It started to rain, and as it did, he broke the silence that fell over their conversation with his voice, sweet but unsure.
"It's just that you're not..." he measured carefully what he wanted to say next. There was a confusing thought in his head that he couldn't decide to share. Would she understand what he meant given her uncharacteristic vulnerability? She remained calm until then, her confession quiet but unwavering. Was this what it felt like to love someone? Was that the reason his heart kept pounding as he desperately searched for the words to deny her?
His breath echoed through the phone line.
"You're not..." he said.
"I'm not..." she said over the quiet lull of the raindrops on her end of the line.
Could he bring himself to tell her what she didn't want to hear but needed to? Indulging just for a second in the kindness in her voice, he could almost taste his reward. She would be lovely, he imagined, gentle with his heart. The white rabbit, kept from her rabbit hole at last.
An odd sadness returned to him. Would she keep her charm in captivity? He didn’t know if he could play both lover and master. Could she endure a life she didn't know?
"You don't... you know what, forget it. It doesn't matter," he resigned. He imagined her at that moment, fragile as an orchid, sitting down before him although miles away. She sat on the cold floor, heavy tresses on her face, her phone in her hand, quiet while the rain kept pouring outside.
"If it's honesty, it matters," she said, breaking his reverie and encouraging him to speak. She knew how much he liked the sound of her voice. He realized he'd heard the heavenly song of that treacherous siren for almost two hours today. She had a way of wrapping him around her saccharine melody. He couldn't help but wonder if her mouth would be as sweet as her voice. Would it be as broken and vulnerable?
"All these years you haven't," he took a painful breath to clear his mind of her spell. "You haven't been with anyone," he said, a detail not even she could refute. She couldn’t talk her way around her inexperience in the arena of committing to loving another person. It was the one angle the vixen hadn't considered, the one way he could win.
"I haven't, no," she said, and he could see her laying spread out on the floor, water streaming from the heavens and down her hair in defeat. "Meanwhile you’ve dated," she added, holding a breath for him. They'd been playing around with hypothetical scenarios laced with whimsical thinking, menacing suggestion, and promise.
"A couple of girls, yes," he said. There was heaviness in his chest, a stagnant storm within him. He imagined a deteriorating siren left out to dry in the sun. Indulging in curiosity, he got closer, hoping to finally make up his mind. Could she be telling the truth in between songs? Could her confession be a gift rather than a compelling melody meant to drown him?
"While you haven't, no," he stated, trekking to the place where her carcass lay rotting in the sand. The hair looked so smooth and damp from afar. He took one of her dried curls with two fingers, the strands turned coarse to his touch. "You've always just been," he said, and nothing remained but a siren beached against the rocks, and a curl that had turned into a leather leash around her throat.
"Yours," she said without hesitation from the other end of the line.