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: Like nearly everyone else I had a few issues with this episode so I tried to resolve a few of them here. This is a very, very loose sequel to my other Jill/Cindy story Chicken (Tortilla) Soup for the Soul, but you don't need to have read that one to know what's going on here.
SPOILERS: Takes place during "And the Truth Will (Sometimes) Set You Free"
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
By Inspector Boxer
They were supposed to go out on a date.
A real date. Not dinner or drinks at Papa Joe's with the other girls. Just the two of them. Then they'd fought. Loud and mean until Lindsay had stepped between them, ushering the redhead from the room with her hand square in the center of Cindy's back.
That night Jill went to Lindsay's instead of her favorite restaurant with Cindy. She'd sat on her friend's front stoop, waiting in the chilly San Francisco air to unburden her soul. She'd just said all the right things to the wrong person. She'd known it and hated herself for her cowardice and pride.
Now she hated herself even more.
Jill put her forehead against the nearest wall and drew in a shaky breath. Claire was off talking to the doctors. Lindsay was giving her statement to the detectives at the end of the hall. And Cindy
Cindy was fighting for her life in the OR.
A hand eased over her shoulder and squeezed gently. Jill would have known it was Lindsay by touch alone but the Texas rasp confirmed it. She turned and leaned back against the wall, afraid if she tried to stand her trembling legs would buckle.
Lindsay eyed her worriedly. "She'll be okay."
Jill wanted to believe, desperately. "She was shot in the chest."
"All that blood."
"I know," Lindsay said again, softer this time. "But she's as stubborn as mule. Don't forget that."
Jill nodded then closed her eyes and put her head back. She finally slid to the floor. Standing took too much energy and every ounce of it she had was focused on thoughts of red hair and warm brown eyes. She prayed she'd get to see them again.
Lindsay hesitated a moment before she turned and joined Jill on the floor. They sat in silence, waiting.
Jill reached out and took Lindsay's hand.
"She'll be okay," Lindsay said again as if she were trying to convince them both.
"Why did I come to you?" Jill asked.
"Why did I come tell you all the reasons why I said those things to Cindy? Why didn't I go to her? What if what if I don't get the chance to " She cupped a hand over her mouth, trying to stifle the sobs that wanted to come.
Lindsay draped an arm over her shoulders and pulled her in close. "She knows, Jill."
Jill shook her head. "She's in there with some doctor's hands in her. Some nameless man or woman is holding Cindy's life in their hands right now. I hate this. I hate " She fiercely tunneled her hands through her hair, so wracked with emotion she wanted to start pulling it.
Lindsay watched her, wishing she knew what to say. Wishing she could go back to those courthouse steps and move just two seconds faster. Two damn seconds.
"You know there are some perfectly crappy plastic chairs in the waiting room."
Lindsay smiled a little as she glanced up at Claire. The medical examiner had come down the hall to their left and was looking at them both like they were nuts.
"Any word?" Lindsay asked hesitantly.
Claire smiled. "She's out of surgery. It went well."
Jill did sob then. Lindsay shifted and pulled the blonde into a hug holding onto her as the emotion came pouring out.
Claire knelt next to the pair and put her hand on Jill's knee. "She's gonna be fine, sweetheart. The doctor wants to talk to us."
Jill bit her lip as Claire and Lindsay each gave reasons to leave in order to let Jill be alone with the reporter. Like Lindsay would run off to be with a man she'd met a week ago. As if Ed couldn't help the boys with their homework. The excuses were lame even if the thought behind them wasn't.
Then Cindy had asked if they were still friends. That had hurt. She had thought they were more than friends, especially after the reporter had risked kissing her when she'd had the flu. Cindy had taken care of her then. Now it appeared she would get to return the favor.
When the redhead had softly pleaded with her to stay Jill knew. She would have stepped in front of that bullet if she could have. She would gladly be lying there in pain in order to spare Cindy a second of discomfort.
'Friends' wasn't a strong enough word for what they were. Jill sat on the bed and kept Cindy company while they waited on the reporter's family. Cindy didn't last long, falling asleep five minutes later. She looked so fragile. So pale.
Jill got to her feet and moved to the head of the bed, looking down on her for a quiet moment. Finally she eased forward and gently kissed her sleeping beauty. Cindy's eyelids fluttered back open.
"Did you just kiss me?"
"Nope. You must be dreaming. Or maybe it's the pain medication," Jill teased.
Cindy eyed her suspiciously. "Worst. Liar. Ever."
Jill smiled, her nose crinkling in reaction.
"We need to stop kissing each other when the other one is bedridden."
Jill eased back down on the bed. "I'll kiss you whenever and wherever you like." She glanced up when Cindy's heart monitor picked up. Her gaze turned devilish as she looked back down at the reporter.
Cindy wanted to laugh but it hurt too much. "No. You do not get to use the EKG machine to your advantage."
"Go back to sleep," Jill told her as she reached up and tucked a strand of red hair behind Cindy's ear.
"I'd rather look at you."
Jill blushed and Cindy smiled sleepily.
"I'll be here when you wake up," Jill vowed.
"You don't have to stay."
"Yes I do." Jill took Cindy's hand. "I'm not letting you out of my sight."
Cindy smiled again. "Don't feel guilty. We both said things."
"One of us was right, though, and it wasn't me." Jill looked at their linked hands. "I'm sorry."
"Me, too." They sat in silence punctuated by the blips from the EKG. "I'm sorry we didn't get that date," Cindy suddenly spoke.
Jill gave her a seductive look that had the blips speeding up again. "Don't be. I'll more than make it up to you."
Cindy swallowed. "Okay," she breathed. Her eyelids fluttered again. "Damn. I can't "
"Sshh. You don't have to. Rest now." Jill slid closer and began to stroke the reporter's cheek with the back of her fingers. She watched entranced as Cindy's eyes closed at the touch. "You're going to need your strength," she teased.
Cindy smiled once more even with her eyes closed. "Then you better lie down here with me, councilor. So will you."
After a stunned moment, Jill yielded to the suggestion and curled up next to Cindy. It was how the Thomas family found them two hours later. Cindy's parents took one look at the sleeping pair and left them to their rest. There would be time for introductions in the morning.
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