Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 73: Red Envelope
The disdain in Gu Yu’s eyes surprised Zhang Siyi. He felt irritated and wished he could grow cat claws and scratch Gu Yu’s face! Gu Yu also raised his chin and gave his sister attitude: “How can you sit here idle when we have a guest? Go help set the table.”
Gu Yao mumbled: “How am I idle? I’m with your ‘little apprentice’ chatting!” She felt upset because their conversation was interrupted. She quickly gave Zhang Siyi ‘a-look’ and he, looking at Gu Yao, immediately grasped the situation; yes… talk more later.
From the kitchen, a very appetizing aroma wafted into the living room. Through a frosted glass door, he saw the busy backs of Gu Yu’s parents in the kitchen. Like a rabbit, Gu Yao quickly jumped in, chatted lively with them and energetically started working.
This is a very happy and affectionate family full of laughter.
Although their house isn’t luxurious, they choose to stay in this old apartment despite the fact that they have the money to move to a better living environment.
Zhang Siyi remembered, at his Grandfather’s house as a child, there was a wooden TV cabinet, bookshelf and storage platform in the living room. He knew that it was hand-built by carpenters who painstakingly sawed, nailed, sanded, and varnished the wood. In order to maintain the wood, the furniture needed to be wiped down with wood oil once a year. Over time, the furnishing acquired a soft, glossy finish, as if it absorbed the spirit of the family living in the environment and then, itself becoming a living thing with a soul. As the years pass, it too will grow old and become obsolete.
Gu Yu’s home is like a piece of lustrous old furniture properly placed in its true environment. There are architectural related objects visible all around the room in a seemingly haphazard manor; triangles, T-square, atlas, piles of books, models… all are completely integrated into the room and integrated into the family.
Zhang Siyi looked at all this and couldn’t help but sigh. It turned out that this is the type of house Gu Yu grew up in. As he imagined, these older architects never touted themselves with fashion and modernity but were mostly stereotype-nostalgic.
Just like the “inheritance” that Gu senior mentioned, it needs to be passed down, not just objects, furniture, and the like, but also family, and spirit.
Growing up in such an environment, it isn’t surprising that Gu Yu will want to become an architect. Even in Gu Yu’s villa, Zhang Siyi could feel the warmth and tranquility of the environment. It turns out that the origin of this feeling came from here.
Not more than a minute passed when Gu Yu’s words broke Zhang Siyi reverie: “Your salary isn’t low and I remember sending you a quarter bonus in January, so why don’t you have money?”
In front of his family, Zhang Siyi kept up the illusion of being self-reliant, but when Gu Yu asked him about it, he had an excuse to vent some bitter feelings: “Half of my income goes towards rent and the other half I originally saved, but with the New Year, the remaining half went to family members’ red envelopes. Now it’s completely gone!”
In order to try an elicit sympathy, Zhang Siyi deliberately sounded pathetic in hopes that Gu Yu would give him a pay raise. Instead, Gu Yu only asked calmly: “How many total red envelopes did you give to your extended family?”
Calculating in his mind, Zhang Siyi added them up: Grandmother was 1600 and six cousins at 500 each so 4600. He rounded up and told Gu Yu 5000. Even though he felt all the red envelopes for his cousins was coerced, Zhang Siyi felt a sense of pride at being able to show his family his successful career.
Gu Yu listened then asked: “How much is your rent?”
Zhang Siyi: “4,100 per month.”
After listening to him, Gu Yu quickly assessed his current financial situation: “After taxes, your monthly salary is 7,000. With meal rebates, the Halloween and love-my-job bonuses you have an additional income. Plus 3000 for the annual event award, but ok that hasn’t been issued yet, so we can disregard it. However, I saw you earn no less than six other red envelops at the annual meeting. Figuring in the project bonus, your salary for the last six months would be about 66000. If we deduct rent at 24000 and 5000 worth of red envelops there is still about 30000 left.”
Gu Yu looked at him incredulously: “On average, you spend six thousand per month on pure living expenses?”
Zhang Siyi was surprised: “What!? How can there be so much!?”
“Then you count it yourself and see if I have miscalculated.” Gu Yu said, then kindly took out a calculator from under the coffee table and threw it to him.”
Zhang Siyi took the calculator and worked through the numbers again. As he verified Gu Yu’s account, cold swear formed on his head. It really was six-thousand a month! Then why does he never have enough money? Where does it all go?
Remembering, Zhang Siyi suddenly said: “I spent over 10000 on winter clothes in December.”
Gu Yu looked him up and down and said, “I figured this is where you have spent your money. More than 10000 for some clothes, ok, but what about the rest?”
Zhang Siyi: “……”
For the life of him, Zhang Siyi could not remember having any additional special expenses. Maybe a dinner party? But going a few times wouldn’t add up to all of it, does it? Jesus Christ, where the hell did his money go?
Gu Yu smiled and mocked him: “I am confused. With such a strong sense of self-reliance, it turned out you are a financial idiot. At the rate you are going you will earn more and die poor.
Zhang Siyi: “…” How can you say that about me!
Gu Yu glanced at him and asked seriously: “If you don’t have money, why don’t you let your parents help?”
Zhang Siyi mourned his loss: “I had an agreement with my Father. When I started working, I wouldn’t spend family money.”
Gu Yu nodded and expressed approval, but he wondered: “Since you are almost out of money, why do you continue to give so many red envelopes to your cousins?”
Zhang Siyi: “I only planned to give one to my cousin, but my Mother said I had to treat all my younger cousins fairly, so I gave it to them all.”
Gu Yu: “Your mother doesn’t know that you are running out of money?”
Zhang Siyi: “Hmm …”
Gu Yu smirked: “To save your pride you have to suffer.”
Zhang Siyi: “……” Gu Yu, this big bastard! Not only did he not praise him or comfort him or sympathize with him, he took out a dagger and stabbed him over and over again!
After a moment of silence, Gu Yu sighed softly than took out a red envelope from his pocket……
Wide eyed, Zhang Siyi stared at the actions of Gu Yu and knowingly asked: “What is that?”
Gu Yu did not answer and did not immediately give him the red envelope. Instead, he pulled out his wallet from his pocket and opened it. Zhang Siyi saw the bulging wallet, thick with cash inside. Zhang Siyi eyes nearly popped out of his head. Gu Yu counted 10 bills from the inside and stuffed them into the red envelope. He slowly moistened the envelope with his mouth than folded it. Watching Gu Yu’s actions, Zhang Siyi heart is in his throat. Is Gu Yu giving him a red envelope? What should he do? Should he accept it? He should probably refuse… but he really wants it!
Instead of passing along the envelope, Gu Yu extended his hand to Zhang Siyi: “Give me your phone.”
Zhang Siyi: “……” What do you need my phone for?
Although puzzled, Zhang Siyi’s vision is now full of the red envelope so he quietly unlocked the phone and handed it over.
Gu Yu downloaded a bookkeeping app for him saying: “Every time you spend money, remember to make a record here. After three months, you will know where your money is going.”
Schooled, Zhang Siyi nodded again and again: “Mmm-Hmm.”
Gu Yu placed the red envelope together with his mobile phone: “Here, take it.”
Blushing, Zhang Siyi is slightly embarrassed. He wants to refuse but also welcomed it: “How can you give me a red envelope?”
Gu Yu smiled and looked at him: “You have come to visit and celebrate New Year’s with me. How can I not give you a red envelope?”
Zhang Siyi: “……” Why does he make it sound like I deliberately came over for a red envelope?
Gu Yu patted his back gently and said, “All right, take it. Don’t say that Boss doesn’t love you in the future.”
Zhang Siyi: “………” (=////=)
Zhang Siyi pinched the red envelope to feel its thickness and he thought it’s not less than two thousand dollars inside. Knowing he lacks funds, Gu Yu put in an additional thousand.
Even though Gu Yu actions and words made Zhang Siyi feel like he was being molested, he gave up his integrity and accepted the envelope. After all, he was facing his own economic crisis.
Then, Gu Yu showed him how to use the bookkeeping app. On the side, he watched Zhang Siyi enter the data. Zhang Siyi turned over the phone and entered: “-15871.00”
Gu Yu was surprised: “What is this? You still owe someone else money?”
Ashamed, Zhang Siyi shyly said: “I, I…. I use a credit card.”
Speechless, Gu Yu stared at him in disbelief. It seemed to Zhang Siyi that Gu Yu wanted at this moment, to beat him to death.
The meal was almost ready. Gu Yao set the table and took the cooked food from the kitchen and placed it on the table. She was going to call to eat, but she stopped herself from saying anything. She saw her brother and Zhang Siyi sitting close on the sofa with their heads together. She saw them whispering from time to time and heard her brother’s laughter from time to time. She is trying to understand what she is watching.
– My brother’s hand is on his knee and the other hand is loosely looped behind Zhang Siyi waist. It was a very intimate gesture that was neither appropriate for a Boss to a subordinate, nor something one would do to a friend. Her brother looked at Zhang Siyi with a kind of indescribable tenderness, but Gu Yao has seen it! Before, when her brother was watching his mobile phone, his face would reveal the same expression.
Her heart-rate sped up and Gu Yao felt like there was something wrong, but couldn’t tell what it was……… Not wanting to bother them, she put down the cup lightly and returned to the kitchen silently.
The kitchen is also very quiet. With cooperation, her father and mother have a tactical understanding on how to prepare the last bowl of orange sweet soup for lunch.
They never talk because Mom does not speak, but as long as they are together, a warm, loving atmosphere will appear around them.
Yes. Although slightly different from her parents, Gu Yao feels the same sweetness emanating from the pair sitting in the living room.