As Shao Xian dipped herself in the bathtub, her face went flush red. She could not tell if it had to do with the warmth of the water or the fact that Li Yiming and Sai Gao were on the other side of the thin curtain.
Although Sai Gao’s house was spacious, the interior consisted of only one room, meaning that even the bathroom was exposed. She did not feel as unsettled while sleeping as she was able to cover herself, but taking a bath in such an open space was quite an odd experience.
After spending an entire day outside and exercising after returning home, Shao Xian’s body became unbearably sticky with sweat.
As Shao Xian’s thoughts wandered, she thought about the moment she came out of her bath — when a woman was at her most attractive state, and wished for Sai Gao to leave some private time between her and Li Yiming.
‘I wonder what they’re doing. I can’t hear anything… Are they out for a smoke on the balcony again?’ Shao Xian thought as she played around with water. She knew that Li Yiming was not someone she could hope to be with, but she wished to at least not have any regrets later on in life.
Li Yiming had entered her life only a few weeks ago. She did not know what background he had or what he did for a living, but she did know that he was a person that she would never be able to forget. Her longing for love, which had long gone cold from living alone, was burning once again.
Shao Xian stood up as quietly as possible and tiptoed to the giant mirror beside the bathtub. She examined her slender legs, her spotless skin, and her breasts. For the first time in a long while, Shao Xian could feel her heart race as she thought about what she was going to attempt.
Shao Xian picked up the bath towel and finished drying herself. After putting on her bathrobe, she tightened the silk belt just enough to reveal her attractive curves.
‘Thank you, Sai Gao.’ It was all thanks to the effort that Sai Gao put to give her her near-perfect appearance. It was only a few days since they have met, but she knew that she could always count on him, and she trusted him wholeheartedly.
After a final smile in the mirror to pump herself up, Shao Xian slowly pulled on the curtain and walked out. She put one hand on the wall and the other right in front of her body, trying to give the impression that she was hiding herself in shyness from Li Yiming.
“No one’s here?” Shao Xian looked around, only to find the room empty.
Suddenly, she heard a loud noise as two people rolled down the pink sofa.
Then, she saw a scene that would forever be at the back of her mind: Sai Gao, who had several cuts on his pants to the point that his underwear was seen, sat half-naked on top of Li Yiming. The latter had his shirt ripped into shreds, and visible scratch marks could be seen on his back, which Shao Xian interpreted as signs of passionate lovemaking.
Shao Xian closed the curtain right away and retreated to the other side, clasping the collars of her bathrobe tightly. ‘They… they… Sai Gao… Even best friends require some personal space…’
“I almost died from that…” Sai Gao said in a low, angry voice.
“I told you that I can’t control it.” Li Yiming said between ragged breaths, but he sounded very satisfied.
“You can’t just do whatever you want! You’re enjoying yourself, but I…”
“When I’m done, it’ll be your turn. I’ll try my best to satisfy you.”
Shao Xian slowly turned toward the bathtub as she listened to the ongoing conversation.
‘Please, can I just drown here…’
* * *
As the day of the music festival arrived, the luxury limousines began to flux into the venue. The vehicles traversed through layers and layers of security, all under constant flashing camera lights.
“Are you okay? You’ll need to give off a good first impression for the rehearsal. Otherwise, they might revoke their invitation for a newcomer like you.” Sai Gao reminded Shao Xian.
“You’re right.” Shao Xian was in a low mood. She felt like crying after glancing at Li Yiming, who was driving the car.
‘Handsome men are already a rarity, and you choose to not make yourselves available…’
“She’s nervous, that’s all,” Li Yiming said as he glanced at the rearview mirror. Anybody’s first public performance was bound to be a high hurdle.
“You have a solid fanbase, but a lot of them are in for the excitement of meeting their idol for the first time in real life. You should be prepared for this opportunity. Hold your head high.” Sai Gao continued.
“I’ll do my best. Thank you.” Shao Xian suddenly realized that she was the third wheel who was trying to put herself between Li Yiming and Sai Gao. She owed everything to them, and, at this point, all she could do was to hope for the happiness for her two dearest friends.
“Alright, we’re here. Let’s go to the backstage,” Sai Gao said as he opened his car door and walked out with their outfits.
Li Yiming parked the car and went to the back to open the door for Shao Xian, acting out his role of a chauffeur.
‘He belongs to someone else…’ Shao Xian had to remind herself again as she saw Li Yiming’s handsome smile.
“Hello, are you Shao Xian, the one scheduled to perform Divine Voice Materialized?” Someone who looked like a staff member came to greet them.
“Yes,” Sai Gao said.
“And you are…” The staff member was surprised at hearing Sai Gao’s high-pitched voice.
“I am her manager.”
“Manager?” The staff member seemed to have accepted the fact rather quickly, as many were already doubting that there was a mysterious mastermind behind Shao Xian’s overnight success.
“Can we go in?” Shao Xian said. Sai Gao seemed to enjoy receiving so much attention from the staff member, but Shao Xian tried to prevent the two from getting any closer, as Sai Gao “belonged” to Li Yiming.
“Of course. Your room is at the end of the hallway. Nameplates are on the door. Someone will come to get you before the start of the rehearsal,” The staff member said as he concluded that Sai Gao, with his air and attire, did indeed fit the image of a manager almost perfectly.
“Let’s go.” Shao Xian said.
“Don’t get ahead of yourself.” The staff smiled coldly. Having witnessed many overnight celebrities crash down shortly after having had a taste of fame, he firmly believed that Shao Xian was soon about to suffer the same fate.
Shao Xian’s turbulent emotions gradually settled as she walked through the hallway and looked at the nameplate on each door, some of which she had seen on the news before. It was only then that she realized how close she was to achieve her dream. However, the moment she saw her name on the nameplate, she felt as if she had been doused by a bucket of icy cold water.
The room in front of her had a ragged tablecloth hanging from the doorframe, serving as the curtain for the entrance, as it did not even have a door. Moreover, her resting room was facing the hallway leading to the public bathroom.
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