Chloe Decker was irritated.
She glared daggers at the mechanic, her arms crossed over her chest as her foot tapped an impatient pattern on the garage floor. She’d switched off ten minutes ago but he was still babbling, his voice loud and grating over the turn of his wrench.
“She really is a thing of beauty,” he breathed for the fifth time, his eyes wide and excited as he worked on the Corvette.
Chloe let out a noncommittal hum, far from enamoured with the vehicle. It was impossible to drive, ridiculously powerful, and a son of a bitch to insure. In-fact, it was as annoying as its owner. Speaking of, the young man suddenly rolled the creeper he was lying on out from under the car and asked—
“Just how rich is your boss? One of these babies has got to set you back eighty grand at least.”
Chloe almost laughed. Eighty grand was pocket change for her boss and it was far from the most expensive car he owned. It was just his favourite. Something about bringing back fond memories of the sexual revolution of the ‘60s and Elvis, or being a gift from Elvis…. she couldn’t remember; she must have switched off then too. She just hoped for her own sake that the engine was finally fixed so she didn’t have to hear about it anymore.
“Rich,” she answered finally, her tone curt, “if you like this one, you should see his Aston.”
The man’s lips parted in disbelief, practically bristling with excitement. Chloe was almost jealous. She had been surrounded by her boss's outrageous wealth and extravagant tastes for so long, it was difficult to remember how it felt to be impressed by it.
“Is it nearly done?” she asked then, already preparing herself for the whining and subsequent headache if not.
The mechanic nodded, grabbing a cloth from a nearby hook and wiping some excess oil off his hands. He gestured towards the glove compartment and Chloe’s brow quirked at the sudden blush that coloured his cheeks.
“The engine’s all fixed, she’s good to go. I found some… clothes in the backseat that I put in there,” he cleared his throat a little awkwardly, “and there’s a stubborn stain here that I tried to get out, but I’m not sure what it is.”
Chloe didn’t bother looking.
“I don’t want to know,” she said quickly, “and trust me, neither do you.”
She did flick the glove compartment open out of curiosity, wondering if the aforementioned piece of clothing was that Hermès silk tie he'd been complaining about losing. She kicked herself for not knowing better when she found more than one pair of lace panties and a Jimmy Choo heel instead.
She rolled her eyes and tipped the compartment shut.
She reached into her purse to settle the issue of payment when the shrill ring of her phone suddenly pierced the silence. She held an apologetic finger up to the mechanic and answered without looking at the screen.
She put on her best professional, lilting voice.
“Mr Morningstar’s office.”
“Oh hello,” a woman’s voice came through on the other side, “my name’s Dr Linda Martin, I was hoping to talk to Mr Morningstar about a favour?”
“I handle all of Mr Morningstar’s appointments. My name’s Chloe. Nice to meet you. Are you aware of our terms and conditions?”
The hesitation on the other end of the line told Chloe all she needed to know. She took a breath, preparing to reel off a speech she’d made a hundred times, when the mechanic waved an invoice at her. She sandwiched the phone between her ear and shoulder as she took it, scribbling the requested number onto a blank cheque without even processing the amount. She knew it didn’t matter; money was immaterial, especially when it came to his beloved Corvette.
She ripped it off and handed it to him as she started her clinical and practiced message.
“Mr Morningstar will decide the terms of your favour upon the first meeting. He may request something in return immediately or he may grant you an ‘IOU’ to be acted upon at a later date; this is at his discretion. You will be required to sign a waiver; this is binding and dictates that Mr Morningstar cannot be held liable for any unforeseen consequences of granting your favour.”
“Okay, that’s—that’s fine,” Linda stammered the way they all did, “if I could just explain—”
“—whilst Mr Morningstar caters to and, indeed, encourages all forms of desires, he has limits and he will not grant favours that involve the following: murder, rape, theft, arson, violent crime and/or the physical or emotional torture of another human being. This is not an exhaustive list. He also asks that your favour not be boring—” this part always made her roll her eyes, “—do you understand these terms and conditions as I’ve explained them?”
The other woman let out an overwhelmed sort of squeak.
“I’m going to need verbal confirmation.”
Linda cleared her throat.
“Sorry, yes. I understand.”
“Wonderful. I can fit you in—” Chloe paused to pull out the leather diary she kept with her at all times and quickly flicked through it to find a blank space, “—tomorrow at midday, actually. We’ve had a cancellation. Come by Lux Nightclub and you can meet Lucifer.”
She hung up before the woman could say goodbye and caught the Corvette keys in her hand.
It was late morning and Lux was mostly empty, but the club still pulsed with heat.
It hit Chloe like a solid wall as she walked inside, the humidity crawling over her skin like a blanket. She huffed and shrugged her jacket off, making her way down the stairs and to the bar.
“Jesus Christ, Maze,” she moaned as she approached, slumping onto one of the stools, “why is it always so hot in here?”
The bartender shrugged, wordlessly taking two glasses and sliding one towards her. She grabbed a crystal tumbler of something amber and undoubtedly expensive and filled both glasses. Next to her, another bartender, Patrick, was cleaning some glasses while rather obnoxiously chewing gum.
“It reminds me and Lucifer of home,” Maze answered eventually, “in-fact, if it were up to me, it’d be even hotter. In Hell, we kept it at a cosy 120.”
Chloe didn’t know what it said about her… that she didn’t even bat an eyelid at these casual mentions of Hell anymore.
“Well, us humans would actually prefer not to burn alive.”
“So dramatic,” Maze pouted, “we’ll turn it down before the club opens tonight. Boss is upstairs, by the way.”
Chloe nodded and reached for her glass. She leaned over the bar to pour the amber liquid down the drain before using one of the taps to refill it with water.
“It’s half eleven,” she said flatly when Maze questioningly cocked her split brow and she went to slide off the stool, “I need to see him, we’ve got a client. I’ll see you later.”
"I wouldn’t,” Maze sang, her nonchalant expression souring slightly as Patrick loudly popped his gum again, “he’s entertaining.”
Chloe slumped back into her chair.
“It’s half eleven,” she reiterated.
“He’s still entertaining.”
She almost rolled her eyes because of course he was still in the middle of a marathon, drug-fuelled sex fest on a Wednesday morning. She didn’t know why she expected anything else.
“Who is she this time?” she asked, amused, “or he… or they…”
Maze clicked her tongue, knocking back her whiskey and hissing through her teeth at the burn as it scorched its way down her throat.
“He’s with Eve,” she said almost conspiratorially.
“Again?” the surprise soon turned to exasperation—because really, those two made Harley Quinn and the Joker look like a healthy relationship, “I thought he broke up with her. How did she persuade him to take her back?”
Maze’s mouth curved into a smirk.
“Judging by the red latex number she turned up in last night, easily.”
Chloe frowned, frustrated, knowing she’d have to pick up the pieces once again when it inevitably ended—in a spectacularly explosive, messy fashion.
“They made each other miserable. I swear, he never thinks.”
“Oh, he thinks,” Maze smirked, “just not with his head.”
Chloe scoffed, reaching into her pocket to pull out her phone. She dialled Lucifer’s number and put the phone to her ear. As it rang, she heard Maze snap at Patrick.
“Will you shut up?” she seethed, “just fucking swallow it.”
“You don’t swallow gum,” he rolled his eyes disdainfully, continuing to clean some glasses.
Chloe ignored them as Lucifer finally answered with—
“Is the Corvette fixed?”
“Good morning to you too, Lucifer.”
She felt, more than heard, his husky chuckle, a low reverberation through the phone.
“My apologies, Robin,” he practically purred, that inexplicably British accent downright sinful, “Good morning. Is my car fixed?”
Chloe rolled her eyes, something she seemed to do constantly in his presence.
“Yes… and don’t call me that.”
“Lovely,” he sighed and then added, “but you are the Robin to my Batman.”
“No, I’m your very professional assistant—”
“—assistant,” she bit out through gritted teeth, knowing he knew how much that annoyed her, “can you come downstairs please? Your appointment with Dr Linda Martin is in 30 minutes.”
She heard some shuffling on the other end, a grunt from him and a high, melodic voice that could only be Eve’s.
“I’m afraid I’m rather—” he grunted again, the sound drifting away on a laugh, “—tied up right now.”
Chloe ran a tired hand over her face.
“You mean that literally, don’t you?”
She heard the metallic clank of a buckle against a headboard as he undoubtedly tugged at his restraints.
“Eve’s holding the phone to my ear,” he informed her cheerfully.
“Can you put her on please?”
There was some shuffling on the other side of the phone, a husky “she wants to speak to you, darling” and then Chloe heard a voice she had childishly hoped, deep down, was a thing of the past.
The nickname set her teeth on edge, especially coming from her.
“Chloe,” she corrected, her tone clipped, before she lied, “it’s good to hear from you again, Eve. I won’t come up as I understand you’re busy… but do you think you could wrap it up? Lucifer has an appointment at 12.”
“Sure thing, Chlo!” she chirped, incessantly chipper as always, and Chloe thought she might hate that nickname more, “he’ll be right down.”
She clicked the ‘end call’ button with her thumb, but not before her ears burned with the unmistakable crack of a whip against the air, followed by Lucifer’s positively delighted “naughty girl!”.
Chloe closed her eyes, took a deep breath and counted to five in her head. She put the phone down on the bar as Maze started pondering out-loud.
“You know, I’m glad you’re around because you’re pretty cool for a human, but I’ve been by Lucifer’s side for eons. I literally followed him through the gates of Hell. I don’t get why he needs a human assistant. I don’t get why he relies on you so much,” her nose scrunched in disgust, like that was something to be ashamed of, “I mean, I have mad people skills. What do you have that I don’t?”
In an ill-timed move, Patrick chose that moment to blow a huge bubble with his gum and pop it. Maze snapped, demonstrating those people skills by grabbing him by the scruff of the neck and slamming his face down onto the bar’s surface. He yelped as a sickening crack rang out and Chloe cringed.
“Beats me, Maze,” she said dryly, and waited for Lucifer to come downstairs.
“For god’s sake,” Chloe muttered, pinching the bridge of her nose between her thumb and forefinger.
“Oh certainly not,” Lucifer purred at the mention of his Father, “for mine.”
He gave Dr Linda Martin a crooked smile, seemingly delighted by her favour, a very simple request for sex. Chloe didn’t particularly blame the woman—a fair share of favours asked of Lucifer involved sex—but she was a little disappointed. She’d hoped for something more interesting.
“No need to be embarrassed, darling,” Lucifer reassured Dr Martin, whose cheeks were flaring pink, “I’m like walking heroin… and you’re only human.”
The therapist shifted in the booth, something breaking through her glazed eyes. She coughed and the blush intensified, as though she’d been brought back to reality. Her eyes slid to Chloe, leaning against the piano. She must have noticed her unimpressed expression and eyeroll because she glanced uneasily back to Lucifer.
He just laughed.
“Oh, don’t compare yourself to her,” he said dismissively, “I’m still trying to work out what she is.”
Chloe threw him a flat look, crossing her arms over her chest. It had taken him a long time to accept she was seemingly the only woman in LA immune to his ‘charms’. She knew he was attractive—she had eyes—but he was also wildly infuriating and narcissistic. He had enough baggage to fill a small island; daddy-issues didn’t even scratch the surface, and he was the literal devil.
He was intoxicating to be around, charismatic and magnetic, and she had come to care for him... but she knew better than to be swept away. Pretty faces could be dangerous—and Lucifer Morningstar’s was very pretty indeed.
“My relationship with my ex-husband didn’t exactly end well,” Linda started, “and it’s been a while since… well, you know. Women have needs and you… well, you have quite the reputation.”
The corner of Lucifer’s mouth twitched.
He’s loving this, Chloe thought, the smug bastard.
“Trust me, darling,” he crooned, casually twirling a strand of her blonde hair around his finger, “I know all about your needs.”
Linda’s eyes sparkled.
“I know you’d make it good for me… and with it being a favour and all, a no strings attached arrangement, that suits me perfectly. I’m a professional woman who doesn’t have the time, nor the inclination, for a relationship.”
Chloe concealed her laugh with a cough. Professional, indeed.
He leaned in, his arm coming up to rest on the back of the booth in one smooth movement. It brought him closer to Linda who flushed in anticipation, putty in his hands. He didn’t need to use his famous mojo, his ability to draw out people’s hidden desires. Her desire was plain to see. Chloe was still unmoved, unsurprised. Lucifer commanded attention, moulding people like clay, into just the shapes he wanted them in. She knew her own refusal to bend, to break, frustrated him to no end.
“Uh, Lucifer?” Chloe asked.
“Aren’t you forgetting about Eve?”
He just smiled, sinful and slow, and kept his eyes on Linda.
“Oh, she’s not the jealous type.”
Right, Chloe kicked herself for even thinking that relationship could be exclusive.
Lucifer doesn’t do commitment, she reminded herself.
She sighed and picked up her little black book from the piano, clutching it against her chest.
“I’ll draw up the paperwork,” she muttered, and left them to it.