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Asya took the last of her clothes out of the cupboard and placed it neatly in her duffelbag, zipping it shut before flinging it over her shoulder. Against her better judgement, she took one last glance around the room that had been hers for the past two weeks. 

She was hit, and then left reeling painfully with a wave of tender memories: snoozing between the covers, playing with Tanya and her stuffed toys, being carried upstairs by Roman, warm baths after ocean swims...

Pining for memories even though they were only days past, she suddenly felt at a loss, desperate to relive them, just feel them authentically as they happened. In the last twenty minutes she'd packed herself up, severed herself from the room like she'd never been there, like none of it was real. 

But it had been real, and now it was over. 

She'd changed, she could feel it in her bones, feel it in her reactions and thoughts. When she arrived she'd been afraid, unsure, anxious about having to be part of a family, but the experience ended up healing her, in so many ways. 

She ripped her eyes away from the room.

***

At breakfast, she felt his eyes flitting to her more than a few times. Between sentences and cups of coffee, when he thought she wasn't paying attention. The blue lingered, tested her, challenged her to meet him somewhere over the table and acknowledge what had happened. 

Last night had ended like so many others, with her falling asleep on the couch, being carried upstairs and a door closing quietly. But the conversation they'd had in the living room weighed heavily on her, even though she had tried not to read too much into it. 

When she got into his car two weeks ago she'd given up any hope of being just a company member to him, or even just a soloist, and last night, through subtext and hesitation, he'd admitted that he felt something, not that that came as a massive surprise. 

Laying in bed she reminded herself that through all their tentative encounters they had an unspoken agreement that whatever hung between them would never become romantic.

They would never take it that far. 

For both their sakes.

Asya had figured out sometime over the past week that he wanted to. It was written all over him, in the way his gaze lingered, how he found excuses to touch her, how his voice got softer when he spoke to her.

And she allowed herself to think that maybe Roman wasn't just interested in her body or her career. Maybe he wanted something more, if there was something more.

But she didn't let herself think like that for too long. After all, she knew how she'd treat him. History had shown her over and over again what kind of lover she was, and she was long past blaming all the toxicity on the men she'd been with.

She knew that sleeping with Roman would end badly, she'd no longer be able to trust him, no longer enjoy him. She'd claw softly into him, let him see her bare bones and sharp edges, take her time to find his weaknesses. 

She'd steal his air, make him unable to breathe without her, make him run to her. In the quiet torture she'd lure him in, draw him further and further into the jungle. She'd allow him small bites of things he'd never tasted before, he'd look into an animal's eyes and be so willing to be ripped apart, glad to bleed. 

And then?

Then she'd shove him out, push him away, drive him into isolation, and watch what that does to him. She'd relish in his pain and make him suffer more f she can, her claws would go deeper when he thinks he can have her back, but she'd go for the throat when she finally gives herself to someone else. And after all that?

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