Author's Notes:

I want to thank my Readers. You guys are the best. Okay, these characters are not meant to resemble any living or dead persons. I make no apology to anyone who is offended by anything in this story. If you do not agree with the idea of guys being in love, then find something else to read. Let me know what you think of the story by emailing me at

_Hnstskr4@aol.com_

Copyright 2008-2018 by Chuck B

The Journey Begins

Chapter 31

Baby-Sitting

Eric is getting ready for a date that Steve and he have had planned all week long. He's got dressed and got himself smelling great. He's grabbed his wallet, and then he is ready for Steve to pick him up. Right then, Sarah comes upstairs and walks into the bathroom.

"Eric, I hate to do this to you, but Mark's nephew, Shane; is in the hospital. He wants to go up and see him."

Eric's face immediately turns ugly. He's not happy with his sister and brother-in-law. Still, it sounds like it's an emergency, so he decides to call Steve right away to see if they can reschedule. Steve's not happy about having to cancel at the last minute, so Eric comes up with an idea. He needs permission from Sarah or Mark. Eric hangs up with Steve to have that talk with his sister.

***

He heads downstairs to talk with her. She isn't downstairs though; she is in her room working making other phone calls. He quietly waits for her conversation to come to an end, and then he speaks to her.

"Sarah, can Steve come over and help me babysit that way we don't have to cancel our date?"

Sarah thinks about it for a second before answering her brother. She has a lot to consider about this request from her brother.

"I'm only allowing this because I trust your boyfriend."

Eric is excited because he won't have to give up on his date with Steve.

"Thanks, Sarah."

He turns leaves the master bedroom and returns to his room. He needs to get upstairs so he can call Steve.

***

He grabs his phone and finds Steve's contact so he can call him back. It may not be the most exciting evening on earth, but at least it will be spent together. Steve doesn't waste any time answering the phone.

"Please tell me Sarah or Mark liked your idea?"

Eric is pleased with himself and his sister. He can't wait to tell Steve what Sarah said.

"Sarah said that you could come over and help me out with the kiddo."

Steve knows that he has to come over to the house and help babysit, but he loves the thought of spending time with Eric. He understands that there is a family emergency and Eric needs to step up and help out.

"Cool, I'm glad that she said yes because I want to cuddle."

Eric agrees with Steve. He can't wait for the cuddles too. Steve is walking around his room gathering up stuff to take with him. They say goodbye to each other, and Eric relaxes a little bit.

***

Today isn't just a typical day night for the guys. It's their one-year anniversary. It doesn't take a genius to figure out why Steve was upset when Eric called. Tonight, all about them. Steve leaves his house with Eric's present tucked under his arms. Eric is upstairs trying to wrap up the gift that he got for Steve. The evening promises to be fun between diaper changes and hanging out. Steve can't wait to arrive at the house. Eric can't wait for Sarah and Mark so Steve and he can have the house to themselves. Steve reaches Eric's home, knocks at the door, and Eric opens the door. Steve is holding a bouquet of roses and a present wrapped up in the metallic blue paper.

"Here these are for you better get them in water. You can open the present later."

Eric invites Steve inside the house. While Steve is walking into the living room, Eric is grabbing a vase from the kitchen to put the flowers into so he can enoy them a little while longer. David; Eric's nephew, is in his walker smiling up at Steve is talking to the little guy. When Eric walks back into the room, he sits next to Steve. David immediately reaches up to his uncle while trying to say his name.

"Hold on David; Uncle Eric needs to open up his present."

Steve says as he hands Eric the present. Eric takes the gift and slowly begins to unwrap it. He wants to try and keep the wrapping paper. Once he can see the box inside, Eric knows what Steve got him. Steve gave Eric an obsidian arrowhead necklace. David is now fussing for Eric to pick him up so, Steve reaches out and picks up the little guy, who is content to be in Steve's arms.

"Hey David, do you like Steve holding you buddy?"

David smiles at his uncle, but then he reaches out to Eric. The little guy practically throws himself at Eric Eric gives his babe a peck on the cheeks.

***

Eric has to run upstairs to grab Steve's present, so he hands David over to Steve. Not wanting to waste any time, he rushes up the stairs. Eric opens his closet and pulls out the present and the card. He bounces back downstairs joins his nephew and his boyfriend on the couch. Steve eyes the card and then eyes the gift while David reaches out for the pretty wrapping paper.

"You want to help me open my present big guy?"

Steve says as he waits for Eric to hand the present over. Eric gives him the gift and then quietly waits for him to open it up. Steve put the paper in David's hand and, they work together to open it up. Steve spends just a few seconds removing the gift wrap from the present. Underneath the paper, Steve eyes a box. The box is a little heavy but David and him; they got this box opened. Inside of the box, there is a binder filled with a mix of poems, drawing, photos, and letters written, drawn, and taken by Eric for Steve. Eric wasn't sure when he would give the present to Steve, but since today is there anniversary, it's fitting that Steve receive the binder today. Steve sets the ring binder down and hands the little guy over to Eric so that he can thumb through the albnum.

"Ah...thanks Eric, this binder is so sweet. Want to walk through memory lane with me?"

Eric smiles and taps Steve on the back.

"Of course, I'll look through the book with you."

Eric holds on to his nephew as Steve opens to the first page of the notebook. The first page is the original letter that he wrote to Steve as part of his English class letter writing activity before Steve and Eric dating.

"March 3, 2008

Dear Steven Hill,

You may or may not know me. I'm the kid who somehow ended up in your gym multiple times over our junior high and high school career. I'm one of your classmates in both your Quest class and your English class this year. I've always looked up to you. Everyone seems to like you. You have no problem saying what's on your mind. I've been watching you since I first noticed you back in our 8th grade year. It was kind of hard not to see you. I couldn't take my eyes off of you. You are the reason that I take gym every year. I've been lucky that you've been in each of my gym classes. Sometimes, I even go home and dream about you. Dreams where you are my friend, my best friend, and my boyfriend. I could get excommunicated if anyone could see my visions.

I want nothing more than to, be noticed by you. It's not enough to know who you are. I want to be your friend. I would love to be your boyfriend. No one would dare mess with me with you around me. I know that around you I would feel safe. Still, it's a bit scary even to be writing this letter.

It's scary because I don't know if you're gay. I can hope that you are gay. I don't know what to think. I have the biggest crush on you. Maybe it even hinges on obsession, but yeah, I have had a few X-rated dreams about you. Sorry for not putting those in this letter.

Your friend at least in my dreams,

Eric Keiser"

Steve's face is a little red. He wasn't anticipating the whole X-rated dream thing, but it's cool. The letter still has the red marks from Miss Gonzalez's red pen.

"Babe, she read this?"

Eric nods his head. The next page is a copy from Eric's Quest journal from Mr. Smith's Quest class.

Dear Journal,

I've never admitted this to anyone else before, and I am terrified, but here it goes. I'm gay! (I guess that makes me the first person that you've come out too. How does it feel?) Writing it out like this makes me even more afraid. (It's perfectly okay to be frightened. Just be too scared.) I'm not even sure why, just that I am. I haven't told anyone because I'm afraid of rejection. (There are always going to be people who hate you, and there will always be people who are willing to love you. I've had both in my life, and you will lose people too.) I don't want to lose my family or my friends (I know you don't want to lose your family or your friends, but honestly, you can't change their minds. Either they love you unconditionally, or they will walk away.) My church would excommunicate me for being gay and being true to my feelings. (Be true to yourself! If being true to you is what you want, then do it but be safe.) They; the church, think that being gay is wrong. How can it be wrong when it's a part of who I am? (You are not wrong. You can still be true to yourself and believe in what you believe.) (You are a great person, and you need to see that for yourself because I don't always think that you do. By the way, I've noticed that you seem attracted to Steven Hill. You might want to consider coming out to him.) "

Eric might have been pressured a bit by Mr. Smith to ask Steve out, but he's glad that Eric got the nerve to do so in the first place. Again, it's a piece of the past that Steve never knew about and it makes him curious. What would have happened if Eric never took that class or if Steve never took that class? Would they have met if Quest was never offered at the school that year?

"We should have found a way to let each know that we liked each other much sooner then we did. Can you imagine all the fun we would have had?"

Steve says as he looks at Eric. All Eric can see at the moment is what happened when they had their first kiss and how much that one kiss changed things.

"Yeah, I would have liked to have had more time to spend with you, but it would have meant all that stuff would have happened when I was a little younger. I don't know if things would have stayed the same or not."

Eric says in reply to Steve's sentence and question. Eric doesn't know if he would have been able to handle all the family issues and church issues that popped up because of his orientation and Dale's interference. His comment leaves Steve guessing as too what Eric meant by his last sentence and rather than figure it out, he decides to ask what he said.

"Babe, what do you mean when you said your last sentence?"

"I was just wondering if we had come started talking when we were younger, would we have had all these struggles?"

Eric says as Steve listening carefully and thoughtfully to his boyfriend's question. It wouldn't have mattered at all, and deep down inside they know it.

"I don't think it would have mattered because we still would be gay and Dale would still be an ass."

Steve didn't want Eric to over think this question. The only other thing that the boys need to consider is that they wouldn't have had Mr. Smith to give them advice or to give them that push. David tries to turn the page, but Steve gently stops him. The next page in the binder contains a half sheet of paper that says "Meet me during lunch!", and Steve again has a smile on his face.

"You kept that?"

Steve asks because he can't believe that Eric would keep that note. Eric has saved much more than just that note.

"Yeah, I did. Why shouldn't I have kept it? It was the first note that you ever wrote to me."

`He's right; it was the first note.'

The thought comes and goes from Steve's mind as he turns to the yet another page. This page has a small red heart made from red construction paper that says "Steve asked me to be his boyfriend today, and I said yes.", It's a day that both teens remember very well. They continue through the scrapbook before the guys

***

Steve puts his book down on the coffee table and then kisses Eric. Eric puts David in the playpen so he can play by himself for a little while. Steve noticed that there was no mention of Vince anywhere in the binder. Why would there be, to be honest? Eric was trying to capture the happy moments in their relationship. The episode in their relationship was painful for both Steve and Eric, but Steve will tell you that it made their relationship stronger. Steve is quick to point out that he loves Eric and never gave up on him, and he will always fight for him. Eric's decision to walk away from Steve and go to Vince almost ended any chance of this relationship continuing, but Steve didn't want to let go.

***

It's around 3:30 pm and David is starting to look a little unhappy, so Eric gets up and walks over to the playpen. Once the little guy is up in his uncle's arms, it becomes clear why his nephew is upset.

"David, do you need a diaper change buddy?"

David doesn't respond to his uncle's question, but he does quiet down a bit. Looking at Steve, he points upstairs. It's not a chore that Steve wants to be a part of, but he gets up and follows his boyfriend to David's room. It's kind of funny to watch Steve covering up his nose with his shirt, while Eric is standing there as if the smell doesn't bother him. There are still times when even Eric covers up his nose. Eric puts the old diaper into the trash. David is now wearing the new diaper. Now the teens are looking down at a much happier baby.

"All done David ready to go back downstairs?"

Eric reaches down and picks up his nephew from the changing table.

"Steve, can you wipe down the changing table?"

Steve looks as if he has no clue what Eric is asking him to do. Eric points to the container that says disinfecting wipes. Opening it up, Steve takes out a wipe and gives the table a proper disinfecting. With the job done the guy's head downstairs. David is placed on the ground to let him crawl around and get some exercise. Eric goes and washes his hands in the kitchen. Steve washes his hands after Eric.

***

Eric and Steve sit on the couch and cuddle while David walks along the sofa and tries to pull himself up on the couch. Memories of their first date rush into Steve's mind.

"Do you remember our first date?"

Steve asks his boyfriend as their eyes connect. One would think that Eric might need a few seconds to think about it, but he doesn't. He jumps right into it.

"Yeah, you took me out for milk shakes and then we spent an hour talking, but I didn't want the day to end, so we went out to the county park and hiked around till we came to this spot along the river where there is a bench, and we sat down and watched the water and talked more. A lot of the talk revolved around Eric's and Steve's interests and how they want to handle the future. It was a great first date."

 

Steve agrees with Eric; it was a fantastic date. He leans in a kisses Eric on the lips just as David giggles. Eric reaches out to his nephew, and then he picks him up.

***

Eric looks at Steve as David moves towards him. A picture of on the wall reminds Eric of their camping trip with Jason and Shaun. Eric remembers how all he wanted to do was cuddle with Steve the entire time. The peaceful feeling along the river comes back to him as he watches David and Steve playing.

"Steve, do you remember camping with Jason and Shaun?"

Eric asks as David leaves Steve and heads for him.

"Yeah, I do at least parts of it. I remember helping to make dinner, and cooking the marshmallows."

Eric remembers the fishing trip and being surrounded by the guys who were all shirtless, and how hard it was to concentrate on the task at hand. He could have very easily got a hook lodged in his skin.

"I also remember being very worried about you and having to get Jason to talk to you. It's was our first obstacle in our relationship. I think we came out of better for it. I love you, Babe."

Steve looks into Eric's eyes and can see the happiness in his eyes. It never hurts to hear someone say that they love you. Eric kisses David before reaching out and giving a kiss to Steve. They learned a lot about relationships and what it means to truly love each other on that camping trip.

***

David is busy enjoying this opportunity to be with his uncle and his uncle's boyfriend. The guys are enjoying their time together with Eric's nephew. Hearing David laugh has always made Eric happy. The smile on that little guy's face light's up his day. The little guy and the big guy who is currently tickling David makes Eric the happiest guy on the planet.

"I love this little guy."

Eric says as he places a kiss on David's forehead. David giggles and smiles at his uncle. Steve lifts his hands from the little guy.

"You know Eric, I think he loves you too, and I know that I love his uncle too."

Steve says as he looks toward the kitchen. A gurgle in his stomach says that it's time to eat. Even Eric is a little hungry. Eric gets out bread, cheese, butter, celery, and apples plus some baby food out of the fridge. He also grabs a pan from the where Sarah keeps them.

"Steve, can you cut up the celery and the apples?"

Eric says as Steve puts David into the play pen and then comes back into the kitchen to cut up the celery and the apples.

"I'm on it."

In no time, the guys have lunch for everyone ready. It maybe a little late but it's going to feel good getting food into their stomach. With the food done, Eric gets up and puts his nephew in his high chair, and then Steve and he sit down for lunch. Eric makes sure that David has something to eat and then he has a few bites. There were some attempts at giving David some apple juice. It took a bit for the teens to figure out the drink thing for the little guy. It takes a bit longer for Eric to finish eating, but that means that there was plenty of time for more talking. Something they have done a lot of today already.

***

Up on the wall, there is a beautiful picture of Sarah's and Mark's wedding reception at the church that Eric's and Sarah's family attends. It reminds Steve that a considerable portion of his boyfriend's life has revolved around his church. There will always be that upbringing in Eric's mind, and Steve hopes that it will be a positive thing in his boyfriend's life. He knows there have been some struggles with it, but mostly when people have tried forcing their ideas or opinions on Eric. Eric has never once said anything negative about his beliefs. Steve knows better than to question that belief. Religion isn't something that Eric likes to talk about with Steve, but it's something that has shaped him since he was a kid. Hard to say, where all of this will take them in the future. Now that Eric is facing a future with Steve, he isn't planning on returning to church, but no one knows what the future holds for sure. Eric knows that it's Steve and him for all time.

***

Eric hadn't planned on attending Junior prom, but that changed one Friday night. Steve had several guys from his team distract Eric out on the river walk. With Eric distracted Steve laid out a small, large circle of red rose petals and white rose petals in a circle along with a couple of candles which were burning. Steve positioned himself within the ring, and with a nod of his head, one of his team members put a blindfold on Eric. He turned Eric around and walked him into the circle.

"Kneel down."

The kid commanded Eric, so he did, and then he took off the blindfold, and there was Steve. Steve was dressed in his tuxedo and holding a mix of red and white roses which he held out to Eric.

"What's going on Steve?"

A slightly confused Eric was looking at Steve a little unsure of what was going at the moment.

"Just come here silly."

Eric approached Steve and when he got up by him. Steve gave him the roses. A piece of paper fell to the ground at the same time. Steve kissed Eric on the lips, and then pointed to his team who were holding the letters that spelled out "PROM?", And Eric started to cry happy tears. It had been a hellish year with so many bad things happening in it, that this just seemed like some crazy fantasy. In Eric's mind, prom was for couples, but this year, it would be for Eric and Steve.

"Yes!"

Eric exclaimed as he grabbed Steve and wrapped his hands around the guy that he loves. Steve's team clapped, shouted, and hooted. Mark and Sarah who had been standing a few feet away taking pictures. They danced to a bunch of their favorite songs. The night of prom, Eric and Steve had the limo, they danced the night away, and then went out to the river walk before going and grabbing a meal at a local seafood place, that is outstanding and unique. It was a fantastic night, one that made the binder. It makes Eric wonder if Steve went through all the trouble for that prom proposal, what will he do for a real proposal.

***

Something else that Steve and Eric rarely talk about the struggles of coming out at school. Steve wants to have it now.

"Hey Babe, was there any part of you coming out at school that scared the crap out of you?"

Eric looks at him as if to say "Are you serious right now?", Eric knows that Steve knows all about his unintentional coming out experience last year at the hands of Dale.

"Yeah, the whole thing, I mean come on what kind of friend does that to someone. Dale invaded our privacy, attacked me, threatened me, and got me kicked me out of my home. I suppose even if I had come out on my own, I might still have had to deal with some of the crap. I remember looking over my shoulder for another kid to attack me or beat me up, but it never happened. I found out that there were more people willing to support me and fewer people who were hating on me."

Eric is right. Most people at the school were supportive, and continue to be supportive. Look at what Steve's team has done for them with the whole prom thing, and even stepping in to watch out over them at times.

"On a whole though, things have been great. I hope, the stuff that I went through helps to make it easier for those who are considering coming out at school."

Steve leans into his boyfriend and kisses him on his cheek.

"I do too Baby."

David starts to fuss again, and that ends their short conversation.

***

They manage to get David back up to the room for a diaper change. This time Steve waits outside the room because he doesn't want to smell the diaper. Eric is changing the diaper, and this time the little guy isn't helpful. He's trying to get into a mess, so his hands will have to be washed. David at least is now cleaned up. The new diaper is on him. Eric uses the baby wipes to clean off his hands

"Steve, can you come to get David so I can clean up?"

Eric asks as he pulls out a wipe to clean off the table.

"I'm coming to get him right now."

Steve picks up the little guy and then heads back down stairs. Eric goes back to cleaning up the room a little after this changing.

***

Eric and Steve decide to watch a movie and to pop some popcorn. Since they have a kid with them, it's going to be a kids movie. Steve is picking the film, and Eric is popping the corn. They are fifteen minutes into the movie when David feel to sleep. Eric carefully stands up with David in his hands. Steve pauses the video. They head upstairs and lay David down in his crib. It doesn't take them long to get David laid down in his crib. Eric turns on the baby monitor and grabs the other end of it and brings it with him downstairs. Steve unpauses the movie, and they go back to cuddling. Sadly, teens cannot survive on popcorn alone.

***

Just when hunger was about to take over, the doorbell went off, and they jump. Eric walks to the door
To see who is outside the house. When he opens the door, he gets a surprise. Waiting for him on the other side of the screen door is a pizza delivery guy. He's holding what must be an extra-large pizza.

"Um...we didn't order a pizza?"

The guy looks at Eric and smiles.

"It must be your lucky day, because someone ordered this pizza for this address, and they took care of my tip too."

Eric decides to accept the pizza and then eat it.

"Thanks for taking your time to deliver us our food."

Steve walks up to Eric to see what is going on at the door. Much to his delight, Eric is holding a pizza. He reaches out his hand to the delivery guy.

"Thanks!"

Steve is super excited to have food. The guy shakes Steve's hand and then turns and walks back to his car. Eric is moving towards the dining room table. Once the pizza is on the table, Eric grabs two glasses and grabs something to drink from the fridge. He is curious about the origins of the food that Eric recently put down on the table.

"Baby, where did the pizza come from?"

"I don't know Steve someone was kind enough to pay for the pizza for us, and I think we owe it to them to devour as much of it as possible."

Steve agrees with him and helps Eric out by getting two plates, and then they immediately started work on that monster of pizza. Sarah or Mark must have ordered the pizza for them, but it might have been his mom and dad too.

***

As they are eating the pizza, someone entered the house. Eric gets up and goes to see who unlocks the door and entered the house. He catches Sarah standing in the living room

"Welcome back, how is Mark's nephew?"

Sarah collapses on the couch. Eric can tell that his sister is very tired. They've been gone for at least 4 hours. Mark walks into the house.

"He has to stay overnight. He got into some of his mom's medication."

Mark says as he too sits on the couch. Steve's jaw drops because he has a cousin who did that and it was scary. It ended up that he got hold of his grandfather's heart rate medication. The adults just want to relax a little before checkign on David.

***

As Sarah and Mark get up Steve is thinking that he needs to call it a night. He doesn't want to say goodbye without kissing Eric. They kiss and then Eric follows Steve out the door and to the car.

"Goodnight Babe. Can I have another kiss goodnight?"

Eric asks as Steve gets ready to open the car door.

"Anytime."

Steve opens the car door and then gets inside. They exchange a kiss and then Steve gets into the car and rolls down his window. He leans his head out the open window.

"Good night Eric. Dream some good dreams for me okay?"

Steve knows that when Eric gets stressed, he tends to have bad dreams. Stress and bad dreams have always plagued Eric.

"I will. I love you, Babe."

Eric tells Steve as; Steve begins to pull away.

***

Eric is a little sad when Steve leaves because it means that their date is over, and Eric doesn't like ending dates, but something is about to happen that will put a smile on his face. Eric walks inside and then heads upstairs to his room. As if on cue, his phone rings. Looking at his phone quickly, he sees that Seth is calling him. It's been a few weeks since they've spoken because life has been utterly crazy.

"Hey Eric, I'm sorry for not calling in a long time. Life has been crazy."

Seth says and as he thinks over the last month. Eric responds right away with a smile.

"I know what you mean. Senior year has been down and out crazy. Between finals and end of the year stuff, I'm just glad that it's about to end."

"Same here. So, are you and Steve still together?"

Seth can't see it, but Eric is smiling; they are together. Steve and Eric are proud of the fact that they've managed to stick together for so a year.

"Yes, we are. What about you and Mason, are you still together?"

Seth is looking forward to graduation because he has plans on giving Mason a special ring. Like Eric and Steve, Mason and Seth are meant to be together for life. Seth and Eric are willing to stick by the side of their boyfriends.

"We are, and I have big plans for our relationship."

Now, Seth has Eric's attention. He can't wait to hear what the guy has in store for his boyfriend.

"So what are you planning on throwing at Mason?"

Mason is smiling, and you may not believe it, but Eric can almost see his smile through the phone.

"I'm giving, my babe a ring. A promise ring that we will marry each other when the time is right; maybe after college."

Eric can't believe that Seth is planning to give Mason a promise ring. The promise ring isn't a guarantee that the guys will make it in the end. It's still exciting to think that Seth is planning this big step in their lives.

"Go for it man; I think it's awesome."

Eric is super excited for Seth's and Mason's future as well as Eric's future on this as well. The guys were super excited about everything going on in their lives. Everything is perfect right now.

"Hey, I think we need to hang out again."

Seth says hoping that Eric and Steve may want to hang out again. He wants to relax and enjoy the company of his friend. Seth is the first and only gay LDS teen that Eric has ever met.

"We sure do. How about after graduation?"

Seth is hoping that things will quiet down after graduation night and allow them to reconnect. It would be amazing to have to spend a day together.

"Sounds good man, I know Steve will be excited."

Yeah, Steve will be excited, but so will Mason. Even Seth and Eric are excited. The day has come to a close, and the guys end their calls. Eric gets up and grabs his e-reader and proceeds to read.

***

After reading for a few minutes, he eyes his phone and notices that while he was on the phone with Seth, that Steve had messaged him. He checks his texts and realizes that Steve has indeed sent him something. He's received a sweet little note to end his day on, and it warms his heart.

"I love you, Eric."

Hearing those words never gets old. It doesn't matter who says it to you; I think it warms everyone's soul.

"I love you too Steve. Seth wants to hang out after graduation, what do you think?"

Eric types it up and then sends it off to his boyfriend. He glances down at the message from his boyfriend again and smiles. His heart swells a with pride because he knows that right now, Steve is looking at this text and smiling too.

"Thanks, Eric. I can't wait to see him. Let him know to set the date."

Eric knew ahead of time that Steve would want to meet up with Seth and Mason. The teens have always enjoyed their times together. They don't know what their plans are going to be, but it doesn't matter because everything is lovely. Life right now is crazy, but it's full of light.

"I will baby, I am going to bed."

The day ends, and Eric and Steve call it quits, and they go to bed. Completing the perfect day, the guys have spent part of the day together. It's been magical.

***

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