I smiled, the first real, meaningful smile I’d had in as long as I could remember, before looking down at Lucas. “That was incred-“
I stopped abruptly. What I saw – who I saw – standing before me was even more awe-inspiring than what I’d just seen in the sky.
The man in front of me was glowing, his body covered in a shining white aura, his shoulder length hair coiled in black curls, his body covered in shining silver armor that hugged his sleek, muscular form. He stood up straight, his six foot form towering over me, spreading his wings wide, their broad, white feathers a gleaming ivory.
I could hardly believe that the man before me was real, but he was. He was perfect. He was shining. He was…
“You must be an angel,” I said, nearly speechless.
Lucas looked down, traces of sorrow in his voice as he spoke. “Not exactly, Alice. I was an angel, once. But that was a long time ago.”
“Who are you, then?” I asked, inching towards him even as my heart beat at rapid fire, the true answer to my question already lurking at the corner of my mind.
“I am the Lord of this World,” he said, his eyes meeting mine, “the Master of the Elements. I am the rebellious angel. I am the little voice inside your head, the voice your priest, your parents, and your teachers urge you to turn away from. But you won’t turn away from me, will you, Alice? You can’t. Something inside of you is compelling you to seek me out, even though deep down inside, you’ve known who I am
right from the start.”
“You’re… Lucifer,” I said, a breathless whisper.
His eyes glimmered – this time, a haunting white glow. “Yes.”
I froze, speechless. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. The world began to swirl around me, as quickly and startlingly as the dragon in the sky. It was really him – the Devil, the Betrayer of God, the enemy of all mankind, standing less than a foot away from me. Suddenly the past few months made perfect sense: the relentless dreams that haunted my sleeping hours, the chilling words – what he called the ‘First Language’ – that burned at my senses every time I heard them, our encounters at the Val-U-Mart… Lucas was right. I’d known all along who he really was, but I continued on anyway, either unable – or just unwilling – to face the truth.
So here I stood with the object of my heart’s desire, the enemy of the world and all things holy. Now I knew who he was – but who was I? What kind of person could stand here, face to face with a monster, and see
only beauty? The flurry of confusion whirled around me, faster than ever.
Lucas began to walk toward me. I still couldn’t move. Every muscle in my body screamed, urging me to run, to get away as quickly as possible, but just like that night on the beach when it all began, I found myself unable to leave. This wasn’t his doing – I knew I wasn’t under any spell, I knew that there was no demonic whispering floating in my mind that turned my body to stone. It was as simple as looking at him, my Mystery Man who was no longer such a mystery, at his grandeur and his perfection, and being unable to convince myself to turn away, whatever the danger might be. Lucas leaned forward, cupping my face in his hands, the electric touch of his skin against mine sealing my fate now and forever.
As his lips met mine for the first time, I realized that nothing else mattered. Nothing ever had. I was in love – helplessly, steadfastly and with every fiber of my being – and there was nothing I could do, or would ever want to do, to change that.