She came down the stairs, bare feet padding on the dusty hardwood. Her hair was a tangled mess that fell around her shoulders like a mouse-frizz halo.
His mouth dried up when he saw her. She quirked one side of her terracotta lips up in acknowledgement. It wasn’t a smile— it was what a smile would be with all the effort drained out of it.
She wore a too-big men’s white T, worn and just a little grayed. It hit her legs just below her shapely buttocks, and he noticed. Oh, he noticed. He swallowed hard, and she caught him staring.
“I don’t need to be decent: it’s my house.” Deadpan and dead-on as a mind reader.
He quickly averted his eyes, returning to the conversation at hand. They were talking business, after all. Business in his friend’s living room.
His eyes flicked back to her when she emerged from the kitchen a few minutes later, steaming mug in hand. She yawned like a cat, indolent and unapologetic for rising disheveled from sleep at 2 in the afternoon.
He caught a glimpse of a tattoo on her arm as she passed— the barest hint of a spiked, scaled tail peeked out from below one sleeve, curled intimately around her arm.