Sweetest Sin(3)By: Sosie Frost
“Do you think I would threaten something so precious? Something so innocent?” His words graced me like the soft brush of his fingers, a touch I wished and feared to experience. “I would never endanger a soul this beautiful.”
My heart beat, too quick and fierce for anything deserving in the quiet sanctuary of the church.
“You shouldn’t say such things, Father.”
“You are beautiful, Honor.”
My fingers trembled, lithe and dark, contrasting the pale gold of the crucifix on my rosaries. I tucked my hands under my legs. It didn’t stop the rest of me from shaking.
“Do you believe me?” he asked.
I wanted to. “Aren’t we all beautiful in the eyes of the Lord?”
“And yet before me sits an angel, humble in her perfection.”
“And I thought the serpent had the slick tongue.”
“I have greater uses for mine than mere lies.”
Was he talking about the church? Celebrating Mass and preaching or…did he tease with something more? Something sinful and delightful that lingered in my mind as an untasted, unachievable promise?
“This is what I mean, Father. Is it wrong…the way we speak and the things we say?”
“The compliments we give?” Father Raphael drew the question with a soft rumble in his voice. “Do you trust yourself?”
“Do you trust your thoughts, your feelings, your faith?”
“How can you be so sure?”
“Because I’ve already failed my soul’s first challenge.”
“A challenge?” His words shifted, curious. “What sort of challenge?”
“Does it matter? We face so many every day.”
“What made this one different?”
I swallowed. “It was the first one I’ve lost.”
“Are you certain you’ve lost?”
“I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.” My hair fell over my face, ebony waves that should have been pinned and proper for church. Instead I let them cascade, wild and free. I thought I could hide in them. It only revealed more of me. “Father, we’re too close.”
“Close to what?”
He was a priest, but he wasn’t naïve. Couldn’t be, not when the only thing he denied himself was so often the primary focus of the church’s teachings.
Did he want me to say it? Was that the game? Did he wait for me to admit just how depraved and terrible and amazing the fantasies had become? Every squirming second in the confessional only made me realize how sinful my thoughts were. How dangerous.
And he knew it too.
It was part of the control he had over me.
Why should he admit these sins if he could tease me, leave me shamed and aching for an embrace that never happened, words we hadn’t whispered, and a release that…
Well, that release had come. At least he had only been in my mind and not in my bed then.
I bit my lip. The sharp sting didn’t punish me. Just the opposite.
“Father, we’ve spent time together this month, and I appreciate the guidance and comfort you have given, but it has to end.”
“Because it no longer feels innocent.”
This intrigued him. I imagined his gaze upon me, scorching through the tiny screen separating him from my innermost thoughts, fears.
Now or never.
“When you speak with me…” I said. “It’s like there’s more to your words.”
“Do you believe I’ve misled you?”
“No. I think you say exactly what you mean. What you want.”
“Something neither of us can have.”
Father Raphael breathed deep, solemn. “You speak of sins we’ve never committed.”
“Yes,” I said.
“Words we’ve never spoken.”
“And a touch I’ve never offered.”
He smiled. “So what exactly is it you have imagined. What are you feeling?”
“Why would you make me say it?”
“Why would you confess here, with me, if you did not wish for me to hear it?”
What did he want from me?
I’d come to accept responsibility for the thoughts and feelings that threatened my soul. Now? I’d never forgive myself for getting tangled deeper in his web.