Rhys John "RJ" Preston is Adina Rosario Cruz's fraternal twin. They never learn of one another but their paths do cross.
RJ was born with a physical abnormality. It is because of this condition that the physician attending his birth decided that rather than tell the birth mother she had twins, he would instead remain silent and sell this baby on the black market for profit. No one would be the wiser, right?
Right....for a little while anyway.
RJ is sold to a couple in rural Lebanon, Pennsylvania. His adoptive father is James Ezekiel Preston, the current Pastor of this small town's Baptist Church. He is the third in his family to hold this prestigious position. To the outside world, the Pastor is a pious man, dedicated to his congregation and his family. Or is he?
Married to Margaret Preston nee Brown for over a decade, the story behind his facade was an ugly one, and the adoption of RJ was just another piece to the stained glass window that barely hid the truth.
Margaret regularly suffered unimaginable abuse at the hands of the Pastor as did RJ. Pastor James Ezekiel is unrelenting with his punishment. This, in part, is due to his own dark past. He taunts, viciously teases and physically abuses RJ. He shoots him down every chance he gets. But RJ holds on to his love for his mother knowing he had to be there to protect her. RJ holds on to that love for her the way the Pastor holds up his bible during his sermons to cover up the lie that he is.
One day, while struggling with his own identity (as teenagers are wont to do while going through puberty), RJ snapped. He would no longer allow the tyranny of his father to continue; the tyranny that had now become so familiar that it caused him nightmares he preferred to his own reality.
"With his mother out of the room – he couldn’t let her witness what he was about to do – R.J. turned toward his father, the fury evident in his eyes. He seemed possessed by some otherworldly creature, just like the ones in his dreams and he could see nothing else in the room but his mother’s offender; his object of fury. All he knew was that he had a need to retaliate for what was done to him, to her."
The above excerpt gives you an idea as to what happens when RJ can no longer take the abuse. And just so you know, this is not the first time that he takes matters into his own hands in this manner. However, it is the first time that he did so under these circumstances.
Not only was he abused by his father, but RJ was also mercilessly teased by his classmates. He was always made to feel "less than" the people around him. But not Margaret. Margaret loved her son, warts and all and he knew it. But that could never be enough for him because RJ's demons could only be assuaged when he took control. At first he retaliated with animals. He had to learn how to cover his tracks and he did so -- very well -- during that stage of his psychological development.
Throughout RJ's life, he was on a journey to find satisfaction in the one area that mattered most to him. When he found himself in one-on-one situations where he felt ridiculed or disregarded, he retaliated the only way he knew how.
In order to fully understand what RJ is struggling with would take a reading of the story. I will stop here so as not to give away any spoilers :)
Suffice it to say, RJ's physical abnormality should not have been a reason for this mental development to occur.
Everyone is born helpless and defenseless -- dependent upon others to care for us. When something happens that changes that dynamic, and there is still one person who can make a difference, is it possible for that one person to see signs that a major negative change is going on in an adolescent's world? If so, is there anything that can be done to change the course of that negativity?
Next up: An analysis of the two sets of parents: biological parents Cruzita and Jesus Rosario and adoptive parents Margaret and James Ezekiel Preston