“So? He was a fucking creep? That didn’t mean you had to torture him to death,” I argue.

Yet even to my own ears the argument is sounder weaker and weaker.

“You only say that because you don’t know what he planned to do. He was going to come back, Meredith, and I put an end to that.”

I suck in a deep breath, letting that sink into my head. If the man was truly out to hurt me… Fuck.

But, “Still…”

“You think he was the first fucker to come sniffing after you? He wasn’t, but he was the fucking last. You have to admit, dear sister, you have a tendency to attract psychos.”

His eyes slide over my head and I have no doubt that he’s looking to Simon.

Oh that’s rich, coming from him.

I jerk my arm hard out of his grip and curse my unsteady balance on my one heel.

Before I can say another word, Lucifer orders, “James, get my sister a chair.”

James shakes his head as if he’s snapping out of something and is quick to jump to Lucifer’s bidding. Coming around the table, he grabs one of the last two unused chairs and carries it over to me.

“Thank you, James.” I smile gratefully at him and sit down.

James smiles back and nods his head. Then Lucifer squats down.

Before I can stop him, he grabs the foot that’s wearing my one good heel. He snaps the heel off and then tosses it to the side.

“There,” he smirks and rises. “Now I won’t have to worry about you twisting your ankle.”

I shake my head, drop my foot to the floor, and frown up at him. How can one man be so considerate yet still be such a fucking monster? I’ve never been able to understand it.

He’s always been a bit protective of me, especially after my mother passed when we were children. And I’ve only seen him treat his own family, Lily, Evelyn, Adam, and little David, with fondness.

Yet he fucking kills people. Not only kills them but tortures them for thrills…

But maybe he’s not irredeemable. Maybe I can show him a better way. Maybe I can save him and still put an end to this madness.

“You know, Matthew,” I say quietly for only him to hear. “I never had to kill or torture my marks when I was done with them. I destroyed their lives in other ways. Destroyed them so thoroughly they never came after me.”

Lucifer tips his head back and laughs as if I just said something funny and I squirm in my seat uncomfortably.

What the fuck about that is so funny?

“Oh, they came after you, Meredith,” he says, his chin dropping back down and his eyes gleaming.

What?

I scowl and start to correct him. Surely, he’s not calling my integrity into question? “No, I—”

Lucifer stares me hard in the eyes as he cuts me off and says, “They came after you.”

I snap my jaw shut and glare at him. Now he’s just being ridiculous. Does he really think I’m going to fall for…

“The ones who weren’t already dead from suicide or locked up in prison, that is.”

No.

No, that’s not true. Yet a little tendril of doubt wiggles its way into my mind. What does Lucifer know that I don’t know?

“Honestly, Meredith, you’re smarter than that,” Lucifer smirks. “Do you think the type of men you picked for your marks were the type to let what you did go?”

Yes, I did, in fact. But when he says it like that…

“What are you saying, Matthew?”

“I’m saying you’re correct. You didn’t have to kill your marks. But you didn’t have to kill them because I did it for you.”

“No,” I say and jump up from my chair.

Lucifer places one hand on my shoulder and gently but firmly pushes me back down. “Sit down, Meredith.”

“You’re lying. You’re trying to twist everything,” I accuse him.

And it’s completely outlandish. There’s no way he killed…

Matthew starts ticking off his fingers. “Russel Clay. Daniel Smith. Edward Watson. Sebastian Martìnez. Lorenzo De Luca. Alastair Walker the third.”

Each name he speaks is like a sucker-punch straight to the chest.

He inclines his head as all the blood drains from my face. “Shall I go on?”

“You didn’t,” I gasp, my lungs suddenly struggling to bring in air.

“Of course I did. They came after you so I fucking killed them. What did you think happened? Did you honestly believe they just disappeared?” he ends with a sneer.

I shake my head and blink my eyes. The fucking room is spinning as I try to wrap my mind around this. If he’s not lying then everything I’ve believed about myself, about my life for the last five years isn’t true.

“Now, granted, I didn’t make examples out of them because I wanted to continue to indulge you. But I see that was a mistake now.”

Oh my god, they’re all dead. He really fucking killed them…

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