FanFic - Other
"Sexual Temptations"
Part 13
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
The ordinary life I once knew is no more. I left it behind completely when I kissed my love. I found a tranquillity that I never knew existed within the circle of his embrace. I look at my life now and wonder why I fought my emotions so.

Should I be feeling remorse for betraying my oath to God? Could what I have with Maxwell be truly defined as a betrayal? I do not know what it is that we are to each other. We are not lovers, betrothed, or spouses. True, our relationship is intimate, but it is hardly physical. I know his soul's desire, but not his body.

Do I have the right to such happiness? There is so much grief and betrayal surrounding me. Alexander has been forced to break faith with God by marrying Maria and Kyle. The newlyweds themselves had broken vows with their loves by the will of their fathers. Michael and Tess have lost their companions and a child that we all held dear to our hearts. And yet, I find happiness in a pair of golden brown eyes underneath soft black locks.

He is my soul mate. What other than adoration can I receive from my soul mate? I feel as if I am floating on the most gentle of summer breezes, like the feather of a dove lost in mid-flight. Cupid's wings have shielded my eyes from the distress of others.

I dance between wide, billowing sheets hanging from the clothesline, cherishing the freedom that I feel deep in my soul. Small orphan boys play gleefully nearby, throwing a leather ball back and forth over the wall of cotton. Mothers with somber faces watch their sons play, and I abruptly end mine. What on God's green earth am I doing?

I run back inside the church and into my cell. Closing the latch behind me, I sink to the floor. Oh dear God. I have not lost my work as I once feared. I have lost myself.

How could I let myself be so jovial? It was once my accomplishments that set me in such an exhilarated mood. I thrived on dwindling the pain and suffering of others. In fact, it was Maxwell's own tortured soul that attracted my eye in the first place. But now? Who am I now? Who is this woman who dances in the courtyard, apathetic to the anguish around her? Have I given up my entire being for a man?

Oh Lord, what have I become? If you had told me before Maxwell arrived from Ireland that I would turn my head to the misery of another, I would never have believed you. But now. . . now I barely give a thought to the stricken.

And Michael.

I have hardly tried to soothe his soul. I have spoken to him only once since the death of his daughter. I would not have spoke to him at all if I had not stole into the forest to visit my love under the protection of the night. And where is he now? Michael left Ravensport alone the day of Maria's wedding. Is he well or is he drowning his sorrows in brandy again?

I get to my feet and leave my cell. I must find Maxwell.



Grinning, I turn to the call of my love. She stands, shaking, at the door of my cell -- her eyes wide with fright and her skin paled as she gasps for breath -- her slender hands grasping the door frame in a white-knuckled grip. I can feel the corners of my lips fall as if pulled by weights. "Elizabeth? What has happened?" I reach out to brush my hand across her cheek, but she pulls away sharply.

"Maxwell, we cannot do this anymore!" I open my mouth to answer, but her words have left a lump in my throat that my voice is powerless to fight through. As my angel turns to leave, I grasp her arm desperately.

"Why? Please, tell me what is wrong." Her eyes fill with tears at my pleading.

"Do you not see what is happening? Maxwell, in being together, we ignore our responsibilities. It is our duty to help the downtrodden, and yet we have given it up in exchange for a few swindled moments together. We cannot continue to ignore our duties."

I sit down on the corner of the bed. She is right. We have sacrificed others for our own happiness. We have stolen moments of time from God to be together in a forbidden liaison. The difference between us is that it was all worth it for me. "What do you want us to do?" My Elizabeth takes my hand.

"We cannot continue together." I shake my head, pleading her with my eyes to reconsider.

"I cannot be without you." I lift her chin to look directly into her remorseful eyes. "You are my guiding light." Smiling sadly, she runs her fingers through my hair.

"I love you too, Maxwell, but there is so much to loose if we were to be together. I cannot abandon the position that I have committed myself to. I am sorry." I place my fingers over my Elizabeth's.

"Will you at least spent this last night with me?" My beloved lifts herself from her knees and sits on the bed beside me.

"Of course, dearest."


"Rhiannon, come down from there." I lift her away from the windowsill, her tiny hands leaving hazy outlines on the glass. Wrapping her arms around me, she stares at me with her somber green eyes. For a moment, I think of how my brother compared her to his darling Maria. At this moment -- as I see the mannequin of the child I once held -- I think of the ghostly bride who walked down the aisle. Michael was right. They are so much alike.

"Aunt Isabel, when is Da coming home?" Sighing, I kiss one round cheek.

"When he sells all of the horses you helped him train." I set Rhiannon onto the floor, and she pulls the violin case from under the table.

"Will you play something, Thomas?" The boy takes the violin from her hands and tightens the strings. A low, sad, harmonious tune fills the room as I sit next to Tess, handing her a cup of tea. She lays her head on my shoulder, and I wrap my arm tightly around her neck.

Why did Michael have to leave now? Him and his damned cause. He could have waited a month, a week, a day even. Michael does not see how we need him. How we all rely on him. Rhiannon never strays far from the door, waiting to run into Michael's arms at the first sight of his tall form. Thomas worries constantly that we will not be safe from Judge Valenti, fearing that we all face certain death at his hands. I myself am afraid. Our home is not faraway from Ravensport, but we are still far enough that it is not favorable to live without the presence and protection of a man. Even Andrew seems to be aware of my brother's absence, fussing almost constantly.

Tess is the worst off, I believe. Michael kept her hope alive. Without him, she has no confidence that the future will bring her and her baby good fortune. From the moment that Michael left, Tess has hardly spoken a word. Her eyes are dark from insomnia, and her appetite has all but disappeared. It is for the child growing in her womb that Tess eats at all. She needs Michael to give her faith.

Rhiannon crawls into my lap and leans onto my other shoulder. I survey my little family, four blond heads bowed in quiet contemplation. I look out the window and pray for my brother to come home.


I sit in the bar, drinking the dregs of a warm ale from the bottom of my glass. God, I hope that all turns out well. The cursed band of gold shines in the dim light of the salon on my finger. My real wedding ring hangs around my throat on a leather cord.

"Would you like another, Mr. Valenti?" I look up into the eyes of the bartender, Aidan Freeman, and nod. He sets another pitcher before me, the foamy brew sloshing over the sides. Sighing woefully, I take another drink.

I would gladly give up my entire fortune if I could avoid going home forever. But if I did, then I would leave Maria alone in that cold mansion, with no one but slaves and my father -- our jailer -- for company. Still, I wish that I could avoid seeing the uncharacteristic emptiness in her previously vivacious eyes. I cannot help but feel responsible for crushing her spirit. And my father. I rue the moment when I must face that man again. I never imagined before that fateful night at St. Patrick's Cathedral that he could be so cruel.

A lanky man sits down beside me. I glance at him out of the corner of my eye. Although I have never seen him before, he seems familiar to me. He leans over to speak to the bartender.

"I was wondering if you could help me, sir." Aidan walks over to him, passing me another a tall pitcher. "I am looking for my brother. The last I heard, he was living here in Ravensport. His name is Alexander Whitman. Do you know of him." My back stiffens at the sound of Alexander's name. This must be his brother, Daniel." Aidan cocks his head.

"Aye. You mean the priest, Father Whitman, I takes it?" Dropping a few coins on the counter, I slip off the stool discreetly and make my way to the door, barely catching Daniel's response.

"Priest? Alexander is not a priest."

I run towards St. Patrick's Cathedral, nearly knocking over Isabel. I grab her arm and drag her with me.

"Kyle! Have you gone mad?" I shake my head.

"Just come on! Alexander has been discovered!"


I breath in the scent of my love's hair deeply. I cannot believe that this is to be our last night together. I cannot believe that I am about to lose her, after all that has happened between us. I kiss the top of my Elizabeth's head, and she snuggles deeper into my chest.

"I love you." The words shred my soul, but I cannot help but return them.

"I love you too."

Suddenly, without warning, the door of my cell opens. "Father Evans, there has been -- "

I look up into the face of Judge Valenti, panic coursing through my veins.

Part 12 | Index | Part 14
Max/Liz | Michael/Maria | Alex/Isabel | UC Couples | Valenti | Other | Poetry | Crossovers | AfterHours
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