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During the Snowstorm




It was a lively evening in the small billiards room near the New York apartment.

Inside a private room in the billiards place, a five-year-old girl and a boy who looked around six or seven years old were arguing.

"Do you know who my dad is?" The girl's eyes were big and round, and her fair little hand was slapping the edge of the pool table. "He's the captain of the Chinese billiards team and in charge of Dongxin City."

The girl was only five years old and didn't have enough strength to push all the balls apart, but hitting a single ball was not a problem. So, every time, he had to take the first shot.

Seeing the girl being so serious about it, the boy had no choice. He walked out and selected a cue stick that seemed suitable, and came back. Anticipating that she might cry if she lost later, he closed the door to the private room.


Outside the private room...

A person was sitting next to a pool table, playing a game with an elderly foreign man with white hair. They were chatting casually. "Aren't you going to check on your daughter?" the old man asked.

The person didn't seem to care much, "They're just fooling around."

Every few days, they would find themselves in a heated argument; if a resolution couldn't be reached, they'd engage in a friendly competition. Invariably, during these contests, the girl would end up on the losing side, often leading to a dramatic scene.

It had become a regular play.

Outside, a blizzard was raging.

Inside, the atmosphere was lively, with someone loudly shouting for chilled beer.

Sitting in a pool chair, Lin Yi Yang looked at his watch, wondering whether he should return to the apartment to check if she had woken up. As this thought crossed his mind, he saw a small figure running down the steps at the doorway. She was covered in snow, and even her hat was coated with it. Worried about getting snow on others, she made her way as she walked and took off her hat along the way.

Then she looked around the pool hall and smiled upon seeing Lin Yi Yang. As she ran over, she instinctively glanced at the small private room, confirming that the door was indeed closed.

"Another argument?" She took off her down jacket and placed it on a pool chair.

Her hands found their way into the pockets of Lin Yi Yang's sport jacket, and he naturally held onto her hands.

Lin Yi Yang nodded.

Watching those two argue every day is quite an entertainment.

Since being roped into Dongxin City by Jiang Yang, Lin Yi Yang spent seven years steering Dongxin onto a new track. Once things were running smoothly, Jiang Yang announced his retirement.

On the day of Jiang Yang's retirement, Dongxin City was handed back to Lin Yi Yang.

As he put it himself, Lin Yi Yang had no lingering attachment: he was merely putting out a fire back then, a duty he had to fulfill.

With the passing of their mentor and Jiang Yang's injuries, he stepped in temporarily to take charge.

But when it came down to it, he still preferred the leisurely life of a free spirit—participating in occasional world ranking competitions, teaching enthusiasts how to play, nurturing new talents, and running a non-profit small pool club. That was the life he pursued.

Because his New York apartment was here, Lin Yi Yang eventually acquired this small pool room as well.

It was convenient for practice.

Sun Zhou also moved to New York with him, and he handed over the Washington pool room to someone else.

She hadn't been inside for long when Sun Zhou rushed over with a cup of hot coffee. Just as she took it in her hand, she heard a loud cry.

Yin Guo nearly choked and couldn't help but laugh first.

If someone didn't know better, they might think it wasn't their own child... but honestly, with crying happening every day, she had become somewhat immune to it.

Suddenly, the door was yanked open.

The little girl inside the room, dragging her pool cue, walked out with tear-filled eyes and a tear-streaked face. "Daddy... he said you couldn't beat his dad when you were little, so that's why I can't beat him... Is it true?"

Lin Yi Yang was in the process of applying some chalk to the tip of a cue stick. "Do you believe it?"

With reddened eyes, the little girl pondered in silence for a few seconds. "I don't believe it."

"Not believing is the right answer." He chuckled.

Yin Guo handed the coffee to Lin Yi Yang and hurried over to wipe away her daughter's tears, but her daughter blocked her with her hand. In a way, she really resembled her dad... Not speaking up and silently wiping her tears with the sleeve of her sweater, she dragged the pool cue back and forth, then walked back and said with a tearful voice, "Let's play another round."

After saying that, she slammed the door shut on her own. She unintentionally locked her own mom out.

Yin Guo looked baffled at the closed door, then turned to Lin Yi Yang. "Were you like this when you were a kid?"

Lin Yi Yang chuckled, confirming it in a way.

He leaned down, exerted force with his right hand, and broke apart the just-arranged diamonds.

With a resounding snap, the colored balls scattered across the table. The sound of balls hitting the pockets continuously echoed, and on the table remained only three balls. Eventually, even the nine ball rolled into the pocket in front of the elderly man, falling with a satisfying thud.

The nine ball went directly into the pocket.

Just like the game from years ago when Jiang Yang came to New York to meet him.

With the opening shot, he won the first game.

On that day, they were still chatting about where Yin Guo was from and how they had met.

He was also considering whether to send her an emoji to continue the conversation...

The knot within him unraveled as he returned to the arena, reuniting with his brothers. Those two years had seen a cascade of events.

In the blink of an eye, how many years had passed?

He won that game and looked at Yin Guo, who was sitting on a pool chair, feeling a bit neglected, sipping her coffee. He asked the old man in a low voice in English, "Is my wife beautiful?"

The old man nodded and gave a thumbs-up.

Feeling pleased, Lin Yi Yang reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a half-eaten piece of dark chocolate. After a few bites, the chocolate was gone. He crumpled the wrapper and tossed it into the trash bin in the corner.

He placed the cue stick on the rack and draped Yin Guo with her down jacket. "Let me take you out for dinner."

"I'll go get them," Yin Guo said, heading to call the kids.

"They just finished eating," he replied.

Kids eat early, and they had just fed them pizza and pasta, which would keep them satisfied while they played in the pool room. It was convenient.

Lin Yi Yang put his arm around her and led her toward the exit.

Large flakes of snow were falling outside the main entrance, and people were bustling about in a hurry.

The roadsides, both near and far, were piled with thick white snow. Lin Yi Yang noticed a homeless person seeking shelter from the snow at the entrance. He smiled and handed over a pack of cigarettes, gesturing towards the door of the pool room, telling them to go inside to escape the snow.

He put the hat back on Yin Guo's head, and with his left arm around her, he walked with her into the wind and snow. Amidst the swirling snowflakes, the street lamps stretched into the distance, casting a warm yellow glow across the night sky.

Lin Yi Yang guided her to the right side as they reached a pedestrian path.

"Why do you always pull me to this side whenever we take the small path?" There were no cars around, and it wasn't dangerous.

Over the past few years, during winter, this seemed to have happened a few times. It was as if she had this impression that he liked to pull her on the small path. Every time she found it a bit strange, but the feeling passed quickly, and she never delved into it or asked about it.

Lin Yi Yang pointed to the sloping stairs below the apartment building. "I'm afraid you'll tumble down there."

"So, you're afraid I'll fall in?"

"What did you think it was for?"


In Flushing, the first time he did this, she thought he had OCD.

Glancing at the snow-covered steps below the apartment, Yin Guo finally unraveled a mystery that had persisted for years.

This man, really, if you don't ask, he won't say; he could stay quiet for a lifetime.

How did she end up being pursued by him? It was truly miraculous.

Her boots continued creating fresh footprints on the layer of new snow as she followed Lin Yi Yang's footsteps. He walked slowly, waiting for her. She exhaled a puff of white breath, turned her head slightly, and smiled at him, "How about going to Flushing tomorrow?"

Lin Yi Yang nodded, "Sure, let's go to Flushing."

She smiled happily. That place was special to her.

Everything began there, in that Chinese billiard room. It was there that she had seen the real Lin Yi Yang.

And that day, it was also snowing.

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