"Frankie, who lives here?" Cindy stepped out of her car as he walked up to the driver's side after stepping out of his own.
"I told you, a friend of mine." He stood, waiting for her to get completely out, hands in his pockets and look of impatience on his face.
She glanced around the neighborhood. As she closed her car door, her eyes moved over the other vehicles in the driveway of the clearly very expensive home. Frowning deeply, she turned around to lean against her car, crossing her arms as she did so. "What friend?"
"Cindy, can we go inside? It's getting late, and they're waiting on us." He groaned, rolling his eyes.
"I'm not going in there, Frankie. You either tell me who owns this place," she made a motion with her head toward the house, "or I leave you here alone, and you can just deal with whatever's happening in there on your own."
For a long, tense moment, they stared at each. Finally, Frankie nodded, eyes still set on the woman a few feet in front of him. "You really want to know?"
"Yeah I really want to know. I'm about to go in there, and I have no clue who else is there, but I'm not stupid, Frankie. I know that car." She pointed to the Prius sitting quietly in the drive. "Maura Isles is in there, and, where there's Isles, there's Jane Rizzoli." She gave a smug smile at his look of surprise. "Start talking."
"Okay," he slowly pulled his hands out of his pockets and adjust his stance, squaring his shoulders. "I'll tell you who is in there: Ma, Tommy, Jane, and Maura."
"What they hell? Why are we about to go in there and be around those homofreaks? They just cost me my job, and… this doesn't make any sense! Your family disowned Jane for how she's acting. Why would you be here in… what? This is Maura's house isn't? Why the hell is your family all meeting up at Maura Isles's house?" Anger seeped into her face as she waited.
"Because we always meet up at Jane and Maura's house for dinner. They have the biggest table, and Ma likes Maura's kitchen," came the sarcastic reply.
"What?" Cindy pushed away from her car to step closer to Frankie, eyes boring into him. "What do you mean your mother likes Maura's kitchen? Since when has she been cooking in that kitchen let alone having anything to do with that lesbian whore?"
Clearly outraged and extremely angry, Frankie took a step back to put distance between the two of them. "Maura is a lady, not a whore. You say that again, and I'll make sure it's the last time you do, and we never stopped loving either her or Jane. They're family. You don't walk away from family. You do what you have to so you can protect family."
"What are you saying, Frankie?" Her voice went up and anger quickly started to turn to panic.
"I'm saying that we never disowned either of them. Maura is like a sister to me, and, even though I don't completely get it, for the first time since I can remember my big sister is happy. So what if it's a woman and not a man that's made her that way? Where do you or anyone else get off judging anyone for who they love?" He was yelling now, his voice echoing in the cold night air.
"So everything you said… everything you and your family ever told me was a lie?" Cindy recoiled as if she'd been struck. "Why?"
"Because someone had to stop you," he answered, voice sharp and cold.
"It was all a lie? Our dates? Our time with your family? Everything you ever said about what you believe, who you are… it was a lie?" She shook her head, bringing one hand up to cover her mouth as her eyes began to fill with unshed tears. "How could you do that, Frankie?"
"How? How could you destroy people's lives because you don't approve of who they love? Answer me that," he roared. From somewhere behind him, a door closed, but he wasn't paying attention. The only thing that mattered in this moment to him was ending the charade he'd started months ago and making sure she understood why it had happened to begin with. "You go around claiming to be Christian, claiming to follow the teachings of the church, but what you really do is spread hate, lies, and fear. It's disgusting, what you do, and what you were doing to really good people who were only trying to do their jobs and live their lives. You had no right, Cynthia. None. I did what I had to do to stop you before you could destroy another life because of your hate. But, I want to make myself clear here," he said, pointing at her as he did so, "I never took advantage of you. I never slept with you. I never took anything from you. The only thing I ever did was ask you to come with me to family events, and you went. Hell, I think I've only kissed you twice since we started dating. Anything you thought you saw was just that. You thought you saw. You see what you want to see. I never told you anything about us."
"Everything we did was just to get me fired? I can't believe you," her eyes darted from him to a space behind him. "I can't believe any of you. The corruption, the immorality, it's all here. It's exactly like I said. If you allow yourself to live with the corrupt, you become corrupt." She stepped back, opening her car door again. "By tomorrow, everyone is going to know what you've done, Frankie. I hope you're ready for that."
"Oh, I'm ready. Bring it, Cindy. I'm not scared." He crossed his arms, daring her to keep talking.
"You should be. I still have friends at the department, and they'll know what's happened here, how you lied to me and set me up to get fired. They'll all know what kind of person you are. No one's going to trust you by the time I'm done with you," she warned.
"You can try. I have my own friends, and," he turned around, eyes quickly finding his sister and her partner who calmly walked up to stand on either side of him, "when you have the best detective BPD has ever seen and the Chief Medical Examiner in your corner, it's hard to be scared of a couple of uniforms trying to make you act like you getting fired is a bad thing. It's not a bad thing that you got fired, Cindy. It should have happened a long time ago."
Her eyes ran from Frankie to Jane and then Maura. Flustered, angry, hurt, and upset, she stood between her open door and her car, processing the scene. As her eyes ran back to Frankie, her face finally fell. "You can't win, you know," she said, voice notches lower than it had been a moment before. "People who support immorality, who are evil, they never win in the end. You might have gotten me fired, Frankie, but that doesn't mean the others who are still in there fighting the good fight won't take you down."
"I'm not scared, Cindy." He, too, dropped his voice, though he showed no signs of defeat. "Besides, if I start getting shit for you getting fired, I might have to let it slip how you were once a practicing Wiccan living in a commune in Oregon with fifty other people who all believed in free love and equal sharing. You know, it's amazing the amount of stuff a person can save on a flash drive."
Horror crossed her face. "You didn't? You wouldn't dare! That's not me anymore. I changed. I got…"
"About 4 gigs of data on a really interesting social experiment that I'm sure everyone at the station would love to see," he finished for her.
Without another word, she slipped into her seat, slammed her car door, and took off to leave the others there to contemplate what had just happened.
"You going to be okay?" Jane asked as they sat around the dinning table. "Cindy's right, you know. She's got friends that could really mess you up, Frankie."
"Yeah, I know, but I was serious about that flash drive full of stuff." He shrugged, popping a hummus covered veggie in his mouth. "She knows I'm not bluffing about that. If I go down, so does she, and I'm telling you right now that she doesn't want those pictures and video finding their way to anyone's inbox."
"I don't think I appreciate the blackmail happening here," Maura said, eyes glancing around the table. "Are we not behaving just as abhorrently as they are if we use blackmail against them?"
"We're not using it against them, Maura," Tommy said, standing to take his plate to the sink. "We're using it to protect us. I know you don't know what goes on in the guy's locker room, but I'm telling you that Frankie could get pretty jacked up if we hadn't made sure he had some kind of protection."
"I don't understand," the doctor frowned deeper.
"Those uniforms that are on Cindy's side?" Frankie explained, "If they found out what happened here, they'd beat the hell out of me. Seriously, I could have gotten really hurt."
Maura's head shot to Jane. "If I'd know that, I would never have agreed to this plan! Did you know that would be a possibility?"
Jane shifted in her chair, looking toward her mother for help who only shook her head. "Well, I mean, when you do undercover work…"
"Jane, answer me! Did you know that your brother's life could be put in danger for this?" Maura's eyes were beginning to harden.
"I knew, and that's what matters," Frankie stepped in again. "Maura, you're my… well," he chuckled to himself. "I was about to say you're my sister, but Janie hasn't gotten around to making that official yet, so…"
"It's been four months! Don't be worse than Ma," Jane shot back. Angela gave her a hard look.
Frankie held his hands up in a show of innocence. "Look, all I'm saying is that I knew what I was getting into. Why do you think I know about that commune? As soon as I started this, I started looking for a safety net for when this would all be over. I lucked out on the commune thing, honestly. Who would have guessed she was a free loving hippie six years ago?"
"I don't like it, Frankie," Maura said, disapproval clearly in her voice. "I don't want anyone to put themselves in danger for my sake."
"Seriously?" Tommy took his place again, looking at the doctor as if she had a screw loose. "You really mean that?"
Angela's voice held warning. "Tommy."
"What? I'm just saying. I mean," he turned back toward the doctor. "Maura, Jane's killed not one but two people to protect you, shot herself, threatened a mob boss, taken out a serial murdering rapist, and stood up to your mother twice to protect you."
"I… " Maura was clearly at a loss.
Tommy kept on going. "You don't do stuff like that just because. You do it when you really love someone, and Frankie and I… we care about you, too. If Jane can be a badass and take out people for you and take a bullet… even if she put it there herself, then we can do stuff like date Cindy or call a friend to get info on her. By the way," Tommy turned to his brother, "Jackson says we don't owe him nothing for getting that stuff. He said the pictures and video were good enough payment."
Frankie smiled. "Awesome."
"Jane, I've never considered things in that way before." Maura's voice was quiet, sad. "Does being around me put you in that kind of danger? I never realized."
"No, being a Rizzoli puts me in that kind of danger. If it wasn't you, I'd be doing something else that put me in the line of fire, and I'd rather put my life on the line to protect you than just because," reaching out, Jane set her hand over Maura's. "I don't want my job to be an issue between us. We've been doing so well so far with it," she said softly, using the same phrasing Maura had used earlier in the night.
Swallowing down the growing lump in her throat, Maura gave a weak smile. Well, that's only because I demanded you be careful and take care of yourself now, and you do ask I ask." They smiled at each other, an understanding rolling between them that was lost to the others at the table.
"I'm just glad this is all over," Angela said. Her voice shook everyone, and all eyes turned toward her. "Now we can all get back to what's really important."
"Family?" Frankie asked.
"The game?" Tommy asked, nodding toward the television. "It's on right now."
"Dessert?" Jane asked hopefully.
"A peaceful resolution in the Middle East?" Maura asked, giving a small smirk.
"No," Angela said as she stood to clear the rest of the plates to make way for dessert. "Grandchildren."
"Oh God," Jane groaned, rolling her eyes as she let her head fall to the table. "Kill me now."
"Perhaps a little too soon, Angela?" Maura offered, patting Jane's head.
"It's never too soon to start planning for the future, Maura. Now," the eldest Rizzoli said, eyes dancing with delight, "which one of you is going to carry my first grandbaby…"
Thank you for sticking with me. I realize this one's a lot longer than my normal stuff. Please tell me what you thought of the over all story; I would love to hear as I think it may actually be one of my more coherent works. I'm curious to see if any of you think so or how you feel about the realism and believability of the story minus the little bit of deus ex machina I used there at the end.