An An was an amiable child, and so was able to get used to the house’s austere atmosphere.
At the orphanage, a single teacher had to be responsible for many children. Teacher Zhang didn’t have to time to fuss over everything: so long as the children behaved, that was enough.
No matter what, An An always remained alone. Sometimes she would talk to her little friends, but what games could three- to five-year-old toddlers really come up with?
But it was different with the intern mother. An An liked to follow closely behind her. Everything was fun with her. Just like now, the intern mother sat before the vanity table and started putting on her makeup while An An watched with interest.
Mo Sui rarely wore makeup. She could not go barefaced since she had to appear on camera, but it would usually amount to some foundation at most. But going to someone else’s house as a guest was a different matter.
Her agent especially called to remind her that this would be the first time all three families on the program would gather, and the event would be featured on the official blog. Even if she didn’t mind netizen gossip, she still had to think about future work opportunities.
“Mo Sui, others may not know our situation, but we do. Since the film from two years ago, you haven’t found a single suitable script.”
“The directors you respect all have very high expectations for their actors. Last time, Director Zhou was muttering to himself that these past two years, it’s as if you’ve somehow lost your spirit.”
“An actress’ popularity doesn’t last for long. We’ve said before that so long as you have the energy, we have nothing to be worried about. But now, I have ask, where has your energy gone these past two years?”
“If you still want to work, you can’t continue on like this. You can’t afford to. This program is receiving a lot of attention because of you. You have to take this opportunity to rekindle your popularity.
The agent, Ms. Wu, has accompanied her for ten years. Mo Sui’s career been developing smoothly, only to falter these last two years. When she received a script, she could accept it without needing to audition and join the cast, but how long could she rely on her past reputation for? Several of the directors she was familiar with all grew dissatisfied with her performance. Ms. Wu herself was as well.
In her last few projects, she would quit soon after joining the crew, citing physical discomfort. Though the media had not yet seized upon this information, in circles like theirs, it was only a matter of time. Put another way, Mo Sui’s path had become increasingly precarious. And if someone with dedication were to systematically dig up details about her current situation? It was like she was walking on a tightrope; a single slip, and she would fall and break her body to pieces.
The pressure weighed on her heart. It wasn’t that Mo Sui was unwilling, only that she was no longer young, and could no longer charge ahead unthinkingly past her psychological knot as she had before.
Mo Sui massaged between her brows and put her blush brush back onto the vanity table.
【 Done already? Didn’t the program team put a vanity table in the room specifically to show us how big celebrities do their makeup? 】
【 I wanted to see Mo Sui do a beauty blogger segment. 】
【 But then again, isn’t Mo Sui being too unprofessional? She’s a celebrity, but she doesn’t even care about her appearance. Does she think appearing on the show is just easy money, that she can just lie there and do nothing and still get paid? 】
【 +1, the cub is indeed adorable, but Mo Sui’s attitude is frankly disappointing. 】
Indeed, Mo Sui no longer wanted to do her makeup. Little did she expect that, just as she put down the blush brush, a small, chubby hand would pick it up instead.
An An had never seen such an object and was very curious. She stared at the brush bristles for quite some time with a serious expression as her gaze went back and forth between the brush and at the mirror.
“No.” Mo Sui said at once. She didn’t know if there existed makeup that was safe for children, but this blush could not be used on children. Even professional actors, who took great care with skincare and makeup removal, would find their skin damaged by the cosmetics, let alone children with their tender skin. “Kids can’t use makeup.”
Still, just as she finished speaking, soft bristles brushed against her cheek. Mo Sui, startled, looked down at An An.
The little dumpling stood on tiptoes and copied her intern mother’s technique as she swept the brush across Mo Sui’s cheeks. Mo Sui’s pale skin, dusted with a layer of creamy apricot blush, grew rosy. No matter how An An brushed, the colour remained light and soft. It was as if a ray of sunlight was cast over her delicate face, gentling her appearance.
“You...” Mo Sui, taken aback, found herself frozen.
“Pretty!” The little dumping cocked her head, her small mouth set in a shy smile. She turned towards the messy vanity table and reached out with one small hand for an eyeliner pencil.
What was this? An An wanted to try it out.
Seeing the child’s eagerness, Mo Sui hurriedly took the eyeliner pencil from her. “That–– I’ll do it myself,” she said awkwardly.
【 Looks like Mo Sui really didn’t want to put on makeup, but then thought better, since she can’t very well let the little cub treat her face as a blank canvas. 】
【 So it was just a false alarm, our celebrity still knows to beautify herself! 】
【 Beep––the little beauty blogger has gone offline, the big beauty blogger has come online! 】
Jiang Lin was currently preparing dinner at home.
At first, she’d wanted to order take out for everyone, but after a long discussion with Qin Feng in the bedroom, she ultimately decided to cook herself. The reason was, of course, that she could not stray from the good-wife-loving-mother role she’d chosen to play.
The dishes she made were all common home dishes, but she’d carefully plated them, so the arrangement seemed especially artistic. Plating Sichuan-style spicy chicken in the Western way was enough to tire her beyond belief.
When she was finished with food presentation, she began transferring each dish to the dinner table. She was about to call her husband and intern son over to come help when the sound of their dispute drifted over from the bathroom.
“Be good––Put on some pomade, Dad will help you work it through your hair.”
“No, that’s so flashy...”
“C’mon, you’ll look like Dad this way!”
Jiang Lin: “...”
She turned to look at her reflection in the fridge door. Regardless of how delicately she’d done her makeup, the oily cooking fumes rendered it greasy. How irritating.
“Ding dong––” rang the doorbell.
Upon hearing his newlywed wife put the plate down heavily on the dinner table, Qin Feng finally had the foresight to go open the door. It was the other group of guests, who were also a young married couple. The male guest, a web-drama director called Zhang Jinming, had directed a few small-budget dramas these past two years, and did not make big waves. His wife, Zhuang Ruyin, who had a gentle and delicate appearance, had only recently debuted, and thus had no major projects to her name.
The couple were both rather low-key, but the child they looked after was a pain. The little girl wore a grandiose princess dress and had her hair permed into little curls. She dashed into the apartment with a pitter-patter sound, glanced at the dinner table, and immediately made a disdainful face.
She turned back, and said with the tone of a haughty little princess, “Isn’t there any strawberry cake?”
Zhuang Ruyin and Zhang Jinming looked apologetically towards the hosts and hurriedly went to pull Ni Ni back.
Ni Ni, however, shook her head, put her little hands on her hips, and stomped her feet. “I want to eat strawberry cake! Or else, I’ll have my dad chase all of you off the show! My dad has a lot of money, if you guys bully me, he’ll make you regret it!”
Qin Feng’s mouth twitched. Good thing that the investors didn’t put this upstart cub into their home.
The live broadcast room audience grew annoyed.
【 Where did this wild child come from? 】
【 I previously had a good impression of Zhuang Ruyin and Zhang Jinming, but every time I misclicked into their broadcast room, I would leave because of this brat. 】
【 Since you agreed to be intern parents, then as parents, shouldn’t you discipline your kid? 】
It wasn’t like Zhuang Ruyin didn’t try to discipline the child. She crouched in front in Ni Ni and gently coaxed her, saying, “Ni Ni, be good, we’re here as guests.”
“Straw-ber-ry-cake!” Ni Ni said, syllable by syllable, angrily through her teeth.
“Getting angry isn’t pretty. Our Ni Ni is the prettiest little girl, so don’t be angry.”
This time the little girl made a thoughtful expression.
Zhuang Ruyin let out a breath, and said, “Smile, Ni Ni looks like a little princess when you smile.”
Ni Ni thought for a while, then solemnly shook her head. “My mom said, smiling will give you wrinkles.”
Li Li stood at the side with his head cocked. Even at his young age, he knew that princesses in storybooks weren’t like this!
Everyone else was at a loss for how to respond to this child’s words. Luckily, Jiang Lin managed to smooth things over, saying, “I’ll order a strawberry cake to be delivered.”
At this moment, someone knocked softly at the still-open door. Everyone turned to look out the doorway.
A stunningly beautiful celebrity stood there with a little girl who was pale like jade. The child appeared timid, but the celebrity seemed to look from high above. Her eyes and brows were set in an indifferent expression, as if she was used to being looked up to by others, and for her arrival to become the center of everyone’s attention.
【 Here’s today’s dose of the art of beauty! Too beautiful, quickly take a screenshot! 】
【 That just gave me the same sense of amazement I felt back then, it’s the same “Most Beautiful” Mo Sui of yesteryear! 】
【 It’s all thanks to the cub, for urging Mommy to do her makeup hahahaha! 】
Jiang Lin and Qin Feng rushed to warmly welcome her into their home. Zhuang Ruyin retreated to the side and secretly shot Mo Sui quite a few glances.
By comparison, Zhang Jinming remained the calmest. He quickly stepped forward with his right hand stretched out and business card at the ready, and introduced himself. “Hello, Ms. Mo. I am Zhang Jinming, the director of 《 Quickly Run, Pampered Wife 》 and 《 Cool Triplet Mom 》. I’ve always hoped to be make your acquaintance, would it be all right for us to exchange contact information?”
Mo Sui did not shake his hand. In fact, her gaze didn’t even land on the business card, instead searching for a washroom. The little dumpling had played with cosmetics earlier and should wash her hands before eating.
The seconds passed. Zhuang Ruyin, embarrassed for her husband, grew pale.
Suddenly, a small hand reached weakly over. An An took the little gold-stamped card. Everyone else relaxed. Only then did Zhang Jinming realise that he’d broken out in cold sweat.
Meanwhile, Li Li stared in wonder, He realised something of great importance: this was how princesses in the storybooks should act!
【 I suddenly don’t like this director anymore, it feels like he cares too much about profiting. 】
【 The movie empress has really fallen so low, to have to be on the same show as this bunch of has-beens. 】
【 I guess the program team spent their entire budget on the movie empress. 】
【 *sob sob sob* The cub is so sweet, she couldn’t bear to watch Zhang Jinming be embarrassed, so she took his business card. 】
Faced with this scene, Jiang Lin and Qin Feng stared at each other, trying to communicate secretly without words. How did they let the limelight be snatched away like that? Should they try to get close again?
The atmosphere between the adults was so tense that even the children became aware of it. While Jiang Lin called everyone to sit and eat, Ni Ni stood beside Zhuang Ruyin and asked, “Who is that?”
Zhuang Ruyin thought back to Mo Sui’s unapproachable attitude that seemed to repudiate people from thousands of miles away and felt indignant on behalf of her husband. Her mother, who worked at an agency as a personal assistant, had heard gossip saying that Mo Sui was no longer as she had been. How dare this kind of person look down on her husband?
“A celebrity about to be past her prime,” she said under her breath.
Ni Ni puffed up her cheeks. “I didn’t ask about that! I’m asking about that little kid, who is she?”
Zhuang Ruyin turned her head to glance at An An. The little dumpling’s clothes, blue like clear skies, must have been prepared by the program team, as they matched with Mo Sui’s. Neither looked to have put much effort into dressing up, but they both seemed radiant somehow anyways.
Strangely enough, the two of them resembled each other, be it their brows or their demeanour. The program team must have spent a lot of effort in finding a child like this, to create this sort of gimmick.
“I’m asking you a question!” Ni Ni said, about to lose her temper.
Zhuang Ruyin replied, calmly and contemptuously, “Just some orphan.”
【 ??? What did I just hear? 】
【 She looked so meek before, like no presence at all, who could have guessed she’d say something like that? What a letdown. 】
【 Ahhh I’m so angry! Mo Sui attack, someone’s bullying your cub! 】
1. The original phrase (老娘最美, literally "Mom's the most beautiful") assumes a very familiar tone towards Mo Sui, but still in a sort of respect. In Chinese, calling someone by a familial appellation from an older generation (eg "mom/dad" and older) is a way of saying they're in a higher position than you; in this, it's used ironically, but no less respectfully. Sort of like when someone says "That's our Leo!" in reference to Leonardo DiCaprio. ↩︎