Deep in the Act
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 11.2 (NSFW)
Chen Hsin and Zhang Zhun were still entwined in bed. Cries of pleasure continued to pour freely from his headphones. The camera and mics stood untouched; no one had moved since he left the room – no one dared to. As the director, Chen Cheng-Sen knew he had to do something about the situation. Just as he was about to give everyone a good scolding, however, Chen Hsin snapped his head around and bellowed, “Out! All of you! Get out now!”
All eyes turned towards Chen Cheng-Sen. His eyes widened as he forced himself to rein in his emotions and wave everyone out of the room. After walking in a couple of circles to recover from Chen Hsin’s figurative slap to his face, he finally came back at the other man with a response: “Hold your horses, bro. There’s more to come!”
True to his words, Chen Cheng-Sen was already waiting with a fortified dining table and a predatory camera when Chen Hsin and Zhang Zhun came out with towels around their waists. Pointing to the clean table-top, he ordered, “Zhang Zhun, get up there.”
Chen Hsin felt his last shred of patience snap at the director’s words. “You’re going too far, whats-your-face!”1
No one had ever dared to speak to the director with such disrespect. Seeing how close Chen Cheng-Sen was to blowing up, Zhang Zhun pulled at Chen Hsin in a hurry. Then, with a calmness that bordered on numb indifference, he tugged his towel off and climbed onto the table. Chen Cheng-Sen sank into his seat behind the monitor and jibed, “Give it to him hard, Chen-laoshi.”
Messing up his hair with a hand, Chen Hsin got into position between Zhang Zhun’s legs with an air of dejection. Truth be told, acting in sex scenes like these truly sickened him to the core. Things could only be much worse for Zhang Zhun. Yet, once again, he spread his legs without complaint to welcome Chen Hsin’s rock-hard member. The moment Chen Hsin began thrusting, he clenched his thighs shamelessly against Chen Hsin’s sides and wrapped his legs around his waist.
The equipment lights came on and the actors began another long, drawn-out round of almost mechanical movements. Beneath their writhing bodies, the table creaked in an unstoppable frenzy like an insatiable fool. By now, Chen Hsin was familiar with every one of Zhang Zhun’s responses. He knew how to read for signs of pleasure in the slight furrow on Zhang Zhun’s brow, the flush across his collarbone, and the repressed moan deep in his throat. But now, it was clear that something had gone wrong: his creased brow was touched by agony, and the corner of his bitten lips was laced with quiet suffering. Chen Hsin looked down at the spot where he had been grinding with all his might, and saw the redness across Zhang Zhun’s flesh: he had rubbed Zhang Zhun raw and broken the tender skin on his privates.
“F***!” He stopped his movements and glowered at the camera with heartfelt rage. “I quit!”
The air stilled in the room. Zhou Zheng was the first to react. As he tried to play the mediator between Chen Hsin and the director, Chen Cheng-Sen sneered. He ignored Chen Hsin and directed a single question at Zhang Zhun instead, “Can you continue?”
Chen Hsin felt the vein in his temple begin to pulse from the strain of his fury. “Chen Cheng-Sen! Stop being such a bully!”
Chen Cheng-Sen paid him no mind at all. “Zhang Zhun, can you do it or not? Get onto the couch if you can! Get off my set if you can’t!”
There was absolute silence in the room now as all eyes fell on Zhang Zhun. They watched as Zhang Zhun slipped off the table, covering his crotch, and sat down wordlessly on the orange couch at the side. Against the bright blue walls, his face took on an unusual vitality – wistful and lonely in its loveliness.
Chen Cheng-Sen was extremely pleased. “Get ready, everyone.”
But Chen Hsin remained rooted to his spot, as if blaming Zhang Zhun for being such a pushover. “I’m starving and all out of strength. Whoever’s up for it can take my place instead.”
Just as he was about turn and leave, however, a voice called out to him. It spoke in soft, deep tones, and called him by his name – not ‘Chen-laoshi’, but ‘Chen Hsin’.
Chen Hsin closed his eyes at the sound; it had been too long since Zhang Zhun last called his name. He turned back immediately, not forgetting to shoot a warning glare at Chen Cheng-Sen in the process. “Make it quick. Don’t hold up my meal for too long!”
When he sank onto the couch beside Zhang Zhun, Chen Hsin could barely suppress the smile on his face. With his lips twitching in an awkward manner like a fool, he hugged Zhang Zhun face to face and lifted the other man onto his lap. Out of consideration for Zhang Zhun, he was careful to leave a slight gap of about an inch between their bodies, but Chen Cheng-Sen caught it on the monitor. “Tighter, Chen-laoshi. The position’s off.”
“You okay?” Chen Hsin asked against Zhang Zhun’s ear.
Holding onto Chen Hsin’s shoulders, Zhang Zhun lifted his waist and shifted himself into the ‘right’ position. Skin slid against skin, making their bodies tingle in response. Looking at Zhang Zhun, Chen Hsin’s eyes began to glaze over. Thoroughly smitten, he rocked upward into Zhang Zhun’s body with labored breaths. Soft, wispy moans spilled from Zhang Zhun’s lips as he locked gazes with Chen Hsin, his body rising and falling in other man’s lap. As this was an improvised scene that had just been added on the spot, the actors’ interactions were entirely unscripted. Since there were no specific directions in the screenplay, it would have been acceptable for Zhang Zhun to just go with the flow. But he reached out in a daze and sealed Chen Hsin’s lips with a kiss – as chaste as the kiss of an innocent girl to her lover.
In truth, everyone was beginning to get sick and tired of the excessive amount of sex they had been filming for the entire day. No one expected Zhang Zhun to bring everything to a close with such a simple, unaffected kiss. In stark contrast to the purity of this ending kiss, the carnal desire that pervaded the scene suddenly took on a vivid clarity, and the love between the characters burned with a renewed, heightened intensity. This time, even Chen Cheng-Sen could not help but blush at the sight before him.
With this, the day’s shooting finally came to an end, and everyone started packing up. Zhang Zhun began getting dressed. He was about to put on his trousers after putting on his shirt when Chen Hsin handed his pair over instead. “Let’s switch. Mine’s more comfortable than yours,” he explained.
Zhang Zhun hesitated. “They’re too long for me.”
Chen Hsin forced Zhang Zhun to put on his pants anyway. Then, he squatted down and folded up the cuffs for Zhang Zhun before forcing himself into Zhang Zhun’s tailored trousers. Everyone on the set saw the exchange between them, but no one made any comments about it. On the trip back to the hotel, Zhang Zhun shared a car with the director and Zhou Zheng. Upon reaching their destination, the crew began discussing their dinner plans. Explaining that his legs were still sore, Zhang Zhun excused himself. As he stepped into the elevator, he heard Chen Cheng-Sen yell at the crowd, “Where’s Chen Hsin? Anyone seen him? Hasn’t he been complaining about how hungry he is?”
Once back in his room, he collapsed onto his bed with reddened eyes. It had truly been a terrible day, Zhang Zhun thought as he lay atop his sheets. If he had been any younger, he knew he would have broken into expletives and cursed at everything to his heart’s content. The doorbell rang. With great difficulty, enduring the burning pain between his legs, he got out of bed to answer the door. It was Chen Hsin. He was still wearing Zhang Zhun’s trousers, which were too short and tight for him. He looked rather pathetic and silly in the ill-fitting garment. In his hand was a small plastic bag, containing a single tube of anti-inflammatory cream. “Erm…” he said tentatively, “I was wondering if you’d need help with the application?”
Barely containing all the hurt and rage that had been building up within him over the course of the day, Zhang Zhun was cold in his reply, “What’s this? You want to help now, after stabbing me in the back?”
“Sorry, what was that?” Chen Hsin asked, thinking that he might have misheard Zhang Zhun.
Zhang Zhun lost it. “You know what I mean!”
“No, I don’t.” Chen Hsin’s response was calm.
“Get out!” Despite seeming as if he had much to say to Chen Hsin, he remained stubborn, unwilling – and unable – to speak his mind. The doorbell rang again. Chen Hsin yanked the door open with great indignance and frustration. A young man about his height appeared in the doorway, dressed in a rather casual outfit and carrying a sports bag. His eyes lit up when he saw who it was that had opened the door for him. “Chen-laoshi!” he greeted with a bright smile and a respectful bow before introducing himself, “I am Xiao-Deng, manager and personal assistant to Zhun-ge.”2
“Xiao-Deng?” Zhang Zhun asked as he limped over to the door. “What are you doing here?”
Xiao-Deng stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. Tossing his bag without much care onto the couch, he explained, “Danyi-jie3 called and told me to come over immediately.” As he swept his eyes around the room, he caught sight of the cream in Chen Hsin’s hands. “You’re injured again?” Taking the bag out of Chen Hsin’s grasp without much thought, he remarked, “You’re really something! How did you even manage to injure yourself on the set of a film like this? Come, I’ll give you a hand with the medication. Where’s the injury?”
Zhang Zhun glanced at Chen Hsin and saw just how dark his expression had become. It was so dark that it seemed as if he had just taken a punch to his face. Mere seconds later, Xiao-Deng changed his mind. “I think I will take a shower first. The heat’s killing me. Gimme a couple of minutes!”
As Xiao-Deng disappeared into the bathroom, Chen Hsin shot Zhang Zhun an incredulous glare. “You wouldn’t let me help you, but you’re okay with accepting that kid’s help?”
Zhang Zhun felt the urge to explain himself, but was unsure what it was that he wanted to explain. At this very moment, Chen Hsin’s phone began to ring. Instead of the “Trout Quintet”, A Fine Frenzy’s “Almost Lover” started playing through the air – Chen Hsin had switched to using Fang Chi’s ringtone.
“Hello?” He answered the call, “Yunting.”
His girlfriend. A sudden, inexplicable bitterness welled up within Zhang Zhun. Without a care for the fact that Chen Hsin was in the middle of a phone call, Zhang Zhun retorted in fierce defiance, “He’s my assistant, but who are you to me?”
Chen Hsin froze. He stared at Zhang Zhun, tongue-tied, no longer able to make out a single word of his girlfriend’s sweet, girly complaints on the phone. It was impossible for him to continue the call any longer. He hung up. Just as he was about to sort things out with Zhang Zhun, Xiao-Deng came out of the shower with nothing more than a towel around his waist. Grabbing the tube in one hand, he sat down on the bed, still dripping wet, and called out to Zhang Zhun, “C’mon over, Ge. I’m ready.”
- Whats-your-face: In the original text, Chen Hsin addressed Chen Cheng-Sen as “you whose surname is ‘Chen’” (姓陈的). Unlike the case in most western cultures, it is extremely rude and demeaning to address someone purely by their surname in Chinese culture without any honorifics or job titles. This is because addressing someone purely by their surname suggests that they are not worth being acknowledged as individuals with proper names or titles. Thus, such expressions are commonly seen when one is trying to start a fight, or humiliating someone else.
- Zhun-ge: ‘-ge’ (哥) literally means ‘big/elder brother’ in Chinese, and is commonly used as a suffix when addressing an older male in a friendly, familiar manner. The use of this suffix conveys closeness between the speaker and the addressee, as well as a sense of respect that the speaker has for the addressee. The expression may also be used independently as a direct form of address instead of a suffix.
- Danyi-jie: ‘-jie’ (姐) literally means ‘big/elder sister’ in Chinese. Its use is similar to ‘-ge’ and is used when addressing an older female in a friendly, familiar manner, while conveying a sense of respect at the same time. It can also be used independently as a direct form of address.