Babylon Rising, Chapter 8, Part 3
As Paul and Shari chat over doughnuts and coffee, my respect for Paul, such as it was, dissipated pretty quickly.
He first pumps Shari for information about Murphy. “He seems like a pretty cool guy.” Well, except for mocking me in front of dozens of my fellow students for knowing the right answer.
Shari gushes about Murphy for a minute (He’s the bestest! And so awfully nice to me! (I’ll bet.)) But she quickly becomes fixated on Paul’s clothes—neatly pressed with shiny shoes, atypical of a university student. Thus she opens the door to Paul’s sob story.
You see, Paul was raised by his single father, who was a successful businessman and wanted his son to be one, too. He wasn’t around much, but Paul had the best of everything, poor little rich boy, you know the drill. But now Dad’s dead and Paul’s going to finally do what he really wants. But the sad sack has no idea what that might be, because *sniffle* “I’m not sure where I fit in.”
It’s especially clear that Paul has had it rough, because “religion was on the long list of things my dad never had the time – or use – for.” Poor guy.
Shari invites Paul to dinner at her place, which sounds promising in the romance department, until you consider the last thing she says before the invitation:
Neither did my parents (have use for religion) when they were alive. But the great thing about our church is, you can start any time.
Man, Paul just can’t catch a break, can he? He meets a cute girl, and turns out she doesn’t even see him as “just a friend,” but as “just a conversion prospect.”