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.
Lindsay groaned and fumbled for the offending alarm clock. She hit the side of it but it didn't stop.
''Beep! Beep! Beep!"
A fist came down on top of the clock and it let out one more strangled beep before falling silent. Laying in bed, facing the ceiling, Lindsay pushed her palms against her eyes and wondered how much she really drank last night. It was "Margurita Night" with Cindy, Claire and Jill, and Lindsay had her fair share. And maybe even more than her fair share. Her cell phone blinked obnoxiously on her nightstand, and Lindsay noticed that her clothes were thrown haphazardly around the room. Dragging her bed sheet with her, she went into the bathroom and turned on the shower. Back in her room, she dialed her voicemail number and then punched in her password. She put the phone on speaker and placed it on her nightstand.
"You have three new messages." Lindsay mimicked the mechanical voice and sorted through her underwear drawer in search of some decent under garments.
"Hey Lindsay." The brunette whipped around towards the phone. Her bed sheet tightened around her and she tripped, falling heavily onto her bed, her eyes never leaving the cell phone.
"Yea, I realize this is a strange phone call. I mean, how many times do you get a voice mail message from yourself?" Lindsay listened to her own voice coming from her phone and wondered what the hell was going on. "And if things couldn't get any stranger...I'm locked inside my own bathroom. Voluntarily." Rising on shaky feet, Lindsay scrambled into the bathroom and turned off the water, coming back into her bedroom in time to hear herself sigh.
"It's 3 in the morning, just in case...well, if I - in the future tense - wanted to know. Three in the morning, and I've locked myself in my own bathroom. This is ridiculous. I'm talking to myself on the phone and sitting on my bathroom floor, crouched up into a ball. I'm such a baby." Linsday ran her hands through her hair and looked around the room, paranoid that Jill or Claire would suddenly pop out of the closet and tell her how crazy she was.
"The reason I'm calling is because I'm about to down a bottle - a very old bottle that I'm sure belongs to Tom - of Scotch. And as we both know Lindsay, we don't get along with scotch, and when I wake up later this morning, I'm not going to remember what happened tonight. And even though I told myself - us - that I didn't want to remember, I do. That's why I'm whispering into the phone, in my bathroom. So if you're not already sitting, sit down."
The land line rang and Lindsay jumped at the obtrusive sound. She stared at the phone, willing it to stop. It rang four more times until it went to the answering machine: "Hey, you've reached Lindsay. Leave a message at the beep." The melodious voice of Claire floated up the stairs into Lindsay's room.
"Lindsay. Your cell went right to voicemail. I'm just calling to check in. I know you have the day off, but I wanted to make sure that you're not lying in an achohol-induced coma somewhere. Okay, I'm home all day with the guys. Call me. Save me really." Lindsay turned her attention back to the cell phone and realized the message was still playing.
"Honestly, I'm an idiot. Really, really stupid move. But we both know how well we hold our liquor. Marguritas? Really? We down them like water. I played drunk, is that a crime? Well technically...screw technicalities. You sure as hell screwed everything else..." Message-Lindsay trailed off and the brunette felt herself leaning forward, as if it would bring the sentence back.
"Guess who was just in our bed Linsday. Just guess." Lindsay leaned even further forward. "She really is gorgeous Lindsay. Un-fucking-believably gorgoeus. Even though she seemed kind of...young, I think that's what Jill called her. She is sort of young, only what? Twenty-six, right? But she's gorgeous and she's lying in your bed right now and you...well, what do you think you did Lindsay? If you're guessing, you probably guessed right. You got her drunk and you took her to your place and...use your imagination. But that's not really what happened. Another point of this message is so that when you see Jill and Claire, you can deny everything, but you'll at least know what you're denying."
Lindsay looked down at the bed she was sitting on and jumped so high she felt like she was going to hit the ceiling. At three a.m. this morning, Cindy Thomas was in her bed. And if she was naked when she woke up this morning...well, she must have been naked this morning. The brunette raised a hand to her forehead and smacked herself lightly. "Oh. Shit." She muttered.
"I bet you hate yourself right now, huh? Well if it makes you feel any better, not that it will, she made the first move. Under the table, at the resturaunt, when you told that joke from the Tom Hanks movie, "Catch Me If You Can." The knock-knock joke? You told that one and everyone was already buzzed and it wasn't that funny, but Jill spit out her drink and you almost didn't feel the hand on your thigh, remember? Of course you don't." With a sigh, Lindsay laid back on the mattress and stared up at the cieling.
"I mean, she was just grabbing your leg because she was laughing so hard, but then she realized what she was doing and she looked up at you and you just stared at her. Then she gave you that smile - the same one she gave Jamie Galvin? The "I'm-innocent-and-cute-but-I'm-still-smoking-hot-and-I-know-you-know" smile. You were a puddle after that. Trust me Lindsay. There's something about starry-eyed redheads that we can't resist. And the entire time you guys are finishing your drinks, the evening winding down, her hand is still resting on your leg. Then Claire orders the last pitcher and now she's holding your hand. When's the last time someone held our hand? I was thinking about it too." Lindsay rolled over onto her stomach and stared at the cell phone. "Ooops. Message is about to end. I'll call ba..."
"End of message. Next message." Lindsay stood up, grabbed the phone and headed down the stairs, still wearing her bed sheet. She turned into the kitchen and started the coffee machine as the next message started to play.
"Okay, so where was I? Oh, hand holding. Her hand was smaller than yours and it was warm and you liked it. And when you filed out of the booth, she never let go of your hand, not until Jill turned back to you guys and asked who was driving. And you volunteered because you knew that if you were driving, you could drop her off last. And all the girls piled into your car and you made the rounds. Jill was first and you watched her stumble up the steps and Luke waved, which meant "hey, you can leave now because she's absolutely trashed and I want to sleep with her." Claire was next and she was a little more subtle as she let herself into her own house mumbling something about Edmund leaving the lights on. Cindy laughed out loud as you whispered to her that all the lights were off and the house was completely dark. There was no reason to be whispering Lindsay, it was just the two of you in the car."
Lindsay poured a cup of coffee and, ignoring the burning hot liquid, swallowed half the container in one gulp. "What did you do Boxer?" she muttered under her breath. The message continued.
"So you start to pull the car away from the curb, but there's a hand on your thigh...again. And the next thing you remember is her mouth on yours and the car is still moving. So you pull away for a moment and pull the car back over, right in front of Claire's house - right in front of your best friend's house - and you park. Cindy climbs into your lap and her hands are in your hair and she whispers in your ear "I think I'm drunk." The magic is gone for a minute. Your hands, which were working their way up her back under her shirt, still and you put them back on the steering wheel, trying not to look her in the eyes, so she won't see that you're suprisingly hurt by this statement. Because here's the thing Lindsay, you - we - were hurt by the fact that there might be a possiblity she was so drunk she couldn't control her actions. And I can't exlain that feeling to you, or why we had it, but it was real and when she said that...well it felt like a knife into your gut."
Lindsay glanced around her kitchen and her dark eyes fell on a purse that didn't belong to her. With a smirk on her face, she stood up and sauntered to the offending object. She opened it slowly, as if it would disinigrate in her hands. Without warning, pieces of paper that were crammed into the small purse spilled out onto the linoleum floor. A cell phone and a mascara applicator followed. Lindsay wrapped the bed sheet tighter and crouched down and tried to shove it back into the bag. As she reached for the phone, it started to ring. The polytonic sounds of "Livin' On A Prayer" broke the monotone drone of her own voicemail message. Checking the caller ID, she physically recoiled when she read the bar: "HOME calling." She resisted the urge to answer the reporter's phone, and turned back to her own.
"...wanted to be the one she went home with." Lindsay had to stop for a moment and remember what her voicemail was talking about. "Anyways, she tried to get you to make eye contact with her and...shit. I'll call back."
"End of message." Lindsay looked around impatiently as Cindy's cell phone rang agian. "Next new message."
"So. You wouldn't make eye contact because your ego was bruised. She sighed and sat back in her own seat and you pulled away from the curb. By the way, I'm pretty sure Claire saw that whole thing, but she was so drunk she might have thought that she saw an elephant. Anyways. You're at the stop light and you can see her staring out the window. Then she just gets out of the car and you're yelling for her to get back in, but she keeps walking, towards the gas station. You're pissed when you peel into the gas station parking lot, but she's not far away, just one storefront over, ambling slowly. You catch up to her and spin her to face you, but she tries to fight you off. You all but drag her into the alley between two stores and slam her up against the side of the building. She's even more pissed than you thought she was. She's yelling things about cops absuing powers..."
Cindy's cell phone rang for a third time, and Lindsay opened it quickly, then snapped it shut again, hanging up on the reporter.
"...and she keeps hitting you, but not hard enough to do any damage. Then you kiss her and she stops hitting you, and she stops yelling, because her mouth is preoccupied with your's, and her hands are too busy pulling you closer. That, Lindsay, is when you decided that it doesn't matter if she's drunk or not. She's a good kisser and for some reason, you really want to take her home, so you do. She couldn't keep her hands off you in the car, and the way she was hanging off of you, the two of you could have been arrested. Figure out the rest Lindsay. But then, you did something really stupid Boxer."
The brunette wrung her hands together, her long fingers twisting together nervously.
"You told her to leave." Lindsay felt like a pro football player had just body slammed her. Her head dropped and she rested her body against the cabinet. "Yeah, I can't believe it either. What the hell was I thinking? She was just sleeping, laying there completely oblivious to...well, to life. And you were watching her sleep and guess what you said, out loud? You said 'I think I could love you.' And guess what else Boxer? She wasn't as oblivious as you thought she was. She wasn't even sleeping! And when you said that, there was this look in her eyes. You know that look, the panic look. The look that people give you right after you tell them that you're sorry but you have some bad news. She gave you that look that says "I wish I was somewhere else right now" so you paniced. You told her to get lost. And it wasn't in a nice way. She tried to tell you it was alright. You could hear the words and see the pleading in her eyes, but you practically shoved her out the door, then tossed her clothes out after her. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure she was crying. She knocked on the door and was all but screaming your name, but you locked it and went back upstairs, where I am now."
The cell phone in her hand rang again, and it took all of Lindsay's will to not throw it against the window.
"So that's why I searched the house high and fricking low for this goddamn bottle of scotch. Because right now, I'm feeling a little lonely. And it's okay to drink by yourself. At least, it is when you screw up this bad. Way to go Lindsay." There was a click, and then the mechanical voice rang out through the kitchen.
"End of message. No more new messages." The cell ended the call and Lindsay looked down to see a picture of Claire, Jill, her and...and Cindy crammed into the small screen as the background picture.
The brunette was on the floor, wrapped in her bed linens when Cindy walked into the kitchen. The reporter stood in the door frame and glared at the Inspector, but Lindsay didn't look up at her.
"Keeping my cell phone hostage?" Cindy asked in a cold tone. Lindsay started at the sound of the redhead's voice, then looked down at her hands which held the phone. Slowly, the brunette held the cell out to Cindy. The redhead grabbed in and reached down to pick up her purse. She turned to leave the room when Lindsay finally spoke up.
"I messed everything up, didn't I?" Cindy stopped, but she stayed facing away from the woman on the floor. Lindsay rose to her feet and leaned against the counter.
"Well," Cindy finally said, the edge still in her voice, "you didn't exactly make everything easier. Do you even rememeber what..."
"I left myself a voicemail message," Lindsay cut in. "Well, I left a couple of them. Before I drank an entire bottle of scotch."
"And I did something pretty stupid." Cindy turned to face Lindsay with an angry sigh.
"You threw me out of your house." Lindsay cringed. "Without my clothes! What the hell happened to you?" When the Inspector wouldn't make eye contact with her, Cindy threw her hands up in the air. "I give up with you. One minute you're this bad-ass cop, all sexy and smooth and confident, and the next you're this weak, insecure, pathetic woman who throws people out of her house without giving them a chance to explain!" The redhead turned and stormed out of the kitchen, headed for the front door. It took Lindsay a second to realize what would happen if she let Cindy out of her house before she could explain herself.
"Would you wait a minute?" Cindy was halfway out the door and Lindsay was struggling with her impromptu toga. She reached her arm out and grabbed the younger woman's shoulder, turning the reporter around, effectively pinning her against the railing of the porch.
"We tried this once before," Cindy noted, her eyes traveling up to meet Lindsay's eyes.
"Don't you believe in second chances?" When Cindy shook her head, Lindsay tried not to look to disappointed.
"Not with people like you." Cindy looked away from the Inspector. The brunette nodded and backed away from the reporter, giving them both room to breathe.
"I won't be able to fix this, will I?" Lindsay's voice cracked as she asked the question. Cindy still wouldn't look at her. "Okay," the brunette whispered softly. Holding her sheet, Lindsay walked back into her house, shutting the door slowly behind her.
For the second time that morning, Cindy stood on the front porch of the Boxer residence with her head in her hands and her heart on the floor.
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