melody, and only the rhythm could barely be considered to be correct.
This was truly a trial, just like playing the melody of an international song while forcing you to sing the opera song The Drunken Concubine.
I decided to just switch off my brain, ignore his playing, and treat it as though I was singing to him without any music accompaniment.
Periodically pretending to be guiding him, I would shift my fingers as though I was reminding him about what to do with them with a slight wrinkle in my brow. The entire time, my eyes were openly glued to him.
The smile on his face gradually deepened, and as he played his newly created melody extremely gently, he returned my gaze as well.
Who’ll, love me, hold my hands tightly, hug me, kiss me, oh—Love, don’t leave.
The younger wolfhound seemed to be praising me for my good singing, the older wolfhound seemed to be praising how well we worked together, the hosts seemed to be praising Gu Yiliang for being a quick learner, and the male and female leads seemed to be cueing them about their new movie that they were going to start filming.
Everything I heard seemed so dreamlike.
I could only see Gu Yiliang as he strummed the last note, and after that, he turned his face away, hiding from the cameras. With a smile, he soundlessly mouthed at me—
“I’m not leaving.”