I’m in Seattle now. It’s always so rainy here! I had to buy myself an umbrella and a raincoat. There's some pretty cool stuff here, but a lot of the people are so
mean rude compared to LA! And I miss the sun :( And you.
I heard that
Luce Lucifer wentbackto went back to Hell. I hope you know that I never meant for would take it all back if I could. Well, except for knowing you. I wouldn't undo that for anything. I'll be at this address for a while couple months if you wanted to write back!
I got a job as a bartender!! It took a long time to learn how to make all the drinks.
I have no idea You were always so good at it! Appletinis are still my favorite, but I learned how to make buttery nipples and those are pretty good too. When I f When I see you again I'll make sure to make one for you. I'm sure you've had them before but it seems kinda fun ;) I think I'll be here a little while longer, so you can definitely still write to me here!
You can probably tell from the return address, but I moved! I just couldn't stand being in the rain all of the time
, it made me so sad. It's really warm and bright here, but not as much as LA. I think that's okay, though. I'm supposed to be trying out new places. I think the post office must have messed up with my forwarding address though, because I haven't gotten any of your my old mail. Sorry if you tried to write me :( I'll be here for at least a month.
"Are you reading them again?" Linda asks.
Maze refolds the last one along the creases. The stationary has little sunflowers on it and the edges are starting to go a little soft. She scoots over in her chair so that there's room for Linda to sit down next to her, which she does.
"You could write her back, you know," Linda tells her gently, touching at her wrist.
Maze scoffs. "She's got a phone, Linda. If she really wanted to talk to me, she'd call."
Linda gets that puzzled look on her face, where she isn't really confused. "So what do you think she's doing?"
"Hell if I know," Maze answers. She slips the letters back into their envelopes one by one.
She should burn them.
They have a drawer in her desk in her room. There's a map tacked up above the desk, with a handful of yellow pushpins in the Northwestern US steadily trailing back South.
The baby starts crying. Maze slides the drawer shut and listens to the sound of Amenadiel's footsteps down the hall; it's his turn. Linda rests her head on Maze's shoulder.
"Have you given any thought to returning to work?" Linda asks. She's slipping off the edge of the chair a little, so Maze wraps an arm around her to keep her in place.
Human bodies are so fragile. Maze thinks about that sometimes, and it makes her less excited than it used to.
"Not yet," she answers. "You and Charlie need me."
"Maze," Linda says emphatically. "We'll always need you. You can't use that as an excuse to put your life on hold."
Maze turns to look down at her. "My life isn't 'on hold.' It's here."
"And we're not going anywhere." Linda's glasses are knocked askew against Maze's shoulder. "But I don't want you to feel like you can't have other things. Where things were going with Eve…"
Maze snaps, "That was a mistake."
"I don't think it was," Linda insists.
"That's easy to say when you're not the one who—" Maze swallows. "Who got left behind."
Linda touches Maze's wrist—the one still lingering over the drawer. Softly, she says, "Sometimes people have to be apart from us before they can be with us. It doesn't mean they love us less."
Maze's nostrils flare. "I'm not forgiving him either, if that's what you're trying to say."
"Oh, boy," Amenadiel jokes. He's holding Charlie, patting him on the back with a soothing hand. "What did I do this time?"
"Aww, hi little baby!" Linda coos, untangling herself from Maze's side to take Charlie into her arms. "Was someone feeling cranky?"
Amenadiel squeezes Linda's arm and says, "I changed his diaper, but it seems like nap time is over."
Linda hums, too busy making faces at the baby to answer.
"Hey, Maze, can I talk to you?" Amenadiel asks. He nods his head towards the other room.
Whatever. Maze hops to her feet and follows him. "What's up?"
Amenadiel has his business face on. Be not afraid, I've come on behalf of my father who loves you, but He might love you a little less if you stab me. "I've been talking to Chloe, and we think it's time to reopen Lux."
The thought of it makes Maze's throat burn.
"So what?" she asks.
"We want your help, Mazikeen," he tells her gently. In that placating way of his. No, seriously, don't stab me. If she wanted to hurt him he'd be bleeding already. People still don't seem to understand that. "That place was always as much yours as it was—"
"Nothing was as much mine as his," she spits. "He's always made that pretty damn clear."
Amenadiel blinks at her. "Do you really believe that?"
"Well, we could always just ask him," Maze says sarcastically. "Oh, wait—we can't. Because he left."
"He left for the good of all of us!" Amenadiel snaps back. "To protect Charlie and Linda and—"
"You don't get it, do you?" Maze's laugh breaks halfway through. "I don't care what he's done for all of us. I want him to do it for me."
Amenadiel looks down, like the cat's got his tongue. She's about to walk away when he finally asks, "If you won't do it for him, will you do it to help us?"
"I hate when you pull that fucking card," says Maze.
They put out the word that Lux has been closed for renovations, then do some renovations.
Maze puts red lights behind the sign. Amenadiel reupholsters the booths.
"Don't change too much," says Chloe. "You know he'll wanna change it all back."
Maze looks her dead in the face and wheels the piano across the room.
It's actually a little sad. They keep acting like he's gonna come back one day. Like he didn't trick Maze into loving this place so she'd have a consolation prize—like when Trixie comes home from that dentist she hates with a lollipop. I know I abandoned you, darling, but here, have a human family. They'll be better to you anyway.
The worst part is that he's right. They are.
She gets all the old staff back; apparently they were put on paid vacation when he left. There's a new shift schedule to make and a gap in the books to explain and a new round of drink specials to invent.
Amenadiel and Chloe do inventory in the back while Maze arranges the bar, and then they crack open new booze and drink until the bottles look a little used.
It's all in the presentation, he'd said when they opened this place. Look at how busy we've been, Mazikeen.
Maze cracks the brand new polish on her nails between her teeth. Look how busy she's been.
I saw pictures of the new Lux! It looks amazing!! I heard the new sign was your idea. It looks really cool. I thought about coming for the grand opening but I thought maybe I shouldn't
just yet . Are you going to help run the bar again? Are you still bounty hunting? I miss you want to hear how you are!
I got another new job :) I work at a daycare center! It turns out that little kids really like me. S
ometimes it makes me a little sad but I really like working with them too I think.
"Have you been talking to Eve?" Maze asks.
Chloe throws back her tequila shot, scrunching up her face when she bites into the lime. She shakes her head and says, "Yeah, we text sometimes. Why?"
"Why?" Maze echoes instead.
Chloe stuffs the lime wedge into her empty shot glass. "I've… you know. I've just been sending her some money, from Lucifer."
"From him?" Maze repeats. The bartender tries to take her glass away. She tightens her grip.
"No, yeah. I think…" Chloe's eyes go a little misty. "I think it's what he'd want, you know? He'd wanna make sure everyone was taken care of."
"Stop talking about him like he's dead," Maze snaps. "He fucking left you, Chlo."
"Hm," Chloe tells the salt shaker. "Feels pretty much the same."
If he ever comes back, Maze will kill him. See how similar it feels then.
If you don't want me to write to you anymore, you can just tell me.
The letter comes the same day as a postcard. Cancun. Maze adds another blue pushpin to Mexico. They look like blood dripping down from Canada.
She spends a lot of time wondering what the fucking point is, for someone who knows the answer. Rivers is a runner and he still wants her to catch up.
She already told him she couldn't do it; he told her she had a soul.
If she didn't know better—if she wasn't being constantly fucking reminded of why she knew better—she might've believed him. It was a great kiss.
One day Amenadiel suggested to her that maybe, if angels self-actualized, demons did too and she could grow one. She watched herself rip his throat out in her mind before the moment passed. His angelic strength is back, so he could've stopped her if she'd tried, but she thinks he would've let her just to prove that she couldn't go through with it.
She doesn't want a soul. She's gotten this far without one and if she woke up with one tomorrow morning she wouldn't know what to do with it anyway, so what's the point?
Leaving can't feel the same as dying. That would mean she's grieving.
You need a soul to do that.
Sometimes she thinks about tracking Rivers down, telling him that the Sinnerman is dead and he can come home now, finally.
She's afraid he wouldn't come. She's afraid that she wouldn't either.
One day the postcards will stop, probably, and it'll either be because he's forgotten about her or he's finally dead.
She hopes he'll be dead.
I guess since you didn't ask me to stop I'll keep writing to you. I really like doing it. It feels really good and safe to talk to you about this stuff while I figure it out. I'm still not sure if I know who 'Eve' really is, but you're the first person I want to meet her when I do.
I think my favorite color might actually be yellow.
She doesn't want Rivers to be dead. She just wishes she did. There's a drawer for the postcards, next to the drawer for the letters, underneath the map, and there's a red pushpin stuck into the ceiling that she'll never admit she cried over.
The imagery's a little off, putting it above them instead of below, but she didn't want to ruin Linda's floors and none of it's below them, anyway, as much as it's sideways or parallel or exactly where they already are. It varies by the day. He could be sitting right next to her and neither of them would even know.
"That's kind of beautiful in a way," says Linda.
"It's fucking depressing," says Dan, even though he thinks it's a metaphor.
Maze pours him the first shot of their next round. He gets it.
She goes to the beach where it all started, sometimes, and listens to the ocean. If she times it right the place is practically deserted.
It's like that now. Amenadiel is watching over Lux and Linda is asleep with the baby, so there's nowhere for her to be. Linda wants her to be alone with her thoughts more.
Maze thinks about yellow stationary, salt cracking her too-human lips, and the sudden gust of wind that whips her hair across her face.
"Gosh," he says, and brushes the sand off his suit jacket. "That's rather poetic."
There's a dagger strapped to her thigh that she could kill him with. She hates that it isn't her first thought.
"Mazikeen!" He grins delightedly when he sees her. "That saves me a trip."
You're home, was the first thought. Stationary, salt, no more wind. Then dagger—five.
"What the fuck are you doing here?" she asks.
His face falls in the places she knows to look for it—in the shape of his eyes and his teeth—but he's still grinning.
"I've popped up for a visit," he answers. He fiddles with an immaculate cufflink. "Had to see how everyone's getting on without me. You look well."
Her throat feels like the salt is down in it. She hates the beach. "You don't get to fucking do that. You don't get to just come back like you didn't—"
"You promised." She swallows thickly and it doesn't help. "You promised you'd never leave me."
His eyes are wet when he insists, "I haven't! I'm here, aren't I? I just had to—they need a king, Maze, you know that as well as I do. I have to protect this place from them."
"So you're not staying," she says.
"Think of it as… commuting." He seems to realize how far apart they're standing—scuffs his feet through the sand and drags his eyes across the empty space but doesn't commit to moving. "Things are a bit more sorted down there now, but I'm afraid to leave them alone for too long."
Maze closes her eyes and listens to the beach eroding. "You didn't even say goodbye. You said goodbye to Decker and not to me."
"Maze," he says, and he's finally moving now. Her eyes are still closed, but she knows exactly where his body is. "If I'd told you I was going, would you have tried to follow me?"
His eyes are rimmed red. She can remember so much pain, so much anger, but not if he needs to sleep in Hell. She says, "Of course."
"I would have let you," he says softly. "That's why I couldn't do it."
She shakes her head. "I don't get it. Why wouldn't you—"
"I'm not your king anymore, Maze." He purses his lips, lifts a hand. Doesn't do anything with it. "I've tried to be a friend and I think I've been bloody awful at it. You were right—I didn't deserve you."
"I wanted you to," she tells him, and it feels fucking terrible. Like she's kneeling and wrapping his hand around her throat and begging him to crush it. She hates him. "Why couldn't you just do it?"
He laughs helplessly. "I don't know. Can you forgive me for wanting you to be happy?"
"Demons can’t feel happy."
"I know," he tells her gently. Like there's a point she's missing.
Her chest is shaking. "I loved you."
"I love you now," he says. "You've been looking out for them, haven't you?"
"Yeah," she says. "Of course."
He finally touches her cheek—cradles her face in both hands, then. It's different than it used to be, and his eyes are so soft and so human and she keeps thinking, You're home, you're home, and about the dagger strapped to her thigh. If she killed him she'd understand how she's feeling.
"Thank you," Lucifer whispers, and his lips brush against her forehead.
Demons can't pray either. They aren't built for it. She says his name like she's asking for something.
He's gone, though. Wind, salt, stationary.
Maze makes her way back to the house eventually. Linda and Amenadiel are on the couch, which she thinks is weird until she realizes the way they're looking at her.
"Did you see him?" she asks.
Linda's smile is bittersweet; she'd cried when he went back, and brushed her fingers over that stupid journal he gave her and whispered, Thank you, and cried again.
"We did," she answers. "Did you?"
Maze doesn't trust her throat. She worms her way between them on the couch and feels how warm they are. Solid. Her eyes can only look at the coffee table.
She doesn't understand. Amenadiel smells like Lux. Her face is pressed against his chest.
"It's okay, Maze," he soothes. She never let him hold her like this when they were fucking. "It's okay."
"Which part?" she rasps.
He's strong and good and his thumb wipes away the tears leaking out of her eyes before she can be humiliated by them, and before she tried to kill him and couldn't, he fucked her in a car she shimmied the lock on just to shatter the rear windshield with his wings.
He lost those and got them back. She's still the same soulless thing.
"This part," he tells her. Linda's fingers trace over her thigh and lace with her own. "It's okay to be here, with us."
The baby starts crying. Maze smears the last of her tears into his sweatshirt and then rolls to her feet, cracking her neck. Her turn.
I think I want to be a teacher!
I don't want to be a parent again, but I really do love being around little kids and helping them grow up and learn and be happy.
Maybe Hopefully I'll be better at it this time.
Apparently you need a degree and stuff to be a teacher. I could probably get a fake one from the same guy who made my passport and stuff, but this feels like the kind of thing I should do the right way. I guess I'll start looking for colleges!
Trixie shoves a handful of popcorn into her mouth and asks, "Do you still have a crush on Eve?"
Maze looks down at her where she's tucked against her side. "She left."
"So did Lucifer," Trixie points out. "And Mom still has a crush on him."
Maze rolls her eyes.
"I don't think it matters," she tells her. "Eve doesn't have a crush on me."
"Hm," Trixie says, which she gets from Decker. "How do you know?"
Maze leans away to get a better look at her. "I just told you. She left."
Trixie frowns, unconvinced, and holds up the popcorn bowl. "You left me before. Does that mean you don't like me?"
"Of course not." Maze scoops up a handful of popcorn and crunches down on it irritably. "That's different."
Trixie flutters her eyelashes.
"Just watch the movie," says Maze.
She turns the volume up on the TV, but Trixie is still looking at her.
"Oh my God," Maze says. "What."
"Does she still write you letters?" Trixie asks. She's grinning all of a sudden in that creepy human child way that looks too much like— "Are they looooove letters? Can I read them?"
"No," Maze answers defensively. "You can't read them. And besides, they're stupid."
Trixie tilts her head. "Then why can't I read them?"
"Why doesn't she just call me?" Maze asks instead. "Why doesn't she visit?"
"Hmm." Trixie puts the popcorn bowl off to the side and wraps both her little arms around one of Maze's. "I think people can say stuff in letters that they can't say out loud yet."
Maze scowls. Most people flinch away from her when she does that. Trixie is still hugging her.
"That's stupid," she says. "People should just say what they want."
Trixie narrows her eyes at her and fake-whispers, "Then why won't you?"
There's a postcard from a little town further South. Maze runs her thumb over one corner. She clicks a pen open, unclicks it, clicks it again. Thinks about writing something on the back, just to see, not that it'd even reach him.
She draws a little spiral in one corner. The words are too big.
Look where I am! I decided that if I'm gonna be in one place for 4 years, I want it to be here. I'm still getting settled in, but I hope you'll come visit me soon. I'm really excited to see everyone, especially you.
Dan slides Maze's glass to her across the table and says, "So, Eve's back in town, huh?"
Maze takes a sip of her drink. "How do you know that?"
"Ran into her at the coffee shop." Dan raises an eyebrow at her. "She said she hasn't heard from you."
Maze glares at him and asks, "So what?"
"Just making an observation," he answers, which is bullshit.
"I'm still pissed at her," Maze grumbles. She crosses her arms.
"Is that really it?" Dan asks gently—and what the fuck is up with that?
Maze scoffs. The cheap vinyl of the booth is sticking to her bare midriff.
He's looking at her like there's something to understand. He says, "I'm just saying, Maze. People like us—the world tells us that all we're allowed to be is angry, but it's not true. You're allowed to be sad, too, and everything else."
Maze takes another drink. "We're not the same," she tells him.
Dan holds up a hand in acknowledgement, tries, "I know. It's way harder for women—"
"I was raised in the bowels of Hell," Maze spits. "I'm a demon. We don't do 'sad.'"
"Right," says Dan. He purses his lips. "I'm not trying to act like I know what you've been through, okay? But wherever it's coming from—is it really helping you?"
Maze narrows her eyes at him. "What are you talking about?"
"Being 'Darker Dan' was easy. It felt—it felt good to be angry." Dan laughs without humor. "But I wasn't grieving. And I was never gonna end up happy. Are you happy, Maze?"
There's a dagger strapped to her thigh.
"No," she says. "Are you?"
"I don't know," he answers, and smiles down at the beer in his hand. "But I'm looking for it."
It's a Friday night, which is Maze's turn at Lux. She's digging through her clean laundry pile looking for a shirt to wear when there's a knock on the front door.
Amenadiel shouts, "I'll get it!" at the same time Linda's footsteps start echoing down the stairs.
"Oh!" she says when the door creaks open. "Hello! Are you here for Maze?"
She's answered by a woman's voice, muffled and skin-pricklingly familiar.
Amenadiel says something that Maze can't hear. She narrows her eyes, reaching for the dagger on her nightstand and creeping forward as she listens to his footsteps.
He pokes his head into her bedroom, ignoring the fact that she's half-dressed and tits-out, and says, "You're gonna wanna get dressed. And put that knife away."
"Who's downstairs?" she asks warily.
Amenadiel points at a sequin top she'd flung at the bed. "That one's nice. Wear that."
He's smiling like he's trying to be helpful. There's the sound of laughter from downstairs, two voices.
"You're being fucking weird," Maze tells him cautiously. "Who's down there."
"I'll let you—" he gestures at her boobs and turns away, conveniently modest about it all of a sudden, and vanishes around the corner.
Maze tucks the dagger into the back of her pants. If it was someone trying to kill them he probably would've just said it, but you know never know.
She slips into the shirt Amenadiel pointed out, then glances around the room. Her map is a splash of color-on-color against the white wall. Orange, black, pink, red. The trails of blue and yellow in the North, historical pinpricks of purple and green in Rome.
Maze plucks another yellow pushpin out of the plastic container, rolling it through her fingers. She holds it hovering above LA, deadcenter to the halo of other colors there. More laughter drifts upstairs.
Hoping isn't a strength of hers. Plastic clatters against plastic, and she switches off the light.
The voices are coming from the living room. Maze freezes at the bottom of the stairs, her fingers wrapped around the railing.
Eve's smile is blinding. She's wearing a mustard-colored dress that hangs off her shoulders, obscured by her hair, and she's looking at Maze like she looks at everything. Like it matters.
"Wow!" she says, hopping to her feet. "You look amazing! It's so good to see you."
Maze shakes her head slowly, staying exactly in place while Eve makes her way to her. "You're really back."
"Yup. You're looking at a brand new Trojan!" Eve laughs self-consciously, tucking her hair behind her ears. "Um, that's what they call people at my university? Yeah. I'm gonna go to school here."
"To be a teacher," Maze says.
Eve's eyes are dark, like Lucifer's. They all have this thing about them—things God made. This way they can light up with something from the inside.
"You read them?" Eve asks, glowing. "My letters?"
Maze doesn't understand. "Of course I did," she says. Her fingernails make a scraping sound against the wooden banister.
Eve bites at her bottom lip. Her lipstick is red and dark, and it doesn't come off under her teeth. "I… got a little apartment near the club. It's close to the metro, for school. Maybe you could come see it?"
It's weird. There's this feeling in Maze's chest like she can't breathe. Like a foot, crushing her ribs.
"I don't know," she says. The soft spot under her chin is wobbling. She hates advertising it. "I thought…"
She looks away and locks eyes with Amenadiel and Linda, who both scramble to face the other way like they weren't just eavesdropping. Fuckers.
Eve reaches out slowly, thin fingers shaking a little when they drag across Maze's knuckles. "Maybe… just a drink first?"
There’s a thing about Maze: God didn't make her; she can't pray. There's no soul in there between the shards of bone and guts.
But maybe she can make her own light.
"A drink," she says, "sounds good."
"Oh, wow!" Eve spins around the empty dance floor, taking in the brand new Lux. "It looks even better than the pictures."
Maze smirks, dragging a hand over one of the new tables. "You like it?"
"So much. Did you design all this?" Eve asks. The dress is billowing while she flits around the place.
"Amenadiel and Decker helped." Maze turns on the cash registers. The staff will start filtering in soon. "We just needed an excuse for why the place was shut down for a while."
"Oh," says Eve. "Right."
Maze scans the shelves for the right booze. "Have you talked to him?"
"I haven't tried." Eve hops up onto a stool across from her. "Seems like it'd be in bad taste, ya know?"
Bingo—Maze sets the butterscotch schnapps on the counter. "Maybe. He visits sometimes."
It's cruel to point out. Better to get the reaction out of the way.
"Oh." Eve taps her fingers, frowning gently down at them. "Is he… happy?"
Maze blinks. "No."
Eve looks up. Her mouth is shaped like someone made it perfect and then smudged and smudged the edges until it was believable instead.
"Are you?" she asks.
Maze says, "I'm not sure," and, "Will you make me that drink?"
The teeth are too uniform. Trixie's are crooked and sometimes a little yellow and sometimes missing. When Eve smiles it ruins all the work put into the mouth. Good.
"Of course!" She hops off the barstool and practically skips around the rear of the bar, skidding to a halt with her hip knocking against Maze's. "Do you have Bailey's?"
Maze clears her throat. "In the fridge."
Eve bends over to pull it out and then mixes them both a shot. She layers the Irish cream on top carefully, her tongue poking out a little in concentration.
Humans are good at making things that don't seem like what they are. Booze that doesn't taste like booze, sex that isn't about sex.
Maze fucking hates it, but she throws back the candy-drink Eve hands her and laps up a spare drop with her tongue. It's good because Eve's eyes are on her. Booze that isn't about booze.
"What do you think?" Eve asks, pursing her lips around a nervous smile.
"I like it," says Maze. "Let me make you an appletini. I wanna hear about Seattle."
They're busy again tonight. It was touch and go at first; people didn't know what to make of the place without the owner around. But Maze is a draw with her willingness to fuck in the bed upstairs, and so is Chloe with her shock of blonde austerity, and Amenadiel's brooding hands in the red light. They don't do favors, but you can get the rest between them.
Eve laughs while she pours drinks and slips the tips people leave her into the other bartenders' back pockets. She's wearing little diamond earrings.
Around midnight, Maze looks over at her and asks, "Wanna get out of here?"
"Oh," Eve asks, wide-eyed, "are we closing?"
"No," Maze tells her. "I just wanna be somewhere with you."
Eve's tongue drags over her bottom lip. "Okay."
There are people on the beach, but not too many. Eve kicks her heels off on the pier and wriggles her bare toes in the sand; the shoes'll probably get stolen, but Maze isn't sure Eve cares.
"It's beautiful out here," Eve says. She's facing the ocean. She looks at everything like she's never seen it before, even though she's seen it longer than anyone.
Maze feels brand-new around her. Like someone resculpts her out of sand every time Eve turns around.
Eve says, "I missed the ocean," and looks away from it. "I missed you."
Maze exists. She asks, "Why didn't you call?"
"I wrote you," Eve answers, and Maze flickers out of herself when Eve bends down to pick up a seashell. It's broken; she traces her finger over the jagged edge. "Why didn't you write back?"
Maze's throat burns. Fucking salt air. "You hurt me when you left."
"Oh." Eve tilts her head, seashell pinched between two fingers and drawing a sharp line across her wide-eyed gaze. "I'm sorry about that. Or, I'm not, actually, because I had to do that for me. Yeah. But I'm sorry that it hurt you."
Maze asks, "Did you figure out who you are?"
"It was a start. I've gotta keep looking, though." Eve sets the shell down gingerly, patting it into the sand. When she looks up, she does it with her fingers steadying at Maze's wrist. "I wanna do that with you."
Maze helps Eve back to her feet. She exists. She says, "I can't do this if you're gonna leave again, Eve. I don't deserve it."
"I know," Eve answers softly. Her smile is wobbly, when she tucks a strand of hair behind Maze's ear. "I don't want to."
There aren't stars out here. Too much light pollution from the city behind them. Maze touches the diamond in Eve's ear when she kisses her.
She tastes like the nothing of good vodka. Maze keeps reaching, reaching for the thing that's supposed to make them different, for the place the soul lives, but all she gets is flesh and perfect teeth.
"You're good, Maze," Eve murmurs. "You're perfect."
She doesn't say, At this, but it's what they always mean.
Maze presses the sharp back of the earring into her finger, then traces up the shell of Eve's ear until she feels the rough messy curl of hair. Los Angeles doesn't get cold, but Eve's mouth is still warm compared to the air.
The breeze picks up.
Maze looks for him; Eve doesn't notice, dragging her mouth down to the side of Maze's neck. Her hands are curled in the leather of Maze's jacket.
Lucifer is watching them with that stupid face he usually only gives Chloe when she isn't looking—his eyes downturned, dopey things, like he doesn't use them to hunt.
He almost smiles. He mouths, Goodbye.
Maze tangles her fingers in Eve's hair. She nods, Goodbye, and the broken seashell from before is covered up by a little drift of sand.
Eve nips at the cut of Maze's jaw and whispers, "Is he gone?"
Maze is the one facing the ocean. She's seen it before.
"Yeah," she rasps.
Eve tips Maze's chin down and kisses her again. It's soft, sweet, things people always say they want from her and never let her give.
Maze chokes out a laugh the way people cough up blood.
"You want me," she says. Eve hums, nuzzles at her jaw. "You want me."
"Of course I do, silly Maze." Eve stands on her toes on top of Maze's boots, cupping her face so they can be exactly at eye level. "I came back for you."
Maze steadies her by the waist when she wobbles, feeling the cotton dress slip and scrunch under her touch.
Eve taps her on the nose, then drags her finger down to pull lightly on Maze's bottom lip. Her eyes drop down in unison.
Something sparks low in Maze's stomach. She can see down the front of Eve's dress; it clings to her breasts, hanging low with no bra.
"Can I see your place now?" Maze asks.
"Yeah," Eve tells Maze's mouth. She slips back down into the sand, licking her lips, fading lipstick in the low light.
Maze lets herself be dragged towards the pier by her wrist. Eve's nails are long and painted in a bastardized French manicure—candy apple red tips, almond-shaped.
The shoes are exactly where Eve left them. They stay there when she leads Maze up the wooden stairs, splintering boards creaking under Maze's boots and not under Eve's bare feet, and then there's smooth fresh asphalt that's still throwing off heat from the day.
Maze drives with Eve's hand sliding up and down her thigh, more like she's soothing herself than anything else. Up, down, up again. Her eyes fixed out the window, watching the lights.
Eve's apartment is a shoebox three blocks from Lux. There's a painting of a sunflower that falls to the floor when Maze kicks the front door open and presses Eve into the wall, Eve's legs wrapped around her waist.
Eve yelps when the canvas clatters, then giggles. Her bare toes tickle at Maze's ribs when Maze sucks a mark into her neck.
"Let me show you the bed, baby," she breathes excitedly. "It's so bad."
Maze snorts. "You're really selling it."
"I still wanna fuck you on it," Eve says, and Maze readjusts her grip on Eve's ass to carry her there.
They collapse onto it, springs creaking. Maze rolls onto her back and laughs at the ceiling. "You weren't kidding."
Eve is slipping out of her dress. She bites her lip, thumbs at an exposed nipple when the fabric pools at her waist, and says, "I got it from a thrift store."
"What?" Maze sits up and takes over, cupping Eve's breast in her hand. She kisses the shiver out of her mouth. "You should've let Decker sugar mommy you."
"I am!" Eve insists. She's laughing, still, pushing Maze's jacket off her shoulders. "But college is so expensive, did you know that? So, thrift store mattress. Yeah."
She finds the clasp on Maze's bra, helps her tug the shirt off. Maze could care less about undressing. She wants to lick a stripe up Eve's stomach—the soft belly and softer breasts, tan lines on hip bones and over ribs. Wants to sink her teeth in, be remembered by her imperfect canines.
"Wow," says Eve, awed. "You look like you wanna eat me."
So no one else can have you, Maze thinks, but Eve's hand is trailing up her side and cupping her face and she wants this, instead. More. As many times as she can, before the blood in her mouth.
They're kissing again, which is another place for her teeth. Eve doesn't taste like nothing anymore; she tastes like herself.
"You've got me all pent up," Eve murmurs. Her dress is still caught around her waist. "Do you mind if we just—" she rolls onto her belly and tucks her hand underneath herself. "Yeah."
Her hair keeps falling in her face. She moans, laughs, rolls her hips. Maze peels off her leather pants and settles next to her, watching the way her face lights up when Maze starts touching herself too.
"Like this?" Maze asks, circling her clit slowly.
"Yeah," Eve says. "Yeah." She reaches out with her free hand and turns Maze's face towards her, leaning up for a kiss.
Maze slips a finger down, teasing herself. Fuck, she's already so wet. "Are you left-handed?"
"Ambidextrous," Eve says, and noses at Maze's cheek. "Gotta cover the original sin from all angles, right?"
Her arm drifts to drape across Maze's chest. She shuffles a little closer when Maze huffs out a laugh, still working herself over with her free hand.
"Is this how you do it when you're alone?" Maze asks. She presses her thumb against her clit as her finger slips inside.
"Usually." Eve keeps mouthing at Maze's bicep, the wet scrape of her teeth and suckling tongue. "I masturbated so much in Seattle."
That's new. Maze had made a joke about it, once, when Eve complained about being horny— why don't you just go home and rub one out? And Eve had blinked up at her and asked, Why would I do that? I have Luce to get me off.
But Maze likes it like this. The sound of Eve panting, hot breath on her damp skin. The slow creeping of pleasure up where it curls in the seat of her belly. That Eve didn't take her dress off, that she's kissing Maze's shoulder to have something to do with her mouth.
This is who I am when I'm alone. I want you to meet her.
Eve's nails suddenly prick against Maze's chest, where her arm is draped. She draws up a knee a little and starts making these little gasping sounds while the other foot kicks out and her face is totally buried between two pillows, like she's drowning out everything besides how fucking amazing coming feels.
It's incredible that she's already there. Maze is barely warmed up.
"Wow," Eve purrs, pushing up into a cat-like stretch. "That was a good one. Can you come like this?"
"Yeah, probably." Maze leans over to kiss her. "Wanna help me out?"
"Absolutely." Eve kisses her back once, then pulls away and hops to her feet. "One sec!"
Maze raises an eyebrow as Eve darts into the bathroom, finally kicking out of her dress. "What're you doing?"
She's answered by the sound of nail clippers. Eve sticks her tongue out while she cuts down her fingernails on the index and middle fingers of her right hand.
Maze snorts. "Oh my God, are you serious?"
Eve plucks a nail file off the counter and smooths down the edges without looking, because her eyes are wide and fake-innocent, looking at Maze.
"Yeah," she says. "I mean, I don't mind it for me, but you've gotta be careful when it's someone else's pussy."
Maze laughs delightedly and says, "Jesus, I fucking love you," and then her throat glues shut.
Eve is still filing her nails. It must be fucking up the polish. She's this light-filled thing, this good thing, and she whispers, "You said it first," and she ditches the nail file and takes a running leap onto the shitty thrift store bed.
Maze wraps an arm around her so she doesn't bounce right off the other side. The springs squeal under her weight.
Their faces are so close together that it hurts. It hurts to look. Eve is smiling with teeth that God made and she says, "No one ever says it first and means it."
Maze wants to tell her that it's how it'll always be. That Maze doesn't do loyalty in halves or three-quarters or seven-eigths, that it's Maze's bones wrapped around her or an empty bed—but Eve's ruined manicure is already slipping inside her cunt.
"I mean it," Maze says instead, into the teeth.
"I know, sweet Maze," Eve murmurs, and kisses her again. "Oh, fuck, you're so wet. I know."
Maze feels the tangle of her hair, the heating-up skin of her back. They exist. Her fingers are thin, curious, crooking up in a way that Lucifer must have taught her or she must have taught him—and, fuck, it's fucking existed since the beginning of creation that fingers could add a little pressure and bodies would stop being bodies.
They exist, they exist.
"I love you too," Eve adds, her voice raspy and light. "God, isn't that crazy? We weren't made for this and we're doing it anyway."
"I wasn't made for anything," says Maze. Her thumb is circling her clit again.
"That's better," Eve tells her, nose against her cheek. "You're just you. You just chose me."
Maze's thighs start to twitch. "Were you made for Adam or Lucifer?"
Eve laughs and picks up the pace, pumping her fingers while she presses up against Maze's g-spot.
"I don't fucking care," she says, and then, "I wanna eat you out tomorrow. And buy a strap-on. And take you to brunch."
"Brunch?" asks Maze, when the orgasm starts.
"I love brunch," Eve tells her, like it's the biggest secret, and her other three nails are digging into the thin skin of Maze's inner thigh when she bucks her hips and comes and comes.
Maze tilts her chin up to the ceiling and pants, "We can do brunch."
Eve pulls her fingers out and wipes them on the bedspread, then kisses Maze again. She hums, dragging a hand up Maze's ribs, and asks, "Are you sleepy?"
"I could be." Maze nips at her bottom lip. "I've gotta do something with my hair, though. Your pillowcases suck."
"Oh! We could go to Lux." Eve sits up excitedly and tucks her own hair behind her ears. When Maze raises an eyebrow, she explains, "Luce has silk sheets, yeah? I'm pretty sure he won't mind if we borrow some."
Maze smirks. She stabilizes Eve by the hips when she sits up from underneath her. "Let's do it."
"Hey," Benjamin warns when they make for the elevator. "Boss is up there."
Maze side-eyes him. "Which one?"
Benjamin answers with a tilt of his head. Oh. Well, whatever. They can be in and out.
Lucifer's playing the piano, something slow and nostalgic that Maze can't put her finger on, the dust cover she draped over it months ago neatly folded on the floor. He looks up when the elevator dings and a grin spreads across his face.
"Ladies! I wasn't expecting you to be the first to arrive." He keeps playing with they talk, switching to something more upbeat. "No one answered my text."
Maze blinks. She's pretty sure her phone is on Eve's floor. "You texted us?"
Eve asks, "What's going on?"
"I'm back!" Lucifer announces, spreading an arm wide while he drags the other hand up the keys.
Maze feels Eve's fingers lace through her own. She asks, "What do you mean, ba—"
Amenadiel and Linda land on the balcony. He helps her settle onto her feet and slides the glass door open for her.
"Luci, what in father's name is this incomprehensible text?" Amenadiel asks, waving his phone in the air. "'House emoji, hourglass emoji, thumbs up emoji, party emoji, flashlight emoji?'"
"I'm back," Lucifer repeats, "for good this time—party at Lux to celebrate. Honestly, brother, I thought you knew how to read all of the Earthly languages."
Amenadiel gripes, "Emoji is not a—" he cuts off, eyes widening. "You're back?"
Lucifer gives up on the piano, standing to gesture around him. "Yes. Did the English language change while I was away? No one seems to be understanding me to—"
Maze punches him on the arm so hard that she has to shake out her hand.
"Bloody hell! What was that for?" he asks, gaping exasperatedly.
His face isn't exactly the same. It should be. He's not supposed to change without her.
"Do you mean it?" she asks, throat burning.
"Of course I do," he answers gently. "I never lie."
It's a tiredness. She's still touching Eve, with the hand that didn't throw the punch. Linda's face is even warmer than the day they met.
Lucifer leans forward with his arms outstretched. Maze takes a half-step back with narrowed eyes and asks, "What're you doing?"
"Oh, for—I'm hugging you!"
Maze squints. "We don't hug."
"Sometimes change is a good thing, Mazikeen," he tells her.
She doesn't budge. The thought of it makes her chest hurt, like lungs filling with water.
"Right. Have it your way." Lucifer punches her back. Not nearly as hard, even though she could take it. She barks out a laugh without meaning to—it sounds too honest. Like it was living somewhere, waiting for him. "I've missed you, Maze."
Maze rubs the spot on her jacket that his knuckles touched. There's gray in his stubble, which he must want there. She wants him to look like he did in the beginning. When she was the only thing he had.
But, "I missed you, too," she answers, and she wants to ask him if he'll be happy again and she wants the answer to be, Yes, more than she wants him to be hers, and she wants him to ask her the same.
Eve clears her throat and takes a little step forward. "Um, hi, Luce. Long time, no see again, huh?"
"Not as long as last time, thankfully," he says, and they do hug. Her fingers slip out of Maze's grasp to wrap around his neck. "I've been rather busy quelling that demon rebellion you started. What've you been doing?"
"Oh, I'm sorry about that. Yeah." She rocks back onto her heels and takes Maze's hand again. "I've been mostly in Seattle."
"Ah, so about the same as me," says Lucifer.
Eve giggles; Maze rolls her eyes.
Lucifer is turning to greet Linda when the elevator doors slide open again and Trixie shouts, "Lucifer!"
Maze steps to the side so Trix can barrel into him.
"Ah, hello, urchin." Lucifer pats her on the back stiltedly. "How long was I away? I thought you had a bedtime."
"Special exception," Chloe says from the doorway. Her eyes are rubbed red already, like she cried on the way over. "Is it true? Are you really home?"
Lucifer's face softens even as he pries Trixie's arms off from around his waist. "I am, Detective."
Chloe glides across the room to him, her hands shaking and half-extended, and he gathers her up and kisses her in front of all of them. Linda gasps, her head resting against Amenadiel's arm.
Eve is pursing her lips tightly. It looks like she's trying to smile, or trying to do it less.
Maze squeezes her hand and then lets it go, making for the bedroom before they all get kicked out so Lucifer and Decker can make sweet love or whatever. She wants the damn pillowcases.
The closet is pristine, obviously. Maze throws sets of linens everywhere, a little vindictively, trying to think what color Eve would want in her place. She could ask, but it's awkward to go back out there now. Black is boring. Lucifer doesn't have yellow.
Maze picks a sleek silver and folds up the sheets, then stuffs them into a pillowcase. Her hands are shaking. She'll leave before he can ask her to.
"Mazikeen," Lucifer calls. Maze bites the inside of her cheek and walks back out into the living room. Everyone is sitting on the couch except for Eve—who's hovering near the piano where Maze left her—and Lucifer, at the bar. "At least let me pour you a drink, before you go?"
Maze swallows, looking at all of them. Linda is smiling at her. Trixie's in Chloe's lap, holding a glass of chocolate milk.
Lucifer gestures with her favorite bottle of Scotch.
"Okay," she says, and slides onto a stool to watch him pour.
There's quiet conversation behind them; someone talks about calling Ella and Dan. Lucifer slides the glass into her hand and she can't think of drinking it.
"I worried about you, while I was gone," he tells her. "I hoped you were well."
She swirls the scotch around, watching how it reflects the light. "It doesn't really matter how I was."
"I've no idea what you mean," he says.
"I'm supposed to live in the moment, right?" Maze finally takes a drink, rolling the sting around on her tongue. "Benefits of being soulless."
"Mazikeen," Lucifer says, and his voice cracks with something she has to chase down her throat. "I've never lost sleep over your soul. But I care very much about your heart."
Maze's second thought is of the balcony. How she could jump off of it, and he'd use those wings that once upon a time he made her hack off to catch her. Her third thought is about glass, and how it breaks.
Her first thought is, You're home.
Maze chugs the rest of her scotch and tells him, "Make the next one a double."
There's a letter:
I think about you when it rains, or when it hasn't for a long time.
I think about you when I see yellow things. Especially those sunflowers from the stupid farmer's market that Linda loves going to.
I think about you when I drive Trixie to school. The other day she told me that she hates her history teacher and that you should teach her instead. She's a pretty smart kid.
I think about you when I think about souls and Hell and how this is the only place I'll ever get to live again, and how it's worth it.
I think about you even when I can't say it out loud.
It's stuck to the wall by a yellow pushpin that's kissing Los Angeles, deadcenter. The edges flutter in the breeze that comes from the open window, carrying the sound of giggling down the hall.