“Shit. Sevin. Harder!” she moaned.
The sound of police sirens on the street outside the hall vaguely registered. I pumped into her with all my might until she let out a familiar muffled scream, her mouth against the wall. That was when I let myself come.
Soon after, the coldness of reality would slowly seep in as we rushed to put on our clothes in order to get back to the church service before it ended. Soon enough, people would be filling this room faster than I’d filled Candace.
She fastened her last button, licked her lips and said, “My beautiful boy. Thank you so much. That was amazing.”
What had felt so good just seconds ago now made me feel sick.
The next fifteen minutes were spent doing what we were supposedly here for, setting up the tables and chairs.
The commotion in the church upon our return was a shock to my system. People were rushing around flustered. Bright red lights from emergency vehicles flashed through the stained glass windows.
My stepmother was wailing in a corner while my half-brothers attempted to hold her limp body up.
What was happening?
I spotted paramedics hovered over someone. It took me a few seconds to realize it was my father.
Preacher Thomas rushed toward me, stopping me from moving any further. “Sevin…son. I’m so sorry. Your father…he collapsed in the middle of service. The paramedics just confirmed that they couldn’t save him. He’s no longer breathing. He’s gone to be with the Heavenly Father.”
My father was gone?
It felt surreal. Amidst my shock, all I could think about was the fact that eventually your sins catch up with you. Bad things happen to bad people. Dad was a good person. He didn’t deserve this. But I did. This was my punishment, and it was a long time coming.
Candace stood frozen with her hands over her mouth.
“I’m so sorry,” the preacher repeated.
I looked him in the eyes and stood there speechless. I wanted to tell him that he shouldn’t be sorry for me. I was the sorry one. This was my fault. Because while my father lay dying, I was next door fucking the preacher’s wife.
The month that followed my father’s death was torturous. Being left alone in the house with my stepmother and half-brothers became a situation I needed to get myself out of. I just didn’t have an exit strategy yet. I’d been saving the wages I’d earned from working a maintenance job at the town stables, hoping to put myself through college and had planned to move away as soon as I had a little money in the bank. Now, with Dad gone, the need to get away from here seemed urgent.
My father, Brent, had been the only voice of reason, the only person I could somewhat relate to, even though he was pretty much brainwashed by my stepmother. At least he cared about me. My stepmother was cold, close-minded and never a true replacement for my own mother. Dad’s main fault was that he was weak and didn’t know how to stand up to Lillian.
My father married her five years after my mother died. Religion hadn’t even been a small part of our lives until Lillian came into the picture. She convinced my father to pull me out of public school so that she could homeschool me. She felt that being around public school children would have a negative impact on me because they came from families that hadn’t yet accepted Christ. Sheltering me was her way of making sure I was taught everything the way she wanted without outside influences. She’d teach us that life was about living in fear of God and that the Bible was meant to be taken literally. We had very little interaction with other children unless they came from strict Christian families. I had to get very creative, often sneaking away to hang out with the “regular” kids in the middle of the night or during detours taken on the way to run an errand for Stepmommy Dearest. My father went along with everything Lillian wanted. He was lost after losing my mother—his one true love—and fell easily into my stepmother’s web.
Dad and Lillian had three sons together, my younger brothers, Luke, Isaiah and John. They were the spitting images of their mother, blond clones of each other that resembled the Children of the Corn. On the other hand, with my black hair, dark blue eyes and high cheekbones, I looked exactly like a male version of my dead hippie mother, Rose. I stuck out like a sore thumb and never felt a bond with my brothers.
Feeling like I owed it to my father, I pretended to go along with all of Lillian’s rules. By all appearances, that made me the perfect Christian boy. In reality, behind closed doors, I was the antithesis of that. Lillian always taught me I could go to hell just for having inappropriate thoughts. She didn’t realize that very warning was what convinced me to act out in secret. If merely having impure thoughts would guarantee me a ticket to hell, I might as well have been gaining the satisfaction that came from acting on them.
A light knock on the door prompted me to shove the sketch I’d been working on under the bed.
Lillian pushed her way into my room. “Sevin, we have guests, and I’d like you to meet them. Do something with that hair please, put a clean shirt on and come downstairs.” She slammed the door shut.
I was in no mood to put on an act right now for her guests. Grabbing the sketch from under the bed, I took my sweet time finishing what I was working on before heading down.
With small circular strokes, I carefully shaded in the nipples of the breasts I’d drawn. This would be one of dozens of nudes I had stashed away in a box hidden inside a hole in the wall I’d drilled into the back of my closet. It seemed like I’d been drawing naked women since the beginning of time, but I knew the exact moment it started. In fact, a shrink would have a field day with it.