Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 82: Lonely
Zhang Siyi was eager to learn more. With dexterous fingers he quickly typed: “Did he ever discover your Father’s trick?”
Gu Yao: “In order to keep the ruse going, my dad always made-up some type of excuse to stall him. He even told my brother that to encourage the growth of a healthy child, he had to follow certain rules like eating more vegetables, getting more exercise, sleeping and rising early…… If he didn’t do these things, then the child could die.”
Zhang Siyi: “Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Did he really believe it?”
Gu Yao: “He did! But, as children often loose interest quickly, he too forgot about it after a while. At some point later when he was a little older, he understood that Dad was deceiving to him. He never asked about it. My Father said that after the pumpkin incident, he developed a calm personality and always thought carefully of what others were saying. When he was young, he was rather hyperactive, and his curious nature always got him into trouble. My dad was worried about my brother for a long time because he thought maybe his teasing caused a lasting mental trauma, so he paid close attention to his habits and playtime for many years. Since he saw no changes, over time, he stopped feeling guilty about it.”
Zhang Siyi was trying hard to relax his facial muscles so he wouldn’t start laughing. As a result, he had a stiff expression on his face. He couldn’t help but think that the pumpkin incident during Gu Yu’s childhood was the origin of his black belly.
Just then, Gu Yu suddenly glanced at Gu Yao suspiciously: “I can hear the phone vibrations. Why are you still sending texts in the car? Do you think I don’t know you both are talking about me?”
Gu Yao: “…”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
The laughter caused by talking about Gu Yu’s black history, alleviated Zhang Siyi’s recent emotional woes and stress. Gu Yu’s statement interrupted the joyful atmosphere between Zhang Siyi and Gu Yao. Even though Zhang Siyi tried to control his laughter, he shook his head with conditioned reflexes. He struggled between the physical pain he felt from over exerting himself with laughter and by the fear of being caught.
Coughing lightly, Gu Yao denied it: “No. I’m sending messages to my classmates.” Covering for the both, she pocketed her phone with a guilty conscience.
Obviously not believing a word, Gu Xiao snorted from his nose and didn’t say anything else. Silently, they drove onwards.
Sitting behind Gu Yu, Zhang Siyi couldn’t see his expression. He played the part and sat quietly in the backseat. Approximately thirty minutes later, they arrived at the service area. The three of them got out to use the restroom and when Gu Yu was out of sight, Zhang Siyi and Gu Yao immediately started to gossip once again.
Gu Yao: “Geesh! That scared the shit out of me!”
Zhang Siyi: “Yes! I thought he was focused on driving. I didn’t think he knew we were talking about him.……”
Gu Yao: “Admitting it won’t do us any good. Anyway, he can’t come over and look at our mobile phones!”
Zhang Siyi: “Hmm-mmm! Let’s turn off the vibration for a while and make it completely muted so he doesn’t know we are chatting!”
Gu Yao: “Good idea! Oh, right, don’t forget to change position later!”
Zhang Siyi: “What will you say to your brother?”
Gu Yao: “I’ll tell him I’m tired and will take a nap in the back seat for a while.”
Zhang Siyi: “Okay…”
After finishing up in the bathroom, Zhang Siyi made his way through the rest-stop and back to the car. From the distance, he saw Gu Yu with his arms crossed, leaning lazily against the car. He wasn’t wearing a coat. Instead, he was wearing an ultra-thin green, down vest over a smoky gray, cotton shirt. With his slim trousers exposing his straight and long, slender legs, he looked refined and clean-cut. Zhang Siyi noticed Gu Yu’s looking off into the distance with slightly wrinkled brows and squinting eyes. At a glance, Gu Yu looked like a model, but when Zhang Siyi watched him for a few minutes he felt Gu Yu looked distraught and lonely. Gu Yu temperament created an illusion that he was untouchable, but Zhang Siyi saw a vulnerable side not normally visible.
As Zhang Siyi approached, Gu Yu noticed, and his line of sight fell onto Zhang Siyi. Even though he noticed Gu Yu’s expression was in ‘professional’ mode, he couldn’t stop himself from thinking about the childhood pumpkin story and thus, he couldn’t stop himself from giggling.
Gu Yu instantly narrowed his eyes and waved at him: “Come here.”
Zhang Siyi: “……”
Walking slowly to the car, Zhang Siyi subconsciously maintained a distance of one-meter between them: “What?”
Gu Yu asked: “What’s so funny?”
Zhang Siyi squinted his eyes and said: “Nothing.”
Gu Yu stared at him for a while, and Zhang Siyi stared back. Just when Zhang Siyi was about to raise a white flag in surrender, from behind Zhang Siyi, Gu Yu saw his sister approaching from the distance and said: “Either you tell me now or I will ask her later.”
Although Gu Yu was calm and his face was non-threatening, Zhang Siyi felt like he was on trial for something serious.
Worrying, Zhang Siyi felt embarrassed to have to repeat such an embarrassing anecdote. Since he was just a listener, what does he have to feel guilty about? However, exposing the origin of the story would be a great betrayal between friends which is a serious violation of Zhang Siyi’s principles. He stuck is neck out in denial: “Really! It’s nothing!”
Tranquil, Gu Yu nodded and smiled. He looked straight at Zhang Siyi and said: “I gave you the chance first,” then walked around to the driver’s side.
Zhang Siyi could read-between-the-lines: Since you didn’t seize the opportunity handed to you, don’t cry next time. Zhang Siyi was surprised by his attitude, however. Now that Zhang Siyi had some black history ammo, he didn’t feel threatened by Gu Yu’s words.
Gu Yu opened the driver’s side door and saw Zhang Siyi sitting on the passenger side then asked: “Why are you sitting there?”
Zhang Siyi: “Your Sister said she wanted to take a nap in the back.”
The backdoor opened and Gu Yao got into the backseat: “Ready.” Gu Yu reminded them to fasten their seat belts and they headed out of the service area.
Back on the highway, after a short while, Zhang Siyi checked his phone, and sure enough Gu Yao had sent him a message: “Good Job! ~o(∩_∩)o~ “
Zhang Siyi didn’t want to tell Gu Yao about her brother’s behavior just now. He sent her a cartoon facial expression and in silence, they chatted again: “Were there anything more stories?”
Gu Yao: “Yes! There was another incident at my grandparent’s house. The day my Grandfather gave my brother a wooden toy gun to play with, he was working with his tractor. Upon receiving it, he took aim and ‘pew-pew’ using the tractor as target practice. It just so happened that the break-lever released on the old tractor and started moving on its own. After about twenty meters, the tire blew out with a loud boom. The whole village could probably hear it. My brother thought it was the power of his gun. Since he feared someone coming after him, he hid in Grandma’s closet for the rest of the day. It wasn’t until the evening at dinner that the whole family became worried over his absence. When my brother climbed out of the closet, trembling and crying, explaining the situation and saying he was wrong and won’t ever use the gun again, the whole family laughed like crazy.”
Zhang Siyi: “Ha-ha-ha-ha! How old was your brother then?”
Gu Yao: “Five or six years old, it happened before I was born. “ [Dripping sweat]
Zhang Siyi: “I haven’t been born yet either…… “ [Dripping sweat]
Gu Yao continued with the gossip: “Another thing happened when I was in sixth grade. At that time, my brother was already in high school. Do you remember the ‘PHS’ portable phones?”
Zhang Siyi: “Yes. My mom also gave me one when I was in middle school.”
Gu Yu: “At that time all of our family was on the PHS family network. My father gave me the nickname ‘Little Cotton Jacket’. Do you know what my brother did? One day, he changed my nickname to ‘Buy Food’!
“Heh …” This matter…. Zhang Siyi heard it from Gu Yu while he was at his place last year cooking and staying with Gu Yu.
Gu Yu: “Even though my brother used to call me that in private, my father never would have. When I saw the nickname changed, I thought it was my father’s doing. Because of me being the second child, I thought my father really held negative feelings. I was so angry and hurt, I tried to run away from home. My brother still laughs at me about this!” [angry]
Zhang Siyi: “Pitiful, but is this really a story about your brother?”
Gu Yao: “Well, I’m just talking about stupid things in general about him.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Gu Yao: “Like I said before, my brother has been very clever since I can remember. Normally, he didn’t do silly things so every time I heard a story from my father, I was always so excited and listened carefully. Since he has thin skin when he was younger, my brother would get worked up after my father teased him every time. Sometimes, he even secluded himself in his room. When he came home from college after the first year, my Father joked about his pumpkin again, but my brother responded to him by saying: “Wait one day. The child’s mother will come back to me with my pumpkin son.” My father was speechless.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Hold on. What do you mean? ‘The kid’s mother will come back with his pumpkin boy?’ B, But Zhang Siyi gave him a pumpkin lantern……. ! (o////o)
Not giving Zhang Siyi a lot of time to ponder this thought, Gu Yu suddenly asked him: “By the way, Brother Siyi, do you remember when I asked you if my brother liked anyone in the company?”
Zhang Siyi: “Ah…… Yes, Why?”
Gu Yao: “Last December, when I went to my brother’s house, I found a mysterious pumpkin lantern in his room. I asked him where he got it, but he didn’t tell me. I think it was given to him by the person he likes. Do you know who gave it to him?”
“Err ……” Feeling nervous, Zhang Siyi paused for a bit, then slowly confessed: “If you’re talking about the pumpkin lamp in a transparent box in his room…… I gave that to him.”
Gu Yao: “………”
To explain, Zhang Siyi quickly followed up: “It was created during the company’s Halloween event. It wasn’t anything special. It would have been thrown away, but he asked about it, so I gave it to him.”
Gu Yao: “Oh…”
Zhang Siyi couldn’t suppress his thundering heart. Feeling less doubtful, the questions and answers that were expressed during the True or Dare game at Gu Yu’s house emerged once again in Zhang Siyi’s mind. Gu Yu, could you possibly like him too?