Inamorata (30/36) – WMC fic

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

It was a day very much like the one that came before, much as Lindsay had been expecting. Things may have gone to hell overnight, but it was going to take considerably longer, and substantially more effort, to try and retrieve heaven. Or at least their small part of it. Because, despite the fact that it was a day of errands and banality, the day that Cindy was released from the hospital was the closest Lindsay had ever come to seeing shimmering gold light and hearing angels singing on earth.

Cindy woke with the same singular purpose with which she fell asleep, an absolute determination to catch up on what Lindsay would have thought with anyone else to be ten years worth of reading, but knowing Cindy as she did, she suspected was a year’s worth max. A year’s worth of reading that she didn’t have time to accomplish because she was too busy not only being an ace reporter, but helping her to the extent of her contacts and capabilities with any and every case that came across her desk.

Cindy had consistently been able to give her exactly what she needed when she needed it. Why couldn’t she do the same?

She had moved to the table to watch from afar, knowing if Cindy woke to find her still there on the floor beside her, her reaction wouldn’t be the gratitude that would have made another sleepless night by Cindy’s bedside, whispering calming words and ghosting chaste caresses to heated skin, soothing away bad dreams she really hoped that Cindy wouldn’t remember having in the morning, worthwhile.

Lindsay knew the moment that Cindy was awake, though for some time Cindy didn’t move at all, and when she did, it was only to push herself to a more seated position and reach for her book.

Lindsay fetched coffee and set it on the coffee table in front of Cindy, then took up her position beside her. Without ‘good mornings’. Without acknowledgment. Which was fine. She wasn’t really expecting any.

That’s where they stayed for the next few hours. Then Cindy went to take a shower without an utterance. Lindsay highly suspected the shower was more a respite from her company than any real need to bathe. Though that was likely a strong desire for Cindy right now too.

Once again, she stayed anxiously attuned to the noises Cindy was making, because the fear was still prominent when she didn’t have Cindy in her sight, but Lindsay was actually grateful when Cindy went. The day before, when she’d taken the calls from Claire and Jill to check on Cindy, Lindsay pretended all was well. She didn’t want to exhibit any anxiety with Cindy in hearing range. But she was anxious, and desperately unsure, and she really needed to use that lifeline Claire had extended to her.

“How is she?” Claire asked following their brief and meaningless hellos.

“Not good,” Lindsay answered honestly.

“I didn’t figure,” Claire softly responded. “I could tell it in your voice.”

“She seemed so fine,” Lindsay shook her head, trying hard to clear it, trying hard to focus, trying hard to stay awake.

“I know, but we knew that she wasn’t.

Lindsay hesitated. If admitting to fear didn’t alleviate fear, why even bother with the admission? The only thing that she hated more than feeling powerless and incapable was letting it show. But it was Claire and she felt so fucking alone.

“Claire, I don’t know if I can…”

“Yes you can.” Claire didn’t even let her finish. There was a prolonged pause during which Lindsay knew that Claire was gathering her thoughts. “Hon, I saw you two together before you were even together. If there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that you’ll do what you have to do for her.”

“And if I do everything wrong?”

“You won’t.”

That, Lindsay knew for sure was lip service. Claire had no way of knowing that she wasn’t going to screw things up royally.

“I feel like she doesn’t want me here. I think maybe I’m the last person she needs right now.”

She felt the stirrings of tears and clamped down hard on them. She couldn’t give into them. Not now.

“And the only person she needs,” Claire softly replied.

It didn’t feel true, but Lindsay knew somehow that it was. If it were her, if she and Cindy’s places were reversed, and, God, how she wished that they were, Cindy would be the only person she would want, even if she made it more difficult to turn off the emotions completely. Maybe that was a good thing.

Lindsay wasn’t at all surprised when Cindy came down from the loft and went right back to her pile. Where else would she go? Her phone call with Claire ended with more words of encouragement, and Lindsay returned to her place on the sofa.

Cindy’s literary choices so far had been enlightening. Lindsay knew exactly what she was trying to do. She was hiding out in false worlds, evading all things that reminded her of her own reality. It was avoidant, a diversion, but not a terrible strategy. There were far worse methods of blocking out the aspects of life. Lindsay just selfishly wished that she wasn’t on the list of things to be ignored.

As long as Cindy was distracted, they couldn’t face this. She couldn’t cope and find a way to move forward. They couldn’t move forward. They were stuck in this suspended place of nothingness, where the hours were long and the world was exceedingly cold. Time felt cruel and debilitating. Two days were eons.

Cindy spoke when she was spoken to, in concise, dispassionate answers that were completely uncharacteristic. Otherwise she was silent. Cindy didn’t look at her. Cindy scarcely acknowledged her. Other than when the issue was forced, Cindy lived autonomously, not as part of a couple. As far as Cindy was concerned, she may as well not even exist right now.

Lindsay knew these signals well. She just wasn’t used to being on this side of them. Cindy was pulling away from her. She could see the walls going up as clearly as if they were crafted of mortar and stone, and if she had thought that it hurt to construct walls like that, Lindsay now had a deep understanding of how much worse it was to be standing on this side of them.

Is this what it had always been like to be with her?

She fell into the lull of the reading, because it was a distraction for her too. To some extent, it saved her from thinking. And she wanted Cindy to know that she was there. Whenever. For whatever. If ignoring her presence was what Cindy needed to do right now, that was fine, but she would still be there. Waiting. The implicit offering must have been, to some extent, recognized, because Cindy had started stacking her books onto Lindsay’s pile as she finished with them.

They were already halfway through the book pile in the evening of the third day. Or Cindy was halfway through Cindy’s pile. Unsurprisingly, her reading speed was considerably faster than Lindsay’s, so as her pile decreased, Lindsay had seen hers grow quickly.

Of course, she could claim an honest preoccupation.

On one of her many glances up at Cindy, which she’d kept more discreet, but certainly hadn’t decreased in number, Cindy’s eyes were on her. When she was caught, Cindy didn’t hurry to look away. Her gaze lingered, holding Lindsay’s for long enough that Lindsay’s breath caught in her chest, before she looked down again. It was brief, and not nearly as much as Lindsay would have liked from her, but it was more than she’d been getting.

Lindsay was about to ask if she was hungry. As usual, Cindy would answer yes, whether she was or not, in order to get the inevitable meal over with. They would sit at the table in silence, Cindy pushing food around her plate, and Lindsay wishing that she would eat just a little bit more of it.

Before Lindsay could initiate the back-and-forth dialogue that always led to the table though, Cindy shifted at her feet and stood, putting the book she was reading back on the top of the pile and went into the kitchen. She didn’t return quickly as she usually did, and Lindsay didn’t intrude.

She tried not to pay undue attention as Cindy walked back in and over to the table. There were the sounds of dishes being placed, before Cindy disappeared into the kitchen again, reappearing a few seconds later with her hands loaded for the second time.

“Dinner,” Cindy called quietly to her as she walked to the table again.

Lindsay had a feeling she didn’t hide her surprise or excitement at the word very well. She tried to put things into perspective. It’s not like they hadn’t eaten together. They had eaten together, every meal, but she was always the one who had to remember to feed them. Left to her own devices, she doubted Cindy would have been taking time out for food consumption. But, for some reason, she was making this effort now.

In a better mind set, the spread that greeted her at the table could have made Lindsay laugh out loud. It still brought the closest thing she’d had to a smile in a few days to her lips. A stack of pancakes sat on a serving platter, right next to a freshly opened bottle of wine. Cindy either just wanted to cook something simple or she had a craving. Either one of those things seemed like a positive sign.

“Is this okay?” Cindy asked her.

“It’s great.” Lindsay allowed the inkling to become a soft smile.

Cindy nervously tucked her hair behind her ears with both hands as she sat down, having a little difficulty with the bandaged one, but managing to complete the task. In all of her years as a cop, Lindsay had never felt so compelled to offer assistance, but she didn’t, because she couldn’t possibly handle the rejection right now if she reached out for Cindy and Cindy pulled away.

“People drink grape juice with breakfast. What’s the difference, right?” Cindy offered by way of explanation for her interesting mishmash of food and drink.

“Right,” Lindsay responded, melting into the seat nearest Cindy, almost giddy over the fact that Cindy was speaking to her and, yet, wounded by how hard Cindy was clearly struggling to offer this level of normalcy. It was far from effortless. It was hurting Cindy to provide it, and it was hurting Lindsay to watch her.

Cindy ate more than she had been eating at least. Lindsay watched her pour syrup over the top of a stack of three pancakes and dig in quite heartily. Even if that part was an act too, and it probably was, the nutritional value was the same. She finished the whole plate, and sat sipping at her wine. She was still on painkillers. She shouldn’t have been drinking it at all, but she was drinking slowly, and Lindsay decided to spot her a glass or two before chiming in with the, certainly unwelcome, voice of reason on the issue.

Lindsay was finishing up her seconds when Cindy’s eyes finally settled on her to stay. The gaze felt overpowering in its intensity, and Lindsay slowly blew out a silent breath before looking up to meet it fully. She was nerve-wracked for a reason that she couldn’t yet explain, but it was nice to just be able to look at Cindy for an extended period without feeling as if she was being a nuisance.

“I need you to do something for me,” Cindy requested softly of her.

Lindsay froze, held steady by Cindy”s gaze.

“Okay,” she breathed. It was all that she could get out.

“I want you to tell me everything that happened from the moment I was taken. From your side.”

What she’d been expecting, she didn’t know, but she certainly wasn’t expecting that. Jacobi had said that Cindy would tell her what she needed. He never said that it would be predictable.

Whether or not it was a good idea was certainly in doubt. But she could hardly say no to her.

She stared at Cindy for a long time and Cindy didn’t shy away from it. It would have been nice for there to be an easy answer, but it could never be that simple. The possibilities were as broad as humanity. Everyone found comfort in something different.

This wasn’t just someone though. This was Cindy, overly enthusiastic, over-curious reporter. That hadn’t changed. Her comfort zone was in the facts. She craved the particulars. As masochistic as it might have seemed to Lindsay, as brutal, if Cindy wanted to know everything, it was actually one of the few things that she could offer her that no one else could.

“Now?” she asked.

“Now,” Cindy nodded.

“Okay,”Lindsay whispered again, wondering if she’d be able to get any other words out when the time came.

“Hold on.”

Cindy pushed her plate away and got up, going over to her bag beside the sofa. Lindsay finished off the glass of wine in her hand and was pouring another to the rim when Cindy returned with a notebook and several pens and sat back in her seat. She was always prepared for this type of situation, though Lindsay wondered if she even saw how very different the situation was this time, and if there was any way for Cindy to ever be truly prepared for it. Lindsay certainly wasn’t. For a while, she just sat there, fidgeting nervously, trying to figure out where to begin.

“Um,” she started, deciding on a place that felt more neutral and easier to reveal. “I was working late. I was actually worrying about your conversation with Jacobi. I knew that you’d be great,” she felt the need to assure, “but I was afraid that he might be a little hard on you.”

“He was,” Cindy stated quietly, just a trace of affection leaking in.

It wasn’t an invitation. Lindsay knew better than to ask now. She would get that story later, when Cindy was more receptive to being on the receiving end of questions.

“When I went to go home that night, a member of the detail found a note that Ashe left. Or actually that he’d put there,” she shook her head. “We’ll get back to that. At the time I believed it was from Kiss-Me-Not.”

If she did as well going through the rest of it as she was doing at the moment, they’d never get through this. But Cindy nodded slowly, reflexively in understanding, without glancing up from her notebook. It was such a reliable and uniquely Cindy gesture, it propelled Lindsay onward.

At some point later, by silent agreement, they gathered up their things and moved to the sofa. Cindy switched to hot tea without having to be told, and Lindsay worked on the bottle of wine by herself. All that she wanted in the world was to hold Cindy, but Cindy settled back in her spot at the opposite end of the couch, facing her with her legs crossed, taking down pages upon pages of notes.

Lindsay led her through events as they unfolded, the conversations with Ashe, as word-for-word as she could remember them, and every thought that had passed through her mind, as accurately as she could recall.

The weight of it was nearly unbearable, because communicating it to Cindy, Lindsay lost all power to shut it out. All of the agonizing parts were right there, what she’d felt as the things she was relaying had been happening. She suffered it without allowing it free reign. If she gave those sensations sway, she knew where this would go. She would break, completely, and this wasn’t the time for that. This was the time to tell Cindy what she had asked to be told, and Lindsay needed to get it out now. She could only do this one last time. For Cindy. Then that was it. She couldn’t ever do it again.

At times, Cindy would stop writing and look up at her without expression, making the recitation of facts more difficult… and substantially easier.

Cindy unfolded her legs and stretched them out along the back of the sofa. Maybe on purpose, Lindsay’s leg slid over to meet Cindy’s. It was just in time. The soft pressure willed her on.

“Tom told me that they had lost Ashe. And then I lost it,” Lindsay stared down at her lap. “Claire said that I was in shock, and if she said it, I guess I was.”

“She is Claire,” Cindy offered, without looking up.

She’d been doing that regularly, giving Lindsay just enough of a reply, whenever it felt essential, to help her keep going.

This was the part she most dreaded telling Cindy, but it was the part that she most needed to disclose, because she hadn’t told anyone. No one had asked what had happened in those moments.

“It was like I was tripping or something. I was kind of aware of them, but I wasn’t. I thought that I was in the diner with you and, you know, Jill and Claire. You were teasing me. And then, I thought that I was in bed with you. It was storming and you were angry.” Lindsay swallowed the lump in her throat, chasing it with what was left in her glass. “You told me that you’d died and then you vanished. Next thing I know, I’m back in my SUV with Claire and Jill and Jacobi. I don’t know what made me snap out of it. Probably something Claire did.”

This time, when she looked up, there were traces of real sentiment in Cindy”s eyes, though Lindsay couldn’t specifically name it.

“She is Claire,” Cindy whispered again.

Lindsay felt warmth beneath her hand and realized it had come to rest on Cindy’s shin. She hadn’t noticed because it was so natural, and because Cindy hadn’t jerked away. With that knowledge fueling her courage, she took her chances, sliding her hand down the soft, worn denim and back up inside, the skin-to-skin contact an incredible feeling. Cindy didn’t withdraw from that touch either. Her breathing picked up perceptibly, and Lindsay felt it, that connection between them spark and breathe life into the room. Lindsay didn’t try for more. She just left her hand there. It was enough.

Her throat was raw from the hours of constant speech, and it was extraordinarily late. There wasn’t much left to tell anyway. But there was one thing. She didn’t want to tell Cindy this at all, but she’d find out eventually, and Lindsay knew it would be worse if Cindy discovered the fact from someone else. This was the last time. They should get everything that was going to hurt out at once.

Jacobi said that Cindy would tell her what she needed. He never said that it would be easy.

“Cindy,” Lindsay started and immediately wavered. This was going to be harder than she thought. “The house where Ashe took you…”

“I know, Linds,” Cindy softly rescued her. “That’s the story he told me while he was sewing my lips together.”

Lindsay was jarred by the plainly spoken image.

“He called you the heroine and Tom your knight… but I got the point.”

Lindsay’s jaw tightened until her teeth hurt. Ashe really had done his best to inflict all modes of torture in that attic.

“It was because of me. If I hadn’t become what I’d become…”

“Then he would have picked some other story,” Cindy declared with some force. “If we weren’t together, he may have picked a different woman, and you might not have been around to save her. I knew what I was doing when I came to the safe house. I’m not sorry that I did.”

Involuntarily, Lindsay’s psyche acknowledged what had always been its gravest concern. In her exhaustion, she could barely keep at bay the relieved sobs that pushed toward the surface.

“I wasn’t exactly lucid all of the time,” she said quickly to fight off the breakdown. “You should talk to Jill and Claire if you want to know more.”

Cindy nodded. Of course she did. She was Cindy. She always wanted to know more.

“Do you want to get some sleep?” Lindsay asked her.

Cindy looked out the windows at the dawn light slowly emerging.

“Yeah. Let’s sleep,” she responded.

Even with the concurrence, Lindsay was slow to rise from her position. It was the necessary removal of her hand from Cindy’s leg that inhibited her more than anything. She did let go, though, regretfully getting up, more than surprised when Cindy stood up with her.

Cindy had slept on the couch the night before, as she had the night before that, but she was clearly planning to follow. So, Lindsay led her up the stairs to the loft.

Cindy shucked her jeans, allowing them to simply fall to the floor and climbed into the bed. Lindsay changed into her sleep clothes, that spark from the living room growing into something more substantial as she felt Cindy’s eyes on her again.

She looked at the bed, with the briefest hesitation, before carefully lying down next to Cindy, close enough to, but not touching. Cindy was still watching her, so Lindsay turned onto her side to meet the steady gaze.

There was a softness in Cindy’s expression, something loving and giving and maybe somewhat apologetic.

“I love you, Lindsay,” she murmured.

Lindsay’s soul raged at the quietly spoken admittance that she so badly needed to hear, of which she so desperately needed to be reminded. Her logic fought back with all its might. Not now. She would cry later.

“I love you too.”



Cindy’s face, varying ever so slightly in the changing light from outside, was the last thing that Lindsay saw before she found rest for the first time in days.

Similar Posts


  1. Wow! When Lindsay finally opens the flood gates, she won’t be able to stop crying.

    And pancakes! HA! Very evil-genius of you to sneak in this moment of levity amidst all the drama. Very satisfying chapter.

  2. That was beautiful. I’m glad Cindy’s getting better and you’re handling it realistically.

  3. You do gut wrenching like McDonalds does Big Macs. My fucking stars was that a beautiful chapter. Cindy, being the curious reporter she is, and wanting to know those things, took guts and you certainly emphasise Cindy’s bravery even as it’s masked in vulnerability. And Lindsay… what can I say? You’ve got her pegged into such an emotional maelstrom it’s going to be explosive when she finally manages to sort through it all. You’re brilliant. This story is equal parts sweepingly romantic and devastatingly heart-breaking. And the one thing you do best of all is have Cindy rely on Lindsay and Lindsay rely on Cindy for mere emotional survival. Please, don’t keep me hanging here and update soon.

  4. I have pancakes at any time of the day. I can definitely see them as a comfort food. Not that this should be the main focus of the chapter, but in an avalanche of emotion like that, sometimes it’s easier to focus on the litle things. Like when Lindsay was touching Cindy’s leg. Gorgeous.

  5. OMG. Your storyline is so absolutely believable. So much more realistic than going through hell and being just hunky dory. Both of them have some issues to work through in their own ways, but together is definitely the way to go. Thanks for the hope at the end.

  6. There is no place I like to be more when I am reading than feeling like I am walking on egg shells. You know, where it’s like, if you turn the page too suddenly or scroll down too fast, you will break the delicate balance and somehow intrude. You are supposed to just be observing, but the tension is so consuming, you feel like a part of it. That’s how this story feels when I’m writing it.

    And onto the coffee! Yeah, that’s right, the health benefits of coffee… and they are many. Not to mention… TASTY!!

  7. You’re the best.
    I find each chapter is better than the one before, and it was pretty darn good to start with…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.