When Chloe arrives home, it isn’t to the quiet she had expected on a Friday night. Eve is supposed to be out, her new roommate always busy with something, whether it was Maze or a new hobby. She hears the sound of retching coming from the bathroom upstairs, and goes to investigate.
She finds Eve hunched over the toilet, one arm clutching her abdomen while the other serves as a meager barrier between her cheek and the toilet seat. She coughs as Chloe hovers in the doorway, dry heaving once before slumping back down. “Are you okay?” Chloe fights any instinct to crouch beside Eve like she would Trixie and stays at the door. If she’s ill, it’s probably best not to get close until she knows more.
“It’s always this bad,” Eve manages. She pulls away from the toilet and curls up on the tiles as best she can. It’s tight, but she’s small, and in this exact moment, Chloe can’t help but see her as the child she never was. “Why is it always this bad?”
Chloe knows, from the time she had pawed through the Bible looking for anything that might answer the questions no one else seemed able to. It hadn't answered hers, but she remembered one thing. She pulls the bathroom cabinet open, rummages until she finds her heating pad, and plugs it in. "It might not stay bad," she replies, handing the pad to Eve. The woman presses it to her abdomen and makes a small noise; Chloe doesn't know if it's relief or agony. She continues talking for lack of something else to do as she pulls out Motrin. Eve watches her quietly, and Chloe feels almost like she’s talking to a wounded animal. "Sometimes, especially after I had Trixie, I had to stay home. Have you eaten anything?”
When Eve shakes her head, Chloe goes downstairs. There’s crackers in the cabinet that she keeps on hand for if Trixie gets sick, and the last of the apple juice would have to do. She almost laughs at the irony as she grabs a cup. Thinking about grocery shopping would have to wait.
Eve gratefully accepts the offerings when she returns, almost choking down the painkillers in her haste for any kind of relief. “It wasn’t… not before I had Cain,” she starts hesitantly, when she’s pulled herself off the floor and leaned heavily against the shower door, eyes closed. The heating pad is still firmly clutched to her stomach. “And then it was, and Adam…”
Chloe sits too, her back against the vanity. She drops her head into her hands. Cain. She has spent so long trying to forget, but she’s figured out by now that it will never leave her, not with everything that’s happened.
Eve seems to sense this—she must know by now—and reaches out. The space is small enough that her fingers brush against Chloe’s calf. “I’m sorry,” she says softly.
Her words have layers, hundreds of years of sediment built up into something like a mountain of false hope. Everything has layers in this new world with angels and demons, with the first woman living in her house, with the Devil himself as her consort. She wants to say It’s fine, but it really isn’t. She’s been just shy of teetering on a precipice, a conversation best avoided by all because there were more important discussions to be had after Lucifer left. Like why and how and a shred of forgiveness that blossomed into an understanding and a roommate. She wonders if Lucifer or Maze told Eve to leave this for last, one final wound to be reopened so it could be drained for good.
The bark of laughter she feels crawling up her chest is halted by Eve lurching toward the toilet again, and Chloe has to keep her from slamming her head against the porcelain. "Is this…" she manages when Eve has settled back again, breathing heavily. "The whole time?"
She feels Eve's slight shrug. "Sometimes," she says softly. "Sometimes it skips altogether."
Chloe draws away, stands to grab a towel from the linen closet. "It hurt," she says when she returns. She turns on the bath and waits for the water to run warm. "Lucifer… he didn't tell me until it was too late." That Pierce was a criminal. That Pierce was Cain, even though she wouldn't believe that last part until it was staring at her. Until he was staring at her. She would have done everything differently if he'd just told her that first part. "And it still hurts."
Eve listens quietly, gathering her things while the tub fills. She hovers at the edge of the tub, hesitant to slip out of her dress even when Chloe sits back on her heels.
"A bath won't make it all better, but it'll help." Chloe looks up at her. "Do you like ice cream?"
When Chloe comes back from the store, ice cream and wine in hand, Eve is curled on the sofa with the heating pad, looking a little less worse for wear. Chloe has never been more grateful that Trixie is with Dan. This night feels owed to her. To them. Even though Eve has lived with them for a few weeks, they’ve never actually spent time together, not like this. She was always with Maze or at a class, working toward the person she wanted to be. She grabs spoons and paper towels from the kitchen and sits down beside the other woman. “Chocolate or peanut butter cup?”
“Chocolate.” Eve is still subdued, and it’s just off enough for something similar to discomfort to settle in Chloe’s bones. Eve’s boundless enthusiasm has been tucked away in favor of just trying to exist. At least the painkillers seem to be working now, and there’s some brightness in her eyes.
Chloe passes over the carton and a spoon and tucks her legs beneath herself. It's quiet now, the only sounds being the ambient noises of her neighbors. No one stayed home on Friday nights, except for her.
Eve pokes at the frozen treat. “Why are you still nice to me?” she asks after a moment.
The question is as unexpected as it is something Chloe had expected to answer at some point. Still, it catches her off guard, and it’s been a long enough week that she’s not quite sure she heard it correctly. "Hmm?"
Eve is quiet again, digging a hole into her ice cream before continuing. "I kinda ruined a lot for you. And Lucifer. And probably Maze. But I saw how much it hurt you and at the time, I don’t think I cared." She looks at Chloe. "I'm sorry."
Chloe knows that Eve would apologize until she was confident it would be okay, would supplicate until the sin had been washed away despite fighting that part of herself, because she has known enough shame that it has woven itself into the fabric of her being. "Yeah, you did," she replies earnestly. She doesn't miss the confusion that flickers across Eve's face, as if she hadn't expected this. "But you tried to make it right, and that's the most important thing." There was no right to be made for her son; those sins were not hers to bear, not anymore.
Eve looks like she wants to ask about Cain, to pull the thread that had been dangled not too long ago, but turns instead to eating. She shifts the heating pad and settles further into the corner of the couch with a little sigh of relief. "When you held Trixie for the first time, what did it feel like?"
Chloe hums. "Like it was all worth it. Like I didn't want to let her go, not for anything in the world." Even through the sleepless nights, the fights with Dan, she remembered that moment, held the shining reminder that she was strong enough even if she did have to do it all on her own.
Eve smiles, but her eyes are sad, the ache of her own failures bleeding through, and Chloe bites back the instinctive what about you? that she might ask any other mother. She doesn't know if Eve wants to share, doesn't know if she wants to hear about it either. "She's wonderful."
Thank you for Trixie. "Yeah, she is." Chloe focuses on her own ice cream, determined not to let it melt all over her before she has a chance to eat some. She notices Eve stops and refocuses her attention out the window as if whatever lay beyond could have the answers to the questions she must still have. "You okay?"
Eve nods. She puts her carton on the coffee table. "Thank you," she says softly. If it were possible to curl into herself further, she would. "Lucifer is right."
"About?" Chloe can't imagine the things he had said about her. Or, she can, but she can’t imagine in a thousand years the sorts of things he might have shared with his ex. That she’d hurt him, perhaps, but not that she’d loved him.
"You are truly good." Eve turns her gaze back on Chloe and she can see now the innocence from the garden, the woman she had been before everything else existed. But she's looking at her like only Chloe is blameless, which is so, so wrong. They've both fucked up. "Don't ever let that go."
"I'll try not to," is all Chloe can manage in reply. The silence is too heavy, bearing down on her with the weight of the past few years. It’s been longer for Eve. It’s been too long for both of them. She nudges Eve's shin with her toe. "And I think you need to forgive yourself."
Eve nods mutely. The silence stretches longer before she giggles. Chloe feels the burden lift and almost gasps with relief. "This is weird, right?” Eve says. “All of this?"
Chloe finds a smile stretching across her face. "Yeah, yeah it kinda is weird. But mostly good." She watches as Eve becomes more sure of herself, watches her piece together the fragments the way she had a hundred times before. Chloe reaches for the remote. "How much bad television have you watched?"
"Anything but ESPN, please," Eve says, mirth in her words and chocolate at the corner of her mouth.
Maybe it's not quite okay and maybe it'll always be weird, but she might as well get used to it sooner rather than later. Chloe settles back into the cushions and feels lighter than she has since Rome.