The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
Ji Linxi arrived at Su Yuyang’s house. Neither Su Yuyang nor Ling Miao was in and Yan Li was still asleep.
Knock knock knock. A frantic knocking came from the door. Clearly, the person knocking was using a lot of force. It woke Yan Li, who complained with annoyance, “Ling Miao, go open the door.” Then she pulled the blankets up and went back to sleep.
Less than a minute later, the knocking started up again.
“Ling Miao—” Yan Li raised her voice and shouted Ling Miao’s name but got no response at all.
“Where’s he gone?” Yan Li unhappily got out of bed and ran a hand through her messy hair as she walked barefoot to the door.
“Ah—who is it?” Yan Li opened the door in a bad mood.
The door opened to reveal Ji Linxi, panting for breath. Yan Li stared at him for several seconds and frowned. “Linxi? Are you here for Ling Miao? He’s not here.” She wasn’t fully awake yet; her voice was hazy, the indolence in it especially piercing to the ears.
Ji Linxi seemed entranced by the voice. He stared at Yan Li, seeming to forgetting why he had come.
“Linxi?” Yan Li called softly.
Ji Linxi had a burst of energy and his head cleared. He held out the tablet to Yan Li and said coldly, “Take this back. As for finding someone to draw your album cover and the art for your lyric book, I suggest you ask Ling Miao. Compared to him, my skills are garbage.”
“No buts about it.” Seeing that Yan Li wasn’t taking the tablet, he put it on the shoe rack and warned again: “Yan Li, if you keep disturbing my life, I think we don’t have to stay in touch.”
Ji Linxi had reverted to the attitude Yan Li had seen when they had first met: cold and heartless, as if he cared about nothing around him aside from himself. Yan Li stared at the tablet on the shoe rack and slowly picked it up. Ji Linxi turned and headed for the stairs, his footsteps swift, as if worried Yan Li would chase him down. But Yan Li was a star and had to be careful that her address was not revealed, so of course she wouldn’t stick to him like glue. As soon as he went down a few floors, he wouldn’t need to worry about Yan Li any more.
Yan Li held the tablet in her hand and stared after the fleeing Ji Linxi.
She bit her lip, ripples of emotion surfacing in her eyes. Her breath came faster; she seemed to be holding something back.
Ji Linxi’s silhouette disappeared around the corner, the sound of his footsteps growing fainter until they could no longer be heard.
Yan Li clutched the box in her hand. Preparing for the worst where the paparazzi were concerned, she picked up her feet and headed for the stairs.
Yan Li didn’t know how many floors Ji Linxi had gone down. She prayed she’d catch up with him before he left the apartment.
“Ji Linxi, Ji Linxi…” Yan Li recited Ji Linxi’s name. Her footsteps grew more hurried and she almost lost her footing several times.
“Ji Linxi!” On the third floor, Yan Li finally glimpsed Ji Linxi’s silhouette and called out.
Ji Linxi turned to look at Yan Li, frowning with unease. He started going faster down the stairs.
“Ji Linxi, don’t you run!” Yan Li had made up her mind to catch Ji Linxi, and the more he ran the more she wasn’t willing to give up.
Ji Linxi seemed not to hear Yan Li’s shouts. His resolute footsteps made Yan Li’s heart sink lower and lower until she had to use her last resort.
Wasn’t Ji Linxi worried about making entertainment mag headlines?
Yan Li didn’t keep pursuing. She yelled: “Ji Linxi, stop right there! If you don’t stop right there, I’ll keep chasing you, and if we’re found, I’ll say you’re my boyfriend!”
Ji Linxi had already reached the ground floor. In a few more steps he would be out of the apartment, but he came to a sudden stop at Yan Li’s words.
The loud sound of footsteps reverberated in the stairwell, growing clearer. Yan Li clutched the handrail, hard, as if trying to break it in half.
The silhouette of a man appeared before Yan Li, and her serious expression showed a hint of surprise. She was about to speak but Ji Linxi spoke first: “Despicable.”
Yan Li understood his meaning but she didn’t care. She took a deep breath and steadied herself before saying, “Surely there’s a reason you rejected me?”
“I don’t like you, so I rejected you. I detest being forced, so I rejected you. I don’t want to get into trouble, so I rejected you.” Ji Linxi stopped, shooting a mocking gaze toward Yan Li, whose hands trembled. Her body went weak. If she hadn’t been holding the handrail and keeping herself upright through force of will, she’d definitely have fallen.
It might’ve been better if she had fallen over, since she would have been able to see Ji Linxi’s reaction. Those were her thoughts, but in reality, she remained upright.
“I’m starting to dislike you, Yan Li,” Ji Linxi said in a joking tone. Her heart felt as if it had been whipped, pain spreading to every cell.
“You dislike me,” Yan Li said self-mockingly. “Since you dislike me, then leave.”
“Are you kidding me?” A familiar voice came from downstairs. “Su Yuyang, why didn’t you tell the postman to bring it upstairs?” Ling Miao yelled as he panted for breath.
“I…” Su Yuyang had only gotten the one word out when he turned and saw Yan Li standing barefoot in pajamas with hair so messy he wanted to mess it up even more. As for the man standing in front of Yan Li—Su Yuyang thought he recognized the silhouette of his back. Yan Li was standing there, so there was no doubt this man was Ji Linxi. Su Yuyang swallowed his words and began again: “Ji Linxi, since you’ve come all this way, come upstairs and join us. You’re just in time for lunch.”
Ji Linxi spat out coldly, “No need.” Then he turned and walked toward the exit.
Ling Miao could tell that something was off with Ji Linxi. Then he looked at Yan Li’s reddened eyes and the things in her hands, and surmised what had happened between the two of them. He put the parcel down on the ground and patted Su Yuyang’s shoulders, saying, “I’ll go check on Ji Linxi. You move these books up by yourself.”
“Hey…” Su Yuyang expressed his dissatisfaction, but Ling Miao had already run downstairs. “Damn it, Ling Miao!” Su Yuyang grit out. A shadow fell over his head and Su Yuyang looked worriedly at the woman walking toward him.
Yan Li bent down to pick up the parcel Ling Miao had put on the ground. Su Yuyang hurriedly stopped her: “I can take these up myself.” Yan Li ignored him and put the parcel on her left shoulder, holding it with her left hand. In her right she held the tablet that had been meant for Ji Linxi. She walked unsteadily up the stairs.
Ji Linxi knew that Yan Li was strong; for her, even carrying a drum of water up ten floors wasn’t a problem. Under this tense atmosphere, however, Su Yuyang had not intended to ask Yan Li for help. On the other hand, she had volunteered.
Carrying the books, Su Yuyang slowly climbed the stairs, stopping now and then to rest. When he got to the tenth floor he found Yan Li standing at the door, holding her burden. She must have left in such a hurry that she hadn’t brought her keys and had to wait at the door for Su Yuyang.
He opened the door and Yan Li threw the tablet to the ground then headed straight to her room. The door shut with a slam, scaring Su Yuyang who almost dropped his burden on his foot.
Ling Miao had followed Ji Linxi out, so both Su Yuyang and Yan Li now had no lunch.
“I’ll make lunch.” Yan Li walked out after changing and headed for the kitchen under Su Yuyang’s disbelieving gaze.
Ling Miao caught up with Ji Linxi and followed him back to his apartment.
Seeing that Ji Linxi had put his laptop on the table, Ling Miao noticed something wrong. Usually, Ji Linxi took lunch at his office.
Ji Linxi started up the laptop and logged straight in to an online game. Ling Miao sat to one side, not sure how to ask about the day’s events, but Ji Linxi saw through him and laughed: “I was fired.”
Ji Linxi turned and glanced at Ling Miao as if saying: Why do you think?
Remembering the scene he had seen in the stairwell, Ling Miao suddenly understood why Ji Linxi had been fired. Ah, having a petty boss is life-threatening. Ling Miao looked at Ji Linxi sympathetically and consoled: “So you’re fired. With your skills, you don’t have to worry about finding another job.”
“Don’t talk about it. It actually is inconvenient for me to find a job.” Ji Linxi suddenly started typing faster, as if he was venting all his frustration in the game.
Ji Linxi’s lips were tightly pursed, his upset apparent in the lines on his forehead. Once Ji Linxi was done speaking, Ling Miao sat beside him, saying nothing, and watched him game. Ling Miao either didn’t want to interrupt Ji Linxi’s game or had nothing else to say.
Ji Linxi killed off several people who tried to ambush him, then took a few screenshots. After he had vented enough he logged out of the game.
“Let’s eat.” Somewhere in the time Ji Linxi was gaming, Ling Miao had made lunch. Ji Linxi glanced at the dishes on the table, picked up his chopsticks, and ate in silence.
“I don’t know what happened between you and Yan-jie, but I’ll go talk to her. Even if I can’t get her to give up, I’ll do my best to get her to stop interfering in your life,” Ling Miao said, as if swearing an oath. Ji Linxi glanced at him and said blandly, “It’s fine. I’ve wanted to quit for a while now.” Ling Miao fully supported the second half of that sentence. With a boss like Hu Lin who both had designs on Ji Linxi and easily got jealous, the earlier he resigned, the better.
“So, now you’ll have to look for a job?” Ling Miao suddenly grew pleased at Ji Linxi’s misfortune.
“Yeah,” Ji Linxi dragged the word out. “But don’t give me job hunting advice. I think if I follow your advice, I definitely won’t be able to find a job.”
“Eat your food! How do you have so much crap to say?”
Ling Miao stayed at Ji Linxi’s place until just before dinnertime, when Su Yuyang called. But it was Ji Linxi who picked up the phone.
“Where’s Ling Miao?”
Su Yuyang heard the voice wasn’t Ling Miao’s and put up his defenses. Yan Li watched Su Yuyang from behind and observed that all his hair was standing on end.
“Making dinner,” Ji Linxi said offhandedly.
Fuck, he’s making dinner for this guy! A small fire ignited in Su Yuyang’s heart and he yelled: “Tell him to come to the phone!”
“I told you, he’s making dinner! He’s busy!” Ji Linxi’s tone changed, becoming pleased. This small fire in Su Yuyang’s heart multiplied and bloomed into enormous jets of fire. Su Yuyang forcibly suppressed the rage in his heart and grit out: “His boss is starving at home! Tell him to come back!”
Ji Linxi felt that Su Yuyang wasn’t angry enough and continued to provoke him. “Even if he goes back, he has to finish cooking my dinner first!”
“Ji Linxi…” Su Yuyang felt as if he were about to explode.
On the other end, Ji Linxi unceremoniously cut him off. “If you don’t want Ling Miao to associate with me, then get some rope and make him a leash. Then he can’t run even if he wants to.”
“Do you think I don’t want to?” Su Yuyang yelled furiously.
Ji Linxi feigned realization. He said in surprise, “Su Yuyang, you’re in love with him?”
“Su Yuyang’s in love with who?” The moment Ling Miao returned, he heard Ji Linxi’s words. The plate in his hands trembled and the food almost fell to the floor.