"So when are you going to tell Amenadiel you're in love with him again?" Maze asks, around a mouthful of apple.
Warm in the (still partially bubble-wrapped) living room, Linda stops rocking Charlie for a moment. "What?"
"You, and the big dumb angel." Maze gestures widely. "Father of that baby."
"I know who he is," Linda says. "Why would you say that? And anyway, why are you always eating apples these days?"
Maze's face goes blank. "No reason." She gets up from her lolling posture on the couch, kisses her fingertip and touches it to Charlie's forehead, and then stomps off to her room. Over her shoulder, however, she says, "I release you from your best-friend promise to give him up. Because you're my friend, and I see you yearning. Someone on this stupid plane of existence should be happy."
In her arms Charlie makes a noise. It's not hunger, it's…a laugh, Linda realizes numbly. Not at one of her funny faces or Amenadiel tickling him gently, but at her. At his Auntie Maze laying a truth-bomb on his mother, and his mother just a little blown apart.
"Don't you start," she tells him, and kisses his forehead, and keeps her freak-out all inside.
He laughs again, and she realizes that she's going to have to deal with this.
"I think I have feelings for the father of my child," she says to her therapist, Dr Jake Myers, the lead counselor in a practice in the Valley. (All L.A. therapists have therapists. It's part of the zeitgeist. The stress. The peer pressure. The L.A. thing.)
Dr Myers –50-something, famous amateur surfer whom Dan fangirled when she mentioned his name— stretches out his legs and cocks his head. "Why wouldn't you have feelings for him?"
She knows that line of questioning. She's thought of that line of questioning. After all, he's Amenadiel. He's a big dumb angel with the face and body of a small-g god and the heart of a lion. After the first two weeks of dealing with Charlie and the aftershock of attempted demonic kidnapping and everyone's grief over Lucifer's absence, she told Amenadiel he could move into the garage apartment at her place. He has been here for them all for the past three and a half months.
He has declared himself the stay-at-home parent, freeing her to go back to work after six weeks. She catches him auditing courses on child care online, taking notes in a beautiful, ornate hand in a language she doesn't speak. When she wants her Charlie time alone, he goes off to a youth center in that tragic young man Caleb's neighborhood – Ella unquestioningly gave him enough to pass a background check – and plays basketball and gives angelic advice to the boys and girls who need him.
And he takes care of her, too. He makes her lunch every day she goes to the office. He has dinner ready when she gets home (after texting her multiple choices so she can pick what she likes). He liaises with the gardener and the housekeeper so that Linda only has to work and be a mom. She still is sleep-deprived and a little manic, but without him she'd be sinking.
Sinking, falling…. She thinks of Lucifer, and beats back sadness. They all miss him so much.
Amenadiel sits in the window seat in her breakfast room some evenings, looking up at where the stars would be if there weren't so much light pollution, and she thinks she's never seen a more beautiful soul in her life. Which, honestly, she probably hasn't.
"Okay, right. It's natural. The thing is… the thing is that I was the one who broke it off."
Dr Myers crosses his ankles. It's a tell, she thinks. In sessions she needs to watch her own body language more carefully. But his voice is perfectly neutral. "Do you regret your choice?"
"It was the right choice at the time," she says without hesitation, and feels better for saying it.
"But this is a different time?" he says.
She looks past him to the wall behind him. A wall of plaques glint gold in the afternoon light. First Place, Legends Shortboard. Second Place. First Place.
"It might be," she says, and the clock buzzes to mark the end of their session.
She drives down Laurel Canyon on her way home. The sun is falling. She knows who the Morningstar is, but she wonders who the keeper of the evening light might be. Amenadiel would know.
The world is gold and silver, and she is yearning. Maze is right, and it's fucking annoying.
When she walks in the door, she hears familiar crying. Not Charlie, though – "Chloe?" she says, and after dropping her briefcase, goes into the kitchen.
Amenadiel stands there, one arm around Chloe's heaving shoulders, the other arm holding a spatula. "It'll pass," he says softly.
"Will it? It doesn't feel like it," Chloe sobs.
"I wasn't talking to you, dear heart. Your tears do you credit, your pain is real," he says, and raises his eyebrows at Linda. "How was your day?"
"Fine. Where's Charlie?"
"In the nursery. Beatrix is watching him for us. To give her mother a moment." He gestures to Chloe with the spatula, and it should look funny, but Linda loves him for it.
Yep, loves him. Shit.
Maze powers into the kitchen, her work-bag over her shoulder, and takes a beer. "Off to work. Should be back tomorrow," she says.
"You're not driving with that beer, are you?" Chloe says shakily, looking up.
"Shut up, Decker. Or I won't bring you over here anymore."
"I can come on my own, you know," Chloe says, and steps away from Amenadiel in order to blow her nose on a paper towel.
Amenadiel is looking at Linda, big warm dark eyes and a half-smile over the Kiss the Cook apron he'd bought at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market. "Almost a full house tonight."
"The more the merrier," she says absently, staring at his smile. Then, catching herself, "How soon is dinner? Do I have time for a shower?"
"We'll wait for you," he says, and turns around to the oven.
Chloe throws away the paper towel, and Linda puts her arm around her as they walk out of the kitchen. "Bad day, Chloe?"
"Just…" She tries to smile, and fails utterly. Bless the woman – excellent detective and mother, wonderful heart, looks like a model, but the funniest awkward duck in these kind of moments. It speaks well of Lucifer's heart that he loved – loves – her in all her complexity, Linda thinks.
"You miss him," Linda says, and gives her a squeeze.
"So much," Chloe says on a whisper. "And I didn't tell him until too late."
Linda knows about projection; she knows about the folly of seeing signs everywhere to support what one already wants to do. But come on.
Charlie and Trixie are laughing together, gold and silver chiming on a happy note, and when Linda walks into the nursery, the first thing she sees is a swinging star-shaped light. Come on.
After she nurses Charlie and has a quick shower, everyone sits down to dinner. Amenadiel has made a spinach and feta lasagna, with salad. (She has to be careful with spices, Charlie doesn't always react well to them.) She drinks sparkling water. She is quiet, watching the hubbub that Trixie creates all by herself, watching Chloe lose the tightness around her eyes as she laughs at her daughter, watching Amenadiel handle the human chaos like a pro.
She was right to break it off, Linda thinks again. And she's right to see if he would like to resume their romantic relationship.
She knows that this must be handled delicately, because she and Amenadiel will be co-parenting regardless of his answer. She can be delicate. Probably.
After dinner he breaks out the ice cream. Chloe eats two scoops with a desperation Linda knows well, and then gathers up Trixie so that she's ready when Ella comes to pick them up. Ella has to have ice cream too, of course, and then Dan FaceTimes in on Trixie's tablet – he's working a late shift, dead body somewhere – and then the circus leaves town. Mom and Dad have an hour of cuddle-time with Charlie, then their son indicates he is ready for bed by falling fast asleep in Amenadiel's arms.
"I'll put him in bed," Linda says, and takes him from his dad gently, so gently. He doesn't wake up.
When she comes back, she has the words ready, she thinks. But Amenadiel's not in the living room. She knows he's here, though, she can feel his presence.
Window seat, looking up at the stars, sad eyes. Of course.
"Do you miss it?" she says, sitting down on the sliver of seat left. He takes up a lot of space.
"Miss… heaven?" he says, slowly, as if translating from another language.
"You look up at the sky at night. A lot. And I… I know you won't take Charlie to the Silver City—"
"I have promised you I won't."
"I know. But I need to know if you're…regretting the choice."
"Linda," he says, his voice deep and soft and beautiful. "I could not regret the joys of being here. Of being with humans, even in this harsh world."
"Just, um, with humans?"
He hesitates, and it's fair, she's earned that. "No. Not just with humans," he says, and then, "I'm not very good at reading these kinds of moments. Could you tell me what exactly you're asking?"
Bless the man and his emotional openness. She can be no less than honest in return. "I don't regret letting you go – it was right at the time. But I wonder if we're… in a different time now. If you would be interested in getting back together." She manages a smile. "Maze said it's okay—"
And whatever else she might say is lost when he kisses her. He tastes different now, as if regaining his powers means that he is more of an angel than ever: his tongue is so sweet, so honeyed. If she didn't love him before, this kiss would change her. She feels light traveling throughout her body, feels nothing but love.
"I would be very interested," he says, and then… shifts position so that she is on his lap, her head against his shoulder, his arms around her. "But let's look at the stars first."
In his arms, she can see further than her mere human perception. The lights from millions of years away are brighter, burning through human disasters and haze, gold and silver scattered through indigo. She thinks of Lucifer, of Chloe. She leans back, and blinks back her own tears, and hears the sounds of wings opening, white in the dark.