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Branch: Ekaterina

Bracha-

 

She's in eighth grade, like Elliot, Nina, and Marty were in TATWATM. Cool! It's actually inspired by an ancestry project I did in the fifth grade.

 

Simon Gillespie

 

“So, you snuck in?” I asked.

 

          Corinne was telling me about her and Violet’s daring break-in to the White Orchid orphanage.

 

          Corinne nodded, “Yup. You know how she talks about that Ms. Flannigan lady?”

 

          I nodded, “You met her?”

 

          “Well, not formally, but I saw the way she acted. She wasn’t very nice.”

 

          We kept talking about it, for a little while. Then – for some reason – the conversation shifted to school and relationships.

 

          “Can I ask you a question?” I asked Corinne.

 

          She nodded, “Yeah, sure, whatever you want.”

 

          I just came right out and said it, “Do you like Chuck?”

 

          Corinne was startled for a moment, then said, “Well, he’s a great friend, and I’ve known him since kindergarten, and–”

 

          I shook my head, “You know what I mean. I mean…” I took a deep breath, because talking about crushes was never an easy thing to talk about with Corinne. “Do you like him in the way that I like Violet?”

 

          She crossed her arms, “In what way do you like Violet exactly? Do you like her in the way that Nancy and Anne like boys at school?”

 

          My eyes widened, I knew exactly in what way she was talking about. And yeah, maybe a little part of it was there – because according to the video we were shown in fifth grade stronger feelings for people would start to develop around the ages of thirteen to fourteen. I mean, it was nowhere near as much as I heard some kids talk about it at school, but it was slightly there. Which was normal, right? Corinne and I were turning fourteen next week.

 

          “I’m taking that as a yes,” Corinne said.

 

          “No!” I protested. “I-I mean, maybe a little…” gosh, this was not how I wanted this conversation to go. “But not like how they talk about it. Like, do you want to kiss him again?”

 

          “Do you want to kiss Violet again?” Corinne asked me.

 

          I blushed, “You’re deflecting the question!”

 

          “So are you.”

 

          We sat, glaring at each other a little longer, before Corinne sighed and said, “No, I don’t want to kiss him again.”

 

          I sighed, relieved. “Do you want to date him?”

 

          Corinne shrugged, “Maybe? I think I do. But…I don’t want to kiss him, and I definitely don’t want any more than that.”

 

          I’d never heard of that before. I mean, I wanted to date Violet, but I also wanted to kiss her again. Don’t worry, I didn’t really want to do anything too uh…weird.

 

          “It’s weird, I know,” Corinne muttered.

 

          “It isn’t weird,” I told her. “Maybe you just aren’t quite there yet. Maybe you’re a late bloomer.”

 

          I could see Corinne roll her eyes and she just muttered, “Yeah, maybe I am.”

 

          I winced. I didn’t want Corinne to be mad at me. I wanted to keep talking to her. The two of us used to be really close, but once we hit middle-school, we just kind of…drifted apart? Corinne became friends with Nancy and Anne, and middle-school just made my anxiety get worse, so I retreated into my own little shell. We still talked and stuff, but nowhere near as much as before. Plus, it always made me nervous when she got mad at me.

 

          Corinne sighed and said, “Anyway, how’s the project going?”

 

          “Good,” I said. “Grandma’s stories were really interesting.”

 

          Corinne nodded, “Yeah, she’s told me a few of them.”

 

          Grandma’s told Corinne stories? “When?” I asked.

 

          “When we’ve been to her house,” Corinne responded. “I just ask.”

 

          We were silent again. Corinne knew how hard it was for me to ask people for things.

 

          “I’m sorry,” Corinne said. “I didn’t mean it that way.”

 

          I was looking down at my sketchbook now. I’d been trying to recreate the picture grandma gave me. It was difficult, and I could never seem to do it justice. This drawing was like a perfect snapshot done in pencil. I hated that with mine, you could tell a middle-schooler drew it.

 

          “It’s okay,” was all I said.

 

          Corinne stood up from the floor and walked towards the door. “Anyway, I uh, I have to continue with my project.”

 

          “Yeah,” I said, and watched her leave.

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Hey me too I'm like Simon!

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lost soul

 

 

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Branch: Ekaterina

Bracha-

 

Glad you could relate to him!

 

Corinne Gillespie

 

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I tried explaining to Simon what I was feeling about this whole Chuck business, but he just didn’t understand. He tried to tell me I was a late bloomer.

 

          You may think, yeah, Corinne, you’re just a late bloomer. Here’s the thing though: I’d started going through all this puberty garbage in the summer between fifth and sixth grade, and it seemed to be going exactly the way they told us it would in school. Except for the part about boys and relationships.

 

          You might be saying, hey, Corinne what if you don’t like boys, what if you like girls instead? That could be true, except…I’d tried seeing if I felt the same way about girls that Nancy and Anne do about boys. News flash, I didn’t. Plus, I liked Chuck. A lot. I just didn’t want to kiss him or do anything that the kids at school talked about.

 

          Would I ever figure this out?

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Branch: Lucian

You gave Simon social anxiety, and you also have that. Now Corinne is feeling this way and you're asexual. Hmm....

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lost soul

 

 

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds 

                                                                                                                              

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agentclue77

Branch: Ekaterina

Bracha-

 

Interesting observation there

 

Violet Alvarez

 

I told Marty the news at dinner that night. He had ordered Chinese food, and we were eating it straight out of the cartons.

 

          Marty looked sad like I hadn’t just told him some wonderful news.

 

          “Violet,” he started.

 

          “What?”

 

          “I wouldn’t get my hopes up. Do you know what happens to people after they leave a place like Cuba, and get sent back?”

 

          The truth was, I didn’t really know all that much about what happened to people after being sent back. I’d never researched it, and we hadn’t learned about that in history class yet.

 

          I shook my head, knowing I wasn’t going to like his answer.

 

          “They get sent to concentration camps, and most of them don’t make it out alive.”

 

          I hung on to that word: most. Not all. He said most. There was still the chance that they were alive.

 

          I looked up from my food, “I’m going to go do some research, and I’m going to prove that they’re alive. They just have to be.”

 

          I took my Chinese food carton and got up from the table.

 

          “Violet,” Marty called.

 

          But I was already out of the room.

 

***

 

 

The text blurred.

 

I couldn’t believe it.

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Branch: Lucian

What! I want to know!!!

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lost soul

 

 

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds 

                                                                                                                              

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agentclue77

Branch: Ekaterina

Bracha-

 

Don't worry, you'll find out...eventually

 

Simon Gillespie

 

The presentations were today, and I was even more nervous than I thought I’d be.

 

          It wasn’t just the presentations that were today, we also had the cultural fair in the morning, which I just knew was going to be full of people.

 

I was sitting on the edge of my bed, not even bothering to pull my shirt on, staring at my closet, dreading the events of today. First, the gym with the entire school packed into it. And then, oral presentations in front of the whole class.

 

          I heard a knock at my door, and Dad walked in. “How you doing there, kiddo?”

 

          “I’ve been better.”

 

          Dad gave me his half-smile and sat next to me, “Let me ask you something, kiddo, did you do the assignment?”

 

          I nodded, “Yeah.”

 

          “Do you have your presentation ready?”

 

          I nodded again.

 

          “Then, you already have some of it down.”

 

          “I guess.”

 

          Dad put a hand on my back, “As for the fair, just stick close to your sister and Violet, and if you need to leave, just let Corinne know.”

 

          “Sure,” I said.

 

          “You’ll do great today,” Dad told me.

 

          Once Dad left, I pulled a t-shirt on, and really hoped Dad was right.

 

***

 

So far so good. I did take some of the vitamins in the car, so I wasn’t completely freaking out. My hands were really sweaty, though.

 

Corinne had left to go check out a bunch of other booths with Chuck, so I was with Violet, looking at the Germany booth.

 

“Did I tell you that my great-grandparents lived in Cuba for a while after leaving Germany?” I asked Violet.

 

Violet had seemed quite distant the whole time – much like the time I first tried to ask her about Bethany Baker – and she didn’t seem to fully be paying attention. “Did they?”

 

I nodded, “Yeah.”

 

After we left the Germany booth, I turned Violet and asked her if she wanted to go check out the Cuba booth and learn some more stuff about her heritage.

 

She shook her head, “No, I-I think I know a little too much already.” And with that, she walked off, leaving me wondering what was up with her.

 

I took a deep breath, and followed after her, not wanting to be left alone.

 

I’m not sure if I was short of breath from looking for Violet, or if it was from being anxious, but whatever the case, I needed to head to the bathroom right now. I bolted out of the gym and into the nearest boy’s restroom.

 

I was hoping for an empty bathroom, but no such luck. I had the wonderful privilege of running into Josh Voss.

 

Apparently, back when my parents and Marty were in middle school, Josh’s mom – Rhiannon – had a big crush on Dad. I heard they even kissed at some point in high school. According to Dad, Rhiannon had had various boyfriends throughout the years – Marty being one of them – and never really settled down and got married, so Josh doesn’t really know where his father is. I felt sorry for him, but that didn’t change the fact that he was a jerk.

 

“Well, if it isn’t Pedro Picasso.”

 

“It’s Pablo Picasso, Josh,” I said. I wanted it to come out strong and witty, but it instead came out shaky. “And anyway, I’m not here to talk.” I tried to push past him into a stall, to have my anxiety attack in peace.

 

Unfortunately, because Josh was a jerk, he didn’t let me. He stuck his leg out and I tripped over it, my face hitting the bathroom floor, hard.

 

I heard him chuckling, and I heard, “Hey, leave the kid alone, will you?”

 

          Chuck. God, why can’t I just dislike this guy? But he just had to go turnaround and do something like this. Although, for the moment, I was grateful.

 

          “Why should I, Loski?”

 

          I started to get up, but Josh put his foot on my back, pushing me back down.

 

          I heard Chuck step closer and say, “I think you’re forgetting whose captain of the wrestling team, and who’s the one who thinks he’s tough when he isn’t.”

 

          I heard Josh laugh again and say, “You know what? I don’t have time for you losers, I’ve got better things to do.”

 

          I felt his foot lift off my back, when, and then, when I heard the door close, I slowly stood up.

 

          “Why was he giving you such a problem?” Chuck asked.

 

          I shrugged, “Because he’s a jerk, that’s why.”

 

I felt a tear escape my eye, and I hastily wiped it away. I didn’t want Chuck to think I was crying because of this encounter with Josh, because I wasn’t. Not really anyway. It was almost like the fact that I was already pretty anxious when this encounter happened that had shaken me.

 

Chuck put his hands on my shoulders, “Hey, hey, don’t cry. Do you want me to go take you to Corinne?”

 

I knew he meant well, but it bothered me that he thought I needed my sister (who wasn’t even that much older than me) every time I broke down.

 

I shook my head, and pushed past him into the stall, and allowed the tears to flow. I had to get it together before the presentations, because there was no way I could do this during my presentation.

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Branch: Ekaterina

UPDATE: I’m going on a trip and won’t be back until Tuesday, and from what I know, the hotel won’t have Wi-Fi, so I won’t be able to post upcoming chapters until Tuesday, sorry

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butterflyamber887

Branch: Lucian

It's okay. And, wow, that was really good.

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lost soul

 

 

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds 

                                                                                                                              

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agentclue77

Branch: Ekaterina

Bracha-

 

Thanks!

 

Corinne Gillespie

 

Latest Tack Pinned: Egypt

The Cultural Fair was incredible. It was all so amazing how they put all the booths together.

 

          My favorite one was actually the Cuba booth. The Cuban culture was just so fascinating, and the food was amazing. Like at every booth, they had a small sample of a type of food from that heritage, and the one for Cuba was incredible. I picked up a recipe sheet for one of the dishes for Mom to make.

 

          Right around the time that I was looking at the Morocco booth, Chuck told me that he saw Simon in the bathroom, and he didn’t look too good. I know exactly what was going with Simon, but I knew very well that he didn’t want Chuck to know about the anxiety, so I just shrugged and said that I was sure he was fine. Chuck gave me a weird look and then shrugged and agreed.

 

          I found Simon by his locker shortly after that, flipping through his sketchbook.

 

          “Hey,” I said.

 

          He looked up, “Hey.”

 

          “How’s everything?” I asked

 

          He shrugged, “Fine. I ran into Josh in the bathroom.”

 

          Oh god. “What’d he do?”

 

          Simon stared straight ahead, “Tripped me, kept me down on the floor while Chuck stood up for me.”

 

          That jerk. I guess there was a reason he wasn’t the most popular guy in school.

 

          I put a hand on Simon’s shoulder, “Are you alright?”

 

          Simon nodded, “Yeah, I guess. It kind of pushed the anxiety attack over the top. I’m just…tired now.”

 

          That always happened. He was always tired after an anxiety attack.

 

          “I just hope I’ll be good for the presentation,” he said.

 

          “I’m sure you will,” I told him.

 

          “You really think so?”

 

          I nodded, “Yeah.”

 

          And I was telling the truth.

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Violet

 

Simon gave his presentation. He seemed kind of nervous at the beginning, but then he got into it. He even showed he class a picture that his great-grandmother drew of Cuba when she’d been.

 

It was a beautiful picture, but it just reminded me of what I’d learned.

 

After Simon went, it was Corinne’s turn. She talked all about how her ancestors had moved from Ireland to England in the very early nineteen-hundreds.

 

“A few years after my ancestors settled in England, they boarded the Titanic,” Corinne showed a few pictures of the massive ship on the smart board. “As everyone knows, the Titanic sank, and many people died. Unfortunately, my great, great grandfather did not survive the sinking, but his wife did.

 

‘And from there, she made it to America, where she had her son – and my great-grandfather – and many, many years later, my dad was born, and from there…me.”

 

Corinne talked a little more about the history of the Titanic, and her ancestors and dad and stuff.

 

Then, it was my turn.

 

I took a deep breath. Here goes.

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Branch: Lucian

I'm so proud of Simon! And I hope Violet does just as well. Oh, you realize mbladiesman is the only one not married?

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lost soul

 

 

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds 

                                                                                                                              

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agentclue77

Branch: Ekaterina

Bracha-

 

Yes, I do. What happened with Marty in the stuff that I didn't go into detail on in TYIB is that, like Rhiannon, he had various girlfriends over the years, being a flirt and whatnot. But after Simon and Corinne were born, and Kimmy died, he didn't really feel like settling down. He did have a girlfriend that he thought was "the one" but it didn't end up working out.

 

Corinne Gillespie

 

Latest Tack Pinned: Morocco

Everyone seemed fascinated with my report, and frankly, I didn’t blame them. It was a fascinating story, and I was sure that there was more I could learn about it.

 

          Violet went up next. I was excited to hear her story.

 

          “It took quite a bit of investigating on my part to find out my story since, as most of you know, I don’t live with my parents anymore, but here’s what I did find.” Violet pushed a button, and a picture of a man and a woman appeared on the screen.

 

“These are my parents,” she said. “Samuel and Melanie Alvarez. My mom came with her family to the U.S. when she was about thirteen. A few years later, my dad came, alone, when he was in his early twenties.” She paused. “I never knew them, since they were deported back to Cuba when I was a baby. Hence why I ended up at White Orchid Orphanage.”

 

Violet pressed another button, and a picture of a Cuban concentration camp came up on the screen. “When people get sent back to Cuba, this is where they end up.”

 

I heard some people gasp and murmur.

 

 “I’d been holding out on the fact that they weren’t dead, and that they were going to come back for me someday.” Violet looked down at her shoes, took a deep breath and said, “Unfortunately they passed away after a few years of being tortured in the concentration camp.”

 

Dead silence. Although, I did see Bethany roll her eyes and whisper to Lindsay Alvaran. Did they not have any respect?

 

Violet quickly wiped her eyes and said, “Any questions?”

 

Chuck raised his hand, “Why are they so mean to people who get sent back?”

 

“Well,” Violet began. “Since Cuba is a communist country, they get offended that you’d even dare to leave their ‘perfect government’. Hence the torture.”

 

Chuck nodded and looked down at his hands.

 

Bethany’s hand shot up in the air. “I have a question,” she said. “Why do we care what ended up happening to them? This is about you, not them.”

 

“Bethany,” Mrs. Hewitt scolded. “Need I remind you that your report barely consisted of anything at all?”

 

Bethany scowled.

 

I couldn’t believe this girl. Why do we care that the most interesting part of your story was about cheese? I wanted to tell her, but I bit back because I knew that it’d just make the situation worse..

 

Violet, though, looked defeated. “I-I’m sorry,” she murmured. Then, she picked up the folder that held her report and walked out the door.

 

I raised my hand, “Mrs. Hewitt, could Simon and I…?”

 

Mrs. Hewitt sighed, “Yes, go ahead.”

 

Simon and I stood up and walked towards the door, out of the classroom. We found her sitting on one of the benches staring at the picture of her parents.

 

Simon and I sat on either side of her, and I put an around her shoulders. She leaned her head on Simon’s shoulder.

 

“Your mom is really pretty,” Simon said, pointing the picture. “She looks just like you.”

 

“Thanks,” Violet said.

 

“Bethany Baker’s stupid,” I said, staring straight ahead.

 

“Calling her names won’t change anything,” Violet muttered, lifting her head from Simon’s shoulder. “But yeah, I agree.”

 

“Just so you know,” Simon said. “She was wrong. We all cared about your story.”

 

She looked at him, “Really?”

 

He nodded.

 

“Absolutely,” I said. “And if you ever want to talk, we’re here. And so are my parents and Marty.”

 

Violet nodded, “Thanks.”

         

          We sat there a little longer, grateful that we had each other, and hoping that Bethany would stop bothering Violet soon.

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Urg I hate her!!!! Looks like Simon's getting way better.

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lost soul

 

 

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds 

                                                                                                                              

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agentclue77

Branch: Ekaterina

Bracha-

 

Yes, he's definitely trying to get better. He had a good day that day.

 

Corinne Gillespie

 

Latest Tack Pinned: Latvia

“Why are we cleaning out the attic again?” I complained.

 

          “Because we haven’t done it in years, and it’s quite messy up here.” Mom chided.

 

          I rolled my eyes and opened the box I had pulled out. I took out a picture of three kids about my age – who I’m presuming were Mom, Dad, and Marty – sitting at the edge of a pool, their feet in the water.

 

          “Oh my god, I remember that!” Dad took the picture from my hands and showed it to Mom. “It was the summer before freshman year.”

 

          Mom nodded, “Yeah, I remember that day. Allison invited us to go swimming in the pool at the apartments.”

 

          Dad switched the pictures to the one under it. This one was basically the same, but in this one, Mom was kissing Dad on the cheek, and Marty was smirking at the two of them. Dad’s face looked about as red as Mom’s bathing suit.

 

Mom laughed, “Do you remember how flustered you got seeing me in that swimsuit.”

 

          Dad nodded, “Yup. Marty wouldn’t let it go.”

 

          I took another look at the picture. “How come you got flustered? She’s just in a bikini.”

 

          Mom and Dad exchanged a look.

 

“Well, at the time, feelings were starting to develop between your mom and me. And at a certain age–”

 

          I gagged. I had no interest in hearing this conversation again. I still wasn’t exactly sure why I still acted like a nine-year-old about this whole thing, but I did.

 

          I picked up another picture, this one of Mom and Dad a little older – maybe sixteen – standing in someone’s room, kissing.

 

          Mom laughed, shaking her head “I can’t believe Marty actually printed this picture.”

 

          “I can’t believe he actually took the picture,” Dad said.

 

          “When was this?” Simon asked.

 

          “It was the first time we said, ‘I love you’,” Mom said, and I could tell she was grinning.

 

          Dad looked at Mom, “Time has been good to you, Nina.”

 

          “Likewise.”

 

          The two of them leaned in and shared a quick kiss.

 

          I quickly averted my eyes and looked at Simon. He shrugged in a what can you do? way.

 

          “We should call Marty and Violet to come over to help us,” Dad suggested.

 

          Simon and I brightened. Mom nodded, and Dad dialed Marty.

 

          Maybe cleaning out the attic wouldn’t be so bad.

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Lucy

 

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FUN FACT: I'd actually started to write the pool scene for TYIB

 

Violet

 

“Oh, we’ve got to frame that one,” Mrs. Gillespie said.

 

          It was a picture of Mr. Gillespie and Marty presumably on their first day of kindergarten. Both Mr. Gillespie and Marty had big, toothy grins on their faces.

 

          “Hey, Nina,” Marty said. “Scan these pictures and send them to me.”

 

          Mrs. Gillespie nodded, “Absolutely.”

 

          I found one of the three of them at high-school graduation, smiling. I smiled. I liked seeing these pictures of Marty when he was younger. It felt like I was getting to know him better. And that was important after the presentations.

 

          Marty looked over at the picture and laughed, “Why didn’t anyone tell me that that haircut was not working for me?”

 

          Mr. Gillespie shrugged, “No one thought that it wasn’t.”

 

          Mrs. Gillespie put her hand up, “I beg to differ.”

 

          Marty rolled his eyes, “If I could go back in time, I’d tell my younger self to listen to your opinion about my hair.”

 

          We laughed.

 

          After Mr. Gillespie found his old telescope from when he was thirteen, he insisted that we all go up to the porch and try and see what we could see. He even baked cookies for it.

 

          Today was a good day, and I was going to hope for another one like it.

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Corinne Gillespie

 

Latest Tack Pinned: Croatia

The Holmdale Carnival had been a tradition here in Holmdale for fifteen years, and I went every year. This year, though, everyone at school seemed to be really obsessed with going with someone as a date.

 

          In fact, I was asked today. Honestly, I wasn’t opposed to going with someone. I just wanted that someone to be very specific. And the person who asked was not that person.

 

          It was Josh Voss.

 

          “Girl, you should totally go with him!” Nancy told me at lunch that day.

 

          “Why?” I asked. “I don’t like him like that.”

 

          “Maybe he’ll kiss you,” Anne said.

 

          I cringed. “I don’t want him to kiss me. I don’t want anyone to kiss me.”

 

          “Maybe after you kiss him, you’ll change your mind,” Nancy said. “I’m telling you, Corinne, he’s an amazing kisser.”

 

          I didn’t like where this conversation was going, but I kept my mouth shut.

 

          Maybe they were right about this.

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Lucy

 

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It's all an adventure

That comes with a breathtaking view

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