I don't believe in Fairytales!
A/N: This story was originally submitted for the 2012 Fandom for Preemies fundraiser compilation in aid of the great work done by the fantastic March of Dimes organization www . marchof dimes . com
An enormous thank you to cocoalvin who beta'd this sucker into shape… at the last minute as per usual, thanks to my perverted writing mojo which refuses to kick into gear until it has to.
Summary: Bella's mother had read fairy tales to her at bedtime when she was a young girl, and now she is passing them on to her young daughter too. Too bad she doesn't believe in them herself.
The soft pink glow of the lamp in my daughter's bedroom illuminated her rosy cheek, as she lay cuddled up on her side, peacefully sleeping in her tiny four-poster bed—reminiscent of her favorite princess, Sleeping Beauty. She was beautiful and I couldn't resist reaching out and stroking my forefinger over the downy skin of her rounded cheek, then tucking a wayward brown curl behind her ear. Even in her sleep she felt my interference and shifted until the curl dropped forward again.
I couldn't help it. I was in awe of this perfect being I had created from deep within my body. She was so warm and loving and her smile lit up my world. I lingered for a little longer in the comfy armchair, enjoying the stillness of the night, interrupted only by her steady breathing and occasional snuffles.
Tonight I had been reading to Claire from my own childhood book of Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales that she had pulled down from the bookshelf. I had almost forgotten it was in there, pushed behind all of the Disney Princess books and DVDs as it was. But sometime during the day's play she had found it and chosen it for tonight's reading choice.
It was bittersweet reading to my angel from this book. I had gasped out loud when she'd first handed it to me and I'd seen the cover. My heart had clenched when I realized that the last time I'd read this book had been to my dying mother, just over seven years ago.
Was it coincidence that led to her request for me to read it today of all days? It was a significant date … the day of my mother's funeral as well as the day my daughter was conceived.
Even my daughter's choice of story was designed to get my memories flowing of that day—The Golden Dream, a story of a flame haired boy who was the son of a drummer. Claire's father had red-gold hair that had gleamed in the dim lights situated above the bar; it had caught my eye as soon as I'd walked into my mother's wake that night. She was Irish and it was tradition to hold a wake after a funeral.
With one last look at my sleeping angel, I pulled the door closed and padded up the hall to my own bedroom, slipping gratefully beneath the cool sheets. Today had been a full day, what with visiting my mother's grave and then hosting an afternoon tea for all of the friends and relatives who wanted to reminisce. It was lovely to hear stories about her life from other perspectives. How mischievous she had been as a child, how much she loved my father and me, never quite getting over losing him a few years before her own passing.
Claire gobbled up the memories of her grandparents, whom she'd never met, and stored them up to repeat to me later as bedtime stories. She was a lot like my parents in temperament, even though she looked so much like her father.
Edward. Her father's name was Edward Cullen. To my everlasting embarrassment that was just about all I knew of him. His name, that he had beautiful red-gold hair and an equally charming face, and obviously rather a lot about his intimate anatomy, which I'd explored voraciously on the night of my mother's funeral.
As you do at all Irish wakes, you reminisce about the deceased … and you drink. So I did both with gusto. The man with the lovely flame-hued hair I'd spotted as we walked in was behind the bar and every time I'd grace it with my presence, he would wink at me from wherever behind the bar he was. Sometimes the dirty-blond bartender would serve me, but most of the time the cute flame boy, as I dubbed him in my head, would cut in and hand me my drink instead, telling me it was on him. With each successive visit to the bar, I stayed a little bit longer chatting with the gorgeous man, who I soon pried out of him was named Edward, until eventually I couldn't pry myself away from him … I mean the bar.
When Edward told me that he thought I'd had enough, I bragged that I could hold my drink as well as the next Irishman, and he'd just laughed and told me that he'd been watering my drinks down since the second glass and interspersing the alcoholic drinks with straight soda.
I pouted and he told me that I was too cute, but that would not get me any more alcohol. I told him that I needed more alcohol since it was my mother's wake and that I was all alone now, at which he frowned and then leaped over the bar, gathering me into his arms as I finally cried … and cried.
All the while, Edward held me in a tight embrace and rocked me like a little child. I clasped onto his shirt and drenched it with my tears until eventually I got my emotions under control. My distant family were leaving but I didn't want to go with them, I didn't want to go home and see the door to my mother's room and know she wasn't in there waiting for me. I told them that Edward was my friend and that he would look after me. He stiffened at my words, but then he said that he would be happy to look after me and bring me home when I was ready. At this point, I didn't think I'd ever be ready.
I never questioned for one minute that I didn't know Edward from Adam, and had no idea as to whether he was trustworthy or not. He'd been thoughtful enough to look out for me so that I wasn't rotten drunk —that was a sign of a nice man, right? So I continued to sit at the bar and watched him until closing time, when he tossed the keys to James, the dirty-blond bartender, to lock up.
He was better than a nice man, he was an absolute gentleman. He took me upstairs to a small studio apartment attached to the bar, handed me a clean towel and some of his freshly laundered gym clothes to wear as he steered me toward the bathroom. While I was showering he put clean sheets on the bed for me. I protested that I could sleep on the couch but he wouldn't hear of it.
I tried to sleep, I really did, but I tossed and turned in his large bed and knew that tonight I didn't want to be alone. I slipped out of the bedroom and saw him struggling to get to sleep on the too-small couch and told him that I couldn't sleep. Edward immediately got to his feet and walked into the tiny kitchen and made me hot chocolate, then soothed me by stroking my hair as I drank deeply of the warm comforting liquid. But it was not enough. I whispered that I was lonely and I could see him hesitate before slipping under the covers and holding me close.
His breath was sweet and smelt faintly of mint as he kissed my forehead, and I knew that he would be quite content to just lie there in his bed and offer me comfort the whole night through. But, I didn't want comfort any more—I just wanted to forget the last few months, forget that I was alone—so against my better nature, the one that had been selfless for too long as I'd haunted my mother's bedside for months, I took advantage of this sweet, kind man.
Instead of accepting his chaste kiss gratefully, I lifted my face and captured his sweet lips with mine. He pulled back in surprise, even as his eyes darkened in response, but I arched up and pulled his head back down to mine.
"I don't think this is a good idea, Bella," he whispered against my lips, valiantly trying to retreat from me. "You've been drinking and today has been traumatic for you."
I didn't care, I just needed to forget and I wanted to forget with him.
"I'm not drunk, Edward, you said so yourself." I punctuated each word with sly kisses along his jaw. His answering groan answered my question as to whether he wanted this or not.
"I want this," I whispered back. "I want you."
When he still showed signs of hesitation, I upped the ante and slid my right hand down his torso and found his telltale erection. His body wanted this but his mind was still being far too chivalrous for my liking. I rubbed my palm up and down his hardness, and when he tried to move away from me I captured his ass in one hand and slipped my other hand down the front of his pajama pants, gripping his warm flesh firmly.
Edward shuddered against me as I firmly stroked him from base to tip and then back again. "Bella," he groaned in surrender and captured my lips with his own in a hard kiss, close-mouthed at first, but as my hand sped up, with open mouth and tongue as he explored with vigor. His hands gripped my shoulders and then dropped as if by some unseen force to cup my breasts gently and then knead them firmly as I pushed my chest up into his long fingers.
White-hot sensations speared through me when his hands moved down and divested me of his loose-fitting gym shorts, and finally my goal of forgetfulness was fulfilled as his fingers dipped into my heated flesh. The sadness of the day and the ache in my heart faded as his clever digits performed magic on my body, stroking and teasing me into embarrassingly quick ecstatic heights until I was boneless and floating on air.
I came to with the realization that my fingers were gripping, most likely painfully, his still throbbing cock. I leaned down and flicked my tongue over the swollen head and Edward tensed. "You don't have to do that," he whispered. "I just want to please you tonight, Bella."
I smiled up at him and whispered back, "But I want to, Edward, you taste so good."
And he did taste good, all clean with a slight hint of maleness, and it was ambrosia as his pre-cum teased my taste buds. My tongue wrapped itself around the head of his cock and then flicked at his frenulum before sliding down the hardened length. I lapped at his clean-shaven balls, a particular treat, and he moaned above me. Too soon he was dragging me back up his body and spearing his tongue into my mouth, tasting himself on my tongue.
"Fuck, Bella, what you do to me."
I smiled teasingly at him, and told him, "I want to do so much more, Edward."
He got serious then. "Bella, I'm still not sure that we're doing the right thing. You are so vulnerable right now and I don't want to take advantage of you this way."
"You are not taking advantage of me, Edward. If anything I am taking advantage of you. If you really don't want to be intimate with me, I understand. Please don't feel like you have to humor me tonight. I don't want a pity fuck."
Edward shook his head. "Bella… Bella… Bella." He swooped down to kiss my lips. "This is the best night of my life, being here with you. And when I make love to you, the only thing to be pitied will be my heart, as I've surely lost it here tonight."
My mother always said that she just knew my father was special, the minute she laid eyes on him, and I wondered if that had just happened to me tonight. It had my mother's hand all over the situation; maybe Edward was her parting gift to me, for him to soothe the ache of losing her.
Whatever the reason, I was going to make the most of it though, so I leaned in for a deeply satisfying kiss, all the while removing his pajama pants with my feet. "Have you got any protection, Edward?" I asked, while stripping off his wife-beater.
Edward turned panicked eyes towards me and gripped his hair in dismay. "I haven't been with anyone for a long while, I don't know if I do," he whimpered endearingly. He turned and I admired his toned back as he reached into his bedside drawer, his ass delectably tilted and perfect to take a little nip. Edward jumped as my teeth squeezed his rounded cheek, and then flipped back over triumphantly, a lone condom in hand. "Ta da!"
I eyed the blue foil-wrapped prophylactic like it was pirate's gold, snatching it out of his hand and simultaneously pushing him back on the bed. My eyes did not stray from his as his candid smile morphed into sin incarnate. He watched me with hooded eyes, sucking his lower lip between his white teeth as I bit the packet open and then rolled the barely there condom over his straining erection.
As my fingers smoothed the thin rubber down his length he took in a deep breath and closed his eyes as he twitched into my hands. I eyed his length nervously, as it had been a long while for me too, but refused to contemplate not feeling his girth inside me. I crawled over his hips and rubbed myself over him, coating him with my arousal. Edward moaned and sat up, pulling me into a deep kiss as he joined my slow gyration on his lap.
"Bella, my Bella," he whispered against my lips as he lifted my hips slightly and placed his hardness at my entrance. I wiggled against him, anxious to feel him breach me, and he did, inch by excruciatingly slow inch, until he was seated deep within my body. We sat there, arms wrapped around each other, lips touching and both breathing deeply, my breasts brushing his chest and I could feel him pulsing deep inside. I'd never felt this close to anyone before, a tender touching of souls as we moved slowly together, whispering endearments between kisses.
Edward reached his completion moments after I did, the tight clenching of my inner walls too strong for his thoroughly tested control. He pulled me with him as he lay back on the bed, our bodies still intimately joined as my body corralled his on the bed. His fast beating heart was beneath my ear, my arms gripped his shoulders and my legs lay prone against his, completely drained from our joining. Edward's fingers threading through my hair and stroking the length of my back lulled me into a dreamy state and that was how I woke up hours later, still draped over him, although his cock had slipped from within me during the night.
The morning sun was slanting through the partially open curtains and into my eyes as I moved gingerly off him, hoping not to wake him as I left the bed to relieve myself in his bathroom. That wish was futile as I heard his cell go off just as I returned to the bedroom and found Edward propped up in bed ignoring it.
"Morning, Angel." He smiled at me.
I smiled back. "My mother used to call me that," I told him. "I like it."
"Well you look like an angel standing there with the sunlight beaming in through the window onto you." Edward smiled. "My own personal angel." He patted the bed beside him and I ran over to him, bouncing on the well-sprung bed and almost hitting his chin. He chuckled as he picked me up and kissed me soundly.
"I don't have to work until later tonight, do you want to hang out here with me today?" he asked, and as I was going to happily acquiesce, I remembered the duty I had to undertake today—the reading of my mothers' will.
I looked frantically around the room for a clock, upset that I'd forgotten something so important. "Edward, do you know what time it is?" I yelped. He laughed and flipped open his cell to check the time.
"It's just after ten," he said, prompting me to leap out of his bed in a tangle of arms and legs as I scooped up my forgotten clothes and ran into his bathroom.
"I take it that the answer is no then," he asked me, still good-naturedly.
I popped my head out of his bathroom door. "I'm sorry, Edward. I would love to spend the day with you, but I've got something important to do first. Can I see you tonight?"
"Of course," Edward replied. "I will be working from six tonight, so drop in any time. And Bella?" he called as I popped back out of sight.
"Yes, Edward?" I called out, my mouth full of his toothpaste.
"I'd be honored if you'd stay with me again tonight."
Fully dressed and with minty breath, I walked back to him, kissing him soundly on the lips. "Presumptuous much?" I teased as I walked out his door.
The next morning, after a sleep filled with dreams of a flame-haired man, I woke early and prepared Claire for school. Five minutes after I dropped her off, I was boarding the same train into the heart of the city that I'd taken all those years ago after leaving Edward at this front door. It had been the last time that I had seen him and yet, after knowing him for so short a time, my heart still ached for him.
As I sat there watching the buildings fly by, I laughed quietly to myself that if I was going to give Claire a realistic view of life, then reading Hans Christian Anderson tales to her was a better choice than the romanticized Disney versions of them. I didn't believe that my Prince would come and sweep me off my feet anymore. Well, Edward had swept me off my feet, but that had been as far as that tale had gone—I hadn't gotten my 'happily-ever-after' with him.
I thought back to the tale of the tin soldier, the last one I read last night, that was more like how my love life was going. The tin soldier loved the pretty paper ballerina and when they both were swept into the fire, all that was left of them in the morning was a little chunk of metal shaped like a heart. The only thing that had softened my heart for these seven years had been my beautiful daughter, unwittingly provided to me by Edward. That lone condom we'd used must have been out of date and had been the best 'mistake' that could have ever happened to me.
I never blamed Edward, or hated him for not being at the bar when I showed up promptly at six, anxious to spend every moment I could with him. The will reading had been tough, although nothing unexpected had occurred. My mother had been as thoughtful with her bequests as she'd been with everything she did throughout her life. It had just been hard to cope as the pieces of her life were split between me and the rest of her family.
As I'd waited at the end of the bar, perched on a stool, for Edward to appear, I remember that smarmy James staring at me and smirking. Finally, he'd approached me and asked me what I'd like to drink. He'd made me feel uncomfortable as he eyed my body blatantly and when I'd told him that I was fine until Edward arrived, he'd laughed.
"You'll be waiting a long time for him, honey," he'd drawled. "He got a call this morning that his girlfriend had a car accident. He's gone home to Chicago for good to look after her."
I'd felt ill as James had stood there leering at me, and barely made it to the bathroom before I'd lost the meager snack I'd inhaled on the way home from the will reading.
Oh. My. God.
I had seduced a taken man. I'd never done such a thing before. Edward had kept pulling away from me, offering me comfort and I'd gone and underhandedly seduced the poor man. I was ashamed of myself. Ashamed that he had to live with what we'd done while his girlfriend lay hurt. I'd pushed open the door and escaped from the bar, never to return.
At least remembering that night was taking my mind off the more pressing worries I had about the coming day. My mother had died from breast cancer, and as such I had regular checkups myself. To be honest, I was a little freaked out. All of these coincidences that keep leading me back to that day and I'd had a niggly feeling all night and morning that something was on the horizon. I prayed that it wasn't a positive result from my breast exam today. I'd been lucky to have lived a full childhood with my parents and I couldn't fathom the idea that Claire might not be so lucky.
The announcement for my station cut short my worries and I strode determinedly toward the radiologists' rooms with very little time to spare. The mammogram was, as always, uncomfortable and slightly painful as my tender breasts were squished flat for the photographs. The technician asked me to wait in the waiting room while the results were assessed, which was nothing out of the norm, but my stomach still fluttered with butterflies as I waited for the results.
I could tell that there was an issue with the results when the technician walked back into the room, with a sterner demeanor than before. "Miss Swan, there is some shadowing in the lower right quadrant of your left breast. We'd just like to perform an ultrasound on the area to discount a cancerous lump." My heart dropped at her words. Maybe I had some psychic talent after all? I nodded and followed her into the dim ultrasound room.
I took off my clothes and donned the unflattering gown before gingerly lying down on the bed, my fingers holding the almost indecent open front of the gown together. My eyes were closed as the doctor entered the room and dimmed the lights still further, so that it was impossible to make out his facial features as he took his seat behind the screen. I started when he asked me to remove my fingers from the gown so he could commence the procedure, and giggled nervously when I felt the squirt of the cold gel on the slopes of my lower breasts He murmured a quiet "sorry," and said that he had asked for a warmer to be placed in the room to warm the gel but it had yet to be done.
His voice was low and husky and I responded to it, or the gentle movement of the instrument over my breasts with the occasional brushing of his pinky finger, by an instant pooling of arousal between my thighs. With each brush of the instrument near my nipples, they embarrassingly hardened until they were tight buds aching with the desire for the doctor to touch them again.
My voice squeaked out that it was a little cold, hoping to excuse my reaction to his touch, and he immediately became concerned and walked over near the door, fiddling with some box near the door, presumably the thermostat to the room. "Is that warmer?" the doctor called out more loudly than he'd spoken so far, and this time he sounded a little familiar. He must have performed an earlier ultrasound. I wondered why I was having such a reaction to him now, but then put it down to the fact that this had been as intimate as I had been with anybody since Edward.
At least having these intense reactions to his touch had chased away the fears I held that something was seriously wrong. Another ten minutes of soft touches from him and me trying to contain my reaction and it was all over. He stood up and said that he'd be back with the results after I'd dressed. As he walked out the door, he reached over to tweak the lights to a brighter hue and then he was out into the corridor, but not before I glimpsed a hint of red.
I shook my head to clear it before jumping up to wipe the gooey gel from my body and get dressed. It would be horrible to be half dressed with my ass hanging out of my skirt when he walked back into the room. I was just brushing my hair when the doctor strode through the door, asking if I was ready. His head was down, looking at the chart in front of him, but this time the tug of familiarity was stronger as I saw tussled red-gold hair. "Everything is fine, Ms Swan. You just have some fibrous tiss—"
"Edward?" I croaked out and his head snapped up, the green eyes of my daughter staring back at me.
"Bella?" he stuttered, looking around as if he'd lost something. He looked down at his chart. "You're Bella Swan now?" he asked. "You got married?"
I looked at him like he'd lost his mind. "I've always been Bella Swan, and no I'm not married. What a strange question."
Now it was Edward's turn to look confused. "But when you didn't show up at the bar, I went looking for you. All I had to go on was the booking for your mother's wake—Renee Dwyer."
"You looked for me?" I whispered before I realized what he'd said. My heart dropped.
"What are you trying to pull, Edward? Is this some sort of game to you? Why would you have been looking for me when you'd gone home to look after your girlfriend, Rose." I was almost in tears. My long-held belief that Edward was one of the good ones was fast deteriorating and I was feeling embarrassed that I'd thought I was to blame for that night for all of these years.
"How did you know about Rose?" Edward looked stunned.
Ha. Yes, you thought you'd got away scott free didn't you?
"James told me all about Rose, your girlfriend, that night when I did go to the bar looking for you." My voice was rising the angrier I got.
Edward looked like he was in shock for a moment before he took my shoulders in a vice like grip and pleaded with his eyes to trust him. Just like Claire, I found it difficult to look away and not give in to the power of them.
When I ceased struggling against his hold, he spoke.
"Do you remember the phone call I didn't take that morning while you were I in my bathroom?"
I nodded but I was still confused.
"It was my brother, Emmett, who lives in Chicago, calling me. After you breezed out of my door like a ray of sunshine, I called him back. He told me then that his girlfriend, Rose, who we'd known almost our whole lives, had been in a serious car accident. I rushed home to Chicago to be there and support them, but not before I'd written you a letter explaining the situation, including my cell number and asking you to call me. In your rush to leave, you didn't leave me any contact details, my gorgeous girl. I left the letter with James, as he was the only one in the bar as I rushed out to catch my flight."
"But why would James do this to us?" I asked in bewilderment. "I went to the bar so excited to see you and he laughed when he told me you'd gone home to your girlfriend."
Edward took me in his arms and it was like coming home. "I don't know," Edward whispered into my hair. "I do know that he wasn't happy when my Uncle Eleazar gave me the job at the bar when I came to New York to study. The room above the bar used to be his but it was given to me to help me out. I thought he'd gotten over that by then though."
We stood like that, quietly breathing each other in for what felt like hours, but in reality mere minutes, until I felt Edward stiffen and step away from me. "Bella, your file says that you've had a child. Are you still in a relationship with her father? Am I being too presumptuous that you are single at the moment and free to see where this takes us?"
My heart beat out of my chest with worry. I had yet to tell Edward about his daughter.
"You want to date me?" I asked, stalling for time.
"Very much so," Edward declared, taking my hands in his. "I've never forgotten you, Bella. You've been very much in the forefront of my thoughts for all of these years. The image of you standing in the pool of light from my window has never left me … I have always thought of you as my lost angel."
I blushed at the memory. I had been stark naked as I had stood in front of the window, basking in the warmth of the rays.
"Edward, I have something to tell you. Something I think you should be seated for," I whispered.
"What's wrong, Bella? Why do you think I need to sit down?"
I pushed him down to the bed and this time I sat in the technician's chair. As I took his hands in mine, my heart was beating out of my chest so loud I thought he was sure to hear it.
"Bella, you are worrying me now. What do you need to tell me? Are you dating James or something?"
I laughed and pretended to puke. "Oh my God, Edward, never in a million years would I have dated that dirt bag. He made my skin crawl right from the minute I met him."
I took a big breath. "Okay, what I have to tell you is this. Do you remember the lone condom you found in your bedside table that night?"
He nodded, albeit with an air of confusion.
"Well, I suspect that the condom was out of date and a little bit faulty."
Edward was definitely confused now. "Bella, what has that condom got to do with anything."
I put my finger up to shush him. "You're a doctor, right." He rolled his eyes in exasperation this time. "Yes, but—" I shushed him again.
"As a doctor, can you explain to me what the possible consequences are of using an out-of-date condom?"
This time Edward looked like I was losing my mind, until suddenly I could see his light bulb moment. He looked down at my chart, and I knew he was having a closer look at my daughter's birth date.
Finally he looked up with tears in his eyes. "She's mine," he stated and I nodded, even though he hadn't really asked a question.
"Oh, Bella, I should have tried harder to find you. I could have helped you and supported you both." I took his hands in mine. "And I should never have believed that sleazebag, James. I should have gone back to the bar again and again until I heard the truth from you."
And then I was in his arms, those arms that had once offered me comfort unconditionally when I needed him the most. His lips unerringly found mine, and it was only much later when there was a polite knock on the door from the receptionist, informing us that the next appointment was ready for the doctor, that we parted.
I had to leave him, but this time Edward made sure to program his cell number into my phone and then rang his own phone so that he would have mine. "Can I see you again soon?" he asked.
"Would tonight be too soon?" I asked him. "You have someone very special to meet and she will be over the moon to meet you too."
"What have you told her about me," Edward asked tentatively, worried about the impact this might have on our daughter.
"I have told Claire that her father is one of the sweetest men I had ever met, and that you had given me her as a present when you couldn't stay yourself."
He smiled and blushed. "And where does Claire think I am?"
Now it was my turn to blush. "I told her that you were an angel that had fallen from heaven to help me at a difficult time, but you had to leave me when it was time to help someone else. She's too young to know the truth, but I had planned on telling her when the time was right."
"Bella, are you sure you want me in your life … in Claire's life? Can you ever forgive me for not being there when you needed me?"
I frowned at him then. "Edward, there is nothing to forgive. We lost each other because of the machinations of a jealous loser and here we have been given a second chance. I was falling for you after just one night all those years ago, and if the way my heart is fluttering right now is an indication of what we could be now, then yes, I really do want to see where this takes us."
"Claire is your daughter, Edward, and there will always be a place for you in her life. You're her father and there is no more important man in a young girl's life than that."
Another knock sounded on the door, a little more impatient sounding this time. "Dr. Cullen, your next patient is waiting."
He looked harried and called out, "I'll just be a few moments more."
Then he turned to me. "Okay, I'll be at your place by six tonight, ready to meet my daughter, and to romance her mother." He grinned and I smiled as I went to leave the room.
"Oh, Bella," he called out to me just before I left the room. "What will you tell her before I get there?"
"Easy." I grinned back at him. "Whenever I read her fairy tales before bed, Claire always tells me that someday my Prince will come. I'll just tell her that you have arrived and are coming for dinner."
Later, as I sat on the train going home, I decided I might have to rethink my stance on fairy tales.
End Note: A little shout out to Aydenmorgen and the rest of the team who organized the fundraiser. These ladies deserve a round of applause for all of the hard work to get the compilation into shape and distributed.