Since most of the participants in the training were high school students and had schoolwork, the training time was set for two days on the weekend. It would be an intensive training. When Lin Yifei saw Chris at the sign-in desk, his heart suddenly moved. Chris grew taller again. His face looked cold and distant. His fingers held the pen firmly to sign his name, then indifferently left.
The moment Chris turned around, he saw Lin Yifei. There was no extra pause in his eyes, but the brief contact made Lin Yifei's heart jump uncontrollably.
No one knew that Chris's clenched fist was shaking when he turned around. He did everything possible to get one justifiable look at Lin Yifei. Only after he took that one look did he realize that he couldn't be satisfied.
How many nights did he fantasize about kissing his lips and searching his memory for his form standing under the shower with his back to him? His eyes traced his body inch by inch, burning his figure into his mind. Before, even if Lin Yifei was pressed to death with red face while he kissed him with ecstasy, the fantasy in his mind never stopped, not to mention now that he only had air with no temperature left in his world after they separated.
"Why aren't you signing?" Chelsea's voice sounded behind Lin Yifei.
He still appeared a little sloppy, with a cigarette in his mouth, a crumpled suit on his body, and an expression of indifference.
Ten minutes later, dozens of teenagers gathered in the fencing hall.
Lippmann stood in the middle of the fencing hall with straight back while looking at all the kids here. Of course, once they picked up their sabre, they should no longer be called kids.
"Just because you're on the U.S. junior fencing team doesn't mean that you're eligible to compete. You should know that there are only two spots in each fencing competition, which means that the competition among all of you will be fierce. You will receive training here. The qualifier will start in three months. I'm your head coach, Lippmann. That's all. You can start training."
The so-called training was face-to-face fencing. The coaches would give guidance during their fights.
Lippmann's eyes rested on the languid Chelsea on the sidelines.
"Alvin Chelsea, come with me."
"Ah, Coach Lippmann, is there anything you want to say to me?"
When the two came to the corridor outside the fencing room, Lippmann's expression appeared quite serious, which was a sharp contrast to Chelsea's cynicism.
"I'm surprised that you promise to coach Lin. In fact, I have high hope for this boy. I know that his name will be included in this year's sabre team selection, so I already considered arranging a special coach for him before the qualifier."
"Are you afraid that I'll destroy him?" Chelsea laughed and threw the cigarette butts into the trash can. "Kevin Phil personally invited me to be his coach. If you have any opinion, I can quit immediately."
"Kevin?" Lippmann showed a surprised expression, "If it's him, I'll just trust you once. But Chelsea, I won't tolerate Lin becoming the second you."
"Rest assured. I also can't tolerate him becoming the second me. Alvin Chelsea is unique and does not need any replica."
At this time, Lin Yifei was competing with his opponent. Obviously, his level was higher than the other. He had made rapid progress during this period of time. Rex was no longer his opponent before he came to this training. Since he could withstand Rhett's and Michael's repeated bombing, as well as Kevin's sparring, one could see his rapid improvements.
Chris stood in the field next to him. His opponent was boring. He could deal with the other at ease and still had the spare time to watch the other competition from time to time.
Over the past few months, Lin Yifei had become taller. The lines drawn by each thrust of his older body were so nerve-jerking. His fencing looked a bit different. He broke away from the textbook moves and sped off. This made Chris uncontrollably wish to be standing opposite from him.
After practice, Lin Yifei went to the bathroom and splashed cold water on his face. Chris slowly came to the sink beside him.
For a while, his entire body froze there.
Lin Yifei wanted to speak to him very much, but he didn't know what to say. Because Chris was cold from beginning to end, as if Lin Yifei had been isolated from his world.
When Lin Yifei lowered himself, the ring fell out and gave a ding sound upon hitting the sink. Lin Yifei quickly grasped the shaking ring. He dared not look sideways and didn't know the expression of Chris's face.
At this point, Chris's fingers knocked on the sink, seemingly unintentionally, but it made Lin Yifei's heart tighten.
Lin Yifei remembered a Swedish movie "Let The Right One In" that they had seen together in bed. The end of the story was that the boy hid the girl in the box and boarded the train. The girl knocked out "I love you" with Morse code from the box.
Although this movie had a strange romantic color, and it's impossible to judge the ending of the boy and the girl, Chris still practiced "I love you" over and over again at the bedside that night.
Just like in the bathroom at this moment. Lin Yifei understood what Chris was saying. Although Chris left the bathroom expressionless, there seemed to be a wave of feelings brewing in the air.
That night, Elizabeth made a phone call to the man who was watching Chris. The result was beyond her expectation. Chris really didn't touch Lin Yifei and didn't even speak to him, just like two unrelated strangers.
At the end of the weekends, Chris returned to Osbornes' villa. Elizabeth stood by the sofa and wanted to say something to him, but Chris took her as air and went upstairs as usual.
With his back against his bedroom door, Chris looked up.
As long as he was a little closer to Lin Yifei, his feeling would become extremely fierce. Lin Yifei's breathing and Lin Yifei's every move, even those that he didn't see, his brain would still have a difficult time not imagining them.
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He opened the suitcase inside the cabinet. Inside laid a scarf. Chris's palm stroked and kissed it.
At this point, the mobile phone in his coat pocket rang. It's from Mr. Osborne.
"I only lowered the stock price a little, and the Taylor family started to buy it eagerly, along with your cousins."
"Mmm." Chris closed the suitcase and sat back on the bed. "Invest in more useful projects. Spend your money to make more money."
"Do well in the competition." Osbornes hung up after he finished saying this.
Training continued. It was soon time for the internal qualifying rounds.
Lin Yifei and Chris stood out in the fencing team. In fact, no one doubted that the two single spots must be theirs.
Sunday morning was Lin Yifei's and Chris's match. Lippman gave everyone a good rest at the end of qualifier on Saturday night.
Lin Yifei and Chelsea walked through the corridor. Chelsea hadn't drunk any alcohol these days, but he's still a heavy smoker. While other coaches were still coaching, he was smoking in the corridor.
"Tomorrow will be your fight with Chris Osborne. Are you nervous? If you want me to say, in this entire rubbish junior fencing team, only you two looks promising." Chelsea's tone was still lazy but his words were sharp.
At the gate of the fencing hall, the setting sun casted an orange glow on Lin Yifei's face.
"I want to win against Chris Osborne." What Lin Yifei said was not heavy, but it's filled with determination.
"Oh? You've basically qualified. Why do you still persist in winning against him?" Chelsea shook his cigarette case. He picked up a cigarette and smoked it.
"Because he's my opponent." Lin Yifei who walked into the sunset, turned around and smiled gently.
Chelsea was suddenly blinded by that smile.
"Do you want to be the world champion, Lin?"
"I don't have such a brilliant dream. I just like fencing." Lin Yifei shrugged his shoulders, "Let's look at my opponent. If he wants to move forward, I'll keep up my pace with him."
Chelsea snorted softly then looked down as if he's thinking about something.
"What're you thinking?"
"Thinking about my youth. I once had an excellent opponent like you. I worked very hard not for the title of championship, but for the eyes of that person."
"Do you know why my shoulder was injured?" Chelsea spat out a smoke ring. "I was walking down the street with him that day, and we were arguing about something. The argument was very fierce. An uncontrollable car drove up at the corner of the street. He pushed me away and I hit the lamppost. When I fell down, another car hit me on the shoulder."
"Chelsea…" Lin Yifei seemed to have heard this news. There was another German athlete who died in a car accident with Chelsea. Chelsea also retired due to injuries and began to drink heavily.
"If you want me to be your coach, you must have the determination to win. I never back down." Chelsea turned around and said, "I'm going back to my apartment. I'll see you tomorrow."
Lin Yifei breathed out a sigh of relief. Since it's an intensive training, the fencing team arranged for them to live in the opposite hotel. But he didn't want to go back so early. He walked slowly along the street, surrounded by passing traffic. The buildings around him reflected orange sunlight. With his hands in his pockets, Lin Yifei's ears rang with the sound of moving cars.
However, he didn't know that Chris had been following him across the street. Every time he bowed his head and sighed, Chris could see it clearly.
Lin Yifei passed by a newsstand and bought a copy of Titan Sports. He held it under his arm and walked on with his head down. His sight never deviated from his original direction. One didn't know how far he had walked, but the sky was slowly turning dark. Once the streetlamps started turning on, Lin Yifei finally decided to go back to the hotel. After turning around, he finally saw Chris on the opposite side.
Their line of sight met for a moment then Chris turned away.
Why is Chris here?
Lin Yifei was full of doubts but he's still happy. Chris was standing opposite of him. He'd wearing a light-colored collar shirt with a gray jacket and dark jeans. His entire body appeared casual. The soft streetlight fell on his face, blurring his indifference and sharpness.
From time to time, young women passing by would look at him while showing their admiration or whispering.
This was Chris. Even if he isolated the entire world, the world still couldn't help paying attention to him.
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