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Subject: You won't believe this!
I'm going to get married again! You're one of the first people to know, besides the girls, of course. They're thrilled. Linds, I'm so excited! This time it's for real, I know it.
Subject: re: You won't believe this!
Lindsay let the cursor hover over the 'send' button, then deleted the two words she had typed in as response to her sister's email. They would have been the most honest reaction, but also one Cat wouldn't care for much. She'd call her later and congratulate. There had been too damn many weddings this year, she thought with a sigh.
"You okay?" Jacobi asked, and she glared at him for startling her.
He held up his hands in defense. "You look like you've seen a ghost."
"Yeah well." She sighed again. "Something like that." It had been a slow Friday evening so far, and with the hands of the clock creeping closer to six, Lindsay thought it was maybe a good time to indulge herself. She really was happy for Cat, but the news also uncomfortably reminded her that everyone else seemed to be so much better at relationships.
Lindsay picked up the phone, ignoring Jacobi's grin before she said, "Hi Claire, it's me. Is there any chance you could get off early tonight?" She turned away from her partner's friendly-curious scrutiny, dropping her voice to a near whisper. "No, it's not about a case."
"Why are you whispering?" Claire asked amusedly. "Tom somewhere in the vicinity?"
"No, just my nosy partner," she said in normal volume. Jacobi shrugged and went back to working on the report he'd begun. "Papa Joe's in an hour? I'm going to work on Jill next. Yeah, I'll call Cindy."
"And leave me hanging here with the paperwork without a trace of guilty conscience. I see."
"But you will have it covered." Lindsay frowned, pausing in mid-motion of hanging up. "Will you?"
Jacobi made shooing motions. "Go, before Tom finds you."
With a grateful smile at him, she left.
Cindy had offered to be the designated driver, so Jill and Claire had a few drinks in sympathy and acknowledgment of the dubious news, but even between them, it was hard to keep up with Lindsay.
They agreed though that it was decidedly mean of the younger Boxer sister to get re-married first.
"Damn weddings. Either I'm not invited, or when I am, I don't even have a date."
Jill shared a sympathetic look with Claire. It was a testimony to the state of Lindsay's drunkenness that she was honestly worrying about these things. Jill watched as her friend's eyes fastened on Cindy who was sitting across from her, and Lindsay reached out to take the younger woman's hand into hers and grip it tightly.
Whoa. Jill bit her lip to stifle a smile. She should have seen that coming. It had been bound to happen since... forever.
"Cindy!" Lindsay said as if she had just noticed her, her face lighting up. "Will you be my date?"
Cindy's eyes widened; Claire choked on her drink. Jill could barely hide her glee at the scene unfolding. So it was a little sad that Lindsay couldn't ask for it while she was sober, but if it helped them move ahead finally...
"Uh, Lindsay..." Cindy seemed to have been rendered speechless by Lindsay's drunken advances, blushing to the roots of her hair.
"How did you come up with this idea?" Claire, who had overcome her coughing fit, asked for her.
"It's a brilliant idea," Lindsay insisted, making no move to let go of Cindy's hand. "I want something spectacular. No one in my family ever had that, Marty, my mom," her eyes grew a little bright at that, "Cat and me. We get married, divorced, re-married at least some of us. We live boring lives and then we die. I want something more."
"Amen to that," Jill couldn't help but throw in, knowing she'd be ignored.
Even the waitress standing by their table seemed spell-bound by the drama unfolding.
"That's understandable, Sweetie, but"
"She won't remember this tomorrow. Right?" Cindy's voice had a slightly panicked edge.
Lindsay frowned. "Don't talk about me like I'm not here." She didn't seem able to stay mad at Cindy for any amount of time though. "So." Her gaze softened into a hopeful smile again. "Will you do me that favor?"
Cindy gave a sigh of the long-suffering.
"If you still want it tomorrow, yes, I'll go to that wedding with you."
"Hallelujah," Jill said happily. "You know, the best gay romances start with a het wedding."
Cindy had dropped Jill and Claire off at home first before she finally parked Maggie across the street from Lindsay's apartment building.
Lindsay had been suspiciously silent for the most part of the drive. Cindy figured that if she was embarrassed and there was something they had to talk about, they'd better do it now.
"Home sweet home," she declared, and Lindsay turned to give her a loop-sided smile.
"Thank you," she said.
Cindy unbuckled her seatbelt with a little more vehemence than necessary, slightly unnerved at herself for her hopes going haywire. This would be all a lot easier if she'd been a little more immune to Lindsay being so damn sexy even when plastered.
Nothing happened except Lindsay continued to smile at her.
"So, we're home. I mean, you are. Do you need anything?"
And why can't I shut up? "Okay," she said.
"Okay," Lindsay repeated, starting to fumble with the seatbelt.
Cindy watched her for a moment. "For Pete's sake," she sighed and then leaned over to free her friend from the protective strap, doing her best to ignore the proximity and the scent of a familiar perfume.
"Don't mention Pete," Lindsay murmured, and Cindy almost smiled at that. She was very much okay with that request.
"Would you like a coffee or something?"
"Sure. I think I'll need to walk Martha first."
A rush of protectiveness rose within Cindy at that thought. For Martha in the first place, and her blitzed mistress in the second.
"Let's go inside first," she suggested.
"I can make you some coffee," Lindsay insisted.
"No. You stay put on that couch until Martha and I come back, and then I can make some coffee if you still want it."
Martha wagged her tail happily at the prospect to finally get outside.
"You stay right here, you hear me?" Cindy tried to say it as firmly as possible.
"I hear you fi-ine." Lindsay giggled, which boded for nothing good.
"Okay. We'll be right back."
"Before you go..."
"Yes?" Cindy didn't know if she should be annoyed or endeared. A bit of both was the truth, leaning a bit to the former.
"Please make the couch stop moving," Lindsay said miserably.
"Let's hope she really did stay there. You know, your mistress can be pretty complicated at times." Martha gave a sympathetic bark. "Yeah, you would know. I mean I understand that the news kind of blindsided her, but why me?"
This time, the answer was an enthusiastic tail-wagging. "You're right. I so want her to want this me -," Cindy clarified, blushing even though the chances that Martha would betray her secret were pretty slim, "but not like that. Hell I'm still not convinced she'll remember anything tomorrow. A date! If only."
She let herself back into the apartment to find Lindsay exactly where she promised to be, though the fact that she was now out of her jacket and barefoot definitely suggested some moving. She was also fast asleep.
Cindy gave a heart-wrenching sigh for her and Martha's attentive ears only, somewhat mesmerized by the sight of cherry-red painted toenails. Silently, she debated with herself what to do now; sleeping on the couch in those tight jeans could not be comfortable.
Though, I could always help you undress...
The sudden dizziness was not something that should happen to a stone sober person. Leave that thought for now...
She picked up a blanket from the end of the couch and covered her friend with it. Lindsay was dead to the world.
"Will you be my date?"
"If you still want it tomorrow, yes, I'll go to that wedding with you."
Cindy really wanted a drink right now.
"Good morning. I thought maybe you'd like that coffee now," a hopeful voice suggested. Cindy.
Lindsay woke with her face buried in the pillow, wondering what truck had hit her, if she had called Cat after all, and why was Cindy in her bedroom?
That last question won priority over the others in a split-second, and she bolted upright only to grasp her head with both hands the next moment, "Ow."
"I figured," Cindy said half-amused. "You'd better not make any abrupt movements now."
"Well thanks." So it was the living room. But still, Cindy. What had happened last night? She could only vaguely remembering Cindy driving her home and taking Martha for a walk. After that...
"Alright, what did I do? And don't spare me."
"Nothing much," Cindy said quickly.
Worst Liar Ever. "Try again?" Lindsay peeked under the blanket and then pushed it aside when she realized she was fully dressed, thank God for small favors.
Cindy came closer to sit down, at a safe distance though, Lindsay noticed.
"Okay, right. You were a little gloomy about your sister's wedding. It's understandable."
The flash of a memory crossed her mind, the four of them at Papa Joe's, her whining about Cat's email and-- "Oh no."
Cindy's face fell. "You regret asking me out?"
"I did what? I mean, I really did that? Wow."
"You wanted to?"
"Sure I did, I was just --" She grasped her head again. "Can we have this conversation after some aspirin and a shower?"
"Got your aspirin. The shower you'll have to manage on your own."
Cindy sounded just the tiniest bit regretful about it, and Lindsay finally smiled to herself. Maybe it hadn't such a bad idea at all of Cat to get married. It seemed to have done wonders for her own prospects.
Cindy busied herself with making breakfast, keeping an ear on the sounds from the bathroom, trying hard not to add any visuals. She could use a shower too. An icy cold one.
"You wanted to?"
"Sure I did..."
Had she really just heard Lindsay say that or was it her own overzealous imagination? And where had all of this come from? She smiled at Martha who was sitting at her feet, looking up at her expectantly in hope for a treat. "You know, Lindsay's sister? I like her already. Very much."
"There I was hoping you'd like me better," Lindsay said, teasingly and startlingly close behind her, making her jump.
Cindy set down the plate she'd nearly dropped and turned around. "Hey. You feel better, I assume?"
Lindsay, now clad in a white bathrobe, shrugged somewhat self-consciously. "No more moving furniture, which is an improvement. Look," she said, pausing, wile Cindy willed her racing heart to calm. "I'm really sorry. About the how," she added quickly, "not the fact that... well. I wanted to ask you out. I was just being a coward about it."
Cindy felt a smile tease her lips though some reassurance was probably more asked for. "So if I want something from you in the future, all I have to do is get you drunk?" She blushed hotly. That certainly didn't come out right.
Lindsay moved her hand across the table until their fingers touched. "Just in case you haven't noticed, I find it very hard to tell you 'no' anyway."
Cindy barely resisted the urge to ask her to repeat this, because she still had a hard time not to think she was simply making this up in a lovely daydream.
Life was good, very good, but moving a tiny bit fast, Lindsay reflected when Cindy decided to go home to change, and kissed her goodbye at the door. She really wanted her to... and it was sweet and promising and totally disturbing because they'd crossed a line she'd made a big effort to pretend it wasn't there in the first place.
Her daydreams of late had become startingly real.
"Are you okay?" Cindy, ever-observant, asked worriedly.
"I am. I promise." Well, she wanted this to be real, so she could just as well be honest. "I'm just not sure I'm ready to... you know... tell everybody."
Cindy stepped forward to enfold her in a loose embrace. "First, there's not a lot to tell, anybody, yet. And as long as you're comfortable with me... it's all fine."
"I sure am."
"So you're going to bring someone? Who?"
Cat was practically glowing with excitement. Just a couple of days ago, Lindsay would have found it frustrating; now she could relate very well. "You're going to see. What's with all these questions about me anyway? It's your wedding. Tell me about him."
Cat sighed a little. "Joe is a great guy. His family is kind of conservative, but oh well, it's him I'm going to marry."
Remembering more than one run-in she'd had with her own former mother-in-law, Lindsay nodded. "Right. Don't let them spoil it." She wondered briefly what their parents would have said about her dating a woman, feeling a bit melancholy all of a sudden. She wished they could have seen her this happy well her and Cat both actually.
"Wow, he must be amazing. You've been smiling ever since you got here."
She might have been a little slow on the uptake, but Lindsay realized that she was, indeed, happy. "Amazing is right," she said without correcting her sister. "You'll see."
"Do you think this will do?" Cindy asked nervously.
Lindsay indulged herself, staring a little, because the short lime green dress was allowed her to see more than she ever had of Cindy.
"Okay. Okay, I get it. I'll find something else." Cindy, however, had completely misunderstood her lack of reaction, and Lindsay all but jumped from her chair. "No, it's fine! I mean, it's great. You look great."
Cindy smiled shyly. "Really?"
Lindsay stepped closer, lowering her mouth to Cindy's ear as she whispered, "Really." Cindy shivered a little, even more so when Lindsay dropped a kiss to her neck. "Makes me hope that the wedding is very boring and we get to leave early."
While she was still nervous about how they were going to proceed anytime soon, Lindsay had to admit she loved moments like this, finding proof that Cindy was definitely in for more than doing a friend a favor out of sympathy.
"I'd like that. But first we have to get there, and as much as I like you in whatever you wear, your sister won't be too happy if you show up in jeans and those boots."
"I guess not." Lindsay let go with a sigh. "I'll see you in a few then... at least, I'm going to dance with the prettiest woman in the place tonight, now that's worth the hassle." And if she got any more daring, more could happen tonight.
Cindy's eyes shone. "You're sure about the dancing? I mean we don't have to if you"
Lindsay thought of what Cat had said about the husband's family for a moment. Then again, they had to know that Cat had been divorced, just like their parents before. It couldn't be that bad. "I'm very sure," she said.
"Hi Linds. I see you brought a friend. Ms Thomas, nice to see you."
If there was a hint of disappointment in Cat's voice, Lindsay didn't seem to have noticed. Cindy had, though, cringing. They certainly had nothing to be ashamed of, but she didn't want to be the catalyst to cause a drama similar to the one that had happened at Tom Hogan's wedding... but maybe she had just imagined it.
Lindsay beamed. "Remember? I told you I'd bring someone special."
While Cindy flushed with pleasure and mortification alike, Cat just slightly raised her eyebrows, and her smile became a bit strained. "Right. That's a surprise, sis."
"I thought it would be."
Aware of Cat's gaze following them as they walked into the church, Cindy became aware for the first time that a traditional wedding might not have been the best idea for a first date. Maybe they should have taken some more time to figure out... she sighed softly to herself. Cindy didn't need more time; she was very sure about her feelings. And Lindsay seemed to have gotten used to what had followed her drunken admission surprisingly quickly, but that didn't mean she had considered all the implications.
They sat in the pew with the husband's two brothers and their respective wives, their fingers touching tentatively underneath Cindy's coat she'd put between them. The contact reassured her a bit. It wasn't like Lindsay was seeing her sister all of the time. They'd survive one evening.
Lindsay made good on her promise. Giddily, she realized that she hadn't danced with anyone smaller than her since high school, and back then, the experience had been nowhere near this pleasant. Of course there were looks, but she didn't care. Partly, because they'd had a few glasses of champagne, and partly because she just knew they were jealous of her. She would be, in their place.
"You're not regretting this, are you?" Cindy asked anxiously.
"Does it feel like I'm regretting this?" She let her hand slip just inches lower from where it rested on Cindy's lower back, making her dancer partner jump and then laugh. "Lindsay! You're..."
She didn't get to finish the sentence though, because while she was still searching for the right word, Cat appeared next to them, wearing a tight smile. Lindsay was uncannily reminded of the day Heather had asked them to leave her and Tom's wedding. "Hey, Sis," she said. "Great wedding. I'm happy for you."
Between the lines, Lindsay hoped to convey a note of warming. She wasn't drunk and she wasn't as oblivious as not to notice that her choice of a date wasn't quite what her sister had expected. Too bad, then. If only you could see how happy I am.
"Lindsay, if this is supposed to be a joke, I'm telling you it's not funny. Could you please stop doing... that?"
Lindsay narrowed her eyes at her sister. "What exactly are you talking about? No one's dancing naked on any table."
"Everyone's staring," Cat tried again. "Look... it's not like I have a problem... if you want to. But please don't draw any more attention to you. Those are my friends I have to answer to."
"You won't," Lindsay said firmly, entwining her fingers with Cindy's. "Good night."
"Now that was fun. Not." Cindy sighed. "I'm so sorry. I should have--"
"Nothing," Lindsay interjected. "She'll come around. I think it's the guy's family... not that it's an excuse."
"No, it isn't." They sat at their usual table at Papa Joe's, attracting looks once more as they were more than overdressed for the place, but this time, they didn't care.
Lindsay's disappointment saddened Cindy even though she knew she wasn't the source for it. It didn't seem like a good start for the two of them.
"No, what?" Cindy asked.
"I know what you're thinking. But I'm not going to change my mind just because Cat is marrying a jerk. I want to be here. With you. Well, actually not right here. I'd rather go home with you. Would you... stay?"
Cindy silently studied the woman who was sitting across from her having said these words with such conviction, and she found she had no reason not to believe her. She finally smiled.
"I'd love to."
It was going to be a beautiful day after all.
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