Waiting Upon You – Chapter 2 Act 4
TLC: Momoe Pom
Editor: Lady Blue, Draygan
Quality Check: Noa
First Published on Ainushi.
Act 4, Mass
At that moment, as he turned around, it gave Ling Lang the illusion that Feng Hao’s image overlapped with that of the character he played in the movie. The overbearing feeling of oppression that pervaded the air was considerably overwhelming compared to when they were filming.
The feeling lasted for only a blink of an eye, before vanishing so quickly that Ling Lang felt that it was just his imagination.
Feng Hao once again recovered his usual grin, “Senior, I have told you before that I am your fan. Look! Here is proof, I didn’t lie to you.”
Ling Lang stared at him closely, wanting to find a crack in that perfect smile of his.
“Why do you have that photo?”
Feng Hao lifted his head to look up at the enormous picture of Ling Lang that was on the wall, “That’s because this photo was taken by me.”
“The day of the performance, the one in charge of taking photos was a senior from the same club. However, something cropped up at the last minute and he was unable to make it to the play so he asked me to take his place,” Feng Hao walked past Ling Lang and stood in front of the photo. “Speaking of which, I really have to thank that senior. If it wasn’t for him, I would not have gotten to know you.” The look on Ling Lang’s face darkened. “There were so many stage photos taken at that time, why did you purposely choose this one?”
“Because this photo was the best shot,” Feng Hao raised his hand, his fingertips following along the edges of the rope on Ling Lang’s body, slowing rubbing the picture. “Senior, don’t you think so? The final expression on your face before you died was the most vivid. It doesn’t matter how many times you look at it, it still captivates people…” Feng Hao’s low voice reached Ling Lang’s ears, unexpectedly making him shiver.
Ling Lang lowered his head, “I am leaving.”
Feng Hao turned around, “I’ll drive you.”
Feng Hao used his car and drove Ling Lang back to his lodging. “Could I be so bold as to ask Senior for your private number?”
The two of them had just finished collaborating for a movie; one of them had even been to the other person’s house to watch a video recording. This request was reasonable and not overboard.
“Sorry,” Ling Lang firmly rejected. “I rarely give my number to others. If you need to contact me, you can call my manager.”
“If that’s the case,” Feng Hao did not seem angry at all. “Alright, then have a good night, Senior.”
Feng Hao’s gaze followed Ling Lang as he entered the main entrance, but he did not immediately start his car and leave. Instead, he sat silently in the car for a while. Then, he opened the car door and got off.
“You can come out now.”
Slowly, a person walked out from the corner. It was Ling Lang’s manager.
Feng Hao, seeing that it was him, immediately changed his expression to a polite smile, “It turned out to be you. Sorry, I thought it was the paparazzi.”
“Up till now, there’s not a single paparazzi that knows Ling Lang’s address.”
“Really?” Feng Hao laughed joyfully, “It looks like I have better luck than the paparazzi.”
Seeing the indescribable expression in his eyes, made the manager more guarded. “I have been with Ling Lang for so long, I’ve never seen him visit anyone’s house. Furthermore, I have never seen anyone send him to his front gate.”
“Put that way, shouldn’t I feel incredibly honored?”
“Maybe it would be impolite to say this, but Ling Lang’s image before the public is very clean. There has never been any scandal implicating him. Regardless whether it’s the opposite sex or same sex, I do not wish for groundless conjecture or accusations to appear in the media. Do you understand my meaning?” The manager sternly said.
Feng Hao couldn’t refrain from laughing as he walked in front of the manager, placing his left hand on the other party’s shoulder, “Managers not wanting scandals to spread about the actors under their care is understandable, but to interfere in the actors’ dating life, isn’t that overstepping your boundaries?”
The manager furrowed his brows.
Feng Hao placed his hand back into his trouser pocket, “I am really curious. Is your relationship with Senior so simple, just purely that of a manager and artist? Compared to other managers, you seem more like his… guardian?”
Feng Hao, after having just finished speaking, shook his head to negate his own suggestion, “That’s not likely. Senior is an adult, in that case…”
He observed the other party’s reaction with much interest, “You’re here to keep him under surveillance?”
The manager’s brows creased. He suddenly realized that this person in front of him was not as harmless as he appeared. Could it be that he had an ulterior motive for getting close to Ling Lang?
While both of them were still having a confrontation with deep undercurrents, Ling Lang was lying on his bed with his jacket still on him. The bedside cabinet not far from him had a photo frame placed on it. The photo framed within was the group photo of the entire cast of 《The Brave Lives Forever》.
Ling Lang stared at the picture for a while, stood up and pulled the frame open. Stuck between the group photo and the back of the frame was another photo, which fell out. Impressively, that photo was none other than the photo hanging in Feng Hao’s house.
Picking up the photo that had fallen on the bed, Ling Lang’s thoughts began to drift back to a nostalgic time on campus.
“What? You want to act as the male lead? The director of the drama was Ling Lang’s good friend and had a face full of disbelief when he asked him.
《The Brave Lives Forever》was an anti-Japanese stage play. It tells the story about the life of someone in an underground organization, fighting against the aggressors. His identity was unfortunately exposed the day right before the Japanese army surrendered, igniting a triumphal song that spoke of the resistance’s victory in the war in exchange for his blood.
“I feel that I would be able to portray this role well.”
“It’s not that I don’t believe in your abilities, but…” His friend gestured with his hands drily for a long while. “You see, all those works in television and films, as long as this type of tough guy role appears, which ones don’t have a brawny figure, chiseled features, big eyes, thick brows, with a face of righteousness? Look at you, which part of you qualifies for it?”
Ling Lang disagreed, “Indeed, everyone has a fixed facial stereotype, what kind of face is a good person, what kind of face is a bad person. But as a successful actor, he should be able to make the audience overlook his appearance to the extent that the audience would forget to think that this type of face is a good person, that type of face is a bad person. They should be able to even overturn previous stereotypes.”
His good friend was moved by him. In a bold move, he gave Ling Lang the chance to act as the male lead. The achieved outcome was an unexpected success. That stage play garnered a huge reaction and was well received in school; it was also because of this reason that Ling Lang was scouted. Since then, he officially stepped into the entertainment industry.
When Ling Lang was young, whenever war-themed movies or series would appear on television, when it came to the scene where captives were bound by the enemies, he would always be absorbed and extremely fascinated. He would even imagine himself in the role. When he played the game “police catching spies” with his friends, other people would rush to be the police, only he would request to be the spy of his own accord.
Slowly, he discovered that what excited him was different from boys his age; pictures of naked pretty girls did not interest him, on the contrary, what got him excited was bondage and torture scenes.
During puberty, every time he had a wet dream, it always had something to do with coercion. At that time, the internet was not as developed as it was now. The source of his orgasms all came from his imagination.
As time went by, his imagination failed to satisfy him. He contemplated about what he wanted to do with his life and then he took the first step — to apply to the film academy to become an actor.
For Ling Lang,《The Brave Lives Forever》 was not just a stage play. It was the moment his dreams started to become reality.
The day of its release was a memory he would never forget his entire life. The student in charge of the props, due to being too nervous, tied him up too tightly. Under the watchful eyes of thousands of people in the auditorium, he lifted his head, straightened his back and walked to the execution ground while also at the same time, walked towards that mental orgasm.
More than a decade ago of clear memories crowded his mind. Ling Lang unknowingly reached his hand out to the picture and traced the outline of the knots, his actions subconsciously coinciding with the same places that Feng Hao had traced. When he realized his actions, he retracted his hands like he had been electrocuted.
That familiar feeling once again engulfed him entirely. He wanted to get rid of it, however, the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. He could only let himself get engulfed in the sea of desire. Only this time, Feng Hao’s face continuously flashed before his eyes; it was impossible to get rid of.
“Ling Lang, Ling Lang? What are you zoning out for? It’s your turn to go up on stage.”
Ling Lang awoke from being enveloped by lust, “Go up what stage?”
“Of course the execution stage,” a voice close behind his back lightly rang out.
“Who is it?” This voice was so familiar, yet Ling Lang was unable to recall whom the voice belonged to.
The sound of soft laughter was his only answer.
Ling Lang looked around. Actors and classmates helping out walked around him, but no matter how he tried, he just could not get a clear view of their faces.
This scene was really familiar. Ling Lang tried his best to recall, finally, he remembered that today was the day the stage play would be released. What was this bizarre feeling?
However, with no time for him to think too much, Ling Lang discovered another matter that shocked him, “Where is my costume?”
“Costume? I’ll help you wear it now,” that voice once again replied. The coarse hemp rope was coiled around his neck, his arms were firmly bound behind his back, the taut rope dug into his flesh, strangling him until he was almost unable to breathe.
“Finished dressing. Do you like it?”
No, it’s not like this! Ling Lang cried out within his heart, yet he was unable to even utter a single syllable.
“Go, it’s about time for you to perform.” It was as though that voice contained magic. Ling Lang discovered that he was unable to control his own body. Step by step, he walked towards the stage.
“No… can’t…” He would be completely exposed to all of the audience if he took another step forward. Ling Lang used all the strength in his body and futilely tried to resist.
“Why not?” One corner of the curtain lifted, “Look, everyone is expecting you. Don’t let your audience wait too long.”
Ling Lang struggled and shook his head. Immediately, two actors wearing Japanese army uniforms forcefully shoved him and escorted him to the front of the stage. Numerous faces looked up, each one shrouded in mist.
Suddenly Ling Lang began to struggle violently, “Release me, let me go!”
He desperately tried to shield his body, but no matter how much force he used, his bound hands did not budge at all. He had never felt this panic-stricken. He could feel countless gazes on his naked body, leaving him with nowhere to hide.
“Don’t be afraid.” A hand was placed on his forehead, and Ling Lang was suddenly still as though a pressure point was hit. After that, his whole body slowly relaxed.
“Isn’t this what you wanted?” That hand touched the bridge of his nose and then his lips, slowly trailing down. The places it touched burned as though it was electrocuted. “Here, even here. My my, you already have a reaction this quickly?”
Ling Lang closed his eyes, feeling the roaming hand become two. Then three, four, until it became uncountable. Every inch of his body was groped. He had no choice but to lift and raise his head, taking in big gulps of air, heart seemingly beating before his eyes.
“Open your eyes,” the voice commanded once again. “Remember the role of an actor. No matter what the situation, their responsibility is to present their best possible performance for the audience.”
Ling Lang opened his eyes. The mist at the bottom of the stage cleared, the faces of the audience gradually became clearer. All of the faces were expressionless, each appeared to be exactly the same.
A strong light flashed, closely followed by another. Gradually the flashes merged into one continuous blur. The first year Ling Lang got the academy award for the best actor and became king of the silver screen, that was the respect that the media had given him.
“Don’t… don’t take photos,” Ling Lang opened his mouth. His voice was so weak, it was drowned out by the clicking sounds of the camera shutters. Even he could not understand his own words.
The photographer’s voice seemed to be coming from the below the stage, yet it also seemed to slowly sound in his ears, “Senior, do you not think so? The final expression on your face before you died was the most vivid. It doesn’t matter how many times you look at it, it still captivates people…”
That sound was like someone was murmuring. Suddenly, it was like a group of people in harmony, starting from the center of the stage, spreading to every corner of the theatre, then it bounced back, forming into a neverending echo, “Come, it’s time to say your lines.”
Ling Lang heard himself hoarsely reciting his dialogue.
“We are born, we live, then we die…No one can escape this fate…”
“One of these days all of you will perish… Whereas I, right here, right now, will become… immortal.”
Ling Lang was woken up by the gunshot, his whole body was covered in sweat from fear. He stretched out his hand and touched his thigh, it was not surprising that there was a large, sticky mess there.
He tried to calm himself down for quite a while. Only then did he drag himself with his aching and tingling legs to the bathroom to deal with the aftermath.
Warm water flowed, leaving his body clean, as though it could wash away all his unspeakable secrets. As he walked out from the bathroom, he once again returned to being the noble and aloof king of the silver screens.
He knelt in the usual position and proceeded to begin his morning prayer.
“Sorry, I didn’t come yesterday.”
——Where did you go?
“I went… to an actor’s house whom I have worked with together before.”
——How long has it been since you went to someone’s house?
“I can’t remember anymore.”
——That must be a special person.
——At that time, what were the both of you doing?
“Watching a stage play. A work of art I starred in during my university phase.”
“While watching the recording, I…” Ling Lang clenched both his fists, “I had a reaction, it also happened during the premiere screen debut too.”
——Tell me about that person.
“He is full of passion, full of talent, full of… He scares me.”
——Because he brought about your sexual urges？
——Not just once?
——As a result, you masturbated.
——While masturbating, the image of his face appeared in your mind.
——Do you hate him?
——Do you like him?
——That’s all for today.
Ling Lang pressed his forehead to the ground. He conducted himself piously and bowed ceremoniously.
After a while, he stood up. In front of him, was a pitch black television conference screen. Not long ago, there were still sounds coming from it, but now, in this empty room, only his voice echoed.