Chapter Three

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Rev. O'Bryan's parish was in upper New York. Woods, plains, and mountains that made up most of the region surrounded it. The landscape was beautiful with the trees coming into bloom and the scattered color of wildflowers. It always amazed Angelique that a state known for its nightlife, museums, and Broadway shows had an even wilder side. Land that was so untamed and breathtakingly beautiful, you just knew it was a piece of heaven on earth.

She traveled the maze of country roads, breathing in deep the country air. She was close. The tiny church would be around the next bend. As she turned, Saint stuck his head out of the passenger window and began barking. Angelique gave him a pat. 

"I want to see him too. Hold on. We're almost there." Saint wiggled with excitement as she ruffled the dog's fur.

Angelique made her own parking spot in front of the church. The once-mighty parish had seen better days, but in Angelique's eyes, it was perfect, the only home she'd ever known. So much had changed since that fateful day John brought here her. She may not know where she came from, but who she is started here at St. Joe's.

Angelique slid out of her tiny red Beetle and absorbed her surroundings. She breathed in the smell of pine. There was a cool breeze at her back and the sun warmed her face as she stretched her tired body. Saint waited patiently to be released and gave a short bark as a reminder. Angelique jogged around to the passenger side. 

"Sorry boy, I didn't forget you." Angelique looked toward the church as she opened the door to let Saint loose. 

Built mostly of wood in a Gothic Revival style, it stood two stories high with a small steeple, adorned with a cast-iron cross. A carpenter's masterpiece, it was befittingly named St. Joseph the Worker.

Exceptional stained glass windows graced the sides and front of the building, so artistically done they had been compared to those designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. She didn't have to step through the double oak doors to picture the carved wooden pews or the more intricately carved altar. She couldn't count the number of times she walked across the mosaic floors that were illuminated by the beautifully crafted leaded-glass chandeliers. This was home and she knew it well.

Separated by a small driveway was a rather plain stone building used by the Reverend for housing. Angelique smiled at the man who suddenly appeared on the porch of the rectory. Just seeing that smiling face was enough to send her running, to throw her arms around the plump figure.

Reverend O'Bryan returned the embrace and then took Angelique's arms from around his neck. He held her aloft to get a better look. "So how is my Angel?" 

The sudden smile that lighted Angelique's face was now going dim. He tilted her chin to look into her eyes, shaking his head saying, "Whatever am I to do with you, child?"

A small grin graced Angelique's lips as she shook her head in resignation. He looked upon her with concern as he wrapped an arm around her shoulders and led her indoors. He ushered her into the communal dining room. 

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