DISCLAIMER: Women's Murder Club and its characters are the property of James Patterson, 20th Century Fox Television and ABC. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: References to 1x09 'To Drag and To Hold'.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
My lonely days are over
By Lesley Mitchell
It's the bed she notices most. Smaller than she's become used to, but, still it feels vast. Cavenously empty. Lonely.
She lies awake in the darkness of Claire's guest bedroom, and her mind loops through all she's done wrong. There'll be no sleep tonight.
Except that when the phone call comes, causing the device to vibrate so very loudly on the dresser, she's jolted from a half dream where she and Luke were still happy.
The brightness of the display burns her sleep deprived eyes, and it takes a second longer than usual to determine who's disturbing her. Middle of the night calls are still hard, for all the practice she's gained in her time as ADA.
"Lindz?" Her voice is rough, even to her own ears, filled with unshed tears and lack of sleep.
"He sent the FBI a note, Jill."
"They think he wants me." Lindsay's voice is tinny over the cell connection, but the hollow quality to it is all hers, and the fear it holds jumpstarts Jill's synapses better than a double espresso.
"The Kiss Me Not Killer? They think he's going to target you?"
"Yes." The reply is barely a whisper.
"Stay there. I'll come over."
She answers the cell on the first ring. Breaking her nervous pacing for the first time in a half hour to snatch at the phone.
"Jill? Where the hell..."
"Lindz... er, I'm downstairs. Could you come down, please?"
"Yeah. Sure, Jill. Er... why?"
"Er... bring some money?"
"He was lurking on the porch?"
The sitting room is dimly illuminated. The blinds are drawn against the night, and only a couple of lamps are lit in concession to the darkness. In one corner, the dog lies sleeping peacefully in her basket, snoring slightly. On the couch, two women are curled up among the many cushions, sharing an old picnic blanket to keep the chill away.
"Well, not so much lurking..."
An elegant blonde eyebrow raises slightly.
"All right. Yeah. He was lurking."
"And, he flashed his badge at me, introduced himself, and showed me the article."
"Cindy's article? From the last murder? The one with that god-awful picture of you at the press conference?"
"The very one. With my mouth..."
She can't say it; to say the words would make it more real. She feels too nauseous already, and all there is between her and the breakdown is her iron will.
"Hey. Take it easy. You look like I do at a crime scene." It's a lame line, and Jill knows it, but she hopes that Lindsey will take it in the spirit it's intended.
Lindsay's responding laughter is forced and she's shivering. The chamomile tea has failed to warm her or settle her stomach. She puts the mug down now, before she ends up spilling the remains of the cooling liquid.
She's so wrapped up in her thoughts, that the gentle hand cupping her jaw is a total surprise. It's almost enough to make her lose it, and she tenses.
"If you, er... need to go..."
Lindsay swallows hard, breathes carefully, and absorbs the warmth from the soft hand holding her so carefully.
"No," she says, after a moment, still a little unsteadily "No. It's ok."
"Hey. Hey, c'mere."
Lindsey shuffles a little closer, and allows herself to be drawn into Jill's embrace.
"I'm sorry," she mutters into the blonde's shoulder. "I'm so, so sorry. I didn't know who else to call." And then the tears come.
"It's ok, Lindz. Shh. It's ok."
Jill repeats the words, over and over, softly, like a litany, while she rubs a hand over Lindsay's back, soothing out the tense muscles.
At some point, the women fall silent. The brunette is pillowed on the chest of the blonde, whose arms encircle her.
For the first time since Agent Ash showed her her picture, Lindsay feels safe, and, for her part, pinned by the comforting weight of her friend, Jill feels a little less lonely.
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