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She came into my room and shook me awake. The first thing I saw was her face, eyes smeared with black eyeliner inches away from mine, and I thought I was in a dream. The clock read one am. Guess not.
“Chris, we are going on an adventure.”
I wasn’t wearing anything but boxers, which would prove to be an issue later on, so I pulled the covers up to my chin and said,
“At one o’clock?” and she said,
“At one o’clock.” she repeated,
“I’m not wearing any pants.” Then she got off of me and stated;
“No one’s going to see you. No one but me.” I don’t think I’ve ever gotten out of a four poster that fast in my entire life.
I followed her half-sleeping into her room, completely lit up by the damn rainbow lights she keeps on during the day, except tonight they looked twice as annoying.
“You gonna turn off those damn lights?” I asked, and she just stuck her head into the cooler that mysteriously appeared in her room over night and replied,
“Do I ever turn off those nights?”
“So, what makes you think I’m gonna turn them off now?”
“Huh. More the reason to keep them on, then.” I sat down on the corner of her quilt while she went around her room, leaving the things behind strewn everywhere as if a tornado hit the room. All I could see was her stupid Sex Pistols shirt which happened to be on backwards, and her brown hair that was all a-fuzz around her head. She was working on something, that much was for sure, but she was always conveniently blocking whatever it was with her ever-so-distracting rear end. Not that I minded, really, but I could feel myself falling asleep.
“Jade, I can feel myself falling asleep.”
“Well, then get off my bed then.”
“and do what?”
“I don’t care, jumping jacks.”
I grabbed the physics book off her bedside table and opened it up, equations were written up and down almost every page. Math kid. Interesting.
The book was ripped ever so violently from my fingers and held above her head. It didn’t really matter, though, because it was then I got to see what I had been looking for ever since she dragged me from my room and into the girls end of the dorm. It was orange, it smelled like ambrosia, and it was dripping down the side of the glass cup like juices from a forbidden fruit.
“What is it?”
“Cocktail. A la’ Jade.” Her face was flushed, like it had taken a good deal of soul to make it, and her eyes lit up with a special kind of fire that wasn’t present when she was mouthing off to the teachers in class. This was something special, and then I knew.
Rumor had it Jade McCarthy was so bada** she had a stash of marijuana even the pot-gods of Cutherby couldn’t begin to dream about. She knew a secret passageway in and out of the boys dorm that only she could access, and had a stack of porn that rivaled that of Michael Moseby’s in 4D. That was all well and good, but there was something rumored about Jade that set the souls of little Christian girls on fire, and tempt the morals of priests who had devoted their lives to goodness and the rejection of sin in this catholic hell-hole. It was a rumor that had the notoriously dry campus quietly hopeful that one day it would leak out, forcing Jade to let the others have a taste in order to keep hushed.
“Do I get to have some?” I asked, confused.
“No. I brought you here to watch me drink.”
I stared at her for a moment, as she tipped the entire contents to the back of het throat, and disappeared it in one swallow. She was a goddess.
“Why did I bring you here, again?” She asked, raising her eyebrows quizzically.
“Something about an adventure. Also drinking.”
“Ah! Adventure!” In an instant, she had grabbed the sleeve of my shirt and pulled me out of the room, down the hallway and outside the building. The air was cold, and so were my legs. So were my legs. I don’t have any pants on.
“Jade, I don’t have any pants on.” She looked at me like she was just noticing this development, and then shrugged her shoulders.
“No one is going to see.” Then she pulled. We went around main campus, running past the forest Erik and his cronies went to smoke during study hall, and then stopping at the door to the east chapel.
“This is the East Chapel.” I said
We both stood there, her looking at me as if I would know what to do.
“So. Do you have the key?” She asked.
“What? I don’t have a key. Why would I have a key?”
“Oh, fiddlesticks,” she said, then racked her brains “Well, looks like we are going to have to break in!”
“Shhhh.” She hissed, “you’re too damn loud.”
We were going to get caught, I could feel it. I could feel it in my tired legs, and in the wind blowing violently against my frame. She ran over to the front of the church and pulled a credit card out of her pocket.
“What? We gonna buy our way in?”
But she started fidgeting with the handle, and I could hear the fidgeting noises ten times louder than expected. Regardless, all of a sudden the wooden door of doom popped open, with her smiling coyly and beckoning me inside. Jesus Christ.
“Here is the chapel.” Her voice echoed off the rounded ceiling and reverberated off the walls.
I had been there before, twice. The first day we got to the school we were all required to file in and do silent prayer, which consisted mostly of me sitting and trying to remember the Apostle’s Creed, and kicking myself for not genuflecting before the altar. The dean; Father Maher was there too, and after silent prayer he got up to the pulpit and gave us the talk. They call it ‘the talk’ at Saint James because it’s practically the ten commandments of this place, and is nailed into any free-standing object about the school, not like any of us need reminding. The first part Maher went on and on about respecting your peers, and God, and how this is a Christian High School that holds work ethic and morality in high regard. It was mostly blah-blah-blah, people were still going to get wasted that night. Then, the dean’s voice totally changed. Even though he was a priest we knew he would not be forgiving the following offenses.
1. Never ever drink on campus. You drink on campus, you will be expelled. If we see you with an empty beer bottle on campus, you will be expelled. We will periodically check your room for such substances. You. Will. Be. Expelled.
2. Being in the same bed as, or out with, or in contact with the opposite sex after midnight, you will be expelled. If we see you with a girlfriend, or a boyfriend, or any person of the opposite sex, the consequence is as follows. You. Will. Be. Expelled.
3. The East Chapel, the building you are in, is never to be entered without an administrator. Ever. The East Chapel is a highly historical building and is to be treated as such. If we see you in the East Chapel, loitering about the East Chapel, or attempting to enter the East Chapel, there will be no room for discussion. You. Will. Be. Expelled. End of story.
“Remind me why we are in here?”
Jade shrugged her shoulders, and it was then I was about to kill her. Drinking in her bedroom - well, that was something I could do. I would definitely not have a problem jeopordizing my education for the sole purpose of being in the same bed as Jade McCarthy, for that matter. But the East Chapel - Jesus was not something I was willing to get sent home to rural South Dakota for. No way. End of story.
“We should -” I started, and then she bolted off to the front of the church. She ran surprisingly well for someone who was wearing combat boots, save the fact they made an inexplicable banging on the historical building’s floor. She took a sharp left turn and kneeled down in the front pew, motionless, the eyes of Joe Strummer staring diligently back at my place in the narthex. I started walking, I don’t know why but I did. I’m blaming it on Joe.
“Hey, what are you doing?”
She didn’t respond. Her tiny eyes were closed and her perfect eyebrows furrowed, hands clasped so tight I could feel them turning blue.
“Are you praying?”
Silence. God damn this girl.
I kneeled on the red upholstered bench, and looked to her body, and mimicked what she did. I kept looking ahead though, I didn’t let my eyes waver from the enormous statue of Saint Paul. He looked stoic, I figured he must have some sort of quasi-power.
“Do you ever wonder why they never let us in this chapel?” She asked.
“They told us at the beginning of freshman year. It is historic.”
‘I don’t believe that.’
I didn’t dare let my eyes wander from that statue in case she shut up again, but I could see her pink lips moving quickly with her speech. How I wanted them. I just wanted them more than anything. Don’t move. Can’t move.
“I think it’s because they don’t want us to enjoy the peaceful serenity of it,” she stated, the gentlest statement I had ever heard her speak. “I think that priests want to keep it to themselves. I see lots of them come and go sometimes, but they always act like stepping on it is something that would make it spontaneously combust.”
“Maybe there is something hidden beneath the chapel. Like the school’s silver collection or a stash of all the booze they drink.”
Jade snorted, “Rumor mill. There isn’t anything hidden in this chapel, trust me on this one. I would have found it if it did.”
“You routinely search the East Chapel?”
“I routinely search a variety of places people don’t generally go, Christopher. Don’t worry about it.”
But I worried. I wondered. I wanted to know.
“You said you would take me on an adventure.” I stated, and she just shushed me in reply, holding up a finger and then setting in back down into her death grip again. I watched her pray. I figured that, with her eyes shut tight and everything, she probably wouldn’t be able to watch me stare. I wasn’t able to really stare at her like this in classes, when she was routinely shouting out to me how I was wrong in that answer, and not paying attention, but here it was okay. I felt like she wouldn’t even care if she opened her eyes, anyway. She would probably open them and be glad to see me staring, and I would keep staring at them. Right into their lipid pools of emerald green, and I would lean closer, and I would touch those pink lips to mine, and -
:Why are you staring at me.”
“I was waiting for you to finish praying.”
She launched herself up from the pew and walked to the organ, something told me she didn’t want me to follow, but I could see what she was doing. She slipped her credit card underneath the floorboard to the right of the piano stand, and it popped right open. I watched her with horror lean her hand far down into the hole, and emerge with an unmarked bottle with a red liquid in it.
“What is that?”
My mouth fell open. No way, not in the East Chapel. Not in the goddamn East Chapel was I going to drink the carefully aged and fermented red wine probably hidden there with good reason.
“We are, in no f-”
Her finger was on my lip. Her finger. My lip.
“Don’t swear in the East Chapel, Christopher.”
“I thought you said nothing was hidden there!” I cried in indignation.
“By the priests. This was techinically hidden by me, so, I see it as a different story.”
She started patting herself, as if she had forgotten something in her light shirt and plaid pajama pants.
“Oh dear. It appears as if I have misplaced our flasks.” She looked around us, concerned, as if it had fallen out. Then, she put her perfect lips to the age old glass and tipped it back, taking a singular sip, and putting it back down.
“For the love of Christ!” I exclaimed,
“Huzzah!” She cheered, as if my exclamation had anything to do with praising her for her deed.
“No, I mean, god damn it, that’s the church wine! That’s the communion wine!”
She smiled and nodded her head rigoriously.
“Jesus is now present in me!” She giggled, leaning back on the pews, head faced towards the ceiling carefully dotted with angels smiling at the girl getting slowly intoxicated by the blood of their savior.
“So, is this what you do on a regular basis. Pray and then drink that stuff. Because, I really doubt praying will help you on this road to the golden gates at this rate,” I said,my lips curling back in disgust.
she smiled, “Oh, I wasn’t praying. I was thinking.” She sat back up and folded her hands on the armrest. “I think mostly about why they don’t let us come here, and partly about how depressing people they are.”
“The priests?” I asked,
“Mhm,” she mused, “It’s really depressing, you know?”
“No, I guess I don’t,” I answered.
“They went to school. They went to, what is it?”
“Seminary,” I supplied.
“Yes, the seminary. That’s the word I was looking for. They go to the seminary, because they thought they were called by God. They go and learn about the man in the sky and how Jesus is present in us all and they get dressed up and talk about it ever Sunday. That’s their life.”
“Well, if it’s what they want, you can’t argue with that,” I told her.
“I don’t even want to argue with it. It’s just, remember in freshman biology?”
“Vaguely.” I actually tried to actively forget freshman biology, because that was probably the worst class known to man.
“We skipped over something completely that was in the book. I was flipping through it one night and I realized we just missed a whole chapter.”
“And what chapter was that?” I asked.
“It was the chapter about evolution. The page was dotted with tiny little pictures of cavemen and monkey-people holding spears and whole long paragraphs with information and facts, it was all right there Chris, we didn’t learn it at all. It was all right there and it wasn’t even mentioned.’
I didn’t really know what to say to that, so we sat in silence for a spell. I watched her bite her lip and look at the floor, and I wasn’t entirely sure if she wanted it to be like that or she was looking for an answer from me. I suppose it didn’t matter.
“I think, I think that’s really sad,” she turned to look at me, “how we didn’t learn that.”
“Well....you could always, like, Google it or whatever, you know?” I stuttered as she looked on, “like, it’s not like you can’t go over it -”
“That’s not the point. The point is they knew all the facts in there and they probably read the chapters themselves, and they chose not to even bring it up. I heard a lot of the books had the pages ripped out. Ripped right out of the book, isn’t that horrible?”
“It is a Catholic school, you know?”
“Yeah. That’s why it’s sad.”
I looked at her, and she deliberately didn’t look at me, but when she spoke her voice sounded hoarser than before.
“They spent their whole lives following Jesus, following the light, they spent their whole lives waiting for eternal salavation. They went to school to major in eternal salvation, and then new information comes out. Their world is getting ripped apart. But ‘it’s faith, faith will set you free’, that they tell us. They ignore it.”
She paused to take a breath, so when she looked at me I was more surprised than ever not to see a glinting tear on her face, or a muted red spotting her eyes. She just looked at me, like she wanted to be listen to her every word. Because it was important.
“Because, maybe if they ignore it, it will go away.”
I didn’t really know what to say to that, I didn’t know how to respond to such philisophical ramblings and ironically, being an English geek, I had never been particulary adept at deciphering people’s emotions. Jade was no easy read
“I’m pretty sure they get employed to talk about how much they love Jesus and each other. So, maybe it’s not all a waste. It’s just love and stuff. Loving Jesus, or loving something else, I mean -” I finally said, “I mean I could practically do that in my sleep, even though I don’t even like Jesus and not a huge fan of other people, either.”
“Are you a huge fan of me?” She asked it like there were an alternate answer to that question, like there was even another box to check. As if I periodically break every Golden Rule in one night with any random person I am not a huge fan of.
Silence came back, but this time it didn’t feel as awkward. It didn’t feel as if she were waiting for me to make a mistake or run out of the chapel kicking and screaming. We were just sitting there, thinking.
“Do you wait for things, Christopher?”
“Yeah. Sometimes. Good things.”
“How do you know they’re good things when you’re waiting? Have you ever wondered if you waited forever and you never got it, that your life would be wasted?”
She looked at me closely. I knew what she was going to ask, knew what she wanted to know next.
“Because, sometimes waiting is a good thing. That’s why I wait.”
She raised her eyebrows, as if seeing me in my entirety for the first time. She just stared at me, and I didn’t move. I just looked right back into her eyes, challenging them to break off. Challenging them to stop.
“Why do you wait?” I dared. I sucked in my breath at the last instant syllable, my bravery catching in my throat.
“I don’t wait. But I suppose that’s why you’re here.”
“I’m here to help you wait?” Not exactly why I wanted to be here.
“No.” She replied. “You’re here because you’re a lemming and a freak.”
“Excuse me?” I said, sitting up and narrowing my eyes, “I came all the way here and -”
“Oh shut up Christopher.” She grabbed my hand mid-flight to the pew chair.
“You know I brought you here because I like you.” I stopped. I let myself go limp and I looked at her in all her glory, not a single bit of her twitching with lies or regret. She likes me. That’s why she brought me here. She likes me.
“Drink.” She passed the flask of church wine to me, and I took it. It still felt cold like the cement it was lying on and dirty as hell. It smelled delicious, but part of it reeked like death.
All of a sudden her hand wandered to my arm, as if she were going to force it down my throat, then it slowly dropped to my chest. Her hands, so warm, on my chest. ‘I dare you.’
There are things that are morally incorrect in this world, like stealing, and murder, and sneaking out into forbidden chapels and drinking the holy wine at two o’clock am. It’s something you know it’s wrong, and you just don’t do it. But, truth be told, there are things that are good. Like a girls hand dangerously near your penis. It doesn’t really matter if this occurs while she is telling you to drink the wine she illegally stole and stashed beneath the aforementioned forbidden chapel. You just go with it.
So I tipped it back into my mouth, and it sloshed around for a bit before I swalled it in a less-gracious more gag than gulp. I think I finally know why Adam ate that goddamn fruit. She smiled at me, and then she took the cup from my hands.
“I knew you were different.”
“We’re going to hell.”
“We haven’t done everything wrong.” She reasoned
“What else could we possibly do wrong?”
Then she did it. I was lying down on the chairs, with Jade’s lips against mine and her tongue against my tongue, and I could feel her shoes at my ankles and the wine precariously balanced on the arm rest and her hand moving slowly down my body, under my boxers, and wrapping itself slowly around my embaressingly hard member. Oh, God. This is going to happen. I am going to gave sexual intercourse with Jade McCarthy, in a chapel. I’m going to have sex in a goddamn chapel.
“I’m not going to f*** you in this chapel.” She whispered, relinquishing her hold on me and sitting up, “that would just be unholy.”
“Unholy?” I said, trying to catch my breath, “are you kidding?”
“I would have,” She reasoned, “but I think there is something good about waiting. Something different. Maybe waiting is,” she racked her brains as if searching for the right word, “good.” She smiled.
F*** you Christopher, singlehandedly c***-blocking yourself. Thanks.
“I like you.” I attested, “I’ve liked you for a very long time.”
“I know,” she replied quietly, “and that’s a beautiful thing.” She lied down on top of me in the seats too crampy to be comfortable and the hymn books bumping relentlessly into my squirming side. “The angels are nice tonight,” she murmered, looking up at the cherubs dancing through the painted on stars. I looked to my side, her soft hair falling about my neck, staring at her green eyes focused heavily on the faux heaven above her perfect body, as if they shone only for her.
“Yes,” I whispered, “they are.”