Alina couldn't help it. With tears running down her face, she so badly wanted to reach out and comfort Alexander, to let him know that he wasn't fighting alone.
That...she was there in his battles with him. That she wasn't going to leave him behind, like she somehow understood everyone else in his life had left him behind. Because, honestly...to Alina, Alexander was beautiful. A mess? Absolutely. But still, somehow...beautiful.
Alexander drew in a shaky breath. "There's more, Alina. There's alot more."
"I'm here, Alexander. I'm here if you need to talk."
"So...after I got out of jail, I was positive that my family wouldn't want me back. I was positive that they'd shun me. They were really religious, and I can't even begin to describe how far I am from ever meeting God's standards. But I eventually got up the courage to go back home." Alexander shook his head.
"My aunt...she had a girl that she'd been raising that I'd pretended to love, so she was really bitter against me - and understandably so. As soon as I got back to my hometown, she made a big deal about how I'd hurt her foster daughter. I'm not blaming her for being angry, but she seriously spread so many rumors about me. Most of them were true, but she turned so much of the town against me...she was one of those people who has alot of say in the mindset of a small town. And when they found out my girl had had my baby...they shredded my life." He stopped for a moment, wiping his eyes and shivering.
"Miriam, the girl who gave birth to my child...she wrote me letters, trying desperately to get me to come back, but I didn't. I felt like I would only make her life worse. I left her behind. I thought I was doing the right thing. Now I see I was only being a coward. I'm not capable of doing anything good, Alina. I'm just...hopeless."
Alina didn't care what Alexander thought any longer. She ignored his command to stay away from him and reached out to put her hand on his shoulder. "I don't care what you say, Alexander, but you're not hopeless. You're not half the things you say about yourself!"
"Alina, don't lie to me! Can't you see what I've become? I'm a drunkard. A womanizer. A thief and a criminal and sin personified!" Alexander shrugged Alina's hand from his shoulder.
But Alina refused to be shrugged away. "Do you know why I say what I say? I say all these things because I believe in you. You, Alexander. You are capable of beautiful things that even you don't know yet! Do you want to know how I know?"
"No." Alexander shuddered. "I don't. There's nothing anyone can do to help me now."
Alina shook her head. "I don't care if you want to hear it or not, Alexander, because you're going to."
She took a deep breath before pouring her heart out before the one who was stealing it, even as they spoke.