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.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Melissa for the beta!
"Kate Hammond is a suspect, right?"
The words, though quiet, allow no argument. Cindy wonders if she's been overreacting herself, feeling like she's just been slapped, but then she remembers last week. Not that she has actually forgotten how they cut her off the last time, but she's repressing it best she can.
Until it's happening again, ripping a not yet healed wound open.
She stands in the same spot, staring after Lindsay walking away, trying not to ask herself what the hell she's doing here anyway. What she's been doing the past few months, with her professional integrity, with her - pride. Cindy sighs and turns to leave. She can't afford to look too hard at these questions, because once she comes up with answers, it won't be pretty.
They knew she lost the story the last time. Does anyone care at all?
That, and she knows she's about to lose much more this time.
Angry tears are sliding down Cindy's cheeks, scaldingly hot on her own skin. "Why do you keep doing this to me?"
Lindsay doesn't think she needs to answer that; she's too relieved that Cindy let her in at all tonight. Because she knew there was only one way to end this feeling of being trapped, by the case, her job and the responsibilities that came with it. Maybe, by a relationship that seems so perfect and, from her point of view, just isn't.
"I'm sorry," she offers lamely, her attention drifting from their conversation and zeroing in on the feel of the hands roaming her body possessively, the sting of fingernails.
"Sorry." Cindy snorts. "Sure you are." She leans down to kiss her, hard, hand sliding between her thighs, teasing and probing.
All thoughts of today's mistakes flee rapidly at the sudden invasion, though she's been more than ready for it. Cindy is still mad at her, but even as Lindsay tries to see her less than gentle ministrations as some kind of punishment she deserves and accepts, she knows it's all a lie. Because it's what she craves, time after time, and that's why she keeps running to the person who's willing to give it to her, no questions asked.
Well, a few questions asked.
Her hips rise to meet each of the sharp thrusts, body starting to tense with the familiar sensation, the promise of an intense, devastating orgasm.
She closes her eyes when it takes her over, not wanting to see contempt or pity which she always fears could be there.
Because she'd deserve that, too.
Cindy isn't easily appeased tonight, lying beside Lindsay tense and unforgiving. It makes her worry that this case could be the last straw, where Cindy realizes that being in the club isn't all that it's cracked up to be and having your dream come true can turn out to be a nightmare.
She knows she's walking a fine line here, clinging to illusions rather than taking a stand and taking a good look at who she is, but then again that has always scared her.
The notion that Cindy could be about to wake up is what terrifies her. She has faith, though, in her ability to create smoke screens and diversions. Cindy knows all of her weaknesses - but Lindsay knows Cindy's just as well.
She reaches over to brush a strand or hair from her face, tenderly, fingers brushing her cheek and traveling down her neck and shoulder. For a moment, she thinks Cindy looks like she's going to cry again, but she starts relaxing under the touch, almost against her will.
"Why?" The question is right here in the bed with them, like it has always been, but especially today.
Lindsay doesn't have to think hard about it. "I need you," she confesses unabashedly, knowing the words will further ease them into the direction that the touch does.
Cindy's eyes widen for a moment, but she doesn't comment. "So what about--?" She never says his name aloud when it can be avoided.
Lindsay stills her hand. "I haven't slept with him."
"But you will."
She wants to protest, say that it's ridiculous and then she does, but her words are a heartbeat too late. "Let's not talk about him."
"There's a thought. Let's not talk at all." Cindy laughs, but it doesn't sound happy. She must be aware that there's no escape, for either of them.
Lindsay leans over to kiss her, very softly, then brushes her lips over her eyelids, her cheeks, tasting salt. Covering her with her body, protectively and possessively alike. Lindsay could spend hours like this and on occasion she has. She lets her hands and lips explore Cindy's body with a gentleness she hadn't known she had in her. The killing kind.
Her hand idly traces the shape of a breast, then her tongue follows the same path.
Cindy shivers as Lindsay's hair carresses her oversensitized body, she starts to squirm helplessly, but Lindsay keeps a firm hold on her hips, keeping her still, controlling the pace. Lindsay is not in a hurry.
She eases herself further down Cindy's trembling body, relishing her whimpers. It makes her feel like she has all the power. She knows that the exact opposite is true. She let her fingertips brush over soft, sensitive skin, touching warm wetness.
Waiting for the span of a few heartbeats, she lets the tension climb to an unbearable height for both of them before she leans in to taste.
And just for a little while, that power will be hers. Cindy is not going to leave.
Neither of them could ever bear that.
She packs her bags crying the whole time. Doing the right thing does not automatically make it feel right. Cindy remembers Jill's words, 'Cindy, we absolutely trust you,' and while they rang true, they were not enough in the long run.
Jill is probably still mad at her, and Claire would try to see everybody's point of view and make sense of it. She should say goodbye to them, but she's strayed so far from making sense at all, stealing away like a thief is probably the best thing.
There's a new life waiting for her on the East Coast, an exciting new job and an ex-girlfriend who is thrilled to see her again.
So why does it feel like dying?
"Have you seen Cindy today?"
Lindsay blushes to the roots of her hair, and turns away from Claire's scrutiny. "No. Why? Should I?"
Claire isn't missing a beat in her work which Lindsay doesn't want to contemplate too deeply on an empty stomach as she says, "She came by this morning."
"What did she want?" That has come out all wrong. If Claire hasn't suspected anything yet, she will now.
"That was strange." Claire looks up at her meaningfully, and Lindsay has a hard time trying to evade her gaze again. "Did you know she had a job offer back East?"
Her heart has jumped into her throat, and the ring of the cell phone doesn't make it any better.
"Boxer," she snaps. The voice on the other end of the line is the one she wants to hear last at the moment. "Not now," she simply tells him and flips the phone shut, her hands unsteady with a fear she has hoped to never face from this close up.
Now Claire looks sympathetic. Somehow that's even worse.
"I'm sorry, I thought you'd be the first to know."
"Well, I don't. What about that offer?"
"She took it. She came to say goodbye."
The phone falls to the floor with a noise that seems obscenely loud in the quiet, sterile confines of the morgue.
Cindy sits in the waiting area, nursing her latte as her flight is being delayed and her head hurts from the hangover of too many tears. While she's sitting and, well, waiting with absolutely nothing to distract her, she is half-hoping that Lindsay will find out in time, that she will come here and try to make Cindy change her mind.
She's also afraid that it could happen. Cindy doesn't trust her resolve. Lindsay has an extensive repertoire of means to make it crumble, and she knows how to use them.
She has finally made a decision, and it's the right one. Her mind knows is, but that doesn't keep her heart from breaking just a little more than it already has been.
The bleeding has only begun.
She will tell him goodbye, be honest and let him know that she's giving up the safe illusion of a 'normal' and accepted relationship for something real. Turning her life upside down, challenging her, scaring her, but real. It's what she needs, and he has a right to know, too.
Lindsay is certain she will let him know all that, once there is time.
Time that is now running out on her. She has no qualms about using the siren to have other vehicles make way for her, abusing power, maybe, but if this works out, she'll pay for her mistakes, atone for her sins.
She's driving too fast, and she knows it. Lindsay doesn't care. She's made up her mind, a little late maybe, so everything is going to be alright. She believes it firmly, even as the fear that it could not be enough, chills her to the bone.
The truth will set her free, one way or another.
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