Author: 公子于歌 / Gong Zi Yu Ge
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 61: Birthday Gift
Shen Jintai had been in several magazines before. Nowadays, his face could be seen wherever magazines were sold. Yan Yaoxuan stood in front of the newsstand, picked up two copies, and asked the owner, “How much?”
Yan Yaoxuan didn’t plan to return for Chinese New Year’s this year. He felt that if he returned to China, he wouldn’t be able resist seeing Shen Jintai. He shouldn’t even bother thinking about his secret love. After his confession had failed, he didn’t even know how to face him.
For someone like him who had been abroad, he felt that everything had turned upside down in just half a year. When he came out of the airport, he saw Shen Jintai’s huge phone endorsement poster. Shen Jintai had a bright smile that exuded confidence. Yan Yaoxuan felt like he look familiar yet unfamiliar. The instant he saw the poster, he felt his heart had revived.
Many of Shen Jintai’s endorsements were big brands that were widely distributed everywhere, especially in city center. Billboards all over plastered his endorsements during New Year’s when there was a large flow of people. Yan Yaoxuan was sitting in the car as he gazed through the car window. He saw another Shen Jintai’s ad on the big screen that had his charming smile and gorgeous eyes. He looked down at his phone again. His screensaver was still the picture he took when he went abroad.
No news was leaked from Shen Jintai’s Haper’s Bazaar shot. It was announced directly without any advance notice. Relying on Shen Jintai’s current strong popularity, sales for the magazine was sold out in seconds.
Fang Yun originally wanted to buy one but wasn’t able. She was so annoyed she yelled “Ahh” then quickly covered her mouth and secretly glanced at Yan Qiuchi’s office. She saw there was no movement inside and breathed out a sigh of relief.
Taking advantage that the day wasn’t busy, she hurriedly contacted her friends in her media circle: [Who has the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar? I’m buying at a high price!]
As soon as she sent her text, she heard sounds of heavy footsteps. She immediately stood up and saw several company executives open the door and walked out of President Yan’s office. It was near the end of the year so their company had been extremely busy. The senior executives were in meetings all day long.
Thankfully, due to the high returns of <The East Palace is Coming>, Sunshine Media had over accomplished their goal so the atmosphere for these meetings was relatively relaxed. The executives were all talking happily and laughing as they walked out.
Eventually, Yan Qiuchi came out with his coat on. Fang Yun thought she would be able to get off work early today.
Fang Yun: “President Yan.”
Yan Qiuchi nodded, walked in front of her, took two steps, then turned around and asked: “What gifts do you usually give to your friends for their birthdays?”
Fang Yun was stunned and immediately: “Tell me the general situation, and I’ll go and help you prepare one.” People like Yan Qiuchi normally didn’t buy gifts on their own. This job was usually handed to their assistants. If it was an ordinary business partner, a lower assistant could handle the task. If it was someone more important, she or Gao Qiao would personally step in.
Yan Qiuchi replied: “No. I’ll buy it myself.”
Fang Yun was stunned again when she heard this. She asked: “Male or female?”
Yan Qiuchi: “Male friend.”
Fang Yun raised her head and stared at Yan Qiuchi: “What’s their age and their profession?”
Yan Qiuchi: “Twenties. Actor.”
Fang Yun’s heart jumped wildly. She had a guess as to who this person was, but she couldn’t believe it. Is it him? Could it really be?! The gossip in her heart was about to erupt. She coughed lightly and avoided her boss’s gaze and said: “How’s the relationship between the two of you?”
Yan Qiuchi asked: “Is it usually this troublesome to buy gifts?”
Fang Yun smiled and said: “There is a lot of meaning in giving gifts. It’s necessary to choose the right one depending on the person. Gifts given to friends versus close friends in general should be different since your connection to them is different.”
Yan Qiuchi: “What did you get your boyfriend for his birthday?”
What a straightforward question! Fang Yun could barely suppress her inner excitement. Boyfriend? What does this mean?! Oh my god! Am I dreaming?
She began to suspect the identity of who Yan Qiuchi was thinking of. She raised her head, cleared her throat, made her voice sound as calm as possible, and said: “We celebrated my boyfriend’s birthday recently. I got him a watch.”
Yan Qiuchi put a hand in his trouser pocket and nodded as he left.
“Boss!” Fang Yun called from behind.
Yan Qiuchi turned his head, showing her sharp eyebrows and starry eyes. His tall figure made Fang Yun’s heart jumped out of her throat when she looked at it: “Are you sure you don’t need me to get it for you?”
Yan Qiuchi: “No. You can get off work early.”
Fang Yun watched Yan Qiuchi leave the office. She caved to the excitement in her body and began stomping her feet. Her high heels made a few “click click click” noise. She immediately went online to confirm her suspicion. Sure enough, he was in his twenties and was an actor. If this wasn’t him then it would be too much of a coincidence.
Fang Yun pondered whether she should tell her boss the meaning behind giving watches as a gift. She felt that he, who had never been in a relationship before, might not understand.
When Yan Qiuchi returned home, night had already fallen. Mrs. Yan and the household staff were sitting on the sofa admiring the beautiful pictures of Shen Jintai.
Mrs. Yan: “Qiuchi is back.”
Yan Qiuchi acknowledge with a “Nn” and then heard Mrs. Yan ask him with a smile: “Xiao Jin is on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar, did you know?”
Yan Qiuchi gave another “Nn” and said: “I know. ”
“How did you know?” Mrs. Yan asked.
Yan Qiuchi smiled but didn’t answer her. He went upstairs and returned to his room and found a Harper’s Bazaar magazine on the table.
The theme of Harper’s Bazaar’s photo shoot for Shen Jintai was “Youthful Flower Language”. Several photos were modest and fresh, matching the role of Li Xu. On the cover was Shen Jintai wearing half-ancient half-modern clothes. He had a rose in his hand. The picture was entirely black and white except for the golden sun and the pink rose.
Yan Qiuchi picked it up and stared at it for a prolong amount of time. He then set it back on the table. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. He turned his head and said: “Come in.”
Mrs. Yan came in and gave him a beaming smile: “I put that magazine there.” Last time, during their dinner appointment, Mrs. Yan thought that her son had become tempted. It was obvious that his attitude towards Shen Jintai had changed remarkably. She had no doubts when she saw him check the temperature of Shen Jintai’s teacup and refilled it. She had to do a double-take to make sure she wasn’t seeing things.
Who knew that after so long, they had arrived at the starting point again.
“It’s pretty good-looking.” Yan Qiuchi said.
Mrs. Yan smiled and said: “This is a limited edition. As soon as it was announced on the official website, the website crashed. I couldn’t get one at all. I had to buy these through second-hand channels. Are you free? If you are, accompany me to visit the crew.”
“Are you going to visit the set?” Yan Qiuchi said: “The crew will have a holiday tomorrow.”
Mrs. Yan said: “How can I wait until tomorrow? Today is Jintai’s birthday.”
Shen Jintai’s birthday was easy to remember. He was born on the 29th, two days before Chinese New Year’s. Mrs. Yan said had he been born half an hour later, he would have been born on the 30th.
“It’s his 20th* birthday.” Mrs. Yan said: “I wanted to celebrate with him and give him a good time, but he said that the crew was in a hurry before the holiday and couldn’t ask for leave. Look at you. Did you forget his birthday?”
*Clarity: Technically he’s supposed to be turning 21. The author previously mentioned that he was 20 (I’m leaning towards he forgot how old he made Shen Jintai).
“Let me change first.” Yan Qiuchi said.
Mrs. Yan chuckled and went downstairs.
Yan Qiuchi immediately took a shower and then head into his cloakroom. He spent ages trying to pick out his clothes. He didn’t know what he should wear. It had been a long time since he had seen Shen Jintai. Near the end of the year, he was so busy that he didn’t even have time to chase <The East Palace is Coming>.
Mrs. Yan was waiting impatiently in the living room. She was about to ask the maid to go up and urge him when she saw Yan Qiuchi coming downstairs. He was wearing a black and gray coat that was wrapped around formal wear. His hair was meticulously combed. He looked extremely well-dressed exuding a dignified aura.
Mrs. Yan was very satisfied.
For Shen Jintai’s birthday, she had prepared gifts way in advance. She felt that his 20th was of great significance, especially for this particular year. She was going to remind Yan Qiuchi a few days ago but wanted to test out her suspicion on whether Yan Qiuchi had developed feelings for Shen Jintai so she held herself back. She wanted to see if he remembered on his own, but as a result he actually forgot. It seemed all of it may have been just her imagination.
Since these two had no intention for each other, there was no need for her to do more useless work. Being good brothers was good enough. After all, they were all her children.
“What did you buy?” Yan Qiuchi asked as helped her carry gifts to the car.
“This is a cake,” Mrs. Yan said: “I got lessons from a pastry chef and made it myself.”
Yan Qiuchi had long been accustomed to his mother’s eccentricity. He didn’t speak any longer as he loaded all the gifts and the cake into the trunk.
“Whenever it was Xiao Jin’s birthday, Yaoxuan would be the most enthusiastic. This year, he actually said he wouldn’t be returning.” Mrs. Yan said while sitting in the car: “I sent a message to him yesterday, and he said he had some issues abroad and would be delayed for at least two more days.”
“It’ll be Chinese New Year’s in two days.” Mrs. Yan said: “I wonder if he had fallen in love over there. In the past six months, he’s been contacting home significantly less, and I don’t think his social media has been updated much.”
Shen Jintai himself didn’t have any special feelings about this birthday. He was too busy filming. His recent scenes were him getting abused by the heroine. It had become a daily routine. His scenes filmed today, on his birthday, were particularly miserable. Zhou Jing, his biggest support, was also dying.
In general, palace fighting dramas was still mainly a women’s drama. The winner in life, the last one standing, would be the heroine, He Lanbi.
She had defeated Zhou Jing’s empress, and a group of his favorite concubines, finally succeeding in becoming empress herself. After Zhou Jing’s death, she became empress dowager and fought to the bitter end against Li Xu, who tried to instigate turmoil between her son, the young emperor, and her.
Today was also Bai Qingquan’s death scene.
When Yan Qiuchi and Mrs. Yan arrived on the set, the crew was filming nervously. The crew saw Mrs. Yan first and hurried over to greet her. Shen Jintai noticed the movement on the set, turned his head and saw Mrs. Yan with Yan Qiuchi behind her, walking from a distance.
Mrs. Yan didn’t let anyone disturb Shen Jintai. Guo Rui asked someone to move a chair and asked her and Yan Qiuchi to sit behind the monitor and watch. She saw a group of people kneeling on camera. Their clothes and shadows were illuminated as the candlelight reflected on the hall like it was day. Occasionally, there were sobs, as they began to look more solemn. Li Xu was kneeling outside the hall as Zhou Jing was lying on the couch in the inner chambers.
Empress He Lanbi wiped tears from her eyes and came out of the palace. She looked at the people kneeling in front of her until her gazed fell on Li Xu. Li Xu was silent as he got up and entered the inner chambers. When the two passed each other, He Lanbi frowned as she slightly turned around and gazed with her frigid eyes at his back.
Except for the sound of the camera running, there was only the sound of costumes rustling. Li Xu walked to the couch and knelt cautiously. Zhou Jing, on his sickbed, opened his trembling eyes. Tears fell with just with a single look at Li Xu.
The author has something to say:
Countdown to <The East Palace is Coming>.
Get ready for more feels coming up.