The first time Yuan Ye met Fang Shaoyi was during his third year of college.
That year Guan Zhou had just started college, and even though he was only half a year younger than Yuan Ye, Yuan Ye had skipped a few grades and was starting college two years earlier. On the day of registration, Yuan Ye accompanied him to the school with his luggage, just the two of them.
The senior who was supposed to greet and guide them was called away halfway, so he just gave them a rough direction. Yuan Ye and Guan Zhou walked around the lake but couldn't find the dormitory building.
The hot weather made Yuan Ye sweat profusely and his frustration grew. Despite feeling annoyed, he still politely asked for directions from two people who were walking towards them. He asked, "Excuse me, classmates, could you tell me where the dormitory building is?"
Yuan Ye felt that this call of "classmates" was very friendly and polite, even adding an "excuse me" to their conversation. However, the person in front of him completely ignored him, while the one next to him looked at him with a half-smile.
Both of them were handsome, and Yuan Ye couldn't help but think that this school must produce a lot of celebrities, since even the students he randomly encountered were of this caliber.
In reality, Yuan Ye was only seventeen at the time and looked even younger, like a high school student. Although he was considered a senior at his own school, to others he was at most a freshman, still carrying his luggage. He felt like he was being very polite, but in reality, it was like a freshman meeting two heavyweight seniors and instead of addressing them properly as "seniors," he just blurted out "hey, classmate."
Across from him were these two "classmates," Fang Shaoyi and Jian Xu, both up-and-coming young actors who only took roles from top directors. Fang Shaoyi became famous at the age of sixteen for his role in director Wei Tong's "Wind and Sand." Jian Xu, on the other hand, started acting in TV dramas at the age of four and many of the top actors had played his parents.
However, Yuan Ye didn't know either of them. It wasn't because they weren't famous or popular enough, but because Yuan Ye didn't pay attention to those things. He didn't watch much TV and spent most of his time playing games and writing. He had never paid any attention to them before.
To him, these two were good-looking but annoying. One didn't speak and the other was smiling for god knows what reason, both were lousy.
Yuan Ye furrowed his brow and looked at them. "You don't know?"
Jian Xu pointed behind him and said with a smile, "Go straight ahead, turn left at the end," and added, "little classmate."
"Thanks," Yuan Ye carried his luggage and walked away, replying, "little classmate."
Ever since he was young, he was always smaller than the other students in his class. Teachers and classmates would often call him "Little Yuan Ye," which annoyed him greatly.
As he walked a few steps, he could still hear the person who had just spoken saying to the other one who remained silent, "Haha, did you hear that? He called me little classmate."
This was the first time Yuan Ye and Fang Shaoyi met. Yuan Ye asked Fang Shaoyi for directions, but Fang Shaoyi ignored him.
It was also because Guan Zhou was too timid and introverted. In fact, Guan Zhou was standing behind Yuan Ye at the time and recognized one of them. He didn't know Fang Shaoyi, and he hadn't seen the movie "Wind and Sand," but he recognized Jian Xu. However, he didn't dare to say anything and felt a bit shy and nervous about meeting a celebrity.
Later, every time Yuan Ye thought about this, he felt it was quite miraculous. With so many people at Guan Zhou's school, how did he end up asking Fang Shaoyi for directions? Yuan Ye always said it was fate that brought them together and that they were meant to meet and become friends.
His school was very close to Guan Zhou's school, so on weekends, Yuan Ye would often run over. At that time, Yuan Ye was still young and didn't pay much attention to the handsome guys and beautiful girls at Guan Zhou's school. He just wanted to go there to play.
One day, Yuan Ye found out that the two people he had met before were actually celebrities who filmed movies. He even went out of his way to watch "Wind and Sand" and surprisingly found that he really liked it.
The film won awards overseas, including Best Director and Best Screenplay. It was an impressive piece of work. Yuan Ye was studying Chinese and he loved the story. Fang Shaoyi played the lead character as a child, and there was a scene where he suddenly grinned at the camera, revealing a set of perfectly white teeth.
That smile was so difficult to achieve. If his eyes were bright, it would be filled with boundless hope for the future and a bright imagination for life. All the carefree and exuberant years of the protagonist were captured in those eyes. But the smile couldn't be silly, it had to be clean and transparent.
Fang Shaoyi later said that Wei Tong made him shoot that scene over 200 times. He started smiling from the first day on set and kept smiling for over four months. Wei Tong didn't give him any instructions, just had him make all sorts of expressions while smiling at the camera.
Every one or two days, they would shoot a few more takes, until the final day of filming when they shot it one more time. This three-second shot was chosen from over 200 takes, and for a 16-year-old actor, it was extremely difficult to repeatedly summon the right emotions and settle into the role.
After watching the movie twice, Fang Shaoyi recognized him at first sight when they met again.
As Yuan Ye was leaving Guan Zhou's dormitory to return to his own school, he spotted Fang Shaoyi from afar. He was dressed in sportswear and followed by a group of curious girls. Yuan Ye walked over confidently, his tongue clicking as he greeted Fang with a grin, "Hey, classmate!"
Fang Shaoyi looked at him, unsure if he remembered him or not.
Yuan Ye walked up to him and didn't hold back on the compliments. He was much shorter than Fang Shaoyi, so he had to tilt his head up to speak, "I saw your movie."
Fang Shaoyi was a bit aloof, probably used to this kind of approach. He raised an eyebrow and said coolly, "Do I need to say thank you?"
"No need," Yuan Ye shook his head, still smiling, "It's my own business."
They first properly met when Yuan Ye stuck himself onto the other like that. At the time, he didn't think too much about it, he just both loved that movie and that love extended to the other.
Yuan Ye was actually a person with a pretty bad temper, and didn't have much patience for people who approached him first, but Fang Shaoyi was the first exception. Yuan Ye had a sweet mouth, and every time he saw him at school, he would greet him with a smile and call him "Brother Yi", exuding a familiar and friendly vibe.
After seeing each other more often, Fang Shaoyi no longer kept a cold face and could smile at Yuan Ye every time they met. At that time, Fang Shaoyi even thought that Yuan Ye was also a student at their school, so he asked him, "What major are you in?"
Yuan Ye replied, "I'm studying Chinese, in Year Three."
Fang Shaoyi even raised his eyebrows and looked at him, "You're a junior?"
"Ah," Yuan Ye nodded and smiled, "I know you're in Year Four."
Fang Shaoyi looked at his face and chuckled, "How old are you?"
For some reason, Yuan Ye didn't tell the truth, but he didn't lie either. He vaguely said, "If you're a senior and I'm a junior, then aren't I just one year younger than you."
Later, to prove that he really was a junior, Yuan Ye even showed him his student ID.
Fang Shaoyi asked him, "You're not from our school?"
"No," Yuan Ye said, "I came to visit my friend."
Back then, on weekends, Yuan Ye would come over to this side, but he didn't always run into Fang Shaoyi, who wasn't always at school. One time when he came back, Guan Zhou told him that Fang Shaoyi had returned to school.
Yuan Ye had a personality like a stubborn little bull, and he happily ran to Fang Shaoyi's dormitory. When Fang Shaoyi opened the door and saw him, he smiled and shook his head, "You sure are quick with the news."
"I have my sources," replied Yuan Ye, who had a small scar on his eyelid. Every time he smiled, there was a small dimple on that side, which was quite interesting.
Fang Shaoyi tilted his head and made way for him, "Want to come in and sit for a while?"
"Ah, sure," nodded Yuan Ye.
The double room where Fang Shaoyi stayed was much more luxurious than the one Guan Zhou and the others had. He was the only one in the room, so he offered his chair to Yuan Ye and even got him a bottle of water.
Yuan Ye took out several small notebooks from his backpack and said to him, "Brother Yi, can you sign these for me?"
Fang Shaoyi asked him, "What are they for?"
Yuan Ye replied, "I'm selling signatures. I plan to develop it as a side business in the future."
Fang Shaoyi was already used to his unconventional way of speaking, so he took his pen and signed all of them for him. Boys don't have as many ulterior motives when they hang out.
'You're a star and I'm just a regular kid, so I don't want anything from you. I just like playing with you, what's wrong with that? At most I'll help some of the boys and girls in my class ask for your signature, I won't take any advantage of you.'
At the time, in Yuan Ye's heart, he and Fang Shaoyi were friends, brothers even.
At first, Fang Shaoyi's celebrity status was exciting, but over time it became no big deal. Fang Shaoyi also seemed to appreciate Yuan Ye's unconventional personality, treating him like a little brother and teasing him for fun.
Yuan Ye and Fang Shaoyi even ate together in the school cafeteria, surrounded by many girls. Yuan Ye whispered to Fang Shaoyi, "Do you ever get tired of this every day, Brother Yi?"
Fang Shaoyi simply replied, "I'm used to it."
"If it were me, I would be so annoyed," Yuan Ye took a bite of corn and added, "I'm already so annoyed now."
Fang Shaoyi smiled, "Just eat your corn."
Guan Zhou quickly lost favor with Yuan Ye. They had been friends for over ten years, but Yuan Ye no longer found him interesting. At that time, Yuan Ye only wanted to hang out with Fang Shaoyi, even spending Christmas with him that year.
Fang Shaoyi and Yuan Ye didn't really have a concept of Christmas, they just treated it like a regular weekend. Yuan Ye was sitting on Fang Shaoyi's bed in his dorm room, with his legs dangling and swinging around.
Fang Shaoyi was sitting in a chair reading a book, and after a while, he looked up and asked, "Do you want to go see the film crew? I can take you there."
Yuan Ye asked, "Director Wei's film crew?"
Fang Shaoyi shook his head and said with a smile, "Can all my movies be directed by Director Wei?"
Yuan Ye replied, "Then no."
Although he said he wouldn't go, he ended up going anyway. It was Yuan Ye's first time on a film set, and he was a little surprised by the grandeur of it all. It was a period drama with a war background, and there were hundreds of people in the cast. Fang Shaoyi played a young king, but his scenes hadn't been filmed yet.
At the time, Yuan Ye was wearing a round, puffy ski hat and carrying a backpack. From behind, he looked like a little boy from the props department.
As someone passed by carrying something, Fang Shaoyi reached out and pulled Yuan Ye towards him, saying, "Don't let them bump into you."
As the man next to him shifted the load, the sudden movement caused Yuan Ye to almost fall over. Luckily, Fang Shaoyi was standing right beside him. Without hesitation, Yuan Ye threw himself onto Fang Shaoyi, burying his face in the collar of his shirt.
In that moment, the scent of Fang Shaoyi overwhelmed Yuan Ye's senses. He had always loved the way Fang Shaoyi smelled, a faint fragrance that lingered in his dorm room. Fang Shaoyi lifted his arm and wrapped it around Yuan Ye.
Yuan Ye stayed pressed against him for a good three to five seconds, until the man finished moving the items and they could finally stand up straight and look ahead.
He tucked his hands back into his coat pockets, then pulled out a crumpled tissue and rubbed his nose. As he looked up at Fang Shaoyi, their eyes met and the reflection of the nearby lighting shone brightly in his eyes. Yuan Ye chuckled after rubbing his nose and said, "Brother Yi, you smell really good."
Yuan Ye leaned forward again, his nose almost touching Fang Shaoyi's collar, and even brushing against his jaw.
It was cold outside, and his nose felt chilly. The moment their skin touched was like a dragonfly skimming across the surface of water, or a butterfly giving a subtle kiss to a kitten.