Assistant Architect - Chapter 68

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 20:50:05]
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Assistant Architect by Xi He Qing Ling


Chapter 68: Honoring Ancestors


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Zhang Siyi\'s heart stopped: "What do you mean:not-so-good?" He heard Fu Xinhui breathing heavily with exertion as if he wasbusy with something so he couldn\'t talk right now. “Then you remember tocall me back as soon as possible!” Zhang Siyi rushed to say, but Fu Xinhuinever replied.


At first, Zhang Siyi wasn\'t very attached to Cheer-up,but every day when he came home from work, Cheer-Up would come greet him andbeg to be petted and thus changed Zhang Siyi\'s attitude bit by bit. Even thoughFu Xinhui is technically Cheer-Up\'s owner, the dog didn\'t treat Zhang Siyi anydifferently. Since it\'s been two months since Fu Xinhui got the dog, the twomen felt a little bit like parents, so naturally, when Zhang Siyi heard \'not sogood\' he began to worry.


“Sisi, what are you doing alone upstairs? Comedown and honor your grandparents!” Zhang Siyi\'s Mother yelled fromdownstairs.


"Coming!" Zhang Siyi yelled down in response. Hesighed and put aside his thoughts of Fu Xinhui and the dog for the time being.


According to local customs, during New Year\'s,the whole family would meet for a celebratory meal and honor their elders. Inthe past, Zhang Siyi would drive to his Grandfather\'s home to celebrate, butbecause of cancer, it has been seven years since his passing. Due to grief, hisGrandmother also passed away six months after his Grandfather. Now, they stayat home to celebrate and pay tribute to their ancestors.


Zhang Siyi saw his Father kneeling at the smallshrine at home with incense sticks in his hand whispering in a low voice:"Father, thank you for your good fortune and the merits of our ancestors. TheZhang family is very good in both body and mind. You can rest assured. Also,Siyi graduated from abroad this year and found a job in Haicheng. He is workingvery diligently, and his career is taking off. If you and Mother know frombeyond, then please bless his safety and protect him from bad people so hislife can be successful and peaceful……"


Zhang Siyi seldom had the opportunity to hear hisfather prayers. He didn\'t expect his scrupulous and demanding father to saysuch boastful words in front of Grandpa. Having argued with him just before, ZhangSiyi felt guilty. Looking at his back, he watched his Father insert the incenseinto the small shrine on the table then turn around. Suddenly, he felt a littleawkward, like he was eavesdropping on his father. His Father\'s stern faceurged: "Hurry, down on your knees!"


Zhang Siyi: “…..”


After receiving the incense stick from hisMother, Zhang Siyi also kneeled and said: "Grandpa, thanks to you I am allright in body and mind, you can rest assured…."


Exasperated, Father Zhang abruptly gave ZhangSiyi a whack on the back of his head: "What are you saying? Speak properly!"


Zhang Siyi felt extremely depressed and thought: "Howam I not saying it good enough? It\'s the same as you!" Solemnly, he flattenedhis mouth and continued: "Anyway, I\'m very good but I don\'t have enough money tospend. Grandpa please bless me next year so my wages will increase, and I getmore bonuses. Oh, and also, I hope I don\'t get fired…."


Listening to Zhang Siyi\'s bewildering prayer, thecorner of his Father\'s eye twitched. He wanted to reach out a slap Zhang Siyiinto the ashes of the incense sticks, but with great restraint, his Father didnothing.


After worship, Zhang Siyi sprang up, patted his kneesand launched himself upstairs like a monkey in the trees. In less than an hour,the hot dishes Mother and housekeeper have prepared will be ready for NewsYears dinner.


After sending a few messages to Fu Xinhui withoutreceiving a response, Zhang Siyi couldn\'t wait for his call any longer, so hecalled instead, but to his surprise, the other party\'s phone was turned off! ZhangSiyi was so anxious that he was constantly looking down at his phone while hurryingto eat his dinner. His Father was getting angrier and angrier and glared at ZhangSiyi.


Zhang Siyi ignored his Father\'s unstatedcriticism. He felt the phone suddenly vibrate in his hand. He looked down andconfirmed it was Fu Xinhui calling. He quickly left his seat, walked to theside and answered the phone eagerly: “Hello? What’s the matter with you? Whydid you turn the phone off? I’m worried sick. Do you know that?"


Watching Zhang Siyi nervous expressions and anxiousmovements, his parents turned to look at one another. An unspoken communicationpassed between them: His girlfriend?


Fu Xinhui: “Something has happened to myfamily.”


Zhang Siyi: “What happened?”


Fu Xinhui: “Before my uncle went gambling inMacau, he owed more than 20 million. He hid the truth from my father andborrowed money from a loan shark. Not long ago, the police came over to thehouse and arrested my uncle for fraudulent practices."


Zhang Siyi: “But today is New Year’sEve!”


Fu Xinhui: “The police don\'t care if it isNew Year’s Eve or not."


Zhang Siyi: “So what’s going to happen now?


Fu Xinhui: “After, the debt collectors cameto the house and smashed the door down looking for my uncle. We are hiding in ahotel for now."


Zhang Siyi: “What? It\'s your Uncle\'sbusiness, not yours. Why did they come to your house?"


Fu Xinhui: "I can\'t tell you the specifics rightnow, but in short my Uncle used my father\'s name. I heard those people havelong been threatening to sue him, but he ignored it and continued doing thingshis own way. My Uncle provoked them, and they retaliated against our family……"


Zhang Siyi: “Oh My God! He’s completelyscrewing up your whole family!"


Fu Xinhui: “Yes…… Regardless, my Dad isurgently trying to get him out of jail."


Zhang Siyi: “What!? To get out and keephurting the family? That\'s not helpful! Your dad’s making the situation worse!"


Fu Xinhui: “Hey, I don’t know what he is thinking."


Suddenly remembering about the dog Zhang Siyi asked:“You said Cheer-Up wasn\'t so good. Is he alright?"


“He is fine now.” Feeling down, FuXinhui’s responded in a hoarse voice. "Cheer-Up is confused and scared. Previously,my sister didn\'t bother with him, but now, she is telling me to get rid of thedog. Even though his name is Cheer-Up, I haven\'t actually cheered up."


Zhang Siyi: “What? Is your sister that muchof a cold-blooded animal that she demands you get rid of such a cute dog?"


Fu Xinhui: "Well… it\'s not really like that. Wewere out in town and Cheer-Up ran off. I was worried and went after him andtold my sister to go. But my sister was worried more about the entire situation,so she called for the bodyguard to follow. We saw one of the debt collectorsgrabbing Cheer-Up maliciously. Then the bodyguard went after the debt collectorand beat him. Shockingly, my sister also ran over with a brick in hand…. Thatwas the first time I saw her protect the family. She was speechless afterwards."


After listening, Zhang Siyi was surprised: "That\'svery different then what you told me about her. She said one thing, but in facther actions were the opposite." His attitude towards Fu Xinhui\'s sisterchanged.


Fu Xinhui: “Yeah.”


Zhang Siyi: “…..”


Fu Xinhui: “I\'ve been thinking if I havealways misunderstood my sister. Maybe I thought her harsh words from the past soundedmean, but in fact were said in concern. Hey, I am pretty confused now. Have youeaten? You\'re supposed to be eating now, aren\'t you? Sorry to bother you."


Zhang Siyi: “Don\'t\' be so polite. Since youand Cheer-Up are well, then I am at ease."


Fu Xinhui: “Well, you go and eat, we’ll talklater.”


Zhang Siyi: “Yes, you remember to eatyourself.”


Hanging up the phone, Zhang Siyi sighed. What amess!


When his Mother saw that he had finally finished hiscall, she inquired: "Sisi, who’s on the phone? What have you been talking aboutfor so long?"


Zhang Siyi couldn’t help but tell his parentseverything about Fu Xinhui’s family situation.


Deep in thought, Zhang Siyi\'s Father listened towhat Zhang Siyi said and furrowed his brows. His Mother was also listening andsighed: "The rich family situation isn\'t good for them. What are they doing now?"


Zhang Siyi: “They are staying at a hotel nowand will have New Year\'s dinner there."


Mother Zhang shook her head: "With what hashappened to them, its hard to think of eating."


For a long time, his Father didn\'t express hisopinion on this matter. Suddenly he asked: "Is this the classmate you arerenting a house with in Haicheng now?"


Zhang Siyi: “Well, yeah.”


With contempt, Zhang Siyi\'s Father spoke: "Justpay attention to your own needs and don\'t have anything to do with his family. Maintaininga minimal relationship with your classmate is alright, but his family is moretrouble than its worth."


After hearing what his father had to say, ZhangSiyi was livid. He rarely talked back to his father, but he couldn\'t containhis emotions: "What is this \'minimal friendship\'? He is my BEST friend! When Ihad no money to pay for rent, he helped me willingly. Now that he is in trouble,it\'s my turn to help. I can\'t stand by idle and do nothing!"


His Father put his chopsticks down and firedback: "What did I say? I told you not to get in touch with his family. Did Itell you to ignore him? You said he needs help, but with what ability do youhave currently that can help him?"


The self-esteem of any person who \'does not havethe ability\' will feel hurt. Zhang Siyi is no exception, especially because hisfather’s words were so true. Zhang Siyi face was black and blue with anger.


In a forceful voice, his father snapped again:“I\'ll tell you, this kind of rich second generation doesn\'t know what a setbackis. He doesn\'t know what true work ethic is. He doesn\'t know how to moveforward and rely on himself. You have been with him for so long, it is a miraclethat you haven\'t been corrupted too. His life is a waste!"


Zhang Siyi: "……"


Noticing the atmospherebecoming tenser and gloomier, Zhang Siyi\'s Mother spoke up in a timely manner: "Itis the New Year\'s. Can you two stop quarreling? Sisi, you are being toosensitive. Your father did not say that you had to end your friendship. He isworried about you being implicated in the incident because you rent anapartment together. Now that his family is having problems, what are you goingto do about your place? And you, Old Comrade Zhang, you see his rich friend be ableto build relationships with others regardless of wealth or poverty is also aperson worthy of respect. It would do well to speak more tactfully and not puton airs of an lieutenant master."


Mother Zhang served them wine and a bowl of soup. Not uttering a word, father and son lowered their heads and ate their sweet soup.


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