Allie eventually returned to Fort Chester a few days before the end of the month. She was really homesick, and she was very regretful that she had left Quincy behind without saying good-bye to him. After their return to Fort Chester, Allie couldn't have been more relieved to be back at home again. Allie unpacked all her belongings and then afterward, settled down on her bed and took out her diary to begin writing more things about her life when she realized she had two more pages left. "I'm gonna need a new diary," she said aloud to herself.
A few minutes later, she went out to her backyard in hopes of seeing Quincy once again, hoping to repair all the damages that have been done, just take back everything that had happened, and start all over again as true friends. She sat by the pool and gazed into a reflection of herself in the water, wondering for a moment who she was. Who was this pretty girl? And what was she doing, staring at herself in the water? She didn't recognize her own face anymore. This Alessandra Sampson was not the type to leave a friend behind without saying good-bye to them. Alessandra would never humiliate her friend out in public, and Alessandra would never get failing grades in school over a boy. Yes, she had definitely changed. Love had changed her. Being in love had changed her in a way that was barely recognizable.
Just then, she heard a voice behind her. "I see you're back so soon." She turned around and saw the person whom she actually expected---Quincy.
"Well, I was a little homesick," Allie said. She was admitting to feeling homesick for him.
"You're six days early," Quincy said. "The month hasn't even ended yet."
"How was Boston?" Quincy asked.
"It was great."
Quincy smiled. "You mean swell, don't you?"
"No, just great."
"Why the long face?"
Allie, without another word, came up to him and gave him a big hug, practically squeezing him. She hugged him for what seemed a long time. "I missed you, Quincy," she said in a whisper. "I shouldn't have left without saying good-bye. I missed you very much."
Allie and Quincy hugged for a moment without saying anything. There were no words needed; all they needed was to show how much they loved each other. "I missed you too, Allie," Quincy said softly. "I know you would never leave me behind."
"I'll never leave you again, Quincy. I'll never leave without saying good-bye. I'm too nice for that."
"That's great. Welcome home, anyway."
Allie was excited to start the seventh grade, and as long as she had Quincy by her side, she was determined to have a better year than last time. She and Quincy were good friends again, and they agreed to give each other a fair amount of personal space in order to avoid more conflicts, which actually worked out quite well. Allie had a positive experience during the beginning of seventh grade---from making more friends to joining more activities such as the Art Club for one instance, she felt like she was at the top of the world. Also, she and Quincy had quite some friendly conversations from time to time, which she greatly missed during those periods when they were giving each other the silent treatment. Sometimes it was better to have a wacky conversation than none at all.
They sat together at lunchtime, and Quincy started off by saying, "Can you believe that we're actually in the seventh grade now?"
"I can't; time really does fly, doesn't it?" Allie grinned.
"It flies when you're having fun."
"I'm having fun right now, being with you."
Quincy chuckled, feeling flattered. Then he said, "So, I take it that your folks must really hate me now, huh? You know, for the way I've treated you for months, not speaking to you and such?"
"Oh." Allie realized that her parents did not want her to associate with Quincy that much because they didn't like the way he had shunned her for months, but she felt that in her heart that she was quite mature enough to make her own choices and do her own things. "Uh, it's not really that much big deal anymore, Quincy. Believe me, my folks are quite understanding people. It was ancient history; let's just forget about it."
"Yeah, I suppose you're right," Quincy said. "Sometimes it's better to just let bygones be bygones." Allie chuckled in agreement.
"So, do you have any siblings?" Quincy asked.
Allie shook her head. "No, unfortunately, I'm an only child. I always wanted to have a sister, though."
"Really?" Quincy was amazed.
"Yeah. Older or younger, I'm not sure. If I have a younger one, I'd teach her everything there is to know about make-up, making your hair look nice and neat, picking out dresses and skirts to wear, and all that other stuff. But if I had an older one, I'd look up to her and ask her everything there is to know about boys and such." She giggled, and so did Quincy. "I guess I'm just really feminine, don't you think?"
"No, I don't mind," Quincy said. "You're lucky you're an only child, though. I have Jacob---he's three years younger than me, and he's as annoying as my cousins." He laughed.
"I can only imagine," Allie said, grinning. She really missed having these kinds of innocent little conversations with Quincy, and it seemed like a really, really long time since they have talked and laughed this much.
The second half of the year went by not so well for Allie. In fact, there was something major that happened in the Sampson family---so traumatic that it would practically scar Allie for life. It also scarred her mother as well, and if Allie mentioned a single word of this to any other living soul, it would be "off with her head." It all started when Allie and her mother were out shopping for new clothes for Allie, and a new diary book, and they were having a mother-daughter quality time, which was supposed to be the greatest moment of their life. But what they were not really expecting was........
Alexandra was picking out a few dresses for Allie to wear to the seventh grade dance this year, and Allie was getting ready to try them on in the fitting room. Alexandra gave her the four dresses and said to her, "You can handle yourself in there, can't you?"
"Of course, Mama," Allie replied.
"Okay, you go on in there and try out each of those dresses, sweetie," Alexandra said. "And hand me your purse so that way you won't forget it in the dressing room."
"Mama, I think I'm old enough to remember to bring my purse with me," Allie said a little smugly.
"Alessandra." Her mother gave her a knowing glance.
"Fine." Allie sighed and gave her mother her purse.
"Now you go in there, and take your time putting on those dresses," Alexandra said. "If you need my help, just let me know."
"Okay," Allie said, and ran into the fitting room and began her dressing up.
At that moment, while Allie was cheerily humming to herself as she changed from her clothes into one dress after another, Alexandra was sitting on the bench near the dressing room, waiting patiently for her daughter. She took out her cosmetic bag from her purse and began to beautify herself some more, starting with powdering her face a little more. She glanced into her pocket mirror while doing this. Then she took out her lip gloss and put some on her lips, giving them its proper glamour. She was also humming to herself. Within that moment, she did not notice that the figure of another person was standing there right next to her, and she looked up and became a little startled to see a man, who looked middle-aged or even somewhat older than that. The man was bald and was wearing a black hat to cover up his spotless head. He was also wearing a black trench coat, even though it was not really raining outside, and he was holding a pipe of cigarette. He said to Alexandra in a friendly-casual manner, "Do you mind if I have a seat next to you, pretty lady?" He winked when he said that.
"Uh, sure thing," Alexandra replied, feeling a little uneasy. It took her a minute later to realize that this man seemed somewhat familiar to her. She couldn't place her finger on it, but she had a feeling she had seen him before at a previous time in her life. She cleared her throat and said, "I mean, yes, you may."
"Thank you." The man sat down next to her and crossed his legs as he began taking a puff.
The man decided to start a conversation with Alexandra. "You've got someone waiting in there?" he asked.
"Um, as a matter of fact, I do," Alexandra replied. "It's my daughter. She's twelve years old, and she's trying out some fancy new gowns I've picked out for her to wear to her seventh grade dance."
"Seventh grade dance, huh?" The man chuckled. "Wow, them children seem to be growing up so fast, aren't they?"
"Before you know it, she'll become a teenager, and all the boys all over will start drooling over her and asking her to go steady with them," Alexandra said as she chuckled.
"That's good," said the man, also chuckling. "You seem like a great woman who would have great children." He took another puff out of the cigarette, and Alexandra was becoming a tad repulsed by the smell of cigarettes, so she moved just an inch away from him.
"Want some?" he offered her.
She shook her head. "No, thanks. I tend to stray away from smoking, especially in the presence of my daughter."
"Well, she's not right here right now........is she?" The man winked.
A few minutes later, Allie was getting ready to try on her fourth dress when she heard her mother's shrill voice coming from outside. She took a minute to refrain from putting on the dress when she opened the door just a tiny bit, and peeked outside. She saw a little bit of her mother. Out there, Alexandra was having bad luck. The man was a stranger to her, yet he was behaving in a sensual manner, putting his arms around her and forcing her to come home with him to "have a drink." "Come on, beautiful belle, what do you say you come over to my place tonight at 7:00 and we fix ourselves some sherry?" he was saying.
Alexandra gasped, obviously in shock. She hit him with her purse and said aloud, "No, are you kidding me? I'm a married woman! Don't you see my ring?"
"My wife is away in Europe, and I need to get myself some company," insisted the man. "You cannot turn me down like this.......gorgeous." And what Allie did not see, and couldn't see very well, was the man forcing himself upon Alexandra. She started screaming for help, or at least attempted to, because he covered her mouth and said to her, "Shh, you won't tell anybody," in a whisper.
Alexandra shook her head and in defense, bit his finger. The man yelped in pain. Then he became a little violent and slapped her across the face. She cried in pain as the female clerk and a few other women nearby came over and began questioning what was happening. The female clerk said to Alexandra, "Excuse me, ma'am, but are you okay? Is this man giving you a hard time?"
"No, I'm not!" the man boomed. "You all stay out of this, goddammit!"
"You get your filthy hands off her, you.......you goon!" one woman said angrily to the man as she hit him with her purse. The other women started asking Alexandra many questions at a time, asking if she was all right, did she come shopping alone, and many other things. Alexandra couldn't bring herself to answer any of the questions in full answer, but she managed to nod or shake her head. She could not talk; she was traumatized by this event. And so was Allie. Even though she did not witness it completely, she had learned about this topic in Health class at school, and it was bound to happen to anybody at anytime. It was a truly terrifying experience.
The man was then escorted out of the mall by the female clerk and two security guards. Alexandra had a small scar on her right cheek for being slapped so hard, with a tiny hint of blood making its display. Other than that, she seemed pretty fine, not too badly injured---just perhaps scarred for her whole life. As the man was being escorted out of the mall, he had said to Alexandra threateningly, "If you dare tell anybody else about this, I will hunt you down, and I will come up with many, many ways to destroy you."
"Off you go, Mister," said one security guard to the man as they both took him out, never to be seen or heard from again.
Allie had been standing there the whole time, behind the wall. She had witnessed what she wasn't supposed to witness, and she could not put it into words. If the man made her mother promise not to tell another living soul about this, then that meant Allie should also keep this to herself. She did not want to risk being hunted down by a mysterious male stranger who couldn't scare the life out of her, even if he tried. Allie was so shocked and speechless, she had no other choice but to cry. She may be getting older now, but she was still quite a young girl. Too young to understand what being raped meant, and understand what kind of harm it would do not only upon her but her whole family as well. She could not believe it, not one bit. One minute, she and her mother were having a fun, motherly bonding time, and the next minute, her life was shattering into a million pieces. This was way worse than being shunned to death by Quincy for over six months. No, this experience was something that could make her or break her, or even haunt her for life. She wanted to say something, do something, feel something---she felt many feelings and emotions right now, but all she had to do was keep them all to herself, if she ever wanted to remain alive and not be "off with her head", had she dared tell another living soul.
Allie ran out to give her mother a hug, sobbing continually. "Mama, are you okay?" she sniffed.
"Sweetie, it's okay. It's gonna be okay," Alexandra whispered as many tears were quickly running down her face. Then she broke down again, and not a moment too soon, both mother and daughter were caught in a comforting embrace, holding onto each other for dear life. All they had was each other, and as long as they had each other's love, they would make it out okay.
"I'm so sorry, Mama," Allie said tearfully.
"Me too, love," replied Alexandra. "Now come on, grab all your dresses, and let's get going now. I still have your purse with me. I'll give it back to you when we get home."
Everyone at the mall was wondering what was happening with Alexandra. The clerk who had saved Alexandra's life told her that she didn't have to worry about paying for the dresses, after all she had been through at that moment. Alexandra thanked the lady, and they both made their way out. It was a silent car ride back home, and Allie could see that it was just starting to rain, so perhaps the man had made the right choice wearing a trench coat after all. But what he had done to her and her family.........that was not the right thing to do. Alexandra and Allie were riding back home in complete silence and total sadness, fear, trauma, hopelessness, despair, and a combination of many other emotions. Today---Friday, January 29, 1960---was the most unforgettable day in Allie's life that would leave an emotional scar within her, the most unpleasant day of her young life, the one day that she would never, ever look back on.