Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Dollie tells Rachel the news. She tells them about Big Earl's time in the War, and the fact that she'd had a baby who died before Will was born.
The Henrys' cabin was spacious compared to most. It had a large front room that was kitchen and family room combined. There was a bedroom for the parents, another for the three girls and a third that Lucius shared with his younger brothers, Sam and Jacob.
Dollie puttered around the kitchen and made a pot of coffee. Rachel's one luxury was a pump at the sink. They might have an outhouse, but they did have water in the kitchen. It was far more than most had. They either made do with a pump in the yard or toted water from the creek.
Lucius sat at the table on a split bottom chair. Head on his hands, elbows on his knees, he was the most miserable looking human being on earth. Dollie put her hands on his shoulders, rubbing gently. Wiping his face with his palms, Lucius straightened up.
"I'm so sorry about your pa, Lucius. Despite everything, he was a good man."
"Hell, I don't know if he was or not, Dollie. All I saw of my father was a drunken sot who got to be a mean drunk. He never hit my mama, or the girls, but he smacked us boys a fair bit. He worked this land, but less each year. I done what I could to help out. Now I gotta figure how I'm gonna work my job, and this land. One man can't do it all."
"Something will work out. You do have brothers, you know." She patted him on the back. "You mustn't fret over it right now. It'll work out."
Lucius took her hand, kissing the palm. "One thing I love most 'bout you, Miss Dollie, is that bright outlook. You always see the sunny side."
"Someone's got to." She sat next to him. Taking both his hands, she held them in her lap. "Too many people look only at the bad. I refuse to be one of them."
"I love you, Dollie," he whispered huskily.
Unable to stop himself, he kissed her. It didn't matter to him that he was in his mother's house, nor that his father lay dead in the creek below. All he cared about was showing Dollie how much she meant to him. A lot would change now that Earl was dead. He couldn't even begin to imagine how much.
Sitting on two chairs was awkward. Instead of stopping, Lucius lifted Dollie onto his lap, kissing her harder and faster. He wanted her with a burning passion. Part of it, he knew, was his own sorrow. It hurt in his chest, like an empty, cold void. Earl might not have been much of a father to him lately, but he had a few good memories. Despite his faults, he was still his father.
Lucius' hands got overly familiar, burning through Dollie's clothing. She suddenly understood what Patty said about loving a man so much, decorum didn't matter. She wanted something from him that she couldn't even describe. His hands on her body made her feel giddy, breathless. Filled with an indescribable need, she let him do whatever he wanted. When his mouth moved from hers, down her neck to the top of her dress, she stiffened. Up until then, he hadn't touched her bare flesh.
It took Lucius a moment to realize that she wasn't responding as she had moments before. Instead, she pushed at him. Opening his eyes, he met her steely gaze.
"What do you think you're doing?" she demanded.
"Kissing you, Dollie."
His mouth was a mere half inch from her chest. His breath tickled and warmed her, making her melt inside. She shivered and he held her close, wanting to bury his face between her breasts.
"Not like this," she gasped. "Not now." She clutched his head to her, inadvertently placing his face in her cleavage.
Lucius groaned as she pressed his face to her bare skin. Unable to stop himself, he licked between her breasts wanting desperately to take one soft, enticing mound in his mouth. Dollie moaned softly, knowing she should stop him, but unable to do so. She couldn't describe how he made her feel. The unfamiliar desire burned hotter.
A small sound across the room startled them. The door to the girls' room opened slowly and Sally came out carrying a lamp. She stopped, surprised to see Lucius and Dollie in the front room. She scratched and yawned, blinking slowly.
"I need to pee," she explained.
Dollie took the little girl to the outhouse. When she was finished, Dollie brought her back inside. Lucius waited for them a few feet away. He carried Sally back to bed, tucking her in with a kiss.
"Miss Dollie," he began as he closed the door.
"Lucius Henry," Dollie said with a giggle. "After tonight, you got no call to be so formal."
He chuckled, dropping his head. "Reckon I'll do it the rest of my life."
"Even when we're an old married couple with a passel of young'uns? Grandbabies and great-grands running around the yard?"
"Reckon so, Miss Dollie." He smiled, running his hand through his hair. "I should apologize 'bout how I been behavin'."
"May be, but I won't let you. Did I act like I minded?"
His lips twitched as he thought about what they'd been doing. Shaking his head, he laughed quietly.
"Maybe I should marry you same time Patty and Will get married," he teased. "Cause I don't think neither of us is gonna be able to behave like civilized folks for too long."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Monday, July 29, 2019
Where fallen angels battle Hell’s demons, find their lost souls, and discover love while hunting for a prophecy that holds the key to either their redemption or their destruction.
At twenty-eight, Cassidy Long is happy with her life. She has a job she loves, a great family, and a future open to possibilities. That all changes after she discovers she is the vessel for the immortal soul of an angel cast out of Heaven, and the only way to break the bond is by her death. Spirited away, Cassidy finds herself in the middle of an eternal war and falling for her angel.
Rail is captivated by Cassidy immediately, but fears it’s only the connection to his soul fueling his interest. He’s vowed to never fall in love, but fate has different plans. The more he fights his growing feelings, the deeper in love he falls. Cassidy not only holds his soul, but his heart. Now, he will fight Heaven and Hell to protect her.
Heaven abandoned them, but they did not abandon their calling. Once they were the Watchers, teachers, and mentors to human kind. Now soulless and exiled from Heaven, forced into an endless war, some will fall while others rise to find their destinies. They are the Dark Knights of Heaven.
Ten entertaining biographical stories set in Dickens County, Texas portray rural life during the Great Depression. They reflect the straitened circumstances, strong work ethic and close sense of community of the time, as well as the resilience and ingenuity of that generation. Despite the difficulties, or perhaps because of them, Benji’s childhood was marked by strong family ties and sheer love of life.
Kent Griswald is a high powered movie executive known for his micro-managing and aggressive supervision of a movie from beginning to end. He's not well liked professionally or personally, so when someone puts a knife in his chest, no one is terribly surprised. However, someone also took pot shots at his younger brother, Connor, who has no enemies.
Detectives Walter Scott and Vanessa Weinstein are called in on the case, ready for action. Unfortunately, Detective Scott hadn't counted on the eyewitness, Cadence Stuart. Pretty and personable, she's also terrified that the killer may come after her next. It's up to Scott to protect her from the tall, dark killer. Unfortunately, so far, the killer's identity and whereabouts are Undiscovered.
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I’m addicted to it. War, battle—the thrill of being in mortal combat and constant danger. Not knowing whether I’ll still be breathing one moment to the next is a rush I can’t explain.
But I hate that I love it. It’s like a sickness that sank its hooks into my psyche and refuses to let go. I’m living with nightmares and the strange reality of civilian life, while I crave my next mission.
Until I meet a sassy redhead with sharp wit and scalding green eyes. She stirs the same adrenaline rush I experienced while dropping from the sky into enemy territory.
Charlotte is everything that’s right in this wretched world. There’s a kindness in her, but I’m afraid the darkness lurking within me will destroy it. I’m not the kind of man she deserves. She’s too good for me.
I shouldn’t want her the way I do, and if I were a good man, I would walk away
Problem is…I’m not.
Thursday, July 25, 2019
Big Earl Henry's been found—dead in the creek. Lucius was asked to identify his body. He and Dollie go up to his house to tell his mother.
Lucius was numb. He had no idea what he was going to say to his mother. Then too, the awesome responsibility of running his father's farm had suddenly landed in his lap. How could he now plan to marry Dollie with this in front of him? His life had been so perfect ten minutes ago. Suddenly, the enormity of it hit him. Gasping, he stumbled. Dollie caught him, leading him back to the girls' dorm where Patty and the truck waited. Dollie put Lucius in the passenger seat and went in to talk to Patty. Keeping it short she told her the situation.
"I don't know when I'll be back. I expect the men will tell Will. I have to get Luke home so we can break the news to Rachel. Don't wait up." The sisters hugged.
Dollie adjusted the seat so she could sit closer to the wheel. Lucius was nearly a foot taller than she. The seat didn't go up quite far enough, so she sat on the edge as she put the truck into gear. Lucius didn't say a word when she nervously shifted, grinding the gears a little. Normally, he'd have teased her. It told her how completely self-absorbed he was at the moment—and had every right to be. She drove slowly up the mountain to his family's front door, stopping the truck. Lucius didn't move.
Dollie put her hand on his, making him meet her gaze. "You told me, a little while ago, that you love me. I didn't get a chance to respond."
Lucius shook his head, waving it away as unimportant.
"No," she said, command in her voice. "I've got the right to speak my mind. Lucius, you're the finest man I know and I've come to realize that I love you too. And one day, I'd be the happiest, proudest woman on earth, if you made me your wife. Now," she said crisply. "We're gonna go tell your mama what's happened. And we'll get through this together, side by side."
"Oh, Dollie!" He clung to her, sobbing. "How am I gonna tell Mama?"
"Don't you worry about it. Come on." She opened the door on his side and they slid out.
Rachel Henry greeted them at the door. She was in her nightdress, a robe clutched around her. When she saw their faces, she didn't have to ask. She knew what the problem was. A tiny part of her hoped to be wrong.
"I heard the commotion. What's the matter?"
"Rachel, let's have a seat," Dollie said, leading the older woman to the couch.
Lucius sat on the chair closest to the door. He couldn't walk another step. Trembling, Rachel sat.
"They found Earl," Dollie said. "There's been an accident."
"Is he gonna be all right? Is he at the hospital?"
"No, ma'am. He's not gonna be all right, Rachel. I'm sorry to have to tell you.... Earl's dead. They found him in the creek."
"In the creek? Oh, my dear lord! What happened?"
"We don't know. I expect the sheriff will be up later with details."
"I think it's pretty clear," Lucius said angrily. "He got blind ass drunk and fell in. That's obvious."
"Lucius, don't," Dollie cautioned.
"Don't what? Don't tell the truth? Don't tell Mama, she might not know her husband was a useless drunk, who fobbed off his work onto children? That we only ever had one real parent. He might only now be dead, but my pa died to me a long time ago."
"Your pa wasn't an easy man to love," Rachel said, chin coming up defiantly. "He was a hard man, cold-like. It weren't his fault. The war changed him. What it didn't do, Life did. He was a kind man, tender hearted, gentle. I loved him the second we met. We married when I was fifteen. I had our first baby when I was sixteen...."
"Wait a second," Lucius said, holding up his hand. "Will's only twenty-three."
His mother nodded, tears in her eyes. "We had another child, your brother, who died when he was two. Earl, he joined up to be a soldier when the baby was a year or so old."
"We weren't in the war yet," Dollie protested.
"The Prime Minister of England, he asked all able bodied men join up to help out. He declared as the war was gonna get worse 'fore it got better. So Earl, he did what he thought was his duty and joined up with the British army."
Lucius was surprised. He'd always assumed his father had been drafted. "I never knew that," he whispered.
"All this time, you thought your pa was a no-count," Rachel snipped. "You never saw the man I knew. He was strong and proud and he loved his young'uns.... It about kilt him when little Earl died."
"Little Earl? My brother?"
"You never did wonder why your daddy was Big Earl?"
"I thought cause—well, he's big," Lucius replied awkwardly.
His mother laughed a little. "Well, that too. Earl got hurt bad in the war. When he come home, the nightmares started. Doctors called it shell shock. It broke his mind and his spirit. He heard things—voices like. Only the liquor drowned 'em out. Your pa was a good man and I loved him. And I want justice, Lucius. Someone stole your daddy from me." She broke down, weeping uncontrollably.
Dollie held her while she cried. Lucius carried her to bed. Eventually, she fell asleep. They tucked her in and closed the door to the bedroom.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, July 23, 2019
Luke manages to say all the wrong things to Dollie, making her cry. Luckily, when he hugs her, she calms down and lets him
Still sniffling, she raised her chin, parting her lips. Taking his face in her hands, Dollie kissed him. At first, he was too stunned to respond, so she doubled her efforts. Allowing her to have her way suited Lucius fine. He relaxed, closing his eyes as she kissed him. She might not have a lot of experience, but she'd picked up on kissing pretty well. She grew bolder, more adventurous, experimenting some as they kissed. Lucius loved every minute of it, letting her do whatever she wanted. Unfortunately, he couldn't control his hands. When he got too fresh, Dollie jerked away, hand raised to slap him.
"Mr. Henry, I'll thank you to behave."
Lucius hung his head. "Dollie, hasn't anything I've said tonight got through? I love you. I want you to be my wife. That don't mean I'm gonna be all over you, but, dammit, a man can't help touching! It don't mean I disrespect you, it means—I want you."
His voice dropped into a deep, husky tone that made Dollie shiver. The light of the full moon filled the inside of the truck with brilliant silver light.
"When I touched you, how did it make you feel? Did a fire leap in your belly? Did sparks skitter up and down your spine?" He nuzzled her neck and nibbled on her earlobe.
Dollie sighed, relaxing against him. His hand drifted to her breast once more, of its own accord.
"Does it make you melt inside? Does it make you hot?"
She never would admit it aloud, but Dollie was hot and it did feel as if a fire had ignited inside her. Her panties were damp in a most embarrassing fashion and she wanted more—though she didn't quite know what more was.
"When you're ready, I'll be here. I love you, Dollie. I want to make you mine." His kiss was fierce, primal, breathtaking.
Speechless with desire, Dollie gave herself over to the passion inside her. She kissed him, telling him with her actions how much she loved him.
Lucius found his self-control foundering. He knew if something didn't happen to stop him, he'd do something awful and alienate Dollie forever. But God help him, he'd waited for this moment a long time and he wanted her more than he could possibly admit. He prayed for a shooting star, a brush fire, anything to break the thrall because he was truly under a spell.
The bell at the dining hall clanged and clattered urgently. It took a few moments to work into Lucius' befuddled brain that his prayer had been answered. Lights blazed on all over the darkened campus as its residents and staff woke up. Voices raised with worry and curiosity joined the crashing of the bell clapper.
Patty burst from the apartment half dressed. The girls poured forth from their rooms, gazing down the hill and across the way to see what the commotion was. Since they were in their night gowns, Dollie and Patty made them stay. Patty rounded them up while Dollie and Lucius went down to find out what was wrong.
Mr. Bertram stood on the broad wooden porch, quieting the bell with his hand. His hat was askew, his shirt buttoned wrong, suspenders half off. When he saw Lucius, he beckoned him forward.
"I hoped you'd be here. I apologize for waking you all. I need the ladies to take the children inside and the men to join me. Lucius, you especially. Dollie, you stay here," he cautioned when she made to follow her boyfriend.
"I'm going with Lucius." She knew instinctively that he would need her.
Mr. Bertram didn't give permission, but he didn't argue either. Grasping Lucius' hand tightly, Dollie followed down to the banks of the creek. Mr. Bertram's truck was there, headlights blazing. The men followed him with torches, flashlights and lanterns.
It wasn't until they got right up to the creek bank that Dollie saw what all the fuss was about. The body of a man floated gently, half in the creek. His arms and hair drifted upon the chilly water. The lower half of him was snagged on a partly submerged log.
Mr. Bertram held up his hands to keep them well back. "Don't need all y'all tramping around down here 'fore the sheriff comes. Lucius, I need you on down here. I'm sorry, son."
Dollie squeezed Lucius' fingers. She knew who it was before he even went down the bank. The massive shoulders and the lovingly mended blue cambric shirt were distinctive.
"Vance, if it's all the same to you, I'd rather not. I know my daddy, even from up here. Y'all know it's him too—otherwise I'd not be here."
"We had to have identification," Mr. Bertram said quietly. "I'm real sorry, Lucius."
The younger man nodded, shrugging. "Is it okay if I go up and tell Mama? Reckon she'll wanna know he's been found."
Mr. Bertram nodded. "I'm real sorry, son."
"Yes, sir. I 'spect you are. I 'spect my mama's gonna be more so."
"I'll go with you," Dollie said quietly, taking his hand in both hers.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Monday, July 22, 2019
When Teague meets beautiful and sultry Vivica, he thinks his life is taking a turn for the better. Little does he know that he's been targeted for death by a violent biker gang led by Vivica's psychotic older brother. Now Teague must put his skills to the test to protect himself and the woman he loves.
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Thursday, July 18, 2019
Dollie is unhappy to see that Patty and Will are spending time together. She asks Luke if he thinks they will be indecorous. He tells her he believes so. That starts a conversation that he'd rather not have. Fortunately, he calms her down and they go to the movie.
The film began with a news reel. Most of it was about the troubles in Europe that seemed to be building to a head.
"That's a big, ol' mess," Lucius declared. "Mark my words, that's gonna get worse 'fore it's over. It'll be bigger than the Big One."
"Oh, do you think? That was supposed to be the war to end all wars."
"It ain't. Men can't stop fighting long enough to get along."
"Why? It makes no sense."
"Ain't having enough sex," he murmured before taking a huge bite of popcorn. He winked at her.
Dollie blushed, swatting his arm. "The sad thing is, you're probably right."
"Well, men can't fight if they're in bed," he replied knowingly.
The movie began before Dollie could reply. They were both caught up in the story, amazed by the pageantry of the film. By the end of Wuthering Heights, Dollie was in tears. Lucius handed her a freshly laundered and pressed handkerchief. Dollie wiped her eyes, thanking him.
"It's as beautiful as I remembered," she whispered. "How I love that story!"
They walked out to the truck. Lucius glanced at his watch. Will had asked for two hours. It wasn't quite that yet.
"How about coffee and pie? See, there's a diner just across the way."
"I'd love to." Taking his arm, she leaned her head against his shoulder. "Thank you, Lucius. That was beautiful and wonderful. I do so love movies."
"Seen a lot of 'em?"
"Quite a few. My friends and I used to cut classes so we could go. I still don't understand how I managed to pass." She laughed at herself. "I used to go once or twice a week to the movies."
"Why, Miss Belloit, you ditched class to watch moving pictures? What a naughty girl you are!"
She giggled, tossing her head. "That was as naughty as I got. Mostly, I was such a goodie two shoes, it was disgusting.
"Got to be bad sometimes," Lucius replied as he held the diner door open. "Otherwise, life ain't much fun."
Seated, they ordered their pie and coffee. They laughed and chattered for nearly an hour. Finally, Lucius became aware of the time. It was almost 10:00.
"Much as I hate to, Dollie, I got to take you home. It's mighty late."
"I confess, I don't want the evening to end. It's been such a delight."
They stopped at Will's room. Lucius honked the horn. A few moments later, Patty emerged, breathless and pink cheeked. Will appeared behind her, bare chested and smiling. They kissed several seconds until Lucius beeped again. Patty screamed, then thumped the fender, laughing.
"Impatient hillbilly," she chided. "I love you, Will-Billy," she told Will.
"I love you too, Patty-Cake."
Patty was quiet the entire way home. Once in awhile, she sighed happily, but she didn't say a word. Lucius and Dollie tried to talk, but her complete silence made them want to whisper. When the truck stopped, Patty didn't wait for Lucius to open the door. She got out and walked into the apartment, leaving them alone. Lucius chuckled as he watched her.
"One day, I hope I love a woman so well, she's speechless."
Dollie punched him—hard. "Are all men like that?"
"Like what?" He rubbed his arm, genuinely puzzled.
"Only interested in one thing?"
He bridled slightly. "Dollie, if all I wanted from you was sex, you'd be naked."
She gasped, scooting away from him. Past the point of caring what he said or what she thought of it, he continued.
"I love you, Dorothea Belloit. So much, it makes me damn crazy. I like to hope you love me, too. And one day, I'd like you to marry me. But I'm so afraid I'm gonna say somethin' wrong, I hardly know what to say. You don't leave room for a man to breathe, Dollie."
Dollie burst into tears and Lucius was completely at a loss. He hadn't meant to say so much and he sure hadn't meant to make her cry. Dollie blubbered and sobbed. Lucius tried to touch her, but she flinched away.
"I have principles, Mr. Henry. I have standards. Unlike my sister!"
"She's in love, Dollie. Maybe when you can say the same, you'll not be so—I'm sorry. I didn't mean to...."
Dollie hiccuped as she cried. Lucius put his arms around her and was surprised that she let him hold her close.
"I do love you, Dollie. I have since the day we met. Tonight was meant to be the time I told you how I feel, not how I hurt your feelings. You're beautiful and smart and the only girl I wanna spend my life with."
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
After a bath, Lucius feels more like himself. He meets up with Dollie at her apartment in one of the girls' dorms.
"You look beautiful, Dollie. I'm gonna be the envy of every man in town, when you step out with me."
Dollie blushed, making her even more beautiful. Patty stood up, very businesslike.
"You two, scoot together. I'm getting a picture. You can put it in an album so your children can see how you looked on your first date."
Lucius liked the assumption that Patty made. He wanted very much to marry Dollie. She didn't seem to mind either, making him very happy. He dutifully put an arm around Dollie's waist, scooting close. He felt like a giant, so much taller than she. Dollie turned her head, smiling up at him. Patty snapped the picture.
"I declare, you look picture perfect together! One more, then I'll leave be." She took another before they could move apart. "Now, you behave yourselves. Back before ten," she teased her sister. "And you, young man, be a gentleman." She winked at Lucius when Dollie wasn't looking. He understood by that he had her permission to be a little naughty, but not much.
"Oh, I forgot to switch handbags," Dollie said as she scooted back in the bedroom.
"Don't you educate my baby sister too much, Luke."
"I promise. Ma says you got to tell her...."
Dollie came back out.
"Ma says y'all need to get up and see her soon," Lucius covered quickly.
Patty nodded knowingly as he helped Dollie with her jacket. "I'll sure do that," she promised.
To Dollie, it sounded as if she were talking about Rachel Henry. Lucius and Patty knew differently. Dollie and Lucius walked out to the truck. Surprisingly, Patty went with them.
"You're going too?" Dollie sounded dismayed.
"Only to Will's. Don't worry, baby sister. I'm not going to chaperon."
Much relieved, Dollie got in the truck beside Lucius. Patty scooted in beside her. They talked animatedly as they rode along the winding track to town.
The trunk pulled up in front of Will's rented room. Lucius hopped out, opening Patty's door for her. Will appeared a moment later to escort her in. Dollie watched as her sister joined Will, kissing him in a more than friendly way. Dollie sat, tight lipped, arms crossed, waiting for Lucius.
"We'll be at the cinema in a minute," Lucius said.
Dollie didn't reply right away. Her frown said it all. "Do you think they'll be indecorous?" she said waspishly.
"I expect," he said rather loudly. "That they will." He wasn't more specific, but they understood one another. "I reckon it ain't the first time, nor is it the last. You can't fight nature, Dollie. Love will out."
"I'm sure I don't know what you mean," she said stiffly.
He leaned over, the engine rumbling. "I mean, Dollie, there are times when the attraction between a man and woman is so strong, it won't be denied." He scooted closer.
Dollie leaned away. "Have you felt that attraction?"
"Oh, yeah." I'm feeling it now. "Ain't nothin' wrong, if you love each other." He brushed a wisp of hair from her cheek.
"Did you love Betty Mae?"
"Thought I did, till she went crazy on me. Girl was cracked. Messed up in ways you can't imagine."
"When you took her to bed, did you love her?"
"Dollie, do we have to talk about this?"
"Yes, I rather think we do." She crossed her arms and legs tightly across her body, effectively closing herself off.
Sighing, Lucius shut off the truck. "Betty came on like a summer storm—hot and wild. She hit me hard, and set my head spinning so fast I could hardly see. She seduced me, Dollie. I'm a man who takes my time, but not with her. By the end of our first date...." He shook his head, not wanting to remember, as the memory flooded back. "If it's been up to me, wouldn't of got that far so fast. It was a hell of a bumpy ride."
"But you still have some good memories of it." Her tone had mellowed slightly, but she was still angry.
Lucius chuckled. "Miss Dollie, let me explain a little something about men. We like sex. And we will remember it fondly, despite circumstances."
Lucius laughed loudly. "Baby, you got to calm down and loosen up." He started the truck. "Can't have no fun if you don't relax. I ain't gonna jump all on you our first date."
Dollie relaxed, crossing her ankles, hands in her lap, instead of clutching her neckline to her throat. "Let's go to our movie, Lucius."
"That's the plan!" Grinning, he drove to the theatre.
Loaded up with popcorn, they took seats in the middle of the theatre. Dollie looked around, admiring the decor. It wasn't a large theatre by city standards, but it was quite ornate. Gold scroll work edged the screen and heavy, colorful drapes lined the walls. The ceiling was painted like heaven, with angels, cherubs and clouds.
© 2019 Dellani Oakes
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