Edited by DancingDolphinsYo
After that, fans of the pairing of Sui Yi and Fang Yu took this broadcast as evidence. They all insisted that if the person biting the Pocky stick had been Fang Yu, Sui Yi would definitely not have rejected him.
As for the other fans, they too did not find that Sui Yi’s behaviour was unacceptable. He smiled the entire time, and it was obvious that he gave way to the other members of the group during the game. The rules of the game were also not dictated by him. To let two boys play Pocky Kiss, what exactly was Sweet Orange trying to do? Was he an idiot?
Ning Lan was the only one who knew that things were no longer the same.
If the members of this group were all fence-sitters, he was probably about to be excluded.
Fortunately, there were still people like Wang Bingyang, Lu Xiaochuan and Fang Yu around. They were either obtuse, or had no time to be concerned with him. Even though they were not close to him, they also would not be hostile towards him.
At their third signing session, Sui Yi, having been forced by the emcee to sit next to Ning Lan, once again expressionlessly swapped seats with the person next to him. Little obtuse Wang Bingyang only then realised something was wrong and leaned into Ning Lan’s ear, whispering, “Lan-ge, did you fight with the leader?”
Ning Lan pretended to be unaware. “No? Why did you ask?”
“You didn’t join us for the dinner gathering last night.”
So it turns out that you guys went out for dinner together. Ning Lan reacted very quickly, “My stomach wasn’t feeling well, so I had no appetite.”
Wang Bingyang suspected that he had speculated wrongly. “Oh, it’s good that both of you aren’t fighting.”
Ning Lan saw that the emcee was still dawdling, and so he asked Wang Bingyang, “What did all of you have last night?”
“Hotpot. It’s a rare opportunity for us to come to C City, so of course we had to have its hotpot specialty.”
Ning Lan swallowed his saliva. He only had a box of instant noodles last night, and he could not even bear to add a sausage to it.
He was suddenly somewhat disappointed.
AOW’s signing sessions were held in ten cities around the entire country. Having lived over twenty years, this was the first time that Ning Lan was taking a plane, and the first time coming to these cities that he had only read about in geography books. An Lin said that depending on the future responses, they might even have a chance to have signing sessions overseas.
Thinking about this, Ning Lan was no longer as upset. Where else would he find such a good job like this? He only needed to stand on stage for a few hours, sing two songs, then sign his signature for a few hours and talk to the fans, and he would be able to travel the world on the company’s expense.
If Sui Yi did not appear that day, his situation right now would definitely be terrible, and even his dreams would not be this beautiful.
At today’s signing session, he again played a tiny role without any presence, standing in one corner. He spent the entire time cheering on his group members who were performing on stage, and by the time the tables were carried out to kick off the autograph signing, he was still immersed in the show. Gao Ming’s solo dance was really entertaining, and Fang Yu’s singing was really wondrous too.
This time, Fang Yu was sitting next to him. From his pocket, he retrieved a fingerstall, holding it out to Ning Lan. “Put this on, and the pressure on your finger won’t be as intense.”
Ning Lan did not accept it, as the fans said that the colour pink belonged solely to Fang Yu. He dared not use it, afraid of getting dissed. After all, Fang Yu’s singing was excellent, and his appearance was outstanding as well as he was kind. There was no one who would not like him, and even the team leader did so. After the previous broadcast, the fans all said that a certain parachuter sought for his own humiliation, and the Soaring Flower ship was standing strong.
Ning Lan only wanted to ignore everything around him, and bury himself in signing. However, the fans always left him free. Space on the title page of the album lyrics was deliberately left for the signatures of all seven of them, and the girls, holding their albums, approached asking for signatures in sequence. When meeting the member they liked, they always wanted to chat a little while more. They would hold things back for half a minute here, and thirty seconds there. However, no fans came to chat with Ning Lan, and he was the most idle. To sign his name, he would need to wait for very long before the next person came to him, but he also did not dare to take too long to sign, as the girls were still waiting to chat with the next member of the group.
The next fan finally arrived at his spot, and while signing, Ning Lan secretly peeked at Sui Yi’s signature on the top left side. During this time last month, he had not thought that he would be writing his name this many times, and he was almost about to not be able to recognise his own name. However, Sui Yi’s name was still able to grab his attention in an instant. Perhaps his words were too proper and handsome, just like his person.
“Bubble Lan, you’re really very good-looking. Remember to smile more often.” Ning Lan heard these words from the girl standing in front of him.
It took him a few seconds to realise that “Bubble Lan” referred to him, and he could not help but ask how this name came about.
The girl hid her smile behind her hand. “Because you’re always standing right at the end, and you don’t like to speak, nor attract any attention. You’re AOW’s little bubble, and once you’re poked, you’ll vanish.”
Ning Lan, who had only ever thought about keeping a low profile, had never expected that such a nature could still garner fans.
A girl’s heart was truly hard to fathom.
After their official debut, the members of AOW barely slept in the dormitory. Every week, other than rushing to different cities to attend their signing sessions, the company also arranged for them to participate in a few variety shows that were broadcasted on cable. They had just debuted, and they were not widely known in the country. Temporarily, they were still unable to gain a chance to be invited to the better variety shows available on Star TV. The programs on cable could still increase their exposure a little, but the recordings took quite some time, and some outdoor programs required a couple of days just to shoot.
All seven people often slept outside the dormitory. The company would book three standard rooms for them, and the one person remaining from the seven members would have to squeeze in with the crew members.
The person left out was usually Ning Lan, so he was rarely updated with the going ons, and would often miss out on activities such as dinner gatherings, etc.
The next day after the signing session in C City, AOW rushed to D City next door to record a variety show without a pause. Yesterday, the crew member Ning Lan was staying with snored the entire night. Ning Lan had thought that there were no activities in the morning, and so he caught up with his sleep in the hotel. When he arrived at the shooting site in the afternoon, only then did he realise that a dance had been arranged for during the last minute. All six of the members had already practiced it previously, and he was the only one who did not know about it.
Ning Lan checked his phone. It was charged, and his phone had no issues. There were no missed calls, nor were there any texts.
Fang Yu and Wang Bingyang said that they thought he did not participate because he was not feeling well. There was less than one hour to the shooting, and they hurriedly showed him the steps of the dance. Ning Lan’s coordination was poor, and both his teachers were also not very adept. Wang Bingyang went to seek Gao Ming for help, and Gao Ming gave Ning Lan a side-eye, saying, “Lazy people have no rights to go on stage.”
Ning Lan still gritted his teeth and got on stage. Just like before, he memorised the steps of the dances as numbers. However, there was too little time today, and he could not memorise everything well. Focusing on remembering his steps, he did not pay attention to his footing. While going onstage, he tripped over a step, and his knee crashed heavily onto the floor. The members walking in front probably did not hear it, and they all did not turn back to look.
The recording was completed a few hours later, and Ning Lan’s kneecap was numb from pain. The clothes arranged for him today were a sweater and torn jeans, and during the game section, they had to crawl and move about. He was so tired that his entire body was aching, and he could not even bend his waist to look at the state of his injury.
The first people to actually notice that he was injured were actually the fans. The hashtag for AOW that night exploded. Someone had uploaded a behind the scenes photo of them finishing the recording, and Ning Lan, just like usual, was standing in the most inconspicuous corner. The camera was quite far, and his entire body was captured. Zooming in a little, his reddened, scraped knee could be clearly seen through his torn jeans.
As the group was at the beginning of its establishment, the lines among the fans of the group, the individual members, as well as the various ships were rather blurred. The hearts of all the young female fans ached, and they decided to pay more attention to the parachuter Ning Lan.
As such, during the next signing session, there were a lot more fans who stopped in front of Ning Lan. Some of them even brought gifts for him. There were strawberry-scented band-aids and strawberry-shaped cushions, all because the company had stated that Ning Lan liked everything to do with strawberries.
On the spot, Ning Lan stuck the band-aid onto the back of his hand, and expressed his happiness for the gift. He then shook hands with the girl, and upon discovering that her hand was icy cold, he immediately asked their assistant An Lin to get her a cup of hot water. The girl was moved to tears, and at night, she posted an update about supporting Bubble Lan now —
“He’s extremely good-looking in person, and his dimples are very sweet. He couldn’t be any more warm and gentle! I love Bubble Lan, and I hope that you’ll soar to immense heights! @AOWNingLan”
Out of nowhere, Ning Lan harvested a large group of fans. His followers on Weibo leapt up furiously, and he was soon on the same standing as Gao Ming and Wang Bingyang.
One day, while in the waiting room after a recording and waiting to go to the next location for their signing session, Ning Lan took the initiative to get water for everyone. Gu Chenkai spoke enigmatically, “I wouldn’t dare to trouble you. Do you know that there are fans capturing everything at the door? You scheming person.”
Ning Lan was speechless. He walked past Sui Yi who was resting with his eyes closed, and Sui Yi did not even open his eyes a single bit.
Ning Lan had no expectations that Sui Yi would stand up for him. Not telling the other members about Ning Lan nearly running away before their debut show was already very benevolent of Sui Yi. If the other members were to know about the matter, they might not only simply exclude him. The few members who were still kind to him would too probably tear him apart to feed the dogs.
So, Ning Lan had no right to retort anything. No matter what they said or what they did, he deserved them all.
During late May, the group headed down south for their signing sessions, arriving at a warm and humid southern coastal city. The temperature here was warmer than the capital, and the fans too were particularly passionate. As the leader, on behalf of the other members, Sui Yi had long mentioned at previous signing sessions that they would not accept any gifts that cost money. As such, the fangirls turned creative, preparing cross stitches, rhinestone paintings, a thousand paper cranes, lucky paper stars and various items that were handmade with great effort, and these gifts filled up three entire cars.
A fan gifted Ning Lan with pain relief ointment, telling him that she saw how his knee injury had yet to heal. Also, his ear where he wore his ear clip was always very red, and asked him to carry the ointment around with him just in case.
The fan was very adorable, and when presenting Ning Lan with the present, she even specially reported to the group leader seated next to him, saying that this was purchased with her medical insurance, and she did not spend any money. Sui Yi took a look at it, and nodded his head in acceptance.
Ning Lan’s skin was the type to easily bruise, and every injury he received would take very long to heal. Although he was not tall, his legs were fair and shapely. The company knew how to play to his advantages, and always liked to prepare all sorts of torn jeans for him to wear. He really had no intentions of displaying the injury on his knee for everyone to see.
The gifts from the fans were usually sent straight back to the company. Ning Lan remembered the ointment, and after the session, he quickly went to the car in search of it. There were too many presents, and he did not know where An Lin had kept it.
“It’s in the blue checkered bag.” A voice suddenly appeared behind him.
Ning Lan was shocked into curling his body inwards. Turning around and seeing that it was Sui Yi, he then patted his chest in relief. “Lead, could you not always appear out of nowhere…”
Halfway through, Ning Lan then remembered that his relationship with the leader now was not like before. Ning Lan cut himself off silently, turning back to open the blue checkered bag, and soon quickly found the ointment.
Leaping off the vehicle, he thanked Sui Yi who was still standing there.
He then walked a couple of steps away, but feeling that it seemed to be rather rude of him to just walk off like this, he again returned.
Sui Yi seemed to have come here looking for something as well, but after rummaging through everything, he did not find what he wanted. Ning Lan hopped back onto the vehicle again. “What are you looking for? I’ll help you. Just now I searched through two bags, and I still remember what’s in them.”
Sui Yi was silent for a moment. “I’m also looking for ointment.”
The two of them searched for some time, but did not find it. Ning Lan handed his own ointment to Sui Yi, pointing at his hand. “Just use this first. It’s anti-inflammatory and relieves pain, the effect should be similar.”
The finger on Sui Yi’s right hand moved a little. He had worn away the skin on his finger today while signing, and he did not know how Ning Lan had found out.
He did not want it, turning around and leaving. Ning Lan chased after him, shoving the tube of ointment in his hand. “Take it, the injury on my leg has nearly recovered. I currently don’t have any use for it.”
He also pulled out a strawberry-scented band-aid from his pocket. “After applying the ointment, cover it with this. Don’t let it get infected.”
Sui Yi looked down. Now that he was standing closer, he finally clearly saw how appalling the dark bruise on Ning Lan’s knee was. Other than the scabbed, broken skin that was still bruised, the injury was clearly not from that time he had fallen down.
Ning Lan’s skin was very fair. When he removed the medicated plaster from his skin, the red mark left behind also required a few days to disappear. This was something Sui Yi was aware of.
Sui Yi tightened his mouth, averting his gaze. “There’s no need, just use it yourself.”