Running Away Hand in Hand with the Second Female Lead - 35.1
- Running Away Hand in Hand with the Second Female Lead
- 35.1 - A Loud Slapping Sound Rang Out (Part 1)
Ruan Nan ran back to her bedroom, shut the door, quickly took off her shoes, and climbed directly into her bed, huddling under her blanket. Since the lock on her bedroom door had been broken a while earlier, she reached out to turn off the kitty light.
Qin Juran must’ve known that she was afraid of the dark, which is why she hung the fairy lights on the balcony. Even in the nighttime, she could leave them on, since the lights were so subtle that they wouldn’t disrupt her sleep and instead provided a sense of security.
Curled up in her blanket, Ruan Nan carefully listened for any sounds at her door. Her heartbeat pounded in her head from the nerves.
After a long while, her phone vibrated with a hum from the head of her bed. It was a voice message from Qin Juran, in a tired voice: “Good night.”
There was no movement afterward.
Ruan Nan hesitated, then threw down her phone with a huff and lied down to sleep.
The moonlight was especially cool tonight, and the wind was fierce. The wild gusts of wind trickled through the cracks in the windowpane, even rustling the thick, heavy curtains.
“Nannan, in the future, you will meet someone who loves you as much as your father and mother do.”
“Nannan, say hello to Ms. Gu.”
“Nannan, is it because you don’t have a mother, so you want your brother to be motherless too?” The woman’s cold, calculating gaze seemed to suffocate her, like a snake wrapping around her body, causing a fearful and trembling sensation to ripple all over. Ruan Nan felt as if she was standing back at the edge of that pool, where the ice-cold pool water was slowly seeping towards the soles of her feet like tentacles, approaching closer and closer.
“Nannan, Daddy never expected that you’d do something like this.”
The water continuing to extend on the ground. Ruan Nan darted back desperately until she hit a wall and there was nowhere left to go. The water climbed along the face of the wall, enfolding her entire body.
Then, the cold, terrifying, suffocation.
“I didn’t!” Ruan Nan jolted awake with a shriek. She sat up, panting as her loud heartbeat pounded in her chest. A cold sweat broke out on her forehead.
When she reached out, the elbow peeking out from under the blanket was hit with a cold chill, so she pulled both her arms back into the blanket. Her hands gripping the blanket tightened into a fist, and her hair unfurled across her shoulders. Ruan Nan buried her head into her knees, and a long while passed until her shivering calmed down.
When she laid back down, she saw that it was already 3 a.m.
She lied down for a few minutes, but whenever she shut her eyes, the same agonizing sensation washed over her.
Ruan Nan frowned and lifted her blanket, turning to face the other side.
Another long while passed, but she still couldn’t fall asleep.
Her head spun when she sat back up. After pondering for three minutes, she got out of bed, pulled a thin blanket from her closet, slipped on her shoes, then tiptoed towards Qin Juran’s room.
Though there were only a few steps separating the two bedrooms, Ruan Nan was apprehensive. She didn’t know whether Qin Juran would’ve already locked the door, or whether the sound of the doorknob turning would wake her up.
By the time she reached the door, Ruan Nan realized that her misgivings were absolutely ridiculous.
Qin Juran hadn’t locked the door – in fact, it was left wide open.
The blanket had been kicked aside, revealing the peaceful sleeping figure lying on her side. Her white nightgown was eye-catching in the night, outlining her exceptional figure. Her slender, pale legs were tangled together, making the sleeping figure all the more attractive.
Qin Juran’s back was towards the door, and there was a large space left on the other side of the bed, as if purposely leaving it open for her.
And it’s not as if it’d be the first time they slept together.
Ruan Nan rubbed her nose, hesitated for another two seconds, then clutched her blanket and climbed carefully onto the bed.
She would try to sleep on the edge of the bed and only take up a little space. She wouldn’t need to make any contact with Qin Juran.
Ruan Nan gingerly reached out to cover herself with the small blanket. Not sensing any reaction from Qin Juran, she finally let out the breath that she was holding. Right when she was about to try falling asleep again, the girl next to her suddenly turned her way. Immediately, Ruan Nan’s eyes popped open and her body stretched taut. She watched as Qin Juran, in her sleeping state, rubbed her body, her hands patting the space before her as if searching for something, then a second later—
She snatched the thin blanket right from atop of Ruan Nan’s body.
? ? ?
Wasn’t her own blanket right there?
On this chilly November night, Ruan Nan hugged her elbows together and couldn’t stop shuddering for two minutes straight. Finally, she turned around and tried to pull the blanket back.
It would not come free.
Ruan Nan wasn’t ready to give up. She gently took a lock of Qin Juran’s hair and tickled it against her nose. Right when Qin Juran lifted her hand to itch her nose, Ruan Nan quickly pulled again, and this time she was able to smoothly snatch the blanket back.
Ruan Nan shifted back around, both hands tightly grasping the blanket to prevent Qin Juran from stealing it again. However, to her surprise, rather than snatching the blanket back, Qin Juran merely turned around, wrapped an arm right over Ruan Nan’s waist, and shifted her body closer, as if she were clutching a comfortable body pillow.
At first, Ruan Nan meant to push her away, but the sense of warmth and security from being embraced seemed to cause all her prior uneasiness to dissipate.
Drowsiness soon took over, and Ruan Nan gave up trying to fight back, instead obediently falling asleep in Qin Juran’s arms.
Qin Juran typically woke up at 6 sharp out of habit, but since she slept too late last night, she woke up an hour later than usual the next morning.
She hazily opened her eyes to the unfamiliar room surrounding her and felt an object pressed to her chest. At that moment, Qin Juran’s head was about to explode with questions, the first few being: “Did the model not leave yet? Had she just done something unforgivable to Ruan Nan?”
By reflex, Qin Juran pulled her arms away and sat up on the bed, reflecting for a few seconds. Only when she clearly discerned Ruan Nan’s sleeping figure beside her did she finally let out a breath.
Wait – when did she end up in Ruan Nan’s bed?
The two bedrooms had a similar layout and décor. Qin Juran tousled her hair, then noticed that the kitten lamp wasn’t on the bedside table. Just then, she realized – it was Ruan Nan who climbed into her bed?
Qin Juran fully calmed down and glanced at the time. The curtains in Ruan Nan’s noon did a great job at blocking out the light, so even now, there was hardly any light coming in. Qin Juran glanced at the girl, still in a deep sleep, then smirked, lied back down, and pulled the blanket over the two of their bodies once again.
Qin Juran shut her eyes and pretended to sleep as she propped her arm across Ruan Nan’s body.
She still hadn’t woken up.
Qin Juran shifted her body closer so that she was practically embracing the other girl, feeling her warmth. She still didn’t wake.
What a lazy little kitten.
A lazy kitten that climbs into other people’s beds.
Qin Juran’s smile widened. Ruan Nan’s body temperature may have risen from the embrace, as her face was beginning to turn pink and her brows furrowed slightly. Framed by her ash-gray hair, her peaceful, sleeping face was especially pretty.
Her left cheek had already been kissed, as well as the right cheek.
Qin Juran thought for a moment, then planted a light kiss atop Ruan Nan’s shoulder. She squeezed her arms around Ruan Nan for a brief moment, then finally picked up her phone and got out of bed.
Ruan Nan didn’t know how long she’d slept. By the time she woke up, she saw that she was under Qin Juran’s thick blanket and that the other side of the bed was empty, the pillow and bedding already tidied up.
Ruan Nan quickly climbed out of bed and put on her shoes. There was no sign of anyone else in the entire apartment, and the barren rooms had been cleaned up. On top of the coffee table was a single note:
Breakfast is in the kitchen. The milk’s in the microwave, just warm it up when you’re washing up.
Ruan Nan picked up the slip of paper. She looked around at the now empty room, which was left with no trace that anyone had ever been there. Her eyes sunk as she slowly trudged to the bathroom.
The midterm exams were beginning, with three courses in the span of two days. Qin Juran felt that she was seeing many of these classmates for the first time, and could hardly place the names to the faces with they greeted her.
Huang Ying’s grades were also pretty good. She’d been hovering near the edge of the scholarship qualifications for the entire semester, so she was nervous for these exams. In preparation for the first exam at 9 in the morning, she’d been studiously reading her textbook since 8:30 all throughout the ride to the testing center.
As this was her first exam in this world, Qin Juran was also feeling quite nervous. Along with Huang Ying’s frantic chanting beside her, she was beginning to get a little jittery herself.
By the time the two girls got out of the elevator, the exam room had not yet opened. Qin Juran leaned against the windowsill and swept a glance across the crowd of students, but Ruan Nan hadn’t arrived yet.
Upon seeing Qin Juran’s arrival, one female student rushed towards her with a question about a problem. Qin Juran had nothing against her, and seeing that she knew the answer, she explained the problem to the student.
This problem was quite complicated, and Qin Juran was ten full minutes into her explanation when the exam room doors opened. Huang Ying walked in first, expressing that she would go find seats.
Once Qin Juran finished explaining, most of the other students had already gone. The female student thanked her profusely, and Qin Juran smiled politely in response. Right when she collected her paper and pencils, she lifted her head up to see Ruan Nan and Lin Wei walking in.
Lin Wei was decked head to toe in designer brands, while Ruan Nan was wearing a plaid coat. Neither of them had their backpacks; it looked more like the two of them were about to walk the runway rather than take an exam.
Lin Wei waved at Qin Juran: “Oh! The top student is explaining problems? What’s the price for today, can you cut me a discount?”
Qin Juran replied: “I can cut your face, how’s that?”
Lin Wei stomped into the classroom. Ruan Nan flicked a glance at Qin Juran: “What is it?” After Qin Juran left her apartment without so much as a goodbye, she hadn’t contacted her since.
Although it had only been three days.
“Are you nervous?” Qin Juran asked.
There were only 10 minutes left until the exam began, and most large-scale exams like these had an unwritten rule to arrive early. As such, the number of students remaining in the hallways became increasingly scarce. The proctor teacher in the neighboring classroom walked out, holding a thermos and coughing softly as he proceeded upstairs.
Ruan Nan shook her head nonchalantly. “I’m not nervous.”
“I am.” Qin Juran announced from behind her.
Ruan Nan wondered whether she’d heard incorrectly, but when she turned around to look at Qin Juran, she didn’t seem to be joking.
“Why are you nervous? That you won’t be able to surpass the second place by a grade point?”
Everyone knew the significance of even one grade point in university. Qin Juran smiled as she continued, “I’m scared that I won’t do well.”
Leaning against the window, her body appeared somewhat fragile from the backlight. Her expression and tone affirmed her seriousness.
Ruan Nan was at a loss. She looked around at the empty hall around them, then leaned slightly closer and responded, “That won’t happen.”
“Why not?” Qin Juran raised a brow.
Ruan Nan hesitated, seeming to be pondering the answer. She faintly furrowed her brows, then responded firmly: “Because you are Qin Juran.”
T/N: Splitting this chapter into two parts because it’s quite long and taking me forever and I don’t want to make you guys wait even longer!