The sun blaring in through the thin blinds woke me up from my deep slumber. I fluttered my eyes a bit as I took in a deep breath. My nose got a good whiff of an earthy smell with a hint of ocean breezes. How you could capture ocean breezes was beyond me?
Wait? I grabbed a fist full of the silk covers and realized I wasn’t in my room. Oh, right... Memories of last night flooded my mind. Why did he have to be such a jerk? And why did I always fall for the bad boys? It was hard for me to believe he was an angel at one point.
Was this my fate, my divine purpose; to live a lonely life and fall desperately for all the wrong men? Sometimes life felt so unfair. But maybe this isn’t what God wanted for me. If it was in his plan, his will than nothing wrong can happen. Why was I even complaining about a little heartbreak? There were people starving of hunger or fighting cancer.
Pull yourself together Laken. I got up and headed for the bathroom. Of course it was big and fancy and practically the size of my entire room. The rain sprinkle showerhead was calling my name but I rethought my idea when I realized I was still wearing HIS clothes.
I settled with the mouthwash because I was more than certain my breath was stinky. I even brushed my hair a bit but it was completely chaotic and disastrous from the rain. Well it wasn’t like I cared about impressing anyone this morning. Cal made it perfectly clear we could never be.
I softened my footsteps as I approached the living room. The exit door was so close but once I realized my car was still at the hospital my attempt to leave disintegrated. Oh poooh. I was even willing to take the walk of shame in my efforts to get away from him.
Cal was apparently already up and wide awake staring off into the sunrise from his balcony. I went and sat in the chair next to him. Yup I was right. He had an incredible view. It was like we were right above the whole city but in a different retrospect.
“I’m sorry,” his voice was husky from sleep.
“What?” I played dumb. I really just wanted to hear him say it again. I don’t think he said that word often enough.
“I’m sorry,” he repeated. “I didn’t mean to hurt you. I couldn’t seem to control myself last night.”
“Does that happen often? Do you have a record of attempted rapes?”
Yeah, I was pushing his buttons but he deserved it and probably must more.
His jaw clinched but quickly retracted. “No. I was really just doing you a favor.”
If I had my gun in my hands I probably would have shot him in the private parts. How could he be so cruel? “What do you mean you were doing me a favor?” I repeated completely disgusted.
“It’s not healthy; those feelings you have for me. One day you’ll see that and be repulsed by it.”
Wow. I think I get it know. He’s afraid; most likely of rejection. He thinks I’ll see him for what he truly is and run away. Or maybe he thinks I’ll find someone better, more holy, and leave him in the dust. And here I thought I had the bad relationship issues.
“I think I know by now who you really are. I’ve seen the monster you can be and yet I still couldn’t stop those emotions from bubbling up and burning your imprint into my heart. You couldn’t even let me choose. You decided for me and you know why?” I leaned way over so he could get a clear look at my face. “You’re a coward.”
His veins popped up and his face neared mine. Inches apart I could almost taste his rage of humiliation.
“I’m a coward?” He dared me to continue and I gladly did so.
“Yes a coward because I dare say you too have developed some sort of feelings towards me. You suppress it and desperately try hard hiding it from me but last night not only were we consumed in lust but I noticed something.” I played with fire, placing my hand against his soft cheek. He may have mentioned my heart was in his hands but, “Your soul was mine for the taking. You love me; more than an angel should and more than a guardian ever could.”
His ice blue eyes melted from my speculation. The reflection of my confession slowly but surely forced him to calculate his next moves wisely. I knew I hit a soft spot. Shoot, I hit the bull’s eye. He just wasn’t man/angel enough to admit it.
“We’re going to drop this subject and never talk about it again.”
He was talking to me like I was five. Really? I huffed, leaning back into my seat. I won.
Cal, to my surprise, keeled in front of me. Confused, I stared down at him for some answers.
“My intentions were never to hurt you last night.” His raw sincerity was adding to his heartfelt plea. “I am sorry for that. I don’t know what the future has in store for us but I can promise you my protection.”
He cared. At least he cared and will admit it.
“For how long?”
Cal’s eyes brightened to their distinctive glow. “As long as you need me.”
That’s what I was afraid of. What if I needed him for the rest of my life? “Even if that means for the next 60 years?”
He raised his hand and pinched my cheek. Ouch. “I’ll take joy in watching your skin shrivel to wrinkles.”
I slapped his hand away but he laughed regardless. “That’s if I don’t kill you by then.” He better not push it.
“You’re probably the only one I’d ever let end my life but I don’t think you understand what I meant.” Cal’s fingers brushed back the strays against my face. “I envy your mortal soul. I am stuck here on earth, forever. And if by some chance I do die that will in fact be the end of me.”
Oblivion. When I die I had the chance to go to heaven. Cal had already been there and apparently messed it up. I pitied him. Why was I a sucker for lost causes? Probably because I didn’t believe 100% that he was a lost cause. I had hope for him. God is merciful.
“I’m not giving up on you.” What kind of Christian would I be if I did?
“Maybe you should?”
I exhaled all my hatred and negativity. “You’re not a monster. I was just mad when I said it.”
He laid his head on my lap and I wasn’t sure how to react. But sure yeah; go ahead Cal. I instinctively combed my fingers through his hair and it probably felt like a massage. For the first time Callias relaxed; his whole body released all its tension.
“But I am.”
This was not a pity party. “No one is without fault.”
His hand curled around my calf and the tingles couldn’t compare to the flow of sparks running from his body to mine.
“You are so pure Laken. I feel it in your veins.”
It didn’t make me perfect. “That’s a misconception.” Was he drawn to my light the way I was drawn to his? “Don’t put me on a pedestal. I’m the same as everyone else.”
“Everyone else lies, cheats, steals, and sleeps around to fill that void. Everyone else has a empty hole in their hearts which they try to fill with worldly things.”
I like to think God designed us like cars except our fuel was Him Himself. God is the fuel we need to get through life because replacing Him with other over the counter products won’t get us far.
“Do you miss Him? Do you miss being in heaven?”
He took a few nail biting minutes to finally answer me. “It doesn’t matter now.”
I think it did. I think Cal was sent to earth for a second chance.
I was holding my beautiful newborn nephew when a nurse came in to check up on my sister. Miriam scrunched her nose and furrowed her brows in discomfort. I didn’t blame her. I hated hospitals myself. That was why I worked on call for outpatients.
The nurse flashed us her fake smile; I could tell she was having a bad day. After keying in a few things on the computer she turned to poke a needle into Miriam’s arms, quite forceful I might add. Miriam flinched giving the nurse a dirty look but the nurse hardly acknowledged her presence.
Now that was rude. My reflexes would have smacked that needle right out of her hand and inject it onto her face.
“Let me know if you need anything else?” The obnoxious nurse ran to the door; she couldn’t wait to get out.
“A new nurse.” I pursed my lips. I dare her to say something smart.
She just closed the door on us but I was okay with that.
“Uewwww, she jabbed that thing into me like I was a potato. She might have even busted my vein.”
I cradled my nephew a little tighter and rubbed my big nose against his little one. Oh goodness he was so tiny and cute. “Well you can write a letter and try to sue; get some money out of all the torture they’re putting you through.”
“You’re making fun of me. You’ll see Laken. This place sucks.”
“Oh I believe you.”
She sighed, falling back onto her pillow exhausted. “What’s going on outside these walls? How’s Cal?”
Should I tell her about the other night? No, no, bad idea. Keep your mouth shut Laken. That was humiliating and she’d probably find humor in my moment of weakness.
I shrugged. Well at least he wasn’t trying to kill me. “He’s fine.”
“Oh come on,” she whined. “Give me the juicy details. So you guys weren’t an actual couple? He was pretending the whole time.”
I nodded embarrassingly.
“Huuuuhhh, well he fooled me.” She sat up, completely baffled at the thought. “He seriously fooled me. Laken you know me. I can sniff out romance a mile away. Either he’s an incredible actor or he really is in love with you. Men always try to deny their feelings.”
I bit my lip. So I wasn’t the only one who saw the chemistry between us. “Cal’s a really complex and difficult person to understand. He’s probably the world’s best actor.”
“Nooo,” Miriam shook her head supporting a clever smile. “I believe he really cares about you. I’d bet my life on it.”
I tried acting busy by playing with Joey’s tiny little fingers. He definitely got his looks from his momma. His curious eyes, round nose, and thin lips were Miriam all the way. I wondered what my children would look like.
“Laken, awwww you really do like him, don’t you?” She was digging into my subconscious like a freaking therapist.
“How’s that even possible? He tried to kill me. I’m supposed to hate him.” Right?
“No Laken. We love our enemies. There’s also this thing called forgiveness which we as Christians need to practice but I think you already have.”
She was teasing me but I did forgive him. I wasn’t sure if I completely trusted him yet. Nothing good would ever come out of us being together. It’s wrong. Ughhh now I sound like Cal but he was right. He was frozen in time and I would eventually shrivel up and die. He was a fallen angel and I was a blessed human. We practically spelled out catastrophe.
Miriam popped my bubble of hopeless dreams. I swear us girls could plan out our whole lives with someone in the span of a few moments.
“I know whatever you guys have isn’t heard of and incredibly unpredictable but don’t let that scare you off.” She had my mother’s passion for pathetic sob love stories.
“I don’t want to hear it Miriam. It’s stupid. Yeah maybe I do like him but I’m a sucker for beautiful faces and muscular bodies.” What girl isn’t? “But it’s just a dumb crush. I’ll get over it. I’m not in love. Okay?”
She shook her head because she knew me too well. “You got it bad.”
If I wasn’t holding my sleeping nephew I probably would have thrown something really heavy at her. “Shut up.”
“He loves you too. I know it. You just need to get him to admit it.” She corrected herself. “We need to get him to admit it.”
She was scheming up a plan in her devious little head. “No don’t you dare. It’s hopeless. What future do we have? Do you really expect him to marry me and we live happily ever after?” I refused to live in sin.
That stumped her. Miriam pondered different scenarios in her head but I’m sure the outcome would always be the same.
“How can I be destined to love someone but not able to spend the rest of my life with them under the hand of God?”
Maybe Cal was right. Maybe God was playing some sick joke on us or maybe it wasn’t God at all. What if Satan was twisting our fates for a huge diabolical plan he was conjuring up? I wouldn’t doubt it.
We went too far in tempting ourselves in the joys of lust. I should have been stronger and stopped it way before it got that out of hand. I guess I wanted him just as badly as he needed me.
My eyes skimmed over the clock and I panicked. Crap.
“Hey I’ll see you later.” I carefully handed her back Joey before giving him another final kiss. I could probably kiss his beautiful face all day. “I promised dad I’d help him pick out a swing for the backyard.”
“Ok. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
I grabbed my bag off the chair in the corner and swung the door open, practically ripping it off its hinges. Miriam waved Joey ’s little hand at me and it melted my heart. I seriously contemplated whether I should stay. I couldn’t stand up my own father.
Fifteen minutes later I was in home depot searching for my dad. The huge warehouse was weirdly empty. It was strange because the weather outside was wonderful. You’d think everyone would try and make their lawns and houses looking good. I could even hear the echo of my footsteps as I paced down each empty aisle.
Where was everyone? It was natural instinct to always assume the worst especially with everything going on lately.
Finally down the outside furniture lane I found my dad eyeing each swing thoroughly. He was a man who expected quality for a decent price. Personally I just figured my dad was cheat. Well I was too now thinking about it but I preferred bargain shopper.
It was nice having something other than the destruction of the world to occupy our thoughts. I was grateful dad was distracting himself with other things around the house.
“Hey honey. What do you think about this one?” He pointed to a beautifully polished oak wood swing.
I nodded my approval. “It would match the deck really well.”
He smiled. “Yeah I thought so too. How’s your sister and my grandson?”
“They’re doing very well. He looks exactly like her, pouty lips and all.”
His laugh vibrated off the walls and again I was reminded that we were basically alone in this warehouse.
“Yes, I’m familiar with the look.” He nudged my shoulder.
I heard we were decent kids but also spoiled rotten at times. That quickly ended after the third kid because I don’t remember getting a pony when I was little.
“Ok I’ll go get a sales person and purchase this thing so we can go home.” Dad walked off on a mission. He was eager to get this project started.
I watched him turn left at the end of aisle and I leaned against a metal pole. At least that was one thing we could mark off his list of maintenance projects around the house. Mom had been asking for a swing on the porch for as long as I could remember.
The buzzing of the light fixture was pounding in my ear like a pestering fly. You would think home depot of all places would be on top of those kinds of electricity gadgets.
I heard heavy footsteps and figured it was my dad. I did not what’s so ever expect to see who I did. A beautiful, insanely tall, blond man clad in black who looked like he just appeared off the runway from Paris. For a second I thought my mind was playing tricks on me and I was daydreaming. This man was breath taking and I felt guilty even admiring him for so long. I honestly believed I would never see anyone as mouth dropping as Cal in my life yet here was this man.
His sharp defined facial features would have looked aristocratic on anyone else but not on him. There was a certain air to his persona of mystery. He was a man I did not want to mess with that’s for sure.
I had to be dreaming right? I actually pinched myself hard and bit my lip from the pain. Nope, not a dream. My next instant reaction was to think either this gorgeous being was an angel or demon. No offence but humans couldn’t be that perfect. This man was literally the definition of perfection. There was this glow about him, something drawing me in. It made me think of Matthias’ glow as an angel. This guy’s aura was dangerous and far more skeptical to pretension.
That iniquitous smirk playing on his lips and combed back slick hair gave him that old gangster fib. Nothing struck fear in me more than those goldish red eyes. They weren’t cat eyes. They were scary lion eyes ready to rip out my soul.
“Laken,” he slithered my name in velvet. “It’s nice to finally meet you.”
His voice left me in chills, like really bad chills. It didn’t happen often only when I was scared out of my wits. I kept my brave face on but who the heck was this guy?
“Is it?” I straightened my back, giving him no sign of intimidation.
“You’ve caused quite the scandal for me but I believe I’ll still enjoy your company.”
The atmosphere shifted to a blaze of dread. My throat was also going dry. The way he was talking made me feel like he knew too much about me. Keep cool Laken.
I crossed my arms over my chest to keep the uneasiness at bay. “Is that so?”
“Making Callias fall in love with you was exceptionally genius.”
If I had water in my mouth I would have spit it on his face, purposely perhaps. Why was everyone saying that? Cal made it perfectly clear he couldn’t love me.
“I don’t how what you’re talking about.” I wasn’t sure why I got all defensive. It wasn’t like I had to prove anything to this stranger.
His lengthy brow arched in a manner that would contradict any situation. “I can tell you’re lying; you know I practically invited the skill.”
My brows furrowed in utter discomfort. “I’m sorry, who are you?” And how do you know about me and Cal?
“I’m called many things.” His long fingers curled around his chin as he assessed me.
I didn’t feel like he was undressing me with his eyes like a sleazy creeper. No, it was more like he could depict ever flaw of my character. It was intimidating and nerve racking beyond belief. He was looking into my soul and picking out every feature. My mind began to throb like someone was poking needles in it. Did he possess the power to do that?
“I am known as the king of deception, father of lies, instigator of destruction...” his lengthy pause wasn’t necessary, “Lucifer, Satan, and even the devil.”
My heart stopped and my body went numb as my blood turned cold. Luc..Lucifer. I could barely repeat the name in my head. This couldn’t be. I started to hyperventilate. This was a joke.
“It’s not possible. How could...” My mind wouldn’t even function the possibility becoming reality.
Satan? Devil? Why would he grace me with his unwanted presence? This had to be a hoax; a stupid demon impersonating the devil to try and frighten me.
His angular shoulders crouched as he rested his back on the wall directly in front of me. My heart was in my ears pounding as the hairs on my neck stood erect. His close proximity was causing my blood pressure to rise as my anxiety flew through the roof.
Usually I didn’t let things like this get to me. I was brought up to control my nerves and hold the task at hand but I couldn’t shake this one off. Deep, deep down inside I think I knew why. He might possibly be telling the truth.
“...this be possible?” He finished for me. “Like I said I’m here to clean up the little mess you so happened to bestow upon me.”
His slick, beautiful, enchanting British accent was totally throwing me off. I was a sucker for accents. Stupid, stupid, stupid. “Mess?”
“Yes, mess.” He pushed himself off the wall and practically glided towards me.
Was his feet even touching the ground?
“Callias made an oath. His debt was your life and as we both can tell you’re very much alive.”
“Clearly.” I did recall Cal almost succeeding in my death. I also had to wonder what Cal wanted in return. What did he want in exchange for my life?
It still fascinated me. How was the almighty devil really here? I guess it wasn’t all too farfetched. I mean if demons could possess the form of humans why couldn’t their leader himself do it too?
“Are you here to finish the job for him?”
I already knew I had a death warrant but never would I have imagined that the mastermind himself would actually see it through.
He chuckled and that gave me a glimmer of confusion. “It would seem so but I have more use for you alive.”
“How’s that?” I was tired of being a puppet.
“Let’s face it darling if I really wanted you, a true blessed, dead I would have snapped your head right off by now.” His vile yet soothing voice was thickening the oxygen surrounding me. It was like poison in the air. “You’re strong, clever, fierce; everything I need in a warrior.”
I almost choked on my own spit. Was this dude serious? “You want me to join the dark side?” This was the first time I actually used a star wars reference. It seemed appropriate.
Again his cynical laugh rang inside my ears. “Something like that.”
“Never.” There was no way I would ever give up my faith. It was engraved in my soul.
He inched closer causing me to hyperventilate silently to myself. I hide it well but I wondered if he noticed. After all he was the king of deception. He could probably smell the fear from my beads of sweat that were so happening to be sliding down my face.
“Never is never a permanent word. One day you’ll wake up and realize something is missing.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I gave mankind the fruit of knowledge.” Suddenly his tone emulated that of a thunderstorm.
Well someone was bipolar.
“And this is the thanks I deserve?” He continued his malicious rant.
I guess he expected to be worshipped after tricking Eve to eat the fruit and condemning us all. In this case ignorance was bliss.
“You did it for your own selfish gain. Don’t flatter yourself by saying you were doing us a favor.”
His eyes boiled to a crimson red. “Your Father in heaven never wanted you to have that kind of knowledge. He was keeping you from it. How am I the selfish one?”
“He was trying to protect us from the destruction of our own minds. Without him we wander into darkness and in that darkness we destroy ourselves. He loved us too much to watch us crumble away.”
Satan, man it was still crazy to say, towered above me as my pulse escalated to extreme heights. I was staring the devil in the face. How many people got to say that? I wish I wasn’t one of them. The constant sensation of anxiety was settling deep inside my gut and draining the color from my face.
“Is that why he hides in the shadows and orders others to do his bidding? I tired of being his dog, fetching things. That’s your job now. Protecting the innocent from self-destruction.”
I swallowed. “Thanks to the knowledge you brought us. We protect people from your evil kind.”
“Do you?” His finger curled in my hair and I cringed with distress and loathing.
I nodded because my throat was drier than the Sahara desert.
“It hurts when you can’t.” His hot breath brushed against my cheek.
He was so close, the proximity weighing down on my lungs. I felt the heat of his body like I was in a furnace from hell. I was sweating profusely, drenching my clothes in moisture. My heart kept pounding erratically against my chest.
“A gaping hole etches into your soul and you constantly blame yourself for not being able to save them.”
He was mocking me; taunting me with illusive details of the emotions that do run through my head. Perhaps he had felt it once before; it was now covered in selfish pursuits. He didn’t care about mankind. I was certain Satan had the ability to toss those “worthless” emotions and feelings to the side like an unwanted habit. I also wondered if he had the ability to read my thoughts, feel my pain, or sense my rebuke.
“Pain is meant to wake us up. We discover our strength in the experiences of pain.” I blabbered.
His hand then moved to coil around my throat. My reflexes wanted to kick in and punch him for even thinking of touching me but I didn’t. This was the big bad wolf I was talking to. He could probably snap my neck in a blink of an eye.
“Is that so?” He dove into my outburst to humor me, no doubt?
“Love hurts. There is no love without pain. When you love someone so much that it hurts you know it’s all you’re living for. I guess you’ve never felt that?”
He slammed my head back into the stone cold pole. My head had to have cracked; I was sure I heard it. His nails dug into my flesh till I smelt my own blood. I tried to remain completely still as he let out his tantrum from my insult.
“Darling, you cannot comprehend the things I have felt. Perhaps I’ll let you live it one day.” I could feel his smirk through his spiteful voice
“You might as well kill me now. I won’t join your pack of damned misfits.”
I had faced death once; I could face it again.
“I’d expect no other answer from your lips. Therefore I result to cooperation and I demand obedience.”
Was he stupid or hard of hearing? I wasn’t going to give in.
My father’s agonizing scream forced me to look at the end of the aisle. My mind went numb as I watched two dark angels hold my father down and poke a sword through his ribcage like he was a lab rat.
I believed that were fallen angels. I could see a black cloud formation around their backs that looked very similar to wings. They had to be angels otherwise my father would have had them on their knees by now.
“Let him go!” I yelled.
“Your family will be slaughtered one by one until you comply.”
I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t reply. My heart was breaking between my allegiance to God and the torment of losing my family.
“You’ll have till tomorrow night to give me your answer.”
His lips pressed to my temple and I felt like my skin would rot from the touch. It was the kiss of betrayal, a kiss from Judas.
The pressure of his hand around my neck was gone and I blinked my tears back. I headed towards my father who was still being imprisoned by the fallen angels. Only three feet away I witnessed the rest of the sword being plunged deeper, with the position slicing far too close to his heart.
I cried out in anger and they let him fall to the ground. Blood squirted out everywhere as my father’s breathes turned into pants. The coward angels disappeared but I should have expected as much. This was a warning; a foreshadowing of what was to come. This fight wasn’t over. Those fallen angels were going to pay for this.
I put as much pressure on his wound as possible while pulling out my phone. I dialed 911 and prayed they’d get to us in time.
The Devil is everywhere. We have to be careful who we trust because the Devil was an angel once.