Deep in the Act Translator: Kotoni Editor: Isalee First Published on Chaleuria — Chapter 3.1 When assistant director Zhou finally called to tell Zhang Zhun that “the contract was ready for signing”, Zhang Zhun found himself filled with unease rather than joy. Three days later, as he stepped into the foyer of the Ocean Star Hotel with his suitcase, his fear came true. Chen Hsin was already there, leaning casually against the receptionist counter in his hoodie, a large cap partially concealing his face. Zhang Zhun spotted him immediately in all his wild, untamed charm. Assistant director Zhou came up to him, keycards in hand. “Zhang-laoshi, you’ll be staying in room 3804.” Zhang Zhun took a card. Before he could thank the assistant director, however, the other man cut in, “The director wants both of you to work on getting comfortable with each other during this half-month stay.” Zhang Zhun looked at him, perplexed. He added in embarrassment, “It’s a single suite, but there will be two beds.” Zhang Zhun turned his gaze on Chen Hsin, who was standing a little farther away with the other card in hand. His face was hidden in the shadow of his cap, making it impossible to read his expression with any certainty. Assistant director Zhou continued to explain, “The filming schedule was finalized the day before yesterday. We’ll start with the intimate...Read More
Deep in the Act Translator: Kotoni Editor: Isalee First Published on Chaleuria — Chapter 2.2 In the center of his office stood two black chairs placed at an angle from each other. Fang Chi began to make his way around his work table, but as he took his third step he caught sight of Gao Zhun’s expression – he was staring at the closing door in absolute terror. “Mr. Gao,” Fang Chi called out experimentally. Visibly spooked, Gao Zhun took a step backward in fright. This single panicked step was all Fang Chi needed to be sure that the other man was indeed unwell. “Please take a seat, Mr. Gao.” Fang Chi sat down first with his pen and notebook. Suddenly interested, he watched Gao Zhun’s every move with a pitying eye, staring as the man sat down gingerly and rested his vintage leather briefcase carefully against the leg of the chair. “Is this your first time seeking professional help?” The door clicked shut; Gao Zhun swallowed and remained silent. The scent he wore wafted pleasantly through the air. Observing him up close, Fang Chi noted his exquisite taste, excellent breeding, and appearance of perfection. “Mr. Gao, let’s take it easy since it’s your first visit. We’ll keep the conversation casual so there’s no need for you to be stressed about this.” “Understood,” Gao Zhun replied gently. His gaze...Read More
Deep in the Act Translator: Kotoni Editor: Isalee First Published on Chaleuria — Chapter 2.1 Fang Chi hung up, feeling somewhat stifled. He took off his glasses and got up from his seat to open the window on the southern side of his office. He had just spoken with Zuo Linlin on the phone – a ballerina with bright eyes shaped like slightly elongated almonds that curved charmingly upwards at the corners. She was fair, had a dimple on her cheek, and liked to smile. One could always catch the refreshing scent of citruses or mint on her long luscious hair, and her tall, slender figure was a perfect fit with his physique. She was also his ex; Fang Chi frowned at the thought. They had met in the States and dated for over a year – an impressive record for Fang Chi. Together, they travelled all over America – skiing in Colorado, sunbathing in Florida, and horse-riding in Texas – until he returned to China for her sake… His secretary knocked on the door and called to him with a gentle, detached voice, “Dr. Fang.” “Come in,” he answered, turning around. Secretary Feng opened the door, donning a light blue dress for the day. “It’s time for your third appointment for today. Mr. Lin Guoqiang is here.” Fang Chi nodded in acknowledgment. “Tell him to wait for another...Read More
Deep in the Act Translator: Kotoni Editor: Isalee First Published on Chaleuria — Chapter 1.2 The equipment remained on standby as the two men made their way to the bedroom. They sat down side by side on the large bed. Before them stood a folding screen, printed with a pair of gilded white cranes – one stood on the edge of a cliff, about to take flight, while the other was in mid-flight, its neck arched gracefully in a backward glance. “I don’t think I’ve ever talked to you before,” Zhang Zhun said quietly. Chen Hsin shot him a sideways glance before answering with a smile, “We never had the chance.” Fishing out a pack of cigarettes, Chen Hsin asked, “Wanna smoke?” Zhang Zhun turned to him with a nod. Chen Hsin lit up two sticks and passed one to Zhang Zhun before continuing, “I have some experience with this kind of thing.” Zhang Zhun took a drag on his cigarette and choked a little on its potent fumes. “I was… sixteen or seventeen at the time, I think, playing a minor supporting role in another one of Liu Jianwei’s films. One kiss scene and one sex scene.” He paused. Zhang Zhun felt as if he should say something in response, but Chen Hsin was suddenly leaning in, propping his hands by Zhang Zhun’s sides. Staring intently at Zhang...Read More
Deep in the Act Translator: Kotoni Editor: Isalee First Published on Chaleuria — Chapter 1.1 Ocean Star Hotel, thirty-seventh floor, room 3726. This was a suite with a semi-circular living area that led to a bedroom behind a folding screen, and a tiny study tucked into the eastern side of the bedroom. Directorial teams and production crews often took up residence in suites like these for months on end during the preparatory periods. Apart from the occasional round of recreational mahjong or cards, these rooms were primarily used to settle pre-production matters such as casting calls, script adaptations, scheduling, etc. With a thin booklet tightly clenched in his hands, Zhang Zhun sank into the black upholstered couch under him. He had been called in for a screen test – a test of his compatibility with his would-be partner, to be more precise. When the auditions concluded a month ago, the director had seemed rather pleased with his performance. Thus, when he received the assistant director’s call the day before, Zhang Zhun had assumed that the other man was calling to notify him of the filming dates. But an unexpected demand came through the phone instead: “Are you free tomorrow? We need you to fly in to Shanghai for additional screen tests.” The demand gave him pause. After all, he now lived with his girlfriend in her hometown, Guangzhou. Nevertheless,...Read More
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