Disclaimer: I own zilch! Except the lovely ideas that float about in my head and those I can't be 100% sure are entirely my own anyways.
Notes: I've wanted to dip my toes into the R&I writing world for a while now but I had to wait until the black vortex of doom that I call my final year of undergraduate school spit me back out. Thankfully, it did last week and after coming home from completing my last exam, I started writing. The idea came to me a while back when I did a season one rewatch and the wheels started churning on what would it have been like had Jane and Maura met at BCU had Jane accepted and gone. Set in present day so none of that late 70s-80s vibe for our gals. I hope you enjoy.
Summary: Everyone loves a friendly game of softball, right? Even the annual plumbers versus carpenters game brings about a softball rookie to the diamond.
"C'mon, Frankie!" cheered a woman in the crowded bleachers at Shea Field. She had a round face and brown hair down past her shoulders. A few people in the bleachers turned around and looked at her but they all didn't seem surprised. The majority of the individuals gathered all knew each other. It was a long standing traditional that every year on this particular spring day, citizens of the Greater Boston area and its surrounding counties gathered at the baseball diamond to watch the local plumbers and their children duke it out against the local carpenters and theirs in a game of softball. Currently up to bat was a tall, broodingly handsome man in his early twenties wearing a dark navy shirt with 'Rizzoli & Sons' in bold white lettering on the back. Every individual on the Plumbers' team wore navy blue jerseys with their personal logo on the back. The carpenters had white jerseys with brown lettering.
"Show 'em how it's done, Frankie!" yelled a svelte brunette with a high pony tail as she rattled the fencing she stood behind. She was sporting the same navy blue jersey as him with the same anagram on the back even though she clearly wasn't a Rizzoli son. He shot her a look as he approached the mound, bat and helmet in hand.
The pitcher scuffed his feet in the ground before sneering,
"Looks like you got your personal cheering squad there, Rizzoli."
"Shut it, Morris!" spat back Frankie before looking over to the pit, "And you, Janie, knock it off. I've got enough with Ma out in the stands. I'm glad Pop stopped her from bringing the blow horn. She's loud enough people back downtown can probably hear her."
Jane held up her hands in the internationally understood sign of surrender and took a step back from the fence without saying a word. Frankie slammed the helmet onto his head and steadied his stance on the mound and waited for the pitch. Only a few seconds later, the definite thwack of bat to ball resonated across the field followed by the distinct sound of a bat hitting the ground as feet rushed from home to first. For a brief moment, the spectators and players were quiet until Frankie neared first base and then loud cheering began just as Frankie planted his feet squarely on first base.
"Hey, Misses Rizzoli!"
The woman from earlier looked up and smiled as she spotted and recognized Matteo walking up the aisle of the bleachers. She didn't recognize the pristinely well dressed woman following closely behind him. He would casually look back to ensure she was managing the stairs properly. Matteo was one of her children's childhood friends and she had the opportunity to see him grow up into the man that stood before her today.
"Matteo!" she gestured emphatically for them to come sit down next to her, "Sweetheart, come sit down. How's your mother?"
He chuckled at the realization that Angela Rizzoli had not changed one bit. He let his companion go before him and helped her navigate the bleacher seats. Angela forced people next to her to scoot down the bench and made room for her two new bench companions.
"She's fine and as a matter of fact was asking about you the other day. You two should get together," he said as he finally got closer to Angela.
"Who's the girl, Matteo?" she said just above a whisper, nodding towards the girl behind him as he sat down next to her. The woman in question looked over towards them as she sat down, carefully sweeping her dress underneath her and pushing her honey locks off her shoulders before leaning over Matteo,
"This is Angela Rizzoli, almost like a second mother to me growin' up" he explained.
"Hi, Maura Isles. Nice to meet you," she gingerly shook Angela's hand before settling back on the bench, crossing her legs and neatly folding her hands in her lap after placing her purse next to her. She looked out towards the diamond and meticulously scrutinized the players in the outfield.
"Maura is currently studying at BCU and surprisingly has never seen a softball game. So I thought that needed to be changed and what better game than the annual Carps versus the Plumbs," explained Matteo.
"My Janie is also at BCU," she started proudly, "Maybe you know her, she's..." she slapped Matteo's knee a few times, "Oh, oh, she's up! GO JANIE!" she yelled. Maura smiled at the enthusiasm Angela Rizzoli showed for her daughter and briefly a pang of anguish washed over her at the realization that her mother probably never demonstrated any such sentiments. She quickly pushed those feelings down and looked over to home base to see one of the only females out in the field step up to the home plate. It was true that she'd never been to a softball game but when Matteo insisted on bringing her to this one a week ago, she did what she always does – read up on the subject. According to what she'd read, Jane must be well versed in softball. Her stance was immaculate, her grip was loose and low on the bat, and she connected immediately with the ball.
"There aren't many girls on the field. Your daughter certainly handles herself well out there, Misses Rizzoli," Maura stated and immediately saw the pride in Angela's eyes.
"You can call me Angela, and Janie grew up with two brothers, I don't think she knows any different. I tried and tried to get her in dresses and playing less masculine games growing up but she wanted nothin' to do with any of it."
"She broke my nose once playing touch football when we were teens," Matteo added and Angela rolled her eyes. Maura laughed at the image of a younger Matteo getting injured by a girl and couldn't help but think of how defeated he must have felt.
"That must have been hard for you, Matteo," Maura admitted and gave him a small smile. He simply shrugged and kept his eyes on the field. It seemed as though Jane hit a home run. The ball was still soaring through the air heading towards the outfield fence. Everyone was waiting to see whether it would fall beyond it or not. The spectators roared when the ball fell on the other side and Jane stopped to look towards the outfield and grinned. She leisurely strutted from third back to home base. She was the last batter up in the order for their team and they'd chosen to play only 5 innings this time around and the home run was the perfect way to end it. The teams never officially kept score but they all individually really did and would silently pat each other on the back if their team won. Jane jogged up to Frankie and swatted his arm,
"Look at pop, he looks so proud. Thanks for playing, Frankie," she said as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders.
"Thanks for being the third son he never got. I'm sure this helps with the whole Tommy fiasco," he said in reply just as Frank Sr walked up to them and was about to say something when Angela's voiced boomed over the crowd.
"Ma?" Jane looked around bewildered to see where her mother was but couldn't find her. Angela had a knack of showing up out of nowhere. Jane chalked it up to magical powers women like Angela Rizzoli acquired when they bring up three kids.
"Ma!" both Jane and Frankie exclaimed as Angela kept shouting out for them.
A few seconds later, they saw her bobbing out from the crowd emptying the bleachers followed by one familiar face and an unfamiliar one. Angela walked up to her gang and smiled broadly,
"You guys were all so wonderful!" she extended the 'ful' as she grabbed each one's face and kissed them on the cheek. Both Jane and Frankie pulled faces and quickly rubbed their cheeks.
"You guys remember Matteo, right?" Angela gestured to Matteo and then quickly jumped back in, "And this is Maura... his -"
"Tutor," Maura interjected, smiling at them before throwing out her hand to the rest of the Rizzoli clan. Jane quickly removed her gloves to shake Maura's hand. They temporarily locked eyes and held each other's hand slightly longer than is usually customary for a quick handshake. Maura was slightly surprised at the strong and firm handshake. Her eyes slowly dropped from Jane's and sauntered down from her shoulder to her hand.
"Oh yes, Maura goes to BCU too! Maybe you and Jane have classes together," Angela said. Maura looked over to her as she let go of Jane's hand. She shifted her gaze to Frank Sr. He was such the quiet type and she wondered if he had just assumed the role because his wife seemed to enjoy talking so much or if he had always been quiet to start with.
"What are you taking, Jane?" Maura asked intrigued. Jane huffed and glared at her mother. She always did this and Jane honestly wished she didn't. She understood why she did but it was just so embarrassing.
"Justice Studies, you?" Jane replied.
"Applied Sciences... I help Matteo with his statistics," Maura answered promptly. Jane forced a smile as her eyes finally took in all of Maura – her sharp and crisp blouse, her nicely ironed skirt and her pristine heels. She was everything Angela wanted her to be and everything that Jane had spent her childhood, teenager years, and to this day rebelling against.
"Well, it's been nice guys but the game ran late and I've got a leaky faucet that needs fixing in the South end so I better get going," Frank Sr explained as he busied himself with shaking Matteo and Maura's hands,
"It was nice seeing you again, Matteo, tell your parents I said hello. Maura, it was nice meeting you," and with that he turned to head to his car.
"Frank! Frank!" Angela ran after him, "You drove us here! What were you going to do? Just desert me?"
Both Frankie and Jane exchanged looks and shrugged at the same time.
"Looks like I'm riding with you, sis," Frankie teased and Jane just rolled her eyes with an exaggerated sigh,
"Great... just don't touch the radio. Last time, you screwed with all my preset stations," she looked back to Matteo and Maura, "I'd love to catch up, Matteo, but you know how ma is on game day. She's going to expect us for dinner and we've got a half an hour drive to get back. I'm sure we'll run into each other on campus."
She didn't really believe it and deep down inside she hoped they wouldn't. Matteo had a crush on Jane for the better half of their high school years and it was just uncomfortable to be around him. She felt as though he might still be hoping for something more.
"Maybe I'll drop by later. I sure miss your ma's cannolis," he grinned. Maura shifted her weight and adjusted the strap of her purse on her shoulder before clearing her throat. She was usually the socially awkward one but even she could recognize the awkward tension floating in the air as Matteo and Jane exchanged words. Jane slowly glanced back to Maura and smiled,
"Maura, I hope you enjoyed yourself today. It was quite a game and good luck with this one. He used to cheat on me in math class," she stuck her thumb towards Matteo before turning around to head to the parking lot.
"Thanks!" Maura shouted in Jane's direction, offering a small wave. As she silently watched the siblings became smaller and smaller in the distance, she couldn't quite put her finger on it but there was just something about Jane Rizzoli. She'd have to come up with some way to run into her own campus.
"Justice Studies, right?" she asked Matteo and he looked towards Maura with an eyebrow raised,
"Yeah, Justice Studies. Why do you ask?"
"Just curious" was her response.