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: Thanks to ralst for the cool challenge idea, and to hevvajames & sofia_lindsay for looking this over for me. I dedicate it to anomalys - because ;)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

I Want It That Way
By Demeter


"I don't know what you gals are up to, but I need to run if I still want to catch a glimpse of my family," Claire said. "Ed is going to take the boys camping. How about you all show up for breakfast tomorrow?"

"I'd love to," Cindy said quickly. It had taken her a while to realize that they'd been right about their group being 'not a club'. They were professionals - and friends. But most of all, Cindy had realized lately, these women were her family. So she didn't want to impose, but given the chance, she loved to spend as much time with them as possible.

"Can Martha come, too?" Lindsay asked. "I think she'll hate me if don't start to be a little more at home; she has taken to sleeping on the couch the past week."

Everybody laughed, and Claire reassured her that Martha was welcome too. Claire and Lindsay left soon after that, and Cindy found Jill giving her a speculative gaze. Or maybe it was just her wishful thinking?

"You want to go home, too?"

"Yes... no -- I mean, if you want--"

Jill smiled knowingly, and Cindy thought somewhat resigned that the crush she'd harbored for her probably wasn't much of a secret. She couldn't really say when it had started... maybe that day when she had sat in court, watching Jill take a serial rapist apart on the stand.

The offender and his lawyer both had seriously underestimated the slender blonde prosecutor who seemed to be close to tears when the survivor told her story.

Then came the cross-examination, and they got to see another side of A.D.A. Jill Bernhardt.

Cindy had clutched her notebook in cold, clammy hands, not writing a word, until the man finally caved.

Yes, maybe that had been the beginning.

"We've only had fries and a bit of fruit - I don't know about you, but I'm starved. How about a real meal? I'll pay."

"You don't have to."

"Come on, I hate eating alone." Jill laid her hand on Cindy's arm for emphasis, her touch lingering just a moment longer than necessary. Claire had paid their collective bill earlier, so they left the diner together, walking almost close enough to touch.

The evening was getting more interesting by the minute.

"No. Way!" Cindy exclaimed when Jill parked her car across from the chosen restaurant. The 'Garland' had various different levels for dining and dancing, but if you wanted a table, she knew, you had to book ahead for ages. "They're not going to let us in."

"I'm sure they will." Jill smiled at her conspirationally. "Being on Denise's good side has its advantages."

Cindy shook her head. "Okay, so they're going to let you in, but I'm way underdressed for this place. And - what are you saying? You planned--?"

"Let's say I was optimistic. And you're looking great; you'll be fine. Let's go."

Cindy wasn't convinced of that, but she was too excited about this unexpected turn of events to care. Jill taking her out for dinner at the 'Garland's?' She'd find a way to keep the bill as a memento. She'd also kept the bill from that night when Lindsay had told her she was 'in'.

"You think I look great?" she asked, beaming.

"You always do." Jill shook her head with a fond smile. "Let's have dinner."

They were seated at a table by the window, eleventh story, overlooking the bay. The sight was breathtaking.

"You're not eating," Jill observed.

"Just enjoying the sight. I don't think I'll have the chance to come back here anytime soon. I'm sorry," she added, thinking it sounded maybe just a tiny bit ungrateful, given this venue's prices. "It's very good."

They shared a bottle of wine for dinner. The alcohol was making her relax some, but it also made her a little bit more daring than usual, which wasn't necessarily a good thing.

"You know, there was a time when I was much younger, that I wanted to do what you do. To put the bad guys away."

"What made you change your mind?"

It took Cindy a moment to realize that Jill hadn't laughed at the thought, but asked her a serious question in return. Falling, just a little bit more. "Two semesters in law school, and the college newspaper. It was a revelation, though, for a long time I didn't really feel like I was making a difference."

"You know you do now, don't you?"

Truth be told, there were still days when Cindy wasn't too sure about that, but she didn't really want to go to deep into any lingering insecurities tonight, on the contrary. Not when the two of them were exhanging words like first, tentative touches, meaning between the lines.

"Thank you. I was wondering, would you like to try out the dancing area, too?"

The 'Garland' usually had a mixed audience, Cindy knew from her colleague who covered the entertainment section, so it certainly wasn't a big deal for anyone when Jill pulled her real close on the dancefloor.

It was a big deal for Cindy.

In the 'club', her role was to be the young and unconventional one, which probably had led to misconceptions, but the truth was, all of it was new and exciting to her, having the arms of a woman around her while slow-dancing, soft breasts pressed against hers - said woman being Jill Bernhardt, took the excitement to new levels, and Cindy felt slightly dizzy.

"I must confess to my ulterior motives," Jill whispered, her lips close to Cindy's ear, her hand stroking back a strand of hair from Cindy's face. "I've been trying for a while to get you alone."

"You have?"

"I hope you don't mind."

In answer, Cindy tilted up her head, and was rewarded with a kiss that started out as tender, but soon turned more daring, and she welcomed Jill's tongue in her mouth; clinging to her, she finally kissing her back.

When they had to interrupt the kiss for the sake of breathing, Cindy found her heart racing, because Jill was looking at her just the way she'd always dreamed-- "Come home with me?"

"I get more of this-" She touched her fingers to her lips, smiling. "And we have a deal."

It wasn't until much later that the thought broke through the haze of lust - wasn't Jill currently living with Claire?

The address Jill gave the cab driver, wasn't Claire's house, though. During the drive, she told Cindy that Denise was going to take over when Judge Drennan retired, so Jill would get her job, and with it, a remarkable raise. She was already in the process of moving out of Claire's.

"Because as much as I love her, and adore her family, I realized it's not for me."

"Yeah, I know what you mean."

"The bed's not even there yet, but a couple of mattresses and fresh sheets."

Cindy laughed happily. "It'll do. Better than sneaking through Claire's back door, don't you think?"


Jill's new penthouse apartment was amazingly cut, large windows, a lot of open space. It was only half furnished at the moment, and the floor littered with boxes, but Cindy didn't really care. Moments were passing in a blur, the soft rustling of clothes falling to the floor, revealing more soft skin, and she couldn't really get enough to touch and taste, until her legs were trembling and Jill eased her down onto the freshly made makeshift bed.

"You are so beautiful," Jill whispered, and Cindy thought it couldn't really be true, because nothing could be more beautfil like the way the moonlight caressed Jill's body, making her seem to shine, but words fled her as the hand stroking her breast wandered further down her body. Fingertips dancing over her belly, and she moaned, the touch too light, a promise and a torture.

Featherlight kisses to her face, her eyelids, her ear. She shivered violently.

Jill's hand went between her legs finally, finding wetness. A finger slid in easily, then out again to press lightly over her clit, enough stimulation to make her cant her hips up in silent plea that was soon answered. Jill leaned over her and didn't take her hand away until Cindy was shaking and coming until she went lax in the shelter of Jill's arms, her breath coming in short gasps.

"Wow," she said, when speech worked again, unable to keep that silly grin from spreading on her face. "That was... amazing."

"You are," Jill said, interlacing her fingers with Cindy's, and for the first time in a long time, she actually felt that way.

"About... you and Lindsay."

Jill groaned. "I knew you'd be asking that question at some time, I just figured you'd wait just a little while longer than the first night."

Cindy kissed her in silent apology. "There's so much backstory to this club which is not a club that I don't know about, and I know that I'll have to prove myself some more before getting there. But this -- it's important, because I can't sit at the breakfast table tomorrow with you all and keep guessing."

Jill was silent, making Cindy fear for a moment that she'd made a mistake, that this had been supposed a one-time thing, something not to be talked about the next day. She hated that thought.

Jill sighed. "Okay, then. There are some relationships where it's okay to cross the line and some where it isn't. I thought with the amount of time we were working together it actually made sense to stay friends and nothing more - four days after that conversation, Lindsay told me she was getting married to Tom."

"Do you still love her?" Cindy asked, her heart pounding almost painfully in her chest.

Drawing her closer, Jill turned to her, smiling gently. "Sure I do. The way we all love Lindsay. This..." She drew her hand along Cindy's side, her smile growing wider at the shiver her motion caused. "This is different. I hope."

"It is to me." It made her feel like she could breathe a little easier now. "Special. Just let me show you how much."

At some point, she'd fallen asleep, her dreams vivid with sensations of their lovemaking, until she was gently shaken awake. Cindy smiled up somewhat drowsily at a fully dressed Jill who was obviously a morning person... Cindy hadn't even heard the shower come on, and now there was the scent of freshly brewed coffee in the air.

"You looked so cute all tucked in, but I needed to wake you if we don't want to be late to Claire's. I figured we could also have a quick coffee."

"Sounds good to me."

The images rushed back to her without warning, bringing a little morning-after awkwardness in their wake, some residual uncertainty making her question if this was really going the way she wanted it to be.

But only until Jill sat down on the mattress beside her, running her hands up and down her naked arms slowly. "I almost want to call them and say I won't be able to make it. I think I'm falling in love with you, Cindy Thomas."

Cindy leaned forward, letting herself be held, breathing in the scents shower gel, a hint of 'Boss Woman', and clean skin underneath. "That's good," she said finally. "Because I think I'm already there."

Both of them being adept at reading between the lines, both Lindsay and Claire had guessed even before they got visual proof of the unsuspecting couple kissing on the porch. It was simply beautiful, so they didn't quite manage to turn away in what would have been a polite time frame.

"You really don't think I screwed up badly?"

"Honey, you can't screw up what was never meant to be, and you know that."

"Thanks for rubbing it in." Lindsay tried to scowl at her best friend, but didn't quite make it, and she shook her head with a smile. "Remind me again why I love you?"

"Because, as I do with all my friends, I always tell you the truth. And I feed you, too. Coffee's ready, by the way, so let's get the lovebirds in here."

Lindsay took another look at their joined hands, Jill's and Cindy's, thought about how much she cared for both of them. Not that they needed her blessing or anything, but being happy for them was -- suddenly not so hard at all.

The End

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