They awoke the next morning to the sound of seagulls cawing overhead and rays of sun bursting through the clouds, painting the sky with shades of pink and purple. Lynne sighed as she nestled further into Lucifer's embrace and listened to his heart gently beating as he kissed the crown of her head. She began to drift back to sleep, but Lucifer's ears perked and he sat up. "I don't want to alarm you, love, but I think I hear voices in the distance. It's hard to tell over the sound of the ocean, but I fear our peaceful bubble may soon be burst."
"Shit!" Lynne stumbled as she got up and ran around looking for her clothes and Lucifer laughed softly. She turned around and shot him a dirty look. "Stop laughing! Get dressed!" She found her shirt and put it on inside out. "Fuck, why did I wear a skirt? Who wears skirts at this hour? What the fuck, Lucifer, pull your pants up and put those wings away, pronto!"
Lucifer laughed again as he rolled his shoulders and his wings went back to their resting place. "I see where you're coming from with the wings, but why are you in such a tizzy? Surely we're not the first lovers to fall asleep in each other’s arms up here."
Lynne rolled her eyes as she shook out the blankets and wrapped one around her. She threw the other one at him as she walked to the edge of the cliff and sat down, dangling her legs over the edge. "It's a state park, you bozo. We're gonna get arrested for trespassing or at least public indecency. Now wrap that around your godforsaken tailored pants and get over here!"
He shook his head and chuckled as he followed her orders and sat down beside her. She leaned against his shoulder as she heard the voices coming closer. "Act natural," she whispered, and he stifled another laugh as she yawned dramatically and stretched out her arms as wide as she could underneath the blanket as the footsteps came closer.
"You're right, honey, this sunrise was definitely worth waking up so early, I'm sorry I threw those pillows at you." She kissed his cheek and saw an older couple standing behind them out of the corner of her eyes. She turned and smiled at them. "Oh, good morning! Have you come to enjoy the view as well? Here, we can move over…"
The woman smiled and grabbed her partner's arm. "Oh, Henry, aren't they just so sweet? Do you remember all those years ago when you used to drag me out of bed and up here?" She sighed. "Nowadays I'm lucky if I sleep past 5… Ahh, to be young and in love again."
Henry scoffed. "Yeah, being old and in love is such a drag, isn't it, Gertie…"
Gertie chuckled. "Oh hush, now, Henry, my love for you grows stronger and stronger every day." She kissed his cheek and turned back to Lynne and Lucifer. "It's ok, dearies, you stay put and enjoy yourselves, we've seen this sunrise a million times. But would you take a word of advice from an old lady before we leave you?"
It was Lucifer's turn to scoff. "Oh pish posh, darling, you couldn't be a day over 55."
Lynne elbowed him. "Dial it back," she hissed quietly through her teeth.
Gertie laughed. "Oh, you're a charming one, dearie, but that would mean I married my Henry here in the hospital nursery."
Lynne giggled. "What he's trying to say is yes, we would love some wisdom from someone who's managed to make a relationship work that long. What's your secret?"
Gertie smiled. "Trust, honesty, and communication. You need to be best friends first and lovers second, or you'll never be able to ride the waves life throws at you."
Henry smiled lovingly at Gertie as he wrapped his arms around her shoulders. "It's true. People throw around the old adage of 'happy wife, happy life', but take it from an old man- that's utter horseshit! Relationships take work and equal effort from both parties. It won't always be 50/50, and that's okay. Compromises are also important, but the scales need to balance out at the end of the day or resentment will grow and eat away at your relationship. Be open with each other about everything. And be willing to truly listen in return."
"I think that's the best advice I've ever gotten, thank you both so much!” She squeezed Lucifer’s arm. “I'm up for signing that agreement. What do you say, Lucifer?"
Lucifer smiled and kissed her forehead. "It's a deal."
Henry smiled as he and Gertie walked away. "Are my hearing aids busted, or did she call him Lucifer?"
Gertie chuckled as she squeezed his arm. "His parents must have met at Woodstock…"
Lynne and Lucifer cuddled together in comfortable silence as the sun made its way above the clouds. She sighed as she began to stand up. "I hate to burst our bubble, but we should probably get out of here before more people come." She walked back towards the rock and began to gather up their things.
He sighed as he joined her and helped her bring the pillows and blankets back to her trunk. "Thanks." She hugged him and drew him in for a kiss. "So now what?"
Lucifer smiled. "Let's discuss that over breakfast, shall we?"
Lynne sighed as she looked down at her outfit. "I'm not really dressed for breakfast, even if I fix my shirt, and I don't even want to know what my hair looks like right now."
"You're right, you're beautiful to me no matter what, but it looks like one of those seagulls built a nest in it. You may scare the locals..." Lucifer laughed as he reached into his glovebox and rummaged around. He turned her around and began brushing her hair. "Worry not, darling, your handsome devil is here to save the day. It's Sunday morning, after all. We can pretend we just came from one of Dad's worship circles. I believe some of those people go all out to impress him, as if he cares what they look like if their souls don't match..."
Lynne smiled. "True, true. Now why don't you fix that matching nest of yours and get behind the wheel, Reverend Morningstar. I'll follow you."
They were soon sharing more laughs over breakfast at a swanky restaurant. Lucifer went to refill her mimosa, but Lynne put her hand over the glass. "Thanks, but I need to go pick up Emily soon and report back to the squad. They've been blowing up my phone all morning and refused to accept my thumbs-up text as a sufficient response."
"Well, then, I suppose we should get down to it then. Where do we go from here?" he asked as he refilled his glass.
Lynne took a long sip of her coffee. "Well, normally I'd say we take a big step back and hit the reset button, start from square one again, but I think we're way beyond that by now. What do you want to do?"
Lucifer flashed her a devilish smile. "Kidnap you and hold you captive in Lux so I can pleasure you indefinitely."
Lynne laughed. "Sounds divine, but there's that whole 'reality' thing hanging over our heads, or at least mine… So did you really mean it about wanting to give this a shot? I know it's a huge risk for you as well, and totally understand if you need time to process and slowly build that trust back up."
Lucifer took her hands in his. "I'm done questioning everything, at least for now. It's exhausting and futile.” He sighed. “I think it did actually really help to release all that anger and frustration last night.” He hung his head. “Sorry again for that vile behavior...”
“I forgive you. Although if a stern ‘stop' wasn’t abundantly clear enough for you, we should probably come up with a safe word for next time. If there is a next time...”
Lucifer smiled. “How about monkeybottoms?” Lynne laughed as she nodded, and he moved their hands into a handshake. “I'm willing to trust you with my heart, if you're willing to trust me with yours and stop letting that damned fear of yours consume you. Do we have a deal?”
She shook his hand as tears began to well in her eyes. She tilted her head and blinked them back inside before meeting his gaze again. "It's a deal, Lucifer, and it means more to me than you'll ever know to make that bargain.” She sighed heavily. “But it was blatantly obvious last night that I still have some shit to work through before I can fully commit to that without risking hurting you. When push came to shove last night and my heart was shaking me from the inside and screaming at me that I loved you, truly loved you, even when you were…” She shook her head and sighed again. “I could no longer deny it. But that stupid mindfuck I laid on myself all those years ago came barging out, guns-a-blazing, and I had no way to stop it. We BOTH lost control of ourselves last night, Lucifer. There was a fucking death match going on inside me, and there was nothing I could do to break it up. That demon had the upper hand for a while and that really scares me. I'm horrified that despite everything between us and all the work I've done over the past months, nay, decade to vanquish that demon, it still happened. And I'm scared that my will alone won't be strong enough to stop it next time."
Lucifer nodded. “I'm relieved to not be the only one with a demon I'm unable to control…”
“Maze doesn’t seem that bad…” She smiled and took another sip of her coffee. "I'm so glad you showed up last night, and I’m incredibly happy we're finally being honest with ourselves and each other, but a little part of me regrets not waiting just a little longer before texting you. I told myself that the chances of us ending up here were slim to nil, and just selfishly went for it anyway. But I really should have made sure I was truly ready for this possibility before bringing you back into my messy spiral."
Lucifer sighed as he squeezed her hands. "Since we're being honest, Lynne, had you waited much longer I would have self-imploded. Even with Linda's help, I was just incrementally better, and it was only a matter of time before I broke again. I'm an expert in all kinds of fucking except the mental variety, but something tells me that you would have never felt ready and likely would have kept on waiting indefinitely. Or at the very least, have written me off as a big mistake like that other fellow, and moved on to practice with someone else, a fresh slate as it were."
"You're right, that's my M.O. Are you sure you didn't call Linda on the way over here?"
Lucifer chuckled. "No, but I did text her and told her to clear her schedule for the next few days."
Lynne blushed as she burst into laughter. "So did I! Oh, poor sweet Linda, how does she manage to deal with both of us without going crazy?"
"Oh, love, she was driven crazy long ago, and eventually came out the other side and just accepts my insanity know. Even enjoys it sometimes, though she'll never admit it."
"She really is incredible, you're lucky to have a friend like her on your side. As am I, I suppose, if she really meant what she said about seeing me despite knowing what a truly selfish asshole I really am. I'd suggest we pay her a visit and see what she thinks we should do, but she's just as stubborn as you are about that whole 'you're the only one that knows the answer' garbage."
"Well, Lynne, our lovely doctor has a point. You need time, and I've got it in spades. But I need to spend some of that time with you, at least in some capacity, or I'll fall into my own messy spiral again. So what CAN you commit to as you work through everything? I'm all ears, love." He leaned back in his chair and sipped his mimosa.
"Well, even if I didn't have all that baggage, I would still want to take things slow versus jumping into something crazy serious right away. Yes, we love and trust each other, but let's face it, just about every minute we've spent together has been incredibly dramatic, like we're Romeo and Juliet or some shit. It's just not sustainable and we might risk going supernova before we have a chance to actually give this thing a shot."
He raised an eyebrow but resisted the urge to share his history with William. "This is true. Supernovas are an incredible sight, but I can see how we may want to consider taking a step back and throwing some slightly less intense experiences in the mix to balance it out..."
"I'm glad you agree. Maybe we can try and build that foundation of friendship our pals Henry and Gertie talked about?"
Lucifer scoffed. "Don't you dare consider putting me in the friend-zone, Lynne."
"No, not at all. We can still 'shag away to our hearts' content', as I believe you so lovingly put it once. Besides, I have no desire to be with anyone else right now, you’ve set the bar WAY too high for any other man to see it without a telescope.” Lucifer shrugged and smiled smugly. “But if other people are something you want to do, I can be okay with it."
Lucifer chuckled. "It's funny you should say that… I dove into my hedonistic lifestyle for the first few weeks, no problem, but once I started actually letting Linda help me and slowly coming to grips with how I felt about you, I physically couldn't do it. And I tried, oh how I tried, but little Lucifer failed me and embarrassed me in the process. I believe you may have actually texted me during that mortifying attempt, perhaps that was one of dead old Dad’s lovely little signs he adores so much..."
She tried to hold back her laughter as she pictured the king of pleasure and desire experiencing erectile dysfunction for the first time in his life. "I'm sorry that happened, that must have been so awful and awkward! But selfishly, I'm kind of relieved not-so-little Lucifer took that option off the table, at least for now." She reached over and pet his crotch. "Thanks for looking out for me like you always do, buddy. You're the best."
Lucifer rolled his eyes as he fought back his laughter. "Please, Lynne, don't make it any more demeaning than it already is."
"Sorry, I couldn't help myself. But seriously, beyond the hordes of lovers, our lifestyles are VERY different, and I would never EVER ask you to change for me, although we’ll both probably have to step outside our respective comfort zones a bit. I'm more than willing to do so, but the sad truth is that I don't have as much time as I wish I did and I'm not sure how well I can cater to your needs and lifestyle. I have some HUGE responsibilities that I can't escape and really put a damper on my freedom. It just wouldn’t be fair to have the scales tipped so heavily on my side..." She sighed.
"I understand. You were very up front about that with me before, and I knew full well going into this that I would need to be more flexible and accommodating to your lifestyle than you ever could be to mine, and I'm okay with that. On days or nights that you're free from work and other commitments but can't go out, I'll come to you! I've become quite good at those board games little humans enjoy so much, and I don't even have to be the top hat anymore."
Lynne sighed again. "Thank you, that's very kind of you, but-"
"Stop right there, Lynne. You heard our friend Henry, you need to be willing to compromise. What could you possibly find at fault in what I offered?"
She shook her head as she took a sip of his mimosa. "I am willing to compromise, and I greatly appreciate the offer and sentiment behind it. I would love nothing more than to agree, but it's not just me or you that would be impacted by it. As much as I care about you, Emily is my top priority. Her happiness comes first, before yours, before mine, before anything. Always. She's something I will never compromise on."
Lucifer squeezed her hand gently. "I know, Lynne, and would never dream of asking you to do anything that may potentially impact her negatively. You two are a package deal, and I will happily put her first, always. And before you object again, I am nowhere near ready to jump into any sort of fatherly role anytime soon, no offense. And I respect that if and when I ever am, that decision is ultimately yours to make. That being said, the idea of me never coming to your house or meeting her is just unrealistic. You need to be willing to wear the sweatpants in public, Lynne."
Lynne blew out a deep breath, trying not to show the anger that was boiling up inside of her. "I'm sorry, Lucifer, but unlike your suit, this topic is non-negotiable. I'm willing to risk my own heart, but I will NEVER risk hers. If that's a deal-breaker for you, then you're welcome to walk."
Lucifer sighed in frustration. "What risk is there, Lynne? Are you still so unsure of me that you're willing to throw this all away again so soon and use your daughter as another excuse?"
Lynne's heart began to pound, and she used every ounce of control she had left to resist the urge to slap him across his smug handsome face. She could hear Linda's voice in her head as her blood pressure began to rise. Deep breaths, Lynne. Don't spiral. Don't run. Deal with this rationally. She refilled her mug and made a tornado with her spoon. She poured a splash of milk in and continued her deep breathing as she watched it swirl and swirl until she had finally stepped back from the ledge.
"Lucifer... I want to make this work. I really do. I appreciate your willingness to call me out on my shit, and I hope you continue feeling comfortable enough with me to do so. But when it comes to Emily, you need to back the fuck off. That is a boundary you have no right to overstep until the time comes, if ever, when you're a major part of her life. And even then, when it comes to the big stuff, I need you to respect the fact that I am her mother and have final say unless you truly feel like the decision I make will hurt her in some way and I'm too blinded by whatever to realize it myself. Do you understand?"
He nodded. "Good. And for the record, you’re not the reason for my hesitation whatsoever. I genuinely don’t feel as though the risks I bring to the table have been properly mitigated. I understand that you're willing to stick around for that and love you even more because of it, but I will not be comfortable having her so much as catch a glimpse of you until I feel like I'm in a place where I won't subconsciously hit the self-destruct button on us. She's been hurt by my relationship failures before, and I made a vow to NEVER do that to her again. I'm fully committed to fixing that part of me as soon as humanly possible, for many reasons, but I know myself… If you pressure me about her during that time, my run-risk will skyrocket. There are already two hearts I have to worry about breaking, I just don't have it in me to handle a third."
She took another sip of coffee. "I'm sorry to throw such a huge ultimatum out there, I really am, but that's the only way I see this working, at least for now. I promise you that I will do my best to make myself available as often as I can while I work through my shit. I'll cash in every favor, sick day, and babysitter it takes to do so, but I need you to just bear with me in the meantime. I need time and possibly some space, but more than anything I desperately need patience. I know that's a LOT to ask of you, especially after everything you've been through even before I came along and fucked your life up, but I'm just trying to be as upfront and honest with you as I can so you know what you're potentially getting yourself into."
Talk about scales going out of balance… Lucifer finished his mimosa as he contemplated her offer. "Well, I suppose I really don't have a choice here, do I Lynne. It's either nothing or an indefinite limbo. I can't settle for nothing, so I suppose I will just have to come along for the ride. All I ask in return is that you hold true to your end of the bargain, and keep communicating with me openly and honestly, no matter how scary or bad it may get in your head. I will not pressure you, but I will expect a say in all matters other than Emily when and where appropriate. I'm an equal part of this relationship and will NOT be held at arm's length indefinitely. Do we have a deal?"
Lynne smiled. "We have a deal."
"Marvelous.” He flashed her a devilish grin as she shook her hand. “Let's go consummate it in the parking lot before you go pick her up." He threw a wad of cash on the table and grabbed her hand to help her up. She laughed as they made their way outside and into her backseat.