seat and fastened his seatbelt.
“Where do you live?” Ji Ran asked with a dark expression.
“Once we reach the city, just drop me off anywhere.” Qin Man said, “I still need to find an apartment.”
Ji Ran, “Find an apartment?”
“ My previous house was put up as collateral.” Qin Man’s expression didn’t change, “I’m preparing to rent one for the time being.”
The road on the mountain was winding and Ji Ran sped through the bends beautifully.
Qin Man rested his hand on the car and the other touched his chin as he gave a verdict, “Your skills are pretty good.”
Ji Ran snorted, “When this grandpa was racing on the track, you were probably still writing exam sheets in the classroom.”
Qin Man asked, “You drove underage?”
The kindergarten teacher was back again.
Ji Ran rolled his eyes and ignored his question, “How much do you plan to spend on a flat?”
Qin Man thought for a moment, “1,500 dollars or less a month?”
The young master Ji who’d never lived an ordinary life in his last 20 years asked, “…What, are you thinking of renting a toilet to live in? Where were you living before?”
“At a friend’s house.” Qin Man answered, “I’ve stayed for too long and feel bad.
So, I’ve decided to find a new place.”
“You know how to feel embarrassed? I thought you didn’t care about your reputation any longer.
Didn’t I give you some money before? Isn’t it enough to stay in a hotel?”
“I transferred it all to my family.” Qin Man effortlessly pushed the blame away.
“…What about your family?”
“They’ve run off to hide overseas.”
Ji Ran asked, “They didn’t bring you along?”
“No, I still have matters to settle in the country and can’t leave.” Qin Man smiled, “Moreover, those loanshark runners don’t have a good life.
If I run, won’t they lose their jobs?”
He didn’t expect this person to have such a tragic backstory befitting of a white lotus1.
Ji Ran was completely stupefied, “…You’re such a good person, why don’t you go do some charity?”
“I used to, but now I can’t anymore.”
Ji Ran shut up.
Once they’d entered the city, he finally asked, “Where will you go if you can’t find a flat?”
Qin Man answered, “I’ll find a hostel.”
“Yes, the hostels for travellers are pretty cheap.
Only a hundred bucks per night.”
An image of Qin Man wearing a suit sitting in a narrow and cramped rental room surfaced in his mind.
It was too jarring and strange… and also a little pitiful.
He stayed silent for a long time before he finally spoke, “I didn’t accept the twenty thousand you returned to me the last time.
Take it and find a good hotel.”
“I’ve already transferred it to my parents.”
“…Why don’t you just give them your life?!”
Qin Man laughed and turned to look at him, “Haven’t I already sold my life to you?”
Ji Ran focused on the road, feeling uneasy from the stare, “Don’t talk nonsense.
I don’t engage in shady business like buying a person and I also don’t want your life.”
A phone call interrupted their conversation.
Glancing at the caller ID, Ji Ran immediately picked up.
“Little Ran Ran, when are you coming home? I’ve been waiting for you for so long and I’m getting hungry.” Yu Wen Wen’s tone was coy.
Ji Ran told him, “Are you waiting for me to come back and stuff a bowl in your mouth? Don’t you have to work overtime today?”
“Why do you have to be so fierce?” Yu Wen Wen pouted, “I’m not working, I drank too much last night and my head hurt this morning so I skipped work.
When are you coming back?”
Ji Ran looked outside, “About ten more minutes… just say what you have to say.”
“Let’s go play ball in the afternoon.
I’ve also invited Cheng Peng and his little lover.” Yu Wen Wen said, “Cheng Peng’s car has been scrapped, he needs you to go pick him up.”
Cheng Peng was their old friend who’d recently gotten a new lover and they were in their honeymoon period.
Therefore, he hadn’t hung out with them for a long time.
Ji Ran sneered, “Are you itching for a beating? You want me to be your chauffeur?”
“The basketball court is a new place he found.
It’s very near to where he lives so it’s on the way.
His lover is also there so you can pick them both up at the same time.”
“There’s a court near his house? Doesn’t he live with his parents? He actually dared to bring his lover back?” Ji Ran asked.
“No, he moved out.
He just moved in yesterday and already brought his lover back home, he’s really fast.” Yu Wen Wen answered, “Anyway, I’m hanging up.
I still need to draw my brows.
I’ll be waiting for you.
Hanging up the phone, Ji Ran turned around in annoyance, “…Don’t look at me like that.”
From the moment he picked up the call, Qin Man’s gaze hadn’t left him for a moment.
His lips were pursed and his eyes were filled with hidden grievances as if he were an abandoned wife.
“Fine, I won’t look.” Qin Man turned away.
After a moment, he asked, “You like Yu Wen Wen?”
Ji Ran nearly stepped down on the brakes, “…Your imagination is really wild.”
Qin Man finally relaxed.
His head was hurting from the lack of sleep so he said, “Let me know if you ever get a girlfriend or a boyfriend.
I may be poor but I don’t want to be the third party.
When that time comes, I’ll return the extra money to you.”
After saying this, an uncomfortable silence filled the car.
Qin Man paused and finally realised that he’d stepped on a minefield, “I don’t have any other meaning.”
“I know,” Ji Ran said with a face of nonchalance, his voice dull.
If I ever have someone I like, I definitely won’t allow you to show up and annoy us.”
After saying so, the car came to a halt by the roadside, “Get off.”
“Ji Ran, cross him! Cross him!” Yu Wen Wen couldn’t run any more, gasping as he pointed at the other side’s hoop.
Ji Ran’s actions were very straightforward, crossing Cheng Peng in the next second.
He jumped and drew a beautiful arc.
The ball shot through the net heavily and fell to the ground with a loud bang.
“I’m not playing anymore!” Cheng Peng dropped to the ground and pulled up his shirt to wipe away his sweat, “Damn, can’t you give me a chance? If you bully people like this every day, aren’t you afraid you won’t have anyone left to play basketball with?”
“It’s not that I’m bullying you guys, it’s you who are too weak.” Ji Ran walked to his side and saw Cheng Peng’s lover hand him a bottle of water.
Cheng Peng’s lover looked quite young and sported bangs.
His big and dark eyes looked rather cute.
Ji Ran took the bottle and asked, “Are you an adult yet?”
The boy froze before nodding, “I-I-I am.”
…He was even a stutterer.
Ji Ran nodded and twisted the cap, drinking his water in large gulps.
Cheng Peng asked him, “Can’t you give us a chance since we’re so weak?”
“Why haven’t I seen you give me a chance when we’re playing mahjong.
I still remember how much you won from me last year.” Ji Wei scolded, “Return my money and I’ll lift you up to shoot 20 hoops.”
“Why are you so petty?” Cheng Peng walked over and pulled his lover to sit beside him.
“Right, I heard about you and Qin Man.
Brother, you’re really something.
You even managed to get to Qin Man, should I praise you for being skilful or courageous?”
Cheng Peng’s body was full of the smell of sweat but the boy didn’t mind in the slightest.
His shoulders were hunched as if he was afraid of Cheng Peng.
In the end, he picked up a towel and helped him wipe off his sweat.
Ji Ran, “Don’t talk about me.
What about you? You even brought him home, aren’t you afraid your parents will find out and skin you alive?”
“Do you think I’m afraid of them? Moreover, my house has many rooms.
Even if they come, I can just say it’s a friend who’s temporarily staying over.” Cheng Peng told him, “It’s easier to have him by my side and to manage.”
When the boy heard this, the tips of his ears grew red.
Ji Ran heard this and raised a brow, not saying a word.
“Little brother, get me a bottle of water too.” Yu Wen Wen walked over and sat down beside them.
He looked at Ji Ran once over, “Very good, you look fine.
I dreamt that you were beaten up in the bathroom of the engagement party last night.”
Ji Ran laughed coldly, “Did you get it wrong? Shouldn’t I be the one to beat others up? Pass me the ball.”
Yu Wen Wen threw the ball to him and Ji Ran caught it, running back to the court by himself.
Watching him play for a while, Cheng Peng couldn’t help asking, “What happened?”
Yu Wen Wen leaned back, “What else? He went back to the Ji house last night.”
Cheng Peng froze.
His eyes widened as he lowered his voice, “What, he went back to fight with his brother?! Did you go? Why didn’t you guys call me?”
“No, Ji Wei got engaged yesterday.
He only went there to congratulate them.”
Cheng Peng’s eyes grew even wider.
He still remembered Ji Wei calling people to stuff Ji Ran in the bathroom back in highschool.
Ji Ran was locked up for an entire period.
By the time they’d arrived, Ji Ran was completely bruised and broken but the people in the bathroom weren’t any better than him.
Ji Ran had gone against five others by himself, yet he’d left them all with colourful bruises.
When they’d rushed in, it was just in time to hear Ji Ran’s cold voice telling those people on the ground, “It’s fine if you want to mess with me, but if you touch my friends, I’ll kill you.”
“And also, tell Ji Wei to count himself lucky he didn’t come here personally today.
Otherwise, I’d have killed him.”
At the start, he had somewhat disdained Ji Ran.
But after some time and with that incident to boot, Cheng Peng recognised him as his sworn brother.
“You’re truly something.
You actually allowed him to go by himself,” Cheng Peng sighed.
Yu Wen Wen said, “You’re all brawns but no brain.
There were so many people at the party, including his father and grandmother.
Do you think Ji Wei would do anything to him?”
Cheng Peng, “…True.”
After playing, Yu Wen Wen made a fuss of wanting to eat seafood.
His sports car only had two seats.
For convenience, Ji Ran changed to a different sports car after he reached home.
Throwing his keys to Yu Wen Wen, he lazily took a seat in the backseat, too tired to say another word.
He picked up his phone and found two new messages.
[Q has transferred 600 yuan2 to you.
Note: The remainder of the cab fare.]
Q: I misspoke earlier.
I’m sorry, don’t be angry.
Ji Ran didn’t accept the money and didn’t reply.
During the meal, Cheng Peng seemed to have recalled something.
I was at a class gathering previously and heard something interesting.”
Yu Wen Wen asked, “What class gathering? Why didn’t little Ran Ran and I know about it?”
“They said they’d called Ji Ran but he didn’t reply,” Cheng Peng said.
Ji Ran, “Did they?”
“It’s all your fault.
I actually missed an opportunity to see my high school crush! Quick, go on.”
“It’s good that you didn’t go.
Your crush now has a beer belly.” Cheng Peng hesitated before speaking, “It’s about that… time in high school.
Ji Ran, do you remember the time you were locked up in the bathroom?”
Yu Wen Wen said, “…Why did you suddenly mention this?”
“Listen to me.
At that time, the teacher had personally appeared and forced the people to open the bathroom.
You probably don’t remember this, right?” Cheng Peng told him.
“That day during the class gathering, the teacher was also invited.
After a couple of drinks, he suddenly told me… it was Qin Man who’d gone to find him at that time.”
Ji Ran froze.
“Seriously? Is Qin Man such a righteous person?” Yu Wen Wen asked, “Actually, I was also quite puzzled.
That old man was always biased towards Ji Wei and overlooked all the trouble Ji Wei caused for our little Ran Ran.
Yet he had actually punished all those fools…”
Are you not done speaking? Do you still want to eat?”
Ji Ran cut them off and continued to pick up the food as if his momentary stumble earlier hadn’t happened.
After a moment, he mumbled to himself, “How pretentious, only knowing how to tattle.”
t/n: Cheng Peng does sound like a douchebag, what ‘manage?’ >:#
1 White lotus: An innocent person or one who acts innocent2 600 yuan = 86 USD
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