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 I will not whittle hall passes out of soap, Clare, Del
Matthew Crake
 Posted: Sep 8 2015, 10:45 PM
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Overall, Matthew thought, his first attempt at Sunday services in Crow Station had gone quite well. Sure, there were only a few people present, but he stayed attentive to their expressions and thought they were fairly engaged. He kept things short, too. This was new and he wanted to strike a good balance between brief and rambling.

With Sunday services over, he was putting a bit of energy toward the outside of the church. The inside was as repaired as he could make it. There was still that window unfortunately covered with a bit of plastic sheeting, but that was beyond his skill to repair. Now the weeding, that he could manage!

So Sunday afternoon found Matthew on his knees in the dirt, pulling out the worst of the intruders. There was a fair little lawn here and he really ought to plant something. He used to have a little garden, before all of this—not the greenest of thumbs, but it was land going unused but for the grass and weeds…

Matthew usually dressed like anyone else (if a bit more sedate—honestly, at his age!) but today he wore the black shirt and white clerical collar most people recognized. (At least he thought they did.) Coupled with jeans and boots, but it was the end of the old world. Or the beginning of the new one.

Whatever it was, here he was in the middle of it, in the would-be garden and wondering what he ought to plant.
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CLARE BARLOW
 Posted: Sep 9 2015, 10:37 AM
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It was maybe a bit strange to some people, but here on a day when Clare had no duty shifts, she was still out walking about town. It was more for the exercise than anything else. The weather was nice and she couldn't stand being cooped up in the apartment. She had started out with a little jogging but now had dialed it down to a simple stroll.

Going past the church, she had heard it was nondenominational now, she had so far not visited the place. Her parents were Catholics and she was brought up Catholic though in truth neither of them were all that active when it had come to church going. The most common excuse was it was too far to drive since her tiny community did not have a house of worship of any kind. Clare had never much cared as while she remained respectful of the concept of a God and religion, she just was pretty blah to it all. Yeah, it was the cynic in her.

Clare suddenly took a second look at the man kneeling down weeding. Wait a sec! She knew that dude. It was the guy from the school, Matthew. She mentally debated for a moment just continuing to walk right by but then figured he seemed to have at least good naturedly tolerated her if not outright liked her. Why not at least say 'hello'?

Swerving off the sidewalk she approached him silently until he must have noticed movement in his peripheral vision and turned to look. Then she smiled and put up one hand in a hasty wave.

"Hey! Hi there, you remember me, right? Clare?" She was dressed quite differently from that bitter cold winter day when they cleaned up the leaky restroom. She had on a camo tee shirt and light grey shorts with black and white sneakers on.

Then she saw it, holy crap! He had a priest's collar on! So he was a ....priest then? Well, duh of course he was.
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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Sep 9 2015, 06:52 PM
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Clare was not the first person to go by, so Matthew did not look up at first. Only when she approached him, clearly intending to chat (or at least say hi, but the important thing was that he wouldn’t be intruding on her day) did he pause and see who it was. Of course he remembered her!

He nodded. “Clare from Montana,” he recalled. Somehow he guessed she did not want to be remembered as Clare who helped mop up when a toilet clogged! Although he paid attention to Clare, he did not fully stop pulling weeds. Just split his attention. It seemed like a casual chat.

“How have you been?” He had seen her around town, but not spoken to her in any significant way since then. She looked well. People did tend to in Crow Station, which marked it apart from much of the rest of the world. But, or course, appearances were only ever that. He tried not to make assumptions.
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CLARE BARLOW
 Posted: Sep 9 2015, 11:14 PM
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And he did recognize her, Clare grinning as she was not only correctly identified but he even recalled her home state.

"Hey yep, a Montana girl alright," Clare nodded then added, "I can't help but notice you are a priest or minister, never sure which? I didn't realize that but it's cool."

"So are you in charge of this church then?" she wondered aloud but then realized he had asked her a question also.

"I'm good, got a job....I mean I got accepted by the local militia. So I'm excited about that."
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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Sep 9 2015, 11:43 PM
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Matthew chuckled at the priest vs. minister catch. "Both, if I'm doing the job properly," he told her, "and the church seemed... woefully under-utilized." Although he felt more comfortable with it now, he tried to always be mindful of those who used this church before. The last thing he wanted was for someone to look at what had once been a comfort to them and think it now isolating.

"But the militia! Congratulations. That's a noble job to take on." Matthew wasn't wholly clear on what the militia did every day, but they were certainly the people you wanted around in the event of any sort of attack. He did wonder if Clare was familiar with weaponry. Somehow he guessed she was--and that she wouldn￿t be too shy to mention it.
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CLARE BARLOW
 Posted: Sep 10 2015, 04:43 PM
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"Yeah, every town needs at least one church, it's good you can get this one up and running again," she looked down at his weeding, "jack of all trades, huh?"

He, on the other hand, congratulated her on her new job which had her beaming.

"Thank you! I think it is. My Daddy was a soldier ....well, until he got seriously wounded and given an honorable discharge. Then the only army he commanded was me, but he taught me everything I know."

She considered it a moment then decided to at least offer, "Say....you want some help there? Back home we had ourselves a big garden and I did a lot of gardening. We planted a lot of vegetables which meant we saved on groceries. I kinda miss that to be honest."

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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Sep 10 2015, 07:52 PM
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“Well I wouldn’t say no to it,” Matthew agreed to the offer of help in the garden. “I don’t know yet what I’ll be planting. What I’ll have access to, for that matter.” There were not exactly packets of seeds at the hardware store anymore! Actually, now that he thought about it, was that true? Probably, but he would have to look into it.

“What would you plant? I imagine the climate isn’t too different from what you’re used to.”
They were north of Montana, of course, but it wasn’t exactly Louisiana—the climate wasn’t wildly different .
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CLARE BARLOW
 Posted: Sep 10 2015, 09:40 PM
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The man accepted her offer in a roundabout sort of way so Clare knelt down a few feet from the guy and started using her hands to pull at some weeds. This was a girl who never cared if she got dirty.

"I can look around and see if I can find any seed packets if you want?" she offered then yanked at another weed.

He then asked her a reasonable question as to what crops would she try and plant.

"Well, wheat is the big money crop in Montana, but let's not worry about that. In our garden we grew peas, squash, onions, potatoes, and even garlic," she easily recalled those better times.
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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Sep 11 2015, 01:07 PM
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“I can’t say I’ve ever grown much from seeds,” Matthew admitted. Like most people, he started with partially-grown plants from the nursery. He had tried garlic from cloves, but never even seen the seeds. “Still, I suppose it’s past time to start.”
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Delilah Raines
 Posted: Sep 11 2015, 02:14 PM
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The security for the town was... pretty much nonexistent. There was almost no sport in simply walking on in, bold as brass, but she still found it amusing. Sliding the strap of her shotgun back over her shoulder, as no gaurds came to greet her, Delilah began to strut about the place like she owned it.

Which she tended to do everywhere she went really, but nonetheless she promptly began to do so, and took the opportunity to gaze about her new surroundings while she was at it. The main reason why she had came here was because Justus hadn`t wanted her anywhere near the town, and being the troll that she was Del simply couldn`t resist showing up just to tick him off.

The other reason was of course to continue her endless quest for wine. Surely, a place this well thought out had to have at least one bottle stashed away somewhere, or the place wasn`t well thought out!

Turning the corner she abruptly came across two people kneeling in the dirt, and she smiled at them as she lazily approached. There was a young girl and what looked to be their local priest. Could be promising. "Afternoon! No, don`t get up, I do enjoy people kneeling before me," she said cheekily, before turning her keen gaze onto their garden. "Anything to harvest?"

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CLARE BARLOW
 Posted: Sep 11 2015, 03:38 PM
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"We would buy some tomato plants but most of our stuff was from seeds, well except potatoes. Garlic seeds are tricky though, compared to the rest. They have a very short shelf ...." Clare was getting into it when a voice from behind interrupted her train of thought.

"Afternoon! No, don`t get up, I do enjoy people kneeling before me."

Turning to see who spoke, she saw a young woman and also noted that shotgun she had shouldered. Still, no law against being armed these days.
Clare hoped she was just joking around with that kneeling crack. The girl herself enjoyed sarcasm so she could take it.

As for the woman's question about a harvest, she had to be kidding?

"Hi. Umm, if you are hungry for these pulled out weeds, help yourself. Otherwise you might have to wait for something to actually get planted," Clare replied wiping her dirt encrusted hands on her shorts.

Then Clare glanced over to Matthew, he'd probably do a whole lot better at welcoming whoever it was. In fact maybe he even recognized her?
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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Sep 11 2015, 06:01 PM
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“Oh, I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss it,” Matthew commented mildly to both Clare and the newcomer. Rudeness he understood, but he responded as he always did: by pretending not to notice. “There’s a patch of nettle nearer the church and they make an excellent tea.” Comments like that were the reason people mistook his Scottish accent for an English one.

(That, and not knowing the difference, but he knew his people were more reputed for their whiskey. And with damn good reason.)

He stood and brushed off his hands. He was not intentionally moving slowly, only at an age where springing up was simply not an option. “I’m Matthew and this is Clare. It’s nice to meet you,” he said, offering his not-totally-filthy hand.
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Delilah Raines
 Posted: Sep 12 2015, 02:03 PM
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Delilah was not surprised that there was nothing in their decrepit and barren little garden, well except for the weeds. The only time she was ever serious, or the only time people knew that she was being serious, as her humour could be quite dry at times, was when the sound of amusement had left her voice or she had her shotgun pointed in their face.

Fortunately she remained amused. As the other girl shot some sarcasm back at her about helping herself to the weeds, Del smiled. It was always fun when her opponents had the wit to fight back.

She was surprised though as the priest piped up about the nettle being good for tea, and she did glance over to see if she could spot any before declining sweetly, "neither are my kind of weed. I`ll stick to what I know."

Her gaze returned to the man as movement caught her eye, and she watched him stand slowly to his feet and introduce himself and the girl, before offering her his hand to shake. A very dirty hand.

Delilah may be on the spoiled and haughty side, but she was a scrappy and fearless fighter who wasn`t afraid of getting dirty. She decided to play it nice today, at least for the moment, and shook his hand with her gloved one.

"I am Delilah, and I am pleased to meet you both, I`m sure," she said, as always sounding amused.

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CLARE BARLOW
 Posted: Sep 12 2015, 04:32 PM
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Matthew remained calm and collected as he rose to his feet and spoke to the newcomer, introducing himself and giving Clare's name too then holding out his hand. Clare stood too, much more nimbly but then she was a whole lot younger. She felt naked without any weapons on her and eyed that shotgun ready to lunge forward if the stranger made any attempt to unshoulder it.

Sounded to Clare like this one was a pot smoker. Not against the law anymore but she couldn't help but wonder if the woman was into stronger stuff. That could make her dangerous. Clare was a cynic when it came to strangers.

The woman seemed to take Matthew's gesture well and accepted the offer, shaking hands while giving her own name. Delilah? Really? Like the evil woman in the Bible who betrayed Samson? Clare forced such silliness out of her thoughts, names didn't make the people.

"Yeah, nice to meet you too," she forced a little smile.

Again she was content to let Matthew do the talking here.

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Matthew Crake
 Posted: Sep 12 2015, 04:41 PM
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Matthew chose to pretend that he could not understand what was going on, that he didn’t recognize Clare’s distrust or Delilah’s attempts to get a rise. Despite the weapon, he did not believe this young woman to be a threat. That was his biggest concern, Clare being on edge, half in the interest of setting her at ease and half because he had no doubt she could do damage if she chose to.

What was the distance? It was in feet. 21? He thought it was 21, though he never could wrap his head around feet and inches. They were well under it, though.

“Are you new to Crow Station?” he asked Delilah. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around.” Then again, she did not look like she ran with his crowd. Which was understandable, quite a lot of people weren’t interested in religion these days and the collar put him squarely in that category.
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