Published at Erotica Readers and Writers Association Treasure Chest
Copyright © Teresa Wymore. All Rights Reserved.
Erotic romance | Contemporary M/F | 2005
Seven parishioners were in the rectory’s den when Duncan arrived after Mass. Maggie and Helen leaned forward in their chairs. Joe sat on a couch with one leg resting across the other knee as he absently tugged on his exposed black sock. His wife and a second Mary sat next to him. Nick and Janice sat in foldout chairs with a tray table holding steaming coffee.
The parish offered book discussion groups during each liturgical season, and Duncan had selected a book about mystics for Lent.
Duncan accepted a mug of coffee from Joe and sat down across from Maggie. She read aloud from a thin book. “With that, he tenderly placed his right hand on her neck, and drew her towards the wound in his side. ‘Drink, daughter, from my side,’ he said, ‘and by that draught your soul shall become enraptured with such delight that your very body, which for my sake you have denied, shall be inundated with its overflowing goodness.’ Drawn close in this way to the outlet of the Fountain of Life, she fastened her lips upon that sacred wound, and still more eagerly the mouth of her soul, and there she slaked her thirst.” Maggie closed the book before adding, “That was written by her confessor.”
Helen crossed her legs. She smoothed her brown polyester skirt as one narrow loafer tapped the air. “I’m not sure I’d call that erotic. It’s about love, love of Jesus.”
Maggie picked up her copy of the book the group had been reading. “Talbot completely avoided talking about St. Catherine’s erotic experience. But he goes on and on about her suffering, although that’s erotic, too, in a way.”
Duncan gazed into his steaming mug and said, “She led a life of sacrifice and self-mortification, an important lesson for Lent, and the point of this book.”
“She tortured herself,” replied Maggie. “What was she working so hard to control?”
“Exactly,” said Duncan, as if Maggie had made his point for him.
“Exactly what? She abused her body like any good Christian. She saw temptation in every thought. It’s a different world now.”
Gray eyebrows rising, Duncan said, “Different how? Truth hasn’t changed for two-thousand years. Revelation ended with the last Apostle, Paul.”
“What if the metaphor’s real?”
“Sex? With Jesus?” His voice grew glacial as he said, “St. Catherine starved herself, and I think you’re right that she may have experienced something orgiastic in her suffering.”
“She loved God,” said Maggie. “Why draw an arbitrary boundary between two feelings, one allowed and one not? You can’t just dismiss her ecstasy as low blood sugar.”
“Nor can you read sensuality into a spiritual metaphor.” He paused as if reconsidering what he was about to say and said it anyway. “The boundary isn’t arbitrary.”
His banality pierced her like poison, so Maggie retreated, letting the conversation drift on without her until the words became like echoes, sounds without meaning. She realized her dream of love haunted Duncan like a nightmare, but they were both getting used to deceiving themselves.
After the group finished, Nick took photos. He scooted Duncan into the middle with a wave of his hand. Maggie noticed that despite the jostling, no one touched Duncan, and when she saw one of the photos hanging on the bulletin board the following week, she noticed the parishioners bunched to each side, an arc of space like a halo around him.
Maggie climbed above Duncan, her legs to either side of his face. Black curls brushed against his nose. Wrapping his arms around her smooth thighs, Duncan sucked in her swollen clitoris, drawing the bud between his teeth and holding it there as he scrubbed it with his tongue.
Maggie cried out as she pulled away. “Too much. It’s too much.”
He nuzzled the folds of flesh again, searching for the swollen clitoris, but it had hidden itself. He pushed one finger into her vagina and sucked in her temperamental clitoris when it plumped again. As his inexperience wrestled with her sensitivity, he knocked a stack of journals to the floor.
Books overflowed from the shelves in Duncan’s room to create untidy piles in inconvenient places. His bed was narrow, covered with one worn blanket and two thin pillows. A painting of Jesus teaching children graced one wall and a calendar and crucifix on the others. The room was functional and masculine, but its lack of comfort did not matter to either Maggie or Duncan after a day of lingering touches on a car trip to the diocesan cathedral.
Duncan’s gentle efforts exhausted Maggie’s patience. She needed fulfillment, not protraction. She seized his hands, pulling them to her breasts. Her pink areolas puckered in excitement, and she held his hands until they pinched her nipples. She spread her labia while her fingers coaxed his tongue to the most needful areas. Her whispered pleading grew throaty, and her body shivered as she slid across his face.
He dropped a hand from her breast, and when she realized what he was doing, she crawled to the other side of his bed. Embarrassed, he began to explain that he only wanted to control his excitement.
Surrounded by piles of black and gray hair, his meaty prick throbbed with the rhythm of a violent pulse and arched like an elegant weapon above his heavy testicles. A sublime longing muted Maggie’s grasping desire. She stared at the immanent flesh made perfectly masculine. “It’s beautiful. Hold it, Dun. I want to watch you.”
Dismayed by Maggie’s request, Duncan resisted as she pushed at his hand. He took hold of her chin. “You hold it,” he demanded, his smooth voice cracking under a loosening rapaciousness. He pulled at her hand, and she slid her fingers sinuously around his shaft. The loose skin moved with her grip, rolling over firm ridges. She teased her fingertips up the belly of his shaft, trailed them through the split of his crown, and stole a drip from his urethra.
He groaned and pushed her to her back. He mashed his prick against her labia, dragging it through the neat bush of black hair before he dipped the swollen head into her warm furrow. When she spread her legs, her submissive offering dilated his senses and robbed him of what reason remained.
He rushed to enter her, and she tried to slow his push, but the well-padded head of his penis had already trespassed through tender flesh. It had been a very long time since he had been with a woman. He screwed his thickness into her, burying his aching prick deep in her snug walls.
“Slow, slow,” she groaned. “Dun, yes. Oh…” Bliss heated her cheeks, and her eyes grew lazy. She weakened under his thrusts. She rolled her head from side-to-side, tossing her curls into a tangle, as the sounds of sticky and vigorous suction mingled with her moans. She wrapped her legs around his back and relaxed her hips, opening herself to his aggressive thrusts.
His sweaty hands curled around her shoulders, and he pressed fevered kisses across her inflamed lips. “Do you like this?” he breathed, his voice shaky with extremity as he shoved his ruthless prick into her. “Tell me, Maggie.”
She spoke too softly at first. He repeated himself until she muttered a series of obscenities so electrifying that acute spasms seized his groin. He thrust furiously, penetrating her as deeply as he could and emptying himself of every agony.
After presiding over Mass each morning, Duncan spent an hour in exercise, followed by a few hours at the veteran’s hospital, visitations to homebound parishioners, meetings with commissions of the parish ministries, the parish staff, or parishioners for marriage preparation, baptism, funerals, or counseling.
Even his time alone came with innumerable demands: prayer at dawn, dusk, and bedtime, mail from the diocese and friends and preparation of his daily homilies. He turned down more offers for dinner than he accepted, and by the end of the day, he retired to his room at the rectory, grateful for the quiet and his bottle of bourbon.
Like most men, Duncan had many acquaintances and a few truly intimate friends. Like most priests, he considered himself a servant, because the vocation that had summoned him continued its loving lessons in humility into his third decade of service.
Duncan was startled when someone entered the confessional and sat down in the chair across from him. He closed the book he was reading and began the sacrament he had performed nearly every Saturday for twenty-five years. “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” He saw that it was Maggie. “Amen.” Before she could speak, he said, “I can’t hear your confession.”
The small confessional was a dark room at the back of the church. A bulb no brighter than a nightlight shone over Duncan’s gray hair. He wore his white alb, and around his shoulders hung a narrow white stole with black crosses laid atop embroidered circles of gold. At each end, a horizontal band of black crossed the white linen. Several books rested on his lap.
“You don’t know why I’m here, Father.”
He considered what mortal sins she might have to confess apart from those with him.
The remaining icy clumps from the spring snow melted into navy spots on Maggie’s light jeans. She unwound her white scarf and slipped her white-knit hat from her hair. The sheltered intimacy of the confessional wrapped her in the lavish comforts of an abiding faith. The only other place she felt so utterly bare and subdued was in bed with Duncan. “I’m pregnant.”
He continued to stare at her as if she had not spoken. After awhile, he tried to speak and failed. He found it difficult to breathe. As if he were crippled, he shook his head slightly, seeking help.
She reached out her hand. “Please,” she said, lifting her hand a little higher. He rested his right hand on her palm. Following on shallow breaths, her eyes closed before she leaned back and let her warmth slide away from his. “I’ll be able to work until the baby comes, and I have my mother to help after that—my sister, friends.”
He knew Maggie had been the child of an emotionally absent father, and she had a daughter by an absent husband. Duncan put himself in the context of her life for the first time to see that he had become one more of her absences. He wondered about the newly made wounds of her soul, injuries she refused to see or just failed to acknowledge; even in the dim light, he saw her eyes dancing.
Although sexual consolations could not cure loneliness, he had shared in her spiritual defection, marveling at the wet landscape of her raging body and measuring his satisfaction by her excess. Now the rein had been torn from his grip. He knew it was an illusion anyway, that contentment was self-deception. He thought he knew how his life would go, with most of it already behind him, but his mental egress had been amputated. It was like starting from scratch, all the sacrifices of his life suddenly meaningless.
A memory stirred, holidays with his sister’s family: chaotic, tangible, and intimate. Children were not ideas. He felt dizzy. “Don’t be afraid,” he said, and they both knew he was talking to himself.
“You’re very good at the big picture,” she said. “This is one of the details.”
“No, Maggie. We’ll manage this.” How often had he chastised his confreres who maintained intimate relationships and considered celibacy an idolatrous practice? He recalled the physical difficulty of remaining celibate when he was young, yet he had proven to himself that celibacy was possible, at least for an idealistic seminarian. That was twenty-five years ago. Now, when he found carnal desire the least of his temptations, celibacy was that much harder.
“What will you do? Leave the priesthood?” Maggie’s voice grew hushed. “What you do, you give hope. You make God real. What could possibly matter more?” She pressed her hand to her belly and said, “But I want him to know you.” She paused, expecting Duncan to respond, and when he said nothing, she countered his somber expression. “This isn’t some punishment, Dun.” She was beaming.
He watched her leave, amazed at her resilience, her confidence, her faith. When he was alone, he thought to himself that everything a man gives up says as much about him as what he keeps. The life he might have had with a woman was still not his to claim, but he began to imagine what being a father in the most personal sense of that word might mean. Having a child would not change the priest, although he suspected it might change the man. Like restless specters, relief and sorrow walked within him, and his chest grew heavy.
When he was at seminary, he had believed the flesh held nothing spiritual. A more mature faith taught him that the sum of Creation in all its complexity was more precious than even the very purest soul. That is why he knew love was always a blessing and life always a gift. That is why he counseled young couples that pregnancy was an opportunity to realize their absolute dependence on God’s mercy.
With a few minutes left, he made his way to the sacristy to prepare for Mass. Like a traveler returning to his native land, he found his way back to the familiar ground of his priestly vocation, but he knew this routine was a respite before the Creation he served and the God he loved would continue his lessons in humility.