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.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Betaed by Melissa. Thank you!
Une Belle Rêverie
"Sorry I'm late but I had to..." In her own, unmistakable adorable way, Cindy didn't miss a beat in her narrative as she shrugged out of her jacket and slid into the booth next to Claire, "Watch some photos from a honeymoon trip."
Lindsay was wistfully aware of how her mere appearance seemed to be enough to put a smile on her face. She was much too aware of it lately. "Really? I had the impression your work environment was a little more... competitive."
Cindy rolled her eyes at her a little and that made Lindsay smile, too, because it was just too cute.
"It is. She's a photographer on staff. Got married this month, and they went to one of those resorts in the Pacific where you stay in those little huts, the beach and the ocean all around you..."
She took a deep breath which seemed to be the first time since she'd arrived.
"Now you're thinking of marriage?" Jill asked teasingly.
Cindy made a face. "Aside from the fact there's no suitable candidate in sight, no. It just made me think of all the places I still want to see."
"You'd get hopelessly bored in a place like this," Jill predicted.
"That's you, sweetie, not her," Claire said, and everybody laughed.
Lindsay remembered planning her own honeymoon, and how she and Tom had briefly thought about a similar place, then decided against it, wisely realizing that neither of them could have stood that much of peace and quiet.
Things had changed.
"Well, talking about exciting travels..." Jill picked up the thread again. "Linds is going to Cambodia this year, right?"
"Nothing decided yet," Lindsay murmured, startled at the mention of her name together with this place that already seemed to belong to a past idea. They didn't know. She hadn't known until it was almost too late. Maybe it was. Maybe not.
But the way Cindy's face fell at Jill's words was enough to make a foolish hope shine brightly.
There was a slightly awkward, curious moment and like always, Claire was the one to tide them over it. "You're ready to go now? Because I'm starving."
The reason why they'd met tonight was, for once, not an ongoing case, but the end thereof.
After proving that the owner of one of the most expensive restaurants in the city had not killed her ex-husband, she'd gratefully invited them for a night at the La Belle Maison.
"Is it okay if I stop at home?" Cindy asked. "I've spent all day with dusty files."
"I'll drive you," Lindsay said before anyone else could answer. "Jill and Claire could start with the appetizers."
"Now there's an idea." Claire gave her an amused, knowing smile. "Don't take too long though."
Jill coughed. Cindy's good mood seemed to be restored, and Lindsay wondered why her face felt this hot.
She'd never been to Cindy's apartment before.
Lindsay had expected her friend's home to be comfy, cramped with books, gentle colors that harmonized with one another. It made her ridiculously happy that she was right. Like Lindsay herself, Cindy owned a lot of travel books. Second hand dreams, weren't they? Every day life got in between.
But in this, she couldn't really blame anybody but herself. She could just wait, drive with her to the restaurant later, have a girl's night out with the club. Come home later for another drunk confession to Martha who'd look at her with big, sympathetic eyes that seemed to say, You fool.
The sound of the blow dryer stopped and a door was opened and closed.
Lindsay put the book she'd picked up back on the shelf, pacing the length of the room. Then she went inside. "You ready? They're going to--"
Cindy, clad in only a lilac-colored bra and briefs, had that deer-in-the-headlights look on her face, but it was Lindsay who couldn't move, couldn't look away like she should have, except--
"Not... Quite. As you can see."
"I'm sorry, I... I should wait outside." She still didn't move. And when she did, it wasn't further away but closer, because her brain seemed to have fixated on how soft those red strands looks, how she wanted to run her fingers through them and then touch warm skin, trace every curve...
Crazy. "I'll go," she said, meaning the opposite.
"Don't," Cindy whispered so she didn't, nearly stumbled on the last step headfirst into the fantasy coming true.
The first kiss was soft, gentle, but it didn't stay like that. For too long she had wondered, and wanted, and from the way Cindy pulled her down, hands insistent at the back of her neck, Lindsay could tell that she had too.
"We're going to be late."
"I so want to be late."
Another step forward, they stumbled for real, nearly missing the bed. It was how Lindsay found herself on top of Cindy, the two of them laughing silly, until she looked down into her friend-about-to-be-lover's eyes. The realization that Cindy wanted her this much was intoxicating, but at the same time, Lindsay wondered if she could live up to the fantasy, a sliver of hesitation and nervousness threading through the blissful haze.
"I want that too. I just..."
Couldn't stand it if you were disappointed with me?
"Just be with me here. It will be okay."
"More than okay, I hope," Lindsay said, finally sliding the strap of Cindy's bra from her shoulder. She kissed her again, then moved her lips to her neck. Cindy instantly turned her head to give her more access, and Lindsay could feel her shiver underneath her own body.
It made her confident that the fantasy was quite a good plan to go with for now, so she moved even lower, drawing the fabric aside and finally putting her mouth to an erect nipple.
Cindy moaned, and this definite proof for pleasure was encouraging, also slightly distracting as her own body tightened in response, making her aware of the warm, steady pulse of her own need.
Lindsay didn't really want to do anything about it now. She wanted it to last, all of it, so she lingered, trailing kisses over soft skin, enjoying the feel of Cindy's hands stroking her hair, the sound of her strained breathing.
"Nothing to worry about. You do just fine."
So there was no going back, and so she had to say this. "I don't want to go to Cambodia. Not now, not ever."
Cindy smiled up at her as if it hadn't been the most strange moment to bring this up. "I know," she said. Giving absolution or permission.
Lying beside her, Lindsay let her hand travel over her stomach, feeling muscles quiver underneath the skin. She pulled her closer and as Cindy leaned in for another kiss, let her hand slide below the waistband of her briefs.
"What the hell is that?"
The last bit of tension vanished from her body, leaving her giddy, relaxed and utterly happy as she looked up at the ceiling. It had gotten dark outside, and she only now became aware of the glow-in-the-dark stars that covered a portion of it, directly over the bed.
"Hey. I like it," Cindy said somewhat defensively. "They're real constellations; a friend of mine made it for me."
"It's beautiful. Not as much as you though."
She couldn't have been more honest about it. It worked. Cindy smiled, and Lindsay drank in the sight of her, almost a vision in the hushed shadows of dusk and then she had to touch her to make sure that she was indeed real. Again.
"It's a bit like sleeping under the stars," Cindy said, curling up against her side.
Lindsay ran a caressing hand down her back, thinking of the honeymoon pictures Cindy had talked about. Do you want to marry me? She nearly laughed at the inappropriateness of it, and yet, it felt right, being here, sleeping under the stars with Cindy in her arms who seemed indeed about to go to sleep..
How good would it be to spend some time far away from every day life, in a virtual paradise?
"I like that idea."
"But all in good time. We still have a dinner to attend."
Cindy sat up, looking at her wide-eyed. "Seriously? I'm not sure I can look Claire in the eye now."
"Neither am I, but I think that's the only time one of us will be able to afford to dine at La Belle Maison."Let's go. It will be fun. You could come home with me..." She paused, holding her breath, hopefully.
"Sure," Cindy said.
As expected, Jill and Claire had already started dinner.
"There was traffic on the way," Lindsay explained while Cindy simply studied the carpet, letting her hair fall forward to cover her blush.
"Too bad," Claire said. "And then you didn't find a spot to park. Order, girls. This is heavenly."
"Right. I can't wait." Cindy held the menu in a near white-knuckled grip.
Lindsay did her best not to stare, and she knew she was failing. She couldn't even look at her and not remember how it felt to be so close, to be inside of her. The heated whisper of her own name.
"That must have been some awful traffic," Jill said with a wink, taking a sip of her wine. "Made any travel plans on the way?"
Lindsay wondered if there was any way to get locations from Cindy's colleague. "I have," she said, taking Cindy's hand in hers on the table.
"It's been too long since I've slept under the stars."
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