FanFic - Other
"Sexual Temptations"
Part 12
by Jez
Disclaimer: I don't own a thing (but if I did, I wouldn't share Michael =0P)
Summary: In the mid 1800's, Father Maxwell Evans arrives in America...
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: Based Nehal's Sexual Temptations Challenge
I hold out my arms as the long, flowing gown is drawn up my body by a group of young servant girls. I watch in the mirror as the silken material is tied back with a matching sash of the palest beige and the high lace neck is buttoned tight against my throat. I watch as my hair is drawn up in an elegant twist and strings of polished pearls are pinned to the perfectly sculptured strands of golden honey. One large tear-shaped pearl hangs down the middle of my forehead, matching the glossy jewels of my earrings perfectly. A thin veil of the finest lace is pinned in place against my pearl-adorned curls.

"Maria." My father's reflection closes in on mine, one hand reaching out towards her. He pins a golden broach in the center of her bosom, where silk meets lace. I watch as my father's reflection brushes away glittering streams of tears from my reflection's ashen cheeks. "Maria, dearest, say something to me. You have not said one word in two days."

The silver-haired reflection pulls my own close to his body. "I only wish to give you the best future possible. I will not be alive forever. It will do us both good for you to marry a deserving and competent man." Two raspberry lips that match my own begin to tremble as my vision fluctuates.

"Please, do not make me do this." Her voice cracks hoarsely from misuse and unshed tears.

My mirror father leans down to kiss her cheek. "It will all turn out for the best. You will see. Kyle will make a fine husband."

"How can Kyle make a fine husband for me if I do not love him?" My father turns my shoulders so that I face him.

"He is better than that Guerin boy that you fancy. I am sure that he seems fine and well, but if you were to know of his true nature, you would not be so quick to declare your love. Michael Guerin is no more than a swine; a common drunkard. He would treat you no better than a harlot."

"And how would a boy who was raised by a father who murders young children treat me?" My father's mocha eyes darken.

"Maria, I understand that what James ordered was severe, but he thought for the best. We cannot have people stealing what is ours. It is his job to punish those who do, in whatever way the law requires." I pull myself out of his grasp and pick up my bouquet of yellow roses and baby's breath.

"I hope that you remember those words when your grandchildren make a mistake that requires justice."


Oh God, Maria is so pale. She walks stiffly at her father's arms, her wedding gown glowing elegantly from the light emitted from dozens of candles. She looks like a china doll. The only thing marring her beautiful pixie face is the redness of her eyes.

My father smiles proudly at me as I stand at the alter. I must admit, I do not fare any better than Maria herself. Even though this marriage is not valid, I somehow feel that I am betraying my wife.


She and Michael watch us from the back of the church, holding Andrew and Rhiannon close on their laps as Thomas is crushed between Tess and Isabel. I feel my heart sink as I notice the absence of one red-haired child. The pain that we are all going through is immeasurable.

I should have been there. If I had not stayed at the plantation to make arrangements for Fergus to travel to the Carolinas, I could have stopped it. There was no need for Finola to die. How could my father have done such a cold, heartless thing? What has happened to the man who taught me polo and archery? What happened to the man who told me stories of my mother in front of the fireplace before we retired to bed?

Maria stands beside me at the alter rigidly. Alexander's words are a blur as I try not to look into his haunted face. I think that this entire plight has affected him most of all. Throughout this whole ordeal, he took it upon himself to be the leader -- the protector and savior -- of us all. Now, after all that has happened, he believes that he has failed.

Tears cascade down Maria's porcelain cheeks as she promises herself to me. The words she speaks are an exact reproduction to those that she had spoken that night in the woods. When daisies replaced pearls, and her tears were not born of sorrow and distress. We cry together, this woman and I, for the loss of our hope.

We had hoped for the day that our parents would accept our incompatibility, so that we might reveal our marriages in harmony. A day that I might take the velvety hand of my lovely wife and live with her in glory. A day when Maria and Tess would knit caps for the children growing in their wombs as Michael and I carve fairies and angels in the cradles. How can we hope for such a future now? The entire town believes that we are legitimately married. We are bound together in misery, Maria and I.

"You may now kiss the bride."

I look at Alexander in panic.. His bloodshot eyes are focused on the bible in his hands. I turn to Maria, careful not to let my eyes wander to the wooden pew that holds my heart and soul. Gently lifting the lace of her veil, I kiss her swiftly on the corner of her lips. The very same lips that I have heard my spellbound friend dote on for hours on end. I pull back and stare into the horrified emerald eyes of the very same enchantress to which I conspired to help said friend pursue.

"I am sorry, Maria." I pull away from her and face our congregation. My father grins in satisfaction, his greed satiated with the knowledge of the fortune which I will now possess. The company of townspeople rise to their feet and give their applause. All except for a small group sitting in the back, tears flowing from their eyes in pity and remorse.


"Michael, this is no time to leave. You can still do something!" Michael throws his clothes into a box.

"Tess, this is the perfect time to leave. This was all part of the plan in the first place. I leave every year around this time. Unless you would rather live with the poor in the convent, I have no choice but to sell the stock. Pass me that rope." I lift a large coil of rope from the shelf and hold it from his reach.

"Michael, you are running away. The situation will only worsen with your absence. The sooner we find a solution to this, the better chance Maria's father will not have you killed." When he does not respond, I throw the rope into his chest. "For the love of God, Michael, I want my husband back! It tears me apart to see this lie play out."

"And what about Finola? Do you wish that her death be for nothing?" I shake my head as Michael carries boxes and crates to the door. "If nothing else, this proves that we should not challenge Valenti. He would have both our heads if we were to come forward with the truth."

"But there must be something -- " Michael whips around, anger flashing in his eyes.

"WHAT? What is there for us to do? It is impossible! Our only choices are to let the situation stand as it is, or to run away, change our names, and begin again. And that is the one thing that I will not do. Maria deserves better than to live on the streets as I start my business from scratch. You, Isabel, the children, you all deserve better than that!" I watch in frustration as Michael carries a stack of boxes outside to the wagon. I run after him, passing Isabel and Rhiannon coming back from the well.

"Michael, I am pregnant!" He stumbles on the ground, nearly losing a handle on his packages. "It is a safe bet that Maria is carrying your child. I do not want my baby to be born without its father. I am certain that your wife feels exactly the same way." Michael places the crates on the ground and falls back next to them. I walk over to him and watch as he buries his hands in his hair. Unable to resist, I rub my hand over my abdomen.

"Tess, there is nothing I can do. Do you think I want to see my own flesh and blood take Kyle's name? It is all up to him now. Anything I do will only result in more turmoil. But I do promise you that your child will never lack a father." He raises his troubled eyes to mine, his own flowing with another attack of salty tears. "But I still must leave. Too much will be lost if I stay."


I watch as Michael rides out of town, a small heard of horses tied to either side of his covered wagon. I do not understand what has transpired. How is it that Alexander allowed the marriage of Maria and Kyle to be performed -- by himself, no less -- if he knew of the other unions of the young couple? I turn away from the window as the arms of my darling wrap themselves around my waist.

"I do not think that he will ever forgive himself." I pull my Elizabeth close against my body.

"Michael is a strong man. He will learn to deal with his pain." She sighs against my chest, tiny quivers vibrating against my skin. I smile and bury my face into the softness of her hair. "You worry so much, my love." She laughs quietly.

"You are one to talk, Maxwell. No sensible person would chastise me for my grievances when their load is as large as yours." I pull her down onto the bed. My angel spoons into my chest, her breath caressing across my shoulder.

"What do you search for, Elizabeth?" She lifts her head slightly, examining my face with her chocolate eyes.

"I do not know. I suppose I search for love." I laugh.

"If you must search for love, that I do believe that I have not made my emotions clear for you. My love for you is so great that you should never feel the lack of it." Elizabeth smiles her sweet, heavenly smile.

"Would you believe me if I were to tell you the same?" I place a kiss on the corner of her mouth.

"I would believe you if you told me that night was day and water was fire." Suddenly, my beloved's brow furrows as she pulls herself out of my embrace.

"Maxwell, do you believe that what we are doing is the right thing? Should we not be resisting the temptation that we provide for each other?" I reach out and brush back a lock of her raven hair.

"I have no answers for you, Elizabeth. But I do believe in you. I know that your decision to let yourself be in love with me was not one made lightly. If you followed your heart to me, then that is all the proof of God's intentions that I need." The graceful smile returns to my angel's lips as she rises from the bed.

"I must go. Will you come to me tomorrow night?" I smile back at her.


Part 11 | Index | Part 13
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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