Only the truly idiotic court Lucifer to join them in their home. How does one send that invitation?
Dearest Dark Lord,
Please join me for dinner, drinks, and my soul served on a silver platter. RSVP ASAP so I may plan dinner accordingly.
A Total Whackjob
Yeah, that was a ticket to disaster. Yet there I stood, waiting in the small dining room of my house. The heels of my shoes caught on the odd texture of the carpet as I paced around, double-checking that the cats hadn’t run off with one of the linen napkins or tried to steal a taste of the lemonade in the pitcher on the table. Chicken enchiladas baked in the oven. I couldn’t believe I made dinner for him. But hey, I cooked when nervous.
“You’re doing this for the readers, Renee. Play nice with Lucifer so they have something to read.”
I didn’t want to, God damnit. He’d play his games; try to get me to slip up and sound like an idiot. Lucifer and I had gone around and around with certain issues. Namely the strange plan he’d been putting into action, but wouldn’t tell me the endgame. I hoped to hell and back (no pun intended) that I didn’t factor in his endgame. Demon babies were not my thing. At all.
Time ticked by at a snail’s pace. My patience waned. I dropped into one of the dining chairs and glared at the front door.
“Where are you, Lucifer?”
Shimmering mist drifted in under the locked door. I cursed and jumped to my feet, backing into the kitchen. The mist followed.
A strand of golden fog wrapped around my ankles. “I hate you…”
The world went Technicolor before being swallowed by darkness.
“Wake up, sweet dove. We need to get started.”
Soft fabric under my cheek moved with the weight of a body settling on whatever the hell I laid on. I cracked open an eye and promptly slammed it shut.
“Why is there a spotlight, Lucifer?”
“You said you wanted an interview. Please sit up, we have a tight schedule tonight.” He patted my thigh. The fabric under me shifted again as he stood.
I did not want to find out what he had in mind for our interview.
Taking a deep breath, I pushed myself upright. The bright light sent shards of pain through my head. I held up an arm to block it out and cursed again.
Beyond the light sat rows and rows of chairs, set up like a theatre. Huge television cameras swung from the audience towards the small stage we were on. I’d been placed on a dark brown couch. To my left sat a black desk. On it, a glass, a stack of cards, and a handful of figurines. A human skull perched near the edge held a microphone in its mouth, aimed my direction.
Lucifer slid into the chair behind the desk. He wore one of his better looking white suits. The trim on the suit reflected small golden rainbows over the polished marble desktop. Half of his hair had been corralled into his usual braid. The rest of it rolled in waves down his back. Grudgingly, I admitted that his hair tempted me to reach over and pet it.
“Keep thinking like that and I will blush, Renee. Are you ready to begin?” His smile appeared warm and comforting. I knew the truth. Lucifer never provided comfort without something in return.
Running a hand through my hair, I nodded. If I delayed any longer, the audience would get ideas. Some of the least humanoid looking demons in the front row sized me up for their dinner plates. Fangs and razor-sharp teeth snapped in my direction. I swallowed down my heart and focused on the Djinn at my side. Despite the appearance of the demons in the audience, Lucifer was still the most dangerous being in the room.
“We’re rolling, boss,” A cameraman…demon called.
Lucifer gathered up the stack of mint green cards and tapped them against the desk. The audience roared to life. I reminded myself to breathe. He had a plan for the night and it probably didn’t include feeding me to the hundred-plus demons across the room. Probably.
“Welcome to The Midday Show. You know who I am, so let’s skip that and go straight into our special guest. Today we’re blessed to have the Goddess on the show. Did you have a nice flight in, Renee?”
Goddess? I gave Lucifer a confused look. He returned it with an exasperated one.
You created us, therefore you are our goddess. Try to keep up or we’ll never make our half-hour timeslot.
His mind retreated from mind. I shuddered at the invasion, but plastered on a smile for the cameras.
“It was a little bumpy. No one told me about the turbulence coming into Hell.”
Lucifer chuckled. “You should feel it going back topside.”
At least he made it sound like I’d be returning home after all of this.
“Our first set of questions was sent in by Jourdan.” Lucifer nudged his chin towards the audience. I caught a familiar face in the crowd and scowled. Someone would be answering for this surprise when I got back to the real world.
“Jourdan asks, Why did you decide to become a writer?”
The skull on the desk scooted closer on its own. Creeptastic.
“This is where I sound really lame,” I admitted. “During college, I’d jot down random screenplay ideas between acting classes. When I realized that my stage fright was keeping me from making progress as an actor, I went back to the screenplay ideas and started writing them as short stories to eventually adapt. Only, I never did. The stories were too much fun on their own, so I just kept going. It offered me the proper outlet for all of my crazy.”
The audience gave a laugh. Considering they were all manifestations of my insanity, it was unsettling.
“He also wants to know, Why is Deneen such a bitch?” Lucifer frowned. Who is Deneen, he asked in my head.
I gave the figure in the back of the audience a warning look. He wanted to know about a character I helped a fellow writer create. “Deneen craves power. People who are driven by what they can gain instead of how they can help better the world will always be corrupt, or as Jourdan correctly put it, a bitch.”
Lucifer seemed intrigued, but didn’t ask the question I saw flicker through his dark eyes. “Do you think Augustine will ever want children?”
I shook my head. “That isn’t my call. Augustine’s writer will have that answer. I only help mold his skills, I don’t dictate the plot.”
“Why on earth is he asking you about someone else’s characters?”
A smile pulled at my lips. “Because I’m close with Jourdan’s god, I guess you’d call him. But that doesn’t mean I have any real influence aside from being his writing mentor.”
Lucifer took the top card off his stack, read it, and tossed it at the audience. “Last question from your curious friend from another pantheon. What is it like being an empath?”
I shifted in my seat. “Uhm… can I plead the fifth on this one?”
“Absolutely… not. Answer, Renee. You asked for people to submit these questions.”
And I’d be kicking myself about that very fact for months after the interview went live.
“First off, I do not believe in real world magic. I believe that certain people have something extra that allows them to function on a different level from others. Which is, I guess where I fall in. I’ve always been able to read people’s moods really well. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I found a word for it. What I do is more about being super-observant. Listening to what exactly people are saying, how they say it. Reading their body language. Stuff like that. No magic to it except to those that believe in that sort of thing.”
A golden brow rose at my answer and I just knew Lucifer dared me to try and read his mood. No friggen way. First of all, he’d kill me if I read him and revealed something that made him look weak. Second of all, he always looked so calm and collected. That mask made it impossible to notice any differences in mood.
“Next questioner. This is from Roy. He wants to know, do you ever come up with a story plot before the character or do the characters normally come to your mind first?”
Damn, that’s a good question.
“I guess that depends on what inspires me. Usually if I see something or read something that inspires me, the plot comes first. In contrast, the last two projects I’ve written were from dreams I had that stuck with me well after waking. In the dreams, I usually end up focused on one character in particular. My demon, Aksel, came to me that way.”
Lucifer made a disgusted noise. I gave him a surprised look. “What’s your malfunction?”
He plastered on a smile. “Not a thing. How did you come up with yours truly?”
“Honestly? You were kind of an accident. I needed a character that could make a specific wish come true. Originally you were to be a witch or warlock. Then I remembered Wishmaster, the movie, and started doing research. One of the myths written about the figure of Lucifer names him not as an angel or a demon, but as a djinn. Once I decided to go down that path, you kindly introduced yourself… and then attacked the main character for that story.”
Lucifer gave a laugh. “You never told me I almost ended up an old hag. Roy has one more question. If you weren’t a writer what other hobby would you mess with?”
“Even as a writer, I pick up hobbies like a stray picks up fleas. There are days when I just can’t write. However, sitting still doing nothing makes me feel guilty. I draw, crochet, make jewelry, take photos, paint, embroider, sew, design costumes, do special FX makeup…the list goes on. Most of it I only do once in a while. Some of it I do regularly and use to earn money while waiting to make something of myself as a writer.”
I shrugged. “Idle hands are the devil’s playground. I learned very early on that if I allowed myself to just sit, that I’d cause trouble some how.”
“Do you ever just sit and breathe?” Lucifer looked over my shoulder. A demon held up five fingers. Guess we really only had thirty minutes.
“Last question, then we must say goodbye. Allison—isn’t that the human obsessed with your pet demon?”
“Yes, she is the one that is most vocal about new Aksel stories. What did she ask?”
A gin slowly slid over Lucifer’s face. My heart picked up pace. Nothing good came of that look.
“What would it take for you to sell your soul?”
“You planted that question, Lucifer.”
He shook his head. “She sent it in. You promised to answer everything they asked. Well, what would gain me a sweet piece of you?”
I ignored his phrasing. If anyone understood where his true interests were, it would be me. And I lacked one serious piece of equipment to make Lucifer a happy male.
His brows drew down. “Love? You know I can’t give you that.”
It was my turn to smile. “Yes, I am well aware of that. But it really is the only thing I would sell my soul to have. My family is healthy and reasonably settled financially. Fame isn’t worth the price you’re asking. I honestly cannot think of one thing you could offer me, Lucifer.”
“You’re cheating, Renee.”
“I wasn’t aware that we were playing a game.”
Black eyes fixed on me for a long moment. I felt the intrusion of his powers filtering through my mind, searching for a lie. He’d be sorely disappointed.
Lucifer pulled from my mind and turned towards the cameras. “Unfortunately that’s all we have time for today. Tune in tomorrow when Beelzebub ends his five-century seclusion to dispel rumors of his demise.”
The lights above us dimmed. Slowly, demons filed out of the audience and left the building. Lucifer and I sat in the silent space. I kept my gaze focused on the happy orange nail polish peeking out of the toe of my shoes.
“You did well. Ready to return home?” Lucifer’s shoes came toe-to-toe with mine.
I looked up at him. “We couldn’t have done this in my dining room?”
He shook his head and gently pulled me off the couch by my arm. “You need to grow accustomed to stepping outside of the box when representing yourself.”
“I seriously doubt anyone is going to ask to interview me on camera in front of a room of demons.”
“Perhaps not, but it is still good practice. Let me escort you home. The enchiladas you made smelled delicious.”
Lucifer wrapped my arm around his. The world expanded with bright colors and the dark closed in over us.
I hated transporting.