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Old 11-25-2001, 02:27 AM   #1
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The MacPhisto Society, Revisited

*Echo listens to Thomas Dolby and types away.*

ECHO: ...She blinded me with science...and took me with tech---.....Oh man! I have not seen so many asterisks since the annotated version of "Pickwick Papers".....La la la we'll be the Pirate Twins again......OW ow ow ow fokin' Carpal Tunnel Syndrome......ugh, another make-out scene with Bona and Larry...don't these girls have any shame?! Oh, right, that's why I hang out with them......

*Six years later (seemingly)*

ECHO: Ah....finished!

Well it is, no doubt, packed with glaring inconsistencies and corrupted intentions, but it's all yours.

I thought I might explain to you all my method before you read this new version.

Like a good cut of meat, the MacPhisto Society story had to be precisely cut from the cow...or something...I'm not a metaphor person. See, since we writers had no idea, as we were writing, where we were going, there ended up being a few dead ends and such. Some people dropped in and out and weren't integral to the main plot (i.e. Bluey and Bona) or the subplot (i.e. myself and Julie). In addition, I felt the dialogue could be tightened in places to advance the action quicker and leave more room for description. I eliminated a few characters in the interest of not only brevity, but also emotion. When you have eighty-seven people running around it makes it harder to identify with the conflicts of the few key players.

I cut and pasted the contributions all at once, so when I dug in I didn't know who wrote what. I hope no one reads it and goes, "Oh she was just picking on (whoever)!" I didn't know whose I was changing, unless it was mine, and never edited anything with malice. My primary interests were reaching out to those who had trouble following this whirlwind of a tale as it was being composed; to present in a more compact and conventional way the achingly beautiful saga that is the MacPhisto Society.

Enjoy!


[This message has been edited by Echo (edited 11-25-2001).]
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Old 11-25-2001, 02:28 AM   #2
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ONE

An invitation on heavy dark red paper engraved with gold lettering arrives on everyone's doorstep.

Achtung, All Glamorous Creatures of the Night...
You are cordially invited to a fabulous Masquerade Halloween Soiree
at Mr. Macphisto's Mansion. The reveling begins immediately, and may never end...Arrive disguised as whatever your heart desires.
Do hurry my beauties, I yearn for your company.
Smooches,
-M.


TWO

Upon entering the doors of the immense mansion and passing through winding corridors, guests are mesmerized by the opulence of the surroundings. Floors of glossy black marble, red velvet walls, gold trim, entire walls of mirror...Until at the end of the hallway they reach an expansive darkened room, lit only by hundreds of candles. In the room are many mirrors, rich sofas, vases of crimson roses, a deep mahogany and mirrorball bar which stretches the length of the room, sheer curtains, weighty gold velvet draperies, and a massive glossy grand piano at which sits MacPhisto himself smoking a cigar and playing an old sultry song on the piano. Just in front of him, a beautiful girl, but she doesn't is unrecognizable because of her disguise. Who can she be? Is he playing for her? Is he teasing her, is he just flirting?

Yes, disguise comes easily to angels, and BluePhisto is no exception. She has transformed her black hair to a shimmering red, and is wearing an elaborate glittering mask, and a long velvet white cloak with a hood that conceals her wings and white satin dress. From her place at the piano, she is entranced by MacPhisto's beautiful song. Since the last tumultuous meeting of the MacPhisto society, BluePhisto and MacPhisto have spent a blissful week together in the mansion. But they have a deal tonight, MacPhisto is free to act as he always has, to flirt outrageously with whomever he chooses and BluePhisto will not interfere. If he couldn't be his luxurious self, she argued, he would not be the devil she fell in love with. Besides, if some of the other demons in Hell discovered that he had fallen in love with an angel and become totally faithful, he would certainly be censured. Some of these demons may indeed even be invited guests to the party tonight.
To prevent influencing guests that did not know of Bluephisto's true nature and of Macphisto's feelings for her, BluePhisto disguised herself, and asked him to treat her just as he would treat any other at the party tonight.
MacPhisto finishes his song, gazing up at the masked beauty before him for a moment. He rises and means to kiss her, but senses there is still someone new in the room and so bows slightly and kisses her hand.
"You look lovely darling," he whispers.
"Thank you dearest! You of course look simply luscious..." She turns to EchoPhisto who is lingering sadly but elegantly by the fireplace "Well hello, child! Do come and have a drink with me, I am simply dying for some company! What would you like, Stoli? Champagne? Come, come over to one of the sofas and relax...My goodness what an elegant gown you are wearing! Wherever did you find it!? I am dying of envy!"
While BluePhisto charms EchoPhisto, MacPhisto takes his place on the gold velvet couch, awaiting guests and stealing glances at his paramour.

BonaPhisto enters the room with grace, dressed in a quite flattering gold dress falling almost to her knees paired with a set of gold heeled boots and her horns atop her head.
"Hello, dears," she croons, "So sorry I'm late! And Mac, I'm quite astonished at this mansion of yours. Why, it's almost as lovely as you are! Note I say almost..."
BonaPhisto makes her way across the room to the sofa and sits near MacPhisto on the arm of the sofa. Tension between them still exists and neither knows quite how to act.
MacPhisto is flattered. "Thank you, my lovely. You yourself are looking rather well tonight... But tell me, did you not go human?"
"Still a Phisto at heart, darling," Bona replies smoothly, "Still a Phisto at heart."
"Speaking of human," BluePhisto says, "where is your Larry?"
"He went to park the Harley, he should be here shortly. Pass me a martini, will you BluePhisto darling?"
EchoPhisto enters, alone. She has not bothered to disguise herself, for she has always believed in bestowing clarity rather than confusion.
The atmosphere makes her uncomfortable. Raised in poverty, she has only seen such rooms on display behind velvet ropes, and is not sure if she's allowed to walk on the carpet or sit on the immaculate furniture, which looks as though it has never been utilized.
Larry enters, and every female in the room suddenly is sporting wide eyes and open jaws, with the exception of BluePhisto. She only shares a pleased grin with Mac.
BluePhisto places a perfect, angel-made martini in BonaPhisto's hand and kisses her on both cheeks, the place where Bluephisto's lips grazed BonaPhisto's skin feels warm and tingly afterwards. BluePhisto glides over to Larry and offers him a pint of Guinness from the bar.
"I know you are fond of it, so I made sure we had some. Actually..." Blue leans towards Larry conspiratorially... "I enjoy a pint of it every so often...but I really can't have much. Naturally low tolerance. Come, please sit down."

Larry talks freely to her, if only because she is the only woman in the room who is not attracted to him. Meanwhile, MacPhisto cautiously slides next to BonaPhisto and gently puts an arm around her shoulders. She stiffens and he leans down and whispers in her ear.
"Don't be alarmed dearest. Everything is fine. BluePhisto and I are trying to, how shall I say...keep a low profile tonight."
BonaPhisto does not understand. "Why is that darling?"
"Well, child, a number of my 'associates' have unfortunately obtained invitations, and while they are mostly harmless...let's just say that..." MacPhisto glances with a little envy at Larry sitting with BluePhisto... "the in-laws don't get along. It's best that they don't know."
"Of course darling." BonaPhisto leans back into the couch and the two of them watch Larry and BluePhisto talking animatedly opposite them. "So you are quite happy then? You look different somehow..."
MacPhisto dismisses her with a wave of his martini. "Rubbish. I am the same as I ever was."
BonaPhisto raises an eyebrow and smiles as she downs the last of her martini, she knows him well enough to know that to avoid the issue so deftly, he has to be obscenely happy with BluePhisto.
"Well, I'm happy for you, dear..."
"Hush!" MacPhisto grins so widely from behind his glass he can hardly hide it. He clamps a hand over her mouth, turning her face to his. Momentarily, she is captivated by his eyes and the closeness of his face. Then suddenly, remembering what happened the last time she was held like this, she regains her senses and gently pushes Mac's hand off her mouth and looks toward Larry.
"Well, I am glad you're satisfied. As for Larry and I, well it's taken me a while to regain his full trust but now I must admit, we too are in delirious joy."
Larry has now caught her eye and sends her a playful wink. She merely smiles, and Larry returns to chatting with BluePhisto. Meanwhile Mac has returned his arm around BonaPhisto's shoulder and she does not notice. He proceeds by drawing a bit closer to her. She still does not notice him at all though he tries various things. She jumps, however, when he whispers in her ear:
"Darling, what has he done to you, that now you will not even heed my presence?
Bona is painfully aware of him. "Mac..."
MacPhisto runs a finger down her cheek and brings his lips closer to her face. "What has happened to you? You used to be one of my finest assets and now I've lost you to a human?" He brushes his lips across her cheek lightly and BonaPhisto jumps up.
"Well," Bona desperately tries to hide her sudden desire for MacPhisto, "it's time for another martini, isn't it?"
She makes her way over to the bar as she says this and mistakenly pulls out a bottle of Jack Daniels. MacPhisto sits back and chuckles bemusedly to himself, watching her and very satisfied with what he'd done. BonaPhisto takes a magnificent swig of the Jack, as Larry watches her, bewildered.
As more guests, familiar and not-so-familiar file into the drawing room BluePhisto rises away from Larry and sits at the piano, to think.

Martini in hand, EchoPhisto approaches Larry and sits beside him. She swirls the contents of the glass in an overly casual way. Larry can tell she's not comfortable.
"I fear that you may lose your dearest Bona to that sequined devil," Echo says morosely. "I know what you're feeling. I'm no stranger to betrayal. MacPhisto won't admit it, but there was a time...it was a long time ago, ancient history now..." She clears her throat. "But I've said too much. That was a long time ago. I don't really think about Mac anymore. There's someone else now. I was kind of hoping that he'd be...oh, I don't know why I even come to these parties. To watch everyone else destroy their lives the way I've destroyed mine, I suppose...You really don't say much, do you?"
Larry grinds the toe of his Doc Marten into the plush carpet. "I think," he whispers, "you said it all."
BluePhisto can feel the despondent air that EchoPhisto carried into the room. Whatever could have induced such pathos in such an elegant creature, she wonders. BluePhisto sighs and runs her fingers over the ivory keys. She looks up; MacPhisto is staring at her. He fights not to smile and looks back at his drink. She saw what had happened between Mac and BonaPhisto and actually, it made her laugh...He loved to get reactions out of people and nothing amused him more than making other people flustered. She smiled softly to herself, behind a curtain of autumn colored hair. A strange man stepped up beside her.
"Hello, I couldn't help noticing you from all the way across the room. Would you care for a drink?"
The man offers BluePhisto a dark green drink in a brandy snifter.

THREE
Larry catches MacPhisto eyeing BonaPhisto from across the room, and becomes suspicious of the rather large grin on his face. He pauses, then hesitantly asks, "Is it hard for you to resist him?"
BonaPhisto wraps her arms tightly around him. She rests her head against his shoulder and sighs. "He just knows exactly how to get to me. I'm here for you, not him."
"Why? I mean you've spent your entire existence with him, why suddenly do you want me?"
"Larry you've shown me sides of this world I didn't knew existed... He's in it for sex and glamour, I know that's all he wants out of me. That's all he's ever wanted. You... Larry, you're the first creature that I've encountered within the plane of my entire 3,000 years of existence that has treated me like I'm something more than that." Near tears, she meets his eyes. "Larry, if this is what love feels like, then I've never experienced this before!"
Larry stares at her for a moment. His only reply to that is a slow, firm kiss to her lips.
MacPhisto, having heard the entire conversation is suddenly downcast in mood. He watches Larry and BonaPhisto wistfully.
When he turns back to look at BluePhisto again, there is a man in a very shiny black suit offering her a drink. His mouth goes dry despite the brandy. "It couldn't be..."
MacPhisto rises from the couch and strides over to the piano with studied casualness. BluePhisto throws her head back and laughs at something the man says. MacPhisto's heart sinks. If that is who he thinks it is...He leans against the piano behind the man and purrs:
"Well, I haven't seen you in ages!"
The man in black turns towards him and MacPhisto makes desperate "go away" motions with his hand to BluePhisto behind the man's back. BluePhisto gets the hint and picks up her green drink as she leaves.
"How long has it been?" MacPhisto asks.
"Oh, years baby!" says The Fly.


BonaPhisto looks up from Larry's embrace and sees the Fly across the room. She gasps, and Larry spins around. A grin spreads across both their faces and BonaPhisto leaps up and they both walk across the room to meet The Fly. BonaPhisto leans against the piano, watching him silently until he notices her presence. He sees her and his face lights up.
"BonaPhisto! It's been a while, hasn't it?"
"Indeed it has," Larry says ruefully.
The Fly turns around. "And if it isn't Mr. Snarly himself!" He slaps Larry on the shoulder.
"I didn't know you knew each other..." Larry says.
"Oh yes we did, didn't we BonaPhisto?"
"They go back decades, Larry," says MacPhisto.
BonaPhisto smiles politely. "Right." She steps up to Larry, taking his arm and kissing him on the cheek. "I'm getting another martini." Larry nods. The Fly looks on astonished and smiles mischievously at Larry.
"You're with her now? Now who'd have seen that comin'? You datin' a devil!"
Larry is slightly taken aback. "Haven't you noticed? She's gone human. Look at her again."
The Fly looks BonaPhisto over once again from across the room, and turns back to them.
"Yeah, she does look more colorful, doesn't she?"
"Hey, hands off, I'm having enough trouble with MacPhisto..." Larry turns to MacPhisto, who smiles mischievously. Before Larry joins BonaPhisto at the bar, he turns back to the Fly. "It's nice to see you again after so long, but please..."
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Old 11-25-2001, 02:29 AM   #3
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The Fly puts up his hands. "Oh, hey, no problem. She's all yours. Besides, I'm more interested in that one."
"I'm telling you," says MacPhisto, "you really ought to stay away from her."
"Boy, I'm not allowed to do anything tonight am I?"
"No, no, take whomever else you please... those two are off limits though." MacPhisto glides off to make another martini for himself and the Fly makes his way over next to BluePhisto. She sits by herself on a red couch near a window, sipping her martini thinking to herself. Suddenly a pair of shiny black legs swing over the back of the couch and The Fly is sitting next to her. He smirks and gazes at her over his shades.
"Hello," BluePhisto says politely.
The Fly clutches his heart. "Oh, she speaks!" He slithers back up again, even closer to her now, so close she can smell his cologne and begins an almost manic pick up attempt in his distorted, smoky voice. "Well, MacPhisto told me to stay away from you...but I don't listen to him anyway! Sorry, I get so dramatic around beautiful women. I can't help myself. I'm a ham to begin with but put me in a room with a gorgeous lady and I just about combust! And I'm talking about normal, run of the mill supermodels here...but YOU, I hardly know what I'm saying! Look at me baby the words are just FLYING out of this mouth, I have no idea what I'm going to say next. Or do next! I am just gonna keep talking because I'm afraid if I stop you will walk away instead of just sitting there looking like a goddess. I'm serious about the goddess thing baby, you can't be human! Are you Greek? Egyptian? Nah, you are too pale to be Egyptian...you must be Greek! But yet...Hmmm makes no sense. You aren't a devil." He leans in confidentially and smiles. "You are too pretty to be a devil! But don't tell anyone here I said that, they would make a feather boa outta me honey! I'm confused, what are you? Who are you? What is your name? Are you married? Will you marry me? Do you like my jacket? I'm serious about that marrying thing, look baby!" He pulls a huge gold ring off his finger and gets down on his knees. "I'm begging you! Please! We can go to Vegas, I have only asked a couple other women ever before! One of them was Marilyn Monroe, you're in great company baby!" He quickly grabs BluePhisto's left hand and pushes the far too large ring onto her finger. "Whatta ya say baby?"
Although The Fly is overwhelmingly frantic and blowing smoke, he is very warm, charming, and funny and BluePhisto laughs at him.
"Is that a YES!? No one has technically married me yet! You can tame me!"
BluePhisto gives back his ring back and smiles. "That was not a yes."
"Was that a maybe? A 'sure okay you sexy thing let's go?'"
"No. No. No. It was a no."
The Fly is not put off. "Want me to ask again?"
"No really please don't."
The Fly puts the ring back in his pocket. "I'll take that as a 'not this time.' I'll ask you again later on."
"You are very persistent."
"I like the chase honey...Best way to get rid of me is to give in."
"You are hardly the marrying kind."
"Now why'd you have to go and just judge me like that," says the Fly with mock indignation. "Well maybe I don't want to marry you if you are so high and mighty."
"You have no idea."
"What's the matter baby? You have a boyfriend? A big jealous boyfriend? 'Cause I'm okay with that!"
BluePhisto opens her mouth but she remembers just in time. "No..."
"No? Well then what's the problem? Is it me? Am I boring you?"
"You are NOT boring..."
"I KNEW it you love me!"
"I just met you."
"How can I make you love me?"
"You can go away."
"Go away?"
"Yes."
The Fly moves over exactly two feet on the couch. "There. I miss you baby! Don't forget me!"
BluePhisto smirks. "I couldn't forget you with therapy."
"OUCH!" The Fly just sits there and stares at BluePhisto, who tries very hard to act like he isn't there. MacPhisto in the meantime turned around from getting a drink from the bar to see The Fly on his knees in front of a laughing BluePhisto sliding a ring onto her finger. Larry standing beside him hears his teeth grind. MacPhisto downs his drink in one gulp and sets it down with deadly softness, not taking his eyes off the couch for one minute.
This wasn't lost on BonaPhisto. "Mac, are you okay?"
MacPhisto doesn't even acknowledge her presence, but turns to a butler, gestures to The Fly and sweeps into an adjoining room, slamming the door. BonaPhisto jumps. She starts to go after him, but Larry reaches over.
"You won't do him any good, leave him alone."
"What happened?"
Larry shakes his head. "The Fly."
BonaPhisto's eyes widen with dawning realization. "Of course... who else would cause so much trouble?"
"I'm not sure that he's capable of anything else...So you and Fly go back a while, yeah?"
BonaPhisto nods. "I've known him since the mid sixties about...he was a fledgling young bachelor at that point. You may find this hard to believe, but he was actually quite innocent."
Larry laughs out loud at the suggestion. "So how'd you know him?"
"Oh, he'd come to Mac's parties. Mac was trying to teach him something of sophistication and manners, but as you can see..." Blue gestures to the Fly, who is now talking up EchoPhisto and MoonPhisto across the room... "it didn't quite take. Well, Mac got fed up and pawned him off on me. I was supposed to try and teach him something but the only thing he ever mastered was stage presence. He never...shut...up... I started having an affair with him just to quiet him down. I figured out that he was much more cooperative when he was getting some than when he wasn't."
"He was your lover? "
"For a time, yes."
"What happened?"
BonaPhisto shrugs. "He got sick of me to be honest. He's not the type to stay in one spot for long, and I believe I was his longest relationship."
"How long was that?"
"Eight years. And to be honest I was glad to be rid of him. Oh, don't get me wrong, the sex was great. I just couldn't stand to see him that constantly anymore."
"Everything was just sex to you, wasn't it?"
"Not sex. Pleasure. In any way, shape and form. That's all a devil really cares about... that and corruption."
"What about MacPhisto?"
"I dunno. Bluey's really done some damage to him. He's changing, and we can all see it. Before the last party, he would never in a million years have cared about that." She gestures to the sofa where BluePhisto and The Fly's exchange occurred.
FOUR
After her chat with the Fly, MoonPhisto crosses the room to the bar to have her drink refilled by the Edge, whom she had entered the party with earlier and is now having fun flipping bottles and playing Bartender.
MoonPhisto approaches the bar, watching the Edge, without him noticing at first. She watches him concentrate on flipping a vodka bottle into the air and catching it, but misses and it smashes to the floor. He quickly blushes a deep red and innocently glances around to see if anyone had witnessed it, and sees MoonPhisto softly laughing to herself and slowly walking toward the bar. He blushes even more deeply.
"It's perfectly alright, darling," she giggles. "Don't worry, no one else saw, and there are more bottles of that here than in half the liquor stores in this town put together. We're well stocked."
Edge grins adorably. "Heh, yea. I guess I need more practice."
"Come. Let's dance." MoonPhisto takes Edge's fingertips in hers, raising his hand above her head and leading him out onto the floor.
MoonPhisto is delighted. "You really are a wonderful dancer, my dear! I MUST come back for more, but let me slip away a moment to say hello to BluePhisto. I haven't gotten the chance to talk to her yet tonight!" She gives Edge a kiss on the forehead. He wanders over to a couch and settles down with a drink.
MoonPhisto glides over to where the Fly and BluePhisto are talking.
"So sorry to interrupt, but I had to say hello, dear!" She hugs BluePhisto, plants a greeting peck on her cheek, and stands back to admire her gown. "Darling, you look stunning! How have you been since our last get together?"
FIVE
EchoPhisto spies Edge sitting on the couch with his drink. She cannot pass up such an opportunity. She glides over and joins him.
"It's not healthy to drink alone, she says as he looks up at her.
"I could say the same to you."
Echo turns away forlornly. "You don't know me."
"I know more than you might think."
She almost spills her drink. Could he...could someone have tipped him off? She quickly changes the subject.
"Loved the stunt with the liquor bottle."
"Oh, that. Em..." Edge blushes profusely, and Echo feels a stabbing rush of power knowing she has affected him so.
"I found it quite charming, actually. People think of you as this serious Zen guitar god. But inside, you're someone else."
"Now who's claiming to know who?"
"I was only trying to compliment you."
There is a long, awkward pause, broken by Edge.
"So I saw the Fly try to put the moves on you."
Echo laughed. "I could never fall for his line. I don't see how other girls can. What is the appeal of someone like him? I mean, look at him. He wants every girl and every girl wants him. Don't any of these girls want something...special? I mean, I couldn't live with myself knowing that a man who had...enjoyed my company...had enjoyed the company of a hundred girls before me, and would enjoy the company of a hundred more girls after me."
"You want to be someone's only one."
"Not merely that. Knowing that girls are falling over themselves for him makes him less appealing to me. Why would I want to have what every other woman has...when I can have something that I can keep to myself, like a secret."
Echo turns to look into Edge's eyes. But he cannot be that easily swayed. Echo's words are her weapon, but they are all she has. Once they run out, she is powerless. She speaks like a film-noir script. And if he doesn't say the next line the way she wants it read, it's over.
He gives her the delicious ache of suspense as his emerald eyes penetrate her own. Like a director, she is impatient. All she needs at this moment is for him to recite his line.
"You're living in a dream world."
Echo gasps. That wasn't exactly in the script.
"You think you're going to find some man who loves no one but you, and IS loved by no one but you? Do you know what the odds of that ARE?"
"I can't believe you would speak to me like that. You've always been calculating and practical...But you've never been so cruel."
"You come here looking all melancholy and expect that some man will sweep you up out of sheer pity and then discover the REAL you, the 'you' inside all your misery. But there's no inside. Your words are dramatic but they're only words. Your emotions have no more depth than your martini glass."
He stands and leaves Echo alone.
SIX
When MacPhisto re-enters the party, he is composed but tension is high. All eyes are upon him, bodies poised in suspense. MacPhisto solemnly moves towards BonaPhisto as if to kiss her, but his gunmetal eyes are targeted on BluePhisto, watching her watch him and at the last minute he breaks the tension by kissing the top of BonaPhisto's head lightly, in an almost fatherly way. All the unsuspecting guests applaud loudly; MacPhisto churlishly immerses himself in adoring guests and offers of martinis. He looks at the floor, his shadowy eyes now seeming like pits. Dancing music begins and couples spin, glittering in the candlelight. BluePhisto was walking towards him, her face grave and pale. MacPhisto moved away through the crowd of about 500 until he draped himself over a leather chair in a shadowy corner and searched the crowd for a face he told himself he didn't want to find. He didn't have to wait long. BluePhisto made her way to the chair, chatting casually to other guests as she inched closer though the crowd. She came near his chair and dropped her glass rather obviously on purpose. As she picks up the glass with bare hands, she whispers up to him.
"Mac? Darling, what happened?" MacPhisto just clenches his jaw and swirls his brandy. "Sweetheart...what is the matter? Why won't you answer me? What have I done?"
He remembers her laughter and the Fly putting the ring on her hand and bites through his lip, tasting blood. He has never felt this kind of anger before. He considered quenching it by kissing BonaPhisto and watching BluePhisto feel what he felt. But he knew that even that would not make him feel better. It reminds him of the primordial anger in Hell at a God that rejected them. He is far too angry to speak right now
"Mac, Why are you pretending I'm not here? You won't even look at me. I've never seen you like this, you are scaring me..."
MacPhisto cannot stand it any longer and leaves the chair for a seat on the sofa by the fireplace where he broods and drinks. And DOESN'T look at BluePhisto. Absolutely not. BluePhisto rushes over to Larry, her hands full of broken glass.

"What have I done?" she cries. "Why is he so dark?"
Larry takes the glass from BluePhisto and puts it in a trashcan. "He saw you and The Fly. Him kneeling and giving you the ring and you laughing."
"Oh God! He can't really think that I would like someone so ridiculous?" She writes a note on a matchbook and gives it to Larry. "Can you give this to him? Please? He won't even talk to me."
"I'll do what I can."
Larry strides over to MacPhisto's couch where no one else dares to sit and says a couple of words to the sullen devil, and hands him the matchbook. MacPhisto throws it into the fireplace without opening it, and continues to focus on some invisible far away object, stone-faced. BonaPhisto takes a seat beside the silent MacPhisto and gestures for Larry to leave. "Mac, darling..."
"I don't understand, Bona. How can she pretend not to know what she has done? I thought angels couldn't lie..." He traces the lip of his brandy snifter with his finger. "I was misinformed I suppose..." BonaPhisto watches him, amazed at what she sees. "And you can tell her never to talk to me again, she obviously prefers other company...She let him propose to her! How could she, in my own house? I will never get that image out of my head."
"Mac, I can't believe it. You are really, really upset by this."
"Of course I'm upset!" He snaps at her. "How would you feel if the love of your life was proposed to by some twist-cap sniffing BORE!?"
BonaPhisto smiles. "The what of your life?"
"Nothing. I said nothing I meant nothing. I never want to see her again Bona, make her go away altogether."
"Oh, Mac, I didn't think you were this far gone!"
"Bona! If you are not going to speak any sense you can just leave right now. BluePhisto is nothing special to me. I was just trying to corrupt an angel that's all...I mean imagine THAT on my resume. I have obviously succeeded."
MacPhisto's protest is interrupted by the sound of BluePhisto's voice over the microphone. She stands at the mic with the Edge sitting behind her holding a guitar. She speaks slowly and simply, without sarcasm.
"Since we have been so excellently entertained by our lovely host, I feel compelled to offer my own very limited talent to entertain you. It's a song about...Well you know who you are."
The Edge starts strumming his guitar delicately, and BluePhisto murmurs into the microphone in a voice that is both velvety and transparent...a voice that can only be described as angelic and heartbreakingly sincere.

You say you want diamonds and a ring of gold,
You say you want your story to remain untold,
All the promises we made
From the cradle to the grave


BluePhisto finds MacPhisto in the audience and looks directly at him as she sings

But all I want is you....

You say you'll give me a highway with no one on it
A treasure just to look upon it
All the riches in the land
You say you'll give me
eyes in a moon of blindness
a river in a time of dryness
a harbor in a tempest
All the promises we made


BonaPhisto looks at MacPhisto and his eyes that were so hard a moment ago, have softened and misted. She marvels at how much he has changed and how intensely he focuses on the figure in the spotlight.

from the cradle to the grave
when all I want is you...
All I want is you.


As BluePhisto finishes the song, BonaPhisto turns to MacPhisto and rests a hand on his shoulder. "You see? Did you honestly think that she could ever stand somebody like The Fly? Especially over someone as charming as you are? You silly devil..."

MacPhisto's expression softens. "I was mistaken..."
She leans over and plants a kiss on his cheek "Now, you have some reconciliation to do."
She rises and leaves MacPhisto sitting there, head in his hands. She strides over to Larry, who has been watching her from a distance.
"Looks like you got through to him," he says.
There is a brief silence between the two. Larry's arm finds its way around her waist and he leans in and whispers to her, asking her if she'd like to dance. They head out onto the floor as a slow swing tune starts to play. BluePhisto has made her way over to MacPhisto and the two are talking frantically, almost in argument. Larry pulls BonaPhisto closer to him and they dance.
SEVEN
MoonPhisto watches Edge as he returns to the bar to fix himself another drink.
"Hi, there." She forces a smile and a casual air, though her legs are weak and the butterflies flutter wildly in her stomach. "How's the bottle-flipping going? I don't see any glass on the floor."
Edge turns to face her, smiles, and blushes. "I'm not so sure bartending's for me."
It relaxes MoonPhisto a great amount just to see his smile, she grins back. "You were great up there with Bluey, you seemed to have magic flowing out of your fingertips as you played. You always do, though."
This causes him to blush even deeper and look down into his glass. He is so adorable, she can't resist, and kisses him quickly and gently on the nose. He looks up at this and sees her smiling at him. MoonPhisto quickly fixes herself a Martini.
"Come on, you!" Still smiling at him, she takes his wrist in her other hand and walks backward, facing him, toward the closest couch and seats him there beside her. "How are you holding up? I know these Phisto events aren't really your thing. You doing okay?"
"Yea, it's a little different from my regular schedule..." He smiles and scoots closer to her. "But I'm doing alright."
"I love MacPhisto, Bluey, their parties...but I really don't feel all that comfortable. I try to be as elegant and graceful as they are, but I really need someone fun around to let me take a break from it all, so I'm glad you let me drag you along." She smiles and bumps his shoulder with hers, teasingly.
EIGHT
BluePhisto has a beautiful voice. EchoPhisto is not easily impressed by female voices, but Blue's sincerity alone breathes life into her song. It is surreal to hear BluePhisto singing ABOUT someone from EchoPhisto's past, and WITH someone from the present. Echo can hardly stand to wait for the tune to end. When it does, she glances bitterly at MacPhisto, with tears streaming down his face. Edge heads back behind the bar. Echo follows.
When Edge sees her approach him, his expression is one of surprise, as though he expected that just getting up and walking away would prompt her to disappear forever.
"You don't understand!" she whimpers. "I haven't always been LIKE this. There was a time when the things I felt were so pure and consuming that they couldn't be expressed with...words. Do you SEE that man over there?" She points at MacPhisto, now in BluePhisto's arms. "His love for HER may be sincere, but I was not so fortunate. All this talk of casting out devils and corrupting angels. How could I have known better? I'm only a human..."
Edge looks away and begins to fix himself another drink.
"I didn't know anything about love. MacPhisto was the first...When he left, I changed. Suddenly, too much was not enough. I practically had to have a revolving door installed in my boudoir. Hell, I could tell you a few secrets about some of the partygoers here tonight. You see that short blonde over there, in the dragon mask? He might have loved me, if he could have come untied from his mother's apron strings. And see that one across the room, in the horns?"
Edge looks. "The redhead?"
"No, the OTHER one in the horns."
"Him?"
"Yes, THAT man liked to do it with all the lights on, which I thought flattering until I found out it is because he's afraid of the dark." She laughs softly to herself. "That's all these boys were...an inventory of interchangeable facts and faces amidst a whirlwind of emotion. Months of agony and seconds of ecstasy...and then one day it stopped...I looked over at the young man in my bed, and I felt nothing at all. I threw him out and I have not so much as touched anyone - angel, devil, or human - since."
Edge takes a drink, but his eyes are on EchoPhisto's face. The intensity of those eyes makes Echo stumble, for the first time.
"Do you...Do...you know...what it's like to never have physical contact with anyone, ever?"
"I've always been more fortunate than that."
"I HAD to have my words. Words filled in the empty spaces. They protected me, and for years. But now..."
Just as Edge sets his drink down, Echo grabs him by the wrist. Her hand is like ice, even in this room warmed by love and drama and fire. Echo slides her hand down into his.
"When I saw you at that party weeks ago I knew I had to have you. Tell me..." She steps closer, until she can smell the liquor on Edge's breath. "What is it like to be the only person who can make a woman feel...anything at all?"
There is a long silence. Edge's eyes seem to soften. EchoPhisto can look into those pupils, dilated in the dimness, and see the thoughts behind them, running a mile a minute. He slowly pulls their entwined hands towards his chest. She leans forward, ever so slightly, expecting the kiss of Reconsideration. But Edge wrests his hand from hers, gathers up his drink, and steps past her. As he walks away, towards where MoonPhisto is standing, he calls back to EchoPhisto:
"It's not polite to monopolize someone's attention at a social gathering."
NINE
After she sang her song, BluePhisto made her way through the congratulatory crowds foisting champagne and martinis on her to the couch where MacPhisto sits, his head in his large hands. Recognizing the hem of her dress, he stands and faces her. He tries to remember not to reach for her hands or to touch her, lest one of his more malicious associates sees his very genuine affection for her. He speaks softly. "I have never been so angry...ever."
BluePhisto is outraged. "Why!? I didn't do anything! I told him to leave me alone, how could you ever think that I would prefer him over you. How could you ever think even for a moment that I could ever...with anyone !? You must not think very highly of me!"
"I'm sorry. I couldn't help it. I saw him...and you were laughing. I left before I made a scene." He moves closer to her, as close as he possibly can without touching her. "I wanted to kill him...you see, darling, devils are different than angels. We have only ever experienced a world shut away from all heavenly things. Most of us do not miss it, never having known it. But I felt it just then, the pain of being removed from the only piece of heaven I have almost killed me, and I wished that I had never loved you at all so I would not know what it is like to be shut away from you." He can no longer stop himself from taking BluePhisto in his arms and holding her as he whispers into her ear. "I left the room, trying to undo everything. I tried to pretend that you didn't exist. But I can't, I was actually frightened for the first time because I realize that I could not just un-feel, even when it is painful or inconvenient. I am caught. I am irreversibly in love with you. I shudder to think that even if you hated me and never wanted to see me again, this feeling would not go away."
BluePhisto is very moved by his words. "Oh, Mac, I'm so sorry. I never meant to hurt you..."
MacPhisto releases BluePhisto from his embrace and looks around furtively. "I am sorry too, I should not have held you just now. I don't think anyone saw. Meet me in my room in five minutes, I want to give you something."
"Yes, of course."
MacPhisto wanders off nonchalantly, picking up a martini and chatting to guests before he enters his room and shuts the door.
BluePhisto follows MacPhisto in a slow, roundabout way, chatting amiably with guests as she goes. "...Well, I must be going," she says to demon after demon and angel after angel, "someone needs to speak with me in the other room." When she turns to leave at last, she walks into a towering, shadowy figure. He looms over her and she recognizes him immediately. She gasps, and he speaks slowly, deliberately, softly.
"You bet they do," he whispers.
BluePhisto is taken aback. "Whatever could the problem be?"
"You and MacPhisto... I witnessed your little exchange over there... the way he held you."
"Exchange?!" BluePhisto forces a laugh. "I'm afraid I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Yes you do. Come with me."
This mysterious figure leads her over to MacPhisto's room. BonaPhisto and Larry stand motionless for a moment, and Mirrorball Man makes his way to the bar and is fixing himself a drink.
"Who," Larry asks, "was that?"
"That, my darling, was Senior Devil Screwtape."

TEN
BluePhisto knocks on the door softly. MacPhisto answers, and is taken aback at her company. "Screwtape! Why hello, I wasn't expecting your company, I must admit."
"Cut the crap, Mac, I know about the two of you."
"What about the two of us?"
"I've been building suspicions all night, and the evidence now is all too clear. I watched you during the Fly incident, and I know you well enough to know that you would never brood that kind of anger toward so small an incident unless your feelings were drastic. I've seen the look on your face when you look at her, and i saw the way you kissed her tonight. Mr. MacPhisto, I've seen all the evidence, and I have confirmed that the two of you are in love."
After a long silence of contemplation, every ounce of hope has left MacPhisto's pale face. "Yes, it's true."
"Mr. MacPhisto, I trained you and I am sickened by this... after you've had such an excellent record! If the Father below finds out, which no doubt the news is already on it's way..."
"What do you mean? Who have you told?"
"None of your business my dear boy. None of your business."
"Fine. Your ambiguity is horrifyingly clear. What do you want?"
"Ah, MacPhisto, you always were one of my smarter students...such a pity you had to embarrass yourself with this primate."
BluePhisto is relieved; Screwtape thinks she is a human.
"Get to the point," MacPhisto scowls.
"Fine. As you yourself said in such a touching manner just a few scant minutes ago, this human has given you a, what did you say, 'glimpse of heaven' or some such nonsense...Well, I don't think that you should be so greedy."
MacPhisto's face darkens. "What do you mean?"
"Well, maybe I too wouldn't mind..." Screwtape glances at BluePhisto. "...glimpsing heaven. I'm only asking you to share..."
"No."
"Oh come now...don't be so sentimental. We both win, I satisfy my curiosity and you can snap out of this disgusting haze that you are in."
"Absolutely not. Get out."
Screwtape moves deliberately towards BluePhisto. "Mr MacPhisto, you should reconsider, I only want her soul and you can have the rest when I'm through" He gives BluePhisto an appraising look with cold black eyes. "Although, I can see the appeal of them both...For a human she is quite appetizing."
Several things happen at once, Screwtape reaches to grab BluePhisto by the arm and MacPhisto simultaneously reaches for Screwtape's neck. Before either can happen, however, BluePhisto raises a hand and MacPhisto is instantly unconscious. Screwtape halts, confused and looks to see where MacPhisto landed but BluePhisto has already carried him to the bed and laid him there. She then turns to Screwtape.
"Well, that was a stupid thing to do," she sighs.
"How did you do that?"
"It's all in the wrist." She looks at him calmly. "Do you know who I am?" She sits on the desk. "Tell me something Screwtape, when is the last time you felt really stupid?"
"I don't follow you."
"Exactly. You can't. But I can follow you. I know you."
"How?"
She grins. "Let's just say I am a fantastic co-author."
"You little snitch. Who are you!?"
"That is none of your business. All you need to know is that you are having a very bad day at work. Now tell me something, who have you told?"
"Why should I tell you?"
BluePhisto points at him and Screwtape starts to burn on the inside, it is all the horror of hell concentrated into one blistering sensation. Screwtape gasps and BluePhisto snaps her fingers, the burning stops, he falls to the floor.
"I can make that last forever. And you know what that means don't you?"
Screwtape groans. "You're one of them."
"Getting warmer. Who did you tell?"
"No one. I was bluffing. And if you try any more tricks on me, I will make you suffer..."
BluePhisto laughs a little at him. "How are you going to do that you pathetic little paper-pusher? Are you going to bore me to death or write me a nasty letter? Face it, what you need to fight me is not your department. And I am not entirely sure you are bluffing." She burns him again and stops abruptly. "One more chance. Who have you told?"
"Oh just a little bird...or two." Even in his exhaustion he lunges for a letter opener and plummets it towards BluePhisto's chest. BluePhisto grabs it away and uses it to slit his throat in one clean movement. Screwtape bleeds to death quickly and BluePhisto picks up the letter opener, wipes it off and puts it back on the desk. Once Screwtape is dead she waves her hand and transforms his corpse into dust on the floor in the middle of black blood. Just then, a concerned Larry raps on the door. BluePhisto cracks it open and asks for a mop and bucket of water. Curious Larry gets these items from the bar and enters the room, horrified at the blood.
"Are you alright?" he gasps. "Whose blood is that? Where is MacPhisto?"
BluePhisto puts a finger to her red lips and says casually as she mops up the blood. "I killed Screwtape."
"You what?!"
BluePhisto sighs and looks at Larry wearily. "You can keep a secret, I trust you. I am not one of those Christmas-card harp-playing angels. I am an assassin. It's just my job, I've been doing it for 3000 years and I'm pretty good at it but I want to retire. Please don't tell anyone at all."
"Em, yeah okay..." He kind of backs away from her and she laughs.
"Oh Larry, you funny little boy. I'm not going to just go on a rampage here! I am one of those angels. You know, smiting the wicked and so on. You're quite safe."
Larry relaxes and looks around. "Okay, sure. Where is Mac?"
BluePhisto gestures towards the bed and puts the mop back in the bucket. "He's asleep."
Larry takes the bucket from her and furrows his brow. "Devils don't sleep."
BluePhisto shuts the door. "I've introduced it to him, he loves it."
Larry leaves and BluePhisto sighs and sits on the desk. She really wanted to retire and not smote anyone for a while, the boss was kind enough to give her a leave of absence. She approached the bed and looked down at MacPhisto, sleeping. He looked so calm and content. BluePhisto crawls into the bed beside him and closes her eyes.

ELEVEN

Larry carries the bucket of blood and ashes back to the bar and dumps it down the drain.
"Larry darling, what are you doing?"
"Emptying a bucket."
BonaPhisto laughs. "That much is evident...why are you emptying a bucket?"
Larry puts the bucket down and mumbles, "Ah, ya know, just cleaning up."
"Well, well, a man who cleans! Tell me," She puts her arms around him and looks seductively into his eyes. "...Do you cook too?"
"On occasion." He hugs her protectively and tightly, glad that things are so simple between them and that BonaPhisto does not have a dangerous job like BluePhisto. He can't imagine having to worry that she might not come back whenever she left.
BonaPhisto smiles, but is bewildered. "What was that for?"
"Just glad that...I mean...I'm just happy. You know that I would never let anyone hurt you, right?"
"Aw, are we in an Elvis movie? Should I go get into my beach blanket bingo outfit now?"
"I'm serious, you know that I love you right? Because I do."
BonaPhisto stares up at him, almost numb with happiness and beams. She leans up and brushes her lips across Larry's cheek, still pinned in his tight embrace. She whispers softly in his ear.
"I love you too, Larry. She melts into his arms and he lifts her head and plants his lips firmly onto hers. They part after a few blissful minutes and she looks again into his face. She starts to lead him out of the room.
Larry smiles, knowing what's coming. "Where are we going?"
BonaPhisto leads him down a rather expansive hallway, the decor consisting of red and gold, the walls lined with paintings of MacPhisto himself, until they come to a door on the left side. BonaPhisto pulls out a key and unlocks the room. They enter, and Larry's jaw drops. What is set before him is a very large bedroom suite, the bed set in the center along the back wall, a very shiny grand piano set off to the side and a set of glass doors leading off to a balcony a bit further down. BonaPhisto disappears for a moment, and soon a soft piano concerto graces their ears. She returns, and has now changed into a gold silken robe. She locks the door behind them and walks outside to the balcony, where the view includes the main lounge, and she stands and watches the party from a distance, seeing the Fly work his magic on several women at once. She hears Elvis' voice in the background, but she can't tell which song. Larry comes up behind her and wraps his arms around her waist.
"What's so funny?"
BonaPhisto gestures toward the window of the lounge. "The Fly."
Larry watches and laughs lightly. "He's ridiculous."
Larry starts planting little kisses on the back of her neck. Some peculiar movement catches BonaPhisto's eye suddenly. MacPhisto, walking determinedly through the lobby, BluePhisto close behind him, it appears that she's calling for him to stop. He waves her away with a gesture and continues to walk, disappearing into the hallway. BonaPhisto suddenly has a foreboding feeling where he's headed. She moves away from Larry and back into the bedroom just in time to hear a knock at the door. She opens it and there stands MacPhisto, out of breath and appearing distraught.
MacPhisto looks directly at Larry. "What happened to Screwtape?"
Larry stays silent for a moment, and MacPhisto turns his attention to BonaPhisto. She stands in her silk robe and he looks her over once and gives her the same flirtatious smile he'd been giving her for the past three thousand years. MacPhisto approaches her. "Maybe you can tell me."
"I thought he went to speak to you..."
MacPhisto moves closer to her and whispers as he plays with the collar of her robe. "I think you know a lot more than you're telling me." He stares into her eyes. Larry moves right up to MacPhisto.
"She knows nothing. Why are you so concerned anyway? He's off your back, nothin' to worry about you and BluePhisto, alright?"
"Screwtape is my boss. Without him Hell becomes even worse for me than it already is. Where is Screwtape?"
They are interrupted by a shout and MacPhisto spins around to see a junior devil standing in front of him, quite shaken and horrified.
"Dorian, what is it?"
"Master Screwtape," Dorian gasps. "Master Screwtape has been killed."
MacPhisto stares coldly for a long moment, then dismisses Dorian with a wave of his hand.
"Thank you. Be gone."
Dorian leaves. BonaPhisto's eyes widen, MacPhisto needs no further explanation. He's smart enough to know that the only creature that could possibly kill a devil of Screwtape's status would be an angel. He moves about the room, examining every crack in the wall, and speaks softly.
"Bona, I didn't think you remembered about this room."
"How could I forget? It hasn't been that long since I last stayed here."
"And do you remember our nights in this room?"
BonaPhisto is embarrassed, but nods. She and Larry are wondering why Mac is ignoring the news about Screwtape. Mac sits on the edge of the bed, facing them and sighs elegantly. BluePhisto appears at the door, out of breath. MacPhisto turns to look at her, no expression on his face. He is not angry, nor is he particularly pleased, he is only numb. He moves his eyes back to BonaPhisto, and looks her over once again as if she were a piece of particularly delicious meat. Larry steps over to her and wraps his arms around her protectively. MacPhisto laughs.
"A little cautious are we? Relax, I'm not going to devour her."
He shifts his stare back to BluePhisto and again is numb, expressionless. Larry looks at BluePhisto in an apologetic way. BluePhisto waves it off.

MacPhisto struggles to maintain a calm voice. "I think you two had better leave the room. BluePhisto here and I need to have a private conversation."
BonaPhisto and Larry out and closes the door. BluePhisto stands before MacPhisto with her heart in her throat."
"Darling....where do I begin. Yes, that's right do you have..." He roars at her. "...ANY IDEA WHAT YOU HAVE DONE!? You somehow managed to kill my boss in my bedroom and you are sorry? You managed to get rid of the only being in Hell that didn't want me dead. Tell me did you cross the t's and dot the i's when you signed my death warrant? I think the world of good penmanship..." BluePhisto starts to speak and MacPhisto signals for her to be quiet. "No dearest, I have a few questions for you. First of all, why did I wake up in bed? Last thing I remember is trying to protect you and then I wake up in bed?"
"I put you to sleep. I didn't want you to provoke him into a fight, you were reaching for his neck."
"He was reaching for you! What do you want me to do!? Well, go on. Tell me the story dear What happened next? You slept with him? What?"
"MacPhisto!"
"Sorry, sorry go on, go on."
"I put you on the bed, and then I told him to tell me who he told about you and I."
MacPhisto laughs cruelly. "Oh I bet he got a kick out of that! I can see you now telling him he's a big mean devil and he should tell you everything or you won't like him anymore! Did you threaten to play your harp at him?"
"Mac..."
"Just skip to the good stuff, when did you decide I don't need to exist anymore?"
"He tried to kill me."
MacPhisto shakes his head. "Screwtape isn't like that. He's a devil of words and thought, not of action. I have never seen him actually do anything. But regardless of what you say he did, here is the part that I just can't wrap my brain around...how? I only assume you did it because it no human could have, none of the girls would have and thanks to you, I was asleep. So how in the wide world darling, did you manage to kill one of the most powerful demons of Hell? I am really confused."
"You aren't going to like the answer..." She walks up and down the room length for a minute and MacPhisto becomes more interested when he sees the gravity of her expression. She sits on the bed facing MacPhisto with her head in her hands. Just for a moment he finds himself drawn to her again, and softens. She raises her head, and begins to speak. "Mac...We have never talked very much about our lives before all this. I know there are things you don't want to tell me, so I never pressed for details. But there was something I didn't want to tell you, not right away."
MacPhisto leans forward. "What?"
"He came at me with the knife and I disarmed him and slit his throat, then I turned him into ash. Larry came in and helped me clean up." MacPhisto is dumbfounded, he expected that she just got in a lucky blow or that Screwtape had somehow done himself in, never this. "See, I'm not a cherub...I'm not an archangel either. I have a job and it's..."
MacPhisto goes absolutely cold with shock and realization. "You're an assassin..."

BluePhisto looks up at him sadly. "Screwtape had no idea. It was just reflex, he tried to stab me and I reacted. I had no idea that he was your only ally. I've been doing this for three thousand years, you have probably heard about a lot of my work. I was afraid to tell you. I was afraid you would hate me. You probably do, I don't tell anyone because they become afraid of me. But there is nothing to fear. I would never ever hurt you. I love you and I would do anything to protect you, anything." MacPhisto has closed his eyes and is trying to absorb all this. "I didn't want to tell you like this. I wanted to wait until you were more sure that I love you so you wouldn't be afraid. I can see that you are. It's not pleasant work. I want to retire. They're training Adam, but it's a slow process. I'm so sorry. I understand now what I did and I know what I have to do to stop it. That's why I have to go for a while. I will make everything all right. Don't worry. Adam will be here and he will protect you in the meantime. Please don't be angry. I wanted to tell you, I will understand if you never want to see me again...I love you, I will make everything okay...goodbye." She leans down and hesitantly kisses him. Despite his shock he kisses her back passionately. Their lips part, he wants to tell her to stay, not to go...but she is gone. He looks out the window behind him and sees her walking out of the iron gates, coat flaring behind her.
Echo is offline  
Old 11-25-2001, 02:30 AM   #4
War Child
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: The Echosphere
Posts: 769
Local Time: 05:49 AM
TWELVE

BluePhisto walks along the tree-lined street with a determined step, trying to think only of the rather tricky task at hand. Surmising that Larry poured the bucket down the sink, she lifts a manhole cover and makes her way down the ladder to the tunnels below. BluePhisto gingerly walks down the narrow platform, removing a jar from her pocket.
"Come on you son of a bitch where are you?" She stops and focuses on the filthy river, with a swirl, ashes begin to precipitate from the muck and land in the jar she holds. When it is full she tucks it carefully back into her pocket and leaves the sewer.
Once back on the terra, BluePhisto empties the ashes on the cold pavement and closes her eyes. Slowly, the ashes funnel up into a narrow cyclone, climbing and depositing ashes until Screwtape's body stands before her again, just as it was before she burned him. BluePhisto claps her hands together and Screwtape is suddenly re-animated.
He stumbles and gasps from the severe shock to his system, he coughs for several minutes but soon regains his wits and his dignity and looks at BluePhisto with narrowed eyes. "You...you killed me!"
"Yes, and I brought you back. I acted too quickly. My killing you was a matter of reflex. I had not the time to consider the consequences."
"Ah, so MacPhisto let you know what would become of him without my support?"
BluePhisto is reluctant. "Yes...He had nothing to do with your death. This is between you and I."
Screwtape realizes he has the upper hand. "But this could be made about him, you see?
"It doesn't have to be. You can just declare that your death was a mix up, your report about MacPhisto and I was subject to propaganda by our side, and that no one could possibly kill you... everything is fine."
"That is of course, if I wanted to..."
"I brought you back from the dead," BluePhisto says bluntly. "What more could you want?"
"How little you understand about devils. It doesn't matter what we have, we want more. Really, being around MacPhisto and his insatiable appetite for women, I thought you would have surmised that already."
"What do you want in return for your silence?"
Screwtape draws closer, contemplating her lips. "Don't you remember? I want what he has, a taste of heaven." He whispers into her ear. "I want to know what it is like to make love to an angel..."

BluePhisto is outraged. "No, absolutely not...I can't imagine anything so disgusting."
Screwtape smiles and walks away. "Fine, fine. You do understand what we will do to him when the Father Below finds out don't you? It makes what you did to me look like a tickle fight. He will, more or less, suffer excruciating pain and misery until the end of time...and you and I know that that will never come. It's so much nicer to talk to beings who have an understanding of eternity...So, one single night with me that you can forget about or never speak to anyone about and I will make all this go away or Mac will suffer unbearable torture for eternity."
"How do I know you aren't lying?" She says, near tears. "You could just go back on your word. I should kill you again."
"But where does that leave MacPhisto? That's right, eternal pain and suffering...no reprieve, no dignity...You can believe me, this is such an unusual arrangement that I am willing to sign any contract you wish, binding in my realm or yours."
BluePhisto sees she is defeated, and remembering that MacPhisto probably hates her anyway. "Fine. But I want to see everything made right first."

THIRTEEN

Back in the mansion, Dorian the junior tempter is on the phone in a frantic state.
"He's NOT dead!? How can that be, I heard from...He is THERE!? What a bizarre mix-up. I've never heard of such a...yes thank you for clearing that up. I will be sure to inform everyone. Good-bye."
Adam, the Archangel-In-Training, strides across the room, a man on a mission. He's got to find MacPhisto. But he's momentarily distracted when he passes a familiar face.
"Echo?
Echo turns to look at the man addressing her. She is not unhappy to see him, but her face retains its despair.
"Oh, Adam! It's so good to see you again! It's been so long..."
"Yeah, I have yet to get that Space Invaders rematch with you."
"I don't know why you bother." Echo's eyes return to their previous focal point. "You know I would totally whip you again."
"Are you okay?"
"Oh, fine. Fine." She sounds disembodied now. Adam follows her line of sight to MoonPhisto and Edge on the couch, joking and flirting. Echo fumes. It comes so easily to HER...
"Tell me what's wrong," he says.
"I've come to the realization that, carrying around this torch for Edge, all that's gonna happen is my arm's gonna get tired."
"It's really not so hopeless..."
Echo shakes her head as MoonPhisto scoots closer to Edge.
"Look," Adam says, "I remember back when Edge and Aislinn parted ways. I'd never seen Edge act the way he did then. As though life wouldn't go on, like the world would just stop, out of pity for him, or perhaps out of spite. You two haven't exactly had similar experiences, but the results are the same. Emotional catastrophe. Edge thinks you're a nice person, but he sees too much of his past in you."
"He was so cold..."
"He doesn't know how to handle you. He's really sympathetic; he can't help being that way. But he's put so much trust in people, and been betrayed so many times. He thinks your weaknesses will make him weaker."
Echo laughs bitterly. "And to think...I was so attracted to the strength I thought he could give me."
"This world is brimming with irony. Be glad you're not caught between worlds, like some of the guests here tonight. And speaking of which, I'm very sorry, but I have to go. I have work to do."

FOURTEEN

Larry and BonaPhisto are interrupted by a knock at the door. He arises, puts his pants back on and opens the door, only to find MacPhisto standing there.
"What do you want?"
MacPhisto is visibly distraught. "She's gone...I...I didn't even get the chance to ask her to stay... she's gone. I don't know how to feel...I don't like what it feels like to be without her." He looks into the room to see BonaPhisto lying on the bed, only covered by satin sheets. He raises an eyebrow. "I'm not interrupting something, am I?" He sighs and walks further into the room, swirling a bottle of Jack Daniels. He sits down on the bed and wakes BonaPhisto.
"Hello, lovely," he says, looking back at her.
BonaPhisto hastily throws her robe back on and sits on the bed next to him while Larry sits on MacPhisto's other side. "You're going to be okay?" MacPhisto leans his head on BonaPhisto's shoulder and takes another long swig of Jack. "Mac, you never drink this." She takes the bottle from him and sets it on the floor, and Mac reaches for it in protest but does not succeed in reattaining it. There's Another knock at the door. BonaPhisto answers it, and as she gets up MacPhisto's head falls to the bed. He's too upset to make the effort. BonaPhisto opens the door, and there stands Adam. Clad all in white with gold wings, he regards BonaPhisto with a kind face.
"Hello, I'm here for MacPhisto. Bluey sent me."
"Come in, please."
Adam sweeps into the room, and seats himself next to MacPhisto. He lifts MacPhisto's head up and rests it on his shoulder. BonaPhisto takes a seat next to Larry, then realizes that there's an archangel in the room and that she's completely indecent. She rises and goes into an adjoining room to dress.
"You were quick getting here," says MacPhisto.
"I came as soon as I could. No doubt all of Hell is after you now and Bluey sounded very upset when she called me. Normally angels would not protect devils like you, but because you are particularly important to her this was necessary."
"I see, but at this point I could care less."
That's when Dorian bursts into the room. "I have news!"
MacPhisto perks up. "Do tell, and be quick."
"Master Screwtape is alive."
Larry shakes his head. "That's impossible..."
Adam looks at Larry. "Not for an angel, it's not."
MacPhisto whispers, alarmed, to Adam. "Could he hurt her?"
"Bluey is very good at what she does. I doubt she would allow such a thing to happen."
For the next hour, MacPhisto uses the bedside phone to call Screwtape, who never picks up. MacPhisto hangs up for the last time. Larry and BonaPhisto have left to rejoin the party, Adam and MacPhisto are alone in the room, sitting on the rumpled bed.
"Why isn't he there?" MacPhisto asks no one in particular. "If he is alive he would be there."
"Maybe he's not picking up."
"Not like him. Unless he's avoiding me..." MacPhisto drops his head back on Adam's shoulder. "Where is she? If he's alive and everything is right, she should be back...It's been over an hour since we got the news. What if she just decided not to come back? What if she never comes back?"
"I doubt it," says Adam, "She loves you very much."
MacPhisto reaches for the bottle again and takes a swig from it. Adam takes it out of his hand.
"Don't drink that stuff."

FIFTEEN

BonaPhisto is behind the bar searching for her favorite brandy.
"It's not here...Hmm, must have run out, I'll go and have a look in the cellar."
She kisses Larry on the cheek and skips out of the room, so happy she is almost floating. As she enters the basement, she passes a room and hears a muffled crying sound. She listens and peeks in the door.
"BluePhisto!? What are you doing back? When did you get here? What's wrong?" She sits beside the angel and puts an arm around her."
"Bona, I did something terrible."
"What happened?"
BluePhisto takes a deep ragged breath. "Bona, I brought him back. He threatened to turn MacPhisto in to the Father Below...He said that they would torture him forever...He made me promise something in return for his silence..."
BonaPhisto dreads the answer, but asks anyway: "What is that?"
"He made me promise to sleep with him."
"Oh, Bluey, no. You can't. You didn't!"
BluePhisto starts to sob again. "I had to it was that or let them have MacPhisto." She puts her head in Bona's lap and wails. "Oh God Bona I don't know what to do! I can't kill him, I hate him, I have to do this...What am I going to do?"
They hear MacPhisto and Adam coming down the stairs.
BluePhisto whispers desperately: "Don't let Mac know I'm here, please it would kill him to know. He can't know I'm back...Please!"
MacPhisto's voice is audible behind the door. "Adam, you angels have it good...everybody seems to love you. I don't know why she isn't back. I'm so worried about her, I know she's strong but she's still the love of my life! I wish I hadn't yelled at her earlier, maybe I scared her away...do you think so Adam?"
Adam is barley heard over the clinking of several bottles being collected. "She loves you. I know that."
"It must be nice to know."
BluePhisto is crying so hard at this point that she has put a hand over her mouth and buried her face in Bona's skirt to keep from making a sound.
"Come on, let's get you upstairs."
"I can walk by myself, Adam. I haven't had that much."

SIXTEEN

Edge and MoonPhisto sit finishing their drinks more casually than any truly elegant creature would in public: Edge, with his arm around her shoulders, and Moon snuggled next to him, sideways on the couch with her legs across his lap and her feet bare, her strappy gold glitter heels tossed to the floor beside their couch."
"No Way!" exclaims MoonPhisto. "And, what? you just...forgot it?" She laughs.
"I'm not sure," Edge says, "but at one point I did know the secret of the universe. He laughs along with MoonPhisto, enjoying watching the soft glowing beauty that her face radiates and listening to her melodious laugh that he caused. She sees him watching her and he looks down blushing, which makes her giggle all over again.
"Oh!" Her eyes widen, glittering with excitement. "I just had a wonderful idea!" She leans closer to whisper, though it isn't necessary, for no one is really paying attention to them in their little corner. "This place is huge! I'll bet there are millions of incredible rooms around here that are just aching to be discovered! Let's go exploring!"
They jump up, she grabs her shoes (but doesn't bother putting them back on) and they run stealthily from the main ballroom to the now deserted front hall. They stop to gaze at an exquisite door with ancient and ornate detail.
"I wonder what grand chamber this is!" says MoonPhisto. She and Edge open the thick, heavy wooden doors with great effort...
Edge laughs when he sees. "It's just the bathroom! Come on, this way." He takes her wrist and leads her down a long hallway that goes on for miles. Edge chooses a large wooden door on the left, as intricately decorated as the first, and opens it to reveal a long dark spiraling staircase.
MoonPhisto steps back in terror. She may be brave, but one thing she's awfully afraid of is the dark. "I'm not...Are you so sure that, em, that this is the best door to choose? Why don't we try another?"
"Come on, it won't be that bad. We can take one of these..." He pulls down one of MacPhisto's wall torches... "with us, and... I'll protect you! He puffs out chest exaggeratedly and gives a grin.
MoonPhisto laughs nervously. "Well... I suppose it couldn't be too bad..." A paralyzing fear grips her heart and she is having trouble trying to conceal it in her face. Edge sees how truly frightened she is. "It's alright, here...let's try this door instead." He heads over to one of the other doors nearby.
"No, wait. We can go this way."
"Are you sure? Really, it's no big deal. We can go this way instead."
"No, no. I'm sure. I was being silly. Hey, it's an adventure!" She smiles, and he rejoins her, torch in hand. They slowly descend the dark, damp, stone stairs, not able to clearly see anything anymore than three or so feet ahead of them, at a time. Soon the light of the doorway disappears around the turn of the winding stairwell. They continue down the stairs, the torch their only source of light...

SEVENTEEN

BonaPhisto runs a hand down BluePhisto's cheek, wiping a tear away. She hands her a tissue and lifts her head.
"Bluey, I'll be right back... I'm going to go get some brandy. Maybe a drink will calm you a bit." She gets up and BluePhisto rests her head down on the barrel BonaPhisto was sitting on. BonaPhisto walks around the corner and quickly finds the brandy bottle. She attempts to take it as quietly as possible, but it makes a loud clanking sound and Adam and MacPhisto spin around at the noise.
"Bona!" It's Adam. "We didn't realize you were in here."
"Well, I was just looking for my brandy... it seems to be out upstairs."
"Really?" MacPhisto looks around. "I could have sworn I stocked it especially for you..."
"Well, you know how popular it is...The Fly probably had some. Lord knows he drinks the stuff like it's goin' outta style."
MacPhisto spots two brandy snifters in her hands and becomes suspicious. "Aren't there plenty of snifters upstairs, love?"
BonaPhisto laughs nervously. "Well...em...You better go now, love." She practically pushes him out the door. "They're probably missing you upstairs!"
"Yes, but..."
"But nothing! Go now before they all start a search party!"
"I'll be glad to help you find what you're looking for..." MacPhisto starts to head around the corner directly toward where BluePhisto sits. BonaPhisto grabs his arm and pulls him back toward her and sensing his determination and suspicion, she runs a hand over his chest, peeking through his open shirt. At this point he really won't listen to her and she feels she's run out of options. It is the only way she knows to get his attention for sure. She runs her hands across his cheek and plants a kiss there.
"No, Mac, I'll be fine. Now go!" She finally succeeds in shoving them both out the door, but as Adam leaves he glances back and sees BluePhisto through gaps in the wine shelves. He says nothing. They leave and BonaPhisto shuts the cellar. She turns the corner to where BluePhisto still sits, still sobbing.
"So sorry, darling, that was a bit too close."
BluePhisto cannot speak through her tears and the heaviness of her sobs. BonaPhisto pours the brandy and hands BluePhisto a glass. With shaking hands, BluePhisto lifts the glass to her lips and takes a sip.
"Thank you. I can't believe I promised Screwtape I'd do something like that! Please, you must not let anyone know what's about to happen... especially Mac."
BonaPhisto takes BluePhisto's face in her hands and looks her deeply in the eye.
"You have my word, Bluey, you know that. I realize that I've been competing with you for years for Mac's attention, and we haven't always been the closest of friends so to speak, but our friendship is deeper than that."
"Thank you, Bona."
"It's all I can do."
"I do think," says BluePhisto, "I need some more time by myself... I have thinking to do."
BonaPhisto nods. "If you need anything, let me know somehow... I'll check up on you every once in a while, okay?" BonaPhisto gives BluePhisto a quick kiss on the cheek.
BonaPhisto and Larry leave the wine cellar and head back up to the party. MacPhisto stands near the staircase, and when they emerge, he raises an eyebrow.
It is dim in the basement and cold. She has never felt so alone..
She can hear his footsteps above her. He is supposed to be at the party, but keeps stealing away to look for her, to look out windows and in old forgotten rooms. She wants to call out and reassure him that she is here, but she knows she could not see him without breaking down...and then he would know, and he would have to know where she was going tomorrow night, and that would just destroy him. She knows it's the only way, but she would not be able to look him in the eye. It's best that he never ever finds out.
BluePhisto walks out of her hiding place stiffly to get a bottle of something to drink while she waits. She wraps her fingers around a bottle of rye when she hears someone coming and the light turns on.

EIGHTEEN

MacPhisto sighs deeply and grabs a phone from a nearby table, punching several numbers in frustration...he waits, and waits, and waits, and waits. Finally he sets the phone back in the cradle and sinks back into the sofa, muttering to himself.
"He should be back by now! Where in Hell is he?"
Dorian enters the room, startled by MacPhisto's red eyes.
"Is everything well with you Mr. MacPhisto?"
"Yes, yes." MacPhisto lights a cigar and regains his poise. "I cannot get a hold of Screwtape, he is quite disappeared."
"That's odd," says Dorian. "I just talked to him on the phone."
MacPhisto sits forward. "From where?"
"His office, naturally."
MacPhisto dismisses him with a wave of his hand and when he is gone calls again with the same result. MacPhisto furrows his brow and thinks for a moment, then walks back towards the party.

His guests are enjoying dinner now. BonaPhisto gathers a plentiful plate of food for BluePhisto and starts to sneak off down to the wine cellar, unaware that MacPhisto has noticed this and follows her, suspicious. BonaPhisto descends the stairs and moves under the staircase where BluePhisto sits.
"I brought you some dinner... I thought maybe you'd like to eat."
"Yes, thank you."
MacPhisto stops dead when he hears BluePhisto speak.
"Maybe it's better if I don't come back at all...maybe it's better that I don't see MacPhisto again. He'll be crushed..."
He inhales deeply, now under the impression that BluePhisto wants nothing to do with him, he ascends the staircase and joins the party yet again, even more saddened than before.
"I'll have to go in a few minutes. Can't you just knock me out, Bona? I can't believe this...How is he?"
"He's sad, he's asking for you, looking for you."
BluePhisto sighs. "Well, he will stop doing that with time..." She puts down the tray of food, untouched and stands up. "Bona, I have to go." She tightens her coat around her and slowly heads for the stairs. "Bona, will you go make sure there is no one up there?"
"Yes...okay."
"I'm sorry I have to go." She hugs BonaPhisto and they both cry a little.
"I wish there was something I could do, Bluey."
"You can't, darling you can't. Make sure he is okay after I'm...you know."
BonaPhisto nods and sees BluePhisto out the front door, then turns and goes back to the party. She is still in the process of wiping tears from her eyes when she sits down between MacPhisto and Larry. Larry slowly leans in toward her and wraps an arm around her shoulder.
"Bona, what's wrong?"
BonaPhisto leans in, whispering so Mac won't hear. "She's gone...and she said she's not coming back."
Larry sits back in disbelief, but tries not to react too much and spark MacPhisto's attention. But it's no use, MacPhisto approaches swiftly.
"Bona, dear you don't have to whisper," he says. "I followed you down to the wine cellar, and I am perfectly aware that she wants nothing to do with me."
"Oh, Mac, it's nothing like that..."
"Oh really? Then what is it?"
BonaPhisto stares at him, then looks at Larry for an answer. He shrugs.
"I'm afraid I can't tell you... not just yet. What she has to do, she's afraid you'll hate her for it."
MacPhisto is incredulous. "Now what could that be?! Honestly..."
"I can't tell you. Not yet... Please Mac, why don't you have some dessert?"
MacPhisto leans in closer to her, close enough where she can smell his cologne. He runs a finger down the back of her neck and he's leaned in close enough to shed breath on her cheek.
"The only thing I'll be having for dessert has nothing to do with chocolate mousse, my dear." He brushes his lips across her cheek lightly, and by now Larry's on the edge of his seat, ready to pounce at the tiniest instance. "Now, are you going to tell me, or do I have to take this farther?"
"Mac, if I could tell you I would..."
At this, MacPhisto bites her ear gently and plants a single kiss on her neck. He knows that if she's flustered enough she'll talk. "Tell me..."
BonaPhisto bites the inside of her lip. "No."
MacPhisto runs a hand inside the front of her dress and BonaPhisto's hand snaps up to his, firmly pulling his hand away. Larry has taken hold of MacPhisto's jacket and he merely slips out of it. MacPhisto takes his last resort by attacking BonaPhisto with kisses until finally she snaps.
"FINE! She agreed to sleep with Screwtape."
MacPhisto reels back like he's just been shot. "What?!"
"It was either that or let him turn you in to the Father Below and see you killed. She's only doing it to save your life. She's horrified to be honest."
MacPhisto says nothing, but only gets up from the table and bolts out the front door, taking a small knife with him.

NINETEEN

BluePhisto makes her way down the gas lit street slowly. All she can do is force herself to put one foot in front of the other. Right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot. Soon she is in the middle of the street alone, her black coat wrapped tightly around her shivering frame. There is no sound and for a moment she thinks that maybe Screwtape will not come. A hand lands on her shoulder, she turns. Screwtape is standing behind her, dressed in his Sunday best.
"Ah, so glad you could make it, and you were even on time. I appreciate punctuality." He circles her and looks her up and down, she is pale and worn out, shadows collect under her cheekbones and her black hair hangs limply. "You couldn't have prettied yourself up a little for me? Ah no matter. Even now I can see what he saw in you." As he passes behind her, BluePhisto feels her wrists pulled back and clamped by something metallic and she flinches.
"Just a little something to make sure you don't decide to kill me..." BluePhisto pulls at the cuffs astonished that she cannot with all her strength break them. Screwtape watches her discovery with a slick smile on his face. "I had them made especially for you, my little lamb."
Her throat is so dry with fear that she can barely speak. "That was not in the deal...take them off."
Screwtape removes his overcoat and unbuttons his shirt. "You will find I'm full of surprises tonight." He reaches behind her and tightens the handcuffs until her wrists bleed. BluePhisto gasps and tries to move away but he grabs her and undoes her coat, ripping it off her shoulders. She stands shivering in her red dress. He starts to kiss her shoulder and neck and BluePhisto cries. Screwtape looks up and sees she is crying and slaps her hard across the face.
"Stop that." He throws her against a tree, and her ribs crack...He struts over to where she lays, undoing his belt, and runs a hand along her calf and whispers into her ear as he bites at her neck. "Now stop crying and say that you love me."
"No! You are disgusting!" Screwtape digs his fingernails into her skin and slices her leg open. He looks down at her in disgust as he pulls her up by a dislocated arm.
"Now why won't you say you love me? That is very silly of you!" He begins to run a hand up her thigh inside her dress when she kicks him away and spits in his face. Screwtape stands slowly, wiping his face clean with a bloody hand. He steps very close to BluePhisto, running a finger down her neck to her chest as he whispers. "Well, I was going to be nice and gentle with you before you did that. But now, I'm afraid I am going to have to stop being so sweet." He reaches behind her and grabs one of her wings and in a fury tears it out of her skin. BluePhisto screams in pain. Screwtape throws her down on the pavement and begins to crawl over her when a large hand closes around his neck and pulls him off of her violently. Screwtape looks up into the face of an enraged MacPhisto.

"What the Hell are you doing?!"
MacPhisto picks Screwtape up by his shirt and slams him up against a light post so hard that the bulb breaks. Screwtape gasps and MacPhisto punches him in the face, breaking most of the bones. Meanwhile, Larry has found BluePhisto lying unconscious in a pool of blood in the street and turns her over in horror...He had no idea anyone could be so violent.
MacPhisto snarls at Screwtape who is still pinned to the lamp post. "What do you think you are doing!?" MacPhisto dislocates Screwtape's arms. "I asked you a question!"
Screwtape spits out teeth and blood. "We had a deal."
MacPhisto brings his face very close to Screwtape's and his voice is deadly soft. "It's off." He grabs Screwtape's jaw and crushes it in his hand. Screwtape falls to the ground in agony. MacPhisto lights a cigar and stands over Screwtape. "What did you do to her?" Screwtape doesn't answer, so MacPhisto kicks him in the side, breaking his ribs. Screwtape only gurgles in reply.
Larry is panicking. "Find the key! Quick, we have to get her arms free, she's bleeding to death!"
For the first time, MacPhisto lets himself look at BluePhisto...She is barely recognizable and limp, her hands cuffed behind her gory back. A new wave of anger sweeps over him like lava and he steps on Screwtape's throat.
"Before I break every single bone in your body, where is the key?" Screwtape stares mockingly at MacPhisto, and MacPhisto begins to crush his throat. "If you don't tell me, I will do this very slowly." A sickening crack is head and Screwtape points at his coat. MacPhisto pulls Screwtape up to him by his neck and blows smoke into his face as he hisses. "I want you to know something...If you thought for a second you could blackmail me you are mistaken. I have a file on you detailing every transgression of yours for the last thousand years. I want you to stay alive to feel what I'm going to do to you and to remember that if you ever come near her again I will make it my life's work to make an example of you. Do you understand?"
Screwtape's mangled head bobs up and down but his eyes wander over to BluePhisto with a twinkle. MacPhisto extinguishes his cigar on Screwtape's bare chest.
"Don't you even look at her..."
Larry tells BonaPhisto, who has been looking on in horror, to get the key. She finds it and runs it back to Larry who after a number of tries, removes the metal from BluePhisto's wrists. A new torrent of dark red blood issues from the double circles and her arms fall to the sides, revealing a wing dangling from her back at a sickening angle. Larry hears a murmur...MacPhisto is crouching behind him, all the anger gone from his face and his eyes brimming with tears.
"Darling..." He reaches and touches her broken wing. "What has he done to you?" He gathers her in his arms and holding her close to him, carries her back to the house. BonaPhisto has never seen anything as sad as BluePhisto's white arms and wing dangling down lifelessly. MacPhisto never takes his eyes off BluePhisto's face as he grimly walks to the house in the semidarkness with shadows pooling in his eyes.
Larry breaks into a run, calling back, "I'll get Adam!"
BonaPhisto stands alone in the blood drenched street, silver powder is already circling the pools of red where the angel's blood has dried. The pattern of the shimmer makes her shudder, silver dust coats the tree, the sidewalk, her discarded coat and the hands of the now unconscious and utterly broken Screwtape, lying where MacPhisto left him on the sidewalk. Bona creeps to BluePhisto's coat, and picks it up. She drops it as the rag that is left of it rains a dark red like a lacerated sky, and runs back into the mansion.

TWENTY

EchoPhisto watches the struggle from the third floor balcony. By the time BluePhisto is freed, a crowd has gathered behind EchoPhisto, gaping at the sight of it all. EchoPhisto cannot believe that the glamorous masses are so shocked.
"You're all bigger fools than I thought!" she chides them. "Did you think MacPhisto had left his past behind? Did you think it was nothing but decadent parties and martini glasses for the rest of eternity? I may be a mere human, but I know you divine beings never rise above your origins. You'll always be vehicles of vengeance and violence!" She spits at the feet of a cluster of corrupted angels. "You're worse than us primates! Look around! Your existence is not glamorous! Your existence is not stylish! You do not exist in there - (pointing through the door to the ballroom) - it is out THERE, with THEM! And you have the nerve to act like you're ABOVE it! You pretend your actions are in the name of Justice! There is no JUSTICE in this world!"
EchoPhisto pushes past the other guests back into the ballroom, which is fast becoming a madhouse. The demise of tonight's host is certain doom for many present, and with Screwtape fast becoming a part of divine history, MacPhisto will quickly follow, like water draining in a spiral from a basin. But to Echo, it matters little. She slips behind the bar.
Rummaging through the shelves under the counter for something...
Something sharp...
She finds it. A lemon slicer. Perfect. The serrated blade glints under the row of lights above the bar. EchoPhisto turns to see her reflection in the mirrored wall."
"Businessmen they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth..."
She steals out of the room into the deserted hall. MoonPhisto's perfume hangs in the air. EchoPhisto follows the scented trail she has left behind, until she catches sight of a half-open door far down the hallway. As she approaches, she swears she hears a woman's drunken giggle. The torch that ought to have been next to the door is missing.
"If there is any justice in the whole of existence, it is yet to happen...tonight..."
She grips the handle of her makeshift weapon tighter, puts one tentative foot on the first stair, takes a deep breath, and descends.

TWENTY-ONE

The air around MoonPhisto and the Edge is nothing more than a thick blackness, with he exception of the dim light from the torch. A cold draft of air blows by; MoonPhisto shudders and grips the Edge's hand tighter.
She holds her breath to listen blindly for a sign of another, maybe not-so-friendly, presence in the cavernous room. As they reach the bottom of the stairs they do the best they can to look around the room with the little light provided. Edge feels along the wall blindly and stops when his hand bumps something. He brings the torch up to it to find that it is another torch, only unlit. He lights the new torch with his. the room lights up a great deal, for this torch is bigger and gives off more light. They walk around the room, lighting torches along the wall. when they stop to look around the room they've entered...
"Oh my..." MoonPhisto is dumbstruck..."It's a... a forest!"
"Not quite... Wow. I can't believe this is still here! And it's working!"
MoonPhisto looks up at Edge confused. "You've been here before?"
"A long, long time ago. I completely forgot all about it! Years ago, Mac and I really got into..." He blushes. "gardening. Anyway, I came up with this special mixture of nutrients that I wanted to test, so we built this room into a garden. With this formula, you could grow plants without sunlight, which was quite convenient for Mac. Apparently it works quite well! But...I never realized how it would effect the colors of the plants!" He crouches down to touch a flower. Looking around the room, MoonPhisto notices for the first time what is so unusual about her surroundings... Trees with purple trunks and golden leaves, grass growing in a soft, clean white, black roses, royal blue pumpkins....
"Look! How marvelous!" She giggles and runs over to the bright blue pumpkins. "Have you ever seen anything like it?"
"You're right! Come on, I think I remember where our lab table was."
Edge and MoonPhisto pick up several large pumpkins, navy blue, sky blue, cerulean blue, electric blue- so many different shades! They carry them to another side of the room. Edge steps over a patch of pink clovers and begins to tear at a mass of bright orange vines, revealing a table.
MoonPhisto giggles with delight. "This is so fun! I wonder when Mac last came down here. If we carve a few jack-o-lanterns for his party, maybe he'll forgive us for forgetting to bring the bundt cake. BLUE jack-o-lanterns at that!" She runs over to the counter against the wall and begins opening drawers, searching for some markers, spoons, and knives. As she through the drawers, EchoPhisto quietly approaches. She was angry at first, but is now a bit stunned, marveling at the wonders surrounding her. She continues to head toward Moon and the Edge...
A twig snaps.
Edge and Moon spin around at the same time to see who the mysterious visitor is.
"Echo! Dear, you scared me!" MoonPhisto laughs a relieved laugh. "OH! How simply divine! You brought a knife! That was exactly what we were looking for! Come join us!" She gestures to the pumpkins. "Aren't they fabulous?? We're carving some jack-o-lanterns for Mac!" She takes knife, sets it down on the table, and hands Echo an enormous brilliant blue pumpkin. "Here. There are some pencils over there, and a chair for you too! This is a pretty magnificent discovery. Here." She sets up a chair next to Edge and brushes off some of the orange vines, then pulls another chair around to the other side of Edge, seats herself, and begins tracing a face on her pumpkin.

TWENTY-TWO

In the middle of the floor lies BluePhisto, held tightly in MacPhisto's arms. MacPhisto is in tears and his makeup is running. Larry stands in front of the rest of the party.
"Please, Mr. MacPhisto is asking the rest of the party to either disband or move to another wing of the mansion. Any extra bodies in the room will only be interfering. There's another ballroom at the other end of the mansion, the butlers are already waiting there for you all, and Mr. MacPhisto's servants will lead you there. He apologizes for the inconvenience, thank you and have a good night."
The entire party group shuffles out of the room, surprisingly cooperative. Adam rushes into the room, obviously with a purpose and kneels beside the bleeding and barely conscious BluePhisto. MacPhisto looks at Adam pleadingly, desperately.
Adam rises and crosses over to Bona, who wraps her arms around him tightly. They stand and watch Jesus in awe. He picks BluePhisto up ever so gently and runs a hand over her broken wing, healing it. He then moves to her arms, then the rest of her broken body. When he finishes, she turns her head, then opens her eyes.
MacPhisto looks on, and whispers to Adam.
"Thank you. For...helping her. I couldn't have done it." He crosses his arms again and lights a cigar, resuming his former aloofness. He picks the drowsy BluePhisto up like a doll and carries her into his adjoining room, setting her down on the large bed and shutting the door. BluePhisto opens her eyes sleepily to see him sitting by her smoothing his now tousled black hair into place.
"Mac, I'm so sorry."
Tracing her lips with his finger. "Go to sleep now darling, we will talk when you wake up..." He holds her silvery-stained hand and she quickly falls asleep. He stays there, sitting on the bed watching her sleep, contemplating what almost happened to her...the thought makes him feel sick. Images replay in his head, the wine cellar, Screwtape ripping the wing out of her back, her blood everywhere, Screwtape's eyes moving towards her and glittering...There is a knock at the door. BonaPhisto enters.
"How is she?"
MacPhisto gazes at his love. "She'll be alright. She's asleep, I wish she wasn't. I want to talk to her...There's something I've been meaning to do for quite some time..."

TWENTY-THREE

EchoPhisto is stunned by the Technicolor garden at her feet, and allows her bewildered self to be seated by a nonchalant MoonPhisto. MoonPhisto gently takes the lemon slicer from Echo's hand, smiling.
"Here, let me go first."
"Em...alright."
Edge holds out a round, purple fruit to EchoPhisto. "Hey, try this...it's really good."
"What is it?"
"I'm not sure...tastes great, though. Here, have some."
"No thanks. Really not hungry right now."
"Moon?"
MoonPhisto doesn't look up from her carving. "Busy."
"Suit yourselves." He takes another bite.
"So, Echo," says MoonPhisto in the most charming way possible, "how have you been keeping yourself busy these days?"
"Well, I just closed a $2 million dollar deal with Simon & Schuster. For my book about my undercover investigation of that cult MacPhisto started in California."
Edge laughs. "Which one?"
"The Aliens-Behind-the-Comet-Are-Gonna-Take-Us-Away one."
MoonPhisto nods. "I always did think that was his best work."
"Indeed...I've also started research on my next book, about the Zodiac Killer."
"Is that so." MoonPhisto is not particularly interested. She hands Echo the lemon slicer. "Your turn."
"Ah, thanks...So the Zodiac Killer was a fascinating man. Brilliant, but obviously he was extraordinarily disturbed. He believed that if you killed someone, they would become your slave in the afterlife."
EchoPhisto plummets the slicer into the pumpkin, up to the hilt.
MoonPhisto is suddenly flustered. "My, what a silly notion!"
The blade slices easily through the pumpkin's thick exterior.
"He was" EchoPhisto continues, "also a strange kind of sexual deviant. He never molested his victims, but experts say just the act of killing was a release for his sexual frustration. Possibly he was rejected a lot in his younger years."

EchoPhisto looks up and watches, for a brief moment, Edge devouring the purple fruit. His lips sliding over the violet surface. The tip of his tongue darting out to catch stray drops of juice. When he's finished with the fruit, he reaches out and plucks another from a nearby bush.
"These are so good," he says with his mouth full "...You know, they never caught the Zodiac Killer."
"Can we not talk about such gruesome things?" MoonPhisto is visibly upset. "This evening is supposed to be about having fun and being elegant creatures of the night."
Echo nods. "Yes, I was just discussing that with some guests upstairs..."
Edge slowly sets the fruit on the table and stares at it with glassy eyes.
"I don't feel so good all of a sudden..."

TWENTY-FOUR

MacPhisto sighs elegantly and looks down at his ruined suit stained black and silver and red, wrinkled and a little torn in places. "I'm in need of a fresh suit..." He walks over to one of his seven closets in this particular room, only a fraction of his wardrobe, and picks out a black velvet suit with a shimmering red shirt and heads into his expansive bathroom shutting the door.
Bona smiles to herself a little, she was not used to MacPhisto leaving the room to disrobe...but things are different now. BonaPhisto made her way to the enormous bed where BluePhisto slept, covered by layers of satin and velvet blankets, the angel's face was bone white but peaceful...She still couldn't believe what BluePhisto narrowly escaped, the images haunted her. MacPhisto reentered his room, his usual decadent self in black velvet and immaculate makeup."
"You look wonderful, Mac!"
"Thank you darling, I feel much better now." He reaches for a cigar from a gold box on his desk and his collar moves to reveal a white bandage on his neck.
"Darling! You are hurt!"
MacPhisto rubs his neck gently. "Just a scratch, nothing really...I'll be just fine dear."
"Do...do you think he'll come back?"
"No," he says, gazing at BluePhisto. "No he won't. I gave him several reasons to stay far far away...besides she's normally quite strong and capable of defending herself when she's not been..." He drifts off not daring to put the image of her bound wrists back into his mind but it is too late. He looks at the floor. "He was going to kill her you know...I would have had no idea what happened."
"Bluey was going to leave after...afterwards."
"She was?"
"She said she wouldn't be able to look you in the eye, that you would probably hate her for it."
There is a heavy silence in the room like smoke. Bona looks up to see that MacPhisto is standing by the fireplace with his back to her.
"Em, I was wondering if you wanted to come back to the party. You could use some company I think, and the guests are all curious about where you have gone..."
"I don't know..."
"Bluey will be out for hours. You should come and have a drink at least in the meantime, there is nothing you can do here."
"I suppose. MacPhisto turns gracefully and walks towards the door with BonaPhisto. Before he leaves, he looks back at BluePhisto.
"I will catch up with you in a moment, Bona darling, something I forgot..." He heads back in to the room. Bona starts to follow him back, but stops just outside the door. MacPhisto is sitting on the bed beside BluePhisto and slips a gold ring off of his finger, puts it gently on one of hers, and then kisses her forehead without waking her, pulls the blankets up around her and turns back towards the door. BonaPhisto scurries away from the door and starts walking towards the party, MacPhisto soon catches up to her all velvet, smoke and style as if nothing had happened.
"Well, let's go get a drink then shall we darling?"

MacPhisto raises his chin and smiles wildly, offering BonaPhisto an arm. She takes it, and they stride back into the main lounge, where no one but Adam and Larry stand chatting amiably. Larry turns and heads toward BonaPhisto, and offers her other side an arm. She takes it, and now with a man on each side of her, they head off to the other lounge where more than half the party has disbanded, and the rest remain still downing drinks and dancing, happy as ever. When the three of them enter the room, heads turn and cheers rise. MacPhisto saves the three of them any trouble by waving it off with a gesture. He heads over to the bar for a martini. People continuously head over to MacPhisto, asking him how Bluey is. He never gives more than a word or two then dismisses them with a wave.
BonaPhisto and Larry have been dancing and drinking and BonaPhisto, having noticed MacPhisto's behavior, is concerned. She heads over to him and sits next to him.
"Mac, are you sure you're alright? You've been rather quiet."
"I'm dreadfully worried about her..."
"She'll be fine."
"That's not what I was talking about. You know, if it were possible, I'd marry her..."
"Mac, you've never been the marrying kind, I'm shocked to hear that... I mean..."
"That's precisely the problem... I know we can't do it. She'd be rejected from Heaven.
And I'd lose her completely. I myself can barely live with the pains of hell and I won't let her experience it."
"The ring you gave her..."
MacPhisto looks at her, irritated at first that she was watching him, but then he softens. "That was... that was a promise. That's all we can do. Enough of this... I need a dance." He stands and turns toward her, offering a hand. "Will you oblige me? Once, that may be our last dance?"
BonaPhisto stands and takes his hand. He leads her out to the floor, and takes her in his arms, pulling her right up against him as is his dancing habit. They sway slowly in time with the music. BonaPhisto rests her chin on Mac's shoulder and gazes off at Larry, who is sitting at the bar watching her with a bemused smile.
MacPhisto squeezes Bona a bit tighter. She's confused by this and a tad uncomfortable but shrugs it off as MacPhisto being his own self.
Larry sits on the barstool, watching the love of his life dance with MacPhisto. As they circle once again the expression on Mac's face gets Larry's attention. It is an expression of pure angst, and he sees MacPhisto tighten his grip on her. Larry knows that expression, that feeling all too well. It is nothing but lust. For the rest of the song, Larry watches MacPhisto like a hawk after prey.
As BonaPhisto's scent trails up to his sinuses, MacPhisto thinks, If I could have just one more night...
BonaPhisto is unaware of the thoughts going through Mac's mind. She still stays focused on Larry, and notices the intense look on his face. Her attention is reassigned, however when she feels a hand running through her hair and immediately she is aware of why Larry is so focused on her and MacPhisto. Once the song ends, Larry quickly downs the rest of the Guinness he's been drinking, sets it firmly on the counter with a determined thud and heads over to where BonaPhisto and MacPhisto stand. He runs a hand down BonaPhisto's arm, and looks MacPhisto directly in the eye.
"May I interfere?" Larry gently pulls BonaPhisto a few steps away and pulls her closer to him, and they dance. He whispers feverishly in her ear. "I suggest you steer clear of MacPhisto tonight..." he watches Mac walk across the room to the bar and take another martini, hardly taking his eyes off of Bona the whole time. "I don't think he's in very healthy mindset right now..."
"After what's happened tonight I can imagine, Larry. That's precisely why he needs someone there..."
Larry watches the speed at which MacPhisto downs his martini. "Can you leave that to Adam?"
"Oh, but MacPhisto won't open up to Adam the way he will to someone like me.
Larry: Can you stop worrying about him? I mean honestly..." She gently turns her face and looks down into her eyes. "I need you too." She looks up at him, eyes full of apologetic love.
"MacPhisto will be fine." Larry catches his angsty and utterly confused look. "I only do this because I love you."
"I understand... I love you too."
She leans up and kisses him gently and rests there in his arms.
Meanwhile, MacPhisto has been sitting at the bar turning things over in his head. He cannot stop wondering how Bluey's doing and more so, what will happen to them after this. Yet at the same time he watches Larry and BonaPhisto with a sense of light jealousy. He watches them dance as they whisper back and forth, strangely wishing he could be in Larry's position now... He downs his martini hastily and stares down at the bar. His mind flashes back to the past, and he remembers long nights with BonaPhisto staying for weeks on end, sex like he'd never experienced it before. Running his hands through her rich hair, exploring every inch of each other and always finding some interesting ways of going about it... His eyes flash back to Larry, who is now holding BonaPhisto's face in his hands and whispering to her. She says something back that could only be "I love you," and MacPhisto watches their mouths connect, and a part of him longs to be in Larry's position again. Then his thoughts fly back to his beloved Bluey and he tosses these thoughts back and forth. Between the two of them, Bluey was so much more. Strangely enough, the thought that BonaPhisto was going to go home tonight and Larry would be the one making love to her made MacPhisto envious. The difference between Bluey and BonaPhisto was that Bluey had his love, eternal and strong, the deepest love a devil can muster up. BonaPhisto only had his emotional, physical, sexual desire. Just one more night...
But things are different now. The battle between the fleeting and the permanent, the superficial and the deep was on strong. Things are different now. And he wasn't sure if he liked the change.

TWENTY-FIVE

BluePhisto wakes up alone. She moves out of the bed and is still sore, her back her legs, everything is stiff and painful from being destroyed and reconstructed. Looking down at her body she notices that she is covered only with a sheet and a large gold ring of MacPhisto's surrounds her finger. Slowly, painfully, she swings her legs over the side of the bed and stands...her back creaking with the effort. Bits of the past evening float back to her, Screwtape, his horrible mouth, and MacPhisto carrying her to the house. The music from the party spills into the room and she longs to join it after all this gloom, but she has nothing to wear but her sheet. BluePhisto notices one of MacPhisto's closet doors hanging open and she sorts though the clothes, borrowing a shimmering lime green tuxedo shirt and a tailored gold suit. She puts them on and although the suit is too big on her, the effect is both adorable and devastatingly sexy. She forces her new muscles to turn the doorknob and begins to make her way down the hallway when the Fly appears, and approaches her, slowing as he sees her skin glimpse through the green/gold shirt.
"Heeeeeeey baby! Good God! What have you done you yourself, Bluey? Are you trying to kill me with that look?"
"No. And if you will excuse me, I am going to the party."
"You are? Really?" Notices the stiffness of her step, he offers her a leather clad arm. "Allow me to escort you honey. How are you feeling? I heard you were in some sort of accident."
BluePhisto takes his arm only because she really does need the help. "Yes, I'm feeling much better, thank you." The party is only a few feet away and the Fly stops, and considers for a moment before he turns to her...his voice becomes much more serious.
"Look, BluePhisto, can I level with you?" He takes off his shades and reveals the bluest eyes she has ever seen in her life, they seem so gentle and are not at all what she expected to find behind the shades. "I'm just going to say this because, I know I'm a big joke and what I was saying to you earlier on the couch may have been mostly just talk but I really think you are a sweet girl and...I don't want you to get hurt."
"Alright," BluePhisto says impatiently, "what is it?"
"Well, I see more than I let on to seeing...I'll just spit this out...MacPhisto is not over BonaPhisto. I don't know what's going on, but he is really staring at her tonight. I don't know what that means, but I don't want to see you get hurt after all you've been through tonight." He looks at her with a kind of covert sincerity. "I really meant it when I said I think you are a sweet girl. I don't wanna interfere, but I think you at least deserve to know what's going on...I'm sorry."
BluePhisto stares at him, she can tell he is not lying to her and she tries to respond as little as possible. "Thank you. Really, you don't need to involve yourself so much. But your intention is very sweet." She walks alone as briskly as she can to the party, unaware of how appealing her slow strut, open shirt and moodiness makes her to every man in the room. She sees Larry and BonaPhisto dancing, and MacPhisto sitting alone at the bar...for a second she forgets the Fly's warning and MacPhisto looks up at her and his jaw drops.

When BluePhisto enters the party, all the heads in the room turn to look at her and everything but the music stops...there is no cheering, no whispering, just staring. Unnerved, she begins to walk towards the bar, and suddenly the party starts again in full swing, more boisterous than it was before. There is something different about her now, something that no one can put their finger on...but almost instantly, swarms of Men line up to offer her a drink, conversation, what ever they can...leaving many astonished dates in their wake. BluePhisto is bemused by the sudden and unusual amount of attention and as politely as she can, tells them all to go back to whatever they are doing, but they follow her like puppies as she walks towards the bar.
Before she walked in, MacPhisto had been sitting at the bar thinking about her and Bona, trying to come to terms with his feelings. BonaPhisto and he had a long history of an intense sexual relationship, but he loved BluePhisto with all his heart, really loved her. On the other hand, while BluePhisto's status as an angel posed all sorts of problems, BonaPhisto and he could (forgetting Larry) do whatever they wanted. Sex with BonaPhisto was the best he had ever had while...well, he was a bit ashamed to admit that he and BluePhisto had not yet made love. They had come close a few times, but frankly, she scared him. His heart would start to pound so fast he thought he would die, and his emotions overwhelmed him and ...he had never had sex and love at the same time and for the first time, he was afraid of the intensity of a pleasure. He was thinking about all this, about how much simpler sex was with BonaPhisto when BluePhisto walked in.
His jaw dropped, and his mind went almost blank, he felt a wave of desire like heat pass over him and his grip on his martini glass tightened dangerously. She was wearing a suit of his, the sheer shirt unbuttoned down to her navel under the gold jacket...She was different. Before, she was heartbreakingly beautiful but now she was sexy. He couldn't take his eyes off her and as she pushed her way through the crowd and headed towards him, his mouth went dry and his eyes watered. He slid off his barstool and stood before her, confused by his simultaneous need to hold her gently and tell her how much he adored her and also to push her up against the bar and...
"Hello, dearest." BluePhisto, as is her habit when she sees him, wraps her arms around him and rests her head on his chest. She can hear his heart thudding. The Fly comes and stands by them holding a drink for BluePhisto with a stupid smile on his face, MacPhisto glares at him and he goes away quickly.
"I thought you were in...bed." MacPhisto's mouth waters when he says the word. He tries not to concentrate on telling all the guests to leave immediately and taking advantage of the long, smooth bar counter with her.
"Are you alright, darling?"
"I'm just fine, could not be better." He thinks of a million ways he could feel better with her, but he blinks and tries to focus again on his martini, his un-intense, safe martini.
"Are you sure? You look a little flushed."
"No, no it's just...he glimpses her skin through the open collar of her shirt. "It's very hot in here, I should get someone to turn it down..." This was terrible, and wonderful, but frightening...the feeling, that overwhelming burning, blinding feeling he had run away from so many times was now there every time he looked at her.

Meanwhile, an angel stands at the doorway to the party, running his hand through long hair. A dazzled she-devil wanders up to him and he leans down.
"Hello there. Do you know someone named BluePhisto? I'm supposed to talk to her."
Echo is offline  
Old 11-25-2001, 02:32 AM   #5
War Child
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: The Echosphere
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Local Time: 05:49 AM
TWENTY-SIX

MacPhisto catches BonaPhisto and Larry in a very provocative exchange. Her arms around his waist, kissing his chest very lightly. Already completely aroused from Bluey, seeing this escalated it more. A sudden jolt of envy runs through MacPhisto's body, wanting to be in Larry's position. He watches them as discreetly as possible, remembering when he used to share the same things with BonaPhisto. He downs another martini, debating in his head what to do. On one hand Bluey was the love of his life, and it took all his strength to prevent himself from going to his office where Bluey now sat and satisfying the desire she put him in. Then again, he watched the curve of BonaPhisto's body and the way she moved, and he remembered running his hands over that body, exploring every inch of it. He knew BonaPhisto like the back of his hand but the sex never got dull with her, unlike so many others he'd had and gotten rid of.
Just one more night...
BonaPhisto catches his eye again and Mac looks up to see her leading Larry out of the room. Knowing precisely where they're headed and what's likely to take place, Mac downs the last of his next martini and sets it on the bar with a thud and gets up, following them at a safe distance. The thought of Larry having what he'd enjoyed for the past couple thousand years was too much. Desire, jealousy and envy were too strong to rationalize with now.
BluePhisto hears a knock at the door as she is dressing. Half expecting it to be MacPhisto, she rises and opens the door to find the Fly standing there.
"Em, I just thought I'd check on ya..."
"Thank you, I'm fine." She starts to shut the door but he stops it with a hand.
"Do you want a drink or anything? I brought wine..."
BluePhisto pauses for a moment then lets him in. He sits on the desktop and pours her a glass.
"Remember what I warned you about..."
BluePhisto laughs. "I think that's been taken care of."
"It's never that simple, especially for a devil like MacPhisto." He removes his shades again, again revealing a set of unearthly blue eyes. "This is a very hard battle for Mac. Not at all something that can be taken care of by you walking into the room, I'm afraid. And BonaPhisto's totally oblivious to it, she's so caught up in Larry..."
BluePhisto is caught up herself, in the Fly's incredibly beautiful blue eyes. The Fly senses this and smiles bemusedly at her, and Bluey's heart jumps.
"Suddenly I'm not as ridiculous as you thought?"
"Not at all," she catches herself. "I mean, I appreciate your concern, but..."
"Hey baby, I'm just askin' ya to pay attention. You two have been through a lot tonight and I'd hate to see you hurt." He runs a hand lightly down her cheek and Bluey is very surprised to find herself drawn to him. She whispers a thank you to him, and before either of them knew what was happening, the Fly's lips were planted on hers.

TWENTY-SEVEN

BonaPhisto leads Larry to a back bedroom as MacPhisto follows behind them, undetected by the young lovers. After hearing the beginnings of their lovemaking, MacPhisto draws away to another room down the hall and fixes himself yet another drink. He at least has the decency to give them their privacy since he failed to arrive before their "festivities" began. After a considerable amount of time, he quietly makes his way back down the hallway to the room BonaPhisto and Larry occupy and manages to enter without their knowledge. He finds Larry asleep in the bed and hears the shower running. He slinks up to the bed and confirms that Larry is quite the heavy sleeper. MacPhisto turns and spots a shiny white grand piano over in the corner of the room and begins playing softly.
She climbs out of the shower, dries herself as best as possible and puts on an old robe of MacPhisto's that has been hanging on a rack, long forgotten. She takes a quick glance in the mirror and heads out into the bedroom. She stops dead, however, at the sight of MacPhisto sitting at the piano. When she emerges, his head turns toward her and his eyes widen. Coming in and seeing BonaPhisto like this was more than he'd expected.
"Hello my beauty...I wonder if I can speak to you privately?"
BonaPhisto is slightly suspicious of the way he keeps looking her over. "Fine, let me dress..."
"No, that's quite alright. I won't keep you for long. Come now, follow me."
BonaPhisto reaches for her dress anyway and hesitantly follows him, giving Larry a glance and blowing him a quick kiss as she leaves the room, closely behind MacPhisto. He leads her into one of the many bedrooms in his expansive mansion, close to the one they just left. They enter, and he locks the door behind them. He crosses in front of her and steps very close to her. She can smell his cologne.
"What can I do for you?
MacPhisto places an arm around her waist and draws her right up to him.
"Will you give me one more night?"
"Mac, you can't do this, neither can I..."
"Oh can't I? I am a devil after all, betrayal is my nature is it not, and it once was yours too..." He runs a hand along her collar bone and plants a small kiss on her lips. "Besides, I've been fucking you for three thousand years and I know you quite well..."
His hand has made its way down her chest and abdomen and now rests just above her waist. She still clutches her dress tightly in her hands, resisting him as well as she can but she's trembling. She says nothing and he steps away from her. He looks her over again. He gives the waist tie a good tug and the robe falls open. He runs a hand down her side and she shudders. He's pleased with this reaction, watching her thoughts run ten thousand miles a minute inside her head, jumping back and forth from wanting to fuck Mac to wanting to kill him and wanting to run back to Larry. MacPhisto ponders how long it's going to take to eliminate two of those options. He leans forward and lightly brushes his lips across her neck and shoulder, slipping an arm around her waist and pulling her right up against him. It takes all her strength to keep herself from giving in, not wanting to betray Larry yet again. MacPhisto marvels at her strength this time.
"You hold out nicely tonight..."
BonaPhisto weakens and kisses his shoulder lightly, her arms now just barely around him. He steps back and removes his jacket and slips the robe off of her. He persuades her to let go of the dress and tosses it aside. He steps back up to her and plants a firm, passionate kiss on her lips. It somehow feels empty to Bona, realizing that it's pure lust without emotion, but with that kiss her strength snaps and she removes his shirt with a swift motion, and eventually the rest of his clothes are removed hastily. Three thousand years worth of experience like MacPhisto has would have convinced anyone. He hastily lays her down onto the bed and as they finish, Larry bursts into the room, red with rage. He lunges at MacPhisto with great force, ripping MacPhisto off of Bona and onto the floor, pinning him there, face red and sweating with anger. They fight drastically and somewhere between blows, MacPhisto manages to put his pants back on. MacPhisto suddenly gains the upper hand and grabs Bona, who has thrown the dress on hastily. He stands behind her and holds a small knife to her throat. BonaPhisto is in tears with guilt and fear.
"Move at me again like that and I'll slice her throat."
Larry stares at her, struggling with his conflicting anger and desire for BonaPhisto.
"You're here for me, huh?"
BonaPhisto is crying so hard she can barely speak. "Larry please forgive me..."
Larry contemplates MacPhisto again, and slowly walks toward him. BonaPhisto feels the blade of the knife pressing harder against her skin and a pinch of pain as it starts to penetrate her skin. Suddenly the blade of the knife moves off her neck and down her body and Larry suddenly lunges again, full force at MacPhisto and the blade of the knife plunges into BonaPhisto's abdomen. She screams in pain and collapses unconscious.

TWENTY-EIGHT

BluePhisto returns The Fly's kiss feverishly, and this shocks her. It goes as far as removing his jacket and glasses when a knock at the door interrupts them.
BluePhisto rises and answers the door. She opens it and there stands a man, standing about 5'8", blue eyes much like the Fly's and long, reddish brown hair falling to his shoulders. She had to admit to herself that this man was undoubtedly one of the sexiest creatures ever created. He speaks softly.
"Hi, I'm looking for someone called BluePhisto. I'm sent with a message."
"That would be me... how can I help you?"
"I'm Bono I was sent here to help you."
"Please, come in..."
Just then Adam rushes into the room. Something is obviously drastically wrong.
"Adam?! What's wrong, love?"
"Just come with me right away."
They rush off to a distant part of the house and enter an obscure bedroom. Upon entering, they see a bleeding BonaPhisto unconscious on the floor, MacPhisto wearing only his pants standing inches away from Larry, both of them hurt and it is obvious they've been in a fight. BluePhisto looks the room over and what has happened here is all too evident. She glares at MacPhisto. He says nothing. Larry gazes down at BonaPhisto, then seeing the extent of her injury, he softens and rushes to her side.
BluePhisto feels very cold and very sick...MacPhisto looks like a different person to her now. She crouches over BonaPhisto and places a hand on her abdomen, the slash heals instantly and she motions for Adam to take her into another room.
"Larry, leave the room," BluePhisto says regally.
Larry refuses; he is enraged. But when BluePhisto puts a hand on his shoulder, he calms down instantly.
"Larry, please...I will be right after you." Larry walks out of the room, glaring daggers at MacPhisto as he leaves.
"I never should have come to this place," Larry says to no one in particular. "I never should have come."
The Fly stares at BluePhisto through his glasses. She walks towards MacPhisto who is still obviously unstable, and breathing heavily.
"I'm not even going to ask why. I don't want to know, and actually I don't think there is a why...it's just the way you are. I would be angry at you right now if I loved you. But I don't. I thought I saw something in you that wasn't there, or I was blind to what was. I just feel disgusted and embarrassed that I ever wanted to hang on your arm or kiss you or put my life and sanity at risk to protect you from misfortune. That won't work on me anymore. It's a real pity, Mister MacPhisto."
"I'm sorry."
"I believe that. I think you are the sorriest thing I have ever seen. Do you know who you remind me of right now? Screwtape. Under different circumstances you probably would have done the same thing to me that he did, if it got you what you want."
"Bluey, listen..."
"Are you going to explain to me now how none of this is your fault, or better yet you did it because you love me? Save it."
"No..."
"Actually, this may make you feel a little better...You were not the only bad guy here. I should not point fingers at you. Mind you I didn't fuck one of my best friends, and then try to kill them...but it's as close as I've ever come to a sin...Someone else kissed me right before I had to come in here and see this, and I have to admit, I liked it...I would never have let it go further but I can't help it...I liked it." MacPhisto is utterly devastated. "So you are not the only transgressor, I am imperfect."
"Who?"
"None of your business." She pulls the ring off her finger and hands it back. He refuses to take it so she throws it on the rumpled bloodstained sheets. "There. Now if you will excuse me, I'm leaving...there is a lot I would have forgiven you. But not this, not this."
She leaves followed by The Fly and Bono who shuts the door.

TWENTY-NINE

"How is she?" BluePhisto asks Adam briskly.
"She is well, her body is healing...I want to move her somewhere safer."
BonaPhisto murmurs, "Larry..."
"Adam," says BluePhisto, "Have you seen Larry?"
"No, I thought he was with you..."
"We need to get him out of here, and BonaPhisto too..." She rubs her temples and thinks for a moment, then sighs. "Okay...Adam, you take BonaPhisto to another out of the way room. Larry should take her home with him, they may reconcile and he can keep her safe. Bono, you watch MacPhisto's room, make sure he doesn't do anything foolish...The Fly and I will look for Larry." The others nod and BluePhisto is out the door, walking so fast that the Fly has to run a little to keep up with her. He doesn't dare complain. He and BluePhisto open and close all the doors in the long hallway, finding nothing.
"Damn...damn, damn, damn." She kicks a hole in a wall and wrenches open a heavy wooden door in the corner and starts to run up the old spiraling stairs. The Fly tries to keep up but falls behind and almost trips over her when he meets her, sitting on one of the stairs, staring at her hands. She is silent and her face is so regal and grave that it looks like she is an angel carved of stone. The Fly grasps for words...
"Bluey, I don't know what to say."
"Just don't say 'I told you so.'"
"Oh no no no, baby! Not after what you just had to see...I'm so sorry, that was terrible. Do you not want me to talk about it? I can talk about something else. I can talk about anything, it's really hard for me to be quiet for long, and I tend to wear what I think on my sleeve but I tend to loose my shirt all the time so I just keep on talking." She looks at him with tired eyes. "That made no sense did it?"
"A little."
The Fly takes off his shades and gives them to her. "Here, you should wear these. They help when I have a bad day and I don't want people all in my business, paparazzi can be a bitch." She takes them and turns them over in her hands. "Go on put them on...go on..." She puts them on and looks at him. "Whoa! Honey! Don't wear those ever again, you look better in them than I do!" She smiles and wipes a tear away from underneath the huge shades. He sees this and puts an arm around her in a half hug. He is warm and as she sinks into his shoulder, she finally starts to cry. "Oh it's alright honey, just let it all out. Hell I might have a cry! Yeah yeah that's it ... you deserve a good cry sweetness." He rocks her back and forth a little in a comforting way. "Poor baby! I was afraid something like this might happen." He pauses. "So, you really liked it when I kissed you?" BluePhisto cannot help but smile at his absurd non-sequitur, blushes and turns away. "Unless that was another guy...I don't want to assume that you meant me, I mean you could be talking about any lucky guy who walked up and did something as rude as just kiss you in an office..."
She swats him and stands up. "Don't even try charming me...I'm done with you bad-boy-heart-of-gold types. But I guess it doesn't matter now does it?" She turns and looks down at him, her hair framing her face like a halo.
"...Yes, I liked it...I liked it quite a bit."

THIRTY

BonaPhisto awakens, immediately feeling the pain in her abdomen and thence being reminded of what has taken place. She opens her eyes and sees Adam sitting beside her. He smiles wide, and his smile is devastatingly beautiful.
"Glad to see you awake."
"Why are you whispering?
"I don't want to scare you even further, but we can't find Larry."
Tears start to stream down Bona's cheeks at the sheer guilt and inevitability of losing Larry.
Larry walks determinedly across the gardens, throwing stones, sticks, whatever he can get his hands on across the gardens with incredible force. He finally tires, and sits on a nearby staircase leading up to a tall tower and cries. He sobs long, and hard, half out of anger, out of hurt and more so out of love. As angry as he was at Bona, he loved her. Genuinely, and part of him started to think that he wasn't good enough for her. Why else would she keep running to that devil? I mean it was obvious the sex was better, he did have three-thousand years of experience behind him... what did Mr. MacPhisto have to offer her that he didn't? Larry remembered a pocket knife he kept in his pocket for set situations. He pulled it out and contemplated it for a few moments. Every relationship he'd had, this was the result. No matter how good he tried to be, they always ran off with some other guy with more money, more small talk and more charm. Larry opened the blade to the knife and held out his wrist. This was one rejection too many. Just as the tip of the blade started to penetrate his skin, a hand on his shoulder stopped him. He spun around and there stood BluePhisto and The Fly.
"I wouldn't do that," says BluePhisto
"Why?"
"Would you believe me if I told you she loves you?"
"But she obviously wants him... " Larry refuses to call MacPhisto by name.
"MacPhisto is a seducer. That's what he specializes at, it's what he's mastered. Literally no woman has been known to resist him. It's not his job, but he's better at it than most of hell's seducers, which is why most of hell wants him dead."
Larry stays silent for a while.
"...How is she? Can I see her?"
BluePhisto and The Fly lead him to where Adam has moved Bona, one of the more expansive bedrooms. They enter, and find Bona resting on the bed, Adam close beside her, consoling her. She's obviously been crying very hard. BluePhisto blocks Larry from Bona's view momentarily and motions for his bleeding wrist. She runs a hand over it and it heals quickly. He walks over to the balcony and stands with his back to Bona, looking out at the garden with a focused displeasure.

She looks over to see Larry standing by the balcony with his back to her, his hands on his hips. Upon seeing him, she cries even harder, trying very hard to keep silent. Adam rests a hand on her back and rubs it gently and she starts to calm down a bit. Larry, however has heard her sobs and is now walking toward her. Through her tears she can tell he's still upset but compassionate.
"Bona..."
Bona sobs, then hesitantly looks up at him.
"I want to know why," he says, "but I have a strange feeling that this isn't entirely your fault."
Bona buries her face back in her pillow again and Adam runs a finger down her cheek. She looks up at him and he winks. Larry sits on the bed next to her and she somehow manages to turn over, struggling with the pain. Adam helps her sit up and she faces Larry hesitantly, tears still flowing from her eyes. Adam rubs her back again gently and she stops crying. Larry offers a tissue, and she takes it, still unable to make eye contact with him.
"I can see how much you're sorry... But I'm still hurt. We make love, the whole time you telling me how much you love me, I fall asleep and wake up with you gone. I panic, wondering where you could be, so I get dressed and walk outside the room and hear noises coming from the room across the hall. I press my ear up against the door and I hear your voice, moaning his name, so I open the door a crack to make sure he's not hurting you or something and what do I see? Him, fucking you like you were his all along. How was I supposed to feel?"
"I'm sorry, Larry... I know it's not enough, but I am..."

THIRTY-ONE

BluePhisto and The Fly walk slowly down the hallway. They remain silent for a while, and once they reach the office, Bluey enters and leaves the door open. She turns back to him.
"Thank you, for your help tonight."
"Oh, hey baby it's nothin'." He grins hugely at her, and her heart jumps again. He pauses before going on. "You know, sweetie, I've been around a lot of women and I've learned their reactions very well. I have to admit that no one has reacted to me quite like you have..."
"Well, you turned out to be quite different than I thought you were."
With more angst than he cares to show, The Fly says, "You have no idea, baby... you have no idea..."
He leans forward, his face inching closer and closer to her immaculate white skin. His fingers gripped the doorway so tightly that his knuckles turned white and then...he kissed her. This was not an impulsive, sudden kiss like a shower that pours and leaves without soaking the ground, this was a kiss he walked into...He felt her arms twine around his neck, pulling him further down into her embrace. She smelt like fresh apples and his shades steamed up. She pulled him into the office shutting the door with her foot and she started to fall. The Fly grabbed her waist but was pulled down with her and they lay on the red carpet in a warm knot of arms and legs.
"You are so beautiful, Bluey. I thought that the first time I saw you."
"I'm sure you say that to all the girls."
The Fly takes his sunglasses off, and BluePhisto gasps at the electric blue heaven staring back at her.
"Just one. I'm all talk with anyone else. You can trust me on that. In fact I'm actually quite shy..."
BluePhisto laughs out loud. "Shy!? See, you had me up until that point but then you just pushed it over the edge with that one. That's the thing about lying, you have to start small."
The Fly wraps an arm around her, his face hovers an inch above hers. "When I was talking to you on the couch? Remember, when I proposed to you? I really had no idea what I was saying, I meant it all."
He blurts everything out at warp speed. "I watched you all evening, I couldn't take my eyes off you. I noticed that you play with your hair when you are nervous and you don't actually drink your martinis, you just dump it into someone else's glass and refill yours with water and an olive, two olives with a stick in them. When you are sitting on a barstool you almost kick your shoes off but just let them dangle off of your toes." He gets more animated as he talks. "You are kind to everyone, and when you get angry you set your jaw in a certain way...my favorite though, my very favorite is that when you think no one is looking, you chew on your straw and kind of spin it around with your fingers..."
His mouth is covered with BluePhisto's mouth and he closes his eyes in bliss. He picks her up and carries her out of the office onto the large marble balcony outside and up a flight of stairs onto the garden rooftop of the mansion. The moon, uninterrupted by the party lights from the house, shines down on them clear and silvery. When The Fly breaks the kiss, BluePhisto's skin looks like it's glowing in the light.
"Do you believe me now, I meant everything..."
Shimmering gold and green cloth soon falls to the soft mossy floor, followed by a mountain of black leather.
THIRTY-TWO

"What's the matter, darling?" asks MoonPhisto.
"I don't know..." Edge clutches his stomach. "I just...oh, God I REALLY don't feel good..."
He leans over, his eyelids heavy. Echo looks at the purple fruit on the table and makes a quick deduction.
"Oh no...Moon, do you know where the kitchen is?"
"No, I...I'm not familiar."
Echo sighs. "Alright, come on, Edge, we'll have to find it. Stand up, Edge..."
Edge stands, weakly. Echo grabs him around the waist and pulls his arm over her shoulders. He's resting nearly his full weight on her, but he's surprisingly light. he whimpers in pain and clutches his abdomen.
"Lean on me, we've got to go find something..."
"What's going on...Oh God, my stomach..."
Echo ascends the stairs with Edge at her side. She does her best to keep Edge upright and conscious as they lurch down the hall in search of help. A butler passes.
"Sir! Where is the kitchen?" The butler points. "Okay. Come on, Edge, I've got an idea."
They make their slow way to the kitchen. Edge's whimpering grows louder and more urgent, until it becomes strangled groaning. Echo pushes them both through the swinging doors of the kitchen. She drops Edge in a chair and shoves her way through the kitchen staff, rifling though cupboards. Her search becomes fruitful, strangely, when she finds the shelves of cleaning products and rat poisons. She pulls out a tiny glass container with an ancient, yellowed label. Gathering up a bit of its contents in the dropper, she orders Edge to tilt his head back. He hasn't the strength. Echo grabs his chin and his head lolls back. She forces the liquid in the dropper down his throat, then drops the bottle and leads Edge to a nearby basin.
The kitchen staff is quiet, even the water in the pots seems to have stopped boiling, to wait in suspense. Echo holds Edge's head over the basin for ten seconds, fifteen seconds...and the silence is torn asunder by a sound Echo never imagined she'd hear. Edge vomiting, violently.
Echo turns her head away, trying in vain to avoid the sound and the smell. When the silence returns, Echo pulls Edge away from the sink. Crawling in the basin, amongst the remnants of the purple fruit, are hundreds of tiny larvae.
"Edge! Are you alright? Say something!"
Edge spits a few more larvae into the basin. His knees weaken and he sinks to the ground. Echo kneels as he looks up at her.
"I..." His voice is barely a whisper. "I think I'd like a glass of water."
"Oh, Edge..."
One of the kitchen hands a glass to Echo, which she holds to Edge's lips and tilts for him to drink. She grabs a wastebasket so he can swirl it and spit it out. When the glass is empty Echo sets it aside and takes Edge's face in her hands.
"You saved my life..."
Echo I silent. She gently wipes the sweat from Edge's face with a washcloth someone has handed her.
"What was that you gave me?"
"Ipecac. It induces vomiting. Killed Karen Carpenter.
"What?!"
"Well, she drank it for years."
Echo looks in the basin. The larvae squirm and writhe. There could not have been that many, that size, when Edge ate the fruit.
"Look at that. Jesus Christ..."
THIRTY-THREE

"Why did you do this?" Larry pleads to BonaPhisto. "Why do you keep running to him?"
"I don't, Larry, he comes to me! He provokes me... I resisted as long as I could..."
Larry glances over to Adam, wondering if she's being honest. Adam nods and Larry turns his attention back to Bona. He says nothing, but stares at her firmly. She moves to sit back and winces in pain.
"At any rate," he sighs, "I don't want to be heartless... but I have had one betrayal too many. I think I need time to myself for a while." Bona looks up at him, begging him not to do this, tears stream again. "So I can decide what to do about us."
"Larry, please don't..."
Adam gives Larry a look, suggesting that now is not the right time to do this, but Larry heeds him not.
"Please take care of yourself, Bona. I do love you."
He kisses her once on the lips and she wraps her arms around him as quickly and as tightly as she can in her frail condition, wincing from the pain both physically and emotionally. Larry moves out of the embrace, takes her face in his hands. He leaves the room and Bona collapses into Adam's waiting arms. She sobs hard and long. When she finally stops, Adam suggests taking a walk. She stands, shaky from the wound in her stomach, and Adam leads her to the closet, where a spare wardrobe of hers was kept for her weeks with MacPhisto. Those days were long over now, and BonaPhisto struggles to reach a blue satin dress. She's so weak that Adam has to help her into it.
Out on the rooftop they walk and they stop at a corner where BonaPhisto has to lean and rest. She turns her head and sees MacPhisto and Bono standing at the other end. Bono Angel catches Adam's eye, and the two signal to change places. BonaPhisto looks down and sees Larry riding off on his Harley, leather jacket flying behind him open. Her head sinks down, and she feels someone walk up next to her. She looks up at the person, and sees a kind-faced man, late twenties with shoulder length reddish-brown hair. He wears a white silk shirt paired with a black vest and has a set of unearthly blue eyes. He smiles kindly, and BonaPhisto can't help but think to herself that this has got to be one of the sexiest creatures she's ever laid eyes on. He reads her thought and laughs a little. His smile sends shots of lightning through her body.
"Thanks," he says, "I get that a lot..."
"Who are you?"
"My name is Bono. I'm a friend of Bluey's."
"You're an angel...Hmm. That doesn't surprise me..." Her voice trails off wistfully as she looks down the road that Larry sped away on. Bono reaches over and catches a tear from her eye.
"Don't worry about him... you'll be okay."
BonaPhisto shakes her head. "I don't want to live without him...He was the first one to show me that there was more than what was on the surface... the first one to treat me like I was more than an object or an asset."
Bono wraps an arm around her, and she collapses into his arms from the weight of her tears. He holds her tightly. She suddenly has an urge to throw her arms around him and ask him to kiss her, hold her, make love to her, anything, but she panics, confused and still hurt from Larry. He squeezes her tighter, reading all these thoughts.
"Shh... it's okay... I won't do anything if you don't want it... I'm a tempter, I tend to have that effect on women automatically."
BonaPhisto reels at the thought of being in the arms of a tempter.
"I'll keep it platonic, I promise," he reassures her.
BonaPhisto squeezes him tighter. "Will you just...just..."
She rests her head on his shoulder, face buried into his neck and he holds her while she cries. Her back is against the wall of the balcony and Bono has her gently pinned. BonaPhisto is too upset to care about much else. She has a foreboding feeling that Larry won't be coming back, and suddenly, after a grateful kiss on his neck, lets him go and climbs up on the railing of the balcony. He doesn't let her hand go, and she struggles to free it.
"Bona, what are you doing?"
"I won't live without him... he's all I had... I have nothing now."
MacPhisto and Adam have turned and are now watching her from their distance away and across the way on the other side of the roof, BluePhisto and The Fly are now watching, the Fly is shirtless and is in the process of putting his pants on.
BonaPhisto contemplates the forty foot fall down to the garden below and looks again down the road, where Larry had left just a few moments ago.
"Bona!" the Tempter calls to her with authority. "Come down! Come down NOW!"
Fighting the tears, she leans forward and plummets to the ground below. She hits the ground with a force that should have killed her. She has no idea what broke her fall, but she gazes up at the roof, seeing no one there. She passes out, suddenly sensing that she's in someone's arms. Whose, she has no idea. All she sees is a pair of bright blue eyes, and she passes out.

THIRTY-FOUR

The Fly stirred, moving closer to the warmth by his side. He felt drunk, but had nothing to drink for hours...he had never felt so good. Memories of he and BluePhisto the night before flooded his brain and he sighed and smiled. She had told him that it was her first time, and it was sweet and gentle and so good that he felt like he had left the planet.
BluePhisto's eyelids fluttered and the opened to a pair of cobalt blue eyes, inches from hers. The Fly's arms wrapped tighter around her, and he kissed her sleepy lips.
"Good morning Angel..."
BluePhisto stretches a little like a cat and then snuggles into his warm chest, wonderful memories flooding back to her of last night, so wonderful that she forgets the horrors of the day before for a little while. The rooftop garden is unexpectedly beautiful. Trees and flowers grow somehow beneath a canopy of vines that make the dawn seem like sunset...or maybe it was sunset, she had slept for so long with him.
The Fly kisses her forehead. "How are you feeling?"
"I feel wonderful...You?"
"I feel..." Kiss. "...great." Kiss. "I'm sorry baby, I can't stop kissing you!"
BluePhisto crumbles for a moment but insists that they get dressed and make sure everyone is okay. They get dressed but are so tangled up in each other that they are almost making love as they dress each other...Suddenly a door opens on the other side of the roof. BluePhisto grabs The Fly and pins him to the hidden side of the large tree they made love under, pressing herself up against him.
The Fly is pleased. "Baby!"
"Shhh!"
MacPhisto and Bono come out onto the roof. He looks fragile, drawn and sad. Bono understands that BluePhisto and The Fly are there and leads MacPhisto the other way where he sits and looks out at his garden. She can't hear what he is saying to Bono, and frankly, is not interested. She feels a strong pair of arms wrap around her, The Fly looks down at her with smoldering blue eyes*
"I left my shirt over there!"
"You won't need it, honey." She starts to kiss his chest, and playfully unbuttons his pants, and he moans with pleasure. She slaps a hand across his lips and whispers as sharply as she can through giggles.
"You have to be quiet! No moaning."
"Sorry...Couldn't help it, you do things to me." He slides his arms around her waist under her wings and suddenly his voice very serious. "I love you." BluePhisto looks up in surprise at two perfectly sober blue eyes. "I do...But I know what you have been through lately and I actually don't want you to say it back. Because then it would just be like a reflex, a polite response. I just want you to listen, I don't want anything back...I love you and only you, and I always will."
He kisses her softly, and she pulls him down to he ground again. Suddenly, BluePhisto's attention is grabbed by Bono's distress. BonaPhisto has climbed onto the balcony and looks back at her, smiling a little. BluePhisto smiles back and starts to head over, when BonaPhisto falls.
"BONA!"
Bono jumps after her, and by the time BluePhisto looks over the edge, BonaPhisto is already safe in his arms. MacPhisto and Adam are already heading to her side of the roof. BluePhisto races past a started MacPhisto and Adam and starts to sprint down the long inner staircase of the house, followed closely by the Fly, who is running downstairs and trying to put his shirt on at the same time. He stumbles and BluePhisto catches him easily, puts him right side up and continues to pound her way down the stairs until she reaches the ground and skids up to Bono with BonaPhisto in his arms.
BluePhisto is out of breath and reverting to the language of heaven in her panic... "Is she okay? I know you sensed something wrong, I came right away..." Bono cradles Bona in his arms and looks down at her with a little pity as he replies in the smooth, sinuous language of angels.
"She's pregnant."

THIRTY-FIVE

Once BluePhisto left, and Bono had shut the door on him, MacPhisto sat on the bed. Too stunned to cry. He never meant to stab Bona, he was just trying to make Larry go away and then he was lowering the knife to throw it down, when Larry attacked him and forced the knife into BonaPhisto's stomach.
This was a nightmare.
He sat numbly for what must have been hours. BluePhisto's words burned into his brain. She didn't love him anymore. He knew that she didn't say it out of anger. She just stopped loving him.
The enormity of what he threw away by seducing Bona hit him. He would never kiss her again or see her look at him in the way that no one else looked at him. No one would ever love him if she couldn't. If only he had gone into the office and seduced BluePhisto like he wanted to, but he was afraid of her. Afraid of what it would mean.
He lay down on the cold bed and replayed everything in his throbbing head.
She kissed another man. And liked it. Who could it be? Did she know when she did it that he was with Bona? Did she just make it up to hurt him? He couldn't picture her with anyone else.
There was a knock at the door. He didn't answer. A letter slid underneath the bottom. He picked it up, and opened it. It was a heavy black envelope with the seal of the Father Below himself, it contained only two words "Excellent Work". Was he really just another Screwtape?
There was another knock at the door, a lighter one, and a voice. A stunning man walked in, a certain quality about him reminded him of BluePhisto.
"Hello, I'm Bono, I'm a friend of BluePhisto's. How are you?"
MacPhisto is not pleased by his guest. "How do you think I am?"
"I can't read your thoughts."
"I feel terrible...and I feel strange...everything around me is sharper and more tangible, I feel like everything I do and say is sudden and deliberate."
Bono smiles at him. "Could it be you are sober?"
"You know...it could be. I haven't had a drink in some time. Wow, I have not been sober since...since..." He struggles to recall. "Well, it's not a good day for it anyway. Go get me a bottle will you?"
"I think you should stay sober for a little while longer. How do you know Bluey?"
"I had the misfortune to become infatuated with her. But that doesn't matter now, she hates me."
"She doesn't hate you. We cannot hate anyone, we are incapable."
"Yes, as incapable as a devil is of loving someone, I suppose..." He looks back at the bed. "The worst thing is, I almost didn't go to Bona. I thought of going to Bluey. But I didn't."
"Why not?"
"I knew how to handle Bona, I knew what I would feel and how it would feel...I don't know with BluePhisto. I didn't know what would happen if a devil and an angel...if you threw love in there too...well, I will never know. Really quite a dirty trick on behalf of your side, we devils have a weakness for beauty. Well, we devils also have a soft spot for a little revenge too. We don't get over things as easily as you all seem to."
"Don't talk like that." Bono stands. "I think we should get some fresh air."
"Fine, fine...I could use a little change of scenery." He picks up the ring off the bed and puts it in his pocket. "I know just the place, come with me."

THIRTY-SIX

Adam has moved BonaPhisto to a bedroom where she lays on the bed, covered up and in a deep sleep, but safe. He sits on the bed next to her, with Bluey close by, still speaking in Angel tongue. MacPhisto hovers by the door and The Fly stands far off. The two remain calm for Bona's sake.
"How is she doing?" asks BluePhisto. She suddenly remembering the stab wound in her abdomen. "And the baby? How is the baby?"
"The baby's doing fine so far," says Adam. "No damage done, miraculously."
"Do we know who the father is?"
"She's only a week and a half along..."
"Then it's Larry."
All this has been said in the Angels' tongue, neither the Fly nor MacPhisto understanding a word of it. Both are confused and MacPhisto glares at The Fly, but does nothing out of respect for Bona's frail condition. A sudden knock at the door startles them, and MacPhisto starts to move toward the door, but Adam stops him and answers it himself. There stands Larry, out of breath and looking panicked.
"Bona?! Where is she?"
Larry sees Bona on the bed and rushes past Adam toward her but Bluey steps into his path, and he slows to a halt about half way to her.
"What's happened?!"
BluePhisto gently explains the suicide attempt to Larry, comforting him that she's alright now. Tears stream down his face at the news, and BluePhisto reaches over and rests a hand on his face, calming him instantly. Larry gazes toward where the sleeping Bona lies.
"Larry, there's something else."
Larry looks back at BluePhisto, who swallows hard. Adam gets up and claims Larry's attention. He turns toward him and gives him a look, begging to know what else is happening.
"Larry, she's pregnant."
Having been the first time this is said in a language the devil and the two humans in the room can understand, MacPhisto stands frozen with shock, The Fly's mouth hangs open and Larry wavers a moment, looking first to Bono, then to BonaPhisto, then to MacPhisto, back to Bono. Bono nods gently at Larry, mouthing the words, "It's yours." Larry reels, then slowly makes his way to the bed, suddenly being lost in the utter beauty of Bona's pale face, the golden blonde hair surrounding her face. He brushes her cheek, then pulls the covers down low past her waist. Larry rests a hand on the unconscious BonaPhisto's lower abdomen, looking back at her beautiful but pale face. He kisses her forehead.
"A baby..."
Everyone else senses that they need some privacy. BluePhisto hugs Larry from behind and whispers "congratulations Dad". He smiles and pats her arm, and Bono holds the door open for everyone. MacPhisto sweeps out, followed by BluePhisto and then The Fly. Bono shuts the door and stares at the trio before him. The Fly looking at BluePhisto, BluePhisto looking at the floor and MacPhisto glaring at The Fly. Now was not a good time for this, MacPhisto was still far too unstable.

The Fly walks up to MacPhisto gently and casually. "Why don't you show me your wine cellar MacPhisto? I've heard it is one of the most extensive ever assembled..."
MacPhisto doesn't reply for a second, he just watches BluePhisto and The Fly intently.
"I would, but it is very cold right now, and I have something that I must return to BluePhisto. She left it in my bedroom the other night..." MacPhisto offers his arm to her. The Fly saunters over and slips his arm through MacPhisto's, puffing away at a cigarillo.
"Why thank you, Mac, I had no idea you were such a gentleman. You remembered my weak ankles!" MacPhisto's eyes harden and he slides away from the Fly with great distain. "What's the matter? You don't want me to come? I don't get it baby! I mean there's nothing you would do to BluePhisto in your bedroom that you can't let me or Bono here see is there? Is there? I just don't see why ya hafta be so rude about it!"
MacPhisto wants to tear The Fly's throat out, but he doesn't need to reinforce BluePhisto's image of him as a violent psychopath...not if he is going to win her back. He makes an effort to compose his expression.
"Not at all, Fly. Gracious, how some people jump to conclusions!" To BluePhisto. "I was just thinking of a dress of yours so you don't have to wander around in the same suit all night. But if this is a bad time, feel free to help yourself whenever you like, I don't even need to be there." MacPhisto then wanders into one of his rooms casually past a bewildered BluePhisto and Fly and shuts the door. BluePhisto and The Fly look at each other and the Bono appears out of nowhere and follows MacPhisto into the room.
"Get out!" MacPhisto is absolutely seething. He rips the cap off of a bottle of scotch and sits on a couch, drinking it out of the bottle.
"I'm here to help you."
"You can't help me."
Bono reaches for the bottle. MacPhisto slaps his hand away and shoves him. Bono lands on the bed. "What is your obsession with my sobriety you puerile twit?" He pauses and spins the ring he gave her around a finger on his free hand, swigging from the bottle with the other. "It was him wasn't it? He kissed her. I never would have guessed in a million years. HIM??? Oh GOD!" He is now pacing furiously. "You knew about them didn't you?" He stops. It dawns on him...his voice is at first reduced to a monotone but builds up into a storm. "Wait. On the roof. Oh. No. I remember now. He wasn't wearing a shirt, was he?. He ran after her and was carrying his shirt...he slept with her in the garden! That loud, nattering asshole slept with my Bluey. HE SLEPT WITH HER!?" He throws the bottle against the wall, smashing it into tiny pieces and races to the bathroom slamming the door and locking it.
Meanwhile, The Fly has taken BluePhisto back to the party where oblivious guests continue to revel. She is sitting on the couch where he first talked to her.
"How are you feeling baby?"
BluePhisto sighs. "Alright. Well, I think he knows now."
"I'm sorry Bluey, I just didn't want him whisking you off and seducing you like he did to Bona."
"He couldn't seduce me, it wouldn't work."
The Fly's voice becomes grave. "Look honey, I've known him for a long time and he is very persuasive. Don't underestimate him...please." He kisses her hand, and she sees herself in his shades. "You really are a sweet girl."

THIRTY-SEVEN

Larry gazes down at the sleeping Bona, and then kicking off his shoes, climbs into bed beside her. He pulls the covers back over them, and holds Bona tightly, his arm over her waist and a hand resting on her belly, and falls asleep.
MacPhisto, meanwhile, has locked himself in the bathroom and Adam bursts into the room to find Bono on the bed, having not moved and looking rather stunned.
"Bono? You alright?"
"He shoved me... I tried to take the bottle away and he shoved me..."
Adam realizes then the extent of MacPhisto's anger. "Okay, why don't you go check on Bona? You should be there when she wakes up..."
"You're right..." Bono rises to leave.
Bono heads to BonaPhisto's room, and enters to find Larry asleep with her. He makes his way over to the bedside and kneels down beside Bona, brushing a lock of hair out of her face. He stares at her a moment, her flawless, smooth face and for a moment, Bono wishes he could have her. But since Larry has undoubtedly claimed her, this would constitute sin, and angels cannot sin without falling. Bono leans forward and kisses the corner of her mouth. She awakens at the sensation of Bono's kiss. It sends lightning through her entire body and she opens her eyes to find the same pair of unearthly blue eyes she saw when she passed out. She startles even further to feel that she's in someone's arms. She looks down at the arm around her waist and the hand on her belly.
"Larry..."
Bono puts a finger to her lips. "Shhh...What's the last thing you remember?"
"Fear, misery at the thought of living without him, wanting to end it all... jumping off, and these eyes..."
"I caught you."
"Why?"
"When I was holding you in my arms on the balcony, while you were crying...The reason I had you pinned was because I could feel something inside you... another life."
BonaPhisto searches his eyes.
"Bona, you're pregnant."
BonaPhisto looks again at Larry's hand resting on her belly and places her own hand over it.
"I didn't think he'd come back..."
"You knew?"
"I had a suspicion... I think Adam knew as soon as I'd been stabbed... he was kind of dropping hints and he kept doting over that area when I was recovering from the wound and when I was crying in his arms... "
"Well, at least now you have confirmation."
"Yeah, well he wouldn't say anything in front of anyone else... just while I was alone with him..."
Bono smiles.
"It's Larry's baby, yes?"
"You bet." Bono winks.
BonaPhisto suddenly feels breath on the back of her neck and a kiss on the side. She rolls onto her back and her eyes meet a soft, loving and relieved set of eyes belonging to Larry Mullen. A tear finds its way out of her eye and she smiles at him.
"You came back..."
"Of course." Larry kisses her. "I had to."
"Larry... I'm having a baby..."
"I know, love."
Larry looks at Bono and Bono gets the sense that they want their privacy. He rises, taking one last look at BonaPhisto, who is now tangled in Larry's arms, and leaves. A blue satin dress soon falls to the floor, followed closely by a pair of jeans and a maroon shirt.

THIRTY-EIGHT

Adam is in MacPhisto's room, and has succeeded in getting him to come out. MacPhisto sits on the couch, still seething and Adam is picking up bits of glass off the floor from MacPhisto's angry throw of a bottle across the room. There is scotch running down the wall and soaked on the carpeting.
"I'm gonna kill him..."
"And she'll hate you more."
"So what's this now? She loves him?"
"Well, not quite yet. It is still a bit too soon for love... but she fancies him greatly."
"He's an asshole! That loquacious, obnoxious shithead?! What could she see in him?"
"He's proved himself to her to be quite different than people think."
"And he slept with her?"
"Perhaps now you know how she felt when she walked in and realized what you'd done to Bona..."
MacPhisto loses his temper again and charges at Adam. Adam stands and puts out a hand, knocking MacPhisto all the way to the opposite wall, which he hits hard and falls to the floor, unconscious. Adam strides over to MacPhisto, picks him up, and carries him to the bed.
BluePhisto is having a great time. She is dancing in the middle of the crowd staring up at the stage with a blinding smile on her face. She hears a phone ring. No one else hears it, so she knows it's for her. With a sigh she makes her way through the press of people to the office. The phone on the desk keeps ringing. She picks up.
"Hello? It's me. Well, things are...they are okay here. I feel fine, I can work. Really. When? Now? Where? Alright, yes. I will call you when it's done. Love you too, bye bye." She hangs up and sighs... "Time to go to work."
The Fly is concerned. She was just there and he turned his back for a second to face the drummer and now he can't find her anywhere. Suddenly she reappears in the grand doorway to the ballroom, wrapped in a black coat just like the one that was destroyed by Screwtape earlier. She waves, points to her watch and blows him a kiss. He nods at her and forgetting about the other couple of hundred people in the room says into the microphone...
"Bye baby, be careful! Hurry back." Some people turn around to see who he is talking to, but the doorway is empty.
BluePhisto knocks softly on MacPhisto's door, sensing that Adam needed to talk to her. The sound rouses MacPhisto from his comatose state, but seeing her enter, he just pretends he is still unconscious. The door opens and she sees Adam looking a little tired and MacPhisto on the bed.
"What happened?" BluePhisto asks. "Is everything okay?"
"He shoved Bono, so I took over and he went at me so I had to knock him out."
BluePhisto hugs Adam. "Are you alright?"
"I'm fine. Bono was a little shocked."
BluePhisto notes the scotch on the wall and the glass in the carpet. "He must have been upset...Need I ask what about?"
"He put together that you and the Fly were...ehm...you know..."
BluePhisto blushes a little. "Yes, that."
"He asked me if you loved him. I was appropriately vague."
BluePhisto sits down for a moment on the bed beside MacPhisto and smoothes some stray black hairs from his white forehead. MacPhisto resists his desire to sigh...
"Well," BluePhisto sighs, "I came to tell you that I have to go do a job now...I won't be long."
"Can you tell me who?"
"No. I can't. But I will be back shortly." She rises from the bed and hugs Adam, kissing him on the cheek. "Please make sure that he stays away from The Fly... I mean, don't let them be in the same room alone. Period. And keep an eye on Bona and Larry too...she is still quite dazed and needs some time to recover. And don't hit him on the head again unless you need to..."
"Of course," Adam chuckles. "Please be safe."
He closes the door after her and resumes his task of picking glass out of the carpet. BluePhisto's obvious pity towards MacPhisto makes Adam more sympathetic to him and Adam covers him with a blanket from the chaise lounge. Meanwhile, MacPhisto turns BluePhisto's words over and over in his mind...

THIRTY-NINE

While Adam has his back turned, cleaning up glass, MacPhisto jumps out of bed and runs to the door. He can't just let her go, he is going to tell her how he feels and try to make her understand...he can't live like this. He opens the door a crack and stops cold.
BluePhisto walks right into a pair of leather-clad arms and a warm chest. She jumps, startled then smiles.
"Hi baby," says The Fly. "I couldn't just let you run away like that could I?" He takes his sunglasses off and wraps his arms around her. "You have to go?"
"Yes, I have to go to work for a little while."
The Fly looks at her with genuine concern and pulls her even closer. His voice serious. "Nothing dangerous I hope. I worry about you."
"You don't need to worry, Fly."
"I just don't want to see you get hurt. Promise me you will come back safe." He touches her cheek with his fingers. "Can I kiss you goodbye?" He picks her up in his arms and kisses her very softly for a long time. When he sets her down she is smiling and flushed.
"Bye, baby..." He waves at her until she is out of sight and then murmurs almost to himself. "I love you." He puts the shades back on and goes to rejoin the concert he ran out on but the sound of the door behind him creaking makes him turn.

FORTY

Larry awoke after sleeping lightly after they had made love and he held Bona gently as she rested her head on his chest. He stroked her golden blonde hair with his fingers, keeping it out of her face. Her leg draped over his and below the knee it rested in between his. He gazed down at her as she slept and sighed, wondering what to do about all of this.
It's too early for marriage... granted I've seen quite a lot of her... I don't know if I fully trust her. But this is my child. What else is there to do? I won't abandon her, and as uncomfortable as this feels...
"Stay with her."
Larry turns his head to see that Bono has re-entered the room and stands behind the piano.
"I didn't hear you come in."
Bono smiles. "That's because I didn't use the door. I didn't want to wake either of you."
"You're very concerned about her."
"Her mind is in very fragile condition right now..."
Larry frowns. "I appreciate your help, but..."
"Larry, she needs me. She needs you especially, but she needs me too."
Larry doesn't question further. He gently lays Bona down on the pillow and rises. He dresses and stands over by the balcony. Bono walks up to him. There is a silence for a few minutes, then Larry speaks.
"I refuse to abandon her. But I can't marry her... not yet."
"I understand that... you've known her for what, three weeks? Larry, marriage isn't the important thing right now. The important thing is that she's going to be a fabulous mother. And Larry?"
"Yeah?"
"You're going to be a fabulous father."
Larry pauses for a moment, inhales deeply and then speaks again.
"Thanks..."
"Don't thank me... thank God. This is all from him. I'm just the messenger."

FORTY-ONE

MoonPhisto gets up and follows, concerned for the Edge. She follow close behind them up the stairs, spotting them both, in case one falls. They reach the main hall, and are directed to the kitchen. Unsure of how to help, and thinking it best to just stay out of the way, since EchoPhisto seems to know what she is doing, she travels down the hall, into the cellar, and back toward the table they had been sitting at. She looks for the bush of fruit the Edge had been eating off of and plucks several off and puts them into her box. She carries it back upstairs to the kitchen and arrives to find Edge trying to stand and EchoPhisto tending to the tea tray. Shifting the box under one arm, she helps to pull the Edge up from his chair and has him lean his weight onto her to make it easier for him to walk. EchoPhisto carries the tray out of the kitchen and down the hall a bit, with Edge and Moon close beside her.
They find the room to settle themselves in. Edge lying on his side on a couch, half sitting up to be able to drink his tea, and Moon and EchoPhisto sit on a couch opposite him, on the other side of the coffee table.
"You girls are so nice to me," Edge muses. He sets head down on the pillow and tugs up the blanket that Echo brought him from a nearby closet. "I think I just need... to..." He yawns and falls asleep almost immediately.
MoonPhisto gaze at the sleeping Edge, so sweet and angelic. She just watches him sleeping for longer than she realizes when Echo catches her attention.
"What's in the box?"
"Oh! Well, I wanted to know what these things are and why they made him so sick the way they did." She opens the box and shows the fruit to Echo. "We could do this and keep an eye on him. What do you think? It sounds like you might be good at this, anyhow. What is it that you do for a living, anyway? I don't believe we ever spoke very much..."

FORTY-TWO

The Fly standing outside of MacPhisto's room is watching Bluey leave and when she is finally out of sight he starts to return to the concert he ran out on in the ballroom. The crowd is growing sick of the guitar player's attempt at singing. The sound of a door creaking and then closing makes him turn. There is nothing there, just the sound of fabric rumpling from the other side of the door. He shrugs, replaces his shades and runs back into the ballroom, full of swagger once more.
Meanwhile, Adam has MacPhisto pinned to the back of the door. He looked up from picking up shards of glass to see MacPhisto just starting to reach for the Fly through the door. Adam, with the speed of an archangel grabbed Mac and shut the door before he could touch him. MacPhisto struggles violently for a moment.
"No," says Adam. "Calm down." Adam runs a hand over MacPhisto's face and he stops struggling and shocks Adam by hugging him. He must have won a bit of MacPhisto's trust...MacPhisto rests his head on the bewildered Adam's shoulder, absolutely dejected and Adam hugs him back. Adam can feel that MacPhisto is crying, but trying not to. "Hey, hey. It's going to be alright."
"I saw...he kissed her. I don't even know what I am anymore Adam...She changed me. I'm not quite a devil, we all know I'm not an angel...where does that leave me?" Adam feels really sorry for MacPhisto...whatever else he may be, he is a man hopelessly in love with a woman who does not love him back. Adam rubs MacPhisto's back. MacPhisto sighs deeply and frees himself from Adam, and searches the room for something to drink. After opening and closing several drawers he gives up and runs a hand through his slick black hair. MacPhisto strikes a match, lights a cigar and closes his eyes as he exhales smoke.
"Do you know Adam, that this is the longest I've ever been sober? Can't say I like it very much. Tell, me Adam, do you drink?"
"Angels are very bad at drinking."
MacPhisto chuckles deeply. "Can't handle your liquor?"
"We have an impaired tolerance."
The corners of MacPhisto's mouth rise for an instant. "I remember once when Bluey...Ah, never mind." He examines his fingernails, and then starts to move towards the door. His step, usually so elegant and lithe is now heavy and lethargic. "Well, Adam. I'm going to the bar to have a drink. You can come if you feel the need to baby-sit me." He leaves for the party and Adam follows him at a distance.
MacPhisto sees BluePhisto standing in the doorway wrapped in her black coat. Two lovely women sit on the couch and begin to fuss over MacPhisto but he hardly notices. BluePhisto clutches one of her sides, but her dirt-streaked face is calm as she looks at the stage through tousled black hair. MacPhisto notices that unlike most other women who looked better the drunker he was, BluePhisto was even more stunning when he was sober.
Her coat slips open and The Fly sees that she is bruised and bleeding through her torn green shirt.
"Baby, are you okay?" He picks her up in his arms and pushes through the crowd, up the stairs and down the hallway with her in his arms, looking for a room to use. He opens one room...Bona and Larry look up in surprise.
"Oh sorry."
He opens another, MoonPhisto and EchoPhisto lean over a purple fruit.
"Sorry."
He opens the next room, it is empty. He enters with BluePhisto, closes the door and sets her down on the large olive green bed.
"Baby! What happened to you?" He peels the coat away and sees the deep purple bruises and dried blood on her torso through the rents in her shirt.
BluePhisto is drowsy, and falling asleep. "I'm fine, I heal quickly. Really. It's just scratches and bruises, nothing serious. I am not used to being a temptress and an assassin at the same time...usually they just run away, but this time they came AT me and attacked."
The door bursts open and MacPhisto enters. The Fly stands between him and Bluey.
MacPhisto's blood boils at the sight of her pale skin through the shirt, and he moves towards her impulsively. The Fly blocks his path.
"Hey..." The two stare at each other, jaws locked. "Didn't I throw you the microphone? I think your guests are getting bored without you."
"I just want to make sure she's alright," MacPhisto says defensively.
"She's fine," says The Fly, sotto voce. "Not like someone stabbed her in the stomach or anything."
"Wipe that stupid smile off your face."
Just then, four or five women from the party come and fuss over MacPhisto, pulling him back to the party to sing for them. With a glare at the Fly, he reluctantly allows himself to be pulled back to the stage. The Fly shuts the door. BluePhisto is asleep.
"Baby? You okay?" He takes off his glasses and feels her neck for a pulse. She wakes up. "You've gotta stop scaring me like that darlin'. Now go back to sleep."
"No, I have to get cleaned up. I have to talk to Bono and, I have to make a phone call." The Fly kisses her on the forehead and covers her with a blanket, then saunters into the bathroom. She can hear water running and The Fly returns, and picks her up carrying her to the bathroom. BluePhisto sees he has poured her a bath in the enormous tub with candles and bubbles. His sweetness puzzles her.
"Are you really like this?"
"Like what?"
"I mean you come off like this loud oil slick, ladies man...Be honest, are you just trying to impress me? Is this just an act?"
The Fly helps her take her shirt off and staring at her with warm blue eyes. "It's not an act...I thought angels were supposed to believe in love."
"Well, we do but...I'm just..." She sighs.
"It's okay, I can't blame you for being confused, but you'll get it someday." He smiles and lowers her into the tub. The water feels good and she sighs. The Fly stares at her longingly for a minute...
"Ah, what the hell..." He gets into the tub with all his clothes on. BluePhisto shrieks with laughter.
"What are you DOING!?"
"Eh...these threads needed to be washed anyway. Thank God I'm not wearing a battery pack." He sits coolly on a built in bench on the other side of the huge tub but his leather pants slip and he falls into the water and resurfaces, soaking wet. "Bubble bath tastes horrible! Did you know that!?" BluePhisto, charmed and still laughing pulls him closer to her by the collar.
"You are a strange little man."
"Hey...watch it with the L-word."
She kisses him and removes his jacket. Her skin is soft and warm and he kisses her back passionately but he knows she needs to rest...She removes his shirt and starts to kiss his neck.
"Mmmm...No, Mmmm, no, no. You have to rest...But damn that feels..." With great effort he tears himself away from her. "We shouldn't, you've been hurt and you really need to rest and besides, you won't respect me in the morning!" BluePhisto laughs and reaches for him but he pretends to slap her hand away. "No! Not until I see a ring on my finger! Girls like you are bad news, you only want one thing from a pretty boy like me!" The Fly against every desire in his body has managed to get out of the tub and put his jacket on, forgetting the shirt. "Later, I promise baby...really. Nope, I am NOT getting in the tub again. God, I must be crazy! Okay, okay. I'm going to go get you something to drink, and to find a VERY cold shower...what would you like?"
"Surprise me...you have done well at that so far."
"Sure thing, gorgeous." He winks and her and replaces his shades but is so distracted by the temptress in the tub that he walks into the closed bathroom door. BluePhisto cracks up again. "Ow...it's okay...right, OPEN the door first. Just a little distracted." He opens the door. "Going to get a drink...take two." He smiles and leaves.
BluePhisto sighs to herself.
"Strange little man."

FORTY-THREE

EchoPhisto and MoonPhisto lean over the mysterious purple fruit and begin to dissect it.
"Well, my first book was published some years back. My memoirs. A complete Valley-of-the-Dolls-style tell-all. That's how I got MacPhisto's attention. He thought I'd make a fabulous member of his entourage, because if I was willing to speak so scandalously of MYSELF, imagine what I would say about OTHERS. Particularly those who sparked my ire."
"You must have lived quite the elegantly debauched life,' says MoonPhisto.
EchoPhisto shrugs. "Not really. But I'm very good at writing about it to make it SEEM so. MacPhisto is actually quite disappointed in me as a party guest. I'll say anything about anybody in print, but I'm not nearly so slanderous in front of other people."
"Too polite?"
"Too anti-social."
Echo pauses in her study of the fruit. She narrows her eyes at Moon, who is still pondering the thing. "Hmm...You know, MacPhisto has a lab around here somewhere. Perhaps it would be useful in our study. Why don't you go find Mac and ask him if we can borrow some of his equipment."
"What a splendid idea." MoonPhisto takes the box and leaves. Echo rises and sits at the corner of Edge's bed. She places a hand on his leg and he wakes.
"Let's go for a walk."
EchoPhisto and Edge meander the ballroom. Most of the guests have left by this time. The only ones left are either the closest companions of the host or the hangers-on for whom MacPhisto's parties are the nearest they'll come to glamour. Edge overhears a bit of idle gossip about BonaPhisto and MacPhisto, and shortly thereafter sees BluePhisto crossing the room on the arm of The Fly.
Edge points at BluePhisto. "But wasn't she with....and wasn't he with..."
"Don't you just love these parties. Everyone ends up kissing the wrong person goodnight." She looks at her watch. "Or good morning, as the case may be. Would you like to watch the sunrise with me?"

Echo is offline  
Old 11-25-2001, 02:33 AM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: The Echosphere
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Local Time: 05:49 AM
FORTY-FOUR

BonaPhisto has finally gotten out of bed and Bono walks slowly over to her. She tries walking over to the window, but in her weakness she stumbles and Bono catches her in his arms. He looks down at her with a longing, which BonaPhisto mistakes for sympathy. She swallows another round of tears, this time out of confusion.
"I honestly don't know what to do..."
Bono inhales deeply at the reminiscence of Larry's earlier words. "You have Larry's support. He's not going anywhere. That much I can assure you."
BonaPhisto looks up into his unearthly blue eyes. She smiles at him in gratitude, and she cleans up and dresses with much aid from Bono.
"Maybe you'd like to rejoin the party? It may do you some good to get out of this room for a bit."
BonaPhisto can hear MacPhisto's concert going from the other room. "No... I don't think it's good for me to see him right now... But could you get me something to eat? I'm starving."
"Sure. Why don't we go to the kitchen? I'm sure one of the butlers can get you something..."
BonaPhisto nods and they exit the room, and make their way through the party as briskly as possible, BonaPhisto still dazed and Bono waving away anyone who approaches her. They enter the kitchen and soon BonaPhisto sits in front of a generous plate of food. She begins to eat and Bono watches her. He watches the way she moves and mostly admires her strength through all that's happened. Her beauty penetrates him, and he again imagines what it would be like to love her, picturing running his hands through her hair, tracing her body with his hands and the feel of her skin, the taste of her reciprocated kiss, holding her in his arms... In the other room, Adam sits on a couch watching MacPhisto carefully and he senses Bono's thoughts. He leans forward with concern. He had expected the Tempter to have this drastic effect on Bona, but he had not expected anyone to have this kind of effect on a tempter, especially one of Bono's caliber.
Meanwhile, The Fly has entered and strides over to the bar. Adam takes notice that he is soaking wet and shirtless. Suddenly MacPhisto stops mingling with guests and is charging at The Fly. The crowd parts for him and gasps as MacPhisto leaps onto The Fly, knocking him to the floor. Adam is quickly heading over to where the two lay and panics as MacPhisto raises an arm, going for The Fly's throat. Adam responds and raises his hand, knocking MacPhisto out and sparing the Fly from inevitable death. With another wave of his arm, he signals for the party to disband completely. They all file out of the house and the Fly, Adam and MacPhisto are left in the ballroom alone.

FORTY-FIVE

BluePhisto is relaxing in her bath, waiting for The Fly to come back. She closes her eyes and leans back, trying to finally get some peace when she senses Adam's concern over Bono...She would have to talk to him about that, but later. Right now she had to recover. She had been sent out on a job, it was pretty routine...an official in Hell needed to be brought down a peg or two. However, BluePhisto had never gone out as a temptress before and when she expected him to fear her and run...he had been attracted to her and she had to fight him hand to hand. He was dead now. Her injuries were more serious than she let on to The Fly, one of her ribs was broken and she was bruised all over and burnt in some places...but it was nothing she would not fully recover from with just a few hours of peace and quiet. She was almost asleep in the warm water when she snapped awake and bolted out of the tub...Adam was panicking. She grabbed a gold satin blanket from the couch as she ran by, wrapping it around her soaking skin like a dress as she ran against a crowd of guests leaving in an awful hurry. When she got there, Adam was gone. MacPhisto lay on the ground unconscious and The Fly lay in a heap against the dark bar. BluePhisto, still steaming from her bath rushes over to the Fly...who is very dazed.
"Fly! Are you alright? Darling? Can you move?"
"Yeah...yeah. I'm just kind of...give me a minute."
BluePhisto kisses his forehead. "Oh my poor darling...are you hurt?"
The Fly stands up, shaky but trying to look strong. "I'm fine...just fine." BluePhisto takes his sunglasses off and his blue eyes stare into hers. She can see the fear he was trying to hide and he looks down. "I didn't even have time to turn around..." He smiles weakly and wavers. "I'm not always this useless in a fight baby..."
"It wasn't a fair fight, not your fault." She holds him close, and senses that he is not seriously hurt...just a few bruises and scrapes but he is shaken. He relaxes when she touches him...he sighs and his heart slows down. She turns her face up to him and kisses him gently on the cheek. "Come on, let's find you somewhere to lie down." He puts his arm around her and she supports him as they walk upstairs. They turn and she lays him down on the bed where she lay not a half hour ago. She pours him a glass of water and sets it on the table. The Fly is amazed that anyone can make a gold blanket look so good...
"Fly, I need you to promise me something. Promise that you will not under any circumstances leave this room until I return."
The Fly looks at her suspiciously. "Why? Where are you going?"
"I have to straighten a couple things out."
"You're going to talk to him aren't you?"
"I have to...this can't happen again."
The Fly pulls BluePhisto down into the bed with him and holds her to him. "What if he hurts you? Look at what he did to me, baby. Stay here, let Adam talk to him..."
"Adam can't. Only I can. He won't hurt me, and frankly...I'm much stronger than he is. I promise I will be careful."
He buries his face in her black hair. "I don't like the idea of him alone in a room with you...Remember what I said about him. I should be there too."
"He could kill you, he almost did tonight you know..." She kisses his face and murmurs into his ear, sending shivers up his spine. "I will be back very soon. Don't worry about me dear, I promise you I'll be careful." She feels his heart beating in his chest and his blue eyes focus on her lips. He kisses her deeply, and she fights the urge to start undressing him.
"You know, I love you," he says.
"I know..." She opens her mouth to say more but The Fly covers her mouth with his hand and smiles.
"Nope...not allowed to say it back yet baby. It's like buying a gun, there is a waiting period before you can use it. I don't want you to say it unless you are sure, and right now...you have to focus on other things."
BluePhisto's eyes widen and she smiles under his hand. He removes it and she shakes her head.
"Where did you come from? You swagger like a rock star but you...You're more of an angel sometimes than I am."
"Not telling."
BluePhisto leans down and kisses him goodnight, and opens the door, tying her dress around her securely. She blows him a kiss and closes the door. His heart sinks. She may be strong, but he fears that she is underestimating MacPhisto dangerously. A few minutes after she leaves he gets up stiffly and walks to the entrance of the Ballroom, listening through closed doors. She hadn't said no after all...
BluePhisto enters the ballroom and shuts the massive gold doors. The abandoned room is a wreck, smashed glass on the floor, abandoned drinks on tables, candles burnt down to almost nothing. She makes her way down the steps, to where MacPhisto lays still unconscious. For a moment she contemplates his still face, and remembers when she adored him. It seemed like so long ago. She straightens up again and sits on a nearby armchair...
"Wake up." MacPhisto's eyes open and he sits up slowly, looking around him at the deserted room. His icy eyes finally light on Bluey sitting like a goddess in a black chair, her hair almost indistinguishable from the dark velvet behind her and her pearly skin wrapped in a shimmering gold blanket. Her eyes however, have turned to gunmetal. For the first time, he sees them as the eyes of the assassin.
"You seem to be spending a lot of time unconscious tonight don't you? Do you remember what happened?"
"Yes." He gets up and dusts his suit off, trying to regain his dignity.
"Can you elaborate on that?"
"No." He turns his back on her and lights a cigar with shaking hands.
"No?" Her voice is suddenly right behind him and he turns sharply. Her ivory face is inches from his now, he can see droplets of water on her neck and her steel blue eyes bore into his...determined to find an answer. MacPhisto backs up a step, blowing smoke at her.
"Why don't you just ask him what happened?"
"Because I want to hear it from you." She steps towards him, and he feels heat from her body radiating through his suit.
"Leave me alone," he says.
"Oh, is that really what you want? You attacked The Fly because you want me to leave you alone? That makes a lot of sense."
"I don't want to talk about it." He turns away from her, but she grabs his shoulder and spins him around to face her. He snaps and yells. "I HATE HIM! I hate him because you SLEPT with him! There! I said it! Are you happy now? I hate him because he gets to kiss you and hold you and make love to you and I have no chance of doing so ever again. I hate him because he isn't a devil, I hate him because he's loud, I hate his face and his suit and his stupid smile! I saw him kiss you and I've wanted him dead since!" He grabs her arms and pulls her to him desperately. "I HATE HIM BECAUSE I STILL LOVE YOU!" He tries to kiss her but she breaks away and steps back.
"You don't love me...You love whatever it is you cannot have. That is the whole problem with you, if you could have me you wouldn't want me anymore."
MacPhisto reaches for her. "No, No! Don't you see? Can't you see what you did to me? You changed me, you transformed me but you left halfway through and now I'm some freakish failed experiment! I don't belong anywhere anymore. I do love you, I love you more than I ever have..."
Backing against the fireplace, BluePhisto scowls. "Oh really? Well you have a funny way of showing it...Nothing says I love you like cheating on me and then stabbing the poor girl! That was the moment, MacPhisto, right then when I walked in and saw you holding the knife...You reminded me of Screwtape right then."
"I'm NOTHING LIKE HIM!!! I would never try to..."
"No of course you wouldn't, but you would seduce a girl and then use her as a human shield!"
MacPhisto pins her against the black fireplace. "Listen, listen...Do you want to know why I slept with her?"
"NO! I want to know NOTHING about it! Do you have any idea how I felt!?"
"Yes...I do know. I felt it when I found out that you...that he...that..." He struggles to keep his composure. "You slept with The Fly. In the garden. On the roof...why did you do it?! You are the love of my life! Are you insane enough to think that I can just ignore the fact that you are falling in love with him? How can you love anyone else, I can barely look at another woman!"
"I realized that the man I thought I loved didn't exist." MacPhisto is stunned and steps back. Bluey is very distressed and starts to walk out. MacPhisto stops her with his voice.
"I slept with Bona because you scared me!" MacPhisto's white face stands out starkly against the dark chaos of the ballroom. He takes a deep breath. "You scared me. I was afraid of how much I love you, I didn't know what it would do to me if I made love to you. I thought maybe it might kill me or ...I don't know." He starts to walk towards her slowly. "That's why I never made love to you...And then when you walked in that evening, I couldn't take my eyes off of you, I couldn't breathe...I just wanted you. You left for the office and I almost followed you, but I saw Bona. I knew what would happen with Bona, I knew that I wouldn't feel much with her. She was safe. So I seduced her, but I thought of you..." He sits in a chair and covers his face with his hands. "I never meant to cut her either...I was lowering the knife and Larry charged into me and that's what cut her. I was as horrified as anyone...and then you came in. There isn't a moment of a day since it happened that I don't wish I had gone to you instead."
"...I believe you."
MacPhisto stands and moves towards her slowly. "Bluey, darling..." He takes her hands in his and she sees that they are shaking. "It would never, never happen again. Never. I know what I want now. I want you." He kisses her forehead. I just want you, and then I'll be happy. I know you still love me..."
"Mac...don't do this..."
"You do, I know you do." He brushes her shoulder with his hand, sighing at the softness of her skin. "I love you."
"Stop it."
"Bluey...Bluey. You know that you want me..." He kisses the back of her neck and she bolts away from him.
"You love me? Really? You never seemed to pay much attention to me...you were always looking at Bona."
"Yes I did pay attention, how can you say such a thing!? I adore you! Come here..." He tries to kiss her again, but she puts up a hand and stops him an inch short from her lips. MacPhisto grows in frustration. "You're just doing all this to anger me...you want to make me jealous!"
"That's not true."
"He's an obnoxious ASS! How dare you love HIM!? Bluey!?"
"I can trust him." She is very close to MacPhisto suddenly, and her voice takes on a deadly calm which makes MacPhisto, even in his outraged state listen with great caution. "What's more...if you ever try a stunt like what you pulled this evening, if you so much as lay a hand on him, I will make you very sorry. In fact, you should consider yourself very lucky you didn't kill him." MacPhisto's mouth hangs open. "He's mortal...If you want to start a fight with someone, pick on someone your own size. Understand?"

MacPhisto nods slowly. BluePhisto walks towards him and hugs him.
"Is there any chance?" He asks. "Any chance that someday you might love me again?"
BluePhisto whispers in his ear and wishing she could lie and say no. "I still love you, I can't just stop that...but I can't trust you. I can't be with you like this. I'm sorry."
She kisses MacPhisto on the cheek chastely and unwinds herself from his arms, heading back for the bed. He stands there for a moment, devastated, and finally leaves.
The Fly, greatly relieved that MacPhisto is gone, takes his shades off and crawls over the bed to BluePhisto. He thinks to himself that MacPhisto will be gone for some time so he takes his jacket off, gets under the covers, and puts his arms around her. The Fly kisses her face and talks to her softly, even though she is unconscious from the injury and the effort of surgery.
"Hey baby...you'd better be okay 'Cause there are lots of things we still need to do. Right beautiful? We still need to dance with each other at least twice, I've never shown you my place...it's much better than this dump. I've never seen you in the day time, I want to take you to Vegas. I know lots of nice places..." He takes her hand and examines her fingers. "You can't hear me can you darlin'? No. Probably not. Poor honey, working so hard and getting thumped on the head...if you want I'll take that table outside and kick it's ass..." He smiles and smoothes her hair. "I love you. Can't help it, just do...You know what I said to you a long time ago on the couch? I still have the ring in my pocket honey...I will ask you again later." He kisses her very softly on the lips and looks at her. "Waking up, Sleeping Beauty? No?" Suddenly he hears shouts from Bona and Larry's room. "Oh what the Hell now!?" He grabs his shades and his jacket. He is still putting on his jacket over his shirtless torso when he bursts through the door to find a weak Larry trying to choke MacPhisto. The Fly smiles and considers helping Larry finish him off, but reluctantly helps Bono pry Larry off of the devil.
"You stay the fuck away from her, do you hear me!?" Larry's voice is ragged from screaming. "If you lay a finger on her ever again I swear to God I will finish you off with my bare hands and spit on your grave!"
The Fly tries not to smile as he holds Larry down to the bed. "Come on now Mister Snarly, calm down you don't want to undo all Bluey's work!"
MacPhisto rubs his neck and trying to look dignified. "Larry, I was just apologizing. I promise I will never touch Bona again." Bona looks at MacPhisto, startled, and begins to notice that something about him is different...
"Mac..." Bono is bewildered. "Are you sober!?"
MacPhisto clears his throat and looks down at his gold shoes. "A little... now if you'll excuse me. Congratulations for being alive, having a baby, etcetera." He leaves.
Larry is still ranting. "I hate him Bona! I want to see him dead!"
"Larry, you do not...you're just upset."
The Fly decides that he is no longer needed here and leaves Bona, Bono and Larry to talk things over. He sees Bona's closet door open and looks through the evening gowns, pulling a silver one out for BluePhisto to wear when she wakes up.
"See y'all later." Bona looks up at him and her eyebrows go up at seeing her dress in his hands. The Fly smiles and holds it up to himself as he backs out of the room. "Do ya think it's my color? Bye!" He saunters back into BluePhisto's room to find MacPhisto leaning over a still sleeping BluePhisto.
The Fly throws the dress into a chair. "What the fuck are you doing!?"
"Nothing," says MacPhisto, "Just checking to see if she is awake yet." The Fly grimaces and crosses his arms. "Really, if you feel the need you can examine her for makeup marks..."
BluePhisto murmurs and stirs. Both men move towards the bed and look down on her. When she opens her heavy eyelids, she blinks in confusion.
"What are you two doing...what happened?"
"You kinda fell asleep," The Fly answered her, "standing up and banged your head on the way down."
She looks from one to the other. The Fly looks at MacPhisto and clears his throat...
"Well, she needs some rest. Bye-bye now." He ushers MacPhisto out of the room and shuts the door, then returns to BluePhisto, kissing her forehead. "Hey beautiful. Can I get you anything?"
"I'm very thristy."
He hands her a bottle of water to drink from. "Now that you're awake and well...I'm going to find something to change into. Partially soaking wet leather is not the most comfortable thing to wear, surprisingly! Will you be alright until I get back?" He kisses her hand and leaves the room, grinning.
BluePhisto sighs and opens the water. Creation is exhausting and she has never felt thirstier. She drinks the entire bottle in one long swallow, and licks her lips...The water had a bit of a strange taste to it, but she drank it so fast that she didn't notice. BluePhisto stands to change into the silver dress on the back of the chair and falls down...giggling.
After The Fly has gone, MacPhisto paces the hallway deep in thought. Bona had forgiven him, true, but it was hollow. Larry hated him, The Fly hated him, and as for Bluey...part of him wished he had never seen her. Suddenly, her door was flung open and BluePhisto peeked out at him, flushed and snickering uncontrollably.
"Maaaaaaac! That's such a wonderful name....Mackie, mackie, mackie..." She laughs and hangs on to the door. "How are yoooou?"
"I'm fine darling...are you alright? You seem to be a little unbalanced."
"No! No! I'm just..." She waves a hand clumsily and rocks back and forth with the door. "I feel a little strange." She remembered something all of a sudden. "Mac!" She turns around. She is wearing a silver evening gown with the zipper undone in the back... "Mac, be a dear and zip me up will you? I can't do it for some reason my fingers aren't working."
MacPhisto looks up and down the hallway to make sure no one sees him and zips her dress up for her, relishing the warmth of her skin and wings so close to his hands. "Bluey, dear...where is The Fly?"
"Who?" She turns and if he didn't know better he would swear he smelled alcohol on her breath. "Ohhhh, him. Yeah, he ummm...I really don't know."
MacPhisto is incredulous. "Bluey, have you been drinking?"
"NO!! Oh No! I can't drink, I'm an angel you know. I just had water." She points to the bottle on the table and MacPhisto's eyebrows shoot up.
"You drank that bottle? The WHOLE bottle?"
BluePhisto swings her silver skirt around. "Yup."
"Darling, that was vodka. That was not water.
BluePhisto is horrified but giggles. "Oh no! I'm not supposed to get drunk!" She wavers and catches Macphisto's jacket before she falls. "Angels have a bit of trouble with...impulse control when we have a bit of...water or whatever. Very bad decisions. Soooo, nooooo drinking!"
Macphisto sets her back on her feet. "Really?"
"It's TRUE!" she hollers to a button on MacPhisto's shirt. "And we have no inner monologue...which means we could spill all sorts of state secrets. So that's why angels can't drink. Makes sense too." She gasps and looks into his face. "Oh no Mac! I'm drunk, I'm an angel...Hide me! Hide me! I'll be fired if they find out!"
"Fired?"
"Oh yes...Quick, let's hide somewhere! You can't let anyone see me when I'm all wobbly!"
She tries to run down the hall but stumbles. MacPhisto catches her, and holds her a little longer than necessary.
"Alright, come with me. We'll hide together, and I won't tell a soul."
"Thank you Mackie! I knew I could count on you." She kisses him on the cheek and he leads her down a stairwell and into a dusty room...

FORTY-SIX

Bono has been standing out on the balcony this entire time, wishing only to stay out of the way. He gazes out at MacPhisto's extensive gardens and his mind flashes back to earlier when Larry had fallen back asleep. BonaPhisto had come crying and she'd collapsed into his arms and he'd held her tightly. Her thoughts came back to him like a blinding light, "He really is a beautiful creature..." Bono turned around to see how BonaPhisto and Larry were progressing, and he turned to see BonaPhisto sitting on the bed beside Larry, him rubbing her back and he lays a hand on her belly. She covers his hand with hers and plants a kiss on his cheek, now laughing together instead of fighting. Bono's mind starts to wander, and he pictures himself in Larry's position yet again, holding Bona close to him and inhaling her sweet, intoxicating scent, being able to kiss her without it being wrong somehow... His thoughts are interrupted when Bono turns his head and sees Adam walking straight toward him, a small smile on his face. Adam stops right next to Bono and watches through the window with him for a minute. Adam concentrates on the longing look on Bono's face and finally speaks softly.
"Bono, I think there's something we need to address."
"Yes? What about?"
"Bono," says Adam in the language of the angels, "I've been watching you. Bluey has been too but she is not able to address this right now. I'm concerned about you."
Bono looks off into the gardens. "In what way?"
"Since you've come I can't help but notice that you are especially close to Bona."
"We get along."
"I was worried about your presence making her fall in love with you...And...sorry Bono but I'm just going to say it...you seem to pay a lot of attention to her. I can't help but wonder if you are falling in love with her. Bono, is this true?"
"I think she's lovely..."
"You didn't answer my question. Are you falling in love with Bona?"
Bono sighs deeply. "I may be, yes. But I can't help it. I know she is with Larry and they are going to have a baby and it would be a sin if I...But I'm not going to. It's just a harmless crush Adam, I'm not going to break them up or anything!" He laughs.
"Just be careful Bono, it's a long way to fall."
"I know. I know. I won't let it interfere with my work."
"Maybe you should be transferred somewhere else."
"No, really Adam. I'm a professional. It's just a little crush on her. I can handle it, trust me." Adam looks at him for a minute, wishing BluePhisto was awake to handle this. Adam pats Bono on the shoulder and leaves the balcony. Bono stands alone, looking down into the shadowy trees below him...It is a long way to fall.
And part of him thought that maybe BonaPhisto was worth it.
If it weren't for Larry... If I could, I mean just once. Or if I could tell her... I love her.
Bono panics when he feels a tear run out of his eye and he sinks down on the balcony.
I'm so used to having them fall for me, not the other way around...
Bono sits against the wall of the balcony and cries lightly, trying not to imagine what it would feel like to make love to her, trying not to imagine himself in Larry's position, trying not to imagine loving her for the rest of eternity... he could find a way for her to be immortal again... surely the Lord could find another use for an angel somewhere...

FORTY-SEVEN

Bona and Larry are dancing in the bedroom, talking and laughing when Bona looks over and spots Bono sitting on the ground of the balcony. She lets go of Larry and moves out to the balcony and as she approaches him she realizes he's crying.
"Bono? What's wrong?"
Bono says nothing, wishing he could lie to her. He only looks at her face, her beautiful eyes, her smile and searches her face for something to say. By the look on his face, Bona immediately senses everything. She stands slowly, saying nothing, and offers him a hand.
"Would you like to dance?"
Bono smiles and stands, taking her hand and they walk back into the room. Larry stands off a bit, and Bona smiles genuinely at him. She wraps her arms around Bono's shoulders, and inside he winces with torture, desire and above all, love. They dance slowly, and Bono pulls BonaPhisto closer to him, trying to look nonchalant in front of Larry, who has moved over to the mini-bar. Bono lets her hair brush against his face and he inhales the scent, and she wraps her arms under his coat, underneath his wings and rests her head on his shoulder. Amazingly, Larry has noticed none of this. Bono thinks to himself that no one has been this comfortable to him. No one has been this good, smelled this good, looked this good... No one he knew could have gone from being one of the best temptress devils in Hell to being a totally innocent, completely changed, totally loving and selfless human. Bono knew of only one being in all of existence who could initiate such a change, and that was the very face of Love itself, the one and only Jesus Christ, Lord, God, Creator and Savior of the world...
MacPhisto opens the heavy black marble door at the bottom of the old staircase and flicks the light switch. Nothing happens.
"Oh dear...lights are out."
BluePhisto is completely smashed and giggling continuously. "Where are the lights? I can't see..." She runs into MacPhisto, he steadies her with an arm. He pulls a book of matches from his pocket and lights some candles nearby. The room is a gorgeous but abandoned old sitting room. A dark piano glistens in the corner, and the wine and gold furniture are lightly covered in dust. BluePhisto sits on one of the couches while MacPhisto lights more candles, a cigar, and ignites the fireplace.
"Oooh, what a beautiful room!"
"Yes, I enjoy it. But stopped using it a long time ago...too far from the wine cellar for most parties." The room glows with firelight and MacPhisto sees BluePhisto standing by an old record player, wavering back and forth and trying to place the needle on the spinning vinyl. He walks closer to inspect what she is doing.
"Would you like me to do that?" BluePhisto turns to look at him and trips over her shoes...the needle lands on the recording of "Carmen", and the habanera slinks out the speakers. MacPhisto leans over the Angel giggling in a heap at his feet. He had never seen her like this, she was kittenish and adorable. "Are you alright darling? Maybe you should stick to sitting down..."
"No, no...it's these silly shoes I'm wearing. No more shoes! They must come off..." She tries to kick her shoes off but they are strapped over her ankles. She mutters at them and tries to undo the tiny buckles, then gives up with a spectacular flourish. "Rrrr, stupid shoes! Why don't they come off? Shoes are MADE to come off! Mine are broken. Dumb shoes...You know, they shouldn't let you drink in broken shoes, it should be illegal....well it IS for some of us, I guess." She kicks at them again and sighs. "Mackie, can you think of a way to get my shoes off?" She lifts one of her shoes up to him, and her full silver skirt slides halfway down her thigh. MacPhisto cannot believe his luck...
"Of course dearest..." He places one hand under her calf, and deftly undoes the buckle with his other hand.
"You haven't called me that in a long time...I like it. It sounds so nice from you. I always thought you had such a lovely voice...you can make anything sound good...Am I blabbing too much? Angels have been known to go on and on when they've been drunk, so if I talk too much just shut me up." MacPhisto removes her other shoe and smiles down at her.
"No, dearest. I quite like it."
"You called me dearest again...I think you should talk now. I love hearing you talk. You have such a lovely voice, or did I already say that? Did I? I dunno I can't remember right now." Squinting at him. "Why are you all the way up there? Come down here! Or... I'll come up there!" She reaches for his hands and he pulls her up. She wobbles and stares at MacPhisto's hands around hers. "Your hands are so big, mine just disappear in them! I never noticed that before." Her eyes travel up his arms to his shoulders to his neck and to his face. He is staring at her intently and hasn't let go of her hands. "...Mackie, you're staring at me."
"Oh...am I?" he purrs.
"Yes...have I ever told you that you have a beautiful voice?" She giggles. "I really love this music, don't you? It's gorgeous and so...I don't know. It moves, like dancing, or...I can't remember what. Must be the wine...or whatever i drank. You know, do you know that I've never been drunk before? Really! It's strange, everything is so simple...It's like..." Her blurry cobalt eyes focus on his clear ice blue ones and she freezes. "I just forgot what it's like...You have such pretty eyes." The music changes to a fast flamenco beat, and she pulls him towards her. "Let's dance....but wait, you can't dance with that heavy jacket on...it needs to come off!" She peels his gold jacket off of his shoulders and it falls to the floor. The temptress wraps her arms around his burning neck and presses close to him, resting her head against his neck. He can feel her breath on his skin, and her warmth through the fabric of his shirt. His fingers move to the zipper of her dress...and stop. This wasn't the way it should happen. His body was screaming yes but...she was drunk. She was too drunk to know what she was doing...and after, she would hate him. It took every ounce of his strength to move his hand down to her waist.
"Dearest...I think we should stop...dancing."
"No! Why!? You don't like me anymore do you?"
MacPhisto tilts her face up to him and kissing her on the cheek. "I love you."
BluePhisto pauses. "You really do don't you?"
MacPhisto rests his head against hers and sighing. "Yes, I really do...and I want to dance with you more than anything right now but you are far too drunk."
"I'm not ..." She falls asleep on his shoulder.
He picks the sleeping angel up and carries her to a couch, where he watches her sleep for hours*

And at that moment, Bono knew that she'd become a child of God, just like Larry had always been. It had been an unspoken vow to Him, but she'd done it. Bono marveled at the change, and he adored her new personality, knowing what a fabulous mother she'd become. With an angel's sensitivity, he felt the tiny life growing inside of her, and made a promise.
Bono whispers to the unborn child, inaudible to anyone else. I promise I will protect you and love you, I will guard you and keep you, I will know all your secrets and all your passions, I will be your refuge... and I will do the same for your mother.
As he did this, he held Bona tighter and inhaled her scent more deeply, her cheek pressed against his and he couldn't help but kiss her silky skin. Bona looked up at him when she realized that Bono was trembling.
"You're okay?"
"I'm more than okay..." He hesitates. Behind Bono lies a pile of feathers, coming from his wings which are shedding them like rain. His skin has started to lose some of its supernatural glow.
"Bono, your wings! What's happening to you?"
Bono turns to see the pile of feathers his wings have shed, and he turns back to her slowly.
"Bona, I love you.
Larry looks up at Bono, no emotion on his face except a kind of "I can't blame you" look. Bono looks back at him apologetically.
"Bona, I'm sorry... but I do. I never expected this to happen, but I love you."
He scoops up the pile of feathers and runs out onto the balcony, climbing the steps and out of their sight. Bona starts to follow him, but Larry grabs her arm and pulls her back to him.
"Leave him be..."
"Larry, my god..."
Bono gets to the roof and collapses onto the ground, panting and in tears again. He shocks even more to discover he's feeling something angels usually cannot experience. Without even looking, he discovers the heat, the swelling of burning desire between his thighs and he looks down to confirm a more than noticeable erection. At that point he knew he was falling...

FORTY-EIGHT

Bona picks up a loose feather and traces its edge with her fingers.
"I don't know what to do..."
"What can you do?"
"Larry... I don't want to hurt him, but... he did save my life, he did discover the baby, he has been the sturdiest thing I've had to lean on..."
"And I haven't been?"
Bona wraps her arms around him. "No, you have... but frankly you haven't been around much since Mac stabbed me, you left me." She kisses him to calm his rising upset. "I tried killing myself because I was miserable without you, Bono caught me, you came back, I find out I'm pregnant, you leave again and come back almost dead, and when you have been here one of us or both of us have either been sleeping, injured or making love. When I've started crying from all the pain and stress, he's the one whose arms I fall into because you're not here or not available for some reason or another. He's the one who held me when I cried."
Larry lets go of her and walking across the room. "So then go. Leave... go to him if he's been so much better than I..."
"No. I love you. You're the father of our child and I love you. I need you." She walks over to where he stands and runs a hand down his cheek. "I wouldn't do this if I thought you wouldn't suffice..."
She leans up and kisses him, lightly at first then harder. She looks up into his eyes again, and turns around, walking across the room and closing the open curtains. She walks back over to him and plants her lips onto his, licking his lips lightly as she pushes him up against the wall. He inhales from pleasure and she manages to remove his shirt, teasing his chest with kisses as she does so. Her mouth finds his neck and she slowly unzips his pants. He throws his head back in ecstasy as she works...

FORTY-NINE

Adam has returned to BluePhisto's room to find her missing and he spots the empty vodka bottle on the counter. At first, he suspects that either The Fly or MacPhisto has consumed this, but a rather obvious ring of lipstick around the mouth of the bottle catches his eye. Knowing that BonaPhisto could not have possibly made her way in here, his mind concludes that Bluey was the only one who could possibly have consumed all this. He stops and senses her sleeping in a room downstairs, and heads down that way. He opens the door to the room and finds BluePhisto safely asleep on a couch and MacPhisto watching her peacefully, surrounded by lit candles.
Adam cracks the door open a little more, peering through. BluePhisto is lying on her side on a plush wine colored couch, the large cushions dwarfing her. BluePhisto's bare feet peek out the bottom of her shimmering skirt that matches her wings almost perfectly. MacPhisto is sitting with his arms resting on his knees on a chair that has been pulled next to the couch, smoking a cigar and looking at BluePhisto. She shivers a little in her sleep and MacPhisto retrieves his gold suit coat from the floor and covers her with it. A ring falls out of the pocket and MacPhisto sighs. It makes a perfect circle of gold on the cherry-black wood floor, Mac's fingers wrap around an edge and he almost slides it back on his finger, but grimaces and shoves it into his pants pocket instead.

"You're not even my ring anymore...are you?" he mutters to himself. "Come to think of it..." He looks at BluePhisto sleeping. "...Nothing that once was mine is mine anymore." He rises from the chair and with typical MacPhisto abandon grabs the nearest book and tosses it onto the fire. He watches the flames and exhales smoke for a moment. MacPhisto slowly leans over the back of his chair, looking at Bluey and talking to her quietly in a deep, weary voice. "Look what you've done to me..."
Adam cannot help but feel sorry for MacPhisto. He obviously loved her and not even another man, or her complete indifference to him would stop that. Adam knocks on the door and Mac, startled, looks up to see a gold glow outside the door.
"Ahh, Adam...come in."
"Hello is she...?"
"She's fine, she's just a bit tired."
"I see...Why is she down here?"
"I wanted to show her this room, it's quite lovely...pity it's so far from my wine cellars."
"Speaking of which, I found a bottle of vodka in her room upstairs. You don't know anything about that do you?"
"I drank it."
"You're sober."
"Fly drank it."
"The Fly doesn't wear lipstick...MacPhisto, did Bluey drink it?"
"No."
"Then who did?
"I don't know."
"I don't know why you bother lying to me...I know she drank it."
"She said she would be fired so I hid her down here."
"Oh no...she didn't know it was vodka. She won't be fired for that."
The door swings open again, and The Fly enters in his shades and a red leather suit.
"There she is!" He notices MacPhisto in the semi-gloom. "What are you doing here?"
"I live here Fly...I can be wherever I please." He exhales cigar smoke through his red lips.
"I meant what are you doing down here with her..." The Fly leans down to kiss Bluey on the cheek just to annoy MacPhisto, which it does... "And why does she smell like she's been drinking?"
"Someone gave her a bottle of vodka...she was under the impression that it was water. She drank the whole thing, and asked me to hide her so she wouldn't lose her job."
"That was vodka?"
The Fly leans down and picks Bluey up. She stirs and murmurs something about her head but doesn't open her eyes. "It's alright baby, let's put you in bed." The Fly emphasizes the last word and smiles at Mac, who is trying to look unmoved but is gripping the armrest of his chair. "Bye." The Fly carries BluePhisto up to her bedroom.
Adam senses Bono's fall, jumps up and hurries out of the room. "Excuse me MacPhisto."
MacPhisto is alone. He goes to the piano, throws the cover open and starts to play with the virtuosity of someone who has been playing as long as the instrument has been around...The sound drifts up the stairwell to BluePhisto's room where The Fly is climbing into bed with her. Their clothes lie in a heap on the floor and The Fly takes the semi-conscious angel in his arms and kisses her passionately. She is still quite drunk and groggy and kisses him back, wrapping her arms around his neck. They have sex in the dark; even more passionately, The Fly notices with pleasure, than their first time. When they are finished and lying in each other's arms, happy and warm in the pitch blackness of the room, a very sleepy, tipsy BluePhisto snuggles into the Fly and kisses his neck, murmuring drunkenly.
"Mmmm, I love you Mackie..."

FIFTY

Bono wakes up after a deep sleep, rubbing his eyes gently and he looks around. That dream... so strange. He'd dreamt that he'd made love to another woman... she'd found him on the roof and in his fallen state he'd taken advantage of her thoughts. He looked quickly down at his pants and breathed a sigh of relief. The erection was gone now, but Bona was still heavy on his mind. Nevertheless, the dream meant he really was falling hard and fast. This thought frightens him and tears stream again, from love and fear. As he sits trembling, he feels a hand on his shoulder. He turns and there stands Adam, his golden wings shimmering even in the pale moonlight. Bono can do nothing more than to stare up at him, a look in his eyes screaming "HELP ME!"
"Bono, this isn't just an innocent crush. You're in a very deep state of love with her and you're falling fast. The dream you had was another signal of your fall." Bono sobs hard and clings to Adam's pant leg. "I can't transfer you now that you made that promise to watch over Bona's baby, but you will be under very close watch."
Bono gets up and walks to the edge of the roof. He gazes down at the trees below and finally speaks softly.
"Adam, is it too late? Have I fallen completely?"
"No, you haven't completely fallen and there's still a way to save you. We can't let you fall any further..."
"What has to happen?"
"You have to get rid of your misery. Bona has to tell you that she loves you."
"I'm afraid if that happens..."
"That it'll go too far? Bono, this is totally contradictory for angels I know... we're not supposed to do things like this, this is more of a Phisto thing to do, but..." He has difficulty saying it. "Bono... Man, I wish BluePhisto was here to do this... Bono, the farther you go, the better your chances are of surviving."
Bono looks at Adam in shock. "Are you sure about this?"
"Got the word from the Lord."
"But she's with Larry..."
"Bono, you have two options. You can either fall completely, or you can figure out a way to save yourself. I can do nothing more. It's your decision and I have to leave it to you." He rubs Bono's back comfortingly. "If you need me, I'll be around."
Adam walks away slowly, and Bono continues to lean against the railing, gazing at the gardens below him.

FIFTY-ONE

BluePhisto opens her eyes, they feel almost glued shut.
"Good morning, Gorgeous."
BluePhisto rubs her forehead and looks to her right. The Fly is fully dressed in his red leather suit and shades and laying beside her on the bed. She smiles at him.
"My head hurts...what happened?"
She brushes dark stands of hair from her face and leans forward...The Fly admits she is the most beautiful woman he's ever seen in the morning. "How long have I been out?"
"Well, turns out that water I brought you was Vodka. You drank the whole thing baby!"
"No!"
"Yup, you were three sheets to the wind, honey...Good thing I was around to take care of you."
"Did I do anything stupid?"
The Fly pauses and lights a cigarette. "Oh just making a fool of yourself hitting on me the whole night! I mean you had me blushing child...If you weren't drunk I would have had to get Larry to defend me from you...but you took advantage of me anyway."
BluePhisto laughs, thinking he's joking. "Oh did I?"
"Yes...and I expect to be taken out for dinner to make it up to me."
"So that's all I did, just try to pick you up all night?"
"Well, before I got back from changing MacPhisto had taken you down to some room...When I got there you were sleeping." He examines his cigarette. "Don't worry baby, Adam was there..."
"Oh...okay." She smiles again. "And you came down and rescued me? How brave..." The Fly just smiles beneath his glasses. "Fly...why don't you take off your shades so I can see your beautiful eyes?"
The Fly stands up and fishes a bottle of whiskey from the minibar. "It's a shades kind of day, baby...a shades kind of day." He pours himself a very tall glass and starts to drink it.
"Is anything wrong?"
"Nah! Nothing a good drink won't fix...I'm going to the bar to get one."
"You have one."
"Well, you know what they say...one good drink deserves another. See ya honey, oh and Adam wants to talk to ya." He almost runs to the bar in the abandoned ballroom, downs his whiskey and takes off his shades to reveal red, puffy eyes. He mumbles to himself as he pours another drink. "Yeah, it's a shades kind of day..."
BluePhisto doesn't need to be an angel to know that there is something wrong with The Fly. She dresses quickly in the silver gown on the floor...how did it get there? And starts to look for him when she hears the phone in the office ring. She rushes in and picks it up...it's for her.
"Hello? Oh hi, I can explain! ...Oh...Are you sure it's okay?" She breathes a sigh of relief. "Oh thank you, I had no idea it was vodka, really. I'm so sorry!..." She sits down. Another job? What's special about it? Don't worry, I can handle it, whoever it is, I feel perfectly normal. Who is it? Hmmm, okay yes...Who is it?" She drops the receiver, and blanches then hastily picks it up and laughs nervously into the phone. "I'm sorry, can you repeat that? I thought you said..." Her voice is shaking now as though she may cry. "May I ask with all due respect if there has been some kind of mistake? Are you sure?" She rises and paces back and forth. "Okay...I just, I don't see why he needs to be...I know not to ask questions in these matters but it just seems so strange..." She sits down and cradles her head in one of her hands the voice at the other end of the phone goes on and on. "Ummm, sorry to interrupt but do you see why this may be a little hard for me? You don't? Okay..." The voice goes on for some time. "What if I said no?...Really? Well then I'm really sorry but...I can't do it. No. I just can't." The phone goes dead and BluePhisto leans back in the chair, stunned. The leather of the chair presses into the skin on her back where her wings used to be...A thought hits her and she jumps out of the chair, races out of the office and sprints down the hallway and around the corner to MacPhisto's room. She opens the door...it's empty. Think, think, think!. She looks across the room, the light is on in the bathroom. BluePhisto races to the door and pounds on it.
"Mac! Are you there?"
After last night's events, MacPhisto felt particularly depressed. He hated himself for not taking his chance with BluePhisto, and he hated himself for even thinking of it in the first place. He had played the piano in the old lounge for hours last night, trying to drown out his thoughts, and the sound of a bed creaking from upstairs. Although he nearly broke the keyboard, he still hadn't played loud enough, and now he sat smoking with a throbbing headache in his luxurious marble Jacuzzi, coaxing the cork off of a bottle of champagne and wondering if he'd ever touch Bluey again. Suddenly, someone was banging down his door.
"Bluey, darling, what are you doing? I'm in the tub..." BluePhisto runs into the bathroom in a panic and slams the door shut, locking it. She looks at him for only a moment, then starts to rip out all the drawers in the dressing table, searching for something. "Damn it"!
"Dearest! Your wings are ...they're gone!"
BluePhisto is still ripping the table apart. "I got fired."
"Fired? But Adam said that you wouldn't get fired, I wouldn't have told him otherwise."
"Not that...I can't believe you don't have a gun in this house!"
"A gun!? What do you need a gun for? Darling, you worry me!"
"Where is it!?"
"Elvis used to keep them under the sink whenever he stayed over..."
BluePhisto finds a box under the sink and opens it, she takes out a gun and some bullets and begins to load the gun. "Do you have anything bigger?"
"No...Bluey darling, what in the world is going on?"
BluePhisto pushes a dresser in front of the door. "They want you dead...They called me and told me to do it. But I said no...so they fired me. I guess I'm human now."
He moves to the side of the tub, and drops the champagne bottle. "But, if you said no..."
"They will send someone else to do it...that's what the gun is for. But I don't know who, how or where." She approaches the bath. "I have to stay here to protect you."
She makes a lovely human, MacPhisto observes. Her skin is now rosy and vibrant. "You are human...how can you possibly protect me? I should be protecting you darling."
"You may be stronger, but you are also the target, let's not make you an easy one...I also have 3000 years of knowledge and experience, plus..." She pulls the hammer on the gun back. "I'm an excellent shot."
BluePhisto sits close to MacPhisto on the edge of the Jacuzzi, she can feel the warmth of his arm on the skin of her legs.
"So how does it feel?"
"How does what feel?"
"To be human..."
BluePhisto is suddenly conscious of the fact that MacPhisto is not wearing anything and right next to her...she looks at the water droplets running down his back, and looks away, blushing. "Fine, it feels fine I suppose."
"So, what do we do now?"
"We wait."

FIFTY-TWO

Larry is in the shower and Bona is dressing when she hears a knock at the glass doors leading to the balcony. She walks over to the glass doors and pulls back the curtains, expecting to see Bono but there stands Adam instead. He has a somber but urgent look on his face. She opens the door and lets him in.
"Thank you... I would have come right in, but I wanted to make sure I wasn't interrupting anything..."
BonaPhisto laughs lightly. "Sure, that's alright. What can I do for you?"
"Bono..."
Bona sits down on the bed and sighs.
"He told me he loved me."
"That's very true. Bona, you have three thousand years worth of experience with us to know that since he's an angel and he's fallen in love with a woman who is basically claimed, he's falling because of it."
Bona picks up a shimmering white feather off the ground. "He's falling because of me? Is there a way to save him?"
"Well... yes. But it involves something that is a little... em... unorthodox, may I say?"
"What needs to be done?"
"He's miserable, Bona. That has to stop. He looks at you and it's like nails digging into him."
"I have to tell him I love him..."
"Yes, but that may not be enough. You may have to make love to him..."
Bona's stomach drops. "But Larry..."
"I can handle Larry...the thing is, Bona... it has to be done genuinely, not because I told you too. If you so much as touch him, it has to be because you love him." She looks up at him. "Do you?"
Bona hesitates, looking Adam straight and deep in the eyes, afraid to say what she's about to.
"Yes."
"Then you know what you have to do."
"Adam, I can't."
"Would it make a difference if I told you that he vowed to guard and protect your child? Bona, he loves you that much. Right now he considers you worth falling for."
"Adam... I love him. I do. And I go against every desire in my body when I say that I can't go up there and..."
"Good. Because you won't be doing anything of the sort!"
Adam and Bona look over to see a soaking wet Larry Mullen, wrapped only in a towel around his waist. Bona swallows at the sight of him, water droplets still running down his shoulders and stomach. She resists the urge to walk up to him and take the towel off of him and pull him back into the shower and...
"Larry..."
"I don't want you to do it. Let him fall."
"Larry," says Adam, "why don't you dress and we can take a walk? I'd like to talk to you anyway."
Larry eyes him for a minute, then finally grabs a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and dresses. He walks up to Bona and kisses her genuinely on the lips, and Adam and Larry both head towards the door and Bona looks after them with a worried look. Adam glances back at her and winks, shooing her out onto the balcony with a wave. After they leave, Bona sits on the bed for a few moments, still. She pictures Bono's face, his wings and his reddish brown hair falling softly to his shoulders, the peace she felt in his arms, the smile rounded off by dimples that sent lightning up her spine, when she was still sick and injured, bedridden he'd kissed her and it made her feel in such a way as she'd never felt before. She could go up to the roof where Bono waited, suffering as he fell, and she could throw herself gratefully into his arms and tell him how she felt, lose herself in an angel's embrace, or she could stay planted right here, let him fall after everything he'd done for her, everything he'd shown her and given her and she could watch him fall, become human and die, all to stay faithful to Larry. Larry Mullen, a man who deserved much better than a former devil who'd turned her back on him more times than she cared to admit, who now carried his child and who wasn't sure where her heart was, and who was ultimately going to hurt him in the end. Truthfully, Bona didn't want the child if Larry wasn't around with it. All or nothing. She didn't think she could live with the daily reminder of how much she'd hurt him, and for that she didn't think she deserved to live at all. For love or decency. Pick one love or the other, Bona. There are no compromises here. She turned all this over in her mind, and slowly rose off the bed, and wrote Larry a note...
Larry:
I cannot think of the words to say to you right now, other than I'm sorry. I'm sorry I've hurt you so many times, and I'm sorry you ever had to deal with me. I'm sorry I'm about to betray you yet again, and I'm sorry that I feel you deserve better than me. I've done nothing but hurt you, and for that I'm sorry you ever came into Bluey's limo that night at all... you didn't deserve any of this and for this, I feel I can't live with myself any longer. I love him, Larry. I love Bono too much to be able to watch him fall and die, too much to deny him this, but I also love you too much to be able to do this and ask you for forgiveness again. That I will spare you. I was a devil for three thousand years and I suppose I'll never be anything better. Please take care of yourself, and from Heaven or Hell or wherever I end up I will be watching you,
All the love I possess,
Bona.
She walked out to the balcony and climbed the stairs, freezing at the sight of Bono leaning against the rail of the roof. She approaches him slowly.
"Bono? Can we talk?"

Echo is offline  
Old 11-25-2001, 02:35 AM   #7
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Join Date: Oct 2001
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FIFTY-THREE

BluePhisto cradles the dull gray gun in her pink hands, pointing it at the door, checking the sights...MacPhisto looks up at Bluey from the water. He can read the fear and the determination not to show fear on her face, she seems much more vital now whether it was from the situation, the shock, or the fall...he didn't know.
"Bluey, dear...How much do you remember of last night?"
"I don't know...I remember waiting for a drink of water and then I talked to you about something, and then I woke up. Why?"
"That's really all you remember?"
"The Fly says that he found Adam and I with you in a room downstairs...I've been meaning to ask you, what was I doing down there?"
"You ran into me in the hallway and asked me to hide you so you wouldn't lose your job, do you remember now?"
"Was Adam with me?"
"No darling, it was just you and I."
"Alone? For how long?"
MacPhisto sighs. "For an hour or so."
BluePhisto pauses, trying to find the right words. "MacPhisto, I really don't remember...What did we do?"
He smiles a little and raises an eyebrow as he contemplates his unused champagne glass. "We talked. We just talked."
Memories flood back to her of her shoe, throwing her arms around MacPhisto, dancing with him, and then him gently pushing her away. "Oh...I remember a little now." She blushes, embarrassed that she made a pass at him last night. "I'm so sorry, I had no idea what I was doing..." She laughs a little. "Who knew I was such an outrageous flirt?"
"I was flattered," he says graciously, looking down at his glass.
There is an awkward silence...BluePhisto cannot believe that when she was at her most vulnerable, and throwing herself at him, MacPhisto did not take advantage of her. She knew he wanted her, he had told her as much and come to think of it...since she found him with Bona he had not even looked at another woman.
MacPhisto was looking at BluePhisto. She was still focused on the door and he could not tear his eyes away from her newly exposed back. He could see muscles contract under the soft ivory skin as she adjusted her grip on the gun. Now that she was human, she was imperfect. His eyes wandered over her new imperfections, taking them in with delight. She had a mole on her neck now, and some of the waves of her long black hair barbed and escaped from the glossy mane that hung down her back and around her shoulders. Her chest and cheeks were flushed with excitement, and the veins on her arms looked like turqoise streams across a creamy plain. Her dress was rumpled and her shoes hung off of her toes precariously. He took all these imperfections in with his eyes greedily as though they were jewels. She had never been so beautiful to him as she was right now when she was warm and flawed... She turned her blue eyes towards him, startling him.
"Thank you."
"Anytime dearest..."
The word dearest sparks her memory...she looks at his empty champagne glass, and then at him again.
"Mac! Are you sober?" In her astonishment, she turns a little too sharply around and slips into the tub.
MacPhisto quickly helps her right herself. She is soaked. Putting the gun on the side of the tub she brushes her wet hair off of her face and gasps. MacPhisto is right beside her, his hand on her back.
"Are you alright? You didn't hit your head again did you darling?"
She looks up at him and for a moment...But she snaps out of it quickly, climbing out of the water, and turning red. "Maybe you should put something on, we might be in here for a little while."
BluePhisto turns around while he climbs out of the water and wraps himself in a gold and black robe. She has actually closed her eyes and keeps thinking of Orpheus who descended into Hell to retrieve his love, but lost her for looking back...She vows not to repeat his mistake and keeps her eyes shut. She feels a warmth beside her.
MacPhisto looks with amusement at her tightly shut eyes. "Bluey, dear?"
BluePhisto jumps and opens her eyes. "Oh, there you were...I was just...deep in thought."
"Would you like a towel?" MacPhisto drapes a large red towel over her wet shoulders, and leans against the chaotic dressing table, lighting a cigar. "The answer to your question is yes. I am sober."
BANG BANG BANG!
The door vibrates with each knock. BluePhisto jumps up and steps in front of MacPhisto. The door is broken down, and the dresser in the way is tossed aside like a toy. Adam stands in the doorway, with a black overcoat on.
"Adam! They sent You ?"
"I am your replacement BluePhisto. Hand him over."
"Adam...this is ridiculous, there must be a mistake."
"Bluey, I don't want to do this but it's my job...it's not personal."
BluePhisto raises the gun. "You don't have to do this! Adam, just tell them no!"
Adam looks at MacPhisto behind BluePhisto. "MacPhisto, if you don't come forward I will have to go through her."
MacPhisto pushes past Bluey. "Dearest, please move..." She forces herself in front of him again. "Bluey! Don't do this darling!" She turns around and pushes MacPhisto with all her strength into the wall and turns to Adam again. She raises the gun to his chest as she begins to cry. "Adam...I don't want to do this, I really don't...Please don't make me shoot you! Please go away Adam! GO!"
"Sorry Bluey, it's my job."
He steps towards MacPhisto and Bluey pulls the trigger. The bullet buries itself in Adam's chest, pinning him to the wall. He slides down the marble wall, dark red angel's blood spilling down the front of the black coat. He is dead.
"Oh my God! Adam..." She kneels over Adam's body, crying quietly and covering her mouth with one hand. She drops the gun on the floor and buries her face in both hands, sobbing. MacPhisto creeps up behind her and puts his hands on her shoulders. She hears his voice in her ear.
"Dearest, look up."
BluePhisto looks up...Adam's body is gone and a figure starts to materialize in his place, glowing blindingly white and then beginning to take form. A man starts to appear, dressed in a shade of white that is even more blinding than even Adam. A halo of light glows from his head and his face is flawless, perfect, radiating nothing but love. In fact, his entire being is flawless, and radiates a sense of love so powerful and peaceful that no one in the room realized existed. He is indeed the most beautiful being any of them have ever laid eyes on. BluePhisto can do nothing but stare in awe at Jesus Christ, smiling down at her.
"What happened to Adam, what are you doing here?"
"Adam is fine" says Jesus, in the language if Heaven. "He was never here, Bluey, that was an illusion."
"A WHAT!?"
"And you are not fired. We never wanted MacPhisto dead. This was a test, BluePhisto. You are one of my favorites. You see, I had to show you something..." He crouches down to her level and takes her hands. "Think about it...if you quit your job, fell from heaven, committed murder, sacrificed one of your friends, and defied God himself for the sake of one man, wouldn't you call that love?" BluePhisto is stunned. "I would, and I do."
"You mean you did all this to make me realize that I...that I..."
"You love MacPhisto...you need to stop pushing that away. " He hugs her. "Now I have to go, but I think you owe him an explanation...oh and you will stay human until I've decided that you are ready to come back to work, you need time off." He kisses her cheek and waves at a bewildered MacPhisto and leaves...the door and the dresser are perfect again.
"Bluey...what was that all about?"

FIFTY-FOUR

Bono is so stunned by her beauty he can barely speak. "What about?"
"Bono... Ever since Mac stabbed me you've been nothing but comfort and support to me. Ever since then you've been the only solid rock I've had to lean on. I've been at my worst and you haven't left my side..."
"Just doing my job..." he smiles a little.
Bona looks up into his ethereally beautiful face, but she notices that his skin has lost all of its previous glow. "No, Bono. You weren't just doing your job... Bono, you told me you love me."
"I'm sorry, Bona."
"What reason have you to be sorry?"
"You're with Larry."
Bona sighs. "Not really."
Bono looks at her questioningly.
"Since day one, I've done nothing but hurt him...He deserves better than me."
"You broke up with him?"
"You need him, Bona. Why did you end it?"
Bona turns to him and dives into his eyes with her own.
Because I love you.
Bono is silent for a moment, shocked and at the same time not surprised. He cannot tear his eyes from hers and she steps up to him and wraps her arms around him, under his wings beneath his coat. She looks up at his gentle face.
"Can we finish that dance?"
He looks down at her, and she notices that his skin has regained some of it's heavenly glow and he nods. He pulls her away from the edge of the roof and wraps his arms around her, pulling her close to him and she lay her head against his chest. There is no music, but they dance slowly anyway. She snuggles into him, inhaling his scent and loving the sensation of his soft hair as it brushed against her face. They swayed together and she looked up at his ethereal blue eyes, lost in their intensity and color, and the way his hair framed his face and fell to his shoulders. His face inched closer, closer and finally his mouth was on hers, giving her what had to be the lightest kiss she'd ever felt. It came again harder and she twined her arms around his neck, returning his kiss with as much passion as she could bring out of herself. She felt the burning heat of his skin and he ran his hands through her hair. She pulled his jacket off and it fell to the ground, exposing his wings for the first time, half barren from falling and losing so many feathers. Without the jacket he only wore the vest with a white sleeveless shirt underneath, and for the first time Bona could see the strength in his arms as she felt it envelope her. His tongue sliding over the inside of her mouth, over her teeth and tongue and his breath on her face, her hands running through his hair and her removing his vest, kissing his chest and savoring the feel of his soft chest hair on her face as she unbuttoned his shirt and pulled it gently off. She ran her tongue and mouth over his chest and up to his neck as his breathing became heavier and he reached behind her and unzipped her dress, pulled it off and it fell to the floor. His arms wrapped around her tightly again and their mouths connected yet again, with more passion than either of them knew existed. He took her around the waist and gently leaned her back, laying her down on the pile of feathers from his barren wings. His weight on top of her and his mouth exploring every inch of her body as they both trembled with anticipation and love. Bona could feel his hot, hardened desire digging into her thigh, and Bono explored her with his mouth and hands until Bona thought her lungs would explode and she tugged at his pants, delirious with longing and somehow, they were removed and he pulled her panties off quickly and pressed into her finally, thrusting gently and covering them with his jacket. She wrapped her legs around his waist and he wrapped his wings around her, which were now regaining feathers. Several hours and many rounds later, they lay wrapped in each others arms, covered by his jacket and his wings so expansive that they enveloped the couple entirely. They slept on, with an unspoken understanding that Bono had been saved from his fall. He awoke and stared down at her face, still holding her very tightly and covering them with his wings, and he brushed a hand across her cheek. What would happen to them now?

FIFTY-FIVE

Adam and Larry leave the room, and walk silently for a while. They come to a private place deep in MacPhisto's garden and sit. Larry has picked up a Guinness along the way, and sips at it slowly. After some time, Larry finally speaks.
"So what'd you want?"
"I wanted to ask you how you feel about Bona. I mean honestly. I know you love her. But I mean about everything else that's happened."
"Since when?"
"Since you've met her."
"She's failed me a lot."
"I want you to know that this is without a doubt the hardest decision she's had to face yet."
"I can see why... I mean if she chose him. I haven't been around much..."
"But she loves you and she needs you. She meant that when she said it."
"But he's the one that's been there. She said that herself... that he's the one whose shoulder she's been crying on lately."
"That's true... but you're the father of her child."
"But he's an angel. As long as she has him, she doesn't really need me, does she?
"There's only so much an angel can do. He can't be directly involved in the baby's life, he can't totally fulfill the fatherly role like you can. She will never be his only job. She's just the only one he's ever fallen in love with."
Larry is quiet for a moment, realizing that Adam's right.
"So what's she doing right now?"
Adam tunes into Bona and Bono, sensing their frantic and deep lovemaking, and he chooses his words carefully. "She's doing what she has to do...she's saving him."
"From what? Falling?"
"Larry, when an angel falls, they fall all the way. Meaning that they become human, and are susceptible to disease, sin, drunkenness, disillusionment, confusion, love and heartbreak, depression, sex, drunkenness... every human ailment that we were immune to before. On top of that, when an angel falls they are given the same choice that humans are. You either stay true to God's path and enter Heaven again, or you give in to the weakness and the sin and end up in Hell. Unfortunately, most end up very weak and end up giving in to human nature and the sin that comes with it. Bono is no exception. He's a strong angel, but as a human he'd be very frail. It's a very different experience. He'd have his intelligence and his experience to help him, but his new soul would be too weak. Do you understand what she's saving him from now?"
"Yeah... but what does she have to do to save him?"
"Larry, the reason Bono's falling is because he's miserable over his love for Bona. He loves her so much, and yet he knows he cannot have her because of you and the baby, and the fact that she's human and he's an angel. He loves her so much that he considers her worth falling out of heaven for. The only way he can stop falling is if he rids himself of his misery."
"So she had to tell him that she loves him..."
Larry stares off into the gardens, silent and unsure of how to feel about his realization.
"Bono vowed to protect, guard, love and carry your child through everything, "Adam says. "He made the same promise for Bona. Larry, the last thing he wants is to break you and Bona up. He knows how much she needs you and how much he can't provide for her."
Larry rises. "I want to go back to the room now. There's something I need to say to Bona."
"You're not dropping her, are you?"
Larry sighs. "No. I can't."
"Good."
"I'm gonna marry her."
"You're forgiving her for this?"
"Yeah. I am."
"Glad to hear it." Adam laughs. "Though I will warn you, you'll have quite a challenge in the bedroom from now on. Making love to an angel is quite an experience." He grins.
They walk contentedly back to the bedroom, and Adam stops halfway when he spots a couple lying on the roof of the house, wrapped up in a pair of giant, shimmering wings. Knowing that this is Bona and Bono, he smiles and catches up to Larry, who has spotted this too. Adam pats him on the back.
"Keep movin', Lawrence."
They get back to the bedroom and Larry walks in, hoping to find Bona, but instead he finds her note, and he reads it aloud, wiping tears from his eyes. He shakes his head, and cannot hold back sobs. Adam sits next to him, and rubs his back. Larry calms, takes a deep breath and speaks again.
"I was going to marry her..."
"You still can. She wrote this because she thought for sure you'd be upset and leave her..."
"Where is she?"
"On the roof..."
Larry rushes out onto the balcony and up the stairs to the roof where he finds a sleeping Bona wrapped up in a still nude Bono's arms and wings, him stroking her face with his hand and looking wistfully into her eyes. Larry leans up against one of the walls and stays silent for a moment. Bono looks up finally and sees him. Bono panics and wraps a wing around himself and Bona even more to cover their exposure. Bono stares at Larry apologetically, and Larry waves it off.
"It's okay. I understand now."
"I never meant to hurt either of you..."
Bona awakens at the sound of Bono's voice and spots Larry leaning against the wall. She cannot meet his gaze and looks away, burying her face into Bono's chest and sobbing.

FIFTY-SIX

"What in the world just happened?" MacPhisto asks BluePhisto.
BluePhisto stares at him, in his gold and black satin robe, his blue eyes wide and puzzled. He's the only man she could ever imagine being able to pull off looking a little terrified stylishly. Jesus' words repeat in her head...
"Oh my God...I do..."
MacPhisto puts down his cigar on the table and stepping towards her in concern. "Darling, you do...what?"
BluePhisto stands there staring at him. Yes, she loves him, but all she can think is He only loves me right now because he can't have me. As soon as I tell him how I feel, it will start all over again, there will always be other Bonas, he could never be satisfied with just me. Forget it. She looks down at the floor, blinking back tears, MacPhisto touches her arms with his hands...he has no idea what is wrong. She looks like she's going to cry. She looks up at him with glistening human eyes, and thinks you can never really love me back...there will always be other women. but she can't force these words past her constricted throat. MacPhisto, as though he senses what she is thinking, wraps his arms around her and holds her tightly. Satin slides over her skin and she buries her face in the front of his robe. "Nothing's wrong..." He starts to rub her back in a comforting way...but he sighs when his large palm passes over her smooth new skin. "...Adam's not really dead, it was all a test." She sniffles. "They wanted to test me."
"Did you pass?"
"I don't really know...in some ways I feel like I haven't even started."
BluePhisto looks up, MacPhisto is looking down at her adoringly. He is caught and he knows it so he just smiles, his light blue eyes crinkle. BluePhisto stands on her tiptoes and moves her mouth towards his...MacPhisto closes his eyes and his hands shake a little, and then his feels her lips on his cheek. He opens his eyes, and looks down to find a breathless BluePhisto moving out of his arms.
"I need to go...I'll see you later." She nearly walks into the dresser, and then races out of the room. She cannot believe she almost kissed MacPhisto! What was she thinking!?
BluePhisto burst into the ballroom where The Fly was drinking in his red suit at the bar by himself. He leaps out of his seat and meets her halfway. He has been thinking long and hard about what BluePhisto said to him last night...and he has decided that he cannot let her get away.
"Bluey, baby...c'mere." He pulls his shades off to reveal very blue, slightly tired looking eyes.
"Fly, we have to talk."
"Yeah...we do honey." He goes down on one knee and pulls the ring out of his pocket. BluePhisto gasps. "Bluey, this is crazy but, hey...I'm crazy so it all works out. I told you I'd ask you later and I think I'd be a fool to wait any more. I've been thinking about it, and I want you to marry me baby, I'm serious. Please marry me..."
BluePhisto stands in silence, looking down at the Fly and MacPhisto walks in...

FIFTY-SEVEN

"Bona, please..."
Bono and Bona rise and dress quickly and Larry walks slowly up to her.
"I'm not angry. I want you to know that I understand, and that I'm not leaving you."
"You're not leaving?"
"Not for the world."
"Larry, I don't deserve you..."
Larry puts a finger to her lips. "Shhh... I'll decide that. Listen to me very carefully. I love you. Honestly. I love you more than I can tell you and I meant it when I said that I'd never let anyone hurt you. I wouldn't be able to stand you being miserable for any reason. And if that means that you need time with Bono to sort things out, then I'll give you as much time as you need."
She looks back at Bono, who only stands with his hands in his pockets. He shrugs his shoulders. She looks down at her belly and places her hands gently on it, then reaches over and takes Larry's hand, placing it on her belly and she looks him in the eye and speaks softly.
"Larry... I love you. I love you and I need you, more now than I ever have. But this has to be resolved before you and I can go any further. I couldn't go on happily knowing that there are things between Bono and I that haven't been laid out on the table."
"If that's what you need to do..."
"I think it is."
He leans forward and kisses her lips gently, and she wraps her arms around his shoulders and squeezes him gently.
"This isn't goodbye," she says.
Larry reaches into his pocket and pulls out a tiny black box, and hands it to her. Inside there's a ring. She stares at it with a puzzled but amazed look.
"I want to marry you. But not until you're ready..."
Bona is speechless. After everything she's done to him, all the hurt and turmoil he wants to marry her? She says nothing, but by the tears of pain that have now turned to tears of joy streaming down her face, he knows her answer is a yes. He squeezes her hand and starts to back away from her.
"I'll be waiting. You and only you."
Larry starts to turn away from her but he cannot fight the tears anymore. She takes him by the shoulder and turns him around. She wipes a tear from his face, then wipes tears from her own and takes his face in her hands. She kisses him gently more than once.
"I won't be long."
"I'll wait for you. No one else..."
Larry pulls away and Adam wraps an arm around his shoulder, they walk away. Bona puts the ring in her pocket and turns back to Bono, almost running up to him and throwing her arms around him, not sure whether to cry or laugh.
Adam and Larry make their way to the front of the house.
"Where will you go now?"
Larry sighs. "Home. I'm going home and I'm going to wait for her to come home."
"Good deal."
Larry climbs on the bike.
"Oh, hey Larry!"
"Yeah?"
"She won't be long. I promise you that."
Larry gazes up at the roof where he stood with Bona minutes earlier. "I hope not."
Larry drives off away from the house, down the road. Adam heads back up to the roof.

BluePhisto is breathless. "Fly!...I don't know what to say!"
MacPhisto watches without breathing from the doorway. She can't accept, she wouldn't.. . He stares without jealousy, but with the intense interest of a man watching a surgeon decide whether or not to amputate his limb.
The Fly he sees MacPhisto in the doorway and his desperation flares. "Say YES! Just say yes and I will marry you tomorrow if you want...Or now, right now! We can do whatever you like and I don't care how we do it I just want you to be my wife...Just you and me."
Suddenly it all became clear to her...if she married The Fly she would never have to risk being hurt by MacPhisto ever again.. .the choice would just be gone, out of her hands. He could never reject her again...A new feeling floods over her, human fear. There would always be another Bona, another "last time". Life with MacPhisto would only be filled with pain and rejection again and again...She glances down at the nervous man looking up at her with electric blue eyes, just waiting for one word to slip a ring onto her finger.
"Yes.".
MacPhisto stumbles back in surprise, catching the railing of the staircase. BluePhisto is swooped up by a jubilant Fly and he swings her around the room, then puts her down and slides a large gold ring on her ring finger.
"I knew if I kept asking you would say yes! It's a little too big on your finger right now, but I can have it redone if you want...Hell! I'll do anything you want right now! Anything!" He kisses her deeply, almost knocking her over with his enthusiasm, his hands sliding up her back. He stops and looks at her. "Baby...What happened to your wings?"
"It's a long story," she says faintly. "Let's just say that I am on vacation..."
The Fly resumes his manic happiness. "Honey...I will take you however I can get you! Wings, no wings...I could care less baby." He jumps up and down. "Either way, you are going to be my wife! And you said I wasn't the marrying kind...See? I'll do anything to win an argument..." He takes her in his arms and kisses her again "Even marry the woman of my dreams..." BluePhisto looks a little into the distance, The Fly regains her attention by caressing her face and saying exactly what she wants to hear more than anything... " And you know, honey, that I would never ever hurt you or lie to you. Never." BluePhisto smiles and kisses The Fly softly, running her fingers through his wavy black hair. He starts to kiss her again when he sees MacPhisto still standing in the doorway, unable to move away but with his back turned to them, leaning against a dark red wall. The last thing the Fly needed was for his new bride to be to run into MacPhisto. The Fly kisses her on the forehead and starts to walk her towards the doors on the opposite side of the room...
"Baby, doll, why don't you go pour us a bath and I'll be right there?"
"Of course..."
She leaves, never having detected MacPhisto's presence.
The Fly turns around slowly, expecting MacPhisto to be gone. He is still standing there, with his back to the Fly, almost obscured by the shadow that envelops him. Intoxicated by Bluey's acceptance of his impulsive proposal, The Fly snatches a bottle of scotch from behind the bar and tries to sneak out without confronting MacPhisto. He is almost out the door when a voice whispered in his ear chills him to the bone. MacPhisto is now just behind him, and The Fly knows better than to resist the crushing grip on the back of his neck that prevents him from turning around.
MacPhisto glares at him with deadly measured calm. "If you ever hurt her, even for a second, even as a mistake...If you make her cry even once, or bruise her feelings...If you neglect her or betray her, even with your most personal thoughts I will know, and I will make your life a living Hell. She is too good for both of us."
The Fly makes no reply and feels himself picked up and put outside the door. The wind from the slam of the wooden block, blows black hair across his face. The Fly shudders, straightens his coat and walks off to find his fiance.

FIFTY-EIGHT

BluePhisto runs to through her room to the luxurious red marble bath and releases a torrent of hot water from the tap with a turn of her wrist. The Fly's gold ring hung off of her finger and slipped into the tub, rolling around the drain.
"Oh damn it." She plunges her fingers in, grabbing the ring at the last minute despite the scalding water. The Fly walks in, smiling widely. She shoves the hot ring on her finger again and looks up at him from the end of the tub.
The Fly starts humming "Here comes the Bride" as he walks in, laughing, doing the wedding march and miming a bouquet in his hands. He tosses the imaginary flowers behind him and then lunges for BluePhisto, wrapping her in a desperate, almost crushing hug.
"Ow, Fly...let go...can't breathe."
He covers her neck in kisses. "You're really going to marry me?"
"Yes. I really am."
The Fly laughs and runs his hands through her hair. "I'm sorry honey, it just seems too good to be true, I've never been this happy, ever. Not even when Elvis and I took that jet to Italy and ran into these...ah never mind baby." He laughs and slides a strap of her dress off of her shoulder, kissing it. She sighs and closes her eyes, his hair tracing her back tickles a little. Thank God he proposed when he did, this takes care of so much...
The Fly kisses her passionately, his lips digging into hers. His wife's lips...He liked the sound of that. He would take her away from here and she would forget all about MacPhisto, hopefully he would never have to hear that name again. He pulled away from her and began to slide the second strap off of her shoulder when a thought hit him and he stopped.
"What's wrong?"
The Fly is grinning like a maniac. "Nothing baby! Oh lord, nothing! I just thought that since you're human now, you could probably have a little champagne to celebrate! Want some? Okay...stay there, Oh lord don't move a muscle, look at you baby! Alright, I'll be right back with some champagne for you..." He kisses her three times quickly, moans in satisfaction and leaves the room. He is so happy that he is actually dancing in the hallway. Adam appears from around the corner and The Fly tackles him and kisses him on the cheek.
"SHE SAID YES! Can you believe it? Me! A married man!"
Adam sighs and rubbing his head. "It's a record day around here..." He focuses on MacPhisto...who is down in the wine cellar. Adam made his way to the stairwell and opened the door. The wine cellar was as quiet as if it had been empty. Adam descended the stairs... "Mac? MacPhisto?" A glimmer caught his eyes and he turned. MacPhisto was sitting on the concrete floor with his back against a dirty wall, surrounded by empty and open wine bottles. His eyes were dull and downcast, and one of his arms was wrapped around himself protectively, the other hand held his fifth bottle of red wine in as many minutes, a small step in his plan to drink himself to death. He just looked at the floor, not even responding to Adam's presence. Adam moves closer, waiting for MacPhisto to lash out, or shove him or yell...but he just sat there moving only to finish the fifth bottle and reach for the sixth. Adam sat beside him and cautiously put his arm around the drowning man, who for all Adam knew, was not even aware of his presence until Adam tried to take the wine bottle from him.
"Mac...put it down, don't do this to yourself...come on, let me have this now." MacPhisto didn't fight Adam, he just wouldn't let go. Adam let him have the wine and regarded him with great pity...The demon was in mourning. "Mac, I heard about it, from The Fly. She really said yes? How did you find out?" Silence. "I'm very sorry...I was shocked myself, I can't imagine how you feel...how do you fee? MacPhisto, please say something, I'm worried about you. Come on, talk to me now, you'll feel better if you do..." MacPhisto blinked and paused in his mechanical drinking for a moment as if he wanted to say something...His forehead creases and his eyes water up. He brings his free hand up to his face and holds it over his eyes, rubbing his temples, but then he shakes his head almost imperceptibly, drops his arm around himself again and starts to down the bottle, finishing it in one long drink. He opens his seventh bottle and Adam tightens his arm around the devastated devil, usually so glib and witty... "Mac, please don't. Okay, I'll stay with you, it will be alright....somehow."
MacPhisto sighs deeply and finished the seventh bottle in one long gulp...reaching for the eighth.

FIFTY-NINE

Bono holds her closely, neither of them saying a word for several moments. He can sense her mixed feelings, and she's buried her face into his shoulder. She's numb more than anything, and Bono senses this. This unbelievable situation, Larry giving her the freedom to explore and resolve things with him, then promising to marry her... It was unlike anything he'd ever seen happen. She squeezed him and he kissed her temple gently.
"Thank you for saving me."
"I couldn't watch you die..."
"Do you regret going that far?"
"No. I did it because I love you. To be an angel has its advantages.
"You wanna see advantage?"
Scoops her up in his arms and carries her off back into the house, down to MacPhisto's pool. He puts her down and backs away from her, removing his vest and shirt as he does so. His wings flutter a bit and Bona is absolutely shocked by his behavior.
"Bono, are you trying to seduce me?"
Bono smiles seductively. "Maybe..." He pauses, then sheepishly. "Is it working?"
He jumps into the pool and after a moment, throws his soaking wet pants and up onto the ledge. Bona walks up to the edge of the pool and realizes that he's naked. He wraps his hands around her ankles and plants a kiss on her feet.
"Come in... The water is almost as beautiful as you are."
He grabs the bottom hem of her dress and pulls at it. She aids him by pushing the straps off her shoulders, and he gives her dress a tug again. It falls to the floor, and she jumps into the pool and turns her back to him, teasing him as she removes her bra and panties.
"What are you doing?" He steps up to her and wraps his arms around her from behind.
"Returning the favor."
She wiggles out of his arms and swims off. He watches her as she swims, and he swims after her. She finally gets to the wall and sees that Bono is approaching her quickly. She swims off in another direction and they chase each other around the pool for a bit, laughing and splashing each other. Bono dunks her once, and she jumps on his back and pushes him under for revenge. She swims off again and comes to the wall, and Bono has her cornered. He comes up from under the water, his hair soaking wet and she watches the water run off his body, dripping off his wings and he wraps his arms around her again and before either of them had a chance to think, his mouth was on hers again. He presses his body against hers tightly and plants kisses on her neck, she runs a hand down his wings and then suddenly she stops him.
"Bono, wait. I don't know... You're my angel and I love you... but I don't want it to revolve around sex... You're higher than that..."
"Bona, I wouldn't do this if I didn't love you. Angels don't have the ability to do everything I've done with you so far unless it's out of genuine love." She opens her mouth to say something, but he shushes her with a finger to her lips. "On both sides of the relationship."
"Bono... I'm human. I'm going to make mistakes and I'm going to hurt you. Do you see why I can't give you forever?"
"But I can promise forever, Bona. You're mortal now, that's true, but I can offer you immortality again. I can make you an angel... and we would work together."
"Both of us tempters? Yeah, that wouldn't strain the relationship..."
"I'm not really a tempter. This is just a temporary installment. In my permanent position, I'm one of Adam's partners." Bona looks up at him, amazed. "I'm an archangel. I'm a guide, the very face of reason and logic itself. Enlightenment, stability, inspiration, that's what I do. Do you see what I can offer you? Then you will be able to promise forever."
Bona's eyes tear up at the thought of spending forever with Bono, the sheer joy that would bring her... and of glimpsing Heaven finally. Then her mind flashes back to Larry, to their baby and the approaching marriage. With Larry she sees ups and downs, highs and lows, stability and a family and love, and she remembers his tearful promise to wait for her, and her tearful promise to come home. No, that was more than a promise... that was a vow. Suddenly Bona felt like she'd painted herself into a corner... now having to choose between her angel and the love of her life? Bono senses her thoughts and kisses her lips softly.
"It's okay.. you don't have to decide. Don't worry. If you say no, I'll still keep my promise to your child..."
Bona says nothing, only returns his kisses with love and gratitude, and as his embrace tightens around her she contemplates accepting Bono's offer, but makes no decision. She only realizes how much she loves Bono and tries to pour every ounce of that feeling out onto Bono as he made love to her again there in the pool, pressed against the wall. When they'd finished, she rested her head on his shoulder and pictured Larry and how heartbroken he'd be if she never came home like she'd vowed to do. To choose between her angel and the love of her life...

SIXTY

Adam stands by the window, looking out at the pool where Bona and Bono are beginning to touch, and he shuts the drapes. Adam was tired, even an angel has limits, and he was beginning to lose his patience with people just tossing their lives away tonight. Bona had Larry, a man who adored her and astonished angels with his forgiveness and love and yet she was in the pool with Bono...and as for Bluey...Adam was starting to wonder about her. It wasn't like her to impulsively accept a proposal from someone like The Fly. There was no doubt in his mind that the Fly loved her...but seeing MacPhisto like this made him wish that The Fly had never come to the party.
It had been a truly superhuman effort to coax MacPhisto out of the wine cellar...he had to wait until the devil had downed a few more bottles before he was open enough to suggestion to even go upstairs. Adam had never seen anything like it. MacPhisto still refused to speak. He seemed like he had been shut off, or shut down...Adam had supported him up the steep stairs to his office and guided him to the large leather chair behind the desk where MacPhisto sat with his pale head between his large, thick hands, his unseeing eyes staring out into space.
"MacPhisto...are you okay? You need to start talking about this, it's been hours and you haven't said a thing to me. You know that you can trust me, right?" Adam knelt down beside MacPhisto's chair and looked up at him through his glasses...he was desperate to relieve MacPhisto's pain. "Listen, Mac...It's not so bad I know that she loves you, she must. I know her very well and this isn't like her, really. Bluey loves you..." For the first time since Adam found him, MacPhisto turns his face to look at him. His eyes, usually glittering like the crystal of a champagne glass have turned to dull gray concrete... "I know it hurts right now, I know, but it will get better..." Adam rubs MacPhisto's back, trying to comfort him, but he knows that it's like trying to put a band-aid on a fatal blow. "Can I bring you anything? Some music? A drink?" MacPhisto waves him away and puts his head down on the cool desktop. "I'll pour you a drink." Adam pours a large snifter of brandy for MacPhisto, trying a different approach. "Frankly, Mac...I think she's crazy. I wish she had never met him." Adam sets the glass down in front of him and MacPhisto raises his eyes for a second, but remains collapsed and silent over his desk. Adam, encouraged by MacPhisto's response has a bright idea. He opens a drawer of the desk pulling out a black pad of thick paper and a gold pen. He places them carefully in front of MacPhisto and smiles a little. "MacPhisto...if you don't want to talk, maybe you should write her a letter. It might help you...I won't look at what you are writing, I'll just step out and I'll be right back. If you want, I will take it to her for you when you are done...okay?" MacPhisto raises his head and shoot Adam an "oh thanks that will solve all my problems" look, and Adam takes the devil's fingers and puts the pen in them. "You write...I'll be right back." Adam smiles and leaves.
MacPhisto is alone in the office. He sits for a long time with his head on the desk just thinking about her... She will become another man's wife. She said yes. Not only did she sleep with The Fly, but she said YES!? For the first time since he saw her accept, MacPhisto really started to get angry. His fingers tightened around the cold pen and he sat up. His reflection looked back at him from the mirror on the wall...his mouth was a grim line of red in his white skin, and his eyes were tired and bitter.
He began to write, slowly at first but then with fury, pressing the tip of the pen into the black paper as he etched his words into the sheet. He wrote for what must have been an hour but felt like a minute, filling an entire page with his anguish. He reached the bottom of the page and threw the pen down, kicking his chair across the room and pacing like a tiger in a cage. He snatched Adam's brandy off of the table and downed it in one gulp, tossing the empty glass into the cold fireplace. The gold ink on the letter glowed in the lamplight, and then it hit him She would hold this letter, this scrap of paper in her hands, hands that he would never touch again, hands that would wear a wedding ring soon...This letter would be closer to her than he could ever be again. He never thought he could be jealous of a piece of paper, but started to hate it all the same. He scribbled a final line on the bottom and then tore it off of the pad, throwing it into the ashes...Adam opened the door timidly, almost happy to see MacPhisto on his feet.
"You're up!" There is an awkward silence as MacPhisto glares at him and lights a cigar. "Have you anything you want me to deliver?" MacPhisto looks at the crumpled paper on the floor and sighs... What was the use? He might as well just wish her well, she had obviously made her choice. With great sadness, he moves a mirror out of the way to reveal a safe which he unlocks. Adam leans forward in interest. MacPhisto pulls a gold box out. He opens it and sighs.
"Yes, I have something...wait a moment."
He sets the box down on the desk and scribbles a few lines on the pad of black paper. He thinks for a moment, wipes his brow, and tears it off the pad. Adam watches him fold the paper slowly and carefully holding it as if it were a bird that might fly away. Adam realizes that this is his goodbye to Bluey forever, and turns around to give him some privacy. A moment later, Adam feels a tap on his shoulder. MacPhisto hands him a long, thin gold box with the black folded paper on top.*
"Just make sure she gets this..." He turns away sharply, leaning against his desk and smoking heavily. Adam leaves for Bluey's room with the box in his hand.

SIXTY-ONE

They both stood still for several moments, Bona with her head on Bono's shoulder, turning everything over. To choose one or the other... How could she possibly make that kind of decision? Larry loved her, had forgiven her completely for her transgressions, absorbed the hurt she'd caused him and waved it off... Larry had given her the freedom to explore and he vowed to wait for her... Here was a man who was in love to a degree that it transcended everything else, nothing else mattered to Larry except her happiness. She was carrying Larry's child, not Bono's. Larry was human. Bono wasn't. With Larry she saw ups and downs, happiness and sadness, easy times and hard times, and the fact that they weren't going to wake up every morning in love. With Larry she saw hardships, trials, disease, anger, sadness... with Larry she saw everything that humans avoid, but these things are precisely what would make them stronger, better people in the end. Through their sufferings would come happiness and relief. Through the hatred and anger would come love. With Bono, on the other hand, she saw a flawless relationship, his undying admiration, a "get into Heaven Free" card, easiness... in short with Bono, she saw a coward's way out. Sure, she'd have secure love for eternity... As she stood there in Bono's arms, all she could see was Larry. All she could feel were Larry's arms, all she could hear was Larry's voice, saying "I'll wait for you..." Bona let go of Bono and swam quickly across the pool, away from him. She almost leaped out, gathered up her dress and put it hastily on.
"Bona..."
"I'm sorry. I have to go."
Bono climbs out of the pool and throws his soaking wet pants on and gathers his shirt and vest.
"Bona... wait."
Bona turns to him.
"Thank you. Thank you for giving me this."
She walks up to him and kisses him.
"Bono, I love you. I do... but you understand why I have to go back to Larry?"
Bono nods and there is an awkward silence and the two stare at each other, neither knowing what to think or feel. Bona walks up to him and runs her hands through his hair, staring straight into his eyes and kisses him hard on the lips. He returns it with passion and she pulls away from him. Bono reaches back and pulls a shimmering white feather from one of his wings, kissing it once before handing it to her.*
"Please take this. I love you..."
She starts to walk away, and as she does, Bono presses his fingers to his lips and holds his hand in the air, in the direction Bona left in, blowing her a small kiss, and whispers one last time, "I love you."
Bona walks down the corridor quickly, looking for Adam. She finally spots him heading in her direction with a box in his hand. He gives her a puzzled look when he sees her in her soaking wet dress and with a desperate look on her face.
"Adam! Where's Larry?"
"He went home..."
"I need to get back to him. Now."
"Ok, let me deliver this and I'll get you in touch with him."
She walks with Adam, twirling Bono's feather nervously between her fingers.
Bona and Adam walk briskly down the corridor, past many mirrors and doors...Adam leans in one of them faster than Bona can see and grabs her a towel, which she accepts gratefully.
"Thanks Adam...So what is in the box?"
"I don't know...I think it's some sort of wedding gift."
"Where are we delivering it?"
Adam sighs deeply. "To Bluey."
BonaPhisto stops dead in the hallway, her towel drops from her hand. "BluePhisto? Am I missing something?"
Adam takes a deep breath and explains to BonaPhisto what has happened. "...And MacPhisto is a wreck. I found him downstairs trying to drink himself to death. It took me bloody hours to get him to even come upstairs. He wrote this for her and told me to deliver it to her. That's all he's said at all he has shut down completely and won't talk, or stop drinking or even really move . So that's what I'm doing with the box."
Bona stands with her mouth hanging open.
"My God! Is there anything I can do?"
"I don't know...talk to Bluey? I have my hands full with MacPhisto. Here we are. Oh dear, well how do I do this now? Should I just hand it to her or leave it here?" He sighs again and knocks. Bluey opens the door and smiles at Bona and Adam. Bona hugs her immediately, marveling at her new color.
"Bluey! What a pretty human you make dear!"
"Thank you...I'm getting used to it I suppose. How are you feeling?"
"Good, good. I see you have a new piece of jewelry." She points to Bluey's ring.
"Oh yes...I suppose you heard."
"Yes, I have." There is an awkward silence. "Well, I'm so sorry to run but I must make a phone call. Congrats Bluey..." She almost skips away.
BluePhisto is a lovely human indeed. Adam smiles. "You look well. I'm sure you will make a lovely bride."
"Oh...I hope so. It's all happening so fast. The Fly wants to get married right away...I do too of course...Oh he was, we were wondering if you would perform the ceremony?" Adam sees something on BluePhisto's face that he has never seen before...guilt.
"If that's what you want."
"Of course it is...I want nothing else..." She sits at a desk for a moment, searching for Adam's hastily made invitation. She can't find it and sighs... "Sorry, I have lost the invitations. But it will be small and quick, no big deal really. It's more romantic that way...No party afterwards, we are leaving right after the ceremony. We wouldn't have it here at all but I know that you and Bona and...Larry would be hurt if you weren't there."
"Where is the groom?" Adam asks.
"He's out doing...things. I don't really know, I've been so busy."
"You seem tense."
"I'm not. I'm happy. I'm marrying a great guy. I'm just busy and not used to being human and having to eat and sleep and such. I wish he would hurry back."
Adam sets down the box behind him. "Well, I should leave you to your preparations then. Right?"
Her face drops for a moment. "I suppose so...you probably have all sorts of work to do right?"
"Right." He hugs her. For the first time, she feels weaker to him than he is. "I'll see you later..."
Adam closes the door softly, but looks through a crack and sees her smile evaporate ands her head drop to the dark desktop. He sighs and returns to MacPhisto's office.
BluePhisto didn't understand it. She was marrying The Fly...a man she adored, and who loved her very much, but she felt just tired. She didn't want to do anything but lay around and close her eyes. It took all her energy just to act civil towards Bona and Adam, as much as she liked them. Her dress hung on the back of the door. It was uninterrupted silk, long, cream colored, very old, and strapless. She loved the dress, but just hadn't been able to try it on yet. She just couldn't seem to get beyond her desk.... I bet I just miss The Fly. I'll feel better when he's back...I'd better try this on in the meantime... With weary hands she undressed and slipped her wedding dress on, for such a lovely dress it felt rough against her skin...like the world's most expensive hair shirt. She smoothed the wrinkles out with her hand and looked at the mirror above the bed, but made no effort to stand in front of it...there was a knock at the door.

SIXTY-TWO

BonaPhisto walks quickly down the hallways, looking for a place to call Larry. She happens upon an old, unused office and steps in, shuts the door and sits behind the desk in the large leather chair. She hesitantly picks up the phone and dials the number. It rings once... BonaPhisto's nerves grow...It rings again, and a voice on the other end of the line takes over.
"Hello?"
"Larry? Larry...come get me.
"Bona, are you okay? Where are you?"
"I'm still at MacPhisto's. I want to come home."
"Okay. I'll be right there. Bona?"
"Yeah?"
"I love you."
"I love you too, she sobs.
Larry hangs the phone up, and Bona sits there with it cradled on her shoulder, like it was Larry himself she was holding, then finally hangs the phone up. When she does, the entire night comes back to her like a flash, hitting her like a ton of bricks. Now Bluey was going to marry the Fly, but Bona sensed something wasn't right with Bluey, and it wasn't just her being human.

SIXTY-THREE

Adam returns to the office and knocks softly on the closed door.
"Mac?"
"Did you deliver it?"
Adam enters the room to find darkness. MacPhisto has extinguished every single source of light and is lying on the couch.
"I did." He can hear MacPhisto let out a quiet sigh. "A little dark in here don't you think?"
"I have a headache..." Adam can see only the tip of MacPhisto's cigar glowing in the darkness. A bottle clinks against the lip of a glass. "Now, if you will excuse me, I need to be alone."
There is a knock at the door
"Get rid of whoever that is," MacPhisto says wearily.
Adam opens the door a crack, billows of cigar smoke spill out into the hallway. "Hello? Oh hey...I'll be out in a minute...He doesn't want to talk, to anybody. It's better if I come out...Yes. Just a minute." Adam closes the door and leans over towards the cigar light. "It's Bona, she wants to see you..."
MacPhisto extinguishes his cigar and lights another...the match flares in the darkness and reveals his exhausted face for a moment. He looked tired and angry. "Adam, have you fallen on your head? I. Want. To. Be. Alone....ALONE, Adam. That means you should get the Hell away from me too, understand? Or should I purchase some sort of Heaven-Hell dictionary for you?"
"Well I just thought..."
"Get. OUT."
Adam exits quickly and shuts the door behind him. MacPhisto can hear him talking to Bona: "I've never seen him like this"..."Is he alright?" Idiots. How the Hell should he feel? Bona was talking about how Larry had forgiven her for yet another transgression and was coming to get her. MacPhisto tossed the empty brandy bottle across the black room and stared at his cigar as he ruminated:
Well good for her...Some people can be forgiven and some cannot I suppose. Some of us are just beyond that sort of love. There are some stains that just can't be lifted I guess, and if over 3000 years of corruption hasn't stained me beyond repair well, I don't know what would...Fine, if she wanted to throw her life away with that leather-clad imbecile then maybe they deserve each other. I don't care. In fact, I should thank her for curing me of that insufferable haze of love I was in. I'm back to my old self, my real self...I know how to do this. Damn her. I wish I had never met her. I wish I had never touched her. I don't care...she can do whatever she likes and when The Fly hurts her, well she can break his heart too. He turns towards the back of the couch, and pulls the heavy gold blanket off of the back of the red sofa over him. Maybe I can just sleep through all of this...How does it go again? Just close my eyes and relax. He closes his eyes. It's not working. I wonder if she did anything special to make me sleep...
MacPhisto lays on the couch with his back to the world, trying to remember how it was that Bluey taught him to sleep.

SIXTY-FOUR

The Fly knocks on the door to his bride-to-be's room.
"Who is it?" BluePhisto calls.
"It's your husband!" He giggles and the door opens a crack. Her large blue eyes peer out. "Or at least I will be tomorrow, right?" He motions to enter the room but she closes the door more.
"I'm wearing the dress, you can't see me in it until tomorrow."
"Aw, I bet you're beautiful! I can't see you? Even a little? No! NO! Actually, don't show me, I like the idea of seeing you again tomorrow when you come down the aisle baby...By the way, I invited everyone and everything, you just need to show up." He kisses her head and then steps back, a smile spreading across his jovial face. "You know what darlin'? I have a great idea...let's not see each other again until the big day! It will make it, you know, all romantic and stuff..."
"You mean you're going?" BluePhisto reaches a bare arm through the door towards him. "But why can't you stay with me? I missed you!"
"Oooh, you just can't get enough of me can you? I can't say I blame ya baby!" He kisses her again and walks away, calling over his shoulder, "I'll see you tomorrow, I'll be the happy guy at the front of the room...love you!"
He is gone to find an office to make some last minute arrangements.
BluePhisto closes the door and sighs, leaning against it. She didn't want to be alone all night, not like this. She slides down the door, sitting on the floor in a heap of ivory satin...She really needed him to stay and to distract her from her inexplicable gloom. She sighed and reached up to try on the veil that hung over the bed, when a glimmer caught her eye. With the veil dangling from one hand she turned and saw a long, flat gold box on a table by the door. She could have sworn that she had never seen it before. Her hand closed around it, it was heavy, and a black piece of paper was attached to the top. She sat on the bed, draping the veil across the cover beside her and unfolded the paper...
BluePhisto unfolded the heavy black paper, curious as to what it was and how it got there. Short lines of elegant gold writing punctuated the dark expanse of page, her hands shook as soon as she realized who this was from.

Congratulations. Please accept my best wishes. - MacPhisto

BluePhisto shook her head, staring at the page and turned it over, looking for more...but the page was empty of any mark. She set the paper down on her veil and picked up the heavy box again...Her fingernails worked under the lid and she removed it, revealing a dazzling necklace. She gasped...a thick circle of diamonds and sapphires reflected prisms of light over her startled face. She had never seen anything so opulent. Her fingers ran over the faces of the jewels, they were cold and a little dusty.
Suddenly, she started to cry. Her tears splashed down onto the stones and she clasped a hand to her mouth. She was so...disappointed. She shoved the box into a dresser drawer and slammed it shut. How dare he!...Not only had he never come to talk to her, to convince her not to marry The Fly but her sent her a CONGRATULATIONS note and a gift!? It was clear to her now...she had just been what she had always been afraid she was to him, just another girl. He was probably already charming another one right now. This was the biggest slap in the face she could have imagined and the more she thought about the necklace and the note the angrier she got...
Thank God I am marrying The Fly tomorrow, I shudder to think that I almost kissed him in the bathroom that night. I can't wait to get away from here and from HIM. That insensitive, lying bastard!
She collapsed on the bed and sobbed for hours, berating herself for being so stupid, and for being surprised that he could shut his feelings off so quickly when it was clear he couldn't have what he wanted...She knew now that marrying The Fly was the best thing that she could do...BluePhisto jumped off the bed, and ripped open the dresser drawer. She took the heavy box and threw it into a trash can, necklace and all. She lunged across the bed and grabbed the letter...and she noticed something. She stopped and held it against the light. She wasn't imagining things, there were words imprinted in the paper...obviously from being written on a piece of paper above it. They filled the whole page. She tilted the paper so that shadows filled the indentations...
Dearest Bluey,
I don't know what I can say...I hardly know what to think. You will have to excuse my inelegant words, as I have spent the better part of the day trying to drink myself to death. You see, I was there. I saw him propose to you twice. You said no once, and you said yes once. How I wish you were a creature of habit and had said no both times.
I know, dearest, that I hurt you. I have done everything I can, everything that my limited, corrupted brain can conceive of to win you back. I haven't even looked at another woman since...I know that you must love me, it's all I can think of.
I have half a mind to deliver this to you myself and to show you what you've done to me. You have left me in purgatory...I don't belong anywhere. I am a devil: I cannot become an angel, I cannot enter heaven. But I love: I cannot stay in Hell. So you tell me...where should I go? Where do I belong now that you have maimed me and left me for dead? I have spent thousands of years devising torments for my prey but no mind in Hell could think of a punishment as cruel as teaching a man to depend on the air he breathes just so you can watch him choke.
I suppose I do not deserve your forgiveness. I do not deserve to be touched by you ever again. But I want you to know that I am incapable of ever feeling for another woman the way I feel about you. Your love is a barbed hook, I cannot remove it.
Go ahead then, marry him. Marry him and live the rest of your days with his ring upon your finger and his name on your lips. I just hope you know that you have ruined me completely.
I would give anything in the world to stop you...I love you more than I ever have, and it drives me mad that you will become another man's wife...a man who has no idea what forever actually means.
I will love you forever...
-MacPhisto.
p.s. You will never read this letter
.
BluePhisto reads the letter four times and falls back on the bed, smiling. He loves her. He really loves her. Reality sinks in and her smile dissolves...
"The Fly...Oh God, what in the world am I going to do? I can't do this to him, he loves me so much. Think...THINK! Who are you going to marry? A man who loves you and has never lied to you or cheated on you, or a man who has done almost nothing else?" She sighs heavily and sits on the floor with her head in her hands. Tears fall from her eyes, through her fingers and onto the floor. She looks down at the letter, lying over the veil on the bed and she knows she has to talk to The Fly...

SIXTY-FIVE

Edge and EchoPhisto stand on the same third-floor balcony from which she delivered her evening tirade. The sun is rising in the east.
"How can I repay you for what you did?" asks Edge.
"Well, personally I think a passionate round of lovemaking is in order." Edge stares at her blankly. "I am JOKING! Geez, you men. All you ever want to do is talk and cuddle, you never want to have sex." She grins at him. He continues to stare, bewildered. "Um, why are you looking at me like that?"
"You've never talked like that before."
"Yeah, it's funny what MacPhisto's parties do to people. How are you feeling, by the way?"
"Better...You're much different when you're happy."
"People say that."
"You ever think they might say it for a reason?"
"What people think of me is typically very low on my priority list. With certain exceptions." She puts her hand on Edge's shoulder. "You know, the New York Times Review of Books called my memoir the most wretched piece of tripe that ever had the misfortune of being published....But it hurt me more to hear what YOU have to say of me."
"Is that true?"
"My only virtue is that of Truth."
"I didn't mean to hurt you."
"No, I understand. I really am an evil bitch. It's just, to hear you say it, in so many words, put to rest a lot of dreams..." She smiles inexplicably. "Okay, I admit that I only come to MacPhisto's parties to stand on balconies and talk to the brilliant men who happen to show up..." Edge blushes but grins. "...but why do YOU come?"
"Oh, I don't know...the people are interesting to watch...and a lot of my friends are here..."
"And yet, hmm...I don't see any people HERE for you to watch...and all your friends are in there needlessly complicating their lives. Hmm...do you know what I think?" She leans forward and adopts a more candid tone. "I think you came here because you are looking for someone."
"Oh? Who am I looking for?"
"Well, you don't know that, do you? All you know is, there's something missing. You have great friends and a fantastic job and all, but at the end of the day something still doesn't feel right. You know that feeling, when you're working on a jigsaw puzzle...I bet you like to put together jigsaw puzzles."
"Yeah." Edge nods sheepishly.
"I thought so...well you know that feeling, when you're working on a puzzle, and you're down to the last few pieces, and you realize that you've got five pieces and six spaces to fill in? And for the life of you, you can't find that missing piece. You know what color it should be, but you don't see it lying anywhere. And that satisfaction that you should feel for having finished the puzzle is completely lost because that one piece is missing. You know what I'm talking about? I bet THAT is how you feel, maybe not all the time, but sometimes."
She moves even closer.
"Late at night. In a hotel room in a city three thousand miles from home."
Closer still...
"Can you deny any of what I've just said?"
There is a long pause. "I cannot."
EchoPhisto steps back a bit to see if he'll follow to maintain the distance between them. He doesn't. But she presses on.
"You came to MacPhisto's party because you're hoping to find someone to fill that empty space. At first it would seem silly; these people all have their OWN voids to fill, and theirs are much more crippling than yours. But the more you think about it, the wiser a choice it becomes. Because you know that things happen unexpectedly." She steps toward him again and continues in a stage whisper. "And at the time when you would least anticipate it, the perfect opportunity falls right in your lap." She looks down for effect. "So why don't you sit down, it'll make my job a lot easier. "
Edge is disarmed by her 180-degree-turn-of-phrase. He laughs out loud. She sees a fabulous opportunity to show off the lightheartedness that people seem to take to in her.
"You know in school I never got in trouble even though I was constantly telling dirty jokes. The teachers didn't have the guts to give me detention when they were laughing hysterically. Okay I got a joke for you: So this dad goes into his 12-year-old son's room and says, 'Son, it's time we have a talk. You know, if you masturbate too much it makes you go blind.' And the kid says, 'Um, Dad, I'm over here.'"
Edge cracks up. Echo grins with smug satisfaction. "I told that one as a warm-up, before my big world history presentation. I have no idea why." This makes Edge laugh even harder. "The teacher gave me an 'A.' You should have heard the jokes I told in Sex-Ed class. Absolutely unrepeatable. Okay, I'll repeat just this one..."
Echo is offline  
Old 11-25-2001, 02:38 AM   #8
War Child
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: The Echosphere
Posts: 769
Local Time: 05:49 AM
SIXTY-SIX

BluePhisto opened every door in the hallway, searching for The Fly. She was shaking and white as her dress...in a way she hoped she would never find him. All the rooms were empty. She turned the corner and reached the office where they had first kissed. Timidly, she cracked the door open a little and listened. She could hear someone breathing.
"Fly? Are you here?" She glimpsed a head of tousled black hair turn above the fringe of a gold blanket. She found him, he must have fallen asleep trying to finish the wedding arrangements. "No...no. Don't turn around please. Just don't look at me, I don't think I could say what I have to say if you looked at me." Her voice was ragged and thin, as though she might cry at any moment. The silk of her wedding dress rustled as she paced anxiously. It took her a moment to find the courage to continue.
"Fly....please just let me talk. Don't interrupt; I just want you to listen. *Sigh* I'm glad I found you in here...I think you need to know what you are getting yourself into tomorrow." She wrung her fingers, twisting the ring back and forth. "Oh God...how do I say this without hurting you? I guess I can't. You know I adore you, I really do. You're sweet and funny and wonderful. No! No! Don't turn, please, just listen for once! Please...I really care about you, I do. But..."
BluePhisto cleared her throat and her voice wavered a little. "I can't help it...I have to be honest with you." After a long pause, she whispered. "I still love MacPhisto." She began to cry. "I'm so sorry. I wish I could just shut it off but I can't, I really love him and I don't know if I will ever not love him. I almost kissed him the other day in the bathroom, I didn't but I wanted to very much. I feel like a fake and a liar...I'm so sorry! I should have told you sooner but I don't think I really knew it myself until just a little while ago." She put her head in her hands and sobbed. The figure on the couch didn't move a muscle. "Oh God, I'm awful aren't I? I even think that you were attractive to me at first because... because... you remind me a little of him. This is probably the stupidest thing I've ever done, you love me and you would never hurt me in a million years. But I can't lie to you...I really love him. I probably always will. I won't blame you at all if you want to leave...
"I will still marry you if you want...I could never be with MacPhisto. I know he says that he is sorry and will never do that to me again but I know that I'm not enough for him...there will always be someone else, some other, newer woman. He's just in it for the challenge. He doesn't love me the same way that I love him, once he has me, he won't want me...and I really really can't go through feeling that again. If he did that to me again, I think it would just kill me. I can't risk it...he would never be happy with just me, and love will always scare him away.
So..." She dries her tears on her wedding dress. "I will still marry you...if you want. I wanted to marry you, I think, because then I knew that I could never be hurt by him again. I would be safe. I don't imagine you still want me, but if it would make you happy, I will marry you. But you should know that I will always love another man. If you can live with that...then we will go ahead with the wedding tomorrow." She looks up at The Fly's frozen back. "Fly? Fly?" Long silence. "I'm so sorry...I'm really so sorry, but it's the truth and you deserve to know." She runs her fingers through his hair for a second and then runs out, crying, shutting the door behind her. The figure lying on the couch gasps and stirs...MacPhisto throws the gold blanket away from him and scrambles off the couch. He wrenches open the door and looks out into the hallway, but she is already gone. He stands there, elated and out of breath with emotion from her confession. He smiles for the first time in days...
"She really loves me..."

SIXTY-SEVEN

Adam and Bona walk away from Mac's office still talking as they do so, heading off in a random direction.
"It's just unbelievable. I can't figure out why he forgave me..."
"Why question it?"
"Adam, I feel like I don't deserve it. I mean at all. I've hurt him more times than I care to admit."
"His love transcends all that. Bona, for the first time you're experiencing love founded in truth, in depth and in spirit, not just on the surface. For the first time you're experiencing love without jealousy..."
A brief silence. Adam chuckles. "You're speechless."
"Adam, I have to admit, I'm a little scared. For the past 3,000 years I've been watching humans make fools out of themselves via their own transgressions, without knowing what it feels like to experience all that.
"Adam, would you walk with me?"
Through the course of their walk, they've come to a balcony and Adam holds the door open for her to step out. She does, and she enjoys the cool night air, its breeze as it brushes across her face, cooling her skin. They lean against the balcony rail, chatting amiably for some time and Adam is relieved to find some peace, at last, from the turmoil inside.
"Finally a calm moment."
"Don't jinx it. You never know, Adam... another big strong handsome angel might come sweep me off my feet again."
Adam laughs. "What, like me?!"
"Or me..."
Bona spins around and sees Larry leaning against the door frame, clad in a pair of jeans and a black sweater, his leather coat hung loosely over the ensemble. Their eyes meet for the first time since he left, and for a moment, the two just stand still, absorbing each other's presence. Bona is rendered again speechless. Larry. approaches her on the balcony, standing next to her and wrapping an arm around her waist. The three are stopped from any further dialogue when they look across the gardens, through the window in an office where the Fly sits working calmly, and Bono standing in a corner as a guard, undetected by the Fly.
"Adam, what's going on?"
"Wait.. have I missed something?"
Adam and Bona look at each other and simultaneously roll their eyes.
"Well, to put it in a few words," says Adam, "Bluey finally woke up and explained things to the wrong person..."
Bona and Larry look at each other, stunned. Bona turns back to Adam. From the office window, Bono shoots Adam a wary look.
From the balcony where they stand, Bona, Larry, and Adam have a ring side seat to what is going on below them. In an office opposite them, The Fly continues to scrawl plans and phone last minute contacts and invites for the wedding.
Adam sighs. "The poor man, he has no idea...Maybe Bono should talk to him..." Bono looks up at Adam through the window, sighs and nods.
"I feel so sorry for him..."
"You weren't the one sitting in the wine cellar with Mac that day, God...I feel sorry for me."
To the right, MacPhisto is silhouetted in the doorway to his office, even from the balcony they can see a genuine smile spread across his previously miserable face. He shakes his head and talks to himself a little then laughs and sits in a hallway chair with his head in his hands.
"What is he doing?" asks BonaPhisto.
"I think he's crying. MacPhisto lifts his head and wipes tears of relief from his face. He smiles again and rushed into a nearby bedroom and shut the door.
"It's strange to watch him when he has no idea we're here...He is usually so conscious of his behavior.
"I was just thinking the same thing...I've never seen him smile like that, you know, with teeth showing."
To the left, the light in BluePhisto's room turns on and she sits on the bed crying. After sobbing into her hands for a minute she pulls a suitcase out from under the bed and starts to throw things into it. After throwing every article of clothing she can find into the suitcase, she reaches behind her and undoes her wedding dress...Bona covers Larry's eyes with her hands.
Larry laughs. "Hey! I wasn't looking!"
Adam coughs.
"Okay, fine."
BluePhisto has wrapped herself in a long dark red robe and hastily puts her hair up with a long pin. Tears are still streaming down her face.
Bona uncovers Larry's eyes. "Shouldn't someone go to her?"
Adam points to a row of windows along a central hallway where a freshly attired MacPhisto now strides towards BluePhisto's room with purpose and confidence. "Someone already is..." They all look with wide eyes. Adam whips out a bucket of popcorn from nowhere and sighs... "Popcorn anyone?" Bona and Larry shrug and dig in.
"Ooh, I think Bono is breaking it to The Fly..."
Bono is now rubbing The Fly's back, and talking to him gently...The Fly is sitting with his back to the crowd.
"Turn around FLY!"
"Bona!!! This is not a television show."
Adam concentrates on the Fly who swivels around in the chair to face his unknown audience while Bono talks to him and rubs his back.
"Thanks Adam," says Bona through a mouth full of popcorn.
Larry is incredulous. "You guys! This is insane...These are our friends lives! We shouldn't be leering at them like this."
Adam shushes him. "Have some popcorn Lawrence, this is what my job is like all the time..."

SIXTY-EIGHT

Bono looked at The Fly. Just to look at him in his black leather and shades, sitting with his legs on the desk, he would have assumed he was on the phone arranging for someone else to throw a party for him complete with groupies, celebrities and paparazzi...not planning a wedding.
"Yeah," says The Fly into the phone, "I'll need five dozen of those here by noon. Yes, noon today. I know it's short notice but I'll make it worth your while. Yeah, yeah, you too." He hangs up and crosses the word flowers off of a list. He looks at Bono and laughs. "Hey...angel. You wanna be best man? Oh no, that's Larry. I forgot to ask him. Oh well, I'll just pull him up when he gets here. Sorry, alright baby, you can be..." He looks down at his list. "The flower girl."
"Can't wait."
"Neither can I. I never thought I'd get married."
"So what changed your mind?"
"Well, I love her. She just swept me off of my feet...Yeah, she's amazing. And I know she loves me." There is a long pause during which The Fly becomes absorbed in his list.
"Fly..." Bono swallows hard. "I think there is something you should know...I don't want to tell you. But I can't not tell you."
The Fly puts the pen down and looks up at Bono. "What? What is it?"
"Fly...I don't know how to say this."
The Fly suddenly turns his chair 180 degrees to face the window without really knowing why... "Oh crap. This is going to be bad isn't it?"
"Fly...I think that Bluey is in love with another man...MacPhisto. She meant to tell you earlier tonight but it got all mixed up. She wants you to know...I'm sorry. She says she will still marry you if you want, but she doubts you would want to..." Bono hugs The Fly around his black shiny shoulders, trying to imagine the shock.
The Fly removes his shades and rubs his temples for a second. He sighs. "I know."
"You know?"
"She told me in her sleep. We had just...you know. And she was kind of drunk and I was holding her afterwards and she kind of cuddled up to me and said "I love you Mac." Up on the balcony, Adam gasps.
"Oh...I'm so sorry Fly, that's terrible."
The Fly leans back in the chair and running his hands through his hair. "Yeah, well. It was. I lay there all night, thinking, and I realized that she loves him. I can't change that, right? And it drives me crazy but he loves her too...I mean really, really loves her. She was passed out from banging her head that one time and he didn't know I was looking but he touched her forehead and just looked at her . I mean, I've known Mac for a long time. I know him well. But I've never ever seen anyone look at anyone like that...let alone him. "
"So why in the world did you propose?"
"I guess I did it because I'll take what I can get," The Fly says after a long silence. "I know she cares about me, and maybe that's enough for me, you know? So I asked her because I was afraid that if I didn't, then eventually they would get back together and I would never see her, and I would be nothing to her. See...he will never be nothing to her, even if she never sees him again. But me...she could just forget me if she ended up with him." The Fly wipes a stray tear out from under his shades. "I just want to be something to her I guess."
"Do you still want to marry her?"
"Nothing's changed, has it?" The Fly regains his good humor. "So, do you feel like having a two-man bachelor party?"

SIXTY-NINE

Up on the balcony, where Adam has been narrating, all three spectators stare at The Fly.
Bona and Larry gasp in unison.
Adam sighs. "I know. He knows what he's getting into I suppose..."
Their attention turns to BluePhisto's room again, where she is still crying on her bed alone.
Bona moves closer to Larry, wrapping her arm under his around his waist and dropping her head on his shoulder. He squeezes her a bit, and the three of them watch the events unfold through the window in Bluey's room. She still lies on her bed in the dark red robe, sobbing. Suddenly, she gets up and opens the door. There stands MacPhisto, leaning suavely against the doorframe, a seductive grin on his face. He makes a gesture and says something, and Bluey looks stunned. She appears a bit embarrassed by her appearance, and slips into the bathroom to change. MacPhisto moves into the room and spots the suitcase on the bed, full. He examines it a moment without touching it, then moves over to the dresser, fixing his appearance.
BluePhisto emerges from the bathroom in a blue dress and MacPhisto smiles when he sees her, but makes no attempt to touch her. They exchange words and Adam tunes in closely, very interested in what they are saying. BluePhisto moves and sits on the bed and MacPhisto stands leaning against the dresser. For a moment they stay silent, just watching each other. In the mirror they can see her reflection, and that she's a little flustered.
"He's not gonna try and seduce her?" Larry wonders aloud.
"No, he respects her and loves her too much."
They talk calmly for a few minutes, and BluePhisto gets up off the bed. She seems almost mad at him, or at the very least frustrated. MacPhisto suddenly looks downcast and a little worried, or at least confused. He says something else, and she spins around, softening. MacPhisto steps closer to her, slowly, inching his way over to her, almost like he's making sure he won't scare her off. She doesn't move, however, and MacPhisto takes his last step, moving right up to her. He takes her by the arms, gently, and kisses her lips lightly. BluePhisto wraps her arms hesitantly around his neck and MacPhisto kisses her lightly again. He breaks away, and moves over and shuts the curtains, but not before shooting the three spectators a wink and a smile. Bluey does not notice this, as Mac shuts the curtains.
"I guess that's kinda sweet," says BonaPhisto.
Bono steps out onto the balcony, and comes up behind BonaPhisto. He's carrying a pizza and sodas.
"Aren't you supposed to be with Fly?" Adam asks.
"Well yeah, but he kicked me out... wanted to make some 'private' plans."
Bono and Adam laugh, knowing that with two archangels around nothing is ever private.
Larry grabs a piece of pizza. They all turn their attention back to the windows, where Fly has hung up the phone and now sits pleasantly smoking a cigar and drinking a fresh brandy.

SEVENTY

BluePhisto watches tears drop onto the dark green velvet of the bedspread, deepening the color where they fall to almost black. She knows she has to leave...she can't possibly stay here now. She takes a deep, shuddering breath...there is a knock at the door.
She gets up off the bed and braces herself against the anger behind the door. She pulls the door open...there stands MacPhisto, leaning against the doorframe with a sly, inviting grin on his face.
BluePhisto pulls her robe closed at the top. "Mac...what are you doing here?"
"I just stopped by to talk to you before you become Mrs. The Fly." He gestures to the bedroom. "Do you mind if I come in for a minute?"
BluePhisto is shocked that MacPhisto would just show up like this...He looks smoldering and composed in his gold suit and red shirt. He regards every move of hers knowingly, with a subtle smile, as if there were some private joke between them.
"Of course, yes...Come in..." She tightens her robe and is suddenly aware that she has been sleepless, and crying for hours. "Just let me go and freshen up a little, I wasn't expecting anyone tonight."
"Of course my dear...what ever you want." He gives her that knowing smile again, and she disappears into the bathroom. BluePhisto looks tired, and her eyes were red from too many tears. She splashes some water on her face and lets her robe drop to the floor. Did he know that she and The Fly had for all intents and purposes broken up?

Back in her room, MacPhisto stood regarding a large, messy suitcase lying on the bed, some of BluePhisto's clothes hang out the edges. He was relieved that he came when he did. She was obviously planning to leave for good. Well, he'd see about that. MacPhisto moved to the large dresser against the wall and leaned down examining his reflection in the mirror. He looked better than he had in a long time, gone were the shadows under his eyes and the tension lines across his forehead...he felt alive again. He smiled at himself and pushed a stray strand of slick black hair into place.
BluePhisto emerges from the bathroom. "Sorry to keep you waiting..." MacPhisto spins around and leans seductively against the dresser. He feels a smile spread across his face when he sees her.
"You look lovely."
She does, her black hair is still pinned up loosely and the clear blue of her velvet dress makes her eyes a spectacular hue. She sees him smile and she blushes...
"I bet you will make a beautiful bride tomorrow."
BluePhisto sits on the edge of the bed and an awkward silence fills the bedroom. She cannot help but look at him...he seems transformed somehow. Her eyes travel up his shirt, which is unbuttoned a little, to his neck, his chin, his lips, and then his eyes, which are already locked on her. She turns red and gasps a little, he caught her consuming glance. He remembers that look...it's how she looked at him down in the basement when she was drunk.
"You look...very nice. I was just...I was just admiring your shirt."
"Thank you...Oh, Bluey. I never did get to thank you for defending me against Adam the other day. I meant to, but you...you had another engagement."
"Oh yes, yes. You're welcome."
"Not many people would put themselves in danger for another person." He pauses, and takes a deep breath. "Bluey dear...may I ask you something? I couldn't help but notice that you had been crying when I came in. Is something wrong?"
"Oh you know, the usual pre-wedding jitters."
"Cold feet?"
"Something like that, yes."
"That explains the suitcase."
"No...it's for the honeymoon."
"Then why is your wedding dress in it?" he asks gently. "I can see a little of it hanging out." She looks down at the floor, out of explanations. A tendril of dark hair escapes and brushes her flushed cheek. MacPhisto can't keep the secret in any longer...He begins slowly. "Bluey, darling, I know why you were crying. I know what you told The Fly tonight. I heard you say everything...I almost turned around, but I didn't want too, I was too elated. Bluey! You love me! Do you have any idea what that meant to me to hear that from you? Even if I wasn't supposed to? I thought you hated me. I thought you loved him and you forgot about me. I have been through tortures that have never been devised in Hell since you left me..." BluePhisto jumps off the bed, her red mouth open in shock. She paces angrily for a moment, not looking at MacPhisto. She turns to face him suddenly, and snaps at him, her eyes brimming with tears.
"You seem to have missed the other half of what I said MacPhisto! I can't be with you. I can't. You cannot be trusted and as soon as you have me back..." She begins to cry. "As soon as I let myself love you, you will just stop caring! Just like you did before, you will always be scared by what you feel for me..." MacPhisto's face drops and BluePhisto turns away from him. "So you tell me, what makes you so sure that you won't just run to another woman, another Bona again?"
"Because..." His voice is soft and sincere. "I'm not scared anymore, Bluey."
BluePhisto turns around, and looks at MacPhisto still leaning against the dresser. She can tell that he is not lying. Slowly, MacPhisto rises from the dresser and moves towards her...one step at a time, his eyes never leaving hers. She can barely breathe, but she does not move away. He pauses like a man about to jump off of a cliff and takes his final step towards her. He glides one hand and then the other over her smooth arms and bends his lips towards hers.
"This is my first real kiss," he murmurs.
With almost infinite softness, his lips touch hers. All the intensity that he feared before runs like a river through his body and his heart speeds as he feels her kiss him back. Their lips part for a moment, and BluePhisto timidly wraps her arms around MacPhisto's neck pulling him back to her. He kisses her again with the same gentleness, his arms wrapping hesitantly around her at last. He looks down at her closed eyes and ivory skin and a movement catches his eye...three figures watch smiling from one of the balconies. He grins, winks, and pulls the heavy drapes shut, this was a private show.
He turns back to BluePhisto, her bright eyes just opening from his kiss. She feels his hand on her waist and looks up. He looks down at her, ice blue eyes melting, and smiles...this was the man she fell in love with. BluePhisto rose up on her tiptoes and kissed him again, sliding her arms under his gold coat, relishing the heat of his body. Her hands, so close to his skin, send shivers up his spine. MacPhisto ran his hands through her hair, removing the pin and letting it tumble down her back. Their lips met again and again, exchanging what could not be said... forgiveness, relief, joy, love. They stood kissing each other for a long time and then she led him towards the bed, sliding his coat off of his shoulders and unbuttoning his red shirt. He lowered her on to the bed with bare arms, pushing the suitcase away... His arm came back to her and he pulled her close, sighing with relief. Every time he touched her, it felt like a miracle. Making love to her was unlike anything he had ever felt, the line between love and sex disappeared.
Hours later, MacPhisto and BluePhisto slept under the heavy green covers, their arms wrapped around each other like vines. Her head rested against his warm bare chest and his face nestled against the top of her head. In such a contented sleep, they looked like two angels in an unbreakable embrace.

SEVENTY-ONE

"Well.. I suppose I should go tend to The Fly..." Adam sighs.
"What do you suppose they'll do? Do you think she's still going to marry him?"
"We'll see..." says Bono.
For the first time since she left the pool, Bono and Bona make eye contact. There is relief and a hint of sadness in his eyes, but an overall air of happiness surrounds him.
Larry and Bona leave the two archangels standing on the balcony and head back to Bona's room. They walk in and shut the door, and Larry locks it behind them. Bona pulls out a suitcase and starts filling it with the clothes that were in the closet. Larry only watches her, leaning against the dresser with his arms crossed. She moves over to the dresser to get some of her jewelry and stands right next to Larry. He takes an arm and wraps it around her waist, pulling her toward him. She looks up at him and catches a look in his eyes like nothing she's ever seen. He leans down, and his lips come down onto hers with a new sense of passion and her arms wrap around his neck. Their embrace tightens and after a few moments he loosens and pulls back, looking at her. He pulls her sweater off and she removes his shirt. They both look at each other, and then eye the bed. He scoops her up and she laughs as he carries her over to the bed and lays her down. He crawls over her and plants kisses down her neck and chest... Afterward, they lie out of breath in each other's arms and Bona finally gets up.
"Well, I'm gonna need a shower now..."
Larry smirks mischievously. "Are you sure you can handle the shower by yourself? Because to be honest it's a bit difficult and maybe I could help you out a bit..."
Bona throws an ambiguous smile over her shoulder as she enters the bathroom. Larry gets up and follows her.
Bono and Adam stand silently for a moment, enjoying the peace.
"So you told Bona you are an archangel?"
"Yeah I did..." Bono smiles. "I kinda figured she'd appreciate knowing who she was making love to..."
"I'm surprised she didn't make a bigger deal out of it..."
"She was too absorbed in Larry. Did he ever officially propose to her?"
"No. That's what I've gotta talk to him about... I need to get to the Fly."
"Should I go check on Bona and Larry?"
"It's best that you leave them alone for a while."
He exits the balcony and makes his way over to the office where the Fly sits.

SEVENTY-TWO

"....And the guy says, 'Oh, everyone's fine! It's just that I quit drinking!'"
Edge laughs. EchoPhisto smiles, but her knees start to buckle. Edge, without thinking, reaches out to catch her.
"Are you alright?"
"I'm a little tired."
"How long has it been since you slept?"
"Oh, it's been..." She looks at her wrist.. "I, uh...I'm having a little trouble reading my watch..."
"You're not wearing a watch."
"I think I need a nap."
Edge turns to look over the balcony. "Yes, well, I'll let you go find a place to sleep."
"Oh no you don't! I'm not done talking to you." She laughs weakly and takes his hand. They walk through the ballroom and down the hall, knocking on doors as they go along. Larry and Adam pass.
"Adam, my man!" says EchoPhisto sleepily. "Hey I still owe you that game of Space Invaders, don't I?"
"Later, huh?" He pats Larry on the back and smiles. "I've go to make sure this guy stays safe." Larry smiles weakly as well, his lids heavy, and they continue on their way.
"I can't tell if Larry is exhausted from heartbreak or ecstasy."
"Can anyone tell the difference?"
They find an empty room. Echo flops down across the bed. For hours she's run comfortably on empty, but the moment her body becomes horizontal she remembers what good sleep feels like. She drowsily pats the bedspread next to where her body lays.
"Come sit and talk with me some more."
"Are you trying to seduce me?"
"Oh, Edge, even if I did seduce you I couldn't stay awake long enough to reap the rewards."
Edge feels safe enough to sit at her side.
"I hope this bed doesn't belong to anyone," says EchoPhisto, "because I ain't gettin' up now."
"It seems no one ever really sleeps in this house."
"Who wants to sleep? This place is so..." She yawns. "...exciting."
Echo's breathing grows deeper. Her arms hang limp at her sides. Edge is certain she's asleep. Her face softens. The worry lines between her eyebrows are gone. Edge moves to brush a strand of hair back from her face, when she speaks.
"Hey, Edge. Come here, I want to tell you a secret."
Edge leans toward her.
"Come closer."
He bends down until he's nearly lying down alongside her.
"Closer..."
When she feels Edge's breath on her face, she smiles and whispers.
"I love you."
Edge frowns with disappointment. "That's not a secret."
"Admittedly not. But now that you're lying down here with me you don't want to get up either, do you?"

SEVENTY-THREE

Adam walks down the red hallways, turning what he saw over and over in his mind...What in the world was he going to tell The Fly? Adam knocks on the door and The Fly pulls it open, smiling and yawning.
"Hey, Adam." He slaps Adam on the back. "How ya doin?"
"I'm good. You look tired."
"Yeah...Damn! Who knew the whole wedding deal was such a bunch of work? I guess that's why most people don't try to plan one in a night, huh? Wanna walk with me? I'm gonna go and show Bluey a few things I've done...she should be up by now right?"
"Fly...Maybe that's not such a great idea."
The Fly slows and looks at Adam. "What do ya mean by that? Is everything okay?"
"Let's go sit down and talk somewhere."
"I have to sit down for this?"
"I think so."
"I don't like the look on your face."
Adam opens a door to a sitting room. "Here, have a seat."
The Fly sitting on a table, looking uneasy. Adam looks through the window at the guests already beginning to arrive for the wedding. "Fly... I really don't want to be the bearer of bad news here. But, I don't want to see you more hurt than you have to be. Fly...Bluey slept with MacPhisto."
The Fly laughs. But then he looks at Adam and his laughter stops.
"I'm sorry. You needed to know before you just walked in there."
"They are STILL sleeping together!?"
"They haven't come out of her room yet, no."
In marked contrast to MacPhisto's reaction to BluePhisto's engagement, The Fly has an immediate emotional outburst.
"That BASTARD! That fucking asshole!"
"I thought you knew that she still had feelings for him."
"Well I knew she had FEELINGS but...lingering feelings are one thing, having sex with someone else is another!" He starts to cry. "On the night before our wedding for Christ's sake!? Oh my God!" He takes his shades off and drops them in a chair as Adam hugs him. The Fly sobs on Adam's shoulder. "Here I am working on our fucking wedding and she's in there with HIM! I mean people are bloody arriving and she's still in bed with Macphisto...I never ever thought this would happen. He said he already tried to seduce her and it didn't work, why the fuck should it have worked now!!!?? I never ever thought she would let him..."
The Fly looks through the window of the sitting room to BluePhisto's window across the way. The curtains are drawn tightly.
"I've got to talk to her."
"Fly! No! Just wait a while..."
Too late, The Fly is already sprinting down the hallway past confused guests. Adam picks up his abandoned shades and follows the distraught groom.

SEVENTY-FOUR

The morning sun through the curtains in BluePhisto's room gives everything a golden glow. Before her eyes even open, she remembers what happened last night and a smile creeps over her face. MacPhisto's chest rises up and down as he breathes in his sleep and BluePhisto raises her head to look at him. He looks so peaceful, his makeup is a little smudged, and his hair is tousled, but even in his sleep he is undeniably glamorous. BluePhisto wound a strand of slightly wavy black hair around her finger, she loved it like this, in the morning before it was slicked back and perfect. MacPhisto fell asleep with his arms around her, so she gently loosens his grasp until she can stretch up and kiss him very lightly on the lips. He doesn't wake up at all, but tightens his arms around her. She smiles and rests her head against an olive green pillow case. There is a quiet knock at the door. BluePhisto freezes. The knock repeats. BluePhisto sighs and very slowly unwinds herself from MacPhisto's arms. He is the deepest sleeper she has ever seen! The knock repeats a third time as she ties the red robe around her and looks back at MacPhisto sleeping in the Olive green blankets. She opens the door.
"Hey, honey," says The Fly quietly and bitterly, "We need to talk."
It hits her like a hangover...she HADN'T talked to The Fly last night. She sighs. "Yes. I'm sorry. Just let me get dressed." She shuts the door again and goes into the bathroom to change back into her blue velvet dress, which she picked up from the floor beside the bed. The Fly opens the door slowly and with great hesitation walks in. He never really believed it was true until he saw MacPhisto sleeping on one side of the bed. A gasp turned his head.
"What are you doing in here!?"
"Sweetheart...what is HE doing in here?"
BluePhisto covers her face with her hands and sighs. "I'm so, so sorry."
The Fly holds the door open for her and takes her arm, walking briskly down the hallway to a bathroom. He almost throws her in and follows her, locking the door behind him. Now alone with her he shouts.
"What the FUCK do you think you're doing!?"
"I'm sorry...I meant to tell you but it got all mixed up and then..."
"And then WHAT!? No come on, give me the details...what did you do to him, what did he do to you? Come on...Did he touch you first? Was he gentle? Did he kiss you!?" He grabs her and kisses her roughly. She pushes him away. "COME ON!!! TELL ME ALL ABOUT IT!"
"Fly...don't."
"Why not? Hmm? I mean I'm supposed to be your husband in about an hour. I should be able to kiss my future wife." He grabs her again and holds her very tightly, crying into her shoulder. "I was nothing but sweet to you."
"I know, I know...I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry Fly. I meant to talk to you last night, to talk about us and how I still felt about MacPhisto."
"That would have been fucking nice."
"I did go and talk to you! I went in the office and poured my heart out and said I'd still marry you if it made you happy because I care about you but I went into the wrong office. I thought you were lying on the couch resting, and I talked to you for a long time and then left because I was really really upset. But I was wrong. It wasn't you it was..."
"MacPhisto."
"He heard everything and came to my room and I really thought I had just talked to you...We talked and then, we kissed and things happened. I'm sorry. I'm more at fault than he is...I know you must hate me."
The Fly kisses her hands with surprising tenderness. "I don't hate you baby. I am mad as all hell and I really want to go break something, and I probably will, but I could never actually hate you."
"What!?"
The Fly holds her in his arms for a long time as he thinks. "Look. I know that you expect me to walk away...but the way I see it, I always knew you loved him. You said so when you were drunk."
"I DID!?"
The Fly nods sadly. "In bed."
"Oh my God. Why didn't you say something? I had no idea!"
"Well, I proposed after that, the next morning. I thought I shouldn't just let you go."
"I'm just...horrified. Fly, you deserve better."
The Fly looks at her earnestly with tear-ragged eyes. "There is no better. I want you. I mean, it's refreshing for me to be the 'good' one in a relationship...Bluey, baby, this is how I see it. I still wanna marry you. Call me a nut. But I do. We have a bunch of people down there and you have the dress and I stayed up all fucking night planning the damn thing so...so... I'm going to stand up there and wait for you. If you show, we'll get married."
BluePhisto is speechless at his reckless romanticism. "What if I don't come? What will you do?"
The Fly smiles and kisses the top of her head. "I'll just keep waiting, in different places. It's up to you baby."
He kisses her hand, taking the wedding ring, and walks out. BluePhisto stands speechless in the bathroom, listening to the growing crowd of wedding guests.


SEVENTY-FIVE

Larry leaves Bona's room to find Adam, and Bona finishes her packing. He wanders down a hallway and runs into Adam, on his way somewhere, carrying Fly's shades. Adam waves.
"Hey, Larry, you got a minute? I have a question... did you ever formally propose to Bona?"
It dawns on him. "No."
"Now might be the time to do that..."
"Isn't the wedding starting soon?"
"Well... we'll see if that actually happens or not..."
"Okay... keep all the guests here. I think I know how I'm going to ask her."
Adam smiles. "I can't wait to find out..."
"I just have to figure out what she did with the ring." Larry practically sprints down the hallway, back toward Bona's room. Adam smiles pleasantly and keeps going with his search for the Fly.

SEVENTY-SIX

The room has no exterior windows, so there is no glaring afternoon light to wake them. EchoPhisto and Edge sleep peacefully, side by side. EchoPhisto is the first to wake. She is startled by the situation she's in. It's been a long time since she's been so fortunate. She looks around the dim room. Soaks in the calm. The perfect silence.
Edge continues to sleep. EchoPhisto sits up as slowly and gently as possible, so as not to wake him. EchoPhisto had always doubted his face could display any more tranquility than it did, but seeing him slumber she was proven wrong. His breathing was shallow; his eyelids fluttered with dreams. Echo reached out to touch his face. Just a finger along his jawline, maybe a light brush of the knuckles over his cheekbone...Oh, that skin was so smooth, smoother than it deserved to be after all these years, smoother than can be resisted by a mere mortal like herself...He'll never wake...He'll never know...
There is a knock at the door, It wakes Edge. EchoPhisto curses silently and bids them entrance. It is a butler. He opens the door slowly and pokes his head in.
The Butler is surprised to find a couple there, but maintains a stilted tone. "Pardon me, Sir; Miss. I didn't mean to interrupt anything."
EchoPhisto laughs despite herself. "Don't be silly! Is something wrong?"
"Mr. The Fly has requested the presence of all MacPhisto's guests at the wedding."
Edge sits up. "Wedding?"
The butler sounds rehearsed. "Mr. The Fly will soon be happily married to Miss BluePhisto. The wedding will take place on the grounds this very afternoon."
EchoPhisto frowns. "I hate weddings."
"Wedding?"
EchoPhisto turns to Edge. "You want to go?"
"What time is it?"
EchoPhisto takes his hand. "Edge..." She pulls him off the bed. "...it's time to watch some prime-time-quality soap opera action."

SEVENTY-SEVEN

MacPhisto was a deep sleeper. He had only slept about four times in as many thousand years, so when he slept...he really slept. That night, he dreamed of BluePhisto as he held her in his arms. He kept dreaming of her after she had wriggled out of his grasp and left with The Fly, so when he woke up and she was gone, it was quite a shock.
"Bluey?" He half opens his eyes and sits up, looking around. "Dearest?" She is nowhere to be found. He waits and waits, growing more apprehensive with every minute...
She wouldn't just not be here...Not after last night. It's not like her, unless...His face drops and her words come back to haunt him... "I can't be with you. I can't. You cannot be trusted and as soon as you have me back...As soon as I let myself love you, you will just stop caring! Just like you did before." Maybe it was her turn to run this time. He sank into a chair, with the green sheet still wrapped around him. The gold box containing the necklace he sent to her, lying in the trash can catches his eye.
She can't trust a word I say...she will never feel like she can trust me.
He sits in the chair for a second and retrieves a cigar from his jacket on the floor, smoking and thinking. Suddenly, as if struck by inspiration, MacPhisto throws his cigar away, dresses quickly in his rumpled suit, smoothes his hair, and heads for the door.
I've got to be insane.
He slams the bedroom door after him. Guests who had heard the gossip glance up nervously at MacPhisto as he almost runs (but not really...how inelegant!) to his office. Once inside he closes the door and not only locks it, but pulls all the velvet curtains closed and shoves a heavy chair in front of the door. Once the room was thusly secured, he sat at the desk looking at the phone for some time before he picked it up. Guests passing the room only hear bits and pieces of the call as they pass and think nothing of it.
"Hello...It's been a while...Yes, yes...I have a proposal for you...but no one can know. No one."

SEVENTY-EIGHT
BluePhisto exits the bathroom where The Fly cornered her. She leans against the dark wall, lost in her thoughts. Guests pass and stare at her, some stopping to say hello and shake her hand...She smiles and replies to them all graciously. After the last guest has left the corridor for the wedding, where she knows The Fly stands waiting for her BluePhisto turns and starts to walk back to her room with purpose...she knows what she has to do.
A figure appears behind her. She turns and gasps. A vase breaks across the back of her head and Bluephisto falls to the ground, unconscious. A second later a group of lost guests passes through the hallway and observes nothing unusual, save the broken vase, and a scorch mark on the red carpet.

SEVENTY-NINE

The wedding grounds are far nicer than any of the guests would have expected from The Fly. But most of them don't notice the particulars of the setting, they are either preoccupied with gossiping about the bride, the groom, and the devil; or they are busy spotting celebrities in the rows of chairs and plotting how to get their autographs later.
The Fly stands at the front of the crowd, dressed in black leather pants, a black dress shirt, a black suit jacket and of course, a pair of black shades that Adam kindly had Bono return to him. Bono stands beside him, sensing The Fly's mental strain.
"So, am I doing a good job as flower girl?"
"You look very pretty."
She'll come. She's got to, I know she loves me, and she wouldn't just leave me out here to dry now, would she?
Bono places a hand on The Fly's shoulder, and he relaxes a little. He leans forward to talk to him a little, when a subdued gasp ripples through the crowd. MacPhisto has appeared at the back of the aisle. Bono squints at him, he looks different somehow, clearer, brighter, relaxed... The crowd murmurs as they see The Fly's jaw tense at MacPhisto's audacity to attend the wedding.
"What is he doing here?" The Fly curses under his breath.
"It's okay, just ignore him," says Bono.
Bono marveled privately at how calm MacPhisto looked as he sat beside Bona and Larry. Bona also stared at MacPhisto in the same searching way, she could also sense something was different, but had no idea what it was, but MacPhisto just looked from The Fly to the back of the aisle. The minutes dragged on, and guests began to talk louder, and to rustle the papers they held in their hands. Bluey was late.*
"Fly, what do you want to do here?"
The Fly remains stoic. "Wait."
They waited like that, never addressing exactly what it was they were all thinking for over an hour. Eventually guests just started to leave. The Fly began to look concerned, as did MacPhisto and Bona, but he never moved. Two hours later, the guests had all left, confused and delighted at the juicy gossip that would ensue.
Larry, Adam, BonaPhisto, Bono, MacPhisto and The Fly were the only ones left...
Larry whispering to Bona. "What should we do?"
"I don't know..."
Adam and Bono look at each other knowingly and each put an arm around The Fly, turning him away from the other guests and speaking to him in soft, comforting tones. Larry and BonaPhisto leave, holding hands and shaking their heads. Soon, the angels' arms part and The Fly nods his gratitude to them and waves them away. Adam and Bono step a little farther off, but listen intently...
The Fly walks wearily up to MacPhisto and sits backwards in the empty chair in front of him, almost delirious with exhaustion and stress. His voice is dull. "Where is she?"
"I have no idea."
"Liar."
"I'm not lying to you...Frankly I'm as confused as you are."
There is a long silence, The Fly hangs his head over the back of the chair and lights a cigarette. For a moment, he examines the ground and smokes. "I'm such an idiot."
"We all have our days."
"She left me for you, you know."
"Then why haven't I seen her?" MacPhisto pauses and smoothes his black hair. "Her suitcase was still in her room, she didn't leave."
"Well, then boy wonder, where the hell is she? She didn't just bloody evaporate did she?"
Both men sit facing each other for a moment, staring...bound to each other by resentment and a common concern for BluePhisto.
The Fly rubs his forehead. "You don't think that something could have happened to her...do you?"
MacPhisto grimaces. "I have a very bad feeling..."
Their eyes meet and they both rise out of the chairs and stride quickly into the mansion...looking for the woman they love.

EIGHTY

BonaPhisto sits on the bed, still sorting out the clothes in the suitcase. She had no idea she kept this many clothes here. Larry had mentioned that he didn't want to leave until they figured out what happened to BluePhisto. BonaPhisto relaxes a little and lies back on the bed, staring up at the ceiling and thinking hard about her life ahead of her with Larry, worrying about Bluey and being curious about what was to happen with them and eventually BonaPhisto fell asleep on the bed.
She awoke to the brush of a hand across her forehead and she opened her eyes to see Larry staring down at her. He leaned down and planted a kiss on her lips. She sat up.
"Have they found Bluey yet?"
"No, but they've made some progress."
BonaPhisto's eyes focus to see the Fly sitting in the bedroom with Adam next to him. Bono stood across the room, lightly playing the piano.
"How long was I out?"
"A few hours."
"What's going on?"
BonaPhisto looks from Larry to The Fly to Adam. The Fly can't stop fidgeting with his sleeves, his shades, and his endless stream of cigarettes. Adam just looks old with worry.
"Adam...Larry...someone tell me what's going on!"
Choosing his words carefully, Adam explains in his posh British accent, "Bona, it doesn't look very promising." He pauses for a long time and exhales, adjusting his glasses and crossing his legs. "You see, as you well know, finding her shouldn't be a problem. Bono and I, for example, can find any of you anywhere in the world the better we know you, the faster we can find you...do you follow?" He sits with pursed lips on the bed before continuing. "Well, we can't find her. She's my closest friend, and I can't find her..."
"Why not? I don't get it, she didn't fall off of the face of the earth." Bona stops as Adam, The Fly and Larry grimace. "She did fall off the face of the earth?"
Adam puts an arm around Bona and swallows. "Bona, the only place that we cannot sense her at all would be...Hell."
Bona remembers her days as a temptress, she stayed on earth as much as possible just to avoid...it. She shudders. "Why would Bluey be in Hell? She's not dead is she!?"
"I don't think so...We found signs in the hallway that someone knocked her out and..." He makes a gesture with his hands. "Just took her away."
Bona is panicking a little. Larry holds her and tries to quiet her. "But, but...I mean you guys can just go and..." Her voice shakes. "I mean you can go get her right Adam? Right!?"
"Bona, angels are physically incapable of entering Hell. It's not possible. We have tried many times, but it's just...not possible."
They all sit silently for a while after the sun rises, barely stirring. Larry finally breaks the silence.
He lowers himself to his knees. He pulls the ring out of a pocket and takes her hands in his. She looks down at him with joy on her face.
"Fai mia sposi?" "Will you marry me?"
BonaPhisto's jaw drops. "Si! Si, faccio tuo sposo." "Yes, I'll marry you." She falls into his arms and he holds her there strongly. Everyone in the room applauds happily and BonaPhisto admires the ring on her finger through tears of joy. They stay like that for a few minutes, then suddenly BonaPhisto jumps up and heads toward the door.
"Where are you going?"
"I have an idea..."
She bolts out of the room and down the hallway, in search of MacPhisto.

EIGHTY-ONE

BluePhisto opens her eyes, or at least she thought she did...everything is as black as it was when they were closed. She tries to raise an aching arm to the back of her throbbing head and gasps as something holds her wrists down to the hard surface she is lying on. She tries to focus, in the distance she can hear murmuring or machines...but it sounds far off and diffuse. Whatever it is, it is unpleasant, and causes a shiver to run down her back. Everything hurts like she had run for days, and she notices that there are chains, or something around her ankles as well.
A door opens and a tall figure walks in, silhouetted in dim, dirty, gray light. The figure bends over her, smoking, and she recognizes the still-healing, mangled face.
"Oh my God..."
Screwtape blows smoke in her face. "Not here. This is a God-Free Zone, I'm afraid." He brushes her neck with his long fingers, smirks, and walks out, shutting the door behind him. Everything is black once more.
MacPhisto is sitting in pitch darkness on the floor of the lowest basement in the mansion because he knows it's as close as he can get to her now. He suspects she is also in darkness right now, and alone if she is lucky. It was torture to know what they would do to her...he wished he had no idea, but he had seen it a couple of times before. Even then, even in the midst of Hell, the brutality that they were capable of where she was now had burned itself into his consciousness. He would rather see her marry The Fly a thousand times over, than down there. He could have performed the wedding ceremony himself and not feel what he was feeling now...
The worst part was, he was utterly powerless to stop it.

EIGHTY-TWO

BonaPhisto runs down the hallways, searching frantically for MacPhisto when a thought occurs to her. She descends a staircase and goes down into the basement, lower and lower until she finds the lowest room. She opens the door slowly, and finds MacPhisto sitting across the room, on the cold floor, and he looked like he'd been crying for some time.
"Mac?" He looks up, and shoos her away. "Mac, is there anything I can do?"
"I won't feel better until she's safe, which is unlikely to happen at this point."
BonaPhisto wraps an arm around him, and he gives in and rests his head on her shoulder. She rubs his back and gives a comforting kiss on the top of his head. She inhales his cologne involuntarily, triggering memories of when she was still a devil, still his employee and their several week-long sex flings. That was over, and not too long from now she'd be Mrs. Larry Mullen Jr. She still cared deeply about Mac, and hated seeing him like this. She wanted just as much as he did for Bluey to make it out safely. MacPhisto took Bona's hand in his, obviously noticing the ring.
"He asked you to marry him? Well, congratulations...It seems like everyone is getting married lately." He sighs against her chest.
"Mac, everything will be alright. I think I have an idea. I can revert back to my old form, can't I?"
"But would you want to? What about the baby?"
"The baby would be fine as long as nothing drastic happens to me."
"That's not really a safe bet, Bona..."
"Well somebody's gotta go in there and get her, and for some odd reason they tell me you can't do it.
"Let's just say something's different about this situation."
"Then fine. If I can still revert back to my old form I'll go in there and kick some ass. Can you change me back, Mac?"
MacPhisto looks up at her, horrified and winces a little at the thought. He says nothing, but only stares at her.
"I don't know."
"What do you mean you don't know? You've done this before thousands of times to some poor human for recruitment for The Father Below...Can you try?"
MacPhisto stares her down in contemplation. He stands up and motions for her to come over to him. The door has been left open a crack and the light sheds onto him a little. BonaPhisto notices how something is definitely different about MacPhisto, he seems to have a little more lift to his step. She rises slowly and walks over to him. He steps right up to her and whispers in her ear.
"This is the only way I've ever known how to do it. Do you remember when I did this to you the first time? You were born human, Bona. I came to you over three thousand years ago in your village. You were twenty-eight then. Do you remember how I did it?"
BonaPhisto nods. "Yes, I remember."
"Are you sure you want to do this?"
"Yes."
MacPhisto steps up to her, a hand on her waist and one on her cheek. He leans forward and kisses her hard on the lips, and she winces in half pain and half pleasure. He continues and she wraps her arms around his neck in an attempt to stay standing. She can feel her body changing, and his kiss becomes even harder and as he finishes he squeezes her once, then just as abruptly as he'd grabbed her, he let her go. He stared at her a minute, looked her over once and then spoke softly.
"Step into the light, Bona."
She does, and he nods.
MacPhisto is careful with his words. "It worked."
"I forgot how painful that process is..."
"It's been three thousand years, of course you forgot. Now go. See if you can save her."
BonaPhisto runs out of the cellar and back toward the room. The thought occurs to her that something felt different about MacPhisto's kiss, but she can't place exactly what it was. It sent lightning through her entire body... and she didn't think it was just the transformation. She re-enters the bedroom, and Larry stands up, staring at her in awe as she enters. Adam and Bono both look at each other in half horror and half hope. The Fly's jaw just hits the floor. Larry examines BonaPhisto, the black pants have changed to gold, as has the sweater. Her makeup has suddenly gotten heavier and he runs a hand over the horns that he swore weren't there when she'd left.
"Larry, I'm sorry... but I'm going in after her."
"Please..."
"It's our only hope."
"You went back."
"Only because somebody has to save her." BonaPhisto takes Larry's face in her hands and kisses him very deeply. "I love you. I'll be back." She shoots them all a smile as she disappears in a cloud of vapor. Larry drops to his knees and whispers into the ground as if he expects her to hear him.
"I love you."
Adam comes over and places a hand on Larry's shoulder.
"Come on, Lawrence. It'll be okay."
"I can't believe she went back..." His voice trails off as he looks toward the spot where BonaPhisto disappeared.

EIGHTY-THREE

The dark room is penetrated by gray light from the open door once again. BluePhisto has spent...hours? Days? Just lying there aching and terrified of what will happen. She flinches when the door opens but then forces herself to be calm. Screwtape walks in again, but this time he turns on a light when he comes in.
In the full, fluorescent light of the room he is even uglier than before. His face has healed over from his fight with MacPhisto but it is misshapen and distorted. His eyes glitter with pleasure as he takes her helpless form in.
"Ah, BluePhisto. We never did get to fulfill our little agreement did we? I must say..." He runs a finger up her leg. "I feel a little cheated..."
"Don't touch me you sick bastard. What the hell am I doing here?"
Screwtape stops his hand in surprise and looks with a twisted smile into her trembling face. "You mean to tell me you don't know !? Oh, you poor, poor dear." He kisses her neck and she flinches violently. He draws away. "So sorry, it's just that I can't resist a woman in chains." His breath is intolerably hot and smoky and close to her face. She closes her eyes and turns away.
"An old friend of yours called me and told me to keep you down here."
"What!? Who?"
"Oh, you know him quite well. I recall he said something about you and someone named The...what was it again? Ah yes, the Fly. And a wedding, and you had to be removed. That was it."
"Liar. Never in a million years would MacPhisto do that."
Screwtape gives her a pitying glance. "If I could I would feel sorry for you, BluePhisto. I mean, you've been trying to get a devil to love you..."
"He does love me."
"He thinks he does. He really believes it, but devils just can't love. That's what separates us from everyone else dear. We can feel pain and, we can certainly feel..." He looks at her body again... "pleasure, but the fact remains, we cannot feel love. In fact, there is something that I think you should see..."
The blank wall opposite BluePhisto becomes a screen and MacPhisto's image fills the wall. He is sitting alone in the basement of the mansion, crying. BluePhisto cannot help but smile sadly at seeing him again, and missing her so much. Bona walked up to him and embraced him, rubbing his back and kissing the top of his head. He looks at a ring on her hand and says something...He rests his head on her chest and she rises. They talk and MacPhisto looks troubled, suddenly he takes BonaPhisto in his arms and kisses her hard. BluePhisto cries out a little involuntarily. Screwtape smiles to himself. The image keeps changing, soon they have undressed each other and Bona and MacPhisto are having sex in the basement...
BluePhisto tries to turn away. "Make it stop. Stop. STOP IT!"
"You must know this..." Screwtape whispers in her ear. "I'm so sorry." The tape keeps playing and although BluePhisto shuts her eyes she can still see it in her mind...After they are finished the whole loop starts again with MacPhisto sitting in the basement alone. While it plays over and over for hours, Screwtape has been whispering in her ear while she sobs...
"Do you see now what we are like? Heartless. We feel nothing...in fact we could not even feel the pain you feel right now...When I kiss you, for example." He kisses her lightly on the neck. "I only feel skin and pleasure...That's what MacPhisto is feeling now...just pleasure...would you like to feel that? Would you like this pain to stop? It's easy...Just become one of us...I can make you one of us and you will never feel this feeling again."
He repeats this speech hundreds of times and each time he does she is more and more consumed by pain and hate for Bona and MacPhisto and less resistant to him. At moments like this Screwtape loved his job...the doctored tape was working beautifully. He knew that she could sense that part of it actually happened and he smiled, reveling in the knowledge that lies are so much better when they have a grain of truth in them. She was probably even starting to believe that MacPhisto had asked him to take her away, a fabrication Screwtape was particularly proud of. After hours of the tape, he finally paused it -MacPhisto and BonaPhisto were frozen in mid-kiss. Screwtape looked up at BluePhisto's beautiful but tormented and tear ravaged face...she was utterly broken. He smoothed some hair from her sweating brow gently.
"So would you like me to help you? Would you like to stop feeling this way? You can do anything in the world and not feel any of it..."
BluePhisto trembles with hate and anger. She really thought that MacPhisto had loved her. "Yes. Do it. Just do it."
Screwtape smiles..."With pleasure."
He climbs on top of her still restrained body, pressing his body into hers, and kisses her savagely for a long time. BluePhisto cries out in pain as she changes, but her mouth is covered by Screwtape's...she could have never imagined anything so cripplingly painful. She is flooded with an intense feeling that she has made a mistake...but soon it is replaced by a kind of numbness. Screwtape breaks the monstrous kiss and looks down at her...she is now a painfully beautiful devil.
He is filled with desire for the new temptress and runs a hand down her body, but thinks better of it and stops, kissing her chest and sliding off the table.
"There are so many things I want to do to...I mean with you. But first, I want to present you to someone, he will be so pleased to see you my dear." He unlocks the chains that held her down and she rises, dizzy and sore. Her beautiful blue dress has changed to a very revealing red dress that fits her like a second, shimmering skin. Her deep, glossy black hair hangs seductively down her bare shoulders and the smoky makeup makes her ice blue eyes even more striking than they were before...Screwtape was very pleased with his work and he knew The Father Below would be too when he presented her to him. He escorted her out into the hallway and walked past all the other devils that stared at her with open jaws, with his arm around her waist...
"Ah BluePhisto, you do me proud my girl."
"I'm not your girl."
She is repulsed by Screwtape and cannot get his taste out of her mouth, but feels little besides rage towards MacPhisto and BonaPhisto...The image of him kissing her and caressing her, his face filled with pleasure just will not leave her mind...For the first time in three thousand years she feels hatred.

Echo is offline  
Old 11-25-2001, 02:40 AM   #9
War Child
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: The Echosphere
Posts: 769
Local Time: 05:49 AM
EIGHTY-FOUR

BonaPhisto arrives in Hell, and does her best to blend in as well as possible, trying to cope with the heat and blood everywhere. She passes a room with a table in the center. Knowing all too well what that table is used for she cringes, and is horrified even further when she sees MacPhisto's image cast upon the wall, her own image with it, frozen in what appears to be mid-kiss. She freezes as she watches the image change until she's watching herself having mad, raging sex with MacPhisto on the basement floor. The image pauses again as MacPhisto is in mid-thrust, his tongue lapping at the space between her collar bones, her head is thrown back onto the cement floor, back arched and mouth wide open in a cry of ecstasy. BonaPhisto watches all of this in horror, knowing full well that this exact scene has happened millions of times over the past three thousand years, but it never occurred tonight. She begins to tremble as she realizes exactly what they've done to Bluey. No doubt she's been transformed already. BonaPhisto comes to her senses and runs off toward a specific office, trying desperately to figure out how to repair the incredible damage done. She comes to Screwtape's door and knocks hard. There is no answer, and BonaPhisto breaks her way in. Screwtape looks up from his desk in surprise.
"Well, my dear Bona. I thought you'd gone human for the little drummer boy?"
"Fuck you. Where's Bluey? What did you do to her?"
"Well I think you know that all too well."
"Where is she?"
"With the Father Below, hating you and hating your precious Mackie-poo." He laughs.
BonaPhisto turns to run out of the room but Screwtape grabs her and pins her against the wall. She struggles to free herself, but Screwtape presses himself full against her and she does her best to kick him, anything she can do to free herself from his grasp. He suddenly looks down and gasps.
"What's this now? You're expecting the little Elvis-wannabe drummer's BABY?! Oh, that's just too much."
"You lied to her! This is all designed to break her!"
"That's true. The Father admires her work and could use her around here..."
"NO!"
Screwtape moves to kiss her and she cannot do anything about it. She can't move and just as he's unzipping his pants, he's thrown off of her and onto the floor again. Shocked, BonaPhisto looks up and there stands BluePhisto, now a gorgeous devil. BluePhisto has Screwtape pinned to the floor of his office.
"Bluey! Thank god I found you..."
"Fuck you."
"Bluey please... it was fabricated!"
"You've always been after him..."
BonaPhisto tries to point out her transformation. "Bluey, look at me! What am I?"
"Besides a lying bitch? Nothing to me anymore. Now leave before I change my mind and decide to kill you again."
BonaPhisto runs out of the room, physically injured and in tears and finds a staircase. She rushes up and up and up until she feels familiar red carpeting beneath her feet, and she runs down the hallways until she bursts into the bedroom and collapses to the floor, unconscious.

EIGHTY-FIVE

Larry has been pacing nervously back and forth. Adam finally speaks up and projects her image onto the wall, so they can watch BonaPhisto as she is in Hell trying to find BluePhisto. They have been watching this entire time and when BonaPhisto bursts into the room and collapses on the floor, Adam rushes over to her. He scoops her up in his arms, knowing how badly she's been injured. Larry is frozen with shock and can do almost nothing but stare, cry and pray. Adam examines her for a moment, then Fly, Bono and Larry are shocked to see tears stream down Adam's face. He holds her very close to him, almost burying his face in her neck and whispers frantically to her.
"Please don't do this, please don't die... Please, God... Bona, don't do this. I love you Bona, please don't do this..."
Larry's jaw hits the ground at this last phrase, but he says nothing. Bono runs off out onto the balcony and launches himself off into flight. Larry instinctively knows that Bono has gone for Jesus.
MacPhisto bursts into the room, sensing Bona's injury and his eyes fall upon the floor where Adam still clutches BonaPhisto tightly in his arms still whispering to her.
"Just hang on, Bona... please stay with us. Bona, please hang on... I love you, please don't die..."
MacPhisto doesn't have to ask what happened, he knows already. He had been expecting it, dreading it. He only moves over to Adam and kneels down beside BonaPhisto, Adam still clutching her tightly and whispering to her frantically.
"Please... please stay... I love you... Please don't go..."

EIGHTY-SIX

"Well, welcome back," says Screwtape. He struggles a little against her grasp and shoves her off of him with some effort. BluePhisto sits with her back against the wall. "That was a silly little stunt you just pulled my dear." He rearranges his suit and stands over her, contemplating her utter indifference to him. "Now what would be so wrong with me having a little fun with BonaPhisto? I thought you hated her."
"I do...I also hate you. So excuse me if I don't stand aside and let you satisfy yourself."
Screwtape takes a step towards her. "Well, now I'm all dressed up with no where to go..." He touches her hair, she doesn't even look up. This irritates him greatly and he walks away from her suddenly, sulking behind his desk. "I trust your meeting with The Father went well?"
"As could be expected...he didn't show up."
Screwtape laughs. "I forget how new you are...you look so, sophisticated. He was there you silly girl, he was watching you. No one ever has ever seen The Father, he sees us. He has, however communicated to me that he is very pleased with you and wants me to commence your training quickly."
"Training?"
Screwtape rises from the desk and slinks towards her. "Though I must confess, you need almost no training to be a temptress...You are remarkably...effective. "He traces a finger from her chin down to the last visible piece of skin showing through her low cut dress." It's hard for a man to think clearly around you, I can hardly imagine what you will do to the mortals!" He grips her face in his hands and leans in to kiss her, before he knows it he is on the ground again. BluePhisto coolly stands above him with one stiletto heel against his jugular.
"May I also remind you that I am also a remarkably effective assassin? Don't fucking push me, Screwtape."
She turns and sits in a chair, lighting a cigarette. Screwtape rises and rubs his tender neck, smirking. He was teaching her to underestimate him, and she would be fun to break in. He rises to his feet...
"Let us begin our first lesson."

EIGHTY-SEVEN

In Larry's room, MacPhisto watches Adam hold the injured BonaPhisto to his chest. He knew this was a bad idea. BluePhisto was still down there and BonaPhisto lay bleeding on the floor. MacPhisto would have been concerned if he wasn't so damn tired. The Fly is staring at him, and motions for MacPhisto to come out into the hallway. MacPhisto follows The Fly into the room directly opposite. The Fly shuts the door and shifts his weight from foot to foot, anxiously.
"How did Bona get to be a devil?"
MacPhisto sighs. "I kissed her so she would become a devil."
"You kissed her!?" MacPhisto saw his worn, worried face reflected back to him twinned in The Fly's ridiculous glasses.
"I had to, I didn't do it because I felt like kissing someone you dolt."
"And then she became a devil?"
MacPhisto collapses onto a couch, exasperated and exhausted. "Yes, Fly...are you deaf!? I kissed her and she became a devil. Anything else?"
"Does that work with anyone?"
MacPhisto stands up. The Fly stands in his way with an odd expression on his face. "Fly...what are you doing?"
"I'm going after her."
"You're an idiot. You're a human. What's more if Bona couldn't come back with her..."
"No...Bluey just refused to go with her, or talk to her."
"What? Why?"
"She hates her."
"Well why in the world would Bluey suddenly start to hate."
"They showed her a tape of you and Bona in the basement having sex."
MacPhisto is horrified. "What? But we didn't! I only kissed her to make her a..."
"Okay, okay I believe you...long story short, I can come back with her. She doesn't hate me!"
MacPhisto is still reeling from the implications of what they have done to BluePhisto to break her. "Go away Fly...I want to be by myself now." He pictures her having to watch that for hours. She must hate him now ...MacPhisto wishes more than anything that he could just storm down there and take her out himself. It's torture to know what the woman he loves more than anything in heaven, hell or earth is being put through. As he feared, they are breaking her.
"Mac, listen!"
MacPhisto pushes The Fly out of the room, on the verge of tears. "Just leave me alone, I want to be alone right now..."
"You have to make me a devil too, so I can go and get her!"
MacPhisto still not listening, and pushing The Fly. "Get out...I've got to think, there has to be a way..."
"Damn it, Mac!" The Fly braces himself, grimacing. He grabs an unsuspecting MacPhisto by the collar and kisses him hard on the lips. MacPhisto's eyebrows shoot up and he pushes The Fly off him.
"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!?"
The Fly wipes his mouth, looking as though he bit a lemon. "Did it work?"
"Did what work!?"
The Fly feels his head for horns. "Am I a devil?"
"That's not the way it works you fucking moron!"
"Well make it work then! Come on do the thing..." He reaches for MacPhisto's collar again. MacPhisto backs up quickly.
"Are you out of your MIND!? Get away from me you idiot!"
"Don't you want her back?"
"More than anything but you can't bring her back." He sighs and sinks into the couch once again. "You have no idea what it's like down there, no idea. You would just be throwing your life away, it really wouldn't be worth the effort." MacPhisto holds his head in his hands and The Fly looks down at him. The last thing in the world that MacPhisto wants to do (besides kiss the Fly again) is to start crying in front of him, but a couple of tears escape.
"Sorry I kissed you there."
"So am I." MacPhisto pauses and almost laughs at the absurdity of the last couple of sentences, but the impulse is so diluted in worry that the corners of his mouth don't even turn up. He looks at the Fly. "I remember when the biggest thing between Bluey and I was you."
"Yeah?"
"Yes. I really miss those days right now."
"What are they doing to her?"
"Fly...have you ever had a dream so terrifying that when you woke up you were afraid to speak about it for fear that articulating it would somehow make it real?...I don't even want to talk about it and you really, really do not want to know. Suffice to say that I wish she had just been married to you instead."
The two men sit for a few minutes side by side staring off into space. The Fly gets up and walks towards the door.
"I'm gonna check on Bona now." Before he closes the door he looks at the haggard yet elegant MacPhisto on the couch and smirks. "Hey Mac.."
"What?"
"You are, hands down, the worst date I've ever had."

EIGHTY-EIGHT

The Fly shuts the door. As he looks down the hallway he notices a dark trail...it's BonaPhisto's blood. He bends down and inspects it. The trail runs down the stair and around the corner. The Fly straightens his shades and follows the trail down all sorts of stairs until he gets to a room within a room, within a room. In the final room there is a door that is usually behind a mirror. The mirror was thrown aside when BonaPhisto rushed out of Hell. This was the portal to Hell.
The Fly slowly turns the knob and reels as oppressive heat and the smell of blood hit him. He steadies himself, sighs, unzips his black leather jacket and steps into the Inferno.

EIGHTY-NINE

MacPhisto walks out of the opposite bedroom and back to Larry's room, where Adam has moved BonaPhisto to the bed. He's doing his best to heal her as much as he can, but not much is happening. As soon as Mac walks in the room, Larry shoots a glare at him that would have killed him if looks could kill.
"Larry, it never happened. They fabricated it to break Bluey."
"Why should I believe you?"
MacPhisto slips. "Because I can't lie."
Adam looks up from Bona's broken frame, shocked. Larry steps back a little, and it dawns on him what is different about MacPhisto.
"You're an..."
"An angel. I made a deal with God to make me an angel so Bluey could trust me and it kind of backfired."
"No kidding..." Larry pauses. "So that tape of you and Bona..."
"It never happened. I kissed her to make her a devil again and that was it."
"Well she has to become human again somehow," Adam says. "Jesus can't heal her at all if she's still a devil."
MacPhisto inches over to her and sits beside her on the bed.
"Adam, I've never done this before."
Adam nods. "It's okay... go ahead."
MacPhisto leans forward and brushes a hand across BonaPhisto's forehead. He reaches up and takes her horns, pulling at them until they give and come off her head. She starts to tremble and MacPhisto brushes another light kiss across her lips. She trembles even harder and the three men watch as her body transforms back to it's human state.

EIGHTY-NINE

"Heeeeey, how ya doing?"
The thin, dusty devil clerk turned to look at the strange looking mortal in the leather suit and huge glasses. He just stood there audaciously as if he belonged.
"Okay, I'll take that as a good. I'm fine too, thanks for asking. I was wondering where is your boss?"
The clerk just stares...The Fly was a rock star and used to getting his way, and he thought Hell would be a lot worse than this.
"Hello? Do you speak English down here?" He speaks louder and slower. "I need to see your BOSS, capice? Take me to your leader!"
The Clerk looks around to see if anyone else was curious about this bizarre mortal who was unattended but didn't seem to need attending. Most mortals down here unattended would have escaped by now, this one seemed to want in ...He must be someone special.
"You have clearance?"
"Yeah...oh yeah. I got clearance."
"Okay, I'm going there with these files. You can come with me."
The Fly slaps the Clerk on the back and lights a cigar from a nearby well of fire. "Thanks hombre. Let's go."
The Fly is inwardly gracious for his gift of bravado and searches for Bluey out of the side of his shades as the clerk takes him to meet The Father Below...

NINETY

Larry's mouth is still open from the news...
"Lemme get this straight. You're an angel?"
"Yes, Larry. I seem to have to repeat everything I say tonight two or three times..."
Adam adjusts his thin glasses. "How are you feeling?"
"Great Adam, just fantastic. If I hadn't made this ridiculous deal, she would be back by now." He sinks into a chair and lights a cigar.
"Wow," Larry says flippantly. "If you really are an angel, you are the bitchiest angel I've ever met."
Larry's last comment, although meant to be light, was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. MacPhisto throws his cigar to the marble floor and stands up quickly, as angry as anyone has ever seen him. "Look Mister Mullen, if I'm not fucking cheery enough for you how about you put Bona back in Hell, make her hate you more than anything in the world, and sit up here with the knowledge of exactly what unnamable tortures they are inflicting upon her at this very moment and then while you're at it why don't you just tie your hands so you can do nothing but sit there and fucking watch!" He walks towards Larry and Larry's eyebrows go up. "When you do all those things you can come back here after a couple of days of this and tell me to smile a little more but as it is...The woman you love is safe, her mind and body are intact." He gestures emphatically to Bona's sleeping figure. "She's right there beside you on the bed. She loves you. She's even going to marry you and have your baby..." He hisses these last words and looks away from everyone for a second, biting his lip. When he looks back at Larry, his eyes are full of tears. "I can say none of those things, so I think you should keep your mouth shut you lucky son of a bitch."

NINETY-ONE

Screwtape leads BluePhisto from his office down a hall.
"Where are we going?" BluePhisto asks.
"To commence your training."
As BluePhisto follows Screwtape she shudders as demons walking past lick their lips when they see her. She walks a little closer to Screwtape.
"What kind of training?"
"Well, there are many steps in training a new tempter or temptress...dissection of the human psychology, intense scrutiny of the enemy's techniques, desensitization to the suffering of others." He opens a door with a key and enters the room beckoning for her to follow. "Fortunately, what made you such an attractive candidate for the position is that you have extensive experience in all of these fields." BluePhisto looks around the room, it is very dimly lit and she can make out bookshelves and a desk. Screwtape disappears into an adjoining room, still talking through the closed door. "In fact, you outrank many of our senior tempters in many areas. Your knowledge of theology, and your manipulative abilities are almost unmatched; but you do need to learn one thing before you are the perfect temptress."
"What is that?"
Screwtape returns from the other room wearing only a black robe. "You have to learn to separate love from sex."
BluePhisto backs up to the door, disgusted. "And you think you're going to teach me that?"
"If I must...oh don't bother, the door is quite securely locked." BluePhisto tries the door anyway and she cannot budge it. Her heart starts to pound, she tries not to show her fear. Screwtape is right behind her. He puts his hands on her waist.
"This could be pleasurable if you let it..." He runs a hand down her arm and BluePhisto takes a swing at him but faster than she can even see, he has her pinned to the floor.
"Yes, I'm afraid I outrank you here." BluePhisto fights him but he holds her down. She looks at the door.
"Are you waiting for someone? Is someone going to burst through that door and save you at the last minute from me?" He shakes his head and kisses her ear. "Not this time dear." He smiles, a new thought just occurring to him and he whispers to her. "You know...I'm a little amazed he hasn't bothered to show up either. But I know that he's probably watching us..."
"Get the fuck off me you sick bastard! NO!"
He frowns and slaps her so hard she bleeds. "Shut up."
No one comes to rescue her this time.

NINETY-TWO

She wakes up alone. The room is dark again and she feels...sick. BluePhisto sits up and everything is painful, she has nothing on. The door opens and a bundle of clothes are thrown in at her feet, a voice tells her to get dressed, The Father wants to see her. Slowly, she crawls to the clothes and holds them to her. She finds a lamp and it's feeble light flickers on at her touch. BluePhisto looks down, her skin is bleeding almost everywhere...scratch marks and bite marks and bruises. She shakes and everything comes flooding back to her...she is so disgusted that she is physically sick in a trash can. For a long time she just cries and cries, and tries to forget it all. There is a knock at the door and she dresses in a long black dress quickly with shaking hands and crouches behind the desk. The door opens, it's Screwtape. He sees her immediately and talks to her as though nothing happened.
"You're not ready yet?" He grabs her again and she immediately begins to fight him, but he holds her arms down by her sides. "Stop that. You need to get cleaned up, I can't take you there like this." He shoves her into the bathroom and she slams the door in his face, locking it.
"Get away from me!" She hears keys jangle and the door opens. Screwtape looks annoyed.
"Clean up." She just cries so he shakes his head and wipes the blood off of her face roughly with a towel. He spins her around and laces her dress up in the back cruelly tight, and jams long black elbow gloves onto her shaking arms to cover the cuts and bruises. Satisfied, he drags her out of the bathroom like a doll and almost carries her down the long dark hallway.
"Don't embarrass me in there my girl."
"I'm not your girl you sick fuck!"
Screwtape holds her arm painfully tight. "Oh yes...you are. No one else wants you..."

NINETY-THREE

Larry rises and moves out to the balcony. He leans against the rail and stares out into the gardens, feeling very sorry and very guilty for MacPhisto. It's been a long time since he'd felt this guilty about setting someone off, and as it was he really could not imagine the pain MacPhisto must be in. He turned when he felt a hand on his shoulder. Adam stood before him. Adam's earlier words hit Larry again like a ton of bricks, and again he could see Adam on the floor, clutching BonaPhisto to his chest whispering over and over "I love you..." Adam sensed his thoughts and spoke.
"Larry, please listen..."
"Why is it that every man in this house seems to be falling in love with my fiancée?"
"Larry, I'm sorry."
Larry shrugs dismissively. "No, that's alright... Everyone else has, why not have you jump on the bandwagon too, right Adam?"
"Larry, that's not it at all." He pauses, figuring out exactly how he should phrase this. "My time with Bona is long over. You see, Bona was born human. She was born over three thousand years ago in what is today Ireland. When she was in her late twenties I was assigned to her to protect her. Satan was after her desperately because of her ability to bring a man to his knees. I was warned about her, but over the course of the several years I was assigned to her, I fell in love with her." He sighs. "Listen..." He moves closer to Larry and lowers his voice. "What I'm about to tell you not many people know about. By that I mean the only other people that have any knowledge or recollection of any of this is God, Bluey and Bono. Larry, I fell for her. Just like Bono did. I lost my wings, I lost everything. I almost lost Heaven for her too. I became totally human and I'll have to say it was the scariest experience I've ever had. Bona was the only thing that kept me going, that and my contact with Bluey and Bono. When I fell, I lost all ability to locate her, so I spent days, weeks even wandering through the streets trying to find her. I had nowhere to stay, nothing to eat or drink at all. I lived off the land as best as I knew how until I'd finally lost all hope and patience and I gave up. She found me on a street corner one morning, unconscious, starved and left for dead. She took me home, and when I woke up her face was the first thing I saw. Over the course of my healing I suppose she saw something in me, and when I was healthy again we began a very intense affair. I was away one afternoon gathering food and when I'd returned, MacPhisto had gotten to her. There was no warning, nothing. That morning I left her standing in the kitchen, a human and the love of my life, and I returned to a devil, no longer able to feel anything. I would gladly have died after that and descended into Hell if it meant being with her, but Bluey and Bono wouldn't hear of it. They stayed by my side and pulled me out of the pit I was in, and God was gracious enough to allow me to take my position as an archangel again. That's how it's been ever since. All I want is her happiness and her safety. She doesn't love me. She loves you. Can't you see that?"

NINETY-FOUR

When MacPhisto and Adam enter, BonaPhisto is sitting on the bed with Larry, talking seriously. They have been talking about the wedding.
"Do you think we should have it that soon? I mean honestly, it just seems like that's not enough time to plan..."
"When's the wedding?"
"A little over a week."
MacPhisto marvels. "That's a little quick, don't you think?"
"With the baby coming," explains BonaPhisto, "we don't want to wait too long. I want to still be able to fit in my dress. Em, I hate to ask this of you, Mac, but could we use your mansion for the wedding?"
"Absolutely."
"Well, Larry," Bono pipes up, "how do you feel about shopping for a tuxedo?"
"Sure." Larry rises to leave with Bono. Bono crosses to Bona and gives her a goodbye hug.
"Thanks for everything," Bona says. "I'll see you two in a bit?"
Bono suddenly freezes and holds Bona even closer, a concerned and almost panicked look on his face.
"Bono, what's wrong?"
Bono shoots a look at Adam. Larry looks concerned and searches Bono's face for an answer. Bono lets her go and motions for Adam to come over and makes another motion for Adam to hold Bona exactly the way Bono was. Adam comes up to her and wraps his arms around her waist, pulling her right up to him and clutching her tightly. After a minute he lets her go and shoots Bono a look like "I think you're right." The two angels contemplate Bona for a minute and then Bono speaks up.
"Bona...I don't feel the baby anymore."

NINETY-FIVE

"Hey...pssst! You! Yeah you with the horns." The Fly holds out a cigar. "You gotta light baby?" The baffled clerk in front of The Fly snaps his fingers and a small flame leaps out. The Fly smiles and lights his cigar. "Wow, that must be popular with the ladies!" The clerk sighs and raises an eyebrow. They were standing with about 900 other demons in the Great Hall, the place where The Father resided. Not that anyone had ever seen The Father, but this is where his voice was heard. Being such a "holy" place, everyone observed an almost ritualistic code of behavior. No laughing, no speaking out of turn, best dress only, no talking back...there were even designated spots to stand according to your status in Hell. The most prestigious demons got to stand close to the towering throne, which was so high that no one could see The Father sitting on it at the top. The Fly and the clerk stood at the back of the room, The Fly looked around. This place wasn't so bad. From what MacPhisto had told him he expected them to be dismembering people in the hallways. It was just a little musty, he decided. He leans over to the clerk again.
"So is Satan showing up soon? I don't have all day."
"You must stay silent and wait to be addressed. Furthermore, you must address him as 'The Father.'"
"Fine..."

NINETY-SIX

Screwtape ushers BluePhisto into the Great Hall and they stand near the towering black throne. Screwtape holds BluePhisto's arm behind her back. He had warned her in the hallway that if she started to cry in the Hall, he would give her something to cry about later. She is silent, and her eyes are dead, plastic. Still her outward appearance in the black dress and gloves is so hauntingly beautiful that many tempters turned from their spots to stare at her hungrily.
The Fly grabs the Clerk excitedly, which annoys the clerk to no end. "Hey! Hey! I know her!" He points to BluePhisto. "I Know her!!! BLUEY!!! HEY BABY! OVER HERE!"
BluePhisto thought she heard her name, but trumpets blared a fanfare and drowned it out before she could be certain. A solemn figure took the middle of the floor and started to read a text from a long scroll in a loud voice in the language of Hell. Finally, he rolled up the scroll and walked off to the side and smoke started to pour down from the throne, indicating The Father's presence. The Fly jumped at his chance and pushed his way out onto the floor. Gasps filled the room at the breech in protocol. BluePhisto's jaw drops open in surprise, The Fly came to take her back!?
"Hey...Sorry to interrupt but I just want to say this really quick everybody..." He pushes up the sleeves on his leather jacket and continues, totally oblivious to the glares from nine hundred directions. "You all have a nice place and everything, it's not as bad as I thought it would be, really! But my girlfriend got taken down here and she didn't do anything so I'm here to take her back...Sorry for the interrupt---"
A voice echoes through the entire hall and everyone but The Fly falls to their knees.
"WHO ARE YOU!?"
The Fly turns around, looking for the source of the voice. "Who said that?"
"IT IS I...THE FATHER BELOW."
"Oh good. Just the guy I wanted to see."
"WHO ARE YOU?"
The Fly runs a hand through his hair. "You mean you don't recognize me? I'm kind of a big rock star. Maybe you don't get MTV down here..."
"Prove it." A guitar is thrust at The Fly.
"You want me to play something!?...Just a min." He thinks and adjusts his glasses, strapping the guitar on. "Any requests?"
"JUST PLAY, MORTAL."
The Fly turns and finds a mic in front of him. He strums a couple of chords and then starts to play for the court of Hell. BluePhisto is now convinced that she has finally passed out again and is dreaming this...it's just not possible.
The Fly looks at Bluey as he sings in a low voice over the introduction to the song. "Love...you shine like a burning star that's fallin' from the sky...tonight.." Somehow the sound of the single guitar expands to become the whole band. The Fly breaks into his song with gusto. When he finishes there is no applause until a slow clapping is heard from the throne. Everyone quickly follows suit and applauds loudly. To BluePhisto's astonishment, The Fly keeps playing song after song and The Father keeps applauding and requesting another. The Fly is equally amazed that he was not vaporized or some shit by now. Finally, there is a long silence after the applause...no one dares breathe.
"YOU PLEASE ME, MORTAL. WHAT DO YOU WANT?"
The Fly pushes his hair from his sweaty face. "Well, first of all this disembodied voice thing is creepy. Come out. Lemme see ya if we're going to chat."
Gasps echo around the room and stop abruptly as a figure is seen coming from the throne. A blond man in a black suit descends the stairs and stands before the stunned assembly. Satan, the Lord of all Evil, a remarkably average looking blond man with a calm face stands before The Fly in a totally black suit.
The Fly is totally unimpressed. "I didn't figure you for a blonde. Hmm. Funny world."
"What is it you desire?"
"I want to take my girlfriend home."
Satan is amused. "I can give you anything you want...anything."
"Yeah, that's pretty much it. Just her."
Satan shrugs. "Alright then, I suppose so. you did entertain me for the first time in thousands of years. Which one is she?"
The Fly smiles towards BluePhisto and walks over to her, taking her hand and pulling her away from Screwtape. "This is her. I want to take her home with me." Screwtape pulls her back towards him and The Fly turns to him.
"Man...if you pull her back to you one more time I am going to fucking pop you one, got it?"
Satan bursts out laughing at the strange mortal in the large dark glasses. He really amused him for the first time in ages. He motions for Screwtape to release BluePhisto which he does quickly, but he glares daggers at her as The Fly takes her to the middle of the floor.
"Wait. That temptress is your girlfriend?"
"Yeah, we were even going to get hitched before you all Shanghi-ed her on me."
Satan is contemplative. "I don't know if I can let you take this one...take any other woman you desire. I have plans for this one here."
The room is packed with sexy temptresses but The Fly doesn't even look around.
"Nope. Sorry. Just this one."
Satan sighing. "Well, alright then. I will make you a deal...It's an oldie but a goodie. You can take her home if you go all the way home in front of her and don't look back once."
"Okay. Sounds good. If I look back, she stays, right?"
Satan grins. "Right, and I also get to keep you around for my entertainment. Deal?"
"Deal! Starting now?"
"Starting now." The Fly turns and finds what looks like the world's longest staircase up. It gets narrower and narrower towards the top. He starts to climb. Satan smiles. He knows with The Fly's attention span and his impulsiveness that he and BluePhisto are as good as his.
The Fly calls back. "Bluey...are you following me?"
Satan watches her slowly start to climb the stairs after him. Soon she would be back though. She was Screwtape's little toy for now, but Satan actually had his eye on her...A former angel, an assassin at that...the idea was intriguing.
The Fly just keeps climbing. He almost looks back to make sure that she is actually there, that she is okay, or that she is still following him but he just keeps going up. He even takes his shades off because he worries that seeing her reflection in the lens accidentally might count as "looking back". He climbs for what must have been twenty minutes, his legs ache and he wants to collapse but he just keeps going singing snatches of songs to keep him focused.
"If you walk away walk away...I will follow..."
He was so tired and hot he was almost delirious by now. He listened. He couldn't hear any steps behind him...nothing. Maybe she wasn't there and he was just leaving without her...they were all probably laughing at him back in Hell. He almost turned just to see...just to make sure she was there but he stopped himself, closed his eyes and began to climb again.
"Don't you turn around...don't you turn around again, don't turn around, your gypsy heart..."
Finally, he reached the door. He was just about dead by now and turned the knob, stepping inside. He stood there for what seemed like forever with his eyes closed and the door open so that BluePhisto could come back in if she was indeed there.
"Fly...Fly, you can shut the door now." He shut the door, his eyes still closed tightly.
"Can I look now?"
"Yes, open your eyes." He opened his eyes. He was back in the secret room in the mansion with BluePhisto. He couldn't believe it. She smiled in relief and sat on the floor. "You saved me...you actually just walked into Hell and took me out! You're CRAZY!"
"Well, baby, you stood me up. I'm not a man to give up easy!" He looked at her sitting on the floor. She was indeed a devil now. Her makeup was heavier and she was white as paper, and horns pierced her black hair...but she was still beautiful to him. He held out a hand to her.
"Come here baby." He pulls her up and moves to hold her but she pushes him away with a grimace. Her eyes are shiny with tears. She whispers, "I'm sorry Fly...I just I don't want to be touched right now. Okay?"
"Okay honey, whatever you want...Whatever you want is fine. I'm just glad you are back."
They hear doors opening and feet pounding down flights of stairs. BluePhisto stands behind The Fly with narrowed, anxious eyes. "It's okay honey...It's just the others, we were all worried sick about you...Especially Macphis..."
BluePhisto slaps a hand over his mouth. "I don't even want to HEAR his name, okay? Just keep him out of the room."
BluePhisto stands with her head in her hands...she listens to the four men outside the door whisper about her and she collapses onto the black satin couch...exhausted in every way.
BonaPhisto stands in shock, near tears. Larry pulls her to him, taking her head and placing it on her shoulder.
"The baby... I can't have lost the baby..."
Adam swallows hard. "We don't know for sure yet, so don't worry too much until we do..."
BonaPhisto cuts him off, speaking urgently. "Bluey's back."
Adam and Bono practically sprint out of the room and MacPhisto follows them. Adam turns, stopping him.
"Mac, I'll bet you anything she's not going to want to see you."
"She has to know the truth."
The three men run out of the room, leaving Larry and BonaPhisto alone, trying to cope with the possibility of losing their child. The thought horrifies Bona, and she finally breaks down and sobs on Larry's shoulder. He holds her tightly, closely, trying his best to comfort her through his own upset.

NINETY-SEVEN

Adam, Bono and MacPhisto run through hallways, down corridors and down staircases until they come to a room. The door opens and out steps the Fly. He looks at MacPhisto apologetically.
"Well, she's back. She's a bit traumatized, but she's mostly okay."
"Can we see her?" MacPhisto asks.
"They can see her. I'm sorry, Mac. She doesn't even want to hear your name right now."
"She's a devil now?"
"Yeah. She's a devil."
"Somebody's gotta talk to her," says Adam. "Mac, you go and keep an eye on Bona and Larry."
Adam, Bono and the Fly all walk into the room and find BluePhisto asleep on the couch. Adam walks over to her and crouches in front of her.
"Bluey, wake up."
She opens her eyes heavily.
"How are you feeling?"
"I'm just thankful to be out of there."
"Bluey, there's certain things you need to know..."
MacPhisto reluctantly made his way up stairs to BonaPhisto and Larry's room. He stands outside the door and knocks. He can hear Bona crying and Larry murmuring things to her. Larry opens the door.
"She doesn't want visitors right now," MacPhisto says darkly. "How are you, both of you?"
"Well..." MacPhisto reads his thoughts.
"I expected as much." He stands there awkwardly. How does one check on people anyway?
"Well, thanks," says Larry. "I'm glad Bluey's back."
He waves and MacPhisto, having fulfilled his task hurries back downstairs to be near Bluey in case she came to her senses.
Bono crouches beside BluePhisto on the couch. She didn't want anyone to touch her, and she kept looking at the door nervously.
"Bluey, there are some things you need to know."
Bono interrupts. "Do you need anything, Bluey? Something to eat or drink? What would you like?" Adam looks up in surprise at the interruption. Bono thinks at him that she needs to rest before absorbing any more shock today and Adam agrees.
"Yes...Bluey dear, what would you like to do?"
"I'd like to take a bath." She stands and wavers.
"Would you like someone to help you?"
BluePhisto whispers, "Fly."
Adam summons The Fly, who smiles at BluePhisto and approaches her slowly, she hesitantly wraps an arm around her and he lifts her off the ground. As soon as he begins to walk, she has put her head against his shoulder and is out like a light.
"Aw, poor honey," he whispers. "She's so tired!" They hear rapid footsteps on the stairs above them which slow as MacPhisto senses Adam and Bono, and...BluePhisto. The Fly stops as MacPhisto descends the stairs in front of him.
"She's asleep," says Adam. "You can come down."
MacPhisto makes his way over to his unconscious beloved, unspeakably relieved to see her again. He sighs deeply, and his bright blue eyes shine as he looks down at her.
"My arms are getting tired, Mac. Here..." Before Adam or Larry can protest, The Fly hands her to MacPhisto. She rests her head on his shoulder and he smiles at her. Holding her close to him, he seems like he's in another world entirely. Without moving his eyes from Bluey, MacPhisto whispers to The Fly.
"Thank you." No one moves or speaks as he stands there for a few more minutes, just cherishing the weight of her in his arms. He doesn't think he will ever let go. Eventually, they start to climb the stairs again and arrive at her bedroom. Adam opens the door and MacPhisto carries her to the bed. He hasn't taken his eyes from her this entire time, and now that it is time to lower her into the bed, he finds he cannot. He just stands there, holding her.
I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry I couldn't protect you from that, dearest. I will never, ever allow anything like that to happen to you again. If you hate me, or despise me, it will make no difference to me. I will protect you forever. Why can't I let you go? I'm afraid if I do, you'll disappear again.
Adam pulls the green covers of the bed back and MacPhisto sighs and very slowly lowers her into the bed. He lets her go, but stays sitting on the edge of the bed with her.
Adam frowns. "Mac...she doesn't know the truth yet, maybe you shouldn't be here when she wakes up, which could be anytime..."
MacPhisto sits like a statue, looking down at her with a soft smile on his usually intense face, and pulls the covers up around her. It's very hard for him not to touch her, but he knows not to. Finally, he stands slowly and walks out of the room backwards, staring at her until he closes the door behind him.
"How long will she be out?" Bono asks.
"Not long..."
MacPhisto just looks at BonaPhisto sadly with eyes full of pity and leaves, closing the door behind him. Bono slides the gloves off of her arms. "These can't be comfortable...Oh my GOD! Adam!"
Both of her arms are covered with still bleeding cuts and what appear to be bite marks. Both angels are repulsed at the depth and obvious brutality of the wounds. The Fly, dropping his shades to the ground, sweeps her long hair away from her shoulders. The horrific marks go all the way down her back.
"I've never seen anything like this," whispers a stunned Adam. "I mean...dear God."
"What happened?" asks The Fly. "I don't understand."
Adam looks up at him. "You don't want to."

NINETY-EIGHT

Adam, Bono and The Fly walk back into Larry's room where he still holds BonaPhisto. She is still crying into Larry's shoulder, though she has calmed down a bit. Adam walks up to her and takes her in his arms.
"Adam, what did I do? What happened?"
"I don't know. Everything will be alright. I have a strange feeling that this isn't because of your injury. There's something much bigger at work here."
Bona looks up at him, searching his face.
"The only reason I can think of that you would lose the baby so abruptly is if something happened to you while you were in Hell that we didn't see."
BonaPhisto thinks a minute, and from her three thousand years of experience with Hell, something dawns on her. Her hand flies up to her mouth, and her eyes widen. She backs away from Adam and straight into Larry. She startles and runs across the hall to the room where MacPhisto sits with BluePhisto. Adam and Bono both sense her thoughts and both are horrified, and almost physically sick. MacPhisto senses her thoughts as well and when she approaches the door he opens it. She enters and collapses into a chair on the other side of the room.
"I can't believe they..."
"I know, Bona. I know."
BonaPhisto breaks down into tears again, and MacPhisto sits next to her, consoling her as best he can. She sobs into his shoulder.
"You're the only one who would understand this... I can't believe they did this..."

NINETY-NINE

"Mac, I just can't...He took the baby..." BonaPhisto sobs into his coat and for a moment, MacPhisto wraps his arms around her to calm her down.
"Good morning," says BluePhisto coldly.
MacPhisto looks at BluePhisto horrified that she should open her eyes at the worst possible moment, to see him holding BonaPhisto on her bed yet.
"Bluey...you're awake!"
"Shut up Bona. Just shut up you overdressed, melodramatic, cheating, lying, two faced BITCH!? Does Larry know about this? I think he should, or maybe he should just have to watch the two of you fuck each other for hours in Hell! You've always been after him...and..." She rounds on MacPhisto. "Any you've always been more than ready to accommodate her."
MacPhisto tries to calm her. "No, dearest, it never happened! He made it up to break you..."
"Excuse me if I remain skeptical." She paces angrily, and spits the words out. "Let's examine a little pattern shall we? The very day that you show any sort of feeling for me you end up kissing her behind my back! I forgive you and we move on. You continue to flirt outrageously and I look the other way until you sleep with her! I forgive you again and the minute I disappear, I mean what was I, In Hell for five goddamn minutes? And you two are going at it in the basement! Which made for some great television, as I lay there bleeding to death, let me tell you. Do you know what MacPhisto? I would not be this upset if it was anyone else, but why HER !!? What is so goddamned special about her!? It's always somehow about Bona isn't it? So where you just killing time with me? Trying to make her jealous?" She leans in close to MacPhisto and whispers at him harshly. "I meant nothing to you...nothing. I can't believe I ever thought that you loved me, knowing what I know now..."
"Stop this. Stop it." MacPhisto walks to BluePhisto and reaches out to touch her shoulders and calm her. His eyes search hers for some point of contact. "I love you, I only love you..."
BluePhisto laughs in his face. "Really? Fine, then tell me something will you?" She rips off her other glove and holds out her mutilated arms at him. "Where were you when he did this to me?" MacPhisto looks at her sadly, and tries to answer but she cuts him off. "Where were you? Or was it true what he said, that you were probably just watching him rape me from somewhere up here with a nice glass of chardonnay!?" MacPhisto flinches at that last accusation. "Because to tell you the truth, when I couldn't fight back anymore, when I couldn't get him off of me , I kept looking at the locked door, hoping that you would come in and stop him...but you never came. You just let him...you let it happen, and now I know why, you were probably busy with her."
She starts to walk out but MacPhisto catches her by her shoulder and she goes to shove him away again, but he grabs her wrists and pulls her closer to her*
"Let me go!"
"Listen..."
"You bastard, I hate you! You lying, rotten son of a bitch!"
MacPhisto shouts over her. "I'M AN ANGEL! I am an angel now and it killed me, it just KILLED me not to be able to go down there and save you!" BluePhisto stops struggling and stares at him, her lips open in shock. She backs up a step and whispers.
"I don't believe you...
He touches her mangled arms for a second, his hands are very warm. When he pulls his hands from her skin, the places where his palms were are now perfectly healed.
"See?"
Just then, Larry bursts into the room and runs to BonaPhisto, smothering her in a massive hug.
"What did he do to her?"
"Are you sure you want to hear this?"
"Yes."
"Okay. When he had her pinned against the wall in his office... He had the baby removed from her womb by... while he was kissing her he had the baby tagged by some kind of process that I didn't quite catch from Bona's thoughts, but when she awoke and went to the bathroom, they took it. It was expelled from her body and they took it. It's very disgusting..."
"Did they...hurt her?" Larry asks apprehensively.
"No, she can conceive again, thankfully."
"So why'd she run over to Mac just now?"
"Because he's the only one who would understand what they did to her. Speaking of, she ought not be in the room when Bluey wakes up..."
"She wouldn't hurt her..."
"With the level of hatred she has right now, it wouldn't surprise me."
Larry bolts up and out of the room, across the hall and he bursts in, relieved to see BonaPhisto has been unharmed. He runs over to her and practically knocks her over with a hug. He picks her up and spins her around, showering her face with kisses.
"Hi Larry. Listen, can I ask you a question? Do you know how long your BITCH of a girlfriend has been after MacPhisto?"
"I told you it NEVER HAPPENED!"
"...And have you noticed that every time you turn your back she's in MacPhisto's arms again? Did you happen to notice their enormous attachment to each other? That right after you proposed to her she ran to MacPhisto?"
"That was a lie, Bluey. And by the way, she lost the baby."
"I know. I was the one who took it from her, after Screwtape had tagged it."
Larry's rage rises, and MacPhisto's mouth hangs wide open. Bona just shakes with tears and shock.
"Why?"
"Because I was told to and I hate her. She fucking deserved it!"
"Really?!" Larry spins around to face her. "There's a few things you need to know, Bluey. First of all, the tape was fabricated. But we've told you that how many times already and you still don't seem to get it? Do you want to know what really happened in the basement between Bona and Mac? Hmm? He kissed her to make her a devil so she could come down and save you! She was just as horrified as you were when she found the tape, and her only goal in Hell was to get you out!" Larry has been inching his way toward Bluey this whole time. Now he has her cornered, but he does not touch her. He only has his face inches from hers and he spits the words out at her like bullets. "Bluey, Bona nearly died trying to save you! Do you understand that? She almost died for you! The only reason she survived was because of Jesus and then she wakes up to discover the very woman who she was trying to save was the very one who took her child, her pride and joy from her? That's one hell of a way to thank somebody, Bluey."
Larry spins around and heads for the door. Bona starts to follow him, still very nervous and wanting only to get out of the room. Larry suddenly spins around again.
"And by the way, did you know that MacPhisto was writhing with pain knowing that there was no way he could save you? He sat in the basement for hours sobbing his eyes out and he even tried to kill himself because he thought it would get him into Hell so he could save you. We all hated the fact that you were tortured down there. We all wish that you would never have been kidnapped in the first place. And you have every right to be angry, hurt, upset, whatever, but the two people you hate the most right now were the very two people that sacrificed their lives trying to save you. And you thank them how?! Think about that. I'm sorry, Mac, but it had to be said."
Bluey stands with a stunned and truly sorry look on her face.
Larry quickly spins around and walks out the door before he loses control of his temper and ends up hurting BluePhisto or anyone else. Out in the hall, BonaPhisto catches up to Larry and takes his hand, if only to try and calm his anger. They get into the room and Larry plops down on the bed, BonaPhisto next to him, rubbing his back trying to get him to relax a little. Adam, Bono and the Fly stand with awed looks on their faces. Adam sits next to Larry and as BonaPhisto holds him, he speaks.
"I hope you got through to her, but I'm only sorry it had to be that way..."

ONE HUNDRED

BluePhisto stands as still as a stone. Larry's words pulled the rug out from under her feet and for the first time since she woke up in the black room, she feels totally awake.
MacPhisto whispers gently, "Bluey..."
BluePhisto jumps. "I didn't know you were still here." She looks at him apprehensively, waiting for his anger to fall on her like rain.
He recognizes the look on her face. It is the same look that plagued his face when she walked in on him after he had cut BonaPhisto. It seemed like so long ago, but in her expression he remembered precisely what it felt like to realize what you have become...and to hate it. She shivers and he takes off his black velvet jacket and drapes it across her shoulders. She looks at him, puzzled. "You look cold...maybe you should sit down."
"I don't deserve this...especially from you."
"We all make mistakes."
"Not like this...What have I done?"
"You weren't even sane...it's not your fault."
"Why are you being so...kind?"
The corners of his mouth turn up slightly. "I think you already know the answer to that, dearest." She pulls the jacket around her tightly and sat on the bed. "You really kissed Bona to make her a devil?"
"Only to make her a devil..." He pauses and sits beside her, smiling again. "If it makes you feel better, I kissed The Fly too."
"The Fly?"
MacPhisto smirks mischievously. "Yes...Well, he grabbed me and kissed me to try and make himself into a devil."
"Wow...that's loyalty." He looks into the fireplace and she contemplates his face for a moment. "Mac? Why did you become an angel? When did that happen?"
"The morning after we slept together I woke up and you were gone. I knew you thought I couldn't be trusted, so I made a phone call."
"You became an angel just so I would trust you? Are you serious?"
"Well, I can't lie can I?" He looks younger than he did, brighter and smoother. "But, I went to the wedding to stop you if you were going to marry The Fly anyway...but you never came. And by that point, I couldn't help you."
"I know. It was a rule imposed by God to protect angels from abduction, and also by The Father to stop an invasion... It had to be enforced by both sides." She pauses and MacPhisto examines her the devil sitting beside him. The already dramatic features of her face were made even more striking by the smoky makeup. He realized that there would never be a moment when she could be unlovely to him.
"Mac...do you think Bona and Larry will be alright? God...I feel awful."
"Would you like anything?"
"No, no. I'm as fine as I will ever be..." An idea strikes her, and she fights to keep her face and thoughts from being too excited. "Actually," she turns to MacPhisto and smiles, "a glass of wine from the cellar would be perfect. I've never had wine before."
MacPhisto nods and leaves the room gracefully and saunters down the hall and the many stairwells to the cellar to retrieve a bottle of wine for BluePhisto.
As soon as he is gone, BluePhisto leaps off the bed and runs to the bathroom searching under the sink for something. She pulls out a box and opens it. "Elvis, you little gun fiend you." She takes out three guns and hides two, fully loaded, in the coat, loading the third as she races down the stairs.
MacPhisto is in the wine cellar, trying to select the perfect bottle of red to introduce someone to wine with when he realizes something.
"I will never drink this again...Hmm. Small price to pay I suppose." He remembers BluePhisto after she drank the bottle of vodka, and smiles. His thoughts turn to her and he focuses on her...The bottle drops to the ground and he sprints up the stairs. She is thinking just for him as she runs, armed towards the hidden room in the basement.
I'm so sorry Mac...I have to do this. Tell Bona and Larry I'm sorry and I will make everything right again.
Bluey rushes down the final flight of stairs and reaches the bottom just as a panicked MacPhisto reached the top. She turns into the hidden room at top speed. MacPhisto is running so fast he almost falls down the last half of the stairs and reaches the door just in time to see her disappear into the portal with a gun in her hand.

ONE HUNDRED AND ONE

BluePhisto pulls the hammer back on the gun in her hand as she walks towards Screwtape's office. She finds it, and pushing the sickening memories of the last time she was here to the back of her mind, she kicks the door in. He is sitting at his desk on the phone.
"I'll have to call you back..." He hangs up and smiles at her. "Well, well, BluePhisto...back for more I see?"
BluePhisto raises the gun at his head. "Give Bona her baby back you son of a bitch."
Screwtape is startled at BluePhisto's complete change in attitude. He liked her better when she was broken and cowering in fear. "BluePhisto...that is no way to talk to a superior demon."
"Give the baby back...NOW or I am going to blow your disgusting head off."
"I don't know what you are talking about." BluePhisto fires a bullet into his shoulder. He clutches his arm as it bleeds. "FUCK! What are you DOING!?"
"I'm getting really tired of this. Give the baby back now." She walks right up to him and holds the gun to his temple. He knocks the gun away with his free arm, but as soon as it is out of her hands she has two more...one in each hand. He gasps. "I'm going to shoot you every time you make me repeat myself."
"Fine...fine, you crazy bitch." He pulls a file out of his desk slowly and leafs through it, signing some blank lines. She shot him in his writing arm, and he winces with every stroke of the pen. "There, done. It's back."
BluePhisto picks up a phone and dials, keeping a steady gun on Screwtape at all times.
The phone rings in Larry and BonaPhisto's room. All three angels and The Fly lunge for the phone at the same time. Adam grabs it first.
"Adam" BluePhisto says, "get Bono to check Bona."
Bono helps BonaPhisto up off the bed and holds her, closing his eyes. He waits and shakes his head.
"Nothing Bluey."
BluePhisto frowns at Screwtape.
"What are you trying to pull?" She lowers the gun from his head and aims it between his legs. His eyes widen.
"I can make this very painful."
"Okay, okay..." He signs a page at the end and backs up again, his hands in the air.
"Try again."
Adam motions for Bono to try again, he hugs Bona again and nobody in the the room exhales. A smile spreads across his face and he nods.
"It's back." Bona cries from relief, and collapses on the bed beside Larry, who hugs her.
MacPhisto reaches for the phone, but BluePhisto has already hung up.
BluePhisto hangs up the phone and as she does so Screwtape dashes to the other side of the room and grabs the gun she dropped. Triumphantly he points it at her head. They stand in the center of the room, pointing guns at each other in a standoff.
"You idiot."
BluePhisto tightens her grip on her guns. "Drop it. Drop it now."
"No, I don't think I will." With lightening speed he knocks the other two guns from her hands and shoves his gun into her temple. "Now that's more like it. Take your clothes off."
"No."
He shoves her against a wall. "You are in no position to talk back. Now come on..." He lunges for her, and she shoves him back. He squeezes the trigger and the bullet hits her in the chest. BluePhisto falls to the ground. Screwtape walks over to her...he leans down to see if she is dead. Suddenly, she springs to life kicks him in the head...sending him crashing into the desk. She is not even bleeding.
"I knew you'd go for the one I dropped... those are blanks."
Screwtape lunges for her again, but she jams a gun against his head. His eyes widen as hers narrow. He glances at the door.
"Oh, Screwtape, is someone going to burst through the door and save you from me?" He scowls, his words coming back to haunt him. "Not this time... Sorry." She pulls the trigger.

ONE HUNDRED AND TWO

MacPhisto bursts into Larry and Bona's room, absolutely beside himself and out of breath.
"SHE'S GONE! Bluey, she ran back into Hell."
"WHAT? I just got her out of there!"
"She's gone." He looks at Larry. "She's gone to get your child."
"Oh my God! I didn't want her to do that!"
"Well she's gone now! You idiot! Do you have any idea what could happen?"

ONE HUNDRED AND THREE

MacPhisto, The Fly, Bono and Adam are all waiting in the hidden room, staring at the portal.
"Should I just go get her again? They like me down there..."
"You met the Father?"
"Oh yeah...Blondie."
The door at the end of the room opens and the four men turn. BluePhisto walks out of Hell, her hands covered in blood. All four men stare at her. Bono whips his vest off and wraps them around her hands, trying to find the source of the blood.
"It's not my blood Bono. I'm fine. How is Bona?"
"She's good, everything is back to normal...I really can't believe it."
BluePhisto's eyes land on MacPhisto, who walks towards her slowly. His voice is faint and trembling. "BluePhisto...are you trying to kill me? Darling, you could have been...Don't you dare do anything like that again!"
"I can't promise that...what the hell, I can lie now. Sure, I promise."
MacPhisto unwraps Bono's vest, and takes her hands in his.
"I'm quite serious dearest."
The Fly clears his throat loudly.
"Hi...remember me? The guy who dragged you out the first time? I just want to make it clear that I am also glad you are back. I'm not an angel or nothing, but I am still also glad. Very glad. Equally glad in fact. Glad."
The Fly smiles, relieved to have broken the moment between MacPhisto and BluePhisto. Mac is not so relieved, and raises an eyebrow at the Fly.
BluePhisto smiles. "I really should go...I have some apologizing to do."
MacPhisto and The Fly are left alone in the room. They stare at each other.
"Well, if it isn't Ashley Wilkes..."
"If you think you're Rhett Butler in all of this, you are even more deluded than I previously imagined."
"Well, if I'm not Rhett, who the hell am I?"
"What was the maid's name again?"
"Shut it, Paleface."
MacPhisto raises his eyebrows and lights a cigar. "So...we're back to this are we?"
"I guess so." They start to walk up the stairs, to catch up with BluePhisto. "Well, at least I know you're a lousy kisser."
"I wasn't prepared!"
"Whatever..."

ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR

Edge and EchoPhisto are among the last guests to leave the aborted wedding. EchoPhisto is no less amused by it's failure than she would have been by its success.
"That man was hitting on me not 24 hours ago. Now all of a sudden he's the marrying kind."
"You said it yourself."
"Said what myself?"
"About MacPhisto's parties."
EchoPhisto and Edge chat amiably as they leave the garden. Immediately upon their return to the mansion, she becomes noticeably uncomfortable.
"Are you alright?"
EchoPhisto clenches her teeth, as if she is expecting a chill wind to make them chatter.
"There is something incredibly not right going on in this house. Can't you feel it?"
Edge closes his eyes and everything is quiet for a moment. When he opens his eyes, he nods.
"Let's go back outside. Doesn't MacPhisto have a hedge maze?"
EchoPhisto inquires of a butler about the hedge maze and she and Edge are directed to it. EchoPhisto becomes apprehensive when they reach the entrance.
"Should we be going in there? What if we get lost?"
"Don't worry." He crouches down and points to a tiny indentation in the stony path. "See that? These tell you how to get in and out. They're all over the maze."
"How ingenious. Well, that would have made "Labyrinth" about fourteen minutes long."
Edge and EchoPhisto meander through the maze, conversing. Edge lets the chatty EchoPhisto do most of the talking.
"...See, Salman Rushdie said that perhaps God is where we put things that have no place else to go. And so perhaps what separates atheists from theists is not any inclination towards sin or virtue, or a matter of ethics or morals...what makes atheists different is that they carry everything around with them. They cannot put things in God's hands. They cannot blame Him, or thank Him, or praise Him, or ask anything of Him, or give anything to Him. They keep everything for themselves, and to themselves. And sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes...it's not. Doesn't make one any more or less inclined to believe in Him, I suppose."
"I don't understand how someone can live their whole life like that."
"For some, it's actually easier. God is an obligation."
"I've never looked at him that way."
"Edge, if everyone looked at God the same way, U2 would have a lot fewer songs in their catalogue."
When they reach the center of the maze, EchoPhisto sits and bids Edge do so as well. They lounge in a little patch of grass, surrounded by stones of Euclidean perfection.
Looking up, the sky is bordered on all sides of their vision by the sky-scraping hedges. The clouds that pass are their own private theater. They lie on their backs, separated no longer by disdain and despair but only by a few blades of grass, and they compare their respective impressions of cloud shapes.
Edge points. "What does that one look like to you?"
"A suspended mass of water and ice particles."
As the afternoon expires, the clouds have all passed and Echo and Edge are left in silence with a dimming cobalt sky. It's a more profound quiet than most people know; the quiet produced by one person who gets paid by the word and another who gets paid by the note.
Edge feels what he nearly always feels; a serene calm. Unaware of the drama that threatens to crumble the walls of the mansion, he thinks only of a particular middle-eight riff he'd been working on. A slow, minimalist bit, he'd debates to himself if it is too predictable.
Meanwhile, EchoPhisto is about to explode. She taps her toes imperceptibly inside her boots and bites the insides of her cheeks. Timing, timing, timing. The only thing that controls her overwhelming impatience is her need for the right place at the right time. However, it was a skill honed with the written word, not in the presence of other people. Having no delete key on her person at the time, EchoPhisto is frustratedly waiting for the most theistic dependency of all: The Sign.
For her, The Sign comes in the form of a tiny white suspended mass of water and ice particles that appears in the theater from the east. It arrives alone, as if lost.
EchoPhisto rolls over and kisses him.
Edge's reaction is immediate and urgent. He kisses back. Hard. She struggles to stow her incredulity in order to fully enjoy it. She expected a gentle kiss, then she would slowly pull back and they would share a thoughtful gaze. But Edge is more passionate than she expected. He pushes her back into a supine position with only the force of his kisses. EchoPhisto hasn't time to open her mouth before he has slid his tongue inside. She savors the taste of his mouth as though it were her last meal before execution. Edge's breathing grows rapid and ragged. He plants one hand on either side of her and wedges first one of his knees, then the other, between hers. He doesn't wait for her to invite him; he spreads her legs with his own and makes her aware of his erection. For EchoPhisto this is too much; she breaks their kiss in order to gasp.
Ever the director, she awaits with lip-smacking anticipation the next line in the script. Tell me how good it is, tell me how good it is, tell me how you regret having waited so long...
Edge hovers over her, gazing at the ground to the right of her shoulder as though it were a great distance away. His breathing slows.
"I don't know if we should do this..."

ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE

Bona buries her face into Larry's neck, and cries from sheer relief and joy. Larry exhales heavily and rubs her back, then takes her face in his hands and kisses her slowly, softly but with passion. The other four in the room sense that they need time alone.
"We should go wait for Bluey," says Adam.
"Yes..." MacPhisto motions to the door. "Shall we?"
They head out of the room and close the door. Larry breaks the kiss and smiles at her.
Larry whispers, "I told you everything would be okay."
He leans down and kisses her again and she tightens her grip on him. His kiss comes harder and he moves down to her neck, laying her down on the bed. She breaks the kiss and looks up at him.
"Do you think we have time to do this?"
"We can try..."
BonaPhisto laughs as he continues planting kisses all over her neck and face and eventually she gives, but they only lay there in a tight, relieved embrace. There is a knock on the door and they rise, Larry answers the door. Everyone walks in, BluePhisto being the last to walk in. BonaPhisto smiles ear to ear at her, another set of tears running down her cheeks. Bluey slowly approaches her.
"Bona, I'm so sorry. I never meant to..."
"I know, Bluey. It's okay. Thank you for making things right again."
"Bluey, you didn't have to do that."
"I wouldn't have been able to live with myself if I hadn't. Your words were a much needed wake up call. I'm sorry for all the grief I've caused you all..."
"And I'm sorry about everything I've done to hurt you as well," BonaPhisto says.
"Forgiven, but if it happens again I'll have to remind you of just how skilled of an assassin I am."
"Fair enough."
They stand quietly for a moment, awkwardly until Bona moves forward and embraces BluePhisto in a hug.
"I'm just glad you're okay..."
The dust from Larry's departing motorcycle hangs in the air like smoke and BonaPhisto waves at them from the back of the bike, clutching her fiancé, and smiling like a maniac. Bono and Adam stand in the doorway waving and smiling.
"Well, all's well that ends well," Adam says.
"Yeah," Bono agrees, "that's the way it goes... speaking of which, are we heading off now?"
"Yes, we should get back. I need some rest and some therapy before the wedding I think."
"What a party..."
"You said it."
Adam and Bono walk together across the expansive, manicured lawn and disappear into a haze of fog hanging in the night air.

ONE HUNDRED AND SIX

Edge sits up, looks down, left, anywhere but at Echo.
"What do you mean, you don't know if we should do this?"
"I'm sorry, I just...I don't think it's right."
Desperate, she clutches Edge's arm. "Nothing has ever felt more right to me."
Edge pulls his knees to his chest and rests his chin on them. "I can't. I mean, you're a wonderful person. I feel like I have a lot to learn from you. But I just don't feel that way about you, and I can't take advantage of you like this."
"Look, I am begging you, take advantage of me!"
"Echo, you know I'll only hurt you, in the end. Do you think I'm different than any other man? You don't need me. Look at all you have. You're brilliant, you're talented... "
"Okay you listen to me. All my life I've been told how lucky I am..." She adopts mocking tone. "...to be sooo brilliant and sooo talented. You know what? Being brilliant and talented is the air I breathe. I'm brilliant and talented every day of my life. It might be something special to you, but it means nothing to me because it's all I've ever had."
"I'm sorry. But I'm not in love with you, and it wouldn't be right. I'll only toy with your emotions. What you need is peace of mind, and that I can't give you that."
"I don't want to live in tranquility. Good prose doesn't grow there." She stands and adjusts her mussed hair. She leaves him hunkered in the grass.
"It's a small world, Mr. The Edge, and our paths will surely cross again."
She smiles cryptically and looks down at the stony path to find the arrow that will lead her out of the maze.

ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN

MacPhisto enters the ballroom, the scene of so many intrigues these past nights and finds The Fly laying on a couch smoking. MacPhisto raises a black eyebrow and leans over the back of the couch looking at The Fly as he lights a cigar...
"Oh, hey Mac."
"Good evening Fly." He clears his throat. "I hope you enjoyed the party."
"I did." There is silence between them. The Fly raises an eyebrow behind his huge shades. "Oh, is that a hint?"
"I was merely enquiring as to whether or not..."
"Cut the crap."
"Go home Fly."
BluePhisto enters. Both men turn and stare. She is still wearing her black dress and MacPhisto’s jacket and is smiling at both of them.
MacPhisto walks towards her. "How are you dearest?"
"Feeling much better thank you."
"Hey...baby. You've never seen my pad have you?"
MacPhisto sneers at The Fly.
"No I haven't," BluePhisto says. "...I'd love to sometime."
"Perfect honey! How bout now? You can hang out there with me until the wedding."
BluePhisto hugs The Fly and kisses him on the cheek. "You know I would but everything I have is here, and I am very tired from all that's happened. I'm sorry Fly." She can see the disappointment on his face, and she kisses his other cheek and he brightens.
"You're really something baby, you know that?"
"Thank you. And thank you for helping me earlier. I'll see you again in just a week, alright? I'm just too tired to go anywhere else. Do you understand? I don't mean to disappoint you, and I have to help Bona and Larry get this place ready."
"I understand sugar...no problem." He hugs her tightly and whispers in her ear. "I still love ya baby, I'll see you soon." He smooches her quickly and runs out waving at MacPhisto and sticking out his tongue at him.
MacPhisto shakes his head for a moment at The Fly and turns...he gasps. BluePhisto has taken his black jacket off and is kneeling on one knee. She is smiling up at him.
"Bluey, dearest..." MacPhisto's blue eyes are wide with surprise. "What are you doing?"
"I thought it was obvious...I'm proposing to you." He drops his cigar on the floor and she reaches up, smiling, and takes his hand. MacPhisto's eyebrows shoot up and he smiles so widely that his face hurts. For the first time in his life, he blushes. He wants to say so many things to her right now, but they all collide into a lump in his throat.
BluePhisto slips the gold ring that he left in his coat pocket onto his trembling finger. She speaks softly to him. "Mac, I don't care if you are a devil or an angel or anything in between...I love you, and I don't ever want to be without you again. Ever. Will you marry me?"
He is so overwhelmed that he can barely answer. He has gone in one day from being sure he will never be with her again, to being offered the chance to never have to be without her.
"Yes." He pulls her up, takes her in his arms, and kisses her passionately, repeating between kisses: "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes."
His hands on her bare arms undo the damage done in Hell, and when he opens his eyes and looks at her...she is beautiful, glowing, and happier than he has ever seen her.
MacPhisto grins down at his fiancé. "Have you ever made love to an angel?"
"Not yet."
He kisses her again and carries her into the bedroom, shutting the door...The ballroom is dark, and for a while, there is nothing but peace and happiness in the mansion.
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Old 11-25-2001, 02:44 AM   #10
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*Whew*

That was a lot of work! I'm goin' to bed!



------------------
*Echo the Pimpstress* ... Proud Owner of Animatronic Edge!

"It's not that I like eating beef so much, I just really hate cows."

"Come here, quick! You have to see Bono's pants!"

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Old 11-25-2001, 08:35 AM   #11
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*WOW*
Thanks so much Echo for all your hard work!!!!! WHEW! It's so nice to read it in a novel format, I had no idea it was that long.
Thanks again.
I will post more later, but i'm exhausted.
HUGS!
Thanks so much!
-Bluey
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Old 11-25-2001, 11:24 AM   #12
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Holy guacamole.....that's a lot.

Talk is cheap....GIVE US A KISS, VINTAGE BOY!!! I mean....the character of MacPhisto is....interesting. *ahem*

P.S. My role in the MPS things makes NO sense. I can't keep up with it. I hope you cut me out of my misery...heheh

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Old 11-25-2001, 04:40 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by blueeyes:
I did notice that it needs to be smoothed out in terms of continuity...which can be fixed over time. I am willing to go over it eventually (finals are coming up and Bona's wedding so we're talking mid-december here), or if you want to that's fine too.

Hey, this thing is all yours from now on. As I've said so many times before (but under somewhat different circumstances), I am never touching that thing again; it's too much work.


------------------
*Echo the Pimpstress* ... Proud Owner of Animatronic Edge!

"It's not that I like eating beef so much, I just really hate cows."

"Come here, quick! You have to see Bono's pants!"

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Old 11-25-2001, 04:56 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by blueeyes:
Vintage Boy!?
LMFAO Mona....God.
Echo named him that, methinks. or maybe ScottPhisto. I don't remember who...and I don't remember why! lol


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[This message has been edited by WildHonee (edited 11-25-2001).]
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Old 11-25-2001, 06:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by WildHonee:

Echo named him that, methinks. or maybe ScottPhisto. I don't remember who...and I don't remember why! lol

I dubbed Bono Vintage Boy after reading that he's allergic to this enzyme in wine (seriously); it makes him narcoleptic. But the enzyme disintegrates as wine ages, so he can only drink vintage wine (seriously!). So in my script I wrote, more or less:

BONO: (snootily) Sorry, I can only drink vintage wine...alergies, you know.

ECHO: Yeah right, Boner. You can have a Coke and shut the hell up.

And then later when Mona jumped on him, she hollered, "You're all mine now, Vintage-Boy!"

In any event, I'll go put this in the Glossary right now

------------------
*Echo the Pimpstress* ... Proud Owner of Animatronic Edge!

"It's not that I like eating beef so much, I just really hate cows."

"Come here, quick! You have to see Bono's pants!"

"But...the whole basis of our relationship was the Atari Championship!"


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[This message has been edited by Echo (edited 11-25-2001).]
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