Next thing Alexander knew, his father was hauling him inside. At Thomas' command, Eve came inside, too. She was trembling from head to toe, but try as he might, Alexander couldn't deny the fact that he was rather angry with her.
"Someone tell me what is going on!" Thomas exclaimed.
Laura came downstairs, face troubled. "What's going on?" she asked, then paled when she saw Eve. "Eve, what are you doing here?"
Eve burst into tears, though Alexander could tell they weren't entirely sincere.
"I can explain - " Alexander said, but Thomas cut his words off.
"Yes, you will explain!" Thomas roared.
Alexander couldn't blame his father for his anger. He took a step forward, away from Eve. "I told Eve to come meet me tonight. She didn't want to, but I told her I wanted to see her. I swear, we didn't mean to kiss. At least, she didn't." His voice trembled. "I did. I kissed her, even though she didn't want to. It's not her, Father." His soul burned with shame, even though most of the blame fell on Eve. "It's all my fault."
If Alexander had been hoping for some show of honor on Eve's side, his hopes were dashed. When he turned to look at her face, she showed no sign of gratitude. Instead, she nodded, agreeing with Alexander's statement that none of it was her fault.
Laura's face was pale. "Alexander, you realize what a disgrace it is to even take a walk alone with a girl in daylight. What you did is inexcusable in society, and - "
Alexander interrupted. "That's all you care about, isn't it? Society! What other people think of me! I know I don't meet you expectations, Mother, but maybe I don't care about other peoples' opinions as much as you do!"
Alexander's explosion had come as a complete shock to even Alexander himself, and he took a step back when he'd finished. He paled. "I didn't mean..."
There was total silence.
"Eve," Laura said quietly after a long pause, "you'd better go back home."
Eve nodded nervously, though Alexander could tell her nervousness was all a show. "Yes, Ma'am," she said, voice timid. "I'm so sorry."
"You're not the one who needs to be apologizing as much as Alexander," said Thomas. He nodded to the door. "Go home, Eve. We'll talk to your parents in the morning."
Eve nodded again, chin quivering. Without a word, she fled the home, slamming the door behind her.
The silence that followed spoke more than all the words in the world could have said. Finally, Thomas asked in a voice low with both worry and rage, "You asked her to come here? You kissed her? Why did you want her to come, Alexander?"
Alexander knew that so much as holding Eve's hand would have been disgraceful. Kissing her was unthinkable, especially at night. In secret. Alone.
"I don't know, Father. I wasn't thinking."
"I'll say you weren't!" Thomas exploded. "What am I going to do with you, Alexander?" He shook his head. "It's past midnight. Go to bed. We'll talk about this in the morning."
Thomas and Laura headed up the stairs, leaving Alexander alone in the sitting room. Just before Laura disappeared out of range of sight, however, she turned back to meet Alexander's eyes. "Alexander..." she said softly, her tone betraying the tears she'd been trying to hide.
"Mom, I'm so sorry." Alexander lowered his head, unable to look his mother in the eyes any longer.
When he looked back up, she was gone.