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The Complete Guide to the Use and Care of a Personal Assistant
First Published on Chaleuria
"Su Yuyang's in love with…" Ji Linxi deliberately dragged his words out. Ling Miao's breath caught in his chest, going neither up nor down. Su Yuyang was so angry he paced back and forth in his room. Yan Li got so dizzy watching him, she forcibly grabbed the phone from him.
"What time are you coming back?" Yan Li asked ill-temperedly.
Ji Linxi heard Yan Li's words and gave a derisive laugh: "Come back? Come back where? This is my home!"
"Lin… Ji Linxi…" Yan Li yelled, but before she finished her sentence she heard the line cut off. "Fuck!" She stared at the words, 'Call ended,' on the screen and yelled, completely ignoring her image, "The moment he heard my voice he hung up. Am I that terrifying?"
"You're not terrifying," Su Yuyang said lightly. "He's probably scared."
"Tcheh." Yan Li huffed unapologetically, then tossed the phone back to Su Yuyang, who looked at the phone between his legs and wondered whether to call Ling Miao—firstly, to ask when he'd be back, and secondly, to explain the situation to him. Su Yuyang didn't want Ling Miao to have the impression he was in love with someone else.
If you don't want to be misunderstood, then confess!
After some more hesitation, Su Yuyang picked up his phone and dialed Ling Miao's number.
The moment Ling Miao saw it was Su Yuyang calling, he rejected the call without a second thought. Su Yuyang's heart skipped a beat as he considered the possibility that Ling Miao had hung up the phone. Ultimately, he couldn't come to any other conclusion. Like an eggplant touched by frost, Su Yuyang curled up on the sofa and stared at the ceiling. Light and shadow intertwined on the ceiling, creating a real yet fantastical image. Suddenly, Ji Linxi's face flashed before his eyes: laughing, mocking Su Yuyang's dogged state.
Su Yuyang shot into a sitting position on the sofa. He had missed one possibility—it might have been Ji Linxi who hung up the phone. At the thought, Su Yuyang's hands mysteriously began to tremble. He worried that something had happened between Ling Miao and Ji Linxi, but then he began to laugh helplessly: "If they're in love, then no matter what they're doing, I have no reason to interfere, right?" Though Ji Linxi had said he didn't like men, maybe he had met the man he liked and thus realized his true orientation.
That was the situation Su Yuyang feared.
"Motherfuck—" Su Yuyang couldn't help yelling. "Ahh—" His bloodcurdling scream lasted a long time as he vented all his panic, fear, and unease. Yan Li was listening to music in her room when Su Yuyang's shout passed through the walls, which were very soundproof. She tensed, realized something was wrong, and ran out.
Su Yuyang's face had gone completely red. His eyes looked about to pop out of his head.
Yan Li clutched the doorframe in fear. Right now, she didn't want to get close to Su Yuyang.
Yan Li had known Su Yuyang for many years, but this was the first time he had scared her to the bottom of her heart. The panicked expression on Su Yuyang—if she didn't know better, she'd worry someone had poisoned him.
A quiet person who explodes is this terrifying! Yan Li looked on with terror at Su Yuyang, who had finally calmed down, but she still didn't dare to draw closer. Su Yuyang seemed to notice that Yan Li was watching him and turned his head to look at her, his reddened eyes brimming with tears.
Yan Li walked over slowly. She sat at Su Yuyang's side and consoled: "Old Su, I'm worried with you like this, but I don't know how to help you calm down. You like Ling Miao, but you insist on holding it in. You're bringing it on yourself."
"Ling Miao has someone he likes." Su Yuyang seemed near death. He was speaking in a voice so small it sounded as though he was about to disappear.
"And the person he likes can't be you?" Yan Li probed. "Maybe you like each other but are both worried that the other doesn't like you back, so you bury your true feelings? Wouldn't it be interesting if you were tormenting each other like that?"
"And how would you know that the person he likes is me?" Su Yuyang refuted. "Forget it, Yan Li, you don't have to console me."
"Idiot." Yan Li couldn't hold back the insult. "I told you already, the person Ling Miao likes is you! Could you just have a little confidence? If you don't try, how will you know that the person he likes isn't you? Is it really good if you're just standing to one side guessing blindly and working yourself up? Alright, it's your body. Abuse it however you wish. What business is it of mine? Every day I'm worried for you and worried you'll do something foolish, but alright, now I know I'm worrying over nothing. You don't deserve my worry! You just stay here and torture yourself. If I don't see you, I won't get mad because of you!"
Her loud voice reverberated in Su Yuyang's ears, followed by the sound of Yan Li angrily slamming the door shut.
Su Yuyang stood stunned, looking at the tightly closed door. Yan Li's words reverberated in his mind.
Is the person Ling Miao likes really me? But then why would he distance himself from me? He and Ji Linxi are so close, but he keeps intentionally putting distance between us. How can I not suspect that the person he likes is Ji Linxi? But Yan Li said it so confidently… I… Su Yuyang's mind was about to explode. He ran both hands through his hair like he was trying to rip it all out.
"Ahh—" Su Yuyang yelled out the window with all his strength.
A baby crying, a dog barking, a person cursing. After Su Yuyang's yell, he received three responses. Su Yuyang pretended not to hear the person cursing at him and he began laughing weakly as he leaned against the windowsill.
Yan Li had gone downstairs. Hearing Su Yuyang's shout, she hurriedly walked to a spot where she could see the window to Su Yuyang's living room and looked upward to check on the situation. Seeing that Su Yuyang wasn't trying to jump, she let out the breath she'd been holding and texted Su Yuyang: I'll go find Ling Miao. Don't do anything silly.
A minute later she got a reply. Su Yuyang had said, Go quickly and come back quickly.
The streetlights on either side of the road were bright, but they were cordoned off. Under the cover of the bamboo plants lining the pavement, Yan Li reached the base of Ji Linxi's apartment building without incident. She looked up at Ji Linxi's apartment. From where she stood, she could see the kitchen. The light was still on.
She looked left and right to verify that no one was following her before plucking up the courage to go upstairs.
A knock came at the door. Ji Linxi thought that one of his housemates might have forgotten the key and opened the door without a second thought. When the door opened, Ji Linxi was stunned, then anger surged forth. His blank face seemed to be carved from wood, underlining his unfriendly sentiment toward Yan Li. His large stature blocked the door so that Yan Li couldn't go in. Ling Miao, likewise, couldn't see the situation outside. Ji Linxi had been gone for half a minute and still hadn’t come back, so Ling Miao asked: "Linxi, who is it?"
Ji Linxi put his hand on the door handle and said as he pulled the door closed, "A crazy woman."
"I am a crazy woman." Yan Li was satisfied with the epithet Ji Linxi had given her. Ji Linxi had intended to close the door, but was met with a great resistance. He looked down and saw that Yan Li was tugging the door in the opposite direction.
The two pulled the door in opposite directions, one inward, one outward. Neither was willing to let go, so they had a contest of strength in the doorway.
Ling Miao finished his dinner. Seeing that Ji Linxi still hadn't come back, he worried that something had happened to Ji Linxi and walked out. He saw Ji Linxi standing, trembling, in the doorway. He asked worriedly: "Linxi, what's the matter?"
"He doesn't want me to come in." Yan Li's leisurely voice came. "Ji Linxi, I'm looking for Ling Miao." Yan Li pointed at Ling Miao inside.
"Come in." Ji Linxi helplessly gave up arguing with Yan Li. Silently, he swore that he'd never challenge Yan Li to a contest of strength again!
As Yan Li stepped through the door she caught sight Ji Linxi rubbing his arm. She said proudly, "If you challenge me to a contest of strength, I'll show you helplessness."
Ji Linxi didn't reply. He watched Yan Li warily, worried she'd do something to Ling Miao.
Yan Li seemed very calm. She sat on Ji Linxi's bed and her gaze unintentionally flicked to the computer screen. She saw that Ji Linxi was currently submitting his resume online.
Ji Linxi had a job, but now he was submitting resumes. Was he job-hopping?
Yan Li had quarrelled with Ji Linxi earlier today, so she subconsciously considered that maybe Ji Linxi was job hopping to avoid her. Her heart felt like it was soaked in lemon juice. She raised her head to look at Ji Linxi and said defeatedly: "You don't have to resign because of me. If you don't want me to disturb your life, then I won't."
"You're thinking too much."
"He didn't resign because of you."
Two men's voices rose. The first was Ji Linxi's, the second was Ling Miao's. Ji Linxi glared at Ling Miao as if berating him for saying too much. Ling Miao shrugged and explained, "He was fired by his jealous boss. Linxi's boss likes him and wanted to date him, but Linxi refused. He got so mad that he messes with anyone who tries to get close to Linxi until they run at the very sight of Linxi." Ling Miao succinctly described Ji Linxi and Hu Lin's relationship. Yan Li was intelligent and Ling Miao believed she'd figure out what had caused Ji Linxi's firing.
The already tense atmosphere grew even heavier. The air itself seemed to congeal so that nobody could breathe.
Yan Li didn't say anything. She bit her lip and looked guiltily at Ji Linxi, who heartlessly turned his head away and said coldly, "Ling Miao, when are you leaving?"
On the surface, Ji Linxi was chasing his guest Ling Miao away, but both Yan Li and Ling Miao knew that Ji Linxi was actually chasing Yan Li away.
"We'll go immediately." Ling Miao didn't wish to see Ji Linxi and Yan Li's relationship get even worse, so the only thing he could do was to take Yan Li and leave immediately. He turned to Yan Li. "Yan-jie, let's go back."
Yan Li looked at Ji Linxi, unwilling to leave things like this. Her lips trembled: "Ji Linxi, is it really impossible between us?"
Ji Linxi turned to look at Yan Li, who maintained a smile. Though her voice betrayed her fear, Ji Linxi saw resolution in her eyes.
After a long time, a phrase, light as smoke, slipped from between Ji Linxi's lips. "Let's talk."