23 May 2024

04 – The Power of Yes

When she woke up, it was already daylight. Seed was no longer there. She had slept a restful sleep that she had not experienced for many weeks. It was the first time since her arrival in Hope County that she had slept in a comfortable bed. The fresh cotton-scented sheets and the satin set had certainly contributed to her well-being.

She stretched slowly and slid over to the side where John had slept, burying her face in the pillow that had held his. She closed her eyes to better impregnate herself with the woody perfume which was still released from it.

She took a few moments to observe the environment. The room was almost devoid of any decoration. Only one picture was hanging on the wall, near the door : the portrait of the Seed family. Joseph, Jacob, John and Faith all smiling proudly at the camera. Besides the bed, only a large closet and an end table stood in the room. The Baptist was not expected to spend much time here.

She got up and walked into the bathroom adjoining the room. She glanced around. The shelves were overrun with cosmetics of all kinds. She smiled at the thought that he certainly spent much more time here than in his room. She spotted a perfume bottle and opened it to smell the scent. Her heart raced as the concentrated scent reached her nostrils, and she smiled as she recalled the evening.

After taking a longer shower than she should have — that too was a luxury she hadn’t been able to afford in a long time — she contemplated her reflection. A few light bite and suck marks adorned her neck and collarbones. Weird, I don’t remember him biting me. The physical evidence of their lovemaking excited her. Even so, she would have to hide this damning proof. Obviously, the evening and this morning had brought her everything she had been missing lately. A touch of bitterness remained, however. She almost came to regret not to have let John make her cum. She recovered herself. He was the enemy, she would not put herself in a position of weakness in front of him. She remembered the remark of the Baptist about her skin. Yeah. Might as well take advantage of it and use one of his many moisturizing products. She wouldn’t have that luxury for a long time.

Back in the bedroom, she went in search of clothes, not knowing if she should expect Seed’s henchmen to be in the house. She opened the large wardrobe and inspected the contents. The Baptist had expensive tastes : his closet contained only costly suits and shirts, not a single pair of indoor pants or a simple t-shirt. She grabbed a blue satin shirt and borrowed matching cotton boxers. She tried to put on a pair of designer jeans, but her thighs didn’t fit. Too bad, it would do until she retrieved her own clothes scattered around the living room. Oh, one more little thing ! She slipped back into the shower room to spray two sprays of perfume into her cleavage.

She walked down the stairs and was surprised to find no sign of her clothes. She was however sure that they had been thrown near the sofa. She examined the living room, which she had not really had the opportunity to detail the day before.

Many hunting trophies decorated the walls. In particular, the whole body of a wolf that seemed to jump on its prey, which caused her to pout. How awful ! How can you find those ornamental ? He really does have shitty taste !

Lending an ear, she heard some crumpled papers sound and went to the open double door where the noise was coming from. She went into a small corridor and followed the origin of the noise, which emanated from an office.

John was sorting through the latest deeds signed by local farmers. He hated clutter and these papers were not arranged alphabetically, he set out to fix that omission.

The deputy stood still for a moment, watching the scene with curiosity. He had changed, but his outfit was just as dressy as the day before, eternally composed of a neat shirt and a fitted suit vest. The first buttons of his shirt, left open, revealed part of his torso and the awful scarification consisting of a traced word. She had not really had the opportunity to examine it and was burning with curiosity to know its meaning. She found herself enjoying the sight. He was so focused, so professional. There was no sign of the sick, sadistic character he was outside of this place. How gorgeous he is.

He looked up when she knocked on the open door and his heart nearly stopped when he saw her. She was dressed in one of his favorite shirts, which reached down to her thighs. He had believed to be in peace now that he had satisfied his impulses, but the sight of this devil in his own clothes awoke his desire for her instantly. He however did not let anything appear of his emotion and questioned her.

— Deputy ?
— Hi… where are my clothes ?
— I put them in the wash early this morning. It will take a little while for them to dry.

Trying to ignore Seed’s burning gaze, she entered the room and approached the framed diploma on the wall to examine it. “Lawyer’s license. John Duncan.” Oh, did he change his name ? While John had resumed his sorting, she slipped past one of the bookcases filled with law books and browsed the shelves. As she observed the impeccable way the books were arranged alphabetically and by size, Seed’s scent reached her nostrils. She closed her eyes for a second, as if to banish it from her thoughts. She was startled by the contact of John’s wet lips that had landed by surprise on her shoulder. He whispered against her skin.

— Do you often wear other people’s shirts, sinner ?

A sigh escaped her, while a shiver ran down her spine.

The Baptist put his arms around her to grab the first button of the garment and undo it.

— Seed…
— Are there other things that you borrowed from me without asking permission ?

She blushed as she thought of the boxer shorts that were now soaked. When all the buttons of the shirt were undone, he slipped his hands inside to caress her skin. He pressed his chest against her back to keep her against him while he kneaded the deputy’s hard and excited breasts. Once again, she could not hold back a moan.

— Turn around.

She complied, assisted by Seed who had seized her by the shoulders. He contemplated her tattooed chest, posing his hands on her hips.

— I must admit that my underwear suits you very well. But I would prefer you to remove it.

He approached her to put his lips on the tattoo and licked it greedily, while she tilted her head back to appreciate better. She gave a muffled moan and slipped her fingers in the lawyer’s hair, before withdrawing them suddenly, remembering the forbiddance.

A shrill ringtone startled them. John rushed to the phone and answered it harshly.

— What is it ? … and that’s why you’re calling me so early ? … yes. Do as you like ! See you later.

He turned to resume where they had left off, but the deputy had already buttoned the shirt all the way up and seemed distant. The snarky way he had spoken to his man had frozen her blood. Seed hissed through his teeth, annoyed. He mechanically passed his hand in his hair, reordering the rebellious wicks she had displaced, and let go in a tongue click.

— Are you hungry ?

The tone was polite but nevertheless relatively distant. She felt suddenly uncomfortable in front of him. He had had what he wanted, she had too. She had no reason to stay. She looked shyly at her bare feet and hands, twisting her fingers.

Her embarrassment did not escape the Baptist. He himself did not feel very comfortable with this new situation. None of his conquests had spent the whole night with him. He didn’t know how to deal with it and how to handle the events. He decided to insist to dissipate the tension which was reigning.

— I need a coffee. Will you have one too ?
— Oh… yes, please !

He left his office and walked her to the kitchen, which was at the end of the same small hallway.

He prepared a pot of Arabica coffee. She was amused to see that he was using an old filter machine. The Seeds are definitely not friends with technology. He dutifully poured the contents of the coffee pot into two large cups and handed her one. Bringing the steaming drink to her lips, she asked him.

— What’s on the agenda today ?

He stared at her for a moment, amused.

— I’ve got some sales documents to sort out. Then I’ll make a few phone calls to the still-reluctant owners and maybe visit Jacob. What about you ? What are you going to destroy, wrath ?
— I thought about… Shut up, please, shut up !

Her hand unconsciously grabbed a spoon from the counter and moved it mechanically from left to right and right to left, as if to hide her embarrassment.

— …taking a day for myself. Since I’ve been here, I haven’t had a day off, I want and need a break. I thought maybe… Don’t say anything you’ll regret !

She swallowed with difficulty, giving herself courage to continue, and underestimating the words she was going to use.

— I mean, I thought maybe we could spend the day together and bury the hatchet just for today. A sort of truce, in short. Damn, what an idiot !

He stared at her again, surprised by her proposal. He had never really had any friends, except in his childhood. It seemed strange to spend time with someone if it wasn’t for work. He didn’t see how they could kill time together. Let yourself be tempted. There’s nothing urgent about your work obligations.

— Why not, deputy. What is the program, then ? We could go back to bed…
— Will my clothes be dry soon ?
— In an hour or two, I guess.
— I’m starving.
Me too, but not for food. I’ll see what I have in my cupboards.

The policewoman was surprised to find that he knew the location of the utensils and food. She had thought he employed staff who managed it all for him. Feeling her gaze on him as he prepared the meal, he explained.

— I’m a big boy, as you can see. My brothers and I were placed at a young age with a childless couple who wanted free labor. We worked night and day, before and after school, cleaning their house, cooking their meals and taking care of their animals. I always made it my priority to not depend on anyone as an adult. Everything I built, I did with my hands. I worked hard to get my law license, to afford the life I wanted, and I maintain it all. My men are asked to stay outside the ranch, no one is allowed inside but me.

Oh. Yes, that’s right, he’s a lawyer. Not only is he handsome, but he has a full head. She gazed at him as he prepared eggs and bacon and served them on the center counter. She ravenously ate her meal. She smiled as she recalled an anecdote Rye had told her about John Seed’s cooking. Nick, you’re an idiot ! His cooking is anything but bland and disgusting ! Noticing her amusement, he raised a questioning eyebrow.

— What is it ? What are you laughing at ?

Fearing his reaction, she preferred not to tell him the real reason for her amusement.

— Oh, nothing, I was just thinking about a silly phrase that Sharky Boshaw told me. Your meal is delicious.

She offered to clean and put away the dishes, since he had managed the preparation of the meal.

As she finished putting the dishes away, the crackle of her radio echoed through the living room. She had forgotten it even existed. What a sad return to reality !

She rushed to pick up the call and then, while answering Sheriff Whitehorse’s phone, returned to the kitchen so that Seed could follow the conversation and see that she wasn’t going to do it to him the wrong way. She nimbly pulled herself up onto the tiled counter and sat down as she brought the radio to her lips.

— Hello miss !
— Hi Sheriff.
— We got our hands on one of Faith’s VIPs. Would you like to come help us cook her ? She probably knows a lot, and we need to find the altars where these weirdos stash bliss !
— Sheriff… just a moment please…

She momentarily cut off communication when she saw Seed incomprehensibly gesticulating.

— We said no job today, wrath
— Let me finish this conversation ! I can’t ignore Whitehorse, or he’ll think something is wrong ! Give me a moment.
— Sorry Earl, a… wolverine was bothering me… what were you saying ?
— We have a priestess. We need you to get it out of her !
— …
— Rook ? Are you there ?

She was definitely there, but it was hard for her to concentrate on the conversation. Seed had come up and was stroking her bare thighs, standing between them.

— Y… yes I’m here Sheriff, sorry. I’m listening.
— We’re near the Baron sawmill. A hand would be appreciated !
— … oh John ! Shit ! Did I just call him by his first name in front of Whitehorse ???
— Deputy ? Is everything ok ? Did that fucking John Seed screw you over ?

One of his tattooed hands caressed her hip while the other unbuttoned her shirt. When he brought his lips to her throat, she tilted her head back to better accommodate his tongue. Oh, you naughty little sinner… she also wears my perfume…

— We said no work, deputy. I will be forced to punish you for this transgression. …and she called me by my first name…
— Seed… just let me finish this conversation properly. I swear I’ll turn off the radio afterwards. Please, be nice.
— Oh, I’ll be very nice, wrath

She tried to refocus on the sheriff’s words.

— No Sheriff, it’s okay. He… he didn’t get me. I was just humming that song, you know…
— What the hell are you talking about ?
— The song on the radio, from the Hope County Choir… “Oh John… bold and brave…”
— Yeah. Anyway, can you come over right away ?
— …
— Deputy ?

Hearing her humming a song dedicated to him had given courage to Seed and he had emboldened himself in his task, hastily removing the boxer shorts that she had borrowed from him. He had put his lips above her knee, drawing a moan from her that had certainly not escaped the sheriff. He grabbed her hips to maintain her in place while his kisses went up on her thigh, until reaching the interior. His tongue suddenly gained her intimacy, seeking the point that would make her release. I want your little comrades of the resistance to know that you belong to me. I want you to shout my name into the radio.

— Rook ???
— Sheriff, I have to leave !!!
— What the hell is going on ? Do you need me to send somebody for you ?
— No, everything is fine !!!

She turned off the radio, realizing that she couldn’t continue this conversation with dignity. John snatched it out of her hand and threw it across the room.

— Focus on me, wrath !
— That’s all I’ve been doing lately…

He threw again voraciously his mouth between her legs to follow what he had begun. She strongly clutched his forearms, unconsciously tightening her thighs to maintain his face against her intimacy. Oh fuck, John !

He adored this hold that he had on her, he liked to know that he was only master of her pleasure and that she had to bend to his good-will if she wanted him to satisfy her. He wanted to do and watch her come. He had not had this privilege the day before, and that had dissatisfied him at the highest point. He had been left hungry and regretted coming so quickly without being able to return the favor. In fact, he suspected her of having voluntarily refused him this pleasure.

The more she held back, the more he pressed and swirled his tongue around her. The resistance which she showed did nothing but arouse him even more. He slid two fingers into her to intensify his caresses. She could not take it anymore, it became too difficult to contain herself.

— Stop ! Please !

He ignored her plea. Too bad, I have no other solution. She threw her fingers in the Baptist’s hair, slipping through it. The reaction was not long. He straightened up quickly, planting a black look in hers.

— Oh, wrath… you will finish by irritating me for good ! You’re always overstepping my boundaries. You’re always trying to get me out of line. I try to be nice to you, but it’s obviously not enough. You really want to piss me off, and you’re doing it with ease !
— I… I’m sorry ! But I asked you to stop and you didn’t listen. If you’re crossing my boundaries, I don’t see why I shouldn’t cross yours.
— Tell me why you want me to stop. Did I hurt you?
— No…
— Then why the fuck should I ?
— I’ll tell you if you tell me why I’m not allowed to stroke your hair.
— Let it go. Either way, the moment is ruined.

She slid her hands over his belt buckle to take it off, but he pulled them away.

— No, wrath. I decide when you touch me or not, you spoiled little girl. Put your clothes back on, you look all depraved. Before I change my mind and jump on you.

Joining the gesture with the word, he buttoned up himself her shirt and collected the boxer that he passed to her ankles. She went up it in silence, devouring Seed of a burning glance. She was annoyed to have put him in such a condition. She had remained hungry. She would have wanted more, she would have wanted him to take her wildly. She was even more frustrated and disappointed than him, but she could not decently abandon herself to him.

She decided to break the heavy silence.

— I’m getting my clothes back. I don’t care if they’re not dry.
— They’re in the laundry room. End of the hallway, to the right. And before you ask, you can use the bathroom.

The remark hurt her. He had certainly done it on purpose. She nimbly stepped off the counter, avoiding his gaze, and went to the indicated room, where she depended on the clothes he had carefully arranged on clotheslines. Almost dry, perfect. She did not bother to go up to the bathroom and changed directly there, taking advantage of the proximity of the washing machine to put the clothes borrowed from Seed in.

He had had difficulty to contain himself. If he had given in to his demons, he would have thrown himself on her to possess her once again. But the situation did not displease him, she was under his control and entirely subjected, and this situation excited him.

When she appeared in the doorway, she was again true to herself : no look and a tomboyish air. A little disappointing, but he expected it. She approached him and started the conversation again.

— So, what do we do now ?
— You tell me, deputy. It was your stupid idea.
— What do you like to do when you’re not working ?
— This is a rare situation…

He seemed to think for a moment, then resumed.

— Follow me.

He left the ranch, the policewoman after him. She was curious to know how the odious Baptist could occupy his free time. Was he going to make her the demonstration of his tattoo panoply ? Did he have a box containing multiple instruments of torture ? She shivered at the thought. She was beginning to regret having asked him.

He walked to the adjoining hangar and activated the automatic door. She opened her eyes wide as she saw the two-seater plane parked in the building. She knew he flew, since she had chased him down herself, but she didn’t think it was a hobby for him. Seed approached the aircraft and walked around it, his tattooed hand caressing the fuselage.

— So, wrath, tempted by a flight ?
— You’re asking me to have it off with you ?
— Ahah. Very funny. Easy one.
— I really want to fly with you. Even if I’ll burn my wings.

* * *

He climbed aboard the aircraft and immediately came out with two large backpacks. He helped her put hers on while explaining how to open the parachute in case of a problem. She was amused by the precautions he was taking, even though he was aware that she already knew how to handle a parachute. It was certainly his pilot’s soul and his passion that spoke, he did things in order, with seriousness, true to himself.

They both climbed into the plane, side by side, and fastened their seatbelts. John activated each control in a scrupulous procedure, checking his gauges with a concentrated look, which did not fail to amuse the deputy who was watching him with curiosity.

The aircraft quickly picked up speed as it followed the runway, and when its wheels left the ground, the weightlessness sensation that seized her chest made her smile, also amusing the youngest of the Seeds who was observing her from the corner of his eye.

Once up, he commented on the landscape, pointing in turn to the Fall’s End church, the Cooper house and Jacob’s bunker in the distance. He decided to launch into a ballet of aerial acrobatics and did a few loops followed by a barrel. The deputy’s senses were turned upside down, both literally and figuratively. She had unconsciously clutched John’s thigh, a little more with each movement of committed aerobatics. What an amazing feeling ! I am completely shaken.

After about twenty minutes, he decided to land in the Whitetail Mountains, Jacob’s stronghold. A large clearing appeared, an ideal landing strip despite the rocky, slightly sloping terrain that caused a lot of shaking when the plane touched down.

As they walked towards the cliff, she observed him discreetly. He seemed calm, serene. Quite the opposite of the man she had met several times who had demonstrated his madness at every possible opportunity. He’s intriguing me. I would like to know more about him.

A breathtaking landscape revealed itself to their eyes : from where they stood, one could see all of Hope County. The green acres of the Whitetail forests colored the shimmering waters of the Henbane River lakes and rivers, separated by the winding roads of Holland Valley. Dazzled by the view, she had an irrepressible and insane urge to touch him. Her hand reached for the Baptist’s. He immediately pulled away, barking in her face.

— What are you doing ?
— I just wanted to take your hand.
— Stop being childish. Just because I fucked you, doesn’t give you any rights. I’m not your boyfriend.
— I know that. Don’t worry, I have no intention of being your friend either. I just got carried away by the beauty of the landscape. You jerk !
— Yeah. The view is really amazing.

He sat down on the ground, leaning against the trunk of a huge cypress tree that provided some welcome shade. She sat on the Baptist’s legs, facing him.

— Tell me more about you !
— What exactly do you want to know ?
— I want to know everything !
— I hate interrogations.

Rather amusing, coming from someone who spends his time forcing people to confess. She thought for a moment. She had to find a way to make the questions interesting to him. Oh, I get it !

— Let’s play a game.
— What game ?
— The “Power of Yes” game !

He raised an eyebrow, intrigued. She had hit the nail on the head with his favorite slogan. Well done, now you have his full attention !

— It goes like this : one of the participants asks questions. The goal is that the other person always answers yes.
— And if they say no ?
— Then it’s their turn to ask the questions. Well, I’ll start, to show you. Oh, and I almost forgot, there’s only one rule : never lie.

She raised her eyes to the sky, index finger on her lips, as if to think. In reality, she already knew what she was going to ask him. The only thing was to formulate it in the right way.

— Do you like getting tattoos ? A first light question to put him in confidence…
— Yes.
— And do you like airplanes ?
— Yes. But what kind of stupid questions are these ?
— Shh, shh, shh. This is the warm-up. Is money important to you?
— Yes.
— Do you completely trust Joseph ?
— Yes. But that’s enough now ! My turn !
— No, as long as I haven’t lost, it’s still my turn !

He grumbled, avoiding her gaze. She rectified her position to be well seated on his thighs.

— Well, let me continue. Do you still want to hurt me ?
— Yes.

Ouch. Startled, she widened her eyes.

— Don’t you know that I’m known as “the sadist” in the region ?
— Yes, of course.  I had heard it, but after last night’s and this morning’s events, I wanted to believe it was false.
— If I dare adding something, I also want to make you feel good.

She smiled shyly. He tries to make me laugh to ease the tension. I didn’t know he could have a sense of humor. Good point for him.

— Okay, my turn !
— No ! You haven’t said no yet !
— Fuck it, let me try too.
— Well, all right. I don’t want him to freak out now.

He also pretended to think hard, then asked his question.

— Is this your first real assignment as a police officer ?
— Yes, it is.
— Did you hesitate to finish me off the day you shot my aircraft ?
— Yes, I did.
— Did you like what I did to you in the kitchen ?
— …
— Answer, that’s the game.

She blushed intensely. Holly shit, caught in my own trap !

— Yes. What the hell kind of question is that ? Did he decide to put me to shame ?
— What about the bed. Did you enjoy it too ?
Damn ! Yes.
— Did you not come on purpose ?
Oh fuck… Yes.
— Why did you do that ?
— It’s none of your business, and I can’t answer yes or no.
— We’ll come back to that, believe me. Are you gonna join Eden’s Gate ?
— No. How could he even think that I would ?

She claimed her turn, to cut short any possible controversy.

— My turn. If I don’t join you, will you kill me ?
— Yes.

The atmosphere was getting heavier and heavier, despite the lightness of the basic activity and the relaxing surroundings.

She felt her throat tighten. You knew it all along, don’t play dumb ! Still, she wanted to ask him one last question, hoping that she would close her turn.

— Do you want to do it ?
— No, I don’t.

The forest fell into a dead silence. Only the chirping of birds was audible now. Seed cut to the chase.

— My turn. I don’t want to play anymore. What about you ?

She nodded.

— Come here. Now I want to use my tongue in other more interesting ways.

He drew her against him to kiss her throat. She let him do so. Oh, how I love his kisses. He may be a sadist, but he is a divine kisser.

She pulled back from his embrace to watch him. As she surrounded his face with her two hands to better scrutinize him, he wanted to push her away, but she resisted.

— Stop it for a second !
— To stop what, wrath ?
— Let me look at you a little. Please.

He let go, not wanting to enter in conflict or to speak seriously. She looked into his steely eyes as she tucked a stray of John’s long brown hair behind his pierced ear, careful not to run her fingers through his hair.

Neither of them spoke, but the deputy’s eyes spoke volumes about her desire and curiosity for him, which did not escape the Baptist. He closed his eyelids to avoid her insistent glance, letting himself for the first time go to the liking of the devil.

The caress of her hand on his face calmed him. Her fingers on his temples evoked him the softness of a mother to which he had rarely been able to taste. She put her lips on his face and covered him tenderly with kisses, continuing in his neck and between his collarbones. He surprised himself to appreciate this new kind of interactions which he did not know, and to pass his arms around her to tighten her against him. She approached his ear to whisper.

— John… I…

What the hell is she doing to me ? Pull yourself together before it’s too late, you stupid guy ! He didn’t let her finish, realizing he was losing control. He grabbed her wrists and pushed her back to a safe distance from him.

— What is the matter with you ?
— Don’t try to fool me, you devil !
— Why don’t you let go, Seed ? What’s your problem ?
— You’re the problem ! Just because we fucked doesn’t mean you have to imagine anything else. I told you before, I’m not your boyfriend.

He got up, pushing her away furiously and leaving in the direction of the plane with a decided step. She understood that she had gone too far. She wanted to break little by little the carapace that he set up between him and the outside, and he had entrenched himself. She had somewhat sought it. But the day was already well advanced, and she did not want to go back on the plane with an upset Seed.

— I’ll leave you to it, I have some things to do in the area. Let’s meet next time you send a capture group after me ?
Wrath, wait…
— Thanks for the ride, I loved it. Bye.

He didn’t have time to argue, her figure had already gone into the forest. Good, let her go for a walk in the woods at night, if she likes to fool around with wolves and Jacob’s men. In any case, there was nothing he could do about it, she had a temper. He turned back and returned to his plane. I hope nothing happens to her. I would be responsible for it.

She walked with a good step in the direction of the east. With a little luck, she would find the survivalist stash near the Wolf’s Den. She realized she hadn’t even brought her radio. Besides, she would have preferred to have a weapon with her. But events had been unfolding without her having much control over them since the morning before. One of her best days in a long time. How could I have missed so much ? How could something as horrible as this civil war give me such a feeling ?

A crack sounded in a shrub near her. She froze to listen and try to identify the source of the noise. As she ducked to hide in the bushes, two hooded men with a huge white wolf pounced on her. Shit, chosen ones ! One of them hit her in the temple and she lost consciousness.

* * *

John met his older brother at the church for his usual evening sermon. They had made a habit of writing them together, the Baptist being the better speech writer. And then the whole Seed family used to attend the sermon, along with the congregation. Joseph immediately noticed the thoughtful look on his younger brother’s face and approached him at the end of his service. He leaned his forehead against John’s, as he often did.

— What’s bothering, brother ? I can see that you are preoccupied.
— Nothing, Joseph…
— Don’t lie to me, John.

The tone was harsh. Joseph frightened him, and so did Jacob. He feared reprisals and did not dare disobey his brothers. He had started lying to them since the she-devil was around, something he would never have done before.

He followed Joseph, who led him into the back room, which served as a confessional and a place to prepare his speeches.

— Tell me about it.
— It’s… it’s that woman.
— What woman ? Tell me more.
— She… she awakens my old demons. She pushes me to vice. I refrain from sinning in her presence, but it’s hard, really hard. She tempts me and tests my limits. I am afraid to cross the line. I’ve already crossed it with ease.
— John ! Have you forgotten what we carved together there ?

Joseph put his hand on his younger brother’s belly.

— I didn’t pull you out of that life of debauchery to get you to do it again. There was already this Holly, I thought you had learned your lesson. I am so disappointed in you !
— I did nothing wrong, Joseph. Well, almost nothing. You must believe me, I would never lie to you. Only thoughts torture me, and I try to fight them fiercely. Liar. That’s why I came, to tell you. I don’t plan to be poisoned by sin, I want to walk through Eden’s gate with Jacob, Faith and you. Bad lying children go to hell, John.
— Well. Let’s try to think of some way. The only ways to stop a vice are to abolish it or succumb to it. Our Lord said “Thou shalt not kill” and it is obviously not the practice of Eden’s Gate to kill living beings, within reason of course. Except when it really suits our business. As for giving in to it… well, my goodness, there’s only one possible solution.

John raised his eyebrows. He hadn’t thought for a second that Joseph would accept the current situation in any way, let alone propose a resolution.

— What solution ?
— Well, since the only relationships tolerated are those within the sacred bonds of marriage, you need only marry that sheep. On this condition, your sin will no longer be a sin, since every member of Eden’s Gate will be invited to contribute to the repopulation of our world when the End comes. Perfect. He’ll never want to commit. Problem solved.

John couldn’t believe his ears. He had to hold back a chuckle. Marry that devil ? Be forced to share the rest of his life and his bed with her ? Where did this absurd idea come from ? It was the first time Joseph had ever mentioned such a proposal.

When he had heard that Holly spent some nights with him, he had not been so forgiving and had immediately excommunicated her. John didn’t care, he had no feelings for the girl, but Joseph had threatened him with the same fate if the lustful urge returned. He had then tattooed the lust word on his younger brother’s lower abdomen.

John left Joseph, thanking him for listening and for his “wise counsel,” and retired to his ranch. He slept little and thought much that night. Whatever he did, he was trapped. He longed for this sinner but was not allowed to indulge his desire or he would be rejected by his peers. The mere idea of marriage was disgusting to him. Never in a million years !

He had never thought of being in a relationship with anyone. He hadn’t loved any of the women who had shared his bed and he wasn’t about to start now. No, all he wanted was to possess her once and for all. I just want to hurt and fuck her. He was trying to convince himself of this, while thinking back to the hot kisses and tender caresses she had given him the day before and the same day.

It was the first time he experienced this kind of relationship. Why was she so gentle with me ? Usually, women were attracted by his money or his fame as a lawyer and his good looks. Once they got to his place, they were quick to throw themselves at him without asking any personal questions. They just wanted him to screw them and then disappear from his life. That’s the only way things can be done. It was always quick and bestial, he would kick out the few who stayed overnight with him the next morning, never to call them back and forget their name, if he had ever known it.

It was different for the deputy. The craving grew with each new encounter, pushing the frustration a little further. He had banged her, but he still didn’t feel relieved. Quite the opposite. He finally fell asleep imagining their next encounter — which would certainly never happen under the circumstances. Forget about her, she’s only there to tempt you and lead you away from the right path !

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