Sometimes they danced.
Their dance was not an elegant waltz. It was an aggressive swing with all of the passion and none of the pleasure. When she jerked him this way, he jerked her that way. There was no lead, only two fervid stars dancing to two different beats. Neither found solace in the intimacy of their situation, only adrenaline infused dread that set their nervous systems on fire.
The complexity of their relationship had them tense under a hot spotlight. She could smell his arrogance and he could sense her ambition. They knew well each other’s hands and hips, but not Achilles’ heel.
Sometimes they boxed.
Through bloodied noses and busted lips they traded punches. They knew the placement of each other’s and bruises and made sure to hit the same spot twice. With each blow, she sought to swing harder than he had. With each blow, he tried to make it the last. When she shoved him into his corner, he grit his teeth and shoved her back.
There were times he felt vulnerable. He unraveled before her like frayed yarn and it was a sign of weakness. With their eyes dangerously locked, he could feel her looking into his exposed, scrambling soul. Looking, watching, waiting, plotting. When he felt her fist crash into his jaw, it was just like the paranoia that had wrecked his brain. She knows, she knows.
There were times when she felt like she was losing herself. The lack of control was a sign of weakness. Her castle was crumbling, and cracks in the stone were scars upon its foundation like fear and failure were scars upon her psyche. He knows, he knows.
Sometimes they played.
This was not a feverish dance or a rousing battle of strength. This was a slow and meticulous game of chess–a cold, agonizing war. It was a fight for power and dominance without regard for the pawns or the bishops or the rooks. Conquer or be conquered. Face your nightmare or be eaten by it. She was pleased to back him into a corner and he was pleased to keep her contained.
It was during these games that their more animalistic tendencies showed. She hungered for his submission and he was starving for her brutal demise. Their fervor and ambition and fear and loathing came together in a dangerous mixture of frenzied chemicals that craved an explosive reaction. But on the exterior they would sit in the quiet, chewing on anxiety and animosity and orchestrating hell through black and white soldiers.
When she grinned, lips coated in red wax, his lungs turned to ice. When he smiled, bright eyes challenging and ardent, her blood began to boil.
When she said, “Your move,”
He said, “Checkmate.”