"Hwa, are you sure I am up for this role?" I asked my manager when she handed me the script that was sent to us this morning.
"Why not? They saw a potential in you. That was why they sent you the script. Why do you doubt yourself?"
"But this drama is based on a best-selling novel. Many fans of this book expect the live-action to be as good as the characters in the books. What if I don't meet their expectation?"
My manager's red cherry ideal lips parted as she sighed and slightly shook her, making her shoulder-length black hair brush against her one-shoulder red shirt like a flag fluttered along with the wind. She walked to stand next to me and placed her hand on my shoulder as an assurance.
"Xia, you have to be confident in yourself. You'll never know until you try. Believe in yourself. Who knows what you could bring when you get into character? As long as you try your best, it's all the matter." She encouraged me with a smile that stretched from one ear to another on her round face shape. "Besides, who knows, this role may change your life forever. I have a feeling that it'll be good this time."
I tilted my head up to look at those pairs of brown eyes that always radiated warm, sisterly love to me all these years. "You said that for the last five dramas I worked on."
She burst out laughing, to which I followed suit as we remembered those old times when we kept expecting I would be making a breakthrough with each work I took.
"The audition will be three weeks away from now. Get yourself ready." She waited until I nodded before heading toward the door. "Oh, and Xia?" She turned around at the door frame. "If no one else believes in you, even yourself, remember that I always have faith in you."
Before I could utter thanks, she closed the door, disappearing from view. As I listened to the sound of her high heels clapping the marble floor, I couldn't help but smile at the encouragement.
Okay. Let's give this role a try. Do your best, Xia.
Several weeks after I came back from the audition, I was surprised and elated when my manager dashed into the room, smiling and jumping excitedly.
"Good news, Xia. I just got a phone call from the production team. You passed the role!"
"Yes! Congratulations!" she jumped on me and hugged me tightly. "See? I knew you could do it!"
And from that day onwards, I had never expected my life to take on a complete change in career paths and private matters.
Months passed by as we waited for the crew to finish casting all the roles. Once the process was completed, my manager received a filming schedule via email that said all actors and actresses were required to do a script reading two weeks from now.
My manager already cleared my schedule accordingly, so there was no problem with the designated date.
I spent my free time researching my co-star, wanting to familiarize myself with their information somehow to make small talk when we met. Even when the date came and I was riding a car to the meeting place, I was still surfing the internet and reading articles about them, especially on my second male lead co-star.
Oh, I must have forgotten to mention. The project I was taking this time was a BxB drama. It meant that my love interest was a man. Not a woman.
And there was one more thing that I found very interesting for this project.
My co-star slashed an on-screen love interest and wasn't a stranger to me.
He was someone who had been on my mind for three years.
We met a few years ago when he was hosting a TV show, and I was invited there as a guest. However, we didn't interact much at that time. So, basically, it made us no better than strangers on the outside.
But I knew better that I didn’t think of him as simply as that.
After getting the news that I would be playing his love interest, a surge of excitement repeatedly arose within every depth of my emotion. I didn't know how to explain it, but I just knew that if I didn't get to see his picture or read anything about him once a day, my mind wouldn't be able to do anything right.
Strange, wasn't it?
Yes, I agreed.
That was why I said that it was something indescribable.
To think that I finally got to meet him today face to face instead of through a phone screen, my heart went ba-dump, ba-dump.
I heard that he was a quiet person and that he wasn't comfortable with strangers, so I had been wracking my brain on how to approach him. I played many scenarios in my head, but none of them seemed to be right.
Oh gosh, why was I stressing myself as if I was going to confess? I gained and shook my head as if to brush off the words inside my head.
“Xia, are you okay? Headache?” My manager turned to ask me with her face full of concern.
“No, no. I'm okay. Don't worry. Just a little nervous about meeting new colleagues.”
“You're acting as if today is your debut.” She chuckled lightly.
“Well, let's say it kinda is. It's my first time receiving a big project and a BxB one.”
“Hmm...You're right.” She nodded in understanding.
The conversation went dead since we arrived at the filming site.
We were guided into a big, air-conditioned room where all actors and actresses gathered at a long, oval table. I noticed many people have arrived, including the ones who were to play my siblings in the story. I walked to greet them, introduced myself, and chitchatted.
Even though it looked like I was engaging myself in the talks with my fellow cast members, my mind and eyes couldn't stop wandering in search of the one I had been so anxious to meet. The room kept filling up with new people arriving, and yet there was still no sight of him.
Finally, the director arrived. With a brief hello, we all went to sit at our designated seats. Strangely, when I looked to my right, the chair was empty.
"I just got a call from Yi's manager. He won't be able to make it this morning. He sent his apology through me, saying that he's sorry for his absence," the director said the first thing when we all settled down in our seats.
My heart sank at his words. I glanced through the corner of my eyes to the void space next to me and found myself as empty as that vacant spot.
"However, he'll be joining us in the afternoon. For now, let's rehearse our parts as planned since his role doesn't have many lines, to begin with."
I feel the muscle around my mouth begin to curve up. I must be smiling subconsciously after hearing the director's saying that my co-star would still be able to make it today.
I was glad that everyone was busy opening their scripts, so none of them was paying attention to my sheepish smile.