The creature’s tongue slithered out of its mouth and lazily dragged across its eyes, first one, then the other. Rosa wrinkled up her nose. Her mouth drew back in a look of distaste. She looked over her shoulder at Steve, was going to continue voicing her displeasure, but he gave her the Look. Watery eyed and wounded, like a kid who’d just been yelled at by his mother. “You don’t like him,” Steve said. It wasn’t a question, and it wasn’t wrong.
The smile came instantly, effortlessly. Twenty-six years she’d been smiling like that, always the first to try and defuse tension, even when she wasn’t the one in the wrong. “Babe, I like him! I’m just… You know me. I’m more of a dog girl.” Her words sounded hollow to her, insincere. She imagined they sounded insincere to Steve, too. He had to be able to hear it, didn’t he? How could he not?
He smiled. “I know. And we’ll get a dog some day! I just this would be neat, y’know?” The smile looked genuine. All of his smiles always did. And why shouldn’t it be? He’d gotten his way. All he had to do was look a little sad, a little heartbroken, and he’d gotten his way, just like every time before.
They needed to break up. She needed to break up with him.