House Arrest (9/35) – WMC fic

(Cindy’s POV)

Work. Work was a beautiful thing. At least her work, which she loved. Her work which she loved more than anything else in the world.

Did she love her work more than anything else in the world?

Of course she did! Yes. She loved her job. She was good at it, maybe even the best, and it was always there for her to fall back on when other things in life let her down. She loved her work. Work was completely focusing for her. When she was working, there were no thoughts that could sidetrack her. It was all about the article, the digging for information, the sating of her ravenous curiosity, and it was all-consuming, to the point that everything else just vanished under its awesome power.

So why couldn’t she work? That was the question. In fact, why couldn’t she even read? That was a more pressing question. Why had she just read the same line twenty-five times and still have no idea what the hell it said?

“God, this sucks,” Cindy exclaimed, throwing the case file from her lap into the floor.

The sudden proclamation woke a dosing Martha, who looked up at Cindy and cocked her head to the side as if awaiting an explanation for the interruption to her sleep.

Cindy plunked her foot up on the coffee table, eyeing the house arrest anklet with all the venom it was inspiring in her at the moment. Stupid piece of metal.

But what did she really think would happen if she wasn’t wearing it? If she were free, the only difference in her circumstances would be that she would be sitting on her couch at home working alone, instead of on Lindsay’s couch working alone. Her three best friends would still be having a grand old time together, and she still wouldn’t be invited to the party. Jill would still be there with Luke, Claire would still have dragged Ed along, and Lindsay would still be going with whomever Jill set her up with because there was no one she actually wanted to ask herself. That’s just the way that it was.

Why couldn’t work distract her right now? She really needed this article to command her attention, to make her think about anything other than what she couldn’t stop thinking about. Of course, the fact that this was Detective Boxer’s case and, therefore, Detective Boxer’s name recurred again and again throughout the file didn’t help any.

Why was it such a big deal that Lindsay had a blind date? It wasn’t the first she’d been on since they’d known each other. And it’s not like Lindsay had seemed particularly enthused by the concept. Then again, Lindsay had to be somewhat lonely, just like she was. They practically lived the same life. How could they not share that feeling?

So now lonely Lindsay was out with some guy who would, undoubtedly, attempt to get into her dress by the end of the evening without ever realizing what a gift he had been given by scoring a date with her. Lindsay didn’t deserve to be courted by some random person who didn’t really know her, who couldn’t appreciate her quirks and her passion for her work and her well-hidden vulnerabilities. She should be out with someone who had put the time in, who had read between the lines to discover her, who had scaled walls to get close to her, as close as she let anyone get at least. She should be out with…

“No!” Cindy shouted, jumping up from the sofa. “No, no, no, NO!”

Martha got to her feet as well, backing away from Cindy slowly, as if the redhead were armed.

“Oh my God,”Cindy said, mostly to herself. “I am not jealous. I’m not… jealous. Why would I be jealous?”

As the answer to that question slammed into her, Cindy suddenly remembered that there was someone else in the room she could dump this on. She rounded on Martha, who stopped in her tracks.

“I’m not,” she whispered in the dog’s general direction. “I’m not. Lindsay is my friend.”

The modification of her tone changed Martha’s course. She took a few tentative steps back toward Cindy.

Even as she’d said the words, all of the evidence against her position started running through Cindy’s brain. Why did she want to be in the club so badly? Because Lindsay was in the club. How often did she put herself into risky situations to gather evidence to help Lindsay’s cases? How inappropriately thankful was she when Jill was forced to attend Tom’s wedding, leaving her Lindsay’s sole caretaker for the day? How many images of Lindsay did she have in her head that could have come only from prolonged gazing? Damn eidetic memory.

Before gravity got the better of her without her consent, Cindy sank down on the couch of her own accord.

“I’m in love with Lindsay,” she uttered, and, though the sensible part of her wanted to fight that statement with all due vigor, the rest of her was very aware that it was true.

She was in love with Lindsay. She was IN LOVE with Lindsay. But Lindsay was out right now with some hotshot defense attorney in Jill’s memorized little black book. Lindsay had put on a really nice dress. She’d put on makeup. She’d made an effort. Because Lindsay didn’t think of herself as already having someone, someone who obviously adored her, who…

Cindy sighed. God, this was hard.

…who loved her. Someone who thought she was gorgeous in jeans and a t-shirt, covered in dirt. She didn’t think that, because she didn’t see Cindy that way. She saw Cindy as a friend, finally, but only as a friend, which is why she had made an effort for someone else.

Cindy glanced in through the doorway at Lindsay’s bed. She couldn’t help it. It suddenly looked so inviting, like the perfect place for flipping through a grisly case file. So, she scooped up the jumbled mess she had made of it when she pushed it to the floor and carried it with her into the bedroom.

She leaned one of Lindsay’s pillows against the headboard and settled back against it, setting to work at straightening the bits and pieces of Lindsay’s case back into the folder. She managed to return them to some manner of order before abandoning the file completely. There was no need in examining more clues right now. The biggest discovery of the evening had definitely already been made.

She laid the file beside her and slid down in the bed, pulling the pillow with her. It smelled like Lindsay, a smell she knew considerably more intimately than she wanted to admit. God, how long had she been smelling Lindsay?

The pillowcase was really soft. Cindy kept running her hand over it. She’d noticed when changing them them that not all of Lindsay’s linens were as thin and scratchy as those she’d been given. Good to know. Not that she expected to be spending a lot of time in Lindsay’s bed.

“Derail train, derail,” Cindy said aloud, flopping onto her back.

A vocal warning seemed a necessity to keep her mind from wandering down that track.

It would just be fruitless torture for herself anyway, because Lindsay was out with someone else, someone else she had made an effort for, despite her remarks that she was annoyed by the whole idea.

That track was an even more dangerous one, but Cindy didn’t realize it until she felt the tears rolling down her face and onto Lindsay’s pillow beneath her head.

No sooner did they start than she became aware of an additional presence on the bed with her. Martha nudged at her hand with her nose, and Cindy raised her hand to the dog’s head as Martha stretched out beside her, trying to offer comfort.

But there wasn’t any.

Cindy was very used to being able to get anything she wanted. There was always a way to achieve her desires. But not this one. Lindsay… Lindsay was unattainable, and she’d just stupidly admitted to herself that there was nothing on Earth she wanted more. But it was never going to happen, so wanting Lindsay may as well go ahead and start hurting.

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