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.
SEQUEL: To Three Messages
Cindy stumbled through the door after a disastrous date with Jamie just as the phone rang. She threw her purse and her jacket onto the couch and approached the ringing device apprehensively, then decided against picking it up. Flopping down next to her coat, she closed her eyes in exhaustion.
"Hey. Cindy. It's uh...it's Lindsay." Cindy glared at the machine. "I just...Claire told me you had a date with whats-his-face, Jamie, tonight. I just wanted to...that wasn't a really smart idea Cindy. I mean the guy kidnapped you and then blew his own apartment up. He doesn't seem like such a great guy and, I just wanted to make sure that you're okay. So, when you get home, call me. It can be anytime, so don't worry about calling at say, 2 in the morning. Not that you should be out at 2 in the morning, because honestly, doesn't that pretty boy know that you have to work in the morning? Okay, that was...that was a little hostile. Sorry. Just, call me. Good night then." The message ended with an audible click and Cindy opened her to look at the machine again.
Lindsay wasn't going to get on her good side with one phone call. No. Way. Cindy closed her eyes again and decided she was going to go to bed when someone knocked on the door, causing the redhead to jump so high she almost fell off the couch. The knocking became insistent as Cindy approached the door.
"Hold your damn horses!" she yelled out as she slid back the chain and turned the deadbolt.
"I left my horses back in Texas," the raven haired Inspector said coyly. Cindy was hit with the realization that she was hoping the person on the other side of the door would be Lindsay Boxer, but stood her ground in the doorframe, feeling very small compared to the lanky brunette. Cindy glared to the best of her ability and was given one eyebrow raised in amusement.
"Are you going to let me in, or did you leave your manners somewhere else?" Cindy didn't move except to place one hand on her jutting hip. The brunette smirked.
"Well then, someone's in a cranky mood." Lindsay noted. "Bad date with Jamie?" At this, Cindy slammed the door shut and smiled softly at the look of pure shock that crossed Lindsay's face right before she was pushed backwards by the wooden door.
"You know that I can break down this door right? And that I will?" Lindsay said through the barrier.
"That's abusing your authority!" Cindy yelled back. "And don't you dare, otherwise..."
"Otherwise what?" Lindsay threw back.
"Goddamn it," Cindy muttered. She pulled open the door violently and stared sullenly at the Inspector who was leaning on the opposite wall, her hands in her jacket pocket and a smirk on her face. "Go away Lindsay, or I'll call the cops," the redhead threatened.
"I am the cops," Lindsay pointed out, sliding her jacket back slightly to show the weapon holstered to her hip.
"Which doesn't give you the right to loiter outside my apartment, or threaten me. Now, go home. It's..." Cindy checked the clock. "Almost midnight. So scoot." She made shooing motions with her hands, but the brunette remained where she was. A staredown ensued until Cindy looked away and focused her gaze on the fire extinguisher to the left of Lindsay.
"Okay, good for you. Now, will you please just go?" Lindsay took a step forward, pushing herself off the wall and propelling forward into the redhead's apartment.
"Hey!" Cindy marched in after her, unconsciously shutting the door. But Lindsay was already sprawled on her mini-sized couch, the remote in one hand. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"I can't just come by to hang out?" Cindy gave Lindsay a pointed look.
"No. You can't. And if you don't go home, right now, I'm going to call Claire," Cindy threatened, but the Inspector did not move.
"I don't want to go home," Lindsay whined. The redhead marched towards the couch and stood in front of the television, hands on her hips in annoyance. Without warning, Lindsay shot forward and grabbed Cindy around the waist, pulling the reporter back onto the couch with her so that Cindy was awkwardly straddling the brunette.
Now it was Cindy whining. "Lindsay, what are you doing?" The Inspector was close enough that Cindy could smell the faintest scent of alcohol on the brunette's breath. "Are you drunk?"
"No. I just wanted to hang out with you, is that a big deal?" Cindy looked at the woman under her suspiciously.
"You never want to just hang out Lindsay Boxer. So either tell me why you're really here, or get out," Cindy said as Lindsay's long fingers wound themselves around the redhead's slender wrists.
"I just wanted to see you," Lindsay whispered breathlessly. Her mouth was inches away from Cindy's, their breath mingling. Cindy closed her eyes and when she opened again, Lindsay was still so close to her.
"Lindsay..." Her sentence faded. This is what she had been dreaming of ever since that one night where the lines between friendship and something more blurred. And now, here was her chance, her make-up morning after. Instead of getting kicked out of Lindsay's bed, the brunette was stretched out on her tiny couch, and she was only a breath away from the redhead. She should take it. But the next words out of her mouth surprised even her. "Lindsay, you should go." She closed her eyes again in horror at what she had just said. Lindsay pulled back an inch or two, but the distance between them was still minute.
"Do you really want me to?" The Inspector's eyes bored into her own and Cindy found herself losing the second staring contest of the night. No, she didn't really want her too. But this wouldn't be good - for either of them.
"Lindsay." The brunette shook her head.
"That's not a yes or no," Lindsay argued, the smirk that was on her face earlier completely erased. Instead, there was a look of absolute seriousness reserved for what Claire called "special cases only." The redhead sighed inwardly and tried to move off the couch, but Lindsay still held onto her wrists, not letting go even when Cindy pulled hard.
"Fine. Yes. I want you to leave." Cindy said through clenched teeth. Lindsay stood and dumped Cindy onto the couch unceremoniously. "Hey!"
"See you tomorrow Thomas." Lindsay threw over her shoulder as she opened the door and slammed it shut behind her. Gawking, Cindy stumbled to her feet and rushed after her.
"Lindsay!" But the brunette would not turn around. "Lindsay!" Cindy looked at her feet as she raced down the stairs and realized she was barefoot. "Lindsay Boxer!"
She finally caught the brunette just as she pulled open the door from the apartment building to the street. The nosy old lady who lived on the first floor was peeking out of her door, watching the whole scene unfold. Cindy gripped Lindsay's arm and spun the Inspector until they were face to face. Cindy took a second to catch her breath, but kept her small hand wrapped around Lindsay's bicep.
"What...the hell...is your...problem?" Cindy asked in between breaths. "You just dumped me on the floor," she all but yelled before the other woman had a chance to response. "First of all, you come into my apartment and you won't leave. Then you get all touchy-feel. And then you just up and leave!"
"You told me to go." Cindy rolled her eyes.
"And if I told you to jump off the San Francisco Bridge, would you?" Lindsay stared at her, arms crossed over her chest in an "are-you-kidding-me-right-now" look. "Oh don't give me your silent treatment crap."
"Are you done now?" Lindsay asked quickly.
"With you? Yeah, I am." Without looking back, Cindy marched up her stairs. She could hear the Inspector mumbling nonsensical words behind her, and then the sound of heavy footsteps were following her up the stairs.
The redhead stormed into her apartment and didn't even bother shutting the door. "How the hell did this happen?" Cindy whispered to herself as she burrowed into her couch. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, not opening them when she felt someone - Lindsay - staring at her from the doorway.
"We should probably talk about it." Lindsay's voice gave her no way out, but Cindy kept her eyes closed, refusing to acknowledge the woman's presence.
"Oh come on already," Lindsay said exasperated. "Are you going to stop acting like you're twelve years old and deal with this like a grown up?"
Cindy's head snapped up, her eyes flashing fire. "I'm sorry, I don't listen to hypocrites."
"Are you calling me a hypocrite?" Cindy rolled her eyes at the brunette.
"You should quit the force and grab a pen and pad. You're a regular ole' Lois Lane. And people say I'm a good reporter. They obviously haven't seen you in ac..." A hand clamped down over her mouth and she glared up at Lindsay, ripping the slender fingers from her mouth. "You know what Lindsay Boxer, I don't want to know why you came here tonight. I don't want to know where you're going after and where you were before. I don't give a rat's ass about talking it over. I just want you to leave and let me just sit here, in peace, without you. I just want you to get the hell out of my life." Lindsay took a step back from the redhead, a look of confusion etched onto her facial features. Cindy's chest was heaving up and down and then she stopped breathing all together, the weight of her words crashing down on her.
"Tell me how you really feel." Lindsay muttered sarcastically, folding her arms across her chest and staring at the redhead in anger.
"Who the hell do you think you are?" Cindy asked, rising from the couch threateningly. "Just because you're a cop and have a gun and because people usually fall down at your feet doesn't mean that you own the whole world, did you know that? You're the one who freaked out and kicked me out. You're the one who ignored me for two weeks before you said anything to me directly. You're the one who only began to pay attention to me when you found out someone else was interested. So don't you dare come in here, into my apartment and tell me I'm not being grown-up about this situation." Lindsay took a few steps backwards, away from the angry reporter in front of her. "This is coming from the woman who kicked me out of her bed, and out of her house, naked! And just because I'm dating someone now doesn't mean that you get to suddenly give a shit. So. Just. Leave." Cindy punctuated each word with a poke into Lindsay's shoulder.
"Hey, I apologized for that whole fiasco already and you said that...wait, you're dating him?" Lindsay did a double take, Cindy's words finally catching up to her brain. "Like, dating, dating?"
"What is this, fifth grade? Yes, dating dating. Officially dating. Dating as in "hes-buying-me-a-valentines-day-present" dating." Cindy huffed and turned around so that Lindsay wouldn't see the disappointment on her face. She liked Jamie, but he was no...well, he wasn't Lindsay Boxer. "And besides," she added, her voice softer and sadder. "You never apologized. You just accepted that you couldn't fix it and then gave up."
"You told me that you didn't give second chances to "people like me", remember?" Lindsay shot back.
"Which doesn't mean you should automatically give up! Although, I was starting to forget why I don't date people like you Lindsay Boxer. Thank you for reminding me." Cindy turned back to face the Inspector, her eyes blazing fire.
"We weren't dating."
"It's a good thing too." Cindy sneered. "Here's the plan. When you see me in the Hall, don't wave. Don't talk to me. Don't even look at me if you can avoid it. If you honestly need to talk to me, make it fast. Don't assume that we're friends. We'll play civil in front of Jill and Claire, but you will not call me, or email me, or even write me a note. If you need something from the paper, there are other reporters available for police business. Don't show up at my apartment, and don't ambush me at work. I won't bug you if you stay the hell away from me. Think you can manage that much?"
"Sure can sugar. In fact, how about you just send someone else to cover my cases. That way, you can focus on more pressing stories, like...mold growth, or whatever it is you wrote about before I showed up," Lindsay shot back after a moment of stunned silence. Her eyes were narrowed in anger and looking at Cindy only made her narrow them more, this time in confusion.
"Just leave." Cindy's voice was dismissive and tired. Lindsay opened her mouth to say something snappy back at the reporter, but then she caught a glimpse of something in Cindy's eyes, something she couldn't put her finger on. The redhead blinked, and just like that it was gone. It reminded Lindsay of Cindy's panic look, the one in the redhead's eyes that night, after Lindsay told Cindy that she could possibly be in love with the reporter. But it wasn't the panic look, Lindsay decided. It was different. She was staring so hard, she didn't notice the look of annoyance growing on the redhead's face.
"I really want to kiss you right now," Lindsay murmered soft enough so that Cindy knew she had something, but couldn't make out the words exactly.
"You're not leaving." The bluntness of the statement made Lindsay look twice at the redhead.
"Yeah, I am," Lindsay said, not moving from her spot on the carpet. After a minute, she turned and headed towards the door. The breath that Cindy had been holding expelled from her mouth slowly.
"I wasn't...I didn't..." Lindsay's word got stuck in her throat, and tears began to form in her eyes. Cindy's face remained a mask. The brunette slowly made her way out the open doorway. Cindy waited until she couldn't hear the Inspector's footsteps anymore before she dropped her shoulder in exhaustion and sunk to the floor, wondering what she just did.
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