The dewy air threatened to turn to early morning rain as Dr. Maura Isles wound her way around the Charles River and into her third and final mile. A morning run was a rarity given the unpredictable schedule she kept as Chief Medical Examiner for the Boston Police Department and she relished the opportunity to be out of the morgue and in the morning air, getting some overdue exercise.
It was also the only time Maura could clear her head.
Jogging past the Harvard Bridge, Maura looked quickly at her watch.
"Right on time."
Winding her way up a footpath and onto the final stretch of pavement, Maura leaned forward, doubling the pace. What's a workout for if not to reach another personal best? She flew passed the old gas lamp post she used as her finish line at full throttle and ran another fifty yards before slowing her pace, then turned and jogged slowly back, taking her pulse along the way. Leaning against the lamp post for a leg stretch, Maura checked her watch again and smiled. Ten seconds faster.
The watch was a gift from the precinct; a "medal of honour," as Detective Korsak put it for having officially survived her being tazed by Hoyt's goon just before his death. Maura had been summoned up to the bullpen her first day back and been surprised with balloons, fudge clusters and the watch, a hefty Tag Hauer, which she'd accepted graciously and wore ever since despite it clashing with everything in her wardrobe. Korsak may have given it to her, but she knew the whole thing was Jane's idea.
Maura lifted her chin up to feel droplets of rain begin to fall on her face.
"Hey, Bionic Woman."
Maura's smile deepened. She knew that husky voice anywhere. Slowly opening her eyes, she quickly spotted Detective Jane Rizzoli leaning casually against an oak with two Starbucks ventis in her hand and Maura's hoodie. She shook her hair, sending tiny droplets in every direction. No telling how long she'd stood there, but she was damp and couldn't have been comfortable. Still, she made getting rained on look sexy.
Maura trotted over and took her hoodie from Jane's shoulder, thread her arms through and zipped it up, making sure the hood and drawstrings were perfectly positioned. Satisfied, she took the coffee Jane held out but couldn't ignore the smile on the detective's face. Slightly embarrassed, Maura checked herself again. Nothing seemed out of place.
"What? Do I?"
Jane laughed. "Nothing. I'm just enjoying the rituals."
Maura sipped the coffee. Hazelnut, sweetened exactly the way she liked it. Perfect.
"You know, most athletes display some sort of habitual behaviour before they perform."
Maura laughed, and play punched Jane in the stomach leaving a dark silhouette in the shape of her fist. Jane had been standing here for a while.
"You're soaked, Jane. What's going on? How long have you been out here?"
"Long enough to notice you really putting it on during the last mile. Really impressive, Maur. Considering you're running in a circle." The detective winked.
"You should join me, Jane. Running is one of the best ways to keep in shape. Besides, you didn't answer my question. Why the early rise?"
Jane shrugged, "Ya got me. We've got a case. Got the call about an hour ago. Beacon Hill. I begged Korsak to let you finish your run on the one condition that I drive you down myself."
Jane rattled her car keys and touched a button, and her car chirped nearby. Maura's face turned to panic and Jane smiled, wrapping an arm around her.
"Don't worry. We'll swing by your house so you can change."
At Jane's car, Maura stole one last glance at the river, now a blurry symphony of rain hitting the water, startled birds circling above and taking shelter. She looked up to see the wind blowing the trees and took a deep breath, tasting the fall air. She loved this time of year.
Maura looked up and locked eyes with two slightly concerned chocolate brown ones. It wasn't the first and hardly the last time that seeing such a desperate look of concern would take her breath away. She'd never cared about anyone the way she cared about Jane. And ever since the shooting, ever since Hoyt's death she knew one thing was clear. Jane Rizzoli was the most powerful force in her life.
Maura winked back and got in the car, leaving the brunette with a sly slow grin.
"Let's go," Jane smiled as she slammed the key into the ignition, shifted gears and sped out of the parking space, setting off a few car alarms in the process.