Being a novel, all characters, events, dialogue and representations are fictional ... and in no way are meant to represent any real or living persons or events... except the few annual events that are used to move me through time. The opinions expressed are my own, and not necessarily those of my author. And the story is copyrighted, by my author of course. Oh, and from time to time I may include some real time events to keep the blog more authentic. Comments and suggestions will be appreciated and seriously considered as the story moves along.

If you are just joining us, start with the Prologue and Chapter One on March 1, 2011, in the Archives.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Chapters 84 & 85

        The next afternoon, Sean looked at his twin in disbelief. “You can’t actually expect me to reveal what Jamie told me in confession, Colin! You know good and well I’m bound by Inviolable Secrecy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I can’t tell you anything, you know that.”
  “But he’s dead, Sean,” Colin said, visibly angry. “I need to know if he really did this. If he was capable of doing these horrible things. I need to know.”
“Well, you can’t know anything from me. The Seal of Confession remains even after the death of the penitent. I can tell you nothing he said in the confessional, Colin. Nothing.”
   “Fine. How does that help anyone, then?” he said, frustration framing his words.
“It doesn’t. You knew him, didn’t you? Better than I did. What do you think? Do you think he was capable of doing this? Of murder?” Sean asked, as frustrated as his brother.
   “No, I don’t. He’d talked about exploring the priesthood. You don’t talk about becoming a priest and then kill somebody, do you? I thought he’d discussed it with you? When was it, in February? I advised him to talk with you, not me. It was before Boyle was killed. Did he? Did he talk to you about becoming a priest? What did he say to you about that?”
   Sean was silent.
“For God’s sake, Sean, tell me something!” Colin cried. 
   “All right, but I can only talk about what was said outside of confession, so let me think a minute. He was conflicted and extremely depressed but you knew that. He still couldn’t understand why God had taken his mother who had only done good in her life. He asked me if the priesthood was less painful than normal life.” Father Sean laughed sardonically. “Less painful? I asked him if he noticed my hair had more gray than yours. Truth be told, being a priest is more stressful than not being a priest.”
Colin asked sarcastically, “Then in your professional, more-stressful-life-than-mine opinion, was he serious about the priesthood? Or just looking for an escape?”
Ignoring his brother’s sarcasm, knowing it was coming from his pain, Sean was thoughtful for a moment. “While it’s true some think the priesthood is an escape, those of us who have been in a while try to explain the ‘call’ to young men like Jamie. I was called to do this work. I seriously believe God actually picked me out to do His bidding, and I knew for a long time He was asking me to follow this path. You know that ... we’ve talked about it many times before. But I don’t think Jamie had the call, only a desire to find peace after his mother’s death. But we can never really know what is in another man’s heart, or mind. That’s all I can tell you, Colin. I’m more sorry about his death than I can say. To take one’s own life is not in God’s plan.”
   “But we can pray for him, can’t we? We can petition God to be merciful, can’t we?” he pleaded in obvious anguish.
   “God is always merciful, but yes, He will certainly hear our petitions. And Colin, by ways known to Him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives, just as they pray for all who die.” 
   Both brothers were silent for a few minutes, each deep in thought. Finally, Sean asked, “You mentioned to the priest in Canyon I’d like to be part of the Funeral Mass, didn’t you?”
   “Yes. He’s expecting your call,” Colin said flatly. “It’s Tuesday morning. You want to drive with us?”
“No, thanks. Monsignor wants me to drive him. He was fond of the boy, too.”
   Colin stood to leave. Sean rose, too, and walked him to the church door. “Let me know if you want me to talk with the Saddle Tramps about it. I’ll do what I can, you know I will. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help to you, brother.”
   But Colin knew his sibling too well. He was his twin, after all. They’d started life together at conception and there was little one could get past the other. Sean didn’t have to tell him what Jamie had said or not said in confession. Colin could read his brother well enough to know. 
Chapter 85
   In the days that followed, Maggie and Colin slowly, quietly, got back to their work. They’d endured the wake and funeral service not only for their own sake but for the grieving grandparents who were amazed at the overflowing crowd of mourners in the tiny church. Devastated by the loss of their only grandchild coming less than a year after they’d said goodbye to their daughter, Colin was worried about them. But they were steadfast in their faith and their parish priest assured Colin they would be taken care of with abundant love by their congregation and community. 
   At the gravesite, Father Sean had prayed, “Lord, God, you are attentive to the voice of our pleading. Let us find in your Son comfort in our sadness, certainty in our doubt and courage to live through this hour. Lord, our beloved son, grandson and friend, Jamie Chavez, is gone now from this earthly dwelling, and has left behind those who mourn his absence. Grant that we may hold his memory dear, never bitter for what we have lost nor in regret for the past, but always in hope of the eternal kingdom where you will bring us together again. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

And so Maggie and Colin began their married life under a cloud of intense heartache. The passionate lovemaking of their honeymoon had vanished. Each night since their return, they’d held each other tight, too immersed in raw emotion to even consider physical love. 
The night of the funeral, they retired to the cottage early, wanting, needing to be alone. Tonight, when no more “death duties” loomed ahead ... nothing except normal life ... tonight was different. 
   Maggie had tried to be strong for her new husband. Jamie had been so close, and Colin’s grief knew no comfort. She had to try, though. It hurt her to see him in such torment. As usual, she laid her head on his shoulder when they got into the cottage’s bed. He put his arm around her, and as usual, stared at the ceiling. There didn’t seem to be words just yet. He didn’t know if there ever would be.
   Tentatively, Maggie turned her head and kissed him gently on the neck. He held her tighter. Shifting, she kissed his cheek as he turned to her. Searching his eyes to see if he needed more, she kissed him on the lips. He didn’t kiss back, as if he hadn’t felt her touch. She pulled back and looked at him again, searching for how to give him what he needed. 
   Suddenly he moved on top of her by roughly flipping her on her back and ravishing her mouth with his. 
   In the first moment she was stunned and almost resisted. Then passion and desire seized her and had her responding in kind. The transformation from one minute to the next was as if they’d turned on a light switch after being in the dark for so long. 
   Grabbing each other roughly, they tore at each other’s night clothes. They were frantic to use and abuse each other, as if in forcing their will upon the other they would somehow release their deep shackles of grief. 
   He seized her breasts as if molesting her ... she scratched his back and bit his shoulders as if daring him to be even more callous. He kissed her mouth, forcing it open to thrust his tongue roughly inside, bruising her lips and hurting her where he held her. She pulled him to her as if trying to push his soul through hers, leaving deep marks on his shoulders, back and buttocks.
   When he did take her, it was brutally, without the slightest consideration of gentleness or love, but she yearned for more brutality, daring him, taunting him. This was pure raw sex at its basest level, and they dishonored and defiled each other in equal measure in a desperate attempt to block out the pain of Jamie’s betrayal and to convince themselves they were still alive. Neither had known anything like this before, yet they couldn’t, wouldn’t stop, captivated by the violence  and necessity of it all.
   Finally, the chains broke, the shackles came off and they found release. As Colin lay spent on top of her, Maggie could feel the tears dripping down his face, mixing with her own. Raising up, he said hoarsely, “Maggie, I’m sor ...”
“No,” she said quickly, but quietly. “It’s what we needed.”
   Moving off of her, carefully gathering her in his arms, he asked tenderly, “Are you hurt, Love?” 
   “No,” she lied. “Sleep now, darling, and tomorrow we’ll begin again.” 
   He kissed her tenderly on the top of her head and within minutes was deep in a peaceful sleep — the first he’d had since their return. Maggie lay awake for a while longer, astonished at what had just occurred but grateful for it. Yes, she thought, it was exactly what they needed. Then she, too, slept peacefully.

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