So, with all that discussed and hashed out, I began in the morning to get my requirements down on paper and began my detailed drawings of what the new business would require. I had been at my old drafting table for about four hours when my phone rang and checking the caller ID; I found it was my lawyer in Albany calling. He explained that Scott had at first balked at my simple demands, but once it was explained to him, and his lawyer, that there was actually a video of him on the hood of his car being "pleasured" by the fence contractor, Scott had capitulated and signed the no-fault divorce papers. The now agreed upon petition for divorce would be filed that same afternoon in court and hopefully get on a court docket soon, as Scott's name had some pull, with him being on the governor's staff. I thanked my lawyer, and he told me he'd keep me informed.
While I was already distracted from what I had been doing, I decided to call the senior partner of the firm I currently was a member of. He was all concerned about the "family emergency" I had mentioned on Friday, that I told the firm I was taking some time off for, and after I explained the true nature of my absence, he totally commiserated with me and then I told him I wanted to have the firm exercise its option to buy out my partnership, at today's current value. I had paid, out of a trust my dads' had set up for me, close to two hundred and fifty thousand for that partnership and knew it was currently valued at close to three hundred and sixty thousand and he agreed with my evaluation and told me he would personally present my proposal to the other partners and get back to me tomorrow morning. He did try to get me to change my mind, telling me they would hate to lose me as a valued partner, but I was adamant about leaving and striking out on my own in our much less frantic area, it was what I needed.
Now assured in my mind that I would have the funds once again in hand to develop a new business for myself I called Jeff and told him I was indeed ready to accept his offer to take on his existing business and move it to a new facility as soon as was possible. I spent the rest of the day working on my plans, doing some renditions of how I wanted these new spaces to look, and measuring out card stock and foam board to make up a model of how I envisioned the spaces I was creating to look.
By the next morning the plans were done, the drawings were finished, and I was in the midst of assembling the model when my senior partner called and told me they had offered a partnership to a gal who had started with the firm just after I had and she was willing to pay my price for the partnership I now held. With profit still owed me I would walk away with half a million, enough to pay Jeff and construct my new office and workroom spaces. There wasn't anything extraordinary about the plans for my own office, in fact, you could call it minimalist. But certain design details would be done during the Sheetrocking stage, creating design and movement by layering sheets of the stuff carved to form different designs as I had sketched out in my designs, and the exterior presenting a clean line but using older materials to try to blend in with the existing buildings so my space wouldn't stick out like a sore thumb on the property.
When I showed the drawings, and the completed model to my dads' they were very pleased I had kept the new structure low, and they loved that it was depicted as blending in with the existing buildings on the farm. They had applied for permits to enable the structure to be added to the property and everything was moving toward my getting the building constructed. Using their local lawyer, I was able to purchase Jeff's business, with an effective date of transfer of ownership to be determined, but our thoughts were I'd begin to hang out with Jeff at the office he had and hopefully work with him for at least a month before the move into the new building happened.
Jake and Heath had a friend who owned a building and remodeling business and when we all met with him and went over our plans with him, he practically begged for the job and since he had constructed the current office space for the farm, he was given the go-ahead to begin construction.
The building was finished totally by the end of August, and so was my marriage. The court in Albany had granted our no-fault divorce, and I was relieved. I'd never have to confront that cheating bastard again, and that was a major relief to me. I would be starting my new business with the structure totally paid off, new equipment to make us totally independent paid off, and an experienced working staff with their next year's salaries already in the bank. There were fifteen existing contracts we would carry to the new location and continue to service until the completion of their projects, so a continuing stream of income was going with us to the new location, Jeff included, for the first month at least. He and his husband, who had sold his gym to friends of the building's owners, were retiring to Florida while, as they said, they were young enough to enjoy it.
The weekend of the big move of the office to its brand-new location came and boy, did that weekend go by fast. The whole crew pitched in to help get things organized after the movers had started to drop off the first van load of equipment. The office manager, Amy, even had her teenage son helping to set up her office space. Glenn was beside himself setting up his own model making section of the "equipment "room where he also oversaw the big blueprint printer and other office equipment. He was thrilled with the space, and the machines he would be responsible for. The three other architects who I would be working with were a great bunch and Mike, Susan, and Bill were pleased with their individual offices and the details I had worked out with the shaped overlay of sheetrock on the walls and the two meeting rooms for consultations with clients.
Our grand opening was well attended on the following Monday and we even picked up two new jobs during it, both for private homes to be built in town. The dads and Heath and Jake were all proud as could be that "their boy" was back in town and already considered a success at the new business he had created. After the weekend of "settling in" we were ready to resume a more normal work week when Tuesday rolled around.
That first Saturday morning I woke up at Dick and Brad's house I was at first confused as to where I was. I certainly wasn't in my dorm room at the boy's shelter in Springfield. I was in a really nice big bedroom in a house, and then I remembered those two nice guys who I had met the day before, the two guys who each had one of my names. It was early, about 6 in the morning, but I heard a noise somewhere in this big house, so I knew someone was up. I made sure I still had my pajamas on right and put on my new robe and went out of my room and downstairs where I heard voices coming from the kitchen.
There were Dick and Brad, having a cup of coffee each, and across the table from them were those two big guys, Heath and Jake who slept across the hall from me. Brad noticed me first, and he got up from the table and crouched down to give me a morning hug, Dick waiting his turn right behind him. Gosh, that felt so good! No one had ever hugged me as much as these two guys had in just the short time, we had known each other. Brad asked how I had slept and Dick asked if I had had any trouble getting my leg on this morning, I guess checking to make sure the little bit of swelling I had on my stump yesterday had gone down after they put a "shrinker sock" on it when they tucked me in last night. I reported that everything was good, and they asked what I wanted for breakfast. Heath whispered to me that the scrambled eggs sure were good here, so that is what I asked for. Dick looked around the table and said, "Scrambled for five coming up". The others all jumped up and soon Brad was making toast, Jake was cooking some delicious smelling little sausages, and Heath was setting the table for breakfast and soon there was a glass of milk in front of me. Jake told me it was made right here on the farm, as were the eggs, and the wheat the bread was made from.
I couldn't believe it; all that stuff came from this farm? But after breakfast and everyone was dressed in jeans, we all went for a tour of the farm. They introduced me to a really nice pony and told me she would be there for me any time I wanted to ride her. They explained everything the four of them were doing as they got her ready for me to ride, and then as they saddled up their own big horses, so I'd know what everything they put on the pony or the horses was called. Dick lifted me up and put me on the pony's saddle and he led me around in the barn for a while as Brad walked alongside and told me what to do to make the pony do what I wanted her to do.
I was so excited that I almost peed, but then Dick attached what they said was a "lead" to her harness and the four of them mounted their horses and Brad then took the end of the lead and Dick and Heath rode alongside of the pony and we all moved out into the farmyard and they took me for a ride down the farm lane to the next big barn where the cows all were, just having been "milked". I was told there were about 75 cows on the farm and three steers, which I was shown out in a field, but told to never wander out here on my own, because the cows and steers had horns and sharp hooves and they could hurt me bad.
We got off the pony and the horses and they took me in this big barn and showed me where the cows were milked and now I knew where milk came from as I watched one of the guys working in the barn to milk the last two cows, he even offered to let me try, but I was too scared then to even try. I asked if he was a cowboy, and he laughed and told me he was a milker, but if I wanted to call him a cowboy I could. Dick and Brad both told me his name was John and I could call him that, and the other guy in there was called a wrangler, but his name was Tom and I would see them from time to time around the farm.
They next walked me around the side of this barn and there was a little house in a fenced-in yard they called the chicken coop and there were a bunch of chickens and a couple of roosters in there. I had never seen real live chickens or roosters before and it was so neat to see them; it was like having your own zoo or something. We went back to the horses and the pony and I was put back up in the pony's saddle and my feet back it the "stirrups" and they took me for a long ride through the different fields and back. Gosh was that fun! Once back at the horse barn they showed me how to "undress" the horses and the pony and then we all went back to the house for lunch.
Boy, that was a great morning and the afternoon, after we all rested for about an hour in the TV room, was even more fun as they took me swimming at the beach side of Forge Pond. I was so proud to be seen with the four older guys at the beach. I was a skinny little runt at the time and these four muscular built guys played ball with me on the beach; they showed me how to swim, and we all got to snack on some popcorn Brad had made before we left the house. There wasn't another guy on that small beach that looked as good as these four guys did, and they watched me like a hawk and even that felt good to me. They played with me in the water and I got tossed around from one to the other and then one would pretend to drop me, or miss the other one tossing me and I'd get dunked in the water which was a lot of fun too.
On Sunday in the afternoon Dick and Brad sat me down with a calendar and they showed me what were the weekends and when I could come back, and after the third weekend, they asked if I might want to stay with them forever. I guess I was a bit choked up and couldn't speak very well so I hugged each one on the neck and just sobbed, telling them I really didn't want to go back even now, but if I had to wait I could. They promised that when I got out of school on Friday, they would come to pick me up again. I could tell you about the teasing I got in the dorm that week, but to be honest I was so thrilled that the guys wanted me back at the farm again that the taunts just rolled off me like water, my caseworker telling me that was the best way to deal with the jealous doofuses. She told me that because I had prospective foster parents that lived in a real nice place that they were indeed jealous of me.
She had a lot of questions for me, some of them she admitted were kind of "rude", but they had to be asked to make sure the guys were on the up and up, is what she said. She did tell me she was a bit jealous too because I got to ride my pony a lot and she had always liked horseback riding. I thought I might ask Dick and Brad to invite her for a ride sometime, if I didn't forget.
She happened to be at the front desk when pick up time after school Friday came. The guys came through the front doors and I was already sitting on the bench with my bag all packed. I stood when they came in and they actually nudged each other to see who could get to me first and then I was up in Brad's arms and Dick was kissing on my cheek and neck. I was giggling like crazy and then Brad passed me to Dick and the same thing happened. It was so cool!! My caseworker was at the sign out window, and even she was giggling along with the three of us!! I then remembered I had a question to ask the guys, and I asked if I could invite a friend to ride one of the horses this weekend. They looked a bit surprised and then Dick said I sure could, had they met my friend yet? I laughed and told them it was Miss Avery, my caseworker. She liked riding horses.
Of course, Miriam, Miss Avery, had met Dick and Brad, and before we left for the farm Miss Avery had an invitation to the farm for Sunday afternoon to horseback ride with us all. She even kissed my cheek goodbye before we had left the sign out window!
Once we had gotten our milkshakes and were on the way to the farm, the guys told me that was a nice thing for me to do, inviting Miss Avery to ride with us. They told me that on Saturday we were going to go to a museum in Springfield to see a bunch of old stuff and that Jake and Heath would be joining us and after that, we were going to go see where dinosaurs used to live. That part, about the dinosaurs, sounded really neat, so I was pretty excited.
The weekend was really fun and I think the old stuff in the museum was really neat and all, but the old building, it was in was even neater, it had all kinds of big windows and real high ceilings and what Dick told me were "flying buttresses" up there almost too high for me to see them, but Brad told me they were some of the wooden beams that held the roof up. I liked Dick's explanation better, even if I didn't know what he was talking about.
For the rest of the weekend I looked at the buildings I was in and even in the barns, I kept looking around trying to see how these buildings were put together. It was much harder to go back to the dorm that Sunday, but Dick and Brad told me that if all went to plan, next Sunday I would get to stay forever at the farm. Miss Avery had told me the same thing when she had come to the farm that afternoon and we all rode around all the fields on the paths and she even told me I was doing really good riding my pony. She told me that for only two weekends of riding I looked like I was born to be on horseback and she was glad to see me adjusting so well to my future home.
The new business was a boost to my ego, I have to tell you. I was so worried about going out on my own when I was in the partnership, but acquiring Jeff's staff was a stroke of luck, compounded by the existing contracts I took on and then to get a couple of commissions on our grand opening and all thoughts of Scott were now firmly in the back of my mind. With the great staff and new surroundings for all of us, it was just the fresh start I needed. Mike, Susan, Bill and I all had projects in the works and we teamed up on the new ones. Glenn was settled in and was like a happy lark constructing the new models for our projects. He truly was a gifted modeler.
When Jeff had fulfilled his month with us, he and his husband were thrown a surprise retirement party at our offices and dozens showed up to give these two guys a fond farewell and wishes for a happy life in Florida. I got two inquiries from patrons at that party and Susan did as well, Glenn got a date with one of the new owners of the health club. He was one happy fella.
It was as the party was winding down that I first saw him. He was about my age, and even with the suit on I could tell he was built, maybe even as built as I was. He sure was attractive. Jeff waived me over to where he and his husband were near the door of my new office, saying their thanks to the folks who were leaving, and chatting to this guy. As I walked over to them, I actually felt his eyes on me, scanning first from my head to my groin, and pausing as I walked and then watching the way my suit trousers fitted around my groin and legs as I walked toward them. This was a finely tailored suit, from one of the best tailors in Albany and fitted me like a second skin. It wasn't the type of suit to wear to work, this was a social kind of suit and Scott used to get so turned on whenever I wore it. When I had put it on that afternoon before the party, I had also removed my wedding ring and stowed it in a cufflink box in my top dresser drawer, admitting to myself that that part of my life was over.
The guy was introduced to me as Alex, Alex Daley the owner of Daley construction here in town which even I knew was a well-respected, six-year-old home building company, located just down the road from us here at the farm. His dark good looks and his firm handshake were certainly making me glad I had finally taken off the wedding ring, this guy was hot. Even his voice was hot, low and seductive, a voice made for the radio on those nights you couldn't get to sleep. I instantly thought back to when my dads' would read me bedtime stories and I thought that there were some stories on the internet that Alex could read to me.
Eventually, the crowd had thinned out to just my employees, and they had started to clean up so Alex and I pitched in to help. They all were told to take any leftovers they wanted, and my dads' had invited Alex up to the house for a drink when everyone was gone, I think they meant all the guests, so they could talk to him about his business, and them being neighbors and all. But Alex had stayed by my side during the waning hours of the party and now, as I locked the empty office up, he removed his suit jacket to walk up to the house with me. He explained that he always felt like he was impersonating an adult when he wore a suit which he said he only wore for business meetings and sometimes at closings on properties he was either buying or selling.
As we came abreast of the horse barn, he asked if I'd show him the horses and we went in and he went right to my horse, scratching her nose and running his fingers through her mane. He turned to me as she nuzzled him under his chin and told me he had seen me riding this horse several times in the last couple of months, from his office when we were near the fences near his property, or as he drove past and saw us out in-between the fields.
I tried to excuse his new familiarity with my horse as just him being that kind of nice, all around kind of guy, but I knew in my warm heart that this is just exactly what he was, a "Joe all American" with a heart open to suggestions. It scared me, not a little, a lot. I didn't want a rebound romance with this sweet guy, or with anyone for that matter. What I wanted was to, maybe, fall in love with someone who loved me. Period. Plus, my life was taking on a new focus, that of an independent businessman, not one ensnared in a corporate mentality, rushing through the city to find my spouse tied up in meetings at the statehouse that would last through the night (or were there even meetings?) No, I told myself, I wasn't even ready for dating, much less falling in love.
Wait, why was I even thinking about this now? Alex hadn't even asked me out, nor I him, and by the results of the half-hour self-pleasuring I gave myself that morning I certainly wasn't horny, and I had love in my life, I saw it every time my dads' looked at me, or each other, and I saw it in Heath and Jake and I felt it from all four of those guys that had a part in raising me, and I returned their love as a dutiful and appreciative son should. Could I be interested in Alex? Was his interest in me more than curiosity about a neighbor? As he turned away from my horse, he wasn't taking in the post and beam construction of the barn; he was giving me the eye again and I swear I felt every one of those eyelashes of his as he once again went head to toe with his visual examination.
We walked companionably up to the house and went in to join the others there. It was my dads' and Heath and Jack, and a few of the other neighbors who lived across the street and the older couple who abutted us on the South side of the property, about ¾ of a mile down the road. There was a general party kind of atmosphere going on and Alex and I blended in after each of us had gotten a glass of wine. Eventually, Mrs. Rogan from across the street and I were talking, and she asked if my divorce had come through yet. I was standing facing her and Alex was behind me talking to Heath and I swear a silence descended on the other two at that point and I assured Mrs. Rogan that indeed my divorce was finalized now, and I was a free man, as was my former husband. At that point, Alex and Heath's conversation resumed and I swear Alex backed up enough that his butt was resting against mine!
Mrs. Rogan went on, saying she was sorry things hadn't worked out for us and I flat out told her I had actually caught him cheating on me and that was it, that was just something I wouldn't, or couldn't tolerate. Yes, that was Alex's butt clenching against mine, so I did what came naturally, I clenched mine right back at him, our suit coats hiding what we were doing.
I can't tell you how great it was living with Dick and Brad. To make it easier name wise we all agreed I was Bradley and Brad was Brad. Never knowing a father, I was doubly blessed by these two, plus I had much older brothers in Jake and Heath. When I started school I found out I wasn't the only kid in school to have two dads at home, and some of the kids, at least the boys, looked familiar to me from the dorm, so we struck up conversations and found out we had been brought to the same small town by our foster dads, and some of the guys had already been adopted. It was great to be told by my new dads that I could invite friends to the farm if I wanted, but I told them I might just do that later, right now I was enjoying having them to myself. As I said, they taught me how to ride with Heath and Jake's help and all four of them played catch with me and we even played soccer at home.
They took me swimming at the big pond down the road, took me to Dino Land, where we could see how the dinosaurs lived, took me to Quabbin Reservoir to go out in the rowboats and canoes to see the wildlife out there, and the underwater streets and building foundations from the five towns flooded to create this water source for Boston way out on the East coast of the state. I thought that life couldn't get any better than this, but at the end of the second month of school, Dick and Brad dressed me in my new suit and they took me to court instead of school one day and they made me their son. Well, they said the judge did that, but I know it wouldn't have happened if they hadn't started it, I didn't know I could feel this good about anything, even when they gave me the pony and tears were coming out of my eyes but I was really, really happy, that's what happened after the judge banged his little hammer thing.
They were so good to me and I couldn't think of a way to thank them for that, so I just tried to be as good as I could and to be as good in school as I could, that was all they had ever asked of me.
After another hour of the get-together with the neighbors Alex and I found ourselves in the kitchen at the big table, having one last glass of wine together. We were sitting one on each side of a corner of the kitchen table, a bowl of chips between us on the tabletop. We both reached for a chip at the same time and I pulled my hand back as soon as we made contact, the jolt of electricity a bit of a shock to me, I really had never experienced that before, not with Scott, not anyone, and Alex let out a deep moan when it had happened and he dropped the chip back in the bowl and stuck his index finger in his mouth and then blew on it. He sat there staring at it and then moaned again as I took his hand and placed his damp finger in my mouth and ran my tongue around it. While I was doing that, he placed his other hand at the nape of my neck and drew our mouths closer together. His finger was removed from my mouth, but was instantly replaced with his tongue.
It was like a small electrical charge was running through my brain where his fingers were now holding the back of my head and massaging the hair there. When our kiss broke, he asked me if we could get together and go riding at his place after church the next day. His hand was still on my head and he answered for me by nodding my head in the affirmative, he had this shit-eating grin on his face as he did that; I was still slightly out of breath.
We did arrange to meet on horseback at his place at around eleven in the morning and he went around the living room saying his goodbyes to my dads' and Heath and Jake as they were the only ones left in there, the rest of the neighbors having gone home. When I went in, after clearing off the table of the chip bowl and our wine glasses, I helped them straighten up from the guests and went to make my way to my room after I said goodnight to my elders and Dick asked if I was going to see Alex again, and I blushed and said we were going riding after church tomorrow. All he said was, "Good".
We met up outside of his small barn, well, small to me. I guessed his barn held six or fewer stalls where our barn held a dozen. But I'm just stalling here, you see this morning I didn't perform my favorite cardio workout, my dick wanted me to, but I ignored it and stuffed it into the fly of my 501's after slipping on a favorite pair of Calvin's, you know, the kind with the built-in pouch. Even as I pulled on a pair of boot socks, the damn thing wasn't going down. I slipped on a favorite shirt, a short-sleeved plaid with a snap front and cropped where you would expect shirttails, I've been told it accents my V-shaped torso and my biceps more than fill the short sleeves. If I raise my arms above my head, I end up showing half of my sculpted six pack, the lower half of course.
As I rode across to Alex's, I wondered just what I was doing. Was I opening myself up for more hurt and rejection? Was I hoping to find a replacement for Scott in my life? From what Alex had told me yesterday he had never had a relationship longer than a week, after getting dumped back in college by the guy he thought was Mr. Right. Alex was near my age, so he had been trying not to get hurt for a lot longer than I had, his four years to my three months. Was I just another week's worth of fun for him? I wasn't too worried about that, maybe I was thinking about using him.
I made myself relax, this really wasn't the time to start a new relationship anyway, there were the projects Jeff had left us with at the office and new ones to start on, and at least on three of those I was the lead planner plus I had to oversee the three other new projects that Mike, Susan, and Bill had landed plus oversee our enthusiastic modeler, Glenn's work. Of course, our efficient Amy would take care of the overall running of the office and hopefully keep everyone on time with deadlines when various aspects of the different projects were due. But today was supposed to be a day off from work.
As soon as I saw him, I knew I was kind of in like with him. He was mounting his horse in front of his barn and I couldn't help but notice the way his jeans fit. Then, as that magnificent ass was seated in the saddle, I noticed that the pommel in the front of the saddle had some competition as his more than full crotch looked like it was wrestling with the saddle horn, his lean waist tapering up to his strong and muscled torso, he looked good enough to eat and immediately I felt a pang of guilt but immediately tamped that down; I wasn't married anymore. It was OK to feel things like this for another man again; I wasn't spoken for and owed no allegiance to anyone except myself.
We greeted each other warmly and rode off on paths I hadn't been on in many years, not since I was in elementary school and this property was owned by friends of Dick and Brad and was a farm like ours, cows and horses and some chickens. That family had moved on when their children, daughters, were in the middle school and the place was sold to Alex's father, a general contractor and when Alex was 20, his parents had perished in a bad car wreck and the property was passed on to Alex, their only child. He built the business up to what it was today, probably one of the most respected home builders in the area, let alone our town. He had started the company building small sheds and big barns while he still attended his college courses, learning what he was doing in real life. He was a self-made man.
As we rode, I told him about riding out here in my youth, sometimes escorting the daughters of the farmer of this property, and he told me about growing up surrounded by raw materials and watching his father make useful things out of the wood. That evolved into him building outbuildings and then homes. I told him about Dick and Brad, and he laughed along with me as I told him about our first meeting and finding out I carried their names already.
We reached an old apple grove that was surprisingly well kept, and Alex explained that this was his mother's project on the farm and to honor her, and because he loved apples, he personally maintained this grove in her memory. He said he felt close to her here and he would talk things over with her here as he did in his woodworking shop with his father. We dismounted, and he took a blanket roll from the back of his saddle and after that was spread on the ground, he removed his saddlebags and put out a thermos of coffee and a foil-wrapped package of Danish and he offered me a light brunch.
After our repast and picking up after ourselves, we walked around a bit and yes; we did walk close, and we bumped shoulders a bit as we walked, but it was nice out here in the grove and I could tell why his mother had loved it here and why Alex spent the time here to maintain it. It was tranquil and the only sounds here came from nature. It was a corner of his property that didn't abut our own working farm; it butted against the state-owned woodland on the back and the side, away from our land. When we turned back to return to our horses, his hand brushed against mine and he turned to look at me and I heard him whisper if this was alright as he actually held my hand. I felt like a school kid, but I smiled and told him it most certainly was. We held hands all the way back to the horses and then we mounted up and walked the horses back to his barn.
We had agreed to have dinner together, and we had agreed that Tuesday would be good for both of us. As I rode off toward home, I turned back to see him standing there watching me and adjusting his crotch. I don't know what came over me, but I stopped, took my shirt off, and tucked it in the back of my jeans and turned back to wave once more at him. Alex was still adjusting something in his crotch as he waved back with his other arm.
I continued to smile as I rode my horse home and I wondered what that had been all about and realized that I was teasing him a bit, but then it made me feel good, just knowing I was attractive to another man, especially one as hot as Alex was, and knowing we were going to be moving kinda slow, well that just got all my senses all riled up. I was alive with knowing I could still attract others, that I myself was a sexual being. I was no longer Scott's hot water bottle in bed, something he had around to make him look like a settled man, not a wanton slut spreading his ass for all and sundry which is what he turned out to be.
At home the four men who raised me wanted to know how our ride had gone and as they had seen me arriving back bare-chested, they teased me a lot too, but I told them it went well and we got to know each other better and that we had made plans to go out to dinner on Tuesday. Heath asked me if I thought Alex might be willing to rent out his unused field closest to our cattle grazing fields next year and I told him I'd ask on Tuesday when I saw him again. Hopefully, a lot more of him, and hopefully a lot more than just seeing him, for some reason I wanted to touch him, in many places.