Alexander fell from Alina's arms, Conner's bullet having found his heart almost directly. Alina screamed and fell beside him, though she hadn't been shot. Heart nearly beating out of her chest, Alina held Alexander in her arms, sobbing. "Alexander! Alexander! No! No, God! No!"
Alexander was struggling to breathe. Alina looked up and saw Conner fleeing the entire scene. Apparently, he wasn't man enough to face up to his crime.
But Conner's antics were still registering in Alina's foggy mind. All she could think of was that her beautiful Alexander was dying in her arms.
"Alexander, don't die!" Alina cried out, choking on her own tears. "Please, listen to me! You're going to be okay! You have to be okay!" She ripped open Alexander's shirt and nearly fainted at the sight of so much blood loss.
"Alina," Alexander whispered faintly. He managed to reach up and brush hair that hung in front of Alina's eyes. He tried to speak again, but he only coughed up blood. Alina hunched over, stomach churning from the intensity of her weeping.
"I promise, I won't let you die! You're going to be okay! I promise!"
So many secrets would die with Alexander. The name of his daughter. The confessions he'd had to endure before tonight. His birthplace. His middle name. His passions, his loves, his hates, his heartaches.
"Alina, don't cry for me," Alexander whispered through blood-soaked lips.
"How can I not?" Alina asked. She cradled Alexander in her arms. "Alexander, stay with me. Stay with me!"
"I can't," Alexander said, trying to reach for Alina's hand. She freely gave it. "Don't cry for me, Alina. I'm not worth your tears." The words were spoken with much deliberation and struggle.
"Alexander, I know you don't think so, but you must trust me when I say you're far more worthy of love than anyone else I know." With her eyes, Alina begged Alexander to believe her. "Alexander, I want you to know that I love you more than anything else in the world. You're not hopeless. You're worthy of peace."
Alexander fought for breath as Alina spoke.