There are 10 letters in the medical examiner's name—Maura Isles. You counted them out when you found yourself doodling it for no reason in your notebook.
23 times you found yourself walking to the morgue when you could have called or simply waited on the report.
You started inviting her along to a scene when she could easily have waited for the evidence, 15 times in all. At the 16th, she simply assumed you would want her there, and you do though you don't know why. All she does is tell you what you missed and tiptoe around in those impossible shoes.
Countless times, at least 247, you told her you were parked at the end of the garage, so you would have a reason to make sure she got to her car safely without seeming to hover. Of course she could protect herself, not that the BPD garage was dangerous, but...
6 times you invited her out to the Robber for drinks before she finally accepted, and then she spent the entire night ordering different wines and telling you they tasted chalky. Somehow though you weren't frustrated—she was just adorable, that was the word. Finally you convinced her to try your beer and then decided the wine wasn't so bad after all.
It took only 4 attempts before she came to your mother's house for Sunday dinner. You watched as she sat quietly, hands in her lap, as the bedlam unfolded. The look in her eyes, alert and eager, made you happy in a way you didn't know you could be. By the time you left, she was practically glowing. You thought you might be too.
Only 3 more weeks passed before she invited your family to her house instead where you all sat in stunned silence for the first few minutes, staring at enough polished silver to stock the governor's mansion. Then you began to eat and a warm chaos broke out, enveloping you all as she beamed at you down the length of the table. You want to sit like this every Sunday for the rest of your life.
You realized that you knew there were 17 freckles along the line of her throat down the V of her blouse. There must be more and you found yourself wondering about them more than you should.
All 8 of her fingers (she says thumbs don't count) are strong but gentle when she sets your nose, and not for the last time. You tried not to tear up but you couldn't help it, so she smiled at you and fixed an ice pack from the dead people fridge, and you wanted to protest but she was touching you again and all you could do was stare into her eyes and nod.
You realized one day that she says your name in 7 different ways: there's one for hello, one for good bye, another when you've done something wrong, or less commonly when you got it right; and there's a different tone when she's scared for you and another when she needs help, and one more you don't quite understand but you would hear it all the way across Boston in a thunderstorm.
There were at least 9 restless nights you spent in the guest room after you stayed too late and drank too much, wishing you were down the hall with her instead. You didn't want to do anything, at least you didn't think so, but you needed to be near her. You needed to know she was all right, that she was warm and safe, and you suspected that she would fit perfectly in the crook of your shoulder. You really thought she would.
She talked for 11 straight minutes without stopping to convince you to meet her for something called Sunrise Yoga (which you called something else that she pretended not to hear). When she bounced up the next morning (in her matching teal and navy yoga pants and top that left nothing to the imagination) and saw that you really had come, simply because she asked, she smiled in relief and joy, and the last piece fit within your heart as you gave it away forever.
For 13 long weeks you held your tongue, fighting not to say I love you, but it was too late—you'd been saying it all along just not with words.
Because you knew you had a 500 million to 1 chance in the universe that Dr. Maura Isles would ever want to be with you. Honestly. She was a genius—she would know better.
The heart monitor on your watch, the one she gave you for your birthday even when you insisted you didn't want anything at all, logged that your pulse spiked to 132 in the minute she kissed you in the kitchen when she realized you weren't going to do it first. Then she shed at least that many tears when she realized you were kissing her back so you had to kiss each one away. In the process, you found that there were in fact many more freckles sprinkled across her skin—18, 19, 20, 21—and then you stopped counting.
But you didn't stop.
3 times you made love that night—once for the heart she gave you, once for the soul you lost to her, and once for that sinfully angelic body that turned out to be everything you'd imagined and more.
16 jaws collectively hit their desks in the BPD bullpen when she came to your desk to drop off the packed lunch she had made you, chock full of things like kale, yams, and quinoa, and said loudly enough for all to hear that if you 'accidentally' left it behind in the refrigerator one more time then you would find yourself 'accidentally' locked out of the bedroom. You decided that, with enough BBQ sauce, you couldn't even taste the quinoa.
You counted 83 pairs of shoes which you helped move to the guest suite so you would have room for your clothes, and there were still nearly 70 in the closet. These was just for spring she informed you. Next month you would help her change the closets out for summer.
52 times that year you came home on Friday night to her arms and 52 times she kissed away the stress and filth and made you whole again. 52 times you didn't have to make an excuse for why you didn't want to go out and meet someone nice—you already had that someone, and it wasn't just anyone. She was the one.
There were 17 states she announced on the 53rd Friday night as you curled together on the couch—17 states where you could legally marry and Massachusetts happened to be the first, but if you liked the idea of the tropics, then Hawaii was always beautiful, and there was New Mexico, northern California, the Vermont mountains, Iowa (although why anyone wanted to go to Iowa she would never know), New Hampshire was nice in the fall though, and... She had made it all the way to #14 before you recovered the ability to speak and told her that Boston was beautiful any day of the year she was available starting tomorrow morning when the courthouse opened at 9, but nothing could be more beautiful than her in white.
There were endless appointments and interviews with 23 different wedding planners, none of whom were as organized as she was, as well as 42 different samples of cake (you were all right with that part, especially the mocha buttercream), and 34 hours spent in the waiting lounge of the dress boutique after you were banned from the fitting room.
All of that was more than worth every second for 1 utterly unforgettable day when you became her wife; 1 last name that belonged to you both; 1 life intertwined, body and soul.
She made you so unbelievably happy that you thought you were done with tears forever, but 2 more times you cried like a baby when she gave birth to yours.
You try to keep track and hoard each memory, but the love is so great, so overwhelming, that it spills over and out of your control no matter how quickly you jot them down. She simply smiles, pressing her hand to her mouth when she finds your notebook, and then she says your name in that 7th way and you finally understand.
There's nothing to calculate, subtract or divide—you simply can't with infinity, and that's how much she loves you.