I’m simply Lilith.

Too soon I begin to reconnect with myself, my body flipping back on all my senses.

I realize something soft and gentle is touching my face and blink up. Above me he’s stroking my cheek and looking down at me with the most tender look on his face.

That look… that look undoes me. An overwhelming surge of sadness hits my heart and my throat tightens up. Why does he have to look at me like that? Why is he making it so hard for me to hate him?

I burst into tears, hating myself because I’m weak. I’m fucking pathetic. Hating that I allowed him to make me feel all the good things I just experienced.

11

Lucifer

Acceptance is the first step in understanding your new reality. Acceptance that nothing in this world or the next will ever be the same. To me, last night the clear tears streaming down her cheeks at the end were of acceptance.

Lying to myself about where I stand in things is not my style. I know Lilith will push things again, I know she will test me and herself. It’s in human nature. I just plan to be the rock she crashes against when she does.

“Lucifer, we have an issue,” Simon says to me as he knocks once on the door frame of the office I am sitting in.

Leaning back in my office chair, I can feel my mouth turning down in a frown. With Simon, it’s never a good thing if he says we have an issue. He knows me, he knows to handle things unless they absolutely need my attention.

“I’ve been making calls and sending out feelers on the missing five million,” he says as he enters the office and shuts the door.

“What have you got?”

“It’s the same bullshit we’ve known for a while. O’Riley and Marshall got together for a new business venture. The new information is that it was to start a pipeline through the Midwest with coke and heroin. They had the Yakuza as their main suppliers.”

“Well that… how the fuck did that go wrong?” I ask. The Yakuza, in my experience, are deadly as fuck, but also pretty damn reliable. They promise something, it will happen. They deliver on the promise, no excuses.

“Looks like O’Riley fucked up. We don’t know the full details, but the Irish took an Italian boss, Carcinelly, out. Then they took out O’Riley, the boss who ordered the hit on the Italians… It’s a fucking mess over in Ohio right now. No boss for the Irish, a new one for the Italians, and hitmen running loose.”

“Fuck,” I mumble as I rub my temples slowly. Shit like that gives me ulcers. I don’t let destabilization like that shit happen around here. It breeds too much uncertainty. And I want to be damn sure of my business deals.

“So the Irish have my money?” I ask with a grimace; those fucks are just as crazy as the Russians. Especially the hitmen they use. As of now we don’t have an Irish mob around here, I like that. Having a Russian one is enough batshit nutcases for me.

“No,” Simon says with a frown.

“No? Well, who has my five fucking million dollars then?”

“The Yakuza.”

“Shit, how do we know?”

“Because they took it during the war up there. Even bragged about it to those around them—least that’s what I am hearing. It seems like they are trying to make sure they haven’t lost any face on the issue. Still could be Marshall though.” Simon says, and I don’t doubt a word he has said to me.

Simon is my right hand for this exact reason, he has a nose for things. The man is like a bloodhound dog, he doesn’t stop tracking a scent until he has it up a tree.

“Do they know it’s my money?” I ask as I think about Marshall and how fucked up of a position he has me in.

“I’m not sure of that yet, but I am making small waves around the pond to see what comes up.”

“Where is Marshall so far with everything?”

“Drunk. Fall down, passing out drunk in his shitty little world of self-appreciation. Seems he is bragging to a few people about how he pulled one over on you. He’s been drinking and whoring for the last twenty-four hours.”

“With what money?” I ask with a growl.

“Credit cards and whatever he has in the banks.”

“Get his accounts closed or frozen, I want him as broke as possible by tomorrow morning.”

“Got it. What do you want me to do with the connection to O’Riley?”

I ponder that for a long moment. I know I can go to the Irish for restitution but they will more than likely play dumb on the whole situation. The question for me is do I want to go stirring the pot with them or with the Yakuza?

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