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“Bless me Father for I have sinned, it’s been 7 days since my last confession.”

Reverend Gibson had recognized Fanny Price even before she spoke. Her very presence seemed to lighten up the gloomy confessional.

“Tell me, my child,” he asked already knowing that it wouldn’t be anything major, Fanny Price was an angel. Nothing pleased him more than her adoring eyes on him during Sunday mass, beautiful golden curls framing the loveliest of faces.

“… and I stole an apple from Mr Bennet’s orchard.”

Her voice was soft, her face contrite, he tried not to laugh.

“Well, now, you’ll have to say Our Lord’s prayer twenty times before going to bed tonight.”

“I might have to say more after going to bed.”

He barely heard her. He hesitated, feeling like he could be stepping onto slippery ground. Surely, it couldn’t be what he was thinking, not Fanny Price.

“What do you mean, my child?”

The tip of her fingers appeared through the grating separating them, grasping the thin piece of wood.

“I’ve had impure thoughts, Father,” her voice was low and quivering. He felt her sweet breath on his cheek and realized he’d leaned closer to her side of the confessional.

He tried to rationalize his sudden interest by telling himself that surely it couldn’t be that bad, not from such a devout young woman.

“I know more than I should. I know things about men and women, things I want to do too.”

The Reverend’s mouth felt suddenly dry, his rapidly-beating heart seemed so loud in the confines of the confessional. Already, his mind was conjuring images of Fanny, spread on her bed, doing ungodly things. He bit his tongue, stifling a groan, as he cupped himself through his clothes. When had he become so weak?

“Go on, tell me what you think about,” he ordered.

“I imagine you and me, behind that shed in your garden, my dress up around my waist,” her voice became strained as she rested he forehead against the separation. “You’re behind me and…”

“And?” he said, more forcefully than he had intended.

“And you’re inside me, moving in and out, fast and hard, and I’m so ashamed but it feels so good.”

“Tell me more, what are we doing?”

“You’re biting my shoulder so the gardener won’t hear you….”

She’s positively panting now, and he knows exactly what she’s doing.

“You can come in here now, Fanny.”

He heard the ruffle of her dress as she stood up rapidly. The next second she opened the door to his part of the confessional.

“Did I do good, Reverend?” Fanny asked.

She was looking down, wringing her hands, as she waited anxiously for his approval.

“You did better than good, Pet.” She beamed adorably, and he found himself falling in love all over again. “Here, why don’t you help me with this,” he added as he eased his trousers down his legs.