"Rizzoli to my office." Lieutenant Cavanaugh didn't exactly look angry, but his brows were drawn together and his shoulders sagged.
Maura leaned across Jane's desk and whispered to Frost. "I have such trouble reading his expression. He always looks so unhappy."
Jane pushed away from the desk and walked reluctantly into her boss's office, shutting the door behind her.
"Yeah, Lou." She stood in front of the battered wooden desk where Sean Cavanaugh sat rubbing his temples.
"Sit down, Rizzoli. What happened to your face?"
"Had a little accident, but I'm fine. I can get a clearance note from a doctor if you need it."
Cavanaugh's lips quirked in a half smile. "Would that doctor be Maura Isles, M.D.?"
"Uh, yeah." Jane looked up, matching his smirk.
"Forget it." He waved his hand in a vaguely dismissive gesture. He sighed heavily and met Jane's eyes.
"I just got a call from the Commissioner himself, who got a call from the Mayor this morning and I think you can guess where this is going."
"No idea, Sean. Does the city want to buy us new softball uniforms?"
"Ha. You wish. Apparently Rigsdale's law firm is a big contributor to the mayoral campaign and the partners want this case solved."
"Well, duh!" Jane stood up quickly. "We all want this case cleared. Does the mayor think we like to see scumbags get away with murder?"
Cavanaugh stood as well and then sat again. Men often preferred not to stand around Jane Rizzoli, her towering height making them feel small and ill at ease.
"The order from the top is that this case takes precedence."
Jane slammed her fist against her thigh. "God damn it. So a poor black woman and her sons get kicked to the curb for some rich white fuck? Do you want to tell that to Frost?"
Cavanaugh shook his head and began rooting around in a drawer for his Pepto. "No, I don't and I fully expect my team to disregard that order and to clear all four murders as quickly as possible."
"Three. Maura is ruling Deniece Smoot a suicide."
Cavanaugh shook his head sadly. "She's still dead because her two sons were murdered."
"Yup." Jane agreed. "Anything else?"
The Lieutenant hesitated, unsure if he should say anything more. Jane had turned and had her hand on the knob when he spoke, more softly than usual.
"I just wanted you to know that if any of the guys here give you a hard time about... you know, you and the doc, just let me know. I'm glad for you, Jane. Glad for you both."
Jane squeezed her eyes shut and clenched her fists. "I can fight my own battles, Sean. I always have."
"I know, Rizzoli. But, I got your back. I always have."
She was out the door and back at her desk before she realized she had forgot to correct his assumption.
"You in trouble, Janie?" Korsak asked as he wiped Cheese Doodle residue from his goatee.
"Nah. Cavanaugh was going to ask me for medical clearance to return to work, but changed his mind when he realized Maura would write up anything for me."
Maura looked up from where she was staring with fixed interest at Frost's computer screen.
"I would do no such thing, Jane. I take my Hippocratic Oath very seriously. I would never attest to a false medical condition or write a prescription for an unnecessary medication."
"Oh yeah." Jane crossed her arms and looked down at the M.E. "You wrote quite a whopper for me last year when you wanted me to go to New York with you for your blah-de-blah blah conference. It was so full of big Greek and Latin words, made me scared that I might actually be dying."
Maura bit her lower lip and looked confused and then brightened. "I remember that, Jane. I said that you had Onychocryptosis and a microbial inflammation of the paronychium, an ingrown toenail. It was true. I dug it out for you in the hotel room."
Jane rolled her eyes, but didn't reply. "And the brass wants Phillip Rigsdale's murderer found stat."
"I may have something here, Jane." Frost gestured to the screen that he and the M.E. had been focused on earlier.
"Whatcha got?" Jane strode around the desk to join them.
"Bank records came through. The Rigsdales were not rich. Not poor, mind you, but not filthy rich. Their house was heavily mortgaged, they have tons of credit card debt and it looks like he just applied for a second mortgage and was approved."
Korsak joined them as well. "Did the wife cosign?"
Frost quickly scanned the files. "Nope, just him."
"Did the money change hands?" Jane asked, her eyes still riveted to the screen.
"No." Frost confirmed. "The approval came through on Monday, but he never made it to the bank to sign on the dotted line."
"So, he needed money for something, maybe a girlfriend, and took a loan against his house. When the wife found out, she killed him... only, she didn't."
Korsak drew a heavy line between Crystal and Phillip Rigsdale and then erased it. "Let's bring her in again and see what she knew about this loan."
Crystal Schaefer Rigsdale was a big woman, almost as tall as Jane, but probably forty pounds heavier, her saving grace that she carried the weight in all the right places, for now.
"Damn, baby got back." Frost nodded appreciatively as he watched through the two-way glass.
"She has plenty of front, too. Oh, sorry, Doc." Korsak noticed the M.E. standing behind him.
"That's quite all right, detectives. I can appreciate an attractive woman. Although, that type of exaggerated femininity is more likely to appeal to men. Studies have shown that large breasts and broad hips send a primal signal to males that the female is ripe, fertile. It's a base, hormonal instinct that makes you want to protect her, mount her, mate with her."
"Thanks for the anthropology lesson, Jane Goodall." Jane poked her friend in the arm as she opened to the door to the interview room. "I can hear everything you say in my ear piece, so stop the chattering."
Jane sat down across from the woman and introduced herself.
"Mrs. Rigsdale, I want to extend my deepest condolences for the death of your husband. I'm so sorry to have to ask you down here during this difficult time."
"Can you ask her to remove her sunglasses." Maura's voice in her earpiece. "I need to see her eyes to read her facial responses."
The eyes when revealed were swollen, bloodshot and sore, but their owner met Jane's gaze with a frank, unblinking openness.
"I didn't kill my husband."
"I don't think that you did."
Nevertheless, Jane took her through the events of the days leading up to the death, the trip to the Bahamas and the rushed flight home after the murder.
"Mr. Rigsdale had a half-million dollar insurance policy naming you as sole beneficiary."
The widow frowned.
"You know, I grew up in Southie."
"No kidding." Korsak chuckled in Jane's ear.
"My father was a milkman." She continued. "And I married a man who made a quarter of a million dollars a year, plus bonuses. If someone told me that I'd have that kind of money growing up, I couldn't imagine it."
Jane nodded, keeping eye contact. "I understand. I'm a North End plumber's daughter."
"But it's not enough. The mortgage, tuition for the kids, keeping up with the phonies. In Southie, we'd live like kings on that kind of money. In Beacon Hill it was shit."
She sniffled and Jane impulsively took her hand.
"So half a million ain't gonna cut it for me and the kids, it will barely cover our debts. Now that Phil's gone, I will have to sell the house for less than we owe and move back in with my parents. The girls will go to the same crap school I went to and probably not to college."
"Didn't Phillip's family have money?"
"Yeah. But they cut him off when he married me. I tried, believe me, I even named my first daughter after that old bitch. Prudence, can you imagine? But his mother is leaving everything to her charity. His sister won't get anything either; she lives on a dyke commune in freakin' Oregon and shits on her vegetables."
Crystal pulled her hand away. "Um, no offense, detective."
Korsak giggled in her ear.
"Did you know your husband applied for a second mortgage against your home a few days before his death?"
"Phil handled that stuff. I left it to him. I don't know about finance."
"Did he have a girlfriend?"
"No. Definitely not. That stuff I know about."
"Ask about the Mayflower." Maura prodded.
"Did Phil's family belong to The General Society of Mayflower Descendants?" Jane asked, more to humor the doctor than because she thought it relevant.
"How the fuck should I know." Crystal replied, her Southie accent growing heavier as she grew more upset.
"Tell her what it is." Maura again.
"Did Phil's family come to America on the Mayflower?"
Crystal Rigsdale looked at her blankly. "You mean did they wear funny hats and eat turkey with the Indians? Who gives a crap. We all got here some way on some boat, right?"
"Ask about the painting." Maura insisted.
"Maura." Jane growled into her lapel mike.
"Where did you get the painting above your mantel, Mrs. Rigsdale?"
"From my mother-in-law, the only thing she ever gave us. I hung it cause I thought it looked classy. Why? Is it worth something? Maybe it could pay tuition for Pru and Paris for another year."
"Nah." Jane replied honestly. "It's a copy of a famous painting of the Mayflower. It's essentially worthless."
"What's with the Mayflower?" Crystal asked. "Do you think he was murdered by a fuckin' Pilgrim?"
"No. It's not important. I have one more question and then we're done. Where did you meet your husband, Mrs. Rigsdale?"
"At the Blackstone Pool."
She smiled for the first time and Jane could finally understand what Phillip Rigsdale saw in this brash woman.
"My uncle got me a city job; I was a towel girl and Phil volunteered there teaching poor kids to swim. He was a good guy, detective. Not handsome, but kind and sweet and he loved me, you know?"
"I'm sure he did." Jane smiled at her sadly. "I will just need contact information for your motherin-law and sister-in-law and then you are free to go."
Jane caught Maura's eye on the way out of the interview room. "Well?"
"I believe every word she said."
"Yeah, me too."
Jane rode the elevator down to the morgue slumped against the stainless steel wall with her eyes was beyond exhausted; she was certain that if Maura looked at her blood through a microscope her very cells would be yawning, her atoms and DNA crankily jostling each other for napping space. All she wanted was to go home and sack out on top of her bed and to wake up with her three murders cleared and the long Memorial Day weekend ahead of her. She exited on the basement level and trudged down the white tiled hallway toward the morgue doors.
"Maur? You here? You okay?"
She walked through the empty autopsy suite and lifted her hand to knock on a frosted glass door marked "Maura D. Isles, M.D. Chief Medical Examiner."
"Detective Rizzoli!" Susie Chang called, her head sticking out from her adjoining office. "Dr. Isles asked that she not be disturbed."
"Even by me?" Jane replied.
"Well, she wasn't specific about who, just that I should hold her calls, intercept visitors and not interrupt her, so..." Susie looked uncomfortable. "Consider yourself intercepted."
God bless Susie Chang, she really was a perfect assistant to the M.E.: as literal as Maura herself and as loyal as Jo Friday.
Jane smiled and lifted her hand again. "I'm sure she will make an exception for me."
"Yes, of course, you're... um..." Susie stammered, looking abashed. Jane sighed, realizing what Susie had meant, but before she could utter a word, the Senior Criminologist had fled back into her own office and shut the door.
"Balls." Jane muttered, pulling her hand back for the second time.
What could Maura be doing in there? Maybe something gay. Entertaining a woman? No. Masturbating?
Eww. No. Rizzoli, man up and knock.
Before she could the door opened and she was met by the curious hazel eyes of Dr. Isles.
"Jane, what are you doing out here. I saw your shadow bobbing through the glass. Why didn't you just come in?"
"Susie said you didn't want to be disturbed." Jane replied feeling a bit foolish.
"That doesn't mean you, ever." Maura grabbed her elbow and pulled her into the office, shutting the door behind them.
Jane plopped down on the stiff, unyielding sofa across from the desk with a groan. The ugliness of Maura's office furniture was only surpassed by its lack of comfort, and yet each piece probably cost more than Jane's monthly salary. If she ever had her own office, she'd have a couple of La-Z-Boy recliners and a foosball table.
"Jane?" The detective was roused from her revery. "Jane, are you daydreaming?"
"Umm, yeah, but nothing weird, just how I would decorate my office if I ever make Lieutenant."
"You will and I will help you decorate; it will be the most chic and sophisticated work area in the entire Boston PD."
"Er, no, Maur. Chic and sophisticated is not the look I was thinking of, more laid-back and comfortable. Anyway, what happened to you? You got a text and bolted. I thought you were my constant companion today. I could've been concussed and lying in my own vomit and you would never know."
Maura looked genuinely horror stricken. She crossed the room, grabbed an ophthalmoscope and returned to the sofa, sitting gingerly in Jane's lap. She leaned in and peered through her instrument at the detective's perfectly normal pupils. She put the tool down and began gently palpitating Jane's scalp, careful not to snare a ring or watchband in the dark curls. At that moment, two quick knocks sounded and Susie Chang entered, a manila folder in hand.
"I'm so sorry, Dr. Isles. I'll just leave this here." She was out the door flushing and near tears behind her large glasses.
They both realized how it must look, the doctor sitting on the detective and running her fingers though her hair.
"Poor Susie, she embarrasses so easily. I'll make it right before she leaves for the day." Maura sighed and left the sofa to pick up the folder. She read and frowned, closed it and passed it to Jane.
"This is what caused me to abandon you so suddenly, Jane. Susie texted me that my DNA results were complete and all I could think of was to get down here as quickly as possible. I think you are fine, by the way. The likelihood of a concussion at this point is statistically negligible."
Jane glanced at rows of letters and numbers and quickly shut the folder. "I have no idea what I'm looking at. Just tell me in plain English."
Maura sat on the edge of her desk and looked at the detective.
"Prescott and Prior are not Paddy Doyle's sons. I don't know why, but I am strangely disappointed by this. I was so certain, Jane; the same Morton's toes, the 'P' names, the violence of their deaths." She wiped away a tear.
Jane hesitated a moment; things were strange between them since Maura's coming out, then with three quick strides she closed the distance and wrapped her long arms around the smaller woman, pulling her close and murmuring comforting words into her soft hair, occasionally planting a quick kiss on the top of her head.
"I wanted to solve this for you, Jane. I wanted to hand you your killer wrapped up like a bone." Maura's muffled voice vibrated against Jane's collar.
"A bow, Maura. Wrapped up with a bow." Jane chuckled. Her friend could be so adorably clueless sometimes.
"I think." Jane punctuated her thought with a kiss to the doctor's temple. "You were hoping for some connection to your past as much as wanting to help me with my case, and that's okay."
Maura nodded against her neck. It felt so right to be in Jane's arms, to feel her steady pulse against her cheek, her strong hands stroking up and down her spine. She snuggled in closer until their bodies were flush, thigh to thigh, hip to hip and her detective's firm torso pressed against her breasts.
Kiss me, Jane. Please.
It was as if Jane could read her mind; she gently, but firmly extracted herself from the M.E.'s embrace and turned toward the office door. "C'mon, Maur. Drop me off home. I just want to eat a bologna sandwich and sleep for ten hours."
Maura nodded sadly, picked up her purse and followed her beloved toward the parking garage.