EPOV:After Sookie’s rather nonverbal rejection in the kitchen, I did my best not to yell at someone, punch something or generally curl up into a little ball of pathetic sadness. The fact that she couldn’t tell me what she felt, or I suppose in her case, what she didn’t feel spoke volumes to me. I understood her fear, though she’d assume I didn’t. I understood that it was a huge thing to admit; to admit for the first time in her life to wanting something outside of what was expected of her. I had encountered that fear myself. Granted, mine was a lesser fear since I had seen some of the world and had embraced my freedom for a time… she hadn’t. I had to remember that, Sookie had only known this life since she was a little girl. Admitting any or all feelings for me, never mind acting on them, was a sin but a much larger sin for a nun. If anyone found out we’d be excommunicated from the church and thrown out of St. Jude’s. Her reputation would be in tatters, she’d be homeless and alone. I knew she thought those things, but I prayed she had to have realized that if she felt what I felt for her, even in the tiniest measurement, she would know that I’d never leave her alone, and should anything happen I’d always be there for her.
We’d gone three days without saying a word to each other. I’d see her in church but she wouldn’t come when I was hearing confessions, instead opting to pray more. I’d noticed that every other time I’d seen her outside of the dinner table it was when she was deep in prayer. I knew she had to have been questioning her decisions and asking God for whatever help she felt He could give her. Frankly, it pissed me off. I wanted her to look inside herself for those answers instead of trying to get answers out of a divine higher power who, quite honestly, has always been super quiet to me. But who knows, maybe because her faith was stronger He did talk back, in His own way. If it helped her find peace, it couldn’t have been a bad thing. I, on the other hand, was still as wound up as ever. I thought if I kept myself busy enough that I’d block thoughts of her out of my head. Of course, that was a huge lie I was telling myself. I’d put myself out there, I’d bared my soul… or what I thought was my soul at least. I told her what I thought, what I felt and what I wanted, only to be greeted by her silence—twice. Was I a glutton for punishment, or just an actual honest to God idiot? Hmm…
With Niall still gone, responsibility fell to myself and Bill the Humourless Asshole™, to alternate between mass and confession. He’d been preaching from the altar how sin should be abolished, how change only led to madness and how the homosexuals should be punished. I zoned out between his rant on immigrants aiding to the stress of our resources and how it was all down to those hippy homos that were growing in number by the day—his reasons for the fall of society, of course.
Having zoned out, I fought the urge to look to my left to where I knew she’d be sitting. But I did. I looked and I found her staring at me. My heart skipped several beats as we made eye contact for the first time in almost a week. A week since the incident. She noticed me watching her, and I saw the slightest blush flush her cheeks as she looked away almost instantly. Geraldine raised her ugly head, nodding to me to pay attention instead of looking around me like a bored ten-year-old.
I rolled my eyes at the old bat and waited for Bill to finish his ranting before I got up and assisted with dosing out the Holy Communion. When it was her turn to receive Communion, going to him instead of me, it was like a knife in the gut all over again. And again, I found myself pissed off at her behaviour. What exactly did she think I was going to do? Take her in front of the entire damn congregation and fuck on the altar? No, of course not! Not that it was something that hadn’t crossed my mind a time or two—I have to admit—but that’s not the point. The point was, I was fucking pissed!
I’d sat through an hour and a half hearing confessions, cramped in that unnaturally tiny dark space. I mean, sure it wasn’t that tiny—I had a chair and room to half way stretch my legs, but I was a tall son of a bitch and I needed leg room. Them things just weren’t designed for someone like me. I’d heard all about Mrs. Gunderson and how she’d have evil thoughts of killing her husband—he was a drunk you see, and that drove her mad as she tried to raise their two kids. She was also sure he was screwing his secretary. He was; I’d heard his confession last Sunday and yep, screwing her and the babysitter. Mr. Anderson was depressed and had thoughts of suicide daily, but he prayed to God to keep him on the right path. Even though he’d lost his job, his wife and his kid—they had to move to Boston to live with her mother again because he couldn’t afford to keep them—his pride and ego were wounded more than anything. That, and he just missed the woman he loved.
I wanted to tell him I could relate, but of course I couldn’t. Instead, I granted them all absolution for their sins and sent them on their way with some random amount of penance I’d thought up on the spot.
When the box had been silent for a few minutes I thought that was my cue to get my cramped ass up and leave. But then I heard the box door close on the other side again, and someone shuffling to kneel down inside.
I sighed to myself that I hoped they’d make it quick.
“Bless me father for I have sinned, it’s been … eight days since my last confession.”
Sookie? My throat went dry, what the hell was she doing?
She began her prayer of absolution before I cleared my throat as quietly as I could and asked her, “And what are your sins?”
“I’ve lied, Father. Over the last week I’ve lied, a lot. To my superior about my whereabouts, to a man I met in a bar about my profession and availability, and to my best friend about my feelings for him.”
It was the first time she’d called me by my title sincerely and I had to admit, at least to myself, that it was kind of hot.
Going. Straight. To. Hell. Northman.
“And why did you lie?”
“To Geraldine? Well, mostly because I wanted to see my friend for the night, to help me make sense of some things. So, I lied and told Geraldine I was studying up on my teaching skills. When in fact, I put on a pretty dress with no stockings, or even a girdle and got a little drunk… and made out with a man.
Her voice got smaller as she got to the end of her sentence; I silently hoped I was the only man she’d made out with that night.
“My best friend?” She took a deep breath. “I lied because I was scared.”
“No… No, I’d never fear him. I know in my heart he’d never do anything to hurt me. At least, not on purpose. No, you see, he did this huge thing; he told me he loved me, right out loud told me that he loved me… and that terrified me, Father.”
“Why?” My voice cracked slightly giving away my cold demeanor as a façade.
“Because he was telling me how he felt, and I knew deep inside it was how I felt too. But, telling him that, knowing it was what he wanted to hear, what he needed to hear for us to move forward finally… I was scared of what that meant for us. For me. To tell him I love him, that I want to be with him, then that’s it… Everything changes. We’re not just friends anymore, we’re two people in love with one other, wanting to be… intimate with each other. And while that’s frowned upon in general outside of marriage, our lives are so cloudy… the sunshine of a relationship would have no chance of getting through. And if it did, who’s to say it wouldn’t die out? Leaving us broken and alone, or worse still risking our lives, our livelihoods for something that we’re so unsure of.”
“Do you not think that that’s a decision you two should come to… together? Who’s to say that it would burn out? If he loves you as much as he says he does…and he does, then who’s to say that it couldn’t work out?”
“How would it work? We’re in this place, we’re constantly watched… I want him, I do. I want to be with him and to tell him and show him how much he means to me, but if I do, I’m ruined forever. This life isn’t very forgiving for women—I’ve taken a vow, one that at the time I fully believed in…”
“And now? Has he caused you to doubt your faith?” The guilt I felt over the possibility of that was never ending.
“No, he hasn’t made me question my faith in God, but he along with a few others have made me question my religion. See, what I’ve realized is that faith and religion can be two separate things. I have faith in God. But sometimes the way man chooses to act in His name, sickens me to my core. I’m tired of feeling love is wrong. So no matter how scared I am, I have to face myself in the mirror and I have to face my true self. And I don’t think I’ll be able to see her if I don’t act on my true feelings… No matter how scared I am.”
She was silent; I knew she was silently freaking out on the other side of the mesh.
I heard her gulp. “But now, I’ve hurt him. He thinks that I rejected him because I didn’t feel the same… and now … I wonder if he’d forgive—”
“Always.” I answered her without hesitation. It was true. I was a goner; I’d forgive her almost anything if I could help it.
She exhaled in a way that I could swear I heard her smile. Then the door of her side opened and closed, and a few seconds passed where I wasn’t sure what to do. When my door opened, the rush of light lasted a few seconds and before I knew it, Sookie was in the booth with me. Once she closed the door behind her, I felt her hands search out for my face as she stood between my legs while I sat on my chair. Her hands found my face and then her lips found my lips. Softly—I let her take the lead with the kissing. She’d taken so many huge leaps in the last five minutes I was scared that I’d fallen asleep in the booth and was, in fact, dreaming this all up. But, thankfully I wasn’t; I was sure I wasn’t when reality rushed in as I heard the sound of fabric being scrunched up—I assumed of her skirt being moved—then suddenly feeling the weight of her body as she straddled my lap, all the while her lips never leaving mine.
Sitting on my lap Her legs flanking either side of my own gave her a slight height advantage, which she used nicely. My hands on her back, slid up her neck and into her hair—and it was her hair and not her veil. I yanked the pins out of roughly, allowing her hair to tumble down, giving my hands access to glide through her silky hair and position her head and lips where I wanted. It allowed me to control the kiss to a certain degree, but if I’m honest all the balls where all in her court, including mine. And by the way she was instinctively grinding on me, those balls would be blue, if we didn’t stop soon.
“I love you, Eric…I always have.” She whispered into my ear before kissing my cheek, then my jaw, and then my lips again. Hearing her say those words had me floating. Before I could even respond to her in kind, she had my lips more engaged than Nazi occupied France.
We carried on for what seemed like hours, but in reality would have only been ten minutes, fifteen tops. I was harder than hell and Sookie was panting between kisses as I felt my way up and down her neck to her lips, and to her jaw line, all the while praising Jesus and Buddha and whoever else was watching that she was letting me run my hands up and down her legs—freakishly smooth legs might I add. But, it was in a word—awesome. I knew she was as turned on as I was. I felt the heat of her skin and the heat of her breath hit me every time she’d “accidentally” grind her centre to mine.
I was pretty sure I was letting grunts escape me when my mouth detached itself from hers, which didn’t happen often, but then she stopped. Suddenly, she stopped and stood up. The sudden loss of her body, her lips and her heat had me almost whimpering. But I managed to save my dignity and restrain myself.
“Okay, whoa! Okay. That wasn’t part of the plan.”
“What was the plan?” I tried to catch my breath.
“To get your forgiveness and maybe get up the nerve to tell you the truth… the kissing…wasn’t—”
I pulled her lips to mine again shutting her up. I knew she was panicking now; her reality setting in for her and smacking her in the face to the tune of ‘Hey, we’re making out in a confessional box.’
I stood up and awkwardly managed to shift around her till I reached the door handle. I opened it and stepped outside first, I needed to make sure the church was empty, and thankfully it was. I opened the door again and was met with her big blue eyes looking sheepish, her hair had been tossed out of its neat bun and her lips were swollen and red. It sent jolts straight to my dick and all I wanted was to take her, repeatedly. Instead, I took her hand and led her out of the confessional as she smoothed her hair and fixed her skirt.
With her big blue eyes zoned in on mine she asked, “What happens now?”
“Well…” I looked around smiling. I couldn’t hold in my smile. “Look around, the world hasn’t ended, we haven’t been struck down…We’re still here, we’re still us.”
“That’s good…But really, what happens now?” She bit her lower lip as she took both my hands in hers and pushed me back and forth playfully.
“We say goodnight and I’ll see you in the morning. Simple.” It wasn’t so simple. I knew if I didn’t say goodnight to her, I’d have an even harder time willing myself to leave her alone. She nodded, clearly unsure, but there was a light in her eyes again, one I hadn’t seen in a very long time.
We held hands for a minute longer, before she leaned up on her tip toes and kissed me on the cheek.
“Goodnight, Eric.” She said sweet and fast before she took off for the exit that led into the convent.
Standing stunned I watched as she rounded the corner, almost walking on her tip toes, smiling. I smiled too, to no one in particular, maybe just to myself.
Days felt like weeks, time seemed to drag on and on and I knew why. I was trapped inside my head and inside my head was a prison of regret. I’d once again gone about throwing myself into the chores, throwing myself into the school, any and everything to avoid meeting his eyes.. It broke my heart to know that he was hurting because of what I did, or in this case, what I didn’t do.
I realized when he walked out of that kitchen that the question gnawing at me, at my heart, was something I knew the answer to instinctually but I’d been ignoring and pushing it to the back of my mind. I did love him, of course I did. Everyone could see it—Amelia could see it, Lafayette could see it, and according to Trey so could Alcide. I was so damned. Damned if I did, quite literally since it was all one big ball of sin that I willingly wanted to inflict upon myself, and Eric. He had made his choice. He had taken his final vow—this was worse for him than anyone, but somehow I seemed to matter more to him than the threat of eternal damnation! I mean, if that’s not love I don’t know what is! “Hi, honey, I love you, my soul will rot in hell for eternity for you, but hey let’s give it a go!”
And if I didn’t, I was damned, but in a different way. I could lose the man I loved, I lost my friend and one of the very few amazing people in my life, all wrapped up in one. I wanted to swallow my fear, I wanted to just go to him, but something held me back. I prayed; heck, I prayed overtime. I couldn’t sleep for worrying, so, I prayed. When I finished dinner, I prayed; when I finished mass, I prayed. I knew even Geraldine was shocked that I was taking my faith so seriously. She had remarked that since Eric’s return she fully expected him to lead me down the wrong path, and for me to start acting like that wilful spoilt nuisance that she knew and loathed as a child. Hearing her say those things to me at dinner, in front of the other nuns, it was embarrassing, but also, thought provoking. I was once a girl who fought the nuns. I didn’t just roll over and do what they wanted when they wanted simply because they wanted it. I was respectful yes, of course, but I was as she had put it—wilful.
I held my own beliefs; I held my own wants and desires within. I had wanted to achieve things on this earth; I had wanted to be more. I had, at one point in my life, imagined what it would be like, on the outside. Simple things like no curfew, walking in the park on a Sunday instead of mass, going to the beach. I’d always loved the water as a kid. I remembered a little here and there of summers spent with my family on the beach… I had wanted that. I had wanted to spend my summers on the beach with my own family someday. I had wanted children, and of course a husband. I had wanted more than anything—a home.
What had happened to that girl? What happened to her hopes and dreams? Dreams that were now never allowed to become a reality because of the choices I had made, and the choices I made had in a sense killed those dreams before they even got the chance to come to fruition.
I knew though, that, that girl wasn’t completely gone, because as I watched Eric go into the confessional box that Sunday evening to hear the parish’s confessions, something inside me snapped for the first time. One of only two times I’d snapped in my life. The first time, my heart snapped into place; the second time, I believe it was my head that snapped. But that, we’ll get to, later.
This time, this first time, my heart snapped into place and I knew, this overwhelming calm came to me mid prayer. It was as an answer, if not the answer I needed, came to me.
And I just knew, I knew I just needed to go with my heart’s desire on this one—and that desire was Eric. I needed to tell him. I needed him to know and I needed to let what was meant to happen, happen and try my best not to think about what the eternal punishment might be.
When I saw the benches clear out one by one till the final lady left after saying her penance, I made my way into the box and began my confession.
I felt it was the best way to do it, for a number of reasons. One, if he rejected me and told me to go to hell, then I wouldn’t have to look him in his big sad puppy dog eyes; two, if he didn’t by some chance reject me, I wouldn’t have to look at the lusting want in his eyes that he was just so good at portraying; and three, if there was a barrier of some kind between us, it might make it easier to finish my confession without chickening out.
He didn’t reject me and I was exhaling a breath I didn’t know I was holding. Instead, we entered into a third person conversation on how we might or might not work. All I knew is that he still loved me, he still wanted to love me and in my life that was a rare if not nonexistent thing. I would cherish it for as long as I had it, and I needed to make him understand that. All his talk of how we’d just be us, but us in love, having each other, his calm—his love somehow managed to get through to me despite the darkness, despite the barrier between us. I needed to have him closer to me. I needed to feel his heart. I needed to feel his lips on mine, and in that split second I made the decision to get up, leave, and enter his enclosed and—for a six foot five guy—extremely cramped space. Before I knew exactly what I was doing, I found myself in a very un-lady like position, straddling his lap to be exact. Both my legs flanking his with the skirt of my habit bunched up around my waist. I figured if God was going to strike us down, he’d either do so now or forever hold his peace.
He held his peace, but Eric and I certainly didn’t. We were full on making out, like you heard about in James Dean movies, or imagined what went on with Rhett and Scarlett back in the day. Hands, lips, tongues and moans all over the place.
It was intoxicatingly amazing in so many ways. I was excited, scared, throbbing from head to toe with a special mention of all the places in between. I knew he felt it too, mainly because I could feel ‘it’ sliding up and down my thigh as I moved against him. The idea that just being so close to him, touching him with most of my body while fully clothed, could elicit those sounds from him, was sending surges of confidence through me. So much so in fact, I felt like I’d do whatever he wanted, right there in that little box. I was his, pure and simple.
That’s when I knew it was time to slow this train down before it became a complete wreck with my arriving too soon at the station.
Breathless and wanting, I finally pulled myself away from him. God, I wanted nothing more than to bury my hands in his hair and kiss him till the sun came up. But I knew that wasn’t possible, and even if it was, it was far too soon.
When we broke apart and exited the little box of love, he smoothed down my hair, almost as if he didn’t realize he was doing it. But he did, and he smiled, all red faced and giggling; I knew I probably looked exactly the same but I just didn’t care. For the first time in a very, very long time, I was happy.
I bid him goodnight, and scampered off to my cell, a massive smile gracing my face the entire way there.