Code words exchanged. Confession almost over.
"By the way, Father Quanon. You were right. There was no boy." After showing him my tattoos, Basil turned and left without a word. The following day, he didn't show up. That was hint enough for me. He was always too clean cut anyway. I should have known better.
"Don't sound so surprised." My voice cracked. A twisting, branching fissure folded my heart in on itself each time I remembered the pained expression on Basil's face before he pivoted out of my life. Fitting, as I continued, "I was mistaken. Cleansers aren't meant for love. Right? Anyway, any special orders from the Society? I'd like to start looking into my transfer option." I couldn't handle seeing Basil. Not like this.
"Nothing. No. You're, you can, I guess I would just miss you," he said, stumbling over his words more than I'd ever heard.
"No attachments," I answered, giggling, forcing the joke. He chuckled then sighed. That felt better. I left the confession booth, letting the door muffle close behind me.
Father Quanon hadn't the heart to tell Abby the truth. He'd followed her two more times. Two more times the Elders plucked his memory. Three times disobedience. Too late she'd ended things. He still sat in the confession booth an hour later, staring at the Society's orders to present Abby to them. An inquisition had been called. His heart ached at having made the biggest mistake of all. Not because she'd cared for the boy, but because he realized how much he'd grown to care for her, too.****
Uh oh. Now who's admitting to forbidden emotions?