“What is it you truly desire,” the tall, dark-haired man asked of the smartly-dressed young man who stood before him, a mangled posey clutched in one adolescent fist.
“I’m going to get Trixie to give me a blow job after the dance,” was the dazed reply. The boy’s eyes suddenly regained their focus and his expression went from bespelled to shocked and terrified. The stare of the older man went from intense to downright enraged. The human teenager quailed under the weight of the Devil’s disdain.
“I believe you are going to leave here right now,” the man told the younger man, grabbing him by his shoulder and shoving him out the door. Unfortunately for the young man, the door wasn’t fully open when he was ejected from the foyer and he received a bruising blow to his left shoulder on the edge of the enormous wooden carved door before falling down the front steps and onto the hard red brick walkway. “Don’t you ever darken this doorstep again, and you stay well away from Beatrice.”
The boy stammered apologies and, picking himself up from the ground, raced for sidewalk.
“I’ll be watching you,” Lucifer yelled out from the doorway before firmly closing the door and locking it behind him. “Well, Maze will be, so perhaps you should worry more about her.”
Beatrice, also known as Trixie, stood at the foot of the stairs, her expression caught somewhere between exasperation and amusement. She snorted at her stepfather and he returned her glare with a raised eyebrow. Unbidden, the corner of the teenager’s mouth quirked upward.
He was the only person allowed to call her Beatrice. Not even her own mother, father, and grandmother were permitted to use her given name. It was a special thing between the man who loved her mother so very much and herself.
“Clearly he is not the young man for you, young lady,” the Devil told his stepdaughter, his voice firm. “I’m sure you can do better.”
“You do that with every boy who asks me out,” she protested. “I’m never going to be able to go on a date at this rate!”
“Beatrice, I am sure there is some young man out there who isn’t thinking with the wrong head,” he assured her. “And I have all the time in the universe to find that young man for you. If a partner is what you desire.”
“You may have that kind of time, but I’m mortal. I’d like to find someone before I’m an old woman! Well, at least you didn’t flash your eyes at this one, anyway. It took a long time for Burton to stop running.”
Lucifer’s Devil face materialized as he looked at his stepdaughter.
“What’s wrong with my eyes?”
Trixie laughed and gave the startled Devil a warm, gentle kiss on one scarred red cheek.
“Nothing. Nothing at all,” she told him. “Don’t ever change. I love you!”
She slipped out the front door and gave Lucifer a fond smile.
“I’m headed to the dance,” she told him, producing a familiar-looking hooked blade from somewhere on her person, giving it due consideration before making it disappear once more. “Don’t worry, I’ll stay away from Ronnie. I promise. I’ll be back by eleven tonight!”
Lucifer, touched his kissed cheek with one hand, mouth open in surprise, staring after the small human he privately adored as she closed the door.
“Come to think on it, I believe she will take excellent care of herself.”
Trixie smiled as she remembered that night, twenty years earlier.
Ronnie had never actually made it to the dance, and when he returned to school the following Monday morning, his arm was in a sling. His official story was that he had fallen down some steps and wrenched it, but Trixie knew better.
She found it amusing that Ronnie never even so much as looked her in the eye again, and that was fine with her. Last she had heard, he moved to the mountains of Colorado and became some sort of hermit. At least, that’s what his sister told her when he finally moved away.
Lucifer and her mother were still deliriously happy together, and lived only a few miles from where Trixie lived now. Auntie Maze was bounty hunting again, but was never more than a phone call away in the event that she was needed, and for that, Trixie was grateful. Teenagers were a pain in the ass at times, and sometimes a demonic bounty hunter was the best person to find out what they were up to.
Convinced that her mother was amused at the trials and tribulations her own daughter, Mazikeen, put her through, Trixie knew better than to share much about her parenting experiences, although she knew full well there was nothing Chloe did not know about whatever her granddaughter was up to.
So she was not surprised when her stepfather showed up just after dinner on some pretended errand. Chloe had given him something to bring along with him, so he wouldn’t actually violate his rules against lying, but Trixie knew what was up.
“Hey!” she said as she opened the door. “What brings you by?”
“Your mother made too many cookies and asked me to bring them by,” he told her, proffering a towel-covered platter. Taking the platter and lifting the cover, Trixie saw a plateful of delicious chocolate cookies.
Yes, her mother knew her all too well.
“Since you’re here, why don’t you come in,” she told her stepfather. “I think I still have some of that bourbon you like so much in the liquor locker.”
A smile blossomed on Lucifer’s ageless face and he moved gracefully from the threshold to the small built-in bar in one corner of the parlor. Taking down one glass, he glanced at Trixie. At a nod and a smile from her, he took down a second glass and poured them both bourbon.
“I hear your Mazikeen is going on her first date tonight,” Lucifer said after a short period of small talk. “Have you met the young man yet?”
“A couple times, but I don’t know much about him,” Trixie allowed. “The plan I’ve heard is that he’s taking her to the coffee shop for dinner and then to the latest superhero movie that came out last Friday.”
“Haven’t they burned the bridges on all those superhero things? I thought humans were over all of that silliness.”
“Oh, come on,” she protested with a smile. “I know perfectly well that you watch noirs when Mom isn’t home. Aren’t those silliness?”
“That’s different! It’s a lost art form!”
“Right. Of course it is.”
“Anyhow, Tommy is expected in about twenty minutes or so,” Trixie told the Devil. “Did you want to hang around for a little bit and maybe meet him?”
Lucifer gave his stepdaughter a long look. Her pretended innocence didn’t fool him a bit, but he decided to play along.
“I suppose I could stay for a little while longer,” he replied. “I’ll probably leave right after I meet this Tommy, was it?”
“I’ve got a cheesecake just waiting to be devoured. How about I grab us a couple pieces and we can wait on him.”
The young man arrived exactly when he had told Mazikeen he would, not a moment later. He was quiet and polite, sharing his home address and phone number, unbidden, with Trixie. She was doubly surprised when he handed her a copy of his planned itinerary.
Suspicious of the solicitude, Lucifer stepped in front of the boy, smiling his devilish smile, and began his celestial interrogation.
“Tell me, Tom—Tommy, what is it you desire?”
“I want Mazikeen to marry me, after she finishes college. If she wants to get married, I mean.” Tommy’s facial expression was pure and guileless as he responded to the Devil’s ability to draw out the deepest desires and secrets contained in the human heart.
Lucifer’s normally certain demeanor was shaken as he heard the young man’s certain language. Hearing what he’d said, Tommy blushed a rosy red. From the same stairs where her mother had stood twenty years earlier, Mazikeen looked both pleased and embarrassed.
“You want to marry me?” Mazikeen blurted.
“Aren’t you both a bit young to be considering something like that?” Lucifer said at the same time.
“You asked what I desired, sir. Desires don’t have an age, I think.”
Lucifer had no answer for that.
“So, does he pass muster?” Trixie wanted to know, putting a hand on Lucifer’s shoulder.
“I suppose he does,” was the Devil’s reply.
Both mother and grandfather watched as the young woman they both loved left the house. Tommy made points opening the door for the young woman, murmuring pleasantries and thanks to the adults in the house, and then closing the door as they left for their evening together.
“Now that was a surprise.”
“I love you, Dad,” Trixie told Lucifer, wrapping her arms around him and bestowing one of her treasured kisses on that same cheek from so many years ago. “Thanks for being you.”
“I love you, too, child. Care to join me in another glass of bourbon? It’s going to be a few hours before the children come home again and maybe you’d like some company.”