DISCLAIMER: Originally conceived by James Patterson, brought to TV by Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft, Women's Murder Club was cancelled way before it ever should've. This is part of the Dog Days of Summer 2009 Advent Calendar. Thanks go to my beta: mysensitiveside.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"Where is she? I want to see her!" Lindsay demanded. She was fuming; the second Jill filled her in that Cindy was on her way to the hospital for stitches, Lindsay had lost it. She grabbed the nearest throwable object - a roll of crime scene tape - and chucked it down the street for some poor rookie cop to go and collect.
"Cindy's fine," Claire said calmly, blocking her way. "She needed six stitches along her forearm. There won't be any permanent damage. The laceration was clean, and I gave her a tetanus shot. She's just waiting for one of the nurses to bring her discharge papers and she'll be back to stalking your crime scenes in no time."
"Right now, Claire. I want to see her. Right. Now." Claire grabbed Lindsay by the arm when she tried to get by her. Claire knew things were tense between the two of them. They had been for awhile. The last thing she wanted was for Lindsay to go off the deep end, and then they'd all lose Cindy.
"She's fine, Linds," Claire whispered. "You need to calm down before you head in there. I don't want to have to stitch her up more if you decide to prove whatever point you're going to try to make."
"I'm fine!" Cindy barked. "I can hear you even if you're whispering! It's just a curtain separating me from the wrath of Lindsay. I can take it I'm used to it by now! Besides, it's not like I'm in jail this time. She can easily take down this curtain "
"I'm not wrathful! And I can take down prison bars, too!" Lindsay exclaimed, balling a fist. "Out of my way!" Lindsay side-stepped Claire and almost ripped the curtain from its place hanging from the ceiling. She turned her back to Cindy as she closed it. Lindsay stood there for a second, took a deep breath and turned around to find Cindy hiding her face behind the top sheet of the hospital bed. "What are you doing?"
"I can still see you."
All traces of anger in her voice had disappeared at the absurdity of the situation before her. When Cindy refused to let go of the sheet, Lindsay stepped forward and used both hands to pull it down herself. It pooled around Cindy's waist, and the redhead's eyes darted down before meeting Lindsay's.
"Are you ever?"
It was an honest answer, and Lindsay couldn't fault Cindy for that. It wasn't that the younger woman was necessarily trouble, it's just that she found herself in trouble more than the average person. But as much as Lindsay found it frustrating to have to bail the reporter out, there was something else building between the two of them.
"Sometimes I'm genuinely sorry," Cindy started saying. Lindsay crossed her arms and waited to see if she had a point to the apology. "Sometimes I can't help but get myself into these situations, but I don't ask for you, or Claire or Jill to bail me out. I'm an adult, and I can handle myself. I could've come here today and gotten these stitches myself. At this point I could probably stitch myself, to be honest. I read a medical journal article once that said in extreme circumstances, the body knows how to take care of itself and you can walk yourself through the most complicated medical procedures. Your mind just takes over and you run on adrenaline to do-"
"-Oh, right, sorry," Cindy blushed and turned away momentarily before redirecting her focus and thoughts on Lindsay. "I just mean that I'm here to do a job, to get a story, and I'm going to do whatever it takes to get that story. If that means breaking and entering, it means breaking and entering. If it means getting a few stitches, it means getting a few stitches. If it means-"
"-Can you shut up now?" Lindsay was at the end of her rope.
"Excuse me?" Cindy was confused by the interruption. She was really trying to explain to Lindsay just why she did what she did that day. She was being sincere and just trying to get across why she did the things she did, like today. Granted, it was stupid to try to climb over that chain link fence, especially in the outfit she was wearing, but she made it over, didn't she? She was just a little worse for wear when that part of chain link sticking out decided to make her forearm its new home.
"Listen," Lindsay said, lifting Cindy's injured arm up as gently as she could. At one point, Cindy winced at the contact because Lindsay had swept over a fresh stitch with her fingertips. "Sorry," was all Lindsay said and Cindy couldn't help but smile at how she said it. "I don't want you to get hurt. I care about you. When you do the stupid things you do even to get a story and this happens," she looked towards Cindy's arm she was still cradling, "Even if it's not a big deal, it is to me. Because I care. About you."
"Aww, Lindsay Boxer's a softie," Cindy replied and instantly regretted it when pain shot up her arm and Lindsay practically tore away from her.
"It's not funny," Lindsay said quietly, not daring to look at Cindy and say it to her face.
"I know it's not," Cindy replied equally serious. "I really do. I'm not some stupid kid." She pulled the sheet off her in a rush and threw it to the floor. She hopped off the bed and wrapped her arms around Lindsay, pulling the taller frame into her body. "I care about you, too."
"Stop it," Lindsay said but didn't move. She wanted to pull away; she wanted to be anywhere but there in Cindy's arms. She relaxed a bit, but she couldn't find the strength to pull away, to run, to hide from the redhead like she always did. Instead, she found herself relishing the contact, memorizing the moments because the second she pulled away, Lindsay knew her defenses would go back up stronger than before.
So, they stood there, both knowing that when it was all over - when Claire, or Jill, or one of the nurses interrupted them - whatever had changed between the two of them would be over. It wouldn't go away, and it wouldn't be forgotten, but it would be ignored for however long the two of them could go on pretending it didn't exist. That's the funny thing about stitches. Even when they're not visible, they still itch. This itch had only just begun.
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