Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 224: Funding
Zhang Siyi thought about the various reactions his parents would have. Would they blame him for being too hasty? Would they be proud of him? Would they ask him about his previous declaration of being financially independent? Least of all, he never expected their first reaction was to worry about the lack of tuition.
The heartfelt love he felt from his parent’s in order to satisfy his dreams moved Zhang Siyi.
Especially from Zhang Siyi’s father. Not only did his Father not scold or ridicule Zhang Siyi, he was also anxious about the funding. Feeling worried, he anxiously asked Mother Zhang: “What about our wealth management fund? Can we make withdraw money now?”
Mother Zhang smacked his thigh: “We’ve only deposited money into it a few times over the year. I don’t even know if we can take it out in advance! I’ll have to go to the bank tomorrow and ask!”
Quickly, Zhang Siyi explained: “Mom, Dad. You don’t need to worry about the money. It will be taken care of.”
Both Father and Mother Zhang turned to look at him and asked: “Who is taking care of it?”
Zhang Siyi honestly confessed: “Gu Yu.”
His parent’s reactions were vastly different. Father Zhang only furrowed his brows. In contrast, several expressions flashed across Zhang Siyi’s Mother’s face.
She wondered: “Why is he paying for your tuition?”
Zhang Siyi told his parents the excuse he concocted with Gu Yu: “Gu Yu said he wanted to invest in talent. After going abroad, he is planning on forming a new company and I will have to work for him for many years.”
Since the explanation was quite reasonable, Zhang Siyi’s Father and Mother couldn’t find any faults. His Mother thought it over then asked: “Isn’t Gu Yu a registered architect already? He is design director so why is he going too?”
Zhang Siyi: “Learning is a never-ending endeavor, isn’t it? I’ve told you before, in order to broadened their scope of knowledge, many people from different sects of the industry partake in the specialized courses.
After hearing Zhang Siyi’s explanation, Father Zhang nodded in agreement. He felt relieved and said: “Young Gu is very reliable. It would be very good to go with him.”
Mother Zhang is not as stupid as Father Zhang. As a rotten girl, her sensitive nerves have begun to move, and she felt deep down that something wasn’t right.
While eating dinner, Zhang Mother spoke: “Sisi, I’ve been thinking, asking others to pay tuition fees isn’t right. We aren’t short on money. We will be able to get by. Why should someone else pay for you? Tell Gu Yu that you will study together, but we will pay for your expenses.”
Upon hearing his Mother’s statement, Zhang Siyi hesitated. When he heard his father say, “Isn’t it good for Young Gu to invest in him?” , he nearly choked.
Zhang Siyi followed suit: “Since you are about to retire, you should keep your money and spend it yourself. In case of hospitalization, or other health concerns, you will have need of the money.”
Zhang Siyi’s Mother glared at her son: “What do you think is wrong with us? We are in perfect health!”
Zhang Siyi didn’t want to fight: “Fine, don’t use it for your medical care. Use it for something else. Haven’t you always wanted to visit other countries? With that amount, you can travel around the world and buy whatever you want. Isn’t that good?”
During New Years, when his parents came home from their trip, he noticed how happy they seemed to be. At twenty-four, he didn’t want to burden his parents any more than necessary. A robust economic foundation would greatly improve their quality of life because, instead of sacrificing their needs for the sake of tuition for their son, they could use the money for themselves.
Mother Zhang: “But …”
Zhang Siyi interrupted her: “Don’t worry. I’ve already told you I won’t spend your money after my undergraduate graduation so I’ll take care of it myself. Oh, and you don’t need to bother me about a newlywed’s home. I’ll buy one myself.”
Faced with such a mature response from their son, Zhang Siyi’s parents had mixed feelings.
His Father stated: “We aren’t unwilling to help you financially. You are our only child so isn’t all our money yours anyway? At first we went along with your determination because we didn’t want you relying on us for every single one of your problems otherwise, you would never grow up. You are an adult now and during the past two years, Dad is so please at how much you have matured. If you have made arrangements with Gu Yu, then I will respect your decision.”
Mother Zhang suddenly said: “Since when have you two ever gotten along so easily? Gu Yu’s investment in your son is not a small sum, but millions. Why don’t you think this may be some sort of bribery? What if it comes back to hurt you?”
In the past, Zhang Siyi’s mother was the one who was always talking positively about Gu Yu. In stark contrast, now she was the one who was acting suspicious.
Zhang Siyi wanted to refute, but his father spoke first: “The last time we spoke of this, you reminded me, Gu Yu is the son of the chief engineer that I’ve known for ten years. For so many years, half of Ningcheng’s large and small municipal projects were approved by me. I can think of ten of them off-hand for which Senior Gu participated in. In all that time, did he ever do something suspicious and mix business with his personal matters? Today, I ’m going to backup Zhang Siyi. I might not understand Gu Yu’s decision, but that is Gu Mingfeng’s son. I knew at a glance that he and his father are hard-working, down-to-earth people. You can rest assured. Even if I think it might be wrong, Zhang Siyi has grown so much following his guidance during the past two years that I’m very willing to let him go.”
Mother Zhang: “…”
After listening to his father’s remarks, Zhang Siyi’s view of his father changed. He always thought he and his mother were on one side and his father on another. However, in the key moment, the head of house was still the law!
After chewing on his food for a while, Father Zhang said: “Young people have a way of working with one another. Gu Yu’s investment in Zhang Siyi is not a blind investment. Didn’t he say that Zhang Siyi will have to work for him for a few years after graduation? Being sought out to start a business, doesn’t it prove how valuable our son is? In addition, knowing his finances and job security are settled, our son will be better able to concentrate on studying.”
The more Father Zhang spoke, the more he felt like the arrangement was the best outcome for Zhang Siyi. He added: “Anyway, I think it’s a good idea.”
Mother Zhang was speechless. As the alarm bells were ringing in her head, she was very anxious. Old Zhang… There are so many things you don’t understand! You are selling your first born!
Zhang father did not care about his wife’s worries. Ignoring the protest in Mother Zhang’s eyes, he continued to ask Zhang Siyi: “With his salary, how does Gu Yu have so much money to spend to go abroad?”
Zhang Siyi quickly explained to his parents about origins of the properties he owns and concluded: ”Gu Yu has enough liquidity on hand for us to go abroad. He collects rent worth more than my salary for the two properties in the capital. He isn’t afraid of being idle and eating himself out of house and home.”
As a look of melancholy enveloped Father Zhang’s features, he sighed and said: “Compared to other people in their thirties, Gu Yu is quite capable, is he not? I saw an article that our old neighbor posted online yesterday that said, one of the greatest blessings of going into society is having a good leader to follow. Matching the right tie, the fate of a young man’s life could be changed. I think that’s right to say, our son found the right leader to follow!”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Mother Zhang: “…”
When his father was finished, Zhang Siyi and his mother’s eyes suddenly met. When he saw the turbulence in his Mother’s eyes, Zhang Siyi looked down quickly to avoid her stare. Hiding his guilty conscience, he picked up some more rice and quietly ate his dinner.
However, he was unable to escape from her notice long. That night before going to sleep, Mother Zhang came knocking on his door
At that time, Zhang Siyi was lying on the bed, making a video call with Gu Yu. As they flirted and exchanged loving words, they heard a knock of the door. He quickly said goodbye and ended the call.
Mother Zhang pushed in the door and smiled: “Who are you talking to that is making you so happy? I can hear you through the door.”
Not knowing how much his mother overheard him talking while she was at the door, Zhang Siyi expression was stiff: “No one in particular…. just a friend.”
Zhang Siyi’s mother didn’t enquire about it further. Walking over to him, she sat down on the bed and asked Zhang Siyi about what his plans were; when he needed his visa and when he was officially going abroad.
As he relayed some of his plans, his mother frowned: “You aren’t coming back home before leaving?”
Zhang Siyi’s conscience was starting to weigh on him and didn’t want to upset his mother: “I’m staying in Haicheng because I have to stay at work until the end of July. I have to pack and leave in August so there isn’t time for me to come back home.”
His mother’s expression was somewhat bleak. She had a nagging feeling like Zhang Siyi’s was hiding something, but at the same time, feeling guilty for thinking so.
Zhang Siyi tried to comfort her: “We will come back for Christmas. You and Dad can come to England to visit….”
As he was talking, Mother Zhang suddenly interrupted him: “Sisi, you can tell me the truth. Why is Gu Yu paying for your tuition? Why would he pay for someone who isn’t the best in the company? Its not that I think you aren’t good enough. I understand if you were with Gu Yao, but you said she has a boyfriend………… Are you…? Are you and Gu Yu…..”
Stopping abruptly, Zhang Siyi’s mother didn’t dare say more.
Only then did she carefully reflect on all of their interactions, from last year until now and linked many things together. From them living together, to his visit to the Gu residence for Chinese New Year and especially afterwards. Both when Zhang Siyi described his ideal person and Gu Yu’s behavior in the car when they drove off. Finally, Zhang Siyi said he will go abroad together……
Now enlightened, she wanted it to be a product of her own imagination, influenced from reading too many books. However, with so many obvious signs when one payed attention, she couldn’t ignore it anymore. The relationship between her son and Gu Yu wasn’t so simple. How could she not ask?
Grabbing Zhang Siyi’s hand and holding it tightly, she stared in question at her son for to the truth and she saw it.
Zhang Siyi was never good at lying and his ashen white face made it obvious. His mother’s question immediately exposed the truth of the matter despite Zhang Siyi’s unclear reply: “Him and I, what are you saying?”
Mother Zhang didn’t have to ask anymore to understand everything. Her son, she knew best. If it weren’t so, Zhang Siyi would have exploded and become angry. Never would he have had such a guilty reaction.
With a deep sense of guilt, her heart sank and her mind was filled with an incredible sense of turmoil. How could this be? Did the books she hid in her son’s room affected him?
In attempt to dissuade her, Zhang Siyi continued to lie: “Don’t worry about it. You must be reading too many novels.”
Enraged, Mother Zhang opened the closet doors roughly, while she began to shed tears, she pulled out a book and started tearing it up. Frightened by his mother’s rash actions, he got up and pulling on her arm in attempts to stop her, he shouted: “What are you doing?! Mom stop!”
With tears at the corner of her eyes, Zhang Siyi’s Mother accused herself and whispered: “It’s my fault…… I did this to you…… Mother has hurt you….”
Zhang Siyi was shocked. He held his mother and stopped pretending. He blurted out: “Mom, it has nothing to do with you!”
Her hands trembled: “So, so you are really…..”
“Umm…” What else can Zhang Siyi say? Before, having witness her taste in books, he thought his Mother was stupid for not noticing it on her own. Now that the storm has come, he found he was surprisingly, ready to bear it.
Afraid his Mother would think less of Gu Yu, Zhang Siyi’s first reaction was to shield him: “I liked him first and confessed to Gu Yu first. Mother, please don’t blame him.”
In his parent’s eyes, he hoped that Gu Yu would still shine and he would be the one tarnished.
As his mother covered her face, her shoulders shook with uncontrollable sobs. God, how would she be able to explain this to Old Zhang!
Zhang Siyi gathered his mother’s torn book and put it back in the closet. Watching his mother still crying, he felt bad and said: “Mom, don’t be like this. I, I’m very happy with him. He is very good to me, especially good. We work hard together, we struggle together, we enjoy life together.… just, we can’t get married. I’m sorry Mom. I really like him, but I didn’t know how to tell you….” Now that he finished speaking, tears also welled up in Zhang Siyi’s eyes.
Mother Zhang trembled. She liked to believe in the notion that love can transcend all, but that was just in a novel. In reality, her heart wasn’t willing to accept it.
As they sat together on the bed sobbing, they heard a knock on the door and Father Zhang’s voice: “What are you two doing in there?” In the next second, he opened the door and came inside.
Scared to death, he looked to his mother. For more then twenty years, he and his mother had a tactical understanding of each other and thus, believed his mother knew what should and shouldn’t be said.
Witnessing both his wife and son together with red puffy eyes, Zhang Siyi’s father frowned: “So, you didn’t weep in the middle of the night when he left to study abroad previously, but now when he tells you he is leaving, you cry?”
Mother Zhang tilted her head and scoffed softly. Zhang Father couldn’t stop himself from lamenting: “He isn’t gone forever. He is just going out of the country! Why do mothers have such thin skin!”
Mother Zhang: “…”
Father Zhang turned his attention to Zhang Siyi and said: “You too. If your mother cries, then you cry? What are you, a little girl?”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Father Zhang coughed softly: “It’s OK. Don’t be so emotional and just let it go. Now, hurry up and get to sleep.” After speaking, he abruptly turned around and went downstairs.
Damp from breaking out in a cold sweat, Zhang Siyi slowly exhaled the breath he inadvertently was holding. He looked pitifully at his mother and was about to ask her to keep quiet about it, but before he had the chance to speak, his mother wiped her tears away and said: “Listen. You mustn’t tell you father. Otherwise, he will have a stroke!”