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The Last Summer

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"Have you never done anything wrong?" Father Flynn asks Sister Aloysius as she stands before him with an accusatory stare, demanding to be told the truth finally. They are alone and there is no escape. A fight to the death - dragon versus demon - where there can only be one winner. Sister Aloysius is determined to be that winner.

"I have," she states firmly, solidly as if her admission will free some of the guilt that has been living within her for what has seemed like eternity.

"A mortal sin?" Father Flynn asks, gazing in to Sister Aloysius' habit, trying to see past her closed expression and blatantly vivid hatred. His irises are so blue, she remembers eyes like his. She's seen them before.

Sister Aloysius' mind flashes back to that day. To the days following. To irreversible decisions she could never forget. Her reserve begins to crack, the tears threaten to fall. "Yes," she admits, as she tries with all of her might to force the tears back, to hold her resolve.


It was the summer of 1944 in New York City . The city was alive; the radios playing the chart-topping songs of Bing Crosby and the Andrews sisters - and halfway across the world, a war raged on.

A shiny red ’41 Plymouth coupe was parked in the drive in front of a family home in a quiet neighbourhood near the heart of the city. But the car would not be used this particularly scorching New York day, for its owner had decided that a walk was exactly what she needed.

Aloysius smiled as she dropped the letter into the red mailbox, happy to know it would soon be on its way to her husband, Charles Bouvier stationed overseas in London. She had poured her heart into it the night before and had imagined him reading it as she had laid her head on the pillow and tried to sleep.

Aloysius let the sun warm her pale skin and it glowed off of a lush blanket of corkscrew curls that grazed the tops of her shoulders and bounced as she walked. Aloysius wasn’t a vain woman, but she did indulge in fashionable red lipstick and a gentle sweep of black mascara over her lashes. Often enough she would dab her neck with imported perfume that she had been given before the war, a small reminder of what the men overseas were fighting for. Hardly for the perfume alone, but rather for the freedom to live with and enjoy the niceties of life.

She was wearing one of her favourite dresses, a dark scarlet color, that hugged to her torso and along her thighs to her knees where it fishtailed slightly for sensual elegance. She’d bought it recently, and had decided that she would wear it when her husband returned home. Today was merely a trial run. The stockings with the thin black seams were silk, a gift from her husband several years back and she had kept them in excellent condition. With the silk being used for parachutes, there wasn't a chance she'd find a pair for sale anywhere reputable. On her feet she wore a pair of matching peep-toed leather pumps.

It was a hot day and most of the neighbourhood children were out playing in the yards, chasing one another and tossing hard leather balls in imitation of the baseball greats. Aloysius and Charlie had not yet been able to conceive a child of their own, but she wasn’t worried because she had only just turned thirty and they had only been married for four years. Of the four years, Charlie had been away for three of them after the draft.

When he returned, they would try again.

The pavement made small clacking noises beneath her feet as she crossed it, passing along the shop fronts of several local stores and smiling to those who looked in her direction.

One dapper looking gentleman leaning against a newspaper stand, grinned and tipped his fedora. He looked to be in his early twenties with blond hair and stunning blue eyes. He dropped the cigarette he was smoking and crushed it beneath the sole of a shiny leather oxford shoe.

Aloysius noticed his eyes upon her and a stain of color seeped across her cheekbones. Then, as any good natured, well brought up woman would do - she smiled politely and continued along her way.

The air was heavy and hot and by the time Aloysius returned home, she was ready for an ice cold glass of lemonade. She had prepared it earlier, so when she crossed the threshold of her empty family home and slipped out of her shoes, she headed directly towards her kitchen to enjoy a little of life's small indulgences.

She'd saved her ration stamps to use on the sugar required to make the lemonade and had looked forward to it for days. She was very glad she did, as she settled down on the living room couch and crossed her legs, taking a long sip of the cool liquid and enjoying the feeling and taste as it rolled along her hot throat.

But the peace and quiet was short lived when the front door thudded three times in succession, stirring Aloysius from straying thoughts. It wasn't an unusual interruption, as often the ladies of the neighbourhood would come over and trade recipes with her, or listen to the radio. She did have a rather grand model, and the sound quality was so much better than Betty's was, three doors down.

She set the glass upon a coaster and wiped the condensation from her hands as she crossed towards the door. Turning the handle, Aloysius pulled the door open and was surprised to see a gentleman standing on her front step, briefcase in hand. A curious smile met her lips as she looked at the slightly familiar man. "Hello there."

The man smiled back and tipped his hat. "Good day M'am. I hate to bother you on such a hot day as this, but I wondered if you might be interested in some keen volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. They make wonderful reads during quiet evenings alone..." here the man's eyes scanned the small area of the house, visible behind Aloysius before meeting her gaze again.

"... or shared with a loved one."

Aloysius had always been a glutton for knowledge and education, but she was already the owner of a full set of encyclopaedias and she gently advised him that this was the case.

"Oh... I see..." the man nodded, his smile fading as he fumbled with the thick handle of the briefcase. "I'm sorry for wasting your time M'am..."

The man was obviously crestfallen as he turned to move away, but he stopped and turned back to her with a weary expression. "M' I know this is... asking a lot, but I'd sure appreciate it... if... well if you weren't busy at all. I just... I have been down on my luck lately, and my boss is going to be very angry with me if I don't ... at least earn someone's interest in the books."

Aloysius looked into the man's soulful blue eyes and felt hopelessly sorry for him. She knew how hard it was to find work and sympathized with the men who were trying to support their families while fearfully awaiting the phone call that they would be sent overseas.

"Of course," Aloysius smiled softly running the edge of her index finger along the side of her slender nose. "One can never have too many books."

The man's face lit up and he tipped his hat again. "Gee, thanks M'am! I sure do appreciate this!"

Aloysius shook her mane of golden curls, "It's no trouble. Come right in."

The man followed her into the living room and stood awkwardly next to one of the chairs until Aloysius invited him to have a seat. "Can I get you a glass of lemonade?"

The man's eyes widened "Wow, it's sure been awhile since I had lemonade. I never could resist it. Thank you M'am. Thank you very much."

Aloysius smiled again and left the salesman in the living room to prepare his wares as she opened the refrigerator and retrieved the pitcher of lemonade. She poured a tall glass of the delicious beverage and placed then returned the pitcher to its place, closing the refrigerator door behind it.

She wondered if the man might like a snack and decided just as quickly that she'd never once known a man to reject one of her cookies. She set a plate upon the counter and lifted the lid on the cookie jar, reaching her hand inside to gather one of the freshly-baked delicacies.

There was a noise behind her and Aloysius turned to glance over her shoulder surprised to see the salesman standing just inside the kitchen door, watching her. Aloysius smiled warmly and turned back to the counter to put the lid back on the cookie jar. "I thought you might like something to eat with your lemonade while we discuss those books."

"Fine idea, M'am." the man replied and then silence fell between them as she dusted the crumbs off of her hands on the nearest dish towel.

It was then that she felt something brush at her neck and she froze, the smile fleeing her features and sending shiver down her spinal column. When she felt nothing more for a few seconds, she wondered if her mind had played a trick on her and slowly moved to turn around.

The salesman was directly behind her, towering over her in his proximity. Aloysius jumped but tried to play off the awkwardness of the situation as she giggled nervously through her nose and tried to sidestep the man, to put distance between them.

He stopped her with a firm hand and used his other to rake through her blond curls at the side of her head. "You're awful pretty M'am."

Aloysius' brows knit together in concern, her mind reeling as it searched for possible escape routes from the situation she found herself in. His hand moved down to her shoulder, along her ribcage until it held her hip firmly against the counter behind her.

"Is your husband a soldier?" He asked, staring into her eyes with his own glittering blue ones. He wasn't wearing his fedora any longer and Aloysius almost gasped when she realized why he'd looked familiar. He was the man she'd seen on the street, not half an hour earlier, leaning against the newspaper stand.

"My husb --" her voice trembled and she took a deep breath to steady herself and call upon whatever strength she could muster. "My husband is a businessman. He will be home from work any minute now," she lied.

The man's lips lifted at the corners and his sandy hair wisped sideways along his brow. "You don't need to pretend with me Miss Bouvier."

Aloysius felt like she had been punched in the stomach. "How... did...?"

"I asked around," the man grinned and made a slow circle with his fingers at her hip. "Never hurts to know your customer."

Aloysius frowned, her eyes lowering as she shook her head slightly. "Don't do this."

"Oh now... that's no way to treat a guest Miss Bouvier. Where's that American hospitality?" he chuckled, his second hand sliding upwards along the front of her dress where it stopped upon her breast. He flexed his fingers and moulded her flesh below, her own body betraying her when her nipples pebbled beneath his hand.

"Please..." Aloysius tried pleading when all else failed her, as his hand left her hip and snaked up the inside of her thigh, toying with the bow on her garter that held her stockings in place.

"Oh don't worry M'am" his voice lowered as he rasped into the shell of her ear "You won't have to wait long. I'll get to the best part soon."

Aloysius felt her eyes prickle with emotion and she swallowed to keep the tears at bay, unable to stop the red rim from appearing around her eyes.

His hand slipped behind her and fumbled momentarily with the zipper on the back of her dress before he turned her around and pulled back the plackets of fabric. Aloysius leaned forward on the kitchen counter, her finger nails scraping across the surface as she felt herself stripped of her underclothes.

She told herself that it wasn't happening. That this type of thing didn't happen to people like her.

But no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't stop herself from feeling his fingers searching between her thighs. She couldn't repress the sensation of the kitchen tiles, cold beneath her naked shoulders, or his weight on her abdomen. She couldn't forget the feeling of him thrusting inside of her or the rasping sounds of his impending climax. She couldn't pretend that he had not held her thighs tight around his waist as he moved deep and hard within her, pushing her to the limits of pain tolerance.

She also could never forget the sticky feeling between her thighs after he'd gotten up and run from the house, leaving her broken and trembling on the kitchen floor. She would always remember watching a bead of condensation roll down the forgotten lemonade glass as she listened to her own heartbeat slow.


In the weeks following, several images remained printed forever in her subconscious.

There was the run in her silk stocking.

There was the small flap of scarlet red material, sneaking out the garbage can's lip - her husband having never been able to see her in her favourite dress.

There was the appointment and the way Dr. Friedman had smiled at her and patted her congratulatory on the hand.

There was the wind that howled outside of her bedroom window and muffled the sound of her wracking sobs that eased her into restless slumber.

There was the phone call, the whispered words in the empty house.

There was the woman that arrived in the late hours of the night with a stern face and a small black bag.

There was the bloodied sheets that had to be disposed of because no matter how hard she tried, they would never be clean.

There was the letter she'd written to her husband. 'Everything's been fine, I miss you terribly. Please come home soon. I love you."

There was the piercing blue eyes she would never forget and the day her innocence had never returned.

There was the child she would never know.


"And?" Father Flynn asks as his eyes search hers.

"I confessed it, Father." As the tears roll down her cheeks, Sister Aloysius remembers a time before the guilt. She remembers a time when the sun warmed her face and when strangers were just friends that had not yet been met.

She remembers a time of trust, of compassion, of forgiveness and enjoying a glass of lemonade on a hot summers day.