The queen, p.23
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       The Queen, p.23

         Part #8 of The Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz
 

  “For a quick visit.”

  “I see.”

  “I see you see,” Nora said. “You know, since that’s the second time you said ‘I see.’”

  That tugged a small smile out of Diane.

  “Something tells me you have something to say to me?” Nora waited, bracing herself.

  Diane raised her hand to her head and breathed out hard.

  “You were in my wedding.” She said the words as if she were accusing Nora of committing a crime.

  “The wedding he officiated,” Nora reminded her.

  “You could have told me.”

  “Sounds like somebody told you.”

  Diane took her by the arm and escorted her into the small office next to Søren’s.

  “He told you,” Nora said in a whisper since Diane’s office didn’t have a door.

  Diane turned to the window and nodded. She was ten years older than Nora, a wife, a mother, and so loyal to Søren that Nora already knew where this conversation would go.

  “I love him,” Diane said. “You know that.”

  “I do,” Nora said. Diane had been one of Søren’s first minor scandals at Sacred Heart. It was a snow-white conservative congregation and Diane was black and divorced. She’d had forty dollars in her checking account when Søren had hired her and the only thing that exceeded his loyalty to his secretary was her loyalty to him. “He loves you, too. I don’t know how many times he’s told me he couldn’t run the church without you.”

  “I almost had to. Last year, he comes into the office looking like someone died, and he wouldn’t tell me why. Not for a week. Not until I begged him on my knees—and that is not an exaggeration—did he tell me what happened. Twelve years I have worked for that man and I had no idea—none—that he had...you. Until you were gone.”

  “So are you mad at me or are you mad at him?”

  “I wasn’t mad at either of you. You’re both adults. He said nothing much happened between the two of you until you were twenty.”

  “I was a virgin until I was twenty. Until him.”

  Diane winced.

  “I’m sorry,” Nora said, although she wasn’t. “You probably don’t want that image in your head. Look, I know you care about him and it must have been hard for you to learn he had a...”

  “Mistress?”

  “You wouldn’t be the first person to call me that. Anyway, I know it was a shock for you, but he’s—”

  “Are you coming back to him?”

  “What? Are you serious?”

  “I am. Are you coming back to him?”

  “I hadn’t planned on it. Why?”

  “Because he misses you. And he’s not the same without you.”

  “Let me get this straight—you, a priest’s secretary, are telling a priest’s ex-lover to start sleeping with him again?”

  “I don’t judge him for having a relationship. The Bible says it is not good for man to be alone. But I... I don’t. I don’t want to see him in pain anymore.”

  “I don’t want to be in pain anymore. Do you know how hard it is to be in love with a Catholic priest?”

  “I can’t imagine it’s easy.”

  “It isn’t. And before you decide I’m the bad guy for leaving him, you should know he pushed me away. He crossed a line with me, and I had no choice.”

  “He crossed a line with you?” Diane sounded dubious.

  “He did.”

  “You were twenty when you slept with him the first time. A grown-ass woman. When I was twenty I was already on my first marriage. If you’d been fifteen, maybe I could sympathize here. But when it comes to talking about crossing lines, an adult woman who sleeps with a priest has no room to talk.”

  Nora smiled. “You know, Diane, he warned me the night of your wedding that if we ever got caught, I’d take the lion’s share of the blame. Guess he was right.”

  “All I’m saying is that he needs you. He loves you. He says—”

  “What do I say?”

  Søren stood looming in the doorway.

  Nora sighed. “You should let your secretary have a door to her office,” Nora said.

  “She doesn’t want one. I’ve offered,” Søren said.

  “If I have a door, people will want to come in and close it and tell me things I don’t want to hear. His job is taking care of those people and their problems. My job is taking care of him.”

  “Which you do admirably,” Søren said to his long-suffering secretary. “Too admirably perhaps.”

  “Someone has to take care of you, right?” Diane asked. The question was a knife in Nora’s stomach. The message was clear—Diane had to take care of him since Nora wasn’t doing it anymore.

  “Eleanor? I assume you’re here to see me?”

  “If you have a minute.”

  “I don’t, actually. I have a date with some repentant sinners. But if you’d like to wait in my office, I’ll be finished in an hour.”

  He turned on his heel and walked down the opposite hallway.

  “He’s hearing confessions now,” Diane said. “Like he said, you can wait if you want.”

  “No. I don’t want to wait. Excuse me.”

  She left Diane in her office and followed Søren down the hall. Sacred Heart had a traditional-style confessional booth, two doors on opposite sides and a screen in between. Once it had sat in the corner of the sanctuary but Søren had it moved to an alcove at the end of the west hallway that had once been a Chapel of Perpetual Adoration. It was a safer, quieter, more intimate spot for baring one’s soul than the sanctuary. She stepped into the old chapel and shut the wooden door behind her. An engraved plaque on the door warned not to enter if the door was shut. No one would disturb them until she’d had her say.

  Nora entered the side of the confessional reserved for the penitent.

  “I’m here when you’re ready to speak,” Søren said from the other side of the booth. Although she couldn’t see his face, she could tell from his voice he didn’t know it was her.

  “Oh, I’m ready to speak, Father.”

  She heard him sigh.

  “Far be it from me to stop a sinner from confessing,” he said.

  “I’m actually here for your confession.”

  “Mine?”

  “What happened between you and Milady?”

  “Nothing you need to know about.”

  “She was wearing your hair in a locket around her neck, and now I have a laptop. These things are related.”

  “If you must know, I went to speak to her because she’d threatened us both. All of Kingsley’s dominas are sane and reasonable women. I assumed I could reason with her. She said she had no intention of exposing me to anyone but was merely attempting to needle you. When I went to leave she asked me if she could have a lock of my hair. I told her no. She asked me if I would sell it to her. I remembered you were in great need of a computer so you could write your next book and that you thought it would cost two thousand dollars. I named my price. She paid it willingly.”

  “Did she touch you?”

  “I don’t believe you can cut someone’s hair without touching that person.”

  “You know what I mean.”

  “Do you care if she did?”

  “There are people who deserve to touch you and people who don’t. She doesn’t deserve to touch you.”

  “She kissed me. I let her.”

  “Did you like it?”

  “I believe the standard saying is ‘It was like being kissed by my sister,’ but, of course, you know that means something entirely different coming from me.”

  “So you did like it?”

  “No.”

  Nora closed her eyes tight. It would have almost been better if he had liked it. To imagine him sitting there, suffering through a kiss, closing his eyes and thinking of England, and all so she could have a fucking laptop which she could have bought for herself in a week or two...

  “Why? Why did you do that, Søren?”

  “I wanted
to give you a gift.”

  “No, you wanted to make me jealous or make me angry or make me lose my mind. If you wanted to give me a gift you would have picked a bunch of goddamn daisies off the side of the road.”

  “You can’t write a book with daisies,” he said.

  Nora wrapped her arms around her stomach, feeling sick and dizzy and torn.

  “Do you like it?”

  “It’s perfect,” she whispered. “It’s exactly what I wanted.”

  “Diane picked it out. I’m something of a Luddite, as you know.”

  “Søren, I...” Nora was in an agony of indecision. “I’m not giving up my job and my life and coming back to you just because you bought me a gift or whatever that was. You know that, right?”

  “Keep it. Use it. I paid dearly for it after all.”

  “I’ll keep it,” she promised. “I won’t come back to you...but I will keep the gift.”

  “You’ll come back to me when you’re ready.”

  “I’m not going to be ready. And you have to get it out of your head that I’m the one who ran away from you because you lost your temper one night. You rejected me. I told you the truth about me, and you didn’t want to hear it. If I came back to you, you would take me from me. You would take Nora from me, and I just found her. I’m not giving me up for you. I can’t sacrifice so much of myself that there’s nothing left to give back to you.”

  “You promised me forever, Eleanor.”

  “You can’t give me everything any more than I can give you forever.”

  “I can give you everything. Whatever it takes, I will keep my promise to you.”

  “Call me Nora just once, and I’ll believe that. Then I’ll know you won’t take from me everything I’ve worked for and fought for. Jesus, Søren, I broke a man’s nose. I made a notorious dominatrix squeal like a little girl. I fucked with Kingsley’s head so hard he cried. And I loved every second of it. Every single second. That’s me. That’s how I am now. And you want to take it from me.”

  “If you truly trusted me, you’d know that whatever I took from you, I would give back tenfold.”

  “Then you owe me a hundred years of dominance for the ten years of submission I gave you. And ten riding crops to replace the one you broke.”

  “Ten crops? I hope I have enough hair to sell.”

  “Don’t even joke about that.”

  “Why not?”

  Nora could barely get the words out. They backed up in her throat, a verbal bottleneck. She forced them through anyway.

  “Because I love your hair.”

  “Eleanor... Little One...please...”

  His words sounded as pained as her own.

  Nora couldn’t stand it any longer. She slipped out of her side of the booth and opened the door to his.

  “Here. This belongs to you.” She held out the glass locket that contained his lock of hair. Søren took it and tucked it in his pocket. He looked at her.

  “So does this.”

  Søren took her by the wrist and yanked her to him, then shut the door behind them.

  His kiss traveled to her mouth, and she opened to him. In such close quarters she had little room to move or breathe. Their bodies were pressed together, and she couldn’t escape unless he let her. He seemed to have no intention of letting her.

  “Come back to me,” he said against her lips.

  “I can’t.”

  “Come back to me,” he said, against her neck.

  “I won’t.”

  “Come back to me,” he said, lifting her skirt to her hips.

  “I don’t...”

  “You can’t say it, can you?” He slipped his hands into her panties and ripped them off with one fierce tear. “You can’t say you don’t want to come back to me because we both know you do.”

  “Not enough to do it.”

  “Not yet. But you will.”

  “Arrogant pr—” Before she could finish the insult, Søren’s mouth was on hers again, devouring it with kisses. She tasted his tongue, smelled the winter on his skin and surrendered. When he dug his fingers into her thighs and squeezed them hard enough to leave bruises, she knew he meant to have her. Right here. Right now. And nothing would stop him unless she said her safe word. With his tongue in her mouth she couldn’t speak, nor did she try to. She let him swallow her cries of pain because it was her pain he fed on, her pain that sustained him. Oh, but it fed her, too. And every cruel and beautiful thing he did to her, the gifts he gave her at once merciless and merciful, left her starving for him.

  Søren dug his fingers into her hips, finding the pressure point that made her weak with pain. A skilled sadist, he could give her agony and leave her with not a single mark, except for the marks he left on her heart. Again he hurt her. Again he swallowed the cry of pain that rose in her throat. His hand moved between her thighs and eased her wet lips open, forcing her vagina to widen enough to take him. Her inner muscles protested at first but then opened for him, growing slick and ready in seconds. He didn’t so much lift her off her feet as slide her up the smooth polished wood of the confessional to bring her down onto him, impaling her. Their bodies were locked tight together, her wetness sealing him to her, their backs against the walls as the smallness of the space forced them as close as two people could be. Her booted foot on the wall behind him was all it took to hold herself in place, and his hand at the side of her head and his full length inside her was all it took to hold her to him. He moved, barely an inch, and drank the cry of pleasure from her lips. They couldn’t make a sound, the two of them. Not here. Not now. She couldn’t risk even a whimper, not if someone waited outside.

  In heated silence Søren unbuttoned her white silk blouse and unhooked her bra in the front. Her breasts spilled out as he released the clasp, and her nipples hardened as they brushed the rough fabric of his clericals, an exquisite teasing torture.

  Nora didn’t know which one of them, her or Søren, moved first, but within her body she felt her vaginal muscles tightening on him, clenching him, holding him inside her. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion, as if they moved through honey or deep water. If he thrust roughly into her, the wood would creak, the sound would be overheard. All they could do was push against each other, slowly, willfully, methodically, making no noise, muting even their breaths by breathing into each other’s mouths.

  Her breasts felt swollen with the need to be touched and sucked. She arched her back and he took her nipple in his mouth. She bit the fabric at his shoulder to muffle her moan. Inside she burned and pulsed, burned and clenched. Her clitoris ached and throbbed, desperately needing attention. Her hips tilted upward and his cock shifted inside her, sliding in deeper. She stiffened, closed her eyes, tilted her hips again. Tiny explosions of pleasure ripped through her. She felt weightless, suspended as she was between his body and the wall behind her, dizzy with pleasure, near to bursting with the fullness of him inside her. The less she could move, the more intense every movement felt.

  Søren’s teeth scraped her nipple, and she flinched with pleasure. His warm mouth moved up her breast, up her chest, up her neck and to her ear.

  In a whisper no one but her and God could hear, he said, “I should have fucked you when you were fifteen.”

  Were it any other place, any other time, Nora would have groaned at the words. But she swallowed the sound. Her head fell back against the wall, and Søren cradled it in his palm. The act, tender and protective, undid her.

  Søren gathered her closer to him. They couldn’t be any closer than they were now, and he pumped into her until she came with a noiseless whimper, her vagina thrumming around him in a thousand, a million little spasms. With a few final deep thrusts he came inside her.

  Panting together they remained entwined until Søren finally
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