Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 9: Plants
Su Yuan’s parents were university teachers and thus, making her ordinary family part of the working class and not nuevo rich. As a very self-reliant student, while abroad, she found work during her free time. Now that she had returned to China to work in Haicheng, she wasn’t relying on her family to support her.
The New East District wasn’t so far from the place the group decided to meet however, it was distant enough one would need transportation to travel. Since taxi cabs were expensive at night, the better economical choice was to catch the last subway.
In order to see his friends, Zhang Siyi wanted to offer the expense of taking a taxi home, but he couldn’t. Without capital, he was nothing more than a new employee with a measly income of 4500 Yuan.
When Su Yuan left, Ren Mengyu couldn’t wait around either. Since he lived together with Fu Xinhui and Jiang Hai, there was no need to go there. Zhang Siyi hung up the phone, feeling empty.
Frustrated, he let the driver turn around and go home. A little later, he checked the history of his chat-group messages from the beginning. He witnessed his friends having fun from the start until the end. He felt anxious and then when his friends scattered, a deep sense of loss welled up in inside of him.
Zhang Siyi: “I’m so sorry.”
Zhang Siyi: “I didn’t think I was going to work overtime on the first day …”
Zhang Siyi: “Next time I’ll treat you!”
There were two minutes of silence in the group. Zhang Siyi looked like a prisoner waiting for judgment. He pitifully sent a few crying expressions in the group.
Finally, Fu Xinhui replied first: “Kneel down and beg. I’ll forgive your crimes.”
And then the group responded ——
Jiang Hai: “Kneel!”
Ren Mengyu: “Kneel!”
Su Yuan: “Kneel!”
Zhang Siyi broke into laughter and quickly sent a sticker. [begging for forgiveness]
Su Yuan: “It didn’t work out this time because of your job. Maybe next time.”
Jiang Hai suddenly said with a deep emotion: “I am afraid that everyone will be busier in the future and gather less.”
Jiang Hai’s declaration made Zhang Siyi realize the reality of his life now. As a new chapter of life has begun, he grieved at the loss of time where they were just students hanging out together.
When Fu Xinhui casually asked if he had dinner, Zhang Siyi replied: “I’m famished.”
Ren Mengyu: “Today Fu Xinhui treated, but don’t forget Zhang Siyi, that you owe us two meals!”
Zhang Siyi was thankful for Fu Xinhui’s generosity. He quickly promised to make it up to them the next time they got together. Afterwards, he took the initiative to tell them about the morning’s interview.
After listening, Su Yuan said: “The average company generally asks about your relevant skills, coursework in college, and any real work experience. They don’t normally ask ‘why you studied architecture’. Applying for a job isn’t supposed to be like a college entrance exam.”
Zhang Siyi felt the same: “I was also confused about it at the time. I didn’t know how to reply so I told him that it was due to the influence of a high school alumni. I didn’t expect that the person who interviewed me was the very same Alumnus! I didn’t recognize him!”
Ren Mengyu: “This is too good!”
Fu Xinhui: “It must be the back door!”
Zhang Siyi: “Get out of the way! He specially told me when we ate at noon that he didn’t want me to think he hired me because we went to the same high school!”
Fu Xinhui: [Turning Blind]
Su Yuan: “But since he is your High School senior, then surely, the work in the future will be easier.”
“No!” Zhang Si Yi hysterically replied in the chat group about how shameless Gu Yu was. He included the events that transpired the previous day that triggered his deduction in wages.
Ren Mengyu: “What? You broke up?”
Zhang Siyi: “The breakup is not the point!”
Ren Mengyu: “Wow. Comparing an ex-girlfriend to a boss that deducted 500 from your wages, even though you are connected by the same high school…. I suddenly want to light a candle for your former girlfriend.”
Jiang Hai: “But 500 bucks is nothing for you. It’s just one meal at a restaurant in the UK.”
Zhang Siyi: “I thought he was joking at the time.”
Su Yuan: “I see. The money isn’t the point. The problem is, despite the connection between you two, you aren’t happy about the fact that he still treated you so unfairly.”
Zhang Siyi: “Yes! You understand!”
Zhang Siyi subconsciously blamed Gu Yu’s fastidiousness for making him miss his appointed time tonight to meet with his friends. If Gu Yu were more laid-back, he would have let him leave early. Besides, how can someone make them do overtime on the first day of work!
Fu Xinhui joked: “You know… did he deliberately recruit you in order to get back at you for spilling coffee on him?”
Since it did make some sense, Zhang Siyi was frightened by Fu Xinhui’s speculation that he may be right. During their argument, his name, profession and the fact that he was looking for a job were exposed. If Gu Yu had read his resume in advance, he would have left an impression on his mind.
However, soon Zhang Siyi felt it was impossible. No one would be that vengeful just for a spilled cup of coffee. Gu Yu would have said something at that time, not later. It’s so frustrating. Looking for a job wasn’t a trifling matter!
Everyone chatted while traveling back to their homes. Since Zhang Siyi’s company was closer to their residence, he was a step earlier than Fu Xinhui.
He was so tired he didn’t even feel hungry anymore. He didn’t eat supper, but he felt he needed to eat something to replenish his strength. He was just about to order take-out when Fu Xinhui and Jiang Hai came back. Fu Xinhui had brought him a package of fried rice.
Zhang Siyi rushed over to them and asked: “How do you know that I have not eaten yet??”
Fu Xinhui: “Didn’t you just say it in the group?”
Zhang Siyi was moved to tears. His brother was so good too him. Why does he even need a girlfriend?
Thinking of Fu Xinhui kindness for paying for tonight’s meal, Zhang Siyi again thanked him.
Fu Xinhui replied: “It’s not a big deal. I just wanted to congratulate you on your new job and celebrate a little. Although you didn’t end up eating with us. Ha-ha-ha-ha.”
Zhang Siyi sat in satisfaction with the fried rice: “This is the same.”
Still in thought, Fu Xinhui smiled at him.
After eating for a while, Zhang Siyi began to feel sleepy. He had not slept enough last night and had been nervous all day. Normally, he seldom got into bed before midnight. He also planned to send a message to his parents about the good news, but once his head hit the pillow, his two eyelids became heavy, and quickly went to sleep.
After sleeping through the night and waking at dawn, Zhang Siyi was refreshed. Yesterday’s depression was left behind.
“I love work!” Zhang Siyi shouted in the mirror after getting out of the shower. Then he ran out to the crowded subway and headed to the office.
Watching him head out the door full of so much enthusiasm, Jiang Hai thought: “Simple-minded people are really happy.”
Ten minutes before working hours official started, he arrived at the company. Zhang Siyi first went to the personnel department to submit his own degree certificate. He was approached by the new front-desk receptionist: “Wait a minute! Are you the new person from yesterday? Please come over.”
Zhang Siyi wondered: “What, you mean me?”
The girl at the front desk explained: “Our company every quarter awards a “love-my-job” bonus for the amount of 1000 yuan.
Zhang Siyi was interested: “Aha? Is there such a thing?”
The young girl at the front desk smiled and said: “Yes, let me explain the details of this award. As long as certain conditions are met, all employees will be awarded.”
Zhang Siyi: “What are the conditions?
“It’s very simple,” the front desk girl pointed at the landscape glass frame at the company’s main entrance that was next to the elevator. “Pick a plant and take care of it. The conditions for awarding bonuses are twofold: one, your attendance records, and secondly, the health of your plant. It has to be growing well and thriving.”
Zhang Siyi was stunned. He didn’t think the plants on the shelves were taken care of by the employees. He thought that the maintenance staff took care of them.
However, Zhang Siyi had never raised any plants, so he had questions: “By what standards are the plants judged?”
The young girl smiled and answered: “If it doesn’t die, you can earn the money.”
Oh? It’s that easy? Zhang Siyi felt relieved and went to the structure to find a plant to raise.
Most of the shelves were filled with herbeceous plants such as green radish, and copper grass. There were a wide variety. Although Zhang Siyi didn’t raise plants, he was familiar with one fact. With the amount of water that was needed to thrive, the seemingly small and sturdy bear boy and moon rabbit, weren’t as easy to take care of as they seem. The most maintenance free plant was a cactus. Even if it wasn’t watered for half a year, it wouldn’t die.
After carefully looking it over, Zhang Siyi found two pots of cactus on the shelf, one big and one small, and they were placed in two glass lattices next to each other.
He pointed to the big cactus: “How about this one?”
Front desk girl: “That plant is director Gu’s.”
Zhang Siyi: “…” What’s the catch? Does Gu Yu have the same thoughts as his own? (=_=)
Zhang Siyi reluctantly pointed to the small pot on the side: “What about the smaller one?”
The receptionist calmly stated: “That is also the directors.”
Zhang Siyi： “……”
At 8:58, Gu Yu stepped out of the elevator and saw Zhang Siyi looking frazzled while talking with the receptionist standing next to him: “Why can he occupy two spots with cactus? Isn’t everyone only able to adopt one plant?”
As the young girl at the front desk was trying to explain the situation to him, Gu Yu went over and asked Zhang Siyi: “Do you like the cactus?”
Zhang Siyi did not expect Gu Yu to suddenly appear. He was momentarily caught off-guard and as a result, turned his head very stiffly. Actually, he simply wanted to be lazy, but of course he couldn’t say that, so he nodded vigorously instead: “Yes!”
Gu Yu looked at the young girl at the front desk and said: “Let him take care of the small cactus.”
The blushing young girl looks surprised: “Oh, okay.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
After registering the plant, Zhang Siyi returned to his seat and asked his colleagues. He also handed out some Lindor chocolates that he had bought as gifts from the UK after graduation. His co-workers thanked him.
Zhu Hongzhen asked him what time he went back last night. Zhang Siyi wrinkled his face: “More than nine o’clock.”
“Overtime. Working hard on the first day. The boss is really ‘loving’ you’.” Zhu Hongzhen laughed.
Zhang Siyi was speechless. He recalled the phone call that Gu Yu received last night and whispered: “Does Boss have a girlfriend?”
Zhu Hongzhen said: “I don’t know, let’s ask Bi Lele.”
“I haven’t heard anything about that. The Boss doesn’t like others to gossip about his private life.” Bi Lele shrugged while eating chocolate. “But I don’t think so since he always involved with work. A project today, a project tomorrow; all year around he works overtime and rarely goes home before nine. Where would there be the time to fall in love?”
Zhu Hongzhen nodded: “I also think that if I was in a relationship like that, I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Hey, it’s the life of a perpetual bachelor.”
Bi Lele sighed: “If you want to fall in love, it’s best to find a peer since they also understand the demands of the industry.”
Zhu Hongzhen glanced to Zhang Siyi: “Why do you ask?”
Zhang Siyi chuckled: “Just curious.”
He also spoke about his plant adoption choice, Bi Lele was shocked: “The boss gave you that cactus ball!?”
Zhang Siyi didn’t understand her tone and tentatively asked: “Ah? What’s wrong? Is there anything strange about it?”