CT Chapter 24

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Chapter 24

Edited by DancingDolphinsYo





Ning Lan finally chose to stand facing outwards before he jumped down. Releasing his grip on the bed frame, the moment he turned around, he was no longer that afraid anymore.


Sui Yi caught him with his arms. Worried that Ning Lan would not land steadily, he exerted a little strength and lifted him above the ground. His feet in the air, Ning Lan turned one round before landing.


His heart sped up a little. Perhaps it was due to his nervousness. Pulling away from Sui Yi’s arm, he said, “Thank you.”


“How many times do you want to thank me in one day?” Sui Yi too took a step back, turning on the lamp on the desk.


Ning Lan felt that there was no way to answer this question. This depended on how many times Sui Yi helped him and pulled him out of a difficult situation; Sui Yi didn’t seem to be very interested in the answer as well.


A ruckus was pounding in his head. Thinking of something, he looked down at his clothes. With how he was dressed in a white singlet and blue shorts, even if his physical appearance was somewhat attractive, it was completely negated by his clothes.


Ning Lan took a few steps forward, wanting to turn the lights off. Sui Yi probably thought that he had other intentions on his mind, and thus he vigilantly retreated to the side. The back of his leg knocked into the luggage lying on the ground, producing a sudden sound.


Why did this scene look so much as though Sui Yi was being forced into prostitution or something? This thought ran through Ning Lan’s head.


He reached out, switching the lights off. Sui Yi swiftly turned and moved past him, and by the time the lights went out, he was already back on his bed.


Turning around, Ning Lan asked angrily, “Why did you go up?”


Sui Yi spread his blanket over his body, turning away from Ning Lan. “To sleep.”


“Didn’t we agree that we’ll come down together?” Ning Lan felt cheated.


“Just go and sleep,” said Sui Yi, “I still have to wake up early tomorrow.”


Ning Lan lifted his foot, wanting to climb up again and deliver himself into Sui Yi’s bed. As though there were eyes on the back of his head, Sui Yi reminded him, “If you come back up again, I‘m not going down to catch you anymore.”


Pausing, Ning Lan remained where he stood and thought for a moment, then snorted and pulled his foot back, returning to his bed in resignation.


The person in the top bunk did not speak again. Ning Lan lay back down dispiritedly, and the first thing he did when he picked his phone up was to go online and order a set of nightclothes. It was the sort made of real silk, and when one undid the belt, it would slide down one’s body.


Waking up in the middle of the night, groggily, he recalled what he did and felt that it was not good to purchase things impulsively. From under his pillow, he groped for his phone, cancelling the order he made less than three hours ago.


He wouldn’t even be able to claim the expense of such a flashy item from his sugar daddy. Whoever bought this was a fool.


The next morning, the two people went into the bathroom together. Half asleep, Ning Lan was stumbling about, and he nearly put the wrong end of the toothbrush into his mouth.


“Why did you wake up so early?” asked Sui Yi.


His mouth full of toothpaste foam, Ning Lan mumbled, “I’m seeing you off.”


Before they left, they looked over Sui Yi’s luggage for the last time. Already completely awake and dressed, Ning Lan, like last night, took over the task. He deftly checked everything off and zipped up the luggage. It was a little heavy, and he was unable to lift it with just one hand. Sui Yi took the luggage from his hand, then looked down at his wrist. “Does it still hurt?”


Ning Lan followed his line of sight, and only then did he realise that Sui Yi was referring to the red marks left by his grip last night.


“It’s fine, marks have always easily appeared on my skin since I was a kid. It doesn’t hurt,” said Ning Lan, unconcerned.


Sui Yi did not answer. He opened the drawer of his desk, retrieving a bottle of Yunnan Baiyao spray before turning around and picking up Ning Lan’s hand, spraying it across his reddened wrist.


The cool burst scattered across his skin. Twisting his arm away, Ning Lan shrank backwards, only for Sui Yi to hold his hand tight and not let him move away.


“Spraying this will let your skin heal faster,” said Sui Yi.


The medicinal scent was very strong. When they reached the departure hall of the airport, Ning Lan sniffed at his wrist, still able to smell the sharp scent. The skin on his wrist was also slightly heated.


While walking, Sui Yi suddenly turned around. Ning Lan was unable to stop in time, and he nearly slammed into his chest.


Sui Yi propped him up. “We’re here. You can go back now.”


Looking at the board announcing the flight departures, Ning Lan said, “It’s still early. I’ll walk you to the security check.”


Both of them were wearing masks, so Sui Yi could not see what expression Ning Lan currently had on his face. He said, “You don’t have to be like this.”


Ning Lan blinked, asking naively, “Like what?”


Sui Yi patted his luggage. “It’s enough for you to pack my luggage already. Thank…”


Before he could finish, his words were forced back into his mouth. Through the mask, Ning Lan’s hand was pressed against the bottom half of his face. His eyes rounding, he said, “Please, don’t say it! My life will be shortened!”


Sui Yi didn’t know how to react to this train of thought, and so he nodded in response before Ning Lan finally took his hand away.


Near the security check, Ning Lan was unable to enter, but he instructed Sui Yi, “In the future, remember to leave this sort of packing and organising tasks to me.”


Seeing the earnestness on his face, Sui Yi wanted to tease him. “Why? You’ll be able to do it for me for the rest of my life?”


Blinking innocently, Ning Lan seemed to be calculating whether this agreement was worth it or not. A moment later, his eyes curved in a smile, and he nodded firmly. “I don’t have an issue with that!”


That night, he received a text from Sui Yi. “Are you there? Where is the razor kept?”


Ning Lan‘s reply came quickly. “It’s in the black toiletry bag in the zip pocket of the luggage.”


A while later, Ning Lan received another question. “My pyjamas?”


Ning Lan’s thumbs flew across his phone. “The white T-shirt? It’s on top of the pile of trousers, underneath your underwear.”


The cycle of questions and answers repeated a few times, and Ning Lan finally completed the task of taking care of the young master. He could not help but ask, “How do you travel normally? Do you not bring any luggage?”


Sui Yi replied, “I do. But this time it was packed by you.”


Ning Lan pondered over it for a beat before he finally understood. Young Master Sui was shifting the blame to him.


There was only him in the dorm, alone. Ning Lan lay on his bed, cocking his feet up in complete freedom, swaying them around as he texted on his phone. “How is it, are you used to it over there?”


“It’s not too bad.”


Ning Lan then asked, “How long will the shoot be?”


“A month.”


While feeling that their country’s production of idol dramas was really too slipshod, only needing one month to complete filming, Ning Lan flipped through his calendar. A month? It would be almost autumn by the time Sui Yi returned.


He did not text him again, but scrolled through their chat aimlessly, discovering that the last time they texted was when Sui Yi got the role of the male lead and he sent a mass text to everyone inviting them to a meal. Earlier than that, it was before the live broadcast in S City, when Sui Yi called him over to their room to grab a bite.


Pressing down on the screen, Ning Lan deleted these texts, as well as the ones he sent but did not receive any responses to. After deleting, he scrolled through their chat history again. Now, their chat started from “Are you there?”, creating a false impression that they shared quite a good relationship.


Ning Lan lifted his wrist, sniffing at it. After his shower, the smell of the Yunnan Baiyao spray had lessened a lot, and just as he was considering whether to sneak the bottle out and spray it again, his phone vibrated. Sui Yi had sent another text. “I’ve left the spray bottle in the first drawer on the right side of my table. Take it and use it at least three times a day.”


Holding his phone, Ning Lan stared at the screen for a while. He typed a few words in, only to delete them again. Wavering over it for quite some time, in the end, he replied with only an “OK”.


The leader wasn’t here, and so the rest of the AOW members lazing at home were like elastic bands whose tension had gone out of them. They were all slumping and slouching, and no matter what they did, there seemed to be no energy to them.


Worried that they would slack off so much to the point where they might end up being completely lazy, Zhang Fan arranged for each of them to attend classes. Ning Lan was dragged and coaxed by Wang Bingyang to participate in acting classes. He finally perked up a little in the class, or at least, he was more interested in it than he was for singing and dancing.


Fang Yu had also accepted a role in a drama, acting as the ex-boyfriend of the female lead. He didn’t have many scenes, and he was only needed on set for about a week, and the filming was located right in their city. Outside of his acting classes, Ning Lan would visit him on set. The female lead’s appearance wasn’t even as exquisite as Fang Yu, and before the shoot, she constantly pleaded for the cameraman to pay attention to the angles, to not make her face look too big on screen.


“With one glance you can tell there’s basically no logic to this drama. With your face right there, the female lead must be blind to break up with you,” said Ning Lan before taking a large bite out of his ice cream.


“Hey, don’t eat it first. I haven’t taken a photo yet.” Fang Yu held his ice cream out, placing it together with Ning Lan’s as he started capturing photos of the ice creams from various angles.


Bored as he waited, Ning Lan took his phone out too and captured a shot.


After taking about a dozen photos, Fang Yu finally stopped. As he added filters to his photos, he said, “I don’t know if the female lead is blind or not, but the male lead’s vision definitely isn’t fantastic.”


Speaking about the male lead, Ning Lan asked Fang Yu, “Didn’t Lu Xiaochuan previously insist on playing the role of this male lead? It came to nothing in the end?”


Fang Yu snorted. “If it worked out, wouldn’t it be horrible? A blind and stupid male lead. Before the drama can even be broadcasted, it would already fail completely.”


Ning Lan’s shoulders quaked with laughter. His phone chimed, alerting him that he received a notification from someone he followed. Fang Yu had posted a photo of their hands holding onto the ice creams on Weibo.


By evening time, the comment section was still filled with people discussing in great interest about who the other hand belonged to. Some said that it was the female lead of the new drama, but after some comparison, her hand shouldn’t be this big. Some said it was their assistant, and a girl who was camping outside the set said that AOW’s belle had very few scenes, and he did not bring an assistant at all. Even more said that it was AOW’s leader, and CP fans all brainlessly came up with all sorts of imaginary fluff for them to enjoy. However, very quickly, they were slapped in the face by the older, more experienced fans based on the skin colour. Although Sui Yi wasn’t tanned, he still wasn’t as fair as the hand showed in the image.


After a period of arduous speculation and elimination, the fans finally came to a conclusion — it was Bubble Lan’s hand.


At night, Ning Lan shared this Weibo post, adding an emoji of showering hearts. With this one stone he threw, multiple ripples were formed. It wasn’t just the CP fans, even AOW’s fans found it unbelievable — as the third party between the CP of the leader and the belle, as well as his personal setting as a cannon fodder, how did Ning Lan suddenly step up and start showing off his “love” with one of the main characters?


Drowning in unease for less than half an hour, they started expressing their instincts as CP fans. They started fantasising as a form of self-consolation — our flower was so good, that even after having his opportunity of being the leader’s partner in the dance snatched away, he wasn’t angry at all. Posting such a photo definitely was something that was asked of him by the company.


There was the tiniest group of fans who started shipping Sui Yi and Ning Lan after the showcase. They secretly gathered in a topic called “Following and Chasing the Tides1”. Even they themselves deemed their CP as being “heretic”, and quietly they squealed in excitement — Leader’s official spouse and new love actually got along so well together, Leader was truly impressive!


After sharing that post, Ning Lan did not look at the comment section anymore. Naturally, he did not know how various fans were dissecting and interpreting all this information.


Before falling asleep, he shared the ice cream photo in his friends circle. Upon waking up, he saw that Sui Yi had liked it. Tapping on Sui Yi’s name, he went into Sui Yi’s friends list and saw that his latest update was yesterday, and it was a photo as well. It was a shot of the distant sunrise, and the roofs in the photo were all tilted, as though the photographer was not standing straight. The caption only contained one word — sleepy.


Ning Lan admired the shot, feeling that through this, Sui Yi finally seemed a little like the eighteen year old teenager he actually was. In the spirit of reciprocity, Ning Lan too liked the photo. Switching back to the chat interface, his thumb hovered over Sui Yi’s chat for some time, but he didn’t tap on it.


He didn’t know what he should say, yet he didn’t want to leave the app just like that.


At this time, the heavens helped him make a choice. The chat interface suddenly changed to show that he was receiving a call, and his phone vibrated non-stop.


The moment Ning Lan accepted the call, the voice of his cousin, Ning Xuan, came through. “Gege, gege, I want an Apple watch.”


Every time Ning Xuan looked for him, ninety-nine percent of the time, she wanted money. Ning Lan had only bought her a new phone and laptop last week, and now, she wanted some apple watch. Such frequent, unreasonable requests made Ning Lan feel that his original intentions had now been deviated from.


“Can’t you just look at the time on your phone? Why do you need a watch?” Ning Lan asked.


“It’s an apple watch, and it’s different from normal watches. It can keep track of your heartbeat, and you can answer calls on it as well.”


Ning Lan ignored the contempt in her voice. He asked, “Is this thing helpful in your studies?”


Ning Xuan did not answer that question, only saying, “Every single one of my classmates owns one.”


She was referring to her TOEFL class. Classes like that were usually attended by children who were getting ready to go overseas, and their family finances were often pretty decent. For Ning Xuan to compare herself with them was already barely doable.


Ning Lan minimised the chat interface, opening up a browser page and checking on it. Patiently, he said, “I’ve taken a look. It allows you to send voice messages, navigate, play music, track your heartbeat, and something about tracking your footsteps. All these can be done with apps on your phone as well, there’s no need to buy this…”


Before he could finish, he was rudely cut off by Ning Xuan. “It’s only around three thousand RMB, and it can’t even compare to the amount of money you gave your mother. Why are you so petty?!”


Ning Lan’s mind blitzed out. “How did you find out…”


Ning Xuan asserted, “Yesterday, your mother even came to our place to show off, saying that you just sent her thirty thousand RMB. She bought a gold necklace, gold bracelet and gold earrings with that. Tsk, how gauche.”


Not responding for some time, Ning Lan felt as though all the energy in his body had been sucked out of him in an instant.


He would have never thought that they would use the money he gave them as competition against each other, taking pride in being able to squeeze the very last drop of blood out of him.


Holding onto the chair, Ning Lan sat down. In a daze, he looked down at his leg that was still covered in medicated plasters due to the injuries he received while practising his dancing. On the other side of the call, Ning Xuan was still chattering away non-stop. Ning Lan did not want to listen, and he groped around to end the call.


The sun was now above the horizon, casting a bright golden glow into the room. However, Ning Lan felt that his body was icy cold, and he could not get warm.


The surface of Sui Yi’s desk was very clean. Ning Lan reached out, wanting to take the ointment spray. However, his phone suddenly vibrated, and after a moment of hesitation, he still picked it up.


It was a text from Sui Yi. “Is your wrist better?”


Perhaps due to the strong, piercing sunlight, Ning Lan’s eyes ached a little. He replied, “It’s fine now.”


Sui Yi did not seem to believe him. “Really?”


It was quickly followed by, “Let me see.”


Ning Lan knew that he wanted a photo. The photo he posted in his friends circle was of his left hand, and his reddened right wrist could not be seen.


“You really want to see?” Ning Lan asked.


Sui Yi’s reply was only one word. “Mn.”


Sniffling, Ning Lan went online to book a train ticket. However, the high speed train tickets to J City were sold out, and only standing tickets were left for K City and T City.


Browsing through the site for a little while more, he finally realised that he was being stupid. He left the site and went to look at the airline tickets instead.


A return ticket was around one thousand RMB. He would treat it as though he bought half an Apple watch then.


Fuck that Apple watch.


Seven hours later, Ning Lan stood by the door to the film city of J City and gave Sui Yi a call.


“Hello?” This was the first time Sui Yi received a call from Ning Lan, and he answered, feeling a little uncertain. “Ning Lan?”


Each time he heard Sui Yi call his name, Ning Lan’s heart would pound rapidly. It was as though there was something expanding wildly within, and it felt so realistic.


“Sui Yi.” This was also the first time Ning Lan had called his name directly. “I’m at the entrance of J City’s film city. I’ve just arrived.”


The other person on the line fell silent. Around him, people were walking about, the place bustling with sounds. However, nothing was heard on the phone at all.


Just as Ning Lan felt completely embarrassed, about to flee the situation by hanging up, Sui Yi finally spoke up.


“Stay there, I’ll pick you up.”

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