Sweetest Sin(2)By: Sosie Frost
Maybe I was imagining things. Maybe I read too much into the conversations we had and the times me met within a quiet, empty church.
But could I risk my soul?
“I should go,” I whispered. “I don’t know what to say.”
“Prayer is from the heart, Honor.”
“Not this prayer. I’ve already taken too much of your time—”
“You will stay, and I will hear your confession. Time with you is not wasted.”
The screen separated us, and it should have been a relief. But I could still imagine him perfectly…because he was perfect. Hardened and soft, handsome and fierce, dark and light.
His silhouette shifted in the shadow cast by the confessional. I had no right to remember the dark, charcoal sincerity of his eyes, the crest of his forehead with eyebrows that were almost black, matching the slick darkness of his hair. Even in the dim light, I recognized the sharp definition of his nose, royal in stature like the strength of his jaw. He’d only just turned thirty, but his confidence and poise made him seem far older. Wiser.
Was he a priest or a warrior?
“Honor.” Father Raphael called for me. Did he intend to draw my attention, or had I imagined how he smiled over the word, as if he took pleasure in whispering my name? “We’ve talked many times this past month.”
“About many things.”
Everything and nothing. “Yes, Father.”
“Do you regret our conversations?”
I stiffened. “They weren’t just conversations.”
“What were they?”
Just like this. Veiled words, unspoken desires, and every dangerous and wicked thought cloaked in small talk. We exchanged pleasantries while holding our breath. We spoke of the church and trembled in quiet, unrealized longing for a brush of our fingers or moment alone, beyond the congregation.
“They were deceitful,” I said.
He never spoke a forceful word. Never needed to exert that power over another soul, not when his gentleness captured them instead.
“I have never deceived you,” he said.
I believed it as much as I feared it. “Honesty in words is different from honesty in action.”
“You may be the only one in my flock who listens to my homily.” His amusement hummed in a quiet chuckle. “And here I thought I wrote that lesson for myself.”
“I learned from it.”
“Obviously. You are here.”
“Guilt does not tarnish a soul as pure as yours, Honor.”
“Are you sure?”
He paused, posing the question like a game, a tease. “Why did you come here tonight?”
I stared at my hands, folded in unsaid prayer. “Because I wanted to do the right thing and confess.”
“And what are you confessing?”
I didn’t know yet. I didn’t even know if I’d be able to admit it.
What if someone heard our whispering?
But the church had emptied hours ago. I’d waited until night fell, when the sun went down and the shadows cloaked the nave…
Except for the corner confessional where Father Raphael and I battled a different darkness.
If he fought anything at all.
Maybe it was just me.
And that was more of a reason to run.
“What is it you fear, Honor?” he asked.
I felt him move, almost as though he had pressed through the walls and towered over me, scented with sandalwood and tense with the same uncertainty and heat.
“Is it cliché to say I fear for my mortal soul?”
“It’s not cliché, but it is foolish.”
“We are all sinners. Sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we must commit acts that go against our faith. And sometimes, after we’ve lost ourselves, we fear what we’ve done, what we want, is unforgivable.” His voice lowered. “If you truly wish to be healed, you can’t simply confess what you’ve done.”
“What do I do?”
“You must question what first led you into that darkness. What reason you had for wanting to sin. For some, it is depression. Others, rage. And some fear. What has driven you into sin?”
“That’s what frightens me, Father. Answering that would risk my soul.”