"Merry Christmas..." Shyly, Jane looked up at Maura and seemed to hesitate before taking her in her arms for a warm hug. In front of everyone.
She had barely had time to go back to her place to have a shower and get ready for the meal at the honey blonde's place. Perhaps it was actually better this way. At least, she hadn't been able to lose herself in wonders and even less succumb to a well-known panic. She didn't want to think about it. The situation was enough stressing in itself like that.
Maura smiled and nodded without a word before turning to Tommy who was in full talk with Lydia. She welcomed them as well; warmly enough. They were family, for her. As much as her parents – her adoptive ones – who weren't even in Boston to spend the day with her. As a matter of fact, she didn't know in which country they were this time around.
She needed to call them at some point.
"Angela and I prepared a whole room for TJ if he needs to take a nap. There are stuffed toys, a soft lamp and a nice blanket in alpaga I bought the other day at a very cute children store."
Seeing that Maura was busy with her guests, Jane walked to the kitchen and went to hug her mother who was already busy cooking her infamous gnocci. Angela raised a surprised eyebrow and - getting rid of some flour on her cheek with the back of her hand - made a step backwards to fully check her daughter.
Jane shrugged, a bit uncomfortable. She pulled on the fabric then crossed her arms against her chest before rolling her eyes with exaggeration. She didn't like remarks about her looks, even when it was nothing but compliments. She didn't know how to take them; nor how to reply properly.
"Why you want me to put back a pair of jeans?"
Sarcasm. It always worked. A lame way to defend herself but she hadn't found anything better. Used to such reaction, the matriarch didn't insist and went to plant a loud kiss on her daughter's cheek.
She smiled at Jane with honesty.
"You are beautiful. I love you."
A moment of uncertainty floated between both until Jane felt something against her legs, tiny hands clutching to her ankle. She looked down – taken aback – and laughed as she saw TJ grinning at her.
She took him in her arms and made him twirl around.
"Maura!" With his little index finger, the toddler pointed out at the medical examiner who was still talking to Lydia, showing her something in a magazine.
Jane nodded and swallowed hard. Yet TJ didn't stop. On the contrary. He started kicking her on the side with his feet, still motioning at Maura.
"I guess that he wants you to take him to her, Janie." Salad bowl full of flour in hand, Angela smiled at her grandson and patted her daughter's back. "She doesn't bite."
The remark made Jane blush. She had sworn to herself that she wouldn't look embarrassed nor catch anyone's attention over the delicate situation regarding herself and Maura. Yet she had just passed the door that she was turning red like a brick already. Taking a deep breath, she walked with TJ to Maura and smiled at her.
"He wanted to see you..."
Luckily like always on these days, they didn't have much time for a mutual embarrassment. Soon – while Korsak arrived along with Frost who hadn't been able to visit his mother this year – activities torn them apart until the meal; not very appropriate either for a talk. Anyway, Jane still had no idea what to say. She had thought about it during her nightshift but nothing had made it to her head. Not really. Nothing worth it.
Yet she wanted to make things clear. With Maura, with everyone. She had taken the decision while with her colleagues the day before. She just had to find the right moment for that.
Unwrapping her presents along with the others while eating dessert, she remained still for a short moment as her eyes locked with the honey blonde's hazel ones. She had sat on the other side of a long table set up for the occasion. Jane dared a pale smile – a timid one – before looking down at the present Maura had got her. Then everything stopped.
An old copy of Tristan And Isolde with a small white envelope scotched to it. Touched by the book obviously reminding her of their night at the Opera House, Jane grabbed the piece of white paper and opened it. A thin emerald bracelet was in it, with a date engraved on the back of it. The one of their first kiss, on the ice rink.
Her hands shaking like a leaf, she looked back up at Maura who had pursed her lips and seemed just a tad nervous.
She hadn't unwrapped her presents yet and was obviously looking for a way to escape – discreetly enough – from Jane's insistent gaze.
It was snowing hard, the wind blowing at every corner. Huddled up against her coat, Jane made her way through the crowd of passers-by who had gathered by Faneuil Hall to listen to Christmas carols after a long meal shared with beloved ones. The detective had hesitated. Until the last minute, she had not been sure whether she would go to the mysterious rendez-vous or not.
She hadn't talked to Maura. Instead, she had lost herself in her cowardice again until frustration had made it to her head to never let go of her again. She hated it when she lacked courage. Especially with Maura.
She couldn't wait like that, not for too long. Or else she would lose her once and for all.
But as she had said goodbye to TJ – Lydia – and Tommy, she had found herself alone with Angela at the scientist's place. Maura had left in the meantime, sneaking out without saying a word.
Jane had barely thanked her for the bracelet she was now wearing at her wrist. A mumble of words – lost in her lack of self-confidence – while her heart had never beat so fast.
Hands in the pockets of her coat, she looked around as she made it to the Christmas carols corner. It was clear that she wasn't alone. It would be hard to find the person who had sent her the bouquet as well as the greeting card; if she even wanted to see this person. Curiosity had pushed her to do so.
The first notes of All I Want For Christmas Is You hit the air, welcomed by a round of applause: a dozen of smiles. She leaned against the wall and listened to the song, looking all around.
Who? Who had sent her all this? And what for?
All she hoped was that it didn't come from one of her annoying colleagues. If so, she would be mortified to say the least. Especially since she hadn't stayed home and ignored the rendez-vous. Perhaps she should try to hide a bit, just in case.
The voice rose in her back, full of incomprehension and uncertainty. The Italian froze – swallowed hard – and clenched her fists subconsciously. She must have not heard properly. A dream. That was what it was and nothing else. And yet.
A hand brushed her shoulder, barely. She turned around.
Maura was there, her eyes glimmering through tears Jane didn't know how to interpret. Brown diamonds that seemed to hesitate between hope and bitterness.
"What are you doing here?" The Italian's hoarse voice barely rose in the air, covered by the singers' own ones.
Maura bit her lower lip and tilted her head on a side as if plunged in her thoughts. For long seconds, she remained quiet; still. People were coming and going around them but she didn't see them. Way too many things were going through her head; her feelings melting in what-ifs and the memories of the past few weeks.
The Home For Little Wanderers. The girls. It had to be them. The bouquet, the card. They had not given up their plot to get them the contrary.
The thought made her blush. She looked down and took a deep breath before looking for Jane's eyes again. She shrugged, unsure of what she was supposed to say. Too many things to explain, anyway.
But Jane reacted before. She ran her tongue over her lips and shook her head as if sweeping away a few things. She made a step towards Maura and locked her eyes with hers. It was now or never.
"I love you."
Three words. Nothing in the profusion of any language and yet the most powerful ones one could ever face. Maura gasped, frowned. She hadn't expected that. All she had wanted from Jane was a way to make their couple official.
Yet the Italian had gone a lot further.
As if carried on by an invisible strength – the one of her feelings lying in the open – Jane passed a hand on Maura's nape to drag her closer. She captured her lips in a long kiss; an assumed one. The kind that had rocked years of fantasies and repressed desires.
"I love you." The whisper barely passed Jane's lips to embrace Maura's as they broke apart for air and leaned their respective foreheads agains each other. "I love you... I love you."
Jane grabbed Maura's hand – cast a glance at the crowd of strangers around them – then smiled at the blonde with a brand new easiness.
One that buried all the doubts she had had until now. She had never felt so light, so true to herself. At last.
The timid smile on Maura's lips melted into a grin as Jane's attitude appeared clearly. The scientist's hand slid against the brunette's and held it tight. She brought it to her heart before swallowing back some tears. Tears of joy.
It was almost too beautiful to be true.
As the last notes of All I Want For Christmas Is You resounded loud in the air – embracing Faneuil Hall of its shades of hope and symbolic – Maura bent over and captured Jane's lips with abandon. Abandon and love.
Author's note: thank you very much for following this Rizzles Advent calendar, I hope you loved it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I wish you all a merry Christmas - if you celebrate it - and will post a series of one shots until NYE, titled Countdown, starting tomorrow.