The words of her family rang in her head as she lay in absolute darkness; the only sensation the steady warmth of the body lying next to her.
“Bo, you can’t possibly feel safe with that thing, if it won’t let you see it it must be hideous!”
“You know it is just a matter of time before the creature tires of you and decides to make you it’s next meal.”
“You’ve been given to a monster, the whole town is talking about it.”
Bo felt the doubt planted by her friends and family take root in her chest and blossom into an overwhelming need to be sure. Just one look, then she would know for sure.
Her lover was a mystery she had to unravel. Gentle but also passionate, solid but unknowable, they were a being of contradictions that drew Bo in more with every passing day.
The first night had been one of shy exploration. A soft voice telling her it was okay to touch, but not to see. Bo could never see her mysterious lover.
“It would ruin everything.” A husky, feminine voice had said.
So Bo touched. Slowly, needing to create a picture in her mind of what she had been given over to. She felt soft skin, sharp angles, and also... feathers? Her lover sighed at her touch, leaning into Bo but never pressing, never implying that Bo needed to do anything more than run her small hands gently over the hidden body lying next to her.
A few days in, however, Bo had wanted more. They met in a kiss that tasted of a cold breeze at night, sharp and crisp. Her lover held her close, twining their hands around her waist and into her hair. They made love that night, the tender embrace falling away to heat and passion that left Bo throughly in love.
She was in love for many reasons. Her lover’s touch, their gentle manners and the comforting presence they were next to Bo at night. They told enough stories to fill lifetimes, stories of adventure that kept Bo enthralled but never gave away any details as to who she was speaking to. They treated her with kindness, more so than her other lovers ever had, and left her to wander their gorgeous mansion and grounds at her leisure while their hidden servants made certain she had everything she could ever need.
But she needed to know.
Just one look.
She silently got up and went to the chest at the foot of the great canopied bed. The chest opened with a creak that made Bo wince, but moments passed and her lover never stirred. She quickly took out the candle and match she had hidden there earlier. Closing the chest and setting the candle on top she struck a match, and with a trembling hand lit the candle.
The flickering light revealed the familiar details of her bedroom, the high ceilings and the colorful decor that she favored, as well as her lush bed and the figure lying still within in.
Bo crept forward, the candle shakily held aloft, and finally looked at her lover.
Her world stopped spinning. There, in her bed, was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. Bright blonde hair was strewn across her pillow and around a sharply beautiful face, like something out of a storybook. Her limbs were long and elegant, and they reached out to where Bo had been sleeping just moments before.
Could this be real? Could she be real?
She as she approached the bed, she realized one detail was missing. The feathers. She was certain that was what she had felt all those nights in the darkness, soft and delicate but very much there. Perhaps they were folded up against her back? Bo had to know for sure.
She slowly leaned over the beautiful sleeping figure, her eyes looking for any sign of the feathers she had caressed so many nights before. She had just barely gotten a glimpse of bloody patches on the chiseled back when, unbeknownst to Bo, a small drop of wax dropped off of her candle and unto the silken skin of her lover.
The woman woke with a violent start, sending Bo reeling back, the offending candle still in hand. Icy blue eyes met hers, filled at first with confusion that slowly melted into despair. Betrayal.
The woman got up slowly, untangling herself from the plush blankets and standing up to her full, regal height. Bo shivered at at the beauty that was fully revealed to her now, more than she could have ever hoped for. The woman gave her one last sad look, and turned to face the moonlit window behind her. As she arched her back Bo saw lithe muscles contract, before wings shot out from where the bloody patches had been. Before Bo could think to speak her lover threw open the window latch, and with what sounded like a sob flew off into the frozen night sky.
Bo stood there, tears rolling down her cheeks. She had betrayed the love of her life. She had not been given to a monster, but to a miracle. Hurriedly she set the candle down and ran to the window, but she knew in her heart it was too late. Her lover was gone.
Now it was up to Bo to get her back.