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[center After being dragged back to the football game he was supposed to be playing in with his friends, Elie could not help but dwell on Lillian’s responses to his comments. They certainly did amuse the man. No woman he knew ever refuted the idea of being anything other than refined and proper. Was that not the ideal image for a woman; pure and chaste? Although the last thing Elie really gave a damn about was a woman’s chastity. But he found in intriguing that a lady allegedly preferred the company of farm animals over elegant engagements. That was certainly a first. Who wouldn’t want to feel and enjoy luxury? He could not quite wrap his head around that idea, but he did not feel like harping on it too much at that moment. He was far too focused on the game to really care [i that] much. [b [i ‘She is surely a snappy one, that Lillian.’]]]
[center Even her comment about the general ignorance of the English still made him laugh a bit. God, was that the truth! A lot of the time when people found out how many languages he actually spoke were, they were entirely shocked. And some even questioned him about what the point of knowing those languages were. He practically grew up speaking Icelandic and Danish first! However, he was not all that enthused about Danish. To him it sounded a lot like gargling mouthwash. But at least he did not need it all that often. But then of course he learned English while in school, as well as French through a home tutor. If it had not been for the Icelandic patriotism, he would have voted that French was his favorite language purely for how elegant it sounded in comparison to everything else. But he was never going to admit that in this country. His friends would surely take the piss out of him for that. And the one thing he never had patience for was the ignorance of his friends regarding linguistics. Sure, some of them had working knowledge of a second language, but their command of that second language was intermediate at best. So, for him to know four languages like the back of his hand often led to him getting taunted for ‘wasting time on pointless things’. But that was until they traveled abroad for whatever reason. Then they relied on him often for translations. Life was funny like that for sure.]
[center But, what was not funny was the beating he had received from that same friend group on the grass they had been running around on. Elie found himself thanking and cursing God at the same time when Lillian marched up to chastise them for their behaviors in public. Elie’s friends all glanced among themselves, surprised to see a woman they did not know try to tell them what to do. Elie, appreciative, quickly accepted Lillian’s helping hand. Once back on his feet he tried to best to brush the dirt and grass off his body, but his clothing was destined for the wash that afternoon. That much the man knew. Elie saw William open his mouth, likely to say something snarky back at Lillian, but Elie swiftly backhanded William against the chest. [b “One hundred percent had enough for one day, yes. I think we will have to go catch a spot of tea another day, my dear. But thank you for the assistance.”] Elie nodded as William slapped away the hand Elie used against him. While the men weren’t physically fighting with each other, they did continue to bicker much like children.]
[center And a fair amount of time passed of the men ragging on each other as they began to pack up their things so they could head home. Elie felt quite famished and was more than happy to be on his way home, although he considered stopping by at a local café after he cleaned up at home instead. But either way, the man knew he had to go home and wash up before doing anything else. He was not about to walk around in public looking stained and filthy like this. But as he slung his bag over his shoulder, he saw some movement in the distance out of the corner of his eye. He turned and looked over at the benches to see a piece of paper stuck in the wooden slats. The occasional breeze caused it to flutter, threatening to come loose and tumble away. Out of curiosity he made his way over to the bench to collect the paper, intending on tossing it in the trash. But Elie looked over the paper’s contents, a brow arching itself up on his face almost immediately. He had a good laugh, though. He wondered why, of all people, Lillian would draw him. Elie would admit though that the sketch was nice. [b [i ‘Apparently I am aesthetically pleasing.’]] Elie thought, folding the paper and tucking it away in his pocket. He was not sure what he would do with it. [b [i ‘Perhaps I can try to mail it back to her. It is her art after all.’]] the male mused.]
[center Elie ended up going out to a local café he frequented with Thomas after cleaning up at home. He left the sketch on the desk in his study as a reminder to write the letter he wanted to send later. But for now, the man’s real objective was to get food in his stomach pronto. And he knew the café’s owner, Nadine, would be more than happy to oblige his request. Her food was second to none, really. Elie knew Thomas felt similarly, but after the football field brawl Elie needed to take a break from his friend group, Thomas included. Perhaps he would have food packaged up before he left to deliver to Thomas. Although Elie figured Thomas would act offended over the fact he went to café without him. Food was food, and Elie was ready to crush a whole platter by the time he arrived at the café.]
[center Sitting outside to enjoy the mild weather, Elie found himself relaxing into his chair with a newspaper in hand. Nadine knew that Elie liked to read the day’s paper while taking his tea. And the Frenchwoman was fine with this because she was quite busy with tending to the needs of all her patrons. Normally she liked to sit and have a chat with him and Thomas whenever they visited, but today Nadine was not able to do so for Elie. Thus, the man immersed himself into the news of the day while occasionally sipping at his drink until his food arrived. He was far too hungry to read and pick at his food. Elie did not mind doing some people watching, though. He was quite happy with his current arrangement. [b [i ‘I just need to figure out how to get back into contact with Lillian. I’ll just get one of my staff to figure out where to send that letter when I write it. They are capable. They can certainly figure that out…’]]]
Lillian thought that would be the last of him, that he would disappear back to his friends and continue his game of football and that would be the last of their conversation but as it turned out, he had other plans, clearly deciding that he wanted to stay in her company for as long as possible before his friends physically dragged him back to the game. Perhaps she would not be permitted to go back to her drawing after all. She sighed to herself and placed the paper and pencil down on the bench next to her and looked towards the man as his ramblings changed from talking about his ‘unsavoury pricks’ of friends to trying to flirt with the woman, at least that is what she thought he was doing. She didn’t exactly have a lot of experience with it, not really having been in the company of a man besides her father and those in her class who never really felt like she belonged there in the first place. It was clear that he had no intention of returning to his game just yet.
[b “Refined lady?”] She raised her brow and laughed a little at his words. [b “I think you must be mistaken or confusing me with another. You don’t know the first thing about me and refined I am most certainly not. I’m a farmer’s daughter and I assure you I would much rather be knee deep in mud working a farm than sitting at a fancy tea party where certain etiquette would be expected.”] She glanced behind him at the group of men who she would much rather liken to a group of boys considering how they were acting and she couldn’t help but think if this is what she was missing out on by going to school and studying, then she wasn’t really missing much at all. They were all far too childish for her liking. Her attention was drawn back to Elie then when she heard him speak with a chastising tone. So, he wasn’t British through and through. She couldn’t place the language since it wasn’t one she had heard before, but she certainly found this aspect of him intriguing. [b “That will be because the English are ignorant and do not care to learn anything besides what they have to. They expected everyone else in the world to be able to speak their language and to understand them.”] She watched as the man straightened his posture and changed the focus of their conversation and it seemed to shift in a direction she had not expected. Dinner. How very bold of him to ask a complete stranger to dinner.
Her lips parted to reply or at least politely decline but before she even had the chance, one of the unsavoury pricks came to drag Elie back to the game and he was being chastised for being a prick himself. She had to admit, the whole scene was rather comical to her and it was near impossible for her to stifle a laugh. Once she was sure that she was alone for good she went back to her paper and pencil, only this time she seemed oddly inspired to draw something else, or rather [I someone] else. The overly confident and oddly charming and entirely attractive Elie. She got to work quickly, occasionally glancing up from the paper to take in his features. Lillian wanted to get his jawline just right and the look in his eyes, the devilish playfulness that she knew came from more than being a little rough with his friends.
However, it wasn’t long before her drawing became disrupted by the outburst of men playfighting and as she looked up from her paper, letting her teeth release their grip on her bottom lip, they parted instead, rather surprised that grown men would behave this way in public. It wasn’t her business really, but she could see families looking towards them in disgust and children pointing and laughing while their parents tried to encourage them to look away because that wasn’t the type of behaviour that was to be expected. Now rather frustrated she packed away her art supplies, no longer feeling inspired to draw and she marched towards the men, ready to chastise them herself.
[b “Are you boys or men? I do not know if you have realised but you are putting on a very public display of ungodly behaviour in a [I family] park. I would highly suggest that you put a stop to this before someone gets hurt.”] Perhaps they would ignore her, but she hoped that they had the manners to at least listen to her and not show her any disrespect. She scowled a little and let out a rather frustrated sigh before she offered Elie her hand to help him up off the ground. [b “I think you’ve all had enough for one day, don’t you agree?"]
[center Elie could not help himself, but he had a hearty laugh about Lillian’s comment regarding his friends not being her friends. [b “I would hope to whatever god there is that they are not your friends, Miss Lillian. They are all a bunch of unsavory pricks.”] he explained with a roll of his eyes. They truly were assholes sometimes, but they were his friends. They stuck together through thick and thin no matter what. [b “Sometimes I feel like they purposely trip me during a scrimmage so they can take the ball. Of course, I call a foul.”] he sighed, but shrugged, [b “We argue about it for a minute. But I think we get over ourselves pretty quickly.”] Elie contemplated this for a moment. He figured they would try to sabotage him somehow upon return to their game because they clearly found more amusement in taunting him about his interaction with Lillian than anything else.]
[center The man was amused by Lillian’s suggestion of returning to the football game he was involved in with his friends. [b “If I may be so bold, but I think I rather prefer talking to a refined lady such as yourself then sweaty pricks trying to kick me in the shins.”] he spoke with a slight raised brow. But in the background, all the man could hear was his friends taunting him for giving Lillian so much attention instead of rejoining their ranks for the scrimmage. They were certainly god-awfully annoying sometimes! Elie had turned back towards his friends to give them a sharp Icelandic chastisement to essentially tell them to piss off into the ocean since they would not shut up to save their lives. [b “They are quite the band of fools, I must say.”] he shook his head. His friends had then transitioned from taunting him about Lillian to making fun of his ‘fancy Icelandic speak’. The group had picked up a decent amount of the language from Elie during all of their time together. But the man’s friends still took the piss out of him when they did not understand what he was saying or if he spoke too fast for them. [b “Some of them only speak English, which is quite funny to me. They complain they cannot understand me, yet they do not care to learn.”] Elie chuckled before straightening up his posture.]
[center [b “But that’s irrelevant, I think. How about you and I go out for dinner later this evening, Miss Lillian? I can pick you up if you are interested.”] the man offered, fairly confident that he wouldn’t be rejected as that rarely ever happened to him. But his friend William eventually marched himself up to them to take Elie’s arm and drag him away because nobody in the group wished to wait anymore. William was going on about how the team still needed him and that he needed to not be a prick to women in a park. Elie was fervently protesting himself being a prick, but William clearly was not having it. Although William did not know exactly what Elie had said, he did not exactly trust Elie to be the politest gentleman since it was well known Elie was a womanizer. [b “Do give it some thought, though, Lillian!”] he called to Lillian as he was guided back to his friends, who then proceeded to loudly roast him to Hell and back. Especially Thomas. While Elie and Thomas practically grew up together, sometimes Elie really wished the other man would shut the hell up. But of course silence was not in Thomas’ vocabulary.]
[center But, the argument between the group of men birthed a scuffle, Elie getting shoved by Thomas which caused Elie to push back even harder out of spite. But the next push was rough enough to throw Elie off balance before falling right on his ass, his friends all dogpiling him to make him pay for delaying their scrimmage. This certainly garnered a few weird looks from pedestrians making their way through the park. But nobody dared to break up the fight so they could personally avoid conflict. Not only were his friends practically crushing him with their weight they were constantly taunting him about always trying to pick up women no matter where he went. Apparently, they wanted to rub him into the dirt to humiliate him for revenge and Elie was cursing up a storm in the meantime, trying to fight his way out. But he was clearly outmatched since it was only him against the rest of his friends.]
[center While the dirt never bothered Elie, he definitely did feel some humiliation. To get his ass thoroughly kicked in front of a pretty lady? That was emasculating in Elie’s mind. He did not want to appear weak, but there he was, writhing in the grass to attempt at escaping the brutality of his friends. He was already dreading the lecture that his mother would give him for coming home looking like a ‘disgraceful, filthy homeless fool’ and she liked to describe it. So maybe being roughed up by his friends in front of Lillian wasn’t so bad? Either way, Elie hated his current predicament all the same…]
There were many who would find the vision of a young woman sat alone in a park as quite strange for the time. Most of the other women here were escorted by those courting or by fathers or brothers. Women were the delicate sex to be protect by the more dominant and masculine but that was not exactly something that Lillian conformed to, or ever would. That was partly due to her unconventional upbringing. Her father was not exactly traditional and although he was protective of the women in his household, it was because he loved them, not because he felt as though it was his duty as a man to do so. He had always treated her mother like his equal, which was perhaps why Lillian’s values were slightly different to most at the time and in honesty, she was grateful for it too. She liked the fact that she did not exactly fit into the mould that society expected her to fit into. She was not yet married, nor did she have her parents lining up suitors in an attempt to marry her off quickly so that she could fulfil her womanly duty to provide a son for her husband. Of course, that was more common in the higher society. Working class women tended to have a little more freedom to fall in love and her parents intended on allowing her that freedom, although the idea of such was laughable to her. Lillian was far more interested in her schooling and her artwork to even think about the prospect of falling in love and her parents did not pressure her either. She was perhaps one of the only truly free women aside from her mother that she knew, and she would be forever grateful for that gift.
Lillian discovered that she had a gift for the arts around the age of thirteen when her father came home from the market with a canvas and some paint. It was an awfully cold winter that year and she couldn’t even get out on the farm to help because it was too cold, and her father hadn’t wanted to risk her getting sick. A sick child in these times could be far more drastic and fatal so he kept her safe as much as he possibly could. Since she missed the farm, she had decided to paint it. Of course, no one really expected the canvas to be any good and Lillian had been delighted at the praise she had received for such a painting and soon after that, her parents ensured that they invested as much money as they could spare into her talents. By the time she was sixteen, her technique was somewhat unflawed and well-rehearsed, and she had quite the portfolio and it was that portfolio which had helped her get into an art school much more recently.
Her father had been a veteran of the Second Boer War. She had been twelve when he returned, and he was never quite the same and he was certainly unable to work the farm alone like he used to, so the family had pulled together to help him more. It was just the winters when Lillian was not allowed to help until she was older. His injury had been to his back but it was clear that his mind was more damaged than any physical part of his body but he was good at talking about his thoughts and fears with his wife and he was good at letting Lillian know when he was feeling down. They had a pretty open family really and it was something Lillian would always appreciate and would hope for one day should she ever change her mind about love.
Lillian would occasionally look up from her paper to take in the sights of the landscape before her before moving on to draw the next part of her picture and she noticed that there was now a group of men playing football off to the left and some of the families and moved on from their picnics. It was a sign that she had been sat that for some hours at least but it didn’t matter, she was used to sitting for hours when it came to creating one of her drawings. When she focused on her drawing once more, it wasn’t long before she was distracted by a ball tapping her feet and rolling under the bench she was sat upon. Not too long after the ball came towards her, she noticed a man following behind it and as he asked for her to excuse his presence, she shifted her legs to the side so that it was easier for him to get access to what had disappeared under the bench.
[b “It’s no matter.”] Lillian said in response to his apology and looked behind him with a raised brow at the fact that his friends were heckling him, and she couldn’t help but chuckle at the fact that he gave back as much as they gave. [b “I don’t mind them. They are not [I my] friends.”] She said with a smirk before correcting her posture and placed her pencil down on top of the paper that she had resting on her lap.
Lillian had expected her moment with him to be over then, but she was surprised to find that, rather than going back to him game, he was passing the ball back to his friends. She looked up with a raised eyebrow once more and looked towards his hand, wondering why he even felt the need to introduce himself. However, she was not impolite and did intend on insulting him by refusing to shake his hand. She carefully held down her materials with one hand and met his with her other, shaking it briefly. [b “Lillian.”] His friends continued to heckle and shouted for him to stop flirting and get back to the game and she chuckled once more. [b “Your friends beckon you. Perhaps you should return to your game of football Elie.”]
[center Much like a hibernating bear, Elie was huddled up in his dark den of a bedroom. The curtains were still closed, and the man was tangled in a mess of blankets on his bed. This past winter season had not been all too kind to the country, which had then made Elie bored and at his wits end staying indoors on the worst days. For months he had been trying to leave on holiday with his friends to some destination that was warmer than Hucknall. However, his parent had long forbade him from leaving the country because [i ‘he needed to be home to help with running the business’], which was a fairly large textile manufacturing company.]
[center The Stefansson family had once been a family of Icelandic immigrants who had settled in England to escape the what was found as a mundane way of life. Elie’s grandfather, Magnús, had been the one to settle and create a business since he had been a wool fabricator and his wife made sweaters out of the materials to sell in Iceland. But Magnús had grown tired of how limited their options were on the tiny island, so he uprooted their life and set it back down in England. Despite the adversities, like learning the language well enough to just survive, Magnús proudly worked alongside his wife, Ingrid, to build their business to a level in which they could only have dreamt of back in Iceland! In only just a few decades they became so well established their immigrant story had become respected and touted as everything an immigrant could do right; learn the language, be productive, and support the local people and economy at large with their business. Not everyone loved the Stefansson’s, but this was of no issue to the family in the long run. They did not see any wrong in what they were doing and had planned for the future.]
[center They even had three children, a son and two daughters! Their son, Stefan, was the current leader of the business as Magnús and Ingrid had wanted to hand over their work to him in their old age. This was just to ensure smooth continuity and that the business stayed in the hands of the Stefansson family. At that point the Stefansson’s owned a controlling stake in the textile manufacturing industry across the region with access to supplies and plenty of labor. As an adult, Stefan had found a very nice Englishwoman that he liked plenty. Her name was Madeleine, and she was the daughter of another businessman in the country. Their union was born out of strategy, but the two actually did end up enjoying each other and having a son of their own, Elie, before a daughter they named Anna. The family dynamic was quite complex given their cultural roots and being in such a privileged part of society in England, but somehow their wealth and prestige did not diminish.]
[center But the current predicament for Elie in his deep slumber was when his maids came into the room to open the curtains and wake him up for the day’s activities, whatever they happened to be that day. The man was jolted from his blissful summer by the shot of sunlight to his face when the curtains were opened. Immediately. Elie cringed as his body recoiled further into the warmth of his bed. But just as he was about to flip over to go back to sleep, he heard the gentle clattering of the morning tea and breakfast being wheeled in on its customary cart. Elie was the farthest thing from a morning person, and the maids knew this. But this was routine for everyone involved. Heaving himself to sit upright, Elie shuffled his legs to hang over the bed’s edge. Bleary-eyed he watched as the maid with the breakfast cart prepared his tea carefully.]
[center [#900 “Sir, your schedule today includes a meeting with your father at the main factory to discuss supply and various shipments. Otherwise, your afternoon is free today.”] the maid dutifully reported as Elie took his first sip of the tea, testing the temperature and flavor. [b “I do not know why he needs me for that today, but fine. Do prepare my football attire for the afternoon, though. I plan to go out for a scrimmage.”] the man responded, clearly not too enthusiastic about the factory meeting. It was not currently his problem, the business, but his father and grandfather whole-heartedly insisted that he be equally involved as them since he was meant to own it himself one day. Elie had not been so taken by the family business as he was with football, but the man knew he did not have a choice overall in the matter no matter how irritating it was.]
[center It was a whole process; taking breakfast while the bath was prepared, cleaning up, being assisted with dressing and grooming by two butlers, and being driven off to the main factory for this meeting his father required. The industrious talks and walks to inspect the factory floor were boring to say the least. Apparently, there was worry about the stock of certainly supplies due to growing hostilities in mainland Europe, but Elie did not feel that senselessly angry Germans and the like did not necessitate a meeting over supplies. He felt that his father was being overly anxious. But he listened and followed along regardless as that was his duty. But the good thing was that there happened to be other important people there for this meeting, so Elie didn’t feel to stressed about having to really speak or anything like that. Since he [i had] to be there, he felt more compelled to listen instead of actively contribute. [b [i ‘I need this first thing in the morning like I need a bullet in the head.’]] the man thought, unamused, waiting for when he would be dismissed from the gathering by his father.]
[center It felt like an eternity and a half, but Elie was more than happy to leave by the end of the meeting. Immediately being driven home, he got dressed for his planned football scrimmage in a nearby park with a few of his friends. They were all young men, like himself, and they knew each other all through their parents and businesses. If Elie was not at home or working with his father, he was likely out with his friends getting up to God knows what. Usually, it involved debauchery, but it honestly depended on what they felt like throwing their money at on a given day. None of them really cared much. To them, they didn’t have anything genuine to worry about!]
[center Not much time a transpired from then to officially getting dropped off at the park. He had told the driver to go back because he intended to stay with his friends and get a ride back with one of them at some point. But in the park Elie saw the in the open grass already passing the ball to each other. It appeared that he was the last one to roll up to the gathering. But Elie did not waste time in running up to join in the fun. Naturally, he got the piss taken out of him over being the last one to arrive, but Elie didn’t care. The banter was normal, albeit a bit crude at times. Nothing out of the ordinary from one what might expect from a group of young men getting together. There were plenty of dramatic calls for ‘penalties’ for even the smallest infraction, just the group of men egging each other on for fun. It was a great relief for Elie to be outside and enjoying the fresh air and sun. The breeze was still brisk, remnants of winter, but the man wasn’t at all bothered because of the fact he was running around so much.]
[center But, then the ball had been kicked off the grass and towards a row of benches. That was definitely Elie’s fault, thus it was his responsibility to retrieve the ball. He went jogging after it, the ball rolling under a bench that a woman was already sitting on. [b “Excuse me for just a second, Miss.”] Elie spoke, carefully reaching under the bench with a cleated foot to roll the ball back out. [b “Sorry about that.,”] he began, [b “I had kicked it far too hard.”] he chuckled, hearing some heckling from the field about going out of bounds and taking too long. Elie had turned slightly and motioned for his friends to firmly up one before turning back to the lady on the bench. [b “They’re fools, don’t mind them.”] he smiled before deciding to just punt the ball back to them before they decided to walk up on him and steal it. The last thing he would want was to get jumped by his friends in a park. In front of a lady, no less! That certainly would have been embarrassing.]
[center He then reached a hand out to her for a careful shake, a gesture he was much accustomed to, [b “Elie. What’s your name?...”]]
The sounds of spring were often a comfort. The gentle breeze brushed so elegantly against a young woman’s ear, coupled with the chirping of birds who announced their return from their short time away as escaped the winter that many wished they too could escape, was more than enough to suggest that the country had now escaped the winter too. The season had been harsh that year and undoubtedly, there were many who found relief with the first blossoms of spring. The very fact that one could even leave the house with a coat now meant that life would now return to the small town of Hucknall.
The town itself consisted of no more than 16,000 residents, many of whom were involved in one of the industries that thrived here. Hucknall, like many other small towns in this year of 1914, was dominated by the mining industry where many of the local men and young adolescents worked. Others often found themselves working in the textile factories or some still made their living from agriculture, but it was a self-sufficient town.
Lillian’s family ran a successful farm, one that served the local community well and it was because of their hardiness and zeal that they had managed to secure some good business from the locals, bringing themselves a steady income in order to keep the house running nicely. Of course, over the winter period things were quieter but the farm was becoming busier and while Lillian helped where she could, her parents had encouraged her to get off the farm that morning so she could enjoy the new life that had been breathed into the town with the improved weather.
It was that life that Lillian wanted to capture as she ventured towards the park that served those who lived locally. The park, that had been abandoned only a few months ago, was bustling with families and couples intending on enjoying the sun. Clutching her sketchbook and a small case of pencils, she made her way towards her favourite spot, the one where she would often spend hours enjoying the offerings of the small park. With the view from her bedroom window, she could have easily produced a perfectly acceptable drawing of the scenery. She had done so when the grass had been taken victim to the snow which lay in a blanket five inches thick in January of that year. It had been too cold to subject herself to the elements then, so she had kept herself warm in her bedroom that doubled as a studio for her to work and display the fruits of her labour.
Lillian’s parents were different than most. Perhaps it had been their own modest upbringing, or perhaps it was because she was their only daughter, but they seemed to encourage her talents where other parents would undeniably force their daughters into the more traditional roles of wife and mother. At her age she was expected to settle down and raise a family, but courting was the last thing on her mind. While most women of her generation were engaged or already raising children of their own, Lillian was encouraged to continue her education at the University of Nottingham since she didn’t want to be too far away from her parents during the school term and it also meant she could return home on the weekends which is why she was able to make it to the park on this particular morning. Her education was not cheap, but her parents had worked hard in order to finance her education and two years into her study she was thriving in the arts.
Once she reached [I her] bench, she set herself down and opened her sketchbook to the next blank canvas before she surveyed the area. There were children playing together and families enjoying picnics. There was much joy here to be captured here and she did not waste any time putting her pencil to paper and moved the lead expertly across the page, beginning to form the structure of the trees in the background before she started to shape the people who would bring life to her sketch. She worked quickly and soon the scene before her appeared upon the paper.
All posts are either in parody or to be taken as literature. This is a roleplay site. Sexual content is forbidden.