"This is my cousin Syn," Sampson says.

Cousin? We dated off and on for years. When the FUCK did I become his cousin? I want to roll my eyes out of its fucking sockets. I guess there was a reason he was lying to this woman.


She is a Latin woman I assume. She looks a little like Eva Longoria if Eva Longoria were a little bit more of a basic bitch. It's not that this lady is ugly. No. She's beautiful. She has a real humble kind of beauty though. She has on a sun dress with ugly flowers on it and no makeup. She smiles a little too wide. She's probably a 10 in whatever stupid ass city this was but she'd probably be a nice 7 in a big city. She is shorter about 5'2".


"Family? Oh my god," she says, "I'm so glad I get to meet more of your family. Come here!"

The woman leans forward. She grabs me. She pulls me close and I guess attempts something like a type of hug. It fails miserably because I'm awkwardly standing there like a dead plank of wood. I look behind this lady and see her two kids standing there. They are staring up at me. They are both young. I'd say 6 and 4. The girl was a little older. They look just like Sampson. It hurts. It's painful. I shouldn't give kids nasty looks but I'm mean mugging the FUCK out of these kids while their mother attempts to squeeze some emotion out of this hug.


The mother fails and awkwardly backs up.

"I'm Dahlia," she tells me.


A basic name for a basic girl.


"Of course you are," I respond.


She doesn't know how to take it. I can see her eyes searching for some sort of understanding as she looks at me. She doesn't get it and she gives me this weird awkward laugh as though assuming I'm making some sort of joke that went over her head. When I don't return the joke she just smiles, weakly attempting desperately to save this first impression.


"Dahlia, why don't you take the kids inside while I catch up with my cousin?" Sampson says.


"Of course. I'm hoping you can join us for dinner," Dahlia smiles.


She reaches over and touches my shoulder. I look at her hand on my shoulder. I stare darts into it and squint wondering why she thinks she is that comfortable to do something like this.


Sampson smiles at his wife. He kisses her. It makes me sick to my stomach. I literally think I am going to cry. Chaney can sleep with a million men. It didn't hurt like this. This was something different. This was something deeper. This was the most turning pain I'd ever felt in my life. No crazy scheme came to mind. I could never go there with Sampson. Sampson was above that kind of bullshit. Sampson was the reason why after 7 years I could never find happiness.


Sampson takes me out on the porch. The cold Southern wind is ripping in the air. The breeze whispers slowly towards us. It tickles me. As I look over his porch there is nothing but farmland. This had to be some sort of joke. What the fuck did Sampson know about farmland?


"I need to know if you are going to start some shit around here," Sampson tells me.


"Relax. I won't tell your wife that you are gay," I respond.


I can't help but to sit next to him in one of the lounge chairs. He's beautiful sitting there. He is in his late 20s. He's looks more physically built then before. He looks a lot manlier too. His copper skin seems to have more texture to it. He looks like a country boy now. He jeans are ripped. There are several rips, a few right below his crotch area. His legs look like fucking horse legs. They are strong and solid. I can't help but to stare at them. He must notice it as well. He stares out into the nothingness.


"She knows...I had a troubled past," Sampson.


Strange use of word. What kind of shit is that?


"I'm sorry I never told you that I needed to leave," he explains, "I'm sorry that I never called. I just couldn't. I couldn't face you. Maybe that makes me a coward."

"Fuck you."

"Excuse me?"

"Listen fuck you and your excuses. Just give me a one-way ticket out of corn country and I'll be out of your hair."

"You're in trouble."


"Syn. We both know T-Boy. He may not have to be my blood brother for me to know what's going through his mind. We both also know that T-Boy is desperately in love with you and always will be. He wouldn't have just left you...especially with me. Not unless he had to."

T-Boy and Sampson weren't blood brothers. Sampson was adopted by T-Boy's mother...who was also my godmother. None of us were related by blood but we all had deep ties and a lot of history. Sampson and T-Boy never really got along and the reason was clearly because of me for the longest reason. Love triangle was a little bit of an understatement when it came to the relationship between Sampson, T-Boy and I.


"I may or may not be involved in a homeland security hoax," I tell Sampson.


"Please...don't tell me anymore," he shakes his head.


I shrug.


"Suit yourself."

"Syn. You can't stay here. It's not a good idea."

"You think I give a shit. Did I ask to stay here? T-Boy just fucking left me here said some bullshit about you being the only one that can deal with me."

"I can't deal with you."

"Clearly. You abandoned me as soon as shit got tough."

He looks at me. He gets up out of his seat. I think he's going to approach me but he doesn't. Sampson crosses his arms. He has a cold demeanor about himself. He isn't going to let me in especially not now. There is something holding him back in all this.


"I'm not the same man that I used to be," Sampson explains to me taking his sweet time to let the words come out, "I didn't leave you because you were too much to handle. I understood your personality. I didn't hate you because of it."

"But you ran."

"I found God."

I look over at Sampson.


"As in he was lost or hiding or..."

"Syn. I'm serious," Sampson explains to me at that moment, "I couldn't live a life of sin any longer. One day I got my calling Syn. And I found God. And no matter how much I cared about you or how much I wanted to make you happy it started to eat at my soul. Deep inside I realized that I could no longer be with a man any longer. Deep inside I knew that I had another calling in life. I couldn't be Syn's Sampson any longer. I had other sheep I had to lead."


I always knew Sampson was bisexual. I met him dating a female. I liked to think I was the one who actually turned Sampson into liking guys in the first place or at least as far as seriously dating went. Sampson was sitting here now and telling me something else completely though. He's telling me that he's straight.


"So you're not gay anymore? For Jesus?"

I didn't know much about the bible. I wasn't very religious. Did I think there was something bigger out there? Yeah. I sure did. I didn't know what it was but right now whatever it is was really pissing me off.

Sampson struggles to explain whatever the fuck he's trying to explain to me, "I've given up a lot of things for Jesus."

"Prove it."

I take a few steps towards him. I can't help myself. I grab Sampson by his biceps. I damn near faint when I see how hard those biceps of his have become. They are amazing. He's so strong. He's so powerful. I hold him for a while. Sampson and I are the same height. We look dead in each other's eyes. Our lips are perfectly synced. He breathes me in. He doesn't push me away.

A part of me wants to tempt him and go for a kiss. I just stand there though. I just stand there and touch his bicep. Then I think about the fact that he left me for all these years. I think of the fact that he just destroyed my life when he left.


I'm angry. And I think about something else.

For the first time in my life I think about how angry I am.


I think about maybe it's time that I show Sampson how fucked up life can be when you hurt someone so completely like that. Maybe it's time I teach him a lesson.


"What are you doing?" he asks me.


He doesn't step back. He just stares at my eyes. Those eyes of his are torching mine. There is something there. He can deny it for God or Buddha or whoever he believes in, but he can't deny it for me. I feel flames. It's the same flames from 7 years ago. There is passion there. It may not be all positive. There is anger. There is resentment. There are a lot of things that aren't good right now but they are all there.


"May I stay with you?" I ask him, softening my tone and deciding maybe I should take a step back, "For a while..."

"Syn... that's not a good idea. I have a family now. I'm a different man. It's been a lifetime."

"Will you leave me on the street?"


"Man of God like you to abandon someone in need?" I ask and pout my lip a little bit, "Please Sampson. I need your help. T-Boy was right. Only you can help me."

And only I can hurt you.


Sampson struggles at that moment. He looks at me with those eyes of his. That boy next door swag never left Sampson even as he took on the Country side of things. He still has this sweetness to him. Sampson was always the better part of me. The bad thing about being separated with your better part for so long is sometimes you end up becoming a much worse entity.


"Just for a short while," Sampson tells me, "OK. You can stay for a short while."


"I saw a pool house not too far from here. I can stay out there if I'd be too much trouble here."

"Actually I don't own the pool house. My neighbor does."


"You don't think it'd be weird me staying here."

"What's weird about it?" he asks me.


The fact that we used to fuck like rabbits in heat was weird. But I digress.


I shrug, "I guess I'll stay if you insist."

"I insist you stay and get yourself together. I don't mind."



"Thanks Sampson," I state, "This means the world to me."

We stand there for a minute. We aren't sure what to do. I think he is about to lean in and hug me then he remembers who I am to him so he stops, and seems to be praying under his breath and instead just shakes my hand.


"There's something I need to tell you first," Sampson tells me.


"More kids?" I ask.

"Not exactly," Sampson responds, "Syn. I'm actually a priest..."

So that's why he left me. It came down to it. The calling that he got was literally a calling to be a man of God. He abandoned me for the church.


So he was a good guy and he was also a priest.


I wonder if that meant I'd be going to hell twice when I destroyed him...



Finding out Sampson was a priest wasn't the worst thing in the world. Sampson wasn't just a good guy. He was a damn good guy. He had the best moral compass of anyone I knew. When you compared the shit that me and T-Boy did growing up Sampson literally looked like an angel.


Little did he know he just let the snake into the garden.


"What the fuck you looking at?" I ask the little girl standing at the door.


Sampson's daughter is standing there. She's literally followed me throughout the whole house when Sampson shows me my room.


"You can't say bad words."

"You can't say bad words," I mock her in a funny voice, "It's a tough world out there little girl. You'd better step your pussy up now or you know what will happen?"


"There's monsters. They'll find you and they'll rip your motherfucking heart straight out of your chest. You understand. And no one will feel sorry for you. Ever. No one will ever come save you. You'll be on the side of the road bleeding until there is no blood left. Because you know what little girl? People can't live without their hearts. You just can't. So you better protect that little heart of yours. And stop being such a fucking pussy now before it's too late."

I'm not sure if it clicks to the little girl. I think she just hears monsters and decides that she should run away. I'm pretty sure she looks a little upset.


Yeah. This wasn't going to be as boring as I thought it was going to be.


The room that they give me is on the other side of the house. I'm sure Sampson does that on purpose. He's attempting to separate himself from me on purpose. He's attempting to keep me as far away from him as he possibly can. The room is a decent room. It's not classy or big. It's what you would expect in a fucking farm plantation home. It's beige with brown curtains. It smells like oatmeal. I put down my suitcase.





I walk downstairs later that afternoon and hear a familiar voice. I recognize the voice almost immediately. Great.

I can't help but to start laughing.


"You need to get rid of him. He's trouble," the voice says, "Jesus Christ Sampson. What were you thinking letting him stay here with your family?"


Ms. Nicole. Sampson's adopted mother. I had no idea she was down here. It made sense though. Ms. Nicole was the fakest of the fake. She was my mother's best friend and had taken me in when my parents died. When she found out that I was fucking her son...well Ms. Nicole wasn't exactly team Syn. She hated the idea of having a gay son. I wonder if him becoming "straight" again was a relief to her. I wonder if that made her think that everything was back to normal. She was probably glad at least one of her sons had given her grandkids since T-Boy had turned into a huge FLAMING gay guy.


Now all of a sudden the boy who she blamed for both her sons dipping into sin was back in her life. I can understand why she's panicking. I rather enjoyed it.

"I can't just kick him out on the streets," Sampson says.

It sounds like Sampson. He cares. He cares so much it's kind of fucking scary.

"Yes you can. And you SHOULD. You have a family now. Sampson you have such a good heart. Syn is...trouble. Sampson, you know that. He's not your responsibility. You can't save him!"

"Ma. Please stop talking about him like that," Sampson explains, "He's upstairs and so is Dahlia."

I walk into the kitchen.


"Sampson's right, Ms. Nicole. Speak of the devil and he appears," I state.


Ms. Nicole looks like she sees a ghost when she stares at me. She has this fake smile on her face all of a sudden. This bitch was such a pork chop. That's the only way I can describe her. She was a pork chop. Pork chops look like steak. Some of them have that same sizzled charcoal look to them, but when you bite into them you realize you've been duped. This isn't fucking steak. This is some fatty, disgusting meat that no one really likes.


"Syn. Oh my god. I've missed you so MUCH!" Ms. Nicole says.


She walks across the room her hands outstretched.

I hold out a hand in front of her, "I'm allergic."

"To what?"

"Bullshit," I tell her and maneuver away from her.


"Syn... don't start," Sampson tells me.


"Oh please. As if the two of you weren't sitting down here talking about me," I explain shaking my head.


"Nothing bad," Ms. Nicole explains before quickly changing the subject, "So how have you been? Is Tommy ok?"

"Why don't you ask him?"

"He doesn't answer my calls."

"Then I guess that means he's better than ever," I shake my head.


"I see you're as charming as ever," Ms. Nicole says.


"I try," I respond, "Sampson can I talk to you?"

"I can't talk right now Syn. I'm going to the church. I have a Saturday service I'm running."

"Great. I'll go with you..." I explain.


Ms. Nicole and Sampson exchange looks. I swear I see her mouth something off to Sampson. She's so fake that she won't say it out loud. Sampson seems to catch whatever she's saying though. There is an awkward level of distaste that seems to be shared between them.


"Syn. I don't really think that is your...crowd."

"What? I get along with everyone," I state.


Ms. Nicole spits out her orange juice at that moment. She chokes on it a few times and brings up her napkin to her face, "Excuse me."

Sampson gives me a smile, "Syn. The people in this town are really not like the north. And even up North people didn't really get your sense of humor. The city of Briarswood is very high society. Everyone is on their best behavior at all times. Everyone knows one another. Everyone is very well behaved. Um. Syn. Do you understand the point I'm trying to make?"

I shake my head, "No."

"Syn he's trying to tell you that you don't fit in and that people are religious here and you are bad for business," Ms. Nicole says, "In the nicest way possible of course..."

"That doesn't sound nice," I tell Ms. Nicole, "Isn't church supposed to be open for everyone? I want to praise God."

"Syn you don't want to praise God," Sampson explains, "My religion isn't a joke..."

"I'm not laughing. I'll be on my best behavior..."

"I promise. Listen. I haven't seen you in how long? I just want to spend some time with you. I just want to talk," I start off.


Sampson looks over at me. He doesn't trust me. I know he doesn't. Nicole is staring at her son. She cares so much about her image. The idea of me going to Sampson's church seemed like something she wanted to avoid at all costs. She was damn near begging Sampson not to bring me at that moment but Sampson just shakes his head at that moment.


"Ok," he says.



"Yeah. Ok."

The car ride is awkward. I can't stop looking at Sampson. He's so fucking handsome. His hands are on the wheel. His eyes are staring out.


"I always thought it would be me and you," I tell him.


"I always thought it was going to be me and you with the white picket fence. I always thought that we'd be the ones making it. You know?"

"Tell me you don't feel anything towards me."

"I'll always feel something for you," Sampson responds almost immediately not looking at me, "You know that, Syn. Don't say stupid stuff. We have history. We both know that. I've never denied that."
"Then why run away from someone you are in love with."

Sampson shakes his head, "I have a calling."

"Man fuck your calling Sampson. Look at me."

"Syn I'm driving."

"Sampson look at me."

Sampson pulls over to the side of the road. He has his hands on the wheel. He seems stressed. He just stares out for a couple of seconds. There is this tension in his eyes. It takes him a while to peel his eyes off the wheel. Slowly he turns towards me and then his eyes lock on me. I watch his chest take a deep breath as our eyes connect. There is this deep connection.


"I wanted to let you know something," I tell him, "I wanted to let you know that I forgive you for leaving me..."

"I didn't ask for your forgiveness."

"You didn't have to," I explain to him, "Sampson...I love you. I always will. You only find one love like we've found in your lifetime. You can't run away from me forever."

Sampson turns away from me. He grabs onto his chest. He doesn't say anything but he just sits there for a second as though thinking about something.


He pauses. He hesitates. He closes his eyes.


"Tell me."
He takes a deep breath. I can literally hear the struggle within him. I can hear the fight that he's having. The stress is something that he can't fight off.


"I don't want to talk about this now."

I nod and look out of the window. There was a reason Sampson left me and never said goodbye. There was a reason that he didn't want to talk about this now. He had bottled up his emotions somehow and buried them so deep that he was hoping that he would forget about them. He was hoping that they wouldn't matter.


The church was huge. It's the biggest church I'd ever seen in my life. Why someone would have a church this big was beyond me. What was even weirder was that this was the hangout for this Briarswood. People in the town just came to hang out at the church as though it was the thing to do. I walk past people who call Sampson, "Father Sampson" as he walks through the church. He is some sort of local celebrity. This was their lives. They lived in the church. Everything was the church to these people.


|The service is awkward. I'm sitting next to this boy who is really sexy and I honestly can't stop looking at him. He is young...maybe in his late teens. He has to be about 19 or 20. He is tall with dark skin. His eyelashes are long and flatter up making his eyes seem intense. Other people have been looking at me since I've come into the church but he's been consistent with it.



Sampson goes around introducing me to the members of his congregation. I try my best to channel my inner Ms. Nicole and seem as fake as possible. I don't want to seem like the asshole that Sampson just assumed I was.


"Syn. I'd like to introduce you to Deacon Wesley," Sampson explains, "Deacon this is my cousin Syn."


Deacon Wesley was a good looking guy. He has curly hair and light brown skin. There was something about him that I didn't like. I can just look at his eyes and see it. I don't know. I have a 6th sense. Maybe it is the way that he looks at me. Maybe it's the fact that he reaches over and shakes my hand.


"Sampson you're my best friend, you never told me that you had a cousin," the Deacon says, "Is this the Syn that you used to talk about when..."

Sampson gives the Deacon an elbow.

"Best friends?" I ask, "You didn't know Sampson had a cousin and I didn't know he had a best friend."

The Deacon smiles snidely, "Sampson and his secrets I guess, huh?"

There is something about this guy. There is something weird about how he just glares with a strange intention behind his eyes. He has this glossed over look.

"I don't like you."

The Deacon gives me a look as though seeming somewhat confused.


"Uh---excuse me."

"Your face is...what's the word?" I state, "Punchable."

"Syn!" a voice says, "There you are..."

It's Ms. Nicole. She isn't alone. She has Dahlia and the kids with her. I don't know when they showed up but the fact that they are at the church now seems annoying. Looking at Dahlia and these kids of hers was even more annoying. It was just a reminder that someone got to Sampson before me. I know that wasn't the politically correct way to think. Why blame his wife and kids right? Well I'm not a politically correct kind of fucking guy.


So FUCK Dahlia and FUCK her little snot nosed brats.


I look over at them completely annoyed. The Deacon just looks over at me.

"Ms. Nicole," The Deacon says before turning to Dahlia, "How are you Dahlia?"

"We're good," Dahlia smiles.

"Dahlia do you mind taking Syn with you guys?" Sampson asks.

He's trying to get rid of me. He's embarrassed. I am just telling the truth. There is something about the Deacon that I don't like. I can't put my finger on it but I will.

"Should I introduce him to the congregation?" Dahlia asks her husband.

"No just...sit him down. Alone."

Dahlia seems confused but it's Ms. Nicole who grabs onto my arm, "C`mon Syn. Let's go wait for the sermon to start."

It's clear Sampson doesn't trust me in his church alone. I sit with Ms. Nicole and Sampson's family towards the front of the church. It feels awkward that they are all here.



Sampson is on the stage with what looks like his Deacon, who is the number 2 in the church, I guess. The choir is singing these loud hymns. One thing I can say about Sampson is that he's definitely a passionate minister.

There is a point of communion. This is the part of the service where you drink wine and eat a piece of bread. I guess this is supposed to symbolize drinking the blood of Jesus and eating his flesh. It sounded like some sick kind of cannibalism as far as I'm concerned.


The ushers go row by row telling people to get up. When it comes to my row I realize that the boy whose been staring at me is standing right behind me.


"What you looking at?" I ask the boy, "You want me to sign something or..."


"I haven't seen you around here before," the boy says.


"I don't really believe..." I explain.


"In God?"

I explain to him, "Oh no. I believe in God. I just don't think a two-thousand-year old book from the desert is going to able to explain him to me."

The boy raises his eyes at me, "Oh my god..."


I shrug. I can tell I just blew this kid's mind. I watch as he goes over and tells his friends. They are all young college looking kids. I kneel over at the podium and I can tell I am amassing some sort of following with these college kids. They are staring at me like I am the devil himself. I wonder why the fuck they are staring at me so fucking hard.

It's annoying and rude. I'm trying my best not to be rude but these kids are acting like I'm this big outsider. And I don't like this shit. I'm being judged. It's clear.


Sampson walks over wearing this long white robe. He goes from one person to another with his goblet of wine and there is a guy next to him passing out the bread.

"The body of Christ," I hear Sampson saying as he goes down the line.

I look over at the kids staring at me. I want my fucking face back. This is annoying. I hate being stared at. It was a pet peeve. If someone wanted to stare at me I'd give them something to stare at. That's my motto. That's how I thought.


"The body of Christ," Sampson says to me.


He smiles almost seeming happy that I am participating in Communion. He hands the goblet of wine to me that symbolizes the blood of Christ. As soon as my lips touch it I start to SPAS!



Sampson drops the cup on the ground at that moment.


My eyes get wide and I start to have a conniption on the floor. The kids looking at me seem to be spazzing the fuck out. They are screaming at the top of their lungs especially when I spin my body around and start crawling towards them like some low budget horror movie.

"Your mother sucks cocks in hell!" I'm quoting the Poltergeist.

I don't know what happens but I see a bunch of the kids who were staring and talking shit all of a sudden turn around and run off.


I get off the floor and brush myself off.

Job well done.

"Just joking," I tell Sampson, "Now...where were we?"


Sampson doesn't seem to find what I did funny. Him and Ms. Nicole grab me and pull me into a room at the church. Ms. Nicole is going crazy.

"I told you. I told you this is what he would pull. The ENTIRE church looked at him react to the wine like that," Ms. Nicole said, "Hundreds of people saw that. Sampson. Aren't you going to say something. Aren't you going to say something."

"Stop screaming," Sampson tells his mother.


I look over at her, "Really. It's not that serious. I was just messing with some kids. Have a sense of humor."

"A sense of...a SENSE OF HUMOR?" she asks, "I HATE YOU! I HATEEEE YOU SYN. Why didn't you just stay away! Why didn't you just---DIE!"

Sampson looks over at her shocked she says that.

"Tell me how you really feel..."

Ms. Nicole is so mad that she's shaking. I've never seen her that upset. She really must have started a great life for her down her. The idea that I can come into town and fuck that up so quickly seems to be getting the most out of her. It was just a joke. I mean sure people might feel a little scare and shocked about it, but they were staring at me. I was just giving them a show.


I didn't mean any harm.


Or maybe I did. Hell I don't know why I did a lot of the random shit I did.


I admit it. I just liked to fuck with people sometime.


Did that make me so bad?

"Ma leave..."

"You're defending him?" Ms. Nicole explains, "You always defended him Sampson. Always. Some things you can't defend. This is church and he's taking it like a joke. And you let him get away with it."

"Leave us alone together MA!" he says, "I'm not going to ask you again."

Sampson was sexy when he was so forceful. He looks over at Ms. Nicole. There was always something desperately sexy about Sampson when he got defensive. It was always cute because I have to admit that he would go to crazy lengths to defend me. He would go to crazy lengths to make sure that I was safe, even against his mother.


I can't help but to smile.

"I knew you still loved me," I explain taking a step towards him, "I have to admit you look so sexy in your robes. I always wondered if you guys were naked under these things."

I'm touching Sampson on his robes. Sampson grabs my hand. He holds it tight. He grasps it real tight.


"Don't touch me."

"Sampson you're hurting me."

He releases my hand and pushes me away, "I don't love you Syn. You staying here was a mistake. You need to leave. Now."


"Get out my church. Get out of my city. GET OUT OF MY LIFE!"

My heart breaks at that moment. Sampson was looking at me with this face. He was beyond pissed. Sampson doesn't just walk over to me but he walks over to the door and he opens it. He fucking opens the door so that I can leave.


As soon as I walk out of the door Sampson slams the door behind me.

He's so pissed.

I'd never seen him like that. I guess I was a real threat to his life here. I guess he really would rather not have me in his life at all then to deal with my bullshit. And he wanted me gone.

"Fuck you Sampson," I say from behind the door.


He doesn't reply.


And I mean it. I honestly mean it. I don't need this shit. If he didn't want me here I would leave. I would get the fuck out of dodge.


I start walking attempting to find a way out of the church.


I get lost at that moment. This place was such a fucking maze. I had no idea where I was headed. I end up making a few turns and find myself more lost then I was before.


I open a door.


That's when my mouth drops.


I see Deacon Wesley and he's having SEX! IN THE FUCKING CHURCH! AFTER A SERVICE!


It's not only that.

My eyes get wide and I whisper, "Interesting." to myself.


I'm not leaving town anytime soon after seeing this.


The person that Deacon Wesley is having sex with is Sampson's wife, Dahlia!


TO read the next chapter in advance go to