If the human mind worked like it did on television, Chloe would have had this nightmare a long time ago.
Malcolm has Trixie. Chloe knows it with the same chilling certainty that she had when she picked up the phone and it was Malcolm’s voice instead of her daughter’s. She knows she needs to get to him, give him the money, and get Trixie back, keep her safe.
Lucifer’s eating a banana split piled high with whipped cream and a picture-perfect pink-red cherry on top. It clashes with his bright purple shirt and hurts her eyes. He offers her a spoonful, practically forces it down her throat when she tells him no.
Dan’s driving the car. She tells him where they have to go, and he nods seriously before he turns down a street she doesn’t recognize. They pass through a neighborhood made up of nothing but churches — huge, soaring cathedrals like nothing Chloe has ever seen before.
“My father lost the house in the divorce,” Lucifer mutters from the backseat. He’s wiping at a spot of ice cream that’s fallen onto his purple shirt.
Chloe’s running. She has to get to the hangar. Her limbs are heavy, she can’t move fast enough, but Malcolm is waiting for her.
Trixie’s not there, but Lucifer is approaching Malcolm slowly, fearlessly. Chloe tries to warn him. Her mouth won’t work, her voice is nothing but air.
Trixie’s lying in a pool of Lucifer’s blood. Ella bends down, snaps a picture. It is Chloe’s fault.
Malcolm got away with it, and it is Chloe’s fault. There is no justice — not in this world, not in the next like Lucifer and Ella keep talking about. It is Chloe’s fault. Her daughter has been murdered, slaughtered, left to rot, and it is Chloe’s fault.
She comes to with a shuddering gasp. The dream packs an emotional wallop that takes a second to catch up with her, and then the sobs start — loud, wracking, painful. Hot tears stream down the sides of her face, wetting her ears and her hair.
Years ago, Dan would hold her for this part. He’d learned that that was the best way to help, to keep her grounded, distract her from the horror show that was playing in her mind.
But Dan’s not here anymore. Dan’s in the house — the bedroom — they used to share. Trixie is with him this weekend, Chloe remembers, through the fog of emotion. Trixie is safe.
Her empty eyes stare up at her mother. It is Chloe’s fault.
She fumbles for her phone. It takes Dan a long time to answer.
“Yeah?” he grunts.
“Dan,” she says, and she can practically hear him wake up. There’s a rustle, and a muffled click. She can see it so clearly, him reaching for the lamp, wincing in the light.
“Chloe, what is it?” he asks. “What’s wrong?”
She’s embarrassed now, sorry to wake him, but— “Trixie’s okay, right?”
“Yeah,” Dan says. “Yeah, she’s fine.”
“Can you—” Chloe’s voice breaks. She swallows. “Can you please check?”
“Honey,” Dan says. He hasn’t called her that in ages. “It was just a dream.”
“I know,” Chloe says. She always knows, but that doesn’t make recovering from it any easier.
There’s a pause on the other end, then more rustling. “I’ll check.”
“Thank you,” Chloe whispers. She waits in the dark.
“She’s here,” Dan says quietly after a moment. “She’s okay. Miss Alien fell on the floor, but I picked her up.”
“Okay.” Relief washes through her, as more tears spill out of Chloe’s eyes. “Okay, thank you.”
“Yeah,” Dan says, kind of awkwardly. “You wanna talk about it?”
Chloe shakes her head. “I can’t,” she answers. “Not right now.”
“Okay,” says Dan. She knows he was expecting this answer. “You wanna talk about something else? Get your mind off it?”
Chloe smiles fondly at his kindness. She glances at the clock and sees it’s almost five. “No, I think I’ll just get up.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah,” Chloe says softly. “Thanks, Dan. Sorry to wake you.”
“It’s all right,” Dan tells her. She can tell he means it. “I’ll call you back once Trixie’s awake, okay? We’re gonna make waffles, she can tell you all about it.”
Despite everything, Chloe manages to huff out a small laugh. “The Waffle King strikes again?”
“Hey, you know me,” Dan says, and he sounds almost normal for the first time since he picked up the phone. “I’ve got a title to defend.”
“You sure do,” says Chloe, matching his tone. “Goodnight, Dan. Thank you again.”
“Any time,” Dan replies. “Talk soon.”
Chloe hangs up first, because she suspects that he’d wait in case she had more to say. He’s good like that, despite everything that went wrong between them, and every mistake he’s made, including helping Malcolm.
A shudder runs through her. She doesn’t want to think about that right now. She flicks on the light, and lets the familiar sight of her bedroom replace the dream images threatening to rise to the surface of her mind.
Almost five on a Saturday morning, she thinks, getting out of bed. As she walks to the bathroom, she passes Maze’s empty bedroom and thinks about Lucifer. Would he be asleep right now, she wonders, or is the party still raging at Lux? It’s none of her business, but she’s weirdly curious.
By the time she’s done in the bathroom, she’s made a decision. She heads to her room and gets dressed, then runs her brush through her hair and heads downstairs with her phone. She grabs her purse, puts her keys in her jacket pocket, and walks out the door.
It’s still pretty dark outside, but the birds know that morning is coming, and they’re making lots of noise about it. Chloe cuts across the parking lot, which is full of cars but empty of people, and makes her way to the street. About three blocks away is a 24-hour Starbucks. She probably could have driven it in seconds, given the light traffic, but it feels good to breathe the fresh air and stretch her legs — to remind herself that she can move freely, that she’s awake and not weighted down by the dream heaviness anymore.
She reaches the corner and turns east. Two streets down she can see the Starbucks sign, but that’s not what draws her attention. Instead, it’s the faint glow at the edge of the sky, and just above that, miraculously unobstructed by buildings or trees, there’s a bright point of light. The morning star.
(It’s not really a star, of course, as Trixie, Future President of Mars, has been pointing out to her since she learned how to read, but Chloe supposes that morning planet just doesn’t have the same ring.)
Feeling impulsive in that middle-of-the-night way, she pulls out her phone and takes a picture. Venus barely shows up on camera — the street lights all but drown it out — but she sends it to Lucifer anyway with the caption, I see you.
She puts her phone back in her purse and keeps walking. She imagines she’ll regret texting that — Lucifer will probably reply with a string of emojis in a few hours when he recovers from the night’s festivities, and Chloe won’t know what to say to that, and on Monday morning they’ll both pretend it didn’t happen — but when she gets to Starbucks, she checks and sees that he had replied right away. He’d even used words.
Got me, Detective. But what are YOU doing up this early?
Couldn’t sleep, Chloe texts back, because that’s true enough. Decided to get coffee and start my day.
Real coffee? he replies immediately. Or that almond milk sugar-free sludge you insist on calling coffee?
Chloe chuckles as the barista hands her a cup with the word GLOWY scrawled across the top. She takes it to a nearby table and snaps a picture that she sends to Lucifer without a moment’s thought. Real coffee. See?
GLOWY indeed, Lucifer replies, and then come the emojis she was expecting: wide eyes, shining star, French horn, sunrise over the city, coffee cup. She has no idea how he does it so fast — it’s like he’s fluent in another language.
LOL, she sends back, because, as with all things Lucifer, it’s best to just pretend she knows what he’s talking about.
Where are you? Lucifer asks a moment later, then adds the intersection that she’s at, with an emoji question mark.
Am I that predictable? she replies.
He answers with a sunglass face and the question, Want some company?
She sips her coffee and thinks about it. Outside, the night-colored sky is turning into the pinks and blues of morning. She can’t see Venus anymore, though whether that’s because the sun is rising or because it’s now behind a building is anyone’s guess.
Sure, she says finally.
OMW, Lucifer answers a split-second later.
She smiles, picturing him getting in his car and speeding through the empty streets to see her at five-thirty in the morning on a Saturday. She wonders if he’ll bother to dress up as he usually does, or if he’ll show up in the same kind of baggy, off-the-floor outfit that she’s wearing. It’s hard to picture him in anything but a suit, he’s always so picky about his—
The image of him wiping ice cream off his purple shirt flickers through her mind. With it comes the helpless, terrified and guilty feeling that had overwhelmed her in her nightmare. She shivers and picks up her phone again.
Please don’t wear purple, she sends before she can think better of it.
He responds with four emoji question marks.
I’ll explain later, she writes.
When he gives her a thumbs-up, she thinks back to Dan asking her if she wanted to talk about it. She didn’t then, but maybe now she can.
She drinks her coffee and watches the world get brighter, knowing that Lucifer is on his way, bringing light to her just like his namesake.
Maybe, she thinks again, and smiles. Maybe.