"Andy!" yelped Ollie, bursting into the kitchen with his arms spread wide and a grin smacked across his face. "I made a new friend at the bus stop!"

"Okay, stop talking to that old man who sells tickets," answered Andy immediately, pointing the end of her pen at him – he'd just disturbed her third attempt at English coursework. "He's a paedophile, he'll take you away, and I'm not rescuing you again."

Ollie's glee temporarily pouted at the memory. "That was one time."

"One time too many," she countered, returning her attention to the papers on the breakfast bar.

He eagerly took his seat opposite her, sitting on the side nearest to the door. He wrestled a bottle of coke out of his bag then threw away the bag, homework and all. He took a glug and peered over what Andy was writing, cringing and making faces at the words he didn't care to understand and over-analysis of everything. His mood suddenly perked up again as he leant over Andy's head, grinning down mercilessly until she noticed and looked up.

"And!" He continued as if he'd never stopped. "His name is Lucy!"

Andy looked up at him, putting her work on pause just so she could watch her friend's stupidly happy countenance. She set her pen down and crossed her arms, so she could look at him properly.

"His name is Lucy?" she asked, her voice already playing with jokes.

"Yeah!" he beamed.

"Lucy," she confirmed.


Deciding that it was simply too easy, Andy made no comment. "So what's he – Lucy – like?"

"He's so cool!" exclaimed Andy, giddy as a child. "He's taking a gap year before he goes to university, he's been all around Europe and North Africa, he's from literally the middle of Central London, he's got the best accent it makes me feel like I'm talking to like royalty, his hair is better than most girls; it's all long and pretty and soft-"

"And I thought I was gay," commented Andy curtly.

"Not like that," said Ollie, smiling unamused.

He leapt over to retrieve his bag from the floor, returning to the breakfast bar with it in tow and searching furiously. He smiled again taking out a novel, which quickly piqued Andy's interest; it was hardly a thick tome, but to see Ollie with a book that wasn't non-fiction was surely the strangest sight she'd seen today. She leant over to try and glance at the title, but he held it at such an angle that she couldn't quite catch it, though she was sure she recognised what she saw of the cover. He held it to his chest, obscuring it with his arms.

"Lucy recommended this book to me," he told her. "I've only read the blurb, but I'm sure it's great."

"What's it about?" asked Andy, more interested in discovering the book than the boy.

"No clue, but if Lucy likes it, I know it's going to be good," he waved her off.

She watched him a little longer before returning to her work, though not without sniping at Ollie. "Gay," she said.

He rolled his eyes. "Anyway, Lucy said he's going to call me later so I'm going to go start reading." And with that he was quickly bounding the hall towards his bedroom, virtually skipping his way down. All the while with Andy watching him, thinking what this boy could possibly have that would elicit such a reaction; perhaps Ollie was childish and easily amused, but he recognised this behaviour from previous courtships: infatuation. Not wanting to become too deeply involved, she turned back to her work, which was now all the more tedious.


The afternoon sun shone high in the sky, its light burdening down on Andy's and as she attempted to shield her eyes as she stood waiting. Ollie was sat down on the bus stop seat, feat kicked up against the glass wall and his stolen sunglasses pushed up as far as they would go, looking too cool to be going to school as they were; Ollie in black jeans and a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and his tie stuffed in his pocket, he left his suit jacket at school considering he never wanted to wear it otherwise. Whilst Andy, ever adhering to the college's code, had her black trousers and jacket worn correctly over her burgundy shirt, buttoned up to not flaunt her, as her headmaster had once called them, womanly assets. Not that Andy had much of them. Not that her headmaster should be watching.

"Will you ever dress properly?" asked Andy, simply bored with the silence.

"When they let me dress in a way that doesn't involve sweating like a pig in a slaughterhouse, I'll consider it," he answered.

"It's meant to reflect your professionalism," she replied.

"I can be professional in my underwear," said Ollie, "my profession just happens to be different to yours."

"We should not put our own life into beautiful things," spoke another voice, as smooth as lake water and equally clear. They both turned drastically to the source of such beautiful notes of the spoken word. The light that bloomed in Ollie's eyes was visible even behind his shades. A chiselled face of fine marble with oceanic sapphire eyes looked to them. His hair, the ebony to the ivory in his skin, rolled in perfect touches down to his shoulders, floating slightly on the halo he seemed to produce, which was especially odd as the sun was on the other side of Andy and not behind this beauty of a man. He was dressed in an odd accumulation of casual and formal; a grey pair of suit trousers with a matching waistcoat, buttoned with gold, over a tight T-shirt that was a shade of black that simply made his hair seem darker, as if no fashion could accompany his natural beauty without paling in comparison. His lips, the top one curved in a perfect bow, smiled at them both as if he was running into old friends. "We live in age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography. We have lost the abstract sense of beauty."

Andy's eyebrows furrowed naturally; she recognised those words, but from where she failed to recall. Ollie, however, had bolted upright, his sunglasses torn from his face as his heart filled his smile. There was a tension in his shoulders that was not entirely joy, as if he was stressed by this boy's presence as much as he was clearly elated by it.

"Lucy!" he sang, sprinting towards the boy with now open arms. He leapt up towards him, caught and spun with a strength that befit Lucy's lean yet worked biceps, and yet they caught him with a grace that rarely accompanied that which was not part of nature.

He set Ollie back on the ground, but kept his arm his waist whilst Ollie rested his forearms around his kissable neck. His chest was rising and falling faster than normal, but he couldn't have been out of breath from just that; it was something that Andy might not have noticed if she didn't know him so intimately, but it made her question. Except a reddening of the face, Ollie seemed to be showing all his usual symptoms of adoration. Andy might have thought that if Ollie ever had homosexual feelings that she'd easily see him through it, but now being faced with the prospect she knew she'd have no idea what to say. But was that even it? Lucy looked to her first, Ollie bashfully admitting that he'd forgot to introduce them.

"This is Andy, my flatmate," he said, gesturing to her awkward waving. He placed the gesturing hand to Lucy's collarbone. "Andy, this is the Lucy I told you about."

"Pleasure to meet you," said Lucy, his melodic voice forcing Andy to smile.

"Likewise," she answered, shaking his hand firmly.

He certainly was attractive, more so than she'd ever found herself thinking of other men, but what was so infatuating about him was yet to become obvious. Although she did have to admit, he looked attractive in the most familiar way. It was something she knew would bother her if she ever saw him again, but she could not help but recognise him from a face she'd never seen. She thought back as much as she could.

'Perhaps with blond hair..." she had begun to wonder, until Ollie called her out of her reverie.

"Did you hear me?" he asked, nestled again Lucy, whose hand was casually resting at his waist.

"Oh, no, I was somewhere else entirely," she confessed. "What is it?"

"I invited Lucy to dinner tonight, that's okay right?" his tone was subtle to the outside world, but Andy knew Ollie was demanding for her to say yes. He still looked out of breath, as if the air was being stolen from his lungs faster than he could inhale. "You could invite Elaine!"

"And distract me from this beauty? I wouldn't dare," answered Andy, instantly shocking herself. That was the way she spoke to women when she herself was interested, no matter how pretty this boy might be – beautiful, to be more precise – she wouldn't consider herself attracted. She coughed, correcting herself and ignoring the look Ollie was giving her. "But no, that'll be fine. We still have plenty of RACY money, so I'll do something decent. Do you have any requests?"

"I'm sure whatever you have in mind will be divine," answered Lucy, politely.

"Maybe today's the day you do your banoffee pie?" suggested Ollie strongly, his eyes firing.

Andy's eyebrows shot up her forehead. Now that was a request. "Really? My banoffee pie? My once-a-year banoffee pie?" The question she was asking beneath this one was: Are you really this into him? It was a question she'd only ever asked of Ollie once before, when he was assured she was the love of his life, a venture that seemed to shatter his heart more than just break it. Still, if he was so certain. "All right. I'll pick up the ingredients after school."

"Oh right," piped up Lucy, leaning closer to Ollie's ear, a move that made Ollie hide his chin shyly. "I've got some volunteer work lined up for today, but we're always looking for extra hands. Do you want to come with me?"

"We have classes today," said Andy instantly, as if it was now instant reaction to remind Ollie of his education.

"I'll come," he answered, ignoring her.

"Ollie," sighed Andy, crossing her arms. "You skipped last week. You're running out of lessons to skip."

"I'll make it up easy," he assured her. "Besides you're always telling me to get involved and volunteer, to bulk up my CV if nothing else."

"I meant in your free time," she reminded him.

He shrugged. "I like this arrangement better."

Andy thought about arguing further, but the bus quickly pulled up in front of them. She looked at Ollie once more in a silent attempt to convince him, but when he was completely entranced by Lucy looking at him, she acknowledged that she'd next see him at home no matter what she said at this point.


There was a quiet rap on Andy's door as she sat in bed. She rested her book, still open, on her knee and told Ollie to come in. He stepped through the threshold, closing the door behind him gently. She had to acknowledge that he was undeniably attractive when he wanted to be. He wore the same jeans from earlier, but he'd put on a belt and a black, button-up shirt, which had somehow transformed him from easy-going teen to smart youth. He was uneasily quiet, which made her sit up. She'd been thinking about his actions around Lucy and, even if this was some crazy exception to his sexuality, then her presence still negated the 'date' classification. What was he so nervous about? She invited him to sit down with her, and he did, facing away from her as he looked into his lap.

"Andy?" His voice was quiet she almost didn't hear how it shivered. "How- how did you know you were gay?"

Andy touched his shoulder, encouraging him to look around and face her but he didn't. She thought about what she wanted to say for a second, for fear of what a longer pause might make him think. "I realised when I was 12, I thought about the married life all my foster parents had told me I'd have and I noticed that when I saw one of my friends, I'd instantly fit her into my fantasises. The only boys that made the cut were feminine and had sort of unisex names, like Alex, but even they were forced."

He was quiet throughout her answer, which made her more worried still. "Has there ever been a guy?"

The answer came to her quick, but she slowed down to stop him from panicking. "Not for me. Gold-star Gay, right here." She knew he didn't know what that term meant, but he didn't ask. She wanted to hug him, but she doubted it would help him, she barely allowed herself to touch his shoulder in an attempt to reassure him. "Ollie," she called to him. He looked at her out of his peripheral. "Are you attracted to Lucy?"

"I fucked him," he said.

Andy had nothing to say. If he'd slept with a girl, they would been having celebratory drinks and ordering takeaway, over which they would discuss how attractive the girl was, techniques, anecdotes, tips & tricks, even at one point Andy gave Ollie licence to fondle her breasts so as to demonstrate why a girl had so abruptly left him. To this, she would say congratulations, but he hardly seemed to want it.

"And?" she asked.

"I-" he sighed. "I don't know. I- I liked it. I did! I like him. But I'm so-"


"Yeah!" He finally turned to face her. "I'm so hetero! I don't like any other guys, I'm not attracted to any other guys, but he makes me want to be attracted to guys." He took a breath, straightened his lips, and looked at her. "What would you do?"

"Well, I'd masturbate," she said instantly, "but I doubt that's the answer you want right now." He looked at her with the tiniest snarl, as if to say: you don't say? "All I can say is if you like him, and he likes you, and you enjoy being together as much as you enjoy being together, then you owe it to yourself to give it a try." He nodded quietly, leaving the room in the first awkward silence they'd endured together for a long time. She wanted to wait, but she also wanted to ask. "So, how's his dick?"

"Artistic," he answered instantly.

"All art is quite useless," smiled Andy.

"Well I very much lack the ability to give birth, so maybe it is," laughed Ollie, standing up. "I'll let you get ready."

Andy watched him leave and smiled to herself. She believed she'd handled all that well enough, at least she hoped. She leaned back in bed, thinking about what she should wear. For whatever reason, she also wanted to look her best for Lucy's arrival. The idea of clothing made her think of what Lucy had said at the bus stop: 'we have lost the abstract sense of beauty'. It was strange to her that she should recognise and then remember his words, normally she only remembered things she'd read, like the line 'all art is quite useless', which was from-

Her head snapped up. It couldn't be…


Andy reached into fridge and breathed lightly as the cool plate pressed against her hot hands. She'd held her hands over each other, strapped down to her lap as she watched Ollie fawn over Lucy, his apprehensions having evaporated the moment he'd come inside. She laughed to herself.

'Coming inside was what had stressed him out in the first place,' she thought.

She took a deeper inhale to steady herself, grabbing a large knife with which to cut the pie. She stayed standing to ask how big a slice people wanted. Naturally she sliced a big piece for Ollie and a small piece for herself, but she was waiting for Lucy to make his specification.

"I'll take the same as you," he answered, looking up at her with aquamarine eyes and eyelashes that appeared as little lines of midnight.

Andy narrowed his eyes at him slightly, questioning the way he looked at her. Ollie was intently glancing between Lucy and his pie, but he seemed not to have noticed the intent behind his eyes. Andy, quelling the tremor inside of her chest, cut a piece similar to hers and placed it on his plate. She then sat down again, smoothing the hem of her dark blue dress underneath her as she sat. Lucy was dressed in the same attire as before, only his shirt was now navy, which had coincidentally matched the only nice dress she owned. She'd thought about buying more with the RACY money, but she'd been too busy as of late to go, whilst her hair was in an easy chignon bun. She watched him take his first bite, scraping the tiniest amount of whipped cream against his top lip; just enough to subconsciously make both Andy and Ollie lick their lips. He looked up at her, leaving the cream just there on his lips.

"This is delicious," he complimented, his eyes lighting up with sincerity as he leaned forward. Andy smiled and nodded to him, an expression of practised modesty. "There's something in the mix that I know I should recognise, but I can't put my finger on it. You must give me the recipe."

"Certainly not," replied Andy good-naturedly.

"Oh," replied Lucy, his smile vanishing as he recoiled in his seat. He looked as though he'd never been denied anything before in his life, though he recovered quickly enough, still refusing to smile. "Why's that?"

Andy was easily brought out of her own fixation, sensing something vicious within his tone. She too recovered. "I had to sell a soul to the Devil himself for this recipe. I'd never give it up so easily."

Something else flashed in Lucy's eyes now, a toothy grin appeared on his face and his beautiful face broke out with joy and mischief. "Sold a soul, did you say?"

Sensing a game in his tone of voice, Andy adopted her own game face; a quiet smirk and knowing eyes. "A soul," she confirmed. "Not mine, of course, but a soul nonetheless." She leaned back in her chest, the sense of winning beating in her heart. "My own corruption, for the sake of cooking." Lucy's eyes lit up and Andy knew she had him.

"Culture and corruption," echoed Lucy.

"I have known something of both," interrupted Andy quickly. "It seems terrible to me now that they should ever be found together."

Lucy stared at her wide-eyed, then relaxed and fell back into his seat, scooping out another bite of his dessert and finally licking his top lip. He looked up at Andy's smug countenance resignedly. "So, you've sussed me out."

Ollie whipped his head between Lucy and Andy, watching Andy's smile stretch. He recognised that: her winning smile.

"Indeed I have." She kept her smile, eyes twinkling in the cheap overhead light. "I hope the food was to your liking, Mr Gray."

"How did you work it out?" His voice was as soft and seductive as ever, but Andy felt her sense of superiority outweigh it.

"Only Dorian Gray would so unabashedly quote from his own biography," she told him. "Although, I'd hardly assume your identity on that alone. It was your appearance; the chiselled throat, the blue eyes. You dyed your hair, well done, nearly threw me off." She cut herself another slice of pie, to congratulate herself. "What sold you though was my own little lure."

"The Devil has my soul," confessed Lucy. "It's only natural I'd be intrigued to meet someone in a similar predicament. Did you really sell another soul for this recipe?"

"Someone did. I just picked up the paper," shrugged Andy.

"Did it ever occur to you that I may not be the Dorian Gray?" queried Lucy.

"I did, and for that I don't have an answer," said Andy. "Do you wish to inform me?"

Lucy flicked his hair over his shoulder, nestling into his seat more comfortably. "I am not Dorian Gray. I am Lucifer Gray."

"You're name is Lucifer?!" sparked Ollie.

"The Bringer of Light," explained Lucy and Andy simultaneously.

Ollie looked between them, awkwardly rocking in his chair. "Or, y'know, Satan."

"Dorian Gray was the name Oscar Wilde used to disguise the fact that he was writing about his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas," explained Lucy. "However, sometime after the final chapter was released in 1890, one of my ancestors, a mortal, called upon a demon to offer the same deal Dorian Gray had made. His appearance changed so drastically that when he told to his family about it they didn't recognise him. Thinking he was just a madman trying to claim the identity of their lost child, he was sent to one of the London asylums. He was released and made a life for himself with some noblewoman. His soul was claimed in death, but his genetics still seemed to count. I've no idea what his name was before he changed it, but he's buried as Lord Leonard Gray."

"So, you owe your looks to a demon-driven psycho?" summed up Ollie, all signs of infatuation vanishing in the presence of his humour.

"I suppose that's abridged version," chuckled Lucy.

"But you said the Devil has your soul?" noted Andy.

Lucy smiled again, his teeth flashing wickedly. "You don't miss anything, do you?" Andy winked. "My ancestor gave the souls of his descendants as deposit. At 18, we decide whether we will keep out beauty or take back our soul."

"You chose beauty?" Ollie narrowed his eyes.

"I had little choice," glared Lucy. There seemed a flash of something in his eyes, a glimmer of a tear, but it was so easily forced back it would be easy to believe it had never been there at all. Though Andy had so definitely retained his desire to not be fooled that she couldn't deny it, thinking over what it could possibly mean.

"It wasn't for you," deduced Andy.

Lucy rolled his eyes, snarling politely at her. "You don't let anything go, do you?"

"You sold your soul for someone else." Andy ignored him. She thought a little, smiling at her ideas. "Your sister. She kept her soul; lost her beauty; lost everything."

Lucy slammed his fist on the table, glaring down into his lip. He ground his teeth into his lip, not thinking about if he'd make himself bleed. His blue eyes flashed up fiercely, a roaring flame behind them and, even in their harsh light, they seemed to blaze with wisps of violet. He looked into Andy's eyes, the bloodlust of a wild animal in his eyes.

"You couldn't just serve dinner and keep quiet, could you?" he hissed. He rose up violently. "What do you hope to gain from reminding me of something like?! How could my suffering possibly help you-"

Andy snapped her fingers, interrupting him easily. A wrath of black smoke appeared behind her, shrouding around her like a cloak, forming and moulding into a hooded cape. A pale hand emerged from the split in the cape and pulled the hood back, revealing a face even more beautiful than Lucy's; smooth cheekbones, a complexion of radiant coolness, swaths of platinum hair pushed back casually, tied together by eyes of infernal rouge. He looked upon Lucy easily, as if he'd expected to meet him. The man placed a hand around Andy, pulling her into a friendly embrace.

"A dinner, yet no invitation for me?" He said, his voice like the crows of Heaven. "I should be insulted."

"You despise the food I cook whenever I don't follow your recipe," reminded Andy, not bothering to look up at him. "I saved you some pie though."

"I liked that recipe," he muttered, "to think I sold it for such a meagre soul as that woman's. She was presented so well, it was impossible to not think I'd fare better." He glanced over to Ollie and nodded at him, then looked back to Lucy. "This is the one you called me to see?"

"It is," she said.

The man moved around Andy, gliding over towards Lucy. The way his cloak covered him made it appear as if his feet didn't touch the floor and he could simply float. In the same way, he seemed to tower over Lucy once he reached him; the way Lucy was shivering in fear felt incredibly obvious, but the man made no comment. His red eyes facing down into Lucy's blue ones. They might have looked similar, but somehow the man in black seemed to wear it all better; beauty greater than Dorian Gray? There could be only…

"You are certain you wish to waste my time on this, Andrea?" asked the man, never taking his eyes away from Lucy.

Andy sighed. "I wish nothing, but I'll see this done. You and I are hardly going to fall out of each other's favour."

"So be it," he said.

The man reached across his chest, fiddling with something on the inside of his cloak until he was satisfied by what he found, his eyes never leaving Lucy's. Slowly, he procured a small plastic mask dusted with fair skin foundation and holes all around the eyes. The artifice seemed ominous as he held it out to Lucy. He didn't move.

"Take it," encouraged the man. "It is the beauty your sister sold. Consider it a favour. Feel free to place yourself in my debt."

"Lucifer," warned Andy. They both turned to face her, the dark-haired one much more erratically than the other. Lucy looked back at the man harshly, snatching the mask quickly but never allowing himself to look away. His tinted lips hung open as he realised who it was in front of him. Lucifer smiled.

"I will depart," announced Lucifer, leaning over the table to snatch up the rest of the pie dish. "Bye-bye," he said, vanishing in a puff of smoke.

"Send back that plate- I'm never getting that plate back," said Andy, giving up halfway through and leaning back in her chair. She glanced up at Lucy, still clearly shell-shocked. She might have thought that he'd never seen Satan himself before. "Well?" she asked impatiently. "Go to your sister!"

Sparked into action, Lucy made a beeline for the door, bursting out violently and leaving it to swing shut. The silence returned to the apartment, both Andy and Ollie sat calmly enough. Andy turned to her friend, sympathy taking over where victory had remained for much of the evening. She reached over to him, taking his hand.

"You all right?" she asked.

"Dorian Gray was the most attractive being alive, right?" inquired Ollie. "Would that be true for Lucy?"

"I suppose-"

"YES!" roared Ollie, bursting up into a standing position, both fists pumped into the air. "DORIAN DOESN'T COUNT! I'M STILL STRAIGHT!"

Andy leapt up to, understanding his point. "THAT MEANS I'M STILL GAY!"

They high-fived powerfully, sounding like a slap across the face as they connected. Ollie stopped for a second. "You were attracted to someone I was into?"

"Dorian doesn't count" she argued.

He paused for a second, then burst into smiling agreement and high-fived her again.