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Chapter 20: Love or Affection

Feeling refreshed, Cayne stepped out of the shower and headed, still dripping and naked, to her room. Michael had left an hour earlier with strict instructions that she ate, and now with the freedom of being alone she decided to stay unclothed. The black suit hung on the door reminded her of what had to be done, but she chose to ignore it. For the moment she felt content and it was a feeling she knew was not going to stick around for long, so was going to enjoy it while it was here.

In the kitchen, she found herself smiling at the plate covered in foil. Peeling it back, she found cheese sandwiches. It was Michael’s gift to her and she knew he would check she’d eaten so took a large bite and groaned as her empty stomach enjoyed being filled. Michael had turned into someone she could really connect with and after their chat she felt that their relationship had moved up a level to friendship. Not having him around her was something she didn’t dare think about. If she did end up in Rome, she would demand that Michael remains at her side. She was growing to respect his opinions and right at this moment she needed him much more than Daniel.

The winter sun shone through the windows and bathed her in warmth as she ate. Both priests had offered to escort her to Mary’s funeral and had gratefully accepted; however, with Daniel’s disappearance all she felt was anger. He was obviously incapable of following through with his promises. She didn’t need that in her life and to think she had feelings for him. He was just weak.

The thoughts of Daniel ruined her mood and she quickly began to feel anxious. Picking up the phone, she started to punch in Michael’s number and then she stopped. She couldn’t rely on Michael or other people all her life. She needed to find her legs and stand on her own two feet. She was nearly twenty-five. It was time to grow up.

‘Is there anything else I can get for you Father?’

Michael shook his head and thanked the young Sister. She smiled and bowed as she left his room. It was so refreshing seeing one so young committed to the Order. The Sisterhood was a dying occupation as young girls now had different aspirations involving either footballers or celebrity or world domination. So turning to God was the last thing on most modern girls’ minds and this one was a rarity. It still continued to surprise him to find a few fresh faces amongst the withered majority within a convent.

He checked himself in the mirror and picking up his collar he decided against wearing it and chose a tie. He had not heard anything from Daniel since yesterday and it was worrying, wondering whether he would turn up at all today. Whatever occurred between both him and Cayne had caused Daniel to close up, and that was causing Michael no end of frustration. The relationship he had with him had always been a strong one. One where they both knew they could be open and honest with the other no matter what.

The first time they met, Daniel had been brought to him by Matthew Trebey who insisted Michael help him settle in. Back then Daniel had been the age Cayne is now and even then Michael could see he’d lived a sheltered life. The innocent blue eyes looked overwhelmed with their surroundings. At first Daniel barely spoke, and then only in whispers. Michael remembered feeling a little annoyed at being lumbered, but finally Daniel came out of his shell and, when he had been fully ordained, Michael stood with the rest proud and honoured to be his friend.

Now, he just wished his friend would step up and admit his feelings for Cayne. Hell! He even understood the attraction. Her childlike neediness with the shitty attitude was incredibly appealing. But what Daniel needed to understand was that what Daniel felt was affection, not love, before he did anything rash.

Deciding he looked as smart as he ever could, he took a last look around making mental notes of what he needed. He picked up the small black bible, which sat at his bedside, and then changing his mind threw it onto the bed. Leaving the room, he nodded politely to the passing Sisters and made his way out through the door.

The chilly air tightened his chest and he wrapped his scarf tighter round his neck. As he made his way to catch a cab his eyes fell on a group of youths and one’s hoodie. Emblazoned upon a fiery inverted pentacle were the words.

‘His number is 666.’

He started to shake his head in amusement knowing that, no doubt, the wearer hadn’t any understanding of the true meaning of the mystic number. Then with it the rest of the chapter came to mind. The Archangel Michael came down from heaven, fought and defeated the beast. The beast that rose from the seas brought by the woman.

Always the woman. Was Cayne that woman or had it been her mother? What if Ben was wrong and the Devil did care and was walking amongst them.

No, he couldn’t think that. He knew Cayne was not evil. It was fear clouding his judgement. He had read that chapter many times and now as those words filtered through his memory banks he felt chilled to the bone. He really needed to talk more to Ben. He began to wonder if there was a real reason why they were all involved in this and if they were, why?

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