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: Betad by Melissa. Thank you!
"How can you dare say I'm not family?"
Never before in her life had Cindy Thomas understood the expression of 'seeing red' as well as in this moment when the doctor told her that sorry, no, she couldn't see Lindsay. She knew that they had called her sister, Cat, but so far she hadn't shown up. They probably hadn't reached her yet.
"Would you please keep your voice down?" the doctor asked, this time with a hint of exasperation. "This is a hospital; all my patients need their rest, so you need to calm down or I'll have to call security--"
She opened her mouth to argue, though Cindy was really at the end of her wits; all she wanted to do was scream. She'd wanted to ever since Jacobi had called her this morning.
A hand on her shoulder made her spin around.
"I don't think that's necessary, Doctor," Tom Hogan said with enough authority to make the man shrug and back off. "Lt. Hogan. You can bring me up to date on the condition of my detective now. The lady stays."
Even while she was sitting bent over in the pew of the hospital chapel, shaking with sobs she couldn't hold back any longer, Cindy wondered about the irony of Tom being with her in this dark hour.
She had resented and envied him, but at the moment, she was just so damn grateful for his presence.
It had been supposed to be a routine interview of a man whose wife and daughter had been missing. He'd just drawn a gun and fired.
Cindy had no memory of driving to the hospital, and she supposed she should be grateful that she didn't cause an accident on the way. Lindsay had lost a lot of blood, she knew, because she had seen some of it on Jacobi's hands and shirt. She could tell he'd been scared. Being used to the man's pretty much unshakeable calm, that already told her everything she didn't want to know. It didn't look good. And if it came to the worst, they wouldn't let her say goodbye.
She cried harder.
"The laws are gonna change again at some point," Tom said quietly, laying a comforting hand on her shoulder.
She looked up at him, uncaring that her face was swollen with all the crying. "But what if it's too late for us?"
"I hope it's not." With those words, he drew her into an embrace, and Cindy went with it, because she had really nowhere else to go. Leaning against the man Lindsay had once loved was the closest she could get to her lover at the moment.
"You're not freaked out," she whispered, puzzled, an instant later.
"I still care about Lindsay. I want her to be happy, and I think she is. With you."
Cindy wanted to say something appreciative, like, I love her so much, the thought of being without her is killing me, but his words, revealing a pain of his own, served well to set her off again.
"It's not actually such a big surprise," he continued. "No other crime reporter hangs around the department as much as you do."
She chuckled, though in the midst of her crying fit, the sound came out quite weird. They hadn't really planned to hide, neither make a big announcement, but Tom's reaction was hopeful. Which was good, because she needed all the hope she could get.
"She'll make it."
"I know she will," Cindy said with more confidence than she felt. "And then we'll work on those changes."
Tom just queezed her hand gently.
Don't let me down, she said in her mind. I need you.
When a ray of sun broke through the stained glass of the chapel window, Cindy knew that this second chance wouldn't be denied to them. She wouldn't take it for granted.
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