Yi Ran didn’t know how long she slept, but the vibration of her phone woke her up.
She found that she had fallen asleep on the bed, still wearing the same clothes, and without covering herself with the quilt. The heater was turned on all through the night, and the room was warm but quite dry.
She rubbed her eyes and saw that it was half past six in the morning. Her mobile phone had two missed calls and one WeChat message from Gu Tingchuan.
He knew that she was probably asleep and sent a WeChat message saying that they would rush back in the morning.
Yi Ran thought for a while. It was probably still very early in the morning for Gu Tingchuan. She didn’t want to disturb his rest so she changed her reply from “Please contact me when you’re free” to “Call me before boarding the plane.”
When she arrived at school, she was a little bit sluggish. Her colleagues probably learned that Homecoming hadn’t received any awards at the film festival. They were afraid she would feel embarrassed so they didn’t stop by to chat with her. Only Yao Juan took the initiative to say hello.
He saw the faint circles under her clear eyes and softly said, “There are so many excellent domestic films that don’t always win. But, it’s a pity for Director Gu.”
Yi Ran looked up, and seeing the pity behind Yao Juan’s glasses, she couldn’t help but want to praise him, “I say, Teacher Yao, you are too good. Good-natured and good-hearted.”
Yao Juan was taken aback by her words and felt slightly uncomfortable. His brows furrowed a little but he still gave her a smile.
Just after the lunch break, she finally received a call from Gu Tingchuan. The man’s voice was slightly hoarse and there were some noises in the background, but when she heard his voice, her whole heart trembled.
“I’ve arrived at the airport and will take off in half an hour.”
When the time finally came, she realized that it would be useless to console him. Instead, as his wife, she should give him some encouragements.
Yi Ran slowed down and said very firmly, “Gu Tingchuan, you are such a good director. That crazy group of judges are blind. I’ll give you a hundred little red flowers when you come back. You’re really great.”
Gu Tingchuan’s voice had a bit of laughter to it, but she couldn’t see that his eyes were still gloomy.
“As soon as I get off the plane, I’ll have to go directly to the company. There are a lot of things waiting for me to deal with.”
Yi Ran desperately wanted to see him, but she also expected that the man would have to face many problems and difficulties when he returned. After thinking it over, she found that she still could not tolerate it and said, “You always eat indiscriminately. When you return to the company, I’ll make you something to eat.”
Gu Tingchuan messaged his eyebrows. But, he understood her mood and was unwilling to refuse her. “Okay, I’ll tell Xiao Zhao in a bit and have him send someone to pick you up.”
Yi Ran could hear that his mood was extremely bad. The harder he was on himself, the harder it would be for him to forgive himself. It would take a while for him to recover from his loss.
She thoughtfully said, “Okay. I won’t bother you anymore. Take a rest on the plane, and I’ll see you when you get back.
Yi Ran hung up the phone and sat by her desk in a daze, absentmindedly pulling her long hair in front of her.
She used to think that their tacit understanding was getting better and better. He certainly had feelings for her. But, in the end, the nature of their work was radically different. When he really needed assistance and enlightenment, this vast distance between them was suddenly exposed.
However, he had never said that he liked her and had never used the word “love.” She really had no confidence.
When you had such a cherished person in your heart, every move, every smile, became the most advantageous thing, and you simply wanted to stubbornly hide him in the bottom of your heart and keep him safe and protected.
During Gu Tingchuan’s flight back and as Homecoming was about to be released in China, an unexpected incident occurred.
The protagonist in Homecoming was a talented young actor who once debuted as a member of a boy band. As it was, he happened to clash with passengers on the plane and was recorded arrogantly exclaiming, “Do you know who I am?”
The actor further declared that the Chinese didn’t have the talent nor the ability to make good movies. After naming and criticizing a few films, he went back and complained that Gu Tingchuan was too difficult to get along with.
Everything was secretly photographed and posted online, igniting mass indignation. Tens of thousands of people demanded the he be blocked and called for everyone to refuse to see Homecoming.
The next day, Yi Ran was still preoccupied with the news as she headed to the Jiaye company building. These remarks had spread like viruses, and she did not dare to think about what Gu Tingchuan must be feeling.
Thinking of it, the panic in her heart was so deep that she could feel the beating of her heart through her fingers.
As a Jiaye’s staff lead her to the elevator, she tried to relax her expression. As soon as she stepped out of the elevator door, she saw Gu Tingchuan standing in the hallway. That familiar figure was talking to Xiao Zhao, who stood beside him.
Her eyes grew hot, and she hung her head down as she hurriedly wiped her eyes. Then, she walked toward him, a gentle smile on her face.
Gu Tingchuan’s face was very poor. He was clearly exhausted after such a long journey. He listened to Xiao Zhao’s report for a long time and didn’t say a word. As she neared, he looked sideways at her and suddenly stretched out his hand to hold her wrist. Then, he bent down slightly and leaned a little on her shoulder.
This action turned Yi Ran’s soft heart into complete mush. But, her words were lodged in her throat. Too many complicated thoughts rushed up, making her bite her tongue instead.
Xiao Zhao froze and winked at another staff member. The staff member received his signal and they both calmly walked away.
Yi Ran gently wrapped her arms around his strong waist. She felt as if it had been too long since they had touched each other, making this moment seem as if it was just a sweet illusion. It made her want to hold him tighter.
“I brought some takeouts from your favorite restaurant, along with a few dishes I made myself.”
Gu Tingchuan’s voice was cold. “Sorry, I have not appetite right now.”
She silently shook her head, knowing that he was upset and indignant and was probably caught between self-blame and self-denial. There was a strict self-discipline in this proud and handsome man that others could not see.
He had always been a creator first and a celebrity businessman second.
“Let’s talk after you take a break and they warm up your food.”
“I can’t accompany you. Sorry, I’m…”
Before he could finish talking, the elevator behind them let out a ding and the door opened. When Gu Tingchuan looked up, his expression turned extremely ugly.
Even when he was having a dispute with the two bodyguards at the hotel, he didn’t have such a cold expression.
“Who allowed you to enter the building?” He glanced at the other person, his voice extremely cold. “Let lost! Don’t show up in front of me.”
The actor was none other than Yi Yihong himself. His face was pale, and his tone was pleading, “Director Gu, I really know that I was wrong. I drank some wine and was confused for a while…”
“But wasn’t that how you really felt in your heart? Well, I can fulfill your wish.” Gu Tingchuan smiled so coldly that the other person felt as if he had fallen into an icehouse. “Since you like to drink, then go home to sing. I don’t welcome people who don’t respect movies…”
His words were like ice picks, pressing Yi Yihong down. The man knelt in front of Gu Tingchuan with a “thump” and tugged at his trouser leg in a panic. He implored, “Director Gu! I beg you! I got a little confused and made a mistake. Please don’t disregard this little person…”
It was very clear to him that only the man in front of him could turn things around for him. But, Gu Tingchuan didn’t fall for his act and, instead, raised his leg to kick him away.
Xiao Zhao probably heard Yi Yihong’s crying and, knowing that the boss would be upset, hurried out of the elevator. He pulled the actor crawling on the ground up.
Gu Tingchuan told Xiao Zhao fiercely, “Take him out!”
Yi Ran didn’t say anything. She knew that this person had basically dug his own grave. If this kind of person wanted to mingle in the entertainment industry, he must curtail his true manner. If not, being an actor would simply be a dream. Even if he had not fallen under the hands of Director Gu, sooner or later, he would offend other powerful people.
Gu Tingchuan’s mood was completely disturbed, and his face was dark and gloomy. He looked at Yi Ran silently, and not wanting her to become involved in these matters, he said with his eyes lowered, “You go back early. I will eat the food, okay?”
Yi Ran knew that he was irritated, but she really wanted him to sit down and eat something with her. However, in this depressed atmosphere, he also made it clear that he didn’t want to talk to her about anything. She had no choice but to nod uneasily and ask Xiao Zhao to take the food container she brought in. “Then I’ll go back first. After you’ve taken care of things, come home early.”
The setting sun was sinking deep into the horizon as she stepped out of the gate. She quietly looked back at the building that was lit against the dark night sky. His office was on the top floor of the building, putting him so far out of reach that she couldn’t see clearly. She couldn’t see him at all.
On New Year’s Day, there was a cold rain, followed by what appeared to be light snow. Yi Ran thought that it would be the same as last year, but the snow only turned out to be frost and hail brought about by the cold air.
Consequently, the weather was always dark and hazy.
Gu Tingchuan stayed at the company for two days and didn’t come home. At this time, the screening of Homecoming also ushered in a wave of bad reviews.
“This movie made no sense and the editing was really chaotic. Had Gu Tingchuan gone crazy?”
“Yi Yihong, the actor who played the protagonist, yelled at passengers in public places! He also said that Chinese domestic movies are all shit! #Resist #Homecoming. Let all their investors go bankrupt!”
“Good stuff! Did Director Gu’s level plummet because of his obsession with beauty? Or did the young genius director exhaust all his talents?”
Naturally, Homecoming’s bad reception also affected Jiaye’s stock. In addition to the public outrage caused by the actor, the general public also gave the film bad reviews, causing the box office viewings to become even more dismal.
Yi Ran went alone to the cinema to watch Homecoming, thinking that Gu Tingchuan still had a firm standing in this market.
However, it turned out that he used too many cool, dark colors, and a lot of scenes had a gloomy and depressing atmosphere. This was contrary to what everyone had expected of a martial arts film.
Perhaps, when played on IMAX screens, the pictures would be clear and magnificent. However, in theaters with normal quality, the audience will soon grow tired of the dark tones displayed by the characters and the background. Even the final editing seemed lacking.
Gu Tingchuan’s past works were a fusion between business and art. However, this film apparently abandoned the “commercial” element from beginning to end. Although he had expected the cold domestic reception, he hadn’t expected to lose foreign awards. He also didn’t expect that the lead actor would go out of bounds and cause the movie to suffer such heavy losses.
Yi Ran felt for the first time that people’s words were the most vicious weapons. Everyone seemed to to have their own curses, as if the genius once raised by them to god level had fallen from the high altar and straight into hell.
It was already the weekend when Yi Ran opened the bedroom door and heard shallow movements downstairs. She walked along the railing and saw Gu Tingchuan entered from the frost outside. He was followed by his assistant, Xiao Zhao, who seemed exhausted. They both appeared to have lost weight.
She hurried down to see how things were going.
Gu Tingchuan’s face was indifferent but his forehead had a bit of melancholy. He turned to explain something to Xiao Zhao first, then pursed his lips and said to her, “Sorry. I want to stay in the studio for a while. You don’t have to worry about my dinner.”
Yi Ran was stunned and, before she could respond, the man had already turned and stepped into his studio, closing the door gently behind him.
In the living room, Xiao Zhao was silent for a long time. He had been with Director Gu for many years. Although he had always kept to his duty, he felt that he still had to say a few words. “Mrs. Gu, if you have time, please advise Director Gu to go easy on himself…He, he hasn’t been quite himself these days and have been pushing himself too hard. I’m afraid that he might collapse again.”