This story is fiction. It depicts, sometimes explicitly, sex between teenage boys, between boys and men, and between boys and females, both teenage and adult. If you find such things offensive, or reading such things is illegal where you live, please read no further.

XXII. Jerry's Return

"Holy fuckin' crap!" Jerry raged. "You're fuckin' lucky it's me picking it up and not Charlie!"

"Jerry," Chuck said, "calm down! It's only dust. Shit, man, the car's been here almost a month. What did you expect?"

"I expected a little concern for individual rights!" Jerry screamed. "Yeah, it's only dust. And grime. And industrial fallout. And what about all those initials in the dust? Don't you fuckin' realize that scratches the paint? Don't anybody care that Charlie worships that car? I've got to face him with that car, and if there's so much as a flaw on it anywhere that wasn't there before, it's only gonna take him two seconds to find it. Jesus Christ, Chuck, I coulda had it two weeks ago, but you said no, wait. Wait for what? To make sure we had maximum damage here?"

"Jerry, it's not that bad. A good washing..."

"Fine. YOU face Charlie! YOU explain the scratches! The grime! YOU tell him it's not that bad. Trust me, Chuck, you don't want to face Charlie and explain why this car is not perfect! But you're gonna have to, because I'm not going to."

"That's fine, Jerry. I think I understand what you're saying. I also understand a few things that you don't. But it's ok, you release the car to my custody, and you just get on a plane to Nova Scotia. I'll take care of the car."

"You don't understand anything, Chuck! If that car shows up anywhere in the universe, in anyone else's care but mine, I'm gonna have a lot of explaining to do. Just give me the fuckin' keys and show me how to get outa here. And thanks for making my life a living hell!"

"Jerry, it's a fucking car! A red Mustang! There's thousands of them around!"

"Not like this one. When Charlie first got it, Jane had had it customized so that there were only two of them. This is one, the other is in New Orleans. And then Charlie had this one customized even more. It's got dual headers, custom stereo, white leather seats. I'll be surprised if this car isn't worth a fortune some day, that is if some dumb cop doesn't trash it first."

"Fine," Chuck said, "whatever. Just get it outa our impound yard, ok? And if there's any damage you can put a price tag on, I'm sure the city is good for it."

Tuesday afternoon, another week later. Three and a little of summer school down, less than three weeks to go. Dan and Charlie had wandered to Miller's Drug Store from school, so it was after three and they were just getting home. As they rounded the last corner, Charlie gasped. There was a red Mustang in the driveway. Convertible! "Dan!" he practically screamed, "the Mustang!"

"Yeah!" he said, "I see it! But is it yours?"

"That's your mustang?" Lisa questioned.

"OUR Mustang! It sure looks like it. And it's got Florida tags. Jerry must be here!"

As if on cue, Jerry exited the house and walked directly to the car and opened the trunk. "Jerry!" Charlie and Dan both called. "You ok?"

"About time you guys got home," he answered with a grin. "Yeah, I'm fine. A little tired, but fine."

"Why didn't you let us know?" Dan demanded. "We were so worried! An' so much has happened!"

"I did, Dan. I called Mom Saturday night and told her I was coming. But of course you guys weren't home. Out partying, she said, and in MY Lincoln!"

"Yeah," Charlie countered, "while you're gallivanting all over the countryside in MY Mustang!"

As soon as they were close enough, the bantering stopped and the hugging started. To Jerry's surprise, he was also given hugs by the two girls, who were by now a permanent fixture and never far away from the boys.

As soon as the tearful greetings were through, everyone wanted to know everything about who'd been doing what and to whom since their parting. Of course, first on the agenda and a mystery to everyone, was what Jerry had been doing.

"I just poked around," he said. "I had this gut feel from the start that it couldn't be the mob. If it'd been the mob, we'd never have got out of Daytona in the first place. So I hung around, asked some questions of people I knew I could trust. I spent a lot of time at the club, and no one there knew anything."

"Club?" Mom Edwards questioned.

"You don't want to know, Mom." Jerry answered.

"Yes she does," Dan replied. "Like it or not, big brother, Mom wants to know everything. And if you choose not to tell her, she'll find out some other way, so we might as well come clean from the start."

The three boys then explained, for the benefit of Mom Edwards and their two girl companions, what the club was all about. There was no question in anyone's mind that the entire concept was pushing the envelope of legality very hard, but Jerry was quick to point out that they didn't condone anything really extreme, in fact the only thing sexual that was allowed on the premises was young males in their underwear.

"Boys in their underwear?" Mom questioned. "I don't understand. I mean, what's so great about boys in their underwear?"

"You're right, Mrs. Edwards," Lisa said with a wide grin, "you don't understand and there's no way to help you figure it out. The cold hard fact is that in your day and age boys in their underwear meant something totally different than it does now. But trust me on this: Your son and his boyfriend had to be a big hit at that club!"

"Oh yeah!" Jerry agreed. "Actually they were one of the biggest hits since I've been going there."

"Daniel!" Mom Edwards exclaimed. "You were in public in your underwear?"

"Well, Mom, not exactly."

"What precisely do you mean, not exactly?"

"Well," Dan said, showing his extreme discomfort, "it was sorta more like a bikini bathing suit. I mean..."

"You mean, you appeared in public in your... in fancy underwear?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"Please understand, Mom E," Charlie offered, "it's not the same as it is here. I mean, that club, it's... well, it's sorta a place we can go and kinda be ourselves. There aren't that many places we can do that."

"I understand perfectly, Charlie," Mom Edwards replied. "I understand that my son has gone about a private night club, where they undoubtedly serve alcohol to everyone, including minors. And he was dressed, or perhaps UNDRESSED is the more proper term, in fancy, provocative underwear!"

"Mom Edwards," Charlie said, "I think there are a few things you don't understand..."

"I understand far more than you give me credit for, Charlie. I understand that you are in love with my son, and he in you. I understand that I will probably never have grandchildren as a result of your love. I understand that you and Dan can not dance the night away whenever you feel like it, as you could have done had one of you been female. I understand that you need some place to go, some place where you are considered more or less normal. I understand, more than anything else, and possibly more painfully, that my son is growing up and that my job as his mother is to support him, love him, accept whatever he is and love him for it. And I also understand that I need to support his lover, no matter what, no matter what gender. The good news is that I knew you as Danny's friend long before I knew you as his lover, and loving you will come as one of the easiest tasks I have ever had to face as a mother.

"As for Danny running about that club in Daytona, or any place else for that matter, in his underwear, well, that's going to take a little time. But I'll get there, because I know that anything my son does cannot be all bad, because Danny is anything but all bad!"

"Might I suggest," Charlie interjected, "Danny is perhaps the first of any of us to be all good?"

"No one is that good, Charlie," Mom Edwards answered. "But I have to admit, sometimes I think Danny comes close. And so do you, Charlie. And from all I've heard, you too, Jerry."

"Ok," Charlie practically screamed to get everyone's attention, and to change the subject, "are we going out dancing tonight, or what?"

"Homework?" Mom Edwards questioned.

"We'll handle it," Charlie replied. By now he had learned, where homework was concerned, his credibility was greater than Dan's! So without further ado, Dan and Charlie headed upstairs to get their homework done while Lisa, Margaret and Jerry all headed for Miller's. From there, Jerry had been assured, no one would be alone. They would be back for their two student companions at dinner time. They would all eat out, Jerry announced, his treat. "You're invited too," he said to Nancy, "you and Dad."

"No thanks," she answered. "You kids have a good time. Dad probably won't be home till late tonight, and when he does get home he'll be tired."

Next morning, getting up and going to school wasn't the easiest thing Dan and Charlie ever did. Yes, their homework was done, but they were so bleary-eyed they could hardly pay attention. Somehow they managed to get through the day, at least until last period when Mr. Bell said, "Dan and Charlie, I'd like you to see you after class, if that's convenient."

"Yes, sir," they chorused, then they each thought independently Oh shit! We've really blown it! And there's no way Bell's gonna give us a break.

"I get the distinct impression," Mr. Bell said to two very nervous teens, "that this is not your best day this summer."

"No, sir," Dan said shakily. "Our friend got back from Florida yesterday, and I guess we stayed out partying a little too late. I'm sorry, and I promise it won't happen again."

"That's not the point, Dan," Mr. Bell said. "I've... well, I guess it's no secret that the rumors are flying around town that you two will be leaving again. So I'm just wondering what your plans are. If you don't plan to finish the summer program..."

"We're planning to finish," Charlie said, "if we possibly can."

"What would prevent it?" Mr. Bell asked.

"Mr. Bell," Charlie said, "we haven't exactly made ourselves the most popular students you have. First there was the famous first day, then from then on you just seemed to tolerate us. I guess we can understand it, but honestly this is the first day we haven't really given you our best, and I just don't see why..."

"Charlie," Mr. Bell interrupted, "you sound as if you're defending yourself, trying to talk me out of kicking you out. I'm not going to kick out my two best students! I was hoping for your assurances that you weren't planning to quit before the summer term is over. You certainly have changed my life, and I think you're changing a whole lot of things around here. We need you in this class!

"You... you need us?" Dan said with surprise.

"We certainly do, Dan. I'm afraid that first day of class kinda caught me off balance. I had never encountered a situation like that before. Yes, I avoided you because I didn't know how to deal with you. But slowly I've learned that you don't HAVE to be dealt with! You just set yourselves to the task at hand and did what you had to do. And then there was the famous dance July First weekend."

"You were there?" both boys chorused.

"The whole town was there! And I doubt there was any more than a handful of people who didn't see you. That had to take a lot of courage!"

"No courage at all, sir," Dan argued. "When you're as much in love as we were that night..."

"WERE?" Charlie questioned as he started to grin ever so slightly.

"Well, yeah. We were then and we still are. Jeez, Charlie! Lighten up!"

"I, uhhh I think he was joking, Dan. But seriously, guys, I'd really like to know as much of your plans as you're prepared to share."

"We're staying," Dan said. "We need this summer term regardless. We were hoping to stay here and finish school, but it isn't gonna happen. Now that Jerry, er... our friend and partner, has agreed to the move, my father has accepted a new job. He'll be leaving in a day or two to finalize arrangements and get us enrolled in school in Daytona. We'll have to leave just a couple days after this term because school starts earlier there, but please, sir, we need the rest of this term!"

"That's a relief," Mr Bell said as he shook their hands. "I need you two!"

"You NEED us?" Charlie questioned.

"Oh, yeah! Summer school is not the most inspiring of jobs. Kids want to be anywhere else on the planet but here, and often they're not the most ambitious kids to start with. But then here come you two, every indication that you're not wanted, and even your teacher ignores you for the most part, and still you attack your work as if your life depended on it!"

"Well, sir," Dan answered, "I guess our lives sorta do depend on it."

"Of course it does! But that's the point! You understand that! This whole class has taken a lesson from you two! Many of them don't even know it yet, but make no mistake, we've all learned a lot from you two! So thank you for staying. I'll try and make whatever time we have left together a little more pleasant."

"WOW!" Charlie exclaimed as they left the building.

"Yeah," Dan said with a wide grin, "I agree. WOW! I never thought I'd be considered an example ever again! D'you suppose he was just playin' with us?"

"I don't think so, Dan. He seemed pretty serious to me. Anyway there's Jerry. He must want something."

Jerry did want something... actually he wanted the same "something" that the boys had wanted ever since Jerry's return: all three wanted a romp in the hay! So far, there had simply not been an opportunity, and this afternoon was going to be no different. "Your dad wants us all home right away," Jerry announced as soon as he saw his friends. "He's leaving for Daytona in the morning and wants our input on areas to live in. He's planning to meet Jane there and rent or buy a place so we can get settled as soon as possible."

"While I'm gone, Charlie," Clarke instructed, "I want you to go see your father. I want you to tell him first hand what's going on, and I want you to do your best to make up with him. Tell him good-bye and that you love him."

"I... I don't know if I can do that. I mean..."

"I don't remember putting this to a vote, Charlie. I don't remember any sort of question inflection in my voice. This isn't subject to interpretation, nor is it up for negotiation. This is what you're going to do."

"But... last time I saw him..."

"Are you afraid of him, Charlie?"

"No sir! No way! I'm all done being afraid!"

"Then what's the problem? If you're not afraid, then I should think you'd be pleased to be able to tell him you're leaving."

"Ok, I'll go." Charlie had never thought of Clarke Edwards as a lawyer before, but he suddenly realized he'd just been maneuvered into doing the last thing on earth he'd planned to do: visit his father to say good-bye. Clarke had used courtroom tactics far better than anything Charlie had ever seen on TV, with the result that Charlie had just agreed to do what he considered an unnatural act.

"And remember," Clarke instructed again, "I don't want a scene. Be courteous. Be respectful. He's your father, Charlie! If you don't owe him anything else, you owe him respect. And if you give him that, you never know. Do your part. Who knows?"

Charlie was very quickly learning that he, and perhaps most of the people in Truro, had grossly underestimated Clarke Edwards. Of course he knew that Dan was no slouch in either the brains or the negotiation departments, but Clarke had always been, well, Dan's father. A nice guy, nay, a great guy always, but nothing special. He was just Dan's dad. But he had parlayed himself into a pretty nice position with Jane. He had presented her with a proposal she simply couldn't refuse. She had agreed to form a holding company, with Clarke Edwards as president! He had a very nice signing bonus, a killer salary complete with stock options, a company car, extra expense accounts to take care of living expenses until a house was bought or built. There were all the perks that come with a job of this magnitude, all of which had made Clarke a very important, very wealthy man.

Dan was so proud of his father he was becoming rather difficult to live with! Well, not really. Dan was still Dan, and everyone was very pleased about the whole thing. That's just the kind of man Clarke Edwards was. There wasn't a man nor woman who knew him, that wasn't pleased that his financial worries were over. And to everyone's delight, he had decided not to sell the house in Truro. He and his family were just not ready, he stated, to completely sever all ties with their home town.

"I was wondering if I was gonna hear from you," Don Nelson said when Charlie arrived at his father's door. "I've heard that Clarke Edwards is leaving, is that right?" It was Saturday night, only one more week of summer school left, and Charlie had finally bit the bullet and called his father. Yes, Dad had said, he'd be home all evening and Charlie could come over if he wanted to talk.

"Yes, sir," Charlie answered. "The whole family is moving to Florida. He's got a new job."

"So you're looking for a place to live again?"

"No, sir. I'm going with them."

"To Florida?"

"Yes sir."

"So, why are you here? If you don't want anything, then why did you bother coming around?"

"Because I love you, Dad. I wanted to let you know that summer school is going really well, and I wanted..."

"So you came here to gloat! You came to rub my nose in it because you're doing better in school than I thought you would!"

"No, sir. I came because I thought you might like to know I'm doing ok. And I wanted to say good-bye, 'cause I don't know when I'll be up this way again."

"Charlie," Don said, "you know this is still your home. You know, don't you, that you could come home if you wanted to."

"Dad, I really don't think that's an option. I just don't think after all that's happened, that it'd work. And... I mean, nothing's changed. I mean, I'm still gay and there's nothing I can do to change it."

"That's what I don't understand, Charlie. I mean, why would you choose to live that way? If you would just come to your senses and learn to..."

"Dad, I didn't CHOOSE this lifestyle! I'm not that crazy!" Charlie had promised Dad Edwards he wouldn't lose his temper, and he had promised himself he wouldn't lose it and start to cry. He was finding it difficult on both counts, but he was encouraged to notice that his father seemed to be trying as well.

"Charlie, for God's sake! You're a good looking boy, and you're certainly not stupid. Just go find yourself a girl and take her to bed. Once you try it I'm sure..."

"Dad," Charlie said patiently, "I've done it. Many times. Nothing's gonna change, Dad. I still love Danny and he's still a guy. I'm gay, Dad. I don't know why or how, but I'm gay, and there's nothing anyone can do about it."

In spite of all that had happened, all he'd experienced, Charlie was still a little shocked at his own words. He had just turned a corner and he knew it. He had just closed a very large door in his life. He had told his father, the man he had admired more than any other as long as he could remember, that he was gay! It was as if he had finally, absolutely, sealed the fate of his entire life. He had finally faced what he was and admitted it: to someone who didn't understand, would readily accept a statement to the contrary, in spite of all the evidence. He felt at this moment that he could no longer consider what alternative directions his life might take; nor did he want to!

"Does that mean you'd change if you could?" his father asked.

"No, sir, I wouldn't. A year ago if I'd been given the choice, I would never have chosen to be gay. But not now. I'm still very much in love with Dan. I sometimes wish that we could have just gone through life as best friends, but that didn't happen. We fell in love, Dad! I wouldn't do anything to change that. I love him, Dad! I know you don't understand it and I'm not asking you to try. I'm not sure I understand it myself. But I do love him and I don't think that's gonna change. All I'm asking is that you believe me when I say I love you too. I'm really sorry I disappointed you. I wish things could be different, but they're not. I love another male and we're committed to each other. I am as committed to him as if we were married, but I don't expect you to understand that. I only ask that you not hate me. And I'd like to be able to write you, and maybe call you now and then."

"Write any time you want to, Charlie."

Charlie waited. He wasn't sure what he was waiting for, but he knew he hadn't got it. He thought he might hear 'I'll be sure and write back,' or 'We'll watch for your letters,' but no such sentiments were forthcoming. Every impulse in his body wanted to throw his arms around his father; but he had his father's pride and his stubbornness. So they shook hands, Charlie said "I love you, Dad" one more time, and he left. He strained his ears as he walked to his beloved Mustang to be sure he didn't miss his father calling him to come back, or perhaps calling "I love you too, son," but there was nothing. As he opened the door to get in the Mustang, he glanced back at the house. His father had gone inside and shut the door. "Bye, Dad," he whispered as he slid into the driver's seat. And then the tears came.

"I told ya, Jerry," Charlie said as they stood in the window. Charlie was sitting in the Mustang, parked in the driveway. The top was down; one of the most desirable automobiles in Nova Scotia, and certainly the envy of every teen in Truro. But all of the above was certainly not obvious by looking at Charlie. He was not going into the house until he had control of his emotions, and control seemed to be a long time coming. "He used to admire his dad so much," Dan went on. "He used to kill himself tryin' to get his dad's attention and approval when we were kids, but it never worked. Charlie was just never good enough. His dad says now it's because he's turned out to be gay, but that's just an excuse. He never really showed Charlie he cared."

"So what can we do?" Jerry demanded.

"Well," Dan said, "I think we've gotta do for him what he and I had planned for you when you got back from Daytona. You go out to that motel he told you about and get a room. I'll bring him there in about an hour. We're gonna put his brain in a different kind of overload. I'm sorry, Jerry, we had planned to do this for you as a treat."

"Trust me," Jerry answered, "it'll be a treat for me. Let's do it!"

"Dan," Charlie protested, "I don't wanna go anywhere! I just wanna get a good night's sleep. We've got exams next week and I'm gonna destroy them!"

"Charlie, you'll destroy them if you don't open another book! Tonight it's YOU that's gonna get destroyed. It's time we made Jerry welcome, just like we planned."

"I can't, Dan!" Charlie whined. "It's just not in me tonight."

"Not yet it isn't," Dan said as he dragged Charlie to the Mustang. "We're gonna take care of that."

Dan knew what condition Charlie would be in after his visit to his father's, so he had asked the girls to please not put any demands on him tonight. They weren't even a little pleased, especially considering that the boys would be leaving Truro in about a week. But Dan eventually made them understand. Now all he had to was to get Charlie to the Journey's End Motel, where Jerry was waiting. "We probably won't be home tonight, Mom," Dan called as he finally managed to convince Charlie that he had no choice.

"Won't be home? Where are you going, Dan?" Mom asked.

"Please, Mom," Dan answered, "don't ask. Trust me, please? We'll be home tomorrow."

"Please, Dan," Charlie protested as Dan drove them to the motel, "I just don't feel like partying tonight."

"Forget him, Charlie," Dan ordered.

"He's my father!" Charlie exclaimed.

"I'm your lover!" Dan countered, "and Jerry is your best friend! You owe us, Charlie! You owe us the chance to cheer you up and help you get back on track. I'm not gonna give up, Charlie, so you might as well give us a chance."

When Charlie walked into the motel room, Jerry shoved a drink into his hand. It was, of course, his favorite: rum and coke. Jerry was dressed the way he knew Charlie would appreciate: white boxer shorts and nothing else. They were large and baggy. Charlie had often said he loved baggy boxers because they revealed nothing, left everything to the imagination; yet there was lots of room to grope around to discover for oneself what was not obvious. But before he even had a chance to notice what anyone was wearing, Jerry's lips were on his and their tongues were doing a ballet.

Charlie felt his jeans descending as Dan went to work. When they were around his ankles Charlie realized that his sneakers had been untied, so he kicked them off, then stepped out of his jeans, and his boxers, which had also been pulled down. When Jerry finally broke their kiss, he gently pulled the drink out of Charlie's hand while Dan skinned his T-shirt over his head, then held the glass to Charlie's lips and tilted it while Charlie took a long drink. There was a part of Charlie's anatomy, now exposed, that was demonstrating that he was already responding to the treatment he was receiving. "No fair," he said weakly. "You guys got me naked, an' you're still dressed."

"Look again," Dan said from behind him. When Charlie turned around Dan had stripped. In spite of the many times he'd seen Dan naked, he couldn't remember a time Dan had looked more beautiful! Somehow when Charlie wasn't looking, Dan had matured. His body was still almost completely hairless, but without having lost any of its boyishness, it had a certain maturity Charlie had never noticed before. When he could tear his eyes away and turned back to Jerry, he had lost his boxers.

"Now we're even," Jerry said with a grin.

"Not really," Dan said. "Charlie knows what's coming. He's hard as a rock. But then if I was about to receive the treatment he is, I'd be hard too!"

"Then you better get hard," Charlie said as he attacked him. "You don't think I'm gonna endure this torture alone, do ya?"

"Tonight that's exactly what I think. You're gonna lie back on the bed and go limp. You're not even allowed to exert yourself enough to drink your drink. We'll hold the glass for you any time you want it."

Before Charlie knew what was happening, he had been laid out on the bed, arms and legs at a 45 degree angle, and four hands, two sets of lips and tongues, were wandering all over his body. They caressed here, nuzzled there, sucked briefly on a nipple, paused now and then for a deep kiss. The hands never stopped as fingers kneaded balls, caressed hair, squeezed other parts of Charlie's body. He could feel himself relaxing as his two companions applied to his body all the skill they'd learned in their business. "Ohhhh MAN!" he moaned, "I don't think I could move even if I wanted to!"

Charlie felt his head being raised slightly. Without opening his eyes he knew he was being given another drink. He drank the rum that was in the glass: all of it. He felt his legs being raised and placed on someone's shoulders. Still he kept his eyes closed. He knew what was coming, and he didn't want to know who it was until the deed was done. When he felt himself being entered, easily and smoothly with no pain whatsoever, he knew it had to be Dan. No one on earth was as gentle with Charlie as Dan was. To his utter astonishment he also felt the warmth of lips as his manhood disappeared into a mouth that was Jerry's. Before he had a chance to open his eyes or get used to the sensations that were driving him wild, he felt something probe his own lips. There was a slight musky smell - Jerry's musk! He parted his lips slightly and was rewarded with the entry of Jerry's manhood in his mouth. He moaned loudly as Dan began to very slowly slide in and out of him. Jerry began sliding slowly up and down on Charlie's manhood while at the same time gently fucking Charlie's mouth.

It occurred to Charlie to open his eyes, so he could see just how they had managed physically to arrange their bodies. He didn't, because at the moment it really didn't matter. All that really mattered was that he was going into serious pleasure overload and he never wanted it to end. Never! He knew it would end though, and soon!

Jerry was first to lose it. When he began to shudder, and Charlie felt and tasted the first of the climax in his mouth, the chain reaction started. Charlie's orgasm was triggered almost instantly, and when he clamped his sphincter around Dan's manhood, he came as well. All three moaned loudly, and all three totally lost it as they all shot torrents into their partners.

When they recovered, Dan and Jerry switched places and they did it all again. Charlie was feeling the total slut now, and his two partners were willing participants. This time it was Charlie who started the chain reaction. Again a brief rest, then they did their favorite: a circle suck. Dan sucked Jerry, Jerry did Charlie, Charlie sucked Dan. Of all the combinations and permutations that can be enjoyed by three males, this was their favorite. And having already cum twice each, this one lasted a lot longer, much to everyone's extreme pleasure.

When they were finally resting, after their third orgasm, Charlie dropped into a dreamy, almost semi-conscious state that had Dan and Jerry concerned, until he said dreamily, "You guys are so totally awesome! I love both you guys so much! I'm so content, so happy, I don't think I can move!" Dan and Jerry snuggled close, one on each side of Charlie, and they too drifted off to sleep. It had been a hell of a summer, and the coming week was giving every indication it would top it all! Tonight, though, they'd had incredible sex, and now they could melt into each other, enjoy the comfort and security of their togetherness, and sleep.

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