I gave him my sword. Instead of taking it, he eyed me from top to toe. What was so special about the way I looked? He had seen me with the sword in my hands many times before. Now, he took in the sight like a sponge soaking up water. Several moments passed before he took the sword to put it into the glass safe. As I hadn’t used it tonight, it wasn’t necessary to clean it. I took my gun out of the holster I wore under my coat and handed it over to my personal squire. Luckily, he didn’t stare at me again. Maybe a woman holding a sword is more impressive than a woman holding a gun. Who knows what he was thinking. I could have asked him, but to be honest I didn’t want to. He was in such a strange mood: thoughtful, quiet, sad, mentally absent. It worried me a little.
I knew that Father Michael strongly opposed my sacrifice but I was determined to do it my way. All of that drove him crazy. He couldn’t understand me. I didn’t want to start the discussion again. I didn’t ask him what was wrong with him and gave him the silver bullets without saying a word. The metal softly jangled in his hands. Father Michael looked at the small grey marbles for a moment. Then he took one of them between his thumb and forefinger and put it next to the gun inside the safe He did the same with the rest of the bullets. It took ages until he was done! Impatiently, I rolled my eyes. I also gave him the small knives that I used as projectiles, and the wooden crucifixes. The Father put them into boxes. The arrows came last. He put them into the rack next to the wooden table in the back of the laboratory, our very own workshop. Finally, we were done. I sighed secretly. The only one who wasn’t happy about it was the Father. He was still depressed.
His devotion irritated me. Honestly, I couldn’t stand it. It was the same if I was ill. At first, the attention was nice, but then it got on my nerves! Still, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by sending him away. I knew he didn’t mean any harm. Apart from that, we wouldn’t have much time to be together. So, the fact that he wanted to watch me doing something simple like taking off the weapons was no big deal. But obviously it wasn’t enough. He wasn’t ready to say goodnight.
“Come with me. You can…look after…my room while I take a shower,” I suggested. I didn’t wait for his reaction, but took him by the hand, leading him to my bedroom.
Once there, I left him to fend for himself. I walked over to the armchair on the other side of my room, putting my coat down on it. But when I turned around, I bumped into Father Michael’s muscular chest. Before I could fall, he grabbed me by the shoulders, holding me tight. I hadn’t even heard him cross the room. Actually, this trick was no big surprise. He had taught me how to move silently during my first months of training. Nevertheless, it was scary not to hear a person’s footsteps on the ground.
Father Michael smiled apologetically. He didn’t take his hands off me and he also didn’t step aside. Did he want to join me in the shower? Actually, that’s not the worst thing in the world. But if one person watches you like a voyeur – no! Definitely not! I’m no prude, but that’s too much!
I grinned and pushed myself past him to get some towels from my wardrobe. When I was done, I turned around and saw that the Padre was taking me at my word regarding taking care of my room. He picked my coat up from the armchair and sat down. He put the coat on his lap, clutching onto it as if his life was depending on it, and stared into space.
I wondered whether he would have done it if there had been monster remains on it. I suppose he would. I watched him closely. He was wretched, slouching his shoulders and scowling. His gaze was empty. He looked lost in the armchair. He was depressed and hopeless!
I wished I could have helped him. But I had made up my mind. I wouldn’t change it, not even for the Father.
I saw him sighing deeply. He gently stroked the coat in his lap. The only thing that was missing was him burying his face in the coat and sniffing at it to absorb my scent. At the very last moment, he changed his mind, remembering me being with him and watching him. Thoughtfully, I nibbled at my lower lip. Then I went to the bathroom.
I had dried my hair. The towel I had wrapped around my body had soaked up all the water. Now, only my pajamas were missing. Unfortunately, I hadn’t thought of taking them with me to the bathroom and I had to go back to my bedroom to get them. Of course, the Padre had seen me naked before, still it seemed unnatural to me to walk around naked in front of him. He was a man of God and you’re not supposed to do something like that in front of him. But I couldn’t stay here forever. So I pulled the towel tighter around me, holding on to the terrycloth, praying to Father Michael’s Lord to help me not to lose my dress.
Determined, I opened the bathroom door. The Father still sat in the armchair. His eyes lit up when he saw me. I noticed his eyes wander over my body. I looked at the ground and crossed the room as fast as I could to get to the wardrobe. It wasn’t easy to search for the pajamas with only one hand. Hours seemed to pass till I found what I had been looking for. Finally, I had a white t-shirt and some comfortable dark green pants in my hand. Quickly, I closed the wardrobe’s door, went back to the bathroom and got dressed. Now, I felt more comfortable.
“You are very pretty,” Father Michael said.
I looked at him, surprised. His fashion sense wasn’t the best, if you thought of the frayed t-shirt and sloppy pants I wore. Still, I thanked him for the compliment and went over to my bed.
I threw back the blanket and jumped on the mattress. The moment I lay down, the Padre stood next to my bed, ready to cover me up. Patiently, I let him do it. Apparently, it was something he needed to do. When he was done, he kissed me and whispered I love you. Then he walked around the bed, gliding to the room’s door. That’s a surprise! I thought he would stay with me all night. What happened to his desire of nearness?
“Are you not staying with me?” I asked.
At the door, he turned around and shook his head. “You’re tired. I’m sure you want to sleep. I would disturb you,” he answered.
“No! You won’t disturb me. Now, come here!” I told him.
Father Michael smiled. I think I saw relief and joy on his face. But I noticed him hesitating and thinking what to do. Still, the desire to be with me was stronger and he came back to me.