As I attempted to at the very least nap once Eric left my room, it became obvious that sleep wasn’t an option. For Eric plagued my every thought. The thought of him in my room at night excited me even though it shouldn’t have. I knew such thoughts were wrong but it just seemed like the harder I tried not to think about him, the more I thought about him. I thought about him and how his mere presence seemed to suck up all the air in my little cell, and how tall he looked sitting on my little squeaky bed. How good he smelled and how cold his hands were from being outside. The desire to know what those hands would feel like on my body if I had joined him on my bed like I wanted to in that moment.
What it would feel like if I just did what I wanted and ran my hands through his newly shorn hair, down his back and around his arms forcing myself next to him and kissing him as thoroughly as I had imaged more times than I care to admit. I wanted to do more than just kiss him, I had done ever since the night he kissed me and landed himself in the service of Father Niall. I knew very little of what sex was and I was always afraid to ask. Even when Amelia would bring it up I’d avoid it at all costs, my lack of knowledge causing a streak of embarrassment to run through me each time.
I mean, I knew the basics of what went were and why -babies had to come from somewhere right? But I didn’t want to be with Eric that way solely to create a baby, I imagined that if his kissing were the pre-show that the full time show would be quite something else. It was going against everything that I’d ever been taught to even allow myself to engage in such thoughts -even with myself. But they continued and after the day I’d had I felt that I maybe deserved a few happy thoughts.
I willed away the dull ache that was just begging for my attentions as I attempted to drift off. I was hot all over and felt the over whelming desire to touch myself where I so needed it in that moment. I wouldn’t though, I never had. It was considered a sin in the eyes of our lord and I wasn’t about to commit such a sin on myself, even if I knew no one was watching – he was watching and I just felt wrong.
Guilt and Catholicism, they go together like jam and bread.
I’d been up for a few hours by the time Eric wandered into the kitchen, I’d been preparing the bread for the day when he sneaked up behind me, almost causing me to jump out of my skin.
“You’re really trying to kill me aren’t you, I’m on to your plan Northman!”
He simply smiled stealing one of the almonds I was for baking into the bread and hopping up on the kitchen counter beside me.
“When did you learn to cook?”
“Well, excuse you I happen to be an amazing cook thank you very much.”
“Mmmhmm. I believe you thousands wouldn’t.” He teased.
“Keep that talk up mister and you get to starve today, since I’m on kitchen duties an all.”
“Oh, you’re going to poison me aren’t you?” He laughed as I swatted him down with my cloth.
“Get down, your ass is not sanitary and I’ve just cleaned!”
“No my ass isn’t …sanitary but it sure is pretty” he smirked again hopping down and taking his seat at the table as I slammed the last of the breads into the oven.
I blushed. I’d given his pretty ass more than enough thought last night and the memory caused me to look away as much as it pained me, he was right his ass was world class. And if that was my option through clothes I could only imagine what it would be without.
“Is there coffee?” He asked his voice still a deep gravely tone.
“You drink coffee now? You know it stunts your growth…” I rambled as I poured him a cup.
It earned me his eyebrow raised, “Sook stunting my growth can’t really be a bad thing at this point. If I grow any more I’ll never be able to find a decent pair of pants.”
I laughed “And what would be do then, be forced to look at your ‘pretty’ ass. It would be un-bare-able.” I punned. Surprisingly I was feeling a lot better today about the events of yesterday – or maybe Eric just had a calming effect on me.
“OH!” he said almost bouncing where he sat, I’d noticed his mood had improved a lot more too even with the lack of sleep. “I have a little present for you. I mean not on me, but it’s in one of my cases I completely forgot about it. I found it in Rome.”
No one ever bought me presents.
“Oh? That’s sweet but you didn’t have-”
“Of course I did, I saw it and instantly thought of you, I could get it now but I have to go meet Niall for study, but will you be here later?” He asked, his blue eyes shining a little brighter with the hope I’d say yes.
“I have a few errands to run this afternoon but I should be back before service and confession.”
He smiled bright then, “Ok that’s good that’s great I’ll see you then.” I knew he was late for his lessons, mainly because I’m sure he was already late when he stopped in to see me on the way to Niall’s office. Swiping two freshly made muffins from the batch I’d just laid out on the table he smirked at me and ran.
Nice to see something’s never change. Eric and his klepto nature when it came to this kitchen it seemed was never ending.
His office was as it always was, not overly large but crammed with dark oak books shelves from ceiling to floor, each other packed with books on what he imagined to be every topic under the sun. His wooden desk was well worn, forty years behind it there was no surprise it was as worn out as Niall was himself. The large windows sat next to his desk and they allowed him a view of the gardens. It was the best view in the house no doubt, flowers trees and fruit’s a wash with colour no matter what time of year.
Statues of Our Lady adorned his window sills, the last supper hung behind his desk, a crucifix on the left wall, the right wall was reserved for Niall’s academic accomplishments and a few photos of friends and of course one of the pope – couldn’t forget about him now could we.”You’re late.” Niall said without even looking up from his newspaper.
“I know I’m sorry, but here. Peace offering?” I offered him the other muffin, I didn’t have to tell him I accidentally let it drop on the way down the hall. Right?
“And the reason why you’re late is?”
I smiled. He nodded “Ah, I take it Ms Stackhouse is well then?””Yeah, she seems fine, she’s baking.” I shrugged as Niall pulled out various text books he wanted me to read and question. It was a tedious way to spend the days, but it was necessary I suppose.
Just over two hours into our lesson, I was relieved when a prompt knock came to his door.
In walked a man with one of the sourest expressions I’d ever recalled seeing on another person – and this is knowing Sister Geraldine. He was a short little thing, I’d say nothing over five ten and he walked like he had a poker up his – ah. Bill Compton.
“Eric.” Niall began “This is William Compton, one of the priests in position while I was gone.”
I stood up and shoot his hand, noticing with a smug humour how much I towered over him. His scowl seemed to increase as he introduced himself as ‘Bill’.
“Well Eric, how long will you be staying here do you think?”
“As long as is necessary, I have friends here and I know the place well and having Niall as my tutor…Well It’s all part of a package that so far I see no reason to turn down.”
“I see. Well I was just questioning Niall’s decision, three priests in the one area, I mean is it really necessary?”
“I don’t see how it would be unnecessary, Bill. As I told you yesterday, things have fallen by the way side while I’ve been away and I’ll be needing all hands on deck to get this place in ship shape again.” Niall answered in a clipped tone.
“Aren’t you almost at retiring age anyway, why not take it sooner and enjoy your years.”
The asshole had the audacity to suggest Niall give up his life here, just like that. Who did he think he was exactly.
“Excuse me Bill, but are you forgetting that Niall is your superior here? How dare you-“”Eric, it’s fine.” Niall sighed as he took his seat. “However, Bill, I think you’ll find I have a lot of good years in me yet, and I’ll retire when I’m good and ready. Now if you don’t mind could you draft me up the collection tally for the last six months please? I’m missing it from the files.”
Asshole nodded finally having some shame to look embarrassed. “I mean no disrespect, I was just simply suggesting that perhaps you begin to take things a little slower. All that travelling and missionary work can’t have been easy and you are getting on in years….it’s just a fact.”I stood up then lowering my head to meet him eye to eye I used my best intimating voice.
“Well, as his student, I think it’s a good thing that I’m around now isn’t it? Any metaphorical heavy lifting that Niall may or may not have will have my back up. So, don’t you worry you’re over gelled little head there Bill. Niall will be fine, and things will get back to normal around here under his direction as it has always been.”He pursed his lips to stop a scowl from appearing, he failed and it appeared anyway. His shame face showing in all it’s annoying glory.
“The Sisters have been complaining about inadequate heating at night in their quarters.” he sprouted in defiance.
Niall simply sighed. “Bill, you know as well as I, that all business to do with the nuns, their cells and so forth are in the charge of Sister Geraldine…However funding is something I can better work out if you get the me the collections tallied up so I can workout where best to spend our income, understand?”Bill nodded like the little bitch he was and finally took his leave.
“I really don’t like him!” I said my narrowed eyes still focusing on the door he just shut closed.
Niall merely sighed again, taking his seat. “Let’s get back to our-”
“What’s his story? I don’t like him, there’s something off about him he’s a shifty annoying little man, and did you hear how he was talking to you, who talks to their superior like that….and he uses too much hair product, his hair looks wet, that can’t be normal it’s like he swam here and did I mention I don’t like him?” I ranted off before finally taking a much needed breath.”Eric, have you had coffee again? We’ve discussed what happens to you when you have coffee. Remember?”
Ok so he might have had a point. The first time I had coffee was before I gave my first mass after my ordination in Rome. It was an extremely strong batch and I may have had three cups. The mass was a total shambles, my hands were shaking the whole time and not due to nerves, I was jittery and giggling like a schoolgirl. Niall explained the reasons behind the caffeine and how it would effect me. He assumed someone my size could handle it, apparently my body disagreed.
“I know, I like it though and I think that if I had it more often I could get a handle on it. Plus it’s giving me energy, I didn’t sleep very well last night.”
Don’t tell him you went to Sookie’s bedroom and for God sakes don’t tell him about her delicious body.”I don’t know, a few things. It’s weird being back here, it’s weird being in this place again – seeing Sookie and all the changes. I guess it’ll just take some getting used to.”
“It will, that and your new responsibilities here I understand that it might seem a tad overwhelming at the moment, but you’ll get used to it eventually.”
SPOV:Telling your secrets is always something they say halves the burden of carrying it, in a sense this is what ‘confession’ was. Ever since I was a little girl, we’d go into the small box structures at the back of the church, kneel down and confess our various sins to the Father in hopes of forgiveness from Our Father.
It was a place of refuge where no matter how scared you felt or how wrong you thought you were, when you received your absolution, all was right with the world. You’d be good and pure and welcome into heaven should anything happen to you. Right away, no questions asked – as long as you confessed your sins.
For a long time my twice a week confession was mundane to say the least. And since this was Fr Brigant again I felt fine in telling him my new found sins.
I kneeled, I blessed and I confessed all of my usual mundanely boring sins to the shadowed figure on the other side of the darkened wired screen. Then I got to my most recent and frequent of sins. One that I’d been allowing myself to indulge in for the last 24 hours.
“What kind of impure thoughts, thoughts of a violent nature?” came the muffled voice through the darkened screen. “No…” I felt my face begin to heat up the shame of actually having to voice my thoughts out loud was over-whelming.
“More or less of an…extremely sexualized nature.”
“I see. About anyone in particular or just in general.”
“Just one man, and I know that I shouldn’t be thinking these thoughts about any man, let alone this man Fr but believe me I have tried to not-”
“What do you think exactly.”
“I…what does it matter?””Devil in in the details my dear.” came the muffled voice again. I decided that if I was going to confess it all I was going to do it all. Purge my thoughts and maybe then I’d get some peace from them.
“I want to …””To?””Kiss him, I want his hands on my body more than I’ve wanted anything, and I want to make love with him. I know I never would but I want it, I’ve wanted it ever since-” I took a breath. “Ever since he…Well, I’ve wanted it for a while now and recently it’s all I can think of. It’s as if I need him, and if I somehow don’t have him near me I feel almost empty. I know nothing can ever happen with this man, his choices as well as my own would never allow it. I just need their to be a way of getting my thoughts to….I don’t know …just stop!”
“We all think things we shouldn’t sometimes. The important thing is how we act on those thoughts.” came the voice clearer now than it was before and I froze in place.
It wasn’t Father Brigant. It was Bill. I’d just confessed my deepest sin to him of all people.
I tried my best to keep my voice calm as he issued his ‘absolution’ and gave me my penance. I blessed myself and made a swift and silent exit. I tried to calm my nerves as I made my way to the back of the church to take my seat. It was then that I heard his footsteps behind me.
I knew it was him from the smell of his cologne as he took a seat beside me.
“I want you to know that these thoughts that you’ve been having, well, they are perfectly normal and to be expected really. I understand that when you’re attracted to someone it can be overwhelming at first but I don’t think that -“”Father, which bible are you quoting from? Because from my understanding it is wrong, I’ve been taught that all my life even before taking my previous vows.””This man you have these feelings for…” He smiled “Has he given you an indication that he may feel the same?”He moved in closer to me again, this time placing his hand on my shoulder. I fought the urge to shudder at the contact.
“That shouldn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, because I would never act on these feelings. He would know better than to do so either.””He’d be a fool.””Excus-”
“Sookie I thought I made my intentions to you very clear, you have no reason to doubt my romantic feelings towards you.”
Romantic? He thought forcing himself on me against my consent was romantic?
“Bill, whatever intentions you’ve had for me I have to tell you plainly I have no intentions for you – romantic or otherwise.”He just shrugged looking at the alter and back at me. “Sookie, you are mine. Mine and no one else’s you know this by now, you should also know that what I want? I usually get.”
Clearly he saw the fear in my eyes, “Oh Sookie, don’t look so scared…I would never hurt you, you have to know that.””But…you did.” I whispered willing the tears I felt pushing to the service to fade away. I couldn’t let him seem me he actually had the gall to look offended as he apologised. “Oh, I…oh Sookie I am so sorry. You have to know that it was my last ever intention to do you any harm. I was over-whelmed, and yes seeing you with Eric, it did anger me. But that is no excuse, oh my dear, what you must think of me.””Eric he’s…””He’s a brash young man Sookie. I fear what his presence might result in you…well in a change in your behaviour. You’ve always been such a good girl and well, Sister Geraldine doesn’t approve of him being here.””Why?””She, like I, feels that there are too many cooks as it were. There is no need for two let alone three priests to man this parish. She feels I was doing a great job a much better one that Niall and she suspects that Eric won’t be as good either.
“They’ve barely been back two whole days how can either of you make that assumption?”He looked at me sharply then, I knew that look so I shut my mouth.
We sat in silence for a few more awkward minutes before I gave my leave and left. Just being around him it felt as if my heart would beat out of my chest with nerves. I was constantly on edge around him, more so now of course than before. I knew I’d have to watch my back around him. And my front.
God help me, was nothing ever going to be easy?
It almost seemed like old times, walking along with Sookie by my side laughing and joking about the ridiculous behaviour of the nuns, or the church going old ladies who pray three times a day but look down their noses at the single mother’s or the coloured members of the church. Sookie thought it ridiculous that it was almost a new decade – the 60’s would soon be upon us she said and found it hard to swallow that people just kept on keeping on when it came to being prejudiced. I noticed that the further away from everyone we walked the more animated she got, it was like she wasn’t afraid of who’d see her once out of the eagle eyed vision of the older Sisters. She talked openly about her schooling, her new friends who she said would ‘rip me apart for information to use against her’ but that they’d love me all the same if I let them. They sounded like a entertaining bunch, a little odd, but entertaining all the same. They made Sookie smile and laugh, so whoever they were they got my vote.
When we reached the door to the priests quarters she froze.
“Ok. I’ll wait here.””Sookie, come on it’s just up the hall it’s in my drawer it’ll take two minutes.”
“But I’m not allowed in there.””It’s just a room. A room inside a building full of rooms. What harm is there in that?”Ok I knew the harm, but really? I wanted to give her, her gift without being interrupted was that so wrong?
She was hesitant at first but she gave in.
“I’ve not been in here before. Sister Agnes delivers the sheets and things so I really have no….Maybe I should just wait outside.” I wasn’t taking no for an answer, her awkwardness was adorable but she really had nothing to worry about. I mean sure, she’d be in bedroom but that didn’t mean anything and besides it was the middle of the day and this was a totally innocent reason to be here.
I grabbed her hand and let her in, letting her roam around my room as I rummaged through my suitcase.
“Your room is much bigger than mine.” Then she gasped. “Is that…Goose feathered covers!” Then she seemed to remember her manners and her mouth firmly shut before she grumbled something about ‘we don’t get goose feathers…” before bouncing to her seat at the bottom of my bed.
I finally found the little velvet box and joined her on the bed.
She grew quiet, with wide eyes she thanked me before she’d even opened it.
“Oh Eric, they’re beautiful.”They were polished rubies that had been wrapped in gold and turn into a gorgeous set of rosary beads with a small gold cross dangling from the end. She rolled them in her hands and counted the beads as she ran her fingers over the cross. Thanking me again and again and telling me how beautiful she thought they were, and that just how nice it was because no one ever bought her presents.
I hated that fact. I hated the vow of poverty. If I had my way I’d lavish gifts on her every day if I could. Maybe one day I would, just for the hell of it. The light in her eyes and her happiness was something that I never got enough of.
When I told her the story of how I found them, she sighed happily leaning into my shoulder as she listened.
Carefully I told her how I’d stumbled into a little antique store in Rome, and how the woman behind the counter saw my collar and directed me to the beads. She said the beads where her grandmother’s and that she had, had them for well over seventy years, a gift from her husband on their wedding day in the late 1800s. I’d paid a pretty penny for them, but I knew I had to get them for her, I wanted her to have something beautiful that I knew she’d use everyday. Rings, brooches, bracelets, all would have been forbidden, but the beads I knew were the one thing she’d be allowed to keep.
She smiled for what seemed the millionth time thanked me yet again and kissed me on the cheek. I caught her wiping a tear from her eye and it forced me embrace her like I’d wanted to the first time.
She held into my shoulders as she buried her face in my neck, and I got as close to her as her veil would allow, I hated that thing. Not only did it hide her beautiful hair that always smelled so good, but it just made her look …not like Sookie.
Feeling her breath on my skin set my nerve ending alight, little goose-bumps and my hairs on my arms stood on edge. Without really thinking about it I reached for her chin forcing her to look at me, and what I saw in her eyes I was sure was the same lust I was feeling within myself, so, stupidly I leaned in as far as I could and ever so gently grazed her lips with mine. It was when she didn’t protest that I dipped towards her again, this time allowing my hands to slide to her veil covered neck to bring her closer to me. Closing off the distance finally I kissed her again.
Breaking every rule in the place didn’t seem to matter to me as I felt her hands slip from my shoulders to my neck, lingering ever so slightly as her plump lips parted again and again against my own.
It wasn’t until she let a small moan escape her that I was dragged back to reality, and the harsh reality being – what the fuck had I just done?