House Arrest (18/35) – WMC fic

(12/25 – Lindsay’s POV)

Cindy looked like a little kid.

When Lindsay turned from the entryway with the envelope that she’d neglected to remove from her jacket pocket and put under the tree, Cindy was standing there with an infectious grin and both hands behind her back.

“Is something going to jump out at me when I open whatever that is that you’re hiding?” Lindsay asked, only half joking.

“No,” Cindy responded in her best aggravated tone, but her smile never wavered.

“All right. Let me have it,” Lindsay said, holding the envelope back by her shoulder, threatening to withhold it until Cindy produced her gift.

Cindy pulled the small package out from behind her back and held it out to Lindsay, but when Lindsay tried to take it, Cindy pulled it back, eyeing the envelope that Lindsay was still keeping from her reach.

It was a Christmas standoff.

Lindsay relented and slowly lowered the envelope into Cindy’s range, and Cindy little by little extended her own package. Then, they snatched the presents from each others’ hands at the same time and both started giggling as if they’d just taken part in a truly humorous stand-up routine instead of merely engaging in some holiday-inspired immaturity.

“You first,” Lindsay said, as her laughter subsided.

Cindy pulled up the sticker on the envelope, and Lindsay found that she was surprisingly anxious as Cindy pulled the tickets out. She was watching for some sign that Cindy liked them, and, if the smile was any indication, she’d gotten one.

“The symphony?” Cindy said, looking up at her. “I love the symphony.”

“Really?”Lindsay asked, hating how astounded her voice sounded. “I mean, I figured you might,” she quickly tried to cover.

“January 4th. I guess you think I’ll be done being incarcerated by then.”

“I think the ADA will go easy on you. And if not, I’ve got the key to your cuff, so…”

Cindy was still looking at the tickets. Still smiling. So that was good.

“I’m surprised you knew where to buy these,” she finally said.

“Hey! I resent that,” Lindsay asserted.

But the look on Cindy’s face was more knowing than compliant.

“Claire helped,” Lindsay grumbled.

Cindy smiled at her mini-victory and fanned the two tickets out.

“Are you planning on going with me?”

“Yeah,” Lindsay answered, then realized that maybe there was a specific reason that Cindy was asking. “I mean, I got the time off work. But if you have someone you’d rather go with…”

“No!” Cindy cut in. “I’d like to go with you, if that’s okay.”

Lindsay smiled. It was more than okay. It was actually, she was kind of surprised to discover, a major relief.

“You’ve got two tickets. I’ve got the time off work. I guess that makes it okay.”

“Unless you get another case,” Cindy said, the disappointment at the possibility already apparent.

“If that happens,” Lindsay promised. “We’ll work around it.”

And she meant it. There was no way that she was going to let Cindy down in this. Of course, if another case did arise, the prospect that Cindy would want to blow off the symphony in favor of chasing down a few bad guys was pretty high.

“Okay,” Cindy uttered softly.

“Okay,” she said in return.

And she could have stayed like that forever, stuck on Christmas, watching Cindy be happy. There was just too much tragedy in their daily lives. She liked seeing Cindy in a scenario where her optimism didn’t seem out of place.

“Aren’t you going to open yours?” Cindy asked her, breaking the spell.


Lindsay ripped open the paper, and barely took a moment to consider the blue velvet box before popping the lid. She really could have used a nearer-by seat.

“Wow. Um… wow.” Where in the hell did her words go? “This is… um…” Gorgeous? Shiny? Extravagant. “…expensive,” she finally heard herself finish.

Not the ending she would have opted for had her brain been functioning at top capacity, but it was true.

“I got a raise when I got the promotion,” Cindy said without much volume.

“Did you spend it all on me?”

Cindy laughed nervously as Lindsay looked up, but Lindsay couldn’t let her off the hook with just that. She kept watching her, awaiting a more complete answer.

“It was a big deal, what you did for me.”

“I told you it wasn’t,” Lindsay countered, shaking her head.

She really didn’t want Cindy to think she owed her anything.

“It was to me.”

Lindsay looked down at the jewelry set. Wow, it was nice. Wow, it was really nice. Wow, it was a really big gift.

“Are you sure you want to give me this?”

She was sorry that she’d asked when Cindy looked really uncomfortable, and slightly disenchanted. She should have just kept her damn mouth shut and accepted the gift.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” Cindy stated with certainty. “But if you don’t want it…”

“No,” Lindsay cut in. “I want it. I do. I definitely want it.”

For once, every word she added seemed to be helping. Cindy looked a little more relieved with each addition.

“I just…” Lindsay started, suddenly realizing her biggest issue with all of this. “I got you symphony tickets.”

“It’s okay, Lindsay.”

“Is it?”

It didn’t feel okay. It felt like she sucked at gift giving. It felt like she had done a very poor job of showing Cindy that she was worth every bit as much to her as she clearly was to Cindy.

“It’s more than okay,” Cindy said, interrupting her self-deprecating thoughts.

“How’s that?” Lindsay asked, pouting.

“Well, I know that the easiest thing you could have gotten me would have been a nice pen or a new jump drive and you didn’t.”

Cindy certainly didn’t look like she felt slighted. In fact, she looked rather content. So maybe it wasn’t all that bad. And she could make it up to her. She just had to figure out how.

“And I appreciate that you didn’t buy me a gun,” Lindsay said, cracking a grin.

“Well, that’s because I can’t ever be sure I won’t annoy you enough to get it turned on me.”

“I’m serious,” Lindsay said, dropping her eyes once again to the sparkly jewelry box. “People don’t… no one has ever bought me anything like this.”

“Never?” Cindy asked incredulously.

“Never,” Lindsay responded.

Cindy seemed to be having a difficult time comprehending that truth.

“Not even your parents or, um…”

Cindy didn’t finish the sentence, but Lindsay knew that she meant Tom.

“No one. I guess I don’t strike them as this kind of girl.”

“And are you…,”Cindy pulled her lower lip between her teeth before continuing, “…this kind of girl?”

“I like to think so… at least part of the time. Let’s see.”

She smiled in Cindy’s direction and walked off toward the bedroom, knowing that Cindy would be too curious not to follow.

When she got to her dresser, she carefully took the necklace out and put the box down. Her reflection changed as she clasped the necklace around her throat. God, this was really nice. It even looked good on top of an old long sleeve t-shirt. She’d never even owned anything like this, let alone had someone buy it for her.

She smiled and turned to Cindy.

“What do you think?”

But the look on Cindy’s face was only half what she was expecting. She looked pleased and relieved, both of which Lindsay had anticipated. But it was the look in her eyes that took Lindsay by surprise. And took her breath away. She may have turned teasing Cindy about her age into a routine pastime, but she was going to be hard-pressed to ever again convince herself that Cindy was just a kid.

“I think you’re that kind of girl,” Cindy whispered, and stepped forward, maybe unconsciously.

But whether Cindy’s was conscious or not, Lindsay’s step was definitely taken with intention. She shouldn’t. She really shouldn’t. But she was totally going to. Because the look in Cindy’s eyes was unreal and her lips looked incredibly needy. Or were those her own lips she was thinking about? It didn’t matter. She knew how to fix both.

The phone rang. It sounded loud and harsh, and with the shrill sound came logic. She was really close to testing the boundaries of her friendship with Cindy, a friendship that she didn’t particularly want to lose.

“It’s probably Jill or Claire, wishing us a Merry Christmas,” Lindsay mumbled, feeling both thankful and thwarted at the same time. “I should get that.”

The expression on Cindy’s face? Fear? Confusion? Regret?

Lindsay thought that she read them all before she turned and speed-walked in the direction of the phone. She really hoped she could sound normal to Jill or Claire when she answered.

But it wasn’t Jill or Claire. It was Tom. There had been another Santa murder.

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