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Jake sat down on the couch and folded his hands together, his face alarmingly troubled and agitated.

"I'm getting worse," he anxiously confided.

"Why do you think that?" asked the therapist, leaning forward in his chair.

"She's never going to forgive me," said the young man, his voice trembling with emotion, "I know she won't."

"Who won't forgive you?" asked Dr. Jacoby. "Abby?"

"I'm not even sure if God can forgive me," he continued, burying his face in his hands. "Does God forgive all sins, or only some?"

"What are you talking about?" inquired the doctor. "What have you done that needs forgiving?"

"Don't you see it?" he cried, getting up in anguish. "Can't you see what I am?! It's tattooed all over me, and I can't get rid of it!"

"Sit down," instructed Dr. Jacoby, seeing that his patient was becoming more and more agitated. "Whatever is wrong, we'll handle it together. Calm down and breathe slowly. That's right. Do you want to start at the beginning?"

"I read a verse this morning," began Jake. "It's from First John, chapter three: 'Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.' I don't think I have that confidence, and I don't know what to do!"

"What is your heart condemning you about?" asked the therapist, in a gentle voice.

Jake had been eager to tell someone in the hopes of ridding himself of the burden he was under, but when the moment was actually upon him, he became frightened. He got up from the couch and walked to the door, his hand ready on the doorknob. Jake wanted to leave, but a still small voice sounded in his heart, so that the young man slowly returned to his seat.

When Abby came back from her training session with Dennis that Saturday afternoon, she was surprised to find Jake and Dr. Jacoby waiting for her in the living room of the little yellow house. Both men stood up as she entered the room, and from their serious looks, Abby knew something was wrong.

"What is it?" she asked, dropping her tackle box and fly rod onto the floor by the front door. "Where have you been, Jake?"

"Abby," he began, his face flushed with shame, "I have to tell you something. You're going to hate me, but I must tell you."

Dr. Jacoby's usually placid face was wrinkled with sadness, as if something were about to happen which he was unable to prevent. Abby sank onto the couch, trying to brace herself for bad news, but nothing she could do would've prepare her for the shock that she was about to receive.

"My heart is pounding so hard, I can barely hear myself speak," mumbled Jake. "Abby, I didn't want to tell you this, but it's not fair to keep it from you. You deserve to know what I am."

Jake paused, and looked up at his beautiful friend.

"Abby, for most of my life, I've been gay."

The young woman opened her mouth in shock, unable to say a single word. She looked to Dr. Jacoby, who was waiting to see what her response would be. Abby stood up and then sat back down. A flood of thoughts raced through her mind as she tried to understand what she had just been told.

"You tell me you're gay," stammered Abby, "but your file is filled with accounts of incest, prison rape, beatings, and unspeakable acts of cruelty that I can't even bear to think about. Are you trying to tell me that you were a willing accomplice to your own torture?!"

"Abby," said Jake, "you don't understand."

"Please," she argued, "just answer the question. Were you forced against your will, or not?"
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