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: I know atfm will certainly be happy to see the 12th day finally arrive.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The Eleventh Day of Christmas
"We're nowhere on this case, Jacobi. Eleven eyewitnesses and every single one of them is lying." Lindsay plopped down in her chair and grabbed up the witness statements, rifling through the pages without focusing on any of the words. She already knew what they said. "One of them is the murderer, and the other ten are covering for him."
"Or her," Jacobi added, reaching for his notes. Scanning the pages, he said, "Okay, so we've got eleven liars lying."
"No," Lindsay leaned back in her chair, "more like eleven actors acting; they're all members of an acting troupe which coincidentally was being financed by the victim."
"You know, this reminds me of that movie." Jacobi tilted his head and paused in thought, "Clue, that's it, Clue. Everyone was a suspect."
"Yeah, well, these statements do read like a movie script. It's as if ..."
"Hey, Linds!" Cindy breezed in, her usual youthful enthusiasm oozing from every pore. "I heard about the Tinsley murder. I think I may ..."
"Cindy," Lindsay countered with her own abrupt interruption, "Claire was just asking about you. She wanted to know if you'd found that Wii you promised." Lindsay pushed to her feet. "I was just on my way to view the body, why don't we walk together?"
Jacobi watched his partner grab hold of the reporter's elbow and usher her from the room. Something was going on between those two. Shaking his head, he returned his focus to the statements.
Cindy finally caught her breath at the doors of the morgue; Lindsay had practically sprinted the distance, roughly tugging the reporter along behind. Cindy stopped abruptly at the door.
"There is no Wii. Cindy, you just can't show up at my desk, discussing information concerning my case. Reporters are a big no no." Lindsay glanced through the doors to see Claire surveying the body of Jason Tinsley. "C'mon, Claire's already started."
Cindy defiantly folded her arms over her chest and stood her ground. "A big no no? Is that some kind of unwritten code among detectives?"
Lindsay glanced around nervously. "As a matter of fact, it is. Now, would you get your ass in the morgue." Cindy's glare prompted a rare use of the p-word as Lindsay sighed and added sweetly, "please?"
"See, that wasn't so hard, now was it." Cindy pushed past the detective and walked towards Claire. Lindsay rolled her eyes and followed behind. Her mood brightened when she noted the look on Claire's face. The coroner had found something.
"Well?" Lindsay asked expectantly, scanning up and down the body, looking for whatever it was she should be looking for.
Cindy stayed behind Lindsay and glanced over at Claire. Whatever had Claire's attention certainly didn't seem to be visible to Lindsay.
Claire smiled and pointed to the bullet wound. "The bullet definitely killed him, but he'd have died in the next half hour anyway from the poison in his system."
Cindy peered around Lindsay. "Wow, someone really wanted this guy dead."
"It has to be two different people. Why would someone poison the guy and then turn around and shoot him?" Lindsay frowned; now she was looking for two suspects. One to charge with murder and the other with attempted murder, assuming Jill could get the latter charge to stick.
"Beats me, all I have is information concerning Sir Lawrence Templeton. I have no clue to the others' motives. I need to go back and do more research." Cindy determinedly nodded her head and started for the door.
"Hold it!" Lindsay waited until Cindy had turned around. "Who the hell is Sir Lawrence Templeton?"
Claire looked on with interest, not at the information Cindy clearly had, but rather at the way the two interacted with each other. Something was definitely going on between the two of them.
"Sir Lawrence Templeton is the lead actor in Tinsley Travelers. Word is that Jason Tinsley was bringing someone else in to take center stage. Sir Lawrence is definitely at the end of his acting career, so I'm sure he took exception."
"What's with the Sir?" Claire asked. "Has he been knighted or something?"
Cindy chuckled. "No, he legally changed his name when he decided to pursue acting. His given name was Larry Butts."
"You're kidding?" Lindsay made a face.
"Nope, I guess he decided that having a title might give him an edge."
"Hmm, I think perhaps I should talk to Sir Templeton again." Lindsay started for the door.
"I'll look into the other actors' backgrounds and see what I can come up with." Cindy called out. "I'll call you later."
Lindsay just nodded and headed towards the door. She needed to find Jill before she did anything else. Templeton might not be guilty of shooting Tinsley, but Lindsay was certain he was at the very least responsible for the poisoning. She pushed through the doors and left Cindy in Claire's able hands.
"So, what's this I hear about a Wii?" Cindy wondered if there wasn't some truth in Lindsay's earlier words.
Claire shook her head and sighed dejectedly. "Nate's going to be so disappointed. All he's talked about is getting a Wii for Christmas. Chances are I won't be finding one in the next week. I'll have to find him something else."
Cindy made a mental note to call an old friend.
Lindsay sat across the table from Sir Templeton while Jacobi chose to stand against the wall and watch the proceedings.
"So, Larry, I bet you were the butt of the jokes growing up?"
The older man cringed but managed to hold his head high. "I'm not referred to as Larry any longer."
"Oh, that's right, now you're an honest to goodness Sir. Has that helped you land any jobs?"
"They're not jobs, Inspector, they're roles. Now, can we get to the point, I have an audition this afternoon, and I always arrive early."
"Sure, Larry, this will just take a few minutes." Lindsay took pleasure in watching the older man get angry.
"Excuse me, Inspector Boxer," Jacobi made a show of flipping a few pages in his notebook, "but I was just cross-checking my notes and found a small problem with Sir Templeton's story. He said he never left the great room, but Jane Mathers mentioned that the two of them stepped outside for a smoke."
Lindsay nodded and turned back to the suspect. "Sounds like you forgot your lines when you made your statement. Does that happen very often?"
"I never forget my lines, Inspector, and it's Ms. Mathers who's mistaken. I never left the room. You can ask Randy Bottoms, we were rehearsing lines together while we waited for dinner to be served."
"Bottoms? That's almost as bad as Butts."
The suspect leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. "Do you have another question for me, Inspector?"
"I was just curious how a professional actor such as yourself finds so much time to devote to shooting. Why the manager of your gun club says he's never seen anyone so devoted to practice. He even lent us the gun you just recently sold to him."
"Oh, don't worry, Sir. I didn't let on that you were anyone other than Larry Butts. Your integrity as an actor is still preserved." Lindsay smiled. "And I'm certain that your talents won't be wasted in prison. I heard they have an excellent improv group on the lifer's floor."
Lindsay stood and nodded at Jacobi. "Sad, isn't it, Jacobi. If Sir had just waited another thirty minutes, Tinsley would've died from the amount of poison in his system."
Templeton's head snapped up at the surprising news. "That bitch Mathers! She told me she chickened out."
Smiling, Lindsay left Jacobi to handle the paperwork; she had another arrest to make.
Long jean-clad legs stretched to the far end of the sofa as dark hair flowed across the closest end. A second, shorter body lay on top of the other woman, resting her head on her lover's chest. Lindsay fiddled with a strand of red hair.
"So, he confessed?" Cindy was close to purring; she loved it when Lindsay played with her hair.
"Not in so many words, but we've got the murder weapon, the gun club owner will testify that he purchased the gun the morning after the shooting, and I'm sure we'll get Jane Mathers to offer testimony against him as well, once Jill offers her a deal that is."
"That's good." Cindy sighed, truly loving the attention she was getting. "Hey Linds? Why do you think the others covered for Templeton?"
"Who knows? Maybe they were disgruntled with Tinsley as well."
"Yeah, but lying to cover a murder?"
Lindsay moved her hand to Cindy's back, gently rubbing circles. Cindy arched into the motion, and Lindsay smiled. She loved how the younger woman reacted to her touch.
"It was definitely the role of a lifetime; I'm sure they couldn't pass it up."
"Still, that's going way beyond acting." Cindy slid further up Lindsay's body, resting her head just under her lover's neck.
Lindsay shifted her hands to Cindy's lower back and maneuvered her just where she wanted her. She smiled as Cindy lifted her head.
"Cindy, we need to talk about how we should exchange information at the station, but right now, I'd like to properly thank you for digging up that info on Templeton. We'd have never gotten him without you."
Cindy grinned. "So I broke the case?"
"Let's just say you contributed to the arrest and leave it at that."
"One of these days, Lindsay Boxer, you'll admit that you need me."
Lindsay placed her hand behind Cindy's head and pulled her to her lips. One day, she'd actually say the words, but at the moment, she preferred to show her lover just how much she needed her.
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