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: Thanks to bcharmer23 & mercurychkita for the beta! This fic comes with a song - it came to me when I sat in a restaurant and they played La Tortura by Shakira. The vid to this is all kinds of eye roll, but well, the song made me do this.
CHALLENGE: Written for the first International Day of Femslash.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Cindy hadn't promised too much when she'd said it would be a surprise, Lindsay mused when they entered the club and stepped into another world.
With Jill at a seminar out of town and Claire at a family gathering on Ed's side, Cindy had suggested they spend Saturday evening together instead of both hanging out alone, and Lindsay had to admit she liked the idea.
Lindsay would have been okay with the diner, but Cindy had insisted she get to choose the place. At Carmelita's, there was a big neon rainbow over the entrance, and a sign on the sidewalk announced 'Salsa Night'.
That made her turn and look at her friend. Cindy wore a red dress with a neckholder top and a wide skirt that ended just below her knees and was a little longer in the back. With her hair made up into a French roll, Cindy's look was more than appropriate for the occasion.
The moments ticked by until Lindsay realized she was staring. She cleared her throat.
"You should have told me," she complained. "I'm way underdressed here." Next to Cindy, anyway. She'd just put on black jeans and a black tank top, assuming they'd find a bar and have some drinks and conversation. Some of the other women were casually dressed as well, but mostly it looked like a dance contest. Everybody seemed to be having fun, though.
"You're perfect." Cindy smiled and then blushed as if her words had only just registered with her. "I mean, if you want to be somewhere else tonight, it's okay, I just thought--"
Her uncharacteristic uncertainty was a hint that Lindsay didn't know how to take. "It's all right, I don't mind. Why are we here, though? It seemed important to you."
"Well, yeah." They had chosen a less perfect spot to have this conversation; between the dancefloor and the buffet, they were in the way of people coming and going. Cindy looked at her feet for a moment, then she took a deep breath, making eye contact again, and she blurted out, "Okay, now you know. Yes, I come here often. Yes, I date women."
For some reason Lindsay couldn't quite fathom, she felt her own cheeks warm and was glad that with the way the light fell, Cindy couldn't see it. She didn't want her to mistake it for any kind of rejection. "Oh. Okay." This revelation was of more relavance to her than she could afford to show now, so she just shrugged. "Got it. As long as you don't expect me to dance, we'll be fine. How about a drink now?"
"Yes, sure." Cindy's expression was a study in between utter relief and faint disappointment. Well, how had she expected Lindsay to react anyway? This was San Francisco. You weren't completely straight, big deal - not. Only, somehow, the fact that it was Cindy, was one hell of a big deal. It meant possiblities Lindsay hadn't dared to think about. Okay, that was a lie. She had -- but it didn't matter.
"Hey." Cindy grinned. "Maybe after those few drinks you'll change your mind about dancing?"
"In your dreams, Thomas."
As the evening proceeded, Lindsay found that she hadn't enjoyed herself this much in a long time. The music felt like freedom, from the demands of her job and her own expectations that she hardly ever allowed herself.
Food and drinks were as amazing as Cindy had promised, a treat for the senses. Conversations with Cindy Thomas were always a pleasure. She leaned back into her chair, the alcohol not yet having lowered her inhibitions to make it onto the dancefloor. They were surely lowered enough to ask nosy questions, though.
"So - I get it that you like girls, but why this place? Have you ever danced Salsa?"
"Yeah, I did." Cindy smiled, reminiscing.
When did she begin to think of Cindy as beautiful? Lindsay found that slightly disconcerting.
"After my parents' divorce, my mom and my stepfather moved us to Chile for five years. I learned to speak Spanish pretty well - and to dance Salsa with a girl."
Lindsay coughed a little, because the way Cindy had said it implicated a little more than... dancing.
It brought up long-forgotten memories, and here in this setting, they made her daring, and maybe a little careless. "Now I know why your Spanish is flawless." She downed the rest of her drink. "I think I've had enough to drink to want to test how you dance."
Lindsay, shut up!
Cindy's eyes got really wide at that. "Really?"
"Tom and I went to a class once... after a while, our schedules didn't match up very well, and I guess he lost interest a little. I wanted to finish, and there was this girl whose boyfriend left her in the middle of it. We teamed up, learned both sides."
"How did Tom react?"
Lindsay shrugged, remembering his reaction clearly. "I guess he was just glad it wasn't a guy. That meant no danger."
"Of course." Cindy cast her an amused gaze. "So you can lead? You are so not going to get out of here without showing me."
"You know what, I think you're daring me. You sure you can keep up?"
Cindy got up very slowly, walking around the table to drop a perfect curtsy in front of Lindsay. "So, Inspector, want to dance?"
She took her friend's outstrechted hand and pulled her up, nearly forgetting to breathe when the movement brought their bodies really close together. Lindsay had only a few moments of panic that she wouldn't remember the steps and embarrass herself, but that thought vanished in a heartbeat when they had reached the dancefloor, and the music came on.
She'd been pretty good once, and practicing with Kate had been a lot of fun. But that hadn't prepared her for the experience of getting up close with Cindy.
They fit together perfectly.
She had never had that much practice with Tom, and with Kate it had all been giggles and some blushes, but this -- it was a world of different. Never before had dancing seemed a sensual seduction, a suggestion, and yes, Lindsay knew of course that was all it was.
It wasn't like Cindy was making a pass at her tonight - if she'd wanted to, it would have happened a long time ago, so, sadly, Lindsay had to accept that she simply wasn't interested. But she had this dance. Realizing all that she couldn't have... would be bittersweet, but it wasn't the first time in her life she'd been left wanting more.
The song wound down, leaving them fairly breathless in the middle of the dancefloor, realizing that some of the other couples had made room for them, watching and obviously enjoying.
Then Cindy stood on her tiptoes and kissed Lindsay, and she wasn't shy about it either. Right there in the middle of the dancefloor of a women's club, on Salsa Night. Lindsay pulled her closer, hands touching bare skin since that dress was cut really deep in the back, and Cindy didn't seem to mind. As first kisses went, this one was perfect. Made you shiver, made you want more, made you want to never stop kind of perfect, something she hadn't had in a long time, so Lindsay was very reluctant to let go.
Cindy's joyous smile was worth it, though. "Isn't this a whole lot more fun than drinks at Papa Joe's?"
Lindsay laughed, then leaned down to drop another kiss on those tempting lips, just because she could. "We should hang out more often. Maybe there are other places to go you could show me."
The fully intended double-entendre made her self-conscious all of a sudden, especially when Cindy seemed baffled. "You mean that?"
"I rarely say things I don't mean," and damn if that sounded a little defensive.
The smile was back. "That's what I hope," Cindy whispered, close again. "I can sure show you... places."
"I can't wait."
They left the bar soon after that, oblivious to the looks and smiles that followed them.
And the next time they'd gather at Papa Joe's, Jill and Claire would be in for a surprise, too, Lindsay thought, smiling to herself and holding Cindy's hand just a little tighter.
Now, I am ready.
And that was maybe the best surprise ever.
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