Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 145: Chief Director
Walking through the hall on his way back from the data area, the Chief Director spotted Zhang Siyi’s focused figure at his desk working diligently and felt relieved. He happened to bump into Gu Yu while in the restroom: “The young man you recruited last year looks very steady now.”
Hearing the Chief talk to him, Gu Yu was a little surprised. Thinking about the time spent with Zhang Siyi looking through his journal to discuss the various topics he wrote about at length made Gu Yu smile: “Well, he is very motivated now and has improved greatly.”
Director Gu: “I saw him present the landmark tower for the Yunnan hotel project. The ideas emboldened the spirit and the design was excellent. It seems he really has a natural gift. Gu Yu, you have a good eye.”
Gu Yu was quite taken back by the Chief’s comments. Most of the time, the Chief Director’s praise is at most ‘good’ or ‘very well’ and rarely admits to a design being excellent, let alone that a design could effect a persons’ spirit. It is the best compliment for a young designer with potential. After all, anyone can learn the process of architecture, but only those with inborn talent have the ability to design a building that touches the soul. Even though Gu Yu was feeling very happy for Zhang Siyi, he tried not to show it and relaxed his facial expression.
Washing his hands, the Chief looked at Gu Yu in the mirror and suddenly asked: “Young Gu, I remember that you don’t have a girlfriend, right?”
Gu Yu: “…… Hmm?”
Leaving his hands to rinse under the water, he continued: “At the beginning of X Firm, you worked for more then twelve hours a day. I heard that you studied and brought work home to do in the evenings. During the two years here at Borderless, you were always conscientious of the staff members needs and personally made yourself available during overtime if any problems rose but as a result, you were never home before nine at night. Even though your dedication is important year after year, you need to make plans for your own life. You are almost thirty years old without a family of your own.”
The truth of the matter can’t be revealed. If Zhang Siyi was a woman, Gu Yu could immediately tell the Chief Director that he was already seriously involved with someone so he need not concern himself over the matter of marriage.
Since relationships in the workplace are taboo, being an employee of Borderless was a problem and not only that, but a subordinate of a Director. If that wasn’t enough of an issue, the fact that Zhang Siyi is a man, was the real cause for silence. If he were to mentioned being gay, the more than fifty-year old Chief Director may not be able to accept this detail, so it isn’t a subject Gu Yu can openly speak about.
“Well, I understand.” Gu Yu politely evaded the issue and responded ambiguously.
The Chief dried his hands with a paper towel before smiling at Gu Yu: “We are having a party for Yanyan next weekend because she is coming home from abroad. When was the last time you visited your parents? If you have nothing else, come over for dinner.”
Slightly distracted and out of courtesy and respect, Gu Yu instinctively responded with: “Alright.”
After the Chief Director left, Gu Yu couldn’t help but wonder if the talk of a girlfriend coupled with visiting friends of the family were connected.
While he was eating with Zhang Siyi that night at home, Gu Yu discussed the issue in advance: “I may have to go to the Chief Director’s house for a luncheon next weekend.”
Surprised, Zhang Siyi asked: “You are going to the Chief’s house for lunch? Why?”
Taking a moment to think clearly, Gu Yu chewed slowly and explained the situation to him rationally: “The Chief Director and my father are old friends.”
Zhang Siyi was only aware of his position as the former vice president at X Firm. He didn’t know that the Chief Director Gu Senior were friends.
Gu Yu explained: “In the early years, Liu and my father worked together in infrastructure projects in Xi’an and later they went to Hainan to build. They worked together for more than eight years. After my father went back to Ningcheng, Liu came to Haicheng where he was at X Firm for many years.
Zhang Siyi was surprised. He thought that Gu Yu’s father had always been an architect in Ningcheng.
Gu Yu smiled and said: “When I graduated from my master’s degree, Uncle Liu extended an olive branch and asked me to go to X Firm. It was the most famous design company in the eastern part of the country. I needed experience to test for my license and since Haicheng is also close to Ningcheng, it was convenient to live here and to travel as needed to visit relatives.”
Zhang Siyi: “Ah.”
Gu Yu: “When I first arrived in Haicheng, Yuanshan Garden villa renovations weren’t completed yet. The Director was very kind to me and politely invited me to his home for dinner for every holiday.
Teasing him, Zhang Siyi jokingly said: “Ah so you got your job through the back door!”
Gu Yu looked up at him arrogantly: “Do you really think I needed a back door?”
Grinning, Zhang Siyi immediately said: “There was no need. You only had to look towards your father for one. Hehe.”
Gu Yu: “…..”
On the surface, Gu Yu remained calm, however at heart, he wanted to die. He reached over and cut himself a piece of red meat from Zhang Siyi’s dinner plate. He coughed slightly and said: “The environment at Borderless is really good. If we were at a different company, we might not be so free.”
Since Gu Yu had a position at Borderless, he was thankful for the power that came with the office. That way, Gu Yu was able to approach Zhang Siyi and facilitate their relationship.
Squinting, Zhang Siyi questioned: “What festival is next weekend? Why did the director ask you over for dinner?”
Gu Yu joked: “I don’t know. Maybe he wants to introduce me to a marriageable girl.”
Zhang Siyi didn’t find it funny: “Really?”
Gu Yu smiled at Zhang Siyi and said: “Well, I am not sure. He asked me to consider my goals in life as I am near thirty and then invited me to dinner.”
Zhang Siyi: “……”
Gu Yu continued: “He has a daughter named Liu Yuyan who is one year younger than me. Her nickname is Yanyan. Ten years ago after high school, she went to France to study art and has since lived there to work.”
Hearing Gu Yu mention the Chief’s daughter, Zhang Siyi scrunched up his face and asked: “Have you seen her?”
Gu Yu: “We have met. I feel that she has a strong personality and is a very opinionated girl. The Chief mentioned today that she is returning to China and they are having a family luncheon for her and that I should come.”
Puffing up his cheeks, Zhang Siyi is ready to explode. Damn it!
….. The Chief really must be trying to set up his daughter with Gu Yu! Gu Yu is such good material as a son-in-law, who wouldn’t want to set him up with their own daughter!
….. Ahhhh, I hope Gu Yu won’t go! But I can’t say something so willful!
Observing Zhang Siyi facial expressions, Gu Yu was enjoying Zhang Siyi’s jealous behavior. Smiling he playfully asked: “Would you like to go with me?”
Zhang Siyi lost his appetite. Hearing Gu Yu ask, he felt nervous: “Ah?”
Gu Yu raised an eyebrow: ” I thought you would mind, so I will take you to meet Yanyan. When you see her family, I can introduce you properly to the Chief so he won’t have any strange ideas.”
Gu Yu was so candid and serious, Zhang Siyi was shocked senseless: “You, you… Are you crazy it!? I’m not going!!!”
Gu Yu raised his hand to block his stifled laugh and wide grin: “So jealous. I offered, but you dare not come. Are you afraid?”
Zhang Siyi: “……” If he really did go, would they still have a job afterwards?
Becoming serious, Gu Yu put away his smile and said: “Okay, ok… enough teasing. Actually, I wanted to explain the relationship between my father and the director and let you know that I have been to their home many times in the past and they have never suggested pairing Yanyan and myself. At the beginning of the year, I also heard the Chief complain about his daughter finding a foreigner boyfriend in France. She is probably already in a serious relationship.”
Feeling depressed, Zhang Siyi mechanically inserted a piece of meat into his mouth.
Gu Yu: “The good intention of elders is difficult to ignore. Since he didn’t say anything about it, I will wait and see what happens. I hope the invitation is simply out of concern.”
A few days later, Zhang Siyi was busy in the extreme that he felt like a never-ending spinning top and didn’t have time to ponder the issues revolving around Gu Yu’s dinner.
At the company during the day, Zhang Siyi was hard at work drawing for the hotel project. When he got home at night, he had to help Gu Yu make the itinerary for the company’s trip to Japan. They settled on going to Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto with spare time to explore the surrounding area of the city.
Upon completion, Gu Yu transferred twenty yuan saying that it was an extra bonus for helping him make the plans for the trip.
Incredulous, Zhang Siyi looked at him with a blank expression on his face. – For thirty minutes, I got five-hundred. I diligently worked for many days researching cities and making plans and for all of that effort, Gu Yu only gave me twenty bucks! Fuck! Are you trying to teach me to make money through that special kind of service?
Seemingly reading Zhang Siyi mind, Gu Yu explained as a matter of course: “The itinerary can be done by anyone, but only you can perform that kind of service.”
Zhang Siyi was speechless.
After ten days, the weekend Gu Yu was to go to the Chief Director’s home arrived. Since he was going to an elder’s home, Gu Yu couldn’t dress too casually. Looking over Gu Yu’s handsome appearance, Zhang Siyi took him into his arms, held him close and kissed him deeply than proclaimed his sovereignty: “Remember, you are mine.”