Lin Yifei had no appetite and was still wondering if Chris would forgive himself once he received his present.
Tomorrow is Monday. I will know once I see Chris.
All of a sudden, Lin Yifei really felt like a child. I am 22 years old…but I have been run around in circle by 12-year-old Chris…
Just then, the doorbell rang. Lin Yifei thought that it was his mother who didn’t have to work overtime anymore. When he opened the door, he found Chris standing outside his door. He was really shocked. At that time, he didn’t know what to say.
“I didn’t know you sold the cabin to buy sabres and protective gears.” Chris’s words were really brief and to the point, but with this one sentence, it was just as if all the knots had been untied.
Lin Yifei suddenly felt wronged, “You still say we are not friends.”
“I’m sorry.” Chris’s apology shocked Lin Yifei.
In Lin Yifei’s memory, Chris apologized to him only once, that was when Lin Yifei’s favorite soccer cheerleader Katie told Lin Yifei that she liked Chris. It was like a bolt from the blue. Lin Yifei sat in the dorm all night playing games on the computer and refused to say a word to Chris. Then the guy took his headphones and forced Lin Yifei to listen to him say ‘I’m sorry’.
“Come in…come in!” Lin Yifei stepped aside, and let Chris come in.
Chris entered Lin Yifei’s house for the first time. His house was a simple two bedrooms with one living room. Lin Yifei’s room was very small and backed against the street window. Chris looked down from the window, just like when Lin Yifei stared at him delivering newspapers every morning.
“Why don’t you eat here in the evening? My Mom won’t come back till late at night. My Dad will even stay in the factory later than 8 o’clock.” Lin Yifei skillfully took the dishes on the table to the kitchen to heat up.
“good.” Chris got up and said, “I’ll call home.”
“Mmm!” He didn’t know why, but his mood suddenly turned joyful.
There were only two dishes on the table, fried eggs with tomatoes and fried meat with green peppers. Lin Yifei filled another two bowls of rice. “Ha ha, my mother didn’t know my friend would come to visit me, so what she cooked was just ordinary things.“
“It doesn’t matter. They look delicious.” Although Chris often ate Chinese food brought back by Mrs. Lynn, it was obvious that he wasn’t very good at using chopsticks.
Lin Yifei burst out laughing with a snort, “If you pick the food like that, it’ll fall off immediately. Come on! I’ll teach you!” He pulled up a stool and sat beside Chris, reaching out to adjust the position of his chopsticks.
“You see, place your middle finger against the side, and put pressure here and here…” Lin Yifei lifted up his head away from the chopsticks. Through the side of his face, he found Chris looking at himself.
“Wh…What…” Lin Yifei let go of his hand and thought that Chris was very proud and couldn’t help but dislike others teaching him so happily.
“Xiao Fei, you are very patient.” Chris said flatly.
“…what did you call me just now? Xiao Fei?” Lin Yifei was shocked. Chris never called his name. Just now, the word ‘Xiao Fei’ was in perfect Chinese. Where did he learn it?
“I heard your mother call you that, isn’t it?”
Lin Yifei smiled. He dipped his finger in plain boiled water and wrote ‘Lin Yifei (林逸飞)’ on the table.
“This is my name written in Chinese. Lin is my last name. You all like to call me Lin, but that’s not my name. My name is Yifei. Although it isn’t difficult to read, few people call my name. I gave myself an English name, Ethan, but KK and they still called me Lin, which is probably easier to say.”
“Yifei.” Chris opened his mouth and call out gently. Lin Yifei felt a quiver in his heart.
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How long had he not heard Chris pronounce his name in that slightly cold but faintly gentle voice? Every time he and Chris had conflicts over some things, such as the girl he chased liked Chris, such as going to the pub to have fun and being caught back to the dormitory by Chris, such as losing to Chris in the competition, he would stand behind Lin Yifei and said softly, “Yifei, don’t be angry.”
Then, he was not angry anymore.
“Ha ha, your pronunciation of my name is very standard!” Lin Yifei bumped him with his shoulder, “Have a meal! Otherwise it will be cold! Don’t drop rice on the table. I’m lazy and don’t want to clean the table!”
After the two had finished their meal, Lin Yifei looked out the window and saw that it was getting dark. The security here was really bad, so he was not at ease letting Chris go home.
“Chris, why don’t you stay in my house today? We will go to school together tomorrow?”
“Good.” Chris nodded. Lin Yifei didn’t expect him to promise so readily.
“Oh! Chris, how did you come to our house?”
“Bicycle? Where did you throw your bicycle?”
“Fool! The bicycle must be brought into the house! What if someone steals it!” Lin Yifei hurried downstairs and saw the bicycle chain lying unlocked by the door. Perhaps the security in the United States was better than that in China, since it was still there.
Carrying the bicycle in, the two boys sat in the narrow living room watching TV. Before long, Lin Yifei’s father came back. He saw Chris and enthusiastically went out to buy a bottle of soda and came back. He also searched the cupboard for half a day to find a pillow for Chris to sleep at night.
By close to nine o’clock, father Lin was driving the two children to take a shower. Lin Yifei dug out a clean set of pajamas and took Chris to the bathroom.
When Lin Yifei was stripping off his clothes, he realized that Chris was still standing there. Lin Yifei was embarrassed and remembered that although the US was open, it paid great attention to privacy.
“Hey…if you’re embarrassed…I’ll finish washing before you come in?”
Who knew that Chris also began to undress. “It doesn’t matter.”
Lin Yifei stood on tiptoe and took off the shower head. “It seems that you Americans all like to take a bath, but that’s a waste of water.”
As he spoke, Lin Yifei carried the shower head to help Chris wash. Chris was still very thin at this time. One couldn’t see his graceful muscles and vigorous body shape ten years later.
After the two boys had showered, they were somewhat hot. Lin Yifei turned on the electric fan and stood it in front of it. But Chris said, “You’ll catch a cold.”
“All right, all right!” Lin Yifei grunted and showed Chris his protective gears. “Look, I have one too. So, we can fight.”
In the evening, when the two boys were lying in bed, Lin Yifei couldn’t help but feel excited and said many things about his childhood. The two boys laid side by side and face to face. Although it was a bit hot, Lin Yifei didn’t feel it at all.
Gradually becoming sleepy, Lin Yifei unconsciously fell asleep. He didn’t know, but Chris still looked at him with his eyes open.
After a long time, until Lin Yifei’s breathing normalized, Chris reached out his fingertip and gently touched Lin Yifei’s childlike nose tip, as if to determine whether this person really existed.
Lin Yifei’s eyelashes quivered and he smacked his lip in his sleep. Chris froze there. After two or three seconds, he was tempted by something. His fingers gently traced Lin Yifei’s eyelashes. The soft and delicate feeling made him reluctant to withdraw his fingers.
The next morning, when Chris got up, Lin Yifei also woke up in a daze.
“Chris…are you going to send newspapers…”
Lin Yifei got up with his eyes closed. “I’ll go with you.”
“No, it’s too early.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Lin Yifei stretched himself and went to the kitchen. His mother was preparing breakfast when she saw her son get up so early. She was surprised.
“Mom, Chris and I are going to deliver newspapers. We’ll come back for breakfast later.”
“Oh, the child has to deliver newspapers so early? You see how sensible people are!”
Lin Yifei giggled, brushed his teeth, washed his face and carried Chris’s bike downstairs.
“Hey hey, don’t you think that I’m heavy behind you?”
“No, you can sleep on me if you are sleepy.” Chris rode like this. They went to collect the newspapers then distributed them along the street.
Lin Yifei found it very interesting. Chris was in charge of cycling. Every time he rode to the door of one house, Lin Yifei went down and put the newspaper in front of the house, and then went on to the next.
When they reached Chris’s house, Chris asked Lin Yifei to watch the bicycle and went up to take down his schoolbag. Lin Yifei looked up and saw Mrs. Lynn smiling at himself by the windowsill.
When they returned to the Lins’ house again, breakfast was all ready and there were still two lunch boxes on the table.
“Xiao Fei, I don’t know whether your friend likes Chinese food or not. I have prepared some for him to take to school.”
While drinking porridge, Lin Yifei grabbed a steamed stuffed bun for Chris and winked as if to say it was delicious. His mouth was full of vague words: “Thank you, Mom!”
Mother Lin turned around and sighed, “Xiao Fei, you don’t eat like a hungry ghost reborn. Look at this classmate of yours. How cultured he eats.”
“Ha ha…” Lin Yifei looked at Chris and laughed twice.
After that, Chris took Lin Yifei back to school.
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KK was very surprised. She poked her pencil on Lin Yifei’s back. “I say, have you made up with that guy again?”
“Yes.” Lin Yifei deliberately covered his mouth with his hand and whispered to KK, “By the way, I found out that his mother is actually a music teacher. Last night, I saw her teaching piano to the child in the next house. She plays very well.”
“Really?” KK looked at Chris strangely.
“Yes.” Lin Yifei nodded.
As usual, Lin Yifei and Chris would go to the canal. Lin Yifei taught Chris footwork there.
“You should pay attention to the timing when the sabre is delivered and when you lunge.” Lin Yifei moved his left hand. His right hand made a thrusting gesture, and then went out with a big slide. The move was so dazzling that it made people unable to close their eyes.
Chris didn’t grasp the timing well at first, but after Lin Yifei corrected him several times, Chris made rapid progress.
During the weekends, the two of them would wear protective equipment and use sabres to fight, but unfortunately Lin Yifei was very afraid of heat and would take off their protective equipment after two or three minutes.
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