[DISCLAIMER AND SUCH: This story depicts a sexual relationship between an ordained Episcopal priest and her parishioner. Both are of age, and nothing nonconsensual or even dubiously consensual takes place.

While the account of their relationship is not exactly fictional, certain names and details have been changed to protect all involved.

The author of this story does not condone sexual relationships between clergy and parishioners, as such conduct is in violation of Title IV of the Canons of the Church, blah blah blah… so don’t boink your parishioners, mmmkay?]


“Morning, Mother Leah,” my favorite acolyte said cheerfully as I entered the vesting-room. Typical Julie—I had just arrived at the church, and she was already vested and ready.

Juliette Monroe is a sophomore in college, probably about twenty years old, and has attended St. Mary’s since she moved to the Baltimore area for college.

Julie was already a devout Episcopalian when she joined us, and immediately began seizing every possible opportunity to serve. She quickly integrated herself into the life of the parish by her genuine desire to help in any way she could find. Michael—the rector—and I often joke that we will have to commission a small army of people to replace her when she graduates and (presumably) moves somewhere else.

I arrived at St. Mary’s about six months before Julie did, having accepted a call to be their assistant rector. I liked her as soon as I met her. I think most everyone does.

She’s quiet, but her presence fills up a room, and she is a joy to be around. Seeing her smile and hearing her laugh make even the worst days feel a little more bearable, and she never has an unkind word to say about anyone.

Above all else, her immense reverence and love for the liturgy, and for the God she serves, calls us all—clergy and laity alike—into a deeper sense of awe and wonder at God and all His works.

“Hi, Julie,” I replied.

After some brief pleasantries, she excused herself and slipped into the hospitality room to snag me a cup of coffee. Three creams, two sugars, just the way I take it.

“Did I ever tell you that you’re my favorite?” I teased, taking the Styrofoam cup from her and proceeding to guzzle its contents rather ungracefully. “Praise be to God,” I said, and she chuckled.

The coffee was lukewarm in temperature and weakly brewed—an occupational hazard with church coffee—but it was certainly better than nothing.

“Would you go into the sanctuary and light the altar candles, please, Julie?”

“Yes, Mother Leah,” she said, bowing her head respectfully to me before grabbing the long brass taper and scurrying off to the sacristy to look for a lighter.

As the coffee made its way to my brain, it occurred to me that today was the third Sunday of Easter—still part of the Easter season. I called after her, “You need to light the Paschal candle, too, please!”

“I know. Thank you.”

Of course you do.

When she returned, having lit all the candles, and bearing a second cup of coffee for me, she straightened out my stole and clipped on my lavalier mic before helping me get my chasuble on.

“You look really beautiful,” she said when I was fully vested, which made me blush and look away. She reached out to touch my arm, her delicate hand resting on the lacy sleeve of my alb. “I mean it. You do.”

It’s hard for me—especially since my thirty-two-year marriage ended in divorce, which happened a year before I began serving at St. Mary’s—to see my body as anything other than a vessel or a container for the rest of me. I’ve gained a lot of weight since my marriage started to fall apart, and rarely wear makeup beyond a bit of concealer and some chapstick.

I don’t feel connected to my body. It’s just the shell where I live. I used to get manicures and expensive haircuts and put a lot of thought into what I wore, but that just isn’t me anymore. I’m not repulsed by my body, necessarily; I’m just incredibly apathetic about it.

I look quite unmistakably German—very fine blonde hair, ice-blue eyes, and fair skin. Not to mention, I have a rather prominent nose, about which I’m somewhat self-conscious. There’s not much else remarkable about me.

Julie, on the other hand, is drop-dead gorgeous. She’s about my height—around 5’8″—and very slim, maybe 130 pounds soaking wet. She has deep caramel skin, curly mocha-brown hair, and very large hazel eyes laced with flecks of amber. She is so beautiful that it’s almost jarring.

“Thank you,” I muttered clumsily. “Are you… are you ready to go?” She nodded, excited at the prospect of beginning worship. She grabbed the processional cross and we made our way into the narthex, getting ready to process into the church.

Two services later, we were once again in the vesting room. Father Michael, who had joined us for the second service, and six other acolytes—all high school or younger—were milling about, hanging up vestments and chatting about their plans for the rest of the day.

Julie bahis firmaları supervised the younger acolytes, making sure they hung their albs up properly and didn’t leave their cinctures dangling down to the floor.

“Bye, Father Michael. Bye, Mother Leah.” The young acolytes left one by one.

Father Michael had to be on his way too; he had five children under the age of twelve, and a wife who would be rather unhappy with him if he didn’t hurry home.

That left only Julie and me.

“Did you lose power after the storm last night?” I asked, trying to make conversation. “Apparently half the city did.”

“No,” she said. “I don’t technically live in the city proper. It was storming pretty badly where I live, but I don’t think anyone lost power. Not that I know of, at least. What about you?”

Oh, that’s right. You live in Towson. Duh.

“Yeah. A huge tree fell on my street, right on the power line. As far as I know, the power at my house is still out. I’m still a little irked that I couldn’t take a shower this morning.”

“Oh,” she said. “That’s no good. No power means no air conditioning. Well, come eat lunch at my apartment, then.”


“Yeah! I’ll cook for you, and you can hang out for a bit. You can take a shower, too, if you want.”

“That sounds really nice, actually,” I said. “Thank you. Where are you parked?”

Now, of course, it did flash through my mind for a moment that it probably wasn’t the most appropriate thing on earth for a priest to be in a parishioner’s apartment alone. But it seemed harmless enough.

What I didn’t know is that this would become a ritual—our Sunday afternoon lunches at her apartment would become a weekly thing. It wasn’t something we advertised, of course—it was sort of our little secret—but it’s something I came to enjoy very much.

Once you get to know her, Julie is actually quite a bit more chatty than she appears at first glance. And quite the conversationalist, too. Witty, articulate, well-spoken, and thoughtful. I was more and more impressed with her as weeks went on. It occurred to me that we’d had very few real one-on-one conversations—mostly just passing chatter as we were vesting together, or group conversations at the college students’ group I led. I was enjoying talking with her. It was incredibly natural.

It took me a little longer to get used to her cat, Gremlin—he was one of those weird hairless ones that remind you of a walking nutsack with ears—but Julie was crazy about him, and, in time, I resigned myself to seeing Grem as being sort of cute… in his own bizarre, vaguely scrotal way.

Julie was a Southern girl at heart, and loved her breakfast food. She would make eggs, grits, sausage, pancakes…the whole nine yards. And, of course, every college girl’s favorite brunch drink: mimosas. I wasn’t sure whether she was old enough to drink—I was pretty sure she wasn’t—but I didn’t ask too many questions. And the pancakes were always from scratch, not from a box. I had never met anyone with a greater appreciation for pancakes than Julie.

“Julie, dear,” I ribbed her one week, “I have a feeling that if Mrs. Butterworth were a man, you’d marry her.”

She shot me a mischievous look. “Actually, being a man would be a deal breaker.”

Oh. Oh. “Wait—you’re… wait, no, that’s none of my business. I’m so sorry. I’m going to shut up now.”

“No, it’s okay,” she said with a chuckle. “And yes, I’m gay.”

The Episcopal Church doesn’t condemn gay people at all—in fact, openly partnered and married gay and lesbian people can become priests and even bishops—and I personally don’t have a problem with it, either. I just didn’t happen to know that about Julie.

I admired the casual confidence with which she said it. For the latter half of my marriage, and ever since it ended, I had harbored suspicions that I might be attracted partly—or perhaps even exclusively—to women.

This was a large part of why Charlie and I had gotten divorced. I had always told people that it was because we had fallen out of love with one another, but in my heart, I wondered whether I had ever been in love with him, or whether I was even capable of it. I loved Charlie—don’t get me wrong; he was a wonderful husband, an amazing friend, and the best dad my daughters could have ever asked for—and although I had never strayed, I don’t know that my heart was ever his. I think he knew that. I had never had the courage to speak the words aloud—to him, or even to myself—but I think he knew. Still, my secret was something I kept hidden as deep inside as I could bury it.

“Thank you for trusting me enough to share that,” I said in my best priest voice.

She shrugged. “It’s no big deal.”

Our conversation turned to other things—her studies, anecdotes from my own college and seminary days, and everything else under the sun.

We somehow ended up talking about the subject of first kisses. Mine was with the only other guy I ever dated before Charlie—the guy who had introduced us, actually—whose name was kaçak iddaa Bill. Bill and I were about nineteen and in college, and he kissed me behind the bleachers during the homecoming game. Both Julie and I giggled about how ridiculously dorky that was.

The first time I kissed Charlie was even more ridiculous—it happened while we were drunk and sitting in the bed of his truck at a tailgate party. Yes, in the actual flatbed of a Chevrolet pickup truck. (Classy, right?)

As for Julie, her first—and last– kiss with a guy was in eighth grade on a dare. She doesn’t remember his name. Her first kiss with a girl was in tenth grade. Grace was her name. She was a few years older, and she had taken Julie’s virginity later that year. She was the girl who broke her heart just before graduation.

“What’s it like?” I asked, knowing I was probably overstepping, but curiosity got the better of me. “To kiss a woman, I mean.”

“Soft,” she replied with a smile. “Just, amazingly soft. Like rose petals. And tender. Even when it’s not gentle—even when you’re being rough on purpose—there’s still an inherent softness to it. It’s really special.”

“Wow,” I murmured.

“Yeah,” she said. “Wow is about right. And then there’s that moment afterwards, when it feels like the whole universe is just you and them, and everything stands still.”

“I don’t know that I’ve ever felt that way,” I admitted, feeling a bit punched in the gut by my own words. “Charlie and I… it just… wasn’t like that.”

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” she said, she said, taking my hand in hers. “Everyone should feel that way at least once in their life. I hope you get to someday.”

A pleasant rush of warmth filled me as our fingers intertwined.

“Th…thank you,” I stammered. I looked up from my shoes for the first time since my admission about my marriage.

I stared at her outstretched arm, enjoying the feeling of her slender fingers intertwined with mine, and something caught my eyes that I hadn’t noticed before. A column of white, faded scars—and some pinker and less faded—littered the space between her elbow and wrist. Some were raised, and some overlapped, criss-crossing like shoelaces. Her other arm—her right—didn’t look quite as bad, but definitely bore scars as well.

I felt a little silly for not noticing before—we had been having lunch for several weeks now, and lunch was always followed by these lingering chats on her living room couch. But most of all, I felt profoundly sad. What had hurt this precious girl so badly that she needed to cut her own skin to cope?

An audible, “oh,” slipped out from between my lips as I studied the twisted ladder of scars snaking their way up her forearms.

Her wide, amber eyes met mine, immediately and painfully aware of what I was looking at, and swelled with tears. “Sorry,” she said, looking away, soft as a breath, biting gently on her lower lip to keep herself from crying. “I know they’re ugly.”

I squeezed her hand. “Julie, I don’t think that any part of you could ever be ugly to me.”

Impulsively, and yet so tenderly, she reached out to tuck a few blonde strands of hair behind my cheek.

My eyes closed, enraptured by the way her hand felt brushing against my face. Before I could open them again, she kissed my forehead, and my heart nearly stopped mid-beat.

I felt myself begin to blush ferociously. Hoping to hide that fact, I pulled her into a tight embrace. She wrapped her arms around my neck and pressed her face against mine, nuzzling softly and giving me another soft kiss just below my cheekbone.

“I love you, sweetheart,” I murmured to her as I kissed her cheek.

She pulled back a bit to look at me, biting the left side of her lip slightly. “I love you too, Mother Leah.”

I felt myself breathing more quickly. I was dizzy, almost, but not in a bad way. I felt weightless and light. My head was swimming. I could physically feel my blood rushing through my veins.

What happened next happened so quickly that, to this day, neither of us can say exactly who initiated it. I think I probably did, but she isn’t sure.

The way I remember it, my eyes closed, my body leaned forward, and, before I could register what was happening, my lips touched hers.

It was light as a whisper, and yet, it made everything race inside of me. She put her hand on my chest, over my heart, and kissed me again, this time much longer and deeper. She was right about the rose petals. Her lips were incredible.

Her nose brushed against mine as she pulled away.

“Wow,” I said, blinking stupidly. “That…that was nice.”

“It was. You’re so beautiful,” she told me. “You have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen.”

A rose pink flooded my cheeks, and I couldn’t look her in the eye. “Thanks,” I mumbled.

“No, I mean it. You’re gorgeous. And your lips are perfect. May I kiss you again?”

Rather than answering aloud, I leaned in and kissed her, relishing how soft and plump her lips were, and how skillfully she kissed. All kaçak bahis at once, I somehow managed to feel so vulnerable and yet so safe.

I nudged the crevice between her lips with my tongue. When she parted them, I used my tongue to softly groom the inside of her mouth. She was so pliant, so submissive. I wasn’t even aware this dominant part of me existed, but with her, it came alive.

I took her face in my hands and kissed her like my life depended on it. Her tongue greeted mine, caressing it and swirling around it. It was heavenly.

The passion and urgency of the moment increased as she pulled back from my lips to kiss my jawline, starting behind my earlobe and making her way to my chin.

The first time her mouth touched my neck, I felt a moan from deep in my belly escape from between my parted lips. Butterfly kisses in the curve of my neck became deeper and deeper until she was sucking on the incredibly sensitive skin, dragging her lips and tongue from my jaw down to my shoulders and back again, sucking harder and harder each time, leaving me feeling like a puddle of jell-o in her hands.

Oh my God.

I had no idea anything could feel like this. I must have sounded like some kind of animal in heat, and I didn’t care at all. I just let myself moan.

She grabbed handfuls of my hair, digging her nails into my scalp and the back of my neck as she came up once again to kiss my mouth. Her eyes burned wild with lust.

I buried my face in her neck and kissed her roughly, hoping to leave at least one good hickey for her to remember this by. I had never actually given or received a hickey before, but the idea of marking her as mine was extremely arousing to me. She groaned and squealed while I sucked her neck, reveling in the blissful torment I was able to inflict, arousing her more and more with each flick of my tongue against her tender, caramel skin.

Her trembling hands roamed my body, exploring me on top of my shirt—my lower back, my sides, my belly—and as she inched closer to my breasts, she asked, “May I?”

I nodded, taking her hands in mine and placing them on my waiting breasts.

She let out a guttural, “Oh my God,” as she took them in her hands. “They’re amazing.”

Her hands were magic, kneading and squeezing my breasts, and she was becoming more turned on by the moment. I couldn’t believe how wonderful it felt. I’d been felt up before, sure, and with some degree of enthusiasm, but never with such skill. Even through a shirt and a bra, she made me feel better than anyone ever had before.

I moaned into her neck. The vibration of my lips against her skin nearly sent her into orbit. Before I knew it, I could feel her tugging upward at the bottom of my shirt.

Oh, God. Yes, please.

“Wait,” I said between shallow gasps. “My collar. Collar…has…to…come off… before…the shirt…”

I reached up to remove my clergy collar, but Julie said, “I want to do it. Show me how.”

I helped her find and undo the metal collar studs on the front and back of my shirt and remove the collar itself. She placed my collar and the two small metal pins carefully on the table beside the bed.

“There,” she said, grinning.

She began undoing my shirt buttons, starting from the bottom. The anticipation was such exquisite torture. My heart nearly leapt out of my chest and into her cupped hands as she worked her way up my shirt. When she finally undid my top button and slid my shirt off of my shoulders, she gasped.

“You’re so beautiful,” she told me. She placed her hands on my pudgy belly. I almost recoiled in disgust, but held still, allowing her to touch the part of me that bothered me most. “You’re so soft,” she said. “You’re gorgeous.”




Still, her nails on my skin felt so good, and when I got over the initial shock of being touched on my stomach, I kind of liked the way it felt. I felt as though even the worst part of me was perfect to her, and that’s what I loved about it. Her obvious—if inexplicable—desire for me hadn’t decreased at all since she removed my shirt; if anything, she was somehow even more beset with passion.

She moved her hands to my back, working her way up toward the clasp of my bra. Deftly, she unhooked it in a single fell swoop, allowing my breasts to fall free.

Her jaw literally dropped at the sight of them. I don’t think they’re all that impressive—DD-cups aren’t really that uncommon on a woman as heavy as me, and I was of the age at which gravity had ceased to be my friend—but she couldn’t take her eyes off of them.

Or her hands, for that matter. There are no words to describe how her hands felt on my bare breasts. Her touch was strong and firm, but at the same time, soft in a way that a man’s hands could never compare to. She massaged and squeezed my heavy breasts, caressed them with her palms, and ran her fingernails over them. I trembled under her touch, overcome with the deep desire for this to never, ever stop.

I thought I might faint from the pleasure when her attention turned to my nipples. A current ran through my veins. “Oh, God,” I said aloud, so many times in those few minutes that I was certain the Divine must be screening my calls at this point.

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