Part of Apex of Creation
Sorry this one took so long.
Emily was on me, her arms wrapped around me, her lips on mine. But then something happened. She wasn’t just on me, she was also in me. She surrounded me, flowing into my mouth, my nose, my ears. It was both terrifying and amazing at the same time. This was what sex was like, right? I didn’t want it to st-
Beep beep beep
With a groan, I dragged myself back to the world of the living and reached for Emily’s alarm. As I shut it off, I had a flashback of last night. I peeked under the covers, and sure enough, Emily was in fact nearly nude.
Aaaand now I had the worst morning wood of my life. Great.
I nudged Emily awake. “Time to get up.”
She opened her eyes, looked around, glanced down at herself, then grabbed all the covers and disappeared into a blanket burrito.
Which left me with none at all. I jumped up and found a pair of Emily’s pajama pants that had gone unused last night. Thankfully, we were about the same size and the pattern was gender-neutral. “You getting up, Emily?”
“Give me a minute.”
I scratched the bit of Emily’s scalp that was poking out from the blankets. She emerged from the cocoon, slowly revealing herself and sitting up in bed. It was different this time. Last night, Emily had jumped right straight into the deep end. Or had tried to, at least. Now, she was more cautious, more deliberate and calculating, in her actions.
Her cheeks slowly turned red, and she blinked. “Did I really take off all my clothes last night?”
“So that wasn’t a dream then?”
“Right… um… I’d like to get dressed…?” Emily let the question hang in the air for an uncomfortable moment, while my sleepy and horny brain processed what she was saying.
“You want me to leave?” I asked, feeling stupid and awkward.
“Just… turn around?”
I complied, and a minute later Emily gave me the all-clear. She was wearing tight jeans and a loose t-shirt, and she was wrestling with a Gryffindor sweater. After her head popped out, she gave me the same courtesy, and I threw on my clothes from yesterday.
“So, coffee and class?” she asked, working her hair into something that appeared reasonably civilized.
“Sounds good to me.”
After gathering our things from our respective rooms, Emily and I descended to the ground floor, and walked, hand in hand, to the cafeteria. We got some yellow mush labeled “cheese omelette” and some muddy brown water that was supposedly coffee, but tasted far too much like dirt.
As we ate, we went over the plan for the day, double checked that we had our homework ready, then scrolled through the latest memes on reddit until it was time to brave the cold to get to class.
Organic chemistry was hard to focus on, probably because Emily was sitting next to me. Despite the clothing and jackets, I couldn’t help but think: I knew what was underneath.
Calculus was easier to concentrate in. Emily and I were in different sections, but they were in the same time slot and followed the same material. We met up after that class for lunch, but parted ways again for European History.
One insufferable lecture later, we settled into the coffee shop for an afternoon of homework and studying.
“You make it hard to focus, you know.” I said, after three unsuccessful attempts at punching basic arithmetic into my TI-89.
“Oh?” Emily glanced up with a smile and took a drink of her coffee. “Why is that?”
“Well…” I lowered my voice as an enormous shit-eating grin spread across my face. “I’ve seen what you’re hiding under there.” I gestured towards her.
“James!” Emily’s eyes went wide with realization and she almost slammed her coffee down on the table. “Stop that! We’re in public!”
“Just had to get that out, that’s all.” I said, still smiling. The adrenaline rush of the memories brought a bit of confidence. “I wasn’t kidding when I said you’re beautiful.”
Emily settled back down into her chair, never taking her eyes off me. “You’re crazy.”
“About you.” It slipped out, almost without actually thinking about it. I saw Emily blush, and at the same time I felt my own face turning red.
“Well you’re very sweet, James Exosia.”
“You too.” For a long, slightly awkward moment, we sat there, making eye contact, and smiling at each other.
“So… um… these double integrals aren’t going to solve themselves.”
Emily laughed out her nose, and we got back to work. Four hours later, we’d finished the calculus and the organic chemistry, and hacked together a BASIC script for another class.
We headed back to the dorm tower, having missed dinner entirely. “You know” I asked, as I cast my mind back to the non-romantic events of the previous day. “We should probably check on Lucifer.”
“He can burn in Hell for all I care.” Emily replied with a sarcastic grin.
“Pretty sure he will, after Armageddon and all that. Or maybe freeze, if God likes Dante’s Inferno.”
“Fair point.” Emily said, as we approached the door to the basement marked Authorized Personnel Only
I glanced around to make sure nobody was watching. With a bit of focus, I stopped the flow of time for everyone but Emily and I. We darted down the stairs to the dorm basement, and entered the mechanical room. In the center of the room stood the two enormous boilers, connected to an extensive array of pipes and tubes and ducts, heating the dorm tower above.
“Lucifer!” I called.
He shimmered out of one boiler, tripped on a chemical feed line of all things, tried to steady himself against an electrical panel box, accidentally phased through the cover and shocked himself, before finally grabbing onto a metal support column.
Emily glared at him. If looks could kill, she’d be doing time for first degree murder.
“You doing alright?” I asked.
“Indeed. I am not yet back to full strength, but I’m stronger than I was yesterday. I am indebted to you, James.”
“Does that mean I get to sell my soul to the devil for a favor?” I asked sarcastically.
Lucifer smirked, the corner of his lip turning up. “Amusing. But, if you really wanted to…”
“Fair enough. Though, I may have to copy the boiler design. Quite ingenious, if I may say so myself, and it may revolutionize torture efficiency.”
Lucifer turned to face Emily, who was still shooting daggers with her eyes. “If it helps, it would make eternity that much more painful for your father.”
“It better.” Emily answered coldly. “You know my feelings on that.” Then she added under her breath “Asshole.”
“I do.” Lucifer responded. “Though, you must realize Emily, I am Lucifer. Not sure what else you would have expected.”
“James and I are here,” Emily shot back “in order to make sure that my father pays for what he did to me. I don’t give a shit about who runs Hell or any of that, and I’m pretty sure James doesn’t either. If you can’t at least treat us as allies, then we won’t be your allies, understand?”
Lucifer seemed to deflate. “Understood.”
I changed the topic. “You’ll let us know when you’re back to full strength?” I asked.
“Then we need to get going, and you need to keep cooking.” I put my arm around Emily. “See you later.”
We left the basement in silence. It wasn’t until we got back to my dorm, and discovered that Kevin was mercifully gone, that Emily spoke. “I am so done for the day.”
“Me too.” I kicked off my shoes, moved a stack of books and binders off my bed, and launched Netflix on my laptop.
Three hours of bad reality shows later, Emily and I had drifted off.
I watched Belial as he pushed a cart up the throne room towards me. He bowed, and I stood up. “These are the newer ones?” I asked, as I descended the platform to meet him.
“Freshly made from high grade soulsteel.”
The cart was loaded with swords. I picked one up at random and ran a claw along the length of the blade. It crackled with electricity, but didn’t scratch. “And already enchanted too?” I flipped the sword over, reading the inscription along the other side. “What the fuck is ‘tensile strength’?”
“A material property that refers to the metal’s ability to withstand tensile forces, and avoid stret-” He noticed my glare, stopped, and then gulped his way through the next few words. “-stretchin-. Um, It keeps the sword from bending or breaking.”
“Terriffic.” I gave the sword a few practice slashes, getting a feel for the balance and weight of the weapon. “And how much strength does it draw?” I asked.
“Only as much as needed.” Belial replied, picking up another sword and pointing out the “as needed” in the engraved spell. “In fact, I’m fueling the enchantment myself right now.”
“Oh?” That gave me an idea to test. “What if…” I wrapped one hand around the hilt of the sword, and the other around the end of the blade. “...an enemy gets a hold of one of our swords?” I put the sword over my knee, and pushed.
The blade sparked and glowed as the enchantment resisted my raw strength. I pushed harder, leaving nothing back. From the corner of my eye, I saw Belial grab onto the cart to steady himself, as the sword’s magic pulled at his power. A moment later, he fainted and fell. The enchantment failed as its power source was cut off, and the sword snapped cleanly in two.
I waited a few minutes for Belial to reawaken and reorient himself. “Do you know what your mistake was?” I demanded. “The spell was locked to you. The enchantment, while strong, and effective, is also a weak point. Rewrite it and destroy this batch.”
“Yes, my liege.” he slurred. Then, clutching at the cart, he slowly wheeled it away.
We were close. So close. It wouldn’t be long before Lucifer’s original vision for Hell would be realized, but with myself at the top instead.
You have 1 new voicemail
Hi Emily, this is Special Agent Ramsey. Just wanted to let you know that we’ve finalized the charges against your father, and he will be formally indicted next Thursday. I’ll send you the details, in case you want to attend.
I breathed a sigh of relief. It had been a long time coming, something that I’d desperately wanted for years, yet been unable to actually do. Until James had stumbled into my life, and had intervened for me.
Some days, I couldn’t believe my luck, and I thought I’d wake up to find that it had all just been a dream. Other days, I was ecstatic that I’d found someone who not only liked me, but was also respectful of my issues, and had busted my father as well.
Of course, I’d tossed all that respect to the side when I’d tackled James practically naked. I still wasn’t quite sure why exactly I’d done that. It had definitely seemed right at the time - I had wanted him, even if my head hadn’t quite caught up to my heart on that front.
Because, fuck me. Or rather, don’t, because adrenaline spike and panic attack.
As embarrassing it was in retrospect, I had actually - somehow - been comfortable in my underwear in front of James. It had started as a desire to do something for James, some way to show how much I appreciated what he’d done for me. That much was obvious in hindsight. The touching and kissing had been a bit much, but I had enjoyed it, right up until the panic attack.
I had a long way to go, but I was making progress. Someday, hopefully someday soon, I would finally be free of my past.
I set the phone down, and laid back down, turning away from the early morning sunlight. I wrapped an arm around James, and held him close.
This chapter was written with the support of my Hybrid-tier patron:
- Olli Erinko