Chloe sat on the serviceable couch, and poured herself some water from the glass pitcher that Dr. Linda always kept on the coffee table. Taking a sip, she sat back and waited for their session to begin.
“You know it was Lucifer’s idea that I come by, right,” she said to Linda right off the bat. “I didn’t think there was a need, but you know how he can get sometimes.”
Dr. Linda Martin, psychiatrist and close family friend of Chloe and Lucifer, adjusted herself on her chair, crossed her legs, and gave a soft chuckle in response.
“Well you could have always told him ‘No’,” she replied. “He does seem to understand that word well enough.”
“And you know him well enough to know he wouldn’t have left me alone about it until I agreed to do it.”
They both laughed at that. Their multi-year shared experience with the Devil had shown them both how determined he could be when he had set his mind to something.
“He wasn’t that way about your relationship,” Linda pointed out. “Believe me, I know.”
“I’m sure you do. You deserve hazard pay,” Chloe noted. “But remember, Linda, he’s lived for how long now? A couple years tagging along with me would be like the blink of an eye to him.”
Linda sat back in her own chair and took a moment to consider Chloe’s words.
“You know, I’d never really thought about that,” she said after a short time. “What is the passage of time like to an immortal?”
“I’ll ask him that sometime and let you know,” Chloe laughed.
“On a tangential note,” Linda said. “How are you handling the idea of his having had so many sexual partners over his insanely long existence? That has to weigh on your thoughts just a bit.”
Chloe pursed her lips as she considered the question and then shrugged.
“Actually, it doesn’t bother me a bit,” she replied. “At least not anymore.”
“Not anymore? What changed?”
“When I realized that to him, it was all about passion. There was no love behind any of it. I mean, you and he were an item there for a while. If I worried about it, then that would affect my feelings about our own friendship, and I don’t want that to be a thing.”
“That seems rather evolved thinking, Chloe,” Linda observed. “Most women would feel threatened by his sexual promiscuity.”
“Life’s too short, for me, at least, to get all hung up about it,” Chloe said with a wry smile. “I want him for as long as I’m able to have him. I love him.”
“I know that, Chloe, and I know that he loves you,” Linda replied. “He’s loved you for a very long time now.”
“I’ve sort of figured that out,” Chloe told her. “I just wish he’d said something sooner.”
“I wish I could share more of our sessions with you, but I can’t.”
“I know you can’t, and I appreciate that you can keep all this craziness to yourself,” Chloe said. “I’m going to assume you’re not writing any of your session notes about him down.”
“Well, originally, when I thought it was all metaphors, you bet I was,” Linda told her. “But once I saw his face, I burned all of those notes. At first because I was terrified, but then, once I calmed down and we started having sessions again, I realized how dangerous it would be to have something like that hanging around, so I just do my best to keep it all in my head. I wouldn’t want someone like Father Kinley finding any of it and using it against him. Lucifer is my friend.”
“Did you ever think that in a million years, you would be friends with the Devil?”
“Hell, Chloe, I didn’t even believe in God, Heaven, or the Devil until I saw his face,” Linda admitted. “But he is my friend, and that means a lot to me. And you Chloe, you actually love him.”
“Yes, I do, more than I ever thought I could love anyone not related by blood,” Chloe admitted. “Dan’s pissed, of course, but the only way he’s a part of my life now in a personal way is because of Trixie. I think that if we didn’t have her in common, I’d happily walk away from him entirely.”
“Well, it’s not Dan’s relationship with Lucifer, so it’s not up to him who you love, Chloe,” Linda said.
“I know that, and I’ve reminded him of that many times,” Chloe told her. “He’s tried using Trixie as an excuse, but you know my daughter. She decided a long time ago that Lucifer was good people and nothing seems to have shaken that opinion in all the time we’ve known him.”
“I will say that Lucifer does genuinely care for your daughter,” Linda commented with a smile.
“My ‘urchin’, you mean,” Chloe laughed. “Yes, I know he does, but I don’t think he likes to admit to that. Between you and me, he was once more than willing to destroy someone for nearly killing my daughter. I almost let him do it, too, but I couldn’t bring myself to let that happen.”
“I heard something about that after it happened,” Linda told her, a curious expression on her face that Chloe could not decipher. “It affected him very deeply.”
There was silence between the two women for a time as they both had their thoughts about what had happened that night. Both had experienced terror, but those experiences had been very different things.
Linda knew she would never forget the sight of those enormous bat-like wings that had sprouted from Lucifer’s back, and the look of absolute despair and loss that had overcome him. Comfortable enough because of their previous relationship, Linda had moved to embrace and comfort him, once he had pulled those terrible wings back into wherever it was an angel kept them when they weren’t out in the open. There had been tears on both sides, even as Linda continued to insist to him that it was a breakthrough.
“I think that Trixie is the closest thing that he will ever have to a daughter, Chloe, and with that, he will probably be overprotective of her in the extreme,” Linda finally continued. “He may never call her that, but she’s part of you and that’s all that matters to him.”
“He keeps saying that he doesn’t understand the human need to reproduce,” Chloe said. “His parents, Divine though they might be, reproduced and made him and his siblings, so he really should talk to them about that.”
“Actually, I don’t think God does much actual talking to them,” Linda observed. “At least, that’s the impression I’ve been given over the years. That’s got to be difficult for all of them.”
“Oh, I could just see that,”Chloe laughed. “Dr. Linda Martin, therapist to the Immortals!”
“For the love of—just don’t, Chloe. Please. Just don’t!”
“You don’t want that?”
“Chloe, at this point in my life, I think the phrase ‘from your lips to God’s ears’ may have some basis in truth, and I don’t want to push that.”
Chloe started to laugh harder, and Linda called her a very bad name.
“Care to come with me to the Paddock for a drink? I probably owe you at least one after this session.”
“No,” Linda replied. “Perhaps next time. And honestly, I’d prefer Lux to a cop bar.”
“Okay, then,” Chloe told her. “I’ll let Lucifer know that I came by. Thanks for seeing me on such short notice. I know this is your ‘Doctor Day’ when you don’t see patients and get paperwork done. Oh, and it’s okay to tell Lucifer what I talked about. No secrets between us. I’ve got that awful one to try to live down, if I can.”
“I see Lucifer is sharing secrets,” Linda told her, one eyebrow raised.
“You know him and secrets,” and they both laughed again.
They said their goodbyes to one another, exchanged friendly hugs, and then Chloe was gone, closing the door behind her, which Linda then locked.
A few minutes later, there came a knock at the door.
“I’m not expecting anyone,” Linda murmured. “Who could that be?”
Defying its locked status, the door opened and a dark-haired gentleman wearing jeans, a faded graphic tee-shirt, and a black leather jacket entered without invitation. He wasn’t young, nor was he old. She guessed his age at being close to her own.
“May I hel—“ Linda began, rising from her seat. She knew for a fact that she had locked her door, and her hackles began to rise. What fresh Hell was she in for now?
“Doctor Martin, I believe you’ve been having some discussions with my son, and I thought I’d come by to give you my position on things.” The man had an English accent, nothing posh. It was more working-man in nature.
The gentleman glanced at the couch, made a face, and a more ornate chesterfield replaced it in the blink of an eye.
“Oh, my—” She nearly fell backward into her seat in shock.
The office door closed without anyone touching it, and Linda’s next session of the day began.