Before Richard, all I had wanted was my mother's smile to reach her eyes, for her to be loved as she loved-- soft and loyal. But over time, as years passed-- the wish changed to something warped, something twisted. I talked less, thought more, blew out the candle on my eighth birthday cake-- and I wished that I'd grow, that I'd be become more than Richard, stronger-- less afraid. That maybe I would never feel at all. That one day, he'd touch my mother, bruise her skin like petals, and I'd fucking kill him. -- Counterpart to Black Velvet, highly suggest reading it first, but works as a stand alone story.