Meeting Face To Face


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Scene Title Meeting Face To Face
Synopsis Phoebe puts a name to a face, and likewise. Philanthropist and pastor discuss charitable endeavors past and future, and shake hands on a few things.
Date July 5, 2009

Guiding Light Baptist Church

There is no mistaking this building as anything but a church, with its arching glass windows and concrete cross fixed to the edge of the pointed roof. Curving stone steps lead up from the pavement to a set of black double doors, often kept closed during the colder weather, but unlocked during the allocated hours written on a blue sign fix to the brick wall. In white, formal letting, it reads GUIDING LIGHT BAPTIST CHURCH and lists its hours of worship.

Through the doors, you first step into an open, nondescript foyer, with access to an unobtrusive staircase headed upwards, and a second hallway leading off somewhere less public also. Mainly, this room opens straight out to the much more spacious worship hall, with immovable rows and rows of pews. A small church, it only seats an absolute maximum of around one hundred and fifty people at a time. It has a high ceiling and is warmly lit, simple and reverent in design, colours light and earthy. The stage before the pews is wide open, with seats off to the side for other pastors and guest speakers, and there is a podium placed off center. On the other side, there is a small organ with music sheets kept nearby.

Late afternoon brings in hazy sunlight through the dense cloud currently gathering above the Guiding Light Baptist Church. It's been some time since the midday service reached its end, but even now, people still trickle out from the black double doors, having stayed behind to chat, to catch up, to thank the pastor for his words that day.

The last few people are moving out in their Sunday best— or their version of Sunday best. A young couple who would seem entirely out of place for a crowd of Baptists, black skinny jeans, piercings, and the girl as dye in her hair, are the last to step out onto the pavement, having lingered in the doorway where Joseph plays host by seeing people away. They seem vaguely uncertain of the conservatively dressed pastor, and— likewise, but tentative words are exchanged before the two step down onto the pavement as well, and melt back into the afternoon foot traffic of Greenwhich Village.

Unlike them, Joseph is pretty much everything one can expect from his title. His suit is grey, a dark blue tie tucked in neatly against a shirt of lighter blue, and frameless reading glasses are being drawn off his face as he sets about loosening the doors from their catches, so that they can shut on their own. The sign next to it indicates that they will remain unlocked for several more hours.

Phoebe, ever concious of being polite, has waited acrossed the street in her limo while the parishoners made thier way out. It is not until the young couple have given thier farewells that she leans forward and speaks quietly to her driver, waving off his attempt to get out and opening her door in favor of doing so herself. It as she emerges from the back of the sleek silver luxury vehicle that she adjusts her sunglasses (which double as perscription, though she'd -never- admit it.) and makes her way across the street to steps of the church. It is about two steps from the top that she slows her pace, lightly clearing her throat rather then risk startling the pastor. "Pastor Sumter?" The query is coupled with a faint tilt of her head to one side, her lips twitching up in a quietly bemused smile as she advances another step up the stairs. "I hope this isn't an inconvenient time to visit?"

One of the blank painted doors comes to a swinging close, Joseph plastering his hand against the other as his name is called out, instantly turning towards the source with a smile readily available, an inquiring lift of his eyebrows. Recognition isn't immediately apparent, but he freely pushes the door open a little further. "Not at all, ma'am," he says, ever-polite, and stepping aside to permit her entry with a vague gesture inwards. Sunlight from the higher windows seems to make the interior glow, as is only suitable, really, bouncing off polished wood of the ribcage of pew rows, a slice of which visible through the wide doors. "Why don't you come on in, I was just about to tidy things up now that service is ended for the day."

"My thanks." Phoebe's response is easy and calm, her smile remaining in place as she steps past him into the foyer. Once inside, a moment is taken to survey her surroundings, silent approval indicated with a barely perceptable nod of her head. Apparently finding all as it should be, her black leather hand bag is tucked under one arm as she turns to offer her right hand in a more formal greeting. "I realize I probably should have called ahead, but I was in the neighborhood and I thought I would stop by." She really wasn't in the neighborhood, but 'stopping by' was on her To-Do list and she is a stickler for getting to the items on that list. It is after a momentary pause that she offers with a faint hint of a rich, albeit mildly chagrined laugh. "And I realize I haven't introduced myself, Phoebe Thornton."

Shutting the doors behind them, but allowing them to hang there loosely, lock untouched, Joseph turns his attention back towards the older woman, shaking his head a little at the notion that she should have called ahead. No trouble at all to be communicated, as he takes her hand to shake, professional without being brisk— but that gets a little lost when she steers around towards introducing himself, and surprise cuts across Joseph's expression for the moment.

The handshake is restarted, if for only a moment, before he retracts that hand. "Ms. Thornton, it's a pleasure to meet you," he says. "I can't tell you how grateful I am that the Guiding Light's efforts caught your eye."

"I would say the same thing about you for taking the time and risk to arrange your efforts, Pastor Sumter." Shaking and releasing, Phoebe casts another glance about the interior before turning her gaze back to his face. And, while her expression is warm and flawlessly polite, there can be no doubt that she is assessing the man as intently as she is their surroundings. "And I would also agree that is a pleasure to finally meet you face to face. I admit," she adds. "That I have come to conclusion that I could be of far more assistance if I made a point to come down and find out exactly what might be needed." So much easier then guessing, really. Although she does guess rather well, as a general rule. "And," she sighs. "In light of all the current unpleasantness, I assumed that there is a great deal needing to be to tended to then might get out by word of mouth, or the press."

Whether he consciously picks up on the assessing or not, there can be no doubt that Joseph's back is as straight as a steel rod, quite suddenly, and perhaps glad that he's in his personal Sunday best for this meeting. And that he didn't bring his dog to church today.

"There's always need," Joseph finds himself agreeing, then glances around. "Here, let me— would you like anything to drink? Tea, coffee, water, there's a kitchen just around here if you'd like to take a seat." He takes a few step inwards regardless, to at least invite the woman out from the foyer, which is starting to grate on his sensibilities as a proper host. "So far, we've had some luck with Staten Island. The main thing is getting volunteers willing to go out there, and I can't say I blame 'em. Chicago Air's doing wonderful things with their soup vans thataway but they have the benefit of already being based out there."

"Coffee would perfect," Phoebe admits in warm tones as she steps after him. And really, she wouldn't have minded the dog, even if she is more of a cat person, herself. "I am afraid I haven't had any dealings with Chicago Air, although I have heard that they have been making a concerted effort toward easing the unnecessary burdens of the populace in Statem Island. Eventually, I may get around to speaking with them, particularly since I intend on renovating some buildings into housing. Mind you, I will have to arrange for physical security. Fortunately, I still have contact with some of the late Mister Thornton's military friends, no doubt they can steer me toward a reputable organization for setting up such measures." Practical to a fault, is Phoebe. In a warzone, one needs armed support. Apparently, she is not opposed to arranging such things when necessary. "You heard about the attack on the set of Multiple Man, I assume?"

Through the main of the church and into the kitchen, which is likely a little more modest, less modern than the renovated worship hall and somewhat out of date in decoration - but undoubtedly functional and clean as ever, save for a couple of mugs resting in the silver sink, the dregs of tea and coffee making circles at their bottoms. Joseph pulls out a chair for Phoebe, and sets about switching on the coffeemaker, moving around the kitchen tidily as he goes.

Quiet agreement, is what Phoebe gets when she speaks of the measures she's taking - it doesn't seem to be unnecessary to Joseph, who nods along. "Travel back and forth between the mainland and Staten Island is dangerous enough on its own," he adds. "I usually win over volunteers if I promise to drive 'em the roundabout way through Jersey."

He glances over his shoulder at that question, and reluctantly shakes his head. "I haven't gotten my hands on today's news, actually. An attack?"

Expression turning suddenly serious, Phoebe dips her chin in a slow nod. "IED in the food servies truck from what the news said. Nine dead is the last I heard," she notes in somber tones. "Humanis First is claiming responsibility for bombing. No surprise there," is added in tones that leave no doubt that Phoebe is not very fond of that particular organization. It is in the wake of her lips pressing in a thin disapproving line that she notes in flat tones. "I will see what I can do about getting you the names of the victims." Since she intends to do so anyway. Funerals will need to be arranged and she has no doubt that most of the families have not made financial arrangements for such eventualities. "This is getting very tiresome."

"Thank you," Joseph says, rue in his voice. Because there's only so much gratitude you can muster in the wake of that news. The sound of ceramic and metal clinking together fills the kitchen for a short while, before he's returning to the table and setting down coffee in front of the woman, coming to sit down opposite with his own wrapped between two hands, as if for warmth despite not strictly needing it. "I've had a couple of experiences with Humanis First myself, but— only with the ones who seem content with spraypainting walls and breaking car windows. I should probably warn you that the church has had those kinds of difficulties before— I'm a Registered Evolved, myself, and not particularly shy about it."

"My driver is armed and more then willing to protect me, should it be necessary." So saying, Phoebe slips into a chair, a sigh spilling past her lips as she sets her purse to one side and curls her fingers around the handle of her coffee cup. "I have never had very much patience for closed minded individuals, Pastor Sumter. Considering the fact that my da-, that my daughter was evolved? There is no doubt in my mind that I am choosing the correct path to follow." Falling silent a beat, she gives a faint shake of her head whilst taking a slow sip of coffee. It is as she lowers the cup, that she notes frankly, "I make no bones about which side of the line I have chosen to stand with."

It's not too easy to let certain kinds of details slip past Joseph, head tilting a little at her choice in words and phrasing, gaze lowering for a moment and taking a long sip of coffee around the time she chooses to. "I know that— the Baptist faith in particular is often seen as close-minded, but when it comes to what groups like Humanis First and such represent— there's where our intolerance lies. At least with the Guiding Light, we have a different opinion when it comes to the gifted. It's not an easy side, but I think— it's one that's worth something," he says, turning the mug of coffee around in his hands a little, a pause of judging his own words lined up, before he says them, voice unobtrusive. "I'm sorry about your daughter, Ms. Thornton."

Phoebe is silent for a time in the wake of Joseph's last. When she does finally speak, it is to note quietly, "So am I, Pastor. More then you could possibly realize." Drawing in a slow breath, she banishes the melancholy with a single shake of her head and a long swallow of coffee. Some emotions are best no given thier head, lest they consume one, entirely. "But her sacrifice will not be in vain." Not if she can help it. And fortunately? Phoebe Thornton has more then enough money to be able to help it.

No argument there, about what he does and does not realise, simply offers her a warm smile that's not at all bright as much as it is sympathetic, but takes the woman's cue, and leaves the topic where it deserves to be left. "Certainly not," Joseph agrees. "In terms of Staten Island— who knows what went on there, but we've managed to get the supplies you sent down there, and we're scouting out a couple of buildings to be used for shelters, although— we're reasonably small, for an out reach program. I was considerin' joining forces somewhat with St. John's cathedral group, I'm sure you would have heard've their work. If you'd like to be involved, we could use the help."

"I came down here to make certain that you knew I am willing to help," Phoebe admits. Setting aside the coffee cup, she reaches for her purse and draws out a gold embossed business card. "These are the numbers I can be reached at, although I recommend trying the cell number first." Sliding the card acrossed the table, she offers a quiet smile while raising and lowering her shoulders in a slow shrug. "I am happy to do what I can and equally happy to put a public face on it, so there is no worry in that regard."

Joseph picks up the business card, unnecessarily reverent in a way. It's a fancy one, and he turns it over in his fingers, glances over the information with a nod, and then a smile. "I can't thank you enough, Ms. Thornton," he says, as the card is slipped into a pocket. "I know you have your reasons, too, we all do— but I'm glad that I can help do more than I could otherwise without your assistance. The senior pastor here is as grateful as I am, too."

"Just keep doing what you are doing, Pastor Sumter," Phoebe states matter-of-factly. Gathering up her purse, she smiles as she gets to her feet and adds with an inclination of her head. "It was very nice to finally meet you face to face. I hope that you will make point to call me, should anything come up that I can be of assistance with." Extending her hand, thereby indicating that she is about to take her leave, she notes quietly. "I should be going, I am sure we both have a lot to do with the remainder of our days."

Joseph gets to his feet as she does, setting aside his mostly finished coffee so that he can take her hand in a warm shake, both coming to grip it in a gentlemanly clasp. "It was a pleasure to meet you too. Likewise," he states, releasing her hand in order to see her out, pushing back the kitchen door. "I'm sure you'll be hearing from me very soon, and I— " He shrugs a little, the same sort of slow gesture she'd given before. "I look forward to savin' the world a little more."

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