A/N: Yeah, I didn't post on time. But hey, life happens right? Hopefully, I'll be forgiven :)
Also, I must say... I was happily overwhelmed with all of your responses to the last chapter! I got double the amount of reviews and was not expecting that at all. So, thanks for reading! It makes me happy to hear from you all. ALWAYS :)
There was a lot to cover in the chap! Happy reading my peeps!
Bully in Love
Jane now sat outside the principal's office, with a puffy left eye and an ice pack in her hand. The nurse had placed a band aid over the deep gash on her cheek, but that did little to stop the blood that seized to slowly seep through. The left side of her torso hurt like hell anytime she attempted to lift her left arm. It even hurt if she breathed too deeply. In order to avoid further pain, she used her right arm to place the ice on her bruised left eye.
Joey was currently still in the nurse's office. His injuries were far worse. The brunette leaned her head against the wall behind her and closed her eyes. It had all happened so fast.
After Jane was tackled to the floor, Joey began throwing punch after punch, anywhere he could land them on her body. He got one solid pound to her left cheek and then two hard blows to her ribs before Jane roughly grabbed both sides of his face and head-butted him. Not once, but twice. First, to his mouth and then to his nose. A loud crunch sounded and he groaned loudly, grabbing at his face. Jane kicked him off of her body, causing the jock to land back on his ass. Jane shakily stood to her feet, feel a burning sensation in her left side where Joey had punched her. The crowd of enthusiastic high schoolers was shouting, whooping and some groaning in sympathy at the sight of Joey's face. He now had blood running from his nose and lower lip.
"Urrrgh!" With double the rage as before, he scrambled to his feet and lunged at Jane once again. This time, grabbing her neck. Jane struggled in his grasp for a moment but was able to swiftly lift her knee into his gut. He immediately let go of her, doubling over. Jane then delivered a solid right hook to his face.
"Ohhhh!" The crowd shouted in unison as Joey fell to the floor.
Suddenly, Jane was grabbed from behind and was being pulled out of the circle of students. "That's it, Rizzoli!" the man gripping her shouted. She recognized the voice as Mr. Korsak, one of her teachers. "You're facing expulsion for sure this time!"
Jane was still so hyped on adrenaline, she struggled in the larger man's arms. "Take that shit, Joey! You cocksucker!" She shouted towards the fallen boy.
"Enough!" Korsak yelled, hauling her away.
Two other teachers tended to Joey as the crowd began to disperse. Frost rounded the corner at that moment. He had come looking for Jane wondering why she was a no show in the parking lot and left all of his texts unanswered. Confused, he went up to one of the students and asked what happened.
"Jane Rizzoli just kicked Joey Grant's ass!" A guy enthusiastically replied. "Best fight ever!"
Frost furrowed his brows and looked down the hall. That was when he spotted Mr. Korsak leading Jane towards the nurse's office. "Damn it, Jane." He growled, running down the hall to catch up.
Frost sat with Jane in the nurse's office and even outside the principal's for a while, until he had to leave to meet Annie. Jane could always count on her buddy for support. She was even touched that Frost was expressing how pissed off he was that Joey had laid a hand on her. He did not believe in hitting a woman, regardless if they hit you first. But with Frost now gone, she sat alone waiting for…
"Jane Clementine Rizzoli!" Angela shrieked as she burst into the main office. "What have you done now?!"
Jane cringed at the sound of her middle name. God help her.
After a very public verbal lashing from Angela, Jane and her mother headed out of the school's main office. Sharp pains shot up Jane's side as she walked with her mother down the hallway. She tried to make her discomfort as unnoticeable as possible, but nothing got past her mother. Angela forced Jane to go into one of the school restrooms so she could see what was wrong. The brunette had hoped that the sharp pains in her left side would eventually subside but it only seemed to be getting worse. Angela lifted Jane's shirt and saw severe blue and black bruising on her side.
"Oh, baby. You're all banged up."
"Ma, I'm fine. It's just a few bruises."
Angela shook her head, defiantly. "Something's not right, Janey," Angela shot back worriedly. "I'm taking you to the hospital."
Two Days Later
It was Sunday evening and Maura was sitting at the dining table with her mother, Constance. This was the first dinner they have been able to share in a long while and Maura was elated. She finally had something to smile about. During these past couple weeks, the idea of smiling was foreign to her. Damn you Jane Rizzoli.
The dinner with her mother was going well. They engaged in light conversation about Maura's schooling and extra-curricular activities while Constance went on about her art galleries across the country and internationally.
They had just begun the main course of their meal when Constance changed the subject. "You know, darling. I haven't seen much of that girl you've been spending your time with lately."
Maura stopped the action of cutting her food, suddenly taken off guard.
"In fact," Constance continued. "I haven't heard you mention her for quiet some time. Whenever I'm home I usually never hear the end of what you two are up to."
The blonde immediately felt her mood plummet at the mention of Jane. She cleared her throat, attempting to hold her composure. "Well, mother… the reason is because she and I have had a bit of a… falling out. We're no longer on speaking terms."
"Hmm," Constance simply replied, before taking a sip of her wine. "Well, I wish I could say I was sorry to hear that, dear. But I'm glad you are no longer wasting your time socializing with people like her."
Maura was taken aback by her mother's distasteful tone. She was hoping her mother would at least ask her what happened or see that she was saddened about the situation. But no. What she received was a superficial response. She studied Constance quizzically. "What do you mean by that mother?"
"Maura," the older woman began. "We are civilized people who take pride in how we carry ourselves, how we look, and how we speak. People like her and those in her class, don't worry about such things. I'm sure this girl…"
"Jane. Her name is Jane Rizzoli," Maura spoke rather defensively. She even surprised herself after hearing the tone of authority in her own voice.
Constance raised an eyebrow at her. "Rizzoli…" she said, testing the name on her tongue. "An Italian. I'm sure she speaks colorfully as well," Constance muttered. "You've had your fun experimentally galloping in their world Maura, but now I'm sure you see that those are not the type of people we associate ourselves with."
Maura looked at her mother in disbelief. Constance was fitting the description of exactly what Jane was talking about. The rich, upper-class individual who had no regard nor respect for others who failed to meet their standards. That's what Jane had thought of Maura upon first seeing her and now here Maura sat with a mother who believed in such ways. She felt sick to her stomach. Jane did have a right to assume the worst of her. The brunette had been wrong of course, but Constance just proved that such bigotry truly existed... and in her family no less. This upset Maura deeply.
"An attitude such as this, mother, is what makes us seem unapproachable and superficial to others around us," Maura firmly stated.
"As it should. What can those people possibly do or say or that would hold my interest?"
Maura was quiet for a moment as her mind went back to the few weeks she had spent with Jane and the brunette's friends and family. "Many things," Maura replied. "They can show you how to cook a hearty family breakfast. They can tell you about the Red Sox baseball team, show you how to play air hockey at an arcade, or teach you how to fix a bathroom sink…" a small smile came to Maura's face as she thought of the day she and Jane battled the faucet. "They can say and teach us a lot, mother and do things that are truly amazing… and real. But of course it's your choice to listen... and I listened. It was the most exciting and wonderful time I've ever had and I would not trade it for anything."
Constance regarded her daughter with an expression of shock. Maura had actually rendered her mother speechless.
"I'm no longer hungry. Goodnight, mother." Maura stood from the dining table and walked out of the room with her head held high. Constance remained in the room... alone.
Later that evening, Maura sat in front of her vanity dresser mirror, dressed in her silk night gown, brushing her golden-brown locks, she thought of Jane. Maura knew the brunette was desperately trying to gain her attention for the past two weeks at school. She would often feel the brunette's gaze on her from across a room, burning a hole into her soul, willing her to look. But she refused. She had been so upset with the brunette. How could someone treat the person they supposedly have strong feelings for so poorly? Yes, Jane had admitted she was insecure and that explained a lot, but it still did not erase those hurtful memories. But people deserve a second chance and Maura's conversation with her mother gave her that epiphany. That extra push she needed to finally forgive Jane… starting tomorrow.
Three days. It had been three full school days and Maura had yet to see Jane on campus. The first day, Maura figured the brunette had perhaps ditched. The second day, she was a bit concerned but refused to let it bother her. Then on the third day, Maura knew something had to be wrong. Where was Jane? A part of her wanted to go to the brunette's house and find out for herself, but she instantly felt uncomfortable with the idea. She had been the one who shut Jane out. What right did she have to pop over to the her house? That option was no longer deemed as appropriate but Maura had to know what was going on.
During lunch, Maura spotted Frost chatting with a few other boys at a table. She approached the small group, placing a hand on Frost's shoulder to get his attention. "Barry?"
He turned to her and his face dropped slightly. "Hey..." he replied.
Though this was a reception she had never received from the usually happy go-lucky guy, she did not let it discourage her. "May I speak to you a moment?"
She could see he was hesitant to comply but he nodded before telling his buddies he would return. He followed Maura outside the cafeteria doors into the quieter hallway. Frost stood before her, waiting.
"Barry… I've noticed that Jane has not been coming to school the last few days," Maura began.
Frost only stared at her.
"Do you know where she is?"
Frost raised a disbelieving eyebrow at her. "You mean you haven't heard?"
Maura furrowed her brows. "Heard what?"
"Jane is the hot gossip of the week going around school."
The blonde shrugged sadly. "I have no one to gossip with, Barry."
"Oh…" Frost said, remembering Maura was not the social butterfly.
"Please, Barry. Will you tell me?"
"What do you care anyway? You won't talk to her. Hell, you don't even look her way."
Maura felt a small sting at Frost's words but what he said was true. She gave a sharp nod. "I know. I know," she reaffirmed at Frost's eye roll. I shouldn't care, but I do. I do very much."
Frost regarded her for a moment, reading the blonde's features. He could see the care and deep concern in Maura's eyes. "She's been suspended," he finally said.
Frost sighed heavily and Maura could see the upset in his face. "She's gonna kill me when she finds out I told you this. She got in a pretty ugly fist fight with Joey Grant last Friday."
Maura gasped. "Joey? That large football player from the mini-golf course?"
Frost nodded, tightening his jaw muscles.
Worry etched Maura's features. "Oh, my gosh. Is Jane alright?"
"Uh… yes and no. They beat each other up pretty bad, but Joey took most of it. Guess he didn't know Jane took self-defense classes," he lightly smirked.
"Barry, I have to see her," Maura said with determination.
Frost lowered his eyes and shook his head.
"What?" Maura questioned, trying to read Frost. "Do you suppose she won't want to see me?"
"I don't know, Maura…"
"It's true; I have been awful to her the past few weeks but…"
"You had every right to be," Frost interrupted. "Jane understood that... and I'm sorry for snapping at you earlier. It's only because Jane's my friend and we look out for each other."
"But you did break her heart, Maura."
The blonde lowered her eyes as she felt the guilt crawl into her soul.
"I've never seen her so down before... and I'm talkin' worse than losing the Championship hockey game. She misses you," he shrugged.
"Really? Because I miss her too," Maura softly admitted.
"Then go see her. She's been at home for the past few days, resting."
"I can't say that I have not thought about going over there, but I didn't know if I would be welcome."
"You should be fine. Plus, Jane's family adores you."
Maura smiled softly. "Thanks, Barry."
"No problem, Maura. I'll see you around," Frost smiled back, before walking back into the cafeteria.
"Maura! Oh, my goodness!" Before the blonde could react, she was swept up into a strong hug by an anxious Angela Rizzoli. "How have you been, sweetie?"
"I've been okay," she replied as Angela released her from the embrace.
"Come in, come in," Angela said, stepping aside. "Feels like I haven't seen you in forever. Are you here to see Jane?"
"Yes, I am." Maura turned to the older woman as the front door was closed behind them. "Mrs. Rizzoli, I am terribly sorry to hear what happened with Jane."
Angela sighed heavily, trying to hide her disappointment. "Thank you. Janey has that temper and she needs to learn how to control it better. I've told her not to get rough with those boys at school. Now I'm afraid she won't be able to catch up with her classes. She's been suspended for three weeks."
"And it's her Senior year! She won't be able to graduate."
"I won't let that happen, Mrs. Rizzoli. I will do everything I can to help Jane with her school work. Whatever it takes."
"Oh..." Angela sighed, looking at Maura with pride. "Thank you, sweetheart. Jane is so lucky to have a friend like you."
Maura forced a smiled, not knowing if she truly was Jane's friend or not.
"Jane is in her room. Why don't you head on up and surprise her. I know she'll be glad to see you."
When Maura reached Jane's door she noises on the other side that sounded like a television playing. She took several calming breathes before lightly knocking on the door.
"Since when do you knock, Ma?" Jane's voice said from the other side of the door.
"It's not your mother."
There was silence for a moment.
"Yes, Jane. It's me. May I come in?"
There was no response. This worried the blonde and Maura was beginning to think she made a huge mistake.
Relieved, Maura opened Jane's door. The brunette was sitting up in her bed with several pillows propped up behind her back. She was on top of the comforter wearing a white tank top and black silk basketball shorts. The blonde's eyes immediately caught sight of the black and blue bruising that half ringed Jane's lower left eye, along with the stitches in her upper cheek. Maura felt sympathy wash over her at the sight.
Their eyes locked. Maura had almost forgotten how dark brown, expressive and beautiful those eyes were. "Hello, Jane," Maura said, finding her voice.
"Maura... what are you doin' here?" Jane asked. There was no malice in her tone.
The blonde closed the door behind her and took a step into the room. "I heard what happened. I wanted to come see you."
"How did you find out? They talkin' about me at school?" Jane muttered.
"Actually, Frost told me."
Jane raised an eyebrow at her.
"Although, I practically had to force it out of him because he's seems to be quite protective of you."
Jane chuckled lightly but soon winced in pain, holding her side.
The blonde immediately took a step closer. "Are you okay?" Maura sincerely asked.
"I've been better," Jane grimaced.
"What are your injuries? If I may ask."
"You mean Frost didn't tell you that, too?"
Maura shook her head.
Jane pointed her right finger at the cut on her cheek. "Two stiches." She then pointed at her side. "One cracked rib."
Maura gave Jane the once over. "That's it?"
"What? That's not enough? I'm in a lot of pain here."
"No, I mean... that did not come out right. What I meant was I'm surprised that your injuries were not more severe. Especially, given Joey's size."
"I can take care of myself, that's all," Jane simply stated. She nodded towards her desk. "My x-ray is on top of that folder if you wanna take a look."
Maura inspected the x-ray of Jane's ribs in the light. "Rib number seven in the true ribs portion of your rib cage is cracked."
"Yes. It felt like a number seven when it happened," Jane tried to joke.
Maura lowered the slide and looked over at the brunette sympathetically. "Oh, Jane. Why? Why were you fighting?"
The brunette shrugged and shook her head. "It's stupid. You don't wanna hear."
"Try me." Maura placed the x-ray in the folder and back on Jane's desk.
Jane wanted to release a heavy sigh, but she knew her rib would make her be sorry. "He was saying some things that pissed me off. So I slugged him."
"But Jane, doesn't he always say things that upset you? What made you hit him this time?"
"He was saying things… about you." Jane had muttered the last part, but Maura caught.
"Yeah. Sick things… and I didn't like him talkin' about you that way."
"Are you saying that you got in a fight... over me?"
"Stupid, huh? Dumb, rough and tough Jane Rizzoli strikes again. I get into fights with guys, get suspended. I ditch school and I rarely, if ever do my homework." Jane shook her head sadly. "I'm nobody you'd wanna be around, Maura…" She murmured, lowering her eyes. "Nobody you should be around."
Maura stepped over to Jane and now stood by her beside. "Will you please look at me, Jane?" The brunette hesitantly raised her eyes and Maura could see the apprehension in them. Maura smiled softly, attempting to put Jane at ease. "You don't get to decide who I should spend my time with, Jane Rizzoli... and you're wrong. You're exactly the type of person I want to be around."
Jane stared at Maura dumbfounded. After all of the things this girl has witnessed and she still wanted to be around her? Was she fucking kidding her?
"You're fucking kidding me, right?" Jane asked.
The blonde could only chuckle at Jane's blunt response. Jane and that mouth of hers.
"I, I'm sorry," the brunette sheepishly apologized for her use of language. "I'm mean... are you sure? I'm not the easiest person to be around."
"No, you most certainly are not. But I'm not kidding. I found that I enjoy your company, Jane... and despite the outcome of your approach to defend my honor, I find it very sweet that you stood up for me."
The brunette felt herself blushing.
"It's something someone would do for another person they care for."
Jane shyly lowered her eyes. "Well... that's because I do," Jane softly replied.
"I know," Maura said back, smiling softly at Jane's now timid demeanor. "I care too. That's why I'm here."
Jane eventually raised her eyes and met Maura's gaze. They instantaneously smiled at one another before both of them felt shy this time and averted their eyes. Their chemistry was back and it was burning stronger than ever before.
Maura's eyes caught a glimpse of what was on Jane's television. "You're watching National Geographic," she grinned, excited by the prospect of Jane expanding her horizons.
"Yeah, but only because I am temporarily restricting myself from cartoons and sports."
"Why would you do that? You like watching those."
"Yes, I do. But if I watch cartoons, I'll want to laugh and if I watch sports I'll want to yell and jump up and down like an idiot. None of that would agree with my rib right now."
"Right. That's logical."
"Thank you," Jane nodded with an air of wisdom. "So, I thought I'd settle on one of your channels. It's not so bad."
Maura lightly smiled. "Well, um... I shouldn't disturb you any longer. You need your rest."
"Uh... yeah, right," Jane said, not ready for Maura to leave just yet.
Maura began to back away fidgeting with her hands. She had wanted to touch Jane, but was afraid to. "So, I'll leave you to it. Have a good evening, Jane."
The blonde turned and headed towards the door. Maura's hand had just reached the doorknob when...
"Wait," Jane suddenly said, making Maura stop and look at her.
"They're showing a marathon of Life. You know, the show that Oprah narrated. And um… if you want, I mean, if you're not doing anything... then maybe you can…"
Maura lifted an amused eyebrows, seeing Jane struggling with her words.
Jane rolled her eyes. "For God's sake, Maura. Do you wanna to watch this with me?"
Maura chuckled softly. "I'd be delighted to join you, Jane."
The blonde came around the front of the bed and joined Jane on the mattress, sitting on the brunette's uninjured side. They silently sat together a few minutes into the show and Jane glanced at Maura. This felt so good. So right.
"Thanks for coming over," Jane softly said.
The blonde looked at her and gave an amused smirk. "I had to make sure you weren't dead. You got in a fight with Joesph Grant. His body mass is much larger than yours."
"Yes, I'm aware." Jane nodded with a small smile.
They continued watching the show. Jane absentmindly tapped her fingers against her own knee and looked towards Maura again. "So…" the brunette drawled. "You were worried about me?"
Maura turned to her, catching the teasing twinkle in Jane's eye. The blonde smiled softly, hoping her blush was not noticeable. "Don't flatter yourself, Rizzoli."
Jane grinned devilishly, remembering when Maura had first said that to her at the mini-golf course. The blonde smiled back at her. Hazel eyes bright and beautiful. Jane could not help but get lost and she knew in that moment how important Maura had become to her. So she said the first thing that came into her mind before she could stop herself.
"Maura, I'm sorry."
The blonde's smile faltered at the sudden seriousness of Jane's expression.
"I'm sorry," Jane whispered again.
Maura stared at Jane and realization masked her features as she suddenly understood. "Jane, you don't…"
"I do. I'm sorry, Maura… for how I treated you these past couple years. For bullying you the way I did and judging you without even knowing you. I was coward. You were right. I had no right to do that to you."
Maura stared at the brunette, not sure if she could believe her eyes. Suddenly, she felt Jane's hand in her own and their fingers seemed to naturally intertwine. Maura looked down at their joined hands and felt a sense of warmth and butterflies run through her body.
"This okay?" Jane cautiously asked.
"Yea..." Maura's voice squeaked. "Um, yes," she reaffirmed. Jane's hand seemed to squeeze hers a little tighter then.
"Maura," Jane continued, making the blonde's eyes meet her own. "You're the smartest, most incredible, beautiful girl I've ever met. You're amazing and I just…" Suddenly flashes of the many things Jane did to Maura went through her head. The various times she would see pleading eyes that would silently ask the question, why? Those hurt and saddened expressions that would come over the blonde's face. It was all because of her. How could she do that to such a caring soul such as Maura Isles? Jane's guilt came crashing upon her in an overwhelming wave and tears rapidly began to form in her eyes. "I hate myself for hurting you so much," she breathed. "God, I'm… I'm so sorry, Maura."
Jane covered her face and tried to stop herself from sobbing. She felt so embarrassed and vulnerable; not her normal badass persona at all.
As Maura listened to the broken girl beside her, she not only saw how remorseful Jane was but felt it as well, like a crushing grip on her heart.
"Jane…" she softly whispered. She gently pulled Jane's hands from her face and tilted the brunette's head up. Sad brown eyes, full of tears looked back at her. Maura bit her bottom lip, trying to hold back tears of her own. Jane Rizzoli, her tormentor for the past two years, had finally said the words she had been longing to hear. I'm sorry. And meant it.
Maura's hands were cupping Jane's face. With her thumb, the blonde caressed just under the cut on Jane's cheek. Jane had gotten that defending her name. No one had ever done that for her before. Maura leaned in gently placing her lips where her thumb had just been.
Jane instantly closed her eyes at the feeling of Maura's soft lips against her skin. Time seemed to slow down and her heart began to pound. There was nothing more wonderful than this feeling.
Maura slowly pulled back and looked at Jane. The brunette's eyes were still closed and Maura leaned forward, pressing their foreheads together. "I forgive you, Jane," she whispered.
The brunette felt tears rolling down her cheeks. She released a breath of relief but leaned away, cringing at the sudden pain in her side. "Ow…"
The blonde winced in sympathy, knowing there was nothing she could do for the injury. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah…" Jane grumbled. "It'll pass." The brunette looked at the girl in front of her in amazement. "How, Maura?"
The blonde tilted her head in question, waiting for Jane to elaborate.
"How could you forgive me?"
"By seeing the real Jane Rizzoli… and I like her very much. Thank you for letting me see her." Maura was the one to reach over and join their hands this time.
Jane smiled softly and was still surprised by the electric connection she felt whenever their hands touched. "Thank you, for forgiving me."
A/N: Whoomp, there it is!