助理建筑师 羲和清零 010

Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling

Chapter 10: Efficiency

Bi Lele explained: “The little cactus ball grew from the root of big one. It was later transplanted into a new pot, so the boss has been taking care of two plants since it was the product of the original one.”

Zhang Siyi: “…”

“And that’s not all….” Bi Lele craned her neck looking at the direction of the director’s office and then lowered her head, looked at Zhang Siyi, she lowered her voice and continued to explain: “About two months ago at the end of May there was an intern working with our group from T University.”

“Oh?” Zhang Siyi leaned in closer, eager to listen to the gossip with rapt attention.

Bi Lele pointed to Zhang Siyi’s desk, saying: “Like her, you both were assigned to the same desk and asked take care of the cactus.”

“Wait a minute,” Zhang Siyi interrupted. “Let me make it clear. I didn’t ask for the cactus. The boss gave it to me by his own accord.”

Bi Lele.:“……”

Zhang Siyi repeated the dialogue at that time, Bi Lele turned a blind eye: “When you admitted to liking the cactus, isn’t that just a roundabout way of asking him for it?”

Zhang Siyi mouth twitched. The plants were in different pots so naturally he didn’t know that the small one came from the bigger one. So, why was asking about it so weird….

Bi Lele continued: “In any case, the girl was nice and had a cheerful personality. Although she didn’t say it out loud, it was obvious that she liked the boss. When she was picking her plant, she directly asked Gu Yu for the small cactus. Rather than directly refusing her, instead he smiled and simply asked: “If I casually give my small cactus away to a girl, then what does our relationship mean?”

Zhang Siyi did not react: “eh?”

“How can you not understand! As the one taking care of the plant, Gu Yu was like the father and since the new growth needed to be transplanted, it’s like a brother. If he gives away a member of his family to some girl, then what does that make her… of course, his wife!” Talking about the director made Bi Lele look around anxiously.

Figuring out a piece of truth, Zhang Siyi was flush with embarrassment.

“At that time, the girl was stunned and couldn’t speak. She didn’t stay for a long and after two months of internship, she left. But after that incident, everyone thought Gu Yu wouldn’t give away his cactus to anyone.” Bi Lele said, looking at Zhang Siyi with a sly look. “I didn’t expect him to give it away now.”

Heart beating faster, Zhang Siyi felt worried. In a flash he had a million thoughts about all that had happened the other day. Would he not think he was Gay? Gu Yu overheard all his ex-girlfriend grievances so if he gave him the cactus ball, was he treating Zhang Siyi differently? Was he trying to hint at something?

Zhu Hongzhen snorted: “Don’t listen to her nonsense. The girls here love to make up stories. The boss just told her that as a euphemism to express his uninterested feelings towards her. Besides, the ball grew out from the big one. It’s a brother, not a child!”

Bi Lele said: “The cactus comes from the same root. If you don’t cut it away, then it will stick together! The seeds that come from the blossoms are the offspring, you have no understanding!”

Zhu Hongzhen: “Forget the details. That’s one crazy theory.”

Although Bi Lele’s comments made a bit of sense, Zhang Siyi was more inclined believe Zhu Hongzhen’s rhetoric. He took a deep breath, consoling himself: It’s an office plant, not a gay thing. (=_=)

However, this story also made Zhang Siyi realize that he may not be as special to Gu Yu as he initially thought. Although they were from the same area and high school, it doesn’t really mean anything. Gu Yu wasn’t just an alumnus but also a graduate of T University with countless additional schoolmates, not to mention, all of his colleagues and additional acquaintances from the industry.

Thinking about it in this way, Zhang Siyi could not help but feel a little disappointed. He didn’t dwell on the subject further so he quickly recovered his mood.

Since there wasn’t a new task early in the morning, Zhang Siyi took the opportunity to take pictures of his work desk and post them to the circle of friends on social media. Note: “new job!”

All Zhang Siyi wanted to do was send one photo and put away the mobile phone, but quickly someone commented. The praises Zhang Siyi received made him feel great.

One of his friends, Xue Wenhan, who was still living in the UK as he was studying for a master’s degree in a related architectural field, wrote a note. Calculating the time difference, the time was two o’clock in the middle of the night. It seems that his friend was still staying up late, but whether it is because he is studying or playing, Zhang Siyi didn’t know.

Many “Congratulations!“ messages appeared as well as inquiries about the new job and how he was doing… Zhang Siyi had no time to reply to them one by one. He was seeking approval and wanted to quickly reply with a short response, but a familiar voice sounded from behind him: “You seem to have a lot of time on your hands.”

Zhang Siyi froze and almost dropped his phone.

Standing at the end of the desk, unbeknown to Zhang Siyi, Gu Yu appeared behind him. With a cup in his hand, he was looking at him with penetrating, sharp eyes and smiling. Without giving Zhang Siyi the chance to talk, he commanded, “Come.”

Perturbed, Zhang Siyi hurriedly shoved his phone into his trousers pocket and followed him.

Gu Yu put two chairs in front of the desk. When Zhang Siyi sat in one, a girl with long straight hair came, and asked softly: “Looking for me?”

Gu Yu said “hmm” and indicated with his hand the vacancy to the side of Zhang Siyi, so she can sit down.

Two people looked at each other and Zhang Siyi was first to introduce himself: “Hello, I am Zhang Siyi. I was just hired yesterday.”

The girl smiled shyly, shook hands with him and softly said: “I heard. I am Du Rui, Hello.”

When Gu Yu saw that they had finished introductions, he pushed two stacks of information in front of them. “This is a design summary of a single youth apartment in S City. It requires three sets of plans. Du Rui will do two sets and Zhang Siyi will do one set. We will meet again in the conference room at 1:30 this afternoon to discuss the preliminary design plans. The plans need to be refined before the end of the work day.”

When Du Rui replied with a simple ‘understood’ and stood up to leave the office, Zhang Siyi was still digesting what Gu Yu said.

“Hey, wait.” Out of the door, Zhang Siyi hurriedly asked her, “He only gave us one morning to work on our designs? With lunch break, that only leaves three hours….?”

Du Rui calmly said: “Yes.”

Zhang Siyi was shocked. When they were studying, they were given a week for each assignment. Now he must do it in three hours? This time he couldn’t ignore the project data.

Du Rui, who had more experience than him, remained calm. Can he do it?

Zhang Siyi stiffly returned to his seat and frantically opened the information about the project to start reading it. The pressure of Gu Yu’s assignment was making him distressed. Never mind what earlier praise he received; Zhang Siyi didn’t have time to think about anything! With such constraints, Zhang Siyi’s motivation accelerated and was determined to create a good plan on time.

Since the project was to design a single apartment aimed at the young adult demographic, Zhang Siyi was more familiar with the work than he did with the bathrooms in the large office building. After all, he lived in a student apartment in the UK. In addition, he experienced many beautiful places when traveling abroad. He tried to draw from memory but changed it and instead used models. He would just have to wait until the meeting to explain his thoughts. Although it was a bit rough, Zhang Siyi was surprised at his efficiency. If he could have done this while studying, it would have been so easy!”

At lunch time, Zhang Siyi ordered a meal at the company and went to the dining area with his colleagues.

Du Rui sat two rows away from Zhang Siyi while Lu Qiao was between them. When she passed by, Zhang Siyi wanted to call out to her and ask her about the plan during lunch time, but Du Rui said: “You eat first. I haven’t finished my designs. I’ll eat later.”

Zhang Siyi thought about it too. She needed to draw two sets, and her workload was much greater than his. Curious, Zhang Siyi looked over at Du Rui to see what she was drawing. He was surprised as there were several already finished, beautifully drawn designs on the table.

“Oh my God! Are you drawing designs by hand?” Zhang Siyi said shocked.

Du Rui smiled and shook her head: “No, the designs have been drawn with a computer. I am making a few final touches now, so I can add some explanations afterwards.”

Zhang Siyi was stammered: “You, you are so good!”

Although the architecture department in the UK had related drawing courses, the department didn’t have a requirement for students to be very skilled at sketching and drawing by hand. Add the fact that computer design software was popular, Zhang Siyi rarely planned out his designs by hand. Without the years of practice at university, he absolutely couldn’t draw to the same professional level as Du Rui.

Du Rui humbly said: “Thanks, but I’m just ok. Take a look over at Yuan Zhicheng drawings. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and his drawings are really great.”

Zhang Siyi didn’t want to say anything. He wanted to bury his own head in a basin of sand!

His relaxed state of mind from earlier quickly dissolved. Once he returned to his desk, he only had a half an hour left until the meeting and his mind was focused on the task. He used to laze around and check his social media accounts frequently, but now, it wasn’t something he was even considering.

He was looking over his design again when a message appeared at half passed one. Gu Yu had summoned him and Du Rui to meet.

In the discussion room, both he and Du Rui placed the designs out on the table for review. It felt like he was back in University having a weekly project critique and was waiting for his professor’s approval. Even knowing he had to plan out one apartment while she was assigned two, he was surprised at the volume of work Du Rui brought to the discussion room compared to his own. It made him feel wholly inadequate. On top of that, her renderings where so beautiful to look at! As a result, he broke out in a cold sweat.

Gu Yu quickly reviewed the work. He first acknowledged the volume of Du Rui work and then let Zhang Siyi look at the two designs. “What do you think?”

“Ah, uh, very good.” The quality of those hand drawn pictures has already blinded Zhang Siyi.

After careful examination, without any hesitation, Gu Yu was quick to point out several flaws in Du Rui’s scheme, one of which rendered it largely useless. She felt like crying.

On the side, Zhang Siyi was feeling apprehensive, only to find out that what he suffered last night was nothing. It was shocking. Gu Yu was a terrible person. He really was terrible! Even though Du Rui had worked so hard, he didn’t feel any pity at all!

When it was Zhang Siyi’s turn, he was prepared to hear the worst. Maybe there was a reason for Du Rui’s criticism, but he thought that if Gu Yu also found faults to his own work, Du Rui might feel a little better.

However, after looking over his design, Gu Yu just nodded and said two words: “It’s good.”

…… Good. that’s it?

Yes, there was nothing more to say.

For the next phase of the draft, the Director had Du Rui modify one of her plans, then combine them with Zhang Siyi efforts and finally said. “All the toilets are to be managed by Zhang Siyi.” He nodded at them, and then left.

Zhang Siyi: “…”

Zhang Siyi watched him nonchalantly leave the room. When he turned around, he saw Du Rui staring at his own drawings. Zhang SIyi wanted to ease the directors’ words in a small way but didn’t know what to say. Du Rui had worked at the office for a long time. He only just started, so how was he qualified to offer this senior a comforting word?

Embarrassed, he saw Du Rui wipe the corner of her eye and look up: “Zhang Siyi, can you talk to me about the thoughts behind your design?”

Zhang Siyi saw her firm tears and red eyes, but then the girl expression suddenly changed. A hint of stubbornness and determination was seen.

____________________

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助理建筑师 羲和清零 009

Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling

Chapter 9: Plants

Su Yuan’s parents were university teachers and thus, making her ordinary family part of the working class and not nuevo rich. As a very self-reliant student, while abroad, she found work during her free time. Now that she had returned to China to work in Haicheng, she wasn’t relying on her family to support her.

The New East District wasn’t so far from the place the group decided to meet however, it was distant enough one would need transportation to travel. Since taxi cabs were expensive at night, the better economical choice was to catch the last subway.

In order to see his friends, Zhang Siyi wanted to offer the expense of taking a taxi home, but he couldn’t. Without capital, he was nothing more than a new employee with a measly income of 4500 Yuan.

When Su Yuan left, Ren Mengyu couldn’t wait around either. Since he lived together with Fu Xinhui and Jiang Hai, there was no need to go there. Zhang Siyi hung up the phone, feeling empty.

Frustrated, he let the driver turn around and go home. A little later, he checked the history of his chat-group messages from the beginning. He witnessed his friends having fun from the start until the end. He felt anxious and then when his friends scattered, a deep sense of loss welled up in inside of him.

Zhang Siyi: “I’m so sorry.”

Zhang Siyi: “I didn’t think I was going to work overtime on the first day …”

Zhang Siyi: “Next time I’ll treat you!”

There were two minutes of silence in the group. Zhang Siyi looked like a prisoner waiting for judgment. He pitifully sent a few crying expressions in the group.

Finally, Fu Xinhui replied first: “Kneel down and beg. I’ll forgive your crimes.”

And then the group responded ——

Jiang Hai: “Kneel!”

Ren Mengyu: “Kneel!”

Su Yuan: “Kneel!”

Zhang Siyi broke into laughter and quickly sent a sticker. [begging for forgiveness]

Su Yuan: “It didn’t work out this time because of your job. Maybe next time.”

Jiang Hai suddenly said with a deep emotion: “I am afraid that everyone will be busier in the future and gather less.”

Jiang Hai’s declaration made Zhang Siyi realize the reality of his life now. As a new chapter of life has begun, he grieved at the loss of time where they were just students hanging out together.

When Fu Xinhui casually asked if he had dinner, Zhang Siyi replied: “I’m famished.”

Ren Mengyu: “Today Fu Xinhui treated, but don’t forget Zhang Siyi, that you owe us two meals!”

Zhang Siyi was thankful for Fu Xinhui’s generosity. He quickly promised to make it up to them the next time they got together. Afterwards, he took the initiative to tell them about the morning’s interview.

After listening, Su Yuan said: “The average company generally asks about your relevant skills, coursework in college, and any real work experience. They don’t normally ask ‘why you studied architecture’. Applying for a job isn’t supposed to be like a college entrance exam.”

Zhang Siyi felt the same: “I was also confused about it at the time. I didn’t know how to reply so I told him that it was due to the influence of a high school alumni. I didn’t expect that the person who interviewed me was the very same Alumnus! I didn’t recognize him!”

Ren Mengyu: “This is too good!”

Fu Xinhui: “It must be the back door!”

Zhang Siyi: “Get out of the way! He specially told me when we ate at noon that he didn’t want me to think he hired me because we went to the same high school!”

Fu Xinhui: [Turning Blind]

Su Yuan: “But since he is your High School senior, then surely, the work in the future will be easier.”

“No!” Zhang Si Yi hysterically replied in the chat group about how shameless Gu Yu was. He included the events that transpired the previous day that triggered his deduction in wages.

Ren Mengyu: “What? You broke up?”

Zhang Siyi: “The breakup is not the point!”

Ren Mengyu: “Wow. Comparing an ex-girlfriend to a boss that deducted 500 from your wages, even though you are connected by the same high school…. I suddenly want to light a candle for your former girlfriend.”

Jiang Hai: “But 500 bucks is nothing for you. It’s just one meal at a restaurant in the UK.”

Zhang Siyi: “I thought he was joking at the time.”

Su Yuan: “I see. The money isn’t the point. The problem is, despite the connection between you two, you aren’t happy about the fact that he still treated you so unfairly.”

Zhang Siyi: “Yes! You understand!”

Zhang Siyi subconsciously blamed Gu Yu’s fastidiousness for making him miss his appointed time tonight to meet with his friends. If Gu Yu were more laid-back, he would have let him leave early. Besides, how can someone make them do overtime on the first day of work!

Fu Xinhui joked: “You know… did he deliberately recruit you in order to get back at you for spilling coffee on him?”

Since it did make some sense, Zhang Siyi was frightened by Fu Xinhui’s speculation that he may be right. During their argument, his name, profession and the fact that he was looking for a job were exposed. If Gu Yu had read his resume in advance, he would have left an impression on his mind.

However, soon Zhang Siyi felt it was impossible. No one would be that vengeful just for a spilled cup of coffee. Gu Yu would have said something at that time, not later. It’s so frustrating. Looking for a job wasn’t a trifling matter!

Everyone chatted while traveling back to their homes. Since Zhang Siyi’s company was closer to their residence, he was a step earlier than Fu Xinhui.

He was so tired he didn’t even feel hungry anymore. He didn’t eat supper, but he felt he needed to eat something to replenish his strength. He was just about to order take-out when Fu Xinhui and Jiang Hai came back. Fu Xinhui had brought him a package of fried rice.

Zhang Siyi rushed over to them and asked: “How do you know that I have not eaten yet??”

Fu Xinhui: “Didn’t you just say it in the group?”

Zhang Siyi was moved to tears. His brother was so good too him. Why does he even need a girlfriend?

Thinking of Fu Xinhui kindness for paying for tonight’s meal, Zhang Siyi again thanked him.

Fu Xinhui replied: “It’s not a big deal. I just wanted to congratulate you on your new job and celebrate a little. Although you didn’t end up eating with us. Ha-ha-ha-ha.”

Zhang Siyi sat in satisfaction with the fried rice: “This is the same.”

Still in thought, Fu Xinhui smiled at him.

After eating for a while, Zhang Siyi began to feel sleepy. He had not slept enough last night and had been nervous all day. Normally, he seldom got into bed before midnight. He also planned to send a message to his parents about the good news, but once his head hit the pillow, his two eyelids became heavy, and quickly went to sleep.

After sleeping through the night and waking at dawn, Zhang Siyi was refreshed. Yesterday’s depression was left behind.

“I love work!” Zhang Siyi shouted in the mirror after getting out of the shower. Then he ran out to the crowded subway and headed to the office.

Watching him head out the door full of so much enthusiasm, Jiang Hai thought: “Simple-minded people are really happy.”

Ten minutes before working hours official started, he arrived at the company. Zhang Siyi first went to the personnel department to submit his own degree certificate. He was approached by the new front-desk receptionist: “Wait a minute! Are you the new person from yesterday? Please come over.”

Zhang Siyi wondered: “What, you mean me?”

The girl at the front desk explained: “Our company every quarter awards a “love-my-job” bonus for the amount of 1000 yuan.

Zhang Siyi was interested: “Aha? Is there such a thing?”

The young girl at the front desk smiled and said: “Yes, let me explain the details of this award. As long as certain conditions are met, all employees will be awarded.”

Zhang Siyi: “What are the conditions?

“It’s very simple,” the front desk girl pointed at the landscape glass frame at the company’s main entrance that was next to the elevator. “Pick a plant and take care of it. The conditions for awarding bonuses are twofold: one, your attendance records, and secondly, the health of your plant. It has to be growing well and thriving.”

Zhang Siyi was stunned. He didn’t think the plants on the shelves were taken care of by the employees. He thought that the maintenance staff took care of them.

However, Zhang Siyi had never raised any plants, so he had questions: “By what standards are the plants judged?”

The young girl smiled and answered: “If it doesn’t die, you can earn the money.”

Oh? It’s that easy? Zhang Siyi felt relieved and went to the structure to find a plant to raise.

Most of the shelves were filled with herbeceous plants such as green radish, and copper grass. There were a wide variety. Although Zhang Siyi didn’t raise plants, he was familiar with one fact. With the amount of water that was needed to thrive, the seemingly small and sturdy bear boy and moon rabbit, weren’t as easy to take care of as they seem. The most maintenance free plant was a cactus. Even if it wasn’t watered for half a year, it wouldn’t die.

After carefully looking it over, Zhang Siyi found two pots of cactus on the shelf, one big and one small, and they were placed in two glass lattices next to each other.

He pointed to the big cactus: “How about this one?”

Front desk girl: “That plant is director Gu’s.”

Zhang Siyi: “…” What’s the catch? Does Gu Yu have the same thoughts as his own? (=_=)

Zhang Siyi reluctantly pointed to the small pot on the side: “What about the smaller one?”

The receptionist calmly stated: “That is also the directors.”

Zhang Siyi: “……”

At 8:58, Gu Yu stepped out of the elevator and saw Zhang Siyi looking frazzled while talking with the receptionist standing next to him: “Why can he occupy two spots with cactus? Isn’t everyone only able to adopt one plant?”

As the young girl at the front desk was trying to explain the situation to him, Gu Yu went over and asked Zhang Siyi: “Do you like the cactus?”

Zhang Siyi did not expect Gu Yu to suddenly appear. He was momentarily caught off-guard and as a result, turned his head very stiffly. Actually, he simply wanted to be lazy, but of course he couldn’t say that, so he nodded vigorously instead: “Yes!”

Gu Yu looked at the young girl at the front desk and said: “Let him take care of the small cactus.”

The blushing young girl looks surprised: “Oh, okay.”

Zhang Siyi: “…”

After registering the plant, Zhang Siyi returned to his seat and asked his colleagues. He also handed out some Lindor chocolates that he had bought as gifts from the UK after graduation. His co-workers thanked him.

Zhu Hongzhen asked him what time he went back last night. Zhang Siyi wrinkled his face: “More than nine o’clock.”

“Overtime. Working hard on the first day. The boss is really ‘loving’ you’.” Zhu Hongzhen laughed.

Zhang Siyi was speechless. He recalled the phone call that Gu Yu received last night and whispered: “Does Boss have a girlfriend?”

Zhu Hongzhen said: “I don’t know, let’s ask Bi Lele.”

“I haven’t heard anything about that. The Boss doesn’t like others to gossip about his private life.” Bi Lele shrugged while eating chocolate. “But I don’t think so since he always involved with work. A project today, a project tomorrow; all year around he works overtime and rarely goes home before nine. Where would there be the time to fall in love?”

Zhu Hongzhen nodded: “I also think that if I was in a relationship like that, I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Hey, it’s the life of a perpetual bachelor.”

Bi Lele sighed: “If you want to fall in love, it’s best to find a peer since they also understand the demands of the industry.”

Zhu Hongzhen glanced to Zhang Siyi: “Why do you ask?”

Zhang Siyi chuckled: “Just curious.”

He also spoke about his plant adoption choice, Bi Lele was shocked: “The boss gave you that cactus ball!?”

Zhang Siyi didn’t understand her tone and tentatively asked: “Ah? What’s wrong? Is there anything strange about it?”

____________________

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助理建筑师 羲和清零 008

Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling

Chapter 8: Overtime

In fact, Gu Yu came back after about forty minutes. It was already more than half an hour passed the official work day.

A small group of colleagues who didn’t need to work overtime already left. There were still quite a large group of people in the office working overtime. However, many spontaneously had begun to pack up, including Zhu Hongzhen and Bi Lele. In the end, there were only a few people who had projects on hand that needed extra attention. For example, the participating members of the D-City office project team.

Of course, Zhang Siyi did not need to work overtime, provided that he had finished his drafting assignment. The mobile phone in his pocket kept vibrating. His friends were going together to the appointed place and shared the real-time location information in the WeChat discussion group. As the protagonist of the party, Zhang Siyi wanted to go, but he didn’t dare leave.

Since he agreed to overtime work in the morning interview, he wasn’t going to leave on the first day of work. He didn’t want to die!

Before, when Gu Yu didn’t return, Zhang Siyi thought that maybe he had been played, and maybe, the other party had already left.

While walking to the restroom, he checked his messages and sent a message to his group of friends to say that he was going to work for a while and will be late. Zhang Siyi sent the message comforting his friends, but in reality, he sent it to comfort himself because he had no idea how long it would take. He just wanted to rush out to dinner.

Until Gu Yu appeared again, Zhang Siyi’s uneasiness dissipated. He accelerated the speed of drawing. When Gu Yu passed him, he stopped to look at his screen with special care.

Zhang Siyi was very nervous. He didn’t know if he was drawing it correctly or not, but at least he stayed. Isn’t that worthy of recognition?

Gu Yu saw him draw for half a minute without comment, and finally he only said: “If you are hungry, you can go downstairs and buy something to eat. Draw a 1:50 ratio and print it out then, come to the office to find me.”

Zhang Siyi: “…” Hey, he doesn’t want to eat, he wants to finish the draft and leave!

It took another half an hour, and Zhang Siyi finally got the picture done before 7:00.

He printed the picture according to his words, and went to Gu Yu with joy, thinking that it’s not too late to grab a taxi to meet up with his friends. However, he soon discovered that he was too naive.

At that time, Gu Yu was sitting in front of the computer and browsing ArchDaily. He had just set down a cup of steaming tea in his hand and saw Zhang Siyi coming in. He quietly said, “sit” and took out the scale and pencil from the pen holder. Like a teacher who was checking over an assignment, Gu Yu meticulously looked at the drawings

“Did Lu Qiao not send you the information? Did you see how many people use this building?” Gu Yu asked.

Zhang Siyi stupidly opened his mouth: “Ah”, he only wanted to hurry and draw, so he didn’t think about how many people are in this building to better understand how to plan the toilets.

Gu Yu used a pencil to lightly draw the drawings and explained: “According to the guidelines of the Architectural Design Code, the number of men’s toilets is less than 100, and one is set for 25 people. If there are more than 100 people, one additional for each additional 50 people. The number of urinals is the same as that of the toilet; the female toilet…”

Listening to Gu Yu slowly explain these terms like it was normal, he was blindsided. He didn’t know! ah!

“The details of the project clearly stated that the total flow of the building was 2000, and the average on each floor was about 120 people. Therefore, the total number of positions on each floor will not exceed six. Let’s see what you drew. There are 8 male restrooms and 10 female restrooms, which add up to 18,” Gu Yu looked up at him and said with a serious expression. “You laid out the floor plan with so many. I think the designer must be suffering from frequent urination and other digestion problems.”

Zhang Siyi: “……”

“And,” Gu Yu paused, placed the scale in hand on the illustration, and raised his eyebrows. “The interior compartment door of the bathroom is 500 in width? Are all the seats for kindergarten children?”

Zhang Siyi: “……”

Gu Yu glanced at the stairs he drew and asked: “When you went to school, did you learn how much higher the normal stairs were?”

Zhang Siyi asked with apprehension: “150?”

“The height of the step-in staircase in homes is between 180-200, and in public places, it is between 130-160,” Gu Yu precisely said the specific range. While using a pencil to circle the stairs on the map, he said: “3.2 meters… You have drawn 28 steps. How high is each step?”

He also did not wait for Zhang Siyi to answer. Instead, he directly took 3 books from the bookshelf and stacked them up to show him. Pointing to the height of the stack he said: “So shallow, you want people to constantly fall while trying to climb stairs?”

Zhang Siyi wanted to refute because he used the automatic stair plugin in the software.

“So, you didn’t even read the outline document that Lu Qiao sent to you?” Gu Yu sharply said.

Zhang Siyi was speechless for a moment—yes, Gu Yu was right. He was confused and eager to finish the draft, so he rushed through it and made many mistakes.

In a monotonous, as a matter of fact way, Gu Yu continued to point out several problems as though he was comparing prices of meat and vegetables on his grocery list, but for Zhang Siyi, the lethality of these words as he got straight to the point was comparable to a ninja’s flying knife that hit its target and was met with blood!

Moreover, Gu Yu wasn’t expressive like Zhang Siyi’s ex-girlfriend. When she was down, she expressed her feelings strongly, which made him feel uncomfortable sometimes. Gu Yu’s criticism was so logical and justified that it was simply irrefutable.

At the bottom of his heart, Zhang Siyi was slightly annoyed. Why did Gu Yu clearly see so many problems? When he looked at his work half an hour ago, he must have noticed some issues, but he never mentioned it. Was he purposely making Zhang Siyi suffer?

On the table, Gu Yu’s cell phone suddenly rang. He glanced at the screen. This time, he didn’t leave the room and picked up the call in front of Zhang Siyi.

Finally, Zhang Siyi had a moment to relax and thought for a bit on how to make amends to his friends. Silently, he listened to Gu Yu talk on the phone.

“…… Sorry, I’m still at work.” Gu Yu whispered, his tone was no different from the one he had just criticized Zhang Siyi with, but unlike previously, he could hear a hint of tenderness.”

Zhang Siyi secretly speculated, who was the call from? The Director’s girlfriend?

“You can eat dinner yourself. I’ve already eaten.” said Gu Yu.

Zhang Siyi pondered what he heard …. When did you go to eat? The short break before??

“…. at the fast food place downstairs in the company….” Gu Yu lowered his head, and his long eyelashes covered his dark eyes and continued with the phone conversation. “Yes… next time I’ll eat better… I know……”

As Gu Yu listened to the person on the phone, he continued to look at Zhang Siyi’s drawing  and wrote the list of the questions he had just mentioned to Zhang Siyi in the blank spaces of the illustration.

“No, there is nothing urgent,” Gu Yu glanced at Zhang Siyi and said,” There is a new employee today and I’m helping him with some beginning work.”

Zhang Siyi suddenly felt good. Gu Yu had to put his girlfriend (if it was) on hold in order to stay with him at the office for overtime work. On the other hand, Zhang Siyi still wanted to meet up with friends and have fun.

“Okay, I’ll contact you later.”

Gu Yu hung up the phone and looked at Zhang Siyi. He quickly put his phone away and pointed at the draft to continue with his criticism: “The smallest size of a toilet door, and the ergonomic scale of things are issues you should already know as a designer. Basic common sense that must be met. I understand you don’t know the rules of the country yet, but you must at least have the awareness of the specification before design.”

At this point, Zhang Siyi had been ashamed and wanted to dig a hole to bury himself in. At this rate, he wondered how he was ever able to graduate from University.

Looking at Zhang Siyi despondent figure, Gu Yu was cautious of saying too much. Sighing, he pushed the already annotated drawings back to him, and said: “Go and change these problems.”

……. Aah ….. I still have to finish drawing before I get to leave ?

Zhang Siyi took the drawings and returned to his seat. He saw Lu Qiao message: “Are you still alive? I am ready to get off work.”

Zhang Siyi: “I am drawing the first draft.”

Lu Qiao: “The floor plan was simple. Are you still drawing that?”

Zhang Siyi: “…”

Zhang Siyi: “It’s very difficult for me!”

Lu Qiao: “Well initially, drafting and rendering the plans for the first few times was complicated, but it will get easier. Afterwards, you will know how to do it much faster, but also, the Boss will get stricter.

Lu Qiao: “Oh by the way, there are free biscuits in the dining area. If you’re hungry, you can get some to eat. Not much more and you can go home soon. You can do it!”

Zhang Siyi was moved: “Thank you!”

At first, he wasn’t hungry at all at. Since he really wanted to celebrate with friends, he didn’t plan to stay for long but now, he felt famished.

After Lu Qiao left, there were only a few people left in the office. Zhang Siyi took out his mobile phone and did not dare read the new messages in WeChat. He was afraid that his friends would be disappointed, and even more afraid of being discovered by Gu Yu, he only quickly sent a letter to Fu Xinhui. SMS: “I am still working overtime, you should eat first, don’t wait for me!”

After sending the text message, he simply shut down his phone and concentrated on his work.

The stillness of the office didn’t help the matter. Now that he was the only one remaining, he felt lonely. On the first day of work, between his boss’s criticism, the introduction of his colleagues, and his friends waiting to go out for dinner, Zhang Siyi’s felt strung out.

As he worked at his computer fixing the drawing, he began to reflect on his past years in College. He clearly remembered being busy all the time, but why doesn’t it seem like he learned anything? Would his situation be different today if all the hours that he had been spent playing around with friends were instead used for studying?

The more he thought about it, the more he felt uncomfortable. It was a different kind of discomfort then the emptiness that an ex-girlfriend leaves behind. Rather, it was a heart-wrenching story of his own making.

He continued to rework the plans and continued to draw until nine o’clock in the evening. After showing Gu Yu the drawings, he nodded and Zhang Siyi was able to go home.

When he walked out of the office building, it was already dark out and there weren’t many people around which was a sharp contrast to the vigorous flow of people in the morning hours.

Zhang Siyi took a deep breath and his dying brain cells were renewed when they felt the fresh air of freedom. He reopened his phone and saw a red dot on the screen – missed calls, unread text messages, and hundreds of WeChat messages…

Zhang Siyi braced himself and gave Fu Xinhui a call. When he first connected, he heard a roar: “Zhang Siyi! Where the fuck are you?”

He pulled the phone away from his ear briefly as Fu Xinhui spoke, then replied: “Oh, well, I just got off work.” Zhang Siyi shrank his shoulders and cautiously said: “I’ll meet you now?”

Fu Xinhui: “There is no point now. We’re almost done! Do you know how many phone calls I just made? How dare you turn off your phone!”

Zhang Siyi wanted to cry without tears: “No, really it was just work, I’m sorry.” He faintly heard the voice of Su Yuan and Ren Mengyu from the phone, and both seemed to be a bit upset.

“Don’t go. Let me at least see you quickly. After all, I was the one doing the inviting. “Zhang Siyi looked for a taxi, eager to get to the restaurant quickly and appease his friends.

Fu Xinhui mercilessly said: “Don’t bother. Su Yuan already left because she wanted to take the last train to her new apartment on the East side.”

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