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Just south of San Diego
30th March 2009, early morning


"Go right ahead." She smiled again, meeting his eyes briefly before returning her attention on the road.

*
The night seemed darker, slowly becoming devoid of stars and the moon's light. It was only until they were passing the edges of San Diego did they realise why. The enormous saucer-shaped ship hung impossibly in the sky. A dark city overlooking the landscape. You could not be anywhere near San Diego and not see it.

Daniel stared at the sight of it, thinking that this was a sight he could go his whole life without seeing again. "I guess this means they're really back," he breathed.

"Yeah..." Stevie swallowed nervously, feeling like they were approaching trouble with every mile they ate.

"Keep your eyes on the road," he advised. "Don't look at it," Daniel said gently. "Don't give them anymore power over you than they already have," he said, leaning back into his seat.

"Yeah," she said again in response, trying her best to ignore what loomed ahead of them. "I'm alright. You rest." She glanced his way, giving him a smile in the pale illumination from the Jeep's dashboard.

He lay back into the seat, letting the sleep claim him, his eyes filled with her as he drifted of.

A few minutes later, the quiet getting her attention, Stevie glanced again to see Daniel had barely chewed a few more bites of the jerky before falling asleep, his head slumping to the side. With a smile, she stole the food back and munched on it.

After reaching the 805 via backstreets and staying on it for a while, Mick took the lead. The place was giving Stevie the creeps and she figured Mick felt the same way. It was too eerie, too quiet. It felt like those towns, twenty years ago, when you woke up one morning to find everyone was gone. Chula was like that and, as they turned off the freeway to dodge a possible checkpoint where it met with the 54 ahead, they found Bonita looking much the same. And it wasn't just because it was the wee hours of morning. No, the Visitors were returning to old habits, she guessed. It explained why the I-5 had been so empty as well, San Ysidro and Nestor weren't normally that quiet.

They did get as far as El Cajon in the end, as Mick had said, passing through La Mesa and spotting a few campfires here and there. Mick drove through those quiet roads quickly, not wanting to give anyone a chance to think they could take them on. Stevie kept pace, jerking the Jeep along, throwing looks to the priest who slept through it all. They passed the Mission Trails Regional Park, Stevie thinking that was rather appropriate for Daniel, but they didn't stop, wanting to put distance between them and Miramar, until they reached the Sycamore Canyon County Park in the hills, just passed the San Vicente Reservoir. And knowing what the Visitors had been after last time, Mick passed that body of water as fast as possible. The sun was cresting up the horizon when they pulled in, cruising around the bush to find the right spot where they could hide their vehicles.

A stray beam of light caught his eye, walking Daniel up with a start. His dreams hadn't been pleasant. Too many parallels with Africa and their current circumstances to make sleep as oblivious as it used to be. Sitting up, it took him a couple of moments to remember where he was and why there was a beautiful woman next to him. Surrounded by bush, he said groggily, "You should have woke me." He rubbed the sleep out of his eyes.

Feeling him stir in the seat next to her, Stevie looked at him just as she was bringing the Jeep to a stop. "Why? You were so cute sleeping like a baby like that," she quipped, something she would have told anyone but suddenly realising she'd just told that to a priest. Her eyes went front. "We didn't make it to San Marcos. Sun's up so we thought we'd stop and rest for a bit." Hide, more like.

"Like a baby?" He chuckled. "I hope I didn't snore."

Looking around the vegetation ahead and the waterway he could see in the rear-view mirror, he nodded in agreement about her statement regarding San Marcos. He hadn't expected them to anyway and was glad they were using the daylight to lay low. There was too much chance of being seen by Visitors in their skyfighters that way. "Where are we?"

"Some county park. Sycamore or something. Just before Poway, I think." Stevie went by what Mick had said earlier. "And yes, you did snore," she teased before getting out of the Jeep. "I'm gonna go get some branches to cover this. Mick and Noah are just up ahead." They would be trying to hide the van too.

"Sorry," Daniel said, embarrassed. Thank God, he wasn't married then. He stopped short and stared at her like a deer caught in headlights. Where did that come from? "I'll help you," he said, shifting out of the seat.

Catching his funny reaction, she looked at him. "I was just teasing. You better get used to it if we're going to be sticking together 'til San Fran..." she let out with a wink. "Come on."

"I'm just not used to having someone next to me when I sleep," he replied and then looked at her again, wincing. Did he just say that out loud? Surely she'd know he wasn't meaning it to be anything but a comment. Furthermore, that wink, well, once again, he found himself fascinated. "Where are the others?" he asked, clearing his throat.

"Just up that way, trying to find a hole for the kombi." She waved in the general direction to their left. She slowed down, letting him reach her side. "You know..." she started saying, his comment not having fallen on deaf ears. "If you ever want to... you know... I'm here." She gave him a wide grin, her eyes flickering with amusement. She was dog tired and the lack of sleep made her find things funnier than they probably really were but this innuendo, she couldn't let pass.

"Ever want to what?" He stared at her blankly.

Aw, hell. She looked at him and shook her head. "Never mind. A joke isn't funny when you need to explain it." She got a pocket knife out and turned to hand him the shotgun. "Here." Turning back, she started cutting lower branches that had plenty of leaves on them.

He stared after her, puzzled until suddenly, with a flash of insight, it hit him. "OH." He stared at her, taking the shotgun without protest because his mind was on her suggestion. "It was funny," he stuttered. "Actually, no, it wasn't. I mean, you're a beautiful woman... I'm just not equipped..."

What in God's name was he saying to her?

What? Stevie stopped what she was doing, blade halfway through the green wood of another small branch. She turned to him, straightening up. Not equipped? She raised an eyebrow. Surely the Jesuits didn't chop their priests' balls off... unless he was being more literal and something had happened in one of those war zones. Had it? But what actually stuck in her mind, what she still heard in her ears, was the fact he found her a beautiful woman. Well, wasn't the first time. She wasn't so stupid as to not notice her assets or ignore them, but this was a man of the cloth. Were they even allowed to admit that? Allowed to look? Pocketing her knife after a flick of her thumb slid the blade away, she took advantage of his stunned look and kissed him on the mouth, her hands going to frame his face.

She came upon him so quickly that he hadn't even realised what was happening until her mouth was on his and then something inside kicked in, having been lurking in the shadows, since the world elfin crossed his mind. His hands went to her hips, unaware that he had even settled them there, his lips meeting hers with a raw edge of need he had never in his life known. She tasted like cinnamon, spice, all things forbidden, all things sinful and yet, as he kissed her back, didn't even consider that there were vows being broken like china plates being smashed against the wall.

Damn. Stevie's world tilted and swirled for a moment as she had not anticipated this intensity in him, this... passion. She figured he would stutter some more, push her away and blush, feigning to understand her attempt at a joke... her teasing him. But he didn't. She felt his hands on her hips acutely, his thumbs brushing against her exposed skin under her short black t-shirt. She felt his chest, her breasts barely brushing against him, and found she would have liked more of that contact. His lips were warm, soft, full... he tasted of beef jerky and a hint of alcohol and something else she suspected was all his, just like his scent she was breathing in... musky, male and... incense. Shit.

Stevie blinked and pulled back.

There were so many things that screamed at him at present. The fact that he hadn't pushed away from her and had readily engaged in a kiss with a woman, the fact that in all his life he had never had anything in his mouth that tasted as sweet, that he had broken the most fundamental vow of his faith and worst yet, that she was the one to pull back. When she did, it was like he had been splashed in the face with ice cold water.

Mortified, he stepped back, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..." he stammered a response and retreated away from her, not knowing what else to do.

She was so going to hell.

"Daniel," Stevie found herself saying, like a distant voice, raw and breathless. "No. I'm sorry." She lifted her hand as if to show him she was no threat, but fuck, wasn't she? Shit. She tried to ignore the enormity of what she had done, what kissing a girl could mean to him, and tried to think of a joke, of a crack... something to break the heavy weight she felt had descended on them both. "I didn't think..." That he'd respond? No, she hadn't but she had gone for it, just to check. And fuck, the man was equipped - whether he knew it or not.

"It's not your fault," he halted her before she said any more. He could taste the sweetness of her lips, absurdly he thought, Gummy Bear sugar. "I should have said something... I should have." He raised his eyes to her and volunteered, "I didn't think it would feel so... good." God in heaven, did he just say that out loud? Daniel half-expected a retributory bolt of lighting to hit him.

Stevie held his gaze a moment longer, flabbergasted, and then she looked down at her Converse sneakers, one red, one purple. "You did too," she said, lifting her eyes back to his. "Feel good." Her gaze strayed to his mouth and she licked her lips on reflex. "I think I've just bought passage to a lower circle of hell, haven't I?" She chuckled nervously.

"Not at all." He looked up at her, shaking his head, actually reaching for her hand and realising that he still had the shotgun in one hand. "There's nothing wrong about what you did." He met her gaze. "It was my vows that were broken, not yours."

She looked at their hands as they joined and then returned to his face. "But I made you break them." She shook her head. "I'm the apple..." Her face scrunched up at that and she looked away, trying to pull her hand back.

Her parents had often said she had the devil in her. They used to say she was a disappointment... that the way she was going, she wouldn't amount to anything. They'd even said her brother wouldn't have thrown his life away as she did had he lived. And now she was making a priest's faith waver, and not satisfied with that, she was tempting him, enticing him into renouncing his vows. She was seriously fucked up. Dean should have survived that day - not her.

Her choice of word made him smile. "Everyone always forgets that Adam chose to eat that apple," Daniel replied. "He wasn't forced to." He held on to her, not wishing her to feel badly for his own weakness. "I thought you were beautiful from the moment I saw you," he said quietly. "If there is fault, it's mine. Not yours. I don't want you," he stuttered, trying to understand what this churning in his gut was, "to think you forced me down a path I wasn't inclined to take myself. I could have walked away but I didn't. I..." He hesitated to make the admission. "Because maybe I wanted to kiss you too."

Fuck me, Stevie thought as she listened to him. She knew she had some feminine wiles, and she used them every so often, but this... her breath left her in a whoosh, relief and thrill warring for a front seat. She looked at their hands again. He hadn't let go and she liked the contact, his warm palm so much bigger than hers. She took a step closer, her head tilting as she leaned in for another kiss, carefully, hesitantly.

"Aw, for fuck's sakes, Stevie! A fucking priest?!" Mick let out, appearing out of the bushes. "You scared the shit out of us when you guys didn't come up to join us. Thought something had gone down." He looked at the pair of them, disbelieving. "Fucking hell." He glanced behind him, wandering if Noah had followed but found no one to witness what he just had. "When you two have finished giving each other doe eye looks, how about we set up camp before it gets too damn bright, eh?"

Whatever moment they had shared, or madness that had taken him, the abrupt return, thanks to Mick, was like being dropped into ice cold water. Daniel turned away, unable to meet anyone's gaze, much too embarrassed by what had gone on between Mia and himself. When she had leaned towards him again, he had been caught in her spell and his whole being wanted that kiss, wanted to taste her again, until he was spent from the sensation. However, the shock interruption had instead surfaced his guilt in spades and now Daniel was debating if the wiser course was not to jump into his jeep and drive, not caring if the Visitors captured him or not.

He felt just as damned.

Seeing Daniel retrench into himself, Stevie turned glaring eyes on Mick.

"Don't give me that," Mick growled.

"Fuck you," she returned, stalking away.

With a sigh, Mick stared after her for a moment before he looked at the priest. "Come on, Brother Daniel," he let out, his voice dripping a little sarcasm but he couldn't help it. "You can't stay here." He pulled his sleeve. "Your Jeep covered?"

Hearing Mick calling him brother made Daniel's hackles stand and he shot the man a look. "I'll attend to it myself," he said, pulling away from the man, walking to his vehicle. Perhaps his behaviour warranted the rebuke but Mia certainly did not. Looking away from the man, he tried to decide whether or not he should continue to San Francisco himself.

"Hey... Daniel." Mick followed him. "Don't get your knickers in a twist, alright? Not the first time our Stevie turns eyes..." He saw the Jeep ahead and started to gather enough foliage to help cover it as he made his way over. As he started to hide the back of the vehicle, he winced. "I just figured you for the real deal, that's all. Now, if you fancy her, that's fine, but don't go hiding behind that collar of yours. The only Father I've known molested my kid sister and he didn't fare well." He swung a large branch above them, leaves flying away as it swhooshed in the air before landing on the top of the Jeep. "Now, Stevie is a big girl... she can make her own mind up." His way to say he wouldn't intervene anymore than he already had.

If Mick attempted to appease him or at least assuage his annoyance, it didn't help. "I am the real deal," he almost hissed although he didn't feel very much like it right now. He had kept silent about what he had seen this last month, enough so that his faith had taken a bruising. What he shared with Mia... didn't seem wrong but by all tenets of his faith, he had broken the cardinal rule. Nor did he appreciate the comparison to a paedophile. "And what happened," he said, snatching some branches off the ground to cover the front of the jeep. "Was a mistake."

"Wait." Mick noticed he had pissed the priest off but he wasn't about to apologise. Mistake or not, there was nothing ambiguous about what he had walked in on. Nothing. And he knew Stevie. It wasn't for nothing that he and Noah had been teasing her earlier. Thing was, he hadn't actually thought she'd go for it. He walked to the front of the Jeep and lifted the hood. "Spark plugs. In case someone tries to steal it," he explained, pulling some off. Straightening up, he handed them to Daniel and dropped the hood closed.

Banishing his annoyance for the moment, because it served no one and it was himself that he was most angry with, not anyone else, he nodded in understanding. "I have spare cans of gasoline, we should try and hide it in the woods or take it with us for the same reason," he suggested as he pocketed the spark plugs.

"Sure." He helped Daniel cover the front and then moved to the back to locate the jerry cans. Hoisting them out, he passed one to the priest since he held the twelve-gauge, and grabbed the other two for himself. "This way," he invited him to follow him to where Gladys the van was hidden.

Glancing once at the jeep as he followed Mick, Daniel could only hear the sounds of the birds and insects along with the wind rustling through the branches. Everything seemed peaceful. It was easy to make the mistake that everything was fine. That the world was still at peace instead of turmoil.

Noah lifted his head when he heard footsteps, his hand reaching for the handgun he had left next to him. As soon as he recognised the top of Mick's head, he relaxed and returned to the chilli he had on the propane stove. "Hungry?" he asked, and paused when he saw Daniel appear from behind Mick.

"Hey, Daniel. Chilli okay with you?"

Mick looked around, barely seeing the side of the van in its hidey hole. "Yeah, I'll have some before I crash..." Mick answered even though the question had probably been meant for the priest. "Any of those tortillas left?" They'd be dry by now but it would do. "Where's Stevie?"

"I thought she was with you guys..." Noah replied.

"Fuck," Mick swore, glancing at Daniel next to him.

Daniel fought the urge to ask Mick what he expected after his comments and instead declared, "I'll go find her." He had seen which direction she had gone and this situation was his fault, because he was weak.

"You know how to use it?" Mick pointed to the shotgun as he sized the man up.

Daniel looked at the weapon and nodded. "Yes."

"We'll spread out that way," he let him know. "In case she passed by Noah..."

"I didn't hear anything if she did," Noah said, standing up.

"Alright," Daniel took note and walked in the direction he had seen Mia retreat, feeling guiltier by the minute at the consequences of his momentary lapse. However, even as he sought her out, the experience lingered in his mind, the taste of her mouth against his, the slight curve of her hips under his fingertips and the softness of her breasts against him. All of it had the result of making him more aware of himself than hours of prayer, where he imagined he was close to God. Was this why the flesh was forbidden to priests, because one stolen moment of pleasure could easily eclipse this so called feeling of oneness with God?

Mick watched Daniel turn around and head back the way they'd come, almost drilling a hole in his back.

Turning the gas stove off, Noah approached. "What happened?"

"What do you think?" Mick turned to him, giving him a knowing look.

"No..." Noah shook his head, his hand going to the collar of his t-shirt. "But he's..."

"Didn't seem to stop him or her," Mick let out.

Eyes wide with surprise, Noah cleared his throat. "I know she's good but that's one I would have bet against," he admitted, chuckling to himself. "So she's pissed because you interrupted them? She won't be too far..."

"I think they were barely at first base when I walked on them." Mick shrugged. "But you know her, she'll fucking screw anything with a dick," Mick retorted.

And it's only because he never expected it that Noah managed to land a right hook in Mick's face, the blow so hard, it knocked him off his feet.

"Fuck," Noah hissed, shaking his hand in pain. "Mick, I love you, man, but don't talk about her like that," he warned as he towered over him.

A hand feeling his jaw, Mick stared back at his friend. "You're only still sweet on her because she never gave you a go," he growled.

"And you're only pissy because she only gave you one," Noah retorted with a bite.

"Ouch." Mick let himself fall back on the ground. "Fuck. I'm too tired for this shit."

*
Daniel walked through the brush, resisting the urge to call out after her. A broken branch here, an out of place indent in the dirt there, and he suspected he was on Mia's trail. Years ago, he had known a handyman who was from the Botswana, who learned to track with the bushmen of the Kalahari. While Daniel was nowhere that proficient, he picked up enough to be useful in an outdoor situation.

"Mia," he called without shouting. If she was nearby, she'd hear him.

Stevie sighed, legs dangling off a branch. She'd been in a mind to let him walk on and not let him know where she was, but if he carried on calling out for her like that he was likely to get his ass in trouble. Besides, she did like the way he said her name. First time, in like twelve years.

"Up here," she returned quietly once he was passing right beneath her.

Daniel's eyes shifted heavenward and saw not his God but something divine that sat in-between. Mia was seated on a thick tree branch, legs dangling overhead. For a moment, he thought she was like a fairy child, watching the world go by. The sun peeked through the canopy of leaves and shone off her back, making her hair shimmer in the light. For a moment, she seemed not quite real and yet exquisitely lovely.

"Nice spot," he commented.

Looking down at him, she smiled but it didn't reach her eyes. "You should go back," she let out. "Knowing Noah he'll have some hot food ready by now..."

"Not without you," he said quietly. "You need to eat too." He stood his ground, watching her, drinking in her, questioning God to explain what was happening to him. It wasn't as if he hadn't been around women to be so affected by her. Yet he was, from the moment he looked at her, there was this sensation he couldn't define, this unspoken need that was pushing up against the walls of years of restraint.

"I'm good here. Got gummy bears left," she returned. "As you said, nice spot. And nice view." His eyes were so blue... she looked up and around, spotting birds and such. It was a lot simpler up here.

"It does look nice," he commented, not needing to be clairvoyant or a priest for that matter to know that she was bothered. "Can I join you?" he asked.

"Why?" She leaned along the branch, her chin going to rest on one hand as she looked at him. "I heard you back there... a mistake." And he was probably right too. "And Mick... he's just calling it like it is. And he's right to call me up on it. I'm..." she sighed, looking into the distance a moment before returning her gaze on him. "I'm what some people call promiscuous. If you're serious about trying it out with a girl, I'm the last one you should choose for that." There, she'd laid it all out for him.

Daniel immediately regretted his poor choice of words. "The kiss wasn't a mistake," he tried to explain. "I can't believe something that felt so good would be a mistake. The mistake is my weaknesses, my inability to resist my desire. It's not a good excuse," he admitted readily. "But I've never cared to 'try it' with anyone else, this is the first time. I don't care what people call you, I only know that it's you that moved me, not any other woman." He didn't know what he was saying to her. He just needed her to understand that he didn't regret the kiss, just the weakness in him that allowed it to happen.

"I... moved you?" Stevie sat back up and slid her ass along the branch a bit before patting a spot next to her. She didn't know why he wanted to join her if she made it hard for him to remain on the straight and narrow but she found couldn't say no to him.

Besides, she wanted to see a priest climb a tree.

Ensuring the shotgun's safety was on, he climbed up the tree and took the spot next to her. "You move me," Daniel said, making no move to touch her like before but unable to deny that there was a closeness between them that wasn't there before. "I don't know why," he confessed.

"I can't help you there," Stevie said, at a loss. He was just so... honest.

"You don't have to help me," he said, looking at her. "It's just the way it is. I will deal with this. I just don't want you to feel badly, that's all."

"I..." She looked at him. "So, that's it?" She found she wanted to know because, deep down, she guessed he had moved her too. His blue eyes held hers a bit longer and she sighed. Okay, he still did.

He saw her disappointment and furrowed his brow. "I'm not certain what else there could be." He reached for her hand with nothing but innocent intentions but shuddered at the sensation of her skin against his. Once again, that kiss surfaced.

"I understand," she returned, her gaze dropping to his hand finding hers again. "So friends?" She couldn't deny there was something there but it was clear he didn't want to act on it. That kiss earlier had been a slip he had no intention to repeat. That was fine with her, she told herself. She just needed to know where the limits were.

Friends. The word sounded safe. Comfortable. It was a perfect description of what they should be and yet, yet, it also felt disappointing. "You understand?" He looked her, almost hoping she'd protest but to what end?

"Yeah," she replied nonchalantly, giving him a sideways glance. "It was a slip. A temptation. Caught you off guard... you don't plan on doing that again."

He was just going to ignore it, bury it and go on with his life. And she should do the same. What could they possibly be together? A priest and a rock singer? He got off on playing missionary while she liked getting high and shitfaced and performing onstage. She smiled, looking in the distance.

He reached for her cheek. "It wasn't just a slip," Daniel said, meeting her gaze. It sounded trivial when she described it that way and he would have her know that it wasn't. "Whatever happens, it was special... to me."

"I'll be your first and only kiss. I guess it was special to me too," she returned, his fingers on her skin making her shiver. It was ridiculous the effect he had on her. She couldn't even shake it off or make make light of it. His gaze held her captive.

Only. That stabbed at him. His finger brushed over her lip and he relished the soft feel of silk under his fingertips. All these years, he had never been curious, never wanted to explore the rapture enjoyed so freely by other men. But the kiss was undoing him in so many ways. "I will treasure it."

And she knew he meant that. He wasn't just trying to make her feel better. It touched her deeply but at the same time, despite her asking him point blank where the lines were, he kept giving her mixed signals. His touch, the way his gaze ate at her, the longing in his touch. Everything about him told her he wanted more. For the first time in her life Stevie was on the receiving end of a tease.

In all his life he had never felt this conflicted, never felt so torn between his identity as a man and priest. The feel of her was enough to crumble his resolve. Even now, he wanted to kiss her, to taste her again. It tugged at him insistently even though every fibre of his being knew he shouldn't.

He leaned forward without even realising it.

Stevie felt Daniel closing in more than she saw him. If he counted on her to push him back, to tell him no, he was sorely mistaken and would be disappointed as she wasn't that good at doing the right thing. Not when it came to men and how they made her feel. And for this one, it was even worse for he spoke to her like no one ever had before.

Tilting her head, she was about to meet him halfway but found she barely had to move. His mouth found hers and she responded immediately, her nails digging in the bark of the branch they sat on.

And there it was again. That incredible sensation that drew him like nothing he'd ever known. For the first time in his life, Daniel succumbed, calling himself hypocrite in his head for spouting off all the reasons why he shouldn't be doing this very thing, while the rest of him was exploring her mouth, carried away on a wave of passion. It shamed him to realise he had never felt this close to God.

She let him part her lips with his tongue, let him push in and taste her, a soft moan escaping her throat. He felt like untouched territory, wild and brimming with promise. And she guessed he really was. An undiscovered country... untainted. Until now. And it made her want to pull back again, just as he deepened the kiss, making her forget that train of thought and reach out instead, one hand sinking in his hair to rest at the nape of his neck.

God forgive me but I cannot resist this.

This he told himself as his tongue slipped into her mouth, his body charged with sensations powerfully raw. He was never in his life so grateful to be a man and for the first time, also felt grounded. While this act took him away from his God, it did bring him one step closer to the flock he had chose to serve. He recalled what she said a day ago about being able to give advice when he had none of the experience. Pulling away from her mostly to catch his breath, he stared at her with smouldering eyes. "We should get down." He looked at the ground.

Before they fell down.

Stevie blinked her eyes open, meeting the heat in his, and her brain took a second to catch up with what he'd said. Oh. "Sure." She watched him climb down, her fingers going to her lips to try and smooth the tingling she still felt there... and, damn it, pretty much everywhere else. She followed him moments later, jumping off a lower branch to land next to him on the ground.

There was an instant where Daniel entertained the notion of walking back to join Noah and Mick but that taste had him firmly in its thrall and, giving into the sin he was already guilty of, he set down the weapon at the base of the tree and then reclaimed the forbidden fruit that was she.

Hell, Stevie thought, leaning into him a little for balance because the ground was moving suddenly and it was all his damn fault. Her hands settled rather chastely at his waist, fingers looping around the belt hoops of his jeans instead of digging in his back or chest like she would much rather do. But while he was making her feel faint - and that was saying something for her, especially about a first time kisser - she didn't want to push him, didn't want to hurry him. She let him take, feeling content for once to just be along for the ride.

He explored her mouth, passion driven by a hint of uncertainty. He was savouring the taste of her mouth, exploring the inside of her mouth. His hands rested on her hips and he found his fingers digging into the skin. He kissed her with two decades of unrealised need, allowing it to consume him. I have broken my vows, a small voice reminded. Another countered just as efficiently, scripture does not forbid this. There is no reason I cannot serve God and be with her, no reason other than what Church law deems. He rationalised all this for one simple reason. He wanted her and had not the strength to deny himself.

He was kissing her so thoroughly, Stevie didn't remember the last time someone had taken their time to do it as well as Daniel was. He felt good, made her feel even better... not wanted like some quick lay but revered almost.

Bolder, he moved one hand to the side of her head, pulling her closer to his mouth, trying it for size as he continued the plunder, feeling other stirrings. The physical pleasure aside, Daniel felt like he was on a roller coaster running off the tracks, out of control.

"Daniel," Stevie said breathlessly after a moment, coming up for air because he had her feeling light-headed and legless. His passion was so bright, so intense, she wondered if he really had never done this before, or at least never contemplated it to be wanting it so desperately. He was like a drowning man almost... or a very thirsty one and she was water. She laughed at herself internally, at her poor attempt at an analogy. But it didn't matter, she knew how he made her feel and she recognised how he felt. She kissed his mouth again, and then trailed her lips along his jaw, showing him that he could do that too. His chin... his neck... she smiled when she felt a shudder run through his body. Damn, he was like a fever.

*
"Where the hell did she get to?" Mick muttered as he walked along a faint trail, with Noah doing the same thing about fifteen yards to his right. And then he saw him wave. Stopping, his gaze followed where Noah pointed to and he went to join him.

"I see what you mean..." Noah let out after a short moment, spying on Stevie and her latest conquest. "Wow..." You didn't see a defrocked priest everyday.

"Come on," Mick mouthed, not about to interrupt the pair again. He pulled on Noah and they headed back to the van, trying to make the least noise possible.

*
The sound, possibly a twig cracking underfoot, speared through Daniel's senses sharply. He pulled away from her lips abruptly, looking around to see if anyone was coming. Licking his lips, the want to go back in was intense but then he remembered where they were. Kissing her forehead, he said softly, "We should join the others, they'll be looking for us."

Leaning in close to his neck, Stevie took a deep breath. His scent filled her head and she found that calming somehow. "Sure." She pulled back and bent to pick the shotgun up. She was hungry and she needed to sleep. Not that she felt food would be filling the kind of hunger she was feeling nor did she think sleep would be forthcoming. "Come on."

"Okay," he nodded, watching her for a moment, wanting to frame the image of her in his head. He may well have embarked upon a course that could change the way he regarded his faith but right now, with the taste of her on his lips, he didn't care one damn bit.



To be continued inThe Visitors

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