This for our continuing series. Googlemouth and I are having a blast writing these stories out. This one follows after "A Little Diversion". We do have plans to continue this series.
The characters are not ours. They belong to the very talented Tess and the powers that be over at Turner (aka TNT).
Reviews make us happy and keep us writing. ;-)
"Fine, Janie, don't tell us about him!" Detective Korsak called after his former partner as she and Frost departed the precinct together, leaving him to do paperwork and grumble. "Bet you tell Frost, though." Even as he mumbled it, however, Korsak knew Detective Rizzoli much better than that. She wouldn't tell Barry Frost any more than she'd told him about this mystery man with whom both her former and current partners knew darned well she'd spent the weekend. It was bad enough they knew she'd gone out on a date, let alone that it had lasted all weekend.
Or maybe it hadn't. Maybe it had gone poorly and Jane had spent the weekend doing yard work or punching a bag to get her mind off it. Either way, she wasn't going to share any details of her life with the two men, other than her father and brother (or brothers? - Korsak was never certain about Tommy), who loved her most in all the world. He loved her as much as he would love a daughter, but there were limits to the paternal nature of his affection. He could see that she was damned fine, for instance, and it didn't make him itch if she wanted to get hers once in a while. Gone were the days in which a man was expected to get all he could, while a woman was expected to be a virgin on her wedding night.
"Fine, whatever," Korsak sighed to himself as he resumed his desk chair and started drumming up information for the two younger, fitter detectives to chase down. He'd call them if he found anything more interesting and relevant to the case than whatever, or whomever, Jane had been doing for the last three days.
While Korsak stewed with his lack of information, Rizzoli and Frost headed out to interview a witness one more time and see if she could get her story straight. They would probably be making an arrest, if she lied to them one more time. Four separate times, at the very least, should qualify for obstruction of justice, which would let them hold her and search her home for evidence of what both were certain would be there. Jane permitted Frost to drive, which was nearly an unprecedented occasion, but she'd done enough driving the day before. Now she just wanted to sit back and think about all the good things that had happened over the weekend and, if she was honest, fret about what she was going to tell her mother that evening.
No such luck.
"Hey, Rizzoli, you're the navigator. I've never been out to this suburb, so don't steer me wrong." First things first: she had to pay attention to the road.
Jane took the map from him and peered at it, then set it aside. She knew the way. "Turn left up here and go right at the second Starbucks."
He did, and, after a mile or so, Frost asked with a far too casual air, "So, where did you go this weekend?"
"None of your business," Jane shot back, not bothering to move her gaze from the passenger's side window.
"I'm not trying to get all up in your business," replied the slender man as he pulled them out of the parking lot and into traffic. "I'm just saying some of the guys got together to play poker, so we called to see if you wanted in."
"Still none of your business." She nibbled absently at her thumbnail. "This is your turn." He'd almost missed it.
For the rest of the drive, Frost made tiny efforts at incursion, and Jane either ignored them or swatted them down. Barry was getting frustrated. It had begun as a joke, just something to pass the time, but eventually it had begun to bother him that his partner, his partner, didn't trust him enough to share her life with him. He told her when he had dates. He told her when his dad had gone in for kidney stone removal. He told her everything that mattered to him. He trusted her, respected her, looked up to her as a person and not just as a detective. Where was the give and take? He huffed, brooding over the steering wheel.
He couldn't speak to her at the witness's home, nor when she lied to them again could he talk it over as she was being cuffed, nor could he talk to Jane on the way back to the precinct with their recalcitrant witness in the car, nor during the booking phase, nor during the moment at which Korsak had come practically skipping up to them both and announcing that he had broken the case (he had; it was a great day for the big bear of a man).
It was, in fact, nearly quitting time when Frost got another chance to address the matter. "I met a nice girl this weekend," he started conversationally. "You know, I told you some of the guys were going to play poker? We didn't wind up doing it after all. Can't have much of a game with only three guys, so I headed down to the jogging trail. Talked to this girl named Michelle. I think I'm going to call her tonight, see if she wants to go out this weekend. What do you think?"
"I think it's a great idea," replied Jane as she continued to fill out paperwork. She lifted her face just for a moment to give Barry an honest smile, then put the man back in his place as her very junior partner. "I also think you're trying to get information out of me that I already told you was none of your business. Let it go, Frost, before I have to kick your ass for being too nosy." She raised an eyebrow in defiance. "I'll give you all the advice you want about your love life or whatever, but you that doesn't mean you get a free pass with mine. Korsak doesn't even get that. We're not there yet. Got it?"
"Bam! Shot down," Frost replied, miming a shot through the heart and staggering back. He was laughing, and glad to see that she responded appropriately, but he still felt the sting of rejection.
"You got that right. I'll tell you if and when I'm ready to. Now, I need to finish this paperwork up. I have to go see Ma tonight." God help me. She turned back to the paperwork on her desk. "Hey, you going down to the morgue before you leave?"
Frost nodded, reaching out for the file he just knew she was going to hand him. "You want me to take something down there for you?" Then again, if she did, he'd know something was up. She always went to the morgue herself, given the choice. If she couldn't even hang out with her best friend without feeling like she couldn't hold a free conversation, this guy must be really special. Or married. He frowned.
"Yeah, would you mind? I really have to get this crap done so I can see Ma on time tonight," she growled. I'd rather go to the morgue. …that's a weird thought. "Hey, would you make sure to give this to Maura while you're down there?" She handed him a sealed envelope. It was clearly not the standard issue from the supply closet.
Frost's eyebrow shot up, but he didn't ask. "Sure." Taking the file and envelope, he made for the morgue, confusion swirling in his close-cut head. Once behind the elevator doors, he held the envelope up to the light. Nothing to be seen that way. He sniffed the envelope, feeling a little ridiculous, as the elevator doors opened for him. He walked forward, still sniffing, and crashed right into the Doc herself, between the morgue and elevator doors. "Whoa, Doc! You okay?" He'd let the file and the envelope fall to the floor in favor of catching the girl before she could fall.
Maura gave a little shriek, but because she wasn't actually in danger of falling, the quick grab looked a bit awkward. "Barry, hi. Um. Thank you. Were you coming to see me?" She smiled, letting him know there was no harm done. Both of them bent to pick up the scattered papers from the file.
"Sorry, Dr. Isles. Uh, yeah, Rizzoli wanted me to give you all of this." He scooped up the square envelope and handed that back once all the rest was gathered and deposited in Maura's hands once again. "I don't know who gave her this. There's no address or name or anything." Not necessary to say; she'd have looked at it and seen the lack of external information on the envelope herself. However, her response was quite intriguing.
She tucked the file under one arm, then held the envelope up to the light. "Seventy-pound paper card, goldenrod. Probably bought at Carlton Cards. Sealed lingually rather than by a sponge or stamp. Square, so it's from their Moments selection." She sniffed. "Indirectly scented, and only faintly. Wood notes, citrus undertones." She slid a finger into the card's opening and slit the envelope, then pulled out the card, holding it in such a way as to completely shield the words from Frost's view, which appeared unintentional. Still, since it wasn't, he turned slightly away as she read the card, smiled, and tucked it away again. "Thank you, Barry. I appreciate you bringing me all of this." She was already headed back into the morgue to set down the file, expecting that he would follow.
Which he did, after a moment to steel himself. "You're welcome. Hey, uh... You know, Rizzoli was out of town this weekend."
Maura did not answer; she was preoccupied reorganizing the information in the folder before putting it on her desk. "Mmhm," she finally said, just as a way of acknowledging that the comment was made and she had, at least theoretically, heard it.
"You know anything about that?"
The Doc's eyes flicked towards Barry, and she offered him a distant but pleasant smile. "Her mother's birthday is next week," she said, as if that were relevant in the least. "I believe Jane spoke with someone concerning a gift for her."
The phone ringing made them both jump. Jane's voice came through, unheard by Frost but welcomed by Maura. "Hey, Frost giving you the 3rd degree about our weekend and that envelope?"
Maura's fingers delicately cradled the wall phone as she turned slightly away. "Not yet, but it's only a matter of time," she said, looking through the file as if that were the subject of conversation. Behind her, Frost was only half listening, while the other half of him studiously avoided looking at anything that reminded him he was in a morgue. At least there were no bodies on tables; they were all behind the doors to their drawers. "I'm sure that all will be revealed shortly." One file page turned. "There's a lot of good information here to work through, and the detectives here are very good at sifting through chaff to find relevant material."
"Yeah, I know, which is why I'm seeing Ma for dinner tonight. I was wondering if you'd like to come over after… maybe spend the night?" The detective's voice was uncertain. "You know, don't tell me 'yes' or 'no'. You have a key, and my home is your home. Tell Frost to get his pansy ass back up here. I need him to answer a couple of questions so I can finish this up. Dinner with Ma is going to be a bitch enough without adding being late to that list."
Maura cleared her throat. Answering and speaking as if a stranger were on the line, followed by telling Frost that Rizzoli wanted him upstairs, would not do. She pursed her lips in thought, then smiled as the solution came to her. "One moment, please," she told the phone, then headed for her scrubs cabinet as she brightly asked Barry, "Did you come to observe my next scheduled autopsy?" The man in question turned on his heels and walked, albeit very quickly, out of the morgue and onto the elevator. "Good," Maura replied to his silent response, "because that's not till morning. Jane, are you sure you want to do this alone? I'll come by tonight, of course, but I'd also come with you, if you need the moral support."
"You're brilliant, you know that?" Jane was laughing on the other end of the line. "Frost never stood a chance." The light chuckling died down as she answered the question. "No, Babe, I need to do this alone, just me and Ma. I owe her that much. But," again that hesitation, that uncertainty, "I… oh hey Frost," the detective sighed into the phone. "I know not everyone knows when they need backup, but I'm not the one to turn down the idea of calling in if I need it, you know?"
"I could sit in the car," Maura suggested, "and await a surreptitious text message? Failing that, at least I'll be ready to drive getaway when you dash outside with your mother yelling and throwing pot holders." It wasn't an exaggeration, in which Maura hardly ever indulged. It was a scenario she could envision quite easily. "Or I could wait at your place, making dinner for you. Whatever you need, baby, I'll do it for you."
On her end of the line, Jane smiled sheepishly at the fact that Maura had just called her 'baby'. "I wouldn't object to finding you in my apartment when I got home tonight. I'm using picking Joe up as the excuse to go over and talk to Ma. Ma suggested dinner, but I doubt we'll make it that far." I'm thinking I'll go in, grab Joe, tell Ma, and run like hell.
"I'll feed Bass early, then come right over," Maura promised. "Whether your talk ends early or runs late, I'll still be there. Good luck, Janie."
Without another word, Jane hung the phone up. The grin on her face didn't fade until she looked up to see Frost giving her a look. "What?" Her detective's mask fell quickly into place.
"Nothing, just never seen you smile like that before," he shrugged, handing her a stack of papers. "Is this what you needed to finish up your paperwork?"
"Yeah, thanks," she drop the stack on her desk.
A short time later, she was headed to her parents' house. Okay, here we go.