Key into lock. Twist and push. Push door open, step in and... Home. The stress of today's massive work load finally melted from Doctor Maura Isles' shoulders as soon as she entered familiar territory. Aside from when she was at the morgue, conducting yet another autopsy or analysing evidence for Detectives Jane Rizzoli, Barry Frost and Vince Korsak, (her team, she cherished the term like a Mother would her child) this was the one place she felt entirely in control. And Maura liked having control. The sensation of the cool steel of her scalpel against the warmth of her skin gave her a thrill. Although Jane would never quite understand, the rush of adrenaline she experienced out in the field, chasing down criminals, was similar to the sensation that swept over the Doctor when she found herself able to give the body on her table a story. It was all very well and good being able to catch bad guys, slap a set of cuffs on them and send them to prison, but Maura felt it was her job to give the dead a voice. With nimble of fingers and the steadiest of hands, Doctor Isles methodically examined every single lost soul she came into contact with, no matter the circumstances. She speaks for the dead. She is their final spokeswoman. Maura felt that her job was extremely important. It certainly gave her life a sense of purpose and meaning. A life that had so often seemed empty and vacant before she became Medical Examiner and met Jane Rizzoli and her slightly crazy, yet loveable family.
Whilst Maura Isles chopped away at her salad for that evening's dinner, the gentle hum of her favourite composer Bach drifted around the kitchen. She unconsciously matched the pace of her chopping to that particular piece. Although utterly relaxed and content for the first time all week, she simply couldn't fight an insistent pang of regret. Something was missing from her Friday night. She and Jane often spent Friday nights together, unless one of them had arranged a date with yet another prospective boyfriend. Another prospective boyfriend who would soon disappear and leave nothing but material for Jane's snide jokes about men being unable to handle her commitment to her job. Usually, Jane would knock aggressively on her front door and then tumble inside, dragging an excitable Jo behind her on a lead, her overnight bag thrown haphazardly over one strong arm. She would announce her arrival with a low growl at Jo to 'behave!' in a voice that would most likely cause Maura to become weak in the knees. Jane would go on to complain about how she was wasting away before her very eyes. That would be Maura's cue to get cooking or produce a takeout menu for the two of them to peruse and argue over. Maura was willing to admit (but only to herself) that she missed having the Detective getting under he feet, protesting the fact there was far too much 'green stuff' in their meal, and that the Doctor's taste in alcoholic beverages was, 'frankly appalling.'
Since the age of eight, Maura knew the human digestive system like the back of her hand. Therefore she was acutely aware of the dangers of devouring the contents of one's plate within three minutes, as Jane often did. So she ate slowly and delicately as always, her mind thoroughly preoccupied with the raven haired Detective's no-show. After dinner, Maura settled down to read the latest Shakespeare novel she had managed to source. There was nothing quite like one of Shakespeare's great plays. With a copy of "Othello" clutched in one hand and a cup of camomile tea in the other, the good Doctor sank into her comfortable couch, ready to unwind before going to bed. Maura spent most of the next hour flicking aimlessly through page after page, squinting at references she couldn't quite fathom before realising she had entirely forgotten what had happened in the previous scene. She was frustrated, more at herself than anything else. But it was nevertheless a strange phenomenon that Jane hadn't at least called her. 'It's not as if we're a couple,' Maura scolded herself internally, her heart fluttering at the very thought of being in a relationship with Jane. 'Jane is her own person. She can do whatever she pleases on her Friday nights.' But as the minutes ticked by Maura's internal struggle only intensified. Her heeled boots clicked mercilessly against the kitchen floor as she paced back and forth, unable to shake the feeling that somehow, she needed to call her friend. Eventually she gave in and picked up the phone. Her skilled fingers punched in a very familiar number and she waited. There was no response. She wasn't greeted by the Detective's gravelly voice. She tried Jane's mobile to no avail. Whilst she quickly punched in the same number for the third time, Maura calmly told herself that her friend had simply forgotten to charge her phone, or was out enjoying herself. Much like Maura should be doing, except she was standing in her kitchen growing more concerned with each passing second. A knot of unease had formed in the pit of her stomach, and she knew nothing would shift it until she made contact with Jane Rizzoli.
"Detective Frost? Yes it's Doctor Isles, good evening. I'm very sorry to disturb you, but I was wondering if you have heard from Jane today? I've called her cell a few times, but as of yet she hasn't answered." Even to her own ears her voice sounds slightly strained. But Maura privately congratulates herself for being able to ask that question as if it meant nothing, as if it were trivial. Perhaps that was because her concern was unfounded. Still... She wanted to make sure. After Dominick Bianchi kidnapped Jane all those months ago, Maura couldn't help but feel slightly panicky whenever Jane was MIA for more than a couple of hours. It was entirely rooted in paranoia, but still, Maura was aware of how much danger Jane was permanently in, especially being a woman on the force. Maura's concern was only amplified ten fold by Frost's reply. "Sorry Maura, haven't seen her since this morning… I heard she was heading out to talk to the hotel staff again. I'll give Korsak a call and ask him if he's checked in on her today." Ah of course, the murdered woman in the hotel room. A locked room murder mystery if ever there was one. Seemingly, not a soul entered the room after Miss Juliette Marquez checked in at nine o'clock Tuesday evening. And yet she was found with vivid ligature marks around her pretty neck, a definitive homicide. To calm her raging emotions, Maura slowly counted from one to twenty, endlessly chastising herself for 'making a whole something outta nothing' as Angela Rizzoli had once said. Maura instantly felt isolated once more when the line went dead and Frost's voice left her ear. Immediately, she found herself punching in yet another number. She was unaware of the fact her fingers had turned a frosty white from clutching the kitchen counter so hard that to the naked eye, it might seem she was close to snapping the damn thing off. "Hello? Frankie, it's Maura…"
Upon realizing that no-one had seen or even spoken to Detective Jane Rizzoli since ten o'clock that morning, Doctor Maura Isles found herself doing something entirely uncharacteristic; breaking every single speed limit on her way to Jane's apartment with a complete disregard for the law she normally upholds with the greatest of respect. A low grunt of determination burst free of her mouth and Maura slammed her foot down so hard against the accelerator she felt cramps start to seize her calf muscles. But she didn't stop. She didn't even slow her pace in the slightest. She didn't let up until she was outside Jane's apartment building. All decorum dissipated into the chilly night air along with any remaining thoughts that didn't contain Jane. In fact, Maura found herself repeating that name in her head like some sort of mantra. She was almost praying, praying that Jane had turned her phone off and drifted off into a deep sleep after a tiring day. Praying that when she burst into her friend's apartment, all wide eyed and out of breath, the lanky Detective would wake, startled, roll off the couch with a thud and glare indignantly up at her for the intrusion. Doctor Isles had never believed in the falsity of wishing and praying, but right now she was willing to bargain with any god, pray to any being, wish on any star, that her best friend, the woman she secretly loved, was in that apartment.
There was no answer. Even after all her insistent ringing, the bell squealing into the apartment again and again and again, there was no answer. Her heart pounded hard against her ribcage. She knew she should still be reasonably calm. Surely there was an explanation for Jane's absence today? The key Jane entrusted her with a few months ago (a moment she had replayed in her mind so many times she could recite every word and picture every expression, however tiny it may be, from memory) found its way into the lock and turned easily, revealing the familiar surroundings in all its aching emptiness. "Jane! Jane are you here?!" Her voice was shrill, panicked, but she can't help it. The answer made itself evident in the silence. Empty. No Jane. No Jo and no Jane. The red light on the answering machine seemed to glare at her accusingly. Her useless, pathetic messages were stored on there. What use were they? Maura called Detective Barry Frost for the second time that night, and as soon as she heard his voice, she couldn't help the tears that scorched the back of her throat and poured down her face. "She's not here Detective. She's not here..." A pained sob tore out of her body. "Where's Jane?"