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An Xiaoning placed the finished cup of ginger tea on the table and sprung from her seat. “Didn’t you say that actions speak louder than words? Should I do just that and express my gratitude through actions?” she asked, draping her arms over his neck.

Jin Qingyan tightened his core and answered, “Trying to please me?”

With a smile, she let go of him and said in response, “Please you? In your dreams. I was just playing.”

“…”

“I was just thinking, should they decide to give me the sack tomorrow, I’ll just tell them I’m your wife. Do you think they’ll think twice about firing me then?”

Pretending not to mind her suggestion, Jin Qingyan replied sarcastically, “You may gladly do so. At least I won’t be the only one getting embarassed when the word spreads, about how my wife had experienced working behind the scenes of a TV production unit.”

“Right…”

——

The morning after, An Xiaoning returned to the production unit.

She arrived at the dressing room only to hear the makeup artist say, “An Ning, you’ve been sacked. Here’s your salary for yesterday.”

An Xiaoning watched as the makeup artist handed her 80 dollars.

Accepting the money, she asked, “Why?”

Although she had already known the answer, more or less, she still wanted to ask for the reason.

“It was the co-director who personally informed me about the decision. I don’t know why exactly, either.”

With a nod, An Xiaoning turned around and headed to the director’s office. Upon seeing An Xiaoning, the director’s assistant asked, “What are you here for?”

“To look for the director, to discuss some matters.”

“Who are you?” asked the assistant. Realization hit after a moment, then he continued, “Oh. You’re the newly hired assistant makeup artist, right?”

“Yes, I only need two minutes of the director’s time.”

“The director is not in right now.”

“Then, can I wait here for him? Just for a little while.”

Looking as if he had been put on a spot, the director’s assistant murmured, “Um…”

At just that moment, the director returned and entered, passing by An Xiaoning. “Director, she’s looking for you,” said the assistant.

The director raised his head and said, “What’s the matter?”

“Will you leave us here for a while?” An Xiaoning said cordially to the assistant.

“He’s my assistant. You may just speak your mind, there’s no need to be so secretive. Just what’s the matter?” chided the director, who was rather nonchalant.

An Xiaoning continued to speak, “Director, if you’re sure you won’t regret your decisions after hearing what I have to say, then it’s fine by me. But I really have something important to speak to you about. Please take this seriously.”

Noticing how serious An Xiaoning seemed, though he was not sure what she wanted to speak to him about, the director let out a cough and said, “Xiao Li, please go outside for a while.”

“Okay.”

The director’s assistant then turned around and exited the room, closing the door behind him.

Standing opposite the director, An Xiaoning said, “Director, I have something to ask of you. But I won’t take your help for granted. I can tell your fortune.”

“Huh? Tell my fortune?” asked the director, who was bewildered at what he had just heard.

“Yes, as long as you give me your birth characters, I can tell the fortune of your entire life. If you don’t believe me, you may tell me your birth characters and I’ll talk about the past events in your life. You can then tell me if I’m right. How does that sound?”

The director was rather apprehensive about An Xiaoning’s fortune-telling skills. He said, “What if your readings are not accurate?”

“If they’re not accurate, then I’ll leave immediately and never appear in front of you again. Director, I hope you’ll treasure this chance. If you think I’m a swindler, then you may tell me the birth characters of someone you know. You can then hear what I have to say about their fortune. How about that?” said An Xiaoning with a smile.

Squinting, the director began sizing An Xiaoning up and said, “16/02/XXXX.”

“How about the name and address on the household registry certificate?”

The director revealed all the details while An Xiaoning closed her eyes for an entire minute. After that, she said, “I didn’t expect you to actually tell me your own set of birth characters. I’ll start off with some simple events. You sat in a pail full of hot water when you were a year old, leaving behind a scar on the left side of your buttocks. You also got into a fight with your classmate when you were seven years old, resulting in an eyeball injury, though it wasn’t too serious. When you were nine, your father passed away in an accident, your mother remarried when you turned 12, and you moved into the school dormitory when you were 16. You’ve always been independent, sharing a distant relationship with your mother. You had your first relationship at 19, but your then-girlfriend was just using you as her backup. Hence, you two didn’t last very long. You lost your chastity when… would you like me to continue?” chuckled An Xiaoning, noticing the look of shock on the director’s face.

“Go on.”

“Alright, you lost it last year. Your current relationship status is ’empty window.’ There’s a woman courting you, but you’ve yet to agree to a relationship with her. If you’d like to know more about the future, I can read it for free, but on the condition that you promise me something. It may seem like a small matter to you, but it’s rather serious to me,” An Xiaoning went on, speaking at an extremely fast pace.

“Tell me about it.”

An Xiaoning spoke her mind and said, “While filming at Mount Heyuan yesterday, the assistant of the female lead of the drama had brought me to a secluded area on the mountain and abandoned me there. I was drenched in the pouring rain, and today, I was told by the co-director that I had been sacked. Thus, I would just like to ask for you to promise to let me work here for a month.”

The request was merely a piece of cake to the director.

It was just a matter of his words.

“Do you have any conflict with Weiwei?”

“No, it’s just that I happened to stumble upon a bag of powder which looked like drugs in her nanny van. I guess she was afraid that I would leak the matter. I’m not that kind of person, but she had gone overboard, and thus, I have no choice but to say it. But I also understand that if I were to leak this matter to the media, her life would be ruined, and so would this drama, before it even goes on air. I’m not the type to do something like that.”

The director shot her a glance and said, “I will settle this matter accordingly. I want us to become friends, what do you think about that?”

“You don’t have to worry about me spreading a single word about the matter. I won’t.”

“I’m not concerned about that. It’s just that I like your personality, and I’d like to be your friend. What’s your name?” he asked, waving his hand.

“An Ning.”

“Nice to meet you, An Ning, I’m Jing Tian.”

“Since you’re so sincere as to believe me, though it’s only the first time we’ve met, I think it’s not a bad idea at all. Do I return to my workplace now?”

“Alright, you go ahead. I’ll get my assistant to head there soon,” he said with a nod.

An Xiaoning showed the “OK” hand sign and turned around to happily leave, keeping her hands behind her back. The matter was resolved, just like that.

Jing Tian’s assistant entered the room and asked out of curiosity, “Brother Tian, what did that lady come to speak to you about?”

“Go to the dressing room now and tell them this. No one is to sack An Ning, unless they wish to lose their job too.”

“Huh?”

“Not ‘huh.’ What are you waiting for? Go, quick,” he rushed his assistant.

The assistant hurried over as instructed. Gently knocking on the table, Jing Tian smirked and thought to himself, “An Ning… what an interesting girl she is.”

——

“Boss, someone is calling you again!” An Xiaoning’s ringtone went off with an incoming call from Jin Qingyan as soon as she began working.

She moved aside to answer the call, “Hello.”

“I’m sending my deepest regards and concern about your issue at work. I’m worried you got sacked,” said Jin Qingyan over the phone, sounding as if he was harboring bad intentions.