I stare up at the sky of Hell, watching the stars twinkling away in the dark veil of the night. This must be the seventh starry ‘night’ I’ve witnessed here in Hell, and I’ve been here for about three or four months now, or so the time as it passes here in Hell at least. It’s weird, because time passes like normal to me, yet I have no idea how much time has actually passed since I died upstairs on Earth. I feel like it’s been the same time as me, but even I’m not naïve enough to think that. It must go slower, I think. I reckon it’s been something like a month and a half since September. I would be about a week away from my sixth month of pregnancy by now, except because I’m dead, there is no baby.
I imagine Robb’s face, if he should ever see me again. He’d want to know what happened to me and what downstairs is like. What would I do when he finds out what I saw, and what I know? No doubt Robb would wanna kill Lucifer, and I know he wouldn’t care if he just killed the vessel, it would make him feel better, I know that’s what he’d say.
I imagine seeing Mia and Isaac again; seeing Isaac’s shocked face when he sees me again. I know deep down ever since we met, he’s wanted to be Robb, he’s had a crush on me ever since he first laid eyes on me, Mia mentioned it but no one has ever actually mentioned it anymore; both of us value our friendship over anything else, and I know Isaac loves Robb too much like a brother to even look at me twice like that. But even through that, I imagine seeing Isaac’s face when I tell him what Hell’s really like and it’s not at all as bad as they all make it out to be. But then, I wonder if that’s to do with the fact that Lucifer wants me for something other than just to torture my soul. If I were just a mere soul down here like Gloria, then Hell would be so much worse for me, I know that much.
“What are you thinking about?” Lucifer sits beside me, his back against the tree and his head looking at me while I look at the stars still.
“What do you want?” I ask with an annoyed tone.
“I have come here to speak to you, why else would I be sitting beside you, Naomi?” Lucifer asks, folding his arms. I watch his eyes looking me over, trying to decipher why I’m still so hating of him. “I believe it is also the time to be able to partly tell you the truth.” I look to the Devil and see a small pout on his face. He doesn’t wanna tell me, I can see that much.
“Tell me,” I say immediately and he chuckles to himself. “What’s funny?”
“The fact that you want to know. I can assure you that once you know some…”
“Spare me the pretence and just tell me, Lucifer,” I cut him off, getting more and more annoyed with his presence.
Lucifer takes a deep breath and looks away, towards the horizon, which is not even in view because of the pitch black of the place. If I weren’t aware I was safe here because I’m needed, and in no danger of dying more than once in my lifetime, I would be rather freaked out about all of this, especially the Devil himself turning up and sitting next to me. But the weird thing about it is that I’m completely safe – I can’t die again, I won’t be harmed because of reasons he’s about tell me, and the Devil is (apparently, though I still dispute this part of the shit) my husband. Well, I refuse that, but he would argue that. But either way, he regards me as his number two or whatever the phrase is. The only thing missing is Earth; if I were there, this would be kind of good and peaceful. Spare Lucifer.
“Are you gonna tell me or am I gonna be sitting here waiting with baited breath for the next five years?” I ask with a roll of my eyes.
He chuckles to himself and continues: “Naomi, I know I’ve told you this bit already, but you are important to me. Well, to Hell anyhow. It was no mere chance that brought your soul down here. You’ve been more than mine since you were a year old.”
I narrow my eyes. “But there wasn’t even a deal when I was a year old, you tricked us into believing that there was.”
“Aye, I did,” Lucifer nods. “But that again was all a part of the plan, Naomi. Now that you are here, you have no idea what greatness is going to come.”
“Greatness? From you? You’re the freaking Devil. What good could come out of you, you arsehole?” I scoff.
“I thank you for the compliment, Naomi,” Lucifer says, putting a hand to his chest as if he treasures my insult. He really is a cocky arsehole.
“Tell me the truth right now,” I tell him and he nods once.
“I chose you for this, what is about to happen, and your importance is because I could see what you would become eighteen years into the future, and I felt a pull, Naomi. I chose you and I made that false deal with your poor father, which yes, was void even from the beginning, but it was on purpose. I needed you to make the deal those months ago, and I needed you down here for the greater purpose of your being here,” Lucifer explains. I can’t deny the fact that when I look at him, I know he’s telling the absolute truth; I can see it in the way he’s looking me square in the eyes. Maybe something inside of me always knew it was more than just my soul he wanted. Maybe that is why I find myself beginning to trust him little by little, more and more each time he says something to me.
“And what is ‘this’, what the Hell is going on Lucifer?” I ask, blinking at him for an answer. I know he won’t provide me with much of one – he never does – but something about this whole thing tells me it’s something big, something massive and it’s more serious than he could ever begin to explain to me. Just the way he’s been acting recently: less cocky and arrogant and more serious and determined than he usually is, tells me it’s so.
“I cannot tell you that just yet. Soon, Naomi, but trust me when I tell you that it’s so important you cannot even begin to imagine. Soon enough, Naomi, soon enough,” he croons, shifting himself closer to me.
“Don’t you dare get any closer to me,” I snap and move further away, still finding it completely villainous that he knew about the child and failed to tell me, even if it was just to mock me and taunt Robb, I wouldn’t have cared, just to have known would have been enough for me. But for Robb, I still don’t know; I mean, he would hate me so much for this, I know he will.
“Naomi, listen to me when I tell you this one, very important thing,” he says and pauses. I find my blurred eyes looking from the stars to Lucifer. His icy eyes are staring fire into my teary ones, forcing the hot, evil flames into my mind and taking over. I blink and I feel the warm salty regret running down my cheeks.
“What?” I ask, my voice sounding not altogether there at all, like I’m under the ice and flames, trying to force my way up to the surface yet my ears are at the top, fighting to hear my own screams.
He shifts again but this time, he ends up kneeling in front of me and he looks at me in desperation. I bring myself to look into his eyes, feeling my entire body – well my soul anyway – relax when our eyes meet each other.
“You are so important to me and you are a part of the greater happening. You are the pivotal part, Naomi. I need you to trust me when I tell you that it was not mere chance that brought your soul to me. I need you, I want you, and I love you Naomi Hart, and you’re are so very important to me, it is beyond even you can comprehend right now. I will tell you the truth within time. Please just bear with me.”
I stare into the vessel’s eyes and see beyond the blue of the vessel and into the celestial being that is Lucifer; I see the desperation and the truth, all staring into me, willing me to see that what he’s saying is the truth and nothing other than.
“Okay,” I decide and nod at him.
I walk towards the forest ahead and think about this seriously: I’m apparently really important to whatever Lucifer wants to do ‘for the greater purpose’. He wanted my soul for more than just the deal – which I knew anyway but that’s beside the point. I’m apparently a pivotal part. What the hell could that mean?
I look up and find myself in the forest, surrounded by lush trees, swaying in the not-such-breeze. That’s another thing about Hell; there’s no wind, nor rain, nor snow. It’s just warm and sunny, which I suppose isn’t really surprising, but the thing about Southampton Common is that it’s lovely, like this, in the summer, and now, where it’s winter, it would be raining, freezing cold and possibly snowing (if it was December up there) so it’s like home but so far from it it’s too obvious. Like when someone tells you something that you know is just too good to be true. I find myself against a tree, sinking onto the ground and sitting there, staring into the leaves that cover the floor and sighing.
What is it about being here and finally having my fate sealed that makes me feel totally different to Lucifer? I’m beginning to warm to him, get used to him, but worst of all: I’m beginning to trust and believe him. That’s not right. I remember vowing to myself even before I came down here, that I would never, ever trust or believe a word Lucifer says to me, does to me or tries to do to me. It’s weird; he’s stopped trying to seduce me, and he’s stopped being his usually always-cocky self and he’s started being serious and he’s even beginning to become tolerable to be around.
What the fuck is wrong with me?
“I have something to show you, Naomi,” Lucifer suddenly appears between the treeline.
“What is it?” I ask, doubtful it’ll provide me with any answers, or give me what I really want, which is Robb. Hell, even Mia or Isaac. Just one of them, so I can talk to them; hear Robb’s husky voice telling me about something, to hear Mia’s excited chatter about the last episode of whatever crap she’ll be watching this week, or to hear Isaac’s annoyed tone at Mia. I want to feel Robb’s hand in mine, I want to give Mia a hug and I want to rest my head on Isaac’s shoulder and fall asleep there like usual.
“It’s something I need to show you. And no, don’t worry Naomi, it is not another vision of what could have been,” Lucifer says and I nod, standing up automatically. When I was alive, he would have had to drag me from the ground… if Isaac knew what I was doing right now, he would kick me up the arse into yesterday and made me sit back down on the ground.
I follow Lucifer back to the lake where I’d seen the vision.
“You told me this wasn’t a vision, Lucifer,” I say with a doubtful tone.
“It’s different, Naomi, I want you to look into the lake. I want you to see what’s going on at home,” Lucifer says plainly and I blanch in shock. There’s no fucking way... “Yes, I want you to see home, as it is now, where they are a month behind us in time. We are currently at the beginning of December in Earth time, whilst they are still in November.”
“You… you’re going to let me see home? You’re going to let me see Robb?” I ask, knowing I shouldn’t get any of my small hopes up, but at the mention of home and the thought of seeing Robb, they seem to shoot right up anyway, regardless.
“Yes. Look into the lake and see, Naomi, I trick you not,” Lucifer says, the annoyance at the mere mention of the man he’s seen as his rival since he turned up into my life making him frown, and I watch the frown lines settle in and the annoyance reach his eyes before I sit by the lake and cross my legs, deciding I was going to be here for a long time.
I see Robb immediately. I watch him sitting at the dining room table at home, staring down at his hands, where his wedding ring is still sitting proudly. He’s at the head of the table while Isaac is on his left and Mia on the right. All three of them wear solemn faces and Robb is trying not to cry, I can see the way his eyes glint with the tears he’s refusing to shed.
“Robb,” I find myself crying out, trying to reach out, but I know he can’t hear me, or see me, or even feel me.
“Robb, look, he’s still hurting, but he’s her Dad, okay? Doesn’t mean he hates you or anything, just… Mia?” Isaac looks to Mia to finish. They have to be talking about my Dad, it would make sense.
“No, Isaac’s right. Okay, wow, so he’s not spoken to you for like three days, but hey, he didn’t speak to you for two weeks after the funeral, but the man is still mourning, okay?” Mia says. I watch Robb look at her with a disgusted look.
“He can’t understand the fact that I’ve come to realise that Naomi’s dead. She’s in Hell for crying out loud, Mia. You two are right: she’s probably not coming back. And if this demonic stuff is Lucifer and his demons, then I told him, if he’s smart enough he’ll leave her in Hell while he’s bringing his shit to Earth, or she’ll have gone native and not wanna see us. Whatever happens, she’s gone to us. She technically died of sudden death syndrome, and we buried her. She’s not coming back, and if she does, I truly won’t blame her if she wants nothing to do with us. She’s been with that arsehole for two months, Mia. I want her back, I need her back, Hell, I’m going insane here, but even I’ve noticed there’s fuck all we can do.”
“Robb, come on,” Isaac says gently. I feel my own tears flowing down my cheeks. Robb’s been giving himself false hope? And my Dad, he hasn’t even been supporting Robb or Mia or Isaac. How could they… and Robb’s only just realising I’m dead?
How could they think I would ever ‘go native’? But… sudden death syndrome?
This is a lot to take in.
“Come on what? We were going to start a family, Isaac, we had our lives planned together, everything. We wouldn’t have got married until she’d graduated, and had kids after that. We had our life together planned, and then he comes swanning into our lives and that’s it… everything went fucked up. He’s taken my wife, and he’s taken my life with her. How… I… I can’t do this anymore,” Robb cries. He’s crying… I don’t think I have ever seen him cry. Ever.
I just want to reach out and touch him, feel his skin, engulf him in a hug and never let him go. I want to just reach out and kiss him, feel his lips on mine, every inch of my body is just gasping for him and I can’t have him. This is the worst form of torture ever.
“Robb, listen to me; you need to take a deep breath and listen to yourself. You’re telling us you can’t do this anymore, yet you’ve just told us in the same monologue that you want to start accepting the fact that she’s not coming back. You can do this. We’ve started to do it, and you can too. We’ve got each other. Yeah, there’s this big massive fuck off hole in our lives where she was, and it will never, ever in a million years begin to heal, but we can start living with that hole, can’t we? You keep telling yourself that you can’t, but you haven’t actually given yourself a chance to yet.” Mia tells him.
“How can I, though, Mia? Honestly, how can I even begin to live without her?” Robb asks.
“You’ve already started to, Robb, just by sitting here right now, you are living without her. You have to and Nay would’ve wanted you to,” Isaac says. “You heard what she asked Mia to do.”
Oh, they mean when I asked her to look after Robb.
“I know she would’ve, but that’s not the point is it?” Robb says, looking up at them. Oh, Robb, why can’t you listen to them? I know he can do this; he’s determined enough with everything as it is, so I know he can carry on. He has to, anyway.
“No, that’s not the point. The point is that we have to learn to find a damn way,” Mia says, and I can tell just by the way she’s looking at him that she’s beginning to get really pissed off. She has that small twitch to the corner of her eye. “Robb you have managed to find a will and a way to live this long without her, you can fucking well find one again. The three of us are here for each other, Robb, okay? You just need to start pushing yourself. Nay would not want you to hold on any longer. If she was watching us now, she would want you to buck up and start living, okay? You know that just as well and we do.”
And she’s right. I don’t want him to hang onto me any longer. I want him to go to college and do well and maybe go to uni. I want him to be able to find another love, someone he can have kids with, get married to and live with, not necessarily in that order . I want him to live when I can’t, and I want him to be happy, not to live like this… shell of the guy he was when I was alive.
“I’m trying,” Robb admits and I feel my chest give out.
“I know, come on,” Mia says, sniffing and moving to give him a hug. I smile; I think it’s the first time I’ve seen the two of them hug since they met. Jeez, it’s only taken me to die for it to happen.
“Naomi,” Lucifer says, breaking my watching.
“What?” I ask, not tearing my eyes from Robb, knowing Lucifer will drag me away any second now. I want to remember ever last inch of him, even though I do already, I just want it to etched into my mind forever.
“Come,” Lucifer says. I wipe the last tear falling from my eyes as I stand up, still watching Robb and Mia speaking to each other, though now I can’t hear what they’re saying. I give Robb one last look from the lake before I turn to see Lucifer and I wipe my face free of the tears threatening to take over my face and vision.
“Now I need to tell you exactly why you are here,” Lucifer says bluntly. “That is why I showed you that vision.”
“So it’s something to do with Robb?” I scoff, tears still blurring my vision, making the Devil a blur, which I can’t really complain about right now.
“Sort of, I just wished for you to see that before I tell you the truth, Naomi,” Lucifer says and gestures me with him. He leads me to the middle of a small clearing and he stands in the middle. I stand with my back against a tree, trying hard to compose myself. “You might wish to have a seat, Naomi, this is not going to be pleasant for you.”