"You have strained your voice box Mr. Conner's, perhaps in Sydney and you didn't notice it until now."
Con was in shock and looked into my eyes pleadingly.
"What can we do doctor?"
"Complete rest, no talking or singing for a few weeks. I will prescribe antibiotics to fend off any infection and I will make an appointment with the throat specialist for tomorrow to get a second opinion. I'll write out a referral, he's just up the road, don't worry, these sort of things sort themselves out." He was smiling.
"Brent?" Con rasped out.
"It will be okay because I said so, just rest your voice and we can go from there and wait until we see the specialist before you start panicking." I stroked his hair.
The specialist was a fan but also direct and to the point.
"Yes I agree, rest your voice for a couple of weeks, it doesn't look that bad and the antibiotics will clear up the redness, but definitely no talking and when your voice is restored I want you to contact a quality singing teacher who can get you back to rockin on stage, gently and slowly. The reason it's bad at the moment is you're probably not using it properly. The singing lessons you had as a teenager won't sustain the kind of abuse you are giving your voice box in your chosen profession now. It has to be exercised properly, same thing happened to Shirley Bassey years ago but after she was re-trained, her voice was bigger and better. I have the name of a teacher who does wonderful things with operatic stars all over the world. Now that's some heavy abuse." He laughed.
I could see the fear in Con's eyes so I pushed for more information.
"So you think his voice will come back stronger than ever?"
"Yes Mr. Walsh, bigger and better, don't stress, I see this all the time especially from over worked stage actors. It's common; we can fix this Mr. Conners so just be patient."
He looked a little more relieved but his fingernails were still digging into my arm.
"Get started on the antibiotics, no alcohol, no smoking, and no talking. Buy yourself a pad and paper."
Con took a pen and paper off the desk then wrote,
'Take me home,' on it. I nodded my understanding, thanked the specialist, and drove a very quiet Con home.
I got him settled in front of the TV. He picked up his guitar and started strumming a few notes while I rang Marty, to drop the bombshell on him. Actually he wasn't that upset. Conner's new album would be released and a tour is on the table but it won't be for a few months yet; he was also pleased he was correct in his assumption there was something wrong.
Con handed me a piece of paper.
What if I can never sing again?
I kissed his lips and answered,
"Never going to happen; be positive, but on the downside, your legacy is massive. You have made an impression on the world, an unerasable career at the very top and as far as the future is concerned, there's me and Teddy and your corporation to consider and of course writing many, many, number one hits."
He smiled. I kissed him again.
"Our sources have told us, rock star Rick Conners, will undergo a throat operation in two weeks time. It is believed the singer's voice has been damaged after a wedding party gig at Crown Casino earlier this week. Conners' management released a media statement stating the singer is in perfect health and has a throat infection, he will be back on top of it in a couple of months. We send our warmest best wishes to the young rock legend."
It started that night, and didn't go off the air for three weeks. I had just got off the phone to Molly when Ted and Grant came in; but my attention, at the moment, was on Conner and to take the many well-wishers' calls from all over the world. Some I knew by name, some I gushed at over the phone. The next day our place looked like a florist shop. Marty said he had to put on a couple of juniors to handle the thousands of emails and letters coming in. I told him to get Adam to do some while he's flying and he said it was a good idea. I laughed and thought; 'Got ya!'
Conner was still depressed but Ted and I tried our best to make his days a little brighter. The first night, and every other night after that, Ted slept next to him and this time he was the one doing the stroking of the hair thing.
I read Ted's nighttime story to him and Conner lay there listening. He was even filmed in the street going to the car. Reporters made a small camp outside our place but Grant had it all under control from day one. His men hired a small motorhome to park out front and when anyone tried to ring the gate bell they dissuaded them promptly.
A stupid channel two talkback host did an hour's documentary on his health but the final nail was when they filmed me picking Teddy up from school.
Ray got the lawyers involved. It was a great big mess and they retracted half of what they had put to air. Ted's face had been shaded out, but the damage was done, everybody knew Conner had a son. They also knew where he had come from and Nan's rest was disturbed as they went on about her daughter's drug habit. If they wanted a reaction then they got it because Conner was furious. He couldn't speak yet but he was writing all sorts of directions to Marty and Ray on a notepad; not to mention the dozens of emails sent back and forth to his lawyer's office.
I tried, as best I could, to make our sanctuary as normal as possible. I had food delivered and Grant and his men took Ted to school and brought him home. He was lapping it up as the kids at school were treating him like a celebrity.
Finally the film crew left our street, after ten days. I apologized to the neighbors who said they were used to it, and not to worry. A very slick and slimy reporter was caught climbing over our back fence and was sent packing by one angry Benny. It took him ages to settle down and he patrolled the fence back and forth all day. We had another appointment with the specialist when Con's antibiotics ran out; the doctor was very pleased with the results and for the next four days Conner could talk in a whisper. The first thing he said was,
He got Marty to make an appointment with the singing teacher who was thrilled to have Conner on her books; he would start his exercises Monday.
Mrs. Green had a meeting with Grant and security was stepped up at the school at no charge. Ted's classroom especially but the other parents were divided and didn't want that many security guys around the small school. I suggested we home school him for a month or two but she just said we would wait and see.
Marty was fending off news hounds from around the world and released a written statement saying Conner was recovering brilliantly.
Then the shit happened, someone tried to get to Teddy at the park, where he played footy after school, Grant was onto him straight away and whisked Ted off while he was screaming, "Stranger danger."
We left for Sorrento that night and our home was left in the hands of security. Conner had to commute and it was hard on all of us. Ted was transferred to a very small school, in the area, which had a lot of security, because most of the kids, who went there. were children of wealthy homeowners. He didn't like it at all and missed his mates badly, but understood he would see them again, soon as everything started to settle down. He took his posters with him and one photo album, but was so upset that Conner's photo got torn on one corner. I assured him I could have it fixed, so a stop at a music store was on Grant's list the next day. I replaced Con's picture and his eyes watched me from every angle, I gave it a big kiss.
Ted was happy again when he saw it. His room here was rather big and probably scary for him. We found this out the first night after he crawled in with us. We moved a single bed into our room and the posters and he slept peacefully there with his dads. Security was paramount and Conner stood every morning on the balcony and did his throat exercises. The salt air was doing him good too. Grant and his men took Ted to school every day and, along with a dozen other kid's minders, they were confident no one would get near him. They did have a footy team and he played for an hour after school with the other kids. It didn't take him long to make a bunch of mates.
Our sex life suffered in these weeks but we did manage to get a few sessions in, while Ted was at school. At night we held each other close. I know it's the wrong thing to do, but if we got really fruity at bedtime, we would sneak into the bathroom and play. We didn't need a park for Ted, we had the beach where he practiced his football moves and ran with Con, Ben and I, in the sand, every afternoon.
It was a wonderful time for us and Conner was getting back to normal, he was particularly pleased when Ray called and said he hadn't seen anyone in the street for two weeks now. Mrs. Green called to give the school's full support, to getting Ted back to where he belongs. The seventh week we moved back home. The first thing we did was have one of John's home cooked dinners and it was bliss. Ted practically kissed all his toys, rang his mates, and played with Ben in the backyard till late.
We got back into a routine pretty fast; Conner was spending more time at the singing teacher's place and I was anticipating Di and Marty's cherished arrival.
Conner was last month's news as he was seen around the traps. He even went on a morning show and explained what had happened to his voice, giving the viewers a verse of, 'Us,' to prove he was back in good health. When he was asked about Teddy, he declined politely to talk about him, but did say he was a great footy player.
The sad news came on the second day we were back. Ted was just back at school. He was very quiet when I picked him up and after asking him what was wrong a few times he broke down and cried. This, of course, broke my heart. I pulled over and got in the back seat with him and Grant. We both held him for some time, kissing and stroking his face and back.
He finally settled down and told us his very sad story and Grant was pissed off.
"They have got another month before the season starts Brent; it beats me why it was done so quickly, it's not right."
Teddy told us he had lost his captaincy of the footy team and he was heartbroken. When we got in he ran to Conner and started all over again. We sat with him on the couch while Grant got on the phone; I heard a chuckle in the background.
"Teddy," Grant said.
"Yes uncle Grant?" He sniffled.
"Daddy is going to explain the words vice captain to you then I think you will feel a whole lot better." He winked at me.
Thank God for that, Teddy was still captain, little Paul was only the assistant while Ted was away; phew, crisis averted. On the one hand Ted was a little embarrassed but on the other he was pretty bloody pleased he had an assistant. We stuck the posters on his bedroom wall as he bounced up and down on the bed. He understood what we told him and was a very happy little man again.
He had a bag of sand and some shells he had gathered from the beach and I helped him make a beach in an old Bonsai bowl; the tree that had been in it was long dead.
We put the sand in with the shells and I found some cocktail umbrellas and dotted them around the edges, his little piece of sunshine, it sat next to his bed.
Benny was happy to be home on his old turf too, but he never forgot the intruder and kept guard at the back fence most days, for that he got an extra bone each week.
We were back on track, so to speak, and Teddy was gearing up for his little league footy games. Conner was busy doing TV and radio appearances and his voice never sounded better; it was almost pitch perfect I was told.
We had just gone out for dinner to Mr. Lee's restaurant and he was there to greet us with a pen in hand. It had been raining on and off throughout the day but just that drizzly sort of weather. Sitting at the table eating I could hear a rather large clap of thunder in the distance so I asked for take away containers. Con questioned me and I said a big storm is brewing so we had better go home, he agreed.
We almost ran home, I carried Ted and it began to bucket down just as we reached the front door.
The thunder was loud and right on top of us when Teddy started to scream, Conner didn't know what to do while I calmly re-plated our food.
"Just hold him Con and tell him it's okay to be scared of the thunder but it won't hurt him." I tried to reassure him.
He did just that and had gotten him quieted down by singing a baby lullaby to him. I could see Con's tears flowing. I don't think it was because of his fears; it was the way Teddy was holding on for dear life. Thunder scares little kids, like the dark and loud noises. I called them to the table and when they didn't come, I took the plates over to the coffee table and they both looked a little less fragile.
"The monkeys were a bit loud tonight Con." I wanted to make light of the moment.
"What? What monkeys Brent?"
"The ones rolling around on the clouds on barrels, you know the ones that make all those awfully loud noises."
"What monkeys, daddy?"
"The thunder, it's a heap of naughty monkeys walking on old barrels in the clouds. Thank God they got tired and went back to the zoo."
They both looked at me then Conner said,
"Oh, those monkeys."
"Will they come back daddy?"
"I don't think so son, they've maybe gone home for their dinner. If they do then daddy Con will hold you until they go away again."
I'm thinking along the lines of heal thyself. If Con sees his son is terrified of thunder he just might lose his fear in the process. He thanked me.
It didn't come back for a while but he was ready for it and it became a bit of a joke every time it did, Ted and Con would yell,
"Go home monkeys." He was getting there. His son's feelings were a stronger pull than his dull memories.
"Dad, dad, did you see that I kicked a goal, did you see it dad?" He ran over all muddy up to his knees and jumped into my arms. He was a good captain and shook hands with all the other boys and although our team didn't win, they played a fair game. Grant was pissed off and started to go over to talk to the kids but I held his arm.
"It's their first game, they are pumped and made it to the end, your shouting will scare them."
"I wasn't going to shout."
"Oh but you were going to give them a mouthful weren't you?"
"Maybe just a little razzing."
"Well don't, let them enjoy themselves, they're only little kids." My phone went off.
"We will be there in half an hour." I hung up.
"Conner, Teddy, quick we have to go meet your new cousin, she's about to be born."
"What?" Conner said, then it registered.
"Come on Brent, stop dawdling."
"Hurry up dad," Ted yelled.
Well I guess they could have helped take the chairs and picnic basket to the car instead of loading me up; that slowed me down a bit. I guess I have to put up with it now. A rock legend and a footy star in the family, can't expect them to get their hands dirty.
She was a gorgeous baby, long eyelashes, blue eyes to die for and a shock of black hair. As I nursed her, I looked at Di's beaming face. She couldn't stop crying with joy; Marty's tears were on and off too. Ted loved his little cousin at first sight and Conner went shopping in the hospital's gift shop. I've never seen a room so full of flowers and soft toys, not even Jen's room looked as cramped as this.
"I'll get the nurses to distribute them to the other wards tomorrow Brent, it's a bit overwhelming and the scents are clashing." Di smiled before she pulled her umpteenth tissue from her now nearly empty box.
Adam arrived, with Rob in tow, and another large arrangement of flowers. He kissed everybody then tried to take the baby from me. It was Di who called out,
"Make sure that hobbit has washed his hands Brent."
Adam took it in his stride and I passed the little unnamed baby over to him, he sat in the chair beside me.
"Thanks for all the emails to answer Brent."
"Oh but it was my pleasure Adam."
"I got Tan and some of his mates on to it." He chuckled and I burst out laughing, he's so enterprising that boy.
"Well Marty, what's her name?" Conner asked.
"We can't decide, we thought we were going to have a boy and had settled on his name but we didn't even have a girl's name picked out, give us a day or two will you?"
"Hope," Di whispered.
"What's that Di?"
"Hope, I want to call her Hope, you can pick her middle name Marty. We can't use Brent and I don't like Brenda so we will save that for when our little boy comes, this little girl is Hope."
Tears flowed down Di's cheeks; Marty hugged her and stroked her face, kissing it in between broken sobs.
"Hope it is then baby," Marty said.
"Welcome to our world little Hope." Adam kissed her forehead. She had no idea what was going on, she was now fast asleep.
"Me so lucky daddy, me got two cousins now, Conner and Hope, so lucky boy I am dad."
"You sure are son, she's beautiful and so is little Conner."
That night Ted was talking about where babies come from, he was too young to know but we both agreed on cabbage patches, he went with that one.
Conner's new album was released on the tail of all the publicity he had gotten through his voice problem. It was an instant number one hit and radio stations played it constantly. Ted wanted it on in the car all the time and knew all the words. He started bringing home jewel cases to be signed, his mate's mums I presumed and Conner was more than happy to do it.
Conner also had received a copy of the movie he was in, for two seconds he starred just waving in the background with his rock star gear on. I guess that puts a stop to his movie career, I don't think he was brokenhearted but the movie was okay and his music featured throughout it, which was a big bonus. The producer had sent a thank you bunch of flowers with the disc. They took up my dining table so I moved them to the outdoor setting, they will last longer but Benny eyed them, like they were an unwelcome intruder to his domain.
Ted was bathed each night and put to bed with a story, our routine had returned. As if a light flicked on in my head the third night, I took Conner's hand and led him into the bedroom, and then I slowly stripped his rock star persona off, black T shirt, jeans and underwear. I put Rick Conner's away and was left with my Conner. The man before me was better than the movie star come rock star. He was hard bodied but silky soft, manly but childlike, my amazing lover and my shy friend. He was everything I have ever wanted and everything I have ever needed. Tonight I'm in control; I kissed his sweet lips while he stroked my back, my mouth made its way down his neck, licking the vein that throbbed there, and forcing him to groan. It passed over his nipples and took its time on his abs. I pushed him back on the bed and saw his beautiful, erect eight incher surrounded by the deepest black curly pubes. His ample balls were begging to be sucked so I slowly spread his legs and dined on them, his thighs pushing hard onto my face, his hands pulling at the bed covers.
My tongue traced the length of his cock and I lightly sucked on his knob only; his deep gasps were breaking the silence in the room with my sucking noises singing backup to his song.
"I love you," he said.
"ummmummm," I replied.
"Love me Brenton Walsh, stay with me forever, this is my only wish." he moaned loudly.
That wish I can grant with all my heart.
School holidays. The last day of school and parents were encouraged to turn up early, preferably at lunchtime and holding a mystery present and a plate of food. Ted was excited because Santa would be here soon. He had his present already written down in a letter I posted for him last week. It wasn't much, just a red, remote controlled car, easy, as Con tried to pick the biggest and best but I chose a less ostentatious one. Pretty cool but more to a little five year olds understanding, he didn't need the extra gismos.
Santa would arrive at the school and pass out the mystery presents to the little kids' class and I would get John to make a platter of something or go buy something at the cake shop.
Ted couldn't wait to get to school. His mates were all waiting for him by the circus fence. Their idea of training was to hang by their legs backwards and swing up with their arms crossing their chests; I guess they wanted to impress the captain or Grant. I walked him across the road. I know there's a lollypop lady on board but I wanted to do it, then kissed his cheek and said I would see him in three hours time.
John had made a rather great platter of sausage rolls and it took all my strength not to have one or two of them. By the time I got home there was a vacant space on the plate. Me thinks Conner has been sniffing around, it wouldn't be Benny, I had deliberately put them on top of the fridge and he couldn't jump that high.
"You'll get fat Con."
"No I won't."
"All that pastry is no good for you."
"If it's good enough for our son and his mates then it's good enough for me." He stuck his heels in.
"Well don't complain if you get fat."
"I've got a fat for you Brent." He smirked.
"Well let me see it, maybe I can put it on a Sylvia diet."
"I can cope."
"I'll calm it down."
And so I did, in the middle of the kitchen. I heard the rattling of kitchen foil being disturbed and Conner chewing on something. I took a pinch of skin from his waist and shook it, just to prove my point.
When he finished, I wiped us both and replenished the platter with a half dozen more rolls I had in the fridge, I would warm them up before we left for school.
"You okay about coming to school today Con?"
"Yeah of course, he's our son, a few parents won't matter but if anything is said, I'm the father and you're helping out." He grinned.
"It's going to be a bit hard to explain if the questions get too deep Con."
"Well then we will deal with it if it happens. But I think you're worrying about it too much. Teddy's mates know he's got two dads and if the parents haven't gone to the media so far, they never will."
"Okay but I just worry he's going to be put on show that's all."
"I can come out baby, you know I would have done that a year ago, I don't give a fuck what people say. George Michael did it successfully, so did Elton. Mind you it was done after they were established worldwide legends."
"Well so are you Con but if you don't have to then don't do it. For some reason if you're a star or sports hero it's suicide, media wise. I can't understand it really, what's the big deal?"
"I guess it's the wholesome family thing, finding sponsors for gay sporting people must be bloody hard, just look at Thorpe. He must have gone through agony trying to be someone he wasn't, just to hold onto his backers."
"Does Ricon sponsor sports Con?"
"Yes, for sure baby, even more if there's a hint the hero is gay, so many drop out for personal reasons, it's a crime."
"Alright, we will just keep our ears and eyes alert today."
"Nothings going to happen Brent chill out." He smiled at me.
The visit to Ray's office this morning had us both signing documents and generally being kept up to date. My foundation was going ahead in leaps and bounds. There was talk about merging it with Cody and Dan's, 'Never Give Up,' charity but its early stages as yet. Maybe we will get to visit them again soon.
Conner had finished his job but I was still reading the NGU proposal so he went out and was talking to Helen, I wonder what he's got on his mind?
Ray grabbed my ass as he said goodbye and as usual it got a good squeeze.
We drove home and I warmed up the rolls then covered them again in foil, one went missing when my back was turned and Con looked very guilty.
He tied his thick long black hair back into a ponytail and we left for school, we could hear the kids excited chatter as we approached the classroom.
"Dads!!" Ted yelled and ran over to hug us both. Well the idea of being under the radar just flew out the window.
"Hi buddy, you excited about seeing Santa?"
"Yes daddy, he's going to give us presents." His face was full of anticipation and smiles, his fists tight.
"I can see he's excited," Miss Parker said looking at Ted's fists.
"So weird, but in a good way."
"Oh he's not the only one that does that but he's the only one that's genuine and the other kids have picked up on it. I think it gets them extra treats at home so they go with it." She laughed.
I saw a few of the mums I had spoken to outside the school and of course Mrs. Green was there looking at me and nodding like she was going to give me more homework or something.
Con put the present under the tree where Santa would hand them out, also we had to buy something for a girl or a boy so we got a really nice set of storybooks.
We weren't there more than three minutes when a mum asked Con for his autograph, so of course he had to do them for all the mums. I noticed a dad with his son talking in the corner and the little fella looked a bit upset. I knew his face but couldn't remember his name. I had seen another good-looking man drop him off in the mornings.
"What's wrong Mrs. Green, he looks so sad?"
"His other daddy hasn't turned up; unfortunately I think there's trouble in paradise." She smiled vaguely.
I sent Teddy over to offer him a sausage roll; he took it and peeled the pastry off then discarded the meat. His dad looked at me with red eyes but just then a young man came in and the little boy screamed,
He swept him up in his arms and kissed him then walked over to the other dad and basically ignored him, they didn't talk and it was sad for the little fella.
"It's not what you think Brent," one mum whispered in my ear.
"Sam's is being transferred to Sydney and Sean doesn't want to leave his school friends behind. They have been arguing all week and it's upsetting the boy. Sam can't find another job in Melbourne and Andrew is at his wits end. He's got no prospects of finding a job let alone a place to rent in Sydney."
"How do you know this Monica?"
"We are neighbor's and Sean is Bub's best friend."
"What do they do?"
"Andrew is a book keeper and Sam is an accountant with a big firm. His work is re-locating to Sydney and he's tried so hard to get a job here in Melbourne but no luck, he has to go but Andrew doesn't want to uproot Sean's home."
There was no way Monica would know Conner owns Ricon. This is something I can fix with Con's help. Rob needs a new accounts manager. He's been chasing his ass trying to do Bob's old job and his.
"Introduce me will you?"
"Sure." She took me over to them and introduced me as one of Ted's dads and they were pleasant guys, obviously they loved Sean to bits but they were a bit cold with one another.
I called Con over and introduced him, they warmed up a bit and began to get a little chatty so I asked why Sean was so upset, they looked at each other and Sam eventually said,
"I'm being transferred to Sydney, I don't have a choice as my company is re-locating but Andrew and Sean don't want to go so I think I will have to go on my own but I don't want to." He sadly looked at Andrew.
"That's never going to happen Sam, I won't have it."
"I've tried baby but there's no work for me here in Melbourne, it's the economic downturn but maybe something will turn up in the next week or two."
"How long have you worked for the company Sam?" I secretly was very happy inside.
"Eight years, I am the accounts manager but I have to go."
"You can mow lawns," Andrew snapped.
"I can wash dishes too but that's not going to pay our mortgage and you already do more overtime than you should."
"I don't mind it's for my family."
"So is Sydney." Sam was getting agitated.
Sean was starting to get upset again so Sam picked him up and started soothing him.
"It's okay little man, daddy will always love you and be with you forever and a day."
"How's Rob doing in his new job Con?" I asked to get his attention.
"Uh, really good Brent, he's chasing his ass at the moment because the takeover is imminent, he's got to promote someone."
"And he needs??" I winked and nodded towards Sam.
"He needs an accounts..." I drifted off hoping Con got my drift.
The penny dropped.
"He needs an accounts manager with eight years experience," he said rather loudly.
Sam's jaw dropped.
"Go Ship in Port Melbourne, they need an accounts manager desperately, are you interested?"
"Of course I'm interested, do you know who I can talk to there?"
Andrew was tearing up and took Sean from Sam's arms and kissed his cheek.
"Of course I do," Con said.
He got his phone out and rang Rob and after a bit of talk he handed the phone to Sam.
"Yes sir, twelve years experience, eight years with Sawtell Industries. Yes they are re-locating to Sydney. Can I? Wow, tomorrow? Sure, what time?"
He hung up and started telling Andrew about the job.
"No more trains, it comes with a company car and I have to meet him tomorrow in Port Melbourne, my god I'm glad I met you guys, fu..."
"I mean hell, my god I hope he needs me, it's been awhile since I've had an interview to go to, what do I say?"
He was so excited and I think somewhat relieved, he was looking into Andrews's eyes lovingly. His grin was infectious.
"Just be yourself Sam, Rob is a great guy and he's been moved to a different job and was trying to do both but that's not what his management wants."
"How did you know there was a job going?"
"Rob is a friend of ours and I'm sure you will get the job so now you can concentrate on Andrew and Sean. Maybe Andrew can do less overtime as I know the job pays very well and after three months they offer cheaper housing finance to selected employees." Con was loving this, he's always trying to help people, it's a shame the media can't see it.
Just then an uproar of kids resonated around the room, Santa had arrived, I laughed and after the kids settled I sauntered over and whispered,
"You don't look so scary now in that costume."
"Watch it Walsh or I'll give you detention." She smiled.
"Thank you," Monica said.
"It's okay; it's not what you know it's who you know that counts."
"Well Bubby and I thank you both from the bottom of our hearts." She smiled.
I hugged her, Con got jealous and Ted got a present, he eagerly opened it on the floor with the other kids then ran over to us.
"Look daddy, look what I got from Santa." He got a box of multi colored play dough and he was so excited.
"Small things Con, small things, like father, like son."
He smiled. We said our goodbyes to the boys and Sean with the promise to catch up in the near future before exchanging phone numbers and good lucks with the new job.
"I haven't got it yet Brent." Sam laughed.
"You will, I am certain of that one." I winked.
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