"You look fine, really. It's just lunch with my folks. You've had lunch with them before." Jane threw an exasperated look at her partner. "After that, we're going to watch the ballgame. You don't need Jimbo Whatever's for that. Don't you own some sneakers or something?"
Jane flinched as she saw the look of distaste run across Maura's features. "I do not. Jane, you know better, and I understand that I've had lunch with your family before. But, this is different. This is the first time I'm there as your," Maura realized they hadn't actually defined their relationship with a term. She stopped looking through her extensive shoe collection and turned to Jane. Her expression was full of questions.
"Girlfriend. That would would be the word you're looking for, Dr. Isles." Jane gave her best reassuring smile to the women standing in the closet.
"Girlfriend?" Maura's reply was meek, and Jane could see her complexion lighten.
"Babe, are you okay?" Jane took a step forward. "You look sick."
"I'm fine. I just," Maura took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "I had yet to define us in my mind, which is very unusual for me. You know, the term girlfriend has a very interesting etymology dating back several..."
Jane placed a finger over Maura's lip. "Hey, this is me. Why am I making you nervous?" She removed her finger and replaced it with a light kiss.
Maura swallowed and tried to refocus herself. "I've never prepared for a situation where I might announce that I had a romantic homosexual relationship. Before you ask, yes, I do try to prepare for any given set of circumstances. However, this was never a possibility in my mind's preparations, so I never prepared."
"I thought you'd done this before?"
"I did. But, she broke off the relationship, as I told you. I determined that working with that type of relationship was not practical to stability. I theorized that it would be a better use of my time to find a male mate where a possibility of offspring could be had therefore ensuring a stable relationship."
Jane raised an eyebrow and bit back the sarcasm that was threatening to come out. "You decided not to date women because of one bad breakup?"
"When you say it like that, it does sound rather silly, doesn't it?"
"Yeah, a little." Jane chuckled.
"Jane, why aren't you have as much trouble as I am?" Maura shifted her weight. Jane was surprised to see how uneasy the ME actually was.
"Well, for one, I never plan anything." She gave Maura her best mischievous smile. "For two, people have been asking me if I batted for the other team all of my life. I think part of the reason I never really considered it is because everyone always said I was."
"That sounds like something you would do."
"Thanks." She reached out and captured Maura's hand. "I've always tried to stay away from women I might have feelings for. I've always hung around guys, you know? I've been really careful. But, with you, I don't think I was ever careful. Honestly, I don't care what gender you are. I care about you, and that's all that really matters." She pulled Maura to her and wrapped her arms around the tiny woman. "You get me. No one else does. You understand and put up with my moods. You take care of me. You're kind and wonderful and gentle and smart." She leaned back to look the blonde in the eyes. "I even think it's cute when you have Google mouth." She shrugged. "I guess I've just been waiting for this moment all of my life. I just didn't know it until now." She let go of Maura.
"Now, put on some jeans, those black dress boots, and a shirt. We're going to be sitting on the couch where beer will get spewed and chips will get all over the place. Okay? Hurry or we'll be late. Ma wants us to pick up some drinks on the way."
"Did you just tell me what I should wear?" Jane stopped in the doorway of the bedroom.
"Maybe. Did it work?"
"Go get things together. I'll be out in a moment." At Jane's skeptical look, Maura added, "I promise."
As Jane finished gathering, Maura walked out in black dress boots, jeans, and one of Jane's softball jerseys. "How's this?"
"I wondered where I left that."
"I borrowed it the last time I was over after it rained. Remember?"
"Oh yeah," Jane smiled at the memory of a soaking wet Maura fussing over her hair as she tried to not make a face at wearing Jane's cotton t-shirt. "It looks good on you."
"This is okay?"
"It's perfect, babe. Let's go."
"It's about time you got here, Jane. Your father's been complaining about the lack of beer for an hour now." Angela Rizzoli reached down to grab the six pack Jane was holding under her arm.
"Why is it, Ma, that you can never say things like, 'Hi, Jane' or 'Hello' whenever you see me? Why do you always have to start with something I messed up on?" Jane followed her mother into the kitchen.
"Jane, you know I love you. I'm just a little preoccupied." Angela leaned to the side. "Ah! There you are! Hello, Maura, I'm glad you came."
"Thank you." Jane stepped to the side so she could see both women clearly. "Seriously, Ma?" She rolled her eyes. "Why do bother?"
"I could use some help here. Jane, could you start the water?"
Jane made a face, but started to help her mother. It was easy for her to fall into the same practice routine she had learned growing up in the Rizzoli household. "Babe, you don't have to stay in here if you don't want. Ma will put you to work if you stick around here too long."
"I don't mind. It's interesting to watch the interpersonal dynamic between parent and offspring. I've read several case studies from well known anthropologists that suggest..."
Jane handed Maura a cutting board and some vegetables. "Salad?"
"Okay." Maura settled herself at the counter and began to chop. "Sorry."
"It's okay, babe. Don't worry about it." Jane smiled at the blonde as she began to help her mother.
"Did I just hear you call Maura 'babe'?" Jane wondered why she even bothered to speak around her mother. "When did you start doing that?"
After a moment of silence, Jane shook her head. "I don't know."
"Last night before we went to bed." Jane's mother stopped to look at Maura who as still chopping vegetables. "You said, 'whatever you say, babe' during a conversation regarding the man in our yoga class you refer to as 'estrogen man'."
"Huh," Jane ran her hand across her chin. "I guess so." She shrugged.
"Well, things are moving right along, aren't they?" Angela winked at Maura.
"Okay, first of all, I saw that. Second of all, what's that supposed to mean?" Jane glared at her mother.
"I believe your mother is pointing to the fact that couples who are starting to settle often give each other 'pet' names as a sign of affection."
"What do you call Jane, Maura?"
"Jane." Maura began to toss the salad. "I've never been very good at pet names. However," she stopped and turned to regard Jane. "If I were to pick one for her, I think it would probably be 'kitten'."
Jane fumbled her knife, and her mother laughed. "Really? Why? Maura, you have to tell me why!" Angela had stopped working completely.
"Ma, lunch is going to be late."
"She is actually very graceful." Maura inclined her head to the left as she thought through her reasoning.
"My Jane is graceful?"
"Oh yes. In certain situations, she's amazingly agile."
"Okay," Jane practically shouted. "I think we've discussed this enough."
Angela and Maura continued to ignore the brunette who was now desperately trying to get them to stop their line of conversation.
"I've only seen Janie be clumsy. I'm constantly worried she's going to trip over something and kill herself. Just the other night she tripped over her softball bat and practically broke her neck."
"Yes, the wound is still on her leg from that." Maura frowned. "When she is not concentrating on not being 'clumsy', she's very graceful. Lithe would be a good word as well. Plus, she purrs."
Jane slammed her knife down on the cutting board. "Can we please stop this? I really don't need my mother to know all my personal stuff, Maura."
"Are you embarrassed? I'm simply stating facts."
"Yeah, as a matter of fact, I am a little embarrassed. And, Ma, why do you have to ask?"
"I'm just trying to learn about you, sweetie. You're always so secretive." Angela shrugged. "I didn't know you purred." She shot Maura a smile that made Jane want to scream in frustration.
"When she's content," Maura continued, "She makes a low sound in the back of her throat very similar to a purr."
"Okay, I'm so out of here. You two go talk it up. I'm going to go watch the pregame with Pop and Frankie."
Jane stormed out of the kitchen to the sound of both her mother and girlfriend laughing.
Dinner went well. As predicted, the food was excellent, and Jane was very pleased to see that her family had no issues including Maura in their conversation. Of course, that had never been a problem before, but she was still nervous about how well received their relationship was really going to be.
Jane and the men settled down to watch the game, everyone grabbed their normal spots in the living room. Jane sat on one end of the couch, her brother in the middle, and her father on the opposite end. Meanwhile, Maura and Angela cleaned up from the meal.
"Maura, sweetie, why don't you go join Jane and the others? I can take care of this." Angela took the dish out of Maura's hand.
"To be honest, I'm not very good with sporting events. I always seem to bother Jane at just the wrong moment. I'd rather not interrupt her."
"Don't be silly, sweetie. You just need to know what to do to get her attention." Angela walked to the fridge and pulled out a beer. "Here, go take this to her." She seemed to think for a moment. Throwing Maura a warning look, she added, "Wait to give it to her during a commercial break."
"What am I to do after that?" Maura looked down at the cold bottle in her hand.
"Follow your instincts." Angela gave her a reassuring smile as she pushed her through the kitchen door and into the room where the rest of the Rizzolis were seated.
Maura could hear the game on the television set. The Rizzolis were clearly upset by what they were watching on the screen. Jane seemed to be close to throwing things at the set. She waited patiently for a commercial break, as Angela had instructed her to do. Once on, she walked over to Jane and handed her the beer.
"Hey, thanks, Maura!" Jane took the beer and sat it down on the coffee table in front of her. "Do you want to sit down and watch the game with us?" Jane glanced around the room. At some point, her mother had entered and sat down in the last available spot besides the floor. "Oh, wait." Jane chewed the inside of her lip for a moment as she considered what to do. Finally, she reached for Maura's hand and pulled the blonde down into her lap. "Comfy?"
Jane smiled as she watched the surprise dance across the doctor's features. She waited as Maura processed what had just happened. "Yes."
"Good. Can you hand me my beer?" She wrapped her left hand around Maura's waist to steady her as she reached for the bottle. "Thank you. You know, you're too good for me."
"Don't you forget it!" Angela Rizzoli called from across the room.
The room fell quiet for a moment as everyone waited to see how Jane would react.
"I'm going to try not to, Ma." Jane said after a moment's hesitation. "I'm not planning on messing this one up."
The game came back on, and everyone's attention shifted back to the television.
After a few minutes, Jane could feel Maura began to relax in her hold. She finally settled, resting her head on Jane's left shoulder. Jane slid her hand under the thin material of the jersey to rest it on the smooth skin of Maura's side. She couldn't help but smile as she heard Maura sigh from the contact.
The game pressed on.
Jane became very intent on not disturbing Maura. She realized that the blonde had fallen asleep in her lap, and she had no desire to wake her. She knew she'd eventually have to. They'd eventually have to leave, but she just wanted to hold Maura.
Their team lost.
"Janie, you should probably wake Maura up." Angela smiled as she stood up from her chair.
"Yeah, I know." Jane looked around at the other people in the room. "Maybe I could just carry her to the car?"
"Why don't you do that? Frankie, help your sister. Your father and I can pick up."
Jane was pleased to see Frankie jump up, grab his and her car keys, and head to the door without any protest.
It was a balancing act to stand with Maura curled around her, but she finally managed to do so without waking her. Jane quietly told her parents goodbye and headed to the door. Frankie held the door for her as she exited and opened the car door for her to put Maura in the passenger's side.
"Thanks, Frankie." He quietly closed the door.
"No problem, Jane." She took her keys from him. "You two... it's a good fit."
"Yeah. I'm glad Mom and Pop don't have any issues with her. She's a good person, you know."
"I know." Jane walked around to the driver's side. Frankie followed her. "I'm glad everyone's okay with this."
"You know we love you." He shrugged. "It's like Ma is always saying, 'We're family. We'll love you no matter what.'" He ran his hand through his hair. "I'm really glad you decided to come out, Jane."
"Yeah because I was starting to wonder how I was going to get you to hook up with Maura."
"Oh, nice, Frankie."
"What?" He dodged her fist. "I just want you to be happy. She obviously makes you happy. I don't see what the problem is."
"I had to deal with some stuff first."
"Yeah, I guess I can kind of get that." He pulled his keys out of his pocket. "We're all happy for you, Janie."
"Thanks, Frankie. Be careful going home."
"You, too. Take good care of that one. If you don't, Ma'll kill you," he called over his shoulder as he walked to his car.
She laughed and got in the car.
As she started the engine and drove to Maura's house, she thought about her day. Jane nodded to herself as she replayed everything that had happened. Sure, she was clearly in the 'man's' role today, but that didn't bother her like she thought it might. Everything seemed to be just as it should.
Tomorrow would start a new batch of drama. It was too early to tell what kind of murder case day it would be, but she was confident nothing could keep her from enjoying her days now that she had someone to come home to, in a manner of speaking.
Everyday is a new adventure, and Jane was curious to see what the universe had in store for her tomorrow. But, for today, she was going to go back to Maura's and spend the rest of the day with the lovely and wonderful woman beside her. Tomorrow would come.
They'd deal with it then... together.
Thanks to all who read this. I really appreciate the feedback.
I started a new one. You can find it here: .net/s/6350399/1/They_Could_be_Twins_Who_are_You
Please be patient with me on this next one. I'm having to learn the characters for Frost and Korsak as well as how to write for a murder mystery. Really stretching my horizons!