Top Star Agent Chapter 1


July.

The sun was baking the earth.

Shishan Studio City.

Inside the soundstage, temperatures had rocketed to forty degrees.

People both inside and out were like plants wilting under a day-long assault from the sun, ready to dissipate into smoke or melt away in the searing heat at any moment.

Drenched in sweat, everyone was on edge, the crew and even more so the actors, swathed in layers of complicated period costumes.

The director, megaphone in hand, was bellowing louder than usual. In his early thirties and wearing a white sleeveless undershirt, his back was drenched with sweat.

Even his iced coffee, now half-full of ice cubes, couldn't suppress his restlessness. Had the shoot been going well, it wouldn't be so bad, but after a whole morning of shooting, the female second lead, thrust upon them by the producers, was not performing well, racking up over a dozen bloopers. The male lead, with a scowl, was demanding a replacement, refusing to continue otherwise.

At this moment, the atmosphere in the studio was at a standstill.

It took some effort to soothe the temperamental female second lead, but the male lead was completely intransigent.

Even the director's personal attempt to negotiate in the male lead's dressing room couldn't lure him out. The director, whose name was not yet known, had been making web series and lacked clout.

Especially in front of the male lead, who had become an overnight sensation after just one film, challenging the current top four influencers in the industry, the director couldn't speak with much authority.

Despite his attempts, he couldn't persuade the male lead to relent, intent on having the female second lead removed. Exiting the dressing room and wiping the sweat from his forehead, the director said to his assistant, "Hand me the phone, I need to call Miss Xiang."

——

In the private room of an upscale restaurant known for its discretion.

Xiang Qingwei sat across from a man in a black suit, the epitome of an elite.

The air conditioning was cranked up, making it quite cool and comfortable.

Xiang Qingwei never thought she would find herself on a blind date, especially with an elite man who was the nephew of a certain aunt. This aunt had been kind to her since childhood, still giving her red envelopes every New Year because she remained unmarried. Now acting as a matchmaker, and with the man being her nephew, Xiang Qingwei couldn't simply refuse.

After three months of postponing under the aunt's constant urging and pressure, Xiang Qingwei managed to squeeze a day out of her busy schedule, sacrificing her sleep-in to have lunch with this elite man, a senior executive from a major corporation with an annual salary in the millions.

She had chosen the restaurant, preferring Chinese over Western cuisine, and wasn't fussy about the type of Chinese food.

After being seated, they were served a pot of freshly squeezed lemon sour plum juice, which Xiang Qingwei had ordered. She didn't eat much in the summer heat, and the chilled sour plum juice was her summertime favorite.

"I would have thought a lady with such great qualities as Miss Xiang wouldn't need to go through blind dates to find a boyfriend."

After the introductions, Fang Xing Zhi poured a glass for Xiang Qingwei first, then for himself, setting down the bottle before speaking with a smile.

Objectively speaking, the man sitting across from her had an outstanding presence, with good looks and elegant manners, clearly reflecting the high regard Auntie Du had for her.

Xiang Qingwei thought for a moment, then, unhurriedly, took a sip of the sour plum juice to quench her thirst. Leaning forward to set down her glass, she smiled slightly and replied, "I also thought that a gentleman with Mr. Fang's credentials wouldn't need to resort to blind dates to meet a girlfriend."

In the entertainment industry, Xiang Qingwei's beauty might not rank among the top beauties, especially not compared to those ultra-thin female stars on camera, but her attractiveness was beyond question.

Her facial structure was smooth and natural. Tao Yuner had even taken her photo to the plastic surgery clinic before undergoing bone-shaving, wishing to have a face like hers. If a person has a well-shaped face, as long as their features aren't badly aligned, they can hardly be unattractive. Xiang Qingwei's features might not be overly delicate, but they were harmonious and pleasing to the eye, with a straight nose and eyes that were clear and vivid.

Her medium-length curly hair was loosely tied back, her figure not excessively thin but proportionate and lean. Although she wasn't much for exercise, her regular activity kept any excess weight at bay. Today, on her day off, she wasn't dressed in her usual professional attire but wore a light-colored long dress, adding a touch of softness to her appearance.

To someone meeting her for the first time, they might be taken in by this gentle facade.

They exchanged smiles.

The dishes arrived quickly.

Xiang Qingwei didn't usually eat breakfast, so by this time, she was quite hungry. The cold, sour, and sweet plum juice had stimulated her appetite. Gazing at the dishes on the table, her mouth started to water. She wasn't there for the blind date, so there was no need to act demure or take the opportunity to scrutinize the man's manners. She simply focused on enjoying her meal.

Fang Xing Zhi had only taken a few bites before he couldn't help but glance over.

Xiang Qingwei was eating quickly, yet her manner was far from unsightly. She was someone who cared about her image, aiming for a good posture, not necessarily overly graceful, but certainly never sloppy in public.

The bowls provided by the restaurant were quite small, and Xiang Qingwei polished off one bowl of rice in the blink of an eye, naturally serving herself another. Noticing Fang Xing Zhi watching her, she modestly smiled with a press of her lips, seemingly a bit embarrassed: "I didn't eat this morning and got a bit hungry." Her demeanor remained relaxed and confident, and even the reddish-brown lipstick on her lips hadn't budged, not even a hint of grease.

Fang Xing Zhi offered a slight smile and said, "Don't be restrained, please feel free to eat as you wish."

Xiang Qingwei smiled back at him, then continued with her meal.

Fang Xing Zhi noticed that when she smiled, a faint dimple appeared on the left side of her face but not on the right. He also observed that when she wasn't smiling, her aura was somewhat cold, with a subtle edge, yet her smile made her seem bright and cheerful.

In the end, Fang Xing Zhi could only manage one bowl of rice before he was full.

Xiang Qingwei had two bowls, and she had made a significant dent in the dishes.

The waiter cleared the table and swiftly brought a pot of tea, coming and going silently, even their inquiries were in hushed tones.

"You don't eat much," Xiang Qingwei started a conversation.

Fang Xing Zhi had eaten little, but his physique wasn't the skinny type; he was more like a clothes hanger, with a well-proportioned body. Xiang Qingwei had noticed his excellent figure the moment Fang Xing Zhi walked in, with long wrists and legs, his approach marked by his suit pants covering two long legs. Judging by his build, he must work out.

Fang Xing Zhi's looks were rare to come by in everyday life, the kind that would get surreptitiously photographed even when just buying a coffee.

If she had encountered him on the street, Xiang Qingwei would have given him a second look. If he were six or seven years younger, she might have even considered recruiting him.

It was for this reason that she didn't make an excuse to leave right after the meal but stayed patiently seated.

"Ah, my appetite tends to decrease in the summer," Fang Xing Zhi reciprocated, "I see you have a good appetite."

Xiang Qingwei took a sip of the sour plum juice from the table and said, "Actually, I also struggle a bit with the summer heat, so I have some sour plum juice before meals to stimulate my appetite. I got up too early today and didn't eat anything, so I'm indeed a bit hungry."

"Not eating in the morning can be bad for your stomach in the long run," Fang Xing Zhi's concern was brief before he changed the subject, "Your line of work must be very busy, right?"

"Indeed, my phone is on 24/7, always ready to deal with all sorts of emergencies. It's fine if the artists behave, but if you encounter the rebellious ones..." Xiang Qingwei always had a lot to say about her work, and as she was speaking, her phone suddenly rang in her bag.

"Excuse me, I need to take this call," Xiang Qingwei apologized to Fang Xing Zhi with a smile.

Fang Xing Zhi gestured for her to go ahead.

Xiang Qingwei took her phone out of her bag and glanced at the caller ID.

——Director Gou.

Xiang Qingwei felt a twinge in her brow, knowing for sure that someone was causing trouble again.

She answered the call: "Hello, Director Gou."

"Miss Xiang, where are you right now?" Director Gou, well aware of Xiang Qingwei's temperament, got straight to the point without beating around the bush.

"C CITY," Xiang Qingwei asked calmly, "Is there a problem on set?"

Director Gou on the other end let out a heavy sigh of relief, "That's a relief! Miss Xiang, could you possibly come to the set right now? Or maybe you could call Jia Yi for me, I'm really out of options here..."

"Alright, I'll be right there," Xiang Qingwei hung up the phone and turned to Fang Xing Zhi with an apologetic smile, "I'm so sorry, one of my artists has run into some trouble, and I need to go there now." As she spoke, she reached for her bag beside her, preparing to stand up.

"No problem," Fang Xing Zhi stood up, considerately offering, "It looks like you didn't drive here, and it's hard to get a taxi at this hour. Do you need a lift?"

"Wouldn't that delay your afternoon work?" Xiang Qingwei inquired.

Fang Xing Zhi smiled, picking up his coat from the chair, "Not at all. Let's go, I'll drive you there."

"Then I'll take you up on your offer," Xiang Qingwei, without further ado, grabbed her bag and followed Fang Xing Zhi out.

Fang Xing Zhi, the gentleman, opened the passenger door for Xiang Qingwei.

After thanking him, she got into the car.

Half an hour later, Fang Xing Zhi's car pulled up at Shishan Studio City.

"Thank you for today, I'll treat you to a meal when I have some time," Xiang Qingwei said.

Fang Xing Zhi chuckled softly, "Then I'll be waiting for your call."

Xiang Qingwei responded with a smile, "I should head over now. Be careful on the road back." With a nod, she walked towards the set and soon met Xiao Dong, the assistant of Ling Jia Yi, who hurried out to meet her. They talked as they walked towards the set, not looking back.

Upon reaching the set, Xiang Qingwei didn't head to the makeup room first but went to greet Director Gou, expressed her apologies, and then was led to the makeup room.

As Xiang Qingwei entered the makeup room,

Ling Jia Yi was sitting in a chair, dressed in a luxurious black period costume, his legs inelegantly thrown over the makeup table in front. The layers of his robe were pulled up to his thighs, exposing two smooth legs whiter than a woman's. His exceptionally handsome face was stretched long, and he radiated an icy aura that said 'Keep away'.

"Miss Xiang!" Assistant Xiao Mei spotted her first, exclaiming with relief as if seeing a savior, her anxiety finally settling down.

Hearing the name 'Miss Xiang', Ling Jia Yi immediately turned his head, his face relaxing slightly at the sight of Xiang Qingwei, but his tone was still impatient, "Why are you here? Did the director call you to complain about me?" Despite the seemingly disdainful tone, his beautiful eyes were fixed firmly on Xiang Qingwei's face.

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