"ALEXANDER MARCUS HALE!" Thomas Hale exclaimed as soon as Alexander walked in the door that night.
Why are people always yelling my name? Alexander thought to himself as he stepped into his house. "Yes, Dad?" he asked, nervous and hoping his voice didn't show it.
"What do you think you're doing out at 1:45 in the morning?"
Alexander was taken aback. "It's that late?"
"The problem isn't as much about the time as it is about the fact that you sneaked out of the house. Why did you sneak out, Alexander?" Thomas suddenly didn't look so angry as he did concerned.
Laura Hale was standing in the doorway, face overcome with relief at her son's return. "When I went to get a drink and saw you weren't in your bed, I thought you'd gotten kidnapped or ran away or something," she said, voice trembling.
Heart melting immediately, Alexander shoved his hands in his pockets and looked down at the floor. Whenever a female cried - be it a baby, his mother, his cousin, or a girl from school - he felt instantly protective of them. He didn't know why; it was just in his blood.
"What were you doing?" Thomas asked, trying to meet his son's eyes but finding himself unable to. Alexander was determined not to look anyone in the eyes. That was also in his blood.
"I swear, I wasn't doing anything bad," Alexander quickly interjected.
"But what were you doing?" Thomas repeated.
"I was with Miriam, but I swear, we were only walking and talking." Alexander stopped. "Well, that's not entirely true. I tried to convince her to go into the cemetery. But she refused, so we didn't."
Laura was instantly even more worried than she'd been before. "You were with Miriam?" she asked, voice breaking.
"Yes, but I swear - "
"Yes, we know you swear. We know you swear to all kinds of things, only to find out later that you lied to us!"
Alexander felt a wave of immense guilt sweep over him. "Mom, Dad, you don't honestly think I'd do anything bad like that, do you?"
Thomas cleared his throat. "We realize all the young girls have noticed you, Alexander. And we also realize that you haven't been the most trustworthy of all the young men."
Alexander's voice broke. "You honestly think I'd sneak out with a girl for disgraceful purposes," he stated in disbelief.
Laura broke into tears. "We're just looking out for you, Alexander."
Still overcome with the inability to accept that his parents thought so little of him, Alexander shook his head and made a move to walk up the stairs, but Thomas stopped him. "Alexander," he said, voice serious, "we have to talk."
"I still can't believe you'd imply that you don't trust me with Miriam, or with any girl, for that matter," Alexander shot back, deeply offended.
"Alexander - "
"No, Mom. You don't understand. I know I've cheated and skipped out on church and trespassed on other people's land - stuff like that - " here, he paused, voice trembling with sincerity. "But I swear - I swear to God - that I will never, ever make mistakes like what you're suggesting."
No other words were said as Alexander took the stairs two at a time and locked himself in his room.
So. That was it, then. His parents thought that little of him and his morals.
But I swear, I will never, ever do anything disgraceful with a woman. He shuddered. Especially not Miriam.
But we all know better.