Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chapter 78-Revelations

“She’s really gotten big and she seems just as spoiled as Bam-Bam is with Aric and Nina.”  I commented to Carter as I watched Pebbles play in his backyard.  Life was starting to settle down again.  Aric and Bynni had been trying to teach me how to block out Mulo.  It was hard and a little draining.  I could only do it if I really concentrated.  Once I was feeling better I was still nervous that things would change with Carter, Jonas, and I.  They said they understood but it was a lot for anyone not really living it to deal with.  They continued being great friends as always.  Carter however did start to act a little more nervous around me.  I would catch him staring at me but he would try to deny it.  I guess he was waiting for me to grow a second head or something.  I didn’t blame him; I was waiting for the same thing.  I had discovered additional changes.  I was able to eat normal food again but every once in a while I would crave the plasma fruits or juice.  Also when my temper flared my incisors grew.  Not as much as Aric or Bynni’s but enough to make me look a little more menacing.  I was not comfortable with that change. 
“She is quite spoiled.”  Carter said coming to stand with me.  He was looking nervous again causing me to self consciously run my tongue across my teeth to make sure they were normal.
“Carter what’s going on?  You have been acting strange these last couple of weeks.”
“Strange?  Strange how?”  He asked, his voice going up an octave which was another dead give away he was nervous about something.
“Strange as in you getting all jumpy around me.  You not holding eye contact with me for long.  If you aren’t comfortable with me now, just say so.  I’ll understand.”  I would be a little hurt.  Not having him in my life would be a huge adjustment but honestly I wouldn’t blame him.  Having me for a neighbor and friend couldn’t be easy considering how my life was going.  He ran his hand through his hair then let out a sigh.  Walking over to the bar he fixed himself a drink.  Now I knew there was a problem.  Carter rarely ever drank, he hated the taste of the alcohol. 
“You’re right I am a little nervous around you.  But, but not for the reason you think.” He added quickly when he saw me getting ready to speak.
“We’ve been friends for a long time now.  I’ve been wanting to say something but it was never the right time, and it just felt wrong to bring it up.  And…”
He was so flustered.  He was rambling on and I was unsure of what he was trying to say.
“I care about you Amari.  I love you Amari.”  I walked over and put my hand on his cheek. 
“It’s ok Carter.  I know and I feel the same way.  Whatever has you so nervous it’s ok.  Just tell me.  We’re friends and I…” My words were cut off when he kissed me.
 I was shocked, that was not what I had expected.  It took me a few seconds to realize what was happening before I pushed him away.  My hand flew to my lips as I stared at him in disbelief.
“Why, why did you do that?”
“I’m sorry Amari.  I shouldn’t have.”  He reached out for me but I backed away.
“No, don’t.  You’re my friend, we’re just friends.   Why would you do that?”
“Because I’m in love with you.”  He said softly.  “I have been for a while but you were with Marcus and happy so I was content to just be your friend.  But now, I want to take care of you.  I want to…”
“NO!”  I screamed.  “Don’t say that!  You can’t say that.  We are friends why are you trying to ruin that?  I can’t be with you Carter.”
He looked so hurt when I said those last words.  The last thing I wanted was to hurt his feeling but this was wrong, I didn’t understand why he didn’t see how wrong this was.
“Because of how I look?”
“Is it because you can’t see yourself with a person that looks like me?”  It was my turn to have hurt feelings. 
“You really think I’m that shallow?  Maybe you don’t know me as well as I thought you did.”
“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean it like that.  I know you aren’t that you wouldn’t be like that.”  I felt my temper rising followed by the uncomfortable itching of my gums.  I pressed my lips together then took a few deep breaths to try to calm myself.  Why was he doing this?  I didn’t need any more changes in my life right now.  His timing couldn’t have been any worse.
“Amari I know I’m not Marcus but if you give me a chance I could make you happy.”  He said quietly. 
“Don’t you see Carter?  What we have, our friendship does make me happy.  It’s what I depend on but now…”  I looked down at the wedding rings I still wore.  “Do you see these Carter?  These are why.”
His eyes followed my gaze as I twirled them around my finger.
“I don’t expect you to not still love him Amari.”  He took my hands in his; the soft loving expression on his face broke my heart.
“I know that.  That’s not what I am talking about.  The last man that professed his love for me, wanted to be with me vanished.  I can’t risk—“ I slid my hand free of his.  “I need to go.”
“Amari wait please.”
“I can’t, not now Carter.  I can’t.”  I walked out of the house but I heard him still calling for me.  I couldn’t believe he had done that.
I walked home slowly mourning the loss of the person I considered to be my best friend.  I didn’t see any way for us to get back to how we were before he confessed his feelings.  Even if we managed to remain friends things would be strained.  By the time I got home I needed a drink.  My nerves were shot and I would normally call Carter to talk these things over, but this time he was the reason for this situation.  I walked into the living room and saw Embry and Dunham in what looked like an intense discussion.  Their body language wasn’t that of a disagreement between teacher and student.
“What’s going on?”
Dunham had a look of confusion and fear on his face.
“Mom, sit I need to talk to you.”  This didn’t sound good and after dealing with Carter I didn’t need any more surprises.
“Um, ok.  What’s wrong?  Are you still failing?  I thought things were improving since you started seeing Embry.”
“Mom!” he said interrupting my string of questions.  I took a seat in the chair while they sat on the sofa.
“Mom, you’ve raised me to be the kind of person to take responsibility for their actions right?”
“Yes.  Why what have you done?  Are you in some sort of trouble?”
“I’m pregnant” Embry blurted out.
I was confused as to why she would say that until I saw Dunham take her hand.
“Excuse me?” I said slowly standing up out of the chair.
“She’s pregnant mom.” 
“And what the hell does that have to do with you?”  I asked with my anxiety level rising.
They gave each other nervous glances.
“It’s mine.”
“Come again?” I couldn’t have heard him right.  I didn’t hear him right.  There was no way my teenage son was sitting here telling me he was about to be a father.
“Embry’s baby is mine.”  Those were the last words I expected to hear come out of his mouth.  I took several deep breaths trying to keep my temper under control but I was seething.
“Dunham Robert Smith this had better be some sort of twisted joke!”
“Mom, I’m sorry it…it was an accident.  We didn’t mean to…”
“To what Dunham?”  I yelled at him.  “You didn’t mean to sleep with your tutor?  Or you didn’t mean to get her pregnant?  And you!”  I said turning my attention on Embry who was as white as a sheet.  “You are an adult, he’s a minor!  What the hell is wrong with you seducing my son and then being too dumb to use protection?”
“I didn’t…he, he”
“If you are about to tell me that the child was in control of this situation, that he seduced you, save your damn breath.  I don’t care if he showed up at your house in nothing more than his birthday suit as the adult you should have put a stop to it!  If he was flirting, then you should have either found a better way to handle it or you should have quit!”
“Mom, please”
“Don’t mom please me boy.  I can’t believe you could do this!  How in the hell can you take care of a baby?  You don’t take care of yourself.  Everything, EVERYTHING you have I pay for!  I do your cooking, your cleaning.  You're a child.”
I pulled out my phone and started dialing.
“Mom what are you doing?”
“I’m calling the cops what the hell do you think I’m doing?”
Dunham pulled the phone out of my hands. 
“You can’t do that.  I won’t let you.  I love her mom and she loves me.”  I stared at my son in shock.  Embry was still sitting on the couch too afraid to speak or move. 
“What she did was illegal and immoral.  I don’t care anything about you claiming to love each other.  You are a minor she is an adult.  If she really loved you she would have waited until you turned 18.  If she really loved you she would have been on some sort of birth control and made sure you used a condom.  If she really…”  I couldn’t even finish.  My eyes darted from Dunham to Embry and back again. 
“Mrs. Smith, I’m so very sorry.”  She said timidly walking over towards us.  The look I gave her stopped her in her tracks.
“You’re sorry?  You’re sorry!  You being sorry doesn’t mean crap at this moment.  Were you sorry when you decided to have sex with my teenage son?  Do you have any idea how you have ruined his life before he even gets a chance to really live it.  He will be a father before he graduates high school.”  I started pacing.  I needed to wanted to hit something and if I stood still for much longer I would have lashed out at her.  I couldn’t believe how irresponsible they both were for getting into this situation. 
“It was her!”  I yelled as the realization of the secret girlfriend hit me.  “All this time I thought it was some high school girl you were dating and it’s been her!”  Dunham didn’t have to speak, the look on his face confirmed I was correct. 
“GET OUT!”  I screamed.
“What?”  Dunham asked unsure of who I was talking to.
“I want that child molesting pedophile out of my house this instant!”
“Mom, you can’t put her out.”
“The hell I can’t and you are grounded.”
“If she goes, I go!”  I knew at that moment he had truly lost his mind. 
“Don’t test me right now boy.  If you even think about leaving this house with her I will not only have her arrested for statutory rape, but for kidnapping as well along with anything else I can think to have her charged with!”
“Dunham, it’s ok.  We’ll talk later.”  I was in her face before she even finished getting those words out.
“You most certainly will NOT be talking later.  You best leave now and be happy you are doing so without handcuffs.”
Embry gave one last look towards Dunham before quickly retreating out of the house.
“Go-to-your-room.”  I said slowly through clenched teeth.

“Now Dunham!”  I needed him out of my sight before I did something I would regret later.  My entire body was shaking when I collapsed onto the sofa.  I was so angry and hurt I wanted to scream.  I had three grown children, two of them married, yet it was my teenage son that was going to make me a grandmother.  And Embry, how could she do something like this. 
“Oh Marcus where are you?  I need you.  I need you so much right now.”  I cried sliding to the floor in tears.  One step forward, two steps back.  The story of my life. 
“Mom are you ok?”  Dax asked as he walked in finding me on the floor.
“No sweetie, not really.”  I said picking myself and wiping off my face.  “Dax.”
“Yeah mom?”  I started to ask him if he knew but decided against it.  I needed to figure out things with Dunham and I didn’t need to bring Dax into it.
“Nevermind.  Well do me a favor please.  I have to get the triplets fed can you get in touch with one of your older siblings and ask them to come over.”
“Does it matter who?”
“No just whoever you feel like hanging out with.”
I went to prepare dinner for the triplets.  Dax came to help me get them all settled.
“Aric’s coming over.”  I knew he would call him.  He loved hanging out with Aric.  “What happened this time?  When I went to the room Dunham was in there and not looking very happy.”
“Yeah he’s grounded.”
“Really?  What’d he do?”
“Dax don’t sound so happy that your brother is in trouble.”
“Hey it’s usually me so it’s a refreshing change.”  I smiled at him then gave him a hug.
“You two never seem to give me a break.”
“We’re boys mom, what’d you expect?”
When Aric arrived he helped get the triplets dressed and ready for bed.  Dax when down to watch the game on the TV in the basement since it was the bigger screen.
“So why am I here?”
“Because I need to get out for a few hours if you don’t mind and your other brother is on lockdown.  I need you here to make sure he doesn’t try a jail break.”  I filled Aric in on what transpired today with Embry and Dunham.  He was just as shocked to find out.  He said he would attempt to have a ‘man to man’ talk with him.  I got dressed and headed out.  The last time I was at any kind of bar was the day Marcus and I reconnected in Riverview. 
I settled down at the corner of the bar.  It wasn’t too busy but it had a nice live jazz band playing.  I sat listening to the music, replaying the events of the day.  I couldn’t believe I had two bombshells dropped on me today.  I was so lost in my thoughts staring into my empty glass, I didn’t pay any attention to the fact someone had slipped into the space next to me.
 “Can I buy you another?”  I looked up and smiled at the friendly face.
“Sure why not.”


  1. I say call the cops anyway...Carter confessed his feelings awww sweet.

    I wonder who is buying that drink

    1. LOL Dunham would hate her for calling the cops. She loves her son and doesn't want to damage her relationship with him. She is pissed though and next chapter she deals with it more.

      Who is buying the drink???? We may find out next chapter.

  2. Ahhh! Who is it? She's probably too worried to notice but I have a feeling it's someone we've met before... DX

  3. And ya she totally should have called the cops! Things just keep getting worse for her! And her son is going to have to face some tough realities :/

    1. LOL yes she probably should have called the cops but everyone was extremely emotional at the moment. She still can should she choose too once she's calmed down.

      Mystery man at the bar. ;)

  4. ohhh can't wait to see who the mystery guy is!

  5. Hi Jazen,

    I love your update and yes, I think Amari should call the cops but I hope she can be firm yet loving towards Durham so that she doesn't lose him, too. Am glad that Carter confessed his feelings for Amari as I could see them a long time ago but he now has to let her sort through her own feelings but I think deep down she feels the same way but is letting her fears overrule, again.


    1. You aren't alone in feeling like she should have called the cops. She wanted to but she also doesn't want to cause a bigger rift with Dunham. She was very emotional finding this out right after dealing with Carter so she needs some time before making a rash decision. They will have a bigger conversation in the next chapter.

      Carter did finally confess his feelings but his timing is off. Amari has been to wrapped up with everything to pay attention so she was really taken by surprise. She has only seen him as a friend and has never looked at him as anything more than that. She doesn't want to hurt him and considering how Mulo acts its in his best interest to remain only her friend. Mulo is a real threat. :(

  6. Oh woah, now I have to know who this guy is. Oh and Dunham, oh my, I feel bad for him though... that's scary stuff when you're just a kid yourself. Poor Amari too, not something you ever want to hear from your teenager, and she totally should have called the cops. Woo that was a lot of excitement, loved it!

    1. The guy, a nice stranger offering to buy a drink. :) Maybe. Yes poor Dunham. It is scary stuff. It can be scary as an adult if you haven't planned for it so even more so as a kid. It is one of the last things you want to hear from your teenager. Yes she probably should have called the cops but she didn't for Dunham's sake. More on that next chapter. Glad you loved it. Never a dull moment in Amari's life.

  7. Can her life get more complicated. Poor Amati, I feel for her, as if she doesn't already have a lot on her plate, now she has to deal with a pregnant peadophile. It's sad that her friendship with Tucker has come to what seems like an end. I wonder who the friendly face is, hopefully it's Carter and he came to patch things up with her.

    1. Val it can always get more complicated. I don't let the poor woman have any downtime :( Her plate is over flowing at this moment but she is trying to deal as best she can. Things with her and Carter will be strained now. It's hard to maintain the same kind of friendship with someone who is in love with you. Even harder when you don't return those feelings.

  8. I can understand Carter feeling the need to say something to Amari, but I think he should have held it back. I know Amari was forcing something from him, but he should have used his head instead of his heart on this one. Now she has one less person she has to fall to when she starts to crumble. As much as he cares, they did lose something with that confession.

    I knew something was going to happen with Dunham and his tutor, I just knew it. She should be ashamed of herself, a high school student. And Amari is so right, if she needed to entice a teenager, she should have used protection. I can't see Dunham forcing his way with any female.

    I bet the man at the bar is Carter's friend. I hope so anyway. My worst fear is that it is Mulo. Maybe then, maybe it's Marcus and in her drunk state she just sees a familiar, friendly face?

    I love Aric. :)

    1. I love Aric too! He is my favorite kid still. Because of how is father is tied into the story he will probably also continue to be around.

      Yes Carter's timing was terrible! He's been holding it in for a while now but considering all she just dealt with it would have been best to keep quiet a while longer. She thought he was weirded out by how she's sorta changed and wanted him to just say so in order to accept and move on. Him professing his love was not what she expected. He has been her rock through all of this and now things will be different. It's sad for her, and for him to know his feelings aren't returned.

      Yes the tutor. Secret girlfriend, extra study sessions it's been hinted at. She should be ashamed of herself. Even if he was pursuing her, she as the adult should have put a stop to it, or talked to Amari. Instead she let things happen, and happen they did. He didn't force her. He flirted as a teenage boy would but he's too much of a gentleman like his father to push things. She allowed them to happen and well this is the result.

      Carter's friend? You mean Jonas, that is actually his cousin. They are related (he is actually related to him in game. They came from the same creator Silverdaybreak. She had a generation story and they were extras she didn't use.) Mulo returning? It's possible but she would have to be really really drunk to think he was a friendly face. He's very much on the bad list right now. Marcus, oh that would be perfect! He would be back for her and just when he was needed. I know a lot of you want him back. hmmm....the possibilities. It could be a stranger with a friendly face.

  9. Well, i gotta admit I was surprised to find his girlfriend was Embry, annnnnd she's pregnant, sheesh.

    Poor Carter, I don't think that was the reaction he wanted from Amari. I do really feel for him but Amari is right, friendships to relationships rarely work out and even now the friendship will be forever changed, a shame really.

    I'm surprised Mulo didn't show up, he had to have felt some of what she was. And yes I know, he's a rotten bastard, I still keep hoping for them to get back together/ducks and hides.

    Ohhhhh who's the mystery man at the bar!!! I gotta to know!=)...edenz

    1. Some people suspected it was her. I tried to leave it sorta vague until now. :) but yep it's her and yes she is very much pregnant. Tough times ahead for dear Dunham.

      He didn't expect that reaction but you are right she is better simply having friendships. It's not that she couldn't see things trying to work with him, it's really her situation that prevents her from even considering it. Your guy Mulo won't sit back and let things happen like that. He's too jealous not to interfere so its best that things stay as they are. But they won't be the same after his confession. :(

      He's a mystery lol. Maybe we will find out next chapter.

  10. Oh.My... WOW!!! What a shock!! First, i wasn't surprised at all by Carter's revelation... no single man would stand by like that without having feelings for the girl =] I have to admit, i like the thought of them as a couple... he's so sweet!!
    But Dunham is going to be a daddy with his tutor?! I never saw that coming!! I can't even imagine what a rocky road those two have ahead of them!!
    How much more can Amari take??
    But i am completely intrigued with your cliff-hanger... who is this mysterious stranger???

    1. Yeah Carter wasn't a big shock. He's been dropping hints to Amari but she never picked up on them. I'm sure he would be great to her just like Marcus was but she won't risk it.

      Yes Dunham was a naughty boy and got his tutor pregnant. Life is about to get really hard for him real quick. Amari is at her limit poor girl. Unfortunately her means of dealing isn't the best option. :(

      The mystery guy. Yes well we may meet him next chapter. :)

  11. ~ I am flabagasted!!!!!!
    ~ I had no idea!
    ~ I wonder who the mystery guy is too!
    ~ More when you can,I loved it BTW!(",)

    1. You are normally so quick to pick up on my hints glad I slipped one by you. :) We will see who the mystery guy is next chapter :)

  12. WHAT!!!

    First of all, I never expected that from Carter. I don't know why I never suspected that he felt more than friendship for Amari though. I actually thought that Jonas was in love with her. I feel sad that it is the end of their friendship, but I guess that Carter felt that with Amari's life, there would never be a really good time to let her know how he feels.

    That tutor! I had my suspicions because of the timing of Dunham's behavior. I still can't believe her! Pregnant by a teenage boy! She better be glad that Amari did not tear her limb from limb! I can't believe that she had the nerve to say that she would call Dunham later!

    Poor Amari. I can't wait to see what happens next!

    Another great chapter, Jaz!

    1. Really, you didn't think Carter would look at her as more than a friend. I hinted around to it in chap. 75. Jonas is a sweetie as well. They both are very good to Amari. I'm not sure if it will be the end of them but it will change things. Confessions like that always do. :(

      Yes the tutor. His behavior and him being so secretive did leave hints. I can't believe her either. lol Not only was she in an inappropriate relationship with a teenager she got pregnant by him. Amari wanted to do just that, but murder wouldn't be a good thing. She has kids to think about. Yes that statement was bad, after just admitting to that relationship and being pregnant then seeing how his mom reacted, clearly (or I hope) she was in shock and not thinking clearly.

      Yes I put poor Amari through a lot. :(

  13. Poor Carter! I feel so bad for him! He finally gets the courage to say what we all knew he felt for her for a while and she flat out rejects him. Though I can understand why she refused him he has to be very heartbroken right now and I feel really bad that he does :(

    Amari...man...I'd have Embry six feet under and her baby too! UGH! This is such a bad place for her to be too because she knows that doing anything like jail time of bitchslapping that pedophile would mean Dunham would hate her and she'd lose her son! DAMN! I'd so do it anyway! UGH! That is just...I would do that for her! Just kick the shit out of that WOMAN! She abused her position and stole his innocence and...man...I am trying so hard to be good and not go on a total rant but the more I think about it...

    Amari getting drunk with a guy hitting on her SMELLS like trouble! As fertile as she is or cursed I'd be sure to avoid anything with a dick! But damn...she's drunk and she won't know and like it was said, I know we've seen this man before!

    1. Yes I feel bad for Carter too. He has been a great friend and always there when she needed him. That was hard for him to say but he wanted her to know. She didn't want to hurt him but her life is one big disaster. She needs him as a friend, for his sake if nothing else. Hopefully in time he will understand that.

      The only thing keeping Embry alive and out of jail is Dunham. Amari is angry as she should be. Embry is the adult in the situation and should have never let things progress like they did. It was vile and wrong and now this young man is about to be a father. Amari doesn't want to lose her son and even though she was ready to kill her she didn't want Dunham to hate her. The things people will do for their children. There is no way to look at this where Embry isn't to blame just as Amari said. She was the adult, so even if Dunham was flirting she should have said something, handled things differently. Not give in and have sex with him.

      She is turning into a bit of an drinker these days. It's her way of coping :(. Has has been cured with being extra fertile so she would be good to avoid all men, but one rarely makes good decisions when under that much stress coupled with alcohol.

  14. A chapter of OMG's!!
    CARTER! My heart kind of broke for him. There is nothing worse than being in love with someone that doesn't love you just the same.

    As for Dunham, I'm torn. Amari hasn't been much of a mother to the twins and that pretty much had to grow up fast. She can't be mad at them for doing grown up things when they were forced to play the grown up in her absence. Then again I think Embry should have known better.Gotta give it to Dunham though. He told her like a man rather than trying to hide it.

    1. yeah I felt bad for Carter too. He loves her and has for a while but she never saw him that way. He was a friend, a steady rock in her life and now this complicates things.

      She struggled after Marcus went missing. It did leave them to grow up and take on more responsibility than they should have. That however doesn't mean he should have been having sex with his tutor. And she sure as hell shouldn't have been having sex with a minor. I think that is what hurts the most. She would have still been angry/shocked had he brought home a teenage girl in the same situation but the fact that she was an adult and could have easily put a stop to things before they got that far is a hard thing to deal with.

      Dunham did handle it like a man. He was straight with her, didn't try to hide or lie. He is prepared to sleep in the bed he made. :)

  15. ah, the guy is Jonas..Wouldn't be surprised if there is a new little one going to be born of this romp together...LOL, it is a baby challenge after all, but has never read like one...think that was one of my first comments as I started reading this story. Amari has done a good job with her children..Dunham is a good man, it takes a man to walk the path he has without any excuses. I like the end of this chapter...Amari wondering where Marcus is and yet no answer may ever come...it is a mystery as he would not have simply left no clue or goodbye what so ever..not his style.

    1. Yep Jonas. Bad things happen when alcohol is involved. :( Yep this is a baby challenge so she could very well end up pregnant from this encounter. Amari is trying with the kids. At least while they are in the house I want them to have a mini story of their own. Dax had a really short one with being angry and now Dunham with the pregnancy. He is handling it in a very mature fashion which says a lot about his character. Amari does miss him terribly but that is one of the worst things when a person goes missing. The not knowing. :(

  16. :-( Awww... Poor Carter...

  17. Wow, what a chapter! So Carter is in love with her and naturally she's scared he'd disappear too if she allowed anything. I'm pretty certain that guy in the bar is Jonas (I mean I was even before I saw your comment above *ahem*) which is going to strain things a lot between the two men.

    And wow, Dunham got an adult pregnant? I don't really know what to say to that oO How do you accidentally get someone pregnant?? I'm mad at him for really thinking it was an accident when there isn't really anything accidental about getting pregnant. You either have sex unprotected or you do it with protection, I never understood where exactly the confusion was in that. I hope Amari forgives him, though, I'd hate for their relationship to be ruined because of this. While it was wrong what happened Dunham has a right to see the baby since it is his, much as she hates it right now. Plus the baby has a right to know its daddy.

    1. Yep, Carter is in love with her and that is bad in Amari's eyes. Considering the only man that has remained in her life is Mulo, she fears something would happen to Carter and she won't risk it. Not my fault on the comment. :( She would read ahead then comment on the first chapter and I would feel bad about deleting her comment so sorry. :(

      Yep, he got his tutor pregnant. Well accidents can happen. Condoms don't give 100% percentage for a reason. Hell even BC can fail sometimes so it is very possible to have an accidental pregnancy. Amari is angry, not only to find out 1) he's having sex 2) he got his 'girlfriend' pregnant and 3) said 'girlfriend' is an adult! That last one gets her the most. Embry should have known better than to get involved with a minor so yeah Amari's really pissed at this point.

      thanks for reading