Deep in the Act
Quality Check: Isalee
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter 5.2 (NSFW)
No one said anything after that; everyone got to work with quiet efficiency. The crew started setting up the lights and filming equipment while Chen Hsin and Zhang Zhun returned to the large and familiar bed. Seated side by side, they began stripping in silence, tossing their clothes in a heap by the head of the bed until they were down to their underwear. Then, just as they had practiced countless times, Zhang Zhun lay down in bed before Chen Hsin lowered himself onto him. After looking into each other’s eyes briefly, they locked their lips and tongues together in a kiss.
For reasons that he did not understand – perhaps he was shaken by his close-up view of Chen Hsin’s discolored face, or perhaps he was still haunted by the lingering influence of their earlier lust-crazed practice – Zhang Zhun completely lost himself in the kiss. He clung to Chen Hsin like a wave, pressing his entire body flush against the body above him, desperately undulating in time to Chen Hsin’s movements. From time to time, low, guttural moans trickled from his willing lips. Spit dripped down his neck along his delicate jaw, and his long lashes shuddered against Chen Hsin’s face.
Turning to the director, assistant director Zhou whispered approvingly, “This is much better than last time. Zhang Zhun seems to have really gotten into the mood.”
Others, however, were less discreet with their commentary. The two crew members, seeing Chen Hsin and Zhang Zhun in action for the first time, watched on in amazement while holding up the microphones from the sides. From time to time, their crude remarks could be heard clearly by everyone in the room, “Damn, he’s wild in the sheets!”
Embarrassed by their words, Zhang Zhun turned shyly from the lights and buried his face against the bedding. Senses keenly attuned to Zhang Zhun’s every move, Chen Hsin swooped down instantly and was about to scoop him out of the shadows like a handful of water when Chen Cheng-Sen shattered the moment by slamming his hand hard on the table and yelling at the crew members. “What’s all the chatter for? Don’t you see how your crap is affecting the actors? Cut!”
Chen Hsin and Zhang Zhun stopped immediately on cue. They pulled away in confusion, chests heaving with effort as they panted for breath, a shared sense of unsated craving roiling in their guts. Chen Cheng-Sen, on the other hand, continued his assault on the crew members, who lowered their heads weakly under his admonishment. After sufficiently venting his anger, he finally turned his attention back to the two figures on the bed, sitting awkwardly in embarrassment with their eyes carefully averted from each other. “That was pretty good,” he said. “We’ll try another shot. This time, I want Zhang Zhun to take the lead.”
Zhang Zhun was stunned by the demand. He had never been proactive in his practices with Chen Hsin, nor did he have the slightest courage to take the initiative in pleasuring another man before the camera. Inexplicably, perhaps overwhelmed with panic, he looked to Chen Hsin in bewildered helplessness. Chen Hsin spoke up for him immediately, “Director, Fang Chi is the one in control throughout the film while Gao Zhun’s role is clearly passive. I think…”
“Are you the director, or am I?” Chen Cheng-Sen tapped his knuckles against the table emphatically. “Gao Zhun is the one who develops a one-sided dependency on Fang Chi in the first place, and he’s also the one who seduces Fang Chi first. I call the shots here. You do as I say!”
But Chen Hsin knew exactly what Chen Cheng-Sen was up to. They were close outside of work, and Chen Hsin was certain that the other man was leveraging his directorial power to help him get even with Zhang Zhun for hitting him. “I don’t think that really counts as seduction, Director. It’s just…”
Feeling snubbed for his efforts, Chen Cheng-Sen’s temper flared. “Aren’t you getting carried away? That’s Zhang Zhun on the bed, not Gao Zhun! Don’t go too deep into the act, Chen-laoshi!”
The outburst caught Chen Hsin by surprise. Chen Cheng-Sen’s accusation seemed somewhat unfair; was it not natural to care for someone after living together for as many days as they did, especially given the physical intimacy they shared all this time? He ran his fingers through his hair and nodded in acknowledgment before sitting down on the bed again. “Alright, ready when you are.”
Hesitantly, Zhang Zhun came up to him, unsure of how to begin. In response, Chen Hsin folded his legs into a cross-legged position and pulled Zhang Zhun into his lap. As Zhang Zhun lowered himself to straddle Chen Hsin, Chen Hsin called out for a cushion. Immediately, a crew member picked one up from the couch and tossed it over. After placing it between their crotches, Chen Hsin laid a hand reassuringly on Zhang Zhun’s waist and combed his other hand through Zhang Zhun’s hair. “Take it easy. Things will be fine. Just pretend you’re with your girl.”
As Chen Hsin pulled back Zhang Zhun’s hair, his fine features came into view: a lovely forehead, a pair of handsome eyebrows, and watery eyes that lingered gently over the injury on Chen Hsin’s face.
At the sound of the director’s voice, Zhang Zhun lowered his head. In the soft light shining through the curtains, his neck formed that beautiful arch again as he dropped a kiss slowly and lightly on the purpled bruise. On the other hand, mistakenly assuming that Zhang Zhun would start off more aggressively, Chen Hsin rocked his hips upwards in vain. Somewhat mortified by his erroneous judgment, he remarked self-deprecatingly with a rueful grin, “Looks like we’re not properly synced yet.”
Chen Hsin’s wry sense of humor was contagious. Under his influence, Zhang Zhun broke into a laugh, lifting the mood instantly. All tension dissolved and Zhang Zhun was finally able to claim Chen Hsin’s lips with ease, simulating the affectionate intimacy between himself and Xie Danyi.
Up to this moment, Chen Hsin had thought that he would be ready for Zhang Zhun’s move. He was well-prepared, having considered the timing of his own responses and made a mental inventory of all the techniques he could use to make the kiss appear more authentic and on point. But he was wrong. As soon as Zhang Zhun’s tongue probed tentatively into his mouth, all thoughts dissipated and his mind went blank.
Filled with a lasting sweetness, Zhang Zhun’s tender kisses – much like his personality – were of the type that melted softly against a lover’s lips while consuming one’s patience little by little, slowly and surely. As he melded his lips to Chen Hsin’s mouth, Zhang Zhun kneaded Chen Hsin’s earlobes and ran his hands up Chen Hsin’s face, caressing his cheekbones, nose, and brow. Finally, he buried his fingers deeply in Chen Hsin’s hair and began stroking suggestively, his breathing shallow and erratic, like a tease waiting to be crushed and devoured by his lover.
Desire and frustration mounted within Chen Hsin. He was sucking more loudly now, his hands kneading Zhang Zhun’s back with increasing urgency. Despite the cushion between them, their arousal was becoming painfully obvious to everyone. The audience averted their eyes in embarrassment, but the two in bed could hardly care less. Like a beast in heat, Chen Hsin sank his teeth into Zhang Zhun’s flesh. Starting with his Adam’s apple, Chen Hsin left a trail of angry bite marks down the planes of Zhang Zhun’s chest. Then, after swiping his tongue over the tender skin, he latched onto a nipple and sucked. Hard.
Zhang Zhun clenched his teeth and moaned – a familiar, erotic sound of repressed ecstasy that tore right through Chen Hsin and shattered his awareness of all surroundings. Blindly and desperately, Chen Hsin tried to hold back his raging desire again and again, but it was too much for him to bear. As his remaining shred of sanity finally snapped, he cast the cushion onto the floor and shoved Zhang Zhun roughly back onto the bed, pinning his wrists above his head.
Through the fog in his mind, Zhang Zhun registered the blinking red light on the camera as his legs fell open willingly. Welcoming Chen Hsin’s touch with wantonly spread thighs, he wondered vaguely if he had lost all sense of shame. But he, too, soon lost his remaining capacity to think as Chen Hsin answered his invitation with delirious, all-consuming kisses that were even more shameless than he could imagine.
A strange air settled in the room. As the actors lost themselves completely in the throes of pleasure, the audience grew increasingly uncomfortable. When a crew member overseeing the lights deserted his post and sneaked off to the bathroom with his hand on his crotch, Chen Cheng-Sen finally took action to regain control over the situation. Rubbing his hands together, he called out, “Cut!”
But neither of them stopped this time. Hopelessly entwined, toes convulsing and curling tightly against the sheets, they continued grinding madly against each other. Deciding that enough was enough, the irate director strode up to the bed and clapped sharply. “Cut! Cut! I said, cut!”
At this, Chen Hsin forcibly tore himself away, panting heavily as he rolled off Zhang Zhun with his crotch sopping wet. Zhang Zhun fared little better. Flushed from head to toe, he turned his body aside in an attempt to conceal the hot mess between his legs. Even at his age, Chen Cheng-Sen found it hard to keep his composure at the sight before him. Turning, he began to rail meaningfully at assistant director Zhou, “What did I ask of them? I told them to get used to each other. Did I ever ask them to take things this far?”
Crouching in the single-seater sofa, the other man stared blankly at the bed for a long time before he finally responded. “Ah?”
“Zhou Zheng!” The director stamped his foot angrily at his denseness.
Suddenly, assistant director Zhou replied in all seriousness, “I think the film will be fine after all, Director!”
After taking turns to use the bathroom, Chen Hsin and Zhang Zhun returned again to the bed. They sat down together, fully clothed, and waited for the director’s feedback. “Good job. You guys did great and it’s clear that you have been working hard so far. But, um… Chen-laoshi, you need to be more restrained, you know, both on set and off the set. The same goes for you, Zhang Zhun. Don’t overexert yourself. Right, Zhou Zheng?” Chen Cheng-Sen shot a pointed glance at the assistant director, “Do you have anything to add?”
Assistant director Zhou cleared his throat before picking up where the director left off. “I had a quick discussion with the director just now. Since we will start filming in two days, it will be best for you to take the time to take care of your injury, Chen-laoshi. For your convenience, you will no longer be rooming together. The rest of the cast will start checking in tomorrow, and we’ll reassign the rooms accordingly.”
Hi all! Kotoni here! 🙂
I hope that you’ve enjoyed the first 10 segments (or ‘chaptets’, as I’d like to call them) of DITA!
DITA is one of my favourite danmei novels of all time, and getting to translate it has been a dream come true for me. Although DITA was Tongzi’s debut novel, it gained popular acclaim very quickly for the richness of its writing, and the complexity of the relationships it depicted. Translating DITA has made me fall more deeply in love with the novel. Even though translations almost always never do justice to the original texts, it is my hope that I have managed to convey at least a fraction of the novel’s charm to all of you who have given DITA a chance.
Special thanks go out to my editors – Isalee, DPalmz and Drogan – for putting up with my anxieties and OCD tendencies! ♥
From the coming week onward, readers may look forward to 6 ‘chaptets’ per week, from Monday to Saturday. Please continue to support DITA, and feel free to share your thoughts about the novel in the comments and on Discord!