Nothing could spoil my mood, this was happiness. Something in that happiness, that I hadn’t felt in a very long time, if ever.
I was still scared, anxious, guilty of sinning against my religion, against my way of life since I was a child. But in doing so I realized that none of that made me feel like this—I felt like I was floating on a cloud. I also realized I really liked kissing Eric. Like, really liked it. Like, I’d be needing to do that again, soon. Before when I kissed him, I was concentrating too hard on just how sinful we were being to actually enjoy his moves, never mind finding out if I had any moves of my own. This time? Oh, there were moves alright. When I finally made it back to my cell and shut the door, I couldn’t help but let the giggles I’d been holding in escape. I had just taken this huge step—something that I knew couldn’t be erased or ignored. No… I loved him. Of that I was sure. Everything else, I would worry about tomorrow. For that night, I was far too happy to care what it meant, what it risked. All of that was simply pushed to the back of my mind.
Sleep didn’t come easy that night though. I knew he was just across the courtyard on his side of the convent, in his room. Alone. Just like I was. I kept wondering if he was thinking about me, about what had happened between us, if he was still happy about it.
I was sure he was, and it brought another smile to my face. My cheeks were starting to ache with the amount of grinning I was doing, to myself, in the dark. I felt ridiculous, but then according to Amelia, any girl in love is meant to allow herself to feel silly. It’s the whole point sometimes.
Kitchen duty fell to me the next day. Usually, if I worked with Agnes in the mornings, I’d let her go back to bed for a little while before ten. She was pushing her late sixties, and she worked hard. She was sweet to me, so the way I saw it, I could only return the favor. All the other sisters were busy with their own assigned chores as always, be it gardening, laundry, church cleaning, keeping the grounds tidy, teaching and so on. Life was always scheduled it seemed. That morning, even at five a.m., my good mood showed no signs of slowing down. I believe I was even humming as I was baking.
“Did you hack into the medicine cabinet or something, Sookie? You’re in an awful good mood.” She commented handing me more flour.
“I am? Oh, well who knows, it’s a beautiful day and I think it’s a shame if we wasted it being sour pusses.”
She looked at me stunned again. “Oh, uhh huh. This coming from the girl that didn’t near say one word for over a week… and now she’s humming like she won the lottery.”
I smiled at her. “Can’t a girl just be in a good mood?”
She shrugged as if in acceptance and went on her way putting the loaves in for baking.
I heard him coming before I saw him. Bill entered the kitchen—hard heels on the tiled floor outside gave him away. He would never make a stealthy priest with heels like that on his shoes. Why a man felt the need to even have a slightly heeled shoe was beyond me.
He entered the kitchen and Agnes rolled her eyes to me playfully before she greeted him with a good morning.
He simply grunted.
“Isn’t it a glorious day, Father?” I stated, smile still etched on my face. “Soon Fall will be here with rapid force! September first; it’s when everything starts to change… in nature, I mean.”
He forced a grin at me still remaining silent as the grave.
“Will you be having breakfast in your office today, Father?” Agnes asked.
“No, Sister. I’ve to tend to the sick in the parish this morning so I’ll more than likely be offered sustenance at one of their residences.”
Once a month, a priest from the church would do the rounds at the hospital for the elderly and call at a number of homes to allow them to receive their holy communion since they’d been too sick to attend church themselves.
The awkward silence was interrupted by humming—this time not from me, but Eric. He stepped into the kitchen with a smile that matched my own. I had to bite my lip and face the window so no one saw or heard the giggle that was threatening to escape.
“Morning, Aggie. Bill.” He set down his coffee cup to refill. “Good morning, Sookie.”
“Morning, Eric.” I managed in a normal tone of voice before I handed him the sugar bowl.
Agnes looked between me and Eric with a slight smile before rolling her eyes at me and heading back to knead the dough. Bill and Eric simply stood posturing; Bill with a face like thunder.
“Why are you in such a good mood?”
“Why are you always in such a bad mood?” Eric countered with a smile. “I mean it’s understandable, if I had a face like a slapped arse, I too would find very few reasons to smile about it… But really Bill, it’s not that bad, is it?”
At the sink, Agnes let a laugh slip before she coughed to cover it up.
Bill was shockingly, not amused.
“I think if you spend less time making stupid non funny jokes and actually doing your work, Northman, things here would go a lot smoother. I just don’t think you’re capable of—”
“Bill, let’s not shall we? We could stand here all day while you try and assert your superiority over me by attempting to go all macho man and prove that you’re better than me at being the Bishop’s butt boy and what not. But let’s save us both some time and let me tell you this; Niall might be absent right now (he has a sick friend that needs him, not something I’d expect you to understand) but he’s taught me well. I have everything covered and up to date—letters sent, mail answered, invoices for repairs filed. Everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing here Bill, so you can stop this pissing contest anytime you please…” He leaned in a little closer to Bill as Agnes and I pretended not to be listening intently.
“Because let’s face it Bill, you’d probably fail at that too…wouldn’t you?”
I heard Eric make his exit with a small chuckle. While I understood his good mood, he needed to realize he couldn’t get too cocky around Bill. He just wasn’t all that stable if you asked me.
“Sisters, I have some mail to be sent out in my office. If there is any mail being sent out today, I’d like that to be included.”
Agnes answered him with a positive response before she burst out laughing again.
“I do so enjoy Eric when he’s had coffee. It’s almost like he reverts into that boy I once knew.” She said with a whimsical smile.
“Didn’t he give you hell when you attempted to teach us art?”
“Oh, you mean the paint incident? Yes, I know I had to punish him for that, but the truth is I rather enjoyed his interpretation of Sister Geraldine. Though I don’t think he used enough gargoyle green,” she sniggered. We were around age ten when he pulled that stunt. He was able to paint an uncanny Geraldine-esqe looking gargoyle at that age, I’ll give him that.
All morning my thoughts were distracted, I’d ruined one apple pie by simply letting my mind day dream when I should have been watching the oven. When Agnes started preparing the afternoon tea, needless to say I jumped at the chance to deliver it to Eric, if anything I thought that maybe seeing him and talking to him might help take my mind off of him for a little bit afterwards…Oh who was I kidding, I just really wanted to see him!
I knocked on the door with as much courage as I could muster. I thought he’d be alone. Sadly, my smile faltered when I saw that he and Bill were in the middle of what appeared to be a heated debate over something. What it was I don’t know, since they both hushed up as soon as I walked in the door. Both attempted to look as if they weren’t just at each other’s throats, verbally speaking at least.
Bill noted that I was in fact bringing in the tea with some cakes and biscuits, as was the custom at this time of day.
“Father Compton, I believe one of the other Sisters is on her way to your office with your refreshment.” I added before setting out the pot of tea on Niall/Eric’s desk.
Bill simply nodded, thanked me and made his exit promising that whatever Eric and he had been discussing prior to my interruption, wasn’t over.
Eric rolled his eyes at him and told him that that was fine and to come and find him whenever he felt the need to aimlessly rant some more. The office door had barely closed behind Bill when I felt Eric grab for my waist spinning me around, and causing me to drop the small spoon I had in my hand.
Using the wall beside the desk as leverage he pressed me against it and less than a second later his lips were on mine.
Oh right, we were doing this now. How could I have forgotten?
With hands on either side of my face, holding me in place, he kissed me until I felt light-headed. I don’t know if it was from the kissing itself or the lack of oxygen, but either way I was feeling all up in the air.
“Hi,” he stated with a grin.
“Hi…” I said back before he attacked my neck this time causing my toes to curl a little when he reached a particular spot behind my ear. Oh my…
“I’ve been wanting to kiss you all morning. Well, I’ve been wanting to kiss you all the time since I was like fifteen but more recently I’ve been wanting to kiss you all morning.” He stated without taking a breath which made it come out fast and rushed.
“Ok…No more coffee for you.”
He kissed me again this time pushing his whole body up against me in the process. I loved feeling him so close to me like this. It was exciting but also comforting in ways I wasn’t even sure of yet. All I knew was I like this, a lot.
“You… have to… there is…” I attempted but couldn’t get the words out; my lips were preoccupied at the time.
He pulled back then, bending his knees slightly so he could meet my eye level. “Yes?” He drew the word out slowly just to mess with me.
I huffed out a breath once before continuing. “There is tea in the pot, that well… you have to drink your tea!”
He just rolled his eyes at me playfully before running his finger over my lips. “Screw the tea, I’d rather have you…” and with that he kissed me again, not letting me up for air until I was sure my knees were buckling underneath me. I didn’t think one could be reduced to jelly just from kissing. Clearly, I was wrong.
I managed to push him away before ducking out from under his grasp. He looked confused but extremely sexy turning to face me as I backed away.
“We can’t. Not here, not like this… it’s too risky.”
“And making out like it was goin’ out of style in the confessional wasn’t?” He grinned.
I blushed, I know I did.
“Well, no but that was different.”
“Was horny?” He laughed as I smacked him on the shoulder for his remark.
“Excuse you, no. It was just… Eric we can’t.” I protested with my mouth while the rest of my body wanted to strangle me for saying it.
He ‘tut tut’d’ at me before guiding me by my hips against the door. “Now Sookie, we’re just wasting time. You have like five more minutes before one or more of those annoying nuns come looking for you, so why are we even arguing this? Shut up and kiss me like we both know you want to.” He ordered, half smirk teamed with a serious tone told me he was screwing with me. But just to spite him or give him what he wanted, either way. I yanked the collar of his shirt down bringing him to my level before I kissed him as passionately as I could muster, using both hands on the sides of his head as leverage to give me more access. I sucked his bottom lip slightly before kissing him and moved to his upper lip and repeated my actions, on instinct I guess. Somehow I knew he’d like that. After a few minutes of lather/rinse/repeat, I abruptly stopped just before his hands went to reach for my hips again.
Again I stepped away from him with a slight skip in my step, leaving him standing there stunned in silence, with a rather obvious bulge forming in his dress pants.
With a smirk of my own, I fixed my skirt for imaginary wrinkles and made my way to the door.
“If that’ll be all Father Northman, I do have dinner to prepare. We’re serving in the dining hall promptly at six.”
His mouth was agape as I giggled before quietly slipping out of his office.
I think I just flirted my way out of a situation. Huh… well there was a first time for everything I suppose.
I couldn’t sleep all night. For all my talk of it being simple to just kiss her and say goodnight, I was full of it. I couldn’t get her off my mind and knowing that she was just a short walk out of my side of the building and across the courtyard was killing me. It seemed like I was permanently hard—ever since our little impromptu grinding session that I also was replaying over and over again in my head, it just seemed that my boner wasn’t planning on ever taking the hint and fading.
Now I did what any red-blooded normal guy would do in this situation; if at first you don’t succeed in willing the fucker down, you take matters into your own hands. Of course afterwards I felt wrong about it, I felt a little dirty, but mostly just disappointed in myself. My self-control was seriously lacking and that was a problem. While I wanted to float to the rafters knowing Sookie did in fact feel the way I was hoping she would, that she was willing to explore her feelings for me, for us, together—there was problem.
That problem being me. I loved her. I knew that I wanted to keep her safe and warm and loved for the rest of our lives, how could I not? She was my Sookie, and she finally loved me back.
But here I was, just after a kiss, harder than I’d ever been in my life. It was bordering on painful and possibly a medical problem. How could I do that to her? She was, I was sure of it, a virgin. The last thing she needed was me being a bull in a china shop and charging at her. Just because I was horny as all hell didn’t give me the right to disrespect her like this. I rushed into things with Sophie-Ann and look how that turned out. No, I had to be a man here and learn to just face the fact that all I might ever get to do with Sookie is make-out with her. I wasn’t sure how far she wanted to take this whole ‘us’ thing, and it was totally her decision since it was Sookie that had the most at risk here. I, on the other hand, just didn’t care. I could walk out of this place tomorrow and as long as I had her in my life I’d be able to cope just fine.
Niall was right. I wasn’t cut out for this life—not at all—and not just because of my apparent bleeding heart when it came to all things Stackhouse either. I didn’t get the politics, I didn’t understand how an institution that preached about love and goodness was so full of evil and hate and backstabbing and pain. I didn’t understand how it couldn’t just do and be what it said on the tin. No, I needed something much more straightforward I felt. But, as well as that, I did enjoy working with the people, the community and the parish. And in all honestly, as long as Sookie would choose to stay here, here is where I’d be.
It didn’t matter if Pam thought I had completely lost my mind. In our weekly phone calls, she had on more than one occasion threatened to come all the way out here just to kick my ass into submission. She suspected that where Sookie was concerned my intentions were less than pure. According to Pam, if I could just “bang the little nun and haul my ass back to New York,” she’d be fine with that. Pam didn’t believe in love—she was cynical down to her marrow, but it was one of her many charms—mainly because she wanted me to believe she was made of pure cynicism, when I knew to be untrue. If it were true, she wouldn’t have given me or Sookie a second thought or pushed repeatedly for both of us to go to her.
I’d been up and out of bed and in Niall’s office for a good few hours—fielding calls, putting together my sermon, talking to Niall himself who was still tending to his sick friend out of state. He wasn’t sure how long he’d be gone, still, and it had already been a couple of weeks. He kept calling, to make sure I was behaving and not letting Bill rule the roost—his words not mine. Personally I didn’t care whose roost this was, but apparently Niall did. So in turn, I had to care.
I was nothing if not loyal, and Niall had become like my father figure in many ways. I loved him as one, as I was sure he loved me as a son. Our relationship was rocky at best, but I respected the man and his life choices so much that it made me want to push aside all my selfish notions, to displace my own cynicism and embrace the priesthood again, but I just couldn’t. Because it all just boiled down to me not being cut out for this place. I belonged in a freethinking accepting environment. And the Catholic Church was none of those things under the surface.
After inhaling my second cup of coffee, I made my way to the kitchen, hoping that I had waited a respectable amount of time before wanting to talk to Sookie again. Of course, she wasn’t alone this time. Bill with his perma-scowl stood in the doorway, Aggie—a nickname I’d given her while doped up on pain meds had stuck (she hated it and grimaced at me) but I knew she secretly loved it—was also assisting in whatever cooking there were doing that smelled so good. Again, I cursed my inability to digest coffee without flying off at the mouth, and my sarcasm meter was on overdrive as Bill tried to square up to me with all his macho bullshit on who exactly was the boss around here. It was pathetic really.
Agnes laughed, Bill continued to scowl, and Sookie was blushing up a storm trying to concentrate on kneading her bread. God, I wanted to kiss her again.
Lessons in self-control had to start here and now, and I would. I bid them good morning again before returning to the office with a smug smile plastered all over my face. I just enjoyed annoying Bill; he really made it far too easy.
I’d gotten most of the work I’d laid out for myself for the whole day done by noon. This was why I loved my coffee, it made things go faster, like the shake in my hand. Hmm. Maybe that wasn’t such a good thing since my handwriting was suffering. I was ready for a snack and wondered if Sookie was alone in the kitchen again, wondering if I could get a snack or just snack on her… I’d be fine with either.
Snapped abruptly out of my daydream of a sugar covered Sookie, Bill came storming into the office, without even knocking might I add.
“I didn’t appreciate you undermining me in front of the nuns Eric. It’s not professional and you have to understand that I am your superior and you will address me as such.”
“Oh, really? Hmm… see, Niall is my superior, you are his underling and HE put ME in charge here while he’s gone, or have you forgotten that little detail? Bill, really just accept it, you might have worked here longer but I’m just… well, better.” I grinned; knowing he was seething brought me a sick joy.
“It’s disrespectful! It undermines my authority with the Sisters and that is not acceptable! I know you’re a cocky little shit.”
Little, really? Has he seen himself?
“Your act may wash with Sookie, but it won’t with the rest of them, and I’d hate to see her suffer for your incompetence.”
That made my blood boil; just what the actual fuck was he getting at.
“Meaning what exactly? What has Sookie got to do with this? Or you for that matter?”
He realized he’d pissed me off, and damn it, it gave him a power he didn’t have before.
“So you do care for her then? Hmm… I thought that was merely a rumor.”
“She’s an old friend, Bill, you know this. Not that it’s something I’d expect you to comprehend; friendship is something I’m sure your life is seriously lacking.”
God Eric shut up!
“Just a friend? Please don’t kid a kidder Northman. I’ve seen how you two look at each other.”
“Yes, using one’s eyes is a new thing. You should try it. Bill, honestly I don’t know what you’re trying to insinuate but I can assure you, I look at Sookie, like I look at everyone. If you see some sort of ill intention, maybe it’s coming from your own mind and nothing more.”
“Meaning just that; people see what they want to see and if you look hard enough for something in situations like this, you’re bound to find something. What you think you know about my relationship with Sister Stackhouse… you really have no idea. And I’d appreciate it if you kept your vulgar insinuations to yourself in the future. They’d harm no one but Sookie, and I’m sure that’s something neither of us wants.”
Speak of the devil! Just as I was sure Bill was about to start off on another one of his rants, Sookie knocked gently and walked into the office with the small tray on wheels carrying a pot of tea and various snacks.
Bill said something—I couldn’t tell you what—I was more than a little preoccupied with Sookie’s presence. I stared him down, of course. I liked that even though his mouth kept sprouting things that were meant to intimidate me, his eyes screamed fear, whether he knew it or not.
I knew he left because I heard the door click shut behind him, as well as the sound of his sharp heels becoming more distant by the second. I needed to talk to her. I wanted to see how she was feeling—the smile on her face and from her eyes could have been from any number of things, I didn’t simply want to assume I, and more so, we were the cause. I wanted to do all those things but all I really managed to do was back her against a hard surface while my own, hard surface, closed her in. I kissed her, and God knows it’s something I didn’t think I’d ever get sick of doing. She tasted like sugar and honey and something else. I knew she liked to taste her creations when she was cooking, so goodness knows what we were in for today. She’d told me once that she liked to get creative sometimes in the kitchen. Of course it was “frowned upon.” I guess most forms of free thinking and self-expression were looked upon as sinful things. Honestly, the more I thought about it, teamed with the more I talked to Pam, the more I wanted Sookie. All of it, it all added up to me wanting to make some serious changes.
I closed in on her neck and her earlobe. As I felt the shiver run through her as her hands weaved their way to my hair, well all thoughts of talking just flew out the window. I loved how she tasted; I loved how she smelled it was something like sugar and sunshine today. The day before she’d smelt of something entirely different, but there was always that comforting ‘Sookie’ scent there underneath it all. Even when she’d hug me when we were kids she had that; she smelled like home. Of course, back then she’d just argue that she smelled nice because, unlike me, she was a lady and actually used her soap to wash and not just splash around with.
Long gone were the days of hair pulling and nicknames. No, today was filled with her lips on my neck and my fingers digging into her hips, before she teasingly pulled away from me. Something about tea that I could care less about. Why have tea when I could have had her?
Damn it, see this is my problem.
Conscience on, dick off Northman.
When she did her best to distract me again, I’d managed to back her up against the door. Her routes of escape had lessened slightly since my body all but covered her smaller one. She grew bold and I loved it. In just a day and half she’d gone from no kissing, to timid kissing, to exploration kissing, right up to pushing-all-my-buttons-kissing by sucking my bottom lip, then the top lip quickly, then closing in for a proper full kiss—one that made my very toes tingle.
She pulled back again this time attempting to put on her poker face. Sadly for Sookie, she had no poker face and just looked flushed and completely fuck-able as she slid away from me in attempts to get me to concentrate. I guess she knew that wasn’t going to happen so she tapped me on the nose before smiling at me. If I wasn’t mistaken, I could have sworn she was actually flirting with me. She said she had to get dinner ready, like I gave a shit about dinner. Why couldn’t she just be my diet? It would be the most amazing diet ever, of that I was sure.
But no, she left and it was probably for the best, for both our sakes. I had to calm my shit down, and she… well, she was just rosy and apparently off to cook some more while I had to un-cook myself out of the state I was in. The idea of another cold bath just made my skin crawl, but I knew if I was going to get anymore work done that day, the cold splash was completely necessary. Damn it!
Eric and I ‘carried on’ whatever it was that we were doing, whenever we got a moment alone, for over two weeks. There was a game at play—I’d see him in the mornings either in the kitchen or the breakfast room, either way there was always other people around so our contact was minimal to say the least, it was and had to be very subtle.
I loved it.
He was big on eye contact and this was no different. I could tell just by his eyes what he was thinking, the way he’d slowly travel my body, up and down, making me—fully clothed in a room full of people—feel like I was laid out naked just for him to devour. The way he’d make it his business to touch me, either softly grazing the back of my hand as I gave him his coffee, or placing a hand on my lower back to lead me one way or another if we were walking out the door together. No one took any notice of this, of that much I was sure. Even Geraldine seemed too preoccupied to care that my uniform was dusty from cleaning or my veil was wonky from rushing in the mornings.
The reason I was rushing was mainly due to my lack of sleep. For almost three weeks we maintained our routine—mornings, I’d bring him afternoon tea as usual, except lately his tea had gone cold in favor of spending our few minutes… otherwise engaged. We’d break for chores and work and then when we were sure everyone else was sound asleep, we’d meet up. In keeping with Eric’s tradition of stealing things from the kitchen, we took it a step further and decided to defile the kitchen with our making out on any and all surfaces until neither of us could take the tension anymore and we’d have to stop before we lost complete control of our senses. So many nights were filled with us just pawing at each other like idiots. I knew he wanted to step back, to make this less about the physical side of us and more trust building or some nonsense he was rattling on about. Every time we’d make out in the kitchen, when it came time for us to break apart and go to our respective rooms, he’d tell me that he was sorry. Why? I have no idea. I wanted this just as much as he did. He told me that he wanted me to know that he respected me. Again, this I knew and told him as much. He told me that the last thing he needed was for me to think that he was ‘using’ me or only wanted me for my body or how it made him feel, or my apparent ‘amazing breasts’ … Personally, I blame his coffee intake. Because he’d been sleeping less in order to feel me up more, his coffee consumption had increased. So in turn had his shakes and his sarcastic outbursts to anyone in a five mile radius.
But I so looked forward to my nights with him, which of course meant they were numbered. We received word that Niall would be returning within the week and that when he did, he and Eric would be tutoring extra hard to make up for the lost time when Niall was gone.
I wasn’t happy and needless to say Eric wasn’t feeling the love either. It’s not that he didn’t want Niall back; of course he did, we all did. But it clearly meant his time wouldn’t be his own now and well, Niall was a late-night-wandering type. Clearly any and all kitchen kissing had to be stopped.
On our last night together for the foreseeable future, I made sure to finish all my chores early so I could feign tiredness and slip off to bed earlier than usual, it allowed me a nap of an hour or so before I knew it would be safe to venture back down into the common areas of the convent. Not that it really mattered, because that night of all nights Geraldine had decided to stay up well past midnight, it was almost 2am in fact when she decided to turn in. I cursed her in my head for being so stubborn and cutting in considerable to my time alone with Eric. No matter I thought, I was sure we’d make the best of whatever time we had, just like we always did. I made my way down from the cells, the walls and halls were of course, dark and dinged as they were every night; few lights were left on at night. One flickering light bulb shone outside the door that led to the other door that led to the kitchen. This place was more like a maze than I’d ever previously realized.
I rounded the corner quickly and closed the kitchen door behind me. Before I knew it he was up against me, his hands on my skull tilting me toward his lips and kissing me fervently. He was still in his dress shirt and pants; he still had on his collar for goodness sakes. It shouldn’t have excited me as much as it did, but it did and then some. As soon as his hands were on me, I felt those tiny shocks of electricity float through me again. That feeling was getting to be addictive to me.
Feeling his breath on my neck suddenly made me bold. I reached down for his belt. The black leather slid open in my hands as I unbuckled the shiny silver claps. I felt his breathing pick up as he freed my other hand so I had both to unbutton the shiny black buttons. The sound of his zipper echoed through the cold kitchen in the darkness. The only light came from the full moon shining through the high windows, shadows covered us and our ministrations. He moaned into my hair when I finally freed him from his constraints. Fear took me over. What if I didn’t do it right? What if I hurt him? What if I was horrible? What if he didn’t like it?
He must have sensed my hesitation because he asked me if I was okay, and I told him my worries.
“What if I… do it wrong?”
“Darlin’, you couldn’t do it wrong even if you tried. Just do what you feel you want to do me…”
I kissed him then and whispered into his ear, “Show me?”
He hesitated so I said it again, stroking him hard once to make my point. “Show me what you like…”