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Burlesque 4/12 NC-17

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  • Joanne Van Vranken
    Disclaimers in Part 1 ******* At 8:00 am the next morning he was knocking on the door of Brandy s apartment. He pulled his hat off when she opened the door.
    Message 1 of 2 , May 13, 2001
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      Disclaimers in Part 1

      *******

      At 8:00 am the next morning he was knocking on the door of Brandy's
      apartment. He pulled his hat off when she opened the door. When she threw
      it back to let him in he saw she wasn't dressed. She stood just inside the
      doorway in a pair of men's striped flannel pajamas; her hair was wrapped up
      in rag curlers. He grinned at the picture she made.

      "Oh, gosh, Logan. I'm running so late, I'm sorry." He followed her through
      the apartment as she raced to get ready. His gaze trailed over her feet,
      the only part of her besides her face and hands that were exposed in the
      pajamas. She had the most delicate ankles and a beautiful instep and he
      felt a stirring in his groin. He shook his head in amazement but then
      decided it must because he saw so much of her body on a regular basis that
      seeing her all covered up with just her feet exposed was a novelty.

      He followed her into the kitchen and stopped in the doorway when he spied
      the little boy sitting there eating his breakfast.

      Brandy stood behind his chair and smiled up at Logan.

      "Logan, I'd like you to meet Michael, my son. Michael, this is Mr. Logan, a
      friend of mommy's from work."

      Logan smiled at the boy. "Hi, Mike."

      The little boy smiled shyly. Logan guessed he was about three or four.

      "Have a seat, Logan. Mikey can take care of himself, but could you keep an
      eye on him while I get dressed? There's some fresh coffee on the stove. I
      don't have any sugar I'm afraid. Mike likes to use a lot on his oatmeal and
      I'm out until next month's ration book comes."

      She ran into the bedroom, pulling the rags out of her hair on the way.

      Logan poured himself some coffee, sat down at the table next to the little
      boy and watched as he proceeded to get more oatmeal on his face than in his
      mouth.

      "So, Mikey. You like oatmeal?"

      The little boy shook his head vigorously in the negative and Logan chuckled.

      Logan took a sip of his coffee and noticed Mike looking at him very
      intently. Logan smiled at him.

      "Were you in the war?" the boy asked quietly.

      "Yes, Mikey, I was."

      "Mommy says Daddy was in the war too and he got hurt bad and that's why he
      can never come home to live with us."

      Logan ruffled Mike's hair. "A lot of daddies got hurt in the war, Mike. I'
      m sorry yours did and that he can't come home."

      The little boy scrambled down off the chair and ran into the living room,
      coming back with a picture frame. Logan took it from him. It was picture
      of a good-looking young man in an army dress uniform.

      "This is my Daddy. Mommy says I look like him."

      Logan looked at the handsome little boy and then back to the picture.

      "Yep, ya sure do, Mike." Logan told him.

      Brandy came back in. She was dressed and her hair was done. Logan noticed
      she wore very little make-up when she wasn't at the theater, just a little
      powder and some lipstick. He watched as she fastened an earring and saw
      that there was a sprinkling of freckles across her nose and cheeks.

      "Mikey, what are you doing with Daddy's picture?"

      "He was just showing it to me," Logan told her. She took it from him and
      placed it back in the living room.

      "Mike. Mommy has told you to be careful with Daddy's picture before, didn't
      I?"

      Mike looked at his little feet and scuffed his sneakers along the kitchen
      floor.

      "Yes, Mommy. I'm sorry."

      Brandy wet a rag in the sink and wrung it out, then bent to wipe off the boy
      's hands and face.

      "Ok. But don't let it happen again. Now get your things, I'm taking you to
      Mrs. Lieberman's now."

      Mike skipped out of the kitchen.

      "I hope he wasn't bothering you too much, Logan."

      "Not at all, darlin'. He was just askin' me if I was in the war."

      Brandy pinned on her hat and then put on her coat and gloves.

      "Logan, I forgot to mention. Around here I'm Nina. That's my real name.
      People here don't know I'm a stripper and I'd like to keep it that way."

      He nodded. Nina, "Little Girl." It suited her, he thought. She couldn't
      have been more than 23 or 24, which meant she was very young when she was
      married, when she was widowed, when Michael was born. His heart went out to
      her. It must have been hard losing a husband and becoming a mother when you
      were still only a child yourself. The war had made everyone grow up very
      quickly.

      A new admiration was dawning for her. So she stripped. Well, it was very
      good money. She had a nice home and provided for her son very well.
      Nina.Brandy. both of them actually, seemed to have the situation well in
      hand. It seemed like she was a born survivor, something he could well
      identify with.

      She gathered up Logan, Mike and sack full of his toys and ushered them both
      out the door. Their first stop was next door where a plump matronly lady
      with a Yiddish accent answered the door and took Mike into her apartment.
      Then Brandy took Logan downstairs to meet her landlady.

      She knocked on the door. A thin lipped, stern looking woman answered the
      door and Logan knew why Nina didn't want anyone to know she was a stripper.
      This one looked like she didn't take any garbage from anyone.

      "Hi, Mrs. Di Sicco," Nina greeted the grumpy looking woman. "This is Mr.
      Logan, the man interested in the efficiency apartment."

      Mrs. Di Sicco eyed Logan up and down. "Let me get my keys and I'll show it
      to you." She reached behind the door and came back with a large key ring.
      She pulled the door shut behind her. "It's in the basement so we have to go
      back outside."

      She led them out the front door, and around the stoop to the basement door.
      Unlocking it, she stood aside to let them both in. The apartment was a
      small, sparsely furnished room. There was a tiny bathroom and a kitchenette
      area with an old icebox and hot plate.

      Mrs. Di Sicco walked over to the wall and pulled down the Murphy bed. "It's
      small and since it's an efficiency you can't really do much cooking but it's
      a nice neighborhood and a good building as I'm sure Mrs. Dillard has told
      you," she said indicating Nina.

      Mrs. Dillard? Nina Dillard. Logan smiled at her and she blushed and looked
      away. Mrs. Di Sicco cleared her throat and Logan realized she was waiting
      for his answer about the room.

      "I'd love to take it, Mrs. Di Sicco. Would tonight be too soon to bring my
      things over? I'd like to get out of the hotel I've been staying at right
      away."

      "That will be acceptable. I'll need the first week's rent in advance and I'
      ll expect it every Monday morning on the dot."

      Logan handed the landlady $10 for the first week and took the keys.

      When he and Nina were out on the street again she turned to him.

      "She likes you," she told him.

      He gave her a dubious look. "How can you tell?"

      Nina just giggled.

      They rode the subway together to the theater and had just entered when they
      were both ambushed by Rosie.

      "AHA!" She shrieked. "I knew it! I knew I'd find you with this puta!"

      Brandy's eyes flashed angrily. Logan gave a long-suffering sigh and ran a
      hand through his hair.

      "There's nothing going on, Rosie. I took the room in Brandy's building. We
      're going to be riding in with each other from now on, so you'd better get
      used to seeing us together."

      "Pull yourself together and start acting like an adult, Rosie," Brandy told
      her in a steely voice. "I'm not going to go through a scene like this every
      morning. And get your mind out of the gutter! Just because you sleep with
      every man you see doesn't mean the rest of us do." She turned on her heel
      and strode away leaving a seething Rosie to gape after her.

      The redhead spun to face Logan. "You haven't heard the last of this, Logan.
      You'd better keep an eye on your new girlfriend," she said significantly.
      Reaching down she pulled up the hem of her skirt to reveal a stiletto neatly
      concealed in her garter, then she too turned on her heel and stalked off.

      Logan shook his head. Dammit, this was going to be at the best annoying and
      at the worst dangerous for Brandy. He had no doubt that if Rosie jumped her
      she'd fight tooth and nail, but the other woman was bigger and, from the
      looks of it, ruthless. He was going to have to keep an eye on her from now
      on, or at least until Rosie found herself another boyfriend.

      Everyone in the theater except the chorus girls had one rotating day off per
      week besides Sundays, when the theater was closed. Logan decided to go to
      Joe, explain the situation and make sure his day was always scheduled the
      same day as Brandy's.

      When a week passed and Rosie hadn't made any moves against Brandy or started
      any scenes with him, he began to relax a bit, but he was still watchful. He
      and Brandy settled into a companionable routine. They rode to work together
      every morning and home on those nights when he didn't go out drinking with
      the rest of the cast and crew. When he did go out, he made sure to put her
      in a cab right outside the theater. She thought he was being ridiculous and
      over protective but he wasn't one to take any chances in a situation like
      this.

      One day as he and Gus were setting the scenery for the first performance, he
      heard an angry shriek from the dressing rooms.

      "Rosie! Show your face, you two-dollar slut!" Logan turned with alarm. It
      was Brandy yelling, and he'd never heard her use language even remotely like
      that. She was never anything but a lady.

      She came rushing down the stairs in her dressing gown, her face flushed,
      hair flying wildly behind her.

      Joe came running up to her, as did Logan.

      She stopped in front of them both and looked from one to the other, chest
      heaving. She held up the shredded remains of her costume for both of them
      to see.

      "Look at what Rosie did! Joe, you know how much these things cost! Not to
      mention the fact that I've got to go to the black market just to get enough
      fabric! No one can make a strip costume with only two and a half yards of
      fabric!" She said referring to the rationing still in place despite the end
      of the war. "She destroyed it completely. What am I going to wear now?"

      "Can't you borrow from someone else, darlin'?" Logan asked.

      Joe shook his head. "Even if someone would lend her something, she wouldn't
      wear it. No stripper would be seen dead in another girl's rig. Brandy,
      honey, you're not gonna like this but you're going to have to wear your
      costume from the last show until you can make something else. I'll give you
      the money for the materials, okay?"

      They all turned at the sound of a clucking tongue behind them.

      Rosie smiled beatifically at all three of them. "You really should take
      better care of your belongings, dear," she told Brandy.

      Brandy tensed like a cat ready to spring. Logan surreptitiously placed a
      hand on her elbow to hold her back.

      "You witch, this is all your fault!" she spat at the other woman whose smile
      only became wider.

      "I really don't know what you're talking about," Rosie said nonchalantly.
      "I simply happened to be walking by and I heard the uproar."

      Logan narrowed his eyes at her and for a second her smile wavered but then
      it was right back.

      "Rosie, I don't know what game you're playing but it had better stop right
      now or you're out of here. Am I understood?" Joe said in a tone that
      brooked no argument. Rosie merely shrugged and walked away. The three of
      them watched her go warily.

      Logan turned to Brandy. "I'm sorry, sweetheart, this is all my fault."

      "Oh, forget it, Logan. You had no way of knowing how crazy she is or how
      much she hates me," Brandy told him.

      Joe just gave him the "I told you so" look over her head.

      Brandy left them to go looking for Anna, the wardrobe mistress, and have
      that woman dig out her costume from their last show. She sighed deeply.
      She was going to have to do the old routine as well because the skirt wasn't
      cut full enough for her to do the current one. This was absolutely unheard
      of!

      "Poor kid," Joe said as she walked away. "She's never been anything but an
      asset around here and this is what she gets in return; trouble from that
      crazy frail." He shook his head.

      "How much is it going to cost her to replace her costume?" Logan asked.

      "Since she sews them herself, probably not as much as having one made but I'
      m guessing at least a grand."

      Logan whistled low through his teeth. He never even guessed they were so
      expensive. There was so little to them, but then again they were very
      elaborate and highly adorned with jewels, beads and feathers. He knew that
      every girl's was unique and that copying either costumes or routines was
      considered an unforgivable faux pas.

      He resolved to keep a closer watch on Brandy from now on.

      She sank down wearily next to him on the subway that night.

      "Now I'm going to have to spend my whole day off tomorrow remaking that
      costume! I was going to take Mikey to the park if it was nice!"

      "I'll take him for you, darlin'," Logan said contritely. He felt really
      terrible about having been the cause of the trouble between her and Rosie.
      "I'll even cook dinner for ya so you don't have to spend time doing that."

      She looked at him in mock surprise. "You cook? I'm not going to get
      something boiled in a helmet, am I?"

      "Very funny. Yes, I cook and while I can't promise Paris cuisine, I
      guarantee you it will be tasty and edible."

      "Well, how could a lady refuse and offer like that?"


      ******************************************************
      "You know, whoever said that tight little T-shirt
      doesn't make you look like the team pansy was
      lying, Cyclops." - Toad, Ultimate X-Men #3
      Joanne NYC, USA
    • Joanne Van Vranken
      Sorry, I screwed up the numbering. Here s the real part 4. Disclaimers Part 1 ********************* Three o clock and Logan was completely exhausted! He d
      Message 2 of 2 , May 13, 2001
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        Sorry, I screwed up the numbering. Here's the real part 4.

        Disclaimers Part 1

        *********************


        Three o'clock and Logan was completely exhausted! He'd been watching little
        Mike since eight o'clock in the morning when Nina had gone out to buy all
        the fabric and supplies she'd needed for her new costume. He'd taken Mike
        to the park, to a show, to the ice cream parlor and then back to the park.
        The kid was inexhaustible. Now they were in Logan's apartment. Mike was
        curled up on the Murphy bed for his afternoon nap and Logan was finally
        relaxing with the afternoon paper and a beer.

        He'd stuck his head in upstairs on his way in. Nina was still bent over her
        sewing machine working hard and he told her he'd be up at five to start
        dinner. He walked over, snapped on the radio and put on one of the mindless
        soap operas they featured during the day. Pretty soon he was dozing in the
        chair with the paper in his lap.

        He was awakened by Mikey tugging on his sleeve.

        "Hey, Mike. You been up long?"

        "No."

        Logan checked his watch and ruffled the boy's hair. "Well, we better get
        upstairs and start cooking dinner for your mommy. She's been working hard
        all day and I'll bet she's hungry."

        He went to the icebox and pulled out two paper sacks full of groceries he'd
        bought for dinner.

        Nina looked up from her work when they came in. Mike ran over and she gave
        him a big hug.

        "Did you have fun with Logan today, Mikey?"

        "Yes, Mommy." He paused as if considering something. "Mommy, I want Uncle
        Logan to be my daddy."

        Nina blushed and looked a little surprised. "But, honey, it doesn't exactly
        work that way. Besides, don't you think Mommy might want to have some say
        in who your new daddy will be? Now, why don't you go get your coloring
        books and color while Mr. Logan cooks dinner for us."

        Mikey nodded and ran off to his room to get his crayons.

        "He's a good kid, darlin'. You've done a real good job with him."

        She brushed a stray hair out of her eyes. "He's a handful, that's for
        sure."

        He walked over to where she was sitting and looked over her shoulder at the
        work in her lap.

        "You're almost done! That was fast." He fingered the pleated chiffon; pink
        this time because she had decided to change the color.

        She held up the feathered headpiece for his approval. "Just have to put
        some sequins and rhinestones on the hat and it's all finished!"

        He looked duly impressed. Talking to her over his shoulder, he moved to the
        kitchen. "Joe said you do work for the other girls to make extra money."

        She followed him. "Yes. These costumes usually cost several thousand
        dollars but if the girls buy the fabric I can usually make it for them for a
        lot less." She moved to the sink and washed her hands. "I've saved quite a
        bit of money so far. I want to buy a house for Mike and myself soon.
        There's all kinds of building happening on Long Island and I'd like Mike to
        grow up with a yard and dog and other kids around. And one day when I'm too
        old and decrepit to strip, I want to open a dancing school."

        He had to admire her for her spirit and her dream. He didn't want to
        disillusion her by telling her that no matter how much money she'd saved, he
        didn't think a bank would ever give a widow a mortgage.

        She watched as he began snapping string beans.

        "Logan, isn't there anything I can do to help?"

        "Yes you can go sit down in the living room and relax," he told her with a
        big smile. "Oh, and you can tell me how you like your steak cooked."

        Her eyes widened. "Steak? You bought steak? Oh my gosh, Logan. I can't
        tell you how long it's been since I've had a real steak dinner. You must
        have used all your ration coupons to get it!"

        "Not really, darlin'. Fabric isn't the only thing you can buy on the black
        market, you know." He gave her a roguish grin.

        "Oh, Logan. I don't know what to say. They must have cost a fortune. This
        is much too extravagant." She went into the living room, coming back purse
        in hand.

        "You have to let me give you something towards dinner. It's not right for
        you to be spending that kind of money on Mike and me."

        He took her purse from her and set it down on the kitchen table.

        "Absolutely not, darlin'. It's the least I can do after all the trouble ya
        went to to get me the room and for all the trouble I've caused ya with
        Rosie."

        She opened her mouth as if she was about to protest but he shushed her and
        turned back to peeling. She stood for a moment watching him expertly peel
        the potatoes. She figured that must be a skill they all pick up in the army
        doing KP.

        Running her fingers through her hair she turned and went back to the living
        room. Mikey was lying on his stomach on the floor quietly coloring. Nina
        walked over to the radio and switched it on.

        "Mike, look at the time." She said pointing to the clock on top of the
        radio. "The little hand is on the five and the big hand is on the three.
        You know what that means."

        The little boy sprang up and began jumping around. "Lone Ranger! Lone
        Ranger!" He started cheering excitedly.

        She giggled and tuned in the show for him. He sat down on the carpet mere
        inches from the radio and stared at it in rapt fascination as the narrator
        began recapping last night's show.

        She sat down in the armchair next to the radio to start putting the
        finishing touches on her headpiece. Logan came in and sat down on the couch
        to finish reading the paper.

        She glanced over at him and then at Mike on the floor. Anyone looking
        through the window would have thought they were just an ordinary family
        relaxing before dinner. Nina felt her throat constrict. She looked at
        Logan through lowered lashes. She'd only known him a couple of weeks but
        she could tell he was a good man. He was certainly a kind man. And he was
        definitely a good-looking man. She'd never really taken the time to look
        closely at him so she indulged herself now.

        He had thick, dark hair slicked back with pomade and, although it was
        slightly longer than was fashionable, it seemed to suit him. His eyes
        flicked over the paper and she caught her breath, noticing for the first
        time their vibrant hazel hue. His face was strong and handsome and
        completed to perfection by an aquiline nose. Brandy's pulse raced slightly.

        Logan glanced over at her and she quickly cast her eyes back down to her
        work.

        "I have to go check on the vegetables and put the steaks on, darlin'.
        Dinner will probably only be another fifteen minutes."

        The meal was pleasant. Logan set about trying to teach Michael how to use a
        knife and fork and his comical attempts at cutting his steak had Logan and
        Nina in stitches, especially since Nina would only allow him to have a
        butter knife. Logan finally took pity on the boy and cut his meat for him.

        After dinner, Nina gave Mike his bath and got him ready for bed while Logan
        cleared away the leftovers and did the dinner dishes.

        "Mommy, I want Uncle Logan to tuck me in," the little boy said plaintively.

        "Aw, Mike. Uncle Logan has worked very hard today. Don't you think we
        could give him a break this once?"

        She heard a chuckle and turned to see Logan leaning in the doorway.

        "It's alright, darlin'." He came in, sat on the other side of the bed and
        began tucking the covers around the edges of Mike's shoulders. "So, Big
        Guy, did you have fun today?"

        The boy nodded. "Yes."

        "What did you like best? The park or the movie?"

        "The ice cream!"

        Logan laughed out loud.

        "Well, if your mother says it's okay, maybe I'll take you out for ice cream
        again next week. Now it's time for you to go to sleep, tiger."

        Mike held his arms out and Logan gave him a hug. Nina kissed him on both
        his cheeks and his forehead, and then shut off the light. They went back
        out to the living room, leaving the door ajar.

        Nina began packing up her costume to take to the theater in the morning.
        She made a pretense of concentrating on her task so that Logan wouldn't see
        all the different thoughts and emotions working through her.

        She looked up when he cleared his throat.

        "Well, I know you probably have a lot to do before bed and to tell the
        truth, I'm pretty exhausted after chasing after Mikey all day, so I'm gonna
        go turn in."

        She walked him to the door.

        "Logan, I really can't thank you enough for everything you did for Mike and
        me today. I never could have finished what I needed to do if I'd had to
        watch him and I really appreciate the dinner you made for us."

        He smiled down into her face and brushed some stray hairs off her cheek.
        For a moment she thought he might kiss her and was inexplicably disappointed
        when he reached to pull the door open instead.

        "It was a pleasure, Nina," he said softly, using her real name. "You get a
        good night's sleep. I'll see you in the morning."

        In the blink of an eye the door closed and he was gone. Nina released a
        breath she hadn't even known she was holding.

        Quietly she made her way through the house to the bathroom, shutting off
        lights on the way. She turned on the taps and ran water for her bath.
        Absently she put her hand to the place on her cheek where he'd brushed it
        with his fingers. She shivered. She felt a little flushed and hoped she
        wasn't getting ill.

        When the tub filled, she shed her cotton housedress and under things, pinned
        up her long blonde hair and stepped into the soothing water. Her muscles
        were stiff from sitting all day long and she relaxed into the heat as some
        of the tension eased. It would be good to dance again tomorrow.

        She always felt so stiff and confined on the days she didn't get to stretch
        and bend and dance at the theater. Dancing had been her love ever since she
        was a small child and her mother had taken her to Miss Belle's Dancing
        School back home. Nina had dreamed of being the next Shirley Temple and tap
        dancing her way to stardom. But then Miss Belle had given her a small
        ballet solo in the class recital and from that day forward her dream had
        changed to being a Prima Ballerina like the great Anna Pavlova.

        She'd studied hard. Practicing hours every day after school, determined to
        make her dream come true. Grant, Michael's father, had been her high school
        sweetheart and everything had been perfect until the war came. Then her
        whole world had turned upside down.

        Grant was drafted, she became pregnant with Mike and then Grant had been
        killed shortly after being shipped out to Europe. She had taken her son and
        come to New York after all, determined to salvage something from the ashes
        of her dreams. She'd fallen into stripping as a way to dance and make a
        living.

        She was ambivalent about it at first. She'd been raised in a religious
        household and the thought of taking one's clothes off in front of men for
        money seemed sinful, but eventually she'd come to enjoy the feeling of power
        it gave her. And it allowed her to express herself creatively in so many
        ways; she was responsible for creating all aspects of her routines, from
        designing her costume to choosing the music to choreographing the steps.
        There were no men to tell her they knew better than she did. She obviously
        knew well enough, since she was very popular and very successful.

        She'd been perfectly content in her life with her memories of Grant and had
        never missed male companionship...until now. Logan was so kind to her and
        good with Michael and he had her wondering about things she'd never wondered
        about before.

        She sighed. The water in the tub was cool now and her fingers and toes had
        turned to prunes. She opened the drain and rose to towel off and slip her
        pajamas on.

        Walking barefoot to her bedroom, she pulled the covers back and crawled in.
        It would be another long day tomorrow and she had to be up early. She
        punched her pillow and got comfortable, but sleep would not come. Every
        time she closed her eyes, Logan's face danced in her head. What was the
        matter with her anyway? She'd only known him for a few weeks. She'd known
        Grant her whole entire life and she'd never lain awake at night thinking
        about him.

        She got up and made herself some warm milk. While it heated, she stood with
        a hand on the back of a kitchen chair and did some plies and releves, hoping
        the activity would ease some of the tension.

        She drank her milk and went back to bed. Finally falling asleep in the
        early hours of the morning she dreamt strange dreams that featured both
        Grant and Logan. When the alarm went off, she awoke groggy and irritable.

        Logan, too, had lain awake long into the night, staring at the ceiling. He
        felt things for Nina he hadn't felt for a woman in a very long time. She
        was beautiful and delicate and he wanted her badly, but it was more than
        that. He wanted to hold her and never let her go, protect her from all the
        terrible things he knew existed in the world.

        There'd only been one other woman in his life that made him feel tender
        emotions like this, Silver Fox. She had been his childhood sweetheart, but
        they'd lost touch while he was in France fighting in the First World War and
        when he returned to Canada, he couldn't find any trace of her.

        He'd never wanted to protect anyone the way he wanted to protect Nina. It
        was ironic, since she seemed to be doing a good job of taking care of
        herself, which only made him want to take care of her more - so she wouldn't
        have to do it on her own. He'd seen and been a part of so much death and
        evil in the past six years; surely it was time for him to find some goodness
        and happiness in life.

        He closed his eyes and began to meditate, hoping to find some peace, at
        least, if not rest.
        ******************************************************
        "You know, whoever said that tight little T-shirt
        doesn't make you look like the team pansy was
        lying, Cyclops." - Toad, Ultimate X-Men #3
        Joanne NYC, USA
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