36 - I'll leave after this photoshoot
13 min read

36 - I'll leave after this photoshoot

June in Ancheng was too hot and humid, even if you walked in the shade, it felt like swimming in a soup pot. Enduring the scorching heat and walking quickly into the Jiyuan Commercial Building

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June in Ancheng was too hot and humid, even if you walked in the shade, it felt like swimming in a soup pot. Enduring the scorching heat and walking quickly into the Jiyuan Commercial Building, a cool breeze hit her as she reached the entrance. Wei Ruxia breathed a sigh of relief and came back to life.

"The weather really hasn't changed at all." Wei Ruxia said with emotion.

After so many years, the weather in Ancheng hadn't changed much, but the city planning was very different from eight years ago. Ancheng had developed rapidly in the past few years and seven smaller cities along the southern coast had merged into it. The current developmental focus of Ancheng was moving towards the south. What was once the city center had now become the old city.

Wei Ruxia was in the Jiyuan Commercial Building in the North District of Ancheng's Financial Center. She had just finished talking with Zhang Yi, the head of the YI Group's advertising department. Next, she would go to the YI Group's production plant to visit and arrange the related materials for tomorrow's advertising shoot.

Originally Zhang Yi wanted to send her there but Wei Ruxia refused. She hadn't taken the Ancheng subway for many years, and wanted to take it by herself when she came back.

Jiyuan Commercial Building was the largest commercial building in the North District and had its own entrance to the subway station. Today was a working day, and there were very few people in the building at this time. After Wei Ruxia entered, she was going to take the escalator to the Starbucks on the third floor to buy a cup of coffee.

She only arrived from England yesterday and the jet lag was bad.

Starbucks was on the third floor so Wei Ruxia walked up the escalator. As soon as she got on the escalator, the phone in her bag rang. Wei Ruxia took out her mobile phone and pressed to answer.

"Hey, hello, is this Director Wei? I'm a clerk in the advertising department of YI Group. My name is Tongtong." A soft female voice came over on the phone and introduced herself.

"Yes." Wei Ruxia responded with a smile. Listening to the little girl's voice, she should be young, Wei Ruxia corrected, "Just call me Ms. Wei."

She didn't have a high enough level of qualifications to be called 'Director', and was embarrassed to be called so by the little girl.

Wei Ruxia's tone was very easy-going, and Tongtong's originally nervous mood was relieved.  She was nervous when she called Wei Ruxia, because the minister had specifically instructed her that she was a director personally hired by President Cen from the UK to shoot commercials for YI Group's high-end luxury products in autumn and winter, and she had a good relationship with President Cen.  She had to be sure to take care of her.

"Ah, Ms. Wei, you are coming from the Epoch Square site now, right?" Tongtong said, "You can take subway line 11 directly to our factory, and the exit is in the light industry factory area. You can call me before you get to the station and I'll pick you up."

The escalator was about to reach the second floor, but the kid standing next to Wei Ruxia suddenly didn't take a step forward. Wei Ruxia hurriedly bent over to help her, and the parents beside her repeatedly thanked her and signaled the little boy to thank auntie.

The little boy was white and clean, his voice was soft and sweet, he smiled and thanked her, "Thank you, Auntie."

"You're welcome." Wei Ruxia replied with a smile, then raised her eyes to see the sign of the Children's Development Organization in front of her. Children nowadays didn't start school in kindergarten anymore. They were sent to this kind of outreach organization for outreach training almost as soon as they knew how to walk.

After bidding farewell to the little boy, Wei Ruxia went up the escalator and continued to the third floor. After apologizing to Tongtong, Wei Ruxia said, "I think Line 9 will also get there."

"Right." Tongtong answered, and then hesitated, "But the exit for Line 9 is a bit far away from our factory, and it's blocked, I'm afraid I can't get to it."

"Then I'll take Line 11."

Wei Ruxia didn't insist, and as she and Tongtong decided on the line she would take, she entered Starbucks.

There were very few people at Starbucks. Wei Ruxia ordered an ice Americano, and the clerk went to make it. Wei Ruxia sat in a high chair and waited. The high chair was by the window, and she could just see the children's development centre on the second floor.

Business in other places was poor, but people went in and out of the children's development centre from time to time. It seemed that there were classes on at this time.

When she was feeling that the babies who just learnt how to walk were working so hard, a man came up on the escalator. Wei Ruxia's gaze was fixed on the man's face and her breathing slightly stagnated.

The man had cold skin and was wearing a well-tailored suit. He was about 190cm, tall and slender, and his proportions weren't inferior to any male model she had ever photographed. He had the nobleness of an elite and his temperament was gentle and indifferent.  From such a distance, Wei Ruxia could only vaguely see the man's facial features, deep eyebrows, tall nose, sharp face, and thin lips slightly pursed.

He held a little girl in a linen dress in his arms, who looked only three or four years old. The little girl was fair, tender and lovely, the opposite of him. She embraced the man's slender neck with both hands, frowning slightly and pouted, as if she was playing tricks.

The man lowered his head slightly to the little girl's mouth, listening to her quietly. After the girl finished speaking, the man raised his eyes slightly, with a helpless smile on his lips, and said something to the little girl. The little girl laughed, her entire face buried on his shoulder.

He let her act like a baby, and seemed to notice he was being watched from the third floor and raised his eyes.

The man raised his eyes, his gaze was directed at her. Wei Ruxia stared into his ink-black eyes, and her heart moved slightly. While her eyes were stagnant, the man withdrew his gaze, carrying the little girl into the children's development centre.

"Miss, your coffee is ready." The clerk brought the coffee over, interrupting Wei Ruxia's daze.

The air-conditioning in the Starbucks was on blast and the heat in Wei Ruxia's body had been dissipated, the cool air now ran wildly through her thin body. She took the coffee, smiled and said thank you to the clerk.

There weren't many people on the subway, and Wei Ruxia found a seat. The coffee didn't relieve her fatigue and sleepiness, and she leaned her head back on the glass of the subway window. The cold and hard touch reminded her of the boy who always put his hand behind her head.

She didn't know if the person she just saw was Luo Tang, after all, after eight years, her appearance had changed, no doubt he had as well. And if it was him, was the little girl in his arms his daughter?

As the subway turned, Wei Ruxia leaned forward, then leaned back against the glass with a slight thud.

So sleepy.

When Wei Ruxia arrived at the exit, she saw a young girl in her twenties. She was wearing a white dress, and was very bright. She was chubby and had a bun on her head. After seeing Wei Ruxia, her slender eyes lit up and she called out, "Are you Ms. Wei?"

The young girl reminded Wei Ruxia of Hu Yinyin. She was very kind. She softened her tone unconsciously, smiled and nodded, and said, "Yes, you've been working hard."

"It isn't hard work, come, get in the car, it's hot outside~" Tongtong's skin had turned red from the sun. She opened the door for Wei Ruxia and after she got in, she also got in the car with her.

The air conditioner inside the car was on, and the young girl let out a sigh of relief when she closed the car door.

After she sighed, she felt that she was a little indecent just now. She looked at Wei Ruxia embarrassed, but seeing that Wei Ruxia didn't mean to laugh at her, she quickly talked to her about her next job.

"Ms. Li Wen also came today. She should be arriving at about the same time as you."

The Li Wen Tongtong's spoke of was the spokesperson of their brand, a popular beauty in China, and had the ability to create traffic and attract fans. YI Group had been in the clothing business for many years. In order to find a breakthrough, it had made great efforts during this time.

Wei Ruxia has been abroad all year round and wasn't very familiar with domestic celebrities. In order to shoot this commercial, she had watched other commercials shot by Li Wen. She always felt that Li Wen had an unspeakable sense of familiarity, but she couldn't remember who she was. Even when she saw the real person, she couldn't remember, but Li Wen greeted her first.

The ad group was arranged in the warehouse on the top floor of the factory. When Wei Ruxia entered, Li Wen was already there. Although the top floor was air-conditioned and the sun was blocked by the concrete roof, it was still a bit hotter than the outside. Li Wen's agent was complaining about the temperature, when someone inside called out, "Director Wei is here."

While they were talking, the eyes of several people cast over.

President Cen dug a director from abroad to shoot the luxury commercial. The entire YI Group thought that she would be a well-known photographer in the industry, so she should be very experienced and not young, but then they saw Wei Ruxia. They didn't expect her to be so young.

She looked to be about twenty-five or twenty-six years old. She was very tall and had to be over 175cm. She was wearing a simple white tee and black shorts. Under the shorts, her legs were slender and white. She wore a high ponytail, her forehead was smooth and beautiful and her facial features were deep, her brows and eyes felt heroic, making her temperament clean and clear. She has a nice and elegant appearance, and she had a sense of luxury. If it weren't for Tongtong's introduction, they would have thought she was a model.

Hearing someone calling her name, Wei Ruxia smiled and nodded, shaking hands with the main person in charge here. When it was Li Wen's turn, Miss. Li Wen, who had been a little unhappy just before, smiled at her and shouted.

"Wei Ruxia."

After being called like this, Wei Ruxia felt even more that she and Li Wen knew each other. Seeing the uncertainty in her expression, Li Wen didn’t care. She introduced herself, “We studied in the same high school, I was a student in the art class. Oh, Li Wen is my stage name, my real name is Li Yawen."

The name Li Yawen was from so long ago that Wei Ruxia almost didn't remember it. She and Li Yawen didn't communicate much in high school, and the exchanges each time seemed to be unpleasant. But so many years had passed and no one would take things from childhood to heart.

She really looked different from before. If she didn't introduce herself, Wei Ruxia really wouldn't have recognised her. She didn't expect that she would take the initiative to talk to her. Wei Ruxia smiled and stretched out her hand to shake hands with her, and said, "That's right, it's been a long time."

Li Wen looked at Wei Ruxia with a light smile in her eyes. The name 'Wei Ruxia' was relatively uncommon. When she saw the director's name, she wondered if it might be her, but she didn't expect it to actually be the case.

"I heard that you went abroad, why did you come back? Have you been in China since then?"

Wei Ruxia had started directing the shoot and after the arrangements were in place, she walked through the set with Li Wen. After they stopped for a rest, Li Wen came to chat with her.

Seeing that she was sweating, Tongtong handed her a bottle of water. Wei Ruxia took it and took a sip. The ice water slid into her abdomen, suppressing Wei Ruxia's dryness.

"No, I just took this commercial, I'll leave after filming."

Li Wen heard her answer and gave a faint 'Oh'.  Her face was more refined than before, and she no longer had the purity of a high schooler, but she looked better than before.

A star was a star, and sitting among so many people, she was easily the most dazzling. Wei Ruxia remembered that Li Wen was admitted in advance to the Film Academy back then.

After taking another sip of water, Wei Ruxia didn't want to talk more. She tightened the cap on the bottle and said, "Let's continue."

The discussion between Wei Ruxia and Li Wen regarding personal matters was limited to the above few sentences. After the work was completed, she had to catch the opening of a film festival in the evening, and hurried away.

Tongtong was acting as her assistant in China. After Wei Ruxia was done, she hurried over and said to her, "President Cen just called you."

Sure enough, Ms. Wei and President Cen had a very close relationship, and President Cen actually called her personally. Tongtong was a little excited, she still had a longing for the romantic kind of love found in novels in her heart.

Wei Ruxia didn't think much of it, she took her mobile phone and called Cen Nianbai. She called his private number, and Cen Nianbai quickly answered the phone.

"Are you done?" Cen Nianbai asked. His voice was nice, with the sexiness and deepness of a man.

"Yeah." Wei Ruxia took out her diary while on the phone and circled the key points of today's work, "Is there something?"

"Would you like to come to my house for dinner? My mother made soup." Cen Nianbai said.

On such a hot day, Wei Ruxia really didn't want to drink soup. She smiled and said, "No, I still have a job tomorrow, and I can't drink with you."

There was a low laugh on the phone, and Cen Nianbai said, "Okay, then you go back to the hotel and have a good rest. The advertising job doesn't need to be rushed."

Wei Ruxia had been booked into the best hotel in Ancheng when she came over. She took the job because she had some time, and the pay was good.

"Thanks boss." Wei Ruxia joked and hung up the phone.

Tongtong next to her was watching her call. After she hung up, Wei Ruxia looked at her, and she quickly asked, "Should I take you to the hotel?"

Today, after working with Tongtong for a day, Wei Ruxia felt more and more that she was like Hu Yinyin. When she returned to China yesterday and worked today, she didn't have time to contact Hu Yinyin.

After going abroad to settle down that year, Wei Ruxia and Hu Yinyin contacted each other for a period of time. Later, the two people's lives drifted away and the contact gradually stopped. It seemed that the last time they'd spoken was four years ago. After breaking contact with Hu Yinyin, she never logged onto WeChat again.

"Send me to the subway entrance, I want to go somewhere." Wei Ruxia said to Tongtong.

"You don't want me to take you there directly? It's too hot." Tongtong worried. Then after worrying, she felt that she worried too much. Maybe Ms. Wei wanted to stroll around by herself?

Thinking of this, Tongtong said, "Where are you going? I can tell you how to get there."

Her concern made Wei Ruxia feel warm. She looked at her with a smile and said, "I used to live in Ancheng for two years."

"Ah? When?" Tongtong asked in surprise.

"Ten years ago." Wei Ruxia rounded up.

"It's been a long time." Tongtong said with emotion.

Wei Ruxia smiled again, nodded, and said, "It's been a long time."

Although a long time had passed and Ancheng had renewed its urban planning, the subway line to her old housing community hadn't changed, and the station had not changed. After Wei Ruxia came out of the subway station, she walked towards her old house the same way as before.

The old town hadn't changed much, the area around the community just looked a bit old, but nothing much else had changed. However, the name of the old convenience store seemed to have changed, and several other new stores had been opened next to it.

As soon as Wei Ruxia entered the gate, the guard opened the window and looked over. He thought was going to ask Wei Ruxia to register, but as soon as the window opened, Wei Ruxia's face turned, and the guard sighed and said, "You are..."

"Uncle." Wei Ruxia was surprised that the guard still remembered her. She laughed and said, "I used to live in Building 9."

"Right, right, right." The guard laughed, handed over the registration book, and said, "You can register."

The guard remembered her, but he still had to follow protocol. In order to treat her father, their house in the community was sold. Now, she was a 'visitor'.

After registering, Wei Ruxia said, "I just came to have a look."

The guard said with a smile, "Go look."

Since Ancheng expanded, the young and wealthy people had basically all moved to live in the new district. Apart from the empty houses, nothing in the community had changed.

At this time, the street lights were on, and there were crickets calling in the grass. Wei Ruxia walked along the road illuminated by the street lights, and soon reached the road between her house and Luo Tang's house.

She was now standing next to her house, where someone else had already moved in, and the lights were still on inside. She remembered that Auntie Cai said that the house was sold to a product manager who worked in information technology. They were a family of three.

Wei Ruxia observed the yard. The flowers and plants planted by her grandma in the yard were gone, and it was turned into a bare lawn, no longer what it used to be.

At that moment, Wei Ruxia truly felt that this home was no longer her home, it was already someone else's home.

Wei Ruxia smiled and looked up at the house next to her.

There was no one in the neighbouring house, and the lights were off. Even the street light was broken, making it even darker. Wei Ruxia walked over and stood where she used to stand.

Across the low courtyard wall, Wei Ruxia saw a tree standing in the dark courtyard.

This tree had many limbs thick and thin, and it grew so luxuriantly that it even stretched out a branch outside of the courtyard wall. The light from a nearby house illuminated the branch.

Wei Ruxia saw the leaves on the branches and the flowers dotted among the leaves. Eight years was too long and she forgot a lot of things, but Wei Ruxia always remembered this. She had been calm since returning, but this memory still disturbed her.

Home was where the infinity flowers were.

The author has something to say:

Wei Ruxia: Home is where Tangtang is.

Sad to think A'Mang is probably dead by now.

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