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The Gamble

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Lynne and Emily picked her mom up at the airport the next day and paid no mind to the scene they made at baggage claim as they screamed and hugged and cried as if they didn't talk on the phone or Skype at least once a week. They piled into the car and her mom tapped the roof. "Open that sunroof, would ya Lynne? I want those rays of California sun shining down on me! My flight barely made it out of Logan with that blizzard we just had."

Lynne happily obliged. "There's so much I miss about being home, but that's not one of them! Or that disgusting humidity in the summer." She gagged. "But fall, oh how I miss fall! And having actual seasons!" They laughed as she pulled out of the airport. "Do you mind if we stop at the store on the way home? I didn't get a chance to go grocery shopping yesterday, and once we get home it'll be impossible to pull myself away from you again."

Her mom smiled. "Of course! Besides, I promised Emily here I would spoil her just like I do when you guys are back east, so I need to pick some things up myself."

Emily cheered from the back seat and Lynne gently swatted her mother's arm. "Come on, Mom, not on home turf."

Her mom laughed as she swatted her back. "You may live here but anywhere I am is home turf, Lynne Marie, so you might as well save your energy and just let me do what I want. Speaking of, can we stop at one of the fancy ones downtown? I want to accidentally run into a celebrity trying to be 'one of us'."

Lynne laughed as she rolled her eyes. "That doesn't actually happen in real life, but sure. Anything my darling mother desires, she gets."


They arrived at the over-priced grocery store and agreed to divide and conquer the list. Emily ran off with her Nana towards the cereal aisle and Lynne headed to the produce section. She found the ingredients she needed and was making her way towards the pasta when she heard Emily and her mother giggling in the next aisle over. She quickly grabbed a box of noodles and went over to see what was so funny.

Lynne stopped in her tracks at the top of the aisle, her heart jumping into her throat as she saw Lucifer reaching to try and grab the last box of Lucky Charms all the way in the back of the top shelf. Emily and her mother were trying not to laugh as he struggled and grunted quietly as he went up on his tiptoes, shook his head, jumped up, but still couldn't quite reach the box. He finally gave up, grabbed a box of Cheerios, and knelt down in front of Emily so he was at eye level with her. "I'm afraid it just wasn't meant to be, love. Here, take these, they're far better for you anyway." He passed the box to Emily as he stood up and brushed off his trousers.

Emily frowned. "Thanks for trying, mister, but I already have these at home and Nana said it was her job to spoil me, which includes cereal my mom won't buy me..." She batted her eyelashes at him. "Maybe if you lift me up I can reach it? Teamwork makes the dream work!"  

Lucifer looked to Lynne's mother for approval, and she nodded. Lucifer lifted Emily up by the waist, and together they finally grabbed the box of Lucky Charms. He spun her around a couple times before putting her down, and Emily giggled as she gave him one of her famous high fives. He laughed as he shook his hand out. "My, my, you've got quite the powerful high-five for such a small human!"

Emily giggled as she put her prize in the carriage. Her Nana thanked him and turned to see Lynne standing there dumbfounded and waved embarrassingly. "Oh hi, honey! This lovely gentleman was just helping us get the last box of Lucky Charms. What an angel, huh?"

Holy shit… Lynne plastered on a fake smile and started walking towards them as Lucifer turned to her. He smiled and shrugged innocently when he saw her eyes grow as wide as they possibly could in disbelief. He raised an eyebrow, as if asking her how to proceed, and she gently shook her head. Emily ran up to hug her and almost knocked her over. "Mommy! Mommy! That man was soooooo nice and he helped us get the VERY LAST BOX and he even made me FLY! He's the BEST! Can he be our friend? PLEEEEEEEASE?"

Lucifer and her mom looked awkwardly at her as Lynne struggled to come up with a good cover, but nothing came to mind and she knew Emily and her Mom would see right through her terrible poker face if she lied. Fuck it, I guess this was bound to happen eventually, might as well roll with it… "That's awesome, boo bear! Want to know something even more awesome?” Emily nodded excitedly. “I'm actually already friends with him!"

All three of them snapped their heads towards her in shock. Both Lucifer and her mother's eyebrows were raised as high as they could go, and Lynne just shrugged. Thankfully, Emily broke the awkward silence. "THAT IS AWESOME! Can he come over for dinner? I want him to make me fly again AAAAAAAND he totally deserves some of your yummy lasagna for helping us."

Lucifer looked to her expectantly, and Lynne gave the slightest shake of her head. He knelt down in front of Emily again. "Kindness is its own reward, love." He winked at Lynne. "Besides, I don't want to risk ruining your fun of getting spoiled rotten by your Nana if she tries to be on her best behavior in front of a stranger… How about I make you fly all the way down the aisle before you finish shopping instead?"

Emily nodded and jumped into his arms, almost knocking him over. He lifted her up above his shoulders and she spread her arms out like wings as they ran down the aisle, giggling incessantly. "Again! Again!" Emily cried when they reached the end, and Lucifer found himself shockingly happy to oblige.

Lynne's mother pulled her out of the way as they whizzed by and pinched her arm. "Lynne Marie Gardner, is that the man you've been keeping under lock and key? How DARE you not invite him to dinner! That man is utterly DIVINE, and look at how great he is with Emily! I have a good feeling about him…"

Lynne rolled her eyes. "Put the wedding invitations away, Mom. He IS amazing, but it's wicked complicated. I'll tell you all about it after Emily's in bed."

Lucifer ran back to them and put Emily down, both panting from their laps up and down the aisle. He patted her on the head. "Ok, little love, that's enough flying for now. Don't want your groceries going bad, now, do we?"

Emily frowned. "I guess not… Thank you so much!" She jumped up into his arms to hug him once more, then pulled her head back and looked into his eyes. "You know, Luci, you make my heart smile..."

His eyes sparkled as he set her back down. "Why thank you, Miss Emily, you're not so bad yourself." He readjusted his collar and turned to Lynne's mother, taking her hand in his and laying a gentle kiss upon her knuckles. "It was a pleasure to meet you, darling. Enjoy your time with those lovely girls of yours!" He looked at Lynne, who couldn't help but smile brightly at him. "I'll see you soon, I hope, Lynne."

She began to respond, but her mother pushed herself in between them. "How's 5:30? We'd love to have you join us for dinner." She shot Lynne her patented MomLook, shutting her up from whatever objection she was about to make.

Lynne rolled her eyes as Lucifer smiled brightly at her mom. "5:30 would be perfect. Lasagna, is it? I'll bring the wine." He looked at Lynne who couldn't help but smile as she shook her head.

"See you then, I guess… Ok, Gardner girls, off to the dairy section!" Lynne exclaimed and pushed their carriage away quickly.


 Lynne shut the oven door and looked at the clock. 5:28. Her nerves began to go wild. Fuck. This is really happening, isn't it? Maybe he'll be late or even better, not show up at all… She reset the timer and grabbed some plates from the cabinet. The doorbell suddenly rang and her both her heart and body jumped as she set the plates down and went to answer it.

Lucifer stood there with a case of wine and a dashing smile. He leaned in to kiss her and Lynne rolled her eyes, dodging his kiss and opening the door wider for him to step through. "So that's how it's going to be the first time I see your home? I shall try not to be too offended..." he said as he shook his head.

Lynne pulled him by his arm into the kitchen. She kissed him quickly before grabbing a bottle from the box. "Thanks for bringing all this ammunition, babe, I'm gonna need it." Lucifer scoffed as he set the box down and fumbled in her drawers for a corkscrew. Lynne pointed to the one sitting on the counter, and went to grab a few glasses, which clinked together in her hands as they shook. "Sorry, Lucifer, it's nothing against you, I just wasn't mentally prepared for any of these milestones so soon, and especially not all at once."

Lucifer wrapped his arms around her waist as he set the bottle down and kissed her cheek. "I know, love, but if I recall correctly, you prefer to 'rip the bandage off,' so perhaps it's good it worked out this way..."

Lynne turned and kissed him again before unwrapping his arms from around her waist and ducking under them to grab the wine and filled their glasses. She took a few big sips as her nerves began to settle. "This is true… But we need some ground rules. No PDA. No lovey-dovey eyes across the table. No racy stories, and try to keep the devil thing to a minimum if you can. No insinuating that we're anything more than just friends, ESPECIALLY around Emily. Got it?"

Lucifer frowned. "Well that certainly takes all the fun away. What's left for me to do?"

Lynne gestured towards the other glasses as she grabbed the plates. "You can start by bringing those to the table." She leaned up to kiss him again. "I'm sorry, Lucifer, I want you to be able to be yourself and be comfortable here, but the two of them are already giving me so much shit about you already- they're practically obsessed! It's almost impossible to keep my mom at bay, and I haven't had the chance to really explain the whole situation to her, nor have I even begun to think about how to approach it with Emily. I mean, I know how I feel about you and I know you're worth taking the risk with her, but I haven't gotten around to figuring out how and I hate going into it without a game plan. So please, just bear with me while I try and sort it out, okay?"

Lucifer took the plates out of her hands, set them down on the counter, and kissed her forehead as he pulled her into his embrace. "Lynne, I had no idea you were considering that already, I… Just… wow. That really means a lot to hear that I'm worth taking your biggest risk for."

Lynne tilted her head up and kissed him. "You are. You always have been. And I've finally been feeling like I'm ready as well lately, but haven't found the right way to bring it up." She sighed as she shook her head. "Looks like your 'dear old Dad' brought it upon himself to force the issue..."

Lucifer frowned as he pulled away from her. "Now don't go bringing him into this, we were having such a lovely moment... I was simply trying to replenish the coffee you adore so much you finished it yesterday and forgot to tell me, and innocently helped a couple of vertically-challenged strangers. It's not an uncommon occurrence, being a rather tall person. So what if you just happened to be at a store you've never been to on the opposite side of town from where you live? Purely a coincidence."

Lynne chuckled as she picked up the plates again. "Whatever you say, Luc. Now please come help me set the table before they get back from the park, they'll be here any minute."


 Lynne was laughing as Lucifer put the last of the napkin swans on the plates with a flourish. "You're so utterly EXTRA sometimes, Lucifer, I love-" she was interrupted by the sound of Emily's running feet and turned around. Emily was covered in dirt and flying straight towards Lucifer. Lynne took one look at his outfit and panicked momentarily before stepping in front of her and blocking the attack, scooping her up just in time.

"What have you been up to you little mud-ball?" she asked as she held her out at arm's length and set her back down. "You were supposed to be home a while ago and dinner's almost ready. Please go wash up and change your clothes. And try not to leave a trail of dirt behind you, I just vacuumed this morning."

Emily pouted. "Nana let me start digging a hole to China. I was almost there but she MADE me stop." She shot a nasty looked towards the doorway.

Lynne's mother laughed as she walked into the house. "Oh hush, Emily, we can finish tomorrow. Now do as your mother says."

Emily crossed her arms. "Not until Luci makes me fly again, or at least gives me a hug."

Lynne rolled her eyes at Emily's obstinance and began to respond, but Lucifer swooped in and knelt down in front of Emily. "My apologies, darling, but I'm not quite ready to fly again just yet, I need that lasagna to refill my energy. How about another high-five instead?" Emily smiled and wound her arm before blasting him with one. He laughed and dramatically fell over as he rubbed his hand. "Phew! Peter wasn't kidding about those flaming high-fives! Tell me, are there steroids in those Lucky Charms of yours?"

Emily giggled and began jumping up and down. "YOU KNOW PETER?! I'm gonna marry him when I grow up, you know, he already said yes." Her eyes lit up. "Ooh! Maybe you can marry my mom at the same time! That would be so much fun, we can fly down the aisle together!"

Lynne tried to shake the horrified look from her face and pulled Emily away from him. "That's enough out of you, Emily Anne. Go wash up. NOW."

"Ugh, FINE! You can marry Luci sooner, I guess." She turned and stomped her way towards the bathroom.

Lynne's mom burst into laughter as she helped Lucifer up from the ground, who chuckled along with her as he adjusted his cuff links. She gathered her breath and peered back and forth between them as she folded her arms. "Is there something you two want to share with me?"

Lynne was absolutely mortified at this point and all she could do was shake her head. "No, Mom, I swear that's nowhere NEAR the table right now, we haven't even… Ugh. Em's just insane. I have no idea where she's getting that from, she hadn't even MET him until earlier today, I swear."

She looked desperately to Lucifer for help and he cleared the last of his chuckles out of his throat. "She's right, I truly had no idea who she was when I helped you. I've managed to pry some stories about that lovely little lady from your daughter, but she hadn't so much as shown a picture of her to me." He rolled his eyes and scoffed. "She's far too overprotective, if you ask me, but I'm not a parent so I can't begin to understand her reasoning. All I can do is simply respect her wishes and try not to be too offended."

Lynne's mother practically fainted at his words, and turned to Lynne, smiling brightly. "Where did you find this guy? It's like I dreamed him up for you or something!" Her smile soon turned to a glare. “Wait, he knows Peter but hasn't met Emily yet? How long have you been seeing him exactly? Why are you holding back?"

Lucifer raised a knowing eyebrow at Lynne from behind her mother's head and she simultaneously wanted to punch and kiss him. Lynne sighed. "I dunno, like 5 months maybe?"

Her mother's jaw dropped in shock, and Lynne rolled her eyes. "It's complicated, Mom, you know all about my, umm… baggage. Can we please not do this right now? Especially in front of him? It's awkward enough already thanks to Emily's little marriage proposal."

Lynne's mother hugged her. "Of course, I'm sorry, sweetie, I just saw the way you two look at each other and how Emily's taken to him already- I mean that comment earlier about him making her heart smile? Whew! It was all just too much for my motherly heart to bear and I went a little overboard. But we have a LOT to talk about tonight, missy," she said sternly.

Lynne looked at Lucifer, expecting to see a look of horror on his face, but he just smiled and winked at her as he walked towards the kitchen. "Don't mind me, I'll just be fetching the salad…"

Lynne sighed again. "I know. And I promise you I really was planning to open up about it all over a glass of wine tonight. I really wanted some of that awesome advice of yours, and now I need it more than ever! Can you just please try and make it through dinner without bringing up  your motherly heart and maybe help provide some air cover for us? It's bad enough Emily already proposed to him for me, I can't just go all in right away, at least until I've had a chance to talk to you. And especially him."

Lynne's mom hugged her again. "Anything you need, sweetie." She took a step back and placed her hands on Lynne's shoulders. "But just know that you have a man in your kitchen who, despite everything that just happened, and everything that may have already happened between you, is still here and doesn't seem phased by any of it. And my gut is SCREAMING at me about him, Lynne, in a good way, so just try and check your baggage at the door. He cares about you and he's really trying, so be gentle on him and don't try to micromanage our dinner. Deal?"

"Deal. Now can you please go make sure Emily hasn't flooded the bathroom or something while I finish grabbing the food? She's been gone too long and is freakishly quiet…"