Several months passed, and Alexander found himself in the church building more and more often. By that time, he'd moved on from Amara, and it was well-known that the formerly sweet, unassuming Ella Lacy was his "lady friend." Amara had come and gone, just like all Alexander's other whims. Everyone but Ella herself knew that soon enough, Alexander would leave her for another woman.
While all this went on, Alexander continued to visit Clarence's and Marla's home somewhat frequently. And every time, Auntie Lala would look Alexander directly in the eyes and tell him she was praying for him.
At first, it had made Alexander uncomfortable. Now, Alexander was thankful for it. He needed all the prayer he could get. Because despite his reckless lifestyle and outward cockiness, he was growing more and more dissatisfied with every sin and every crime he committed.
Alexander's "out of town business," as he called it, went as smoothly as it could. There was something about being involved in a crime that thrilled Alexander, though it later gave him cause to condemn himself further. Besides, he was earning respect among his fellow thieves; for the first time in years, Alexander felt as though people were proud of him. Maybe they were not proud of him for his goodness and quality, but being admired because of criminal achievement was certainly better than no admiration at all...wasn't it?
In the midst of all the happenings, Alexander never forgot Miriam, his first love. Toward the end of their relationship, Alexander had gotten love and passion confused, but now...now that he was away from Miriam, the love he'd always carried for her only grew. In fact, it grew so much that it required Alexander to consume far more alcohol and focus on far more women than it ever had before.
But Eve. Oh, Eve was a thorn in Alexander's flesh, a memory in his past that never left him. While Alexander's love for Miriam grew stronger and stronger, the nightmares Eve caused him grew more and more vivid.
Miriam and Eve...polar opposites who plagued Alexander's mind most completely.
After all those months had passed, we now find Alexander in a relatively peaceful state of mind. It was a beautiful day, the kind of day in which the weather was fastened between winter and spring, the scent of life about to burst open from the earth to fill the air. Alexander, who had recently returned from an oxymoronically gratifying and guilt-wrenching thievery, was walking from the chapel to eat a meal with Clarence, Marla, and Auntie Lala. The day was perfect in every way, from the way the wind blew gently to the way birds chirruped cheerfully.
Auntie Lala seemed agitated about something; as Alexander helped her through the door of the house, her eyes darted back and forth, and her eyebrows were knotted together in a fierce frown.
"What's wrong, Auntie Lala?" Alexander asked, stepping aside to let the others walk into the house. "You look upset."
Smiling grimly, Auntie Lala said, "Alexander, I want you to know something. What I'm about to do, I'm going to do because I was forced to. I had no part in this, mind you!"
Alexander was confused. "What are you talking about?"
"I'd like to introduce you to my great-niece," Auntie Lala said, voice slow.
For a moment, Alexander was confused as to why Auntie Lala should be so upset over introducing him to her great-niece. But all his confusion was abolished when from the stairwell came a voice he knew all too well.