Tao Mu had a slight obsession with cleanliness. So when he returned to the dormitory from the nightclub, Tao Mu grabbed a set of pajamas and then took a bath even though it was past midnight.
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Having endured the brunt of the water hose for an entire afternoon, Tao Mu’s body was already covered in purple and green bruises, and there were even some blood cracks from the more serious bruises. The numerous bruises appeared very shocking against the white skin. The warm water rushed down from the shower head, and the bruises on the body stung painfully under the hot water. It was so painful Tao Mu didn’t even dare to use the shower gel, only briefly rinsing with water before he rushed out.
Da Mao handed over the prepared cold medicine, and Tao Mu pinched his nose and drank the medicine under the supervision of the two childhood friends. With a white towel on his wet head, he sat at the small desk with a look of displeasure, took out his diary, and prepared to record for the day.
Da Mao and Xiao Pang smiled and reminded: “Don’t scold us in the diary!”
Anyone who was familiar with Tao Mu knew that although he had a venomous tongue, an arrogant face, and a hot temper, Tao Mu actually had a particularly ingenuous hobby——keeping a diary. Perhaps in the eyes of outsiders, this hobby was too sappy and maudlin. Only Tao Mu knew that there was no emotional rantings or waxing poetry. He just wrote down the things that happened every day and the people he came into contact with, as well as all kinds of gossip or news that Tao Mu thought might be useful in the future, in case he might come into contact with these people and things one day. That way he could give different responses according to different people. To be more precise, it was to use these details for his own benefit.
For example, Tao Mu would write down the clothes and dressing style of every person he had come into contact with, and even their preferences that they unintentionally revealed. The next time he met them again, he could mention the exact jewellery that the other party wore last time and compliment them, or ‘inadvertently’ mention the other party’s preferences during small talk. This approach could instantly pull closer the distance between the two and make the other person feel that he really cared about them.
This was taught to Tao Mu by a very popular male escort who he had met when he was working in a nightclub. The male escort believed that the core selling point of a person and the way of increasing one’s popularity was not how handsome or young a person was, but that one must maintain his taste and style while also doing his best to smooth out every relationship and find out the personal preferences and weaknesses of every person. Basically, one must tap into the potential and value of each person and each connection.
He suggested to Tao Mu that he should take everyone he had come into contact with seriously as well as manage all personal connections with vigilance. After all, many people——especially men——had a natural hostility towards men who were handsome or better than them. But most people would not be hostile to a younger generation who was handsome and held admiration for them.
“Don’t think that men have no vanity. In fact, men are the ones who are the most easily taken by a beautiful face and easily pleased. Especially the customers who come to our nightclub, most of them are elites who have achieved success in their respective fields. What haven’t these people seen or experienced before? You think they are not easy to fool, right? Then you’re wrong.”
“If a person lives in a very high-end environment, then no matter how high-end the person was, it would still not make him stand out in a crowd. But if you change the place, then he may indeed stand out from the crowd. All you have to do is to make him feel that he stands out no matter what.”
“I know a little about your background. To say something presumptuous, it is certainly miserable, but it is also one of your selling points. Since there is no way to change the facts, you have to learn to take advantage of all of this. It is okay to show weakness appropriately. People admire the strong, but instinctively sympathizes with the weak. This is very contradictory but if you make good use of it, you will never be at a disadvantage.”
“The little tricks I taught you, in fact, they may all already be aware of. But even if they know what you’re up to, it is still better if someone is willing to spend the time on you than if no one bothered to pay you attention at all. For us in the service industry, sometimes it is all about these little tricks. If you feel that your head is not smart enough to keep this all in track, just record these things in a notebook. Look through it once in awhile when you have nothing to do.”
“But you have to remember that it’s fine that you know these things yourself. Just don’t show them in front of others. Otherwise, the effect will be greatly reduced and your consideration will be taken as scheming manipulations instead.”
Since then, Tao Mu had started to keep a diary.
After his rebirth, Tao Mu not only kept a diary every day, but also bought a few notebooks to record important events that would happen in the next ten years——including gossip in the entertainment industry, box office records, film awards, TV ratings, stock price fluctuations in the financial market, the rise and fall of futures, sensational social trends, and a plethora of political laws and regulations both domestic and foreign. Regardless of the impact of the matter, he organized everything according to their time limit and what major sectors they fell under. No matter what it was so long as he remembered it he would record it down, occasionally flipping back and adding more to it. In order to avoid leaking the contents of the diary, Tao Mu even invented a set of cipher texts that only he could understand.
With the continuous memories that kept coming back to him, Tao Mu was also pleasantly surprised to find that his memory seemed to be much better than in his previous life. For example, before Tao Mu could only recall roughly what happened at a certain stage; but as the dreams continued to merge with him, whenever Tao Mu recalled these things, he could even accurately remember the specific time and details of the event. Including the tone and expression of each person when speaking. He could even remember a few words unintentionally overheard despite a long time having passed since he first heard them.
Da Mao and Xiao Pang have long been accustomed to Tao Mu’s maudlin habit of writing in his diary every day before going to bed. They were even more accustomed to Tao Mu suddenly inventing a cipher text that only he could read——after all, everyone had not yet gotten over their middle school 2nd year syndrome, and currently it was very popular to use Martian text to chat among students. As an elite among elites of those still experiencing middle school 2nd year syndrome, Tao Mu inventing a cipher text just for keeping a diary was not a strange thing at all.
On the contrary, Tao Mu seemed very cool in the eyes of Da Mao and Xiao Pang.
“Brother Mu, you are so awesome, no wonder you are our brother Mu.” Da Mao gave Tao Mu a thumbs up: “By the way, brother Mu, this is my birthday present for you.”
Da Mao, who was forced to take a bath twice a day because of Tao Mu’s obsession with cleanliness, finally had the chance to give Tao Mu the birthday gift that he had prepared long ago after he had finished his bath.
It was a business laptop. The white metal shell was thin and fashionable, and Da Mao thought it was especially suitable for their brother Mu.
Xiao Pang also took out the birthday gift he had prepared. It turned out to be the smart phone Tao Mu had been longing for: “Didn’t you always wanted to change your phone? But you dislike that the models and styles of the smart phones here in H Town are not as many as the ones in Beijing so I asked our classmate to buy the latest Apple phone in Country M and send it over here by plane. How about it, it definitely fits brother Mu’s aesthetics right?”
Tao Mu was startled slightly, and then smiled: “Thank you, I like it very much.”
“Heehee!” Da Mao and Xiao Pang scratched their heads in embarrassment and sat on both sides of Tao Mu. Da Mao took out a bottle of medicinal liquor for bruises that looked very traditional and homemade: “This was introduced to me by the martial arts brothers of the crew, saying that for bruising it is particularly useful. Brother Mu, want me to rub the medicinal liquor for you?”
Tao Mu was about to agree, when Da Mao’s cell phone rang suddenly.
Da Mao glanced at the caller ID and handed the phone to Tao Mu directly: “It’s Dean Tao.”
Tao Mu’s recording in the diary paused. He took the phone and went out to the balcony.
“Xiao Mu, happy birthday.” Dean Tao’s kind voice sounded on the other side of the receiver: “I say, you kiddo, why did you throw your phone to Xiao Yuan when you left? I couldn’t reach you at all, so I finally found Wang Ye’s father and asked him for Wang Ye’s cell phone number. How are you doing over there?”
Tao Mu had been working part time jobs since he was a child. After so many years, he had made a lot of extra money by working as a waiter in western restaurants and in nightclubs. He had also been a salesman in a music store, and even a part-time model. In fact, he had made a lot of extra money.
It’s just that Tao Mu also tend to spend a lot of money as well, and add to the fact that he would send money to the orphanage every month, so he didn’t have much saved in the end.
This time when he came to H Studio City, Tao Mu’s idea was still to sell his miserable background and pretend to be pitiful. He had made good calculations, wanting to meet some kind-hearted and compassionate directors or producers in H Studios. If there was an opportunity, maybe they might even provide some support for his chosen career in the entertainment industry. Even if there were no opportunities, it was not bad to become familiar with them and leave a good impression. So in order to pull off the image of a pitiful orphan to the utmost extent, Tao Mu didn’t bring his famous brand clothes, and even the flip phone that he had used for several years was given to Feng Yuan——a smart phone just came out on the market and Tao Mu originally planned to wait just before school started to buy a new phone.
Growing up in an orphanage since he was a child, Tao Mu did not deny that he was very manipulative and liked acting, but he never mistreated himself. But looking at it now, his superficial calculations were so simple and stupid. It was likely that many people have seen through his act a long time ago but just didn’t point it out.
Just look at his previous life. When Shen Yu’s admirers bought the Internet water army to reveal everything he had done on the Internet, these little tricks were all turned out and exposed to the sun. Even the diary used to smooth interpersonal relationships had been uploaded to the Internet for public execution, becoming evidence of his deep scheming and manipulative nature. (TN: On the Internet in China, an Internet Water Army or Wangluo shuijun is a group of Internet ghostwriters paid to post online comments with particular content)
Living life over again, Tao Mu would of course not continue these stupid little manueverings that could almost be seen as jokes.
“I was going to buy a smart phone, but when I got here, I found out that H Town is really small. The styles of the phones are not good at all. Fortunately, Xiao Pang understands me, and a birthday gift directly gave me the newest smart phone. Tomorrow I will apply for a card, and I will send you my mobile phone number at that time.” Tao Mu said with a smile, “By the way, how are you doing? The season is about to change. Is your heart okay? Wait for me to go back. I’ll take you to the hospital for a check-up.”
Tao Mu would never forget that in his previous life, Dean Tao was angered to the point she suffered a heart attack and died in the ambulance.
In this life, he would not allow this to happen again.
“I am in good health. Don’t waste this money.” Dean Tao smiled warmly: “But you, remember to take good care of yourself. Don’t sleep too late at night and eat on time. I checked the weather forecast, H Town’s temperature is over 40 degrees, so you have to be careful not to get heatstroke.”
After a pause, Dean Tao laughed and said, “There is also Old Song Tou, he also misses you very much. He even sent a longevity peach to the orphanage at noon today.”
Tao Mu was startled when he heard this. The Old Song Tou mentioned by Dean Tao was a very stubborn old chef. He had no children and no wife, just him alone, and with a disabled right hand on top of it all. But he had a small restaurant that was opened opposite the orphanage. When Tao Mu was six years old, he was sent back to the orphanage by his adoptive family. He was not used to eating big pot dishes from the orphanage, and ran to the restaurant arguing that he could wash the dishes as a part time job.
The owner and only cook of that restaurant was Old Song Tou. Maybe it was because Tao Mu was a handsome little boy, or he was really too lonely, but instead of driving Tao Mu away, he let Tao Mu stay in the back kitchen as a helper. Later, he also wanted to formally teach Tao Mu his craft, so that Tao Mu could inherit his restaurant.
It was a pity that Tao Mu entered the rebellious stage when he was twelve or thirteen years old. Coupled with the ridicule from his classmates, he hated the smell of oily smoke all over his body and refused to enter the kitchen again. Instead, relying on his own good looks, he began to work in western restaurants and music shops, and later he also worked as a caddy and part-time boxing sparring partner. When he entered high school, he went to work in nightclubs and bars as a waiter. He looked good and excelled at sweet talk, causing all the princesses and young masters as well as the bartenders in the shop to all be willing to teach him their life tricks and skills. Even the lead singer of the band wanted to bring him to the stage. However, he was stopped by the nightclub owner brother Yao. (TN: princesses and young masters are what the workers in nightclubs are called)
Later, Tao Mu worked as a part-time model several times, and was inspired to enter the Beijing Film Academy. After graduating from high school, he took his two childhood friends and went straight to H Studio City in the name of accumulating experience.
Tao Mu felt that he had a lot of ideas and plans for the future. However, in the eyes of Old Song Tou, Tao Mu’s actions were that of someone playing around, and the relationship between the two became increasingly rigid. By this time in the previous life, they had stopped contacting each other for many years. He heard that when he became notorious in the entertainment industry, a reporter even ran to the restaurant to interview Old Song Tou, but was driven out of the store by the old man with a mop.
“The old man’s longevity peach is really delicious.” Unfortunately, he hadn’t eaten it for many years. Tao Mu paused and asked subconsciously, “Can you send me it through mail?”
“What silly thing are you on about now, kiddo? It’s summer now, by the time it arrives in the post it would have already gone bad.” Hearing Tao Mu, this stubborn boy with a stinky temper actually give in, Dean Tao’s heart jumped on the other side of the phone. She smiled and advised: “You two are just too dishonest with yourselves. The both of you are thinking about each other, but still your mouths are so dishonest. If you really miss him, just call him. You probably don’t know this but when you went to H town, Old Song Tou had someone install a landline in the restaurant. He also gave me his phone number to let me order takeaways. You say, am I a person who would order takeaways? This is quite rare of him. After so many years and so many old customers urging him to install a landline and hire a guy to deliver food but he always refused. Now for you, the landline is installed.”
Tao Mu was taken aback for a moment, he didn’t even know that this happened in his previous life.
Then he thought about it. That’s right. In his last life, he had a fight with the old man over applying to Beijing Film. The old man thought he was indulging in a wild fantasy since it was not so easy for ordinary people to become stars. And on his side he thought the old man was too old-fashioned and stubborn. The two of them couldn’t convince each other so they were currently having a cold war. When he went to H Studio City, he was more focused on adapting to the new environment and completely did not have the energy to pay attention to the people and things back in the capital. And then afterwards an accident revealed his and Shen Yu’s birth secret. He returned to the Shen family in a grand manner while Shen Yu was driven out of the house by him. Then came the ten years where all he did was make trouble for Shen Yu……
The old memories from the past flashed by like a slide show, and Tao Mu came back to his senses: “Okay. I’ll call him later.”
Dean Tao was overjoyed upon hearing this: “Ai, that’s good. That’s good.”
Tao Mu called the old man’s phone with inexplicable emotions about his previous life. But, as soon as the phone was connected and the person on the other side of the phone heard his voice, Tao Mu was treated to a torrent of yelling and scolding.
The people in Beijing were well known all over for being very good at cursing people out, and the old man had been living in Beijing for sixty years. Tao Mu couldn’t even speak, forced to listen to the other doing a one-person comic sketch from the other side. A one-person comic sketch that was impressively cutting and anger inducing. An angry Tao Mu immediately hung up the phone.
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Sure enough, the time filter or something, it still dug holes for people even in a new lifetime!
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