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   Chapter 11 The Empty Book

Sanctum By JMFelic Characters: 16810

Updated: 2018-08-10 21:47


Aurora woke up earlier than usual, feeling unrested. It was still a quarter before six in the morning. Throughout the night, she felt uneasy and restless, with her thoughts constantly replaying the scene in her room with Father Azrael. She would have wanted to sleep the whole morning, but knowing there were a lot of preparations to do for the festivity, she got up in the end.

First things first, she needed to go back to her room to bathe and change her clothes, but with Father Azrael probably still sleeping there, it would be hard for her to do that. What would she do if she finds him half-naked again? Last night was already awkward enough, another event like that wouldn't be good. And with the kiss they shared too, going inside her room now would be suicidal for surely her heart would stop beating.

In the middle of her musings, she heard a knock on Sister Cene's door. Not wanting to arose the Mother Superior who was still sleeping on the other side of the bed, she quickly got up, crossed the office and opened the door.

"Aurora, good morning, " Sister Rhea greeted with a sweet smile.

"Good morning Sister Rhea, " Aurora smiled back.

"Is the Mother Superior already awake?"

She shook her head and glanced over her shoulder. "No, she's still asleep Sister."

"Oh, I see. Well, I will be back here later then. Anyway, Father Azrael left a message for you before he left."

"Oh?" A contained amusement escaped from Aurora's breath. Just by the mere mention of his name, it skipped a beat in her heart. She suddenly fell rigid.

So, it seems he wasn't in her room anymore.

"He is inviting you to visit the Archbishop Palace at dinner tonight."

"R-really? Did Father...uhm...Father Azrael told you why Sister Rhea?"

The nun bobbed her head.

"Yes, he said he needs to discuss something with you and Bishop Elliot."

"Oh, I-I see."

Relief immediately washed all over her after hearing the Bishop's name. At least Bishop Elliot would be there with them. How bold of her to overthink that it was just the priest and her having dinner.

"Ah, thank you Sister for telling me that."

"You're welcome, dear." The nun smiled and dismissed herself with a wave of a hand. "Oh, and by the way, can I ask you to bring the kids in the mini amusement park after the mass? They always wanted to go there ever since it was built."

Aurora's eyes flickered with excitement. "Of course, Sister! I would be glad to do that!"

"Ah! Thank you Aurora. I'm sure Sister Cene would ask that of you when she wakes up, but at least now I can tell the children beforehand about the news."

"Yes, yes. You know how much I would love to do that for them, Sister."

"That's good to hear. I'll see you in the courtyard later then." The nun bowed and left.

Smiling warmly, Aurora stepped outside and closed the door of Sister Cene's room. She eyed her moss green door and released a sigh. Knowing that Father Azrael had already left, she can now finally proceed to her morning routines.

*

*

*

The children had already gathered in the courtyard by the time Aurora went out of her room. There were three preschoolers in one line, eight school age kids in the second, and twenty teenagers in the third - all giddy and excited to attend the mass in the St. Therese Parish Shrine and right after, to the mini amusement park. The shrine was located in the boundary between the town of Harvine and the town of Sereves. A ten-minute walk from the church, the mini amusement park can be reached.

Together with the party was Sister Martha who was to babysit the younger kids; Aurora, who also had a batch of charges of her own to guide with including little Jennie and Jessa; and Sister Clarice, who was the senior of the three to act as the leader for the teenagers; and Mr. Anton, the driver of the orphanage bus, present to assist them.

Sister Cene and Sister Rhea stayed at the house, being they were too old to keep up with the children's outbursts of energy.

Just as what you can see in a catholic festivity, many merchants were present to sell and trade their goods. Along the road towards the church, there were many food stalls, cotton candy stalls, small booths with sellable clothes, toys, dolls, balloons and housewares, and some stands that offer a game of cards on locals. Mascots of different animals were also there, much to the children's fascination.

The fun-filled activity of the children lasted for three hours tops; the peak of it was a lunch date at McDuffey's - a popular food chain in the area. At exactly one in the afternoon, the children returned to the charity house, leaving a small batch of teens for Aurora to accompany with in the park.

She sat with Justine in a rounded tree bench under a large tree, shading themselves against the sun. Justine was one of the orphaned teenagers living in the charity house. She was a shy girl, but the smartest and the oldest of her group. Her friends had already kept themselves busy with the rides available in the park, bu

?"

"That I was talking to a stranger..."

"Ah, that." He cleared his throat and shifted his eyes on his plate. "Well, I saw you."

"You saw me?" Aurora echoed with disbelief in her voice.

"Yes. I happen to pass by the park. That's all. Don't overanalyze things."

A faint crease on her brows appeared. "No, I wasn't overanalyzing, " she hastily defended. It was just too unbelievable she was talking to the same priest she met a few days ago. He definitely looked more blessed then, respectable and self-righteous. But now, he was acting different towards her; much more in the rude and dominating side. She also felt a different aura on him. Well, its not like she hadn't felt it in their first meeting before, but it was more pronounced now. She could see it easily, especially that his secret was out.

"We should wait for Bishop Elliot in his study room, " Father Azrael, in finality, suggested. Done with their meal, he stood up and walked towards the door, but sensing Aurora wasn't behind him, he turned back to see her standing in the fireplace.

"Aurora, come, " he encouraged.

"Can-can I just stay here Father? Until Bishop Elliot comes out from that door, I think it's-it's better that I should stay here."

She glanced at another door leading to the main hall. The last thing she would want to do was to jump into something that screams caution and being with Father Azrael again in an enclosed space definitely hits the mark.

"What are you afraid of Aurora?" he suddenly asked, gliding across the room towards her.

Her face quickly turned ashen. She knew exactly what he meant by asking her that, but decided to act like she was oblivious anyway.

"No-thing. Nothing." Her lips trembled.

"Nothing huh?" He chuckled lightly. "Please don't change the way you treat me. I am still a priest. You don't need to be scared of me."

He brushed a hand on his pectoral cross dangling on his chest. It was a simple gesture, but it had a deeper meaning to him. He didn't want to frighten her, but he didn't also want to explain himself to her. Whatever she thinks of him now, be it a monster or a vile creature, he wouldn't dare change her mind. What he needed was her trust; trust that she was safe with him.

"I'm not scared. Last night was...it was just too much for me to bear. Actually, the truth was too much for me to take. You explained nothing to me."

He grinned.

"If I recall correctly, you said not to say anything Aurora."

"Well I know what I said!" Her voice raised.

Her heart pumped harder when she stared at his handsome visage under the mellow light of the fire. Priest. Don't ever forget that he is a priest, her thoughts interjected.

"But-but I am hoping now for you to tell me. At least-at least I can understand Father." Her voice was softer this time.

He released a long sigh and shook his head. "I'm sorry. That I cannot do. In due time Aurora you will, but as of now, I need to focus on your safety and the protection of the orphanage."

"Safety? Orphanage? What do you mean Father Azrael?" she asked, this time feeling not only the heat of the fire, but also the intensity of his gaze. With just the mention of the charity house, her panic quickly rose.

"You will know when Bishop Elliot comes."

She shook her head and said in a commanding tone, "No, I want to know now!"

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