Dance with the Devil: Book One of the Devil's Gospel

You’ve been dancing the Devil’s game for seventeen years, and now he’s come to claim what is his…

Turning eighteen is a huge milestone for anyone, but for Naomi Burns, it means more than just being able to buy a drink in a pub. On the night of the eighteenth birthday party, she gets a visit from a strange being, claiming to be engaged to her, and now he wants to take her back to his home so he can get what he was promised: to marry her.
The thing is, the creature claims to be Lucifer, the Devil, and apparently he made a deal seventeen years ago that involves Naomi marrying him when she turns eighteen.
Naomi’s determined to get out of the deal, and she’s on borrowed time to change it. Not only has she got to figure out how to get out of the deal, she’s got to find a way to tell her best friends and boyfriend that she is now engaged to the creature from legends, the Devil himself, and that her new home is apparently Hell.

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20. Nineteen

    “So what dress are we looking for?” Mia asks as we walk from the car where Dad’s just dropped us off. It’s the next day, so tomorrow is the day that Robb and I have to go and do what they call ‘giving notice’ of our legal right to get married at the register office. Mia and I have decided that we’d go and start looking for dresses and everything while Robb and Isaac go and sort out their suits or whatever. I remember Dad telling me the dress has to be under five-hundred quid, and the rest of the money he’s given me is literally for everything else; the shoes, jewellery, veil, make-up and Robb’s ring.

    “A dress I can get married in,” I joke.

    “Funny,” Mia says sarcastically.

    “Something under five-hundred quid, something white, something amazing and something that looks and feels right on,” I say. “I literally have nothing in mind.”

    “How much has he given you?” Mia asks.

    “Eight-hundred quid,” I say quietly, still in mortal shock from the amount he put in my account. I looked at it last night after Robb fell asleep. “Apparently if it’s not enough I’m to ask for more, though he’s freaking paid all the fees for the ceremony. So that’s over a grand already he’s dished out. Martin and Yvonne have agreed to pay for the meal afterwards and you and Isaac are paying for your own clothes, but still… I literally have no idea where Dad gets this money from.”

    “He told you he’s been saving up since you were born,” Mia shrugs.

    “Yeah but still, for a wedding that might not even mean something in a couple of months time,” I say.

    “Don’t say that, Nay, it’ll mean something to everyone involved for a long, long time,” Mia says. “Just because there’s the chance of the whole shit hitting the fan when the time’s apparently come doesn’t mean it won’t mean anything. It’ll mean something forever.”

    I give her a sideways glance and she challenges it with a puppy-dog look. “Don’t give me that look, Mia.”

    “Well don’t be like this. I don’t care if it’s not the church wedding you and I planned out when we were seven years old, this is going to be the best day of your life, of Robb’s life and Hell, while I’m single of my life too, so we’re going to make it be even more special now. Cheer the heck up, you’re getting married for crying out loud. We’re gonna try on dresses like they’re going out of fashion, c’mon, humour me,” Mia nudges my ribs and somewhere, I find the will to smile back, and realise that she’s right, for the fifty-billionth time in our lives and I cheer up. I am getting married after all and to Robb, the love of my life. I have every reason to be happy, even for now and even if it won’t last. Who knows, it might do.

 

    “It’s amazing,” I say, looking in the mirror at my reflection. The first of two dresses in Monsoon I’m trying on, and I’m already in love. It’s a simple white strapless dress with an A-Line skirt, fitted top with sequins and pearls in the top and floral sewn into the bottom. I feel every bit the princess and I can’t stop looking at myself in it.

    “It looks so good,” Mia marvels. “Give us a twirl.” I do as she asks and twirl in a circle in the bridal fitting room, feeling the skirt sweeping the floor. “It looks amazing. Try the shoes on with it.” I stop moving and put the shoes the assistant gave us to try with the dress. They actually would look good as bridal shoes: an ivory colour with open toes and a crystal brooch on the top by the toes. I put them on and suddenly grow another five inches, making me nearly five-foot-eight, still a little smaller than Robb’s five-foot-ten, but still taller than usual. I glance again at the reflection, the dress just above the ground.

    “How’d you feel in it?” Mia asks, snapping a picture on her phone.

    “Like a princess,” I admit, still admiring myself in the mirror.

    “Do you even want to try the other one on?” she asks and I look away and at the other dress, which is quite similar to this one, but with a train, a softer material and a dainty and really pretty crystal pattern beneath the bust.

    “Yeah, actually, I will,” I say, taking the shoes off. “Can you help me out of this?” She nods and undoes the zip on the other dress before coming round to my side to undo the zip.

    “You’ll need to buy underwear, like pretty underwear that’s also strapless,” Mia adds as she pulls the zip down easily and helps me step out of the dress.

    “Once we get the dress and stuff, then we can do that,” I say. “We’ve also got to get the veil, which I’ve seen some in Debenhams, so we can do the underwear the veil there. I’m loving these shoes as well, they’ll go with either dress.”

    Mia smiles as she hangs up the dress before we even start getting me into the other one. I watch my reflection in the mirror, staring into my own eyes, the green of them dulling. Since my run in with Lucifer yesterday, I haven’t been able to get him out of my head; the image of the vessel engraved in my mind like the sight of a dead body might be to someone, the sound of his voice, whispering his promise down my spine resounding everywhere around me like echoes, the feeling of his lips against my skin never leaving. It’s like he’s managed to work his way under my skin totally and completely the way Robb did when we first got together. It’s like I’ve managed to memorise the encounter; everything about Lucifer has burned itself into my being, even down to the way my body reacted to feeling his kiss. Even though I know it’s Lucifer, the Devil and the fallen angel that wants to take my soul and make me marry him in Hell, somehow that one encounter yesterday has made me react in a way I never thought possible and I don’t know how to deal with it. It’s actually scaring me something stupid, because I’ve realised that I’ve actually started warming to the Devil.

    “Naomi!” Mia calls, making me come back to civilisation. She is holding the dress out, so I shake my head and climb into the dress, putting it into position, I look into the mirror at the dress and I watch my eyes light up again and a smile wash across my face, taking the thoughts of the Devil and tearing them apart.

    “This one’s got a zip at the back, hold on,” Mia says and she gets to work on it while I hold the bust of the dress in place. “The material is better than the last one to work with anyway.”

    When the dress is on, without looking properly, I put the shoes on and look at Mia for approval before I look properly. I watch her take it all in, the dress, the shoes, the look on my face before she cracks a wide smile.

    “What do you think?” I ask.

    “Nay, I think we’ve got it,” she says and I watch her eyes film over with tears.

    “Amelia Scott, are you crying?” I gasp with a smile.

    She nods and sniffs. “Yeah. My best friend in a damn wedding dress, you try watching this and then see if you don’t cry. Look at yourself.”

    I smile and turn around to the mirror and have a look at the whole reflection: the dress; strapless with a pleated and fitted bust, crystal beading underneath that gives way to a flowing empire line skirt that gives me a little train. The shoes match and make the dress rise a little from the floor. I look more like a princess more than the other dress, and I certainly feel it too, my entire being is lighter and all I can think of how proud I’d feel walking down the aisle towards Robb in this dress, how I cannot wait to see his face when he sees me in it, with all the finishing touches to match.

    “This is it,” I agree, sighing and letting my hair down to give it the full effect. “Mia, this is it, this is the one.”

    “I told you,” she chuckles. “Robb will not be able to take his eyes off you. Not that he doesn’t already, but even more so.”

    I laugh, imagining him standing beside me when we’re married, when we have our first dance in the dress… “We need to buy these right now.”

    Mia laughs. “Jesus Christ, I’ve never seen you look at clothes like that before; you calculate your buying so well. You haven’t even looked at the price tags for these yet.”

    “How much is it?” I ask, unable to reach the tag round at my back.

    “Three-nine-nine,” she says and then looks at the stickers on the bottom of the shoes when I take them off. “The shoes are seventy-five.”

    “Dad said under five-hundred for the dress, so with the extra hundred and one quid, the shoes are a bargain, let’s go,” I say with a laugh. “If we put these on hold, we can look at the bridesmaid dresses for you in here, they’ve probably got stuff that’ll match perfectly.”

    “Ugh, fine, but I ate big for breakfast,” Mia complains.

    “Mia, there is nothing of you anyway, stop complaining,” I scorn as she undoes my dress and helps me get out of it.

    “Nay, can I ask you something?” she suddenly turns serious. I put my jeans on and nod.

    “Shoot,” I say turning equally as serious.

    “When was the last time you really saw Lucifer?” Mia asks and I go to give her a questioning look as I pull my top over my head, but she stops me by carrying on. “Don’t think I haven’t noticed you acting weird today. The looks, the way you blanked out everything just now, the way you’re looking around as if you’re not safe. Yesterday morning you were completely different, like nothing in the world could get you down, now you’re haunted. The only explanation is Lucifer. Talk to me, Nay, don’t keep this to yourself. If you can’t tell Robb, or your Dad or even Isaac, you can tell me.”

    I sigh, knowing I’ve been defeated in this. She knows, how could she not? “He appeared yesterday while Robb was out.”

    “And what happened?” Mia asks as I put my shoes on. She sits on one of the small stool things to listen and I sit on the opposite one and we look at each other for a moment, the happiness suddenly being torn apart.

    “He literally appeared, telling me he wants my soul, apparently like he always has. I went to ignore him, but he caught me by surprise and whispered in my ear that he came to let me know that I’ll never be able to get rid of him, apparently me and my soul are his and he’s going to find a way to prove it,” I explain, omitting the other part of the encounter. I watch her take it in for a minute and nod slowly.

    “So he didn’t mention anything about the deal?” she asks.

    “He didn’t mention it, but he said that I’ll never be rid of him, which to me implies that the deal is still on,” I say and look down at my hands that are wringing together.

    “There’s more to it, Nay, I can tell by the look on your face. What else happened?”

    I shake my head. “Nothing, that was it, then he disappeared.”

    “Nay, I’ve known you since we were five in case you forgot. Tell me,” she demands and I roll my eyes, trying to force the tears away.

    “Fine,” I say and don’t even bother to hide the crack in my voice as I tell her: “When he caught me by surprise, he came up behind me, whispered his warning in my ear, he just… he kissed my neck,” I admit and I look down, letting the tears show this time. “And it wasn’t even that, like, it was the way I reacted, I let him do it, I let him carry on. He was whispering in my ear that I’ll never be rid of him and that I’m his, and he kissed my neck. It was like he was Robb or something, it was dare I admit it, romantic and my body just let him do it, I found myself encouraging him to carry on, like I wanted him to do it. In my mind I didn’t, obviously, but my reaction was the complete opposite. It was a good feeling, Mia, and I can’t deny it even now. The whole thing didn’t even last ten minutes, and then he just literally disappeared into thin air. Literally. And I actually felt myself willing him back, and just now, I was thinking about it; I cannot get him out of my head. I can’t stop thinking about what happened yesterday and how wrong it is, but I can’t stop, Mia. It’s like I’m beginning to feel something for him and not in the hatred kind of way. In the way I feel for Robb. I’m scared.”

    Mia sighs heavily and looks between the fitting room curtain, the dress and then finally me again, her face full of sympathy. I know she doesn’t know what to say or suggest, because at the end of the day, who would? Here we are; in the bridal fitting room with me trying on bridal gowns for my wedding in sixteen days, where I’ll be marrying the love of my life as if it were a shotgun wedding but not because we’re having a baby, no, all because we’re trying to save me from dying and going down to Hell to marry the Devil, who I’m admitting I may have feelings for. It’s complicated, stupid and ridiculous, all at once and I don’t know if I can handle anymore.

    “Naomi, jeez, I just… I don’t know what to tell you,” Mia admits quietly, looking into her lap.

    “I don’t know what to tell me and I’m feeling it,” I say with a small chuckle, wiping the tears away. “All I know now is that I really don’t know if I can handle seeing Him again before the wedding. I don’t know how to get him out of my head, but I know I need to, and I know I can’t tell Robb about what happened yesterday. I need to let him keep thinking nothing has happened since the time before yesterday with Lucifer.”

    “You know Robb won’t be happy if he finds out about yesterday like, later? Even if you don’t tell him about the kiss bit, he’ll at least wanna know he turned up,” Mia says. “It’s only fair.”

    I shake my head. “I can’t, Mia. I just can’t. If he turns up again, then I’ll tell him about that, but yesterday I just can’t do it.”

    She sighs and nods. “If you’re sure.”

    “I’m sure,” I assure her and then decide it’s about time to forget about it for a while. “Right, we need to continue the retail therapy.” She sniffs, wipes her tears and stands, smiling in agreement.

    “I literally can’t believe we found it, the second shop we walk into,” Mia laughs as we grab the dress and go to put it on hold so we can do shopping for her dress.

    “Nor can I, but hey, they usually say the first decision is the best one,” I say.

 

    We end up getting a sort of silver/ivory dress in the same shop I bought the wedding dress and shoes from. It’s a wrap around dress with crystals on the shoulders and it shows off Mia’s figure to perfection and it comes just above her knees. We managed to find the perfect shoes to match as well, so we have both the main outfits with only the jewellery for both outfits to get, the make-up for us both, my veil and underwear, and of course Robb’s ring. But we’ve managed to get both the main parts all before lunchtime, where we’re now sitting with the bags by our sides.

    “I’m just going to ask this once, Nay,” Mia says and I glance up from my noodles to look at her questioningly and she carries on. “If what you said earlier is true, these feelings, then what’re you expecting to happen?”

    “What’d you mean?” I ask, confused.

    “I mean, like okay, so feelings for Him and everything, but I mean, like the way I’m looking at it, he’s picked that vessel because he knows you’ll find him attractive because he looks like Robb, damn it, and has it not crossed your mind that he’s probably trying to seduce you because of the whole deal thing? He wants you to marry Him, Nay, he’s probably doing it on purpose and from the sounds of it, you’re beginning to succumb. Not saying that I don’t blame you, ‘cause I don’t, I can’t imagine how hard this all is, but have you not thought about that?”

    I sit back, swallowing my mouthful and thinking on it. To be honest, it hadn’t crossed my mind. Of course, I know what she’s saying is true; he wants me to marry him and shit, no doubt. But the thing yesterday? No I hadn’t thought about it like that, I didn’t think he was trying to seduce me at all.

    “No, I hadn’t thought of it like that. I guess I just thought he would just take me, not thinking about the feelings involved in marriage. I never thought he would try and make me fall for him. He’s… Lucifer,” I hiss his name, aware we’re in a public place. “I guess I never thought Him capable of that kinda shit. I always thought of him just going through with it to make me Queen of Hell and that kinda crap, you know?” I say and she nods, spooning in her noodles. When she finishes and doesn’t carry on the conversation, I know it’s finally over for the day.

    “So, what’s next? Veil, jewellery and underwear? Then moving on to the ring?” she asks.

    I laugh. “We still have sixteen days to do this, and we’re most of the way there, Mia.”

    “Yeah, I know, but shopping!” she claps with a smile and I find myself shaking my head. “Plus, when do we ever shop like this? Never, so why the Hell not? Plus, if we don’t find the right make-up, we have extra time for finding a make-up artist. Oh my God, and we need to get your hairdresser out for the morning of the wedding, that needs to be sorted. We need a Hen night…”

    I interrupt her at that. “Whoa, hold up… a hen night? With who, you and me? I literally have no one else I would wanna invite!”

    “It could be me, you and Isaac going out on the piss, and then Robb’s stag night… well, he has guy friends that he does his running and weight lifting shit with,” Mia says.

    “Good point,” I nod. “Isaac would be sorting that out anyway.”

    “I’ll ask him tomorrow, and I’ll sort out a hen night, don’t you worry,” she says with a smile that tells me she’s already got something in mind.

    “I love you, Mia,” I scoff.

    “Love you too, crazy lady,” she winks at me and we finish our lunch to get back shopping.

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