Lippmann was silent. His previous understanding was that Lin Yifei once had a personal trainer, but now he no longer had one for some reason.
“Your ability is obviously very strong. You can enter the junior fencing team. The training for the junior fencing team is one month later. It’s almost right after the start of your high school year. This month, I’ll coach Reed and several other athletes who’ll take part in the Italian round robin. I’ll try my best to help you find a good personal trainer.”
(T/N: personal trainer = coach. I’ll be using both terms interchangeably)
“Since you’re busy, I can accompany him and act as his coach for half a month.” Kevin patted Lin Yifei on the shoulder.
This made Lippmann look surprised.
“Fancy this, lazy Kevin Phil actually said that he’s going to be a coach! Last year, you were asked to do some coaching for the American junior team, but you didn’t have time.”
“Lin is recommended by me. If he can’t perform well, won’t that embarrass me?”
Two days later, Lin Yifei received an admission notice from the American junior fencing team. This surprised father Lin and mother Lin a lot. They knew that Lin Yifei’s fencing was good, but they only thought that it’s just at the level of pastimes and hobbies. Unexpectedly, their son could represent the United States to participate in the World Junior Fencing Championship. For anyone who really wanted to develop into a professional athlete, this was a crucial step.
Both Katherine and Ivey were envious after finding out. Rex also specially came to congratulate Lin Yifei.
“You’re such a strong guy.” Rex looked at the admission notice with heartfelt admiration.
“Why don’t you sign up?” Lin Yifei asked. If his level could be recognized, Rex, whose level was equivalent to his, should be able to do the same.
“Fool, don’t forget I’m French.” Rex was sitting beside Lin Yifei’s bed. “Let me say it. For this American junior fencing team, that guy might also take part. After all, he’s the champion of the National High School Fencing League.”
With this reminder from Rex, Lin Yifei’s heart faintly produced a few minutes of expectation.
“At that time, I’m afraid you’ll become rivals for the available seats.” Rex stretched himself. “How funny, it seems only yesterday that he was haggling over everything because I look at you twice, but now he has no control over how I look at you.”
“Then I must win.” Lin Yifei curved up the angle of his lips.
“Yes. That’s why I decide to be your sparring partner.” Rex was lying on Lin Yifei’s bed with his arm on his pillow. “Who’s your coach? Have you chosen one? If not, the junior fencing team should assign one to you.”
“No, but a friend is willing to be my personal trainer for the time being.”
“A friend? Who?”
“Kevin Phil.” After Lin Yifei finished the name, he began to pay attention to Rex’s expression.
This guy first thought for two seconds, then frowned, “Is the person you said the two-time world sabre champion, the glory of British fencing – Kevin Phil?!”
“Yep, that Kevin Phil.” Lin Yifei chuckled. Rex suddenly got up and began to rub Lin Yifei’s hair.
“Good boy! You know such a famous person! But you haven’t introduced me to him once!”
The two teenagers fell to the bed laughing. Lin Yifei’s waist was tickled. Rex soon reduced him to the shape of a shrimp.
“Don’t play…don’t play…I’m going to stitches…” Lin Yifei giggled. Suddenly, Rex stopped.
Lin Yifei opened his eyes and saw Rex looking at him with deep eyes.
“Always smile, Lin. Whether you lose the competition or the person you like leaves, no matter where you stand, I will look at you as your friend and as a person who admires you.”
One didn’t know when Rex took off his frivolous mask in front of Lin Yifei. This guy was serious and introverted. His parents’ divorce made him put on a mask of not caring about anything to hide his emotions, but in fact, he cared a lot. He actually cared too much.
“I will.” Lin Yifei stretched out his hand and hugged him. This was a hug from a friend.
At this time in New York, Chris was practicing in the fencing room. His accompanying trainer came from the fencing team of New York University, but Chris felt slightly bored.
The door was pushed open and Elizabeth came in with a mail. “Chris! Congratulations! You have been accepted by the American junior fencing team!”
Chris stopped his action and looked at Elizabeth coldly. “If I remember correctly, my name should be written on the mail. When do you have the right to open and read my mail without permission?”
Elizabeth was stunned. Since they came to New York together, Chris’s attitude towards her had become colder.
She knew that she wouldn’t be able to hide from Chris that she was the one who took the photo with her cell phone and showed it to DeNiro. So, she wasn’t surprised by his indifference. Chris and Lin Yifei had absolutely no future. They were still young. Chris had plenty of opportunities to turn back. So, Elizabeth was willing to wait.
She remembered what DeNiro said to her that time.
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“If you want to be the Osbornes’ master’s wife, the first lesson you have to learn is patience.”
Because taking out the photos was a stupid move. It would only push her relationship with Chris toward a dead end. There’s no possibility to repair it. Her only luck was that she’s the daughter of Taylor’s family. DeNiro had promised to make her Chris’s fiancée.
“If you can’t learn patience, then no one can help you.”
When DeNiro said this, Elizabeth understood that it was an order and a condition.
“I’m sorry, I won’t do it again.” Elizabeth put down the mail and went out. She never said sorry to anyone except Chris.
After coming to New York for more than two months, she said “I’m sorry” to him almost once a day. Chris’s gentle tone and his care for Lin Yifei never appeared in the conversation between them.
Chris took off his mask and went over to pick up the mail.
After a month of staying in Washington, he knew that DeNiro’s people always monitored him. If he had any contact with Lin Yifei, it would undoubtedly give DeNiro an excuse to start work.
He missed him so much. Every time he wielded a sabre, every time he breathed, he missed him.
Even if the only intersection between them was just nine minutes on the court, he would cherish it for a lifetime.
At the end of the day’s practice, George slowly put dinner on the table. There’s only one tableware set. It’s for Elizabeth.
“Is Chris still eating in his room today?”
“Yes, Miss Elizabeth.” George’s answer sounded like a robot.
Then George took a lion’s head meatball and steamed vegetables upstairs. Chris ate Chinese food every day. Even after leaving Lin Yifei, he still insisted on living the same life as Lin Yifei.
Elizabeth looked at the steak in front of her eyes. She suddenly went mad and cut it with a knife. She didn’t know how much she wanted it to be Lin Yifei’s throat, so that it could cause him great pain. But DeNiro’s words kept ringing in her ears.
“If Chris never crosses the line, but Elizabeth, you cross the line first, it’s a violation of the rules. Not only will I not help you, I also won’t let the Taylors help you.”
Chris sat by the table with his mobile phone in his hand. All the photos and phone number belonging to Lin Yifei were deleted. But for Lin Yifei’s number, even if Chris had Alzheimer’s, he could never forget it. Every time he pressed his finger to the last number, he froze. He wanted to hear his voice so much that he felt like he’s going crazy.
Once, that guy laid not far from himself every night. He always fell asleep very quickly. One second ago, he was still complaining about why he had to switch off the computer so early. The next second, he started snoring softly. Chris loved his sound so much that he tried to grasp it with his hands. This sound ran between his fingers and could only be heard by his ears. It was Lin Yifei’s voice when he was sleeping peacefully beside him, and it entirely belonged to Chris.
Now, he lied in the room every night, staring at the darkness with his eyes open, but there’s no sound beside him that made his heart flutter.
Every morning at nine, Lin Yifei went to the fencing club in Washington where Kevin had registered a membership for him. He had the right to use the private fencing room rented by Kevin.
Rex was his sparring partner while Kevin stood outside to analyze his techniques and tactics.
Kevin as a coach behaved completely different from Kevin as a friend. His expression became cold and his voice went from mild to freezing.
“Rhythm! Rhythm! Lin! Rhythm isn’t only controlled by your footwork! Your wrist! Your swing! Your attack! Can change and control the rhythm!”
“Just counterattacking is too passive! From the angle of the cut, have you ever thought that Rex would fight back? You must remember that there is no so-called “final move” before the end of the competition. Every attack that falls must already have the next one prepared!”
“Don’t let your opponent’s feint interfere with your sabre control!”
Rex felt the pressure as a sparring partner.
Not everyone had Kevin Phil’s extraordinary judgment, but it’s clear that Kevin was completely asking for Lin Yifei be like him. The world number one champion was asking too much of a teenager who had yet to enter the professional arena.
However, Lin Yifei remained calm. He occasionally stopped to listen to Kevin’s reprimand and moved his ankle. When he started again, he was still calm, but he fought better than before.
At the end of the morning training, Rex and Lin Yifei were both very tired.
“It seems that the fencing level in the United States is really not to be underestimated. I thought it would be very difficult to find teenagers like Lin or Chris. Unexpectedly, Rex Gray, you also open my eyes. I was thinking that it would be very difficult for me to give objective guidance to Lin if I personally fight in the match. With your high-level ability, why didn’t you take part in the selection?”
Rex wiped his sweat and answered with a smile: “Don’t use me to praise the fencing standard of the United States. I’m French.”
Kevin smiled when he heard the answer. “It seems that I still have to worry about French fencers pulling me down in a few years.”
T/N: The contrast between Chris’s and Lin’s daily life shows the difference between having friends and being alone. Lin got a lot of people to cheer him up. So, he’s not depressed for long after the separation. But Chris is a loner. He’s by himself and got do deal with his sadness alone. *sigh*
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