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Moderate profanity and mild sexual scenes are contained within this novel. 

The Lad From Castlebay Down - 12. The Lifelong Lie

Brrr brrr, brrr brrr, I listen with my cell clamped to my head. I hear a click.

"Mum, it's me; where's dad?"

"He's gone to the warehouse to take the boat out. Are you still at Troy's?"

"Yeah… well, actually I'm out in the road. Troy has gone to see his Dad to help bring a catch in." There was then a pause slightly longer than I expected.

"Are you coming home?"

"Do I have a home?"

There was another pause in our conversation, which gave me my answer.

"Come home now, and we'll talk. Your father will be out until eight tonight, then he said he was going to the pub to apologise to a few of the locals."

"That's big of him… It sounds like he's just getting on with stuff as if nothing has happened."

"Just come home Corbin, I don't want to speak about this on the phone."

I sighed. "Okay, fine, I'm on my way!"

I hung up my cell and slid it back into my pocket. Troy had left me a few minutes earlier after I said I was going to take a walk. It wasn't a lie, not really, but as he left, I felt I should check in with Mum, knowing she would be worried. Leah? Meh, well, I would deal with that later.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I placed my key into the door Jerry had kindly fixed and walked down to the kitchen where Mum was sitting at the table. I noticed a cup of hot tea sitting where I would typically plonk myself down most days.

"That for me?" I asked, sitting opposite her. She just nodded, looking pale.

"I have spoken with your father, and we are going to separate," she said as if it was an everyday occurrence. I leaned back in my chair, surprised.

"Wow, uh okay. And when did you decide this?"

"Honestly? About two years ago," she revealed, taking a sip of her tea looking at me.

"So…"

"Why didn't I back then?" She shrugged. "I was scared… scared of the unknown, but now I see how unhappy he makes everyone… how unhappy he makes me. And what he did to you? If it's as you said it was, then how can I be with a brutal man like that?"

"It's the truth Mum, he tried to kill me that day. What's worse, he seems to think he's gotten away with it. And...."

"I believe you, Corbin; you don't have to worry about that. Lately, I've seen how he is with you and how enraged he gets for no reason. I know if I don't do something one day, he will…."

"Yeah, he will. So uh… have you told Zoe?"

"Not yet, she went out early this morning to see Diamond and took Leah… So I hear you two had a row yesterday?"

"Yeah, probably a fatal one, but I'll deal with that later. First, tell me more about you and Dad. How did it go?"

"When I told him?"

"Yeah."

She sniggered, probably falsely. "He actually said I was just like you."

"Me?"

"I almost took it as a compliment."

"But he's accepted it right; I mean, he'll give you the divorce?"

"I wanted him to be upset or angry," she said dreamily. "But he just looked at me and said, Karen, our marriage has been dead for years."

I bit my bottom lip. "And has it?"

"I guess there wasn't much love there, if I'm honest. After Zoe was born, there was a period where he felt pushed out. Then things got really good again, and it was like the old days when you were a toddler. Then he seemed to change for the worse when you were in your mid-teens. I think that's when I knew."

"Knew what?"

"That we wouldn't be together forever like I had long imagined we would. When I married your Dad, he was a slim handsome man, much like you are, and I was so in love… not just with his body but with his personality as well. We were both young high flyers in the City. Life was fast, but we always found time to be a couple, do those soppy things couples do," Mum said, reminiscing as she stared out of the window into space.

I took a sip of my tea and placed the cup back down again. "So what happens now?"

She suddenly lurched, her view from the window to me, quickly, as I finished. "Corbin, there is something I need to tell you,"

"What, what is it?" I asked, pulling in my chin from her urgency.

"I was at a club once... well more than once but... well, anyway, I was at a club with some of our friends. We'd known them for ages, and most of the time, we'd play board games or have dinner at each other houses. You remember Dave and Jenny, yes?" she babbled.

"Dave from the bank? Dave Saunders?"

Mum picked up her cup and blew into it before looking at me. "Yes."

"What about them? Are they dead or something? Car accident?" I shrugged flippantly, wondering where this was going.

"Well, in this club, we were dancing, all a little drunk, I suppose. Back then, I drunk Vodka and Lime. We were all there dancing, mostly together but occasionally we would be in the moment and wander around the dance floor on our own, or a few at a time. I still remember it like it was yesterday," she continued but then seemed to zone out in a memory somewhere. At that club, I imagined.

"Mum...Mum? MUM!"

"What?" She asked, snapping out of where she was, now looking at me.

"Fascinating story and all, and I'm glad I now know what your favourite tipple was in some club, but can you get to the point?"

She took a sip of her tea and then just said it. "Dave and I had sexual intercourse in the toilet of that club, and we think Dave is your father."

I swallowed hard, then my mind seemed to spin. I almost involuntarily laughed, but held it in. "What do you mean we?"

"Your... Dad, and me. We think Dave is your father."

"Mum, what the fuck! You and Dad think... I mean, that's twisted."

"We...."

"Yeah? Oh fuck, this is gonna be great. Go on, we what?"

"We... well, not we so much. He said... he kind of decided... that we would just move on from it. But, you see, around that time, your Dad and I were working long hours, and well, we weren't having much...."

"Yeah, I get the picture, Mum, thanks."

"So that's why we think...."

"I'm Dave's son, and why Dad turned into a CUNT when I hit my teens...."

"CORBIN! That bloody word is disgusting." She cut in, yelling.

"Don't you feel your 'revelation' is a free pass for me to use any word I fucking like right now?"

"Funny, really, you have a lot of his traits! Bad language is no exception."

"This just explains everything. And to think the guy that used to take me fishing and... and, my God, he was just a stranger!"

"No! He was... is your father!"

"No, Mum, you see, here's the thing. Even if I did come from his fat limp sperm, he ain't been my father for years. He's a monster! My whole life has been a lie. You both... Fucking hell, you both lived this life lying to me."

"Corbin, I really need your support right now. I know it's a lot to take in, but... what I mean is, if your father was not like this."

"An attempter at murdering, you mean?"

"No. What I mean is, if he was not like he is towards to you... and for the life of me, I don't know why he is... when he never used to be. Well, If he wasn't like this, then I'm going to be honest and say this conversation probably would have never had to happen. I'm telling you because I think it's the right thing to do. But...."

"But?"

"The implications of this would have a devastating effect on your sister."

"Half-sister, it looks like! And what do you mean would. Will, you mean right?"

Mum ignored that comment and carried on. "The implications mean you will not reveal any of this to Zoe. Never. There is no deal here. There is no exception, Corbin. She must never know. And your father must not know that you know. It would create a pandora's box we do not need opening right now."

"But Mum, he...."

"Corbin, You must promise!"

"There is a deal, actually! And it's mine, which ALSO has no exception!"

Mum looked at me, her forehead creased. "What? are we doing blackmail here? Are we really at this level. My Son?"

I looked at her with disgust about to launch into a tirade of facts about how much being her Son actually meant to her, but I didn't.

"You divorce him as soon as is humanly possible." Was my origional and only response.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Me and my Mum had been sitting at the table for a good two hours, talking about how I slotted into this fucked up lie of a family. She hopelessly explained how it was all made like a fairytale. How the fucking brand new house... which was our family.... had been built on sand!

None of it mattered, not really. That feeling became a reality as I'd begun to calm down by now. None of it mattered because I hated the bastard, so there was no sense of loss or regret. I guess this happens to other kids all the time. I mean in a sense that they find out their Mother or Father is not part of them. But usually, in that situation, they are loved, and the child loves them.

In my case, it was different. A mixture of shock and mystery. Of course, shock. But mystery because I didn't know how they kept this up for so long, especially with my Dad... sorry, DON, knew the truth as well. Usually, the Mother would keep the secret on her own, the father never knowing a child is not his.

"So I asked you earlier, Mum," I continued, looking down at my half a cup of now-cold tea. "What happens now?"

She scoffed. "Funny, we didn't get that far. He just walked out in the end and said he was going to the warehouse and would be late back."

"Well, what would you like to happen?"

Mum sighed and got up, placing her empty cup in the sink. "For this all to be a bad dream, Corbin. But, it's not, so I must start thinking about you children and what life is going to be like for me."

"I'm here Mum, I'll be here for you, and Zoe will too. But I meant what I said. You need to divorce him." But, again, it felt like she was not listening.

"Yes, Zoe, what to do about her? That's another worry."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, your relationship with your Dad, I understand… you hate him. But Zoe? She loves her father, and I fear she'll see me as the enemy when I tell her I am leaving him."

"Mum, give her some credit, she might think a lot of him, but she is well aware of what a bastard he is. Just because he is all sweetness and cotton wool to her doesn't change who he is in reality, and Zoe knows that."

"I hope so."

"So what about the business, the boat, warehouse etc."

"We'll sell up, of course. We may have to rent for a while until I can find another job, but at least when I do, we'll have enough money from our old house and this one to put a decent deposit down even after your Dad takes his share."

"Erm, you mean leave here?"

Mum chuckled. "Well, what did you think we were going to do? Do you really think I'm going to pull on a pair of wellies and go catch some fish? Corbin, it's a man's industry, you know how hard they work out on those boats, it's not something I could do, more to the point, I don't think I'd want to."

"But…"

"No, we need to leave, get back to a normal town. We can't stay here, not if I need a job that I can do. And anyway, I thought you'd be pleased?"

"Well yeah, I mean, I guess I am," I replied, totally lying.

"So, what are you going to do?" Mum asked, looking at me as she played with her nails.

"Me?"

"Well, since it's just the both of us here, then yeah, I was talking about you."

"Oh, Haha, Mum!" I sighed. "If you mean Leah, then I dunno; I think we're finished too, Mum."

"I was talking about your living arrangements."

"Oh, right… erm, well Troy and his Dad have said I can stay with them for a few days."

"Hmm, you and this Troy seemed to have hit it off quite well."

"What do you mean?" I asked, defensive.

"Whoa, calm down… I just meant that he has been looking out for you quite a lot. We've only been here a week or so. I know from past times you have found it quite hard to make friends so…."

"Maybe it's a trait I get from Dave," I threw in sarcastically. "Anyway, Troy is a nice guy, and I dunno, maybe it's how people are in small villages like this. Troy said that people look out for each other here; I guess that includes me… I dunno!"

"Well, it's fortunate that he is under the circumstances," Mum replied, ignoring my comment containing Dave...MY DAD! "I was going to suggest you perhaps travel back to our old town and stay with Mark or Danny's Mum until I have sorted things out here."

"You want me to go?"

"Oh honey, of course I don't, but I don't trust your father, and if anything happened to you, I'd never forgiven myself. Look, I know me suggesting you don't stay here sounds wrong, and I get that, but I'm just being realistic."

"Mum, I need to ask you something," I said, about to change the subject slightly.

"Go on."

"Troy says that I should be pressing charges against Dad, you know, for what he did to me. At first, I dismissed it as I always have done when Dad hit me. But this time was different, as I've explained."

Mum pursed her lips. "Every bone in my body says yes, you should. Why? Because it's right that he knows he can't treat people like that, especially his own son."

"But?" I asked, knowing there was one coming.

"Your sister! Corbin, you have a choice. Once me and your father go our separate ways, you need never see him again, you know that, right?"

"I guess."

"So if that's the case, then as hard as it is to swallow, you have that choice, to try and put this behind you and just not see him again. With that choice, you will also allow Zoe to still have her Dad in her life."

"And my other choices?"

"Just one more, and that's to go to the police and press your charges. But let me say this. Attempted murder is a serious offence Corbin, it could mean your Dad will go to prison for quite a long time if convicted."

"Let's make a deal Mum, from this point onwards you do not refer to him as 'my Dad' unless it is in front of Zoe."

"Well I can try of course, but having been doing it for so long, I...."

"You mean lying for so long?"

"Corbin, please!" She pleaded, wanting me to drop the subject. I decided I would, but how could I live with this? THIS was almost worse than the lie itself. THIS was a secret.

"So! Getting back to my choices?" I said, bitter that she was suggesting I be bothered about the fact my Dad could be locked up for a long time.

"As I say you need to do what you must do, but just think carefully before you make that choice."

"You make it sound like I shouldn't be."

"Not at all, I repeat again Corbin, you do what you must, and I'll support you, but think about Zoe in all of this. Seeing her Daddy go to prison will devastate her."

I got up and paced the kitchen, wondering what to do. "I must say, Mum, you seem to be very calm about all this."

"If you look in the bin Corbin, you'll see I was anything but calm earlier."

I glanced into the waste bin seeing several broken pieces of crockery lying at the bottom.

"As you can see, I had my tantrum earlier, but now I am thinking clearly… more clearly than I have in a long time in respect of your dad... I mean Don."

"Do… do you still love him?"

"Of course, he is the father of my children, and we've been together for thirty-one years. But regardless, I can't escape the fact he tried to do an unspeakable thing, and is an abusive, violent man. I hate him for that and wish I was still with the man I married, but I'm not. That's clear now."

"Mum, I don't think you are dealing with things very well. You just seem… I dunno, too chilled and matter of fact. Don't you wanna scream or have a meltdown? I know I do!"

"I'm fine," she said before starting to wash the cups up.

There was something about Mum that was definitely not fine. Her behaviour reminded me of the time when Nanna Violet passed, who was my Mum's Mum. There was this period between her dying and the funeral where Mum went into this kinda numb quiet phase.
It wasn't that noticeable for the first few days, I mean, sure, the house was super clean where she would spend hours scrubbing things and then re-scrubbing them, but then she just became this robot where she wouldn't speak unless spoken to. She would be doing something one minute and then just walk off to do something else the next. The part that really disturbed me. Seeing her that way was her reaction to big things. It was like nothing mattered… like everything was just black and white.

Fast forward to now, and I was seeing the same pattern of behaviour. She had just admitted she wanted to leave her husband of over thirty years, and she hardly batted an eyelid. Then there was the quickie shag in a toilet, making her only Son one half Dave fucking Saunders... don't even get me started. She then tells me I might have to stay somewhere away from home for a few days, and it was like that was normal to her. Sure, I mean, it made sense, but to say it so calmly? Something was just plain wrong in her like she was some ticking time bomb that sat quietly counting down until it exploded.

"Mum, listen, I'm gonna go down to the boatyard and see Jerry. I think it's about time I had a chat with him."

"Okay dear, uh, what do you want me to say to Leah?"

"Tell her I'll call her later. Actually, I might go pack a few things before Freddie Kruger gets home, is that okay?"

"Sure." She replied, busying herself with some washing.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

I walked through the gates of the boatyard and inside to the workshop. Wandering past the employees, I kept my eyes to the floor, slightly embarrassed that they might know something about my family's recent episodes. In my hand was a duffle bag containing clothes and some toiletries.

Approaching the office, I saw Troy helping one of the guys hoist out an engine. He caught me with his eye and looked over. He then looked at the bag in my hand and smiled. I smiled back before knocking on the office door.

"Come in?"

I walked sheepishly in seeing Jerry writing out what looked like pay cheques. "Hey, Jerry."

"Corbin, what a pleasant surprise; how are we today, able to walk?" he asked, grinning.

I scratched the back of my neck nervously. "Yeah, uh about that, I erm… I have a few issues at home right now with my... Dad and-"

"Come, sit down… and close the door."

I quickly did as he asked, pushing the door shut and sitting down on a wheeled office chair.

"Sorry about everything Jerry, you must think I'm a right waster."

"Corbin, when a kid's life at home is not in harmony, nor is that kid's mind. I get it, your Dad's an asshole, and it's right you wanna rebel against his assholeness. But, drinking ain't the answer, Son and nor is giving up on life."

"I know; I just feel so hopeless right now."

"And you will, but it does get better. Corbin, my Dad, used to strike me several times a week, and nine times out of ten, it was because he could rather than because I deserved it. I know what it's like to live with abuse, but the secret is to stay focused on the fact you are a good person and that abuse stems from your father's own weaknesses as a man."

"Okay."

"I have never hit Troy… in fact, if I did now, he would probably put me on my ass," Jerry chuckled. "My point is I never hit him because I know I am better than my father. And so you must be better than yours. I'm not gonna tell you his abuse is something you just take and not think about because it's not. If you're like me, those memories stay with you forever, but what they also did is make me a stronger person and a person who respected myself."

"It's just sad because I remember him before he was like that."

"You had that luxury; my Dad was always a fucker, so take those memories and cherish them. Right now, you need to think of your safety and accept the fact you and your Dad do not get on. Troy tells me you may not press charges against him. Is that true?"

I sighed. "I dunno. I mean, I was actually going to. I had my mind made up, but I've recently spoken with my Mum, and she's announced she is leaving him."

"Does it make a difference whether she is or isn't?"

"No, I guess not, but she said once she leaves him, I won't have to see him again. The truth is Jerry, my Mum is worried about my sister if my Dad goes to prison, and honestly, I am too."

"Granted, there is that. But you must do what your heart tells you, and if it is that heart saying you need justice, then you know what to do."

"Can I ask… what did you do?"

"You mean did I go to the police?"

"Yeah."

"No, but then things were different in my day. A father spanking his child was not seen the same as it is today. We've become a very politically correct nation. I'm not saying it was just a spanking because, on some days, my Dad would make me bleed or bruise me, but it was generally accepted I was a rogue kid anyway."

"What did your Mum think?"

"Well, I was brought up not to tell tales, so being young and stupid, I put the abuse from my Dad in the same context and kept quiet about it. So when my Mum asked about my bruises, I told her that I got them at school while fighting with the other kids."

"Did she believe you?"

"Back then, I thought so, but now? How could she? She lived with the man too, and she was no fool. But again, wives back then in America were kinda silent on certain matters. I guess if I tried to get inside her mind now, she was of the opinion that if it was that bad, I would have gone to her. The truth was, it was that bad, but I never went to her."

"Wow, Jerry, I'm sorry to hear you went through that."

"And I you! So, you have a bag with you?"

"Yeah, uh, Troy sort of said that you would be, uh…."

"You wanna stay with us for a few days?"

"Well uh… yeah, I mean if it's too much trouble, I can find somewh-"

"Nonsense, you're very welcome, but before I welcome you with open arms, I need to discuss something with you."

"Oh right, is it my job here because I'm really sorry for running out like that? I mean, I just had so much going on at the time and-"

"No, Corbin, not the job," Jerry cut me off. "Something more important."

"Oh."

"Corbin, my boy out there? I love him very much. He is my gold, my treasure, and his happiness is very important to me. You'll rarely find me without a smile on my face unless I feel something… or someone is hurting my Son."

I swallowed hard. "Okay, erm…"

"Troy seems to have taken a liking to you, I see," Jerry said. I wondered if it was a statement or a question. I took it as a question.

"Has he?"

"He has yes!"

Not a question then, I thought.

"Well yeah, I guess he has."

"Corbin, I need to know what your intentions are with him."

I coughed. "Uh, I'm sorry; what do you mean?"

"Let me be blunt here, Corbin; it makes things easier if we are just up straight with each other. I get the niggle you are having issues with your sexuality, seeing as you have a girlfriend of two years living with you, and yet, you seem to be allowing my son to get attached to you. I get that some guys can forge a close bond with each other, but I have a hunch that you just give him a little more than what I'd expect the average guy to."

"How much has he told you… and what makes you think I am having issues with what way I swing."

"With Troy, it's what he doesn't say that reveals more. I can see he is infatuated with you just by the fact he is willing to move heaven and earth to see you are safe and happy. Like I say, Corbin, guys get close, but there is close like my workers out in that shop, and there is close, like you and my boy. I see the difference."

I got up and walked a few steps putting my hands on my hips and blowing air through my lips. "Troy's a great guy, and yeah, I like him. I like him a lot."

"But?" Jerry asked. I turned round to face him.

"Isn't it obvious? You've basically outlined my problem. I have a girl at home who I've been with for two years. Troy is unique, Jerry. No other male in the history of my life has ever made me question who I am. You know I had this friend… best friend called Danny, he was killed by a drunk driver."

"I'm sorry, carry on."

"Yeah, so, he was my best friend, and we used to do sleepovers at each other's house. We slept in the same bed and all that, but I didn't feel anything, not one iota of attraction. So when I look at Troy, I wonder why this is happening to me. I mean, my friend Danny was a good looking guy, had a great personality and was a real nice boy but if he didn't turn me, then how has Troy?"

Jerry laughed. "You think my son has turned you? Corbin, I think it's a lot more complicated than that. A LOT more."

"I know it is, but that's how it feels in my head, okay?" I said, slight irritation in my tone. "Look, I don't know what my intentions are, and that's the truth. All I know is that I like him and more than I understand."

"And he likes you, but let me be clear, you need to figure out quickly what he means to you because as each day goes by, he is becoming more attached to you, and I'm scared he'll get hurt if you suddenly decide you wanna pork the canoe after all."

I coughed at his comment, feeling it didn't seem right coming out of his mouth. "I know Jerry; I just don't know what to do or how to feel."

"You will. Just remember not to fight it when you do. That statement I say for the benefit of you rather than him. As for Troy, we have no secrets, but about six months ago, something hurt him that I never got to the bottom of, and I never want to see him sad like that again."

"What was it?"

"I don't know, as I said, he normally tells me everything, but with this, he never did. I have a feeling he got involved with someone, and it went sour. I've never pressed the subject because he gets upset. My point is I don't want to see that happen again."

"What makes you think he was involved with someone?"

"Because he came out to me at the tail end of a meltdown he had, and that's when I knew something or rather someone had made him suffer."

As Jerry finished talking, straight away, I had a feeling I knew who that someone might have been and made a mental note to ask Troy about Billy Saunders when we were next alone.

"Listen, about the job, is it still on offer?"

"Corbin, as far as I'm concerned, you already started and have just taken some compassionate leave. So think nothing of it and start when you're ready."

"Tomorrow, okay?"

"Sure thing. Look, why don't you tell Troy to take the rest of the day off and get him to take you back to our house. I'm pretty sure you both need to talk, right?"

"Yeah, you're probably right. And listen, thanks for the chat. It helped.

"Corbin, I'm a father, but I've also been a Son. So, as I said, I get it, okay?"

I nodded and walked over to the door before stepping outside. It was time for more talking, I thought as I waved Troy over to me.

Copyright © 2021 James Matthews; All Rights Reserved.
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2 hours ago, weinerdog said:

Oh my there is a lot say about this chapter but one name got my attention Dave Saunders is Corbin's Dad. I had to go back to chapter 6 to make sure  of this Troy mentioned a guy his age named Billy SAUNDERS and he didn't want to talk about him which may imply that it was a relationship that gone bad for Troy.Are Dave and Billy Saunders father and son?IF so that could open a whole other can of worms 

I can confirm - No relation. But good spot. :) 

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So, Don isn't Corbin's dad. Presumably that's the source of all the resentment. Possibly as Corbin grew older he started resembling Dave more. 
Corbin’s mother definitely needs help. She decided to divorce two years ago, but has just let herself be carried along?

I really don’t think Zoe would be as devasted as her mum thinks if Don wasn’t around. He treats her well enough at the moment, but what if she chooses a boyfriend he doesn’t like? He might go off the rails at her, too. 

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Given the animosity between Corbin and the A-hole sperm donor, I am shocked that the revelation of parentage didn't come from the A-hole sperm donor!!!

I think Corbin, once he understood what his mother revealed and over the shock, needs to find a way to let the A-hole sperm donor know that if he steps out of line, there are witnesses to his attempted murder, and he will press charges and gladly see him off to the pokey, slammer where he will be singing the jailhouse blues!! That's the only concession he needs to make.

His relationship with Leah has taken the brunt of the psychological damage inflicted on Corbin by the A-hole sperm donor. Admittedly there are deeper, unresolved issues that are now finding the way forward. Let's hope Corbin finds the equanimity to gracefully resolve them! 

What an amazing part of an important conversation, wonderfully wise words of wisdom....

"I know; I just feel so hopeless right now."

"And you will, but it does get better. Corbin, my Dad, used to strike me several times a week, and nine times out of ten, it was because he could rather than because I deserved it. I know what it's like to live with abuse, but the secret is to stay focused on the fact you are a good person and that abuse stems from your father's own weaknesses as a man."

"Okay."

"I have never hit Troy… in fact, if I did now, he would probably put me on my ass," Jerry chuckled. "My point is I never hit him because I know I am better than my father. And so you must be better than yours. I'm not gonna tell you his abuse is something you just take and not think about because it's not. If you're like me, those memories stay with you forever, but what they also did is make me a stronger person and a person who respected myself."

Edited by drsawzall
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A very powerful chapter and again, very well written!  I will say I was not too surprised to learn a-hole was not the biological father of Corbin!  I also agree Mom seems to be in a slow meltdown to insanity!  Jerry is the "gold" standard of how a father should behave!!!  Great stuff James - thank you!! 

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