With a Splash

Kidd Spring Park

The remnants of the dense forestry are located in here, as paths lead from the woods to the more entertaining features of the park. A jungle gym, complete with a small clubhouse and slides make up a play area designated for children, as do a few sandboxes. A community rec center can also be found in the park.
Separating the trees from the busier points of the park is small lake. During the summer months, a life guard can be found on duty so swimming is allowed, and there is also a small dock from which paddle boats and kayaks are available for rent.

Winter is all but a fading memory even this early in the year. The sun is out in full force, shinning brilliantly along all the land. While it is still quite chilly by Texas standards, the temperature is in the sixties and rather comfortable. It is a perfect Sunday to, after services have ended, take a stroll to clear one's mind. That is exactly what the soon to be priest is doing. He's still wearing his Sunday best, a rather freshly pressed suit and tie. The suit jacket has been unbuttoned and the tie loosened slightly as Elliott is on his own time now. There is much to consider and yet he can't help but to allow his mind to venture to one particular subject as he walks along the lake.

Despite hardships and injuries, the poster girl for the Fellowship of the Sun is here at the park. Her duty for the day is to help chaperone one of the youth groups who is out and about, cleaning up the litter in the park. She herself is wearing a pair of denim bib-overalls, a white t-shirt with the Fellowship logo on it, and white galoshes with a splash of pink on the toe and heel. Garbage bags are slung over arms, waiting for the kids who might need more. As chaperone, she doesn't need to be cleaning anything up, but she's got some sandpaper and a little can of red paint to fix up some of the pieces of the jungle gym that have been marred by graffiti.

Such a wonderful sight, children cleaning up the environment. It brings a smile to the man's face as he continues on his way. The sun feels good and it is times like these where he is determined that he's chosen the proper path in life. It's hard to tell if that feeling remains once he catches sight of Hope. Certainly he continues to cross her path for a reason, but which reason? Is it because he is to form a close friendship with her, or is it that he is merely to help counsel her in her time of need? Either way, Elliott is determined that she is meant to be in his life for a reason so he begins the walk over towards the blond Tyler.

With her back turned to the majority of the park, Hope is unaware that anyone is approaching her. Until she hears a sound behind her and spins around with a little lipstick case in her hands. Upon seeing who it is, and remembering that it's broad daylight, the lipstick sized container is slid back into her pocket. "Mr. Hartigan! Enjoying your walk?" Her head tilts to the side, the garbage bags set on the top of a slide as she starts to scrape off some of the graffiti.

The moment he notices her knee-jerk reaction, both hands find the air. His 'don't shoot me' approach continues until the unknown weapon is put away. Despite the gesture there is a soft smile to his features. "Hello, Miss Tyler." He allows his eyes to actually fall to her figure before looking back at her. Elliott would be checking her out only he isn't; he's more interested in her choice of clothing. "Is this a volunteer activity that you're associated with?" He's assuming that she's not actually been sentenced to any community service. "It's a lovely day for it; and for a walk as well. Although I find it particularly amusing that I've run into you again."

"It's mace," she says with a smile. "I've been a bit jumpy, what with two vampires stalking me and all." Neither are really stalking her, but it feels that way, and thus, she's trying to keep safe. "Volunteer, yes." The hand that is not holding the paint brush waves out toward the youth group, and the other chaperones. "It's part of a good will initiative with the city. To show that we're not evil, and we're not out to eradicate anyone." Her church, and her beliefs get such a bad rap by those who don't know much about them. "We seem fated to run into one another. I hope you received the parcel? I hope it was your desk I left it on…"

"Do you know the names of those who wish you harm?" He has no idea who Isobel is to the vampire community but she may be able to assist him if he asks her kindly. Elliott would do not harm to these two but he would wish to at least question their intentions. He looks off in the direction of the youth that are trying so hard to make a good mark on society. "It is good to see such an effort established, but should it not come out of desire to help and not an urge to prove oneself?" Eventually his eyes move back to Hope. "It was not my desk, no, but it was left where I could find it. Thank you for the wonderful gift, although I dare say I'm not certain what I have done to deserve it."

"It should, and it does. Helping the community is something we've always done." The 'we've' in this case being Hope, and whatever church she belongs to, not the Fellowship. "At the same time though, with a lot of bad press lately, it's something that is necessary to show that we're not what everyone thinks we are." After all, it /was/ another group that was killing vampires and torturing humans. "I do know their names," she says, dipping her brush into the paint and carefully painting over a rather risque image on the slide. "One who is most definitely not natural and should be dead." Dead, not necessarily killed, just he shouldn't be a vampire in the first place. "The other was William Grant, or so he said. Whether I believe a creature of darkness to be telling me the truth or not…" The painting pauses as her words trail off, and she grins at Elliott. "You helped me, silly. I just thought I'd repay the kindness. I made it myself, so I hope it was alright."

Instead of standing there rather creepy and watching her, he instead looks back over to the youngsters. "Everyone obtains a poor reputation at some point in their lives. It is a good thing, what you and yours are doing, even if not exactly for the best of reasons. Although I will be impressed if this continues once all the other is forgotten." Elliott then sheds his suit jacket and places it in a safe location. His tie follows before the sleeves of his dress shirt are rolled up. "If I ever happen upon this William Grant, or any who might know if him, I'll simply inquire as to his interest in you. I see no reason why he would hide anything from me; I am just a priest, after all." He then reaches for a brush to begin helping. "It was perfect. I do hope you realize that you need not repay me, Miss Tyler. I still accept the gift. You're a kind young woman."

The brush is dipped, more paint being applied to the metal portion of the slide. "If I have anything to say about it, it will. I think that keeping our community beautiful is something that's important. We all live here, so we should be taking better care of it." Hope's smile is bright, and she seems almost relaxed today. No mental instability — at least not outwardly. "Oh please don't go getting yourself in trouble with vampires on my behalf. The best thing you could do for me is to stay away from them. The world needs more good men like you, Mr. Hartigan, and it'd be just /awful/ if you were to fall prey to them!" Sincerity runs rampant in her words. With the horrific graffiti being covered by the red paint, she turns to smile at the up-and-coming priest. "I didn't need to do it, no. But I wanted to. With everything that's been going on, working on something nice for someone else was just what I needed."

It's a wonder that he doesn't end up coating himself in paint considering his current outfit. He does well to apply the paint to the proper location and actually make it look decent. It's a good distraction so that he doesn't keep watching any one person in particular. "I promise that I will not seek anyone out, Miss Tyler. But if I ever encounter one of them I will not hesitate to ask questions. My nights are spent in the church so I'm certain that I'll be safe." He's not going to mention Isobel or his current involvement with a vampire. It is best for her mental state. "And please, call me Elliott. Mister Hartigan is my father and I'm not a priest just yet." Elliott continues with the painting pausing only once to offer her a smile. "Then I might happen across you performing community service more often?" The man chuckles quietly. "I'm beginning to believe that you and I are meant to run into each other. It's refreshing to see you in a state where you aren't in need of assistance."

"If you were a priest, then I would be calling you Father Hartigan," Hope teases lightly. "Elliott then. Of course, if that is going to be the way of it, I'd really rather you call me Hope." Noting a piece of graffiti on the plastic portion of the slide, the Tyler twin sighs. "Maybe if I just sanded it down a little…" It would at least obscure the image. "Well that's my goal. Between school and work I'm afraid I won't have a whole lot of time for it, but as I find I enjoy keeping myself busy, my free time will be taken up with community projects." Her next plan? Habitat for Humanity. "I'm always in need of assistance. I'm a proverbial damsel in distress. Today just happens to be a better day than most have been lately."

Another chuckle comes as he continues to work on his own section. He would be assisting her but is also a fan of her having her own projects. "While it will come in time, that title certain seems a bit too drastic. Yet in all fairness, Hope it is." As Elliott works, he takes the occasional opportunity to look over at Hope, gauging her progress as well as he can. "I don't see a damsel in distress when I look at you." He pauses to do just that before he goes back to painting. "I see a strong woman with a good head on her shoulders. I see a woman who is feeling the weight of the world due to events unfolding around her, all at one time. I also see a woman who deserves a break to just enjoy the sunshine." Yes, that's a hint.

Standing there, sandpaper poised to start attacking the offending plastic, she blinks. "I suppose it wouldn't hurt to take a little break," Hope says thoughtfully. A garbage bag is spread on the ground, carefully. Then she places her paintbrush upon it so that it can dry. The can is closed, and all the tools are moved away from the slide. "Not all at once, it's been brewing for a while. I think everything is just crashing down onto me now, but I'll survive it somehow, I always do." Despite her slight loss of faith and understanding. She'll get through it. "The benches should still be dry, or we can take a walk just so I can sort of keep an eye on what the kids are up to."

The goal originally was to continue to work yet that plan seems to have failed. It isn't until he's used every last drop of paint on his brush that Elliott looks back over at her. He considers the options before placing his brush beside hers. "What would you prefer to do, Hope?" He's not certain how often she's asked that question and so studies her as it is asked, watching her for reactions. "You do realize," he begins. "That you don't have to take on the world alone. There are others out there to help you, poised and ready. I firmly believe this." Elliott just may be making an offer. "I also believe that yes, you can overcome this. It may not be easy but His challenges often times never are."

"I… I don't know." It /is/ rare for people to ask her that. Her decision to move was due to her sister. Her decision to stay, to keep an eye on her. Her one decision that she made for herself — the week long wait; was completely disastrous for her. "A walk. Much as I love church, there's a lot of sitting involved with it, and I wouldn't mind the light exercise." No harm can come of a walk on a sunny day. None at all. "Someone has to take on the world, Elliott, help or not. Most people don't understand what it's like, living my life. They scoff at my reasons for doing what I do, and they think I'm some kind of monster." She really doesn't have many friends. "If His challenges were easy, they wouldn't be challenges. I'm hoping the weeks coming will be better than the one that's just passed."

For the time being he forgets his jacket and tie. The playground is all but a distant memory. Instead Elliott stands with a hand offered to Hope, to encourage her on her walk. "You will find no judgment from me. Guidance, perhaps, maybe even a suggestion or two but I will not judge. Yet you're so young, Hope. I admire your strength but there is no harm in asking for assistance." He just smiles at her, his very demeanor that of a calm and comfortable young man. He has no motivation to be around her other than to be of help and to complete His work. "I am confident that they will. You must have faith, even if just a little. I think we've all been in a position where doubt comes to play, where our faith and beliefs begin to thin. It all works out in the end."

Here is a sweet man, with a stable demeanor, and he's /safe/ as he's no interest in her. Hope allows herself to relax all the more in his presence, and takes his hand. "Guidance, yet you do not follow the same beliefs." An embarrassed smile is offered over to him, then she sighs. "I'm young, but I doubt I'm much younger than you yourself are. Your own beliefs are stronger than mine, and you have much more confidence in what you want to do with your life." Hope's entire world has been shattered, but she's putting on a brave face. "It's difficult to have faith, when everything that you've believed in for so long is crashing down around you. I /do/ believe that He will see me through this, but I still don't believe that everything is going to be alright in the end."

That is the role of this man; he's safe. When she takes his hand he begins to walk with no clear destination. The way will become clear to him, he reasons, as their walk continues. "Do we need to follow the exact same path to be able to assist each other?" The question does not necessarily need a response. Elliott is always asking questions. "Should I not be open with you then? The truth is that my path is not carved in stone. I am quite insecure no matter what I reveal to the world and I am being filled with doubt. Still I continue on." Continue on he does, moving them more towards the lake but still in view of the children. "Where will I be a year from now? It's uncertain. That uncertainty at times fills me with fear but at the end of the day I realize that be my place in the church or by the side of a wonderful woman, I will make the most of wherever I am."

When they head toward the lake, Hope grins. "I haven't been on a peddle-boat for years." They're not in the water yet, but the shed where they're stored is just up ahead. "Faith and I used to go sometimes in the summer months, but with her having been in facility care for the last two years… peddle-boating just didn't seem appealing." There is a brief pause in her walk, and she turns to face him. "You seem so solid. I'm sure your insecurities and doubts are just like getting cold feet before making a commitment." Then he continues, and she gives him a stunned sort of look. "You /do/ know that you can have both, right? I mean, you can still be involved in caring for a flock of Christian parishioners and be married. It's taboo in Catholicism, but other denominations allow a minister to marry."

The shed where the paddle boats are stored catches his attention. He is not a man to break rules or else he'd simply take one. "You might feel better in doing something even so simple. Either with her or someone else. You're far too young to give up on something you like." She can't be much more than his age, and even he knows that he is young. Elliott likes to portray himself as older mostly due to the way his father raised him. Seemingly out of nowhere he laughs, his head shaking slightly in the process. "Even in that there are doubts. You see? You've offered me a life where I can know the joy of having a family and still being involved in the church. Believe it or not, that is something that can change my path. I may seem confident in what I do but I'm losing that ability by the day." Elliott does pause then, a glance given to Hope before he looks out to the lake. "There are many things that can cause me to stray. I will face them all and see what wins out in the end. I cannot just give up because of the thought that someday I might meet the woman I wish to spend the rest of my life with. It's difficult." A pause. "And something that I force myself to think about. Without challenges, life would be rather dull."

"Should you deny yourself the opportunity though? If having a family is something that you think about, then abstaining from it for the rest of your life will be difficult." Pause. "At least it would be for me." It's not as though there is a lot of call for nuns these days either, but if there were it would be something she'd be considering at this point. "I didn't mean to offer you more doubt though. You'd still be following the path of the Lord, you'd just be doing it from a pulpit that's not Catholic." A faint smile, then she releases his hand and runs toward the dock. Someone recently told her to live a little, and she's intending on doing so right now.

The lake holds his attention as he responds to her. "I've not really thought much about it before. My family wasn't all that loving and I refuse to be the same. It's more whether or not I will find myself able to look away from every strikingly beautiful woman who crosses my path." Ironic how Elliott is looking away from Hope at this particular moment. "But none of this is important at the moment. What is important is that we instill in you a confidence, no matter how small, that things will be okay." His eyes shift back to her as she begins to run, the faintest of smiles offered at the sight. The soon to be priest does follow her, just at a slower pace. In the end everything he experiences will be considered.

By the time Elliott reaches the dock, Hope is already plunked down on the planks. Her galoshes are removed, socks rolled up inside of them. She's busily rolling up the hem of her overalls as well. She hasn't missed any of the conversation, so she replies as he draws closer. "My family was very loving until the incident. We sort of fell apart after that, and no matter how hard I try to be the glue things aren't going to be fixed between my parents and my sister." That she knows for certain. "I'm sure if He means you to become a priest, you'll find it easier as time goes on to keep your eyes from roving every female." She's not concerned with whether he was eyeballing her or not. He's safe, and that's all there is to that. "The only way things will be okay is if he goes back in the ground where he's supposed to be, or I never go outside at night again."

It's a comforting sight, that of Hope actually enjoying the time near the lake. He isn't in such a rush to join her as this is for her to enjoy. So Elliott stands not too far off, his eyes seemingly anywhere but on her. "I don't actually look at every female that way, you realize. In fact, there have only been two I even realized just how beautiful they are. Either that makes me made for the cloth or merely broken." He chuckles at his own words even if it does leave him with some level of doubt. "You cannot be the mortar for everyone and everything out there. You can try, but some things simply will not be. Perhaps it is a sign that you should grown your family anew, remain close to those you already have but add to it."

"Perhaps you're just a man with discerning tastes." With her pant legs rolled up, she dips her toes in the water, then shrieks. The feet immediately draw up onto the dock, water dripping from the toes. "That was a /lot/ colder than I thought it would be," she says, laughing embarrassedly. "It could be a sign, but that's likely not going to happen." Considering that she gave the ring back and all. "The Fellowship is my family now."

When his eyes move back to the new and improved Hope they contain a twinkle. He then looks away and coughs. "Were I any less of a man I would have just bumped you entirely into the water. I should point this out." He's pointing it out because the temptation to do so was very much there. "There is nothing wrong with turning to the church to find family; I would be the last one to lecture you against it. Still, you should not close the door to anything more than that. It can and will happen, even if not at this particular stage in your life." She stands a better chance than Elliott does, after all.

"You should have. I recall several people telling me that I should get out and live a little. You should too. A priest is still human, and while he must have the best interests of his congregation at heart, it doesn't mean he can't have a little harmless fun." Hope wiggles her toes, brushing a bead of water off of them. "The doors aren't closed. It's just that I've recently broken it off with someone, and I don't fall into relationships easily these days. A lot of girls my age like to bandy about the word love with whomever they're currently with, but I just can't do that. It's fine though. I'll just turn into one of those crazy cat ladies."

He seems a little too stiff and rigid to actually have that level of fun. So in effort to loosen up even a little he moves to sit beside her. Elliott sits at a ninety degree angle from her, ensuring that his feet remain on dry land. This also helps as he's not looking at her. "Then you'd have to go and change. I'm not certain you'd appreciate that very much." It would be funny, though. A bit of wildlife catches his eye but this does not mean that he's ignoring her. "A wise man once said that it is better to have loved and lost than to have never have loved at all." He falls into the latter category.

"That was Alfred Lord Tennyson," Hope points out. She's edumicated. "I've lost both," she says thoughtfully. "Tripp, when he died." It does not matter if he didn't want her, or that he's back now. She lost him. "And Bobby… well that's more complicated. Right now, I'm just trying to get on with my life and be the best that I can be." Despite mental breaks. Her blonde hair is primped up and she grins. "I've already changed, though I don't suppose getting that wet and cold would be much fun."

There's always some sort of comeback with this one. An answer for everything even if the answer isn't always correct. "Indeed." At least she does seem to know his reference. This causes Elliott to smile and for the briefest of moments he allows the warm sun and good company take over. It is a comfortable day. "Then you have become stronger," he points out, finally turning to look at her. "And you'll continue to do so. In many ways you are stronger than I am." He then grins, thankful that he's not in her immediate view. "You're right. I do hope that you have brought something warm." Then he pushes her, just like that. She did basically ask for it, after all, and he knows that he has some blankets in his vehicle. He's not quite as safe as she may suspect.

"Brought somethin—" Before the question can be finished, Hope finds herself body first in the chilled water. Thankfully, Dallas lakes don't really /freeze/, but the temperatures do drop considerably. So when the blonde Tyler twin surfaces, it's with another shriek. Then a laugh. Brushing her wet hair back from her face, she splashes at him. She can't play too long in the cold water though; not just due to the chill. It's mostly due to being unable to move at all gracefully in weighted down denim. Hands settle to the dock, and she starts to pull herself up out of the water. "How does having my heart broken twice make me at all stronger? If anything, I'm weaker because of it. Little pieces of myself chinked away. Love is a gift that once you give it, you can never get it back."

She did tell him to live a little. He's acting more like someone his age, for once, but immediately shifts back into the role of the responsible man. As soon as she's back towards the dock, a hand is outstretched to help her back to dry land. He'd mostly avoided her splash but his white shirt is showing signs of cold water. "You've been able to feel that emotion. That is something I likely will never have, not in that sense." It isn't said to make her feel guilty or bad for him, it is just a simple truth. "And not only have you been able to feel it, but you've also been able to say that you survived it. Even if those pieces of your heart are gone, it is still beating. It's strong."

"It's still broken," Hope says, a sad little grin on her dripping wet face. Drawn up by his hand she waits. There is a brief look of mischief on her face, where she very nearly pushes him in. To stop herself from doing so, she hugs her arms over her chest. "Being able to feel the emotion is one thing, the heartache that comes with it isn't something I'd wish on anyone, Elliott." Her still wet hand reaches out to muss at his perfect hair. She may not push him in, but dripping on him can be just as fun.

He wouldn't complain if she did dump him in since turnabout is fair play. Now he wishes that he had brought that jacket with him. "I should get you somewhere to dry off. The last thing you need is to become sick because of my foolish actions." Elliott looks up at that hand that is dripping water onto him, nearly crossing his eyes in the process. The hair remains as is, wet and completely messed up. "Then we will simply have to repair that, now won't we?" For a moment it might appear that he's suggesting more between them, but he is to be a man of the cloth, after all. El stands and then offers her a hand yet again. "Do you have proper clothing or should I find something for you?"

Shivering a little, Hope shakes her head. "I wasn't planning on taking an impromptu dip." She has a jacket in the car of the person she came with, but other than that, not much. Her car is still in the shop. "I-I'll b-be fine," she says, teeth chattering a little. It may not be the coldest day in the world, but if feels decidedly colder when one is soaking wet. "It's not easy to repair heartache." Another shiver before she takes his hand again. "Glad you decided to live a little?"

He waits until she has his hand and he's lifted her to stand before he speaks again. Elliott is careful to ensure that she can stand on her own, his hands perhaps hovering far closer than they should. At this moment he thinks nothing of it. "We shall get you changed. One of the other chaperones can take charge for a moment while we do so." It seems far more an order than a suggestion with the tone he takes, not quite commanding but one determined to see her dry. "I have a blanket that you can use as a towel and I believe we can find something else for you. If not, I can always take you somewhere." He hesitates a moment as he considers her question, looking down at her as he does so. "I will be glad when I'm certain you don't become sick due to me. Then I'll decide if it was worth it."

Hope easily stands on her own. Her legs aren't injured, and though the toes of her one foot look a little purple, it's due to them having recently been broken, not due to the cold. "I'll be fine," she says quietly, offering him a soft smile. "If I get a few sniffles, it was worth it to see you laugh and act your age." Turn around is fair play, really, and she's not flirting, just simply stating a fact. At the mention of the chaperones, she looks back up at the park and nods. "They'll be okay to do so. Thanks."

Yes, he does notice her toe and yes he'll be watching her walk. If he doubts her ability to do so he'll sweep her up and carry her off. That is what he can do, after all. Still Elliott remains close as if it somehow will make the cold away. "Then let's warm you up, hrm?" It may sound so dirty but he has a way of making it seem so innocent. "And thank you, Hope. For reminding me who I am." Or what his age is, at the very least.

"We all need reminders sometimes," Hope says with a grin. Having only recently been reminded of her youth herself not too long ago. She appears to be fine, even though he's hovering. She remains to be fine to walk the length of the dock too, until she reaches the path. Whereupon her barefoot strikes a jagged rock, causing her to yelp and drop to the dock. With a whimper, she manages to say, "Guess I should've put the galoshes back on…"

"Perhaps. I really never stop to think about it." He allows her to walk ahead of him then as she proves that she's perfectly capable to do all of this on her own. "It's almost as if there's no" Well, there goes that statement. Instead of talking Elliott immediately moves forward. Without even asking he bends slightly so that he can properly scoop Hope up into his arms. It's a decent fit and he seems stable enough with her. "I guess that I should not have thrown you in the cold lake." It's an attempt to tease her but his face is still rather serious.

Galoshes in her hands, she bops him on the back with him as she's scooped up, laughing all the while. "Well if we're going to play the blame game, I suppose I shouldn't have dropped a bowling ball on my foot to begin with. Then you wouldn't need to keep rescuing me." Hope wraps her arms about his neck, though not in an overly romantic way. Just so that if he does drop her, she'll have something to cling to to balance herself until her footing is secured. "Maybe you should stop to think about it more often. You're what? Probably mid-twenties or so? You shouldn't be acting like an old man, no matter the path that is chosen for you."

He deserves that. He deserves all of it. Yet she's laughing so his expression does soften, the hints of a smile beginning to make an appearance. "Remind me never to take you bowling, then. We really should think about your feet." Yes, everything for her feet. Elliott heads towards where he can only assume that her ride is parked as that is near where he has also parked. His white dress shirt is now grey and extremely wet. They must look like quite the pair. "I'm twenty two, actually." To hear himself say his age makes him feel almost foolish. It seems so young. "And I don't act like an old man; I'm merely a serious person. I would blame my father but there is no blame to be had." He pauses to consider it all. "Is it honestly so bad?"

"That you're acting like an old man? Yes." Hope's eyes are twinkling, her demeanor that of a regular girl. However brief that it's going to last. As she's carried along, she keeps up with the conversation as best as possible, choosing to focus on that rather than cute up-and-coming priest carrying her around like they've just gotten married. "So we're closer in age than I thought. I'm twenty one," she offers cheerfully. "I don't mind the seriousness, but you know, you're going to hurt yourself if you're so serious all the time. Live a little. Enjoy things." This coming from the depressed girl who wants to hide away from the world. Ironic.

"I am not acting like an old man." The response is quick, too quick. It's almost as if they're both children picking on each other. Any thoughts that she may be having obviously are unknown to the man of the cloth. Or almost man of the cloth. "I know," he admits sheepishly. "I had found out some information while we were getting you checked into the hospital. I hope you don't mind as I wasn't attempting to spy on you." In fact, this is the first that he's admitted to knowing anything about her, really. "I assumed that you knew how old that I was. I'm sorry if I've misled you in any way." When she lectures him about enjoying life Elliott can't help but laugh, a healthy laugh. "I do not act like an old man, but fair enough. What would you suggest that I do, then?"

"Not right /now/ you're not." That's a quick retort too, but Hope is still grinning. "It's not as though you're stalking me, right? I have enough stalkers in my life that I probably don't need another, but I don't mind you learning a bit about me due to staying with me at the hospital." After all, there was likely paper work to fill out, and with an injured noggin, she certainly wasn't filling it out. "Well I guessed you were under twenty-five, I just thought you were closer to twenty-five than twenty." A teensy lift of her shoulders. "Depends, do you like cotton candy? There's this carnival thing not far, and I'm supposed to go there at night." Yay, therapy for forcing her to do something she hates. "But I really don't like the darkness." Pause. "I'm not /afraid/ of the dark. Merely what lurks within it. I could use an escort that's, well… please don't be offended, but… safe."

It is very much as if they are being children. At least he's being receptive to it and not trying to ignore it all. "No, I'm afraid there will be no stalking on my end. I just needed to fill out some paperwork for you. I didn't want you to be afraid that I might know too much about you so I never mentioned it." He is a stranger for the most part, in all honesty, and having him know her demographics may be a bit unsettling. Elliott continues to carry her until he reaches his car, not knowing where else to take her. Her car obviously is not here. "I can collect any of your things that you may have left behind if you'd like, then I can take you home. A warm shower will do you good." It's then that he blinks down at her, still holding her in his arms. "I still believe that I act my age, but I'll not argue. Although I've not been to a carnival since I was a child." When she mentions an escort his response is immediate. "As you wish." Then he's back to staring at her, as if trying to figure out what's going on. "I'm not exactly sure what you mean by that, Hope, but I'm not offended."

"I'm glad you're not offended. I just meant, you know, you won't try to make a pass at me." Therefore, he's safe. Hope needs that right now. Her cheeks are a bit flushed as he's staring at her. "My treat, since you'll have to go out of your way for it." Sighing, she shakes her head. "You just act older than your actual age. It's refreshing in a way, since most guys your age are all about partying and having fun at the expense of others." Immature and all that. "Thank you for that. The paperwork I mean. I should have thought of it, but by the time they had me in at the hospital I was struggling just to stay conscious."

"Safe." It's an odd term to him but he accepts it for what it is. "Well, then, I'm glad that I'm safe for you. It truly is not my intent to make my actions seem to be motivated by any other goals." She's blushing and is currently in his arms and for a moment he thinks back to what Isobel has said to him. Eventually he snaps out of it and begins to lower her slowly to the ground. "I've never seen the point in wasting my time drinking and generally annoying others. Think of all the other things that you can do with your time." Elliott pulls his gaze away from her, more to inspect his vehicle than anything. "I'm simply glad that I was around to help. You had an injury and required treatment. It was the least that I could do."

"Most guys would've called for help, and then left." Which is why Hope went out of her way to make the fruit bouquet. "Why, what other goals would you have, Elliott?" Lashes are fluttered prettily at him, purely teasing as he sets her down. There's a small wince as pressure is put on he broken toes, but then she pushes through the pain with another smile. "What was that look for," she asks curiously. "And I'd be glad for a blanket to wrap in, and a ride back to my apartment. Jenna has my coat in the car and m—" Her hand drops to her pocket, and she pulls out a sopping wet cellular phone. "Hopefully it'll work once dried. I should call and let her know that I'm leaving, so that they don't worry." Speaking of the other chaperone's and the group at large.

"That almost seems unfair to men, Hope. There are plenty of people in general that might have run away, but there are just as many people who would have done what I did." If there's one thing that he's holding onto it's his faith in humanity. Elliott tilts his head slightly, a single brow in the air. "What look?" Either way he shrugs it off and opens the car. The passenger side door is left open for her and from the trunk he produces a blanket. "I should retrieve my jacket." It is rather expensive, after all. "I can inform the others of what happened if you wish? Then I will take you home." If she doesn't climb into the vehicle soon he'll attempt to get her in there by force. Gently. She needs to mind her foot, after all. "Are you sure a carnival is a good idea? You shouldn't be walking."

"It's not unfair, it's just an observation." Hope does know there's good people out there. Like Bobby. Once the blanket is produced, she wraps herself in it. This is what she was waiting for before getting into the vehicle. At least now his seat won't get all that damp. "Could you, please? Jenna's the one with the funky red hair." Now that she's off her foot, she wiggles her toes. The galoshes are placed down by her feet. "I'll be okay. I'll re-splint them when I get home. The nurse showed me how to do it, so that I could shower and stuff."

It is an unfair observation then. Still he does not argue with her. Instead he waits to ensure that she is tucked safely inside of his vehicle. Once this is done he scans the crowd to attempt to locate this funky red haired woman. "I shall return." Then he leaves her, yet he keeps her in view as best he can. After he retrieves his jacket he speaks with this woman and explains the whole story. Eventually Elliott returns and climbs into the vehicle. The engine is started and he looks down at himself. "If I'm to go anywhere I'll need to change." He currently has no clothes in his vehicle other than what he's wearing. "I'll see you home safely than put on something more appropriate."

Hope runs off with the car! Actually, she sits there quietly, cuddled under the blanket in an attempt to warm up. When he returns, she smiles over at himself. "You look fine, and not half as wet as I am. But that's a fair deal. When you drop me off, I'll give you my number so you can let me know when you're available to escort me." It's anything but a date. It's merely two people hanging out. One needing to face a fear of the darkness, the other attempting to help out a poor, slightly misguided soul.

"I look older than what I am." This is said as he backs out of his parking space, his face carrying the same seriousness as it always does. Yet it is supposed to be a joke. Once he is actually driving Elliott heads in the correct direction of her apartment. He does know her address, after all. "I assume you have a home phone since yours seems to be under the weather." It did get tossed in a lake, after all. "As you wish. I will pick you up for this so called carnival. It's good to see that you're attempting to face your fears, Hope." And with that he promptly takes her home, if only to leave her for a few hours. She needs time to get ready and he needs time to reassess himself.

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