“No. Absolutely not. This is insane!”
Chloe can’t believe the Lieutenant is even suggesting this plan. The whole situation is so absurd she doesn’t even think twice about contradicting her superior officer. The Lieutenant, however, has no time for her insubordination.
“This isn’t a request, Detective. The Patels are obviously very upset and want this handled as delicately as possible. And the developer has already graciously offered us to help us, so I expect you to meet with Ms. Palmer shortly and be the very picture of cooperation.”
Lt. Monroe gives her an exhausted look before Chloe can even begin to offer any more excuses. “Look, I can’t spare any of our other teams, but if you’d prefer I can send Dan with you instead?”
It’s obvious that the Lieutenant realizes how much she’s asking of Chloe, and Chloe knows she means well with her suggestion. But she also knows that having Dan with her in this would probably be even worse, and she still needs him to watch Trixie while she’s on this assignment. Which means there’s really one option now…
“Why Detective, of course I’d love to play house with you!” Lucifer’s grin has grown continuously wider throughout her very awkward explanation of their assignment, during which time she has been heroically resisting the urge to punch something. Possibly the man in front of her.
“We’re not playing house, Lucifer, it’s just a case. It’s been two months since Vidya Patel went missing and there are no substantial leads other than some trace evidence on the body to suggest she was killed somewhere near her home, which is where we’ll be going to investigate. We’re hoping one of the neighbors might tell us something that they didn’t mention to the police before.”
“And so they need our infamous little duo to play the newlywed neighbors for a week - how could I refuse?” Chloe certainly wishes he would. That she even could. But nothing she says seems to dim his enthusiasm in the slightest. “I’ll admit I’m not overly fond of the sacraments, but you humans have so many wonderfully quaint traditions surrounding that particular one. I was thinking perhaps somewhere tropical for our honeymoon, maybe Barbados?”
Chloe can already feel another headache coming on. “This isn’t a game, Lucifer. We’re only even pretending to be married because our victim lived in a very conservative suburban neighborhood, and we need to be able to question her neighbors without drawing attention to ourselves.”
Lucifer ignores her obvious irritation and moves further into her space. “Come now, Detective, don’t tell me you’ve never thought about it - the two of us together, some lost little island in paradise, and all the trouble we could get into there…” This last part is practically breathed right into her ear, sending traitorous little shivers down her side.
And that right there is the real problem. Because she has thought about it. Not the island thing (though the occasional beach scene may have wormed its way into her mind), but about the two of them together. Things have been a bit…strained since Lucifer admitted how he feels about her. Well, how he thinks he feels about her. Chloe has spent a lot of time denying even the possibility he might feel something real for her, and perhaps even more time going through all the ways this wouldn’t work between them even if he did. They’re just too different. However, Chloe’s attempts at telling Lucifer any of this have been met with several ill-thought out attempts to ‘prove’ himself to her, though for now at least they seem to have reached some sort of awkward stalemate.
It’s not that there’s no interest on her end - even though she will never, ever admit to any of this to him - it’s just that she is absolutely certain that they’ll never work, so what’s the point of even trying? There’s just too much working against them. Aside from Lucifer’s, well, everything, there’s the fact that these things never seem to work out for her, ever. No one ever sticks around for very long. Case in point: Dan. And every boyfriend she’s ever had. Her mother. Especially her mother. Even her father eventually left her, and though Chloe realizes he wasn’t to blame, a small, ugly part of her is still upset with him for dying too soon. Everyone leaves her eventually, and at this point she’s mostly gotten used to it. It doesn’t mean she’s going to invite in more suffering.
And she certainly didn’t ask for this, to be trapped in some tiny suburban house with Lucifer living out some pale imitation of marriage with a guy who can’t even commit to a single Brittney. She just hopes he isn’t using this as some sort of ploy to seduce her. Not that it would work, but things have finally started getting back to normal between them - well, as normal as they ever could be. And she needs him fully committed to this, if they’re ever going to make it through this nightmare.
“No games, Lucifer, I mean it. It’s bad enough we’re essentially stuck on an extended stake out, I want this case wrapped up as quickly as possible. I want to get home to Trixie. So I need you to be my partner in this.”
At the mention of Trixie Lucifer finally seems to take this a little more seriously. Mostly. “Why not just bring her with us? She’d really sell the whole nuclear family, American dream thing I assume we’re aiming for.”
“I’m not bringing my child to a potential murder scene, Lucifer.” Her annoyance with him for not thinking his suggestion through is tempered by the fact that he at least seems to understand her need to be with her daughter - despite his professed distaste for children. It also assures her that he’s not planning some grand seduction, if he’s willing to bring her daughter along with them.
“So I take it we’ll not be playing ourselves, then?”
“That’s kind of the whole point of going undercover. No one’s going to really open up to a cop and a nightclub owner slash police consultant. But they might talk to…” she looks down at the file in front of her, “Robert and Barbara Jones, a completely normal business owner and his wife.” She cringes a bit at the word ‘wife’, and looks up to see mirroring a expression of distaste on his face as she reads off their new identities.
“Couldn’t we just keep our names? Robert and Barbara just sounds so frightfully dull.” Chloe almost laughs at the way Lucifer’s face scrunches up when he repeats the names.
“I think that’s the whole point. I’m pretty sure the name ‘Lucifer Morningstar’ might set off a few alarm bells, or at least a google search. And you’re sort of all over the internet.” Chloe may have looked him up a bit when they first met. There are still some photos she can’t unsee.
“I am, aren’t I?” he preens. Chloe simply rolls her eyes at the response, shoving a copy of the details at him.
“Here, just go memorize this while you get ready. They have our clothes and luggage already prepared for us, so we can go straight to meet with the realtor who’s helping coordinate this.”
Surprisingly, Lucifer manages to take less time in getting ready than her - if you don’t count the fact that he’s currently complaining to anyone that will listen (and even those who don’t care to) that he is not about to go in public dressed like “some douchebag in seersucker”. She can hear the sounds of Ella’s laughter (and probably photo-taking, for future blackmail) and someone else telling him to suck it up.
Chloe’s equally uncertain about the outfit they chose for her, but she’s not about to go tell off the people that chose it. It’s honestly not even that bad, if it were on someone else. It’s just not really her.
She supposes this it what her new identity might wear. A sweet little floral sundress that makes her look…softer, somehow. Like she was the type of person to sell expensive, handmade organic skincare products without a trace of irony. Like Barbara Jones.
She’s steadfastly avoiding looking too hard at herself in the mirror while simultaneously trying to get the dress’s zipper up past where it sticks at the waist. Lucifer, of course, chooses this rather undignified moment to burst in behind her, all of the previous indignation over his new attire suddenly draining out at the sight of hers. She tries to meet his eyes in the mirror but he is focused entirely on her dress (particularly where it still gapes open in the back), so she takes a brief moment to look her fake husband over. And really his outfit isn’t so bad either - the shirt isn’t even seersucker, just a soft blue check with the sleeves rolled up past his forearms. He looks softer like this as well, perhaps even…nice. Which is good. For their investigation, that is. Certainly not for any other reason, Chloe reminds herself quickly.
“Well well, Detective - you almost look, dare I say, sweet like this.” His eyes finally meet hers in the mirror, devilish grin fully back in place. “Which isn’t to say I don’t also love the whole angry boots and leather jacket look you normally go for. But this certainly has its own appeal.”
“Whatever, it’s just a dress.” Chloe is not 12 years old and she will not blush at his stupid comments. She is far too old for that. But Lucifer certainly keeps testing her.
“And it appears to be one with a very finicky zipper. Allow me to offer my services.”
Apparently that wasn’t a question so much as a warning, because he reaches out immediately towards the garment. One hand goes to her waist, right below where the zipper has stuck, while the other delicately tugs the zipper upwards, tracing over her spine. She can feel the warmth of his hands searing through the soft fabric of the dress, and it takes a great deal of willpower not to move away from the feeling of them against her, or worse, press back into them.
“Nothing underneath? A little hint of naughtiness along with this nice dress?” Chloe purposefully ignores the way her face heats up at the suggestion. And at the feeling of his hand slowly gliding up her back. It certainly doesn’t normally take this long to do up a simple zipper.
“The dress is lined, and the straps would have shown.” Who on earth is she justifying her lack of bra to? Herself, or Lucifer? The man in question simply responds with a smug grin, finishing off her zipper with unnecessary flourish. Now that he’s done she almost regrets the loss of contact between them, but she doesn’t have long to miss it because Lucifer simply continues upward, reaching for her where her hair is pulled back into a messy bun. He tugs gently at her hair tie until it’s freed, allowing the soft waves to fall over her shoulders.
“There, now you look the part to perfection.” He finally retreats out of her space, taking a single step backwards, and Chloe lets out a breath she didn’t realize she was holding. Despite the fact that she is still flustered from the contact, at least Lucifer seems to be back to his normal (annoying, frustrating) self, maintaining at least some boundaries and not delivering any more heartfelt confessions. Flirting, she can handle, feelings, not so much.
“We should probably get back out there and get the rest of our things.” She suggests carefully.
“After you, Detective.”
“You two look so cute together!” Ella apparently still has her camera out and is furiously snapping photos of the two of them in their new clothes. Dan is there as well, looking less than pleased. He reaches for Chloe’s arm and pulls her off to the side.
“Are you sure about this, Chloe? Why don’t I just go with you? It’d make a lot more sense than this.” At the mention of ‘this’ Dan looks over at Lucifer like he still can’t figure out what the guy is even doing here.
“It’s fine, Dan. Besides, I need you to take Trixie for a bit, I’m not sure how long this will take and we have to stay at this house until we can find a better lead.” Dan still looks a little put out, like she’s obviously choosing Lucifer over him. Though to be honest, she sort of is, just not like he’s thinking. But at least he seems to accept that looking after Trixie is more important than however uncomfortable he is with the whole situation.
“Yeah, alright. You know I’m happy to have her over any time. And at least I can feel a little better knowing he’ll be sleeping on some cramped sofa during this whole thing.” His attempts at a joke fall a little flat, though Lucifer clearly hears him and turns his attention to the two of them.
“I don’t believe all this,” his hands sweep out to indicate his rather tall stature, among other things, “could possibly fit on some sofa. I will of course be sleeping…”
“In the guest bedroom.” Chloe finishes, not wanting another fight breaking out between the two men. Dan looks annoyingly smug at her response, while Lucifer mocks indignation at the very idea. She tugs at Lucifer’s arm, leading him out of the room, secretly enjoying the way Dan’s face fall at the gesture.
“Come on Mr. Jones, we’ve got a realtor to meet.” She doesn’t miss the way Lucifer immediately softens, or the fact that Ella is still snapping photos.
“Certainly, Mrs. Jones.”