24 Working day

How did you get into my life?
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The airport waiting hall was filled with people at that hour of the day.
While the driver was holding the banner with the American guest's name, Xiao Zhan kept calling Yibo, why the hell wasn't he answering?

Zhan shoved his phone back into his pocket when a female voice speaking English drew his attention:
"Hello, I am Li Queen Alicia, I am sorry but I don't speak Chinese."

"No problem, I'm not a professional translator, but I can handle  basic English.
Hello miss Li Qin Alicia, my name is Xiao Zhan, nice to meet you.
Mister Jung sends you his regrets for not being able  to welcome you personally, but you know how business men are.
He is very busy, therefore he sent me.
Me and your father's chauffeur will lead you to the company.
Anyway, welcome to China, wish you to spend an awesome time here in our country.", Zhan smiled, gesturing politely, the way to  the car, while the driver took her luggage.

During the car ride the girl turned out to be a very friendly and talkative person, not at all the snobbish and full of herself senator daughter, Xiao Zhan had expected her to be:
"I'm actually Li Queen Alicia, not Li Qin Alicia, ha, ha, ha, but it's no problem. My mother told me that the Chinese Qin was her first choice, but after the father of her unborn baby ...ermm, you know how it is...after he left her...she changed the Chinese name into a more English version, Queen...
But she ended by calling me with a Chinese nickname nevertheless, Shia. She said that she calls me Shia, because when I was little I shortened Alicia into Shia.
Shia means Sweet in  Chinese, so you can call me Shia, or Sweetie, ha, ha, ha!
Anyways I can figure out that Mr Jung... my father is a very busy man, therefore I'm sure that he wouldn't have any time to show me around. And I really want to see and know about China, as much as I can.
I'm gonna be here for two weeks, would you like to be my guide?
I will ask my father to set you free from whatever work you do in his company and allow you to accompany me.
I will take care of asking him to pay you double, of course."

Zhan's first impulse was to reject the girl's proposition, but then he pondered that maybe he would get some more free time to spend with Muffin, maybe even...:
"Would you mind if I would bring somebody with me?
Only at the times when he would  be free from his schedule, of course."

"Oh, a He?
First I thought that you would wish to bring a girlfriend, but I'm glad that it's not like that.
Who is he?"

"My...my...my flatmate...", Xiao Zhan stuttered.

It was not a smart move to let his boss know that he is engaged in a homoual relationship.
He couldn't know if the big boss is or it is not an , like the vice president of the company who insulted Yibo when he tried to get a job there, only because he was raised at an orphanage.

Mr Jung could be an old-fashioned homophobic man and it wouldn't  be the right time to put his well paid job at risk, especially  now when Yibo will get to see  that makeup artist influencer's high life style.

The driver parked the car in the company parking lot, and while he was getting the luggage out from the trunk, Zhan opened the door for the girl.

"No problem, I can hardly wait to meet your friend, I don't mind if he will come with his girlfriend, this way we will spend a great time, like a double dating.", Shia smiled widely, while giving her hand to her father's  handsome employee to help her get out from the car.

"Can I hold your arm, please?
The flight was longer than I expected, and I think I have a jet leg, I can hardly walk.", the girl hissed in pain while they were walking towards the entrance of the company building.

"No problem.", Zhan politely offered his free arm.



"Actually my flatmate is the reason I was planning to ask Mister Jung to give me a free day for today.
He has a very important filming session today and I am sort of a manager to him.
I badly need to be there, to take care of him."

"I could help you with that.
I will ask my father to allow you to be my guide starting with today, and we could go together to see your flatmate.
This way I will get to meet him, too."


Xiao Zhan went back to his office after leading the girl to her father's office, and told his friend about everything that had happened.

"Don't you think that you have just complicated your life pretty badly?
It's obvious that Miss Li Qin is interested in you.
Also, now you need to find a girlfriend for Yibo, for your 'double dating'.
Besides, how do you think  he will feel when his newly acquired boyfriend will come to see him accompanied by a beautiful woman who obviously desires his boyfriend?"

"I know, XianXian, but what choice would I have, just tell the big boss that I am gay and have no interest in his daughter?
I have a good job here and I'm not sure if I would find another one close to this, if I would get fired.
We don't live in the States, we live in a homophobic China.
You should be the first to understand what I am talking about, why did you hide your ual orientation from everyone here at work?"

"Agree ZhanZhan, you have a point with that, but I can smell trouble about this whole situation.
Wait, I might have a good idea!
Maybe you should talk to that driver who is your former schoolmate and ask him to tell the boss that you are in love with Yang Zi!"

"Wei WuXian, sometimes you are the epitome of stupidity, but sometimes you're shockingly brilliant!
My schoolmate knows for real about my obsession with ZiZi, the whole school knew at that time actually."

As he expected, Zhan was called soon by Mister Jung's secretary.

"Good luck, my friend!
And try not to upset  your donut, because my JiJi will be upset, too, and that will make me upset as well!", WuXian patted his friend's back.


On his way to the president's office, Zhan was lucky to meet the chauffeur in the lobby, so he asked him to do this favor for him, and casually tell  the boss that he is in love and almost married to his childhood crush.


Xiao Zhan didn't even get to close, behind himself, Mister Jung's office door, that his daughter startled him with grabbing his forearm and speaking cheerfully to her father:
"Alright, daddy, can I call you like that?
I am ready!
Beijing, here I come!
Thank you daddy, for giving me such a handsome and smart guide.
Please don't worry if I come to your home too late, Mister Xiao Zhan will take good care of me, don't you?
Can I call you Zhanny? It's shorter and easier."



"Hmm. Zhanny sounds weird in Chinese. And in English, maybe, too familiar for a stranger whom you have just met.
I'm sorry miss Li Queen Alicia, but only one person is familiar to me when calling me and I don't want to upset that person.
But you can call me Zhan without the formal 'Mister' and without Xiao, my first name, if you want . I apologize."

"It's me who should  apologize.
My mother instructed me that China is not America, but I forgot for a moment.
That person must be a special one to you, what a lucky person...
But let's go, today and for the next two weeks I will be the lucky one to have you...as my guide, of course!
And as I've already told you, you can call me Shia, or Sweetie, by the way.
I am an American, thank god!
No offense daddy."



After the security guys from the building's entrance made a call to the pop star's manager, Zhan and his female company were guided to the filming studio.

They succeeded to get near the main stage, slipping through the numerous busy staff members.

Xiao Zhan looked around, but couldn't spot his Muffin anywhere.

Is that cool, charming guy, your flatmate?
Judging from his large shoulders and that toned back, I assume that he works out a lot, wow!", Shia asked in awe at fthe backside of a gorgeous, masculine man, bent over a table.

"Do you really find him that much of a cool guy?
Hmm, if he would remove all that makeup and those gangsta clothes, to me he would look pretty ordinary.
But, no he is not my flatmate, he is a media influencer, a  beauty makeup artist. I don't know if it's his real name, but his stage  name is Wang Yiduo...
Oh, wait, he is actually putting makeup on my..."



"Do I sense jealousy floating in the air?
Don't worry, Mister Xiao Zhan, I mean Zhan, I like you more than him.", Shia smiled, fluttering her eyelashes, and poking her against Xiao Zhan's arm like by mistake.

"ZhanBi, ZhanBi, what are you doing here, why are you not at work at this hour?
And who is she?", an agitated young boy interrupted the tense moment,  startling the girl, when he pulled her harshly away from Zhan's arm.

I don't know what that name is, but it sounds pretty familiar...
So this is that special person who is allowed to call you  in that manner, huh  Mister Xiao?",  Shia got surprised, who understood the Zhan part, even before his guide explained to her the ZhanBi meaning and to translate everything that the intruder  said.

"It's not that...
Let me introduce you two, he is Wang Yibo, my, my...flatmate, also my good friend.
And this is Miss Li Queen Alicia, my boss' daughter, coming from the States.
Boss delegated me to be her guide for the whole time she would  stay in China."

Yes, indeed, I am your flatmate...", Yibo mumbled, when Zhan translated to him what he previously told  the girl.
"Nice to meet you Miss Li Qin, I apologize for my earlier unmannerly  behavior, but I thought that my flatmate got a girlfriend about whom I knew nothing about. 
And between flatmates, who happen to be good friends, too, it would have been upsetting to keep such a big secret.", the  boy grinned to the two other persons, especially to his "flatmate", who sensed immediately the sarcasm mixed with the slight tint of hurt from Muffin's voice.



"Nice to meet you, too, Mister Wang Yibo.
If all Chinese men look like my guide, you and that  makeup artist, it will be hard for me to leave your country after two weeks.", Shia giggled.

"Sad news for you miss Li Qin Alicia, Yiduo Ge the  man from the stage is a bravely self declared gay man, I am already taken, at least so I've thought, as for lao Xiao you should ask him, I am not sure anymore, ha, ha.", Yibo laughed, patting the girl's back, but with a laughter filled with sadness.

It was really hard for Xiao Zhan to repeat Muffin's words, while translating them for the American girl, yet he did it anyway.

"Mister Wang Yibo, we need you on the stage for the next shots!
Hello Mister Xiao Zhan, I was wondering why you didn't  accompany your artist today. I'm glad that you're here now.
We encountered some issues because Mister Wang Yibo said he will refuse to follow some parts from the script without asking for his manager's permission.",   Sunny Yin's manager said, wrapping a friendly arm around Yibo's shoulder.

"Actually, I made up my mind, I don't need anymore for my manager's permission, I will do whatever you'll ask me to.
After all I am not his property, his artist or who knows what, I am just his FLATMATE! 
Let's go Mr Chang and do our work, I bet that this movie will be a huge hit!
Nothing surprising, though, Miss Sunny Yin's voice is divine, the song is great, Yiduo Ge, the guest star of the movie is gorgeous and the filming team is doing an amazing job!
Lao Xiao Zhan, please take a seat with Miss Li Qin there, and watch me. I hope I will not be a disappointment to my manager's high expectations.",  Yibo spoke with the same mixture of sarcasm and hurt, from earlier.

"Hmm, Zhan.
Are you sure that your flatmate is JUST your good friend?",  Shia furrowed her brows, while taking a seat on the chair held by her gentleman guide.

"Why are you asking?"

"Because of all this interaction between you two, the way both of you look at each other, everything smells to me like a lovers quarrel, I apologize if I say something wrong, but..."

"No problem, but you're wrong indeed, he has a girlfriend, while I am in love ever since with my childhood friend, whom I'm planning to marry as soon as possible.
Excuse me for a moment, I forgot to tell him something important related to the contract he signed with these people.", Zhan excused himself, hurrying to the place where a makeup stylist from Wang Yiduo's team was fixing Yibo's  makeup, ruined by a rebel tear escaped against his will.


"Everything is settled. 
Today we will not have enough time to introduce you to the historical side of Beijing, but after the filming schedule will be over, we will have a city tour with my car, then eat somewhere.
If you will not be too tired we could end the day in one of the many clubs of Beijing.",  Zhan explained, while taking a seat next to Shia, after speaking with Yibo.

"Sounds really great!
But who might be WE?
Only the two of us?", the girl asked, already excited at the thought.

"We, meaning me, you, my flatmate and his girlfriend.
You said it  yourself that I could invite them to accompany us."

"Of course, of course, we will have   a lot of fun, I'm already in love with China!
And I am really curious to meet your cute flatmate's girlfriend."

"Yes, he is cute, isn't he?...
His girlfriend is that makeup stylist, doing her job while I was talking with him. 
Now let's watch, I'm really curious about his role in this movie.",  Xiao Zhan  said with excitement in his voice.

But his whole enthusiasm got dropped to zero when Wang Yiduo's character pushed aside  Miss Zhou Xun, walked like a hunter towards his prayer, locked his eyes with Yibo's  in a gaze full of all kinds of feelings, profoundly disliked by Zhan.
Sunny Yin's manager, who was passing by  him,  briefly explained to him the story of the movie:
Sunny Yin was a famous star, whose lover,  played by Wang Yiduo, was a famous makeup artist. She  caught her lover cheating on her with a man that was her fan.




Xiao Zhan gasped loudly and stood up from the chair, catching Shia's questioning attention, when the Yiduo dude lifted Yibo's precious hand to his mouth and pressed a prolonged, lingering kiss onto the back of his palm.

"What's the matter, are you feeling sick?
Chill, Zhan, he only kissed his hand. 
You don't have to be worried, I'm sure that the world, including his girlfriend, will understand that it's just an act.", Shia laughed.

"I know, but I'm not sure if he should smile like that when Yiduo is kissing his hand, I don't know if that smile is in the script.
I just want  him to do his job well, that's all.",  Xiao Zhan replied, kneading his cold hands in distress.

"I'm sure that the director would have stopped the shooting if something would have been wrong.
You are too uptight, Mister manager!
Your artist is greatly appreciated by everyone, look around at all those admiring eyes
And look at the co-actor's devouring eyes too.
That Wang Yiduo guy is a really great actor."

"He is not acting...dammit...", Zhan hissed through gritting teeth...
"I mean he is not an actor, but a  beauty media influencer."

Great job both of you! 
We have only two more scenes for today.
So, Mister Wang Yibo, I was told that you decided to accept the script, is it true?", the director asked, while indicating to the staff the best angle for the floodlights.

"Yes, I will do whatever it's needed, only because I admire Mis Sunny Yin so much!
And I appreciate Yiduo Ge, the same much.
In addition to the fact that he is a great artist, I admire his courage to assume his real self and the bravery to fight for his beliefs and for  human rights.", Yibo smiled at  his co-actor, too lovingly for Xiao Zhan's comfort.

The  influencer showed his appreciation for the  boy's compliment with another hand kissing, a non scripted kiss this time, in the hollow of Yibo's soft palm.

"Your flatmate said that the  makeup artist is gay, is it true?", Shia asked when Zhan sat down again, plopping his drained out body in the chair and huffing like after a long jogging session.

"Yes, he is, and looks like he got a crush on my Muffin. <

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