The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
Ling Miao realized he’d said the wrong thing and haughtily turned back to the stage. Su Yuyang brushed his thumb over his lips, his smile growing gradually more bitter.
Ji Linxi had already handed the flower to Yan Li, but Ling Miao had missed her reaction. He pouted in frustration and glared murderously at Su Yuyang.
On the stage, Ji Linxi stood smiling awkwardly. Ling Miao listened to the chatter all around and knew Ji Linxi had made a faux pas, but he didn’t know what Ji Linxi had done. He glanced at Su Yuyang and huffed: “You made me miss a show!”
Su Yuyang looked at Ling Miao like he was an idiot and reminded: “Ling Miao, you can watch the rerun on TV tomorrow.”
“Mm? Is it broadcasting live today?”
“Like you don’t know.” Su Yuyang shook his head. He really wanted to write the words ‘dumb cat’ on Ling Miao’s forehead.
His intelligence snubbed by Su Yuyang, Ling Miao didn’t argue further. Who knows whether Su Yuyang has a follow-up blow? Ling Miao thought, then returned his attention to the stage.
Yan Li coughed, maybe out of dejection. Her smile was radiant but Ling Miao thought it looked forced. Yan Li laughed: “Since you can’t sing my songs, you pick one you know. I’ll sing along.”
“‘Red Bean,’” Ji Linxi said without a second thought, his gaze sweeping reflexively over Ling Miao. The corner of Ling Miao’s mouth twitched. When he heard Ji Linxi say ‘Red Bean,’ he knew that Ji Linxi intended this song for him. Yan Li followed Ji Linxi’s gaze and found with surprised joy that Su Yuyang and Ling Miao were also sitting there.
“Why ‘Red Bean?’” Yan Li spoke against Ji Linxi’s ear so Ji Linxi was the only one who could hear. He frowned and said with difficulty, “It’s a very long story. To summarize, this song has to do with Ling Miao. Ah, I’ll tell you this—I think Su Yuyang has feelings for Ling Miao, but for some unknown reason he’s also decided to conceal his true feelings. But I need someone to confirm it. I’m entrusting you with that.”
Ji Linxi said the above in one breath and then quickly distanced himself from Yan Li, as if worried he’d steal the headlines from Yan Li tomorrow.
“Hey…” Yan Li glared at Ji Linxi, who continued smiling serenely.
“Just now, I asked why he chose ‘Red Bean.’ He said he wanted to sing this song for someone who’s currently here. In that case, let me and this gentleman give to everyone, ‘Red Bean.’” As Yan Li spoke, Ji Linxi’s head hung even lower with the frustration and awkwardness of having his intentions exposed. Ji Linxi internally gave Yan Li a begrudging thumbs-up. With a satisfied smile, Yan Li waved her hand and began.
The intro to ‘Red Bean’ started. Yan Li slid into her persona, leading Ji Linxi with the lyrics. Ji Linxi wasn’t a bad singer—in fact, Ling Miao recalled he’d won the school talent competition three times.
“Sometimes, sometimes I believe all things come to an end. There are times for reunions and times for goodbyes. Nothing will last forever…” As the song continued, Ji Linxi’s voice was the only one remaining. Yan Li stood at Ji Linxi’s side, watching him worshipfully. The camera, which was focused on her, let the almost twenty thousand people at the venue bear full witness to her adoration.
The clear, low male voice reverberated through the stadium. All the audience was captivated by Ji Linxi’s singing. As the song ended, Ji Linxi realized the stadium was dead silent.
“A thank-you to this gentleman for singing. May I know your name?” Yan Li was somewhat choked up, like something had touched the bottom of her heart.
Ji Linxi’s face clouded over. He took a deep breath to steady his heart, then said with a faint smile: “Linxi.”
Of course, Ji Linxi wouldn’t say his real name in front of this many people. He was also using this name to tease Yan Li, who now looked at him in a somewhat different light. But she also controlled her feelings very well.
She would go back home with them anyway, so there would be plenty of time for questioning later.
Heh heh, Ji Linxi, prepare to defend yourself!
“He sings pretty well,” Feng Ji said approvingly.
Ling Miao remained pretty calm, as he had known all along that Ji Linxi was a good singer. Though he wasn’t quite on the level of professional singers, he could be considered quite talented among hobbyists. Ling Miao turned and looked at Su Yuyang—heh, if one didn’t know him they might think Justice Bao¹ once again walked among the living. Looking at Su Yuyang’s face, Ling Miao couldn’t resist: “Linxi doesn’t sing that badly. Why the dark face?”
Su Yuyang had seen Ling Miao’s captivated expression and thought he was immersed in Ji Linxi’s voice. The corners of Su Yuyang’s lips twitched and he forced a smile: “He sings well, but he’s still not comparable to Yan Li.”
“But he can definitely defeat you soundly.” To one side, Feng Ji twisted the knife and was met by Su Yuyang’s lethal gaze.
Su Yuyang’s current feelings were pretty complicated.
From Ling Miao’s expression, he’s very much enjoying Ji Linxi’s singing. But I can’t sing. I can’t play video games, so I can’t happily play co-op with him. As for cooking… Ling Miao leaves me more than ten blocks in the dust. No matter how I think about it, aside from writing faster than him, I’ve nothing to offer. Weh weh weh—I’m not happy!!
Su Yuyang was inwardly crying bitterly. He really wanted Ling Miao to console him, but Ling Miao took a leaf out of Feng Ji’s book and stuck another knife in. He said, “Ah, Su-ge. Is what Feng-ge said true? Can your singing scare the whole stadium away?”
“Heh heh. If you want to listen, I’ll sing to you every day,” Su Yuyang said with a contrived smile.
Guided by the stagehand, Ji Linxi returned to his seat. Ling Miao didn’t ask him about Yan Li’s reaction, but Ji Linxi asked him for a tissue.
Ling Miao handed Ji Linxi a tissue. In the light from the stage, Ling Miao saw that Ji Linxi was perspiring heavily. Then Ji Linxi asked Ling Miao for water, and after wetting his dry throat, he finally relaxed. Ling Miao eyed Ji Linxi hesitantly and asked: “You’ve sung onstage before. Why are you so tense?”
“There are twenty thousand people here! How can the two thousand people from that time at school compare to this?” Ji Linxi’s voice was shaking. “But compared to someone like you who gets weak at the knees when you have to speak in front of a class of twenty people, I think I was pretty calm.”
“Fuck, you’re picking on me again!” Ling Miao said angrily and kicked Ji Linxi.
In Su Yuyang’s eyes, Ling Miao and Ji Linxi were having a lovers’ spat.
Fuck this ‘lovers’ spat’ nonsense! Su Yuyang silently yelled, then turned Ling Miao toward him and said ill-temperedly, “Where’s the water?”
Ji Linxi tossed the bottle over and said with no expression: “Here. Don’t worry, I didn’t put the bottle to my mouth.”
Su Yuyang twisted the bottle cap open and put his mouth to the bottle, gulping down about half of its contents. Ji Linxi thought Su Yuyang’s actions were childish and laughable but he was glad on Ling Miao’s behalf: Su Yuyang’s very petty when it comes to matters concerning Ling Miao. No one would believe Su Yuyang hasn’t fallen for him!
Su Yuyang didn’t see eye to eye with Ji Linxi, and Ji Linxi didn’t feel much goodwill toward Su Yuyang either. So when Ji Linxi thought of Su Yuyang torturing himself, he was internally happy—however, this would make Ling Miao sad. Ji Linxi glanced sympathetically at Ling Miao, who was currently locking gazes with Su Yuyang. Ji Linxi didn’t disturb them. Having packed up his thoughts, Ji Linxi concentrated on Yan Li, listening to her voice get higher and floatier.
The two-hour concert ended when Yan Li said, “Goodbye.” The fans, wanting more, kept chanting Yan Li’s name. Their chorus was powerful and Ji Linxi had the impulse to start shouting with them.
Yan Li returned to the dressing room and slumped in her chair, letting the employees do what they wanted to her.
Makeup off and clothes changed, Yan Li slouched even lower in her chair, her body aching. But she still watched her manager out of the corner of her eye.
Yang Lin stood in front of the dressing room with arms folded across her chest, radiating Don’t you think of escaping.
Yan Li’s phone beeped. She glanced at it: Feng Ji had sent a text.
“When are you coming? Everyone’s waiting for you.”
Yan Li: Lin-jie’s standing guard outside. I can’t go out QAQ
Feng Ji: Do you need my help?
Yan Li: How’ll you help?
Feng Ji: Don’t worry about it. Find an opportunity and come out.
Yan Li: What exactly are we doing?
Feng Ji didn’t reply to Yan Li’s text. Yan Li cursed then stuffed her phone in her pocket.
Yang Lin glanced at Yan Li’s pocket with ill will. She stuck out her hand and said in an uncompromising voice, “Give it here!”
“Lin-jie,” Yan Li pleaded, “It’s just a month. Didn’t we always do this before?”
“I’ve let you do what you want too long. This time, no way!” Like an emperor, Yang Lin didn’t accept opposition from anyone.
Yan Li twisted her body and wheedled: “Lin-jie, I’m begging you. I need a rest. I’ve been preparing for the concert for the past month. I’m about to break down.”
Yang Lin didn’t give in: “No!”
“Lin-jie.” Yan Li stood up, her voice hardening. “Lin-jie, I understand what you mean. I took two months off and that hurt the company. But I’m a person, not a machine. I need rest, and the company’s fine with me doing this. If you force me to work and my health suffers, that’ll be an even greater loss to the company.”
Yan Li was sometimes very stubborn, and when she got stubborn no one could control her. Yang Lin knew Yan Li was speaking sense. She softened her tone and said, “Surely you can at least tell me where you’re staying?”
“Sorry.” The single word revealed Yan Li’s attitude.
Yang Lin used the same word to indicate her intent, then the two had a standoff in the dressing room.
The silence was shortly broken. A man in a stagehand’s uniform rushed over saying there was something important Yang Lin needed to handle. Yang Lin looked at the person, only half-believing him. Just then, her cellphone rang. She gave some instructions to the stagehand, then left.
The ‘stagehand’ was Feng Ji.
Feng Ji glanced outside. After confirming Yang Lin wasn’t in the vicinity, he ran out with Yan Li. By the time Yang Lin returned, Yan Li and the others were already on the highway.
“Ah, freedom~” Yan Li was like a bird leaving a cage, her joyous laughter echoing through the car. Until she discovered Ji Linxi was driving.
Since Ji Linxi was driving, Yan Li didn’t want to distract him. She turned her attention to Ling Miao. Under her razor-sharp gaze, Ling Miao shuddered: “Yan… Yan-jie, if you have something to say, say it. Don’t look at me like that. It makes me worried you’ll do something to me.”
“Yan Li.” Ji Linxi had guessed what Yan Li was about to do and gave her a warning.
Yan Li huffed in frustration, then turned her gaze to Su Yuyang. Several seconds later, Su Yuyang received a text message on QQ.
Yan Li: Do you have feelings for Ling Miao?