She rises with the sun and greets the morning with sharp eyes and long, purposeful strides, her heels clicking on the marble floor in a sure staccato. She is made from willow, the storms bending her to the ground, but never able to break, to snap into pieces and twigs. Eyes follow her path paved with awe, fear and respect. They know she needs no one, needs no help to get where she is going. She rides a black motorcycle, speeding through the brightly-lit streets of New York after dark. The rich, dark timbre of her voice intimidates men and women alike as they angle their heads down and give her polite gentle smiles, nodding in agreement to every proposal she makes. She is her own boss, putting signatures on dotted lines she wants, never on those dictated to her. Strong and sure as the sun, breathtaking and far out of reach as the moon.
It is only when she strides into her apartment, all black leather and cool air, helmet under her arm, looking at the night scape below when her detached and menacing aura slips away as strong, warm arms wrap themselves around her waist. She stands unmoving as chapped lips touch the skin of her neck, hot breath ghosting across her shoulder.
The tightly-knit demeanor shatters into glistening shards, sharp as glass, as she drifts her eyes closed, relishing in the feeling of a firm chest pressed against her back, leaning back, allowing herself to be supported.
She doesn't need it, that's what the others think. An iron maiden, a shark in deep waters, a black cheetah out on a hunt.
She's never felt love. Pure, accepting and all-engulfing, until he strode into her life, breaking through her impenetrable artificial barrier with his small smile. Walking into her space as if it didn't exist, or not caring that it was there. Never demanding or degrading, never taming or submitting, just there.
She turns around and looks into his squinted blue eyes, loops her arms around his neck and reaches a hand up to tangle in his messy dark hair. He doesn't need to say words of comfort as he leans down to kiss her sharp cheekbone, and then she's pulling the black coat off his wide shoulders, working on the buttons of his dress shirt with nimble fingers. He strips her clothes with quiet confidence, peppering kisses on her jet black hair, behind her ear, her neck and clavicles.
It is after the slow-burning passion, fingers tangled in each other's hair and mouths seeking each other that they sit amongst the rumpled sheets, surround by white, his arms wrapped around her slim bony shoulders as he murmurs words she can't hear, wrapped in the stillness of the bright light. Here, nothing exists. There is no time, no strangers' apprehensive eyes, no image of an unbreakable woman.
His fingers trace down her arms and she pressed her face into his shoulder, inhaling the warm-wood scent.
No one dared to break the darkness before him. No one dared to look past the high fence and see the real woman behind it. No one but him.
And as she sits on the large bed, surrounded by loving gentle arms, she thinks the words she's unable to say to his face — "Thank you, babe".
For believing, for healing her wounds, for making her breathe again and pretending that it was nothing while it was everything.