Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling
Chapter 230: Extra 3
Of course, Zhang Siyi had no clue what was really going on at the time. After Gu Yu had told him the truth of the matter, Zhang Siyi felt uncomfortable. Any time he saw the Hong Kong girl, he wanted to hide.
In order to appease any hard feelings that had developed, she organized a Halloween party and invited many classmates and friends outside of the department to attend which included Zhang Siyi and Gu Yu.
At the party, Zhang Siyi discovered that he and Gu Yu had long been known as a same sex couple and because they had outstanding appearances and behaved like common people, they were rather famous.
The key to their popularity was that, although Gu Yu and Zhang Siyi didn’t do anything out of the ordinary in public, together they involuntarily exuded a loving and sweet vibe that infected their surroundings. The fact that the two of them were in love was as natural as breathing air and it was hard for anyone to ignore.
A Spanish classmate said: “You’re a very different kind of gay from the gay that I know of. I thought all gays were like Marvin.”
Marvin was a short Malaysian man who originally came to Big A for interior design, but switched departments to Architecture. He was quite flamboyant and often wore women’s accessories. His character was distinct and made no effort to hide his sexual orientation.
The Hong Kong sister came over with her wine and said with a smile: “Are you talking about Marvin? He’s lovely, like a girl……But I prefer the type like our Zhang Siyi here.” She smiled coyly at Zhang Siyi, winked at him, then walked away.
During the party, they had many opportunities to talk to the various guests. All of which wanted to hear more about how they met and what their aspirations where. When they heard the story of their relationship, they became the envy of the party. The fact they had found their true love, followed their dreams and were able to build a life together was something everyone wanted to obtain, but difficult to achieve in reality.
After talking with the people at the party, Zhang Siyi also adapted to their environment and was able to enjoy having an open relationship with Gu Yu.
For Zhang Siyi and Gu Yu, being treated like ordinary people, neither being singled out nor expressing contempt towards them, was showing the most respect. In truth, such a tolerant environment wasn’t possible at home in a short period of time.
Since they were focused on their coursework and studying rigorously throughout the year, they didn’t have excess energy to use for picking out birthday gifts. On Zhang Siyi’s birthday, Gu Yu gave him a painting that he had done. For Gu Yu’s birthday, Zhang Siyi gave him a gadget that he had created in the studio.
In the UK, there were three main holidays throughout the academic year; Christmas, Easter and the summer holiday. The former holidays were only a couple weeks, while the summer holiday lasted much longer. Due to the short holiday period, they didn’t return home to China and instead, chose to visit nearby countries in Europe.
In order to grow and develop as an architect, it was also important to experience architecture from different parts of the world. During his undergraduate years, Zhang Siyi and Fu Xinhui visited quite a few places together. As evident one night while together, Gu Yu seemed to have taken this matter to heart. He arrogantly claimed he was going to replace Zhang Siyi’s travel memories that he had with Fu Xinhui with his own. It left Zhang Siyi speechless…. He and Fu Xinhui were more innocent than Mother Goose!
Traveling with Gu Yu was a completely different type of experience compared to when Zhang Siyi toured with his roommate. When he was with his friend, Zhang Siyi mostly ate, drank, and quickly visited places for fun. In contrast, at each destination he visited with Gu Yu, it was like a full-on investigation. In advance, they wanted to read about the history of the area and look up materials related to each of the various buildings.
In the past, Zhang Siyi would have complained about it. Since when he had become assimilated, Zhang Siyi didn’t know, but now he was excited and happy to delve deeper into it!
Where ever he went, in his excitement, he dragged Gu Yu with him to take snap shots. Being able to converse in-depth with him on the same level at every step of the way was simply a joy. The absolute spiritual pleasure that engulfed him was far more enjoyable then eating, drinking and sleeping at fancy hotels.
In this way, like floating in a sea of knowledge, as an absorbent sponge, Zhang Siyi filled himself with information and rapidly grew. Not only did his designs improve, the growth in his writing was exponential and even his usual mannerisms and speech patterns have gained a sense of depth that wasn’t present previously.
To paraphrase the master photographer, Ansel Adams: “We don’t just take pictures with our cameras. What we bring to photography is all the books we’ve read, the movies we’ve seen, the music we’ve heard, the people we’ve loved.”
This is also true for Architects. While designing, Zhang Siyi incorporated all of the things he has read about in books, the places he has traveled to, the people he has talked to, and his deep love for Gu Yu.
Even though summer break was three months long, the two of them returned to China for two weeks to visit their families. Since they didn’t stay for a long time, they didn’t inform many friends. The short time passed quickly and soon they had to return to London.
Since Gu Yu course of study was only sixteen months long, the only thing he needed to do to finish his certificate and graduate was to write a short dissertation. Gu Yu’s friend and colleague, with the use of his connections, set up work for Gu Yu early.
Naively, Zhang Siyi thought Gu Yu was going to wait for Zhang Siyi to grow as an architect, but reality didn’t reflect his wish. While Zhang Siyi continued to learn at University, once Gu Yu started working, he began to make a lot of money.
Even though his job was located at the other end of the city, Gu Yu didn’t move. He chose to remain close to the school and take the Underground to work in the mornings and from work in the evenings.
With Gu Yu remaining by his side, Zhang Siyi didn’t think his living arrangements were any different then when they were in Haicheng. The main difference was their food. While breakfast became toast, bacon and eggs, dinner often consisted of a quick pizza or pasta.
After two years of hard work, Zhang Siyi graduated from University with a high score on the RIBA part 2 assessment. As a result, he received job offerings at several British architectural firms, including the well-known Richard-Rogers and TFP Farrells Firms. In addition, the firm that Yu Rui’s worked at also extended an invitation.
With strength, job opportunities, like water at the end of a faucet, flowed freely. For Zhang Siyi, it was the same and looking back, he was confused why his friend Xue Wenhan had such a hard time.
At first, Zhang Siyi wanted to work with Gu Yu, but Gu Yu said with his current ability, he didn’t have anything to teach Zhang Siyi and it would be better to continue his growth at a different Firm. As long as they could continue to live together and work in the same city, there was nothing they couldn’t figure out.
As soon as Zhang Siyi heard Gu Yu, he felt it was reasonable. Like a baby chick, he couldn’t always seek refuge behind a mother hen.
All three well-known Firms were good choices. However, as one was located in Scotland, he looked more closely at the other two offers. Either of them would add brilliance to a resume and allow Zhang Siyi to further his career by leaps and bounds.
Since Zhang Siyi posted his job opportunities on his social media page, many classmates and friends sent their blessings. At this time, Yu Rui contacted him again and warmly welcomed him to the same Firm as a colleague.
Zhang Siyi was moved by the fact that many of the well-known projects throughout the world, such as Hong Kong’s new airport and Tokyo’s Millennium Tower, have come from Firm F, but because Yu Rui was there, he was rather hesitant about working in the same company.
Two years ago, when he returned to England, Yu Rui offered to help him and wanted to go out to dinner. It seemed rude to repeatedly decline her offer. Under the pretense of working at the same company, he decided he could meet with her and hear what she had to say, nothing more. With this in mind, he didn’t discuss it with Gu Yu and went to meet her by himself.
They choose to meet at an English teahouse and once she arrived, Zhang Siyi was very surprised as he hadn’t seen her for a few years. Since her appearance radiated maturity and a refinement that wasn’t known before, Zhang Siyi second-guessed his previous assumptions about her that were solely due to his friend’s gossip. He tried his best to adjust his state of mind and treated her with a neutral and calm attitude.
As they both exchanged pleasantries, Yu Rui was surprised to discover Zhang Siyi’s ring, and exclaimed: “You are already married!?”
Zhang Siyi had no reason to explain further and replied: “It’s just a token of love.”
Yu Rui: “Is your girlfriend in China or here?”
Zhang Siyi took a sip of tea and said: ” Here, with me.”
Yu Rui smiled: “Since you returned to London, I’ve asked you out many times, but you have always refused. Did your girlfriend prevent you from seeing me?”
Zhang Siyi was a little flustered: “Ah? Eh?” What’s with that? Clearly, the reason he didn’t want to meet was because of her! However, it wasn’t something he could say so bluntly. (=_=)
Yu Rui said: ” I know that I have a bad reputation.”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
So, she knows it? Zhang Siyi was a little curious. Did she really do all the things that were gossiped about her?
Yu Rui seemed to have read Zhang Siyi’s mind. As she gently lifted the tea pot and refilled his cup with tea, she said: “In fact, I think you see me as doing anything to get what I want by any means. I think you are too naïve.”
Zhang Siyi didn’t know what to say. The only history he knows about her was hearsay. Now that she was right in front of him, he got caught up in the moment and asked her: “I’ve heard rumors about you. They all said you would find a boyfriend to help with your coursework and when the project was completed, you would throw them away.”
Yu Rui: “It’s true.”
Her frankness was unexpected and Zhang Siyi shocked expression was obvious.
Yu Rui smiled softly: “Do you think they didn’t know what was going on? They all knew and yet, they were willing. Why do you think that is?”
The corner of Zhang Siyi’s mouth twitched. Why would he know?!
“Because they were stupid to choose me.” Yu Rui laughed.
“They knew what they were getting into and even so, they risked their own morals and choose to be my boyfriend. Oh, I don’t think I did anything wrong. Since childhood, I’ve been told that society isn’t fair to girls. We praise scholars for using their natural gifts for their own self-interests. In order to step up in the world, I just used all of my natural gifts. If I didn’t really have skill, do you think I would continue to be allowed to fish at F Firm waters?”
Zhang Siyi: “…”
Zhang Siyi didn’t agree with her world view. Since he couldn’t understand it, he always felt that something was wrong.
As he was digesting what she said, Yu Rui looked up at him and grinned: “But, you were different and were never on my hook. You were too smart for that.”
In his heart, Zhang Siyi knew he wasn’t that smart. In reality, it was due to the reality check that was given to him by his friends. (=_=)
Whether it was an appreciative sigh or not, Yu Rui exhaled deeply: “To find a boyfriend like you, your girlfriend must be really happy.”
Hearing her, Zhang Siyi suddenly understood what the underlying problem was.
Life wasn’t a project to manipulate. She may be able to use people to get ahead, but she doesn’t realize that things like friendship, love and the self-satisfaction one feels by the success of your own hard work, wasn’t something you could calculate.
There are many types of women. In contrast to Yu Rui’s do-what-ever-it-takes attitude, Su Yuan, Bi Lele, and Zhang Siyi’s classmate from Hong Kong, has treated life with sincerity and through hard work, have gained the respect in their careers.
Zhang Siyi believed that people who take short cuts as Yu Rui has done are everywhere. One meeting was enough. In order to maintain his shallow friendship, eventually Zhang Siyi decided to decline the job opportunity from F Firm.
After they said their goodbyes, he opened his WeChat App on his phone and typed a message to his former classmates: “I’ve fired F-Firm.”
His bold behavior ticked off Su Yuan. She blamed Yu Rui for the loss of Zhang Siyi’s job opportunity. Regardless of Su Yuan’s irritation, Zhang Siyi was upbeat and sent a [Kitten Power] sticker in the group. With everyone’s cheers and well-wishes, his new journey had begun.