You Have the Right to Keep a Secret Love

Chapters List

Chapter 16: Go Rogue

On Qi Xi's side, her thoughts were in turmoil, while Gu Yan remained composed. His expression didn't reveal any flaws. Eventually, it was Qi Xi who looked away first.

Monkey mind!

*Monkey mind, a Buddhist term, describes an unsettled and restless state, akin to chattering, whimsical monkeys. It portrays the inner critic, characterized by constant distractions and mental chaos, as taught by the Buddha over 2,000 years ago.

She seemed unable to meet Gu Yan's eyes anymore.

Until Gu Yan's cold reminder brought her back as if from a daze—

"It's your turn."

"I, I…"

Yet, even though it was clearly Qi Xi's line to deliver, her mind was a blank slate at this moment.

Qi Xi had forgotten the lines she had just memorized so skillfully.

Qi Xi, who took pride in her acting skills superior to Gu Yan's, had a blooper.

She stared at Gu Yan in a daze for a while before, as if awakening from a dream, she remembered her lines—

"I reject you! I don't like you! Even if you're rich, excel in your studies, and handsome, I still don't like you!"

Gu Yan's expression remained calm, his eyelashes fluttered slightly, his voice deepened, "Okay, I already know."

Though aware that it was all acting, Qi Xi couldn't shake the feeling that Gu Yan's emotions were subtly downcast in that moment.

What is acting? This is acting!

No exaggerated glaring or distorted expressions. It was only the subtle nuances of his expression that perfectly depicted the suppressed discomfort after being rejected. It was a shame he wasn't discovered by talent scouts, but...

"Gu Yan, according to the script, shouldn't you be furious at this point? You should be roaring at me, then we'd argue, and you'd drag me into the nearby woods for some inappropriate and criminal activities. With you accepting this so calmly, how am I supposed to proceed with the plot?"

It might have been better left unsaid; just mentioning it made a faint furrow appear on Gu Yan's brow. His lips were flat, as if stating a fact, "I can't act that way."

"The Bar Association arranged the task, so even if it's uncomfortable, you have to do it!" Qi Xi encouraged. "Don't worry about your image. The outcome will just be a comical educational video. It won't affect how people see you in real life. Are you unable to shake off your handsome face?"

She patted Gu Yan's shoulder reassuringly, saying, "It's okay, don't burden yourself with this. Handsome guys can play rogues too. Nowadays, being a rogue doesn't discriminate against good looks. There's no threshold for entry. You can play this role and show everyone that even with such good looks, you can have a twisted mind. This kind of film would be even more educational, letting women know that good-looking faces can hide deviant minds as well."

As Qi Xi spoke, she attempted to coax him step by step, "And you, even though this might be your 'debut' work, playing a rogue is a bit... unconventional. But you should understand, if you go for the typical perfect school idol role, it would be too generic and unmemorable. Embracing the rogue image that no one has faith in is actually an opportunity. This character is not valued because it's been played by those with less conventionally attractive appearances. You, with your good looks, playing such a role, wouldn't you become instantly famous within the 'rogue circle' and beyond?"

"..." Gu Yan's expression was somewhat hard to express in words. "Qi Xi, your twisted logic is really something."

With a sigh, Qi Xi, like a deflated balloon, blinked her eyes, "I can't come up with anything more..."

"It's not about image," after a pause, Gu Yan spoke again. He glanced at Qi Xi quickly and then averted his gaze. Pausing for a moment, he continued, "I just can't act it out."

So it wasn't reluctance stemming from his inner self, it was an inability to perform? Meaning, it wasn't an issue of attitude but of capability?

No worries! As long as he wanted to act, he could practice until he got the basics right!

Qi Xi enthusiastically suggested, "Then try to empathize again, revisit the feelings of being rejected at first?"

"Empathizing won't change anything." Gu Yan's gaze was calm. "It's not her fault that she doesn't like me, and I would never do such a thing to her."

Alright, alright. Your unrequited love is your own treasure, you won't hurt her. So just quit acting and hurt me instead!

Qi Xi knew she had no standing to blame Gu Yan, but her heart still felt a twinge of sourness. Why is everyone else someone's treasure?

In the end, Gu Yan casually issued an ultimatum, "In any case, I can't act out these upcoming scenes."

What to do now? Qi Xi couldn't possibly play both roles herself!

Qi Xi's mind was a little overwhelmed, "How about this? Let's give it a shot. You just go along with it, stand there like a background, and I'll handle the performance part?"

In normal circumstances, in a play, even if one of the lead actors had particularly poor acting skills, as long as one of them excelled, the other only needed to not be terribly bad to be somewhat passable.

Gu Yan seemed hesitant, and Qi Xi was afraid he might refuse again. So, she seized the moment and pulled Gu Yan over, saying, "Alright, let's just start, okay? Let's give it a try! I'll use my phone to record it and see how it looks."

Qi Xi set up her phone, cleared her throat, and got into character.


Ten minutes later, as the "victim," Qi Xi threw herself into the role, her voice almost hoarse. She finally managed to barely finish rehearsing the scene.


When she picked up her phone and saw the recorded result, Qi Xi was nearly livid on the spot.

Gu Yan had taken the background role a little too seriously.

It had turned into a one-woman monologue for Qi Xi!

While acting, Qi Xi had been so focused on her role and delivering her lines that she hadn't realized. Now, watching the video she had just filmed with the perspective of an onlooker, her whole demeanor soured.

"I asked you to play along at least a little. Put on a fierce expression or something! Look, I shouted 'assault' and 'pervert' so loudly. I even ran all the way into the bushes myself. You could've at least run ahead of me, made a grabbing motion to suggest you were the criminal!"

Qi Xi shouted so energetically, yet Gu Yan, well, he couldn't be bothered. He just casually put his hands in his pockets, watched Qi Xi yell for help, and leisurely followed her into the "thicket."

Did he look like a criminal?! He didn't! Qi Xi felt like she did.

In the video, Gu Yan appeared nonchalant, while it was Qi Xi who went overboard by yelling for help a couple of times, then winking at Gu Yan, and finally taking the initiative to run into the "backyard thicket."

On the screen, her own exaggerated and dramatic expressions left her fuming.

This portrayal, it didn't seem like "Xiao Gang" forcibly assaulting "Xiao Ya." Rather, it looked as if "Xiao Ya" was enticing "Xiao Gang" to the backyard for some dubious activities, taking advantage of his lack of response, giggling all the way.

"Gu Yan, take a look at yourself. Does this suit you? Do you look like a criminal? Bring out some of that rogue attitude!"

Gu Yan glanced at the video. Qi Xi's praise was perhaps overly exuberant, and he couldn't help but smile. But soon, he stifled the smile, adopting an aloof expression as he looked at Qi Xi, "Do I look like a criminal to you? This isn't my nature to begin with. You're asking the impossible by having me fathom a rogue's mindset. How would I know?"

Yes, yes, yes, when you grow up like Gu Yan, why would you bully others? In fact, you would be bullied by others.

With Gu Yan's lousy acting, Qi Xi knew he wouldn't pass the Bar Association rehearsal without a hitch.

Instead of endlessly tormenting Gu Yan, it might be better to...

Qi Xi made a resolute decision: "Fine, if you don't suit the role, I will!"


Wasting no time, Qi Xi acted swiftly. Without hesitation, she dragged Gu Yan to consult with the bar association teacher, presenting her new proposal.

Predictably, the proposal was met with resistance: "This won't work. How can a girl pursue a guy without resorting to humiliation?"

"How can there not be!" Qi Xi argued reasonably. "Teacher, nowadays, men and women are equal. Female rogues have their days too! Let's just flip the gender in the script, keep the storyline as is, maintain the legal knowledge being conveyed, the lines won't need changing, just tweak a few details. Isn't that feasible?"

The teacher hesitated, "That's true, but females can't assault males. Men aren't suitable victims of assault."

"Well, that's simple. Change it to a crime of molestation and humiliation! It's still a criminal offense! The point of legal education is to prevent people from becoming obsessive out of love and harming others. The theme remains consistent!"

Qi Xi glanced at Gu Yan, then put more effort into it, "And really, Teacher, you know what my colleague looks like. With his appearance, if he played a rogue, it wouldn't sit well. Nowadays, people's morals follow the looks. Many might support him and even consider being noticed by him a blessing. There was recent news about a r**ist who, after each release, assaulted the same woman, and there were plenty of comments saying 'extreme love turns into crime.'"

*The author employed a direct term (r***) on a few occasions earlier. I've substituted it with the word "assault".

Qi Xi seized the advantage, pressing on, "Teacher, how about I take on the role? Handsome guys are fewer than beautiful girls these days. Let me tarnish my colleague's image. It'll easily stir up collective anger, everyone will feel indignation about this handsome guy being humiliated. We can tear apart the facade and show everyone the truth. This way, we can truly fulfill the purpose of public legal education."

The bar association teacher still hesitated, "But a pretty girl like you can't really pester a guy relentlessly..."

Qi Xi cleared her throat, "Teacher, appearance and reality can differ. You might not know, but even though I look half-decent, my personality is actually pretty nasty. Once, due to a misunderstanding, I humiliated this colleague of mine in front of the whole school. It caused him significant psychological trauma. Though we cleared it up afterwards, and my colleague generously forgave me, through that experience, I realized that if I played a female rogue and humiliated my colleague again, I could draw on my past to make it more authentic and genuinely emotional."

This was where Gu Yan needed to step in and give his perspective, tackling the situation from both sides.

After Qi Xi finished speaking, she immediately tugged on Gu Yan's sleeve, "Right, Gu Yan?"

However, the Gu Yan who had been uncooperative just moments ago, surprisingly didn't just go along with the flow and hand over the role to Qi Xi. In fact, quite the opposite happened. He not only didn't cooperate with Qi Xi, but instead, as if suddenly making up his mind, he looked towards the bar association staff and said—

"Teacher, it's okay. Since we can't change the script, I can play the role. We don't need her."


Qi Xi was utterly shocked. Wasn't he refusing just a moment ago?

But with Gu Yan's statement, the bar association teacher actually relaxed. She smiled knowingly at Gu Yan and then gave a significant glance to Qi Xi, saying, "You young lovebirds can do whatever you want. Both options are acceptable. You decide."

Gu Yan probably didn't catch on, completely failing to clarify.

Qi Xi, on the other hand, tried to explain, "We're not..."

The bar association teacher smiled knowingly, pursing her lips, "Oh, no need to hide it from me. We encourage internal resolution in the Bar Association. Both of you are full of love for each other and neither wants the other to play a role that tarnishes their image. It's quite endearing."

Qi Xi was about to say more, but Gu Yan's voice cut her off.

"Thank you, Teacher. We will work out the plan through communication."

With that, the man pulled Qi Xi out.


As soon as they left the bar association office, Qi Xi began questioning, "Gu Yan, what was that just now?"

Gu Yan pursed his lips, his voice rather calm, "I'll take on the role."

"But you were dead set against it earlier. Why the sudden change in front of the bar association teacher?" As Qi Xi spoke, she suddenly thought of a possibility. She stared at Gu Yan, "You aren't intentionally showing yourself to be responsible in front of the bar association teacher, are you? Trying to leave a deep impression on her?"

This was just Qi Xi's wild guess because she couldn't fathom why Gu Yan's mind would change, unless... he genuinely didn't want her to play a female rogue and tarnish her image?

But the bar association teacher thought they were a couple, and Qi Xi wasn't naive. Could Gu Yan really care about her image...

It was then that Gu Yan confirmed Qi Xi's earlier speculation.

He glanced at Qi Xi, "Hmm."

He really did it to show himself off? To display responsibility in front of the bar association teacher?

All her good intentions were in vain!

Qi Xi was beyond furious.

She couldn't let Gu Yan have his way.

This would serve as a way to make amends for her past mistakes against Gu Yan!

This rogue... Qi Xi decided she would play the role herself!


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