The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter One Hundred and Thirty
Drizzles of rain drifted through the air. From a distance, it looked as if the entire world were shrouded in a white veil.
Ling Miao stood at the entrance to the public graveyard, his palms covered in a sheen of sweat.
Su Yuyang carried incense and flowers in one hand, an umbrella in the other. Seeing Ling Miao’s unease, he passed the incense to the hand holding the umbrella and grasped of Ling Miao’s hand, hoping to give him strength. Ling Miao glanced gratefully at Su Yuyang then stepped into the graveyard.
Ling Miao, familiar with the way, quickly found his mother’s grave.
Su Yuyang lit the incense and put the fresh flowers before the gravestone.
Ling Miao touched the photograph on the gravestone and called lightly, “Mom.”
The woman in the photograph was ordinary and unadorned. Her smile was calming. As Su Yuyang looked at Ling Miao’s mother, the last of the uneasiness remaining in his heart vanished.
Ling Miao had not visited his mother’s grave for a long time. In a low voice, he recounted the events of the past several months. “Mom, I said I’d come visit you every month, but I haven’t been here in a long time. I hope you don’t hold it against me.
“A lot of things happened in these few months. I found my first job and the person I love. I was kidnapped and almost died. Now that I think about it, it’s been pretty exciting.”
Su Yuyang stood behind Ling Miao holding the umbrella over him and heard every word Ling Miao said. When Ling Miao mentioned the happy things, Su Yuyang smiled; when Ling Miao’s mood fell, Su Yuyang grimaced. Sometimes Ling Miao laughed like a child and Su Yuyang stared at him, besotted.
Ling Miao’s emotions rose and fell, and Su Yuyang’s heart also rose and fell. Ling Miao finished telling his mother about his recent life. Even though his eyes reddened and welled with hot tears, he didn’t let a single one fall.
“Just cry,” Su Yuyang said tenderly.
Ling Miao shook his head and wiped away his tears. He touched his mother’s portrait and said, “My mom didn’t like to see me cry. She said that whether I met difficulties or obstacles, tears weren’t the way to solve the problem. People who only cry when they encounter difficulties will always be weak. She was only willing to see my tears when they were happy tears.”
“But sometimes it’s better to cry.” Su Yuyang drew closer to Ling Miao and pressed Ling Miao’s face into his shoulder. “Cry. Your mom can’t see.”
Ling Miao shook his head. “I promised my mom never to cry in front of her.” Nevertheless, his tears fell downward like rain from the sky and soaked Su Yuyang’s shirt.
Hearing the soft sobs, Su Yuyang caressed Ling Miao’s back, his resolute gaze lying on Ling Miao’s mother’s portrait. Silently, he vowed: I will take good care of Ling Miao. Please rest assured, Mom.
The rain intensified, pattering down on the umbrella. Wind swept the land and icy-cold raindrops fell against Ling Miao. Ling Miao moved. He encircled Su Yuyang’s waist with both arms, getting as close to Su Yuyang as he could. Su Yuyang looked at him in confusion and asked, “Are you cold?”
Ling Miao pressed himself against Su Yuyang, his voice somewhat muffled as he said, “It’s windy. I’m worried that you’re cold.”
“Dumb cat,” Su Yuyang said indulgently.
“Oh, right!” Ling Miao suddenly let go of Su Yuyang. Now Su Yuyang did feel cold but he didn’t show it.
Ling Miao took hold of Su Yuyang’s hand and said to his mother, “Mom, this is the person I love. His name is Su Yuyang and he is a man. He’s a professional author and he treats me very well. I’m content when I’m with him. I know you really wanted to see my children, but I have to apologize to you. Since the person I love is a man, I won’t be able to give you a grandchild.”
“Mom, rest assured. I will take good care of Ling Miao and I won’t let him suffer. Every month from now on, I’ll come with him to see you, until we both can’t walk any more.”
Ling Miao was stunned when Su Yuyang opened his mouth. He looked at Su Yuyang in surprise and when Su Yuyang had finished he asked, “What did you call my mom?”
“‘Mom?’” Su Yuyang didn’t feel that anything was wrong. “You call my mom ‘Mom.’ Can I not call your mom that way, too?”
“That’s true.” Ling Miao slapped his forehead. “Su Yuyang…”
“You’re still calling me by my full name?” Su Yuyang heaved a long sigh. The sound was so disgusting that Ling Miao’s gooseflesh rose.
Ling Miao thought hard about it and came up with the perfect form of address. He looked at Su Yuyang and said gravely, “Great Shu!”
“I…” Su Yuyang was so mad he couldn’t speak. The anger lodged in his chest, not going up or down. Ling Miao saw Su Yuyang go red in the face and laughed accommodatingly. “Great Shu, don’t be angry! It’s my fault, alright?”
Now that Ling Miao was smiling, all the melancholy in the air dissipated like clouds. Su Yuyang didn’t nitpick at Ling Miao calling him ‘Great Shu’ either. He pretended to be angry and said, “Your Great Shu is magnanimous and won’t quibble with you on this.”
“Oh, the Great Shu is really angry. I’m so scared.” Ling Miao grinned but neither his expression nor his actions indicated that he was ‘scared!’
“You win.” Su Yuyang had thoroughly surrendered.
Ling Miao smiled with satisfaction and said joyfully to his mother, “Mom, I’ll go now. I’ll come back to see you next month.” As he finished, he pulled Su Yuyang in the direction of the road back down the mountain.
“Wait.” Su Yuyang suddenly called out to Ling Miao to stop.
Ling Miao looked at Su Yuyang curiously. Su Yuyang’s gaze was steady. One of Su Yuyang’s legs gradually sank downward until his knee touched the ground, then his other leg bent too.
Su Yuyang knelt before Ling Miao’s mother’s grave.
He kowtowed to Ling Miao’s mother then got up and held Ling Miao’s hand. Ling Miao asked, stunned: “You, just now…”
“Giving thanks.” Su Yuyang smiled faintly.
Ling Miao was about to ask what for when Su Yuyang cut him off. Su Yuyang asked, “When will you take me to see your dad?”
Now that Su Yuyang had mentioned Ling Miao’s dad, the atmosphere grew awkward. Ling Miao’s relationship with his father was clearly bad, but he was his dad after all. Since Su Yuyang wanted to marry his son, surely he had to meet the man, right?”
“My dad will do everything possible to prevent us from being together,” Ling Miao said with no room for doubt. “So, it’s better that we don’t go to see him.”
“I wasn’t going to ask his permission.” Su Yuyang’s eyes were determined and his hand tightened on Ling Miao. “I am going to inform him that I am marrying his son.”
In front of Ling Miao, Su Yuyang had a resolute expression and the air of an emperor looking down over his kingdom. His deep eyes contained only Ling Miao. Ling Miao was drunk on Su Yuyang’s presence and he said in a daze, “Su Yuyang, you seem like a stranger to me right now, but I love you like this.”
“Xiao Miao,” Su Yuyang called passionately. He lowered his head and closed his mouth over Ling Miao’s own, his tongue tracing every detail of Ling Miao’s lips.
Ling Miao angled his head up and stood on his toes to reciprocate the kiss.
Heedless of the time and place, they continued kissing.