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Faking It

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The Devil sat in one of the circular booths at Lux, fingers tapping impatiently on the lacquered wood tabletop. He glanced at the clock above the bar; he was bored.

 

When had granting favors become so tedious?

 

There used to be novelty in his business—looking deep into the souls of humans to see what they truly desired. Their desires used to surprise him—now, not so much.

 

Greedy little buggers, the lot of them.

 

“How many more, Maze?” Lucifer grumbled irritably from his makeshift throne as his right-hand demon reentered the club space.

 

A blonde woman trailed behind her, her eyes sweeping over the empty club. Even though she held herself with confidence, Lucifer could sense the nervousness rolling off her in waves. She avoided meeting his gaze under the guise of examining his club, but he felt like there was more to it than that.

 

She was pretty, and she was familiar to him somehow. He felt an immediate draw to her and that made her intriguing, different already from the others.

 

“Just one,” Maze answered, ushering the woman forward. Her split eyebrow lifted at the same time her mouth quirked up into a crooked smirk. “And I think you’re gonna like this one.”

 

Lucifer hummed quietly; his demon knew him well.

 

Mazikeen excused herself, leaving him alone with the woman.

 

“Come closer, darling. I don’t bite,” he said with the lilting tone he reserved for when he channeled his charm. It made humans feel at ease with him; made them more likely to spill their deepest desires. He chuckled, a charismatic little rumble, and it reverberated through his chest. “Unless, of course, you ask nicely.”

 

The woman stepped closer until she was standing directly in front of his booth.

 

She sized him up, her aqua blue eyes roaming over his perfectly chiseled face, the expertly groomed stubble of his beard, the eyeliner that highlighted his impossibly dark eyes, down to the top of his designer suit, not a single wrinkle in the fabric, nothing lopsided or out of place. The table blocked the rest of his body, but she’d guess his trousers were perfectly pressed, and his shoes pristinely polished.

 

She had heard all about him, and he lived up to the rumors. A chill ran the length of her spine; was she really about to sell her soul to the Devil?

 

“What’s your name?” he asked, squinting at her. He tried to effuse an air of disinterest as he sipped from his whiskey; he was curious, though. He recognized her face, but he couldn’t place it. Had they slept together?

 

“Chloe. Chloe Decker,” she replied, her voice strong and confident. If he hadn’t been able to sense her nervousness, she would have had him fooled.

 

“Ah-ha!” Lucifer exclaimed, delighted as the name clicked everything into place. His eyes dipped down. No wonder he was unable to place her face; he was much more familiar with her chest. He smirked as she crossed her arms over herself, urging his eyes back up to meet hers. She didn’t look particularly amused by his realization nor the direction of his gaze. “Of Hot Tub High School fame! I’m a huge fan of your…” his eyes darted back down to her chest, “work.”

 

Humming, she rolled her eyes and shifted awkwardly under his appreciative gaze. He supposed she got that a lot, that scene being the pivotal moment in many a teenager’s sexual awakening.

 

“Well,” he said, no longer bored. “What is it you desire? Drugs? I know a very discrete dealer—lots of famous clientele.” He waited, and when she didn’t react, he continued pensively, “No, that’s not it. You'd like me to pull some strings with a hot-shot director? Get you the lead role in the next big blockbuster to pull you out of an acting slump?”

 

Chloe shook her head, opening her mouth to contradict him, to tell him she was actually doing quite well for herself career-wise, but he held up his finger and shushed her.

 

He could tell that the action angered her by the way her eyebrows knit together over her nose, but her irritation only served to amuse him further.

 

“Sex, then? You're looking to have the best night of your life?” And he’d love to see her reenact her famous scene from Hot Tub High School for him; have her writhing underneath him as he lavished those perfect nipples with attention from his mouth and fingers. He wanted to make her come from that alone.

 

“No,” she said firmly, bringing him out of his daydream.

 

“No?” he repeated, confused.

 

“I don’t want to have sex with you,” she clarified. “I want-”

 

“You don’t?” he interrupted, unable to hide his surprise. Humans never rejected his offers of sex. He locked gazes with her, keeping her in his hold as he radiated his charm in her direction. “Tell me, then. What is it you desire?”

 

Chloe scoffed, frustrated. “Well, I would tell you if you'd stop interrupting me.”

 

Lucifer could tell she was annoyed, but he couldn’t make himself care. How had she resisted his charm?

 

He was speechless, and so she continued, “But before I tell you what I want, I want to know the terms of the deal.”

 

He squinted at her, puzzling, still a bit flabbergasted. What are you, he thought but didn’t say. The fact that she seemed to be impervious to his charm only made him all the more curious about her. After the monotony of the past few weeks, finally something different had arrived on his doorstep.

 

She didn’t seem to notice his momentary bewilderment as she awaited his reply.

 

“Well, it’s quite simple, really,” he said, and his façade was back in place. “Tit-for-tat, so to speak. I do you a favor and then you do me a favor in return.”

 

Narrowing her eyes at him, she asked suspiciously, “And what kind of favor do you want in return?”

 

The lights of the club made his dark eyes sparkle. His tongue darted out to lick at his lower lip before he bit into it softly, suggestively. “Nothing untoward I assure you, Ms. Decker. Unless, of course, you desire it.”

 

A shiver ran up her spine at his tone of voice. The man was sex personified, and try as she might, she wasn’t unaffected. However, she refused to let him to know that.

 

“I don’t,” she said matter-of-fact, no hesitation.

 

He couldn’t help it, her quick rejection stung a little. Is this how it feels to be normal, he wondered. 

 

“Very well,” he said. “I’m not in the business of impeding upon free will—I am all about desire, after all. My favor will not require you to do anything that you do not wish to do. You have my word.”

 

“Can you be more specific?” she pressed. 

 

Sighing, he said, “I don’t know what I’ll need from you, darling. I may not cash in on this favor for years to come. Perhaps I’ll need you to introduce a hopeful young actress to a casting director. Maybe I’ll need you to get an autograph from your mother for a fan. I may ask you to star in a budding director’s debut film. I won’t know until the opportunity presents itself.”

 

As she considered his words, he tilted his head mischievously, and his voice dropped an octave as he said, “Or maybe I’ll just take your soul as repayment.”

 

Chloe rolled her eyes at him, but his dark gaze on her made her gulp audibly. He really played up the Devil persona. She’d been told he would, but it was still a little disconcerting.

 

She inhaled deeply through her nose. “Okay,” she finally said. “Those all sound like they'd be reasonable requests.”

 

She was pleasantly surprised that he would use his return favor to fulfill someone else's desire—that he didn’t seem to want to use her for his own gain.

 

Shifting in his spot on the velvet-backed booth, Lucifer leaned across the table. His voice was smooth as he asked again, “So tell me, Ms. Decker...what do you desire?”

 

She swallowed, feeling nervous again. “I want you,” she began, meeting his eyes with false confidence, “to pretend to be my boyfriend.”

 

His eyebrows lifted his forehead, her request unexpected. Narrowing his eyes, he asked, “Why?”

 

“I want to make my ex jealous. I want him back, and I think that if he saw me with you, he’d realize he wants me back, too.”

 

“Why me?” he questioned.

 

Pursing her lips, Chloe admitted, “Well, you’re attractive.” He preened at the compliment, immediately sitting up a little straighter in his seat as a smile stretched across his face (perhaps the most genuine smile she’d seen from him, yet). She plowed on, not wanting to give him more time to bask in the compliment or to stroke his ego further, “And Jed doesn’t know you and you’re in the business of handing out favors.”

 

Jealousy was a powerful emotion; Lucifer knew that from his extensive observations of humankind, even though he himself had never experienced such a thing. But if this ex, this Jed, was truly over Chloe, he didn’t know if seeing her with someone else would have the effect she desired.

 

“And if your plan doesn’t work?” he posed, and she could hear the skepticism in his voice.

 

“I know it’s not foolproof—I’m not delusional,” she said, “but I have to try. As long as you hold up your end of the deal, even if it doesn’t work, I’ll still be in your debt. I’ll still return the favor.”

 

Lucifer tapped his fingers on the table as he considered her request. “How long would we be pretending to be together?”

 

She shrugged. “Maybe a month? Hopefully less if it works well.”

 

Nodding, he folded his fingers together in front of him. “Any other terms?”

 

“Well, we’d have to sell it. There’ll be paparazzi following us, so we’ll have to hold hands and maybe kiss occasionally.”

 

He smirked, and his sparkling eyes darted down to her plump lips. “That won’t be a problem.”

 

Blushing, she continued, “And you can’t have sex with anyone while we’re pretending to be together.”

 

“Why not?” he asked, clearly taken aback by the stipulation.

 

She let her head fall to one side, not able to contain the small chuckle that fell from her lips. “Your reputation precedes you, Mr. Morningstar. If we’re going to sell this, we have to look monogamous, committed.”

 

“I can be discrete,” he insisted.

 

But she shook her head. “Maybe so, but can you guarantee the people you’re with will be? Or that the paparazzi won’t see anyone leaving your place at all hours of the night or in the morning? It won’t make Jed jealous if he thinks you aren’t serious about me, and I don’t want this to turn into some media fiasco where everyone has a pity party for me because my ex just left me for someone else and my new boyfriend is already cheating on me. That’s the exact opposite of what I want.”

 

He considered her argument knowing that she made a valid point. “So you expect me to remain celibate for an entire month?”

 

Scoffing, she asked incredulously, “Would that really be so hard?”

 

His grin turned salacious, “Darling, I assure you—it’s always hard.” She rolled her eyes at his innuendo. He continued, more businesslike, “But, it would be a challenge, yes. The longest I think I’ve gone without sex since I’ve been on earth is three days, and that was because Maze left me tied to the bed, so it was still sexually thrilling in an anticipatory sort of way.”

 

She gave him a strange look, like she couldn’t make sense of his words, or like she didn’t want to. Frowning, she said, “So is that a deal breaker, then?”

 

“I didn’t say that,” he was quick to reply. “You intrigue me, Ms. Decker. You’re…different.”

 

She waited as he considered her proposal.

 

“I can still wank?” he asked.

 

“Gross,” she said with a huffy laugh. “But, yeah, that’s fine.”

 

“Alright,” he said, standing up from the booth and walking toward her. She grasped his outstretched hand. “You’ve got yourself a deal with the Devil.”

 

Chloe Decker shook hands with the King of Hell.