The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
Ji Linxi pretended not to have seen Yan Li’s expression. He tossed the towel to one side, picked up the hairdryer, and started drying his hair. As Ling Miao was standing beside Ji Linxi, the hot air from the hairdryer landed on Ling Miao’s face and Ling Miao said angrily: “Fuck, step aside.”
Ignoring Ling Miao’s complaints, Ji Linxi teased, “When are you coming back? Or are you staying there for good?”
“What do you mean ‘staying there for good?’” Ling Miao picked up his things. “I told you to tell the landlord to reserve my bed for me. If you’re still worried, should I come back every day to see you?”
Watching the scene unfold, Yan Li’s earlier panic was completely wiped away. Her eyes opened wide as she watched the ‘squabbling lovers’ and she momentarily didn’t know what to do.
That… these two aren’t lovers, surely? Does it do them any good to performatively flirt in front of me? Is Ling Miao acting coy? Ji Linxi drying his hair looked like he was performing some kind of very practiced dance! Fuck, I didn’t come here for nothing, right? Yan Li suppressed the welling emotions, but the audible sound of her swallowing revealed that, in her heart, one hundred thousand ‘fuck you’ horses were thundering by.¹
The scene in front of Yan Li was so beautiful, she almost didn’t dare to look. She drew a deep breath, steadied herself, and said slowly: “Ling Miao, it’s getting late. We should be getting back, right?”
She had asked a question, but her tone made it clear that it was an order. Ling Miao glared at Ji Linxi then reminded him: “Remember to tell the landlord!”
“Relax. As long as you pay rent on time he won’t give you a hard time.” Ji Linxi looked anxious to see Ling Miao out the door.
Ling Miao kicked Ji Linxi and said fiercely: “What’s that expression? You look like you can’t wait to kick me out. I should punch you!”
Ji Linxi watched Ling Miao with a faint smile and said: “Scram.” Then he turned his head away and, in that moment, his gaze met Yan Li’s shining eyes. The glimmering crystalline shine over her eyes drew his attention and didn’t let go.
Ling Miao prepared to leave carrying his things, but found that Yan Li stood frozen to one side. He looked again and realized she and Ji Linxi were staring besottedly at each other. He stood to one side and observed them both, and in that moment he really wanted to push Ji Linxi and let him and Yan Li have a long and passionate kiss. But then he considered the consequences of this push and felt that they’d be pretty serious.
Suppressing the impulse, Ling Miao leisurely sat down, pulled out his phone, and started reading a novel.
Although Ling Miao and Su Yuyang had had a falling out, Ling Miao still read Su Yuyang’s novel every day. Now he opened the chapter Su Yuyang had updated that afternoon; if he remembered correctly, he hadn’t looked this one over yet. In other words, if there were typos or things like that, it definitely had nothing to do with him. So, when he saw more than ten typos, he couldn’t help complaining: “Fuck, Su Yuyang, doesn’t the lazy bastard check before he updates a chapter? Or does he think that with all his money he won’t miss the subscription fees for this chapter? Fuck it, such a waste! I don’t understand how these Great Authors think!”
Ling Miao’s shout wasn’t a big deal. At most, the neighbours might scold him harshly. The thing was that his shout brought Ji Linxi and Yan Li back to their senses.
Yan Li and Ji Linxi simultaneously turned to look at Ling Miao, who was still muttering curses at his phone saying he would lodge a complaint with the site against Su Yuyang.
Yan Li watched Ling Miao impatiently wave his claws around, frozen to the spot. She pulled at Ji Linxi’s pants and asked, “Ling Miao, he’s… concerned about Su Yuyang?”
“Looks like it,” Ji Linxi replied in a lukewarm tone. His forehead was furrowed and his expression was conflicted as he looked at the top of Yan Li’s head.
Please pay attention to the fact that Ji Linxi, after showering, was wearing only a pair of big pants… only a pair of big pants…
“I still think something’s wrong with this picture. Linxi, doesn’t Ling Miao dislike Su Yuyang? If Su Yuyang gets into trouble, shouldn’t he be happy?”
“Maybe it isn’t dislike he feels towards Su Yuyang.” Ji Linxi lowered his gaze to his own pants, Yan Li’s hand was still caught in the fabric, and although she hadn’t pulled on them, Ji Linxi somehow got the feeling they were sliding downward.
Ji Linxi was about to remind Yan Li to let go when Ling Miao suddenly let out a bark of laughter: “Hahaha! Su Yuyang, it’s karma! You lazybones, you idiot, you fool!”
Ling Miao’s emotional about-face was too sudden. In a fit of excitement, Yan Li’s hand slipped, and the moment she exerted strength, Ji Linxi’s pants…
“Whoo—” Ji Linxi let out a long breath, celebrating that he’d caught his pants in time. Yan Li felt an obstructing force and raised her head to look at Ji Linxi in confusion. Ji Linxi said tonelessly, “I only have pants on.”
Yan Li thought: Why are you telling me this?
Ji Linxi pointed at Yan Li’s hand. Yan Li said, “Uh,” and let go of Ji Linxi’s pants like she’d been electrocuted. She didn’t explain, only kept up a smile—an awkward smile. In contrast to Yan Li’s embarrassment, Ji Linxi was a lot calmer. He walked behind Ling Miao, voice cold as a ghost’s as it entered Ling Miao’s ears: “Ling Miao, if you’re still not leaving, are you planning to stay the night?”
Ling Miao was still immersed in his own inner world. He didn’t seem to have heard Ji Linxi and continued to smile to himself. Ji Linxi raised his voice’s volume by eighty percent and said impatiently, “Ling Miao, time to scram.”
“Scram? You scram!” Ling Miao raised his phone and made a face at Ji Linxi, then turned to look at Yan Li.
“Go?” Ling Miao twitched his mouth toward the door.
Yan Li had recovered herself and had returned to being just the Yan Li whom Ling Miao knew. It was as if nothing had happened between her and Ji Linxi just now.
Hey, what’s ‘as if nothing had happened?’ Nothing did happen, alright? [kicks the floor]
Yan Li put on her sunglasses and stuck her hands in her pockets. She cleared her throat and instructed: “Let’s go.” She strolled toward the door, then turned and waved to Ji Linxi: “Bye, Linxi.”
“Bye,” Ji Linxi replied out of politeness.
Yan Li saying bye to Ji Linxi had already shocked Ling Miao so much he couldn’t shut his mouth, and on top of that she had also called him Linxi—hey, when did they get so familiar?—What surprised Ling Miao even more was that Ji Linxi actually replied to Yan Li!
Heck heck heck—didn’t Ji Linxi have a lot of problems with Yan Li? How had their relationship changed so quickly that they’d exchange such friendly goodbyes? When did they start carrying out some illicit relationship?
Ling Miao certainly lived up to his novelist profession—his imagination was much more vivid than Yan Li’s—but…
Looking at his own inner world, Ling Miao felt that this line of thought was getting more and more scandalous and he couldn’t even go on making it up.
Returning to the real world, Ling Miao watched Ji Linxi and Yan Li in a different light.
Ji Linxi could tell at once that Ling Miao was letting his thoughts run away in the wrong direction. He walked over and rolled his eyes at Ling Miao, then slapped the back of Ling Miao’s head with one hand and bellowed: “If you have so much free time to ship us, you should go think about your novel instead.”
Ji Linxi hadn’t used a lot of force, and neither he nor Ling Miao felt pain, but Yan Li got worried: “Is your hand alright?”
“It’s alright. He’s pretty thick-skinned.”
Ji Linxi, playing along with Yan Li, was giving Ling Miao a hard time again. Ling Miao thought: Who did I offend this time? It’s fine that Ji Linxi gives me a hard time, but he teams up with Yan Li to give me a hard time?
“Let’s go, dumb cat.” Yan Li picked up Ji Linxi’s nickname for Ling Miao and called him by it.
Ling Miao stumbled after Yan Li, then suddenly remembered how Yan Li had called him and asked: “Who told you I was nicknamed dumb cat?”
“You know him very well?” Ling Miao asked curiously.
Yan Li rolled her eyes at Ling Miao: “This is the second time we’ve met.”
Second time they met, and with no special association…
“You look confused. Ask away,” Yan Li said.
Ling Miao said, testing the waters: “I think Linxi is special to you and you treat Linxi differently too. I think there’s something between you two.”
“There’s something between you two.” Yan Li slapped Ling Miao’s shoulder, the force almost sending him tumbling down the stairs.
Yan Li wasn’t like Ji Linxi; her slap to Ling Miao’s back wasn’t symbolic. She had used a lot of force and Ling Miao felt like his shoulder had shattered.
“Yan Li, we’re in public. Could you restrain yourself? Someone might take pictures.” Ling Miao reminded Yan Li, well-intentioned.
“If someone takes pictures, then I have no choice but to admit you’re my boyfriend.” Yan Li shrugged and strolled downstairs like a butterfly flitting through flowers. Ling Miao looked at the star who was acting like a child and suddenly worried about what his life would be like for the next month.
“Yan… Yan-jie, you can’t throw me under the bus like that!” Ling Miao chased Yan Li downstairs.
Ling Miao walked to Yan Li’s car where Yan Li was sitting in the back on the phone with someone. Ling Miao didn’t know whether to get in the driver’s seat or the passenger’s seat, so he stood outside the car and waited for Yan Li’s instructions. Yan Li glanced at Ling Miao and tossed the car keys to him. Ling Miao understood and opened the door on the driver’s side.
This was his first time driving since getting his license. He’d be kidding himself if he said he wasn’t worried.
He started the car and haltingly drove onto the road.
Fortunately, the end-of-day rush hour had already passed, and Ling Miao’s strung-up heart relaxed quite a lot.
Ling Miao drove into the parking lot, and after trying five times, still couldn’t reverse into the parking spot. Yan Li couldn’t take it any more, shooed Ling Miao out of the seat, and reversed into the spot on her first try.
“Your skills can be improved,” was Yan Li’s assessment of Ling Miao as she led the way out of the parking lot.
Ling Miao followed Yan Li upstairs. They didn’t run into a single person on the way, which both surprised Ling Miao and made him glad.
Ling Miao stood in front of Su Yuyang’s door and fidgeted, wondering whether to open the door. Yan Li got impatient waiting, and besides, everyone who passed by eyed the two of them curiously. Worried that the cops would arrive and give them trouble, Yan Li pulled Ling Miao aside and opened the door herself.
As the door opened, Su Yuyang’s voice floated out. Ling Miao, who was about to step inside, retracted his foot.