It was just a typo. It had to be. There was no way it could possibly be real. Chloe was being ridiculous for even entertaining the thought that it could somehow be accurate.
Chloe stared down at the department store ad in the newspaper, reading and rereading it until the words didn’t look like words anymore.
‘There will be a special appearance by Satan between the hours of 5pm and 9pm for your kids!’ it read.
Logically, Chloe knew that it was supposed to be ‘Santa’ and not ‘Satan’ but she was so desperate to see Lucifer again that she was seriously considering going.
It had been six months since Lucifer left her standing alone on his penthouse’s balcony and the passage of time didn’t make her miss him any less. If anything, she missed him more with each passing day.
Chloe knew it was absurd to expect Lucifer to be hanging out in a mall. She knew that he was still in hell. There was no way that he would be there. But Chloe just had to go and see for herself.
Even if there was a fraction of a fraction of a percent chance that he would be there, she had to go.
That weekend, Chloe and Trixie got into the car and set out for the mall.
“Where are we going, mommy?” Trixie asked as they sat in the car, moving at a snail’s pace through the Los Angeles traffic.
“We’re going to see Santa at the mall!” Chloe said, trying to keep her voice light and casual.
“But we always go to the mall next to grandma’s house to see Santa, why are we going to the mall that’s all the way on the other side of town? Besides, aren’t I getting a little too old to see Santa?” Trixie questioned.
“No, you’re still my little monkey, you’re not too old for Santa.”
“But why does it have to be so far away? Why can’t we go to the mall we always go to?”
Chloe cursed how observant her daughter was. She was just too damn smart. Under normal circumstances, Trixie’s intellect would fill Chloe with pride but she really didn’t want to have to answer her daughter’s questions right now.
“Because mommy said so,” Chloe said tersely, playing the mom card.
“Mom, I know something is wrong,” Trixie said, “you’re gripping the steering wheel really tight and you only do that when you’re upset about something.” Sure enough, Chloe’s knuckles were turning white from how hard she was gripping the wheel, “I’m a big kid now, you can tell me what’s going on.”
Chloe started to tear up. She tried to hold back the waterworks but she couldn’t contain her emotions. Trixie was so perceptive. Chloe should’ve known that she couldn’t hide from her discerning eye.
“It’s stupid,” Chloe said, still choking back tears.
“Dr. Linda told me that feelings are never stupid.”
Trixie and Chloe had started having regular sessions with Linda since Lucifer’s departure to try to process everything they’d been through. While Trixie seemed to be learning a lot from the therapist and was coping pretty well, it wasn’t helping Chloe very much.
When Lucifer left, it felt like Chloe’s heart had been ripped from her chest and while sessions with Linda were helping a little, it was like putting a Band-Aid on a gushing wound that needed full-on surgery.
Chloe took a deep breath and then fished around in her coat pocket for the folded-up piece of paper. She handed the ad back to Trixie for her to examine.
“I know it’s probably just a typo,” Chloe said, “but it says that ‘Satan will be making a special appearance’ at the store and I… I just...” Chloe was too choked up to finish the rest of her sentence.
“I miss him too, mom,” Trixie comforted, realizing what her mom was getting at.
The rest of the car ride passed in silence. While Chloe was focusing on the road and trying not to think about Lucifer, Trixie was praying.
During one of Trixie’s therapy sessions, Linda had told her that praying to Lucifer might make his departure easier to accept. Trixie didn’t know if he was hearing any of her requests but every night, she would ask him to come back and tell him what had happened to her that day, as if she were talking to an old friend.
Lucifer, in fact, had been hearing Trixie’s prayers. He had heard all her prayers for the past six earth months. They had been one of the only things that allowed him to hold onto his sanity while he was away.
He looked forward to hearing Trixie’s voice in his head, even if it only went one way and he couldn’t respond. He would get especially excited when she would mention her mother.
While it had only been about six months on earth, it had been nearly 200 years for him in hell and his heart ached for Chloe every single day.
Lucifer had been itching to leave hell lately. His kingdom had stabilized since Dromos and the other demon’s rebellion and things were running smoothly again.
Lucifer just needed an excuse to come back to earth and Trixie’s most recent prayer provided that.
Lucifer decided that now was the right time to visit earth again. Hell was stable enough to endure his absence.
Unfurling his gleaming white wings, Lucifer jumped out of his throne and began to fly upwards. His wings were a shining beacon against the abysmal dark gray clouds of ash above so some demons were sure to see him and spread the word of his departure.
Lucifer didn’t care though. He had been responsible. He had done his time, nearly 200 years of it. He deserved a little reward and if Chloe was even a fraction as miserable as Trixie made her out to be, then she needed him now more than ever.
With several more flaps of his mighty wings, Lucifer crossed between planes of existence.
He took a second to orient himself when he emerged on the earthly plane and then flew directly to the mall that Trixie had mentioned in her prayer.
On his way there, Lucifer got a crazy idea. He wanted to surprise Chloe and Trixie and he knew just what to do.
Lucifer strolled into the mall and quickly tracked down the mall Santa that was supposed to be making an appearance.
“Hello there, I don’t suppose I can talk you into loaning me your suit? Just for a few hours?” Lucifer asked, tapping the Santa on the shoulder.
“Beat it, buddy. You can’t borrow the Santa costume for whatever weird sex thing you’re into. That’s already happened to me twice, I’m not making that mistake again. Just move along and go find your own suit.”
“I assure you that I’ll dry clean the suit before I return it, but surprisingly, I don’t need it for a ‘weird sex thing’. I’m trying to surprise the love of my life and her daughter,” he admitted.
“I said ‘no’. Now leave before I call security.”
“Oh, come now. What if I bought it from you? Surely there must be something you desire in exchange for your Santa outfit?”
Lucifer made eye contact with the man and his mojo worked its magic.
“I want… I really want a drink.”
“Ah, well I would offer you my flask but I drank it all. I was in hell for 200 years, so you can hardly blame me. I do have money though. Lots and lots of money and nothing to spend it on in hell. There’s a bar right down the street, why don’t you take this and go quench your thirst,” Lucifer said, shoving a huge wad of cash into the man’s face.
The man quickly stripped out of his Santa suit, handing it over to Lucifer in exchange for the money.
“Huh, not the kind of strippers I’m used to but thank you, nonetheless,” Lucifer quipped.
The man bolted from the mall, leaving Lucifer alone with his outfit.
Lucifer gave it a quick sniff test before deeming it acceptable and putting it on.
Chloe and Trixie arrived at the mall early and were first in line to see Santa. Chloe kept nervously checking the time, which only made the minutes tick by even slower.
Finally, 5 o’clock rolled around and a tall man in a Santa suit emerged.
“Ho, ho, ho,” he bellowed and all the kids in line shouted out in joy.
Chloe tried to get a better look at the man but they had to remain a certain distance away from his chair and the fake beard and big red hat obscured his features.
When the Santa sat down in his big chair, he motioned for Trixie to approach him and she walked up the stairs to the elevated platform, leaving her mom behind.
“Hello, urchin,” Lucifer greeted softly, “I heard your prayers. All of them.”
“Lucifer!” Trixie squealed and threw her arms around him in a hug.
Trixie sat on his knee and continued hugging him until Lucifer was visibly uncomfortable.
“Yes, yes, child. That’s enough of that,” he said and Trixie released him. “Now what is it you desire for Christmas?” he asked but didn’t use his mojo.
“All I want for Christmas is for you to stay. My mom is miserable without you, Lucifer. Please stay, at least through Christmas. If not for me, then do it for her,” Trixie begged.
“Hmm, I suppose I could consider it,” Lucifer said, stroking his fake beard. The photographer snapped a quick photo of Trixie on Lucifer’s lap and then shouted, “next!” to try to keep the line moving.
“Could you bring your mother up here, please?” Lucifer requested.
Trixie smiled and nodded but schooled her features as she walked down the stairs to her mother.
Trixie frowned and shook her head when she got to her mom, causing Chloe to deflate.
She knew she was stupid for thinking that Lucifer would show up in a mall, much less dressed as Santa.
Trixie tugged on her mom’s hand to lead her back up to the platform. Chloe was confused at first as to why Trixie wanted to go back up but went along with it.
“Ho, ho, ho! What do you want for Christmas this year, my dear?” the Santa asked in a deep voice with an American accent.
Trixie gave her mom a shove and the Santa pulled her the rest of the way into his lap.
Chloe could feel her cheeks beginning to flush red with embarrassment. The Santa, who was a lot more buff than the mall Santa when Chloe was growing up, slung his arm around her waist and pulled Chloe tighter into him. She should’ve been disgusted or, at the very least, put off that Santa was trying to cop a feel but for some reason, she didn’t mind this man’s touch.
“Tell him, mommy!” Trixie urged her mother when Chloe just sat there without saying anything.
“Uh, for Christmas? I want…” Chloe considered lying and telling him something benign but she couldn’t bring herself to lie about what she wanted more than anything, “I just want my partner back. He’s been gone a long time and I haven’t heard from him in months so I hope he’s okay. I just… I just really miss him.”
“Hmm, what does this partner of yours look like?” he asked in the same deep American accent.
“Uh, 6 foot 3, dark hair, dark eyes. Always wearing designer suits,” Chloe answered, a little confused why he would ask her that.
“Wow,” Santa said, “this partner of yours sounds handsome. I bet he’s a handsome lad. He must be attractive to be partners with someone as gorgeous as yourself. You know, I bet if he were here, he would tell you ‘he loves you’.”
“Wait…” Chloe said as her suspicions caused her to take a closer look at him, “Lucifer?”
She pulled back the fake white beard to reveal designer stubble and a devious grin.
“In the flesh, darling,” he answered in his usual British accent.
Chloe was so overcome with emotion she nearly started crying. He was here. He was really here and she was sitting on his lap.
Chloe did what she had been wanting to do for months and pulled him into a searing kiss. She used both her hands to cup his head and Lucifer responded in kind, slanting his mouth over hers and stroking her cheek.
Chloe saw the flash of a camera as the photographer took a photo of the two of them kissing with Trixie flashing a big grin and a thumbs up. She continued kissing the love of her life until they were finally interrupted by the next kid in line.
“Heeeeeeeey!” the little boy piped up, “why is Santa kissing that woman? What happened to Mrs. Claus?”
A chorus of protests erupted from the line behind them as more kids and their parents joined in.
“What’s taking so long?”
“My kids don’t need to see that!”
“I wanna see Santa!”
“Hey, do that on your own time!”
Finally, Lucifer spoke up to answer them.
“It’s okay, everyone! We’re in love!” he declared, as if that made making out in front of a mall full of customers while wearing a Santa costume okay.
Chloe was mortified and began to blush even harder than before but Lucifer just grabbed her hand and lifted it up above their heads in triumph.
“Alright, detective. Shall we get out of here?” Lucifer asked.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Trixie interjected, “there’s a whole line of kids who want to see Santa. You made a commitment to be here when you put on that Santa suit. You always keep your promises, don’t you, Lucifer?”
“Wha— child, you can’t seriously expect me to sit here and entertain the whims of every single sticky spawn? I just got out of one hell and now you’re going to make me endure another?”
Lucifer desperately looked to Chloe for help. As much as she wanted to leave with Lucifer right that instant, she had to agree with her daughter.
“Sorry, Lucifer. You don’t break your promises. I’m with Trixie on this one,” she shrugged.
Lucifer grumbled but obeyed Chloe’s wishes. He motioned for the next kid in line to come up and patiently listened to his entire Christmas list while avoiding as much physical contact as possible.
Chloe and Trixie managed to find some elf hats and acted as Lucifer’s helpers for the rest of the night.
One by one, all the kids in line told Lucifer what they wanted for Christmas and got a picture with him. To Lucifer’s credit, he actually listened to what the kids wanted, or at least he did a convincing job of pretending to listen.
Chloe had snagged the picture of Trixie and the one of her and Lucifer kissing, sneaking glances at it whenever she started to get bored.
Finally, 9pm came and Lucifer eagerly stripped out of the Santa suit.
Lucifer, Chloe, and Trixie drove back home, Lucifer complaining all the while about having to listen to all those children’s asinine desires.
Even though it was past Trixie’s bedtime, Chloe let her stay up late and watch Christmas movies with her and Lucifer on the couch.
Chloe brewed some hot chocolate and the three of them cuddled together on the couch, sipping their hot chocolate and enjoying their movie.
For the first time in six months, Chloe felt whole again.