The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
Chapter One Hundred and Thirty-two
“Xie Ruoyan and I?” Su Yuyang looked at Ling Miao with a faint smile then smiled broadly: “We were high school friends.”
As Su Yuyang spoke, Ling Miao stared into his eyes. Su Yuyang’s eyes were calm; he didn’t look as if he were lying. Upon further thought, Su Yuyang indeed wasn’t lying. He had just concealed his deeper relationship with Xie Ruoyan.
“Is it?” Ling Miao’s lips quirked into a cold smile. Su Yuyang stared at Ling Miao. For some unknown reason, the Ling Miao in front of him now seemed like a stranger.
Ling Miao’s entire body was radiating a cold air. Su Yuyang felt as though he was standing in a blizzard. His limbs felt frozen solid and he couldn’t move. He could only look at Ling Miao in confusion.
Ling Miao sighed, “If you were really only school friends, then you two wouldn’t have been so agitated at the airport. In front of the two of you I feel like a third wheel.”
Ling Miao’s tone was sorrowful and radiated helplessness. Su Yuyang knew very well that even if he tried to hide it now, he couldn’t guarantee that Ling Miao wouldn’t find out about his relationship with Xie Ruoyan from some other source. At that time it’d be even more difficult for him to explain himself.
Su Yuyang looked at Ling Miao and said slowly, “He was my first boyfriend.”
“I see.” Ling Miao nodded. “You actually met again here. The world’s really small.”
Su Yuyang had intended to go along with Ling Miao and dismiss the matter, but now he saw that Ling Miao’s shoulders were shaking slightly and his eyes were glistening. Although Ling Miao’s tone had been steady, his expression betrayed him.
He was afraid.
Su Yuyang pulled Ling Miao to him, hugging him as he consoled, “Xiao Miao, Xie Ruoyan and I are in the past. I don’t know how we could have met today.”
“It’s all just a coincidence.” Ling Miao’s words were certain but Su Yuyang felt a hint of mockery.
“Xiao Miao, you think I already knew that the person assigned to meet me was Xie Ruoyan?” Su Yuyang suddenly felt that Ling Miao was incomprehensible. If Ling Miao was jealous, Su Yuyang would be happy, but Ling Miao seemed to have reached a dead-end conclusion and Su Yuyang had no other recourse. Anger rose in his chest but he couldn’t express it toward Ling Miao. He took a deep breath and suggested, “I think you need to calm down.”
“You’re the one who needs to calm down.” Ling Miao struggled free of Su Yuyang and said in a low voice, “I don’t think Xie Ruoyan only recognized you when you prompted.”
“What do you mean?”
To Ling Miao, Su Yuyang’s question had two possible meanings. Firstly, Su Yuyang hadn’t understood Ling Miao. Secondly, Su Yuyang had understood what Ling Miao meant, but was questioning why he was suspecting Xie Ruoyan.
“Are you really confused or pretending to be confused?” Ling Miao retorted. “I’m suspicious of Xie Ruoyan. Maybe Xie Ruoyan came with the same motive as Tang Xuan!”
“I believe in Xie-ge’s character,” Su Yuyang assured. “He and Tang Xuan are different kinds of people.”
“People change,” Ling Miao argued. “Tang Xuan now, was he the same Tang Xuan whom you knew before? Tang Xuan changed. Xie Ruoyan may also not be the Xie Ruoyan from before.”
“But he might be?” Su Yuyang used Ling Miao’s own words against him.
Ling Miao paced back and forth in the room, thinking hard about how to refute Su Yuyang’s words. Su Yuyang got dizzy watching him. He caught hold of Ling Miao’s arm and tried to persuade him: “I believe in my senior. Can you believe in me too?”
Looking at Su Yuyang’s sincere and certain eyes, Ling Miao almost agreed. Then he shook his head and said, “Right now I only believe in myself and in the truth.”
“Xiao Miao, what’s gotten into you?” Su Yuyang couldn’t restrain himself from shouting. The Ling Miao before him—was this still his Xiao Miao? Since when had his Xiao Miao become so suspicious and incomprehensible?
“I’m just making preparations for the worst-case scenario.” Ling Miao’s emotions weren’t perturbed in the slightest, as if the ‘Xiao Miao’ Su Yuyang was calling was not himself.
Su Yuyang thought over what Ling Miao had said in this room, from start to finish, hoping to discover therein the reason for Ling Miao’s change. Regrettably, Su Yuyang couldn’t recall a lot of it.
Suddenly, two words flashed through his mind. Shock appeared on his face.
Su Yuyang’s eyes shot open. He went up to Ling Miao, looked downward at Ling Miao’s stubborn expression, and said tenderly, “Is it Tang Xuan? I know that the matter with Tang Xuan affected you heavily, but I didn’t think…”
“Didn’t think that I’d become paranoid because of it? As long as an ex-boyfriend of yours appears, I’ll think that he has ill intentions towards you and towards me, yes?” Ling Miao sneered as he filled in the words Su Yuyang was unable to say. He pushed Su Yuyang away and walked toward the door.
Su Yuyang hurriedly caught up to him and asked, “Where are you going?”
“Didn’t you say I needed to calm down? I’m going to look for a deserted place and calm down.” Ling Miao batted away Su Yuyang’s hand, his cool tone making Su Yuyang feel as if he had fallen into an icy cave.
“I’ll go with you.” Su Yuyang worried that Ling Miao would again write a letter and leave, and his heart jumped into his throat.
Ling Miao could probably tell what Su Yuyang was thinking. His expression didn’t change, but a hint of mockery appeared in his eyes and he laughed, “Relax. I won’t leave. I just think I really need a bit of time to be alone.” Ling Miao emphasized ‘alone.’ Su Yuyang worried that following Ling Miao would have the opposite effect than desired, so he instructed, “If anything’s wrong, call me. I’ll be in the room.”
“I’ll come back before two o’clock,” Ling Miao said pointedly.
Two o’clock. That was when Xie Ruoyan had said they would go to see the venue.
Ling Miao left the hotel by himself. Since he wasn’t familiar with the area he didn’t go too far. He followed the footpath and wandered aimlessly. He could tell that he had changed because of the matter with Tang Xuan.
Tang Xuan’s appearance had worn on Ling Miao’s nerves and made them fragile. Ling Miao wasn’t worried that Su Yuyang’s ex-boyfriend would fight for Su Yuyang over him. He was worried that Su Yuyang would get hurt again.
Though not everyone was as insane as Tang Xuan, people were hard to predict. Someone who called you brother one moment might stab you in the heart the next.
Ling Miao didn’t wish to tell his worries to Su Yuyang. If he told Su Yuyang, one person’s pain would become two people’s pain. ‘Sharing the burden’ was a joke of a concept.
As Ling Miao walked, he didn’t know where he was going. When his phone rang, he was surprised.
The call was from Su Yuyang.
“What is it?”
“Where did you go?” Su Yuyang asked worriedly. “Didn’t you say you’d be back before two o’clock?”
“Ah?” Ling Miao rubbed his head and asked groggily, “It’s two o’clock already?”
So Ling Miao hadn’t looked at the time, Su Yuyang let out the breath he’d been holding and informed him, “It’s two-thirty. Xie-ge arrived a long time ago.”
Alarm bells went off in Ling Miao’s heart when he heard that Xie Ruoyan had arrived. He looked around at the nearby buildings and said, “I’m at XX station.”
“Xie-ge, Xiao Miao is at the XX station,” Su Yuyang said to Xie Ruoyan.
Following which, Ling Miao hear the door shut, then Su Yuyang speaking: “Stay there and don’t leave. Xie-ge and I will come get you.”
Several minutes later a car stopped in front of Ling Miao. Su Yuyang rolled down the window and called Ling Miao to get in the car.
After Ling Miao got in the car, Su Yuyang also got in the back seat.
The whole way, Su Yuyang frequently glanced at Ling Miao, but Ling Miao stared out the window the whole time, coldly showing Su Yuyang his profile.
Xie Ruoyan observed the two through the rear mirror. Seeing Su Yuyang want to speak, then stop, he silently sighed on Su Yuyang’s behalf.
After Su Yuyang had recognized Xie Ruoyan at the venue, Xie Ruoyan could clearly feel Ling Miao’s change in attitude toward him and Su Yuyang. This change wasn’t for the better.
Xie Ruoyan noticed Ling Miao’s enmity toward him but said nothing. Ling Miao’s cool attitude toward Su Yuyang could only be dissolved by Su Yuyang himself. It was best for Xie Ruoyan to stay silent. On the whole, although Xie Ruoyan felt a little guilty toward Su Yuyang, he wouldn’t express anything.
The book signing was the next day and the venue was still being frantically decorated.
Xie Ruoyan led Su Yuyang and Ling Miao to Su Yuyang’s booth. The books and a pen had already been arranged on the table, and the backdrop was a giant poster of Massacre of the Nine Heavens. Ling Miao suggested: “Su Yuyang, stand in front of the poster.”
“Mm?” Su Yuyang seemed doubtful but his body was already moving.
Su Yuyang watched Ling Miao raising his phone and immediately struck a pose. With a click Ling Miao captured Su Yuyang’s satisfied smile.
Following which Ling Miao took another few photographs of the venue.
Su Yuyang saw that Ling Miao was like a happy rabbit leaping about the place. None of his earlier desolation could be seen at all, and cheerfulness overflowed in Su Yuyang’s heart.
“You fell out with him?” Xie Ruoyan asked nosily.
Xie Ruoyan’s sudden words jolted Su Yuyang out of his thoughts, making his heart pound. Su Yuyang clutched his chest and said, “Nothing, just…” Su Yuyang started, then stopped, then smiled helplessly.
Following which an employee called Xie Ruoyan away. Su Yuyang got tired of standing and found a chair to sit in, his gaze following Ling Miao around.
Following Ling Miao’s path, Su Yuyang got an overview of the venue.
Su Yuyang discovered that there were about fifteen authors participating in the book signing. They were all fantasy authors and he was familiar with most of them. At the same time, Su Yuyang understood why Ling Miao was looking forward to this book signing so much—many of Ling Miao’s favorite authors were present, so he could collect countless signatures at the same time.
He just wasn’t sure if, after collecting a set number of signatures, he’d be able to summon the holy dragon.
Ling Miao excitedly took many photographs. Just as he was preparing to go back to Su Yuyang, he tragically found that he had lost his way.
As Ling Miao looked around, a familiar voice came: “Are you lost?”
Xie Ruoyan had no intention of mocking Ling Miao, but Ling Miao interpreted it as Xie Ruoyan mocking him.
“I just went to look around,” Ling Miao said stubbornly.
“Let’s go back or Su Yuyang will get anxious,” Xie Ruoyan said in a friendly manner.
Ling Miao huffed and ignored Xie Ruoyan, who fell silent and continued walking. Ling Miao picked up his feet and followed close behind.
Ling Miao… I have to find a time and talk with him, Xie Ruoyan thought.