I know why he asked her to dance.
It wasn't to smell the flowers of her skin; the hothouse of pots and paints growing out of a cosmetic garden.
It wasn't to taste the curve of her mouth, the pretty outline that formed a plush yet distant invitation
It wasn't to hear her voice – a lilting, meaningless gesture. Frail and foolish, her words died quickly: empty, unmourned bodies.
It wasn't to place his hand on her back and let the currents of taffeta and silk pulse through his fingers. He did not do so to feel her pale muscles, her weak and graceful movements.
It wasn't to see the colors of her face. The dim expressions of her eyes were shadowed, an essay of her private boredom. Her hair flourished with reflective lights, and sometimes a curl fell loose and whispered in his ear.
But it was not for such happy, errant accidents that he asked her to dance.
No – it was to create a vision: one of temporary possession, of feigned control. He did it for the gratification of his mind, not of his senses. It was to create a brief drama that would linger in his thoughts: a tiny portrait for him to wear with false pride.
All he cared for was the illusion, so he could fall in love – Narcissus-like – with the reflection of enviable ownership he had created.