A/N: thank you all for your patience with me. this story can be overwhelming at times to write. writers block and being the in the right mind set to move forwards on this chapter was difficult at times. i'm not quite sure how i feel about where it ended up or even if i conveyed what i wanted to here. you all are the judges of that and as always, your feedback and thoughts are always appreciated!
I am drowning in my sleep.
Dreams so vivid steal the breath from my lungs. Nightmares make nights heavy.
'Sometimes the good gu-'
Shots ring out and Jane slumps against the podium. The tables around us are empty. I run towards her and ease her to the ground. She is bleeding and no amount of pressure I apply can stop it. I push until my hands disappear inside of her and a joyous feeling overtakes me.
It is warm and slick.
Flames lick the corner of the room and I can feel we are being watched.
His eyes burn like embers.
I blink at the darkness. I roll over and check in my phone. It is a little after 3am and I know I won't be falling back asleep. I slip and out of bed and head towards the bathroom.
The shower is near scalding when I step in. My body aches. It reverberates to the deepest parts of me. Something is building; threatening to crash and spill over. It is manifesting itself and without the promise of sleep, I can only focus on one color that paints itself over and over in my mind.
I brace myself against the wall and let the water wash over me. My forehead touches cool tile and wrap my arms around my waist and I close my eyes. I am lost in a memory.
She stepped in the shower behind me. Her lips trailed over my shoulder and her hands moved around my hips. Her fingers drew abstract patterns of the skin of my stomach.
We had been awake over over 24 hours and now that we are alone, the proud excitement that had buzzed around Jane is gone. I can hear thoughtfulness in her voice.
"I know it won't protect me." her lips brush against my ear. Her body pressed flush against mine.
"Hm, what won't?" I gently trailed my fingers over hers.
"Not being married, having children." warm lips capture my earlobe. Her hands moved lower on my stomach, cradling me.
"I want those things."
I don't answer. I can't. The seed of a thought that had been planted weeks ago by a baby and his dead mother; one that I had pushed down and buried begins to take root.
It was too complex. I hadn't understood it; the feeling it left with me with while I held baby Doe against my chest.
His mother died. He had been strong enough to make it into this world. I had filled his empty lungs with air and he expelled it with a cry.
It quelled something raging inside of me. The feeling made so much nonexistent.
It had settled me. It hadn't wanted to let it go. He had been beautiful.
I sway in our embrace instead of offering an answer. Jane nuzzled the side of my neck.
"Not now." she said, placing a light kiss behind my ear, "But someday, maybe?"
Her hand trailed down to my thigh. Her arm tightening around my waist. She held me in place at my hip. I gripped her forearm and anchored us.
Her hand moved over me. Delicious and slow. It trailed from my thigh, to my stomach and up to the valley between my breasts until her fingers pushed gently at my chin, angling my face towards hers.
And Jane had smiled. Dimpled and genuine. Like she was catching a glimpse of our future.
She kissed me and a single fingertip trailed down my neck, to my shoulder and down my arm. Her hand slipped under mind and I moved with her.
Her body was warm and wet. I arched back into her. Her lips were at my shoulder, biting gently as she guided our hands.
Between and parting me. I let out of a breath laced with her name. My grip tightened at her arm and my hand leaves her to move alone. I reached behind me. I threaded my fingers through wet hair at the base of her neck and held her close.
Closer for moments I never wanted to end.
The brink she builds me to shatters and I can feel the breath she held being released along with me.
I open my eyes. Water runs in them and I blink away the thought.
I try to bury the feeling, but loneliness envelopes me.
My hand trails over my stomach.
I try to imagine growth.
I try to imagine a future.
I step back into the waters stream and a cold uncertainty takes hold.
New horizons and far directions. Building something, bringing someone into this world. The construct, the idea of... a family? The fear is too great as is the risk.
I could easily lose it all. The loneliness would be too much. I can't expose myself. I can't expose Jane or a child to that.
There is no place for a kind of light like that in this world. I've seen the darkest corners of humanity. I have been consumed by it. It is no place for a child.
It is nothing you are deserving of.
I wrap my arms tightly around myself. Anything to feel less alone. And the warmth of water mixes with tears.
A pink, chubby hand moved across my breast and to his mouth. He suckled and closed his grey eyes. The sound of my heart lulled him to sleep and I placed a light kiss into his hair as I rocked us back and foth.
I clasp my hand over my mouth to contain pained cry building up in my throat.
I can't fool myself for something I so desperately want.
The enormity of it is frightening.
And any ounce of love that I have to give becomes caught between every rib for the innocence of an idea that could dare to find life.
I am pacing my living room. I have checked each plate, piece of silverware and glass multiple times.
"My mother is famous for her dinner parties." I pick up a wine glass and examine it.
"The apple didn't fall far from the tree." Angela compliments from the kitchen.
"Oh, no, I couldn't possibly live up to her. She would spot take out in a second."
Angela offers a sweet smile; "Stop worrying, you're the perfect daughter."
I am hopelessly seeking approval. Hoping to be reminded, told, that I am someone she believes in.
Someone that she loves.
The comment catches in my chest and I can't help but smile. I glance around nervously as Jane walks in. She places a box of cannolis on the table. Angela disapproves and I walk past them as they begin to bicker. I know the expression I carry is pained. Angela is warm and inviting, everything my mother is not.
"You're the perfect daughter." she says to Jane.
Jane simply wanted to make her happy and it is evident in Angela's voice. She is proud of her daughter.
I am desperate to know what that feels like.
Jane glances over her mother's shoulder and gives me a 'so there' look just as the doorbell rings. I run my hands over my dress and make my way around the island.
Jane puts her hand out and stops me; "Hey, you look beautiful."
She smiles and her eyes are soft. She places a light kiss on my cheek and it slows the drumming of my heart as I make my way to the door and open it.
"Hello darling, you look well." She kisses my cheeks and I can feel my smile falter. I haven't seen her in almost five years. Any call or visit is dictated at her convenience. I feel like a child again. I contain myself from reaching out for a hand I know I will never be given the privilege to hold. I can almost feel the familiar sting on the back of my of my own as I clasp them in front of me.
"This is Jane Rizzoli and her mother, Angela." I bite back the anger I can feel building up. I detach cooly at her introduction.
"Lovely to meet you." Angela extends her hand and my mother gives only a curt nod.
Jane pushes down gently on her mother's forearm. I clear my throat.
"This is my mother, Constance Isles."
My hand drops behind her. It hovers at the small of her back, and I extend my hand to the table.
Jane forces a smile.
"Let's have dinner, shall we?"
Jane's hand finds mine as we sit. She gives it a reassuring squeeze and I mumble an apology under my breath.
Dinner progresses and my mother speaks about her travels, and her art. She mentions my father and I can't think of the last time I spoke to him.
"That's great that you found time in your busy schedule to come to Boston to visit your daughter." Jane says brightly.
"I'm actually here for an installation opening."
I bite the inside of my cheek.
"It is almost impossible to get a hold of my daughter. I hardly know what is going on in her life. It almost seems as though she is trying to keep me in the dark. She hardly speaks a word to me."
She taps the table and my eyes immediately find hers; "Dear, that voice of yours clearly works considering how long it took for you to find it."
It is towering and I was small. I was sure it reached the sky. Shards of glass were embedded into the surface. It was gleaming and I was memorized by it. It was beautiful and broken, held together by wet, grey earth. It smelled of dirt.
It reflected light coming through the bay doors of my mother's studio that overlooked Paris. It painted the walls in refracted light. I wanted to touch it. I barely heard the the footsteps behind me as I reached out.
Her movement was sudden and forceful against the back of my had. It sent my fingers into a jagged shard. I felt immediate warmth trail down my fingertips. I knew the color. I remembered the sound of my voice filling my head. Screams.
I looked up at my mother and anger flashed across her features. I cradled my hand to my chest and a sound escaped me.
I was five and it had been the first time I had spoken since I had been adopted. For almost two and a half years I had not said a word until that day in my mother's studio.
The piece has gone on multiple installation tours with her. I'm sure it has traveled with her here to Boston. I'm sure she will tell the story of how it was originally sold and how she convinced the buyer to back out because of its powerful testament to art in all of its forms, and how it had rendered a student enrolled in her class speechless and then allowed her to rediscover her voice.
My body grows warm at the backhanded comment and the connotation it carries. I glance at Jane. Her jaw is clenched and her lips are a thin, firm line.
"Be careful, mother. You may choke on that bayonet tongue of yours soon enough and become the martyr you have always portrayed yourself to be.' I say jovially as I can. I wipe my mouth and stand. "Let's have dessert. I made poire belle hélène, your favorite."
My finger absently traces the knife beside my plate. Angela shifts uncomfortably in her chair as I make my way to the kitchen.
"Try the cannoli. They're my ma's favorite."
I watch the exchange between my mother and Jane. My fingers flex around the tray in my hands as she glances back and forth.
"Je m'excuse, mais je suis très fatiguée."
I force a polite smile; "She says she's sorry-"
"She's tired. Yes. I know."
I look at Jane; "I didn't know you spoke French."
"I read body language." Her eyes stay fixed as she watches my mother rise from her chair.
"It was lovely to meet you." my mother says as she collects her purse.
"You too." Spite drips from Jane's words.
"I thought you were staying. I prepared the guest house for you."
"Darling, did I mention that the gallery organized for me to stay at the Ritz? I've already checked in."
And this is the only home I have known. One in which mothers abandon their young and fathers are distant. Further than any star to hold.
"Really, darling, you have been ever the gracious host. I have missed our banter."
We both force a polite smile.
"I will see you tomorrow evening for the welcoming dinner. And you will be my date."
"Please come to the opening. Just call the gallery and have them put you on the list." my mother says coolly and uninterested towards Jane and Angela.
I can hear Jane barely contain a scoff; "The list? Sure."
She places a chaste kiss on my cheek before retreating to the door; "Bonsoir."
I set the dessert tray on the island as Angela begins to clear the table.
"Wow, she is so, uhm, put together." Jane edges politeness and I know it is difficult.
"She is hard to get to know."
"Oh, I think I got a pretty good idea." She cracks her knuckles; "Ma! Really, with the pots and pans. Cincinnati can hear you. See? You could have that for a mother, nosey and loud."
I glance over my shoulder at Angela who appears to be doing her best to look occupied at my kitchen sink.
"And warm, involved."
"Grass is always greener."
I pinch the brow of my nose and sigh; "Yeah."
Her words bit and caught. They set in my skin. I almost found myself wanting apologize again. I felt the knife under my fingertips and I wanted to part her ribs like a sea.
Jane leans in across the table; "You know.." she whispers; "I used to dream that I was adopted."
She gives a genuine smile; "Yeah. And my pretend mom was chic and glamorous and educated.
"I always wondered what it would be like to have a mother who cut the crusts off my sandwiches."
Jane leans in further and shares her secret; "Annoying."
She laughs and the look she conveys tells me I am loved. It reminds me that I am someone believed in and protected.
But I question how long can this last. The devil on my back doesn't compare to the practiced pose of an angel. I am only a monster.
I am a monster.
But in that moment, I let go of a cold hand I never held. For all of the love and what it demands of me, this is home.
The garrote was pulled taut in my hand. My knuckles were white around its wooden handles.
I have spoken since the last time I was in this studio. In French and Serbian. To thousands during my residency. I have taken lovers and lives and with my hands around her neck, who will stop me?
"Maura, chérie, est-ce vous?"
I paused and then took another step forward closer. So close. The wire could bite into her flesh.
"Oui, ma mère."
"Apportez-moi mes outils. Si tu voulais vraiment me tuer, vous auriez fait maintenant."
The next step I took brought me to her side and laid the wire neatly on her work table.
My mother is walking in the door of the Robber and I glance around confused. The memory quickly fades.
"My mother is here. I.. I thought she was in Paris."
Jane tosses a peanut into her mouth; "She forgot to say goodbye."
"I must keep it brief darling, I have a taxi waiting, but Jane can be very persuasive when she wants to be." she says as she approaches the table.
Jane cracks a shell.
"I just wanted to say that you've done well for yourself, darling."
Despite how taken aback I am by the compliment, I can feel a smile begin to pull at my lips.
"And you have someone that cares about you deeply, I see that."
I glance down at the table and smile. Angela nudges me gently with her elbow.
"Don't play coy, darling. With a friend like Jane, there is no need for subtext."
My mothers hand rests gently on my shoulder as she leans down and places a soft kiss on my cheek.
"She has a strong heart. That is what you need. It will ground you." she says quietly. My jaw sets and tightens.
"It was a pleasure to meet you all." she waves and heads back towards the door.
She is gone.
I reach for my wine glass, and Jane's hand finds mine. Her thumb brushes over my knuckles.
I nod as a flurry of emotion wells up in my chest.
Confusion and acceptance.
And for who I am.
We return to Jane's apartment and she makes her way immediately to the couch, falling back on it.
"Is that what you and my mother spoke about at the installation? Coming to say goodbye?" I ask, closing the door.
A single, dark eyebrow raises as I join her; "Hm? No. I just laid it out plain and simple for her. She showed up on her own."
I bring my hand up and capture a lock of hair and absently twirl it around my finger. I tug gently and Jane leans in and places a sweet kiss against my lips.
"I could see how much that dinner hurt you." her hand comes up and cups my face and her thumb traces my brow; "I don't like seeing you hurt."
I lean in and press my lips fully against hers. Jane's hand holds firm at the line of my jaw as our kiss deepens and my hands tangle into her hair. I push back firmly and move across her lap, straddling her. Pulling back I look into her eyes and see sincerity.
"I'm sorry for saying what I did after the Mateo case." Her hands rest at my hips and tug half halfheartedly at the fabric of my skirt; "I spoke too soon. I was tired and just had a lot running through my head. After meeting your mother I can see why you weren't quick to answer me. She doesn't really set the bar high for what a mother should be."
"But you do."
Jane looks at me and blinks.
"You are the maternal type. I'm sorry that I ever said otherwise. You are protective and kind. You are tough.." My hand loosens and flows down from her hair to her shoulder and rests over her heart.. "and tender."
She rolls her eyes and I smile.
"And you would probably teach our child horrible habits, like sarcasm and eating directly out of the cereal box."
Her eyes light up and my hands moves down her chest, across her stomach and stills. She looks down between us and then back up.
"Yeah?" she says quietly, hopefully.
I nod; "Yeah."
She rises up and kiss me. I can feel her smiling.
Growth and a future. I can see it with Jane. I want to feel it under my hands. I want to hold a small hand in my own and look down upon obsidian hair. I want all the things Jane is, hard lines and fire; strength and kindness ingrained in another and eyes that hold a love in them that speak without a word.
Mother, I loved you at your darkest.
PS A/N: i really have no intention of moving these two along into marriage or children. i think rather that i wanted explore the depths in which Jane has changed Maura since this story started. by no means is she reformed, but the capacity in which she feels has evolved and carries new complexities along with it. anywho, we are back to murder in the next chapter!