DISCLAIMER: Women's Murder Club and its characters are the property of James Patterson, 20th Century Fox Television and ABC. No infringement intended.
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By Demeter


Chicago suited Cindy. She'd needed structure, diversion, a reason to get up in the morning, and she'd found all of that here. Only this many miles away she'd been able to start over and stay detached from the dream never lived.

And she was lucky, Cindy reflected, having found a good job, a nice apartment, slowly starting to make friends. Who could ask for more?

She regarded the woman sitting across from her, wondering where she stood on the scale from happiness to denial.

If you took away all the drama surrounding her husband's betrayal, Alicia Florrick, for herself, seemed like a very much put-together woman. Passionate in her job, she was someone who rose to the challenge, unlike Cindy who had fled from it.

Cindy liked her. Alicia had a quiet but confident way about her that reminded her of Claire, and a sure hand for style which made her realize she hadn't talked to Jill in too long. Each time saw Alicia, she was getting more homesick. Maybe it was a good thing that this case was coming to a close.

"So you sure that he didn't do it? You got proof?"

The owner of several drugstores in the city stood accused to have killed his wife. The evidence seemed damning, but it seemed like a business partner of Alicia's client had wanted the woman dead.

"Strictly off the record for now," Alicia warned her. Cindy shrugged and rolled her eyes a little. They'd done that dance before. Some things stayed the same, wherever you tried to make a living as a crime reporter.

"Of course."

As if on cue, a knock on the door preceded inhouse investigator Kalinda Sharma into the room. She and Alicia shared a smile that hadn't gone unnoticed by Cindy, revealing subtle, fragile truths. Cindy felt jealous all of a sudden. Since she'd been working on this story, she'd started to befriend the two of them, and made some interesting observations. This isn't San Francisco, she'd told herself. Get over it. And yet, there was something right there.

"I talked to Clement," Kalinda said. "He threw me out, but his housekeeper had an interesting story to share."

Alicia raised an admonishing eyebrow. "You went there alone?"

There's no way that you're gonna go running around in random groups of men alone, sprang to Cindy's mind unbidden. I am not done yelling.

"I usually do." Kalinda seemed unfazed by Alicia's disapproval. "So it seems like Mrs. Jaden did have an affair, but not with Clement – but his wife. According to the housekeeper, Clement caught them together, one day before the murder."

"Okay. That would give our client a motive as well, but I'm sure he didn't know," Alicia mused. "Where is Mrs. Clement now?"

Kalinda looked worried at that. "She's missing. The police are looking for her."

Alicia looked like she wanted to swear but thought better of it at the very last moment.

Cindy observed their silent communication and once again mentally reviewed her observations of the past few weeks. Alicia seemed mostly oblivious, somehow intrigued. Kalinda was likely longing for something she could never have, but they seemed comfortable with these dynamics and their division of roles. And, at least, they were in it together.

"I need to go," she said, getting up hastily, unable to concentrate on the case anymore. "You keep me posted, right? I'll do the same if I hear anything."

"Thanks," Alicia said. "I'll call you."

Kalinda gave her an attentive, slightly concerned look.

Cindy shrugged and forced a smile. "I've got a deadline. I'll see you." It took an effort not to run all the way to the elevator.

It was raining when she was finally out on the street, but Cindy didn't care. Even the Chicago weather fit her mood perfectly at the moment. The rain mingled with the tears on her face as she for the first time allowed the thought of how much she really wanted to go home.

The End

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