Peyton let out a slew of curse words as she bumped her head on the window pane. She bit her lip to hold in a frustrated grunt and continued to push her huge duffle bag and the rest of her body through. Being careful of any sounds she made, Peyton quickly slid back the screen and closed the motel window. She let out a sigh of relief and scanned her surroundings. "Not the best motel in town to sneak into", she thought, "but at least it's rodent free." She walked over to the bed, sat down, and proceeded to strip out of her wet clothing; her soaked biker boots, her jeans, a jacket three sizes too big, an oversized flannel shirt, and a drenched tank top and bra. Once she was down to her panties, Peyton walked into the grimy bathroom and flipped on the light. She started running a bath and glanced at herself in the mirror. She ran her eyes down her curvy frame.
"Not too big, not too small," she assessed.
Peyton was a cool 5'7, with plump breasts, and a flat stomach. Her tight, size ten jeans disagreed with her full ass and thick legs. Peyton glanced at the array of stretch marks over her lower back and sides.
She let out an "Ugh!" in disgust.
She ran her fingers over the spider-web design on her deep brown skin. Finally, she looked away, shed her panties, and stepped into the warm spray of the shower. She moaned softly as the steamy water cascaded down her body. She bent her head forward and let the water wash over her short, pixie cut hair. God, I have missed warm showers, she thought. She picked up the soap and ran it down her neck to her lower abdomen. She lathered up with her hands and washed all over. She sucked her bottom lip between her teeth as she passed over her sensitive nipples. She bent down and rubbed the soap over her legs, stopping at the junction between them for just a moment.
"Don't go there," she said aloud and stood straight again.
Once she felt clean, Peyton rinsed off and grabbed a towel. She shut off the water and headed back into the motel room. She glanced at the digital clock on the night stand. 12:47 AM. Sighing, she grabbed lotion and underwear from her bag and got ready for bed.
Once she was all dressed and under the covers, Peyton closed her eyes and listened to the sound of the rain outside her window. She used to love the rain. But then again, those were the times when she couldn't run from it.
Peyton had snuck back out of the motel by five o'clock and was back roaming the early morning streets. She walked around aimlessly for hours before approaching a giant gothic cathedral. The scent of cornbread and pie wafted through the air. Man, I love Sundays, she thought.
She walked around the side of the church and her suspicions were confirmed: A Sunday Potluck. Suddenly getting very nervous, Peyton clutched her bag close to her side and walked slowly towards the back of the church to find the festivities. She smiled at the various colors of the men and women's Sunday best. She tried hard not to chuckle at the big feathered hats.
"Thank the Lord God Almighty that the rain stopped, "said one of the patrons. "This potluck is perfect with these after-rain blue skies!"
Peyton noticed that the woman speaking was holding a serving dish of golden cornbread and her mouth began to water.
"Mabel! Can you help me with the Boston cream pie?" she heard another female voice say.
Boston cream pie! Peyton felt her stomach rumble and pressed her hand against it. The last thing she had eaten was a package of Ho-Hos and a Red Bull from the morning before.
She looked around a bit before she spotted a priest setting out plastic plates and cups. Timidly, she tapped his shoulder. The little old man looked up at Peyton and smiled a genuine smile. It had been a while since Peyton had seen one of those, and she returned it quickly.
"Uhm... Father," she spoke quietly. "Is this a private potluck or...?"
The man chuckled a bit. "My dear," he said. "All of God's children are welcome."
He handed her a plate and pointed her to where the buffet line began. Peyton attempted to control her salivating and tensely filled her plate; grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, cornbread, catfish, Mac and Cheese, and a second plate to hold a slice of pie. She carried her food over towards the priest and took a seat next to him.
"Thank you," she said shyly, and smiled once again.
While Peyton was stuffing her face, Pastor Donavon took a moment to really observe the newcomer. The sun shown bright against her smooth mocha skin and her hair was cut quite short, a deep black color with bangs over her eyes and short up-curls in the back of her head. She wasn't too frail but her eyes showed that she hadn't had a good meal in quite a while. Her eyes showed deep thought and sadness. Pastor Donavon was happy that at least a meal could ease her pain, even just a little. He glanced down at her attire; the oversized black dress, jacket, and boots didn't give a sign of much money, nor did the tattered duffle bag she kept near her.
"My name is Patrick Donavon," he smiled, "but everyone here calls me Pastor Donavon. What's your name, child?"
"Peyton," she answered between bites.
"What a pretty name," he said sweetly. "May I ask, dear, are you from around here? I've been in this neighborhood for years and I've never seen you before."
"Nope. Just came here."
"And your family? Did they move with you?"
"Are you here with anyone else?"
"If I may say, dear, aren't you a bit young to be on your own in a big city?"
"My point exactly."
Peyton looked up at the grey-haired priest. He looked around 60 years old, with a sweet face and kindly eyes. However, she didn't like the questions.
"I'm fine on my own, pastor. Look, if you want me to go-"
"No, no, dear. I'm just curious, is all. I apologize. I didn't mean to pry."
Peyton relaxed a bit. "It's fine," she smiled to reassure him.
"May I ask one more question, dear?"
"If you're here alone, where are you staying? At the university?"
Peyton stopped eating."No, sir," she answered quietly. Pastor Donavan saw her expression become downcast.
"I understand," he said softly. He placed his hand gently on hers, and smiled once more.
"Well, child, the Church doors are always open. Always." Peyton smiled back.
Hours passed and Peyton spent the time getting to know Pastor Donavon. She learned that he had worked at the church, St. Michael's Cathedral, for 16 years and not only spent his time preaching, but helping with community events, like the potluck. He told her about the volunteers who helped with running the church, working at different events, and aiding the sick and lost. He told her about the extra rooms they had for people who needed shelter at nights.
"The cots are small, but they're warm and dry," he'd told her.
Peyton caught the hint. Once everyone had feasted and left, Peyton stayed behind with the volunteers to help clean up. The whole day had seemed like a stroke of good luck. Time slipped away as she chatted with the kind pastor. There was even a moment where she forgot her situation; but only for a moment.
Once night fell, Pastor Donavon showed her to one of the rooms. It was quite small, with just a bed, closet, and window.
"I'm going home now, dear. I-"
Before he could finish, Peyton wrapped her arms around him in a hug.
"Thank you," she whispered. He patted her back.
"Now, now, don't worry about it. You can stay as long as you like. You will have to help around the Church during the days. The other volunteers will help you feel right at home."
Peyton gave him one more squeeze before letting him go. Once the pastor had left, Peyton sat down on the small cot and looked out the window. This was home, for now.
Nate Tennison stretched his 6'5 muscular frame and sighed deeply. It was only Wednesday and he was already tired of work. He did love owning his own construction company, but the business part of it got him down. He also had a lot on his mind already.
He glanced down at his watch. 4:56. He decided to pack it in for the day. He gathered his paperwork into his suitcase and took the elevator down to the underground parking lot. He smiled bright at his black 2010 Chevy Camaro, a twenty-sixth birthday gift to himself for owning a successful company at such a young age.
Instead of driving home like he intended, Nate drove to the church he'd always gone to as a child; St. Michael's Cathedral. Within the 40 minute drive, the dark clouds turned into storm clouds and began pelting down against his car. Nate parked and leisurely strolled into the rain; he absolutely loved the rain. He was soaked by the time he reached the door. He didn't particularly care about his suit at all; he was never really into suits anyway.
He walked in and inhaled the musty scent of old wood and dust. He smiled down at the pews he once sat on with his mother. He heard soft music and looked up to see the children's choir practicing hymns. He waved at them and walked past to the kitchen.
Nate stopped dead in his tracks. The girl in the kitchen had been startled by him and now stood staring like a deer caught in headlights. She was African American, with full cheeks and pouty lips that Nate got his eyes stuck on. She sucked her bottom lip between her teeth and Nate stifled a groan. Realizing that they'd been stuck like this for almost a minute, Nate cleared his throat.
"This way," she answered sheepishly and led the way. Nate followed her to the pastor's office.
"Thank you," he said quietly. The girl didn't answer, but turned on her heels, and headed back in the other direction. Nate shook his head and knocked the door.
"Come in," he heard a muffled voice say and he walked in. He smiled at the familiar face of a dear family friend.
"Nate! How are you, my boy?" Pastor Donavon beamed as he stood from his desk and gave Nate a hug. Nate bent down to hug the old man.
"Hello, Padré Don. How are you?"
Pastor Donavon chuckled. "Fine, fine," he said. "God is blessing us generously. Your mother was sad about not seeing you at the potluck on Sunday."
"I know. But you know how it is, with work and all."
Nate chided himself for the lame excuse. He was avoiding his mother for a different reason.
"Did they hoard her Boston cream pie?"
"I'm sure we can find a piece for you," the priest chuckled and sighed. "Not that I'm not happy to see you, but why are you here, Nate? I haven't seen you since the funeral."
"Yeah," Nate's throat felt tight, "Well, I have a moral dilemma."
"I'm all ears."
"You see," Nate began. "The other day I was driving to work and I pasted the clinic, as usual. But that day, there were protesters. They were protesting the abortions."
The Pastor gave him a knowing nod."Did it bother you seeing that?"
"Well, yeah... and no," Nate sighed. "I mean, I know that I am pro-choice but after what happened with Addison, I saw the picketers out there and I didn't feel supportive or against them."
"Well, son, your plight is a grave one indeed, but these are feelings that will confuse you until you deal with the death of your son."
Nate tilted his head at the pastor. "I have dealt with it."
Pastor Donavon didn't look so sure.
"I have!" Nate exclaimed, raising his voice more than he meant to. The pastor just looked at him sympathetically, which angered Nate more.
"Look, I just came for help," he said, exasperated. "You obviously have none for me, so I'll be on my way." Nate turned to leave.
"What?" Nate answered without looking back.
"Have some pie, son."
Nate nodded and walked out the door. He was going to storm through the kitchen, but remembered the girl. He entered quietly and saw her setting out a platter of cookies, probably for the choir kids. She was pleasantly humming as she went about her business. Nate stepped forward and she looked up at him. This time, she smiled. Nate took note of how cute she looked smiling. I bet she looks cute doing everything, he thought.
"Everything go well?" She asked.
"Yeah. The Padré wants me to get some pie."
"My nickname for him."
The girl nodded and turned around to the fridge. She bent down, searching. Nate couldn't help but eye her round, heart shaped ass. He walked closer to the island counter and got a better look. Though her dress was a bit loose, he could still see the curve of her sweet bottom and he felt the blood in his head run south.
She stood up and brought out a pie tin with one slice left.
"You're in luck! The last slice." She turned and grabbed a plate from the cupboard. Nate watch her attentively, oddly fascinated by the fluidity of her movements. As she transferred the pie to the plate, a bit of cream got on her finger. She placed a fork on the plate and passed it to him. Before he dug in, Nate watched as she stuck her finger between her soft looking lips and sucked the cream off. The way her lips wrapped around her small finger made him shift in his seat.
"Thank you," he said, trying not to sound in pain. "My name is Nate, by the way."
"Peyton." She answered curtly and went back to pouring milk in the little cups for the children.
Nate was a little put off by this. Women usually swooned around him. He wasn't an egomaniac, but at 6'5 with a lean, muscular worker's body, short, brown hair, sun-kissed tanned skin, and dark blue eyes that you could swim in, Nate knew he wasn't ugly. He decided to turn up the charm.
"So, Peyton. That's a pretty name."
"I guess," she said, not even looking up.
"Does it mean anything special? Like 'beautiful woman', perhaps?"
"I have no clue. Does Nate mean anything? 'Sweet talker', perhaps?"
"I have no clue," Nate smirked.
Peyton glanced up at him and smirked herself. She went back about her business and neither of them spoke while Nate ate. When he was done, he got up and went around the counter island to the sink, standing right next to Peyton. She had been trying to play it cool until this delicious Nate fellow left, but she was now painfully aware of his presence. She looked up at him, but he kept his eyes on the dish he was washing.
"Aren't you cold?" she asked suddenly. "You're really wet."
"Oh," he said, looking down at himself. "Yes, actually. I guess I've been ignoring it."
Peyton turned around and left the room for a moment. She came back with a towel, and stretched out her arm to hand it to him.
"Thank you," Nate said as he reached for the towel. His fingers brushed against hers and, for a second, all he could feel was the electricity radiating from her skin.
Peyton gasped quietly and quickly retracted her hand. Nate stared down at her for a moment before wrapping the towel around his neck. As he dried off his head, Peyton took a second to admire the shape of his body as his shirt clung to every muscle. She wondered what he did to maintain such perfect abs. She wet her lips at the thought. Nate pulled the towel from his head looked down to see her staring at his body. He smirked inwardly.
"Thanks, again," he said loudly enough to interrupt what he knew were dirty thoughts. He set a big shit-eating grin onto his face and could see that his presence was making her flustered.
"No problem. Excuse me." Peyton said as she tried to pass him to tell the children the snacks where ready.
They both moved left and she ended up closer to him. Her chest wasn't more than three inches away from his. She could feel his warm breath tickle across her skin. She looked up into his eyes and saw that they'd lost their humor and were now dark and serious. She suppressed the urge to swallow, but held his gaze.
Nate inhaled her scent of vanilla and seemed to feel the warmth emanating off her body. He lifted his hand and gently stroked her cheek with his thumb. He began to lean down and Peyton hooded her eyes, expecting him to kiss her. Instead, she felt his breath on her neck as he planted a kiss just beneath her ear, against her jaw. Peyton gasped, as she felt like his lips had scorched her. She pulled away.
"I-it was n-nice meeting you, Nate," Peyton stuttered. "Goodnight."
She grabbed the trays of snacks and went back out into the main church hall. Nate stood for a moment, processing what he'd just done on impulse. He closed his eyes and licked his lips, savoring what little of her sweet taste he'd gotten. Her reaction brought a smile to his face. He thought of her as he strolled out; this quiet, gorgeous woman whom he'd just met, but craved like he'd know her for ages.