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The Best Moves

Title: The Best Moves
Part: 1/9
Series: The Best Moves
Disclaimer: Wholly original work.
Characters/Pairings: Full-Cast.
Rating: MA overall.
Summary: A young man named Matthew spends a month searching for himself in Toronto and finds an entirely new direction...
Notes: 2003's NaNoWriMo fic, now expanded and edited.

Matthew dug through the cart of infant clothing, looking madly for his pricing gun. He couldn't believe he'd managed to forget to grab it before dumping in another huge box of clothing and other baby items to sort - it wasn't a mistake he made often.

Well, often enough... But no sense in dwelling on that. It was the first time tonight, at least. That had to count for something.

He silently cursed himself as he tossed packages of yellow bibs to the front of the cart. Hed had such a good night so far...

"You okay, hun?" a voice asked, nearly startling Matthew. He thought he'd been thoroughly alone in the department.

With a nod, Matthew looked up to see Kathleen, the woman who usually took care of pricing and setting out the infant department. However the fates were against her and she'd gotten twice the shipment she normally did. And Matthew thought she was still in the back of the store, sorting her stuff from the rest of the clothing department.

"I buried my gun," Matthew said softly before turning back to realize a sub-floor of packages of bottle nipples was blocking the path to his pricing gun. He eyed it for a moment before...

"Here," Kathleen said as she yanked the cart away. With one motion, she retrieved it and handed it to Matthew.

"Thanks," he muttered before grabbing one of the bib sand going back to work. It was going to be a long morning.

"So you're my help, eh?"

Matthew had nearly forgotten how chatty Kathleen was. It had been months since he'd worked with her last. Lately he'd had the assignment of stocking the seasonal departments and that kept him away from all things clothing - Kathleen's domain. They usually afforded each other a 'Good Morning' at 3am when their shift started, but that was it. He liked her - she'd done most of his training. But they really had nothing in common aside from their job.

"I didn't get much today," Matthew said after a moment, referring to the amount of merchandise for his section that had come in on the daily truck. "And Tyler is finishing up the last little bit so I was asked to come help you."

Kathleen nodded before replying. "I need to finish up Boys and Girls first, but I'll be back."

She was gone in an instant, vanishing between racks of boys t-shirts on her way to her destination.

Matthew passed it off as being nearly surreal, as many things seemed to occasionally be at five in the morning. But he liked his job. He'd been there since December of the previous year and had already outlasted quite a few of his coworkers.

Sometimes the frantic pace and the undesirable hours were what made Matthew feel alive and worthwhile. Overnights at the discount store were... liberating.

He was nineteen and had no urge to return to the college he'd dropped out of. No major called out to him and he felt as though he'd been wasting both time and energy. And money.

His parents hadn't complained at all at his decision. They just asked that he find himself a job until he figured out what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. And if they could help, they said, they would do basically anything. He hated to ask, though.

With all the bibs removed from the shopping cart and hung on their correct peg, Matthew pushed his cart to the next aisle to take care of a mixture of other goods. He started humming along to the song playing over the store's speakers and almost lost himself between the music and a small pile of teething rings.

The contents of his cart ended up on the store shelves quickly and Kathleen had little to help Matthew with when she returned. Instead, he half-listened to her ramble about her kids until they were called up to the front of the store for their first break.

"Why the hell do people need so many different types of ink pens?" Tyler asked, sliding down into the seat across from Matthew. From the looks of it, Tyler had run afoul of one of those ink pens. Blue ink coated his hands and there was a smear of it across his green employee shirt.

"How did you..." But Matthew didn't get to finish his question.

"Bottom of a box with the corner bashed in. It didn't even start leaking until I picked it up," Tyler explained. "And I've tried washing my hands five times. It came off the floor without too much hassle, but me... If it has to wear off, I'm killing somebody."

Matthew tried not to laugh. Tyler was... Tyler. Enthusiastic, over-the-top, playing a clown for attention, and all around a good guy. A happy person. Someone Matthew was quite glad to be friends with.

Matthew envied Tyler's good nature. Not that he wasn't having fun, it was just that he felt a void within himself and he had no clue what that void was.

He'd decided it wasn't a companionship issue. He lived with his parents and younger sister who were politely available but not generally pushing into his life. He had Tyler to hang out with on days off. And though several of the day cashiers had asked him out on dates, a girlfriend definitely wasn't what Matthew was after. He'd honestly thought about each of their proposals, but he told them each the same thing: Until he figured out just who he was and where he was going, he didn't want to drag anyone with him. Besides, he'd had a girlfriend in college and that just hadn't worked for him. She was a genuinely nice girl, but... something just never felt right with her.

Listening to Tyler explain to the other workers about his battle with the Ink Pens of Doom, Matthew was glad he'd missed the entire incident. He wasn't exactly fussy, but he was glad not to have blue hands.

In all regards, it was a normal morning, carefree and quite a bit silly. By the end of the workday, he was jokingly modeling the purses he was supposed to be putting on shelves and Kathleen was laughing so hard she was wheezing. Even the handful of customers who'd trickled in to the store the second the doors had opened were getting a laugh from Matthew.

Still, at one junction Matthew caught a glimpse of himself in one of the store's many full-length mirrors. With four purses slung over his shoulder and his oversized uniform hiding most of his body, he could have passed as a tall, lanky woman. But that was partly because of his hair, too. It was getting long and so far he hadn't had any particular inclination to cut it.

Tyler had once told him he was kinda pretty, but Tyler had been half-asleep and also under the influence of Nyquil during a particularly nasty summer cold. Matthew supposed he could understand Tyler's words, though, if he squinted. He did always pause, quickly, when passing a mirror, to see if he could see what Tyler had.

His mother had once suggested he could model, though Matthew couldn't help but think she was just trying to make him feel good. His hair was no special color of brown and fell to just below his chin. The only thing keeping it from being completely boring was a slight wave that threatened to form curls when it or the weather was damp.

But none of that was important as Matthew quickly continued on and before Matthew knew it, it was almost noon and the entire overnight crew was being herded to the time clock to punch out.

"Coming over?" Tyler asked Matthew as his blue fingers flew over the time clock buttons, entering his employee number as well as a list of commands to show him every available bit of data he could get from the machine.

Matthew nodded, feigning a zombie walk as he stepped to the time clock. He wasn't horridly tired but he knew well enough already that he was probably going to fall asleep at Tyler's place. It didn't matter, he knew he was welcome.

"Should I pick up a new game then? I have some extra cash," Tyler said as he fumbled for his locker key in one of his pants pockets. His tan cargos had about seventeen pockets and so far Tyler had checked through eight of them.

"I want to keep playing Guilty Gear," Matthew replied as he entered his own employee number into the system. Almost nine hours... Not bad.

"You just think Bridget is hot," Tyler said once Matthew was standing beside him at the bank of lockers.

"It's not my fault he looks like a damned girl," Matthew said, pushing back his hair and easily retrieving a tiny silver key before Tyler had finished searching through his pockets to procure his own.

"The make game characters like that for a reason."

"Eh?" Matthew was halfway back into the main hallway.

"You get your sexy girls, girly men, and then a few brutes so the guy players don't feel all weird playing as a girly man," Tyler explained.

"But the girly men have the best moves," Matthew said after a moment.

Tyler pondered that. "You might be right."

Finally finding his key, Tyler grabbed his jacket and followed Matthew out of the store.

"Again!" Matthew cried, tempted to throw his controller and just admit that there was no way he could literally beat Tyler at Tyler's own game.

"You almost had me," Tyler said as he looked from the screen to Matthew. "You just need to work on your timing."

"I've been working on my timing for weeks," Matthew snarled before flopping backwards on the bed that they were both sitting on. A wave of exhaustion washed over him and he wondered if Tyler would mind letting him sleep over for a few hours.

It was as if Tyler could read Matthew's mind.

"Sleep, grasshopper. You will master the way of the fighter only with proper rest."

"I feel weird sleeping in your bed," Matthew replied, setting his controller on his stomach and putting his hands under his head.

"Didn't you have sleepovers when you were a kid?" Tyler asked as he started a single-player game.

"Not after I turned ten."

"My mother never let me. She didn't let me have video games either," Tyler admitted. "So I'm catching up on my childhood now."

Matthew sighed and rolled off the bed, only to stagger a couple steps and crawl into it properly. He'd done this so many times already it was almost like second nature. For the last few months he'd slept at Tyler's tiny apartment as often as he'd made it home.

Tyler had one of those rare beds that managed to serve as both a gathering spot and a sleeping spot with no confusion. Matthew sort of envied it. His bed seemed to be of the gathering spot variety as it usually contained his younger sister, Emily, wanting to tell of whatever eighth-grade adventures were currently occupying her.

She wasn't one of the old-for-her-age popular girls. Instead she had a boundless imagination, writing and illustrating her own short fantasy stories almost daily. These she always gave to Matthew and he secretly treasured them. Emily was a smart girl, just prone to enjoying her youth and not wanting to rush into the adulthood her brother found so frustrating and unfulfilling.

Matthew wasn't sure how long he lay watching Tyler pound away at his digital opponent, but it wasn't long before sleep washed over him and calmly carried him away to the land of dreams.

It was the same dream he'd been having lately. He was walking down a road near his house, yet he didn't seem to be getting anywhere. There was someone with him, but he could never remember the person's face once he woke. He just knew it was a calming presence.

A car much too large for the road suddenly turned onto the street, blocking Matthew and his companion's path. The car seemed infinitely large, blocking and delaying several other cars as well as Matthew.

And then he woke.

Matthew was a bit disoriented at first. He wasn't sure just where he was, only that someone was snoring lightly besides him. A quick check as he opened his eyes reminded him that the only person he knew who snored like that was Tyler.

Sure enough, Tyler had crashed on top of the covers, still clutching his controller as the intro screen for the video game cycled endlessly on the television. Matthew sighted softly. He didn't want to wake Tyler, who needed his sleep too, but he wanted to get up and maybe find something to eat, as well as empty his bladder, which seemed to be the real reason he was dragged back to consciousness.

As Matthew slipped from beneath the blankets, Tyler mumbled something and shifted his position slightly, but didn't seem to truly wake. Matthew tiptoed from the room, pushing the door so it was only open a crack before heading across the living room to the bathroom.

On the way back, Matthew strayed into the kitchen to see if Tyler had anything edible in his freezer. The pair had an understood rule that Matthew could eat whatever he liked as long as it was replaced in a reasonable amount of time. For a moment, Matthew wondered if he truly did spend too much time with Tyler and not enough time out in the world. But he was comfortable with Tyler. And Tyler was comfortable with him.

Matthew turned on the oven to heat and plucked a frozen pizza from the freezer. As an afterthought, Matthew realized the smell would wake Tyler.

Tyler was one of the most interesting people Matthew had ever met. Every one in public school had seemed so shallow to him. His closest friends had all vanished to different colleges and only one ever even bothered to e-mail. The only person at college that Matthew had really liked was one of his classmates. And she'd been the one he'd turned into a girlfriend, well, she'd turned herself into his girlfriend and... it just hadn't been good. He'd tried to explain, but she just kept wanting to insist it would work.

She e-mailed often and expected an in-depth answer to her every query. That frustrated Matthew to no end. He tried to imply that he just wasn't interested in trying a relationship again, but was unable to flat out tell her.

"Wuss," he said softly to himself as he stared at the little red light on the oven. When it went off, he could throw the pizza in, but not before that. That little factoid was about the only thing Tyler had managed to teach him about cooking, but it was useful.

Don't do anything until the little red light turns off. Had the massive car in his dreams had red lights? Was he waiting for them to turn off before he could proceed?

Leave it to him to turn his nightmares into something involving food.

He paced around, looking at the pictures on Tyler's fridge for a moment. The top one was a picture of the two of them after work, standing beside the mall Santa Claus. They'd barely known each other then, but their rapport was instant. The next picture was of Tyler and his girlfriend. Tyler's hair was longer in the picture, which meant it was an older photo. Tyler's red hair was now shorter and spiky. Sometimes Matthew thought Tyler looked like he'd come straight from one of the games he was always playing...

That's what had happened to Tyler's girlfriend, Matthew remembered. They'd had a fight about the amount of time he spent playing video games and she'd walked out. Matthew made a mental note to ask if she'd called lately, as that had been a couple of weeks prior.

The next two pictures were magazine pages of game information along with inked annotations and additions. Below them were four lone magnets holding nothing but themselves to the door. Two were from a local bank, Matthew noted, one looked like a fish, and the fourth was just the magnet and a bit of glue from whatever had been on it.

Looking back at the stove, the little red light was off. Quickly Matthew pulled the plastic off the frozen pizza and threw it in, right on the rack. He knew the instructions by heart - Tyler always bought the same type of pizza.

Instead of setting the timer, Matthew looked at his watch. Three-thirty-seven. And the pizza took twenty minutes. So... he had to figure out something to do until three-fifty-seven.

There was an old Playstation hooked to the television in the living room, but Matthew didn't want to get twenty minutes into anything and then have to stop. A few random gaming magazine were scattered around the room, and Matthew took it upon himself to gather them and return them to the shelves they belonged on. Tyler's living room, actually his whole apartment, was obviously the living space of someone who was having a second childhood. Between the games and action figures accenting the room, movie posters hung on the walls and all of the furniture was painted colorfully with less-than-authentic Celtic designs.

Some days Matthew wished Tyler had more room... Sharing an apartment would be more convenient for them both.

Magazines shelved, Matthew looked at his watch to realize he'd only killed three minutes.

With a soft sigh, Matthew flopped onto a beanbag chair in one corner and pulled a random book from the nearest shelf. It was a weird bit of science fiction, the sort of thing that the geeks in high school read. Or was it junior high? With Tyler though, it just seemed to be a part of him. Tyler was a geek culture encyclopedia at times, able to spout off rare trivia about all sorts of things most people had never heard of.

Matthew had gone through high school listening to whatever was on the radio and only reading vapid entertainment and sports magazines, if anything at all. He hadn't really fit in. Instead he'd vanished into the crowd, invisible for the most part. He'd coasted on autopilot.

He'd left college trying to figure out who he was and where he was going. It had been almost a year and he still didn't know. But he felt somehow closer. Watching the other employees, even Tyler, made him make notes as far as what he didn't want to end up being.

It was a start. It wasn't as though he could sign up for a three-week course on self-discovery. That would be handy though.

It had been ten minutes and Matthew realized he was still staring at the front cover of the book. He could smell the pizza now and knew that at any moment, Tyler was going to appear in the living room to see what smelled so good.

With seven minutes left, Matthew didn't want to start the book. He set it back on the shelf and stared up at the Lords of the Rings movie poster that hung above the bookshelf. Tyler had dragged him to the midnight showing of both the second movie and in truth, he'd enjoyed it immensely.

Four minutes left... Matthew got up and peered into the oven before remembering he had to flick a little switch to actually see inside. The cheese on the pizza was melting nicely and with a little luck, the pizza would only need three more minutes.

Wait, it already did only need three more minutes... Pacing around the kitchen one more time, Matthew grabbed plates from the cupboard and a pizza cutter from a drawer. Tyler was obsessive about using real dishes for everything, as paper and styrofoam was too expensive for every day use. A good plate would last for ten years, Tyler had explained. So he had an entire set of good plates he'd bought at work. They had snowmen on them, but it didn't really matter as they had been marked down to 70% off and were perfectly useful despite the snowmen.

"I wish I had a girlfriend as useful as you."

Matthew jumped, almost dropping the clearance snowmen plates. Tyler had a knack for sneaking up on him.

"Don't push it," Matthew said almost too harshly.

"Sorry," Tyler said, honesty permeating his voice. "Didn't mean it like that."

Matthew nodded before peering back into the oven. One more minute.

"I didn't mean to fall asleep with you, either. But you were putting off sleep vibes and I couldn't help it."

"Sleep vibes?" Tyler came up with the silliest things sometimes.

"Yeah," Tyler said. "You were just all curled up there, dead to the world. So your sleep vibes started crawling across the bed towards me, and, and..."

"You came to just in time to get pizza?"

Tyler nodded, watching as Matthew retrieved the pizza and turned the oven off.

"Just in time to sleep, I see," Matthew's mother said as she looked up from the book she was reading.

"I slept a few hours at Tyler's," Matthew replied, looking around for signs of any other family members.

"You two are really close, aren't you?"

"It's not like that, Mom," Matthew said quickly. For some reason it seemed as though everyone thought that he and Tyler had to be a couple instead of just really good friends. It wasn't the worst thought in the world, but it wasn't the best, either. Matthew just didn't think he liked guys that way. Or girls, for that matter. He was... pretty much uninterested. Which seemed incredibly abnormal for his age.

"I didn't imply anything," his mother replied. "But if I sent you on a mission to South America to assist earthquake refugees, you two wouldn't die without each other?"

Matthew blinked. His mother was always mock threatening to send him off. But for once she seemed serious about it.

"South America? Do they have e-mail down there?"

Matthew's mother didn't say a word.

"You aren't serious, are you?"

More silence.

Without another word, Matthew left the room. South America... It sounded boring. And uninspirational.

A quick perusal of his e-mail showed he had only three new messages. Two were from mailing lists he belonged to but neither of them was too interesting at present. The third was from Audra, his not-girlfriend. She babbled on for several virtual pages about one of her classes and then went into detail about the dream she'd had the night before.

"No red lights," Matthew said to himself before he hit the reply button.

He told her about playing video games with Tyler and about having to shelve infant clothing. His entire response was about three paragraphs compared to Audra's three pages.

Maybe, maybe she'd get the hint that he was barely interested. She was a cool friend, but as a lover, there was nothing there for him. Nothing at all.

His sleep that night was dreamless.

He slept past his alarm, which didn't really matter since he had the day off anyway. Though after glancing at the alarm clock, Matthew realized he hadn't even turned it on.

"Thinking ahead," he muttered before rolling over and trying to go back to sleep. But it was already after four and his body was demanding to be awake.

Stumbling from bed, Matthew almost crashed into the doorframe. He was never very agile when he first got up. It was like his body had to totally reset its center of balance each time. For a while, his mother told him it was part of being a teenager, but by now it seemed permanent.

"Shower," Matthew said as he headed towards the bathroom. That would wake him up. "And I need to stop talking to myself."

He stripped off his pajama bottoms before bothering to turn the water on. He stood there, naked in the bathroom for a minute until he knew the water would be warm enough to not cause him to squeak and leap back out of the shower.

There was a mirror a few feet away in even with the light from only the heat lamp, Matthew could see his body in detail. He wasn't too terribly tall, but not short either. His brown eyes looked odd in the red light.

Another red light. But this one was warm and comforting. Turning it off would mean the end of something good. So much for that theory.

Wait... Matthew paused with his hands on his stomach, tracing the lines of his almost-visible muscles. It wasn't as if he wasn't attractive. And he saw people he thought were good looking all the time. He just didn't feel that spark.

When the red hear bulb went off, he was supposed to proceed, wasn't he? Out into the world to find himself.

No textbook had ever explained how hard it really was.

Getting into the water, Matthew adjusted the temperature until it was absolutely perfect. He turned so he was facing away from the water and leaned back to get his hair wet. He liked his hair better wet since it behaved better that way. No matter how hard he tried, he always had a few strands that didn't want to obey on a daily basis.

Once his hair was wet, he reached for the oversized bottle of shampoo his mother had bought. It was almost a gallon of the stuff, but everyone in the family used it so it went quickly anyway. With a soft, content sigh, Matthew worked it through his hair.

Maybe he'd give Tyler a call once it got to be a slightly more reasonable hour of the day. They hadn't caught a movie in a few weeks. As long as no one thought it was a date or anything. Tyler had a girlfriend, and he had a girlfriend, kind of, so it wasn't as if there should be any basis for people to think otherwise. Did he just come off like that?

Picking up the bar of soap from the soap tray, Matthew paused. Maybe it was just his quiet personality or something that confused people. He'd had sex with girls before. Well, a girl. Audra. Of course, that had been a rather uncomfortable experience for him, even though Audra had proclaimed it as wonderful for herself.

He didn't want to think about that though. Not at all. It had been, as he had once described to Tyler, rather like fucking his sister.

Matthew made a face of disgust, both at the thought of actually fucking his sister and at the thought of sex with Audra.

But it was just that he had no clue who he would want to have sex with. He found a variety of people attractive but he had never really figured out if those feelings were at all sexual or just appreciative. He thought Tyler was good looking, but never had more than a handful of possibly sexual thoughts about him.

At that exact moment, Matthew started pondering the idea of masturbating. It would feel good and he needed something good at the moment. He needed something to clear his mind so he could eventually let the red light go off and all the other complex thoughts he usually had that went along with that.

"I'm too deep for my own good," Matthew said softly before running a soap-slicked hand over his penis.

He had himself to a state of obvious but only partial arousal within a few seconds, but his mind continued protesting with weird thoughts about him having better things to do than jerking off in the shower.

Still, it was better, at least for him, than jerking off elsewhere. In the shower he could easily wash everything away and not be left with any evidence. And in the shower it wasn't likely that he'd get interrupted by his parents or Emily. That had almost happened before - getting interrupted by Emily. But it had been four years ago. She'd learned to knock now anyway.

Then again, snuggled warm in a mass of blankets while desperately bringing himself to orgasm sounded rather inviting too. He considered doing it twice, once to sate the urge now burning through his body as he roughly stroked himself, and once just to do it free of the red light.

In his mind though, the red lights were fading and as he moved his hands around his hard, hot arousal he let himself slip into a more lucid state. He sank to his knees, letting the water pour over him as his mind started leading him through a complex fantasy.

He didn't know who he was with but he knew it was someone he cared about immensely. They were the one touching him, caressing him and kissing him in ways that no one ever had. Matthew didn't even know how he was imagining the feelings, but they seemed so real anyway. Sure he was still in the shower, but he wasn't alone.

With a muted moan, Matthew came almost violently. His eyes flew open and he couldn't help be entranced by his own semen leaving his body. A moment later he decided either was really gay or just a complete narcissist.

Then he tried to make the connection between the warm and comforting phantom lover and the guiding force in his dreams about the massive blocking car with the bright red lights. They seemed as though they were the same entity. For as much sense as he could make with his brain only half-working.

In love with his own dreams... Matthew hung his head as he stuck out his hands to rinse them free of the last traces of semen. He stayed kneeling on the shower floor for a few more minutes, until a trickle of soapy water ran down into one of his eyes and he went lunging for a washcloth.

Matthew had memorized Tyler's phone number the first time he'd heard it. It was a simple pattern of numbers, really, and he'd always had a knack for numbers or dates or anything of the sort.

"Hello," a female voice answered. Matthew almost dropped the phone. It was Tyler's girlfriend.

"Is Tyler there?" Matthew asked as calmly as he could.

"Yeah, but you aren't talking to him. He's mine for the day. Mine. You hear me you little freak?"

Matthew nodded before remembering he was on the phone.

"Give him my regards," Matthew said calmly before slamming down the phone.

Matthew sank onto a kitchen chair and stared at the half-eaten sandwich he'd made a few minutes before. He wasn't even sure what he'd done to piss her off so badly, but whatever it was, it wasn't the time to try to make amends.

"South America is lovely this time of year."

Looking up quickly, Matthew realized his mother was standing in the doorway. She had a small stack of books in her arms that she set down on the table as she walked over to sit down beside Matthew. They were all English as a Second Language books - Matthew's mother taught night classes at the local adult education center.

"I don't think I'm ready for that," Matthew replied, poking at the crust of his sandwich with one finger.

"Would you like a little vacation anyway? I had an idea last night while looking over one of my students' papers. She wrote about passing through Canada while on her way to the US," Matthew's mother said.

"Mom, Canada is a five minute drive," Matthew replied. It was the truth. They lived in a border town in Michigan that was separated from Canada by only a tiny bit of water.

"I'm not thinking about just Canada. I'm thinking of Quaker House in Toronto."

"Toronto?" Matthew echoed. He'd gone to Toronto in ninth grade for his class trip but he remembered little of the city besides the CN Tower and the theatre district where he'd been delighted to see Phantom of the Opera.

"I think it's a good idea," Matthew's mother continued. "And so does your father. Besides, it's been years since you've gone to Meeting. Maybe getting back in touch with your spiritual side is part of what you're looking for."

Matthew sighed and poked at his sandwich again. He'd been raised Quaker but had sort of slipped away from it over the years. He vaguely remembered hearing of Quaker House, owned by the Toronto Meeting to host committee offices and traveling Quakers.

"I can't afford to take time off work."

"Matty," Matthew's mother said, using his old nickname, "We can afford it. And I called the HR line for you work and got enough info to know what it won't hurt your employment if you take a bit of educational leave."

"You did what?"

"I'm sorry we arranged for all of this without telling you."


"If you're up for it, in two weeks," Matthew's mother said, smiling. "Enough time to get things settled at work and get your car tuned up. This has been in the works for a little while, Matty."

Matthew stared at his sandwich, unable to look over at his mother. He'd been set-up. It hurt. He'd had no say in what was happening.

"I don't want to go."

"Think about it," his mother answered before standing up to go. She left one book on the table, a new copy of 'Christian Faith & Practice'.

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