Behind the Smile: Chapter Nine - Decision

Will Beth see Alec again or once and for all?
Chapter 9: Decision

Beth started to think things through. Her outburst was so embarrassing. She always looked like a fool in front of Alec. Like a lunatic.

However, to think about it... it was not that depressing for Alec to know her or anything. It must be safer for him. She smiled again.

If is it so, then I can continue to meet him without fearing that Alec knew anything about her and her real life. It is much safer that way.

Grabbing her coat, she quickly headed towards the door and almost stumbled.

"Alice! I'm going outside!"

Alice looked up from the blanket. Still dizzy because someone suddenly woke her up, she mumbled something and went back to sleep again.


"Hi," Beth timidly said as she watched Alec worked.

Alec chuckled softly. He smiled at Beth warmly.

"Hi, so you're been hiding from me for these past few days. Wait for a moment. I finished my work first," he said as he quickly trimmed his customer's hair.

She waited patiently for Alec. She took a magazine from the magazine tray and quickly flipped it over.

She was so immersed in that magazine and time flew as she read it. She did not even realize that Alec already finished his work.

Sitting beside her, Alec frowned as he took the magazine from Beth's hand.

"Hey, give it back! I did not finish it yet." Beth grumbled as she tried to reach for the magazine.

Using his hand, he brought the magazine higher on the air. Beth was unable to reach it and she kept jumping for it.

Still laughing, Alec said, "What is so interesting about this magazine anyway? It's just a hair magazine." After said that, he quickly flipped it over many times.

"Ahhh, this hair magazine, what type of hair do you like? I can create it for you Beth. What kind? The Victorian style? What about beehives style? That looks so beautiful on you." He grinned.

Beth smirked and then she laughed together with Alec. From that onward, Beth always comes to see Alec.


Alec walked home. Alec smiled as he saw there was a girl standing in front of his house. It's Alice. He did not know why but he and Alice become buddies. That thought sometimes is hilarious because Alice is like a barbed wire sometime.

"Hey Alice, did you hurt yourself again?" He jokingly asked as he put his arm around her shoulder.

"No, I'm not. I am not a child anymore," she said it as she smiled.

"Alice!! You smiled!!"

"Did I? No, I didn't." Alice quickly touched her face and stared at him indifferently.

"Yes, you did!"

"Did not!"

"You did!"

"Okay, this would never end," she said pausing.

"Stop behaving like kid Alec."

"I just want to accompany you, you are the kid." He grinned mischievously.

Alice shot dagger at him.

"So Alice, where do you want to go? My treat." Alec smiled, oblivious with the look given by Alice.

Alice paused. She quickly looks at Alec dumbfounded.

"You asked me where I want to go?"

"Yeah, you can pick anywhere you want to go, restaurant or anything?"

Alec seemed puzzled by her question.

She quickly grabbed Alec's arm and her eyes shone.

"Can you take me to the carnival? I want to go there for so long!!" She said excitingly.

Alec smiled at her. Little Alice, you're still the same as ever.

Alice smiled at him happily. She never has been to a carnival. She was entranced by the story of it. In the book, it sounds so beautiful and a happy place. She wants to go there.

She skipped as she urged Alec to hurry up to the carnival. Before this, no one ever asked her to go and Beth also unable to accompany her. She was so happy because at last, there is a reason for her to go to the carnival and playing around with someone instead of alone by herself.

She suddenly stopped. She was shell-shocked. Is this the carnival that people keep talking about? She looks around. All she can see is that the place is not crowded. There are only many caravans and the crowd is none. The only people in that site were a group people who dressed shabbily. She stared at them.

"It's still not opened yet." Alec said as he stopped beside Alice. He just stared at the group of people without concern.

"Let's go back. I don't want to go there anymore." Alice quickly turned away and started walking.

Still confused, Alec quickly tries to catch up with Alice. Alice was walking way too fast than the usual.

"Why Alice?" Alec stared at her face.

Alice looked at him. Alec's face was full of questions because Alice did not explain anything to him.

Alice sighed. She looked away.

"I just hate the idea of it," she mumbled incoherently.

"You what? Hate it? But you are the one who wanted to go in the first place," Alec started to frown again. What is happening in this girl's head? Alec started to worry about her sanity when she suddenly stopped and look at him directly.

"I hate them. The people," her eyes seem distant.

"They are so useless and weak. Why do they earn a living in such a way??
They suffered yet the crowd seemed like it has a higher status than them. I hate it. I hate that place now. It supposed to be a happy place," she continued bitterly.

Alec understands. He smiled sadly at her.

"It just how life is. No matter what you do somehow, somehow you just can't escape from it." Alec smiled as he hugged Alice.

The reply that he got only Alice smiled bitterly.

"So Alice, are you going to visit me every day? Hang out with me buddy!" Alec joked as he tried to lighten the mood.

Alice hesitated for a while.

"Yes," she said softly. Alec gawked.

"Seriously dude?" Alec tried to confirm what he's hearing.

"Seriously like seriously." Alice smiled brightly at him.
Published: 7/21/2012
Bouquets and Brickbats