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    Chapter 64 [VIP] Best Friend as a Shield (Part 2)

    "So it's true, the love story of the main characters defies all logic," was Zhou Nanyan's first reaction after understanding the plot.

    She couldn't comprehend why, in the same accident, Fu Qingzhou, a secondary male character, escaped with minor injuries, while the original protagonist suffered blindness and a broken leg.

    Especially after witnessing the protagonist's entire life, this ending felt particularly heart-wrenching.

    If the original protagonist had been a terrible person, one could argue that the accident was her retribution.

    However, the protagonist had never done anything wrong from the start; she was a simple and pure person. Even after learning her boyfriend loved her best friend, not her, she didn't overreact and even helped the couple at the last moment by revealing the truth to Fu Qingzhou. She had been nothing but a shield throughout.

    Jiang Shaoyan had never truly loved her.

    She hadn't hurt anyone, yet the accident completely destroyed her life.

    It was the most despairing moment of her life, and none of her friends genuinely sympathized with her. Instead, they were grateful for the accident, which made the couple realize their importance to each other - a ridiculous sentiment! They even thanked the accident for giving the couple a chance to reconcile.

    To call her a victim would be an understatement; she was merely a tool used to highlight the antagonist's deep, charming, and steadfast affection, disposable after use.

    Truly...

    Utterly unreasonable.

    Nanyan had entered this world at the beginning of the story, dating Jiang Shaoyan for over a year. It was during this time that she finally uncovered the true feelings her boyfriend harbored deep within.

    But this realization was accidental; after all, whenever she doubted his affection, her friends thought she was being overly sensitive.

    The catalyst was Fang Wanrou's argument with Fu Qingzhou. Seeing her upset, Jiang Shaoyan invited her out for a day of dining and fun, leaving his girlfriend behind...

    Feeling cold and neglected after being stood up, Nanyan couldn't fathom why her boyfriend had time to dine with Fang Wanrou but not to see a movie with his own girlfriend. What kind of logic was that?

    This argument led to their relationship's collapse. She confronted him with all her doubts and sensitivities, culminating in one critical question: "Do you like Fang Wanrou?"

    And Jiang Shaoyan did not deny it.

    His silence was an admission!

    In that moment, everything clicked for Nanyan. She understood why her boyfriend was extra caring only when her best friend was involved, why he seemed to love her yet recoiled from her touch...

    All because she was never the one he truly liked.

    What followed was what she experienced after entering this body, the very words she heard tonight.

    After sorting through the storyline in her mind, Nanyan realized it was already late.

    Sighing deeply, she noticed her tears had dried, leaving her skin dehydrated and uncomfortable. She stood up and went to the bathroom to wash her face.

    After drying off, she looked up at her reflection: fair, radiant skin, and a delicate, elegant visage—a very gentle appearance.

    Without a doubt, she was beautiful, even outstanding.

    Unlike the heroine's vibrant and striking beauty, her features didn't make an immediate, strong impression, but her eyes and brows radiated a clean, gentle aura.

    Her looks easily reminded one of an idealized first love from high school—whether crying or smiling, they invoked a strong protective instinct.

    And yet, unbelievably, no one cherished her appearance.

    Nanyan exhaled softly, lamenting that the male leads are true gentlemen who value personality over appearance.

    Having set her next goal, Nanyan returned inside, tidying up the scattered clothes in the living room. After ensuring everything was in order, she retired to her bedroom to rest.

    It was thanks to Fang Wanrou that she could live in this house. After graduation, they joined different departments in the same company for internships. The original rental was too far from work, causing Fang Wanrou to often be late. Nanyan mentioned this casually to her boyfriend, and Jiang Shaoyan promptly offered them his property to stay temporarily.

    At the time, she thought her boyfriend was concerned about her early morning commutes. She was deeply moved, not realizing that his real concern was Fang Wanrou, and she was merely an afterthought.

    Later, when Fang Wanrou moved in with Fu Qingzhou, Nanyan stayed in the house as Jiang Shaoyan's girlfriend, until he moved in too, marking the start of their official cohabitation.

    Living together was pretty much like sharing a flat.

    Jiang Shaoyan, busy with work, rarely visited. To Nanyan, he was the cautious one, even normal couple interactions like holding hands were met with resistance, let alone anything more intimate.

    In all their time living together, their relationship remained platonic, with hardly any kisses shared—a purity uncharacteristic of adult couples.

    ……

    The next morning, Nanyan got up early. After freshening up, she coincidentally heard the front door open.

    —Jiang Shaoyan had returned.

    He had come to pack his belongings. After last night's conversation, continuing their relationship was out of the question, especially since having or not having a girlfriend made little difference to him.

    Moreover, he felt they both needed time to cool off.

    But what seemed odd to him was that she was already neatly dressed, as if waiting for him.

    Jiang Shaoyan's last impression of her was from the previous night's breakdown, a disheveled mess. Now, seeing her in a serene white dress, standing quietly as if everything from last night was his illusion, took him aback.

    Jiang Shaoyan furrowed his brow, wondering what she was up to. But he soon relaxed his expression, realizing that regardless, their relationship was over.

    “Do you really… want to break up with me?”

    Jiang Shaoyan heard Nanyan's low query, her voice hoarse as if suppressed for a long time.

    Pausing mid-step, Jiang Shaoyan stopped and looked at her. Her nose was slightly red, her face holding back tears.

    Jiang Shaoyan frowned, a hint of discomfort rising uncontrollably within him, but his gaze remained unaffected. "I made myself very clear last night."

    He glanced at her briefly before shifting his gaze away, continuing towards the master bedroom.

    "What if I said, I don't mind?"

    Nanyan watched his resolute movements, her eyes brimming with tears that she desperately fought to hide, despite her heartache.

    She casually wiped her cheek, then, seizing the moment he paused, she grasped his fingers with all her might, as if channeling her entire strength, and said:

    "I don't mind your feelings for her. I know it sounds foolish, but I can't help it... I just like you, the way you like Wanrou... Shaoyan, can't we... not break up?"

    Her mention of Fang Wanrou momentarily made Jiang Shaoyan empathize with her, especially seeing her like this made it difficult to say anything more hurtful.

    He suddenly felt despicable, realizing that he was the one who had started all this, wasn't he?

    This thought made Jiang Shaoyan frown, torn between feeling a soft heart and annoyance at seeing Nanyan like this.

    "Do you even know what you're saying?"

    He wanted to say more, but looking up inadvertently, he saw her eyelashes, damp with tears, flutter slightly, and the tears fell instantly.

    The words he intended to say suddenly got stuck in his throat.

    "I know, I know I'm deceiving myself, but I can't control it..." Nanyan shook her head gently, as if unwilling to believe, yet resigned, her head bowed as tears slowly fell, "Don't you believe, after all this time together, that you haven't liked me even a little bit?"

    Having spoken, she lifted her face again, tears blurring her eyes as she looked at him, as if waiting for an answer, stubbornly searching his expression for any trace that he might have once been moved by her.

    Suddenly, Jiang Shaoyan found himself at a loss for words.

    To say he felt no affection at all would be impossible. After all, even a normal person would feel a sense of loss when a pet leaves, let alone a person, and they had been in a relationship for over a year.

    He did like Zhou Nanyan, to some extent.

    But liking someone doesn't necessarily mean being moved by them.

    All men have their flaws, and he was no exception. Even with a true object of affection, he could still appreciate the beauty of other women.

    However, this appreciation was different from true affection. He might feel tenderness for other girls, but the one he would go out of his way to make happy was always the same person.

    And that person was Fang Wanrou, the one he genuinely cared about.

    After pondering all this,

    Jiang Shaoyan felt inexplicably irritated.

    On one hand, there was the person he truly liked, and he was reluctant to let her go. On the other hand, there was a slight sense of guilt towards Nanyan. These emotions wrestled within him, but his deeper feelings eventually prevailed.

    “Haven’t I said it already? The person I've always liked is Fang Wanrou, I never had such feelings for you.”

    “But she doesn’t like you!”

    Nanyan, facing the man with no hesitation in his demeanor, seemed to have anticipated his response, yet tears uncontrollably streamed down. She fiercely wiped her cheeks with her hand and continued:

    "Can't you see? Fang Wanrou loves Fu Qingzhou. They've been together for seven years and are nearly married. Are you going to keep waiting by her side like this?"

    He was well aware that a future with Fang Wanrou was impossible, but the thought of giving up on the one he loved to accept Zhou Nanyan's feelings left him feeling extremely unwilling.

    After speaking, Nanyan suddenly looked up, her eyes brimming with tears, yet she managed a smile at him—a smile that seemed to drain all her strength, struggling and cautious.

    "Can we start over, please?"

    Her voice was choked with a barely perceptible plea, "I don’t mind that she’s in your heart. As long as you’re willing to accept me, I can wait. Wait until the day you truly fall for me. Let's give each other a chance, okay?"

    Jiang Shaoyan could even feel her fingers trembling as they clutched his.

    Like a drowning person desperately clinging to the last straw, refusing to let go.

    For a moment, he found his throat dry, unable to utter a word.

    He had never expected Nanyan to go to such lengths for him, especially after hearing her words. Even he began to feel a pang of conscience.

    This left him unable to voice any words of refusal.

    It took a while before he heard his own voice, hesitantly uttering, "...Okay."

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