As Daphne cowered beside the bed, she focused her eyes on the immense number of dust bunnies that hid behind the bedskirt. “How on earth had so much hair and dust accumulated in one week?” she wondered. She was perhaps not the most thorough cleaner but she kept a tidy house. It made her feel in control and him, calm.

Today Blair was in a good mood, smiling and chatty. He even tried to show affection by putting his arm around her and kissing her, however robotic and stoic. Still, when he did, she felt optimistic.

But now Daphne tried to make herself as tiny as possible and sink into the floorboards. All of her senses vigilant and raw, she heard the creaking of wood as he came towards her. Not wanting to look up and too scared not to, she tried to utter something, anything, but all that came out was a whimper. She could feel him linger over her delicate bones, his presence emanating unmetabolized testosterone. She turned her head to him, and shaking pulled the corners of her mouth into a smile. “Baby, it’s ok”.

His stance, square and unmoving, reminded her of where humans had come from. She thought, “We have not evolved as much as we hoped, I guess”. She knew he didn’t like to see her hurt and so she tried quickly to get up and ignore the radiating pain in her left side. Blair reached out to touch her. His hands could change so quickly from weapons to soft and nurturing. She looked as his nail beds. He took care of his hands. He often got pedicures. They were soft unlike her weathered hands which she, in contrast, never took the time to moisturize and incessantly washed with antibacterial soap, draining them of their natural oils.

His eyes looked at her with the eyes of a puppy, and apologetically pulled her in close. He brushed his blond scruff across her damp cheek, and the scent that had seconds before terrified her suddenly became an aphrodisiac. She was so tiny in his arms yet he felt so young. He nuzzled his head into her neck and told her he loved her and there was the undertone of a little boy asking for his mom’s forgiveness. She took his head in her hands and brushed her fingers through his fine yet thick natural blond hair - it was the colour she’d always wished she was born with - and she knew this soothed him. He nestled lower, his head how between her breasts and began to kiss them. She didn’t want to like it but she did and so she didn’t quite show him that she enjoyed his touch. His hands moved up and down her back, massaging her most tender places. Though it hurt she sometimes liked the pain and as he kneaded the knots in her shoulders and between her wing bones she collapsed into him.

With his one hand on the base of her neck and the other supporting her back he began to lower her onto the bed, but as she let her weight fall, the pressure of his hand on her side punched through her abdomen and she shrieked uncontrollably. He let her drop and stood above her and yet again she watched as his eyes changed. And with his tousled hair and his jaw tense, he glared at her. His breathing halted and they were both still and matching his gaze with soft pleading eyes she saw those soft hands begin to clench.