DISCLAIMER: Women's Murder Club and its characters are the property of James Patterson, 20th Century Fox Television and ABC. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: Season 1, Episode 1: Welcome To The Club.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Once Before
By GilliganKane


They had met once before.

It was a head on collision really, in a glance across a crowded street kind of way.

Lindsay had been younger then, about to be married to Tom - the supposed "man of her dreams." She had been walking out of a flower shop, her arms loaded with petals, stems and an address book. Her mother-in-law-to-be was breathing down her neck and luck was not on her side. Turning a corner, she ran directly into...someone. The other person made an "Umph" sound and stumbled backwards. Lindsay let herself free fall backwards and to Tom's mother's delight, didn't crush the flowers. Shaking the cobwebs out of her brain, Lindsay made an attempt to stand back up. After a first, unsuccessful try, Tom's mother grudgingly took the flowers from the brunette's arms.

"Are you okay?" The other person on the ground asked the question with such a hesitation that Lindsay actually made eye contact as she assured the college student that she was fine. Tom's mother took an exaggerated look at her clock.

"Lindsay, I have a hair appointment, so I'll need to be leaving now. Don't wreck the flowers." With a final glare in the brunette's direction, the older woman walked down the street with her nose in the air. The poor girl she had knocked over stifled a laugh.

"It's okay to laugh. Sometimes I have a hard time keeping it in," Lindsay said somewhat bitterly, now on her feet. The girl laughed loudly.

"Is she your mom?" Lindsay frowned and felt her nose crinkle in disgust.

"God, no." Lindsay grimaced. "My soon-to-be mother-in-law, actually." The brunette added as an afterthought.

"Well, my regrets. Sorry, I'm Cindy." The redhead held out her hand.

"Lindsay." Cindy nodded.

"When's the big day?" The girl's eyes roamed over the white lilies in Lindsay's arms.

"A week from today," Lindsay said with a sigh of relief.

"Are you excited? I mean, getting married, that's a big deal, right?" Cindy seemed to ask her a million questions at once.

Lindsay just nodded and hoped that all her flowers were in her hands and not spilling out onto the sidewalk. When she was sure that they were all there, she smiled sheepishly at Cindy. "Sorry to pull a hit and run, but I really have to get these home, so..." She let the sentence hang and watched the realization spread across the young woman's face.

"Of course, sorry. Have a good wedding." Lindsay said thank you and resumed her trek down the sidewalk. Cindy looked down and noticed that the tall brunette had dropped a black binder book. Looking up, the redhead searched frantically for the woman, but couldn't spot her.

"It can't hurt to look." Cindy reasoned with herself. She flipped open the first page and was immediately drawn to a picture wedged in the side flap. Taking it out gingerly, she looked over the faces of Lindsay, Jill and Claire, or so said the back of the photo. Shaking her head, Cindy looked for a "return to user page." Finding it, she read over the address and decided that it wasn't too far away to make the trip personally. Checking the time, she figured she could drop it off and still make it to class. Cindy headed in the direction the brunette had gone less than ten minutes ago.

Before long, she found herself standing in front of a house she could only describe as "cute." It had a cute little lawn, and cute steps that led up to a cute door. Holding back her gag reflex, Cindy took the steps two at a time and pressed the doorbell forcefully. Lindsay answered it.

"Um, hi." The tall woman said, confused as to why the redhead was standing on her front porch. Cindy was silent for a moment, and then suddenly remembered why she was here. By the time she managed to open her mouth, Lindsay had already walked into the house, away from the door.

"Just come in." The brunette yelled to Cindy. The redhead entered the house cautiously, noting the mass hysteria that enveloped what she assumed was the living room. Cindy followed a voice that led her into the kitchen.

"You dropped this," Cindy said, offering the date book to the outstretched hand. Lindsay gave a sigh of relief.

"Oh thank god. I was looking for this. I thought...well I couldn't remember where I left it, and it has all the addresses of everyone who's invited to the wedding in here and Tom's mother would have crucified me and..." Lindsay stopped talking when she saw Cindy smirking. "You must think I'm a complete nut."

"I've seen crazier people," Cindy said pointedly.

"Like who?" challenged the brunette. Cindy gave a laugh and sat on one of the kitchen table chairs. Lindsay felt herself wishing the redhead would laugh more.

"My roommate, she's a few cards short of a full deck, you know what I mean? One time, I walked into my dorm and she was standing on he head, feet up in the air. She stayed like that for the next four hours. And her boyfriend, Rob. Oh man, that kid is completely off his rocker." Lindsay found herself laughing for the first time in a while.

"Where do you go?" Cindy sat up a little straighter and Lindsay couldn't hold back a smile at the pride that flashed on the young girl's face.

"University of San Francisco. I'm going to be a reporter," Cindy added, predicting Lindsay's next question.

"A reporter huh? That's ambitious." Cindy crinkled her nose.

"And you're a what...a housewife?" Lindsay snorted and rolled her eyes. She leaned back against the island in her kitchen and her jacket slid back slightly, revealing her gun. Cindy followed Lindsay's gaze and her eyes widened when she saw the concealed weapon.

"So, you're not a housewife then." The brunette just smiled. "I've either walked into the house of a crazy, gun-toting, bride-to-be, or you're a..."

"A cop," Lindsay supplied. Cindy breathed deeply.

"I honestly thought I was going to get shot for a minute." The redhead looked around the kitchen and caught sight of Tom's hideous "Beer Clock" that was hanging on the wall. "Oh wow. I'm going to be late for class if I don't hurry. Uh...congrats again on the marriage thing and..."

Lindsay cut her off mid-sentence. "Do you want a beer?" Cindy looked startled for a minute. "I mean, well hell, I'm kind of lonely right now and…are you old enough to drink?"

"The fact that I'm not old enough hasn't stopped me before. But, you are a cop."

"I'm off duty," Lindsay said coyly as she opened the beer and brought the bottles to the counter. She popped the tops off and handed one to the redhead. "Cheers."

More than two beers later, Cindy was telling her a story about a stray chinchilla she had found in Mexico while on spring break her freshman year, and Lindsay couldn't stop laughing. Getting up, she tried to count the bottles on the table. There were more on her side of the table than Cindy's, but the brunette knew how to hold her liquor. The redhead looked at her cell phone and noticed how late it was getting.

"They're going to flunk me out of college," Cindy noted, laughter sneaking into her sentence. She stood suddenly and gripped the edge of the wood table for support. "I've got to get...going." Lindsay nodded soberly.

"Let me walk you to the door." Shutting the kitchen light off on her way out of the room, she maneuvered the college student through the living room. "I don't think I should let you take the bus," Lindsay said, wondering where the phonebook was, so she could call a cab. Cindy waved the idea away.

"I can take it, I'll be fine. Look, I'm good. Right as rain." Cindy rested her hand on the front door and turned back to Lindsay. "It was very nice meeting you Miss. soon-to-be-not-Boxer. Thanks for the alcohol." The redhead extended her hand to the brunette and Lindsay took it hesitantly. Cindy stumbled forward and landed in Lindsay's arms. The taller woman held the redhead up and stared down into her eyes. Before Lindsay could stop her, her head dipped down and captured the open mouth. Cindy made a small noise in the back of her throat and moved her hands to the back of Lindsay's neck, pulling the brunette further towards the redhead, eliminating any space between the two. Cindy broke the kiss first, and Lindsay continued an assault down the redhead's neck.

"What about...the groom?" Cindy asked as she titled her head back. Lindsay pushed the smaller woman up against the door and pulled back to look Cindy in the eyes.

"He's on a business trip. In Arizona." Lindsay looked for a reaction. Cindy nodded and hungrily captured the brunette's mouth in her own.

Hours later, Cindy's cell phone, haphazardly laid on Lindsay's nightstand, began to chirp. Cindy opened her eyes and carefully extracted herself from the brunette's arms.

"Hello? Yeah, I'm...I'll be...Give me an hour," Cindy barked softly into the phone. Closing the cell, she searched the room for her discarded clothing and then tried to fix her hair. Giving up, she put it in a ponytail and went down to the kitchen. Grabbing a piece of paper and a pen she wrote a note for Lindsay. Back upstairs, she placed the note under the alarm clock where she was sure the brunette would find it. Taking a last look at the bed, Cindy tried to imprint the image of Lindsay Boxer into her mind. She leaned over and pressed a soft kiss to the sleeping woman's forehead and let herself out of the house.

Six years later, Lindsay cursed God for his ironic timing. Her ex-husband was now her boss, and he was getting married. To top it all off, a crime reporter was dead.

"Lindsay, you go to the paper, see if she had any notes on her desk, I'll go over the apartment one more time," Jacobi said. Lindsay turned her car towards the paper, ignoring Tom's frantic calls to her cell phone. Riding up to the elevator, she reached the Metro section. Theresa Wu's Editor was there to greet her and told her that the paper was going to be "in full cooperation of the ongoing investigation." Lindsay thanked him through clenched teeth and waited impatiently while he searched through the reporter's desk. Finding a locked drawer, he announced that he was going to call a locksmith.

"I don't need a locksmith," Lindsay muttered under her breath. Making sure the Editor was out of sight, she flipped open her pocket knife and wiggled the drawer open.

"Are cops allowed to do that?" came a voice from her right. Turning sharply, Lindsay saw the red hair before anything else. She didn't know what to say

"You." The redhead smirked.

"You're a reporter," Lindsay added.

"You're still a cop," the reporter remarked.

"Inspector, actually," Lindsay automatically corrected.

"Wow, an Inspector huh? How's the hubby like that idea?"

"I'm divorced." The smirk didn't fade off the reporter's face.

"His loss." Before Lindsay could say anything else, she heard the Editor coming up behind her and she turned to face him. He was looking to her right.

"Cindy get back to work."

The redhead was still smirking. "Aye, Aye Captain," she whispered under her breath. Lindsay announced that she didn't need anything else; there was no evidence here as to who Theresa's murderer was. Walking back to the elevator, she glanced over her shoulder. Cindy was watching her walk away, a smile on her face.

Later, when Cindy would break into Theresa's apartment, Lindsay really wouldn't be that mad. In fact, she would wonder what took the redhead so long.

After all, they had already met before, and the note tucked into Lindsay's wallet said that they would someday meet again.

The End

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