I woke up to find I have a child - Chapter 25
Even though Han Feixu had used a Shandong accent, the customer still walked past them blindly. The first transaction was a failure and Han Feixu’s eyes continued to follow the customer the entire time. Only after the customer bought two loaves of bread and then left did she finally lower her eyes and straighten her apron.
With no one else around, Nie Kaiyuan could finally ask her, “Why did you use a Shandong accent when you called out earlier?”
“I asked earlier and apparently the boss’ wife is from Shandong. Aren’t I the lady boss’ niece? The daughter of one of her cousins? Since I’ve just come from my hometown, naturally I have to speak with a Shandong accent.”
The show had asked them to pretend to be a variety of low-level characters. Such as migrant workers, small-scale farmers, counterfeit medicine dealers, and beggars. These people are those at the bottom of the society or outcasts shunned by society. The show was not trying to test them on their business ability, but their ability to shape their identities and immerse themselves into their roles. Although most supporting roles often only had one or two lines, just these two lines are enough to establish the character of the supporting roles.
And knowing the right lines is an important skill that takes actors many years to perfect.
An excellent actor doesn’t ‘act’, instead they jump straight into the role and are able to assume their character’s personality, temperament, etc, perfectly. Even if they have a recognizable face like Yuan Jize’s, people will not be able to tell it was him. Instead, they will simply be amazed for a second and say, ‘wow that worker looks so much like Yuan Jize’ before moving on.
This is the reason why the program team brought them out to sell things.
Nie Kieyuan nodded his head earnestly as he held a big kitchen knife in his hands, “It seems girls are still more attentive of the details. I need to learn from you.”
Han Feixu smiled, but said nothing.
The next few hours were rather quiet and very few customers passed by. It wasn’t until around 11 o’clock that the market started to become more lively. This shop has been open for about two years now and has a fixed rate of regular customers. The program crew didn’t make things too difficult and assigned to them the average amount the roast duck owner would usually sell.
After all, the true purpose of this round was not for them to actually work like menial laborers and working girls but to get the actors to play the roles of said laborers.
Today is a Tuesday so the customer flow is not as overwhelming as it usually is on the weekends. The market is also located in a residential area with no office buildings nor business districts next to it. So most of the customers who came to buy roast ducks were old grandpas and autines and a few housewives here and there. Han Feixu and Nie Kaiyuan worked busily for the midday rush and there were some small mistakes made during the work in the middle, but in the end, the important thing was that no one recognized them.
During this period, an old auntie kept making conversation with Nie Kaiyuan. She asked him how old he was, where he lived, and if he had a partner or not. Nie Kaiyuan answered honestly and said no. The old woman than acted like she had found a nugget of gold and leaned over the window sill as she eagerly talked for another ten minutes
Meanwhile, Han Feixu stood to the side and eagerly watched the excitement.
Nie Kaiyuan debuted quite early and became popular from the get go all the way till now. He is a part of the strong and masuline faction of celebrities and not like the usual fresh-faced idols his age. Of course, he couldn’t become an idol if he wanted too since his physique was just not suitable for it = =
The old woman enthusiastically said to him, “From a glance, I can tell that with your body if you just stand idly in a courtyard there will be many girls flocking towards you. You don’t even have to speak! There are many young girls of age at our place, why don’t I introduce you to one?”
Nie Kaiyuan quickly declined her offer but this only made the old woman amused, “Don’t be bashful! Just look at how handsome you are! I think you look especially like a handsome celebrity. Ai, what was that anti-Japanese war drama that aired last month called? There was this little team captain in that film that I think looked very much like you….”
When Nie Kaiyuan heard the old woman say this, he broke out into a cold sweat. Last month he had just finished playing in an anti-Japanese war film that finished airing last month. He was the second male lead in it, in other words, the little team captain who sacrificed his life and died heroically in the end.
His heart was full of anxiety and taking advantage of the fact that the shop was busy, he hurriedly yelled out, “Auntie, I won’t bother you anymore. The owner already said he would introduce someone to me.”
When he said this, he started to act a little shy, blushing a little as he glanced at Han Feixu, who was happily eating melon seeds on the side, from time to time. The old woman was a regular at buying roast duck here and had already inquired about the two identities of these two strangers when she discovered them. So when she followed Nie Kaiyuan’s gaze, the thoughts in the old woman’s heart turned and she quickly understood.
“Hai! What a waste of all this trouble!”
Han Feixu: “?????”
The matchmaking was not successful so the old woman quickly left. After the midday rush, they calculated the total and found they had only sold eight and a half roast ducks. They sold a lot of fresh and pickled vegetables, but adding it all up they only reached about 600 yuan, which was far away from their goal of 5000.
The program team had told them that they had to use their own money to buy their three meals a day. Han Feixu stared silently at the oiled ducks hanging on the hooks outside, but in the end, resisted her temptation to eat the delicious food.
Not only did she withstand thsi torture, she also helped her comrade withstand it, “Before I arrived, I brought a suitcase full of snacks with me, enough to eat for several days. Let’s save on lunch and take out some snacks to eat instead when we get back to the hotel.”
For an actor, skipping out on a meal or two is nothing, but the pain of ‘look but don’t eat’ was just too agonizing.
The market closes at 7:30 and from four in the afternoon and onwards, especially around 5-6, there were a lot of customers. About seven to eight people were constantly gathered at the front window and Han Feixu had to remember who ordered first and who ordered later so she didn’t make a mistake. Also had to remember who ordered what and not miscalculate the receipts. Some customers acted arrogantly, like they were buying a house instead of a roast duck, and some customers got angry at the employees when they had to wait too long. Han Feixu had to endure all of this, for if she didn’t and started arguing then she would earn even less than she already was.
Sometimes though, Han Feixu really wanted to break out into a Wu dialect* and scold all these arrogant customers until they ran home with their tail between their legs. (T/N: Wu dialect includes a multitude of dialects but most notably the Shanghainese dialect that uses a lot of swear words.)
At 7:30, Han Feixu and Nie Kaiyuan returned to the hotel. Nie Kaiyuan made it out alright, but her legs were sore from standing all day and after not eating anything all day, she wanted to just collapse right there.
In front of the camera, Han Feixu could only whine a little, but at the same time she couldn’t not complain and waste out on this precious opportunity to earn the audience’s sympathy.
After returning to the hotel, they just had to take some bedtime routine shots and then they would be finished up for the day and go to sleep.
After getting out of the car, Han Feixu and Nie Kaiyuan were waiting in front of the elevator, when two people walked up beside them. Han Feixu glanced to the side casually and then stopped to take another look.
Han Feixu looked at them twice and couldn’t recover from the shock. A second later, her eyes widened suddenly, “Chi Qiu?!!!”
Nie Kaiyuan also turned around after hearing her words and then saw that Chi Qiu and Zhang Tonghui were next to them. What he saw made him laugh ungraciously, “Hahahahaha!”
Chi Qiu wore an extremely cheap outfit, roughly around ten yuan from the looks of it. She wore a red flower-print trouser with a long top that came all the way to her butt and a thin looking fabric wrapped around her shoulders. Her trousers were also cropped and her legs were exposed to reveal a faint layer of gray on her skin. Even Chi Qiu’s hair was now covered in some kind of gray substance.
She also wore a pair of sunglasses she got from who knows where. While wearing the sunglasses, she moved around slowly like an old lady. When she saw Han Feixu and Nie Kaiyuan’s state of dress she took off her sunglasses in shock and wanted to take a closer look. However, that only resulted in her drawing another round of laughter from the roast duck duo.
Have you seen Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before? Usually, the turtles wore a blindfold with holes for eyes over their green faces and created quite a nice contrast in colors.
Similarly, Chi Qiu, had a gray face but in the place where she wore her glasses was her original fair and white skin that created quite a funny looking contrast* on her face. (T/N: Kinda like a sunglasses tan→ pic here)
And after hearing their laughter, Chi Qiu’s face really did start to turn green = =
Han Feixu and the others didn’t laugh for too long, only for about half a minute, and then they remembered about their own situation and couldn’t laugh anymore.
They are all people who have the same kind of misfortune…
Once she was back in her room, Han Feixu quickly finished the last few shots and then sneakily pulled out her suitcase after the cameraman left. Not long after, her partner also came over with two little tails following him.
When Chi Qiu and Zhang Hao came running in behind Nie Kaiyuan, they didn’t even look at the person living in this room and immediately went towards the snacks. They didn’t even bother finding a place to sit down, after all everyone was quite exhausted from today’s activities, and they sat directly on the ground as they started eating without saying a word.
For a while, only the rustling sounds of various snack packaging bags could be heard in the room as well as the sounds of desperate chewing.
After ten minutes of silence, everyone regained most of their energy and Zhang Hao was the first to complain, “I will never come to participate in another of Director Jiang’s shows again!”
Chi Qiu looked like she had gone through all the ups and downs of life as she said, “Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t want to say rude things about others, but today I can’t not say rude things! Skin-Flayer Jiang….that nickname is really well-deserved!”
Nie Kaiyuan finished a bag of cookies in two to three bites, “I thought it wasn’t too bad.”
Han Feixu didn’t speak. Although she was tired, she was pretty much fine. After all, they just stood there and sold some roast duck.
The other two looked at Nie Kaiyuan speechlessly, and soon began to violently rage against Nie Kaiyuan’s ‘let them eat cake’ attitude.
Zhang Hao: “You go and try to sell rice for a day! I had to ride a bike and carry 500kg of rice! Do you have any idea how much is 500kg of rice? Rounded up, it’s about the same as carrying 6.3 clones of you!”
Nie Kaiyuan: “….How many times have I said it, don’t use me as a unit of measurement!”
Chi Qiu: “Selling rice? Haha, I would sell anything, even air at this point! Do you know how hard it is to be a beggar? Being tired is one thing, but the rolling eyes and disgusted looks of people passing by is worse! I am obviously not a beggar and when people actually gave me money, I wanted to dig myself into a hole on the ground!
Zhang Hao: “And everytime I think about selling rice again tomorrow, I get a huge headache. Also, my partner’s acting is just too much! Every time a customer comes up, she will give them some kind of sad yet beautiful story. Please, people are just here to buy rice! All of them are old men and women who have experienced the wind and rain of life, who would want to listen to her waxing tragic stories!”
Zhang Hao’s partner is Lu Ersi and when he talked about Lu Ersi, Chi Qiu laughed happily at his misfortune, “Whose fault was it for you to be so unlucky and draw her from the lottery?”
Zhang Hao: “…..Did I even get to draw? I was just stuck together with whoever was left.”
Han Feixu held a bag of seaweed as she remembered what happened that morning, “I ran into Lu Ersi when I came out this morning. She was very spirited, and loudly called me Feixu-jiejie.”
Han Feixu is similarly an outgoing person, but doesn’t like it when others try to be overly friendly with her. There is a feeling of them trying to flatter her when they act like that, but Lu Ersi was not trying to flatter her, more like…how to put it….as if she was acting for someone. In Zhang Hao’s own words, she was just trying too hard.
Chi Qiu regards Zhang Hao and Nie Kaiyuan as her people so she said quite straightforwardly, “Lu Ersi had a bad reputation in the entertainment industry. She is someone who loves to steal the show but her acting skills are not that great and tends to overpower the other party to death with her acting. Which leads to her always being criticized by the director.”
Such an actor may have some popularity as a spectacle but not so much personally.
Zhang Hao seconded her words and Han Feixu opened her mouth to say something when her phone vibrated. She grabbed her phone from on top of her bed and found that Ye Mingxin had sent her a WeChat message.
【Ye Mingxin: Come down for a minute.】
Han Feixu blinked and quickly stood up, “I’m going out for a bit, you guys enjoy your food.”
She left quickly after speaking and Zhang Hao raised his head in confusion before asking Chi Qiu, “What is she going out to do?”
Chi Qiu picked up a slice of potato chips, and said in a sad tone: “Having someone dote* on you is so nice.”
Zhang Hao digested these words and then smiled in understanding.
Nie Kaiyuan dumbly watched the two of them talk in riddles and then elbowed Zhang Hao in the arm, “What do you guys mean? Who is hurt?*” (T/N: so homophones, 疼 means pain/hurt but it also means ‘to cherish, dote, love dearly’. Chi Qiu meant that it’s nice for someone to love you so dearly but Nie Kaiyuan thinks she meant the first definition of 疼, that someone is about to get hurt or is hurting.)
Zhang Hao slapped his elbow to the side, “This is an inside joke between us sisters, why is a talking 1.5 bags of rice trying to join in on our fun?”
…..Huh? What sisters?
Ye Mingxin’s car was stopped at the back door of the hotel and the car door was unlocked in advance by Lan Zhu, so Han Feixu easily got in when she came running out. The moment she entered the car, Han Feixu looked in shock at the small table piled high with hot food in front of her.
Ye Mingxin handed her a pair of ebony wood chopsticks, “From what Jiang Lingyan told me, you guys haven’t eaten much after shooting for a full day. You’re starving right? Come and enjoy some food. Eat slowly.”
Han Feixu took the chopsticks, and a whimpering sound came from her throat as she looked at the food, “Wooo….in the end, it’s you who treats me the best!”
In a moment of excitement she hugged Ye Mingxin, but before Ye Mingxin even had the time to enjoy it, they separated as Han Feixu quickly turned her head and ran towards the embrace of food instead.
Ye Mingxin stayed frozen in the same position for about two seconds before she laughed helplessly, “Eat slowly, no one is going to fight you for it.”
In the end, snacks are just snacks and not a proper substitute for meals. Most of the contestants didn’t know what the situation would be like the next day as they tightened their belts and their wallet purses in preparation. The only exceptions were Qi Qing and Han Yiren.
Qi Qing, this top student, was able to sell the fake medicine quite easily with his partner. They swindled a large group of old men and women so their mission was already completed. All of the money was made and so they could eat how they pleased.
Han Feixu was already half-full with all her snacks so although her stomach trembled crazily at first when she smelled the food, she only ate a few bites. Then a few bites later, she swept through the dishes like a tornado and practically inhaled the food.
After taking a sip of the soup, Han Feixu suddenly remembered something, “Did Yiyi make any trouble?”
She has spent some time with her child now and has learned that the seemingly cute little girl stuck at home was actually not so easy to take care of. Like all children, she will cry and throw tantrums. When the tantrums started, Han Feixu wanted to put the girl across her laps and discipline her, but she didn’t have the heart to do it and couldn’t bear to hurt her child. In fact, just raising her voice and yelling loudly at Yiyi would cause her heart to be in so much pain that she felt like she was going to die. After every scolding, she felt like some kind of child abuser.
Ye Mingxin grabbed a napkin from upfront and helped wipe Han Feixu’s fingers that were covered in shrimp oil. Once those jade-like fingers returned to their normal white, she replied, “No, she likes going to her great-grandfather’s house. Grandfather spoils her and although grandmother’s mind is muddled due to age, she still remembers to give all the good things to Yiyi. Every time she visits them, her little collection seems to double in size. Besides, her playmate is also there, so of course she would have more fun there than in her own home.”
Han Feixu blanked out for a moment. After searching the corners of her brain, she finally was able to pull up a vague memory of the name of the little boy with whom her daughter was friends.
She lowered her head again and continued to drink the soup, “That’s good, as long as she doesn’t make any trouble. Mom* is getting older, I’m afraid that if Yiyi causes any trouble it might cause her to faint from anger.” (T/N: Mom here is Ye Mingxin’s mom, not Han Feixu’s.)
Ye Mingxin smiled without meaning, “Don’t worry, with me setting the bar, even if Yiyi lifted the roof off the house, she will not get angry.”
Han Feixu didn’t understand what she meant, and asked Ye Mingxin.
Ye Mingxin simply raised her eyebrows lightly and subconsciously touched the jade bracelet on her wrist, “I was a….not very well-behaved child and very rebellious. I have done a lot of naive and stupid things to anger my parents.”
Han Feixu smiled, she liked listening to other people’s dark pasts. She moved from the table to sit next to Ye Mignxin and looked at her expectantly, “What did you do? Tell me, tell me.”
Her expectant expression made Ye Mingxin fall into a daze. When they had first met, Han Feixu would look at her like this with a certain sense of longing and admiration in her gaze. She would ask her all kinds of questions, even the most trivial things, as if she wanted to know everything about her past 22 years of life.
Ye Mingxin had once asked her why she wanted to know all these small things, but Han Feixu never answered her. Finally, after asking the same question several times, she finally gave in and reluctantly told her, “I want to be a part of every moment of your life, but that can only be possible if I take a time machine. So I’ll take what’s the next best alternative, getting to know your entire life instead.”
After hearing these words, Ye Mingxin did not sleep at all that night and only momentarily fell into a light sleep in the early morning. Even asleep the corners of her mouth were lifted up into a smile and showed how good of a mood she was in.
Recalling that past event, Ye Mingxin couldn’t help but laugh, “Little Xu, you…..”
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Standing outside the car, Jiang Lingyan saw that no one was opening the door for her so she shouted, “Open the door, it’s so hot out here!”
Han Feixu opened the door and Jiang Lingyan got in when she saw the food on the small table and laughed, “Yo, your appetite is not bad.”
Han Feixu felt embarrassed. This was considered eating food with her own money, which was something Jiang Lingyan had clearly forbidden. The contestants are not allowed to bring their own food in and the show’s employees are not allowed to give the actors food. These were the Skin-Flayer Jiang’s orders, so who would dare not listen to them?
Only Ye Mingxin dares…..= =
“Director Jiang! You two can talk slowly, I’m going back first. See you tomorrow.”
After she finished speaking, Han Feixu hurriedly got out of the car.
Once Han Feixu disappeared inside the hotel, Ye Mingxin turned her head back and looked at her childhood friend, “Jiang Lingyan, do you not have any eyes?”
Jiang Lingyan was fiddling with something on the storage shelf and after taking out what she needed, she looked at her with a baffled expression, “What’s wrong with me? Hey, didn’t you come to deliver a meal? I specially gave you two half an hour alone before getting in. What, did you two not finish the meal in half an hour?”
….Is eating the main point here? It’s what one does after eating that’s important!
While the two argued and chatted in the car, Han Feixu made her way upstairs alone. She didn’t take the elevator and took the stairs up to the third floor. As she walked in the barren stairwells, she thought about what Ye Mingxin had called her just now.
In their interactions, Ye Mingxin seldom used any terms of endearment with her. She had always just said things directly and only used her full name when mentioning her. Yet just now, she had called her ‘Little Xu”.
Only her parents and grandmother ever called her Little Xu.
Han Feixu stood on the far right side of the stairs, walking up slowly and her speed slowing down even more with these thoughts swirling in her heart.
She held herself against the wall with her right hand as she took the next step. After a long pause, she lowered her head and lightly chuckled.
She likes this nickname and whenever she thinks about it, she feels an unexplainable burst of happiness in her heart.
While Han Feixu’s next few steps now had a light bounce of excitement in them, the conversation in the car was not going well and went in the opposite direction.
Ye Mingxin: “Believe it or not, I will send Shen Sangluo all your annoying things for her to listen to!”
Jiang Lingyan: “Oh I believe you, but do you believe me when I say I will tell Han Feixu about everything that happened during your Chuunibyou days?!”
Ye Mingxin: “Are you trying to fight me to the bitter end?”
Jiang Lingyan: “Ha, come at me, let’s hurt one another then! We’ve both seen each other’s dark pasts, who is afraid of whom?”
Lan Zhu: “…..” My two big bosses, when you guys are fighting each other, can you not ignore me?
Looking at the two of them, Lan Zhu really was afraid that they would start telling the dark history of the two. She didn’t dare to listen to such forbidden knowledge and quickly slipped out of the car when the two of them weren’t paying attention.
When the sound of the door closing occurred, Jiang Lingyan paused, “Who went out just now?”
Ye Mingxin: “….” Such a big living being, did you really not see them = =
With Lan Zhu’s exit, she interrupted the two’s swapping of stories. Jiang Lingyan settled into her seat and then said blankly, “She’s ignoring me again.”
One did not need to ask who this ‘she’ is, since Ye Mingxin already knew.
She poured herself a cup of tea from the electric tea kettle and said, “Oh.”
“Oh? I’ve seeked you out to complain, and that’s all you say?”
Ye Mingxin’s pouring action stopped and she turned her head as she looked seriously into Jiang Lingyan’s eyes, “I see.”
Jiang Lingyan did not expect a decent response from the other and continued, “I called her phone, but she didn’t answer and she won’t respond to any of my messages. What do you think I should do?”
Ye Mingxin crossed her legs, the right leg over the left, her two legs slotted perfectly together as she propped up her chin with a smile on her face, “What did you expect? Who was it that decided to trick her into your bed every time she got drunk?”
These words were a bit one-sided as except for last time, Jiang Lingyan did not take advantage of the other. Long, long ago, Jiang Lingyan met a drunk Shen Sangluo and at the time, she had hung onto Jiang Lingyan and kept saying how good-looking she was. Then she forcibly kissed her.
That time Shen Sangluo had drank way too much so she didn’t remember it at all = =
Jiang Lingyan avoids trouble and lives as cleanly as possible. Whether it be men or women, she makes sure to keep a safe distance from people and respects others’ private space. Thus, her first kiss was forcibly stolen from her by a drunkard. Jiang Lingyan thought she would be angry, but in fact, she enjoyed it very much and even developed a desire for this drunkard.
The second time was not her fault either. At the time, her friend was about to divorce and her younger sister was driving her crazy. As if she was shot with chicken blood, that younger sister of hers kept saying she would comfort Han Feixu and soothe Han Feixu’s broken heart. Jiang Lingyan didn’t even have the time to care about her own desires when Shen Sangluo came knocking on her door by herself.
Then the third time, was when Jiang Lingyan deliberately planned it = =
Jiang Lingyan said confidently: “She must have feelings for me.”
Ye Mingxin also agreed with her. Shen Sangluo didn’t really have any odd quirks when she was drunk save for that she was extremely and overly honest. She even dared to criticize and scold her.
Every time she remembers that one party where Shen Sangluo hooked an arm around her shoulder and then told her what names she called Ye Mingxin behind her back, black lines would appear on Ye Mingxin’s face.
“If you want to pursue her, then you should properly pursue her. Tricking her into bed with you is not considered pursuing, that is called a hookup.”
“Obviously I want to pursue her properly, but she won’t even see me. If I show up in front of her, she’s just going to turn her head around and leave.”
Ye Mingxin couldn’t contain her joy at the other’s misfortune: “Serves you right.”
Jiang Lingyan narrowed her eyes and felt unhappy, “Do you need me to put you in your place, dear Mrs. Ye who has a wife but no sex life?”
Speaking of Han Feixu, Ye Mingxin’s mood also fell. She sighed softly, and Jiang Lingyan stayed silent. When they bicker, they bicker, but when they speak their heart’s inner thoughts they listen to each other seriously.
“Don’t worry so much, just think of it as getting a redo. Back then, how did you get Han Feixu to fall in love with you? How did you get her to willingly marry you? Now you just have to do it again and, even better, you can mend the relationship between the two of you while you are at it.”
Ye Mingxin lowered her eyes. This is what she’s been worrying about the most.
When they got married back then, she had simply taken advantage of the opportunity presented to her.
Back then, Han Feixu had lost her parents and mind was unstable. All of her relatives were gone, except for one distant aunt who lived overseas. She wanted a family, and so, in this vulnerable moment, Ye Mingxin proposed to her. And Han Feixu agreed without thinking.
No matter how great one’s pain is, after a long time, it will gradually fade away. Once that dependency and other requirements went away, more and more problems began to prop up between them. Up till now, Ye Mingxin was still not sure whether Han Feixu truly loved her or not.
After listening to Ye Mingxin’s words, Jiang Lingyan blinked twice, “Then you can make sure of it now, isn’t that right?”
Ye Mingxin looked up, “What do you mean?”
“Ah, as the saying goes ‘the authorities are bewildered yet the bystander sees it clearly’*,” Jiang Lingyan smiled, “Since you were uncertain before, then you should try pursuing her again. This time, there are no obstacles or smoke bombs between the two of you. If she still likes you and is willing to stay with you this time, doesn’t that mean that she liked you last time as well?” (*T/N: The saying is that people involved may be confused her muddle-headed, but an outsider can see things more clearly)
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