Character study piece; just a little ministory my brain wouldn't let go of. Characters aren't mine. They belong to Janet Tamaro, Tess Gerritsen, Turner Broadcasting (TNT), Warner Brothers (WB), and other assorted important people.
"Hey, Frankie, you got some time tonight?" Jane Rizzoli gave her younger brother a pleading look. "I've got something I want to talk to you about, and I don't want to do it here."
His eyes narrowed. "If it has anything to do with the action figure that you let Frost steal..."
"No," she rolled her eyes, "And you really need to let that go. It's been a couple of months now. Look," she glanced around the bullpen as if checking to make certain no one was paying attention to them. "It's personal, okay? Before you ask, it doesn't have anything to do with Ma and Pop... yet."
"You need some money or something?" He tilted his head, still trying to figure his sister out.
"No, and if I did, I wouldn't ask you. Now, can you come over to my place tonight or not?" At her brother's apparent hesitation, she added, "I'll cook. I'll make those enchiladas you like. You know, the ones Maura taught me how to make."
"Yeah?" Frankie seemed to suddenly warm to the idea. "Fresh guac, too?"
"Yeah, sure... whatever. So you going to come over or what?"Jane was clearly loosing patience.
He grinned. "What time?"
She let out a breath of relief. "Seven work?"
"Sounds good. I'll bring the Corona."
"Really?" She rolled her eyes. "Corona? Frankie, come on! Dos Equis."
"But I have to go half way across town for that stuff, and the place down from your apartment has Corona. Look, I'll pick up some limes, and it'll be," at his sister's continual look of disgust, he caved. "Fine. But I might be a little late. You know Merv likes to talk."
"Great." Jane turned back to her to desk, pulled her chair out, and sat down in one fluid motion. "So, back to this Hastings case..."
At 7:15 that evening, Frankie appeared at Jane's door with a six pack of Dos Equis and a complaint about traffic in Boston during rush hour. By 8:30 they were fed and well into their second beers when Frankie finally asked the important question of the evening.
"So, Janie, you going to tell me what all this is about?" He motioned with his beer bottle toward the food sitting on the stove top.
"Yeah," she turned around from her perch at the cabinet where they sat to glance back at the stove and then turned back to look across the way to her brother. "Can I ask you something and you not get weird about it?"
"Depends," shrugging, he took a sip of his beer. "If you're going to ask me to go on a date with one of your friends or if I'd still love you if you suddenly liked the Yankees, then maybe. What do you got you want to ask me?"
Not bothering to try to find a nice way of phrasing the question and not accustomed to having to try to do so for her brother, Jane simply spat out what was on her mind. "How do you feel about homosexuals?"
"Uh," stunned, he slowly set his bottle on the counter top. "You mean, like... wait, I mean. Um … How do I feel about them? Like do I like them or hate them or whatever?"
"Yeah," she shrugged. "Like, you know, do you think its a choice, or do you think they're born that way? Do you think its a sin? Do you think they should all burn or something, or do you even really care?"
"Well, I... I mean, I'm not like that. I've never been into that kind of thing personally, so I don't really get it, but I don't really care so long as some guy isn't hitting on me and then doesn't stop when I tell him to. I figure what someone does in their own bedroom is their business, you know?" He shifted uncomfortably, giving a shrug.
"But, that's the thing, Frankie. I mean, it's more than just what happens in the bedroom, isn't it?" Jane had clearly been putting some thought into this. "I mean, if they're a couple, they're a couple. That means going out and doing things that other couples do, like going on dates and attending functions together and holding hands in public and stuff like that. It's not just what they do in the privacy of their bedroom, right?" She seemed to be looking for an answer from her brother to a question she wasn't exactly asking.
"I guess so, yeah, but what does it matter? If they're not hurting anyone and they're being safe about it, then it doesn't bother me." Again he shifted, picking up his beer to take a sip before a light clearly registered in his head. "Hey, why are you even asking me this anyway? Some chick hit on you again or something?"
"Yeah, something like that," his sister grumbled as she glanced down at the bottle in her hand. "Frankie," she stopped talking, clearly lost in thought.
He waited, knowing that she sometimes pieced a puzzle together before she gave the clues. He had learned that when they were kids and he and Tommy would mess with her. She'd figure out which one of them had actually done the deed, then ask questions and make statements until she got the answer she already knew. In hindsight, he supposed she'd been born to be a detective.
With a heavy intake of air, she started again. This time, her voice trembled slightly and the uncharacteristic uncertainty and fear in her eyes made him sit up and really take notice of what she was asking. "Frankie, what do you think Ma and Pop would do if one of us told them we were gay?"
There was the bomb.
He had considered it of his sister, but he'd never placed it as a firm possibility because she had always denied it whenever it'd come up. But the question she had just asked and how she had just asked it pushed any doubt he had ever had about it out the window. She was a lesbian. What did he say now?
"I think Ma would eventually deal with it. You know how she is. She's all about the drama." They both smiled at that mutual thought of truth. "But I don't think she'd disown us. She loves us, and she'd eventually calm down enough to be okay."
"What about Pop?" She pushed her empty bottle away from her and toward the center of the counter top.
"Like he has room to talk! He left Ma for some younger woman in Florida. Please, Jane, if he's going to start throwing stones, then he needs to stop living in a glass house." He nodded to himself, clearly pleased at the turn of phrase he'd just used.
In a tired, meek voice, she quietly asked, "What about you?"
"I think... I think that if you or Tommy or both of you told me that you batted for the other or both teams that I'd be okay with it." He followed her lead, pushing his empty bottle away. "I figure if one of you is causing drama with Ma, then that's less pressure on me for a while," he added with a wink and a grin.
"Funny," she shot back, rolling her eyes.
He watched her quietly as she sat up a bit straighter and clearly pulled her mental reserves together. Frowning deeply, she cleared her throat a few times before speaking. This time, despite herself, her voice was hoarser than normal, as if the fear she had just pushed down, had just internalized, refused to be completely squashed. It demanded that its presence be known despite Jane's best efforts. "Frankie, Maura and I have been dating for two months."
"How have you pulled that off without Ma figuring it out? She's been living with Maura for four months." It was the first question that came into his mind.
She shrugged. "There really wasn't much of a change in our routine. I mean, Maura and I were practically dating anyway, and we've always been touchy feely, you know? If we want," she glanced up from the spot on the counter top she'd been staring at and blushed deeply, "personal time we just come over here."
Frankie shrugged, trying not to consider too deeply the meaning of 'personal time' in relation to his sister and anyone, but especially someone she was dating. "Makes sense. You happy? Is she good to you?"
A soft smile spread across her face and her blush deepened. "Yeah."
He nodded his approval. "Is she happy? Are you being good to her?"
Jane's smile turned sheepish. "I hope so. I'm trying." She finally met his eyes again. "That's why I'm telling you. I don't think its right to keep hiding this. She's not ashamed of me, Frankie. Even though I sometimes really embarrass her at her family's stuff and even though I'm this blue collar Italian from practically nothing, she's proud of me. When we go to her social things, she beams... beams ...when she introduces me. You know what she says?" She paused, letting him respond with a shake of his head. "She says, 'This is Detective Jane Rizzoli, my partner', and, when they ask what business we share – and they always do – she tells them, 'Life.' It's... it's just... Frankie, I'm not ashamed of her."
Again, he nodded. "She's a good woman."
"Yeah, she is, and she deserves to be treated like it. I want her to know that I feel the same way she does, and, yeah, I care what you guys think, but I care about her more. I don't want her to keep hiding us just for my sake. I want... I want to..."
"Be in a relationship." He smiled at her affirmative nod. "I get it, and that's cool. It's going to take everyone a little time, Janie, but I think we'll all adjust." He sighed. "You know they're going to give you hell at the precinct, right?"
"Like they don't already?" She snorted in frustration. "If they start on Maura, you might have to bail me out."
He grinned. "I got your back."
"I'm telling Ma tomorrow. I hope she takes this as well as you have because it's going to be really awkward if she doesn't." She frowned deeper. "I just don't think we can keep slipping around at Maura's. Ma nearly walked in on us making out in the kitchen the other day. It... wasn't pretty."
"Oh man, I wish I could have seen that!" He laughed but, at her very serious face, he abruptly stopped. "Just go easy on her Jane. Like I said, I think Ma'll be fine. Of course, living in Maura's guest house will really suck for her if she isn't, but I really don't think that's what's going to happen. She'll probably start talking about which one of you will be caring the first of her grandchildren."
"Oh god," Jane groaned. "Don't even joke, Frankie." She gave him a hard look. "So," she said, standing to grab the empty bottles and toss them in the trash before retrieving the last two. "We're good?"
"Yeah, we're good." He took the offered bottle and then leaned forward to look around the kitchen. "What's for dessert?"
She smirked, opening the fridge to pull out a large, square piece of cake with whipped cream and strawberries strewn across the top. "I stopped at Cruz's and got a Tres Leches cake. Work for you?"
Frankie grinned. "Total win."
"Yeah," Jane nodded as she sat down, placing the cake between them and picking up her fork, "this was definitely a win."
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