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Lacey jogged over to my side.

"Hey!" She smiled, while my face remained still. "Who's this?"

Keith walked over, both of them standing by my side now.

"John," the pastor grinned.

Pastor John extended his hand to Lacey, she almost shook it before I slapped his hand away.

"Don't touch her." My voice was still and cold.

"Max-" Keith stepped forward, and god I wish he hadn't.

John looked over at him, then back at me. He was making the connection, I knew he was. I couldn't let that happen. I was no longer in the program, but seeing the Pastor's face shot me right back there, doing everything possible to convince them I had 'been cured.'

I wrapped my arm around Lacey.

"You can't touch her because she's mine. Right, babe?" I gave her shoulder a sly squeeze pleading her to go along with it.

All I could think about was Keith.

A boy that had only just barely accepted his sexuality, to be exposed to extreme homophobia so soon? I cared about him too much to let that happen.

"Right!" Lacey beamed. The girl was a stellar liar, what can I say?

Any doubt that was on the Pastor's face had completely washed away, and was replaced with a satisfied smile. I looked behind me at Keith.

He looked confused, upset, even a little hurt.


If only you knew

How much I truly care for you.

"I'm glad we could help you, Max. You've found a lovely woman, it looks like! We have a just God, there is not doubt in my mind your sins have been forgiven."

I smiled through gritted teeth.

Let me punch this guy in the throat.

I thought back to when I was bent over a table while being whipped, being locked in that room, my forced experience with Claire.

'Help'? None of that was help.

I shot my eyes to Keith quickly, hoping he could see the situation, he wasn't dumb, if anything he was the polar opposite.

He didn't know the entire situation, but he'd figured out enough to put on a fake smile and keep quiet.

Thank you...

Lacey tapped my hand that I had draped around her shoulder playfully.

"Well it was lovely speaking to you, John."

"Likewise." His eyes flicked to look at me, and they expressed one thing: victory.

He'd beaten me, through his extreme methods, he'd turned me straight.

At least, thats what he thought.

We turned around, my arm still draped around Lacey, walking away.

After turning the corner around a random building, I dropped the arm, ending the facade. I let out the breath I'd been holding.

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