Every time I write a piece, I have a favorite chapter or scene. This excerpt from Lover, Destroyer is my favorite, partly because, even in a smutty book, I like to sneak in symbolism. In this passage, the soon-to-be-lovers Elarhe (aka “Squirrel”) and Kite have been flirting and verbally sparring for several encounters. Here, the normally dark and brooding Kite gives Elarhe a violet. Violets can symbolize humility, everlasting love, or death. In some way, all three apply here. Death, because death represents change, and this scene marks a turning point in how each views the other.
“Well, if it isn’t Darelock’s proudest urchin? How are you this fine evening, Squirrel?”
Elarhe tensed. “I’m fine.”
Kite walked up to him, smiling coldly. “You look like you’ve been rolling about in a dung heap.”
“I’ve been working. Doing an honest day’s labor. What have you been doing—buying posies all day?”
“I’ve been all day in the stacks, researching spells of the darkest nature.” He sniffed the bouquet. “The flowers are to remind me that this often dreary world is also beautiful.”
Elarhe watched him, disarmed. “The world is always beautiful,” he said softly, slowly. “Even the rain, even the mud. Everything can’t be flowers.”
Kite’s pale blue eyes seemed to mirror the violets. He gazed at Elarhe as if seeing him for the first time. After a long moment, he broke eye contact, shaking his head. “I need the flowers.” There was no pretense in his voice this time, just something quiet and melancholy. He handed a flower to Elarhe. “Sometimes we need something pure and good.”