Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 61: Stray Cats
While sipping his wine, for three quarters of an hour Zhang Siyi was enjoying his moment. Sitting at the table, he couldn’t stop himself from catching glimpses of Gu Yu’s handsome profile. Now, feeling hazy from the wine, squinting his eyes, he was trying to focus on Gu Yu who was also looking at him.
Gu Yu couldn’t help himself from laughing at Zhang Siyi puzzled expression while squinting at him. He got his glass, stood up and signaled to Zhang Siyi: “Time for the dishes.”
Zhang Siyi: “???” What is this!? Telling a guest to wash the dishes?
Gu Yu saw Zhang Siyi’s resistant face and lazily raised his eyebrows in question. With a unique criticism to the tone of his voice he said: “Why after I cooked for you, do you not want to wash the dishes?”
Conditioned as a child, Zhang Siyi stood up and tidies up the chopsticks and tableware, but his face was still reluctant. The atmosphere of the meal was so good, he didn’t want it to end. Since he momentarily forgot Gu Yu’s status, like a child he petulantly complained: “Who is the one asking a guest to wash the dishes!”
Casting a sidelong glance, Gu Yu questioned him in disbelief: “Do you really think of yourself as a guest?”
Zhang Siyi: “……” If I’m not a guest, then what am I?
Gu Yu took the bowls to the kitchen together with Zhang Siyi: “When you are the master of the family, does everything have to be served by others? I have a rule here. After you eat, you help wash the dishes.”
Zhang Siyi: “I just helped you when you were cooking!”
Gu Yu hands on the empty bowl: “Am I not also helping you?”
Zhang Siyi: “………”
Zhang Siyi opened the faucet and was frozen by the cold water. His previous comforting and warm feelings were instantly dispelled. He angrily said: “The water is too cold!”
Gu Yu wiped the table down and brought over the remaining dishes to wash. He heard Zhang Siyi’s complaint and snorted then he took the previously boiled water and dumped it into the sink, warming the temperature and in a low voice said: “So spoiled.”
With his hand in the water and the kitchen being cramped, Gu Yu was standing right next time him. Clearly Gu Yu criticized him, however Zhang Siyi is oblivious to the words and only listened to his soft, gentle tone causing his body to tingle with numbness. Now with hot water, Zhang Siyi didn’t feel so tormented.
“Completely wash the dishes clean. Then, carefully place them directly on the drying rack. Don’t be haphazard about it.” Instructed Gu Yu.
“….” Ask so much, why not wash it yourself!
“Hey, don’t bang the bowls. What kind of washing is this? The plates will all be chipped.”
“……..” One time!
“Hey, don’t forget to wash the rag!”
“……..……” Annoying! (╯‵皿’)╯
Once the washing was done, without hesitation, Zhang Siyi walked to the sofa and sat down. Since he did the work, he made himself comfortable. Gu Yu boiled some water on the side of the coffee table. He took a tea jar made of bamboo wood from the bookshelf behind him and put a few small pieces of tea in the teapot.
“What kind of tea is it?” Zhang Siyi said curiously.
“Pu’er. Drink a little of it. It helps with digestion.” Gu Yu said.
Zhang Siyi watched Gu Yu’s skillfully prepare the tea and couldn’t help but sigh with emotion: “A day to nourish the soul.”
Gu Yu faintly smiled and whispered: “If you live, you must always pursue it…” Then he slowly poured a cup of tea for Zhang Siyi.
Listening to his words, Zhang Siyi thought about Borderless in a new light then thought about Gu Yu’s simple, but exquisite day. Gu Yu not only pursues his work, but he obviously pursues his life. In comparison, every day after work, in addition to chatting with Fu Xinhui, Zhang Siyi spends a few hours on the internet watching social media. With some introspection, he felt confused.
Awake now after two cups of tea, while reflecting on his usual time wasting behavior, he suddenly heard a rustling sound. “What is that?” He craned his neck to figure out where the sound was coming from.
Accustomed to the noise, Gu Yu poured himself a cup a tea and flatly replied: “It is a cat.”
Zhang Siyi widened his eyes: “Cat? Do you have a cat?”
“It’s not mine. It’s a stray cat,” Gu Yu replied. Seeing Zhang Siyi looking around, he asked: “Do you want to see it?”
Zhang Siyi stood up: “Where is it?”
With his arm, Gu Yu pushed aside the floor curtains in the living room and revealed a row of sliding glass doors. There was a small yard outside with an elevated patio space covered with grey-red tiles!
Gu Yu pointed to the corner of the yard and said: “There, see it?”
By the dim light of the floor lamp on the sofa, Zhang Siyi vaguely saw a wooden house in the corner of the yard. There were food bowls on the ground. Two stray cats, alerted to the change in environment, twisted their bodies towards the light. He couldn’t tell one of the cat’s coloring, but the other was black with green eyes reflected in the twilight.
For a while, they looked at Zhang Siyi and Gu Yu with tension, feeling threatened. Then, they went back to their business knowing there was no danger.
Zhang Siyi was both surprised and curious: “How did the cats come in?”
Gu Yu pointed to the canopy hole at the top of the outside wall: “From that hole there.”
Zhang Siyi nodded. He saw a small wooden house and the food bowl: “Have you been feeding them?”
Gu Yu folded his arms across his chest and said slowly: “Last year in July, during a typhoon, the awning top blew off. I was very busy for a while with projects, so I put off finding someone to fix it. While reading a book in the living room, one rainy night, I heard a scratching noise. I thought it was a thief trying to break in and waited patiently in the living room. I finally moved the curtains and saw a cat pressed up against the glass grooming itself.”
Zhang Siyi: “It didn’t run?”
Gu Yu: “I just watched. I didn’t make any effort to go near him and didn’t scare it. Why would he run? The cat looked at me for a while then continued to lick himself and ignore me.”
Zhang Siyi thought that the scene of a stray cat ignoring Gu Yu was a bit funny. “And after?”
Gu Yu shrugged: “I went back to my book and ignored the cat.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
If this is the end of the story, he will give the storyteller a zero!
Zhang Siyi said: “That’s it? It was all wet. Why didn’t you help it!”
Feeling like he was being accused, Gu Yu logically replied: “It will groom itself. What is there for me to help? Besides, cats are very alert and it’s not familiar with me. If I try to give the cat something, he might run away. At least there is safe shelter here.”
” ……Well, that makes sense. And then what?” Zhang Siyi asked.
“Afterwards, the cat started to become a regular visitor and in ten days I bought some cat food and put it outside. Then it came over to eat regularly.” It seemed to be a rather heartfelt story, however when Gu Yu squinted his eyes and grinned, the illusion ended. With a higher animal sense of dominance and control towards a lower one, he said: “These little things… Once they feel the environment is safe, they become defenseless and stupid. The cat doesn’t even know when the invisible rope has been tied around its neck.”
When Zhang Siyi heard this, he instinctively shivered and instantly remembered Liang Xuiying’s “black belly, bad water” comments he said about Gu Yu.
He quickly looked at the corner of the patio with the small wooden house and cat food and persuaded himself to think that no matter how many bad waters are in Gu’s stomach, the nature of a person who is willing to provide food and shelter to stray cats is always kind. (=_=)
“Is that a wooden house for them to sleep in?” Zhang Siyi asked.
“Well, at first it only occasionally came over for the night and ate some cat food. About two months ago, I found the cat bringing in a partner.” Gu Yu pointed to the cats: “That black cat was the first and the other is its companion. I began to think this little guy found a wife and seemed happy. Since the weather was turning colder, I thought I would make a special wedding room for the both.”
Zhang Siyi was surprised: “Oh! You made this house!’
Gu Yu nodded, but he quickly scoffed: “But these two little cats have never gone inside to sleep! It’s confusing since they rather sleep together on the cold tiles.”
Although Zhang Siyi wanted to laugh, he doesn’t make a peep. He finds the situation ironic. The grand architect who personally built a small house is unappreciated and ignored.
Reminding himself, Gu Yu mumbled: “While I’m gone over the holiday period, I’ll make sure to leave them with more food.”
Zhang Siyi heart warmed up and confirmed his judgment. Gu Yu rarely shows people what he is like underneath his “Boss” façade. Today Zhang Siyi ate a meal made by Gu Yu. Drank homemade wine with Gu Yu. Drank tea served to him by Gu Yu. He heard the story of his stray cats… through these details today, Zhang Siyi felt the life that was Gu Yu. This unreachable person has suddenly become the neighbor’s elder brother.
The people around Gu Yu see him with the highest regard and at work, he pays close attention to everything and takes care of his subordinates. At present, Zhang Siyi feels Gu Yu is very near to his heart. Which he realizes isn’t beating at the normal speed……
The two men looked again for a moment then Gu Yu let the curtains fall and returned to the coffee table to take the cups away into the kitchen. He poured the cold tea down the drain. Zhang Siyi asked, “You aren’t going to finish it?”
“When the tea is cold, it hurts the stomach. We must get up early tomorrow. If you drink too much, you won’t be able to sleep.” Gu Yu looked at the time and asked: “It’s nine o’clock, are you going to sleep?”
Since they planned on an early start in the morning, going to bed early sounds good. Zhang Siyi nodded: “Where am I going to sleep?”
“There are two rooms upstairs, one is my bedroom, the other is a guest room, but the room has been unoccupied for a long time, and there are a lot of storage boxes. Expressionless Gu Yu flatly said: “So, either sleep on the sofa, or sleep with me. Choose one yourself.”
Zhang Siyi: “………”