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No Regrets

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Thanks for all the nice comments. :)

“Kirsty, we’re leaving!” Jade threatened, heading to the front door. “I mean it!”

“I’m coming!” Kirsty called frantically. “I just…I can’t find my keys. You haven’t seen them, have you?” She didn’t really want to go to the party tonight, but Jade had insisted, saying that she had to stop moping around and start meeting new people. It was a party being thrown by one of Jade’s husband’s friends, and Kirsty desperately hoped that Jade wasn’t going to try and set her up with someone. But right now, she might not be going out at all if she couldn’t find those keys.

She dashed into the hall, looking about frantically, while Jade’s husband Matthew watched her with amusement, and picked up an item from the shelf near the front door.

“What, you mean these?” he said with a smile.

She grabbed them out of his hand with relief. “Thank goodness. I’d forget my head if it wasn’t screwed on.”

Jade was still poised by the door. “Good, can we go now?”

At the party, Kirsty felt suddenly shy, surrounded by all these people she didn’t know, and retreated into a corner with a glass of wine, wishing she hadn’t let Jade bully her into coming. She was relieved when Jade appeared a few minutes later, but was disturbed when she grabbed her upper arm with a vice-like grip.

“Have you seen who’s here?” Jade hissed.

Kirsty was completely confused. “No. Who?”

Jade made an angry and disgusted face. “You won’t believe it. Kane Phillips.”

Kirsty felt suddenly very sick and very cold. “Oh?” she said, trying to keep her voice level and innocent. Jade didn’t seem to notice any problem with her, focussed as she was on her dislike of Kane.

“I asked what he was doing here, and Matthew went and found out. Apparently his wife’s brother works for the same company as Matthew, or something. Can you believe it? He’s married.”

“What’s so surprising about that?” Kirsty said a little prickily, automatically going to defend Kane, but Jade didn’t seem to hear her, having caught sight of the couple in question on the far side of the room.

“Look! There she is. Do you think she knows? About what he did? Surely she wouldn’t have married him if she did know.”

Kirsty pulled Jade away, hissing under her breath. “Stop staring, it’s embarrassing. It’s none of our business anyway.” She directed some anger at Jade, in order to cover up how she was feeling at seeing Kane like that, in a couple with Claire. How much she longed to go over and embrace him, but she knew it wasn’t possible, would never be again. She glanced over Jade’s shoulder, just in time to see him place his arm round Claire’s waist in an affectionate gesture. He seemed happy. She guessed it hadn’t taken him long to forget her.

“Do you want to leave?” she asked, hoping Jade would say yes, so that she wouldn’t have to watch Kane and Claire play happy families any longer, but Jade’s eyes flashed, and she looked determined.

“I’m not letting him spoil my evening,” she said. “We’ll just ignore him. It’s just good that Dani isn’t here.”

Kirsty comforted herself with the knowledge that at least Jade would be unlikely to go over and speak to Kane and Claire, so wouldn’t find out that she already knew that he was back. She could only imagine how well that would go down. She cast a brief look of longing in his direction. Oh Kane.

Kane slipped his arm around Claire, forcing his mouth into a smile, and being rewarded with a happy look from Claire for his efforts. Well, at least she was enjoying the evening. He was really trying to be there for her, play the caring husband, but sometimes he felt that was all it was: an act. He had affection for Claire, but not love, not any more. But she seemed happy, at least, and that was the most important thing.

He was just leaving in search of something non-alcoholic to drink since he was driving, when he bumped into an alarmingly familiar figure. They stared at each other for a moment.

“Kane. What a nice surprise seeing you here,” Jade said sarcastically.

“I guess it’s your lucky day,” Kane said dryly. “You’re looking…older,” he added. His heart pounded inside his chest, wondering what she was doing here, and if Kirsty might be with her.

“Who are you here with, then?” he asked carefully.

Jade smiled grimly. “What, is Dani here, you mean?” she said, with half a glance back in Claire’s direction.

“Or your Dad. I always enjoy the opportunity to get my head kicked in.”

Jade smiled nastily. “Unfortunately, no. Just me and Kirsty.”

Kane’s heart leapt a little at the mention of her name. So she was here!

“Well, as much as I’m enjoying this little chat, life’s too short,” he said, and pushed past her.

“You leave her alone!” Jade suddenly cried out, and Kane turned rather sharply.

“Who?” Did she mean Kirsty? What did she know?

“Dani. Keep away from her.”

Kane was unable to stop the irritation from building up. “Jade. Why on earth would I want to go anywhere near her? I’ve got better things to do, all right?” He stalked off back over to Claire, not waiting to hear Jade’s response.

Claire had evidently being watching the exchange, although she couldn’t hear what was being said. “What was that about?” she asked, with a bemused expression.

“I knew her family, many years ago,” Kane said, his brain working rapidly. “They never liked me.” He glanced over to see if his words had been convincing.

“Oh,” she said. “Bit of a troublemaker, were you?” she teased.

“Yeah.” He smiled uneasily. “Something like that.” A thought suddenly crossed his mind. “You know that friend I met up with. Kirsty.” Claire nodded. “Well, that’s Jade’s sister, so it would be better if you didn’t tell anyone I’ve been talking to her, ok? Just to reduce the aggro.”

Claire still looked a bit puzzled, but she shrugged her shoulders. “Yeah, ok,” she said, wondering with some amusement how Kane managed to make things so complicated.

Kirsty checked her watch with a sigh. She really wanted to be leaving, but since she had come with Jade and Matthew, she couldn’t leave until they were ready. It wasn’t that the people at the party weren’t nice, but seeing Kane here had thrown her, and she was finding it hard to make small talk with random strangers.

Give it another half an hour, and maybe Jade would be ready to go.

Working her way across the room, she headed out into the garden, seeking some air since it was getting a bit close inside. She felt a presence behind her, and turned to see Kane standing there.

“So, how are things?” she asked awkwardly, feeling a frission of excitement at being close to him.

“Good, yeah good,” he replied automatically.

She smiled politely and went to walk past him, when he put out a hand to stop her.

“Well, actually, not so great.” He shouldn’t be saying this, but when he had seen her go out into the garden, he hadn’t been able to stop himself following. He gently ran one finger down her arm.

“I miss you so much, Kirst. I feel like I’m going crazy.”

“What about Claire? You two looked pretty cosy, in there,” she said, trying to keep her voice cool.

With a quick glance around to ensure they were unobserved, he bent down to brush her neck with his lips. “It’s not the same. I don’t love her.”

She shivered at the sensation of his touch, feeling her hurt and resolve melting from being so close to him again. “We shouldn’t…” she said, but she didn’t pull away. He took her hand and pulled her further into the shadows, so they couldn’t be seen from the house, and then he was kissing her passionately, holding her tightly, with her returning the embrace with as much desire as him.

They were caught up in each other when a voice quite nearby startled them, causing them to leap apart with beating hearts. Kirsty fled away back to the house before he could stop her, and he was left, trying to regain his composure. So much for all his worthy intentions.

Kirsty rushed through the room, looking for Jade. She wanted to leave, right now! It was all too much of a mess, and she couldn’t cope with it. But the room was crowded, and she wished that she was taller as she searched desperately for Jade’s blonde head amongst the sea of people. A blonde figure was approaching her, but she realised with a sinking feeling that it was Claire.

“Hi,” Claire said nervously. “Kane said about your family, and not getting on, and not to say we knew you but…I wanted to apologise about that time you came over. I was really rude. I’m sorry.”

Kirsty had been waiting for Claire to confront her, sure that she somehow knew about the affair, or maybe someone had seen something just then in the garden… An apology was the last thing she expected, and she blinked like a rabbit caught in headlights.

“Umm…yeah. It’s ok. Don’t worry about it.” She didn’t really want to have Claire apologising to her, not after her own betrayal. She smiled weakly and turned to leave, but Claire wasn’t finished yet.

“I was wondering. Are you still friends with Kane? He doesn’t tell me anything.” She gave a sad little laugh. “It’s just…he’s been really good lately, you know, with the baby and everything, but…a bit distant, sometimes. I’ve been starting to worry that maybe he doesn’t love me anymore. That maybe he is just staying with me because of the baby. I mean it’s probably me being silly, the hormones and everything, but… Could you perhaps talk to him? I mean, don’t tell him I asked you, but just…you know…sound out how he’s feeling.”

Kirsty was horrified. This was the worst, having Kane’s wife ask her for help to save their marriage. She had a vivid image of them kissing down in the shadows of the garden, while Claire waited in the room above, alone. “I don’t know…” she said, trying to think of a way to refuse.

“Please, Kirsty? It would mean a lot to me.” There was just such sadness and hope in Claire’s eyes, Kirsty had to say yes. What else could she do? Claire walked away to find Kane, and Kirsty watched her go. Sorry. I’m so sorry.

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I'm really happy that you're all enjoying the story, and here is the next part:

There was a knock at the door, and Kane jumped, tense from waiting, and then leapt up to answer it.

“Hi,” he said with a relieved smile, and lead Kirsty by the hand into the hotel room. “I thought you weren’t coming.”

She looked nervous and uncomfortable, her arms folded across her stomach in a protective gesture. “I nearly didn’t.” She had agreed to meet up with Kane when he had called, but then the memory of Claire’s expression as she asked for Kirsty’s help had come back to her, and she felt guilty.

He reached out and cupped her cheek with one hand. “Don’t feel bad, ok? It’s me that’s doing the wrong thing, not you.”

She pulled away from him and sat on the end of the bed, shaking her head. “I don’t think it works like that.” Frowning, she said, “I don’t know why this feels worse than before, but it does, somehow.” Maybe it was because there was a child involved now, too.

He joined her on the bed and took her hand. “I’ve been thinking, perhaps once the baby is born… But I can’t leave her before then. She needs me.”

Kirsty nodded with resignation, and leant into him, resting her head on his shoulder. “Can we forget about her, forget about everyone, just for today, please?”

“I think I can manage that,” he said, tipping her head up so that he could kiss her, thinking if only it could always be just the two of them.

Dani wandered along the road, enjoying the balmy warmth of the evening. She was thinking back to the wonderful day that she had had with Adam, and looked happily down at the engagement ring on her finger. He was such a wonderful man, and she had been over the moon when he asked her to marry him. Lost in her own world, she suddenly caught sight of a figure walking past, out of the corner of her eye. She didn’t know what it was, maybe something familiar about the posture, or the way he walked, but she knew instantly who it was. It was him – Kane. A sudden feeling of fear engulfed her. Calm down, she said to herself, it’s ok. It’s in the past. You’ve got a new life. Let’s leave it there.

But almost against her own volition, she found herself following him. She was filled with an inescapable need to find out what he was doing here. Did he live here? Neither Jane nor Kirsty had mentioned it. But then maybe they were protecting her. Or maybe he was just visiting, and it was all just a horrible co-incidence that she had seen him at all.

He was walking rapidly, and she had trouble keeping up with him. She was also afraid that he might see her, because he kept glancing around, as though he thought someone might be watching him. Her sense of fear increased. What was he up to? He might have hurt someone! She had to do something. She couldn’t let him hurt someone again.

The route he was talking was through the suburbs, past the lines of white wooden bungalows, looking like wide-spaced teeth. She didn’t know this area well, but suddenly it started to appear familiar. There was a sick feeling in her stomach when she realised why. This was where Kirsty lived. That was her house, on the corner. With every fibre in her body she willed him to keep on walking, to walk past. To go into any other house, do anything else, but not that one. Not Kirsty.

She watched helplessly as he went up the drive, and knocked on the front door. It was quickly answered, and he went inside. It might not be what it looked like, she thought to herself. There could be a perfectly reasonable explanation for everything, although she didn’t try to think about what that would be. She had to be sure.

Glancing around, and seeing no-one about, she carefully crossed the road and peered in a side window. The lounge, empty. At the back of the house, where she was shielded from view by fences, she found another window, with the curtains pulled almost to. There was just a slight gap to see through. For a moment she realised what she was doing – spying through curtains on her own sister! – but her need to know overpowered her. She pressed her face close to the glass.

Through the gap in the curtains she could see that the room was Kirsty’s bedroom. There were two figures together on the bed, the man leaning over the woman, holding her wrists together with one hand. The woman was twisting under his grip, and screaming Stop it, Stop it… Dani was frozen with shock and horror. No, it couldn’t be, not again, not her family. For the figures on the bed were Kane and Kirsty.

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The thought of being tracked down by ILM was a terrifying one, so here is the next instalment. Enjoy!

As Dani stood there, she could feel her mind screaming at her, Do something! She had to stop it, she had to save Kirsty. She wouldn’t freeze again. Looking around, she spied a large stone on the ground, and lifting it up, she threw it with all her might at the window, passing through the pane with a shattering of broken glass. Running round to the front door of the house, she started hammering on it frantically, calling out to Kirsty.

There was a pause, and then she heard feet come running, and Kirsty wrenched the door open.

“Dani!” she said with an expression of surprise and horror.

Dani reached forward and pulled her into her arms. “It’s ok, Kirsty, you’re safe now, I won’t let him hurt you.”

But to her shock, Kirsty pulled back and started shaking her head. “What are you talking about, Dani? I’m fine.”

“But… I saw… You and Kane, he was hurting you, I saw…” She didn’t understand why Kirsty was denying it. What had he done to her? Why did she insist on supporting him, even now?

Kirsty went rather pale. “You saw…” Suddenly she looked shocked. “Did you throw that stone? You could have hurt someone!”

Dani was upset and confused by the reaction she was getting. “But I was trying to save you, Kirst. He was attacking you, I saw it.” From behind Kirsty, she saw a figure emerge from one of the rooms, and she tried to pull Kirsty behind her.

“You stay away!” she screamed. “Leave her alone!”

“He wasn’t hurting me,” Kirsty tried to placate her. “We were just mucking about, he was tickling me, that was all.”

“I wouldn’t hurt her!” Kane protested, offended. “I wouldn’t do that.”

The truth of the situation was slowly beginning to sink in for Dani, as she realised why Kane had been at Kirsty’s house. “So…you and him…how could you, Kirst? Why again? Don’t you understand what he’s like? Was it because you were jealous? That I was happy, that I was getting married?” She started to back away from Kirsty.

“Please, Dani,” Kirsty begged. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you. It’s just…I love him.”

“No, no, you can’t.”

In the background, Kane stepped forward and seemed about to say something, but then changed his mind, and stood awkwardly, unconsciously twisting his wedding ring round his finger. Dani stared at him with a look of distress on her face, until she suddenly noticed the ring.

“Please tell me you didn’t.”

“What?” Kirsty didn’t understand.

Dani pointed with a shaking hand. Kane, realising what he had done, covered up his hand with the other.

Kirsty rushed to reassure Dani. “Oh no, no. He’s married to someone else.” And then suddenly stopped when she heard herself say the words. Kane winced from somewhere behind her, and she looked round apologetically to meet his eyes. “Erm…”

Dani turned round and ran down the steps, and across the garden.

“Wait…Dani…” Kirsty called but she didn’t stop. She had to get away from the nightmare that her life had become again.

Kirsty stared out of the window at Dani’s retreating back, not looking at Kane.

“I can’t believe she thought I had hurt you. That I would ever hurt you.” Kane was deeply hurt and frustrated. “Why can’t she leave it? How long will I have to pay for what happened?

“I don’t know,” Kirsty said stiffly.

“Babe…” He took a step forward and tried to embrace her, but she backed away from him.

“Just don’t, all right?” She couldn’t bear to think of the pain in Dani’s face when she realised the truth. All the pain, that she was responsible for.

“We can work something out, it will be ok,” he pleaded. He couldn’t lose her again, not now.

She stared at him, and then she appeared angry, anger that she directed at him. “Exactly how is it going to be all right, Kane? Do you think Dani will suddenly decide she’s ok about us after all!? She’s my sister. I betrayed her. I wouldn’t blame my family if they didn’t speak to me again.”

He opened his mouth to respond, but she stopped him. “And not forgetting you’re still married. That’s not exactly good for a long term future, is it?”

There wasn’t an answer to that, and Kane knew it. “So what do we do?”

“I think you had the right idea all along,” she said bluntly. “Goodbye, Kane. Shut the door on your way out.”

Kane walked home, his mind shocked and stunned at what had happened. He had known deep inside that he couldn’t keep seeing Kirsty secretly, and stay with Claire; that someone would be bound to find something out sooner or later, but he had ignored the thought. She was like a drug to him, and he was hooked once more. He didn’t know how he would be able to live without her.

At home, Claire was making a cup of tea, and he went to give her a kiss on the cheek, but she moved her head away.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, suddenly wary.

She looked at him, and her eyes were flat and expressionless, as though all the energy had been drained out of them. “I had a visitor today.”

Kane had an unpleasant sinking sensation, and had a horrible feeling he could guess what was coming next. “Oh?”

“A woman called Dani Sutherland. She told me some things about…you…and her… How could you do that to her, to anyone?” Claire’s voice was horrified and disbelieving.

His heart started thudding like a funeral bell inside his chest. “It was a long time ago. I wasn’t a nice person then. I made a mistake…” he pleaded.

“A mistake?!” she rounded on him. “How can that be a mistake?! You’re sick.”

“No, I didn’t mean it like that, that wasn’t the right word… I didn’t mean to hurt her, if I could take it back…”

She looked at him with shocked eyes. “I thought you were a nice guy, I thought I knew you.” She sucked in a sudden breath. “I married you!”

“Claire, please…” He reached out to touch her arm, but she wrenched it out of his reach, and her voice went hard.

“Don’t pretend like you care. That wasn’t the only thing she told me. I know all about you and Kirsty.”

He just stared at her, trying to formulate something to say, but there wasn’t anything. It was all crashing down in flames and there was nothing he could do to stop it. And worst of all, he knew that it was all his fault, that this mess was all of his own making. Everything you touch, it turns to dust in the end.

“You might at least try to think of an excuse!” she screamed. “I wanted to make it work, I loved you! I thought you loved me, but no, the moment it got hard you run off and start screwing some cheap slut.”

Anger built up in Kane at the sound of Kirsty being talked about in this fashion. “She’s not. How dare you talk about her like that!”

Claire’s anger was almost a match for his. “I’ll talk about her however I want, the nasty little tart, who can’t keep her hands off other’s people’s men. And with the guy who did that to her own sister, it’s disgusting.”

“Shut up!” Kane yelled, and the anger filled his mind like an all-consuming blackness. It had been a long time since he had felt that way, but the events of the day had destroyed the normal mechanisms he had in place for controlling his temper. Without thinking, he reached out and grabbed her by the shoulders, intending to shake her, but she suddenly crumpled to the ground, holding her stomach.

“Oh my God, are you all right?” he panicked, the anger suddenly wiped clear. “I didn’t…I didn’t mean to…I…” Had he hurt her? He hadn’t meant to, oh God if he had caused something to happen to the baby…

Claire was curled on the ground, whimpering oh oh it hurts! in a voice filled with fear.

Kane grabbed the phone off the wall. “It’ll be ok,” he said, trying to keep his voice calm. “An ambulance will come, it will be ok.”

He finished the call and crouched down next to her. “Just breathe, babe, just breathe,” he said, but even in her pain and fear filled state, she tried to move away from him.

“Keep away,” she hissed from between clenched teeth. “Don’t touch me.” And then she said the next sentence that cut Kane to his very soul. “This is your fault. All of it. If I lose the baby, it will be all because of you.”

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Final chapter, enjoy:

The aseptic hospital ward, with everything a bland shade of cream, brought back bad memories of previous visits. Claire looked very small and pale in the bed, like a china doll, her hair arranged around her on the pillow, like a blonde halo. Her arms rested limply on the sheet covering her. When he entered she didn’t acknowledge him, just continued to stare blankly at the ceiling, while the tears leaked silently from the corners of her eyes.

He lowered himself onto the visitor’s chair next to the bed, and sat quietly for a moment, mind blank with grief. Any words he could think to say seemed hollow or glib, and unworthy.


“Don’t say it,” she said harshly. “Whatever you have to say, I don’t want to hear it.”

“I’m sorry.”

“What good is that?” she hissed with cold anger. “That won’t bring my baby back. That won’t mend the damage you’ve done. Just get out. I don’t ever want to see you again.”

The car drove up to the place by the beach, where the bench stood, overlooking the water dotted with white sails. One last look and then he would be gone. He didn’t know where he was going, but there was nothing for him here. It was his own fault, he had had a perfectly good life and he had ruined it all. He had killed his baby, and so he didn’t deserve to be happy, he deserved to be alone. At least this way he wouldn’t hurt anyone else.

He opened the door, and climbed out, breathing the sea air one last time. That was when he saw her, standing by the water, making patterns with a foot in the sand. Kirsty’s head tilted up and she saw him, and came cautiously over to where he stood.


“Hi,” he said shortly. She shouldn’t talk to him, she should stay well clear. He stared down at his hands, and thought of the harm they could cause.

“Going somewhere?” she asked.

“Yeah. I’m leaving.” Part of him was wondering the reaction that this news would give, and if she would care.

“What? Why?” She seemed surprised, and maybe a little alarmed.

“It died,” he said flatly. “The baby. I killed it.”

Her face transformed into shock. “Oh. I’m so sorry.” And then: “I’m sure it wasn’t your fault. These things happen.”

He turned away, staring fixedly towards the horizon. “You don’t know anything. It was my fault. We were fighting. I grabbed her. And now it’s gone.”

“But why do you have to leave?”

“She knows!” he said with frustration. “Dani told her everything. That’s why we were fighting. So I’ve ruined everything, and there’s no reason to stay.”

She looked over towards the car park, and scuffed a foot across the ground. “Oh. Well. ’Bye then.”

“Yeah. ‘Bye.” He nodded curtly and turned away and walked back to his car.

Kirsty watched him go, aware of the moment slipping through her fingers. If she let him drive away, that was it, she would never see him again. Was that what she really wanted? But did she have any choice? Her family already hated her, would this make it so much worse?

She heard the car engine start up, and thought no, it was too late, too many problems, too many difficulties. Turning away, she went to walk back down the beach. She didn’t want to watch him drive away.

Kane glanced in the rear-view mirror, ready to reverse away, when there was a knock on his side window. It was Kirsty, and he wound the glass down.

“What do you want?” he said, somewhat flatly.

She smiled at him, and her face looked flushed with excitement. “I just thought you ought to know…you didn’t ruin everything.”

He stared at her blankly.

“Me,” she said, her face shinning. “You’ve still got me.”

“You said it was over,” he said pointedly. “That your family wouldn’t like it, etc, as usual.” What was she doing? Did she still think they had a future, after all that had happened?

“I love you. That’s all that matters.”

“Everyone I get close to, I hurt. It was my fault my baby died. You’re better off without me.” Such pain and self-loathing in his voice it hurt to hear it. “You can make it up with your family, I’m sure.”

“I don’t care!” she cried. “I just want to be with you.”

“Why?” There was genuine confusion in the words.

“Because I love you, you fool. And I know that you never meant to hurt anyone.”

“I didn’t,” he said softly, tears of pain and loss starting to fall. “Honestly, I didn’t…”

She pulled the car door open and embraced him where he sat. “I know.”

Kirsty sat next to Kane in the car, holding his hand tight. She was a bit scared at the thought of leaving her life as she knew it behind her, but she was determined that it would work this time.

“Babe, I kind of need both hands to drive,” he teased, his earlier sorrow and unhappiness reduced by the prospect of them being together, this time hopefully forever, although his grief for his lost child was still there, just below the surface.

“Sorry,” she said, not sounding it at all, and leant across to kiss him, reminded suddenly of their first ever kiss, after Josh had punched him, and the great space in time between then and now.

“Are you sure about coming with me?” he asked, still afraid he didn’t deserve this new chance at happiness.

“Jade said there is no such thing as The One,” she murmured in a thoughtful voice. “But she’s wrong. I’m not letting you go again. Not for anything.”

He pulled out onto the main road out of town, leaving the wooden houses with their neat little lawns behind. He glanced back with some sadness as they disappeared into the distance, thinking about Claire, what could have been, and all the years of his previous life receding away.

“No regrets on your part?” Kirsty asked, concerned.

He smiled over at her, reassuringly. “Plenty of regrets, more than I could possibly count,” he said. “But not about us, not about this. Never.”

“Well then,” she said. “To you, and me, the future, and no more regrets.”

“Yeah,” he smiled at her. “I’ll go for that.”

The car crested the hill, and was soon lost from sight behind the rise of the land, heading for a new future, and all the hopes and fears and dreams that that entailed.


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