DISCLAIMER: Women's Murder Club and its characters are the property of James Patterson, 20th Century Fox Television and ABC. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is set before the show starts, at a point not long after Lindsay and Tom have separated. Cindy isn't even a flicker on the horizon, yet. ;-) It's related to the piece I wrote for the 48hr challenge, in that it's the back story behind Claire's comment and Jill's explanation, though it can be read as an entirely stand alone piece. I'd very much like to thank revolos55 for taking the time to beta this and for picking up so many of my mistakes. Any that remain are entirely my fault.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Catch Me When I Fall
By Lesley Mitchell
Phone calls in the middle of the night rarely bring good news to anyone. It doesn't take a long time on the job to realise that, as a cop, and particularly as a homicide detective, that goes doubly for you.
The first ring disturbs her. The second wakes her. The third is truncated as she answers.
"Boxer." Her voice is low, gravelly with sleep, more than usually redolent of the south, even in that single word.
"Lindz? It's me."
There are few people still left in her life who can do this, phone in the middle of the night and identify themselves so casually, and she recognises this one immediately.
"Jill," she confirms as much for something to say while the wheels of her brain spin, gears not quite yet meshed from the rude awakening. And then she's processing the tone of her friend's usually confident voice. There is a flatness there that she's heard before, albeit not on the end of a phone line at... 2AM. "Where are you?"
"Downstairs. Let me in? Please."
She doesn't need the desperate, almost pleading, request; already up and moving after the first word has been spoken.
She flicks on the porch light before she opens the door and leans against the frame, a blanket tossed around her shoulders against the unseasonable chill. In the small puddle of light that is trying so hard to fight against the dark of the rainy night, Jill looks smaller than she's ever seemed before. Back to the door, the lawyer is sat on the bare boards of the stoop, arms wrapped tightly around her folded legs, head rested on her knees and shivering. Her blonde hair has been darkened by the rain and plastered to her scalp.
In a single movement, Lindsay has crossed the space that separated them. Now, she is kneeling by Jill's side, wrapping her arms and the blanket around the other woman and whispering words of comfort. After a time, that could be seconds or years as far as Lindsay can tell, the shivers subside, and soon after that the sobs begin.
The wine in the long stemmed glass glitters, flashing carmine in the warm light of the room, as Jill rolls the stem idly between her fingertips, watching the colours flow and change. The bottle on the table beside the couch where she is curled up has long since passed the optimistic half-full point, as has her glass. Pink flares across her pale cheeks, and blue eyes sparkle a little more brightly than they should, under the once more white-blonde hair that lies untidy from a vigorous towel drying.
Lindsay leans, tall and dark, against the fireplace where her own glass rests, empty.
"I can't believe he..." starts Jill, but the anger in her voice is forced. "No. I should have known," she continues, dejectedly. "Everyone leaves."
Lindsay aches to comfort her friend, put her arms around her and tell her that she is not going anywhere, but these are the first words Jill has said in an hour, and she's not going to interrupt the flow.
"He called me. Fucking coward!" The obscenity is harsh, a throwback to a younger, less-in-control Jill. "He called me from the airport. He called while they were boarding his fucking flight. Told me he'd accepted the job in New York and that he really needed someone who was truly committed enough to stand by his side. Then he said he'd never forget the time we shared, and hung up. Condescending prick!"
She pauses again, and returns to her study of the colours of the room through the remains of the wine.
"Bastard," she says abruptly, and downs the blood-red liquid, refilling the glass clumsily, slopping a little onto the dark wood of the table.
"Bastard," she says again, but the force has gone out from behind the word, and now Lindsay moves.
This is not the first time they have shared a bottle of wine in the middle of the night. Girl's nights in to celebrate or commiserate are a long standing tradition; giggles and tears over wine in Jill's cramped apartment or at Lindsay's house, with Tom carefully shuffled away for the night, or, occasionally, at Claire's place, if Ed's mother can take the boys. Their little club is a more than a little infamous with their significant others.
So when the wind goes out from Jill's sails, Lindsay knows that now is the time to go back to her side on the couch, and take the wine from her unresisting hands, and hold her until the storm passes once more. Then, they'll share the wine and curse the male sex, and Jill will pass out on the couch, and Lindsay will retire to her room, and hope like hell that she can spend the coming day catching up on paperwork, rather than chasing perps through the streets with a killer hangover.
There's something different about tonight, though. Maybe because it's the first time they've done this since Tom left, since the baby, since she let a serial killer ruin her life.
Because, suddenly, Jill is looking up at her, tear-stained and sniffling. Her eyes are a little bloodshot, but there's a clear message in them, if Lindsay wants to read it. And maybe it is because Tom's gone, or maybe it's the wine, but she looks at her friend, and she's beautiful to her in a way she's never quite seen before.
There are no words. They've know each other long enough to not need them.
The acceptance given, Jill moves forward, just a little, and closes the distance between them. Lips meet, and part, and Lindsay tastes the salt of Jill's tears even as she feels the last of them damp on the other woman's cheek under the fingertips of the hand she doesn't recall having moved to cup it. She can taste the wine, its berry flavours redolent of sunshine and warm earth. And, at last, beneath everything else, and anchoring them all, she can taste the complex flavour that is uniquely Jill.
At some point her eyes have closed, and as the kiss ends, she opens them to look once more upon her friend. They have moved more than she realised with her senses so wholly enveloped by the kiss they have shared. Jill no longer rests by her side, protected in her embrace. The blonde has straddled her, kneeling over her, hands resting on the back of the couch either side of Lindsay's head. She's wearing that smug, cat-that-got-the-cream look she's perfected. It's one that Lindsay's seen before, when a case has been won or a chase has ended in success. But, here and now, Lindsay sees that her face is also flushed, far beyond anything the wine might have done and her lips are swollen and damp from the passionate kiss they have just shared.
It's then that Lindsay notices her hands, her own traitorous hands, that have found their way under her friend's shirt and are resting on her flanks, thumbs dangerously close to the bottom edge of the silky bra that she can see peaking past the undone upper buttons.
There's a moment, here. A moment where they can stop, where they can blame it on the lateness of the hour, the alcohol in their systems. A moment when they'll do what they always do, go their separate ways. Though, tonight a little... self-help might be in order. The moment to part, to stop this, that moment is now.
But the moment passes, and Jill simply leans in and kisses Lindsay again, and this time it sears her very soul, and she's hot and wet and ready without Jill having laid a finger on her.
Her hands move of their own accord, fingertips enjoying the soft, heated skin of Jill's back, while thumbs brush firmly over nipples straining for release from their silky imprisonment, eliciting a gasp from their owner.
Lindsay breaks the kiss, and Jill, almost limp in her hands allows herself to be pulled forward so that Lindsay can bury her face in the expanse of pale skin framed by the over-large shirt the blonde is wearing. Strong hands continue to explore the uncharted lands, taking the measure of it, and offering pleasure and support in return, for Jill has upped the ante.
Fingers fumble blindly with the drawstring of her sweatpants, and the rush that comes with its loosening, spurs Lindsay to raise her own stakes. Losing contact for a moment with the other woman's body, she brings trembling fingers forth to make an attempt at the remaining buttons that keep her from the feast ahead. In this moment, however, normally dexterous fingers are bumbling, causing impatience, that leads to impulsive behaviour. With a low rumbling growl, Lindsay sends small buttons flying to disappear into the furthest corners of the room, and then the shirt slides easily away over perfect ivory shoulders, revealing to dark eyes the beauty that lies beneath.
Featherlight kisses, nips of teeth, swipes of tongue all combine to explore this uncharted territory. The bra is discarded, freeing coral nipples to be worshipped equally thoroughly with lips and teeth and tongue. Jill's expressions of pleasure come faster and louder with every touch, until Lindsay is forced to kiss her once more, deep and hard, for the sake of some propriety.
Face to face, body to body. Lindsay can feel the heat of Jill's skin through her own thin nightshirt, can feel the way the material pulls over her own engorged flesh, can feel the way their rapid heartbeats mirror each other. They pull apart, enough to focus clearly on the other, with Jill's hands still tangled in Lindsay's long, dark hair.
It is Lindsay who speaks the first and only word in what feels like hours. Her voice is even lower, smokier, thick and rich as molasses.
It is not a question, and without waiting for a response, she uses years of workouts to lift them both from the couch, causing Jill to let out a startled yelp, before she wraps herself more firmly around Lindsay's lanky frame, allowing herself to be literally carried away.
Lindsay kisses her, gently, sweetly, and places her on the bed with great reverence. Loose trousers puddle on the floor, followed by silky briefs that may well have matched the missing bra, and Lindsay is left breathless and, for the first time since they started this elaborate dance, uncertain. The woman laid out before her, where she is kneeling at the end of her own bed, seems a vision, an angelic figment, that might vanish away, if she closes her eyes.
Jill senses her hesitation, and crawls over, slips to the floor and kneels facing Lindsay, her eyes offering indulgence and open invitation, her hands first resting on Lindsay's shoulders, bringing them together once more for a slow burning kiss, then gently helping ease Lindsay's shirt over her head, and her sweatpants down revealing toned muscles under lightly bronzed skin, to which she offers her own communion.
As she allows herself to be touched, the desire that builds chases away the fear. She guides Jill's mouth back to hers, embracing the other woman, bringing their bare flesh together and forcing them first to their feet, and then toppling onto the bed in a tangle of limbs that resists parting, until with a gasp, hot, slick, sensitive flesh, buried in damp blonde curls, finds and is pressed against a firm muscular thigh, and a rhythm of friction commences.
At an indeterminate point, the leg is replaced by a hand, and one, two, three fingers, thrust inside, penetrating, drawing a whimper that builds to an inarticulate, incoherent stream of utterances as the pumping tempo is increased, and then crescendos to a shuddering scream through the flick of a thumb across the nub of wildly sensitised flesh.
Lindsay holds Jill in the aftermath of the orgasm, feels the tremors of the aftershocks shudder through her limp body, watches her swallow reflexively, watches the pulse flutter in her throat, pushes sweat dampened hair from her forehead, and is there, when the blue eyes finally reappear from under heavy lids, dark and sated, ready to offer a generous, tender kiss, despite her own throbbing need.
After a minute, a decade, a century, they separate once more, emerging from each other, while their bodies keen at the loss. Jill pushes gently at Lindsay's shoulder, flattening her to the bed. She looks down into eyes where the iris has been lost to the overwhelming need, pools in which she could drown without ever reaching the bottom. A lazy smile forms.
"Your turn, I think."
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