“Natasha. Natasha, oh my god,” Steve said, quick and frantic with consonants tripping over the alcohol in his bloodstream. He gaped down at his phone.
“Yyyyyeeeees,” said Natasha, who was stretched across the couch. She was watching her feet wave back and forth the way a yogi watches the tide rise: peacefully detached with a hint of a smile.
Steve thought grumpily that she was clearly having a way better time being tipsy than he was.
When he looked back at his phone, he felt another horrible stab of panic. Yep. That message was definitely still there and the name at the top was still the same, still absolutely and totally the worst number he could have texted this picture to:
SURJ CONTACT-bucky barnes
“Natasha. Don’t lose all respect for me. I can’t—shit, I can’t believe I sent a dick pic to a concerned citizen.”
She shot up to a sitting position. “You did what.”
He groaned. “I knooooow. I am a scum.”
She shushed him. “No, shut up, tell me in words that make sense.”
Instead, Steve shoved his phone at her. “I meant to send it to what’s-his-name, we have sex sometimes, you know. But instead I have ruined my life and brought shame to America.”
“Hmm,” Natasha said, considering, face harsh in the blue light of the phone. “Well. At least it’s not a bad dick pic.”
It was at this point that he realized he had just shoved a photo of his nude body at his female friend with no warning, and felt even worse.
“Oh god,” he whispered. “This is how it starts. The slippery slope. I’ve harassed this poor, handsome stranger and now I’ve, I’ve, flashed you vicariously. I’m gonna end up on one of those twitter threads. Oh, fuck. Twitter. Fuck.”
He lifted his head from his hands when he heard Natasha laughing at him, full belly laughs he almost never heard. She grinned at him and said, with aching fondness, “Steve, you’re an idiot. I’m so happy I know you. It’ll be fine. Here, I’ll send it to myself too so it’s not weird.”
He was so warmed by her sincerity that it took him several seconds to catch up. “What? No! That’s weirder!”
She cackled and tossed him back his phone, but he could see she’d already sent herself screenshots of his conversation with ‘SURJ contact-bucky barnes’, which read:
Steve R. (4:14PM): Hi, Bucky! This is Steve, the volunteer for SURJ you spoke to earlier today. Thank you for signing our petition to get the police out of our public schools, and for giving us permission to contact you for further action. With your help, we can change the shape of our community!
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (4:15PM): hey! No problem, anytime. It was cool to meet you. Thanks for fighting the good fight
Steve R. (4:21PM): I enjoyed meeting you too
Steve R. (9:35PM): [image786.jpeg]
Steve R. (9:35PM): felt cute might dlete later
“I was wondering what you were chuckling about earlier. I should have known it was one of your own lame jokes. You always find yourself the funniest when you’re drunk,” Natasha said.
This was true.
“That’s not true!” Steve said. “And also, I am not drunk. I’m like, respectably tipsy. Like an adult after a hard day of social justice work. I’m an…adult.”
He looked down at himself. He was wearing She-Ra slippers and the sweatpants that had a small hole in the crotch. He was holding a Shirley Temple with two shots of vodka in it, and a phone that still plainly displayed the artistically shot nude he always sent to signal a booty call with whoever he had sex with last. An artistically shot nude that he had sent, instead, to the one hot guy on his whole canvassing list that had invited him in and given him a glass of water and asked him intelligent questions while he’d signed the petition.
He looked at Natasha. “Okay. I am either going to need to sober up immediately, or I need to be actually drunk to deal with this. You can choose, because you are the adult in this scenario.”
She smiled. In moments like this, Steve was reminded that Natasha made money as a dominatrix in college. It was probably a little weird how comforting he found that. “How about both. Both? Both. Both is good,” she quoted, because she was also a huge nerd.
“Steve. Duh. Text him again to apologize and explain. At the very least, if this goes very poorly, you’ll have written record that it was a mistake.”
His phone buzzed in his hand. “Oh god,” Steve whispered. “It’s too late. He’s seen it.”
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (9:51PM): Uh. That. That is a penis.
Steve R. (9:51PM): Oh my gdo, I am sos orry. I didnt mean to senf that to you
Steve R. (9:51PM): I know this looks terrible and im so sorry to make you uncomforatbnle
Steve R. (9:51PM): There’s no excuse but I meant to send ti to a different perosn and I texted you last and clearly I am tipsy so isntead I accisentally harassed you
Steve R. (9:52PM): I’m really sorry. I understand if yuou would like to report this. Here is the link: bit.ly/misconduct
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (9:53PM): Kind of processing a lot, over here.
Natasha elbowed him. “What’d he say?” she asked, already leaning over to read the conversation. “Hm. You aren’t doing too bad, minus the typos.”
“I can’t spell for shit normally, Nat. And before you suggest it, I don’t trust autocorrect not to fuck me over. I’d rather make my own mistakes, thank you.”
“Well, you are certainly doing that,” she grinned, and leaned back to sip at her third jalapeño mojito of the night. Steve stuck his tongue out at her. She went back to watching her feet, conducting silent music with a contentedness he envied.
His phone vibrated.
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (9:54PM): I can’t believe that link was real. You must really feel like shit, huh
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (9:54PM): jsyk I’m not reporting you. I am a gay lush far too often to throw the first stone
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (9:55PM): besides
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (9:55PM): you’re even hotter naked than you were all sweaty from canvassing
Steve R. (9:55PM): Thank nyou so mych oh my god
Steve R. (9:55PM): wait. was that flirting?
Steve R. (9:55PM): That was flirting rihgt
Steve R. (9:56PM): if so then heyyyy
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (9:56PM): lol hey there
Steve R. (9:56PM): Please tell me it s okay for me to flirt back bc god are you a masterpiece
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (9:57PM): as long as you’re single, I’m more than okay with it
Steve came to a decision. He stood up and leaned against the couch unsteadily to get his friend’s attention. “Nat. Read these and tell me if this is ethical. I am going to eat like, five grilled cheeses. And. Drink water. Lots.”
“Make me another mojito while you’re up,” Natasha bargained, already grabbing for the phone.
He sent her a sloppy salute and made some very sloppy grilled cheeses. By the time he traded her a mojito for his phone, he’d eaten two and felt much more grounded. “Verdict?” he asked.
“You need to take the seeds out of the jalapeño before you put them in, but this is much better than Clint’s,” she replied, smirking over her glass.
“Seems fine to me. All systems go, Rogers. Want me to wear headphones to bed?”
Steve blushed to the tips of his ears. “I’m not—I don’t. I’m not expecting anything.”
His phone buzzed in his hand. He stuffed more grilled cheese in his mouth and took a too-fast gulp of water. He tried not to choke. He tried not to remember the way Bucky’ blue-grey eyes had looked when they crinkled with laughter, and failed very badly.
Natasha laughed and patted his shoulder on her way to her bedroom. “I have a virtual book club in ten, anyway. So I will, wow, what a coincidence, be in my room with my sound canceling headphones on for the next hour, whatever will you do with yourself all alone.”
“Who has book clubs virtually? Who has book clubs virtually at ten at night,” he grumbled, and unlocked his phone.
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (10:05PM): Whatcha up to?
Steve R. (10:05PM): I needed to sober up so I’ve been eating grilled cheese
Steve R. (10:05PM): That probably seems weird but yuo are absolutely too gorgeous to have to deal with tipsy me
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (10:06PM): I dunno. I’m enjoying myself so far
Steve R. (10:06PM): Well there’s no accounting for taste
Steve R. (10:07PM): But I’m glad
Steve R. (10:07PM): I’d love to see your smile again.
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (10:07PM): punk
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (10:08PM): maybe i’d like to smile for you again
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (10:08PM): maybe i’d like to see what you look like naked and sweaty
SURJ contact-bucky barnes (10:08PM): in person?
Steve felt his heart thump loud in his chest and he pressed a hand to it, breathless. Why the hell did Bucky affect him so much? No one else seemed to. He had lots of attractive friends. He was slender and shorter than average, but he still got his fair share of attention, and a few people in his phone he could always count on for a good time if he was hurting for it.
But there was something different about Bucky.
There’s almost nothing rewarding or romantic about canvassing neighborhoods: it’s hot, few people answer their doors, and those who do are usually real pissy about it. The second he’d opened the door and given Steve that quizzical head tilt, a strand of his silky brown hair sliding out of his messy bun… well.
Steve was a very patriotic individual. He did his part and he didn’t need thanks for it.
But meeting Bucky felt like a gift from the universe. Every message kind of built up inside him like water behind a dam and he felt foolish and happy and like he would burst with it. It was addling him worse than any liquor.
Steve R. (10:10PM): I’d like that
He took a deep breath.
Steve R. (10:10PM): Are you free tonight?
Bucky could not fucking believe he was doing this.
“I cannot fucking believe I’m doing this,” he said aloud to the guy across the subway car from him, who was bobbing his head to some very loud hiphop and did not acknowledge his crisis in any way.
The problem was that he had never really met someone like Steve. It wasn’t his fault that he wasn’t prepared. He’d just opened the door, expecting FedEx with his meal delivery package for the week, and there he was. A shorter blond guy holding a clipboard, who was clearly growing out an undercut. He had tattoos twining around leanly muscled arms and cornflower blue eyes that Bucky’d honestly thought only existed in cartoons.
“Hey there,” Steve had said, with a wry smile, as if he expected him to shut the door in his face and found the prospect to be a private joke. Bucky wanted to know everything.
Somehow that led to him walking up to a building two subway stops down from him at half past ten at night and being buzzed in to Steve’s apartment. Steve opened the door and his hair was an adorable disaster, like he’d been nervously messing with it. Bucky felt extra aware of the condoms and lube packets stuffed in his back pocket (he may be impulsive, but he wasn’t stupid).
“Hey there,” Steve said, and it was like a mirror moment of how they met. He felt equally as affected.
“Hello,” Bucky smiled.
They stared at each other and then Steve laughed awkwardly, rubbing at the back of his neck. Bucky tried not to feel creepy about staring at his hands—knobby knuckles like he worked too hard but elegant and thin, still. He couldn’t help flashing back to that photo, how Steve’s hand had looked around his own cock.
“Can I, uh, take your coat?” Steve asked, glancing up at him from under sinfully long eyelashes.
Bucky felt lust smolder inside him like a hot coal just waiting for fuel. He met those blue eyes straight on and slipped out of his jacket, a slow strip tease. He let his fingers brush Steve’s as he handed it over—felt the contact stoke the want hotter—and raised an eyebrow challengingly.
Steve flushed and let out a silent huff, though he kept their eyes locked. He dropped the jacket with deliberation and met his challenge with a little grin.
Bucky laughed, delighted. “Little shit,” he murmured, and then crowded him against his own front door to kiss him. Steve met his mouth with flattering eagerness, hands clutching at his biceps to pull him closer.
It was pretty awkward, too—every first time was. He dove down a little too fast, knocking their noses together before he found the right angle. Steve laughed before kissing back. Bucky kept forgetting to breathe and had to break away to gasp into Steve’s neck, where he left open mouthed kisses and hoped Steve thought it was hot and on purpose and totally not because he was so overwhelmed he’d forgotten how to function as a human.
Steve ran his hands wherever he could reach above the waist—up his back, across his shoulders, brushing up his shirt to squeeze at his hips. Feeling Steve’s skin where it wasn’t expected sent another shock of heat through him and he groaned.
“Jesus Christ, the noises you make,” Steve rasped, and he pulled Bucky’s mouth firmly back to his. This time, as Steve sucked his bottom lip and bit his mouth gently open, there was no hesitance at all, like he’d given up holding back.
Bucky’s knees honest to god wobbled at the certain hand Steve slid into his hair. He felt like every point of contact was just shy of enough, but as much as Steve clearly wanted him, he was still keeping it above the waist. Bucky grunted in impatience, grabbed Steve’s hand where it stroked along his back and moved it firmly to his ass.
He broke away from the siren song of that mouth to give Steve a playfully stern look. “You should really be less of a gentleman about this.”
Steve licked his lips and Bucky was almost too distracted by the sight to realize he seemed a little nervous. But his eyes flicked across Bucky’s face, taking in his dark eyes, wet lips, hair down and wild from his hands, and settled. He put his hand into Bucky’s back pocket and squeezed, earning another noise that made his eyes dilate.
And then he withdrew it and held a condom up to the hall light, like he was looking for a watermark on a one hundred dollar bill. Bucky felt the tips of his ears heat up as Steve smirked up at him. “Hmm,” he said, in that deliciously deep voice of his. “You were a Boy Scout, weren’t you?”
“Nah,” Bucky said, smiling as Steve slid the condom and his hand back into his pocket. “The Boy Scouts are homophobic shitheads. I just actually listened in health class.”
“Hot,” Steve grinned, big and genuine, and he felt his heart give a little flip at the sight.
God, Steve looked even better now than in that photo, so close and eyes full of want for him. Bucky pushed in again to kiss—couldn’t help himself from pushing a leg between his, getting a hot flush of victory at feeling Steve’s dick hard against his thigh.
Steve trailed a hand up under Bucky’s shirt, tracing across his abs in a way just shy of ticklish and instead made him arch with sensation. “Shit,” Steve muttered, as if to himself, “how are you real.”
Bucky opened his mouth to say something surely very smart and witty, and let out an embarrassing squeak instead when Steve’s hand reached his pecs and he gave one an appreciative squeeze. Steve’s big grin returned, this time a little predatory. “Sensitive, huh?”
Bucky made an ugly face and stuck his tongue out at him, because was a brat and a child and way too playful during sex. One of his ex’s had once remarked that it was like he didn’t know how to have sex like a serious adult. He hoped Steve wouldn’t be too put off.
He didn’t look put off at all, actually. His grin widened and he stuck his tongue out at Bucky back.
Bucky laughed, surprised, and stumbled a little when Steve pushed him back. “C’mon, doofus. Bedroom’s this way. Bring your health supplies,” he said, and winked.
He strutted away, and Bucky let himself watch. It was a very nice view, after all, and he reveled in his luck before following after. When he caught up, he wrapped his arms around him from behind and pulled Steve firmly against him, loving that he was tall enough to have every wiry inch of Steve along his front.
Bucky felt him take an unsteady breath and he smirked into the back of his neck. He brushed his lips over the jut of Steve’s spine right below the nape of his neck, and Steve shivered. “Hey, there,” he said, thinking of how they met.
Steve huffed. Bucky kissed his cheek to feel him smiling. A wave of tenderness rushed through him, like high tide only just turning to shore, and the size of it would scare him if it didn’t also make him like, ten times hornier.
Suddenly having Steve pressed against him, Bucky’s aching dick pressing at the confines of his good jeans, knowing the hard lines of Steve’s hips he still hadn’t seen—it wasn’t enough. There were—“Too many clothes,” he grunted.
“Yeah,” Steve rasped out. He turned in Bucky’s arms and hooked an arm around his neck to drag him back and onto the bed over him. It surprised Bucky how easily Steve could move him around—of course there’s no way he wanted to resist, but the lax confidence of it made him seem big as a linebacker. The contrast with his actual size charmed Bucky.
Steve, who had been still and quiet while Bucky held him, was all desperate movement now. Their lips met between gasps and precious seconds away spent trying to figure out the mysteries of modern button clasps with shaky fingers.
Bucky knew it would go faster if they just stopped kissing to undress, but it was beyond his willpower to keep his lips from Steve’s for even five full seconds. The tide was roaring in his ears and by the time he finally felt the skin of Steve’s thigh against his, he was drowning in it, happily, happily.
Steve tugged at Bucky’s hair and he moaned into his mouth. It’d apparently been to get his attention, because then Steve bit his lip—too bad Bucky loved that too. “Hey, hey, Buck,” Steve said against his mouth, so he leaned back.
It was almost worth stopping just to see Steve laid out beneath him this way, lanky and pale like cream. He could barely see the color of those beautiful cornflower blue eyes, nearly swallowed by black as they were. His cheeks were flushed, and so was his neck and his chest, which was rising with each fast breath, and God, he had freckles right above his hips. Bucky felt crazy just looking at them.
“Buck, how far you wanna go with this?” he paused, then said, “I know we only met today but. I’d be real upset if this was a one-time thing. We can go slow if you want.”
“Holy fuck, you’re brave,” Bucky said, stunned.
Steve smiled tentatively. “Yeah?” he asked, and ran his hands up and down Bucky’s biceps in clear appreciation. “You wanna do this again, then?”
Bucky settled to his side and rubbed his thumb lightly over Steve’s little hip freckles. He couldn’t help it. “Steve, I’d swallow you whole if you let me. I’d like a date, though. Later. Tomorrow. Right now, I’ll settle for ruining your sheets.”
Steve laughed, more than a little relief there. He affected an insulted air. “Settle! I’ll show you settling, Bucky Barnes,” and then lunged to roll them over and land on top of him.
Bucky let out another embarrassing squeak and instinctively brought his hands up to defend himself—years of being the ticklish sibling had ingrained that instinct—but Steve just set his mouth to his neck and began a meandering trail downwards. He was teasing, circling around Bucky’s pecs, so he found the place right below his right pec that gave him an electric jolt of pleasure every time.
“Ah! Fuck, how’d you find that spot so fast,” he gasped.
Steve smirked against the swell of his pec and it was unfairly hot. He bit gently at the spot and then gave Bucky’s nipple a sucking kiss. Bucky moaned and had to grab the comforter to keep from holding Steve’s head there. He didn’t know how comfortable Steve was with being manhandled, but damn was it hard to remember this was still just their first time, the way Steve was learning him so well.
He felt thin fingers gently prying one of his hands open. He looked down to see them interlace, and felt his ears turn red with a blush. Steve met his eyes and they smiled at each other sheepishly. Bucky stopped feeling so overwhelmed—well, not less overwhelmed, but it reminded him that he wasn’t the only one in this.
Steve gave his nipple a teasing farewell bite, and left it wet and sensitive to the cold air. Bucky gasped as he watched Steve, who seemed determined to learn every one of his erogenous zones right then and there. He had a little crinkle between his eyebrows and looked oddly serious about it. It was intoxicating, all that focus.
Steve moved down to kiss at each of his ribs and lick along the valleys between his abs, muscles quivering in reaction. He nipped at Bucky’s iliac crest and his elbows gave out. He stared up at the ceiling blindly, unable to think of anything except the rush of sensation each touch brought him.
He didn’t think he’d ever been more turned on his whole life, and Steve had barely even looked at his dick.
Somehow that made everything more intense when he finally felt Steve’s breath against it. He sat back up and the sight nearly made him lay down again—Steve was running calloused fingers along the soft skin at the crease of Bucky’s inner thigh, and, well. He was definitely looking at his dick now.
Steve flicked his eyes up to meet Bucky’s, and said, “How ‘bout I swallow you whole instead?”
“Fuck,” Bucky breathed, and Steve got down to making good on his promise.
He licked up the vein along the underside in one long stroke, and Bucky swore again, helplessly. His legs fell apart, inviting, at the feeling of Steve rolling his balls gently in those hands as he wrapped his mouth around Bucky’s cock.
He was gentle with his hands, but merciless with his mouth, and when he stopped sucking only to flick his tongue just below the head, Bucky cried out. He wasn’t sure how Steve managed it, but he was radiating smugness, like he knew he was the one in power here and he loved it.
It was turning Bucky on almost as much as the way his hand was twisting up to meet his mouth. Steve looked up at him, hair and eyelashes a burnt yellow in the streetlight that slanted through the bedroom window across them both, his lips working around Bucky’s cock. He sucked hard, once, twice, a rotating pattern that was winding Bucky up worse than anything.
All the feelings that had been sparking throughout his body in the last…however-the-fuck-long since he walked in Steve’s door, they were building up under his skin like fire caught in a glass. Water against a dam, and he could feel the cracks forming already. “Steve,” he said, or tried to say. It came out more like, “Stuhhhh—oh, shit. Steve, I’m gonna come soon, you might wanna—uh—”
Steve pulled his mouth off his cock, and Bucky gave an involuntary noise of loss, despite what he’d just said. Steve kept his hands busy, though. He swiped his thumb across the head and Bucky felt the dam crack open and flood him full of sensation. It left him a quivering mess in its wake.
He was laying with his legs splayed over the edge of Steve’s bed, and the first thing he registered feeling was the slow soothing circle of Steve’s thumb on his knee. Bucky sat back up to blink down at him. Steve was kneeling on the floor and he was incredibly hard, and despite already coming, Bucky felt aimless want just looking at it, so he tugged clumsily at Steve’s hand. “C’mon, c’mere, get up here.”
They tumbled back against the comforter and Steve looked desperate with it. Bucky felt a rush of power and energy at the heavy, shaky way Steve was handling him, like he wanted to grab and never let go, like he couldn’t control himself. Their lips met at the same time and it felt so good to be in sync that he laughed a little into Steve’s mouth.
Bucky reached down and palmed at Steve’s cock. Steve made a noise like he’d been punched in the gut and it filled Bucky’s head with air. He licked his lips and Steve watched them with dark eyes. “Steve, sweetheart, you gotta, let me return the favor, huh? I wanna make you feel so good.”
Steve looked touched and pulled him into another searing kiss. He moaned when Bucky moved to lick at the line of his jaw, and shook his head. He reached over to his nightstand. “I can’t, I won’t last. You’re so, Buck, you’re so good, just touch me, please. ‘M so close.”
“Fuck, I love how much you want me,” Bucky said, and then laughed when Steve turned from rummaging in his nightstand drawer to throw a bottle of lube at him. Steve was trying to look grumpy but he melted when Bucky drew their lips back together with a hand on the back of his neck.
It was a little difficult to open the cap of the bottle while he was so distracted with Steve’s tongue in his mouth. What kind of lube bottles had screw tops?? Didn’t they know he had no time for this bullshit? He made a frustrated growling noise into Steve’s mouth and bit his lip—he did not expect Steve to whine, grab him by the hair, and jerk their hips together, but hey, Bucky sure as hell wasn’t complaining.
Steve, without pausing, grabbed the lube from him, unscrewed the cap through some miracle of dexterity, and squeezed some onto Bucky’s hand. Bucky startled at the sudden pool of cool liquid in his palm. Steve broke away to roll his eyes at him and drew his hand down where he wanted it.
“Punk,” Bucky breathed through a smile, and took back over.
He gave Steve’s cock one long stroke to get it nice and slick, loving how he arched into it. He tried some of the things Steve had done to him, twisting his wrist on the upstroke, and was rewarded with another gut-punched moan.
Steve’s hands grasped at his arms with a grip like he was hanging on to the edge of a cliff. Bucky watched his face when he squeezed just below the head of his cock, and felt breathless as he got to see him tip over that cliff and let pleasure take him over. He threw his head back, hips jerking, the tendons in his neck standing out in beautiful relief. He gasped in deep when he finished spilling into Bucky’s hand, like he had forgotten how to breathe until just now.
Bucky could relate. “Fuck, honey. You’re a work of art.”
Steve was still breathing heavily, and waved a hand at him like he was batting away the compliment. “Shhh.”
He grimaced down at the mess in his hand, shrugged, and wiped it on the side of the fitted sheet. He had promised to ruin the sheets, after all. He glanced at Steve, whose eyes were closed. He hoped he wasn’t the type who fell asleep right after sex. Bucky had needs, okay, and one of those needs was post coital cuddling.
Steve opened one eye to look at him, then both, and grinned when he saw Bucky looking back. Shit, he looked like sunshine with a smile like that.
“That was…” Steve swallowed. “Great.”
Bucky chuckled and felt his chest swell at the praise. “Really, really great,” he agreed, and gathered Steve up against him. “You good if we lay here some?”
Steve pulled the sheets around them and then nuzzled his head under Bucky’s chin. His heart panged at the sweetness of the gesture from so assertive a man.
“Just try and stop me,” Steve said. Bucky felt him take a deep breath in what he was beginning to recognize as a way to calm nerves. “Wanna stay? Sleep here tonight. I make a mean bowl of cereal.”
Bucky was an asshole, so he made a noncommittal considering noise. “Hmm. Maybe. What kind of cereal?”
Steve pushed back to give him a nasty look. “Jerk.”
Bucky’s lips twitched, and they both broke, snorting in laughter and unable to stop for way longer than the joke warranted. He had honestly forgotten what it was like to get along so well with someone so quickly, to feel like himself and laugh during sex. It was an addictive feeling, dangerous and thrilling.
He gave Steve a mock punch on the shoulder and then pulled him back into his arms, twining their legs together while he was at it. Steve huffed but settled into him just the same.
Bucky waited a few minutes in silence, until he could pretend Steve was asleep, and whispered, “I can’t fucking wait to date you.”