Assistant Architect - Chapter 1 (2)

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 20:49:37]
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Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling

Chapter 1: Coffee


Zhang Siyi lifted his hand and swiped his phone screen. Tohis surprised, the current displayed time was 11:35.

When he first sat down, it was 10:40. The beautiful girlwith expertly applied makeup and delicate curly hair in front of him had beenscolding him for at least one hour. The other party didn’t seem like they weregoing to stop anytime soon. The cup of latte in front of her was completelycool now. Zhang Siyi wondered how she can talk for so long without having adrink. Is she not thirsty?

Although he is listening, Zhang Siyi is really bored, and his focus is elsewhere. Scanning the area with his eyes, he notices a mix of traditional elements with contemporary European styles giving the café a sleek yet comfortable atmosphere. In particular, the decorative, dark green star lights around the room are quite interesting. The table and chair positions are arranged perfectly to maximize the space inside the cafe. None of the tables were empty….

"Hey, are you listening?" The girl\'s high voice abruptly pulled back Zhang Siyi\'s attention.

“Yeh, I heard.” Zhang Siyi adjusted his body and quickly refocused his eyes back to the girl.

While talking, the girl\'s long delicate fingerswith painted nails flew in front of him like a colorful butterfly, as if to conducta passionate "sonata", but unfortunately, this sonata is entering a boringrepetitive major.

She continues to complain: “How many timeshave you taken the initiative to ask me out since returning to China? I cancount them on one hand…. three. Onlythree times!! One time, you overslept,and the other two times added together are not even a day. I really don’tunderstand why you are so busy all the time! Before while abroad, I know you werevery busy studying architecture. I have endured the time spent at home while wespent apart, but now you have graduated and returned to China. You haven’tfound a job yet. What are you doing at home all day?”

“Looking for a job …”

“Looking for a job, 24 hours a day? Don’t you have time to goout and eat with me? I called you the day before yesterday to ask you out to amovie. You promised me, but we ended up not going. Why? You said your portfoliowasn’t finished, but then I saw you chatting with your friends online. You havetime for friends but not me?"

Zhang Siyi argued. He took a break from doing his homework and checked his social media page for updates. It wasn’t for more than five minutes.

… well, maybe it was more like fifteen minutes.

“You have time to chat with your friends online, but you don’t have time to watch a movie with me?”

Zhang Siyi wanted to say “yes”, but he was afraid such a remark would evoke the girl\'s fury and tear him to pieces, so he endured and did not answer.

Even so, it did not stop his innermost feelings:accompanying you to watch a movie means I musttake a shower, wash my hair and clean up otherwise you criticize me. If I’m not wearing the right cloths, youscold me. If I say anything other than "like" towards the film, you get angryat me. Then, when the movie is over, I must accompany you home which is 45mineach direction let alone my own commute so with all time spent….. Of course, it\'s easier to chat online withfriends!

Frowning again, the girl suddenly thought, “Didn’t youalready graduate? What else do you have to do?”

“As I explained already, the designs I made while studying weren\'tenough, so I need to take this time to make more drawings.

“Why didn’t you do it while you were studying? Did you not have time?"

“At that time, there were other things to worry about. The architecture department was not only about designing, but also about architectural structure and environment as well as architectural history. There were also various software programs I has to learn!"

“Busy playing games? Or busy chatting online?


“Zhang Siyi, why don’t you take care of yourself when you go out? Your hair is so messy, and you have dark circles under your eyes. What time did you get to sleep last night?” You used to never have acne on your face! But look at you. You have two spots on your forehead!”

“I thought everyone who studies architecture is very clean-cut. When I first met you, you were so well dressed and fashionable…”

“…” (I wanted to impress you at that time!)

“But look at what youhave become. No one believes that theslob in front of me is learning architecture!”

Zhang Siyi can’t help butsay: “You have not seen the state of the department members right beforeour projects are due. It\'s not uncommon for people to stop washing their hairor bathe for a month!"

"The girl showed a shockedand disgusted expression, but in less than two seconds, she complained:“But you have graduated now, and aren’t working so why are you stillacting like that. Ah!”

“I said I was doing my…”

“Don’t keep talking about your portfolio. What about the days when you first returned to China? I invited you out, but you are always with that guy named Fu Xinhui. You are now renting a house and living together. You go out with him and he even cooks\' meals for you!"

When his girlfriend mentioned this, Zhang Siyi was anxious: “Can you not think about it, I am really just friends with him.”

“Ha?” The girlsneered. “I haven’t said anything and yet you are so anxious to argue! Doyou know that there is a word called ‘to cover the glory’? I have long heardthat there are many gay people learning design."

Zhang Siyi is a littleannoyed: “You think your boyfriend is gay?”

“I just want you to keepyour distance from him!"

“Please, I’ve been withhim for four years, and if he’s gay I’d have noticed it by now. Besides he usedto have a girlfriend!” As far as his relationship with Fu Xinhui goes,Zhang Siyi does not know how many times he has had to explain this her. She isdoubtful and always feels like he is lying to her.

“What are you so angry about? I just mention Fu Xinhui. Do you have something to hide?"

He was a straight man who wasrepeatedly suspected by his girlfriend to be gay. How could it still be so difficultfor her to understand. Zhang Siyi was depressed: “If you wanted to take meout today just to go through these old accounts, I really do not have time foryou. I did not sleep until four in themorning today, and you woke me up at nine, so now I\'m tired to death!”

Instead of being calm, thegirl grew more agitated. She raised her voice and said, “Do you think I wantto rehash the same grievances? Every time I see you, you look dead. I have beenwaiting for you at home for two years, but when you came back, you only tookthe initiative to contact me a few times!"

Zhang Siyi’s was so angry that his face was turning blue. Before returning to China every year, he would buy many gifts for his girlfriend. He could see the delight in her eyes when she happily received them, but he didn’t know what has happened in the past two months. As time passed, her temper was getting worse and worse. She has become a different person.

The girl did not wait forZhang Siyi to answer. Her barrage of words didn’t seem like they were going toend anytime soon, until her statement, “If you are going to act like thisthen don’t bother relying on me. Do you know how disappointed I am with you now!

Before Zhang Siyi even knew what was happening, he impulsivelysaid, “Since you are so disappointed with me, then let\'s break up!” Thisis his first time he took the initiative to break up. After the angry wordsfrom both parties subsided, they instantly fell into a strange silence.

Zhang Siyi regrets it a little, but he really can’t stand it anymore. At least today, he doesn’t want to be the "good guy” anymore.

Looking at each other insilence, the girl’s face turned blue and white. She was startled. With thebeginning of tears forming in her red eyes, she suddenly stood up. She grabbedthe cup in a hurry with a shaking hand then aimed for Zhang Siyi. Splash!

Just as he was thankful forhis agility, in the next second a noise came from behind. Zhang Siyi turned hishead to see the young man behind him.

Long legs…. well-proportionedface…. perfect build…. One word describes his features: handsome

Dressed in plain whiteT-shirt and simple slacks with a large album under his arm, he looked like anapproachable person someplace between a strict white-collar worker and a laid-backscholar…… Of course, if you ignore the large coffee stain from his waist tohis hem.

His other hand was in the process of pushing back his seat. Apparently, he was preparing to leave, but because of Zhang Siyi’s dodging, he was covered in coffee instead. Now, the unabsorbed coffee is continuing down his pant leg, trickling onto his clean vintage shoes and looking miserable.

“S, sorry…” Zhang Siyi hurriedly apologized.

The manheld up an arm halfway and stared at him, furrowing his brows with dislike.With such a simple facial action, a cold shiver ran down Zhang Siyi’s back.

Under the impulsiveness of the girl, her wrath has come on to others. It is extremely embarrassing, but she is still mad, and does not want to apologize to the third person. Hearing Zhang Siyi’s excuses, she had a very legitimate reason for throwing the coffee, so she picked up her bag and stomped away angrily. She left the mess for her former boyfriend to clean up.

Zhang Siyi looked at the handsome guy with wide eyes. What should I do with this situation? Apologize? Offer money? Help him wash his clothes? Or do I offer a business card and leave it to a phone call to settle the problem later?

Zhang Siri doesn\'t want to get more involved then he already is. He would rather spend more money right now to solve the issue immediately. Based on how the man is dressed, it shouldn\'t cost too much as he isn\'t wearing designer clothes.

“Ah…. this thing…” Zhang Siyi took a minute to look around for a paper towel to offer and wipe up the mess.

However, before he finished, in a low tone that revealed a hint of indifference and alienation, the man interrupted: “Forget it.”

“…” Forget it? He was splashed with a cup of coffee instead of a glass of mineral water!

But the other party did not give Zhang Siyi much time to think. After finishing the two words, he turned and left. Just as he approached the door, he turned his head and looked back at Zhang Siyi\'s deflated figure.

Zhang Siyi stunned in place,suddenly remembered the verbal lashing he received. His girlfriend was talkingfor over an hour with him. How long was the man sitting behind him for and how muchdid he overhear?

With Zhang Siyi sloppyappearance and his girlfriend thinking he is gay…… no wonder he turned tailand left in a hurry. Oh, this is fucking embarrassing! Upset at himself he sighed. I\'m so stupid.

Taking a deep breath, hereassured himself repeatedly–the city is so big, he can\'t possibly bump intothe handsome man again. In a few days the incident will be forgotten. Just letit go! After returning home, Zhang Si Yi turned on the air conditioning andflopped on his bed giving him a moment respite from the mental and physical exhaustionthe break up caused.

Upon Zhang Siyi return toChina, he and his 2 friends decided to share a three-bedroom apartment locatedin the Haicheng part of town which is one of the most prosperous locations inthe city. The rent is naturally not low, but with the three of them livingtogether the rent is 4000 each due monthly.

When Zhang Siyi boasted in front of his friends, they really didn\'t give him a penny. He said that he would make money himself after graduating. He didn\'t want to burden his family. But even so, the rent for the first three months was payed due to the left-over money from studying that his family gave him. The currency that wasn\'t spent was all converted into RMB for his expenses. Now almost two months have passed, and he didn\'t have a job. Since another month\'s rent is due soon, he will likely only be able to eat dirt!

After a long sigh, Zhang SiYi got up from the bed to turn on his computer. He wanted to see if anyoneresponded to the resumes he sent to various architectural firms, but hismailbox was empty.