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Last night Alaina agreed when Fr. Ryan said they were an exception to the law of celibacy. But this morning she admitted she was a mere woman involved in a forbidden love affair but Ryan was no mere lover. Unwilling to give him up, how could she compete against God?
Alaina stirred awake from her dream and rolled over to look at her clock. She squinted twice, not believing the lighted dial showing 11:25. She buried her head in her pillow and soon soaked it in a torrent of tears. The ache goring her soul denied guilt any chance of resurfacing. “Ryan, Ryan,” she sobbed, twisting the blue sheet around her naked body until she dropped off to sleep.
When she felt his kiss, she jolted upright and burst into tears. Enfolding her in his arms, he said, “I’m so sorry, my love. I expected the meeting to be over by ten, but it kept going until past eleven. Then Joe wanted to go for a late snack and a beer, and I didn’t know how to say no without having to lie.”
“I don’t know if I can do this, Ryan. I don’t know if I can share you with the church. I love you too much.”
“We’ll figure this out, Alaina. I want to be with you, too.” He tugged on the sheet.
She clutched it to her breast. “But you’re divided between the church and me.”
“Not so; I love you both totally. If you want me to choose, I will choose you.” He unbuttoned his shirt and pressed her to his chest.
“No, Ryan, I couldn’t do that to you.”
“Can I just love you now?” He pressed his warm lips against hers. She released the sheet and fell back onto her still damp pillow. Soon her heart was pounding in ecstasy and she persuaded herself he had enough love to be priest for God and lover for her.
Exhausted yet refreshed, their eyes danced for each other. Her heart throbbed as his fingers brushed away the wet wisps of hair from her forehead. “Do you want me to stay until morning?”
“Of course, but we both know you can’t.”
“I want to wake up beside you.”
“It hurts to even think that can never be.”
“But it can if you come to my bed.”
Alaina bolted upright. “Ryan, are you crazy?”
He pulled her into a cuddle. “Listen.” He kissed her ear. “If you take a walk through the cemetery, it circles around to my back yard. No one lives near me. No one would see you come through the back door.”
“Ryan, I don’t know what to say.”
“Promise me you’ll think about it.”
“I won’t be able to stop thinking about it. But what would happen in the morning?”
“You mean, after I bring you breakfast?”
She laughed. “Ryan, be serious.”
“I am serious. You would get dressed, go back to the cemetery, then come across the street to Mass.”
Her heart thumping, she gulped for air. “To wake up with you—it would be like we were married.”
“We are married, remember? Didn’t we say that last night? My spiritual, mystical bride, we have become one.”
Alaina rolled onto her side facing him and their lips fused until they both moaned for air.
“As a lily among thorns, so is my beloved among women.”
“As an apple tree among the trees of the woods, so is my lover among men.”
“Again, God’s words seal our union.” He nuzzled his head in her hair and gave her a peck on the cheek “And, so I’ll see you at Mass tomorrow morning, in your regular pew. We’re blessed beyond all others, so we must praise God together. And tomorrow night you’ll come to me.”
“Yes, yes. We’ll be together always.”
He slid out of bed. “Let me tuck you in for the rest of the night.”
“You’re spoiling me but I love it,” she laughed.
He bent over for his trousers. “By the way, I noticed your neighbor was still up when I came. I could see him walking by the kitchen window.”
“I caught a glimpse of him this afternoon. He scares me.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Just womanly intuition, I guess.”
“Well, another reason you’ll be safer in my bed.” He winked, sat down on the edge of the bed facing her, lifted her head with one arm and fluffed her pillow with the other. With their lips together again, he laid her head back down, tucking the blanket around her breasts.
Currently serving as a pastoral associate at a Catholic Church in Silver Spring, MD, D. Kress holds an M.Ed from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and B.S. in Education from Carlow College. During her more than 50 years of ministry in the church, she has been a classroom teacher, principal, computer teacher, area manager for a computer education company, assistant or marketing manager in three publication departments, and educational consultant for a textbook publisher. She enjoys her reputation as a storyteller, and has been a speaker at local, regional and national events.
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 389
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