Close your eyes
Makes a wish
That this could last forever
No one noticed it at first.
Why should they?
It's not as if he was a public figure anymore. The group was long gone and, despite the occasionally record company-fuelled PR rumor, that wasn't going to change. The Diva made sure of that. After all, why should he lower himself to hanging with four losers when he could be the Grammy-winning soloist he'd always wanted to be?
Little bastard hadn't even called them when he got engaged.
And curious how their wedding invites didn't get sent out until a week before the nuptials. A 'wedding planner' mix-up, he said in the note that he couriered along with the embossed leaflet. But note that he didn't have the decency to pick up the phone…
Water under the bridge. He would have said 'cry me a river' but then he'd have to send the little Diva a royalty check.
So it wasn't a sudden thing. More like a slow fade-out. Like a song that was wild, fast, tumultuous, and then gradually calmed, calmed, calmed, and just grew faint. The bass and drums loud and raucous before the piano and acoustic guitar took over. Then just the guitar; strumming lighter and lighter. Then nothing…
There were rumors, of course. He'd learnt enough in the industry to know the efficacy of a good well-placed rumor. He'd been spotted on a beach in Fiji. Hanging with a Euro-punk group in Bangkok. Golfing in the Bahamas. At a truck stop in Texas. Heck, anything he could think up and feed to the right source.
For the first while he got really good at using Photoshop to plant his cheery face in pictures of a variety of locales, then sending them to various message boards and gossip columnists. After all, you had to play all the angles. Posing as a 16 year old girl, "OMG! You will NOT believe who I just saw picking up a Moccachino in Columbus! Squeal!" or sending an anonymous note to a gossip column in London… followed by the obligatory slapped together picture.
He tapered those off slowly. After all, you know how 'celebrities' are… as soon as you spot them, they run off so they can protect their privacy, and you have no photographic evidence. He, however, did it more because, as he got to know the software program, he was having more fun pasting his face on pictures of supermodels, actors, other singers, heck even the occasional animal. He had this great one of him subtly merged in with a gorilla that he was particularly proud of. He was sure he'd send out one day just to see if anyone notices that Bigfoot sort of looked like that guy from that boy band that was popular way back when…
He made sure he kept in contact with the people he was supposed to. Phone calls and e-mails could cover a multitude of sins. Including invisibility, it seems. "You want to come visit? Oh sorry… not then, I'm going to be in Marrakech" or some place. He was also really good with the "I'm going to be in LA in a few days? Wanna get together? Oh. You're going to be away" schtick. Ah yes, the Internet was a great tool. Combine it with email and instant messaging, and you could find out someone else's schedule before they knew it (yes, he'd known all about Juju's wedding ahead of time, but hearing it from him and hearing it from one of his various sources: two totally different things). And with them all being busy (and him appearing to be busy), no one ever really sat down and figured out that they hadn't actually, physically, seen him for a long time. After all, they'd talked just yesterday…
If only you could stay
With me now
"Get your ass out of bed."
He opened one eye, glaring sleepily out of it. "Don't wanna."
Loud laughter erupted from the other man. "Dude, you look all like that Cyclops dude. For real. Get out of bed."
He sat up slowly, groaning loudly, clutched his pounding head. "For real. Don't wanna. Why should I?"
"Have to make the bed."
He snorted. "Why? Your mom coming over?"
"Fuck! Oww!" Note to self, do NOT shout when you have a hangover. He rubbed a shaky hand over his face, trying to rub the crust out of his eyes. "What does that fucker want so fucking early in the fucking morning?"
"It's 2 p.m."
"So what? We're pop stars. That's butt early for us." He fell back into the pillows. "Make your own damn bed."
"Can't. You're in it."
He shot him a finger. "What do you need to make it for anyway? It's just Kevin. Not like he's gonna be in here. Go away. Lemme sleep." He rolled over, clutched a pillow close to his chest and closed his eyes.
"Only one problem with that. How the hell am I gonna get my freak on with Kev if you are still in the bed? Dude is so not into threesomes. Believe me, I've tried."
Note to self: Shooting up in bed ALSO not a good thing to do when you have a hangover.
"Oh man!" The cackles of laughter reverberated in his brain. "The look on your face! Fucking hilarious!"
"Don't you ever do that!" He shuddered dramatically. "The thought of Kevin. And sex. With you."
"Tell me about it. Seen him naked enough for one lifetime."
"Yuck, yuck, yuck! Scratch my eyes out! Don't even make me think of it! Yuck!"
"Hey!" He could feel the other man crawl up the bed. "No self-mutilation in my bed."
Almost… almost… finally! In range! He leapt quickly, grabbing him and pinning him the bed. "Aha! Caught you, my pretty!"
"Stop it, fucker! Let me up!" That wonderful laugh again.
"No way. I have you now. No pesky bed-making for you." He nibbled on that beautiful long neck, "Maybe some bed-messing, but no bed-making."
"Yeah, right. Cos you didn't get enough last night."
He sniffed. "You smell clean." He looked up, brushing the damp hair away from his lover's face. "You had a shower. Without me." His tone made it clear that this was a horrible sin.
"Yeah, well. I tried to get you to join me but the language," he whistled lightly. "You kiss your mother with that mouth?"
He wiggled his tongue. "Oh, it's been to many interesting places. And right now it wants to go…"
Yeah. There. Right there. To that plush, succulent mouth. Those wonderful lips. Those…
"Yuck! That is the most disgusting morning breath ever! Even for you!"
True. But still… that meant war!
Sadly, the battle was over quickly. Always a problem when you took on a larger enemy. But the look of love that shone out of those laughing eyes promised that they'd play again… later… and the peace treaty would be more than mutually satisfactory.
"Serious, dude. You gotta get out of bed. You know how Kevin gets…"
Fuck! Did he ever. Last thing he needed was that jerk's disapproving glare on top of his hangover and the taste of whatever had died in his mouth. He almost regretted that kiss now. Almost…
"Fine," he grumbled. "I'm up. I'm up."
"I can see that. Now can you get out of bed?"
Sure he could do that too, but not without a few languid strokes. Just enough to make the other man's eyes glaze over just that little bit… "Fine. Make your damn bed. I'm taking a shower."
By the time he emerged, squeaky clean and head not pounding so much, the bed had been made, the room was slightly less messy and the sound of voices resonated from the other room. He smiled as shook his hair out, dog-like, as he opened the closet looking for something to wear. Then, grinning evilly he turned instead to the door.
"Is there any coffee? I need some coffee. There better be coffee," he announced as he walked into the living room, towel low-slung around his waist.
"In the kitchen… Oh shit," his lover groaned. "I can't believe you. Put some clothes on, dammit!"
He ignored him, smiled widely at the other man. "Why, Kevin! I didn't know you were here!" He sauntered over to the two men, pulling his lover's face forward and planting a deep kiss on him. "Morning, Nicky. You look particularly luscious today."
Then he leaned over and planted a quick kiss on Kevin's mouth. "Must be fair with my morning pleasantries, mustn't I? Coffee's in the kitchen. Right?"
He turned, 'accidentally' dropping his towel in Kevin's lap and walking bare-assed into the kitchen.
"'Morning to you too, Christopher," Kevin called after him, repressed laughter in his tone.
So tell me what it is
That keeps us from each other
It wasn't a conscious decision at first.
More like something that crept up on him.
He'd always been the center of attention - he'd seen to that, but gradually he let others take center stage more and more.
It wasn't hard; the hacks and flacks wanted the pretty boys up front not the old weird one. The others didn't let them push him back too much, though. They always asked for his opinions, or set him up for a wisecrack that was just too good resist. There were also those jokes about him not being able to handle caffeine or sugar - but it was them who fed him the stuff just before an interview. Who needs drugs when a sugar high works so much better?
But egos do tend to grow in that industry. Slowly the handoffs to him decreased. Slowly they started to buy into their our PR becoming, in turn, the golden boy, the sensual songwriting artist, the proud performing papa, the glib cosmos kid … the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker.
And he remained the weird one.
The look-he's-doing-something-silly-but-oh-here-comes-that-other-one [insert appropriate NSync member here].
The not-in-your face one.
The overlooked one.
Kind of like Howie… though he never, ever said that to Howie. For a man who was characterized as 'sweet' he had a foul temper. No one wanted to get him angry - which is why he was considered the Boys' 'peacemaker.' It had less to do with him being able to negotiate settlements and more to do with the Boys being afraid of what would happen if they pushed him too far and he blew. Sure he was 'sweet' but he ruled with an iron fist. The media, and the fans, may overlook him, but the Boys sure as hell didn't dare.
And, being in such close proximity for so many years, he didn't dare either.
Instead, he just watched him and marveled. And later put that knowledge to good use.
Once it became deliberate.
It's coming to get me
"You seen Chris lately?"
Joey looked up to make sure the question was directed to him. "Yeah, actually. Saw him last week. Watched a game and ate pizza."
"And you? JC?"
"We talked on the phone," JC replied, not taking his eyes off the pile of photographs in front of him. He was going to find one that worked for the cover of his latest protégé's album if it killed him…
"But have you actually SEEN him?"
"He was in LA last week, but I missed him. So no."
"He wasn't in LA," Joey disagreed. "Game, pizza, me, remember? Dude hasn't been to LA in months."
JC glared at him. "He said he was. And he was in NYC at the beginning of the month for that thing. That whatever it was… Lance, you were there."
Lance shook his head. "Yeah I was, but no he wasn't. Said something came up. Which is why I am asking. Seems to me that a lot of 'somethings' have been coming up lately."
Joey shrugged. "I see him all the time."
"That's my point. You see him all the time because you go over and see him. But he never comes to us."
JC picked up one photo, smiling because he knew he'd found the right one. "He's always trying to, though. Just busy. We all are. I talk to him at least once a week. What's the problem?"
Lance sighed. "I talk to him, you talk to him. He is very talkative. Just not actually present. I mean seriously, when was the last time you were actually in the same room as him?"
Joey raised his hand. "Last week."
"I think we got that, Joe," Lance snorted. "I mean anyone else." He sat down on the sofa across from JC who muttered angrily as he grabbed photos away so they didn't get crushed. "I was talking to Brian at that VH1 do last month. He said no one seemed to see much of Chris any more and it got me to thinking. I mean I talk to him all the time, but I never see him."
"Heard you the first time, Joe," JC snapped. "So? Is that a problem?
"Just that when I mentioned it to a couple of other people they said that they kept missing him too. He was always flying out when they were flying in, or they were at the same party but didn't see him. It got me thinking."
"Come on, this is Chris we are talking about. The man is always up to something," JC replied.
"He got a new big screen."
"Yeah, Joey, we heard."
"I hardly think it is anything to worry about. I mean he stays in touch. Little fucker called me when I was in a recording session the other day. Had to totally redo the piece. That cat is always doing stuff like that."
"That 'cat' didn't do anything 'cept call. Don't bitch about him if it's your fault you forgot to turn your cell off," Joey said, taking another sip of his Coke.
JC flipped him off. "I don't know that you're going on about, Lance. This is Chris we are talking about. No need to worry."
"We had chicken wings and pizza. The Bills won. I saw him then."
JC glared at him. "Joey, shut the fuck up already. You saw him last week. We heard. You win. Whatever."
"No, you morons AREN'T listening. I said I saw him. I see him. I see him all the time. Why? Because I go over there. The guy never leaves the house. I mean never. You say he is always somewhere around doing cool stuff, but you don't know shit. He is never out. He is always at home. He doesn't go anywhere. Ever," Joey retorted angrily.
There was a moment of silence. Then Lance cleared his throat. "And that was the point I was trying to make."
You're under my skin
"Ready or not, here I come."
"Ready or not, I better be cumming."
Nick laughed. "Anyone ever tell you that you're a perv?"
Chris looked him up and down, licking his lips. "I'm the perv? Honey, I got nothing on you. That looks amazing on you. The green brings out your eyes."
Nick blushed, and made a quick twirl. "You like?"
"Me like. Me like lots." Chris crawled down to the end of the bed, pulling Nick to him. "Me like too much for you to wear it in public."
"Stop it! You'll mess up my makeup."
"Only you would think of dressing up as J-Lo. Won't Howie have a cow?"
Nick stepped back and readjusted the dress. "His fucking fault for doing this in the first place. "'Come as a celeb of the opposite sex.' What the fuck is that all about? Dude's gotta stop sniffing glue. Chris!" He pushed Chris' wandering hands away.
"But I wanna sniff glue too," Chris whined. "And lick it. And suck it."
Nick repressed a groan. "Yeah, and then the dress'll fall right off. I don't know how that damn woman did it the first time. She must have used Krazy Glue or something."
"I'd ask Diddy, but don't really care. Seriously, babe, you look hot! That spray-on tan shit is great. And I like you as a brunette. One question though - aren't your breasts bigger than hers?" Chris ducked quickly to avoid the brush that was thrown at him. "Hey!"
"Hey yourself, fuckwit. Aren't you gonna get dressed or something?"
Nick cast a doubtful eye on Chris' standard outfit of ripped jeans and t-shirt. "Somehow I doubt that. Who you supposed to be?"
Chris pulled a red wig from behind his back and plopped it askance on his head. "Clay Aiken."
Nick cracked up. "Dude, I don't think he qualifies. You're supposed to be a member of the opposite sex, remember?"
"Many would argue that point," Chris retorted sticking his tongue out at Nick.
"Howie's gonna kill you."
"Howie can bite my ass."
"That's my job. Then Clay is going to kill you."
"Please. As if Howie'd invite him."
"Brian's bringing him. Ow! Get your own makeup."
"Why? You've got enough. I've always wondered about Brian that way. Hand me that eye pencil. I need freckles."
"Dumbass. Bri and he are doing that Gospel special thing. They're buddy-buddy now."
"He's the new Frack? Of the former Frick and Frack?"
Nick snorted. "More like Frack and Fuckwit. And I don't think he has freckles on that. Put it back in your pants."
"How would you know? We could investigate."
"I don't want your hand down anyone's pants but mine thanks. Hey! That wasn't an invitation!"
"Silk panties!? Why Mr. Carter I am shocked! Turned on, but also shocked."
"Get your hands out of there!" Nick's protest turned into a groan. He leaned back against Chris. "Or maybe don't."
"Like that?" Chris whispered huskily.
"Love that," Nick breathed.
"Okay. Enough of that then." Chris pushed him away. "Got places to go, things to do…" Nick grabbed him and pulled him to him in a crushing kiss.
"Just as long as I get to do you later."
Chris smirked. "Don't worry, babe. Later I intend to take full 'Measure of A Man'."
I can't let you go
You're a part of me now
Joey shook his head.
"Okay, this is getting a little freaky," JC sighed.
"You are the expert on freaky," AJ said, taking another drag on his cigarette. JC flipped him off and AJ wiggled his tongue back at him.
"I tried. I did. He was great when we were out back. That outdoor sauna thing he has set up there rocks. We cranked it up and then just when we were about to burst into flames we hopped in the pool. I swear, do that a few times and I wouldn't ever need to smoke up again. Talk about a major head rush."
"I'll have to try it."
"No, you won't," Brian growled shaking a no-no finger at AJ. He ignored the other man's "killjoy' retort. "So what else happened?"
"I pretended I was having trouble with the truck. Got him to come help me with it. Was fine for a little while. Jittery, but that's Chris, right? But when I got him to help me push it out onto the street he started sweating like crazy. And when I asked him to follow me to the garage and drive me home if I need to, he started shaking. Made up some shit about his car not working either. Said he'd call and get someone to come pick up the car here and he'd pay for a cab to take me home. I tried pushing him but the next thing I know he's run back into the house and slammed the door."
"Was he wearing pants? It could have been because he wasn't wearing pants."
"You think I'd let him out of the house bare-assed?" Joey growled. "And keep your mind out of Chris' pants. One of you was enough."
The sudden silence was deafening, broken only by JC's whispered, "whoa."
Joey bit his lip. "Umm. I didn't mean…"
Brian shook his head. "We know what you meant, Joe."
"Drop it, Fatone," AJ snarled.
Joey opened his mouth again but closed it when Lance glared at him and shook his head.
"I think that means Chris was wearing clothes. He just wouldn't leave the house, right Joey?" JC asked softly.
"I still don't see how that is a problem. He likes it at home so he stays there. Big deal. Wish I could do it too."
"Yeah. I mean I spend tons of time at home but I don't see anyone calling a meeting about that."
"That's 'cos we are grateful, Rok. And, again, I don't see why this is a problem. And why the hell do we have to be involved in this discussion anyway?" AJ asked, studiously ignoring the Nick-shaped empty space that lay between him and the others in the room.
The others pretended to ignore it too.
Caught by the taste of your kiss
"They're playing it again."
"That stupid Behind the Music thing."
"Still? I would have thought they'd have trashed it ages ago."
Shrug. "It's get-to-know-your-parents'-adolescent-crushes week or something."
Snort. "I guess that means they won't be playing any NSync shit then."
"Hey! I resent that!"
"No, you resemble that."
"We were not shit."
"What does that make you?"
"One of the ones you want to be."
"Bzzzzzzzzzt. And that would be a 'no.'"
"One of the ones you wanted to do?"
"Do?" Eyelashes flutter. "Why whatever do you mean by that?"
"I mean this…"
Sounds of kissing. Of two bodies being pulled together. Clothes slowly slithering off. Small gasps, moans and purrs.
A sigh. "Yeah, one of the ones I want to do. I get it. I should do some more of that…"
A chuckle. "I knew you'd come around to my way of thinking."
"Still doesn't explain why they're playing that Behind the Music."
"Chris. Look at the date."
"The date? It's… Oh."
And I don't want to know
The reason why I
Can't stay forever like this
"Agoraphobia is a complex mental disease. I am not sure I can make a diagnosis without spending some time with the patient."
"The guy doesn't leave his house. Something tells me you ain't gonna get him down here for an appointment."
"Alex," Kevin admonished quickly before turning back. "As my annoying counterpart said, no one can get him to leave his house. He gets upset if he has to go to the driveway. Lan - a friend tried sneaking him out once when he was drunk, but as soon as he realized he wasn't at home he freaked out and then collapsed. The hospital just said he'd had too much to drink and sent him home. Which was exactly what he wanted."
"And I bet he isn't as likely to trust his friends anymore either?"
Kevin nodded. "We also tried going over there, a bunch of us, and hanging out. You know, taking it to his turf? He was fine for a while then started getting all spooked about having houseguests."
"No one likes having people just show up and not go away."
"Look, I've known this guy for over twenty years. He's weird." Kevin ignored AJ's snort. "But this stuff is different. I admit we, I, didn't really notice this for a while, but we have now and all of us are worried."
"How long did you say he's been exhibiting this behaviour?"
"A couple years."
"That we know of," AJ broke in. "He's been pretty good at ducking us for longer than that. None of us is even sure he really was the places he was supposed to have been then."
"He's been at this for years and you are suddenly ganging up on him? Dragging him outside the home? Without warning?! He's not the only one with a problem." "Yeah, yeah. We're big fucks. Just tell us how to fix him."
"There is no 'fix' Mr. McLean. I can't snap my fingers and say, okay, do this and everything will be okay. Like I said, if it is agoraphobia, is a complex situation." The psychiatrist sighed and leaned back in her chair. "I'm going to assume that you have already hit the Internet and looked this up?"
Kevin nodded. "One of the first things we did. Put together a checklist."
"He won't leave his house. He will go into the backyard, but it is fenced in. He will go out on his front driveway, but the further away he gets from the doorway the more he started to sweat and shake."
"And at home?"
"He doesn't like us all there," AJ replied. "I mean, he's never been good around me - we just set each other off - but get more than a few people over and he is fine for a while and then when you turn around he's fucked off to his bedroom or the basement or somewhere."
"No other strange behaviour?"
"The man is the poster child for strange," AJ snorted. "But I mean, before he was just wacky, you know? Now he just sort of retreats."
She dismissed that quickly. "Again, many people do retreat after a while when there are too many people around. How is he with only a few people?"
"Pretty good actually," Kevin replied. "If its just some of us its all good. We have a great time. Just like old times. If old times only happened at his place."
"Yeah, but talk about doing it at someone else's house he gets all cranky."
Kevin and AJ exchanged glances.
"One of our friends… he actually bought a house nearby, you know? It was only just down the street a bit. We tried to relocate the get-togethers to his place. Didn't work."
The psychiatrist hummed for a moment. "Have any of you actually come out and asked him about it?"
Kevin sighed. "Yeah. I did."
"Kev! You fucker! You told us not to but then you go doing it?"
"Shut up, AJ." He turned back to the woman watching him carefully. "We all sort of decided not to push it too hard. After the hospital thing. But I figured I'd try talking to him about it. You know, just us. Because I read somewhere that the agoraphobic person needs a 'safe' person…"
"Oh, and you're the best "safe" person for this," AJ snorted. "Jesus, Kevin! Why don't you just…"
"Why don't you just SHUT UP!" Kevin roared. He dropped his head into his hand, struggling to regain his composure. AJ got up, swearing quietly, and went to look out the window. The doctor just waited.
Kevin finally lifted his head, wiping his eyes quickly. "It's a pretty complicated situation," he said softly. "We are all really worried about him. And I just thought that maybe I could get through to him."
"Why do you think that would be?" the woman asked, watching him as he nervously rubbed a thumb across the scar under his right eye.
"I just… There are reasons."
"Because Kevin thinks he can save us all from ourselves. Oh, come off it, Kev. Joe's the one into Superman, but you have a Superman complex." AJ walked back towards them, flopping back on the sofa. "He always wants to fix shit for us. He just doesn't see that sometimes it doesn't work that way." He wriggled in his seat. "You ever have patients that want to do that lie down thing on this? I had a therapist that was into that once. Said the prone position made us open ourselves up more freely, or some such bull. Anyway, this is pretty lumpy for that."
She turned toward Kevin. "And what did he say when you spoke to him?"
"He said he couldn't leave."
"Couldn't. And wouldn't. He said there was nothing for him out there."
She took a few more notes. "Nothing for him? What does that mean?"
AJ looked up from where he had been bouncing up and down on the sofa, trying to work the lumps out. "Why don't you ask Kevin about that scar on his face?"
Now I'm climbing the walls
Police have not yet released any details about the horrific crash of a tour bus belonging to the Backstreet Boys late last night.
The Boys were en route to Madison, WI for a concert date in support of their seventh album, Heart Breaks, which was released earlier this year to a lukewarm reception. This would have been their eighth stop on their "Breaking Hearts" tour, which is criss-crossing the US.
Police acknowledged that the driver of the bus, Paul Morrison, 58, was killed in the accident that saw the huge bus slide on black ice and then tumble over several times before coming to a rest just off the highway. Morrison was thrown from the bus and died instantly. A police spokesperson said: "Our sympathies are with the family and friends of Mr. Morrison," but refused to answer questions about the condition of the Backstreet Boys.
Doctors at nearby Mercy Hospital were also tight-lipped. Dr. Thomas Evans said that all five members of the group had been admitted to the hospital with injuries ranging from "superficial" to "critical" but refused to give more details until their families had been contacted.
A spokesperson from Jive Records would only say: "The police are investigating the incident and we are helping them with their inquiries in any way we can."
Funeral services were held today for Nick Carter, the youngest member of the multi-platinum group, the Backstreet Boys. Carter, 31, was killed in a tour bus crash that occurred earlier this month in Wisconsin.
The remaining members of the group attended the private service, in one case against doctor's orders. Kevin Richardson was barely recognizable in the bandages that covered most of his head and upper body. Richardson was, after Carter, the one most seriously injured in the crash, sustaining broken shoulder blades, major cuts to his face and a concussion. He only emerged from his coma ten days ago and was accompanied to the funeral service by an emergency medical team.
Backstreet Boys Howard Dorough, AJ McLean and Brian Littrell, all of whom escaped the accident with minor injuries that included a broken leg (Dorough), two broken arms (Littrell) and a concussion (McLean), accompanied Carter's family.
Also in attendance were all members on the Boys' former rival, Nsync. Justin Timberlake flew back from the set of his upcoming film, Morons R US, and the others, JC Chasez, Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick, and Lance Bass, joined him.
While it was a star-studded event…
Cos I miss you
"You think they're gonna come back? Try and take you away again?"
"Nah. They're our friends. They'll push some more. Maybe bring a shrink or two in. But eventually they'll back off. It's not like I'm hurting anyone."
"You're hurting them."
"What? By not being a healthy well-adjusted former boy-bander?" He snorted. "Come on. I'll just stand my ground. Let them know that I'm okay the way I am. Let them know that they are always welcome here, but I ain't going anywhere. Let them know I want to be here. With you."
"Good. Love you, Tricky."
"Love you too, Nicky."
"Wish I was really there…"
"You are Nicky. You always will be…"
Its an illusion
How can I feel this way?
If I can't have you?
Its an illusion
Nothing is real this way.
If I can't have you…
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