Maura was wearing skyscraper heels and a form fitting dress. She felt professional and confident in the new dress but the haute couture was decidedly not conducive to chasing after Jane on a busy Boston sidewalk.
Jane was in a hurry, and while she was normally more concerned with Maura's ability to keep up, she seemed rather oblivious at that particular moment. Maura tried not to let her exasperation show as she hurried along behind the lanky detective.
When the stoplight turned red and prohibited them from crossing the street, Maura exhaled in relief. The brief respite was much needed but Jane sighed in frustration and Maura wanted desperately to figure out why Jane was so upset, but if the past few weeks were any indication, asking would get her nowhere.
Maura reached out, gently rubbing Jane's arm. The muscles beneath Maura's hand tensed and then relaxed as Jane visibly deflated.
"I'm sorry," she apologized. When she met Maura's eyes, her posture was slumped, her lips pulled into a tight line. She looked exhausted, and slightly chagrined.
"No need to be," Maura replied, smiling. "Although I'd appreciate it if we could slow down a little; these aren't really running shoes."
Jane's eyes tracked down Maura's torso to her bare legs before landing on the delicately laced, stiletto boots. One of the laces was untied and before Maura could remedy the problem, Jane was kneeling. She struggled momentarily with the thin laces before successfully tying a little bow. She gently rubbed Maura's leather-covered calf, and Maura doubted she was even aware of the gesture.
"Too tight?" she asked without rising, glancing up at Maura from the sidewalk.
Maura couldn't speak. Millions of words warred for dominance, threatening to spill out in an incoherent jumble.
Jane stood up, misinterpreting Maura's sudden silence. She put a hand on Maura's forearm. Concern marred her brow and Maura wanted to wipe it away with soft hands and softer lips.
"You ok?" Jane asked. "I said I'm sorry, and we're definitely going to slow down. We could even take a taxi if you want."
It took all her discipline to respond, and even then Maura just managed a simple, "I'm fine."
"You sure?" Jane pressed, clearly not convinced.
Maura may not have fully grasped the full spectrum of social interactions but she was pretty sure she couldn't just blurt out what she was feeling at that moment. It didn't seem acceptable to profess your love for your best friend while standing on a crowded street corner, especially not when the impetus for such an admission was because she tied your shoe.
It's not that Maura wasn't fully aware of her feelings for Jane before, she was, but she had never before been hit with such a fierce urge to vocalize things.
When Jane knelt without a second thought and tied her shoe, just like Maura imagined Jane would do with their children, it made all the things Maura knew about Jane come to the front of her mind.
It was a microcosm of all the things that are good about Jane- she was considerate, kind, loyal, genuine, helpful, protective, and… loving. And gorgeous. The last thought didn't have anything to do with Jane tying her shoe but Maura had long ago stopped trying to filter out her appreciation of Jane's beauty.
Maura nodded, trying to sort out the jumbled thoughts spinning through her head. It was making her dizzy how much she wanted to just tell Jane everything.
She settled for throwing her arms around the other woman, sighing softly when Jane's arms wrapped around her in response. The embrace was tight and warm and comforting and Maura forgot about the world around them. She could feel Jane's concern in the way she held her close, stroked her back, allowed the embrace to linger.
"Maura?" Jane pressed, not pulling back from the embrace. "You sure you're ok?"
Nodding into Jane's wild locks, Maura inhaled deeply of the familiar, earthy scent she loved so much.
"I'm wonderful," she replied. Finally, she pulled back. Jane tried desperately to find her eyes but Maura averted her gaze, fearful of what her eyes would give away.
The light turned green and people around them surged forwards. Maura expected them to get swept across the road but Jane was standing her ground.
People moved around the other woman like the parting of the Red Sea. It was awe-inspiring to see the way people naturally, instinctively, deferred to her physical presence.
"Jane," Maura breathed, and even over the hubbub of the city around them, she knew Jane heard her.
"Just tell me what's wrong," Jane coaxed softly, resting a hand on Maura's forearm. "You can tell me anything."
Maura thought that was probably the truth, but she wasn't ready just yet to test that hypothesis.
"Nothing is wrong," she said, and it wasn't a lie. Jane looked at her skeptically so Maura flashed a wide smile and threaded her arm through Jane's. "Now we'd better get moving or we're going to be late."
Jane furrowed her brow and looked at Maura as if she could will her to spill her guts. Maura ignored the blatant interrogation technique and tugged gently until Jane began walking beside her, their steps synching naturally.
Someday, Maura thought, she would tell Jane how she felt. She would weigh the pros and cons and think through every contingency. She would cover every angle, see things from every direction. She would do some research perhaps, consult an expert or two (Angela? Frankie?) But in the end, she knew, she would not be able to rationalize her emotions.
Love, while perhaps not her forte, was not entirely beyond her comprehension.
She loved Jane. Sometimes, she thought Jane loved her too. But she wasn't sure yet.
Someday, Maura thought, she would find out for sure.
Things would be different then, and oh so good.