Lucifer, Lynne, and her mother sat at the table, finishing their wine as Emily was getting ready for bed. Lucifer stood up and began to clear the plates. "It's getting late, and I should be heading home soon. I'll just take care of these and be on my way."
Lynne gently placed her hand on his to stop him and smiled. "That's so sweet of you, but don't worry about the dishes, I'll take care of them later. But could you maybe stay until Emily comes back out? I'll never hear the end of it if I let you leave without one last fly through the air..."
He smiled and squeezed her hand. "It would be my pleasure."
Lynne's mother batted her eyelashes dramatically. "Aren't you two little lovebirds just so sweet?"
"Mom…" Lynne said warningly.
"Sorry, I couldn't help myself!" She pointed accusingly at Lucifer. "It's his fault, he's the one that brought the wine." Lucifer nodded and shrugged. "So tell me, 'Luci', what's your full name? I can't believe I haven't asked that yet!"
Lucifer sat back down and smiled. "Lucifer Morningstar, and I must apologize for not asking yours either. Shall I just call you 'Mum'?" He winked at Lynne as she rolled her eyes again.
"My name is Elaine, but you can call me whatever you'd like, Lucif-" She burst into laughter. "I'm sorry, honey, I just can't say it with a straight face. Is that a stage name or are your parents really that cruel?"
Lucifer smiled. "God-given, I'm afraid. But do go on. I've heard it all before, so any jokes or laughter ready to burst within you won't offend me, I assure you."
Lynne soon joined Elaine's fit of laughter, and Emily came running in to see what was so funny. They told her, and she crossed her arms as her brow furrowed. "So what if he's the devil? He's here now and is super nice and awesome. And, DUH, he was born an ANGEL, you guys, that's how he made me fly! We're best friends now, so stop laughing at my Luci!" She put her arm around him protectively.
Holy fucking fuck, Lynne thought to herself as she tried her best to keep a straight face as a wave of shock ran through her system. He didn't…
“Thanks, pal,” Lucifer said as he patted Emily's hand and brought her closer for a hug. "Although I don't know where you got that little story from," he said, glancing uneasily at Lynne over Emily’s head. Lynne bit her lip as she shrugged, raised her eyebrows, and gently shook her head at the same time.
Emily giggled and turned back to Lucifer. "Don't be silly, Luci, my mom didn't tell me. Your Dad did when I talked to him earlier. Now can you please make me fly one more time before bed?" Lucifer looked momentarily panicked but quickly slapped a smile on his face. Grateful for the excuse to leave, he picked Emily up and flew her to her room.
"What was that all about?" Elaine glared at Lynne.
"I dunno, kids are weird..." Lynne shrugged and looked away.
"I smell bullshit, Lynne Marie…" Her glare intensified, but she saw Lucifer walking back towards them and forced a smile onto her face.
"She's ready for you now, so I'll be off. Thank you for dinner, love, it was delicious." He pulled Lynne in for a hug and whispered into her ear. "Tell your mother the truth, if you must. I think she can handle it, and I don't want you bearing the burden of my secrets with her." He kissed her cheek and turned to Elaine. "It was marvelous to meet you, Elaine, and thank you again for the invitation. Take care, now, and have a lovely visit with your girls!"
Elaine pulled him in for a big hug. "It was truly a blessing to meet you, Lucifer. I hope to see you again before I leave town."
"So do I," he said as he walked towards the door and Lynne and Elaine went to tuck Emily in for the night.
Lynne and Elaine finished the dishes in relative silence. "Ok, enough dilly-dallying, Lynne Marie. Time to talk. Patio?" Lynne nodded and they walked outside and settled into their seats with the rest of their wine. Lynne took a sip and a few deep breaths as she tried to figure out where to start. "Oh sweetie, is it that bad? I'm your mom, and I love you. Unconditionally. You can tell me anything." Elaine smiled and rubbed her arm reassuringly.
Lynne smiled back. "I know, I'm sorry, it's just so complex… I know we've talked about all the stuff I've been working through in therapy, and how difficult that's been for me and how awesome and supportive he's been through all of it, especially during that big breakdown of mine..." Elaine nodded lovingly. Lynne took a deep breath as her eyes began to light up. "For the past couple of weeks, I've finally felt like I'm back to normal. Well, whatever my new normal is."
Elaine nodded and smiled. "That's so wonderful to hear, sweetie, and I can't tell you enough how proud I am of you! I know it took a lot of strength and courage to face all of that head on, and I am so glad you finally did!" Her face suddenly fell in sorrow. "I'm just so sorry I didn't force you into counseling when you were a teenager. I truly regret being so caught up in my own grief and overwhelming depression that I wasn't really there for you as a parent when you needed me most. Your sister had her husband and that sweet little newborn to focus on, but you had nobody other than yourself and some friends, at such a tender age..." Tears began to fall.
Lynne got up and hugged her. "It's okay Mom, we talked about this. We all did what we needed to survive, and we survived! We even found a way to thrive! And you’re an incredible mother, I would never have made it this far in life without your love, support, and guidance. So let that guilt go once and for all. Please."
Elaine hugged her tight. "Fine, fine. Guilt-be-gone." She waved an imaginary wand in the air. "So what's up, sweetie? Why are you holding back with him?"
Lynne sighed as she sat back down. "Well, initially it was because of my whole mindfuck and fear of how I felt about him. I know it sounds crazy because I haven't known him very long, but we have such an amazing connection and being with him just feels… right. And natural." She sighed happily. "Even with all the up's and down's, or maybe because of them, I just… I think I genuinely love that man. And I'm finally in a place where I can accept that and be open to it." She let out another big sigh. "Phew! It feels so good to say that out loud!"
Tears came to Elaine's eyes again. "Oh, sweetie, that is amazing!" She clapped gleefully. "And yes, it hasn't been very long, but sometimes when you know, you know. I knew I was going to marry your father on our very first date, and he later admitted he felt the same way."
Lynne smiled. "If we have even half the connection you guys did, I'll consider myself truly blessed." They both giggled as she took another few sips of wine. "So, as you know, Emily's the biggest factor to consider in all of this, and I guard her heart significantly more closely than my own." Elaine nodded knowingly. "My gut tells me that it's safe now, at least as far as introducing them. It's still WAY too soon to jump into any sort of stepdad scenario despite her little marriage proposal earlier." They laughed as the recalled the earnestness in Emily's eyes.
"So, way back when Lucifer and I reconnected after I worked through my grief, we had a really intense heart-to-heart. Afterwards, when we were figuring out how to approach our relationship and make it all work despite our totally opposite lifestyles, he said he was willing to come here sometimes and even talked about playing board games with her, which I immediately shut down and kind of freaked out about and essentially told him never to bring her up again. Not my most shining moment…"
Elaine laughed. "That's my Lynne, never one to sugarcoat!"
Lynne smiled. "Yup, I'm such a charmer, no wonder he fell for me!" She took another sip of her wine. "So, basically, she's become this huge milestone and symbol of commitment. I'm ready to take that step, but you know how she is. Shit, you saw firsthand how quickly she latched onto him! I knew that was gonna happen, which is why I haven't talked to him about it yet. I don't think he's ready for all of THAT so soon, and I don't want to scare him off or make him feel like he has to make yet another huge change to his life just to be with me. That's not fair, especially on top of all he's done for me when I've done almost nothing for him in return. I was trying to figure out how to approach it all, which is what I wanted your advice on, then finally talk to him about it after you leave and get his input. But it seems our friend upstairs took it upon Himself to force the issue today, so here we are..."
Elaine smiled as she looked up to the sky. "He does like to take charge in His own way sometimes, doesn't He?" She sighed as they both took a sip of wine. "So what's the scoop, is he some kind of divine matchmaker for his angels or something?"
Lynne choked on her wine. "Excuse me?!"
Elaine laughed. "Oh, please Lynne, don't think I didn't see that little exchange between you two when Emily called him out. Children know these things, and you know my beliefs about all of that. So what's his deal? Why's he here?"
Lynne eventually picked her jaw up off the floor and took a few big gulps. "Wow... Okay... You're handling this SIGNIFICANTLY better than I did, Mom. His wings accidentally popped out and I woke up to them that first morning, then basically ran away locked myself in the bathroom for God knows how long and completely lost my shit there for a while. How are you so nonchalant?"
"Well, it's one thing to see divinity and another to truly believe in it, honey. My faith has grown stronger and stronger over the years and I don't need proof to know in my heart that it's all real. That's what faith is." She smiled. "Between that, my gut, and that comment from Emily about his father, it was pretty obvious by the time I actually asked you, and your reaction confirmed my theory." She laughed. "So what's Lucifer's deal? I've always known there's more to the story than what we've been told. I see nothing but goodness in that man, and my gut never lies."
Lynne couldn't help but laugh. "Okay… So I haven't gotten the FULL story yet. As you can imagine it's a super touchy subject for him." Elaine nodded. "He basically came to earth for a vacation about a decade ago and hasn't gone back. The whole Hell/Satan thing was essentially a punishment from God, but the story's much different than what we've been told. And he's different. Not perfect by any means, but good Lord, talk about a smear campaign!" She shook her head. "Did you know that he's the only angel that was given free will? It's mind-blowing when you think about how that all went down..." Elaine raised her eyebrows knowingly. " I believe that he and God finally made up after some stuff happened a few years ago, so they're pretty much cool again and he just kinda lives on Earth now, has the life and freedom he always wanted. Well, not exactly, but you know what I mean."
Elaine nodded as she took another sip of wine. "Makes sense."
Lynne giggled. "I just can't get over how laid back you are about all this. You're something else, Mom. I love you."
Elaine smiled. "You know I always have a few tricks up my sleeve, Lynne! And I love you too. So how did he react when you had your little revelation and subsequent meltdown?"
Lynne sighed. "He was incredible, Mom. It wasn't the first time he's been down that road, but he seemed really shaken up by it and genuinely concerned for my well-being. Which was shocking in and of itself, I would never have expected that from the literal king of Hell. He gave me the time and space I needed to work through it all and was completely upfront and honest and understanding as I worked through it all." She sighed again and took another sip of wine. "As annoying as it was at the time, and no matter how hard I desperately tried to get him to tell me what to do, he never once tried to guide me one way or the other. It was important to him that every decision was mine and mine alone to make, and all he wanted was for me to find peace and contentment, no matter what that looked like. That's all he's ever wanted for me since day one, and still does. There's no doubt he's an angel with the patience he's shown me as I've worked through all my shit."
Elaine smiled. "Wow, that's… He's a special guy, Lynne."
"He sure is…" Lynne's face lit up as she thought of him. "So it took some time for me to process, obviously, but I genuinely felt like God was there with me in that bathroom, and eventually found comfort in the fact that I knew He was really real. That truth filled me with warmth and peace and gave me the strength I needed to face the whole 'I just slept with the devil himself' ordeal, which was a LOT more difficult to come to grips with. And then… I don't know, maybe it's because I saw living proof of his angelic origins, or the kindness, patience, and honesty he showed me, but I was able to see beyond his title and reputation. I looked at him and saw man that had faced a lifetime of pain and torment and was truly trying to be a good person in spite of it all. So I gave him a chance, and, well, you know the rest…" She sighed deeply. "So now that you know EVERYTHING about him, how do you think I should proceed?"
Elaine took a few breaths as she gathered her thoughts. "Well, divinity aside, I would say that given the intensity of that weekend, had you kept going it surely would have fizzled out. You were right to take some time and each work through things on your own before reconnecting. And I think you're doing everything right now, taking it slow, not rushing into anything, so you can both be sure it's the real deal. But I think you both know deep down it is." She smiled as she threw her patented MomLook at Lynne, who rolled her eyes and nodded. "You need to continue those heart-to-hearts and be honest with each other about how you feel, no matter how scary it may be. If challenges come up, or one of you wants to pull away, don't let go too easily. Relationships take work, Lynne. And if you work and work and it starts to only feel like work, or if either of you are just in it because of some sense of obligation, reassess and be willing to walk away. Just like you did with David, although let's be real- you knew going into it that the spark wasn't there. You and Lucifer have that spark, and I genuinely believe there's something legitimate between you two, it's the same gut feeling I got when I met your father. I know it's scary but you just have to go for it, Lynne.”
Lynne nodded, and Elaine continued. "So, putting divinity back on the table amplifies that all significantly. God knows what he's doing, sweetie, and it sounds to me like he is putting blatantly obvious signs in your path, which is very unlike Him unless it's important. Maybe it's because of Lucifer's divinity, or maybe he's just heard my prayers or yours or maybe all of it. But either way, you need to put your trust in Him like you always have, and put your trust in Lucifer as well. I can tell he's all in with you, honey, and it's 100% genuine. I don't know how angel biology or lifespans work, but if it's meant to work out, it will. You both need to just stop fighting God's will, and especially yourselves, already and just take that leap of faith together."
Lynne sighed. "You're right. I can't even count the blaring road signs that guy's put in front of me throughout my life and it's always worked out for the best." Elaine nodded in agreement. "You know, I've had quite a few big heart to hearts with Him as well since I found out He was real, and He's answered in his own way countless times. Today was just the literal act of God to hit me upside the head and force me to take that leap."
Elaine smiled as she finished her glass. "Like I said, He knows what He's doing! Would you mind if we worked on that plan of attack another time, though, sweetie? I'm still on East Coast time and it feels like midnight."
Lynne smiled. "Of course! We've got ten whole days to figure it out. I'll clean up out here, you go ahead and make yourself at home in my room. And thanks again for everything, Mom, I'm so lucky to have you." They hugged and Elaine went back inside.
"Come on, Lynne, just do it already!" Elaine was getting angry now.
"But Mom, I have work and we have our special tradition and-"
"Lynne Marie Gardner, listen to your mother. Work will be there when you get back, and I don't go home for another five days. Now call that man right now or I'll do it myself!" She slammed her fist on the table.
"Ugh. Fine." Lynne rolled her eyes and dialed. "Hi… She's right next to me… You're ridiculous, stop… Actually yes, wait, did you two-" She covered the microphone with her hand. "When did you guys swap numbers?!" Elaine shrugged innocently. "Oh my God, Mom. You're such a creep! But I love you." She blew her a kiss and put the phone back to her ear. "Ok, fine. Where?... Ugh, how the hell am I supposed to pack if you won't tell me? … Stop, my mom is RIGHT HERE…. Come on, at least tell me if we're flying… That's absurd, I meant an airplane… You're impossible... Fine, just give me like an hour… Are you serious right now? Oh my God, you two are unbearable."
"Ahh, but you must admit we make quite a dynamic duo, darling." Lucifer said as he strode in and put his arm around Elaine as they both smiled smugly at her.
Lynne couldn't help but laugh at their charming absurdity. "What if I had an important meeting tomorrow? And what about saying goodbye to Emily? You guys have no sense of reality sometimes. Thank God I love you…"
They both laughed. "Did Lynne just drop the 'L-bomb' at me, Elaine?" Lucifer asked as he turned to her.
She smiled at him. "Why yes, I believe she did, Luci. Awwwwwww my little baby's in looooooooove." She turned back towards Lynne and made kissing noises.
Lynne rolled her eyes. "I fucking can't with you two. Try not and scheme while I'm packing and calling in sick, okay?" They both giggled as they shot her the boy scout's honor pledge.
Lynne shook her head as she walked into her room. Did I just step into some alternate reality? Are my mom and the devil seriously besties? Oh God, I hope you're happy with yourself. She smiled upwards. I sure am.