“Here we are,” she said.
They had done little more than shake hands when he entered the flat. She had spoken of her past life. Her second glass of wine was on the table by the bible open to Matthew.
“I nearly took the wrong turn-off,” said Mark, avoiding eye contact.
“Yes,” she said. “It´s a real maze.”
“Work day,” she said, pointing at his opened leather satchel.
“God´s work is never done,” he said, bending down to pat it. “I am his instrument.”
“Really?” she said. “My, my.”
His cheeks reddened.
“And you?” he said. He fingered the folded leaf of the page on which they had been reading.
“This and that,” she said.
“So you want to let God into your life,” he said. “I mean that´s why we´re here.”
“Only if he pays his share of the bills,” she giggled.
“Yes,” he said. “Ha, ha, ha.”
“Ha, ha, ha,” said he.
“It wasn´t that funny,” she said.
“I don´t want you to think I am all serious,” he said. “Even God laughs.”
She put her hand on his.
“Let´s go back to the reading,” she said.
She ran the curl of her thumb across the back of his hand making him quiver and commenced reading.
“Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren, and Judas begat,” she read out loud and then stopped.
“Carry on,” he said.
“Begat, begat, begat. They are all men´s names.” she said. “What is begat?”
“Look,” he said. “You can´t take it out of context. Read on.”
“Begat?” she said.
“It´s just a family tree,” he said. “It´s all leading up to the point. Begat, begat, begat, and then the Son of God. That´s why we´re here – you and me. It´s all part of the plan.”
“So begat is to father then,” she said. “To inseminate. You must think that I am really silly.”
She laughed again, a raucous belly laugh. “It sure makes sense. The whole world pulsing with blood, cum, and sweat.”
“No I don´t think you´re silly at all,” he said. “But that´s not the point, that´s not the point at all.”
“Begat?” she said. “It´s kind of sexist, too. Like, where are the mothers? The ones who went through labour. And don´t get me on Quote the husband of Mary unquote.”
“You didn´t have any intention of converting, did you?” he said. “You´re wasting my time.”
She stood up pulling her hand from his.
“I only came to the church because I wanted to meet someone. I am new to the neighbourhood, and you were a happy, clever face in the choir. And if you think that getting to know another human being is a waste of time then I badly misjudged you.”
“Know,” he said.
“Let me guess,” she said. “Knowledge is sex, right?”
“Only carnal knowledge,” he said. “The sins of the flesh.”
“And what do you know of the flesh?” she said. “Except what you read about in the pages of that damned book.”
“It´s actually blessed,” he said.
“Call it what you want,” she said. “Just tell me – do you want me to kiss you? The rest we can talk about.”
“I don´t think these things should be taken lightly.” he said.
“Five,” she said.
He stood up and took the bible in his arms.
He paused and looked her in the eyes.
“Stop this,” he said.
“You´re incorrigible,” he said. “You´re a Jezebel, a scarlet lady. I read about you. This isn´t Love – only God gives Love. This is lust.”
“Poppycock,” she said. “I am just a woman who wants a partner. And I see you as my partner. You´re strong, loving, and passionate. You´re attractive and thoughtful. I want you.”
He tried to move to the satchel.
“What do you know of Love?” she said. “A man who knows so little of people. You don´t know me. You just put me in the box marked, whore.”
“I know enough,” he said.
She took his hand.
“You don´t believe that?,” she said. “Do you?”
He saw that she was close to tears.
”No,” he said.
He put a hand on her shoulder.
”You´re a beautiful, wonderful woman.”
Then her mouth found his, and they exchanged hungry kisses.
“Let´s you and me take this to the sofa,” she said. “We´ll go as slowly as you´re comfortable with.”
The bible fell to the floor with a thump as the two wrapped arms around each other.