The Prequel, Chapter Thirty-Two

A crystal vase crashed above Alexander's head as he walked into the small apartment Amara was renting.

"How dare you come late?" Amara yelled, raising a glass cup and preparing herself to throw it at Alexander.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold on!" Alexander exclaimed, catching the cup and sidestepping the broken glass that surrounded his feet. "Amara, what's gotten into you?"

"You never care about me!" Amara shot back, her eyes narrow. "This is just another example of how I can never count on you to follow through with your word! You told me you'd be here over two hours ago! This has happened far too many times for me to ignore!" She picked up a china plate to throw, but Alexander caught her arm.

"Come on, Amara. Let's talk about this reasonably."

"Talking reasonably always ends with you convincing me I'm overreacting, but this time, I refuse to fall prey to your evil again, you selfish, greedy man! Or should I even call you a man anymore?" Amara removed her arm from Alexander's grasp and stepped away. "Let me ask you something: did you ever care about me?"

"Of course I care about you, Amara!" Alexander lied, exasperated. "If you'd just be rational about this, then I - "

"Where were you today, Alexander?" Amara cut in, face red with anger.

"You want to know? Do you really want to know? I was at church."

Eyes widening, Amara slapped Alexander's face. "Don't lie to my face! You were with another woman, weren't you? I can't trust you anymore, Alexander, you conceited little pig!" She proceeded to call Alexander a string of foul names.

"I'm not lying to you! I seriously did go, but just for today!" Desperate to keep Amara, Alexander caught her and turned her to face him. "I swear, Amara, it meant nothing to me."

Amara scoffed. "You'd never be good enough for church, Alexander. Stop fooling yourself. Tell me God means nothing to you!" 

"What?! Why?"

"Because I need you to promise me that you won't leave me, alright? I need to hear you promise that nothing will turn you from me!"

Alexander swore. "I promise!" His face burned with shame. "God means nothing to me."

"I wish I could believe you," Amara said, voice suddenly soft. "I know God means nothing to you, but I so desperately wish I could believe that nothing could turn you from me." Her eyes were filling up with tears, and she turned away. "I love you, Alexander. I love you with every fiber of my being. You mistreat me, you use me, you forget me, you pain me, and you repeatedly lie to me, but - God help me - I still love you more with every breath I draw." She gave a slight sob. "After all you've done to me, I'm still desperate for your touch!"

Alexander listened to the tirade with a sinking heart.

"Alexander, do you love me? Do you really love me?"

Alexander reached out and kissed Amara softly, just the way she liked. "Of course I love you," he said, though his soul felt emptied of all love. He kissed her more roughly, but Amara pulled away, face wet with a new layer of tears.

"I wish I could believe you. I wish to Heaven that I could believe you." Amara paused. "If Eve or Miriam were to come by right now, would you leave me for either of them?"

"No. Never."

"Do they mean anything to you anymore?" Amara pressed.

You have no idea. "No. Nothing at all." 

Amara sighed and repeated in a hushed, heartbroken tone, "I wish I could believe you."

I wish I could, too.

The End

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