Old 02-01-2013, 11:39 PM   #1
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1876, New Smith, CT

Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.
It was a phrase every good girl knew. The confessional, a place to be absolved of the sins committed, to beg forgiveness from the man who could bestow it. Words flowed freely behind those wooden doors, where the privacy given made it seem so freeing to release the guilt within.

Sara Hawthorne was one such visitor to that place to confide her secrets. Tiny things used to be uttered; going through her brother's books, stealing treats from the cupboards, using her mother's candles without permission. There wasn't too much required in penance. Confess the truth to those harmed. Pray and return with further needs of the church.

She tried so hard to be good.
But sometimes.... It was just too hard.

The thoughts that entered her mind. The things that she knew were terrible to imagine, to even conceive in some form. 19 years, and suddenly, these thoughts. The devil had taken grip of her mind, she was certain of it. Thoughts that turned from simple things of the theft and misconduct of her younger years.

Sara had other intentions come to mind.
She needed something more. There was a thrill to it, to see what she could do.

Father O'Connor was retiring. A new face would take his place at the podium, leading his flock. Sara continued to go to church, dutiful as ever. Father knew most of her secrets.

He gave the cross almost every time he passed her now.

There was still others she did not share. Things she didn't know how to confess. The fact that these things alone left such a feeling inside her. The enjoyment she felt from them. She was the daughter of a shop owner. A man of good reputation. A man whose daughter most certainly could not have a bone of ill intent inside her.

But the way it felt...
So unbelievably wonderful.

There had to be more. More she could use, feed that feeling. Take something more, fuel this further. Something that could fill the void inside that each tiny act seemed to only add a pebble.

Complete corruption. That was what she needed. A way to feel... Sated fully.
A photo had been sent to introduce their new Father.

Sara had found her goal.
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:13 PM   #2
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Father James Cavanaugh sat sipping tea in Father O'Conner's office. Much of the elder pastor's possessions were stacked in large piles around the room. The younger man had arrived midway through his predecessor's packing.

"I hope to have it all came collected and loaded by tomorrow," O'Conner mused. "I had hoped to be further along with it all, but as you'll come to find, there is always work to do in the parish."

Cavanaugh nodded as if he understood. In truth, he was a bit overwhelmed. He had only completed his seminary training a short while before. In truth, he probably needed another year of seasoning under a senior pastor before he was ready to handle an entire parish to himself. But*O'Conner's departure had caught the church administration a bit short-staffed. Not wanting this parish to go without a man of the cloth for perhaps months, young Cavanaugh had been dispatched.

"I trust you met most of the congregation at last night's welcoming celebration?" inquired Father O'Conner.

"Yes, indeed, sir. My head is still swimming from all of the introductions."

"And no doubt a bit of Mrs. Richmond's punch," chuckled O'Conner. "She may look as innocent as a school marm, but her brews could knock many a seasoned drunk on his backside." He chuckled again. "Still, she means well enough."

The wrinkled priest paused in reflection. "I think you will find that true of most of our parishioners. They stray on occasion, but most mean well and will stick to the path of righteousness. Still, there are some that need more guidance than others.

O'Conner proceeded to list the rogues' gallery of the congregation. Many of these were readily identifiable from last night's gathering. Still, a few of the names caught Cavanaugh by surprise - one in particular.

"Do you recall meeting the Hawthornes?" Upon seeing the younger man's confusion, the elder pastor chuckled. "Such is not an uncommon result. The Hawthornes tend to make such a strong impression visually that it distracts from further observation. If you will permit me a moment's indelicacy, do you recall the family of improbably bosomed females."

A blush stole over the young man's cheeks. "Oh, yes," he confessed. The current Empire waisted trend in women's fashion had put many of the congregation's bosoms on display last night, but one particular collection had clearly stood out from the rest. Cavanaugh had barely noted the husband, but had recalled the particular challenge of not letting his gaze tumble into the canyons of cleavage borne by the wife and two daughters. "I do recall... that family."

O'Conner nodded sympathetically. "Fear not. With practice, one learns to overlook their... attributes. But you might have cause for some attention other than the obvious. Their eldest daughter, Sara..." O'Conner paused, unsure of how to proceed. "I do not want to unfairly prejudice you. I am from a different time and may lack the sense that a more modern pastor might have. Suffice it to say that Sara troubles me. She has at times seemed a bit lost, though she has in more recent days seemed to turn towards the church. It is with some regret that I leave her, so I ask that you show particular attention to her. It is my hope that in my absence, she will turn to you for guidance. If she does so, you must do your utmostto aaid her through these difficult times."

Cavanaugh didn't entirely follow the senior pastor's meaning, but he could pry no further explanation from him. The young man could merely hope a better understanding came with time.

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Old 02-04-2013, 06:45 PM   #3
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"Did you say your farewells to Father O'Conner, girls?"

"Of course, Papa." Lillian was quick to answer their father, but a second voice did not join in.

Sara's attention was set more out the window of their small home at the edge of the town than the query made by her own father, taken only from her thoughts as his heavy hand came to rest upon her shoulder. "Sara?"

"Oh-! Yes. Of course, Papa. I certainly couldn't leave Father without a final goodbye." She smiled softly, pulling herself away from the windowsill and turning around. Her younger sister was giggling now, trying to cover her smirks with her hands. Her eyes narrowed slightly with that, quickly looking back to her father with a new smile.

"Very good." The man smiled himself, reaching out to tousle the hair of his eldest. "Your mother will have supper ready soon. Lillian, please help her. Sara, I believe I left behind my ledger at the shop. Please go fetch it for me. Don't dawdle- As I said, your mother will be waiting."

"Yes, Papa." She slid off from the chair she had been resting in, hurrying to grab her coat and slipping on her shoes. The General Store had closed at dusk, but there was still a slight amount of light to help get her to the shop. Grabbing a lantern just to be safe, she headed out, trying to hurry as he had said.

The light coming from one of the windows of the church surprised her. Was Father still there packing? Slowly slightly as she circled around the building, she eyed it over for a moment, then ran off to the shop across the road. The black book he had requested set upon the counter, Sara quickly snatching it- pausing only for a moment as she noticed a recently arrived collection of sweets. Her teeth caught her lower lip, eyeing the candies for a brief moment. She knew far better than to swipe more things, especially her own father's store... But it was so very tempting anymore to just take those small things.

She took a breath, grabbing the small parcel and stuffing it into her coat pocket, quickly leaving back out the door with the book clutched firmly in hand. A good girl would simply hurry home. No reason to wander, to let her thoughts keep dragging her elsewhere... But a quick moment to savor a treat would harm nothing.

Settling down on the steps of the church, she quickly opened the package on her lap, peeking around to see if anyone noticed her. Satisfied, the lid was placed next to her, one of the little brown treats plucked up and placed upon her tongue. A tiny sigh of enjoyment left her, smiling softly.

The sound of voices spooked her, hastily grabbing up the package and its fallen lid before pushing into the church.

She was supposed to be going home.
Not nibbling stolen treats.
Not hiding in the church.

Perhaps if she just... Yes. If she took a moment to say a hello to Father Cavanaugh alone... A viable excuse for her father, and a way to avoid being caught with her theft. Stepping down the aisle to the alter, she peeked about, spotting the two men of the church in the open doorway of the office.

"Father?" She called, sliding the treats back into her pocket. "I just.. I wanted to come say farewell. And... Hello, at the same time, it seems." She smiled softly to the new man, then glanced to the known. "I'll miss you terribly, sir. You know more about me than my own family..."
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:33 PM   #4
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Fathers O'Conner and Cavanaugh looked up at the sound in the doorway.

""Father?" A diminutive figure entered the half open doorway. "I just.. I wanted to come say farewell... And hello."

Father O'Conner's face split wide with a grin. "Why Sara, how kind of you to stop by." He turned towards his companion and shot him a knowing glance. "I was just getting Father Cavanaugh acquainted with some of the stalwart members of our congregation. Naturally your family came up. I am sure I will find it hard to recognize it as Sunday morning without the lovely Hawthorne ladies smiling up at me from the pews."

Cavanaugh sensed that O'Conner was hinting at something with his words, but couldn't parse his meaning. He shifted his glance down to the young beauty. Her eyes glimmered an energetic blue I the soft light of the desk lamps. Strange that O'Conner had expressed concern for her; Miss Hawthorne seemed hardly the type.

O'Conner glanced at the wooden framed clock on the wall. "Evening time must be fast approaching. If I know your mother, that means one of her fabulous meals will soon be atop the dinner table. Was there anything else that brought you by the church this evening?"

Before the lass could respond, O'Conner snapped his fingers. "Ah, but it should not be me asking that any longer. Father Cavanaugh may not officially take over till this Sunday's service, but the parish is by all rights his. Why don't you see to young Sara while I continue packing?"

Father Cavanaugh nodded his approval. "I welcome the opportunity to chat with one of my new flock," he said warmly. Placing a hand on Sara's shoulder, he guided her out of the office and into the church.




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Old 02-05-2013, 07:25 PM   #5
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Sara gave a little laugh of her own as O'Conner teased on missing she and her family, playing with the edge of her coat a bit more and letting the small smirk remain as the newly appointed Father of the Church caught her attention. Her smile renewed then, a nod given to him and a small wave of her fingers. "Hello, sir."

Her brows raised quickly as the outgoing priest spoke of her mother, and the time. She started to draw a breath, hoping to test her excuses here, but he came up with one on his own- the exact one she had planned to use for her Papa.

"Oh... Yes, of course." Sara smiled even more at that, waving goodbye to the former and taking steps out of the office with the new. A curious glance was stolen over to him as they made their way to a pew, Sara settling in and glancing around the small church.

"A chance to speak alone with our new arrival would be a welcomed thing. Get to know the man I'll see ever so often..." She laughed softly with that, pulling her coat back slightly. The little box fell from her pocket, Sara eyeing it hesitantly, then back to the man beside her. The smile grew a bit more, reaching to pluck it back up, offering him some of the sweets inside. "Candy, Father?," She asked with a smile, taking one for herself. "I know that nibbling them now, before Mother's dinner, might not be the best thing... But they're ever so wonderful. A little naughty treat now and then isn't too terrible, is it?"

She certainly wasn't going to tell him where she had come upon them, though she did wonder on just how much had been shared with him. The privacy and confidentiality of the confessional- Certainly not too much could be shared with others in regards to that... But what between the two man of the cloth?

Sara took a breath, finishing her nibble, before settling back in the seat. "I do admit to being curious, sir. I know very little about you. I wonder on how much you know of me."
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Old 02-05-2013, 11:37 PM   #6
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"A little naughty treat now and then isn't too terrible, is it?"

Father Cavanaugh smiled and took the offered treat. "Occasional indulgence of one's sweet tooth is not inherently sinful. It is when one lets it intrude on more virtuous pursuits that it becomes so."

"I do admit to being curious, sir. I know very little about you. I wonder on how much you know of me."

Father Cavanaugh shrugged. "Very little, I'm sure. I know your family has a long history with this parish. I am given to understand that your great grandfather was instrumental in building this church. Your father is one of the current elders. Your mother is a prominent member of the women's social committee."

"Outside the church, I know your father runs a shop in town. Your mother works out of the home, caring for you and your younger sister."

Father Cavanaugh paused, wondering how much more he should say. "I know that you have at times consulted Father O'Conner for advice. I hope that you will feel equally comfortable seeking my counsel, should the need ever arise."
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:59 PM   #7
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"I certainly will try not to allow that to happen, Father." Sara smiled once again, taking another of the little sweets for herself and setting the box aside. Hearing his take thus far of her family and herself raised her interest even more, still wondering on just how much the older Father had shared with the new. Surprises were a wonderous thing, and she hoped to share numerous ones with him. The photograph sent certainly hadn't done the man justice. She just wanted to ... simply reach out and... just...

The mention of the older priest caused her to startle, her eyes widening a moment and quickly giving a nod. "Oh- Y-yes, of course. Thank you, sir. There are... lots of things that seem to try my will at this age, something Mama warned me of, many times. The devil seems to take his sights on those who are still finding their path... I trust you to lead me to the right ones, Father. There is so much out there to tempt me..."

Sara's gaze wandered off a bit with that, catching how dark it had turned outside. Her frown returned slowly, a tiny sigh. "I've wandered off for far too long. Papa's book was the main reason I left the house. Those distractions again. Though he can't be too upset with me for making stops to say hello.... I only wanted to make a good first impression. Heaven knows the rumors of this town..." She frowned, looking back to Cavanaugh with that. "People can say hurtful things, Father. A true shame in that. You never know who you can trust. Even your closest friend can find a way to stab you in the back... I'm thankful that I can find solace in the church. I know I can always turn to you for comfort..."

She took the box and the remaining treats, setting them in Cavanaugh's lap. "Here, Father. A welcoming gift. I'll come back to share the rest with you another night?" She smiled with that, starting to get up. "I do need to be headed home, though, sir. Papa's belt is less understanding."
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:55 PM   #8
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Father Cavanaugh took the box of treats with a smile. "I shall look forward to our next meeting, then. I will do my utmost not to devour them all before then."

He stood up with Sara and laid a light hand on her back as he escorted her to the door of the church. "Please extend my greetings to your family," he instructed. "I do hope I have not made you unduly late for dinner. I have heard such good things about your mother's cooking that I would hate for you to miss out."

Cavanaugh waved as Sara walked away. Such a curious collection of contradictions. When she gazed up at him with those big, curious eyes, she seemed almost childlike in her innocent inquisitiveness. But from a distance, only a blind man could mistake her voluptuous profile for anything but a woman grown.

He remained intrigued by the mystery that seemed to waft about her like tendrils of fog. First Father O'Conner and now Sara herself had hinted that there was more to her than met the eye. Cavanaugh's curiosity was piqued. He had been tempted to inquire directly with her, but Father O'Conner had urged caution. He would have to wait for Sara to confide in him; to press her to reveal more might dissuade her from sharing at all.

Cavanaugh returned to the church and made his way to his quarters. Father O'Conner was not the only one whose possessions needed organizing. And was not tidiness near to godliness?

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Old 02-17-2013, 05:40 PM   #9
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"Thank you, sir. I will be certain to pass along your words to my parents." Sara smiled again, the briefest glimmer of surprise flitting to her eyes and a smile filling her lips as his hand came to rest upon her back as he led her to the doors. The warmth of his touch in this manner felt so different compared to that of the welcoming exchange before. More intimate, in her eyes. The way his hand formed to her back, against her spine...

"Enjoy them as you wish, Father. I can most certainly bring you more temptations." Sara gave him another warm smile, a slightly devious glint buried in her gaze back to the man standing within the church. "I shall see you again soon, sir. Hopefully our encounters are not strictly in the church... A man such as yourself should certainly take part in the community's socials? There is a dance coming soon, Father. I hope you will leave time for a jaunt with me."

She paused, glancing towards home and frowning. "My own father is waiting- good night to you, sir!"

With that, she tightened her clutch on her father's book, running for the lights left brightly for her. The table set, food piled and waiting- and a stern glare from her father also waiting to welcome her. "Your ledger-!," she proclaimed quickly, holding it out before starting to remove her coat.

"What took you do long?," he demanded, grabbing her shoulder and yanking her to face him, an accusing finger thrust in her face. "You were gone far longer than needed, young lady! A simple book should not take as long as you did! If I find out you were out causing more trouble, there will be-"

"I said hello to Father Cavanaugh! A proper greeting to a man so prominent on our lives- should I not strive to make a good first impression?"

His eyes narrowed with that, then pointed to the table. "Your mother was worried. Now eat. I'll be needing your help at the store tomorrow, so you need to be in bed early. As for the new Father... You behave yourself now, you hear?"

"Martin... The girl was only giving her hellos." Her mother smiled softly, stepping up behind Sara as she took her seat, resting her hands upon her daughter's shoulders. "A fine reason to take a few moments. I'm sure he appreciated a warm welcome. Though this food will not be keeping it's warmth too much longer... Eat, eat!"



The night left time for her mind to wander as she lay in bed, the habit of fingers against her lips still continuing as she pondered the new younger face behind the podium. He had such a kind look to him... And his hands- his hands were wondrous. Warm, strong. Her own fingers ran against her lips, contemplating this new man in her life.

He was....fascinating.
Her finger slid further, between her lips, Sara suckling it gently, her mind still roaming, still pondering.
It wasn't until the realization of what her other hand had begun to do that she knew her thoughts had taken a new turn. Beneath her sheets, beneath her nightgown... Idly rubbing against-

She gasped, hastily yanking both hands to rest upon the blankets beside her, panting softly.
His hands. His touch.

"The devil in my head...," she breathed, shivering softly.
Sleep. She needed sleep. Tomorrow was to be a long day...
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Old 02-19-2013, 06:42 PM   #10
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[font="Georgia"] Father Cavanaugh's first Sunday went moderately well in his opinion. Father O'Conner gave his last sermon and then handed over his mantle to his successor. Father Cavanaugh managed to complete the rest of the service without major errors.

Glancing across the congregation, Father Cavanaugh could see his initial reception was mixed. Most seemed pleasantly curious about him, but here and there he saw traces of distrust. Father O'Conner had cautioned him that some in the congregation took a dim view of change. As an unfamiliar face decades younger than his predecessor, Cavanaugh expected some would not warm quickly to him.

Still, he did manage to fill up a week's worth of dinners on his calendar. Several families jockeyed for position, so he was quick to say yes to them all.

He found himself pleased that the Hawthornes were among this number. Mrs. Hawthorne laid a gentle hand on his arm and insisted that he join them this coming Tuesday. "Mr. Hawthorne and I would love to have you in our home. The church has been such a positive influence on our girls and we most certainly want that to continue."

Cavanaugh noted the mysterious smile on young Sara's face as he accepted her mother's kind invitation. Apparently he would indeed be spending more time with this girl in the coming days.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:04 AM   #11
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A day of the same old same old at the church was made far more interesting at the changing of the mantle. Sara sat up a bit more as her new friend, the new father took his place before them all, a smile taking to her lips as she picked up the glint of nervousness in his actions. Roaming thoughts once again, curious now. Was it that difficult a thing? Was it that scary to stand up there and view them all like that? Maybe what he needed was an individual focus. Perhaps she could try to provide that for him.

Her mother glanced at her as she moved a bit more, readjusting her dress, straightening herself. "Hold still, child," mother hissed, her eyes on the Father as she spoke. "You're making far too much noise!"

"Sorry, mother." She calmed a bit, but couldn't lose the smirk. Those thoughts, all those thoughts. So many things to roam through her mind. So many things that, at some point, she would need to share with him. Father O'Conner knew so much about her- It was only fair Cavanaugh knew the same or more.
More.
A lot more.

With the sermon over, Sara followed her parents down the aisle, back to the doors of the church, her hands reaching back to slap at the tugging ones of her younger sister. "Will you stop it? I'm far too old to be harassed by you so often!"

"No you're not! No you're not! You cause more trouble than I do!," Lillian chided, still pulling on the pack of her sister's dress. "Papa says you've got the devil in your eyes!"

"Hush!," Sara snapped, glaring at her. "That is not the type of thing you say in- in HERE!"

A glare from their father was enough to silence the set, though the shared glares continued as they followed behind. The sounds of their mother, talking loudly over the other women vying for the Pastor's attention, was something that started to make Sara's head ache, but to see him nodding with an embarrassed smile at it all made a smirk of her own reappear. Dinner with Father Cavanaugh. How wonderful!

"Papa, I want to make a cake for Father Cavanaugh."
"Me too, me too!" Lillian was still bouncing behind her, trying to chime in as well.
"Stop it!" Sara glared at her, then smiled back to her father. "Please? I want to do something special for him! He seems to love sweets as much as I do, and I think a cake would be a wonderful way to welcome him!"
"ME TOO!"
"Lillian, go away!"
"No fighting in the church!," Their father spat quickly, grabbing Sara's shoulder. "If it will make you stop, then- fine! Bake as you wish, but just- ugh." His fingers tightened, making a tiny grimace come to her face. "I wish I had a son...," The man growled under his breath, finally yanking his hand away before turning to walk off.

Sara gave another frown, rubbing the sore spot on her arm as she watched him, rolling her eyes as she heard Lillian. "You made Papa mad again.."
"It's your fault." Another glare, and Sara began to walk away herself. She needed time to herself. The flower garden behind the church... The best place for her own thoughts. Settling down on one of the large rocks placed back there, she hugged her knees, frowning as she stared into the blooming daffodils. She had heard that so many times from her father. His wish for having a son. That Sara should have been Samuel... That things would have been better for the whole family if the firstborn had been a boy. Instead... It was Sara.

It made those thoughts.. all those thoughts... come out so much more.
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:51 PM   #12
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Father Cavanaugh arrived at the door of the Hawthorne manor a few minutes before the appointed hour. He hesitated slightly before swinging the heavy brass knocker. His eagerness at the prospect of another home-cooked meal had waned since Sunday.

The Tidwells had proved to have some of the most lax palates he'd ever encountered. He could think of no other reason to explain their tolerance for the food. He was fairly certain that even the soup had been burned, though the physics of such a contradiction escaped him.

The Baxters' meal had been quite pleasant, but had brought its own challenges. Mr. Baxter, the local magistrate, was quite fond of whisky and very generous with his guests. Father Cavanaugh had initially been quite pleased at the quality of the vintage he was offered and readily accepted a second glass. But Mr. Baxter apparently had a iron constitution, for he slung back the potent liquid as if it were naught but spring water as he offered toast after toast. Feeling that the pressure of decorum to follow suit, Cavanaugh had ultimately found walking a straight line home from the Baxters to be a most challenging endeavor.

Cavanaugh forced himself to ignore the lingering headache from this morning's hangover as the door opened. "Good evening," he announced to the dark-haired figure in the door.

At first he thought it was Sara - which he found strangely pleasing. However, as the door swung wider, he recognized it was her younger sister, Lillian. The two Hawthorne girls shared some strong similarities, but Sara was clearly the elder. While Lillian possessed a bosom which surpassed many of the female congregants, the rest of her frame had the leanness of a young girl. Her hips and buttocks had yet to take on the womanly curves so well exemplified by her sister.

Still, Lillian's posture suggested that while she was not yet a woman grown, neither was she a child. As recognition of him dawned in her face, Cavanaugh noted that her shoulders shifted subtly backwards - making her already more prominent bosom all the moreso.

"Good evening, Lillian," he began. "So pleasant to see you again."


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Old 03-04-2013, 07:08 PM   #13
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Still trying to get the cake she had made to come out of the oven while her mother finished with the table, Sara stopped for a moment as she heard the knock on the door, nearly trying to work for it before Lillian ran out from the other room. A sour look came from the older sister as she turned back to the oven, a little huff leaving her lips before focusing on her dessert instead. Lillian could meet him. But Sara was going to do her best to leave a lasting impression on the man.

The little laugh and soft words given from her sister's lips at the priest's words caused her own ears to burn slightly, trying so hard to listen in from across the room. A sudden shove from her mother's hip brought her back to her own task, the look given sternly into her eyes reminding her of the numerous things that should be taken care of rather than eavesdropping. "Yes, Mother," She replied curtly, yanking the pan from the stove and tossing it with a hard thunk onto the counter.

Plates and cups, silverware, glasses. Set the table prettily, take out father's bottles of liquor and leave them at the counterside. Water for the girls. Glasses poured, the roast set upon the table, her mother trying her hardest to appear the perfect wife and mother and housekeeper... Her father refusing to give up his seat at the head of the table and sternly glancing at his family. "Manners, girls. Father, if you'd do us the honors of Grace?"

Sara started to lower her head, her hands clasped before her, only to peer over and watch the man so new to their home. Curious about him. Letting those thoughts she knew better than to let drift completely take their roamings. Even the sound of his voice, the way the words flowed from him... They took different tones in Sara's ears.

It was not prayers.
It was far from it.
It was...

Her leg flailed out suddenly, a tiny squeak leaving her as she realized how lost into her thoughts she had become. "Apologies, Papa... Father Cavanaugh. I-I didn't mean to interrupt... My leg just- I'm so sorry." She lowered her head back down again, a redness flushing over her. Another stifled giggle sounded beside her, Sara's leg managing to shoot out again, this time to kick her sister sharply in the shin.

The meal continued on, only a few more glares given towards the girls from Papa as their mother dished out the food, listening contently to the Father's words and the man of the house's own anecdotes on running his store. All boring words to Sara, but she forced a smile to stay, idly playing with her meal until the other plates were finally emptied.

"That cake of yours, Sara. It would go good with whiskey. Serve some of that up, give a good slice to the Father here. You enjoy a good stiff drink, now, don't you? A little something to warm the lips, eh?" Papa chuckled softly as Sara made her way around the table, a glare given as she stumbled against his chair. "Watch yourself, girl. Nearly spilled my drink!," he hissed, an apologetic glance given back to Cavanaugh. "Forgive her. Never could quite get her to listen. Always trouble, that one. Lillian here- Now, there's a good girl."

Sara clutched the knife a bit tighter with that, a glance given over her shoulder to watch as her father continued on. Why did Lillian get all the praise? A deep breath, and she managed to compose herself to finish the cake's slicings, dishing them out and placing them before the two men.

Not a word uttered.
But her hand... Her hand took that extra moment against Cavanaugh's.
That warmth. She wanted to feel his warmth again.

They had already shared something. Something far more than he even realized. He still held what she had stolen. He had shared it with her. Why, in a way, he was even her accomplice.

It made her curious, now. What else could she get him to unknowingly help her with?
He had to see it. Didn't he see it? How horrid her Papa was. He would understand why she did what she did. A girl was to honor her Mama and Papa, but- but what of this? What of the way he was with her? Didn't he see it?

She had to do something. She needed someone to help her. Make everything better.
She just had to get him to want to.

"Enjoy your cake, Father," She whispered softly, a smile taking her lips.
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Old 03-05-2013, 07:19 PM   #14
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Father Cavanaugh spoke little but listened a great deal. His mentors in seminary had stressed that above all, his congregants wanted to feel heard. Just by giving them attention could be all the salve needed for their earthly troubles.

He also found this practice quite informative. In his experience, most individuals were far less skilled at deception and concealment than they imagined. Families generally wanted to put their best foot forward when inviting their minister to dinner. Careful observation, however,could often suggest at the hidden truth.

For example, it was clear that beneath the beatific smiles on Sunday morning, tensions ran a bit high amongst the Hawthornes. Sara clearly felt pressure from her parents, particularly her father. Some of that was no doubt being the elder child. They expected more from Sara simply because she was older. Cavanaugh also wondered if her father was also less than comfortable around his daughter's femininity. He seemed much more in his element around the men are church, so perhaps he wished that he'd had a son rather than all daughters.

Could this be the source of whatever mysterious troubles Sara had spoken of with Father O'Conner? If she'd been acting out, perhaps it was just from the stress of her home life?

He found himself increasingly curious about this young woman. When she handed him a plate during dessert, their fingers happened to brush. The unexpected contact led his eyes to hers. For a brief moment, he gazed at her and found himself captivated. The contact lasted but a moment, but it was compelling all the same.

While he sincerely hoped she had put her difficulties behind her, part of him hoped she might yet have cause to seek his counsel. He wanted to know more about this intriguing young woman.

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Old 03-08-2013, 01:22 PM   #15
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Sara attempted to keep company with the two men at the table, taken away by both glares from her father and the suggestion of her mother to assist Lillian with washing dishes. A tiny frown took her lips, but at least being in earshot of the new goings-on in her home was worth soapy hands.

Keeping her motions at work in the water but her mind on the words behind her, Sara had almost everything cleaned at a very very slow pace. Her balance between the two, however, fell through as one of the heavy ceramic dishes fell from her hands as she passed it to her sister, smashing against the floor.

"Papa! Look what Sara did!"
"You didn't even reach for it, Lillian-!," Sara protested quickly, shaking her head. "That wasn't all my fault!"

"Girls!" Their mother was quick to re-enter the room at this, grabbing the arms of both her daughters to remove them from the area as their father slowly started to rise from his chair. He paused only as the man across from him caught his eye, remembering then who was their guest.

"Forgive them, Father. Forgive them. I'll deal with her- it- this... Later." A deep breath taken, waiting for the girls to move along before attempting new conversation. "Now then, is there anything I can provide for you in your settling in here in New Smith? My shop is always willing to work out a deal or two with the church..."

Sara strained to hear the rest, but mother had forced the two girls outside. "You know your father has no patience with your bickering, girls," she scolded them, her gaze falling more on Sara as she spoke. "You are certainly lucky that we have company tonight, young lady... I would hate to think what would have happened if he followed us out here..."

Lillian merely smirked a bit more, eyeing her sister as Sara slunk back a step. How was everything her fault? They blamed her and blamed her over and over- the way he punished her, the things he did...

"You never see it. Never. You never see the things he does-!"
"SARA!"
"You never see any of it!" Sara nearly screamed the last of her words, glaring at her sister before storming off, back into town. "He won't hurt me again! Not- not any more!"
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Old 03-19-2013, 05:12 PM   #16
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Father Cavanaugh grimaced slightly at the outburst from the kitchen. During dinner, he got the strong sense that in many ways Sara was under considerable strain at home. On the one hand, her father seemed to think her barely more than a child and treat her accordingly. Yet moments later her mother would imply just the opposite. Having to please such contrasting expectations would be difficult for anyone.

Cavanaugh intervened swiftly, drawing Mr. Hawthorne's attention away from the kitchen. He peppered the man with questions about his business soon had his host animatedly discussing the dry details of running a retail store. Mrs. Hawthorne joined them midway through and offered casual observations as to the clientele. While he was no fan of gossip, it at least added color to Mr. Hawthorne's bloodless expounding on proper bookkeeping. Cavanaugh had to periodically pinch himself to endure the dull tale, but perhaps this distraction might spare poor Sara a bit of recrimination from her parents.

When the hour grew late, Cavanaugh at last made his departure. Mr. and Mrs. Hawthorne escorted him to the door. He'd hoped to say goodbye to Sara, but Mrs. Hawthorne explained that her daughters had most likely gone to bed shortly after dinner.

Cavanaugh gave them a short benediction and then began the walk back to the church. The evening was cool and a steady wind added to the chill. He tightened his coat around him and promised himself a hot cup of tea when he reached his abode.

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Old 04-17-2013, 04:03 PM   #17
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Sara had run without intention. Simply let her feet carry her, ending up at the one place she knew well enough to find in the dark, settling to cry upon the steps of her father's shop. Huddling against herself, tears still stinging against her eyes, she clutched onto her own shoulders and simply sobbed. They didn't see it at all. Everyone in that house saw her as the trouble. The evil one. The source of all their problems.

"I don't know what they expect of me," She whispered softly to herself, shaking her head. "I've tried to be good for them, I truly have. But nothing ever pleases him. I can never make him happy. Everything is always for Lilian. I've given up on trying to be good. To make him happy. Them happy. I'll get their attention... I'll get them to notice me..."

The words helped with the pain in her chest, but not enough to calm her. Climbing up from the stairs, she brushed off her dress, turning around to look at her father's shop.

He loved this place.
Far more than he ever loved her.
The only way he knew how to love her was... Was to...
She shuddered, shaking her head. That wasn't love.

A new thought. Destroy the things he loved. Starting with this place. Burn it to the ground, leave nothing but a pile of ash and embers. Maybe that would show him. Show him just how much he had ever hurt her.

But... No. There was no way she could do that herself.
he would do far worse things to her than he did now, if he found out. Merely thinking this way would lead to him hurting her.
Staring at the sign, she felt tears developing again, hastily turning away from it and continuing to walk down the road. She needed somewhere else to think. To just get away from all those horrible things at home...

He would know.
Somehow.
She needed to tell someone, someone who would listen...

She stopped before the church, watching the lantern left in the window. So far, the new Father had been nothing but kind to her. Certainly he wouldn't want to hear about such things. Not of such thoughts in her head...
But she didn't have to tell him of those thoughts. Not the things she wanted to do in return. How she wanted to see everyone who had hurt her left in shame... Humiliation... Hurt thousands of times worse than herself.
No... She only needed to tell him of her pain.
Such a kind heart would certainly take pity on a poor girl...

Perhaps she could use that pity for the help she craved.

She simply stood there, watching the church's lantern in the night's darkness. Still cold, still shivering with both the wind and the thoughts of waited for her back at home.
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Old 04-18-2013, 05:46 PM   #18
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Cavanaugh was comforting himself against the night's chill with thoughts of the warm blankets on his bed and a hot cup of Earl Grey. Perhaps that distraction explained why he failed to notice the shadowed figure lurking in the lee of the church's eastern wall. It was only when the figure detached itself from the wall and stepped into the open that he realized its presence.

Cavanaugh's heart sunk. Most likely his bed and tea would have to wait. People did not ordinarily seek out a man of the cloth at this hour for pleasant reasons. Typically this signified that one of his parishioners was near death and seeking words of comfort before departing to God's Kingdom.

"Hello," he hailed the individual. "What news brings you to the Church at this hour?"

However, as the figure stepped more fully into the moonlight, Cavanaugh recognized the face from earlier this evening. "Sara? That is you. Your mother told me you went to bed hours ago. Why do I now find you standing by the Church?"

Stepping to meet her, Cavanaugh saw the rosiness of her cheeks and her quivering lower lip. Whatever her motivation for leaving her father's house, Sara had been outside for some time now. He tabled his curiosity as to the "why" and focused on the immediate situation. "You look chilled to the bone, my dear. Let's get you inside before you take ill."

Cavanaugh unbuttoned his coat and draped it over her shoulders. The wool swallowed her diminutive frame and reached nearly to her ankles. Cavanaugh unlocked the door and guided her inside.

A low fire still smoldered in the stove in his quarters. The addition of fresh fuel soon radiated heat into the rest of the room. He set up kettle on to heat before turning to his guest. "We'll have hot tea momentarily. In the meantime, perhaps you had best explain what brings you so far from home at this hour."
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:25 PM   #19
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"Oh-!" Sara turned about quickly as she heard the voice behind her, paling at first then taking another deep breath as she saw who it was. She wanted to tell him, to say more- explain herself in the best way she could... but the words refused to come out. Shivering and simply shaking her head, she looked to the ground between them, trying to keep from crying. As the coat found her shoulders, she looked back up to him, the brimming tears finally managing to fall free and find trails down her cold cheeks. "I'm so sorry, sir. This evening- it... I..."

The words were still not cooperating, instead, letting her feet take the course set by his guiding hand upon her back into the church doors. hugging his coat a bit tighter about her, a tiny little sniff was taken at the lapel, Sara's teeth catching against her lower lip for a brief moment as he tended to the fire so close to exstinguishing. It was covered in his scent... That fascinating man before her.

Straightening back up as the logs clunked into place, she took another breath in with a slow draw, watching both him and the shadows made by the fire's glow.

"I simply couldn't handle it, Father. I knew what was going to happen, the moment you left. I knew what- I can't go back to that. I had to go, I had to. Father, I-" She hesitated, glancing back up to him, pulling back his coat from her shoulders before reaching to unbutton the top of her dress, just enough to move it aside and show the numerous bruises upon her upper chest, against her lower neck. "He chokes me. Throttles me to keep me silent. Whips me while mother sleeps... I can't... Please. Please don't make me go back there. Please, Father!"

She began to cry again, shaking her head as she fell into the chair beside his table, burying her face into her hands. "I behaved so terribly tonight in his eyes- the mistakes I made, the ways I tried to help, all failed. I saw the look in his eyes, the fury he held in them... Please, Father, please tell me you saw it too!" She looked back up to him, pleading now. "That was calm compared to his usual! I try to be good for him, I really do... But nothing, nothing I do will ever please him! The only thing I'm good for, he says... The only thing is..." She trailed off, sobbing again. "Father, he hurts me. He's always hurt me. I could never tell Father O'Conner, he knew my father too well... He would never have believed me..." She stared down at her hands, nearly shaking now. "I just need someone to believe me. The things he does... the things that they leave in my head, in my dreams. I need to make that hurt go away." She took a tiny breath between shivering lips, whispering softly as she let it out. "Not a son. Give a son..."

She paused, slowly looking up to him as her eyes widened, a sudden panic coming over her. "I shouldn't have- You won't believe me either, you'll tell him-!" Sara hastily got to her feet with that, pushing his coat completely from her shoulders and onto the chair as she backed away. "He'll beat me to barely breathing-!"
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:51 PM   #20
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Cavanaugh listened sympathetically. Mr. Hawthorne definitely seemed to place an undue emphasis on the gender of his children. Poor Sara seemed to have borne the brunt of his dissatisfaction.

Had he known the man earlier, perhaps he could have interceded. A child was a gift from God. For a father to show such disdain for a gift was disrespecting the Creator.

Moreover, young as Cavanaugh was to his profession, he knew how precious and fragile life could be. Particularly for a child.

But Cavanaugh was just the new clergyman, so he hardly was in a position to condemn a man he hardly knew. Moreover, whatever her father had done to her years ago, she was no longer a child.

His thought process was interrupted by his guest's sudden panic. "I shouldn't have- You won't believe me either, you'll tell him-!"

"Sara, please," he implored. "Please calm down. There is no need for distress. You are safe here."

Cavanaugh's brow furrowed. He did not wish the Hawthornes to worry. However, they seemed to think Sara already abed and would not likely miss her till morning. Plus, he did not relish another trek through the night's chill.

" You may stay here tonight, Sara," he declared. "We can make you up a place to sleep with some blankets."

"As for tomorrow..., " he shrugged. "I have no ready advice. Your father's treatment of you strikes me as unwise, but it is his house you live in. He has wide latitude in how he seeks to govern his domain."

"It seems to me that if your father treats you this way, your only recourse would be to leave his house. But then would be your challenge to earn an income. I know not what opportunities exist in town for a young woman on her own.

"Of course, you might always take the cloth. The Convent of the Sacred Heart is perhaps only a day's ride from here. But I cannot counsel you to take that option unless you truly wish to give your life to God."

He sighed. "But these are weighty matters best considered by the light of day. Best you get some sleep and contemplate your future tomorrow. I will fetch you the blankets."

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Old 05-07-2013, 11:14 AM   #21
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Sara looked back up to him with a frightened stare as he told her to calm, finally managing to find that peace somewhat with the reminder of the church being a safe place. The tense motions of her shoulders began to give way, a soft breath leaving her lips as she looked back to the floor. "Forgive me, Father," She whispered out, shaking her head. "I'm sorry. My head is not a calm place at all anymore, and things can just so easily set it into panics or... other things..."

A brightness returned to her features with his offer to stay with him, looking back to him with a faint smile. "Thank you, sir. I would appreciate that. I'm sure my return back would not go over well at this hour. It was foolish of me to run off as I did, but- but I simply could not face him after the incidents at dinner. I knew what was waiting for me. He will notice. I'm sure he will."

His own comments on her father left a bitterness to her mouth, but she choked back the words, hastily avoiding any possible eye contact with him at that moment. "There are other means of recourse, Father," She replied softly, her voice barely above a whisper. "I cannot take the life of a Sister. I just... can't. Not with the things I've known and seen and felt and... I would stain that cloth, Father. I've stained far too many things."

Those thoughts were blossoming again.
The ones that came in the hours of night, the ones that wanted to make herself known. To have her side of things played out, to have the revenge she wanted and to let others see what she knew so well.

Love should not be pain. Not like this.
Not with the things her father did to her. She simply had to show what her side was. Get someone to see it. She had tried before, with the predecessor of this church, but he merely asked for her to give penance for her sinful daydreams and nightmare wandering thoughts. She saw the looks he gave her. The fact she thought in such ways.

Dirty little whore child.
Same thing her own daddy called her, she was sure it ran through the Priest's thoughts too.

"Thank you, Father," She repeated, a much softer tone this time, at the mention of finding her blankets for sleeping. So kind, and understanding.... It hurt so much for her thoughts to take up those images of him. That part of her that wanted to find more of the love she knew. The way she knew it. It wanted it from him.

With blankets and a spot to rest, Sara lost the heavier dress of the day and instead left herself to the thin slipdress she wore beneath, curling under the bedding provided to her as she attempted to sleep.

Impossible.
Dreams of him, dreams of what she wanted so badly. Images of Cavanaugh, holding her in a lover's embrace, his lips finding parts of her flesh that brought whimpers and moans to the truly sleeping girl's mouth. Shifting and turning, the dreams moving from passion to promises. A shovel and gun. Another kiss.

Sara woke with a start, gasping at the images of her mind. Settled there amongst the blankets, shivering softly, glancing towards the door separating her from the Father.

Just a peek. A mere peek at his sleeping form. Enough to sate her curious mind. Then immediately back to bed, and to dream of more proper things. Hopefully...
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:16 PM   #22
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Father Cavanaugh nodded without comment as Sara balked at the idea of entering the Convent. He'd had much the same reaction when the prospect of taking the cloth had been first suggested to him. Perhaps Sara might likewise come around to the idea. Of course, she only sought to escape her father, so she had other options. Cavanaugh could not so readily escape his troubles, making the religious order perhaps his only refuge.

procured blankets and bedding from the linen closets. "The couch in my sitting room is probably the best option. The Sanctuary has only the pews and it will be far chillier in that open space. At least here you'll have the fire to keep you warm."

He gave brief thought to offering her his bed, but thought better of it. No one would raise an eyebrow about letting a parishioner spend the night in the church. But in his bed? The gossip mongers would invent the most lurid insinuations no matter what the truth. No, Sara in the sitting room was easier.

He got her settled and bade her a good night. It was only when he was ensconced in the warm blankets of his own bed that the thought occurred to him. In almost the past seven years, he had not shared quarters with a woman. First the all male seminary, then his graduate of training as a junior clergyman - always in the company of men. In fact not since that night.... that night with Nancy.

His stomach gave an unpleasant turn. He'd not thought about that night in years. He winced as painful memories stirred.

Clambering out of bed, he knelt and prayed quietly for the Lord's Grace to still his troubled soul. When at last his knees began to ache from the wooden floorboards, he climbed back into bed. Weariness guided him swiftly to sleep.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:04 PM   #23
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The silence of the night made his words, so softly uttered into the quiet of his room, made them seem so much louder to Sara's curious ears. Not enough to fully capture them, but the fact he stayed awake for so long, took refuge on his knees in his sanctuary... It left Sara questioning. What could trouble a man so much to find need for prayer this late in the evening?

Continuous. Forgiveness. She heard that much.
Her ears burned upon that word's running utterance. Her priest knew the troubles of a hurting soul, personally.
Perhaps her troubles were not so far out of reach in finding his comfort and assistance...

As he started to stand once more, she slipped back from the door cautiously, doing her best to avoid any loose boards or other causes of sound. If she were caught outside his door, spying and prying, he certainly would have thought less of her. No, keeping her distance, for now, was her best option.

Back to her makeshift bed and burying down into her blankets, trying to keep her still wandering mind from taking further thought on the shared aspects she made with the Father slumbering in the next room. Sara tossed and turned, groaning softly as she closed her eyes. Those other thoughts.... the ones that haunted her so terribly. Him, and her, and the embrace she found herself longing for.

"Father, forgive me..."
"Bless this soul, Father..."

His touch, his kiss. So much she longed for... A need so desperate inside her.

"Help me, Father. Please."

"Father Cavanaugh..." The words leaked from her sleeping lips, a moan following with them, shifting on the couch and shuddering.
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Old 05-28-2013, 06:02 PM   #24
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Cavanaugh slept uneasily. Sara had awakened in him memories he'd long sought to bury. When he had been her age, he'd never have envisioned taking the cloth. He'd been but a few years older when he'd been on the cusp of marriage. Taking a vow of celibacy had been the last thing he'd ever considered. Not till it seemed his only way to salvation.

His dreams grew dark and troubling. Nancy - oh his lovely Nancy - that look of horror was the last memory he had of her.

"No, Nancy. Please!" He reached for her and stumbled to his knees as she scrambled away from him. "Please!" he pleaded, his arms outstretched as her form sped away. "Please!"

Cavanaugh came to with disconcerting abruptness. He gasped for breath and hauled himself upright. His heart thudded in his chest. His nightclothes were plastered to his torso with sweat. The details of his dream were already slipping away, but he knew what they concerned. Only memories of Nancy left him like this.

He cooked his head. That noise hadn't been the wind. Yes, there it was again. A human voice.

He sprang from his bed several seconds later. In his half-awake haze, he'd forgotten the church was not empty tonight. "Sara."

He opened his chamber door. Judging from his guest's posture, bad dreams were running rampant tonight. Her blankets were tangled about her legs and her fingers clutched at the cloth. Her voice came low and strained - a voice of distress.

He stepped to her side. Her face was flush and her eyes shut tight. He heard his name murmur across her lips as she pleaded for respite from whatever haunted her dreams.

Remembering his mother's remedy for such occasions from his youth, Cavanaugh poured a bit of water into the wash basin and soaked a small towel in it. Placing the damp cloth across her forehead, he let the coolness soothe her for a moment. "Sara," he said gently as he wiped the cloth across her cheek. "Sara, wake up."

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