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.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Nikky for the beta!
I opened the door to have a pissed off Cindy right in my face. "Damn it, Lindsay! You have everything! What the hell is your problem, why don't you want me to be happy?"
In a heartbeat, the veil fell. I knew she got it all wrong. And then I showed her.
I watch her sitting on my couch, no, sprawling is more like it, while I'm waiting for my breathing to settle. Still fairly clothed, nothing much about her is revealing of what has just happened, if it wasn't for the fact that her slip and stockings are lying a few feet away. She bends to pick them up.
Straightening again, Cindy smiles at me, stretching out her bare legs comfortably. The way the memory slams into my mind, making my knees weak and my body thrumming with adrenaline, washes away all doubt. I push off from the wall I've been leaning against, aware of her gaze on me, as I walk over to her. In my mind, I replay the past moments since she showed up on my doorstep, all enraged and demanding explanations that I didn't realize I had.
That we had, all along.
I don't really remember making a move, but then it was real, and I was kissing her, my hands in her hair. Crazy, a little voice said in my head, but it was drowned out by the insane rush of want. She got it wrong. I wanted her to be happy. Just not with... but any thought of him had just vanished, too, leaving nothing but the feel of her in my arms, warm and relaxed and not at all resisting. This first time was frantic; I didn't want to let go. I wanted to touch her so badly, I didn't know where to put my hands first, and then I realized with a slight bout of panic that I really didn't know what to do at all.
Living most of my life in San Francisco, I had done denial astonishingly well. Cindy had been... less in denial as it seemed, and that helped.
"God, I love you." There. I said it. If this is the moment to be brave, or foolish, I might as well come clean completely. My voice is as shaky as my knees are, but I need those words to be out in the open. I have needed that for a time longer than I can admit to myself yet.
Cindy looks at me with a sudden shyness in her gaze, though her answer is anything but. "You're still going to say that when you're not high on endorphins?"
I laugh. "You're such a romantic."
"You must know."
I do, in every sense of the word now, but it's still not enough. I want her to have a chance at saying it back some time. I need it badly. Once, on the surface, I might have had it all, but none of it really counted until tonight. I sit beside her on the couch, drawing her to me, willing away all thoughts of confessions I'll have to make.
"Stay?" Nothing else really matters to me at the moment.
"Of course. I'm sure there are some more things we need to... discuss."
Her body welcomed me, drawing me in. It was a heady feeling, making me just as breathless as she was. She was clinging to me, the warmth of her breath on my neck sending shivers down my spine. This wasn't about me, though. I wanted the moment to be perfect. I wanted her to never leave.
"Lindsay." The way she said my name was like a plea, almost a prayer. I could feel her tense around my fingers, her lids fluttering closed, her pleasure all mine.
"It's our anniversary, even," Cindy reminds me, much later, as she snuggles into my arms. "Six years since we solved the Honeymoon murders."
Six years since she crashed the crime scene of one of my most high profile cases. I certainly remember that. I haven't been able to turn away from her ever since, and yet I've been oblivious. Friends. Yeah, really. "Stalking me in the bathroom. I should have known there was potential," I say teasingly.
She smiles. "I was very impressed by you."
Thinking back, I'm not so impressed by myself by what I recall. "You caught me in a weak moment and pounced."
"Kinda like you did earlier?" Cindy asks softly.
I search her gaze in the dim light, worried for a moment, but there is no reproach or regret. "Kinda," I admit. "Such a long time. It wasn't like we had a lot of time to stop and think, was it?"
Going back to the moment I brought her to Susie's for the first time to meet Claire, brings up other memories. Introducing Jill to our 'club'. Face one truth, another isn't too far behind. All of a sudden, I feel all choked up. "Not since Jill--"
I can tell from the sadness in Cindy's gaze that she's been thinking of her too. "We have barely talked about her," she says solemnly.
No, we haven't, but the empty, hollow feeling remains, every time we are together. No matter how much of a friend Yuki has become, she can't replace Jill. No one ever can. Maybe we haven't talked about Jill, because every word would bring up the memory of that night. Maybe none of us can really deal with the pain, not even after all these years, because what she was to us, what we were together was beyond special.
Cindy smiles, though her eyes are bright. "You know, I think she would approve."
"I'm sure. Though, perhaps she'd shake her head at us, because we took so damn long to figure it out."
"It." There is a hint of uncertainty.
I remember my conversation with Yuki. She'll be stunned to find out she got it all backwards. Yes, I was reluctant and terrified about decisions, but it didn't mean what she thought it did. I was right the first time I ended it with Joe. When the first person I could think of to run to was Cindy. And as far as the latest confusion is concerned, maybe I should send Rich flowers. Basically, he is the one who got us here.
"I want you to be happy. Could you just be that with someone other than my partner?"
She brushes the back of her hand against my cheek, then kisses me softly. "I already am," she whispers.
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