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Reflections On The Morning After
By Demeter


Getting out of bed, Lindsay all but stumbled into the bathroom, grimacing at her reflection in the mirror. "Hangovers don't become you," she told her tired expression, turning on the faucet to splash some cold water on her face. Better. Slightly.

She didn't feel sick though, which was a good thing. So the girls had taken care of that last night because for the life of her she didn't remember when and how she got here. Slowly, she walked back into the bedroom and stopped cold at the sight.

Cindy had slept here? That was so sweet. The smile slipped from her face though when Cindy turned, stretching languidly, and the sheet slipped from her shoulders to reveal bare skin.

Nothing like that to jump-start your memory at 6:30 on a Sunday morning.

Sleep wasn't all they had done. It was clear what her body had been trying to tell her, the tell-tale way of being relaxed and tired after a good -- Damn it, Lindsay.

Martha sat in the doorway watching her cautiously, like all animals instinctively understanding when their owner was upset. Cindy was still fast asleep, so Lindsay pushed aside the as yet mild feeling of panic to retreat to the kitchen, Martha trotting after her.

"Coffee, girl," she muttered. "Everything looks different after coffee." Except that the routine moves of filling the coffeemaker and getting dishes out of the cabinet was no distraction at all. On the contrary, they did nothing to keep her mind off the returning memories.

Cindy. Lindsay could hardly remember for how long she had wanted her in her bed and had pretended to herself and the world that it wasn't true. Because it was impossible. Lindsay could care at a safe distance, for a man who'd go back to his new wife the next day, or another who could spare two weeks of his life to spend with her. That worked.

Cindy Thomas was destroying her safe, dysfunctional patterns. She didn't even know the power she'd gotten over Lindsay and, frankly, Lindsay found it terrifying. So much that she'd basically run from the hospital when Cindy had needed her most, cooking up some lame excuse.

That guileless, wide-eyed look, beckoning and haunting her, impossible to say no to.

Letting someone close you cared that much about by, let's say, sex was dangerous. From the kidnapper Cindy had called 'cute' - and Lindsay could still easily get worked up about that - to the accidental shooting and everything in between, it had taught her enough to know that if she ever held on, she wouldn't be able to let go.

And yet, she had abandoned all caution and sensibility in a heartbeat, foolishly, for the romantic notion of being the first, to make that experience everything it should be for her.

Lindsay snorted. If that hadn't been her ego talking. The other possible interpretation was that she'd been lonely and hadn't hesitated to use a friend's affection. Well, that was a much uglier version of the story.

Martha barked softly, startling her out of those thoughts. "Yeah, I know you disapprove. I screwed up again, didn't I?"

"For what it's worth, I don't think so."

The conversation that awaited them aside, Lindsay had to smile. Cindy hadn't bothered with picking up her clothes, but simply helped herself to Lindsay's bathrobe. The sleeves went over her hands and it was too long for her, swiping the floor.

"I hope this is okay," Cindy said somewhat nervously.

"It's -- it's fine. Want some coffee?" Okay, now here came the awkward part.

"Coffee would be great."

"There you go."

She hadn't missed the smile Cindy gave her when she added just the right amount of milk and sugar. Of course she knew these things. Cindy knew her preference for coffee black as the night. Being observant came with both of their jobs.

That was all the reprieve she was going to get.

"Look, about - last night."

Thinking about it was enough to make her heart beat faster. It made talking nearly impossible.

"What about it?" Lindsay was afraid of strings attached. She was just as afraid that there would be none. She didn't know how to make up her mind.

Cindy took a long swig, before she said, "I understand."

"Understand what?" Solving relationship riddles before seven in the morning on a weekend was not her strong suit. She thought she knew what Cindy was going to say, and suddenly, it seemed unbearable to hear her say it first. "It just... happened. Neither of us was exactly sober."

"I know." Cindy nodded solemnly. For a moment, there was silence like an impenetrable wall between them. "Look, I--" Her hands came up as if to make a point that Lindsay hadn't gotten yet. "I don't want an answer from you right now. Just -- think about it. And when you're done thinking, you know where to find me." She sounded sad enough for Lindsay to have a raging guilty conscience. "Thanks for the coffee, Linds."

"Hey, wait. We could - how about breakfast?"

Cindy smiled at her sadly. "I think that would be really awkward right now. I'm sorry. I'll just get my clothes, and I'll be out of here in a few."

Martha whined. Lindsay could sympathize.

In the few minutes it took Cindy to gather her scattered clothes and actually put them on, she frantically searched for something, for the right thing, to say, but couldn't come up with anything. Worse, maybe it was the right thing to just let it go, to go back to being friends.

"I'll call you," she said, wincing at how lame it sounded. Of course she would. About a case, about hanging out at Papa Joe's, about... "Don't go."

Cindy stood in the doorway, giving her a long, searching, and somewhat regretful look. "I'll see you, Lindsay," she said and turned to leave.

The End

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