Deathly Secrets, Chapter XLII

You know, there's nothing that makes Alexander feel more like a failure than crying in front of the very people he most wants to impress. Throwing up in front of them is, of course, also on the list of I-can't-believe-I-did-that incidents, but crying is worse...because when you cry, it shows you know you're hopeless.

Alina's got this beautifully heroic smile on her face, like she knows she ought to be doing what she's doing but is scared to death. Alexander can't blame her. She probably hasn't been face-to-face with so much raw evil before. 

Because that's what he thinks of himself, of course. Raw evil. Evil, evil, evil to the core. Irredeemable badness. There's just no fancy way to say it.

But Alina's so different. All the other women Alexander has pursued have been just as "bad" as he is - with the exception, of course, of Miriam, who...was astonishingly similar to Alina.

Alina is just so brave. So selfless. Let's be honest here: would you bring tea and crackers to the very person who is ruining your town?

Alexander knew he wouldn't. But then, there aren't alot of good things Alexander would do. He's not even capable of doing good deeds! 

All these thoughts race through Alexander's head as he struggles to appear halfway decent in front of Alina. He clasps his hands together and closes his eyes, head hanging low. His brain is whirling - not to mention throbbing!

Alina gets up. She's still holding Alexander's hand, and he's well aware of it. 

"I have to go," Alina says. "I'll talk to you tonight? In the regular meeting place? Will you be well enough by then?"

"I'll make myself be well enough," Alexander says. Alina is a great motivation.

Alina smiles softly and stands, smoothing out her dress. She opens the door to leave, then casts another smile in Alexander's direction. "I'll be waiting at midnight," she says.

"Yeah."

Alina leaves, taking with her another piece of Alexander's heart.

The End

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