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.
THANKS: To Dhamphir for the beta.
Flirting with the Possibilities
"So?" said Cindy, folding her arms and staring down at the seated women.
Lindsay and Claire managed to withstand her ire with equanimity, but Jill's countenance soon gave way to a smirk. It wasn't that Cindy's displeasure was misplaced - a miscommunication had resulted in her being scooped by someone from the Post - but her fiery protestations were just too cute for the attorney to be able to take her seriously.
"We're sorry," Lindsay placated, the apology bringing the matter to a close as far as she was concerned. "Now, why don't you sit down?"
Cindy's arms tightened around her body, but Jill's quick tug on her shirtsleeve had her falling into the booth before she could tell the good inspector just where she could stick her apology. "Hey!" She gave Jill an aggrieved look. "I wasn't finished."
The smile on Jill's face didn't falter. "Shout at us later," she said, lifting her hand to trace a red curl and tuck it gently behind Cindy's ear. "I'm starved."
Claire smothered a chuckle as she watched the colour rise in Cindy's cheeks; Jill's interactions with the young reporter had become increasingly flirtatious since the shooting, and Claire was of the opinion that it was only a matter of time before the auburn haired, little firecracker called Jill's bluff. What would happen then, Claire wasn't sure, but she knew it would be interesting.
"Does anyone want to split a salad?" Lindsay asked, breaking the moment.
Jill rolled her eyes. "What about the word 'starved' makes you think I'd want to split a salad?" Ignoring Lindsay's arched look, she perused the menu, before turning her attention to Cindy. "I'm in the mood for something sinful, how about you?"
The air left Cindy's lungs in a spluttered exhalation, "What?" Her cheeks reddened and she turned beseechingly towards Claire, only to be met with a teasing smile that let her know she was on her own. "Sinful?" she squeaked.
Jill leaned in closer, "Decadent," she whispered, "and guaranteed to make you moan in pleasure."
"What's wrong with a salad?" Lindsay asked, strangely oblivious to the teasing undercurrent and as a result being met with a sharp crack to the shin. "Hey!"
"Sorry." Claire smiled, her eyes drilling into Lindsay's. "Leg cramp."
"Moan?" Cindy gulped, oblivious to the assault taking place underneath the table, and the confused look on the normally astute inspector's face. "I don't know if..." Her Adam's apple bobbed, taking the rest of the sentence with it.
"That hurt," Lindsay moaned.
Claire stared daggers at the brunette, her foot poised, ready to strike.
"You'd love it." Jill's smile was three parts seduction mixed with one part devilment and it was doing wondrous things to Cindy's libido. "A little honest to goodness decadence would do you wonders." Her thigh pressed against Cindy's. "It would certainly make me purr like a kitten."
Lindsay looked between Jill and Cindy, a frown marring her normally attractive face, as she replayed the last five minutes in her mind. "Are you two flirting?" It was a preposterous idea, she told herself, but she couldn't think of any other explanation for the terrible dialogue.
"No!" Cindy's cheeks flamed. "What makes you think...?"
Jill sighed and contemplated her own attack on Lindsay's shin. "Yes," she interrupted, her hand landing on Cindy's thigh where it rested against her own under the table. "Now, if you don't mind, we were in the middle of something."
Before Lindsay could ask the next question on her list, Claire pushed her out of the booth and towards the counter. "We'll order something to go," she said. "You two have a nice lunch."
"But I wasn't finished," Lindsay whined as she was dragged away and out of Jill's increasingly deadly looking line of sight.
"Ha!" Snorted Cindy, her attempt at humour sounding desperate even to her own ears. "Flirting? What was she thinking?" Her smile faltered as she took in the blonde's steady regard. "We weren't flirting, were we?"
"Yes." Jill loved the teasing undercurrent of seduction that had underlain their relationship of late, but she was more than ready for things to progress to the next level. "We've been flirting for weeks."
"We have?" Cindy knew it was true; the thundering of her heart whenever Jill got too close or her words too suggestive, was evidence enough, but the increasingly vivid daydreams she'd been having recently didn't leave much room for doubt. However, knowing it and admitting it, even to herself, were two different things. "But we're friends."
"So?" Jill flirted with everyone, at least to some extent, but what they'd been doing went way beyond the norm. She and Cindy weren't just flirting, they were skirting around the edges of feelings that went a lot deeper than mere attraction. "You're crazy about me." It was said with a flippancy she didn't feel, but Jill couldn't afford to let her insecurities show.
Cindy's cheeks flamed and she squirmed uncomfortably in her seat. She had entered the diner with the sole intention of berating her friends for keeping her out of the crime loop, and the unexpected turn of events left her feeling wrong footed. "I am?" She swallowed hard, her usual fearlessness resurfacing at the look of uncertainty in Jill's eyes. "I am."
"And," said Jill, her confidence restored, "I bet you're just dying to ask me out on a date."
"You think so?"
Jill smirked. "I know so."
Cindy looked over at the counter, where Lindsay was interrogating one of the waitresses as to the freshness of the lettuce, and Claire was talking on her cell phone, no doubt checking up on an autopsy reports or one of her kid's. If things didn't work out, she risked losing all of this, not just her contacts within law enforcement, but the best friends she'd ever had. She screwed her eyes up tight and, taking a calming breath, she asked, "Dinner, tomorrow night, just the two of us?"
Jill nodded. "Just the two of us."
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