DISCLAIMER: Women's Murder Club and its characters are the property of James Patterson, 20th Century Fox Television and ABC. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Baby, It's Cold Outside
Cindy Thomas dutifully stared ahead while she heard another faint expletive wash over the interior of the car. Unsure of what to do with her hands, she drummed her fingers against the purse in her lap, her bottom lip kneaded by her upper front teeth. A shivering tingle raced up her spine and she really wanted to blame that on the cold, but she knew she couldn't.
She was nervous. Absolutely, positively nervous and normally she really wouldn't be. There were certain things about Lindsay Boxer that Cindy could handle with relative ease.
She could survive a few hours locked up in a holding cell on obstruction of justice charges. She could even withstand the infamous Lindsay Boxer 'laser vision', but this situation right here? Being stuck out in the snow, in a small car with a very angry, very frustrated, hates-all-things-white-and-fluffy Inspector Lindsay Boxer? This was an unnecessary hell and she wondered for the umpteenth time what she did to deserve this.
Despite all her fear, she couldn't keep from speaking. The silence was just that much more unbearable.
"You know, this was your idea. . ."
"I know and shut up!" Lindsay barked, slamming a hand against the steering wheel. "It snows in San Fran and the whole city goes nuts. Car accidents, lane closures . . ."
"The heater in the car dies," Cindy added to the list.
Lindsay shut her eyes, then repeated dejectedly. "Yes. The heater in the car dies. I've been meaning to get that looked at."
Cindy shrugged. "It's San Francisco. Who needs a heater?"
Lindsay merely grunted.
For the first time in many years, the temperatures were hovering around 40 degrees and the wind chill lowered that by another five. It was cold by any San Franciscan standard, just cold enough for the fluffy white stuff to fall from the sky and stick to the ground. Seeing how it was so close to Christmas, Cindy couldn't help but wonder if maybe the snow would present an encore presentation during the holiday. A white Christmas in San Francisco. She couldn't help but smile at the unlikely thought.
"Why are you smiling?" Lindsay asked pointedly.
Of course, some people would rather it never snow. Ever.
Cindy sighed, "Just. . .thinking about the snow. . ."
"It's not even a lot of snow!" Lindsay continued to rant, leaning forward and glancing up at the sky through the windshield. "A few flakes, at most! Now we're stuck in traffic because some idiot couldn't handle a millimeter of precipitation."
Cindy glanced at the inspector sidelong. "It's a five car pile up. Injuries. A possible fire. It could've happened any day."
Lindsay only relented a little. "Probably caused by an idiot driver."
"Look, all I'm saying is, you wouldn't be here at all had you let me go this alone," Cindy said, her tone only slightly teasing.
Lindsay's scowl only deepened. "Okay, so I was wrong! Your contact was legit and my presence wasn't necessary. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
"Cindy, I swear . . ."
"It's not the end of the world, okay? Claire will understand. It's not the first time you let work get in the way of your personal life," Cindy went on. Suddenly, teasing Lindsay was fun, almost exhilarating. Especially since the inspector had already admitted she was wrong. "It's just a dinner party."
"For her husband. A holiday/celebrate my husband's gradual success at rehabilitation party. A party I promised I would be on time for weeks ago," Lindsay said. She inched the car forward, stopped because clearly she had nowhere to go, then banged her head against the steering wheel this time. "She's going to kill me for being late."
"At this rate, you might miss it all together," Cindy remarked. She didn't miss the growl that emitted from Lindsay in response and it was at that moment Cindy decided to stop the teasing. She wanted to be alive when they got back home. So, now that talking was proving to be a dangerous activity, she turned on the radio to fill the silence.
I really can't stay - Baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - Baby it's cold outside
"Seriously? Christmas music?" Lindsay complained.
"Better than listening to you whine about the snow," Cindy pointed out. That, surprisingly, shut Lindsay up. Cindy triumphantly leaned back in her seat and listened to the song play on the radio.
The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink? - No cabs to be had out there
Cindy heard Lindsay snort in amusement just then. The redhead, confused, asked, "What?"
"Rufie," Lindsay said simply.
"Excuse me?" Cindy said, eyes widening.
"The woman in the song asks 'what's in this drink'," Lindsay explained. "Obviously, the guy she's with spiked her drink."
Cindy let her mouth open, then close again. Then finally she uttered, "Wow."
Lindsay folded her arms after putting her car in park. "Wow?"
"Only you would take a perfectly normal Christmas song and make the guy out to be a rapist," Cindy shook her head in disbelief.
"It wasn't hard!" Lindsay argued. "He offers her a drink, she says no. He pushes, she relents. Obviously, she feels funny afterward and asks what he put in it."
"Ever think it might be egg nog and he put a little rum in it?" Cindy proposed. "Seriously, Linds? A rufie? That's the first thing you thought of?"
Lindsay squinted her eyes, thinking. She almost looked bashful as she said, "It's true. I never turn the cop thing off."
"Just now figuring that out?" Cindy smiled.
Even this made Lindsay smile, ducking her head in embarrassment. Turning back to Cindy, she admitted, "I don't really hate the snow. It's just been so long since I've seen any. . .I don't know. I'm stuck in this car behind a five car pile up and I can't enjoy it."
There was brisk cold sweeping into the car suddenly, shocking the inspector. Glancing around, she realized Cindy had lowered her window. Lindsay gave her an incredulous look. Cindy's grin broadened. "You can still enjoy the snow, Linds. Open the window."
Lindsay watched Cindy stick her head out the window, tongue extended. Little, white flakes hit her tongue and melted instantaneously. Lindsay rolled her eyes. "I don't miss the snow that much."
Cindy chuckled, then turned up the radio. She lent her voice to the singers on the radio waves. "I've got to go home. . ."
Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there
"Say, lend me your comb. . ." Cindy continued.
"It's up to your knees out there," Lindsay half muttered along. She was trying to pretend she was uninterested, but Cindy could see the smile just itching to break through.
"There's bound to be talk tomorrow," Cindy sang, giggling halfway through.
"Making my life long sorrow." Lindsay's voice was stronger now.
"At least there will be plenty implied. . ."
"If you caught pneumonia and died. . ."
Cindy's voice was obnoxiously loud, preparing for the finale. "I really can't stay!"
Lindsay laughed through the next line, but joined Cindy for the last jubilant, "Ahh, but, it's cold outside!"
The two women were a bundle of giggles, as the song faded out and another took its place. Before too long, the giggling faded too and Cindy was back to drumming her fingers against her purse in nervousness. See, when it came to Lindsay Boxer, Cindy could handle many things. However, listening to that deep, sultry (slightly off key) singing voice parallel to hers was almost too much to bear. Lindsay was a definition of sexy unique all her own, both vulnerable and strapping.
Cindy glanced over to Lindsay, finally aware that those eyes she dreamt about so often at night were simply watching her. The moment was perfect until a car horn blared, startling them both. Lindsay grabbed the steering wheel, looked out and noticed that traffic was finally moving! Lindsay put the car in drive and began to inch forward with every other car around her.
Cindy, sad the moment had to end, took to listening to the radio again.
"You know," Lindsay spoke up after a mile or two. "Claire's party is probably well underway. We don't have to go."
Cindy looked up at the inspector. "Um, we?"
"Yeah, I said 'we'," Lindsay half-smirked. "I've got some bourbon back home. A blanket and an old movie we could watch."
"Are you. . did you just. . .?" Cindy stumbled over her words, trying to comprehend the situation. "You're not trying to. . ."
"Cindy, for crying out loud! Do you want to come over or not?" Lindsay said, exasperated.
"Yes! Of course!" Cindy blurted out all too eagerly. Realizing her avidity, she toned it down. "I mean, yes. I'd loved to. I just don't know if I should?" Cindy wasn't sure why that came out as a question, but it did. Thankfully, Cindy was met with a gorgeous smile beaming back at her.
"Ahh, honey," Lindsay said, motioning with her head out the window. "But, it's cold outside."
Cindy's smile was wistful as she sighed, "How could I argue with that?"
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