It was nearly midnight when the cast of Guardian trudged through the darkness towards their trailers to shed their costumes and makeup.
Unlike the rest of the cast, once changed, Bai Yu lingered for a few moments to chat with the director about one of the scenes. He caught up with Li Yan, Gao Yu Er, Jiang Ming Yang, and Xin Peng as they were entering the parking lot, joking about the scene they had just wrapped. He spotted Zhu Yilong lingering nearby, shifting his weight between his feet and scanning the parking lot.
“Where could he be?” Zhu Yilong muttered under his breath, eyes alternating between the parking lot and checking his phone.
“Everything okay?” Bai Yu asked, trotting up to his co-star and nudging Zhu Yilong with his shoulder when he didn’t acknowledge the question.
“My driver isn’t here and he isn’t picking up his phone,” his voice was approaching a whine- or as close to Zhu Yilong got to whining about anything. It had been a long day of filming- especially for the reserved actor- and Bai Yu could tell by the heavy circles under his eyes that he was ready to be in bed.
“We are staying at the same hotel, why don’t I just give you a ride,” Bai Yu offered with a shrug, smiling at the handsome actor who blinked rapidly in response.
“Really? You don’t mind?” Zhu Yilong sounded relieved but it was immediately followed with a suspicious glance. He knows me so well, Bai Yu chuckled to himself.
“Of course not. Come on, Long-ge.” Bai Yu nodded towards one side of the parking lot and started moving, not waiting for Zhu Yilong.
The pair approached a gathering of two wheeled vehicles and Zhu Yilong’s steps halted when Bai Yu approached his ride.
“Uh, Xiao Bai? Where’s your Vespa?” Zhu Yilong asked with exasperated trepidation in his tone.
“What’s wrong, Long-ge? Scared of a little power between your legs?” Bai Yu teased with a waggle of his eyebrows as he ran his fingertips along the sleek red paint of his Ducati motorcycle.
“Only if you’re the one driving,” Zhu Yilong quipped in reply, moving closer to study the bike.
“You don’t think I can handle it?” Bai Yu asked in mock offense, raising his eyebrows and pressing his fingers to his chest.
Zhu Yilong looked up from his examination of the machine and stared at him in deadpan silence.
“Aw, Long-ge, you wound me! I know you’ll enjoy the ride- I promise it will curl your toes,” Bai Yu purred with a playful smirk.
“It would curl my toes if you let me drive,” Zhu Yilong pulled his bottom lip between his teeth as he ran his hand across the smooth leather of the seat.
The rest of the cast watched their display from the other side of the parking lot in various levels of interested horror. No one moved, fearing they would draw the other two actors’ attention.
“Are they still talking about riding a motorcycle?” Yi Lan asked, tilting his head to the side as he tried to understand what was happening before him.
The others shrugged and made no comment.
“Mmm, some other time for sure. Are you scared to ride with me, Long-ge? You just have to move with me,” Bai Yu wheedled, slinging his leg over the bike and leaning against the handlebars.
“I’m not scared. I know how to move when I ride, I’m just not so sure you have the strength to make it exciting,” Zhu Yilong raised an eyebrow in challenge, the corner of his lips ticking up on one side.
“Well get on and I’ll show you just how exciting I can make it,” Bai Yu challenged and started the engine with a roar.
They stared at each other for a long beat, neither one backing down. Then Bai Yu slipped on his helmet and revved the powerful engine, startling the other cast members that were still watching in fascination. Zhu Yilong rolled his eyes and slid onto the seat behind him, pressing close against Bai Yu’s back. There wasn’t an inch of space between them as Bai Yu tore out of the parking lot and into the night.
Silence reigned in the parking lot, the sound of the motorcycle’s engine giving way to the serenade of crickets.
“They’re totally going to bang,” Jiang Ming Yang said bluntly into the stillness that surrounded the others, breaking the spell. They all nodded in silent agreement- some going a little pink- then turned to their cars as one with the understanding that no one would speak of this night again.