His father had told him once "You're Irish. That means you're Catholic."
It wasn't a decision anymore than his dark hair and impossibly blue eyes. It was simply a fact.
Over the years there were many times he wanted to call out his family's hypocrisy - the way they held grudges, the way his father drank, the way his mother cursed - but he never could see the good in it.
There was one particularly rough night when he was 17 when his father had gone through an entire bottle of whiskey and gotten a little rough with his mum. He threw himself between them - she was hurling threats and verbal filth, he was hurling dishes. It was the shattering of a plate that left him with a broken family and a deep gash on his cheek.
They never really recovered after that. Being Catholic, a divorce was out of the question - but they basically just existed around each other from that point forward. He moved out, unable to understand how the life they were living was any better than just moving on.
He spent a few difficult years piecing together what could charitably be called a living - being on the receiving end of a lot of help from the Catholic church his father talked so much about. For a while something about that really bothered him - but sometimes things were so tough he didn't much care where the help came from.
With time he began to like the church, even love it - really. It was a kind of sanctuary. He always knew he could seek refuge there.
After one of the parishioners helped him get a job at the docks and his life became more stable he thought church would take a backseat. But just the same he found himself there every Sunday for mass.
Then it was Sundays and Wednesdays. Before he knew it, he was there every morning before work - and the priest knew him well.
It was over coffee one Tuesday morning that Father Brannan encouraged him to consider the priesthood, but with his job at the docks - he couldn't bring himself to rock the boat.
But the stability he'd found was short lived. A few months later there was an accident on the job that claimed Killian's hand - and after falling headlong into a depression fueled by anger and rum, he turned up at the church.
He was surprised to find seminary very much like any other school - people playing pranks, going out drinking, laughing. For some reason he imagined it would be a somber affair filled with boring people, but he was encouraged to see that you could still be "normal" and be a man of the cloth.
As his education came to a close he found himself growing increasingly nervous about the future. He still didn't feel like he had any immense wisdom to share with the world, and while he did believe the Bible and he desperately wanted the kind of blind faith he saw in some of his classmates - it just wasn't in him.
Nonetheless, he was assigned to a small town in Maine - and he was set to give his first sermon next Sunday.
He packed his few belongings (the only thing of importance was a small cigar box that smelled of tobacco and spices) and tried - and failed to come up with a topic for the sermon. In the end, he rolled across the town line singing Pearl Jam and thinking of nothing but the open road.
Her father had been the sheriff for her entire life - which mostly meant that everyone knew who she was and treated her well. It seems like a silly thing to be bothered by, but it had always annoyed her.
Everyone around her seemed fake. They were nice because they wanted something - not because they knew anything about her. This town was infuriatingly small. Everyone knew everything about everyone. It was stifling.
She was 14 when she started to rebel by coming up with outlandish stories about her home life just to see what people would do. It started relatively small - but eventually her father stepped in when she was telling the town that he was a mean drunk and her mother was a dazed pill-popper.
"I just don't understand why do you this kind of stuff," he said exasperatedly after picking her up for shoplifting. "I mean, we love you so much, and we just try to make you comfortable and happy - and this is how you act? Have we upset you somehow?"
His sincere words curl into her stomach and tie themselves into fitful knots - she just can't stand how fucking … nice they are all the time. It's like they're not real. Nobody is that happy and peppy. Nobody is that genuine.
She finds herself staring at the dash in silence - struggling to see how she can possibly be related to these people. They seem so shallow - their entire life a thin veneer of suburban perfection designed to make everyone look on in jealousy.
In her heart, when the raging storm of emotions passes a little and she's alone with her headphones on in her room, she can see that her parents really are just very kind people - but she's got a rebellious streak a mile wide, and always liked the brooding and melancholy much more than the bright and sunny. That's why she feels so alone in a house filled with love.
Her parents, David and Mary Margaret console each other with assurances that it's just a phase.
"All teenagers rebel, sweetheart. It's just… It'll pass," Mary Margaret tenderly rubs her husband's shoulders as he sits with his head in his hands at the kitchen table.
As the years went by, Emma became a little less angsty - but she retained a little of her inner rebel. She still preferred Chuck Taylors to heels, black leather to pink satin, and The Killers to the Beatles.
She graduated high school with absolutely no idea what she wanted to do. She want to a local community college for some direction, and ended up with a boyfriend - Neal.
They were together about a year, and Emma fell for him hard - his disheveled look and Devil May Care attitude was everything she thought she wanted in a man. What she learned the hard way was that the "bad boys" are called that for a reason.
She was left holding after a "quick job" went wrong, and she got 14 months - while Neal got away clean. For a while she thought about looking him up when she got out. She wasn't sure if she wanted to punch him or if she thought maybe there was an explanation for the way he used her.
In the end, she decided not to find out. She served her time, and was even released a little early on probation. That's when she discovered what had to be her calling - bail bonds. She knew all the dirty little tricks that people liked to use - and she knew exactly how to use it to track them down.
Part of her early release was community service, and she had to squeeze it in along with her irregular hours at work - which was proving to be complicated.
As it turns out - the easiest option was to partner with the local church. They had all kinds of programs and classes she could volunteer at - and they best part was that they spanned all days of the week, and all hours of the day.
She trailed the contact list with her finger and gave the church a call. The receptionist let her know that there was a new priest coming in tomorrow, and she could stop by around 4 p.m. to meet him and set up her community service.
With her head tilted to the side, Sharpie cap between her teeth, she scrawled "Father Jones 4 p.m." on the back of her hand. She hung up the phone and tossed the pen to her desk before flopping back onto her bed. As boring as Father Jones may be, it's better than doing time.