Just when I could see my vision start to tunnel, the steel grasp around my esophagus loosened making me crumple to the floor gasping for air. Ragged coughs escaped my lips as my lungs became overwhelmed by the oxygen that was flowing into them.
I glanced up through watery eyes to see Lilith had wrapped her tiny fist around the long, silken white strands of Lucifer's hair and yanked him down onto his knees where she proceeded to twist his ear in her grip. His eyes were squeezed tightly shut in pain as his lips moved murmuring something under his breath.
"Lucifer Morningstar!" Lily snapped angrily twisting his ear even further.
"Aaahhhhhh, darling," he grunted. "You know not to call me t—aaggh!" Lucifer cried out as her fingernails clawed across his chest. The wounds healed almost instantly, but even I could see they had gone pretty deep.
"I don't believe you are in the position to tell me what I can or cannot call you."
A breathless chuckle escaped my lips as I positioned my back against the wall to regain the last of my breath. I rubbed at my neck, flinching when I felt the more sore areas near the sides from where his fingers had dug into my flesh. I felt a warm hand touch my knee. I looked up to see Luc smiling sadly down at me. I yanked my knee out from under his grasp and shoved him away.
"Don't fucking touch me," I growled stumbling to my feet. Luc stretched out a hand to help me, but I slapped it away.
"Now you decide you want to fucking help me?" I hissed leaning against the wall until my legs decided they were able to stand on their own again.
"Don't even," I snapped backing away from him towards Lily where she still had her husband down on his knees begging her to release his ear.
"Apologize to the young girl immediately, Lou, or I'll rip this ear off," she threatened. Her eyes flashed a blood red before returning to their normal dark brown.
Those metallic silver eyes opened clashing with mine. No longer did I see hate or murderous intent burning in those intense eyes. Instead they only held sadness and regret. He brushed the tip of his tongue along his lips before opening his mouth to speak.
"Leighra, I apologize for the pain I caused you. I was angry because my eldest broke the most important rule of our kingdom and I acted rashly against you. I welcome any harm you may want to cause me," he apologized. It still amazed me at how deep his voice was even when quiet.
My eyes widened as they turned towards Lily. Was he actually giving me permission to hit him right now? Lily's smile stretched from ear to ear.
"Well go on, dear. Punch this evil bastard right in the face," she encouraged. My face contorted into one of confusion. What kind of family was this that actually wanted you to cause them pain? I saw Luc shift closer to me out of the corner of my eye which made me inch closer to Lily and her husband. I found it to be quite sad that I found more solace being near the man who had almost killed me rather than being near my fiancé.
"I-I'm not so sure I c-could just HIT Satan…" I quietly admitted glancing away from Lucifer when I called him Satan. I wasn't exactly sure if that would upset him or not. I really didn't want to incur his wrath again.
"No, please, I insist," Lucifer urged crawling forward on his knees now that his wife had finally decided to release his ear. Even with him fallen to his knees, he was still nearly as tall as me. In all honesty, he wasn't even the one that I really wanted to hit right now. I understood where he was coming from and why he had taken his anger out on me. He was just trying to protect himself and everyone from being exposed.
So I did the one thing he didn't expect. I got to my knees in front of him which earned me a confused glance from him while Lily just smiled knowingly. Luc took an apprehensive step forward, but stopped upon seeing his mother's glare. I wrapped my slender arms around Satan's muscled waist and pulled him in for a hug. His body went rigid. Whether it was from shock or having his victim hug him, I wasn't sure. His muscles gradually relaxed as he crushed me against the hard wall of his chest in his own embrace.
"You…are quite brave," Lucifer chuckled. His hot breath teased the top of my head causing some of the strands to move about.
I pulled out of the hug and confidently stood to my feet. He copied my movements and pulled his wife into his arms. She giggled, nuzzling her head against his chest. Which reminded me…
My gaze slid over to Luc who was watching me through wary, ice blue eyes. When he saw me slowly approaching him I could see his body tense up until I flashed a reassuring smile. His muscles visibly loosened as he opened his arms to me. I started thinking. Maybe it would just be best to forgive him. I mean, he did try to help me, but his father threw him against the wall.
I stepped into his embrace and slid my hands up his pecs to rest on the tops of his shoulders. His sigh of relief combined with his cocky smile made the anger that had been simmering below the surface erupt inside my body. A cold, spiteful smile made a home on my face. Luc watched me uncertainly; his arms loosened the embrace just a tad.
Sure it had been his mother who had ultimately saved my life, but who cared about the little details? Oh, that's right.
My fingers dug into the flesh at his shoulders as my leg bent back to slam my knee into his crotch. Luc immediately doubled over, falling to the ground as I stepped back. A smile of satisfaction replaced my former spiteful one. Lily and her husband burst out laughing behind me; her soft, soprano laugh perfectly harmonizing with the profound timbre that was her husband's.
"Leigh…ra…" Luc gritted out breathlessly.
"Come, Leighra," Lucifer chuckled stretching a hand out towards me. "We have much to discuss about your place in our family. Since I do believe you will fit in just bloody perfectly," he grinned.
A part of me felt badly for having done what I did to Luc, but the other part of me knew he deserved it. I am glad he tried to save me, don't get me wrong, but it was that one time. And he didn't even continue trying afterwards. It had taken his short, feisty mom to save me. It hurt even more because he had promised to keep me safe from his family.
Without looking at Luc, I turned on my heel and followed his family through the living room and into a giant library where a reading area was set up in the center of the floor. Lucifer motioned for me to sit down in one of the chairs while he and his wife occupied the sofa across from me.
"First of all, please, call me Lou. Satan just sounds so…formal," he smiled resting a long arm across the back of the couch.
I blushed and nodded my head in understanding.
"You're a brave human for getting involved with my son. I'm sure most humans would have run away after finding out not only WHAT he is, but whom he is the son of," Lou continued. "Which brings me to my first question. Did you willingly give your soul to my son? Or was it taken from you without your permission?"
Those silver eyes locked onto mine. I wanted very much to say that I had given it willingly so that I didn't get his eldest into any more trouble, but from the looks in those swirling metallic eyes…I knew he was daring me to lie to him. He wanted to see if I really was cut out for being in this family.
I took a deep breath before slowly releasing it.
"When your son had been in the process of explaining everything to me, your youngest son—"
"Raphael. Of course," Lou sighed irritably.
"Well, he ripped my soul from me before Luc had the chance to explain everything. So, yes, my soul was taken without my permission, but your son…he…he offered me the chance to gain it back. So…I willingly gave it to him in the end," I explained.
"Even so, he should have brought you to me so that we could have settled all of this. If you did not want to make this commitment with my son, I could have broken the hold on your soul and given it back to you. I have that power," Lou informed. His British tone was filled with assurance and slight concern for me. "I can still change things now if this is not the life you want for yourself. I understand it's a big responsibility being married to the eldest son of...well...myself, Satan. Not every person can handle it. Especially a human."
His words stung me slightly. Did he really think that low of us humans? That we were too weak to comprehend their existence in the world? That we couldn't handle being bound to a demon? I wanted so badly to snap at him; to except the challenge he was hinting at. But I couldn't find the words to accept his hidden dare. Instead, his words made me think. DID I really want to be here? Up until now, over these past few weeks, I have had to be here. I didn't have a choice because I thought my soul would be forever trapped until the day of the ritual. Yet here Satan—Lou—was offering me the once in a lifetime chance to regain my soul back and never have to deal with Luc or Raphael or Hell ever again.
"Of course, if you do decide to reclaim your soul, you realize that all of your memories of this will be erased? You won't remember this conversation. You won't know about demons existing…" he trailed off waiting for me to finish his sentence for him.
"I won't remember…Luc…" I ended softly.
I lifted my gaze to meet Lily's dark brown eyes. I could tell she desperately wanted me to stay here and be with her son, but was doing her best to remain as emotionless as her husband beside her. My eyes darted toward the empty entrance to the library where I could have sworn I saw a flash of movement. Knowing this place though, it could have easily been a demon servant.
What did I want to do? There were so many pros and cons for each side that I had to think about. It was hard to imagine that Satan was the one offering me my soul back. Didn't they WANT to rake in as many as they could to compete with Heaven?
I exhaled causing Lou and Lily to glance warily at each other.
"Sir…Lou…having my soul back…it would be the most amazing thing ever. This whole thing with Luc only started out as a blind date of sorts when we met at a speed dating thing. I didn't know I would be signing up for this when I accepted his date to Olive Garden. And I definitely didn't know I'd be literally in Hell talking about my soul with Satan of all people. Having my life go back to normal would be…just what I need…" I informed him, my gaze never leaving his.
"Then we shall get your s—"
"But," I quickly interjected. "It's not what I want. You see, even though I wasn't planning on having my life end up this way…nor did I plan on giving my soul away…I don't think I could stand it if I wasn't allowed to remember these events. To be honest, I couldn't stand the thought of not knowing Luc. I realize we have only known each other for a few weeks; reasonably it's not enough time for me to feel so sure about giving you an answer right now. All I know is that Luc has brought excitement into my life from the very first moment he sat down across from me at the speed dating table. His pale blue eyes drew me in from that very first moment."
I chuckled when I realized it sounded like I was about to confess my love for him. "Don't mistake my words of adoration for ones of love, though. Luc has just helped me to open my mind up to the world outside of my own. He's helped me to expand my knowledge on so many things that I'm sure MOST humans couldn't even begin to comprehend. Sure, Luc can be a cocky bastard at times, but, even so, it's during those times when he's kind and romantic that I can see myself fal—" I cut myself short before I accidentally said falling in love with him.
"I can see myself being able to tolerate him more than I can now. And even if I did reclaim my soul and you eradicated my memories of all of this, somewhere in the back of my mind…I know I will never find a guy like Luc. A man who I can threaten, spar with, tease…a man that can make my heart race faster with his stupid, cocky grin. Or make my breath catch when he merely glances at me. So, that's why I want to stay with Luc. Even if he is a demon and the eldest son of Satan…your son has made a deep impression on my heart over such a short span of time that I just can't let him go. He can't escape from me that easily," I joked feeling the familiar burn of tears in my eyes. I didn't want to outright say I was beginning to feel love towards their son, but I wanted them to know how much he meant to me.
Lily covered her quivering mouth with a small, ivory hand before flinging herself off the couch towards me. She wrapped her tiny arms around my neck and pulled me into her lung crushing embrace.
"Thank you so much," she whispered joyfully in my ear. Lou just shook his head at his wife, but I could see the hint of a smile playing at his lips.
Maybe I had made the wrong decision by allowing the chance to have my soul back fall out of my reach once more, but I didn't care. I mean really? Who could say they've met Satan and lived?
I smiled and crushed Lily in return. Not just anyone that was for certain.
I leaned back against the wall outside the library door in relief. For a moment she had me worried that she was going to take her soul back. I had been praying that Father wouldn't bring up the topic of being able to offer her soul back, but in a way I was glad that he did. If he hadn't I wouldn't have been able to eavesdrop on their conversation and hear those words Leighra so confidently spoke.
I closed my eyes as I let a smile grow lazily across my face. I had made just enough of an impression on her to make her want to stay with me. It shouldn't make me feel this happy inside, but it did. Although I had to wonder about what she was going to say before cutting herself off earlier. Sure, Luc can be a cocky bastard at times, but it's during those times when he's kind and romantic that I can see myself fal—I can see myself being able to tolerate him more than I can now.
Had she been about to say she could see herself falling…for me? I dug into the pocket of my jeans and pulled out the crumpled piece of notebook paper from earlier. I once more stared down at the unfinished words scribbled along the top of the page next to her doodle of me. Why can't he…
I removed my glasses so that I could rub the bridge of my nose in thought. If I were to take her words she just said and combine it with the words she almost said (assuming I was right in my train of thought), then the conclusion I can come to about these scribbled words is…
My eyes snapped open once more staring at the words. Only now my eyes grew wide with realization before glancing away in sadness. I was sure the words had meant to say, why can't he love me?
I folded the paper back up and shoved it deep into my pocket once more.
Because, I thought sadly to myself in answer to her unspoken question. Love is too complicated for a demon like me. And I don't want to risk the chance of feeling my heart beat again…only to be ripped out of my chest after the ritual is through and you gain your soul back…and ultimately leave me in the end.