Not For Abs Alone
He had not meant to stare at Lucifer Morningstar, although that man was admittedly good-looking in that purple suit, could play the piano like some god, and had such a soothing voice that it was easy to forget why he had come to Lux in the first place. That he was here on business, that the piano bar with his chique interior design was perfect to sell drugs. That the toilets were clean enough to shoot up without having to worry about all kinds of infections and diseases. And he really should have left after finding out that one of his regulars, that lazy bastard, could not be bothered to meet him at their usual spot but had actually been admitted to the hospital for an overdose. But the money to get into Lux had been spent by that point, and no one could make him pay even more for looking, for watching this guy with the name of the Devil, and for wondering how he would be in bed. Quite some time had passed since his last hook-up, the last relationship, the last time he had gotten laid and truly enjoyed it. And looking did not hurt anyone as they said. The music was just loud enough to feel the beat of the rhythm while simultaneously not having to shout at your conversational partner. And that was not the only difference to all the other godforsaken clubs LA had to offer. No, Lux was truly not like any other nightclub. The dancers were pretty, the alcohol good, and he had yet to spot someone roofing someone else’s drink or the typical drunken harassment. And it was not like he had not sold anything. This was LA, after all. The city of sinners, and here in Lux sin, desire, and lust seemed to have their roots, seemed to revolve around this Morningstar guy, who had rolled up his sleeves, revealing slim, tanned forearms. He had discarded his jacket after his piano performance, and his usually so immaculately kept hair was slightly dishevelled from making out with the two women who sat to either side of his. Both at the same time. In the middle of the club, with everyone watching, and most likely half of the audience wishing they could be in their stead. It was easy to enjoy watching this man sit on the half-crescent couches spread in the club, arms stretched to either side.
Benjamin leant with the back against the bar and sipped on his drink. A vodka cola. Something simple. Something with just enough alcohol to distract him from the dryness in his mouth that came from only watching this Lucifer, this devilishly handsome guy.
“He’s so hot,” said the girl next to Benjamin, who looked hardly old enough to be of legal drinking age. He hummed in agreement, and said, eyes on Lucifer: “Fancy some K-Pop?” “I don’t like Korean music,” replied the girl and Benjamin held back a snort. “It’s ecstasy, hon. The best there is.”
“I… no… I think I’m good?”
“No worries,” muttered Benjamin, his attention already back on Lucifer as if some sort of giant magnet kept drawing his gaze to him. The women at Lucifer’s side left laughing, and for the first time since Benjamin had been coming to Lux his target for the night was alone. Benjamin emptied his glass. It was now or never. And it would have been such a waste to not even try to get into that man’s pants. He made his way through the dancing crowd. Lucifer looked up at him and smiled. Smiled and patted the space beside him. “Why don’t you take a seat?”
Benjamin fell more onto his arse than he had control over the gravity. Lucifer extended his arm over the back of the sofa. His fingertips grazed Benjamin’s shoulder, and Benjamin shivered. Much to Lucifer’s amusement, it seemed. “I could not help but notice you watching me from the bar.” “I doubt I’m the first to stare,” replied Benjamin and waited for the rejection. For the ‘thanks for the interest but you’re not my type, I’m not gay’. But Lucifer only chuckled. “You’re right. You’re not.” He turned his head to look at him, to meet his eyes and asked: “But what is it that you want from me? What is it that you desire?”
Benjamin swallowed hard. His body felt far too warm, his legs weak, and he was dizzy with the urge to get into this Lucifer’s bed, to feel his touch. His mind was blank, his tongue refused to form around some lie, some excuse, and the syllable tumbled off the tip of his tongue before he could stop it: “You.” Lucifer gave him an assessing look from the side. “That can certainly be arranged.”
And then he rose to his feet and motioned for Benjamin to follow him with a tilt of his head, and a smirk so unholy that Benjamin had problems forming coherent thoughts, problems of thinking about anything other than that burning desire to fuck Lucifer Morningstar.
The elevator came to a sudden stop. Benjamin pulled away, fingers still entangled in Lucifer’s hair. His lungs ached. Lucifer’s gaze was fixed upon the upper two buttons of his shirt, they were open as usual, revealing the Star of David. “That dear old dad has to have his nose in my affairs like that,” muttered Lucifer and the hostility, the anger in his voice made Benjamin recoil, made him hit the wall of the elevator with his back. If Lucifer’s eyes seemed red, it did not freak him out as much as it perhaps should have. This was LA. There were all sorts of people here. Everyone had red eyes here. Red eyes from drug abuse, red eyes from sleep deprivation and exhaustion, red eyes from a broken heart. Red eyes and either pockets full of cash or crippling debt.
“You’re a believer?”
Lucifer’s face turned into stone. “I used to.” His voice had lost the flirtatious tone, its playfulness, and was so grave that it hit Benjamin much harder than the heroin injection his foster mother had given him on his eleventh birthday to calm him, to avoid having to deal with him. He took off his necklace and put it where the small bags of K-Pop resided. “Never been one myself,” he said. “It belonged to my grandmother. Only carry it for sentimental reasons. If you ask me this whole ‘believe in you-know-who or go to hell’ the Christians have going on is quite exaggerated.” He should stop talking. He wanted to get laid, not to talk about religion.
To his surprise, Lucifer nodded. “It’s actually not the believing part that makes you go to heaven or hell,” he replied matter-of-factly. “It’s about your guilt, the guilt you feel in your last dying breath. You humans create your own hell. Up here and down there.” He frowned as if he had just said the wrong thing, then he shook his head. “But where were we?”
“Making out in the elevator.”
“Right.” And it seemed that Lucifer searched for some sign in his eyes, some form of consent that he was still on board with being slammed against the walls of the elevator, with being felt up, and kissed so hard his lips hurt.
Somehow, and Benjamin did not know how, had no memory of it, perhaps he was a little tipsy, he found himself on Lucifer’s wide bed. The bedsheets were soft and made of black silk. His lungs ached. How could kissing make him feel so out of breath?
“Do you have a condom?” Benjamin asked, dizzy from lack of oxygen and burning from the need to feel Lucifer’s scathingly warm hands on his body. He could feel the last ounces of common sense melting under his touch.
“We don’t need one,” said Lucifer and continued to move his kisses along the inside of Benjamin’s thigh. Benjamin’s fingers closed around his wrist. “Stop.”
And for whatever reason Lucifer stilled, and instantly sat up, backed off so that no part of their bodies was touching any longer. As if he was the one who had burnt the tips of his fingers, and not the other way round. “Look, I’d rather not die from HIV.”
Lucifer frowned slightly, almost offended. “I cannot contract or pass onward any sexual diseases. I’m the Devil.” “Do you have any scientific evidence to back up that claim?” Lucifer scoffed. But then his eyes, dark and mesmerising as they were turned red, reflected flames of a fire that could not be seen, that did not exist. It should have been impossible. It was certainly not of this world. “That’s…” began Benjamin and stumbled over his own tongue, “that’s… that’s sick, man. But oddly attractive.”
For a second Lucifer stared at him as if he of all people has no idea what attraction meant, but then his eyes burnt even brighter as Benjamin placed a hand on the back of his head to pull him back on top of him.
The sex was addictive. Lucifer was addictive. Like the drugs Benjamin had sworn to never fall victim to. It was around midday when Benjamin woke up, mouth dry, and body aching. After the Best Night Of His Life.
“Don’t think I haven’t noticed that you’re selling drugs downstairs,” said Lucifer. He stood in the door to his bedroom with a glass full of liquor. How he could already stomach anything after last night was beyond Benjamin’s sleepy comprehension, although his sleepiness was instantly replaced by caution. He sat up slowly. He was too old, too used to the constant threat of lifelong jail time to freak out about some club owner knowing about his source of income, even if said club owner had the Devil’s name and was awfully good in bed and was probably the real Devil. Regardless of how psycho that sounded. “You’re going to call the cops?”
“Are you kidding?” asked Lucifer, and took a sip. “I want you to sell whatever it is you’re selling at Lux, officially.”
“Last time I checked selling drugs was illegal.”
Lucifer shot him a look that clearly read ‘don’t be stupid’. “Not officially, Benny boy. You’re going to sell them at the bar, of course. As the house special.”
“You don’t even know what I’m selling.”
“True.” And then Lucifer put the glass down on the bedside table, strode over to where he had dropped Benjamin’s jeans the previous night (it was all a blur, really), picked it up and found the K-Pop. He opened one of the little plastic bags and licked the bloody pill that was inside. “Oh, that’s nice. Where are you getting it from?”
Benjamin put on his shirt. At least he was not entirely naked. Sleeping with Lucifer was not like with other guys. With Lucifer it was different. Everything was. Like this conversation. Or the rule to never touch his back, while some other guys he had been with had gotten off on him scratching their backs so hard skin tore, and he would have made the perfect murder suspect the next morning. “The Korean Power. They’ve got a chemist doing the cooking, and she’s really good. Her stuff is hangover-free.” “Fascinating.” Lucifer dry-swallowed the pill. Thirty dollars. “Can you arrange a meeting with your boss?” Benjamin shivered. He had met Brandon Hong once. At one of the money-laundering take-away restaurants he owned. The man had been kind, had asked him how he was doing, how his studies at the community college went, and if he needed anything. But setting up a meeting was far above his head. “Sure, and while I’m at it why don’t I fuck his daughter too?”
“Playing for both teams, Benjamin?” teased Lucifer, though it could have been a simple question too, “My, my, I had no idea.” His voice was smooth, like the black morning robe he wore, and the bedsheets below Benjamin, who cleared his throat and shook his head, and did not know how to tell Lucifer that he could appreciate the beauty of the female sex but that it held no attraction to him, did not do the same things to him that looking at Lucifer in those goddamn tight pants did.
“I… I suppose I…” His mouth was so dry. He got off the bed and tore his jeans out off Lucifer’s grip. “I can sell it at Lux.” If Brandon Hong would find out about it, well, he would have to figure out something when he crossed that bridge.
Lucifer clapped his hands. “Excellent! You can start your training as bartender tomorrow.”
“Training as bartender,” repeated Lucifer, and waved one of his hands impatiently. “If you’re going to sell drugs over my counter you might as well serve a few drinks. I pay well if that’s what you’re worried about. Health insurance included, you humans are too fragile to not have one.”
“I can’t work during the week in the evening. I have college then.”
“Very ambitious of you. I suppose some of your future colleagues can take over during the week for you.” Lucifer grinned and extended his hand. As Benjamin shook it, it felt like making a deal with the Devil. A Devil who cared about health insurance, and who happened to own a club in the city of angels. How ironic was that?
It was more than a year after the shooting, after Deliah’s murder right in front of Lux, which Lucifer had survived unharmed as the Devil should. Months in which Lucifer had participated less and less in the daily partying downstairs, played the piano and sang less than Benjamin would have liked it. But that was free will, he supposed. It was still early in the afternoon as he came down the stairs, and she trailed shortly behind him. Lucifer’s right hand went up, index and middle finger raised. “Two House Specials, please.”
Benjamin’s hands moved, did not look up until Lucifer and his date stood almost in front of the counter. There was nothing abnormal with his boss wanting some drugs to get him through the day, although he needed more of them than others, although he should have been dead long time ago based on the amount he tended to consume. And he would have ODed long ago, Benjamin thought, had it not been for the minor detail that he was literally Lucifer, former ruler of Hell, who was not condemned to have a human digestion system. “Lucifer,” whispered the date, though there was no need to whisper. The other customers did not seem to have noticed anyone’s arrival, and like any good bartender Benjamin cared very little about any conversations he overheard. “You know, I don’t drink on the job.” “Here you go,” said Benjamin, and managed to keep his voice calm, even as he recognised Lucifer’s date as the detective. Detective Decker. “Two House Specials.” He placed the metal plate with an orange and a pink star onto the counter of the bar. The the capital letter ‘K’ was clearly visible. Lucifer gestured towards it and cleared his throat. “Your bartender is a drug dealer?” asked the detective in a low voice as Lucifer studied him, a bottle of one of his favourite drinks (if they could still be called favourites so many were there) in hand.
“What, you think I hired him for abs alone?” asked Lucifer chuckling and poured himself a drink. Benjamin almost choked on his own tongue. He knew Lucifer long enough to know that he had been only one of many. He had heard about the police investigation where ninety-two of Lucifer’s one-night stands had been interviewed, and if he was honest he had never been happier about quitting Lucifer just in time to avoid being one of them.
But Detective Decker cut straight to the chase, ignoring Lucifer’s allusion. “Where d’you get the K-Pop?”
Benjamin looked from the detective to Lucifer, who simply widened his eyes in his usual ‘play nicely and answer’ way. Suppressing a sigh, Benjamin turned back to the detective and said: “I get it from the Korean Power. Best E in town. Or used to be.”
The last sentence was directed at Lucifer.
“Sad, but true,” agreed Lucifer. “Previously, hangover-free. But now, in the morning,” he glanced at Benjamin, “your mouth’s like Gandhi’s flip-flop.” And with that, he took a sip of his drink.
The detective hummed quietly. “What changed?” she asked instead of demanding him to let himself be arrested for dealing with drugs. Perhaps it was Lucifer’s presence, and her colleagues would catch him later on the street. But whatever would happen. Lucifer would be there.
“Their cook,” supplied Benjamin. “The gang used to have some genius lady chemist, but I heard she got greedy.” And again, he looked at Lucifer.
“She stole from the Korean Power?”
“Yeah. Big, power, scary boss dude, and she pilfered right from under his nose.” He could not suppress the chuckle, the feeling of being impressed even as he told the story himself some while after he heard it from some others.
“Pretty ballsy.” It dawned on him then that Lucifer might take that in the wrong way, that he might think of him as a thief, as someone who would breach his trust and pull a similar stunt to that woman. “I mean, not that I would-”
“Yes, yes, get on with it,” said Lucifer. His words faster, his gaze so intense it is impossible to look away, to even acknowledge the detective’s presence. “So the boss put a hit out on her, did he?”
“Yeah, but her lab blew up before they could get to her. Freak accident,” Benjamin added with a glance at the detective.
“Accident?” she echoed, looking at Lucifer as if he had all the answers. “Do you know the boss’ name or where we could find him?”
“Yeah, Brandon Hong,” said Benjamin. Perhaps if the LAPD would arrest Hong, he could stop selling drugs for good. Could finally breathe freer. “He likes to hang out at this one karaoke spot over on Irolo. But these guys don’t mess around.”
“Right. Well…” Lucifer emptied his glass and put it back onto the counter without another look at Benjamin. “Off we go, Detective.”
They did not get very far, were not out of earshot, not far enough away from the bar for Benjamin to not overhear the detective ask: “What? Off to where?”
“To the karaoke parlour. Talk to a gang leader. Maybe do a duet if you’re feeling adventurous.”
Before Benjamin could hear the detective’s answer, Martin returned to the bar, picked up the sponge and continued cleaning the tabs where he left off the moment Lucifer and the detective entered the bar. There were a lot of things that had to be prepared before the evening opening. Tables currently in use would have to be whipped cleaned, the K-Pop needed to be stacked up, glasses polished, and more bottles of the less than half-full liquor carried from the storage room. When Benjamin turned back around to face the dancefloor, Lucifer and his detective were gone. Off to hunt down whomever they were after.