A Sibling's Rivalry
Katia N. Ruiz
Copyright Poem "Love Not Lost" By Katia Ruiz ã 1997
Copyright Poem "Almost lost you" By Erica Polanco ã1997
See Part 1
P A R T T W O
IT was noon by the time Frances woke. Claudette was still sleeping, an arm thrown over Frances stomach. After those first orgasms, they had moved upstairs to Frances room, leaving everything (clothes and all) strewn all over the floor. It was a sex filled night that left Frances feeling empty and craving for Katie. There was nothing warm about the way they'd had sex. Nothing sweet or promising.New York City, New York
And Claudette knew that this goddess-woman, as she referred to her in her thoughts, who was so desperately and helplessly in love with another woman, would never give her more than this. But that was good for her; she wasn't one to go for commitments anyway. All she really wanted was some passion and pleasure.
Frances carefully stood up from the bed and slipped on her pair of silk pajama shorts. She looked into her drawer and pulled out a comfortable cotton tank top. Her body felt loose and relaxed from the long night of great exercise. She went to the bathroom, where she washed her mouth, brushing her teeth and rinsing her mouth thoroughly. She left the bedroom and walked towards the stairs. She heard a noise coming from the kitchen and she went towards it.
Louie stood with a frying pan and a spatula in his hands. "I'm starving!" He exclaimed, patting his muscled stomach with the pan. He was smiling broadly, his golden hair gleaming with the sunshine. "I'm cooking for eight."
Frances smiled. "What, did you have an orgy, monsieur?" She joked, chuckling.
"I could have been, He said, smiling. "This woman could have been in the Olympics, running twelve hundred laps five times and never gotten tired! By the time we were done, I was exhausted! He paused and looked at her closely. How do you feel, Cherie? At this question, he turned serious.
Frances sat on the stool and smiled. "Fine, She replied. "She was not bad at all."
Louie smiled again, a perfect toothy smile. "God, your first night out clubbing, second in France and you already got laid!" He laughed now. "You could set a Guinness World Record for endurance, luck and capability." He was giggling.
Frances laughed; she couldn't help it. No matter how sad she felt, Louie would always make her laugh. She suddenly felt a desire to speak to William and Katie. But she knew she would have to wait until that night, for in New York, it was still too early. Suddenly, they heard voices and instantly knew that both women upstairs had encountered each other in the halls.
A few seconds later both beauties strolled into the kitchen, in great conversation. Claudette had taken one of Frances' shirts, and it was a little big on her, since Frances was slightly bigger in frame and wore her clothes slightly bigger than her own size. She'd found a pair of shorts from somewhere in Frances' bedroom and donned them. Korina had taken the shirt that Louie had been wearing the night before; its tightness pressing against her hardened nipples. Louie fought the sudden urge to ravish them; his eyes never strayed from the fullness of her chest.
Claudette walked over to Frances, wrapping her arms around her neck and pulling her close. Frances smelled the toothpaste on her breath. Claudette kissed her suggestively and kissed her slowly, slipping her tongue into her mouth. Frances responded, not really wanting to. She pulled away slowly; Claudette saw the reluctance in her eyes. "Let's speak, She whispered knowingly. Frances nodded, pulling her out of the kitchen. Louie and Korina remained in a lively conversation of their own, Korina looking into the refrigerator and Louie looking into the cabinets, trying to figure out what they could fix up to eat.
In the den, Frances sat on one of the chairs, inviting Claudette to sit wherever she liked. She crossed her legs and thought for a few seconds. "I am going to let you know that the most I can give you is a friendship, She said bluntly. "And occasional friendly encounters."
Claudette wasn't affected by this revelation. "Oh, I knew that already, mademoiselle!" She laughed, gesturing to Frances to dismiss the notion that she wanted more than that. She stopped laughing after a while and studied Frances intently. "Tell me something, Cherie," She continued, looking into Frances' eyes. "Who is Katie?"
Frances gasped in surprise. "What?" How did this woman know about Katie?
Claudette saw the question in her alarmed eyes. "You called out her name all night long, She said, answering the silent question. "Every time you came, Katie would come out of you mouth."
God, Frances didn't even remember having called out her name. She knew that her mind would stubbornly keep Katie in her mind. Imagining it was Katie whom she was making love to, imagining it was she who caressed her... "Katie
is the woman I love." She whispered.
Claudette smiled reassuringly. "Really?" She asked.
Frances smiled bitterly, looking down at her left hand with such nostalgia. "She is the only woman I have ever loved, and ever will love." The pain in her eyes was unbearable. Claudette looked down at her left hand and saw the wedding band on her ring finger. Funny how she almost didn't care the night before. Now, she felt for this suffering young woman facing her.
"Why aren't you with her, Cherie?" She asked.
Not knowing why, Frances related the whole story to her. She felt she could trust Claudette; she knew they would become great friends. "I know now that we will never get back together." She whispered when she finished, tears came to her eyes. She wiped at them, but they kept coming.
Claudette stood up from the chair and went to her and sitting on her lap pulled her head to her, cradling it against her chest. Frances was crying against her, small sobs making her body shake. Claudette felt helpless; all she could do was comfort her until her cries subsided. "You can not just give up like that, Mon Amie." She whispered softly, shifting her fingers through Frances' soft hair.
Frances didn't respond, she continued crying, desperately hopeless about her return to Katie's arms. Louie happily walked into the den to announce that food was ready; his eyes softened with concern as he realized the situation. He approached both women and kneeled in front of them, putting his hand gently on her back. "Frances, He said softly and his voice broke, tears came to his eyes. Claudette looked down at him and saw that he was almost crying. She realized that these two had a very strong bond.
Frances moved and lifted her head up, looking at him through teary eyes. She stood up, Claudette in her arms; she held her gratefully for a few long seconds and then she let her stand on her own. "Let's go eat." She said hoarsely, wiping her tears, and left them both in silence.
KATIE was sitting behind the desk that was in the den, the room that Frances had used as her little office. William was sitting on the floor, in front of the twenty six-inch television Frances had there on a stand, watching some educational cartoons in PBS. Katie was looking through the college application, pen poised, when the phone rang. She looked at it with a start. She picked it up and said: "Hello?"
Frances' strong, husky voice rang through her ears. "How are you?" She sounded happy to hear her voice. "I am sorry I did not call you before."
The sound of Frances' voice had activated the memory of that last passionate night together. "I- I'm fine, Katie's voice wavered. She wanted to tell Frances how much she missed her and wanted her and needed her. But she stopped herself, saying instead, "William has missed you."
Frances sighed. Only William? She wanted to ask. Instead, she said: "I have missed him also." Katie heard the sadness in her voice. "And I have missed you too."
Katie held herself; her love for Frances drove her wild. "Do you want to speak to him?" She asked, trying to control her body's reaction to that sensuous voice.
"Oui!" Frances said softly. She lifted her eyes from the desk to look at Claudette smiling at her.
She could hear Katie talking to William sweetly, saying something to him. His young voice came on the phone. "Di?" He hesitated.
At that moment Frances broke down, tears streamed heavily down her cheeks. "I am here, Her voice shook. "How is my little Rug Rat?"
William, smart little boy that he is, heard her crying. He started crying also; tears streamed down his little plump cheeks. "Di, 'ome back!" He sobbed into the phone. Katie pulled him up on her lap, crying also, burying her face into his abundance of hair. "Pease, 'ome back." He repeated.
Frances tried to keep her voice controlled, but found that she couldn't. "I miss you." She sobbed, feeling the tears trailing down her nose.
"When you 'oming?" He asked slowly, sniffing.
"Soon, baby." She said.
"For my 'appy pirthday?" He asked, his baby tears were already subsiding.
"Before that." She said, laughing softly.
"Okay, He said and handed the phone to Katie, returning to his cartoons and wiping the tears from his eyes.
"Hello?" Katie said, her voice shook. She listened to Frances crying softly, crying herself. She waited until the woman she loved so desperately stopped crying.
"I am sorry, Frances sniffed, wiping her tears with a tissue. She knew that Katie was still at the other end of the line, crying also. They remained quiet for several moments before Frances' hoarse voice said, "I have missed you so much!"
Katie sighed heavily, not answering. Then she said, "I'm going back to accounting school."
Frances smiled despite her sadness. "That is great!" She said. "When do you start?" She was genuinely pleased.
Katie was glad that she was able to veer Frances away from the memory of their situation. "I'm barely starting to fill up the application. But I'm hoping to send it out by tomorrow."
Frances asked: "What made you decide to return?" Her voice was soothing to Katie, whose hands were shaking; flashes of those last nights were torturing her.
Katie hesitated, finally deciding to be honest. "I need to keep my thoughts away from you." She said slowly.
Frances sighed. She still loves me! She thought happily.
"Have you called your parents?" Katie asked. "I think they're waiting to hear from you."
Frances gasped. "Shit!" She cursed. Katie smiled; Frances' accent was already beginning to deepen since she had left to France. Frances hesitated. "But I do not want to hang up with you." She sighed.
Neither do I. Katie thought to herself. "But you have to." She said instead, softly. "I'll talk to you when you call next time?"
Frances saddened; then suddenly she became angry. She and Katie hadn't had a real conversation in over a month! Now she wanted to just hang up with her? Just because they weren't together anymore didn't mean that they couldn't talk! "Speak to you some other time, then, She said coldly. "Give William a hug and a kiss for me. Bye." She hung up, looking at Claudette.
Claudette, even though she didn't understand or speak English, heard the sudden coldness in Frances' voice. "What happened?" She asked, approaching Frances and sitting on her lap.
Frances looked up at her; her eyes were cold and angry. "I have to call my parents." She said, moving forward, reaching across Claudette's lap and picking up the phone. She dialed her parents' number.
"Hello, DeValoi Residence." Flores said into the phone.
"Hello, Flores." Frances said. "How are you?"
"Miss Frances?" Flores exclaimed. "It's so good to hear you!"
Frances smiled. "And it is very good to hear you." She said. "Is my father there?"
"Yes, miss Frances, Flores replied. "He's been waiting to hear from you, since you had told him that you would call him."
"I would like to speak to him, please." She said.
A few seconds later, Richard came on the phone. "Frances?" He said.
Frances smiled and said in French, "Hello, father. I have missed you very much." Claudette stood and left the den, leaving her to have privacy.
Richard sighed. "And I have missed you, my child." He said, also in French. "Your mother has been driving me crazy telling me to call you. I told her you said you would call us."
"Is she around, dad?" Frances asked, trying not to laugh. She knew how her mother could sometimes drive her father crazy.
"Unfortunately, no." He said, and then he laughed. "I convinced her to go out with some friends, to try to get her mind off your not calling."
Richard and Frances spent some time in conversation and catching up on the past few days of separation; she asked for a few favors regarding William and Katie. After half an hour, they decided that it was time to hang up. They said I love you, and promised to call each other. When Frances finished, she went in search of Louie, who was still talking with Korina, and Claudette, who had probably joined them. As she headed for the kitchen, she found that Claudette was coming down the stairs, fully dressed and ready to go. "Where are you going?" She asked.
Claudette looked at her and smiled. "Home, She answered.
Frances smiled mischievously. "Do you really have to go?" She teased.
Claudette smiled knowingly. "Well, She said. "Not really."
Frances walked up to her and wrapped her arms around her waist, pulling her tightly close. "Now, when I said I could not give you anything more than friendship, I did not say I would not give you this." She kissed her softly, teasing. "Just because we are friends does not mean that we could not have fun once in a while."
Claudette shivered, she wanted more of that kiss. She let her hands feel Frances' arms, which were strong and slightly cut. "Let's go back upstairs." She whispered hoarsely.
Frances nodded and pulled her up the stairs. In the room, she wasted no time in removing both their clothes. As they stood naked in the middle of the room, Frances spread Claudette's legs apart and slipped her finger into her wetness. This situation reminded Frances of a long ago evening, but she pushed it aside. Claudette cried out and her legs weakened. Frances pushed weak-kneed Claudette towards the bed and laid herself on top of her, straddling and pushing herself on Claudette's thigh. With her fingers, she brought Claudette once again into ecstatic oblivion.
SYRAH was strolling down Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village. She was looking through all the store windows without any real interest. Her apartment was close by, a suite in a hotel on Fifth Avenue. She didn't know why she was walking around, doing nothing. She felt lonely, needing company and a good conversation. She was about to turn on Eighth Street, when she spotted Lucy, Frances' secretary walking down Sixth Avenue in the opposite direction. She stepped in front of her and smiled.
Lucy stopped and narrowed her dark brown eyes in recognition, saying nothing. "Aren't you Lucy, Frances' secretary?" Syrah inquired, letting her eyes run freely up and down Lucy's lithe body. Out of her work clothes, Lucy was stunning. Her curly black hair was loose and beautiful, as opposed to being in the tight ponytail in the office. She was wearing a dark blue windbreaker suit, and a white T-shirt under the jacket.
Their eyes met and Lucy smiled in recognition; she nodded slowly. "And you are Syrah, right?" She asked.
Syrah smiled in return and nodded also. "So, She began, a little shyly. "What are you doing around here?" She asked.
Lucy noted the shyness and smiled. She made a gesture of boredom. "I was just walking around, She replied. "Doing nothing. I was with my friend and then we separated to go home."
The word 'friend' caught more of Syrah's interest. "Your friend? Boyfriend or Girlfriend?" She asked before she could stop herself. She clamped a hand to her mouth and looked at Lucy in embarrassment.
Lucy laughed with delight. Ever since she had seen Syrah in the office that first time- plus the other times she had gone to visit- Lucy felt a slight interest in her. She stopped laughing and looked at Syrah with a small smile. "Guy friend, She said; she saw the disappointment in Syrah's gorgeous hazel eyes. "I do not have a girlfriend at this moment."
Syrah looked down and smiled with delight, then she looked back up. "Uh... listen," She said slowly. "I was getting hungry, do you want to catch a meal somewhere? My treat."
Lucy smiled a dazzling smile. "Of course, I was actually heading out to eat." She said. "Where are you planning to go?"
Syrah shrugged. "Actually, I do not know." She said. "Do you have a place in mind?"
Lucy smiled again. "Yes, I actually do."
LATER that night, after a long and fun dinner, Syrah invited Lucy over to her apartment. Lucy had accepted, a teasing smile on her cute dark face. Syrah had seen the smile and blushed. They walked into the darkened apartment and Syrah turned on the lights. "Do you want anything to drink, Lucy?" She asked, gesturing for her to sit down.
Lucy shook her head and patted the cushion next to her. "No, just sit here and talk to me."
Syrah obeyed. She sat next to her and turned to look at her face. "So, what do you want to talk about?"
Lucy's face softened. "What are you to Frances?" She asked slowly.
Syrah sighed, deciding to be honest. "I used to be Frances' lover, She began. "Before she married Katie. We rekindled our little thing after Frances and Katie separated."
Lucy didn't seem fazed by this revelation. "Will it keep going on when she comes back?" She asked, her face was strangely serious.
Syrah looked down at her lap and played with her hands. "Not if I find someone who could make me forget about her." She said softly, looking up at Lucy. "I have deep feelings for her, but I know that nothing will come out of that. I know that she's too deeply in love with Katie, but I cannot help myself. I have to keep coming back to her."
"And you never thought of getting serious with someone else?" Lucy asked, taking Syrah's hands in her own. She silently forced Syrah to look into her eyes.
Syrah shook her head. "No, She replied. "I've seen other women, but it was basically sex. The only woman I've ever wanted to get serious with was Frances. But she never felt that way about me."
Lucy didn't know what to say, this woman that was sitting across from her seemed to be very lonely. She felt a surge of protectiveness. She leaned forward and kissed her softly on the lips; then she pulled back. Syrah was shocked only for a moment; she lifted her hand to Lucy's face and caressed it. She looked into her eyes again and saw the sweetness and softness that Lucy possessed. She leaned forward and touched her lips again with her own. They breathed against each other. Lucy moved up to her and wrapped her arms around the smaller woman's waist, pulling her closer. They stopped kissing and hugged.
Syrah felt like crying. She wrapped her arms around Lucy's shoulders and buried her face into her neck, sighing heavily. Lucy held her, kissing her neck softly. Syrah was beginning to respond, slowly moving against her. Lucy pulled back and looked into Syrah's eyes. "I could make you happy if you would give me a chance." She whispered. "There doesn't have to be love yet, but as long as we like each other, it can be all right."
Syrah didn't know what to say, so she grabbed Lucy's head with her hands and brought their lips together again, pushing her tongue into her mouth. They breathed hard against each other as their lips and tongues met in a passionate encounter. Syrah allowed her hands to caress Lucy's back. Lucy squeezed her deeper into her embrace. She allowed her hands to caress Syrah's shapely thighs. At this, Syrah arched against her, pulling her over her as she lay down on the sofa. They were looking into each other's eyes, breathing hard against one another.
Lucy spoke, her voice was hoarse and it held something like pleading. "Will you give me a chance?" She asked. She didn't let Syrah answer just yet. She gave her a deep kiss, slipping her tongue into her waiting mouth. Then she pulled away, leaving Syrah breathing in short gasps and needing more. "Will you?"
And Syrah nodded, whispering: "Yes," Into her ear. Pulling her down to make their lips meet again. And soon they were naked against each other, too wrapped up to notice the uncomfortable feeling of the sofa. And Lucy deftly caressed Syrah, allowing her hands to travel all over her body. Syrah moaned and groaned as Lucy's hands touched, found, and lingered on those secret places; those places that would make her loose control.
Syrah moaned, arched, gasped, and groaned as Lucy's fingers entered her in a careless rhythm. Cried out as Lucy pulled her fingers in and out of her. Her thighs quivered with pleasure as she felt her clitoris swell even more. And Lucy kissed her, sucked on her, caressed her as her fingers glided in and out of the intoxicating wetness. And Syrah found herself moaning, crying out, scratching, biting, arching and groaning as her passion released itself from her body in an ecstatic tidal wave.
And as ecstasy subsided, she realized that Lucy hadn't stopped. She feebly tried to push the expert hand away, but she was too weak to win. And Lucy lulled out yet another orgasm, Syrah didn't know from where. By now, she was too weak to stop her, and the sweat was making her beautiful body glisten. And then another, and another orgasm until Syrah was sore and wanted more, but couldn't take anymore.
She wanted to please Lucy, but Lucy had not moved from where she was on top of her. Their lips were touching softly, their tongues caressing each other. And Lucy let Syrah know that all those times she came, she was with her; she felt her pleasure. They lay together, completely tired, peacefully falling asleep in each other's embrace.
"SO," Syrah said. "Tell me, where are you from?" They were in Syrah's bed now. They had woken up feeling all cramped up and Syrah suggested that they go to her bed.
Lucy was half sitting and held Syrah against her. She smiled at Syrah's question. "Well," She started. "I'm half Chinese, half Puerto Rican. I was born here though."
Syrah smiled. She thought Lucy didn't really look Chinese, she looked more Puerto Rican. Her dark hair was very curly and her face was oval shaped. Her nose wasn't long, but it wasn't small either. The mixed ancestry made her very beautiful. Syrah considered her eyes to be like a puppy dog's, brown and soft. She allowed her hand to softy caress the side of Lucy's face. Lucy looked down at Syrah and smiled. "What about you?" She asked.
"I'm originally from England, but I travel a lot." She replied. Lucy realized then where the slight accent came from. Syrah continued, "My family is a family of artists, but I've been the only one with the luck to be known around the world. You see that painting over there?" She asked, pointing at a very beautiful painting across the bed. "I had it specially put there to relax me. When I was working on it, I found myself relaxing and able to keep my mind off my troubles. So I kept it to myself, not wanting to give it up for observation. When I looked at the finished work, I would find myself sitting there for hours just staring at it. So at night, when I can not sleep, I just look at it." She stopped herself, feeling foolish, looking up at Lucy, who was watching her with a smile. "I'm talking too much, sorry." She blushed.
Lucy laughed aloud. "You're doing no such thing!" She exclaimed. "You are beautiful when you talk. You should see the light in your eyes when you were talking of your painting." She laughed again; then she stopped and ran her hand through Syrah's curly hair. "Poor sweet Syrah, She whispered, before kissing her softly and lingeringly on the lips, igniting their passion once again. "You need to talk to someone, didn't you?" Her voice was hoarse with renewed want.
Syrah pulled Lucy's lips to her own, marveling at how quickly that kiss had ignited her senses. She gently slipped her tongue into Lucy's mouth and pulled her down on top of her, loosing herself into the oblivion of their lovemaking once again.
THE days passed and Katie felt the loneliness around her like clothes. She had not gotten word yet from BMCC about her application, but she was already looking for day care centers for William. She would go out with him for long walks in the afternoons, the beautiful springtime reminding her of when she and Frances strolled the neighborhood while she was pregnant and after William was born. Frances had called and talked to Katie for no longer than a minute, immediately asking to speak to their son. Katie felt hurt, so she was acting in the same curt manner towards Frances; such attitude towards each other left them hurting.
ONE morning, while she sat in her living room, she was surprised when Richard arrived with a present. There were two men behind him, holding large boxes in their hands. At the sight of her questioning eyes, he replied simply: "Frances has asked me to buy you a computer with a modem and camera."
Katie frowned. "For what?" She asked confused. Even though her career required some interest in computers, Katie never had any. Her brain would do most of her thinking, so she never desired to have her own computer. And Frances never showed any interest in getting a computer for the house, and now the sudden change? Well, she doesn't live here anymore, does she? She thought sadly.
Richard laughed. "So that when she calls she can get an image of you two." To the deliverymen, he said, pointing towards the den: "Take it to that office and set it; take your time." He looked at Katie and smiled. "Now, child, won't you invite me in?"
Katie apologized and moved aside to let him in. They went towards the office and watched while the men set up the large computer screen with the built-in camera lens and connected the modem to the phone line. One of the men, a burly guy in his early twenties sat in front of the computer for a few minutes, setting up the drive for the fax, modem and camera.
Within the half-hour, everything was set up. Richard paid the two guys cash and sent them on their way. Then he sat in front of the computer and pressed the button below the standby light. The screen flashed and an image of a phone came to the center of the screen. From the speakers, the dial tone reverberated. He played around with the keyboard; the sound of dialing then filled the room. Katie came to stand behind him, staring at the screen curiously. "You see, Richard said softly, staring at the screen and working on getting through. "Frances has the same kind of computer that we have in front of us." Finally, the sound of ringing came through.
Frances' husky voice came through. "Hello, She said, suddenly her image was on the screen. Katie marveled at the great visibility. Frances was still gorgeous; Katie gasped. "Hello, father. I see you perfectly."
"So do I, He replied. "The connection took no more than a half hour."
Frances smiled. "I told you it wouldn't take long." She said. "Where's my son, father?" She asked, the eagerness was in her eyes.
Richard could also see the urgency to ask for Katie in Frances' eyes and he wondered why she didn't.
Katie said, "William is watching some Sesame Street. I'll go get him."
Richard stood, and motioned for Katie to sit in his place. "No, I'll go get him."
Katie reluctantly sat down and looked at Frances on the screen. "Hi, She said, looking down. The sight of Frances' gorgeous face tore her.
Frances' face softened. The sight of Katie brought back the memories of that last night before she left to France. "Hi, She replied. She wanted to reach through the screen and touch Katie. She felt the pain in her heart. "How have you been?" She asked softly.
Katie looked back up at the image of Frances and she felt her love for her increase. "I've been fine." She replied. The sudden longing she felt for her made her gasp; Frances heard her and softly exhaled, looking down at her hands. Katie looked at her and her eyes watered.
Frances wanted to cry also. "Katie, She said, her voice broke. "I have missed you so. I love you."
Katie looked up and whispered, "I love you too."
At those words, Frances cried. Completely allowed herself to cry, letting out all the emotions she had kept in check for so long. Katie buried her face into her hands, tears flooded her eyes. Richard walked in with William at that moment; Katie stood up from the chair and walked out of the den, hiding her face from William.
Richard shook his head, staring after Katie. He sat on the chair and pulled William onto his lap. William gasped when he saw the image of Frances on the screen. He sprang forward, letting his hand rest on the screen. His eyes were wide with awe. "Di?" He said.
Frances wiped the tears away from her eyes. "Yes, baby?" She said softly. "How is my little Rug Rat?" She moved forward, resting her hand on her screen also, hoping to God that she could feel her son under her hand.
William laughed. "I'm fine." He said slowly, still in awe.
Frances smiled, her son was speaking with more clarity and this made her proud. "Do you miss me, baby?" She asked.
William nodded. "When you come home?" He asked, serious faced.
"I told you, baby, soon." She answered, knowing that this would be so. "Okay?"
William nodded again. He sprang from the seat and ran out of the den to find his mother, calling out his name for her. Richard watched him go and looked at the image of Frances. "We will speak again, dear?" He asked.
Frances nodded, smiling. "Definitely, father. Bye." She said and broke the connection.
Continued in part VII
Katia N. Ruiz
fiction index | xena
homepage | what's new |