Her perfume wafted in the still air of the murky room, hiding the stale smell of sweat and sex. It was strong and sickly sweet, and gave an impression of decay. But what could you expect? She was who she was. Eugene wasn't sure he liked it, but there was no avoiding it, it saturated the air. Ydranna used perfume like a battering ram.

He rolled over onto his side, wincing as he did. She'd clawed his back and sides, her hot kisses had left marks that would take a long time to heal.

Perhaps they never would. The moment had faded, and he could feel his shame catching up to him. The perfume clung to the air not letting him escape or find any solace. He was a coward, he always had been, but this was a whole new low. He tried to think of Sarah, and found it desperately hard to remember her face. Instead heart-shaped features with tawny eyes and the laughter lines of casual cruelty sneered at him mockingly in his minds eye, and the waking-world offered no escape.

She was already out of the bed, totally lacking any modesty or self-consciousness despite being as naked as the day she was born, already picking up her discarded clothes scattered across the room by their earlier passion, incidentally giving him a lovely view of the smooth skin of her back and legs. But there was nothing provocative about it. It was as though he'd ceased to exist. She didn't even seem to care about what they'd just done together. Well, so be it. He wouldn't care either.

"You're still here?" He said, trying to keep up an air of nonchalance.

Seeing right through him she turned and replied with a sultry smile that sent his blood racing. "I'll be gone in a few moments. And you'll despair that you'll never get this lucky again." She said, as she pulled her dark robe over her curvy form. She looked young and fit, soft in all the right places, skinny in all the other ones, but that didn’t mean anything. Magic-users as powerful as her usually looked there best, or rather, however they wanted to look. She could be as old as her lover, even older perhaps. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know.

"Don't flatter yourself."

"You're one to talk." A finger so soft it was as though she'd been wearing calfskin gloves her entire life traced a pattern down the right side of his cheek, but there was nothing tender about it, and he wanted to flinch away. "We both know I'm way out of your league."

"If you say so." He replied, affecting a disinterested drawl. He knew she wouldn't be fooled, but his pride wouldn't let him have it any other way.

It was as he expected, she wasn't fooled. "I'm not one of your usual type. This doesn’t mean anything. So don’t be thinking of me when I’m gone.”

“I wasn’t thinking of you when you were here.”

She flashed that smile again. “As you like. Tell me, are you going to tell her this, or are you too much of a coward? Will this be your dirty little secret? Every time she touches you, will you remember this?”

“It’s not like that.”

“Well, it isn’t for me. But you like to think your better then that.” She said, batting her eyes coquettishly. “But no one is. This wasn’t about you, all in all you’re fairly irrelevant. This is just to hurt him, and you’re the only enemy of his who hates him as much as I do. You should be proud, almost all his enemies are dead and gone.”

“So you're just trying to hurt him?”

“No, I’m trying to live my hate, and do something with it, not just talk about it.” She said, then grabbed his chin and forced him to look at her. “Eugene, you’re a little man. Little goals, little dreams, little. No one cares, not me, not him. He doesn’t even know you exist. You think this’ll hurt him? Well, it will, but it will be me doing the hurting, not you. Because you do not matter. And as much as you bluster and roar, you’re just a mouse. And I’m a fox, and he’s a lion. And if you get involved with either of us again, we’ll swallow you whole. You’re so far out of your league you don’t even know what sort of game you’re playing. Now why don’t you crawl back to your family and beg them to forgive you, and pretend you still love them so you don't have to face who you really are.” She sneered.

He wanted to disagree. But she was right. Damn her, she was right. She was even right about Sarah.

She raised her hand, and for a moment he thought she was saying goodbye. But she was just straightening her robe, and without so much as a farewell, she left. Leaving him alone in the murk, unable to escape her lingering perfume, or his own lingering shame.

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