Chapter 8.18 & 8.19
Seeing Hayden struggling to grab at him, Zhou Yun Sheng quickly hid behind Gustav. This seeking asylum behavior pulled on Gustav’s heartstrings. He felt very warm, and very distressed, he stretched out to pull Kitten into his arms.
“You say that Romeo is a thief, do you have proof?” He asked coldly.
Hayden was dumbfounded for a moment, then he roared, “My diamond necklace was on the table, and this morning he packed up my bag, if he didn’t steal it, who else?”
“I remember that time, there was no diamond necklace on the table.” Zhou Yun Sheng pulled his head out from Gustav’s strong arms and retorted, his eyes flushed.
“Mr. Acheson, I have it on camera. I’ll play it back.” John immediately put the camera on the table and pressed the playback button.
The picture reversed, and everyone could clearly see all the items placed on the table- wallet, keys, chewing gum, condoms and other knickknacks, there was no diamond necklace.
John found the clearest picture and zoomed in so everyone could see it more clearly.
Bonnie repeatedly examined it for a while, then raised her eyebrows questioningly at the embarrassed Hayden, “Well, where is this legendary diamond necklace? Can you point it out for us? You said Romeo stole it, but the facts show that when he helped you pack, the thing didn’t exist. Hayden, did you never wake up from your hangover? Or did your sperm strangle your brain cells? The others are seriously competing, while you drink, sex and party. What do you take our program for? Your own personal playground?”
John always followed Romeo like a conjoined twin, so the picture was very coherent, when Romeo entered the room, he didn’t take anything, he just opened the backpack and swept all the items on the table into the backpack. Even if they played it at .25 speed, they couldn’t find anything to cause suspicion of theft. Hayden didn’t know what to say after this.
His intuition told him that things were going to get worrying.
“Where on earth did my necklace go?” He asked weakly.
“You should be asking yourself, not us.” said Gustav, “For the sake of this show’s reputation and for the innocence of all the contestants, I’ll send someone to search the villa. If you agree, please sign this authorization letter.” Without permission, even legal workers weren’t allowed to search other people’s private belongings.
Hayden didn’t know what to do. Things seemed to be progressing beyond his control, making him feel uneasy.
“You don’t agree? Then I have reason to suspect that you are framing Romeo. In fact, you hid the diamond necklace, right?” Gustav deliberately stimulated him.
“How can that be?! I really can’t find it!” Hayden cold sweat in guilt, he now realized that he was being too impulsive, perhaps he’d only forgotten the necklace in his bathroom or somewhere else. No matter how low-key he wanted to keep it, Romeo had the right to sue him for slander and personal injury.
Even worse, he’d stirred up the program, annoyed Acheson, and left behind irrefutable photographic evidence of his assault. God, he actually forced himself into a dead end, what was he thinking? That was too senseless!
Gustav saw that he was silent for a long time and warned again. “If you don’t agree, I’ll have to call the police and the police will apply for a search warrant. No matter what they find, it will be out of our control. Now that I think about it, a real life investigation could be played out on our show, our ratings would be astronomical, right?”
In fact, our ratings are already outrageously high, and it’s all thanks to the little pet in your embrace. Bonnie secretly thought.
Hayden was shocked, he quickly picked up the pen to give permission.
The staff rushed to the villa and immediately launched a search, a few cameramen followed closely, documenting everything, afraid Hayden might pop out and accuse them of planting evidence.
They started from Hayden’s personal items, and half an hour later, they turned over Hayden’s jeans and finally found the necklace. When the video was sent to Acheson’s phone, Hayden was speechless. Now that he carefully thought, it’s possible he just put his necklace in his jeans before he took his bath.
But, now the important question was how to explain that he didn’t intend to frame Romeo. He hesitated to elaborate, he couldn’t justify himself when his own memory was so vague, he could only plead to Acheson and apologize to Romeo.
Gustav didn’t want to hear his explanation, he led the line of people back out into the hall, attracting the contestant’s attention.
“The matter has been investigated thoroughly, the necklace was not stolen, it was hidden in Hayden’s jeans. Since Hayden violated the program group’s rules and attacked others, we will exempt him from this competition.” He waved to Hayden, “Go pack up your things and leave immediately.”
“No, no you can’t do that! I’m going to tell my mom and dad! Gustav Acheson, how dare you do this to me?!” Hayden was furious, but he was forcefully dragged out by the staff.
Zhou Yun Sheng almost burst out laughing. Tell Mommy and Daddy? How old is Hayden Brown? Is he still weaning?
There were many people with the same thought, snickers constantly echoed in the hall. Bonnie gestured as if she was slapping a fly, her expression disgusted. Fortunately, her boss’ background was much tougher than the Brown family’s by numerous levels, otherwise, she wouldn’t know when she’d be able to get rid of that arrogant child.
Today’s challenge winner was still Romeo, and Acheson’s pictures of him were taken by Bonnie and magnified for the audience. Wearing a white shirt and jeans, sitting under the transparent dome, the guitar playing boy looked like an angel, the morning light shining down, surrounding him by colored spots. The breeze gently blew his curly hair, appearing to be intoxicated by his emotional singing.
This was a photo, but it was also fresh and lovely like a song.
Jeffrey held a few pictures and kissed them, exclaiming, “So beautiful! I love Romeo!”
Bonnie added, “I also love Romeo, so he’s the winner of this challenge. Congratulations.”
The players murmured amongst themselves, unconvinced. Some of them simply didn’t get all three pieces of paper, so they wore the wrong clothes or went to the wrong position. Some people had not been able to suppress their panic, so when the camera aimed at them, their bodies were very stiff. No one had a photo like Romeo, no one had such a heavenly atmosphere.
They finally gave Romeo their congratulations, with more sincerity than ever before. Romeo’s hurrying off that morning to wake up Hayden and Emily had greatly changed their impression of him, at least, none of them could honestly say they could ever be so selfless.
Bonnie dismissed the players so they could go back and rest, but Gustav beckoned, “Kitten, come here.”
Kitten? Who’s that? The contestants looked at each other. Bonnie face palmed and blushed in embarrassment. The boss must have a habit of shouting it out in his heart, so he habitually blurted it out.
Gustav was embarrassed. He coughed and covered his mouth with a fist, then changed his call, “Romeo, come, I want to talk to you.”
Zhou Yun Sheng was embarrassed enough to die. He’d also heard this nickname from Bonnie and Jeffrey a few times, do the judges and producers have a habit of secretly giving nicknames to the contestants? A nickname like Kitten…. He was suddenly reminded of the pink bowed Hello Kitty, and felt a little intrigued.
He thought of himself as a prehistoric monster, he didn’t expect that in someone else’s heart he was a tiny, milk drinking kitty. This meant that his acting skill was superb, strong enough to deceive the world.
He walked to the man’s side and looked up, blinking his wet eyes, maliciously testing out his cuteness selling prowess.
Gustav’s nose itched, he immediately turned back toward the lounge, saw that there was no camera nearby, and quickly made an agitated expression. He was seriously starting to suspect that Kitten was deliberately seducing him. God knew how much his self-control was degrading day by day, he may not last till the end of the game before pouncing.
“Sit down.” He sat on the couch and patted his side.
Zhou Yun Sheng finally saw it, this Gustav seemed to be really fond of him. He quickly assessed the situation. As long as the other man didn’t cross any boundaries or interfere with his game, then this kind of goodwill could only benefit him, not harm him, so, he would pretend not to know.
He sat and smiled at the man.
Gustav’s nose itched again, he was anxious to pull him into his arms and sit him on his lap, kiss his pale pink mouth and curled eyelashes. His heart was fantasizing, but his expression was very serious, he asked, “Romeo, how are you going to deal with this incident?”
“It’s not over yet?” Zhou Yun Sheng blinked his oblivious eyes.
“Silly boy, that was just the program team’s punishment for Hayden. He attacked your body and your reputation, you have the right to sue him. If you want to win a little justice for yourself, I’ll get you a lawyer.”
Sue him baby, toss him away from your heart, my arms will always be wide open for you! Gustav begged in his heart, but he was let down, the young man considered for a moment, then slowly shook his head.
“No, I don’t want to sue him.”
“Why? If I hadn’t stopped him in time, you would’ve been seriously injured.” Gustav felt irritated at the boy’s rigid thinking, so his tone couldn’t help but be a little harsh, “You know, it’s not your fault that you can only love the same sex, but it’s your biggest mistake to fall in love with an asshole and not regret it. Knowing that a food is rancid, why do you have to bear the consequences and discomfort to force yourself to eat it? You’re tormenting yourself!”
Zhou Yun Sheng tried to widen his eyes and reveal an injured expression.
Gustav immediately calmed down and apologized softly. He wanted to hold him in his arms and kiss him, but he was afraid of provoking his resentment. He was like a boy experiencing his first puppy-love, he didn’t know what to do.
Zhou Yun Sheng accepted his apology and explained, “Mr. Acheson, I understand what you mean. It’s because I’ve finally been freed from Hayden’s mud pit that I don’t want to sue him. In fact, I should thank him for teaching me how to see the world. With my heart and mind, not my eyes. I just want to do my own thing now, and firmly walk down the path I choose. Can you understand?”
Even if he sued Hayden, the most serious trial punishment would only be detention for a few months, and as long as money exchanged hands, Hayden would step into jail with his left foot and be let out before his right foot hits the ground. Why would he do such a thankless thing when he could retaliate with his own skill anytime he wanted? Plus, he believed that Gustav wouldn’t help him for free, and he didn’t want to stir up any trouble before he found his lover.
Gustav saw a strong and open-minded boy in his clear eyes. His heart melted like ice-cream, he couldn’t help but pull the boy into his arms, whispering comfort, and gently kiss his soft hair.
Baby, I don’t know how to love you, can you tell?
Brown and his wife intended to give more funding to Gustav to delete the footage of their son’s violence, but they were rejected.
When Gustav opened his mouth, he stabbed at the two’s complex. “I noticed that Hayden Brown, like his grandfather, is disgusted with homosexuality. He was very unfriendly to Jeffrey, and said that Jeffery makes him sick during several conversations. I don’t know what you two feel, but if he was my child, I would be heartbroken. If you don’t want him to become another arrogant, homophobic dictator like old Brown, you’d better start acting on it now.”
The Browns lost face and walked out of ABC building, pale faced.
They went to the villa to pick up their son in person. When Hayden got in the car, he couldn’t wait for the staff to give him back his cell phone to look up his audience evaluation and watch the previous episodes online.
“Oh my God, Romeo has a crush on me! Holy fuck! I stayed with him for weeks, fucking gross! Ugh, I just lost my appetite. Grandfather was right, those sick homos should all burn to death!” Seeing Romeo’s confession scene, he made a vomiting expression.
The Browns looked more and more ugly.
The two looked at each other, ultimately Valentine opened, “Hayden, I have something to tell you. I and your mother are also homosexual. We have never been together. You were conceived through artificial insemination. If I didn’t did this, my father would’ve drove me out of the family and cut off my relationships.”
Susan sneered, “My Dear, that’s an understatement. We both know he wouldn’t’ve driven you out, he would’ve sent you straight to the neurological hospital, to have you ‘fixed’.”
Then she looked back to the slack jawed Hayden and asked, “Now, my son, tell me, do you think we’re sick? Do you think your origin is disgusting? When someone loves you, no matter who they are- noble or humble, boy or girl, ugly or beautiful- your first reaction should be appreciation, not ridicule. If they didn’t love you, who would be willing to risk elimination to wake you up? Who would be willing to go against their personality just to get you to look at them? Don’t take other’s love for you for granted, otherwise, no one will love you.”
Hayden was shocked speechless, he felt like his whole world was crumbling, the feeling of his body and soul falling apart was very painful.
While Hayden was reorganizing his worldview and his values, the players were getting together for dinner. Ivana aimed a coke can at Emily, pulled the ring, and let the sticky cola spray all over Emily.
“Omigosh, I’m sooo sorry! I didn’t know this cola can had been shaken.”
“W-what? No, you did it on purpose!”
“Okay princess, whatever you say. Oh, so does this mean I can doubt that you did it on purpose too?”
“And just what did I purposefully do?” Emily’s heart shook, her tone was suddenly less confident.
“You deliberately hid Hayden’s necklace in his jeans and asked me to help clean up. All so he would find trouble with me and cause the three of us to fight. He said that he clearly remembered putting down his necklace on the table before his shower last night. You were the only one in the room before I packed his things. You had the motivation and the opportunity to do it.” Zhou Yun Sheng put down the rest of his milk and said in a clear voice.
The contestants had long inquired about the gossip, but they only thought that Hayden was careless, but now, hearing those words, their suspicion of Emily rose to the highest point. This was the seventh week of the game, there was constant infighting, they all had a good understanding of each other’s ways.
All the people present, except Romeo, have sold their teammate at some point.
John immediately turned the camera and aimed at Emily’s red face.
Emily forcefully suppressed her embarrassment and fluster, then sneered, “Romeo, your idea is very thrilling, but where’s your proof? Don’t think I can’t see what you’re up to. You’re trying to disrupt my mood by insulting me and lowering my net score. You’re trying to kick me out of the game, right?”
She seemed to be calm, but in fact, her mind was in chaos. If this conversation was broadcasted, whether there’s evidence or not, it wouldn’t matter, the audience would have doubts about her and her favorability would reduce. Her net score had been plummeting with each episode, if it dropped even lower, her situation would get very dangerous. So, she could no longer target Romeo, otherwise, the audience would catch on.
But she knew that, in order to ensure the ratings, the cold blooded crew would broadcast any interesting thing the camera pointed at (except for restricted footage). Romeo doesn’t have to start a conspiracy, just a suggestion would put her at full disadvantage.
Zhou Yun Sheng finished his milk and waltz out with a proud milk mustache, leaving only one statement, “I’m not so despicable, unlike you.”
Everyone knew that Romeo had an infuriating tongue, but his heart was soft and kind. A pure and tender young boy, verses a shrewd and experienced bar girl, even a fool would know who they should believe.
The players took their food and left, unwilling to talk to Emily, even Daphne, who had the best relationship with her, was afraid to stay.
If Emily’s plan had succeeded, Hayden, Ivana and Romeo would’ve been eliminated, and she wouldn’t have to lift a finger. Hayden was her boyfriend, the two often flirted nauseatingly and displayed inconsiderate PDA, yet she turned against him without hesitation, how terrible!
The players’ fear of her deepened, and after watching this episode of the show, Hayden also hated her. He ordered the Brown family’s fashion brand to never hire Emily. This made Emily’s road to be a model very shaky.
The thrilling day was finally over. Zhou Yun Sheng walked out of the bath with wet hair. Ivana helped him dry his hair, and couldn’t help but rub it vigorously.
“Stop fooling around, I’m sleepy.” Romeo’s hair was fluffy, his cheeks rosy, his tired eyes squeezed out blight tears after his yawn, he looked fresh and lovely. He yawned again, pulled the quilt over his body and turned around to sleep. He saw the still hard at work John recording him and mumbled out a good night.
Good night, my baby. Sitting in the monitoring room, Gustav raised a finger to stroke the sleepy young boy on the screen, completely ignoring the ‘you’re a pervert’ the crew leader’s eyes were projecting at him.
The next day, the first player to get up, as usual, found a note on the TV, which read – men and women, standing in each other’s position, maybe you’ll understand each other better.
What does that mean? Is it a team up with male and female partners? Everyone gave their own speculation. Zhou Yun Sheng whispered to Ivana, “This should be male and female players cross-dressing, then pairing up to shoot.”
Ivana’s eyes brightened, she gave a strange smile, “My Dear, I can’t wait to see you dressed as a woman, you must be a thousand times more beautiful than Emily!”
As soon as the words were finished, Emily walked downstairs. Usually, she got along with quite a few players, everyone treated her with lively warmth. She was not as arrogant as Hayden, and she was very attractive, so her popularity was high. But after yesterday’s storm, the contestants unanimously wanted to stay away from her.
She can even work against her lovey-dovey boyfriend, what chance do others have? Emily is definitely a ruthless one!
Because of her arrival, the living room quieted down for a moment. Emily didn’t seem to notice, her attitude was natural as she greeted several friends. This made everyone even more on edge about her unpredictable mood.
Zhou Yun Sheng made two sandwiches and ate them with Ivana as they waited for the bus by the door. They didn’t wear make-up, so they always got ready the fastest.
When the bus arrived at the studio, Bonnie and Jeffrey stood side by side and smiled an odd smile. Gustav stood to the side with a camera. He was responsible for photographing the players today.
“Everyone saw today’s tip card right?” Bonnie smiled and asked.
“So can you guess the theme of today’s shooting?”
A contestant opened: “It’s male and female partners, right? Two people will work together.”
“Is it the men and women choosing the clothes and style for each other?”
“It’s couples photos, absolutely!”
Bonnie shook her head again and again, then she saw that Romeo’s face was red, as if he was very embarrassed, so she targeted him, “Kitten, you guessed it?”
“Is it men and women in drag and couple photos? We have ten people, five men and five women.” Zhou Yun Sheng responded.
“My Dear, your brain is as outstanding as your little face!” Bonnie laughed as the players collectively groaned.
When it was time to group up, Bonnie was kind enough to assign the two prodigies to a group, which aroused the other female players’ envy. If they had something to say, they could speak freely to the camera, so many people said the same thing: “I wanted to group up with Romeo, his facial features are very delicate, even more delicate than some of the female players. I think his cross-dressing will bring good results. If partnered with him, I would easily pass this challenge.”
But unfortunately, the man who was in the same group with Emily said to his cameraman “I really don’t want to work with Emily. She looks like she’d be easy to get along with, but she’s even more arrogant than Hayden. She likes to grab the limelight, and she’ll gladly suppress others to highlight herself. She’s so scary. I had a crush on her at first, but fortunately, she didn’t notice me and went after that fool Hayden.” He grabbed his shoulders and shivered.
Emily, who stood close by, clearly heard the confession, but she showed no displeasure. Her strong spirit and confidence made even her cameraman surprised. If such a person was given a chance to climb the ladder, she would be able to climb to the top.
Unfortunately, she had trampled her own ladder and ruined her perfect opportunity with “The Next Supermodel”. As long as they had more than 3 brain cells, the audience would never like such a treacherous person. So, her future might not be as bright as she imagines.
While the male and female players were still lamenting, Ivana and Zhou Yun Sheng had been dragged into the dressing room. The stylists had been wanting to cross-dress the two for a long time. Bonnie and Jeffrey crowed into the room. Gustav pretended to fiddle with his camera for a while, then he followed them in with a seemingly elegant, but impatient pace.