Everything was completely wrong.
Head bowed, eyes trained on the prayer book that sat open on his legs. Focus. Focus. He wet the tip of his index paper and turned the page, unsure if he even knew what he had just read. All he could see was yellow hair, her fingers gliding through it as she tugged it up into a messy knot at the back of her head.
Concentrate Jones. On the word of God, not on the words of her.
“That was when everything went wrong.”
“You do realize that the life you’re leading is a sinful one, don’t you?”
She laughed briskly, shaking her head, “I realize that I have to eat.”
“Every Wednesday there is a soup kitchen offered at the homeless shelter-“
“I don’t want to go and promise my life to God to get a meal once a week.” She rolled her eyes, tucking one of her feet up to rest on the edge of her chair, her chin resting against her knee.
“We have a food pantry-“
“I don’t want handouts.”
“I’m not asking you to convert, I’m asking you to stop selling yourself.”
Emma slammed her fist down against the table, “How many times do we have to talk about this Father Jones? I don’t do this because I get some thrill out of it! It’s a lifestyle I have to live with. It… it makes me stop hurting.”
The prayer book made a resounding clap as he slammed it closed, his eyes flickering up to the cross before him.
“Forgive me.” He whispered to God as he rose to his feet, leaving the prayer book behind on the pew.
There was no way he could forget her. Every attempt at devotions with his God resulted in her infiltrating his thoughts, infiltrating his very soul. She’d replaced God in his mind. Where his Lord once dwelled as the singular entity he sought to please, she now stood.
A beautiful masterpiece of destruction.
“You’re not the first priest to come knocking on my door to tell me I need to get right with the Lord. Hell, ten years of fucking foster homes taught me enough about how to get right with the Lord. Do you know how many asshole Christians do the whole ‘look at me I’m a foster family – I’m going to impose my religion on you while you’re here for four months’?” Emma crossed her arms across her chest, her eyes never leaving the Priest’s. “Do you have something to say to that Father?”
“What caused you to become a prostitute Emma?”
She pushed nervous fingers through her hair, “I was seventeen, I got this boyfriend – he was older than me. He made me believe in the whole ‘love at first sight’ shit. I was stupid and we had a kid… but that was after everything…”
“When you were in prison?”
“Social Services took him away… My little baby boy. I got to hold him for only a minute.” Her bottom lip trembled and she stared at her hands. “I needed money after prison… selling myself sounded like a good plan. It’s not like anyone really wanted me.”
“I don’t want to hear it.”
He wanted her. He wanted her in ways that broke every single vow he’d ever made. Every promise to himself, to his peers, and to his God. There was a light about her that he had never seen in any image of God.
Killian jerked open the bottom drawer of his desk, pulling out the cash box where the offerings from Mass were kept. He fumbled with the key before he finally had it open, shoving a wad of cash into his breast pocket before returning the box to its resting place.
Stealing from God. He had fallen so far. But for her, he might just go and be Judas if it allowed him break through her walls and show her what he truly saw in her. The salvation he found for himself in just a moment in her presence.
His knuckles rapped against the door, anxiously rocking back and forth on his heels as he prayed for her to open the door. Prayed to her to open the door.
“What do you want?” Emma snapped as she pulled the door open, her lips parting slightly as she realized who it was at the door. Her hand shot up to cover her eye, turning away from him. “What do you want Father Jones?”
You. “Something seemed to call me here to you.” He admitted quietly, his fists balled at his sides as he tried to keep calm. Never had he been this jittery around someone, but he’d never been around someone like her. “What’s happened to your face, love?”
“You’re dropping little endearments now?” She questioned skeptically, “Does God allow that?”
“You’re avoiding the question,” She’d never once called him out on his endearments, which were merely a habit of his upbringing. “What happened to your cheek?” Killian stepped across the threshold, his hand reaching out to touch her cheek before he could even catch himself.
“I said no to someone.” Emma leaned into his touch for the briefest moment before she jerked away from him. “It’s fine, nothing to worry about your holiness.”
“Don’t.” Killian’s brow knit together, “I’m far from holy.”
Emma rolled her eyes, “Right.”
Killian stepped forward hesitantly, all too aware that the clerical collar around his throat seemed far too tight. “Emma, you’re a remarkable woman…” He trailed off, closing his eyes as he tried to gather his words together without stumbling over them. “I see so much potential in you, but you’ve got to come out of this addiction. Alive.”
“I don’t have a reason to live… Not after everything that happened to me.” There was something shockingly honest about her acceptance of this fact. Her shoulders shrugged, unwilling to even try to hold up the weight on them. She’d fallen so far since he first found her sitting on the front stoop of the church, bent over her knees and crying. Six months of quietly admiring the beautiful broken woman, not wanting to fix her or heal her like everyone else – but wanting to accept her for her flaws.
But how would she ever see that with a clerical collar around his throat and her belief that heaven was the only thing on his mind.
“I want you to take this money and start over.” Killian pulled out the wad of hundreds, offering them towards her.
“Why?” She snapped, staring at the money with a grimace. “I don’t want your money.”
“Do it for me, Emma.” He breathed out, his words trembling as they spilled from his lips. “Do it for… us.”
Emma was taken aback by his words, her eyes widening at that one little word – the only word that caught her attention. Us. “You’re a priest.”
The priest, as she reminded him so coldly, stepped forward until he was standing right in front of her. “And you are my savior.” He chastised himself for the way the words could be perceived – it wasn’t like that, it was simply that she had opened up a part of him that he had repressed for so long.
“You’re not the first person to ever say that to me.” Emma replied, looking up at him from beneath her lashes, unwilling to completely meet his gaze. His blue eyes were shockingly intense, eyes that could see straight through her and know her without words. “But I don’t see it. I can’t even save myself.”
“This is three weeks of tithes, use it and start over.”
“You stole money from your church?” She stared up at him, her brows knitting together in shock. “Isn’t that like a huge sin or something?”
“The second commandment is ‘You shall have no other gods before me’ and I’ll have you know that you are the only thing I can think about. And it’s not like that I swear to God.” Killian gritted his teeth together, before turning abruptly. “I should go.”
Emma stared after him, her heart hammering in her ears. Was he being serious? He’d placed her before his God? A god was supposed to be something steady to stand on, something that wouldn’t crumble when things got too hard – that wasn’t her. How could he believe in someone who couldn’t even believe in living one day after the other?
Killian froze, slowly turning around to face her. “What?”
“Why me?” He words were barely audible, her bottom lip trembling as she stared across the wide expanse of apartment between them. “Why do you choose to believe in me? I’m nothing. I’d rather believe in some god in the sky that sent a flood to kill people he didn’t like and who is supposed to save your soul from an eternal hell than believe in some slut who can’t even-… Who can’t even..” She couldn’t finish her sentence, a sob choking her words as she collapsed to her knees.
Killian was at her side in a second flat, kneeling down beside her. “Emma… Emma?”
“I can’t even save myself.” Her arms went around him, holding onto him tightly. Six months she’d fought this. All she had wanted to do was wrap her arms around him and use him like an anchor, holding her in one spot and keeping her from completely floating away into the abyss she was drowning in. “Why do I matter?”
“Because you matter to me. You matter to me.” Killian pressed the faintest kiss to the crown of her head, hugging her as close as he could. He could feel her tears wetting his shirt, her fingers fisting together the material in some desperate attempt to have him be closer to her. “I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere.”
She was older than him – ten years older, married with a four year old son. Everything about it was wrong. He was eighteen, fresh out of Catholic high school and contemplating whether or not he wanted to travel the world or become a priest.
There was a mission’s trip to Romania coming up at the end of the year and everyone signed up for the trip had been encouraged to fulfill thirty hours of charity work in return for their flights being paid for by the church.
That was how Killian Jones met Milah Gold.
A whirlwind affair that ended in a horrific tragedy.
“He killed her?” Emma’s fingers trembled and she sat her mug of hot chocolate down before she ended up with third degree burns on her legs when she dropped the mug on her lap.
Killian drummed his fingers against the table, “And then more or less vanished completely. They never caught him.”
“Is that why you became a priest?” She canted her head to the side, studying the man that sat in front of her. With walls slowly crumbling down around them, she let herself look at him – really look at him. He was incredibly handsome – a fact that she’d noted, but never allowed herself to notice.
“Yes.” He nodded solemnly, “I decided it was a sign from God that what I had done was wrong and that her adulterous behavior was what had ultimately struck her dead. But… it wasn’t – I don’t believe that now.”
“Maybe we can help each other.” Emma offered with a hopeful smile, “I might not be much help, but I’m sure I can find some way to help you too. After everything you’ve done for me… I feel indebted to you.”
“There is no debt, Emma.” Killian laced his fingers together, resting them on top of the table. “I just want you to get free from this life style. You’re meant for so much more.”
Emma bit down on her bottom lip, casting her eyes down, staring into her half-drunk mug of hot chocolate. “But Father Jones, you’re a priest…” She shook her head, still mulling over those words he had said before.
‘Do it for… us.’
“You may call me Killian.” He said tenderly, his blue eyes meeting her gaze. “Being a priest may be the reason why I met you, but it’s not enough to keep me from being with you one day. If that’s something you want too.”
“Killian.” Emma smiled shyly, combing her fingers through her hair, “Well, I wanted to hug you for six months, so you tell me what you think I want to do.”
The priest tucked two fingers into the collar of his shirt, pulling it away from his neck in a vain attempt to cool off the sudden heat that swept over him. He honestly could not understand what it was about Emma that sent him careening into a world that was supposed to be off limits to him now. He had taken vows to abstain from these thoughts, but here he was thinking more and more about those thoughts and every thought connected.
“I should probably go, for now.” Killian spoke quietly as he stood up awkwardly, nearly knocking the chair over as he moved. He wasn’t completely sure of himself or his behavior and for the benefit of both of them, it was better if he left. He may have resented the vows he had made, but he was in no way about to ruin whatever they could have by acting on his thoughts. At least not now, not while she was this broken.
“There’s a young woman that’s come to see you, Father Jones.”
Killian looked up from the sermon he was writing, a small smile on his lips. “Has she come for confession?” He questioned, slowly closing his Bible and tidying up his desk. The last few months had slipped away from him and though he still attempted to do his duties with a joyful heart, everything had become lackluster.
“She didn’t say.” Replied the young man, “Should I send her away?”
“No, let her in. I need a break from writing my sermon as it is.” Killian admitted with a shrug of his shoulders. He rose to his feet, hands behind his back as he walked towards the window, studying the way the trees blew in the breeze. Spring was nearly upon them, two seasons had passed.
To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven….A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
He swallowed thickly, his breath caught somewhere between his throat and his lips. “Emma.” He turned, his eyes focusing in on the blond woman standing, now, in the middle of his office. “Emma.” Her name spilt from his lips like a quiet prayer. Her appearance was akin to water to a man forty days lost in the desert.
Emma closed the distance between them, her arms wrapping around him without a moment of hesitation. “I’m sorry that I vanished without a word.”
“I had had half the mind to believe that I’d imagined your very existence,” Killian chuckled, his arms going around her, keeping her tight against his chest. “Where have you been?”
“I went to the hospital after you left my place,” She balled up the material of his suit coat in her fists, keeping a tight hold on him. “I told them about what had happened, with my eye and everything and they sent me to counseling and a rehab facility.”
“You got better.”
Emma pulled back slightly, looking up at him. “I got better for us.” She was worried that he had had time to think about that and had decided that it had been an error of judgment.
Killian brought his hands up to cup her cheeks, smiling down at her. He opened his mouth to speak, but he was somehow certain that the words that would come out would pale in comparison to what he could convey through action. Without caution he leaned in and caught her lips, slanting his lips over hers as he kissed her.
It was everything he’d wanted before he had even knew he needed it.
Emma ran her fingers through his dark hair, tugging him closer. The floodgates had been released; their pent-up desires for one another had finally broken.
Killian’s hands went to her waist, holding her flush against him as he slowly backed her up until her back was pressed against the wall beside the window. “I need to lock the door.” He grumbled, pulling back from her lips. His eyes were hooded, blue eyes clouded with desire, and his heart was hammering in his chest. “I’ll be right back.” He kissed her once more before he walked across the room and locked the door.
No one was going to interrupt them.
“And why are you locking the door?” Emma taunted, chewing on her bottom lip as she watched him make his slow-paced return to her.
“Because I have a private confession to make.” He drawled out, pressing his palms against the wall on either side of her shoulders. “Would you like to hear it?”
Emma’s skin was burning and he wasn’t even touching her. His eyes were enough to make her feel like his hands were everywhere on her skin. “Confess then.”
Killian leaned close to her, his hot breath dancing along the curve of her cheekbone, trailing back towards her ear where he lingered. His hands still pressed against the wall and giving neither of them the satisfaction of skin to skin contact. “I want you.”
Her pulse was pounding in her ears, “Well you’re in luck – I want you too.” Emma’s fingers slid up along his stomach, over his chest, before she stopped at his throat. “But Father this has to go.” Her fingers coiled around the clerical collar and she pulled it loose from the collar of his black shirt.
It had been twelve years since he had been like this with someone, twelve years of abiding by a vow he had made, but now – he couldn’t care less about that vow. Or any vow. Emma would be his.
Emma pulled him in and kissed him, fingers fumbling with the buttons of his shirt. Her hands were trembling, just like the rest of her body. Every nerve ending in her body was tingling beneath her skin, goosebumps rising to her flesh in anxious anticipation.
Killian’s lips travelled along the curve of her jaw, teeth scraping softly against her skin. He had her. He finally had her. Month after month her had wondered if his desires were purely the vain desires of his flesh – but he knew better now. But that didn’t help the fact that he was nervous about all of this.
In the church – in his office. Could they pick a worse place to satisfy their needs?
“Do you have a spare one of these in here?” Emma asked against his lips, pulling back to search his eyes.
“I… Yes?” Killian tilted his head, looking at her quizzically. But his unspoken question was answered when Emma slipped two fingers between the buttons and jerked both sides of his shirt sharply. Buttons bounced off of the wall and hit the floor with soft skittering sounds until they came to rest, forgotten, on the floor.
“Was that really necessary?” Killian started to laugh, but the sound was cut short when Emma’s fingers slid over his chest. He shivered, his eyes falling shut as he focused on the sensation of her fingers on his skin.
“How long has it been since you took your vows?”
He eyed her for a moment before answering, “I obeyed my vows for twelve years. Until now.”
Emma swallowed shakily – it was surreal to think that someone like him, someone who had seemed so unshakable and so pious could be broken by someone like her. That the fact he wanted her had been enough to make her end the fuck-up excuse of a life she was living.
“Well it’s only been six months for me… which seems rather pale in comparison to abstaining for twelve years.” Emma gave a soft laugh, meeting his eyes with a grin.
His gaze flickered between her eyes and her lips, his fingers ghosting along her skin beneath the hem of her shirt. “I have no plans to abstain again.” Killian leaned in and kissed her, this time taking the initiative to start to work her tank top up her torso. He craved to feel skin against skin almost as much as he craved to feel hip against hip.
Emma helped to pull her shirt off, tossing it to the floor where the remnants of his shirt lay on the floor. “My heart is pounding like I’m running a marathon.” Emma laughed slightly, pressing her hand to her chest.
“So is mine.” Killian pried her hand away from her own chest; bring it to rest on his chest. “Do you feel that?”
“Do you feel mine?” With her free hand she brought his palm up to rest on her chest, his hand pleasantly close to the swell of her breast.
“Yes.” He breathed out, his fingers sliding down the strap of her bra, “There’s a lot of things I’d like to feel right now.”
Emma leaned up and kissed him again, “I’m so thankful that it was you that found me that day.” Her voice was barely above a whisper, her eyes meeting his with tender sincerity. “And you weren’t deterred by my stubbornness.”
“If I might speak frankly, it was quite alluring.”
“That’s not frankly. You wanted to say ‘that was a turn on’ didn’t you?” Emma teased, nipping at his bottom lip.
“Perhaps.” He smirked, giving her a look that was wholly un-priest like. “Your challenging nature was a turn on Miss Swan.” He drawled out, pressing her back against the wall, wondering if she could feel how much he desired her, thanks to their near proximity.
“I can tell.” She purred, resting her palms on his shoulders, using them along with the wall for support to push herself upwards, wrapping her legs around his waist. “Now, Killian… There’s no chance of us getting interrupted is there?”
“The door’s locked.”
“There are no communions, or masses, or catechisms to be done are there?”
“None. Ever again.”
“You’re completely leaving the faith?”
Killian pressed his lips together, “Yes I am. I’ve found a new one.” He leaned forward, catching her lips between hers, his hands skimming along her exposed skin. She was everything he wanted, every thought, every breath… It was completely insane, the pull and the desire – and here they were – giving in.
Emma leaned in and kissed him hard, trying to convey the unspoken thank yous and I need yous and express the desire and the longing she had for him. The feelings that had made completely no sense to her since the night he found her on the front steps of the church. She’d looked up into those blue eyes and she swore that she had seen God or a god, or something divine that pulled her – almost too much – out of the life she was living. And she shut down, backed up, and avoided those emotions because that was what had gotten her into this whole mess. Having feeling like this for someone was how she had ended up pregnant and alone at seventeen.
But this wasn’t going to be like that. Killian didn’t strike her as that sort of man. He’d been a perfect gentleman with her for half of a year, treating her better than anyone had ever treated her. He’d earned her trust and admiration and even possibly her… no. Too soon. Far too soon and outlandish and… She could wait for all of that and just see where this went.
“Isn’t against the wall terribly awkward?” Killian whispered, giving her a look before laughing. “I hope you can tell that I’m terribly out of practice as well.”
“It’s like riding a bike, you never forget.” Emma smirked at him, something wicked glinting in her eyes. It was actually a relief to be with someone like him after everything she’d been through during her life. He wasn’t like other men, ready to get it over with and toss a twenty at her. He wanted her and he wanted to take his time with her.
Killian laughed, “You just compared sex to riding a bike.” He scratched at the back of his head and shook his head. “I was just implying, that maybe you’d want to do this somewhere more comfortable.”
Emma laughed, jutting her chin out as she shook her head at him. She cupped his cheeks and made him look her in the eyes, “Will you just shut up and kiss me?”
“Gla-“ He cut off his own words with a grin as he pressed his lips against hers, letting go of his hesitancies. Killian wrapped his arm around her back going straight for the clasp of her bra and pinching it loose.
Emma slid the bra down her shoulders, chucking it to the floor with the rest of their abandoned clothes. She let the kiss blossom and bloom; lips, teeth, and tongue all meeting somewhere in the middle to worship one another.
She rolled her hips towards his, relishing in the way it made him groan out against her lips. She pulled back, giving him a wide-grin, “Enjoying yourself?”
“Yes.” He returned as he trailed his lips over her collarbone, “I’d enjoy it more if your jeans were off.”
“Well luckily for you I’d enjoy it more if your slacks were off as well.” She rocked her hips forward again, a moan of her own escaping her lips. She dropped her feet to the ground, wasting no time in working her jeans down her hips. She toed off her shoes before kicking her jeans off the rest of the way, turning her attention back to him. “Now where were we?”
“You were going to take my trousers off.” Killian smiled at her, leaning in to kiss her with a soft laugh. He was nervous. It had been twelve years and he was well aware of how many men she’d been with. How could he help the fact that he feared that he just wouldn’t be what she wanted – that he’d be pale in comparison to others that she’d been with.
Emma looked up at him, her eyes meeting his as she canted her head to the side. “I’m not judging you based on anyone I’ve been with before. This is my fresh start. With you.”
Killian gaped, fully aware of the fact that he hadn’t breathed a word of the thoughts in his head. But she knew them. Somehow. Maybe she could finally read him like an open book, like he’d been reading her for the past six months. Two broken people finding their – unlikely – other half.
Pants and underwear were lost to the mounting pile of clothes at their feet. Fingers teased and caressed, finding little sensitive spots on one another, to make each other shivering with pleasure. Lips met and melded, hungry and needy.
“Please.” Emma breathed out, her fingers coiling through his hair. “Killian.” Her eyes met his as he shifted his hold on her hips, finally taking her. Her head fell back against the wall and she bit down on her bottom lip to keep from crying out.
Killian groaned against the nook of her neck, trying to keep as quiet as humanly possible, given the circumstances. Part of him didn’t even care if he was caught right now – he’d leave happily, but for her sake he was keeping quiet, to save her from shame. Everyone in the church knew who she was and how much his ministering to her had meant for him. This would only compound the ideas that he was sure that the other priests had. But it had taken months before anything was like this.
He had earned her trust and respect while he learned that it wasn’t about fixing someone. You can’t fix someone, it’s up to them to fix themselves. And that was what this was, the connection between them. They were kindred spirits, with broken pasts, and broken dreams – but they needed to be nurtured by someone who wasn’t going to impose their beliefs on to them. Sometimes, the easiest way to fix yourself is to admit that you’re a fuck up and you can’t do it alone.
You need someone to confess to.