He looks so beautiful.

As the tip of my brush dabs against the canvas, cold and bare like his gunmetal skin, I look into the two glassy spheres below his helmeted brow that tend to flit from time to time. They’re hollow, like the bottles we leave at our heels every night, like the inside of his propane heart, but they cut through me with all the swift precision of a bullet.

I’ve always loved the rugged terrain of his face, the way his chiseled cheekbones carve down into a jawline so sharp I’ve cut my tongue on it before. How I want to trace the dotted lines of his mandible with a knife and watch the blood drip like melted wax. How I desire to traverse the topography down his neck into a familiar tropical forest, mapping out every crease and cranny on papyrus.

He sits there, silent and unsure, sewn into one of his many monochrome suits that frames his body like a Monet, watching me with those Bambi eyes as I apply the acrylics to the white board. “I hope you know I plan to poison you,” he says, piercing through my alabaster concentration.

“Is that so?” I reply, copper streaking across his portrait, not quite matching the mocha cappuccino color of his skin but a close enough shade to suffice for the time being.

He nods gently, his hair puffed high and airy on his head like a black umbrella. “Tonight, actually. There’s enough ketamine in your wine to tranquilize an elephant, let alone a horse.”

“Oh, so you’re calling me fat now?”

His knuckles go white, his fingers laced over his crossed knees like macramé. “Well,” he begins, his shoulders shifting like a mountain range, no doubt sending waves of relief down his porcelain spine, “you have put on a few pounds lately. It’s most noticeable in your hips.” The s hangs suspended in the air for a moment. “And your thighs.”

“Your favorite parts of me,” I croon, filling in the different shades of black in his dressing. “And how do you plan to get rid of my body after you kill me?”

“Dissolve you in sodium hydroxide, of course. Learned all about it in Mexico City.”

My paintbrush stiffens, but I force my grip to loosen. “Who were you fucking in Mexico City?”

His teardrop-shaped eyes shift towards mine. “You,” he prompts, looking down and then back up. “On our honeymoon, dear.”

I watch his suit peel off like black rose petals, the svelte nature of his vulpine form glimmering into view. I’ve always loved his beautiful chest, strong yet small, smooth but taut, with pert Hershey’s Kiss nipples just right for suckling. His pectorals fit perfectly in the palms of my hands, the same way my lips fit like a key between his locked up pair, full and plump as peaches, with gentle fuzz underneath. I’ve waited so long to taste the honeysuckle far beneath, to sip his nectar until I grow sick.

“Of course,” I say, my pupils dilated and fixed on his portrait. “How could I forget?”

We used to love each other, I’m sure. Back before the crows landed, leaving their footprints on our faces. Back before our bones turned to glass and our skin melted to plastic. Back before the snips and stitches that turned us into bitches. Back before we had diamonds installed in our mouths to cut through stone and flesh alike.

But that was seven hundred years ago.

Even from across the room I can hear every rhythmic beat of his heart, pumping sourweed through his veins, every breath a hurricane in his chest. “You know, I wanted to be an actor,” he breathes, his mouth barely open, the words falling out as cold and heavy as snow. “I always thought that this bronze face on the silver screen would win gold. I wanted to be an icon, be admired, be lusted after. But I licked my fingers and pinched that little candlewick of a dream a long time ago.”

“And now you have me.”

“And now I have you,” he repeats, almost in a song. “My lovely white elephant.”

The brush falls to the floor. “I swear if you call me fat one more goddamn time I’m going to slit your fucking throat.” My face festers with heat, and I’m sure I wear it on my cheeks, my chest billowy like clouds in a summer rain. “You know what? I’ve lost things too, darling.” The word snaps like a snapdragon, lacking the emotion it used to ooze. “I used to have a garden, remember? But now nothing will grow in the back yard. I guess fetal carrion isn’t the best fertilizer.”

“You would have been a terrible father,” he whispers, his eyes more glazed than I’ve ever seen them before. “They would have grown to resent you. You should be thankful they never got the chance.”

A million words swirl around my chest, all threatening to rise and burst through the other side, but my sphincter clamps tight on them all. “Wow, you must really hate me to say something like that”

For the first time, he rises from the chair, slowly and with intent, chuckling in his throat. “No entiendes, mi amor.” Approaching me, he smiles a wide toothless grin, his heels clacking against the floor. “Eres el hombre de mis sueños.” I can no longer hear his heart pumping, only my own, dancing a Samba between my ribs. “Y por eso, te quiero muerto.”

The last word dissolves between our lips, my hands around his waist, his arms around my neck. My back knocks a few books off the shelf upon impact, and the easel with my hours of craftsmanship topples like an oak tree. The paint smears and spatters, and I groan when his teeth find my neck.

His suits always did look best crumpled on the floor.


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