Angela and Frankie were perched on their stools, across from each other around Maura's large kitchen counter. Jane took a seat next to her mom, while Maura sat with Frankie.
"Maura! You look beautiful!" Angela raved.
"Thank you Angela. I had trouble with the dress, which is why I needed Jane's help."
She nodded at Jane, who gave her an embarrassed smirk. "You're welcome," she offered, and looked back down at her food.
"Jane, you don't need to inhale your food like this. My train isn't leaving for another two hours. We have time."
"Say Hi to Aunt Gina." Frankie said with his mouth full. Angela frowned at him.
"She's really disappointed that you guys can't make it to her wedding."
Jane protested. "Ma, it's her sixth one!"
"Yeah, we stopped going after number four", Frankie added. "And I'm on patrol this weekend."
He looked at Jane, silently asking her "What's YOUR excuse?".
"I..., erm..." Jane stammered.
Maura interrupted. "Jane and I had... plans. At... a charity... event." Maura started blushing furiously, and she clutched her chest, where hives were erupting under her dress. She took a deep breath, but panic settled in her eyes. She looked at Jane, who started chuckling.
Angela put a hand on Maura's back.
"Maura, are you okay? Jane, stop laughing, she's choking!"
"She'll be fine. Maura, it's okay. You're okay..." Jane locked her eyes onto Maura's and nodded at her. They held each other's gaze for a few seconds, as if holding hands from across the counter. Jane pinched her lips, amused but also deeply moved that Maura would attempt to lie for her. The doctor calmed down, and her breathing slowly returned to normal.
"I'm sorry. I'm fine now."
Maura finally took a sip of orange juice, and everybody sighed in relief.
They finished breakfast and Jane even had time to watch the Sports Recap on Maura's big screen TV.
Frankie loaded up Angela's small bag in Jane's car, and left for work. Angela hugged Maura goodbye.
Before sitting behind the wheel, Jane hollered at the doctor: "Hey, I'll come over at 5 for that charity thing tonight, okay?"
Maura glared at her with a disapproving frown. Jane giggled and drove off with her mom.
"You guys are cute." Angela said to Jane, who looked at her, confused.
"I know she can't lie. She was lying for you. To get out of the wedding."
"Do you know why I'm going to Aunt Gina's wedding? All of them?"
"Because you love torture?"
Angela rolled her eyes. "Because I know how she feels. She doesn't want to grow old alone. When your father left, I realized I had taken him for granted. I always thought we'd be together. We had our problems, but we were old school, you're in it until the end. Now I don't know what I'm going to do. I have you and your brothers, but I know you have your own lives."
Angela paused and set her hand on Jane's knee. Jane patted it gently.
"I'm sorry, Ma, I had no idea."
"You haven't had a boyfriend for a long time, Janie. I know you probably don't want to have kids, even though I'm still hoping. You love your job, but it's all you have. One day I'll be gone. I don't want you to wake up one day, alone, with nobody to grow old with."
"Ma!..." Jane gesticulated with her hands in frustration. "Why are you saying all this?"
Angela was indignant. "I just want you to be happy! I'm just saying... Maura's nice!"
"Maura makes you happy! She'd be a good companion for you"
Jane's face scrunched in disbelief.
"Ma, are you trying to set me up with Maura?! She's my friend... She's... straight!"
"No she's not. She's been with women before."
"What?! How... How do you know?"
"She told me. We talk, you know. I live there."
Jane fell silent. She felt the sting of betrayal in her gut. Maura had never told her anything about dating women. Admittedly, Jane never wanted to talk about sex and intimate stuff. Jane sighed.
"I... I like her." She rasped.
"I know, sweetie."
"I think she likes me. Did she tell you if she liked me that way?"
"No, but I think she does. I can see the way you two look at each other."
Jane swallowed the lump in her throat.
"What if I lose her?"
Angela shrugged. "What if you don't ever find out?"
Jane stopped the car at the drop-off zone and hugged her mother on the curb.
"Enjoy your weekend, Janie. Maybe you can ask Maura out. I won't be here, take advantage of it!" Angela joked. Jane offered a weak smile and waved goodbye. She was terrified.