Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Summary: A missing scene from episode 11 (Father's Day)
Author's Note: I've always been partial to Lindsay/Cindy. The first time through the show I didn't even like Jill but a recent re-watching of the episodes had me realizing that Laura Harris is pretty damn adorable..one thing led to another and this is the result.
Nothing To Prove
Cindy was used to being the youngest person in the room. As the only child of young parents, the first of their group of friends to have children, she had spent her formative years amongst adults. A late winter birthday and skipping the first grade had put her almost two years behind most of her classmates. And she had caught flack for it for years. Junior High, High school, even college. But she had long ago stopped feeling like she had something to prove.
Which is why it didn't bother her when Lindsay called her kiddo or said she didn't know anything about anything because she was twelve. Or when Jill would roll her eyes and ask "just how old are you, anyway?" Or when Claire would click her tongue and shake her head and call her "child" when she overstepped her bounds to help out with a case or get the scoop for a story.
She liked to think that behind the teasing there was an underlying respect. That they saw and appreciated her efforts. That they, unlike the others, realized that even though she was young she was also intelligent and passionate and dedicated.
Which is why it hurt to much when she found out that they had withheld information from her. Not only that, they'd actually lied to her. That not only hurt, it pissed her off.
And since it was easier to be angry than hurt she held onto that anger, righteous anger, all morning. Until lunchtime when she glanced at the clock and realized that the girls would likely be at Papa Joe's right now and she would be eating lunch alone at her desk.
It shouldn't have been as depressing a thought at is was. It's not like she hadn't worked her way through many a lunch hour. And it wasn't as if she didn't have plenty of other friends in the city but the realization hit her hard enough to bring tears to her eyes.
In only a matter of months, Lindsay, Claire and Jill had come to mean so much to her. More than just the inside source on a story, more than just like minded collegues these women had become her friends. Her family.
She'd thought she could depend on them, trust them. She thought they'd trusted her. What was it Claire had said that night in the diner, keep my secrets, trust me with yours.
What happened to that?
Cindy wiped hastily at the tears and glanced around to see if anyone had noticed her upset. None had. Most everyone was out on assignment. The one's remaining were focusing on the computer screens in front of them. Relieved she stood, grabbed her bag and headed for the elevator. A walk might do her some good.
She rode the elevator down alone and strode across the lobby and out into the cool afternoon breeze. She made it two steps across the sidewalk before stopping dead in her tracks at the site of Jill leaning against a lampost, a paper takeaway bag in one hand, a plastic cup in the other.
Her breath caught in her throat and butterflies fluttered in the pit of her stomach. She cursed her usual reaction upon seeing the blond lawyer, they were fighting right now. Cindy shouldn't find her attractive right now.
"What happened, you draw the short straw?" Cindy couldn't help but snipe becaue really out of all of them, Jill was the last one she expected to come and make peace. Outside of the not-a-club they didn't really have all that much to do with each other. It's not like they were really friends.
Jill's eyebrows raised fractionally and her lips twitched, in either at smile or a smirk Cindy couldn't tell. Although with Jill sometimes those were one in the same.
"I wanted to come." She held out the cup to Cindy, who took it and raised the straw to her lips automtically. And was surprised by the cold sweetness that flooded her tongue.
"A milkshake? Just how old do you think I am?" Her question was half joking but also half series. Even so, she took another long sip. Strawberry milkshakes were her favourite drink, though how the other woman knew that she had no idea.
Jill let out a soft chuckle and handed the bag to Cindy. "Burger and fries from Papa Joe's."
Cindy accepted the bag with a small smile.
"I was hoping we could talk," Jill said softly. "Maybe go to the park around the corner?"
It wasn't a real park, just a patch of grass and a handful of trees between to office complexes but it was an ideal spot for lunch outside on a nice day.
Cind nodded in agreement. Jill pushed herself off the lampost and the two of them fell into step together. They walked in silence, the tension heavy beteen them. When they reached the park Jill gestured to an empty bench. Wordlessly Cindy moved towards it. She settled herself against the uncomfortable wooden slat back and fiddled with the bag in her lap as Jill seated herself next to her.
She wasn't really hungry, the tension of the day had tied her stomach up in knots, but she pulled the hamburger and fry container out anway. Instantly, almost automtically, Jill reached out and snagged a fry. Cindy popped one ito her mouth as well, chewed and swallowed without really tasting.
"I should have let Claire do this," Jill muttered, running a hand across the back of her neck and shifting uncomfortably.
Cindy silently agreed.
"Look, I don't know why Lindsay lied to you," Jill said "But I do know that whatever her reasons, it had nothing to to with you. Maybe it was orders from upstairs. Maybe it was a knee-jerk reaction to the way the rest of the Hall is freaking out. Could be she was just trying, in her own way, to protect you. Getting tangled up with a cop killer could be dangerous, maybe she was just trying to keep you out of that. I don't know. But don't think for a second that she doesn't trust you." She reached out and laid a hand on Cindy's knee, squeezing gently as she implored her. "And I'm sorry for going along with her. It was never my intention to hurt you."
Cindy almost missed the second part of what Jill had said because the moment Jill placed her hand on Cindy's leg the rest of the world fell away. Her body's entire focus centered on the small patch of denim and the warmth of the hand resting on it.
When Jill pulled her hand back it was both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, her body missed the contact instantly. On the other hand, she could breath again.
"I know we don't...I don't, say this enough but your contributions to cases have been invaluable. Can you forgive me?"
For a moment, Cindy simply stared, dumbfounded, as her brain tried frantically to catch up to what was going on.
She took so long to answer that Jill started to withdraw, tension appearing in her shoulders and her expression slipped into an impassive mask.
"Of course," she hastened to reassure her.
Jill gave a soft sigh of relief. "Good. Because I'd hate to lose your friendship over some stupid misunderstanding."
Cindy's surprise must have shown on her face because Jill gave her a sad smile and asked, "Is that really so surprising?"
Yes. "No. Well, maybe just a little," Cindy answered a blush heating up her cheeks. "I mean, it's not like you and I are exactly sharing the secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood or anything. It's just-"
Jill held up a hand, cutting her off. "I get it. But that doesn't mean that I don't consider you a friend. I know we haven't known each other that long, or that well but...I...you.." It was Jill's turn to flounder.
"All right, you love me like a sister. It's all good."
"My feelings for you are definitely not sisterly," Jill muttered, her eyes growing wide as the words left her lips, as if they were as much a shock to her as they were to Cindy.
Cindy's breath caught in her throat and her heart stuttered momentarily before picking up a staccatto beat.
"You...Me...Really?" Her words were embarrasingly inarticulate.
Jill chuckled softly. "Yes, really."
Cindy let out a disbelieving snort. She had a hard time wrapping her mind around the fact that Jill, calm, cool, smart, sexy Jill was attracted to her.
"Why?" She blurted the question before she had time to censor it.
Jill reached out and took Cindy's hands in her own. "I never would have pegged you as someone with self esteem issues," she said softly. "We're going to have to work on that."
Cindy actually had a healthy ego but at the moment she wasn't to concerned with assuring the other woman of that. Not with the way Jill's thumbs were gently stroking the tops of her knuckles.
"But, to answer your question, you're sweet, funny, smart, sexy..."
Sexy? Jill though she was sexy? She never got sexy. Cute, adorable, pretty, but never sexy. And from Jill, who practically oozed sensuality?
Excited butterflies began fluttering in her stomach and she couldn't help the wide, giddy grin from tugging at her lips.
"You have a crush on me." A soft giggle escaped her lips at the thought.
Jill blushed and dropped her eyes for a moment then brought her gaze up to meet Cindy's directly. "Yes. And I thought you deserved to know. That knowing might help you understand some of the tension between us. It threw me how quickly and how thoroughly you worked you way past my defenses and I didn't handle it as well as I could have."
Cindy had seen enough of Jill's crash and burn with Luke to know that the one thing she wanted most of all, committmend, stability, someone she could count on was also the one thing she feared the most, because she didn't trust it to last. So it made sense, that she'd push Cindy away when she started to feel something for her.
"I'm sorry if it makes you uncomfortable," Jill continued and released her hold on Cindy's hand.
Cindy tightened her grip, not allowing the other woman to pull away. "It doesn't make me uncomfortable. Flattered, that'd be one way to describe it. Surprised, another. Thrilled," she added, before Jill could think she was letting her down easy and pull away. "Pleased. Elated."
Jill started at her words then a soft smile formed on her lips. "Yeah?"
Jill used their joined hands to gently pull Cindy forward until their faces were only inches apart. This close, Cindy could see the darker flecks in Jill's pale blue eyes and the faint smattering of freckles across the bridge of her nose. Warm breath washed across her skin and then Jill's lips were brushing against her own, softer, more sweetly than she would have imagined.
As far as first kisses went it was perfect. And when they pulled back Cindy was slightly breathless and dazed. She couldn't help the grin from tugging at her lips or the faint giggle from bubbling in her throat as she realized that she'd just kissed Jill Bernhardt.
The shrill ringing of Jill's phone broke the spell of the moment and startled both of them.
Sighing softly, Jill dipped a hand into her pocket and pulled the offending object out. "Sorry," she whispered before checking the caller ID and then flipping the phone open. "Lindsay," she said, both an explaination and a greeting. A moment of silence passed with Jill listening, the expression on her face growing troubled. "All right. Yes. I'll be right there." She closed the phone and tucked it back into her pocket. "Sorry. Duty calls."
Cindy nodded. "It's okay. I should probably get back to the paper anwyay."
Reluctantly she pushed herself to her feet and waited while her friend followed suit. As they fell into step together, heading out of the park, Jill reached out and laced her fingers with Cindy's.
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