Get Thee To A Nunnery Chapter 2

I sat down in the confession booth, desperate to unburden myself yet terribly nervous to tell a soul of the strange debauching fever that had afflicted and consumed me. 

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned.”

“What have you done, my child?” I heard a familiar voice say. My stomach dropped.

“Oh! Father…”

“Isaías.”

“Father Isaías, I’ve been having…impure thoughts.”

“I see. What have you been thinking of?” he asked, his voice careful, artificially even. I’d never heard a priest ask that. It didn’t seem right, but I felt compelled to answer anyway.

“Last night, I dreamt…of hands. Crawling all over me, touching me…intimately. I couldn’t do anything about it, but Father, I - I liked it. I woke up, and I did penance as prescribed, but it did nothing to cool the flames of lust. I - didn’t want to stop.” The words poured out in a jumble. My face was burning bright red. I thought I heard Father Isaías’ breath catch in his throat, but surely, I thought, it was just my imagination.

“My child, you have committed a serious sin. Come to the chapel after evening prayers so we may discuss proper penance,” he said, something unrecognizable in his voice.

 

~

 

I shouldn’t go. It was all frightfully improper. These were the thoughts in my head as my legs propelled me, in the darkness of the courtyard, to the chapel. When I arrived, I appeared to be alone. Apprehensively, I sat down on one of the pews. Suddenly, he was there beside me. 

“So, Sister - ah, this is becoming tiresome. You know my name, I should know yours.”

“Sister Joan.”

“After Saint Joan of Arc? A great heroine. Burned for her disobedience.”

“She did what she could.”

“And what will you do, with your short life? Will you obey? You’re a bright young woman, all that vibrant life ahead - what possessed you to secret yourself away in a nunnery?” he asked. Despite myself, something warm began to unfold inside me at the compliment. I felt a pull to him, a thread being spun connecting - no, tangling us together in a knot too complex to untie - even despite the tawdriness of the situation. 

“I didn’t want to serve whatever man my parents gave me away to. I wanted to serve humanity.” 

“Not the Lord?” he asks, a scandalous yet undeniable edge of derision in his voice.

“When the Lord starts teaching children, caring for the sick, and feeding the hungry, I’ll serve him. For now, he’s not invited to my vows.” I was shocked at the words that had just escaped my own mouth - and to a priest, no less! Then, he wasn’t an ordinary priest. Surely all boundaries of propriety had been crossed at this point - or so I thought, until he reached out and held my face in his hands, his sharp nails grazing my ear. I couldn’t help but melt into the touch - gosh, no one had touched my skin in so long. He looked into my eyes. I felt naked, so unbearably seen. I wanted to squirm under his gaze, but it held me there. His thumb traced my bottom lip. It caught on the scab where it had healed over since that morning, and a drop of blood gushed out. At that, he lost all composure and surged forward, capturing my mouth in a fierce kiss, sucking at my lip. I could do nothing but kiss back wantonly, the taste of iron in my mouth. When he tore himself away, his mouth was red, and his eyes were very dark and - I finally recognized - hungry. 

“Forgive me,” he said with great difficulty. “I…lost myself for a moment. You looked so irresistible in the moonlight. No matter. Say five Hail Marys for your sins. You may return to your room,” he said, as though nothing particularly unusual had occurred. I stood and realized suddenly I was lightheaded - my knees almost gave out under me - and made my way unsteadily back to my bedroom. I didn’t dream that night. Perhaps I didn’t need to. 

 

~

 

The next morning, I was back in that same church for the morning service. As I walked in the door, Rosie rushed to my side. 

“Rosie!” I whisper-shouted, “I really need to talk to you! You won’t believe what -” The service began as we settled into our seats. I tried to signal silently with my face and hands everything I wanted to tell her, and she seemed to understand at least some of it. Shock and intrigue dawned on her face first - she always did love a scandal - then anger, though not at me, or not entirely. I told you he was a creep, she seemed to say. Gosh, I just wanted to crawl into her arms, but there we were in the middle of church. I settled for touching my pinky finger to hers, tentatively. She grasped my hand boldly. She never did worry too much about these things - it was as if she didn’t feel as though someone must always be watching her every move. I glanced around. No one seemed to be looking. I squeezed her hand. She rubbed my knuckles with her thumb. My heart, the little traitor, fluttered in my chest.

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