The body hangs, by its neck, from a strand of colorful twinkling lights tied to an exposed rafter.
“Well, that’s bloody cheery,” Lucifer mocks.
Ella pauses photographing the scene long enough to give Lucifer a friendly punch in the arm, to which he responds with an exaggerated, “Ouch!” Chloe no longer finds this behavior annoying or inappropriate, but for appearances she frowns grimly and waves a finger between the two of them. Lucifer at least pretends to look chastised. She pulls out her notebook.
“Thirty-four year old male, ID gives his name as Jacob Marley–”
“Seriously?” Lucifer and Ella shout together, eyeballing each other suspiciously. Ella is a split second faster with her exclamation of, “Jinx!”
Lucifer waves her off. “Whatever.”
He sticks out his tongue.
Okay, this behavior is annoying and inappropriate.
“Guys!” Chloe barks, “Focus! Crime scene!”
Lucifer at least looks legitimately chastised.
Chloe points to the body. “First on scene found a note. So why were we called in for a suicide?”
A wide grin erupts on Ella’s face. “Ah, it certainly looks like a suicide, but if you look closely at the markings on the neck…” she drops her camera around her neck and indicates with a gloved finger.
Chloe and Lucifer squeeze closer. Lucifer’s eyebrows knit together in confusion. “What am I lo–”
“Bruising around the ligature marks that look like fingers.” Chloe frowns.
“Exactly,” Ella exclaims.
“So our victim was manually strangled and then strung up to look like a suicide,” Chloe wanders away, mumbling theories to herself.
Lucifer stabs his hands into his trouser pockets, rocks back on his heels. “So that ruins that,” he mumbles.
“Ruins what?” Ella’s signaling for help to move the body.
“Well, whatever all this means, of course!” He gestures grandly at the scene around them: the opulently decorated nine foot Douglas fir, the garland hung around every window, the row of sequin and velvet stockings trimmed in real fur dangling from the fireplace mantle. “Why someone would choose to kill themselves in such a spectacular fashion, surrounded by festive
tchotchkes and bric-a-brac. What kind of ‘bugger off’ is being sent to the Heavens?” Lucifer nods. “This would have been an impressive ‘eff you’ to the Cosmos, but now come to find out it’s just your typical run-of-the-mill murder.”
“Huh.” Ella frowns as she absorbs this.
“So, I take it you hate Christmas,” Chloe says, wandering into the conversation.
“Quite.” Lucifer bows before her gracefully. “Bah, humbug.”
“Do I want to know?”
“Well, think about it, Detective!” Lucifer pulls himself up to full height, back ramrod straight. He’s got an audience. He’s about to earn their price of admission. “Every year, for what is supposed to be a single day that is instead stretched out over months, I am continuously reminded through saccharine sweet songs and cheery dispositions that I, who was once the most glorious First and Favorite Son, have been cast aside for…for, what? His Chosen Son! Whom everybody loves! They love Him so much, they honor Him with ugly sweaters and fist fights over cheap appliances no one actually wants!” Lucifer huffs out a sigh, exhausted and deflated. “It’s distasteful.”
Chloe’s eyes are wide. She’s been subjected to similar tirades from him before, but this, this seems different. The fire and light in him are gone. He’s sad, trying valiantly to hide it, and failing miserably. She makes a decision, steps in closer.
“Come have Christmas with us, Lucifer,” she whispers. “We don’t–Trixie and me, on Christmas we worship only chocolate cake and All-American dolls.” She gives him gentle smile. “Maybe a couple hallelujahs are given for egg sandwiches.”
“Really, Detective?” He looks at her in disbelief. “You want to invite me to your family gathering?”
“Yes, against my better judgment,” she laughs, “I am inviting you to our house to spend Christmas with us.”
At that, all traces of sadness leave Lucifer’s face. He giddily claps his hands. “Well then, I’d better start making a list of who’s naughty and who’s nice! Prepare yourself and your spawn for gifts, Detective!”
Chloe shakes her head and tries to wave him off. “No, Lucifer, really, you don’t–”
“Of course I do!” He leans in conspiratorially. “Unless you are insinuating, Detective, that this,” he sweeps his hands over his body, gesturing to it like a game show vixen showing off a new car, “would be present enough.”
Chloe huffs a laugh, but glares and hands him a piece of paper. “Here’s your early gift, Lucifer: suspects to interview. Get in the car.”
Awesome southwest breakfast at a little shithole with a bitter waitress. Juevos rancheros and Juevos Maximilian. Yum factor of 8/10.
That bottle of tequila cost as much as the hotel room it’s currently sitting in. We had it on our wedding weekend in Vegas so it’s only fitting to buy a bottle when you see it. So was it the room that was cheap or the tequila expensive? Yes. Notice the wonderful exposed rafters and antique paneling? Good news is that I can wash my knees in the sink.
The view from the patio still makes it worth it. So does being with the greatest woman on earth.