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If the Bible Tells You So

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He doesn't look away from the droplet forming at the end of the dropper he's holding up, concentrating on it until it falls. "Hmm?" he acknowledges then, watching the reaction change the color of the fluid in the beaker.

"Do you believe in God?"

He puts down the dropper and beaker, and looks across the workspace at Mickey. She has her chin on the cast over her arm again, folded over the side of the couch, eyes wide, and shadows under them making them very blue.

"Not without any proof."

"Mmm," she answers, and he watches her let her head loll to the left, eyes closing.

He smiles to himself for a moment, before he says, his voice taking on a brisker tone, "You knew what I was going to say, right? You've been thinking."

She opens her eyes, but doesn't raise her head. She nods, and opens her mouth, but takes the time to gather her thoughts before saying, "When I was little, my grandma would take me to church. She'd give me a pencil and a pad of paper and tell me to be quiet. I would draw and listen, and when it was time to sing, I'd sing hymns; I liked the hymns, but I never really got it. I'd like to believe in God. I just never saw where the ritual lined up with life."

"Do you miss it?"

"No...well, sometimes."

He nods. "It's only natural, I suppose."

She opens her mouth, but closes it again, shaking her head. A flicker of confusion passes over his face, as he wonders what she was about to say. He says, and he can't believe how hesitant it comes out, but he'll figure that out later, "It isn't what I would do if forced to, but you could invite me, some time."

She laughs, and even it sounds tired. "Really, Austin. That's not like you." Her face grows serious again, but a light of mischief is still in her eyes as she says, "Besides, you'd whisper in my ear every two seconds. I don't dare take you to church; you'd just poke a hole in everything, and I'd never forgive you for that."

"True." He looks down at the counter, and rearranges the placement of the beaker. It's something to do, not something that needs to be done.

She stands, stretching her arms above her head. He looks up at her again. "I need to go home. Good night, Austin." A yawn catches her as she says good night, but she can't cover it in time.

"Good night, Mickey." The lights above follow her out. They tangle in her hair, creating a corona, a halo. He shakes his head, and laughs under his breath at himself.