Running Away Hand in Hand with the Second Female Lead - 23
Ruan Nan ignored Qin Juran’s continual jokes. Once the two browsed over to the snack aisle, Qin Juran thought back to the snacks she liked as a student and tossed some bags of puffed chips into the cart. Seeing that Ruan Nan didn’t choose anything, she remembered Qin Haotian’s words and walked towards her: “You’re not picking anything – looks like this older sister will have to do it for you personally, huh?”
Ruan Nan pushed the shopping cart forward until her eyes landed upon two cups of peached-flavored fruit jelly cups. Grabbing a pair and shaking it between her hands, she raised her brows as she looked pointedly towards Qin Juran’s chest. With a nonchalant declaration of “Big jelly cups,” she tossed them into the cart.
Qin Juran curled her lips, then grabbed a bag of puffed snacks and tossed it as well: “Mini rice cracker balls.”
Ruan Nan grabbed another bag of spicy sticks. She growled through gritted teeth, “Scorching devil.”
Qin Juran smoothly grabbed the bag of rice cracker balls and held it in front of Ruan Nan’s chest, sizing them up together. She said lazily, “Just like a bite of cracker balls.” 1
“…..I don’t want them!”
The prickled small stray kitten pushed the cart away with a huff. Qin Juran chuckled as she followed behind. When they reached the household appliances section, Qin Juran thought back to the mop she saw at her home, which seemed to have lost many strands of yarn, so she picked out a new one to buy.
There was a couple nearby who had brought their son along to shop. The little boy sat within the shopping cart, flaunting his toy gun towards Qin Juran and Ruan Nan as they walked past.
Qin Juran peered at the kid, then walked up to Ruan Nan’s side and asked, “Do you want to sit inside, too? I’ll push you.”
Ruan Nan rolled her eyes. “What a child.”
Qin Juran ignored her and looked down at the wheels of the shopping cart. She pointed to the supporting beam on the bottom of the cart and directed Ruan Nan: “Step onto that.”
“Come on, step on.” Qin Juran’s mischievous expression was just like that of a kid trying to show his playmate a special treasure, and this unfamiliar look caught Ruan Nan off guard. Finding it difficult to refuse, Ruan Nan stepped skeptically upon the cart.
Qin Juran wrapped one of Ruan Nan’s hands around the handrail of the cart. Before the other party could protest, she stepped one foot upon the beam as well, the other foot pushing against the ground, propelling the cart forward.
By the time Ruan Nan overcame her initial jolt of fear, she and Qin Juran had already glided a long way from their original spot. Although there were only a few people in this section, the sense of guilt from fooling around here soon washed over, and Ruan Nan frantically prompted, “Hurry, get off.”
Qin Juran didn’t listen, instead giving another strong push against the ground. They glided a few meters when a salesperson with a Tianjin accent shouted out, “Hey, hey!!”
Qin Juran jumped off in shock and quickly ran away, pushing the cart along with Ruan Nan still standing upon it. Only until she reached an empty aisle did she stop, yet she couldn’t help thinking back to the salesperson’s accent and laughing.
Ruan Nan stepped down from the shopping cart. She had no idea why a fully grown college student would pull such a childish stunt; a million thoughts scrambled across her mind, but after a few moments of stunned stupor, she could only choke out: “You’ll never be able to become President Qin like this.”
Qin Juran laughed carefreely, speaking nonchalantly as she walked forward, “If I can’t, then I can’t.”
Ruan Nan peered suspiciously at her: “Isn’t that your dream?”
They reached the candy and chocolate displays nearby the checkout area. The entire area seemed to be hosting some sort of event, with colorful decorations all around. There was a person in a Hello Kitty costume interacting with a group of children, and the rainbow candy on the shelves was arranged in a giant shape of a heart.
Qin Juran halted in her step: “Did you just see that one? There was another written underneath.”
Ruan Nan thought back; there was a line written underneath, but it had been crossed over and covered, so she could only make out the word on top: “Mine.”
Ruan Nan replied, “You covered it up anyway, so it must be something secret. And I have no interest in prying into your business.”
Qin Juran moved close to Ruan Nan, looking intently into her eyes, “It’s not a secret.”
From the midst of the festivities came chanting, “THREE! TWO! ONE!” Right as the words left the salesperson’s mouth, the costumed worker raised his hands, spraying colorful confetti into the air.
Rainbow-colored confetti exploded through the area, landing upon the two girls. Qin Juran reached a hand out to pluck out a shining piece from the ends of Ruan Nan’s hair. She blinked, then continued, “It’s because it’s that important to me – I want to hide her in the depths of my heart so that no one can steal her away.”
“Woahh~” The children applauded in unison, cheering on the costumed mascot in hopes of winning chocolates. However, their cheers ironically punctuated Qin Juran’s statement.
Ruan Nan stared at her glinting eyes, playfully mischievous as always. For a moment, she was frozen and unable to come up with a reply, and could only look away awkwardly.
Qin Juran curled her lips and looked towards the candy display. She grabbed a bag of nearly all the different candies.
At the checkout register, Ruan Nan grabbed a shopping bag and moved to the opposite side of the register. The two moved in synchronous harmony as one person transferred the items from the cart onto the register, while the other transferred them from the register to the bag.
The sum of their purchases had racked up to over 500 dollars. Qin Juran pulled out her phone to pay, but before she could scan her card, Ruan Nan beat her to it.
Seeing Qin Juran’s frown, Ruan Nan spoke, “I forgot to pay you back for the hospital the other day. This is all stuff for your brother, anyway, and he helped me out yesterday.”
“Ingrate.” 2Qin Juran huffed, but didn’t protest.
“Vixen.” 3 Ruan Nan retorted in a small voice.
Once the two girls lugged the haul back home, JuJu Tavern already had two tables full of customers. Qin Haotian quickly took the shopping bags over and presented them with a plate of freshly cut watermelon.
One of the customers, seemingly a regular, looked over at the two young women and joked, “Old Qin, I heard that you had a beautiful daughter – which one is she?”
Qin Haotian laughed while bringing the group a plate of watermelon as well: “Both of them, both.”
Assuming he was joking, the customer laughed along, “This Old Qin.”
Zuo Yanzhen hadn’t made an appearance all morning, but she finally emerged at the sound of the commotion downstairs and saw Qin Juran and Ruan Nan arrive back together. Qin Juran greeted her mother and Ruan Nan also added politely, “Good day, Auntie.”
Zuo Yanzhen froze for a moment, staring at Ruan Nan, then at Qin Juran. Finally, she nodded without saying anything.
Qin Juran briefly explained to her how Ruan Nan came to stay over last night. When the two girls left to go upstairs, Zuo Yanzhen dragged Qin Haotian over to the kitchen: “Did you know about this – Ranran bringing her classmate over?”
Qin Haotian shook his head: “I also only found out this morning. Apparently, something had suddenly come up with Nannan’s family.”
Zuo Yanzhen squinted at Qin Haotian: “Nannan? So familiar already?”
Qin Haotian was at a loss: “Hey, I thought you usually like all of Ranran’s friends, but why are you acting so strange now?”
Zuo Yanzhen gestured for Qin Haotian to move closer: “That girl, I remember seeing her during one of Ranran’s parent-teacher conferences back in high school. Even then, she was dressed very showy; she seemed to come from a rich family. She and our Ranran were even rivals for the campus belle title.”
“Was there really something like that?” Qin Haotian frowned.
“All you think about every day is what goes on in the kitchen; you don’t even know anything about our own daughter,” Zuo Yanzhen said, jabbing him. “This won’t do – I’m going upstairs to check up on them. I won’t tolerate anyone bullying Ranran right under my nose.”
“Hey, hey, hey,” Qin Haotian grabbed his wife’s elbow. “I think these notions of yours are too old-fashioned. How do looks and personality have to do with character quality? People like her are just naturally pretty in appearance – that’s something most people can only wish for.”
“Moreover, it’s been years since high school, of course their relationship could’ve changed by now! I’m telling you, there’s no bad blood between Ranran and her anymore – they’re actually quite good together!”
Zuo Yanzhen stared at her husband’s strange expression: “Come on, now, tell me just what you mean by ‘good’”?
Although they were both restaurant owners, in any case, Qin Haotian was more well-read and open-minded than Zuo Yanzhen. Assuming that she wouldn’t be so accepting of the truth, he waved a hand in the air: “You won’t understand even if I told you. Anyhow, Ranran really cares about her, so don’t say anything out of line during lunch later.” After saying this, he took the opportunity to stuff a large slice of watermelon into his mouth, then walked away.
They waited until 2 p.m., when most of the customers had gone. A full display of delicious-looking and mouthwatering-smelling dishes were arranged on the table. As Qin Julai helped to set the bowls and chopsticks, Qin Juran ushered Ruan Nan into a seat.
The smell of alcohol and cigarettes still lingered from the recent customers. Qin Haotian was somewhat embarrassed as he wiped his hands on his apron, saying, “Nannan, Uncle’s home is a bit small. I hope you don’t mind putting up with it.”
Ruan Nan looked at Qin Haotian, who was red-faced from working in the bustling restaurant all day, and fervently shook her head: “It’s no problem, Uncle.”
Qin Haotian brandished another half-full bottle of wine, seemingly out of thin air. He raised his glass: “Come, come. Today’s drink is to welcome our guest Nannan.”
Zuo Yanzhen side-eyed him: “Drinking again?”
“I’m just so happy Ranran brought a friend over. Can’t I celebrate?”
Qin Julai also raised a glass, joining in on the fun: “I’m also very happy for all the things that Sister Nan bought for me today.”
Qin Juran also held up her glass, throwing a smile at Ruan Nan: “I’m also happy for being able to join together like this as a family.”
Feeling outnumbered, Zuo Yanzhen looked stiffly across the three people speaking so highly of this young woman, then stiffly sipped her pickled plum soup.
Once they put down their glasses, Qin Juran wanted to have Ruan Nan try the mapo tofu dish. Meanwhile, Qin Haotian and Zuo Yanzhen simultaneously snatched a pork cutlet each between their chopsticks and held them out, calling out in unison:
The four of them were sitting right across from each other. So, Qin Haotian and Zuo Yanzhen’s chopsticks hit each other in the process, resulting in two chunks of pork cutlets falling into the large bowl of soup in the center of the table. Qin Julai stretched his neck and peered into the bowl: “Dad, Mom, why’d you suddenly decide to add more meat?”
Zuo Yanzhen acted somewhat awkwardly from then on. Since that moment, Qin Juran had begun to sense that her mother’s attitude was rather strange. She picked up a pair of unused chopsticks and placed a piece of cutlet on both her father and mother’s plates, as well as one for Ruan Nan. She looked towards Zuo Yanzhen and announced, “Ma, everyone sitting here today – they are the people I treasure the most in the world.”
- I believe these are the snack balls QJR is comparing to RN’s you know…https://img11.360buyimg.com/n1/jfs/t17347/344/1107648748/100882/1b86f5a2/5abb082fN9486cc1a.jpg
- The word QJR uses here means literally “white-eyed wolf,” which refers to someone who is not grateful
- Meanwhile, The word RN uses here is literally “bad fox spirit,” which refers to a seductress type of woman. So they got that animal wordplay going on here, but I don’t think the literal translations make too much sense so I tried to keep it simple