Oscar’s Soul

Oscar’s Soul

So, I’m Satan, Lucifer, the Devil. Call me whatever you like, but knowing the names doesn’t mean you know everything. For example, I’m just a vice president of a division, not the head of the company. I exist at His whim, doing as I’m told to help keep the balance.

I’m not such a bad guy, really. I love classical music and Sinatra, fresh flowers on my desk, and yes, I’ve shed a tear or two late at night while watching a Lifetime movie. It’s just the job. I have responsibilities and I aim to do my best with every assignment. Yes, I excel at the stuff that might make other beings balk, but that’s just how I was made. In designing me, He went all out because the idea of meeting up with me if you’re evil had to be terrifying, right? Otherwise, why be good?

There are those of you who I bet think you’d be good no matter what. No consequences and free will, but you’d still be little “angels,” wouldn’t you? Uh-huh. Oh no, I believe you! I’ve never seen it happen, but I’m sure you’re different. Come on. Even the most pious choir boy stands on the edge, just begging me to give him a little push.

I had no idea pushing this little one would mean I fell, though. No, not that kind of falling—which didn’t actually happen, by the way. I was never up there to begin with, so I couldn’t have fallen. I mean the kind of falling that happens when love slams right into you and takes your breath away. Never even knew I could fall in love. Never knew there could be someone for me out there after all these years by myself.

His name is Oscar and he’s so beautiful. Pale as moonlight, with big blue eyes and sandy blond hair, he’s like summer at the beach. A sweet, shy cove of a beach that blushes a lot. He has a quiet voice and he really listens, wants to please everyone he meets, wears his little heart on his sleeve. The first thing I ever wanted to do when I met him was protect him. Tuck him in close and not let any bad thing get anywhere near him.

Then I’d remembered why I had to meet him, and that I was the bad thing.

I hadn’t handled the contract personally or else I would’ve been able to refuse it before having to go up there and collect on it. It had been centuries since one of these “take my firstborn” things went through. I knew I should’ve replaced the demon who’d made this deal a long time ago, but I’d thought he’d had his fill of these kinds of contracts back in the Middle Ages. Then Oscar’s angelic face came across my desk.

Apparently, my old-fashioned employee had given Oscar’s father the gift of perpetual success in business for the price of his firstborn’s soul. On Oscar’s twenty-first birthday, he would belong to me, his existence at my whim until I set him free. I’d done so with all the others handed to me by their oh-so-loving parents over the centuries, and they’ve been recycled back into the world many times over by now.

But Oscar… He was so very new my teeth ached just looking at him.

Every human had lived at least a dozen lives by the twenty-first century. They all had things to accomplish and never got everything right on the first try—or the first twenty, for that matter. But darling Oscar had gone down only once before when he suddenly became mine. His soul was still all shiny and gilded. I mean, he practically glowed. And when he smiled! I had never seen Heaven until I saw that smile.

Then I knew. Then I understood.

And then I had to make that brilliant little soul cry. It broke me. It really broke me to have to stand there and tell him his father had sold him down the river before he’d even been conceived and all in the name of greed. I had to tell him he had to leave everything he knew behind and follow me into hell. I had to watch his beautiful eyes well up and spill over with crystalline tears. I had to stand there and let him hate me even as I ached to take it all back for another of those perfect smiles.

I’d wanted to hold him as we left, but he wouldn’t let me touch him. Sometimes, I could understand people wanting to keep their distance. I took on the appearance of what they expected to find when “the Devil” came calling, but with Oscar, I’d been myself. Not that he knew that, of course, but I’d thought a middle-aged, rather handsome man in an Armani suit would maybe ease some of the sting for him. In hindsight, that was stupid since even a fluffy, white bunny telling you you’re going to hell now would’ve still been horrific.

So, down we went, standing like strangers on a train. He’d cried the whole way, his summer-sky eyes squeezed closed like he expected every story he’d ever heard about hell to play out before him. Finally, at about half way there—imagine a really long elevator ride straight down—I hadn’t been able to stand it anymore. I took hold of his trembling shoulders and pulled him in for a tight hug, murmuring what reassurances I could offer, and rocking slightly from side to side.

He’d actually whispered an apology into my chest and clung to me as he sobbed. I’d just held him even tighter and then I’d picked him up, cuddling that lean body in my arms and letting him bury his face in my neck.

That, right there, had been when I’d fallen. He’d wrapped his arms around my shoulders and his legs around my waist, and I’d felt something snap inside me. No, not snap. More like relax. Ease open. A door that had been swollen in its frame suddenly swung wide and there stood little, shining Oscar on the stoop.

He’s curled up in my bed now as I stand here watching over him. It’s been three days since I brought him down, but neither of us has moved much from our posts. He sleeps like a baby angel amongst the clouds that are the pillows on my bed, and I stand here and watch him breathe. I want to climb in there and curl around him, snuggle all that soft warmth up to my chest, but I honestly don’t know if I should.

Yes, I’m big, bad Satan, but I’m completely out of my element here. I’ve gone to the bed of many a man and woman who had promised sex as the payment for their various contracts. I’ve taken whatever I’ve wanted, whether it’s been freely given or a little more forced. I don’t know what it’s like to seduce. The constraints of a contract come due are enough to make the reluctant open up while I stand there waiting, so I’ve never been cruel, per se, but I’ve also never had someone glad to see me standing at the foot of their bed. No one’s ever smiled and held out a hand. I really want sweet Oscar to do that. I’m aching from the lack of his smile.

Is that normal? Is that love?

He turns over now, slowly going from his side to his stomach. He’s still fully clothed, but as I wish it, his clothes disappear. He doesn’t wake, and I’ll put them back before he does. I just want a moment to pretend it would be acceptable if I leaned over that smooth back and rounded tush. That he might peek over his shoulder at me and give me a shy grin of encouragement. That he might sigh as I lay atop him, just a little, and find out what it would be like to be close. To fit my body over his and kiss the back of his neck, those tapered, young shoulders, and maybe keep going down that sweet body.

I want to know what it’s like to coax a lover into ecstasy. To use lips and tongue to pull moans from a pink mouth as lashes flutter closed and cheeks stain red. To send hands and fingers over smooth skin and taut muscles to make that skin pebble with awareness while those muscles tremble with need. To use my body to make another’s feel so very good he begs me to see him over the edge into that blinding light of pure sensation where thoughts might mingle and heartbeats blur together.

I hadn’t moved, but like wishing away his clothes, I’d apparently wished all those desires into reality. He comes with a cry, his hands fisting the pillow beneath his head, and eyes staring at me as his hips press down into the bed. His whole body shudders as he groans, that pink mouth slack as his eyes flutter closed. He pants into the pillow, and I’m panting now too as I realize what I’ve done.

“I’m sorry, Oscar.” I find it necessary to hold onto the door frame as my knees shake. “I didn’t mean to.”

“What did you…?” He gasps a breath and swallows, lifting his head to look at me. “What did you do to me?”

I can feel my face heat with shame. “I indulged in a fantasy without realizing I could take you through it, too. I only wanted—” No, I can’t tell him what I want. Not after everything he’s been through. He doesn’t want to be here.

“I’ve never felt anything so intense before. It was…amazing and just… Wow.” He relaxes into the bed, looking thoroughly spent and so beautiful for it.

I can’t resist smiling. I shouldn’t have done that to him, made him participate in the act like that, but to know he enjoyed it more than just for the physical release was amazing to me, too. I had actually gotten what I wanted, though I hadn’t touched him once.

“So,” he says, giving me a blush, “you can do magic?”

“Of a sort.”

He sits back on his elbows, then lifts his hips and looks down his body before looking back at me. “How about changing the sheets without making me get up?”

I make them satin and blue, like his eyes. He gasps and sits back on his heels, then gives me a glorious smile. How beautiful he is!

He lies down again, on his stomach still, sighing and sliding his hands and thighs against the soft sheet. A grin curls his lips as he looks back at me, just as I had wished he would.

“Want to do that again? For real this time?”

I don’t technically need to breathe or beat as I’m not human like he is, but I feel it now when my lungs freeze and my heart stutters. For a moment, I worry that I’m influencing him with my wishing, but then I remember that I can’t. I can make him naked with a thought, use that same thought to caress his flesh, but his free will remains.

He’s asking because he wants to.

I take my clothes off instead of willing them away so I can enjoy the look in his eyes, on that face, as he watches me and grows aroused by what he sees. I was going to ask him if he wanted me to change my appearance, be younger, stronger, a different shade, but I don’t think I need to. He likes me like this. He likes me as me.

I climb onto the bed as he peeks over his shoulder, coyly grinning. He doesn’t hesitate to spread his thighs and give me room to settle between them. I lean lightly against him, just enough for him to feel the solidness of my presence, to know it’s a man who’s going to claim him. He shivers and bunches the satiny pillow beneath his flushed cheek, lying flat again, ready. Willing. That’s what makes my hand shake as I smooth it down his side. He wants me.

“You’re gorgeous, Oscar,” I whisper to him as I finally feel the soft heat of his skin against my lips. Kissing the nape of his neck, his shoulder, I can’t resist traveling down his delicate spine, worshipping this amazing creation.

He sighs and wiggles a bit, pressing his backside up into me. I take it for the invitation it is and move farther down his luscious form.

“That feels so good,” he says on a sigh as I knead his bouncy tush and kiss the dip above. “Please. I’ve never felt so good.”

“It only gets better from here, darling.” I spread those cheeks and lick in between, reveling in his gasp just before he tips up to give me better access. To ask me to stay right there.

I lick and kiss, adoring his scent and taste, thrilling to his every moan and undulation of those slim hips. He babbles his pleasure into the pillow he’s clutching, rising higher onto his knees, tipping his hips for me. I can resist no more.

I kiss my way back up his body, helping him adjust his positioning so he’s comfortable and aware of what I’m about to do to him. “Can I?” I whisper behind his ear.

He shivers, looks back at me. “Please.”

I kiss that flushed cheek and ease inside him, his body open and slick because I want it to be.

He gasps as I sink steadily deeper. “I thought… I thought it would hurt.”

I pause, seated fully inside his tight heat. “Did you want it to?” I sincerely hadn’t anticipated that someone so sweet might want his sex rough. I’m not so sure that I do.

“No, I just thought it was supposed to.” He looks back again, his blue eyes wide and blinking.

“Oscar, is this your first time?”

He nods, but smiles shyly. “For everything.”

“Oscar! You’re a virgin?”

“I… I’m sorry.” He looks away, his face bright red, clearly uncomfortable now with the fact I’m still inside him.

“Oh no, it’s not a bad thing, darling.” I pull out, biting my lip to keep from groaning at the way his tight tunnel doesn’t want me to leave. “Turn over for me.”

I back up, and he does, his beautiful face wary. Leaning over him again, I frame his jaw with my hands and smile at him.

“You should be adored your first time, Oscar. Kissed and caressed and…loved.” It’s a risk, that last word, but I need to see what he thinks of it.

He blinks at me. “But I was. I mean, that’s what it felt like when you were, you know, touching me.”

I chuckle. “You have an adorable blush.”

He clicks his tongue at me and rolls his eyes. “Virgins are supposed to blush. Or something.”

“Technically, you’re no longer a virgin.”

He smiles. “How about you finish the job of deflowering me properly, then?”

I spread my legs, spreading his, and press my erection into his. He gasps and arches his neck, baring that delicate column to me. I can’t resist a long lick upward, feeling him swallow, before finding his mouth and kissing him. His body holds mine like it was made for me to lie upon as I use tongue and lips to show this treasure of a man how taken I am with all that is him.

A slight shift of my body and I’m seated again inside him. He groans into my mouth, open in every way for my possession of him. And it’s so very good, being with him like this. He is perfection.

“Oh,” he pants as I rock against him, feeling his stiff shaft and full sac against my stomach. “Oh that’s…”

I smile at how well he enjoys this, how he can’t seem to think to finish a sentence. How he tries anyway. And his long fingers are biting into my back, pulling me to him as his legs flop open. In my mind’s eye, I can see us. Him obscenely spread and pantingly delirious. Me thrusting into him and discovering what it feels like to give everything I have to another’s pleasure.

I sit back a bit, gaining a better angle, and increase the pace and force. He keens, body strung tight as I pound into him. He’s so open for me, so willing, so free. I have only to listen and watch as he spirals ever closer to that edge. I can feel him stepping up, hear his desperation to tip over and fly.

“Come for me, Oscar,” I demand, my voice gone deep and dark. “Let me feel it.”

He pants, vibrates, clutches at my shoulders. Eyes wide open, he sees me as his body shatters and his sweet voice cracks on a scream of pure sensation.

It’s brilliant. Incandescent. Feeling him hold me so tightly, scenting the release of his essence between us, feeling that heat… I’m done for as well. Leaning in hard, burying myself as deeply as I can, I fill him up and groan into his smooth and flushed chest. It feels so good to let go of everything. To give it all to him.

We lie there panting for breath, hearts pounding. I can hear them synchronizing, our hearts. Beating like they’re connected, and maybe they are. I don’t know what it might mean for a mortal soul to own mine, but we’re going to find out because I’m his completely.

Looking into his eyes, I whisper, “I love you, Oscar.”

“You do?” He doesn’t seem alarmed, only surprised.

“I do. I think from the moment I saw you.” I sit up enough to touch his sweaty brow and brush back damp locks of golden hair. “I’ve never felt this way before.”

“Not ever?” He’s touching me too now, gently stroking my arms as they brace me around him.

“Not ever.” I smile at him, so taken with his innocence even after I’ve debauched him.

That beautiful smile again, the one that makes me know I have a soul myself because it warms to have that face shine at me so.

“I love you back and I want to stay with you. Can I?”

“You can,” I manage around the lump in my throat. Shouldn’t that have been harder to come by? I have his love? Just like that? Me?

“Don’t cry,” he whispers, touching my cheek. “Has it been a while since someone said that to you?”

“It’s been never.” I lose the battle against my emotions.

He wipes hot tears from my face, sitting up and making me sit back on my knees. He comforts me with gentle touches and soft words. Over and over he tells me he loves me.

“I had to go to hell to find Heaven.” He grins at me. I can’t help laughing at how corny that is even as it’s true for me as well.

I gather him up in my arms as he wraps around me. “I’m keeping you, Oscar. I should set you free to be reborn again, but I can’t. I suddenly need you too much.”

“Keep me,” he says into my ear. “I want to be kept.” Then he giggles like a boy and shivers. “That’s the weirdest feeling ever.”

“What is?”

He moves my hand from his hip to his backside, and I can feel my seed leaking back out of him. I could will him clean and dry, but I like touching his hot flesh and feeling this slickness. Mine. I’ve claimed him, marked him. I palm him in both hands and slide my fingers through it.

He chuckles darkly, like he knows. “Does your magic extend to increased stamina and such?”

I fall back onto the bed, taking him with me as he laughs. “I need no help there, boy.” I give his tush a smack, then put my hands behind my head.

He turns to look, then reaches back and grasps my shaft. Grinning like an imp, he adjusts and slams me back inside him. Oh, he’s lucky I still influence his openness… We groan together and then he rides me hard, that pale body flushing pink and straining. I will pillows behind me so I can lounge back at a better angle to grip his tush and help lift him faster.

He nods at me, already too far gone for words, those blue eyes fever bright. Then he grins at me and clenches on me hard.

“Oscar!” I can’t help hollering, gripping his hips. He has a little bit of wicked in him, does he?

This time I chuckle and grip his bobbing shaft, loving how his rhythm breaks and he curls into my touch with a deep groan. He falls apart and creams my hand as I stroke him, his clutch on me nearly pulling me right along with him.

When he whines and droops a little, spent yet again, I flip us over and hold his legs up high before pounding into him. He’s smiling with satisfaction, egging me on, gripping me tight when I pull back.

“Fill me up,” he says, scratching into my thighs as he reaches down around himself. “Give it to me again.”

I let go, laughing and moaning in ecstasy and agony. This feels so good with him! My innocent little imp.

I flop onto my side, decadent in my debauchery, and he crawls over to cuddle up to me. We kiss like we’re sampling delicacies, little sips of warm lips and the caress of lazy tongues. Then he chuckles again, this time at the stickiness cooling on us, and I will us fresh as daisies.

He hums his delight and stares into my eyes, his fingers stroking the dark hair at my temple.

“What should I call you?” he whispers.

I shrug. “You know the names for me. Pick one.”

He shakes his head, frowning adorably. “I don’t want to call you something evil. You’re not at all.”

“I am, though, Oscar. It’s my job to be so. My reason for existing.”

“No, it’s your job, like you just said. It’s not you.” He moves closer, filling my vision with his loveliness. “This is you. This man who loves me is you.”

I kiss him for that. He doesn’t understand that the job and the thing doing it are one and the same, but I don’t really want him to understand that. I want to be the man he thinks I am, so I’ll let him have that.

“Then what will you call me?” I hold his warm body closer and then cover us with black silk this time. It makes his skin seem to glow.

He smiles at me, noticing the changes and clinging to me. “Is there a name you were born with? What were you called at the very beginning?”

“Satan.”

He huffs a breath at me, his face screwed up in frustration. I laugh at him and kiss his nose. “Why not call me Stan?”

I’m joking, but he grins. “I like that!”

“You do?”

“Yes, Stan, I do.” He laughs, then kisses my nose back and winks at me. “It’s a good name. And it sounds close, but isn’t the same. That’s what I like.”

I just smile at him. Truthfully, I don’t care what he calls me, if anything at all. “Then I’m your Stan.”

“And I’m your Oscar.”

Love has made us corny again, but sleepy, too. I tuck his blond head onto my arm and hold him close as we listen to each other breathe.

I awake to a scratchy throat being cleared near my head, then a cautious, “Excuse me, sir.”

I sigh and look over my shoulder at the demon who’s dared enter my private sanctuary. Something must be near catastrophic to have him come in here now.

“Appear human,” I demand since he’s very serpentine in his natural form and I don’t want him frightening Oscar should he wake.

“Sorry. Yes, sir.” He adjusts, though he’s still short and a bit twitchy. It will have to do, I suppose.

“You wanted something?”

“Right. We, um, need you outside, sir. There’s a backlog of arrivals just now.”

“Ah,” I breathe, remembering that this isn’t my honeymoon vacation after all.

“We’ve got them more or less assembled and thought we might do a group event to kick things off. That way, you wouldn’t have to be away from your, um, him very long to catch up again.”

See, not every demon is totally evil.

“Very considerate of you. Thank you. I’ll be along shortly.”

“Yes, sir.” He turns to go, and I see that he neglected to remove the tail from his backside. I laugh at the sight, and he turns with a toothy smile.

“It’s good to hear that, sir,” he says. “Your boy there seems to ease you in a way I never knew possible.”

“It’s good to do it, and you may refer to him in princely terms, I think.” I look at the sleeping form curled in my arms. “Yes, I like that.”

“Of course, sir. I’ll let the others know the rules of human forms and royal titles.” He gives me a bow, then leaves.

I look about the room and make a few adjustments, giving Oscar a view through new windows of meadows and mountains. To keep him occupied, I add a table laid out with a feast, and a large television with everything ever filmed available on demand. Feeling like what I am, I highlight the porn and add a video of us that ought to curl his toes should he dare be curious.

“Oscar,” I say into the perfect shell of his ear. “Wake up, my little love.”

“Hmm?” He turns his head and blinks owlishly at me before a smile, my smile, washes over that angelic face.

“I have work to do for a while. A few hours, I think.” I pet his pink cheek and kiss his forehead. “There are things here to occupy you while I’m away.”

He takes a deep breath and says, “Roast beef?”

“And much more. Indulge, but stay here please. Outside, there are—”

“I don’t want to see anything scary. Not without you.”

I smile at that since I’m the scariest thing down here. He smiles back like he knows what I’m thinking and disagrees completely.

“Then stay in here until I come back. Being that you’re mine will mean you are a prince down here, in my domain. Your will be done and all that.”

He rolls his eyes. “So you’re going to spoil me then, Stan?”

That name. Ah, well. “Spoil you rotten.”

He laughs like rotting him will be impossible. I have a feeling he’s right.

“Go to work, then,” he says giving me a little shove. “The sooner you’re done, the sooner you can come back to me.”

I kiss him hard and thoroughly, branding and bruising that so sweet mouth. He moans into me, growing hard, grasping tight. I thrill to know he wants me still.

“When I come back, darling,” I say and draw away to get up, taking note of where the silk sheet tents over him.

He clicks his tongue at me, no doubt thinking me devilish now. “Have a good day at work, dear,” he quips with a saucy grin.

I’m dressed and at the door in a blink, then wave a hand at the television. I want him to see it. “Something to entertain you while I’m gone.”

The screen shows a view from above as I take him that first time. His legs wide open, head back, and a deep groan coming from his open mouth as I thrust hard into him.

He looks at the scene, looks at me, back and forth until he makes me laugh. Then he laughs, too, and says from behind his hand, “I look like such a slut!”

I pause the scene and zoom in and around so he can see my face. “No, you look like you love what we’re doing. Like I do.” And it’s clear, right there in the sweaty planes of my face that I’m enraptured by him.

“Oh,” he breathes. “Look at you.”

“Watch it all, if you wish. Think about what you want to see and it will change to show it to you.”

The screen suddenly displays a close up of my backside as I pound into him. He giggles and blushes as I feel my face heat, too. The boy’s made the devil blush…

“Like that, do you?”

“You have a great ass.”

Shaking my head at him, I turn again toward the door. “Don’t tire yourself out too much because I’ll want more of that and other delights when I get back here.”

“I love you, Stan,” he says, sitting there in black silk and looking so perfectly innocent.

“I love you, too, Oscar.”

I fade through the doorway and am standing in a darkness in which only demons can see. I’m at the top of a valley of black rock and even blacker lava, the whole place smelling of my sulfuric best at meeting the expectations of the wicked. I will myself to become a giant, horned devil with red skin, fangs, and cloven hooves. It feels appropriate for the scene. Around me, my demons follow suit.

“Light the fires and show those teeth,” I call to the demonic hoard around me. “Let’s give them the hell they’re expecting!”

As the chaos of it all unfolds below me and screams echo off the cavernous walls, I see and hear none of it because my mind is still with a beautiful blond man whose blue eyes twinkle and lips so easily speak his love for me. The perfection of agony below me, though, is ruined by the sudden appearance of a brilliant white light slowly descending.

I wrap darkness around him, my anger at the intrusion spiking fires amongst the damned to amplify their painful screaming. I shove him into a cavern and seal the door behind us both.

“Why are you here, Michael?” I question him without changing my appearance or the subterranean rumble of my voice. Neither seems to concern him, though.

He brushes the darkness from himself, glowing with the infuriating purity all angels possess, and frowning at me with annoyance. “You have someone who doesn’t belong down here.”

I roll my eyes at him. “That isn’t even possible.”

“Oscar.”

Yet again the heart I don’t actually need seizes in my chest. The feeling snaps me back into my actual form. “No, you can’t have him.”

“Why won’t you release him? You’ve done so with all the others like him. We expected him days ago.” Now he frowns at me with curiosity.

That he doesn’t know, that he came down here without knowing, gives me pause. If Oscar belongs above, his every thought should be known up there before he even thinks it. That’s just how it works.

I consider keeping what Oscar is to me to myself, but it would serve no purpose. Michael might not know my mind, but he can invade my space and get to Oscar easily.

“I love Oscar and he loves me.”

He jerks back as though I’ve struck him, his face expressing his thorough shock. “What?”

I smile, gleeful to traumatize an angel. “We love each other. I won’t release him because he doesn’t want to be released.”

“He said this?”

“You need proof? Fine.”

I cloak him in black, like throwing charcoal dust on a dove. He coughs and whines as he follows me to my sanctuary. He knows what giving a damned soul a glimpse of salvation would do, though, so leaves himself disguised for now. Can’t have someone feeling hope down here, you know. Not until they’ve earned it.

We pass through the wall, Michael’s attention snagged by the sight of my making love to Oscar on the television as I focus entirely on Oscar himself.

“Finally!” Oscar stumbles from the bed, gloriously nude and aroused. He laughs at me, clutching my shoulders, seeming ignorant of our guest now behind him.

“I can’t stop,” he says, smiling so brightly. “I’ve jerked off at least twelve times since you left, watching us over and over.” He gives me a shake. “You devil! Take me back to bed immediately.”

I chuckle at him, smoothing my hands down his sweaty back. “I would, my love, but we’re not currently alone.” I nod behind him where Michael stands gawking.

Oscar turns and gasps, no doubt amazed by the shining figure of an archangel complete with gilded wings. But something’s wrong. Michael’s face blanches and his mouth drops open.

“No,” Oscar shouts, turning fully toward Michael. “Don’t! Please don’t!”

“Jesus.” Michael suddenly shoots through the ceiling like a ghost.

Blasphemy from an archangel?

“No!” Oscar screams and reaches up as though to pull Michael back down. He whirls to face me. “Bring him back!” He looks terrified.

“Oscar, what’s going on?” I reach for him, and he runs back into my arms.

“Please,” he says on a sob, “bring him back. Quickly!”

“I can’t. I have no power over angels. Please, sweetheart, tell me what’s wrong.” He’s trembling.

“He’ll tell Him where I am.” He sobs like he did on the way down three days ago, clinging to the lapels of my suit much as he did then. “Stan, he’ll tell!”

“Stop this,” I growl, shaking him. “Tell me everything, Oscar. Now.”

He struggles to contain himself, gazing up at me with tear-filled blue eyes. “I’m so sorry, Stan. I’ve deceived you. From the very beginning. I swear I did it all out of love.”

“What? What have you done?” I grip his arms, actual fear vibrating inside me because it feels like he’s slipping away from me.

“I knew I was yours all along.” He smiles, so sad now, and touches my face tenderly. “Ever since I went down the first time. I knew where my heart belonged, but I couldn’t come down here because I’m not an angel or a demon or even a human, really.”

“What are you, Oscar?” I hold him tight, crushing him to me, that feeling of losing him increasing.

“I planned it all,” he says, ignoring my question. “I took the place of the soul meant to inhabit this body because I knew he’d be sent down here as part of that contract. That you’d fetch him yourself. It was the only way, Stan. I had to be damned to be with you and that was the only way.”

“Oscar,” I beg, “please.”

His tears fall again, a silent cascade of misery.

“I’m His son.”

That wasn’t blasphemy as Michael left. He named the man in front of him.

I shake my head and pull Oscar against me. He’s Oscar, my Oscar, not the son of God. It’s not possible. He’s just a twenty-one-year-old who’s father sold him to me for the gift of perpetual success in business. He’s my love. My only.

“He can’t have you. You’re staying here.”

“I love you, Stan. I love you.” He holds tight to me, but sounds like he’s leaving.

“You’re mine!” The whole of hell trembles with my scream, but I have no defenses to protect us, to hold him here. Contracts mean nothing to Him. He can reverse it and whisk Oscar away from me. “No!”

“Please, Stan,” he says, already fading from my sight. “Tell me you love me. Let me hear it again.”

I can’t grasp him, my fingers go right through him. “I love you. Oscar, how I love you!”

He smiles at me, that blinding smile that reaches in and caresses the soul I didn’t know I had. It’s the last thing I can see as he disappears entirely.

Pain like I’ve never known screams through me, out of me, as I drop to my knees. I burn, so this place burns with me. I shake and it shakes apart. My sanctuary vanishes, leaving me kneeling on the mountaintop of blackness and fire that is my world. I rage and pull it down. All of it. I wipe it away until it’s gone. Until everything here is nowhere.

The emptiness within and without leaves me broken. I have nothing left, so I lie still and pray for the first time in my entire existence.

“Please, my God, my Maker, give him back to me. I didn’t know I could love. I didn’t know I could feel Your light until I saw him, held him. He’s… He’s my everything. If I can’t have him back, I have no reason to be. No reason.”

I lay on the broken bits of darkness and will myself to fade into the nothingness. To cease. My tenure is over here. Let Him design a replacement.

I quit.

Everything slams back into place with a resounding concussion of sound. All of it returns, down to the very last pillow on the bed, ripping a sob from me.

“I can’t,” I wail, covering my eyes. “Not without my Oscar. I just can’t!”

How can He do this to me? Am I not one of His own? He’s supposed to love all His creations, but this feels like hate. If He’s going to hate me, then I’m going to—

“Shh,” a quiet voice says near my ear. “Don’t think that.”

I gasp and sit up, turn. “Oscar!”

I grab him to me, digging fingers into his flesh as I bury my face in his neck. Soft, warm skin and the scent of my love surrounds me. “Oh, Oscar,” I groan, shaking.

“You surprised Him,” he says into my hair. “Can you believe that? You actually surprised Him by getting rid of hell.” He pulls back, making me stop crushing him. “You totally destroyed the balance for a few minutes there, Stan.”

“I would unmake existence to keep you.”

He shakes his blond head, those eyes twinkling. “Not necessary. I’m yours, all yours, if you’ll promise not to do that ever again.”

A strangled laugh rips out of me. “I promise.”

He grins like my imp. “Good. Now get naked and take me to bed already.”

I stand, hauling him up with me, and hold tight to him before willing my clothes away and dropping to the bed with him.

“My Oscar,” I whisper, realizing I’ll call him this name like he calls me Stan. The both of us avoiding the truth in our real names.

“Forever more,” he whispers, shining his smile up at me as I pin him beneath me.

“How did you know that we were meant to be?”

“Same as I knew who I was and why I went down last time. I just knew.” He touches my face with his fingertips, tracing brow and lash as if in wonder.

“Knew you were the devil’s lover, hmm?”

He bites his bottom lip and grins. “And talk about temptation…”

I laugh, moving to my side and tucking him along my body. Our rigid shafts rub enticingly, but I hold him still, not done with questions just yet.

“If you knew, if you welcomed coming down here, why were you so upset?”

He nods and says, “It was different this time, being in a human body again. I wasn’t supposed to be in there—that wasn’t my life to live—so I got a little lost inside it all. I lived how he was supposed to and couldn’t remember my scheming until you held me on the way down.”

“That’s when you remembered? When I picked you up?”

He nods again and kisses me for a moment. “Then I cried in relief and…just pure joy.”

I kiss him, longer and more deeply. I memorize his sweet mouth, slick tongue, every perfect tooth. He nips at me, impatient imp, and I roll him to his back. I pin his hands above his head and settle on top of him as I spread his legs with mine.

“Mmm,” he purrs, giving himself up to me. “Please, Stan, love me again. Make me yours again.”

I’m inside him in an instant, sinking deep as he groans, all tight and slick around me. “You’re always mine,” I tell him and thrust hard like he loves, hearing the sweaty slap of our skin. “If I wish it, I can do this to you for centuries.”

He moans, head tipped back and fingers now biting into my arms as his hips strain to meet my every plunge. He’s lost in his pleasure, and I revel in the fact that I can give this to him. That he’s here with me again, promised to me for eternity, mine to love like this and every other way one can love another. He will want for nothing, be the prince I said he was, and know only the delights I can create for him.

“I love you,” I say to him as he flies apart beneath me. “Oh, Oscar!”

“Yes! Stan,” he cries, clinging to me as his body convulses around mine. He’s panting, flushed and dazed. So beautiful.

We both groan as I pull free of him.

“Stan?”

I only grin and turn him to his side, curling his legs up to his chest, and spooning behind him. We moan as I push back inside, then he moans again, no doubt seeing us in the mirrors I’ve provided.

“Look at us. We’re beautiful.”

I catch his reflected eyes and agree. “Yes, darling. You make us beautiful.”

He smiles before pleasure washes over his face. I can see him try to keep his eyes open, to keep looking at us in the mirror now above us as he turns slightly at the waist.

My own pleasure smolders inside me as his body shudders with ecstasy again. I can’t resist this time.

I groan and grip him tight as I fill him up with heat and pant into his shoulder. “So good. Oh, love, it’s so good.”

He chuckles darkly. “I thought you said centuries.”

I laugh weakly. “Little imp. How can I resist you?”

“You can’t.” He reaches up to hold my head still as his lips find mine for a tender kiss. “Besides, you’ll have centuries to make love with me. I’m sure that’s what you meant.”

“Of course.” I curl around him, staying sheathed inside him even as I let him relax his legs again.

“Love you, Stan,” he whispers, sounding sleepy.

“Love you, Oscar. Go to sleep. I’ll be here when you wake.”

He hums, a grin tugging on his lips as his body tightens on my shaft like a reminder.

“Yes,” I chuckle, “there, too.”

I can feel him ease into peace and wrap him in my arms to keep him close and safe. For the second and, hopefully, last time in my existence, I offer up a prayer:

“Thank you.”

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