The Perils of Interior Decorating, Part 1 of 1
Pairing: Well, none, really, but Jane and Maura were awfully flirty.
Spoilers: This is another post-ep for "We Don't Need Another Hero." Therefore, there are spoilers through...well, "We Don't Need Another Hero."
Disclaimer: The only thing that's mine is the plot, such as it is.
Note: So, here I am, on LJ, innocently reading a recap of the premiere when I get to the comments, and people are suddenly talking about goats over Maura's door. A commenter helpfully provided a screen capture, and I laughed until my stomach hurt. After some Twitter conversation (for which I credit the second-to-last line of dialogue), suddenly, this happened.
(Also, I apologize for potentially ruining bad sitcom renditions of Romeo and Juliet. I don't blame the kids. I blame the directors, who most likely went to film school and by all rights should know better.)
Once – three months and eleven days ago, to be exact – the ringing of her doorbell at odd hours wouldn't have surprised her; Jane reserved her use of her key for late night visits, the kind she could barely speak about even with Maura, when nightmares would chase her out of her own bed and to the safety of Maura's guest room.
She was, she supposed, out of practice, and blurted "Jane!" as she opened the door. "Shouldn't you be at gnocchi night?" Still, she stepped back to allow her friend to enter.
"Gnocchi night is next door now, remember?"
"Oh. Well, not that I'm not – that is to say, I – um…Jane, why are you here?"
She rolled her eyes. "Ma sent me over to invite you. She's making pink sauce tonight. Ma's pink sauce is about the only thing in the world better than my grandma's gnocchi."
Dutifully – though Jane was absolutely right that her family recipes tended to wonderful – Maura murmured, "Then I imagine the combination of the two is spectacular."
"Actually, I'm supposed to tell you that you're invited to all gnocchi nights and Sunday dinners now, since they're happening at your house and all."
"No it's not," Maura said as she put away the lettuce and vegetables she'd been about to chop into a salad. "It's my guest house, not my house, and we've that conversation before."
"Yeah, whatever," Jane said, rolling her eyes and warily skirting around Bass, who seemed to be glaring at her – she was convinced he was still upset that she occasionally slept in his room. "Relax," she said to him. "I'm not staying tonight, and that's not your dinner she's putting away."
Maura grinned. "Are you talking to my tortoise?"
"He might be more friendly to you if you fed him once in a while," Maura said, offering a strawberry. "After all, he doesn't really interact in a mammalian way, but he appreciates his needs being met."
Jane scowled but crouched down, holding the strawberry out for Bass, who refused to poke his head out of his shell.
"Ingrate," she muttered, putting the strawberry in his dish instead.
Maura shook her head. "You've been…feisty…the last few days."
"Rather have me at home sulking?"
"No, of course not. It's just a lot to take in. You know I like routine. It took me…a long time…to get used to the new one, these last few months, and now you've begun…" She put the rest of her aborted dinner away and turned, trailing off into silence when she found Jane staring in open-mouthed consternation at her entryway.
There was no answer.
She approached her friend and touched her arm. "Jane?"
"What…?" Jane tore her eyes from the door for a moment – but only a moment; they soon drifted, unblinking, back to it. "What the freaking hell, Maura?"
"Those are goats."
She said it flatly, which generally meant either extreme shock or extreme anger – so extreme that she'd moved beyond yelling to very intimidating quiet. Maura quickly reviewed their conversation and decided that nothing had happened that would have made Jane that angry.
So, she was just surprised. That Maura could understand; she'd been very pleasantly surprised herself when Lisa had found them.
"I know! Aren't they lovely?"
Jane managed to turn and look at her briefly before her attention returned inevitably to the entryway. "They're…life-sized. And…over your door," she said in that same flat tone.
"I know," she said cheerfully. "They're – "
Jane cut her off. "They're life-sized. And over your door."
She nodded. "Yes, they're – "
"Maura, you have goats over your door."
Beginning to sense that something was amiss, Maura frowned uncertainly before mentally shrugging and plowing ahead anyway. "Yes, well, Lisa – my decorator – brought them for my office, but there wasn't room, so after she found the chicken to replace them – "
Jane actually stomped her foot in frustration. "The what?"
"You didn't notice it?"
She scowled. "No. I was too busy trying to figure out how to sit in that pink thing you call a chair."
"Oh. Well, you'll have to look at it next time you stop by. It's really quite remarkable. Absolutely anatomically correct."
Silence for a very long moment, then Jane drew in a very deep breath and exhaled slowly through her nose. "You got a pillow around?"
"Yes. Of course. On the couch. Why?"
Jane glanced sideways. "I may need to scream into it."
Her thoughts skittered sideways in alarm. "Oh! Are you having pain again?" She crossed the room from where she'd been retrieving her umbrella – she'd neglected to comment on Jane's somewhat bedraggled appearance, but the forecasted rain had obviously started – and pressed the palms of her hands against the two wounds on Jane's abdomen, searching for signs of unhealthy heat. "I – "
"No, I'm – " She grunted and pulled away. "Would you stop doing that? It tickles!"
Maura shook her head but withdrew. "In any event," she said, "I invited her over here to see if they…" She gestured to the goats. "…would look appropriate anywhere at home."
"But they're over your door."
Jane stared at her. "Maura. They're goats." She nodded, but Jane wasn't done. "Goats. I mean, if you have to have goat statues – and, what the hell…why do you have to have goat statues? – why are they not outside? Where…you know, goats…are. In…places that aren't Boston?"
"They match the color scheme and décor of the room."
Jane pressed the heels of her hands against her eyes and made a sound suspiciously like a whine. "They match the…Maura, goat statues don't match anything. Trust me on this."
"Byron liked them." Jane turned to gape at her, open-mouthed. "What?"
She rolled her eyes and muttered under her breath, "Lucky Slucky. 'Course you bring him up now."
"I wish you wouldn't call him that."
"Why not? Better than some of the other things I could call him. Beter than…Jerky Slucky, 'cause he's a jerk. And it rhymes. And it's true."
Maura began to smile. "So he was lucky?"
"Well, yeah," Jane said.
The smile widened. "Why is that?"
"I – um – it's just – um – " Jane frowned, then whirled to face her. "You spit cleaned my tie!"
She'd once accused Jane of hyperbole when she'd used the phrase, even taking into account the obvious fact that it was figurative language.
Now, she wasn't so sure.
"At the ceremony. What the hell?"
She flinched from what now looked like genuine anger. "What? Jane…I did what?"
"You spit-cleaned my tie." She grabbed the sleeve of Maura's sweater, licking her thumb and wiping off an imaginary stain to demonstrate. "You spit-cleaned my tie," she repeated.
Her equilibrium regained – she could tell now that at most she faced annoyance, not outright anger – Maura raised an eyebrow. "It took a good deal of effort to get you into that uniform; do you think I was really going to let you stain it?"
Jane shook her head slowly from side to side. "I-I don't even…."
Jane threw her hands up in exasperation. "You spit-cleaned my tie."
"So we've established. Now, why was Byron lucky?"
She shook her head again and said faintly, "You spit-cleaned my tie."
"Would you please stop saying that?"
But she was on a roll now, pacing around the couch and dragging her hands through her damp hair. "But you…and I didn't even…how did I not notice that you spit-cleaned my tie in front of a room full of cops?"
Maura waited, trying to determine whether a response was desired or even expected. When Jane remained silent, she offered uncertainly, "You were…distracted? You were very conflicted – needlessly, I might add – about the award in the first place, and you'd just learned about your parents' divorce."
Jane rubbed her temples. "You spit-cleaned my tie." She sighed forlornly. "And now you have chairs that aren't chairs and goats in your house and chickens in your office. Did I wake up in Bizarro World or something?" Her hands flailed in the air. "And you spit-cleaned my tie. In front of my little brother."
"Well, yes, I – as I said, I didn't want you to stain it." She approached Jane, who had finally stopped pacing. "Now. Why is Byron lucky?"
Jane scowled, then muttered in a barely audible rush, "Becausehewasdatingyou."
A beat, then she grunted before inhaling and repeating, "Because he was dating you, okay? You're too good for that creep."
Maura smiled brightly. "Thank you, Jane!"
"Besides," she huffed, "I bet he didn't even know your Shakespeare pet peeve."
"How is that relevant?"
She shrugged. "You date someone, they should know you. Even when you have weird pet peeves."
"It's not weird."
"You know anyone else who gets that worked up about one Shakespeare quote?" Jane grinned diabolically, though her eyes twinkled. "'Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?'"
Maura twitched – actually physically twitched, the way she'd shuddered in horror one very late night, sitting on the couch watching old sitcoms with a nightmare-plagued Jane.
She chuckled and repeated in a plaintive, mock whine, "'Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?'"
"'Wherefore' doesn't mean 'where,'" Maura said in a rush, as though she expected Jane to stop her – except that Jane loved this particular rant, having deliberately triggered it at least three times since the night they'd watched Laura Winslow deliver the famous speech, and she had no intention of stopping it now.
Jane grinned. "It doesn't?" she asked innocently.
"As in the 'whys and wherefores'? You put the emphasis on the wrong word."
"Juliet is not asking where Romeo is; why would she follow that with the request to forsake his family name? She's asking why he must be Romeo, a Montague, a member of a family with whom hers is feuding."
Maura was warming to her subject now; she stood in the middle of the room, umbrella in one hand, coat in the other, and made no move to don either.
"It should be, 'Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name, or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love and I'll no longer be a Capulet.' In other words, 'Why must you be Romeo? Forsake your name, your family; if you can't, just say you'll love me, and I'll give up mine.'"
Jane had a smug, self-satisfied look on her face, and Maura suddenly stopped herself. "And you knew that," she said with a sigh. "I've told you that several times. Why did you do that?"
"It's fun to watch," Jane said unrepentantly. "Now that I've proven that I know your Shakespeare pet peeve…please take down the goats."
"Where else would I put them?"
Maura gaped. "No. No, Jane, those were very expensive."
Jane was suddenly glad she wasn't holding an umbrella – at that, she'd have dropped it. "They're goat statues. How expensive can goat statues…they were expensive?"
Maura didn't even bat an eyelash. "Yes. They were designed by – "
Jane cut her off, bouncing on the balls of her feet in impatience. "I will never understand rich people. You've got all this money…" Her hands began to wave in the air again, this time gesticulating around the living room as though it were papered in hundred dollar bills. "…and you spend it on goat statues?"
Maura couldn't think of a thing to say that wouldn't either further remind Jane of the differences in their backgrounds or dig herself into a deeper hole.
"And now…." Jane walked back across the room to the entryway, pointing accusingly at the door. "You know every time I come here, I'm just gonna spend the whole time staring at the goats, right?"
"I mean, seriously, Maura…goats?"
Maura spent a long moment carefully observing Jane's face, and the muscles beneath it that told the deeper story. She was telling the absolute truth – for some reason that Maura couldn't understand, the two objets d'arte truly disturbed her.
It had genuinely come down to choosing between them and Jane.
Well, then. That was no contest at all.
She offered suffered from fits of insecurity; some inner voice that she couldn't quite squelch was constantly worrying that, just perhaps, Jane was humoring her or that she would eventually grow tired of what she'd affectionately dubbed her friend's goofiness.
Intellectually, Maura knew that was ridiculous, but she never could quite shake the feeling – a recent perusal of her cell phone bill, in fact, had revealed that she had initiated less than ten percent of their shared text message conversations, and the majority of the ones she had were likely related to work, so worried was she that she would push Jane's largesse beyond what she could stand.
Still, despite that irrational fear, she understood one thing utterly about their friendship: no piece of art, no matter how stunning, was worth losing Jane.
So there was no reluctance whatsoever in her voice when she said, "I'll call Lisa tomorrow, and see if she has any suggestions."
"Lisa…who bought you goats?" The sarcasm was palpable. Another expression whose hyperbole she was now reconsidering.
She pinched the bridge of her nose. "Is that the best you can do?"
"Fine. Call Joanne."
"Whatever." Maura saw the amusement starting to poke its way out behind the scowl and finally began to slip into her raincoat as Jane continued, "Ask her where else to put the goats. But for the love of God, Maura, don't ever hire her again. And – and don't put them in the guest room. Or the living room. Or the kitchen. Or…you really have to call the decorator? You can't just chuck them?"
Maura locked the door and opened her umbrella. Holding it up high enough for Jane to share, she followed her as she walked to the sidewalk – the lawn was already beginning to puddle. "She's one of the most highly regarded interior decorators on the Eastern seaboard! She decorated…."
She'd already listed several of Lisa's more famous projects when she saw the shift that meant Jane was no longer listening. She supposed it was encouraging that she could now see the moment when her attention drifted – her eyes rolled, and she put her fake "how interesting" face on.
Jane stopped there on the sidewalk, in the rain, and shoved her hands into her pockets. "Whaaaaat?"
Maura raised an eyebrow. "When I'm talking, do you hear 'blah blah blah Jane blah blah blah?"
"Well, do you?"
"When you're talking about how awesome interior decorators who buy goats are, yes."
Jane opened the door to her guesthouse, then turned and took Maura's coat and umbrella as if she'd owned the place her entire life.
Maura waited until she'd stowed the umbrella and both their coats, then followed her into the kitchen. "You know, Jane – hello, Mrs. R…um, Angela; thank you so much for inviting me – historically speaking, goats have been…."
Jane sighed. "It's gonna be a long night."