Nicole stared out the window, her smiling reflection staring back. The Sun had just gone behind the buildings, but had not yet set. That wouldn't be for another hour. The anticipation for the evening had been growing in her for almost a week, when she found out that the bistro would be hosting a very private party, and that she had been specifically requested to serve the party. The guests would be arriving soon.
The table that had been requested was a small two-top near the centre of the small 15 table room. Nicole wondered why one of the more private booths near the rear of the bistro hadn't been chosen instead. She fluffed the plain white tablecloth to prepare for the evening. As she prepared the table setting, she wondered who it would be she'd be serving this evening... a member of Parliament, perhaps... a rock star... a supermodel...
Her daydream was broken by the ring of the telephone. She quickly cleared her throat and answered. "No, I'm terribly sorry, but we're not taking reservations this evening. We are closed to the public for a private party. Would you like to reserve for another evening?" She took the information and booked for next Tuesday. A quick glance at her wristwatch told her she had less than 20 minutes to change out of her jeans and t-shirt and into her work clothes.
As she pulled her t-shirt over her head, she backed through the kitchen entry, revealing her perfect, braless, C-cup breasts to Chef and his Prep. "How many fucking times do I need to tell you not to come into my fucking kitchen naked?" barked Chef through the succulent scent of lamb stew.
"How can you cook so well when you can't even see?" Nicole barked back. "I still have my jeans on!" Two quick hand motions and Nicole's jeans were around her ankles. "Well, then, I guess I am naked. What's wrong Chef, don't you like naked women?"
"I like naked women..." smiled Prep.
"I know you do, ma petite souris... and it's healthy for a teen aged boy to like naked women." Nicole smiled back at the boy, turning to face him so he could see her completely.
"Shut the fuck up and go get fucking dressed! They'll be here soon!" barked Chef as he pointed his knife at the clock. "Hurry!"
Nicole ran back to the small changing room as Chef's barking, now at Prep, continued "...and I don't want to catch you wanking again, just because you've seen a fucking pretty girl naked! I'll give you a hint - all women are naked under their clothes! Now get to fucking work!" She giggled at Chef's annoyance as she opened her locker and retrieved her work clothes - a black, mid-thigh length skirt, a light, white cotton, short sleeve, front button blouse, tiny black thong knickers that barely covered her well trimmed pubes, and black thigh-high stockings (Nicole hates pantyhose). Within moments, with the exception of the buttons on her blouse, she was once again suitably dressed to enter Chef's kitchen, though still wickedly braless.
"Won't you feel foolish showing off your tits if you're serving some old grannies?" laughed Chef.
"Everybody likes to see a pretty naked girl! Even grannies! Well, everybody, save you," Nicole laughed as she flashed her tits once more before she exited the kitchen to the main room. Another quick glance to her wristwatch gave her a smile. Still three minutes to spare before the guests were scheduled to arrive. She buttoned her blouse to a comfortable, if not a bit revealing level, then she strode directly to the front door and turned the latch to unlock it. Don't want the door to be locked when her guests arrive.
Double checking herself in the mirror, she straightened herself and stood ready at the door to greet the evening's private guests. Her mind wandered as to who may have hired the bistro for a private party for two. A pop star not wanting others to see them eat? Clandestine lovers, not wanting prying eyes... or the possibility of getting caught by their spouses? She lightly bit her lower lip in anticipation, she could see the darkness of her nipples behind her light white blouse, and felt her braless nipples stiffen at the evening's possibilities.
After a few very long minutes waiting at the door, Nicole glanced at her wristwatch. They were late. "It's only five past," she thought to herself. "They'll be here soon."
At seven past, the telephone rang again, almost making poor Nicole jump from her skin. She crossed the room and answered on the fourth ring. "No, I'm sorry, but we're not taking reservations this evening. We're closed to the public for a private party. Would you like to reserve for another evening?" She took the information to book the following Friday.
At quarter past, she was wishing she'd booked the other two parties, she'd at least have trade. She'd even lost some of her anxiety over who had booked the bistro. "Pierre had better have gotten a downpayment to at least pay for my wasted evening... merde..." she mumbled to herself.
A few moments later, the door opened and in walked a very elegant couple. Just as she was about to say the bistro was closed to the public, the woman said "Please accept our apologies for being so late, our taxi driver was new and didn't know your address. How could he not know this address?"
The man followed with "He was just padding his fare, Darling. You heard him say it's been a slow evening for him."
Nicole recognized her from waiting on her for lunches. Always pleasant, always well dressed, and decent to Nicole for tips. She couldn't place him as ever being with the woman there, but couldn't recall any one else with her, either. Nicole smiled and said "No worries. Please don't allow the taxi to spoil your lovely evening. You're here now and the bistro, and myself, are your's for the evening."
The woman took the three steps to close the gap between herself and Nicole, lightly embraced the younger woman, and kissed each cheek. Nicole noticed her clean, fresh scent, with a hint of rose. "My name is Genevieve." She motioned to the gentleman with her, "and this is my husband Jean-Luc." He also lightly embraced the girl and kissed each cheek.
Nicole felt herself flush a bit, smiled, and "My name is Nicole and I'm happy you're here. Let me show you..." The telephone rang. "Merde!" she thought. "Let me show you to your table..." The telephone was on it's fifth ring. "I'm so sorry, I'll get that and be right back." The couple smiled and told her not to worry. She answered the telephone "No, I'm quite sorry, but we're not taking reservations this evening. We are closed to the public for a private party." She smiled at the couple. "Would you like to reserve for another evening?" The caller just hung up. Nicole looked at the telephone and then looked at the couple. She smiled. "Would there be any one trying to reach you this evening on the bistro's phone?"
"No. I have my mobile," said Jean-Luc.
"Good," smiled Nicole. "I'll turn the ring off on this phone so your evening won't be disturbed by it. The voicemail will catch any calls." She set the ringer to silent and returned her attention to the couple. "My apologies, I've left you standing here... please," she motioned to the only set table, "here is the table you requested."
Genevieve beamed at Jean-Luc. "You requested our table? You are such a darling!" She kissed Jean-Luc's cheek.
"Allow me to take your coats," smiled Nicole as Jean-Luc was removing his. Nicole went to the coatstand by the door and hung Jean-Luc's coat. She also made sure the door was secured so no one would walk in to the bistro. As she turned back to the couple, Jean-Luc had helped Genevieve out of her wrap. Nicole stopped dead in her tracks because, save her stockings and shoes, Genevieve was totally nude.
Nicole felt her nipples stiffen again and she tried not to look surprised, or excited at Genevieve's lovely body. She took Genevieve's wrap from Jean-Luc and hung it on the rack next to his coat. When she returned to the table, she did her very best to stay professional. She cleared her throat, trying to keep her composure. "Tonight's entreés are succulent lamb stew, or baked salmon." Her eyes kept darting over Genevieve's body, to Jean-Luc, and back to enjoy Genevieve. "Would you like wine?"
Both Jean-Luc and Genevieve chose the lamb and a dark red, hearty merlot, with tossed salad each to start. Nicole scribbled their order on her pad, desperately needing to leave the room, even for a moment, less she give herself away.
As she entered the kitchen, she spoke in normal tone to Chef. "They'll both have the lamb. I'll get their salads and drinks... where's Prep?"
"I sent him home. It's just the two of them, there's no need to pay him for an entire evening. He can go home and wank himself to death, for all I care! And once their entreés are plated and delivered, I'm leaving, too."
"What, so you can go home and wank yourself to death, too?" she chided as she threw together the salads for the couple.
"Very funny, naked girl! Very funny! Have you shown them your tits yet?"
"I was just getting ready to, actually. Would you like to watch?"
"Try to be fucking respectable, you tart! At least until they get their meals down! You can suck their grisled old granny pussies later..."
Nicole stuck out her tongue at Chef and returned to the main room, a smile returning to her face.
When she returned to the table with the salad, the couple were holding hands over the table, staring into each other's eyes, a contented smile on each of their faces. Nicole, not wanting to disturb them, gently set the salads on the table and went to collect their water and wine.
"Do you know why we chose this bistro for this evening, Nicole?" called Genevieve. And without waiting for a response, continued "We met in your bistro, we had our first date in your bistro, and now," she paused to wink and smile at Jean-Luc, "now we're having our tenth wedding anniversary in your bistro!"
"A most Happy Anniversary to you!" smiled Nicole as she returned to the table with the water and wine glasses, and presented the wine bottle to Jean-Luc.
"Doesn't Genevieve look lovely this evening, Nicole?" smiled Jean-Luc.
Nicole smiled a nervous, yet genuine smile at Jean-Luc. Before she could answer, Genevieve said "I'm wearing Jean-Luc's favourite outfit," at which they all burst out laughing.
Nicole turned her attention to Genevieve, "I can certainly see why! You're very beautiful!" Genevieve stood from her seat and did a couple of turns, as if she were modelling on a runway. She looked to be a woman in her late 20s or early 30s, with smooth, clean, slightly olive skin. Her beautiful, full breasts were capped with darker nipples that seemed to be enjoying the attention, and her smooth, clean shaven mound only hinted at the beauty between her lovely thighs. Nicole did her best not to noticeably lick her lips.
As Nicole poured the wine into the tumblers, she tried so very hard not to stare at Genevieve. She set the bottle on the table. "I'll just go check on your meals." She turned and went to the kitchen. The dampness was growing between her legs and she needed a breath to compose herself. In the kitchen, she leant back against the door frame, taking a deep breath. Glimpses and flashes of Genevieve's lunch visits were becoming ever more clear. She'd always made sure Nicole could get a quick peek down her blouse, or a soft touch to her hand when handing her money to pay. Nicole always thought she was just being nice... being friendly.
"You can't be in the weeds already!" barked Chef. "You only have two old grannies out there!"
"I'm not in the weeds, you cranky old pouf! And it's not two old grannies! It's a very lovely couple. It's their anniversary and I'm giving them some alone time! Can you be alright with that?" Nicole peered out the kitchen door window, then turned back to Chef. "Is their food ready yet?"
"Three minutes if I do it by myself, one if you get me those plates." Nicole grabbed two dinner plates and placed them on the rack before Chef. Chef followed with a healthy portion of the lamb stew and garnish.
"You're a truly horrible man, but you're a magnificent chef," she smiled as she placed the plated meals on her tray with a bowl of bread. "Did you want to meet your guests? Wish them Anniversaire Joyeux?"
"I smell like a pig! I'm not ruining their evening! Give them a dessert on the fucking house for their anniversary." Chef stopped and thought a moment. "We have fresh chocolate dipped strawberries that would be exquisite after this stew... and make sure they know I'm the one giving it! I'm turning the oven off. There is a portion of stew for you. I'll leave it in the covered pot. Since they didn't order the fish, I've left it for tomorrow."
Nicole stepped to Chef and kissed his cheek. "I love you, too, Papa." Chef smiled.
She grabbed the serving tray and backed out of the kitchen to the main room. As she stepped through, Chef was cutting off the non-essential lights in the kitchen. Nicole's nervous smile returned to her face as decadent thoughts of her and Genevieve returned to float through her mind. As she bent to collect the used salad plates, she thoughtlessly turned in a way to where Genevieve could plainly see her braless breasts down her blouse. She caught Genevieve's gaze, but didn't try to cover up. She smiled and returned to the table with their meals and caught Genevieve watching her quite intently. Nicole smiled. "Are you ready for some more wine?"
"Oh, yes please!" smiled Jean-Luc, raising his nearly drained glass. "I can't have this magnificent stew without another glass." As she poured, she caught Jean-Luc smiling down her blouse.
She turned to Genevieve, a broad smile to her face. "More wine for you, Genevieve?"
"Most certainly, dear one! It's my anniversary and the night is still so very young!" Genevieve giggled, causing her lovely breasts to bounce in time with her amusement.
With the meals delivered and the wine poured, Nicole stepped back from the table, collected the serving tray and used salad plates. "I'll leave you to enjoy your meals," she said with a genuine smile, turned and went into the darkened kitchen.
Her stew portion was still warm and she took a couple of heavenly bites. "That bastard can truly cook," she said as she recovered the pot. She opened the cooler door and stepped in, feeling the chill air all over. She could see her breath and felt her skin thrill to the chill. She placed the stew pot on a shelf and saw the tray of strawberries, picking one for herself. The dark chocolate crunched in the cold air of the cooler, the sweet juice of the berry clung to Nicole's lips. She licked her lips and imagined how Genevieve's lips may taste. She hoped she'd find out.
Upon exiting the cooler, Nicole looked out the kitchen door window. She could see the couple sitting at their table, eating, drinking, laughing. "Yes, Jean-Luc does get to see her naked all the time, but he can't be immune to her beauty," she mumbled to herself. She was so very excited, she could feel the wetness between her legs collecting in the front of her knickers. She wanted to touch herself... to strip naked and show Genevieve that she, too, is a bold and beautiful woman. She felt a hand clutch her breast and her knees weaken. She actually had to look to see that it was her own hand on her breast. She gave herself another squeeze and felt herself shudder. She unbuttoned her blouse enough to allow her hand to touch the naked flesh of her own breast. She bit her lower lip as the fingers of her other hand met the wetness seeping from within her. She instantly brought her wet finger to her mouth and tasted the nectar she was making. She sucked her fingers praying to anything that would allow her to taste and savour Genevieve's wetness.
As much as she wanted and needed to finish her masturbation, she knew she couldn't ignore her guests. She looked again through the window to see Jean-Luc had finished his stew and his wine was almost finished, too. Genevieve had more to go, but not by much. Nicole needed to straighten herself up and check on her guests. As she stepped through the door, she hadn't realized that she'd left several buttons open on her blouse, many more than earlier, leaving her braless breasts that much more obviously visible.
She arrived at the table smiling and immediately reached for Jean-Luc's now empty plate. As she looked down to the plate, she noticed the extra buttons opened. It was then that Genevieve had noticed, too. Seeing Nicole's hand occupied with Jean-Luc's plate, Genevieve dropped her fork to the floor under Nicole. Nicole bent at the knees to retrieve the fork with her free hand, her arm draped on the table, still keeping her other hand on Jean-Luc's plate. While Nicole was reaching the fork, Genevieve purposely spilt the remaining wine in her glass so it ran down the front of Nicole's blouse. Nicole felt the warm liquid spread down the front of her blouse and almost orgasmed as it touched her nipple.
"I'm so very sorry!" feigned Genevieve. "I'll have it cleaned! I'll pay for a new one..."
"Please don't worry, Genevieve," smiled Nicole as she stood, her wine-wet blouse clinging to her hardened nipple. "I don't wear expensive clothes to work, for this very reason. It's truly no great loss if I just throw it away. I think I have a clean one in my locker, I'll just go..."
"Please don't!" interrupted Genevieve, with a quick hand to the younger woman's wrist. Jean-Luc looked at Genevieve with a quizzical look and she smiled. "I will gladly pay for a new one, even if you wish to throw that one away, but, please, Dear Nicole... please, if you take that blouse off, don't put another back on."
Nicole and Genevieve looked deep into each other's eyes. Nicole's head was swimming with lust for Genevieve. Genevieve's eyes and lovely nude body continued to plead with Nicole. Then Genevieve licked her lips. "Please...."
Nicole smiled, and without a second thought, stepped back, still holding Genevieve's gaze, undid the remaining buttons on her blouse, pulled it from the waist of her skirt, opened it, happily exposing her young, supple breasts to the couple, and letting the blouse fall from her shoulders, off her arms to the floor.
Nicole stood there for a very long, silent moment, her eyes still locked to Genevieve's, her rock hard nipples standing at attention, her knickers barely able to contain the wetness pouring from her. She smiled and drew in a deep breath, reached behind her and undid the zip at the back of her skirt, allowing it to puddle around her ankles on the floor. Jean-Luc quickly followed by Genevieve showed their appreciation in applause as Nicole kicked her skirt and blouse from away from her feet.
"I've been wanting to do that all evening," she beamed, wearing only her very wet knickers, her stockings and shoes.
"Do you have any more of this lovely wine?" asked Genevieve. "I seem to have emptied my glass..."
Jean-Luc chuckled, "Please bring two... no, three bottles! And an extra glass for yourself!"
Nicole went to collect the wine. She set one bottle on the table where Genevieve and Jean-Luc were sitting, plus another two bottles on a table next to where the couple sat. She opened the bottle and started pouring for Genevieve.
"Aren't you having any, Dear?" smiled Jean-Luc.
"I'm honestly not sure if I should. My head is already swimming," said Nicole, trying to stifle her smiling. "If I have any wine, who knows what I could end up doing?"
"At least a toast to our anniversary," smiled Genevieve, raising her glass to Jean-Luc. "Besides, you've already taken most of your clothes off. What else could possibly happen?"
Nicole didn't need any wine to loosen her libido. That was already well into overdrive. She couldn't get the thoughts of her and Genevieve and what she would love to do with this beautiful woman from playing themselves out in her head. Nicole would play with boys every now and again. They could be entertaining. But it had been far too long since she last felt the touch of another woman... since she tasted the lips, skin, and wetness of another woman... since she last made love with another woman... With Genevieve sitting there boldly, beautifully, unashamedly, sexily nude in the middle of Nicole's bistro, that was all she could think about.
"Ok, but just one glass," smiled Nicole. She knew she couldn't resist the temptation, in hope that Genevieve wouldn't resist the temptation of Nicole. "Before I do, though, Chef has prepared some exquisite strawberries dipped in luscious dark chocolate for your dessert. In honour of your anniversary, the dessert is complimentary... I have already tried one and they're heavenly. And perfect with this wine..."
"I actually had another dessert planned," smiled Genevieve, "but I would love to have some strawberries."
"I'll get the strawberries and be right back," smiled Nicole. She went to the kitchen, to the cooler, to retrieve the tray of strawberries. "Another dessert planned..." she couldn't get Genevieve's statement out of her head. Nicole barely felt the chill of the cooler air, she was so excited. She pulled the tray of strawberries and closed the cooler door. She backed through the kitchen door and as she turned to face the table where Genevieve and Jean-Luc sat, she was suprised to see Jean-Luc standing, now also naked, and Genevieve was on her knees in front of him, her hands and mouth wrapped around his hard penis. Nicole smiled, understanding Genevieve's statement.
When she got to the table, Jean-Luc smiled at Nicole. Genevieve kept her pace on his cock. "I hope you don't mind, Nicole," he said. "but she loves doing this. I have to say, I truly love her doing it..." his voice trailed off as his excitement obviously grew.
"Not to worry," Nicole smiled back as she placed the tray of strawberries on an unused table. She stepped behind Genevieve, and sunk to her knees. She took both of Genevieve's breasts in her hands from behind, then lowered in closer to whisper in Genevieve's ear "This does seem an appropriate dessert..." Nicole licked Genevieve's earlobe and Genevieve started moving faster on Jean-Luc's hard member. Nicole squeezed and pinched Genevieve's rock hard nipples and gave her ear tender kiss. "When I suck a man's cock," she sexily whispered, "I love to get him right to the moment when he'll explode in my mouth..." another kiss to Genevieve's ear, "and then let go for just a moment and look him in the eye... to see that undeniable fire of lust... that need... that, no matter what else, me and what I'm doing are all that truly matter... at least for the moment...."
Genevieve backed off Jean-Luc, keeping her hands stroking his length and cradling his balls, and turned to Nicole, hungrily kissing her. Nicole hungirly kissed her back. Jean-Luc slumped back into the chair behind him, his cock still poudly at attention. Genevieve broke the kiss and smiled at Nicole. Nicole released Genevieve's nipples as Genevieve stood, turned, and lowered herself on to Jean-Luc's throbbing erection, her wetness flowing down the inside of her thighs. She took Jean-Luc to the hilt and started to slowly grind on him when Nicole gently pushed her back and Jean-Luc grabbed her breasts. Nicole went instantly to Genevieve's hard, visible clit with her tongue. Genevieve's reaction was swift and orgasmic, but Nicole did not stop. Instead, she licked from Jean-Luc's balls to Genevieve's clit in one long, continuous stroke, prompting Jean-Luc to start fucking his magnificent wife while Nicole continued to lick and suck her.
"I'm so close..." announced Jean-Luc. Genevieve gently pushed Nicole from her clit and grabbed Jean-Luc's cock, pulling it from her warm wetness. It only took a couple of strokes before ropes of thick, hot spunk powerfully shot out from Jean-Luc's cock, reaching Genevieve's collar bone and covering her breasts, a feeling Genevieve could never tire of. Nicole watched in rapt fascination and spurt after hot spurt of cum shot from Jean-Luc, landing all over Genevieve's body. It was only after the eruptions had ended did Nicole take Jean-Luc into her mouth, cleaning up the last of his cum, and Genevieve's delicate wetness from his wilting staff.
Nicole saw Genevieve's wet, pink opening pulsing with her continuing orgasm, reached up and inserted two fingers into Genevieve's hot, wet hole. Genevieve instantly reacted by squeezing Nicole's fingers. Nicole licked and kissed her way up Genevieve's body, greedily taking Jean-Luc's cum along the way as she slowly stroked her fingers in and out of Genevieve's tightening canal. Genevieve's body was trembling in orgasm when Nicole's mouth finally kissed Genevieve's mouth. Genevieve pulled Nicole tightly to her as their kiss continued. Nicole then felt fingers on the outside of her thigh. It was only then that Nicole remembered Jean-Luc was still there. Giddy and almost giggling, Nicole got up off of Genevieve, allowing them both a chance to breathe. Genevieve, in turn, got up from Jean-Luc, smearing the rest of his cum into her skin, her breasts, up her neck and onto her face.
"Are you enjoying your anniversary, my Love?" Jean-Luc smiled to his wife.
"Immensely," Genevieve managed between breaths. She then smiled at Nicole. "But I'm not even close to done."
Not worrying about the cum on her face, Jean-Luc leant over and kissed his wife. He got up and stepped over to Nicole, kissing her, as well. "I'll return shortly..."
Nicole and Genevieve shared a smile as Jean-Luc stepped toward the loo. Nicole then turned toward Genevieve and rather unceremoniously removed her knickers. "I hope you don't mind, but I can't keep these on any longer...." She sat in a chair and spread her legs wide, her lips and inner thighs glistening with her wetness. Reaching for a strawberry and a glass of water, she kept her eyes fixed on Genevieve.
Genevieve moved in closer to Nicole, "May I have some of that?"
Nicole happily reached her hand out holding the srawberry by the stem, offering Genevieve first bite. Genevieve giggled. "Silly girl... not that..." she pointed at the strawberry dangling from Nicole's fingers. "That!" she, in turn, pointed to Nicole's proturding clit.
Nicole's eyes flashed as she smiled, "Do you really have to ask?"
Genevieve moved to her knees between Nicole's parted thighs. "I'm having such a wonderful anniversary..."
Genevieve gently kissed Nicole's sensative lips before lightly sucking Nicole's aching clit, gently but frimly encircling it with her deft tongue. Genevieve inhaled Nicole's aroma as she spread Nicole even further open with her hands before darting her tongue in and out of Nicole's opening. Long licks from one end to the other, stopping only momentarily to flick her tongue across Nicole's hard button, only to go back to licking the length of Nicole's spread pink fanny. Nicole was already so turned on, it only took a few of these long licks to set her right at the edge. She could feel her thighs start to tremble with every touch of Genevieve tongue. When Genevieve reached to rub her fingers at the top of Nicole's pubic bone, just above her trim patch, Nicole felt the tremble spread. Genevieve wrapped her other arm around Nicole's hip and she dove in with all she had. Nicole's body was quivering all over and Genevieve had to hold on for dear life. Genevieve felt Nicole's hand to the back of her head, fingers working their way into her hair. Genevieve's grip on Nicole got tighter as she continued to kiss and lick and suck Nicole's spasming fanny to a shuddering orgasm just shy of a seizure.
Moments later, as the two women sat catching their breath and looking deeply into each other's eyes, Nicole realized that she never dropped her strawberry. Jean-Luc emerged from the loo just as they were sharing a laugh at Nicole's strawberry still dangling from her fingers. They all enjoyed the strawberries, and Nicole even had one glass of wine with the couple to toast their anniversary.
After an hour or so, Jean-Luc kissed Genevieve on the top of her head as he stood, dressed, behind her. She sheepishly smiled at Nicole, "We have to relieve the babysitter..."
Nicole smiled. "Of course..." She kissed Genevieve on both cheeks before kissing her mouth. "I hope you had a marvelous anniversary. I'm so very glad you chose to spend it here."
"We are, too," smiled Jean-Luc as he kissed Nicole on each cheek. "We are, too."
Not bothering to dress, Nicole held Genevieve's wrap as she stood at the door. Jean-Luc opened the door and stepped to the waiting taxi, opening the taxi door for Genevieve. Nicole stood happily nude in the doorway, waving her good night to the anniversary couple.
Pierre had told Nicole not to worry about collecting payment for the meal, that everything was already arranged. She was suprised, then, to find a €500 note on the table next to the three empty wine bottles. "I'll have to have Pierre book more private parties...."