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: I wanted to call this one “Our Love is Like a FEMA Trailer,” but got talked out of it at the last minute. Forget the premise; it’s a sex story. While not exactly PWP, it’s within spitting distance (not that you should spit at me or my dirty, silly story, because spitting is rude… unless you’re a camel… but everyone knows camels only read het and m/m).
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Train in Vain
By Liz Estrada


San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Jill Bernhardt felt her Wednesday night slipping away. Not that she had some big social engagement – this evening was earmarked for trial prep - but she certainly didn't want to hang out in her office all night watching two of the city's finest police inspectors play gunfight with flashlights and markers while bickering over low-light combat firearms stances.

In one corner, wearing a tailored gray suit and Bruno Magli loafers, representing the Ayoob position, Warren Jacobi: "You're holding it wrong. Align your thumbs and it angles the flashlight into the suspect's eyes while the gun trains on their chest."

And across the ring, rocking tight faded jeans and booted up in Old Gringos, fighting for the Harries technique, Lindsay Boxer: "But you've got no stability that way! Put the flashlight hand under the shooting hand and smack the backs together for support. The isometric advantage - "

"The jury won't understand what you're talking about," Jill loudly interrupted. "Hell, I don't even know what you're talking about. Just explain – with minimal use of jargon – how you managed to spot David Ruiz, identify him as armed, and shoot his legs out from under him as he ran through a pitch-black warehouse."

Lindsay lowered her green Sharpie gun and smiled at her friend. "Because I'm just that awesome."

Jill stifled a grin; she refused to be charmed so easily. She scrunched her brows and looked to Jacobi. "Let's lie and say you shot Ruiz instead."

"Would that we could," the older inspector lamented. "It's too late now."

"Hey! I got it. We give the jurors flashlights and cap guns, then darken the courtroom," Lindsay began. "I'll jump down from the witness stand and run - "

"No!" Jill shook her head violently. "No. Not gonna happen."

"Come on! Juries love that stuff. I bet they'd eat it up."

"They probably would, but then Hanson North would eat you up on cross."

"Eww." Lindsay flinched at the thought.

"I can't have my star witness chewed to bits," Jill finished.

"Like the ham and cheese hero you are," Jacobi wryly added. When Lindsay neglected to counterpunch, he checked his watch and skimmed through his little black book of possibilities. At barely ten p.m., the night was still young enough to salvage. "You need me for anything else, or are we squared away?"

Jill leaned over her desk and leafed through a legal pad. "Mmm-hmm. You're good to go. Judge Oliver, nine sharp?"

"See you then." He winked at Jill and tossed his Sharpie to Lindsay. "You need to straighten up and fly right, Boxer."

In response, she clapped her hands together, Harries-style, and shot him down with twin marker barrels. "My kung fu is superior."

Jacobi halfway smiled. The crinkled skin around Lindsay's dark eyes showed faint, sooty stains of healing exhaustion, and her cheeks were newly bright, suffused with light from a goofily cheerful mood. This coltish side of his partner – scarcely seen since her divorce finalized last month - was such a welcome presence, he didn't have the heart to dispute her outrageous claim of victory.

"Goodnight, grasshopper," he said, with an arch bow. Jacobi stepped out and softly closed the office door.

Immediately, Jill turned and eyed Lindsay with vigorous skepticism. "Cap guns?"

"What?" Lindsay spun the Sharpies and plunged them into her front pockets. "It'd be cool."

Impressed by the nifty holstering action and matching impish grin, the prosecutor almost wavered. She caught the impulse and chortled it away. "You don't fight fair, Tex. You're gonna get me in trouble."

"Hey, you've said yourself, this case is watertight. It's only going to trial 'cause Ruiz is too dumb to take a plea," Lindsay reminded her. "You can afford some courtroom flair."

"No flares," Jill snapped, deliberately mis-hearing. "No cap guns, either. And don't talk specifics on stance or technique, just demonstrate how you managed to keep a steady light on Ruiz while you fired. Can you do that?"

"I suppose." Lindsay sighed noisily and frowned like a thwarted delinquent. "Dullsville. Population: you."

Unperturbed, Jill slanted back against her desk, crossed her ankles. "I think I'd enjoy having my own town." She looked down and bobbed her head a little, sending a delicate cascade of platinum hair across her eyes. "I needs ma space."

"You needs a haircut." Lindsay took a step forward and tucked the errant locks behind Jill's ear. Her fingertips briefly strayed down the attorney's pale throat, then shyly curled and fell away.

The small gesture, innocent last month, didn't feel innocent tonight. Jill flushed carnation pink. She quelled an urge to reach for Lindsay's hand, to pull it to her cheek. She'd learned how easily their words got lost among touches. "Are you ready to talk about this?"

The inspector breathed out a nervous laugh and feigned confusion. "Have we met? My name's Lindsay, and I am never ready to talk about things."

"Tough. It's past time," Jill insisted, patting her desktop. "Come here. A few words won't kill you."

"Fine, but I don't see many talking points here." Lindsay leaned beside her best friend, bumping their hips and shoulders together. "It's not gonna turn into a thing, right? I vote we just take it easy, let it be whatever it is."

"Hmm. Do I get a vote?"

"Well, yeah. Of course you do. I assumed we'd vote a straight party ticket."

Jill smirked. "Straight party ticket."

"Not what I meant, Freud," Lindsay groaned.

"I know, dingus." Jill hip-checked her for being obtuse. "Don't you want to set some ground rules?"

"For what? Rules are for when things get complicated. What we're doing is pretty simple."

"Simple the first time, yeah. You were in a bad way." The words drowning, heartsick and smashed kindly remained unspoken. "But, Linz, it's been almost a month and we're still… "

Lindsay, fearful of sounding defensive or needy, made an arid plain of her voice. "You saying you want to stop?"

"Hell, no," said Jill, without hesitation. "I didn't expect it to go on, but I'm here as long as you need. Or want. Whatever the case is."

"Well. Okay, then." Lindsay blinked slowly, quirked out a timid, relieved smile. "But you gotta let me know if that changes. I don't want to impose or anything."

"Oh, honey, you're not imposing." That awkward insecurity got to Jill every time, reminding her that she and Lindsay had both learned to fear rejection and abandonment through repeated exposure, a sad song learned by rote. She tilted sideways and whispered confidentially, "In case no one's told you this before - making love with you is hardly a chore."

Riding out a bone-deep blush, Lindsay cleared her throat and essayed a seemingly random subject change. "About earlier - Jacobi's wrong. Just FYI."

"Again with the shooting stances." Jill's head tiredly tipped sideways. "Linz, honestly, I couldn't tell a difference."

The inspector's eyes shrank to incredulous pinpoints of disgust. "The differences are vast. Please, allow me to remedy your ignorance?"

After the requisite heavy sigh, Jill waved her onward. "Have at me."

Lindsay closed the blinds and shut off the lights, plunging Jill's office into near perfect black. The attorney stood bolt upright, being no fan of the dark. She heard the clomp of boots on hardwood, a quick squeak of an object retrieved from a leather chair, then Lindsay slipped in directly behind her and settled onto the desk. She eased an arm around Jill's waist and gave her first instruction. "Hold your arms straight out in front."

The warmly rasped words coiled around Jill's ear and made her shiver. Her head dropped low and hair again fell across one eye. As she extended her arms, she pictured herself as a Veronica Lake knock-off, shuffling through a c-grade zombie flick, and giggled. The cinching arm tightened around her midriff, and long fingers twisted the blue silk blouse halfway out of her skirt. She was pulled back snug against Lindsay's chest, her rear tucked into the hollow between rigid thighs. Jill smiled herself silent, thinking that if all of Inspector Boxer's firearm primers required such close contact, she would evince wild ignorance of the subject at every opportunity. A click sounded, and a bright beam of light flared to her left.

Lindsay aimed her Surefire flashlight at the floor, then let the beam flow lazily toward their shoes. Jill gazed down at her Ferragamos, finely-tooled and full of torment, and asked herself if the sexy delineation of calf was worth the pain. At that moment, the answer was no. She kicked them off and stood on the cool bare floor in her stockings.

"You have Cinderella feet," Lindsay pronounced. Jill giggled again, and the inspector squeezed her with arm and legs, rocked against her until she quieted. "Seriously. High arch, pretty toes…" She kissed Jill's neck, ran her nose from collar to nape and back again. "Not much about you that isn't beautiful."

Almost instantly, Jill's stomach tensed and her eyes fluttered shut. On the short list of things she wanted to tell Lindsay and probably never would, this was number one: If you want this to stay casual, then don't seduce me. Don't push me out there alone.

"Don't push me," she mouthed silently. Twice, three times… then mercy, as if Lindsay felt the fear in her body.

"I say this having never seen your liver," Lindsay amended. "Though I imagine it's a Birkin bag with a big sponge in it."

She laughed harder that time, from relief, and Lindsay held on loosely until the tension passed. Soon after, the anodized barrel of the flashlight pressed against her ribs, rolled along her arm and into her left hand; a marker was pressed into the right. Lindsay molded Jill's fingers around the Surefire/Sharpie combo, tucking her thumbs parallel so the marker pointed straight and the light shone at a slightly higher angle.

"Ayoob. Jacobi's choice." Lindsay stroked her fingers along Jill's arms, gripped her wrists, and urged her torso into an easy side-to-side swing, the light cleaving the room in two. "Flawed, in my opinion. I want the light to match my eyeline and my firing line."

Watching the green cap and black torch arc in broken darkness, swaying in this odd, martial dance with Lindsay's breath at her throat, Jill felt mildly mesmerized. "Oh," she whispered.

"Mmm-hmm." Lindsay reversed Jill's grip on the flashlight, tucked her left wrist under the right, and then pressed the backs of her two hands together. Long, warm fingers cuffed her forearms. With every breath, soft breasts and hard belly pressed against Jill's back. The swaying resumed, and Lindsay's voice vibed over her thrumming, busy carotid. "Harries – my way. Makes one level, stable unit, like a turret. And you can swivel the beam, too."

By that point, her anxieties were forgotten, and Jill again found herself at the Twilight Zone crossroads where antithetical concepts merged, the new, unplotted X on the map of her life where she could trust someone implicitly and have a maddening desire to fuck them all night. She rotated her left wrist a bit, a lazy effort to play along with the flashlight game, and Lindsay's tongue darted into her ear. She gasped and jammed her chin against her chest.

"This is serious stuff, counselor," Lindsay playfully growled. "We train to do these techniques right, every time, or they're useless. We lose discipline and fall into bad habits, it's me laying on that warehouse floor instead of Ruiz."

"Don't." Jill shook her head, sloughing off the poisonous image before it took root. "Just keep going."

Lindsay bit her lip and silently obliged. She dismantled the Harries pose and raised Jill's left hand over their heads, leaving the Sharpie gun floating out there all alone in a wider, dimmer pool of light. "Now this is how some of those FBI stiffs do it. Light's way up here and the danger's down below – like one of those deep sea anglerfish."

"Finding Nemo," Jill gamely murmured, though she was near the end of her endurance.

"Yeah. Sneaky. It lets them see more, but their guns are flapping in the breeze." Lindsay's hot right hand crept under the loose edge of Jill's blouse and spread across her belly, branding friction ridges of palm and fingers onto lily-pale skin. "Accuracy drops off, especially in motion."

"Too bad for them." Jill had heard enough; she threw the green marker backward to clatter across the desktop. She reached behind her back, slipped fingers past the waistband of Lindsay's jeans and pushed for the danger down below. "I like your way best."

Lindsay bucked a little at first touch – always did, surprise or no – but she settled down fast. Her forehead dropped against Jill's shirt collar as she bellowed searing air between the attorney's shoulder blades. "Ahh… thanks. Trial prep over?"

Two knuckles deep and palm pressing slow, Jill made an executive decision. "Uh-huh. I believe you're ready." She dropped the flashlight into a guest chair; the sidelong beam brushed the front edge of her desk. She gently freed her hand and turned to face her gung-ho instructor. "Got any more low-light techniques?" She formed a pistol with her fingers and brushed her tongue over the damp tips.

Dilated by darkness and arousal, Lindsay's eyes burned black. Her hand climbed Jill's back, carefully fisted in her hair. She pressed a hard, dry kiss against her cheek and whispered, "Come home with me."

The 'yes' bloomed in her body and nearly escaped her mouth before Jill forced it back down, painfully, like bitter medicine. Thus far, she had managed to avoid sleeping over and she didn't want to tempt fate. Jill knew that one of these nights, Lindsay might hold her a little too tight for a little too long, and she wouldn't have the strength to leave. It could become a thing, with complications and rules, expectations and angst, a cutting thing born of softer intentions. Jill knew that pushing forward didn't always mean progress; in her office, moving by flashlight, she had just enough technique and discipline to keep them turning in a small, safe circle.

"No," she said, and unzipped her skirt. The fabric rustled down her legs and curled over their feet. "We better keep it simple."

For a second, Lindsay looked at her curiously, her mouth swelling up with turnabout questions Jill wouldn't want to answer. The shoeless lawyer rose up on tiptoes and kissed those pursing lips just in time, quashing inquiry with a bully's tongue. It didn't take long for Lindsay to bend her way; though a strong kiss couldn't literally make the inspector weak in the knees, it certainly made her more pliable… and less verbal.

While Lindsay's hands remained slow and deliberate when opening buttons on a delicate silk blouse, peeling down stockings and panties, unhooking a brassiere, they gradually picked up speed and heat in friction-rich ventures over shoulder and breast, down flank and thigh. By the time she laid Jill open and pushed inside, those three long fingers knit thickly together burned so good, the attorney nearly howled. Lindsay twisted her hand, flared her knuckles and curled her fingertips, combining articulations no blind cylinder could ever replicate with the singular experience of suction on clit.

As if propelled by a latent desire to escape, Jill thrashed backward across her desktop, crashing plotter and phone to the floor, startling the Ruiz file into a scattered covey of white papers. Lindsay stayed close on her, pistoning hand and pulling mouth never losing contact, pursuing Jill's pleasure as doggedly as she would any fugitive. With her feet slipping on the polished wood desk and her head hanging off the far edge, Jill knew she couldn't safely retreat much further, and yet she had the mildly suicidal urge to keep going, to let herself fall, just to know what it was like. After all, the pain couldn't be that bad.

The inspector had other ideas; she strapped Jill's calf over a shoulder and took hold of her thigh, effectively neutralizing any flight risk. She breathed a little "got ya now" snicker into downy curls, gathered leaves of flesh with a raking tongue, and drew the whole beautiful mass into her wide, warm, greedy mouth.

Pressed fully into that last wicked pull, Jill bit back a scream as she clenched and rose – every muscle taut, spine curved into a punishing arc - gushed hard and descended trembling, dissolving at last to an incoherent melt. After a few transitional moments, mouth and fingers cleanly withdrew, leaving her skin to throb and cool and recover. She opened her eyes; in the flashlight dusk, Lindsay appeared as a spectre, a dark-haired, languid ghost skirting the borders of Jill's visible world. She heard the faint scrape of fabric leaving skin, the hard leather thunk of empty boots, and smiled as that bronze stiletto body edged into view.

Lindsay offered her hands and Jill took them, pulling herself up and onto her feet. She let herself be kissed, lightly at first, her own salt still strong on Lindsay's lips, then deeper as they pressed together, breast under breast. Her hands wandered every smooth street of muscle, every sharply boned byway she could reach, not resting until she drew a groan from the dark woman by kneading the wet, satiny crease where buttocks met thigh. Jill walked them backward to her desk chair, sat Lindsay on the edge and rolled the chair into the bracing corner - if she wasn't allowed a getaway path, neither was Lindsay.

Just like the first time - that bruising, steaming grapple across the living room floor - Jill went down without fear, without thinking of anything beyond a few sweet, blackout minutes where nobody was lonely or angry, no one's love was thrown away, and the lines separating lovers and friends could be crossed without consequence. Maybe this was nothing but a stop-over on the way to higher ground, like temporary housing after a disaster, but when Lindsay came, whispering Jill's name with tangles of angel-white hair in her hands, it felt like a safe place to rest for a while.

Jill kneeled up and kissed her way higher. She took a softening nipple briefly into her mouth, then nipped at Lindsay's collarbone before gradually curling into her lap and the open circle of her arms. Lindsay bowed her head low, nuzzled into the dewy contours of her best friend's chest, and said "I love you" with an ease that made Jill's heart cramp. Her kisses seemed to vanish into the midnight fall of hair, so she moved her lips to Lindsay's ear and entrusted her with those same three words. She gave herself permission to hold on for five minutes, to stroke and doze and rock a little, but after five minutes she would pull away, dress and go home. She knew Lindsay would understand why.

The End

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