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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17. Sixteen

    “You’re telling me it’s been a week today since you actually heard anything from the Devil?” Isaac asks with his eyes opened in surprise. I’d told Isaac and Mia the day after Lucifer’s last visit when Robb and I apparently won against him, so it’s seven days to the day since I’d heard from him, seen him or anything, and it’s been the quietest and most blissful and normal week of my life.

    “Keep your damn voice down,” I hiss, knowing that if he said it any louder, the entire classroom would start asking questions, luckily we’re studying religion, so it’s relevant, but still.

    “Sorry, but, you know, it’s important, shocking and I’m… well, shocked,” Isaac snorts. “It’s been a whole week, Naomi. He’s been known to you for two and a half months nearly and well, he’s seen you at least every other day or whatever and suddenly… bam… it’s been a week of radio silence. Kinda important, I’d say.”

    “I’d say Robb’s right, looks like we’ve won. The last thing he said to you was ‘okay’ when you both made the point about the whole… soul thing,” Mia says, hissing the last two words so no one catches on.

    I look down at the work I’m supposed to be doing with the two of them and sigh deeply, thinking about that. I suppose Robb is right; we have won, but that’s only because we haven’t heard from or seen the Devil in a week. I mean, he could turn up out of the blue on the day that the deal is supposed to be up, tell us that it didn’t really work and it’s time for me to go with him. He could turn up within five minutes and tell me he got bored of making it look like we’ve won. He is the Devil after all, and no matter what we do, we’re still inferior to him, the Fallen Angel and all that crap.

    “I dunno, guys,” I say quietly in the middle of a sigh. “It seems a bit… too good to be true to me.”

    “Seriously? Nay, the dude hasn’t stopped visiting you, pissing us all off and showing off to you for a month and a bit, and now radio silence after… after the plan, and you think it’s too good to be true? Nay, we’ve done it. Live a little,” Mia scoffs, writing something down in her notepad and then turning back to the two of us. “We’re going out tonight, the four of us, and we’re going drinking, because why the Hell not? You hear me? We’re going to forget this happened and we’re going to celebrate having nothing to celebrate or cry over. Get it?”

    I look between Mia and Isaac, between her determined look and his poker look. I think of how Robb’s been so much happier this week and how much he’s changed in his attitude towards me: calmer, happier, more loving (if that’s even possible) in how he looks at me… maybe they are right, maybe I am really, honestly and truly free. Mia’s right, Lucifer hasn’t stopped for the past month, but for the past week, literally nothing. Zero. Maybe, just maybe they could be right. But then I keep remembering what Lucifer told me not to forget; that I will never, ever be rid of him and that apparently I have always been, and always will be, his.

    But still, if they’re right, then they’re right and I’m panicking over nothing. But if they’re wrong, then I have just on the two months to enjoy the life I have and know now, so why not forget about it until either Lucifer turns up and ruins everything, or he doesn’t and I suddenly panic myself into my twenties and ruin my own life by worrying about something that’s done and gone?

    “I hear you,” I say with a small smile, trying my best to become more optimistic, if not for my own sake, then for the three of them.

    “Good, we’ll get Robb to pick us up at seven. We’re gonna go buy some new clothes and then you’re getting ready with me,” Mia says with a wide smile and I nod in agreement, though it sounds like I don’t have a choice.

    “Can I just add, which no one has seemed to have realised since, but I noticed earlier; isn’t is rather… apt that the Devil decided to turn up the freaking same week as the damned Red Wedding happened on my TV screen?” Isaac points out, referencing Game of Thrones, our other shared geek addiction. This one we share with Robb to be fair, who has his parents to thank for the same name as the King in the North himself, who died in the Red Wedding, much to my hatred. I wanted him on the Iron Throne, but no… stupid Bolton…

    “Don’t you dare speak to me of the Red Wedding. Nope,” I shake my head, already feeling the tears well up. “I will never speak of that or what happened in that episode.”

    “You already knew about it, you read the books!” Isaac notes, who has refused to read further ahead than the series.

    “But that doesn’t make it any easier!” I defend.

    “Guys, enough of the damn geek talk, jeez,” Mia sighs in annoyance.

    “My pleasure, I refuse to speak of the life ruining moment any longer,” I say, looking at Isaac, who just grins at me. “Lannister lover.”

    “Stark Bitch,” Isaac sneers, referring to my house preference on the show. I will never, not love the Starks of Winterfell, while he loves the Lannister’s.

    “Guys, you freaks, seriously,” Mia sighs.

 

    “You look amazing,” Mia smiles at me when I’m dressed. I look in her mirror at my reflection: I’m wearing a short (well, my Dad would call it short, but it only stops half way down my thigh) white knit dress from H&M, black wedge boots and I leave my hair down and I’m wearing the full eyeliner look that Pete Wentz would be proud of.

    “Coming from you, I actually do look amazing, huh?” I scoff. Mia doesn’t do compliments to anyone, ever. So when she says that she thinks I look amazing, then I must look good, and even I can see it, for the first time in my life, why Robb says that he looked on me and fell in love straight away.

    “You do, Nay, you do,” Mia confirms, and I look at her outfit: skinny jeans and a pink halter-neck peplum top with black heels.

    “You too, look amazing. We scrub up well, huh?” I say with a sly grin and nudge her in the ribs.

    “Damn right, woman,” Mia snorts and she suddenly turns serious. “Listen, Nay, I’ve been thinking…”

    I cut her off, “I thought this was a strictly no-situation speaking time, and you know what I mean by situation.”

    She nods. “I know, but still… let me just say something. The guys will be here in a minute and I need to say it before they get here.”

    I sigh heavily. “Fine, but make it quick, damn it.”

    She giggles slightly before turning serious again: “I’ve been thinking about everything this week, the whole Lucifer shit, the whole thing: you, Robb, Isaac, me… it’s just made me realise that you’re my best friend, Nay, and I love you, and I honestly don’t know what I’d do without you.” I watch her seriously, seeing the tears filming over her made-up eyes.

    “Don’t you dare cry, you’ll ruin your eyes. I won’t be responsible for us being drunk later than expected,” I say with a small smile.

    She giggles, widening her eyes so they don’t leak. “I’m serious, though, Nay, I mean, I know we’ve been through shit and everything, but you’re still my best friend, my girlfriend and I tell you everything, we watched each other grow up, crush on embarrassing guys and went through our first periods together, we held each other’s hand when we had our first heartbreaks, and I don’t know how I’d have coped without you. I can’t… I just can’t,” she says and I can hear the tears in her voice, but she manages to not let them slide down her cheeks.

    “And I love you too,” I say with a smile. “You’re my best friend too, Mia, you know that. Look, it’s over now, right?” I say and she nods, even though inside, I know it’s not over, it’s far from over, but for the sake of this one night, it is and all three of them will believe that I believe it’s over. “And we’re gonna out, get absolutely pissed out of our minds because we can, then tomorrow we’re going to college like any normal day before my birthday. You hear me?”

    She smiles and nods, looking at the floor to stop herself from crying again. “I hear ya.” The doorbell suddenly rings. “That’ll be them, let’s go.” I giggle at her sudden change and we head down the stairs. We open the door and follow the two guys out. Robb stops me before we reach the car.

    “You look… amazing Nay,” he whispers in my ear, kissing the tip of it. I find myself giggling, pushing him away.

    “I know,” I scoff, smiling at him. “You’re not drinking tonight?” I nod at the fact he’s holding the keys to the car in his hands.

    “Isaac doesn’t wanna drink, so he offered to drive us back,” Robb says. “So yeah I’ll have a couple.”

    “You’re trusting someone other than yourself driving in your car?” I question, giving him a shocked glance. “I’m in shock, Robb, I’m shocked.”

    “Well actually, it’s mostly that I don’t trust you to drive my car, seeing as you can’t drive,” he says with a small grin.

    I scoff, poking him in the ribs. “Nor can Mia, I’ll have you know.”

    “I’d trust her more than you. You’d turn everything pink, leave your makeup lying around and have your Panic! at the Disco CDs on full blast. It would practically be your car and that’s not happening,” Robb says as he opens the car door for me.

    “Your problem with that exactly is… what? It was you who asked me to marry you, you take the consequences, especially where the car and music is concerned,” I tease and get in the car before he can argue.

    “No one is safe when they make friends with you anyway, Nay, their music taste slowly changes as well as their TV choices,” Isaac adds when Robb gets in and starts the car.

    “So it’s not just me,” Robb snorts.

    “Hey, I take offence,” I scoff, pretending to be in a strop.

    “And they think we’re mean being women,” Mia scoffs. I glance at the rear view mirror at the reflection of Robb in it and he sends me a wink through it. I smile back, remembering exactly why I ever agreed to a date with him in the first place.

 

    “For Christ sake, come here,” Robb slurs, snatching the key off me and opening the front door within a few seconds. I take a deep breath, trying to keep some sort of sober composure, but even I can’t deny to myself that everything feels a little too surreal and even I can smell the distinct strong scent of alcohol on me, somewhere, like an odd perfume.

    “C’mon, Miss Lightweight, let’s get you to bed,” Robb says, putting his hand around my shoulders as he leads me in the house, and I think I can hear him closing the door.

    “Did… did you close the… door?” I ask.

    He chuckles. “I did. C’mon.” He moves his hand away and I feel my body flinch and complain. “All right, I was only moving my hand so I can get you moving quicker, come on Nay,” Robb says back and chuckles to himself as I stop shy of the first of the stairs. “You think you can get up there or shall I put you on the sofa?”

    I tell myself to move my head in the shaking motion to say ‘no’. “Nope, I can do this.”

    “Nay, you sure?” Robb asks and I glance at him, the entire room around him moving. I stop myself from speaking so I can let the movements settle. “You aren’t looking too well.”

    “I’m fine,” I manage and take the first stair to prove him wrong. “See? I’ve been in worse states you know.”

    “I know you have, but that doesn’t make this state any easier to manage you know,” Robb retorts and stands behind me, putting his hand on the small of my back as I move, forcing me to stop and let the warmness of his touch send sensations all across my body, everything coming to attention.

    “Naomi, up the stairs, come on,” Robb interrupts my thoughts and feelings and I find myself stumbling up the next few stairs and within what feels like two seconds I’m standing at the top of the landing.

    “See? Wasn’t that hard, was it?” Robb sniggers, taking my hand in his and literally dragging my body towards my bedroom.

    “Nope, not really,” I say, hearing my own voice sound rather higher than normal. “Why are you dragging me? Robb!” I pull my hand free just as we walk into my room.  I watch him as he closes the door quietly and then moves back towards me, putting his hands on my shoulders and sitting me on the edge of my bed.

    “You need to take your shoes off, then your makeup if you can and then you need to get into bed and sleep off the alcohol. Come on,” Robb orders, giving me an evil look. I sigh, roll my eyes and bend down and take each shoe off as he hands me the makeup wipes from the side and the small mirror I keep beside them. I do as he’s silently ordered and take my makeup off, handing him the wipe and mirror when I’m done and he sits on the chair. “Better?”

    I think about that: do I feel better? I feel completely elated, but more sober than I was coming up the stairs. “Yeah, I’m less drunk than I was five minutes ago.”

    He nods and chuckles. “Good. Right, let’s get you to bed shall we?” He stands from the chair, and I follow suit, standing perfectly still – or so it feels and nothing is moving around – and he shakes his head and approaches me. “Bed, Nay. We all have college tomorrow, c’mon.” Instead of obeying him like usual, I look properly at him, taking in the man I’ve been in love with since I met: the way he’s giving me an order for my own good, yet he still smiles at me, the way his eyes glimmer when he looks at me.

    “I love you, you know that?” I say, a small smile working its way onto my face.

    “I know that, and I love you too,” he responds, putting his hands around my waist to try and put me into bed to sleep. I manage to fight his pull and I lean up and kiss him instead, though it’s not like normal, it’s more surreal, like I know it’s happening but feeling like it’s not happening. I’d thought he’d push me off, knowing I’m too drunk but he doesn’t and he kisses me back, instead of trying to pull me to bed, he grips onto my waist, holding me still.

    “You really need to sleep, Nay,” he says onto my mouth, but still keeping me in his hold anyway.

    “I know,” I whisper back, but instead of doing what I know I should be, I kiss him again, needing to feel the man I love, the one I chose and would choose every single moment, again and again over anything or anyone else and the one I would defy any deal and fight for every single minute of my life. I find myself pushing myself back onto the bed, bringing Robb with me so he’s on top of me. I keep tangling my lips with his, trying to give him the hint he usually gets quickly, but this time, even I can feel through the drunkenness my desperation passing through, even as I let him take over, I find myself keeping my hand around his neck, determined not to let him go for fear of what could happen if I do. I know in the back of my mind as I sober with each second that I’m panicking again, the whole point of the past few hours and the countless alcoholic drinks I consumed washing away with each minute of sobering and holding Robb in place on top of me, each kiss we give each other. I know the thoughts of the other man supposedly in my life are surfacing, and with each layer of thought he takes away, the tighter I hold Robb, the more desperation is pouring into my kiss, and the quicker he’s taking the hints.

    “I love you, Nay,” he whispers, but this time I don’t respond, because I know I would crack and everything I’ve managed to so far not think about in the past few hours would resurface and the moment would be ruined.

 

    I watch the clock, it’s only six-am. I mentally make a check of my feelings: no hangover apparently. Brilliantly amazing, I must admit. I keep my head resting on Robb’s chest, not wanting to move and deciding I’m happy here, though I can feel him twisting a strand of my hair round his finger, and it’s really starting to annoy the heck out of me.

    “You know, that is really annoying,” I whisper, moving my head up so we’re looking at each other. He scoffs and lets my hair go, trying to give me the puppy-dog look he knows will always make me succumb, but I flick his nose instead.

    “That’s also annoying,” he complains. I giggle and give up, resting my chin on my hand on his chest, looking at him and smiling. He reaches out a finger and pokes my nose which makes me blink. I wrinkle my nose, losing the weird feeling and sigh.

    “We have like, an hour and a half till we have to get up,” I say. “Unless we don’t go in.” I watch him as he stares at me, not responding. “What’re you thinking about?”

    “You,” he says simply, giving me a small smile.

    “Well, I assume you would, given I’m right here, my head on your chest while you’re in my bed,” I say with a small laugh.

    “I’m thinking that I want to marry you,” he says quietly, but I register the serious look on his face. Seriously?

    I scoff, moving myself a little to get a better position so I’m up a little, right in his eye-line but a little taller than him. “Robb, wasn’t that the whole point of you proposing? What’re you on about?”

    “Naomi, I think I wanna marry you,” he says, blinking his serious expression into my eyes. I narrow my eyes at that, giving him the most dead-pan of looks I can muster.

    “If you’re going to start singing that freaking Bruno Mars song, I will seriously slap you round the face and throw you out the window. It’s probably cold out there, full of people and you’re without clothes, so I would seriously not sing that stupid song,” I warn.

    He chuckles. “Naomi, you really think I would sing Bruno Mars at the best of times, especially with you around?”

    “You have a point, so please, carry on,” I snort, my hackles less risen now.

    “Naomi, I think we should get married. Now. Not now as in now, now, but within the next month now. I love you, you love me, we’re engaged anyway, and let’s face it, with what’s happened the last month, why in the world not?” Robb says, sitting up and taking me with him. I reposition myself so we’re sitting opposite each other, cross-legged on the bed with the duvet over us, him staring at me, trying to get his point across to me while I look away, thinking that through. “Naomi, let’s face it, if He doesn’t come back, then that’s amazing, we’ll be man and wife, we can have kids, go to uni, whatever. If He comes back, then that’s another reason that He can’t take you to Hell and marry you – you’ll already be married. What have we got to lose?”

    I look at him, knowing he has a point, but still… “My Dad will not like it, Robb.”

    “I’ll talk to him when we’re all up, screw college. Once I tell him that if the damn arsehole comes back then it’s part of the plan, he’ll understand, and once he realises that we’re both gonna get married anyway, he’ll get it. We’re both adults, Naomi, we can do what the Hell we want. I want to marry you, and I guess you wanna marry me seeing as you said yes anyway.”

    “You really think we can get the church booked for a month’s time?” I question, arching an eyebrow at him.

    “No, but the registry office will do it, won’t they?” Robb points out and gives me a questioning look. “What’d you think, Nay? Will you marry me, properly?”

    I look at him, my chest feeling light and giddy, my entire being softening. I love him so much, and I know he has a point with the whole practicality of it. But still, I love him, and I said yes before, and I could be Mrs Naomi Hart within the month. “Of course I will, you idiot.” I say, giving him a small playful push in the chest and lean over to kiss him. “Now we just have to tell my Dad.”

    “He likes me, it’ll be fine,” Robb says optimistically.

    “He may like you, but he loves me more,” I point out, giving him a wink.

    “Leave it to me,” he says, kissing the top of my head and I put my head on his shoulder, smiling to myself. Maybe it will all work out for the better; maybe everything will be okay like Robb said it would be. Maybe once we get married and we both get what we want, everything will turn out better, and maybe, just maybe, I will have seen the last of Lucifer for good.

    Hopefully.

 

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