Edited by DancingDolphinsYo
“Hey, that day at 4S Hotel, weren’t you…” The sweetie-pie, Gu Chenkai, pointed at him, surprised.
Only then did Ning Lan understand that he did not have a change in luck, but instead, he had ran from one wolf den to another.
In this lifetime, nothing good would ever befall him.
“You’ve met?” An Lin asked.
Just as Ning Lan was racking his brains on how to answer her, Sui Yi replied. “No, Xiao Chen is mistaken.”
The four people stepped into the lift, and Gu Chenkai kept looking suspiciously at Ning Lan. He constantly muttered “it’s him”, but without getting a response from the concerned parties, he could only let it go.
Upon reaching the 23rd floor, 2306 was the first apartment on the right. Gu Chenkai bounded over with his bags to open the door, singing out, “I’m~ back~”
Ning Lan speculated that this child’s position in the group was probably to be the sweet little fool.
An Lin stood by the door, asking if it was convenient to come in. Only after getting a confirmation did she bring Ning Lan in.
Ning Lan entered the apartment to see underwear and socks strewn all over the couch in the living room. Gu Chenkai placed his bags down and clumsily tidied them up with Wang Bingyang. Wearing just a singlet and boxers due to the heating, Gao Ming walked out from one of the bedrooms. Seeing An Lin, he immediately retreated, and when he came out again, he was wearing a pair of pants and a shirt.
Ning Lan speculated that this probably was a heterosexual male group.
An Lin seemed to be used to these children’s disorderliness. Clapping her hands together to attract their attention, she announced, “This is our AOW’s new member, Ning Lan.”
The five people exchanged their names. Other than Sui Yi and Gu Chenkai whose names had yet to be released to the public, Ning Lan had already seen photos of Gao Ming and Wang Bingyang on the internet. They looked pretty similar to their photos, and they were all handsome.
Gao Ming asked about his age. Ning Lan remembered Zhang Fan’s instruction, so he swallowed back the “23” he was about to say, and instead replied, “18.”
“We’re of the same age then.” Gao Ming clapped his shoulder, “Which month were you born in?”
“Uh… November.” Lying made Ning Lan a little uncomfortable, and his words were not very confident.
“Then you’re younger than me,” Gao Ming said. He pulled at Wang Bingyang next to him, “Quick, call him Ge.”
Wang Bingyang was from Dongbei. He looked both naive and straightforward, cheerfully, he greeted him, “Ge!”
Like Wang Bingyang, Gu Chenkai was seventeen. Gu Chenkai’s birthday was even later, and according to An Lin, he was the group’s “maknae1”. He had been assessing Ning Lan the entire time with doubt in his eyes. Tightening his lips, he refused to call him “Ge”.
Ning Lan thought, actually, it should be you guys who call me Ge, all right? When I was crawling about in the dirt and teasing little girls, you were all still wailing and crying in your cots.
However, he did not dare to say this aloud. He had to try his best to fit in the group.
One of the “wild, cool and aggressive” members, Lu Xiaochuan and another member called Fang Yu were not present. An Lin said that both of them had accommodations outside and rarely slept in the apartment, so they were assigned to the smallest room. As for the other two bedrooms, one belonged to Sui Yi and Gu Chenkai, and the other belonged to Gao Ming and Wang Bingyang.
Ning Lan wanted to stay in the room occupied by the two members who rarely came back, but An Lin was a little troubled. “Lu Xiaochuan would still occasionally come back and stay, and he’s more… more picky, and hates noise. I had to speak until my throat was dry before he agreed to share his room with Fang Yu.”
So, Ning Lan chose to stay with Gao Ming and Wang Bingyang. These two people seemed easier to get along with.
No one had any objections, and after reminding Ning Lan to report punctually at the studio at 9am, An Lin left. Gu Chenkai anxiously returned to his room to unpack his new clothes, and Sui Yi too returned to his room.
Ning Lan followed Gao Ming into the bedroom. The space available was not much bigger than the empty room. There was a single bed and a double-decker bed. Against the west wall, there were two computer desks, and the yoga mat on the floor made the room seem even more cramped. Gao Ming and Wang Bingyang were using the single bed and the bottom bunk respectively, and Ning Lan was only left with the top bunk.
Wang Bingyang gathered up the dirty clothes that were scattered across the top bunk and shoved them all under his bed. With a mocking smile, he spoke, “I didn’t expect Ning-ge to arrive so early, so I didn’t have time to tidy up.”
Ning Lan was not bothered by the mess. He had lived in a school dormitory before, and he had seen how slovenly boys could get. Climbing onto the top bunk, he wanted to see the size of the bunk so that he could buy a suitably sized mattress. However, the moment his knee touched the bed board, he heard a creak, and he fell. A support of the top bunk had broken, and it collapsed.
Wang Bingyang helped Ning Lan up, alarmed. “Luckily I wasn’t on the bed; if not, I might have been turned into a pancake.”
Ning Lan was speechless. He was not that heavy! This lousy bed had clearly rusted over the years, and he only happened to be the last straw it could handle before it collapsed.
The two people next door rushed over when they heard the noise. Pointing at the broken support hanging there, Gu Chenkai laughed till his tears fell. Only when Sui Yi gave him instructions did he come over to help, and the few people clumsily removed the broken support.
The top bunk could no longer be slept on. Ning Lan was considering if he should just lay a mat on the ground and sleep there when Sui Yi spoke up. “Come to our room to sleep then, there’s an empty bed.”
Gu Chenkai immediately stopped smiling. He grumbled continuously, expressing his reluctance. Ning Lan also did not want to share a room with the two rich kids, but seeing that he did not have any other options, he could only agree to stay there temporarily, and move back once the bed was repaired.
Sui Yi seemed to be indifferent towards him, and Ning Lan thought that it was just a fluke, that maybe he had forgotten about the incident that day. After all, they had only seen each other for such a short moment, and in this whole world, there were many people who looked similar to each other!
However, he had underestimated how recognisable his face was.
Sui Yi took the responsibility as the group leader seriously. On his own initiative, he gave Ning Lan the bottom bunk, moving to the top. From where he was standing, Gu Chenkai nervously supported the bed. “Ge, why don’t you just squeeze in with me? I have no confidence in the quality of this bed.”
Next to them, Ning Lan was playing with his mobile nonchalantly. Hearing Gu Chenkai’s words, he was full of unspoken criticism. Driving their Maybach and flaunting it, yet they were unwilling to spend some money to buy two better beds?
Sui Yi’s actions were very fast. After making his bed, he straight away stepped onto the last rung of the ladder and jumped down. After he straightened his body, Ning Lan discovered that this fellow was taller than him by half a head, and for some reason, he felt oppressed.
Ning Lan forced a professional smile onto his face. “Thank you, Lead. I’ll treat you to a meal next time.”
Sui Yi shook his head slightly, implying that there was no need to thank him. He asked, “Where’s your luggage?”
“I didn’t bring any. I’ll go out and buy some things later.”
Little boy Gu Chenkai was not very interested in him. Grabbing his new clothes, he headed to the balcony. Sui Yi remained standing there, and just as Ning Lan was wondering if this fellow was waiting for him to immediately produce the meal on the spot, Sui Yi finally spoke. “You were only concerned about avoiding your responsibilities and running away, so you didn’t have time to bring your luggage?”
Ning Lan’s face paled instantly.
Sui Yi had immediately recognised him in the garage, as Ning Lan had a very conspicuous mole on the right side of his neck.
The first time he saw him was about a year ago, in a place with lots of cars. The reason Sui Yi was there was because Gu Chenkai wanted to buy a car, but he was underaged. Sui Yi had promised his youngest aunt to take care of his cousin. Afraid that he would go wild and drive on the streets without a license, he then accompanied Gu Chenkai as a guardian.
Behind his parents’ backs, Gu Chenkai took the red packet money he had been saving for seventeen years to buy a car. Although the amount on his card was not a small sum, it was not exactly enough to buy a luxury car. When the salesmen saw that one of them was underaged and the other had just come of age, they did not allow them to pay in installments.
This situation turned out to be completely what Sui Yi had expected. He persuaded the raging child back into the car, then continued persuading him after they were seated inside the car, promising that once Gu Chenkai was of age, he would lend his car to him to drive. Finally, after much difficulty, his little cousin agreed. Just as he was about to start his car, they heard a bang! Something had collided with the car, and the extremely stable Maybach even jolted.
Sui Yi looked out of the window, and someone happened to be plastered to it.
It was not at all an exaggeration to say that the person was plastered to the window. He seemed to be pressed forcefully against the car, then his neck was grabbed and he slowly slid down. His face was again pressed back onto the glass, and his warm breath left a patch of condensation on the window.
A one-way film had been installed on the windows of the car, and people outside were unable to look in. However, sitting inside the car, Sui Yi could see the mole on the other person’s neck very clearly.
“There’s a fight? Ge, let’s go out and take a look.” Gu Chenkai wanted to join in the fun. Sui Yi touched his controls and locked the doors.
“Don’t make any sound.” He held onto Gu Chenkai.
Their car was parked along the road outside 4S Hotel. Next to the car stood more than 2 people. If they were to get out of the car, they might also be beaten up.
The hefty person pressing on the head said, “Still want to run? Where are you running to?” He slapped the person being held down.
The figure of the person getting slapped seemed more than a size smaller than the hefty man. His jacket was open, and his shoulders, covered in a T-shirt, were revealed.
Sui Yi heard him speak. “Let me go, I’ve already said that I’ll return it. My identification card is also with Old Liu already, what more do you want?”
“Why the hell would Liu-laoban2 want an identification card that has already been reported as lost?! You dishonest fellow, this time, we’ll break off one of your legs and bring it back. If you still don’t return the money, you can just hop around on one leg!”
With the hand around his neck, Ning Lan could barely breathe. Gasping, he waved the white flag. “My lousy leg, even if Liu-laoban t-takes it, it’s also useless. Can you take something else?”
The hefty man probably got tired, and let go of his neck. Holding onto his neck, Ning Lan coughed for a long time before catching his breath. Swaying, he straightened up.
“So, what are you going to give us?” The hefty man asked.
Ning Lan turned and patted Sui Yi’s car. “How about this Maybach?”
In the car, Gu Chenkai was both furious and shocked. He wanted to get out of the car and teach Ning Lan a lesson, but Sui Yi held him back. Sui Yi was a little curious. He wanted to know how this person was going to make this car sound like it belonged to him.
The hefty man chuckled. “Don’t make me laugh, this car is yours?”
“No.” Having regained his freedom, Ning Lan turned around. He raised his chin towards the car, showing it off, “It’s my husband’s.”
“Yes, why else do you think I’m here? I accompanied him here for the car’s maintenance. He was introduced by my family, although he’s a little old, he’s rich. Later on when we get our marriage license, his money will be my money.”
When Ning Lan said all this, his words had a lack of confidence. However, he really did have someone that he had to marry if he went home. His mother had sold him, and to gain a better price, she even changed his age and said that he was five years younger. Now, that identification card was in that man’s hand, and it made looking for a job very inconvenient. The reason why he had borrowed money from his previous boss was to buy back his own freedom.
In the end, he had dug a deeper hole. He mocked himself secretly, that he might just be born to be tossed around like an object.
The hefty man was suspicious. Stroking his chin, he glanced at the car plate. “Your husband bought a license tag for Beijing?”
Sweat beaded on Ning Lan’s forehead. “Of course. He has business here, it’s much more convenient.”
“Where is he? Let us see him.”
Ning Lan casually pointed. “He’s inside. I only came out to get some fresh air. He’s the one wearing a black suit, you can go take a look.”
The hefty man really believed him and turned to look inside the 4S Hotel. Ning Lan was about to take advantage of his laxness and run away, but the lackey next to them shouted, “Da-ge, look! The side mirror of this car has moved!”
Inside the car, Sui Yi had not kept a tight watch over Gu Chenkai. As Gu Chenkai was unable to see the proceedings clearly, he had adjusted the side mirror. He did not expect that such a small movement would actually be discovered, and he was so frightened that he froze in his seat.
“Seems like your husband is out here, and he’s in the car.” The hefty man sneered at Ning Lan, walking over and knocking on the window.
Sui Yi gestured at Gu Chenkai to remain silent, and wound down the window on the driver’s side.
The sun was radiant, and he was finally able to see the face of the little liar with a mouthful of deception clearly. He looked different from what he had imagined. Surprisingly, his appearance was innocent and refined, looking just like a good student.
If only he could ignore the red palm marks on his cheeks and neck.
With the abrupt change in events, Ning Lan did not dare to say anything. His eyes glanced about, and without a change in expression, he shifted to one side.
The hefty man could not help but laugh when he saw Sui Yi in the driver’s seat. “Is this the son of that husband of yours? Did you get married to become his stepmother?” He then looked at the passenger seat. “Yo, there’s even two of them.”
Acting along, Ning Lan glanced at the people in the car. How would he know that the people inside would be so young? He laughed, “Maybe… I was mistaken, it’s the same type of car, the same type of car… Hey, it should be the one over there!”
He pointed towards the east. When everyone’s attention was diverted, he sprinted in the opposite direction.
The hefty man and his gang realised that they had been tricked, and immediately yelled and chased after him.
Seeing that they had gone far away, Sui Yi remained in the same spot. Only when he saw Ning Lan stick his head out from the corner of 4S Hotel and slip out, clearly having gotten rid of his tail, did he start the car and drove off.
Gu Chenkai had made fun of this incident the entire New Year. Each time he saw him, he would ask, “How does it feel to be a newly-wed husband?”
Sui Yi only smiled, and did not respond.
Who would have guessed that this reckless little liar actually had the ability to scam his way into this place.
Sui Yi saw how Ning Lan’s face had whitened, and for some reason, he found it amusing. Still acting in his role as the group leader, he reminded him, “Since you’re here, you’re now a member of AOW. I hope that from now on, you’ll be cautious with your words and actions, and not do anything you’re not supposed to do.”
What could Ning Lan say? He obediently agreed.
In the evening, Gao Ming and Wang Bingyang brought him to the nearby supermarket to buy some things. Blankets and a mattress already cost him more than 200rmb, and in the end, Gao Ming lent him 800rmb before he could afford all his daily necessities.
Back home, he boiled some water to cook instant noodles. He had planned on eating it in the room, but Gu Chenkai had immediately sat down in front of the keyboard and started playing and singing the scales as though no one was around. Getting a headache, Ning Lan went out and ate his noodles in the living room.
Just as he took a couple of bites, Sui Yi returned from somewhere. He saw the noodles in his hand and spoke, “Remember to toss it out when you’re done. The ventilation in the room isn’t good.”
Ning Lan automatically took his unruffled tone as disdain. He thought, this person really seemed to want to stick his nose into everything, including his bodily releases. A rich young master with a luxury car, why was he not staying in his own place? Did he receive a blow to his brain and so he decided to come and squeeze with all of them?
Just now, on the way back from the supermarket, Wang Bingyang provided him with some information. Sui Yi and Gu Chenkai were cousins, and both their families were very rich. During the talent competition, Gu Chenkai had quite a good ranking and was somewhat popular. Sui Yi only entered the company at the end of last year, and when he joined, he was immediately entrusted with the responsibility of the group leader. Everyone else had originally thought that the leader would be Gao Ming.
Towards this point, Ning Lan did not feel that it was unfair. He had been exposed to society earlier than these boys, and he knew about the laws of surviving in society. No matter which industry it was, money would always pave the way. Since there was this natural resource with an impressive background, why would the company not take advantage of it?
Furthermore, Sui Yi was so good-looking.
Ning Lan had worked in a club for two years. He had seen many pretty boys and girls, but there was only this face that he had been immediately enchanted by. The glimpse he barely caught that time outside 4S Hotel had nearly made him unable to move.
Ning Lan, a purveyor of good-looking faces, finished his last bite of noodles, and personally brought the bowl to the trash bin downstairs. Leaning against the wall of the lift, he burped. Fantasising aimlessly, if the “husband” his mother had found for him looked like this, there was a possibility that he would not have run away.