“So, you finally did it,” Lucifer drawled lazily, his sleazy eyes dropping to my frame as I walked towards him.
I raised my eyebrow, a scowl nearly twisting on my lips. “Did what?”
“Kissed her, you dolt,” Lucifer snapped. “You finally locked lips last night, huh? How’d she taste?”
“I didn’t do a French kiss, if that’s what you’re assuming,” I growled, plopping onto the edge of my ghostly white bed.
Lucifer sat up on the lounge chair, his beady eyes studying me from top to bottom. His hair was hanging in frizzy strands around his face, as if he’d been up all night.
“Why not? It’s a pretty popular kiss amongst humans,” He said, pushing his bangs out of his eyes. The door creaked open, Damien’s soft footsteps padding along the carpet. I knew it was Damien, only because Saira’s scales would have rattled against the floor, and Radha had never been in my room before, much less know where it was.
I also knew when Lucifer’s breath hitched.
I smirked, lifting my head up to catch Damien’s glimmering eyes. “Don’t mind Lucifer, Rohan. He’s just jealous that he hasn’t been able to have a hook-up in a century.”
“It’s not easy to leave the dome and bring someone back,” Lucifer grumbled in defense. “I did that once, and look how badly it’s fucked us up. Now, we have to meet with said douchebag every five years and speak with him.”
“You seem to dislike your ex, Luce,” I teased, raking my claws over my head, tugging the hood down. The shadow lifted from my eyes, drawing Damien’s orbs to my mask.
“Don’t call me Luce,” Lucifer snarled. “And yes, I do dislike him. I despise that guy.”
“To be fair, Gabriel is a nice name,” Damine interjected. “You only dislike him because he took control when you wanted to drive the car.”
“I’m always in control,” Lucifer huffed. “Every male that I’ve slept with knows that. There is no exception, I need my control.”
I rolled my eyes. “Would it hurt your ego to let someone else feel like being on top for once?” I asked, fixing my mask against the bridge of my nose. My claws brushed against my scales and I winced, pulling my hand away as if I had been burned.
“Yes, yes it wound. Gabriel was a big pain in the ass, and I’m sure he still is,” Lucifer stated firmly, crossing his arms over the jet black suit her wore.
Damien’s eyebrows pinched. “Gabriel...that name sounds familiar, doesn’t it?”
“I don’t know any other Gabriel apart from the one I slept with, why?” Lucifer asked.
“Do you remember what he looks like?” Damien asked again.
Lucifer shook his head. “Nah. I don’t go to the meetings. Haven’t seen the piece of shit for ten years. Besides, I don’t are enough to remember his face.”
“Someone’s a sour boy,” Damien murmured to me, despite his gaze being that of a faraway one. He clapped my shoulder. “But we aren’t talking about Lucifer’s failed romantic endeavors; we’re talking about your night with Radha.”
I scowled. “We didn’t have sex, if that’s what you’re insinuatig. All we did was dance...and I kissed her while we danced.”
“Dude. You move way to fast,” Lucifer grumbled.
Damien glared at him. “He’s not moving fast, Lucifer. I think his pacing with her is fine. Had he made love with her, then sure, that would be a bit too fast, but all he did was kiss her.” He turned to me. “Why did you kiss her, anyway?”
I shrugged, averting my eyes from Damien’s strong orbs. “I guess it was in the heat of the moment, and because wanted to. She looked so beautiful, what with her hair up, her dress and her doe brown eyes. It was like they were drawing me in, pulling me towards her. And the kiss...“I sighed dreamily, flopping on my bed. “The kiss was amazing. Better than any other kiss I’ve had in my life.”
“I’m sure you said the same with Mohini,” Lucifer grumbled.
I shot up, glaring at him. “What did you say?” I snarled, my words escaping my lips harsher than I meant for them to.
Lucifer leveled a glare with me. “I said I’m sure you said the same with Mohini, didn’t you, Rohan?” He sneered. “What makes Radha’s lips different from Mohini’s?”
“I have never breathed a word like that to Mohini in my years of knowing her,” I snarled. “Radha’s kiss was different, was new, was exhilerating. Never in my life have I kissed someone like that before...but...”
“But what?” Damien and Lucifer both asked simultaneously. They glanced at each other, and while Damien blushed, Lucifer scowled, looking away.
“It was...nostalgic. Like I had felt that familiar tingle before...that familiar taste. I don’t know where, but what was even more shocking was, despite the familiarity of it, it was...amazing!” I dropped back down on the bed. “I’m not lying when I said it was new. I loved it...and I want to do it again.”
Damien sighed softly, but I could hear Lucifer click his tongue, a sound he made whenever he was thinking.
“Did you...by any chance...think about Mohini while kissing her?” He asked, as if trying to prove something.
“...No,” I murmured, licking my lips. I sat up again, my back protesting at the jerky movements I kept doing. “No...I didn’t think of Mohini. In fact, I haven’t thought of her in a while...”
For the first time in a long time, a cautious smile broke out on Lucifer’s lips. “That’s...actually good, you know. It means you’re moving on from her. You should kiss Radha more often.”
I looked at him, unable to catch his dark eyes. “Well, now you brought her back into my mind. Thanks.”
Lucifer shrugged. “Not my problem. All of this is up to you to change, Rohan. Not me, hence, not my problem .”
“Be nice, Lucifer,” Damien scolded. “I think it’s nice that Rohan had a kiss without thinking about Mohini. What did she think of it, Rohan?”
I shrugged, the realization dawning on me that I didn’t know what she thought. “I-I’m not sure, actually,” I admitted. “She looked like she liked it, but I didn’t get a chance to ask her again because I...I...” I trailed off, memories of our night filled with kisses swarming my mind.
“Ah, that’s Rohan for you,” Lucifer sighed. “He never changes. I still remember when you were a perverted teenager too afraid to express your desires towards women. Pity.”
I didn’t look at him, my eye ticking. “They were only desires. It was puberty; I was still a teenager. Now that I’m older, I know the difference between love and desire.”
“Oh? Is that so?” Lucifer’s voice raised an octave higher, an indication that he didn’t believe me. “So, when you kissed Mohini, what did you feel?
“Damien, be quiet. I’m trying to do something,” Lucifer objected, but it wasn’t clipped. His interjection to Damien’s reluctance was softer, almost gentler.
I observed Lucifer, the glint in his eyes, the slump in his posture. Damien’s voice coaxed his body to loosen up, but it was only for a second, and Lucifer was back to being rigid and cold, just as he had always been.
“Well, Rohan? I don’t have all day, and I still don’t know why you brought us here,” he snapped, crimson orbs burning like hot coal in me.
I swallowed the lump in my throat, a dry image I kept preserved of Mohini sputtering like poison in my mind. “Well...when I used to kiss her...God, it’s been centuries, but, I guess, I didn’t really feel anything.”
“What? How can you not feel anything during a kiss?” Damien asked, his dark tongue running over his pearl colored fang.
“I don’t know...” It was as if something was pressing over my lips, and while I knew that there was nothing, I couldn’t help but feel Mohini’s cold mouth ghost over mine, her kiss emotionless, dry; her eyes wide open, shimmering through the small holes in the mask she wore.
“I don’t want to think about her, Lucifer,” I growled, shaking my head, as if that could shake the image of her wide, reptilian eyes slicing into my soul. I gripped the sheets, the fabric curling in my gloved hands.
“Then what about Radha?” Lucifer pressed relentlessly, despite Damien squriming beside him. “When you kissed her, what was that like? What was she like?”
“She...” My breath caught in my throat, my heart lodged in my windpipe. “She was like a breath of fresh air; like a beautiful ocean with glimmering, clear waters and spotless sandy beaches. She was a miracle, a visionary, a masterpiece...she was all mine.” I sounded possessive, greedy, but in the heat that I was feeling, I didn’t even care. I had bought her, she was mine, but then, she wasn’t. Mohini had never been mine, and neither would Radha, not if I kept acting like a coward towards her, not if I kept disclosing my face from her.
Lucifer cleared his throat, drawing my lazy attention to him. “So, now that we have two perspectives, weigh out the differences. Radha is your best bet, Rohan.”
“Your flushed cheeks and faraway gaze don’t help much in your defense, Your Majesty,” Damien added cheekily.
I pressed my palm against my dark cheek, recoiling against the heat that collided on my skin.
Lucifer smirked. “Radha’s been making you feel things that you haven’t felt in years, maybe things that you’ve never felt before. Not even with Mohini. You know that, and I know that.”
“Yes, but...” I trailed off, pulling at the coiling tendrils of my hair. “How? How is any of this possible? How do I get rid of Mohini? How can I erase her from my mind?”
“Your problem isn’t just Mohini, Rohan,” Damien cut in. “It’s yourself. You don’t belive that a man like you deserves a woman like Radha, which is wrong. Everyone has someone in life, whether you want to admit it or not.”
“I don’t. It’s my curse, my punishment,” I grumbled, clenching and un-clenching my hands.
Lucifer scoffed. “With an attitude like that, you’ll get nowhere in life.” He rose from the lounge chair, striding over to my side. “Listen, Rohan, can’t you just forget about everything? Can’t you just spend one blissful day without worrying about your curse? Your looks? Can’t you spend one day without remembering Mohini?”
“Yeah! Try it! Maybe then you’ll realize how much happier you feel being alone with Radha,” Damien added, emphasising on alone and Radha.
I almost chuckled, but I held myself from doing so. An internal battle raged inside of me, and while a part of me begged me to give into my demonic, my beastly desires, another part of me held my hands back. Held them back from gripping Radha’s bare skin; back from hearing her pleasure from under me. It pained me, but I didn’t want to talk about it anymore; not with a woman I didn’t want to think about plaguing my mind.
“I’ll think about it,” I decided, hoping Lucifer wouldn’t question me anymore. It seemed that Damien only questioned me whenever Lucifer did, so I decided to direct my question towards Lucifer, making sure he understood my command.
Lucifer clenched his jaw, his dark eyes trailing along the line of my jawbone, along the oval shape of my eyes. He scowled. “Alright. I’ll let it go, for now...” he glanced at Damien, who was busy studying a glass vase I had on my desktop.
I leaned closer to Lucifer, bending down to sing in his ear: “You like him.”
Lucifer stiffened, pushing my face away from him. “No, I do not,” he denied sharply.
I raised my eyebrow. “Are you sure? You refused that a bit too quickly...”
He glared at me. “Yes, Rohan, I’m sure,” he affirmed, yet, I could see the spark of fondness glimmer in his eye as Damien glanced at him, smiling warmly.
I rolled my shoulders, bracing myself for the next conversation we’d be having. “Apart from the night I had experienced yesterday, I brought you in to talk about Gabriel’s arrival.” A scowl graced Lucifer’s already miffed expression, but the topic was unavoidable. I needed to get them ready, as to not have a fiasco like the last time Gabriel visited.
“Great...” he grumbled, trudging back to the lounge chair. Damien’s eyes trailed after him, and with a shrug, he turned back to me, frowning.
“So...what about Gabriel?” He asked.
“We need to make sure that another tea debacle doesn’t happen like it did last time,” I explained, myeyes flickering to Lucifer, who rolled his eyes, indifferent.
I sighed. “Can you ask Saira to let Radha know about Gabriel?”
Damien nodded. “Sure...but why don’t you tell her?”
“I...I’d rather not waste our time together,” I said, slightly sheepish. I didn’t really know what there was to be embarrassed about it. I guess I didn’t want Radha to know of another man in the palace, especially a human male.
“I’m not the one who started that fucking fight, you hear me, Rohan?” Lucifer growled. “And I ain’t bringing him here, you hear? Damien can do it, but I won’t.”
“Why do you have to be an asshole about this, huh, Lucifer?” I growled back. “Can’t you try and be optimistic for once? Why do you have to be a pessimist? In case you forgot, you’re the one who brought us into this shit.”
“I know. I get a slap from it every five years,” Lucifer snarled, tossing his head back against the chaise arm. “Can’t we just pay him to shut him up? He was a prostitute when I met him.”
I scoffed. “You don’t think I’ve tried that? He seems hell bent on visiting every five years.” I grinned. “Maybe he’s still infatuated over you.”
“Please, don’t ever say that again,” Lucifer groaned, closing his eyes.
I glanced at Damien, ready to crack another joke, when I paused, something about his demeanour throwing me off.
Damien was probably the most relaxed person in the palace (minus Radha). His shoulders, shoulders that were once lax, were now stiff and alert. His eyes resembled stones, his lips pressed in a dark, thin line.
In other words, he was jealous.
This gets better and better by the day, I thought to myself, hiding my laugh behind my hand. With every stutter and every blush Damien let out, it became clearer and clearer to everyone in the palace that he was infatuated with Lucifer. I didn’t believe it at first, but I’m glad he’s starting to show signs of it now, rather than when my father was still King. That wouldn’t have ended well.
“Well, whatever the case may be, we still have to prepare for his arrival.” I sighed. “You know how picky he can be.”
“Like I said, pain in the ass, while being an asshole,” Lucifer grumbled. “But if you insist on making such a big deal out of it, then I’ll ask Saira to clean the place again. Prep up the rooms and clean the soaps.”
“...Clean the soaps?”
“What? He’s picky even with his soap,” Lucifer snapped. He rolled his head on his shoulders, sighing. “Why does Satan have to make cute guys have horrible attitudes?”
“You think that he’s...cute?” Damien forced out, as if swallowing a rotten apple.
Lucifer’s jaw clenched slightly. “He used to be. He’s okay now, I guess. Just...I’m not interested in him romantically, or anyone else.” He reached into his pocket, pulling out a cigarette he had stolen from a villager. “Not that it matters to you, anyway. It’s none of your business.”
“Well, aren’t you snappy today,” I shot back, noticing the slump in Damien’s posture.
Lucifer once again reached into his pocket, pulling a lighter and igniting the tip of the cigarette. “I suppose I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. That, or your lips smacking together kept me awake.”
I rolled my eyes at his sardonic behavior. “It wasn’t a make out; I made that clear earlier. And if you’re upset about your ill-fated one night stand’s arrival, then don’t take it out on any of us. We did nothing wrong.”
The cigarette dangled from Lucifer’s pale lips, the smoke floating in a curly pattern above the small flame. “Don’t tell me how to live my life,” he said shortly. “I say what I want to say. Be thankful it’s to you and not your precious princess.”
“Let it go, Rohan,” Damien interviewed. “Lucifer’s mood changes daily; he’ll shape up soon enough. At least, once he finishes smoking.”
“I hope so. His attitude is like that of a puberty reeking teenage boy,” I growled, recalling with a curl to my lips the boys of the village that had breached the dome suffocating my castle. They were drunk, they were dangerous, and they were the people that Lucifer tended to get his cigarette’s from. He didn’t care about his health; he was a demon. What would a little nicotine and smoke do to his immortal lungs?
“What about him?” I asked, huffing and regarding Damien out of the corner of my eye.
“Doesn’t he seem, I don’t know, familiar to you?” He asked, toying with the tuff of hair atop his head.
I shook my head. “Not the slightest. I’ve been seeing Gabriel for ten years. I only have ever seen him during his visits, never before, never after. Why?”
“Hm...nothing. I must be imagining things then,” Damien shook me aside, and before I could question him, something broke inside of me, sending sparks of pain through my body, down to my core and up my spine.
I tried to hide the burning from Damien and Lucifer, hoping that they weren’t paying attention me. My magic curled at my fingertips, pressing against my glove. The energy was stronger, much more forceful than when I was angry. It was almost as if I were to let go, the magic would kill me, creating me to ash just as I had done to Mohini.
I clenched my jaw, the realization striking hard in me, and striking fast. Actions had to be taken, and quickly.
Another piece of the mask had fallen.