Jiang Cheng felt that he had randomly grabbed such an inexplicably weird outfit, which was a skill in itself.
This outfit didn't look too bad without the coat. The fitted pants, a loose black t-shirt, although also knitted, at least it's not the kind that would make people stare if he went out wearing it.
However, as soon as he put on the coat, he was stunned. He looked back at Gu Fei: "Hey, are you sure I didn't grab the wrong clothes?"
"No," Gu Fei was still looking at him from behind the camera, "What's wrong?"
"It's just that, don't you think these clothes look like a knitted version of The Matrix? No no, with a rope around the waist it's just a missionary?" Jiang Cheng tugged at his clothes and said in a low voice, "Is there a mirror? I feel like a mage again..."
Gu Fei didn't say anything, just smiled and pointed to the wall behind.
These clothes were quite long, reaching to his calves. The fabric was relatively thin and soft, and hanging loosely on the body, just the so-called lazy and casual style. But if a thinner and shorter person wore it and went out, people would probably drag him back to Qingshan.
"These clothes require facial features, figure, height and temperament," Ding Zhuxin leaned against the door and said, "You wearing it looks cooler than Da Fei, he wears it and it's just a gangster style."
"Oh, with or without these clothes he's almost a gangster anyway," Jiang Cheng stood in front of the mirror and looked, actually... still decent, although he would definitely not buy such clothes himself, but he's not here to pick clothes anyway, "I don't know who the designer of these clothes is, but he deserves a smiley face."
"It's me," Ding Zhuxin said.
"...Ah?" Jiang Cheng was stunned. Looking at Ding Zhuxin's "I know what you're thinking" expression, the familiar feeling of embarrassment rose up instantly, and he even started walking with a slight stagger as he followed her into the room.
As Ding Zhuxin smeared stuff on his face, Gu Fei turned on all the lighting equipment for the shoot.
"Don't be nervous, just move around casually," Ding Zhuxin brushed Jiang Cheng's face a few more times with the brush, "Okay."
Following her instructions, Jiang Cheng stood in the designated spot for the shoot. The scene was quite cool, but after he stood there he didn't know what to do.
"Walk back and forth a few steps," Gu Fei said, holding up the camera at him, "From left to right and then from right to left."
"Okay," Jiang Cheng nodded and turned to walk to the side. As soon as he moved, there was a 'click' from Gu Fei's camera. He couldn't help turning his head, "That's it? I feel like I just walked staggeringly."
"Go on, don't worry if I did or didn't take a photo," Gu Fei clicked the shutter again.
Jiang Cheng took a breath and walked from left to right.
The set-up scene was only a few square meters in total, and it only took a few steps to get to the other end. Then he turned around and walked back from right to left.
"Walk with your head down," Gu Fei said while shooting, "Faster, take bigger steps."
Jiang Cheng lowered his head slightly and walked over again.
Gu Fei stared at him through the lens and pressed continuous shooting.
Jiang Cheng's figure was frozen in the picture, head lowered, legs striding out, the coat tail fluttering slightly behind him... Cool and full of dynamism.
"Put on the hood," Ding Zhuxin said, "The hood is also an outstanding design."
"Oh," Jiang Cheng put on the hoo from the back of the clothes and walked forward while tidying it, "Now I feel like the Grim Reaper has arrived..."
"Jiang Cheng," Gu Fei called his name.
"Hmm?" Jiang Cheng turned his head.
Gu Fei clicked the shutter.
Still in the posture of striding forward, the raised hand and hat edge obscured half of his face, leaving only the eyes hidden in the shadows and the straight nose visible.
"This shot is so great," Gu Fei said.
"Front view," Ding Zhuxin said after taking a sip of tea.
"No need to smile, no expressions needed," Gu Fei glanced at Jiang Cheng, "No actions either."
For ordinary people, it was very difficult to stand still like this without any expression or action, arms hanging down. Gu Fei didn't even know why he would ask someone like Jiang Cheng, who was clearly an amateur when it came to modeling, to use this posture.
"Won't it look silly?" Jiang Cheng sighed and stood as he was told.
"No," Gu Fei answered simply and clicked the shutter.
Jiang Cheng must have been vain as hell since he was a child, to be able to maintain this big silly stance perfectly.
There was no rigid uprightness like standing at attention, nor was there any deliberate relaxation out of unease.
His center of gravity was slightly shifted onto his right leg, and his shoulders were also naturally relaxed. This was very important - people who don't know how to stand would either have their shoulders pulled back or hunched forward...
This guy must have practiced standing in front of a mirror. This kind of upright yet casual...long-limbed and leisurely look.
"Lift your chin a bit," Ding Zhuxin said, "Be more arrogant."
"How to be...arrogant?" Jiang Cheng asked.
"Like when you first walked into Class 8," Gu Fei said. "Just like that."
"I was annoyed then," Jiang Cheng thought back to when he stood there like an idiot being reviewed by the whole class, and felt a little irritated.
Gu Fei clicked the shutter, and after a few "click"'s, he put the camera down: "If you can't make it one day, you can consider this profession."
"You make it sound like he'd have to be desperate to do this," Ding Zhuxin said with a laugh.
"He's a top student," Gu Fei said, "Unlike you school dropouts."
"Oh stop," Ding Zhuxin waved her hand and punched his arm, "Jiang Cheng, change your clothes, shoot the single piece."
"Which one?" Jiang Cheng took off his coat and asked as he walked outside.
"The one piece, the long pull-over," Ding Zhuxin said.
Jiang Cheng went out. Gu Fei stood in place, looking down at the photos he just took one by one.
If there was one thing in particular that attracted him about Jiang Cheng... Aside from being a top student or playing the flute and slingshot, it was this kind of casual flair no matter what he did that impressed people the most - you can call it a bad boy, or irritable, or disdainful, but the innate confidence was the most convincing.
The kind of direct and straightforward attraction didn't require you to discover or notice it, you just had to look at it.
Just look at it.
Visual creatures are so superficial.
Gu Fei sighed softly, he could only look.
He couldn't remember how long it had been since he stopped paying attention to the people around him, those who came and went, stayed or left.
Absolutely no puppy love.
No mood to, no guts to either. Everything he protected could not withstand any fluctuations.
"Sorry," Jiang Cheng came in holding a linen colored piece of clothing, "Is this it?"
"Yes," Ding Zhuxin nodded.
"I'd like to ask, how do you wear this?" Jiang Cheng held up the clothes and shook it by the shoulders, "What goes inside?"
"Underwear," Ding Zhuxin said.
Jiang Cheng shook the clothes in his hand again, his face full of big and small question marks.
Gu Fei turned his head away, using the camera to hide his face as he struggled not to laugh. He could nearly hear Jiang Cheng screaming internally.
It was a loosely knit sleeveless sweater, pretty long, probably reaching Jiang Cheng's knees. The neckline was also big. Gu Fei had seen the design before and once thought Ding Zhuxin made it for herself, he hadn't expected it was menswear.
"Try it on," Ding Zhuxin said. "It should look great on you."
"Wear it...bare underneath?" Jiang Cheng asked again, not giving up.
"Yeah," Ding Zhuxin said. "You've got abs right? If not I can draw them on."
Jiang Cheng still had an indescribable expression.
"Does he have them?" Ding Zhuxin turned to ask Gu Fei.
"Huh?" Gu Fei turned his face, unable to hold back his smile, "Seems like he does."
"Change then, I thought you didn't have abs and was shy," Ding Zhuxin said to Jiang Cheng again.
"Okay," Jiang Cheng nodded resolutely and went out. Then he stuck his head back in, "Sis Xin, I just want to ask, do people actually buy these clothes?"
"Yes," Ding Zhuxin drank some tea, "My designs always sell well."
"So amazing, what kind of people buy them?" Jiang Cheng whispered.
"Probably psychos," Ding Zhuxin said.
Stripped down to just his underwear, Jiang Cheng put on the clothes that looked like a broken fishing net. He felt that there was no difference between this and going topless. He quickly went to the mirror and glanced over.
Jiang Cheng firmly believed that if this outfit could sell, it could only be attributed to his body being so fucking perfect...
He gritted his teeth and walked in.
Gu Fei was fiddling with the camera with his head down. When he looked up and saw him, he immediately whistled.
"Shut up," Jiang Cheng pointed at him.
"The black underwear matches perfectly," Ding Zhuxin looked him up and down, very satisfied, "I was thinking that if it wasn't black I'd find a pair to change you into...Let's start."
"Okay," Jiang Cheng walked towards the set. Some of the setup had been changed and looked much fresher than before.
"Shoes off, barefoot," Ding Zhuxin said again.
Jiang Cheng was already powerless to resist wearing these clothes. He silently took off his shoes and socks and stood barefoot in the middle.
"Not too much action with this set," Ding Zhuxin said, "The name of this outfit is 'Muted', try to get a feel for it."
This was the only content Jiang Cheng could come up with based on that one word at this moment.
As for the feeling...
He felt a little cold, after all the clothes he had on were mostly holes. Not only could Ding Zhuxin see that his underwear was black, she could probably see what brand it was too.
But he had to find this so-called feeling anyway. Ding Zhuxin paid him to come and take photos, she was his employer, he had to find this so-called feeling. And Gu Fei was still standing there with the camera waiting for him.
Okay, not mute, but muted.
He suddenly thought of a Russian song he used to really like.
The whole song was calming.
He often listened to it with earphones after arguing with his family.
Closing his eyes, listening to lyrics he didn't understand, he could hear the voice in his heart.
Thinking too damn far, this feeling went all the way to Siberia...
Jiang Cheng closed his eyes in front of the camera lens, and lightly placed his right hand on the left side of his chest.
Gu Fei clicked the shutter.
At that moment, Jiang Cheng gave a feeling of being very distant, shrouded in a strong sense of detachment.
Lost and stubborn, written silently in the atmosphere around him.
After clicking the shutter, he held up the camera for a long time without moving, just staring fixedly at Jiang Cheng's face in the lens.
Until Ding Zhuxin softly cleared her throat.
Only then did Jiang Cheng open his eyes as if waking up from a dream. As he lowered his hand, his fingers hooked onto the neckline and gave it a slight tug. The collar opened and snapped back.
A series of rapid shutter sounds came from Gu Fei's camera.
Jiang Cheng's somewhat lost eyes, slightly parted lips, the collar hooked by his fingers, the fingertips gliding over his body...
"I think it's very good," Ding Zhuxin said, "Very sexy, and very emotional too."
Gu Fei didn't speak. He held the camera and looked down for a long time, then took a deep breath, sighing as he slowly breathed out.
"I'm going..." Gu Fei put down the camera, "Going to the bathroom."
Sitting on the toilet seat, Gu Fei lit a cigarette and held it in his mouth.
Watching the smoke drifting out the window.
Life is always full of surprises.
Like Gu Miao being unexpectedly picked up by Jiang Cheng, Jiang Cheng unexpectedly kissing the ground at his shop entrance, and unexpectedly becoming his deskmate...
These surprises weren't too surprising. What really surprised Gu Fei was that he always thought he had good control over everything, yet he got aroused while taking photos.
This was truly unexpected.
Even someone as carefree as him had to hide in the bathroom to calm down.
Thinking of this, he couldn't help but think again, if this happened to Jiang Cheng... He'd probably disown himself in the toilet.
When Gu Fei came out of the bathroom with a cigarette in his mouth, Jiang Cheng was standing in front of a rack of clothes locked in a life or death struggle.
The battle was quite tense. He tore at the clothes while the clothes choked his throat.
Hearing the door sound behind him, he raised his arms and peeked out from the slit of the clothes. Seeing it was Gu Fei, he couldn't care less about embarrassment. In a suppressed voice: "Fuck, come help me out."
"...What's going on here?" Gu Fei quickly pinched out the cigarette and walked over, reaching out several times but not knowing which part to grab to free him.
"This clothes aren't made to be worn!" Jiang Cheng still had his arms raised, half his face peeking out from between his arm and the collar. "This neckline, only a baby can fit through!"
"Wait," Gu Fei circled around him, "Let me see first."
"If you came out a bit later I'd have torn this apart, I'd even pay for it," Jiang Cheng said.
"I think..." Gu Fei lifted up the left side of his clothes and looked, "Did you crawl into the sleeve?"
"...Now that you mention it," Jiang Cheng froze in place, "That makes perfect sense."
Gu Fei didn't say anything. Neither did he.
After two seconds, he knew their silly laughing loop was about to start again.
When Ding Zhuxin came out, they were laughing uncontrollably. Gu Fei laughed so hard that his hands went soft several times when trying to tear the clothes off him.
And Jiang Cheng was laughing so hard that he felt like he was about to be strangled by the sleeve but couldn't stop.
"Sorry," Ding Zhuxin took out her phone and snapped a photo of them, "I'm posting this on Moments."
"What?" Gu Fei asked laughing, leaning on the shelf.
"My part-time photographer, and my part-time model," Ding Zhuxin said, "Have gone mad."
"Almost done, he crawled into the sleeve," Gu Fei finally pulled himself together and tugged at the clothes. Jiang Cheng stepped back, trying hard to make his arms and head become one, and finally got the clothes off.
"Ah!" He squatted on the ground, "Tired to death."
"Hurry up, dinner's on me with takeout," Ding Zhuxin turned and went back inside.
At first, Jiang Cheng didn't feel that 30 outfits was a lot. After all, sometimes just going out he had to try two or three combinations.
Only today did he realize how annoying it was to keep putting on and taking off clothes.
Constant wearing, constant taking off, standing under the lights trying to get a feel, his legs were already sore after playing ball, every time he wore something he just wanted to tear the clothes off.
The key was, Ding Zhuxin's outfits were all matching sets. Not 30 pieces of clothing, just change the pants two or three times and mix and match. But each change was a complete outfit from top to bottom.
When it got dark, Ding Zhuxin said to eat first. Jiang Cheng declined. He felt that if he stopped and rested, ate dinner, even beating him to death wouldn't motivate him to continue, not even for more money.
So the three of them didn't eat at all, and kept at it until after 9pm before finally completing today's task.
"Hungry?" Ding Zhuxin transferred the money to Jiang Cheng, "Go downstairs and eat something, what do you want?"
"I...won't eat," Jiang Cheng changed back into his own clothes and felt extremely intimate with them. His whole body relaxed, and then he felt sleepy, "I'm going back to sleep, dead tired."
"Not hungry?" Ding Zhuxin said, "At least eat a little, what if you get hungry at night?"
"Thank you, Sis Xin," Jiang Cheng yawned, "I'm really so tired I'm not even hungry, I probably won't even know if I get hungry at night."
Ding Zhuxin laughed: "Alright then, you'll still have energy to come over tomorrow?"
"I'll be fine after some sleep," Jiang Cheng said.
"Then take a cab home," Ding Zhuxin said, "I'll reimburse the fare."
"No need, really no need," Jiang Cheng quickly declined, "It's not much money, I can manage myself."
Ding Zhuxin was about to say something else when Gu Fei stopped her: "I'll take the money, we can share a cab back."
“You're not eating either?” Ding Zhuxin looked at him in slight surprise.
“Yeah,” Gu Fei took out a cigarette and lit it, “My mom cooked at home today and left some for me. I have to go back and eat it, or else she'll cry again.”
“Alright then.” Ding Zhuxin nodded.
Jiang Cheng went to the roadside to hail a cab, while Gu Fei stood there with Ding Zhuxin in silence.
“Da Fei,” When Ding Zhuxin saw a taxi pull over, she spoke up.
“Hmm,” Gu Fei responded.
“This is the first time I've seen you laugh like that,” Ding Zhuxin looked at Jiang Cheng's back, “I've seen you grow up, and this is the first time.”
“What do you mean you've seen me grow up,” Gu Fei laughed, avoiding Ding Zhuxin's words, “You're just a few years older than me. Don't talk like my mom. I've seen you grow up too.”
“Get in the car,” Ding Zhuxin said, “I have something going on tomorrow and won't be here. I'll get the clothes ready for the shoot, my assistant will come to do makeup, you can handle the rest.”
“Okay,” Gu Fei tossed away his cigarette and got in the car.
Jiang Cheng fell asleep as soon as he got in the car. He felt like he had slept like a pig. Gu Fei had to push him several times before he finally realised that it wasn't the car shaking, and opened his eyes.
“We're here?” Jiang Cheng rubbed his face and opened the door to get out. “I was almost dreaming.”
“Um...” Gu Fei pulled his arm.
Jiang Cheng was about to ask what was going on, when he heard shouting and a woman crying coming from the front.
Looking over to where the sounds were coming from, his entire being sank into endless irritation. The exhaustion from half a day and half an evening seemed about to blow the top of his head off in that instant.
Li Baoguo, Li Hui, and even Li Qian. His own dad, brother, and sister. He recognized them with one glance. There was also a woman with a limp leg that he didn't know.
The woman was limping as she pulled and yelled at Li Baoguo, crying as she cursed, but she seemed to be speaking in dialect that was too heavy to understand.
Li Baoguo had completely changed from the cowardly manner of lying on the ground and letting people kick him the other day. He was fighting fiercely with the woman, while Li Hui and Li Qian on the side couldn't pull them apart no matter how they tried.
“Do you believe I'll beat you to death!” Li Baoguo's words were clear and forceful. “You haven't had enough from me yet! Today I'll decide if I'm letting you live or not!”
Jiang Cheng suddenly felt he couldn't breathe. He hastily retreated back into the car, pushing Gu Fei who was about to get out back in, and shut the door.
“What, not getting out?” The driver asked.
“Take you back first,” Jiang Cheng said in a tight voice to Gu Fei.
“Alright,” Gu Fei didn't ask further, “Driver, please turn into North Lane.”
“Okay.” The driver made a turn and drove into the side street.
After passing Gu Fei's shop, they drove further in for a bit before Gu Fei told the driver to stop in front of a few residential buildings.
“Where to now?” The driver asked.
“Here is good,” Gu Fei took out money and paid the driver, pushing Jiang Cheng, “Get out.”
Jiang Cheng got out, his mind somewhat muddled as he looked at the building in front: “Your place?”
“Yeah,” Gu Fei said, walking to the building entrance, “Come see me work on the pictures.”
“What pictures?” Jiang Cheng hesitated for a moment before following him.
“Your photos, don't you want to see how handsome they turned out?” Gu Fei said.
“Okay,” Jiang Cheng smiled.