Winter Begonia, Chapter 27: Flirt

   Winter Begonia鬓边不是海棠Bin Bian Bushi Haitang Hong

   Winter Begonia, Chapter 27: Flirt

   On this day, Cheng Fengtai was backstage with his legs crossed, reading the newspaper. He was now a spectacle at the Shuiyun House, after listening to Shang Xirui's play, he always went backstage to sit and read the newspaper and drink tea, the first to come and the last to leave, the rain and the wind did not stop him. Everyone suspected that he had a crush on one of the opera singers in the class and he was pretending to be a pussy. However, he was almost exclusively with Shang Xirui, he was very normal with the other opera singers and even avoided talking to them as if they were suspicious. What he's up to is beyond anyone's guess. It's understandable that a rich young businessman like him, who has nothing better to do, would do something stupid, that's probably why he and Shang Xirui have become good friends.

   Shang Xirui was thanking the audience on stage, the opera fans have given him a plaque today, he won't be able to get out for half an hour. Cheng Fengtai has finished reading a newspaper he had nothing else to do, so he called the handyman and gave him some money, the handyman immediately brought him a stack of old newspapers from the past, enough to last him a year. Cheng Fengtai had spent so much time in the past on the great business of eating and drinking that he had little time to read a newspaper, he had heard much of the current affairs from Fan Lian. But since he has been visiting the Shuiyun House more often, he has learned a lot about the world of China.

   Cheng Fengtai read the newspaper in silence, for fear that Shang Xirui will be displeased if he came in when the conversation gets hot. A rabbit doesn't eat grass, if he makes a fuss, will he come to the Shuiyun House again? Not to mention the fact that he has no interest in the Shuiyun House. The female opera singers, on the other hand are not to be left alone. Yuan Lan hummed a little tune in front of Cheng Fengtai, scratches his head and took off his costume and slouches back in his chair. Cheng Fengtai flipped through a page of the newspaper, without raising his eyes. Yuan Lan, of course is out of order, a centuries old Pear Garden rule, just as First Performer is not allowed to touch his pen, First Performer has to change his clothes without being seen, or he too will be punished. But today Si Yijiu is not here and no one dares to make a mistake with her.

   Yuan Lan rested an arm on the back of the chair, turned to look at Cheng Fengtai and said softly: “Second Master Cheng...”

   Cheng Fengtai still does not raise his eyes and said: “Eh?”

   “You've been acting strangely lately! Earlier, you used to come to the Shuiyun House but not so often! Not a day goes by without...”

 She trailed off, a bit of blame and a bit of pouting: “And you don't talk to us. What the hell do you mean?”

   Cheng Fengtai looked at her, continued flipping through the newspaper and laughed and said: “Is this an order to expel you?”

   Yuan Lan snapped: “I wouldn't dare! You're a valued guest of the Shuiyun House, our bread and butter! I just don't understand you.”

   “What's not to understand, you're a man of the world, can't you see that?” Cheng Fengtai closed the newspaper and looked at Yuan Lan, clearing his throat, he said: “I'm trying to pick up (flirt with) your Troupe master!”

   He said this so brightly that all the opera singers of the Shuiyun House were dumbfounded, then they all felt they had been teased and shook their heads and laughed. Yuan Lan was also dumbfounded at first, then he slapped him across the face with a wave of his hand and cackled with laughter: “Second Master really!   If you don't want to talk about it, that's all, we can't do anything to you. Why drag our Troupe Master into this! He's a child, young and tender, if he hears this and you get his face when he is angry, I don't care.”

   Cheng Fengtai thought to himself, Fan Lian knew without my expressing it, Xiao Lai was even better, she seemed to have sensed it before Shang Xirui and I even started. How come in Shang Xirui's lair, a place where gossip and gossip are so common, she doesn't believe me? He whispered: “Commander Cao can pick him up but I can't? What's that supposed to mean?”

   Yuan Lan stared intently at Cheng Fengtai, there was a hot, flirtatious look in his eyes. She also lowered her voice and said: “I'll believe anyone you see here, no one will believe Shang Xirui. From now on, you can use someone else as a front!”

   “Why? I don't understand.”

   “It's just not like that.”

   “I don't look like an opera singer? Or does he not hang out with non-acting people?”

   “You're an opera singer, he hanged out with people too. But you two don't look like each other.”

   “Oh?”

   Cheng Fengtai and Shang Xirui didn't feel it themselves, when they were together, they were a pair of humble men, no moonlight in their eyes but plenty of playful ideas, like a big boy playing with a little boy, not like they were in love. So, except for Fan Lian Xiao Lai, who could see things as they were, no one else could see them as one, not Lao Ge, who could look at anyone and think he was the Second Master's concubine.

   Yuan Lan turned to the mirror and laughed and said: “Don't ask, if it doesn't look like it, it doesn't look like it. You can't ask anyone.”

   Cheng Fengtai shook open the newspaper, with a long sigh and said: “I'll put it in the opera playJinghua Daily News later, then you'll know if I'm real or not.”

   Yuan Lan pursed his lips and smiled as he was about to say something, Shang Xirui pushed his way in, his face flushed with joy, followed by two plaque bearers and then by a field picker. For Shang Xirui, the collector had prepared a huge tray, heavily laden with money for the seats. Shang Xirui's income was not the bulk of the $800 a month. Every time he thanked the seer, hundreds of dollars were thrown up from the bottom. The money was wrapped in coloured paper and thrown on stage like a hailstorm. The ladies were often the most excited, crying out Shang Xirui's name when they heard the emotion and when they had finished throwing money, they took jewellery off their bodies, some threw up engagement rings and heirloom gold locks too. Once a woman, overwhelmed by Shang Xirui's the Daying Chaste impassioned enthusiasm, took off a jade bracelet from her wrist and threw it onto the stage with tears streaming down her cheeks, dropping jade dripping all over the floor.

   As soon as Shang Xirui sat down, Xiao Lai followed by pouring him tea and removing his make-up, very quick, no delay at all. In the mirror from Shang Xirui's position, the couch on which Cheng Fengtai is sitting is reflected. Shang Xirui smiled and smiled at Cheng Fengtai in the mirror and said at length: “Second Master...”

 Cheng Fengtai smiled back at him and said back: “Hey, Boss Shang.” Such a lovey dovey exchange of eyes, to the casual observer, looks like they are just goofing off for no reason, not worth mentioning.

   The collector presented the tray to Shang Xirui. The money and coins went straight to the officials, the jewellery had to wait for Shang Xirui to look at it and then to keep what he liked and then to distribute it to the crowd as a bonus. Under the strong light of the dressing table, a tray of jewellery shone brightly, pearls, onyx, jade and tortoiseshell were all there. Shang Xirui was in no hurry with these treasures, he drank his tea slowly, removed his head and face, before fiddling with the plates with great interest.

   Yuan Lan looked around and said to him: “Brother Rui, don't take the big pearl necklace when you see it, keep it for me. My string of longan pearls has broken, I don't have any to wear with my cheongsam.”

   Shang Xirui nodded to her with a smile and said: “Yes.” He sifts through them, picks out a jade bracelet and held it up to look at it over and over again, saying: “This jade looks hard, it's not afraid to fall, I can use it tomorrow when I play Sun Yujiao.”

   In the play Picking Up the Jade Bracelet,  someone picked up a green glass bracelet from a stall for 20 cents a piece. Shang Xirui has a strange penchant for this, he felt better and gets into the scene better when the props are real and it costs a lot more. If he is to play a real princess, he needs to be dressed in the real thing, it's perfect, it's flawless. If you wear a piece of junk, you'll be too scared to trust the audience.  That's how he's going to make it better.

   Shang Xirui took only one bracelet, each of them took a handful of the rest and gave them all away, so generous that Cheng Fengtai was astonished to see it and wondered why the Shuiyun House couldn't break up the fight, they were big ghosts and small children, surrounding Shang Xirui, the Boy of Good Fortune. Xirui, the boy of good fortune.

   As they chatted, Sheng Ziyun came rushing in with a box, shouting: “Xirui! Look what I've brought you!”

 He'd been home for New Year's Eve and for school exams and hadn't had a chance to see Shang Xirui. Today, he escaped and ran into Cheng Fengtai and stood there and regretted it. In fact, no matter which day he came now, he has to meet Cheng Fengtai.

   “Second Brother Cheng... There you are...”

   Cheng Fengtai looked at him and said coldly: “It's been over a month since you came back from Shanghai, hasn't it? Why don't you come to my house first, do I have to invite you first? The young master is not a small man!”

   Sheng Ziyun stammered. Cheng Fengtai said: “How’s family? Is the old lady well?”

   Sheng Ziyun said: “Quite well.”

   Cheng Fengtai said: “The man who looks after the house for me must be going to visit relatives for New Year's Eve and drink old wine, don't let any fireworks into the house. Has your fourth brother looked after it for me?”

   “Yes. My fourth brother went to see it himself on the first day of the New Year, the windows and doors were fine, nothing happened.”

   “I asked him on the phone to bring me some pear jelly and sandalwood olives, where are they?”

   Sheng Ziyun remembered this and said with a smile: “I brought them, they're in the dorm. I'll bring it home tomorrow.”

   “No. I don't dare to ask you to do that. I'll have someone pick it up.”

   Sheng Ziyun was reluctant to go back, he looked at Shang Xirui, Shang Xirui had not said a word to him except for a greeting, he was so left with nothing to say.

   Cheng Fengtai glared at him and said: “Why are you still standing here? Your brother was complaining to me last time! He said that you had fallen behind in your homework, that you were not doing well in your essays, as if he blamed me for not keeping an eye on you! You know it yourself!”

   Sheng Ziyun walked quickly with downcast eyes to Shang Xirui, shoved the box into his hand quickly and pressed it heavily with his hand, like a promise. Then he said to Cheng Fengtai: “Second Brother, I'll go then.”

   Cheng Fengtai waved his hand impatiently and Sheng Ziyun went away in fear. By this time, the opera singers had almost all gone too. Shang Xirui laughed and said: “You're like a father lecturing his son, you're not usually this mean!”

   Cheng Fengtai said: “You don't know. Boys of his age are most likely to be bad. It's right to be tough on him.”

   Shang Xirui said with a grunt: “Is it bad to come to me?”

   Cheng Fengtai immediately laughed and said: “Not at all, he comes to Boss Shang to be trained in the arts. I'm afraid he'll still be playing around after he leaves the theatre.”

   Shang Xirui opened the box inside are several colourful head ornaments, all specially ordered crystals and the hairpins are stamped with the Silver House logo in keeping with Shang Xirui's taste for the 'real thing' and the 'one and only'. unique”. It must have been Sheng Ziyun who went home to receive her New Year's money and was in good hands and was eager to buy a headdress to please Shang Xirui. But Shang Xirui put them back in the box after comparing them to his head, with a flat smile on his face, very disappointing.

   Shang Xirui said: “It's not my business if he's bad. I never invited him, he asked for it.”

   Cheng Fengtai walked up behind Shang Xirui, leaned down to look at the box of heads, Shang Xirui's whole body is under his shadow, her heart beats faster.

   Cheng Fengtai said: “What a heart. It's hard to please Boss Shang, Young Master Yun has given it all he's got.”

   Shang Xirui leaned up to sniff Cheng Fengtai's neck, the cool tip of his nose pressed against the hot neck, both of them tickle a little.

   Shang Xirui whispered: “It's not hard to please Boss Shang.”

   Cheng Fengtai looked at him with a smile and said: “Then teach me.”

   “Second Master is happy to be like this, always watching Boss Shang on stage, Boss Shang is happy.”

   “That's not so hard.”

   “You promise me?”

   “Yeah. Yes.”

   The two men speak in a nose to nose manner, with a sense of ecstasy, almost as if they were about to kiss. Xiao Lai intervenes to distract them by pretending to pack, while taking the mask box away, she is very careful with Shang Xirui's money. Cheng Fengtai sighed and straightens up, Shang Xirui felt a bit sorry too.

   “The day after tomorrow the Old Madam is having a birthday party, I'm going to sing, can the Second Master come too?”

   “I didn't want to go. But for the Boss Shang play, I have to go.”

   Shang Xirui was easily satisfied.

         ~Winter Begonia~

 
      Winter Begonia: Chapters List
 

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