The next day was a rest day, and Luo Luo had initially arranged to go shopping with Xia Ling. However, after their falling out last night, Luo Luo did not come looking for Xia Ling. Looking at her schedule, Xia Ling thought that she should go buy some necessities to bring along for the MV outdoor filming the next day, and there was also some daily items to buy; there was no way she would be able to stay in.
She went looking for Tan Ying, the general manager of the training camp, to take a leave for the day. According to the camp regulations, trainees had to give prior notice if they wanted to leave the camp.
Tan Ying looked up at her and gave an insincere smile. “I heard that Luo Luo and you had an argument yesterday?”
Xia Ling frowned slightly before replying. “That is my personal matter.”
Tan Ying laughed but shrugged and changed the topic when he saw Xia Ling’s face turn cold. “I also heard that you had a windmill dance battle with Lu Tao and beat him.”
Xia Ling thought to herself. He is indeed well updated.
She did not respond, quietly waiting for Tan Ying to continue.
Tan Ying also kept quiet as their eyes locked for a moment. Suddenly, he laughed. “Ye Xingling, why have I never realized you were this interesting? If it were anybody else who had beaten someone as good as Lu Tao, they would be bragging to everyone in sight. But you, you look irritated even when somebody asks you about it.”
Xia Ling sought to keep her emotions in check and to look less irritated. After all, this was the general manager of the training camp she was talking to. He had a huge stake in determining if she would be able to successfully debut in the future.
“And also a good actress.” Tan Ying shook his head and muttered to himself.
“Mr. Tan, is there anything else? I still need to prepare many things for the outdoor shoot for the next few days. If I don’t get going I might not have enough time,” said Xia Ling simply. Since Tan Ying had said that she was acting, she need not hide her feelings.
Tan Ying said, “Yes, there is something I need to ask. Ye Xingling, did you learn to breakdance before joining the training camp?”
Xia Ling finally realized what he was getting at. She thought for a moment and then answered, “I’ve never learned breakdancing officially. More accurately, I’ve only learned how to do some spins and the windmill, leaning more towards gymnastics to practice on a regular basis.”
“No wonder your flexibility is so good.” Tan Ying gave her a once over, and then thought out loud. “Why didn’t you mention this when you were filling in your skill proficiency when you entered the camp last year?
Xia Ling rolled her eyes in her head. Of course not, she had not reincarnated then.
Outwardly, she responded by saying, “If I had reported this skill in the beginning I would have been sent to the group practicing street dance. I don’t like the street dance.” Xia Ling had never liked the noisy and animated dance genre, it was just not her cup of tea.
“That is such a pity,” said Tan Ying. “Ever since the Hei Yao Shi group disbanded, Skyart Entertainment never had another street dancing group. Lu Tao has great potential, thus I’m looking for a partner that can match him. Unfortunately, that has proved to be really difficult.”
“I have no interest,” said Xia Ling.
Tan Ying frowned. “Ye Xingling, you’ve entered the camp for more than a year now. At the moment, you’re still wavering at the medium and low levels. Your chances of debuting are really small. If you team up with Lu Tao…”
“I’m not going to team up with anyone.” Xia Ling interrupted Tan Ying. “I’m going to debut on my own merits.”
Tan Ying stared at her for a long while. All of a sudden he laughed lightly and said, “Up to you. I look forward to seeing that happen.”
Xia Ling walked out from the training camp, lifted her head and took a few deep breaths of fresh air.
In the streets, the sun was shining brightly, together with the light, cool breeze of early autumn. She wandered through the shops on the main shopping street, purchasing the items that she would need for an outdoor shoot as she remembered it from her past life. Sunscreen, moisturizer, insect repellent, facial tissue…
She was not sure if she was missing something.
In the past, she had an assistant who would do these things for her and make sure she was well taken care of. Now, she was all alone and had to do everything herself, thus she felt lost for a moment. How long had it been since she had felt this way? It was as if everything was back to the beginning in her past life, before her destiny as a diva started. There was a little girl in an orphanage called Xia Ling.
Yes, in her past life she was an orphan.
According to the head of the orphanage, it was a foggy morning that he heard the sound of a baby’s cry outside the door. Following the sound, he found two little children behind a tree of irises — 3-year-old Xia Ling, holding a stalk of dried flowers, trying her best to appease the baby in her arms. That little baby was her little sister, Xia Yu.
When the head of the orphanage found them, there were still tears on Xia Yu’s face, but her little mouth was already breaking into a smile. She gurgled happily as she stretched out her hand to snatch at the flowers that Xia Ling had placed in front of her.
The head of the orphanage said that she was a responsible kid, loving and caring for her sister, independent and strong.
Xia Yu then had been weak with a serious congenital heart disease. She could not run or jump around. If she were slightly too hot or too cold, it would cause an acute lung infection or even heart failure. To take care of Xia Yu, Xia Ling gave up many chances of being adopted. She had told the head of the orphanage then that she was not going anywhere unless someone was willing to adopt the both of them together.
Year after year passed. Even if Xia Ling was exceedingly beautiful and presented herself as a good, responsible kid, every couple would shake their heads and give up adopting them upon seeing Xia Yu, who appeared ugly and skinny from her illness.
That was until they met Pei Ziheng.
Xia Ling had thought once that he was her savior.
He appeared from under the fragrant flowers of the iris tree, the blazing summer sun making a golden aura to surround his tall stature. He had smiled and reached out his hand to her, saying, “Xiao Ling, come home with me. I will make you the most famous artiste in the whole wide world and give you anything you can dream of. And your sister, she will receive the best treatment.”
Xiao Ling, come home with me.
It was this sentence that made her give him all her love and hopes.
She had followed Pei Ziheng since she was 12. He was her guardian, her father, her brother, her teacher and… her lover. She had thought that he was hers forever, but she had forgotten that she was from a humble background. Pei Ziheng was from a family with generations of wealth, and as he was the rightful heir, his family naturally wanted him to marry someone that could match up to him.
He did not even discuss it with her before he agreed to the marriage that was arranged by his family.
Xia Ling only learned about his engagement in the news. That day, she barged into his office to question him, almost hysterical. He only frowned at her and said, “It’s just an arranged marriage between families. I’m not going to abandon you. Xiao Ling, since when did you become so unreasonable?”
Ha, it was her being unreasonable.
She loved him too much. She could not tolerate anybody else entering the picture coming between them, even if it was just a contractual, distant wife. What’s more, she was jealous that his wife would be able to openly walk alongside him hand-in-hand and receive everyone’s blessings. She, on the other hand, could only hide in the darkness and be his mistress that he could never reveal to anyone.
She had gotten into heated arguments with him on the matter, testing his limits time and time again. She even went to negotiate with the other woman like a wronged wife. That woman had presented herself with utmost elegance, looking down on her saying, “Xia Ling, who are you? You’re just an actress, a toy. If you are smart, I can still tolerate you after the marriage. However, if you don’t toe the line, don’t forget who is the lady boss of the Imperial Entertainment in the future.”
At that moment, Xia Ling realized how insignificant she was.
So what if she were a goddess in the music industry? So what if she had countless fans? In front of these wealthy families, she was but an insignificant piece of dust, an ant that could be easily squashed to death.
She had returned home in despair, the home with Pei Ziheng that she had painstakingly decorated. From each wall in the rooms down to the kitchen utensils, she had poured her heart into every detail. She suddenly realized that other than giving her money and people to help her, Pei Ziheng had not done anything at all. All along, the only person who considered this place a home was her, Xia Ling. Pei Ziheng simply saw it as a hotel or concubine quarters.
Fatigue swept over her.
She was tired, she wanted to give up. If she could not spend her life with Pei Ziheng, just the two of them, she would rather leave for a faraway place, even if she were to die alone.
She crouched down on the bed that she shared with him and cried her heart out alone. Thereafter, she wiped her tears, got up, opened the closet and started packing her luggage. Before she left, she remembered that the weather was turning cold. She turned back and dug through the closet until she found the thick, wool jacket that Pei Ziheng loved, and then hung it in the most eye-catching, intricately-carved clothing rack in the living room.
Only then did she pick up her chunky luggage and unsteadily walked towards the door.
At this moment, he opened the door and entered.