Clearing The Smoke


bebe2_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif

Scene Title Clearing The Smoke
Synopsis In the dead of night, Cardinal brings Bebe to the Guiding Light for, well, guidance.
Date June 26, 2009

Guiding Light Baptist Church

The dark of night's fallen by the time a particular boat's crossed the river, found harborage, and the unusual pair of Richard Cardinal and Bebe Dahl have crossed the city to seek out the sanctuary of the Guiding Light… and the guidance that they hope might be found for one of them within.

"You know, for a Catholic, I end up at fuckin' Baptist churches a lot lately," Cardinal mutters under his breath as he walks up to the doors of the church, the neck of his jacket popped up to shield his neck, reaching out a hand to test the openness of the door for them both.

Religion has always been one of those rare 'no go' topics for Bebe. No religion. No politics. The last thing any hooker interested in keeping fed wanted to do was lose money by alienating a client. Simply stepping into the church felt like she was breaking all the rules… even if they didn't particularly apply to her any more. Of course, this wasn't her first time in coming here. She'd attending the presiding pastor's sermon on the Evolved all those months ago; stood in the back and didn't make eye contact with anyone for fear of being outted as a whore and a heretic.

The tiny (ex)tart keeps close to her one-handed companion and keeps quiet while they purposefully prowl God's house in search of the local soulful seer.

The handle gives under Cardinal's attempt, perhaps surprisingly. It's late, after all, not a light is on and visible from the brick stretch of the church's front, and the place is meant to close around sundown. Yet, the door yawns open in front of the thief and the once-was-prostitute, where the church is lit up only via moonlight from the high windows and the ambiance of light pollution trickling through.

There's also the soft glow from upstairs struggling down the angled stairwell towards the left, and a shadow quite suddenly fills the light. Then, the clamour of feet of at least two people— or one dog. The ginormous, shaggy coated Newfoundland comes bounding down with a soft growl and an attentive whine, ears perked towards the sound of people entering and foot steps heavy.

The heavy doors swing slowly closed behind them, as the thief's hand curls to the edge to push it so and ensure that there's some privacy - if not from intruders such as they, then from the elements themselves. The lumbering bound of the dog's approach brings at first a tension in his muscles, a tension that relaxes when he remembers the beast in question.

Cardinal's stump-ending arm is lifted in warding to Bebe, and he crouches down slightly, reaching out with his other hand palm up towards the Newfoundland. "Hey, Alicia," he beckons in soft tones, "C'mere, girl. Good dog. Your master home?"

While Richard relaxes, Bebe remains stiff. Long-lost memories of someone else's life struggle to escape the suffocating storage of repression and bid her be wary of other people's animals for fear of repeating some piece of history that might more readily explain the origins of three pinprick scars that she keeps concealed on the palm of her right hand.

Bebe's feet plant themselves firmly and she whispers a worried, "We shouldn't have come so late. He's probably asleep." Or knotting his socks in the night.

In recognition, Alicia's tail starts to wag and her loping bounds constrict down to a horse-like trot as she moves to receive pettings, head ducked and fur both wiry and soft to touch. Ignoring Bebe entirely for the more receptive human, the next two seconds negate her suggestion, the slightly softer sound of footsteps sounding out. Whereas the dog works to make her presence known, the pastor is much more unobtrusive. It doesn't take very long for him to follow possibly the worst watchdog ever, own shadow stretching out around the soft light of his office before he appears around the corner, somewhat tired looking but together, tie and jacket-suit abandoned in favour of a button down with wrinkles in the sleeves, and grey trousers.

Joseph pauses half-way down when not just one but two figures come into view, expression crossed with instant suspicion and wariness, before at least one of them seems familiar in the half-light. Still, it's with caution he continues his way down, hand trailing along the railing, the attempts of a smile at the corners of his mouth overridden by, hey, this isn't the usual situation. But at least no one's pointing guns.

"Richard?" A dark-eyed glance towards Bebe, then back to the Catholic. "Evening. What're you doing here so late?"

Cardinal's fingers scritch under the great mop-like beast's chin, then over her ears in a moment's affection— enough to be friendly with the dog, but not enough to ruin his hard-core gangsta reputation, one hopes. At the sound of softer footsteps, he pushes himself up to his feet, looking towards the corner a moment before the other man appears. Burglars learn to listen for things like that, after all. Fortunately, his aims tonight aren't criminal.

"Sorry," he admits, "Door was open, so I figured you didn't mind people coming in. Bebe, this is Pastor Sumter… Father, this is Bebe, a friend've mine."

Even though Cardinal didn't see fit to attach any sort of stigmatic label to her name in the introduction, somehow the word 'whore' still rings deafeningly loud in Bebe's ears. She's very nearly wearing a wince that's mingled with some residual surprise at the fact that she hasn't melted into a puddle of goo or possibly burst into hellish flames for standing in a holy house for, oh— what? four or five whole minutes now? Miraculous!

The aforementioned friend appears to be something on the shy side, ducking her shoulders ever so slightly even as she extends a hand in the only appropriate gesture she can think to render after an introduction. "It's very nice to meet you," she says meekly while still wearing the shadow of a smile. The desire to apologize unnecessarily is too tempting to resist. "I'm sorry it's so late." Because she's the one who compels the moon and the sun to chase each other around the Earth, dontcha know. "We could come back…? In the morning, if you'd rather…"

If they ran into Pastor Ashby, the man would be very firmly, yet kindly be nodding and guiding them to the door, reminding them it opens at 9 am and they are always welcome during daylight, with a gentle reminder about curfew. But then again, Pastor Ashby wouldn't be here this late with the door unlocked in case a wanted murderer or two decided they need a place to stay.


Joseph shakes his head, coming to step off the stairwell and onto the floor, casting them a more genuine smile in the pale light. "No time like the present," says the procognitive, with a dismissive wave of his hand. The Tennessee lilt is, as ever, there, but he's not leaning on it, faded in his quiet tone of voice. "It's nice to meet you. There anything I can do for you?" Presumably so, all things considered.

The hand that's still there reaches over, and Cardinal lays it against the back of Bebe's shoulder; a light but encouraging touch, as he gives her a slightly wry look, a faint smile gracing his lips. The man's gaze then turns over towards the pastor, then, chin lifting in the slightest of motions. "I don't… well," a glance back, and then he admits, "My friend here's in need of a little guidance, I think. She's had a hard…" Week? Month? Year? Decade? "…life." A helpless look back at Joseph. He's not good at comforting and guidance! He's a crook!

That might be putting it mildly. Sure, some people might see fit to argue that the trials and tribulations of growing up the only child and heir in a ridiculously affluent family built on an economic empire of questionable origins might be just as difficult as, oh, being kidnapped and tortured by pirates for a few years before getting dumped into a brothel and then abandoned to the only slightly less than literal wolves but, let's face it — those people are morons and they are wasting everyone else's air.

Chagrined. That's what Bebe is. Just this side of embarrassed, maybe. Her fingers fidget nervously against the denim hugging her hips, hooking into her belt loops and twisting. "I saw— I was at that sermon you gave…" Just the one. The only sermon the pastor's ever given, apparently. "…about how Evolved people are part of God's plan." Oh, that sermon. This is her way of providing some sort of secret credentials, as if Joseph might require some degree of freak I.D. in order to offer his services.

"Richard says you can help me figure out where I need to be." No pressure.

That sermon. Out of all of them, it's what's brought attention both in the hopeful, sometimes suspicious foot steps of people entering through the doors, through to paint on the walls warning people away from the Guiding Light's message. God's word never brought in such a crowd but then again— being Evolved is far less selective. Joseph's expression softens into sympathy, though not quite understanding - that comes later.

Alicia's collapsed into a mountain of black fur just over there, belly up and paws flopping and face skewed with gravity. Never mind her, she's just attempting sleep now that the excitement of invaders has passed.

"I can try," Joseph says, and those words could be better. Better thought out or practiced or more promising, but the sincerity is there and he affords the woman a smile. "Would you like anything to drink? There's tea and coffee in the kitchen— wine, too, actually, it was a gift. You staying?" Practicality and Southern hospitality override, and he looks to Richard upon that last question. It's openly stated, to imply that it would be perfectly alright, as well as a cue if it's not.

"I could go for some coffee, actually…" Cardinal's fingers curve in against Bebe's shoulder in a warm, reassuring squeeze against it before sliding away before he risks too much familiarity with a young woman who - really - he still barely knows. The question about staying catches him by surprise, though, and he does a mild double-take over. He hesitates, then admits grudgingly, "I… probably shouldn't. I don't want to draw anyone here that wouldn't be welcome in a House of God, Father."

"No, thank you. I'm fine." Lubrication in the form of libation won't be necessary for this union. Or so Bebe believes.

Wait— what? Cardinal's not about to just up and leave her here with this perfectly harmless and completely trustworthy relatively random stranger… is he?? Bebe's big brown eyes go a little wide and she turns her head in order to inspect her reluctant guardian. "You don't— you don't have to go," she says, although what she really means is please don't leave me.

It only takes a moment of watching the interaction, body language and listening to the tone of voice for the pastor to formulate an answer, there. It comes with a smile, as it almost always does. "She's right. Anyway, if you knew about the sorts we— I get this way… well, we aren't really your typical House of God," Joseph says, rue in his voice as well as reassurance. "And don't particularly try to be. Even before the sermon. It's quite a city you folks have up here. If you're stayin'—

"Kitchen's this way. You stay, Alicia." The dog barely bats away as that command is dealt her way, and Joseph is begins to move away from the stairwell, towards where another door allows them to duck out of the main of the church.

The (ex)whore certainly isn't the only one that's somewhat nervous about being in here; not only is Richard something of a sinner himself, worse yet he's Catholic! The words of the priest aren't what sways the reticent felon, however, but that look and subtext-laden observation that he doesn't have to go from Bebe turn hesitation into remaining. "Alright." A slight, wry half-smile tugs to his lips as he gives her a look, and then he starts after the pastor.

Oh, thank God! Bebe's relief is not only visible in the melted muscles of her shoulder sliding back down into a much more relaxed position but it's also audible in the abrupt exhale of a breath she hadn't even rightly realized she was holding onto. She falls into step behind the pastor and the purloiner, giving one last look to the lolling Alicia as they all trundle across the threshold that divides sanctity from sanctuary. There's something about standing in the kitchen that makes the whole situation significantly less awkward and stifling and Bebe actually finds the flexibility to strike a casual pose that doesn't require her spine to be made of steel and her limbs to hang heavy and leaden by her sides.

"Do you receive a lot of after-hours visitors?" Surely that's not innuendo for anything, uh, untoward but it might be perceived as an ironic inquiry by the one man in the room with enough insight to recognize it.

It's an outdated, quaint room - not stifling in its size but not spacious. Room enough, though, for a table, basic chairs, one pushed towards the corner but drag-over-able to make room for three as required. It's pristinely clean, because it's not as though Joseph has a lot to do other than tend his his church - including the washing and drying of dishes. The coffee maker is switched on, a couple of mugs taken out.

And completely misses any and all innuendo. "More often than I should." Clink, clink, the sound of porcelain setting down on the surface of the counter. "I find that the people who don't have any other place to go durin' closing time aren't exactly the Baptist ideal anyhow. Or people that need to talk in the middle of the night. I try to keep the door unlocked if I think— if I think someone needs to open it."

Simple as that. "Maybe you could start with tellin' me what's got you feeling lost," he suggests, a glance over his shoulder as he tends to coffee.

A step or two behind, is the thief, who crouches down to briefly scruffle his fingers through Alicia's neckruff in amiable affection while the others aren't really watching him. Hey, a man's got a reputation to uphold. While he might have a low opinion of his fellow man, that's no reason to be unkind to animals or plants. Richard's gaze watches the pair walking away for a few moments, and to his credit only appreciates the view of Bebe departing in passing, before he pushes himself up to his feet to follow them.

"Where's the coffee," asks he casually, "I'll start it up while you talk."

Joseph's casual questions no longer come across as subtle inquisition while the three of them are cloistered close together in the kitchen and thus Bebe's more apt for honesty, even if it bubbles up just as slowly — and perhaps just as bitter, too — as the coffee. "I lost my job," she says succinctly while her fingertips write out an invisible resume on the countertop. If dust even had a (holy) ghost of a chance to settle, so many lurid lessons might be learned. "My… boyfriend left me." Somehow that word just doesn't seem in any way adequate but it'll serve. "I've ki— " You know what, no. Skip the specifics. Now is not the time to confess to breaking commandments. "…done an awful lot of bad things lately." Given the current bit of company she's keeping, that's probably not a generality that Joseph'll have a hard time believing, even if Bebe's youthful face belies the sinner's skin she's burning up — or is that burning out? — in.

"Thanks," is absently delivered to Cardinal, ushering him in the direction of the coffee maker and the supplies around it, Joseph moving to sit nearby as Bebe speaks. As judgmental as a church is typically portrayed to be, as judgmental as Baptist beliefs are, Joseph acts the antithesis. Easier to do so when no specifics are offered, but he also doesn't pry, patiently listening and receptive.

He doesn't even think to go back and rewind and ask what the hell 'ki' was going to be. "I think— when you make mistakes, or you do things you regret, a part of you tries to rationalise it as losing yourself," Joseph starts, patiently. "You'll look back and decide that that wasn't you, you've lost your way. The bad news is, you haven't. That would also be the good news. Not knowin what will come next—

"It's a lot like being lost. Fortunately, there's ways of looking ahead. Did— " A glance towards the other man in the room. "Did Richard tell you how he knows me?" And why, being the invisible tail end.

"It wasn't a job any self-respecting person should have to do anyway. You deserve better." For someone who's theoretically staying out of the conversation, Cardinal certainly has his opinions on the matter; and muttered in a rather darksome tone, at that. Perhaps, at some level, he feels guilty about her questions about where her savior was. It's not as if he wasn't witness to some of her miseries, as from time to time he stalked through shadows.

A bag of grounds is acquired, a filter changed, the coffee machine set up to begin brewing.

The little slattern slides a sly sidelong look over to the thief cum coffee bitch and hitches up an eyebrow slightly before returning her gaze to the priest— er, pastor. Whichever. "Not really, but…" She was here for that sermon. "…I know about what you do." Of course, that might not have been the route Joseph was looking to take; Bebe's assumptions aren't always as accurate as she might like to think.

Your move, holy man.

Incidentally, it was, and as far as conversational chess games go— Joseph isn't particularly a planner. In most cases, anyway, where good intentions are involved, and it's admittedly easy to skip ahead and show people their future and let them wander off with wide Bambi eyes wondering what the fuck that was meant to be. That's not counseling. But not everyone wants counseling.

"I let people see God's plan, in symbols if not literal destination," Joseph says, with a nod. "Sometimes they're horrifying, sometimes they're— not as bad." He manages not to glance meaningfully at Richard, there. "They can be warnings, directions, ideas. And there's always a choice."

The chair creaks a little as Joseph sits back, gives a shrug and a kind smile. "It can help, if that's what you're looking for. But you need to know what that is. Sometimes not knowing helps too, but I find ignorance is just as overwhelming."

A tip of Richard's head slants a look over from the machine as he turns it on, fingers sliding free of the button after he'd begun the soft gurgling and percolation of the java-infused brew. No words, though, as he leans himself against the counter, arms folding over his chest with the stump tucked quietly under one arm to minimize its presence. "Knowledge is power," he notes, quietly, "And you can't avoid a trap you can't see."

Bebe minds the preacher man with all the rapt attentiveness of a good girl Sunday school student. Most Americans are probably settling in to a certain degree of blasé ennui when it comes to the concept of these strange freaks like we walking amongst the everyday people on the street but, for Bebe, it's all still notably novel and fascinating. To hear someone else explain how their abnormal genetic defect has led to the manifestation of an awesome ability is tantamount to, well, seeing someone naked. Not that that's anything akin to novelty for Bebe, but, still… intimate revelation is intimate revelation all the same.

"How does it work? Can you do it for anyone?" But there is a more important inquiry still waiting on the tip of her tongue, halted by a hesitation for fear of what she might hear. Her fingers flex while her brows fret until she finally coughs it up. Rather unexpectedly, she finds herself looking at Cardinal instead of Joseph. "Is it— is it always true? What people see…"

Joseph only nods at her question, the second one in. Anyone. Except for himself without cracking his skull open and knocking around the correct wires, but that's neither here nor there, and nothing he brings up now. "You go blind and deaf save for the message being shown to you. Works for a few minutes. You see your own path, what could be, what will be. There's no exact science." As for user testimonials, Joseph leaves that to Richard, as coffee percolates and trickles, the whir of the machine filling the room with cozy audio ambiance.

"The future hasn't been written yet," Cardinal says, the faintest of smiles touching his lips— it's almost wistful, mournful not for any loss but for things yet to be. "It has a certain… inertia, but it can always be changed. Hell." He turns away, his gaze raking from hers to settle upon the pot in silence for a moment, before murmuring more quietly, "Changing the future's half of what we hope to do, babe."

Science and religion rarely mix but, perhaps in Joseph these two disciplines have come together in a perfect union that allows for the future as God wills it to be briefly glimpsed in a shining and miraculous moment. Or, uh, maybe this guy just shuts down the senses and takes over your brain and makes you hallucinate. Bebe carefully weighs the odds on sincerity and decides to suck it up and side with someone who isn't interested in fucking her — not literally, at least. "Okay," she says, passing one more look between both men before she slowly slides her hands across the tabletop toward Joseph. "I'm ready."

It is entirely possible Joseph is an evil mastermind and something of a liar. But whatever plot twist it would take for this to be revealed, it's not happening tonight. Joseph nods to her consent, offers a reassuring smile, and reaches out to put hand on hers. She's already sitting down, so he doesn't have to ask that she do that— only says, "It helps to shut your eyes."

The kitchen lights are gone with the shutting of her eyes, but even the slight pressure of the illumination against her eyelids vanishes, too. The sound of the coffee machine cuts out, and Bebe is left to darkness and silence, her only connection to the real world being what she feels.

And what she sees and hears is something else entirely. A stretch of water, never ending, as forever reaching as the ocean but as calm as a lake, goes for miles from beneath her feet, on which she stands a jetty, Staten Island-esque in wood rot and crookedness. There's the sound of footsteps behind her, approaching, but Bebe sees her hand lift to shield her eyes from hazy sunlight, looking out across the water, expectant.

The footsteps have a click accompanying them, a cane.

As Bebe sits, blind and deaf, Joseph murmurs a prayer only Cardinal has access to hearing, one that bids for hope and guidance. Protection, too, and may she have the strength and will to understand your messages, O Lord. That sort of thing. When it ends, he glances to Richard, and perhaps he should inquire about his vision and its outcome, you know, while we're here.

He doesn't, as it happens. "I take sugar," the pastor only says, when the coffee machine clicks its indication of being done.


"I suppose it depends on whether you desire to burn your bridges."

An impossibly familiar voice, from tone to lilting accent. The world turns on its axis so that she might see the man walking towards her. John Logan's eyes are green, and his clothing is nicely cut and tailored, and the cane in his hand is shining metal and black. "But you won't have a choice," Logan says, conversationally, coming to a halt at arms length. He seems well, at least. Never better. "Bridges burn, it's what they do. Depends on which side you desire to stand on."

There's the sound of something cutting through water, a motor. A yacht in the distance, now, but it's not— it's not Jack, which might be what have been expected. Teo Laudani, for all intents and purposes, comes to standing and leaning against the railing, watching her.

There's a mist, which seems out of place in the sunlight, on a beach— thicker, greyer. Fire beneath the jetty, although both men seem to be ignoring it, even as smoke billows up between wooden slats, over the sighs, fills her vision, whirls with her breath— and everything changes. She can see neon through the smoke, figures running, a scream. Bebe is moving through it, in the direction that people are not, and through the distance, a familiar red-lit spiraling staircase.

There's a distant gunshot, somewhere outside, and that's what heralds the end of the vision as smoke, glass and glitter all disappears in favour of her closed eyes.

So much smoke. The compulsion to cough and choke is irresistible, even if her tactile senses insist there's no need for such strain. Bebe bursts back into the real world accompanied by a cacophony of dry hacking. That bodes well, eh? Almost instantly her hands recoil back over onto her side of the table as she bows her brown-haired head and takes a moment to collect herself before opening her eyes again and peeking over to ensure that the two men she'd seen just before the vision claimed her were, in fact, right where she left them. Close enough for horseshoes, at least.

The only words to roll out of her mouth initially are: "May I have some water, please?"

Cardinal is probably all over it, but Joseph— plays host, getting to his feet even before she makes that request. "'course— " He looks towards Richard, nods to him. "There's clean classes in the top cupboard," he instructs. "Clean water in the fridge, last I checked." And back to her, he asks, "You alright?" as he eases back down to sit.

Three tiny cubes of sugar tumble into the dark surface of the coffee, each sending tiny ripples outwards. After the first, the others send out ripples that mingle with other ripples and change them, twisting across the surface of the coffee in resonant patterns. The coffee's slid over to rest on the counter near to the pastor while the vision unfolds behind the ex-whore's eyes, steam stirring from its surface.

Richard's gaze is level upon the petite young woman as she coughs— tensing— then relaxing a bit as she grips the table. Hey, she took it better than he. A tight nod to Joseph, and he steps over to reach for the cupboard's door, drawing it open and sliding out a glass before stepping to the fridge. He bends a bit, reaching in for the water.

Bebe's big brown eyes blink blindly as she struggles to wink away the residual haze and focus on the pristine patina of the pastor's well-kept kitchen instead of whatever it was that just flashed before her eyes. She doesn't really look startled or scared so much as… concerned. "I'm… fine," she replies, somewhat unconvincingly, though it isn't her tone that gives her away some much as her body language. The wait for water draws on apace but Bebe fails to fidget like she normally would. "Do you— do I tell you what I saw or…?"

"No." It's a quick response and a gentle denial, although Joseph shakes his head a little as he adds, "Not unless you need to. Get it off your chest, or anything, but— I figure there's a reason I don't get to see 'em. It's a message between you and God. I'm a conduit, in the grand scheme o' things." His hands come to clasp together on the table, and he adds, "I'm also a counselor and a pastor, and I can listen if you want to talk. But otherwise, you can keep what you've seen to yourself. Best bet is that you'll interpret it better than I ever would. What happens in 'em means what they do to you, not to me."

The door to the fridge shuts with that soft suck of vacuum, and Cardinal takes a step back over towards the woman he brought with him— acquaintance, ally, friend? Whatever she might be to him, he obviously cares what happens to her to some degree. The glass of water's passed over, along with a slight, rueful smile. "Hopefully," he admits, "It wasn't as bad as mine."

Right. Okay. That makes sense. Bebe bobs her head in response to the pastor's words and keeps her mouth shut save to sip at her water until her throat no longer feels like a chimney. When at last she's sufficiently lubricated and no longer able to endure the awkward silence, she finally says to Cardinal, "If you two want to talk, I think I'm going to step outside and get some fresh air…" Apparently, all that prior talk about the sort of element apt to prowl around the Guiding Light at night doesn't seem to bother Bebe.

The unspoken inference is that she's already anxious to leave but she doesn't want to rob Richard of the same opportunity for revelation nor seem overly rude to the generous Joseph.

Joseph hands come to curl around the coffee Cardinal so kindly made for him, thumb edging around the rim a little, as long moments pass for the woman to get her bearings, and he's able to take a long sip of warm beverage. Then, he nods once to Bebe's request. "I hope it helped any," he tells the woman, getting to his feet once again, as is polite, for when ladies leave the room, and lets out a quiet sigh as she's picking her way out the kitchen. Not out of any gesture of annoyance, or regret, just letting out a breath he hadn't realised he'd been holding onto.

A look towards Richard, a quirk of a smile. Deciding to let the woman have a moment to herself whether the man like it or not, even if it's thirty seconds, he asks, "How's the future working for you?"

No second, no third cup of coffee is poured. Just the one for the pastor, and the water for the woman. During that awkward silence, Cardinal pushes the fingers of his good hand back through his hair, sliding over his scalp and rubbing briefly against the nape of his neck as he watches her; a hint of concern stirring behind his eyes. At the mention of fresh air, he nods— and a step's taken, as if to follow.

Then he's paused by the question from Joseph, stopping in his tracks. His chin dips down a bit, gaze dropping to the floor in silent, private consideration of the question. Then he turns his head just enough to look to Joseph, and he says in quieter tones, "A burden. But preferable to the alternative of what might be."

Joseph's studiousness flickers some at that, as if perhaps there's more to pry from his words, but ultimately— he dodges. It's a habit. Another sip of coffee is taken, and a twist of a rueful smile passed over it. "Well. Keep in mind that burdens can be shared, and like I told your friend, there's always a choice. Have a good evening, Richard." Dismissed. No need to linger awkwardly.

The edge of a smile touches Cardinal's lips at that. "Pass on my love to Abigail," he offers, simply, before following in Bebe's wake towards the unforgiving night.

The Guiding Light is a holy place, after all, and though they both might have a better idea of the paths that lie ahead of them— neither has led them yet to God.

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