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: Betaed by Melissa. Thank you!

While You Were Gone
By Demeter


Jill and Cindy both looked like the proverbial kids that got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. They wore matching 'welcome home' smiles, but Lindsay could just tell they were hiding something.

Before she could start to investigate, Martha came running into the living room, recognizing the voice of her mistress. Her greeting was enthusistic enough to almost knock Lindsay off her feet and she crouched to pet her. "Hey girl. I missed you, too. Now, what have these ladies been up to while I was away?"

There was a small sound behind her, a whining and Lindsay turned around to see a pup that looked suspiciously like Martha, staring at her with impossible big brown eyes. The reason for it began to dawn on her.

"Linds, we can explain," Cindy said hastily, blushing, while Jill hid a chuckle behind her hand.

"Um, yes, we can explain... Everything," she promised, underlining her words with a rather vague hand gesture. "Why don't you sit down?"

"What exactly happened here?"


"Absolutely not! I'm not gonna sleep on the couch. You're tiny. You don't need that big bed."

"Tiny," Cindy huffed, stretching more comfortably on Lindsay's bed. "Besides, I need to share it with Martha. Lindsay said so."

"No way. She didn't say I had to take the couch."

"I have another suggestion," Cindy said, sitting up. "We could, you know, share the bed. I mean, not like... Uh, like you said, it's a big bed."

Enjoying watching Cindy squirm for a while, Jill sat down on the side of the bed, petting Martha with a smile. "Sounds like a plan."


They sat in the car, outside of the vet's, in silence. "Who of us is going to call Lindsay?" Jill gazed over at Cindy who looked contrite. Without thinking, she took the younger woman's hand.

"You do it," Cindy insisted. "She won't yell at you."

Jill chuckled, seeing no reason to let go of Cindy's hand for the time being. "I'm not so sure about that." They turned to Martha who was lounging in the backseat, looking back at them innocently. "Oh girl," Jill sighed. "Your adventure is going to get us in a lot of trouble with your mistress."


"It is the best solution. Lindsay's kind of a softie, when she sees those little pups running around in the house, she won't be mad at us." Cindy had definitely regained her confidence. Jill was still not convinced, but as they sat out on Lindsay's porch sharing dinner, she was very much distracted by the way Cindy's eyes shone in the candlelight.

Kind of ironic for the two of them having a candlelight dinner in Lindsay's home while temporarily house- and petsitting Martha and her brood.

It felt very right.

She only wished it wouldn't have to be over soon.


"Two. That's the limit," Claire told her youngest son sternly.

"But Mom!"

Jill and Cindy shared what they hoped was a secret smile, not so secret to their friend though. "And don't you encourage him, ladies," she warned. "I've been doing more than my share to help you out here. Jacobi is very close to caving. You should show one of those to Heather."

"Hey, what about Denise?"

"Not likely." Jill frowned at the mention of her boss, but not for long. "How about your editor?"

Three border collie pups, cute as a button, were still looking for a home.


Jill thought that Lindsay might want to yell at her for more than one reason. Outside, the day was dawning but she hadn't slept yet, too much in awe of the sight and feel of Cindy sleeping in her arms. She wasn't even quite sure how it all happened, hadn't known until now how much she had wanted her. The past few weeks, sharing a home, time together outside of solving cases had brought that clarity finally. She reached out to brush a strand of hair back from Cindy's face, leaning over to kiss her lips. Finally, this was home.

"You know, I should be mad at them but looking at you, I just can't," Lindsay told the pup they had kept, Sam. "So now we're three? And if I'm not mistaken, that's not the only thing that has changed."

Cindy studied her, the obvious changes that Lindsay's nearly six months trip had brought her friend. She found she could do so without a hint of blushing or any residual regret or hate of the Muffin Man who was long gone. Lindsay seemed a lot calmer than she'd been at her hurried departure all those months ago. Cindy could relate to the feeling as it resonated within her. She was happy, for the two of them, because whatever it was each of them had been looking for, they both had found it.

Turning to Jill, she found her heart beating faster when Jill took her hand, squeezing it gently.

"I assume," Lindsay said with a knowing grin, "My new bed has been properly tested."

The End

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