Sweetest Sin(4)By: Sosie Frost
But, even as I squirmed, even as the truth tightened around me…I savored the sound of his voice.
Father Raphael awaited my answer. I had none.
“Honor, you came here tonight because you wanted to speak with me about these feelings. You sensed the danger, and yet you came to me. Was it for protection? Absolution?” He exhaled, his voice lowering, quiet and dark, only for me. “I know that’s not true. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with me. Tell me how this makes you feel.”
“How what makes me feel?”
“Confessing these dark and terrible sins to me.”
I shuddered so hard everything inside of me clenched, tight and waiting. “I don’t understand—”
“How brave of you to sit in my confessional, trapped in this little cage while you reveal these sins that have bound you in desire for…how long has it been, my angel? Days? Weeks? Since the first time you met me?”
I had wanted him from that very first instant when we were introduced. I stayed silent.
“I remember when I first saw you,” he said.
“So do I…” I swallowed. “You were giving Mass.”
“You were one of the few who listened.”
And look at the trouble it caused. “I was taught to respect my priest.”
“And yet you do not believe me when I say how beautiful you are. How special.”
“No, Father. It’s the opposite. I do believe you. Every word.”
“And that is a problem?”
“Maybe.” I edged closer to the screen. “The first time we met…what did you see in me?”
His words edged, hard and forced. “In you, I saw my damnation. It flashed like a prophesy in my mind…before it turned to fantasy.”
A shiver claimed me, but I didn’t fear it. It delighted me with a tickled warning.
Don’t let this happen.
“I should have imagined you with a halo, draped in golden light,” he said. “That’s what you’d prefer to hear. But I’ll always be honest with you…especially about this.”
The tension would tear me apart. I knew it. I had felt it. This wasn’t playful flirting.
This was something far more dangerous.
My whisper was too loud for the silence of the church. “Father, we can’t speak like this anymore. We can’t meet anymore. No matter how innocent we once thought it was…now we know the truth.”
“I’ve wanted to be alone with you, too many times for all the wrong reasons.”
“You have not sinned.”
“I will not give it a chance.”
He sighed, speaking softly with his infinite patience. “Tell me why you are really here, Honor. What sins have you committed?”
I bowed my head. The confessional was too small, too claustrophobic, too near him. I edged to the screen, not knowing if I sought forgiveness or the chance to feel his heat, hear his breath…to imagine his touch.
Just a graze of his fingers.
A slide of his hand.
The gentle brush of his lips against mine.
My mouth dried, but I feared the soothing flick of my tongue over my lips.
“You are a priest, and it’s wrong to expose you to these feelings. You could lose the church. Your vocation.”
“My angel, those are not your sins. They are mine.”
“It is not a transgression if we speak after Mass, or if you help me carry supplies for the youth group, or if we stay late to clean the nave. These are not sins—unless you have succumbed in another way…”
I had surrendered to something worse. Something damning.
“Bless me, Father. I have sinned.”
The confessional creaked. His voice warmed and chilled, lashed and comforted. He understood, and yet he demanded more from me.
I closed my eyes. “My thoughts and actions have not been…”
No one’s thoughts could remain pure around Father Raphael. He was a man who’d convert an unbeliever with the confidence of his smile. The sincerity of his words could bless even the most pious. He feared nothing and no one, and even his confidence was shadowed in humility.
He was good. He was holy.
He was completely forbidden to me.