The gentle hum of a violin ricocheted from the top floor of the house, and Lila looked up in surprise. “Who’s playing?” She asked.
“Logan must be home,” Abel sighed.
“I didn’t know she played.”
“She doesn’t.” Lila furrowed her eyebrows. “What I mean is that she’s listening to music.” Lila laughed.
“I thought you meant she was playing that well without knowing what she was doing...Is that...Bach?”
“I believe so. It’s kind of fitting, isn’t it? For the garden.”
“Perhaps you should hire a professional violin player,” she suggested jokingly, but he seemed quizzical about it.
“Maybe,” he agreed. Lila stretched, her long arms reaching towards the sky.
“I’m getting tired,” she said sleepily, fighting her lids.
“I’ll take you home,” he said, offering his hand to her. “It’s been a long day.”
“It’s only around one o’ clock,” she laughed. “I feel old.” She stood and grasped his hand, marveling at how warm and soft it felt.
“You’re nowhere near old,” Abel said with a smile. “Your beauty will last forever.” The music abruptly stopped, and seconds later Logan burst through the back door. Lila couldn’t ask how she’d gotten outside so quickly, or if Logan actually had been playing the violin, and if so, why Abel would lie to her about it. She didn’t have the time. The look of desperation on Logan’s face cut Lila short, along with her words.
“Abel?” She asked, her voice tight and clipped. “Mindy is coming.”
Abel whipped around, his posture suddenly rigid. “You have to go home now.” He released Lila’s hand.
“What? Why? Who’s Mindy?”
“Lila, you have to go.” She looked at the spot where Logan had been, only to find that she was already gone.
“Fine.” She crossed her arms over her chest, lifting her hands from her elbows in an awkward stance. “Fine. Take me home.” She stomped towards the front yard with Abel in tow, suddenly whirling around as the anger consumed her whole. “Remember what we said about speaking in riddles?” She asked, her voice shaking. “Well you’re doing it again.” He held up his hands in defense.
“I haven’t said anything that was out of my control. Something came up. It’s not your business. It’s time for you to go home. Is that really so troubling?” She ground her teeth together and turned on her heel, crashing into two azalea bushes. She yanked her arm from the flowers and sidestepped them, pushing her hair from her face. “Lila, you’re bleeding.” She refused to turn. “You have scratches all over your arms. They must hurt.” She continued to trek through the yard until he grabbed her, spinning her around and holding her in place by the wrists. “Just because I’m sending you away doesn’t mean I don’t care about you.” Color flooded her cheeks, and she yanked her wrists away from his grip.
“You don’t always have to be so harsh all of the time.” She absently rubbed at her scratches. “I hate trying to read you. One minute you’re nice to me and the next second you’re urgent and mean. It’s just so hard not knowing--”
“Trust me Lila, it would be harder if you did know.”
“You have company,” she snapped. “You have to take me home now, remember?”
“Would you like to go home? Is that what you want? Or are you only saying it because I’m making you feel awkward?”
“You don’t make me feel a-awkward,” she stammered. “You don’t make me feel anything. I’m just trying to remind you that you were rushing me out the door.”
“Admit something to me,” he started. She rose an eyebrow. “You don’t like it when I become endearing to you.”
“I won’t admit anything.” He leaned in, brushing his hand to her cheek and raising more color there.
“So when I touch you like this you’re impartial?” She took his hand away.
“S-Stop that,” she murmured gently.
“Just admit I make you feel something.” She crossed her arms stubbornly, her eyes being careful to not meet his.
“Not even a strong passion of hatred?” Her eyes were surprised, and she looked at him in all of his charm.
“If we’re using that context, then I guess you do make me feel something.”
“What would that be?” She wrung her hands and dropped her gaze once more.
There was a knock on the door and Abel hurried to get it, not bothering once to wonder who it was. He had been expecting her all night. He opened the door. “Mindy, what a pleasant surprise,” he muttered sarcastically, ushering her in. “I see you’ve dyed your hair blonde. It...suits you.” She turned to him with a smile, turning the rings on her fingers.
“Do you like it? It’s recently come to my understanding that you have a thing for blondes.”
“I kind of felt that Lila might have been the reason for your visit. Please, have a seat in the kitchen. Do you need anything?” She peeked around the corner.
“Where’s Logan?” She asked, ignoring the question. Logan sprang down the stairs in little lilting bounds, stopping on the bottom step in perfect grace.
“Mindy, so nice to see you,” she said with a plastic smile, her hands folded neatly in front of her.
“What’s so nice about it?” Mindy grumbled as Logan led everyone to the kitchen. Taking her seat, she kept her eyes trained on Abel, automatically taking out a cigarette as she did at every meeting or occasion and putting it in between her red lips. “So Abel. Who is this girl Lila? I want to know everything about her.”
“You act like you don’t already know,” he said, cutting her a glare.
“Yes, but things must sound so much different from your point of view.”
“She’s a girl that I happen to like.”
“Sure, love,” he admitted. Mindy took a long drawl from her cigarette.
“You know I’ve always loved you. I’ve always been willing to change for you. Do anything you want me to do.”
“Your hair suggests so,” Logan said quietly, staring down into her lap with a smirk.
“I like a girl who puts up a fight,” Abel said, his tone meeting his eyes in a heart-stopping way. “You’re just too plain for me Mindy. That’s how it’s been since we were old enough to know what a relationship was. You chase me and I run away.”
“I’m tired of playing games Abel.”
“Oh really? Then what’s your proposal?”
“I think marriage is a pliable thing to put up on the table.” Abel’s eyes almost fell out of his skull. Marriage. “I’ve seen the way she treats you. The way she cowers away from you. I could give you so much more.”
“That fear won’t last for long. Not when she learns to trust me.”
“But can she really trust you Abel? You’re a demon. Your sin is greed. How can she trust that you’ll keep your paws off of just any beautiful woman that might come of use to you?” He gestured at her matter-of-factly.
“Well I don’t want you. That’s a start.”
“I can’t fathom why,” Logan said sarcastically, and Mindy kicked her leg under the table.
“So what do you say Abel? Forget about Lila. Marry me.”
“My God, do you really think you’ve put up a good argument?” Abel asked in shock. “You’ve basically talked of nothing but comparisons between you and Lila for the past ten minutes. I might need a little more than that to change my mind about my first love.” Mindy stamped her foot.
“You’re supposed to want it all Abel. You’re supposed to want me!”
“I may be the Son of Satan himself, the sin called Avaritia, but by God I swear I will never want you,” he said stiffly. “You are nothing more to me than damaged goods. And I can’t fathom why I would want damaged goods of any sort.” He paused with a sigh. “When we are born a sin, we do not have to search corruptly to be that sin. We already are the sin, and we can naturally act ourselves. As it turns out, my acts of greed are very small.”
“You’re pitiful,” she spat, standing. “I’m sure father will be pleased with your choices.” He snorted.
“You’ve forgotten I’ve cut all ties with him.”
“No matter. We’ll all visit you sometime in the future.” She patted Abel’s hand, pursing her cherry blossom lips. “I do hope you’ll reconsider before that time.” She flipped her hair. “After all, if you turn mortal and become a failure, a new child will have to be born. And I think Lila might be the perfect fit to mother it,” she snickered before turning on her heel and walking away.
“This is serious Abel. You have to decide now: become more corrupt and let Lila know that you are the Son of Satan before Father comes, or sacrifice Lila’s life for your replacement.” Logan’s tone was too formal, too clipped and serious for Abel’s liking. He stood and paced the room. “Either way she’s become involved.”
“I’m so stupid. I thought I would have more time...” He groaned and slammed his hand on the counter. “Why must she ruin everything? I had a plan!”
“Have you forgotten so easily what sin she is?” Logan asked.
“Of course I haven’t forgotten,” he said stubbornly. “But I just wish she would go about it in a different way.”
“Never waste worries on wishes. Try solutions.” He turned, clenching his fists, but Logan knew that it wasn’t her he was angry with.
“Do you always have a quote for everything?” He sighed, relaxing his posture.
“No, but I think you might,” she answered with a smile. “What you said was true, about not having to hunt down our sins. It’s made me feel...calmer.”
“I know,” he said. “You’re almost unbearably calm. What happened to the self-inflicting hothead I used to know?” Her shape shifted, but only for a second.
“Let’s not bring her out,” she smirked.
“Logan, you know what I said...that train of thought...you probably shouldn’t follow it with me.” She rose her eyebrows. “It’s just...what Mindy said was right. If I keep going on this self-righteous path, I’ll turn mortal.”
“Is that such a bad thing?”
“To me, yes.” She smiled a little.
“See brother? You still have a little bit of greed in you,” she said quietly, folding her hands and looking down at the floor.
“Logan...you don’t mean to tell me that you wish to be mortal, do you?” She sighed, her shoulders falling.
“I’m so tired of being so angry all the time...So mean and brutal. I hate who I am. Who I have to be to make Father happy. Screaming at people, killing them and turning into that retched form. Self-harming and taking narcotics...I wish I wasn’t like this. I don’t want to give in anymore. You’ve helped me obtain that train of thought.”
“But...Father will replace you with something that will...do it’s job.” She shuddered. “Maybe if you just pretend--”
“I can’t pretend Abel. I don’t want this form. I want to be human. I want to live a long, happy life and then die.” Abel gripped the counter, staring out the window into his garden.
“But...what will I do without you? I know we’ve had our share of fights, but you do know that I care about you more than anyone else in this world, right? I was so relieved when you came back to me...I can’t let you go so soon.”
“Abel, I won’t perish for years...” She bit her lip. “You’ll be fine.”
“I’ll be alone.”
“I know you’ll have Lila.” A long silence drew over the room. “Abel...are you crying?” Abel wiped away at his tears, turning to Logan with wet eyes.
“I don’t know what I’ll do without you. You’re my other half.”
“Oh brother,” Logan comforted softly, standing to grab her twin in an embrace. “We have years,” she whispered.
“But you’ll age, and I won’t be able to take it,” he said, tightening his fingers on her shirt. “The moment you turn mortal you’ll be dying.” She kissed Abel’s cheek and took a step back, observing him in her arms.
“Brother, you’ve gone soft on me,” she chided. “I’m afraid you as well will turn mortal.” He shook his head, wiping at his tears.
“No, that’s not true. Because I greedily want you to stay demon for my benefits. See?” A delightful little laugh bubbled from Logan’s lips.
“Abel, stand up straight. Wipe your tears. You’ll be fine. I promise. We have months before I turn mortal, and years before I die. Until then, just enjoy my presence.” He squeezed her shoulder, a small smile playing in the corner of his lips.
“How could I not?”