Chloe's read the Bible. Many times, in fact. She likes the New Testament more than the Old, she likes Ruth and Miriam and the story of Isaac and Rebekah. When she was younger she liked the names and how they sounded when she said them out loud, and she liked how a lot of it sounded like a poem. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart. She once wrote a paper about Queen Esther, and she got a B-plus on it, too.
She can never remember how all the first days went, but then again Genesis was always the most boring of all the books. Perhaps Lucifer would've agreed with her, if she'd ever been brave enough to broach the subject with him (she hadn't).
On the first day, he created Day and Night, and the second was the Earth. From there she can't remember: third was animals, maybe? Fourth was man? Or maybe plants was fourth and fifth was man. Did it matter?
Chloe's Genesis starts with the third week: she sends Trixie off to summer camp in Oregon, with many tears and extra band-aids in her waterproof Star Wars backpack and a laminated list of emergency phone numbers she's not allowed to separate from her physical person under any circumstances. She drives home, crying still, and in her fridge there is a piece of cheesecake which she was not allowed to eat until after Trixie was gone, because "it's to make you feel better so you won't miss me, Mommy."
She eats it at the kitchen counter, still crying a little. It helps.
On the second day of the third week, she puts in for a leave of absence at work due to a family emergency, which her new lieutenant grants with visible relief. Then on the third day, she goes to visit Linda and Charlie and Amenadiel, who blink sadly at her and suggest things like "maybe go for a jog or something" and "have you talked to Maze recently?" Chloe doesn't, and hasn't. This is the third day, and she sees that it isn't good.
And so on the fourth day, Chloe packs a suitcase and moves into the penthouse. All the locks open for her like magic, the lights all turn on the second her feet touch the floor. Maze is nowhere to be seen, and the food in the fridge is all perfectly preserved, even after weeks of neglect. The leftover Chinese is still greasy and fresh, the avocado is perfectly ripe. The bread hasn't gone moldy, the half and half hasn't gone off. There's an open bottle of wine on top of his piano, with an empty glass, sitting there as if he'd been expecting her to come. It's red, of course. And it tastes exceptionally good, obviously.
They're going to be worried about me, Chloe thinks, as she brushes her teeth in his sink, changes her clothes in his bathroom, and lies down beneath his sheets. They're going to think I'm cracked, I'm pathetic, I'm depressed. They're going to run all over the city looking for me and when they realize where I am, they'll stage an intervention. But the sheets are soft, and the pillow smells a little like cigarettes, like the inside of every car her mother's ever had. Just the suggestion of the scent, enough to make her nostalgic, but not overpowering like it was sometimes when he'd stand too close on the concrete steps out behind the precinct, the unofficial official smoking area. He carried a sleek case with expensive, European cigarettes that were sometimes flavored. Chloe had always liked the chocolate ones.
Chloe refuses to analyze herself; she's had plenty of that lately, thank you very much. She has decided, for the first time in a long while, to be kind to herself. And so she sleeps. And it's very, very good.
The club is still open for business, although Chloe still has not seen hide nor horn of Maze. None of the employees seem to even blink at Chloe's presence in their boss's apartment; in fact, some of them seem to think she's acting in Lucifer's stead, approaching her with confusing questions about inventory ordering and scheduling and once, memorably, some sort of thorny issue involving two bartenders who'd apparently been caught having sex in the kitchen.
"It's unsanitary, my Lord," says a very nervous bouncer named Steve. Chloe had asked him repeatedly not to call her 'my Lord,' but he had just blinked at her, looking incredibly confused. "And this is probably the fourth time, and I realize that it's not technically against the rules, but honestly - "
"Can't you just talk to them?" Chloe asks him desperately. She'd honestly had no idea that Lucifer's job at Lux had been so demanding. She couldn't even pop her head downstairs for more than a minute without somebody rushing up to her with a problem. "You. Not me. I'm not going to talk to them, Steve." She tilts her head at him meaningfully. "Because I don't work here. Remember?"
Steve just blinks at her in confusion again. "Talk to them?"
"Yes. Ask them to stop." A very funny and also sad thought occurs to Chloe. "Has...anyone actually tried that yet?"
"Ask them to stop?" Steve says faintly. He doesn't seem to have heard that last part. "Now there's a thought."
Chloe pats him on the shoulder. "Good luck," she says, and escapes to the elevator before anyone else can catch her.
It's a bit eerie, but no more so than the way Lucifer's fridge is somehow constantly full, and with food that Chloe likes - a different collection of her favorites, every time she opens it. For the first two or three days, all she does is eat and sleep and avoid the bartenders - a much needed vacation. Trixie calls her every night at six o'clock on the dot, which often is the highlight of her day - even though the pressing silence is even worse, after she hangs up.
"Guess what," Trixie says, one evening when she sounds particularly chipper. Then again - she always sounds like she's having the time of her life. Chloe's getting the distinct impression that these phone calls are more for her sake than her daughter's. "I learned how to swim today!"
"You already know how to swim, Monkey," Chloe says, amused. She's sitting at the piano, as she often does when talking to Trixie. It makes her feel better, somehow.
"Yeah, but that was ocean swimming. I learned how to swim in a pool today."
"Is there a difference?"
"Yeah, duh," Trixie says. "Me and Hunter made up a dance, like synchronized swimming, you know those ladies with the shower caps and flowery bikinis? And then Miss Clary said she'd film it for us on her iPhone and then email it to you, once we finish it, but we're gonna have to practice it a lot more first."
"I can't wait," Chloe says honestly, beaming down at the black and white keys.
"And I talked to Dad," Trixie says perfunctorily, "he told me I had to wear goggles, but that's stupid. Do I have to, Mom?"
"No," Chloe says, which is very petty, but whatever. "As long as you're careful, I don't mind. You're not doing this in the deep end, are you?"
"There is no deep end. The entire pool is the same," Trixie says. "That's why there's no diving allowed. Or jumping."
"Ah," Chloe says.
"And Lucifer called me too," Trixie says, as casual as anything, and Chloe's elbow slips. A loud, discordant chord echoes through the penthouse, and Chloe leaps up from the bench, her heart pounding. "Mommy? Are you still there?"
"Yes," Chloe says through a gasp, her free hand clutching her chest, "yes, I'm here baby, I just - uh, tripped, that's all - "
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, yes, I'm okay, um," Chloe says. Her head feels sort of weird, like it does after she's been working out for too long without a proper meal beforehand, floaty and disconnected from the rest of her body. "Did you say that, uh, you talked to Lucifer?"
"Yep!" Trixie says cheerfully. "I texted him a question about my archery class, and I guess he thought it was too complicated to text back so he called me. He told me not to be stupid about it and that it'd be my own fault if I accidentally shot somebody, which - duh - and then he told me a story about his friend Diana who was really good at it, and about this time she killed a guy for walking in on her while she was changing her clothes. Isn't that cool?"
Chloe's heart is still pounding, almost painfully so. "Um," she says, intelligently. "Diana?"
"Yeah. But don't worry Mom, the story wasn't that violent," Trixie assures her. "So, do you wanna hear what I'm doing tomorrow?"
"Um," Chloe says again.
"We're going hiking," Trixie tells her, with unfettered glee. "I get to wear my Nikes."
"That's great," Chloe says hoarsely, for lack of anything better.
Short of interrogating her eleven-year-old daughter about her conversation with Chloe's star-crossed sort-of boyfriend, she doesn't know what to do. She paces the penthouse restlessly for hours after she hangs up, the thought occurring to her that maybe it's a trick - somebody posing as him, for some nefarious reason, although why they'd want to chat with her daughter Chloe doesn't have the faintest idea - but that theory is quickly deflated when she finds his cell phone on the counter next to the smoothie maker. As if summoned there, by her worries.
Chloe bites her lip, and picks it up. There's a pop socket on the back. This is absurd. Lucifer is not the sort of man who puts a pop socket on his cell phone, which is blue, and has a stylized motif of a mountain on it. But then Chloe remembers that Ella had been giving them out at work one day, because she won six or seven of them in some radio station raffle at a Pride parade, and she's fairly certain she remembers Lucifer taking one just to be nice.
That he'd actually put it on his phone, and apparently left it there, sort of makes Chloe want to cry again. But she's been down that road, two or three days ago. She's moved on, now.
(Well, except for in the shower.)
The phone is locked, obviously. But Chloe presses her thumb to the button and it swipes itself open. She takes a moment to look over at the fridge, which is innocently humming away, probably full once again with things she didn't know she was craving, and the wine glass on the piano which always seems to be half full, perfectly room temperature, with the velvety red that tasted fresh out of the bottle.
(And on the sixth day, he invented the process by which yeast is applied to transform sugars present in the juice of grapes into ethanol and carbon dioxide, and He called this fermentation. And he saw that this was good.)
Chloe scrolls through his text logs with no small amount of trepidation, but anything scandalous had apparently been deleted (the conspicuous lack of anything to or from Eve is rather suspicious). His conversation with Trixie is at the very top, the most recent, and reads exactly how her daughter had described it. And as Chloe watches, another message appears.
Beatrice, 9:23 pm
I just talked to my mom and she sounded really worried still. Are you sure you talked to her?
Chloe holds her breath, unsure of what she's waiting for until it happens: Lucifer's reply, which pops up as if she herself had typed it, although she knows she hasn't. Still, she's holding the phone it came from. She covers her mouth with her other hand, a bit freaked out. But in a happy way, somehow.
Well, I'm trying.
Chloe drops the phone. Then she lets out a little cry of dismay, and scrambles to pick it back up, her fingers shaking. But the messages are still undeniably there.
Oh, good, Trixie's replied, with a little smiley-face emoji. Chloe cries out again, this time in frustration - what the hell was she supposed to do? Text him in Hell? She didn't know she could do that!
She walk-runs over to her own phone, plugged into the wall by the bed, and holds both of them in her hand, uncertainly debating with herself. It doesn't make sense, half of her brain insists, while the other half that has been in control for awhile now, the half that has been easily accepting the way her life apparently is now, with all its impossible answers and undeniable truths, simply gives a lazy shrug.
It's worth a shot, at least. Chloe takes a deep breath, and opens a new text.
Darling! Took you long enough.
Is this really you?
Yes, of course.
Why should I believe you?
Why shouldn't you?
Detective honestly, I'm not sure how you'd like me to prove it. I'd send you a selfie
if I were corporeal at the moment, which I am not.
Additionally it occurs to me that sending you a picture of my true form is not
the right foot on which to begin our relationship,
considering your reaction to my true face on Earth.
...what's the difference? I mean, I saw how you really look already, you just said it.
You saw my true form as it can be perceived on Earth.
My true form in Hell is something entirely different, my dear.
Very handsome still, by otherworldly standards.
But by mortal ones, somewhat off-putting, I admit.
...Detective? Are you still there?
Yes. Sorry, I'm just overwhelmed I think
and I don't know what to say
and also I'm a little drunk
sorry this is just a lot
Ah. Shall we continue this conversation later?
I mean, no thank you
Darling, it's alright. I'm not going anywhere.
you already did though
Yes, well. I wouldn't have, if there'd been any other choice.
Like literally any other choice at all.
I'm saying even the most ridiculous, farfetched of choices,
even ones that obviously wouldn't have worked at all - I
still would've gone for that rather than our current situation.
do you miss me? As much as I miss you?
Infinitely more, I suspect. Much more than you can probably imagine.
i can imagine a lot!!
Get some rest, Chloe. We'll talk more tomorrow.
Chloe wakes up and for a second, she thinks she probably dreamed it. But she's got both phones on the pillow next to her head, and one of them is blinking.
She scrambles for it, her heart already pounding, but the new message is from Ella: Lunch today? :) Chloe taps back to her text list, and sees the log with Lucifer - still there, improbably casual. She stares at it for a long moment; it can't just be that easy.
Lucifer? she texts. The reply is immediate.
Good morning, darling. There's some Advil on my nightstand for you.
Chloe looks; there's a glass of water and two pills that weren't there the night before. Then she laughs, a little hysterically. Apparently, sometimes, it is.
Thanks, she sends, and then gets out of bed to get dressed. She really should get the fuck out of this apartment for a bit.
Ella takes her to a Thai place not far from Lux, one of those hole in the wall places that looks dodgy on the outside but serves food so good it makes you want to die. Chloe scarfs down a gigantic bowl of fried basil and pork and drinks two large glasses of iced tea before she even realizes how hungry she was.
"Um," Ella says, her fork suspended in the air, watching her through slightly wide eyes, "don't take this the wrong way Chloe, but are you doing okay?"
"Hm? Yeah," Chloe says. She blinks down at her mostly-empty plate, and pushes it away. "Fine. Totally fine. How are you?"
Ella is chewing slowly, still watching her a little too closely. "I'm great."
"But if you weren't great," Ella continues carefully, "that'd be totally valid. We're all so glad that you took some time off, because you really deserve it, but it's been a rough couple of months and we're just, um, concerned that you're a little…"
Chloe changes her mind, and shoves the last bite of rice in her mouth. "Hm," she says again.
"Isolated?" Ella finishes, with a small squeak. "With Trixie gone and everything, I mean. Dan said that you - "
"Dan said what?" Chloe interrupts, a little too sharp. She takes a breath, and retreats a little. "Sorry."
"It's okay," Ella says, her eyes still wide. "He's just, um, worried. We all are. Linda and Amenadiel said you were a little weird when you stopped by."
Chloe takes a moment to finish chewing, and swallow, and finish her iced tea before she replies. "Ella," she says, aware of the impression she's about to give by asking this question, "have you...heard from Lucifer recently?"
Ella stops chewing. "Um," she squeaks.
"I swear I haven't had a breakdown," Chloe says. She folds her hands beneath her chin. "It's just. We've been texting."
Ella is quiet for a long moment. "Okay," she finally says, and carefully lays down her fork.
"Honestly. He called Trixie, too. I was just wondering if he'd been in touch with anyone else, that's all."
"I thought he went back to…" Ella waggles her eyebrows and looks comically down at the floor beneath them.
"He did. He definitely did, but he's also been texting me." Chloe scrambles for her phone, pressed against her hip in the pocket of her jeans. There are no new messages, but the text log is still there. Chloe scrolls strategically, framing it so nothing too embarrassing is on the screen for Ella to see. "See," Chloe says flatly, "and before you ask, yes it did occur to me that it could be a trick. But I don't...I don't think it is."
Ella's eyes are still absurdly wide. "Well," she says, biting her lip. "I'm not sure...I could try to trace the GPS on his number?"
"It wouldn't tell you much. His phone is at the penthouse."
"You - you have both phones?" Ella asks incredulously. "But how is he texting you then?"
"He's the King of Hell, Ella," Chloe says. "He's not even bound by the natural laws of physics, let alone T-Mobile's coverage areas."
"Fair enough," Ella says. She bites her lip, still looking unsure, and a tiny bit freaked out. "Well, I haven't heard from him. But maybe that's because he and I aren't as close as you and him."
A tiny little part of Chloe still cringes when someone says it so plainly like that, but the rest of her heart just shivers. "Maybe it's a loophole. He has to stay down there and rule Hell, but he still gets an unlimited data plan?"
"Perks of the job?" Ella suggests. She swallows, looking a little queasy, as she always does when they discuss the reality of who Lucifer actually is. "Maybe it's like praying. But more...direct."
"Praying to Lucifer?"
"He is an angel," Ella says, picking her fork back up again. She gives Chloe a brave smile. "Despite what he might say to the contrary."
Chloe thinks about Amenadiel then, the grave way he speaks about Lucifer now, as if he were someone mythical and profound. My brother, he always says, never referring to Lucifer by name. Sometimes he adds adjectives. My kind brother, my wise brother. My brother, who taught me to forgive. There's a world of history there that Chloe doesn't have any hope of understanding.
"Or maybe he's praying to you," Ella suggests. "Or you're praying to each other."
"Through a cell phone?" Chloe asks, blinking away tears.
Ella shrugs. "It is 2019," she says.
Hello, Detective. Feeling better?
I wanted to ask you if this was allowed, or against
the rules or something, but I guess...you make the rules, huh?
Most of them.
Can we talk on the phone, like you did with Trixie? Or is it just texting?
I have quite a bit more leeway when it comes to
interacting with the Earthly realms
than I did in the past, which I suspect is more a favor for you than for me.
So there's no reason why we couldn't.
...but you don't want to
I think that it would be
Difficult for me. Yes.
we can just text, i'm fine with that
you should keep calling Trix tho. she really enjoys it
and i know you do too
don't you dare try to deny it
Detective, I have grown as a person considerably,
I have no problem with admitting that your sticky, loud child is
occasionally enjoyable to talk to.
she's not sticky!
She's constantly sticky. She drinks chocolate syrup like it's water.
She always has a bottle hidden beneath her bureau,
because she knows you don't clean under there.
No!! wait, does she really???
Aren't detectives supposed to be observant?
fuck off lol
Expense reports appear on the coffee table and then disappear again; employees are paid and hired and interviewed without any intervention from Chloe herself, although everyone seems to just assume that she's the one doing it. On the last weekend of Chloe's leave from work, a new bartender shows up for her first shift - someone had finally fired the two horndogs, apparently, and Steve had thanked Chloe profusely, ignoring her completely when she insisted she wasn't the one who'd done it.
By all accounts, a totally mundane, normal person: her name is Carmen, she's going to school part-time for graphic design, she's thirty-four and has a serious long-term boyfriend who lives in Florida, and she's fairly well-known in local Crossfit competitions. She also used to tend bar at a gay bar in the Deep South, so she's more than qualified to face the writhing crowds of Lux. A little bit overqualified, actually.
But. "Can I ask you a weird question?"
Carmen shrugs. "Sure."
Chloe leans her hip against the bar so she can lean in close. "Who interviewed you?"
Carmen laughs, but then her eyes go a little cloudy. "You want me to do another interview?"
"No," Chloe says, frowning, "who was the one who did your interview? For this job. That you were hired for. Who did you talk to? Was it a woman named Maze?"
"What about a maze?" Carmen says absently.
"No," Chloe says, biting back frustration. "When you applied for this job. Someone called you, and asked you to come in for an interview. Then that person sat down with you somewhere, and asked you a series of questions about your background and experience. Then they called you back three days later and made you a job offer." Chloe reaches out and gently touches Carmen's wrist. "Who was that person? What was their name, what did they look like?"
"Person? It wasn't a person," Carmen says, still with that eerie nonchalance.
"Then who was it?" Chloe asks quietly.
Carmen blinks, and then shakes her head, her eyes focusing on Chloe once more. "Sorry. What'd you say? I was spacing out."
"Nothing," Chloe says resignedly. "Never mind."
The employees at Lux are among the most well-paid in the service industry, which Chloe knows because she has now seen almost all of the club's paperwork. It's the last weekend of the month - inventory - and Chloe idly flips through lists and spreadsheets of high end liquors and exotic fruits and designer glassware that is apparently essential for the club to run. Among these items is the occasional outlier: twenty-two cases of something labeled as ambrosic - misc., and eighteen bottles of Cupid tears - nonalcoholic. There is also a truly ridiculously large supply of Jello, conspicuous only because Chloe has never once seen Lux serve Jello shots. (What else it could be for - she truly doesn't want to know.)
Everyone has generous health insurance through a company called The Bethesda Group, which Chloe cannot find any trace of outside of an Israeli bank account under the name R. Bethesda. When she calls the bank, telling them she's a federal agent checking up on some background for a case, the manager tells her that Mr. Bethesda is currently on business in Rome and cannot be reached by telephone, although he did leave an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org, he informs her helpfully).
Was it like this before? Chloe's not sure. Lucifer had seemed unbothered by the normal stress of daily life; if anything, he seemed somewhat amused by it. Traffic jams, paperwork, doctor appointments, that weird scheduling app the receptionist at the station insisted everybody use - all of it was nothing to him, minor inconveniences that he thought were rather funny. It was the bigger questions that bothered him: was he a good person? Did he deserve kindness? What was his purpose on Earth, truly, and was it really his choice or something he was being manipulated into? And what were hot dogs really made of?
Chloe never wanted to admit it, but that was one of the reasons they worked so well together: that he was utterly unbothered by most normal things, and absolutely confounded by the profound things. She's always been a bit high strung, with a hot temper, and Lucifer's casual amusement was refreshing. The way he shrugged and chuckled whenever something annoying happened - the way he laughed in the face of people that would've otherwise made Chloe's blood boil - it calmed her down, helped her keep her head on straight. The exact opposite of working with Dan, who encouraged all her bad habits, and helped give her a few new ones on top of it.
And then, somehow, it fell to Chloe to be the one to answer his questions, when he had them, which was a grave responsibility, but not one that it ever occurred to her to be frightened of. In the beginning, of course she thought he was just a whack job, which maybe helped her ease into it, but - if she's being honest, she always knew on some level that he was trying to tell her a truth she wasn't ready for. You can fool the surface part of yourself, but deep down you always know. Especially when you're in love, and Chloe has been - for much, much longer than she was brave enough to admit.
She wants to understand, now, all the parts of Lucifer that she never wanted to look at before: the inhuman, unknowable parts, the divine parts of his life (unlife?), the mysteries and the ineffable history of his existence. She's just a human, but she has been loved fiercely by a being who helped create the universe: surely that makes her an exception somehow? Surely that entitles her to something. Chloe thinks about a Classics course she took when she was nineteen, and a lecture she listened to about Arachne, who got turned into a spider for being arrogant. Then she shrugs, and figures if God's still doing things like that, then He would've done it to Chloe years ago, probably.
Who's Mr. Bethesda?
Oh, darling, best not to involve him in this. He's a bit of a prick, and he doesn't like humans.
Yeah but who is he
another angel, right?
He's known as Raphael in most of the mortal scriptures,
although that's not his actual name. Tobit was a terrible translator.
Goes by Raymond nowadays, I think. But sometimes he becomes Rachel,
depending on his/her mood, the decade, etc.
...i don't even know what to do with that honestly.
Like the ARCHANGEL raphael?? The archangel raphael does the
health insurance for Lux, that's what you're telling me
Yes. But as I said, he's a prick. You wouldn't like him.
Are you saying that because i actually wouldn't like him,
or because you're jealous and you don't want me talking to him
Seriously Detective, what do you need from him anyway?
He can't do anything for me, and wouldn't even if he could. He helps me out from time to time,
mostly because he owes me for a few hundred thousand favors, from the old days,
but he's not exactly benevolent. That whole tripe about him 'healing the world' is
all propaganda. The only reason he spends time on Earth at all is because he has to.
I'm starting to think that maybe you're a little bit biased when it comes to angels
wouldn't you have said the same about amenadiel?
Occasionally. And I would've been right most of the time
I'm serious though, Chloe. Promise me you won't get in touch. He's dangerous.
Dangerous to me?
To all humans. He doesn't like you.
If i were an angle i wouldn't like humans either
If you were an angel, Chloe, a lot of things would be very different, I daresay.
was that the lead up to a devastatingly romantic compliment, or a terrible pick up line??
Either/or. Of course, I have several options for both.
Chloe gets eased back into her job, which she's pathetically grateful for. She's not sure what Dan and Ella have been telling everyone, but it's fairly obvious that everyone's treating her with kid gloves. She pretends not to notice, so she doesn't have to be mad about it.
Trixie comes home on Chloe's third day back, chattering and gleeful and full of stories about tree-climbing and arrow-shooting that make Chloe grip her steering wheel with anxiety while she struggles to keep a smile on her face. Heaven and Hell help her when she gets to be a teenager. Chloe's been trying to brace herself for it for years now, and she knows she'll still never be ready.
"Mommy, are we going to Lucifer's club?" Trixie asks, as she finally - finally - runs out of steam. She's still bouncing in the front seat, leaving dirty scuff marks on Chloe's dashboard. "I thought he was still away on his business trip? He called me two days ago and said he wasn't sure when he'd be back."
Chloe clears her throat against the sudden tightness; she and Lucifer haven't dared to talk about that yet. That he was that honest with Trixie meant that he was trying to tell Chloe too, in his own way. "Yeah, we're going to Lux. Lucifer asked me to, um, keep an eye on his apartment while he was gone, so I thought we could have a sleepover. Is that okay?"
"Sure!" Trixie bounces again. "How long are we staying?"
Dan had asked her the same question that day at work, albeit in a much more judgmental way. Chloe still isn't sure of the answer. The thought of leaving his penthouse, going back to own apartment, letting the piano and all his books and his mysterious self-filling fridge and all the eerie, needy bartenders all on their own makes Chloe's heart tremble. "Why don't we play that by ear, huh Monkey?"
"Okay," Trixie says agreeably. She grins. "Maybe we can do something cool for him for when he gets back. Like clean out his closet or something. Something nice."
"Yeah, baby," Chloe says, her throat still clogged. She reaches out and takes her daughter's hand, squeezing it fondly. "We'll come up with something, huh?"
"Ooh, we could get him a pool table!" Trixie exclaims. "He told me once about this time he played pool with this really mean guy who had kidnapped one of his friends, and Lucifer beat his pants off." She paused. "Actually I think he said 'robes' though."
"Did he now?" Chloe asked dryly. "What did he say his friend's name was?"
"It was like, a weird name, I don't remember. But Lucifer mostly just complained about his horse. I guess it was really mean, and painted a weird color."
"Jesus Christ," Chloe mutters.
"Nah, that wasn't it. It was Greek, Mom."
"Not what I meant, baby," Chloe says.
are you telling my kid stories about the horsemen of the apocalypse
Just one of them. The nicest one!
That is my name…?
you know what i mean!!! the other kids in her class
already think she's weird, please don't make it worse!!!!
The other kids in her class are simpletons and should be so lucky to spend time in her presence
If it makes you feel better I do censor the violent parts.
just. please. be careful, okay. and don't you dare tell her about santa
What about him? Not my favorite of the folkloric deities but he's a nice enough bloke, I guess.
OH MY FUCKING GOD
As if apologizing on its owner's behalf, the penthouse is completely devoid of liquor when Trixie and Chloe arrive. There's a friendly fire - get it? - blazing in a fireplace that did not previously exist, before Chloe went to pick Trixie up, and a second bed with Princess Leia sheets tucked into the corner by the Eastern windows. A small television, a nightstand, and one of those hip dressers with the peel-and-stick chalkboard on the side complete the picture. And the wet bar is suddenly about two feet lower, stocked with pineapple juice. Chloe stares into the minifridge with tears in her eyes for a full two minutes.
"Mom, oh my God," Trixie says, bouncing off the walls in her excitement, "can we sleep on the balcony? In sleeping bags? Like remember that time we said we were gonna sleep on the roof of our old apartment, but then the landlord said it was too dangerous so we couldn't and then we moved to that other building that had a restaurant up there? We could do that here! Or oh my God, a pillow fort!"
"Trix," Chloe says, watching her dart around fondly, her heart in her throat, "that sounds great, but it's going to be too hot to sleep out there tonight - once it gets a little cooler maybe - "
"So we're gonna stay longer?" Trixie says excitedly. She zips over and leans against the counter, tugging on Chloe's hand. "Can I set up Lucifer's X-Box then? He told me where it is!"
"Lucifer has an X-Box?"
"It was a gift," Trixie informs her, matter-of-factly. "But he didn't know what to do with it, so he told me he just put it on a shelf. But I can set it up! I promised him I'd show him how to get Netflix on it when he got back."
"Trix," Chloe says helplessly, her throat a little too tight again.
"Are we staying?" Trixie asks hopefully. She bites her lip, seeming to visibly calm herself down. "I didn't mean to be pushy, Mom. But you can tell me, it's okay." She fidgets a little, but she seems to be doing her best to imitate Dan's I'm patiently listening face, pursed lips and everything. "I really don't mind, Mom. We've always moved a lot, and I'm used to it. And I know you miss him. It'd be okay to stay."
Chloe falls to her knees, and pulls Trixie in close. She goes easily, sliding her little arms around Chloe's neck and squeezing tight. Sometimes, Chloe doesn't know what she did to deserve a person like Trixie in her life. She feels less like a mother and more like a gobsmacked fan, graced with the presence of her favorite person every day. Wherever Trixie gets her emotional maturity from, her wisdom and her excited zeal for life - it wasn't Chloe and Dan. That's for sure.
"Trix," she says, pulling back to cup Trixie's cheeks, "I have to tell you something. I don't want you to think I was lying to you, but you were away at camp, and I needed to get used to it a little before I said anything."
"Are you and Lucifer in love?" Trixie asks knowingly.
"Yes," Chloe says, almost choking on the word, and Trixie hugs her again. "Yeah baby, we are. Is that okay?"
"Well yeah, duh," Trixie says, squeezing Chloe's neck. "I kind of figured."
Chloe laughs into her shoulder, shaking her head. Above them, the lights have dimmed slightly, and Chloe wonders if he's listening. If he's able to keep watch over them when they're here, the same way he's able to take care of them, provide them comfort in his absence. Her favorite food in the fridge, Star Wars sheets for Trixie - little things, that wouldn't mean much from someone else. But from Lucifer, it's everything.
"So we are staying?" Trixie says hopefully, pulling back again. She keeps her hands on Chloe's shoulders, though - an absurdly motherly gesture. Trix is always doing things like that - brushing people's hair away from their face, tugging their clothes back into place. Even when she was really little.
"I don't know about long term honey, but I think I need to be here for now," Chloe says honestly. She wipes the tears from her cheeks quickly, but she can tell Trixie's noticed them anyway. "If you're alright with it. But we can always go back home, if you want. The club is really loud sometimes, and - if you miss your room, we can always go back."
Trixie shrugs. "I didn't really miss my room at camp," she says nonchalantly. "Plus, Mom, he has a hot tub here."
"Oh no, you are not using that hot tub," Chloe says, thinking of all the things that Lucifer must have used that thing for. "No way. Not on your life, missy."
"There are lines, Trixie," Chloe says.
There are still moments, occasionally, when Chloe thinks she's hallucinating. But those moments are fewer and farther between. There are always new books on the shelf, whenever Chloe goes to look. Rare editions, novels she's never heard of before, by strange authors she can't find on Google, when she tries to search the names. Sometimes, she swears she can hear him playing the piano, when she's in the elevator up, after a long day at work. Trixie talks to him almost every other night, now, and sometimes Chloe sits next to her and listens to the distant timbre of his voice - close, and still so, so far. She could talk to him too, if she wanted. She knows he would do it for her sake, but then she thinks about some of the messages he sends her, when it's been a few hours since they've texted, or when the last one she'd sent was a little harsh. Are you still there, Chloe? She knows what he's really asking. She knows what it would cost him, to hear her voice. So she bites her lip, and tells herself it's enough.
She asks Amenadiel one day if he could hear her if she prayed to him, and he seemed uncomfortable with the question, taken aback and a little freaked out. But then again, Amenadiel always looked freaked out nowadays, with the new baby. Linda seemed to be reaching the end of her patience with it, and Chloe was not about to get involved in that drama.
"He is still an angel," Amenadiel finally said. "You could certainly try. And with the way you've described his abilities to interact with you and your daughter...yes. Yes, I think he would hear you."
So Chloe lies in bed sometimes, and whispers out loud - only on the nights that Trixie's with Dan, and the club is quiet. She asks him questions that she's been wondering about for years, tells him things she's too chicken to type out to him in a text. I love you, I miss you, she prays. I'll wait for you. I'll wait for you forever.
Not forever forever, I hope, he sends her one morning, a long text that ends up broken up into three separate messages. Chloe stands at the counter, coffee at her elbow, and reads it over and over, one hand over her mouth. She's never felt like this before. Never, not ever in her life. I sometimes struggle to answer your questions, Chloe, not because I don't want to answer them, but because I know there's only so much you want to know and I don't wish to impose myself on you anymore than I already have. I don't say this to hurt you or confuse you, but only to be honest - there are things that I will probably never tell you, and that's for your own good. That sounds terribly arrogant, but it's the truth. Maybe one day, when you are more than you are now, you will understand. But you and I are fundamentally different creatures, my dear, and no matter how much I love you, that will never change. We must simply learn to adapt. I hope you can come to peace with that - I'm certainly trying to.
I can, she sends, saying the words out loud as she types them. I can do that.
His reply is immediate. I don't know what's going to happen, if I can find a solution to our current dilemma. But eternity is a very different thing for me than it is for you. I have no choice in it, and I wouldn't wish that on you, not for anything.
we'll figure it out. we'll find a way, lucifer. work the problem - like we've always done, remember? Chloe presses one hand to her heart, thinking about his face in that last moment. When he said, "it's always been you," and she really felt it, felt those words in her bones. and i trust you. i'd like to know everything but i understand that there are some parts you can't explain, and that's fine. i love you, and that's all that matters.
And I love you, Chloe, he replies, the words grave and serious, even in their current format. More than you could ever possibly know.
Chloe looks around the penthouse, which is a very different place now than it'd been when he was last on Earth. Trixie has a whole section to herself now, a bookshelf of her own with a rotating selection of titles. The balcony is closed off, the railings reinforced, a pillow fort still up from their late night movie marathon last weekend. The bed is smaller, softer. A skylight has opened up over it, so Chloe can see the stars at night. (Light pollution is, somehow, not an issue on Lucifer's balcony.)
She asks herself, almost constantly: would I be okay with this? This, being the rest of her life? Growing old in this apartment in the sky, with only parts of him there with her? Scraps, here and there, waiting for a reunion that may only happen after she's dead - and then, an unknowable eternity afterwards? Not that Chloe doesn't think he'll find a way back to her - she knows he will, as surely as she knows her own name. But if she deserves him - really deserves him - then she has to be okay with the worst case scenario. He deserves nothing less.
She thinks the answer is yes. She thinks about how lucky she is, to be in touch with him at all. Because it could be so much worse, and at least she has this: his voice on the other end of Trixie's calls, his messages on her phone. His warmth, his attention, his care, enfolding them at every corner. His offerings, his gifts. His heart, laid out for her on a red carpet - inviting her in, asking her to stay.
Chloe's always wanted to stay, is the thing. She just never let herself, before.
would you have wanted to be human with me? When you get back, if you're around me,
you'll be vulnerable again, after all. Is that what will happen - will you be human
whenever you're close to me? Would you grow old as I do?
I hope so. Oh, I really, really hope so, Detective. That would be
Well, it would be more than I'd ever dared to hope for before I met you.
Then I'd be okay with eternity then. your eternity.
Don't say things you don't mean, Detective, please.
Chloe thinks about the Bible stories, sometimes, and tries to fit her Lucifer into them. He doesn't belong there, in those formal scriptures, but she can see how he might. In the true version of what happened - the reality of how the Earth got its start. He was there; he could tell her. When he's ready, he will.
i never do, she sends. don't you trust me?
A long silence. But Chloe waits patiently for his answer. It's only fair.