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
Lieutenant Tom Hogan looked up when Lindsay all but stormed into his office.
"I'm sorry, Inspector, but as you can see, I'm in an important meeting right now."
"I see," Lindsay said icily, casting an irritated look towards Daddy James who was oogling her openly. Like father, like son.
"I'm sorry too, but this can't wait. Where are my files on the Thomas case and why am I learning just now that there has been an arrest?"
James looked interested and just a bit smug while Tom hastily got up and steered her out of his office. "Not here," he hissed. "Lindsay, you've been on this case for how long? There's been no progress at all, something I've never seen from you. I've reassigned the case."
"You did what?"
"Linds, calm down! It's not like you haven't got enough other cases. With this newest devolopment-- I think we're close to her anyway."
A cold fear was beginning to take hold of her. "You don't even know yet if Waterman's involved."
"That's true, but we're going to find out," he said grimly. "These women have been playing us for long enough; it's time to shut their little club down."
Lindsay had a lot to say to that, but she was aware that it probably wouldn't be very smart right now. He'd known her too long though.
"I know that look." Tom sighed. "Okay, I can sympathize. But this is our job to do."
And what if we haven't been doing it right?
"Maybe there's a reason for them do do what they did. Maybe we should look at Cody James instead of pursuing college girls who broke into the library to hang up a few posters."
"Guess what, we've been looking at James for awhile now. There's something shady going on, with him, the senior and his security staff which has the look of a private army," Tom said, exasperated. "See Lindsay, this is exactly why I am taking you off the case. It's our job in homicide to pursue a murderer even if the victim was a scumbag."
Lindsay rolled her eyes at him. "You don't have to remind me."
"Good. Is that all, Inspector?"
She just turned on her heel and walked away.
Cindy felt inadequate dealing with an irate Petra, Alex who was frightened to death in a holding cell right now, and her own feelings. Everything had worked out well so far; the problems had begun when...
She shivered in her light coat, wrapping her arms around her middle. She didn't want to believe that Lindsay had told on her, but the only other explanation was that there had to be a traitor on the inside. She'd been ready to risk her life for each of the girls, and she was asking the same of them. Cindy just couldn't imagine any of them being a turncoat.
She needed to hear from Lindsay that it wasn't true. But if it was, Lindsay would have to answer to all of them. She straightened, took off her sunglasses and blinked back the tears she wanted to cry ever since she'd heard of Alex' arrest.
"I didn't tell him anything," Jacobi said calmly, meeting her gaze straight on. "Actually I'm a little offended that you think I did."
Lindsay rubbed her face wearily. "I'm sorry." I don't know what to do. "If I had just a little more time. Maybe I could convince them to stop... leave town."
He just gave her a skeptical look, and she grudgingly acknowledged that he was right. "I know. Not likely."
"You got it bad."
"Too true," she said wistfully.
"Be careful," he warned her. "There's things you hear about James... Rumor has it he's got a bunch of misogynistic gun-wielding jerks marching in his backyard just waiting for an opportunity like this. Cody's been kicked out of college. They want somebody to pay."
"What's it with this group? Tom mentioned it too."
"Just telling you to be careful, partner."
"What can you get me on them and how soon?"
Jacobi shook his head. "Ah, no way Lindsay. You're off the case. I like my job."
"So do I. So...?"
"After lunch," he said. "And you lay low for today."
"Will do," Lindsay said with a smile.
"Did you come to gloat?" Alexandra Waterman had a bruise on the side of her face, but she stared at Lindsay defiantly.
"How the hell did that happen?"
"Oh, you know. Resisting arrest, that's what you people call it, don't you?"
"Who did that?"
The anger in her voice seemed to startle the other woman. "You didn't read the report? Great, you're not only a traitor, you're also incompetent. Too bad Cindy didn't know when to--"
"Stop! You leave her out of this. I'm trying to help you, but I need you to work with me here, okay? So tell me what happened. Please."
So I can go and warn Cindy to get the hell out. Lindsay already knew though that she wouldn't just disappear, not with Alex still in here.
Cindy adjusted the wig and pushed the door to the police department open. She felt scared and exhilarated at the same time as she walked along the seemingly endless hallways, people noticing, greeting her, remaining oblivious. In a police station.
It would have almost been funny if the reason for her being here wasn't so dire.
A young officer in uniform gave her a smile. "Can I help you, Ma'am?"
Cindy smiled back at him. "I'm looking for Inspector Boxer."
"Right here," a voice said from behind her, making her jump. Lindsay didn't sound happy at all. Cindy braced herself.
Lindsay waited until the officer was out of hearing range, then she simply took Cindy by the wrist and dragged her into an office. "Are you crazy?" she hissed. "Coming here now?"
"I had to--" She stopped, realizing whose office this was.
"I agree with Lindsay," Jill said. "This is not a good time to be daring."
They couldn't reach Petra nor Mila, so the rest of them regrouped in a diner a few blocks away, trying to gather what each of them knew. Jacobi had come through with some information on James' security group. This was getting worse by the minute; one of them was Alex' Waterman's ex-husband, and his brother had been the arresting officer on the scene.
They clearly had it in them for Cindy's girls. Something was brewing, and Lindsay was quite sure they wouldn't stop at legal measures.
She flashed Cindy another glare. "What if someone had recognized you?"
Cindy shrugged. "I'm good at disguising."
"But I--" She stopped at the knowing looks of Claire and Jill. Was so afraid for you? Can't live without you? It seemed like the other women were well aware of the meaning her words were carrying. "Still. You need to get away for a while. I'll try to help Alex best I can. It's too dangerous to stay."
Jill shook her head. "We do have emergency plans. For now, we need to think of Alex first, how we can get her out of there."
"And risk all of you?"
She was directing the question at all of them, but she was looking at Cindy.
"If that is necessary, yes," Cindy said. "We protect our own."
"This is crazy. The cops are looking for you, so are James and his people. Somebody will get hurt."
"We still don't know how they got to Alex."
"Oh, come on, you know it wasn't me! I was taken off the case, remember? You still don't trust me?"
Under the table, Cindy took her hand, squeezing it gently. It wasn't enough of a reassurance before they parted again.
Back at the station, Lindsay found her workplace in a chaos. Alexandra Waterman had shot her way out; miraculously no one got killed. Waterman was injured though.
This was it, she decided. Time to get Cindy and get the hell out of town.
She couldn't reach her on the cell phone, but she knew the hideout. Now, Lindsay only had to get there before either the cops or James' private army would.
She remembered the first time she had walked down those stairs, Cindy holding her by the arm, watching over her every step. I'm not going to let you fall either.
Lindsay shivered in the cool air down in the basement. It wasn't the atmosphere that made her freeze though but instinct alerting her to the presence of another person.
Before she could turn around though, there was the unmistakable feeling of the gun pressed to her back. "Don't do anything stupid," Petra snapped. "I know how to use this."
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