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Ora Pro Nobis

When Katie wakes up, she finds the girl from the bar snuggled into her left side, one hand splayed over her stomach. The girl sleeps still, eyes closed against the sunlight that filters through the gap in the curtains and slants across her face. Colleen, she remembers. She’d laughed out her name into a drink topped with a jaunty umbrella that she later tucked behind her ear, exotic and gaudy all at once. Knowing that Patrick will be in any moment with a cup of tea before mass, Katie swears under her breath and tries to wriggle free without waking Sleeping Beauty, who merely mumbles something in her sleep and shifts closer. Resolute, she leans across to kiss Colleen’s forehead, as her brother opens the door, says, “Oh, fuck,” and, fumbling like a child, closes it again.

“Oh, fuck,” she repeats.

The girl flutters awake then, yawning and stretching like a cat. “Good morning,” she says, but a sort of confused frown worries her face as she studies the other woman in bed. “Did you just say, ‘Oh, fuck?’”

“Yeah, I did. Morning to you, too.” Leaning over for a quick kiss: “I have to go talk my brother out of having a coronary, so I’ll be back in a few, okay?”

“Okay, I’ll rest a little more.” She snuggles down into the sheets. Katie climbs out, wrapping a blue cotton bathrobe over her tank top and pajama shorts before heading downstairs.

She finds Patrick in the dining room; two mugs of Twining’s Earl Grey steam in the center of the dark green tablecloth and his head rests in his hands. When she sits down across from him, he looks up, studies her face like it is something entirely foreign to him. “Oh, Pat,” she says, reaching out to take the mug closer to her.

“Not that one.” He says automatically, rearranging the mugs so she can reach. “That one has three sugars, not four.” Silence claims him while she tastes it and nods her approval. “Katie Grace,” he begins, but the whispered words trail off and he returns his gaze to the patterned placemat in front of him.

“I know.” Reaching out, she covers his hand with her own, and attempts a smile. “Talk about a champion awkward moment, huh?”

Patrick jerks away, slamming both of his palms against the table. Tea splashes against the side of her mug, waves in a storm. “Katie, this isn’t— you had a woman in your bed.”

“This isn’t the first time I’ve had one there.” The first was Missy Crawford, her sophomore year of college. They’d motored their way through half a handle of Absolut together and tumbled into bed, sweating and groping each other like a couple of kids. “It’s just the first time you’ve seen me.” Caught me. “With someone, I mean.”

“Knowing about it is different than seeing it.” He glances up at her again, looking sick to his stomach. “It’s…a lot different.”

“Could you not look at me like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like the sight of my face makes you want to vomit,” she says, eyes narrowing into slits. “I’ve been this way my whole life, Patrick Ryan. It’s not going to change anytime soon, okay? And I’m not going to stop bringing women home just because it makes you uncomfortable. Get used to it.”

“Christ Jesus, you don’t need to go biting my head off. It’s just a shock, is all. Put yourself in my place, okay?”

“I walked in on you fucking Marilee Henderson when you were a junior in high school.”

He lets out a startled laugh, wraps both hands around his own mug. “Oh yeah, you did.”

“Don’t look so damn pleased with yourself about that one.” She drums out a rhythm against the tabletop, watching her fingers move to the beat of a half-remembered tune from some ceili or another. “It’s not that different, Pat.”

“Not for you, maybe.”

“We weren’t even doing anything, and do you know how many guys would kill to see even that?”

“Yeah, but switch their sister in and they’d react the same as I did, I can all but promise you.” He shakes his head. “It’s a sin, you know. Being with another woman like that. A mortal sin.”

“You think I don’t know that?” The lines in the tablecloth suddenly fascinate her. “I should go get dressed.” Before he can say anything more, she abandons her tea, wrapping both arms around her stomach as she ascends the stairs.

She finds Colleen nestled in the large down comforter, lips slightly parted in slumber, and one hand curled beneath her chin. Smiling, she toys with a strand of her hair, the blonde a contrast to her own dark locks, before she shimmies into the dress hanging from her closet door. Though she doubts the girl will wake before she returns—they found sleep no earlier than four—she jots a quick note on a post-it, presses it against the lavender pillow by Colleen’s head, and slips out the door to go to mass.

The couple standing beside them in the pew stumbles over the words to the Apostles’ Creed as they read from the hymnal. Neither Katie nor her brother move to pick up the book. Standing by her side, Patrick kneels, stands, sits, and crosses himself, a mirror image of his baby sister. He reaches for her hand, squeezes it gently when the soloist rises to sing Ave Maria. After the service, they greet the scant few members devout enough to attend an eight AM mass, then Patrick leaves to light a candle for their father, while Katie makes her way to the confessional at the side of the sanctuary.

Her hand is reaching for the door when the priest slides the wood away from the screen. They linger a moment in silence; she closes her fingers around the handle of the door and thinks about running, running out of the box, running out of the church, running home and diving back into the bed with her lover. Then he says, “My child?” and she releases the handle, clasps her hands together, and bows her head.

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”
Short Story #1 for my Creative Writing Fiction Portfolio.

Rated mature for excessive use of the word "fuck."
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orion-mk3 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2006
Hmm. The piece is very well constructed--I especially like the little details at the beginning, like the umbrella--but seems to be missing something for me. Perhaps it's because LBGT stories are more popular than ever before, both in my old writing classes and in popular literature, and the "accidental outing" plotline is a staple.

I'd almost like to see what comes after the final prayer--the way that someone could mentally reconcile traditional Catholicism with a lifestyle that is most certainly not is intriguing.
tragiccomedy Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2006
Hahaha hey, I had a page limit and I filled it up. I feel like it's a bit lacking, as well, but I didn't want to spill over and lose points, you know?

I would like to point out that Katie isn't accidentally outed; her brother acknowledges during their conversation that he's known for a while about her sexual orientation, he's just never been a witness to it. I know that LGBT stories are pretty popular in this day and age, with the whole Gay Rights movement going on, but for me it's just the idea of slipping into a different skin. I'm a straight Pagan; Katie's an Irish-Catholic lesbian. Very big difference there, and something that I enjoyed trying to understand.

Katie and her family have some fabulous issues; the first story I wrote that was a sort of first draft of this one, but was set much later on, addressed a lot of them, but it was taking too much on at once. I might like to try and stretch her and her family into something more lengthy, but it would take quite a bit of time and planning, I suppose.

Your critique, once again, is welcomed and delightful. :)
Yoggington Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2006
You have to excuse my rusty Latin, but what does Ora Pro Nobis mean?

This is an odd tale, it gets a bit confusing at the end of the first paragraph, as to whos closing the door and whos saying 'ah fuck'. I think you could be clearer here. I did lol at the part where she compares the situation to herself walking in on him mid-coitus - and then he looks smug about it - cos you know he would.

Are you sure this is a complete piece? It just seems like theres more to come, for some reason.
tragiccomedy Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2006
It's complete for now. I know what happens later [bwahahaha] but yeah, I might complete it someday.

Ora Pro Nobis is a line from the song Ave Maria, which is the original Latin of the Hail Mary that Catholics say today. It means, "Pray for us."

I got an A on the piece, but it probably could use some cleaning up.
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Submitted on
April 20, 2006
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