Inamorata (23/36) – WMC fic

PAIRING: Lindsay/Cindy
DISCLAIMER: Characters, not mine. Story, mine.

As light as it was, Jacobi’s touch made her jump. When she looked at him over the top of Cindy’s head, he was offering his pocketknife, and Lindsay loosened her hold around Cindy’s shoulders to reach for it. The movement roused Cindy into looking up at her, her face pink and her cheeks tear-stained. The sight made Lindsay forget what she was doing until she felt the metal pressed into her palm.

She released her tight grip on Cindy’s wound to transfer the still closed pocketknife to the hand that Cindy could see. Just as she had, Cindy knew instantly what it was for and sat more upright, without pause, giving her easier access to her mouth.

It wasn’t exactly hygienic. Or smart. Cindy was trembling so badly that Lindsay was almost afraid to get the blade near her, but they were both desperate to have the stitches removed. With a quiet whisper, Lindsay instructed Cindy to press the shirt to her wrist, then held Cindy’s face still with one hand, concentrating fully, and willing her own hands not to shake as she carefully broke each stitch with the very tip of the knife, first each outside stitch and then each inside stitch, until finally Cindy’s mouth was completely unbound.

Jacobi had walked off after handing her the knife. When he reappeared, Claire was with him. She was slow and deliberate in dropping to her knees before them, her eyes taking in the broken threads through Cindy’s lips before she’d even reached her fully lowered position.

“Hi Sweetie,”she greeted softly.

“Hi Claire,” Cindy said back.

Her voice was so small, so unnaturally timid, Lindsay had to blink back the tears that threatened. She would cry later. She had to be solid now. A rock. Claire glanced over at her, and they shared a moment of united strength.

“Let me look.” The extremely tender tone was softened even more by the smile Claire forced.

Cindy held her arm out to Claire in response. With utmost care, Claire took it in both hands, pulling Lindsay’s blood-soaked shirt away. Her eyes lingered for a moment on the wound, and then she took off her jacket and started to wrap it around Cindy’s arm. Not expecting the sudden action, Cindy shrunk back against Lindsay, choking out a sob, and Claire halted all movement.

“I’m just going to put this on your arm… to help stop the bleeding. Okay?”

Head still tight against Lindsay’s shoulder, Cindy nodded, and Claire turned her eyes to Lindsay again, the concern now scarcely concealed. She pulled the jacket around Cindy’s arm, tying the sleeves together.

“It hurts,”Cindy whimpered.

“It has to be tight, Sweetie,” Claire responded.

Then she couldn’t take it. She’d done all that she could do, and she couldn’t handle it. Lindsay knew by the apologetic look that Claire gave her before she pushed herself up and walked away from them. She didn’t want Cindy to see her breaking down, or that angry, whichever the case may have been.

It wasn’t long after that the sirens came and brought them help. When the rescue workers arrived in the attic, they made Lindsay let go. She didn’t want to and Cindy  held fast, those small fingers clinging with an incredible amount of vigor, even after everything.

“We really need to get her to the hospital right away, ma’am.”

Lindsay assumed he was making the appeal to her as the more rational half of the equation. If he could have seen inside her head, how much she wanted nothing more than to never let go, ever again, he might have reconsidered. Then again, she must have still had some ability to reason, because as much as she didn’t want to, she knew that she needed to, for Cindy’s sake. Like she should have done in the beginning.

The man sounded undeniably soothing, so Lindsay put her hand on Cindy’s head, holding her close to whisper to her.

“You need to let them help you. I’ll be with you the whole time. They are not going to hurt you.”

“‘kay,” Cindy’s voice was barely there, broken, and it made it even harder to let her go.

The brawny EMT stretched his arms out. As hesitant as she was to put Cindy into some other stranger’s embrace, Lindsay knew there was no other way to get her down from the attic quickly, so she transferred Cindy into his arms. He was remarkably composed as he took her.

“I’m David. I’m just going to get you downstairs, okay?”

Cindy gave a tiny nod, but didn’t let go of Lindsay’s hand.

“It’s going to be hard for us to get down that way. Can you let go of her just long enough for us to get outside?”

Cindy’s grip only tightened, so Lindsay was forced again to be the strong one, in direct opposition to her own needs.

“I’ll be right behind you,” Lindsay promised, pushing a damp tendril back off of Cindy’s cheek. “It’s over, Baby.”

Cindy slackened her hold just enough, and Lindsay didn’t miss the unease in her eyes as she slipped her hand free.

“I’m right behind you,” she said again as David turned with Cindy and walked off.

But she paused for a moment before following. Because she saw Jill.

That Jill was up there was no surprise. Jill wouldn’t be the one left behind. What caused Lindsay’s momentary falter was the fact that Jill was staring down at Ashe, at his body, covered in blood and adorned with two of the most grisly gunshot wounds imaginable. Just staring. Relentlessly. Without so much as a flinch.

Halfway to the hospital, Cindy finally lost consciousness. The EMTs said that it was from the loss of blood and wasn’t surprising, but she’d be okay, and Lindsay needed to believe them badly enough that she took them at their word.

When they arrived at the hospital, some doctors and nurses took Cindy behind a curtain, and Lindsay followed and hovered uselessly in the background. She was fine with being helpless just as long as Cindy was where she could see her. But then they wanted to take Cindy to surgery and said that she couldn’t come, and Lindsay really wanted to tell them that they couldn’t take her then. Part of her understood, though, when they explained that there was damage to the nerves in Cindy’s wrist and if they didn’t operate right away, she might not be able to use her hand. Imagining the look on Cindy’s face when she found out she wouldn’t be able to type easily anymore made Lindsay stand aside and let them take her away.

A nurse walked Lindsay out to the waiting room and Jacobi was waiting there for her. He’d made other officers bring him to find out how Cindy was before he would go back to his own room. Lindsay didn’t know what she told him, or if any of it made sense, but he nodded at her as if it did.

It was the most peculiar thing. Standing in the attic, Jacobi had looked so impressive. It was easy to forget that there was a gunshot wound, still new and debilitating, in his head. But, in the fluorescent glare of the hospital lights, he appeared the picture of weakness again. When they brought in the wheelchair to return him to ICU, he practically collapsed into it.

Once he was gone, Lindsay realized the nurse was still there, because he was insisting that Lindsay let him look at her wounds, but, by then, Claire and Jill appeared and the nurse left Lindsay in their care, giving them the argument that her arm should be looked at. They didn’t even bother trying. Eventually Claire just got up and returned with a small kit to take care of the wounds herself right there in the waiting room.

Jill and Claire did try to make her sleep after a couple of hours had passed and Cindy still wasn’t out of surgery. There had been mention of shock and exhaustion and being strong for Cindy when she woke up, and Lindsay knew that there was truth in the words, but when she laid down on the bench between them and closed her eyes, she was back at the house, in the midst of Cindy’s torment, and the panic of not being able to see her was too real to let her rest.

When the surgeon finally came out to tell them that everything had gone well and Cindy should have full mobility in the hand, Lindsay suffered instantaneous guilt over how little she cared whether or not Cindy’s hand worked. She just hated the doctor for keeping Cindy from her.

Then, she asked to be taken to Cindy’s room, and hated the doctor even more.

“She needs her rest.”

“I’m not planning on waking her up.”

“Are you family?”

“I’m a cop.”

It had worked for them to get in to see Jacobi. The cop thing had power, and she was far too sleep-deprived and frantic to explain the situation more accurately, or argue the finer points of hospital politics. Especially not when she could just physically move the woman out of her way.

The desire to do so must have been more apparent than she realized, because Claire and Jill put their hands on either of her arms. And they were right. Getting into a fistfight was a surefire way to get kicked out of the hospital instead of getting what she wanted.

Luke walked in then, to talk to someone at the desk. She wouldn’t have even noticed if Jill didn’t immediately let go of her to rush over to him. After talking to him for a few seconds, he followed her back over.

“We need to make an exception,” he told the surgeon.

“She’s in recovery,” the surgeon responded, as if it somehow changed the fact that she was going to make it back to be with Cindy one way or another.

“We need to make an exception,” Luke said again.

There was a hidden layer of meaning in the words, and in the glance exchanged between the two doctors. Everything that Lindsay hadn’t bothered to verbalize seemed to pass between them in the instant, and the surgeon nodded in comprehension.

Despite her impaired cognitive functioning, Lindsay had a flash of understanding too. Where she once was a wife, she was now an exception. It didn’t matter. She’d be whatever they wanted her to be if it got her to Cindy faster.

“Come on. I’ll take you back,” the surgeon offered.

“I’ll take her back,” Luke said and offered his arm.

Grateful for the physical support, Lindsay rested more weight against Luke’s arm than he was probably expecting. Claire squeezed her hand and she glanced at her briefly, before looking to Jill. She hoped that Jill understood without saying it out loud. It had taken a lot of nerve for her to ask for Luke’s help. She was indebted.

After he settled her in, giving her a clean pair of scrubs to change into, Luke had them bring a cot into Cindy’s room, but, as exhausted as Lindsay was, she couldn’t seem to move from Cindy’s side to use it. She sat in the chair, in a suspended state of oblivion, unable to move or think much. She just kept holding onto the hand that wasn’t bandaged, rubbing her thumb over the soft skin that was back to its normal temperature and a much more reassuring hue, and stared at Cindy.

At some point, her head got so heavy, she couldn’t hold it up, so she laid it down next to Cindy’s thigh. From that angle, Lindsay could still watch Cindy’s eyelids move slightly as she slept, and the rise and fall of Cindy’s chest, that autonomic proof that she was still with her, was prominent.

It was the last thing Lindsay remembered for a while.

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  1. yo riley,
    thanks again for all the amazing words you seam to thread together so easily to create your amazing stories.

  2. This was both beautiful and sad. I’m glad you’re also showing Jill and Claire’s reaction. Keep it up.

  3. Dont stop! keep going with this one. please! lol Dont stop by journey… (stupid brother… has to remind me of all that stuff) just what ever u do dont end it soon please… and if u do, god forbid, make the next one even better!

  4. Thanks peeps! But as for the threading together easily thing, I would just like to direct you to my favorite writing quote. I think it pretty much sums up my feelings.

    “Writing is easy: All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.” – Gene Fowler

  5. As a confirmed lurker, I’ve been wrestling hugely with the idea of posting a reply. In the end it was simple. Your writing rocks – and there needed to be an acknowledgement of that. Thanks for providing us all with such needed diversion 😀

  6. I can’t believe I haven’t commented on this yet. I’m sorry!
    Today hasn’t been a great day and I’m feeling both angry and sad, but I want to thank you for writing such a wonderful story. I can’t get enough of it!
    Riley, you’re the best! Please post another chapter soon (I promise next time I’ll be more detalied in my comment!).


  7. I was just re-reading this for like the 20th time (because it’s brilliant) and…Oh my god! “brawny EMT” named David!! It’s Hallelujah Man! Haha! 😉 Creepy! 😀

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