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A continuing story of a Toronto apartment block and the complicated lives within

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So it may not be my strongest episode, but I hope this helps set up some more of the drama ahead. Apologies if the tone seems a little disjointed at this point, I'm still trying to figure out the right mix of comedy and drama here, but I think it still turned out okay.

Thanks for reading!


It's buzzing at The Royal. The grand opening is upon us, and champagne is in every glass. Kian, Jason and Peter socialize with the local foodies and press, basking in the glory of their creation. Ryan passes by them, hors d'oevres artfully displayed on the tray in his hands. Jason pulls Ryan over momentarily.

JASON: Can you do me a favour and ask the kitchen to wait ten minutes before serving the mains? I'm gonna have Peter and Kian give speeches, then at my cue, get the staff ready and we'll parade everything out all at once, alright?

RYAN: Got it, boss.

Ryan is about to hastily scurry away, Jason stops him before he does so, and looks at him with a wry smile.

JASON: And don't call me boss. Got it?

RYAN: Yes, b..Jason.

Jason lets Ryan go, and wrinkles his nose, shaking his head.

Jason then goes back to mingling with the crowd, drinking far faster than anyone else in the room. He still manages to come off charming, if a little sloppy.

Kian and Peter shmooze with the press, Kian held close to Peter's side, but Kian's eyes are clearly following Jason instead. Peter's so caught up in having a sexy young guy on his side, he barely notices as he chats endlessly with the socialites around him.

Kian tunes it out and daydreams of he and Jason in bed together. Jason's kiss on his neck and heading south before Peter calling his name snaps him out of it.

PETER: Kian!

KIAN: Oh...hey.

PETER: You look like you're a thousand miles away, babe.

KIAN; Sorry, I just...I couldn't believe that all of this was for me. I had to soak it all in for a sec.

PETER: Well, get used to it, babe, cos this is just the start of it for you.

Kian smiles a wide smile and gives Peter a quick peck on the lips, more in appreciation than out of love. Regardless, the group talking with them still beam at them, mistaking their display as a sign of great romance.

As this happens, Jason gets up on the small stage in one corner of the room, clinking his glass with his fork to draw attention to himself.

JASON: Excuse me, everybody. Can I have everyone's attention for just a second, please.

The room grows mostly silent and turns to face Jason, a few members in the crowd still chatter.


Jason points to the source the noise, a twinkle in his eye as he does so. The crowd laughs.

JASON: I wanted to thank you all for coming here, and I have something extremely important that I want to say about someone who is very important to everyone here, but especially to me.

Kian looks to Jason with eyes darting. Kian shakes his head at Jason hoping to avert a disaster, while Jason looks relaxed and ignores Kian's worries.

Down on Queen West, Darren chats with his friend, artist Calvin J at his art show. Out of the corner of his eye, Darren spots Alexis come into the gallery. Alexis' face drops and she turns sharply to the bar, avoiding contact with Darren as much as possible. Undeterred, Darren excuses himself and heads over to Alexis.

As Alexis picks up a glass of wine at the bar, Darren startles her with his greeting.

DARREN: HEY baby, what's up?

ALEXIS: You want me to spill this all over the place?

DARREN: Sorry, baby, if you spilled, i'ma buy you another.

ALEXIS (unimpressed): How gracious of you.

DARREN: Come to think of it, I might just buy you one anyway.

ALEXIS: *sigh* This may come as a huge shock to you, but you're actually nowhere near as suave as you think you are.

Darren grabs at his chest.


Alexis rolls her eyes, takes a sip of wine as she walks away.

DARREN: Wait wait wait, wait a minute, girl. Come here, I got someone I want you to meet.

ALEXIS: If it's your mother, I don't think we're at that stage of the relationship yet.

DARREN: Yet. Cha-ching! Progress.

Alexis follows him reluctantly, shaking her head at his theatrics as he takes her over to meet Calvin.

Back at the restaurant, a beautiful black woman in her early 40s enters the room in a dazzling red gown. Her hair done up in a tight bun, she looks every bit as beautiful as a woman in her 20s, but twice as graceful. She stands at the back of the room as Jason makes his speech.

JASON: I'm glad you're all here tonight for our grand opening. It really means a lot to me and Kian, and Peter of course, that you're here to help us celebrate the launch of this amazing new restaurant.

Kian winces at Jason's remark. He knows the comment was unintentional, and realizes he's overthinking things, but worries that there's a possibility some buried resentment at Jason's status as Kian's hidden lover will make its way into Jason's speech.

JASON: The Royal will be one of a kind in this community, a restaurant of fine food for everybody. And we have two very important people to thank for this...Kian and Peter.

The crowd applauds as Jason motions them to step up. Kian is unsure of what's going on, still deep in thought, while Peter, eager to grab the spotlight, races up to capture the glory of the moment.

PETER: Thank you, everybody. Thanks for coming out, and even greater thanks to my talented, and loving partner, in life and in business...Mr. Kian McClary.

The applause continues as Kian finally steps up on the stage.

PETER: Kian is probably the finest discovery I've ever made. Not only is he one of the best chefs in the country, but he also has quite possibly the best taste in the world. Not only for his food, but for choosing an old lug like me.

Peter jabs Kian in the side, as the audience laughs. Kian laughs along with them but a slight discomfort is still visible in his face.

As Peter continues to go on about how great he is, Ryan stands in the doorway of the kitchen, ready to lead the night's parade of great food with the wait staff. He notices the beautiful black woman in the doorway and can't take his eyes off her. She gives a seductive smile and turns back to Peter. Ryan smiles back clumsily, then looks back at the stage as well, waiting for Jason's cue.

PETER: ...and that is going to be the key to our success.

JASON: Now without further ado, let's all raise our glasses to The Royal.

As the call goes out to raise their glasses, Ryan's handed a glass of champagne by another member of the wait staff, Jason motions to Ryan to hand it over to the woman he was looking at before. Ryan quickly scurries over to her and hands her a glass.

RYAN: Here you are, Madam.

MARY: Call me Mary. And thank you, handsome.

RYAN: You're welcome.

Ryan shuffles back to his corner, as the room prepares to toast.

JASON: To The Royal

ALL: To The Royal!

Alexis toasts with Darren. She's had a few drinks by now, but still seems put off.

DARREN: You look like you could kill someone, and I don't think I've crossed that line yet.

ALEXIS: You're teetering on the edge, but no, you haven't.

DARREN: Then I guess I better watch my step.

ALEXIS: Trust me, you're nowhere near as bad as some people tonight.


ALEXIS: I wasn't supposed to be here alone tonight but--

DARREN: But you got stood up and now you wanna get your mind off it. I get it. I know the feeling.

ALEXIS: Why does that not surprise me?

DARREN: Now YOU'RE teetering on the edge.

Alexis laughs and orders another drink. Darren finishes his and sits a little closer.

DARREN: You really better slow down, you know.

ALEXIS: I'm a big girl, and I don't need some he-man looking out for me.

DARREN: Nah, it's not that. I just know a lot of girls who think they can handle their booze, then they end up trippin' over their heels and throwing up on some dude's Cadillac.

ALEXIS: I feel like there's a story there.

DARREN: You have no idea.

ALEXIS (laughing): Well come on, tell me!

DARREN: Only if you promise to let me walk you home.

ALEXIS: Hmmmm.....I think considering we're both going to the same place.

DARREN: Mmmhmm???

ALEXIS: I think I could handle that.

DARREN: Excellent.

ALEXIS: Now don't get too excited. I don't want you getting the wrong idea.

DARREN: Promise. I'm a gentleman. I treat you like a lady.

ALEXIS: Good. You know you're a lot less annoying after a few drinks.

DARREN: Well thanks a lot, lady. What you tryin' to say?

Darren gets in closer and tickles Alexis a bit. Alexis, whose defenses are now fully and clearly down, is actually enjoying the attention, which passive, distracted boyfriend Ryan never gives her.

ALEXIS: AH! Stop it. (laughs). Come on. TELL ME! Tell me the story.

Alexis looks up at Darren, who leans in to kiss her. Alexis at first recoils, but it's only momentary. She leans back in to reciprocate.




Jacqueline MacInnes Wood


Scott Clifton


Scott Evans


Bryton James


Chord Overstreet


Kin Shriner


Zack Conroy


Victoria Rowell


Lynn Herring


Wayne Northrop


Kian stands dumfounded as Peter steps out of his limo to greet him. Jason stands a bit in behind him, as though Kian somehow will shield him. Peter seems to ignore their awkwardness.

PETER: Hey baby, I thought I'd come surprise you.

KIAN: Oh...heh, great. Umm...Peter, this is my...uh...the manager of the restaurant...umm...

JASON: I'm Jason Toms, nice to meet you, sir.

PETER: Heard a bit about you, Jason. I'dve been a part of the hiring process but I was in New York so I left it all in the hands of my...incredibly capable business partner

Peter winks at Kian, who smiles uncomfortably.

PETER: So, come on. Let's go. A party awaits us!

Kian and Jason look at each other knowingly, equal measures of relief and concern on their faces. They head down the steps to the car.

Through the window on the main level, Joanna Williams peeks through her window at the goings-on outside. The neighbourhood snoop with equal parts gossippy motormouth and all-seeing eyes. Trusting her is out of the question for the residents of the building...at least if they know well enough.

JOANNA: Oooo, Mark, Mark, come see. Kian's got a big, shiny limo to take him to his grand opening.

Mark's in the kitchen, looking around the corner at Joanna. He's used to her nosiness, but it nonetheless agitated.

MARK: Would you stop snooping already? You're gonna get yourself arrested for invading privacy again, and this time I'm not bailing you out.

JOANNA: No, come on! If they've got a stretch limo they WANT people to look! You don't get a limo like that and come up to the door of a place like this if you want people to keep their eyes to themselves and look down at their newspapers. This is an obvious cry for attention. I'm just giving them what they want.

Mark walks over, sandwich in hand, looks quickly out the window and turns around again, sitting down in his easy chair, facing the TV.

MARK: And if you were paying any attention to the look on that boy's face, you'd know he'd rather be locked in the trunk of a Kia than be in that limo.

JOANNA: What on earth are you talking about, Mark?

MARK: It's obvious, something's going on between the two young ones and they don't want Peter to find out about it.

Joanna looks over at him wide-eyed, with a wide grin. Mark looks up at her, realizing what he's just done.

MARK: You know I've lived with you too long. I'm starting to turn into you.

JOANNA: Marriage is beautiful, isn't it? *giggles* I'm going upstairs and telling Mary all about it.

MARK (disinterested): I'm sure she'll give it her usual care and attention.

JOANNA: Hush, go back to watching your football or whatever it is this time of year.

MARK: Hockey still.

JOANNA: Whatever, it's all the same game anyway. BYE!

Mark rolls his eyes, despairing at what he's just done, and goes back to his show.

Joanna heads out the door, and immediately runs into the landlord's cat. Calling out for attention (also food), she picks up her feline friend to bring her upstairs with her. As she's about to step up, Darren exits his apartment next door to hers, heading out the door. She stops him momentarily.

JOANNA: Hey Darren! How's it going?

Darren knows better than to tell Joanna too much, and is polite but guarded.

DARREN: Not a lot, Mrs. Williams. Got a friend's art show tonight I'm gonna check out.

JOANNA: Oh, would you stop with this Mrs. Williams stuff, it's Joanna. Now, this art show. It sounds exciting. What kinda stuff they do.

DARREN: Oh he's a photographer, graphic artist, you know. Name's Calvin J. Really cool stuff, you know?

JOANNA: That's fantastic. Hey, do you know what the limo outside's all about.

Darren knows where this is going and tightens up.

DARREN: Nope. Can't say I do.

JOANNA: Oh well it was just so big and glamourous I just had to ask, you know. I love the glitz and the glam of these new fancy restaurants opening up, and to think we've got an up and coming chef living right under this roof, it's really something! You know?

Darren, midway through this diatribe is already about to go, and tries to be polite but can't hold back any longer.

DARREN: Yea for sure, Mrs. Wils-er Joanna, look, I really gotta go so...I'll see you later.

JOANNA: Oh! Bye Darren, umm, hey, do you have any food scraps for...

Darren runs out the door as fast as possible.

JOANNA: ...the....cat. Okay!

On his way out, Darren walks past Alexis, just stepping out of her car.

DARREN: Hey baby.

ALEXIS: Ugghh, not this again.

DARREN: No seriously, I gotta warn you bout this neighbour we got. I forgot to tell you earlier. Mrs. Williams. BIG ass snoop. Gonna get up in ALL your business. Watch her.

ALEXIS: Noted. Now, please move. In a bit of a hurry.

DARREN: That's cool. I'll catch ya later.

Alexis rolls her eyes, collects herself, and heads inside. Inside, Joanna's slowly making her way up the stairs, cat still in her arms. Alexis moves up the stairs quickly and notices the cat.

ALEXIS: Ugh, good, my boyfriend got rid of it.

JOANNA: What, Misty? Ohhh, she's a sweetheart. She belongs to the landlord, did you wanna hold her?

ALEXIS: NO! ....no, I'm allergic. But thanks. And you are?

JOANNA: Joanna Williams. I'm your downstairs neighbour. You haven't met me yet but...I mean, I knew you were moving in and all. I keep tabs on things around here, you know.

Alexis nods and smiles, but already is looking to get out of this conversation.

ALEXIS: Yeah, I gotcha...well....look. I got an art show tonight I wanna check out, this Calvin J guy. Get some new stuff for the walls...go along with this new apartment and all, so, I'm gonna take off. It was nice to meet you Mrs. Williams.

JOANNA: OH! Call me Joanna!

Joanna laughs uncomfortably as Alexis steps into her apartment quickly and closes the door in Joanna's face. Joanna realizes it's the same artist Darren was mentioning.

JOANNA: Calvin J again. HM! Must be a popular guy.

Joanna heads up the stairs again, up one more floor to Mary's.

Alexis stands, back against the door for a second, eyes wide with relief at getting out of that mess. She calls out for Ryan while looking around the apartment for him.

ALEXIS: Ryan??

After checking out all the rooms and realizing he's not there, she checks for a note. Not finding one, she gets a bit aggravated and tries calling Ryan. The ever-present mind that he is, Ryan's left his phone on the desk in his rush to leave for the grand opening. Alexis silently curses him and goes to head off to the art show alone, when she notices a puddle on the ground in the doorway of the bathroom. Looking up at a drip in the ceiling, her frustration increases and she storms out of the room, headed up for the landlord's apartment.

Before knocking, she inevitably runs into Joanna and cat once more.

JOANNA: OH! Fancy running into you again!

ALEXIS: Yeah, imagine that. It's like we just saw each other a minute ago.

JOANNA: *giggles* I know right?

ALEXIS: Right well, if you'll excuse me-

JOANNA: You know, that art show you were going to? Well, that Darren fellow that lives downstairs across from me said he's going too. You should meet him, he's a real cutie. Around your age too! You'd really like--

ALEXIS: We've already met. He seems like a great guy.

JOANNA: OH! So you're going with him. Let me know how that goes.

ALEXIS: I'm...not. Actually. Can you excuse me one second.

JOANNA: Oh sure, take your time. I'm actually just gonna head back down to my apartment and feed Misty. My friend's not home.

Alexis goes to knock on Dan, the landlord's door, just as she does, Joanna stops her yet again.

JOANNA: Oh and before you do that, I knocked on Dan's door too. He's not home. He rarely is. Always travelling somewhere. This time around I heard he was going to Africa.

Joanna stops for a second, Alexis stands facing the door, banging her head against it.

JOANNA: Anyway, it's hard to get ahold of him, last time he was away half the year. He usually just has you give Mary the rent cheques while he's away, but if you wanna get anything fixed, you're better off doing it yourself, honestly.

ALEXIS: Thanks for the advice. Duly noted. Now, if you'll excuse me.

JOANNA: Oh no worries, and say 'hi' to Darren for me.

Alexis dashes off to the art show. Joanna gives Alexis a wink, hoping to hear some juicy gossip later in the evening.


The art show begins


A gala to remember?




laugh.png But besides that, Any questions, comments, or anything let me know. I'll only keep this up as long as you're interested, so keep your support coming. And for now, here's:

So again, I'm a little rough at this, as I've said before. Be a little easy on me, everyone.



Shawn Christian


Jacqueline MacInnes Wood


Scott Clifton


Scott Evans


Bryton James


Chord Overstreet


Kin Shriner


Zack Conroy

Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Spring is starting to...well, spring, and the extreme Canadian winter has brought many feet of snow. The snow is now getting heavy, saturated with the weight of the April showers. We come upon an apartment block in the heart of the city, during a typically dreary day. Rain for a third consecutive day, and no sign the weather will soon let up.

On the top floor of the building, Dan Kaplan, the building's landlord, looks out the window at the miserable weather, and puts his cat outside the door of his apartment and runs his bath. After running the bath, he gets in. We then hear a loud creaking noise and a loud crash.

A floor below, we see a young couple, freshly moved in. Alexis Dillon, a suburban princess with a long entitlement complex, and her beau, the hapless Ryan Olsen. Ryan is trying to set up the kitchen cabinet, but as Alexis walks in, the shelves collapse.

ALEXIS: I see the shelf-building's going well

RYAN: Yeah, well...cheap Swedish furniture's not all it's cracked up to be

ALEXIS: That's exactly why I didn't want us to GET cheap Swedish furniture.

RYAN: You didn't want second hand furniture either, so what else could we afford.

ALEXIS: Better stuff than THIS. Ryan, come on, you have a new job, a good one! You can afford this, can't you?

RYAN: Not after first and last month's rent, baby.

Alexis rolls her eyes and looks around the apartment. It's not to her standards. In fact, she absolutely loathes the place. But Ryan looked like a wounded dog when she voiced that opinion the first time she saw the place, and she hates when he looks that way, so she keeps quiet.

ALEXIS: You know what we need?

RYAN: What?

ALEXIS: Some art for the walls.

RYAN: I'm sure we can find something down at Kensington Market

ALEXIS: No, like, real art, like...my friend has a gallery opening tonight on Queen St., why don't we check it out?

RYAN: I thought we were staying in and ordering take-out...movie...you know?

ALEXIS: Oh honey, we can do that tomorrow. Please?

Alexis makes a face that's all batting eyelashes and white teeth. Ryan can't resist.

RYAN: Alright, alright. We'll go. But don't expect me to buy anything, cos we can't afford it until I've been working a few more weeks.

ALEXIS (not really listening): Mmhmmm

Alexis heads over to the doorway, grabs her purse, and goes to open the door.

ALEXIS: I'm heading to the Carla's for a bit, then we'll head off to the show, K? I'll see you later.

RYAN: Sure when you gonna be back?

ALEXIS: I'll only be a couple hours, don't worry.

They share a kiss, and Alexis opens the door. The landlord's cat scurries in. Alexis is allergic and hates the cat. She can't get her out before the cat runs under their sofa.

ALEXIS: Dammit, Ryan. Why couldn't you stop her?

Ryan looks on, apologetic and confused.

ALEXIS: Get her out before I come back. Seriously.

Alexis slams the door shut, the hastily-reassembled shelves fall off the cabinet again.

Outside the building, shivering in their jackets, smoking, stand longtime best friends Eric Hadley and Darren Washington. Darren's a bit of a rebellious soul, and Eric credits him with bringing him out of his shell after being a recluse in his early high school years, which were filled with traumas dating back to childhood. Darren's upbringing was hard on him, but even though they've never discussed it, Darren's aware that Eric had it harder than he did growing up.They never talk about it.

Today, Darren stands on the steps of the walkup, talking about work. Or Darren's lack thereof.

DARREN: I swear, forty resumes I've sent out. Not ONE answer.

ERIC: Well, you haven't been looking long, dude. Give it another week. At least give them some time to call you back.

DARREN: I haven't got time. I gotta get money, man. Gotta pay rent.

ERIC: I hear that. The store's not paying much better, honestly.

DARREN: Least you're working. Man, I can barely afford the free cigarettes I get off people on the street.

Alexis slams the door in the distance and heads down the hall to the front door. Brusquely opening the door, she nearly hits Darren in the back when she opens it.

DARREN: Hey, hey, what's the problem?

ALEXIS: Well for one, you and the fact you smell like an ash tray.

DARREN: And what's a mouth like that doing on a body like yours, girl?

ALEXIS: Keeping as far away from yours as possible. Now get the hell out of my way.

Alexis kicks Eric and Darren away from her as she steps past them to get down the steps. Darren (mostly) and Eric object, as Alexis leaves, Eric looks to her with a wide smile. Darren's less impressed.

DARREN: Man, that's COLD.

ERIC: So, not to throw your own lines back at you, dude but...what's a mouth like YOURS doing on a boy from Forest Hill. You're about as 'hood as Drake.

DARREN: You shut up or I'll put this out in your eye!

Eric laughs, and gets up to go in. As the door opens, Ryan heads out of the building in a rush, nearly tripping over them both.

RYAN: Woah, sorry, guys.

DARREN: Woah, man, where's the fire?

RYAN: I just remembered tonight's the grand opening at my new job so...

DARREN: Wait, where?

RYAN: The Royal, down on Harbord St.

DARREN: They still looking?

RYAN: I dunno, you'd have to check with the owner, dude.

ERIC: I haven't seen you around before. You just moved in?

RYAN: Yea, last week.

ERIC: Hey man, welcome to the building.

RYAN: Thanks dude.

They shake hands, and go their respective ways. Before heading in, Darren remembers something to ask Ryan.

DARREN: Hey man, what apartment you moved into?

RYAN: Unit 4, just the end of the hall.

DARREN: Cool. We're in 2, dude. Come by later, we'll chill, get some beer. You know?

RYAN: Thanks, man. I'll...I'll see what I can do.

Ryan pauses one last time.

RYAN: Hey, you know how I can get ahold of the landlord, by the way?

DARREN: *laughs* Good luck. Dan is always off somewhere. I think he said this time he was off to like...Africa or something. Call him, though and see.

RYAN: Thanks, man. See ya, bro.

DARREN: See ya.

The guys head inside and go down into their unit.

Upstairs, Dan sets his itinerary for a trip to Morocco in the flap of his carry-on bag, then wanders to the bathroom. He draws his bath and lays in the tub. Relaxing in the tub, he doesn't notice the extreme humidity surrounding him. He closes his eyes and relishes the opportunity to relax.

Downstairs, across rom Ryan an Alexis, is Kian McClary. Kian's a young, thin, babyfaced gay man in his mid-20s. A rising star in the world of cookery, Kian is set to open his first restaurant tonight. The Royal. The Royal is partnership between Kian and his long-term romantic partner, the much-older Peter Phillips, who is a big name among Toronto foodies. But that's not who Kian's with right now.

KIAN: Jason, honey, what tie should I be wearing with this?

JASON: I don't know, whatever one you're in the mood for.

KIAN: Helpful.

JASON: Hey, I got my own issues to deal with, Mr. Boss-man.

Kian and Jason share a quick kiss. Jason continues to get ready, and begins to contemplate.

JASON: Peter's not meeting you here, is he?

KIAN: No, thankfully. He's meeting us all at the restaurant. And besides, I told him that I'd have a couple people over first to sorta...get the celebration started early.

Kian drapes his arms around Jason, looking deep into his eyes.

JASON: Okay, but...I mean, you don't figure it's a little too obvious, what with you making me manager of the restaurant and all. I mean, he's not gonna figure it out, right?

KIAN: Come on, Peter's so caught up in his own business you could hit him over the head with it and he wouldn't even bat an eyelash.

JASON: If you're sure.

KIAN: I'm positive. Stop worrying. Look, there's no love left in this relationship, okay? That ended a long time ago. We're only together for the business and that's it.

JASON: And I just stay you're secret thing on the side.

KIAN: No, you stay the man I'm in love with. Only you. And besides, once I get my citizenship, this'll all be moot anyway.

JASON: Okay, okay.

KIAN: Promise.

Kian grabs his jacket and tugs on Jason's wrist to come.

KIAN: Now let's go. Open time is coming!

JASON: Alright alright, let me just grab my things.

They laugh as they head out the door. But upon opening the door, a limo is parked out front, and out of the door steps Peter. Kian looks on in surprise and a bit of discomfort paints his face.

Upstairs Dan continues his bath, fully relaxed. Soft music plays and his face is just above the water, so he never hears the phone ring. The phone rings over and over, and Dan only hears it a bit and spitefully ignores the phone, dunking his head under the water. As he does this, the heavy snow above him and the endless rain have finally created a pool heavy enough above the old apartment block. The weight is stressing right above him, and the drains outside aren't able to keep up, having partially frozen over in the long, cold winter.

Dan's old, weather-beaten ceiling finally gives way under the huge weight and collapsed on top of him, sealing him in the bathtub like a pie crust.


Kian's grand event


A surprise for Alexis at the art show

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