The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
“Let go,” Ling Miao said coolly.
Su Yuyang had thought that Ling Miao would make a scene—that Ling Miao would break free of him then jump up and point at his nose and call him a bastard, or pick up something nearby and fling it at him.
But Ling Miao did neither of those things.
Ling Miao’s abnormal reaction made Su Yuyang frown. While Su Yuyang was thinking, his grip on Ling Miao gradually went slack. He didn’t notice this, but Ling Miao did.
Ling Miao withdrew his hand from Su Yuyang’s. It happened in a split second, but Su Yuyang clearly felt Ling Miao’s skin leaving his fingertips.
Su Yuyang’s reaction was slow, and only when Ling Miao had turned and walked toward W&S’s door did he regain his senses.
“Xiao Miao!” Su Yuyang’s legs were long and he only needed to take two steps forward to catch Ling Miao. On reflex, Ling Miao struggled, but he accidentally used too much strength and punched Su Yuyang right in the chest.
The sound of a fist meeting flesh intermingled with the pained sound that emanated from Su Yuyang’s mouth, and Ling Miao’s footsteps slowed.
Ling Miao didn’t turn around. Su Yuyang didn’t waste this chance. He walked in front of Ling Miao and looked downward at him.
Ling Miao’s head was lowered so that Su Yuyang couldn’t see his expression, but his shoulders were shaking slightly as if trying to hold back the sorrow in his heart.
Su Yuyang placed both hands on Ling Miao’s shoulders and Ling Miao sneered coldly. Su Yuyang quickly withdrew his hands, as if he’d been pricked by something spiky, and left them hanging awkwardly at his sides like he didn’t know what to do with them.
Whoo—Ling Miao took a deep breath as if trying to encourage himself, then raised his head and met Su Yuyang’s glimmering eyes.
Su Yuyang’s gaze trembled. Like a puppet on strings, he raised his hands, but under Ling Miao’s disdainful gaze he lowered them again to his sides.
Ling Miao’s eyes were red and tears shone in his eyes, but a cold smile lay on his lips.
Su Yuyang didn’t know how to describe Ling Miao’s expression.
Pained? Frustrated? Dejected? Disdainful?
All of the adjectives Su Yuyang knew flew around his mind, but he couldn’t find one that matched Ling Miao’s expression.
“Heh heh.” A soft mocking laugh slipped from Ling Miao’s lips and Su Yuyang’s gaze retracted a little. As he looked at Ling Miao, the regret in his eyes grew more intense.
Ling Miao swiped a hand across his face. This gesture was clearly meant to conceal something, but Su Yuyang couldn’t laugh, even though before he would have taken every opportunity he could to mock Ling Miao.
“Su Yuyang, what the hell kind of expression is that?” Ling Miao laughed candidly. His entire being radiated a nirvana-like serenity and calm.
Su Yuyang couldn’t reconcile the person in front of him with the Ling Miao in his memories, or even the Ling Miao of five minutes ago. But Su Yuyang was also very self-aware and knew that the change in Ling Miao definitely wasn’t because of him.
In that case, such a change in Ling Miao only had one explanation—Ling Miao was putting on a front.
The more indifferent Ling Miao seemed to be, the more bitter the pain Su Yuyang felt in his heart.
Ling Miao angled his chin as if he didn’t care that his neck would grow stiff. His gaze was fixed on Su Yuyang’s face; Su Yuyang had lowered his head, not willing to miss even the slightest change in Ling Miao’s expression.
The two gazed at each other with the intensity of lovers, but also like enemies in a standoff in which neither was willing to concede.
Feng Ji sat to one side and admired the picture of them facing off. In his hand was a cup of coffee; he seemed extremely relaxed.
“Sorry, Ling Miao.” In the end, Su Yuyang was the one to relent. Ling Miao’s smile grew wider.
“If you want to go, I…”
“I’m not going any more,” Ling Miao smiled and said.
Ling Miao walked to Feng Ji’s side and sat down. He picked up the cup of coffee, seemingly indifferent to whether Feng Ji had already drunk from it, and took a sip. He said with satisfaction: “Of course, if you want to dissolve our employment contract, I have no objections. Mm, if the contract is dissolved, I’ll certainly leave your house, and at that time you’d better not hold my things hostage.”
“I…” Su Yuyang was completely defeated. He didn’t want to rebut Ling Miao’s words—it wasn’t that he couldn’t, he just didn’t want to.
Su Yuyang only said, ”I—” and didn’t continue. Ling Miao’s head was still turned to look at him, as if waiting for his next words. Su Yuyang met Ling Miao’s cold eyes, a frustrated smile surfacing on his face.
“Let’s go home,” Su Yuyang said gently. A muscle in Feng Ji’s face twitched involuntarily.
Su Yuyang’s tone and gaze were both too gentle, like a frozen stream starting to flow again after being touched by the spring wind.
It was the gentleness one might show to a lover, but Su Yuyang was using it on his assistant.
Feng Ji understood something—he was an outsider in this situation and saw many things more clearly than Su Yuyang himself did. But from the start he’d made up his mind not to interfere with Su Yuyang and Ling Miao, so he chose to stay silent.
Su Yuyang picked up the groceries Ling Miao had put on the table. His other hand reflexively reached for Ling Miao’s hand but Ling Miao avoided it and Su Yuyang’s hand caught only air.
Without surprise or disappointment, Su Yuyang smiled at Feng Ji and said brightly, “I’m going back. I don’t know when we’ll see each other next.”
“Very soon.” Feng Ji’s smile was radiant.
A cold breeze blew across the back of Su Yuyang’s neck. He shuddered and asked in a shaking voice, “If you have something to say, say it. Don’t hem and haw. Are you a toad?”
“Remember the black bag I gave you before?” Feng Ji reminded Su Yuyang.
Su Yuyang came to a realization and the confusion on his face gave way to a deeper horror.
“Fuck, if he’s here my life will be ruined,” Su Yuyang cursed anxiously. “Feng Ji, how about this? Before he gets there, call me, and I’ll hide out somewhere for a couple days.”
“You’re mad,” Feng Ji gave a succinct assessment and was promptly called away by a waiter.
Su Yuyang glanced in the direction Feng Ji had gone. Some customers seemed to be quarrelling.
Su Yuyang had no interest in spectating. He yelled for Ling Miao and the two prepared to leave, but at that moment Ling Miao heard a familiar voice.
“Fucking disgusting!” A man’s disdainful shout reached Ling Miao’s ears. Ling Miao incredulously turned his head— standing at the end of his line of sight was Ji Linxi.
“Linxi?” Ling Miao said softly.
Even though Ling Miao had lowered his voice, Su Yuyang still heard the word ‘Linxi,’ and there was only one Linxi he knew Ling Miao was acquainted with—Ling Miao’s good friend, Ji Linxi.
“Linxi!” Ling Miao shouted in surprised joy.
Hearing the familiar shout, Ji Linxi’s first reaction was to think he was hallucinating. Nevertheless, he looked in the direction of the sound. In the instant he saw Ling Miao, his initial anger calmed down, but he hadn’t been calm for too long when his attention was drawn to the person beside Ling Miao.
Su Yuyang seemed to notice Ji Linxi looking at him. He stepped forward—one step closer to Ling Miao. This subconscious action made Ji Linxi ponder on it a little.
“You like him?”
A disgusting sneer reached the ears of everyone present.
If Ling Miao remembered correctly, the man speaking was Ji Linxi’s superior, Hu Lin!
Feng Ji rubbed his temple. He’d been about to defuse the situation but Ling Miao had interfered and now the situation had grown more complicated.
With no other recourse, Feng Ji sent a waiter to apologize to the customers and ask them to leave.
The silence in the room seemed as thunderous as fireworks to Feng Ji.
Sigh. With a sigh, Feng Ji sat down in the corner and said, as if watching a show: “If you’ve got a problem, sit down and solve it. If anyone’s going to be violent, I’ll show him whose fists are harder.”
Feng Ji’s words were not threatening in tone. His expression was shit-eating, and as for the content, nobody present cared.
“You like him?” Hu Lin continued to press the matter.
“I already said I like women.”
“That’s what I said, too, before realizing my orientation,” Hu Lin said.
Hu Lin’s persistence made Ji Linxi more and more uneasy. Before, Hu Lin would at least keep his distance, but today, Hu Lin had kissed him. Thinking of Hu Lin’s kiss, Ji Linxi felt as if the Monkey God
¹ were wreaking havoc in his stomach. An intense disgust made him retch into the wastebasket.
“What’s the matter?” Ling Miao asked concernedly.
Ling Miao was the quickest to help Ji Linxi up. In the instant his hands made contact with Ji Linxi, Hu Lin gave a mocking laugh that was holding back pain: “So you two… heh heh…” Ling Miao didn’t know if Hu Lin was laughing or crying. He initially wanted to scold Hu Lin, but Hu Lin’s expression rendered him unable to open his mouth.
“Hu Lin, that kiss nauseates me,” Ji Linxi said heartlessly. “Hu Lin, you’re not the only person on earth who likes your own gender. Why do you have to keep getting up in my business, me, a heterosexual person?”
“Ji Linxi, if I didn’t like you, it’d be Ling Miao who was hired in the first place.” Hu Lin was laughing, mourning seeping through his smile. Something fierce flashed in his eyes, and that sense of, ‘If I can’t have it, I’ll destroy it,’ burned itself into Ji Linxi’s heart.
Hu Lin left, but everyone present understood that Hu Lin hadn’t given up.
“Resign,” Ling Miao suggested.
Ji Linxi shook his head. “I have to give a month’s notice and the job market’s especially hard this year. If I resign and I don’t have a new job, who’ll pay my bills?”
“Actually…” Feng Ji, who had been silent thus far, now opened his mouth, but he only got out one word before Su Yuyang glared many holes through him. Feng Ji changed tack: “Actually, as long as he doesn’t cross any lines, you’d better endure it or he’ll give you a hard time.”
Feng Ji seemed to have meant to say something more, but Ji Linxi knew he could forget all thoughts of ever finding out what it was—he had seen Su Yuyang glare at Feng Ji.
“And this is?” Ji Linxi intentionally brought the conversation around to Su Yuyang. Ling Miao glanced at Su Yuyang, his expression radiating, ‘No one knows who the hell this is.’
Ji Linxi had already guessed Su Yuyang’s true identity. He had deflected the conversation to Su Yuyang in order to ease the tension, but guessing from Ling Miao’s reaction, he’d made a very bad decision.
Su Yuyang had no intention of introducing himself. He stood where he was and said loudly, “Ling Miao, let’s go home.”
Su Yuyang laid emphasis on the words, “go home.” For some reason Ji Linxi’s gaze went first to Feng Ji and Feng Ji also looked at Ji Linxi!
Feng Ji and Ji Linxi’s gazes crashed head-on. Both sides froze, then exchanged a look.
After Su Yuyang and Ling Miao left, Ji Linxi walked to Feng Ji’s side and sat down.
They chatted on and off, and surprisingly their topic of conversation was Su Yuyang and Ling Miao.
At dinnertime, Feng Ji asked Ji Linxi to stay for dinner, but Ji Linxi refused.
“You don’t really hate homosexual people, right?”
Looking at Ji Linxi’s back, Feng Ji suddenly asked.
Ji Linxi froze before giving his own answer. “Hu Lin disgusts me.”