The Prequel, Chapter Nine

He'd been going to get one of his father's doctor's utensils sharpened when she'd caught his attention and started talking to him as though nothing had happened the night before.

"Alexander, where are you going?"

Alexander fixed his eyes straight ahead and shrugged Eve's hand off his shoulder. "None of your business," he muttered.

Eve gave a low laugh. "Come on, Alexander. I thought we figured out awhile ago that we're, you know, together and all."

Alexander stopped short and grabbed Eve's hand, pulling her into an alleyway. He didn't care who saw them together. What must be done, must be done. "Eve," he said angrily, "I don't know what game it is that you're playing, but I'm finished with it. You knew perfectly well what you were doing last night, and I - "

"What was I doing?" Eve asked. "Don't tell me you didn't want to kiss me, Alexander. Don't even try to tell me that."

"Whether or not I wanted to kiss you is not what I'm talking about. You meant to get us caught, didn't you?"

Eve was breathless, but to Alexander's astonishment, she nodded. "Yes. I meant to get us caught."

Though he'd just accused her, Alexander hadn't expected Eve to so readily admit that every bit of last night had been deliberate. He swore under his breath, much to Eve's insufferable amusement. "Why would you do something like that, Eve? You know I'm already prone to...to...big mistakes. Why would you - "

"You are? You're prone to big mistakes? Because that's not exactly bad, you know," Eve said, and even she had the decency to blush. "Sometimes, making mistakes helps you find what you want for your life."

If Alexander had had any less chivalrous blood in his veins, he would have slapped Eve right then and there. Yet he couldn't bring himself to slap any woman, not even Eve, so instead he swore again and rammed his fist into the wall behind them.

"I wanted them to catch us kissing so that the standard would be set. I wanted to get in disgrace so that they wouldn't expect any more of us. If the damage has been done, then who's to stop us anymore?"

In an absolutely horrifying way, what Eve was saying made sense. But just because it made sense didn't mean it was right. "I don't care what you think anymore, Eve."

Eve laughed. "That's because you're a good man, Alexander." She kissed his jaw and took his hand. "But you can't let other people's standards stop you. You have to find your own way in the world."

"I'm done here, Eve."

"But why? Are you done talking because you want to be done talking, or because you're afraid what will happen if we're caught talking without a chaperone?"

Alexander began to walk away. "I'm done because I have to get my father's tool sharpened," he replied over his shoulder.

"But...what about next time?"

Alexander knew he should tell Eve there wouldn't be a next time. He knew he should set her straight where the two of them were concerned. But as much as he hated himself for saying the words, all he could manage was, "I don't know."

But he knew. He knew. There was no doubt in his mind that, as hard as he fought the devil's attempts to ruin him, he wouldn't be able to fight hard enough. As he'd just told Eve...he was prone to making big mistakes.

Still, I don't think even Alexander knows the gravity of the mistakes he's going to make. What a pity that we can only stand by and watch his downfall...

The End

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