House Arrest (5/35) – WMC fic

(Cindy’s POV)

Another day, another list. This one taped to the coffee pot so Lindsay would be sure it wouldn’t be missed.

When Cindy walked into the kitchen and saw it, she thought for the first time that prison might be a comfortable alternative. Who knew a place with so little square footage could have such an endless supply of things that needed doing? She didn’t recall signing up for this.

Of course, she hadn’t had much chance to sign up for anything. After Lindsay let her out of the holding cell at the station, she’d returned Cindy’s personal belongings they’d taken from her and said, “Let’s go.” It was a demand, not a request.

And though Lindsay hadn’t said it in so many words, that’s just what these lists felt like. Demands. Do this or else. Or else what, she didn’t know, but she really didn’t want to find out. And maybe she felt like she deserved it a little, all of these household responsibilities and odd jobs. She did owe Lindsay something in return for her rescue, which is why every list she’d found in her hands in the morning was done by the time she went to bed. And then there was the fact that, even if she owed Lindsay nothing, she would have done all of the assigned tasks, for one reason and one reason only. Because Lindsay wanted her to.

It did not, however, mean that she wouldn’t use the opportunity to engage in some valuable snooping. Not in Lindsay’s underwear drawer or under the mattress or on any high closet shelves or anything. No place that could actually be construed as private domain. But the way she figured it, if she was supposed to clean the kitchen and the bathroom, any cabinet within was fair game.

Yesterday, she’d discovered that Lindsay had a thing for Fiji water, kept a hidden stash of Swiss chocolate, and had what could only be described as a granola bar “problem”. If it were a less healthy habit, Cindy would have felt a real responsibility to stage an intervention.

Today, the subjects of her careful inspection were the cabinet beneath the bathroom sink and the medicine cabinet. She had already sprayed the shower foam and poured in the drain cleaner. What else was she supposed to do while she waited for them to work their magic?

What she was expecting when she opened the cabinets, she wasn’t sure, but she was still taken aback by what was in there. Between the two cabinets, Lindsay could be keeping several different drug stores in business. There was gauze and medical tape and bandages and peroxide and ointments in quantities that would be more fitting in a home that lodged an entire family. An entire family of acrobats.

How much did Lindsay get hurt?

But the answer was clear. The proof was right in front of her. Lindsay got hurt a lot. These were not ‘just in case’ supplies. There were no full boxes of anything. These were well-used items that were probably replaced often.

Lindsay got hurt. A lot.

Of course she did.  Most of the people that Lindsay came in contact with on a daily basis wanted nothing more than to get away, and if Lindsay happened to be between them and the nearest exit…

Even Jamie had slugged her, and he’d otherwise seemed like a decent guy. Maybe that’s why Cindy hadn’t bothered to return his last phone call. They’d talked for a while after all of the drama they’d gone through together. It was so surreal to be around Jamie when he was this heroic agitator trying to save his father from being executed, but, after the crisis was averted, it turned out she wasn’t really that smitten after all. He kept calling, but, eventually, she stopped answering, realizing that Jamie had really been more interesting than tempting.

Plus, he’d hit Lindsay. That really wasn’t acceptable.

But he wasn’t the only one. How often did Lindsay get punched or kicked or otherwise moved out of the way? How often did she have a gun aimed in her direction? How often did she become a target?

Lindsay got hurt. She got hurt a lot. And at any time, it could go beyond injury. At any time, Lindsay could be off her game or take too big of a risk, be outnumbered or out-gunned, and that would be it. There would be no more club, no more good-natured teasing about her age, no more of those looks, no more nervous rambling on her part inspired entirely by Lindsay’s presence.

No more Lindsay.

Cindy shut the cabinet doors and sunk down onto the edge of the bathtub. It’s not like it was something she hadn’t considered before. Lindsay had a dangerous job. In a way, they all kind of did. They worked around thugs and thugs liked to inflict damage. But seeing all of that stuff in Lindsay’s cabinets made it so much more… possible. So much more real.

What if something happened to her?

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