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It had been a week since the last time you'd seen Sicheng. Not by design, just conflicting schedules. In that time you'd actually been able to get most of your article penned out. Just in time, too; this afternoon, you had your final meeting with your professor to discuss your rough draft before submitting it at the end of the semester, which was quickly approaching.

She was perched on the other end of the small couch from you, the door to her office slightly ajar as she leafed through your draft. Occasionally, she made some small marks or noises of response to whatever you had written. As she closed it and set it on the cushion between the two of you, she cleared her throat.

"An interesting read, from just my initial skim-through," Professor Zhang commented. Then came exactly what you were expecting, "However..."

You silently implored her to continue, needing to know what parts to fix.

"It's interesting, like I said. But it's not thought-provoking. It feels like the bastard love-child of a tabloid article and tween magazine. If that's your intention and vision, by all means, accomplished, A-plus. But that's not your vision, is it, Y/N?"

A short and nearly cynical chuckle came from you, "It's not, you're correct, Professor. I knew I shouldn't have done on some stupid drama actor. I should've actually done healthcare—"

Your professor cuts you off sternly, "Y/N, this is not a bad article or subject, by any means. Change the tone, change the focus, and change the theme, give the readers something more meaningful to take away from it, and it's a career-maker."

Your mouths parts in awe at her words, "Really?"

"Yes. Strip the article, your notes, even your subject. Strip them down the core, to the bare bones, and start over again. Rebuild it into something you'll be proud of. Into something I can publish."

Her last words ignited an excitement in you, and you immediately shot up from the couch, grabbing your rough draft.

"I will! Thank you so much, Professor Zhang," you bowed hastily to her, not missing the fond smile on her face as she watched you hurry out of the room.

Strip it down. Bare bones. Rebuild.

You could do this.

Two days until your piece was due.

The door of Sicheng's condo stared back at you as you stood in front of it hesitantly, gripping your final draft in white-knuckled and nervous fingers. At least they weren't shaking.

You figured that you owed Sicheng a read-through of the article before you officially submitted it. Not to mention that you really should talk about what would happen now. With your article over, he had no end of your agreement to uphold, it would all be over.

Right? After all, you wouldn't be getting anything out of continuing to be his fake-girlfriend anymore. What would your break-up story be? Would there be any way for you to avoid backlash from the media, fans, and your friends and relatives alike?

Before you could think about it, your hand had rapped violently and suddenly against the door. You hadn't told him beforehand that you were coming over, you didn't even know if he'd be home or not.

A few moments passed, and you decided to just slip the draft under his door and leave. You wouldn't benefit from being there when he read it. And who knew if he would even want to read it. Or really see you again since he'd get no kind of career-boosting benefit from it. That's surely all he wanted anyway.

Just as you'd started bending down to slip the paper under the door, a voice came from behind you, "Y/N?"

You startled forward, knocking your head against the door. Hissing, you clutched at your head as the owner of the voice walked over to you, gently helping you up.

"Clumsy, clumsy," Sicheng tsked, a fond amusement in his voice at your predicament, letting go of you to deftly unlock his door. "You want to come in? I assume you were trying to squeeze yourself under the door, right?"

"No," you scowled, but followed him in anyway, pausing behind him as he stopped to disarm the alarm.

Inside, he set his bag down on the counter before going into the kitchen, still talking to you over his shoulder as he got a couple glasses down and filled them both with water, "I was kind of getting worried, since I haven't heard from you in a while. Thought that we had you know, 'broken up' and you forgot to tell me or something."

You didn't have the heart to even attempt a light-hearted chuckle. It had been almost three weeks since you'd seen Sicheng. The first week after your meeting with your professor, you'd spent almost every second with Sicheng, digging deeper, discovering more and more about him than you had gotten in the past months of your interactions.

And as Sicheng turned to you with a thoughtful and concerned frown, you realized that as you had learned more about him, he had also learned about you. For every question you had for him, he seemed to have three more for you. It was off-putting at first, but became somewhat comforting, how genuinely interested he seemed to be in you.

"Everything okay, Y/N?" He questioned, handing you one of the glasses.

"Yeah, yeah," you shook your head to clear away the unsettling feeling that had settled over you. "I actually came over to give you the final draft of my article. I'm turning it in on Friday."

As you held the papers out to him, he seemed to realize the same thing you had. This was the beginning of the end.

He accepted them, skimming over the title page, "Thanks, I'll make sure to read it tonight. Friday, you said you're turning it in?"

"Yes," you confirmed, well aware of what Friday was supposed to be.

The last day of filming for Sicheng's drama, the whole cast and crew were going to be celebrating. And everyone was expecting you to be there too. Not just as Sicheng's supposed girlfriend, but as their friend, too.

"And do you have to go in and turn it in in person?"

An odd question.

"No, it's an online submission."

"Then do you think... you could still come to the end of filming party? I know that Yuqi, Xiaojun, and Xukun would really like having you there."

"We'll have to keep pretending that we're dating."

"One more night, Y/N. I'm okay with it if you are."

You pursed your lips in thought before giving in, "Okay, yeah. One more night. So I can, you know, see Yuqi and Xukun and the others one last time."

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