DISCLAIMER: Women's Murder Club and its characters are the property of James Patterson, 20th Century Fox Television and ABC. No infringement intended.
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"Oh no, you're not going to set me up again. Remember what happened last time?"
"We have only your best interests in mind," Jill declared. "Come on, just one movie. You haven't been out ever since Pete called it quits."
Lindsay winced at her friend's choice of words - or maybe just at what they were implying. "And I like it that way. So we weren't working out. No need to become desperate."
"It's just a movie. No strings attached... unless you want them to." Jill winked at her, and Lindsay rolled her eyes. "Claire?" She had the slight, but waning hope to find help here.
Claire smiled, but shook her head. "Jill is right. Go have some fun."
"You are not going to let this go, are you?"
"Um, I don't really want to date anybody right now. I'm busy, you know?"
"We know that," Claire said patiently. "But a girl's got to have some fun every now and then. We're your friends. Don't you think we know you well enough to find you a good match?"
"My mom thought that, too, once, and it was a big mistake." Cindy eyed them suspiciously. "Wait, you don't have it planned already?"
"We can do better than your mom." Jill grinned. "You know why? We know all of your secrets."
"I don't think so," Cindy sighed. "A movie, right? I guess I can do that. Where did you find the guy?"
Jill and Claire shared a knowing look. "That person is of course someone we trust, too," Claire answered.
Ten minutes after the scheduled time, no one in sight that could be a potential choice of Claire's and Jill's to lighten up her Saturday evening, Lindsay swore to herself that this would be the last time she'd ever give in to their meddling. She loved them and would hate to miss them in her life, but at this rate, it was much better to stay single than accept another tip from the Bernhardt/Washburn dating service for friends.
She would never admit it, but she hated to be the one left behind when in fact both times, she had had the concept of leaving first, but had been too busy (with Tom) or too lazy (with Pete) to do it.
Lindsay also hated being stood up. So it was obviously the best choice to head home and thus try to save the last shreds of her ego... she would not wait any longer.
Her plans were swiftly altered by the very welcome sight of a familiar face.
"Lindsay!" The way Cindy's face lit up swept away all dire thoughts of past misheaps, though only for a moment, until Lindsay remembered that she probably wasn't here on her own.
"What are you doing here?"
"Um, watching a movie?" Lindsay was well aware of the defensive tone in her voice. "At least I was going to," she said with a sigh. She could read a multitude of questions in Cindy's face, none of which she had the desire to answer. "I guess you're here for the same reason, so I won't keep you. I was just going to--"
Cindy frowned. "I'm afraid my date stood me up. Why don't you come with me instead?" She blushed hotly. "I'm sorry, that didn't come out right."
Lindsay thought it had come out quite right, and she found the implications made her ridiculously happy. After all, spending the evening with Cindy promised a whole lot more fun than... anyone, she admitted to herself, that Jill and Claire could have 'assigned' to her case.
"I can be your date," she joked. Half-joked, enjoying very much that Cindy's face turned a deeper shade of red. "You can pick the movie."
Movie - what movie? Cindy didn't concentrate much on it as she thanked fate, Jill, Claire and some unknown guy for their interference that had made her end up in this seat, with Lindsay next to her.
Okay, there was some action, and some romance, and the hero set out to rescue the damsel in distress. She was very aware of the fact that on the armrest, their hands were less than an inch from one another. She longed to close the distance, but didn't dare. This was already so much better than hanging out with Jill and Claire's chosen man, so she was afraid to spoil it. Maybe they could go for a drink afterwards...
She made some effort to follow at least a bit of the action on the screen, wondering if the moment when the female lead was hearing the killer's footsteps in the hallway would be the right moment...
Cindy nearly jumped when their hands touched for real, forgetting all about the character's predicament again.
Lindsay's finger entwined with hers, and she gave up all hope at ever being able to tell anyone what the movie had been about.
What the hell was she doing, holding hands with Cindy Thomas in a dark movie theater? Lindsay had to admit it wasn't so hard to answer that. Because she really wanted to, and better even, her companion didn't seem to mind.
Jill and Claire had missed the moment when her reluctance to go on a date didn't have anything to do with her failed marriage any longer.
When she'd began to steal sideways glances at a woman who was supposed to be a platonic friend, but she'd never had held hands with platonic friends before.
And if she was honest to herself, it wasn't really what she wanted her to be. Maybe the Bernhardt/Washburn dating service for friends had been a very good idea after all.
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