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: This is a sequel/companion piece to "Be Brave".
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To mysensitiveside[at]yahoo.com
The Right Thing
Luke hated her now.
That's what Jill saw as he turned a last, pained look towards her before walking away. Another failed relationship, another ex who now hated her.
Jill didn't really know why she kept fucking things up so badly. It seemed like some awful compulsion-- when things got too good, too serious, she just had to do something to destroy it all.
The attorney had a lot of talents; she was very good at her job, she was smart, she had a great memory... She also had a talent for making people fall in love with her (or at least fall in lust with her), and then inevitably breaking their hearts.
Jill kept up a strong front, but it wasn't something she was proud of. She wasn't one to collect notches on the bedpost, though many would assume otherwise.
Luke hated her now and Jill could honestly sympathize; a lot of the time, she hated herself too.
Her vow to stay single for the rest of her life, thereby only hurting herself, was going pretty well until she started noticing the way that Cindy looked at her. She tried to ignore it, tried to tell herself she was imagining things, tried everything she could think of until the time Cindy decided to end their weekly movie night by pulling Jill in for a kiss.
It could have been just that, just one kiss. But willpower had never exactly been Jill's strong suit, so while she already hated herself for giving in to the temptation, she went ahead and did it anyway.
As she fell into an exhausted but highly satisfied sleep, she couldn't quite bring herself to regret it, either.
Except, when Jill woke up and, instead of finding someone nameless but generically attractive in her bed, it was Cindy... Sweet, innocent, sexy as hell Cindy... Well, Jill couldn't help but panic. She could practically hear Claire's voice inside her head: "You stay away from that poor girl. You'll just hurt her in the end, like all the other ones. Think you can stand the guilt, when you crush that wonderful spirit right out of her?"
Not that Claire would really say something like that to her, but Jill's conscience tended to manifest itself in Claire's voice.
One part of Jill ached to stay put, to wrap her arms around the petite redhead and never let her go.
But it was too much, the combination of that voice in her head and the usual stirrings of panic at any sign of strong feelings. So when Lindsay called from a new crime scene, Jill was only too happy to slip quietly from bed, leave a hastily written note, and tell herself that she was doing the right thing.
Cindy obviously didn't agree, but Jill did her best to avoid eye contact at all costs for the rest of the day. She had known that Cindy would probably confront her at some point, but it happened a bit too early for Jill's liking. Not enough time to forget how right it had felt to hold Cindy in her arms.
"I know what I'm getting into, Jill, and I trust you," Cindy insisted. "So stop being so scared that you're going to break me. I'm stronger than I look. The ball's in your court now. Be brave, and do something with it."
Jill watched Cindy walk away, once again feeling that ache in her chest.
Cindy didn't know what she was talking about, right? Luke had trusted Jill too, but look where that had gotten him.
Jill closed her eyes, remembering again the pure hurt and hatred that Luke had shown her that last night.
She couldn't do that again. Couldn't stand the thought of Cindy ever looking at her the same way. So instead of running to catch up with the reporter once again, Jill wiped carefully at the few tears that had strayed down her cheeks, and then turned back in the opposite direction.
Cindy would understand. She had to. Jill would be responsible for once, and no matter how much it hurt, she knew that she was doing the right thing.
So why did it feel so wrong?
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