The Maiden and the Priest

“You’ve seen naught but skin. You wouldn’t turn at the sight of my hand so why cower before my breast?”

“You couldn’t possibly understand the power you hold.”

“Or perhaps I know it too well.”

He smiled. “Perhaps.”

He stood enraptured by her. He hadn’t meant to stare. Her bare skin glistened under moonlight. He was gone.

She giggled and splashed him. “Are you okay? You look like you’re going to fall over.” She sunk into the water and rested her elbows upon the stones at the edges, leaning toward him, exposing her back to his sight. The air escaped him and he forgot to breathe; he inhaled sharply as he collected himself. He sat on a nearby stone.

“I like coming out here at night. It’s peaceful.” His mind stalled. A hundred thousand words would normally flood his consciousness, but he could only collect himself for brief moments of time under her playful gaze.

“I didn’t think I’d see anyone out here.” She broke the silence. “The walls get so stuffy. My bathing chamber is so dark compared to the brilliance of the moon.” She looked upward, and a peace came over her. “And the stars. I feel at home out here.”

He swallowed, and nodded. “Yeah. Yeah, so do I.”

His heart raced so fast he could feel it pounding in his eardrums. In his head he knew he should turn away; down this path lies sin. But he didn’t see that in her eyes. He wanted to stay there a little longer, a little longer, until time lost meaning and morning came.

She felt the same, and in her silence welcomed him.

The words wouldn’t come out. There was so much he wanted to say and he felt like he only had a second to say it. He had only met her but he missed her; he felt like he had been offered water after days lost in the wilderness.

She turned her eyes back to him – wide, bright, and curious. She peered right through him. She said nothing but he felt she could see everything. He was clothed, but he was naked before her, and the shame that adorned him fell to the ground like a shield in battle.

He approached. His body moved entirely on its own, with a sudden grace like air carried him. He knelt beside her, and gently ran his thumb down her cheek. She closed her eyes and leaned in. Her skin was so soft it sent shivers through his entire being.

“Can I… Can I kiss you?”

Her eyes met his, resolute like a warrior’s. She rose; he stood by instinct. Heat flushed his skin, and he pulled her so tight to him there was no division; through his soaked clothing there was no telling where she ended and he began. His nails dug lightly into her skin, and he lost himself entirely to the passion that surged from him.

And as he kissed her, she undid the binds on his clothes. Lost in her, he barely noticed he stood naked as she was. Before shock could set in, she held his face in her hands.

“You don’t have to hide anything from me.”

Those were the words he needed to hear his whole life. He kissed every inch of her. He drank her in, committing every curve to memory, tracing every contour with his hands. He drew a map of her in his mind as men once charted oceans.

It was midday before they awoke. He brushed the hair from her face. She smiled bright as the sun. He kissed her, and lost himself again.

In his arms he held the Earth, moon and stars; she was enough, and in her he drew nourishment as a tree whose roots reach miles into the ground. He did not depart her until he had to, but when she left, he carried a piece of her with him.

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