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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18. Seventeen

    “You’re really sure about this? You’re ready for this?” Dad asks, looking at me from across the table. I keep looking down, but I can see him putting his elbows on the table, entwining his fingers together. “Because as much as I can see the point of it, whatever’s going to happen, I want you to realise that yeah, I know the two of you love each other and nothing can come between that, but marriage is not something to be taken lightly.”

    “I know,” I say, looking up from the table to my Dad and seeing Robb leaning with his back against the bench. “And yeah, I’m sure and I’m ready.”

    “And you’ve started the process already?” Dad turns to Robb. Apparently, Robb failed to tell me before he told my Dad that he had rung up, asked if we could get married and he’s got all the details and the dates sorted. Apparently, now Robb’s registered our interest, we both have to go and ‘give notice’ which is a legal preliminary apparently on the eleventh, which is in two days’ time, and then we have to wait fifteen days until we can legally get married after that, so our wedding date is on the twenty-sixth July. Apparently the thing cost upfront, about two hundred-and-fifty five pounds my Dad managed to get out of Robb, which all three of us know he cannot afford.

    “Yeah, I have, it’s all paid for, it’s all set in stone,” Robb says.

    “Where did you get the money from?” I suddenly ask.

    “Don’t worry about it, Nay,” Robb says. “It’s all done.”

    I scoff. “I know we’re gonna be man and wife, but seriously, you expect me to just let you pay nearly three hundred quid by yourself?”

    “Not by myself, it’s come partly from my parents, partly from my Uncle and Aunt and partly from me, but yeah, it’s all sorted,” Robb says with a nod. Since his guardians are still his uncle and aunt, I guess they allowed him access to his parents’ will money which was supposed to be used on his university fees, but seeing as we all know Robb won’t be applying for uni anyway, then I guess they saw it as fair he use it to get married instead.

    “And I’m guessing they have no idea you’re marrying me now because of a deal with the Devil and think it’s because I’m pregnant or something?” I ask and quickly get a questioning look from my Dad. “Which I’m not pregnant by the way, just clearing that up.”

    “No, they don’t think anything like that, I said that I wanted to surprise you because why the Hell not? I told ‘em we all know we’ll get married eventually so why not now, and they just nodded and let me get on with it. We’re all adults now anyway.” Robb shrugs like it’s just nothing.

    “Well, traditionally, the father of the bride pays, so let me give it you back,” Dad says and I give him a smile.

    “No, Mr Burns,” Robb shakes his head.

    “It’s Matthew,” Dad says. “And I’ll cut you a deal: you already bought her the engagement ring, you buy her wedding ring and I’ll sort out the rest.” I look down at the table, keeping well out of this part. I have to organise Robb’s ring, my dress and veil, make up, jewellery, shoes… man, then I have to ask Mia to be my maid of honour, and I guess Robb will ask Isaac to be the best man…

    “Okay, okay, but I’m sure my Uncle will be on the phone trying to talk you out of it,” Robb says with a laugh.

    “Tell you what, bring them over tonight and we’ll have a gathering about it, get Mia and Isaac here too, I’m guessing you’ll want them two there for it as well?” Dad says.

    “Yeah,” I say immediately. “So I have seventeen days to sort myself out a dress, veil, shoes… the works?”

    “Basically,” Robb says with a nod.

    “Naomi Burns, if both of us know you as well as I think we both do, then we’re not worried that you’ll find something by the weekend,” Dad says. “And today is Tuesday.”

    “Your dad’s right,” Robb nods.

    I throw them both my middle finger, even though I know they’re both right, especially when I have Mia with me, and of course, Dad’s credit card. “Yeah, yeah, whatever.”

    “You know we’re right,” Robb teases.

    “You might be, but that doesn’t mean you’re both not harsh,” I argue.

    “Maybe, harsh but fair I think the phrase is,” Dad says. “Go on, go phone Mia, I know you’re dying to do it. I guess you’ve already told Isaac?”

    “Yeah, and he’s gonna be my best man and ring bearer.” Robb nods.

    “I’m buying your ring, right?” I ask.

    “Tradition says so, but I don’t really care, Nay, if you wanna do it, go for it, but as long as I get to buy yours, I don’t have a preference,” Robb says.

    I shake my head. “Fine, I’ll get it,” I say with a smile. I watch my Dad look between the two of us with an unsure glance, thinking it all through. I know for a fact he doesn’t like this at all: his only daughter and the only surviving member of his family who is in a deal with the Devil for her soul, engaged and getting married to her boyfriend in sixteen days. Probably not how he pictured his daughter’s wedding day – if he ever saw it coming with the deal and everything – but I guess it’s the only way it’s ever going to happen now.

    “I’ll phone Uncle Martin then,” Robb says and he grabs his phone to call Martin and Yvonne, his uncle and aunt from his dad’s side. I quickly text Mia and Isaac to come over as soon as possible. When Robb starts speaking, my Dad turns to me and gives me a serious glance.

    “I guess he’ll be moving in with us then?” Dad asks.

    I look at him. “I’d ask Martin and Yvonne, I’m sure they’ll have something to say about that.”

    “Naomi, sweetheart, are you sure about this? I mean, you could be practically throwing your life away by going through with this. Marriage is not something to enter into lightly. I know the two of you are in love, and I respect that, and Hell, you know I love him like a son-in-law, but this is a serious thing, Naomi, and I don’t want you to do it without at least thinking about it.” Dad says, giving me a pleading look.

    I give him a small smile, trying not to laugh at him. “Dad, not being funny, but when someone gets engaged to someone, it usually means that they’ve thought about it, and they know what the other person is like. I know Robb, and I know what he’s like, and he treats me well, and I’m in love with him. And if this whole deal shit is still on and the Devil isn’t going to leave me alone, then well, it’s all part of the plan. Bigamy is a sin and it’s against the law, which means the Devil can’t have me. If he is gonna leave me alone, well then, Robb and I are already married, which would’ve happened anyway somewhere in the not-too-distant future. Dad, I know what I’m doing,” I assure him. “Are you okay with this?”

    He looks like he’s about to answer me and he takes a breath to speak but nothing comes out. I can tell he’s debating whether to tell me the truth or not, and I know for a fact the truth is that he’s not really okay with it, but he knows it’s practical and we need to do it.

    “You know I’m not okay with this from my Dad’s point of view. You’re my only child, the only other person in my family and I love you. But yeah, I know because of my stupidity this has got to be done,” Dad admits. “I love you Naomi and I just want what’s best for you.”

    I nod in agreement. “Robb is best for me. Marrying him is best for me.”

    Dad stares at me for a minute, thinking it through. “Okay, if you’re sure, I’m in.”

    I smile at him. “Thanks Dad.”

    “I love you sweetie,” Dad says, kissing the top of my head.

    “I love you too,” I say.

    “But the dress has to be under five-hundred, you hear me?” he says with a smile. I find myself smiling just as Robb gets off the phone.

    “They’re on the way,” he says.

    “I’ll get the cheque book,” Dad says, obviously meaning that he’s going to leave us alone for a minute to talk about the whole thing.

    “You’re honestly sure about this?” Robb asks, approaching me and putting his hand on my cheek.

    “Of course I am, why wouldn’t I?” I question, putting my hand on his.

    “Because you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. I know it’s pretty big and a stupid thing to do,” Robb says, kissing my forehead. “And your Dad obviously isn’t that happy about it.”

    “He’s fine,” I insist. “And yeah, it’s pretty stupid and a huge deal, but if it works, it works. If not, we’d be getting married anyway. Why not now?”

    “Mr and Mrs Hart,” Robb muses. “I like it.”

    I smirk. “You know, I think I do as well. Sounds… I dunno, perfect.”

    He leans down to my height and plants a kiss on my lips, I reach my hand around his neck, pulling him closer.

    “I love you,” I say, just as there’s a knock at the door.

    “Perfect timing, huh? Probably Mia,” Robb laughs, straightening up. I can hear my Dad opening the door and I hear Mia’s voice.

    “Hey, Mr B!” she chimes in, and within the second she’s standing the doorway of the kitchen. “Someone wanna tell me what the fucking hell is going on? Who’s died?”

    “No one is dead, but we’re waiting for Robb’s uncle and aunt, and Isaac to come over to have a meeting thingy,” I tell her. “But we’ll tell you anyway because you’re Mia.”

    “What’s going on?” she asks.

    “Naomi and I are getting married,” Robb announces, putting his arm around my waist.

    She narrows her eyes and looks between us. “Yeah, we know that, you proposed the day after her birthday.”

    “No, he means that we’re actually getting married, like a ceremony, I’m going to be Mrs Naomi Hart,” I tell her.

    She takes a breath and then breaks her face into a smile. “You mean you’re gonna have the white dress, exchange rings and everything?”

    Robb nods. “Pretty much.”

    I watch Mia as she realises properly and starts clapping like a fan-girl. “You mean you’re actually gonna do it? Oh my God, yeah! Yay! I’m so happy!” I start laughing at her while she’s still clapping and I glance at Robb, who gives me a smile and laughs as well.

    “Guys, what’s going on?” Isaac suddenly walks in the room.

    “They’re getting married, like the white dress, the ceremony, the rings, everything. They’re getting married, Isaac, it’s happening!” Mia claps at him and he glances at her for a minute.

    “I know, Robb told me when he booked the date and everything, I’m the best man,” Isaac says with a smile.

    “You told him before me?” Mia asks, obviously hurt by that.

    “To be fair, he told Isaac before he even suggested it to me, so it’s fine,” I add.

    “This is a point,” Robb nods.

    “When?” Mia asks.

    “Twenty-sixth,” Robb says. “As quick as possible, because… just in case, you know.”

    Isaac and Mia nod in unison. “So, you’re getting the white dress, shoes, rings and everything, right?” Mia asks and I nod in response. “Okay, so we need to go shopping asap. Are you having a reception afterwards, so the first dance and stuff?”

    I look at Robb for an answer. He shrugs. “I hadn’t thought that far ahead. We could always have a meal instead?”

    Mia looks at me in disappointment. “But… first dance… you’ll need one!”

    “If we go out for dinner, we can give ‘em a CD or something, ask ‘em to play it and they could dance there, it’s not that bad, Mia,” Isaac says.

    “Yeah, we can do that,” she nods.

    “What the hell are you, the wedding planner?” I scoff.

    “Pretty much,” Mia nods.

    “Speaking of, Mia, will you be my maid of honour?” I ask with a laugh.

    “You’re kidding me, right? You didn’t even need to ask really,” Mia says with a smile as there’s another knock at the door.

    “That’ll be Martin and Yvonne,” I point out and we all head out into the lounge.

 

    “I’ll be back in a bit,” Robb says as he heads to the front door, his car keys in hand. He’s about to go and grab some stuff to start moving in already. The meeting was pretty much the three adults agreeing that there wasn’t much point in not getting married now, after all, the three of them decided that because we’re serious about each other and we’re engaged that it’s going to happen at some point – obviously his uncle and aunt don’t know about the Lucifer situation. We all also decided that it was about the right time for Robb to move in with me and Dad seeing as we’ll be man and wife, and as far as Robb, Mia, Isaac, my dad and I are concerned if the Devil is still going to come for my soul, then I have two months to go and if we’re going to parted, then why shouldn’t we spend as much time as possible together.

    “Be quick about it,” I warn, giving him a quick kiss on his lips, somehow feeling like I did last night, albeit I was pissed, but somehow, I need to know that he’s real and close by, and that he won’t let me go. Somehow, even though I am completely over the moon and excited beyond belief about marrying him, somehow it’s brought the fact that the Devil could be coming back for me and my soul back into my mind, making me fret that if I don’t have Robb around me at all times, I could be in danger. Which, in reality I know would do nothing because no one can really stop the Devil, not even Robb, but I suppose he makes me feel protected, like my comfort blanket.

    “I’ll be as quick as I can,” he says, kissing my cheek and then disappearing through the front door, closing it behind him and leaving me with my Dad.

    “Naomi,” Dad says, walking in the room and giving me a hug.

    “You all right Dad?” I ask, hugging him back tightly.

    “Are you okay?” he asks.

    “Yeah, I’m fine,” I say.

    “Good, just checking,” Dad says. “Look,” he lets me go and looks right at me like he’s about to say something serious, which usually means I won’t like it. “I want this to be done properly, I know it’s rushed, and pretty much like a shotgun wedding…”

    “Dad, for the second time, I am not pregnant,” I say with a roll of my eyes.

    “I never said that, I said this is like a shotgun wedding, I know you’re not because should that happen at least until you’re twenty-one, he won’t be going anywhere near you again,” Dad says with a sincere smile. I roll my eyes again and urge him to carry on what he was saying.

    “But, what I mean is that I want this to be your dream wedding; I want you to have the dress, the shoes, the makeup, the jewellery, the veil, everything. I’ve saved since you were born, a little every month to go towards university, or a wedding, whatever it is, and I want you to use it for this. After everything, if you don’t get to go to university, I want it spent on something you’ll enjoy and love, and this wedding can be it. I love you, sweetie, and I want you to be happy, and I want you to at least have this, if… you know, something should happen. If this shit has taught me something it’s that life is short, and I know you love him, so use the money to have everything you want, I want it to be as perfect as possible,” Dad says. I feel a stray tear leak out of my eye at his words.

    “Thank you, Dad,” I say quietly.

    “You don’t need to thank me, you’re my daughter,” he says, pressing a kiss on the top of my head. “I’ve paid the money into your account so you and Mia can go shopping for the dress and whatever you need. If you need more, then let me know, okay?”

    I smile at him and nod. “I will. I’m gonna go upstairs and get ready.” He nods and I walk up the stairs.

    “How’s your week been, Naomi? I think eventful is the word, don’t you?” that instantly recognisable Scottish accent saying.

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