Small might be the wrong word for Lucifer’s enterprises even back then, but then we didn’t have all the strife we are currently dealing with now. It’s not new to have little disagreements between rival factions, but it feels lately as if it’s us against the world. The damn stress alone is causing my ulcers to go into overdrive.

Is it the stress of the fighting? Or is it the stress of having Meredith so far away, not in my safety, that stresses me so much as of late?

Pulling into a spot near the front of the house, I step out of my Escalade into the early spring weather. It’s too damn turbulent, and unpredictable as can be. Snows and sun are not uncommon on the same day. I just wish it would go back to fucking full-on winter. That would make my mood so much easier to manage.

I can already hear peals of laughter coming from inside the house as I knock on the door.

Wonderful, the children are home. I had hoped with it being the weekend, Lily would have taken them out somewhere, doing whatever it is children do.

The door opens with little Evelyn smiling up at me. She has jelly and peanut butter on the sides of her mouth.

Just great, a sticky child touching door knobs and god knows what else.

“Hi, Simon!” she yells to me, even though I’m standing right in front of her.

What is it with children and yelling?

“Hello, Evelyn. May I enter your home?” I ask as I peer down at her.

“No!” she laughs out as she slams the door back in my face. Through the door I can hear her laughing loudly.

I slowly close my eyes and count backwards from ten. Ten… Nine…

By the time I’m down to four, Lily opens the door for me again.

“Hello, Simon. I’m so happy you could stop by. I see Evelyn is up to her normal, charming self,” she says with a light laugh.

“Yes,” I say. “She’s a true gem.”

Lily can see how my teeth are clenched when I say that, and it makes her laughter come out even harder.

“Oh, you poor thing,” she says with only a hint of mockery. “You do know she loves you. Ever since Paul…”

Nodding my head, I keep silent. I liked Paul. He was a good man to have on our side and a very good handler of children.

From what Lucifer has said, Paul’s death was quite hard on Evelyn. Her fragile mind understands death and the traumatizing way Paul was ripped away from her when he died protecting the girls. It’s been hard on her and Abigail both. They have developed a support system with each other.

This is why I have formed my number one rule in my life: no children, ever.

“Matthew is upstairs in his office,” Lily says as she escorts me in past the foyer.

Evelyn comes screeching back into the room with Abigail chasing hot on her tail. “Save me, Simon!”

Before I’m even aware of what’s happening, Evelyn launches herself at my waist and she tries to climb up my body.

“What the fu—” I say, raising my voice as the girls begin screeching at me.

“If you finish that sentence, Simon, I’ll have Matthew insist on you babysitting the children for the day. That includes little David.”

She would too. Not that I wouldn’t slit my fucking wrists the moment they left me in the room with the children alone.

Growling quietly to the girls, who keep trying to play tag around my legs, I say, “Dear young ladies. If you stop and do this around somewhere else, I will give you each a one-hundred-dollar bill.”

Pulling my wallet out of my pocket, I get a very odd look from Lily. “You’re so very strange, Simon.”

The girls, spying the money, stop in their tracks with open mouths. I suppose they’ve never been bribed before. Never too young to understand how it works though.

Handing each one a bill, I watch as they race away from me, giggling like little hyenas.

“Simon, I should be mad at you,” Lily says with a frown.

Grinning, I say, “Yes, more than likely.”

Rolling her eyes, she motions to the stairs. “I set myself up for that. Somehow I know I did. This is going to set such a bad precedence…”

Heading up the stairs, I keep a brief eye on Lily’s back as I ascend. Once I’m fully out of sight of her, I roll my eyes.

She’s just lucky I didn’t offer them a thousand dollars.

Walking the long hallway towards Lucifer’s office, I can’t help but think about the conversation with Lily. She’s right about Paul and Evelyn I suppose. Ever since his death, she’s been a little more…clingy to me. Like she needs a new person to torment.

Paul was her own personal guard when Lucifer wasn’t using him, and she knew she could count on him to do anything for her. He even went so far as allowing her to use him as a big doll. Painting his nails. Putting barrettes in his hair.

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