The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
Is he calling to beg Ling Miao to return? No, if Ling Miao was chased out by Su Yuyang, it’d be strange for Su Yuyang to ask him to come back now. After thinking about it, Ji Linxi hung up the phone with a sense of finality.
Hearing the dial tone from the receiver, Su Yuyang cursed—“Fuck”—and tossed his cellphone to one side. He lay on the bed, his mind full of the smug face Ling Miao must be making after hanging up.
Su Yuyang jolted. “I can’t do this! It looks like I’m asking him to come back, but I’m just asking him to take his things away, aren’t I?” He picked up his phone and called Ling Miao again, and suffered Ji Linxi hanging up, again.
Probably worried Su Yuyang would keep calling, Ji Linxi went ahead and turned off the phone.
Getting hung up on once was bad enough. After getting hung up on twice, Su Yuyang got more upset the more he thought about it. The third time he called Ling Miao’s number, he got the message—‘The number you have called is not available.’ Su Yuyang was really frustrated. He wanted to run up to Ling Miao, grab his collar, toss him to the ground, and step on him.
The more Su Yuyang thought about it, the more he wanted to go find Ling Miao, but he had no idea where Ling Miao might have gone.
“Damn it.” Su Yuyang cursed again, then shot Ling Miao a text.
Su Yuyang sat upright, his gaze falling onto the blank document. He knew what the next scene would be, but one sentence in, he felt something was wrong. Between writing, then deleting, he suffered until midnight and still hadn’t progressed by even a single word.
Closing the document in frustration, Su Yuyang decided to go find the God of Sleep and talk about life. Maybe shooting the breeze would give him inspiration to write.
By force of habit, Su Yuyang woke at nine o’clock in the morning, and by force of habit, he sat at the dining table and waited for breakfast. By force of habit, he called out for Ling Miao to hurry it up.
The moment the words “Ling Miao” left his mouth, they turned bitter.
Ling Miao had left last night and only his things remained.
Only when Su Yuyang noticed the absence of the sound of pots and pans banging in the kitchen did he suddenly realize that he’d grown very accustomed to living with Ling Miao. He thought about how he’d been disturbed by the noise of Ling Miao writing at night. Now, thinking about it again, he might have just been worried for Ling Miao’s health.
Su Yuyang sat frozen, his heart like the empty table—lonely.
He’d lived alone for three years. Ling Miao had lived with him for maybe two months. Ling Miao had entered Su Yuyang’s life unexpectedly, and even though on the surface it seemed Su Yuyang and Ling Miao mixed about as well as fire and water, Su Yuyang had accepted this way of life. The moment it had fallen apart, he hadn’t tried to salvage it but had instead let the situation proceed towards its worst possible outcome.
Habits often subconsciously remind people of things. Toward Ling Miao, Su Yuyang’s feelings were somewhat close to reliance.
Su Yuyang didn’t go on trying to make sense of his relationship with Ling Miao. He was afraid—afraid that he wouldn’t be able to leave Ling Miao.
How did I start thinking like this? Su Yuyang raised his head. On his formerly despondent face was a confident smile, but his trembling fingertips betrayed his unease.
Ling Miao turned over and promptly fell out of the bed. He didn’t like sleeping on the lower bunk because it was easy to fall onto the floor.
At the thud of something falling, Ji Linxi stuck his head out of the bathroom. Seeing Ling Miao rubbing his head as he slowly sat up on the floor, Ji Linxi didn’t say anything and continued brushing his teeth. Which is to say that he had never stopped brushing his teeth.
“Head feels terrible,” Ling Miao said dejectedly from the floor.
Ji Linxi murmured something, but because he was brushing his teeth his words were garbled. Ling Miao doubtfully made a noise of assent. Ji Linxi rinsed his mouth and said, “Consequences of getting drunk. You reap what you sow.”
Ling Miao glared at Ji Linxi, then looked around at his surroundings. He said thoughtfully: “So after all that fuss I’m still back here.”
“Oh, that’s right. Yesterday Su Yuyang called you.” Ji Linxi seemed to remember something and handed Ling Miao’s phone over. “It was bothering me so I turned it off. Maybe he was going to ask you to come back. You’d better go back to him.”
Ji Linxi got ready to leave the house, but not before saying: “You know how the landlord is. You’d better not leave the apartment.”
“Hey…” Ling Miao protested, but Ji Linxi eyed him and he relented.
Mm. The landlord was indeed very scary.
Ling Miao sat on the floor and waited until he felt better before slowly standing up and sitting on the bed.
He turned on his phone and, before long, he received a message notification.
Hey, come back and get your things or I’ll sell them.
The text was from Su Yuyang. Ling Miao was immediately incensed by his arrogant tone.
Fuck. Sell it if you want. Just leave the books, Ling Miao replied.
Su Yuyang was still regretting his actions when Ling Miao’s message arrived.
Seeing Ling Miao’s reply, Su Yuyang momentarily wasn’t sure how to react.
So Ling Miao’s most important possession was the books—Shu Yang’s books.
Su Yuyang: You get back here and help me take these things to the recycling center.
Ling Miao: Pah, you’re selling my things and you still want me to move them, Su Yuyang, do you really think you’re my boss or what? I told you, I quit! Also, go on QQ. I’m not rich, I don’t have texts to spend chatting with you.
Not long after Ling Miao sent this text, Su Yuyang’s QQ message arrived.
3000WPH: Then I’m selling the books. Mine I’ll sign and sell.
ZeroSecondsAgo: Su Yuyang, if you dare sell my books, I’ll spill all your personal info even if I go to jail for it. Won’t even take money. I’ll just use this blog ZeroSecondsAgo, the blog you officially recognized as your assistant’s.
3000WPH: That’s too much.
ZeroSecondsAgo: Ah, Su Yuyang, you don’t miss me, do you? Are you changing your tune and begging me to go back?
Ling Miao’s words seemed to have struck Su Yuyang right in the heart. For several minutes Su Yuyang didn’t say anything and Ling Miao suddenly became worried.
ZeroSecondsAgo: Hey, Su Yuyang, you fainted again?
3000WPH: Thanks for your concern, I’m hanging in there. Also, even if you want to come back I’m not letting you.
ZeroSecondsAgo: Hmph, call me sentimental. Oh, also, there’s no food in the fridge. If you’re hungry, get takeout. Just don’t call my cell—if the call’s from you I’ll reject them all!
Su Yuyang hadn’t even finished typing his reply when Ling Miao sent another text.
ZeroSecondsAgo: I might as well block your number, then I won’t even see your texts. Better for my mood.
3000WPH: Don’t burn your bridges. You’ll be glad if ever you revisit them.
ZeroSecondsAgo: Better if this one’s never revisited!!
3000WPH: Talking out of your ass again? We live so close by, we might even run into each other today.
ZeroSecondsAgo: If we do, we’d better pretend we’re strangers. I don’t want people to know I’m acquainted with a bastard like you.
3000WPH: Wanna bet on it? If we meet today, you come back and take your things away.
ZeroSecondsAgo: If we don’t meet?
3000WPH: Name your price.
ZeroSecondsAgo: If we don’t meet, I want you to sign all the books in my suitcase.
At this point, Ling Miao realized something was amiss. How did Su Yuyang know he had a suitcase full of books?
ZeroSecondsAgo: Su Yuyang, you went through my things and used my things to threaten me?! Don’t you think you’re despicable?! So you’re not only a bastard, your moral character is low too! All these years I’ve admired the wrong person!
Having said his piece, Ling Miao went offline.
Ling Miao fell onto the bed and clutched his chest. Something seemed to float there, bobbing up and down. It hurt.
Before, he had been annoyed by Su Yuyang; now he was disgusted. If memories could be erased, Ling Miao would definitely erase everything that had to do with Su Yuyang.
Su Yuyang sent Ling Miao a text, but after a long time without a reply, he looked again. Ling Miao had gone offline.
Su Yuyang was a little disappointed: I did go through your things, but I didn’t tell you. Surely you were the one who said you had books?
The second half of Su Yuyang’s inner monologue was the text he sent to Ling Miao, but Ling Miao had not seen it.
With a hopeful heart, Su Yuyang put the words into a text message and sent it again.
Ling Miao was submersed in his despair when the sound of a text pulled him back.
Ling Miao unlocked his phone and saw the text presented before him. Looking at the content, Ling Miao’s brain short-circuited: Exactly when did I tell you that I have a suitcase full of books?!
Ling Miao opened QQ and confirmed he hadn’t, then opened his texts…
Right. Ling Miao would hereby admit he was wrong.
ZeroSecondsAgo: Great Shu, I’m sorry!
3000WPH: If you’re sorry, you should show some repentance.
ZeroSecondsAgo: Okay, okay. I’ll go over in the afternoon and move my things.
3000WPH: You really don’t intend to go on being my assistant?
ZeroSecondsAgo: I’m an anti-fan sent to smear your name. Can you write in peace with a ticking time bomb at your side?
Su Yuyang understood: Ling Miao was needling him. At the same time, he also understood that Shu Yang’s place in Ling Miao’s heart was much more important than he had realized.
3000WPH: It’s very stupid for an author to suspect his own die-hard fan. For that, I’ll apologize to you.
ZeroSecondsAgo: No need to apologize. I’ve already become your anti-fan.
Seeing this, an image surfaced in Su Yuyang’s mind of Ling Miao with his head held high. If Ling Miao had a tail, it’d be pointing straight up.
Huff—Su Yuyang couldn’t help it.
3000WPH: So much hot air.
ZeroSecondsAgo: Su Yuyang, you watch my things. When both you and I are free I’ll go over and get them, especially that case of books. If a single corner is damaged, you’d better replace it!
3000WPH: What if there are more of them?
3000WPH: Nothing. I’m going to eat.
ZeroSecondsAgo: Eat? You’re eating instant noodles, aren’t you? No worries. Eat your fill. I won’t ask you to pay for them.
Su Yuyang was suddenly speechless: How did Ling Miao know his plans?
ZeroSecondsAgo: Why’d you go quiet? Did I guess right? Hah hah hah, Su Yuyang, those instant noodles are mine! You’d better get takeout!
3000WPH: … Petty
ZeroSecondsAgo: Speaking of which, I actually am hungry. I’ll go make noodles.
Ling Miao said he was going to make noodles. Su Yuyang didn’t know for sure, but what did whether or not Ling Miao made noodles have to do with him?
Su Yuyang made some instant noodles then returned to his computer and continued writing the chapter he hadn’t written a word of last night.