He read, “if a spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife who has defiled herself; or if a spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife, though she has not defiled herself.” He was a priest so he was unmarried but he couldn’t deny that he had the spirit of jealousy on him. It had been there since Carla told him that she had seen Fabrizio and Genet together at the Morelli’s family restaurant.
After Carla left, he stood there in the sanctuary for a while and then, he went into one of the pews and knelt in earnest prayer, asking God to forgive him for his jealousy and to help him to overcome. He was there praying for a long time and then, he left and went to his quarters. Sleep evaded him for a while and he lay there staring up at the ceiling, thinking. Suddenly, the words, “Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent, But who is able to stand before jealousy?” came into his mind. He closed his eyes and said to himself, “I can stand before jealousy by the grace of God.” That thought comforted him and he finally went to sleep.
When he got up that morning, he tried not to think about Fabrizio and Genet. He tried to keep busy and his mind occupied with other things. When he was free, he took his Bible and went up the loft which had become his favorite place and sanctuary. He prayed and then read. Two and a half hours later, he left the loft. It was while he was on his way down, that he opened the Bible and read Psalm 62:5, 6: “For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.”
He blessed himself and then closed the Bible. He continued on down the stairs and instead of going to his quarters, he went out into the garden, after leaving his Bible in the office.
Genet was waiting for him. “Hello,” she greeted him with a smile which faltered and then faded when he didn’t smile in return.
“Hello.” They went to a secluded part of the garden. She stood beside the flowers, breathing in their sweet fragrance. The sun cast a soft light on her face as she looked at him.
“It’s a lovely afternoon, isn’t it?”
“I took the bus instead of the train because I wanted to be above ground so that I could enjoy the sunshine.”
Father Morelli didn’t say anything.
“What’s the matter, Roberto? You seem a bit upset.”
“Upset? Why should I be upset? What would I be upset about?”
“I don’t know. That’s what I’m trying to find out. I know you and I can tell that you’re upset about something. I’m not going to stop asking until you tell me what it is.”
“Carla came to see me yesterday.”
“Carla? Why did she come to see you?”
“She wanted to tell me that she was moving to Milan because of a job and to invite me to her farewell party.”
“Is that why you’re upset?”
“No. I’m not upset that Carla is leaving Rome for Milan. Why would I be upset about that?”
“Then, what is the reason?”
“She mentioned that she was having lunch with her mother at my parents’ restaurant.”
“Yes. I saw them.”
“She also mentioned that you were there with Fabrizio and that he introduced you to them.”
“Yes, he did. Carla is a lot prettier than I thought.” She had been jealous of Carla without even meeting her and when she finally did, she was thankful that they were no longer dating.
“Why were you there with Fabrizio?”
“He called me and invited me to have lunch with him.”
“I thought you and he were history.”
“As far as our relationship is concerned but now, we’re just friends.”
“What about him, does he want to be just friends?”
“It’s what I want.”
“And what if he wants to be more? What if he wants to be your boyfriend again? What are you going to do?”
“I will tell him again that I don’t want to be his girlfriend.”
“Why don’t you do Fabrizio a favor and stop seeing him altogether?”
“Is that what you want?”
“I think it would be the decent thing to do, especially if he still has feelings for you. It wouldn’t be fair to continue seeing him, making him hope for something that isn’t going to happen.”
“Is that the only reason why you want me to stop seeing him?”
“Isn’t it enough?”
“Not if it isn’t the only reason.”
He dragged his fingers through his hair. A tense expression was on his face as he returned her steady gaze. “It isn’t,” he admitted tautly.
She went over to him and stood inches from him. “What is the other reason, Roberto?”
For several minutes, he seemed to be struggling with himself and then, reaching up, he cupped her face between his hands and covered her mouth with his. After recovering from her shock, Genet put her arms around his waist and eagerly kissed him back. The feel of her soft lips inflamed him and his kisses deepened, became more passionate. Under the cassock he was hard. His loins were on fire.
Suddenly it began to rain. They broke apart and sought shelter. They stood there, breathing heavily as the rain fell while the sun continued to shine. It lasted about 10 minutes and then, he said, “I’ll take you home.”
“I read somewhere it’s good luck to be out in a sun shower.”
Father Morelli didn’t answer. They walked to his car in silence. After he dropped her in front of her apartment building, he drove straight back to the parish. He headed right for the sanctuary to pray.
Source: Cambridge Dictionary