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.
SERIES: The first part of the 'Just a...' series.
THANKS: To Ann for the beta.
Just a Kiss
Cindy blinked in surprise as she found her lips once again free of the tantalising taste of Jill Bernhardt. The almost elusive hint of Scotch contrasted warmly with the sticky sweetness of smeared lipstick and the aching memory of hot breath against her lips. She looked at her friend, her silence atypical, as her mind struggled to process the last few seconds of her life.
"I didn't want to be accused of not kissing you when I had the chance," Jill explained, her offhand manner a smokescreen of practiced indifference. "We should probably..." She waved vaguely in the direction of the party, the thumping beat intruding upon their quiet moment and echoing the racing pulse throbbing at Jill's temple.
"You kissed me?" Cindy shook her head, disbelief warring with knowledge. "You kissed me," she repeated, the question transformed into a statement, despite the confusion that was still readily apparent.
"I know that." Jill offered no explanation or excuse. "We really should get back inside."
"You kissed me."
"What are you, twelve? So, I kissed you, there's no need to make a Federal case out of it." Jill pulled at the wisps of hair falling against her collar, the nervous gesture the only outward sign that she was in the least bit perturbed by the situation. She had kissed Cindy Thomas; a woman of disputable age, inexhaustible chatter, and a smile that, despite herself, Jill found utterly adorable. It was obviously a sign of impending mental collapse and forced hospitalisation. "People kiss all the time."
Cindy's disbelief was starting to turn into suspicion. "Is this some kind of initiation rite? Are Claire and Lindsay going to jump out of the bushes at any minute and shout 'surprise!'?"
"God, I hope not." Jill was finding it hard enough to explain her actions to herself, there was no way she could face her friends' scrutiny. "It was just a kiss."
"Just a kiss?" Cindy looked confused, her life experiences up until that point insufficient to deal with the enormity of that particular statement. "There was tongue," she mused, as if analysing the mechanics of the encounter could somehow shine light on the motivation behind it, "and groping." A smile broke out on her face. "There was definitely groping."
"I don't grope." A smile tugged at the side of Jill's mouth, and for the first time since her impulsive kiss, she began to feel a trace of her normal self-confidence returning. "A girl's gotta put her hands somewhere."
Cindy's smile widened. "I guess she does."
The two women moved closer, the impulsiveness that had infected Jill just moments before proving contagious as they slowly began to lean into one another, their smiles becoming hesitant as their lips drew closer.
"Hey, Girls, you out here?" Claire's voice cut through the air, the alcohol enhanced good cheer acting as a dose of ice-cold water against the heated passion of her friends' libidos.
Cindy sighed, her head falling to rest against Jill's shoulder as the moment was broken, and the realities of their lives once again intruded. It might have been just a kiss, but it was a kiss that would change everything.
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