"The auction rules are very simple. I will state the price and all of you can place your bids. You can only use whatever cash you have on hand. No online bank transfers! No electronic account transfers! No checks! No credit cards! Only cash!
"In addition, this auction is sponsored by the Children's Disease and Welfare Center in Flagstaff. All proceeds from this auction will be donated to the Children's Disease and Welfare Center.
"Now, let the auction begin. For our first bachelor, I need to quote a suitable starting price. So, twenty dollars! Twenty dollars, anyone?"
Hearing Mayor Thompson's loud and clear words, Li Du was astonished by the starting bid. "Only 20 dollars?!"
"Yeah, 20 dollars," laughed Sophie. "Actually, it's an event for everyone to have some funthe amount of money is not that important."
The young man on the stage was rather good-looking. After the starting price was stated, immediately a young woman shouted, "Me, 20 dollars!"
Another young woman beside her didn't want to be outdone. "I bid 30 dollars!"
"One hundred dollars!"
The bids were fast, but the price was not high and the auction atmosphere was not enthusiastic enough.
Mayor Thompson had an idea. "Hugh, my friendlook, you haven't gotten yourself a good price yet. What should we do? You need to show your talents!"
The well-built young man smiled. "Okay mayor," he said, I think I know what to do!"
The young man was a fitness instructor; he knew many body-building postures. He positioned his legs in a stance as wide as his shoulders, his toes pointed outward, his eyes looking straight ahead with a smile on his face.
While doing this, he also raised his arms and bent his elbows until they were slightly higher than his shoulders. He clenched his fists, his arms slightly tilted forward, and he contracted his biceps.
And when he drew in his stomach, the muscles of his legs expanded, and the man's entire body became a statue full of strength and beauty.
At that instant, even as a straight man, Li Du was attracted by the sight.
The women below the stage went into a frenzy. The bidding atmosphere intensely heated up:
"One hundred fifty dollars!"
"Two hundred dollars!"
"Three hundred dollars!"
Although the bid prices had gone up, everyone knew in the back of their heads that this was just a game, and that there was no need to get too serious and give it their all.
Finally, the young man was successfully "bought" at a price of 500 dollars by a plump young lady. The two of them would go on a date with each other.
After that, the second, third, and four eligible bachelors went up on stage. Their final bid prices were even lower than the first bachelor's. None of them managed to get more than 400 dollars.
No one seemed to mind about the prices. They were more concerned with the atmosphere. The atmosphere was hot and lively, the bidders and the bachelors on stage both having a lot of fun.
Li Du was enjoying himself as well, even as a spectator. He turned to Sophie and laughed, "You're right, this auction is really interesting. Oh, you're not going to place a bid?"
Sophie laughed lightheartedly and replied, "I'm not going to bid. I don't like any of them, and what if I really won the bid?"
The two of were chatting when it was time for the fifth bachelor to go on stage. Mayor Thompson was prompting for the next bachelor: "Come on, come on, who's next! Who's the next bachelor? Why doesn't anyone come up on stage?"
He asked three times for the next bachelor to go up on stage, but there were no volunteers. With this, he said, "Alright then, seems like our good men are very shy. Looks like I need to resort to Nazi violence! I'll pick one myself!"
Li Du was watching happily until he saw Mayor Thompson's eyes finally land on him.
Thump! At that moment, he felt an uneasiness in his heart as it made a loud warning sound.
Someone suddenly pushed Li Du from behind, making him stagger and step out of the crowd. The mayor immediately pointed at him and said, "Alright, this young man over here! Come on up, good young fellow!"
Li Du looked back in panic and thought, This is not right! Someone plotted for me to go up!
He turned back, but did not see any familiar faces. He had no idea who had pushed him. Sophie was also searching for the culprit, wearing the same horrified expression as Li Du.
The crowd started to urge him to go up the stage, so Li Du had to delay the search for the culprit. He forced a smile, went up on stage, and shook hands with Mayor Thompson.
Mayor Thompson went according to the rules and talked to him. Mr. Li was considered a veteran in terms of attending auctions, but when he faced an estimated thousand-strong crowd from the stage with two thousand eyes staring at him, he felt nervous.
After the introduction of where he had come from and what his career was, Li Du was also asked to remove his shirt.
Li Du removed his shirt, revealing muscles that were not as exaggerated as the previous bachelors. His skin, however, was smooth, and his muscle lines were nice, making him look beautiful compared to the other men.
Applause came from the crowd and a few young women opened their bags, counting the cash they had with them.
Mayor Thompson patted Li Du's chest muscles and said, "Let me tell everyone a secret. This fellow's muscles are nice to touch, so let's ignore the shapeI think that the sense of touch is more important!"
The crowd roared with laughter. There were people whistling at him, and, to his dismay, not only women whistled, but there were some men who whistled as well!
"Well, now it's time to start the auction," announced the mayor. "This fellow is from the East. Since he came from such a faraway land to Flagstaff, we should give him a higher starting price. How about 25 dollars?"
A middle-aged lady laughed and yelled, "Okay, 25 dollars!"
A man behind the lady shouted, "30 dollars, me!"
Li Du felt like his knees were getting weak. He was worried he might fall into the hands of a man!
He glanced at Sophie hastily, and tried to give her a piteous look; he could only depend on her to save him now.
The lady doctor was biting her lower lip. Both of their eyes met and then she hurriedly lowered her head.
Li Du was, at first, disappointed in her reaction, but the lady doctor was actually lowering her head to put down Ah Ow and opened her bag to count how much cash she had. In no time, she raised her hand high and shouted, "I bid 1,260 dollars! Me, 1,260 dollars!"
There were sudden gasps of surprise from the crowd. The people near Sophie moved away so she could be clearly seen.
Mayor Thompson was surprised, "What did you say, lady? You bid 1,260 dollars1,260 dollars, right? I must confirm with you once again!"
Sophie nodded her head strongly then turned to look at the surrounding crowd. She clasped her hands together and beseeched, "Will everyone please stop placing bids? I only have this much with me! I have to take him away!"
Standing on the stage, Li Du saw the lady doctor's pitiful expression and her tearful eyes. Li felt like he was being electrocuted; every cell inside him was trembling.
He knew he had found the one he had been looking for.
This was an incredibly high amount to the crowd. The bid prices of the four bachelors in front of him could only reach this amount of money when combined.
But the amount of money was not important. The crowd's attention was on what the bidder had said and her expression.
There was an unprecedented burst of applause from the crowd. Many people were voicing their support for her:
"Don't bid, everyonelet the young lady take her lover away!"
"Oh my god, my heart is melting! This is the best auction I've ever seen!"
"This is the most beautiful confession. D*mn, I'm so jealous of that fella on stage!"
Mayor Thompson did not call for more bids, nor did he announce the bid price three times like in the previous rounds. He gave Li Du a light push, then pointed at Sophie and declared, "Okay lady, 1,260 dollars! This auction 'item' belongs to you now!"