Ji Ran was awoken by a scorching thirst.
When he opened his eyes, there was only darkness; the curtains were shut, not allowing a single ray of light to pass through. Sitting up, his hand roamed around the bed until he found the clock.
He had a splitting headache, yet his memories didn’t spare him. They were all wreaking havoc in his head.
Just in time, he recalled how he had ruthlessly bitten Qin Man’s lips and pulled his hair in frustration.
He had to quit drinking. This was Ji Ran’s third time telling himself that this year.
Looking around, he realised Qin Man wasn’t by his side or in the bathroom.
Carefully, he got out of bed and turned on the light. Picking up the cellphone he had unfeelingly abandoned last night, he turned it on.
The moment his phone turned on, countless notifications sounded one after another, annoying Ji Ran endlessly, so he quickly muted it.
Everyone was there, even the Old Lady Ji had called.
Ji Ran was not surprised. Although his grandmother was abroad, she was sometimes more aware of domestic affairs than him.
Among them, Yue Wen Wen sent the most messages.
[Ran Ran, Cheng Peng said that he had already asked his company’s lawyers to handle this. Don’t worry, it will be gone by tomorrow. Don’t worry.]
[Those people on the Internet are talking nonsense and blindly following along. Don’t stoop to their level!]
[I’ll go to your house to find you, let’s play some games?]
[Ran Ran, answer the phone!]
The last message, telling him to have a good rest, was sent just ten minutes ago. Ji Ran was too lazy to type, so he directly called Yue Wen Wen.
Yue Wen Wen answered, “Ran Ran! Are you awake?! I thought you would have a hangover until noon!”
“En, why is it so noisy on your side?” Ji Ran walked to the bathroom to wash his face, “…how do you know I was drunk.”
“I went to your house last night. Did you see the medicine on the bedside table? Take some if you have a headache or nausea.” Yue Wen Wen said, “I was caught by my dad and dragged to work at the construction site. It’s so hot, I hate it. ”
Ji Ran said, “…Qin Man let you in last night?”
Ji Ran walked to the bedside and found a small box of medicine and a glass of water next to the alarm clock.
The air conditioner was set too low, so the water had completely gone cold. Still, he took a sip and finally felt his throat at ease.
“What did Cheng Peng say?”
“Oh, this…” Yue Wen Wen said, “Don’t worry, the hot search has been withdrawn, but it wasn’t Peng Peng. He just contacted the other side yesterday, but it was already gone. Plus, those influencers have also deleted their blogs. Now, you can’t find any news about you or Auntie on Weibo. Don’t worry!”
Ji Ran frowned. “Not Cheng Peng? Who took it down?”
“Didn’t Qin Man tell you?”
Yue Wen Wen was about to say something, but one of the engines there roared again. “… I’ll tell you later, it’s too noisy here, I can’t hear you…”
Before Ji Ran could ask further, the call had ended.
He suddenly remembered that the first time he was sent onto the hot search, it was also Qin Man who helped him.
Although he didn’t understand the entertainment circle, the price of doing such a thing was an open-secret. No matter what, it definitely involved money.
Previously, under the pretext of infringement of privacy, they could still pressure the platform to withdraw the hot search. However, yesterday’s topic involved Zhao Qing Tong and even dug up old reports from the past. It was impossible to delete so easily.
He found Qin Man’s number and was about to call him, but suddenly remembered how he had drunkenly tormented the other person’s lips last night. Without warning, his face flushed. It was unknown whether it was from embarrassment or shame, but he silently withdrew his hand.
It’s better to take a shower first.
Drawing water for the bathtub, the moment the warm water touched his skin, Ji Ran felt his body and mind relax.
He slowly scrolled through the hundreds of messages in his WeChat.
Others weren’t important, but he didn’t expect Ji Wei to send him a message. Even Ji Ran couldn’t remember when they had added each other as friends.
Ji Wei: What were you talking about at the company today? What do you mean by her relationship with our family? Explain clearly!
Crying really was the best way for one to vent their emotions. After one night, Ji Ran already felt calmer.
He was too lazy to quarrel with this person. Just as he was about to blacklist the other person, his phone vibrated and another message appeared.
Ji Wei: Also, what do you mean I wasn’t able to kill you?
Ji Ran slung his leg over the edge of the bathtub while he carelessly typed away.
Daddy Ji: If you have the guts to do it, you should have the guts to admit it.
Ji Wei: I didn’t do anything, what must I admit?
Ji Wei: If you’re referring to the gang of people in high school, I was the one who did it, but it’s not like I wanted your life. After all, I don’t want to be charged for instigating murder because of someone like you.
Daddy Ji: Do you dare to say that the housekeeper who came to work at my house before had nothing to do with you?
His suspicion wasn’t unfounded. After the housekeeper disappeared, he hired a private investigator and found that the middle-aged woman had even used a fake name. The only thing certain was that she had worked for a couple of days in the Ji family’s household.
Ji Wei: The one who poisoned you? Ji Ran, let me tell you, don’t just push any blame onto me! It’s clearly your bad attitude that provoked her, leading to your retribution!
It had been a long time since that incident and even the police could not find any trace of her. Ji Ran also lost any hope of solving this case since long ago.
Now that old matters were brought up once again, Ji Ran was sick of it.
This time, he didn’t hesitate to click on Ji Wei’s WeChat profile and put him into the blacklist.
The sky outside had gradually brightened. Ji Ran looked at the sky outside the window, feeling somewhat hollow.
When he woke up, his first thought was to settle the matter on Weibo first. Unexpectedly, someone had already helped him. Now that relief overcame him and the hangover was catching up, he just wanted to go back to sleep.
So he really fell asleep and even had a dream.
In his dream, he dreamed that he was catching fish in the sea. Diving into the water for a moment, he fished up a huge shell and pried it open, only to see a note in it.
He even saw the words written – “Ugly bastard, Qin Man”.
By this time, Ji Ran had already realized that he was dreaming, but before he could react, he saw the shell suddenly lurch forward. It closed firmly around his lips, clamping it shut.
Ji Ran instantly woke up and saw a close-up of the handsome face as soon as he opened his eyes.
Qin Man was leaning over him, with one hand still on the edge of the bathtub, gently biting his lips.
For a second, Ji Ran was at a loss. A few seconds passed before he abruptly lowered his hand to shield a certain part while pushing the person away with his other hand.
“What are you doing?!” He asked in shock.
Qin Man straightened his back, looking innocent. “Doing CPR.”
“You sank into the bath so I had to pull you up.”
Ji Ran looked at him in doubt. Did CPR involve biting?
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He glanced at Qin Man’s sleeves which were soaked in water. “…Where did you go?”
“Morning run.” Qin Man stood up straight. He pulled the towel off his shoulders and wiped his hands while his eyes slowly slid downwards. “I wanted to take a bath, but didn’t expect you to be in here.”
Ji Ran had bought a hot tub. When he turned on the massage water jet, the sound was definitely not small, so anyone outside the bathroom could faintly hear it.
Coming back to his senses, Ji Ran immediately closed his wide spread legs and fumed, “Get out!”
Qin Man smiled. “Fine…”
Just as he turned around to leave, Ji Ran heard the rustling sound of a plastic bag and realised that Qin Man was still holding a small bag. Before he could ask, Qin Man suddenly stopped and turned around. He came forward and pressed a hand against his forehead.
Ji Ran froze. “What are you doing?”
“Checking if you have a fever.” Qin Man raised an eyebrow, “You get sick easily once you get drunk. Is it due to your constitution?”
Ji Ran was struck dumb.
Constitution his ass! He had been mingling in the nightclub scene for many years, if he were to fall sick just from a little drink, he would have long been buried.
His illness back then was clearly due to…
Ji Ran immediately put a stop to those thoughts and asked, “What’s in the bag?”
Qin Man replied, “Medicine.”
Qin Man thought for a moment and tactfully answered, “…Anti-inflammatory medicine.”
“Last time, when I was cleaning you up, I saw that part was a little swollen.”
Ji Ran was frozen stiff for a few seconds. When he finally reacted, his face had exploded into a bright red.
He grabbed a bar of soap and hurled it towards Qin Man. “Fuck off! Keep it for yourself!”
Ji Ran was no longer sleepy.
After the shower, while drying his hair, he asked the person sitting across from him on the sofa, “How did you remove the hot search?”
Qin Man said, “I have friends working there.”
“Is your friend a philanthropist? Helping you for free?” Ji Ran sneered , “Aren’t you a businessman? When did you start making a loss? You can tell me how much you spent. I’ll pay you the lump sum for both times.”
“Alright, I did spend a bit.” Qin Man paused before he continued, “But it’s not much. Just treat it as me wanting to please you. If you are satisfied…”
Ji Ran: “Give you a five-star review?”
“It’s not like I’m going to receive other customers. What’s the use of a review?” Qin Man touched his chin and smiled, “If you are satisfied, how about you consider renewing the contract?”
Ji Ran was taken aback.
Their contract had not yet reached the effective period of half a year. Why were they already discussing the contract renewal?
Before he could say anything, his phone rang.
He glanced at the caller and his face quickly darkened. He took a long time to pick it up before he nonchalantly greeted, “Dad.”
Qin Man looked up.
Unsurprisingly, Ji Guozheng wasn’t here to exchange polite talk with his son, whom he hadn’t seen for a long time. He immediately got to the point. “Are you the one messing around on social media?”
Ji Guozheng was silent. “Alright.”
Although it sounded like he took his word, in reality, he just didn’t want to waste time arguing about these little things. He had already gotten someone to arrange it, so no matter what kind of trouble the group of people on Weibo made, it wouldn’t involve him.
“Why didn’t you come to work today?”
Ji Ran laughed vaguely. “I had something on.”
“Remember to apply for leave in the future if you have something to do. Don’t bring those little tricks you often pull to the company.” Ji Guozheng said, “I know you’re not satisfied with the project you are currently working on, but who didn’t start from the bottom, step by step? Even when your brother first joined, his position was not much higher than yours.”
Ji Ran listened absentmindedly.
After Ji Guozheng said a bunch of placating words, the topic changed. “How is Qin Man doing at the company?”
Ji Ran subconsciously glanced at the person across him. Feeling his gaze, Qin Man’s lips rose and he unexpectedly winked at Ji Ran.
Ji Ran hurriedly looked away. “…It’s okay.”
“Qin Man is very capable, you should learn from him.” Ji Guozheng’ tone was natural as he stated the purpose of this call, “Free up some time this Saturday to go home. Bring Qin Man along too.”
Ji Guozheng paused. “It’s my birthday celebration.”
For a moment, Ji Ran was startled. Then, he suddenly let out a laugh.
This was the first time he was invited to Ji Guozheng’s birthday party.
“I won’t be going. Take your time to celebrate and have a happy birthday in advance.”
“Don’t fool around.” Ji Guozheng didn’t allow him to refuse. “I will send the invitation letter to your house. You must be on time and no mistakes are allowed.”