“Thanks!” Lin Yifei finally turned around.
Chris walked to the bed and removed his towel to change into his pajama in front of Lin Yifei without any hesitation. This made Lin Yifei feel that his cover-up was unnecessary.
They were all children. What was he struggling for?
After putting on his pajama, Chris took a small towel and went behind Lin Yifei’s back. He covered the other’s head and gently wiped his dripping hair.
Lin Yifei looked up and saw Chris’s eyes covered by bangs. He stretched out his hand and touched his hair. “Chris, your hair is golden brown. It’s beautiful.”
Chris took away the bath towel and fingered Lin Yifei’s hair. “Yifei’s black hair is also beautiful.”
“Does black look good?” Lin Yifei climbed on the bed and uncovered the quilt. He was really tired today.
“Good, it’s a very pure color. Nothing can change black into another color.” Chris took a book and sat next to Lin Yifei. “You said that you will teach me if I don’t understand something.”
“Yes.” Lin Yifei suddenly regained some spirit. He was curious about what Chris didn’t understand. His Chinese seemed very fluent at ordinary times.
Who knew that Chris was holding a collection of essays by a Hong Kong female writer? He slowly opened the bookmarked page, “What does this mean?”
Lin Yifei craned his neck to look and couldn’t help laughing. “Chris, your level is already very high. Many Chinese people don’t necessarily understand the original meaning of these two phrases.”
“But I don’t know these first two phrases.” Chris looked at the book with a serious expression. This was the place where Lin Yifei appreciated him most before he was reborn. He was so focused. Therefore, even though many people kept him at a respectful distance because of his indifference, Lin Yifei chose to approach him.
“This sentence is very famous. It came from China’s oldest poetry collection < The Book of Songs >. ‘Life and death as one,’ said Zi Cheng. ‘Hold your hand and grow old with you’ was originally an agreement between soldiers to trust each other during life and death. Later on, people paid more attention to the latter phrase, which is used to praise long-term love. Hold your hand and grow old with you…means holding the other person’s hand and growing old together.”
Chris thought for a moment and then asked, “Yifei, can I say this to you?”
Lin Yifei was stunned then felt funny and said, “It’s not popular to say this phrase to friends now. It’s usually between lovers, especially when proposing. We are very good friends. If you say this phrase to me, although the original intention is right, it would feel very strange…Ha ha…”
However, Chris just turned the book over by one page, then recited the sentence between his lips: “Hold your hand and grow old with you.”
The voice was so light that Lin Yifei couldn’t tell whether he was just repeating his new Chinese phrase or reading it to Lin Yifei.
Lin Yifei was suddenly reminded of something and said, “Chris, you have to remember. You can’t say this phrase casually. Once you tell the person, you have to follow through. If one day you leave the person who heard you say this, no matter what the reason, she will feel very hurt.”
“Mmm.” Chris nodded, “This is a promise. Sometimes, people make promises when they don’t have enough confidence.”
“Wow, Chris, you’ve been so annoying since you were young!” Lin Yifei sighed, “A promise was originally such a beautiful thing, but it was exposed by you like a scar.”
The two boys turned over the page again. Lin Yifei gradually felt sleepy. His eyelids grew heavier. When Chris put the book in front of the two of them and raised his head to ask something, he realized that Lin Yifei had fallen asleep.
Chris slowly put the book on the bedside table. Lin Yifei’s eyes gently closed. His eyelashes hung down. His breathing extended, as if time was slowing down.
His heart was out of controlled. Chris’s right hand held his body. His lips carefully lowered down and slowly kissed. One didn’t know how long it took before he left Lin Yifei’s lips and looked at his side face.
After a long time, Chris carefully lowered Lin Yifei onto a pillow and turned off the ceiling light in the bedroom. The whole room was shrouded in darkness. Chris leaned over, reached for Lin Yifei’s fingertips and closed his eyes.
When the next morning came, everything changed. Lin Yifei’s whole body crossed over and occupied the bed diagonally. Chris was lying on the edge of the bed with Lin Yifei’s one leg on his back. The quilt covered Chris almost completely. Only Lin Yifei’s stomach was covered with a corner of the quilt. Fortunately, the weather was warm now. Otherwise, Lin Yifei would definitely catch cold.
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George stood in front of the bed and looked at the “terrible” picture and coughed.
“Master, it’s time to get up.”
Chris opened his eyes and saw that Lin Yifei was still sleeping soundly. He held out his hand and patted him on the face. “Wake up, Yifei.”
Lin Yifei turned over and rolled into an entire quilt in one fell swoop with great skill.
“Breakfast is ready.” George bowed then left the room.
Chris looked at Lin Yifei. He held his nose with one hand and covered his mouth with the other. Ten seconds later, Lin Yifei began to struggle and ‘voilà’ woke up.
“Ah! Do you want to kill people ah!” The messy hair like a bird’s nest on Lin Yifei’s head made him look very unhappy.
“Your vital capacity is so small that you can’t hold it for ten seconds.” Chris cocked his head and rolled out of bed. “Brush your teeth for three minutes.”
Lin Yifei froze there. This was one thing that mother Lin had to nag him every morning. When did Chris learn it?
During such a time with no complication, Lin Yifei suddenly felt the longer it lasted, the better.
If he hadn’t grown up, Lin Yifei could have deluded himself into thinking that his relationship with Chris would stay in the simplest place forever.
Once they arrived at the table, it was only them three children. Mr. Osborne got up earlier, while Mrs. Osborne usually slept longer because of physical reasons.
Lin Yifei looked at the milk in front of him and curled his lip.
After living with Lin Yifei for so long, Chen Manman naturally understood his preferences. So, she changed the orange juice in front of her with Lin Yifei’s.
Chris didn’t look up and just asked, “Don’t you want to grow taller?”
Lin Yifei’s face turned into a vegetable color. He took the milk in front of him and gulped it down. Even Chen Manman watched with her eyes wide open. Then Lin Yifei gagged. He felt his throat surging. It took a while to press down the feeling of wanting to vomit. At last, Chen Manman couldn’t help laughing with a snort.
After breakfast, the driver drove them to school. Lin Yifei returned to his campus life.
This week passed quickly. When the weekend came, it would be time for the Washington division of middle school fencing to decide on the top eight. On this day, as usual, Lin Yifei’s and Katherine’s friends and relatives came to support them.
Lin Yifei took off his coat in the dressing room and prepared to change into protective gear. Someone changed clothes beside him. Before Lin Yifei could put on his gloves, the other party elbowed Lin Yifei’s arm.
“Hiss.” Lin Yifei took a step back and raised his eyes to see that it was a big guy.
There was a mocking look on the other side’s face. “Does it hurt when I just touch it lightly?”
Then without apologizing, the big guy walked out of the dressing room.
The two opposite children waited for the big guy to walk away before asking, “Are you all right?”
“That guy is just like that. He always likes to bully people because he is older and taller.”
“I’m fine.” Lin Yifei rubbed his arm. “Is that guy a middle school student too?”
“Yes, ninth grade. This year should be the last time he can participate in the middle school interschool competition. He hasn’t entered the top four in Washington for three consecutive years.”
“But it’s not bad at the level of middle school students. Maybe he hit you just now to put pressure on you. He always likes to play this game.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t be affected.” Lin Yifei smiled at them.
After coming out of the dressing room, he came to the edge of the court and looked at his opponent wearing a mask, only to find out that it was the big guy. No wonder he was hitting himself.
Lin Yifei also slowly put on his mask. The two boys stood at the two ends of the court and saluted each other.
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As soon as the referee called out “Allez”, Lin Yifei suddenly pressed down the other side’s sabre, then pushed the other side back in two steps. His wrist was nimble enough to open the other side’s defense and hit the big guy on the shoulder.
Lin Yifei touched the tip of the sabre then returned to the starting position. The temperament and calmness he showed surprised the big guy so much that even the tip of his sabre trembled slightly.
In his heart, Lin Yifei called the other a ‘fool’. He knew that once the opponent began to fear himself, the match would only go one way.
Nevertheless, the big guy also took part in the interschool matches for three years after all. He soon calmed down and launched an attack on Lin Yifei. The footwork was steady, with more strength and speed but less dexterity. Although Lin Yifei was forced to retreat, his footwork was calm and orderly while constantly resisting the opponent’s attack. Then he seized the opportunity to fight back with a pressing attack. The position of the thrust was exactly the same as that of the previous one.
The big guy was annoyed. It was just a coincidence for Lin Yifei, but it looked like a deliberate provocation to the other side.
In the remaining 30 seconds of the first set, the big guy gave up his defense to just vent his anger on Lin Yifei. Under such a messy offensive, Lin Yifei’s good eyesight soon hit the other on the shoulder.
At the end of the bout, Lin Yifei scored three points and let the opponent eat the zero egg. The pressured exerted on the opponent in this set was simply incomparable to the one the big guy gave him in the dressing room. At the beginning of the second set, Lin Yifei didn’t take the initiative to attack. The big guy was also testing himself. Just when the attack range of the two boys were relatively small, the big guy suddenly lunged. Lin Yifei turned his head and held his sabre across his face. He set up his attack to separate the defense of the other. A downward thrust caused the other side to lose power. Then he took the chance to strike the big guy with another attack and scored another point.
The match was no longer a suspense in the eyes of many people. As a matter of fact, Lin Yifei scored 15 points in the first minute of the third set, bringing the match to an early end.
After taking off his mask, the big guy on the other side moved his sabre in a depressing manner while mercilessly staring at Lin Yifei.
T/N: I think I botched the match description in this chapter…zero knowledge in fencing 🙏
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