Chapter 8.8 & 8.9
Back at the villa, the living room’s display showed the contestants’ challenge scores. Romeo 10 points, Ivana 9 points, Emily 9 points, and Hayden had only seven points, a point higher than the second to last player.
If the shoot doesn’t go well tomorrow, he would fall into a very dangerous situation. And he was already on Gustav’s shit list, he couldn’t unfairly go after Romeo in the future.
Thinking of this, he felt extremely depressed, he fiercely pushed away his girlfriend who was trying to comfort him and turned upstairs. Emily shrugged at the camera, her expression was very aggrieved, but her heart was happy with Hayden’s headstrong behavior. Yes, be harsh to me, so I can break up with you without backlash, you bastard!
Ivana and Zhou Yun Sheng were being completely isolated by the other contestants, but they didn’t care, they took a shower and went down to start dinner. Yes, on this program, in order to display the players’ personality and how they interacted with each other, they had to cook their three meals a day by themselves, the staff was only responsible for purchasing ingredients.
These young people didn’t know how to cook, they usually just ordered fast food. Just a few days ago, they almost burnt down the kitchen. They finally got used to cooking, but they could only make simple vegetable salads, toast and so on.
In order to keep up his body, Romeo ate very simply, three tomatoes a day, two apples, plus a glass of milk. Now that Zhou Yun Sheng was here, he naturally would not ill-treat his body.
“Ivana, do you want some grub?” No one was in the kitchen, they’d taken some fruit, toast, milk and left, no one wanted to touch the stove.
“Can you cook?” Ivana was surprised.
“Yes, my parents died early and I borrowed my Aunt’s house. She has four children of her own, and was usually too busy at work, so I was basically in charge of housework.” Zhou Yun Sheng took out two steaks and casually opened.
Ivana showed a sad expression, but she didn’t know how to comfort, even the cameraman couldn’t help but feel distressed for him. He was now very fond of the child, and always faithfully followed his every move.
Zhou Yun Sheng didn’t feel anything. He put on an apron, put the steak on the cutting board and picked up a knife, chopped, then put it in a handmade sauce to marinate for twenty minutes. He was busy in those twenty minutes, washing and chopping all kinds of vegetables and fruits, and stirring in salad dressing.
“You try.” The young man carried a purple cabbage leaf and lifted it to Ivana’s mouth. His milky white fingers looked more delicious than the food.
Ivana swallowed, then lamented that Romeo wasn’t a woman in her heart.
After Ivana, he looked at the cameraman, “Fancy a taste?”
The cameraman regretfully shook his head. He was unable to eat at work, otherwise, he would be fired.
Zhou Yun Sheng understood and helped him put aside a small bowl so he could eat after work. After he finished the salad, the steak was ready, he poured olive oil in the pan, heat it up and placed the steak in. When it was right, he poured in red wine, the pot flared up in fire and made a loud popping sound.
Ivana and the cameraman were shocked and almost fell over in fright. Zhou Yun Sheng gave them a hearty smile, his blue eyes sparkling.
The cameraman quickly grabbed the camera and recorded his beautiful smile. There was a saying, it takes time to really know a person. Before, Romeo gave everyone a bad impression, but after cutting open his tough self-protecting shell, the audience found that his heart was pure and transparent.
He could stay faithful to his love, had the courage to face himself, but also prematurely faced suffering a child shouldn’t have to face. He was sensitive and fragile, but also cheerful and forthright, even if he made some mistakes, his turning point was so beautiful, who was willing to fault him?
Pondering on this, Zhou Yun Sheng put the steak on the plates, decorated it with vanilla and placed sauces on the table, he also specifically left a share for the cameraman. The rich aroma attracted the other contestants, they ran over and found the two freaks at the dining table. They said a few acidic words and left.
Ivana shook the glass of red wine and laughed, “My Dear, you’re too capable! If you were a woman, I would chase you!”
Zhou Yun Sheng shoved steak in his mouth, his cheeks bulging like a hamster’s. He mumbled out, “If you were a bloke, I’d chase you too. You’re much better than Hayden.”
The two people looked at each other and gave a tacit smile. After it broadcasted, this scene would become a “The Next Supermodel” classic, the fans would reference and spoof it for years to come.
In the staff office, Gustav watched the boy and Ivana bid each other good night, then turned off the lamp to leave. The team leader followed him to the door and exclaimed, “The new statistics have come out and the number of Romeo’s fans has gone far beyond Emily’s. As long as he does well on the photo shoots from now on, he’s guaranteed to win each prize and maybe the championship. And he is the darling of the camera, you saw right, no matter which angle he’s shot from, he’s always beautiful and clean. To tell you the truth, 70% or 80% of our crew are his fans. His cameraman John even sneakily joined his fan group and votes for him online…..sorry is that a foul?”
Looking at Gustav’s twisted expression, the team leader felt a bit nervous.
Ignoring his sudden desire to replace John, Gustav slowly opened, “Of course it’s not a foul, it’s your freedom to have favorites. But you have to remember, you can’t be biased to any players when shooting, faithfully record everything.”
“Of course!” The group leader quickly nodded.
Back at his home, Gustav tried to fry a steak, but he accidentally heat up the olive oil too much, resulting in him almost burning down his kitchen ceiling. The housekeeper heard the noise and quickly ran over, just in time to prevent a tragedy.
After his bath, he laid in bed, depressed. Rooney jumped up to sleep with him, but was unprecedentedly thrown out, he bristled and walked around the bed, meowing in complaint.
“Honey, this position won’t belong to you in the future, you should adapt as soon as possible.” He patted the pillow beside him as he whispered to the cat.
The competition continued to the next challenge. It was still related to animals and the shooting location was set in a zoo.
Seeing the staff push over a small iron cage, the players cheered, some marveled, and some howled.
“Don’t shout at the children. For the sake of your safety, all the animals are unaggressive cubs. Instead, you must pay attention to your hands and feet in your filming, so you don’t accidentally hurt them. The theme of our photo shoot is to petition humans for animal wildlife protection. So, these little guys are the focus of the photo, you can’t just pose and ignore them.”
“Little leopards, lions and tigers are pieces of cake, they are really cute and safe, but how it this golden python a child? Is it going to be hanging on us?” Emily pointed to one of the cages, within it, the golden python stuck out its dark brown forked tongue, causing several contestants to shiver.
Emily was fearless, but her one weakness was reptiles.
“Don’t worry, it has been domesticated and will not harm you, plus there are trainers watching to ensure your safety.” Jeffrey waved her concerns away.
Emily stopped talking and hid behind Hayden.
Zhou Yun Sheng counted the small cages and found only twelve, but there were thirteen players, so he looked at his cameraman and asked, “There’s one missing…they won’t give me a folded-ear pussycat again will they?”
The lens shook a few times, the sound of the cameraman fighting back his laughter could vaguely be heard.
Gustav heard the two men’s conversation and his eyes brightened mirthfully.
The program group distributed the animals according to the player’s temperament. So when Ivana was assigned the golden python just like in the previous challenge, Zhou Yun Sheng was really starting to worry that they would give him a folded-ear cat. Fortunately, the program group was not so unreliable, they made him and Emily share a leopard cub.
Emily was relieved and quickly followed the stylist for dress and make-up. She choose a sexy leopard print mini-skirt, and held the small leopard in a variety of poses, her sharp and wild eyes were very powerful on the camera. The photographer praised her while taking her pictures, very satisfied with her performance.
When she passed the little leopard to Romeo, she gave him a condescending smile. She apparently felt that the boy was unfortunate to share a prop with her, he would certainly be overshadowed.
Zhou Yun Sheng was wearing a bandage-style black top, his sleeves and neckline were torn to shreds, he looked like a beast had attacked him. He also wore tight black leather pants, outlining his firm buttocks and long slender legs.
The small leopard couldn’t stand Emily’s strong perfume, so it was now a little grumpy, it struggled and issued a tender roar, its wide mouth revealing small deciduous fangs. Zhou Yun Sheng stretched out his finger to caress its gums, then grasped one of its front paws, comforting, “Don’t be scared little guy, I won’t hurt you. Let’s be friends and take a picture, all right?”
The little leopard miraculously calmed down, and stretched out his pink tongue to lick his round fingernail and gently bit his soft fingers to express intimacy.
God, this scene is so familiar, but the characters are wrong! Gustav’s heart wailed, but his expression was very serious, of course, only if you ignore his rapidly moving Adam’s apple. He was now really thirsty.
The photographer finished checking out the previous photos and turned back to see this scene, he couldn’t help but laugh, “The first prerequisite for a cooperation shoot is to develop a tacit understanding with your partner. Kid, you’re brilliantly self-taught.”
Zhou Yun Sheng gave a shy smile, hugged the small leopard and began to pose. The photographer found that the little leopard almost had the same watery blue eyes as the teenager, even the round shape was similar. They reflected an ignorant, fragile, and pure light, their pupils overflowing with curiosity and fear of the unknown world. Even if there was no fashion intent, just putting those two small faces together could brighten any picture.
The photographer forced himself to look away to take a few shots, his heartbeat quickening.
Zhou Yun Sheng looked around and found a big bush, he held the small leopard and hid next to it, curling up into a ball. This not only made him look short, but because he was folding and twisting, his legs and neck looked more slender. The little leopard was lying in his arms, and it turned around with him to look at the photographer. Their big blue eyes were full of fear, like two little beasts hiding from hunters.
The photographer gasped, and felt his heart tighten at this scene. Their image as so vivid and fragile, yet full of style. They were two small leopards displaced in the jungle, little beasts that poachers could kill at anytime, anywhere. They need the protection of all caring people, which coincided with the theme of the photo shoot –Protection of wild animals.
After taking more than 100 photos, the photographer released his breath and secretly thought: This session’s best photo has been found!
And Gustav was holding up his cell phone, filming the teenager’s every move.
Hayden thought the program group would assign a little lion to himself, but he didn’t expect the staff to give him a little monkey.
He felt very dissatisfied and brought his emotions into the photo shoot. Several times, his hold was too tight and hurt the little monkey, making it scream mournfully.
This made his photo shoot lack the slightest harmony, and it looked more like torture. The photographer repeatedly taught him how to pose and resonate with the small golden monkey, but he ignored him, putting on a ‘the world is in my palm’ arrogant expression. The photographer gave up, then clicked when he changed poses, perfunctorily finishing the thirty shots.
At the end of the photo shoot, the players rode back to the villa, and Hayden complained all the way, repeatedly interrogating the players closest to him, “Do you think I look like a monkey? No right? So why did they give that damn golden monkey to me? I obviously match a lion way better! I’m the king of beasts!”
He raised his arms, and flexed his strong biceps at the camera, he also issued a lion’s roar. He thought that the audience would love such a confident man.
Some players boosted his ego, some players exposed mocking looks, and some players simply face palmed, the longer they got along with Hayden, the more they found his arrogance annoying.
Emily’s waist was hooped tightly by him, the smile on her face was very forced. She had completely run out of patience for Hayden.
Zhou Yun Sheng and Ivana were sitting in the back corner, silently watching this drama. Hayden roared again and again, unable to read the mood, he even stood up and pulled off his T-shirt, revealing his abs, and boasted, “I train four hours every day. Look at my six pack, I bet I have more abs than Gustav. If he can be a supermodel, so can I.”
Emily’s smile was more and more stiff, she was anxious to take a needle and thread Hayden’s mouth, or cover the camera with a cloth. Associating with such a person would drag down her reputation.
But the cameramen weren’t even thinking about her mood, they all focused on shooting Hayden, causing Hayden to intensify his performance.
“Look, this is the person you like, a downright fool! My dear, how blind are you?”
Zhou Yun Sheng blushed and spoke up for Hayden, “His filming today didn’t go well, so he’s probably over-compensating. He’s not usually like that. You don’t know, when I first came, everyone was only looking out for themselves, only he noticed that I needed help. I’ll never forget the way he lent out a helping hand.”
“Soooo, just because he asked you if you needed help, you like him?” Ivana raised her eyebrows in disbelief.
Zhou Yun Sheng exposed a bitter expression, “In the past ten years, no one cared when I needed help. Even when I was under the weather, no one noticed. No one cared about me.”
“Oh nooo, I’m so sorry Romeo. I shouldn’t laugh at your feelings.” Ivana felt his pain and hurriedly pulled him into her bosom to comfort him.
John recorded this scene faithfully. Although the young man didn’t specifically describe how he lived in the past 10 years, but if just a kind word and a helping hand could deeply attach him to a person, you could imagine how barren his emotional world was. His longing for love led to his blindness to love.
This kid is so pitiful!
The two quietly hugged for a while, then Zhou Yun Sheng exposed an embarrassed look and slowly said, “Although I think Hayden is very good, but if I have to tell the truth, he can’t be compared with Mr. Acheson. Really, Mr. Acheson has topped the world’s sexiest man list for five consecutive years for a reason.”
Ivana nodded approvingly, and joked, “Mr. Acheson is very charming, especially his smile, so gentle. So Romeo, you like Mr. Acheson? I saw a media survey, Mr. Acheson was a bunch of gay men’s favorite idol and their dream lover.”
Zhou Yun Sheng’s face burned red, he stammered, “I-I don’t, I mean, of course, I fancy Mr. Acheson, but that’s just worship for an idol, not reality. He’s too far away from me.”
Ivana saw his helpless blushing look and hugged him, laughing.
After receiving the sample, Gustav, replayed their conversation over and over again, his mood flung up and down the spectrum, from sad to happy, it was almost worrying.
How can I be far away? I’m so close to you Romeo, as long as you look back, I can be your guardian knight and protect you from harm. My Dear, just look back and notice me.
Mr. Acheson, known for his elegance and nobility, was currently clinging to his laptop, kissing a young man’s picture on the screen.
The next day, the players gathered in the studio, nervously waiting for the judges’ comments.
Bonnie was taller and more popular than Ariel, and also younger than her, she was one of the hottest supermodels in the fashion circle. The vast majority of the audience could only react with indifference to Ariel’s departure after seeing that she was invited to replace her.
Bonnie’s lively and cheerful personality was in tune with the atmosphere of the show. She gave the players a performance of her famous stunt – within one minute, she’d pose in sixty cool-looking poses. Miss Jeffrey waited for her to position, then counted down ‘Ready, set, go!’
One minute later, the huge screen showed a collage of the 60 small photos the cameraman captured, and sure enough, each one had unparalleled sense of fashion.
The players cheered and applauded her.
“Well, today’s protagonist is not me, but you guys, I won’t show off too much.” She snapped her fingers to interrupt everyone’s cheers, then called the players one by one to the stage.
Soon, everyone found out that Bonnie’s tongue was more poisonous than Jeffrey, Eureka, and Ariel’s all added up together. She’d already called up eight players, and her scores only reached up to seven points. She also had a magnificently intimidating ‘Are you kidding me?’ expression, making the contestants cold sweat.
Hayden walked up the stage with a straight spine and slightly raised his chin, showing his most handsome side. Bonnie didn’t even glance at his face, she pulled the shirt that was tied into his waistband out, so he looked more professional. Hayden blushed in embarrassment, and a few players chuckled.
After correcting Hayden’s rustic fashion, she released Hayden’s shots to the big screen.
Before Jeffery and Eureka could speak, Bonnie tore him a new one, “What’s this? Seriously, what is this? All I see is a robot and a poor little monkey being strangled by the robot. The theme was to protect the wildlife, not slaughter wildlife. Hayden, what the hell were you thinking? I can actually see a murderous look in your eyes, it’s that bad. I can’t let the wildlife protection association see this animal abuse. Moreover, they told you that you look more handsome in profile, but you insisted on looking straight ahead. And you forgot to stretch your limbs. Look, you have no neck, and your arms look like short stout hams. You’re a freak! I’ll give you six points.”
Hayden exposed an indignant expression, triggering Jeffrey and Eureka’s discontent. They also couldn’t stand looking at the photo, so one gave six points and the other seven points. This brought Hayden’s score to the second to last position.
Hayden looked angrily at the big screen, thinking: These bitches think they can knock me down, but I have my fans’ support. But to his surprise, his net votes was also very low, even lower than the previous eight players. How is that possible?
Even under the cameraman’s focus, he still exposed a hideous expression. In the end, he was not a tough guy at all, but a flower in a greenhouse that had never experienced a storm’s baptism. All the players, even the most delicate looking, Daphne, was tougher and more professional than he was.
He took in a few deep breaths, then calmly walked back to the lineup.
The next one called up was Emily. Her picture was very beautiful, with a primitive wildness, her eyes bright, deep and charming. Bonnie glanced at her photo a few times and admired, “Great, the best picture I’ve seen yet.”
Emily started to smile, then heard Bonnie ask, “But where is our main subject? Where is our theme?”
Jeffery pointed to Emily’s armpit in the picture, a vague flash of the small leopard’s scalp and front paws could be distinguished, “It’s right here. Honey, you need a pair of glasses.”
“Wow, I didn’t see it either. She wore a leopard print mini-skirt, so only the little leopard’s scalp shows up. You’re the strange one for noticing it.” Eureka frowned, this was another contestant who didn’t play by the theme.
Bonnie used a ballpoint pen to draw an X in the air, “Emily, I’ll give you six points. As a model, you have to understand that you are never the protagonist of the photo, it’s the fashion you wear or the products you need to promote. Your every move should make the fashion or product look appealing, rather than highlighting your own beauty. Beautiful models are innumerable, but how many of them can gain the title of supermodel? You haven’t figured out the true meaning of the word ‘model’ yet.”
Emily was speechless.
Jeffrey and Eureka were deeply touched by her words, and gave Emily the same score. Emily’s net vote scores popped out on the screen, it was slightly lower than the previous episode’s, which was not enough to ensure that Emily was not eliminated.
The players were more and more nervous, they deeply missed Ariel and her generous scoring habit.
Ivana was called up. Thankfully, she and the gold python had gotten along very harmoniously, and her modeling was also very fashionable, which made Bonnie finally give out a high score – eight points. Jeffrey and Eureka gave nine points and eight points. The combined challenge score and net vote made Ivana temporarily rank first.
The last one called to the stage was Zhou Yun Sheng, his heart was not nervous, but his face had a real flush, his watery blue eyes started unblinkingly at the judges.
Jeffrey couldn’t stand his pitiful small creature stare and quickly picked up his notebook to block it a bit. Even the famously iron faced Queen Eureka gave the young man a gentle smile. Who could bear hurting this little beast?
“Before I score, we’ll first play a video sent in from a guest audience member to the program team. He gave you a score in the video, and I agree with his point of view, so I’ll be stealing his judgment.” Bonnie snapped her finger and the staff immediately transferred the video clip to the big screen.
There was a very handsome young man, wearing an expensive business suit, he looked like an elite man. He adjusted the camera, pushed back his hair, then said in an exaggerated tone, “Ouch, my heart! Seeing Romeo’s photo with the baby leopard, my heart broke!”
This sentence was neither explicitly good or bad, so Zhou Yun Sheng expressed a timely tensed expression, his eyes moistening, as if he was about to cry. The cameramen trembled and quickly gave him a close-up. The boy was the darling of the camera, in layman’s terms – all the cameramen loved Romeo.
The elite man gripped his heart, making a sad weeping expression, then he picked up a document and showed it to the camera, “Before, I had little concept of the protection of wild animals. I always felt that this issue was far away from me. But when I saw the picture, I was taken in by the terrified expressions of the two small animals. I was able to imagine how they survived in the perilous jungle. How they wandered around, struggling to live, but the shameless poachers would never show them mercy, just so they can get their beautiful fur.”
“The pursuit of beauty was a death sentence to nature, but we can correct this wrong with time. This is my donation to the Wildlife Conservation Association, 1000 dollars, I hope you can help me take good care of them.” Then he put down the document, picked up a print of Romeo’s photo, and kissed his big frightened eyes, his expression affectionate.
You didn’t need to question it, the gentleman was completely fascinated by Romeo.
Zhou Yun Sheng blushed a timely deep red, when he saw the cameras closing in on him, he quickly covered his face, only revealing a slice of his wet blue eyes.
Don’t cover up, you’re so cute, it’s a sin! The cameramen wailed in their hearts.
Bonnie slowly clapped, smiling a comforting smile, “This is an example of the advice I gave before, the most essential job of a model. I don’t know how he persuaded the little leopard to pose and give the same expressions as him, but this undoubtedly fits our theme. Looking at this picture, the first idea that emerges from our minds is not how handsome the model looks, it’s – No, don’t hurt them! This is this photo’s greatest effect!”
She paused for a moment, picked up a smaller version of the photo of the table, and pointed to the young man’s toes, lumbar spine and cervical spine, then continued to explain, “Don’t think that this crouching posture is very easy to pull off. Look at him, do you see his tension? His feet, buttocks, lumbar spine, cervical spine, his arms around the little leopard and even his fingertips are secretly exerting force. Not a little force, but just enough strength. The result is his body, even when curled up, looks amazingly slender. When ordinary people curl up, they look like this….”
She leaned over and curled up on her chair, posing in the same pose as the teenager in the photo, but because there was no force, her shoulder and neck were shrunk together, and her back arch was as limp as a shrimp. It made her look short and wimpy, with no spirit. It was very unappealing.
“But a model’s posture should be like this.” After saying this, she began working every piece of muscle, exerting force, her neck stretched and she lean forward, her waist, back and toes tensed, her entire body curved and stretched to the limit. Miraculously, her sluggish posture changed into one full of momentum, as if in the next moment she would jump up and flee or join in a battle.
After her explanation, the players finally felt a bit of inspiration for the knack of posing, and also felt stunned by Romeo’s perception. They thought the boy would be the eliminated in the first wave of people, but now it seemed that he was hiding his strength.
This was not the first time Zhou Yun Sheng modeled, once, his achievements in the fashion world went far beyond even Bonnie and Ariel. But he didn’t act smug at Bonnie’s comments, he just gave a shy smile.
This made the judges have a better impression of him.
“Whether it’s the theme or your pose or your eyes, oh my gosh, those eyes made even my heart break.” Bonnie clutched at her heart and shook her head, “So you can look at me with those eyes again, I give you 10 points.”
Eureka smiled and said, “I couldn’t agree more. I looked back on all the previous best photos, and this is the best photo I’ve seen so far. You’ve raised the bar.”
“Because of this photo, in only one day, the Wildlife Conservation Association received a donation of $70,000. For the sake of that $70,000 and for the sake of the many lovely animals that will receive protection, I’ll pass the benefits on to you.” Miss Jeffrey winked.
The three full scores put the other players in an uproar, but they weren’t optimistic about Romeo’s net vote, they knew that Romeo’s personality attracted a lot of hate. But soon, they were once again frightened- The boy’s net vote score was higher than both Emily and Hayden’s.
There was no doubt that this episode’s TOP1 title was his!
Rooney squatted in front of the computer, his front paw pointing to the small leopard on the screen. He had a sorrowful expression: Owner, you kicked me out of bed for this little bitch?! Its bloodline is too noble for me to fight back ah! I need to eat a bowl of dried fish to calm down.
It takes time to really know a person – Proverb “Just as distance determines the stamina of a horse, so does time reveal a person’s true heart.”
1000 – Yes $1000, all that fanfare for $1000. What a cheapskate
This is the only time I’ve seen an author’s note from this author. And I’ve read 3 of her novels. ABO’s author has one every couple of chapters. Let’s celebrate.