The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
It was past six o’clock when Ling Miao returned to the hotel. He looked as pitiful as a refugee.
Su Yuyang took a bite of his dumpling, eyeing Ling Miao plaintively, as if blaming him for having been gone too long. Ling Miao pretended not to see Su Yuyang’s look. He walked to Ji Linxi’s side, took a dumpling from the steamer in front of Ji Linxi, and stuffed it in his mouth.
“Whoo, whoo,” Ling Miao fanned his open mouth. “Hot, hot!” he exclaimed with his mouth full. Ji Linxi rolled his eyes at him and laughed: “Dumb cat, these are soup dumplings.”
Ling Miao swallowed the dumpling, took a bite of congee and said: “How would I know you were eating soup dumplings? Also, the concert is about to start. You’re still taking your sweet time to eat?”
“We were waiting for you.” Su Yuyang’s cold voice came from behind. He put a steamer of dumplings in front of Ling Miao. “Eat something. The concert will be pretty long.”
“Ah…” Ling Miao rubbed his head and looked awkwardly at Su Yuyang. “I already ate.”
Su Yuyang said “Mm,” the coy tone of voice startling Ling Miao, who picked up his chopsticks and took a dumpling to put in his bowl.
“I’ll eat. I’ll eat, all right?” Ling Miao plaintively took a bite of his dumpling, lips pouting. Su Yuyang gently caressed Ling Miao’s hair, saying indulgently, “Eat more. You’re too thin.”
“Can’t gain weight!” Ling Miao complained. Hearing Ling Miao acting cute, Su Yuyang was delighted and he forgot that he was angry at Ling Miao for having left him at the hotel.
Ji Linxi ate his dumplings, his gaze flickering between the two of them.
Su Yuyang seems to be interested in Ling Miao, but now Ling Miao’s attitude toward him seems to have cooled. Ah, what is the matter with these two?
“I’m full.” Ji Linxi wiped his mouth and Su Yuyang glared at him as if blaming him for speaking at the wrong time. Ji Linxi felt wronged: Am I wrong for saying I’m full?
Then Ji Linxi saw Ling Miao put down his chopsticks too. Of the ten dumplings in the steamer, he had only eaten a couple. Now Ji Linxi understood why Su Yuyang had glared at him, but it wasn’t good to force others to do things, either. More than that, Ji Linxi didn’t think he’d done anything wrong so he intentionally spoke against Su Yuyang: “Xiao Miao, if you can’t eat any more then don’t force yourself. Don’t make yourself sick.”
“And you, Su Yuyang. Xiao Miao said he ate before he came, but you keep forcing him to eat. Do you want him to die?” Ji Linxi looked at Su Yuyang in challenge, sparks flashing in his eyes.
Ji Linxi radiated protectiveness and possessiveness for Ling Miao, which made something flare in Su Yuyang’s heart. Su Yuyang slammed his chopsticks on the table and hummed: “Hey, I don’t want people saying I abuse my employees!”
“So forcing him to eat isn’t abusing him?” Ji Linxi shot back.
“I didn’t force him.” Su Yuyang knew he hadn’t a leg to stand on, so even his tone was weak.
Ji Linxi pulled Ling Miao outside. As he passed Su Yuyang he said victoriously: “Since Xiao Miao doesn’t want to eat, then he won’t eat. If you haven’t finished, keep eating. We’ll wait for you in the parking lot.”
Having said his piece, Ji Linxi didn’t give Su Yuyang time to answer and dragged Ling Miao toward the elevator.
Before the elevator arrived, Ji Linxi turned to glance at Su Yuyang, who was still sitting where he had been. He didn’t look like he wanted to follow, but he wasn’t continuing to eat either.
“What’s up with you today?” Ling Miao asked Ji Linxi timidly.
Ji Linxi lowered his head to look at Ling Miao and sighed, “I’m testing someone!”
“Su Yuyang?” Ling Miao guessed.
“Who else?” Ji Linxi grimaced. “Even the dumb cat is smart for once, but he’s still dumb.”
“Hey…” Ling Miao let out a displeased sound.
The elevator arrived and Ji Linxi got in first. Ling Miao glanced behind him. Su Yuyang was still sitting in the same position, as if he had turned to stone after they left. Ling Miao’s heart clenched, and under Ji Linxi’s hurrying he despondently got into the elevator.
“Linxi, you’re not yourself today,” Ling Miao suddenly said.
Ji Linxi looked at the elevator panel and said thoughtfully, “How am I not myself?”
“I’ll tell you a joke—I think you’re fighting Su Yuyang out of jealousy.” As Ling Miao said this, silent joy spread over his face.
Ji Linxi rolled his eyes at Ling Miao and laughed: “I’m not only fighting him out of jealousy—I’m fighting him out of jealousy over you.”
“That’s what it feels like.” Hearing Ji Linxi’s teasing, Ling Miao started to laugh too: a self-defeating laugh.
“Looks like my performance was a success,” Ji Linxi said craftily.
Just then, the elevator reached the ground floor. Ling Miao got out, but Ji Linxi continued fumbling about in the elevator.
“Linxi, we’re here,” Ling Miao reminded.
“I know,” Ji Linxi replied, then continued doing what he was doing.
“Linxi…” Ling Miao walked over worriedly, but before he reached the elevator doors, Ji Linxi got out and the door closed.
“What did you do?” Ling Miao asked curiously.
Ji Linxi stretched lazily and said tiredly: “Bought some time.” Then he got into the other elevator and did the same thing.
As for what Ji Linxi had done—he had pressed the buttons for all the floors. Of course, if someone couldn’t wait and didn’t mind walking down ten flights of stairs, Ji Linxi wouldn’t mind.
Back in the car, Ji Linxi planned to take a long nap. That afternoon, he hadn’t slept well due to the sounds of Su Yuyang typing. Just as Ji Linxi shut his eyes, Ling Miao asked, “Linxi, why are you fighting Su Yuyang on my behalf?” Ji Linxi turned to look at Ling Miao, who worried he’d misunderstand and added: “You don’t like men, so surely you’re not fighting him over me…”
Ji Linxi rubbed the bridge of his nose. He glanced around to make sure Su Yuyang hadn’t come downstairs before saying: “I don’t like men, but someone does. Maybe the person that someone likes is you? After the tests I’ve done today, the chances of that person liking you are about seventy percent.” Ji Linxi had been about to say ninety percent, but he felt that Ling Miao wouldn’t believe it if the chance was too high, so he rated the chances as neither high nor low.
Ling Miao let out a snort—clearly, he didn’t believe Ji Linxi’s words. Ling Miao had already made up his mind to conceal his crush on Su Yuyang until one day in the future when Su Yuyang dug it out with his own hands. If Su Yuyang didn’t come and dig it up, then Ling Miao wouldn’t touch it either, forever.
“I’ll just be his assistant. That’s enough,” Ling Miao said leisurely.
Ji Linxi looked at Ling Miao suspiciously, but Ling Miao’s smile was reticent and Ji Linxi wasn’t sure how to persuade him to talk it out with Su Yuyang. Since he couldn’t figure out a way, then he wouldn’t think about it. Let the two fumble about in the dark; it wasn’t him who suffered, at any rate.
Ah, being a heartless person is much easier.
Ji Linxi yawned.
“I’ll sleep a while. Wake me when Su Yuyang’s here.” Ji Linxi closed his eyes again.
The parking lot wasn’t quiet and Ji Linxi didn’t sleep very well, but his heart was calm. As he calmed down, he suddenly thought of Yan Li and his plan for that night. He had placed the flower Yan Li had given him in the trunk; although it had wilted a little, this was the effect he needed.
Yan Li, Yan Li. I hope that when you get the flower, you’ll give up. You and I walk different roads, and I don’t want to be entangled with someone like you. Ji Linxi thought of the expression Yan Li would wear when she got the flower, and his lips lifted into a faint smile.
Ling Miao saw Ji Linxi had fallen asleep. He wanted to sleep too, but the moment he shut his eyes, Su Yuyang’s face appeared before his eyes.
Maybe the person that someone likes is you? Ji Linxi’s words jumped out in Ling Miao’s mind.
If one has a crush on someone, of course one will hope that one’s crush likes them back.
Ling Miao hoped the person Su Yuyang liked was him. Now he thought about certain things Su Yuyang had done and felt that, maybe, the person Su Yuyang liked was indeed him. But his certainty was also accompanied by doubt: Ling Miao doubted his own thought process. Frankly, this was torturous, but Ling Miao had no way of stopping himself from thinking it. Pain radiated through Ling Miao’s body from his heart to his fingertips, and he curled up in the hopes of lessening it, but the pain only intensified until every cell in his body was immersed in it.
In Ling Miao’s twenty-two years of life, this was the first time he’d fallen for someone, and the first time he realized how torturous love was. This was the first time he realized that love for someone could be so strong he’d be willing give up his own life, but he also didn’t know why he loved Su Yuyang so much. He couldn’t tell what about Su Yuyang entranced him so much he’d stay by Su Yuyang’s side even if he passed out from the pain.
“Su Yuyang.” Ling Miao called his name and felt the pain in his body lessen, but the pain in his heart intensified.
“Su Yuyang…” Ling Miao said this name for the umpteenth time. As he raised his head to look out the window, he saw a familiar silhouette walking in their direction.
“Linxi.” Ling Miao softly roused the sleeping man, but he met a pair of clear, bright eyes—Ji Linxi had woken long ago.
“You’re awake?” Ling Miao laughed drily.
Ji Linxi shot Ling Miao a look and sighed: “You kept calling Su Yuyang’s name. How could I sleep?”
Ji Linxi rubbed the bridge of his nose and turned to the man outside the window.
Ji Linxi rolled down the window and said: “It’s getting late. Get in the car.”
Su Yuyang pretended not to hear. He circled around to Ling Miao’s side of the car and said: “Get in the back.”
Ling Miao looked at Ji Linxi, who shrugged to indicate his indifference. Looking at Su Yuyang’s resolute gaze, Ling Miao knew he wouldn’t rest until he moved to the back seat. It was getting late and Ling Miao didn’t want to tarry too long here, so he got out of the car and sat in the back with Su Yuyang.
“Su Yuyang, what exactly do you want?” Ling Miao’s gaze drifted out the window, but his words were directed at the man next to him.
“Ling Miao, I…” Su Yuyang hurriedly started to explain, but as the words reached his lips he hesitated again: The person he likes isn’t me!
“What is it?”
“I’m tired. Lend me your shoulder for a while.”
Ling Miao didn’t say anything but moved toward Su Yuyang, who pillowed his head against Ling Miao’s shoulder and slowly closed his eyes.
“People don’t see the whole picture of their own situation, and an onlooker sees the situation more clearly,” Ji Linxi sighed, then started the car.
The car stereo was still playing Yan Li’s songs but there didn’t seem to be many of them, because Ling Miao heard Red Bean again. He didn’t hear a lot of it, because Ji Linxi skipped the song the moment he heard the intro. Ling Miao didn’t stop him. Then, like he was playing a prank, Ji Linxi skipped backward again.
Su Yuyang, love grows over time, love grows over time. Ling Miao silently thought this, then lowered his gaze to sweep over Su Yuyang’s peaceful face. But Su Yuyang chose this moment to open his eyes.
Translator’s note: CGPA is halfway through! \o/