Re: Sunday Service: Mercy/Shiloh
Mercy wasn't wrong that it was hot in that church, but Shiloh found it much cooler out in Repose than in the sticky heat of the American South. He'd found out young, during summers spent here, that the lake water was cooler than their own lake back home, and the nights were much drier, not as awful to sleep through with an open window and white curtains blowing in. Not that he minded sweating in any terrible way. He liked a good layer of sweat on his skin, given the right circumstances, and even the cross tucked away beneath his buttoned shirt didn't change that; quite the opposite. But his suit jacket was off, and his sleeves were rolled up, and Mercy wasn't wrong about the heat. Inside the church, the air sat fat and stagnant, fed by hot breath and the sweat born of sinning.
Outside, it was considerably cooler, if varying levels of being oven baked could be considered to have a level that was consider something like cooler.
He was standing there, doing his duty to the congregation, one meted out in palms and smiles, and he looked at everyone who he spoke to. Eye contact, but not threatening, and he was something concerned with learning about the town's residents. It was easier to maneuver when you knew where the blindspots were. He'd always known where the blindspots were in his life, but he'd deliberately avoided them up until his last posting. He knew where they were, the blindspots, to on purpose step into the sunshine where everyone would see his cultivated smirk. Here, that wouldn't do him a bit of good. He'd already tried to scream his way out of a death sentence, and he hadn't been successful, and he'd learned not to trip on that stone quite as often.
The man that approached wasn't notable because of his clothing or the quickly noticed blister on his thumb. It was his skins and the flat planes of the man's face that Shiloh noticed. Being different wasn't something Repose smiled upon. Oh, he'd read all about the gay men populating the town forums, but the town had a good 3,000+ faithful, and the large percent of them still believed sex between men to be an abomination. Being other, ethnic, it wasn't any easier in a small place. Perhaps it was kinder here than in Alabama, but that wasn't saying much. Here they might just hold the chair longer before they strung you up to the nearest tree and set you to dangle.
He reached out to shake the man's hand. Shiloh's handshake was warm, and he didn't try to make a point by holding on too hard or shaking too long; asserting masculinity never had concerned him. "Socializing is good for the soul," he said with that easy Southern smile. His voice was slow, molasses, syrup meeting ways with a pretentious speech tutor as a child. "If I give them things to say to one another, then I'll take that as a positive." He sounded perfectly acceptable, perfectly pastoral. "Father Browning, Leo," he added, by way of introduction. He'd said the name so often now that he almost didn't gag on it any longer.