Naturally, the church wasn't all that far away. But Bex didn't know that. They drove around for a while just to find it only six blocks away on an old lot that Bex had pretty much thought was abandoned until now. Tall grass had not been tamed. It was an after thought popping up in the wilderness.
They were late. An old piano was banging away to an old hymn that Bex hadn't heard since attending her grand-father's church back in Texas when she was just five or so. Really, it had been that long since she'd stepped into a church. It was if her brother had been reincarnated. So to speak. His voice carried ,and it gave Bex the shivers.
What in the hell were they doing here?
She grabbed Oliver's hand and yanked him up the creaky steps. They sat in the back pew as if not to disturb anyone.
Lord, the place neeeded more help than where she lived. The white paint was practically peeled off. The wooden steps creaked and the stained glass was more dirt than anything else. What was her brother doing?
He was supposed to be part of a mega-church cooperation. Something like that. It was non-denominational affilated. And now he'd stepped out of the circle. She guessed. Who in their right mind would want to settle for a little church like this. Not even a celing fan nor a heater in sight. Her brother might as well have found a barn.
She looked over at Oliver who was just taking it all in as if he were lost and wanted to know the right direction out of here. She'd let him have one cigarette fifteen minutes ago. The way he was fidgetting she was sure he needed another, and Bex had a feeling she might be sharing it with him if they ever made it through the number of hymns that just kept coming.
There were fast ones. Slow ones. Something about sorrow and the sweet ever after.
Bex started to sneeze while Oliver held the hymn up and did his best to sing along to words he'd never heard. Really it was a fine soulful voice. She could have listened to him alone, but the sneezing attack was getting to her. Oliver reached for a handerchief in his pocket.
It was clean. No blood from her Salvation Army mishap. She held the handkerchief to her nose. Bex spotted blood then. Damn. A nose bleed. She squinted in disgust.
Oliver gave her a slight alarmed look but went back to singing as if he might be tested on this afterwards.
He looked rather fetching in just his black trousers and white shirt. She took a good look at what he wore. Still had the suspenders. Jesus, he was wearing her clothes again. When was she ever going to wear that anyhow? She wondered then as she looked back at her brother. Then the small congregation. All were poor or old. So old. They must have went here years ago and were glad to see some spiritual man was ready to give them some sort of spiritual guidence when it was just a hop skip and a jump from home.
And then, Max turned to Bex and Oliver as if they were special guests.