The Blame Game

De Soto Pharmacy

Large windows on the front and sides of the building allow outside light to shine upon the grey walls with a festive green horizontal stripe. Two cashier centers have been set up on either side of the entrance, though generally only one is occupied at any given time. Neatly lined rows of shelves comprise the majority of the pharmacy, carrying a vast assortment of over-the-counter medication, herbal remedies, bandaging, greeting cards, junk food; pretty much everything one could expect to find on a pharmacy shelf.
At the very back of the De Soto Pharmacy, is the actual pharmaceutical department. A pharmacist is on duty here twenty-four hours a day, filling out prescriptions.

Yesterday was the first time in a very long time that Hope actually missed church. The recent attack, coupled with the recent arrival of a thought long-dead friend, has caused her to have a slight crisis of faith. That, and well, her leg was just bothering her too much for her to really want to be out anywhere.

Today is better though. The sun is shining, the air is warm. It's a beautiful day to be out and about, and there are some things for her to take care of. Errands to run, work to attend to, puppy supplies to pick up. The first stop of the day is at De Soto's. She should go to a salon to do this, but since she bleached her hair on her own, she really wants to fix it on her own. Which is why the blonde Tyler twin is entering the shop mid-morning.

Sean isn't familiar enough with the church to really take note of who's attending or not. He shows up, sits down, but keeps his interactions and participation to the bare minimum. After all, he has this unsightly habit of mauling people he allows himself to grow fond of. A week or two ago, Sean was a walking wreck. Today, however, things are looking a little bit more positive for the man. Positive enough that he isn't shaking like some scared rodent or crack addict as he makes his way through the pharmacy, picking out a few guilty pleasures he'd like to enjoy. He doesn't even really notice the blonde, due to the relative newness of her hair color.

The blonde, however, recognizes him. "Sean, hey, Sean!" The first name she can remember, but the surname is eluding her at the moment. Hope waves at him, quite cheerfully. She takes a few steps forward, then stops. He may not really like her eyeing his pharmacy purchases, so she drops her hands to fold together in front of her. Waiting to be recognized, or at least acknowledged.

There's nothing to be embarassed about in his hands, really. A pint of ice cream here, hand lotion there - all fairly typical, nonembarassing fixtures. However, when his name is called out, he twirls around in mild surprise, eyes wide as he looks for the author of those calls. The blonde hair throws him for a loop, but eventually… "Hope? That…is that you?" The smile that alights his features are warm and genuine. "I didn't recognize you with the hair - you look like a completely different person!"

"I was… going through a phase." That's the short of it. Drastic changes when upset are something Hope used to be known for. She touches the hair almost self consciously, and then smiles. "It /is/ me though. It's great to see you." Acknowledged means that she can approach him and not feel as though she's being too snoopy. "I've been thinking about changing it back though. Before the conference, I mean."

"I can understand phases," Sean offers sympathetically with a nod of his head. Instead of pushing her for elaboration on the sudden change, he tucks the lotion beneath an arm so that he can reflexively hold out a hand to Hope. Handshakes are just part of how he was formally raised. "It is you, though! Yes. And you still look phenomenal, dark hair or not." It's with a tinge of shyness that he offers this, and he moves on from it rather quickly.

"Oh! The conference. So, you're definitely going to it, yes? Personally, I've been rather looking forward to the experience."

The compliment causes the Tyler girl to blush. Can't be helped. Technically single, possibly engaged or not, it's been a while since she's gotten a nice compliment. "Thanks! That's sweet of you to say." She feels more confident once the compliment has been given, especially since Hope's been feeling a bit out of it for a while. Which of course earns him that handshake. Firm, but gentle. Business-like and friendly at the same time.

"I am definitely going. I can't wait. The bands that they've gotten are phenomenal and reason enough to go. Though I may have to miss a night or two…" Depending on whether she turns into a beastie or not. "… have to get the stitches out."

The blush doesn't do well for Sean's complexion either. He clears his throat in an attempt to keep from flushing with embarrassment himself. "You're, err, very welcome! And, really? I do to, for work-related reasons but…it ought to be a good time. I would hope. Stiches?" Politely curious, he looks over to her before paling slightly. Didn't he hear something about her being in a hospital…?

"You…you weren't at church yesterday, were you? Are you alright?"

A delicate little finger points to her leg. She's wearing jeans today rather than her typical pink skirt, and the stitches are likely the reason for it. "I got attacked by a wolf," she says, her voice only shaking for part of it. Hope is not going to dwell. She's going to focus on happier things. "I'm okay, I guess. The leg just hurt a bit much to do all that standing and sitting, and standing and sitting. So I worshipped at home yesterday." Not /her/ home, but at home at any rate.

"Oh! You got a job? Sean, that's wonderful news. Congratulations!"

And just like that, Sean learns what it feels like to have the wind knocked right out of him by words. By terrible, terrible words. "A w-wolf?" He looks for confirmation, looking a bit unsettled and shaky himself. Realizing it's not normal for people to behave with such abject terror at the prospect of wolf attacks, he attempts to save face immediately afterwards. "I…that's terrible! No wonder I…I didn't know, or I would have sent a card or…I'm sorry, Hope. You don't…you don't deserve to have had that happened to you." The change in topic is actually welcome…even if it does remind him of more wolf attacks. "Oh! Yes. I'm a licensed attorney, and so I've gotten a position at Savoy and Savoy's Law Firm. It's a really great environment. And, thank you!"

"Oh… please don't worry so much! I'm sure they'll catch it soon. It's been attacking a few people. A bunch of librarians, and Robert Cornett. I think you met him at the hospital? Well his parents were attacked too, and he and his sister. It's just /awful/ that they can't seem to catch it. At least the doctors said it wasn't rabid." Even though she had to have an icky rabies shot regardless. Hope reaches out to place a comforting hand on his arm. "Please, Sean. I'll be alright." Truth of it is that the wolf attack has her less disturbed than her dead friend coming back to find her. "A law firm! I remember you saying that you were a lawyer, but wow. I really hope that it works out for you there. It sounds wonderful."

"Yeah…" Sean mumbles, his voice adopting a far off quality. Thoughtful, and inherently morose. "Terrible that they…can't seem to catch it." The guilt is coursing through his veins at full strength, leaving him with this horrible gnarled sensation in the pit of his stomach. It's only the touch that set him out of his reverie, prompting him to jump a bit in surprise before staring at the limb as though he's never seen it before. "I…uhm. Yeah! Yeah, it is fairly wonderful. My boss is a wonderful woman, and…" Cue the awkward shuffling on his feet.

The jump back startles Hope enough that she nearly winds up on her buttocks on the pharmacy floor. It's only by her hand grabbing onto the nearby shelf of cold medication, that she doesn't topple. "Sorry! I didn't mean to startle you." She looks rather embarrassed at this, though she busies herself with straightening out her sweater and purse. "They'll catch it eventually. I heard a rumor that they might be sending in wolf hunters from Colorado." Total rumor, though it's not really all that far-fetched. "OoOoh… do you have a crush on your boss, Sean? You should tread carefully there. Sometimes business and pleasure don't mix."

It's like a sitcom's domino effect. As she begins to lose her footing, Sean's arm shoots out automatically, looping around her back all of the sudden to try and steady her, all the while his face burns an impressive red. "N-no, don't apologize - are you alright?" Here comes the clearing of his throat. "It's - it's me, I'm just…weird. There's no need to apologize, I'm just a bit of a…mess up, is all." He assures her. Speaking of assurances, her bit about the wolf isn't doing him any favors. For a second, he looks almost hopeless, before allowing himself to be destracted by the mention of her boss. "What? A c-crush? No!" He's adamant about this, highly embarrassed. "No! I mean, not that she isn't…you know. Crush worthy. But it wouldn't be very professional of me and…" How can he explain that the reason mention of Mignonette leaves him on edge is because he clawed out a chunk of her side? "I don't think I can…you know. Have…someone like that."

She catches the shelf, and he catches her. Hope starts to giggle. Really, she can't help it. They both could have wound up on the floor in a very awkward manner, but they've managed to stop that. "Thanks, I'm fine! You just startled me is all." She's a bit more jumpy these days than she normally would be. "You're not a mess up, Sean. You're sweet." Less flirtation, more pure honesty. "I think the man doth protest too much," she teases gently. "I'm sure you could be with whoever you wanted to be with if you put your mind to it."

"Okay. So long as you're doing well, and…err. Sorry." Realizing now that the contact is no longer necessary, Sean awkwardly removes his hand from around her, the limb snaking shyly into the pocket of his jeans. Combatting the redness, he smiles sheepishly to her. "No…no, I am a bit of a mess up. It's just…I'm unlucky like that." Beat. "No, that's…I mean, I'm not trying my hand at being Shakespearean in a hidden crush or anything. But, that's just…I don't think it'll happen. And, heh. You'd be surprised."

He is /so/ adorable in his shyness. Hope gnaws on her lower lip, just smiling at him. "I think we're all a bit of a mess up. You have /no/ idea." Bobby's told her a few things, and she's learned some stuff on her own. "I don't see it as being a bad thing, Sean. You just have to… to make the best of what life sends you." Completely opposite of her own thinking which states should she be a monster, she'll kill herself. "Okay, okay!" Her hands come up playfully to stop him. "No crush. I believe you."

Sean ends up smiling, tentative and shy, when she admits to how 'messed up' everyone happens to be. "You know, you're probably right on the money about that. And…you're right, too. About making the best of life, and…" Realizing that he's just basically parroting back what she had just said, he cuts himself off with a lick of his lips, glancing around innocently. "Oh! Well…I suppose I shouldn't be keeping you from your shopping." Not because he doesn't want to keep talking to her. But because he genuinely doesn't understand how she'd want to keep talking to him so long, what with his social awkwardness.

"I'm just going to pick out hair dye. Going back to the original and all that." Hope smiles, not caring if he's parroting what she's said. It seems to make her all the more chipper. "But I don't want your ice cream to melt. Looks like it might if we stand here much longer, then I'd feel awful. You think your life is messy? There's nothing messier than trying to eat thawed ice cream." Probably best not to ask how she knows that.

Sean lets out a faint laugh, and he glances down at the carton in his hand. "Oh, yeah? You have much experience with thawed ice cream then, I imagine? It's okay, I think. I can grab another carton on the way to the register. But…uhm." Beat. "Well, would you want to, maybe, meet up sometime? Not as like, a date or…" Cough. "Just…I don't know. Would you like to go bowling sometime…maybe?" One of these days, Sean will develop the confidence necessary not to stumble over his own invitation. Maybe.

"College student," Hope replies, chuckling a little. Ice cream is a mainstay. Well that, and dealing with a somewhat broken heart. "If it's not a problem though, I won't stress over it." Unless it starts melting onto the floor and causing a problem. At the mention of bowling, there is a sudden whiteness to her face. This disappears with a slow exhale, and she nods. "Bowling. We can definitely go bowling." Chances are that her undead friend won't show up in a poncho again, and it'll help her get over her newfound fear of bowling. "Do you have my number?" Since he'll need to call if he wants to go out bowling some time.

Sean notices the paleness only too easily. And automatically, he adopts a rather horrified expression. "Oh - no - it's okay, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have…just, nevermind. Forget I even mentioned i-…" Beat. But then, she's accepting. This leaves the poor man quite confused. "I…you don't have to, if you don't want to. I…don't think I do, either. Would you mind…?"

"Just consider it part of /my/ messiness," Hope says, trying to pass the whole thing off with a smile. It's no big deal, it's just bowling. Simply bowling with a friend. "Oh, no. I'd love to. It'll be good for my leg, and besides, I've got to learn to get back on the horse and all that." As she doesn't have any purchases she's carrying, she reaches into her purse to pull out her day planner. Whisking out a pen, she writes out her cellular number and tears the sheet out, handing it to him. "You can call any time before midnight. After that you might be subjected to grumpy Hope."

Sean peers down the the note, and after staring at the ten numbers for a moment he pockets it rather slowly. "I…okay. I can understand that, and I'd love to help. With the getting back on the horse thing…and, alright. I will. I definitely will. It was…" And, with surprise on his features, he smiles broadly. "It was really nice running into you, Hope. I'll…see you around? Yeah?"

"Definitely. If not before Sunday, I'll see you at church." Hope smiles at him once more, offering a friendly little finger-wave as she disappears down the aisle of hair-care products. She stops for a moment, then turns back to call out, "Hey, Sean? Relax would you? I won't bite." A tease, since they're both FotSers. "May His holy light shine upon you!" Then she's gone again, turned a corner trying to decide what dye to use.

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