Rosemary sat alone on the rooftop of her house with only the clear starlit night to keep her company. She had her arms wrapped around her legs, scrunched together like a constricted ball. The glittered sky reflected off her sad brown eyes as she watched old footage of a man conducting a band on her phone. The man made funny faces to his entertained audience and they laughed. The band obeyed his command with every wave his hand and baton with their music flowing from a rapid march to then eased into a soft lullaby. When the band finished their overture, the man took a bow and gave his daughter, a once brown haired younger Rosemary, a big hug. A loud applause erupted from the audience which blasted from the phone's speakers.
The video ended and Rosemary shut off her phone. She closed her eyes and rested her head on her arms and knees. The tearful memories of her father pained her heart like jabbing needles. Memories of her father flooded back into her thoughts. She recalled all the fun times they all shared, from going to the movies to attending the greatest and loudest rock concerts. He served as the best music teacher at her school, often considered by many to be the best music teacher on Earth. She remembered when her and her fellow students entered his classroom a different style of music always played on the installed speakers, much to the annoyance of her strict principal, Mrs. Wordworth.
To both her and her father, music was what connected them the most. They both rocked out in the garage with his majestic guitars. Their heads banged back and forth to the thrash metal that he played on his stereo. She remembered that her father always loved musicals out of any movie. His favorite was The Rocky Horror Picture Show, to a point that she giggled when she remembered that he dressed as Dr. Frank N. Furter during a costume party at Marcus and his partner's home, and sang all the songs as the guests laughed and cheered him on.
It was only a year ago that she lost him to a drunk driver. It was only a year ago that her father passed away from a car accident and she still remembered that day. She was called into Mrs. Wordworth's office. Her mother, Carmen, was there with her little sister as she tearfully shared to both of them the tragic news. She remembered that she wept for hours inside his office space, located in the basement of the house. During a live tribute on her mother's show, she sang a mournful song and played his guitar to an audience who also wept for him. An empty void morphed inside her heart, which continued to grow bigger each day that had passed.
Then her mother remarried to one many considered, herself included at the time, an odd pairing of the hearts. When she and her sister first met Lu, he was the same as he is now. A crude and selfish creature but balanced out with a more gentle and fun side. Yet she felt that same void was still spiraling inside like a vacant whirlpool. It did not matter how odd his antics were or what thrill-seeking adventure she took in the underworld, that internal pain remained. Tonight, she definitely felt that void again. This time she just wanted to be left alone with her memories and the cool night air.
"Hey there, kiddo." A familiar voice, and the scent of sulfur, finally got her to raise her head out of the comforts of her arms. She looked to her right and saw her stepfather, Lu the devil, sitting next to her. His hand was gently placed around her left shoulder as his arm kept her close to his neatly dressed suit. A light smile was on his pale face as he looked onto Rosemary with his now gentle ruby eyes.
"I know why you're up here." He said to her. "You miss your dad, don't you? You know when I married your mother my intentions were never to replace your father, right? We were just two souls who were looking for something to complete them, and we just happen to find one another. Curious how things turn out like that, am I right? And besides, he seemed like a nice guy. One helluva band conductor too. I bet Father's got him directing the holy choir right now."
Rosie didn't say a word. She let out a deep sigh and looked down onto the silent and clear streets of 999 Milton Avenue. Lu sensed his attempts at comfort were failing. Not that he was at all an expert at empathy. He tried to think of something to help mend Rosie's void. The two sat quietly until Lu finally thought of something else to say.
"I know how you feel." He spoke softly. He then began to share something he never shared with anyone else before. "Believe me, I really do. I know exactly what it feels like to lose someone you hold dear to your heart. If there's something the Bible won't mention it's that even the devil had a mother too. I didn't know her well. She passed when I was still small, yet I still remember seeing her smiling face. She had the best smile I'd ever remembered. So warm, so loving, and so full of life. And her voice, oh man, her voice was truly that of an angel, especially when she sang me to sleep. Mike told me once that she used to refer to me as her morning star."
His smile then faded. Sad, painful memories began to invade his thoughts too. The memories choked him inside, but he continued his story. "Then the next thing we all knew, no more mommy. They said they found her dead beside my crib. Not sure what happened, but I can't help but feel that I had something to do with it. Mike always reassured that wasn't true. Anyway, Father locked away any and all memorabilia of hers insider her tomb. He then became distant from all of us, mostly me, after her death. So focused on his work, never gave a thought for any of us. Never spoke of her once. Never looked at me the same again even as I grew.
"I still miss her after all this time. Even with each passing millennia there hasn't been a time where I have not thought about my mother. Oh, there's been so many times I just wanted to see her, hold her, talk to her, and, more importantly, just to know her. It hurts knowing that I'll never have the same bond my siblings shared with her so long ago.
"And you know what? That's okay. That means that her memory will never fade. She'll still be with me until the end of time, just as the memory of your father with stay with you. So it's okay if you still miss your dad. You can miss him, you can cry for him, you can even pray to him. Just know that you never have to be alone anymore.
"You got your mom and your sister. You got your friends at school to be with. You even got Lilith and Scrugs and Mike and all the others down in the Inferno. And, most importantly, you got me. So, please, don't hide away whenever you're sad. Come find us, any one of us, and we're there for you."
Rosemary to his wise words to heart. The more she thought of him the more she remembered all the good times they had with the whole family. The memories became too much for her to control her emotions, so she sat there and wept. She cried as loud as she could as tears poured out like two rivers of sorrow. She then grasped around Lu's body, her arms held him tighter than a snake around its prey. When she buried eyes deep onto his chest she felt the comforting rhythm of his cold heart.
Lu sat there confused but understood his stepdaughter's actions. An empathetic smile drew across his heartened face. In a remarkable display of compassion, the devil gently shielded his child with his own arms wrapping around her. He placed a small kiss on her head and rested his cheek on her raven hair, letting her cry out her feelings. A single tear leaked from his eye with memories of his mother now flowing back into his thoughts. These two lonesome souls stayed locked in each others arms, neither one letting go, both remembering loved ones lost and the love they share together.
"It's alright, kiddo." Lu calmly whispered into his weeping child's ear. "Go on, let it all out. You don't have to feel alone anymore. If you're ever feel that way again, just remember I'm here when you need me. Always."