Adan glanced the GLBT center's door out of the corner of her eye and continued past for the fifth time around the block. Good thing I left early. Maybe I shouldn't have come with Ailin. She paused to take a long drink from her water bottle. Father Tom was right. Dignity was right. The priest I confessed to was wrong. Her lips started to move in silent prayer, going through the "Hail Mary" again, her fingers moving in her pocket if she counted the Rosary.
The sound of the large glass doors opening carried to Adan's distracted ear.
"Hey, Tom!" The woman holding the door smiled at Adan as their gazes met.
Adan paused. Maybe this was the time to finally enter the center?
The woman relaxed back onto one foot. "Coming in?"
"Me?" Adan gasped.
"Yeah. Wouldn't it be better than walking around the building again? My name's Prisca, Why don't you come sit with me and have some tea?"
Adan took the moment to study Prisca. Jeans and a t-shirt. What had she expected of "the people who'd go to a place like this"? But I'm such a people too. Combat boots graced the lithe woman's feet.
"Tea?" Prisca repeated, her head tilted as she studied Adan in return. "They have Irish breakfast tea here."
Adan giggled. "Sure, tea." She turned around and started toward Prisca. Not towards the center, towards Prisca. She stepped past the beautiful woman, her short buzzed blond hair startling. "And why'd you mention Irish tea?"
"Call it a lucky guess? Ciamar a tha thu?"
"But that's Scottish!" Adan protested, frowning at Prisca. "I'm Irish, you bold girl."
"You knew enough to say what it was." Prisca lifted Adan's right hand to her lips and gave it the softest kiss. "I figure since you're calling me bold, I may as well get the Irish and American usage in."
Adan felt her cheeks heat almost painfully and she lowered her gaze to the floor, hoping to get through Prisca's teasing.
"I was just testing you, my little Irish fire." Prisca led Adan to a large, white sofa. "I'll go get us tea. How do you take yours?"
"Sugar and cream please." Adan settled into the sofa. She dropped her gaze to her hands, as if she studied them. What I'm a doing here? Having tea with a woman? In a gay center? Mam would die of shame! She craned her head to spot Prisca standing at the cashier.
Prisca grinned at Adan and wiggled her fingers.
Adan dropped her gaze back to her hands again. She looks plain old American. How does she know Scottish? And that joke about bold? Have I stumbled into some gag show?
"Adan, was it?"
Adan shook herself out of her ponder to find Father Tom standing in front of her. "Yes, Adan. How do you do?"
"Mind if I wait with you?" He inclined his head toward the armchair beside Adan's sofa. "I have a meeting in a bit and the conference room is still closed for cleaning after the previous group."
Adan waved her hand at the brick red chair.
"So are you here for a group?" Father Tom continued in a friendly tone.
Adan opened her mouth, hoping she didn't look like a fish. "I... um—"
"Here's your tea," Prisca chattered as she placed two cups resting in saucers on the table before the couch.
"Hi Father Tom. Is there an interfaith meeting happening today?"
"Yup, Prisca. Good to see you and glad to see you having tea with Adan here. She could stand a mentor, I think." Father Tom threw a hard candy into his mouth. "I'm glad to see you out on your own, Adan."
Prisca took a sip of her tea.
"Ailin's studying for a big test." Adan turned her body slightly toward Prisca before explaining, "I've a twin, fraternal. He's named Ailin." She pushed down the tinge of apprehension she had at Prisca's grin.
"Now, now, Prisca, you don't need to scare Adan so. She's not all so worldly as you." Father Tom chuckled nonetheless, making Adan wonder at the inside joke she'd missed.
Prisca's grin didn't flag for a moment. "I take it you've never met an open bisexual?"
Whatever did I get myself into? "I may have been here just enough years that I don't have so much an Irish accent, but I'm not a rube."
"Whisht, Adan!" Father Tom admonished.
"It's okay. It seems I stepped on a sore subject for dear Adan here." Prisca patted Adan's knee. "What group did you think to try out, Adan?"
Thanks for the topic change. "Uh, I hadn't decided between the women's group or the general coming out group. Figured I'd go to what hadn't started yet when I got my gumption up to come in."
"Well we still have time to finish our tea and then I can take you to the women's group with me."
"I'd like that." Oh! Where'd that breathiness come from?
"How's The Queen doing?" Father Tom suddenly asked, pulling the women's attention from each other.
"He's good, been writing about how he integrates UU-ism and Norse Paganism."
Adan gasped. She's involved with another woman who's not even Christian?
"So I didn't mean to overwhelm you quite, but I am in a large family that practices responsible non-monogamy. The Queen who Father Tom asks after is one of the men I'm involved with," Prisca responded, her gaze traveling Adan's face as she spoke.
"One of?" Adan felt her expression rise into such disbelief even though she tried to temper the expression. She's been so nice to me. She sipped her tea, lest she managed to say something offensive herself.
"I said 'large family.'" Prisca smiled at Father Tom as he got up from his chair.
"I'll be seeing if the conference room is open. Adan, see you and Ailin at Dignity tomorrow?"
"Yes, Father Tom." Adan continued to sip her tea, enjoying the caffeine and the stress relief washing over her. When it was just Prisca sitting next to her on the couch, she murmured, "So I'm guessing that me just a few years out from a strict Irish Catholicism have little connection to what's in your life?"
Prisca shrugged. "I'm Irish, Scottish, although born and raised here in New York. I at least have a notion of where you've come from." She glanced at a wrist watch. "Another five minutes and we should go where the group meets."
"Okay." I wonder why she decided to avoid my question, even though she could tell it was one. Maybe tea again later?