The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter One Hundred and Twenty
The woman looked at Ling Miao, only half believing him. She said with some disdain, “Really?”
“Ah,” Ling Miao jeered. The woman asked if he had caught a cold not because she was concerned about him but because she worried Ling Miao would pass the cold to her.
The woman then asked, ”Why did you come back?”
“This is my home. I’ll come back when I want to. Have you any say?” Ling Miao jeered. He tossed his chopsticks on the table then showed her his cold and haughty back to look at.
Slam—the sound of the door slamming shut.
“Ling Miao, do you still treat this as your home? You come when you want and go when you want. I think you’re treating this place like a hotel!” The woman yelled at the door Ling Miao had shut. “I think you couldn’t make it outside and can’t bring yourself to ask your dad for money, so you came back! Back then we found a good job for you and asked you to go to work but you looked down on this and that, and look at you now…”
“Have you said enough?” Ling Miao opened the door and yelled at the woman. “If you’re done, then eat. Fuck it, even when you’re eating the food isn’t enough to occupy your mouth. How big is your mouth? Oh, that’s true. Your appetite’s pretty big.” Ling Miao gave the woman a pointed look then picked up his things and prepared to go out.
“Ling Miao, if you step out of this door, don’t come back!” the woman threatened.
Ling Miao snatched back the hand he had placed on the door handle. He wasn’t worried, but he was well aware that if the woman said she wouldn’t let him in he definitely wouldn’t be allowed in.
The woman looked with satisfaction at Ling Miao. His defeated expression gave her great pleasure. She sneered, ”Go! Just try to go!”
Ling Miao glared at the woman. He turned his back to the laptop and walked to the bedroom. As he passed the woman, he said calmly, ”I’m just not leaving this house, then.”
The woman was just trying to provoke Ling Miao; it was her most commonly used tactic when she was unhappy. She thought that it would be useful as usual this time, but the reality was different.
“Ling Miao, you’re already twenty-three. You still have the cheek to eat and live at your father’s expense. When you go out, you’re not even worried the neighbors laugh at you!” The woman made another move.
Ling Miao said nonchalantly, “If they want to laugh, let them laugh. Besides, how do you know I haven’t earned money?”
The woman saw Ling Miao vanish before her eyes and was so angry she stamped her foot. Several minutes later Ling Miao walked out holding a plastic bag. He placed the bag in the woman’s hand and said coolly, “There’s 2400 yuan here. I’ll pay 300 yuan every month for water, electricity, gas and internet. Of course, the grocery bill is in there too.”
The woman took the money. Her anger was momentarily curtailed and she said unhappily, “Three hundred a month with prices as they are now. Besides, what about the rent?”
“Rent?” Ling Miao found this absurd. “You probably don’t know, but the title deed has my and my dad’s names on it.”
Ling Miao looked at the woman’s stunned expression and was indescribably pleased. The effect of Tang Xuan’s suicide on him seemed to have completely vanished.
This woman was Ling Miao’s stepmother, Hu Yueyuan. She had married into the Ling family not longer after Ling Miao’s birth mother had passed away. Ling Miao could not help suspecting that before his mother passed away, Hu Yueyuan had already gotten together with his father. This is also a good time to mention that Hu Yueyuan was two years older than Ling Miao. Before she married, she was Ling Miao’s dad’s colleague. After they married, she became a housewife.
Oh, forgot to mention one more thing—the job they found for Ling Miao was Hu Yueyuan’s old job.
From the above it can be surmised that Hu Yueyuan and Ling Miao mixed as badly as fire and water.
“Ling Miao!” Hu Yueyuan called Ling Miao’s name through gritted teeth.
Ling Miao had put in earphones and cranked his laptop’s volume up to maximum, hoping that the soothing music would calm his heart.
After leaving the house he shared with Su Yuyang, Ling Miao momentarily hadn’t been sure where to go. Ling Miao was worried Su Yuyang would call the police, so he didn’t want to stay in a hotel or an internet cafe. Ling Miao had walked aimlessly, dragging his suitcase. After wandering for two hours, he ended up at the light rail station.
“Looks like I have to go home,” Ling Miao grimaced. Frankly, he didn’t feel like that was his home: his mother wasn’t around any more and his father was often away on business. The only link the place had to him was that the title deed had his name on it.
Before entering the station, Ling Miao went to the bank and withdrew some money, then took the first train home.
As Ling Miao expected, the only person at home was that woman. She was awakened from her doze so she wasn’t happy to see Ling Miao, and the moment Ling Miao stepped through the door she began quarrelling with him.
Ling Miao ignored Hu Yueyuan’s presence, put his things in the dusty bedroom, and began to clean. Hu Yueyuan cursed unhappily, then went back to her bedroom to continue sleeping.
At breakfast their conflict had finally exploded.
Hu Yueyuan was still muttering curses in the living room. Ling Miao turned up the volume as high as he could but couldn’t drown out Hu Yueyuan’s voice, so he turned off the music and opened up a novel.
Out of habit Ling Miao clicked on Massacre of the Nine Heavens. He found that Massacre’s last update date was yesterday morning and the chapter title was ‘Leave of absence.’
Ling Miao didn’t dare open the chapter to see its contents, but he accidentally touched the trackpad and the chapter opened.
‘Shu Yang’s lover is sick so he may not update for some time. Hope everyone understands.’ The attached name was ‘Shu Yang’s editor, Mu Yu.’
“Indeed!” Ling Miao touched the words ‘Shu Yang’s lover’ on the screen and felt both touched and guilty.
When Su Yuyang had burned his hand, he still insisted on writing, but when Ling Miao got sick, Su Yuyang stopped updating in order to to take care of him. Su Yuyang placed Ling Miao in a more important position than his own self, but Ling Miao…
For some reason, Ling Miao thought of Tang Xuan again—as if Tang Xuan and Su Yuyang were bound together in his mind, the moment Ling Miao thought about Su Yuyang, thoughts of Tang Xuan would follow.
“Tang Xuan, you got your wish.” Ling Miao held his chest where his heart was. Waves of pain struck his heart like the tide.
Ling Miao had left his phone at Su Yuyang’s place. He didn’t dare go on his microblog now or QQ or the forums. He didn’t even dare log into his web novel account let alone post chapters.
Su Yuyang, do I have the courage to face you? Ling Miao asked himself.
All morning, Ling Miao had been refreshing the chapter index for Massacre of the Nine Heavens as well as the main page of Su Yuyang’s microblog. He registered a new account and quietly followed Su Yuyang but Su Yuyang hadn’t updated his microblog for close to two weeks.
“Su Yuyang, how are you doing?” Ling Miao murmured to himself.
He moved the cursor to Massacre’s chapter index and hopefully pressed F5. Miraculously, Massacre now had one more chapter than before! Because it was a VIP chapter Ling Miao couldn’t read it without registering an account, but this implied something about Su Yuyang’s current state—he was doing fine.
“Su Yuyang, you must update every day so I know you’re fine.” Ling Miao satisfiedly read the title of the new chapter, but suddenly his gaze froze.