Cursing internally, Jane closed her eyes against the rush of emotions that flooded her.
Maura had just arrived at the Dirty Robber and jesus, the woman was so gorgeous it hurt. The demure M.E. scanned the crowded bar until her eyes alighted on Jane and Frost and a wide grin broke out on her face. She waved, and Frost returned the gesture as Maura moved towards them.
Jane clenched her beer bottle tightly, draining the two-thirds full beverage in one sip. When Maura reached the table, sliding in next to Frost, Jane stood abruptly.
"I'm getting another," she said. "You want anything?"
"A glass of wine would be lovely," Maura smiled. "I'll come with you."
"No," Jane retorted, just a little too harshly. "I've got it. Frost?"
"Another," he indicated his nearly-empty beer. "Thanks."
Jane wove her way angrily to the bar with quick steps.
As she waited for the bartender, she spun her wedding ring nervously. She knew Casey was waiting at home for her, that she should have this next round and graciously excuse herself.
She also knew that wouldn't happen.
Her two-year marriage to Casey was wonderful. He was loving and caring and passionate and they meshed well. She'd thought he was the one.
Then six months ago she'd met Dr. Maura Isles and her world had been…
The quirky, Google-mouthed, socially awkward woman had thrown Jane into a tailspin.
They developed an instant rapport, an immediate connection. The ebb and flow of their relationship was as natural as the coming and going of the tide.
In another lifetime, it would have been perfect.
As it was, it was destroying Jane.
Tearing her apart, brick by brick.
Their friendship was everything Jane had imagined two people could have. It put the connection she had with others to shame.
Maura was funny and intelligent and gorgeous and Jane was helpless to stop herself.
Maura felt inevitable.
And you can't stop the inevitable.
You could fight it- and oh, how Jane was trying to fight it, but she knew it was futile. She was merely spinning her wheels.
Even now, half a year into their friendship, she knew she'd lost.
Jane was in love with Maura.
Glancing over at their booth, Jane caught Maura watching her. The doctor's face split into a genuine smile and Jane forced a smile in return, spinning back to the bar.
"Shot," she grated to the familiar bartender. "I need a shot- Jameson, please."
The bartender proffered the shot and Jane downed it swiftly, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand as if it would soothe the burn. She grabbed the beers and Maura's wine and returned to the table.
Handing off the drinks, she slid into the booth across from Maura. As soon as she was settled, she felt Maura's leg brush hers. Startled, Jane pulled away abruptly, her knee banging the table.
"Sorry," she mumbled in response to the curious looks directed her way.
Frost and Maura resumed their conversation and Jane listened half-heartedly.
Maura seemed oblivious to Jane's growing affection, and Jane wondered how long she'd be able to hide her feelings. She wondered, with more concern, how long she'd be able to hide them from Casey.
Jane found herself staring at Maura's lips as the woman spoke and she jumped slightly when Frost kicked her shin under the table. She glanced at him curiously, cursing again when she saw the look on his face.
Apparently hiding it was going to be more problematic than she'd thought.
Frost's eyes narrowed at her and he sighed.
"Maura," he interrupted the doctor's chatter. "Would you excuse us for just a minute?"
"Of course," Maura allowed, a small wrinkle in her brow. "Is everything alright?"
Jane wanted to smooth that wrinkle with her lips and fingers. She wanted to caress every inch of her skin, to map the planes and contours of her body in the dim light of the M.E.'s expensive bedroom.
"Jane," Frost gritted his teeth, standing. "Would you join me for a moment?"
Jane stood as well.
"We'll be right back," she offered, following Frost as he charged towards the door of the bar.
Outside, her whirled on her, an accusatory finger dangerously close to her nose.
"You gotta cut that shit out," he barked. "Now."
"What?" Jane deflected, trying to be angry.
"You know what," he scoffed humorlessly. "Stop looking at the Doc like you're picturing her naked."
Jane swallowed harshly, closing her eyes tightly and rubbing them angrily.
"I can't," she gritted out. "I just don't… I can't."
"Well figure it out," Frost softened. "Because you're asking for a heap of trouble, Jane. Go home."
"I don't want to," Jane rasped, meeting Frosts eyes.
There was compassion in his eyes, but also a sharp edge of judgment that Jane shrank away from.
"Go home," he repeated. "See your husband."
They stood there for a long minute, Jane wondering what clearer signal the universe could send her to back off.
"You always gonna be around to save me?" she joked half-heartedly.
"Yes," Frost replied. "But my services will cost you."
"Sorkin paperwork?" Jane groaned. "Come on!"
"Don't push it," Frost laughed. "I still haven't finished the Bartlett file either."
"Fine," Jane relented with a small smile. "God forbid you actually do your job."
"I'm too busy saving your ass," Frost nudged her gently. "Go home Jane. I'll see you Monday."
"Thanks," Jane nodded. "I'll see ya."
She turned, the warring emotions within her rendering her unable to face Casey just yet. She needed to walk, to clear her head, to step back slightly from the remembrance of Maura's subtle perfume, delicate laughter, and the fleeting brush of their calves under the table.
Jane walked the two miles home in no particular rush.
She still felt a spark when she touched Casey. Was still attracted to him. Still… loved him.
But touching Casey was like shocking yourself on a door handle. Touching Maura, even a platonic brush of her fingers, was like grabbing a live electrical wire with both hands.
It just didn't compare.
Six months, four days, and nineteen hours ago, Jane wouldn't have believed love or attraction or emotion like this existed.
She would have scoffed, laughed, rolled her eyes.
She would have chuckled at such romantic delusions and gone on about her day.
Now… she aches.
She loves Casey, made a commitment to him.
Jane Rizzoli-Jones did not break her promises.
And yet, she also couldn't deny that the mysterious way she felt about Maura was bigger than she could control.
Jane had taken weeks, months, to warm up to Casey. To fall in love with him. To agree to marry him.
In only a matter of hours, she was hopelessly tangled up in Maura Isles.
Already, six months in to their friendship, she felt inextricably bound to the other woman.
Part of what worried her so much was that, sometimes, she thought Maura might feel it too.
Sometimes, Maura would catch her eye and in her gaze would be a deeper sentiment than proper, a more volatile emotion than was friendly.
Sometimes, Maura would let her touch linger for a beat too long, would let her hand graze a bit too sensually.
Sometimes, Maura would say something innocuously draped with intimacy, would let her tone or her words insinuate a deeper connection than colleagues should have.
When Jane arrived outside the familiar brownstone, she stopped to take a deep breath. Steeling herself, she entered.
Jo barked a greeting, and Jane reached down to pat the dog affectionately.
"I'm home," she called out cheerfully.
"In here," Casey called back.
Jane followed the voice to the den. Casey was sitting in an overstuffed leather chair, Jane's favorite piece of furniture in the house, reading a novel. He had his reading glasses on, his shirt unbuttoned at the throat, his worn jeans revealing his bare feet.
"Hey Baby," he greeted warmly, putting the book aside.
"Hey," Jane returned, leaning down to kiss him chastely. Casey put a hand against the back of her neck and held her, deepening the kiss. Jane allowed it, and while she felt that warm, familiar pleasure that she always had, it was nothing compared to the way just being near Maura made her feel.
"You ok?" Casey asked when he pulled back. He coaxed Jane into his lap and she came willingly, needing the strength and comfort of his hold around her.
Jane sighed, surrendering to the feel of his arms encircling her.
"Long day," she half-lied.
"Wanna talk about it?" Casey offered.
Jane shook her head, yawning, and burrowed further against his chest.
"Ok," Casey chuckled. He picked up his book and resumed reading. Jane let the warmth of his body steal around her, lulling her into a half-sleep state where everything seemed less clear.
She loved Casey.
It had taken a lot of work on her part to finally allow someone to care for her, to trust and love him the way she believed everyone deserved.
And Casey had done everything to earn that trust, to maintain that bond. He was ideal for Jane, knowing just when to push and just when to back off. He knew she had scars, both visible and hidden, and was willing to let sleeping dogs lie.
Cradled in his arms, Jane felt sheltered from the world. Casey had so far given her a life of happiness, love, warmth, passion… He was everything she had always expected a husband to be but never thought existed.
So why, when it seemed like true, lasting happiness was in the cards for her, did she have to fall in love with someone else?