There are some things one can get used to, and sex with men who don't care about you is one of them. Father Cash had genuine regard for me, though, and that was a problem. It wasn't so much the act itself; I knew what he liked and could get him off pretty quick. It was the afterward that bothered me, when he pulled me into his arms and toyed with my hair, murmuring about his priestly vows and calling me his Magdalene. The first few times he had done this, I tried debating him, but quickly found that this only encouraged him to talk more about religion and our "relationship." The best way to not feed his fantasies was to keep things all business.
Tonight, though, he surprised me. "What am I going to do, Judith?" He sighed and pulled me to his chest, where I could hear his heart still beating fast. "I want to do right by Sella, but this isn't the place for her."
"She needs to go home," I agreed, hoping he hadn't been thinking about his niece while he was fucking me.
"Something is wrong there, too."
"Yes. I'm worried that she and Sella may both be in danger."
"Do they have enemies?"
His body shifted under mine. "Lena is a good Christian."
That didn't answer the question, and he knew it. "There's always room for misunderstandings," I offered.
Father Cash's arms clenched tightly around me, but it was clear his mind was elsewhere. "There are evil people in this world."
My mind drifted to the deceptions and lack of judgment that had landed me here, selling any service I could offer. I crossed paths daily with some of the most rabid degenerates in a town that was known for them, but somehow I sensed that the evil Father Cash was thinking of ran deeper than a little drug-dealing and prostitution. Without meaning to, I shuddered.
"Are you cold, dear?" His hands rubbed the gooseflesh from my skin. "Before I turn in for the night, I'll bring you an extra blanket."
I started to protest, but then thought better of it. Father Cash's greatest pleasure in life, besides women, lay in offering kindness. And besides, what position was I in to refuse a gift of any kind? An extra blanket would be welcome.
"What should I do about Sella? She can't lie on my couch forever, and I can't look after her all day long."
"Therapy?" As soon as I said it, I knew it was the wrong thing. He had no money for fancy doctors. "I suppose I could try talking to her, like you asked. Maybe get her outside for a walk or something."
Although I couldn't see his face, I knew Father Cash was smiling. "I would consider myself greatly in your debt."
I shifted so I could look at him. "No guarantees. I'll do my best to draw her out, but if she doesn't want to communicate, there's only so much I can do."
"I understand," he said, his eyes ablaze with gratitude. "I know you'll do your very best."
I sighed and lay back down in the circle of his arms, not sure where his confidence in me came from, and feeling fairly certain I wasn't worthy of it.