My name is Angelique Tornetta and my mother is French and my father is Italian and both are hot-blooded. I have inherited my mother’s small bones and slim body and my father’s full mouth and tan skin and my dark hair and eyes from both of them. What I have not inherited—and I’m glad of it—is any hot bloodedness whatsoever. I think I know what that refers to and I’d like to state that at sixteen I’m pure and fully expect to remain so for all eternity.
We live in Manhattan My father is the art director of an advertising agency and does art photography as a hobby, and my mother is a psychologist with her own practice and a propensity for reading romance novels. I am a junior in a girls’ Catholic high school in the East Village, Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrows, run by the Immaculate Sisters of Mary, an order of nuns that still wear habits. In my opinion, every nun in the world should wear a habit. I mean, how sneaky is it to have a woman dressed like an office worker standing next to you in a subway car, suddenly turn and say, “Button up that jacket,” and you know immediately it’s a sister because sisters are the only ones who care whether you button up your blazer or not. And then, too late, you realize that of course she’s a nun as she doesn’t shave her mustache.
It’s only September and we haven’t been in school very long when Sister Adoration of Mary tells me that Father James wants to see me after school. When I leave school, I walk over to the church office and his secretary is expecting me.
Father James shows up a couple of minutes later. “Come into my private office,” he says, and I follow him in and wait until he’s seated before I sit in the chair in front of his desk. I’m a little intimidated by Father James as I’ve confessed to him many times so that he knows my darkest sins. He’s also good looking, which I don’t think a priest should be. “Handsome as the devil,” my mother once said of him, and the parish ladies always flutter around him, like butterflies around pollen.
I make sure that my skirt is covering my knees and my blazer is buttoned up and that I’m sitting with my knees pressed together, which is what the sisters have taught us all through school. We in no way want to be mistaken for wanton public school girls, none of whom are ever going to heaven.
His white teeth flash as he speaks to me. “I understand from Sister Immaculate Heart that you’re not planning to go on to college, Angelique.”
“Yes, Father,” I said.
“Your grades are outstanding, top of your class. If it’s financial assistance you need, I’m certain you could get a scholarship.”
“It’s not the money,” I tell him. “I want to be a nun.”
He starts to smile and then revokes it. “I don’t hear that much anymore,” he says. “In fact I’ve never heard it from a student here. At least not once they reach high school; it’s still somewhat prevalent among fourth graders.”
“God wants me to be a nun.”
He cocks an eyebrow. “And you know this how?”
This is my secret, but since he’s a priest, I feel like I have to tell him. “St. Joan of Arc appeared to me in a dream and told me that being a warrior nun was my destiny. It was very real, Father; she was dressed like a boy and had her hair cut short, kind of like Justin Beiber when he had bangs.”
He’s silent for several moments. “Was this the only time she appeared to you in a dream?”
I shake my head. “No, one other time she did. That time we rode horses together.”
Father swivels his chair around so that he’s facing a window looking out on the fire escape next door where three potted plants look completely dead. He’s shaking a little and I think maybe he’s overcome that I’ve actually talked to St. Joan.
When he turns back around, he seems to be eying my clothes carefully, rather like the sisters do to see if we’re improperly dressed. I’m never improperly dressed.
“Excuse the personal question, Angelique, but I assume you’ve kept yourself pure?”
I don’t mind that question at all. It seems like somebody is always asking me that question. “Oh, yes, father. I’m absolutely pure.”
Father James gets up from his desk and walks over to the door and shuts it. When he turns back, he asks me to stand up.
I do as he asks and stand facing him, making sure my posture is perfect.
“Take off your jacket, Angelique.”
I unbutton my blazer and take it off, folding it and placing it on the back of the chair.
“Take off your blouse, Angelique.”
It seems like a curious request, but he’s a priest and knows what he’s doing. I unbutton my white shirt-blouse and fold it on top of my jacket.
“Remove your undershirt, Angelique.”
It’s a tank top, but I don’t bother to correct him.
“Take off your bra, Angelique.”
I wear a bra two sizes too small to make my breasts appear smaller. When I remove my bra, they pop out in a sinful way.
He eyes the Band-Aids I wear across my nipples so that they won’t show in my clothes. I have nervous nipples that are always popping out for no reason.
“And please remove the Band-Aids – carefully.”
I pull them off and, just as I was afraid, my nervous nipples are sticking out.
He walks up close to me and, with the back of his hand, begins to lightly brush his skin back and forth across my nipples. I immediately convulse, as I always do when anything touches my nipples. I also grow quite warm and feel myself wet my panties a little bit.
“How does that feel, Angelique?” he asks me, and his voice suddenly sounds lower.
I try to come up with the right words and finally say, “Like God touched me.”
“That’s exactly right,” he says. “God touches you through me, his priest. Would you like him to keep touching you?”
“Yes, please,” I manage to mumble as another wave of trembling goes through me.
He takes my nipples between his thumbs and fingers and begins to pull at them. This is something I do to myself every night in bed so I already know how good it will feel.
“Does God touch Sister Immaculate Heart?” I ask. She’s our high school principal and she’s very mean and we’re all afraid of her.
“I’m sure that God touches all of the sisters, but some in mysterious ways.”
When I can barely stand up anymore, he takes a step back from me. “Take off your skirt, Angelique.”
I get out of my pleated skirt and fold it carefully over the chair.
“Now everything else, please.”
There are my shoes and my tights and my knee socks and my gym shorts and my cotton panties, all designed to keep my body impregnable, but finally I have nothing more to take off.
He reaches out a hand and softly touches the dark hair between my legs, which makes me shiver a little.
“Do you know what this is called?” he asks.
“It’s my weasel.”
Father makes a garbled sound and then he coughs. “Is that what the sisters call it?”
“Oh, no--they don’t call it anything. But it looks to me like the top of a weasel’s head. I just call it that by myself.”
“It’s called a cunt, Angelique. It’s a beautiful thing and not at all like a weasel.”
I’ll call it a cunt if it pleases Father, but to myself it will still be my weasel. Weasel seems more friendly than cunt.
“Do you know what it’s for, Angelique?”
I know it’s for peeing and getting the curse, but I don’t think that’s the answer he wants. “I’m not sure, Father,” I say.
It‘s for men, my dear. God made that for men.”
“Whenever the subway is crowded, men touch me there.”
“And what do you do when that happens?”
“My weasel always likes it so I don’t do anything.” Sometimes I think the man touching me thinks he is scratching an itch he has and probably wondering why the itching isn’t subsiding. It makes me itch when he does it, although it’s not at all an unpleasant itch like one gets from a mosquito bite.
Two of his fingers begin to softly push my weasel apart so that the little thing inside appears. I don’t know what that thing is called, but it reacts just like my nipples when it’s touched. I get an itch down there a lot and have to rub it to make it go away. Actually, I have that itch most of the time. I tried putting calamine lotion on it once, but that didn’t help at all and washed away pretty quickly.
“Such a pretty little thing,” Father says. “It doesn’t look like a weasel at all.”
He lifts me up and sets me on the edge of his desk. “I think I’ll kiss that little weasel,” he says, and the next thing I know his mouth is on my weasel and he really is kissing it. Actually, he’s French-kissing it, which is something I’ve never done but I’ve heard about from some of my classmates. Now I can understand why the girls like to be French-kissed.
Father’s phone rings and at first I think it’s some kind of school bell as I’m used to cell phones that play songs. He pulls his face away from my weasel, though, and picks it up and doesn’t sound at all happy to be interrupted.
After he hangs up, he licks his lips a few times and smiles at me. “So, Angelique, how do you think your first lesson went?”
“I didn’t know that was a lesson, Father.”
Priests give lessons to all prospective nuns to ready them for joining a convent. We stand in the place of God.”
Oh, my, it was God French-kissing my weasel. “I thought it went very well,” I said.
“God has some special instructions for you, Angelique. He wants you to wear shoes and knee socks and a skirt and blouse and blazer, and nothing else. God wants his hands to be able to touch you more easily.”
This was going to take some getting used to, but it would certainly be more comfortable and the girls in gym class would stop laughing at me. “Okay, Father.”
“And every day after school I’ll give you an hour of instruction. Do you have anything after school that will interfere with?”
“No, Father.” I thought it was a perfect opportunity to get out of my flute lessons and also not have to be on the basketball team.
“Good. Get dressed and run along then and I’ll see you tomorrow.”
It was much faster getting dressed without all my layers of clothes, and it felt a lot more comfortable, too. I stuffed the things I wasn’t wearing into my book bag and left his office with a big smile.
I couldn’t wait to tell my parents at dinner that Father James was taking me seriously and I was on my way to being a nun. Whenever I mention wanting to be a nun at home, my dad shakes his head and says what a waste that would be, and my mom treats it like I have a cold that I’ll soon get over. Of course they don’t know about St. Joan, which I’m sure would change everything for them. I can’t just ignore God sending down a saint to personally invite me.
I stopped in the church and made a quick prayer to St. Joan, thanking her again for bringing me the message from God. I also told her I’d love to ride horses with her again.
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