Sin and Corruption

The low thrum of monotonous pop music filled the awkwardly lit living room. The windows were blacked out to deal with the heat, and with no main light they relied on the kind of dim mood lighting usually reserved for the other kind of party.

Chris had taken Clara's husband into the kitchen to cook together. Sin and Rake cuddled in a corner of the sectional, quietly. Other friends milled about on the couch, exchanging small talk. She was the only one who had opted not to take a seat on the large, comfortable furniture.

Miria sat on the floor, leaning on the couch and resting her head on her arms, looking up at Clara the way she used to look at the other girls in the high school locker room. Similarly, Clara kept watch over Miria with the same lip-curling distain.

It wasn't Miria's fault Clara was beautiful! Rough? Rugged? Miria couldn't put her finger on the right word. Before becoming the kind of engineer who spends days in the mountains setting up and repairing expensive infrastructure, she played the boys sports throughout school. Rugby. Hockey. The kinds of sports that produced a unique physicality.

When Clara turned her attention away Miria attempted to lean in to kiss her thigh. She was strong and fast. Her rough hand pushed Miria back by the forehead, and then her foot was planted – so deliberately and carefully positioned to apply even pressure – on Miria's chest before shoving her back into the coffee table hard enough to rattle some drinks.

"Don't touch me, you stupid fucking dyke," Clara barked.

They were good friends. They had been for years and years. There was nothing wrong with Clara's conduct. But there was a rawness in the woman's voice that tickled Miria's twisted soul. Somewhere in there was hate. Not for Miria specifically, but for something.

Miria had always wanted to see it.

"Maybe," Sin's wonderful voice drifted over the music, "you two should clarify your relationship so that newer people don't get the wrong idea."

Miria crawled back to Clara's side, albeit just a little further away, and looked up at Clara. "Well?"

Baffled. Suddenly under the spotlight. Forced to explain a relationship the two of them had never directly discussed. Sin always squirmed and fidgeted under those circumstances. Chistina stepped into them like they were delivering a soliloquy to an enraptured audience. But Clara just sat quietly to think, staring into her half-empty beer bottle.

"We're fine," Clara decided, "we're playing up a bit. The same way you and Charlie do. It's an act."

Charlie and Sin's relationship aside, all forms of play required some acting. Over-emoting to make the scene and intentions clear. Ambiguity was a rot that could ruin more than a single encounter. On that point Clara and Miria were in complete agreement.

"Which means the truth," Miria cooed, "is that you adore me and love the attention."

"Absolutely not!" Clara snarled. She made the mistake of making eye contact with Miria. "You're pushy and annoying and never take no for an answer. And just looking at you is enough to trigger dysmorphia."

Miria frowned. "What do you mean?"

"Long blonde hair. Blue eyes. Pretty freckles. Long smooth legs." Clara struggled to break eye contact. Miria reveled in watching her blush rise. "It's like looking at a fucking barbie doll. You're too fucking perfect. I hate it."

Miria smiled. Soft and comforting. "You know," she lowered her voice just so to make it feel more intimate, "the basement is sound-proof. In case you wanted to take me down there and fix me."

The idle chatter faded slightly. Clara shifted uncomfortably at the sentiment. Severeal people did – Sin perked up, but it was probably her tone. Miria moved up to sit next to her on the couch.

"I'm serious," Miria moved slowly as she spoke. Too quickly and she could draw Clara's attention elsewhere. No. She wanted Clara to continue looking her in the eyes. To listen to her voice.

"Imagine it. Just you and I in a dark room. Nobody to judge you. Nobody to stop you. The only sound is our breathing. Where would you start? What would you fix first?"

Miria continued to describe the scene, slowly but deliberately. Clara's eyes widened in awe. Lips danced around words that wouldn't form. A quickening heartbeat. It started to set in when Miria places both of Clara's hands around her neck. Clara's wrists wanted to withdraw, but her fingertips twitched and tested the flesh. Soon Miria could feel Clara leaning into her, the pressure around her neck increasing at a steady rate.

It was over in an instant.

Miria was pulled to her back, with Chris looming over her. Fuming. Again.

"What are you doing?" So many other words wanted to pour forth, but Chris was being kind for the guests.

Miria touched her throat and felt where the fingers had been. She could still feel the pressure. "I didn't do anything, Christina. Not even what you think I did."

"You're twisted," Clara panted. She was looking at her hands. "Just how far were you going to let me go? When were you going to pull the plug?"

"When I die, I want it to be by the hands of a beautiful woman. Intimate and violent. Passionate."

"What fucking broke you?" Clara's disgust was evident.

Sin giggled, "You didn't know? 22 years of Catholicism. You still haven't scratched the surface of how fucked up she is."

An unsettling number of people in the room laughed and agreed. She wasn't wrong. But Miria wasn't about to jump into the lore, as these nerds would call it. She had other business to attend to in private.