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.
FEEDBACK: To Demeter94[at]yahoo.de
SERIES: Film Noir Series
Lindsay lay on her stomach, pressing her face into the pillow with a heartfelt sigh, the last few days' exhaustion finally dissipating. That blissful state had a lot to do with the hands exploring her neck and shoulders with a sure, firm touch, fingers digging in. Moving down her back. Every nerve in her body seemed alive with the sheer pleasure of it. If it was possible to have an orgasm from a simple massage, then she was pretty close to it.
Her life was going to hell anyway, and so was her career.
At the moment, all she cared about were a few more stolen moments with the person who handled her body with such utter care.
"You are amazing." It might be a cliché, but Lindsay felt the need to show her appreciation somehow.
Cindy leaned forward to stretch out above her. "Wow," she said with a smile in her voice. "And we haven't even started for real."
The Day Before
"You've been hanging out in that bar for how long and you still didn't catch the girl?" Her colleague laughed as if he'd just been making a good joke. "You know what, Boxer, I think you just like the audience. Got lucky yet?"
Lindsay glared at him, showing him the finger for good measure, but her heartbeat was speeding up.
What had she done? What the hell had she done?
Cindy wrinkled her nose as she stepped inside the basement room, almost choking in the stifling air. "Whose idea was it again to meet here?"
"Who keeps saying 'we can't be too conspicious'?"
At the sound of Petra's voice, Cindy spun around, embracing the brunette. "You made it!" she said happily, for a moment forgetting about the surroundings, as they greeted each other with a kiss on the cheek. "I'm so glad. You look good."
Petra grinned. "And you, Red, look better than ever. After a tough job like that, makes a girl wonder."
Cindy rolled her eyes, slapping her friend's elbow lightly. "Keep wondering." Her eyes met Alex's, silently warning her not to mention her company from the other night. She and Lindsay would keep their stories straight from now on, so to speak, no reason to have Petra go all crazy protective on her.
She went to her longtime friend Claire, and the two of them embraced. Finally, Cindy turned to Mila who was sitting in a corner, battling tears. She laid a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Tell us," she said.
All bantering forgotten, silence fell before Mila started to bring them up to date on their next mission.
Police work was very much like a puzzle, no matter how complicated, once you knew where to start, the pieces started coming together. It hadn't taken her long to find out the names of the barkeeper and the girl working in the hotel. Mila Schneider. Alexandra Waterman. Mila had been a witness in the trial against a local CEO named Peter Langston who had murdered a teenaged prostitute. The fact that he'd been drunk and high on a cocktail of drugs had very much helped his case, just as the fact that he had money.
The victim had been Tatjana, Mila's half-sister. The connection wasn't so clear with Alexandra, but there were many blank spaces in her history that could mean everything from a women's shelter to a witness protection program.
It made Lindsay wonder what had made Cindy start this group in the first place, and when she way going to see her again. If she didn't screw up the surveillance of Schneider and Waterman, it was only a matter of time.
It had been ridiculously easy to get credentials for passing as a student of the university, and to get the job at the library as she'd planned. Cindy was waiting to meet Cody James, a rich kid who lived by the premise that his parents' money would buy him everything from the drugs to party on a weekend to the lawyer to get him out of trouble whenever necessary.
No money whatsoever would keep him from meeting this kind of justice, she thought grimly. Mila had brought this newest case to their attention, and what happened to the cousin of a friend at one of James' parties.
Maybe they couldn't entirely prove what this 'fine young man' was up to, but they sure could teach him a lesson.
Cindy spotted him right away, the designer sunglasses, the arrogant smile. He was studying to become a doctor. Heaven help us, she thought, plastering a smile on her face as he headed into her direction.
Cody smiled back though his eyes kept dropping to her neckline.
"How can I help you?" she asked.
It was a ten-minute-walk from the university to her apartment, so Cindy had opted to leave her battered car in the lot in the hope that would save her a few more miles on the vehicle. It was still warm outside, and she needed to clear her head.
She needed to focus.
The women would always be there for her, so there was no way she could let them down now by letting her attention slip but it was too damn hard.
Don't be silly, she told herself. One night, and you start dreaming of a porch and picket fence. Right. She seemed the type.
She thought of Claire, her friend who had felt safe in her life, with a career, a family and a good home, until that one night three men broke in and killed her husband. Claire, pregnant with their son at the time, had escaped.
So had one of the perpetrators, while the other two later claimed that they acted in self-defense and anyway, they hadn't been the ones to plan the break-in, but the mysterious third man. They'd been underage, meeting a defense attorney and a jury who thought you couldn't possibly destroy their future.
Cindy remembered an anger so overwhelming it made you want to scream. You could either end it by jumping off a bridge, or taking matters into your own hands.
She couldn't let her own needs get in the way, had to forget about the cop with the soft hands and the sad eyes.
For the greater good.
"Hey, Lady! Give me a light?"
Cindy cursed herself for taking the undercrossing. One of the lights was broken, and somebody had dumbed a garbage bag, the contents spilling over on the sidewalk.
She walked on faster, her heels clicking on the concrete sidewalk, the sound bouncing off the tunnel walls. There was a faint light from the stairs. Almost.
"Hey, I'm talking to you!" The words were slightly slurred, indicating the man's state of drunkenness.
And I don't want to talk to you, she thought grimly, her hand sliding into her purse, just in case. The footsteps came nearer and she broke into a run, hearing him stumble after her and curse. Cindy was almost home-free when her heel caught on an uneven stair, making her lose her balance. The stairs' concrete grazed the skin on her palms and shins painfully, but she realized quickly that there wasn't any more severe injury, fortunately.
However, the man had caught up with her now. He was mid-forties, a non-descript appearance. Cindy tried to memorize him anyway and then wondered what good that would do for her.
"Who do you think you are, bitch?" There was a mean gleam in his eyes.
With a shaking hand, Cindy reached for her purse she'd miraculously had managed to hold on to. "Don't come any closer!" she warned. "I have a gun."
He laughed in her face. As he leaned close enough for her to become nauseated from the smell of alcohol, she tightened her fingers around the can of pepper spray, pointed it at him and --
A cold fear chilled her from the inside when she saw his grin, a split second before he slapped her. "Stupid--"
"You shut up! And get your hands off her, now. I'm not saying it twice."
The click sounded suspiciously like releasing the safety of a real gun. The pissed off voice belonged to the woman Cindy had so futilely tried to forget all day. The instant relief flooding her made her shake so hard her teeth clicked together.
"I didn't do anything!" the man whined, protesting loudly as he was slammed against the wall and cuffed quickly. Obviously satisfied that he wouldn't cause any trouble for the moment, Lindsay came over to Cindy and helped her to her feet, holding on a bit longer.
"I'm okay." The shaky tone of her voice belied her words. "How did you--"
"I've got my sources," Lindsay said grimly. "Look, I need to call someone to pick up this piece of garbage."
Cindy's eyes widened as a new panic gripped her. "No! I can't make a statement!"
Lindsay looked over to the man who was glaring back at her. "I hate letting jerks like him walk just as much as you do. I'll just have some uniforms come over and get him into holding. You don't have to worry about a thing."
How she did it, Cindy had no idea, but Lindsay kept her promise, and later that night, she found herself in the cop's apartment, on the verge of falling asleep in her bed. She had tried to keep it together, but once in relatively safe surroundings, the events of the day and the thought of possible much worse outcomes caught up with her. Lindsay held her as she cried, wordlessly, but Cindy knew that some day soon, she'd demand answers. Then what?
Lindsay spun around from where she was standing at the kitchen counter when Cindy entered the cozy kitchen. "What are you doing up?" she chided.
Cindy shrugged. "I have to go to work."
There was a hint of suspicion in Lindsay's eyes before it was replaced by genuine concern once again. "You should call in sick today."
"I'm not sick, damn it!" Cindy snapped, causing Lindsay to hold up her hands in mock defense.
"I got you. How about coffee, then?"
"Yes, please. Sorry. Thank you." Cindy sank into the chair, sighing. She jumped when something furry brushed against her leg, looking down to see the dog, a Border Collie looking up at her hopefully, apparently expecting food or some petting, or both.
Lindsay smiled. "Cindy, meet Martha." She sat down beside Cindy, taking her hand, her gaze serious now. "I wasn't kidding. You need some rest."
Cindy squeezed her fingers back. "I need a paycheck. Thanks for everything. I'll think of a way to pay you back." She hadn't meant it to sound quite so suggestively, but her face heated nonetheless.
"You don't owe me anything," Lindsay said, but her tone was hopeful when she asked, "Will you come back tonight?"
"Yes," Cindy whispered. "I will."
"Wow," she said with a smile in her voice. "And we haven't even started for real."
Her four days vacation had vanished into thin air just as her good intentions to stay out of trouble. Cody James had invited her to a party in his apartment for the weekend. Petra would be her backup, and that would be okay, but still, Cindy's mind kept flashing back to the moments in the tunnel. She couldn't allow it.
Spending another night at Lindsay's was a welcome distraction, if it lead to wishing for impossible things, but at least she could pretend for awhile.
"Now what?" Lindsay asked as they sat in the car.
"I'll drive," Cindy declared.
"And that is why?"
"I want you to meet some friends of mine." She held out the silk scarf to Lindsay.
"Is that really necessary?" Lindsay asked, her breath catching in her throat. Not that she was any worried about where Cindy might take her.
"Do you trust me?" Cindy had asked the night before as she covered her eyes with the soft fabric, loose enough to be comfortable, but still plunging her into darkness. All her other senses had been heightened, making her drown in sensation.
Now, she just looked at Lindsay expectantly. Suppressing the shiver that came with the memory and reminding herself why they were here, Lindsay shrugged and rolled her eyes. "If you must. You enjoy this way too much, don't you?"
Cindy was silent for a moment, then she said, "I did enjoy it last night. This is only for protection. Mine and yours."
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