The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

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Aurelio
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The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Aurelio » Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:37 pm

July 124PW
Continued from here


Women did not generally respond well when men left after they fell asleep. There existed a choice for the wily man who faced such a conundrum, one that could lead to a cold front that might last a few days or forever, depending on the temperament on the woman: wake her up, leave a note, or just leave. Only emotionless women tended to appreciate the lattermost, and Aurelio Merynir knew that Ivone Malatrast was not an emotionless woman. Contrarily, she was a delightful mix of emotions. A bag of them that, upon being squeezed, was like as not to release several, some of which could and did baffle a man who otherwise was quite seasoned in the practice of courting women.

Aurelio had visited her home. She had fallen asleep. He had left a note. A brief note, one that had stated simply, and fondly, that the sight of her sleeping face was far too fair to disturb. He had left a time reconfirming when he would pick her up, and then he had left. Now, the morning after, he prepared for his outing with her, a woman who he had met twice and slept with twice, and looked to build a mixed relationship with, under a broad understanding that they were both using the other for distinct means. It was a dangerous game to play, and that was why he was the one who played it. He did it for Paragon, or at least that was what he told himself.

Bright colors was the theme of the day, colors to complement his complexion and Ivone's eyes: purples edged in pale green and settled with an underlying opalescent grey that had cost him more than he cared to admit. With his hair tied back, he looked the part of a rich man going to a rich party, and once he put on his hat he strolled out into the street. Into the rain. He went back inside to fetch a coat, and then was on his merry way to Ivone's home, ignoring the stares of those who braved the wet streets. He was used to the stares; he enjoyed them. All the way to Ivone's door, he enjoyed there, whereupon he knocked and leaned against the door sill, a hungry expression couched behind the polite facade.

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Re: The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Ivone » Thu Feb 06, 2014 3:28 am

When Ivone woke, she was alone. It was an awful feeling, but it was one to which she was becoming accustomed. She had spent months coming to terms with being alone, had even enacted and enforced a sense of isolation in which she could bury the rawness of her feelings. She had, for a time, become numb. In light of the previous day's activities, the aloneness was worse somehow. Yesterday, she had burned bright - a cheery fire in a warm fireplace. Now, in the near dawn hours of a new day, she was nothing but soot and ash. No heat warmed the hearth, no fires burned. She had awakened in a bed she had avoided for six months because the bed was much too big to sleep in alone.

She had slept soundly, though. Aurelio's efforts had been rewarding to say the least. He had exhausted her in the best way possible. In yet another way he acted the "knight in shining armor" for her - first all those years ago, then the pleasure he had given her, now the most solid night's sleep she'd had for a while.

Ivone squeezed her eyes closed and threw her arm over them. The sense of wanting to cry warred with the sense of wanting to laugh. So, she did both. What else was there to do? She felt guilty for what happened. She felt guilty because she felt good about something. She felt angry because she felt guilty. Why should she feel guilty for what happened? She wasn't married anymore. She felt giddy. She felt guilty because she wanted to feel that way again. She felt excited, too.

"Ah, me..." Ivone rolled onto her side. Paper crinkled and crackled. She sat up, hair falling around her. The dawn had finally arrived in a watery grey, giving barely enough light by which to read the note.

Ivone gave a soft snort and smiled to herself, looking away from the paper before her gaze slid slowly back to read the words again.
"Charmer..." Ivone shook her head, more in rebuke of herself. How many times would she have to remind herself? This was all just part of the game, the bargain, fulfillment of a contract...

"Keep telling yourself that, Ivone. This is not a game you want to lose." Ivone carefuly folded the note and slipped from the bed. Moving to her dressing room, she placed the note in her keepsake box. Closing the box, her hand rested on top of it as she sighed.
She just knew her meagre wardrobe would never satisfy him. She had one dress left in her mourning blue that she had not worn out in public. That one would have to do. And, nothing said she had to have accessories in mourning blue, right? Ivone smiled and reached for her jewelry box.

Ivone surveyed her undergarments with a discerning eye. Should he see those today, she would want whatever she chose to reflect the woman she is, not the widow in mourning. Yes! Ivone procured the silkiest and most feminine ones, ones that matched the color of her earrings. Even if he didn't see them, she'd know what she wore and that was tantalizing in its own way - a little secret only they would share or only she would know. A secret to keep a little secret smile playing upon her lips for the whole day.

The smile went with her into the bath, when she took her breakfast, when she carefully pinned up and artfully arranged her hair, and when she realized she would need to wear a scarf around her neck...

The bruise he'd left so blatantly on her neck would have to be covered. She wanted to show it off, but that would be in bad taste. Another trip to her dressing room found a good solution. A thick satin ribbon, turned choker, covered the mark nicely.

Ivone stood before a full-length mirror and surveyed herself. The cut of the dress was perfect for her body type. The bodice of the dress stopped in a line just below her chest. The skirt fell loosely from there, accentuating her petite frame and her curves. The effect was wholly feminine, understated, but classy - just the way she liked it. And, even though the dress was monochromatic , the ribbon at her throat added a complementary color in a satiny light green. For a moment, Ivone wondered if the ribbon made her look like a ridiculous present. Matching earrings and gloves completed the ensemble.

The more she looked at herself, though, the more she liked what she saw. She had already established herself as an eccentric amongst her peers by marrying a man so much older than herself, especially when that man had been known to maintain a long-term relationship with another man. She had already established herself as fodder for gossip with her accusation of Vyaduka and the other Judges. And, she had fueled more gossip by leaving the patisserie in such a state.

Ivone lifted her hands to lips and laughed at herself. She had never imagined herself as a pariah, but she thought she enjoyed the role.

As she made her way down the staircase, a knock echoed in the atrium at the base of the stairs. Ivone's stomach flip-flopped. Excitement, unbidden, sparkled in her eyes and gave color to her cheeks. She took out her rain cloak and draped it over her arm. Getting the cloak meant he had to wait a moment, but then again, if she didn't have him wait a little bit, she wasn't playing the gam properly. Ivone took a breath, bit her bottom lip, and opened the door.

There he was. Beautiful. Well-Appointed. Theatrical.

Ivone's gaze looked him over from toe to head. The expression on her face probably spoke volumes. She was still biting her bottom lip, but that stopped the moment their eyes met. A little smile appeared, which turned into a bigger one. She was obviously pleased to see him.

She liked the way he had posed against the door sill - nonchalant as you please. (No, Ivone! Don't think that way! That is a dangerous thing to do...)

She held out her cloak for him to help her into, a gesture that said 'I'm ready if you are.'

"I hope you rested well."
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Aurelio » Fri Feb 07, 2014 1:08 am

There was a pause, those first few seconds, as they digested each other. Aurelio's appreciation showed in the blooming smile that curved his lips, and the way he looked at her, as if he could have her then with no regrets. But he played the courtier, shelving the expression under a milder appreciation. He took her cloak, and then her hand; the kiss he placed on the underside of her wrist was slightly out of fashion but also risque, and for that reason along it would never fully go out of style. He moved smoothly from the kiss to putting her coat on for her. The care he took to settle it, the prolonged brushes of his fingers against her skin -- particularly the back of her neck, were telling enough. "You are breathtaking," he whispered into her ear as he gave her coat one last gentle tug.

He withdrew, turning with a nonchalance that belied the sole last, heated glance he had given her. "I am quite ready to dance with you. Are you ready?" There was a lilting tease in his voice as he lead the way to the street. He waited for her, proffering his left elbow towards her. He had retreated beneath a more placid and society friendly mask, though there were still hints of his entrancement with her present for those who looked.

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Re: The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Ivone » Fri Feb 07, 2014 2:49 am

The look he gave her, his smile, the touches, and his whispered compliment washed over her and through her. She was hyper-aware of his presence at her back as he placed the cloak over her shoulders. That look he gave her had made her flush with color and heat, bringing two bright spots to her cheeks and accentuating the sparkle in her eyes.

Ivone slipped her arm through his. “I hope to have many dances with you.” Inuendo intended…

The color eventually faded from her cheeks, but like Aurelio, the indications were there. They’d be easy enough to see, even behind her veneer of well-trained behavior. It was that little smile, the one that played around her lips. As far as Ivone’s awareness went, the rain could be a sunshiny day - little existed except Aurelio.

“Thank you for your kind note.”
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Aurelio » Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:14 am

The rain's presence was felt both for its relative chill to the more typical summer weather and for the size and relative heaviness of its drops. It gave reason for Aurelio to pull Ivone closer than was strictly necessary. "The least I could do, milady," he murmured in reply, his voice holding a false humility that did not belong to him in the least. He was playful in that manner, pretending to attributes that would never suit him, never truly be felt. At least not in that moment, that trapped space in time.

"Tell me, what is your favorite kind of cloth?" He asked, several steps down the walk as they neared the end of Ivone's road. It ended in a larger thoroughfare that would take them most of the way to the small, elegant space that had been reserved for that night's entertainment.

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Re: The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Ivone » Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:57 am

Aurelio tightened his arm, bringing her close enough that the rain couldn't fit in the space between them. The flush of heat rushed through her again. Inwardly, she chided herself. She was too obvious. Ivone sighed and shook her head, choosing to share her observation. She had decided, after all, not to be a Coquette. Instead, she decided she would be an Original.

"Ah, me... When you get near, I react. I really am much too obvious. It's good I remembered to bring a fan."

Ivone's steps naturally fell in line with Aurelio's. She thought about his question.

"Silk and linen." If he noticed, what she liked was well evident. The bedding had been finely woven linen. Given the circumstances of the prior day, he probably noticed little. Today, though, the dress she wore was not covered in an overabundance of decoupage, ruffles or lace. The fabric was fine, soft, and flowed around her easily. She chose her colors and cuts carefully, to ensure what she wore suited her coloring and build.
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Aurelio » Tue Feb 11, 2014 9:30 pm

"My, my," he said, treating her to a brief and teasing glance. "People will talk." They always did. Aurelio certainly had never been rumored to dislike the attention; if talk was to be believed he seemed to get some sort of satisfaction out of it. "Have you ever played at the edge of a scandal?"

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Re: The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Ivone » Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:20 am

Ivone met his gaze. She gave a sigh, but the look in her eye showed she was fine with his teasing. "Probably."

Ivone's brows drew together as she thought about his question.

"I was betrothed when I was 15 and married at 17. I suppose the only scandal might have been Tian's age and the fact that for the last ten years he'd had a relationship with Jaime Peris. Oh, and the part where I told Judge Vyaduka that he and his peers were the reason my husband and child were dead. That seemed to be somewhat scandalous. Other than that? No."

Ivone pressed closer to his arm, enjoying the feel of him next to her. "Why do you ask?" The little smile was back.
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Aurelio » Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:42 am

He snorted; it wasn't unkind. "All I had in mind was to see who can catch on to the game first. See what they think of me taking you down into the abyss. It is my specialty, I'll have you know, though one they've never the chance to experience firsthand." His returning smirk was secretive and coy. Here was she, it said, one who would join him in his games and from their vantage they would look down upon all those unworthy before them. It was their secret, now, the thing that passed between them. His, and hers. Together.

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Re: The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Ivone » Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:53 pm

Ivone looked up at Aurelio from the corner of her eye, gaze guileless, thoughtful, and trusting. "The abyss?" It was a murmur.

Ivone truly was as innocent and pure when it came to these things, just as he had first perceived her to be. She was untouched by the goings on at certain house parties. Her reputation was unsullied to the point of non-existance. Their encounter at the patisserie had been remarkable only in that it was Aurelio Merynir who was involved. Ivone's behavior would be expected of an innocent and proper young lady, thus it was really not all that remarkable. Again, only Aurelio's involvement had made it worth anyone's notice.

What had happened after had managed to go unnoticed - the fact that he'd visited, stayed for as long as he had, and left in a less than tidy state - all of it truly between them.

Now, people would note that they were together again for a second time, despite her prior public reaction to him. She would be his date to a house party. Ivone had attended a few house parties before, but she and Tian had always taken their leave at a respectable time.

She was asking him to explain, but also thinking on his words. She knew about the slavery scandal, but that was years ago. Hearing the words he spoke, she realized just how unforgiving people like her had been. For all appearances, Aurelio had not done anything like the scandal afterwards. She would have heard about it, because she had kept up with his actions out of "curiosity." The ladies with whom she'd taken tea were all willing to talk about him. He seemed to revel in being the subject of ladies' gossip.

And, now, here was Aurelio. He possessed a magnetism that drew her in despite her intelligence reminding her otherwise. She basked in the warmth and light he cast around him. Perhaps she was putting emphasis on the wrong word.

She would be HIS date to a house party. That is what he was saying. That little smirk, the gleam in his eye, they made butterflies flutter in her stomach. They made her body flush in remembrance. They said that this was something only they shared. His words said that she was being allowed into a special place no one else had possessed. Even if it wasn't true...

There are times when you have the opportunity to reset your course. For Ivone, this was one of them.

Ivone stopped in her tracks, holding tight to Aurelio's arm, to pull him around to face her. The rain fell around them, heavily enough they may have been in their own world. Certainly, few people braved it and those who did, kept their heads down to keep the rain from their eyes.

Water rolled off the brim of Aurelio's hat, his shoulders, her cloak.

Ivone stood looking up at Aurelio. Rain drops dewed her skin. An intensity filled her gaze and emanated from her. Ivone leaned into Aurelio, standing on her toes, as she reached for his face, to draw it down to hers.

"I'd go anywhere with you."

Ivone kissed him hard, sealing the promise with a kiss.

Let them talk!
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Aurelio » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:36 am

Aurelio froze for a second, his eyes widening the slightest bit as she pulled him to her. She kissed him, in the rain, in the middle of the street. Then his lips stretched in a smile, and his hands encircled her waist as he drew her up and against him. The top of her head knocked his hat askew as he lifted her -- their height difference was almost comical right then, in the rain -- and he let it droop and fall. The rain soaked them both, illuminating them in a halo of water as it bounced from their skin, their clothes, their hair. Likely to anyone watching it would seem a tasteless thing; the way their lips mashed up against each other and closed over, the way a flicker of tongue was briefly present before their lips pressed in, the way his hands gripped her as if he would have her then and there in some fit of desperation -- these were all things that was not expected from two people whose names marked them descendants.

They would be soaked. Neither seemed to care, the way they stood in the street, twining for the sake of their own breathlessness. It lasted forever. It was over too soon. Aurelio slid her down his body, steadying her once her feet touched the ground. His eyes were focused, his mouth open as he caught his breath. The look he gave her was that of a man possessed by need, by desire, by some fey and uncontrollable emotion that resisted definition in any logical sense. Then his expression stilled, covered by a brief laugh so sharp that it might have bled the air around them as he bent to retrieve his hat. "My servants will scold me," he said, control returning his demeanor back to its proper place as he offered her his arm. "I think it was worth it," he whispered, as if it was the grandest confidence.

They walked through the rain, Aurelio's hat in his free hand, his face tilted up towards the sky. They would be quite unfashionable, but that wasn't the point.

It took them twenty-eight minutes to arrive at their destination. They strolled through the Memorial on the way there (what with their destination being right across the road from it and in sight of the Justice Hall), and though there were few people about Aurelio's garish clothing drew stares, and once he was recognized attention was focused onto Ivone. Despite the polite greetings from people they passed, there was always a sense of repressed gossip among those who hailed from elite families. It was a taste of what was to greet them at the luncheon, where those present would recognize that Aurelio had invited Ivone to an Event, capital E, that was not on the circuit of places polite marriage arrangement prospects went to test the waters. No, for him to be there with her spoke of personal intent beyond his mother's influence, and that she had agreed to go with him spoke of her personal preference without the hands of those looking to marry her off.

The setting was informal for all the men and women each tried to outdo the rest in terms of style, and there were no seating arrangements for the luncheon. As such gatherings went, it was an open invitation, delivered by a runner throughout certain circles. There was a man at the door who took invitations, and Aurelio handed his over with a smile. His water-heavy hair earned him a frown.

The building itself was simple though elegant, rectangular in shape with a peaked roof. It was made of redstone, though its interior had been hung with luxurious tapestries of similar color and design. It was all very chic, with its banquet-style tables and a few chairs scattered about. The small porcelain plates were designed to be held while one wandered throughout and talked. The atmosphere was light; there were two musicians, and only a few dozen people. Aurelio suspected he and Ivone were among the last to arrive, which meant the gathering would remain rather intimate. All the more opportunity for people to inspect himself and Ivone.

Just past the door there was a small area in which to hand off one's coats and personal effects, and there Aurelio stopped them to ask if there was something that could be used to pat dry as much as possible. "We wouldn't want to ruin the carpets," he said in an aside to Ivone, his tone flippant, "now would we?"

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Re: The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Ivone » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:33 am

In a small place deep inside her, Ivone reveled in the moment where Aurelio Merynir froze in his place. This gem of a moment would be revisited time and again. Instead of being repulsed by such a vulgar display in public, he swept her off her feet. He lifted her up and he kissed her. She kissed him. They kissed. In the middle of the city, in the rain.

If he had pressed her against a nearby wall, she would have let him have his way with her, so caught up the moment was she. Crass? Perhaps. Passionate? Unmistakably. The heat shone in her gaze when they parted.

Ivone laughed, too, but her laugh was much sweeter than his. She recognized his laugh for what it was - a means to control himself and the situation.

"Why do you think I got rid of mine? As for yours, they'll certainly dislike me. I keep sending you home with ruined clothes." Not that she really was worried all that much about it. She rather liked ruining his clothes.

"I know it was." She whispered back, cheeky as you please. The hood of her cloak had fallen back as they'd kissed, leaving her hair as damp as his. The ends curled and dripped water. She took his arm once more, to walk sedately beside him as she should. Fifteen minutes into their walk she shared a little secret with him, though she did not whisper it conspiratorially.

"One day, I want to be naked in the rain."

At the doorman's look of disapproval, Ivone stifled a smile and looked away.

A twinkle of mischief was in her eye, though. At his comment about the carpets, the look on her face was one of concerned propriety, wide-eyed and thoughtful. She was still being mischievous, but only Aurelio would know that. "Oh my, NO."

The man behind the coat check almost made a face, similar to the one Aurelio'd received at the door. A younger serving boy appeared to diffuse the situation with towels for the pair. Apparently, the hosts had expected some guests would arrive more damp than dry.

"Ah, thank you. Aurelio, would you be so kind? I'd be happy to return the favor." Ivone smiled that little smile at him again, the twinkle of mischief back in her eye. She turned her back to him, so he might help get the damp from her hair without it getting ruined and to help take the cloak off. After all, that would be something her husband would have done. It didn't occur to Ivone that Aurelio might think it beneath him. It did occur to her that it might make tongues wag, which is why the twinkle danced in her eyes.

Let them TALK!
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Aurelio » Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:27 pm

Aurelio took the towel and used it carefully on Ivone's hair, his expression very suddenly quite intent on his task. There was no smirk as he toweled her hair, though he could not quite contain the laughter in his eyes. Indeed, he behaved most appropriately, quite as if he was merely some modest gentleman aiding a woman in need. It was not so, for the act was by its nature an intimate thing. You would not ask a mere stranger or acquaintance to handle your hair unless they were servants you trusted or trusted of your compatriots. Even so, Aurelio handled the task as if it was the most natural thing in the world, as if it was a boon to his dignity and his pride to do so.

They were attracting a few stares from the outer edges of those gathered, from the ones who had not yet made it too far into the building, but had been caught up in pleasant, edged conversations. They were not bold stares as that would be too déclassé, but they happened in brief bursts like arrows aimed at opponents. Aurelio took his sweet time, occasionally tutting over her hair. To the dismay of the doorman, he asked for a comb. When he didn't immediately receive one, he lifted his eyebrows and made a point of looking around. "Have I exceeded their capabilities, I wonder?" He loudly asked the question of Ivone. His tone was the embodiment of wonder, and he found himself in possession of a comb shortly thereafter. He combed out her hair, and arranged it to his satisfaction.

He handed the comb back, and then promptly wrung out his hair onto the floor. He sidestepped the puddle, and then cheerfully turned so that Ivone might return the favor.

The stares had become a tad bit prolonged.

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Re: The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Ivone » Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:41 am

"I wonder," she murmured. Ivone had little doubt that if Aurelio wanted something they'd find it or risk his sarcastic ridicule. It took a more stalwart person that the servant at the coat-check to stand up to him.

As she waited, Ivone's gaze traveled over those who attended. Gazes met and the other person would look away quickly. Ivone did not. She'd maintain the stare just to see if they'd look away or even if they looked back. If they did look back, she smiled sweetly.

Ivone turned to see Aurelio wring his hair out onto the floor.

"Oh, Aurelio..." she chided, but didn't really mean it, the look on her face said as much. Holding out her hand, the boy placed a towel in her grasp. Ivone's expression was a mask of studiousness. Lifting onto her toes, she stretched her arms and began to towel the wet from Aurelio's hair. The position worked for a little while, but eventually, she moved back to stand flat with a chuckle.

"You'll have to kneel or bend down lower for me to finish."
"Forgive, sounds good.
Forget, I'm not sure I could.
They say time heals everything, but I'm still waiting."


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Re: The Black Widow and the Peacock: Second Date

Post by Aurelio » Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:06 am

Her humor was his humor. It showed in his eyes, the appreciation apparent in how he doted upon her. As much a charade for those present, it was also a brief glimmer of genuine emotion that had nothing to do with anything but the present and his present company.

"Lower," he murmured. "I do wonder about that."

He knelt, gallant, and looked up at her. "My dear, should we bind ourselves closer through these uninhibited touches. . ." he leaned closer, and whispered, "I fear there might be talk."

He drew back, face the picture of woeful concern. He glanced meaningfully towards the throngs of waiting guests, and then lifted his eyebrows at her.

Locked