Chapter 9 Isn’t She Afraid Of Backlash?
Aaron fetched Jodie’s shoes and even helped her put them on. As expected, their fans who were watching the live stream exclaimed excitedly at Aaron’s caring gesture and praised them for being wonderful siblings. Even the fans of the other guests and casual viewers thought that Aaron and Jodie had a remarkably close relationship. They wished they had a brother like Aaron who doted on his sister, especially those who argued and fought with their own siblings every day. They flooded the live chat with comments expressing their desire for such a loving brother. After Jodie finished changing her shoes, they continued walking uphill.
Since it was inconvenient to change clothes, Jodie had no choice but to let her dress drag on the ground. Aaron even volunteered to hold up her dress as they walked. While this might be normal at a party or an awards ceremony, it looked out of place on the narrow and steep mountain path. Leyla, wearing flat leather shoes, also found it difficult to walk on the mountain path in a long dress. She had to keep holding it up with her hands, which made her appear awkward. Many people wanted to criticize Jodie and Leyla for their choice of attire despite knowing they were filming a reality show in the countryside. By comparison, Simone and Keira were dressed appropriately for walking and performing labor. After walking for half an hour, Leyla coquettishly declared that she couldn’t go on and needed a break. In reality, Jodie couldn’t walk any longer either. Despite changing her shoes, her dress still hindered her. Moreover, having been pampered by the Gray Family for so many years, she had never walked on such a difficult mountain path for such a long time. However, she knew she couldn’t show her exhaustion, as it might affect her popularity with the show’s viewers. She gritted her teeth and persevered, especially when she saw Simone effortlessly walking. Hearing Leyla ask for a break, she felt relieved. Indeed, Leyla’s appearance and fragility at that moment caused many viewers to have a less favorable opinion of her. Jonah allowed everyone to rest for over ten minutes. After another half hour of walking, the village finally came into view.
They continued walking until the crew stopped at the entrance to a small farmhouse. Simone had been practicing martial arts almost every day since she was little to stay in shape. As a result, she didn’t feel tired after over an hour of trekking. Apart from her, only Zac, who regularly worked out and even practiced kickboxing, looked relaxed. Everyone else, including Keira, who had been in good shape at the beginning, was almost ready to collapse from exhaustion. During the last half hour, Keira even needed Simone’s support. Jodie felt like her legs were about to give up at any moment. If she were at home or the episode wasn’t being live-streamed, she would have burst into tears of frustration in front of Aaron. At that moment, she leaned against him, wearing an expression that said, “I’m tired, but I’ll keep going.” Feeling sorry for her, Aaron put his arm around her shoulders to support her. “Jo, you must be tired, aren’t you? I’ll massage your feet when we get inside.” Jodie glanced at Simone, who was standing nearby, and replied sweetly, “Okay! Thank you so much, Aaron! Simone must be upset and jealous after hearing what Aaron said. It would be even better if she says something thoughtless later.” He patted her head with his free hand and replied, “Thanks for what? You’re my sister, after all.” However, he suddenly remembered that his other sister was there too.
He couldn’t help but shift his gaze towards Simone somewhat sheepishly, but she wasn’t looking at him at all. Instead, she was talking to Keira. For some reason, he breathed a sigh of relief, but at the same time, he also felt a little disappointed. If Simone hadn’t fallen out with his family, she would probably have taken the initiative to ask if his feet hurt. Then, he couldn’t help but wonder if it was because they were being live-streamed that Simone acted so indifferent towards him. “The live stream will be paused after we get inside and take a break. After that, she’ll probably come to me on her own and massage my legs with special techniques.” He was still contemplating whether he should reluctantly forgive her if she came to make up with him or give her the cold shoulder and make her understand the consequences of her actions. Just then, Jonah pushed open the gate to the farmhouse and smiled, gesturing for the eight guests to enter. “This farmhouse has been specially arranged for all of you by our production team. Although it may not compare to the two best brick-and-tile houses in the village, the conditions here are among the top five in the village.” This time, with a movie star and two A-list celebrities among the guests, they didn’t want to provide them with the worst accommodations. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief at his words. As long as the production team didn’t provide them with the worst accommodations, they were satisfied.
“Well, if it ranks among the top five in the village, it should be pretty decent.” Consequently, everyone entered the farmhouse with a sense of anticipation. As soon as they entered, they saw a courtyard with a vegetable patch and several adobe houses. The doors to these houses were wide open. Jonah explained with a smile, “The central area is the living room and dining area, while the room in the corner is the kitchen and utility room. The four rooms on both sides are specifically for all of you. The layout of each room is the same. You guys can go in and take a look.” Hearing him say that, the guests walked into the nearest room, only to be surprised. The room was relatively clean and not small in size, but it only had two single beds, two wooden chairs, and nothing else. Aaron looked at Jonah and asked, “Why are there only beds and chairs inside?” Jonah replied, “What else do you expect?” Aaron argued, “What about wardrobes and desks? Where do we hang our clothes and put our belongings?” He disliked the simplicity and shabbiness of the place, especially the adobe walls. Jonah spread his hands and replied, “That’s your problem now. We can only provide you with these. If you want things like wardrobes and desks, you have to get them yourselves.” Aaron was left speechless; suddenly, he regretted participating in this terrible variety show. He cleared his throat and argued, “The four of us men don’t mind staying in such a basic environment, but isn’t it a bit too harsh for the four ladies?” Before Jonah could respond, Zac rolled his eyes and said, “Since when can you speak on behalf of us three male guests and make decisions for the other four female guests?” He emphasized, “Don’t speak for me.” What do you mean by saying we don’t mind?
I definitely mind, okay? Even though he was in the entertainment industry, he was unwilling to compromise himself and control his temper, especially towards Aaron, whom he loathed. Aaron was momentarily at a loss for a reply. “I just didn’t want the female guests to feel so uncomfortable.” Jodie looked at Zac apologetically and said, “My brother is just considering our well-being. He doesn’t mean anything else.” Then, she quickly added, “But if the male guests can stay here, we can too.” By saying this, she seemed to be defending Aaron, but in reality, she was highlighting that she was not pretending and was willing to comply with the production team’s arrangements. She had learned from her research that on reality shows, the easiest way to endear oneself to the viewers and gain fans was to be able to endure hardship without complaining. Despite her inner disgust for the room and her reluctance to stay there for three weeks, she would endure it for the sake of fame and popularity and to establish herself as superior to Simone. Just then, Simone suddenly spoke up, saying, “Please don’t speak for me either.” In the upcoming episodes, she had no intention of being friendly with Aaron, Jodie, or Leon, so she was ready to make her attitude clear right from the beginning.
Besides, if she acted indifferent and distant towards the three of them, viewers watching the show might become curious about the reasons behind it. They might even wonder if there were any real-life grudges between them, leading some people to dig deeper in search of possible scoops. Furthermore, if she pretended to get along with them on the show, not only would she feel disgusted, but when her true identity and those things eventually came to light, viewers might criticize her for being a loser. If I don’t play devil’s advocate, how will Sc*mbag No. 5 come forward to protect his fake sister and target me, his real sister? Jonah and the other guests were stunned by her words. They couldn’t believe she spoke as bluntly as Zac did. Isn’t she afraid of backlash?