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  1. chezdon1997

    Innocence Waning

    Going to upload the remaining chapters however they are in final-draft state. You may find a grammatical error or two however I think it is important to get the rest of the content up for your reading pleasure.
  2. chezdon1997

    Chapter 1

    Melbourne was rated as the best place to live in the world index for five years in a row. It lost the top spot to Vienna this year though.
  3. chezdon1997

    Chapter 13

    From the first chapter where Chez was seeking out instantaneous gratification in the public toilets to almost being transported into a cleaner version of a private one, he gets his wish. Choices have consequences, especially when fuelled by booze and drugs as we know. This will not be an easy situation to deal with as time marches on and will also cause the drama to unfold at an exponential level now.
  4. chezdon1997

    Chapter 16

    It is a difficult situation to be in. Bryce makes it clear (or at least he does) that he doesn't want to hear about his dramas either. Jayden has certainly done an about-face and is not cracking as many jokes, as usual, these days! I hope you are enjoying this tale so far.
  5. chezdon1997

    Chapter 14

    You were certainly correct when you commented on the previous chapter saying there will be plenty of drama. As with everything in Innocence Waning, the subplots intertwine and many aspects of what you wrote in your comment are eventually addressed however as you would expect, some drama is introduced before there is a resolution.
  6. chezdon1997

    Chapter 12

    Sadly it is a time when social media usurps spending quality time together. The relationship certainly isn't perfect but having it balanced with hormones versus stability, playing in the world of adults and not knowing what the consequences will be (or caring) I think is typical and you are right to believe there is major drama on the horizon.
  7. chezdon1997

    Chapter 3

    When I started this book, it was a short story. When I turned it into a full book, this mystery caller haunted me for quite some time as I didn't want to just ignore it. It is actually one of the longest mysteries in this book but it is eventually revealed in a way that I think does the story justice
  8. chezdon1997

    Chapter 3

    I tried not to get sucked into the old boring trope that the MC has an unlimited source of income. As this book plays out, I address this and the fact as to how Chez gets his money.
  9. chezdon1997

    Innocence Waning

    Chaps 15 and 16 are in the queue.
  10. chezdon1997

    Chapter 16

    The walk back to the open wrought iron pedestrian gates bordering Melbourne Grammar is painful wearing the new shoes that Mel bought for me. They rub incessantly against both of my heels. I must stop next to the school crest and motto which is translated from Latin into "Pray and Work" to remove my shoes and apply band-aids that I strategically carry in my backpack for emergencies. I pray to the flying spaghetti monster in the sky that the bandages serve their purpose and blood stops oozing on to my socks. Austin and I pass the time reminiscing about everything that transpired at the hospital earlier and of course the random references to Mister Mackey and the silly new rule that all boys need to follow. My stomach noticeably growls like a lion as our peers walk past us eating takeaway from the local McDonalds and Subway franchises. I consider bribing one of my hungry classmates for a single chicken nugget but instead just endure the grumbling and the embarrassing sounds coming from my stomach. My body is demanding nourishment and something more substantial than just Coca-Cola. The smell of fresh bread wafting from the Subway footlongs and the grease in the Quarter Pounders are certainly alluring. I nearly throw in the towel and ditch school for some much-needed sustenance elsewhere. "It's hump day." Austin begins to preen himself using the front-camera which displays his face on the phone. "I am really looking forward to Friday night." I then remember our much anticipated first date night and I quietly congratulate myself for sorting out what I hope will be a fun and very romantic evening. "Me too." I smile as I pull a sock over my bandaged heel. "What the hell is hump day? I don't think there is enough time for me to hump you mate unless you want to head to mine and blow this place off." I wink at Austin. "I was hoping you would ask. You look nice today by the way. I like it when your fringe goes to the right instead of the left." Austin chuckles and sets his bag down on the footpath. He begins to straighten his tie and tuck in his white shirt. I am glad that he cares so much about his appearance since I really like looking at him. I almost feel guilty that I appear to be a dishevelled mess who to a random on the street looks to have been sweating like a rapist. Jesus Christ didn't care what he looked like when he was crucified so my appearance as I enter the school grounds is the least of my worries. Anticipating a form of punishment after I finally pull on my socks and return my shoes to my feet after picking up my bag doesn't trouble me in the slightest. "Hump day or hump hour takes place midday on Wednesday, meaning it is all downhill with respect to the rest of the week. I can't believe you haven't heard that saying before. My father says it all of the time." "I guess that is true. You are thinking about our five-day school week, so I guess even if you consider there are seven days in the week, what you say makes sense. Happy hump day!" I raise my arms above my head and begin clapping in time like I am at a concert. "I like my definition better though. Can I at least squeeze your arse once for luck?" I wink again at Austin as he picks up his bag feeling satisfied with his appearance and follows me. "Nope. Later maybe. Certainly, not here." Austin declares matter-of-factly. "Do you think when you get home that Daniel will be betrothed to Mel?" "Jesus, Austin. You are on fire with the vocabulary today. However, why not say it in German? You sound cute when you are uttering the guttural syllables of that language." It is well known that I am ranked the highest in our class and I wonder sometimes why Austin is not. I rationalise it that I am much more book smart and uptake information easier, a bit like a sponge. Austin can apply what he learns easier and files it all away for future reference. "Yeah, I think they will be engaged when I get home. I am glad that there is some happy news after what just seems to be a sea of shit washing ashore today." "They make a good couple. I really hope that we can have as much fun and communicate as well as they seem to do in the days, weeks, months and hopefully years ahead." Austin catches my gaze for an instant and smiles before glancing at his watch. "I should go. I will ring you later after I stir some shit up at home." I am suddenly reminded that he is going to come out of the closet which escaped my mind. "Take care of yourself Austin." I give him a very discrete wave not knowing what he will be happy with as he turns and walks off. My stomach grumbles again which I consider a foreboding omen as to what I fear Austin will experience when he has the big talk with his parents later today. Not only about his sexuality but my good self-being part of the picture. I look at my watch whilst drawing a long breath. After a prolonged sigh, I begin to walk to my Economics class and cross the path of a few boys that were in my English Literature class earlier. As I approach they begin to whistle and then one of them shouts. "I will stand and piss where I want!" After a few attempts at chanting in unison, the four boys are then in-sync and repeat the eight-word proclamation as I walk past them as we fist-bump and smack our hands together before I casually walk into Economics class, grinning. The rest of the day behind the iron gates plods along surprising without any drama. Except for the students taking notice of me in between the next class who slap my back and give me high-fives, my stress level decreases as no member of the administration or respective school employee requests my audience. Seemingly, Mister Mackey hasn't made a big deal about my disruption earlier or the mass exodus of students from his class. I begin to surmise that Mister Mackey is a reasonable person. I surmise that he doesn't agree with the authoritarian view that boys should be forced to sit and urinate as per an edict from his comrades in the administrative office. The day of learning ends thankfully without any additional fanfare. Whilst leaving the school grounds at the wrought iron gate I spot Malcolm gesticulating wildly. His droogs are chatting amongst themselves. They begin to laugh when they see me and enthusiastically wave me over in unison. "Hey lads. What's shaking?" I drop my bag on the ground and begin to scratch at the infected pimple that has grown to hurt on my shoulder under my shirt. "Hey mate." Malcolm commences the fist-pumping routine, and I complete the action with his gang of three. "Did you get into the shits?" Charlie looks preoccupied and is staring down the street, most likely he is waiting for someone to pick him up. I notice the acne on his face and quickly decide that I would rather have one pimple on my shoulder despite the irritating pain. "No mate. I didn't hear shit from anyone in administration today. Let's hope it stays that way, hey? I told my old man what happened though. He said he would fight the school if they try to punish me because the rule is so bullshit." Malcolm chuckles and starts sorting through his backpack. "He was mortified at that new shitty rule." Charlie bends down and scratches his knee and then his hairy shin. I notice some scabs on his leg, most likely obtained from playing Rugby. His tibia looks like it has been dented, which makes his shin appear strange and almost cartoon-like. "Hey, I told this to these boys earlier, but one of those new signs in the toilet block has already been vandalised." He stands up, rolls his eyes and smiles. "I wouldn't know who did it though, so don't ask." Malcolm hits Charlie on his shoulder. "It is obvious who did it, dickhead. Not like it matters. Hey, there is Austin." Malcolm raises an arm over my head and waves at Austin as I turn around and make an inviting motion towards him also, inviting him to our sewing circle. "Hey, what's happening?" Austin nonchalantly asks as he arrives at my side. "Someone has already graffitied the new shit sign in the bathroom." Everyone besides Austin leers at Charlie, who begins to laugh like a madman. Malcolm slaps his shoulder and finds Austin's play on words especially amusing. At least I think that is why he is so amused. "What a laugh. I love it!" Malcolm declares with glee. "Hey, there is dickhead Jayden." Austin and I both turn around and look back through the iron school gates only to see Jayden stumbling out onto the footpath with his backpack as fully laden as it possibly can get. "Hey, dickhead!" Malcolm shouts at Jayden. Austin and I both look at each other incredulously. "Hey, dickhead!" Malcolm shouts louder and drops his bag and starts to run towards my best mate. Charlie runs after him after dropping his bag on the ground next to me. Jayden didn't have an opportunity to run away even if he tried with the tonnage in his backpack. He simply raises his hands above his head. Malcolm wraps his arm around Jayden's neck and forcefully escorts him to our social circle and for Jayden to keep up, he drags his backpack on the along the concrete footpath. When Charlie catches up to both Jayden and Malcolm, he forcibly takes Jayden's backpack from him and then walks back toward us with purpose. "What the fuck!" Jayden shouts and then repeats himself as loud as he can, emphasising the last word but asking it as a question. Other students in the area take keen interest and begin to watch the commotion knowing that something interesting is about to happen. By the time, Malcolm escorts Jayden back to our area, he has relented, no doubt realising that Malcolm and Charlie would drag him over to us by choice if he resists. "Do you have anything to say to Chezdon, arsehole? You need to apologise for being a dickhead." Malcolm takes Jayden’s black tattered backpack from Charlie and rests it on his shoulder. The weight of the bag doesn't appear to faze Malcolm at all. "What the fuck, arsehole! What do I need to apologise for? I didn't do shit to you." Jayden appears both flustered and agitated and doesn't seem apprehensive in stepping into Malcolm's personal space. He then turns and shoves me hard with both hands before turning back and facing Malcolm. "Are you Chezdon's bitch now?" Before Malcolm can respond, Jayden turns and shoves Austin. "You are all a bunch of cocksuckers!" Jayden exclaims with venom in his voice and tries to yank his backpack away from Malcolm. The shouting and swearing attract the attention of more students in the area and they begin to rush over, forming a circle around our small group. I notice a few of my peers take their phones out and pointing them in our direction as I get my bearings after being shoved. Austin and I quickly look at one another and it is obvious that Austin is concerned. Most likely not for Jayden, but I know he does not want to have an unplanned chat with the administrators after already avoiding one today somehow. The look on my face also indicates that I am fearful this situation is going to become out of control quickly. "Who gives a shit about him Malcolm?" I look at Jayden with a disapproving stare before continuing. "Sometimes mates can quickly turn into arseholes, so who can be bothered with this one." I steadfastly proclaim, mustering as much confidence as I can with the hope of defusing the situation. My response is in turn measured, especially for the camera phones which are now recording us. A beautiful black Audi R8 pulls up near the group of teenagers that are assembled on the street. The driver blasts the car horn. The son of the parent driving the Audi, who is one of the many teenagers recording us simply waves at his mother. He is obviously more interested in filming our shenanigans instead of leaving the drama behind. Jayden quickly turns and shoves me again. I stumble backwards and drop my phone and end up on my back resting on the dusty concrete footpath. Once I have regained my sense of place, I hop up and rush back towards Jayden and shove him as hard as I can towards Charlie who nonchalantly offers Jayden his shoulder. Charlie treats him as an opposition rugby fullback and Jayden collapses on the concrete sidewalk like a bag of potatoes would if thrown from the back of a truck. "You pussy! Fuck you mate!" Jayden yells whilst laying on the footpath. Malcolm drops Jayden's backpack on his stomach causing Jayden to howl in pain after getting the wind knocked out of him. Once he is composed, a barrage of curses, accusations and blasphemy spews from Jayden's mouth. Everyone that he looks at, including the curiously interested spectators with their phones recording every word that Jayden shrieks, is abused for one reason or another. Finally, after he takes a deep breath and stands up slowly, he picks up his bag and for the benefit of the smartphones and the audience he looks at Austin. "If you want to play happy families with Chezdon, go right ahead faggot! I hope you don't mind that he is a big fucking slut who sucked me off and swallowed my cum last night. Good luck to you. You fucking pussy!" Jayden spits on the ground and with hate present in his eyes, stares at me as he walks past, knocking my shoulder hard enough to make me wince. Prematurely believing that the drama has concluded for the day, Jayden quickly whirls his body around and with a deranged look on his face places his hands around my throat. The moment in time then resembles a photograph as I remain fixated on Jayden's soft lips. With the memories of the previous night first playing in my head, they are quickly exchanged. Knowing that he is apoplectic with rage, I thrust my forehead forward as hard as I can, and it meets the bridge of my friend's nose and then his forehead. Screaming, chanting and swearing comes from all directions as my world begins to spin. I lean down, free of Jayden’s stranglehold on my neck and pick up my phone. Voices have merged to form white noise. A hand rests on my back gently which like magic transports me from my delirium and back to reality. Standing up tall, I see Malcolm as rigid as a statue, much like you would find in a photograph that a tourist would have taken at the nearby war memorial. My eyes find Austin as I comprehend that he is the one that is trying to comfort me. I wipe what I first believe to be sweat off my face and out of my eyes, but when I see the back of my hand, I realise that the crimson red colour all over it is not sweat. All the outrage and associated shrieks from my peers are the results of blood being shed. Charlie hands Austin a dirty towel that he pulls from his backpack. Austin at first applies pressure to my forehead before taking Christopher's bottle of water. I now can comprehend the spoken word and the first ones that make sense are uttered by Malcolm. "It isn't his blood, Chez is okay." Austin shakes me, and I am finally roused back to life as he continues to wipe my face with the dirty wet towel. The shrill shrieking sounds are muted by the noise of the onlookers and the cheering of the mob as I watch Jayden stumble up the street, pushing past students and spectators. Someone shouts that Jayden's nose is broken as the smartphones follow him as he slowly staggers along the footpath swearing at anyone that comes close to him. A few of the theatre boys that I recognise from the senior campus at first try to restrain Jayden to help him, but after being verbally abused, Malcolm interjects. "Let him go. He isn't worth it." He raises his voice and smartphones move from Jayden to Malcolm and then back to me. "We are being recorded, it isn't worth it. He isn't worth it. Who cares about the dickhead?" Malcolm retreats into our original sewing circle. Various members of the enthused and interested viewing public signal that the spectacle is over and begin to frantically swipe and tap on their phones. Groans are heard as Jayden walks away holding his face with his hand. The driver of the Audi blasts the car horn again and a boy slowly wanders away from the pack and is driven quickly away. He looks disappointed that he must leave the bloodlust behind. "Wow, it is all happening today." Austin attempts to lighten the mood. "I didn't expect that to happen. Moaning Myrtle is buggering off at least though. Fortunately, he will not be dripping blood all over the bathroom floor at school as I am sure that would mean a new rule." I smile at the reference to Moaning Myrtle, the ghost that haunts the various bathrooms at the Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter saga. Austin continues to wipe my face and refreshes the blood-stained towel with more of the natural spring water from the bottle. My earlier thoughts and convictions that my life has only been complicated needlessly by the splendours of lust merge with the miseries of jealousy, hate and self-loathing. I thought that they would all weave into a happy sunlit meadow of tranquillity and butterflies comes to bear. I realise that I have only been deluding myself. "Chez, if you have a spare shirt in your bag, you should change." "If we were in the United States that dickhead would probably come back with a gun and shoot us all." Charlie reflects and scratches the shoulder that he used previously to knock Jayden down with. "God save America." We all chuckle uncomfortably as I begin to rummage through my backpack. I retrieve a wadded up soiled polo shirt that I wore a few weeks ago, that was stuffed into the bottom of my bag. "Maybe when ISIS comes knocking at your door mate, you can point them in the direction of dickhead Jayden." Malcolm slaps Charlie on his back. Their laugh is infectious, which causes Christopher and Wyatt to also snicker. I unbutton my shirt and pull it off and am left aghast at the amount of blood on it. I am lucky that it wasn't my essential life force that was shed and I can’t help feeling concerned for Jayden. Austin watches me pull the filthy polo over my sweaty torso as random boys whistle at me from afar. He then looks thoughtfully at Malcolm. "Can I ask you a question, Malcolm?" Austin adjusts his backpack. Malcolm opens his eyes wide which encourages Austin to continue. "You seem to care more about Jayden acting like a dickhead compared to Chez or I. What has he done to piss you off so much mate?" This is a valid question and it should provide insight as to why, suddenly, Malcolm and his friends have taken such a quick liking to us over the last hour. "Fair enough." Malcolm picks up his bag and looks at Austin before staring at me. He begins to speak in a solemn tone. "My sister is, well um, she was a lesbian. She was bullied for years and she killed herself. This is how I ended up here. My parents thought a private school in the city would be more suitable after she took her life than out in the country. When Jayden outed the two of you, he made an enemy for life here mate. I don't put up with this bullying shit." The surprised look on the faces of Malcolm's three friends gives a clear indication that they did not know this trivia. Charlie looks like he is going to cry. Christopher starts to chew on the inside of his lip and Wyatt pats Malcolm on the back gently. "It just pisses me off and I wanted to kick his arse, but as you said, Chez, he isn't worth it. Besides you did enough damage, hey?" Malcolm takes a deep breath before continuing. "It doesn't look like you are even bothered about what he had to say in class earlier or even just now. Why is that?" All eyes then find their way to me as I try to smooth out the wrinkles on my filthy shirt. Austin then looks at me with a curious expression. His right eyebrow once again disappears behind his fringe. "They are just words really mate. We keep talking and laughing about ISIS lobbing off heads, and I should be worried or upset about petty things Jayden says to me? My father told me that he has skin cancer today and tomorrow I am seeing my bitch of a mother for the first time in three years. Believe me, mate, there is nothing that Jayden can say that would annoy me as there are far more important and sinister things going on in my life. Honestly, it is just a waste of time and that is my struggle." My mouth is dry and my frustration level rises knowing that we are standing around on the footpath telling tales of woe instead of having fun and developing positive relationships amongst one another. "It is just frustrating, that is all." I take the water bottle from Austin and drink what is left in it. "It doesn't sound like Mein Kampf mate," Austin interjects smiling. "You see that bloke Hitler had a struggle and wrote about his from his cell, I don't think yours compares." "What is up with you and the German references today, mate?" I grin and put my arm around Austin and shake him. For once he doesn't act embarrassed or feign from a public display of affection. "You do make me laugh though." I rub my forehead and wonder how long the act of head-butting will leave my forehead aching. My stomach growls again, reminding me that it should be obeyed immediately in the future as it sounded the early-warning alarm earlier that danger and drama were brewing. Austin giggles which make the rest of our group either smile or chuckle. The remaining onlookers wander off after associating Jayden with various words that you would not want to say in the presence of your parents. "Okay lads, see you blokes later and thanks for the entertainment. I was looking forward to watching the boxing this weekend on television, but now I have no interest. I have to go." Austin notices me staring at him and after breaking my embrace, he winks at me before spinning around and walking in the direction of the train station. He removes his phone from his back pocket and starts to fiddle with it as he walks away from us. "I should get going also, boys." I look around and after finding my bag, I hoist it on to my back. "Thanks for helping out with Jayden. I doubt he will have much to say after that melee." I am at a loss for words and this proclamation makes sense. "Malcolm, I am sorry to hear about your sister. That really sucks mate." "We should party soon, Chez. We heard you throw a good one." Wyatt says as he stretches his arms behind his back. I am shocked to hear his voice as I thought he was mute. "See you tomorrow mate." "Indeed. It would be fun. Soon, I promise, mate." I initiate the fist-bumping routine with Christopher and follow it on with Wyatt. When I get back to Malcolm he decides to hug me instead. Whilst being embraced, I slap Malcolm's back hard repeatedly. "Thanks, mate. You are a good bloke." Malcolm releases me and smiles. "Anytime Chez. Later bro." Malcolm walks away and is followed by his rugby mates. They walk towards the train station, following the path that both Jayden and Austin previously followed. I pause and squat down to check my right heel. After collecting my thoughts, I rub my forehead before pulling off a shoe. I peel a sock down and find a small dot of blood peeking through the band-aid. I return my footwear to where it belongs and walk in the opposite direction towards the familiar tram on St Kilda Road knowing that I no longer have a best friend as of a few minutes ago. I wipe my eye again knowing it is not only watering because Jayden's blood irritated it and I suddenly feel hollow as the tram grinds to a stop next to me on the raised platform.
  11. chezdon1997

    Chapter 15

    As I undo my tie and quickly walk out through the open gate and off the school grounds, I hear footfalls and the shuffling of shoes behind me and then the familiar voice of Austin. "Chez, wait up." He places his hand on my shoulder as I continue to traverse along the footpath, having no plan as to where to go or what to do. Before responding I notice the presumably innocent children playing in the park across the road and their respective bored parents sitting on a bench before locking my gaze upon Austin and smiling. "Wouldn't it be nice to be like those kids again?" I point in the direction of the children frolicking on the grass who are trying to hit each other with sticks. "We will probably end up punished or worse." I deliberately move my head from side to side trying to remove the tension from my neck as I swipe the sweat that that was beginning to form on my forehead. Austin retrieves a small tree branch off the ground and gently scratches my arm with it. "You are precocious Chezdon. We are still just kids. We can still play in the park and not take anything too seriously if that is what we want to do. I am obviously not in the same rush to grow up as you are." Austin tosses the branch over his shoulder and onto the street. A Mercedes passes us a second later. The driver raises his middle finger and beeps the horn, most likely thinking Austin intentionally chucked the branch at his fine motorcar. I pull my backpack off and awkwardly shove my tie into the top pocket. After returning the heaving bag to my right shoulder, I casually unfasten the top three buttons of my white shirt. The few minutes that I have had to reflect since bolting out of class has caused me to feel a certain amount of mirth. It is very rare that I allow such nonsense that is said in class to bother me however it is the pious look that was on Jayden's smug face that set me off. It irritates me far more than any words that he uttered in class, or those that were written in the gospel, that there is an edict stating how boys should piss. The school has numerous other silly rules that I have never bothered to comment on at least out loud in front of the authority figures. It bothers me that I couldn't keep control in class. My provocative opinions amuse me though, along with some others when I feel like I want to entertain myself and my peers, but they do tend to get me in trouble. I know my big mouth is also my tragic flaw and I wonder how long it will be until I face my reckoning. My phone begins to vibrate in the back pocket of my shorts. I ignore the annoying device and choose to quarantine it and simply wipe the sweat beads off my forehead again using the back of my hand. I roll my eyes at Austin and revert to watching where I am going so I don't trip on the uneven pavement. "That is thought-provoking mate. I never thought of you as being such a deep cunt." Nervously, I grab the back of my head and mess my hair up further. Austin laughs and after a few seconds, looks up into the leafy trees that cover not only the footpath but the street. "I doubt they will expel you. You just expressed an opinion and essentially walked out of class. I will be in the shit though when I get home if Mister Mackey reports it. The only damning thing you said was that misogynist comment about the headmistress." Austin remains sanguine in what waits for us back at Melbourne Grammar. There is no continuing commentary from him about being castigated by parents and the school for that matter. His calm demeanour quickly settles me down. "Do you want to go to Nandos?" I look at Austin and then start to giggle. "Mmmkay Austin. Please just sit your arse down on the toilet to piss and be happy about it. You are an evil man for spraying urine on the floor!" I put on a voice resembling Mister Mackey, the dishevelled elementary school guidance counsellor from the cartoon South Park. Most students in our English Literature don’t bother to refer to him by his proper name. It is just 'Sir' or when we are outside of the class, 'Mister Mackey.' My pace slows as my circumspection quickly evolves into sheer and utter amusement. I hold my stomach and start laughing so uncontrollably that tears start to well up in my eyes which then finally stream down my face. I attempt to commentate the events that transpired in the last ten minutes, and as I do, I interject every third word with more laughter, until I get to the point that I must drop my bag on the ground in the desperate hope of controlling myself. Austin begins to laugh and attempts to mimic the silly statements that our teacher had to say, starting every statement with 'Mmmkay' like the fictional cartoon character would do as monotonal as humanly possible. "Oh god, I can't take much more, please stop!" Austin starts to laugh as he continues to imitate Mr Mackey again. We halt on the footpath to carry on like fools, it gives a group of the boys who left English Literature after us a chance to catch up to us. Malcolm, the brown-haired alpha male of the group whom we both know only as an acquaintance, is the first to shout. "Chezdon! That was so awesome mate!" He puts his hand up and I do the same. Our hands smack together and then we fist-bump. He speaks to me like we have been best mates since birth. "That was just amazing mate. You summed up exactly what we were thinking." Malcolm's three friends nod their heads and both Austin and I start smacking their hands which of course are followed by the requisite fist-bumps. "You totally owned Mackey, it was priceless!" The group starts laughing after Austin simply says ‘Mmmkay’ and then smiles. "What is this shit that Jayden was saying about the two of you though? Was he saying you are gay for each other?" Austin's face immediately turns a shade of crimson and immediately drops his head. I knew what Jayden had to say in class effectively outed us, but with the hilarity of the moment, I didn't think I would be questioned about it on the street so soon. With nothing to lose, I gaze directly into Malcolm's blue eyes and then quickly glance at the other boys who seem eager for my response. "Yeah, so what. Do you have a problem with that?" Austin looks up at Malcolm and then at me. Malcolm appears stunned and his eyes convulse toward his friends who then quickly start looking back and forth at one another. The awkward dialogue that has quickly evolved from back-slapping hilarity and fist-bumping action to time-stopping seriousness. "No mate. We just never would have guessed. What the two of you do behind closed doors isn't my business, it is all good." The other three boys nod their heads in unison and repeat in their own words how it is all good and that there are no worries. "What the fuck is Jayden's problem then? You could get him on a bullying charge you know. What he said is just not cool. Isn't he a door knocker?" I laugh and after rolling my eyes, I wipe more beads of sweat that have accumulated on my forehead with the back of my hand. "You know what, I really don't care what Jayden said. I know far cleverer people than him who have tried to insult me, bully me and call me names throughout my life. Why should I care? It happens to all of us and if that cunt can manage to offend me by saying what he did, I should just cut myself and end it all right here and now." Austin looks at Malcolm and makes one sound. "Mmmkay." Everyone laughs. "Jayden thrives on schadenfreude because he is just a dickhead." Malcolm slaps Austin on the shoulder with enthusiasm. "You are a cool bloke Austin." He extends his hand so he can fist-bump us once again. The process is then repeated by his gang of three. "What the hell does that word you just said mean though? You are the walking word of the day mate." Austin moves his fringe and then scratches the back of his head. "Wow, I wasn't expecting that. Jayden is a fuckwit though, that much is true. He just gets pleasure from others misfortune. That is what that word means." My look of confusion subsides as I add a new word to my vocabulary. "Malcolm, what is a door knocker?" I ask innocently. I know what he is inferring but I want him to put it in his own words. Malcolm smiles and stretches his arms over his head. It is obvious looking at him that carbohydrates are not part of his diet and that he visits the gym with some regularity. "You know, a Jehovah's witness. The bastards that come and knock on your door on Saturday morning to talk to you about religion and what-not. Don't they knock on your door?" I pick up my backpack and slide it over my shoulders anticipating this conversation will end soon. "I live in an apartment tower so they wouldn't be able to get in to knock on my door. But anyway, Jayden is agnostic and lazy so I really doubt he would wander around and do such a thing." I knew there were groups of people that would door knock and preach the word of some God, but I have never seen it happen in person. Not being content with being silent any longer, Charlie, who previously only contributed only heavy breathing to the conversation and who appears to be losing the war against acne, finally speaks. "Better to be door knocked by some bible bashers instead of goddamned ISIS. I wouldn't want those pricks turning up at my house." Charlie looks relieved that ISIS has never paid a visit to him in whatever suburban area that he lives in. "You really think ISIS would knock on your door mate?" Malcolm asks with a thoughtful look on his face. The banal conversation causes me to clear my throat and adjust my backpack. "Those arseholes would knock down your door and lop off your ugly head." I raise my voice with the hope of shutting down the conversation. "Boys, we need to go. We need to be heading to visit my father in the hospital so can I just wish you well now?" The look of agitation on my face causes Austin to look out and watch the children play in the park again however he understands my play on words and chuckles. The hand smacking and fist-bumping commence to end the final act and I feel self-conscious when Malcolm gives me a hug. He would have felt that my shirt has become saturated with sweat before his followers start to walk away. "What is wrong with your old man? Can I get your number?" Malcolm looks at Austin before continuing. "By the way, if you boys need anything let me know." He hands me his unlocked phone and I retrieve my phone from my back pocket, unlock it, and hand it to Malcolm. I pinch my lips together and shrug my shoulders as I watch Austin pick up his bag. What could Malcolm possibly be offering? Does he want to beat up Jayden? Perhaps sell us drugs? I am confident that he thinks I am more innocent than I truly am after making such an offer. "He was in a car accident yesterday. He will be fine though. He is just bored if anything sitting around in the bloody hospital." Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction and as we exchange phones once again before walking away from our new friends waving. I wonder if life will get any stranger before the sun sets. The irony of my father being in the hospital and me using the term 'he will kill me' when I make a reference to walking out of class makes Austin laugh. I remind him that he, along with others followed me like mice after the Pied Piper and that we need to accept our fate when we return to school. Unfazed, he expresses interest yet again in joining me on my short walk to the hospital. Austin suggests that we purchase many coffees and take Daniel a few cups after I say that we will not have time to go to eat at Nandos and visit the hospital if we plan to return back to school and face our reckoning on time. I should inform Daniel about my shenanigans earlier and as I ponder exactly what to say, a sense of dread quickly envelops me. He will remind me that he pays a substantial amount of money for me to attend this illustrious private institution. I really hope that after the ceremonial offer of roasted beans, the wild and injured beast will be appeased. I inspect Austin like he is a tomato at the farmers market. We casually walk into the McDonalds and order a cardboard tray full of flat white coffees from the McCafe kiosk. Whilst waiting for the barista to do her duty, I take some time to check the messages that have been delivered to my phone whilst admiring Austin's frame out of the corner of my eye. One message is from Shaun who provides a gentle reminder that we have a movie night planned for this evening which causes my face to turn red. I am embarrassed because I forgot about our arrangement. "Hey Austin, what are your plans later?" I pose my question loud enough for all the patrons that are ordering junk food to hear. Most of the customers in the queue promptly turn around to stare at me. They collectively then glare at Austin who is graciously collecting the tray of coffees from the enthusiastic server behind the counter. Austin appears embarrassed. It was an innocent question after all. "Let's go!" Austin quickly walks toward the automatic sliding door and I follow him, bemused as we flee into the mild yet crisp Melbourne air with the sun shining on us from above. "Why do you have to be so loud?" I jog so I can catch up with him with my backpack awkwardly swaying from side to side like a pendulum. "Sorry, I didn't mean it like that. Here, let me take those." I grab the cardboard tray of coffee cups from Austin's cold hands. "Thanks for that, my father will be kicking me out and welcoming you to the family home soon enough if you keep this up." A wide grin forms on my face as Austin takes a moment to wipe the sweat off his forehead with his arm. He then moves his hand to the back of his neck and rubs it vigorously. Austin appears circumspect and his eyes widen as we continue to traverse along the footpath. The entrance to the hospital is roughly as far as you can throw a cat. "Tonight, I am going to tell my parents not to expect any grandchildren from me and that I like guys. That I like you. I am sure that will go down well." He averts his gaze to the pavement as we walk towards the entrance of the Alfred Hospital. "Keep your phone on and make sure it isn't on silent. I will be ringing you later as I am confident that all hell will break loose." Austin looks at me and places his hand on my shoulder before we walk into the air-conditioned hospital. "Wow." I wasn't expecting this proclamation from Austin and different scenarios start playing through my mind as to what his parents will say when he makes the confession that he likes cock. His mother will be devastated since she wants him to produce a grandchild and carry on the family name. His father will most likely only be annoyed because his romantic interest is the demon spawn of Daniel Morrison. "Yeah, well. I can go with you if you want. Whatever you need, I am there for you." I remove Austin's hand from my shoulder and then hold it gently before abruptly stopping. "Just promise me that if you don't think you will get a positive outcome after you start talking to your parents that you pull out before it is too late. There is no point in making your life difficult" Austin stops in time with me. "What do you mean before it is too late?" "You have to live with them Austin so if you think that the discussion is going to turn out to be shitty and your life will end up being hell and awkward, don't tell them anything especially that your crush is me. It isn't worth it. Just keep fitting in until you can move out. Your sexuality is part of your identity but in this case, the power of your parents will trump it, and you have to admit, your parents are not going to take this confession well." "What do I have to lose? I can always come and live with you especially since I look at you as more than my crush these days." Austin states matter-of-factly and looks deadly serious before starting to laugh and winking at me. "I will be fine." I become in my thoughts and play out various scenarios involving Austin in my mind. Returning my gaze to my phone, I discover a message from Mel which provides some much-needed insight as to how to locate my father at the hospital. "I hope so. Maybe because Daniel and Mel were so accommodating and understanding when I made the big announcement that I am a fag, I naturally assume that it should be easy for everyone else, but I still do expect all hell to break loose." Austin begins to gnaw on his fingernail as I continue to read the message from Mel. "We need to go to the west wing on level three." I wrap my hand around Austin's wrist and pull his hand along with the fingernail he is chewing on out of his mouth and use his digit to press the button to call the elevator. "Don't stress, everything will be just fine." A few minutes later we find ourselves at an information kiosk on level three of the hospital. An attractive nurse that has cat-like features with brown hair pulled back into a ponytail consults her computer and points us in the direction of another kiosk further down the bowels of the wing. As she speaks, she stares at my exposed hairless chest as I forgot that I undid a few too many of the buttons on my shirt because I was so hot earlier. I smile and thank her for her help and we quickly toddle off. A few seconds later Austin quickly wraps his arm around me and laughs. "She was totally checking you out." "Well, I am one hot piece of chicken." I nudge Austin hard enough and his body knocks into the wall. I begin to strut like a rooster. "Don't shove me, I will spill the coffee!" I casually point out as Austin looks set to ram me into the wall of the corridor. "Bastard. You win this battle, but I will win the war." Austin takes one of the cups of coffee from the tray and begins to drink it as we arrive at the next kiosk. I announce to the day nurse that I am looking for the bruised and battered Daniel Morrison and we are directed further down the hall to his allocated room. My father smiles as soon as we enter the shoebox. "Coffee! Give me!" He demands. His face is bruised, swollen and he has a cut over his left eye which has sutures holding it closed. A bandage is taped to his neck but there is no blood on it thankfully. I pass him the tray of three coffees. "You read my mind, many thanks, boys." He proceeds to drink one of the cups as quickly as Mel would in the morning and then retrieves the second one from the tray and calmly sips from it. "I am happy that you came around Chez, I am so bored. You too Austin, it is good to see you mate." My father extends his hand toward Austin and he shakes it. "It looks like Mel gave you a good beating Daniel. I always knew that I shouldn't piss her off. What did you do?" I smile and my father chuckles. He drinks more of the McDonalds coffee. "Didn't Mel bring you a charger? Is your phone out of power? Is that why you have been so quiet?" "So many questions." He polishes off the second cup of coffee in three rapid gulps. "Is that cup for me too?" Austin looks at me. My body is so hot. I determined my discomfort can be blamed on Daniel’s cocaine that I snorted last night and think the last thing I need is for my heart to beat faster. "It is all for you. Go for it. What the hell happened?" Daniel begins gulping from the third cup. Austin sits down and crosses his legs at his ankles. The Channel Seven newsreader is giving the midday report on the television, which is on mute. Barack Obama is talking about something on the television which is why I assume my father has it set to silent. Daniel sips from the third cup of coffee. "Brilliant." He lets out a long sigh. "If you remember, Mel and I were off to The Vineyard restaurant in St Kilda after we dropped the two of you off at school. A long breakfast turned into lunch. Some wine was enjoyed so we left the car in the parking structure in St Kilda and just called for Uber. I had a meeting to go to in Prahran and Mel was seeing a client in the city. The only story I must tell really, which isn't very exciting, is that another vehicle hit the Uber and because I wasn't wearing a seatbelt, or so because they tell me, I ended the ride prematurely all fucked up and have had the pleasure of the fine accommodation, food and service here. My phone broke in the collision, and besides for the obvious inconvenience of enjoying a very quiet time in the hospital, I am motivated to get a new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge anyway. Mel brought me her old iPhone but that ran out of power quickly and nobody has a charger for that Apple crap, so I have pretty much just sat here watching television and have had a quiet holiday. Life is good." My father begins to cackle loudly which makes both Austin and I laugh. "Hey Chezdon, can you do me a favour?" "Sure, what do you need?" I look at Daniel and wonder what sort of complex request I will be asked to sort out. "Can you find me a can of Coke? I really need some sugar." He finishes the last of the coffee and places the empty cup next to the two other empties. Even hearing the innocent version of Coke makes my arsehole tighten and I feel a bead of sweat silently travel down the centre of my clammy back. Austin stands up. "I will get you a few cans, Daniel. Not a problem." "Thanks, Austin, but I am hoping that my favourite son can get me a can or three. I would like to talk to you about something." Austin's eyebrows disappear behind his blond fringe and I am left vexed. "Yeah, no worries, I will be back soon." I casually stroll out of the private hospital room leaving both my father and Austin to speak in riddles, having no idea what is so secret that I cannot enjoy the conversation. I return to the kiosk and locate the cat-woman who was checking me out earlier. I query where I can purchase soft drinks. She enthusiastically gives me directions to the canteen as one option and suggests the infamous Nandos outside of the building as another outlet for sugar. She also takes the time to educate me that Nandos is her 'favourite' restaurant in the area and that she will go downstairs with me if I can wait fifteen minutes until she goes on break. I feel like telling her that the blond haired boy that I left behind with my father and I were at the aforementioned Nandos merely two days ago and how we decided to start a gay relationship, but the wild idea fizzles out and with a smile, I let her know that she is very kind to make such a suggestion but I must be on my way. Waiting for the elevator once again gives me a chance to respond to messages that deserve attention. My eyes once again skim the message from Shaun earlier and I respond to him saying that I am looking forward to seeing the movie and that I will meet him at the restaurant as planned. Before the elevator delivers me to the ground level, Shaun responds to my message, confirming that he is looking forward to it and that he will be at the bar as planned. It doesn't take long to find a vending machine after following the signs to the canteen and fortunately it is retrofitted with a debit card reader. I purchase four bottles of Coke for the exorbitant cost of sixteen dollars, before retracing my steps to the third level of the hospital, past the gawking cat-lady and return to my father’s room. Both Daniel and Austin simultaneously look up at me as I walk in and my father stops talking. "Did I interrupt something?" I pass two bottles of Coke to my father and hand one to Austin. I sit on the empty chair in the corner and open the last bottle of Coke. After quickly drinking the contents of the bottle in silence, I ask, "so, what did I miss?" Austin glances at my father and is the first to speak. "It is nothing really Chez. We were talking about the home invasion that I told you about the other day. He wasn't sure if you knew about it." "I was starting to explain a situation to Austin." Daniel pauses to open a bottle of Coke and then takes a sip. "You turned up just in time Chez." My father takes a deep breath and then takes another drink before what I know is going to be a long spiel. "This whole debacle with the accident has given me time to reflect and consider life and how to better live it. Firstly, after thinking a bit about your mother, umm, I mean Voldemort, and how she turned out, I think it is time to pop the big question to Mel." Before my father can say "What do you think?" I make a loud gasp since I was not expecting this question. I look from my father to Austin and he is smiling, but he doesn't say anything. "It is about goddamned time!" I shout and extend my arm and shake my father's hand. "That is so awesome, when you are out of here, we should throw a big party, assuming, of course, she still wants you and she will actually accept." I laugh which makes my father giggle. Daniel drinks from his bottle of Coke. "I was really hoping that you had that sort of reaction Chez." Austin shakes my father's hand. "This is great news, Daniel. Good luck!" Austin smiles. "Okay then, that isn't it." My father looks around the room and up at the ceiling before twisting the cap off another bottle of Coke and continuing. "The so-called experts at this hospital say that I need to take it easy as my blood pressure is high. Also, don't get alarmed about this, but they also found some skin cancer which I am going to get sorted out. That is why I have this." Daniel taps the bandage affixed to his neck with his index finger. Austin immediately appears concerned. "What, you have a melanoma? My father had a scare not long ago however it didn't turn out to be cancerous." When Austin's father is mentioned, Daniel can't help but roll his eyes. "The quacks here seem to think that I will be fine, but yes, it is a melanoma. To sum it up, the five-year survival rate for a melanoma that is 1mm or less is just about 100%. The five-year survival rate for a melanoma that is thicker than 4mm is 55%. The one they found is 3mm, so I am sure that I will be just fine. This is what I get for never wearing sunscreen in the country that produces the most reports of skin cancer in the world. Lesson learned boys!" "Jesus Christ, I don't know what to say." I simply stand in the same spot in silence and turn my attention to the muted sports report playing out on the television. "Don't worry Chez, I will be fine. The quacks caught it early and combined with other life choices that I will be making to get my blood pressure down, you will be seeing me for a long time." Daniel appears confident however I start to consider that it isn't a one hundred percent likelihood that he will survive, and tears start to roll down my cheeks. Austin notices that I am becoming overly emotional and hugs me. "Come on boys, get a room!" My father shouts. "I will be fine, don't worry." I take a deep breath and gently push Austin away. "Yeah, no worries. I wasn't expecting that announcement either. It is a shame it wasn't as thrilling as the first one you made. You need to better your game, Daniel." I quickly wipe my right eye with the back of my hand and take another deep breath. I reach for the bottle of Coke that my father is holding, which he quickly relinquishes and finish the contents of the plastic bottle quickly. "Is there any more news?" I smile and glare at Daniel. "Actually, there is. That is why I wanted to speak with Austin privately." I notice Austin staring at me. His brown eyes are wider than normal. I feel another bead of sweat roll down the centre of my back. My stomach tenses up somehow predicting that this news is not going to be any better than the last. "With my blood pressure elevated, the quack is saying that I need to lose some weight and relax. I have decided to consult the Board and hire someone to replace me at work. I will keep my seat on the Board, but I will no longer have any operational responsibility. I can then lead a life of leisure playing golf. Why is this a big deal? In the spirit of transparency boys, as you know, Austin's father and I started this business some time ago and he has been really pissed off at me since he sold his shares to me and he feels taken advantage of. Austin, you live in one of the wealthiest suburbs in Melbourne and you would agree that you have a good lifestyle, right?" Austin nods his head. "Yes, of course, I do." Daniel continues. "Your father likes to demonise me for everything and anything and just feels like he was wronged somehow. He is so delusional that he thinks that I am responsible for the home invasion that you sadly experienced. In the past, he has said some very horrible and outrageous things about me in public, accusing me of all things of being behind the home invasion. Mel sued him for slander, however, we ultimately settled with an agreement that he would just simply shut the fuck up. I didn't want any money from him, I just wanted him to be quiet and stop saying things that were not true." Austin begins to scratch his head and then begins to ruffle the hair on the back of his head. He is processing all this information and appears nervous. "So why would my father care if you quit your job?" "That is the thing. I will get a substantial payout and he will quickly know since the company is public, it will be reported to the Australian Stock Exchange. There will be an announcement that one of the principals is moving on and everyone will know exactly how much money I am receiving to retire. I just wanted to let you know in case your father starts running his big fucking mouth again. I really don't care what he says, as it is all such bullshit, but since I consider you part of our family now, I wanted to be honest with you." Daniel averts his attention to a movie that has started to play silently on Channel Seven overhead. "Obviously, the home invasion isn't the highlight of my life, and I am happy you said what you did. My father has had some colourful things to say about you Daniel, but none of it bothered me. Business is business. He always said it was your plan to get rid of him and then IPO the company. I won't humiliate myself by even asking you if you had anything to do with the home invasion. I can't even comprehend why you would be motivated to do something like that anyway. It is so criminal and shocking, it offends me just to think about it." Austin looks at me and pushes his fringe off his face. "I guess what I am saying is if my father has anything outrageous to say in the future, it won't bother me." To be a fly on the wall when Austin informs his parents that he is dating me will be even more incendiary now. I clear my throat and try to think of something clever to say. "From the sound of it, your workplace is a bit like our school. Just loaded with people who gossip. On that note, since it is confession time, I have something to add." I feel another bead of sweat drip down my back. "Dad, just remain calm when I tell you this. I reckon when you eventually listen to your voicemail that you will have received one from school saying in a roundabout way that I disrupted class and walked out." I avert my eyes toward the floor and start counting the white tiles. "I was wondering why both of you were here so early. Did you leave early also Austin? What happened?" I look up only to see a thoughtful look on my Daniel's face. The rest and relaxation in the hospital bed have done him some good and I feel an immediate sense of relief because I expected him to go berserk. "Austin can tell me what happened as I am sure it will be more entertaining than if my son tells the story from his biased perspective." Austin immediately reanimates himself. He must have been thinking about the home invasion. "Sure, Daniel. There is a new policy at school that was announced in English Literature class. The school is saying that if we need to use the restroom we should sit down on the toilet to piss. The cleaners have been complaining about what they have to mop up." Daniel laughs uncontrollably. "Are you serious? Or are you just taking the piss metaphorically?" He then looks at me. "I am deadly serious. We were informed that signs were being put up in the toilets instructing us to sit down when we piss in the bathroom." I smile. Austin scoffs and then continues. "Chezdon took offence with the request and made his opinion known to our teacher and the class. He said that they talk about pissing against the wall in the bible and he certainly will stand up and piss wherever he wants. He made some comment that could be interpreted as being misogynist though since he said that the headmistress can't stand up to piss that she just wants us boys to be at her level when we do the deed. He walked out of class after that and half the guys in the class followed shouting and carrying on." Immediately my father starts laughing at a volume that I have never heard him reach. The booming sounds emanating from his mouth seems to last for a minute before he can compose himself to speak coherently. "That is so fucked up, it has to be true. I think I am more shocked that Chezdon referred to the bible. I am confident that will not go down well but fuck them. That goddamned school. If they ring me I will remind them of my last donation on top of the fees that I pay, and clean bathrooms should be the least of their worries. This is supposedly one of the best private schools in the Southern Hemisphere. Where do they get the nerve?" As Daniel rants, I can understand why the doctors instructed him to calm down as his face has turned red and it looks like smoke is going to start coming out of his ears. "Take it easy." I simply say. "Just letting you know as I am sure that I will be disciplined." "If they try, we will fight that. Don't worry about it Chez, it will be okay. Thanks for letting me know." His red face begins to transform back to normal as he continues to chuckle. Austin who appears circumspect sits on the arm of the chair and crosses his legs, no doubt reminiscing about the sinister events that played out inside his home. "You mentioned Voldemort earlier Daniel. I e-mailed her and arranged to meet up with her tomorrow night. I thought it would be the right thing to do considering what she is going through." Laughter immediately ceases, and Daniel’s mouth drops open. "It is true. I am going to meet her at her house and have a chat." "Jesus Christ." Daniel is lost for words. "Well, wish her well for me." His relatively positive reaction and kind words takes me by surprise. Austin stands up. "We should get going if we are going to get back to school on time." "Go!" My father insists with a raised voice. "If the school gives you a hard time, don't say anything. Follow their instructions and we will deal with it tomorrow. I will be home tonight and will talk to Mel about it after I propose marriage." My father grins. "That sounds so romantic." Austin rolls his eyes and inspects the display on his phone. We all laugh in unison. "Daniel, will you propose after the first or second bottle of wine? Will you tell Mel about what is happening at school before or after sex?" Daniel once again starts bellowing like a madman as I shake his hand. "See you later mate. Be good." I pick up my bag and we begin to walk towards the door. "Bye Austin you are a good laugh mate. Love you Chezdon. Be well." I simply say "I love you too" as I look over my shoulder and then at Austin. As we stumble into the hallway, I brush up against him as he finishes tapping out a message on his phone. I wonder if Austin had any inkling that I wasn't just making what would seem to be a cursory response to my father that I said thousands of times previously as we leave.
  12. chezdon1997

    Innocence Waning

    ...and 14 now 😀
  13. chezdon1997

    Chapter 1

    Happy that you enjoyed it. That first chapter has evolved over three years and has been edited to the point I actually like it
  14. chezdon1997

    Love, Simon- A Coming Out Movie

    I think it is good that this movie was made and I am happy that it entered the mainstream has created not only an impact but is a support mechanism for questioning teens in the community. What I didn't like is that the character who blackmails Simon seemingly gets away with it. Sure, he is "embarrassed" but what he did is technically a crime and it is glossed over in order to progress the plot of forcing Simon out of the closet. In reality, Simon needed to headbutt that character and then deny anything was going on. He was using an alias, as was the other boy, so there was technically no material to blackmail old Simon with. I thought it was a poor catalyst to move the story along and was very unrealistic.
  15. chezdon1997

    Chapter 10

    I am happy that you like it mate. The drama is just beginning. The first 12 chapters set the scene and drop enough seeds which are nurtured throughout the text. I hope that I don't disappoint you!

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