Charlotte

Frustrated, Chloe hung up before leaving a message on his voice mail. What was the point? She'd left him dozens from intrigued to disappointed and he never got back to her. Lucifer had been thoroughly avoiding her for the past ten, -no that would be eleven days now. It was a new paradigm in their wobbly relationship.

She knew he had been at the precinct lately, plotting God knows what with Lt Olivia Monroe, leaving a trail of dazed both male and female police officers and unis in his wake, and had kept away from her on purpose. She was not desperate enough to go to Lux and ask for an explanation. Yet. But she was worried.

She knew he was okay. That was good, right? She knew he'd been busy in the shadows saving Dan's sorry ass after the Malcolm debacle. First class lawyers showed up, lawyers Dan couldn't afford to keep on a retainer on a cop's salary obviously. Apparently, he got to the DA as well. There was no way the DA would show any leniency towards her ex after he'd tried to murder someone, a fellow cop no less, unless he was being pushed in the right direction by some very well connected VIP, a VIP they probably owned a favour or two.

On the grand scheme of things, everything was going smoothly. Dan had been relieved of his duties and he wasn't in custody. She was still unsure she wanted Dan so easily off the hook. He was a cop. Cops weren't supposed to play judge, jury and executioner to save their wife. Or if they did, they were supposed to come clean, not let said wife take the blame for their actions. On the bright side, her personal status had changed from pariah to what the hell are we going to do to earn her trust back. Nobody seemed to know what to do next but at least, they wave her good morning or tried to talk shop. Well, sort of. They made tentative steps now that they were aware she'd been right and telling the truth from day one. Still, it was complicated. Somehow, the blame had tainted her by proxy.

Most importantly, Trixie was okay. Of course, she'll have a long road ahead of her before she forgot or came to terms with Malcolm abducting her. Dr Martin promised she should be able to help her with it. The child was more worried about Lucifer being shot than of the fate awaiting her genitor. After Chloe assured her Lucifer was right as rain, she crossed that ordeal out of her mind and remained her bubbly happy self. Mostly.

On the other hand, Chloe had spent more hours with judges, DAs and police brass than working cases. She must admit she hadn't had time for Lucifer existential crises when everything was set in motion. After a few days, she was back on her feet and realized he'd been a complete no show. In the aftermath of Malcolm's death, now that the initial confusion was wearing off, the only missing piece in her life was Lucifer. And she was having a hard time agreeing with that simple fact. Lucifer was not any random piece. She cared about him. Why did she ever let this happen? Why was she even affected by his absence when he was most the time, say, insufferable? She was not particularly keen to delve into that predicament just now.

She sat back at her desk, aware of her colleagues glancing sheepishly towards her but yet unable to offer their sympathy. Too soon? Yeah, it was going to take a while before they act casually around her. Hence Lucifer…

Was he mad at her? Why? She kind of saved his life. That's what partners do, she pondered. No special treatment. She had no choice but to pull the trigger. What then? He said he had things to sort out, that he'd be back. To his defence, he didn't mention when. He merely disappeared from her life as easily as he'd dug his way into it. She'd heard through the grapevine that he was more that okay, miraculously recovered from his "death", the death she'd witnessed with her own eyes. She cracked open her drawer to make sure the sample of his blood was still safely tucked under a paraphernalia of pens and paper clips.

He'd been seen around town, living the high life as usual, throwing lavish parties at Lux for a mysterious statuesque woman. The same woman he'd been spotted with in his flashy sports car, she huffed. She glanced around. Nobody seemed to notice she had been zoning out. She sighed, stacking papers that need not to, checking her drawers for show this time.

It shouldn't affect her, but it did, more than she was willing to admit to anyone, and to herself. Lucifer could be an eccentric self-absorbed lunatic at times, but he always had her back and she'd come to consider him her friend. Bottom line, she missed him. And she was reminded every day of his patent absence by her daughter's increasing tantrums. She stood up abruptly, grabbed her car keys. What the hell! She'd waited long enough. Lucifer didn't own her an explanation, but she was going to get one anyway.

Lux was empty. Its usual crowd had deserted the place. The bouncer barely took a look at her from his phone and let her in past the cordon. Sprawled at the bar, Mazikeen was sulking. In spite of an obvious displeasure, she didn't attempt to dissuade her from taking the elevator to the loft upstairs. She kept nibbling at an olive, sending her waves after waves of pure hatred. What had she ever done to her to deserve such a treatment, that was beyond her. She was waiting for her lift when Maze materialized beside her, sending a cold shiver down her spine. She did her best to look unfazed. "He's got company," the bartender hissed in her ear. "Maybe best for you not to intrude. One wouldn't want to find Him in an awkward situation. Awkward for you, of course," she sniggered. A growl stayed put deep inside her throat, just enough to send Chloe into the elevator without a look back. She heard her chortle at her expense and braced herself for what was to come. I'm just here to check on him, she reasoned. A friend making sure he's fine, nothing more, nothing else, she corrected. Lucifer never made a mystery he was no angel, but she was hoping she was not on the verge of witnessing something she couldn't unsee.

The door smoothly opened to the loft. No more trace of fight, no crushed glass or broken furniture. The ostentatious bar had been replaced by a rich veneer of fine dark grained mahogany and a set of tall African ebony idols. A huge rococo vase of crimson roses was set on the gold gilded glass of a contemporary bronze coffee table. Gone were the club chairs and the comfy couch, a pair of Le Corbusier black leather lounge chairs now faced the floor to ceiling window.

"Lucifer?" she said, almost to herself. She cleared her throat, feeling like a teenager. What am I doing, she thought, strolling through the loft, carefully avoiding the vicinity of his bedroom. "Lucifer? Anyone home? It's me," she added with a frown. Something was wrong. Lucifer usually detected her presence within a ten yards radius.

"Well, well, well," a voice startled her. "What have we got here…"

Chloe tripped on her feet and turned around, facing a very tall woman in her early forties. Statuesque didn't even begin to describe her. She was stunning, and practically naked, clad in a thin and revealing silk negligee. Perfect body, perfect hair, piercing blue eyes and a voice dripping liquid velvet.

"Oh, hello, I'm Chloe Decker, I work with Lucifer," she held out a hand that the woman pointedly ignored.

"Work?" An eyebrow quirked.

"Well, he's more of a consultant, but, yes, we work toget..."

"I wasn't aware Luce needed to make a living, except for this… place of course," she added, gesturing her disapproval. "Are you a bartender?"

"I work with the police department. I'm a Detective," she offered, taking a step back.

"A police officer? How juicy, tell me more! Oh my, but where are my manners, I'm Charlotte!"

Chloe nodded briefly, brow furrowed. Charlotte stood her ground, with a smirk on her face. "I take it you came for Luce? He's around somewhere, no worries. Probably in the kitchen. You know how it is," she said with a salacious wink, "those reunions always give him a good stomach. Let's find him, shall we," she added.

Feeling unexpectedly peeved and resentful, she followed Charlotte to the kitchen. For once, Lucifer was totally unaware of her presence, his lean body swaying to some upbeat tune he was humming while tossing eggs and chives in a hot pan. Fresh from the shower, a black towel hanging loose around his waist, he turned to take a plate, facing both women.

"Detective, what a delightful pleasure! Would you join us for lunch?"

Chloe turned red, trying desperately to keep her eyes on his face. "I'm not hungry," she spat. "What's going on? Where were you? I was worried, I left you messages."

"I'm aware. Sorry about that. I have been busy."

"I bet," she glared at Charlotte, who seemed to be on seventh heaven. "Too busy to check your voice mail? Trixie was worried."

"I apologize if I caused any distress to your spawn, Detective. I promise I shall make it up to her. I see you met Charlotte. Detective Decker is the police officer I had been consulting for these last month."

"Yes, your little pet project, I figured that much."

The detective breathed in heavily through gritted teeth. Pet project? Best to let it slide… for now. She chose to be proactive instead. "Are you coming back anytime soon or should I ask Lt Monroe to take you off the roster? If you're done with policing, I need a new partner," she pushed.

"She's feisty, I like her," Charlotte punctuated with a tinkling laugh, raising her glass to Lucifer.

"She is isn't she? And quite easy on the eyes like I said," Lucifer punctuated with a wave of his fork.

"Still you two never had sex…"

"Hey, I'm still here!" Chloe protested.

"And like I said, it's only a matter of days now," Lucifer leered. His hand fell on his flat stomach. "Or hours?"

"Don't be cute! I'm here in a professional capacity," she almost growled.

"Oh you're right, she likes you," a mocking Charlotte commented. "Shall we drink to that?"

Chloe clung to her shapeless messenger bag. "I'm leaving now," she managed. "I expect you'll have the decency to let me know your decision sooner than later."

"Detective are you mad?"

Chloe hurried back to the elevator. The last thing she heard before the doors closed behind her was Charlotte's giggle. "Oh Luce, you're truly more human than you think…"