It's 1930's America, the Depression has hit and the economy has plummeted. Jane Rizzoli takes it upon herself to try and change the front of society even if it means dressing up as a man, moving across country and falling in love with a ranch owners wife, Maura Isles. (Bashing-Mice of Men)
Bashing of, Of Mice and Men, if you're wondering why, my Literature exam is in 2 days, I need all the motivation I can get for it. Even if it means using Rizzoli and Isles to get an A. The frame work is from Of Mice and Men, I don't own it, nor would I really want to. I don't own Rizzoli and Isles either.
The whole fic has been edited in places.
Slipping in and out of restlessness, Jane Rizzoli sat up and stared into the black abyss of her bedroom. The outline of her wardrobe was illuminated with the ever impending sun light of dawn.
Her bed creaked with the shift of weight as she crept from under the itchy blankets and padded across to her open bedroom window.
The sound of Boston was dumb, but there.
The distant call of a cat, crashing bins and the distinct click of high heels on the sidewalk under her window, all seemed out of place for the eldest Rizzoli sibling. Her two brothers still slept in the bed to the side of her, their shallow breathing mismatched and a stinging reminder that she had a life in Boston as well as a new, brighter life that she would soon step into. Jane took a long while to stare through the crack in the curtain, so her eyes roamed the city sky line.
The raven haired woman then turned back and sighed.
Jane glanced over to her sleeping brothers, then to her unmade bed, probably still warm from where she'd been lay.
Jane rolled her shoulders and pulled a note from the denim jacket she'd pulled on three hours previously to quicken up the processes of departure when she awoke.
The paper was crinkled and stained, she set in down on her pillow attentively. By laying it down, the euphoria of her plan acted like adrenalin. Jane scooped up the working boots, formerly of her Father's and slung them over her shoulder, the laces on both shoes tied with a string to hold them. She pulled her hair back under a black cap, only leaving a few shorter strands to frame the left side of her face.
Jane picked up the blanket roll she'd made, collecting only stolen food from the kitchen and a flask of water, along with a few sentimental items.
She took one last look around her bedroom; the look was sorrowful, but stern, then slipped away from her family.
The dusty air of a gravely track was humid.
The only shade to be found was under the willows and former, spindly branched apple trees.
On the sand bank of a tiny creak, small insects swarmed above the still water's edge. From the direction of the state highway came the sound of footsteps on the fallen crisp leaves. For a moment the place was lifeless, and then a lone traveller emerged from the path and came into the opening by the creak. She'd been walking down the track, eyes on her surroundings, the land that would give her a new life, a new beginning.
She was content with it, it's what she'd set out to do.
Clad in baggy denim trousers, with a grey ill-fitting raw notch tee, covered by a worn denim jacket and heavy black working boots, she was sure she'd pass for a man.
Hair tied back into a shapeless black cap and carrying a tightly wrapped blanket roll, she held her head like a true male.
She'd taken enough time to study them, their nature washed off on her, she'd been raised around boys, she was confident she could keep her identity hidden.
She stopped by the bank and took off her cap, not before looking around her to make sure she was alone.
She set the blanket roll down beside her and crouched down, aching and sweating from her walk, she let her hands settle in the water before splashing it onto her face and rubbing her neck with it.
Her sleeves dampened with the droplets that fell from her hands, so rolled them up to expose long, slender arms, well-toned from work at her Pop's old farm. Her skin was olive, a tone not many possessed around her former habitat.
She was of Italian decent, dark brown eyes, framed with dark lashes and raven hair all indicated that of a woman who possessed beauty, but of a fierce, defined nature.
Her sharp cheek bones and jaw line helped when it came to her adventure into the male world, if she gave the right look, talked the right talk, she'd easily gain acceptance without any questions.
Her thin hands, nimble and used to labour picked at the soil at the water's edge; it was an act of therapy, to calm her nerves before she walked a few more miles to her intended destination. The ranch in Soledad.
She was expected by the Boss and sure as hell was ready for it; she had her story planned out perfectly.
She'd pose as one of her brother's, change the name from Jane to something like... she pondered for a few minutes, she'd thought of everything but a name.
James was the easiest option; it was simple to remember and a far too common name for anyone to enquire into.
Jane smiled to herself and lay back, her over heated flesh caused her to feel woozy.
She listened to the rustle of the leaves and the skittering of the animals, if she wasn't so pressed for time, she'd sure stay, but money was more important than daydreaming, her Ma had made it clear as soon as her Pop had gone out of business, her brothers too.
Jane sighed and closed her eyes; her eye lids were pink and showed all the veins as the sun glared down through the branches.
She didn't have much father to travel, maybe she could stay for a little longer, she'd run the rest of the stretch, she didn't mind.
Yeah, she'd stay... just until she had the stamina to get back up. Sod time and money the dirt was comfortable.
The bunk house was a long, rectangular building, with faded wood panels and rusty window joints. Inside, the walls were whitewashed, with cracks in the aged paint. The bunk house possessed a solid door with a wooden latch. Against the walls were eight bunks, five of them made up with blankets and the other three showing their burlap ticking. Over each bunk there was nailed an apple box with the opening forward so that it made two shelves for the personal belongings of the occupant of the bunk. And these shelves were loaded with little articles, soap and talcum powder, razors and those Western magazines ranch men love to read and scoff at and secretly believe. There were medicines on the shelves, and little vials, combs; and from nails on the box sides, a few neckties. Near one wall there was a black cast-iron stove, its stovepipe going straight up through the ceiling. In the middle of the room stood a big square table littered with playing cards, and around it were grouped boxes for the players to sit on. At ten o'clock in the morning the sun threw a bright dust-laden beam through one of the side windows, and in and out of the beam flies shot like rushing stars.
The wooden latch rose, squeaking. The door opened and a tall, stoop-shouldered old man came in. He was dressed in blue jeans and he carried a big push-broom in his left hand. Behind him came Jane, tired eyed and weary.
"The boss was expectin' you last night," the old man said. "He was sore as hell when you wasn't here to go out this morning." He pointed with his right arm, and out of the sleeve came a round stick-like wrist, but no hand. Jane was tempted to recoil, but witnessed the old man's distaste in his severed limb, so she stood emotionless.
"You can have that bed there," he said, indicating the bunk near the stove. Jane stepped over and threw her blankets down on the burlap sack of straw that was meant to act as a mattress. The old man hadn't indicated that she was a girl, but he was old, he probably couldn't tell a dollar from a leaf.
Jane unrolled her bindle and began to place things on the shelf above her bunk. From her belongings, she saved a small key, hung from a piece of looped string and slid it over her head to settle around her neck.
The old man watched her without any rousing suspicion; she had all the belongings of a worker.
The aged man piped up again,
"I guess the boss'll be out here in a minute. He was sure burned when you wasn't here this morning. Come right in when we was eatin' breakfast and says,Where the hell's that new man?' An' he give the stable buck hell, too."
Jane patted a wrinkle out of her bed, and sat down.
"Sure. Ya see the stable buck's a coloured fella."
Jane adjusted her cap and let the man keep talking, but didn't care much for his repetitive wittering.
"Yeah. Nice fella too. Got a crooked back where a horse kicked him. The boss gives him hell when he's mad. But the stable buck don't give a damn about that. He reads a lot. Got books in his room."
Jane smiled, read a lot; she'd go and ask if she could borrow a couple of books to pass the time.
"What kind of a guy is the boss?" she asked.
"Well, he's a pretty nice fella. Gets pretty mad sometimes, but he's pretty nice. Tell ya what—know what he done Christmas? Brang a gallon of whisky right in here and says, 'Drink hearty, boys. Christmas comes but once a year.'"
"The hell he did! Whole gallon?"
"Yes sir. Jesus, we had fun."
The wooden latch rose again and the door opened. A little stocky man stood in the open doorway. He wore blue jean trousers, a flannel shirt, a black, unbuttoned vest and a black coat. His thumbs were stuck in his belt, on each side of a square steel buckle. On his head was a soiled brown Stetson hat, and he wore high-heeled boots and spurs to prove he was not a labouring man.
The old swamper looked quickly at him, and then shuffled to the door rubbing his whiskers with his knuckles as he went. "Just got in," he said, and shuffled past the boss and out the door.
The boss stepped into the room with the short, quick steps of a fat-legged man.
"I wanted a man this morning" he glared at Jane. "You got your work slip?"
Jane reached into her pocket and produced the slip and handed it to the boss.
"Says right here on the slip that you was to be here for work this morning."
Jane looked down at her feet.
"Bus driver give me a bum steer," she said, not also mentioning the fact she'd gotten lazy.
"I hadda walk ten miles. Says I was here when I wasn't. I couldn't get no rides in the morning."
The boss squinted, his pink face made his resemble a pig.
"Well, I had to send out the grain teams short of a bucker. Won't do any good to go out now till after dinner."
He pulled his time book out of his pocket and opened it where a pencil was stuck between the leaves. Jane scowled at herself; she sure knew how to piss someone off.
Great first day.
The boss licked his pencil.
"What's your name?"
"James Rizzoli" she was glad her voice was already naturally deep and due to her lack of water, a lot huskier.
"Rizzoli?" the Boss scratched his chin, Jane winced for a moment but almost let out a sigh of relief when he grinned. "Don't get names like that 'round here"
Jane smiled gingerly.
The name was entered in the book.
"Le's see, this is the twentieth." He closed the book. "Where you been working?"
"Up around Weed," Jane lied; she prided herself in her cover story.
"Why'd you quit in Weed?"
"Job was done," said Jane promptly.
"What kinda job?"
"I . . . . I was diggin' a cesspool."
"All right. But don't try to put nothing over, 'cause you can't get away with
nothing. I've seen wise guys before; go out with Slim's team, always with Slim"
"Yeah. Big tall skinner. You'll see him at dinner." He turned abruptly and went to the door, but before he went out he turned and looked for a long moment at Jane.
When the sound of his footsteps had died away, Jane breathed out and felt eyes on her.
The old man came slowly into the room. He had his broom in his hand. And at his heels there walked a dragfooted sheepdog, gray of muzzle, and with pale, blind old eyes. The dog struggled lamely to the side of the room and lay down, grunting softly to himself and licking his grizzled, moth-eaten coat. The swamper watched him until he was settled.
He was about to speak, his lips parted ready for a sentence when at that moment a young man came into the bunk house; a thin young man with a brown face, with brown eyes and a head of tightly curled hair. He wore a work glove on his left hand, and, like the boss, he wore high-heeled boots.
"Seen my old man?" he asked.
The swamper said.
"He was here jus' a minute ago, Curley. Went over to the cook house, I think."
"I'll try to catch him," said Curley. His eyes passed over the new man and he stopped. He glanced coldly at Jane. His arms gradually bent at the elbows and his hands closed into fists. He stiffened and went into a stoop. His glance was pugnacious.
Jane frowned at his action.
Curley stepped gingerly close to her.
"You the new guy the old man was waitin' for?"
"Yeah, jus' come in"
Curley stared levelly at Jane, examining her.
Jane tried not to move, but square up to him also, to ward off his observation.
She didn't like the look of him, he looked ratty and irritable.
He turned toward the door and walked out, and his elbows were still bent out a little.
Jane watched him go, and then he turned back to the swamper.
"Say, what the hell's he got on his shoulder? I didn't do nothing to him."
The old man looked cautiously at the door to make sure no one was listening.
"That's the boss's son," he said quietly. "Curley's pretty handy"
"Well, let him be handy," said Jane. "He don't have to take after me, I didn't do nothing to him"
The swamper considered.
"Curley's like a lot of little guys. He hates big guys. Kind of like he's mad at 'em because he ain't a big guy. You seen little guys like that, ain't you? Always scrappy?"
"Sure," said Jane, she'd seen her share fair trying to hit on her. "I seen plenty tough little guys. But this Curley better not make no mistakes about me, I ain't handy, but this Curley punk is gonna get hurt if he messes around"
Talk the talk, she was doing fine.
"Well, Curley's pretty handy," the swamper said skeptically. "Never did seem right to me."
Jane watched the door.
Would she really fight him? Probably, she had no problem with it.
The old man sat down on another box.
"Don't tell Curley I said none of this. He'd slough me. He just don't give a damn. Won't ever get canned 'cause his old man's the boss."
"This guy Curley sounds like a son-of-abitch to me. I don't like that sorta guy." Jane had an odd memory of Jack Rossen, a boy next door, a tiny boy with a tiny brain, she shoved him into a pond for trying to kiss her, back when she was fourteen.
"Seems to me like he's worse lately," said the swamper. "He got married a couple of weeks ago. Wife lives over in the boss's house. Seems like Curley is cockier'n ever since he got married."
Jane grunted, "Maybe he's showin' off for his wife."
The swamper warmed to his gossip.
"You seen that glove on his left hand?"
"Yeah. I seen it."
"Well, that glove's fulla vaseline."
"Vaseline? What the hell for?" but she soon got the idea, it was soon confirmed.
"Well, I tell ya what—Curley says he's keepin' that hand soft for his wife."
"Whoa, okay, yeah, that's enough information for anybody"
"Wait'll you see Curley's wife."
Jane raised her eyebrows.
"Purty?" she asked casually.
"Yeah. Purty . . . . but—"
Jane studied the man's face. "But what?"
"Well—she got the eye."
"Yeah? Married two weeks and got the eye? Maybe that's why Curley's pants is full of ants."
"I seen her give Slim the eye. Slim's a jerkline skinner. Hell of a nice fella. An' I seen her give Carlson the eye."
Jane pretended a lack of interest.
"Looks like I'm gonna have fun."
The swamper stood up from his box.
"Know what I think?" Jane didn't answer. "Well, I think Curley's married . . . a tart."
"He ain't the first," said Jane. "There's plenty done that."
The old man moved toward the door, and his ancient dog lifted his head and peered about, and then got painfully to his feet to follow.
"I gotta be settin' out the wash basins for the guys. The teams'll be in before long. You guys gonna buck barley?"
"You won't tell Curley nothing I said?"
"Well, you look her over, mister. You see if she ain't a tart." He stepped out
the door into the brilliant sunshine.
Jane bit on her lower lip, she'd sure look her over, just to see if the old man was right.
Surly, she couldn't be a tart.
She felt protective, no woman should be the gossip of men.
A brake screeched outside. A call came, "Stable—buck. Oh! Sta-able buck."
Jane had retired to sit on her bunk, when the voice interrupted her daydreaming.
Should she be more nervous than this? Surely she should, but in a way, she felt more at home than ever.
Jane then looked up from the gap in the floorboards, she'd been staring at, for the rectangle of sunshine in the doorway was cut off. A girl, a woman was standing there looking in.
Two large, hazel eyes looked at her, almost like she was inspecting every aspect of her anatomy.
Jane squirmed under the woman's gaze.
Bronze/blond hair framed her face, her lips were soft, with a baby pink tint, she had a sharp nose and fair skin. Angelic to say the least.
She wore a black day dress and black heels, looking far to dressy for the setting. Her figure held a proud bosom, but it wasn't exposed like Jane had been led to think
The woman possessed curves that could be admired.
It's what Jane's Ma would surely call a Vogue woman.
This woman was surely not the pinnacle of all the gossip.
"Have you seen Curley?" she spoke his name with a bitterness.
Jane shook her head, her accent was sharp, to formal and poised to belong to that of a local girl.
"He came in here, then back out, not after grillin' me 'bout simply breathing"
She smiled, her dimples were prominent. This new worker was amusing, not like the others, he spoke on the same level, no cat calls or innuendos about her questions.
"He is, intense" she shrugged.
"Sure, you could say that" Jane huffed and realised who she was meant to be and who she was talking to. "Sorry, I didn't mean ta.."
"It's fine, honestly" she wafted her hand in dismissal to Jane's rambling.
"Can you recall the direction he was headed?"
Jane felt a smile creep upon her lips, this woman's posture, the air around was that of aristocracy.
"Left I think" Jane then grinned. "If I recall, correctly" she joked, the woman's smile broadened.
Jane got a kick from it.
"Thank you... sorry, I didn't catch your name"
"That's because I didn't throw it" Jane smirked, the woman didn't get it, so Jane recovered by answering.
"Only by decent, Ma'am" Jane soon regretted calling her Ma'am, but she didn't seem to mind.
"Please, I'm no Ma'am" she brushed her dress down before talking again. "Just Maura"
"Well hi, just Maura"
Maura arched an eyebrow at Jane.
"You are different" she tilted her head and narrowed her eyes, almost in the fashion of a Doctor.
Jane suddenly felt a cold sweat infect her, Maura had guessed already? Shit.
"You're refreshing" Maura stated and patted the frame of the door. "I better go, I'm probably wanted else where"
Yes, here, stay.
Jane thought desperately, but responded with.
"Hope I could help" Jane scratched the back of her neck.
"Thank you for it" Maura gave her another brief grin before leaving, her heals clapped on the wood then faded as they met the dusty ground.
Maura didn't seem to have the eye for anything apart from knowledge, Jane had picked that up, the woman just wanted to know everything.