The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
Dinner was congee and dumplings, as Ling Miao had said. But Ling Miao hadn’t made preserved egg and lean meat congee, or corn soup, or green bean soup, or pumpkin congee.
Ling Miao brought the congee and dumplings into Su Yuyang’s room. He put the congee on the nightstand then helped Su Yuyang up. He helped Su Yuyang rest his back against the headboard, then feared Su Yuyang’s back would be uncomfortable and attentively put a pillow behind Su Yuyang’s back.
After doing all of this, Ling Miao pulled the bedside desk over.
Ling Miao positioned the desk, then put the congee and dumplings on it. He had already cut the dumplings into small pieces and put sugar on them. Su Yuyang frowned quietly as he looked at the white sugar in the bowl. A sweetly cloying feeling was spreading in his chest as his stomach gradually rebelled. Su Yuyang kept swallowing, trying to calm his stomach, but it didn’t have any effect.
Su Yuyang didn’t like sweet foods. Dumplings were fine, but dumplings with sugar… he glanced into the bowl again and almost fainted.
Ling Miao had lowered his head to blow on the congee and didn’t see the expression on Su Yuyang’s face. As Ling Miao was bringing the spoonful of congee to Su Yuyang’s mouth, Su Yuyang quickly recovered his calm.
Ling Miao had brought the congee to Su Yuyang’s mouth so Su Yuyang had no reason to refuse. Besides, he didn’t have enough strength to eat on his own.
Su Yuyang slowly opened his mouth and Ling Miao impatiently stuffed the congee into Su Yuyang’s mouth.
Su Yuyang’s eyes widened in confusion: He was so gentle earlier, but suddenly he’s violent?
Ling Miao took another spoonful of congee and brought it to Su Yuyang’s mouth. Su Yuyang opened his mouth and took the spoon in, then Ling Miao pulled the spoon out. Most of the congee had entered Su Yuyang’s mouth but some stained the corner of his lips. Ling Miao took a tissue and wiped the remains from Su Yuyang’s mouth, laughing: “Su Yuyang, even when you eat congee you drip all over the place. Is there a hole in your jaw?”
Su Yuyang stuck out his tongue and licked his lips, saying thoughtfully: “It’s just plain congee, but it’s delicious. I want more.” Su Yuyang opened his mouth and said ‘aah.’ Ling Miao laughed lightly, probably at Su Yuyang’s childishness.
Ling Miao had made only plain congee, but the fragrant softness and the faint sweetness of the sugar on the spoon made Su Yuyang take bite after bite. Soon, he had finished the congee. Looking at the empty bowl, he frowned and pursed his lips in dissatisfaction. “I’m still hungry.”
Ling Miao glanced at Su Yuyang like he resented him for being troublesome, but he didn’t say “I’m not going.”
“I’m getting more congee. Don’t move!” Ling Miao warned, then took the empty bowl and the dumplings out of the room.
Only when Ling Miao left did Su Yuyang notice that Ling Miao hadn’t fed him any of the dumplings.
“How did he know I don’t like dumplings with white sugar?”
Su Yuyang still hadn’t puzzled out the answer when Ling Miao returned, this time with only one bowl.
“Mm?” Su Yuyang let out a surprised sound.
Ling Miao scooped a spoonful of congee and asked, “‘Mm,’ what?”
Su Yuyang laughed, “Mincemeat and cowpeas.”
As Ling Miao got the congee, he had also added mincemeat and cowpeas to the bowl. Now Ling Miao brought the congee to Su Yuyang’s mouth and said in a huff: “If you don’t like dumplings, you should have said so! I made one too many!”
Su Yuyang was stunned. His mouth fell open and he couldn’t close it. Ling Miao took the chance to shove another spoonful of congee in and Su Yuyang reflexively shut his mouth.
Su Yuyang swallowed the congee in his mouth and the spoon appeared before him again. This time Su Yuyang didn’t open his mouth to take it in, instead asking hesitantly: “How did you know I don’t like dumplings?”
“The way you looked at the dumplings in the bowl, it was like you were looking at the contents of a toilet. You hated it so much. If I couldn’t even notice that, how would I look after a sick person like you?” Having said his piece, Ling Miao’s anger intensified and his feeding motions also became rougher. Su Yuyang worried that the spoon would poke his throat and stopped Ling Miao mid-motion. “Ah, I’m full!”
Ling Miao seemed not to have heard Su Yuyang’s words and continued spooning the congee. With no other recourse, Su Yuyang continued eating.
When the second bowl was empty, Ling Miao tossed the bowl onto the nightstand.
Ling Miao was about to take away the bedside table when Su Yuyang hurriedly called out to stop him. “Ah, leave it like that!”
Ling Miao understood, nodded, and took the bowl out.
This time, Ling Miao was gone for a longer time. Su Yuyang propped his head against the headboard, Ling Miao’s busy silhouette drifting through his mind.
Once Su Yuyang was idle, he started thinking of many things.
“When I first met Ling Miao, all signs pointed to him not being homosexual. Then why did Mom say he liked men, and also that Ling Miao had told him that himself? Did Ling Miao start liking men after he met me? Who made him go crooked?” Name after name slid through Su Yuyang’s mind: there was Feng Ji, Ji Linxi, himself, the security guy, and the delivery guy. One by one, Su Yuyang eliminated them all, including himself.
“Might it be someone online?” Thinking of this, ripples of emotion appeared in Su Yuyang’s quiet eyes.
He didn’t know who Ling Miao associated with online, and he had no way of finding out.
“Ah.” Su Yuyang shut his eyes in frustration. When he opened them again, Ling Miao had appeared in the doorway, another bowl of food in hand.
Ling Miao chewed, swallowed, and said apologetically: “Su-ge, do you want to watch a movie or something?”
So he’s worried I’m bored? Warmth rose in Su Yuyang’s heart.
“Do what you need to. I’ll wait for you.”
Ling Miao’s hands froze. His whole mind was suddenly occupied by Su Yuyang’s words, ‘I’ll wait for you.’ This was the third time Su Yuyang had told him ‘I’ll wait for you,’ and each time Ling Miao had heard these words, his reaction had been different. Probably because his state of mind had been different each time.
Su Yuyang didn’t know that his careless words had deeper meaning to Ling Miao. Seeing Ling Miao frozen to the spot he called worriedly: “Xiao Miao, are you alright?”
Ling Miao was jolted by Su Yuyang’s shout. He forced a smile and said: “What… what could be the matter?” But his voice trembled violently and his expression was unnatural, so Su Yuyang didn’t believe him. Before Su Yuyang could ask further, Ling Miao disappeared from the doorway.
Su Yuyang stared at the ceiling and continued to think about the people Ling Miao might have fallen for. Every time he thought about that person not being himself, he felt as if his heart was on a metal slab being roasted over a fire. Su Yuyang wanted to hold his heart so it wouldn’t hurt so much, but he couldn’t raise his hands, so he could only drift amidst the torturous pain. This mental anguish cut far deeper than any bodily hurt
“Do… do I like him?” Su Yuyang’s eyelashes fluttered and he turned his face slowly toward the door.
An interminable amount of time later Ling Miao finally appeared before Su Yuyang again, and Su Yuyang’s tight heart instantly found release.
“Xiao Miao,” Su Yuyang called Ling Miao passionately. Ling Miao seemed to be under a spell; he couldn’t even take even half a step forward.
“Xiao Miao,” Su Yuyang called again, but this time he didn’t put unnecessary emotion into it.
Like the spell had lifted, Ling Miao moved toward Su Yuyang, half a step at a time.
Su Yuyang felt that his heart was lying underneath the soles of Ling Miao’s shoes. Every step Ling Miao took left a gouge on his heart, and blood seeped from the wounds.
This was his first time feeling like this in all his years of living.
This is love? Su Yuyang asked himself.
Ling Miao had walked in front of Su Yuyang, who raised his head to Ling Miao’s panicked expression, then turned his head away.
As long as he didn’t have to see Ling Miao.
That was what Su Yuyang thought.
Ling Miao panicked. Su Yuyang saying ‘Xiao Miao’ had made him panic because it had given him the feeling, ‘Su Yuyang likes me back,’ but the next ‘Xiao Miao’ he had said without feeling had doused Ling Miao in cold water. ‘He likes me back’ is just my imagination.
They liked each other but both thought the other didn’t like them back.
If Yan Li were here, she’d point at Su Yuyang hiding his face and scold him. “If you like someone, then tell them outright! Who cares if he likes you back or not? Strike first and get the upper hand! Maybe he likes you back, or maybe he thinks you’re alright and you can try being together?”
But Su Yuyang wasn’t Yan Li and he had worries of his own.
Ling Miao lowered his head to look at Su Yuyang, who had turned his head to look out the window. Aside from the rain, the surroundings were silent.
Like a space through which Death had passed, the silence, pressure, and even the air they were breathing gradually seemed to solidify.
As if worried he’d be suffocated by the weight, Ling Miao finally spoke. He asked Su Yuyang: “Do you need your laptop?”
“Mm,” Su Yuyang let out a simple sound.
Ling Miao put Su Yuyang’s laptop on the desk and asked him what he needed. Su Yuyang asked Ling Miao to sign into YY¹ and go to his chatroom.
Ling Miao wrote down Su Yuyang’s username and left Su Yuyang’s bedroom.
The audiobook of Su Yuyang’s novel was currently playing in the chatroom. Su Yuyang watched the fans discussing the plot and the game—Demonic Song Defying Heaven’s tie-in MMO.
“Demonic Song Defying Heaven’s MMO—Ling Miao has probably played it.” Before Su Yuyang’s eyes, a scene of Ling Miao playing the game while complaining appeared. He couldn’t hold back a laugh.
“Xiao Miao?” Su Yuyang called Ling Miao’s name with all his strength but he didn’t know if his hoarse voice would reach Ling Miao’s ears.
Several seconds later Ling Miao appeared before Su Yuyang like a gust of wind. Su Yuyang asked with a smile: “The activation code for Demonic Song Defying Heaven’s beta. Do you have it?” Su Yuyang remembered that Mu Yu had given it to Ling Miao.
Ling Miao nodded. “The game company gave me lots of them. I was going to set up a giveaway.”
The more Ling Miao spoke the more dejected he got.
In his eyes, Su Yuyang’s words drew a clear line between him and Su Yuyang. Their relationship was just that of an assistant and his boss.
Su Yuyang, did you notice something, and so you’re telling me to know my place?
Ling Miao felt as if his heart was immersed in saltwater. The strength seemed to have been sapped from his body, but he continued standing like a statue in front of Su Yuyang.