Lin Yifei took a ladle and scooped up a few balls in the pot, then ate them with his chopsticks. Chris who sat by his side also ate them with his chopsticks. Manman was right, Chris's behavior was really authentic.
That night, when Chris came home, Elizabeth who walked downstairs moved her nose to his side.
"What's the smell?"
Chris ignored her and walked up. Many people might not like the smell on him, but Chris liked it very much.
Through the thin steam of hot pot, he watched Lin Yifei lowered his delicate eyelashes and blew the food on his chopsticks then chew them with bulging cheeks. Everything appeared very warm.
He placed the scarf around his neck on the head of the bed and gently stroked it, as if he could still feel Lin Yifei's temperature there.
George knocked on the door and whispered, "Master, sir is waiting for you in the study."
Chris came to the study. Mr. Osborne sat here with a book opened in front of him. Seeing Chris coming in, he took off his glasses.
"Did you go to Lin?"
"Did you have fun?"
Mr. Osborne nodded. "You should know that Christmas is coming. There'll be another family gathering this year. It's boring not just for you, but also for me."
"Do you want me to be a puppet?" Chris leaned back against the seat and looked at his father indifferently.
"I just hope that you can behave better in front of the old guy DeNiro. I don't want your two cousins to make a big fuss about your indifference and say that you aren't suitable for the Osbornes' family."
"I'm really not suitable."
"There are some things we have to adapt ourselves to. Do you know why?" Mr. Osborne paused, "To protect what we think is important."
"What do you want to say?"
"Whether you like it or not, you are already a member of the Osbornes' family. I believe you're still rational enough to recognize the reality. In this family, only once you're strong enough can you protect the things you care about most…or people."
"What do you want to do with Yifei?" Chris's fist suddenly clenched.
Mr. Osborne smiled helplessly. He stretched out his hand to cover the back of his son's hand and patted him gently: "I will never hurt him. On the contrary, because you care about him, I also care about him. But what I want to say is that you don't want others to hurt him, such as the Taylors behind Elizabeth, your two cousins, or the old guy DeNiro."
"I won't marry Elizabeth." This was Chris's bottom line.
"I won't let you marry her. That would be tantamount to pushing the Osbornes' to the green eye wolves. I just want you to act more mature."
Christmas Eve had arrived, and snow was pouring outside the window. The windows along the streets were decorated. Beautiful Christmas trees could be seen everywhere. The singing during Christmas Eve permeated throughout the streets and alleys.
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The Osbornes' mansion was also decorated with incomparable luxury. Champagne, red wine and delicious food were just a small part of the appearance. When the members of the family arrived all dressed up, the Osbornes' main residence suddenly became the Versailles before the French Revolution.
Elizabeth was elegantly attired in a silver dress. Her skirt outlined her graceful feminine curves, with youthful maturity. This was the only time of the year when she converged her proudness.
Her parents, Mr. Taylor and his wife, also came. They hugged their daughter tightly. Mr. Taylor whispered in her ear, "How are you and Chris?"
Elizabeth smiled and shook her head. Her eyes had deep loneliness and unwillingness.
"It doesn't matter. I'll talk to DeNiro tonight. That Osborne guy will have to follow it even if he doesn't want to." Mr. Taylor patted his daughter on the back.
A few minutes later, the family members who exchanged greetings suddenly quieted down.
A solemn old man walked in step by step with a cane. He's over seventy, but his back was still straight. His eyes were sharp. His mouth had a kind smile. Everyone greeted to him, and he responded one by one. There were too many people attempting to attract his attention, but he wouldn't puncture their act. He walked slowly to the front of Mr. Osborne and embraced him warmly.
"My nephew, I haven't seen you for an entire year. You have been missed."
After exchanging pleasantries for a while, DeNiro looked around. "Why haven't I seen the Osbornes' little prince, your son Chris?"
"Hah, of course he had to dress up to be worthy of all the ladies present."
The strongest opponent of Mr. Osborne's marriage to Chris's mother was this DeNiro. It was not until Mr. Osborne had his own influence in the family that he was able to pick up his wife despite DeNiro's opposition. Of course, this incident also caused the relationship between Mr. Osborne and DeNiro to be strained, so they wouldn't meet each other more than several times a year.
At this point, Chris, dressed in a black suit, slowly walked down.
The customed Italian suit set off his slender figure. Its dull black color was made to look refined by him. There was no extra smile on his lips, but the cool but not arrogant expression produced an elegant temperament. DeNiro lifted up his head and narrowed his eyes slightly.
"I haven't seen Chris for a long time. He looks like you." DeNiro didn't like Chris's mother, but he could vaguely feel that Chris was definitely different from his spoiled peers in the Osbornes' family.
"Hello, Grandpa DeNiro." Chris shook hand with DeNiro. Although he's elegant and handsome, it's hard to hide the sharp edge of a sword.
DeNiro looked into Chris's eyes, which were like deep pools that's composed and calm, without any unnecessary distractions. DeNiro smiled. He took Chris's hand and sat down at the table. This move made the rest of the family jealous, but it was also this move that showed DeNiro recognized Chris's position in the Osbornes' family. During the meeting, DeNiro asked some questions about the financial market, oil import and export. Chris answered them one by one. He had unique views and drew DeNiro's nod.
"You should study business in the university." DeNiro told Chris. Although the tone was calm, everyone else knew it was an order.
"Before I'm 32, I have no intention of doing business." Chris's words were still peaceful.
"Why?" DeNiro didn't show an angry expression.
"32 is the golden age of fencing."
After two seconds of silence, DeNiro clapped his hands with a smile: "Well, that's fine. It's not a good thing when people don't have their own opinions and don't know what they want."
Mr. Osborne smiled: "When Chris is 32 years old, I won't be 60 years old yet. You don't have to rush me out of office so early."
Everyone laughed, but their personal thoughts were only known to them.
After the banquet, Mr. Osborne and DeNiro sat in the study drinking tea.
"Let Chris and Elizabeth get engaged earlier." DeNiro took a leisurely sip of tea.
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"I'm not going to let Chris and Elizabeth be together." When Osborne said this sentence, DeNiro was not surprised.
"I'm not going to ally the Osbornes with anyone with extra ambition. At present, the relationship between the family and the outside is still very balanced. There's no need to disturb it. And Chris is only 16 years old. We can look at it again and find a more capable partner."
"That's true. It's not bad to leave Chris's partner position empty and let the rest of the people fight for it." DeNiro nodded. "I'll hang the Taylors first."
The banquet ended with a mysterious atmosphere. Everyone got a little hope, but no one actually won anything.
Elizabeth was reluctant to part with the Taylor couples. Mr. Taylor put his arms around Elizabeth and whispered: "Be careful, DeNiro hasn't made clear your position as Chris's fiancée. It seems that there'll be some variables."
Elizabeth was slightly surprised then immediately calmed down. "I know, Dad."
After everyone left, the uproar seemed to leave the Osbornes at once.
As soon as Elizabeth looked back, she could see Chris's slender and graceful figure. His indifference hurt her eyes when he turned his back.
In the next few days, George took Lin Yifei from Chinatown to the Osbornes' villa almost every day. Lin Yifei and Chris would stay in the fencing room for an entire afternoon.
Sometimes Elizabeth would gently push open the fencing room door. What she heard was the crisp touch of sabres. The nerve breaking tension spread between Chris and Lin Yifei. Elizabeth even felt that it was impossible for her to enter their world.
George was preparing to enter the fencing room with some refreshments when he saw Elizabeth and give a slight salute.
"If only I have the ability to fence with Chris like Lin. Maybe Chris will look at me." Elizabeth whispered.
"No one can be Lin. And no one can be Elizabeth. Because everyone is unique." George walked in calmly and put down the refreshments.
Lin Yifei saw the snacks coming. He stopped to stretch out his hand and took off his mask. He loudly gasped then collapsed beside the snacks.
Chris walked slowly to his side and sat down to help take off his gloves.
Lin Yifei reached for a cookie and put it in his mouth. Chris sat there watching.
At that moment, jealousy almost drowned Elizabeth. Since childhood, Chris had not done anything for her, not evening handing her a glass of orange juice. But at this moment, he would untie the gloves for Lin Yifei and push the snack plate closer to him. Such delicate tenderness hardly existed in Elizabeth's memory.
Why does this happen?
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