She tells herself it's okay for him to greet her at the front door in his bathroom robe and follows him to the small back room where Bible study meetings often take place.
Refusing his offer of refreshments, she sits on a chair opposite the others stacked neatly beside the bay window.
“I’m so grateful to you for coming,” he says, between sips from the cup in his hand.
“That’s okay. It’s a lovely day for a walk,” she smiles, relaxing into the familiar smell of burnt candle wax that occupies the room.
“As I said on the phone, I would really value your opinion.”
She shuffles about on her seat, her eyes trying to avoid the piece of flesh lying against his thick thigh as he speaks from his seat on the floor, by the doorway.
His lips are moving, but the words she hears are coming from a voice in her head, shrieking: ‘Get out!’
‘Don’t be silly,’ a second responds, ‘He can’t know he’s exposed…. He’ll think you're a prude.’
‘So what,’ the first voice returns. ‘Tell him to −’
He’s beside her now, reaching, saying, “The papers I wanted to show you are here.”
She stands, pushing her chair to the side. His moist breath lingers on her cheek; his arm brushes her hair.
“I’ll take them with me,” she says. But he moves closer and she feels a heat, only felt in this room during prayer times, swallow up the air around her.
Words stumble around in her head. None find their way out.
She’s on the floor now, wriggling under his weight.
“Brother Luc − no,” she says, pushing against his searching fingers.
Her ears are closed to his whisper: “Sister Jan, you smell so nice.”
Sensing release, she lifts herself from the floor and without contact of eyes or exchange of words, gathers what is hers.
Arriving home, she takes off her clothes and leaves them in a pile close to the doorway in the corner of her bedroom.
Later, she will watch them go up in flames, together with the fantasy of a gentle seduction from the man she once held in such high esteem.
Bio: I have written a novel and a number of short stories, one of which ('The Last Leg') can be found on the Short-Story.Me website (http://www.short-story.me/crime-stories/455-the-last-leg.html). I am currently working on my second novel.
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