Are You There, God? It's Me, Sean.

The Fellowship of the Sun

A triangular mass of windows and modern side-panels of an off white, the church the Fellowship of the Sun congregate in is nothing short of welcoming. Its doors are comprised of transparent glass, allowing the world outside a glimpse into a richly carpeted and lavish lobby area. This is the heart of the church's information network; a place where tables filled with pamphlets and educational materials can be found as well as the corkboard holding up all the flyers and notices of recent events that might interest the congregation. Attached is a coat room, and the pair of handsome doors leading into the main chapel of the building, as well as a staircase that leads downstairs, where independent study rooms, the kitchen, and function rooms can be found.
In the room of worship, the walls are lined with magnificent, large windows. Large, fairly spacious, the altar stands proud and elevated like a stage in front of the masses of wooden pews standing sentinel. An elaborate wall of organ pipes make up the back wall, and above that is a golden cross, proclaiming its status as a holy place. The room always seems extraordinarily bright and sunny, a combination of the light colors used to decorate the room and the towering glass walls put into effect.

Saturday afternoon finds a rather pinkly dressed young woman, decorating the entire community room with red hearts and little cupids. Hope is not alone in her decorating duties, she's just taken it upon herself to take charge of the matter. After all, she did sign up to work with the director of the young adults group - for the crowd that's just out of their teens, but not quite in their 30's and 40's just yet. It's rare that the church is having a night-time event but it's sort of a singles mixer for the group. For the young people to meet other like-minded people that share similar interests.

And the newly relationshiped woman is happy to be helping out! "Use a red table cloth on the punch table," she calls out to the women who are setting up the food preparation. "That way if any spills it won't stain as badly as it would on the white."

Sean had been kicked out of his cousins apartment. Quite literally booted out of there by his cousin's boyfriend, who had hissed to him to 'find something to do tonight, geez' and given him money for a motel room. Needless to say, Sean was at a loss for things to do. New in the city, and unbearably frightened of the prospects of night time, when the vampires roam free, he had decided to ease his growing uneasiness with a trip to The Church. Hell, he had meant to come on down eventually, anyway.

And…now he's wishing he didn't. The moment the mild-mannered man stepped through the large, open doors of the house of worship, he is accosted. And with surprise, the poor man begins looking around frantically, looking for an escape of the three decade-younger girls who are jibbering away.

Hope spots a new face, and the church girls who are surrounding him. She does a quick delegation of the decorations, and eases her way over to him. "Hey there," she says cheerfully. "Can I help you?" The girls are skillfully shoo'd away by a grin, and a, "We need some streamers on that wall, I think I saw some down in the basement. Would you mind terribly getting them for me? Thanks!" The joys of being the secondary director means that she gets to boss people around.

"Sorry about that," she apologizes to the man. "It's Valentine's day, and I'm sure you know how single girls get around that time. You walked into a den of wolves."

Sean looks quite out of his place, his face a bright sort of red at all of the attention he seems to be getting. Sure, he's had a month or two to really get used to his new, much improved appearance, but twenty-odd years of constant teasing and insecurities cannot be erased so easily. This had been something he used to dream about, as a young man. And now? Now, he can only wish he was not here, right now, garnering all the attention of practically everyone around him. "I-I…yeah." He stammers out awkwardly, lowering his eyes to the floor in a look of consternation. "Maybe I should come back later? I'm…uh…I'm new in town. I thought I'd…but I forgot, of course, Valentine's day."

"Oh, no! It's fine, really. We're just setting up." Hope looks around. There /are/ a few guys, not many, but a few. "You're welcome to stay, unless you're umm… new to the church here? I don't think anyone is available upstairs, but I can give you a pseudo tour or something? Maybe some information?" She knows where all the information is, even if she's not the one running things.

Sean shakes his head quickly, respectfully, even as his hands make their way into the pockets of his jeans in a decidedly bashful fashion. "I wouldn't want to bother you any, Miss…?" He trails off, realizing the fact that he hasn't caught her name yet. And then, that he hasn't offered his own either. "Oh! Oh, I'm Sean Miller, by the way. It's a pleasure to meet you. Anyway, it looks like you're busy here - I wouldn't like to trouble anyone. I can just come back later." With that, he tosses a faint smile in her direction.

"Tyler. Hope Tyler," she says, in case he's caught her sister's name on the television. While she loves her twin, being mistaken for her sister at this point would likely be a bad thing. "And it's no bother, honestly. I need a break from all the hearts and cupids anyhow." She reaches up, untwisting her hair and letting it fall over her shoulders. Giving her head a bit of a shake, she fluffs the hair up and smiles. "Will you be coming to the dance this evening?"

"A dance?" Sean inquires, blinking not once but twice as he stares at the Tyler twin. "Oh! No. God no, I don't think. I'm not…good at dances." But, as he considers the alternative…the lonely, sorry alternative…suddenly making a fool out of himself doesn't seem quite so bad. "Actually…I'll, err, think about it. Maybe. Is it terribly formal? I don't have like…a tux or anything." When she smiles to him, he automatically returns the gesture, though it's quite sheepish. "Well…if you're sure. I'd love the company, Miss Tyler." No recognition here yet.

"It's sort of a casual mixer. You know, a safe place for people of the Church to come and enjoy their Valentine's Day night without fear of being accosted by a vampire. We'll have security!" Hope turns away from him, just long enough to make sure that things are under control, and she nods toward the door. "What you're wearing is fine, and there'll be more guys around once it starts, so you'll be less likely to be bombarded by giggling girls." Never mind that Hope is actually close to those girls in age. There's nothing in her demeanor that even remotely links her to them.

"Oh. Well, I do have to admit, security really appeals to me these days. It's just…everything is so dangerous now ways, aren't they? Nothing like when I was a kid." Sean admits, exaggerating in the sake of waxing sentimental. "And I guess it would give me a chance to meet new people…I could use some friends." When she mentions the giggling girls, he is sent into a new wave of redness, which he attempts to write off with a shrug of his shoulders and a smile. "Heh, yeah. I suppose so, huh? That's a good thing. I think."

"Depends. If you're looking, the giggling girls are a good thing. If you're not? Well I wouldn't blame you if you head in the bathroom. I mean, they annoy /me/, and they're not even cooing over me." Hope snickers, then slips through the door leading the way out of the community room and out to the church proper. "There are quite a few normal people though, and a lot of the other guys will likely band together against the giggling throngs." She turns to face him, then nods. "It is dangerous now, even more so than I had first thought." Frowning, she shakes her head. Not going into that now. "So you said you were new to the area? What brought you to Dallas?"

"It's not that I…err…" Sean's eyes widen to reveal the inherent innocence in them. "I'm not looking. It's just…I don't…look like that, if you know what I mean? Ah, I'm sorry, nevermind." Falling into a furtive silence, he follows after Hope dutifully, his tone of voice adopting a far off quality as he agrees. "…Yeah. I'll say…uhm, excuse me?" Blink. "Oh, right. Well…my cousin lives here. And I…I wanted to move, so she told me to move here. And I said okay. And I think that was it all."

"I totally get that. The best things happen when you're not looking for them anyhow." Hope makes it up to the church, dutifully says, "This is the church," and then takes a seat in the nearest pew. For one, she's been working all afternoon and she'd love to get off her feet, for another it'll give him a moment to take a look around without her following his every movement. "I'm here thanks to my sister. Better facilities here than at home, though I guess I don't really /need/ to stay anymore, but I figure it's likely best to finish out school before I decide where I'll end up in the end."

Sean is quite thankful for her accommodations, and he looks around the sunny, spacious area with slight awe, a faint smile on his place. There are few things as reassuring as religion can be, when the rest of your life seems to have been shattered. "It's really nice in here," he comments as he strolls about, up to the altar as he then looks to the large, sprawling windows. "Kind of reminds me of this nice presbyterian church back home in Rochester…hm?" With that, his eyes snap back to her person with kindly interest. His smile is ignorant of any knowledge - the question he asks is nothing more then curious, not malicious in any way. "Your sister? Does she come to the church too? And what do you mean, facilities?" Beat. "Oh. School facilities? Where are you from, if you don't mind me asking?"

Last question first, "Alexandria, Louisiana." Hope continues answering the questions, "Er. Well school facilities for me, I guess. Mental health facilities for her. You may have seen her on the news recently? Faith Tyler? She's my twin sister." Though she does elaborate on it. "Her mind was partially destroyed when a vampire tore the throat out of one of our best friends in front of her." At least it explains he own affiliations with the church. "She's not a member of the church, and I doubt she will be." She smiles at his assessment of the church, and looks forward at the large windows. "It's so beautiful in here on Sunday mornings, the light, even on the rainiest, greyest of days, fills the room with so much warmth."

And…there goes Sean's smile. Suddenly, he looks near panicked. "Oh! Oh, Jesus, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to pry and…" Oh, how uncomfortable. "That's so horrible for her. And, err, for you too, I wasn't trying to imply that…is she alright?" Awkward pause. "You said…you said something about you not needing to be here anymore. Is that because she's alright…?'

Hope doesn't seem at all upset however. "You didn't, really. I offered the information. Relax." A reassuring smile is offered to him and she slides out of the pew. "It was awful, but it's why I support the church. I know better than most just how evil the CoD's are, and how menacing they can be to the human populace." A little nod. "Well, she's… not quite her old self, but she seems to have gotten miraculously better rather quickly." Still no explanation on that.

Sean nods his head faintly. "I…understand. I think people tend to be blinded by the novelty of their existence. They don't see just how dangerous…" But then again, the same can be said of him. He's no better than the vampires. And deeply shamed by this fact, he frowns to himself for a moment. It is wrong of him to search for salvation, even though he's lost part of his humanity. "Do you…do you think that there can be hope for their kind? Just curious. If they didn't…want to be turned into a monster? Do you think God can forgive someone for being at the wrong place at the wrong time?" Ahem. "Anyway…that's good, right?"

This is… exceedingly difficult for Hope to answer, because she has her own firm set of beliefs on such matters. "People are generally stupid," she says with a sigh. "I think that for their kind? There's no hope. They have no souls, and they are demons with no humanity. Otherwise, they wouldn't be able to kill people with such ease, or feed off of us like we're cattle." There is a small frown that touches at her lips. "But I also think that I probably shouldn't speak for God on the ones that didn't want it. I bet if a soulless creature didn't want to be what they are, they'd willingly meet the sun." Then again, she's no clue that he's actually wondering about himself. Still, he's not a soulless creature is he?

"But…we can kill animals with such ease, as people. And that's because we need to eat them. So, if they need to eat people…is it really evil?" Sean tries to rationalize out slowly, but he finds the candid way with which the question is phrased really disturbs him. A delicate shiver runs down his spine, and he crosses his arms over his chest, an action fit for a child despite his considerable size. But, after all…why not revert to childhood in the house of the Father? "Nevermind. I was just..maybe I should ask the reverend. Do you know if he'll be in tonight? For the dance?"

"But you know, we don't /really/ need to eat animals to survive. We can live on plants." It's probably a less than rational argument, but Hope is trying to figure out why he's trying to defend vampires here at the church. "Uhmm… I think he will be? He usually is, even if just to welcome everyone." Possibly for the punch as well. "Plus while I don't agree with it, with the advent of that synthetic stuff, they don't /need/ to feed on humans, yet they still do, and worse. You know a group of them kidnapped my sister, and glued fake fangs to her teeth and had her convinced she was a vampire and had her go out and try to bite people. I really can't see them as anything /but/ evil."

No, she wouldn't understand. But, Sean has to work it out, has to convince himself there's a reason to hope, to try and better himself. He has to. "I…think what they are is evil," he begins slowly, lost in thought. "But we are all evil. We are all sinners. And it's only by the grace of God and the blood of Jesus Christ that we can redeem ourselves and walk as saints. I think vampirism is evil. But…I don't know if the people who are turned into vampires are always evil as well." There is an uncomfortable pause, during which he flashes his attention over to hers, trying to catch her expression. "Am I…making any sense at all? I'm sorry. I'm sorry for your sister - that's horrific. There are sick, sick…creatures in this world."

Hope is silent while he talks, just allowing him to get all of his thoughts out. There is a strange look on her face when he insinuates that she's evil. "I may not be saintly, but I /do/ walk in the light, and I strive to do my best every day to allow that guide my actions, despite everything that's happened to me and my sister." Eyes peer down at her feet, and she shuffles them a little. "There are. Sick, sick creatures in this world." At least on that point they can agree.

"Exactly," Sean affirms, smiling faintly to Hope, trying his best to combat exactly how uncomfortable the conversation is making him feel. He doesn't want to lose the first potential friend he can make, just because of a silly thing like this. "You strive to do your best. That's…that's the whole point, isn't it? That's what makes you a good person, and a daughter of God. It's…it's your intentions that matter, ultimately. I think." This last comment, really hits home that he has, almost literally, engaged a relative stranger into a theocratic debate, and it leaves him just a tad bit flustered. "Uhh. Anyway. It's a real nice place, over here…"

"But I have a soul," Hope says, still seemingly neutral about it all, despite the slight confusion she's feeling at his questions. "A vampire doesn't. I think, therein, lies the difference. Can a soulless creature really have good intentions?" His flustered look brings an end to the conversation at hand, and she embraces the new conversation with gusto. "It is, very beautiful. I've been to one lock-in here, and waking up in the morning with all the light is amazing!"

"But how do you…" She hits the key point. It all hinges on whether he has a soul or not. Instead of lingering on an unanswerable question, he runs his hand through his newly cut hair anxiously. "Oh? A lock in? What's that?" He's not feigning interest, but he is exaggerating his enthusiasm, just to keep the topic in the right, friendly vein. "Anyway…is there more to the church? Is this where the dance is to be held?"

"Oh, the dance will be down in the community room. It opens up, you know, for wedding receptions, though I don't think we've ever really had a wedding here yet." Hope mulls over that momentarily, but then gets really animated. "It's like a great big slumber party with most of the congregation. We all lock ourselves in here for the night, there's movies, and there's games. Praying, of course, but it's mostly a great social exercise."

(note: scene faded due to time constraints)

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