I'm writing this one on my own, and I'm posting as I write. Fair warning, I proof read nothing, and I don't use a beta. I'm lazy. ;-)
As usual, nothing belongs to me. It all goes to Tess, TNT, and the rest.
"Hands up where I can see them!" Detective Jane Rizzoli's voice echoed in the barely furnished bar. Dim light, air stale, and dust covering most things, she had thought it was strange to see an actual light on in the closed bar. When she'd stopped to investigate instead of driving past to go home, she realized her suspicions had been correct. There was someone in the shutdown establishment.
The short, dark haired woman who was currently standing behind the bar quickly threw her hands up. "Don't shoot me! I don't have any money, and the bar doesn't open again for another month, maybe more. Take whatever you want. It doesn't matter anyway. Just… don't shoot me!"
Slowly, Jane lowered her gun, eyes narrowing. "What do you mean the bar doesn't open again for another month?"
"What? Did I stutter?" The shorter woman dropped her arms. "I bought this place, and I intend to reopen it. What the hell are you doing barging in here anyway?" She nodded toward the gun still in the taller, lankier woman's hand. "And, if you're not going to use it, put it away. My granny always said that, if you don't intend to shoot to kill, don't bring out the gun to do it with. So, who are you, what are you doing here, and are you going to shoot me or what?"
"I was driving by on my way home from work, and I saw a light on. So I came to investigate it. This place has been shut down for almost a year now. It looked suspicious." Flipping her blazer back, Jane holstered her gun and drew her badge. "Detective Jane Rizzoli, Boston P.D."
The woman behind the bar walked over and reached a hand out to move Jane's so she could get a better look at the badge. Her brown eyes flickered from the badge to Jane and back again. "Detective Rizzoli?" At the other woman's head nod, she released the hand holding the badge. "You're the one that collared the previous owner and her lover. She had a lot of things to say about you." The woman chuckled. "Most of them weren't that great, and some of it wasn't repeatable in polite company." She offered her hand. "Kathryn Sutton, but call me Kat."
"Hey," Jane popped her badge back on her belt as she shook hands, "So, you really think you can bring this place back? The reputation's pretty shot."
"I'm going to try. There aren't enough lesbian places in this city considering where we are. It's hard to find some place that is welcoming, let alone practically exclusive even in a state where same sex marriage is legal. I think I can make it thrive again. I'm going to do a little remodeling, hire on some better than average bartenders, good looking wait staff, and some really good bouncers. I think I can make it work. Ideally, the bouncers would have day jobs doing something respectable." Kat tilted her head, eyes narrowing in thought. "You wouldn't happen to be thinking about a night job, would you? Maybe something on Wednesday and Thursday nights?"
"In a month?" Jane tilted her head, considering. "Maybe. Depends on what the offer is."
"Not much. Twelve an hour, all the non-alcoholic drinks you can stand while doing your job, discounts on your days off, and a really nifty security t-shirt that I understand is all the rage in Paris right now." Kat winked.
"Paris, you say?" The detective snorted. "How can I pass that up? Why Wednesdays and Thursdays?"
"I'm thinking that Wednesday nights are going to be karaoke nights, and I want to bring in a local live band on Thursdays nights, so I'm just going to play it safe and have two bouncers every night of the week. I'd rather be safer and a little more broke than sorry down the line. Besides, I figure you probably have things to do Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. You strike me as a Dirty Robber gal."
"Am I that obvious?" With a laugh, Jane leaned back against the wall by the entrance where she'd come in.
"Only on some things, Detective. So, what do you say? I could use someone with actual experience busting people, and you clearly have that. Most bouncers are just muscle, but I think brains and training are more important than muscle. You know? In fact, if you have any buddies on the force, female or male, that you think could do with some extra cash a couple of nights a week, send them my way." Kat started fishing in the back pocket of her pants.
"Yeah, I might. We don't normally moonlight, but if it's only for a night or two a week, I might know a couple of people. There's a couple of uniforms I know that are trying to save up for a wedding. They would probably jump at the chance to grab some extra cash. You got a number?"
"Better. I have a card." Kat handed over a business card from her back pocket. Simple in design, her name and title, Kat Sutton Owner/Proprietor, was in the top left corner. In the bottom right was her contact information. The card was white with a gold leafed border and embossed lettering. Diagonally through the middle of the card was the bar name in large script lettering, The Merch. Below that in blockier, smaller letters was a phrase: Come As You Are.
"Fancy." Jane stuck the card in her blazer pocket.
"Yes, I tend to be when I'm not in my work clothes." Kat chuckled at Jane's incredulous expression. "What?"
"Those are you work clothes? Those jeans cost more than my entire month's salary, and I know that shirt you're wearing is from Saks." The detective narrowed her eyes, clearly questioning the situation more.
"First of all, good eye. You must know someone that shops well. Second of all, these are my work clothes. Third of all, I didn't buy this bar because I needed the money. I bought it because I needed something to do. Where I come from... Well, let's just say that I'm comfortable and leave it at that, okay?"
"I'm looking you up when I get to the station." There was a challenge in Jane's voice.
"By all means, Detective. Then, when you come back here tomorrow night to give me your two forms of ID and fill out the paperwork so I can get you processed for employment with me, you can ask anything you'd like. Deal?" The challenged was answered with another.
"You're ballsy, you know that?" Jane pushed against the wall to head to the door.
"No, I'm not really into those," Kat shot back with a chuckle in her voice as she turned back to the bar.
"Rizzoli, what are you doing?" Korsak placed a cup of coffee and a small mound of sugar packets on Jane's desk.
"Research. What does it look like I'm doing?" She started opening the little packets and pouring them in the steaming cup of coffee.
"For what? We don't have any cases right now. You working a cold case of something?"
"No, I ran into the new owner of the Merch last night, and she gave me a funny feeling, so I wanted to check her out." With a flick of her wrist she managed to knock the empty sugar packs into the trash can by her desk.
"You're checking out the new owner of the Merch because she gave you a funny feeling?" Korsak's voice was guarded but amused.
"Yeah, I just said that. What? Is there an echo in here?"
"So how did you 'run into her' anyway?" The sergeant sipped at his coffee, eyes full of amusement.
"I was driving home and saw a light on in the Merch. I thought someone was in there causing trouble, so I went to go check it out. It was the new owner instead of a perp. Kat Sutton's her name. She said a few things, and I thought it'd be good to check her out. You know, make sure we don't have another reason to go back there." She tasted her coffee, nodded, and sipped as she scrolled down her computer screen.
"She's not from around here. She's from Houston, and she's got money. I mean, money." She motioned to the screen. "Look at this, Korsak. Her family owns half that city. It's crazy."
"Why is she here then?" He had a sudden interest. The picture of the well groomed, highly polished, dark haired, dark eyed, pale skinned woman on the screen was hard not to stare at just a little.
"Don't know. She told me she was reopening the Merch because there weren't enough lesbian places in a state that allowed same sex marriage." Jane scrolled on passed the picture of Kat. "It says here that her family is pretty outspoken about… oh. I get it." She frowned.
"What?" Korsak leaned closer to the screen.
"Fundamental Christian family, and she's up here trying to start up a lesbian bar. Come on, Korsak." With a snort, Jane rolled her eyes at her expartner.
"Oh, yeah, I see your point. You think they disowned her?"
"I don't think so. But, from these articles, it looks like they might soon. Look at this," she pointed to the screen. "She's been really outspoken about LGBT rights, and," she flipped to another opened tab, "there is a lot of speculation about what team she bats for. It looks like she hasn't confirmed anything yet, but, still." The two detectives continued to look through Jane's research, oblivious to anyone entering the room. "God, look at all the money she's poured into youth centers and medical places. She's like the Mother Teresa of gays or something."
"That's an odd and somewhat offensive turn of phrase," Maura Isles's voice startled both detectives. "Who are you talking about?"
"Maura! God, you scared the crap out of me." Jane gave her best scowl.
"Hey, doc, we were just doing a little research on Jane's new friend," Korsak grinned from behind the rim of his coffee cup.
"New friend?" Maura tilted her head to the side, perplexed. "If she's a new friend, why are you investigating her? You didn't do that with me, did you, Jane?"
"No, and she's not a new friend. She's the new owner of the Merch. I ran into her last night because she was at the bar, and I thought someone was trying to break in. Long story, I'll tell you later," she waved a hand in the air to cut off whatever Maura was about to ask. "Do you know her?"
"I don't know. What's her name?" Maura leaned down, close to Jane's shoulder, to look at the screen.
"Kathryn Sutton. She goes by Kat. She's from Houston. You know, as in Houston, Texas, and she's got money. She's from your world, so I'm thinking you might have at least heard about her."
"I've heard of her. She's done a lot of charity work for abused teens, given very freely to some very specific medical research areas, and is fairly well known for her outspoken stance on equal rights. But I don't know her. We've never met. I do know a few people who do know her. They've told me she's a bit fearless, very strong willed, and," Maura frowned, "One of my former partners told me Kat was a 'mother hen' type."
"Matriarch?" Korsak asked before finishing his coffee.
"Yes, from the descriptions I've heard about her and the articles I've read on her, that would be a good descriptive term." Maura nodded.
"I'm going back to see her tonight to give her a couple of things. Maura, you want to come meet her?" Jane closed her tabs, glancing over to the woman still bending over so very close to her shoulder.
"I would love to! What time?" Maura stood, brushing the wrinkles from her dress.
"After work. I'll swing by the morgue, okay?"
"That would be perfect."