Deathly Secrets, Chapter XLVI

Alexander walks up the hill to the rundown shed, spotting Alina already there. She's come early, then, too.

Alexander nods his head respectfully to Alina. His heart pounds as he rehearses the words he's going to say. In the back of his mind, he registers that Alina's talking, but he is concentrating on the words he has to say. He pushes his hands deeper into his pockets.

I was going to beat around the bush. I wasn't going to tell you what I'm about to tell you now. But I want you to understand me more, Alina. I'm not saying you have to condone my actions or feel a twinge of empathy for me, but I trust you enough to know what I have to say. I want you to know who I am and where I've been. I have to tell somebody, Alina. I have to tell somebody what's been stirring in my heart for years now.

"Uh, Alexander?"

Alexander shakes himself, realizing he's been completely ignoring what Alina's been saying all this time. "Yeah?"

"You haven't heard a word."

Alexander can't deny it. He is slightly amused by the smile that crosses Alina's face. "I've been trying to be mad at you," she says, "but there's something about you that...I don't know...makes me smile."

"I'm that amusing, eh?"

Alina laughs softly. "Not amusing. Just..." she stops herself, blushing. "Nevermind."

"Just what?"

Alina waves Alexander's question away. "So, I've been waiting all day for tonight to come. What is it you want to tell me?"

Suddenly, Alexander feels himself clamming up. All the words he's been reciting die on his tongue, and he is aware of the fact that one of his stupid, obstinate curls is hanging right in front of his face. Already frazzled by the prospect of being so close to Alina, he tries to pull his hand out of his pocket to swipe the hair from his brow, but his hand gets stuck in his pocket. He stands there for a moment, awkwardly trying to appear nonchalant as he tries to free his hand.

Alina seems even more amused, so he shrugs and acts like nothing happened. Instead, he walks in the direction of the shed, deciding that he wants to sit down inside. Anything to stall the words he must say.

Halfway there, his foot hits a tree root, and he frees his hand just in time to catch himself from falling flat on his face. Alexander, recovering from the indignity of having falling on his bum right in front of the woman he's trying to impress, pats the ground beside him. "Yeah, here looks like a good place to sit."

Alina covers her mouth, and Alexander can tell she's trying not to laugh aloud at the embarrassing turn of events.

Nope, tonight's definitely not a night we're going to want to miss...

The End

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