Chapter 20 : Chapter 20- Hogsmade Part II:A One-Two Punch
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“So where are we meeting Willow?” I asked for probably the millionth time, just like any annoying child who has been in a car for too long. However, Lily thankfully took it all in stride knowing my full impatience with makeup and the fact that I could care less about the difference between lip liner and lip gloss. Honestly, the only thing I wanted was to hide my raccoon eyes. Is that too much to ask for?
“Willow is checking out the opening of this new vintage store on the other side of town way past the Three Broomsticks. I think she said it was called the Metamorphosis. Rather appropriate all things considering.” She trailed off looking at an eye shadow labeled peacock. How they named their colors was beyond my comprehension. I also wondered who in their right mind would wear Pixie Gold Flakes or Fairy Lashes.
“How much longer do you think this is going to take considering you still have to see your parents in like an hour and a half?” I asked slightly annoyed. This place was making me lose my sanity. What part of it I still had.
“This will take as long as it’s going to take. Now come over here. I think I have the perfect combination for you here.” Lily exclaimed rather excitedly. The woman behind the counter smiled in what I thought was a rather wicked fashion. She probably knew she would be getting more than just a pretty Knut out of this shopping trip.
“All I wanted was a bloody concealer and maybe a bolder mascara. Not to become Lady Gaga.” I spat without really thinking. Placing down an ominous looking magical eye curler I begrudgingly sulked over to where she already had a mirror and a whole array of brushes ready. Now I know what medieval torture must have felt like.
“Bite your tongue Grace Adler. Gaga is a fashion icon! Plus not to mention she’s basically taken over the world over the past two decades. I adore her.” She almost managed to convince me that she was truly scandalized. If it wasn’t for the fact that there was the smallest hint of a smirk playing at the corners of her mouth I would’ve taken her more seriously. “All right, first were starting out with your lips. For daytime were going to go with a nice peachy gloss. At night you’re going to go with a bolder red.” Before I could say anything she already began attacking me with the smallest brush smearing the gloss on me.
“How do you even know who she is?” I asked dumbfounded. “Plus what ‘we’ is there in this enterprise. Only I own my lips.” I tried to retort to her earlier remark. She waved a distracted hand and pulled out a triangle sponge and began blotting it around my face.
“Hey, my dad has this big kick about us living in the Muggle world in order to see how people without magic live. I heard her music on the radio and I went out and bought the records. And as for your blush, I’m going to go light and natural because you insist on being a party pooper and not experimenting.” While she was sweeping another brush along the apples of my cheeks, I noticed that she was following the contour of my cheekbones as far as they could go. I raised an eyebrow questioningly at her and to my amusement she distinctly fought the urge to roll her eyes at me. “You go out along the cheekbone to have cleaner look so that it doesn’t look like you belong in the French Aristocracy during the sixteenth century.”
“That explains a lot.” I muttered under my breath. She knew how to talk the talk but half the time she wasn’t even aware of what she was actually saying. Muggle Studies was made for people like her and Al. They knew more about Muggle popular culture than most people in the magical world considering the fact that they were only a quarter Muggle and had very famous parents. While I felt brushes on my skin and I heard Lily going on excitedly, I didn’t even bother paying attention as she swept on eye shadow trying to explain how to make a smoky eye or which shades of color were appropriate for when.
“Merlin’s pants woman pay attention!” Lily snapped showing slight signs of irritation. Her brown eyes flashed ominously but I knew that she was enjoying herself too much to hex me into oblivion.
“Sorry, I was just thinking about how amusing this must be for you.” Lily smiled when I said this and I felt my lips threatening to twitch their way into a smile as well. When she saw that she burst out laughing and I lost the battle with my facial muscles.
“I will admit that this is what I enjoy doing.” The effervescent smile that she had before turned wan as she became lost in her own thoughts. She looked down at the materials in front of her lightly fingering a powder brush all the while avoiding my gaze. “Dad seems to think that I am wasting my time with styling and that I should focus on having a real career.”
“Well it’s your life. You’re the one living it, not him. You can do whatever you want. Plus, if you can turn a train wreck like me into someone who is halfway decent you will definitely have a career at making other people look good. ” I offered up awkwardly. It frankly doesn’t matter how someone looks on the outside, this whole touchy-feely stuff isn’t what I’m cut out for. All I’m good at is listening to other people’s problems. And the only person who ever sought those talents on a regular basis was Al and that was really like a one time event. We used to argue about politics and about why it is that I barricade myself in the library and how he didn’t have to come in to spend time with me. There was of course our latest encounter in the library still looming over me like a vulture.
“Halfway decent!? Grace I’m going to make you drop dead gorgeous. My prat of a brother won’t know what hit him the next time he sees you. Plus there is the matter of the boy who shall not be named who will really feel like a fool for using you.” With the zealous glimmer restored back in her eyes, Lily picked up one final brush and quietly finished the details around my eyes. “Now take a look at yourself and tell me that I’m not a genius.”
“You’re not a genius.” Lily stuck her tongue out at me in a childish fashion before I turned around and was pleasantly surprised that she didn’t go over the top crazy like I’ve seen her do on some days. All she really did was even my skin tone, apply a real basic blush, gave me a safe lip color and played with my eyeshadow by smudging chocolate on my lids and highlighting with copper and a gold eyeliner with basic black mascara. “You gave me what I wanted, that doesn’t make you a genius Lil.”
“No but when you see me on Halloween you will never doubt my fashion genius!” Lily proclaimed loudly flourishing one of the makeup brushes like a wand. I rolled my eyes and grabbed all the stuff and went up to the counter where the witch behind the counter had a look of incredible amusement until she saw what I was buying.
“Honey these are our Muggle products. Don’t you want-” The witch at the counter began saying hastily before Lily saw my predicament and ran to my aid.
“No she doesn’t. This is what she wants. The ninety-seven percent off sale on the merchandise you no longer want! Who says you can’t look good on a budget?” Lily chimed in brightly while I stared at her agog. That wasn’t just clever, it was brilliant. “And see, I told you I was brilliant!” She nearly sang brightly. The witch eyed her products with great disdain before ringing them up.
“With the discount…your total is twenty one galleons.” The witch behind the counter gave us a rather sinister glare.
“Hold on. That can’t possibly be right. There is no way that this little bit of makeup can possibly cost seven hundred galleons. Even if it were made entirely from gold.” I shot back at her on the urge of being outraged. She probably figured just because it was Lily Potter who was in her shop that she would automatically be making a killing in sales by outrageously overpricing her merchandise thinking she wouldn’t be smart enough to notice. “The sign does say ninety seven percent off. So we should only be paying three Sickles and two Knuts for the lot.” I retorted, quite proud of my ability to do quick mental calculations considering it was magical currency I was working with rather than my more familiar mode of pounds.
“Of course…” She replied back glaring venom at me as I put the money on the counter and quickly grabbed my bag and got out of there before something else happened.
“That witch! She thought we were going to be too stupid to realize we were being ripped off!” Lily practically yelled when we were outside. A couple looked at us first confused and then baffled once they saw the streak of blue catch the sun. This is one of those times I wish I was a good Legilimens. Or even just not loosing my magic by the day.
“Well we didn’t get ripped off. That in fact, was quite a killing if I do say so myself.” Trying to be optimistic, I grabbed Lily’s arm and continued to walk/drag her down the road to get past the couple who had stopped to stare agape at us. Knowing my luck they probably thought that we were a couple now and would go and inform Witch Weekly of it.
“Yeah well she wasted enough time so that I don’t know if we’re really going to have time to get all of your shopping done before we have to go meet my parents.” Lily said rather concerned. Personally I was hoping to get out of the clothing aspect with Willow. I was all too familiar with her style of encouragement. She was blunt and wouldn’t hesitate to tell me that I failed epically. In some situations it was not only helpful but refreshing. This isn’t going to be one of them though.
“Tell me again why I have to come along for this?” I asked in a slightly whiny voice.
“Well first of all my mother wants to meet you. She has this thing about knowing who her kids are associating themselves with. There was this one time she tried to get my dad to run a criminal back round check on a boyfriend because she thought he looked ‘untrustworthy’. Plus, if they’re finding an excuse to come all the way up here on a weekend they must have juicy gossip.” Lily was speaking at about a mile a minuet while trying to disentangle herself from my near vice grip. Even though I didn’t know where Metamorphosis was I somehow found myself directing this show.
“You could say that. But you know it could be the fact that your parents have a rare weekend off and wanted to see their children. You know, like normal parents would.” A male voice echoed behind us causing both of us to jump out of our skins. Turning around I saw a guy in his mid twenties with shocking turquoise hair, standing just shy of 1.8 meters and rather lanky. When Lily composed herself she let out a shriek of excitement and began hugging him enthusiastically.
“Teddy Lupin! What on earth are you doing here? Better yet, why are you stalking Grace and I? We have business to attend to!” Lily pulled off the domineering and bossy persona quite well. She even could manipulate her face into that ‘I dare you to’ look.
“ ‘Business to attend to?’ You mean shopping?” He mocked Lily in good nature. She couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Trust me, if you saw her before Willow and I called a style intervention, well you actually wouldn’t have seen her. She would still be buried in the library doing goodness only knows what. Well other than having dear Albus hunt her down.” Lily started speaking about me almost seemingly like I wasn’t there which was slightly annoying.
“Ok, first of all my admissions thesis isn’t going to write itself by my April due date and secondly, I’m not even going to touch on the issues with Al.” I interjected somewhat rudely. Or at least it was in my mind.
“You have issues with Al? I find that hard to believe. He usually makes painstaking efforts to get along with everyone. It’s bloody annoying sometimes.” He smirked in my direction and while I could feel the familiar tingeing of my cheeks in what would’ve been a good blush if I wasn’t in makeup I thankfully managed to not look like a complete dunce in front of him. Oh gee, a new accomplishment for the record books: Grace Adler managed to not look like a complete fool around a good looking guy for the first time in her life the little voice in the back of my head appropriately chimed in. I couldn’t help but smile at that thought.
“She’s hopelessly in love with the dunce and doesn’t have enough confidence to do something about it.” Lily stated matter-of-factly.
“LILY!” I yelled at her completely horrified and mortified. My heart began thundering against my ribcage in the silence that followed my outburst.
“What? It’s not like he wouldn’t have found out the moment he saw the two of you in a room together. You don’t really hide it well when you two are together. The only one who doesn’t realize it is Al.” Lily tried to defend herself but my anger was still burning red hot.
“I should kill you for that.” I spat at her greatly annoyed. It was probably a good thing that I was away from Willow right now. She would probably destroy the store in order to siphon off the anger that would’ve become channeled into her.
“It’s not like Teddy is going to tell him.” She told me exasperatedly.
“How do I know that? I don’t even know him? Do you ever think before opening that mouth of yours!?” I shouted at her.
“Teddy where are you manners!” Lily turned around on Teddy and quickly managed to get him to look concerned for his own safety.
“Oh right. Teddy Lupin at your service.” He replied rather brightly, but he was still cautiously eyeing Lily.
“Charming. I’m Grace Adler.” I replied distractedly. Currently I’m about to throttle a fashionable redhead. “Now back to the matter at the hand…”
“What are you two still doing around here? You were supposed to be at Metamorphosis twenty minuets ago!” A very loud voice issued from down the street. Quickly turning my head around, I heard my neck crack audibly as I saw a rather irate Willow doing a near power walk down the sidewalk in four inch heels. Clearly she already bought herself a new pair of shoes today and was irate with our procrastination.
“I’m afraid I’m the reason for the distraction.” Teddy piped up from behind us.
“Oh, it’s you.” Willow became uncharacteristically icy. The hard glare in her eyes conveyed extreme dislike which was something I had never seen out of her. Even more alarming was the change in her irises (which were normally a calm shade of blue) to ice blue.
“Nice to see you as well Willow.” Teddy replied rather curtly at her. His face didn’t betray any type of emotion at her direction. The two of them were locked in a glaring contest, neither side yielding. Lily and I stood there awkwardly unsure of what to do.
After what felt like an eternity and a possible temperature drop to downright cold I turned to Lily and whispered, “What time is it?”
“Oh Merlin… It’s five till twelve already! We have to get going or we’re going to be late!” Lily exclaimed far too loudly than what would’ve been appropriate except for the fact that we had two people locked in a titanic struggle of who would be the first to lower the glare. Both of them locked onto us and I began to regret asking her once I saw the hardness in both of their eyes.
Thankfully Willow realized that we had to get going and rather roughly grabbed my arm with her left hand and Lily’s arm with her right hand and began to power walk, dragging us helplessly with her. I shot a confused look at Lily whose only reply was a nod of the head and some eyebrow wriggling that I thought suggested that there was a long story to go with that showdown. That or there was something else going that we both weren’t aware of and she was just as clueless as we both were.
The entire walk passed by in silence and once we got into the Three Broomsticks, Madam Rosmerta quickly escorted us to the back of the tavern and quickly rapped the wooden door with her wand before hustling back out to the front. I quietly stepped in and saw Al having a very intense conversation with a woman who had to be his mother on a rather handsome leather couch. Mr. Potter was carefully sipping a glass of mead while talking to a boy I guessed to be James Potter who were in sitting chairs. While he was only two years older than Al and I, I only knew of James Potter by reputation and never actually saw him. Unsure of what to do, I turned to look at Lily who just stood by the door patiently waiting. Willow was staring off into space with a bored look on her face. I continued looking around the room drawing in the comforting wood tones and fireplace that made everything feel rather cozy in spite of what I felt. Unfortunately I made eye contact with James who began to smirk rather evilly at me. He got up and walked straight for me, still with that glimmer of mischief dancing in his eyes.
“Well, well who do we have here? You must be this Adia girl I’ve heard so much about. You know, I thought you would look a lot more stuck up considering who your parents are.” He subtly guided me to a spot on the wall by the door opposite of where Lily and Willow were now convening.
“Actually if I were Adia I would have marks on the side of my scalp from where the Healers administered electroconvulsive therapy in order to convince me to become the perfect society figure.” I shot back rather cheekily at him.
“You certainly are not Adia McCallister are you?” He asked highly amused.
“I certainly am not.” I concurred.
“You know who I am.” James stated this as a fact rather than a question. While it technically is true that I knew of him, even if I didn’t I could’ve figured it out considering that I knew the other two Potter children.
“That’s rather presumptuous of you.” I told him levelly. He cocked an eyebrow at that.
“So you’re saying you don’t know who I am?” He asked humorously.
“That I most certainly am.” I shot back at him with surprising confidence.
“Well I’m James Potter. I play Quidditch for Puddlemere United.” Something about this was too well rehearsed and it was telling me that this was something he had done before with plenty of other Quidditch groupies. I shivered in disgust and loathing.
“Grace Adler. I’m hopelessly confused with any and all things fashion according to your younger sister. And I have never watched a game of Quidditch in my life.” I retorted boldly.
“What? How can you have never watched a game of Quidditch in your entire life?” James exclaimed a bit too loudly. Al quickly made eye contact with me and made a beeline over to where we were standing. Discretely I also noticed two other set of eyes wander over to where now the three of us were lingering.
“Here I was thinking you weren’t going to show up.” Al grinned at me.
“We ran into technical difficulties. Me being here is a result of that.” I replied rather evasively all the while avoiding looking directly at either Potter and instead focused on the wood grains of a picture frame.
“I would say so. Look at your hair.” I could practically feel his smirk and once I looked over I noticed he was holding the end of it gingerly, scrutinizing it like an anthropologist would scrutinize a skeleton.
“That was deliberate you know.” Feeling emboldened by the outlandish hair, I shot a grin at a dumbfounded Albus. Score 1 for Grace Adler! Too bad Al has like 99 million points on me already, I voiced internally to great amusement. Out of the corner of my ear I heard Willow hiccup some butterbeer and Lily giggling at her.
“Why in the world would you want to have a blue streak in your hair? Do you realize what people will say?” He asked me scandalized. This was kind of what I wanted.
“Please, Teddy has turquoise hair and no one gave a damn about that.” James interjected. Al shot him a look and he merely shrugged at him in response before leaving to go up front to get another drink.
“Clearly you’ve been spending far too much time with my sister.” Al commented dryly letting the blue chunk go. He shot it another cautious glance before taking a large swig of his butterbeer.
“More like I’ve been spending too much time with your sister’s favorite hair stylist.” I stated sardonically.
“She took you to see that nutter?” Containing his laughter, he took another drink all the while avoiding my gaze. Something’s not right here. Did he have an argument with his parents before we showed up? I mused to myself biting my bottom lip in an effort to suppress the urge to roll my eyes at how he was handling a basic hair cut.
“So I take it that you don’t like it?” I asked cautiously. Of course what I really wanted to ask him if he already introduced Adia to his parents and if that what was bothering him. But the more I looked at him the more I knew that he wouldn’t be forthcoming with that type of information.
“Yes…” He shot back immediately. As soon as he realized what he said his pupils dilated and panic slowly crept across his face. “Wait…no. I didn’t mean it like that,” he blurted out to me nervously. Clearly he’s answered that question wrong one too many times in his life and feared the wrath of the scorned witch.
“Mhmm…So how did you mean it?” I asked highly amused. In all of my dizziest daydreams I never would’ve imagined that I would be making Albus Potter, object of unhealthy obsessions and romantic fantasies, genuinely nervous about offending me by saying he didn’t like the way I looked.
“It’s just that you looked fine before you went and had your head butchered.” Trying to speak evenly and in a conciliatory fashion, I couldn’t help but have a small grin creep onto my mouth. I should really just hand him a shovel so he could make more progress with the hole he was digging himself in.
“I must have terrible tastes if a head butchering looks good in my eyes.” I told him feeling disgustingly smug as I saw his face blanch.
“What’s your problem? You’re not like this.” Although quiet and level enough to not draw unseemly attention from his parents, the pure aggression in his voice and the harsh glare he was giving me immediately made me realize that I pushed him too far. Seeing that hard look in his eyes immediately wiped the grin off my face and to his credit, he didn’t get a smug look of satisfaction from my loss of composure.
“Like what exactly?” Trying to collect myself and ignore the bubble of guilt that was rapidly gaining volume in my gut that threatened to burst and wash me in hot waves of shame for my tactless behavior I lost the overt sarcasm in his voice to try and appease him. While his hands were no longer clenched in fists the glare being perfectly framed by his glasses and those brilliant green eyes were still boring holes in me as I stood farsightedly still.
“You’re being bloody irritating for starters. I mean, I know you’ve been spending the day with Lily but this isn’t like you.” While I internally let out a small sigh of relief that he wasn’t yelling at me, I’m figuring the only reason that he hasn’t gone to that level is that he wants to retain composure. Plus he was the one who wanted me to come here in the first place. He was probably afraid of what his mother would do to him if he started verbally abusing a guest he invited. Especially when it’s a girl. The only thing not working in my favor is the fact that we don’t date. Like I needed a reminder of that I mused bitterly thinking about how I had to suppress the urge to vomit every time I saw the two of them together.
“Oi! Al! Look who I found outside? What type of boyfriend are you leaving your girlfriend to spend the day by herself while you’re socializing with another girl?” James proclaimed rather loudly escorting an extremely gorgeous woman who had wavy brunette hair, olive skin, wearing deep violet robes that somehow managed to be both appropriately flowing and form fitting. Just from one look at her I would guess she was in her early twenties and was surprisingly pleased to find herself here. Following them was Teddy who had his arms around a rather petite blonde who was more than a head shorter than he was. Closing the pack was a thoroughly irritated Adia who immediately glared daggers at where I stood. If looks could kill Mr. Potter would’ve had to arrest Adia for my murder. To my astonishment I noticed that once Adia walked in, the warm and kindness that she seemed to emenate from Mrs. Potter turned frosty at best and her lips pursed noticeably when Adia dramatically threw her arms around Al’s neck and began trying to eat his face off.
“Hem hem…” Lily coughed rather obnoxiously causing Al to jump away alarmingly fast and blush a deep shade of crimson while Adia was simpering from his rejection at what she thought was a romantic gesture. In whatever culture cannibalism is considered romantic, I don’t know, but she clearly is trying to get it to catch on.
“Now that everyone is here and not distracted…” Mrs. Potter shot what I could only describe as a look of deepest loathing at Adia who crumpled completely under that withering glance and looked positively sheepish. Internally the guilt bubble that had been building underwent significant reduction seeing that display. The only lesson to be taken out of this is to not get on the bad side of Mrs. Potter
“Yes dear.” Mr. Potter tried to soothe his simmering wife but once she shot him a look he immediately turned to Teddy and James. “Well boys, who wants to go first?”
“Wait a minuet. I thought you said that you had news for us.” Lily asked making no effort to hide her confusion and shock. I turned to look at Willow who was also looking between Teddy and James as if she were trying to figure out what they were going to say before they actually announced anything. Theoretically I suppose it’s possible if their emotions were strong enough or if she had enough control over the ability to amplify and suppress it at will. Cynically speaking, I don’t know of anyone who could truly control the gift, living or long past dead.
“They do have news for you and it concerns us genius.” James patronizingly told his youngest sibling. Unlike Al, I already knew she wouldn’t let that go with just an eye roll.
“So then why are you here then? Felt like taking in the scenery?” Lily shot back at him.
“Actually it’s because I wanted to meet James’ siblings.” The nameless brunette said smiling serenely. That shut Lily up in two seconds. James shook his head in amusement and turned to Teddy and gave him a look that caused his eyebrows to rise up. He then turned to look at another girl I didn’t know who smiled knowingly at him.
“Look at you two all lovey dovey. I vote you share first.” Willow piped up in a disgustingly happy voice. “Before I vomit all over this furniture. I’m sure Rosmerta would appreciate that.” She muttered under her breath when the ocular exchange occurred between Teddy and James et al for a second time.
Once it was finally confirmed that Teddy and his female friend were sharing first, they both stood up overly excited. Looking deeply at each other in what could only be a state of bliss they started looking at each of us one by one in a slightly creepy fashion. Or maybe I was the only one who was spooked by this. They acted like it was some huge bombshell they were about to drop and wanted to build dramatic anticipation. Frankly I didn’t feel like I belonged here in the first place so I couldn’t bring it in me to be swept up into the winds of overt curiosity. After an eternity of doing this, Teddy subtly drew her in to a side hug and finally announced what they were waiting for.
“We’re going to have a baby!” They both exclaimed excitedly. As soon as everyone heard, the room fell into a palpable silence until Lily shrieked in excitement a full three seconds later running over hugging the happy pair enthusiastically.
Finally feeling safe to take my eyes off of them I noticed that Al had a pleasant grin on his face while Willow let out a class act eye roll that would’ve been offensive if anyone was paying attention to her. Al’s parents both had a knowing look on their face, probably reliving the times they got to announce a new child to their family and James was too busy looking at the girl he walked in with that classic ‘I’m so in love’ look dreaming of the not so distant future. I can safely say that I was the only one in the room who truly wasn’t ecstatic or as in the case of Willow, disgusted. I just felt like an intruder on a family moment that I shouldn’t be privy to experience. The only people in this room who knew me were Willow, Al, Lily, and unfortunately Adia and they were the ones who belonged here. Even Adia since she was Al’s girlfriend, no matter the fact that they haven’t been dating that long.
“So that just leaves you James.” Teddy called over to the happy pair.
All eyes turned to them and thankfully they both stood up promptly looking at the collective room. “Well we can’t exactly top Teddy and Victoire here but we are getting married,” James said bluntly before kissing his fiancé enthusiastically. The entire room stood in shocked silence except for Mr. and Mrs. Potter who were both smiling at their oldest son. “What!? You didn’t think that Jaclyn would accept when I asked her?” He asked in mock outrage.
“Lets face it; you weren’t exactly all too keen on settling down when we first started dating.” She smirked at him giving him a light punch on the shoulder.
“You wound me darling. All of those years of fond memories.” James proclaimed dramatically while clutching his heart as if it were experiencing unearthly agony. So this is where Lily learned to become overly dramatic from. It certainly isn’t genetic considering how Al is…
“The ones where we had shouting matches with one another that were items of legend in the Gryffindor Tower.” Her smirk only grew and her eyes got this devilish grin in them. “Or are you referring to the number of times that we landed each other in detention?” She playfully asked.
“That’s why you love me.” James stated rather mischievously.
“The bank account doesn’t hurt either.” She shot back just as quickly.
“I can’t win can I?” Putting on his best dejected look he could, he began pouting at Jaclyn who couldn’t help but smile and kiss him on his forehead before pushing him away reaching for her drink.
“That’s the first lesson in marriage son.” Mr. Potter called over to him.
“He might have hope yet if he realizes that his early on. You certainly didn’t.” Mrs. Potter interjected to the humor of everyone in the room who began to laugh. Everyone except Willow I noticed. Quickly snapping out of the moment I looked everywhere and noticed that the back door was open and that Willow was gone and I was the only one who noticed.
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