Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 211: Room
Sure enough, just when Gu Yu and his sister left, Zhang Siyi’s mother grabbed her son’s arm and teased him: “Hey Sisi, you and Gu Yu’s sister….. ”
Face Flushed, Zhang Siyi broke his mother’s train of thought and interrupted her: “Don’t make assumptions. We are just friends.”
Crossing her arms and pursing her lips in disbelief, Zhang Siyi’s Mother eyed him closely. She dropped her arms and her tone changed. She earnestly said: “Listen to your Mother. At your age, it’s time for you to be in a relationship and fall in love. Don’t be embarrassed!”
Zhang Siyi couldn’t make sense of his mother’s changeable attitude. He didn’t dare tell her the truth. Quickly, he turned tail and ran upstairs.
Mother Zhang watched his back as he ran upstairs. She shook her head and clicked her tongue ‘Tsk’ ….. Blushing so deeply…. How can a young man have thinner skin then a young girl?
Afterwards, his mother started preparing gifts for Zhang Siyi to take to the Gu family for New Year’s. Contrary to tradition, this time the girl was the one that invited the boy over to greet the family. For this reason, Zhang Siyi’s Mother felt guilty. In addition, she was fearful of making a bad impression and as a result, she prepared extra gifts. Although his Mother thought the Gu family was rushing her son’s relationship with Gu Yao, she wanted to let the Gu family know he was worthy of their approval.
When Zhang Siyi woke up late the next day, everything was ready for him. The luggage was packed and his parents were ready to go.
Mother Zhang was wearing a red cashmere trench coat and holding a foreign designer handbag. Around her neck was the Burberry scarf that Zhang Siyi bought for her during his time in the United Kingdom. It was a scarf that his mother normally wouldn’t wear. She was dressed like an executive heading out for an interview.
Not only his Mother, but his Father too. With his hair slicked back, wearing old fashioned dark glasses, a white scarf and a black trench coat, Father Zhang also looked like an old celebrity. Watching his parents appear before him, Zhang Siyi eyes popped out of his head. He has never seen his parents dress so trendy in high fashion before. Fuck! What kind of power couple is this?
Zhang Siyi was very surprised and half-jokingly said: “What are you two doing dressed like celebrities for..…. going on a honeymoon?”
With an unexpected answer, his mother replied as a matter of fact: “How did you know?”
Zhang Siyi: “………”
As his Mother held onto his Father’s arm flirtatiously, she coyly said: “This year is the 30th anniversary of meeting your father.”
Zhang Siyi was shocked. In his mother’s mind, the day they met was also considered an anniversary?
Letting go of his Mother’s hand, there was a hint of embarrassment on his Father’s face. While putting on his shoes, he explained: “It was easy for me to marry your mother in that era. The ceremony was simple to complete; drink a bowl of egg drop soup and go get your photo taken at a studio. For so many years, your mother has been pestering me about our honeymoon, but we never had the time. Now, this opportunity has fallen onto our laps… Son, please understand, on this New Year’s Day, you are the one wronged.”
Only his Father can say something like that with such scorn. Zhang Siyi wanted to laugh but didn’t dare too. “Oh, it’s all right. I understand!”
After his Mother put on a pair of leather boots she turned to address Zhang Siyi: “Okay, I’m ready let’s go. By the way, I’ve put everything in the kitchen for the Gu family. Don’t forget to bring it. Also, take the initiative to talk to the girl’s family about ‘that’ matter. If you aren’t proactive, you’ll never get a wife!”
Father Zhang was feeling impatient to get moving. He frowned: “Well, stop nagging the boy. He can’t do anything if she doesn’t like him back. You can’t force the issue so stop fretting over it.”
Zhang Siyi inwardly hummed: a wife? I found a good husband though….
His Mother watched Zhang Siyi intently for a moment then re-held his Father’s arm and said: “Old Zhang, let’s go!”
With a straight back and head held high, his Father strutted out with his mother in arm.
Zhang Siyi waved: “Bon voyage!” Watching them leave, a multitude of feelings enveloped him
Since he was a child, his parents had many disputes about his education. His dad was quick to anger which made Zhang Siyi always feel like his father was alone on one side and he and his mother were on another.
Many times, he saw how tolerant his mother was and the self-sacrifice she would make for the sake of harmony in the family. Regardless of their personality differences, thinking about his childhood memories, his Mother’s deep love for his Father was clear.
Rarely did he see his Father make a sacrifice for the sake of his Mother or family. At home, his father was like a symbol of authority and wasn’t allowed to be debated. This was the first time Zhang Siyi faintly felt that his old-fashioned father also had romantic cells in his body. He and his mother really loved each other.
With this warm feeling in his heart, Zhang Siyi thought maybe his journey out of the closet wouldn’t be so hard as he initially thought. At the same time, Zhang Siyi didn’t let himself feel too optimistic because, coming out wasn’t an easy thing to do.
Zhang Siyi sighed and while thinking about it further, he received a text message from Gu Yu: “Are your parents gone? When are you coming over?”
It was only ten o’clock in the morning! It’s so early! Zhang Siyi replied: “They’re gone. I’ll pack up and come over right away. What about lunch?“
Gu Yu: “I was just going to ask you to come over for lunch.” [Little Fox Drinks Tea]
Zhang Siyi: “Be right there.” [Kitten Cheers]
Gu Yu: “Remember to bring your toiletries for the two nights stay at my house.”
Zhang Siyi: “… Ah?”
Originally, Zhang Siyi thought he was only going to Gu Yu house for New Year’s Eve dinner. It turned out that Gu Yu’s intentions were for him to stay over? He was concerned because, if he remembered correctly, his family’s home wasn’t very big and there wasn’t an extra guest room. Where was he supposed to sleep?
Zhang Siyi asked: “Am I supposed to sleep in your room? Wouldn’t your parents suspect something is going on between us?”
Gu Yu: “Why do you assume my parents will think there is a problem. With normal thinking, if you slept in Gu Yao room, what do you think, they will think?”
Zhang Siyi: “…” That was also true! (= _ =)
Gu Yu: “When will you be ready? I’ll drive over to pick you up.”
Zhang Siyi: “Don’t worry about it. I’ll just take a taxi.”
Hanging up, Zhang Siyi went upstairs to pack up his toiletries and gathered a change of clothes. After he packed an over-night bag, he went to check on all the doors and windows. When he went to the kitchen to see what his mother prepared, his eyes nearly popped out of his head.
As soon as he entered the kitchen door, Zhang Siyi was dumbfounded! Occupying half the kitchen were various packages and bags. To name a few, there were cigarettes, wine, skin care products, a grocery list of items including a basket of free-range eggs, and souvenirs from my mother’s hometown!
Zhang Siyi was so frightened that he quickly took out his mobile phone and called his mother: “Mom! Am I supposed to bring all of this in the kitchen?”
Having just arrived at the bus station to the airport, his mother was trying to catch her breath: “Yes!”
Zhang Siyi was stunned: “Why are there so many?!”
Mother Zhang: “That’s a lot? It’s just a dozen things. Your father and I aren’t at home for the Chinese New Year so we won’t be able to eat them. The other packages are all very good things. Be courteous and simply bring them all to Gu Yu’s house. It’s not so strange….. Okay, we are getting on the airport shuttle bus now. Talk to you soon!”
Listening to his Mother’s receding voice over the mobile phone, Zhang Siyi wanted to cry without tears. He needed help so he sent Gu Yu another message: “Forget what I said. Come pick me up!”
Gu Yu: “……”
Half an hour later, Gu Yu arrived at Zhang Siyi’s home to a surprising site. All of the gifts had been moved from the kitchen into the entranceway. Gu Yu reaction was much calmer than Zhang Siyi’s initial one. Knowing that his parents already left and there was no room for negotiations, Gu Yu face quickly recovered from his brief moment of surprise and calmly started moving them into the car.
When the two of them arrived at the Gu’s home, they started to unpack the car. Gu Yu’s parents were equally stunned by the sheer number of gifts making Zhang Siyi feel embarrassed.
Gu Yu’s father said: “Hey, Zhang Siyi, your father and mother are too polite. It hasn’t been that long since we’ve known you and yet they brought so many gifts?”
After changing his shoes, Gu Yu casually joked: “This is Zhang Siyi’s dowry.”
Hearing Gu Yu statement, Zhang Siyi was scared to death! His eyes were open wide and even Gu Yu’s sister from inside, turned around to peer at them.
Gu Yu’s father laughed and unexpectedly replied: “Good, good. Anyways….. I don’t mind multiple sons.” He turned his head towards Mother Gu and asked: “Do you mind?”
Gu Yu’s Mother was wearing an apron in the kitchen busy with preparations. She turned towards them to listen to Father Gu’s question then smiled and shook her head as if saying: ”I don’t mind.”
Witnessing their interactions, Zhang Siyi almost suspected that Gu Yu’s parents already knew about their relationship!
Seeing the travel bag in Zhang Siyi’s hand, Gu Yu said: “Come, give me the bag. I’ll take it to my room.”
Gu Yu’s father immediately asked: “He didn’t stay over last year while visiting, did he? Make sure to give him a tour of the house.” He turned to address Zhang Siyi smiling with warm, welcoming eyes and said: “I heard from Gu Yao that you live in a villa so this doesn’t compare. You’ll have to make due at my smaller home over the next couple of days.”
Waving his hand dismissively, Zhang Siyi wasn’t a pretentious person that he would think any less of the Gu home compared to his own. This time, he was more nervous than last year. After all, previously Zhang Siyi came to pay respects to Gu Yu because he was an elder. Now, he was in an unspeakable relationship with Father Gu’s son.
Feeling guilty over ‘stealing’ Gu Yu away, Zhang Siyi felt like Gu Yu’s Father had the ability to see right through him.
As they arrived at Gu Yu room, Zhang Siyi looked around while Gu Yu put his travel bag at the foot of the bed. He sat down on the edge, then pulled out the only chair in the room for Zhang Siyi to sit on.
The room was less than ten square meters total. There was a twin sized bed, a desk, a wardrobe, and a small basketball hoop in the corner of the room. The room was very tidy and clean. Smiling Zhang Siyi asked: “Was this your room since childhood?”
Gu Yu: “No. Before my sister was born, we lived at my father’s company’s housing. It took him nine years to save enough to afford this house. I moved when I was in middle school.”
“Did you go to the foreign language middle school?” Zhang Siyi asked.
“Yep.” Gu Yu stood up and went to open a drawer in his desk. He took out a stack of yellowed paper and handed them to Zhang Siyi. When he glanced at it, Zhang Siyi was surprised. It was Gu Yu’s report cards from his middle school days!
Looking through the stack, Zhang Siyi saw paper after paper of full marks. Monthly exams, mid-term exams, finals, reports…. Everything was near perfect scores. Gu Yu was a learning machine!
Moving his hand across the desk top, Zhang Siyi felt the smooth surface. Unlike when he first arrived, he looked around the room again carefully. There were traces of tape and sticky notes pasted on the walls. On the wooden shelf above the desk lay two high school math textbooks.
Zhang Siyi could imagine him sitting here reading during daylight hours and then turning on the desk-side lamp at night to study. Step-by-step, to gain acceptance to Big-T University and embark towards the pinnacle of life. Just thinking about it, got Zhang Siyi’s blood boiling.
Watching Zhang Siyi expression, Gu Yu smiled. He bopped him on the nose and asked: “What are you thinking about?”
With admiration and adoration, Zhang Siyi looked at him affectionately and asked: “What time did you study every night when you were in high school?”
Gu Yu replied simply: “I didn’t study much at night.”
Zhang Siyi: “Ah? You didn’t study? What about your homework?”
Gu Yu: “I would finish it during the day at school.”
Zhang Siyi: “Then what did you do at home in the evenings? Go to sleep early?”
Gu Yu tilted his head in thought and replied: “Help my dad draw construction drawings; count indicators, calculate area….”
Zhang Siyi: “……” Why is reality totally different from my imagination!!!!!
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