Jane stood and paced the room, hands running over themselves as she thought. "Tonight?"
"Yes, tonight. She's waiting for me… for us to decide what will happen going forward, and I'm not going to do to her what we've done to each other for so long." Maura sat, watching the other woman cross back and forth in front of her.
With a suddenness, Jane swung around to look at Maura. "She's waiting? I thought you said you two called it off?"
"We did, but we only did so I am able to have this conversation with you. If you choose something else, then she and I will continue on because, Jane, I'm not waiting anymore. I have needs and wants of my own, and I'm tired of one night stands and relationships with people I know won't work out."
"Like Byron?" Jane asked, voice sounding somewhat defeated.
"Like Byron." Maura nodded to emphasize her point.
The indecision in the air was palatable. Between the uncertain looks and the body language that screamed of fear, Jane look as different from her normal self as Maura did as she sat on her sofa with a look of fierce determination and finality of purpose.
They stared at each other, both waiting.
"She's the better choice for you, Maura. She's smarter than I am, has more money than I do, understands your world better because she's from there, she's strong, she's confident, she's not half as broken as I am, and she's a hell of a lot more comfortable in her own skin than I am."
"But she isn't you, Jane." Maura frowned, hands clasping tightly together as she set them in her lap.
"Why me, Maura? Why? I'm just as bad as Giovanni. I'm a middle class, blue collar Italian cop. What could I possibly have to compete with Kathryn Sutton of the Houston Suttons with her perfect hair, perfect clothes, and high IQ?" The detective's voice cracked, eyes watery.
"Well, you're interesting, and I love Italians," Maura deadpanned.
For a moment, Jane stared back at the other women. Her mouth was open. Her eyes were large, and then, seemingly out of nowhere, she laughed. It started as a chuckle and then rolled into an honest fit of laugher that took a while to settle back down.
Maura smirked and waited.
"You're picking up my bad habits, Maura." Jane sighed, sitting down again next to the doctor.
"People tend to do that when they are with each other a great deal."
"I have to say it?" Again, the uncertainty was back in Jane's voice.
"Yes, you must say it, and you must say all of it because, if you can't, then I can't keep going with you like this." There was sadness in Maura's voice as she spoke, her shoulders uncharacteristically slumped.
Jane nodded. "I'm going to lose you, aren't I?"
"That depends. Did you ever have me?"
"No." Jane grimaced, the word thick on her tongue.
Maura frowned deeper. "No."
Turning to look Maura in the eyes, Jane took the doctor's hands in her own. "Maura," her voice was quiet, and her eyes spoke of all the uncertainty and fear she held inside of her. As she spoke, there was deliberateness to her words, and they came slowly, hesitantly, "I like you." She closed her eyes for a moment. "I mean, I… I'm attracted to you," she opened her eyes to again meet the other woman's. She gave a heavy sigh and pressed on. "I think about you all the time, and not just about your looks. I think about you – who you are, what you like, what you don't – you. I wonder how your day is going when I don't hear from you all day, and I worry if you're okay when I don't get to see you for a couple of days. I… I care about you in ways that scare me. Sometimes, I really do hate the way you make me feel because it scares me, but I can't stop it." She swallowed the lump in her throat, shaking her head slightly. "I can't stop it, and it's only gotten stronger with time."
Jane closed her eyes, a tear sliding down her cheek. Taking in a deep breath, she opened her eyes yet again and said the one thing she had been fighting against for months, "I want to be with you, Maura. I want to date you. Every time you go out with someone else, it drives me crazy. I want us to be together, but, God, what if we don't work out?"
"Then we'll deal with that if it happens." Maura gave the hands in hers a gentle squeeze before pulling free to wipe the tear away. "But we won't know until we try."
"Yeah," Jane nodded, leaning into Maura's touch, "and I want to try. I think I'm ready because I don't think I can stand dealing with you dating someone else again. You dating guys wasn't so bad, but you dating a chick just about killed me."
"I'm tempted to correct you on your over exaggeration," Maura's hand ran down to Jane's shoulder, resting there.
"It might be bad timing," Jane reached to place a hand on top of the one on her shoulder. "I… I've never so much as kissed a girl. This whole thing… I don't know what to do with it. Where do we go from here?"
"We should probably start by fixing that." With a wry grin, the honey brunette leaned closer. "Don't you think?"
Jane's eyes flickered down to Maura's lips as she nervously licked her own. "Maybe."
"Yes." The detective leaned forward, placing a tentative kiss on Maura's waiting lips. "Wait," she said as she pulled back, "I can do better than that." With a determined groan, she recaptured Maura's lips to kiss her more soundly.
"You look like hell," Frost said as he walked past Jane's desk. "Monday morning is not your friend, Jane."
"Thank you," Jane said, her head resting on her desk, "I just don't know how you're still single."
"Funny," he shot back. "So, you up for going over the Dhiren case or you need me to just pop an IV full of coffee in you first?"
"Yes." She sat up and blew at a strand of hair that was tickling her nose.
"Right, I'll get right on that. So you, go the paperwork or what?" Frost sat down at his desk, eying his partner. "Hey, what did you do all weekend? I haven't seen you this tired since we ran the Evans case and had to stay up for, like, three days in a row."
Jane leaned back in her chair, stretching. "I didn't get a lot of sleep."
"Maybe you should spend some more time in bed? I mean, seriously, you look like hell." Frost tossed a folder her way.
"I spent time in bed. I said I didn't get a lot of sleep," Jane smirked at Frost's surprised look.
"Oh really? Who's the lucky guy?"
"A lady doesn't kiss and tell," Jane wiggled an eyebrow before grabbing the folder.
"Good thing you're not a lady. Come on, spill it." Frost chunked a paper ball at her head and missed.
"No, but the other person is," Jane ducked, batting the paper ball away with her right hand.
"A lady," Jane answered absently as she looked over the file.
"A lady. Jane, are you messing with me? Come on, be serious."
"I am being serious. She is a lady. Now stop chunking crap at me. I'm trying to work."
Frost was quiet for a moment. "Really? You're slept with another woman?"
"No, I didn't sleep with another woman. I slept with my girlfriend. Seriously, Frost, I'm trying to work here." Jane gave an aggressive flip of the page in the folder she was looking through.
"Your… girlfriend. Are you saying what I think you're saying? Because, if you're saying what I think you're saying then I think you're saying something really major like it's nothing at all. Be straight with me, Jane. What's going on?"
"Frost, I haven't done anything straight since I was 12," Jane deadpanned before looking up from the file. "I just pretended to. I," she said as she leaned back to look at her partner, "am seeing another woman, and she is a lady that I expect you to treat as such. Got it?"
Frost blinked. "I.. yeah, sure, okay, but… who?"
"Me." The familiar clicking of Maura's heels sounded her entrance into the bullpen even before she answered the question. "Did you know that your conversations can be heard in the hallway? I hadn't realized that before today." She smiled brightly as she set a folder down on Frost's desk. "Barry, are you okay? You seem like you're experiencing some sort of discomfort. Are you ill?"
"No… I'm… I'm good. I'm good. I'm awesome. I just… wow, okay, so you and Jane are dating?" He slowly looked from one woman to the other.
"Yes." Maura's smiled brightened.
"Right. Does anyone else know?"
Jane shrugged. "They'll find out. We're not keeping it a secret."
"Okay. What about Kat?"
"She is very good person and very understanding. I have, in fact, introduced her to a lovely soprano singer from the local opera company that I think she'll get along with rather well," Maura answered as she walked over to Jane's desk.
"Darleen Church?" Jane asked as she stood, grabbing her blazer from the back of her chair.
"Yes. I think she and Kat make a good pair," the doctor waited for Jane to put on her blazer, check her belt for her gun and badge, and grab her keys.
"Kat deserves that. Hey, Frost, we're going out for breakfast. I looked over that stuff last night, but you looking over it with a fresh set of eyes can't hurt. We can meet up on it when I get back. Sound good?" She gave a quick side glance of surprise as Maura wrapped an arm through hers.
"Yeah, no problem. You two have a good breakfast," Frost mumbled.
"Thank you, Barry. We will," Maura called over her shoulder, throwing him a wink as she did so.
"Stop messing with his head, Maura," Jane grumbled as they left.
"Oh man, it's a whole new ballgame now," Frost said aloud to the empty room as he shook his head and started in on the file in front of him.
Okay, that's all I've got. I'm ending this one here and taking a break. I think I need to clarify here. I'm taking a break - As in I'm going to not post another fic immediately, not as in I'm going to throw a tantrum and walk away in ball of dramatic irony. I'm just chilling like I normally do after posting a fic. Wow.. harsh guys...
Hope you enjoyed it. I do appreciate reviews (even the negative ones ;-) ), so please keep those coming, and thank you so much for reading. I appreciate that the most!