The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
“What are you smiling about?” Su Yuyang asked curiously.
Ling Miao put away his smile and made a fierce expression. “Hmph. So what if you got the ticket? Are you going to gift it to me?”
This time it was Su Yuyang who was rendered speechless. He pursed his lips and shrugged. Ling Miao let out a cold huff and jumped off the bed.
“Not gifting you, but troubling you,” Su Yuyang said awkwardly.
“I need to go to the toilet,” Su Yuyang said in a low voice, his gaze trained on Ling Miao’s face. The moment he saw anything amiss on Ling Miao’s face, he’d beat the retreat he had already planned.
Contrary to Su Yuyang’s expectation, Ling Miao did not seem disdainful or put out in the slightest. In fact, he said self-effacingly: “You’ve been lying down all day and you drank so much water. It’d be surprising if you didn’t need to go. Ah, why didn’t I think of this first?” Su Yuyang looked at Ling Miao in shock, as if the person in front of him was an alien lifeform who’d barged into his apartment. Ling Miao slapped his forehead in frustration and said guiltily: “Su-ge, I wasn’t considerate enough.” Ling Miao pulled away the blanket and Su Yuyang saw that his pants had been changed. He asked in surprise, “Did you change my clothes?”
“If I didn’t, would Yan-jie do it?” Ling Miao put Su Yuyang’s arm around his own shoulder and helped Su Yuyang up. Su Yuyang’s legs were still weak and most of his weight was supported by Ling Miao; Ling Miao was half-dragging him along. Su Yuyang heard Ling Miao panting and felt a stirring of guilt.
Ling Miao helped Su Yuyang to the bathroom, but seeing Su Yuyang not moving, he suddenly came to a realization. He helped Su Yuyang stand against the wall and hurriedly said: “Er… you’d better hold onto the wall. I’ll go out first.”
Su Yuyang didn’t seem to have the strength to hold himself up. Ling Miao had just stepped away when something heavy fell on his shoulder, and he didn’t need to turn around to know that Su Yuyang had fallen on him. Whether Su Yuyang was just pretending or really didn’t have the strength, Ling Miao knew he wouldn’t be able to leave.
Alright, he’d be Su Yuyang’s crutch. Ling Miao resignedly patted Su Yuyang and stammered, “Er… I’ll stay right here, then. You take care of it.” As Ling Miao spoke, two red clouds floated quickly onto his cheeks. Ling Miao touched his cheeks—they could practically be used to cook congee.
“Cook congee?” Ling Miao yelled, shocking Su Yuyang so much his hands shook and he almost did the deed without having pulled down his pants 0.0.
“Su-ge, can you hurry up?”
The toilet flushed and Su Yuyang said calmly, “I’m done.”
Su Yuyang having relieved his biological needs, Ling Miao helped him back to his room, turned, and rushed to the kitchen.
“Whoo, the pot hasn’t burned.” Ling Miao clutched his chest in relief, then tipped rice into the water boiling in the pot.
Ling Miao finished his work in the kitchen and didn’t even have the time to take a breath before returning to Su Yuyang’s room. He had left for the kitchen in such a hurry, he hadn’t even covered Su Yuyang with a blanket. He hoped Su Yuyang hadn’t felt cold.
As Ling Miao covered Su Yuyang with a blanket, he said jokingly, “Hey, Su Yuyang, you won’t become an invalid, right?”
Su Yuyang realized this was only a joke, but he pretended to think very hard about it and gave Ling Miao a heart-stopping response.
Su Yuyang said: “If I become an invalid just like that, the money I’ve earned should be enough to last me my remaining days. But I don’t know whether you’re willing to continue taking care of me.”
I’m willing. Of course I’m willing. Ling Miao bit back the response he had been ready to say and retorted: “Why should I continue taking care of you?”
“I’m your boss!” Su Yuyang said matter-of-factly.
“Tcheh, if you keep talking, I’ll quit!” Ling Miao made a shooing motion. Su Yuyang felt wronged and said pitifully: “You brought up the topic! Why can’t I keep talking about it?”
“Because I forbid it!” Ling Miao tyrannically put his hands on his hips, his fierce gaze saying: If you keep talking, I’ll end you in less than a minute!
Su Yuyang shut his mouth, tight. Suddenly, his phone rang.
Ling Miao accepted the call and put the phone to Su Yuyang’s ear. Several seconds later, Su Yuyang said ‘alright’ and Ling Miao put the phone away.
“My mom’s dumplings are here. Can you go get them?” Su Yuyang said in a conciliatory tone. Aside from Ling Miao, who else was around to get them? Ling Miao said, “Life is hard!” and walked out. Su Yuyang watched Ling Miao’s back, an indescribable feeling filling his heart. Even though he didn’t understand the feeling at all, he enjoyed it very much and hoped it would remain forever.
Speaking of Mom, there was something Su Yuyang hadn’t told Ling Miao.
Having received a phone call from her son, Mom was so happy her voice trembled. As usual, she asked how Su Yuyang was doing and Su Yuyang replied that everything was well. Eventually, the topic of conversation came around to Su Yuyang’s love life. Every time they talked about this, Su Yuyang would say, ‘There’s no suitable person around me,’ and gloss over it, but he wasn’t so lucky this time.
Mom had heard this excuse from Su Yuyang countless times. Before, she had just given up, but now that Su Yuyang had a good candidate right there, she wouldn’t let go of this chance. She said emphatically: “Xiao Yu, I don’t want to force you into anything, either. But I haven’t seen you in years. Could you just bury the hatchet with your dad?”
“Mom, you taught me since I was young that I must keep my word. Since I promised dad, whether I said it out of anger or not, I’ll do what I promised.” Su Yuyang’s resolute tone made Mom so angry her whole body trembled. Her reddened eyes filled with tears but she held them back, taking care that her voice didn’t waver. She probed: “It’s really not possible between you and your assistant? He seems like a good person, and he likes men too. You could try dating for a while, and if it doesn’t work out we can talk about it then. What do you think?”
“Xiao Miao likes men?” Su Yuyang cried out in shock, but he was still weak so his voice wasn’t loud enough to reach Ling Miao’s ears.
Mom was similarly surprised. She asked, “You didn’t know? He told me himself yesterday that he liked men. He also said you seemed to dislike him.”
“I don’t dislike him, but I don’t like him either.” Su Yuyang gave an ambiguous answer. Mom understood his intent and sighed: “I know matters of the heart can’t be forced, and I also know that once you start being stubborn even the sky falling won’t be enough to move you. Ah, Xiao Yu, if one day I die, will you come back to see me?”
“Mom, don’t do anything silly!” Su Yuyang cried out in worry. Never mind death—if Mom were to say that she felt even a little unwell, Su Yuyang would rush back immediately.
“Xiao Yu, don’t keep cooping yourself up at home. If you have time, come back. Treat it like a holiday. If you don’t come back, I might forget what you look like.” Mom’s frustration weighed on his heart like a mountain.
“Mom, I’ve wanted to find someone and settle down for a while, but I just haven’t found anyone.”
“You’re at home every day. Who can you find? If you don’t go out, be careful I don’t go right over and pull you out!” Mom threatened.
Su Yuyang reassured her: “I promise I’ll definitely come back this year, all right?”
“If you don’t come back, I’ll go over. Your agreement with your dad is that you can’t come home, not that I can’t go over there. Even if he doesn’t miss his son, I do! I want to know if you’ve lost weight or gained weight…” Su Yuyang’s mother rambled for a long stretch, then turned the conversation back to Ling Miao. “What’s your assistant’s name again? Xiao Miao?”
“His name is Ling Miao, and usually I call him Xiao Miao,” Su Yuyang explained.
“Oh, in that case, when you come back, bring him too so I can see him…”
“Mom…” Su Yuyang heaved a long sigh. He had almost emptied all the air from his lungs and he had used a wheedling tone, but Su Yuyang’s mom was unmoved. She said firmly: “I won’t eat him! Or do you think that your mom is scary, so you don’t let me meet anyone?”
“I’ll bring him back, alright?” Su Yuyang wanted to cry.
Was this Mom wanting to see her daughter-in-law, or Mom leaving him an avenue of retreat, or Mom cutting off his avenue of retreat?
None of this was important!
As Su Yuyang’s recollection ended, he heard Ling Miao complaining: “Su Yuyang, next time there’s a delivery, you pick it up yourself! Ten floors! I’m dead tired!”
“You’re my assistant. It’s your job to do these things,” Su Yuyang said leisurely.
Ling Miao couldn’t think of a retort and huffed: “Dinner tonight is congee and dumplings! Fuck, I’ve been away so long. The porridge better not have burned!”
Ling Miao departed swiftly, as if he was riding the wind. Su Yuyang thought he had angered Ling Miao again and shouted after him: “Xiao Miao, where are you going?”
Ling Miao walked back over carrying the bundle and said ill-temperedly, “I’m making dinner! No time for chitchat!”
“Ah, I thought…” Surprise shone in Su Yuyang’s eyes, and Ling Miao saw the elation in his gaze. Ling Miao felt Su Yuyang’s sincere joy and was infected by it. With a gentle smile, he picked up a pair of scissors, turned, and walked out of the room.
Only when Ling Miao’s silhouette had disappeared did Su Yuyang turn his head back.
The rain had gradually stopped, but the sky was still a solid wall of gray. Su Yuyang took a deep breath, then slowly exhaled. He seemed to be trying to exhale all the frustration in his heart, but it didn’t have much effect.
Su Yuyang’s faculties weren’t very sharp where emotions were concerned, but in other areas, they were.
Su Yuyang sensed that Ling Miao’s feelings toward him had changed, but he couldn’t tell if the change was just a pretense or Ling Miao’s true intentions.
Several days ago, the things Su Yuyang did today would have made Ling Miao spout smoke from his ears. Today, Ling Miao was not only not angry, but he didn’t even seem to want to be angry. Though Su Yuyang had hoped for this change to happen in Ling Miao, even more than that he wanted to know how Ling Miao was going to get back at him.
Ah, Su Yuyang, it’d be better if your faculties were sharper where emotions were concerned. Then Ling Miao wouldn’t have to wait so long.