A Rizzoli & Isles (J/M) Story
Rizzoli & Isles were created by Tess Gerritsen and adapted for TV by Janet Tamaro. This story takes place prior to the Season Two finale (which does not exist in my R&I universe) and contains mature themes involving the love and its physical expression between two women.
Chapter 19 - Coda
As the small gathering started to disperse, several people made a point of congratulating Jane on a wonderful performance. Jane's right arm snaked around Maura's lower back and it was clear, overt message intended or not, that they were together. Maura stood by her side, beaming; her own arm was draped along Jane's back, mimicking Jane's hold. Though if Maura had thought to analyze her contact, she would have to admit it was a result of her need to touch Jane, not to establish possession to the many admiring people in the gathering; though she really wouldn't mind if people interpreted her hold as an attempt to establish her territory.
Well-wishers included the District Attorney and her wife, surprising both Jane and Maura when they walked up to them hand-in-hand.
"Congratulations, Detective. I didn't know you had it in you," Abigail Tarboro said with an approving smirk, glancing between the two women.
"Really?" Dawn Tarboro asked with curious surprise, causing her wife to frown slightly.
Jane chuckled. "What can I say? I'm incredibly lucky," Jane offered, happily glancing at Maura, who was at her side . . . where she belonged, she considered warmly.
"Jane, that performance wasn't luck. You practiced," Maura objected.
Jane grinned. "I was talking about you, Sweetie."
Maura frowned. "I wouldn't categorize our relationship as being a product of luck."
"No? Then why do I feel so lucky?" Jane warmly countered with amusement, causing Maura to ponder that question.
"I'll leave that argument for you ladies to sort out," Abigail chuckled. As they walked away, her wife asked: "So you really didn't know Detective Rizzoli was family?"
"You played beautifully, Jane," Constance said with a warm smile for the woman who made her daughter so happy. Maura looked up at Jane with a bright smile.
"Good job, kiddo," Vince said with a smile, glancing at Maura with a wink then back at Jane, who chucked.
"It was really wonderful, honey," Angela gushed, proud of her daughter, who was smiling and in love - what she had always wanted for her aggravatingly independent daughter.
The photographer got closer and took a few more shots of the lovebirds. Jane's smile immediately disappeared as her eyes widened in surprise; she knew him.
"You! Tabloid boy!" Jane spat angrily, pointing her finger towards the startled young man. "I ought to arrest you for stalking!" Jane said releasing Maura from her embrace to take a menacing step towards him.
"Jane," Angela cautioned with concern.
"I . . . ," he sputtered, feeling like her dark eyes were boring holes into him.
"Did you get your kicks from it, huh?" Jane blurted angrily, causing him to back up nervously with each of her steps. "Taking photos and making up stories about me?"
"Jane," Maura called softly, only easing Jane's ire slightly.
"No . . . I," he blurted, glancing at Angela for help. "I was doing a favor for your Ma!"
"What?" Jane said, swiftly turning to look at her mother incredulously. "Those articles were a favor for you?"
"I didn't ask Danny to print anything in that Tabloid, Jane!" Angela said with exasperation, glaring at her girlfriend's son.
"What favor?" Jane demanded with more frustration, looking between her mother and the photographer.
"I took the pictures like you asked," the photographer said to Angela, then looked at Jane uncomfortably. "But my boss saw them. He thought they would help the paper and my career. They did – I got a promotion," he said weakly, lifting up his tie and camera as proof of being "respectable."
Angela rolled her eyes.
"You might want to go now," Korsak advised the photographer, who nodded rapidly and rushed out.
"Really, Ma?" Jane blurted tersely, glaring at her mother, who smile weakly with a shrug. "Really? You wanted pictures so bad that you got a Tabloid photographer to take them?"
Maura looked at Angela with surprise.
"I didn't know Danny worked for a tabloid," she said defensively. "Debbie just said that he was a good photographer who could get good pictures indoors, outdoors, any . . . where," Angela finished weakly with an uneasy smile, shifting uncomfortably under Jane's angry glare. "You looked so beautiful in that blue dress, Janie," she whined with a pout.
"There were some really nice pictures," Constance chimed in, making Angela smile at her gratefully.
"Mother," Maura said tightly, glaring at her with a curt shake of the head, which was ignored.
"And she never wants her picture taken," Angela bemoaned to her friend, rolling her eyes. Korsak braced himself.
"It's a shame. She is extraordinarily photogenic," Constance offered sympathetically, causing Maura to frown.
"I can not believe you two!" Jane snapped, glaring between the mothers. Constance winced slightly, never before having been on the receiving end of Jane's fury.
"What are you complaining about?" Angela argued with some annoyance, causing Jane's mouth to drop.
"Really? You make my life was a living hell because of those pictures and you really want to know what I'm complaining about?"
"Jane," Maura said with a cringe, placing a hand at Jane's back, hoping to temper her anger. It did, a little.
"You should be happy he was following you! Danny helped catch the murderer with his pictures, didn't he?" Angela argued, crossing her arms across her chest.
Jane took a sharp breath to respond but her lip quivered with annoyance; her mother was right. She growled with a glare and did an about face. "Maura! Let's go," she barked as she marched out of the room.
Maura cringed at her lover's angry tone then glared at her own mother before following Jane out.
Angela smiled with satisfaction and looked at Constance. "She really hates it when I'm right."
Constance nodded weakly, finding being on the receiving end of their daughters' anger not nearly as satisfying as Angela.
Jane marched out of the room with Maura following. "Jane. Jane!"
"What?" Jane snapped, stopping and turning to her lover.
Maura just looked at her curiously, making Jane feel like a jerk on top of being angry.
"Sorry," she exhaled heavily. "I didn't mean to ruin the evening," she offered guiltily, reaching out to take Maura's hand. "But I just can't believe all that tabloid nonsense was because of…" Jane blurted as her irritation quickly resurfaced; gentle fingers against her lips interrupted her rant.
Maura stepped very close to her. "I know you're frustrated with Angela, understandably so. But you have much better things to focus your energy on," she said seductively, desire clear in her eyes.
Jane blinked. Maura had a good point; Maura was a genius, after all. "M'okay," she mumbled under Maura's fingers, which were replaced by soft, smiling lips. Sheer . . . genius, Jane considered reverently as she melted into Maura.
"Jane!" Frankie shouted as he and Frost ran towards them, startling the women from their kiss. Jane glared at him for interrupting.
"Calderón's guard is dead," Frankie said anxiously.
Maura could feel Jane immediately tense up. "Where's Martha?" Jane blurted with dread.
"Damn it!" Jane hissed, looking over Maura's shoulder as she knelt by the dead body of Martha's private security guard, Richard. The cause of death was clear, a messy shot to the head. "And no one heard the shot?" Jane said with annoyance as some unis placed yellow tape around the scene and kept some of the Symphony Hall staff behind the boundary.
"Probably used a silencer," Frankie offered helpfully as Maura's team arrived.
"No, really?" Jane snapped sarcastically, causing Frankie to wince and drop his eyes, looking like a kicked puppy.
"Jane," Maura scolded as she stood and quietly motioned for her team to begin gathering evidence.
Jane exhaled with irritation and looked at her brother apologetically. He shrugged it off with an understanding nod.
"I should never have let her out of my sight!" Jane hissed angrily, shaking her head.
Maura frowned, knowing that regardless of the number of police officers in the building, Jane would feel personally responsible.
"And we should have been faster when we heard her scream," Frost said, getting a guilty nod of agreement from Frankie.
"Wait, she still has her mike and ear piece?" Jane asked with hope.
"Yeah but she's out of range now," Frankie said with a frown.
"But what if we're back in range and scan the frequency, will they still work?" Jane asked urgently.
Frost glanced at her and shrugged. "Yeah."
"Frankie," Jane said, placing a firm hand on his shoulder. "Get a BOLO out with the frequency and have every patrolman look for Martha Calderón. And let them know Trejo is armed and dangerous," she said.
"Done!" Frankie said with a crisp nod and started to leave.
"Hold up!" Korsak said, walking briskly towards them with Angela and Constance following behind with the photographer in tow.
"Korsak, did you have to bring them to see this?" Jane said tersely, noting their cringes as they got a glimpse of the bloody body.
"Oh my," Constance said with a pained grimace, but kept staring. Maura rolled her eyes, contemplating whether it would do any good to suggest that perhaps she shouldn't look at the body if it distressed her so much.
"You actually think I'd have any better success telling them what to do?" he scoffed, causing Jane's eyes to narrow with annoyance, though she couldn't argue.
He grabbed the photographer's arm. "Tell her what you told me," Korsak said to the young man, pulling him towards Jane.
Jane looked at Korsak with surprise, then the photographer with great interest.
"I . . . ," Danny said nervously, looking at Jane with fear then to Korsak, who encouraged the photographer, "go on."
"Please," Jane urged gently, surprising the photographer. Maura smiled, knowing Jane had an impressive ability to convince reluctant people to talk.
"R…right. I saw Ms. Calderón being pushed into a cab by her manager. Yellow cab 145. She looked really upset," he said worriedly. "I didn't think to take a picture," he added apologetically.
"You did good, Danny. Real good. Thank you," Jane said sincerely, shooting a brief glance to her pleased mother.
Maura cringed, but refrained from correcting Jane's grammar, her gut telling her it would not be appreciated at the moment.
"I got an unmarked car following," Korsak relayed with a smile.
"Yes!" Jane blurted, relieved something was going right. "Frankie, send out that BOLO anyway. I don't want to take any chances," Jane said, getting a nod before her brother left.
"Frost, you and I are going to catch up to the unmarked car," she said, getting a firm nod from her partner.
When they started to leave, Maura followed. "I'm coming with you," she announced.
Jane abruptly stopped and turned to Maura. "Absolutely not," she said with conviction.
Constance and Angela shared an uneasy look. Korsak eyed them worriedly.
"Jane, I'm going," Maura countered with equal conviction.
"No! This is not an interview, Maura. We are going after a man with a gun, who I'm pretty damn sure killed him," Jane said, pointing to the body Maura's team was processing.
"But I . . . ," Maura said, distressed by the thought of Jane going without her.
"No, Maura! You are not a cop. And you have a dead body to tend to, Dr. Isles," Jane lectured irritably, making Maura wince at the tone. "Frost, let's go," Jane barked impatiently and marched off.
Frost looked back at Maura uncomfortably before rushing off to join the driven detective, who was already halfway down the hallway.
Maura stared at Jane's retreating form with a hurt look as a storm of emotions warred within her; the most disturbing was the strong feeling of dread that welled up.
"Doc?" Korsak said softly and added hesitantly "you ok?"
Taking a deep breath, she eyed him with a forced smile. "Yes, thank you. If you'll excuse me, I have a body to tend to . . . as Jane pointed out," Maura said crisply and refocused her attention to the body, which her team needed her approval to transport. She gave it, after confirmation that photos had been taken and evidence properly collected.
Korsak frowned and looked worriedly at Constance and Angela, who remained silent as they glanced at each other uneasily.
"There they are," Frost said as they finally caught up to the taxi. Jane nodded and slowed their unmarked cruiser down to stop at the red light, four cars behind the taxi.
Jane got on the radio. "All units, this is Victor 835. The suspect, Yellow Cab 145, is at the corner of West Springfield and Washington."
"Why are they south? Wouldn't he try for the airport or their hotel?" Frost asked Jane, who pondered the good question.
A marked patrol car crossed the intersection in front of the taxi, and kept going, without taking any action to provoke the suspect.
When the light turned green, the taxi turned left on Washington Street.
"He's not sure what to do," Jane concluded softly, following now only two cars behind.
Maura quietly sat at her kitchen counter as Constance paced and Angela vacuumed the perfectly clean rug.
Noticing her daughter just staring at her refrigerator, Constance joined her. "Darling? What's going on in that head of yours?" She said with a gentle hand on her arm.
Maura looked at her with a pained expression. "I'm not sure I'm strong enough."
"Strong enough?" Constance asked curiously.
"What the…?" Frost asked, confused to see the taxi roll into a parking space by a sidewalk and stop. "What's he doing?"
"Well, there's one way to find out," Jane said, pulling up several car-lengths behind the taxi and grabbing her purse to get her gun. "Tell all units I'm going to approach the suspect and would like them to secure the perimeter. No flashing lights yet – I don't want to spook him. He was heavily drinking and is armed."
"Jane?" Frost asked worriedly. "Shouldn't we get a negotiator or . . . ," he started but was interrupted.
"I think he will respond to me," Jane countered firmly and opened the car door to get out.
"That's what I'm afraid of," he muttered and picked up a handheld radio, tuning it into Jane's frequency.
The vacuuming stopped. "Would you two like me to leave?" Angela offered hesitantly.
Constance looked questioningly at her daughter, who shook her head no.
"There is no need for you to leave, Angela. I . . . I think you should know I may not be strong enough to be with Jane," she said uncomfortably.
Constance looked aghast. "Why ever not?"
Frost watched as Jane slowly approached the taxi with her weapon in her hand, lowered, pointing to the ground. He absently noted that Jane was a bit over dressed in her dress and heels for her current endeavor as he pressed the transmit button. "Can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?" he said with a smirk.
"Wise ass," she said softly before reaching the taxi. She looked around the streets, noting her reinforcements were arriving as patrol cars pulled up. As she requested, they kept their lights off.
"Martha? Are you all right?" Jane asked loudly, counting on Trejo still caring for Martha in his own twisted way. She did not seem to be the target - only her guard was killed. If she focused on Martha and her safety, he might be receptive to letting her go.
"I understand," Angela said sadly, surprising both Isles women. "When you love someone, you hate to see them in danger. And I have seen that job almost destroy her," Angela said gravely.
Maura looked down at the countertop thoughtfully. "It's not like I hadn't appreciated that Jane's job can be dangerous. I've personally faced that danger…" Maura offered with a frown, recalling her horror with Hoyt and his latest apprentice just before Jane saved her. She took a moment to collect her thoughts that were bobbing chaotically on a stormy sea of emotion. "But now . . . she's out there and I'm not. What if . . . ," she said, then abruptly stopped with a cringe, as if voicing her fear that Jane might not come back might make it true. "I have never felt so helpless. And terrified something will happen to her . . . ," Maura admitted uncomfortably, looking earnestly at Angela, who nodded sympathetically.
"Yeah. And I imagine you are not shielded from the horrors like I am. I can only imagine how much harder it is for you," Angela said with understanding.
Maura sighed. "And I am angry with her for making me feel this way, which I know is unfair," she said with a frown.
"Hon, unfair or not, it's how you feel," Angela offered sympathetically. "And I guarantee it won't be the last time you're angry with her," she added with a small smirk.
"I don't like this feeling. I don't like this fear," Maura said with pursed lips.
The streetlamp illuminated the area enough for Jane to see the outline of Trejo and Martha sitting in the back seat. She stood just behind the taxi's taillights, in the street.
"Roberto, please. Stop this now. What do you think will happen? Do you really think you'll be able to shoot your way free? Please. Stop this," Martha pleaded, earning a blow when backhanded in the face. "Ah!" she cried, cradling her throbbing cheek.
"Shut up! I'm in control here!" He spat.
"Did you get that Jane?" Frost asked, holding two radios next to each other.
"POLICE! Get out of the car!" Jane barked angrily, raising her weapon towards the taxi. She watched Trejo turn. She dove to the ground as he fired three shots through the back window, causing a shower of shards to rain on her.
"So you'd . . . walk away?" Angela asked carefully.
Maura looked at Angela, her heart pounding at that horrible thought.
"Maura, you can't seriously be considering that," Constance said, appalled. "She's always stood by you and supported you, even when her heart was breaking from some of your more questionable decisions. For God's Sake, Maura, it would be cruel for you to give up on her because of your fear!"
Maura blinked, surprised by her mother's passionate position. As she took a breath to inform her she did not think she was strong enough to walk away either, Angela interjected.
"Connie, it would also hurt Jane to know Maura was miserable being with her," Angela countered. "She couldn't live like that," she added.
"I'm not miserable being with her. I love being with her," Maura countered, once again feeling overwhelmed with emotions. "It's just . . . ," she said with frustration. "I hate this."
"Waiting," Angela said with an understanding nod. "Not knowing if some whack job is going to hurt her or if she's coming back," she added, causing Maura to wince. "You've got to decide, Maura, if you can live like that. Not many people can," Angela offered with a sigh. Constance frowned. "I guess that's why cops have such a hard time with relationships. And as much as I harp on Jane about her job, she's not gonna change who she is, no matter how much I'd wish it," Angela said with a wry smile.
"So why do you harp?" Maura asked curiously.
"I love her. And I want her to think about how much her family worries about her – so she'll be extra careful," Angela said then laughed softly. "A lot of good that's done, huh? That girl seems to attract trouble by just breathing."
"She has had her fair share of trouble," Maura allowed, her gaze dropping thoughtfully.
"Yeah. You know, she'll understand . . . if you can't live like this. She loves you more than anything, Maura. She wouldn't want you unhappy. That would kill her," Angela said with conviction.
"I hate this," Maura said miserably. Her cellphone rang, startling the three women.
Looking uneasily at Angela and her mother, Maura retrieved her phone from her purse and saw Jane's number.
"Jane," she answered anxiously as Constance and Angela glanced at each other.
"I need you," Jane stated weakly.
The ache in Jane's voice resonated within Maura's heart. Knowing Jane needed her brought a profound sense of clarity, successfully driving away her doubts and fear.
"Where are you?" Maura asked firmly, determined to let nothing get in the way of being there for Jane.
Frost sat uncomfortably in a plastic chair, glancing over at Jane, who just stared down at the floor in front of her. She had refused treatment for her arm, which was not a surprise. But her near catatonic silence really disturbed him. When he looked up and found Dr. Isles, Mrs. Rizzoli, and Mrs. Isles approaching, he let out a relieved breath and stood to greet them.
"What happened?" Maura asked pointedly, glancing worriedly to Jane, who did not show any indications of acknowledging their arrival.
Frost ushered the women to the other side of the waiting area and spoke softly. "We caught up to the taxi and they pulled over to the curb. I tuned into Ms. Calderón's frequency and heard her beg him to give up. Jane ordered them out of the taxi but he fired through the back window. Calderón grabbed his gun and got shot; she's in surgery now," he said, glancing back at Jane, who was still seated, staring at the tile in front of her.
"What happened to Trejo?" Maura asked.
"Trejo's dead – shot himself in the mouth. You're team is processing the scene," he said with a cringe, vividly recalling the incredible mess. "I told them you were busy…," he said uncomfortably, knowing that was going beyond his authority.
Maura took an uneasy breath and nodded. "You did the right thing," she said, glancing over at Jane.
Jane stared at the floor tiles. They were white, mottled with streaks of gray and blue…not that much different than the tiles she stared at all those years ago. It was funny how she could feel Maura's presence. When she arrived, Jane wanted to get up and run to her, burying herself in Maura's comforting embrace. But she refrained, knowing if she did, she wouldn't be able to maintain her tenuous hold on her emotions.
She heard the hushed voices, guessing Frost was explaining what had happened. That would be good; the less she had to talk the better. Jane then heard the deliberate staccato made from ridiculously impractical shoes. It was actually soothing; Maura was coming to her.
"Jane," Maura said gently.
Jane nodded weakly, glancing in Maura's direction but not making eye contact. She knew the wall holding back her emotions was close to crumbling.
Sitting down, Maura refrained from saying anything more, worried her comments or questions would push Jane into an uncomfortable public display; Jane hated them and would especially hate it if she were the one breaking down. Maura frowned, never having seen Jane so emotionally unsteady. Not even when Hoyt was after her….
Jane exhaled with relief, not yet ready to talk.
Maura silently checked Jane's right arm, which had several cuts. Thankfully they were superficial and could be treated later without great risk, she considered, knowing Jane would argue if she suggested leaving the waiting area for someone to tend to her cuts. Doing what she could at the moment without her medical bag, Maura pulled out a tissue from her purse and proceeded to carefully collect the shards of glass out of Jane's hair and clothes.
Jane's eyes shut as tears fell for the tender thoughtfulness.
Finished, Maura silently stood and walked to the nearby trash receptacle, prompting Jane's eyes to pop open in mild panic; she immediately felt the loss. Her gaze fixed on Maura as she disposed of the tissue with the shards.
When Maura returned and resumed her seat by Jane, their eyes met.
Jane sucked in an uneasy breath when Maura firmly gripped her hand. After a brief moment, Jane squeezed her hand tightly, desperately needing an anchor.
"Why did she have to fight them?" Jane whispered guiltily, her brown eyes searching Maura's. "It wasn't that important…" she said absently, her voice trailing off.
Maura looked at Jane with alarm. Her gaze dropped worriedly as her mind raced to figure out how best to respond to Jane's confused distress. "You'll have to ask Martha, Jane," she offered, getting a puzzled look.
"Detective Rizzoli?" The surgeon came to the waiting area and glanced around, quickly spotting the brunette, who looked at him anxiously.
Jane quickly stood, still holding Maura's hand.
"Ah, Dr. Isles. It's good to see you again," he said warmly.
"How is she, Doctor Ramsay?" Maura asked.
"Ms. Calderón's surgery went well," he said with a pleased smile.
"Calderón," Jane said absently, getting an uneasy look from Maura.
"We've moved her to Intensive Care. We'll keep a close eye on her for . . . ," he said, proceeding to explain more to the Chief Medical Examiner and Detective. But Jane didn't hear him as her thoughts drifted to the vivid memory of glass shattering. She blinked, her memory of Martha morphing into Nonna, who wrestled with the gunman before the gun discharged.
Jane winced, remembering the pain of getting shot. Her eyes blinked rapidly as she glanced frantically around the waiting room, wondering why her Pop wasn't there. Her breathing grew more rapid and shallow. She saw her distressed mother. But Pop wasn't with her. Frost and . . . Constance . . . were. Everyone was looking at her with concern. Hold it together, Rizzoli, Jane silently chanted to herself, knowing she was close to losing it in front of them. But she had to be strong. She had to show them she wasn't a silly, emotional girl; she refused to be a target for taunting.
Florida. He went to Florida and left us, Jane suddenly remembered as another ache welled up at that loss. But she had been strong; her distraught mother, who couldn't stop crying for days and days, needed her to be. Even when her Pop had cried for Nonna's death, she held it together. Nonna was gone and she was strong; her father needed her to be. And she had no right to indulge in the grief she had caused….
"Jane?" Maura asked with concern, noting Jane's growing agitation.
"Nonna…" Jane said with anguish, startling Maura.
Jane took deep breaths. Nonna was gone. A trembling hand wiped her tears away with clear aggravation. She had no right to cry.
"I'm taking you home now," Maura said firmly, knowing Jane would abhor the thought of breaking down in public, even if surrounded by friends and family - especially if surrounded by friends and family, Maura silently amended.
"Home," Jane whispered and nodded absently, suddenly finding a strong arm wrapped around her back as she was whisked out of the waiting area.
Angela watched with concern as her tense daughter get led away by Maura. She had never seen Jane so . . . distressed before.
Maura did not fully understand what Jane was feeling but knew it required the safe haven of her home. With great effort she refrained from hugging Jane before guiding her firmly into the passenger's seat of her car; she feared that any comforting gesture would be the undoing of Jane's fragile state. So she provided what Jane needed - an air of calm determination. She'd deal with her own fear later - Jane needed her now.
It felt like an eternity before they reached Jane's apartment. She had debated whether to turn on the radio but elected not to. While music had a great calming effect, it also often provoked memories; Maura thought that additional sensory stimulation was not wise. Finally turning down Jane's street, she had not expected to feel such relief when she found a parking spot in front of the apartment building. After quickly parking and shutting her engine off, she quickly got out and opened Jane's door.
"We're almost there, Jane," she said, noting that Jane wasn't moving, just breathing deep breaths as if she had run a marathon. Kneeling down, Maura unbuckled the seat belt for her and firmly grabbed her arm. "Come on, Jane. Time to get out of the car," she said, gaining a sluggish nod. To Maura's relief, Jane got out of the car and headed automatically up the stairs to her apartment without the need for her shepherding. At the door, Maura pulled out her key and swiftly opened the door.
With a relieved exhale, Maura shut the door behind her - they were finally inside. She watched Jane just stand in the middle of her apartment, like she was in a trance. Now Maura did not hesitate; she swiftly went to Jane and pulled her into a firm hug. "It will be OK, Jane," she promised softly, her hand stroking her lover's back. She felt Jane's arms slowly return the embrace.
"She's dead," Jane whispered miserably, feeling gutted by the loss that felt so fresh and raw. "She shouldn't have died for me," Jane moaned before finally breaking down and wailing for her loss from over twenty years ago.
Maura held on as Jane's body shook with sobs. Her own tears trailed down her cheeks as she wished for the perfect words to soothe Jane's pain. But she knew of no words that could ease the deep heartache - all she knew was that Jane needed her and she would be there.
Maura woke in the same position they had fallen asleep; Jane curled up at her side with her face nuzzled into her neck. Maura's arms were protectively wrapped around the slumbering Detective, who she realized by the light caress on her arm, was no longer slumbering. Maura responded with light caresses of her own over Jane's back as she kissed Jane's forehead.
A warm contented sigh from Jane washed over Maura's neck. After several moments, Jane shifted and leaned on her elbow to look at Maura, who quietly waited. When Jane's gaze dropped self-consciously, Maura gently lifted her chin and looked at her.
"I love you," Maura said.
Jane took Maura's hand and kissed her palm before clutching her hand against her chest. After a long breath, Jane shook her head. "Even when I suddenly become a basket case?" she asked softly, her gaze once again dropping self-consciously.
"Jane, you are not a basket case," Maura countered. "You suffered from delayed grief, triggered by events that overcame your self-imposed disenfranchisement."
Jane stared at her a moment. "Precisely what I thought," she said sarcastically.
"Well you must be feeling better," Maura said with a slight smile.
Jane rolled her eyes.
"Disenfranchised grief is typically when a person is deprived of the catharsis of shared grief because society does not recognize it. However, I believe you had caused that disenfranchisement because you erroneously believed you had no right to grieve, believing that you were the cause of your grandmother's death, which you were not," she added firmly, noting Jane wince. "You do realize you were not responsible, don't you?" she urged softly.
Jane looked at her an uneasy moment before exhaling. "I think . . . logically, I know that," she admitted, prompting an understanding nod from Maura.
When Jane quietly extracted herself from the bed, Maura sighed with disappointment that their intimate discussion had ended. To her surprise, Jane went to her closet and extracted a worn cardboard box. She curiously watched Jane return with the box and sit on the edge of the bed, tucking a long strand of hair behind her ear and looking at the box thoughtfully.
"I kept my practice books. Nonna lectured to me that all the greats had to go through the same rigorous practicing - endless scales and finger exercises – there were no shortcuts!" Jane offered with a small smile for a fond memory, pulling out one of her books and handing it to Maura, whose smile grew as she looked through the well-worn book, appreciating the dedication to practicing Jane had possessed.
"When I made mistakes, I always expected Nonna to yell at me, like Ma always did. But Nonna never yelled, well except when I slammed the door rushing in for a lesson," she offered with a wry smile, making Maura grin, able to envision a young Jane doing just that.
"She was really patient and told me not to get so upset with my mistakes," Jane said, pulling out sheet music.
"Because you were so hard on yourself," Maura offered, getting a nod.
"I wanted to be good," Jane admitted with a shrug. "When she mentioned the Boston Conservatory's summer program, I was so excited. If I got in, I would be able to meet and train with professional pianists. Martha Calderón was one of the guest instructors," Jane offered, surprising Maura.
"Nonna took me to see her perform and . . . well, I had a huge crush on her."
"I see," Maura said with pursed lips, that Jane leaned towards and kissed tenderly.
"I have a huger crush on you," Jane said with a sparkle in her eye.
"Huger is not a . . . ," Maura said as Jane kissed her again. "What were we talking about?" she said with a small, amused smile.
"How much I love you?" Jane suggested, looking into Maura's eyes as she caressed her face.
"That is one of my favorite topics," Maura said, slowly savoring another kiss. As Jane shifted and attempted to move the box out of the way so she could show Maura just how much she loved her, Maura's hands stopped her. "Show me your sheet music," she said with enthusiasm.
"Really? Now?" Jane whined incredulously.
"Please?" Maura asked with a small pout, prompting a small frown and reluctant nod, causing Maura to beam.
"Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 . . . ," Jane sighed, pulling out the yellowed pages.
"Oh! This was one of your audition pieces!" she gushed enthusiastically, looking through the pencil annotations and comments in Jane's handwriting.
"How did you know that?"
"Your mother knew the encore piece that Ms. Calderón played, she mentioned the Boston Conservatory Summer program and . . . ," Maura said and trailed off uncomfortably.
"That I never did audition," Jane finished softly, getting a hesitant nod.
"What were your other two pieces?" Maura quickly asked, curious as well as not wanting to dwell on the tragedy. "Your mother could not recall the names of what you played," Maura offered.
Jane eyed her and reached into the box, pulling out more yellowed and worn pages.
"Oblivion! My Jane, that is a rather emotionally mature piece for a teenager," she said approvingly.
"When I heard it, I was learning about myself and my . . . preferences; the haunting sounds and longing in the music spoke to me," she relayed to a mesmerized Maura.
"I also knew to dazzle the judges I couldn't just wow them with complex fingering. They needed to know I had emotional maturity not just technical proficiency," Jane offered, getting an approving nod from Maura, who smiled broadly at Jane's strategy.
"What was your third?" Maura eagerly asked.
Jane smirked and pulled out the music, handing it over to Maura.
"Peppermint Patty by Vince Guaraldi?" she read with a puzzled expression.
"I'm afraid I'm not familiar with that piece," Maura said with a frown.
"Well, most people are familiar with the Peanuts theme song, Linus & Lucy," Jane allowed, gaining a wince and a shake of Maura's head.
"Really? You don't know about the Peanuts cartoons on TV and the piano music?"
Maura shook her head no.
"Well, that's easy enough to remedy," Jane said with a small smile.
"You'll play it for me?" Maura asked hopefully.
"I was thinking more like watching some DVDs," Jane said with a cringe. Maura sighed with a frown. "Ok. Ok," Jane acquiesced, bringing a smile back to Maura's face. "But I will need to practice before subjecting you to it," she said, scratching the back of her head as Maura lunged for her lips and captured them possessively. After Maura pulled back from the smoldering kiss, Jane whimpered with need before quickly returning the music and practice books to the box and rushing over to her closet, tossing the box to the floor with a thud.
"Jane, your music!" Maura said with alarm, glancing worriedly at the closet as Jane returned to bed and climbed on top of her.
"Is fine," Jane said, kissing Maura's collarbone, up her neck, to her chin. "I want you," Jane said, which was obvious as she hovered over Maura and looked at her with desire in her eyes.
Maura felt a shiver of anticipation from the sound of Jane's raspy voice. "I love you," Maura said softly.
Jane looked at her a long reverent moment before she whispered "thank you," and slowly lowered her lips and tenderly kissed the love of her life.
Lidia walked around Martha's hotel room, ensuring she had not forgotten to pack anything. Satisfied she had accomplished her task, she returned to the living room and exhaled, waiting for Martha to return from her last doctor's appointment before they were to fly back to Argentina.
The Bar Harbor concert had been cancelled as Martha recovered from her gunshot wound in Boston. The doctors had said Martha was very lucky. But Lidia could not agree, considering the brother of Martha's assistant had been hired by her unstable manager to kill her protégés. That did not seem very lucky at all, Lidia considered with a frown.
While Martha had been very polite and understanding with her through this horrific mess with Emilio, who was going to be extradited to spend life in prison, Lidia expected that once they returned to Argentina, she would be in search of new employment. She couldn't blame Martha, who had gone through too much in her life to have to endure the presence of someone who could only remind her of the terrible violation of trust and senseless losses.
Glancing to the Grand Piano, she had a love-hate relationship with it. She loved the music it produced when someone of Martha's caliber played. Yet she hated the fact she'd never be close to that caliber. She sat on the bench and stared at the keys a long moment. She'd miss Martha, more than the virtuoso would ever know, she considered with a humorless laugh. Tears filled her eyes as she finally indulged in self-pity. Sniffing, she placed her fingers on the keys and played Oblivion - Detective Rizzoli's selection that did exactly what was intended, impress Martha, mistakes and all. Lidia played, without any fumbles or errors; she was technically gifted. Yet she lacked heart, Martha had sadly informed her with disappointment, which confused her. If she had no heart, then how could such a comment hurt her so?
She drove through the haunting chords, feeling lost and alone. Her baby brother Emilio was now lost to her and soon Martha would be too. Knowing her musical limitations, she had at least thought she would be able to stay by Martha's side as her capable assistant, to forever watch the amazing woman as she lived life to the fullest. Now she would not even have that vicarious pleasure. Tears fell as she played on, driving, searching . . . hurting.
Maura and Jane stood next to a stunned Martha, who froze when they entered her hotel room to the moving music. Jane looked at Maura with a surprised grin before returning her attention to Lidia, who finished the emotional piece with soft, fading chords.
"Lidia," Martha exhaled with amazement, startling her assistant, who jumped up nervously and wiped the tears from her eyes.
"Sorry," Lidia blurted uncomfortably. "I'm done packing and was just . . . ," she trailed off as Martha came to her, shaking her head.
"That was . . . wonderful, Lidia. Truly wonderful," Martha offered sincerely, looking at her uncertain assistant, who glanced at Jane, who nodded with a grin. "You and I have much to talk about, dear Lidia," Martha said, taking her hand and squeezing.
"I . . . we have a plane to catch," Lidia said, feeling a bit flustered.
Martha smiled. "We do."
They arrived at the airport in plenty of time to check luggage. Flashing their badges, Jane and Maura were able to wait with Martha and Lidia for the plane to board.
"I will miss you, Jane," Martha said emotionally and kissed her cheeks.
"I'm glad I got to meet you and call you friend. I'm just sorry about the circumstances," Jane offered apologetically.
"Perhaps you and Maura can come visit us in Argentina," she said, glancing over to Maura who sat, chatting with Lidia, who seemed much more relaxed once she realized Martha had no intention of letting her leave her side.
"Now there's an invitation I would never have expected," Jane chuckled.
"You should consider it. And Argentina is an excellent place for lovers. I understand it's also a popular honeymoon location," she offered with a satisfied grin, provoking a startled look.
The boarding of the flight was announced.
"You're going to give Lidia a chance, aren't you?" Jane asked as Maura and Lidia stood from their seats.
"We have been through a lot together. I need her in my life, even if she never attempts to play another note. But I hope she does," Martha said quietly then turned to Lidia with a warm smile. "So! Are you ready for the long flight?"
"I am anxious to get home," Lidia said honestly.
"Yes, home. That does sound wonderful," Martha said, slipping her arm through Lidia's, surprising her assistant.
"Good-bye Jane. Dr. Isles. I hope Jane takes me up on my invitation for you two to visit me someday," Martha said with a grin. "Until we meet again," she said, waving as she left with Lidia to board the plane.
"That sounds like fun," Maura said enthusiastically.
Jane nodded with a small smile as she slipped her hand in Maura's; they left the airport, hand-in-hand.
"Happy birthday dear Maaaauuuuurrraaa, Happy birthday to you!" They sang loudly and mostly on key as Jane played the piano and Angela directed her sons through the group as they carried a large sheet cake with several lit candles on it.
Constance had been reluctant to change the venue of her daughter's birthday party from the country club to the Dirty Robber as Angela had suggested, but seeing the big smile and delighted laughter from her daughter, she concluded it had been an excellent decision.
"Make a wish!" Constance called out to her daughter with excitement.
"Geeze, Maura," Jane said, holding up her hand to shield her eyes from the bright flames. "I hope Murray's fire insurance is paid up," she offered, prompting a few chuckles and earning a slap in her stomach by Maura for her remark. "Hey!" she blurted, earning more chuckles as she rubbed her stomach.
"Jane! Be nice!" Angela called out as Maura smiled with satisfaction at Jane, who frowned, predicting Angela would always be on Maura's side.
Maura pulled her hair back as she took a deep breath and carefully blew at the candles. And blew. And blew. "JANE!" Maura said with exasperation after being unable to blow them out.
"Hey wait a minute! I didn't do anything!" Jane countered defensively, as her brothers snorted with amusement. Too much amusement, she considered.
"Right," Angela scoffed, crossing her arms over her chest.
"I was playing . . . ugh," Jane blurted, giving up trying to defend herself which prompted more snickers from her brothers. "Frost, Korsak, let's help Maura blow them out," Jane said, glaring suspiciously at her brothers as Frost and Korsak promptly stepped up to help.
"Uh, having everyone breathe on my cake is rather unsanitary," Maura said with concern, then cringed realizing from the frowns on their faces she had insulted her friends.
Jane sighed with exasperation. "I'll cut you a piece that only you have blown on, OK?"
"I don't see how you could possibly ensure . . . ," Maura responded curiously.
"Perhaps you should do something soon?" Constance interjected uncomfortably as she watched the candles continue to melt.
"We can just remove the candles and extinguish them by hand," Maura said reasonably, starting to take them off.
"But what about your wish?" Constance said with concern.
"You gotta have a birthday wish," Angela offered.
"It's ok, Mother, Angela. My wish has already come true," Maura said, glancing at Jane happily before kissing her chastely on the lips.
"Mine too," Jane whispered.
"That's so sweet," Korsak said with a sigh.
"A spa day for two!" Maura gushed as she eagerly showed Jane the coupons that Barry and Vince had pitched in to get. "Thank you!" she blurted, making the men smile with satisfaction.
"Yay," Jane said weakly with a thin smile, glaring at her former and current partners, who cringed slightly.
"Here's one of mine," Angela said, handing over a nicely wrapped box.
"One of yours? Angela, you shouldn't have," Maura said, looking at the pile of presents next to the cake. It was an embarrassment of riches.
"You should say that after you open it," Jane joked, her arm draped over the back of Maura's chair.
"Jane," Maura scolded softly as she opened her gift to find…. Maura tilted her head and eyed it curiously. It was crocheted, with the letters B. P. D. on it.
Jane bit her lip to not say anything.
"It's. . . lovely, Angela. Thank you," Maura said politely, pulling out the handmade toilet paper doily, covering a roll.
"Charmin. Nice," Jane said dryly as she tested the squishy roll.
"Oh," Constance said when she got a good look at . . . the unique gift. "Handmade gifts are always a favorite," she added with a polite smile for her friend, who beamed.
"Here's one you'll want to open at home," Angela said, sliding another wrapped gift box towards Maura. "Trust me," she said with a knowing smile, immediately alarming Maura.
"Well, dear, I'm afraid you'll have to go home to get your gift. And if you don't like it, we can find something that better suits you. But I'm confident we won't need to," Constance said with a smile.
Maura nodded, feeling a little let down. She never asked for big or expensive gifts, just her mother's attention. Realizing she had been getting more of that lately, she smiled at her, knowing Constance was trying.
"And in the mean time, here's a little something for you two," she said, sliding an envelope towards her daughter.
"More spa days?" Jane asked with a weak smile.
"No. Season passes to the symphony!" Maura said, happy she didn't have to convince Jane to go. Now that it was a gift, Jane wouldn't want it go to waste. "We'll need to buy you more clothes!" she said happily.
Jane eyed Constance, who smiled with satisfaction. "Sounds like . . . fun," Jane said, patting Maura's knee.
"I want pictures," Angela declared without apology.
"Of course you do," Jane said flatly, sipping her beer.
"Here's one from me," Frankie said, nervously handing her a box, gaining a bright smile that made him blush.
Maura tore into the paper and opened the box to read "Isles" on the back of a Red Sox Jersey. She smiled at him. "Thank you!"
"That's nice," Jane said approvingly, fingering the stitching around the lettering, causing Frankie to beam.
"And mine," Tommy said, smoothly handing over his gift to her with a wink.
Maura smiled fondly at him and opened the gift. After a pause, she smiled at him "I love Hickory Farms!" she said honestly. "Thank you!"
"Can't go wrong with Hickory Farms!" Tommy declared with a grin. Frankie and Angela frowned, glaring at Jane, who smiled and sipped her beer.
"So whaddya get Maura?" Korsak asked with a smirk, causing all eyes to look at Jane.
Maura glanced at Jane uncomfortably, not wanting her put on the spot. "I already received my . . . ," she started.
"I got you something else," Jane said, also presenting an envelope with some hesitation. "I just hope they have steel-toed Jimmy Choos."
Maura looked at her curiously then opened up the envelope. "Jane!"
"What is it?" Angela said with anticipation, seeing the big smile on Maura's face. "Yeah, what is it?" Frankie asked. "Darling?" Constance couldn't help but feel excitement.
"Tango lessons!" Maura gushed happily and planted kisses on Jane's face.
"Just remember I warned you," Jane cautioned her with an amused chuckle, delighted she could make Maura happy. She just hoped the actual experience wasn't going to cause either of them physical pain.
"Good night and Happy Birthday, hon," Angela said, giving Maura a hug.
"Thank you so much, Angela," Maura said.
Angela looked at Jane and sighed. "Just try your best, OK?" she said, patting Jane on the shoulder.
"Sure . . . Ma," Jane said in confusion, glancing at Maura who winced and looked down at the still unopened present in her hand with trepidation.
"Mother? Where are you going?" Maura asked curiously, noticing Constance quietly start to follow Angela to the guest cottage.
"You don't really think I'd want to spoil your birthday evening with Jane, do you?" Constance said with a knowing smile. "Happy birthday, darling. And I am so happy for you," she said, smiling at Jane, who had a hand on Maura's shoulder. "Good night, you two," she said, giving Maura a kiss on the cheek then squeezing Jane's arm affectionately.
"Good night, Mother," Maura said and watched her mother retreat with Angela.
"Holy shit!" Jane exclaimed spotting the Steinway Upright as soon as they entered.
"Jane!" she immediately scolded then blurted "Oh . . . ," when she saw what had prompted such a response.
"She doesn't do things half way, does she?" Jane asked, going to the upright that fit perfectly along the wall. Anything bigger would have overwhelmed the room. Jane's hand traced over the wood reverently.
"Will you play for me?" Maura asked hesitantly.
Jane looked at her a moment. "If you do one thing for me," she negotiated.
"Anything!" Maura said eagerly.
Jane laughed. "I can't believe I'm going to waste that blank check but . . . I'll play if you play with me."
"I can't play . . . ," Maura trailed off worriedly.
Jane grabbed her hand and led her to the bench. "Trust me," she said, motioning for Maura to sit. Which she did and Jane quickly joined her.
With a smile, she slowly played the simple melody as she softly sang the words. "Heart and soul, I fell in love with you, heart and soul, the way a fool would do. Madly. Because you held me tight . . . and stole . . . a kiss in the night…" she sang with a smile for Maura. "Then you repeat the melody."
"I've heard of that," Maura said with a growing smile.
"Good. Remember, there's no rush and don't worry if you miss notes. Just have fun with it," Jane said as she proceeded to play the rhythm line as Maura, with fierce determination to properly play the melody, dove in.
"Oooh!" Maura blurted with frustration as she missed a few notes.
"Keep going, sweetie. Sounding good!" Jane said happily, continuing with the rhythm. As Maura went through the melody again and again, with fewer and fewer mistakes, she finally completed it without any errors, stopping with a perplexed look.
"This becomes rather monotonous after a while, doesn't it?" Maura asked bluntly, causing Jane to laugh.
"Well, it is a beginner's piece," she offered with amusement. "Perhaps you'll like something more advanced," Jane suggested.
"I think I'm best suited as an appreciative listener," Maura responded, sidling up to Jane and whispering in her ear. "I can be very appreciative. Play something for me."
"Do you really think you can just use your feminine wiles to have your way?" Jane felt compelled to object.
"It's not working?" Maura asked with a slight frown.
"No, it's working . . . damn it," Jane said begrudgingly, causing Maura to smile.
"Peppermint Patty?" Maura suggested hopefully.
"Peppermint Patty," she confirmed, looking at Maura who beamed eagerly.
Jane played the piece capably, though she would have preferred more practice time. Maura didn't care, charmed by the happy music being played for her.
When Jane finished the piece, Maura clapped. "Brava!" she said and laughed with delight.
Jane smiled, her heart swelling with joy.
"I read about Peppermint Patty," Maura offered with a knowing smile.
"She represented the first tomboyish character in the Peanuts cartoon that did not embrace social norms," Maura said, leaning into Jane, who smiled.
"You selected a classical piece that showed your technical proficiency," Maura continued, kissing her chin. "A new tango-jazz fusion piece that highlighted your emotional maturity," she added, slipping her hands around Jane as she kissed her cheek. "And a jazz piece that represented a bit of rebellion," Maura said appreciatively, her lips migrating to Jane's ear. "You were an impressive young woman," she whispered, then suckled Jane's ear lobe.
"And now?" Jane exhaled, feeling the tingle of arousal wash over her.
"You are a very . . . impressive . . . woman," Maura said as their lips merged.
In the morning, after they had showered and dressed, Maura joined Jane in the kitchen, slipping her arms around her and pressing herself into Jane's back as she made coffee.
"Careful, don't want to spill the coffee," Jane said with amusement, putting down the coffee grinder to turn and properly greet Maura with a morning hug and kiss.
"Hmmmm. I like your kisses better than coffee," Maura mused contentedly, resting her head on Jane's shoulder.
"Thanks?" Jane responded with a chuckle. "Hey, you never did open Ma's present," she said, looking out to the living room coffee table where the unopened present lay.
"Aren't you curious?"
"Not really?" Maura said hesitantly.
"Come on. Open it," Jane urged, nudging Maura to the living room. "I'm curious," she offered, grabbing Maura's hand and dragging her to the gift.
"Jane," Maura complained.
"Maura, you realize you are making me even more curious. Why are you so reluctant? Do you really think she could get you anything worse than a toilet paper doily?"
"That was kind of sweet," Maura protested weakly, glancing at the coffee table and the package on it.
"Ugh. Maura!" Jane whined.
"Fine. I'll open it. Just promise me you won't get too upset," Maura said as she picked up the package.
Jane eyed her with a puzzled expression. Why would she get upset?
When Maura slowly tore open the wrapping paper, it was like she was detonating a bomb, Jane considered with an impatient sigh. Finally getting to the box, she carefully opened the lid as if it were booby-trapped. With hesitant fingers, she carefully peeled away the tissue paper with a cringe to reveal . . . . Maura blinked and looked at the present curiously.
Jane peeked over her shoulder to see a really nice wooden-frame and picture of them in it. She smiled, noting they did make a very attractive couple. It was just after she had played for Maura at the reception in the Hatch room in Symphony Hall. Maura was looking out towards someone with a big smile on her face and she had her arm around her waist, looking adoringly at Maura, perfectly capturing the moment and her love on film.
Maura felt her press into her back as Jane slid her arms around her waist and placed her chin on her shoulder. "Danny's stalking was annoying but he really does take good pictures," Jane offered softly. "Though he really couldn't screw it up with you smiling like that," she said, kissing her cheek before retreating into the kitchen to prepare their meal.
"So, what do want for breakfast? I think you have everything," Jane said, looking in the refrigerator. "Well, except Lucky Charms."
"I have that," Maura offered absently, still holding the wonderful picture in her hands, caressing the edge with her finger.
"Really?" Jane said with interest and looked around the likely places as Maura went to the piano and proudly displayed the picture on the top of it.
Returning her attention to Jane, she watched as she intently looked in several kitchen cabinets. Maura frowned.
"Jane, are you really going to choose a sugary processed cereal, that could be easily classified as a dessert, over the multitude of healthier choices available?" Maura asked as she joined Jane in the kitchen.
Jane blinked. "Uh . . . ." she responded, wondering if that was a trick question.
Thanks to Trusty for proofing