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.
SEQUEL: To Working Late.
Three sharp knocks on her office door made Jill look up, expecting it to open. When it didn't, she stood and buttoned her jacket, assuming it to be a courier or someone else she didn't know. What she didn't expect was to see Lindsay Boxer staring back at her through the glass partition. Lindsay raised her eyebrows.
"Is it safe to come in?" she said, loudly, so that Jill could hear her through the barrier of the door.
Jill rolled her eyes and yanked the door open. She made a sweeping gesture with her arm, ushering the detective into the room and closing the door after her.
"You're a riot, you know that?" Jill said, taking off her suit jacket and throwing it on a nearby chair.
"Well, I can't be too careful. You know that just yesterday I walked into a lawyer's office only to find her having sex on her desk?" Lindsay said, deadpan.
Jill took the seat behind the desk while Lindsay dropped herself into the guest chair.
"Uh so yesterday was awkward, huh?" Jill said, flushing slightly at the memory of Lindsay standing staring at her and Cindy.
"You could say that," Lindsay agreed, a smile tugging at the edges of her lips. "It might have been less of a shock if you'd told me that you were seeing a very close associate of ours."
Jill looked down.
"I know. I'm sorry. I I just didn't know how to tell you."
Lindsay scrunched up her brow.
"You've never had any trouble in the past. I've had to stop you from talking about some of your conquests for fear of my psyche being forever scarred by the level of detail!"
"I know but what was I meant to say? 'Hey Linds, you know Cindy? I'm doing her.'"
"Well, no," her eyes softened as she looked at Jill. "But I think that's the problem. You're not."
"I think you'll find that I am. You saw for yourself."
"It's more than that though, isn't it?" Lindsay asked, gently.
Jill squirmed in her seat, suddenly unwilling to meet Lindsay's eyes. Eventually she started speaking.
"I don't know what it is, to tell you the truth. It's so soon after Luke and she's so young and we're friends. I mean, what if it didn't work out?" Jill asked, turning worried blue eyes on Lindsay.
"I'd shoot her," Lindsay said, matter-of-factly.
"Lindsay!" Jill exclaimed.
"I'm just kidding!" Lindsay said, holding her hands up. After a brief pause she leaned closer to Jill. "You know I'm gonna have some fun threatening her with that though, right?"
Jill smiled lopsidedly.
"I'd be disappointed if you didn't. So would she, I think," she said. "I really like her, Linds."
Lindsay stood and walked around Jill's desk. She held out a hand and, when Jill took it, she pulled her to her feet and into a hug. Jill closed her eyes and rested her forehead against Lindsay's shoulder, enjoying the feeling of being encased in strong arms.
"It'll all work out. It always does," Lindsay murmured before pulling away slightly, leaving her arms looped loosely around Jill's waist. "And anyway, look at us, we survived the awkward transition intact."
"True, and of course, there's no weird, residual sexual chemistry between us now, is there?"
Lindsay winked and smacked Jill on the ass.
Cindy sat alone in the booth at Papa Joe's, shredding a napkin. She had turned her copy in earlier than expected and stopped by Jill's office in the hope of seeing the attorney. Unfortunately, the case Jill was prosecuting was running late so Cindy had decided to go to the diner and treat herself to a cocktail for a job well done.
However, it was only when she sat down and took her first sip of alcohol that Cindy realized she had left herself wide open. She was now at the mercy of fate; she had no idea who would turn up first. Jill fine. Claire she could handle. Lindsay she might just faint. She blushed for the thousandth time that day as she pictured the tall Inspector's eyes on her as she defiled her best friend.
The sound of a bell tinkling drew Cindy out of her reminiscences. She looked up to see the dark figure of Lindsay Boxer stalking toward the booth. On reflex, Cindy looked for an escape route. But it was too late, Lindsay was already sliding onto the bench opposite, her eyes boring holes into Cindy's skull.
"Uh " Cindy began, unsure if Lindsay was going to talk, or just stare her into submission.
Lindsay raised an eyebrow and Cindy closed her mouth. But that was not Cindy's natural state and before long she was opening it again.
"Look, yesterday was mortifying for me and I don't know if you've talked to Jill about it because I didn't get a chance to speak to her today but if you did I hope that she explained that I wasn't, you know, forcing myself on her or anything and that we've kind of been seeing each other for a little while now and I really, really like her and I'm not sure why we didn't tell you or Claire except that we kinda got together on an undercover thing that we weren't supposed to be on so we couldn't really explain that without incriminating ourselves and from there we just kinda went with the flow and it never came up until you walked in and saw us ummm "
"Can I get you some drinks?"
Cindy looked up at the waitress in gratitude.
"Two double scotches, please, on the rocks," Lindsay said, not removing her eyes from Cindy.
"I don't li- "
"They're both for me, I have a feeling I'm gonna need them."
The waitress left the two women staring each other out. This time, Lindsay was the first to speak.
"OK, firstly, do you ever take a breath?"
Cindy went to respond but Lindsay held a hand up and shook her head.
"I don't need an answer to that one. Secondly, I don't have some big speech about 'treating her right' or anything, but you should know this: Jill has had a lot of shit in her life and a lot of people have treated her badly. I know she's no angel "
"No, especially when she does that thing with her thu-"
"I don't need details!" Lindsay exclaimed. She pointed at herself. "Me? Talking now." She pointed at Cindy. "You? Not talking now. Got it?"
Cindy nodded, mutely. Lindsay continued, nodding at the waitress as she dropped off the drinks.
"Jill trusts a select few people in this world and if she's chosen to make you one of them you should feel privileged. So," Lindsay leaned across the table and lowered her voice, "if you abuse that trust, you will have to answer to me. And I have a gun."
Cindy nodded slowly, trying not to gulp in a cartoon fashion. For all that Jill had said that Lindsay would joke about shooting her, Cindy would swear at that moment that Lindsay Boxer was one hundred percent serious.
Lindsay kept eye-contact for as long as was necessary for her to be satisfied that Cindy had understood her message. Then she picked up one of the glasses of scotch and tipped the contents down her throat. Cindy eyed the other one for a second, and then followed suit, choking and spluttering as the fiery liquid blazed a trail down her throat before settling in her stomach as a pleasant warmth.
"Moved onto the hard stuff already, I see?"
Claire's voice took Cindy by surprise, she looked up, wiping at the tears that had sprung to her eyes during her coughing fit. Claire slid into the seat beside her, giving her leg a reassuring squeeze, which was all it took for Cindy to know that Claire knew and was fine with it. And it was far more pleasant than Lindsay's technique. Jill took the seat next to Lindsay and looked between the two women.
"Have we been having a girly chat, ladies?" she enquired, lightly.
"Cindy and I were just clearing some stuff up, weren't we Cindy?" Lindsay asked.
"Uh huh," Cindy said, nodding vigorously.
She felt a movement against her calf. It took a second, but she realised that Jill was rubbing her bare foot up and down her leg, more in comfort than in any sexual way. However, Cindy was not taking any chances of getting caught by Lindsay and she snapped both of her legs back under the bench, as far as they would go. All the women at the table looked at her quizzically.
"Cramp," she explained, shrugging.
Lindsay didn't look convinced but she turned to Jill.
"How'd the case go?"
"We won. Life, no parole," Jill said, smugly.
"Great job!" Cindy yelled, along with congratulatory noises from Lindsay and Claire.
"Well, we all played our part," Jill conceded.
"And I think that calls for champagne!" Lindsay said, beckoning for the waitress.
"Champagne? Since when do we get champagne for putting away a murdering asshole?" Claire asked.
"I guess I'm just in the mood and there are other things to celebrate," she explained, winking at Cindy.
Cindy sighed in relief. Apparently the 'bad-cop' section of the evening was over now. Jill elbowed Lindsay in the ribs.
"Lindsay Boxer, you know what champagne does to me. And I haven't even eaten today. I'm gonna be wasted."
"And I may just take advantage of that to find out more about this 'undercover operation' that you and Cindy went on without my knowledge," Lindsay said, quirking an eyebrow at Jill.
Jill turned to Cindy.
Cindy looked at her wide-eyed.
"I uh she she was interrogating me!"
"Roughly translated, she looked at you and you spilled your guts?" Claire asked, her eyes twinkling.
"That about sums it up," Lindsay confirmed.
"She's a detective; her job is making people talk!" Cindy protested, looking at Jill beseechingly.
"Honey, you don't need to get made to talk," Jill said, shaking her head as the waitress dropped off the champagne with four flutes.
Lindsay poured the bubbling liquid into the glasses and they each took one. Lindsay held hers up.
"What'll we drink to?" she asked.
"To truth and justice?" Jill suggested.
"To new beginnings?" Claire said, nudging Cindy and making her blush. Then she perked up.
"Oh, wait, I got one."
They all held up their glasses.
"To Lindsay paying the drinks bill tonight!"
"I'll drink to that!" Jill and Claire said simultaneously, clinking their glasses together and taking a drink.
Lindsay smiled affectionately at the young reporter.
Cindy smiled back.
And with that, four friends embarked upon an evening of gossip, teasing and many, many more drinks, to the dismay of Lindsay's credit card.
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