Chapter 1: Peter's account

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Heterosexual, Tear Jerker, Slow, .

Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1: Peter's account - A young prostitute and drug addict walks into a church to get out of the weather, and her life is changed; a story of redemption, renewal, loss and new love

My name is Peter Hanson, and I have the privilege to be Vicar of the parish church of St. Jude the Obscure, in inner city Sheffield. Some might not think it was a privilege; it's a small, modern (though quite attractive) building in a socially deprived area (deprived, that is, apart from the students, who get everywhere) but the congregation, while small and mostly on low incomes, are as committed, active and enthusiastic as they could be.

I'm not exactly "High Church" in theology, but I love colour, movement and beauty, and involving as many of the senses as I can. The church was given lovely sets of vestments; green, red, purple, white and gold to account for all the seasons and festivals; we used candles, and I gradually persuaded the congregation to accept incense, at least occasionally, and even drama and dance. I just believe that in an area where joy and beauty are usually absent, it's a good thing to try to introduce some.

I am not ambitious. I expect to remain a parish priest for the rest of my career; in my opinion, the highest of callings; I was undistinguished at theological college (except in arguing with lecturers who, I considered, just 'baffled with bullshit') and uninterested in social manoeuvring for status...

I wouldn't have achieved very much without my wife, Sara, who I firmly believe to be quite the loveliest woman in all of creation.

The nature of our ministry is dictated by our parish. We are quite used to individuals, much the worse for assorted intoxicating substances, wandering in at random points in services, sometimes wandering out again, sometimes waiting to the end in the expectation of a hot drink and something to eat; usually carrying with them a certain, noticeable ... shall we say, aura. My little flock are quite incredibly accepting, both of the ... auras, and the occasional disruption.

Ministers in the Anglican Church are supposed to say morning and evening prayer every day in the parish church. Many feel that this is not relevant to modern society; but I try to keep it up even when (as usually happens) I am the total congregation. Of course, pastoral problems take priority. It was one miserable evening in late November when I began to read Evensong. In the unheated church, marginally warmer than outside by reason of being out of the wind, I was dressed warmly and even wore cassock, surplice and scarf.

I was taken aback to hear an uneven soprano voice join with mine for the responses; continuing, I could see a slumped figure at the back of the church. Usually, I don't bother preaching to myself at what we call the 'offices' of morning and evening prayer; in fact, I don't usually preach even on the rare occasions I am joined by one or more of my regular congregation ... but I have learned to take notice when I feel a quiet urge to do something different, and at the appropriate point I moved to the centre of the dais in front if the Communion table and began to speak. It was one of those occasions when I was just a channel for words over which I had little control. It would probably not have gained any awards for elegance either, but that is irrelevant to me.

"Come to me, you weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest ... I give you peace, not as the world gives ... I am come that you may have life, and have it in abundance..."

At the end, I walked to the back of the church; the figure looked up. I could only guess that she was young. She was thin to the point of emaciation, dark hair, dirty and lank in tendrils about her face, the colour impossible to determine. She looked up at me out of enormous, dark, dull eyes. Her hands shook. A stereotypical addict, one would think; except to me everyone is an individual, addict or not.

"What's your name?" I asked, quietly, gently.

"Dulcie," she replied, pronouncing it with a hard 'c', like a classical scholar, 'Dull-key'

"That's a lovely name," I commented.

"But not really appropriate," she responded.

"I wouldn't like to say that."

"No-one could call me sweet," she said, dully.

"Well, now. Let's not argue over that. You look to me as though some food wouldn't come amiss, Dulcie"

Something flared in her eyes for a moment.

"I could eat," she admitted.

"Give me a moment to hang my dress in the vestry, and I'll be right with you."

The suspicion of a smile crossed her face. "I've nothing to rush off for."

I called Sara to let her know I was bringing home a waif, left cassock, surplice and scarf in the vestry, and collected Dulcie from the back of the church. The Vicarage is only a few yards away, and there was nothing to encourage us to loiter as we crossed the road and I let her in, hung her scruffy fleece by the door, and took her to the kitchen. We usually eat in the kitchen unless we have several guests, or the Bishop, perhaps. Sara had a large pot of home made, thick, vegetable soup on the stove and had just taken a tray of fresh bread out of the oven and placed it on a cooling rack. Dulcie's eyes widened.

"This is Dulcie," I introduced, using her own pronunciation

My wife is a treasure, and has a remarkable talent for choosing exactly the right course of action. In some people, this could become irritating, but I have never known anyone become irritated with Sara.

"Sit down, Dulcie," she said, indicating a chair at the table, and placed by her a china cup and saucer. We usually use mugs. "Milk and sugar in your tea?"

"Just milk, please," Dulcie whispered. A tear trickled down one cheek, and she sniffed, and watched Sara pour out tea. "Why are you treating me like a lady?"

"Because I think you are one. Even if you could do with a bath and some clean clothes."

I just watched my wife at work.

"I'm an addict." She paused, waited a long time for a reaction and added, when she didn't get one, "and a prostitute."

"And are you happy? Do you want to carry on like that?"

She just shook her head. "But I don't think I can change."

"If you had help?"

"Can't get in the programmes. No-one's interested."

"We're interested, and so is Jesus. Did you know that one of his best friends was a prostitute?"

She was silent, thinking about that.

Sara found cloth place-mats, china bowls and soup spoons and laid them on the table. I found small plates and knives and fetched butter; Sara put bread rolls in a basket in the middle of the table and ladled soup into the bowls. I pronounced a very short grace, and we ate. Dulcie ate delicately and lightly. I guessed her appetite was not very great, but she accepted a small piece of Swiss roll for dessert.

"Where are you living, Dulcie?" asked my wife, looking at me.

Dulcie shrugged. "I'm on the streets."

I looked back at her and nodded slightly; Sara smiled slightly and also nodded back.

"Dulcie," my wife said, "We'd like for you to stay with us, at least for a little while. Would you like that?"

"Are you serious?" squeaked Dulcie. There was a look of awe on her face.

"Oh, we're quite serious. All we ask is, you work with us. You don't have to get it right every time, but you do have to try. Ok?"

Dulcie's account

I walked the streets in the miserable weather, I was cold, hungry and in need of a fix. I needed to turn a trick, but the cars wouldn't stop, and men passing looked the other way. I didn't blame them, I'd been on the streets for a couple of days, I was grubby and damp and thin as a rake. A building across the road caught my eye; the door was open and there were lights inside — a church. I hadn't been in a church for years, not since ... Grandad died. He'd been a priest; I loved to say the responses as he read evensong in his church. But Mum didn't bother with church, just a succession of boyfriends, makeup and clothes.

I crossed the road and went in; at least I'd be out of the weather. The Vicar had already begun the introduction to the old service ... he was young, why was he reading Book of Common Prayer?

He got to "Almighty and most merciful Father..." and I joined in,

"we have erred and strayed..." I certainly had... "from thy ways like lost sheep..."

We continued together. He pronounced the absolution " ... that they may be cleansed from all their sins..."

Well, I certainly needed that.

The service continued, those wonderful, comforting, familiar words soaking into my soul as I sat, or stood, or knelt, dirty inside and out, ashamed of what I was but still wondering if I could seduce the young man at the front, perhaps get food and a bed for the night ... with him?

He stood and moved to the centre of the sanctuary and began to speak. It was a funny sort of sermon, more of a disconnected series of Bible quotations loosely linked; but every word seemed to hit me in the gut. One phrase in particular echoed round in my head "I have come that you may have life..." It should have been they. But he was speaking to me not some vague 'they'. Did I have life? Did I have a life? I needed a life.

At the end, he walked down the aisle to me. "What's your name?" he asked gently.

"Dulcie," I said, pronouncing it as Grandad always did, with a hard 'c', not like Mum.

"That's a lovely name," he said,

"It doesn't suit me," I said, "no-one would say I was sweet."

"I wouldn't say that," he said, "but you look hungry,"

Something surged in me, need for H warring with an empty belly.

"I could eat," I admitted. Perhaps I could seduce him after all?

"Let me hang these things up, and I'll be with you," he said

He took me across the road and showed me into the house, took my stinking, damp jacket and hung it neatly behind the door, and showed me into the kitchen. Then I knew I had no chance. His wife was beautiful, more than that, she was gracious. She placed a china cup and saucer by me, and poured tea, asking if I wanted milk and sugar. It was real tea; she used a tea-strainer, it was wonderful; I sipped it gratefully.

"Why do you treat me like a lady?" I asked. I couldn't control the tear that trickled down my face as I thought of what I was.

"Because you are a lady," she said, simply.

"I'm an addict," I answered, then much later when they hadn't commented, "and a prostitute."

Several more things were said. One thing registered. One of Jesus' best friends had been a prostitute. Then Sara said,

"We'd like you to stay with us, at least for a while. Would you like that?"

Would I like that? Was the Pope a Catholic?

"Are you serious?" I could hardly believe what I was hearing.

"Oh, we're quite serious. All we ask is, you work with us. You don't have to get it right every time, but you do have to try. Ok?"

"Oh, yes! But ... I really need a fix."

"No, you don't; what you need is Jesus."

They prayed for me. It felt odd, not what I'd been used to. I felt warm and ... as if I had a little light in my head. The craving diminished. It didn't go, but it faded into the background. This seemed to go on forever; I wanted it to go on forever, but when they stopped, I felt calm and safe for the first time in ... how long?

"Can I have a bath?" My voice sounded thin and weak to me.

Sara laughed, "Absolutely! And I think I can find some clothes that'll fit you well enough."

The bath was wonderful. Sara stayed, and washed my hair. It was so strange I didn't feel embarrassed, just ... loved. After the bath, she produced a hair dryer and a brush and brushed my hair out; then produced a new packet of knickers that were near enough my size, clean slacks, t-shirt and a hoodie. Clean body, clean hair, clean clothes...

"We'll get you some undies of your own tomorrow," Sara promised.

Peter's account;

When Sara and Dulcie came back downstairs, I hardly recognised the scruffy young woman I'd brought home. Under the dirt was a beautiful person. Her hair, I was going to say auburn, but I suppose chestnut would be nearer, and it seemed to glow. The loose clothing Sara found for her obscured her figure, slim to the point of emaciation, but not her face, heart-shaped and delicate with warm brown eyes.

I love my wife. But I'm a young, hetero-sexual male, and I've got eyes; I've had a problem since puberty of lusting after any passable female I see. Not that I act on it, and it's not as though I need to. Happily, Sara knows, understands and accepts the way I am. But she wasn't surprised, when we finally got to bed, that I kissed her hungrily and wanted to make love; she was more than willing to respond, and it was some time later we fell asleep in one another's arms. My wife is a wonderful woman.

I thought I'd be first up in the morning unless our guest had decided to leave in the night. Dulcie was not the first person we'd taken in, and more than one of her predecessors had up sticks in the small hours, perhaps with the trivial contents of a collecting box, or food, or a cheap radio. We half expected it and kept very little of real value in the house; my office was kept locked to safeguard some more expensive and necessary equipment.

But Dulcie was awake, and dressed, and in the kitchen sipping tea when I walked in.

"I made myself tea, is that alright?"

"Of course! You're our guest; we should have made it clear. Are you hungry?"

"A little. Are you going to have breakfast now?"

"Later; I'm going to make a cup of coffee, and sit and read and pray in my office for, oh, half an hour or so."

"Can I join you?"

I wasn't sure about that. I mentioned the roving eye? I wasn't about to cheat on Sara, but it's a bit difficult to concentrate on spiritual matters when you're thinking of sex. I looked at her; her face looked like a kid who'd just dropped their ice-cream. Could I resist? Sure I could ... about as well as I could refuse my wife anything she asked.

"Sure, but I think we'll sit in the lounge. Go in there and I'll fetch some things."

She did and I fetched a small wood cross, a candle and a couple of Bibles. I left the door open, placed the cross on the coffee table and the candle in front of it and lit it, and handed her one of the Bibles.

I gave her a reference from Isaiah, and said a short prayer;

"Lord, help us to hear, receive and understand,"

I looked at her, and she began to read. I love Isaiah; some of his words are hard, it is true, but among them, great beauty and wonderful promises. I am often astonished how the lectionary — a book laying out the structure of readings for the church throughout the year — often dictates a reading that is absolutely spot on for a person or situation; she reached the verse;

"A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out..." and her voice faltered. She paused, and read it again; after a further pause, her voice strengthened and she read again, clearly, without hesitation, continuing until she reached the verse, "I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness..." and her voice faltered again.

Sometimes, when reading a passage of scripture, a person will say that the words leapt out of the page at them, or something of that sort. They may have read the same words a hundred times before, but somehow, this time, they are weighted with enormous significance; 'they are addressed to me'.

She stopped and looked at me, awe in her expression, but then looked back at the Book, and continued,

"I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people..." and to the end.

"Normally, at this point," I said, "I would say something about the passage, or if I'm on my own, just think about it. But I somehow think you've got the point already, haven't you?"

"But it can't mean me, surely?"

"Why not you?"

"Well, you know ... I mean, what I've done..."

"Turn back to Chapter 6, Dulcie ... go to verse 5."

"Woe is me," she read, "For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips..."

"God calls whoever He wills," I said, "and He will fit those He calls for His service. None of us are perfect; some less perfect than others," I smiled, thinking of my own struggles.

She looked thoughtful.

I began to pray again, offering the day into God's hands. When I finished, Dulcie prayed, too.

"God, I don't understand why You want me, but ok, I'm yours..." her voice continued, but the words were not English, or for that matter any language I knew or recognised; the words seemed to flow, rhythmically, smoothly. Her face seemed to glow, she was rapt, and far away from me. I left her and went into the kitchen, and began putting bowls, plates and cutlery on the table. Sara entered the room.

"Dulcie up yet?"

"Oh yes, she's in the lounge." I jerked my head as I looked at her towards that room. She raised her eyebrows, but went to see. When she returned, she was smiling widely.

"Wow, there's a turn-up for the books!"

"Yes, I think the Hound of Heaven has caught up with that one!"

She laughed, "trust you to come up with a literary reference!"

There didn't seem to be much point in waiting. I made coffee, and we sat down for cereal and toast. I was just starting on my toast when Dulcie came in. The expression on her face ... well, 'awestruck' doesn't do it justice.

Dulcie's account.

I woke quite early; it was still dark. I was warm, and clean, and safe, and alone in a comfortable bed. I had, however, a small gnawing in my gut, a nagging desire. That desire warred in me with a feeling, a little voice, saying 'you'd be a fool to walk out of here'. I dressed quietly and tiptoed downstairs. In the kitchen I found the kettle, a tea-pot, loose-leaf tea, and a cup and saucer from the drying rack. The ritual of boiling the kettle, warming the pot and pouring boiling water on the leaves was comforting in itself. I was sipping tea when Peter came in. I felt embarrassed, but he reassured me as he boiled the kettle to make coffee. I noticed he used a cafetiere and real ground coffee. He asked if I was hungry.

"A little," I said, "are you going to have breakfast now?"

"Not now, I'm going to take a cup of coffee into my study, I'll read and pray for half an hour or so."

I didn't want him to leave.

"Can I come too," I asked.

He didn't answer immediately, and the longer the pause went on, the more anxious I got.

"Sure, but I think we'll sit in the lounge. Go in there and I'll fetch some things."

I sat on a sofa. When he came in (leaving the door wide open, I noticed) he placed a coffee table in front of the sofa, placed a small, wooden cross on it and a candle in front, which he lit. He handed me a Bible and sat next to me; not close, but next to me. He prayed, and told me to find Isaiah and gave me the reference. It wasn't difficult to find. He looked at me and nodded, and I started to read. I was doing fine until I got to verse three; "A bruised reed he will not break..." The words hit me like a sledgehammer and I had to stop. I read them again, and a third time before I could continue, only to be pulled up again in verse six, "I, the Lord, have called you..."

I had to stop again, and I looked at him; he had a slight smile on his face as if he knew exactly what was going on in my mind. When I finally managed to finish the passage, he, still smiling, said;

"Normally, at this point," I said, "I would say something about the passage, or if I'm on my own, just think about it. But I somehow think you've got the point already, haven't you?"

I couldn't believe the words were meant for me. He persuaded me, though, that no-one was perfect; he told me to read a verse from early in Isaiah. If Isaiah felt like that, perhaps there was hope for me too.

He prayed, and then I prayed too. I didn't understand, I could barely believe, but if God wanted me, that was ok with me; He had to be better than what I'd done for myself.

I was praying, and then suddenly I was saying words that I didn't understand at all, words that flowed smoothly from my mouth, like ... water from a spring? The little spark of light in my head that appeared the previous night flared up. I was enveloped in warmth, and love, and joy and hope. The words went on, and on, and the longer they went on, the brighter the light; and the greater the feeling.

It came to an end eventually, of course, though the feeling of a presence stayed. Peter had gone. I blew out the candle and went to see if he was in the kitchen.

He was in the kitchen, eating toast; so was Sara.

Peter's account;

I believe in redemption, and the power of the Holy Spirit, of course. I'd seen some quite remarkable things in my life, and so had Sara. But neither of us had ever witnessed so dramatic a change as took place in Dulcie that morning. I, at least, had expected weeks of struggling, with visits to doctors and possibly, probably, replacing the heroin with something else. It was fairly clear that none of that would be necessary even if the road ahead was not necessarily going to be smooth.

"Come in," I said, "Help yourself to cereal. Tea, or coffee?"

She sat at the table and reached for a packet of cereal. I rather thought it was at random.

"What..." she began, "what just happened to me?"

Sara replied, gently, quietly;

"It's been called various names. We just say; you've been filled with the Spirit. You were speaking in tongues. That means, the Spirit of God in you was praying to the Father, in a heavenly language, using your lips and tongue. In the future, if ever you're not sure of what to do or say, you can let Him speak through you like that, and you'll often find an answer. Or you can just pray like that to be close to God."

"Wow..." she breathed, "who'd 'a' thunk it?"

We had to laugh, and she joined in with a girlish giggle that said more about the change in her than words.

After breakfast, Dulcie and Sara went off into town to do some shopping ... and some admin. Apart from clothes shopping, Dulcie needed to straighten herself out legally. The visited the benefits office where I think she wouldn't have got very far without the determined support of the "Vicar's Wife" — it still took several hours. They began the process of claiming housing benefit, made an appointment with her social worker, registered with the local medical practice and made an appointment for a check-up. Somewhere during that they found time for a light lunch and several cups of tea.

Meanwhile, I was drinking interminable cups of (mostly dreadful) coffee as I made parish visits. I sat for a while with an elderly lady parishioner in a ward at the Northern General Hospital, holding her hand while she dozed; she had an advanced terminal cancer and was on enormous doses of, I think, morphine. When at one point she was awake and aware, she received Communion, and I anointed her with oil. She slept again, and I left. The Ward Sister intercepted me.

"I don't think it'll be long, now," she said quietly. "She always seems happier and more comfortable after you've been, though."

"I'm glad," I said, "if she wants me again, or if her family come and want me, you've got my number."

She nodded and smiled and disappeared back into her office.

I was home first and found the makings of a casserole for supper, which I popped in the oven before crossing the road to the church for Evening Prayer. I'd barely begun when Dulcie and Sara walked in and sat near me at the front; joining in with the responses in a harmonious blend of soprano and alto.

When we got to the sermon, I wasn't going to say anything, but Dulcie began to speak in tongues again, and when she stopped, Sara began to speak.

"My child, I have led you out of darkness into my family. You must never forget you have a place here, and a role to play in my plans. You must always remember that I love you, and that love will be expressed to you, both directly and through other members of my family. If you will follow, I will lead you, and you in turn will lead others into my presence. It will not always be easy. It will sometimes be very hard and painful, but you will never be alone."

When 'tongues' are used in church, they are supposed to be 'interpreted' — God gives either the person who spoke, or another, the meaning in English (in our case) of what was said. I was watching Dulcie; poor girl, this was all very new and strange to her. To be fair, it wasn't that familiar to Sara or me, but at least we knew what was happening! She had that awestruck expression again, and tears were rolling down her cheeks.

I said a few prayers, with Sara chipping in here and there, and then pronounced the blessing, then leaving to disrobe. Emerging from the vestry, they were still sitting together, but Sara was hugging Dulcie who was weeping in full earnest, so I left them there and went back to the Vicarage.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Consensual / Heterosexual / Tear Jerker / Slow /