The peach fur yielded to my nails, juice running streams over my skin, pooling in the hollows of my knuckles.

“Marie?” He said.

Coral fibres caught between my teeth as I bared them. And he took my threat for a smile.

“I brought these for you” He offered flowers. A wilting posy of soft-petaled decay in his fist, thrust out as a symbol of love.

“Mm” I breathed.

He stood uncertain, as I rolled my tongue against the pit. It tasted rare, and sweet, and bold. I did not reach for the stems.

“Your mother said you liked flowers, and I thought them almost as pretty as you!” He was pleased with himself. Flattered by the munificence of his own common compliment.

Amber glazed my chin as my bite grazed the warm, obliging flesh. He spoke for his own amusement, and relief, then approached, wide eyed and demanding.

“I must have your answer Marie. I must know you will be mine!” He still clutched the poor, tender flowers, defiling their purpose with violent inattention. Until all but one swooned in his grasp. 

I sighed for them against the puckered, bloody stone, and answered:

“No Frederick, I don’t think I shall.”