Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 205: Application
Zhang Siyi least expected Gu Yu to ask Tai Fei to keep an eye on Bai Rui on his behalf. It proved how concerned Gu Yu was and how much he didn’t want Bai Rui to affect Zhang Siyi, right?
Heart warmed at the thought, Zhang Siyi asked Tao Fei directly in front of Bai Rui: “So what did you find out? What the hell was he up to?”
Spearing a piece of fruit from the appetizer that the waiter had just brought and putting in his mouth, Tao Fei chewed for a few second before replying: “I felt like he was just bored so he was being a pain in the ass!”
Bai Rui: “…”
The corner of Zhang Siyi’s mouth twitched. He was bored? And that’s why he used so many tricks to attract his attention?
Whether Bai Rui was helpless or depressed, one couldn’t say as his expression didn’t reveal anything: “Didn’t I already tell you? I just wanted to be friends with you.”
Tao Fei raised his eyebrows and with his fork, he pointed at Bai Rui: “Only because you wanted to be friends? With that behavior? If Zhang Siyi and Gu Yu feelings weren’t so strong, perhaps you would have liked to pry open a corner and move in. Hmm? Stupid, don’t pretend to be so innocent.”
Bai Rui was unable to rebuke Tao Fei. He opened his mouth in defense, but choked on what to say.
Watching their interaction, Zhang Siyi wanted to laugh. He didn’t know whether or not he had misjudged Bai Rui initially or, was Tao Fei simply too much for Bai Rui to handle? Infront of Ren Mengxuan, Bai Rui was like a high prized rooster. Now, he was a defeated cock.
Bai Rui looked at Zhang Siyi and reiterated again: “I swear! I didn’t have any ulterior motives! I’ve already told you about my past. Why don’t you believe me?” He paused and said frankly: “We’re gay. Compared to my experience, you are your boyfriend’s feelings are much stronger. Perhaps it was out envy or maybe because of curiosity……In any case, I wanted to get to know you better.”
Tao Fei interrupted him and declared: “I’m not gay!”
With a hint of disbelief, Bai Rui looked closely at Tao Fei.
Tao Fei hesitated, subconsciously he wanted to clear his name: “Well, I was wrong to lie to you before.” Although he apologized, Tao Fei’s chin was still high, like a proud peacock.
Bai Rui didn’t care and instead addressed Zhang Siyi: “So, that director is your boyfriend?”
Zhang Siyi nodded. At this moment, he really put down his guard.
Bai Rui smiled bitterly: “I didn’t expect to be played by him multiple times. I’m really curious what kind of person he is.” Bai Rui looked up at the time and stated: “It’s not too late. Call him and ask him to join us for lunch.”
Tao Fei had always loved to watch the fun and immediately agreed. Cackling with glee, he said: “Oh, good idea. Even though I’ve been playing with you for so long, I need to give credit to the master where credit is due. He-he-he.”
Bai Rui: “…”
Zhang Siyi gave Gu Yu a call and explained the situation. Bai Rui signaled to the waiter and order a few more dishes. Fifteen minutes later, Gu Yu appeared inside the restaurant and under the direction of the wait staff, he walked calmly in their direction with a dashing, self-confidence.
Attracting curious glances and outright stares from the other patrons, the four handsome men sat together in the back of the restaurant. Smiling, Bai Rui stood up and extended a hand to Gu Yu: “A month around, finally I get to meet the man behind the messages. Director Gu really played a good hand.”
Smirking, Gu Yu chuckled softly.
Over the course of the meal, recounting the events of the past month, the four of them laughed over all the posturing and jokes.”
Indeed, Bai Rui originally wanted to test Zhang Siyi. When he saw Zhang Siyi’s comfort and familiarity around Tao Fei, he assumed Tao Fei was his boyfriend.”
As for the reason of moving upstairs, it was purely coincidental. At the time, Bai Rui’s company was looking for office space. While he was waiting to give Zhang Siyi the cake, he noticed the sign for rental space available. He investigated the surrounding area and liked the location. Even better, the office space happened to be both suitable and very affordable.
While Zhang Siyi was away on his business trip, Bai Rui took the opportunity to invite Tao Fei to dinner on multiple occasions. Bai Rui was curious how Tao Fei and Zhang Siyi met, how they spent time together, and what future plans were. While there were times he wanted to pry into their relationship, Bai Rui and Tao Fei mostly talked about art and architecture. The only information he got were the stories Tao Fei told!
While all together, Bai Rui smiled bitterly again.
Regardless, Zhang Siyi had to admit how cultured Bai Rui really was. Even after his treatment, he maintained a calm dementor and didn’t show anger. He even laughed at his own folly from time to time. If a normal person fell into such an awkward situation, they would have likely blown up.
With a graduate degree in the art field and financial independence, like peas in a pod, they came from the same mold of person. Together, the four of them had an exceptionally pleasant meal.
Afterwards, Bai Rui settled the bill. With Tao Fei and Bai Rui walking ahead of Zhang Siyi and Gu Yu, they walked back to the building together. While walking, Zhang Siyi heard Bai Rui ask Tao Fei whether or not he wanted to go to a modern art exhibition held by a friend in his art circle this weekend.
Tao Fei naturally looked back at them and asked: “Do you want to go?”
Since Zhang Siyi’s application for a Master’s degree in England was due in December, he was urgently preparing his materials and didn’t have spare time to hang out. With his valid excuse, he declined. Since he couldn’t go, Gu Yu wouldn’t go either.
Feeling irritated, Tao Fei pointed at himself: “Just me?”
Bai Rui turned his head to look at Tao Fei: “You are single, so why can’t you go with me? Is there a boyfriend who will jump out from jealousy?”
Neck muscles taut, Tao Fei shouted: “I already told you I’m not gay!”
Bai Rui nodded: “Oh…. So, are you going or not? The exhibition is on the top floor of Haicheng International Trade Building. After the exhibition, there will be a complementary high-end buffet. Many modern artists will be there including …..”
Gritting his teeth, Tao Fei relented: “I’ll go!”
All was quiet and Zhang Siyi sighed with regret. The big trouble that was brewing was easily squashed by the great demon.
With only twenty days left to apply, he was inundated with work and couldn’t relax. Since Zhang Siyi had to add an extra shift, as the deadline for the renovation bid was approaching, he wasn’t coming home until eight at night. Then, he had to prepare the information and portfolio for his application. As a result, he was only getting about four hours of sleep at night.
The weight on his shoulders felt heavier than it was when he was taking the college entrance exam, the foreign language exam, and even his final undergraduate project presentation. Zhang Siyi experienced an unprecedented period of stress and suffering.
The only good thing was that Gu Yu was beside him, not only as his Boss, but as his boyfriend. Since Gu Yu was an independent architect with a license, he was able to help Zhang Siyi choose appropriate works for his portfolio as well as write a letter of recommendation without reservations.
In this process, Zhang Siyi experienced the pleasure of working together with a boyfriend, step by step, to move forward in life and ultimately was reminded of Yu Rui.
Naturally, they weren’t the same. At least Zhang Siyi’s portfolio contained all of his own creations and the letter of recommendation that Gu Yu wrote was entirely based on his own ability. Including the necessary prerequisites, the realistic facts were clear. There were no exaggerations.
With the strict admission rules of British institutions for RIBA part 2, a person would be a fool to exaggerate their ability. If one proceeded, their inability to fish in troubles waters would reveal the truth of the matter and a persons’ reputation would be immediately ruined with the possibility of expulsion. That is why the alternate route of a one-year degree program, with different admission requirements, isn’t as prestigious.
Zhang Siyi had remarkable growth this past year and a half working at Borderless. He thought that as long as he properly organized the materials for the application, getting into one of the top universities was in the bag.
However, in the process of getting his portfolio together, Zhang Siyi encountered an unexpected problem. Since he wanted to apply to the top Universities, he needed to cater to what was important for international applicants and pay special attention to the design phase of a plan. Although he was involved in many projects, some contributions were only the drawing phase, while others were domestic plans that weren’t suitable for England’s aesthetics. The most problematic issue was the fact that he lacked depth.
Reviewing his completed projects for an entire day, he decided his style, which represented his thought process while designing, wasn’t well represented by the limited options he had. Pondering the situation, Zhang Siyi ultimately decided that he didn’t have enough time to create more for his portfolio.
After discussing the issue with Gu Yu, Gu Yu suggested writing a personal statement to accompany the work that would explain in detail his design process behind each of them.
Writing essays was one of Zhang Siyi’s weaknesses during his undergraduate years. Under Gu Yu’s guidance, now that he has read many architectural books in Gu Yu’s library, Zhang Siyi has thoroughly studied various design concepts and theories. While he was able to put the newly found research into practice, putting his own design idea into words down on paper continued to be a struggle.
Suffering under the stress of needing to write an essay, Zhang Siyi felt a little panicky. Thinking about it more, Su Yuan came to mind. Since she was a veteran at writing articles, wouldn’t it be best to ask her for advice?
As thanks for Zhang Siyi’s help with her job before, Su Yuan had invited Zhang Siyi out to dinner many times. However, because he was away on a business trip, he didn’t have the opportunity to meet. Now that Zhang Siyi also needed her help, it was a good time to call and meet up with her.
On the phone, Zhang Siyi asked Su Yuan if she could meet in the city center tomorrow night. In addition, he mentioned his need for a written statement and asked her if she could help him.
Su Yuan said: “Why are you being so formal? Of course, I will help you!”
At the end of the day, Zhang Siyi and Gu Yu left Borderless to meet Su Yuan at the appointed place. When they saw her, with light make-up and short hair, Su Yuan looked very different. Unlike two months ago, she projected knowledge and confidence, and seemed content.
Su Yuan greeted them and generously shoot hands with Gu Yu. After she thanked him profusely, they settled down at the table and continued to talk about the events of their lives for the past two months.
As it turned out, after Gu Yu recommendation at Liang Xueying’s company, Liang Xueying quickly reached out and invited her to his company.
During her year and half working at her previous company, Su Yuan enthusiasm for architecture faded. The poor working conditions affected her outlook on life and without a purpose, she didn’t have the courage to leave her old company. As a result, when the CEO called her and extended an olive branch, she wasn’t sure it was real.
Waking up from the fog, she immediately tendered her resignation and in order to prepare for her new job, she took a week off to move and reflect.
As mentioned in the original job description, Liang Xueying’s firm was small. Not only was there no need for overtime, the working atmosphere was peaceful. The harmony between colleagues and their boss was a whole fully different experience as compared to the environment of the previous office.
After settling into her new position, Su Yuan took the initiative to contact the editor of the magazines that Gu Yu recommended. Due to Gu Yu’s recommendation, even those magazines gave her translation jobs without reservations.
Now that she has been in the new company for the past month, her life has changed completely. With her reliable personality and good temperament, she often accompanied Liang Xueying to meet with customers outside of the office. Even though she worked at home at translating articles, she still had time to socialize and go out shopping with friends. The changes in Su Yuan were very evident and the happiness she exuded was contagious.
“I sometimes regret, why I didn’t leave the company earlier. The mistreatment was obvious and yet I dragged my feet day after day…..” Su Yuan blamed herself and shook her head. She looked up at Zhang Siyi and Gu Yu with gratitude: “But thanks to you, I may never have had the chance to change my life for the better.”
Gu Yu: “Mr. Liang also called me a while ago and said that you are a hardworking and motivated employee with the ability to grow and learn. He also thanked me for recommending such an excellent candidate to him.”
Su Yuan looked very happy and a little embarrassed.
As a director, Gu Yu offered her some advice: “Even though the previous environment was less than ideal, the experience wasn’t bad for your growth. Now that you have felt what it was like to suffer for so long, you will be more resilient in the future and know what type of environment you are willing to work in.”
Su Yuan thanked him gratefully.
Gu Yu smiled: “Don’t thank me, thank Zhang Siyi. He was the one that insisted I help and if I hadn’t, it would have been troublesome for me.”
Zhang Siyi’s face became hot … Shit!, don’t say that in front of my classmate!
Su Yuan looked at them suspiciously. Would a subordinate really make such demands of their Director? She felt like the relationship between them wasn’t so simple.
Making fun of him, Su Yuan asked Zhang Siyi: “Hey Little Yi, you never said that your director was so nice to you. We always thought he was a mean-spirited person.”
Gu Yu raised his eyebrows and stared at Zhang Siyi: “What’s this about?”
Zhang Siyi hurriedly explained: “Well, it’s just that…. During the time you asked me to draw parking lots and bathrooms every day, I was a little upset and…… “
Gu Yu narrowed his eyes: “Now I’m the bad guy?”
Zhang Siyi: “Nn, no…. I was wrong! “
Grinning, Su Yuan pointed to him and laughed: “What’s this? Didn’t Heartless Han help you decide on killing his cactus?”
Gu Yu’s eyes opened wide, incredulous.
Zhang Siyi inwardly cried. I’ve helped you, but in return you are digging my grave!
Watching Zhang Siyi disheartened expression, Su Yuan smiled heartily and said: “Everyone was just joking with you in private. You know, the person who is strict isn’t necessarily a bad person. It’s not always possible to smell the flowers in the perfect work environment. If I had known at the time, I wouldn’t have tried to persuade you to change companies in the beginning. It was rather narrow minded of me and in fact, everyone has their own way forward, good or bad, only time will tell.”
Nodding at Su Yuan, Zhang Siyi breathed a sigh of relief. After taking the time to savor their food, Zhang Siyi thought of Ren Mengxuan and asked: “How’s Ren Mengxuan these days?”
Su Yuan: “What’s there to worry about? At first, she couldn’t accept her breakup and came crying to me every day, but with a little persuasion and sweet talk, she adjusted quickly. In the end she is just a spoiled girl.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
“By the way, she told me Bai Rui gave her a Chanel bag worth 60,000 as a break-up gift. Half a month ago, she resold the bag for 50,000 and invited me to travel with her to the Maldives. Yesterday, she called to tell me how pathetic Bai Rui was…. It turns out, that guy was gay!”
Su Yuan shrugged her shoulders and sighed: “Oh, I guess the both of them need to spend more time picking out a boyfriend.”
Zhang Siyi: “Err …”
Su Yuan waved her hand: “Don’t worry about her. She will go to a nightclub in a few days to find a new boyfriend. I guarantee it. Now, what’s this about applying for a Master’s? What can I do for you?”
Zhang Siyi explained the specific situation immediately. Su Yuan also agreed with Gu Yu’s proposal about writing a detailed personal statement: “Writing a statement is much simpler than writing a dissertation. Don’t worry too much about it. After sending me the collection of works, tell me a little bit about the design process of each of them. I’ll help write an outline and then you write the final essay. Once it’s complete, I’ll go over it again with you.”
Seeing how confident Su Yuan was, Zhang Siyi was immensely relieved and decided to start working on his application essay right away. Saying goodbye after dinner, Zhang Siyi watched her as she walked down the street. Her demeanor had completely changed and unlike previously, she was the one that dazzled in the crowd.
Yes, in life, there are both good and bad times. As long as life continues to be full of hope, one could navigate through the peaks and troughs and always come out of the fog, stronger and wiser than ever before.
“Let’s go home.” Gu Yu waved down a taxi, urged Zhang Siyi into the car and commented. “Your friend with the nickname Heartless Han told you to kill my cactus?”
Zhang Siyi: “It was just a joke.. I wouldn’t dare!”
Since Gu Yu remained quiet, Zhang Siyi didn’t think much more of it until they arrived at home.
Unexpectedly when they walked inside, Townhouse whizzed by Gu Yu and sat in front of Zhang Siyi, wagging his tail and begging for food.
Gu Yu admonished Zhang Siyi coldly: “You aren’t allowed to feed his son tonight.”
Zhang Siyi：“…………” Shit! are you a three-year-old?
Town House: “…..” Woof!