FanFic - Other
"Sexual Temptations"
Part 6
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
Dear Lord, she is so beautiful. Just the way that her silken strands curl around her face like wisps of golden honey mesmerizes me in ways I could never have conceived. And her eyes. . . I have never seen eyes so captivating in my entire life. From the first moment my gaze fell on her liquid form in the church, I knew that Tess was special. I could never have imagined myself a woman this extraordinary. I have the distinct feeling that my heart is no longer my own.

"Does living here meet your fancy?"

Michael snorts. "What woman would not be satisfied living with me?" Maria's grip on Andrew tightens as she turns to glare at Michael. I know of only one man who can make a woman angry less than an hour after declaring his love. Shakespeare is not here to save him this time, but luckily -- VERY luckily -- Michael noticed my subtle hand gestures and places his hand on the small of her back. "Maybe I could prove that to you one day, Maria."

Maria rolls her eyes and shifts the baby onto her other hip. "That was a commendable endeavor, Michael, but I'm afraid that I would hardly put myself through such agony. Any life with you would no doubt be as accommodating as living with a pig."

Laughing, I take Tess' hand and lead her away from my fiery fiancee and her fervent suitor. I wonder if God had created them both specifically for each other. It seems as if each is filled with even more vivacity in the presence of the other. I stop underneath the branches of a tall, stately oak and place my jacket over the grass so that my love might sit without being defiled by dirt and insects. She smiles up at me as I sit next to her, and I have to restrain myself from tasting the soft petals of her lips.

"What manner of business are you engaged in, Kyle?" I lean back against the rough bark of the oak.

"Farming. My father owns a large plantation a few miles from where we sit. He also acts as the judge of Ravensport."

"And you stand to inherit this land?"

"Yes." I try to shift my gaze from the deep pools of her eyes, but only succeed in moving my eyes so far as to view the soft curls that rest behind her ear. "My mother left this earth when I was a young child, leaving my father with no other offspring." Tess looked away from me then, staring at her hands intently. When she speaks, it is in the whispered tone of angels.

"My mother died one week before I left Ireland. My brother and my sister both departed within this last year. I am all too aware of the anguish that death can reap in one's heart. It must have been very hard on you to grow up without a mother."

I lean over and take her face in my hands. Raising her eyes to my own, I take note of the tears glistening like dew on her lashes. "I had a good life, Tess. I had my father, family, servants, nannies, and tutors. I wish that your life is as full as my own." As I lean down to give in to the infinite temptation of her moistened lips, I hear footsteps behind me.

"Kyle, your father calls for you." I turn around to face an embarrassed Maria. Although she is still the vision of perfection, I cannot help but note that her skin is flushed and her lips swollen. I have no doubts as to how they came to be in this new state. Looking up from her hands, she grins at me sheepishly. "I will tell him that you are on your way."

As she makes her way back towards the house, I turn back to Tess, a blush now painted across her lovely features. Smiling softly, I place a gentle kiss on her cherub's cheek.


After seeing the enormity that is the Deluca Vineyard, the Valenti Plantation seems to be a mere garden. Yet I cannot see how far the stretch of carefully planted vegetation extends. A large mansion stands tall at the end of the dirt road, and slave quarters can be seen built row by row in the distance.

"Good evening, Father Evans." A brown haired man approaches me, his hand extended in welcome. "My father apologizes for not accompanying you on a tour of our facilities, but there has been some unanticipated matters to which he must attend. I am his son, Kyle Valenti."

I take the young man's hand in my own. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

Kyle and I walk along the edges of the crops, surveying the work being done by imported slaves from Africa. I listen with only a partial ear as I watch the downtrodden people toil away in the fields. There are children as young as five doing the work of a grown man. It is a sad sight to behold, but one that does not seem to reach Kyle's eyes. How could a man become so blind to the suffering around him?

A young girl of an age no more than ten falls down in the path before us. Her shirt rises on her back as she struggles to regain a hold on the collection of firewood that she was transporting to a wagon. Kyle kneels on the ground and lifts her shirt higher, revealing several long slices cut deep in the smooth brown skin of her back.


A large, muscular man hurries out of the fields. His hair -- a wan rust-brown -- is plastered to his face with sweat as he loops a long, braided leather whip into a coil in his hands. "Yes, Mr. Valenti?"

Kyle turns the girl so that her injuries face the man. "Fergus, can you explain this to me?" The larger man flickers his gaze along the girl's wounded back and runs his hands through his limp hair. "This is not acceptable, Fergus. It seems that you have been causing more than your fair share of troubles for yourself today."

"Sir, I -- "

Kyle shakes his head, brown locks of his own hair falling into his face. "I do not want to hear any excuses from you. You have been far to abundant in the use of your strap. I have heard from Michael Guerin that young children are not the only creatures to face your wrath." He glares at Fergus with such intensity that the other man can look no higher than the soles of his boots. "I will not warn you again. The next time I find that you have beat some creature with such vigor, it will be you who will face the whip."

With that, Kyle started back to the mansion, leaving the brute of a man to his anxiety. I follow him quickly, with one last look at the poor, battered child. "I am truly sorry that you were forced to witness that, Father. Fergus has a habit of beating our stock past the point of usefulness."

"I take it that it happens quite often?" I don't know why I ask. I already know the answer.


I cannot get that girl out of my head. My beloved Elizabeth once told me that I could find hope in the innocence of a child. Where do I find hope when that innocence is taken away -- stripped heartlessly by the hands of one of my own flock? What crime could a child commit that would grant her such a punishment? And what is it that makes me so worthy under the eyes of God that I must suffer under my own accord while a child suffers under the cruel bite of metal and leather?

"Father Evans?" I stop pacing and stand still. I will not allow myself the luxury of viewing her radiant features. "Father, you have yet to come inside all evening. It is after midnight. You must get some rest."

"Rest?" I laugh. "Sister, how can I rest? Have you no knowledge of the suffering that surrounds us? Or are you unaware of the anguish of those who are enslaved for drudgery?

My angel steps out of the doorway of the church. She reaches for my face, but I turn away. "Father, I do know your turmoil. But there is only so much that a servant of God can do. The law permits this abomination to persist. We can only fight it by striving to change the hearts of our fellow men. Please come inside now. Your troubles will meet you in the morning."

I look up at the stars. They glare back down at me in cold, cruel judgment. Each star speaks in a different voice, all telling of my inadequacy as a priest and as a man. Sister Mary Elizabeth places her hand on my arm. "Father, the answers you seek are not up there at all." She moves her hand over my heart. "I am certain that you will have better luck if you search in here."

I look down into the face of my beloved. Her eyes sparkle with unshed tears as the glittering liquid courses down her velvet cheeks like molten diamonds. "Sister, my pains are minuscule to the suffering that I have seen today. I am not sure that there is enough goodness in my heart to find any sort of peace."

She runs her fingers across my cheeks. It is only after I feel the gentleness of her feather-light caress that I realize that tears have found their way out of my wounded soul to be born into the world. "Then let me lend you mine."

With that, my love took my hand and lead me back into the church.


My love is finally asleep. The magnitude of his torment astounds me, although it is not misplaced. There is so much agony on this earth God has created us. There is as much blackness in this existance as there is light. So much horror that one can experience. How can one man hope to end it all?

As I watch him sleep restlessly in his bed, I cannot help but brush away strands of hair that have managed to fall into his eyes. I wish that it were so effortless to brush away his pain. He revels in his pain, my love. It is what makes him who he is. In feeling the afflictions of others, Maxwell becomes an advocate for their cause. A shepherd of God.

But will he succeed in his causes? Will he ever find the hope that he is looking for? I wish -- no, I yearn -- that I could give him the absolution that he searches for. I would gladly embrace his pain as my own if only to reveal to him the hope that he reaches for. I would turn away from everything -- my work, my Lord -- if I could save this man from himself.

I wonder if he turn away from his suffering for me.

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