Samhel
by Patricia Green

© Copyright 2021 Patricia Green
All rights reserved.

“And so, April says, ‘You’re going to jail, and will never hurt anyone again.’ The End.”

Naomi nearly jumped up and down where she sat typing into her laptop, there in her tiny kitchen. “It’s brilliant. We did it!”

“You did it,” Samhel told her. “I just told you a story about my former profession.”

“Yes, you were so evil!”

“Demons don’t come in vanilla flavor, my dear.” He smiled, an expression so confident and beautiful, she had to remind herself he had formerly been a demon of death. But that was before. Naomi liked to think of him as reformed, though he still had many of the more attractive attributes of a fallen angel: astonishing good looks, intelligence, wry sense of humor, and an unshakable personality. But he’d retired from his death-inducing profession and became a bestselling crime novelist, writing books where the evil-doer got punished in the end. The only way you could tell he was a demon was to see the fire in his eyes and notice he was not breathing.

Crime novels were exactly the kinds of books Naomi wanted to write, but about half-way through her first attempt, she’d gotten completely stuck. A trip to the library had brought her into contact with Samhel and they’d hit it off.

“Thank you, Sammy,” she told him, brushing reddish-blonde hair off her face. “I couldn’t have done it without you.”

“Nonsense,” he said, his smoky voice so pleasant to her ears. “You’d have done it without me. It might have taken you longer, that’s all.”

Rising from her chair, she would have liked to hug him, but early on in their relationship he’d told her physical contact came with a price tag. Demons and humans didn’t mix well, often to the detriment of the parties involved. So Naomi held back, a bit disappointed but thankful he’d warned her.

He was watching her with eyes without pupils, only a small, burning flame where the pupil should be. At first, she’d found it quite disturbing when he took off his dark sunglasses, but now, months later, she was used to it. It was just Samhel. He couldn’t help where he’d come from.

“Now what do we do?” she asked.

“I contact my publisher and she publishes your book, does a bunch of promotions, and you make a zillion dollars.” His grin was contagious.

Smiling, she tried to imagine what it would be like to be a famous novelist, a novelist like Samhel, who’s pen name was “Sam Hellton.” It would be a dream come true. But how could she repay Sammy? He had been so kind to help her out and then offer to help her through the publishing process, lending his name to her submission. “I’ll split the money with you,” she offered.

“I don’t need the money, my dear. I have enough to last an eternity. You keep it and buy yourself some furniture.”

Glancing around her apartment, she agreed she needed a few things. When she’d given up her job as a librarian in order to pursue her dream of becoming a novelist, she’d known getting rid of her threadbare furniture was not going to happen very quickly. But, at the time, she’d been willing to work hard to earn the few luxuries she really wanted, and so redecorating her apartment had fallen to the bottom of her list. She was living on savings and a small stipend from her grandparents’ estate. Maybe that would change, too. But it would have been much more satisfying to have someone to share her success with. Someone tall, strong, handsome, with dark hair and black eyes, and a smile that could melt her from the inside out. Someone like Sammy.

Unfortunately, he was a demon, despite his rehabilitated personality.

“It’s Valentine’s Day,” she realized aloud. “Don’t go back home just yet. Let’s do something. Let’s go out to dinner, or to a movie… something.”

His baritone laugh gave her shivery giggles. “Not ready to be rid of me yet, eh?”

“No. I’m not. Do you have to go?”

He studied her, black, fiery eyes steady upon her face. “Are you in love with me, Naomi?”

The out of sync question caught her by surprise. Truth be told, she’d been in love with him for weeks, but considering his nature and their working relationship, she hadn’t allowed herself to revel in the feeling. Never having been in love before, of course she’d fall in love with a person so completely off-limits, she thought sarcastically.

Should she answer honestly? So far, Sammy had proven himself to be remarkably good at reading human emotions. It seemed rather pointless to try to deny her feelings.

“Yes. Stupid of me, but yes.”

He approached, raising a hand as if to touch her face, but pulling it back as though encountering a barrier. “Valentine’s Day is a very special day.”

It was, but her only experience with it had been with a puppy-love boyfriend in junior high school. A sense of deep longing stole over her as she imagined how a Valentine’s Day, spent with a lover would be.

Sammy was still staring at her, but this time, there was something in his eyes besides fire. There was desire.

“I would like to explore this with you, Naomi. But it’s risky.”

“I would do anything to be closer to you, Sammy.”

“I believe you, but you might not know what you’re saying.”

Was it even possible? She needed him. She was twenty-eight years old and this was the first time she’d ever been in love. It had to work out! “Can we try?”

He nodded slowly. “Things will change,” he warned. “You might not like it.”

“I love you. I can accept changes so long as we can be together.” He probably meant she would have to become a demon to be with him. Was it painful? Would she have to do demonic things? Sammy didn’t do demonic things anymore, so maybe she could be like him.

“Very well. It only takes one kiss with your true love on Valentine’s Day.”

“Yes! Kiss me!”

His eyes mesmerized her as he reached out to cup her face with both hands. Electric shocks tingled all over her cheeks. They were almost painful. Some sparks actually flew. She made a small “oh” of surprise, and he hesitated.

“Am I hurting you?”

“Not really. Please. Kiss me.” Waiting was torture.

He lowered his face to hers and she closed her eyes, his burning gaze searing her even through her eyelids. More sparks spilled from their lips as they touched. These hurt a bit but soon  excitement overtook the sensation and Naomi stepped the half-step it took to press her body against his. Her skin tingled all over, like lightning showers on a hot day.

The kiss deepened, and soon their tongues touched. Sammy flew back away from her as though thrown by an unseen fist. He slammed up against the refrigerator and fell to the floor, crumpled and unmoving.

“Sammy! Oh, no!” Racing over to him, Naomi feared he was dead, he was so still. As she knelt beside him, she bent to listen to his chest. There was a faint heartbeat. No tingles with contact either. He had to be dead. Was this the price he’d paid for loving her?

All of a sudden, he drew a huge gasping breath. Naomi pulled away, shocked. “Sammy! Wake up, my love!”

He squeezed her hand slightly, still breathing, and his eyes opened. There were black pupils there, in dark brown irises. No flames burned, just an emotion. It looked like… like gratitude.

“You did it,” he whispered.

“I almost killed you.”

He struggled to sit up, apparently still a bit weak from his ordeal. His breathing was steady, though, and a smile was forming on his handsome face. “They said it could happen. I never believed it.”

“What? What happened?”

He flexed his shoulders and bounced his knees.”I’m human.”

“You are?” But of course he was. The evidence was right there in front of her.

Nodding, he got up to his feet. He was unsteady for a few seconds, leaning on the fridge behind him, but then soon stood confidently, tall, broad-shouldered, still as perfect a form as before. “I am. Thank you.” Reaching out, he took her in his arms and kissed her again. This kiss didn’t send off any sparks, except in Naomi’s middle. It was a very satisfying kiss.

“You are an angel,” he whispered against her lips.

“I am?”

He chuckled. “Not literally, love.”

“Oh.” That was good. She wasn’t sure she wanted to be an angel with Sammy being a human and all.

“I love you, Naomi. Happy Valentine’s Day.”

“Will you love me forever?”

“I don’t have forever anymore. But I’ll love you for as long as I live.”

Her heart broke for him, as she realized all he’d given up for her. She made a vow to make sure it would be worth it. He’d never regret the decision he’d made. Whatever lay ahead in the future, they’d be in it together.

The End

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Short Stories in Five Minutes