Three people in a room.
One lay passed out on a divan. She is exquisite. A vision of soft curves and draped arms. Of dark curls and bare honey skin. Her nakedness covered in a blanket like a statue of a goddess yet to be fully revealed.
The other person stared at the woman. This was a young, plain-looking lady with a face made of mountains. Immovable, yet so open. She sat still on a couch, on her hands a recording device. The young lady took her time observing the woman. Then, her eyes flickered to the third person in the room.
The man sitting across her flinched. The young lady's eyes were devoid of emotion. Not quite dead, yet not bursting with the fire of feeling. An immovable mountain. So calm, yet so definite. He hated them, no offense to the lady. He still could not believe how such a face persuaded him to push through with this interview. At this specific time.
The young lady now watched this peculiar young man. Not quite a full grown man yet, but definitely not a young boy anymore. This not-boy, not-man who studiously kept his eyes away from the ravaging woman beside them. The young lady's lips parted. "Ilya," her voice is soft, the name neither a question nor a command. The young man gulped, his eyes met hers, and he shifted slightly on his wooden stool. "Yes," he answered, "Go ahead."
The young lady looked down at her device. Clicked it on. "Alright," she offered a slight curve of a corner of her lips as a smile. "Let's start with something simple, Ilya," he exhaled in relief, "Describe to me your role in this household?"
Ilya flushed. His copper curls and pale skin were no help. The young lady waited. "I am," started Ilya, "hi-uh-her..." He seemed to have noticed his bare chest and reddened even more. "-the, uh, right hand of the mas-mistress." He looks up to the lady. When she nods for him to continue, he exhales. "I oversee to the other house help. I make sure everything runs as they should. But mostly I am supposed to be of service. I tend to every whim of..." His gaze flickers to the direction of the sleeping woman, as if to check if she still slumbers. When his eyes meet those of his interviewer, they glow oddly with unchecked emotion. "This wench." He says, leaning forward. "I was taken in young, by someone I thought was honorable enough to follow all my life. But I was wrong. You deserve to know this because you work with us now. Please, leave now, miss. The pay's not worth it. We work for a murderous, pretentious, devil spawn--"
"Darling, you flatter me."
Ilya stiffened, his ears a fiery red, and kept his now blank eyes on the young lady. The young lady who calmly turned to look at Andromache. The exquisite woman had turned to her side, a hand delicately supporting her head. She grinned maliciously. Her canines on full display. "What else am I?" There was a certain way her voice mystified the listener. Rough, but soft.
The young man gritted his teeth. His jaw ticked. He looked to the floor, light casting shadows on his face. "You're also a lying bastard," was his weak reply. In the voice of a man defeated by the devil. His fists clenched. Andromache cackled. Then she unfolded herself from the divan and sat up. But the feet that touched the marble floor was not those of a voluptuous goddess'. The young lady kept her eyes on Andromache the whole time the woman shifted back to her original form. One of muscle and strength. Hewn from brute force and power. A god. A hero. A man.
The blanket that covered him lay discarded on the side, displaying him in all his naked glory. There was not one bit that the young lady had not been intimate with. But that time had long gone, and now, neither of them wished the touch of the other. She kept her eyes on Andromache, who drank in the sight of the cornered young man who refused to look at him. A feral grin spread across his face. "By the door is your payment. Come back tomorrow if you want it doubled," he told the young lady. "But for now, won't you be a doll and leave us?"
And then he stared at her. Hazel eyes that glowed with a dangerous fire that she never once learned to love. The young lady understood. Her face remained unchanging. "Of course." She rose, glancing once at Ilya's terrified blue eyes and ignoring their desperate plea. She bowed her head in greeting. "Tomorrow then, Ilya."
She went to leave. Saw the velveteen bag of gold by a pedestal beside the grand doors. As she marveled at the weight and cradled it close to her bossom, she thought of how two bags would carry. I didn't even do the task properly.
The door had barely closed when she heard the soft cries of the shapeshifter's new pet.