In the usual interaction between husband and wife, it's perfectly normal for the wife to act a little spoiled towards her husband.
In Wen Li's eyes, this script idea didn't seem fresh at all; instead, it appeared somewhat outdated.
However, it seemed like the production team knew about her and Song Yan's usual way of getting along, so they deliberately included such a segment to make things difficult for her.
She even suspected that Song Yan had secretly leaked something to the production team.
The weather in Yancheng was in the transition between spring and summer, occasionally experiencing light rain. This kind of weather wasn't suitable for going out, but Song Yan still went out because of a dinner gathering.
In the secluded Ming Water Club, far from the city, several men were holding tea cups and happily conversing.
Among the attendees were several renowned directors who had started their careers in the 1970s and 1980s, and they had achieved great success, winning awards both domestically and internationally. Some had even acquired foreign citizenship, yet they still had a strong preference for the Chinese-style ambiance. They held sandalwood cups, and the tea had a slightly astringent taste, like the imperial tribute tea.
When Song Yan arrived, several people waved at him simultaneously.
"Hey, Chief Yan, you're here? Come and sit down. Taste this tea and see if it's fresh. It was just air-shipped from West Lake."
Song Yan took a seat, his smile gentle and humble, "That's too kind of you. Teacher, just call me 'Ah Yan' as you used to."
The man teasing him was Yu Weiguang, who had spotted Song Yan at the school gate all those years ago. That film propelled Song Yan onto the stage for new actors, and to Song Yan, Yu Weiguang was not only the one who discovered him but also a mentor.
Guo Dao, who was beside them, followed up with flattery, "If Mr. Yu can still call you 'Ah Yan', the rest of us should respectfully address you as 'Chief Yan'. In the second half of this year, I'll be shooting a film, and if it weren't for Bai Shi Media's investment of two billion, I'd truly be worried about the special effects."
The people here were his seniors -- they were directors and he was an actor. In the past, calling him 'Ah Yan' was an affectionate term used by elders towards juniors, as well as a way to differentiate status. However, now Ah Yan had become a commodity, and the way they interacted was evidently different from before.
Song Yan humbly responded, "Those are all decisions made by President Bai. I can't take credit for it."
After some back and forth, with enough flattery and empty compliments, they finally started talking about movies.
Guo Dao's words had a hidden motive. He asked, "Ah Yan, do you have any free slots in your schedule next year? I have a fantasy martial arts script in my hands, a big IP. If you're interested, I can have someone bring it to you to take a look."
Song Yan asked, "A big IP? Adapted from a novel?"
"Yes, it has been popular online for over a decade. The original work has a large readership and is well-liked by both male and female readers."
Another director chuckled and exposed the truth, "Why beat around the bush? It's just a love story. Nowadays, it's trendy to make movies about that."
Guo Dao sneered and continued, "I heard from Old Yu that you haven't taken romantic roles for a long time. Don't always take those deep and bitter ones. You have so many female fans. At least make a movie that fulfills their desires."
"It's not that I don't want to take them," Song Yan tilted his head, his smile gentle, "It's just that romantic roles aren't my strong suit. I'm afraid I'll ruin this big IP."
Guo Dao didn't give up, "But wasn't your debut a romantic role? Old Yu still relies on it for good reputation. How can you film a romantic role for Old Yu but not for me?"
Yu Weiguang burst into laughter and helped defuse the situation, "Blame me for that. Ah Yan just made his debut with my melodrama, but I gave him a tragic ending in the movie. He has some psychological shadow now."
"Is it that impactful?" Guo Dao was somewhat skeptical, "Ah Yan, isn't your wife from an idol drama background? Hasn't she taught you a trick or two?"
Song Yan smiled, "If she's willing to teach me, that would be great."
Guo Dao took a different approach, "Then, does your wife have any interest—"
"If Director Guo is interested in my wife, just contact her agent directly. But if it's because of me, then there's no need. She's quite stubborn and doesn't want to have any connections with me in this aspect."
Several directors, including Yu Weiguang, exchanged puzzled glances. Wen Li had reached the pinnacle of the TV drama industry, it was hard to find someone who would disagree that she was the queen of ratings. With her immense popularity and high commercial value, there were indeed movie scripts that approached her, either directly or through Song Yan. However, she carefully weighed her options and respectfully declined, currently only accepting low-budget films or light comedies that she could handle.
The requirements for acting in movies were indeed different from those for television. Even the most experienced TV actors sometimes risked overexerting themselves when they transitioned to the screen.
It seemed they would have to find someone else.
Guo Dao sighed, feeling regretful, "I recently signed a group of young girls, one of them is your fan. She was hoping to chase after a star through this movie. Well, I guess she'll end up causing trouble for me again. Headache."
Someone immediately said, "Oh, you signed another young girl? Can't accept mature women, huh?"
Guo Dao rolled his eyes, "Damn it, you're incorrigible. She's just a young girl, what are you thinking?"
Others nodded knowingly, their tone ambiguous, "Mm, young girl, young girl."
Song Yan simply sipped his tea and listened. Having been in the industry for a long time, he had long seen through the dirtiness. When they heard that Guo Dao recently signed a young girl, everyone teased him for being trendy, changing his taste. A few years ago, he liked innocent and pure actresses, but now he favored lively young girls.
Gradually losing interest, he looked away and unintentionally saw a painting hanging on the wall in the private room's hall.
It was a Chinese painting depicting a powerful pine tree on a snowy mountain.
The painting was too far away to read the small signature clearly.
"Figured it out?" Yu Weiguang also had an interest in calligraphy and painting. Seeing him staring at the painting, he took the initiative to speak, "It's an earlier work by Master Xu. It would go for about seventy to eighty thousand at an auction, but it's definitely not comparable to the pomegranate painting in your house. If you were to put it up for auction now, it would start at least at that price. Are you interested in making a deal?"
He gestured a number with his hand.
Song Yan politely declined, "I'll have to ask my wife about that. I can't make decisions regarding that painting."
Yu Weiguang scoffed, "Your wife, your wife. Then why don't you call her here and let me talk to her? How can you always come alone without bringing anyone?"
Song Yan rarely brought Wen Li to these private gatherings. Such gatherings were a ladder for female artists to climb, but also an inescapable shackle. Once they put it on, they couldn't take it off.
However, the directors never made fun of Wen Li. One reason was that Wen Li was impressive on her own, firmly holding a top-tier position. The second reason was that she was married to Song Yan.
The third reason was that they still couldn't find out Wen Li's background.
Smart people knew that not being able to find out was the most terrifying thing. It meant that the people truly protecting her were watertight.
While the mentor and student whispered to each other, the other men loudly urged Guo Dao to bring the young girl over and have her dance to showcase her talent.
Guo Dao was driven to helplessness and said, "Alright, alright."
The tea gathering lost its appeal. After finishing his tea, Song Yan politely made an excuse to leave.
Guo Dao tried to keep him, "Ah Yan, you're not going to watch the dance? That young girl is your fan, you know."
"I won't watch," Song Yan smiled, "My wife has made my taste too picky."
On the way home, the rain hadn't stopped. The smell of the rain accompanied the cool breeze of the changing seasons between spring and summer. The trees on both sides of the road swayed gently in the wind.
The tea had refreshed his mind, but Song Yan's eyelids grew heavy. He leaned back against the seat, feeling tired and lazy.
As he closed his eyes, it seemed like he could hear the DJ music from that noisy night. He couldn't help but wonder where she had heard that song. It wasn't a good song at all. If it weren't for the beautiful and slender dancer in the washroom that night, it wouldn't have been that appealing.
Her voice automatically played in his ears, and Song Yan couldn't help but burst into laughter. In an instant, his drowsiness disappeared.
Since it was a private party, the production team wouldn't follow him. When Song Yan returned home in the evening, he happened to meet a production staff who was taking out the trash downstairs.
During the filming period, the production team rented a house downstairs to ensure that it wouldn't disturb the couple's time together and to address any issues promptly.
"Teacher Song is back?" The young female production staff sounded excited, "Teacher Wen has been waiting for you."
The production staff's expression seemed a bit treacherous, Song Yan had no idea what she was up to. As he opened the door, he deliberately stood outside for a few seconds, concerned that a bucket of water or flour might come crashing down.
He rarely appeared on variety shows, but he had seen other artists being pranked like this.
However, there was nothing. The living room was filled with the sound of the television, and Wen Li walked over, "You're back?"
She was wearing a onesie cartoon pajama, lying on the sofa watching TV. Her hair was loosely tied into a bun, a very casual home attire.
But she had light makeup on her face, Song Yan instinctively glanced at the camera in the living room.
"Yeah," He bent down to change his shoes.
"I'll get your slippers for you," Wen Li hurriedly offered.
She neatly placed the slippers next to his feet and smiled at him, "Put them on."
Song Yan: "..."
He picked up the slippers and shook them upside down, making sure there were no hidden needles.
Wen Li was puzzled by his action, "What are you doing?"
Song Yan remained composed, "Shaking off the dust."
Meanwhile, the entire production team downstairs was laughing uncomfortably while watching the monitor.
"When things are out of the ordinary, there must be a reason. Teacher Song is afraid his wife will harm him, hahaha."
"Looking at it this way, Teacher Wen has never acted spoiled towards Teacher Song."
Song Yan put on the slippers when Wen Li grabbed his arm. He stiffened slightly and asked, "What's wrong?"
"Huh? Nothing," Wen Li put on a standardized smile, her eyes curved, "You've been working hard outside all day. Come, have a seat, and let me massage your shoulders."
She pulled him to the sofa and massaged his shoulders from behind, afraid of applying too much or too little pressure. She then leaned over and asked softly in his ear, "Is the pressure okay?"
Song Yan's gaze darkened slightly as he grabbed her wrist, smiled, and said, "No need to trouble yourself. I'll go to the bedroom and rest for a while."
Wen Li stared at him in astonishment as he walked into the bedroom without looking back and closed the door.
Then she glared fiercely at the camera in the living room, "He doesn't appreciate it, I can't handle it."
The small green light on the camera lit up, and the director's voice sounded, "Teacher Wen, that's not called acting spoiled."
"I'm not acting spoiled?" She stood in front of the camera with her arms akimbo, arguing, "Do I have to whine like a little girl to be considered acting spoiled?"
Director: "Hmm, you're too subtle, the audience can't see it."
"..." Wen Li gritted her teeth and sighed, "Then I can't do it."
The director began giving her online guidance; a middle-aged man in his forties pinching his voice to imitate a little girl acting spoiled.
Wen Li wrinkled her nose, expressing disdain, "If I act like this, Song Yan won't have any reaction. I'll end up annoying myself."
Her comment caused the house downstairs to shake with laughter.
At a critical moment, the director had a solution, "Wen Li, should I show you the footage of other female guests? How about Zheng Xue's? You can take it as a reference."
Wen Li immediately remembered her purpose.
Yes, she couldn't lose.
But she still had some concerns, "What if he still doesn't respond? Won't I lose face?"
"You can tell Song Yan that the camera has been turned off. Maybe he's not comfortable responding to you in front of the camera?"
It's possible that he's pretending to be reserved.
The small green light on the camera went off. Wen Li took out some fruits from the house, washed and cut them into slices, and then walked to the bedroom holding the fruit plate.
She didn't say anything and walked pretentiously to the camera, pretending to 'turn it off'.
Song Yan, lying on the bed, watched her and suddenly squinted his eyes, "Why did you turn off the camera?"
Wen Li casually replied, "You can't keep it on all the time. It's late now, so I turned it off."
She sat by the bed with the fruit plate and asked with a smile, "Would you like some fruit?"
Song Yan stared at her for a full ten seconds and reached out his hand, "Thank you."
Wen Li moved the plate away, "Let me feed you."
"Shall we start with an apple? Ah..."
When Song Yan opened his mouth, his inquisitive gaze never left her face. He chewed with grace, savoring the sweet juice of the apple on his tongue.
"Okay, now it's your turn to feed me." Wen Li opened her mouth, "Ah..."
Song Yan's expression turned serious as he looked at her, like a primatologist observing a hominid. He obediently fed her a piece of fruit.
"Mmm, it's so sweet," Wen Li pretended to enjoy it with an exaggerated expression and sighed, "The apples fed by big brother are sooo sweet."
The production team: "..."
The crew downstairs burst into laughter: "Hahaha, hahahaha!"
Song Yan's expression froze, his lips pursed, his beautiful eyebrows furrowing. He asked in a low voice, "What did you just call me?"
"Huh? Big brother."
Wen Li wondered: Isn't this supposed to be a powerful weapon for acting spoiled? Why did this man have no reaction at all?
She tilted her head and blinked, "Or do you prefer me calling you 'husband'?"
Song Yan's throat moved slightly. He lowered his eyelids as his eyelashes fluttered like butterflies. When he looked at her again, his eyes were clouded with indistinct emotions.
He hmm-ed and with a slight nasal tone said, "Then say it again."
Wen Li asked, "What should I call you? Big brother? Husband?"
The man's voice, sounding somewhat hoarse, replied, "Up to you."
"Big brother, husband," Wen Li thought, well, it doesn't really matter. It's all for the sake of the show, so she will call him both. She satisfied him while holding his arm and rubbing against it, "I also want to eat a grape."
Since it's all an act, it's considered acting spoiled, right?
She wondered if her fans who called her 'Brother Li with Sanli' would dislike her for acting feminine and unfollow her after the first episode of the show is broadcasted.
Just as Wen Li was thinking that her character would collapse again, the man in front of her suddenly pulled her arm and dragged her onto the bed, causing the fruit plate to crash to the ground.
Song Yan flipped over and positioned himself on top, his arm supporting him as he looked down at her. He tugged at the rabbit ears on her one-piece pajama cap and almost growled, "Little spoiled girl, what do you really want by turning off the camera?"
Initially, he thought she was cooperating with the show's crew for some prank segment.
Later, he realized that she might have been assigned by the production team to act spoiled. The production team had female staff members, so they should have taught her better.
Her acting was too obvious, and her lines were stiff.
If this were a class, Teacher Song would definitely give her a failing grade.
That round bun hairstyle paired with the rabbit pajamas was a rare sight. Her eyes were bright, and she appeared both unfamiliar and clumsy, yet genuinely cute.
But the camera was turned off.
That meant they weren't filming the show anymore.
The man appeared very angry, his face tense with tightly knitted eyebrows and reddened ears.
Wen Li's mind went blank, unable to understand why it had turned out this way. She didn't know what she had done to make Song Yan angry. When others acted spoiled, it was accompanied by tender affection. She didn't expect him to play along, but at least some sign of approval, not a stern and frightening face.
She swallowed nervously and said in a bewildered tone, "I just... wanted to eat grapes."
The man pressing her down on the bed smirked arrogantly and narrowed his eyes at her. He reached out and pinched her face, suppressing a chuckle.
"I think you're in need of a good spanking."
It's often said that people have two faces, one in bed and one outside. Sometimes, Song Yan was like that too, his words becoming vulgar when passion took over his reason.
Poor Teacher Song had no idea that his provocative remark was being broadcasted live to other people, while Teacher Wen was already embarrassed, her face flushed red.
The reaction from the production crew was divided into two groups at this moment. A group of young girls excitedly hugged each other, with a look of "I'm willing to die for the entertainment these two bring" as if they were about to bleed to death. The other group of men felt embarrassed, shy, and eager to continue watching, but also afraid of being scolded by the girls for being lewd.
"Cut the trailer for me tomorrow, make sure to mute the last two words from Song Yan!"
The director's eyes sparkled as if he could already see the skyrocketing ratings on this year's broadcasting annual report, overshadowing all fifty-two channels nationwide, and his bright future on the stage receiving awards.