“Did you know Misty Anderson?” I asked as straightforward as I could. There was no time for guessing games.
Father Paul looked right at me. “Misty Anderson?”
I studied his face. I didn’t see any deceit in his eyes. But that didn’t mean he wasn’t guilty. Some people were simply natural born actors. I waited without a word, giving him the silent treatment, which I thought might cause him to panic.
“Oh, the one who was found dead the other day?” asked Father Paul as if it just rang a bell with him.
“Yes. Did you know her in person?” I pressed harder. Maybe I could be a badass interrogator.
Frown lines formed on his forehead. “Did I know her in person? No.” He emphasized I as he put his hand over his chest. “Why? What made you ask that?”
I stared closer, trying to read him. He looked genuinely puzzled. But again, he could be the best actor who ever walked on the earth.
“Father Paul,” I said while keeping a straight face. “Are you allowed to like someone?”
He looked at me, completely taken aback. “What? Ella, I don’t understand what you’re getting at.” He looked flustered.
“Please answer my question, Father.” I’d now become someone else. The clueless teenager was long gone.
“If you’re asking if I’m allowed to have relationships or not, I’m not.” He gazed at me as if trying to see if I needed mental help.
“But do you do it anyway? Allowed or not?” I was certainly crossing the line with that one. But I had to find out. After all, priests were humans, too. And it wasn’t like I’d never heard of their scandals. Honestly, if they held an election to decide whether or not priests could date and marry, I’d vote in favor. As long as my mother was excluded from the equation.
“No, Ella. I don’t.” He continued with a calm voice as if he were dealing with a patient suffering from psychiatric problems. “Ella, your brother is in jail and your mom’s so worried she could get an ulcer in her stomach. And you’re asking me these random questions?”
I ignored his words. “You and Mom have been seeing each other, alone. Haven’t you?”
He stared at me without saying a word.
If they hadn’t been seeing each other behind our backs, he could have flat-out said, No, couldn’t he? And even if he said No, I would have known he was simply lying. He had too much information he shouldn’t have had otherwise. I was almost certain they must have been seeing each other. And if it weren’t for inappropriate reasons, he could have simply said Yes, and explained why. There shouldn’t have been anything for him to hide.
Were priests allowed to lie?