April 16, 2011

Chapter One

Chapter One

Bella POV

Fold, pleat, tuck.

I remember there being one of those career fairs at school my eighth grade year. Educating and motivating our youth for tomorrow. At least that's what the pamphlet said. That fucking pamphlet. I can still see it like it was yesterday. All tri fold and glossy colors. I'll never forget the faces on it. College graduates walking across a stage in robes and tassels, smiling so widely that I couldn't help but smile down at them. And then there were the men and women at their fancy desks, all perfect posture and impeccably dressed. Their pictures screamed power. They looked important...like they were somebody. And I remember wanting that for myself. Feeling that tug in my chest, pulling me toward where I wanted to be. I'd like to be able to say that it was as easy as that...having a little paper epiphany. Right.

Fold, pleat, tuck.

But then there was Charlie, my dad. He was all the motivation I needed to keep moving toward what I wanted. He was always there when I felt a little burnt out. When I got a less than stellar grade or was falling behind in one subject or the other. Thinking back, it'd been that way all of my life really. From as early as I could remember, his face was all I could see when I made a mistake. Whether it was at school or at home, his voice was all I could hear. Because Charlie Swan never passed up the opportunity to tell his only daughter what a fuck up she was.

Fold, pleat, tuck.

The slamming of the break room door snaps me back to the present. Angela walks in, all bags under eyes and rumpled uniform.

"Fucking better be caffeine...", she mumbles under her breath. Her crabby mood is nothing new, I don't even need to ask. I can tell by the drag of her feet and the bee-line she makes for the coffee pot that it's going to be one of those days for her. Angela is perpetually late. For everything.

"Good evening, Angela."

I smile at the grumbling noise she makes in response.

"Says you."

Angela really isn't a bad person. She's just...well...disgruntled.

"Oh, come on Angela. Don't be like that. You know...not twenty minutes ago, Victoria was in here whining about the orgy cleanup she got assigned to up on sixteen."

I use my best sing song voice.


"And Jessica was going on and on about the bachelor party on twenty-two."


"Goldfish in the toilet and condoms wrapped around all of the doorknobs."

It's sad that I'm not embellishing at all. Five star hotel or not, people are people. And rarely sanitary when they know someone else has to pick up after them.

Hesitant grumble.

"Lauren got canned last night. Management found her practicing the trademark Westin Seattle customer service."


"In the supply room."

"On her knees."

That did it.

Cue coffee splutter.

"Damn. Thank God. That bitch was always stealing from my cart. Lazy ass skank could never just come down here and get her own shit. Where the fuck does she think I get it from?" 

I can't help but snort.

"Um...my cart?"

She spins around and gives me her signature sarcastic smile. The same one she gives rude guests right after, unbeknownst to them, she's rubbed their complimentary coffee filters around the inside of the toilet bowl.

Like I said...disgruntled.

"Eat me, Swan. It's too early for splitting hairs. Your cart, my cart. We're the hardest working bitches in this place. We gotta stick together."

Throwing me a quick wink, she pushes her way out the door.

"Back to the hood again!"

Sitting back in my chair, I tilt my head back and close my eyes. Just for a moment. I can't help but smile at her. Angela might not be the most eloquent person, but what you see is what you get and that's good enough for me. When I first started here, I was paired with her to learn the ropes. She greeted me with that sarcastic smile and a patronizing "If you can keep your hands off my shit, your nose out of my business and don't expect me to pull your weight, you just might make it around here. Follow me." I'd never admit this to anyone, especially not her, but Angela scares the shit out of me. For someone else, it might be because of her abrasive personality. But not me. I'm terrified because she's every single thing I bust my ass daily to avoid becoming. A thirty something college dropout working a dead end job. And not a day goes by that I don't feel like a complete asshole for thinking of her that way. She's the only friend I have, and I appreciate that, I really do. But every time I look at her, it reminds me of why I'm here. What I'm doing. Why I've learned to function on no more than three hours of sleep a day. Why I keep pushing through every time I think I'm going to drop from exhaustion.
I can feel my body begin to slouch and give in to the temptation of sleep, so I sit up and continue my work. I'm pulling five extra hours tonight and can't afford to slow down two hours into my shift.

Fold, pleat, tuck.

Pity isn't something I'm interested in. I don't care to cry on anyone's shoulder. I don't mind working hard to get what I want. But it all becomes too much sometimes and it feels like I'm running in place, like I'll never get there. When you're a kid, everyone tells you to dream. Dream big and work hard. Never give up and if you want it bad enough, it's yours. No one ever tells you about the price tag on said dream. That education takes money. Shit loads of it. I was so busy getting the good grades and adapting to a nose-to-book mentality, that it never occurred to me that those things wouldn't be enough by themselves. And that's what lead me to where I am now. Attending The University of Washington full time and working...full time. That's right. Mondays through Fridays in school all day and third shift at The Westin Seattle all night. Then weekends waitressing at Hunter's, a little hole in the wall not for from here. This is where functioning on no more than three hours of sleep comes into play. And really, it's not always this rough. I've become accustomed to the rigid schedule I have to keep. But there are bad days too, and today happens to be one of them.

Bad days turn worse when I dwell on the toll it's all taking, so I'll suck it up and do what I need to do. I'll sit here in my little gray maid's uniform in the break room of this beautiful hotel and continue on like I have been for the last two hours. Folding the ends of hundreds of rolls of toilet paper into decorative flourishes.

Yes, that's right. Toilet paper. Because we can't have the people who are paying hundreds of dollars a night to stay here wiping their asses with flat, undecorated rolls of paper.
Nope, that just won't do.

Fold, pleat, tuck.

I blame the pamphlet.


Seven hours, two puddles of vomit, one all too short dinner break/study session, six used condoms and one too many times hearing 'Hey Cleaning Lady' later and it's finally the end of my shift. 

I have time to kill, but not enough for a decent nap before I have to leave for class. I take my change of clothes out of my locker and stuff them into my backpack. I'll change before I leave. Right now, I just need to get off of my feet.

I take the back service hall and head toward the dining area. The ugly gray cement walls of the Employees Only area give way to the glazed walls and modern art in the lobby. From dull, fluorescent bulbs to swanky, strategically placed track lights . Luxurious, plush leather furniture takes the place of metal folding tables and chairs. It's a whole new world. And for, perhaps the millionth time, I feel the burn of resentment that comes from knowing that this isn't the world I belong to. Yet. That's okay though, because it's times like these that I tell myself it won't always be like this. One day it'll all be better. Easier. Perfect. 

I spot my trusty booth. Unoccupied and waiting, just how I like it. I always steer clear of the bar. Too many people. Besides, it's not good for business to have the help rubbing elbows with guests.

I always sit in the very last booth in the back of the dining area. It's curved out, designed to give the illusion of privacy. The tall mahogany back is topped with thick greenery and bright flowers. It's just high enough to shield me from view of the lobby. I drop my backpack on the floor under the table and enjoy the immediate relief to my shoulder. For a few glorious moments, I can nestle my head down into my arms and just...relax. Well, as much as you can in the lobby bar of a hotel. I know I should use this time to skim my notes, but also know it'd be useless trying to focus on the words. I'm absolutely exhausted.

It's all of five minutes before I'm interrupted.

"How'd I know I'd find you back here? Scoot over. My feet are throbbing like a son of a bitch."

I reluctantly sit up and the too cool air outside of my folded arm cove makes my words snippier than usual. 

"Hello to you too, Angela. To what do I owe this intrusion of privacy?"

"Don't waste your sarcasm on me, Swan. I got plenty of my own. Now move over before I sit on your ass. And if you want privacy I got a tip for you. Avoid public places."

I move and she plops down beside me. I ignore her goading and return to the cove.I hear her kick the side of my backpack.

"So, you headed to class soon?"

A nodding of the head is all she gets.

"Damn. And you pulled overtime last night? Weren't you supposed to get outta this shit hole at two o'clock this morning? How the hell are you still awake?"

Lacking the energy to much else, I shrug, but Angela is undaunted.

"You're gonna kill yourself. You need to slow the fuck down, Bella." 

She rarely calls me Bella. I pull my face out of the cove and turn my head on my arms to look at her. She's giving me a worried look. It makes me feel a tad less snippy.

"I know, Ange, but it's what I have to do right now. There's no room for slack. They're not going to hand me a master's degree because I tried my best. I have to study to pass classes and graduate. I have to graduate to get where I want to be. I have to work to compensate for what my loans don't cover." And then there are living expenses...and rent...and food, but I stop myself before it can pull me under. I don't have time to wallow. 

"Yeah, I know."

She murmurs the words quietly and the unspoken sympathy presses down on me even harder.

We've had this discussion dozens of times. Angela never talks much about her life outside of work, but I've managed to pick up on a thing or two. I know she was once in college, but dropped out. She doesn't have any kids, but I have a feeling she was married once. I never ask about the two gold bands that hang from a chain around her neck. If someone as outspoken as her is tight lipped about something, there's a good reason. Still, I feel sad for her. For how loneliness I suspect she hides beneath the harshness. But I bite my tongue. She wouldn't take too kindly to being felt sorry for.

She'd kick my ass. And I know the feeling.

"I'm fine, okay? Jessica owes me back the overtime, so I get off early tonight. I'll go home and try to catch up on some sleep. I just have to buckle down harder about my studying, that's all."

Getting dropped from the MBA program isn't exactly in accordance with my plan. The very thought of it makes me feel lazy for the few minutes I've sat here doing nothing so I sit up and pull out my Statistic notes.

"You do that, Swan. I'm outta here. If I stay one second longer, I'm liable to pass out right here. And I know how possessive you are about your precious booth. Can't have you going all Kill Bill on me."

Giving my ponytail a flick, she stands to leave.

"On second thought, if I knock your ass out maybe you'd get the rest you need."

"How thoughtful."

"What can I say? I have a tender heart."

After Angela leaves, I look at the time and realize I should probably review my notes before class as opposed to returning to the arm cove. I don't want to get too comfortable and fall asleep...again. Waking up at 6:50 a.m. for a 7:00 a.m. class is not an experience I'm interested in recreating so I look down at my notes and pick up where I left off. My tired eyes feel like they're crossing after only a few minutes of reading the same line four times. My inability to concentrate leaves me little choice after all, so I press my forehead to the table...just for a moment. Just to gather my thoughts and refocus. I won't sleep...I won't.

And I don't. Because just as I begin to feel myself let go, I'm startled and alert again.

"Isabella, I believe it is?"

I jump and whip my head up at the sound of an unfamiliar male voice...and immediately think I must've fallen asleep on the table after all.


Head to toe black.

Dress pants.

Suit jacket.


No tie.

Crisp and very expensive looking.

Pale skin peeks out at me.

Two shirt buttons undone, as am I.

His reddish brown hair is thick and messy, but not. It looks like he attempted to tame it, to no avail.

Contained chaos.

Dark, thick eyebrows...and his eyes. I briefly scan my brain for some clever comparison for the shade. I fail. I'm sleep deprived and overworked. Blue is as descriptive as it's getting.

And...the jaw. Severe and sharp and clean shaven.

Where did he come from?

I'm not exactly a virgin, but I'm pretty oblivious to men in general. When you don't have time to devote to actual REM sleep, it goes without saying that a love life isn't in the cards. Even still, I have a feeling that even if he weren't towering over me looking like he is, he'd still have caught my eye. He's one of those lucky, beautiful people. The ones who you kind of want to trip when you see them walk by you.

I'm not sure how long my thoughts and I have been MIA, but apparently it's been long enough. For him.

He clears his throat impatiently.

Right. He said something. What was it again? Shit.

I run my hand over my face and look up at him again. Apparently the side effects of sleep deprivation are vast.

Focus, Bella.

He rolls his eyes and exhales hard through his nose. His eyebrows lift and his eyes widen as if to ask me, "Well?" I'm an intelligent, educated woman but I'm sure I resemble a deaf mute at the moment.


His muscles in his jaw clench as he shoves his hands in his pant pockets. He exhales a long, deep breath from his nose again. His words are clipped and he doesn't even try to contain his impatience. 

"Your name? It's Isabella, is it not?"

His attitude is beginning to agitate me.

"How do you know my name? And what business of it is yours?"

I narrow my eyes and fix him with my own impatient glare. His eyebrows lift and he raises his hands in a mock surrender.

"Down girl. Blame the name tag stuck to your tit. Oh yeah, and those pesky school teachers that taught me how to read. Can't forget them. May I?"

He unbuttons his jacket, gestures to the seat beside me, but doesn't bother waiting for my permission as he sits. His movements are lithe and confident. Bold. He rests his forearms on the tabletop and folds his hands together. The confidence with which he moves is obvious in his posture. It screams arrogant motherfucker. 

I look down at said name tag and feel dumb for not remembering I had it on.

"Please, make yourself comfortable."

He's just as indifferent to my sarcasm as he is to the approaching waitress, whom he shoos away with a dismissive flick of his wrist.

"I have a proposition for you, Isabella."

There's something about the way my full name sounds coming from his mouth. He has a devious tone to his voice and I know his type. I may not be a social butterfly, but I'm observant and I've had my fair share of run-ins with men like this. Wealthy, handsome, and accustomed to getting the things they want without question. He's intending to intimidate me and I'm beginning to feel angry...because it's working.

And I hate it.

It's been years since I've felt this. Since the last time I saw the disgusted look Charlie always wore especially for me. It throws me off. Fogs my thought process.

"Um..." But I'm cut off.

"Are you capable of more than monosyllabic communication or is this conversation going to take all morning? I have shit to do."

His barking takes me by surprise and I speak the first thing I think.

"Look, if my conversation skills aren't to your liking, perhaps you should leave me alone. And as for all the shit you have to do, don't let little old me hold you up. Feel free to fuck off."

My pride won't allow me to show it, but inside I'm gaping at myself. I never speak like this. Ever. But out loud, to another person? Never. Keeping to yourself prevents confrontation so I'm out of my element right now. Not even in all my years growing up did I ever even bother to speak out against Charlie.

I feel like a fish out of water.

His eyes narrow and his facial expression is not that of someone who's just been told where they can go.
He almost looks...amused.


His scowl is immovable, but I could've sworn I saw his lip twitch.

I'm just about to grab my stuff and go when he speaks up.

"I'm willing to bet that you'd be very interested in what I have to say. I'd like to make you a deal, Isabella."

His eyes are different now. Instead of the lighter blue from before, they seem dark, a steel gray.

They drop to my lips...


My chest...


My legs...

I'm still wearing my knee length maid's skirt and I feel exposed, fidgety under his stare. I try to tuck my legs out of sight, but it's too late. He's gotten his eyeful. Red flags and alarm bells and whistles galore in my head.

Of course. Sharped Dressed Man is a pervert. Hot on the outside, crazy on the inside. 

I've heard all I need to hear. I grab my books off the table and slide them into my bag, zipping it and speaking as I go.

"Oooookay. This conversation is over . I don't care wh- "

A warm hand closes around my wrist and I freeze.

Looking over at him, I realize he's slid closer to me in the booth. Mere inches separate our faces.

His breathing is steady, unaffected. Not mine.

His breath is warm and spicy as it washes over my cheek bone and the corner of my mouth. I fight the urge to lick and see if it left a flavor behind.

He's too close for our eyes to meet, but he leans in a bit farther and speaks directly into my ear. Hot and moist.
Not close enough to touch, but not far enough away for me to retain coherent thought.

A shudder makes it's way down my spine and roots itself there. My breathing catches in my throat.

I'm paralyzed.

What the hell is he doing to me?

My mind and body are at war. My thoughts are telling me to stop this. Break his grip and leave.

Stand up, Bella. Get your shit and leave. He's trouble.

But my body...my body is running the show. Without any consent from me, it obeys him.

And he hasn't spoken a word.

My mind screams that I don't even know his name. 

My body couldn't care less. 

My pride is raging at me to wake the fuck up. I'm an intelligent person. I know better than this.

My body can't hear a thing.

My eyes flutter closed and I exhale, shaky and shallow.

"Mmm...yes. I would venture to say that you're very interested." His voice drops to a forceful whisper. Strong and commanding. "Tell me, Isabella... do you want to hear it?"

His smell...oh God, his smell. It's not an overpowering scent, but subtle...spicy. Masculine and warm and clean.
I lick my bottom lip and nod.

He inhales and exhales.

Air wafts against my cheek and earlobe and I nearly moan.
His voice is louder than a whisper now, but still only audible to the two of us.

"I need someone who is... available to me. To provide what I don't have the time or patience to pursue in a... conventional way... and I think you'd suit my needs just fine. I'd compensate you quite generously, Isabella. All you have to do is show up when and where I tell you, and do as you're told."

His nearness and the fog that it causes begin to recede.
Something is tugging at me, nagging. I open my eyes and try to focus through the haze he's created in the small space of the booth.

And then it hits me.

I snatch my face and wrist away and gape at him.

"Are you...did you just...I am not a whore. How dare you?"

Despite my extensive vocabulary, I fail to summon the words that would thoroughly hand his ass to him. I'm shocked. And I refuse to acknowledge the fact that this pompous asshole has... turned me on.

Yeah, not going to think about that.

Because right now, all I can focus on is the nerve of him to proposition me this way.

He pulls back from me as well and straightens up, creating distance between us again.

"Five hundred a night."

His entire demeanor shifts again as he brushes something off of the sleeve of his suit jacket and straightens his cuffs. He's all business.

Like I never said a word.

I'm dumbfounded and honestly can't think of a single thing to say to him. I'm angry at myself for allowing him to have the effect he's had on me... twice now. 

I stare at him. The smooth talker is gone. His face is stoic, his voice cold and hard with a hint of smug around the corners of his mouth.

The bastard thinks he's won.


I'm interrupted. Again.

"Are you relapsing back into little words again? Because if that's easier for you, I can oblige. I'm nothing if not accommodating. You. Me. Fucking. You...get...money. Yes...or...no?"

He's speaking slowly and pronouncing every word like I'm a child. And it's enough to snap me out of my stupor.

"I don't know who the hell you think you are or- "

 Am I ever going to get a full statement out with him?

"Who I am is someone offering you an opportunity to do something that requires very little effort on your part and will compensate you greatly. Five hundred dollars a night, Isabella. You show up, we fuck, then go on our merry way. What part of this isn't win/win for everyone? I'm not interested in a relationship or getting to know you."

He bites the last part out just a bit nastier than the rest.

"From where I'm sitting, it's quite simple. An arrangement... a job, if you will. All you have to do is answer, yes or no."

He glances around us and then back at me with a crooked smile. It would be kind of beautiful... if he weren't trying to barter with me like a hooker.

"Besides, it's got to be better money than what they're paying you here to scrub toilets and fluff pillows."

His words sting, much more than he knows. But I won't let him see it. I'm so many things at once. Angry, confused, offended, but for just a second... I allow myself to think of how much more time I would have to dedicate to school. How that extra money could take so much of the strain away. NO. I am not a whore. I've gotten this far on my own. And I'm not that kind of girl. I'm ashamed of myself for giving it even a fraction of a thought. I should be so outraged that I can't see straight. I should slap his face and tell him where he can put his hundreds of dollars.

"I won't force you, but the offer does expire. The proper precautions will be put into place. Testing, birth control, a safe word." 

At the last two words, my eyes fly to his and I know he sees my panic.

"In the event that you decide you'd like to leave. To end our arrangement. As I said, I will not force you, or mark you in any way for that matter. But if you agree, this would be nothing more than fucking. I don't care to know who you are. No feelings, no drama, no strings. In, out, gone. If you can't handle it, don't waste my time."

I'm frozen in my seat, a mixture of the strange effect he seems to have on me and the pure shock of what he's suggesting. It's like a bad Lifetime movie only... not. I study his face for a moment and can't believe how nonchalant he's being. He's acting as if this is just some business deal he's hashing out the details of.

Standing up and buttoning his jacket up, he reaches into the inside pocket of it and pulls out a white card, which he leans down and tucks into the front pouch of my bag.

"One week, Isabella. If I don't hear from you by then, I'll take that as your answer."

And then he's gone.

The whole encounter took less than ten minutes.


I'm in a haze the entire drive to campus. It's a good thing it only takes about ten minutes to get there. As if today hasn't been eventful enough, I'm also running late to class. My impromptu sit down with...I didn't even get his name for crying out loud! As i pull into the student parking lot and cut the engine, I berate myself for the twentieth time since I left the hotel.

Why the hell didn't I speak up?

I just sat there gaping at him like a fish. Well, except when I was obeying like some pathetic little zealot. Brilliant, Bella. I might as well have bent over the table right there. I think what pisses me off the most is the effect he had on me without even trying, without any resistance from me. It's like I couldn't help but listen to him. I haven't felt this way in so long. That feeling of inferiority that once washed over me every time he spoke my name...every time I had to hear what a disappointment I was. 

Ugh. I can't let myself go there right now. Not if I expect to get through en entire day of classes without having some sort of breakdown.

I grab my bag and jump from the car. By the time I'm seated in my Marketing class, with only seconds to spare, I'm so worked up that I'm actually looking forward to Professor Phelps' droning. Anything to get out of my own head for a while. I glance at the clock on the wall and sigh. Five minutes down, seven hours and fifty five minutes to go. I pull my notebook and textbook out of my bag and put them on my desk. When I reach back into it and blindly search for my pen, my hand grasps smooth paper instead. I pull the small white card out and am surprised at what I see. I expect a business card of some sort, but instead it is handwritten.

Edward Cullen
One week, Isabella.


Paula-Bells said...

Holy mother***!!! he is such an ass...
And I can't get enough...

ksw3 said...

Asshole! Tempting though, would make her life a lot easier! Can't wait to read more tomorrow!

This.is.Yady! said...

He's an ass but he sura can propose that arragement to me any-fucking-time!

LetRobstenLuv4ever said...

He is an arrogant asshole. It seems like he's done his homework concerning her. I wouldn't put it past him to mess with her vehicle just to make things harder for her. I sure hope she can tame this beast.

Suzanne said...

wow. this story is leaving me speechless....

ashblog89 said...

Wow. Speechless. Edward Cullen I'll accept. ;)

maxandmimasmummy said...

*fans herself*

ThatGirlTasha said...

Rapture's coming; thanks to a re-reading of this story.;)

Lins said...

Fuckin' Asshole! Hate how arrogant he is but at the same time I'm intrigue!...;) going to read more....

~Elli~Iris~ said...

“So...who's ready to meet Bella?” O-O Oh! That wasn’t Bella? 0-o Ah future Bella.
Hmmmm Bella and Angela (and Victoria and Jessica? Lauren too- well canned though) are maids? I had that job for 4 summers and it was no 5 stars. They have something to grumble about. Liking the dirty bitchy Angela ;-) And here he is. An indecent proposal but one she is drawn to despite herself? One week to decide.

luvnrob said...

Man I am really loving this!! He is such a dick but damn...I would be his "whore"!!

Heather said...

What a total dick, but a smooth dick, at that! What a crazy situation, but not unrealistic I wonder how long he's been watching her? Hmmmm. I hope there will be an EPOV. I haven't been this into an AssWard since MOTU........great stuff.

Blondemel47 said...

Oh my! Decisions decisions. Sure would mean getting some sleep - but then again... Brilliant idea for a story, cant wait to read more. lol

Anonymous said...

I love how you describe the feeling of inferiority that washes over her while he is talking to her...I can so relate..I want the money...I want the hot man and I can't say no to him...what he fuck is going on??? setting up this fascinating relationships so beautifully...I am amazed and hot...xoxooxox

Anonymous said...

What an ass. . . I'm speechless, not quite sure what to think of this yet.

Millie said...

He's an asshole but damn he turns me on. I would do it just for a breather. She's not getting any sleep and this would definitely take a big load off.

CherylSab said...

Wow..he's quite presumptuous. I feel bad for Bella, that's quite a lot she takes on every day. This has to be looking like a way out. But what would she be in for?? Hmmmmm, sounds fun...if he stops being an ass...lol

TotallyTwilight98 said...

Goodness gracious he's such an asshole!!!

alyssia.lemons said...

Holy...he may be an ass, but I am willing to accept that proposal for Bella! Woot woot! This is amazing!

kelly said...

I feel so bad for Bella, she has such a hard life. Poor girl. And you know Edward is just going to use her - especially judging by that prologue :/

Li said...

I Don't need a week. ¡YES, I ACCEPT!

ACE said...

Asshole, but yet you leave me wanting more of him. Decisions, decisions. Bella seems to be killing herself to prove something not only to herself, but also her father who seems to have cut her down every chance he got. Edward angers e for taking advantage of her circumstances. Still want to know whetethisall goes.

MissWinkles said...

Okay, two things.

One: Holy crap, he's a bit of a wanker. But in the nicest, and hottest kind of way. The suit, the hair, the polite, yet completely rude way he speaks to her? Singularly they might be nothing to look at, but when you put them all together and mix them up? Hot! She should say yes. Hell, I would.

Two: hahaha, someone called him a "smooth dick". I giggled.

Nifer said...

Smooth mother fucker! Love it. The first time I read this I was consumed and missed a lot of details. Shame on me.