Li Mei ran up the fire escape stairs. Her heels echoed through the emptiness, as she cried and tried not to trip over her ripped up dress.
What would she tell her mother? She would blame her, of course. Somehow she'd find a way to make her feel guilty for ruining her best chance at stardom. When she got to her room, she took off the dress and checked on her forehead. It was just a scratch, but it was still bleeding profusely.
Why had she been so stupid to assume Mr. Wang was interested in hiring her for her acting skills? After all, when her agent told her he wanted to sign her, she had only said that someone had recommended her because she looked like the protagonist for the movie they were producing. He had never even seen her onstage before.
After showering, she changed into her normal clothes and threw the dress in the trash can. She remembered that Mr. Wang had paid for the hotel room, and she didn't want to stay there anymore. When she was about to leave, someone knocked on the door and startled her.
"Who is it?" she said before opening.
"Zhou Yu's assistant," said a voice from outside.
Li Mei wanted to crawl under a rock. She had forgotten about the man's suit! She grabbed it from the chair she had set it on and opened the door.
"Please tell Mr. Zhou that I'm grateful for his help. I hope his suit jacket isn't ruined," she said, handing the suit to the assistant.
"Mr. Zhou has upgraded you to the presidential suite and wants to know if you would like to join him for dinner," said the assistant.
"What? No, I'm leaving now," said Li Mei. The two Zhou brothers seemed to be important people, and the last thing she wanted was for them to think that she was the kind of person to take advantage of them. Zhou Yu, the cold one, had already been enough help.
"Tell him I thank him but I'm not staying here any longer," said Li Mei, and closed the door. She waited for a while and then opened it again, and the assistant was gone. She took the elevator down to the lobby, but when the door opened, she was greeted with a surprise.
A horde of paparazzi was covering the hotel's entrance, as the security tried to hold back the screaming fans who continued to try to get in. They had even removed the security grates that had protected the hotel's sidewalks.
Before the elevator closed again, the paparazzi turned towards the elevator and several of them took pictures of her. Li Mei frantically pushed the buttons trying to get the elevator door to close, as Zhou Jiao himself entered. All the cameras turned towards them, but the door closed, drowning the flashes and clicks.
"Hello," said Zhou Jiao. "I... My cousin took care of Wang Ying. It's not the first time he... hurt someone like that. He always got away with it because of this power in the movie industry, but I don't think he'll be able to work there anymore."
Li Mei didn't know what to say. Who was this man everyone was going crazy for?
"I'm sorry. I don't know who you are," she said tentatively, hoping he wouldn't be offended.
"Yes, I can tell when people recognize me, and when they don't. My name is Zhou Yu. I'm an actor. And a singer," he said quickly.
"My name is Li Mei," she said. "I'm... also an actress. Or wanted to be."
"No! Don't let that terrible experience with Wang Ying dissuade you. Please join us for dinner tonight. You can't leave the hotel now, anyway. The police has been called to control the situation because the people have blocked the streets," he said, chuckling.
The elevator door opened and closed. An elderly couple looked at them.
"Aren't you...?" said the woman, pointing at Zhou Yu.
"Yes," he said and smiled at her.
"Hmph. About time you found a nice young girl. My granddaughters won't stop talking about you and all your flings," she said, eyeing Li Mei.
"What? No, we're not..." said Li Mei, as the elevator door closed again.
Even the elderly woman knew who this man was! How could she be so clueless? She was dying to take out her phone to search for his name, but she didn't want to do it in front of him.
"So, dinner?" said Zhou Yu, revealing his perfectly white teeth with a smile. "Let me take that for you," he added, grabbing her suitcase from her hands.
"You're going to like the suite. I've stayed there before, and the view is breathtaking," he said, pressing the button to the sixtieth floor.
Li Mei sighed and smiled back at him. She knew she shouldn't be questioning this stranger's kindness. But she didn't want anymore drama than what she had already experienced earlier in the afternoon.
They got off at the sixtieth floor, where there were only two doors. Zhou Yu took out the card key from his back pocket.
"I was going to go ask you in person, since my assistant said you refused the invitation. Here you go," he said, and stuck the card into the door.
Li Mei was not ready for what she saw.
The room was larger than her entire apartment, with a lavishly furnished dining table and a living room with a giant tv on the wall. A polished wooden sliding door was slightly open, revealing the bedroom. The bed was larger than her bathroom!
Her former suite had been nice already, but this... this was meant for royalty.
"I... I can't accept this," she blurted out, trying to hide her wide eyed look. "Thank you, Mr. Zhou. But this is too much. You and your cousin have already been too nice to me."
"It's nothing," he said, and set down her suitcase. "I'll have someone come and get you for dinner at 9."
With that, he turned and left the room.
Li Mei took several minutes inspecting everything. She felt like she was in a dream. Earlier this afternoon, all she had wanted was to sign the contract that would allow her to play the protagonist in a movie.
She plugged her phone and turned it on after the battery had recharged for a few minutes. As soon as the screen lit up, dozens of notifications began to pop up.
What on earth?
Her picture inside the elevator was all over the news, on gossip sites and even a renown newspaper.
-Mystery Woman: Who's ZJ dating now?-
ZJ! That's why she didn't recognize him. But of course she knew who ZJ was. The entire planet knew!
She scrolled down her messages. Everyone, from her coworkers to her university friends had texted her. But the one message that called her attention came from her mother.
"Call me RIGHT NOW"
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