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 Ann for the beta.
A Friendly Interrogation
Claire considered herself many things: a woman, a doctor, a friend and a lover, but above all else, she was a mother. It was ingrained into her psyche, this need she had to look after not only her children, but all the people she loved, with a maternal rod of iron that would scare even the most hard-core delinquent. That was why, five minutes after being introduced to Cindy's latest date, she found herself leaning over the poor individual and demanding to know his intentions.
"I... I don't... What?"
Jill snickered, her amusement earning a scowl from Cindy, which only increased her mirth.
"What are your intentions?" Claire repeated, her hands on her hips and a frown marring her normally pleasant features. "Well?"
"Shhh!" Jill put a hand over Cindy's mouth to stop her from interrupting. "We're just getting to the good part."
It was Lindsay's turn to chuckle as she watched Cindy squirm against Jill's hold, and her date, Simon something or other, squirm even harder under Claire's glower.
"My intentions?" He seemed baffled at the concept, which immediately lost him points with Claire, who believed Cindy deserved brains as well as brawn, or whatever the hell it was that had prompted the usually level headed redhead to accept his invitation to dinner. "I thought we'd have Italian," he mumbled.
Claire spared Cindy a glance, her raised brow instructing Jill to let the other woman speak.
"I said," she scowled at Jill, "that I like Italian."
The comment was ignored.
"I asked about your intentions, not your immediate plans." Claire wagged a finger in Simon's face. "So?"
He looked to Lindsay for help, somehow mistaking her lack of participation for sympathy.
"I'm a cop," Lindsay drawled. "If you don't treat her right, I'll shoot you."
Jill and Claire sighed in annoyance; threats of violence were, by agreement, saved until the third stage of the interrogation - Claire had a particularly graphic set of slides depicting just what she could do with a scalpel given enough incentive - and Lindsay's lack of patience was guaranteed to ruin a fun filled few hours of date-baiting.
"You're all nuts." He looked at Cindy, but she seemed far too interested in nibbling on the side of the blonde's hand to pay him much heed. "I'm outta here."
"Hey! I wasn't finished with you." Claire's voice followed him out the door, each word quickening his pace, until he was virtually running out of the room.
"Men," commiserated Jill. "Have no stamina."
"Really?" Claire shared an arched look with Lindsay. "You think you'd hold up any better?"
"Oh, please, I could eat you two for breakfast and still have enough of an appetite to treat Cindy to that Italian meal she's obviously craving."
Claire once again gave the signal for Jill to remove her hand.
"Actually," Cindy said, her tone far less aggrieved than it had been earlier, "I think I'd prefer Chinese."
Jill rolled her eyes but otherwise failed to comment. "Come on, then, give it your best shot," she told Claire. "And don't bother threatening me with bodily harm," she instructed Lindsay, "because I know you couldn't go through with it."
Lindsay looked affronted.
"So, what are your intentions?" Claire asked.
"Decidedly carnal," Jill answered, earning her a squeak from Cindy and twin looks of annoyance from her friends. "Next question."
Claire had a list of questions for this type of situation, but unfortunately, now that it was Jill's turn in the hot seat, most of them were proving redundant. "You've got a job, you're not wanted by the police, and you don't have any communicable diseases," Claire mused, quickly running over the highlights of her list. "What are your views on monogamy?" she finally asked, the question somewhat indelicate, considering events of the previous year, but very apropos to the subject under consideration.
Cindy's eyes widened, and suddenly, she was very interested in this little sham of an interrogation, even if Jill was only going along with it in jest.
"Monogamy is for little old ladies who don't expect to live past next Tuesday," Jill declared, annoyed at the question and the reminder of a particularly painful time in her life. "If you're asking if I plan to cheat on Cindy, then the answer is a resounding 'no', but that's a totally different thing."
Neither Claire nor Lindsay could see the difference, but Cindy was obviously convinced, if her smile was anything to go by.
Claire was tempted to bring out her slide-show of horror, but she knew Jill's reaction would have little to do with her intentions towards Cindy, and she really didn't want to have to shampoo the rug. "No sex before the third date," she instructed.
"Claire?" Lindsay looked confused. "I thought there was a thirty day wait period?"
"Only if I need to run full blood work," Claire confided. "And, by the way, your latest little boy-toy failed the test, so you'd better put him back in the box."
"Third date?" Cindy whined.
"But he told me he'd been celibate for the last year," Lindsay protested.
"Does lunch at Joe's count as a date?" Jill asked.
"Yes ... He lied ... No." Claire answered. "Any more questions?"
"Just one," said Jill, turning to Cindy. "Have dinner with me?"
The redhead smiled. "I thought you'd never ask."
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