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: *from Meat Loaf's 'You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth'
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
It's Lindsay's birthday. It's summer in San Francisco. Sometimes, three is just the right number...
"So, what have you guys planned?" Cindy inquired.
Jill and Claire shared a knowing look. Claire answered, "Lindsay usually works on her birthday. If you're good, you can get her to go for a couple of drinks later - as long as the criminal element in this city plays along and we don't have another dead body on our hands."
Cindy made a face. "That is sad. Can't we arrange something special? Something she can't say no too?"
She caught Jill's amused gaze and blushed. "I'm serious."
Over the table, Jill took her hand and squeezed gently. "It's a good idea."
Some things are better kept behind closed doors.
"I need to ask Jill for that warrant -- hey!" Lindsay complained as Claire took her by the arm and led her away from Jill's office. "I saw Cindy go in there. What do you mean, they have something private to talk about?"
That look would have made Cindy cave within no time. With a little motivation, Jill, too. No such luck with Claire. Lindsay sighed. "Please don't tell me they're going to arrange a blind date for my birthday." Claire shook her head with a smile, which made her suspicious.
"A stripper? It isn't a stripper, right?"
Claire cracked up.
I trust you more than anyone else in the world.
"Lindsay is going to think we've lost it."
Jill pulled the woman in her arms closer to her, kissing her softly, running a hand down her back. "Believe me, she's not."
"How do you know?"
Jill just smiled enigmatically.
"Okay, that part we have figured out now," Cindy said. "Will you really be okay with this?"
"What about you?"
"I asked you first."
They looked at each other, all joking forgotten, both of them aware of the importance of this moment. Jill spoke first. "You know that I love you." It was not a question. "It will be very special."
The things you do for your friends.
Claire found herself smiling when she left her office that night. She'd been extremely amused by Jill's and Cindy's efforts to explain to her that there'd be a part of the celebration after dinner, that would not include her. Did they really think she didn't know?
Claire knew a lot more. She'd been surprised and thrilled to see the two women hit it off, but she'd also seen the undisguised longing in Lindsay's eyes, and it had always been a little difficult to tell whom it was directed at... this would be a perfect birthday surprise. She told them so.
The icing on the cake
Cindy had thought that at some point, it should have just naturally vanished. She'd become an accepted member of 'the club', had found good friends, and a lover to die for -- all that didn't help her fatal attraction for one Lindsay Boxer. Slightly complicated by the fact that a blind woman could see that there was history between Jill and Lindsay.
She was walking on a cloud, a natural high that Jill did not mind as they lay together in the afterglow, part reality, part fantasy, silence but for the soft sound of the fan above cooling their heated bodies.
Between you and me
"She really does make you happy, right?"
It was hard to say if it was the ongoing heat of the past few days or the content and exptected answer of her question that made Lindsay sound this tired.
Jill found it impossible to keep the smile off her face thinking of Cindy, even though she knew her joy was possibly obtrusive. "Does it show? No, don't answer that. You've got your schedule cleared for Thursday?"
Lindsay gave her a stern look. "I won't regret this?"
Jill leaned close into her personal space. "I can promise you that you definitely won't."
I want you to be happy, but I can't stand it.
Lindsay loved her friends. That's why she didn't have the heart to tell them 'no', especially when one of them was part of a happily married couple, the other two were just - happy. With each other.
She hadn't seen it coming. A bad case of ego. Where did she get off thinking that Jill would keep that particular door open forever? Also, she had basked in Cindy's unabashed adoration too long.
Lindsay picked up the soda can on her desk and held it against her forehead. Maybe she could fake a little fever.
It wasn't that far from the truth.
Interrogation 101: The laser vision
"Can't you just tell me where we're going?"
Cindy was squirming. Lindsay secretly enjoyed it.
"I promised not to. Can't you wait for two more hours? You're like a little child!"
Lindsay loved how she could make her blush with one look. She shouldn't enjoy it this much, but it was - reassuring. She still got it. "I get it," she relented. "Age jokes are no fun. Just a hint, please?"
Cindy shook her head, smiling, and for a moment, Lindsay was overcome with regret. Wrong decisions made at the wrong time.
This was going to be the worst birthday ever.
"It was a hot summer night, and the beach was burning..."*
Claire had left half an hour ago, telling them to enjoy themselves with a wink.
"So what now?" asked Lindsay after Jill had ordered the bill.
"Now," Cindy announced, "We're going to kidnap you."
Lindsay's expression went from amused to intrigued to -- naked.
Still, when Jill backed her against the wall in the hallway of the restaurant, she was just as much taken by surprise as Cindy, who watched, her face flushed.
Jealousy was not an option. Jill smiled. "Happy Birthday, Lindsay."
Lindsay looked from her to Cindy and snapped, "If this is a joke, I'm not in the mood."
Whatever it takes.
The night was still warm as they walked on the beach, talking about dreams and fears.
"It's crazy." Lindsay suspected it wasn't much of a point when her actions had spoken so much louder than her words.
"Maybe." Jill wrapped her arms around her from behind, the familiarity startling, the yearning- painful. "Don't you want to - be crazy just once?"
"Crazy, I could live with. Sympathy would be--"
Her words were cut off by Cindy kissing her fervently, making her knees go weak. "Does that feel like sympathy to you?"
Lindsay found that she was willing to take that chance.
(And now, the story begins for real...)
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