Lesson Six

Riding Lessons

Lesson 6

Almost two months had passed since I drove home from the pub near Glo’s place. I phoned Angie the day after about getting her car back to her, but she told me to keep it for now. She said that she did not want to see me and that she would be very angry if I tried to contact her. I tried Glo’s number several times, but just got an answering machine. She did not reply to the messages I left. A couple of times I drove to Glo’s place but even though there were lights on, nobody answered the door. I went over to Angie’s place but she never seemed to be there. I was feeling terrible. I was out in the cold and alone. Recently Angie had become my main interest in life, then Glo and now nothing!

One Sunday morning I drove over to Angie’s really early and as usual she wasn’t there. Just as I was pulling out of her road, a light blue Range Rover passed me and I noticed the number plate - GLO 2. I did the fastest three point turn in the history of motoring and followed it back to Angie’s place. As I pulled up I saw Glo get out and walk up to Angie’s front door - but wait a minute - she was dressed just like she was the last time I saw her in the pub - jeans, cowboy boots and a brown leather bomber jacket; but she looked different. It wasn’t Glo, unless she had shrunk and dyed her hair brown. She turned and looked in my direction as I tooted the horn. It was Angie!

I raced up as she was unlocking her door. She looked so different! I gawked at her as she looked me up and down like an unwanted door to door salesman.

“Oh it’s you. You’d better come in now you’re here but I’ve only come to pick up a few things so you can’t stay long.” She was icy and unfriendly. I followed her into the terraced house, down the narrow hallway and into the small lounge. She told me to sit down and then stood in front of me with her hands on her hips.

“I told you not to come here didn’t I?” she scowled. Not only did she look different, she acted like a different person. She had been so quiet and soft, timid almost when I last saw her. Now she seemed so hard. She stood straight, whereas before she always stooped slightly, and she was staring into my eyes without blinking, which made me feel quite uneasy.

“Look Angie...” I stood up and grabbed her shoulders. “what the hell is...” Before I could get any further, she whipped her left arm up and knocked my right wrist out to the side. Then I just managed to get a glimpse of her gloved right fist before it connected with my jaw in an upper cut which sent me flying back down into the chair. The room spun around and when I could focus again, I saw that she was standing there as before, but looking really angry.

“Don’t you ever lay your hands on me like that again!” I couldn’t believe it. Not only was she dressing like Glo and driving Glo’s car but now she wanted to treat me like Glo did. Well this was too much. I couldn’t do anything about Glo, but I wasn’t going to take this from Angie. I was boiling! I sprung up and she took a few steps backwards.

“Get out!” she screamed.

“Not until I’ve taught you a lesson.” I said. I wanted to grab her, give her a good smack and ask her what was going on with her and Glo and the whole thing. I lunged at her, meaning to smack her across the face. She ducked away with surprising agility. I tried again but this time she stood her ground and blocked me. I felt the cold leather of her glove close around my wrist in a surprisingly firm grip for such a small girl. When I tried to pull free she didn’t let go but braced herself and pulled back. I tried to twist my arm away but I couldn’t. Then to my horror, I saw that she was smiling at me.

“You wimp! You complete wimp! Why don’t you leave before I break some of your bones.”

This I could not believe! I stepped forward again, meaning to grab her with my left hand, but she came forward to meet me and I felt an excruciating pain as her right fist buried itself deep in my stomach. I began to sink to my knees but I felt her grip me by the belt and hold me up. She pulled me higher and suddenly I felt my feet coming off the floor! She walked a few paces and slammed me against the wall! How could this be? This was Angie! I struggled and squirmed and she shouted at me to keep still. She was going to take me to see Glo. She let go of me and I crashed to the floor and rolled over, trying to get to my feet as quickly as possible. Just as I was straightening up she caught me with what could have been a left hook. I wasn’t sure, because everything went black shortly afterwards.

I woke up in the passenger seat of the Range Rover. Angie was driving very fast for the narrow country lanes. I saw the White Horse coming up ahead and recognised where we were.

“Hey! Stop the car. You can’t do this. I’m getting out.” She ignored me. I shouted at her again and grabbed the hand brake lever. The car slowed, swerving slightly. Angie swore at me and gave me an incredibly hard thump in the chest with her left arm. I was winded. She wrenched my hand away and released the brake, driving her right foot down so that the car accelerated away again.

“You bastard!” She screamed. “Try that again and I’ll break your arm.”

I was horrified. What had Glo done to her. This was little mild Angie and she was really frightening me now. We pulled into Glo’s yard, and as the car stopped, Angie swung over with her right fist and hit me in the chest again really hard. She jumped out and I saw her walk quickly around the front of the car while I struggled to catch my breath. She wrenched the door open and leant across me to release my seat belt. With unbelievable force she tore me from the car and threw me down onto the concrete. As I got up she grabbed my right arm and tried to march me towards the house. I struggled and we pulled to and fro for a bit but she was crushing my arm and pushing me relentlessly towards the house. Then I heard a familiar sound of giggling coming from behind me. I looked up and saw Glo in her riding gear. She was walking across the yard from the indoor school.

“That’s no way to treat a lady, Kevin.” She laughed. “Lets go in.”

She strode up and caught the back of my belt, lifting me up and holding me out at arm’s length. Then she put her arm around Angie’s shoulder and kissed her. Their lips parted for a few seconds and then they kissed again, passionately. Glo lowered her arm and let me drop from her grip now that she was preoccupied. I landed at her feet, staring up at their embrace. Angie’s feet were a few inches from my nose and she was on tiptoe. For some reason I noticed the pattern on her cowboy boots that was just like Glo’s boots from the pub. Then her feet slowly left the ground and rose up about fourteen inches. They were still kissing and I could hear both of them moaning softly. I started to get up and brushed against Glo’s riding boot. I was about halfway up when she lifted her right leg across my body and knocked me down again with the inside of her calf. My waist was locked between her boots and Angie’s little feet were dangling above my chest. She hadn’t even stopped kissing Angie and I could see Angie’s hands massaging her breasts. After a while Glo lowered her down and her boots landed on my chest. She stepped off as Glo released me and started walking towards the house, sighing.

“Ooh. I think I need a shower after that, darling. Bring him in and lock him in the wine cellar.”

I felt Angie grip the back of my collar and pull me up. She caught my right wrist and twisted my arm behind my back painfully. I could not believe that such a little girl could overpower me like this. When I struggled she twisted my arm even more. I was marched through the hall and down some stairs near the library door. My feet nearly came off the ground as she threw me into the cellar! Then I heard the door slam behind me and a key being turned. I was pitch black and I couldn’t find a light switch.

I must have been in there for two hours before I heard the key being turned again. The door opened and I blinked at the light. It was Angie. She was dressed very smartly in a short light grey skirt and matching jacket with black high heeled shoes.

“Come on then. We’re going up to Scotland on business and Glo wants you to come too; although I can’t think why.”

I followed her up the steps and could not take my eyes off her legs! They were tanned and shapely. Her calves, which had been straight and skinny, were now rounded and muscular. Her thighs bulged out just above the knee and looked very firm. I remembered how her legs had looked last time I saw her in a skirt and I could not believe this was the same girl!

Glo was standing in the hall waiting for us. She was dressed in a similar way, only in very dark grey. They both looked like high powered business women - and super athletes. The effect was breathtaking. Angie turned and looked me straight in the eye. Her heels made her taller but she seemed to be totally different in posture as well and so different to the little five foot two brunette I had met at that party. I remembered how I had felt so tall and in control then. Now I was almost cowering in front of her.

“You had better behave yourself on this trip, if you know what’s good for you.”

Glo tut tutted. “Now darling, lets all be friends, shall we. Kevin, I think I had better mention that Angie is still very upset at you for lying to her about your riding expertise. You were a bit naughty weren’t you.”

She noticed me looking Angie up and down.

“Oh, she’s quite something isn’t she.” They smiled at each other. “It’s amazing what a few months in the gym can do, with the proper diet and a good trainer!”

“The best!” said Angie giving Glo a meaningful private look.

Glo walked over and put her hand on Angie’s shoulder, and then stooped down and kissed her. They lingered for a bit as before.

“And you had better be careful.” Continued Glo. “She has many times your strength and I have been teaching her how to use it.” I had already found this out!

Glo playfully squeezed Angie’s upper arm and acted coyly impressed. They blew a kiss at each other. “We’ll go in yours shall we darling.” Said Glo. Angie picked up two small suitcases and headed for the door. “Now Kevin, this is yours.” She handed me a wad of fifty pound notes! “For your car, remember. Ten Thousand. You don’t have to come with us but I have decided that you may be useful after all. If you come, leave the money behind the bar in the lounge. It will be safe there.

Angie had started the car and Glo got into the front passenger seat. I climbed into the back without saying anything. Angie turned round and gave me a disapproving look and then drove off. I noticed that we were heading south and I was just about to mention this when we pulled into the entrance of a small airfield. A sleek jet helicopter was parked right in front of the control tower with its pilot walking around it doing a pre flight check. When he saw us, he waved at the tower and pointed in our direction; then climbed into the machine. As we parked the rotor blades started to turn and I could hear the increasing pitch of the engine.

After a few hours we were flying over the rugged Scottish scenery. Glo was sitting next to the pilot with a map in her lap. I noticed that she had been talking to pilot quite a lot during the previous few minutes and seemed to be pointing out landmarks to him. Suddenly the pilot nodded and swung the helicopter round in a fairly steep turn. I was quite concerned at the angle we banked at and I noticed Angie looking at me and shaking her head. She mouthed the word “wimp” at me. When the helicopter came out of the turn it slowed to a hover and started to descend. We seemed to be heading for a large lawn at the back of a fair sized country house.

Glo got out immediately we landed and beckoned to us. Then we stood on the lawn with the suitcases and watched the helicopter depart to the east.

“He’ll be back at nine on Tuesday morning.” Said Glo and she marched across the lawn to the house, playing with a bunch of keys. We followed with Angie carrying the suitcases. I offered to carry one but she looked me up and down as if I wasn’t good enough to.

We entered through the French windows at the rear of the house and passed through a large conservatory to the lounge. Angie dumped the suitcases down and glared at me again.

“Why do you always dress like a tramp?” She said. Glo looked round and shot her a disapproving glance.

“Now darlings, this must stop.” She said sternly. “We have work to do. Angie?”

Angie looked at Glo and her mood seemed to change. She looked me up and down again and then stepped towards me, put her arms around me and kissed me hard on the lips! Then she looked at Glo again, as if waiting for approval.

“That’s better. Why don’t you take him upstairs for a while and make friends properly?”

Angie looked at me again and put her right arm around behind my back. I thought she was going to kiss me again but she suddenly bent down and scooped me up in her arms, seeming to use no effort at all!

“The main bedroom is straight ahead at the top of the stairs.” Said Glo. Take your time. There’s no rush.”

I was almost paralysed with surprise as she carried me up the stairs and into the bedroom. She was acting just like Glo would. Treating me like a toy! And this was Angie. Little sweet Angie! She took me through the open door and pushed it closed behind her. Then just as Glo had done she threw me onto the bed. I saw her kick her shoes off and start to undress.

“Don’t just lie there.” She said. “Get those silly clothes off!”

I sat up on the bed and did as she asked, somehow sensing the inevitability of it all. As she peeled of her bra and knickers I got sight of her transformed body. She was almost like a miniature version of Glo! Her whole body looked so hard and her breasts stood out firmly just like Glo’s did.

I stood up and she walked towards me. I was five inches taller than she was but I felt somehow so small. She put her arms around my neck and we kissed. I started to get an erection which brushed against her hard abdomen. She moaned softly, the same way that she had done with Glo. Then she stroked down my body with her hands and knelt in front of me, sliding her soft lips over my willy. I could hardly contain myself and tried desperately not to come too early. She was moaning and sucking. I ran my fingers through her hair, my mind exploding with ecstasy.

She stopped. Just in time. “Glo said she enjoyed you.” She purred. “I think I will too.”

She started sucking again and I felt her spread her fingers and push her hands inwards on either side of my pelvis, as if she was trying to crush it. I saw the hard muscles of her arms and shoulders tense and bulge. Then she began to stand up, lifting me into the air as she did, and keeping the end of my willy in her mouth! She stood straight with her head tilted back and pushed my body up and down slightly above her head to that willy slid in and out between her lips. I was very uncomfortable but my erection just got harder and harder as she moaned more loudly. She must have sensed that I was about to come and threw me down onto the bed locking my arms and legs exactly like Glo did. The only difference was no huge dildo. Her vagina felt tight as she came down on top of me; she was thrusting hard and almost screaming. I came after about half a minute and she stopped when she felt it. Then I felt her vagina tighten strongly for about ten seconds before she went completely limp.

I came downstairs after having a bath. Angie wanted to use the shower. I had watched her amazing body as she soaped herself in the cubicle. She and Glo were in the dining room and I could hear them talking and laughing. They were seated at the table and there were some papers and a map spread out on it.

“Ah! Here’s the great stud. Come on Kevin, sit down. I have a few things to tell you.” said Glo. I sat opposite them. “Now Kevin, remember the story I told you, the clinics, my strength et cetera.” I nodded. “Well, What do you think of Angie now?”

The question took me by surprise. I just said “Amazing!”

“Quite right.” Said Glo. “More amazing than you think. Tell him how much weight training you’ve really done, darling.”

Angie looked at me, smiling, and made a circle of her thumb and forefinger.

“Absolutely none at all.” She said.

I looked at Glo and then back at Angie.

“Glo wouldn’t let me.” They both smiled as if they were enjoying some secret. They were waiting for the obvious question.

“But how... how...” I stammered.

“Blood.” Interrupted Glo. “Just a bit of my blood; about two c.c.s, actually. A small syringe full. They were taking pints and pints out of me at the clinic, and did all sorts of tests on it; for years they did that. Then I found out that they were injecting it into lab animals, and even humans! My blood type is O, universal donor. They were obviously after something! Treatment my foot! As I got stronger, I was able to have my own way, and I put a stop to it. They were very angry at that but they couldn’t do much about it. The thing is, they never got any blood after I started getting really strong.” he looked over at Agie and blew her a kiss. “But Angie did.”

I stared at Glo trying to see if she was joking, expecting her to burst out laughing any second, but she seemed serious. “Bloody hell!” I shouted as my mind started to take it in. “You mean you injected Angie with your blood and it made her body change? That’s impossible! It’s like some science fiction film or something.”

Glo looked annoyed and Angie shook her head at me again.

“Kevin,” said Glo softly, “remember the poker, remember the car. Everything is real. Its not a joke or a trick. You’ll just have to face up to it. I was going to ask you to take the injection. I needed someone small and weak, so that the results would show up. I didn’t know what to expect. When Angie volunteered, I could not have hoped for a better person. She was very brave about it. It could have been dangerous.”

“And now I’m twice as smart, about ten times as strong and a million pounds better off, with a body that any man with taste would die for.” Angie flashed a big grin at Glo. “Or woman.” She added.

I did what I was best at and just sat there, blinking.

“Now let’s get down to business.” Said Glo, ignoring my catatonic expression. She spread the map out on the table and then folded it a few times. “We are here.” She said, tapping it with the long forefinger of her right hand. “Kevin, remember I told you about that English solicitor who came in to administer the fund when I left the clinic?”

I nodded. “Well, he is my main lead into whatever this is all about. I have a hunch that he is not just a commissioned agent, I think he is part of - for want of a better term - the organisation.”

I looked at them and it was obvious that Angie had been briefed on this already. This was for my benefit. Glo went on.

“Well I tracked him down about a year ago and I’ve been keeping tabs on him, just enough so as not to be detected. He lives alone, about twenty miles from here, and he’s on holiday in the Bahamas for two weeks. Have you ever done any burglary, Kevin?”

She saw the look on my face and smiled. I noticed that Angie seemed very amused as well. “Well think of it as sort of secret agent stuff then. You like Bond films don’t you? Anyway we are going to break in and see what we can find - in the way of papers et cetera. We’ll photograph anything that looks interesting and then leave. Simple as that. It will only take a few hours. It’s fairly remote so we shouldn’t be disturbed.”

Angie frowned at Glo. “I don’t think it’s a good idea taking Kevin. He’s so pathetic.”

Glo put her large hand on Angie’s forearm. “Don’t worry, dear. He’ll be OK.” She pointed down at the map. “Now the place is here. We’ll drive along the back roads to this wood and then walk about half a mile to the house.” She shuffled through the papers and pulled out a large brown envelope. Inside were two aerial photos of a fairly impressive house surrounded by a high wall. She put them down side by side.

“We’ll go in over this wall at the back and then in through the back door. As far as I can tell there is no alarm. It wouldn’t be practical, anyway, because the place is so isolated. The only thing around is a farm about a quarter of a mile up the road, here.”

She tapped the map again. “Now listen Kevin, Angie and I will do the espionage. Your job is to make the whole thing look like a normal burglary.” She reached down and pulled some rolled up plastic refuse sacks from a grip by the table. “Here. While we’re busy, all you have to do is go round the house and fill these with anything that looks valuable. And don’t bother your conscience, it will look as though we were disturbed, and the loot left in the garden as we make our escape.” She picked up a cast iron pepper grinder from the centre of the table and held it in her right hand.

“If anything really goes wrong, then leave it to me!” As she said it she closed her hand and crushed the solid metal as if it was putty! Then she held the lump of metal out. “But I don’t want them to know that it could have been me, so we’ll break in like ordinary burglars would. Right. Lets eat. We’ll set off at about nine. I hope they’ve filled the Land Rover up with petrol as I asked.”

The wood was very dark. Glo and Angie did not seem to have any difficulty finding a path through the trees and bushes but I was constantly tripping and banging my shins. They were dressed in black so I could not even see them most of the time, just occasionally getting a glimpse of Glo’s blonde hair in the moonlight. Twice I felt Glo’s iron grip on my arm as she snatched me up and guided me through the blackness. Then we came to a clearing where the moonlight could penetrate fully and I saw the outline of the garden wall. It must have been about twelve feet high.

Glo stooped down and held out her right hand, palm up, a few feet off the ground. Angie casually stepped onto it with both feet, steadying herself with her hands against the wall. Glo effortlessly straightened up and lifted Angie high enough so that she could swing her leg over and sit astride the top of the wall. Then she grabbed me by the waist and hoisted me up. Angie caught the back of my collar and pulled me the rest of the way with just her left arm, grabbing my leg and swinging it over for me so that I was sitting on the wall, facing her! I caught a glimpse of a black shape behind Angie and heard a loud crunch as Glo landed on the gravel path inside the wall. Then I was unceremoniously dumped like a sack of potatoes into Glo’s arms and lowered to the ground. Angie jumped and Glo caught her, giving her a quick kiss before putting her down next to me.

We walked up to the back door and I could see that it was very sturdy; oak with ornamental strips of iron spanning it.

“OK then darling.” Whispered Glo. Try not to make too much noise. You never know who’s walking their dogs or something.

Angie pulled what looked like a small crowbar from her belt and slammed it like a bayonet into the oak panel near to the large metal escutcheon of the lock. The wood splintered and a small section of the panel disappeared. I was shocked by how hard she had hit it! She did it again and a larger section of wood gave way. Then she took a step back and performed a karate kick at the remaining part of the panel. I noticed that she was wearing military style calf length lace up boots with heavy soles. The door could not stand up to the power of her leg and the wood split as she drove her foot into it. She reached through the hole and felt around for something. I heard some bolts being drawn. When she tried the handle the door would not open. It was obviously secured on the lock as well.

She was about to attack the lock with the crowbar when Glo said. “OK darling. That’s convincing enough.” She walked past Angie and grabbed the door handle, turned it and pushed. The door opened as if it wasn’t locked at all, except for the sound of splintering wood and grinding metal as the lock gave way.

We were in there for over an hour. Angie was bringing papers down the stairs and they were photographing then in a small larder room off the kitchen so that the flashes would not be seen from outside the house. I clanked around with my sack of silverware and Angie hissed at me to stay out of the way. The sack was nearly full and I couldn’t find much more stuff so I sat in a front room and waited. Some car headlights came over a hill a few miles off and I got a bit worried. Then they disappeared and I assumed that the car had turned off somewhere. About five minutes later I got the shock of my life as the whole of the front of the house lit up and there was the sound of car tyres on the gravel drive! I raced into the kitchen where Glo and Angie were bent over some documents.

“Someone’s here!” I hissed. “A car has pulled into the drive.” Angie seemed worried but Glo was calm.

“OK Angie. Get these papers back in the desk and we’ll meet at the back door. Kevin don’t forget the sack.” She pulled a commando style woollen balaclava out of her jacket and slid it on, bunching up her long blonde hair under it. It covered all of her face with just little holes for the eyes. Angie took out a similar one and ran up the stairs with the papers.

My heart was pounding as the three of us crouched down by the splintered back door.

“Could be just a passing visitor.” Whispered Glo.

We listened to the idling engine of the car and then heard the unmistakable squawky sound of speech over a police type car radio.

“Shit!” I said. I was really scared.

“Quiet.” Said Glo calmly. He’ll probably just check the front door and leave. The engine stopped and my heart missed a beat.

A sound of whistling came from the side of the house and I saw the dancing beam of a torch flash across the back garden. The footsteps were coming our way! A few seconds later the torch was turned directly on us and I saw a uniformed figure behind the glare. He was obviously scared witless on suddenly encountering us and let out a yell, dropping the torch. I saw him grab at something at his belt as Glo sprang up and bounded towards him.

Then everything seemed to happen in slow motion. Glo raised her arm as if to grab him and at that moment a loud shot rang out. The flash was very bright. Glo reeled backwards and slumped to the ground, illuminated by the torch. I could see specks of blood on the gravel! The man looked horrified and let his right arm dangle with the gun pointing at the ground as he looked at the motionless body in front of him. I was suddenly aware of my bladder emptying itself into my trousers. Angie gave a hideous scream and launched herself like a greyhound out of a trap. The man had hardly moved when Angie dived at him, still screaming. She knocked him to the ground and the gun fired again sending up a spray of gravel which rattled against the windows of the house. I saw her hit him a few times before getting up on one knee and driving her right fist down into his face as he lay on his back. He did not move after that.

We both got to Glo at the same time. Angie ripped off Glo’s balaclava and lifted her head slightly.

“Oh no! Oh no! Please no!” she screamed.

I grabbed the torch and shone over Glo’s body. There was a jagged hole in her jacket just below her breasts and little globs of blood glinted on the black leather. I lit up her face. She seemed unconscious but there was a strange smile on her lips. Suddenly she reached up, caught us both behind the neck and pulled us down together, kissing us one after the other.

“I think we’ll need a drink after this!” she said calmly.

Angie burst out crying. Glo sprang to her feet and walked over to where the man was lying.

“Security Guard.” She said detachedly. “With a bloody gun as well! Hmmm. What is this country coming to.” She knelt down and examined the man. “He’ll be OK. Some right hook you’ve got there darling. He’ll have the best black eye in Scotland in the morning!”

She picked up the weapon and stuffed it into her belt. “Time to leave I think. Kevin, dump that sack at the base of the wall. Angie. Come on darling. I’m OK. Get the grip and make sure we have both cameras and all the film.”

Angie drove back. I was in the back and Glo sat quietly in the passenger seat. She winced noticeably every time we went over a bump in the track and Angie was still sobbing. “We’ve got to go to a doctor.”

“No.” said Glo. “I’m OK. Get back to the house. Just try and stay on the road.”

Angie was driving very badly in her state and made things worse for Glo by bumping the verges of the narrow tarmac. We pulled into the drive and Glo walked stiffly to the front door.

She unzipped her jacket and tossed the bloodstained gun onto a table in the hall. Angie and I followed her into the kitchen and watched as she tore her tee-shirt off. It was soaked with blood. She turned to face us and Angie screamed. There was a neat hole right in the centre of her muscular torso, in the deep crease between the topmost of her slabs of abdominal muscle. Streaks of blood smeared her tanned skin. She stood there calmly but I could see that she was trembling slightly.

“Angie, there’s a first aid kit in that cupboard. Kevin boil some water and get some clean towels from the bathroom.”

We watched as she cleaned around the hole with some cotton wool. She pressed and prodded at the wound and her face contorted with pain. Angie looked on, horrified, pleading with Glo to be allowed to call a doctor.

“I’ll be OK once I get this bullet out.” Said Glo gritting her teeth. The sight of her goddess-like features in so much pain was hard to take. Angie looked as if she was in as much agony as Glo. Suddenly Glo took a deep breath and dug her fingers in either side of the hole. A grape-sized red glob shot out and landed on the table. Angie squeaked.

Glo relaxed and held a towel against the wound. “That’s better.” She sighed. “Don’t worry Angie, I’ll be OK now. If that bastard had used a 38 instead of that 45 magnum, the bullet would probably have bounced off. As it is if this leaves a scar, I’ll be bloody annoyed!”

Sharon Best
Aurora Universe, Copyright 1995,1996,1997

(Aurora Universe materials are strictly for Mature Readers over 18 years of age!)