Hugs Before Toast

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Chapter 4

“This is Feuilly.” Enjolras says as he enters the back room of the café that his friends have taken up to frequenting when they have time off between work and classes. The Musian isn’t exactly a populated café, such as a Starbucks, mostly due to the location of it. As most would rather go to a café that is in a local area and has lots of access to street lights and the public, and not in an alley, where there is the potential for someone to get mugged in, but according to Eponine, she has managed to scare of Monty, whoever the hell he is. From the long winded tale that he got from Eponine about the Musian and Monty, Enjolras finds out that she managed to scare him by threating to dirty his clothes and shave his head. Enjolras isn’t too sure if this story is true or not, as it seems a bit stupid for a thug to be scared of getting his shoes scuffed, but he appreciates the fact that he can go to the café in peace. Enjolras rather likes the Musian even though the drinks are disappointing and so is the food, and he does wonder on a regular basis how the place is still open due to the lack of business, but it could be due to the fact that everyone loves Muischetta and they will spend hours just speaking to her.

“He is new to the area, so Eponine don’t scare him off.” Grantaire says focusing on Eponine. Eponine holds her hands in defence and has a rather innocent look on her face…well as innocent as she can be.

Combeferre being ever the gentleman who he is, makes his way to Feuillly and shakes his hand and gives him a warm welcome, even though he looks as if he hasn’t slept in days, so he stumbles slightly as he makes his way to Feuilly. It is not that Feuilly is not welcome by the group, but the rest of them are just too lazy to get out of their chairs, so they just wave their greetings to Feuilly, who takes them all with great enthusiasm. Feuilly takes the chair that is in-between Jehan and Bahorel, who give him the twenty questions the moment that his bum touches the seat.

“So why have you changed apartments?” Bahorel asks in a low voice. “Did you set your place on fire as Bossuet over there had a bit of an incident when he was doing ‘science.’” Bahorel asks pointing at Bossuet’s direction, Bossuet just laughs good naturally.

“Was it rats or wood lice?” Joly says. “I heard that there was an infestation of rats in one of the apartment blocks, and they had to get the exterminators out sort it out.”

“No it wasn’t that.” Feuilly answers with a shake of his head. “Crazy roommate. He was into taxidermy and he wanted to make me into model. I thought it would be safer if I left before I ended up in a museum”

“You haven’t met a crazy roommate until you have roomed with Enjolras” Courfeyrac says. “We had a sleepover and he got upset with me because I messed up his books and I didn’t put them back in order. I do feel sorry for you Grantaire.”

“Apollo isn’t that bad.” Grantaire says looking at Enjolras’s direction. Enjolras looks at him and gives Grantaire a discrete smile that is hidden by the text book that he has hidden over his face. He pretends to read it, but it hard to pretend to do that, as the book is upside down. “It is fine until you leave your underpants on the floor.”

“You know that there is a basket.” Enjolras says looking up from his book. “You are allowed to leave your boxers on the floor in your own room, but I have to protest when they are in the kitchen.”

“Why were your boxers in the kitchen?” Jehan asks. “Were you playing strip poker with the microwave again?”

“That only happened once and I was rather drunk at the time.” Grantaire replies. “Joly don’t you say anything!” Grantaire says thrusting a finger in Joly’s direction once Joly has opened up his mouth.

“I am trying to work here.” Combeferre calls over from his desk at the back, he looks over his glasses at everyone as he grabs his text book out of the towering pile that is on the table. Before Enjolras can comment about the leaning tower of books, Combeferre has already moved to his attention back to his laptop, and he is typing furiously on the keyboard, making a loud clicking noise that turns out to be rather annoying after a few moments.

“What are you writing?” Courfeyrac asks.

“Paper.” Combeferre replies without even looking up from his computer.

“What is it called?” Joly asks. “I miss sleeping?”

“An ode to my sleep cycle?” Jehan adds in.

“Why won’t my eye lids close?” Enjolras says.

“I love coffee.” Marius says.

“I need more coffee.” Combeferre groans as he stands up and makes to go down stairs so he can get his coffee.

“No you don’t.” Bahorel says as he stands up and pushes Combeferre down into his seat, probably harder that he intended as Courfeyrac has to grab the back of Combeferre’s jumper to preventing him from nose-diving the table and possibly getting blood on it, and having to face the consequence of the wrath of Musichetta, who terrifies Enjolras with her long nails and her fondness for red lipstick, but he wouldn’t admit that. “You need to sleep. You haven’t slept in days and you have been keeping me up with your typing during the night.”

“If I write this paper, I am going to pass my course, then I can become a doctor and then I could help cure diseases.” Combeferre laughs hysterically. “I don’t need to sleep, I am going to save the world.”

“Well you are not Superman, ’Ferre.” Courfeyrac says, “But you wear those glasses, so you could be Clark Kenting it right now.” He turns to the rest of the group and asks. “Have any of you seen Combeferre, without his glasses or do you see his secret identity of Mothman?”

“Well I live with the guy, and I am pretty sure that he doesn’t own a single pair of tights.” Bahorel interjects. “A lot of jumpers , but no tights.”

“To be honest, Combeferre doesn’t look like the type of guy to wear spandex.” Cosette says, wrinkling her nose, probably as she is imagining Combeferre wearing tights with his underwear on top. Maybe it would be something that Combeferre would do when he is drunk, but it seems very unlikely for him to do it, as Combeferre is the type of guy to be really organised and know what order his clothes go on when he gets dressed.

“He looks if he is one lab explosion away from becoming a super villain.” Bossuet says. “Combeferre, you really need to sleep.”

“No, I really need to do my paper.” Combeferre says as he tries to swat, Bossuet’s hand away from him, but he misjudged his distance and was waving at the other side of the table as Bossuet was too far away.

“Combeferre, you always tell me that the most important thing is to sleep.” Enjolras says, thinking about the millions of times during high school when Combeferre would mother hen all over his ass, especially during the exam periods about the importance of eating and sleeping, but Combeferre never follows his own advice and he would be even more tired than Enjolras was already.

“But I am not you.” Combeferre slurs. “I can manage to survive without sleep, as I have glasses. I really want coffee.”

Enjolras stands up with a sigh. “Fine,” He says, trying to hide his amusement at the crap that is coming out of Combeferre’s mouth at the moment, as this is a serious situation, but he does enjoy the things that Combeferre says when he is tired or when he is asleep. You can actually have a full conversation with Combeferre when he is asleep, but it doesn’t make any sense, especially the one where Combeferre declared that he had the power of pasta, one of Enjolras’s personal favourite conversations he has had with Combeferre during a sleep over. He did ask Combeferre about his Spaghetti lasers in the morning, but Combeferre only looked at him as if he had grown an extra head. “Does any one else want something when I am down?” he asks, as he pulls out a scrap of paper so he can take down his friend orders.

“I want hot chocolate.” Jehan says. “But from a good coffee shop and not here.”

“How dare you insult the Musian!” Joly screeches, while Bossuet just looks highly offended as if he has been insulted personally. Enjolras was expecting this reaction from Joly and Bossuet, as they are strangely defensive over the Musian even though they complain about the lack of pasties and disabled access on a regular basis, but Enjolras thinks it has something to do with Muischetta. Bossuet and Joly have this weird liking of Chetta, they make sure that they speak to her for almost ten minutes and they enter and leave the Musian and they are super polite to her when she comes up, and Bossuet and Joly tell her a lot of jokes in the attempt to make her laugh. But he wasn’t prepared for Joly’s bat scream that left him almost death in one ear.

“I just don’t like their hot chocolate.” Jehan says looking slightly frightened. “I love the place, please don’t hurt me.” He squeaks and he hides behind Courfeyrac and they go under the table together to take shelter from being hit with Joly’s cane.

“Musichetta puts lots of love and care into the hot chocolate.” Bossuet says shaking his head in disgust at Jehan’s comment.

“I think that I will have tea.” Cosette says as she pulls out her purse and pushes a few coins into Enjolras’s direction. “Marius do you want a cookie?” Marius only nods and continues to look at his newspaper, somehow managing to be undisturbed from it, only looking up when he wants to put a comment into the table.

The rest put in their orders and Jehan is forced to have a hot chocolate by Joly, who holds his cane up in a threating manor at him, when Enjolras asks him what he wants. And Joly tells Enjolras to make sure that Musichetta puts extra love in the hot chocolate, making sure that Jehan changes his mind about it.

“I’ll go and help you with drinks.” Grantaire says.

They go down to the main area of the café, where it is empty- that isn’t a surprise to be honest. Musichetta is sitting on one of the arm chairs near the window, with her feet propped up on a coffee table wearing no shoes and her high heels have been kicked off somewhere with a magazine and a cup of ice cream. When Enjolras comes to the front desk and presses the bell, she comes to life and she is at the machines within a matter of seconds. Enjolras hands her the bit of paper he was taking orders on and she switches on the machine that starts with a loud hissing noise, that makes Grantaire jump a bit when he hears it.

“Joly says that you need to put extra love in the hot chocolate,” Enjolras instructs, wondering how someone puts love into food or a drink, it is not as if Musichetta can rip out her heart and use it as a salt shaker or anything and pour love onto drinks. It is just a strange expression that hopefully, during the year, Enjolras will eventually find the meaning to.

“Will do Chief.” Musichetta says making a mock salute as she continues to fiddle around with the machine and frothing up milk and doing about ten different things at once.

“Are you letting Combeferre have coffee?” Grantaire asks when he sees Musichetta reach for the coffee pot.

“Yep.” Enjolras says. “He did ask for it after all and he gave me the money for it.”

“But weren’t you wanting him to sleep?” Grantaire asks with a tone of disbelief.
“He is a grown man, Grantaire.” Enjolras says, actually looking at Grantaire. “He can make his own choices.”

Grantaire only rolls his eyes and mutters something under his breath about how stupid Enjolras is being. Enjolras just pretends for a brief second that the comment doesn’t bother him in the slightest. The comment doesn’t have any effect on him, but the fact that Grantiare is the one who is saying it, makes things a little sore. He likes Grantaire and he genially wants to get along with him, but comments like that do actually hurt him a little. Deciding that he was being the better person, Enjolras doesn’t say anything, but he makes the plan to hide Grantiare’s Glee DVD’s when they get back home.

“Tell Joly and Bossuet, that I have put extra love in their drinks.” Musichetta says with a wink in Enjolras’s direction.

“Will do Chetta.” Enjolras says as he picks up the first tray and he goes upstairs to the back room, with Grantaire following behind him.

When they go back into the back room , they find Feuilly and Bahorel chatting away as if they are old friends in the corner. Courfeyrac and Jehan are still under the table and Joly is trying to get to them with his cane, shouting something about how they are never going to find the true meaning of love. While Bossuet is doing nothing about and he is just watching them and occasionally encouraging Joly to hit them in the knees with the cane. Combeferre is still doing his paper, but he has slumped over on his laptop and he is pecking slowly at the keyboard with one finger, using the other hand in the attempt to cover his yawns and prove to the others that he is not tired. Marius is still reading his newspaper and is somehow not distracted by the fact that Cosette is painting his nails while she talks to Eponine about something.

To be honest, it is a bit of a strange tableu to see as you enter the room, but Enjolras only shrugs as to be honest he has seen much worse in the past month than what most people would see in their whole life time. He sits down next to Combeferre and he shoves the cup of coffee in his direction. Combeferre grabs it and gulps it down in one swig, before he collapses on the table. Eponine reaches into her bag and pulls out the blanket that she keeps in there for when she wants to take naps during her boring lectures and throws it over Combeferre.

Grantaire stands up and points an accusing finger at him. “You have poisoned him, you bastard!” He goes over and starts to poke at Combeferre’s face with a spoon in the attempt to wake him up. Each second that Combeferre doesn’t stir, Grantaire pokes him harder with the spoon. Enjolras knows that when Combeferre wakes up, that there is going to be lots of questions about why he has spoon shaped bruises on his face.

“He is fine Grantaire.” Enjolras says as he removes the spoon from Grantaire and throws it out of the table, out of reach. “He is not dead.”

“Is he sleeping?” Feuilly asks.

“Thankfully.” Enjolras says with a sigh, as he realises that his plan hasn’t worked as he has no clue about how he is going to get Combeferre home, as he isn’t going to do it himself. Combeferre is a rather tall guy who towers over most of the group and this already leaves a problem for him as the majority of the group is rather short and there is the possibility that when they try and get Combeferre through the door, they are going to crack Combeferre’s head open. And Enjolras is doubting that Combeferre is going to appreciate spending the holiday in hospital. Maybe they can just leave Combeferre in the Musian with a do not disturb sign placed over his head and Combeferre can come back when he is ready, but that is probably not a good idea for several reasons.

“Did you put something in his drink or get Chetta to do it?” Bossuet asks.

Joly gasps again and has a look as if he has been slapped across the face with his own leg. “How dare you accuse Chetta of doing something like that!” Joly says. “The only thing that Chetta puts in things is love.” He turns over to Jehan with his best menacing glare, that is really not effective. “How is the hot chocolate for you Jehan?” He asks sweetly. “Can you taste the love?”

Jehan takes a drink of his hot chocolate and he pulls a face, but he soon covers it up when Joly looks at him. “You can taste the love in that.” He says, trying his best to hide his disgust at it, but he puts a smile on his face when Joly and Bossuet turn their heads to look at him. “Best hot chocolate I have had in a long time.”

“I thought that I would convert you.” Joly says proudly, clearly not picking up Jehan’s facial expressions, even though Jehan has screwed up his face like a bulldog swallowing a wasp and then eating a lemon. “Best hot chocolate in the world.”

Jehan puts on a plastic smile on his face and only mutters something before he makes his way into the bathroom, bringing his mug of hot chocolate with him, so he can enjoy it in the bathroom.

“Did you do plan Study Medicine?” Courfeyrac asks with a look of understanding.

Enjolras only nods, and looks at the rest of his friends confused expressions on their faces. Then he realises that none of his friends know what he is talking about, and Courfeyrac is the only one who will understand as he was the one who came up with the code name during high school. “I gave ’Ferre Decafe.” Enjolras simply, just getting to the point. “He used to do it to me during high school, especially in the last years.”

“He was basically a walking zombie, especially near exam times.” Courfeyrac says. “We all did it for each other, as we thought that the gift of sleep was precious.”

“We used to do something similar with Grantaire in high school.” Bossuet says.

“Did he have problems with sleeping?” Marius asks.

“No,” Joly says with a serious expression on his face. “We used to give him water instead of vodka at parties.”

“And then he would spend the night wondering why he wasn’t getting drunk.” Bossuet says clutching his sides. “Memories.”

“I think that we should be taking Combeferre to bed.” Courfeyrac says standing up and putting his bag on his shoulder. Looking at Combeferre with a puzzled look on his face. “Do you guys have any idea how to get him down?”

“It is like a cow.” Eponine says. “You can get a cow upstairs but you can’t get it to go down stairs.”

“We could throw him down the stairs and then we can drag him back to the apartments.” Bossuet suggests. “I reckon that he is going to be out like a log and he won’t feel anything.”

Enjolras briefly has the image of several members of the group working together to toss Combeferre like a caber down the stairs, as if they were in the highland games. He can see Eponine, Jehan and Cosette wearing tartan and kilts and doing the swords dance while Joly is on the bagpipes and Marius is eating haggis and drinking whisky. Feuilly would be riding the loch ness monster and taking pictures of the scenery while Enjolras would be wondering why on earth was he in Scotland.

Occasionally Enjolras briefly wonders why he has such an active imagination, but then he realises that life would be boring without it.

“Couldn’t we carry him like a sofa?” Jehan asks. “We could pivot, when we go down the stairs.”

“We do that.” Bahorel says standing up with a look of determination on his face. “Some of us take his feet, some take the middle and the rest can carry the top. Joly you are in charge of shouting the word pivot.”

Joly punches the air in victory as he starts to make his way to the door to hold it wide open. Bahorel, Grantaire and Bossuet, get to their chosen sides of Combeferre and after the count of three, they lift him up on their shoulders. Enjolras finds himself next to Grantaire at Combeferre’s middle, holding him up the best that he can, already feeling the ache in his arms even though he has been holding Combeferre for a few seconds, while Grantaire doesn’t seem to be even struggling. The blanket that has been wrapped around Combeferre has been thrown on top of him, covering his face so that they can carry the blanket and Combeferre at the same time.

“Pivot!” Joly shouts as he opens up the door and Bahroel and Marius who are at the front holding Combeferre’s legs make their way through the door. “Pivot!”

“Is joly saying Pivot actually doing anything?” Grantaire asks, nudging Ennjolras’s side with his elbow the best that he can.

“I think that it is meant to be encouraging us.” Coufeyrac whispers as he Bossuet help to take Combeferre’s middle through the door. “I don’t think that it is helping.”

“Pivot!”

“Well it is nice to be included.” Jeahan says.

Enjolras doesn’t say anything, instead concentrating on not dropping Combeferre as is positive that if he drops Combeferre he is not going to hear the end of Combeferre sighing and complaining about the time, his apartment best friend dropped him. It sounds like a bad country western song. He could imagine Combeferre sitting there in a cattle ranch with a guitar and a cow boy hat while wearing his jumper of course singing a song called, ‘The time my best friend let me down, he dropped me down some stairs.’ It probably wouldn’t be a best seller, mostly as Combeferre can’t sing for fudge.

“Pivot!”

“He really likes to say that doesn’t he?” Cosette whispers to Eponine.

“Pivot!”

“Joly if you keep saying that, I will pivot you out of the window Eponine threatens.

“Pivot!”

They somehow manage to get down the stairs without managing to drop Combeferre or even breaking their own necks, even though there was a close moment when Marius tripped over one of Bossuet’s feet just as he was trying to go down the stairs, but he was saved when Cosette made the quick move to grab his collar and pull Marius up before he had nosedived down the stairs. Enjolras would have given the move a score of ten, if Cosette hadn’t rescued Marius as it would be a rather impressive fall and a dive.

“What the hell are you doing?” Muischetta asked as she looked up from her magazine as she heard the noise coming from upstairs and she had noticed a group of people carrying something that looked like a corpse about their heads. She counted the people in the group with one finger and a look of concentration on her face. “What have you done to Combeferre?” She asked.

“We murdered him as he got too boring for us.” Courfeyrac replied dryly.

“Pivot!” Joly shouts, even though it was a bit unnecessary as they had gone down all the stairs, Enjolras was positive that Joly had gone a bit made with power.

“He is just sleeping.” Grantaire says. “Even though he does look a bit shady right now, we were going to carve a grave stone, but I forgot my chisel and my hammer and Eponine couldn’t fit her slab of marble in her bag.”

“Fashion these days is just impractical.” Eponine sighs as she sends a glare to her pink studded purse that is hanging on her shoulder.

“So I don’t need to call the police then?” Musichetta asks slowly.

“No, everything is pretty much covered,” Cosette sighs, as she notices that Enjolras’s and Jehan’s arms are starting to shake. She rolls up her sleeves and she manages to lift up Combeferre for them with the strength of two of them, and what makes it even more impressive is that she is wearing high heels. “We are ditching him in the car and he is going home.”

“Looks like you killed him.” Musichetta says. “If he is dead, can I have his books?”

“Why not?” Bahorel says as he starts to make his way out of the door. “I am taking the shot glasses with the bears on them.”

By some miracle on earth they have managed to get Combeferre into the car, Enjolras has no clue how they have managed to do it and is more than positive that witch craft was involved somehow as Eponine was there and there is something very spooky about her, and Jehan was there and there was something definitely druid about Jehan. He even owns his own set of robes.

Combeferre is spread out on the back seats of the car strapped in with all three seatbelts, just to prevent him from rolling onto the car floor, as Marius accidently dropped his gum on the floor dueinf the way to the Musian and he is positive that Combeferre isn’t going to like to have gum in his hair when he eventually wakes up. Enjolras is in the front with Bahorel who has dibbs driving even though it is Combeferre’s car, but his reasoning was that he and Combeferre share toilet paper so a car is basically the same as that. It was good enough reasoning for Enjolras.

“Wonder if Combeferre actually has any music in this.” Bahorel says as he switches on the CD player. Instead of any good music coming out, there is none. Instead of music there is the sound of a rather bored British man talking about tape worms in a monotone voice. “I shouldn’t be listening to that, as I don’t want to risk falling asleep and causing an accident, plus Combeferre is going to be pissed if I break his car, he is still upset about the microwave.”

“He should be.” Enjolras says. “I heard that he doesn’t let you use it without supervision.”

“Did he tell you?” Bahorel sighs. “I was hoping that he wouldn’t tell you. This is just embarrassing.”

“He is my best friend, he tells me everything.” Enjolras answers looking at the windshield mirror to look at Combeferre who just is snoring really loudly in the backseats. “You know that the two of us and Courfeyrac have sleepovers on a regular basis and we talk about the group while wearing face masks and eating ice cream?” Enjolras says sounding bored, as he looks at his nails, a smile makes his way to the corner of his lips when he looks at Bahorel’s concerned expression on his face.

“Do you say anything in particular about me, when you have a slumber party?” Bahorel asks.

“Only that you are a danger to yourself and to society.” Enjolras shuggs. “And Combeferre complains about you singing in the shower. He says that he doesn’t mind you singing, but you don’t sing any songs that he likes.”

“I will make sure to ask him for a shower playlist then.” Bahorel says dryly. “When did you and Combeferre have one of those lady chats?”

“A few days ago.” Enjolras shrugs, trying to act indifferent to it, but he would call his weekly lady chats over a glass of warm milk with Courfeyrac and Combeferre to be the highlight of his week. It was just tradition with the three of them and Enjolras is positive that he would be lost without them. He has too many thoughts that go about in his head and he needs to let them out to someone who won’t cry if Enjolras shouts at them about social injustice or his comments on modern fashion, as many people tell Enjolras that he is ‘scary,’ when he shouts, they also tell him that he was a vein that pops out when he is angry, but he doesn’t believe either of those things. “Combeferre was needing fashion advice, he was debating about wearing a lime green sweater vest.” Enjolras says with a shudder.

“Did Combeferre tell you that Grantaire was around the other day in your lady talk?” Bahorel askes drumming his fingers against the wheel. “He kept talking about you. He just sat on the floor and just talked about you…Well I think that it was you as he kept going on about golden hair and how you are so pretty and wonderful, but it could have been Cosette he was talking about. You two have a similar description, apart from the fact that you don’t have a Marius Pontmercy attached to your face. But I am positive it was you, because he didn’t mention Marius during the time he was on the floor.”

Enjolras sits up straight on his seat. “Did he tell you anything interesting?” he asks wondering if Grantaire has told Bahorel about how he is apparently a crazy roommate. Crazy was the word that Grantaire used to describe him during an argument about the toaster. Grantaire had changed the brownness settings on the toaster and Enjolras wasn’t very happy about that, as he likes his toast to be a nice golden brown and not charcoal black toast that basically turns into dust when you bite it, Enjolras still doesn’t understand how Grantaire can eat toast that colour. Hopefully Grantaire didn’t bring that up, as he couldn’t cope with Bahorel telling everyone else and he is positive that Bahorel would team up with Courfeyrac and they would give him toast all the time or throw it at him, like the Rocky Horror show.

“Not really,” Bahorel says. “He goes through his usual rubbish, you know being cynical and all that. He was like, ‘Why won’t Enjolras like me? He is made out of marble, and he is so perfect.’ Bahorel says intimidating Grantaire’s whining voice that he puts on during the times when he has lots of class work or they are just arguing about something relatively mundane. “But it was kind of hard to understand him, as he had his face in a pillow.”

Enjolras doesn’t say anything, wondering why Grantaire would think that he would be made out of marble and why he was perfect. In his own eyes, Enjolras was far from perfect, so why on earth would someone as cynical as Grantaire would think that he was perfect? The other day, Grantaire had insulted the concept of perfection, and how people were stupid in believing in things being perfect. Grantaire was just a hypocrite! Maybe Grantaire was just drunk. That had to be it.

“Was he drunk?” Enjolras asks.

“He wasn’t, too sober.” Bahorel grumbles. “I was too sober to deal with all of it.”

“I am sorry that you had to carry the burden.” Enjolras replies rolling his eyes.

“You should,” Bahorel replies pulling over the car to the kerb leading to Enjolras and Grantaire’s apartment. “He really likes you, and he thinks that I am good company to share his problems with. I don’t think that I can cope with him going on with his normal rubbish, it is like reading my diary.”

“What do you mean by like?” Enjolras asks as he steps out of the car.

“Grantaire was right, you are that oblivious to everything.” Bahorel chuckles as he rolls up the window, he puts it down again and says. “More than blueberries.” The window goes up again and the car drives off. Enjolras wonders how much Grantaire must like blueberries as he goes into the apartment, and also how much Bahorel had been smoking to come up with that conclusion. Shaking his head, Enjolras decides that he is going to take what Bahorel says with a pinch of salt, maybe a whole tub of it.

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