Jane's foot bounced on the carpeted floor of the University Health Services waiting room, her fingers tapping out a nervous beat against the page of her economics textbook. A mixed-strategy Nash Equilibrium involves at least one player playing a randomized strategy, and no player being able to increase their expected payoff by playing an alternate strategy. She looked up at the clock. 1:07. Didn't they say the appointment had to be between 12 and 1 o'clock? And now I've been waiting here for twenty-two minutes, and they can't even bother to be on time?

She pinched her nose in the bridge of her hand and tried to refocus herself. Note that equality requires randomization- no, that wasn't right- randomization requires equality of expected payoffs…

She flipped through the remaining pages in the chapter. Thirteen. And a set of twenty problems just so she could prove she couldn't apply the concepts she'd just read about.

1:09

She looked back to her book, but her brain wouldn't process the words on the page; instead, her mind ran rampant, blinded by the panic that had become so commonplace in the recent months. God, my life is in fucking shambles. Finals begin in seven days, and there's no chance- no chance- that I'm going to be ready. I need more time. I should have started studying weeks ago.

She ground her teeth, frustrated with herself. Way to go, Jane. Everyone else here manages just fine, and you can't keep up for one semester?

One semester. That's all you're going to get, anyway.

Her mind flashed to the letter from the Financial Aid Office, still sitting on her desk right where she'd left it after opening the envelope, probably now buried under piles of books and other papers. She knew she should have given it more thought, knew she should have made some calls, come up with a plan, but she just couldn't. She already felt buried under the weight of everything else going on, and it was all she could do to open her textbooks and try to dig herself out of her academic hole. She couldn't fathom the idea of trying to tackle even more problem-solving while she was already so overwhelmed and behind.

When finals are over, she promised herself. When finals are over, I can think about the money.

Yeah, and do what? Learn how to perform magic? Pray for a miracle?

1:11

And to top it all off, I'm wasting time sitting here in UHS, waiting for vaccines I know I already got.

She glowered at the clock.

And Maura. The way she's been acting since the night before Thanksgiving, like she needs someone and I happen to be convenient. She shook her head. No. Don't let yourself think about it.

Focus.

It is x's probabilities that determine the expected payoff for y; if y is going to randomize, then x probabilities must be such that y is willing to randomize…

"Jane Rizzoli?"

Jane jumped up. Finally. "Yes. Here! Me." She grabbed her belongings and hustled over to the nurse standing by the waiting room door.

The nurse consulted her clipboard as she stood back to let Jane through the doorway. "Let's see, you're here for your immunizations...okay, and you'll be in Exam Room Six. Right this way, please."

Jane followed her down the hall and the nurse escorted her into an empty room.

"Have a seat. The lab tech will be right with you." She let herself out, closing the door behind her.

Yeah, right with me, I'm sure. Just like the 'it'll be just a few minutes' in the waiting room turned into almost half an hour. She sank into the chair, her coat across her lap, and pulled out her book again.

"Jane."

She jumped, startled, and the room suddenly felt tense, too small. She hadn't heard the door open, but a man now stood at the cabinet behind her.

"Yeah." She closed her book, sticking it in her bag, and rolled her sleeve up, ready to get it over with and get out of there. The man moved slowly as he removed his supplies from the medical cabinet, and laid them carefully one by one on the the tray in front of him, placing each one down with precision.

"How are you today, Jane?" He asked, his back to her.

"Uh, fine, thanks. How are you?" she asked automatically.

He took his time before answering. "I didn't have the best morning, but I'm doing better now."

I don't need to hear your life story, I just need you to hurry up so I can get out of here and get on with my day, try to salvage...something. Her leg started bouncing again as her anxieties wound themselves around her.

He finally turned to her, carrying the tray and placing it on the counter, and settling on the high stool next to her. He leaned down over her, fingers gripping the arm she offered, and wrapped the blood pressure cuff around her bicep. His eyes remained on hers, an unsettlingly piercing gaze, as the cuff tightened, then slowly released. She found herself unable to look away until he broke eye contact to take the reading.

"Your blood pressure and pulse are both a little high. Nothing to worry about, I'm sure, in a nice, healthy looking girl like you. Are you a little stressed, Jane?"

"Um." The way he said her name made her insides crawl. She had trouble finding her words until he had let go of her arm, exchanging the cuff for a syringe. "Yeah, I guess. I mean, it's reading period, so with finals right around the corner, I'm just busy trying to study, you know? A little pressed for time." He didn't get the hint, continuing to take his time inserting the syringe into a vial, drawing the liquid up into the tube, painstakingly slow about the process. She stuck her arm out impatiently.

The cold of his fingers and the cold of the antiseptic swab hit her skin at the same time, and she shivered. As he moved the swab around in little circles of pressure against her arm, he spoke again. "You must be looking forward to winter break, so you can relax after finals. Where will you be vacationing, Jane? Do you have a nice trip planned?"

She laughed, the sting of the words drowning out the pain of the needle entering her skin. Yeah, a trip, right, the Rizzoli family will totally be vacationing in the Swiss Alps, or, I forget, maybe this is the year we go on a safari in Africa. "No." Her tone was clipped, bitter. "No, I can't even pay my tuition, let alone afford a trip somewhere." It was the first time she'd said the words out loud, and she couldn't imagine what possessed her to say them here, to a person she didn't even know.

He paused, studying her frankly, two fingers holding a wad of cotton against the puncture site. "You're different."

She couldn't look away, and her words fought through a dry mouth. "Uh. What?"

He turned back to his tray, ripping open a bandaid, and shrugged, his lips pursing into a thoughtful frown. "You're not like the other students here. Already this morning I've heard about planned vacations to Greece, the Bahamas, London. Trips on their parents' dime. Wealth makes many of the kids here so… entitled." He extended a finger, pointing in her direction and shrugged again, casual. "But not you."

"Yeah, well, I… I didn't grow up like that." He's right, I'm not like the rest of them. Privileged. Rich. Never having to worry about where- or if- the money for something is going to come. Resentment tasted sour in her mouth, and the words kept tumbling out, angry, more to herself than to the technician. "They can all go off on their fancy trips and then come back in the spring. I can't. I shouldn't have expected it to be any different. I should just be grateful I got one semester at this school, right?"

Fingers pressed at the veins in the bend of each of her arms, and the technician wrapped a band around the right, just above her elbow. "I know what it's like." The knot snapped taut against her skin. "Maybe I could help you. I've helped other students in your position."

The offer snapped her back to her senses. He can help me? What's that supposed to mean? Only one possible interpretation jumped to mind, and it made her balk immediately. She jerked her arm away from him. "I'm not going to sell drugs for you. I've seen what they can do to decent kids with good lives and I don't care how spoiled and sheltered the people here might be, I will not play a part in ruining their- "

A soft laugh broke through her rant. "No, no. It's nothing like that." He picked up a new antiseptic swab and reached for her arm, and she reluctantly let him take it again, her suspicions still high. "It would just be you." He looked down, dabbing at the area around her vein, and he kept his voice and facial expression neutral. "No one else would get hurt. It would be safe. Discreet. I have an… associate, and we vet all the clients. It's a college town; finding respectable professors and businessmen who are lonely and wealthy isn't difficult."

Jane stared, dumbfounded. Is he suggesting…? Fingers gripped her arm tighter, and she felt barely a prick as the needle slid under her skin and her blood began pooling in the vial. His eyes remained locked on his work. The first tube filled up and he swiftly swapped it out for the second. "We've worked with other girls before. I think they were all very satisfied with the arrangement, and were able to get what they deserved from it." The briefest of pauses. "To stay here."

Her stomach churned, and she found her voice. "No." The mere idea was ridiculous; she was a regular, normal girl, not a… a whore. This man had actually found other girls- other BCU students- who had agreed?

The needle exited her skin. "If you're sure. But you should think it over. It's worth it- just a few weeks of work, and you get to stay at school." He released the band from around her upper arm. "Or you could drop out. Disappoint your friends and your parents. Go back to your old life." He shrugged. "It's your choice." He printed meticulously on a post-it note, peeled it off the pad, and held it to her. "In case you change your mind."

She found her hand reaching for the paper.

His fingers lingered for a moment, both of them holding onto the paper. When he let go, he picked up her chart and left, leaving her alone, staring at the words he'd written.

Henry Debotudo
617-495-8077

She felt disgusting just looking at it, holding it. She knew she should crumble it up, throw it in the trash can, walk out of the room and never look back, erase the image and the offer from her mind.

Her fingers hesitated on the edges of the post-it, his words echoing through her head. 'Just a few weeks.'

She scrunched the note up, held it balled inside her tight fist.

'You get to stay at school.'

Her hand hesitated over the trash can.

'Or you could drop out. Disappoint your friends and your parents.'

In one quick motion, she pulled her hand back and stuffed the note in the back pocket of her jeans.

Heart pounding, she haphazardly gathered up her belongings and slipped out the door of the exam room. She kept up a rapid pace as she worked her way down the halls and out of the building, keeping her head down and studiously avoiding any gaze that might land on her for too long and know.


Jane flipped her pencil over, scrubbing at the page of her notebook to erase her latest scribbles. The numbers she'd been trying to work with weren't adding up, which made sense, as she hadn't finished reading the section of the chapter that addressed mixed-equilibrium problems.

After getting back to her dorm, she'd sat down with her textbook again, but found that the half an hour she spent with her book before Maura had arrived promptly at 2:30 for their scheduled study session had completely passed her by without her making any progress in the reading. When Maura arrived and settled with her book on one end of Jane's couch, Jane had longed to lay down, rest her head in Maura's lap, feel the fingers play absent-mindedly with her hair while Maura studied, just escape into sleep.

But she'd known that she couldn't relax, that if she closed her eyes, she'd only be locking herself in with her worries. She also couldn't face watching Maura turn page after page of her textbook, while Jane spent another pointless half hour reading and rereading the same paragraphs. So she'd abandoned the reading and moved straight onto the problems at the end, figuring she'd get through as many as she could before she had to make herself go back and complete the chapter.

The first half had gone surprisingly well. The methodical nature of the problem set gave her something concrete to work on, something solvable. The questions were challenging, but she had retained more of the information than she'd expected, and she found that she was able to arrive at the correct answers eventually, the process temporarily occupying her full attention, giving her a break from thinking about all the things in her life that weren't working.

But by the time she'd tried the same problem six times with no success, she had to accept that she'd reached the limit of what she could do without going back and finishing the chapter.

Good friggin' luck, Jane. You couldn't do it before, why would you be able to do it now? She gritted her teeth and smiled wryly to herself. Why are you even bothering? There's no point to freaking out about passing your classes- the same thing happens whether you pass or fail. You leave school. Who cares what happens on your tests?

Unless-

Her hand drifted unconsciously to her pocket.

Stop it.

I might be desperate, but I'm not THAT desperate, she scolded herself. Am I?

She tried to picture herself doing it. What would she even have to do? Dress up in barely-there underwear and a dress that was this short of exposing them? And then… what? Lie on a bed while some guy-

She broke out in a cold sweat. I can't. I couldn't do it. There's no way I could live with myself. It can't possibly be worth the humiliation.

You're going to be humiliated either way. What are you going to do when you get sent home in January? Tell everyone here how you were too poor to stay and know that they'll talk behind your back, pity you? Or disappear without telling anyone where you went? Leave them to assume you failed out, you couldn't hack it? Go work for Pop and learn how to become a plumber?

What's stopping you from just- doing it? Just for a few weeks. She wondered how many sweaty old men she'd have to touch, what a lower-class tomboy failure like her was worth when put up for sale. She felt herself harden at the question; a separation formed in her mind between herself, and this girl who could sit there and contemplate selling sex, selling herself. What do you have to lose? You're already the lowest of the low here, why shouldn't you do whatever it takes to stay?

She felt Maura shift beside her on the couch, and her stomach sank.

Maura.

There is no good choice, she realized. Either way, I lose- everything. If I have to leave school, I lose her. I'm just hanging on the edgeof her world as it is- if I leave, she'll forget all about me. But if I do this, how could I ever let myself be with her, knowing what- what I am? I might not be worth anything, but she is.

"Jane?"

Jane jumped a mile as Maura's voice broke the silence in the room. "Yeah?"

Maura smiled at her. "You've been staring off into space instead of at your book. Do you need a break?" She reached out a hand to touch Jane's arm.

Jane couldn't move away far enough, fast enough. I can't let her know what I'm thinking can't let her touch me not after I've been considering this she'll know get away from her what are you even doing still sitting here like you deserve to be near her after-

She was up, standing next to the couch, hooking a thumb over her shoulder towards her bedroom. "I- yeah. I just- I'm going to go- take a shower. You're- you're working, I don't want to interrupt, just keep- doing what you're doing." The words tripped over themselves to get out of her mouth, get her away from Maura. Move.

She covered the distance to her bedroom in a few steps, grabbed her towel and shower caddy off her dresser, and bolted from the room, too worked up to realize that Maura had stood up too, was calling her name after Jane's retreating form.

The next thing she knew, she was under the running shower, letting the boiling water cascade down over her. The sting over her whole body had never felt more appropriate, and she dug the heels of her hands into her eyes, refusing to let the tears brimming there fall out. You do not deserve to cry over this. Or over her.

You have already lost her.

She laughed, bitter.

That implies that you ever really had her.

You do not belong in her world. You know that. She knows that. She fits in perfectly here. This school is her domain; she's doing it all right, doing this perfectly. She's sophisticated like them, has her life planned out like them. What do you think she's doing with you?

Jane swallowed hard. She knew what Maura was doing with her, she just hadn't wanted to admit it. But the way Maura had acted the night before Thanksgiving- Jane had to remove the blinders she wore when it came to Maura, finally acknowledge what she should have seen all along.


As soon as she realizes how upset Maura is, Jane abandons her plan to head home Wednesday night for Thanksgiving break. Her family can wait until tomorrow morning. Maura needs her.

She takes Maura's hand and tries to make a joke, hoping to change the smile on Maura's face from forced to genuine. She isn't sure how to help- Maura avoided her questions, wouldn't talk about what happened- but she asked Jane to stay. And so Jane will stay by her side for as long as she needs. She will give her everything she can.

She has an idea, and invites Maura home with her for Thanksgiving. It won't be the same for Maura as having her own mother visit, but it's something, and it means Jane won't have to leave her alone. It takes some convincing- Maura is always so sure that she'll be in the way, that she's not really wanted, and it breaks Jane's heart- but she finally agrees.

She agrees, but she is still quiet. Reserved. Jane can see her emotions in the way she fidgets, the way her eyes stay dark, distant, even when she smiles. Maybe Jane has just made her more nervous. It seemed like a good idea, inviting Maura home with her, but she knows it's going to be busier than Maura is used to, more overwhelming. Tonight, she wants Maura to relax, away from pressure, away from stress. She wants her to smile, to feel loved. Wanted.

She suggests her dorm room, a movie. Her roommates have already left, and it will be quiet. Maybe Maura will talk to her, let her help. At the very least, Maura can recharge in a comfortable environment, recoup her energy and spirit for tomorrow.

When they arrive in Jane's room, she settles Maura on the couch with their tape collection and tells her to pick a movie, then excuses herself to her bedroom. She closes the door and calls her mother. At first, Angela Rizzoli is upset when her daughter says that she'll be coming home a day late, but Jane explains that Maura has had a hard day, and Jane needs to be with her tonight. The promise of bringing Maura along for Thanksgiving appeases Angela; she has always loved meeting her children's friends, and Jane has talked non-stop about Maura for months. Jane hesitates before hanging up, and lowers her voice even more. "She might be a little nervous, Ma. She's different. Sometimes she's like a human fact-spouting machine, but she doesn't do it to be condescending. She's just… Maura. Don't be weird about it, okay?" Her mother reassures her that the whole family will love Maura just the way she is. Jane knew they would.

Maura is still surrounded by tapes when Jane gets back to her, meticulously reading the back of every box. When Jane asks if she's narrowed down her choices at all, she shakes her head and starts talking about the inadequacies of a two-paragraph synopsis and the flaws in the reviewer rating system. Jane waits for her to finish, then asks if she'd like Jane to pick the movie. Maura looks around at the pile of tapes and nods. Jane considers her options. She wants the movie to make Maura laugh. She almost pops 'The Parent Trap' into the VCR, then realizes that a story about parents bonding with their children might not be what Maura needs right now, and puts 'The Goonies' in instead.

She turns the lights out and sits down and the instant she is on the couch, before she can even hit 'play' on the remote, Maura is pressed up against her. Jane slips an arm around her and wonders if she's ready to talk. She tries again to give her an opening, remarking that Maura has been quieter than usual. She wants Maura to let her in, to let Jane carry some of her burden. Maura deflects, claiming exhaustion. Jane studies her for a minute- she sees the blotches creeping up Maura's neck- but decides to let her get away with it. Maybe she just needs time. Maybe after the movie, she'll be ready.

She starts the film rolling, but doesn't really pay attention to the action on-screen; she's too attuned to the girl next to her. Maura can't seem to get close enough to her, can't seem to settle. She presses closer and her hands roam over Jane's leg, her arm. Jane responds by squeezing Maura in more tightly, trying to secure her. It's not that Jane doesn't want to cuddle- she loves the feeling of Maura's body tucked up against hers- but Maura has a different energy about her, and it unsettles Jane. She can feel Maura's anxiety in her touches. Needy. Restless.

Maura has no idea what's happening in the movie playing on the screen in front of them. There are children, an adventure of some sort, but she can't follow. She doesn't care; she needs something, and it's not a movie but she doesn't know what it is. She feels off-balance, overwhelmed, and- angry. Angry at her mother for making her feel this way, angry at herself for not being able to calm her emotions. She presses herself against Jane, willing the physical contact to quell the discomfort she feels.

She can't get close enough. She shifts position, grappling uselessly for physical comfort, security. Jane pulls her in tighter, but it's not enough. She wants Jane to ask her again about what's going on, give her a second- third? fourth?- chance to talk. Press her. Make her say it, share it. Jane deserves to know, doesn't she? The truth?

She wants Jane to stay quiet, because if she shares the truth- she can't think about it. She scoots closer to Jane, as close as she can get without actually climbing into her lap. She holds her breath, waits for Jane to pull back. Wriggle out from under her touch, tell her to give her some space. She can't stop herself; maybe Jane will get impatient, make her stop. Snap her out of this.

Jane's hand finds hers.

Ninety-eight minutes later, the screen goes black. Jane is reluctant to pull her hand away from Maura to shut the television off, and so they sit in the dark and silence until the tape runs out and the static assault on their ears and eyes jolts Jane into action. She lets go of Maura and clicks the television off with the remote. Maura's hand immediately follows after hers, searching, and Jane returns to it again as quickly as possible.

She plays with the hand beneath hers, and fingers clutch back. Jane chews nervously at her bottom lip, wanting to figure out the right words to help, to make Maura feel better. She tries. "Maura, I know you're upset, I- "

She is interrupted before she can get any further, Maura unconvincingly insisting that she is fine. Jane's heart falls. Why can't she be better at this? Why can't she find the right words to say? Why can't she be the person Maura needs?

She can surmise what's bothering Maura- she can hear the way Maura always changes when she mentions her mother, always making justifications for why she treats Maura the way she does. Defends her. Tries to shrug off the way she wishes for more, pretends she is fine without it. Jane can only think that with this last-minute cancellation, Maura must feel abandoned. Lonely. Unloved. Jane is furious at Constance for making Maura feel like this, and furious at herself for not being able to make up for it. Why can't she be good enough, important enough for Maura to confide in her, admit in front of her that she's upset? Why doesn't Maura trust her?

She has looked away, staring off at the wall, when she feels the shift next to her, and Maura is nuzzling at Jane's neck with her lips. She needs a second to respond, to catch up, but Maura doesn't wait. She has a leg over Jane's, has climbed onto her lap and found her lips, kissing at her more urgently, cupping Jane's face in her hands and moving against her. Jane is surprised at the sudden change- this is a course of events she didn't expect- but she is not altogether displeased either. Now that they've passed the hurdle of having sex for the first time, she's grown a little more comfortable, confident with the intimacy between them. The uncharacteristic assertiveness from Maura, the feel of the girl on top of her, send a warmth down through her core before she can process what is happening.

Maura feels terrifyingly out-of-control, as though she is no longer truly in charge of her own actions. The gnawing anxiety has taken the reins, and she is desperate. Desperate for… she doesn't know. She can't identify what she is feeling, what she wants, but the directionless desperation is there, taking her over, and she needs to relieve it. She can come up with no specific path, no concrete goal for how to regain her balance, but she has to do something.

And so she reaches for Jane, into Jane. She reaches with her body, her tongue, her hands. She needs everything to go away, to stop, and this isn't helping, but she doesn't know what else to do. Her actions frighten herself, she knows she is being clingy, knows she is asking for more than she should, more than Jane probably wants to give, but the self-awareness doesn't help her to back down. She pushes. She waits to be pushed back, pushed away.

Something feels different to Jane, off-kilter. It feels like it's not quite...Maura there with her. Not like she usually is, and it leaves Jane conflicted. Part of her feels weird about this, makes her wonder if she should stop Maura, but she hesitates. Maura is already feeling lonely. Maura's mother has shown her once today that she is not important, that she doesn't come first. Jane can't do the same thing. If she retreats now, will it just be another rejection, drive Maura further into whatever hole she's in? She wants to protect Maura, not pile more hurt on top of what she is already feeling, already bottling up inside.

She decides it's better to follow Maura's lead. Show her that she is wanted, that Jane wants her.

Jane does want her.

And she wants to make her happy.

She guides Maura up off the couch, and, careful not to push her away, leads her to the bedroom. Hands clutch at her. Maura's body won't give up any distance from hers and Jane is afraid they are going to trip and fall before they make it to the bed, but she navigates them there safely.

When she has laid Maura's back on the bed, Maura pulls Jane on top of her, pulls at the back of Jane's thighs until she is on her knees crouched over Maura. She tangles her fingers in the back of Jane's shirt, her hair, her pant loops, wherever she can reach. Jane knows she is being asked to take control, take Maura, take her now, and she obliges, aroused to feel the soft skin beneath her hands as she undresses Maura, touches her, hears the shallow breaths and the strangled cries as she gives herself to Maura and Maura keeps non-verbally asking for more, more.

Maura cannot get enough, and she shuts out the small part of her brain that tells her this is because she is searching for 'enough' in the wrong way. She yearns for understanding. Comfort. Empathy.

She is incapable of finding these words. Words do not usually fail Maura, and it leaves her terrifyingly lost when they do.

She knows she needs Jane. She pulls her tighter, searching. She wants so badly for just some of the weight to be lifted, to not sit so terribly heavy, trapped in her chest. She needs to be with her best friend, the person she loves, the person she dares think might love her back- but Jane is with her, inside her, and they are not connecting. The space between them feels like it's growing and Maura may lose her any second. She knows she's missing something, but she cannot fathom any other way to let Jane in, and so the only place to go is forward. She wraps her limbs around Jane as she tumbles, hoping beyond hope that somehow she will land and they will be together.

When she realizes that her own physical satisfaction, release, has not cured her loneliness, nor quieted the terrible restless anxiety, she spins Jane over and straddles her. She takes a second to look at her. She is. Right. There. In this moment, she is Maura's. It doesn't make Maura feel less alone. She doesn't understand how this phenomenon is possible. She is trying, but she can't outrun the things she doesn't want to feel.

She bites at Jane's lip, tugs off her clothing. When she slips her fingers inside, her motions are frenzied, wavering just this side of rough. Jane responds to her touch, and Maura feels only sadness welling up in her where desire should be, and she knows this is a bad idea.

She kisses harder, moves faster.

Everything is off-balance, unsettled. Her desperation scares her.

She should stop.

She loves Jane, and right now, she knows what she is doing is fucking, not making love. She has the idea that she is probably making things worse, but she can't keep feeling what she's feeling and to be with Jane like this must be better than to not be with her at all, and she is not ready to give her up.

As Jane comes apart under her hands, Maura searches inside herself for what she's been seeking, the togetherness, the bond between them. The idea that they have shared themselves with each other and everything will be okay.

It isn't there.

She climbs off Jane abruptly, lies down facing away from her so Jane cannot see her tears. She doesn't have the words or the energy to explain herself. Arms wrap around her, and she feels the heat of Jane's body against her back, lips pressing softly, once, at the nape of her neck. It makes her heart ache. Somehow, Jane is still with her, not letting her float completely adrift despite Maura's mistakes, despite the wall Maura tried and failed to breach in all the wrong ways. Jane is still there, reaching back to her.

Jane hears Maura's breathing slow as she settles into sleep, wrapped up tight in Jane's arms. Jane stays awake for a long time, thinking. She feels weird about what just happened between them, how not like herself Maura was. She wonders if she should have let it happen, if she did the right thing. If she gave Maura what she needed, or if she should have continued pressing her to talk.

Why wouldn't she talk?

Her right arm cramps up under Maura's neck, but she stays still, not wanting to disturb Maura's slumber. Eventually, her arm numbs and so does her brain and she sleeps too.


Jane let her body slide down the wall of the shower.

She's just using you.

It was a devastating realization.

Stupid, stupid. You let yourself fall in love with her. You thought maybe she could even sort of feel it back.

When she was upset after her mother didn't come to visit, what did you think, that you could make her feel better? Protect her? That somehow you would know what's right for her, be enough for her?

She made it abundantly clear that it's not YOU she needs, it's anyone. And you're here, you're convenient. She's using you to get her needs met, but you could be anyone, for all it matters. And you aren't going to do a damn thing about it, because you are head over heels stupid in love with someone who will never, ever love you back. You are a fool, Jane Rizzoli. And if you're going to keep hanging on to whatever she's willing to give you, why the hell not do whatever it takes to stay at this school so you can keep throwing yourself at her, hoping someday things will be different, that she'll feel something back? Why not?

The legs that picked her up off the floor, the hand that turned off the shower, the body that dressed itself back in dirty clothes and walked to the payphone in the basement didn't feel like hers. The trembling in her mind, the little voice that cried out to ask her what she was doing, weren't evident in the strong voice that spoke into the telephone receiver when a man answered after a few rings. "Hello, Mr. Debotudo? This is Jane. I've considered your offer, and I think we should set up a time to meet."