|Tina||It is roughly 5 AM in El Dorado, and the sun is just beginning to come up. The church stands silent save for the hum of the air-conditioning plant, the candelabras all lit for the first services. The great auditorium is deserted, since even the earliest services are still some hours away, though two doorways in the back of the hall, on either side of the pulpit, suggest that the church's occupants may be close by.|
|Marianna||Marianna enters the church, slowly taking a few steps inside, head swivelling left and right as she surveys the space. Realizng what she's doing, she grins and snorts. Not even able to turn off her natural instinct even inside a church. Smiling to herself and shaking her head, she makes her way further into the main room, stretching her arms over her head, first one, then the other, before reaching to remove her hat. She pauses in the middle of the large space, runing her fingers through her hair with her free hand.|
|Tina||Tina peeks around the edge of the doorway, blinking sleep from her eyes. Spying someone inside, she rubs her eyes, notices the visitor is still there, then smiles. "Welcome to our church," she calls softly. "I'll be right with you." Then she withdraws back into the passage, leaving the doorway empty once more.|
|Marianna||Marianna blinks and takes a step back, free hand moving reflexively towards the holster on her hip before she realizes that the person she hadn't spotted is probably one of the clergy here. Withdrawing her hand from her holster, she raises it half in greeting. "Um, that's okay, I didn't mean--" The woman, nun? disappears before Mari can finish what she was saying. Her cheeks flush a little as she remains standing where she is in the approximate center of the church, holding her hat in one hand, not quite sure what to do other than wait.|
|Tina||Tina hadn't wanted to keep Marianna waiting more than a minute, but necessity and her attempts at haste guarantee a longer wait. Mari may find the series of swishes and thuds and an occasional yelp entertaining or worrying.
Eventually the noise ceases, and Tina hurries into the auditorium, hastily straightening her cowl. "Sorry to keep you waiting, Miss. I am Sister Tina, and once more I welcome you to our church. How may I help you today? It's rather early for services, but if you'd prefer to wait, we don't mind a bit."
|Marianna||The noises coming from the direction the sister disappeared give rise to a deepening grin and then a politely muffled laugh from Mari as she waits. She relaxes, taking the time to get a good, unhurried look at the church. She finds nothing special, other than the solitude of the morning, which is good enough. Her small reverie is interrupted by the re-emergence of the sister. "Oh, I'm, um, not here for services, Sister," she responds, her expression turning somewhat sheepish. "I just...I was looking for someplace to, well, to avoid crowds, I guess," she states. "Just looking for some quiet time and I thought, well, churches are for...that, right?"|
|Tina||"Oh, that's fine! We get some folks who come by to rest, so help yourself to a seat wherever you like. The first service isn't for several hours yet, so you should have plenty of time to soak up the near-solitude," Tina replies with a smile. "I may have to handle some preparations for the service every once in a while, but otherwise I should be out of your way. Though I admit to some curiosity... do you just not like crowds? Or is it something more troubling to you?" she asks curiously.|
|Marianna||Marianna doesn't immediately answer, just stands there in silence, perhaps pondering her answer, fingering figeting with the brim of her hat. "Oh, I guess crowds are okay," she says, shrugging. "I mean, it's kinda had to avoid them in town." She sighs a little, lifing a hand to run her fingers through her hair once more. "With me, it's sort of, well, I'm alone when I'm working. Being alone means, well, safety, in a way. But it does get lonely. Which makes me want to just be around people. But then people get to be a bit too much. Too noisy, too, well, everywhere." She chuckles softly and shrugs again, smiling. "I know, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense at times, does it?"|
|Tina||"I do understand... I think. You prefer your crowds in moderation, then?" Tina asks, head tilted quizzically as she thinks the matter over. "Or perhaps you prefer to only be around a handful of people at a time? Kind of a tall order around here."|
|Marianna||Marianna ponders the question posed by the sister, frowning a little, as if only just know really working out the answer. "No, I think it's just that I like to be able to get away from people now and then," she says slowly. "Helps me to...recharge, I guess? I like crowds fine just...not all the time."|
|Tina||"I think I understand what you mean. Shall I leave you alone, then?" Tina asks thoughtfully. "I have a feeling you want to recharge now, and I'd probably be an impediment to that process." She half-turns in preparation to leave the auditorium.|
|Marianna||Marianna hesitates as the sister turns to go, her natural inclination being to let the woman go, leaving her with her thoughts. But something stirs her to action. She takes a couple of steps forward, holding out a hand. "No, wait," she calls out, perhaps a bit louder than intended. "I...wouldn't mind the company, actually," she says. "Unless I'd be keeping you from getting ready for services?"|
|Tina||Tina pauses, looking back at Marianna thoughtfully. Then she smiles, turning to face her again with a little nod of affirmation. "Not really, no. I may have to run and prepare something from time to time, but I shan't be too busy to keep you company for a while."|
|Marianna||Marianna smiles at the nun, then chuckles softly, fingers running through her hair once more. "Sorry if I was a little, ah, forceful, there," she says. "Guess I didn't want to be alone as much as I thought." She glances around, then slowly walks over to take a seat close to the sister. "My name's Mari, by the way," she offers by way of belated introduction. "Should have introduced myself before," she comments with a bit of a wry grin. "So, do you do anything other than hold services, Sister?" she asks. "I mean, um, that sounded...odd. I mean, is that all a Sister does?" She shrugs and gives a little shake of the head at her own awkwardness. "Do you, I dunno, farm or make things or something like that to make ends meet?"|
|Tina||"Why do you keep running your fingers through your hair like that?" Tina asks, watching Marianna curiously. "I could loan you my brush, if you need it." She smiles as Mari introduces herself. "Oh, that's such a cute name! I wish I had a cute name. And I am very glad to meet you, Mari," she adds, seating herself beside her guest.
The question gives her pause. "Well, we mostly subsist on donations, and occasional salvaging. And I handle repairs on church infrastructure, when they're needed. It saves paying a repairperson. I'm pretty good at it. Not to brag, it's just... well, it's just true."
|Marianna||Marianna is i the process of raising her hand to again run her fingers throgh her hair when Tina's comment makes her stop. Blushing, the woman, puts her hand in her lap. "Oh, that," she says as she sets her hat beside her on the bench. "It's, um, well, it's a bit of a nervous reaction," she admits a bit sheepishly, both hands now firmly clasped in her lap. "I do it when I'm thinking, or when things get a bit tense," she says. "Or when I meet new people." She flashes a bit of a grin and again shrugs. "Not always, but, sometimes. It's silly, I know. Don't remmeber exactly when I picked up the habit." She pauses, chuckling softly as she realises she'd sort of babbled the answer to Tina' question. She decides to focus on the nun's answer to the question MAri herself posed. "Oh, really? I didn't know that," she admits. "I thought nuns would, I dunno, be more, or well, I guess less, um, worldly?" She laughs then, and grins at the absurdity in the question. "Stands to reason that it shouldn't be that way. Donations can't be enough on their own, right?" Once more fingers go to hair, though she doesn't seem to really be aware that she's lapsed again. "I guess you can tell I haven't been around clergy much, huh, Sister?"|
|Tina||"Do I make you nervous, then?" Tina asks, giving Marianna that head-tilted, inquisitive gaze once more. "I'd no idea I could ever make anyone nervous. That's so curious..." she muses softly, looking thoughtful.
She giggles softly as she notes Mari running her fingers through her hair again. "It's quite all right. We're normal people before we take up our habits and try to do good works, so some of us will be more worldly than others. And you're combing your hair again," she teases gently. "Do I really make you so nervous?"
|Marianna||Marianna's cheeks flush a bright red as Tina catches her out runnng her fingers through her hair again. Her hand practically flies to her lap, where she laces her fingers together so as to prevent another occurance. "Damn, didn't even realize I was doing it," she says laughing softly at herself. "Yeah, I guess I never did think that clergy had a life before they...were clergy." She giggles quietly. "That's kind of silly, thinking folk were just born clergy," she admits a bit ruefully. Her hand twitches, as if wanting to go from her lap to her hair once more. She pauses, then sighs, having tried to avoid answering the question, but then gives in. "A bit, yes, you make me nervous," she says. "But that's not always a bad thing. There's bad nervous and...good nervous," she adds with a bit of a self-conscious grin. Laughing to ease the situation, for her at least, she turns her gaze on the sister. "And now that you mention it, it has been a long while since I properly combed my hair. I couldn't get a loan of that brush you promised earlier, could I?"|
|Tina||Tina giggles more at Marianna's hasty withdrawal of her hand. "I'm so sorry! Forgive me, but... that was just so funny," she asks softly. "And cute, maybe. Almost like a little girl being told not to play with her hair ribbon or something like." As Marianna answers her earlier question, she reaches into a pocket of her robes and carefully retrieves a rather compact hairbrush, which she passes carefully to Marianne. "Here you are. And that's very curious... good nervous or bad nervous. So I suppose I should ask if I make you bad nervous? Or good nervous? And what are they? I didn't really think that there could be a difference."|
|Marianna||Marianna laughs at herself, joining in on the joke, not offended at all, it seems. "No, it's okay," she says. "I do it to myself, really." She takes the hair brush and then scoots forward on the seat a bit, shrugging out of her duster, letting the well-worn, but sturdy long coat settle around her waist. She brings the brush up to her hair, drawing it through her tresses in slow, methodical strokes. She sighs, smiling, eyes closed, reveling in the feel of a brush running through her hair. She remains silent for some moments more, giving herself the time to enjoy the simple act before responding. The brush halts it progress through her dark hair as she twists her upper body in Tina's direction to answer the nun's question. "Good nervous," she responds quietly, allowing herself a soft smile. "The bad kind, well, that's how you get when you're out in the Wasteland and you hear something. Or when you see a darker shadow move in an alley." The brush starts its progress through her hair once more, her eyes closing again. "But good nervous," she continues, "that's when you're doing something you like, and you don't want to screw up or make the wrong impression."|
|Tina||"Well, I'm glad I make you good nervous, then. I'd think I was doing something wrong if I were making you bad nervous. I guess I'm good company, then?" Tina asks curiously, half teasing at the last, as she watches Marianna brush her hair, unconsciously leaning closer as she watches the movements of the brush and Mari's almost sensual responses. "Wow... you really do like to brush your hair, don't you?" she asks at last, feeling herself blushing faintly.|
|Marianna||Marianna sits there, eyes closed, still, luxuriating in the feel of the brush moving through her hair. She takes her time, working the brush slowly back to front, three or four strokes before shifting the brush a little to the side to repeat the process. "You are," she responds, eyes still closed, a smile on her face. "Just the kind of company I needed this morning." The smile deepens when Tina asks how much Mari enjoys brushing her hair. "Oh, I do," she almost purrs. "It's not something I really get to do that often," she muses. "Either I don't have the time, or I don't have a brush, or somethign else gets in the way." She pauses in her brushing, opening her eyes to smile at Tina. "I just love how it makes me...feel," she says softly, then start drawing the brush through her hair once more. "There's only one other way of brushing my hair that's better," she adds, sighing softly as she smiles a bit wistfully.|
|Tina||"Forgive me. I know I ask a lot of questions," Tina begins, still blushing faintly, "but you seem to have a talent for making me think of them." She stifles another giggle, this one slightly nervous. "I almost think I should show you to the back rooms, because I'm not sure you should be doing this in church," she adds, gently teasing.|
|Marianna||Marianna chuckles softly as she continues to slowly stroke the brush through her hair, utter contentment on her face. "No, I don't mind asnwering questions from you," she says softly, responding almost immediately to Tina's comment about asking questions. Her cheeks flush a little. The brush stops abruptly, her eyes opening, gaze on Tina. "Oh! I didn't mean to... damn, I wasn't thinking," she says. "Never even crossed my mind that I shouldn't be doing this here." She sighs again, this time one of disappointment. "I hate to stop. It's been so long since I had to time to relax and brush my hair and just talk. But if I have to, I have to." She gives the brush one last pull through her hair, then holds it out to Tina. "Thank you for letting me use it," she says, a smile returning to her lips.|
|Tina||Tina shakes her head. "It's not that... it's just... well, the way you were /reacting/ to brushing your hair. Almost naughty, if that makes any sense. This isn't the best place for such things. Especially since you had to take your coat off to do it." Is she teasing Mari?
She stands, gently pressing the brush into Mari's hands. "Here... the passageway is more private, so you can brush and brush to your heart's content," she adds, smiling. "And nobody would be there to mind. Except me, but I already don't mind, so that is just a non-issue. Shall I show you the way?"
|Marianna||Marianna sits there for a moment, not sure how to respond, other than to dip her head in appreciation and smile. "Almost...well..." Her voice trails off, then she laughs softly. "I wouldn't want to be seen doing anything naughty in a church," she says with a little wink. "Thank you," she says, reaching out to gently grip Tina's arm with her free hand. She stands, then, gathering up her coat and hat in one arm, the brush in the other. "Please, lead the way?"|
|Tina||"This way," Tina replies warmly, slightly surprised as her arm is taken, but recovering swiftly. She leads Marianna into the doorway through which she had appeared a short while ago. The passageway, running at a right angle to the doorway, is darker, but easily wide enough for two people to walk abreast of one another. A sort of counter runs along one wall for part of its length, to hold stacks of hymn books and some other accoutrements of a church, and a narrow, patched couch sits along the opposite wall, a blanket carelessly wadded and dropped on one arm.
"Welcome to my haven between services, sort of," Tina says, indicating the couch. "Won't you have a seat? You definitely won't have to worry about being seen here, so brush all you like. But please, tell me... what is the best way to brush your hair? You've got me wondering about that."
|Marianna||Marianna follows Tina through the door and down the small corridor, her duster making a soft swiching sound as it rubs up against the wall. When Tina leads her to where the small, used, but well-loved couch sits, she smiles. She takes a seat on the couch, draping her duster over one arm, then setting her hat down on the duster before making herself comfortable. "The best way to brush my hair?" she repeats, her free hand moving up to her head, finger stroking through her dark tresses. She pauses for a moment to think, biting her lip. "Well, I suppose the way I like it best is three, maybe four slow strokes from front to back, starting on one side. Then I move the brush over a bit and repeat." She smiles that wistful smile again and sighs softly, gesturing with the brush. "Though what I like even more is when the brush runs fully through my hair at the back. But that requires someone else," she admits, cheeks flushing just a bit. "It's just not the same when I do it."|
|Tina||"I see what you mean... your arm just isn't long enough to brush all the way through in one go," Tina muses, nodding. "No wonder it's not the same." For a long moment she hesitates, considering the matter with some care.
"I could brush it for you," she offers at last. "I doubt I'm as good as you with a hairbrush, but I can try. Do you want me to try?"
|Marianna||Marianna glances down at the floor, hand again goign to her hair, running her fingers through, but quickly returns her gaze to Tina. "Yes," she says quietly, a bit of an odd smile on her face. "I'd love that." She sets the brush down on the blanket draped over the other arm of the couch, then she turns, bringing one leg up under her, the other remaining where it is, foot on the floor, so that she's facing her duster with her back towards the other arm of the narrow couch.|
|Tina||Tina gives Marianna a curious look when she sees the woman's odd smile, but she nods her affirmation, and moves to stand beside Mari, taking up the brush and beginning to brush in long, slow strokes, just as she had been instructed. It takes her a few minutes to get the hang of the brushing, but she soon has the rhythm and speed down. "How is this?" she asks softly.|
|Marianna||Marianna smiles, eyes closed as she sits, hands resting on her knees. AT first, she just sits quietly, letting Tina find her rythym. But as the Sister starts to get the hang of how Mari likes her hair brushed, Mari visibly relaxes, letting out tension she hadn't known was there. Her shoulds drop just a bit and her neck relaxes, her head moving somewhat with the strokes of the brush. She sighs, a deep, content sigh. "Mmmm, you're doing fine," she reassures, a bit of a dreamlike quality to her voice.|
|Tina||Tina smiles faintly, watching Mari's response to the brushing, taking the taller woman's little movements along with the brush as a sign that she is doing it right. "Oh, /wow/..." she observes, giggling softly, as she is praised. "I must be. You sound like you are Paradise, or almost." She continues to brush, using those proven long, slow strokes. "Just tell me if I need to do anything different, okay?"|
|Marianna||Marianna chuckles softly as she sits on the couch while Tina runs the brush slowly through Mari's hair, just as she likes it. She mmmmms deeply, reaching a hand around behind her, finding the other woman's hand. Giving Tina's hand a gentle squeeze, she again lets out a long, low, almost sensual sigh. "Oh, no, Tina," she nearly purrs. "You keep on doing just what you're doing." She keeps her hand on Tina's, seemingly having forgotten she's holding the other woman's hand.|
|Tina||Tina, surprised by the grip on her hand, falters in one brush-stroke. But her calling to serve slowly takes over, and she continues her brushing, though she does need a moment to regain her former pace and steadiness of hand. Brush, brush, brush, brush... move... brush, brush, brush brush.
"Do you always hold people's hands when they brush your hair?" she asks, blushing faintly.
|Marianna||Marianna doesn't react when the brush falters, not wanting to do anything to break the spell or take her out of the space she's in, and certainly not wanting to give Tina the impression the sister has done anything wrong. As the rythym of the brush gets back to the familiar, desired, needed pattern, she stretches a little wiggling her hips and arching her back to work out the little bit of stiffness that comes from sitting still too long. "Only when they're as lovely as you," she murmurs in response. "I mean, when they're as lovely at it as you," comes a quick correction, a hint of embarassment in her voice.|
|Tina||Tina blushes a bit more deeply at that, though she can't help a faint smile at the slip. "Why, thank you," she replies gently. "I never realized my habit became me so." The last is gently impish, as she watches that stretch. "Or that I had such a talent for brushing hair. I wonder if I've missed my calling..." A few last strokes, and the task is done, nice and neatly. "All done," she chirps. "Can I have my hand back now?"|
|Marianna||Marianna gives the Sister's hand another gentle squeeze, laughing softly at the woman's comments. "You look very striking in it," she says, having been caught out, not now trying to hide the fact that she's complimenting the other woman. Another deep, content sigh as the last few strokes of the brush are applied. "Mmm, maybe it's just you have a talent for brushing -my- hair?" she asks, returning that slightly impish tone. One Tina announces she's done, Mari's shoulders droop a little and another, sigh, this one of regret and resignation, escapes her lips. "Do I have to give it back?" she asks, squeezing Tina's hand, thumb very lightly stroking twice. "This does feel nice," she states by way of trying to convince the other woman of a few moments more.|
|Tina||Tina bows her head, still blushing, feeling a bit guilty as she replies, "Not immediately." Using her free hand to return her brush to her pocket, she lets Marianna retain her gentle grip on her hand, deeply flattered by the attention. "Perhaps I should test that sometime. Assuming I get the opportunity to brush anyone else's hair like this."|
|Marianna||Marianna smiles deeply at having been granted a few moments more holding Tina's hand in hers. She laughs a little at Tin'as comment about testing her skills. "Then perhaps you should practice more on me," she suggests. "Just so that you're skill stays sharp. "Wouldn't want to give others the wrong impression." Her thumb continues to brush lightly back and forth over Tina's hand. Mari then stretches again, more wigling of her hips and arching her back, working her arms a little also. When she settles back into her sitting position, though, she leans slowly back until her back rests again the Sister. "Is this okay?" she asks, eyes still closed, not wanting the enhanced calm of the hair brushing to end just yet.|
|Tina||"I'll consider that. Maybe I should get more practice," Tina muses, almost absently watching Marianna stretch again. But when the taller woman leans back against her, she can't help a startled squeak. "You'll muss your hair if you do that! And after all my hard work, too!" she cries, blushing and unable to keep down the giggles of exasperation.|
|Marianna||Marianna starts giggling, then, too, but remains leaning gently against the shorts, though standing woman. "Oh, no, I'd have to do much more than this to undo all that lovely work," she says, laughing softly. "And if by some chance I did muss my hair, well, there's a chance for you to practice," she points out. Now comfortably leaning against Tina, she decides that holding the other woman's hand behid her like that is a bit uncomfortable, so she slowly, almost as if testing to if Tina will protest, brings the woman's hand to rest on Mari's chest just below her chin. SHe bends her head down just long enough to nuzzle Tina's hand with her cheek. "There, that's better," she comments, still keeping a gentle grip, thumb stroking.|
|Tina||Tina can't help a faint shiver as Marianna rubs her captive hand against her cheek. "Miss Mari... aren't you taking this awful far?" she asks softly. "Not that I'm not flattered, and that I don't like you an awful lot, but... well, remember who and what I am, and where you are..."|
|Marianna||Marianna's response is to again bring Tina's hand up to her face, only this time, it is Mari's lips that make contact with the other woman's hand, little, whispersoft kisses planted on the other woman's thumb and then each finger in turn. The taller woman's breathing gets a little bit heavier as she turns Tina's hand over to plant a very deliberate kiss on the woman's palm. "Just Mari," she gently corrects. "Is this wrong?" she asks softly. "What harm could there be in two people...finding comfort and ease with one another, Tina? Just because you're a Sister doesn't make you stop...needing." She reaches now for Tina's other hand, rubbing her fingertips along the back of the other woman's hand, tempting, encouraging.|
|Tina||Tina takes a deep breath, made shivery by Marianna's kisses. "Yes... I do feel such needs. But my faith, my duties, demand I master them, for the good of the church, and of the people who support and depend on us," she whispers. "I am truly sorry if I hurt your feelings, Miss Mari, and I beg your forgiveness... but it /is/ wrong." She takes Marianna's free hand firmly in hers, giving it a gentle squeeze, even as she moves to gently free her other hand.|