She entered the bedroom after he was already under the sheets, his chest exposed as he sat against the wall fiddling with his phone. She closed the door without a word, checked that he was still occupied by the screen in his hand, then turned to face the wardrobe and began to remove her shirt.  The room fell abnormally quiet, the sound of him thinking seemed to vanish from the air and she could tell he was watching her before she looked in the mirror to her left.

He looked at her like an animal at its helpless prey. She thought that this was how someone must look at a person they are about to murder as they crouch in fear screaming for mercy. She tried to ignore the intensity of his stare as it burned into her skin and reached down to the floor to retrieve her nightshirt. She hastened her routine as she removed her bra and pulled the shirt over her head. It was grey and old and was more like a short dress than a shirt, it ended over her thighs and she liked it best that way. She did not want to be attractive, she wanted to go to sleep.

She unbuttoned her jeans, removed them carefully so as not to show any more skin than necessary, and placed them folded on the chair next to her for the morning. She flashed a glance to the mirror; he was still watching her, the same disgusting half-smile fixed on his face. It was a look of expectancy that was soon to be tainted with disappointment and displeasure.

She released a silent sigh before turning the light off and joining him in the small double bed. She was careful not to touch him and not to meet his gaze; she did not want to give him any sort of signal that the look on his face was welcome. He put down his phone on the cabinet beside him and looked over to her. He slid a hand over to her leg under the sheets and she held back a grimace, forcing a smile onto her lips. She muttered a goodnight and lay facing the wall, away from him and that carnal almost-smile.

His rough hand met the curve of her hip and her face contorted with the mixture of anger and sadness and pain that coursed through her veins. This was not how life was meant to be.


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