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Her body has absorbed the shock, but her mind is still dragging behind. It isn't like Lindsay ever forgot about Kiss-Me-Not, the monster lurking in the shadows, the man who came between her and her husband and friends like a jealous lover who doesn't share. She doesn't need to be reminded of the images of graphic torture, despair and anguish still resonating in the places he'd left them behind.
The message he's sending, silencing their voices.
Sometimes, Lindsay feels like he's trying to do the same to her, to stun her into silence by an ever escalating display of violence. He doesn't know her as well as he thinks he does. She isn't about to back down.
She flashes back on the latest crime scene until the images create a grisly kaleidoscope; a beautiful young woman in a bloody bathtub, her body mutilated, her face intact save for the stitches over her mouth, in her blonde hair a crown of silver leaves. Every detail is important. It's his ritual. His script. His pleasure.
For the last time, freak, Lindsay addresses him silently.
She unlocks her car, hesitating for a moment. Turning around and staying overnight at the precinct, or going home and spending all night up in the attic, trying to make sense of the killer's imagery those were rather dire alternatives. She longs to break out of the cycle, has for a long time, but with this newest murder, there doesn't seem to be any opportunity.
A couple of drinks in a bar close to home is as much of an escape as she will get tonight. It'll have to do.
"Would you mind?"
She's tempted to snap at the woman even before she recognizes the voice, and even when she does, Lindsay doesn't feel very sociable. Then again, just a few hours ago, she was oddly grateful for the young reporter's presence down on the street, the hesitant smile Cindy gave her. Truth be told, Lindsay knows that for a moment she barely kept it together. It wasn't defeat or even fear, but the blinding anger that took hold of her at the thought of this man and what he's expressing with his murders. The anger that's eating her up from the inside. She knows it, but there is nothing really she can do about it until he is caught.
Then she'll indulge herself and move on like everybody is telling her to.
Realizing that the young woman is still waiting for an answer, Lindsay gestures to the empty chair. "Knock yourself out. I guess it's just an incredible coincidence for you to show up here?"
Cindy Thomas blushes furiously, and Lindsay gives her a mild smile. "Hoping for an exclusive, Ms. Thomas?"
"No," she denies. "I was just... Okay, yes, I wanted to see you. Make sure you're alright."
"That's sweet. I am. So?"
"It's Kiss-Me-Not, right?"
Even with that wide-eyed concerned look Cindy is giving her, even if Lindsay enjoys her laser-focused attention a lot more than she'd ever admit to herself, she doesn't forget about Cindy's profession for a moment. And while she has proven herself rescourceful, and Lindsay wants to trust her badly, she isn't quite sure yet if she can.
"No comment." It summs up her feelings quite nicely.
"I meant what I said earlier. I want to help."
"What, make me feel better?" Lindsay feels her own face heat. She didn't mean for this to sound so... suggestive. Or maybe she did.
"If you want that."
She needs a moment to realize that there's just as much suggestion in the younger woman's words. It makes her a little dizzy. There was an attraction right from the start, something that intrigues and worries her at the same time. She can't deal with this now, not with the Kiss-Me-Not case wide open. Lindsay remembers too well the last time this man came between her and a relationship she thought was safe.
Sure, she thinks. You've known her for what, a couple of days? "Depends what you have to offer," she says teasingly, aware that she's well on her way to get herself into trouble. It's just that... She can't even begin to admit to herself how much this latest crime scene has disturbed her. The thought of going down that road again when she just barely found stable ground under her feet...
"I was telling the truth when I said that I read everything on this case. You were on it for years. This must be hard on you."
You have no idea. "So what's your conclusion?"
"I could just be with you tonight," Cindy says quietly, the serenity of her statement striking her.
It wouldn't be fair to her, Lindsay reflects. She's young, just having set foot into a world of whose dangers she has absolutely no idea. So she seems to have a little crush on Lindsay which is flattering and would be so easy to exploit, right now. Temptation is kissing her passionately.
They are too different. Nothing good can come out of this.
"You should go home," Lindsay tells her.
In the morning, she watches her sleep as the first rays of the rising sun caress her lover's body, one-night-stand, maybe, but Lindsay doesn't care much for semantics at the moment. Somehow, something has changed, she feels like she can breathe again. She reaches out to touch a bare shoulder, her fingers tickling with the memory as they caress warm skin. Whispered words, kisses and pleasure shared; she hasn't felt this free in forever.
If the reason for it all simply is that she's having a crisis over the return of Kiss-Me-Not and Tom having become her newly appointed boss, Lindsay doesn't want to know.
It feels good to be alive. She leans over to kiss Cindy's cheek in a silent goodbye for now brushes her fingertips over soft strands of hair, for a moment just enjoying the sensations that come with remembering.
Then she gets up from the bed and picks up some clothes without waking the other woman. She doesn't have much time as she promised to help Jill moving today.
Lindsay doesn't leave a note, because somehow she is quite sure that Cindy will always know how to find her.
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