To Steal A Bible

IC Time: June 3, 2007 - Afternoon
Location: St. Anne's Catholic Church
Synopsis: Charlene, blackmailed, attempts to steal something personal of Father Vincent LaRoe's.
Submitted by: Charlene

The morning church service has ended, and by noon, most members of the congregation have filtered out, leaving the place empty and echoing. Vincent, at first, is no where to be seen. However, a few minutes after Charlene enters, he walks from the back of the church, stepping through a doorway and pausing to listen. "Hello?" he calls, not certain whether he'd heard someone enter or not.

Charlene clears her throat and begins walking down towards aisle towards Vincent. "Hello Father." Her voice is young, and vibrant if a bit nervous. "How are you today?" She tucks the cellphone away into a back pocket somewhere.

Vincent is not unaccustomed to having nervous people greet him after a service, so he just gives a quiet smile. "Ah, hello. Well enough… And how're you?" He lets her come to him, since that really is just easier. But he doesn't ask what she's here for. He'll just let her get around to that in her own good time.

Charlene stops a few feet away from Vincent, trying to decide what to do. "I have a problem…" it comes out slowly, thoughtfully as she peers behind the priest trying to figure out what direction he came from. "I'm not sure how to handle it." At least she's telling the truth so far.

Vincent had come from a doorway off the side of the main church, which leads back eventually to an office (because I say so), though whether Charlene could figure that out now is hard to say. "Well…pardon me for saying so, but problems are what we specialize in here," he says, with just a slight joking twist to his lips. "Why don't you tell me a little more?" he suggests, more gently.

"Well….." She shuffles slightly off to your left and behind you, peering down the hallway, before turning back to you, "Some people have threatened the lives of my family and friends…" She looks down a bit nervously, not that you can see, but the direction of her voice changes slightly, "And going to the police just isn't going to work."

A flicker of a frown darkens Vincent's face as Charlene speaks. Her shuffling around is just a bit disorienting as well, though he turns slightly, trying to follow the sound of her movements. "Forgive me, but…in my experience, when someone tells you not to go to the police, that's exactly when you /should/ go." He shifts his weight, nervously, and asks, "What do these people want from you?"

Charlene looks up, watching you, she doesn't move around any more, thankfully. "That's just it. What they want me to do seems harmless enough, if you discount the breaking the law bit. They want me to steal things for them, not really expensive things, but personal things…." She lets it trail off a bit with a huff. "I don't really want to go to the police. It's almost like a practical joke…"

Vincent raises an eyebrow slightly. "Threats on the lives of your family members is no laughing matter," he points out, severely. "And neither is stealing. I've always felt that the theft of personal things is even more wicked than the theft of expensive things. Expensive things can be replaced, but things with personal value cannot be." He shakes his head a little, and adds, "If you're wanting my blessing to do what they say, you won't get it. My advice is to go to the police."

You say, "No, don't really want your blessing, Father. I just want your crucifix, honestly. I'll trade you a note for it, though." she chuckles slightly. "You'll be saving lives…." She offers sincerely. "What more can you ask for?"

Vincent raises his eyebrows, startled by her question. A moment later, however, he's frowning. "I'm sorry, young lady, but that is out of the question. And if that's all, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave…" He doesn't seem to buying the story about her family being in danger, anymore. Or at least, isn't willing to sell a crucifix to get it.

Charlene sighs slightly, dejectedly. "Okay. Fine." She turns and begins walking down the hallway… on a mission to find a room that's got something of Vincent's in it she can use instead of his crucifex. "Though I can prove it to you…" she calls out as her voice is retreating away from you.

Vincent tilts his head, listening as Charlene heads for the hallway. He might be blind, but he's not deaf. Or stupid. "Excuse me, but I believe the exit is /that/ way," he comments, gesturing vaguely toward the front of the church, and following the sound of her footsteps toward the hallway. Though he knows the church very well, he's understandably more slow in navigating than she is. He doesn't give up, however, standing in the hallway and listening for her retreating voice a moment, before following with his hand on the wall to keep oriented.

Charlene increases her pace trying any doors as she gets to them, peering inside. If any look like they would contain personal stuff she will enter and close the door behind her, attempting to lock it. "I'm just looking for the bathroom! I really have to pee." She calls back towards you. She closed the door the office and tries to lock it from the inside as she steps inside.

Vincent doesn't buy the story about the bathroom. She's left alone inside for a minute, at least, while Vincent follows her noisy progress. His office is relatively severe. There's a desk with a strange device that looks like a mutated typewriter, but which is actually used for producing sheets of braille. A large bookcase contains rows of plain white notebooks, with no clue as to what might be contained within, other than a braille label on the spine. A blank corner is filled with a couple of comfortably worn armchairs, and that's about it. Finally, the doorknob jiggles as Vincent tries it, only to find it locked. "Young lady…" he says, his voice slightly muffled through the door, and only slightly ruffled by the events. "You aren't going to find anything of value in there. Why don't we talk about this? I really don't want to call the police…"

Charlene rifles through the desk quickly, not really making any decisions, except she's not interested in office supplies. She takes the small book, glances about and takes two of the white notebooks from the bookcase. The notebooks she tucks into the back of her pants, the book she keeps in her hand. "Please don't call the police! People will get hurt!" She sighs, deciding she's running out of time. Moving towards the door, she unlocks it and steps back behind where it will swing open and holds her breath. Beginning to tremble a bit.

Vincent hesitates as the door opens, standing in the doorway. He listens, carefully, but doesn't hear anything. "Look, Miss…I don't want to get you in trouble," he says, more gently, walking a step or two into the room, his head tilted as he pauses to listen. "But you must understand…I can't let you steal from the church. If for nothing else but for your own soul." He leaves it at that, standing just inside the doorway and listening for her, his usually cheerful face darkened to a worried frown.

Charlene crouches down and really tries to keep holding her breath, not saying anything. Of course the shampoo and soap she uses probably make it far easier for Vincent to figure out where she is. Not that she notices it, very accustomed to it. She closes her eyes and begins counting silently to herself wishing the man to get out of the doorway.

Vincent can't hear her, but he knows that she's there. There's only one door out of the office. After a moment, he turns, stepping into the room enough to close the door behind him, and it's the motion of the door that brings that clean smell to his nose, causing his eyebrows to lift as he he turns slightly to face her. "Why don't we just…have a talk?" he offers, uncertainly.

Charlene lets out her breath in a huff, gasping in a fresher one as she stands, clearing her throat in the process. "What's to talk about? You don't believe me…." She edges away from you, towards the bookcase. "I don't want my family hurt. You'll get your stuff back…" The last is said a bit uncertainly.

Vincent shakes his head a little. "Listen. What's to stop them from hurting your family once they have what they want? For that matter, what's to stop them from hurting /you/? If you'll just talk to me, honestly, there's a chance that perhaps I could help you…" He offers, gently. He doesn't move forward to follow Charlene's movements, but he continues to turn toward the sound of her movements.

Charlene gives a short nervous laugh, "I'm not going to try and second guess this crap. I'm just going to do it and then at least I will know I tried to do what they wanted." Her voice is beginning to sound a bit stressed, edging towards panicky. Reaching into her pocket she pulls out film canister and pops the lid, shaking a single pill into her mouth which she swallows before recapping it. "Why don't you just get out of my way and report it to the police?" She tucks the bottle back into her pocket. All done with one hand, expertly…

Vincent tilts his head, frowning slightly. "Three reasons. One… There are things in this office that can't be replaced. Two… Because I wouldn't be doing my job if I let you commit a sin simply because it was easier for me." The sound of the canister being opened just serves to confuse him, but in a moment he dismisses it to think over later. "Three. Because you seem to be acting under extraordinary circumstances, and I wouldn't want a good person to be arrested simply because she felt she had no other options. There are /always/ other options."

Charlene frowns "I'm really beginning to hate you, Father." She moves towards the desk and picks up the phone. "If you don't let me by you, I will call the police and tell them I'm trapped in here…" She leaves the rest open unsaid. "I guarantee you they will take my word over yours…" She turns on the phone, the faint hum of a dial tone audible. "Please?"

Vincent sighs faintly, rubbing the bridge of his nose as though he were getting a headache. "Yes, well. I love you, young woman." It's not sarcastic. He's a priest, he can say things like that and not be sarcastic. "You can call the police if you like, but I should probably remind you that you're the one who didn't want to contact them in the first place." He considers this for a moment, and then shakes his head. "No, I have no cause to fear the police. Call them if that's really what you want." And he stands, waiting. Apparently he doesn't think that the police would be willing to believe that a blind priest was somehow holding a perfectly able-bodied young person captive.

Charlene slams the phone down on the desk, not caring if it turns off or not. "I am not going to the police!" she shouts this at you. "There's nothing they can do. I just want to get this over with and get on with my life." She moves towards the door, and you, getting ready to shove if she has to. "Just get out of the way please." her voice is not shouting anymore, but it's angry.
Vincent takes a single step backward, a little startled by the shouting. "You're being very unreasonable," he points out, uncertainly. He takes another step back, leaning against the closed door slightly. "Look," he says finally, holding his hands up in a 'let's be reasonable' gesture. "I tell you what. You put back anything you've taken, and I'll get out of the way. Fair deal?" So helpful, he is.

Charlene frowns and comes to a stop, blinking at you. "That's the wrong direction." She sighs and shakes her head, "Okay." She reaches back behind her back and untucks the two notebooks, replacing them with the small book, which she tucks down further. "Here." She holds out the two notebooks towards you. "All I could find that might be important to you."

Vincent reaches out uncertainly, until his hands touch the notebooks. He takes them back, the fingers of one hand automatically sweeping over the spines, without thought. "Right. Okay. Look, I don't know who's wanting you to steal something important to me, but… you really /should/ go to the police,' he offers, but moves aside, unblocking the door, as promised.

"Yeah well, like I said, I don't think they can do much." She reaches for the door and opens it, stepping outside. "I'll think about it though." She begins walking down the hallway, picking up her pace as she goes, hand already in to the front pocket not containing the bottle of pills and withdraws a folded piece of paper which she deposits on the podium next to the open bible there on her way out of the church…

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