They shudder up and down as the host throws itself flat out on the mattress, as it has persisted in doing every single night despite the protesting creak of the springs. The host’s parents bends and kisses it with a smack on both cheeks, coos “nighty-night,” and finally shuts the door. Almost instantly the host is asleep, the shackles fall, and they are free.
“Why?” The one on the right shoulder shakes his dark head, casually letting a few strands of hair fall into his eyes, “Every night. Why?”
“It’s an expression of Love,” the one of the left flutters her long lashes, “she adores him.” She draws the word out between her heart-shaped lips: ah-dooo-ahs.
The one on the right rolls his eyes, accompanying them in great, exaggerated circles with his head. The same lock of hair falls, unintentionally of course, into exactly the same place. He stretches expansively, reaching on arm to the right, “couldn’t give us a light, could you, daah-ling?”
With one movement of her delicate, manicured hand she flicks the tiny cigarette away, at the same time embarking on a fit of very genteel coughing. “Graham,” (gra-ha-aaam), “why do you persist in that filthy habit? You’re only killing yourself.”
“Teacup Devils don’t die, Selma. Just like teeny, tiny angels.”
At this remark, she pulls her shoulders and neck up as high as they will go, even rocking slightly forward onto her tiptoes
“Look at you, darling,” Graham continues, forcing the sweetness into his voice, “you’re… glowing. Do you really mean you can’t spare one little spark to make your long-suffering co-worker not quite so miserable?” He smiles, a biting smile with only half of his mouth turned up.
“Yeah,” she gives a light giggle, “I’m Good, honey, not Nice.”
“Come on,” he isn’t giving up on this fight so easily, “you’re always telling him to be nice,” Graham jerks a thumb at the sleeping host, whose shoulders, out of habit, both he and Selma are still resting on.
“Well, we don’t always act on our own advice to him,” she smiles winningly straight at him, the first time they have made eye contact at all this night, “do we, Graham?”
“What are you implying, darling?” He is gently amused, but his eyes are still fastened on the cigarette lying beside Selma’s foot, “You’ll never catch me being decent when nobody’s looking.”
Selma abandons her sweet, wide-eyes smile and laughs with genuine amusement, “You’re constantly telling him to go and get laid, and, you must correct me sweetie, but I don’t remember you doing that anytime recently.”
Looking down at his feet, or the shoulder between them, he blushes bright red, but as he lifts his head to glare at her his eyes catch the cigarette still resting just barely out of his reach and he forces his face into what is at least an approximation of a smile. “Ha-ha-ha,” his laugh comes out even colder than usual, “got me there. In fact,” he pauses for a minute, grinning his odd, half-smile again, “When was the last time you saw me do anything really bad?” His eyes flick to her face, and he goes on, cautiously, “In fact, you might say that my only sin really is…” he looks down at the cigarette.
“Honestly,” she laughs yet again, this time a little uncertainly, “you’re not going to convince me to let you smoke because you’re such a good person, are you?”
He sighs, and rolls his eyes again, “Oh, I suppose not,” he sits down, peering around the neck at her, “Please.”
“Graham!” She picks up the tiny, white tube and throws it as hard as she can away from her. “No.”
Graham watches it roll across the polished wood floor several feet from the bed. He grimaces, defeated, and turns away from Selma to stare at the wall. But in a few moments he turns back, and, just like every other night, they begin to talk.