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Chapter 7.1 of The Absolutely Crazy Matriarchy

Chapter 7.1 of The Absolutely Crazy Matriarchy

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  • 1. Previously in The Absolutely Crazy Matriarchy: …The painting was interesting. A young blonde woman with a wistful tattoo of a swallow on one shoulder gazed thoughtfully into a mirror; but the mirror did not show her reflection. "The assessors are gonna have a field day with this one," muttered Lindsay. She couldn't shake the feeling that there was something profoundly odd about the painting, but she shrugged and set the canvas aside to be added to her folio…
  • 2. …Suze found her there, crying her eyes out. She didn't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out the source of her daughter's problems. "Oh, Lindsay. Men just aren't worth crying over." "H-h-he said he loved me!" "I know, honey. I know. He's still not worth it." Suze thought of Alejandro. "Not many of them are.“…
  • 3. …And so Lindsay and Adam moved onwards to meet their futures, leaving home behind... for now…
  • 4.
  • 5. … We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast.
  • 6. “Oh man, this is beyond awesome.” Adam chuckled, amused at his sister’s predictable reaction to being at college. “It’s just the Greek House, Linds.” “It’s not ‘just’ anything, little bro. It’s the place where we’re going to be spending four of the best years of our lives.” “Only you could see something like that in a slightly ugly grey brick building, Linds.” “I’m an artist, Adam. It’s what I do.”
  • 7. Once he managed to drag her inside, Adam whipped up some omelettes for a light breakfast. “I can’t wait to start classes! I’ve already been talking to a sophomore in my major and apparently the professors are really excellent, seriously know their stuff.” “You’ve started class stuff already?” asked Lindsay, surprised.
  • 8. “Well, sure. Haven’t you?” “Heck no! I’m an arts student! Plus, I’m probably not going to my lectures today. Got to do some stuff at the gallery.” Adam looked pained. “You can’t just blow off your first classes.” “Sure I can. It’s just housekeeping for the first week, isn’t it? So long as I get my assignments done on time, I bet I don’t even have to go to class ever.”
  • 9. “Besides, an arts degree really doesn’t mean a lot when I already own my own business. If I flunk out, so what? I have my paintings to support me.” “I just don’t get how you can be so flippant about study.” “We’re different people, Adam. I don’t get the geeky thing you’ve got going. Doesn’t mean we can’t get along. Especially if you keep cooking like this.”
  • 10. Once done with breakfast, Lindsay got a taxi to her new business. Veronaville Art Gallery was a small, unassuming building with a low-maintenance but pretty garden and an espresso bar out back.
  • 11. Lindsay hung her paintings with care on the plain white walls, adding subtle price tags to all of the artwork she intended to sell. A small handful from her private collection remained untagged.
  • 12. Eventually, everything was hung to Lindsay’s liking. She strode towards the door, pausing only to gaze at the one painting of hers that still mystified her. She hadn’t named the canvas, simply leaving it as Untitled. It still niggled at her that she had no idea who it was that she’d painted, if such a person existed. “Probably just being stupid. It’s just a painting,” she muttered to herself as she tore her gaze away and headed out the door.
  • 13. Back in Veronaville… “Oh no. No way.” Suze looked in panic at her midriff. “I’m too old to have kids again!”
  • 14. It was almost noon by the time Lindsay finally crawled out of bed the next morning. Adam’s bed was already neatly made; Lindsay just rolled her eyes and padded casually out of the bedroom.
  • 15. “Mornin’, little bro.” Lindsay gave Adam the thumbs-up as she passed. He didn’t reply.
  • 16. Lindsay mock-framed Adam in her hands. “This doesn’t make for a pretty picture, Adam. Working this hard at this time of the morning.” Without looking up, Adam said, “It’s actually afternoon now, Linds. Also, you’re distracting me.”
  • 17. “Oh, you poor baby. Well, I won’t be too much of an irritation; I’m heading down to the studio to do some messing around. After I answer the phone, of course.” “In your pyjamas?” “Why not?” asked Lindsay as she wandered downstairs.
  • 18. Five minutes later, Adam looked up. “Hang on. Answer the phone?” Downstairs, the phone started ringing. “I got it!” hollered Lindsay. “Yep, that was creepy.” Adam turned back to his term paper.
  • 19. Lindsay picked up the phone. “Annya-Nagard-Cham Greek House.” “Lindsay? It’s Mum.” “Hey! How’s life back at home going?” “…Eventful. I have news, if you haven’t seen it coming already.” “Do I have to go through this with you again? I’m not omnipotent, Mum. Just slightly uncanny.”
  • 20. “I know, Linds. Can you excuse your old mother her appalling sense of humour?” “I’ll think about it. Anyway, I want the news!” “I’m pregnant.”
  • 21. “You’re WHAT?” “Didn’t you pay attention in science class?” “Aw, Mum, I’m too old to be a big sister.” “HEY!” called Adam from upstairs. “Too old to be a big sister again, dorkus! Stop listening in on my phone calls!”
  • 22. “This isn’t exactly something I planned, Lindsay. It just sort of… happened.” “Obviously I wasn’t the only one not paying attention in science. These things don’t tend to just ‘happen’.” Suze rolled her eyes. “It did this time.”
  • 23. “Okay, whatever. In any case, I pity the poor kid. He or she’ll probably end up with Adam’s huge schnoz.” “HEY!” snapped Adam again. “Well, what did I tell you about listening in on my phone calls?” hollered Lindsay. Suze had gone oddly quiet over the phone. “Mum? What’s up?”
  • 24. “Well, this particular kid may not be, uh… your father’s.” “…What.” “Actually, I’m fairly sure he or she isn’t.” “Mum. Did you have a one night stand?” “Kinda?”
  • 25. “Mum, aren’t you a bit too old for that kind of thing?” “I’m an adult, Lindsay. I don’t need this kind of lecture from my daughter.” “Oh, so who’s going to give it to you? Gramma Rin? Psh, right.” “You may have a point there.”
  • 26. “Look, I know it was a stupid rebound thing, but I’ve spoken to Parker about it and I think we have a chance to make this work. He’s such a sweet guy, really, nothing like…” “…nothing like Dad? Hallelujah. You don’t have to pussyfoot around it, Mum – Dad’s an asshole, end of story.” “I wish you’d known him before he was an asshole.” “Mum, he was always an asshole. Just not around you.”
  • 27. “I guess you’re right.” “I always am. I’m uncanny, remember? Now, go out on your date with Parker. I’m happy for you, Mum, if a bit surprised.” “What date?” “Do I really have to go through this with you?” “…No. I’ll call you later, honey.” “Love you too, Mum.”
  • 28. After that revelation, the day passed fairly uneventfully. Lindsay wandered down to her mother’s old magic room, which she’d set up as an art studio, and pottered around for most of the day.
  • 29. She intended to open up the gallery as soon as possible, which meant she needed plenty of paintings to sell. She made up a few pretty pieces which would sell well to the public; things like sunflowers and still lifes.
  • 30. Adam, meanwhile, had discovered a certain talent for baking and proceeded to stock the fridge with several tasty pies and cakes, mostly for no reason other than he enjoyed making them.
  • 31. By the time Adam went to class and back, Lindsay had wandered inside, gotten dressed and gone to class herself. “You’re back a bit late,” commented Adam as Lindsay sat down to devour the grilled cheese sandwich her brother had made. “Yeah, I stayed back to speak to my lecturer. He’s actually kind of cool, and he can tell Manet from Monet, which is more than I can say for the idiots in my class.”
  • 32. “I also stayed in the front yard for a bit to watch the sentries zap the cow mascot. Pity you’ve already made dinner; we could have had fresh hamburgers.” “…That’s not funny.”
  • 33. The butler Adam had hired whisked away his plate as Lindsay attacked her meal with gusto. “So, you’re not gonna be the youngest any more, Adam. Huh.” “I really don’t see how you could be surprised by this, Linds. You saw it coming – Mum told me you did.” “Oh, because I’m psychic I’m not allowed to be caught unawares? I never saw anything like this.”
  • 34. Adam sighed, and picked up the assignment he’d left at the end of the table. “You did, though. Mum told me that when you were a toddler you said you were going to have a little brother and a little sister. You did the creepy eyes thing.” “I did? Mum never mentioned it to me. She said I did this thing where my eyes went grey, but she never said that I predicted anything out aloud.” “Well, since you were the one who said it she probably thought you knew what you’d said.”
  • 35. Lindsay shook her head and took a bite out of the sandwich. “Nope. When I do the eye thing, it’s like everything goes grey. I don’t remember anything I do, say, or see while that’s happening. It’s fairly freaky.” “…You remember this as a three-year old?” asked Adam. “Well, no. I had a grey-out when I was painting that picture of the blonde woman. No idea why – I must have seen something and painted it, but I don’t know if it’s significant or not.” “Hm.” Adam returned his attention to his paper, but his mind was whirling. He loved a good mystery.
  • 36. Life went on in the Greek House. Adam aced his first semester subjects and continued to excel.
  • 37. So did Lindsay, when prodded by her brother. With some persuasion, she actually started putting plenty of effort towards her term papers, even if she sometimes skipped classes to goof off in her studio or work on making the gallery ready for its grand opening.
  • 38. “Hee! All done!” Lindsay patted herself on the back as she sent her paper to her professor’s online drop box.
  • 39. “Look, Adam! I finished a term paper!” Adam chuckled. “You do know that you’ll have to do one of those a semester for the next three years?” “Stop trying to bust my happy bubble.”
  • 40. “So can I go out now? Can I? Can I? Pleeeeeease?” “You’re an adult now, Linds. You can make your own decisions.” “By ‘can I go out now?’ I meant ‘let me take you out to the student union and have some fun for once, little brother’.”
  • 41. “Because schoolwork isn’t fun?” “Oh, you’re such a stick-in-the-mud. Come on. There’ll be plenty of pretty girls shooting pool there; you should totally come along and stop being a total shut-in.” “I’m fine, Linds. And besides, Gramma Rin already told me what her present to me was – she’s sending me off to a bachelor challenge somewhere or other. If I found anyone here I’d have to break it off with her.” “Fine then. I’ll be back sometime this afternoon; I have some hustling to do.”
  • 42. At the union, Lindsay bumped into a girl in her classes who she’d become friendly with. Rishell was happy to shoot a little pool with Lindsay and gossip about the professors and students. “Don’t look now, Lindsay, but there’s a guy over there who’s totally checking you out,” muttered Rishell.
  • 43. Lindsay, ever contrary, looked boldly up into the face of a young man with a blond fauxhawk. “Mind if I join you, ladies?” he asked, directing the question primarily at Lindsay.
  • 44. “I don’t see why not.” Lindsay finished her shot and moved around the table to stand next to him. He was attractive in an interesting rather than classically handsome way, and as a bonus he was blond – Lindsay’s favourite on a man.
  • 45. He took his shot, and flubbed an easy pocket by just sideswiping the ball rather than smacking it head-on. “That was pretty terrible,” laughed Lindsay.
  • 46. “Oh, and I suppose you could do better,” he said, grinning. “Of course. I’ve already wiped the table with Rish over there twice this afternoon.” Lindsay saw out of the corner of her eye that Rishell was edging away, grinning broadly. The pool game was entirely forgotten; Lindsay didn’t care. This guy was interesting. “Hey, I know you,” he said. “You’re the redhead who sits three rows in front of me in Prof Harding’s lectures.” “You’re an Arts major, too?” “Yup. I’m Zack.”
  • 47. “Lindsay.” “Nice meeting you, Lindsay,” Zack said sincerely. “How’s your term project coming along?” “The human portrait? Not so good. My brother refuses to pose for me, and at the moment it’s looking like I’ll have to paint the butler.”
  • 48. “He’d probably object to that. In my experience, butlers tend to dislike getting anything on their spiffy uniforms, much less paint.” “Ha ha,” said Lindsay, watching Zack’s mouth quirk at her bite of sarcasm. “Surely there’s someone else in your dorm who you could paint,” said Zack. “Not in a dorm. I’m living in my family’s Greek House, so I’m stuck with my brother. I could drag one of the mascots into the studio, but they hardly qualify as human.”
  • 49. “Well, I have the *perfect* solution,” said Zack cheerfully. “We could totally paint each other.” “As in the portrait sense, I hope,” said Lindsay. Zack chuckled, pleased that she’d thrown his own joke back at him. She liked his sense of humour. “Yes, as in portraits. I have to point out that I do abstract art, though – so don’t freak out if I paint you with purple hair.”
  • 50. “Trust me, that’s actually pretty normal in my family.” “I think I like your family.” Lindsay grinned. “Most people do. In general, anyway – we have a couple of crazies here and there, just like everyone else.
  • 51. “So, we could meet for coffee to discuss logistics and such tomorrow, if you like,” said Zack. “I have a better idea. My brother’s at class now, so he won’t freak if I bring a strange man into my art studio. I could get started today.” Zack blinked, then smiled broadly. “Awesome. You have a studio?” “Yep. Benefit of having my own Greek House.”
  • 52. “This isn’t just a sneaky way of inviting a handsome man over to your house, is it?” asked Zack playfully. “Hey, you suggested the portrait thing. Besides, does it matter to you if it is?” “Depends if the emphasis in the sentence is on handsome.” Lindsay laughed. “Now that that’s sorted out, let’s get going.”
  • 53. “Make sure you get my good side,” joked Zack as Lindsay dabbed her brush into the paints on her smeared palette. “You’re facing the wrong way,” Lindsay muttered, trying to blend the right colours for Zack’s skin. Zack roared with laughter. “Hey! No moving! Yeesh, artists make for the worst painting subjects.”
  • 54. “This is a pretty awesome space you have here, Lindsay.” Zack eyed the paint spatters on the walls with an artist’s eye. “Interesting decorating scheme.” “Oh, that. I dropped a box of paints when I first set the place up, and decided to continue the theme onto the walls as well as the rest of the floor.” She quickly sketched a few guidelines. “It’s great. You have so much going on in here.” He gestured to the pottery wheel which had a half-finished sculpture on it, and the miniature easel on the desk with its tiny half-painted canvas.
  • 55. “Mm-hmm.” Zack watched Lindsay paint. She had a rapt expression on her face as her brush glided across the canvas, painting guidelines with which she would free the image hidden behind the gesso. She looked radiant. Zack smiled crookedly. He was pretty sure he was falling in love with this pretty redhead, her honest grin and her paint-spattered shoes. He’d watched her in lectures and had been intrigued by her openness and the beauty of her work. And now, by happy coincidence, he had a good chance at making her his.
  • 56. Of course, that’s when her brother walked in. “Lindsay, have you seen my… Oh. Uh, hi.”
  • 57. Zack grinned disarmingly. “Hi. I’m Zack. Lindsay’s doing my portrait for her term project.” “Stop moving your mouth,” Lindsay said crossly. “I see,” said Adam delicately. “I’ll put your dinner in the fridge, Linds.” Discreetly, he walked out again. “Yeah, whatever,” said Lindsay five minutes after he’d left.
  • 58. After a couple hours, Lindsay set down her brush and palette and stretched. “I think that ought to do for today.” Zack smiled. “You know, I was serious about the coffee. Maybe we could go out sometime for it.” Lindsay looked at him coyly. “I have a better idea. How about dinner?” “Tonight? Your brother said he’d already cooked for you.” “Not tonight, but sometime soon. I’ll give you a call.”
  • 59. Lindsay walked into the lounge and waved cheerfully at her brother. “Hey! How was class? Did you get a big shiny A on your assignment?”
  • 60. “Nice try at nonchalance, Linds. Come on, ‘fess up. Who was that tall, blond and handsome stranger?” “He’s Zack. He told you that.”
  • 61. They stood looking at each other, arms folded for some time. Then Adam sighed, and gestured at the poker table. “I think we need to talk.”
  • 62. “I don’t really see how it’s any business of yours, really,” said Lindsay, unable to hide the huge grin on her face. “Of course it’s my business. You’re my big sister and I don’t want you to get messed up with another Armando.” Lindsay flinched. “Armando was a mistake that I am not going to repeat. Ever.”
  • 63. “Well, I hope you’re right about this Zack, Linds. Because if he hurts you, I may be forced to do something unpleasant to him with a spork.” “Adam, you’re such a geek that your threats sound kinda pathetic.” “…I’m not even in the least bit threatening?” “You’re about as threatening as a teddy bear. With a pink bow tie.”
  • 64. Adam sighed. “Oh well.” “So, we’re good?” “We’re good. He seems nice enough. How do you know him, anyway?” “Well, he’s in my Art class, but I only really met him today when I bumped into him at the student union. We shot some pool, we got to talking about art, then I decided he’d make for a good model. That’s pretty much it.”
  • 65. “Oh well, at least he’s not some stranger,” Adam said with a bite of lighthearted sarcasm. Lindsay eyed Adam. “Did you actually make a joke, little bro?” “Me? Never.”
  • 66. Two days later, Lindsay picked up the phone and called Zack’s dorm. “Zack? It’s Lindsay. Feel like having that meal tonight?” “Sounds good to me. I’m tired of burnt macaroni and soggy pancakes. Real food sounds great.” “It’s a date, then.” “Is it?” “…Yeah. It is.” Lindsay grinned. It felt awesome being able to say it without tiptoeing around.
  • 67. “This isn’t a restaurant,” pointed out Zack as Lindsay examined a statue in the art gallery she’d dragged him to. “Uh, no. It isn’t. I thought, since we’re both artists, it’d be sort of nice to go to a gallery before dinner. Also, since I have my own gallery, it’s an opportunity to check out the competition.”
  • 68. Zack laughed. “You’re cute when you’re planning something.” “Cute? Is that the best you can do?” “Well, I’m an artist, not a poet. But I can do something that doesn’t involve words that will show you just what I think.” “Yeah?”
  • 69. “Yeah.”
  • 70. After the gallery, the couple went out to one of the local restaurants and enjoyed a light meal with plenty of conversation about art and the gallery.
  • 71. They ‘discussed’ other things, too.
  • 72. After the date, they wandered back to Lindsay’s studio, where she did some more work on the painting. Zack was happy to watch Lindsay work, fascinated as always by her absorption in the painting. Oh yeah. He had it bad.
  • 73. Lindsay was infectiously cheerful for the entirety of the next day, not even becoming cranky when a cow mascot tried to break into her studio.
  • 74. The huge bunch of roses that appeared on the doorstep did nothing to spoil her mood, either.
  • 75. “…so you see my romantic life hasn’t been exactly un-complicated.” Just as Lindsay had predicted, Suze had somehow ended up on a date with Parker. They’d been exchanging awkward phone calls for a while, before Parker finally asked Suze out to one of the local cafés for a light meal. Suze had had some trouble moving around with her huge pregnant belly, but Parker had proven to be gallant and had helped her out of the taxi.
  • 76. Parker smiled. “I suspected as much when I ran into you at the bar that night. You had bad-break-up written all over you.” “Then why? Why did you come home with me?” “I was drunk and lonely too. And I saw a pretty woman across the bar who I wanted to get to know better.” Parker eyed Suze’s stomach. “That worked out better than I thought it would.”
  • 77. “It’s just…” Suze sighed. “I’d like us to have some kind of relationship, for the baby’s sake. She deserves to have both parents.” “She? Who says it’s not a boy?” “Call it a hunch. Anyway. I want to be friends with you, Parker – if that’s okay?”
  • 78. “You only want to be friends?” asked Parker incredulously. “What else is there to be? We made a stupid drunken mistake and now we have to act like grown-ups and deal with the consequences. We’ve been forced together, Parker. This isn’t exactly a love match.” “That’s where you’re wrong.”
  • 79. Parker reached across the table and took Suze’s hand. “I know you’ve been hurt by men before, Suze. So if you like, we can take this slowly. But I’d be an idiot if I let myself be ‘just friends’ with a beautiful, intelligent woman like you.” “You think I’m beautiful?” asked Suze quietly. She hadn’t been told that in a long, long time. “I know it. We can make this work, Suze – if you’re willing.” “I… I think I am.”
  • 80. Alejandro Seavey wandered past the café at that moment. Since moving out of the Greek House, he’d been more or less jobless and broke. He could barely afford the apartment he lived in, and wouldn’t be able to afford it much longer. He blamed his misfortunes on Susannah. If he’d never become tangled up with her, he’d still be living the high life of a college mascot.
  • 81. As he walked by, some compulsion made him stop and look around. He couldn’t say exactly what it was, but something in his world felt profoundly wrong.
  • 82. He looked into the window of the café, and was shocked to see Susannah sitting at one of the tables. She was with another man. She was holding his hand. And she was very obviously pregnant.
  • 83. Something inside Alejandro broke. Unable to look at the happy scene inside, he fled for his apartment, feeling a hollow burning in his gut.
  • 84. Once home, he sat dejectedly on his bed, head in hands. Susannah’s face floated through his troubled mind. What the hell had he done? He’d given up a wonderful woman because he couldn’t control her. He’d lost any hope he’d ever had at having contact with his two children. And another man had taken advantage of this, and mended the heart that Alejandro had broken. “You are an idiot, Alejandro Seavey,” he told himself. He’d given up the best thing in his life without realising it.
  • 85. “Wakey wakey, little brother! It’s the big day!” “The what now?” asked Adam sleepily, dragging himself out of bed. Lindsay was perched on the edge of her own bed. “Art gallery opening day! You said you’d help out!” “I knew I’d regret it,” groaned Adam.
  • 86. At the gallery, Lindsay dragged Adam to the cash register. “So, you’ll be a cashier for today.” “Slight problem. I have no idea how to use a cash register,” confessed Adam. “Oh, how hard can it be?” said Lindsay airily.
  • 87. “Pretty tricky, apparently.” “What’s hard about it? Push button, open till. Put money in till. Close till. A monkey could do it.” “I think there’s more to it than…” Adam trailed off as his sister skipped off to put up the Open sign. “What have I gotten myself into?”
  • 88. Fir the next few hours, Lindsay showed customers around the art gallery, and subtly pointed out the merits of certain paintings that were on sale. She turned out to be a natural saleswoman and many paintings made their way out the door that day. The painting shown in the background here is taken from a photograph by one of my best friends in the non-Simming world. You can see more of her work at: http://kawproductions.deviantart.com
  • 89. Adam, however, was having slightly less fun. “Let’s see here. Uh, so that’s $3,500, so I hit this button, and then the till should pop open…” The till failed to open. The customer sighed in irritation as Adam struggled to work the recalcitrant cash register.
  • 90. Customers continued to pour in, eager to purchase a little culture for themselves or to view the work of Veronaville’s most exciting new talent.
  • 91. Even Fire dropped in briefly to say hi. How’s the gallery going, Lindsay? “Great! I’ve made tons of money. It’s amazing how much people are willing to pay for statues and stuff.” Your work must be very good. “Well, yeah, it is, but I have to try and appear humble in front of the mundanes.”
  • 92. Finally the day came to a close and Lindsay had to put up the Closed sign.
  • 93. Adam had gained some confidence with the register and managed to ring up the last customer without any disasters. “Do you just work here, or are you the artist?” asked the blonde woman he served. “Ah, neither. My sister's the artist. I just got bullied into helping out.” “Wow. It must be interesting having an artist as a sister.” “Tell me about it.” The woman laughed, and gave him a little wave as she exited.
  • 94. “Thank you, Adam! Your help today was awesome!” “Can I have a favour in return?” asked Adam. “Anything.” “Never again. Please? I’m not cut out for the retail life.”
  • 95. “I think I can work with that. Who was that girl you were talking to a couple minutes ago?” “Just a customer, Linds.” A faint blush crept up Adam’s neck. “She was very pretty,” teased Lindsay. “Why am I not surprised at the prying? Bachelor Challenge, remember?” “Doesn’t mean you can’t look, little bro.”
  • 96. Back at the main house… “Oh, cheesecake.” Suze stood up from the couch as pain rippled through her abdomen. “Muuuuuuuuum! BABY TIME!”
  • 97. The butler rushed in, with Rin in hot pursuit. “Why can’t you do this at night, like normal people?” asked Rin. “This isn’t exactly something I have control over!” yelled Suze.
  • 98. Summoned by the racket, several of the Chandlers’ neighbours rushed in. Immediately, everyone began calling out advice or just started staring, gobsmacked. “I COULD HANDLE THIS A LOT BETTER WITHOUT THE AUDIENCE!”
  • 99. Zack knocked on the door of the Greek House. “Hey, Lindsay?” He waited a beat. “Adam? Anyone home?”
  • 100. After a minute, he let himself in. “Lindsay? You said you’d be home this afternoon!” he called.
  • 101. “There you are!” Lindsay was sitting on the couch. “Hey, I thought I’d come over and see how the grand opening went. You sounded pretty excited on the phone so obviously things went…” Lindsay turned to face him.
  • 102. “Whoa.”