The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
Ling Miao glanced at Su Yuyang’s text, and his fingers gripped his phone tighter and tighter, as if he wanted to crush it to pieces. Maybe he grew pained at the memory of the money he had spent, because he quickly loosened his grip and threw the phone at the bed, hard.
The loud sound made Ji Linxi jump. He clutched his pounding heart and asked, “What the hell?! That scared me to death!”
Ling Miao let out a frustrated ‘hmph,’ then faced Ji Linxi with a fierce yet tearful expression. “Fuck it, I left in such a hurry that I forgot my computer! Now that bastard Su Yuyang’s using my drafts to threaten me!”
“Exactly how much of a hurry were you in when you left? Your clothes aside, you didn’t even take your suitcase full of books or your computer. Ling Miao, are you sure you don’t have other feelings towards Su Yuyang? If not, why are you acting so strange?” Ji Linxi said faux-thoughtfully in a teasing tone.
Ling Miao didn’t see Ji Linxi’s expression, but he could imagine what Ji Linxi’s face looked like from his shit-eating tone of voice.
Ling Miao kicked the chair Ji Linxi was sitting in and said witheringly: “Nah, I don’t. What I’m annoyed about is that I really don’t freakin’ want to go back, but he has leverage. Fuck, he went so far as to threaten me. That’s how low of a person he is.”
Ji Linxi knew Ling Miao was genuinely mad and didn’t provoke him any further. He reminded: “Forget Su Yuyang for a bit. Go wash the shampoo out of your hair, then we’ll see.”
“Fuck.” Ji Linxi’s reminder reminded Ling Miao he had been showering. Su Yuyang had stirred him up so much that his brain only had room for Su Yuyang’s crafty face.
The shower should have been refreshing but Ling Miao was extremely frustrated. He’d just mistakenly used Ji Linxi’s facial wash for toothpaste, and it was Su Yuyang who’d made him so absent-minded!
“Linxi, what should I do?” Ling Miao lay on the bed and said weakly.
Ji Linxi retorted: “How should I know what you should do?”
After a period of silence, Ji Linxi asked: “You don’t want to go back because Su Yuyang maligned you by saying you’re an anti-fan, but Su Yuyang clearly knows you’re not. So why would he say that?”
“Of course, isn’t it because I didn’t check his chapters after uploading them?” Ling Miao was still mad when discussing this matter. “Why didn’t he check them himself? What writer’s this irresponsible?”
“Dumb cat.” Ji Linxi sounded as if he wanted to drag Ling Miao into the bathroom and splash Ling Miao’s fury-addled head with cold water.
“Hey, no need to dredge up the past, okay?!” Ling Miao sat up, his manner and his movements just like a cat whose tail had been stepped on.
“Ling Miao, can you use your head, please? You’ve made a lot of mistakes like this before. Why did Su Yuyang only discover it this time?” Ji Linxi suddenly took on a lecturing tone. Ling Miao’s eyes flashed as if Ji Linxi had really reminded him of something. He said carefully, “Su Yuyang trusted me a lot?”
Ji Linxi said nothing. Ling Miao’s gaze remained on Ji Linxi’s face, as if he’d bore a hole into Ji Linxi’s head should the latter not provide a satisfactory answer.
Ji Linxi finished his work and stretched lazily before saying, “I don’t think Su Yuyang is threatening you. I think he couldn’t find another way to get you to go back, so he’s using your drafts to lure you back.”
“Lure?” Ling Miao didn’t understand.
Ji Linxi pulled up the text Su Yuyang had sent Ling Miao and explained: “Su Yuyang only said ‘your drafts are still here, come back.’ He didn’t say what he’d do to your drafts if you didn’t go back. So he’s luring you, not threatening you.
“Honestly speaking, Su Yuyang’s actions are very strange. Maybe he really, to you…” Ji Linxi hadn’t finished speaking when Ling Miao took the phone from him and called Su Yuyang.
“Hey, Su Yuyang, if I don’t go back, what will you do to my drafts?” Ling Miao asked in a conciliatory voice.
“I don’t know,” Su Yuyang replied calmly. “But they have a lot of typos. It’s tiring me out.”
“I…” Ling Miao was about to retort, “What business is it of yours if I have typos,” but that, “It’s tiring me out,” struck Ling Miao’s heart.
“Is he editing my drafts?” Ling Miao’s mouth dropped open with surprise.
Ling Miao didn’t reply for a long time. Su Yuyang asked worriedly, “Ling Miao, are you alright?”
As if knowing what Ling Miao was going to ask, Su Yuyang laughed and said: “I know you care a lot about doing your best, so I’m editing your update for tomorrow. But your drafts won’t last very long, so if you don’t come back…”
Though Su Yuyang didn’t finish, Ling Miao already understood what Su Yuyang wanted to express.
“Isn’t Su Yuyang’s hand hurt? He’s still helping me edit my drafts. I…” Ling Miao felt as if someone had struck his heart. Upon closer observation, the hand that had struck his heart was covered in boils, like the hand in the photo Su Yuyang had posted on his blog.
“You… Never mind, I’d better go back.”
Ling Miao actually really wanted to ask Su Yuyang to send over the drafts by email, but thinking about the fact that Su Yuyang had hurt his hand and was alone at home with no one to look after him—more importantly, that Su Yuyang was still editing Ling Miao’s drafts for him—Ling Miao’s heart momentarily melted and caused him to say he’d go back.
Su Yuyang seemed to have expected, but also not expected, Ling Miao’s answer. Su Yuyang’s face broke into a joyful smile, but his tone didn’t change: “I’ll wait for you.”
I’ll wait for you.
The four simple words didn’t have much emotional inflection, but when Ling Miao heard them his cheeks turned red.
Ji Linxi observed the change in Ling Miao and, seeing him turn red, Ji Linxi was curious as to what Su Yuyang had said. But Ling Miao definitely wouldn’t tell him if he asked directly.
“Ling Miao, why is your face red?”
Everything would have been just fine if Ji Linxi hadn’t said anything, but now that he had, Ling Miao became aware of his burning cheeks. He touched his face. It was warm.
“Aha, look at you. You don’t look like you’re going to see your boss, you look like you’re going to see your husband,” Ji Linxi teased.
“Get out!” Ling Miao jumped off the bed and began packing.
Ji Linxi let out a ‘tsk tsk tsk.’ Ling Miao turned, glared at him, and said: “Spit it out. With a pitiful expression like that, people who didn’t know might think I was abandoning you.”
Ji Linxi coughed twice and asked nosily, “I’m very curious. Are you this worried because of your drafts or because of Su Yuyang?”
“He’s waiting for me.”
Ling Miao carelessly let the words slip, but the moment they left his mouth Ling Miao’s mind went blank for a few seconds. When Ling Miao next looked at Ji Linxi, the latter was watching him with a grin. Ling Miao felt more awkward the more he looked at Ji Linxi’s smile, and hurriedly explained: “That… I’ve got to go write.” After which Ling Miao picked up his things and ran.
As Ling Miao’s fleeing figure vanished from his sight, Ji Linxi’s expression became thoughtful.
Noisy footsteps drew near. The door opened and two people walked in.
“Ling Miao’s not here?”
“Oh, he went back.”
His train of thought having been disturbed by his housemates, Ji Linxi didn’t try to analyze it further. He heaved a sigh and laughed: “Ah, they’re Ling Miao’s matters. He can just slowly sort them all out with Su Yuyang.”
On seeing Ji Linxi’s smile, Ji Linxi’s housemates shuddered inexplicably.
Ling Miao ran all the way to Su Yuyang’s building then took a deep breath and ran up to the tenth floor.
“Ha—Hoo—” Ling Miao gasped for breath, his pounding heart about to leap out from his throat.
Ling Miao didn’t have much energy left to knock on the door. He thought about resting for a while before knocking, but discovered that the door was open.
He cautiously pushed the door open wider. In the dark living room there was an especially blinding patch of white light. Ling Miao looked directly at it—it seemed to be a laptop.
“You’re back?” A surprised voice pierced through the darkness, all the way from the corner of the room to Ling Miao’s ears.
Ling Miao called out, ‘Ah,’ as a black shadow walked toward him.
“Su… Su Yuyang?’ Ling Miao asked tentatively.
“Oh, you’re back, good. I finished editing the drafts and queued them for your usual time.” Su Yuyang’s gentle words soothed Ling Miao’s turbulent feelings. Ling Miao’s gaze followed Su Yuyang’s silhouette, even though all he could see was a shadow.
The sound of a switch being flipped.
Light flooded Ling Miao’s eyes and he closed them reflexively.
A shadow fell across Ling Miao’s head. He raised his head quickly to see what was blocking the light—it was Su Yuyang.
“I was going to sign all the books in your suitcase, but…” Su Yuyang waved his hand in front of Ling Miao, who grabbed Su Yuyang’s wrist and fussed over the boils on his hand. “They’re bigger than they were in the post.”
“Ah.” Su Yuyang laughed it off. “I’ve put medication on it, it’ll be fine in a few days.”
Su Yuyang lowered his eyes to the bag Ling Miao was carrying.
Ling Miao had left empty-handed but returned with a bag. Su Yuyang’s curiosity was piqued.
Ling Miao started taking things out from the bag: clothes.
“I didn’t bring anything when I left, so when I crashed at Linxi’s place I conveniently took all his things,” Ling Miao explained. Just then, a pair of underpants slid out from the bag.
“Those are his too?” Su Yuyang eyed the underpants on the floor, flames igniting in his eyes with a ‘whoosh.’
Ling Miao awkwardly picked up the underpants and said in a small voice: “These are new.”
Ling Miao stood facing Su Yuyang. Su Yuyang’s manner was like a strict teacher, Ling Miao like a student who’d done something wrong. Hearing Ling Miao say the underpants were new, the fire in Su Yuyang’s eyes died down, but something still didn’t sit well with him.
“Who’s Linxi?” Su Yuyang asked, pretending to be calm. His gaze swept over Ling Miao. “Those clothes you’re wearing, they’re his too?”
“Linxi? His name is Ji Linxi and we went to university together. Yeah, this shirt is his, too, but it’s a bit big. I’ll go change into another one.”
Ling Miao grabbed his clothes and went into the bathroom.
Ling Miao had moved quickly, causing the bottom of the shirt to billow.