The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
When Ling Miao got to W&S, the clothes on his back were so damp with sweat that he could wring water out of them. Yan Li sat in Feng Ji’s room, whistling as she watched a movie and drank iced coffee.
Ling Miao stood to one side of the entrance to W&S, hands by his side, a picture of unease. He looked at Feng Ji busy behind the counter and wasn’t sure how to get Feng Ji’s attention.
If Ling Miao called Feng Ji by name, like he had done before, he felt that he wouldn’t be able to control his tone. If he were to call ‘Boss Feng,’ that would sound like ‘Crazy Boss’¹ which wouldn’t be appropriate either. Should he call ‘Feng-ge?’
Feng Ji was currently checking inventory and didn’t notice Ling Miao at all, but one of the waiters did and bent to Feng Ji’s ear to draw his attention to him. Feng Ji lifted his head, met Ling Miao’s eyes, smiled, and said: “Please sit down for a while. I still have to check a few things.”
As if meeting his saving grace, Ling Miao wiped away the sweat at his temple, walked to the table nearest Feng Ji, and sat down.
Feng Ji’s hands were blocked by the counter and Ling Miao couldn’t see what he was doing.
Feng Ji was texting someone to ask them what to do next.
Yan Li: Are you stupid? Bring him up, of course! Leave everything else to me.
Feng Ji: You sure you can handle it?
Yan Li could read between the lines of Feng Ji’s words: If you can handle Ling Miao, that’d be best. If you can’t, then I’ll have to think of a way to send him away. I don’t actually need help in the shop.
Yan Li: [Disdainfully] Look at you being petty. Are you jealous of Ling Miao?
Feng Ji: Hey… you’re not seeing the whole picture. What even is there to be jealous of?
Feng Ji put away his phone and walked towards Ling Miao, who stood up.
“Let’s go.” Feng Ji gestured toward the second floor and walked up. Ling Miao looked at Feng Ji, perplexed. He remembered that the second floor was Feng Ji’s bedroom, and only Feng Ji’s bedroom. An interview in the bedroom seemed odd no matter how he thought about it and a cold sweat drenched him again. Ling Miao wanted to ask Feng Ji that very moment if it would be fine for him to leave now should he decide he didn’t want the job after all.
Seeing Ling Miao pale-faced and frozen to the spot, Feng Ji smiled weakly. He guessed what Ling Miao had misunderstood. Though he didn’t mind being misunderstood, the current situation didn’t allow room for misunderstanding. Fuck, if he let Ling Miao go now, Yan Li would tear him a new one!
Feng Ji’s face contorted as he walked to Ling Miao and placed one hand on Ling Miao’s shoulder. Looking down on Ling Miao’s terrified face from above, he said helplessly: “I called you here at someone’s behest, so if you have any questions the person upstairs will answer them for you.”
“At someone’s behest?” Surprise flashed across Ling Miao’s eyes. Did Su Yuyang ask Feng Ji to invite me here? But… Fuck. Why do I keep thinking about that bastard? Ling Miao berated himself.
Ling Miao gripped his keys in his hand and slowly followed Feng Ji to the second floor.
Feng Ji stood in the doorway and bowed in a gesture of ‘please enter.’ Ling Miao gripped the keys in his hand tighter as if trying to drive them into his palm.
Ling Miao stood in the doorway assessing the situation inside, and only when he was sure nothing was wrong did he set one foot inside.
“Hi~” A woman’s voice came. Ling Miao was stunned to see the familiar face in front of him, and his forehead furrowed.
The woman sat casually on Feng Ji’s bed with her phone in hand, continuing to watch her movie.
Her identity had already surfaced in Ling Miao’s mind. He asked in surprise, “It’s you?”
“What ‘it’s you?’” Yan Li rolled her eyes at Ling Miao in disapproval.
“I don’t know your name, so I can only say ‘you’ or ‘hey.’ Or should I call you ‘woman?’” Ling Miao let out a ‘tcheh.’ His disdainful expression shook Yan Li. This is Ling Miao?
“If nothing’s the matter, I’m leaving.” Realizing he’d been played by this woman, Ling Miao wasn’t too happy and his bad mood showed in his tone. What irked Ling Miao most was that Feng Ji had been in cahoots with this woman to make a fool of him!
But, Ling Miao, Feng Ji is on better terms with Yan Li than with you, right?
Ling Miao hadn’t given Yan Li any time to reply. The moment his words left his mouth he began to move, and Feng Ji, who had been waiting by the door, had also left to attend to other business.
“Are you looking for work?” Yan Li asked casually.
Ling Miao’s footsteps slowed, but a second later he started walking again. Yan Li said unhurriedly, “There are many things it’s not convenient for me to do, and I didn’t bring my assistant with me. Old Su is lazy and Feng Ji is minding the shop, so I need someone to help me do things.”
“What’s it to do with me?” Ling Miao said coldly. “That’s your business, just like my being unemployed is my own business.”
“I’m here for a month. I’ll give you ten thousand. How’s that?” Yan Li didn’t accept that ‘everything could be solved with money,’ and she didn’t know if Ling Miao was a gold-digger, but for her good friend she was willing to put down collateral—if ten thousand wasn’t enough, then one hundred thousand.
(10,000 yuan: 1,458 USD. 100,000 yuan: 14,584 USD.)
Ten thousand for one month. Ling Miao had to admit he could be persuaded. Having ten thousand bucks would lessen the pressure on him to find a job.
“Deal!” Ling Miao agreed on the spot for fear Yan Li would renege. In reality, Yan Li was even preparing to up the price.
Ling Miao had agreed to Yan Li’s demands for his own survival but he had forgotten one thing—Yan Li was currently living in Su Yuyang’s apartment!
Now that Ling Miao had become Yan Li’s temporary assistant, Yan Li told him some basic information about herself. When Ling Miao heard Yan Li say she was a singer, his first reaction was disbelief.
Later, Feng Ji verified Yan Li’s words. Ling Miao wanted to cry as he looked at Yan Li who was laughing.
“You did this to me on purpose!” Ling Miao sniffed. “Fuck you both—you dug a hole so I’d fall in, and I fucking jumped! If we run into the paparazzi, I @#$%^&…” Ling Miao let out a string of curses on Feng Ji, Yan Li, and all their relatives. Yan Li couldn’t take it any more and stepped on Ling Miao’s foot to make him quiet down.
Yan Li stretched lazily, like a cat that’d gotten the cream, and laughed: “If you’re worried about the paparazzi, then you’d better watch out for yourself. Also, if anyone finds out I’m staying at Old Su’s, all his personal business will be exposed. This chain reaction… Pfeh. It’s pretty exciting.”
“Sure excites you. Fuck—ah—”
The moment Ling Miao said ‘you,’ the sole of Yan Li’s shoe landed a kiss on Ling Miao’s butt. No sooner had the word ‘Fuck’ left his mouth than his hip suffered a hard pinch between two fingers.
“Yan Li… fuck, you kicked me again!” Ling Miao jumped on Feng Ji’s bed and stretched out an arm to stop Yan Li from reaching him.
Yan Li’s legs were long and even though she couldn’t reach Ling Miao with her hands, the sole of her shoe still made contact with Ling Miao’s thigh.
“Call me Yan-jie. If you keep calling me Yan Li you’ll attract attention.” Yan Li ran a hand through her long hair to tame it, then asked Ling Miao, “Can you drive?”
“Yeah.” Ling Miao had had his license for a long time, but had almost never driven. He told Yan Li about his situation upfront and Yan Li sighed: “Practice more and you’ll be good.”
W&S gradually filled with people. Yan Li was worried she’d be recognized if she went downstairs now, so she prepared to leave when the crowd had thinned. Feng Ji went downstairs to work, leaving Yan Li and Ling Miao on the second floor. Yan Li lay on the bed watching her movie while Ling Miao sat to one side reading a novel. Suddenly Yan Li called: “Xiao Miao, I want a cappuccino and some tiramisu.”
Ling Miao understood that this was his first task as Yan Li’s temporary assistant, so he went downstairs without any complaint to ask Feng Ji for what Yan Li wanted.
Back on the second floor, Yan Li eyed him like a hungry wolf might eye a plump sheep. Ling Miao flinched and the coffee in his hand almost fell to the floor.
“That… If nothing’s the matter, I’d like to go home first.”
“What are you going home for?” Yan Li asked in surprise. “You’re my assistant. You should be with me.”
“Where do you live?” The moment the words left his mouth, Ling Miao wanted to hit himself with a brick. Seeing Ling Miao’s frustrated expression, Yan Li didn’t explain further. Ling Miao looked at Yan Li and asked, “I just moved out of Su Yuyang’s house. Surely it’s not very good for me to move right back in?”
Yan Li said dismissively: “If you don’t want to, that’s fine. I’ll ask Feng Ji—it’s even free labor.”
Yan Li was trying to rile him up—Ling Miao could see right through it, but certain things still held great attraction for him, so he said with resignation: “I’ve got to go back to pack.”
Yan Li yawned and said sleepily: “I’ll sleep for a bit. When there are fewer people around I’ll go with you.”
“I…” Yan Li fixed Ling Miao with a gaze and Ling Miao lost all desire to speak.
This was Ling Miao trying to make himself remember that Yan Li was doing him a favor, most likely.
Feng Ji arrived to inform them that they could leave. Yan Li stretched lazily and glanced at the sky outside, the bright sunlight piercing her eyes.
“What time is it?”
“Half past six.”
“Xiao Miao, weren’t you going back to get your things? Let’s go.”
Ling Miao took the keys from Feng Ji. This was the first time he had held car keys since he got his driver’s license, and his hands trembled, not out of excitement but out of anxiety.
Yan Li saw the sweat rolling down Ling Miao’s face and decisively took the keys for her own safety.
Following Ling Miao’s directions, Yan Li drove the car to Ling Miao’s rented apartment. To her surprise she discovered that it wasn’t far from Su Yuyang’s house!
“You live pretty close to him,” Yan Li observed with surprise.
Ling Miao shrugged to indicate his frustration. “A pity. He lives under his own roof, but I live under someone else’s.”
Ling Miao got out of the car and went into the apartment complex. Yan Li also got out and yelled: “Hey, Ling Miao, wait for me!”
Yan Li caught up to Ling Miao quickly, which gave Ling Miao a sense of failure. Fuck, this woman’s legs are longer than mine!
“You sure you want to go up with me?” Ling Miao asked uncertainly. Yan Li was a celebrity, and if they ran into the paparazzi or her fans they would have a hard time explaining their relationship.
Yan Li pushed Ling Miao. “Go, go, go. What’re you dithering about for? Even I’m not worried so why are you?”
Ling Miao had left in a hurry and hadn’t brought his keys, so Ji Linxi had to open the door.
“I thought you…” Ji Linxi’s words came to a halt the instant he saw Yan Li.