Blown By The Wind – Kabanata 4

July 24, 2017 By In Blown By The Wind Comments Off on Blown By The Wind – Kabanata 4

Kabanata 4
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Hindi pwedeng dahilan ang lahat ng insekyuridad ko noon para maging katwiran. At least that’s what I’ve learned.

Kasabay ng tunog ng wind chimes habang naglalakad ako sa gawang-molave na sahig ng veranda, naaalala ko ang tunog ng gitarang nagsimula ng isang sayaw.

For our Physical Education subject, we were tasked to group by pair and practice a dance. At hindi na kailangan pang maghanap ng kapares ko dahil awomatiko na kami ni Amer na magpaparehas doon.

We practiced for weeks. And although, I am not a fast learner, magaling siyang magdala sa akin.

“You just have to feel the dance, Eury,” he said pointing his hands down and slowly bringing them up in a fluid and dramatic motion.
“Alam ko!” ngumisi ako at hindi na maalala kung ilang beses niya itong sinabi sa akin sa buong practice.
“And, damn, your facial expression can move mountains, Amore,” he said in a sweet tone.

I smiled and rolled my eyes. He really is an amazing pick-me-upper. Just not sure if he’s the reason behind my confidence, or my confidence is a result of my need for more attention.

Kaya naman sa presentation namin, I gave everything. Lahat ng kaklase nami’y nanonood habang kami ng kapartner at bestfriend kong si Amer ay nagsasayaw. His graceful moves can correct all my wrongs. My facial expression and grinds won’t give anyone a chance to realize that I did so many wrong moves.

Using my palms, hinagod ko ang aking dibdib pababa sa aking tiyan at mga hita. All the moves were paired with lipbites and half-open mouths. Hindi na inalintanang ang buhok ay sumasabog at ilang ulit nang naisuklay ang mga daliri rito.

The way I move my hips every time I caress my buttocks made everyone in the room sigh. Tinaas ko ang dalawang kamay ko, setting my lips on my shoulder, breathing slowly as I whip my waist to the side. Galing sa aking ulo’y binaba ko ang aking mga kamay sa aking mukha, sa aking leeg, at hinubog muli ang aking dibdib gamit iyon. Pumikit ako at tumingala hanggang sa bumaba ang aking mga kamay sa hita. Ending it in my buttocks again, trying to pull my short skirt up for more skin.

Pagkatapos ng sayaw naming iyon ni Amer ay nagpalakpakan lahat ng kaklase namin. Hinihingal pa ako nang naglakad kami pabalik sa bleachers at sinasalubong ng mapa babae man o lalaki.

“Hi, Eury,” the school’s basketball captain went to me.

Nahihiya at medyo namumula habang tinitingnan ako. Hindi masabi ng diretso ang sasabihin. With his bouquet, everyone teased us. Tinanggap ko iyon at nginitian ng tipid ang lalaki.

“Ang galing mo,” he said.
“Thanks!” I smiled sweetly again.

Hindi lang sa ayaw kong biguin ang mga magulang ko, hindi rin ako makahanap ng gustong lalaki. Maybe because my focus isn’t really that. I am not in a hurry to be emotionally dependent or committed. I find people who want that ridiculous.

Grade four ako unang naligawan. Grade four din ako noong una akong nambasted. Simula noon, ganoon na ang ginagawa ko parati. Make them wait long enough till they grew tired of me.

Sabay kaming lumabas ni Amer sa aming SUV. After that victory, I invited him to our house for snacks and a bit of play. I like inviting him because my parents love him. Pakiramdam ko’y isang malaking karangalan na nagustuhan ng aking magulang ang mga pinili kong kaibigan.

“Have you seen Mike’s face when you received the flowers?” he asked, laughing.

Dala ko ang malaking bouquet ng flowers ngayon. Tinitingnan ang mga mapupulang rosas habang papasok sa bahay.

“God, he looks-”

Parang nabilaukan si Amer sa gitna ng pangungusap. Kumunot ang noo ko’t napawi ang ngiti. Nilingon ko siya para makitang natigilan sa pathway.

Patungong garahe na ang aming sasakyan. Ang pathway patungong bahay ay napalilibutan ng bermuda at mga bulaklak na hilig ni Mommy. Akala ko ano nang nahagip ni Amer. Nang nakitang nagdidilig ng halamang hindi abot ng awtomatikong sprinkle si Vincent, umirap na lamang ako.

“Sino ‘yan, Amore?” his voice starting to sound like a girl.

Pang ilang irap ko na ito, hindi ko malaman.

“Tara na sa loob…” bulong ko.
“Bagong hardinero ninyo? What a hot-”
“Amer!”

Natutop niya ang kanyang labi. Amer’s lean body, fair complexion, and expressive eyes is a give away. Unang tingin pa lang sa kanya, alam mo na kung saan siya interesado.

“He’s Dad’s intern…” bulong ko.

Pakiramdam ko’y nag ugat na si Amer sa pathway. Nang nilingon kami ni Vincent at nagtagal saglit ang seryoso nitong mga mata sa amin ay ginapangan na ako ng hiya. His eyes in the shade of the night, brows ebony, and with features like that of a fallen angel, he looks more torn than curious with us.

Amer’s sudden out of this world sharp cry of excitement made me wince. Hawak ang kanyang palapulsuhan, kinakabahan at medyo nahihiya para sa kaibigan, kinaladkad ko na siya papasok sa bahay namin.

Binitiwan ko lamang siya nang nakapasok na kami sa library. Naroon ang pinapasaulo sa aking mga dialogue ng isang play na gaganapan ko sa eskwelahan. Bukod sa pagcecelebrate, magpapractice din ako at si Amer ang director ko roon.

But so much for practice now, his lovesick eyes is telling me that we won’t do much about the play right now.

“Bakit ‘di mo sinabing may gwapong intern ang Dad mo? Architect ba? Magaling? Heeh!” He giggled excitedly.
I rolled my eyes again. “Meh. Hindi magaling. His works are just plain and usual. Walang kakaiba at boom factor.” I lied.

Actually, my hate is to the moon. I don’t even look at his works.

“Weh? Patingin nga?” nagtaas ng kilay si Amer sa akin sabay upo sa sofa at yakap sa throw pillow.
“Hindi ko alam. Konti lang works niya. Lack of imagination siguro…”

Kinuha ko sa drawer ang aking dialogue in the hopes that we’ll start now. Alam na ng mga kasambahay na nasa library kami at magdadala na iyon ng pagkain dito ngayon.

“Seriously? My God, Amore, ang gwapo niya! Ngayon lang ako nakakita ng lalaking kasing gwapo niya!”

I honestly think that’s an exaggeration! If we are wealthy because of my parent’s different firms, they are in a more elite society! Amer is the only son of the largest furniture empire in Asia. They export their furniture designs and they are known for their features in Hollywood. Imposibleng sa lahat ng social functions na nadaluhan niya’y hindi pa siya nakakakita ng mas gwapo sa lalaking iyon!

“And my, that body! Even with his gray t-shirt, I can tell… I can tell… His muscles are firm. Pang romansa!” he said in a tone full of malice.

Well, because of Amer, I am not that innocent anymore. He is more advanced in that part than me but he shares his own ideas. Hindi ko tuloy maiwasang ipaglakbay ang isipan sa katawan ng lalaking iyon.

Well, to be fair, he’s good-looking. With his bronze skin, and eternally scowling look, I find him mysterious and arrogant – bagay na hindi angkop sa kanyang estado.

“He’s poor! He’s an orphan. I heard nakatira siya sa isang maliit at lumang apartment. And besides, if he’s rich, he won’t be Dad’s intern. He’d have a company of his own.”
“So what, Amore!? God, he looks like he can earn his way to the top. I mean, not all men can be humble enough to even water your plants. Gaya ng sabi mo, intern siya ng Dad mo. Bakit siya nagdidilig ng mga halaman sa labas?” He smiled playfully.

Hindi na ako nakipagtalo roon. Pati ba naman siya’y maaakit sa lalaking iyon? I mean, impressed? Yes, he’s watering the plants because Daddy will give him money. Iyon lang iyon. People work for money and nothing more.

“He’s so kind to do that!” puri niya at muling nagpahiwatig sa ngiti. “I can only imagine him naked.”
“Can we just start with the practice, please?” pakiusap ko.
“His…” sumenyas siya pababa sa kanyang tiyan.

Uminit ang pisngi ko at pumikit na lamang. Sapo ang ulo’y hinayaan na ang kaibigang dagdagan pa ang papuri. Kahit pa malisyoso.

“Is probably only Benz when asleep…” He giggled. “And Mercedez Benz when awake! Hah!”

Humagalpak na sa tawa si Amer. Sa sobrang init ng pisngi ko ay pakiramdam ko’y sasabog na ako. I pouted irritatingly at him.

“Amer!” sigaw ko.
“Oh my… Shit…” he said, smiling with malice.

I can literally imagine it Benz when asleep and Mercedez Benz when- Damn, Amer!

“Anong pinag-uusapan n’yo diyan? Hmm?” si Ate Reanne ang pumasok sa pintuan.

Umiling ako at nagpatuloy na sa pagtitingin sa mga papel ng aking dialogue. Naupo ako sa tabi ni Amer at pilit na pinakita iyon kahit na nakuha na ni Ate Reanne ang atensyon ng kaibigan ko.

“It’s about your Dad’s new intern, Ate. Ang gwapo!” sabi ni Amer.
Tumawa si Ate Reanne. “Si Vincent ba?”
“Vincent is his name? God, ‘di man lang sinabi ni Eury sa akin!”
“Hindi ka naman nagtanong, ah?” singit ko.
“Ate…” Amer said excitedly.

Nagtawanan ang dalawa.

“Oo, gwapo nga, Amer. May girlfriend na ‘yon!” sabi ni Ate.
“Aba’y syempre, kung ganoon ka gwapo, may love life ‘yon. Imposibleng wala.”

Tumikhim ako at pinanatili ang mga mata sa aking dialogue. Trying to memorize the last parts when I can’t because they are too annoying.

Bumukas ang pinto at hinatid na ng mga kasambahay ang aming mga pagkain doon. Kahit na kumakain ay si Vincent ang laman ng bibig ni Amer.

“Mukhang seryoso ang isang iyon. Minsanan na lang ang ganoong lalaki ngayon, Ate. When he looked at me, I have goosebumps all over. It was like a greek god’s stare. Hindi ka ba affected?”

Nag-angat ako ng tingin kay Ate Reanne. Tipid itong ngumiti at tila may hindi sinasabi. Isang kibot sa labi at…

“Kapatid ang turing ko sa kanya, Amer. Ilang linggo pa lang siya rito, magaan na ang loob naming pamilya sa kanya. Pati si Ate Lyanna.”
“That’s too bad, then. Saya niya sigurong boyfriend.”
“Well, I’ve always want a brother.”

Nagpatuloy sila sa pagkukwentuhan tungkol doon hanggang sa napuna ni Ate Reanne ang binabasa ko. Napatuwid ako sa pagkakaupo nang pinili niyang punahin iyon.

“Iyong play na sinalihan mo?” she asked.
I nodded. “Malapit na kasi at ang last part, ‘di ko pa masyado kabisado.”
“That’s taking up too much of your time. Malapit na exams n’yo, ‘di ba?”

Ngumuso ako at pinanatili ang mga mata sa aking mga papel. Nang naramdaman ni Ate ang pag-ayaw kong pag-usapan iyon ay iniwan niya na kami ni Amer sa library. And I don’t think I’ll ever like that afternoon when all he talks about is Vincent and his greatness.

Nakakarindi. Lalo na noong dumating na sina Mommy at Daddy galing trabaho. Mommy started talking to Amer patungong dining table. Nakasunod lamang ako sa dalawa.

“Naku, Tita! A ang grade namin sa P.E. dahil sa performance namin! That’s our exam, you know!”
“That’s great! Sana naman ay hindi P.E. ang pinakamataas na marka ni Eury…” sabay tingin sa akin.

Naupo ako sa aking upuan. Umupo si Amer sa tabi ko. Nagkasya sa parihabang lamesa kaming anim, kasama si Vincent, Dad, at ang dalawa kong kapatid.

I can feel Amer’s usual glance at Vincent who’s sitting beside Ate Lyanna.

“Naku, I assure you, Tita. Maganda rin ang marka niya sa ibang subjects!” si Amer sabay tingin sa akin.

As if that will help. Mediocre grades won’t get to my parents. They want those A or A plus plus. There is no room for good grades. They want it with flying colors.

“’Tsaka malapit na rin iyong Romeo and Juliet namin, Tita. Ako ‘yong director noon at si Eury ang gaganap na Juliet!” si Amer.
“When is it again, Eury?” si Ate Lyanna sa isang pormal na boses.

Nakita kong pareho sila ni Ate Reanne na nakatitig sa akin. Only Ate Reanne’s a bit smiling while Ate Lyanna’s too serious.

“Next week Monday.”
“Ayos lang sana kung sa Calculus at Statistics niya inubos ang oras niya, Amer. Pero mas mahaba yata ang oras niya sa arts,” si Daddy.

Amer’s used to this. For the past years, he’s witnessed the disappoinment of my parents. Never failing to make me feel it everytime I’m talked about.

“Ganoon talaga ‘yon, Tito! Ako nga, hilig ko rin ang arts, e. Designing, modeling, make ups, theater arts! And Eury is so good in theater arts. Her face is always in demand sa mga lead roles! At syempre, nasabi niya na po ba sa inyo? She’s offered a shoot from Candy Magazine!”
“The magazine for teenagers?”

Sinipat ko si Daddy. Hindi ba nasabi ko na iyon?

“Oh she didn’t mention? Nakapasok siya, Tito. I talked it out to my Tita and then she was convinced. She said Eury is such a beautiful girl! Readers will dig her so much!”
“It is alright to like the arts but at least, sana maganda rin ang marka niya sa ibang subjects. Last year our attentions were called because of her Chemistry and Trigonometry grade. May tutor na iyon, bumagsak pa.”

Ngayon ba talaga tamang pag-usapan ang ganito?

“Well, she’s tutored. I’m sure she won’t fail. At h’wag po kayong mag-alala, Tito. Tutulungan ko rin siya.”
“I hope she’s not entertaining boys, Amer. Hindi na nga maayos ang grado, baka pa magbulakbol. Anyway, were you already introduced? This is Vincent, my intern…” si Daddy sabay tingin kay Vince.

After that almost five minutes of insults, the topic’s changed.

“Nasabi na sa akin ni Eury at Ate Reanne, Tito. But we weren’t formally introduced. I’m Amer, Architect…” pormal na sinabi ni Amer.
“This is Amer, Eury’s friend. He’s the son of Amer Samaniego, the owner of Samaniego Woodcrafts.”
Tumango si Vincent.
“Amer, he’s an Architect. His designs are great. Unique, unlike most of the architects of his age. Madalas na designs niya ay para sa mga building. And I tell you, your parents will love his designs!”
“Talaga po, Tito?”

Nagkatinginan kami ni Amer. He looks at me as if accusing me of lying. Whatever now.

“Lyanna can learn so much from him. Though, my daughter is leaning on a different specialization. Interior design ang gusto niya at mabuti iyon para sa firm. Si Eury sana iyong gusto kong mag-aral ng arkitektura na ganito kaso lang…” Dad did not continue that. He laughed instead.
Tumawa rin si Ate Reanne. “You can’t really teach someone your art, Dad. She wants to enter showbiz so her hobbies are leaning on that. And not with angles and designs.”
“Hindi po ba masyado pang maaga para roon? She’s just sixteen, she can’t probably be interested with Architecture,” Vincent said.
“I was fourteen when I realized I wanted to be an Architect, Vince. Plus, I think spatial intelligence comes out naturally. That’s something you can’t learn,” si Ate Lyanna.

Now, the attention is back to me again. Huminga ako ng malalim at nilingon si Amer na ngayon ay umiinom ng juice. Tila hindi makasabay sa lahat ng nasabi tungkol sa akin.

“Hah! Enough of that talk, I don’t need Eury’s interest for architecture anymore. Tutal ay mahilig na si Lyanna roon at si Vince ay magaling dito. At least my firm could live even without me.”
“But, Ephraim, it is not okay that you’re daughter is into showbusiness. There is nothing in there but vanity. Nothing but popularity and hypocrisy in disguise of false arts! Ang sining, Eury, ay pinaghihirapan, anak. It is not earned through looks and popularity.”

Damn it!

“But I’m doing my best, Mom. Hindi ba, Amer? Sa Romeo and Juliet nga, nagmememorize ako ng mga dialogue ni Juliet.”
“At sino ang gaganap na Romeo?” si Daddy.

Damn! Hindi ba nila alam iyon? Dalawang buwan na akong nag eensayo sa play na ito, ah?

“Si Zander, po,” sambit ko. “Remember him? He’s the one who starred at the College deparment’s Sound of Music. He’s a talent of a TV station na!”
“Tss. Boys who are interested with showbiz are shallow and vain,” si Daddy. “Always remember that, Eury. Tingnan mo itong si Vincent. If you strive for academics, kahit na wala kang pamilya at hindi ka mayaman, you’d always succeed.”

Nilingon ko si Vincent. His stern and serious look as he listens to my father makes me want to vomit. Hindi lang alam ni Dad na sunod-sunuran iyan sa kanya dahil wala namang pera at walang ibang koneksyon kundi siya. Walang gagawin iyang si Vincent kundi paluguran ang aking ama. And for all I know, he just wants my Dad’s firm! That’s why he wants to be here!?

Nilingon ko si Ate Lyanna, ang kanyang katabi. Ate Reanne said Vincent has a girlfriend? Hindi kaya si Ate Lyanna iyon? Ate Lyanna is silent and a bit reserved compared to Ate Reanne. Hindi kaya?

Humigpit ang hawak ko sa aking kutsara.

“How’s the designs, Vincent? Manu-manu mong ginawa?” tanong ni Daddy.
“I have a copy of it in my laptop po. Pero mas tapos na iyong drawing ko.”
Tumawa si Daddy. “I told you, tanggapin mo na ang alok ko ng bagong laptop. Your laptop is old and very slow. Hindi na kaya ng softwares kaya hindi mo maayos ang gawa mo.”
“Hindi na, po. I’m saving for a good laptop. Right now, I can still deal with the old one. ‘Tsaka hindi pa naman po ako napapagod sa mano-manong pagdidisenyo. Nalilibang ako sa library ng bahay na ito kaya mas nagugustuhan kong magdisenyo roon.”
Dad gave another hearty laugh. Nilingon si Amer at tinuro ito. “That’s the type of employees your Dad has to have!” Bumaling muli kay Vincent. “Natapos mo ba?”
“Matatapos ko iyon ngayong gabi. Ilang linggo ko rin iyong ginawa,” si Vincent.
“Wow, you’re right, Tito,” si Amer.

Pinili ni Amer na ibahin ang usapan. Kinamusta ang trabaho ni Dad upang mapag-usapan ang mga disenyo at mawala roon sa akin.

Nanatili ang mga mata ko kay Vincent. The waves of anger within me escalated to a devastating tides. My mind is haywired with so many things. Each time he laughs and looks at my father or mother, I get angry by the minute.

I kissed Amer goodbye after the dinner. Nag-aabang na sa labas ang kanilang SUV. He looked at me with such concern in his eyes. Alam ko. Matagal niya nang narealize iyon.

Ngumiti ako at nagkibit ng balikat.

“The black sheep just happens to be me,” paliwanag ko.
Umiling siya. “Amore, h’wag mo masyadong dibdibin. I understand you, completely. You’ve never heard my father’s insults when he realized I am gay.”

Napangiti ako roon. Hindi ko alam kung bakit. Ngumiti rin siya pero nag-aalala parin ang mga mata.

I waved at him sweetly as the SUV advanced. Nagdilim ang aking mukha nang tinalikuran ang malaking gate para makabalik sa library at makuha ang naiwang gamit doon.

My family, with Vincent is on our backyard garden. Kwentuhan at tawanan. Maging si Ate Lyanna ay nariringgan ko ng tawa kahit na hindi naman ito madalas nagsasalita.

Tumigil ako sa paanan ng hagdanan at pinagmasdan sila. Vincent is holding a glass of whiskey. My father is, too. Tinapik ni Daddy ang balikat ni Vincent at may binulong dito. Nagtawanan ulit sila.

“Ano ‘yan?” si Mommy at humalo na sa kanila.

I let out a long sigh before climbing the stairs. Dumiretso ako sa library at sa sofa’y hinagilap ang mga gamit.

Sa lamesa kung saan madalas kong nakikitang nagdodrawing si Vince ay nakita ko ang iilang mga papel. Ang dulo’y nililipad ng hangin dulot ng centralized aircon. For the first time, I got curious with his works.

Unti-unti akong lumapit doon. Tiningnan iyon at nakita ko ang disenyo ng isang skyscraper. Detailed from top to bottom. It is a massive spiraling-looking skyscraper.

Kumunot ang noo ko at tiningnan ang likod nito. Its other angle looks spiraling on the other side. Nakita ko ang isang note sa ibaba, written in hard all caps and with the same strokes…

“Illusion.”

Tumitig ako roon. I’m not good at these things. In fact, I don’t have any idea how this happened but the fact that it says illusion bothered me.

Muli kong tiningnan ang nasa likod at isa pang mas detalyadong kuha ng building ang naroon. The building looks spiraling but it is only an illusion. Uminit ang pisngi ko, walang maintindihan sa lahat, galit ang naghahari sa sistema.

This man is stealing my parent’s attention. This man wants our empire. He wants it for his own. He’s poor and his ambition is to successfully impress my Daddy!

I turned the shredder on. Walang pag-aalinlangan kong tinupi at pinakain ang papel na may disenyo roon.

I feel numb as I let the shredder cut everything into little pieces. Huling papel na nang bumukas ang pintuan ng library. Napatalon ako, tila natauhan sa ginawa ko.

Si Vincent ay nasa pintuan. Tiningnan muna niya ang shredder, tapos ang lamesa, bago ako. I was so freaking guilty. Lumandas ang takot sa aking sistema ngunit agad ko ring nawaksi. Why would I be scared? He should be scared, right?

“Anong ginawa mo?” unang tanong at tumaas agad ang boses niya.

His face darkened with anger. I was scared he’d hurt me for a moment. Kinain ng malalaking hakbang ang distansya namin. Bumaling siya sa shredder at hinawakan ang mga piraso ng papel.

He turned to me, his face coloured with anger. He’s torn between disbelief and outrage.

“Anong ginawa mo?” he probed in calmer.

Hindi ko alam na mas nakakatakot palang marinig ang diin ng mas mahinahong tanong kesa sa sigaw.

Gusto kong umamin pero hindi na iyon kailangan. He saw what I did. There is no need to explain it.

Ipinakita niya sa akin ng mga piraso ng papel. Umiigting ang mga panga sa galit at namumula ang mga mata.

“Care to explain to me?” mariin niyang sinabi.
“That’s what you get!” nanginig ang boses ko.

I did not realize that I’m on the verge of tears until I said it. Umurong ako dahil ang bawat hakbang niya palapit sa akin ay nakakatakot.

“Alam mo bang inaasahan ito ng Daddy mo na maipasa sa kanya bukas? I made this for weeks and you just…” he groaned.
“That’s what you get, you user!” I screamed.

Stunned, he looked at me with dimmed eyes.

“I know that you’re trying to win Daddy because you want our firm! You are poisoning your way to the top!” sigaw ko.

Kunot-noo niya akong tiningnan. Mabilis ang hininga, hindi humuhupa ang galit.

“Bagay lang ‘yan sa’yo! Your designs are cheap and ugly! You’re trying too much to fit but you won’t!”
“What the hell are-”
“Shut up! H’wag kang magmaang maangan! You know my Mommy and Daddy are fond of you! That’s why your using it to your advantage! Sorry ka na lang!” Tinuro ko siya. “I know that you’re a two-faced user! Gagawin ko ang lahat, tandaan mo, mawala ka lang dito sa bahay na ‘to! Mawala sa’yo ang lahat!”

Namilog ang mga mata ko nang isang kurap ay nakain na ang distansya sa pagitan namin. Mahigpit niyang hinawakan ang braso ko at inangat iyon sapat para masaktan ako sa rahas.

“Why don’t you tell your parents that? Hindi iyong ang trabaho ko ang pinag-iinitan mo, huh?”

Nangilid ang luha sa aking mga mata. Sa takot at sa kaba.

“Aray…” I cried when I realized that he’s holding me so tight and firm that it hurts.

Ang matalim niyang mga mata ay bumaba sa aking braso. Nakita ko ang pamumula niyon dahil sa hawak niya. Binitiwan niya agad ako.

Bumuhos ang luha ko at nag-ugat sa aking pwesto. My heart thumped so fast that I thought my chest will burst.

Tinakpan ko ng aking mga palad ang aking mukha habang patuloy akong umiyak. I heard him mutter a curse under his breath.

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