He lays back in the pillows on her bed and grins widely. His long, honey hair disfigures the cool, concrete mischief that has developed in his sixteen-year-old eyes. She inhales sharply when his slender fingers touch her wrist with feather-light gentleness, the fabric of his homemade shirt brushing her palm. The touch is warm, yet still demanding. The gesture he holds is unmistakable. He is charming, and his smile barely wavers when she removes his oval glasses and folds them delicately in her lap, before she lowers herself slowly towards the bed and rests her head on his shoulder. Somewhere out there someone is screaming that he has robbed her from her cradle at the tender age of fifteen.
He can feel her trembling, and strokes her hair, letting the loose strands slide around his sharp knuckles and tickle the underside of his wrist.
"Will it always be like this?" she asks faintly. She clutches his glasses in her fist.
"Life goes on," he replies without hesitation, the smile never leaving his face. He turns toward her, reclining on her pillows, feet twisted in her blankets and scent tainting her sheets. "Isn't that righteous?" He touches her, lovingly, with tremulous confidence, without words, and she shivers. A clever tongue cannot trace what makes her tremble so. Whether her shaking is from fright or anticipation he can never tell, but that is the downside of his charm. He cannot ever know if she will truly belong to him or not. Her eyes seem to flash at him when the moon appears through her window, the darkness covering them both so that one is not recognizable from the other. It is then, in the shadows, when she belongs to him and he devours her and they are one.
Yet each morning, the sun rises, and the days pass, his charm ebbs and flows, and in the mornings she feels that she is better off without him, though his smile haunts her still. But what feigns righteousness cannot last. He knows this in his heart. Yet he only avoids her eyes when he smiles, not her bed, or her skin, or the shivers that he can conquer her body with. One stormy morning, she approaches him with harsh words. She was never very dignified when she confronted people. She tended to get nervous and shake with laughter, as though the pain were something of a joke.
But she has seen the brilliance of the sun this morning and feels very confident and particularly alive. "You lied to me!" she says firmly. "You're a coward, and I will not tolerate it. I cannot..." He touches her hands, soothing, brushing the fraying edges of her loose sweater. "You cannot do this to me any longer."
"I am sorry," he says. Should charm not go on a bracelet? she thinks to herself as his hand weaves their fingers together. "Forgive me," he says. I wish I knew how to escape, she thinks to herself as he strokes her palm with tender fingertips, tracing lines and calluses. "I am but a worm," he says, and bending, kisses her hand gently. "I love you," he says and his lips quiver as he kisses her hand again. She stops all thought, clarity coming to her as a chaotic warmth is discovered in the blue-gray shadow of his eyes.
Later, she smiles into a darkened window, touching distractedly the hand he kissed, the soft skin there. And that night, when he is gone again, she lays sleepily against the pillow, her body fusing with the bed, entangled in the sheets and the blankets. Someday she will reclaim the bed, reclaim herself to the cradle. Until then, she turns, and breathes slowly into the dark of his absence. In the pillow, she recognizes his scent, and remembers his breath so close as her fingers danced across piano keys; she remembers his arms closing around her as she fought to escape; she remembers his poetic words about the moon and the snow, about the cemetery and the tower of love he wished to build for her. She smells his incense and herbal teas, his charm and secret brutality, his delightful smile, his alluring bravery that she had seen as cowardly, in the fibers of the bed.