They were all in the same film crew, seeing each other every day. Even if they didn't say much, it still felt different. Just a glance between them was enough to communicate, a silent understanding.
The crew had frequent meetings, big and small, and whenever they happened, Yuan Ye and Fang Shaoyi would unconsciously gravitate towards each other and sit together. During these meetings, if the topic didn't concern them, they would exchange glances, but it was without any expressions, as if it wasn't intentional.
One day during a meeting, the director grabbed Yuan Ye and said, "Sit here with me."
"Ah," Yuan Ye touched his nose, "Okay."
Fang Shaoyi also came over to sit, and the director pointed to the opposite side, saying, "You sit over there, let's see if the two of you can still make trouble now?"
"Haha, we haven't caused any trouble," Yuan Ye sat there, bowing his head and touching his head, "We've been following the meeting rules."
"Do you think I'm blind?" Director Jiang pushed Fang Shaoyi again, "Go sit on the opposite side!"
Being called out by the director, Yuan Ye felt a bit embarrassed and laughed twice without looking up. Fang Shaoyi had a piece of candy in his mouth, nodded, and went to sit on the opposite side as the director instructed.
When it comes to meetings, Yuan Ye is usually very professional and serious. During his early days, he didn't express his opinions much because he didn't write the script himself and didn't fully understand the director's vision. Now that he had observed the director for many days, he knows when to speak up.
Jiang Linchuan sets the bar high and his work is never tailored to the audience. Instead, the audience must adapt to his style. Although this was evident from reading the script previously, Jiang Linchuan also made significant changes during filming, which may make even harder for the audience to understand.
Yuan Ye spoke bluntly to the director, "You can't raise the artistic value anymore. The essence of the movie is still a small story. Sen Cha is just a hitman who comes to find someone and then kills them. The story's capacity is only so much. If too many things are added, the plot's going to fly away. Director, what do you think?"
Jiang Linchuan thought for a moment and then said, "We haven't exceeded its capacity yet. We still need to focus on developing the characters."
Yuan Ye replied, "It may not have exceeded its capacity now, but you keep adding more. Almost every character has something added to them. The hardware store and the oil store originally had no story, but now they do. I think you should rein it in, why don't you consider this a bit more."
Jiang Linchuan's film had a major problem - it wasn't the abundance of props, but rather that every line required the audience to ponder, and every scene tested them. When the director was too stubborn, the rest of the crew had to rein him in. Yuan Ye wasn't afraid to offend anyone and did his job well. Although he came because of Fang Shaoyi, he still had to do what he was supposed to do.
His words naturally affected some people's interests. Actors usually complained about having too few lines, but never too many. It was great that the director was willing to add more scenes and lines, but Yuan Ye wouldn't allow it. He wouldn't elevate the characters any more.
Onlookers might think that the screenwriter was drawing lines for the director, but if it were them, they would feel that Yuan Ye was suppressing the supporting roles and focusing on the lead, highlighting the protagonist.
It was a common occurrence on set, especially for actors like Fang Shaoyi who had their own screenwriter accompanying them. The process of filming him involved constantly adding lines and scenes.
Jiang Linchuan looked at Fang Shaoyi and asked, "What about you? What do you think?"
Fang Shaoyi thought for a moment and replied, "So far, it's okay."
He glanced at Yuan Ye and continued, "But it's not about my role. It's about the actors themselves understanding their characters. Let's ask them what they think."
Yuan Ye also looked at him but didn't say anything more.
That night, Fang Shaoyi called Yuan Ye and said, "Come down for some supper."
Yuan Ye agreed, "Okay, I'll be there."
The filming location was no longer in the village, and there were many restaurants nearby. Ji Xiaotao ordered takeout for them to eat.
Yuan Ye came down wearing slippers and pajamas. As soon as he smelled the food, he said, "Your skin is already like this, why are you still eating spicy food so late at night? I guess you don't want to find a partner anymore."
"Well, he doesn't have a partner anyway, so he doesn't care," Ji Xiaotao shrugged and replied.
Fang Shaoyi didn't have the habit of eating at night. He was sitting on the sofa still sucking on a throat lozenge. Yuan Ye asked him, "Is your throat uncomfortable?"
"It's okay," Fang Shaoyi replied. He had just finished exercising and took a shower, so his body was still damp.
Yuan Ye looked at the water droplets on his body and laughed, "Just finished showering, huh?"
"Yeah," Fang Shaoyi moved over and gave Yuan Ye a place to sit.
Yuan Ye sat down next to him and leaned in, looking up at him and whispering, "The shower gel smells really good."
"Enough, you two," Ji Xiaotao had long lost the excitement of watching them at the beginning and now had a completely indifferent face. "Anyway, it's just flirting. Don't flirt so hard, I can't leave now. I still have to eat."
Yuan Ye laughed and said to Fang Shaoyi, "Fire him."
"You're the boss," Fang Shaoyi nodded.
A small table was set up for a late-night snack, and Ji Xiaotao and Yuan Ye ate while Fang Shaoyi watched them. When Yuan Ye was eating, Fang Shaoyi said to him, "You're not a kid anymore. Why are you still so straightforward?"
This sentence made Yuan Ye pause in his movements. He looked up at Fang Shaoyi and asked, "Are you talking about the film?"
Fang Shaoyi made a sound of agreement and looked at him, saying, "It's not appropriate to say in front of actors that they have too many scenes. Even if they don't say anything out loud, they would have some thoughts in their heart."
Yuan Ye shook his head and replied, "It may offend people, but I'd rather say it in front of everyone. I can't be all friendly on the surface and then go talk to the director behind their backs. That's just being fake. I won't do that. If I offend someone, I'll do it to their face."
Yuan Ye had always been like this, and Fang Shaoyi liked him for it. Yuan Ye had his own way of doing things, and Fang Shaoyi didn't want to restrict him or tell him how to live his life.
But in a society where relationships are important, especially in this cutthroat industry, it's impossible to always be so straightforward. Yuan Ye knew this, but he still stuck to his principles, and that's neither right nor wrong. It's just the way he is, and that's okay.
As Fang Shaoyi looked out at Yuan Ye, there was a gentle light in his eyes, as well as a distant sense of nostalgia. He had been like this since he was seventeen or eighteen, and now he had doubled in age, but he was still just as stubborn.
Fang Shaoyi reached out and rubbed his head, saying, "When the director is filming, his thoughts may not be clear, but after the film is edited, he can see the big picture. If there is too much material, he will cut it down. Look at how many films he has made, he has a good sense of control."
Yuan Ye furrowed his brow and shook his head, "Directors already have a lonely job, they can't be expected to figure out the entire movie by themselves. If you know something is wrong, you can't just let him go off track and wait for him to figure it out on his own. What if he can't figure it out? If the movie fails, it's the director who takes the blame. It's too callous, bro."
"You can say it, but the director may not listen. There were only two young screenwriters in the team before. When Director Jiang is filming, he likes to challenge himself and doesn't easily change what he believes in," Fang Shaoyi told him.
Yuan Ye looked at him and said, "Whether he listens or not is his own business. I have to say it. This script is not written by me, it's not my own son. Otherwise, I would have even more to say."
Fang Shaoyi stopped talking to him and rubbed the back of Yuan Ye's head in his palm. He smiled lightly and said, "Okay, let's do it your way. Let's eat."
For many years, Yuan Ye had only listened to Fang Shaoyi. Fang Shaoyi was a few years older than him and had been in the entertainment industry since he was young, handling things very maturely.
When Yuan Ye was young, he actually relied on him, or rather admired him. Nobody would dislike a gentleman, but he couldn't live like Fang Shaoyi. He was destined to be a sharp and quirky person, very difficult to like.
But after Fang Shaoyi spoke, Yuan Ye changed somewhat. When there were things that may not need to be said, he didn't speak up, anyway it wasn't just him who could speak on the set. The producer, art director, and even the cinematographer were all restricting Jiang Linchuan, not letting him add his own things to the movie.
The screenwriter Little Gao said to Yuan Ye, "Brother Ye, just tell me how to change it, I'll do it."
Yuan Ye tossed him a bottle of water and smiled, "Thanks."
"Its only right," Little Gao took the water and replied, "You've been taking care of us too much."
Being a bottom-tier screenwriter meant working hard and possibly not even getting credit or payment. Yuan Ye had done this work years ago and had almost not received his payment, but later the other side found out that he and Fang Shaoyi were related and eventually sent it over.
Yuan Ye patted Little Gao on the back and said, "Take it slow."
"Yeah, having a mentor really helps," Little Gao agreed.
Yuan Ye stood on the set and dodged the stagehands carrying equipment, making way for them. Suddenly, someone tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around and was surprised to see Chi Xing and Cheng Xun, followed by two assistants.
"Visiting time!" Chi Xing smiled with his eyes curved, a very likable appearance. "Long time no see, Brother Yuan Ye!"
Beside him, Cheng Xun also greeted him and called out, "Brother Yuan Ye."
Yuan Ye was surprised to see the two of them and stepped aside to make way, asking, "What are you two doing over here?"
"We have a guest appearance at the film and television city," Chi Xing said.
Yuan Ye asked them, "Jian Xu's film?"
"Mm, that's the one."
The assistants distributed the gifts they brought and Yuan Ye suggested, "Let's have dinner together before you leave tonight."
Unexpectedly, Yuan Ye's appearance on the variety show led to him making these two young friends, and it wasn't the kind of fake plastic friendship. Now that the show was over, the two kids spoke more honestly, saying whatever comes to mind.
It wasn't until now that Yuan Ye realized that Chi Xing was actually a master of satire, as he complained about all the celebrities he had worked with, including Lin Tian and her husband who had been on the show together.
He was so funny that even Fang Shaoyi couldn't help but laugh and told him, "Don't tell anyone else about this."
"I won't, don't I always act cute in front of others?" Chi Xing looked innocent.
Yuan Ye laughed, "I thought you were a silly rabbit, but it turns out you're a sly fox?"
"Well, I was just pretending," he admitted candidly. "I'm not really a naive and innocent guy, I'm actually quite cunning."
Cheng Xun laughed and chimed in, "He had us all fooled with his innocent act. He used to act so pitiful in front of me, and I only helped him because he was always getting bullied in the group. But it turns out, he was just putting on a show."
Chi Xing nodded in agreement, "Yes, it was all an act. You're the only genuine one here, and that's why I want to pursue you."
The youths' energy was infectious, and spending time with them made it feel like they were years younger. They spent the whole evening listening to Chi Xing's gossip, and when he went too far, Cheng Xun would remind him to tone it down.
Yuan Ye just laughed and said, "Let him speak his mind. Otherwise, he might explode from holding it all in for so long."
In fact, they knew that Yuan Ye and Fang Shaoyi were trustworthy people, and anyway they were not even on the same level. They were almost a generation apart from Fang Shaoyi.
They were originally scheduled to take the 5pm flight, but changed it to the midnight flight just so they could have dinner. Yuan Ye drove them and their assistants to the airport in his business car, and on the way back, it was just him and Fang Shaoyi.
During their earlier conversation, Chi Xing mentioned that he also wanted to get married secretly like they did when they reached a certain age, without making a big fuss about it. Yuan Ye joked and said, "Isn't it better to stay in love forever? You can always be in the honeymoon phase."
Chi Xing asked, "Then why did you insist on getting married back then?"
Yuan Ye drove the car, his eyes fixed on the road ahead, and said, "I felt that getting married meant settling down for life, and that it would bring stability."
"I think the same," said Chi Xing, looking at Cheng Xun.
Cheng Xun pinched his ear with a smile in his eyes but didn't say anything.
The rest of the words were not suitable to be said anymore, as they would only hurt. Marriage was just the beginning, not a guarantee for a lifetime.
On the way back to the hotel, it was Yuan Ye driving, with Fang Shaoyi sitting in the passenger seat. Suddenly, he asked, "Do you regret getting married?"
Without hesitation, Yuan Ye shook his head and said, "No regrets."
Fang Shaoyi looked at him and said, "I thought you regretted it when you said that earlier."
Yuan Ye smiled, with a gentle curve at the corner of his eyes that sloped downwards. "Back then, we didn't think of ourselves as young. We felt mature. But now, looking at them, they still seem like children. Getting married at such a young age, isn't that just playing around? If they can even manage to understand each other in their relationship, that's already good enough. Marriage just sounds like a game to them."
From his position, Fang Shaoyi looked at Yuan Ye.
The arch of his eyebrows, the bridge of his nose, his thin lips, and the contours of his profile all indicated that he was a handsome and mature man. With his sleeves rolled up to his elbows, revealing a hint of his sexy biceps, he exuded a charm that only comes with age.
Having gone through so much, he had gained a serene and distant look in his eyes.
Yuan Ye suddenly turned to him and said, "The relationship formed by marriage is precious. When you're too young to have it, you don't know how to cherish it. Only when it's gone do you realize how much it hurts, but by then it's too late."
These words touched him deeply, hitting the softest spot in his heart. Fang Shaoyi closed his eyes and asked, "What about now?"
"Now? Ha, there's a saying, 'Chasing your wife to the crematorium.'" Yuan Ye's eyes crinkled with a smile as he spoke.
Fang Shaoyi laughed too, and then heard Yuan Ye say, "When you lose the most precious thing, you realize that your bones have been sucked dry... Only the one who feels the pain knows how it hurts."