For those of you who read the original book, "Deathly Secrets" - this is the prequel.
This is Alexander Hale's story.
Seventeen Years Previous
"If you're caught cheating one more time, I can tell you that the consequences are going to be much worse than a dunce cap or extra classroom chores. This is the second time this week you've been caught copying someone else's work - and the fourth time this month! Before long, I'll have no choice but to expel you! Alexander, if I was any other teacher, you'd already be kicked out of the school by now!" Miss Kate exclaimed, hands on her hips.
Eleven-year-old Alexander listened to the whole shpeel with twinkling eyes. Yes, he knew he'd been caught, but honestly, Miss Kate was going on and on in such a comical way that he couldn't keep the smile from his face. Besides, he'd learned that flashing his endearing, lopsided smile to any of his authorities often earned him a little more mercy.
Miss Kate stopped short. "Why on earth are you smiling?" she asked, a hint of both weariness and amusement in her tone.
"Miz Kate, you have beautiful eyes."
Taken aback, Miss Kate didn't say anything for a moment. "If you think charm is going to win me over, you're wrong, Alexander Marcus Hale! Now come help me wipe off the slates!"
Alexander sauntered over to the first desk and began to wipe off the slate that sat atop it. The desk was right next to the teacher's desk, and he casually reached over and grabbed one of the molasses cookies sitting atop it - though he very well knew they were meant for prizes tomorrow.
Miss Kate observed Alexander's cookie-snatching and raised her eyebrows. "What are you doing, young man? Those are for tomorrow!"
Alexander stopped, eyes filled with innocence - too much innocence. "They were?" he asked naively - a little too naively.
But Miss Kate couldn't help but roll her eyes good-naturedly. "Fine, then. Just don't eat another."
Alexander stopped, voice filled with sincerity - too much sincerity. "I will never do it again," he vowed, but Miss Kate knew better.
"Be off with you," Miss Kate said, stifling a chuckle.
Alexander walked over, kissed Miss Kate on the cheek, and ran out of the schoolhouse - not without grabbing another cookie on his way out.
Miss Kate watched Alexander disappear, shaking her head. "One day, that charm's going to get you in trouble," she muttered affectionately.
She didn't know the half of it.