DISCLAIMER: Women's Murder Club and its characters are the property of James Patterson, 20th Century Fox Television and ABC. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for Angie who requested WMC, Lindsay/Jill, 'moody' in my prompt request post.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
THANKS: To Ann for the beta.
Jill tapped her fingers against the dull Formica of the countertop and tried to keep from letting loose a dramatic sigh. Not that she was averse to the odd touch of dramatics, or to giving such a display in the middle of Papa Joe's, surrounded by the befuddled morning crowd, but she didn't want to give Lindsay another excuse for her petulance.
"Is she always like this in the mornings?" Cindy whispered, the girl's natural exuberance hidden beneath a thick layer of caution as she stared at the scowling figure of Lindsay Boxer, brooding and solitary, in the booth behind them.
The corner of Jill's mouth quirked in a smile as she recalled one of many mornings she'd been awoken by a bright-eyed and lustfully eager Lindsay. "Not always," she said, the urge to confide and share details with Cindy only abated at the look of horror she knew would take up permanent residence on her taciturn lover's face if she ever found out.
"She's in one of her moods," Claire explained. "Just leave her be."
Cindy couldn't imagine anyone stupid or brave enough to intrude on Lindsay at that moment; the metaphorical cloud of doom and gloom encircling her head was so strong, Cindy could have sworn she could see it misting the very air. "She seemed fine last night," as her words trailed off, Cindy turned to Jill, as the last person to have seen the troubled inspector before this morning's grumpy version had materialised.
Jill's non-answer drew twin looks of inquiry from her friends.
"What did you do?" Claire asked.
"Nothing." The single word carried with it a host of denial that instantly spotlighted Jill's guilt. "I didn't do anything."
"Okay." Cindy might not have been a lawyer, but she knew verbal misdirection when she heard it. "So what is it you didn't do, that's exposed us to the Dark Lord over there?"
Jill smoothed back a lock of already perfectly smooth hair and tried to look innocent. "Nothing."
"Uh huh." Claire gave her a look she'd perfected her third year of motherhood; the one that was guaranteed to have the offender confess all within thirty seconds or less.
"Is it a sex thing?" Cindy blurted, totally ruining Claire's mother-vision approach.
"No!" Jill's voice rose in pitch until half the diner was looking in her direction. "It is not a sex thing," she whispered.
Cindy waited, hoping for details, but instead found herself on the receiving end of twin looks of annoyance. "Sorry."
Noise from outside the diner momentarily captured an audience from within as two warring motorists let loose a horn and holler battle that was guaranteed to accomplish nothing. Jill took the moment to observe Lindsay, whose eyes had strayed to the window, her mouth tight with repressed anger. It was a look that any sane person would have abhorred, but Jill couldn't help the thrill of excitement that particular look always instilled. She wondered, not for the first time, if she hadn't provoked one of Lindsay's moods just so she'd get to witness it up close and personal. Not consciously, obviously, she didn't have a death wish, but perhaps on some subconscious and no doubt masochistic level, she couldn't help herself.
"Enough with the stalling," Claire cut in, her voice honey rich and playfully indignant. "What did you do?"
"It was an accident." There, the ground work for her defence had been laid. "And it's not as if she's not moody enough without provocation." A call for leniency. "So really, the fact that I might have, accidentally, forgotten to hang Lindsay's favourite leather jacket in the closet after I borrowed it, inadvertently allowing Martha to use it as a chew toy, is just a coincidence." She threw herself on the mercy of the court.
Claire glared. "You gave Martha her jacket?" The glare dissolved as a smile tugged at her lips. "You are so in the doghouse," she chuckled.
"What's going on?" Lindsay loomed over her friends, her scowl deep set and laser vision locked on high.
Cindy and Claire took one look at the brooding inspector and burst into laughter. Jill was more restrained, but even her guilt couldn't keep the laughter at bay once Lindsay's bottom lip started to tremble in the first approximation of a pout.
Lindsay glared, but when her stern countenance was only met with renewed laughter, she turned on her heels and executed one of her better dramatic exits, "I'll talk to ya'll when you're not in such a weird mood," she barked.
The three friends simply laughed.
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