Almost three weeks had passed since Lynne left Lux, and it had been four full days since she had even thought of Lucifer. Everything was going according to plan - keep busy, get over him, and move on with your life – a tried and true method to avoid feelings that she had implemented so many times before it was second nature at this point.
It was hard at first, harder than all the others combined, but she had made a deal with the devil and had no other choice but to uphold it. Her friends were pestering her for details of her weekend dalliance with the infamous owner of Lux, but work had been the perfect excuse to avoid them and served as her anchor, keeping her from drifting away in the sea of emotions that threatened to drown her when he crossed her mind. She threw herself into extra projects and initiatives, which filled her days and nights when she wasn't playing SuperMom to Emily or finally giving in and joining the PTO at her school. By keeping busy, Lynne was able to escape her mental anguish long enough for it to slowly fade away and be replaced by a renewed sense of purpose within her former life, which was all she had ever desired. Or so she thought…
Lucifer woke up in his bed surrounded by bodies he barely recognized, a daily routine he had established the night Lynne left. He climbed out from under the them and walked out towards the bar. He tripped over another pile of people and caught himself on the counter. Bloody hell, where did they come from? he thought to himself as he grabbed a bottle of bourbon. He drank half of it as he looked around his penthouse.
Empty bottles, takeout containers, random articles of clothing, and passed out party-goers cluttered almost every surface he could see, and he slowly began to fill with rage. Hedonism had helped distract him from his pain, but he could no longer bear the thought of being surrounded by strangers for one more second. "EVERYBODY OUT!" he roared.
A few of the bodies began to stir, but none heeded his instruction. The rage within him grew stronger and he sighed in exasperation. He finished the bottle and threw it against the shelves behind his bar, the waterfall of crashing glass a rude wake up call to his no-longer-welcome guests. He walked through his penthouse, pulling them up from where they slept and pushed them towards the elevator, embers burning in his eyes.
"I said everybody out! LEAVE ME!" he bellowed as he walked into his room to remove the bodies from his bed. Barely awake but fully shocked, they scurried towards the elevator and tried to get dressed as they waited for its return trip. The doors opened again, and he walked back towards them. "NOW!" he commanded, the fury of hell in his voice. The frightened group piled in and left.
He rummaged through the mess behind the bar and found one lonely bottle that hadn't smashed. He drank half of it as he walked to his piano, lit a cigarette, and began to play. The elevator dinged and the doors opened. He heard footsteps coming towards him and his eyes became fully engulfed by flames. He kept them locked on the keys as he continued playing. "If you've forgotten something, see the doorman this evening. NOW BE GONE!"
The body pushed him to the side of the bench before sitting down next to him. "No, Lucifer! I'm not leaving until you tell me why three dozen humans just ran out of Lux like the hounds of Hell were chasing them."
Lucifer turned towards her, his voice low and graveled. "Mazikeen, now is not the time. I need to be alone. Leave me. NOW," he snarled as he moved to push her.
She grabbed his arm and twisted it behind his back before punching him square in the jaw. "I've left you alone long enough, Lucifer, and if you keep acting this way, you're going to jeopardize everything we've built. You almost ruined both of our lives when Chloe left, I will NOT allow that to happen again!"
Lucifer wiped the blood from his lip with his free hand. "You insolent bloody demon…" He grabbed her, knocking the bench over in the process, and threw her over the piano towards the pile of shattered glass behind the bar. Her body skidded across the counter and she caught herself on the ledge before she fell.
She growled as she jumped down and ran towards him, leaping off the overturned bench to kick him in the chest. He bent down to block her, and she somersaulted over his back, landing on all fours. She stood up and brushed herself off. "Lucifer, cut the shit! You knew her for THREE FUCKING DAYS!"
"HOW DARE YOU!" He lunged towards her and grabbed her by the throat, lifting her up against his bookcase, bringing her higher and higher above his head as she choked. He held her there for a few moments, the flames in his eyes growing stronger, and she began to cackle. A look of surprise flashed across his face and she kicked him in his chest, her leather heel digging into his ribcage, causing him to momentarily loosen his grip.
She quickly fell to her feet, ducked down under his arms and catapulted him into his desk, laughing as it cracked into a dozen pieces. “So it’s gonna be like that, huh?” She smiled as he stumbled through the pile of broken wood to stand up again.
A devilish smile ran across his face as he brushed some splinters from his hair. “I suppose it is, my dear Mazikeen. It’s been far too long since we’ve done this,” he said, rubbing his hands together as they began to circle each other. “Shall we skip right to shagging, or do you desire more foreplay?”
Maze took a tentative step towards him and laughed again as he flinched away from her. “Wuss,” she muttered as they continued their dance. The flames in his eyes grew brighter and in an instant he had her by the throat again, ready to throw her through the wall of glass, but he hesitated momentarily and she quickly spun around and swung a leg against the back of his knees, causing them to buckle, and he collapsed to the ground.
She rolled her eyes as she ground her boot into his back. “You're patheti-“ Lucifer grinned as he grabbed onto her legs and swung her across the room, laughing as she crashed into his couch. She groaned. “A soft landing? That’s all you’ve got?” Lucifer grinned again and ran towards her, hurtling both of them into one of the stone pillars and creating a new crack.
“Oh, there’s plenty more where that came from, darling. Surely it hasn’t been that long that you’d have forgotten…” He ran his tongue across her cheek and she kneed him in the groin, chuckling as he doubled over.
“In your dreams.” She scoffed as she picked him up by his shoulders and threw him through the wall of glass onto the patio. He quickly jumped back up and ran towards her, and she stuck her arm out just in time for him to clothesline into it as she blew some dust away from underneath her fingernails. He grabbed her by the hair and tackled her to the ground on his way down.
He seized her hands and held them above her head as he leaned into her ear and whispered. “Well if we can’t make love, then war it is.” He kissed her cheek before grabbing her hair again, picking her up by it until they were nose to nose, and grinned as he moved to smash her head against the floor. She twisted out of his grip and rolled them over, straddling him as she pulled out her blade and held it against his neck.
His fingers quickly released their grasp in her hair. "Lucifer, don't make me do this. You're lucky I still give a shit about you after everything you've put me through over the years. I'm here to help you, you idiot! Don't push me away like you do with everyone else." A flash of sorrow ran across his face and she loosened the grip of her knees against his chest.
His lips curled into a smile as his body began to shift and she pressed the blade gently into his neck, causing a small stream of blood to trickle down it. "Final warning, Lucifer. Stop fighting and start talking or I walk out of here and never look back."
He looked up at her, gazing into her eyes as he pondered his next move. He desperately wanted to throw her off of him and towards the elevator, giving her some assistance on her way out of his life. He knew that he could, that she would never actually hurt him, but he saw a flash of pain mixed with the anger in her eyes and knew that her words weren't just an idle threat. He couldn't bear the thought of losing the only other person he genuinely loved, and tears welled in his eyes, dousing the flames within them. "Please don't leave, Maze, I can't lose you too."
A few tears began to fall and she slowly climbed off him, a look of disgust on her face. "You're a wreck, Lucifer, I barely recognize you right now.” She crouched down, sitting on her heels as she sighed. “It's bad enough that you chose to remain among humanity and try it on for size, challenging yourself to try and 'find balance'. Hell, I even chose to stay along for the ride of my own accord." She shook her head. "But this? This blubbering mess on the floor in front of me right now? This isn't you, Lucifer.” She grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him. “What the fuck is wrong with you?!"
Lucifer sat up and hung his head in his hands. "I don't know, Maze, I don't recognize myself either. This is different than the last time. I'm different. She's different..." His shoulders began to heave as more tears fell.
"Enough with the waterworks already…" She rolled her eyes and sighed in frustration. "You can't keep going on like this, Lucifer. If everything is so different this time, maybe you need to do something different to snap out of it."
"I can see someone's been spending too much time with their favorite human…" He scoffed. "Tell me, Doctor Demon, since you're such an expert now, what do you suggest I do?"
"I don't know, how about you try talking to Linda and actually listening to what she says for once?"
Lucifer began to laugh. "Come, now, Maze. I've been doing that for years! But maybe I could use a dose of the good old Doctor's medicine for old time's sake…"
Maze brought her blade to his neck again. "Don't you dare, Lucifer. She's off limits, and you know that." He threw his hands up in defeat and her voice softened a little. "I meant you should try letting her help you. Not just twist her words into supporting whatever it is you feel like doing at the moment."
"I most certainly do not-" Maze twisted the blade, adding another small cut on his neck. Lucifer sighed. "Fine, fine. I suppose it couldn't hurt to give it a whirl… Now would you please put that bloody blade away unless you're planning on using it to shave my beard?"
Maze rolled her eyes as she twirled the blade with a flourish and deposited it back into her belt. "Shave that monstrosity yourself, and take a shower while you're at it. You smell like a street urchin that's been bathing in bourbon for weeks.” She scoffed as she stood up and kicked him towards the bathroom. “I'll let her know you're coming."
Hope you enjoyed that BAMF Maze action, @BigKahuna ;)
Lynne turned her speakers up and put on an upbeat playlist as she put a load of laundry in, grateful for Emily's impromptu playdate-turned-sleepover so she could finally clean her apartment without a hurricane of mess following in her footsteps.
An hour later, Lynne was dancing around as she vacuumed the living room, singing along with her buddy Phil as he sang about Sussidio. The song changed, stopping her in her tracks, and she cursed Pandora's algorithm.
How could I just let you walk away?
Just let you leave without a trace?
When I stand here taking every breath with you…
A wave of emotions began flooding over her and her body began to shake. She looked up to the Heavens with her fists raised in exasperstion. Against All Odds? Seriously? I was SO close to being okay! WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?!
She fell to her knees and began to cry, the rumbling of the vacuum drowning out her sobs. She laid down, curled into a ball and wept.
"Lucifer, if this is going to work you have to be willing to put in the effort. I cannot and WILL not just tell you what to do to make everything better. You're the only one that knows that." Linda leaned back in her chair and pulled out her notebook. "So tell me, why do YOU think it's different this time?"
Lucifer grunted and folded his arms like an angry toddler. "Well, doctor, I don't know, that's why I'm here. I don't want to talk about my bloody feelings, I just want to shut them off." He pulled out a flask, took a swig, then lit a joint as he peered at her obstinately.
Linda resisted the urge to stop him and took a deep breath. "Lucifer, I know it's difficult, but I also know you're strong enough and wise enough to figure this out with a little help from a friend. You've overcome much worse and grown from it. The man sitting here now is not the same man that sat here when Chloe left. We've talked about this." She took a sip of water as she watched his face contract in pain.
"I'm sorry to bring her up, Lucifer, but as your friend AND your therapist, you need to be reminded of it, no matter how painful it may be. By letting her go, you proved not only to your father but YOURSELF that there is goodness in you. He finally gave you that true free will you so desperately wanted your entire life, and you made a choice. Nay, you made a commitment to yourself that you would try humanity on for size and see if it would bring you the peace and happiness you always wanted so that if and when the time came, you would be free to choose it if that's what found you truly desired."
Lucifer scoffed as he finished the flask and pulled out another one from his other pocket. "I never should have made that bloody deal with Him. Or myself. Just another manipulation from dear old Dad..." He shook his head as he took a few large hits.
Linda sighed. "I know it's been hard, but I've watched you evolve so much over the years, and am so proud of you! But you've also kept the training wheels on... And I get it, it's impossible to change overnight, and you needed some creature comforts to make it through as you tried to find that elusive balance that we all struggle with. But it's time to take them off, Lucifer."
Embers began to flicker in his eyes as he polished off the other flask and pulled a third one out. Linda knew she was pushing him, but he needed to be pushed. There was too much at stake.
She took a deep breath before she continued. "Think about it, Lucifer. You've been finding bits of peace and contentment in most aspects of your life, but you haven't let yourself try and find love again. I'm not saying that everyone needs someone special to be happy by any means, but it's one of the big ones for us humans to at least try and seek out. And maybe you just haven't found the right person in the thousands you've been with since then, or maybe you've just been purposefully holding back to protect yourself. But it's clear that you couldn't do that with Lynne, and whatever happened with her is eating away at you no matter how hard you try to avoid it. Sometimes something happens in our lives that knocks the scales completely out of balance, and that's okay!"
The flames in his eyes grew, and Linda knew she had pushed him into dangerous territory. But as his friend, she was willing to face whatever came next as long as it would help him heal.
"Just take a deep breath. It's okay. It happens to everyone, divine or not. But you can't let it consume you, Lucifer, and you can't let it ruin everything you've worked so hard for. You have people who care about you and want to help you, and you need to swallow a bit of your pride and let them. So tell me, what do you think makes her different than all the rest?"
Lucifer dropped his joint in her glass of water and took a few deep breaths to try and steady himself. "Linda," he said, the tone of his voice sending a chill through her. "I appreciate that you want to help and acknowledge that you're my dearest friend, which is why I need you to back the FUCK off before I do something that will burn one of the only bridges I have left."
Linda exhaled slowly. "I love you fiercely, Lucifer Morningstar, and I'll be here when you're ready to talk. Take all the time you need, but please don't self-destruct in the meantime. Deal?"
Lucifer nodded as he got up to leave, the fire in his eyes slowly burning out.
Lynne pulled her shit together long enough to turn off the vacuum and move to the couch before breaking down again. She needed a lifeline to rescue her from the flood of emotion she was drowning in and decided to call Marie. It went to voicemail and she hung up before slamming her phone onto the cushion beside her.
"What the fuck! You said you'd be here for me!" she yelled at the phone beside her before picking it up and dialing again. She resisted the urge to leave a nasty message, and briefly considered calling Val or Ally instead. I just can't bring myself to explain everything to them right now. Guess I'm on my own tonight…
She threw her phone on the floor and, against her better judgment, stormed to her room, where she dug through her closet and finally found Lucifer’s clothes in the back corner. She buried her face in his shirt as she walked back to her living room, inhaling the light scent of smoke and cedar that still clung to it, and began to fall apart again. She sighed as she picked her phone up from the floor and texted Marie through the spiderweb of glass on the screen.
"I'm in too deep, Marie. I need you, Ben, and Jerry to join me and Phil in my pity party. Stat."
She laid down on the couch and cradled his shirt as she cried and cried until there were no tears left and she finally fell asleep.
Marie and Ally were seated in their favorite booth at Lux, taking a break from dancing for another round of drinks. Marie noticed Lucifer walking down the stairs and towards the booth on the other side of the dance floor. She ducked down to avoid his gaze and was grateful he was soon surrounded by a flock of people fighting for his attention so she could safely study him from a distance.
He looked a little more unkempt than usual, his collar askew, a few hairs out of place, and an unfamiliar emptiness in his eyes as he forced a smile and tried not to seem too annoyed by the people around him. At least he's showing up down here, that's an improvement…
She watched him for a few more minutes and saw a breathtaking blonde move in to sit on his lap and kiss him. He practically jumped up from the booth, knocking her over to the side, and shook his head as he walked briskly towards the piano.
The music stopped and the spotlight found him as he sat down to play. Ally elbowed Marie. "Hey, isn't that the guy Lynne boned the last time we were here, the owner or whatever?
Marie nodded, and Ally whistled. "Damn, girl, no wonder she spent the entire weekend locked up with him! I wouldn't leave his bed until he physically removed me, and even then it'd be a struggle to tear myself away." She shook her head and sighed longingly. "Look at our innocent little Lynne go, playing coy and trying to keep the details of that treasure hidden from us…"
Marie rolled her eyes as she gently put her hand over Ally's mouth. "Shh, he's about to play. Don't ruin it with your catcalls."
Lucifer lit a cigarette and played a few chords as a waitress came by to refill his glass. He gently grabbed the bottle from her hands and took a swig before putting it down and settling into his song.
The world was on fire and no one could save me but you
It's strange what desire will make foolish people do
I never dreamed that I'd meet somebody like you
And I never dreamed that I'd lose somebody like you…
He took a drag of his cigarette, and his voice cracked as he continued singing.
No I don't want to fall in love
No I don't want to fall in love
He continued playing with one hand as the other brought the bottle back to his mouth. He finished what was left and slammed it back down before returning his hand to the keys. He closed his eyes and threw his head back as he played with increasing fervor.
What a wicked game to play, to make me feel this way
What a wicked thing to do, to let me dream of you
What a wicked thing to say you never felt that way
What a wicked thing to do, to make me dream of you
And no I don't want to fall in love…
Ally elbowed Marie again and leaned in to whisper. "What the fuck? Did she break his heart or something? Is that why she refuses to talk to us about him?"
"I can't, Ally…" Marie watched tears begin to roll down Lucifer's cheeks as his voice kept catching in his throat. Her heart broke for him and she desperately wanted to run over and console him but didn't dare. He finally stopped trying to sing and pounded the piano in frustration. He stormed away towards the elevator, swatting away anyone that tried to approach him on his way.
Ally tugged on her sleeve. "Marie, what the actual fuck happened between them?! Spill it."
Marie sighed as she hung her head in her hands. "I don't know. Honestly. She's barely talked to me since then other than to ask me to back off and provide air cover with the rest of you."
Ally pinched her arm. "Marie, what the fuck?! Fine, whatever, you don't know the whole story, but you must know SOMETHING."
Marie shook her head. "It’s not my info to share..."
Ally punched her arm this time. "That's bullshit, Marie, and you know it. Something huge happened between them. That beautiful man just fucking cried in public, in front of his patrons no less. And if HE'S that strung out about it, I can't even imagine what Lynne is going through. She needs her friends right now!" She shook Marie's shoulders. "She talks a big game about 'not doing feelings' but that's bullshit and we ALL know it. She's not heartless. She abhors hurting people and avoids it no matter the cost to herself. And he's hurting. Big time. What the fuck happened that made her do that to him?"
Marie sighed. "You're right…" She took a sip of her drink. "I honestly don't know the details, but I have my suspicions. I saw them here that Sunday night, and something was different about her. Like WAY different, this vibe I'd never gotten before, and it seemed like she had already caught some serious feelings by that point. She went to the bathroom and I swooped in to give Lucifer 'the talk' and then she came- Ouch, what the fuck, Ally?"
"You're a creep for stalking her AND an asshole for not telling us you saw her that night. I love you, but I'm not sorry for punching you again. Please continue." Ally smiled as she sipped her drink.
Marie rubbed her arm. "Ugh, she came back and did the exact same thing to me. I was only watching them for like 10 minutes, geeze." She shook her head and sighed. "Anyway, she tried denying it, but I saw the way she looked at him, there were stars in her eyes. So I kicked that fuckboy out to the piano so I could assess the damage and run interference as needed."
"Okay… So what intel did she give up?"
Marie sighed and took another sip of her drink. "Not much, she was denying everything and feeding me some line about just enjoying herself before going back to reality. We were too busy laughing at his Prince cover to make much headway. Then this motherfucker looks her dead in the eyes and dedicates the next song to her. She went all starry-eyed again so I just shut up and let her have her moment." She shrugged before leaning in closer. "Then he started playing the mother of all cheesy love songs, 'Wonderful Tonight' like he's fucking Eric Clapton reborn."
Ally gasped. "NO. He did NOT play that song. Please tell me you're lying!" Marie shook her head. "Oh my god, Marie, how long before she lost her shit?"
Marie rolled her eyes. "Are Lucifer and I the only people left on earth who don't know about her connection to that song? Jesus…" She took shook her head. "Anyway, it was like 45 seconds at best before I noticed something was up, and before I knew it she was blubbering into my shoulder. I took her outside, she cried, we talked, and it was blatantly obvious some dramatic shit had gone down between them in their little love nest and girl caught some SERIOUS feelings. I tried getting the details, but she brushed me off and claimed she was too 'emotionally vulnerable' to talk and wanted to just enjoy the time she had left. So, being the good friend that I am, I let her, and made her promise to fill me in when she got home. But she still hasn't, all I've gotten are a few texts like 'I ran from my feelings again, need time to regroup, please just give me space and buy some time with the squad until I'm ready to talk'."
Ally punched her arm again. "Marie! I hate you so much right now! I mean, I love that you're trying to be a good friend and respect her wishes, but that's a cry for help if there ever was one. ESPECIALLY coming from her." She took Marie by the shoulders again as she leaned in. "It's been 3 weeks, she still hasn't spilled, and she's using work and Emily as a bullshit excuse to avoid everything, including us. It's only a matter of time before this all hits her upside the head, Marie, and we need an intervention ASAP. You think Val can sneak out for a few hours tonight?"
"Ally, enough with the punches already. You're right and I was going to suggest the same before you freaked out on me. But not tonight. We can't just barge in there guns-a-blazing or she'll completely shut down. We need a game plan. She has to be the one to bring it up and she has to be ready or it will never work." Marie glanced at her phone and noticed the missed calls and SOS text.
"Speak of the devil, looks like she's finally hit the brick wall of reality... No, Ally, get back here, she will KILL me if she knows I told you anything!! Just let me go over there and check in on her, I'll get her to agree to a girl's night and we can have our little intervention, okay?"
Ally sighed. "Fine. But if you don't call me immediately when you leave her house, I will kill you myself. Now what are you waiting for? Go! I'll tell Tony an emergency came up."
Marie didn't even bother to call or ring the bell before barging through Lynne’s door with a bag of ice cream. "Lynne? Where are you? Are you okay?" She found Lynne sound asleep on the couch and gently woke her up with a hug. "I'm so sorry, babe, I was- my phone was on silent, I'm so sorry I didn't see your calls. But I'm here now. Are you okay? What can I do?"
Lynne opened her eyes, sat up, and hugged her back. "It's okay, Marie, the worst of the storm has passed. I'll be fine. You don't have to stay. I just wanna go back to sleep, I'm fucking exhausted."
“Oh fuck that, I’m staying.” Marie curled up next to her on the couch. "Here, rest against my bosom, Lynne, as you drift back into your peaceful slumber." They giggled as Marie tried to force Lynne into her lap.
"Get those pillows away from my face, you goon. Really, I'm way better now. I think I just needed to get all that crying out of my system. I doubt he's shed a single tear over me, I was just being a big old baby about it."
Marie literally bit her tongue- she didn't want to rip that fallacy open without more support around. "Then come to mama, ya big old baby." She successfully pulled Lynne into her bosom this time and squeezed her tight. "Are you sure you're okay? Really? We can talk or not talk right now, up to you, but I'm catching a ton of heat from the squad and you'll need to fess up to them eventually."
Lynne sighed. "I know. And yes, I really am okay now. I just need a few more days of actual peace so I can build my wall back up before I talk about it with them."
Marie hugged her. "Ok, baby, Mama believes you. I'll buy you a few more days and tell Val she's hosting squad night Friday while you get to work on finding a sitter."
Lynne rolled her eyes as she pushed herself off of Marie. "You know, you'd make a terrible hostage negotiator, but fine. I'll agree if you leave me to my peace and quiet now, I have to pick Emily up in like 6 hours for some stupid fucking BFF breakfast I agreed to host. It seemed like such a good idea at the time…" She stood up and led Marie to the door.
“Thanks for the career advice.” Marie kissed her cheek before opening the door. "I'll see you Friday. And if you don't show, we're bringing squad night here, regardless of Em’s eavesdropping,” she said sternly.
Lynne rolled her eyes again as she shut the door behind Marie and leaned on it. "Ok, big fella. You hear that? They're forcing my hand, so no need to do so yourself anymore. Please just grant me the strength I need to last through the week..."
Song: Wicked Game; lyrics written and originally performed by Chris Isaak. TBH I never gave it much thought outside of the iconic music video as all 80’s/90’s kids did until I heard it covered by other artists. If you’re looking for a downright divine piano version, I recommend checking out the one by Marie Digby. Voice of an angel ;)
- Lucifer strolled into Linda's office and sat on her couch. "Ok, Doctor, I'm here, haven't self-destructed. Let's do this." He stretched himself out as he dramatically sighed. "Is this right? Or should I start out sitting and wait for the lie-down after I've come to some big self-realization?"
"Whatever works for you, Lucifer." Linda smiled at him. "I'm glad you came back in one piece, and am pleased to see that you have your humor back. So let's talk about why Lynne's different."
He sighed for real this time as he brought an arm across his eyes. "If I knew that, I could just fix it myself and wouldn't be here funding another bloody vacation home for you, Maze, and that brother of mine...” He scoffed. “Lynne mentioned this dam she was able to build to block out emotions and obviously it's been working wonders for her for years. Seems like a lovely idea, perhaps you could be a dear and help me build one for myself?"
Linda stifled a laugh as she shook her head. "Oh no, no, no, Lucifer. It may get you over a few humps, but when that dam breaks, and it always does, you can't control the flood. I do NOT recommend that one bit. Let's just start at the beginning, tell me everything, and I'll see if I can help you figure it out. You don't have to do it all in one day, we can stop or take breaks if it gets too overwhelming. As your therapist and your friend, I promise I won't push you too far again. So how did you two meet?"
Lucifer sighed again. "Fine, Doctor, you win. Besides, I promised Maze I would actually listen to you, can't have her pulling that bloody blade on me again…" He scoffed, then took a deep breath. "Lynne caught my eye at Lux one evening about a month back…"
Lynne was feeling surprisingly confident by the time Friday rolled around. She hadn't fallen apart again, or even shed a single tear. Every now and then a nagging voice inside her head would bring him up, but she could easily shut it down by reminding herself of the deal they had made when she truly accepted that he would be okay no matter what, and she found comfort in that promise. If he's all right, I can be all right.
She finished her work, fed Emily dinner, and welcomed Mrs. Smith when she arrived. "Thanks so much for making yourself available on such short notice, you're a godsend! I should be home in a few hours. Emily's ready for bed, but you can keep her up for a while if you want, and help yourself to anything!"
She hugged Emily and got in her car for the short drive to Val's house. She turned the radio up and mindlessly sang along happily to one of her favorite cover songs until a wave of guilt and regret began to wash over her as the weight of the words she was singing hit her.
What a wicked thing to say you never felt that way
What a wicked thing to do to make me dream of you…
Lynne pulled onto Val's street and barely made it to the curb before she broke down again. Why?! I asked you for strength and now you're twisting this song into a guilt trip? I made a deal with him! He's not to be a source of guilt for me! Who do you think you are tearing that deal up right now? Oh… right…
She shook her head and took a few minutes to pull herself together before getting out and ringing the bell.
"Ok, remember the plan, girls! She has to be the one to bring it up! Now get a glass of wine ready for her, stat!" Marie and Ally giggled as Val went to answer the door.
"Hey Lynne, so good to see you! How've you been, babe?" Val moved in to hug her but Lynne pushed through her, grabbed the nearest glass of wine, chugged it, and refilled it before sitting down on the couch.
"That good, huh…" Val shot a worried look to the other girls who were literally sitting on their hands trying not to encroach on Lynne's personal space.
Lynne sighed. "Sorry. I was totally fine, but then Corey Taylor's cover of 'Wicked Games' came on while I was driving over here, and I just can't fucking deal right now…" She began to polish off her glass when Marie stepped in and took it away.
"Sorry, babe, but Mama needs you to be at least somewhat coherent and doesn't want to clean puke off of poor Val's carpet. Can I trust you to take it easy if I give you back your sippy cup?"
Lynne grabbed the glass back and pushed her away. "The baby game was funny the other night, but cut the shit, Marie. I'm a grown ass adult and I'll drink at whatever fucking pace I want to." She took two big gulps and stuck her tongue out as she sat down, trying desperately to keep a straight face.
Val couldn't control her laughter and grabbed a cracker, flying it towards her mouth like an airplane. "Here, baby Lynne-Lynne, have some num-nums and stop pouting. Maybe you're just hangry..."
Lynne finally burst into giggles as Val shoved the cracker into her mouth, spilling crumbs all over her lap. She sighed as she looked down at herself. "I'm a mess, you guys. Literally and figuratively."
Marie stepped back and sat in an arm chair well out of Lynne's reach. "We know. Sorry, babe, but Ally and I- ugh, I just couldn't keep my trap shut." She winced and braced herself for Lynne's attack, but it never came.
Lynne sighed and set her glass down. "I want to be mad, but I can't hold it against you. It wasn't fair to burden you with my shit without expecting you to spread it around, that's what our squad is for... And you saved me from having to explain most of it, so I guess I should be thanking you."
Ally moved closer and hugged her. "Sorry, Lynne. If it helps, I had to torture it out of her." She glanced up at Marie who was signaling her to zip it, and she stopped talking.
"And the only reason they told me is because they care about you." Val sat down beside her and hugged her as well. "We all do, Lynne, so whatever's eating away at you, you can share it with us. Except the rest of that cracker, some things are just too gross no matter how much we love you."
Lynne laughed and hugged them back. "Sorry, ladies. You know me and feelings…" They all rolled their eyes in agreement. "I really was doing okay there for a while, my trusty M.O. was working wonderfully. But he's different than any other guy before and I just can't shake this feeling…" Her friends took advantage of her pause and began to sing.
“This must be love I'm feeling. This must beeeeee loooooooove”
They burst into laughter and Lynne rolled her eyes. "You guys are all assholes. Don't be bringing my man Phil into this again, I listened to him on repeat during my breakdown the other night. I'm not ready to drop any L-bombs just yet, but I will admit that it's the closest I've ever come, and it scares the FUCK out me. Which is why I ran."
They began to sing "I ran so far away" and she stood up and clanged the cheese knife on her glass. "Enough out of the freaking peanut gallery! Do you want the details or not?" They all put their hands over their mouths to stifle their giggles. "Thank you," she said as she sat back down and took another sip of wine.
"So anyway, that's pretty much it. I was scared of going there with him because there's absolutely NO WAY it would ever work out, and a million very important and valid reasons why. I didn't want to string him along or cause either of us any additional pain, so I thought it would be easier for everyone if I just nipped it in the bud then and there. And before you judge me, yes, I explained all of this to him, and he totally understood and was fine with it and assured me he'd be okay. He even went so far as to make me promise not to let him be a factor of guilt ever again, so I hadn't. Until that stupid fucking song came on and I accidentally broke my end of our bargain."
Ally began to speak "You're not the only-" Marie shot over to her and covered her mouth as she sat in her lap.
"Don't mind me, just wanted some snuggle time with my girl..." Marie said as nonchalantly as possible, batting her eyelashes innocently at Lynne.
Lynne shot them both daggers. "Bullshit. Talk before I start beating it out of you."
Marie got off Ally's lap and went back to the safety of her chair. "Fuck you with your baseless threats, Lynne. I'm just trying to help!"
Lynne rolled her eyes. "Again, Marie, I'm a grown-ass woman, and can handle anything you throw at me. What I can't handle is your bullshit, so out with it."
Marie leaned over and drank the few remaining sips from Lynne's glass. Can't risk her spilling wine when she tries to throw it at me… "Ok, fine, baby bear. I mean grownup bear. What Ally was trying to say is that you're not the only one who broke the deal. Lucifer doesn't seem to be doing so hot either..."
Lynne's eyes darted back to Ally. "And how do you know this?" she asked suspiciously.
Ally shrugged, but Lynne's patented Mom Look broke her will. "We were at Lux the other night and he was kind of… He seemed… Fuck it.” She shook her head. “He played that song you heard on the way over here, broke down crying in the middle of it, and literally ran away from the piano while the crowd just watched him in shock."
"Fuck…" Lynne fell back into the couch. "What did I do?" She began to cry, and they all crowded in to hug her.
Val was the first one to speak. "Lynne… I don't know him, maybe he's just melodramatic, but it sounds like he might be hurting just as bad as you right now. Why don't you just call him?" she asked gently.
Lynne made her way through the pile of limbs to reach for her wine glass. "Because it will never work between us. We both just need more time to get over each other is all." She frowned when she noticed her glass was empty.
Ally hugged her arm as Lynne stood to get a refill. "But why are you so convinced it won't? I love you, but it just doesn't make sense that you'd walk away from THAT. Ow! Stop pinching me, Marie, you know as well as I do how incredibly divine that man is."
Lynne bit her lip and resisted the urge to tell them just how divine he really is and opted to list out the other valid reasons it would never work. "Well, for starters, our lifestyles are on completely opposite ends of the spectrum." She began to pace back and forth in front of the kitchen counter. "He's rich and beautiful and a notorious playboy that spends all his time enjoying every pleasure life has to offer. And I'm over here, one of the most boring people you'll ever meet, whose life revolves around work and Emily and who goes out like 5 times a year at best. Even if I wasn't a mom, I would still prefer to just chill at home or do something equally low-key, I'm not a club or party person, you know that."
Ally nodded. "Valid points, but haven't heard a deal breaker yet… What else do you have?"
Lynne rolled her eyes. "Everyone's entitled to an opinion, and I don't have the energy to fight about how wrong yours is." She sighed as she continued pacing. "Let's try the big one- Emily. I can't risk her getting attached to him knowing it will inevitably fail, I just can't put her through that ever again. And I love her, but she puts a damper on whatever free time I may have, so unless I want to either throw away her college fund on sitters or risk her running into him at our house, I'm stuck in a catch-22 there."
Val chimed in. "You know, you could just ask your friends for help. Em's our junior BFF, I'm sure any one of us would love to hang out with her for an evening, especially if it means you're out being happy. Hell, I'll even let her sleep over once a month and give you a full night with him! The twins would love that!"
"Thanks, Val, I really appreciate that, but I don't want to be a burden. And that brings me to the most important point. I did consider the whole 'see ya when I see ya' approach, but that's off the table. There’s no point, I could find a dozen other guys to randomly hook up with if I wanted to, so why risk it with him? I honestly don't think I can be causal with him, there's too much potential for the L-bomb." She shook her head and took another sip of her wine.
Marie sighed. "But Lynne, that's exactly why you need to try with him. I know you hate feelings and they scare you, but what if he's potentially the one? Do you really want that regret sitting around in your mind and heart for the rest of your life? You owe it to yourself AND HIM to take a chance and see where it goes."
Lynne shook her head and tears began to brim in her eyes again. "But that's exactly why I CAN'T!" She sighed in frustration as she placed a hand on Marie’s shoulder. "You're a smart woman, so what don't you understand about that?! I'm fine with the regret, and I'm fine being alone forever. Those are things I'm used to and can handle no problemo. What I can't handle is risking heartbreak. I know EXACTLY what it feels like to have your heart shattered into a million pieces and I don't think I can survive that happening again!"
Tears began to fall, but her voice remained steady as she began to pace again. "I had NO control when my father died. I was a 13-year-old asshole that took him for granted, and it broke me, utterly broke me. It hurt to realize that nothing any of us could have said or done would have prevented that heart attack, but I came to peace with that a long time ago. I NEVER want to feel that way again, but I also know that I can't live a life without loving anyone. That's impossible, I need friends and family. But I don't need romantic love. It's an unnecessary risk to my heart that I absolutely REFUSE to take." She sat back down on the couch and took another sip of wine before setting her glass on the coffee table.
Val hugged her. "I know, Lynne, and I've been there. Twice. I'm not trying to make it this into a contest by any means, babe. I just want to remind you that I 100% get where you're coming from and know full well that you do what you need to do to survive. No judgement." Lynne sighed and resisted the urge to roll her eyes.
"But Lynne, it's been almost twenty years, and that shit's gonna catch up with you any day now. You can't just avoid feelings forever. It's not healthy, and one day that dam will break apart completely, and you won't have ANY way to control them as they all come flooding out and drown you. I don't want that for you, and I don't want you missing out on love, either. I know you're fine on your own and always will be- you absolutely do not need a man to be happy or feel fulfilled in life and I'm not trying to say that you do. But when you meet someone and you have that instant connection and everything just feels perfectly natural and comfortable and you can't shake that feeling no matter what you do? You're doing yourself a huge disservice by throwing that away just because you're scared. And you may not think so now, but you WILL regret it."
Lynne leaned her head on Val's shoulder as tears began to fall. Val stroked her hair as her own tears brimmed in her eyes. "Lynne, real talk. I love you to pieces, but the way you've processed your grief is super unhealthy and it's taking more of a toll on you than you may be aware of. Regardless of what you choose to do about Lucifer, I want you to talk to someone and work all that out so you can finally have some peace and contentment. Can you do that for me? For Emily? For yourself?"
"You're right…" Lynne took a few deep breaths to calm herself. "I guess we finally found the real reason I ran, huh?" She chuckled as she sat up and took another sip of her wine. "And you're right that it's not healthy, that's not the example I want to set for Em, and as hard as I try I’ve never truly felt content since then…” She sighed heavily. “Maybe my grief is that tumbleweed that's been following me around the past couple of decades getting bigger and bigger and I just keep running and running trying to avoid it like I'm Indiana fucking Jones. I guess it’s time to put my big girl pants on and finally deal with it."
Val hugged her again. "It absolutely is, and I want you to be free from that burden, Lynne. It never goes away completely, but I'm living proof that between the people that love you and a professional trained to help address it, you can overcome it and eventually find some normalcy and peace, no matter how big that tumbleweed gets."
Lynne smiled. "It's funny you bring that up, actually. He sent me contact info for an allegedly amazing therapist before he deleted my number. I wonder if I still have that thread…"
"Damn, he saw right through your bullshit, huh?" Marie laughed. "Good old Luci, coming through in the clutch after turning your world upside down!"
"Truer words have never been spoken, my friend…" Lynne shook her head and chuckled as she scrolled through her phone. "Ok here it is, still have it."
Ally swooped in and grabbed the phone, and Val ran defense as Lynne tried to snatch it away. "Sorry, babe, this IS an intervention after all. It's the only way we know you'll actually do what you agreed to." Marie laughed as she joined the pig pile, holding Lynne back as Ally sent an email.
"Ok, now we just wait for Dr. Martin to send you her soonest opening! There's no turning back now, Lynne, or shall I say 'Amy Poirier'. I used a code name since he's obviously either a patient or a friend. No need to thank me." She patted herself on the back. "I also cc'd the squad, and we will drag you there if we have to. I wonder if she has any relation to the boot guy…"
Lynne finally wrestled her way through the pile and grabbed her phone back. "I hate and love all of you in equal amounts right now. Fuck you, and thank you. I've got about an hour left with Mrs. Smith, let's do something other than talk about my feelings while I sober up, shall we?"
Val pulled out her phone and pulled up their squad song. "Alright, ladies, you heard her. When in doubt, dance it out!”
Dr. Martin replied the next morning, and after some well-intentioned peer pressure Lynne agreed to see her Monday evening while Emily had dinner at Val’s house.
She walked into her office and immediately felt comfortable and welcomed as she saw Linda smiling up at her from behind her desk. "Amy? It's so nice to meet you! Please come in and have a seat. There's water on the table, but if you'd prefer coffee or tea I've got both back here and would be more than happy to make you some." She got up and headed towards the coffeemaker.
"Water's fine, thank you." Lynne sat down on the edge of the couch. "Sorry I didn't give you much info in the email, it was a bit of a spur-of-the-moment decision. Don't worry, I'm totally all in and ready to rock and roll with therapy, but I didn't think to look up how this all works or if you need background info or whatever, so I'm sorry to just kinda barge in here unprepared…" She began to fill her glass with shaky hands.
Linda smiled as she gently took the pitcher out of Lynne's hands and helped her pour. "No need to apologize, Amy. Step one to therapy? Sit down and relax. Step two? Stop apologizing. We can discuss whatever guilt you may have, we can discuss anything you want, but you never have to apologize to me. This is a safe space, and I'm here for you."
This lady works in steps? I like her already… Lynne nodded. "Duly noted. Love the step approach, by the way, one of my faves. What's step three?"
Linda smiled as she sat down in her chair. "Mine too! This is great! Step three is usually insurance paperwork, but we can skip that for now and deal with it between now and our next session. If you decide to come back, that is. Therapy's kind of a try before you buy thing, gotta make sure it's worthwhile so you get a good return on your investment. I'm not gonna try and win any popularity contests, I can only just be myself and share my approach, but it's important that you at least somewhat like me and feel fairly comfortable talking to me, otherwise this may not be very effective. If that's the case, I assure you I won't be offended and will happily recommend some colleagues."
"That makes sense... Don’t worry, I won't be shy if I don't think this will work out. I come from a land called New England, where the people are naturally upfront and honest. It's not me, it's you…" She chuckled as she took a sip of water.
Linda laughed along with her. "Perfect! Honesty is pretty much my only rule, which some people struggle with, so I'm very pleased to hear you say that. It's hard for us natives who have been raised to placate and force politeness so we can worship our 'no worries' totem without guilt in our hearts.” They shared another round of giggles. “Let's move on to step four, shall we? What brings you in?"
Lynne sighed heavily as she leaned back into the couch. "Long story that I don't want to get into. At least not for a while, I've got bigger fish to fry at the moment. Let's just say that I had some, uh, revelations over the past month or so and realized that I need to finally suck it up and face my decades-old grief head on and find a way to process my emotions in a healthy way so that I can finally start to move on and maybe find some genuine peace and contentment with my life."
“You're already quite a few steps closer to that than most people when they first walk in, Amy.” Linda leaned over and gently squeezed her hand. "Grief is one of the most complicated and impactful things out there, and can completely destroy you if not processed well, yet very few people talk openly about it or ask for help. The self-awareness and pragmatism you’ve already shown me lead me to believe that you're strong enough to face it and overcome whatever damage it may have done, and I commend you for reaching out for help. Whether or not it was a spur of the moment decision, it was a great one."
"Thank you, that's very nice of you to say. I love that you're so warm and welcoming, I feel like you're my new professional friend!” Lynne smiled to hold back the tears that were already forming. “I have a couple ground rules with my friends that I'd like to share with you, I think they'll really help me through this process."
"Of course! I'd be happy to follow those rules, assuming they're within the parameters of my professional boundaries." She smiled and pulled out her notepad. "Ok, let's hear them." She leaned in towards Lynne, listening intently.
"Awesome! So rule one- honesty, always. Even if you think it might hurt for me to hear, always be prepared to throw out a no-holds-barred reality check when necessary. I do a pretty good job at keeping myself in check thanks to that lovely self-awareness of mine, but sometimes I bullshit myself without realizing it and need someone to slap me with the truth. Is that allowed in therapy, at least a figurative slap?"
Linda laughed as she jotted down the rule. "Well, I'm supposed to just be here to listen and guide you, but since you’ve asked me to, if I sense that you're feeding either one of us bullshit and you don't eventually realize it yourself, I will happily slap you with a reality check. Metaphorically, of course. What's the other one?"
A smile curled across Lynne’s lips. "If Kesha tells you to dance, you dance."
Linda laughed again. "Now that's a rule I will never hesitate to follow! I might even use it to diffuse tension or stop your bullshit in its tracks."
"Perfect! That's what my friends and I do, it's a great rule to have on hand. Ok, so where do we start, Doctor Friend? What's the magic bullet to stop me from being this way?" Lynne laid down on the couch. "Do I start here, or do I wait for my next revelation to hit and then fall back dramatically?" she asked as seriously as she could manage.
Linda couldn't contain her laughter as she pictured her other patient/friend in the exact position. It's as if they're two sides to the same coin… Linda finally stopped giggling and sighed. "Sadly, there is no silver bullet, Amy, but you can sit however you'd like, and we can talk about anything that's on your mind. We don't have to rush into your trauma right away, some people prefer to ease into it."
Lynne shook her head as she sat back up. "Nah, I prefer to be efficient whenever possible, so let's just go ahead and rip that bandage right off. So, I was 13, a complete shithead stereotypical teenage girl…"
Linda had just finished typing up her notes from Lynne's session when Lucifer stormed into her office. "Doctor, I've had a breakthrough!" he announced triumphantly as he laid down on the couch, sighing dramatically. "I figured out why Lynne's different- she's another test! A sneaky one, but a test nonetheless." He chuckled. "Dear old Dad thought he had pulled one over on me, laid low for a few years, let me think I had the upper hand and then BOOM! Along comes Lynne 'Surprise! I'm another test' Gardner! Honestly, Linda, I'm astonished that you didn't realize this immediately after I told you everything." He sat up and looked at her with concern. "Are you all right? Everything okay at home?"
Linda took a few deep breaths as she walked over to her chair. "Lucifer, we talked about this. You need to wait for your appointment! If you showed up just ten minutes earlier, you would have interrupted a session with a new patient! You can't be doing this! But thankfully I have about 45 minutes left before my next one, so what's this test nonsense all about?"
“A new patient, you say?” Lucifer sat up straighter and folded his hands in his lap. "Are they attractive? Perhaps looking for someone to confirm and fulfill their deepest desires? Do tell…"
"Stop deflecting, Lucifer…" Linda shook her head. "Why do you think she was another test? Didn't he already confirm that he was done with all of that, that you proved everything you needed to to him, including that he was wrong? Isn't that why you're still here?"
Lucifer scoffed. "That's what he WANTS me to believe, but he's actually just punishing me in new and creative ways There's no rest for the… umm… Self-righteous? I must admit, he’s quite good at this, perhaps he should be the one ruling Hell…” He shook his head and sighed. "At any rate, it's glaringly obvious he's had a hand in this. She was resistant to my charms, and in fact accused me of being a date rapist and serial killer in one breath. Can you imagine that?” He scoffed. “When I asked her what she desired, she actually laughed and joked about torture with the DEVIL of all people. She's a workaholic single mother, her daughter is somewhere around the age that Trixie was when I first met her, she lured me in and made me fall for her and then stomped my heart into the ground as if it were nothing more than a cigarette butt. Any of this sound familiar?"
Linda raised her eyebrows and Lucifer scoffed. "Honestly, how did you not see the parallels? You're supposed to be trained in that sort of thing, Doctor. Where did you get your degree again?" Linda chuckled, and he shot her a piercing look. "This is no laughing matter, Linda, I assure you. He may think he pulled one over on me with that whole 'acceptance of my true self before falling in love with me' bit, but I'm on to his little game… You should go ahead and pull the offer on that beach house, Linda, I figured it all out on my own." He sat back and folded his arms, smiling smugly.
Linda sighed. "Lucifer, please… We talked about this. Your father is DONE punishing you. You are FREE. He apologized, and regardless of what you may think, it was genuine. He may not be perfect, but he is not sadistic, and has no desire to cause you any pain again. He wants you to be happy and find peace. He LOVES you."
Lucifer rolled his eyes and took a swig from his flask. "Oh Linda, sweet naïve little doctor of mine... I'm afraid Amenadiel has you indoctrinated, that poor fool knows no other way but to blindly trust in dear old Dad.” He shook his head in disdain. “But not me. I have free will, or did you forget that?"
It was Linda's turn to roll her eyes. "I didn't. But you seem to have forgotten who brokered that deal between you and your father and was ALSO granted free will in return for his help in mending that fence."
Lucifer scowled. "Hmph. I suppose I was too emotional at the time to pick up on that part... Just how he wanted me…"
Linda got up and literally slapped Lucifer with a reality check. I must thank Amy for that little trick next time I see her, she thought to herself as she sat back down and adjusted her glasses. "Real talk, Lucifer. Lynne isn't Chloe 2.0. She's not a test. Nor is she a miracle baby, you said it yourself that she has siblings and her parents weren't particularly religious. But there could be another reason for the similarities…"
Lucifer rubbed his cheek. "Bloody hell, Linda, who's the one that needs to relax here?" He crossed his legs and leaned back again. "Please, do tell me what other reason there could be,” he said, his voice thick with sarcasm.
"Sorry, not sorry, Lucifer. You needed a reality check." He rolled his eyes and shrugged. "So, we know for a fact that Chloe was a test. That you passed with flying colors when you selflessly let her go to find her peace and happiness despite the agony it caused you to do so. But it proved that you truly, selflessly loved her, and that you're more than capable of being loved in return. By your father, by yourself, by anyone and everyone. There is an abundance of goodness within your soul, Lucifer, and - spoiler alert- there always has been! And since facing that truth, you couldn't even conjure up your devil face if you wanted to anymore! Or did you forget THAT little fact?"
Lucifer scoffed again. "Yes, yes, you're right, now continue on to your real point, please."
Linda took a deep breath as she stood up. "That IS my point, Lucifer. You are a GOOD PERSON! You are in NO WAY DESERVING OF PUNISHMENT ANYMORE!” she exclaimed as she shook his shoulders. “But if you keep this shit up and continue to fight against something that doesn't exist, you will end up back in Hell through no one's fault or desire but your own. YOU ARE NOT BEING TESTED!"
Lucifer finally stopped scowling. "You're right." She shot him a look of warning. "I'm serious this time, Linda. You’re right. I just can't think of any other possible scenario of why this happened or why I feel this way other than her being another test. I genuinely want to hear any theories you may have."
“Finally! You admit it! Now THAT'S a breakthrough.” Linda hugged him. "You can go ahead and lie down now." She smiled as Lucifer laid down, a look of pride mixed with a tinge of trepidation on his face.
"So now that we have all the facts straight, here's what I think may be happening. It's a bit of a long shot, but it makes sense when you think about it, so hear me out before you object or storm out. Deal?" She held out her hand.
Lucifer shook it. "Deal. Now out with it, Linda, you haven't got all day."
Linda chuckled as she sat back down in her chair. "Right. So this Lynne of yours… She does bear a resemblance to Chloe, I'll give you that. But stop and think about the resistance to your charms and will… Are you sure it was a flat-out immunity, or could it be that she just had a stronger resistance than most? You said it yourself- she's a strong-minded woman. I mean the fact that she didn't completely go bezerk when she saw your wings, but merely locked herself in the bathroom for a while and eventually came out and faced you head-on, rather rationally at first, I might add, is incredible, and far better than how I reacted. Granted, she saw the wings and not the devil face, but she did eventually see the flaming eyes which is almost as disturbing, and still stuck around. She even literally fell for you on the patio shortly afterwards."
"Valid point, Doctor, perhaps you're not a hack after all…" Lucifer smiled as he remembered that night and the strength he saw in her all weekend. "So, let's say she is just strong minded. That means that she fell for my 'Luciferness' as you so lovingly put it, and I'm just a sucker that believed it was genuine. Problem still solved, I can be on my way now." He stood up to leave, but Linda stopped him.
"Sit back down, Lucifer, I'm not done yet. This next part's a mind-blower, so you should probably be seated when I lay it on you."
Lucifer chuckled. "Oh, I've GOT to hear this one. In fact, I'll go ahead and lay down preemptively."
"I'm serious, Lucifer. Remember the deal you made with Maze that you would ACTUALLY listen to me? I need you to keep that for this piece, okay?"
"I'm already in too deep, Linda, my only choice is to just hold my breath go along for the ride." Lucifer shook his head and sighed.
Linda adjusted her glasses and crossed her legs as she leaned towards him. "So, given all these facts, there are only two logical conclusions we can draw. You've already covered one, her just falling for your Luciferness, and I have some ideas on how we can test that theory, but I have another one that may explain it better. Let's look back at the similarities…" He sighed again as she took a sip of water and gathered her thoughts. "You claimed that she was Chloe 2.0, another test. What if we flip that theory on its head? What if there was some extra credit hidden in that test? What if Chloe was the trial run for your ACTUAL soulmate who may or may not bear some striking similarities?"
Lucifer rolled his eyes, but Linda caught a flash of anger and pain inside them and took a deep breath. "I know you hate your father's whole greater plan thing, but what if Lynne was part of it? An ace he kept in his back pocket until you were ready to be with her but could have easily discarded if you weren't? You said it yourself, Lucifer, she's always been perfectly content on her own and never even considered pursuing the idea of love or marriage or soulmates or anything, it was basically hogwash to her. Until she met you…"
Lucifer sat up and took another swig from his flask. This was beginning to make too much sense, and he felt embers beginning to burn inside him again. "Enough with that nonsense. I said I'd hear you out, and I did. Now how do we prove MY theory?"
Linda sighed. "I know it's hard to hear, Lucifer, but please, just give it some thought. We can explain away her feelings, but not yours. Why did you feel such an instant connection? Why was your guard down from basically the moment you met her? Why is it that you felt so comfortable with her and opened up way more than you ever meant to? I mean seriously, the sex couldn't have been SO GOOD that your wings would just pop out, that hasn't happened since you first got them back."
She was on a roll and didn't notice the flames growing stronger within Lucifer's eyes. "And even if it was, why did you care so much about ensuring she found peace after her revelation? Or continued to do so after she literally came right out and said her only remaining reservation was how she felt about YOU?"
"I SAID ENOUGH!" Lucifer stood up and punched a new hole in her wall before storming out of her office.
All Linda could do was shake her head. "Well clearly I'm on to something or you wouldn't have just stormed out, my friend..." She lifted her gaze upwards. "I'm right, right? Just give me a little sign that I'm right..."
She sat there waiting, watching the rays of sunshine twinkle across the pitcher of water and send rainbows dancing across the couch. She eventually gave up and sighed. "Fine, keep your secrets. I know I'm right..."
A few weeks and a half-dozen sessions later, Lynne found herself wondering what to talk about for the first time as she walked into Linda's office. Linda welcomed her inside with a hug and handed her a cup of coffee with a splash of milk. She smiled as she took a sip. "Oh Linda, you're the best! Do you know all your patients' orders or is that a friends-only perk?"
Linda laughed as she sat down. "Friends only." She winked and pulled out her notepad. "So how have you been, Amy? It's been a few days since we last spoke, and I know we've been hitting this therapy thing pretty hard. How are you holding up?"
Lynne smiled and set her cup down. "I'm actually doing pretty great! I called my mom the other night and spent a good three hours on the phone with her filling her in, and she practically died of happiness that I'm finally working through my grief! Thankfully she's still kicking, can't go and get myself orphaned right away. I'd prefer some baby steps before I put all these lessons to good use at once."
Linda laughed. "Very true. So let's talk about those baby steps. Other than the big picture 'how do I exist in the world now that I feel feelings again' stuff, what's something small that you could maybe practice on?"
"That's a fabulous question, Linda." Lynne sighed and leaned back into the couch. "I'm pretty much good in all aspects for now. The only thing still gnawing away at me is kind of a biggie in and of itself..."
"I see…" Linda reviewed her notes quickly. "Do you think you're ready to talk about what happened that kick-started this whole 'revelation' of yours to begin with?"
Lynne sighed again. "I don't think I ever will be, but we might as well rip that bandage off too. I should probably go ahead and lay down for this one…"
Linda chuckled as Lynne fully reclined and sighed dramatically, reminding her of Lucifer again. "Ok, girlfriend, hit me."
"Well… I think I might have accidentally fallen in love with someone whom there's no chance of a future with."
“Interesting…” Linda adjusted her skirt and leaned in, eager to hear more. "How does one accidentally fall in love, exactly?"
"It's a long story. Well, not really, it all happened over the course of one weekend, but it's gonna sound like the plot line of some Hallmark movie."
Linda smiled. "I love a good Hallmark movie! Let's hear it."
"Ok, here goes…" Lynne sighed. "Girl meets guy. They're polar opposites in every sense of the word, but almost instantly click. They have a night of passion and desire, then some out-of-this-world-level drama goes down the next morning. They grow infinitely closer as they overcome it and have an incredibly magical whirlwind of a weekend together. Everything from watching movies to belting out cheesy songs on a road trip up the coast and watching a sunset to literally baring their souls to each other, with some extra drama and heart-to-heart conversations along the way in their happy little bubble."
This sounds suspiciously familiar… Linda shook off the feeling and clasped her hands together. "So how does the movie end?"
"Ok, get your popcorn ready because we've just reached the crescendo!" Lynne laughed as she sat up and took a sip of water. "They have one last magical night together and literally fall in love under the stars but neither dares say it out loud because who would? They barely know each other, that’s just crazy! The girl is scared of how strongly she feels and has many reasons not to want to be with him but can't quite help herself. Thanks to some emotional baggage she's been carrying around for two decades, she lets that fear take over and decides to run off into the sunset, never to be heard from again. The boy tries to be strong and claims he'll be ok as long as she's happy, even promises her he will be so she can have a nice little lie to live with and move on. But he's not. She hurt him. A LOT. And she hurt herself, too. She broke the promise she made to him that she wouldn't feel guilty for hurting him and would seek her happiness. But months later she still can't shake that feeling of loss and regret or shut down that nagging asshole of a voice inside screaming at her that she royally fucked up both their chances at true happiness. Roll the credits." Lynne exhaled deeply.
Linda plastered on her token 'understanding and accepting therapist' face but inside she was freaking out at her own revelation. No… No fucking way… It can't be…. She took a few deep breaths to ensure she was exuding calmness and acceptance. "That's certainly… Umm… Dramatic... Sounds like a total box office hit! Does the male lead have a name?" Ooh, nice save! She mentally patted herself on the back.
"He sure does..."
Touché, Lynne. Linda forced a laugh. "Always a comedian, Amy! So what is it?"
Lynne smiled. "Why yes, I really should quit my day job. Do you think there are any comedy clubs that line up with business hours? I don't think Emily would fare well at a bar every night..."
"Let's stop deflecting and get back on track. What's his name? And why is there no future there, what is he, married or something?" Nice cover…
Lynne sighed again. "Oh Linda, you wouldn't believe me if I told you. You'd have that straight jacket I know is hiding in here somewhere on me in a heartbeat if I told you-" She suddenly remembered who had referred her to Linda in the first place and sat straight up, slightly panicked, her heart racing. Fuck! No! I love her! She's so helpful! Fuck, shit, fuck!
Linda took a deep breath as she saw the panic flash across Lynne's face. Oh God, what if it IS her? She's my favorite patient! But he's my friend! And she hurt him! I should be hitting her right now! Talk about a conflict of interest! But maybe I'm just jumping to conclusions... Therapist mode, activate!
"It's ok, Amy, this is a safe space, remember? I can't lock you up. I can only recommend you be committed if you show signs of harming yourself or others. And we’re talking physical harm, not hurt feelings. You can tell me anything."
Lynne sighed and looked down at her hands as she pressed her thumbnail into her palm. "I know... But it just dawned on me that you won't actually think I'm crazy. In fact, you’re probably the only person in the world who wouldn't, but if I tell you we're gonna have to break up our little professional friendship, and I really don't want that. You've been so amazing to me and for me and I really fucking hate myself right now for doing this. The decision to see you was a terrible one, Linda. A selfish one. Almost as terrible and selfish as it was for me to run away from Lucifer like that." She looked up with tears in her eyes.
Holy shit. Holy shit! HOLY SHIT! It's her! Linda couldn't help the shock that ran across her face, but thankfully Lynne broke the silence before she could respond.
"I'm a walking pile of garbage, Linda, I'm so sorry. I promise you I didn't mean for this to happen, not that it matters, and I'm so sorry for doing that to you. And to him. Like I said, it was a spur of the moment decision and you were the only therapist I knew of and I didn't think through the long-term implications of who it was that referred me to you. I was just so broken and needed help, and your contact info was right there and I lied to you from day one about my name because I fucking suck at life and I NEVER intended to talk about him with you, and I don't know if he's a patient of yours or a friend but either way there's gotta be some sort of conflict of interest here because he said he knew you and you knew him, like REALLY knew him, and I had pushed that conversation and everything about him so far back in my mind and we were making such great progress that I totally forgot how I got your info and I'm so sorry this is-"
Linda got up and moved over to the couch to hug Lynne as she burst into tears. "It's ok, Lynne, calm down, stop spiraling. Doctor hat off, friend hat on. Conflict of interest be gone! Speaking of day jobs, maybe I should become a magician…"
Lynne chuckled as she nestled into her and cried some more. "Shh, there, there, Lynne, it's okay. I'm okay, you'll be okay, and Lucifer will be okay. Everything and everyone will be okay." She hugged her tight and stroked her hair. "Just let it out, honey, let all that pain and guilt flood on out of there..."
Lynne continued to weep for a few minutes until finally pulling herself together. "I'm so sorry Linda. For everything. Up to and including the snot all over your dress, I'll buy you a new one."
Linda chuckled as she hugged Lynne again. "It's okay, I don't really care for this one too much anyway, but it's laundry day so whatevs."
Lynne smiled and reached for the tissues to blow her nose. "Shit, Linda. I can't believe I fucked this all up so badly and I’m so sorry. But thank you for everything. You've really helped me work through a lot of my shit and I'm a better person because of it, because of you. And I promise I won't hurt him again. I had been considering calling him and seeing if he's willing to grab a drink so I can apologize and give us both some closure, but I know in my heart that's the most selfish thing in the world I could do, so I won't.” She shook her head in shame. “But before we officially break up, would you mind sharing those referrals you offered during our first session? I still need to figure out how to not be a selfish asshole and maybe be open to love again in the future."
Linda hugged her again. "Oh, honey, don't think you're getting away that easy! I did momentarily want to beat the shit out of you for hurting one of my dearest friends, but I know you. The only lie you've told me is your name, everything else was genuine. I can't fault you for doing what you needed to do to survive, and I forgive you. And since we're being honest, he's better, but definitely not okay. He won't be unless he gets some closure, and neither will you. You both need to see if this really is something real, or if it's just supercharged lust or traumatic bonding or whatever. So as both of your friends and therapists, I think you should call him. When you're ready, of course. And then you guys can talk to me about it on your own or even together at some point. Whatever you need, I'm here for you. Both of you."
Lynne hugged her back. "How are you so amazing? What's your secret? Are you an angel too?"
Linda burst into laughter. "Oh, don't I wish! Nope, sorry, all human."
"Unbelievable!” Lynne gasped dramatically. “But seriously, you're incredible. And I'd love to talk about how you found out the truth about him sometime, maybe we can write a self-help book- ‘How Not to Become a Catatonic Zombie When Faced With the Reality of Divinity’."
Linda laughed again. "Sounds like a plan! It's sure to hit Oprah's list. Maybe I'll be able to get that vacation home after all…" She checked her watch. "Ok, friend, I don't want to kick you out, but I have another patient arriving in a few minutes. Call him when you’re ready. I promise I will maintain our doctor/patient/friend confidentiality in the meantime, but please give me a heads up on when and if he agrees to meet with you. I may need to clear my schedule for the aftermath, he has a tendency to just show up whenever he feels like it." She winked as she got up and opened the door. "Be good to him, Lynne. And yourself. Deal?"
"Deal," Lynne said, giving her one last quick hug before walking away.
Another week had passed, and Lynne still hadn't mustered up the courage to call Lucifer, nor had she shown up at her therapy appointment. She desperately wanted to pull back into her fortress of solitude and pretend her conversation with Linda was all the closure she needed, but she knew better, so she followed one of Linda's prime directives for when she felt this way and asked for help.
Her friends showed up later that evening and they headed out to her patio so they were out of Emily's earshot. Lynne poured everyone a glass of wine and sat down.
"Thanks for coming on such short notice, you guys are the best! And thank you again for making me go see Linda to begin with, I feel SO much better about everything. Really." She smiled as they all ooh'ed and aww'ed. "Ok, so as you know I saw her last week and accidentally blabbed about Lucifer and she found out my little scheme, but thankfully she was super cool about it all and actually really supportive." She took a sip of wine.
Marie smiled. "Yeah Dr. Martin! She's gotta join our next squad night now that you've crossed so many professional lines, she sounds so awesome."
Lynne laughed. "It's true. She'll fit right in and already knows the rules! Sooooo, what I didn't tell you because it was too complicated for a text is that she's actually wicked close with Lucifer. Like, knows him better than anyone else, a friend who happens to be a therapist. Apparently I'm not the only one who crossed professional lines."
Ally raised an eyebrow. "What kind of lines are we talking?"
Lynne rolled her eyes. "I didn't ask, and I don't want to know. All I know is that she's known him for years and knows everything about him, including what happened between us. I guess he went to her for help recently too, which is super awkward when you think about it, but puts her in a very unique position to truly understand both sides of the situation and give advice based on that knowledge without spilling it.”
Val scoffed. "Or just manipulate you into doing what's best for HIM. She should have kicked you out the second she realized who you were, very unprofessional if you ask me."
Lynne sighed. "I know, I know. But she genuinely had no idea until I admitted it. You should have seen the look on her face, I've never seen anyone more shocked! I feel wo terrible for doing that to her. And yeah, maybe on paper it's not a good idea to trust her, but my gut says I can. And what she suggested was exactly in-line with what I was considering, so it just kinda confirmed it for me. Besides, we really click, I don't want to start over with someone new and waste even more time while I’m trying to face the world while walking around with my heart exposed. I really wish someone had warned me about this lovely side-effect of therapy..."
Val took a sip of wine. "Ok, fine, you should always trust your gut. So what did she say?"
"She said that he's doing better, but he's not okay. And that neither of us will be unless we get some kind of closure. I'd been thinking of calling him and asking him to meet so I can apologize, and she thought that was a great idea. We're both just sitting here torturing ourselves with 'what-if's' and need to find out if what we had was legitimate or, as she put it, 'just super-charged lust or traumatic bonding or whatever'. Which I totally agree with. I don't know how to actually accomplish that, but it all starts with a phone call."
Her friends nodded in agreement, and Ally reached for her phone. "Oh no you don't! Fool me once, Ally…" Lynne laughed as she tucked her phone into her bra.
Marie laughed. "Oh please, as if she won't go in there to get it. But she has a point. You need to call him ASAP, just rip off that band-aid, Lynne!"
Lynne sighed. "I don't think I can handle talking to him yet. I need time to plan out what to say and how I'll say it, or I'll just get verbal diarrhea and fuck it all up again."
Val was the one to reach in and grab her phone. "Ok, so a text it is. We'll help you write it! Dear Lucifer, I'm an asshole with emotional baggage and would like to come crawling back to you. You in?"
Lynne laughed as she wrestled the phone away from her. "Fuck you. But yes, I could use your help…"
After 15 minutes of debate, she finally sent the text, and they took turns watching the screen like hawks as they finished their wine and caught each other up on less dramatic news.
Ally jumped up half an hour later. "We've got action!" They crowded in around the phone as the typing icon went on and off a few times, but no text came through. They continued taking turns watching it for another hour, but Lynne finally gave up and sighed.
"Ugh. Forget it. It's getting late and we all need to go to bed. He's probably never going to text me back, at least not tonight. Let's call it quits so we don't drive ourselves, especially me, crazy waiting for it. I'll call you immediately if he responds. Deal?"
The group sighed collectively. "Deal."
Lucifer had spent a couple of weeks holed up in his penthouse as Linda's revelation ate away him. The more he thought about it, the more sense it made, and he cursed her and his father and himself. He desperately wanted to lose himself in unabashed hedonism again to avoid the uncomfortable truth, but Maze kept a close eye on him and shut it down at first sight. It was probably for the best, he reasoned, because he knew it wouldn't help. The emptiness and loneliness he felt when surrounded by people just made the void inside him grow larger. Instead, he passed the time reading and composing music, the two things that always grounded him.
He finally reached a point where he was ready to face the world again and finally get back on track. He slowly phased in trips outside the safety of his penthouse, and by the 5th day he felt ready to go back to normal. Well, whatever his new normal looked like after all of his self-discoveries.
He went down to Lux and sat at the bar, close to Maze as usual, and sipped his bourbon as he scanned the crowd. He recognized most of the faces and was grateful that they had gotten the hint the last time he was here and gave him some space. He finished his drink and mingled with his patrons as he made his way to the piano.
He sat down and played a few lighthearted songs, and finally felt like his old self again. Happy, even. His eyes scanned the crowd as he sang, and he noticed a new face. A twenty-something red-haired beauty who was engrossed in conversation with her friends and barely paying any attention to him. Intriguing… he thought to himself, and he played another song before heading back to the bar.
He kept an eye on her as he sipped his drink and conversed with Maze in between orders, but she never met his gaze. A while later, she came walking towards him and he adjusted his collar and cleared his throat. She stood next to him and glanced over, eyeing him briefly before signaling for Maze, who pretended not to notice her.
Lucifer stood up and cleared his throat again. "Allow me, darling." He clapped to get Maze's attention and she rolled her eyes as she walked over to him.
"Seriously, Lucifer?! What am I, some kind of fairy that needs her wings? What do you want?"
The woman stifled a laugh and tried not to look at him so as not to offend him. "I'll take another bourbon, and whatever this striking young lady desires."
She looked at him again and smiled as she curtsied. "Why thank you, kind sir." She turned to Maze. "I'll take a vodka cranberry, no lime, please."
Lucifer pulled out his stool. "Please, have a seat while you wait."
Her bright smile sent a spark through his veins as she sat down and he pushed her stool in, his hand resting on the small of her back. "You are quite the gentleman, Mr…"
Lucifer flashed her a bright smile. "Morningstar. Lucifer Morningstar, darling, pleasure’s all mine, I assure you, though I do hope you’re enjoying all the pleasures my establishment has to offer."
She giggled. "Ahh, I see, Mr. Morningstar… You own this club, the name makes sense now. I'm Dahlia."
He took her hand in his and kissed her knuckles as Maze slammed their drinks down and walked away. "A beautiful name for a beautiful woman. Would you care to join me for that drink?"
She smiled. "I would be delighted to…"
Two drinks and some heavy petting later, Lucifer and Dahlia were on their way up to his penthouse. He pulled her inside and kissed her again as she giggled at the tickle of his stubble on her cheek. He wrapped her legs around his waist, deepened their kiss and ground himself against her as he carried her into his bedroom and laid her down. He crawled on top of her and his mouth met hers again as his hands explored her body. She moaned softly as his hand slid up her skirt and removed her thong before sliding his fingers against her slickness, eliciting a louder moan when he reached her nub. He smiled against her lips as she tore away at the buttons on his shirt while he pleasured her, and her hands were soon hurriedly unbuckling his belt.
He stood up to help her remove his trousers, and his phone buzzed as they fell to the floor. He crawled back towards her and she squealed as he rolled her on top of him and kissed her again. She positioned him at her entrance and began rubbing herself against him, his breath hitching in his chest as his arousal began to grow.
Wait… Why aren't I already stiff as can be? He shook his head and flipped them over. He began trailing kisses up her legs but stopped as he reached her apex. He looked up at her glistening folds but couldn't bring himself to taste them. He shook his head again and move upwards, pulling down the top of her dress to expose her breasts. He took his member in hand and began stroking it as his mouth devoured her nipples, but it still wouldn't fully harden. Bloody hell! He rolled off her and sighed in frustration.
"Everything okay?" Dahlia asked as she crawled over towards him.
"Yes, love, my apologies. Now come over here." He flashed her a devilish grin as he pulled her on top of him and kissed her again. She reached down to grab his cock and continued stroking it, but it was still only standing at half-mast. She smiled as she ran a trail of kisses down his neck and his chest, making her way towards his groin. She was about to take him in her mouth, but he placed a hand on her head and gently stopped her.
"My apologies, darling, but I'm afraid that's not going to work either." He sighed heavily.
She sat up and frowned. "Did I do something wrong? I thought you wanted…"
He cut her off. "No, not at all, you're marvelous! Normally I'd have made you come at least twice by now, but I'm just… I don't quite know what's wrong with me at the moment, this has never happened before."
Dahlia sighed as she got off the bed. "It's okay, it happens sometimes, maybe you just had too much to drink. I’ll get you some water, we can try again soon."
He scoffed. "I've drank literal barrels of bourbon before and never had this problem, I assure you." He sighed again in frustration.
Dahlia sighed as well. "It's okay, really. Sometimes men of a certain age…"
He scoffed again, cutting her off. "I am certainly not the target audience for Viagra if that's what you're insinuating."
Dahlia began to gather her clothes. "Sorry, I didn't mean to offend you, I was just trying to make you feel better about your performance issues. I'm gonna go now. Thanks for the drinks..." She turned and walked away. He wanted to chase after her and prove to both of them that he was fully capable of pleasuring her, but instead he just laid back down and sighed again.
Bloody hell, what has become of me? I thought I was a mess before, but this is just downright unacceptable. He fished through his trouser pockets for his phone to call Linda. His heart stopped when he saw the preview of Lynne’s text and opened it up with shaky fingers.
“Hi, it's Lynne. I'm sorry to text you out of the blue, and I'm sorry for opening this all back up again when you've probably already moved on, but I just had to take a little leap of faith... I was wondering if you might be open to meeting me for a coffee or a drink sometime so we can talk and maybe get some closure? I know this is incredibly selfish of me to even ask, and I will totally understand if you want to just delete this message and forget me. I promise you that I will be okay and at peace with whatever you decide. Please take care of yourself, Lucifer.”
He dropped the phone and sat back down on the bed as his head started spinning and a wave of emotion began crashing around him. "How DARE she! After all this time! Who does she think she is? Who does she think I am? Like I owe her ANYTHING…" He scoffed in disgust. "There's no way in HELL or Heaven I would ever allow her to hurt me again."
He got up and grabbed a bottle from the shelf, taking a few big gulps as he walked back to his phone. "If she thinks I'll just politely ignore her, she's got another thing coming!" He began to type furiously.
"Absolutely not. How DARE you even ask me, you vile bloody succubus. Thank you for giving ME closure, darling, I know now that I was a FOOL to ever think you genuinely cared about me. You’ve made it abundantly clear that you only care about yourself, and I'm sure my friends downstairs are already awash with ideas on how to make you pay for your sins. As your bloody Wonka says, GOOD DAY!"
His finger hovered over the send button as embers grew inside of him. He re-read the message, recalled his commitment to himself to at least try and be a better person, and deleted it to start over.
"I respect your attempt to gain closure, and I wish I could give you the peace you seek. But sadly, I cannot. I have moved on and prefer to keep it that way."
Bloody hell, I can't outright lie to her, that's just as bad. He deleted it and started again.
I’m afraid I've broken my very first deal. You hurt me, Lynne, to the very core, and I have spent the last two months trying to heal. I can't bear to see you and rip that wound open again. I said I wanted you to find peace and happiness, and that is still true, but I can't be the one to help you. I will send you Linda's information again, and I truly hope that you’ll speak with her, or at least one of her colleagues. Take care of yourself, Lynne.
Tears began to brim and smother the embers in his eyes as he thought about how much pain she surely felt as well, and what it must have taken for her to reach out to him. He knew it was nearly impossible for her to leave him in the first place. He had to be the one to push her away and into that car. He had to be strong enough for the both of them. His heart began to break again as he pictured the torment he caused her by his mere existence, and the guilt he felt for selfishly not cutting her free as soon as he knew she was somewhat at peace with her divine revelation. There was nothing he could say to her that would change that, and nothing he could do to prevent further damage to either of them other than politely ignore her message.
He deleted his reply and turned his phone off. He shook his head and sighed as he brought the bottle over to the piano and began to play.
Lucifer played until well past dawn, and finally went to bed. When he awoke that afternoon, his heart still hurt and he realized that perhaps he needed closure just as badly as she did. He thought back to his conversation with Linda.
"Perhaps the doctor is right about one thing… I can't move on with my life with all of these 'what-if's' flying around in my head. I suppose it can't hurt to see her again and see how I truly feel about her after all this time. Perhaps this IS all just some kind of 'traumatic bonding' that Linda was rambling on about, and seeing Lynne will be able to prove that once and for all."
He took a few deep breaths and pulled out his phone.
I shall take that leap of faith along with you.
No, too promising. He quickly deleted it.
"I'm free this evening at 7. Let's meet somewhere neutral. Santa Monica, perhaps. Text me the address."
He hit send before he could talk himself out of it.
Lynne's phone buzzed, interrupting the music that was playing as she was helping Emily put away her laundry. She resisted the urge to run right over to yet another false alarm and finished her task before checking it.
Holy shit, Holy shit, HOLY SHIT! She ran outside to the patio and immediately started a group call with her squad, breathing a sigh of relief when they answered within two rings.
"Holy fucking fuck you guys! He answered! Forwarding it now." She put the phone on speaker as she forwarded his message to the group chat. She quickly switched back to headset mode and held the phone away from her ear as they collectively screamed.
"Ok, calm down. What do I do? Do I answer right away? I don't want to just leave him hanging again and it's already been half an hour."
Marie was the first to speak. "Ok, yeah, I agree you should reply soon. Where should you go?"
Ally chimed in. "Oh, I know a great little place. Not too busy, just an average sports bar, patio section is pretty secluded because there's no TV's and people only go out there to smoke- it'll be perfect! Texting you the address now."
Lynne took a few deep breaths as she tried to calm her nerves. "Ok, one sec, gonna forward it to him." Her hands were shaking so badly she dropped her phone twice before she was able to finally send it. "Ok, done. Fuck. Emily! Any chance one of you could watch her for a couple hours?"
Val spoke up. "Oh, don't worry, I've got you. She can sleep over, the twins would love that!"
Lynne sighed in relief. "Oh, Val you’re a godsend! Thank you! Oh, fuck." She began to shake again as reality set in. "What do I wear? More importantly, what do I say? I am such an idiot for not planning this out. Why did he suggest tonight?! I need more than two hours!"
Marie laughed. "Slow your roll, there, babe. This is perfect, it gives you just enough time to prep AND not long enough to back out. Go tell Emily about her surprise sleepover and then grab a notebook and start making a list of things to say. I know how you love lists, you weirdo, they calm you down, and you need to calm down. I'll be over there pronto to help. I'll run Emily over to Val's while you work on it and be back to help you edit. Ally, can you swing by and start rummaging through her poor excuse for a wardrobe?"
Ally giggled. "Of course! I'll bring a few things just to be safe."
Lynne sighed. "You guys are the best, I love you so much!"
They all aww'ed and Val interrupted them. "Enough with the love fest, ladies, we've gotta start moving. Go team go!" They hung up and got to work on their tasks.
Lynne was in her car before she knew it and was grateful that she only had a short trip between her apartment and the pub so her nerves couldn't flare up too badly. She walked in and immediately ordered a drink at the bar, paid for it, and asked to be seated on the patio. She nearly downed her drink before the waitress had a chance to stop by and give her a menu.
"Thanks," she mumbled. Should I order food? I should order food. Especially if I'm gonna keep drinking like this... She quickly scanned the menu. "I'll have the app sampler, a glass of water, and another Cosmo, please." The waitress raised an eyebrow as she jotted it down. "Sorry, I'm just really nervous, I'm meeting someone here, I promise I'm not a lush."
The waitress smiled. "No judgement whatsoever. What's their name? I'll let the hostess know to send them here when they arrive."
Lynne gulped. "He'll probably just ask for me, my name is Lynne. Thank you so much!" She finished the last few sips of her drink and checked the time on her phone. 6:58. Fuck… She texted her friends.
L- Fuuuuuuuuck why did I let you talk me into this?
M- Chill, dude, it's fine, just calm down. Order a drink.
L- I already did. And finished it. Second round on its way.
V- You don't fuck around, do you? Order some food, too, you shouldn't drink on a nervous and empty stomach.
L- One step ahead of you. Fuck, it's 7:02. Oh my god. Maybe he’s not coming?
A- Relax, Lynne. He'll show. It will be okay. Just follow the plan.
L- Fuck the plan. I'm bolting!
M- Don't you dare. I'm in the parking lot and will tackle you and drag you back inside by your hair.
Lynne looked up and peered into the parking lot, scanning for Marie's car with no luck. As she began to bring her eyes back to her phone, she saw Lucifer's car pull in.
L- Oh my god, he just pulled in! Fuck! Nice bluff, by the way, Marie.
M- Smoochies! You can't run now, can you?
L- FUUUUUUUUUCK OMG he's walking in. The hostess is point at me. Shit! This is really happening!
A- Put your fucking phone away. NOW! You've got this!
V- You can do it, Lynne, be strong.
M- Come on, baby bear, time to leave the den. Call us immediately when you leave!
The sound of a chair scraping interrupted Lynne's typing, and she slowly raised her eyes. Her heart jumped and caught in her throat as she locked eyes with Lucifer. He stopped suddenly and just stood there, frozen in shock, his face not showing any emotion but his eyes giving away his inner torment.
Why is my heart beating so fast? Why does it physically hurt? Why did I come here? I should run. I NEED to run! I can't be strong enough for the both of us again…
Lynne instinctively jumped up out of her seat to hug him, dropping her phone, and bumping into the waitress, spilling the drink on the tray. "Oh, shit, I'm so sorry!" She fumbled around trying to help clean it up, but only caused further damage as the liquid fell off the tray and rolled down her apron before hitting the ground. Absolutely mortified, Lynne blushed bright red and grabbed her cocktail napkin from the table and dabbed it on the apron in a pathetic attempt to wipe the liquid off.
"It's okay, I'm fine, there's about a dozen more in the back, hon. Why don't you just take a seat and a few deep breaths while I go fetch another one? And another round." She turned to Lucifer. "Can I get you anything?"
He finally shook away his shock and smiled brightly at her. "Yes, darling, thank you. I'll have a bourbon, neat. Double. Actually, make it a triple."
She nodded and walked away as Lynne slunk back into her seat and hung her head in her hands, horrified by what had just happened. Lucifer reached over and gently pulled her hands away from her face. "She’s gone. I think it's safe to come out now, Lynne." He chuckled softly.
Lynne shook her head and rubbed her temples as she took a few deep breaths. "Hi…" she managed to mumble through her embarrassment.
Lucifer smiled at her. "Well, hello to you too. You didn't tell me there would be a show here as well, I would have brought my binoculars." Bloody hell, why did I just say that? She's obviously mortified, and I just made it infinitely worse. He winced as Lynne brought her hands to her face again.
Leave it to Satan to kick me when I'm down... How do I get out of here? Is that fence short enough to hop? Ugh, even if it was, I'd probably fall on my face anyway. Fuck!
The waitress returned with their drinks and a big stack of napkins. She winked at Lucifer, who finished his glass in one gulp and signaled that he'd like another one. She gave him a thumbs-up and walked away. He pushed Lynne's drink closer to her. "Come, now, darling. Your drink is here, and you can't just hide behind your hands all night. I should be thanking you, actually, that little performance of yours was the perfect icebreaker and likely far less awkward than us just sitting here staring at each other without speaking. That was actually one of our favorite torture devices in Hell…”
Lynne finally slid her hands down as she began laughing. "Valid point. Leave it to me to amplify the awkwardness so high that it just dissipates!"
Lucifer chuckled. "Good old Lynne, always coming through in the clutch." His eyes met hers again and his breath caught. Bloody hell, how is she radiating such beauty right now? Why can't I speak? Why aren't I angry, or at least less apologetic? Why do I care if she's mortified? His heart began to pound as the voice inside him screamed the answer at him.
Lynne's laughter slowed down and was replaced with awe. Only Lucifer, with his charming absurdity, can make me laugh in the midst of my most embarrassing moment to date. She sighed as she stared into his eyes and saw the stars reflecting in them. His stars. She pulled her gaze away as her heart began to pound again. "Oh, Lucifer… I don't even know where to begin. I had this big heartfelt speech all planned out, but one look at you and I've forgotten all of it."
He reached out and grabbed her hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. "As did I…"
She sighed and brought her eyes back to his. "I'm so sorry, Lucifer. For everything. What I did was so incredibly selfish and hurtful and I'm just so ashamed of myself."
He squeezed her hand. "It's okay, love. I promised you I would be okay, and I am."
She began to call him out on his lie, but the waitress returned with his drink and her food. Food! Yes, that will help buy me some time as I figure out what to say now. She forced a laugh. “Oh, I almost forgot I ordered that. Please, help yourself." She grabbed a potato skin and placed it on her plate, breaking their embrace as she cut into it and took a bite. He followed suit, and soon they were chewing in an only moderately awkward silence. They caught each other's eyes again and quickly glanced away, each of them staring intently at their plates.
A while later, their hands bumped as they both reached for the same chicken tender and the silence was finally broken by their laughter. Lucifer put it on her plate and grabbed another one for himself. "So how are you, Lynne? Really?"
Lynne quickly shoved another bite in her mouth and chewed as she figured out how to respond. "I'm… Okay. Not the best I've ever been, it's been a rough couple of months, but everything that happened… Well, it was a shock to my system and caused me to have some other revelations. I've been working through them, with help from Linda actually. Thank you again for her information."
Lucifer nearly choked. That sneaky little Doctor… How dare she not tell me she was seeing her? Oh, there will be Hell to pay…
Lynne grabbed his hand again. "Don't worry, I used an alias just in case you still talk to her or whatever. I mean why wouldn't you, she's phenomenal!" Lucifer felt the embers growing inside of him and pulled his hand away from hers as he took another bite. "Lucifer, I'm sorry, I didn't think things through initially, I was just kind of broken and desperate and her info was there and…. I'm sorry. If it's any consolation, we were making such great progress that I totally forgot she knew you for a while, and your name didn't even come up until last week when I accidentally mentioned you, and I was totally up front and honest with her and tried to walk out immediately, but she stopped me and…" Fuck, I'm spiraling again. She took a few deep breaths and drank nearly half of her water as she calmed herself down.
Lucifer finally spoke, his voice somewhat steeled. "I see… So what is it that you DID talk about, might I ask?"
Lynne took another deep breath and a sip of her Cosmo. "The real reason why I ran..." She bit her lip and looked over his shoulder, unable to look him in the eyes under the weight of her guilt.
Lucifer saw the pain flash across her eyes, and his heart began to melt. "Care to share what that might be? I don't want to push you, but I need to understand why you did that to me. You don't have to go into detail, but I believe you owe me at least that much after what you did to me..."
Lynne sighed. "You're right. I do. And thanks to Linda I might actually be able to articulate it without completely breaking down…" She took two more sips of her drink. "It's SUCH a cliché, but it all boils down to my father…" Lucifer raised a knowing eyebrow as she continued. "He passed away suddenly when I was 13, and it completely tore the rug out from beneath our family and shattered my heart into a million pieces in the process. It nearly broke me for good, Lucifer. He was my best friend, my anchor, my everything. We had such a deep connection, deeper than anyone else in the family, we knew what the other was thinking or feeling without saying a word, almost as if we were soulmates…" Tears began to well in her eyes.
Lucifer took her hand in his and squeezed it gently. "I'm so sorry, love. That's truly awful. We can change the subject if you'd like."
Lynne shook her head. "No, it's okay. It's the least I can do for you." She took a deep breath as she steadied herself. "So yeah, that was awful, turned my world upside down and I don't even know how I fumbled through that first year or so, it's a complete blur in my mind. But at some point during the next year, I came to grips with it and made a commitment to myself that I would do everything in my power to avoid that heartache ever again. I slowly trained myself to control my emotions and built up that damned dam. I realized that I couldn't avoid it all together and become some recluse with no friends or family, but what I COULD control and completely eliminate from the equation was romantic love. So I put a lot of work into turning that little switch off inside me and eventually it worked. By the time I hit 16 or 17, it was just second nature to me. I ran at even the slightest hint of potential of it."
Lucifer nodded, but still said nothing. Lynne sighed again. "It worked wondrously, until it didn't, and I accidentally fell for this guy when I was around 18 or 19. But I was so deep into my self-imposed mindfuck that I couldn't control it. I tried every trick in the book to get rid of that feeling without hurting him, but nothing helped. It all came to a head one night and my mindfuck was like 'Hey girl, I've got you. Just sit back and let me handle this one,' and started playing tricks on me. I got up to use the bathroom and when I came back, I looked at him and I saw my father laying there in his place. I blinked and did a triple take but he was still there, sleeping away innocently. I left the room, came back, same thing. So, I ran for the hills and never looked back."
She sighed and took another sip of her water. "That scared the ever-living daylights out of me, and I was ready to check myself into the looney bin. But instead, being the absolute idiot that I am, I just ignored every attempt he made to get in touch with me until he finally gave up.” She let out a deep sigh of regret as tears began to brim in her eyes. “I hurt him SO much, and the fact that I was capable of doing that to someone scared me even more than the hallucination did. I should have talked to a professional, but I was a complete moron. Instead I took a big step back from any type of relationship for a few years, worked through it all on my own, and re-enforced that dam of mine. It took a long time, but with some baby steps I was able to get back in the dating pool and resolved to never let that happen again. I even attempted to let myself love again, tried to force it a couple times, but I either wasn't ready or they weren't 'the one' and so I never really got to test out whether or not I actually fixed myself before Emily came along and put a big damper on my social life. But that's a story for another time."
He squeezed her hand but still said nothing. "So, fast-forward to our weekend and there I was, faced with the same situation. I accidentally caught some serious feelings, but everything was like a zillion times more intense on top of the whole actual revelation I experienced. And then you played that song at Lux, 'Wonderful Tonight'... “ She took a deep breath. "That was my father and I's special song and brought all that shit back and the dam burst wide open. Poor Marie had to talk me off the ledge, it was crazy. So, I found a way to lie to myself one last time and say I would just enjoy our last night together and deal with at all later. But then our talk and the balcony… Oh my God the balcony… Well, you know. I burrowed into our happy little bubble and desperately clung to it even as reality began to set in. You had to literally shove me in that car, I was such a mess."
She sighed and took another sip. "So anyway, being the big selfish cowardly baby that I am, I took what I thought was the easy way out. But it wasn't easy. For either of us. I realized that eventually when it all caught up to me and decided I needed to finally get some help and unfuck my head up. If I was ever going to find peace and happiness like I promised you, I needed to find a way to process emotions in a healthier way. So here I am. Trying to do that.” She sighed again as her eyes met his. “I know that this in no way excuses what I did to you, and nothing I say or do can ever take that pain away from you. And it was so selfish of me to even ask you to do this, and I'm sorry, Lucifer. For everything. I'm sorry. I'm so fucking sorry…" She hung her head in her hands and began to cry.
Lucifer shooed the waitress away as she came back to check on them. He desperately wanted to run away, to hate her for what she did to him, to leave her here and let her wallow in her pain and guilt, but he couldn't. He walked over, knelt down beside her and hugged her as she cried into his neck, each tear another bullet to his heart. He cursed his father and himself for letting him become this way, so weak and helpless, so willing to forgive her sins.
He rubbed her back and kissed the top of her head as he pulled her closer. "Shh… It's okay, love… You're okay, I'm okay, the world is still spinning." He kissed her head again and she wrapped her arms around him. He held her tight for a few minutes as her shoulders slowly began to stop shaking. He gave her one last squeeze before standing up and going back to his chair.
She pulled a few napkins from the pile and handed some to him before blowing her nose. "Sorry for crying all over that Armani suit of yours…" They both took another few sips of their drinks as they calmed themselves down. She took a deep breath and finally spoke. "Thank you." He couldn't bring himself to speak yet, the waves of different emotions still crashing within him. He simply nodded and placed more food on each of their plates.
She took his signal and they finished the rest of the appetizers in a relatively comfortable silence, each lost in thought but too emotionally spent to speak. The waitress came back, finally sensing it was safe, and timidly asked them if there was anything else she could get them.
Lucifer slapped on his brightest smile. "Just the check, please, darling, thank you."
Well that's that on that, I guess… Lynne couldn't even bring herself to look at him again. The waitress returned quickly with the check, and their fingers brushed as they both reached for it. She looked up and their eyes finally met again for a moment. He was the first to look away and removed his hand from the check. Not wanting to extend their now incredibly awkward silence any longer, Lynne fished through her wallet and was grateful to find her emergency cash. She threw it on the table and stood up along with Lucifer, and they walked to the parking lot in silence.
They reached her car and she moved in to hug him, relieved when he didn't pull away. She squeezed him tight and stepped back from him. "So this is it, then, I guess... Thank you again, for everything. And sorry again. For everything."
She stood there awkwardly playing with her hands, waiting for him to say something, anything. A few moments later he pulled her in for another hug. "I forgive you."
She tried to hold back the tears forming again in her eyes as she held him close. He tightened his grip around her and fought the urge to kiss her. He couldn't let himself go there with her, but he couldn't stand the thought of letting her walk away again. She pulled back from him again and looked up into his eyes, trying desperately to fight the urge to run again or kiss him. "So… are you okay? Should I leave, or…?"
Lucifer sighed. "I'm better, but not quite. I just… I don't know what to do now. I had a plan and that's gone to Hell in a hand basket…"
Lynne hung her head. "I'm so sorry, Lucifer. Please, anything you need to get off your chest, do so. It's your turn. I’m done being a selfish asshole, at least I hope I am…"
Lucifer sighed again. "Could we perhaps go somewhere a little less public? If I truly open up to you, I don't want to risk…" He shook his head, unable to face the thought of what might happen if he truly let himself go there with her.
Lynne gave his hand a gentle squeeze. "I understand. Get in your car and follow me, I know just the spot."
TRIGGER WARNING: The promised smut will finally arrive in this chapter, but thanks to all the angst that’s been built up things get pretty dark there for a minute. There are very heavy dub-con elements which hover into non-con territory. In the context of the story, these non-con elements are unintentional and quickly acknowledged/addressed, but by definition they could be described as moderate-to-heavy non-con, depending on your personal interpretation, and may be triggering. Please proceed with caution.
Ten minutes later, Lynne turned off onto a service road and led Lucifer up a winding path surrounded by trees. Oh, bloody hell, where is she taking me? Some sort of sacrificial altar in the woods? Soon the wall of trees broke, and she pulled over onto a cliff overlooking the ocean. He watched as she got out and rummaged around in her trunk before pulling out a duffle bag. I was just kidding about the altar, but now I'm starting to get worried…
She walked further out onto the precipice and ducked behind a large rock, and he cautiously got out of his car to join her. He found her propping up a few pillows against the curve of the rock before shaking out a blanket and laying it on the ground. She patted the blanket and he eyed her warily as he walked over and sat down. She sat down a few feet away from him and wrapped herself in another blanket. "Sorry I forgot to tell you where we were going, didn't mean to go serial killer mode there for a moment. Add that to your list of grievances." He chuckled as their gazes turned towards the stars twinkling above the ocean as its waves rolled and crashed against the rocks below. Lynne sighed in awe. "This is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world. I do some of my best thinking here under those stars of yours. I thought you might enjoy it as well…"
He smiled as he leaned back. "It is quite a marvelous view…"
Lynne smiled. "So what's on your mind?"
"Everything and nothing all at once…" Lucifer said wistfully.
"Same…" They stared out at the ocean for a long while and she finally spoke again. "So… Forgiveness, huh? Taking a little tip from dear old Dad are we?" He shot her a nasty look and she frowned. "Sorry, that was an even worse icebreaker than spilling my drink on that poor waitress."
Lucifer laughed. "I suppose so…" He sighed deeply. "Look, I wanted to hate you for what you did to me. And I did, at least for a little while, but I got over that, or so I thought. When you broke down again back there, I wanted desperately to just run away and leave you there wallowing in your guilt. I wanted to relish in your pain as some sort of sick payback, but despite what they may say about me, I find no satisfaction in others' torment unless they truly deserve it. But judgement has never been my role, nor will it ever be. My only option left was to forgive you, so that maybe we can both finally find some peace…” He shook his head and sighed again. “But then you hugged me in that parking lot, and it brought everything back and I just couldn't let you walk away again. So here I am, stargazing with Lynne 'bloody hell, why don't I know your middle name yet' Gardner, trying to make sense of it all."
Lynne chuckled softly. "It's Marie… So how can I help you make sense of this all?"
"I'm not sure you can…" Lucifer exhaled deeply. "I can't go on the way I have been. But I'm not quite ready to truly forgive you, or trust you, or allow myself to put my heart on the line again, and I don’t know that I ever will be. I'm literally stuck between a rock and a hard place right now," he laughed as he tapped the rocks behind and below him.
“I hear that…” Lynne smiled as she sighed. "Well, I want you to be happy and finally find peace and contentment, so whatever you decide, I'll be okay with. I'll sign another deal if you'd like, and I'm pretty sure I'll actually be able to keep it this time around. I have a wonderful therapist now who can help me work through anything. "
Lucifer couldn't help but chuckle. "My, how the tables have turned…"
Lynne laughed with him. "Why yes, they have." She let out another long sigh. "Hmm… I'm trying to think back to what helped me when I was in your shoes… We've covered the 'why' and the 'how' piece… Do you think it might help if you got a little bit of that anger and resentment towards me out of your system?"
Lucifer shook his head. "No. I told you, I already did and that didn't help one bit. What else have you got, Doctor Gardner?"
"Well, as I recall, I had some rage going on in that bathroom, but it was quickly pushed aside by all the other emotions. It eventually came back out during that first talk we had, and I said some pretty horrible stuff to you- sorry again by the way- but I felt way better after venting and haven’t been angry at anyone other than myself since. Well, I had a few choice words for your father, but he refuses to respond, let alone engage in any arguments with me..."
“That makes two of us.” Lucifer scoffed. “That outburst of yours was rather intense, but it did seem to help you so I suppose I could try. But how do I even start? This place does have an alarmingly calming atmosphere…"
“It sure does, that’s why I love it so much…” Lynne smiled. "Here, I'll go first. I'm still mad and kind of hate myself for what I did. I haven't really worked through any of it yet, so it'll be wicked easy to start you off with some examples." She stood up and put her hands on her hips. She couldn't look him in the eye without laughing, so she turned around to face the ocean and cleared her throat, opting not to try and impersonate his accent this time.
"Lynne, you stupid fucking idiot selfish baby. You knew how you felt about me way before you left me. In fact, the real reason you broke down in Lux wasn't because of your father, you liar. It was that scary feeling that popped up because it was ME specifically singing that song, calling you out on your internal bullshit without even realizing it. But no, you lied to yourself and to Marie, blaming it on dear old Dad like you always do when in fact it was ALL YOU. You made yourself that way! But were too fucking stupid and scared to see the truth."
She took a deep breath and continued. "And you ABSOLUTELY knew how I felt about you! The kindness and patience and selflessness I showed you, how I went out of my way to make you feel like you were the most special woman in the world, but no, you couldn't face that truth either, could you, you big baby! So you kept feeding yourself AND ME massive amounts of bullshit excuses so you could deny it. And I let you, because I cared for you so deeply and I'm a good man. But there was NO denying how I felt about you on that balcony, Lynne. YOU SAW MY FUCKING TEARS! And yet instead of asking me how I felt or what I wanted to do, you just ran away like the scared little coward you are and lied to yourself some more that I would actually be okay when you KNEW I wouldn't be, you selfish fucking ASSHOLE!!!!" She screamed into the wind as she bent over, hands on her knees, panting.
She finally calmed down and said "Okay, your turn now," cheerfully as she turned around. She expected to see laughter or even flames in his eyes, but he just stared at the ground. She went over to pull him up from his seat and he flinched as she reached for him, recoiling from her touch. She took a big step back. "It's okay, Lucifer. You have every reason to be mad at me. Let it out. I can take it."
Lucifer shook his head. "If it's punishment you’re after, Lynne, I'm no longer in that business, so stop trying to goad me into it."
Lynne took a small step towards him and he looked up at her, embers in his eyes, and she stayed where she was. "Lucifer, that's not it at all. I'll be punishing myself for the rest of my life, there's no need for anyone else to help. I just want you to let yourself be angry. It's not healthy to bottle that up, and you need to let it out. Yell at me, the sky, the ocean, whatever you want, but you need to just do it already or it will eat away at you!"
Lucifer stood up now, the flames in his eyes growing brighter. "How DARE you try to tell me how I should feel, or what I should do, just so you can feel better about yourself. Could you BE any more FUCKING selfish, Lynne?!"
He breathed heavily as she stared at him, trying to hide the fear from her face. He won't hurt me… I have to be strong enough for the both of us right now… All she could do was shake her head and brace herself for whatever came next.
"How DARE you ask me to see you tonight?! I was finally almost okay but NOOO you just couldn't leave well enough alone, could you Lynne? You needed your precious closure and like a FOOL I fell for your manipulations yet again.” He sighed in frustration, the flames flickering in his eyes. “I've tried SO BLOODY HARD to be a good person these past few years to the point where I've nearly lost my identity in the process. Do you even know what it took for me to be strong enough for the both of us the day you left? The weeks afterwards? The risks it posed to EVERYTHING I've worked so hard for? The toll it took on my very soul? OF COURSE NOT! You just let me do it, let me cater to your every whim and desire regardless of the personal cost."
He took a step towards her and she instinctively stepped back, bumping into the rock. He took a deep breath, but he couldn't calm himself, and his flames grew brighter. "I bared my heart and soul to you, Lynne. You said you never wanted to hurt me but guess what- YOU DID! And you KNEW you were doing it, too, which makes it INFINITELY worse! You said it yourself, Lynne. You knew how I felt long before that balcony, and afterwards there was NO DENYING IT. I told you in every possible way that I could without actually saying the words! YOU KNEW that the only reason I let you go is because I loved you too much to try and stop you. AND YOU STILL RAN!"
Tears began to well up in Lynne's eyes. Oh my God, did he just drop the L-bomb on me?!
He stepped closer, inches away from her now, his breath hot on her face as he continued. "You ran, Lynne. And you hurt me. No, you nearly BROKE me. You knew FULL WELL what you were doing to me and you did it anyway. And now you're here after all this time asking me to forgive you?! Those pathetic BLOODY tears running down your face back there begging me to let you into my life again?! And the same ones now?! Are you FUCKING SERIOUS?! I may be the devil but who's the torturous one, here, Lynne, huh? WHY DIDN'T YOU JUST LET ME BE?!!!"
The flames in his eyes were raging. He brought his hands to her shoulders and began to shake her, but his wings popped out suddenly, momentarily distracting him. He let go of her and shook his head as he turned and walked away from her. He stood on the edge of the cliff and contemplated flying away to escape this torment. To escape her.
Lynne's tears were now waterfalls. Oh, God, please! Help! I've pushed him too far! Smite me right now if you must, but please grant him just an ounce of serenity before it's too late! "Lucifer, please, please don't leave. Hate me if you need to, but please, don't leave like this. You’re… I don't want you to do anything you'll regret." She began to walk towards him but he raised his hand to stop her in her tracks.
He slowly turned around with flames still raging in his eyes as the moonlight glistened across his wings. "SIT," he growled at her. She nodded and obeyed him, scooting as far back as she could against the rock. He took a deep breath as he rubbed his temples and paced back and forth across the edge of the cliff. "Lynne... What you did… It brought up my 'daddy issues' as well. It brought me RIGHT BACK to that moment when I first landed in Hell. Alone, afraid, and ABANDONED. The guilt of my mistakes drowning me..."
He took another deep breath to steady himself. "And then I recalled only other time I felt like that. The second time I fell. Only this time it was not from heaven, but for a woman. I royally fucked that all up as well, and it nearly broke me all over again. But I survived. Then here I was again, years later, given a third chance to finally do things right, prove to myself that I had learned from my mistakes. I did EVERYTHING in my power not to mess it up and yet I STILL ended up fallen, broken, alone and afraid, awash with guilt. Because of YOU."
The flames died out and were replaced with pain. Lynne wanted to hug him, to make it all go away, but she couldn't help the flames that were building up inside of her, the voice crying out to her. She couldn't stop the words from coming out, no matter how hard she tried. "Well, there you go, Lucifer. You've found a way to hurt me." She clapped sarcastically. "But I should thank you for it, actually. I think I can finally put this whole thing to rest now that I know I was just some epic do-over for you…"
She began to walk away and he rushed over to stop her, the flames immediately reigniting in his eyes. "Don't do this, Lynne. Don't you DARE do this to me again!” He wanted to shake her, condemn her for being selfish and making this all about her yet again, but he suddenly realized what she was doing. He had just given her the perfect reason to run and she couldn't help herself from taking it. It was no longer in her control.
“What we have… It's different. I'm different, you're different, EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT!” The flames slowly died out and were replaced with pain once again. “She was a test, Lynne. A human, with free will, whom I believe did once actually love me as much as I loved her, but she was a test from my father. One that I passed with flying colors by failing miserably. A test that proved to both of us that I could to be better, wanted to be better. A test that finally granted me the forgiveness and freedom I so desperately wanted from him."
Lynne sighed. She saw the pain and honesty in his eyes, but she couldn't control the voice screaming in her head. "That's a great story, and I'm really glad you guys worked out your issues and all, but I want no part in any divine test or power struggle. Thanks, but no thanks..."
"Look at me, Lynne." He turned her head towards his, embers creeping into his pupils again. “You are NOT a test. Everything about you and us is different. I’m not saying we’re soulmates or anything crazy like that, Dad knows that’ll send both of us off and running again, but what I do know is that what we have is different than anything I've felt before. Our near-instant connection, how natural everything felt, my total lack of defenses around you, the way you truly broke me…"
Lynne simply closed her eyes and leaned back against the rock. "I feel the same way, Lucifer. I can't explain why or how, but I can't shake that feeling either. I was never able to. We very well could be, but Lucifer, it can NEVER work between us! You're… I mean look at you right now, you have fucking wings and flames in your eyes. What future do we have? Is your father truly THAT cruel?!"
Lucifer brought her head back towards his, forcing her to look into his eyes again as the flames grew, as did that nagging feeling in his soul as he studied his stars in her eyes. Does her torture never end? She admits she feels that same connection and in the same breath tells me we have no future. She's infuriating! He leaned in and kissed her out of sheer frustration, and sparks literally jumped from their lips when they met. They both pulled their heads back at the shock, staring into each other's eyes.
What the fuck just happened? That couldn't have been... No! God, why are you doing this to us? I can't go there with him, I JUST CAN’T! HAVE YOU NO MERCY LEFT IN YOUR SOUL?!
Lynne found herself leaning back in to kiss him with no way to stop it. She cried and punched against his chest as she kissed him, and he made no move to stop her, or himself. He wrapped his arms around her and deepened their kiss, hungrily devouring her mouth as the flames inside him continued to burn and lick against her skin where he touched.
She pulled him close against her, wrapping her legs around him as he pinned her against the rock. Their bodies melted into each other, a heady mix of anger and love and frustration sending them deeper into the throes of unbridled passion. He ground into her core as she moaned and clung to his wings, pulling on them, wanting desperately to get lost in him but also to stop, to push him away, to run. The angel and devil in her head were in a fight to the death and she tugged on his wings in frustration.
He growled at the pain and switched their position, resting his wings against the rock as he pulled her shirt off and moved in to kiss her again as his hands pawed at her breasts, squeezing them until she cried out, in pain or pleasure she couldn't decide. She reached behind him and grabbed his wings at their base, pulling as hard as she could, tearing him away from the rock and using all of her strength to throw him on the ground. He could have stopped her, should have stopped her, but he couldn't be strong enough for himself at this point, let alone both of them.
She knelt above him, straddling his legs, and fumbled with his belt and zipper as she brought her lips to his again, her breath catching as she felt the sparks again. She finally freed his cock from its fabric cage and hitched up her skirt. He reached up and tore her panties off, throwing them over the edge of cliff as he sat up on one elbow and ran his fingers through her hair, pulling her back to him as he deepened their kiss.
She positioned herself above him and slowly rubbed her slickness up and down his length before finally impaling herself onto him, both of them crying out as he filled her. She stared into his flames as she rocked into him, faster and faster with each thrust as she brought them closer and closer to their peaks. She kissed him again as her walls began to close in around him, and he flipped them over without breaking contact, his wings blowing clouds of dirt into the air.
She melted into his mouth and punched against his chest again as she writhed beneath him in pleasure, but he only tightened his grip around her. She felt as though his fingers were burning into her flesh and bit his lip as hard as she could. He finally released his grip from around her waist and knelt back. She sat up and studied him as they panted, his wings twitching and glimmering in the moonlight, the flames in his eyes burning brighter than she had ever seen them before. She maintained his gaze as she rolled over and got on all fours, summoning him back to her with a wiggle of her hips and desperation in her eyes. He accepted her invitation and grabbed hold of her hips again as she backed herself onto him, crying out once more as the heat of his cock slowly filled her again.
He plunged into her with a primal urgency, each thrust hitting her core deliciously and she was soon beginning to tremble around him. He increased his pace and her cries of pleasure soon echoed against the rock face as she exploded around him, calling out his name over and over again as if it were a prayer.
A devilish grin flashed across his face as he reached down and grabbed a fistful of her hair and tugged her up towards him as he leaned back, bringing her up to rest against his chest as he continued thrusting into her. "Is this what you wanted, Lynne?" he growled into her ear, and she nodded as she moaned softly into the wind.
"You summoned the devil to fuck you one last time before you run away again?" he asked as he nipped at her neck, eliciting another moan from her lips. She gently shook her head. "Be honest, now, Lynne, I know when someone's lying to me,” he said, his voice low and graveled. “You wanted to make me mad, fill me with rage, stoke those flames in my eyes so I would fuck you hard and rough just like this.” He used his knees to spread her legs wider, and she cried out in ecstasy as he plunged even deeper into her.
“You wanted me to punish you as only the devil can…" He bit down on her earlobe just gently enough to not break skin. "You wanted rocks digging into your knees and palms, dried blood and blisters and the soreness between your legs tomorrow as penance for your sins." He pulled her hair a little harder as he sucked voraciously on her neck.
Lynne shook her head again. "Tell me the truth, Lynne." His voice sent a chill down her spine as he reached his hand around her waist and began to rub her clit, eliciting a deep moan from her. "That's right, sing for me," he murmured as he increased his pace. "Confess your sins. You just wanted that hot seed of Hell to fill you one last time." He began to pound into her again, guttural cries escaping from his throat with each thrust.
"NO!" she cried out as she tried to pull away, but his hold on her was too strong. "Fuck, Lucifer, STOP! I'm gonna come again! Stop! PLEASE!”
His fingertips encircled her nub, rubbing it with an almost punishing rhythm. "Go ahead, Lynne, come around the devil’s cock and squeeze that fiery seed of Hell deep inside of you. I know that's all you want from me, there’s no need to deny yourself." He snapped his hips, plunging into her again, just the way he knew she liked it, and she fell apart around him. He roared as his release soon followed, burning into her center, their cries floating out into the ocean.
He let go of her hair and leaned in to kiss her, but she pulled away and turned to him, tears streaming down her cheeks. "Is that what you really think, or were you just trying to get me off? Or perhaps yourself, Samael?” she asked as the tears in her eyes turned to anger.
Lucifer's face and heart fell together as his flames died out. "You told me to get my anger out… I thought you liked it rather rough sometimes… I'm sorry, Lynne. I lost control. Please forgive me…” He moved towards her, placing his hand on her shoulder.
She recoiled at his touch, looking into his eyes with a mix of disgust and pain. "Yes, I did, and yes, under different circumstances I may have found that pretty hot, but you crossed a line, Lucifer. MANY lines. You took ALL of that shit way too fucking far for it to just be kinky… I told you to stop, BEGGED you stop, and you didn’t. I don’t care if I was just fucking Satan incarnate, stop means stop.”
Lucifer’s mouth opened and closed a few times as the weight of her words and his actions smothered him. The pain and regret in his eyes cut deep into Lynne’s heart, and she took his hand in hers. “Listen, I know you were angry and totally lost control. I’ve never seen the flames burn that bright before, I could feel them burning through your skin, but I still chose to keep fucking you despite the risks, so I’ll give you a pass on that particular line you crossed. But tell me honestly, do you really think that's all I wanted from you? Why I brought you here?"
"I don't know… Kind of… I just…” He sighed deeply. “I don't know what to think anymore, Lynne. I’m so sorry..." He buried his face in her hair as his guilt washed over him.
She hugged him tight before leaning back and taking his face in her hands. "Look at me, Lucifer. Look me in the eyes and know that I am baring my soul to you when I say this. I need you to listen, understand, and accept my words." He brought his eyes up to hers, tears brimming, and nodded. "Lucifer 'we still need to come up with a middle name for you' Morningstar, I love you. I truly love you, deep within my soul. Wings, flames, baggage, and all. I have no idea where to go from here, but at least I know this much and I'm willing to give it a shot if you are. I also love you enough to want nothing more than for you to finally have peace in your life, and if you want to walk away from this, I will not judge or resent you, and I truly will be okay as long as you're happy."
He looked into her eyes, studying the reflection of his stars in them as her words washed over him. He lifted his gaze upwards, hoping the night sky would provide him some solace as he struggled to determine if he was truly willing to take this risk again. He saw a comet fly above them and chuckled to himself. Subtle move, Dad.
He turned his gaze back to Lynne. "I love you, too, Lynne Marie Gardner." He kissed her, and she wrapped her arms around his neck and sat in his lap as her tears began to fall. An overwhelming sense of peace and contentment washed over them as they melted into each other. She shifted her position and slowly lowered herself onto him. They both inhaled deeply as they relished the feeling of being made whole, and began to gently rock together as one, their mouths and hands exploring each other as if it were their first time.
His hands moved down to her waist and gently guided her into a smooth and steady rhythm as they slowly rose towards their peaks again. He bucked his hips to meet hers and ground himself inside of her as she began to tighten around him. "That's it, my love," he whispered into her ear as he ran his fingers through her hair.
She increased their pace slightly and clung to him as she began to fall over the edge. He took over and gently drove himself into her until her walls clamped down around him. "Lucifer…" she whispered into his ear as she rode her wave of pleasure. “Yes…” he murmured softly into hers as she contracted around him. He moaned her name as his release flooded into her once more, the once fiery heat replaced with a warm tingling stream. He kissed her as they rode each wave of her orgasm's aftershock.
They stayed locked in their embrace for a few minutes, gently rocking, soft moans escaping into each other’s mouths as they slowly came down from their peaks. He reached behind them to bring the blanket over and laid down upon it. He pulled her onto him and wrapped his wings around her for warmth as she nuzzled into the crook of his neck, a fresh wave of peace and contentment washing over them. They listened to the waves below them gently crashing into the precipice, lulling them into a peaceful sleep.
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.