Chapter thirty: Epilogue
Two years later
Jane cast a brief glance at the airport in the rearview mirror and sighed. Heavily, loudly. She didn't hide her feelings anymore. She had stopped doing so a very long while ago. What for, anyway?
It was obvious that she was sad, just like the other families who were saying goodbye to the students they had welcomed at their place for the last two months.
"You know, I had thought it'd be easier at some point... That we'd get used to it. I was wrong. It's still a fucking heartbreaking." She raised an apologetic hand. "I know, I know. Language..." She turned the radio on.
Maura didn't protest. Sitting on the passenger seat, she squeezed her wife's thigh in a gesture she hoped comforting enough and focused on the road. She wasn't doing any better than Jane for the moment.
Six students. They had welcomed six students thanks to the international exchange program and had kept in touch with every single one of them. Margot held a special place in their hearts, though. They owed her a lot.
They owed her everything, as a matter of fact.
They had visited her in Bordeaux before heading to Maura's parents' house in Dordogne for another couple of weeks a year earlier. Jane liked referring to their stay in France as their honeymoon. Nothing had really been defined by then.
They had celebrated their wedding in Boston – with friends and relatives – but had never followed any classic scheme either regarding their union. No honeymoon as per say, no official pictures. But it suited them, actually.
They were happy together, with the way of life they had chosen.
"Do you happen to think – at times – about what your life would be if I hadn't decided to take part in the program?"
Jane tightened her grip on the steering-wheel. She didn't like Maura's introspective questions when she was driving. She felt trapped in the car by then; trapped in a dead-end alley with no choice but to face her deepest feelings. It was a fair game, though. Just too tough for Jane's taste. She didn't want to think about anything. She put her brain on pause and simply remained concentrated on the road.
"I try not to because then it makes me sad."
Her curiosity piqued, Maura turned her head around and squinted her eyes at her wife. She looked at her – impassive – and waited for an explanation. Jane's statement had been slightly mysterious. She either had said too much or really not enough.
Jane rolled her eyes, not out of impatience but out of discomfort.
"It makes me sad because I'd have missed out pretty much all my life." She bit her thumb. She was really not at ease. "Satisfied?"
The kiss that Maura planted at the corner of her lips took her by surprise, just like the hand she slid up her inner thigh.
"You always satisfy me..." Maura's sultry voice rose in the car.
Jane blinked – swallowed hard – then shook her head in fake disbelief.
"You are such a perv, Maura."
As much as she had counted more times than she could remember, a scalpel was still missing from her kit and for whoever knew Maura, it was an extremely upsetting situation. She briefly looked all around and pouted.
Perfect timing, really. She was about to practice an autopsy in front of a group to fifteen students – as the chief medical examiner of the state – but the most elementary instruments were missing.
She couldn't have asked for a better context. Really. Now annoyed, she walked to the intercom and pressed the button.
"Susie? Are you here?"
No answer. Where had her assistant gone? She was already fully prepared for the autopsy and didn't feel like getting undressed just to go check by herself if the senior criminalist was around. Susie had to be there, anyway. She was the one who would assist her and she knew that Maura didn't like it when an autopsy was delayed.
Will you calm down now, Isles? She may be welcoming the students. Have you thought about that? Don't be the judgemental boss you don't want to be! You asked her to welcome the student so you could prepare the room.
Don't be a bitch.
Repeating the last sentence in her head like a mantra, Maura walked to one of the cabinets and tried to find the missing scalpel there. She couldn't believe they didn't have an extra one. It was a ridiculous fault. Extremely unprofessional.
So. Not. Like. You.
They had had to face a few unexpected autopsies the past few days but she usually made sure there were enough supplies at the morgue. A beginner knew that and she was far from being one.
"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God!"
The doors got slammed in her back but she barely heard them as Jane's hysterical voice suddenly rose in the usually quiet room.
Maura turned around and tilted her head. Her wife has no reason to be here as she didn't work on the case that was now lying on a metallic table nearby.
"What is going on?" Maura laughed lightly, amused by Jane's reaction. "This is so not... You. You got good news?"
The detective nodded and pointed out a sheet of paper she was holding; or better say, reducing to pieces in her fist.
"Margot's coming back! She got her baca... Baca-thing..."
Jane nodded, her enthusiasm contrasting sharply with Maura's legendary serenity. She feverishly got another look at the mail she had printed to make sure that what she was about to say was right.
"Yes, that." She grinned, giggled like a school girl. "Exactly. And she got accepted here. She's going to Cambridge for a year! Starting..." She squinted her eyes at the mail, looking for the dates. "Seems like... Her classes start in September but she arrives in July!" Jane nodded enthusiastically at her wife. "A whole year, Maura! She comes here for a year!"
For long seconds, Maura didn't react. Shocked by the news. As much as Margot had talked about it – about coming back for a full year once she was in college – Maura hadn't thought that she would do it so soon.
They hadn't seen her for a year, since their stay in France. The perspective of having her back in Boston went beyond her expectations. A grin matching Jane's lit up her features.
"Are you crying?" No answer. Jane approached her wife. "Maura... Are you crying?"
Jane rolled her eyes – burst out laughing – and took Maura in her arms for a comforting hug. If she wanted to be completely honest, she had to admit that she was really touched by the news too.
They didn't consider Margot as their daughter but the bond they shared was very strong.
"You can't lie, now... You can't break into hives while a dozen of newbies are waiting in the hallway with Susie. I'm not sure they want to meet a medical examiner in tears."
Maura's fist landed on her wife's forearm without doing any harm at all. She pouted, forced to admit that Jane was right. Shrug.
Gasp. Falsely offended, Jane made a mock of disgust and shook her head as if she couldn't believe it. Not that she was fooling anyone, her happiness was glowing.
"Don't you dare whatever me...!"
"Then may I simply do that...?" Without waiting for an answer, Maura passed her arms around her wife's waist to pull her closer to her body and captured her lips in a bold kiss.
They rarely indulged in it when at work. It was an implicit rule, out of respect for their colleagues.
They had a professional conscience and wanted to stick to it as much as possible but sometimes, it was just too hard to resist.
"And this is the autop... Oh." Susie stopped right in her tracks, halfway between the doors and the room.
Jane and Maura turned their head around immediately, not really aware of the suggestive position they were in; leaned against the edge of an empty metallic table.
"Ahem..." The senior criminalist blushed, looked for her words. The only thing she was certain of right now was that she needed to avoid the students' amused eyes on her. "This is Detective Rizzoli... She... She has been working with us for a little while, now. And ahem... This is... Ahem..."
Maura straightened up and fully turned around to face the students. Almost too much at ease before such scene.
"Dr. Isles, chief medical examiner. Welcome to my office. Detective Rizzoli – who happens to be my wife – will not join us for today's autopsy but you might have a chance to see her again during your internship if you choose to... To do it with me. She is never really far."
Jane forced a smile, cursing Maura's ability to keep it up as if nothing had happened when all she wanted herself was to die at the scene.
Until death do us part... Right, Rizzoli? Yeah... Death or shame, you mean. You never know with Maura. Let's face it.
To be continued...
Author's note: thank you very much for all your reviews, from day one to... Today. I hadn't planned on writing a sequel but since many of you felt the desire to read one, I will postpone the fic I wanted to start after Until Death Do Us Part and will write a sequel instead. It will start on Wednesday, which gives me a few days to come up with a plot of some sort. I hope you will enjoy it as well.