Lynne tried to hold herself together long enough to confirm her address with the driver. You haven't even gotten past step 1, Lynne. Pull it together! Emily's due home in less than an hour!
She took a deep breath and pushed her emotions as far back as she could. "Sorry for the dramatic goodbye scene, I normally try not to be such a cliché. So, what's the craziest pickup you've had?"
She lost herself in small talk, and before she knew it she was home. She thanked Liam for the ride and headed inside. She looked around at her apartment and it looked almost foreign, as if she hadn't seen it in decades. She shook the feeling off as she made her way to her room to change out of his clothes, regretting not having the foresight to put her dirty clothes on just for the ride home, and now she was stuck with a physical reminder of him. She shook her head and buried them in her closet to be dealt with later.
She walked back to the kitchen to clean up the dishes she had left there, planning to wash when she got up on Saturday. But instead, she woke up on Saturday to her world turning upside down... Get it together. Focus on step 2. Can't give Grandma C any more reasons to judge you…
She turned her speakers on and pulled out her phone for some music to drown out her thoughts. Unable to choose a particular album or station, she hit shuffle and let Pandora make the decision for her. "Three Little Birds" began playing, and she lifted her gaze upwards as Bob Marley assured her every little thing was gonna be all right, a sense of hopefulness rising up within her. Nice one, God. Good looking out for your new pal.
Grateful for the noise and distraction, she set to work on the dishes and forced herself to dance along to the music in an effort to lighten her mood.
Lucifer pulled his head out of his hands and hit a few errant chords. He wanted to drown his sorrows in music, but nothing felt quite right. He got up and grabbed a bottle from the bar and reached underneath into his hiding spot for a pack of cigarettes and an ashtray. He took a swig of the bourbon as he walked back to the piano and set them down on the lid. He lit a cigarette and took a few big gulps, staring at the keys.
He nearly finished the bottle when the right song finally came to him. He set it back down and began to play, the chords simultaneously breaking open his heart and comforting him. He was grateful to finally be able shift some of the burden from his mind into the music. He stubbed out his cigarette and began to sing.
How can I just let you walk away?
Just let you leave without a trace?
When I stand here taking every breath with you, ooh ooh
You're the only one who really knew me at all…
How can you just walk away from me
When all I can do is watch you leave?
'Cause we've shared the laughter and the pain, and even shared the tears.
You're the only one who really knew me at all…
Lynne looked up towards Heaven again as the next song began to tug at her heartstrings. Really? Isn't this a little too on-the-nose for you? Sorry God, and sorry, Phil. I'm not ready for another breakdown just yet. Try again after bedtime, please.
She began walking over to her phone to skip the song, but Emily burst through the front door and ran towards her. "Mommy!"
Lynne scooped her up and twirled her around as Phil's voice floated through the room.
So take a look at me now
Well there's just an empty space
And there's nothing left here to remind me
Just a memory of your face
She hugged Emily tighter as tears began to fall. Emily giggled. "Put me down, I'm getting dizzy!" Lynne set her down gently and let go. "Why are you crying? Did you get dizzy too?"
Lynne's laughter stopped her tears. "No, boo bear, I'm not dizzy. I just really missed you and sometimes people cry when they miss someone!" Nice save! And not one lie in there...
Emily giggled again. "I'm right here, Mom, you don't have to miss me anymore. All better now?"
Lynne pulled her in for another hug. "Your hugs always make me feel better." She smiled as Emily ran to her room and walked over to her grandmother waiting in the doorway, who had been smiling at them but careful not to overstep or interrupt their reunion.
"Thank you, Miranda," she said as she helped her with the bags. "Truly. Thank you." Before she knew it, Lynne had dropped the bags and was hugging her. Why am I hugging her? She hates me!
She went to pull away, but Miranda hugged her back. "The pleasure was all mine, Lynne. We had the time of our lives with her this weekend, and I regret not doing so more often. I want that to change, if you wouldn't mind. I want to cherish every minute I can with her before it's too late and she's all grown up. She's an amazing little girl, Lynne, and it's because of you. I truly meant it when I said you're doing a great job with her."
Lynne felt tears flooding back into her eyes as Miranda handed her the olive branch she'd always wanted and did her best to hold them back. "Thank you. It means a lot to me to hear you say that, and I'm sorry I didn't make more of an effort to force the issue. I just didn't have it in me after everything and accepted the 'out of sight out of mind' approach as a means of self-preservation. But as she's gotten older, I'm realizing that it may be what's easiest for us, but not for her, and I can't tell you how happy I am to hear you say that. I'd be thrilled for her get to know you and your side of her family better, it would be so good for her."
Emily ran back towards them. "What's good for me?"
Miranda kneeled down and hugged her. "Coming to camp Grandma more often! You in, cupcake?"
"Duh!" she giggled as she squeezed her and began running back to her room. "Catch you on the flip side, Grandma C!"
Lynne began to apologize for Emily's rudeness, but Miranda stopped her with one last hug. "Go enjoy that little blessing of yours. I'll be in touch!"
Lynne nodded and shut the door. She began to walk over to help Emily unpack as the song continued playing in the background.
Now take a look at me now
'Cause there's just an empty space
But to wait for you is all I can do
And that's what I've got to face
Lucifer's voice began to crack as he sang, but he didn't care anymore as he threw himself into the song, desperate for solace.
Take a good look at me now
'Cause I'll still be standing here
And you coming back to me is against all odds
It’s the chance I’ve got to take
Take a look at me now…