Chapter 239: Might not get lost, might not return
In saying ‘Just let it go to waste then’, Xu Tingsheng had actually done so in the calmest, most ordinary of tones as he had simply wanted to convey ‘Never mind, it isn’t that much of a waste’.
In the end, however, Apple had burst into tears, the response to her question having somehow come off as one that possessed the flair of a domineering tycoon: With wealth comes wilfulness.
Xu Tingsheng’s ‘Awkwardness Syndrome’ acted up again now.
Fortunately, though, a timely knock on the door now resounded.
Thinking that it was Huang Yaming and Tan Yao who had returned after having played around enough, or perhaps one of Shi Zhongjun’s employees who had come to send Tianyi’s contract over to Apple, Xu Tingsheng casually called ‘enter’.
The door of the private room was flung open.
Xu Tingsheng saw an unexpected person at the doorway. Tianle’s number one male artiste, Zhou Yonghen, was currently standing there with a glass of red wine in his hand and a smile that was just that bit unnatural. Behind him was the leopard print man, Apple’s former agent.
Apple quickly stopped crying as she looked away and refused to speak.
While Zhou Yonghen felt somewhat awkward at this, he still smiled, saying, “As a former senior and Apple’s former agent, we’re here to congratulate Apple, wishing her every future success.”
“Yeah! I’ve always thought highly of Apple. Back in Tianle, Bro Yong also often instructed me to take good care of her. Tianle may have suffered quite a big loss now, but seeing as things are getting better and better for Apple, we are really feeling very happy for her,” The effeminate leopard print man elaborated.
The two men raised their wineglasses.
Apple continued looking away, not picking up her wineglass as she refused to look back.
Even Li Juan looked away, not uttering a sound.
Now, it was Xu Tingsheng who didn’t know how he should react. Should he feign civility a little? Or should he lunge straight over and go beat the two of them up? Xu Tingsheng unconsciously reached out and loosened his tie. He really had no patience at all for a bastard who had tried to drug Apple before.
As Xu Tingsheng’s handphone vibrated, he gestured for the two of them to give him a moment.
Taking it out, he saw a text from Huang Yaming:
“Tan Yao and I are bringing two chicks up to your room for a bit. We boasted some just now, and they ended up insisting up on coming here. Let’s just satisfy their wish a little. That’s fine, right?”
Before Xu Tingsheng could reply, the second text arrived:
“We’re on the stairs. We’ll be right there.”
Huang Yaming and Tan Yao appeared at the doorway followed by two beautiful women in flashy dresses.
“Sorry, coming through.”
Huang Yaming reached out and maneuvred past Zhou Yonghen and the leopard print man, squeezing into the room.
“Bro Yong…Apple…Apple, how it it that you’re here?”
Behind Huang Yaming and Tan Yao, one of the women astonishedly exclaimed.
These two women were both from Tianle, one being that promiscuous third-rate artiste while the other was a new artiste. The two of them had quickly left for the courtyard for some ‘activities’ after having arrived earlier. There, they had somehow hooked up with the boasting Huang Yaming and Tan Yao.
Therefore, they were still unaware of everything that had just happened.
“I understand! You’re biased, Bro Yong! Why did you only introduce Apple to the handsome guy?” The promiscuous third-rate artiste cooed in a cloying tone before pulling Tan Yao to the back and continuing, “The one beside your friend is also from our company. Still, she’s already no longer in favour and no longer singing now.”
Tianle’s new female artiste continued, “Yeah! You probably don’t know this, but that girl’s really useless. How about you tell your friend about it, and we help to introduce him someone else?”
Huang Yaming and Tan Yao exchanged a look before they frowned, rebuking them, “You freaking fools! That’s our sister-in-law!”
Then, the two of them walked over to Apple, calling earnestly, “Hello, (elder) sister-in-law!”
Having previously been feeling emotional, Apple could not help but smile as she chided Huang Yaming, “What, you’re a month older than Tingsheng! Which month were you born in, Tan Yao?”
At this, the two women at the doorway were rendered completely stunned.
Only after thinking for a while did the two finally realise that this person sitting right across from them who had been silent previously was the central occupant of this private room. Meanwhile, his relationship with Apple was clearly completely different from what they had thought it to be.
Immediately afterwards, they discovered that even Li Juan was sitting inside the private room.
Reality was already telling them just how freaking foolish they had just been.
At that moment when no one knew what they should be saying, Shao Jun’s voice resounded from the doorway, “Sorry, coming through.”
Then, Xu Tingsheng saw Shi Zhongjun and Shao Jun enter the room along with another two members of Tianyi’s higher echelons.
The four sat down after an exchange of greetings, Shi Zhongjun directly asking the four at the doorway, “Sorry, is something the matter? Otherwise, there’s something we’d like to discuss…”
“Well then…we won’t interrupt you. See you, Boss Shi,” Zhou Yonghen led the other three along in departing before carefully closing the door.
This industry was actually extremely strict about levels of hierarchy, with people naturally aspiring to those in power as a result. While these people appeared so subservient now, when faced with those they could bully, they were actually more vicious than anyone else, acting rampantly to stomp on them.
Just like what they had previously done to Apple.
Soon after Zhou Yonghen left, a great hubbub suddenly broke out in the hall downstairs.
After a few simple inquiries, Zhou Yonghen was immediately rendered dazed on the spot. He was the reason for all this commotion. His wineglass fell to the ground and shattered. Having reigned dominant in the industry for more than ten years, Zhou Yonghen could now feel a chill running down his back as he was drenched entirely in cold sweat.
Now, the problem with his image from having entered those nightclubs was already of secondary importance.
Having brought an underage female fan back to his hotel was a legal problem.
Having seduced the women of bigwigs and bosses might concern his very life.
Yet, the leopard print man was still coquettishly stomping his foot and twisting his waist beside him, crying, “Wah, how hateful! Why were those photos of the two of us also released? Now everyone will know about it! What am I to do now?!”
While this was what he was saying, his facial expression was clearly one of excitement and yearning desire.
The hairs of all those onlookers instantly stood on end, “Zhou Yonghen really has quite the appetite.”
“Wah, Bro Yong…”
As the leopard print man daintily moved closer to Zhou Yonghen’s shoulder, the panicked Zhou Yonghen turned and slapped him right on the face before pushing him away and hurriedly fleeing the area with an ashen look on his face.
Inside the private room, Shi Zhongjun personally handed Apple the contract that he had just signed.
Then, he raised a glass of red wine and smiled, “Welcome to Tianyi, Miss Apple.”
Everyone raised their wineglasses.
Apple said politely, “Thank you for giving me this chance, Boss Shi.”
Everyone downed that glass of wine.
As he set down his wineglass, Shi Zhongjun smiled, “Just call me Bro Shi in the future, just like Brother Xu does.”
Then, he pointed at the man beside him, “This is Tianyi’s Music Director, Jona. Miss Apple can discuss your debut album with him. You can rest assured that we will definitely arrange the best for you in all areas, including finding a songwriter, choosing the melody and finally production.”
Faced with news which she should actually be yearning for, Apple was unexpectedly silent for a time, only looking up and asking after a while, “Bro…Shi, and Mr Jona too, may I ask if I can first participate in that overseas programme?”
Everyone present, Xu Tingsheng included, all felt somewhat bemused.
Apple, however, remained very calm as she continued, “I wish to participate in this programme, to first study in the Mannes School of Music for half a year before considering the matter of my album. I am actually very clear on the fact that I was more or less randomly singing before this, without any professional qualifications so to speak of. Because of that, I really wish to study to properly improve myself for a time before finally appearing in a whole new state.”
Apple had spoken with great earnestness. Having heard what she had to say, Shi Zhongjun directed his gaze at Xu Tingsheng.
Apple turned to look at him as well.
Xu Tingsheng asked her softly, “You’re decided?”
Apple hesitated for a moment before getting up and apologising to the people in the room, next pulling Xu Tingsheng out of the doorway and telling him in a low tone as they stood by the wall, “I’m decided. I really wish to go. Firstly, I really lack the abilities to be a professional. Secondly, I wish to go out and see the world, changing my life’s perspective, while at the same time…letting you confirm what you feel about me.”
“Xu Tingsheng, I like you, always. Still, following this period of time, many things have suddenly become clear to me. Therefore, I’ll wait for you to discover it for yourself this time, discover that you like me.”
“I believe that it is like this, that you like me. If I am proven wrong in the end, I…would be able to accept it then. I don’t like Superman, Superman who only thinks of responsibility. Instead, who I really like is the Xu Tingsheng who likes me.”
Apple had diverged greatly from her path at the tender age of twenty, walking one huge round amidst a swamp of mud and darkness. Fortunately, however, she had not been lost in the end.
Xu Tingsheng had originally thought that she would be returning to her previous path. Yet, it was not so. What Apple had seen and desired was actually another path, another road. She would not go back to being the original Apple, and this included the way she loved Xu Tingsheng.
Xu Tingsheng hugged Apple, nodding happily.
Back in the private room, Xu Tingsheng immediately expressed his support for Apple’s decision.
“We will look forward to Miss Apple returning successfully from her studies then.”
This time, it was Tianyi’s Music Director, Jona, who had spoken. It could be seen that he truly admired this decision of Apple’s greatly. Shi Zhongjun too nodded in agreement beside them.
The cocktail party was actually still in full swing downstairs. Shi Zhongjun and the others decided to remain in this private room.
They drank wine and chatted, increasing their familiarity with one another.
Huang Yaming and Tan Yao gradually became unable to join in the conversation. Instead, they looked at some sheets of paper together, pointing out to each other what they found interesting as they were constantly laughing at it in a very silly manner.
Xu Tingsheng asked rather exasperatedly, “What are you guys looking at?”
“It’s a script. Back in the courtyard just now, there were two people looking everywhere for people to pass their script to, apparently hoping to film some movie. So, we just casually grabbed a copy for a look. Dang it, this is so funny it can kill!” Huang Yaming exclaimed.
“Let me have a look at it,” Shi Zhongjun said.
The simple script was handed to Shi Zhongjun. He casually flipped through it before discussing a little with the people beside him. The director, unknown. The scriptwriter, unknown. The ideal cast, basically obscure.
Shi Zhongjun shook his head as he was about to hand the script back.
“What’s the script called?” Xu Tingsheng casually asked.
“Let me see…two words, Crazy Stone,” Shi Zhongjun said.
“Invest,” Xu Tingsheng said decisively.
Everyone looked at him.
Xu Tingsheng composed himself before smiling, “I’ve heard of this script and director before. Therefore, I propose that Brother Shi consider it a little. The main funding can come from me.”
To be precise, this was Xu Tingsheng’s first ever business proposal ever since he had become a shareholder of Tianyi.
Therefore, while this proposal appeared very sudden and incomprehensible, Shi Zhongjun still nodded after considering for a moment, “I’ll arrange for someone to communicate on this then.”
The matter of the investment having been handed to Tianyi, not being versed in the industry, there was nothing for Xu Tingsheng to do here as this matter was now temporarily concluded.
Apple who had been silent for a long time suddenly seemed to regain her wits, being unaware of what had been happening around her as she just said of herself, “Bro Shi, I was just thinking. Can I change the name for my album when the time comes?”
Taken aback, Shi Zhongjun asked, “You want to take on a stage name?”
“No,” Apple shook her head, “I’m thinking to use just my Chinese name.”