March 10th, 2015
|10:39 pm - Grown up now|
Yus has a term that is part of his vocabulary and psyche lately "grown up". "We've grown up," "you were very grown up when we met," "it's very grown up."
Over the years, we'd been in contact with perfunctory texts on birthdays and Christmas. No flirting, no innuendo. When I separated with Chem this year, Yus was in East Asia for work and had been presented with a ritualistic tea set on leaving. The tea set was a prop for re-establishing contact and that's when the circling began. We are both single now. We arranged to meet for dinner, I made an excuse to go back to his and see the tea set. I performed a mock tea ritual (neither of us are that sort of Asian) and we spent a long time catching up. As it was getting late, I looked for a chance to ask him if he wanted to play again. There was no good entry point so I asked him boldly. There was no flirting and he appreciated that.
The next thing I knew, I was on my back and he was slapping my face repeatedly. He dragged me to the bed for kisses and nipple torture. It hurt. I evaded. He took the belt from his jeans and started to bind my hands. I laughed as my brain and muscle memory reminded me that I would no longer have any control and marvelled at his sheer dominance. He took my belt and attached my strapped hands to the bed post, slapping me and pinching me.
"What would you like?" he asked.
"I'd like to cum," I replied. But I couldn't cum. Age and life stress has made it more difficult and I stopped him.
"It's not your fault."
"I know, I have been with other women. Would you like to make me cum?" he asked. I did.
With my eyes closed and him slowly moving in and out of my mouth, something exploded in my brain. "I'm really enjoying this," I stopped to tell him. It was like I came in my head. I'm more grown up now, sex isn't only about orgasms, it's more cerebral.
Last week we went to the theatre. Very grown up. Nine years ago, all we had were discrete, sordid and casual play sessions. We bypassed the flirting, holding hands, kissing in public. We were both in relationships and did not go out in public. However, last week, we had our first no-sex 'date'. I did not know what was permissible. In public, we held hands, he caressed my neck, we kissed. And it was thrilling. More thrilling than when the lights went down and he pinched me hard under my clothes, bruising me and I held his stare and showed no emotion or pleasure.
We played this weekend. It was the first time I'd been bodily bound in almost a decade. He has bought me my own beautiful hemp rope, not to be used on anyone else. He treated it himself and it smells divine. I makes me feel special.
I was 11 minutes late. He stripped me and frogged tied my legs so I was squatting. Positioned me on my tip toes and tied my hands above my head to a post of the bed. There was no way I could get comfortable. He then tried to attach Hoffman clamps to my nipples and bound my long black hair in rope to be attached to a table. He was going to leave me there for 11 minutes, but I couldn't take the pain and started freaking out. A response that has never happened before. Telling him in my serious voice, whilst trying to become rationally cognisant and not panicking, that he needed to remove everything and untie me now.
He said he appreciates me more now. Says that I have aged well, that I have a better body now (damn straight I do, I now have the body of an athlete from years of hard training). I appreciate him too. I never thought we'd play again. We have more experience now. His tying is masterful, we trust each other. Although, there was a moment when he wrapped the rope around my neck and I did not know what he was going to do and at this point thought that he could destroy me. He has more ways to hurt me.
He likes playing with me, now because he has had more experience with women, and says that my sexual response is different to other women's. That I'm an outlier. In his experience, 'true' submissives become catatonic when the pain is too much. Whilst I will fight to the end and I can always get out of the rope, which no one else does. We are more relaxed. He says I'm not trying to impress him anymore with my defiance and high pain threshold. I never thought I was trying to do that but that's his perception.
His bedroom has his bookcases in it now. Lots to look at while he's tying, and silent, when he's behind me, to help me construct his character. He smells better than he did before. Now that we are grown up.
March 4th, 2015
|05:50 pm - Game changer|
I was delighted to discover that my live journal account was still active. It's been 9 years since then, and although many things have happened, some things have not moved on in a decade. But that's about to change. The same people still haunt me, things are complicated, things were a mess, but it's time to move on. I was in my 20s, stupid and exploring. I'm in my 30s now, I know better. It is also interesting to see how the social sphere and technology have developed in a decade.
For almost the last decade, I had been trying to finish a disastrous part-time PhD whilst working part time. The same ghosts haunt me because it feels like one continuous stretch of time since I wrote last. However, I finished the PhD last year and decided that I do not want to pursue the profession I trained for and I have left my other job, therefore the things that had defined me and structured my time for almost 10 years are now gone. Last year was beset by death and disease and other personal tragedies. A close friend said that after finishing her PhD she will be sitting in the wreckage of her life. I was, for the last 3 months, and now I'm ready to move on.
The previous cast of characters:
Luz - a partner from over 10 years ago who I ended up despising. I still haven't gotten over how much I dislike him and dislike myself for how far it got. I need to work this one out and let go.
Cole (also written as Cauli/Cauliflower)- the kind of heart tearing relationship you have in your 20s when you're still exploring yourself and testing your boundaries. He left for the Mediterranean after being with me and came back married. Two bratlings now. Two years ago, his wife gave me travel, accommodation and subsistence to participate in conference she was organising. He still haunts me because we were in the same profession and snidely goads me because I didn't use the full range of my abilities in the field and did not become a player. That was then. He does not know yet, that I've given up the profession. Time to give up the ghost.
Cecil - a young girl then, probably in her late 20s now. I have no idea what happened to her. No longer a player. Neither are Brocoli (who left the country, became the head of his profession and has a wife and child) or the Mathematician (who came back from a warzone after 6 years to tell me he loved me, but I could not reciprocate).
June (also Lady VV) - the beautiful woman who dominated me while her husband approved. She now as two beautiful kids. We still stare into each other's eyes and giggle when we think no one is watching.
Chem - after being together for 8.5 years, sharing good times but also relationship problems that went deep, he told me we have no future together and that he wants to fuck other women. He latently wants someone inexperienced and submissive. I was too strong for him. It was hard, but freedom is a gift. We are still friends.
Yus - Chem made me choose between them. I chose Chem. I'm glad I did. When I ended it with Yus, he told me we weren't finished yet. I told him I felt that too. I never thought I'd get another chance with him. I really thought that Chem and I would be it. Despite the problems, I was trying to make it work. But it was broken. However, it is for the best. Yus, mockingly says he's dead inside. He can't give me the emotionality that I need but he is an exquisite man. I've been here before and I know better this time round, and I will enjoy every brief encounter with him.
There are a host of new characters to come.
August 8th, 2006
|01:34 am - Hooke's law|
On the back of my chocolate and red meat post, Chem surprised me the next day and took me to a wonderful Argentinian steak restaurant. It doesn't take much to make me happy, juicy blue steaks and a bottle of rioja, and we smooched all the way through the meal. I'm sure we looked sickening. Lala land is such a wonderful place to be.
Turo's partner says that I should leave 36 hours between partners, 12 for sleep, 24 to prepare, and so that I don't call them the wrong name. However, this will never happen as they are both forbidden to call me by my name and I never use theirs. For about a month, I wasn't even sure Yus' name was what he said it was, and I have not seen any evidence in his house that confirms who he says he is. I do hate seeing one straight after the other. Saw Yus the next day, felt on a high and horny for Chem that it seems wrong to give that afterglow to another person. I turned up at Yus' and said I wasn't sure if I wanted to play and that if we did I'd prefer not to have penetrative sex (subconsciously saving it for Chem the next day). So we chatted, and it took me a while to communicate what I was really thinking, wondering what he really thinks of me having another partner because previously he has been quite wobbly so I avoid mentioning it.
He did express his true feelings about it, but that he could also live with it. And it relaxed the tension and conflict in me and after that we could play.
He was prepared. He took a blindfold out of this pocket, tied it around my eyes and started abusing me. He tied my hands above my head and dragged me by my hair to his room. He tied me to his futon frame, with rope this time and as last time, started running a knife over my body. I asked for more, and each time he drew the knife harder. But it wasn't enough. There was no fear this time.
He told me to lie still and inserted something cold and metallic inside me. I was wet and it was nice. But I was not scared and knew that he must have swapped instruments. I found out later it was a metallic spatula. I think you can only do knife play once.
When we first met, he asked me what my hard limits were and the only thing that I knew for certain was tickling would not be tolerated. But now tied to the futon he ticked me. I screamed and thrashed for a moment, then I breathed in, realised I couldn't fight it, recomposed my mind and after that he could not tickle me anymore it had no effect, because I could control it, and he could see it was having no effect and he stopped. I won.
He tortured me quite pleasantly for a while, and later I heard a tearing noise I was unfamiliar with - new toys. They were bamboo skewers and he positioned them between my skin and the futon frame so I could not move or I would pierce myself. He also bastinadoed me, all for the sake of not leaving marks on my skin. He also suspended me for maybe 10 minutes, so I had to struggle to support myself with my hands in crab position but I don't remember it because I zoned out.
He likes me because I am tough, because I do not yield and that makes him want to try harder.
We previously discovered I really like breath play and I make him push me harder. When we were finished playing and negotiating the next scene I asked him to strangle me. Though cautious, he did and I kept making him do for longer periods and harder, and for a split moment I passed out. And when I came round, I didn't know who I was or he was. It was amazing. This is the most dangerous play we have had. He was scared and visibly shaking, not keen to do it again but I want to go there again. I need this transgression.
It was a very intimate session, and I feel closer to him and we have an equal understanding of where our boundaries are outside of our partnership. Before, he was very guarded about his nonkink life, but now he feels more open.
He has broken through my hard limit of tickling. I though that nothing could eradicate that and he did. I trust him completely but don't know what my limits are now. However, because of Chem, I have asked him not to cane me or leave any bruises. But he left a knife mark from above my navel, through the centre of my breasts, as well as slight speckled burst blood vessels on my right cheek and neck and there was no way to explain it.
I spent the weekend with Chem hiding my breasts, either with the covers over me in bed, or while we were fucking making intense eye contact so he would not look down at my chest. I am very good with misdirection and I am lucky that he did not see. It ruined the weekend slightly because I was always on edge, but we also had an amazing 6 hours with each other fully clothed and doing absolutely nothing, but chatting, hugging and smooching.
Yus does not want to hurt me but like O, he branded me, and in the same way, I always tear at his right arm in passion and in anger, partly because I'm lost in my own alien world and partly because I want his vanilla partner to challenge him. But she never has and I am glad. This game is more psychologically dangerous than the one we play with knives.
August 3rd, 2006
|01:59 am - Chocolate and red meat|
Poly is difficult. Scheduling is difficult. Don't want to see them one day after another. Seems more respectful to leave at least a day between them.
Considered giving one of them up, but can't and won't. Neither of them have asked me to stop seeing the other. Though neither of them have said so, they are not particularly pleased.
Had the most intensive session yet with Yus. I did not see him for 3 weeks and by the time we played again, I had hardened myself and found myself bratting, irrationally angry at him for not having time for me. But this time, he took control again.
He blindfolded me outside of our playroom. He shook me, manhandled me and spun me around to disorientate me. He led me to the room tentatively, and laid me down on the wooden frame of his futon. I was wet instantly and he felt it. This time he did not use rope. He tied me to the frame with black cable ties. There was no give with the cable ties as there is with rope and I knew that if I was to struggling it would hurt more. Being tied to the futon frame was almost comfortable, like lying on a bed of nails, you have to spread your weight equally across your body. I knew what scene he had in mind, we had talked about it, the logistics and how over complicated plans usually end in comedy. But he also managed to surprise me.
As I was bound and blindfolded, he tested me and ran something sharp across my throat, down the centre of my body and across my breasts. I thought it was a spur or a metallic pastry cutter, but he told me it was a knife and pressed the length of the cold blade across my body, over my face and around my slit, so that I could feel it. I do not know if I was scared. I trust him, but not completely. How well can you know men that you have picked up on the internet, even if you have been playing with them for months? Some may hide their sociopathy well.
In a confident voice that denoted I was in control of the situation, I asked for reassurance that he wasn't going to hurt me. My logical brain said that he would not and would be easily traceable if something untoward would have happened. He liked me asking, that gave him power. But he did not reassure me and I decided that I was going to enjoy the fear and uncertainty of not being in control. But then he stopped and left me wanting more.
Then the scene we had discussed. He wanted to try drip torture, which I think sounds highly comical. He positioned a bottle of ice cold water over my head and punctured it. He untied the blindfold and let the water drip onto my forehead. It was fine, relaxing having it drip in the centre of my forehead. Then he moved me so that the water dripped into the centre of my eyes. It was fine. I just zoned out and tried to control myself. I opened my eyes every once in a while to see him, trying to avoid the dripping and he was staring intensely at me. After a while I worried he was getting bored, so I struggled a little for him and to liven it up. He pulled at my nipples and that hurt. He slapped me between my legs and I screamed proper screams of pain and anguish. He eased up then slapped me again and again getting harder, and I struggled and thrashed around though constricted and I sobbed, or maybe I cried, I'm not sure. My face was wet from the water and I didn't know if I had let go and cried real tears.
He is learning how much my body can take and knew when to desist. And then he went down on me. I was angry at him - a natural response - and I cannot cum if I am angry. My legs were still constricted, but I was wet and his tongue felt wonderful and warm. He cut the cable ties and continued, probing into me and my orgasm was amazing, I kept cresting and the pleasure kept climbing and climbing to new heights and I came and I spasmed and I couldn't talk after.
In retrospect, he says that he should have built a contraption to restrict movement, the dripping should have come from higher, and that after a few hours I would go mad - like I was being tortured. But he acknowledges after a few hours his would have gotten bored.
He cut me loose and said we weren't finished yet.
He decided that he wanted hogtie me and fuck my mouth. And so he set about binding me slowly and sensually. He had an erection the whole time and it was wonderful to see and to witness his control and patience. The bondage was neat and pretty, and he made me struggle to get to him. As I found a comfortable position, he turned me over so he was above me, fucking my mouth, hard. I was worried about teeth marks and clipping him but he didn't care. He rammed his cock to the back of my throat, making me gag and feel like I was drowning. It made my eyes water and he loved it.
He came on my face, and I loved it. No one has cum on my face before and he has never cum on anyone's face. We were pleased. It was gorgeous to look at me in the mirror as he unwrapped me slowly, hair a mess and eye makeup smuggled from the water, his cum on my face slowly drying and getting hard.
Aftercare is always my favourite, as much as the scene, the pain and the orgasm. We have two lots of it, straight after a scene, where we are spent and silent, but still communicating, one of the wonderful byproducts of being human. And then when we are completely finished, we sit on his couch in the living room drinking tea and we talk about more general things, intellectualise and become silly. I really like talking to him.
Round 3, later he started getting hard again. I love rough sex. I told him I wanted him to fuck me violently. We started masturbated ourselves in front of each other. He pinned me down and he entered me and banged me hard, all the while choking me, holding my nose and mouth until he saw panic in my eyes, slapping my face again and again, pulling my hair and my nipples. Violently, hard, with cruelty and lust until he came and I was satisfied.
I want him to get rougher. I want to see how rough he can get.
This week we talked about where we want to go next. He wants to make me cry. Real tears. I have given my consent, though I do not know if my body will let me.
Saw Chem a few days later. He is becoming more like a boyfriend, we go out, I spend the weekend, he opens up to me. However we do not want to head in that direction. Kissing him sends me to lala land, whether we are in bed or on the tube, we are smoochy and the world dissolves. And the penetrative sex was excellent. I like his depth, speed and fucking movements. It was intense and made me cum the way I like it, deep inside. I like penetration over oral.
Oral is like chocolate, nice, I'll eat it but not my favourite. I'm a savoury person. Penetration is like red meat. Complete, compelling and wholly satisfying. I like being fucked, but I also like Yus's oral.
And he likes my oral. I made his face go numb and his lips cramp. That's confirmation I am good. And for a smoker and someone who isn't kind to his body, he tastes sweet.
Its becoming > sex, but not willing to let go.
So the next few weeks will be good alone. Off to Central Europe, travelling and working, and no idea what will happen in between. Time to reflect and ponder and miss them.
July 21st, 2006
|11:32 am - My first foray into consensual poly|
I think I'm not emotionally mature or sophisticated enough to handle poly.
I told Chem about Yus last weekend in bed after we finally had sex (Chem on the dance floor: "do you want to go home and screw?" - wonderful words). He was fine about it and doesn't subscribe to possessive forms of love, but it doesn't mean he doesn't feel hurt. He is also sporadically sleeping with his ex and I don't mind. The sex is reasonable. He is vanilla but he is dirty. I'm yet to put him through my training programme, but I am seeing him on Saturday to see what he can do. I don't know where this is going and I don't want to be a distraction in these last few crucial months as he prepares to leave his lab.
I saw Yus last night after 3 weeks. At first I didn't know how to react after such a long time. He tied me so I was bent over the back of a chair and he hurt me, then frogtied me and I found that I couldn't take the pain and also couldn't psychologically willow to his will or make eye contact while he was torturing my nipples. His eyes were demonic. It will take time to build up to where we were last time. Its a pity as we were getting so far. Told him about Chem, he said its not fair for him to want me all to himself. So I think we have an arrangement. It was really good to see him. I missed him.
I've never been honest in past relationships because what my mind desired and did would have hurt my partners too much. This new honesty is fragile and difficult. I feel have to be very responsible with all our feelings. Can poly work at the very beginning of new relationships and there are no primary or secondary partnerships as they are both equal?
To go into another fully committed relationship now with one person would defeat the purpose of why I broke up with Luz, however I feel very lucky that I have two wonderful wonderful boys who I don't have to choose between.
July 13th, 2006
|01:49 am - Boy's view|
The chemisist and I are on a slow burn. Not in the right place for anything and we love our singledom too much. Its been nice having him keep me company in my brain this week.
Because the Chemisist wanted to bed me but didn't lay a finger on me, and also finds me "cute", Mar says boys don't instantly sleep with girls they respect in case it messes up the friendship: "it sounds like he's in for the long haul, though it seems odd that you're both not pursuing it because you know it will become something really strong yet not strong enough to cope with whatever you want to get out of your system now that you're both single".
Things with the Chemisist don't have to go anywhere, but I like Mar's boys view.
The chemisist has flecks of orange in his eyes. Will see him Saturday.
(Had date with the Slav, all the ingredients for a fun time but he isn't dirty and doesn't excite me. It should have been fun but I was bored. Even dancing and driving in his car accelerating at speed didn't thrill me. I had the Chemisist on the brain. Even being with Yus would have been better).
Planning my next trip away, travelling through Central Europe. I love maps. Its porn for adventurers.
July 10th, 2006
|12:14 am - "Advanced cookery" (or - organic chemistry)|
I love clever men. The chemisist is clever, but not just book clever, clever without having to work hard at it. He is a science man and loves it. He is also a struggling junkie soul and beautiful. He feels a lot and is not shy to love people.
We spent the weekend together - at a festival chilling out, at a barbecue meeting his random friends, in bed on Saturday night. We are really attracted to each other, we had instant rapport when we met last October and really enjoy each others' company, especially because we do not share the same social groups.
We are both insomniacs and we spent the night in bed talking until 0600. And we didn't try it on with each other, not even kisses or cuddles. Absolutely nothing. No physical contact. Strange but nice. We talked, we laughed and learnt about each others' brains. And when I left him, there was no kiss goodbye. I suppose the messages were mixed, friends, though we'd already kissed, he even stuck his hands inside my knickers in May, but neither of us are ready for anything - the time's just not right.
One of the things he taught me about when I was breaking up with Luz was that he didn't subscribe to possessive forms of love, he is not jealous and he father taught him that if he really loved someone, he should be happy whoever they were with.
Those thoughts have been helpful in the last months, especially with Yus - I manage my own expectation. He will not leave his girlfriend, fine. He will not become emotionally attached to me, fine. I do not want anything else from him apart from his desire to hurt me and bind me. With the chemisist, his life is complicated by crazy exgirlfriends, my life less complicated and I don't want to add to the list of factors in his life, especially as he is writing up. I don't think I can be with his friends all the time, not because I will succumb, but its not fun if everyone around you is junked up and you need to preserve your brain.
In other news, Yus has been out of town for weeks and still emotionally unavailable anyway. Went speed dating for gits and shiggles Thursday. Didn't mean to hook up with anyone but met the Slav and am having my first 'date' on Wednesday. Really, who outside the US goes on dates? He's very attractive, intelligent and solvent. Was happy to meet him at the event but on reflection, I just don't feel him. He texted me the next day and wanted to meet at the weekend. Desperate. Gorgeous but desperate. He's the kind of guy I eat for scooby snacks. Had a wonderful dinner with Sol, gorgeous Jamaican on Friday. Haven't laughed like that for a long time.
I think this is all tenable as long as I am honest and everyone knows where they stand. There is no pecking order, this is not yet polyamory.
Being back in a vanilla world for the last few days, being with and meeting vanilla people has felt normal and haven't thought about kink for a while, especially since Yus has been away. Its made going back to BDSM the other option...
June 20th, 2006
|12:12 am - A twist in the tale|
My life is like a telenovela, or at best the OC without the sunshine, or so I would want to believe.
- June and Cole are working together in the field, unbeknown to them, they have both penetrated me.
- The director in the field has had dinner with Luz and I, and knows that Cole is a dirty bastard and he is also director of June's work
- June and I have felt up the director's girlfriend. She has very smooth arms
- Luz went for a job interview for a very senior position in my lab and was interviewed by the Lizard
- The Lizard offered Luz the job, in MY lab, where I work with both Cole and June
- Luz is friends with Cole's director of research
At least Brocoli and the Mathematician are no longer present.
I did not mean to fraternise with my community. I always laughed at the hot-house of incest that is the Knight's laboratory and the fact he played Russian Roulette and slept his way through lab (though much smaller than my lab) and I was always proud of the discretion demonstrated by my lab, but some things are only watertight to an extent.
How did that happen? After 6 years of living apart, the moment we split up, he gets a job on my doorstep.
It is his birthday tomorrow and I will bring him cake. I may tell him the truth, maybe not on this day. I certainly will not sleep with him, no birthday sex - mean as it is, because I have a playdate with Yus on Wednesday before I leave for Spain early Thursday morning and want to give Yus all my attention, the attention I gave to Cole instead last week. We will see.
June 18th, 2006
|06:38 pm - The straight laws of physics|
Turo took me dancing last night. In the SATC vein, he was my 'gay boyfriend' until we fell out because he offended my intelligence. Things never really healed properly until yesterday, when we confided to each other what we were up to and what dirtiness we were commiting.
We went to Exilio, a gay salsa night, were he could scope for encounters and I could perv at beautiful hot Latino men. And I saw the most mesmerising man I have seen in a long time. It was beautiful to watch the dynamics of men trying to charm him. He had the most amazing smile and when he laughed, he threw his head back and laughed deeply. I was enraptured.
I wanted to ask him where he was from and what race of people could produce a man so beautiful. And it took a while for me to steel my courage and talk to him. I was so embarrassed, feeling it must be what people, especially men I suppose, feel when they are getting up the courage to talk to someone they desire. I've never had that problem - I am gregarious, can happily talk to anyone, even if I find them attractive. I think its the fear of rejection - the fear that this man would have turned around, looked at me, and turned his nose up at me - humiliating me by not wanting to talk to me or answer my question. I had nothing in my favour or 'power', I could not flirt or use the promise of sex as a lever because the laws of straight physics do not apply in that tiny transporting basement.
He was dancing in front of me, wiggling his bottom and unaware I was staring (at the patterns in his shirt actually, he had good clothes). I got my timing right and approached him. He was gracious and I was rewarded with a smile. He said he was half Brazilian, half Italian but felt British. That was enough. I could have lived without talking to him, but this lazy Sunday is richer for having spoken to him.
My Sunday was made better. Luz is back in the country, I had broken up with him while he was away and he had not contacted me for a month. He texted to say he was back and we had a non-delving conversation but I'm so pleased he contacted me. Both obviously still hurt but positive and friendly. I will go to his house to get my things and he will leave the country for good.
June 17th, 2006
|06:14 pm - "The kind of girl that says goodbye properly"|
Who would have thought bdsm could be so healing? Thursday answered a booty call and finally had sex with Cole. Vanilla and unsatisfying, I would even say bad. But glad we finally closed the circle and finally out of my system. He then got on his bike and headed for the Med, back to the thorny island we first met, where June is also now. All this has taken a year.
Things are good, healthy and uncomplicated with Yus. We had an immense amount of play last night and this morning and it was wonderful and fulfilling. I turned up unfocused and preoccupied with Cole. Yus tied me and spanked me so hard, pusing my limits. I physically sobbed, body shuddered - but no tears - not vunerable enough to shed tears. He then tied me in a different position and I became despondent, my brain processing the last week. And it was there that all was fixed, in that subspace and I brought myself round to focus on enjoying being with Yus. I was looking for someone to break me, but that depends on what is in my own head and whether I will let someone push me. No need to be broken now. The bdsm element and aftercare is better than the sex but fulfilling a very deep part of me. I am putting him through my oral training programme and already he is getting very good. I am angled in a different direction.