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She’s staring at him, saying nothing, hands on her lap, the meal on her plate untouched. Cold hands, cold eyes, pale skin, frowning, unmoving. He avoids her gaze, chewing quickly, wiping his mouth between bites, frantically shifting eyes, sweat collecting on his brow, always moving.
“Wipe her lipstick off your chin, honey,” she says in an almost sing song-y voice. But her eyes don’t sing, they pierce. He flinches. “We’ve been over this. The whores stay in the hotel rooms. No remnants in real life, darling. We’re perfectly happy, after all. Five years of marriage. All perfectly happy.”
He wipes both sides of his chin, not wanting to make another mistake. His foot begins to tap. The sweat collects on his brow, but he doesn’t wipe it, unsuccessfully trying to disguise his fear.
“She’s not a whore.”
A quiet chuckle, a smirk, eyes still cold. She crosses her legs and leans back in her chair, unworried, her dark, luscious hair falling behind her, playing. “Whatever you say.”
He’s not eating anymore. He plays with his napkin in his hands, twisting it tighter and tighter, perhaps pretending it was his wife’s neck.
“Perfectly happy,” she echoes, a cold smile materializing on her face. A cruel smile.
Cold eyes and a cruel smile.
Swallowing with much difficulty, he sits up, back straight, shoulders lined, trying to appear confident. “Clara, I want to marry her.” His voice cracks halfway through. His eyes are scared. She notices
The smiles stays on her face. She tilts her head slightly. “Do you think you love her?”
“You don’t,” she cuts him off. She doesn’t care what he has to say anyway. Toys don’t talk.
“You don’t love anything except for survival, sweetie. You’re weak. She’s just there to lie to you, to tell you that you’re perfect. Just another young thing, chock full of naïveté and big dreams. You’re going to get tired of her and stray away. And she’s not going to be as understanding as me, Joey. I’m the perfect wife. And you are a broken, pathetic boy, starving for affection and approval. A boy. A little scared boy. I’m just preparing you for the reality of life, dear.” Her eyes are still cold, her smile is still cruel. Her strength isn’t fake. It’s all too real.
As she talks, her crumples. His façade is shot. He’s a heap of unwanted emotion. He’s not ready to fight. She’s right. He’s weak. He’s broken. He’s pathetic. He’s a boy.
Smiles wider, crueler. She is content. That’s all that is needed, anyway. This is her kingdom. No one riots and lives. No one disobeys the puppeteer. He’s just a game. A game full of benefits.
“I am the only one you will ever love.”
Her thin, delicate fingers pick up the glass of wine. Piano player’s hands. Dainty, womanlike. Made for holding, caressing, unzipping. Perhaps all poisonous things are beautiful.
“Till death do us part.”
Breathtakingly beautiful, Satan’s messenger. She took a sip of wine, not breaking her deathly stare.
He knows what she wants. He sips his wine, trapped. He’s never going to leave. He needs her.
He was weak. He was broken. He was pathetic.
And those who are weak cling to the strong for survival. They always have.