To those driving along William J Day Boulevard, looking outwards into Dorchester Bay and into the ocean beyond it appeared to be a just a regular day. The early morning sun was steadily rising, taking the chill out of the air and drying the pale sand of the beach left wet by the retreating tide. A gentle on shore breeze pushed small tufted waves onto the growing shoreline, creating the signature calming sound of being close to the sea. Joggers, walkers and dog owners, over watched by sea birds above claimed sections of the beach to carry out their respective morning ritual. Taking in the clean air and cleansing their souls for the day ahead, the start of Tuesday was just as it should be.
Utopia, however doesn't exist. Through the rhythmic sound of waves spilling onto the beach, a dog's bark, persistent and clipped, signalled a come and see what l've found message to its owner. Expecting to see crabs clinging to the iron and wooden structure of the beach groyne trying to escape the inquisitive nature of a playful dog, a body of a woman lying face down in the shallow, foamy water greeted the owner instead.
As they drove past Joe Moakley Park, Jane was the first to break the silence. She was tired, hadn't had enough coffee to kick start her brain and it was early. Maura, perfectly put together despite the early morning call and half an hour to get ready simply indulged Jane's mood, enjoying the ride out to the coast.
"It just isn't fair."
The open question was enough to draw Maura in. "What exactly are you referring to Jane?"
"The only time we get close to the batting parks is when we're on a case. They're now nine ballparks in that park alone and I'm heading off to the beach." Referring to the huge recreation area that also included Saunder's Stadium, Jane's observation was duly noted by Maura. If they were free the coming weekend, she would be happy to drive out from the city to visit.
"Jane, we've been called to a scene and you make it sound as if you're on vacation."
Suitably chastised, Jane simply looked out of the window mentally promising to head back out at some time soon and get some fresh air. Just when that would be she tried not to dwell on. She also promised not to fall asleep on Maura's couch again as her back was just a contorted mess of bone and muscle right now.
Pulling into the beach parking lot that had been taken over by multiple cop cruisers and forensic unit vans, they were guided into a space that had been reserved for the Medical Examiner specifically. Opening the trunk of her car, Maura pulled out a set of yellow Hunter wellies and proceeded to swap her heels for the classy waterproof boot.
On cue, Jane was quick with her mouth. "Did you purposely put on your yellow blazer today so you could wear those?"
"Not specifically no, but yellow just happens to be a very versatile colour when it comes to wardrobe co-ordination."
"Is that so...and what do you propose will go with this extremely versatile suit of mine Dr Isles?"
Maura was polite enough not to pass comment, but nonetheless took pleasure at seeing Jane's surprise at a black pair of Hunters being pulled from the trunk. "Are those in my size?" she asked timidly when they were presented to her.
"Detective Rizzoli, when you leave your work boots strewn across the floor as much as you do, you tend to notice things such as the size. Plus, I always have these in the car for emergencies and today I rest my case."
Stunned at the thoughtfulness and forward planning of her friend, Jane resolved to be on her best behaviour for the rest of the day. Picking up Maura's black medical case from the trunk and passing it to its rightful owner, Jane flashed a genuine smile towards the ME, gently squeezing her arm to say thanks. Locking the car they turned in unison, game face on and headed out towards the melee which marked the location of the body.
In the last ten metres to where the body of the deceased lay, Jane took in an extra deep breath and steeled herself for the moment when death presented itself in its full glory. No matter how many bodies she had seen over the years, seeing them for the first time always made an impact. In a way, she likened herself to Maura in that finding the murderer was just as much a puzzle as that of determining the cause of death, except Jane preferred to be less hands on with that particular aspect of the evidence.
Maura went into full business mode as she cut a swathe through the gathered uniforms and other forensic techs. Pulling gloves onto her hands, she took a moment to observe the position of the body before asking for it to be rolled over onto its back.
Jane joined Frost who had arrived before them and quietly whispered into his ear. "You ok with this?"
"As long as I have the breeze in my face and the lady down there has her face intact I think I'll be ok."
"Just take a casual walk across to the bystanders if you think you're gonna throw, and ask them some questions about who this could be. Find out if anyone has reported someone as missing."
"Thanks Jane. You'd think that I'd be used to this by now."
"Don't sweat it, we all have our thing." Jane returned her attention back to Maura at the point the body was rolled.
Long matted hair was gently moved off the face by Maura revealing a waxy pallor, made all the more prominent by purple swollen lips. A nasty gash stretched from the corner of her left eye up towards her temple, the jagged skin of the open wound already going pulpy. Her eyes were closed, which Maura was thankful for, as this would have protected them from scavenger activity and would allow her to test the potassium level of the vitreous fluid. That would at least help to place a time of death for the victim. Her initial assessment was broken by Frost's statement.
"Well it looks as if we have the cause of death. That was some knock to the head."
Jane rolled her eyes at her partner's naivety and jumped in before Maura took the opportunity to give a full explanation of all possible scenarios that could have befallen this woman.
"Frost until Dr. Isles takes the deceased to the morgue we cannot be sure about that. Indeed, whether this represents either a pre or post mortem event. She hasn't been in the water that long, so that will help the ME to determine that."
"How do you that she hasn't been in the water that long?"
From the corner of her eye Jane could see that Maura was once again happy to interject. With a gentle signal from her hand, Jane motioned to Maura that she had this.
"A couple of things tell us that. Firstly, this is a reasonably popular place and she would have been spotted yesterday. Even if she had entered the water elsewhere and got snagged here, which is unlikely as her foot is jammed hard under the rock there and looks as if it has broken under a fall, there is little bloating and she hasn't started to change colour yet."
Maura was fascinated by the exchange and stood to hear Jane's prognosis. She was also slightly perturbed at Frost's shift in demeanour at the mention of a change in colour, as he himself was looking slightly green around the gills.
"A body tends to have to be in the water for around a week before it starts to show signs of decomposition and that is when it moves from ashen white to a greenish black once the fatty acids have become inactive."
Maura impressed with Jane's accurate delivery couldn't help interrupting. "It is then depending on the temperature of the water that will determine the point at which the phalanges of the hands and feet disconnect from the skeleton and..."
Her brief insight into cadaver decomposition in a water environment was interrupted with Frost breaking free from the group to go and retch into the surf behind them.
"Oh, I was just getting to the part where the skull detaches which is indicative of..."
Her delivery was once again interrupted, but this time with a gentle nudge to the ribs and quiet mutter from Jane. "Maura, enough or you'll have us all joining Frost."
"Oh. Too much. Well, I just took your cue Jane as you were remarkably on point with your assessment."
"Compliments of the job, you tend to see things repeat themselves." Lowering her voice again and moving closer to Maura's ear. "I do actually listen to what you say when we're at a crime scene or in a lab."
Filled with pride, Maura smiled her eyes connecting with Jane's and the two were lost momentarily in their own private bubble. Not wanting to miss out on the opportunity to tease the ME, Jane delivered her sucker punch out of the corner of her mouth, careful so that no one could hear the playful exchange between them. "Plus, I may have read one of those medical journals you have in the office."
Maura was unable to admonish Jane as a young woman broke through the gathered crowd, her declaration attracting pinpointed attention.
"Oh, my god it's her. It's really her."
In an attempt of a reputation regain, Frost had doubled up the beach to intercept the woman who was making a beeline for the body.
"Ma'am, please come this way. You cannot get closer. Let's just take a moment."
Pulling her away from the crowd and turning her away from the body, Frost attempted to keep the visibly agitated woman calm. Clearly in shock, she sat down hard on the sand, resting her head in her hands.
"May I ask you your name and who you think the deceased is?"
Taking a moment to wipe her nose and clear the tears from her eyes the woman took in a deep breath.
"I'm Lucy Daniels. I'm an art student and Kate Hoskins, who is laid over there, is my mentor helping out with some projects."
"Ok and what makes you think that it is Kate over there?"
"Well, the purple pants for one, the length of her hair, and the tattoo of the dolphin on her foot. That is all her."
Jane, had been careful not to interrupt the initial dialogue between Lucy and Frost, but now felt it time to join in the conversation.
Stepping from her position that had shielded her presence, she joined the pair, squatting down so not to tower above the only lead they had right now.
Before the detective had time to introduce herself, Lucy sat bolt upright and looked intently at the woman in front of her.
"Are you, Jane Rizzoli?" she asked tentatively.
"Yes." The response was guarded. "Have we met before as you don't look familiar?" The cogs were whirring inside her head, but she couldn't place either the name or face. Her senses went to high alert. This didn't feel right.
"You don't recognise her do you?" Lucy's eyes drifted towards where the body still lay.
"No. Should I?" Both Frost and Maura looked at Jane inquisitively. Her brusque response didn't indicate where this was leading to her demeanour was becoming more defensive by the second. Standing up in an attempt to gain some sense of control and authority, she addressed the young woman more forcibly. "Who is that woman and under what circumstances do you believe our paths crossed?"
There was almost a look of disappointment wash over Lucy's face. "You may well have known her by her maiden name, Kate Peterson. I believe that you were best friends during your time at the Boston Police Academy."
Jane's head whipped across to where the body lay and took a few steps to get a closer look. Looking past the bedraggled hair and the discoloured skin she instead focused on the build of the woman and searched her memory bank for a connection. The realisation hit her like a freighter truck. Inside her head a thousand thoughts raced each other. She did indeed know, or rather had known this woman. Although it had been almost 20 years, memories flooded her mind.
"Sweet Jesus." Pinching the bridge of her nose, those were the only words that she could muster. For the first time that day, it was Jane's turn to feel sick.
My continued thanks to all for reading, your reviews raise a daily smile. A special thanks to Sheepish 123 who gave me the push I needed to get back on the proverbial writing horse! Not entirely sure how long this story will be as it has the legs for a long one, however I have a book that also needs finishing. Enjoy nonetheless.
The short walk from the beach across to Columbia Road, where Kate's house stood felt like an eternity to Jane's rather than the five minute walk it really was. Every fibre of her being prayed that it wasn't Kate and that the past could very firmly remain that.
Both Maura and Frost had the sense not to press Jane about what had got her so visibly agitated, choosing instead to gently coax answers from Lucy instead about how she knew the deceased.
Knocking stray grains of sand off her boots when they reached the front door, Jane looked at the young woman to confirm that they had the correct house.
"The door is open, you can go right in."
Unholstering her weapon, Jane looked at Frost who did the same. Before she could complete her non-verbal countdown to enter, Lucy interrupted. "Is that entirely necessary? No one else lives here and I was in the house before I headed to the beach."
"Call it an occupational hazard, but I need to make sure."
With Frost instructing a uniform to wait by the door with Maura and Lucy, the detectives went into auto pilot and entered the property; pistols, heads and eyes were aligned to respond to any danger.
The outside of the property belied a modern open interior which allowed Jane to quickly work her way across the ground floor. With shouts of "clear" echoing through the space, Frost mirroring her actions upstairs, they quickly ascertained that the beach house was safe.
Frost made his way back downstairs and Maura, as she had done countless times before went to find Jane. Lucy simply followed.
They found Jane close in the open expanse of the living area which felt even larger than it was due to the floor to ceiling glazing that had replaced conventional walls. Providing unfettered views of the beach and ocean beyond, the view was stunning, but that was not what had caught Jane's attention. Her eyes were fixated on a wall and on it hung a huge canvas. In a reclining pose a figure laid nude, her eyes closed, perhaps in gentle contemplation or dressed by sleep, the feeling conveyed however was one of peace.
Completely captivated by what was in front of her Jane didn't hear the others join her. They all too took a moment to look at the huge piece of art that commanded their attention.
Tilting her head to one side to enable a fuller analysis of figure, Maura was the first to break the silence. "The artist has done a wonderful job of capturing the line of the sternocleidomastoid in the neck and that of the obliques. This a beautiful representation of the female anatomy."
Frost was less delicate. "Jane is that you?"
"Yes. And no." Being literally laid out bare in front of her colleagues was not what she had expected to have to explain today or ever for that matter.
All eyes, nonetheless rested on Jane for an explanation.
With her hands trying to help with the explanation, she pointed firmly at the portrait. "That is me, but I never posed for that." A mix of embarrassment, rage and shock tangibly radiated from her. "Kate...Kate used to sketch me during class or whenever she had her notebook on her. That's just what she did. She drew all the time." The memories came back in droves and her voice cracked a little. "...but, that one...no."
The truth however was that Jane didn't know if Kate had captured her like this. She probably had, but that was somewhere she wasn't going right now. Frost was quick to catch onto the internal struggle that Jane was trying her best to hide.
Turning to Lucy. "Are there any more pictures like these of Detective Rizzoli hanging in the house?"
"Frost, what the.." Jane was cut off mid flow.
"Yes. There is a huge portrait in the master bedroom."
"You've gotta be kiddin' me!" Jane's composure was now in tatters. She had also started to pace the room, her hands moving between firmly being placed onto her hips, her badge and gun exposed, to raking through her hair. This was not happening.
"It's a head and shoulders piece in oil. It's stunning and it captures your spirit perfectly."
"My what?" Jane just stopped and stared hard at Lucy.
The tension in the room was full to overflowing, but was broken by a new voice that came from the entrance to the house.
"Dr. Isles. Dr. Isles are you in here? Just to let you know that we have loaded deceased and we will be shortly departing."
Maura took that as her cue to leave. "Detectives Rizzoli, Frost, I must leave. I'll see you back at the station." Knowing that Jane was still in a state of flux, the ME gently squeezed her arm and looked at Jane, her green eyes piercing into her friends. That connection brief as it was, gave Jane the anchor she needed to stop unravelling there and then on the spot. Maura was always her safety and her heart ached from that fact. Jane's eyes silently reciprocated a thank you.
Frost once again took the lead. "Ms Daniels, would you also come to the station please. I think a different setting will help us get through some follow on questions. I'll have one of the uniforms drive you. We will leave one here to guard the property in the interim, as we may need access for the forensic team later." He led her to the door and the uniformed officer escorted her to a waiting car.
Jane still hadn't emerged from the living space. Her attention now rested on a graduation photo from the Boston Police Academy. As one of the tallest of her class, she stood in the back row flanked by her fellow, newly appointed officers.
"Which one is Kate?" The question came from behind Jane.
She turned to see the non-judgemental eyes of her partner. "There in the second row. Third from the left. She had lighter hair then."
The ride back to precinct was one where Jane was caught in silent contemplation. Frost knew better than to press Jane for something that was clearly too raw for her talk about openly. Whilst he didn't have the years of experience as a Detective compared to his colleagues, he could read the body language of someone who was conflicted. He didn't need to be a psychology major to see that in Jane right now.
As he pulled into the secure parking lot, Jane let a deep breath. She went to get out of the car but changed her mind to turn back to Frost.
"I did know Kate a long time ago and I haven't seen her pretty much since we graduated. Just know this, I had nothing to do with her death, but folk will wonder why I am plastered all over her place."
"I believe you Jane. I hope that we can get through this one quickly and cleanly. I only asked if there were others so that we knew before anyone else got access to the place."
A silent thanks left her mouth. "I've gotta go and see Maura."
"Go." He paused and gently grabbed her arm before she left the vehicle. "Everything will be ok."
I hope so.
Maura had already changed into black scrubs and she was finishing off her preliminary examination of Kate Hoskins, her assistant Suzie Chang close by her side acting as scribe. On seeing Detective Rizzoli enter the inner sanctum, she quietly excused herself. She had seen that look before on Jane's face and knew that it signalled a personal conversation with the ME. Without any fanfare she quietly left the autopsy room and closed the door behind her.
"Jane...are you ok?" The concern was genuine from Maura. "This morning must have been quite a shock for you."
That is the understatement of the year. For once Jane's usual jocular manner to deflect awkward questions or moments was noticeably absent, a fact which her best friend did not miss.
"Jane. What is the matter? You are starting to worry me."
"Can you cover her up please?" Jane's hands motioned somewhat frantically over the now naked body.
"Of course." Pulling over the green coloured sheet, Maura added, "I'm sorry, I should have done that when you came in."
Jane's heart once again ached at just how thoughtful Maura was being. She wondered just how long that would last. There was only going to be one way to do this.
" Mau..." The crack in Jane's voice grabbed the ME's attention fully. Pinching the bridge of her nose for what appeared to be the hundredth time in the last few hours, Jane attempted in vain to curb the pain between her eyes. Squaring her shoulders, she looked deep into the eyes of the woman she knew she was about to hurt.
"You cannot conduct the autopsy on her."
"Why ever not. I do believe that my professional integrity will not colour my findings even if you knew her."
"Oh, I know that Mau and I would never doubt that. It is...it's not just because we knew each other."
"Then what Jane?" The usual calm demeanour of Maura was starting to be tested by Jane's evasiveness.
"There is no easy way to say this, so I'll just say it as it is." Another pause. "It's because we were lovers."
If there was a reason to be voiced by Jane, Maura would have never expected that one. The years they had known each other they had shared so much of their personal lives. They had a relationship that challenged the conventional boundaries of friendship. To an onlooker, their closeness, the way their lives intertwined, suggested that they could indeed be more than just friends. To Maura, there was no other person on earth who she trusted more than Jane. They had both openly said that they loved the other and there were moments when a shared look, silently proclaimed a much deeper connection, but neither of them had ever declared their true hand. If there was to be such a moment Maura surmised, it bore no resemblance to the one which was unfolding right in front of her. If Jane was indeed open to the possibility of something more, then why had she not said anything before about Kate?
Maura was certain that her true feelings were known to Jane, but was convinced that they wouldn't be reciprocated, so she held on dearly to what she had. Now she felt cheated, felt that Jane's lack of honesty made her hopes feel so worthless. Struggling to bring order to her thoughts and feelings, Maura felt her own composure slip as the hurt slipped deeper into the core of her being.
Jane watched her friend literally disintegrate in front of her. Almost hearing Maura's thought processes play out, she braced herself for the outcome. Inwardly chastising herself for not having been honest and playing a safe line over the years, she had hurt the person, a woman, that she loved more than anything or anyone. Everything was nothing short of a monumental mess. Knowing what was coming, didn't lessen the blow, it was magnified. A tear of self-pity slipped down her face, perfectly timed with one word that she hoped that she would never have the misfortune to hear.
My continued thanks to all for reading, your reviews raise a daily smile. A special thanks to Sheepish 123 who gave me the push I needed to get back on the proverbial writing horse! Not entirely sure how long this story will be as it has the legs for a long one, however I have a book that also needs finishing. Enjoy nonetheless.
The walk to the interview room where Lucy sat waiting with Frost filled Jane with just as much dread as the walk to Kate's house had done earlier in the day.
Seeing the pain in Maura's eyes just moments before had brought about a sickness inside of her that she'd never felt before. Jane's heart could have been clean pulled out of her chest and she was certain it would have hurt less. Parts of her life were being exposed inch by inch and not being in control of the pace of those revelations had really unsettled the usually stoic detective.
Sucking in a deep breath to calm her nerves, Jane opened the door and made her way into the room taking the spare chair by the table that stood in the centre of the room. She smiled at Lucy and then at Frost, but the latter wasn't convinced of the facade his partner was displaying.
"Lucy...firstly, are you happy with us calling you that?" Frost asked as an ice breaker.
"Of course. Yes."
Jane was next, keen to play an active role in this informal session. "You mentioned another surname for Kate this morning. Hoskins. I take it therefore she married. Where is her...husband...wife?" Jane thought it fair to hedge her bets. She was conscious of the slight turn of Frost's head towards her at the question, but ignored it.
"Kate had a husband. John Peterson. He was a firefighter from Engine Company 50 in Charlestown. He unfortunately died in an industrial fire he was attending. That must've been about 15 years ago."
Frost took point as he could feel the barrage of questions Jane had building inside of her. "We know that Kate was a police officer. Was she still serving?"
"No. She left the country a couple of years after John was killed and went to Europe to work with Interpol."
"Really?" Jane's response was one of surprise as well as being intrigued. "How did that happen?"
"You've seen how well she can draw. She became really interested in forensic reconstruction after a conference she attended and she pretty much hounded one of the lecturers to let her see some development programme they were working on."
Jane chuckled. "She could be pretty persistent if she set her mind to something."
"In her words, she became a pain in the arse. She took a night class to learn the basics of programming and combined with her ability to draw portraits, she pretty much forced herself onto the team. They admired her drive and passion and offered her a position."
"Wow. That's quite something. Bet her Lt wasn't happy." Frost offered as an observation.
"Actually, her Lt was very supportive. He regarded her drawing as a gift that could be used for good. He also knew that this was Kate's coping mechanism after John's death. They allowed her to take a year to see where she could put her skills to best use. After that year, she resigned from the force and became a full time programme developer. That then took her to Europe. It was essentially a fresh start for her."
"You seem to know an awful lot about Kate. How's that?" The question came out more aggressive than Jane had intended. With all that happened already today, she didn't expect to feel a little put out by someone she didn't know, knowing so much about someone she had known so intimately. She had no right to, but Jane's emotions were all over the place.
"I'm in my third year at Tufts. We were studying fine arts and Kate was brought in as a visiting lecturer to assist with our anatomy drawing. She took an interest in my work and said that I had a good eye, offering her time to develop my oil skills." Lucy stopped for a moment and briefly smiled at the memory.
"I mean her work in comparison to mine was off the scale. It was amazing. I would've been a fool to have said no. That was a year ago. I've been going to the beach house since then and we became friends. She loved to talk about her life, it was so colourful. I just liked to listen."
Frost got in first before his partner decided to turn this into an interrogation. "And you were at Kate's place this morning to paint? That would've been an early start for you, as I assume you live in the city to attend school?"
Lucy lifted her hands up in mock defeat. "You're good. You've got me there."
"Ma'am, it's our job as Detectives to piece all the elements of information we have together."
"Yes, I did arrive early. At this time of year, the light after sunrise is really special and we often just like to sit and watch how it changes and try to capture that kaleidoscope of colours in oil."
Had Jane not known Kate previously and her propensity to just sit and watch the world go by for hours, just to capture a snippet of a building or the outline of a tree, she would have scoffed at what Lucy had just said. But her head was still working like that of a cop.
"So, when you arrived this morning, the house was open and empty? Or did you let yourself in, which means that you would have a key?"
"Both. The house was open which wasn't unusual for Kate. She would often just leave the house to go and walk on the beach."
Jane just shook her head at that. She just didn't comprehend why people did that and it infuriated her as Maura was equally trusting of the world around her. Maura. The woman that she would protect with her last breath had crept into her consciousness. Jane zoned out with thoughts of what she meant to her and what an idiot she had been in ignoring the feelings she had for her. Lucy however continued.
"And I have a key. Kate was happy for me to use her studio whenever I wanted. I don't have the space or luxury to leave out canvasses midway through painting." The woman's emotions had been kept very much under tight control throughout the morning, but they surfaced once again, a huge sob escaping from deep within her. "I can't believe she's gone."
Frost reached out to Lucy's arm and gently touched it. "I'm really sorry. We're nearly done. Detective Rizzoli, do you have any more questions?"
The years had hardened Jane and she had learned to not trust the fall of tears or open displays of emotion as an indicator of innocence. Pulling a deep intake of air to get her own emotions in check, she asked what had been niggling at the back of her mind. "You appear to have been close to the deceased. Are you able to clarify the nature of your relationship?"
Frost was less subtle this time in looking at his partner. He had the sense however not to question Jane's approach. The shift in demeanour in Lucy also suggested a surprise in the change and directness of inquiry.
Wiping her eyes, then composing herself, Lucy looked back at Jane and held her gaze for a moment, taking that brief moment to find the words to convey her answer. "We were just friends." There was additional emphasis on the word just. "We shared a love for art, it was a mutual passion, something that we could enjoy fully in each other's company."
She paused for a moment having taken in the growing arch of Jane's eyebrow. Being the artist she was, studying faces, trying to capture a moment in time had garnered an understanding of underlying emotions. To Lucy it was clear that the Detective was pressing for one particular piece of information.
"We were not together, if that is what you were implying? It could've gone that way, but I didn't want it to."
"Why not?" Jane's curiosity had got the better of her. The question had left her mouth before she could consider the potential answer.
"Because Jane...sorry Detective, Kate saw you as the love of her life. There was no way anyone could compete with that."
Jane was left speechless at that revelation, her mouth opening at the magnitude of that statement. Frost was equally caught off guard. Lucy appeared drained and resigned at having to expose such delicate information. She sat back heavily in her chair and closed her eyes, trying to shut out the events of the day.
The moment was broken by a sharp rapping on the glass window behind them. Lt Cavanagh had seen and heard enough. Both Jane and Frost turned to see who had made the noise but couldn't see through the one way pane. It was the command that followed which had Jane silently rising from her chair.
"Rizzoli, get out here!"
Closing the door to the interview room, she looked at her Lt whose face brokered no argument. "My office now."
Jane dutifully followed, running her hands through her hair, trying to look calm as she walked through the office. She felt as if she was a child about to be scolded by the Principal. Her natural reaction was to pull up her shield to protect herself from whatever was coming. For the third time that day, a short walk felt like a thousand miles.
Closing the door behind them, the Lt ordered Jane to sit.
Jane didn't make a move for the chair. The order was immediate.
"Sit your ass down Rizzoli!"
With waning resolve, the Detective sat down to face her Boss.
"I don't care what side of the fence you get your grass cut, Rizzoli, but when I have a dead body in the morgue of a former cop and you have some sort of connection with her, I need to make sure that we're clean. I don't need Internal Affairs in here, doing their usual two and two business and coming up with five."
"Are you asking me to sit this one out?" Jane was already on the defensive. The are you kidding me tone was evident in her voice.
"No. I'm telling you. You're too close."
"Too close?" Jane's voice had risen beyond what was acceptable, but again her emotions had the better of her.
"You didn't sit me out when Hoyt or Paddy Doyle came knocking on my door. So why now?"
Cavanagh ignored the obvious elephant in the room, Jane's non defined relationship with the ME, as both cases had involved her. It was a place not even he wanted to go.
"That's exactly why I'm sitting you out. Whenever you've been too close, you or someone else gets hurt. I'm saving you the trouble this time."
"And just what type of Detective does that make me, sitting out a case because I could get injured?"
"The type of Detective who does what they're told. Any more from you Rizzoli in that tone of yours will change the type of conversation we're currently having. Enough. There's plenty more to keep you busy. Korsak will take point with this. You got that."
"Got it Lt." Jane's acquiescence came begrudgingly.
"Look. I know you're not liking this. Who would when private stuff gets laid out on the table? Your personal life is yours Jane and I get that. If you want to keep it that way, you'd do well not to rush around like a bull in a china shop. Korsak will be discreet and I know you trust him with your life."
Jane hadn't expected to see a softer, sensitive side from her boss. She had to fight another wave of emotions that coursed through her. Today had been a rough day and there were no signs of it getting better. She brushed the corner of her eye to stop a rogue, uncharacteristic tear from breaking free.
Noting the evident struggle that Jane was grappling with, Cavanagh was left with only one option. "Take a moment and get yourself pulled together. Go home. You're no good to me wound up like this."
As Jane went to leave the office, she turned and looked her Boss sincerely. "You gotta believe me when I say I had nothing to do with this."
Looking up from paperwork he had already busied himself with, Cavanagh was equally candid. "I do Jane. Just do as you're told and we'll get through this."
Frost pulled up alongside the kerb outside Jane's apartment block. She'd been with Maura this morning on the ride out to the beach so she had needed a lift home. The offer to drop Jane off at Maura's to collect her car had been flatly refused. Just being close to the house was too raw for Jane right now. It would only serve to remind her of what a mess everything was now between them. She needed to come clean with Maura, but the only viable option she could muster right now was to keep metaphorically running.
The ride had been another silent one, but Frost was keen to not let Jane get out of the car without voicing a few thoughts.
"Times have changed Jane. Nobody will judge you."
Jane didn't even try to attempt to deflect or claim not to understand what Frost was saying. She instead resorted to type and built a wall around herself. "What if your greatest critic is yourself? What then huh?"
"Just know that you're loved Jane...you're family...you're the one who keeps telling us all that."
"Well I feel a million miles away from them at the moment."
"What has Dr Isles said?" Frost was straying into dangerous territory, but he could see that his partner was fraying at the edges.
"She doesn't want to know me right now." The flat delivery of Jane's statement belied the true anguish she felt inside. Her anchor had gone and she was adrift.
"Tomorrow is a new day. I'm certain she'll come around." Frost left out that glaringly obvious fact that the love between them would help them find their way through this. Hell, this might just be the kick start they needed, painful as it was right now.
A small snort left Jane's nose. "I wish I could be so sure."
"I'll swing by in the morning to collect you. Coffee and Danish at seven, ok?"
With a small nod to agree the plan, she left the car and made her way into her apartment. Tossing the keys onto the small table by the door, Jane walked over to the refrigerator and pulled out a beer. Twisting off the cap, she took in a deep gulp. As the cool liquid hit the back of her throat, her gaze fell on the clock that hung on the wall.
2 pm. Maura was once again in her thoughts. The words that mingled in her sub consciousness were so precise that Jane could have been fooled into thinking that Maura was stood right next to her. It is too early to be drinking Jane.
Jane laughed at the irony of it all. The one person she wanted to be close to was so far away. The frustration of the day finally took its grip. Turning towards the kitchen window Jane forcefully pitched the bottle into the sink. The ugly sound of glass and crockery shattering heightened the despair she so deeply felt.
Ignoring the carnage in front of her, Jane leant against the counter top. Her legs gave way and she slipped ungracefully to the floor, her back and head resting uncomfortably against cupboard doors. Tears fell freely followed by sobbing, her breathing jagged sending pains through her chest. In the space of less than a day, there had been a tectonic shift in the world around her. In that moment, Jane couldn't see her way through this.
With her head once again in her hands, the only word she could muster to vent her misery, was a single and forcefully yelled, "Fuck!"
Thanks for your continued support - you form a readership from across 50 countries; a fact that I find hugely humbling. This chapter is a short burst, but provides some of the context you have been asking for.
Jane's body was locked in momentary paralysis, her back arched, soft flesh pointing upwards, with long limbs stretched to the limit from the top to the toe of the bed. Her eyes were shut tight in direct contrast to her mouth which was wide open. Hands gripped at the loose linen sheet. Black hair flared freely across a pillow. Her naked pose synonymous with the 19th century nudes sculpted by Rodin, captured the near ecstasy of the moment. A final pull of soft flesh between her legs, initiated an incendiary like effect deep inside her, a massive pulse of energy radiating outwards from her core to the extremities of flesh and bone. Held breath escaped from her mouth unchecked shaped in the form of a scream. Words were not possible right now. Breathing and feeling waves of pleasure roll over and through her were the priority.
With eyes readjusting to the light in the room and thoughts falling in a more coherent manner, Jane looked down the length of her body at the head that remained still between her legs. Pulling at the hand that rested on her stomach, she managed to mutter her first words.
"Get up here, lady."
Slipping toned legs off her shoulders, Kate snaked slowly upwards, making sure to lay open mouthed kisses on the exposed flesh as she moved.
With hands woven through mussed up honey blonde locks, Jane pulled her lover's face to her own, taking in lips still moist and fragrant of her own making. Kate's fingers followed into her mouth and Jane sucked on them reverently. Dark eyes met blue. Kate was first to break the increasingly charged moment.
"No more Jane. We need to be able to walk tomorrow."
"Well, I cannot help that you've been blessed with that mouth and those hands of yours."
"I feel like the luckiest girl alive to be where I am right now, but we need to sleep. Big day tomorrow, we get to submit our District choice; A-7 here we come!"
"I know, after 30 weeks of training I'm ready for the real thing. Ok, let's get some shut eye. Night Kate." With a final kiss planted on flush lips, Jane turned onto her side so that Kate could wrap her her arms around her. She just loved to fall asleep like that, with gentle breathing caressing her neck and ear, legs tangled with her own. To Jane, that was heaven on a plate.
Jane didn't know how long she had dozed off for. Caught in the middle between sleep and being fully conscious, she laid still so not to disturb Kate. Thinking that the woman behind her was asleep, she didn't expect to hear words drift past her ear. Three words in particular.
"I love you."
Jane's eyes shot open, but again she chose to lie still thinking Kate was sleep talking. She was however convinced otherwise.
"You are my everything. You are loved beyond words." Kate pressed a gentle kiss to the curls where she nestled her head and then drifted off to sleep.
Jane however remained awake, very awake. Instead of feeling joy in hearing the declaration of love, she felt a panic rise within her. Those words meant commitment, those words were used between people such as her parents and grandparents before that. She hadn't imagined being on the receiving end of them at the age of 21. That surely was too soon in her mind.
Moreover, it was clear that Kate wanted more, something more established, visible. How could Jane offer that when she was so deep inside the closet. Her parents would flip at the thought of her being with a woman. Their Janie was going to be a fine wife and mother one day, just like all the other Rizzoli women before her. To them, there was only one option available to her, and they hoped that by becoming a police officer she would meet a lovely young man at work.
In all the time that she had known Kate, having first met at a hockey summer camp, she knew that she was a romantic at heart, but Jane had never thought that she would set her course for her. Jane's naivety hit her square in the face. They had been drawn to each from the outset, admiring the other for their stick handling skills and competitive nature. They became inseparable during those summer camps, picking up where they had left off from one year to the next. Their relationship had started off with an innocent enough kiss Kate had planted on Jane's cheek, after having had her sketch book praised by the lanky teenager. She had called it a special collection of memories and those few words had filled her heart.
Kate desperately wanted to go to Art College, but her parents couldn't see how she could make a living from drawing. In between practice and matches, Kate would draw Jane at every opportunity, filling sketchbooks. One evening as they sat on one bed in their shared dorm room, Kate passed a completed book to Jane and told her to keep it. Overwhelmed at the gesture, Jane leant over and reciprocated the kiss that Kate had given a week previously. When eyes connected, there was no questioning, lips found lips, and step by step over time they gave themselves fully to the other. Their unconventional, summer time relationship grew into something more substantial, and whilst they never put a name to what they had started, they knew it was something they couldn't be open about.
It had come as a surprise to Kate's parents that their daughter wanted to become a police officer. Little did they know that she was following her love. They knew the girls were close but had never imagined an ulterior motive. Moving into an apartment funded by Kate's parents, the two enjoyed a freedom they never had before and everything they felt deepened. Jane should have seen it coming, but she too was wrapped up in the world they created. Her teenage lankiness had morphed into well-structured musculature and coupled with her raven locks and natural beauty, the world was none the wiser. Stereotypes of gay women ironically protected her from inquiry.
That was how she wanted to keep her world, private. Those words however suggested a different path and that path wasn't one she was prepared to take. She acknowledged that what she felt for Kate was most likely love, but that was a word, a feeling she just wasn't prepared to solidify out loud, even after 5 years.
Jane felt a deep shame build inside of her, that she wasn't strong enough to be the person Kate wanted her to be. The reality of what the outside world would think of her, disappointed parents, the jibes from her colleagues provided a convincing counter balance to what her heart suggested and in reality felt. Lying next to the woman she knew who loved her, and who thought in her own way loved her back, Jane felt wholly unworthy of the sentiment that had been breathed between them.
- / -
Jane's detached demeanour hadn't gone unnoticed by Kate the next day. Instead of pressing, she put it to a lack of sleep, four hours was just not enough in anyone's book and perhaps a hint of nervousness of the decision they were about to make. Jane had taken the responsibility in becoming a police officer very seriously throughout their training and she posited that the nearing actuality to serve and protect had become a tangible reality.
"Peterson." Kate rose from the chair she was seated in and made her way down the corridor to the Chief Instructor's office. A quick glance in Jane's direction was all that was needed to say here we go. Jane managed a small smile in return.
A quarter of an hour later as others had filed in and out of the office in alphabetical order before her, Jane's moment had arrived.
Smoothing down her uniform shirt and adjusting the belt on her pants she made the short walk towards the office where she would shape her future. Standing at the threshold of the door to attention, she waited to be called in. A wave of the hand from the Chief, gave her permission to enter.
"So Rizzoli, what's it going to be? A-7?" It was more of a statement than a question. It was to Jane in that moment that even the Chief thought she would be signing up to the same District as Kate. Just how obvious was their connection to each other?
Her resolve grew. In time she wondered whether that resolve would have been so strong, had she known the sound of anguish in Kate's voice or the utter look of heartbreak when she found out that her choice hadn't been the same district. The betrayal of not being part of that decision making process caused irreparable damage between them. Jane had racked up her first run from emotional commitment, a trait that would repeat itself again and again over the years.
"No Sir. C-6. South Boston for me please." Her fate had been sealed and in doing so, she lost the best thing that existed in her life.
Thanks for your continued support and to those who have stayed with the story so far. This chapter is the penultimate offering and I hope provides the final leap pad to close the gap to what most of you are after!
Frost was punctual as ever, and their ride to work was silent bar the noise of Jane working her way through the paper bag to devour her pastry and reacting to the hot coffee as it hit the back of her throat.
As they turned into the precinct parking lot, Jane acknowledged that her silence was bordering, if not already reached the point of being rude.
"Sorry. I've just got a lot going on in my head right now. I'm going to ask Korsak for a couple of day's personal time."
Putting the car in park, Frost turned to his partner. "If that's what it needs to get your head straight then do it. I'm on the end of my phone if you need anything...even if it's just someone to listen."
The sincerity of Frost's response brought a now familiar sting of tears to Jane's eyes. She was an emotional wreck if the truth be told she felt as if the whole world was looking in on her. In the space of 24 hours, the balance she had around her had been thrown so violently off kilter. Her past that had been locked away for so long, being so unexpectedly crow-barred open had been a raw experience. The shame of her actions all that time ago had resurfaced and the look on Maura's face was akin to that of Kate's; sheer disappointment and heartbreak all packaged into one. Just the worst look ever to be on the receiving end of.
Trying to get past Jane's mother first thing in the morning was analogous to running the gauntlet. The matriarch's sharp eyes spotted her tall daughter through the arriving throng of uniformed police, detectives and staff workers.
Jane just wanted to blend in without any attention being drawn, but that fell away as Ma's voice cut through the low level noise that accompanied a transiting workforce.
"Janie. Janie. Get yourself over here."
The detective felt as if she were five years old again and her mother was yelling at her in a store to come back from wherever she had drifted to. It was as mortifying now just as it was way back then.
"Ma, will you quit your hollering." Jane's comeback was terse, but guarded as she didn't want any more eyes on her than there already was. "What's got you all hot under the collar?"
"What's up with Maura? Why is your car at her place, but you weren't at her place last night?"
"Whoa. One thing at a time please."
"First. My car is there as we travelled in Maura's car to a scene yesterday. Events meant I didn't get the chance to pick it up."
"So, as I didn't go back to Maura's last night, I don't know what's up with her?"
"Like I believe that. You two are always texting each other. What's happened? Why is she so upset?"
"I. Don't. Know." The lie came quickly, and unconvincingly. Angela picked up instantly on Jane's blatant avoidance of the truth.
"Mmmhmm. We're going to do it the hard way are we?" It was a statement more than a loaded question.
"Look Ma. We have a particularly difficult case and it hasn't been easy on me, so would you cut me some slack." Jane's fingers were back where they had been most of the night massaging her temples. The headache she thought she had rid herself of was coming back with a vengeance.
There was a slight thawing in her mother's demeanour and a look of concern replaced that of chief inquisitor. She had picked up in the slight wobble in her daughter's voice, so her concern was real.
"What's up sweetheart? Are you able to talk about it?"
"I shouldn't as the investigation has only just started. You remember Kate Peterson back from hockey camp."
"Kate? You mean Kate who you were thick as thieves with and who joined you at the Academy. The one who could draw beautifully. That Kate?"
"Yes Ma, that Kate. Well..." Jane's voice had properly cracked now and it took her all of her inner remaining strength not to disintegrate right in front of her mother there and then. "...We found her washed up on a beach yesterday."
Angela's hands flew up to her mouth and her eyes widened in shock of the announcement.
"Oh my Janie. Come here my baby that cannot have been good for you. You too were..." There was a pause as if she were trying to fill in the gaps with the right words. Jane noticed the pause, but didn't challenge it as she was curious to understand why her mother had checked herself. "...close. So close."
Jane didn't have it in her to clarify what she meant by that, nor did she have time as she was forcibly pulled into the bosom of her mother. "Oh my baby. No wonder you look so sad. Maura never said anything. She must clearly be worried about you as she hardly touched her food last night. I made roasted zucchini risotto which is a favourite of hers and she just pushed it around her plate."
If only life was that simple. Jane tried to extricate herself from her mother's vice like grip. Angela had no sense of her surroundings when her family was hurting. On the other hand Jane was conscious that eyes must be once again her and didn't want the additional attention.
"Ma. Ma you're crushing me."
"Oh. Well you need to put some meat on those bones Janie. If Maura was upset last night, I bet you didn't eat either...and cold pizza doesn't count."
"Well..." Her mother knew her so well it was pointless to create another charade.
"Just give me a minute. I've made Maura a quinoa salad with feta and beetroot as she left early this morning, so I know she'll be hungry come lunch time."
The look on Jane's face said it all. Don't be giving me any of that.
"Oh, stop with the face. I'll make you a toasted pastrami bagel with melted cheese and you can take it with you to eat whenever." Angela was acutely aware that it would be unlikely to last until lunch time, but her baby needed feeding.
"And while you're waiting, can you tell me more about Kate? Do you know what happened to her? It's almost twenty years since I last saw her...your graduation day...you two looked so smart in your parade uniforms."
Before the elder Rizzoli could start with her own investigation regarding Kate and probe into territory that Jane wanted to avoid, Jane's attention switched to a well-known figure making his way out of the elevator.
"Ma. Gotta go. Need to speak to Korsak." Jane stepped out of the Division One coffee shop to accost her old partner.
Vince smiled at Jane as she approached, the type of smile that was filled with genuine warmth. "How y'doin' Jane?" In a quieter discreet voice he followed with, "heard you had a rough day yesterday."
"Yep. You could say that."
Before she had chance to offer any explanation, Korsak gently guided her out of the way of people trying to make their way to and from the elevator.
"Jane, I don't want to pry. From what Frost has told me, this came out like a bolt from the blue, so I guess you're none too happy about it. I've had to assume that there was a friendship between you two ladies or else the Lt wouldn't have passed me the case."
Jane's arms were wrapped protectively around her body. She was looking everywhere except at Korsak right now, her foot gently tapping exposing how uncomfortable she felt. The rising crimson flush making its way up her neck to her cheeks solidified her angst.
"Look. My guess is that you don't want to talk about it right now."
Jane's eyebrows rising high on her forehead signalled her feelings loud and clear. How about never.
Korsak continued. He understood Jane, he understood the nonverbal signs she was giving off, so continued gently, so not to cause an outburst as he was sure that she was close to one.
"I've locked down the house so there is minimal footfall. Only folk that I personally trust will go in there."
Jane finally turned and faced Korsak, her features softening at the effort that had been made on her behalf.
"There will be no gossip Jane, mark my words. Your life will remain that. Yours. As far as I'm concerned the only folk who have seen inside that house are you, Frost and Dr. Isles."
The mention of Maura made her inhale a deep intake of breath. Korsak misunderstood it as some sort of pressure relief from what he had told Jane, when it was really an internal fight to keep the anguish inside of her locked down.
"Jane. What d'ya say to a couple of days personal time. You're owed lots and you look as if you have some sleep to catch up on."
Jane managed to crack a grateful smile through the swirling emotions that threatened to engulf her. "Thanks Vince. I think I might just do that." Her wish had been granted without sounding needy or weak. Some breathing room was what she needed right now to figure out what to do next. In the hours she had spent awake, she had already resolved what needed to be done, but she needed a clear head first.
"I'll get Frankie to drop you, as I know Frost picked you up this morning."
Jane hated being reliant on anyone and the flourish of her hands to say that wasn't necessary was ignored.
"He'll be down in two." With that Korsak held his phone to his ear and was relaying instructions to the younger Rizzoli. Turning back to Jane and gently cupping her elbow, he offered words of reassurance. "We've been through worse Jane. This will end ok. Don't worry."
Jane was again lost for words. It was a common occurrence amongst her colleagues now, her inability to string a coherent sentence together, with them kindly filling in the gaps. She took in another deep breath, slowly controlling the exhalation to bring her emotions in check.
The ding of the arriving elevator caught her attention and out bounded her younger brother, a smile creeping across his face when he found Jane. "Hey, sis. Your carriage awaits."
As she turned to leave, her mother thrust a sandwich bag into her hands. "Eat Janie." Out of the corner of her mouth she whispered into Jane's ear. "And sort whatever you have goin' on with Maura out. Don't think I don't know that the both of you are not telling me something."
Before she had time to put together any retort, Jane was on the end of another side mouthed delivered whisper. "I love you Janie, no matter what. Just remember that." A quick peck on the cheek followed which Jane had no time to dodge as she was reeling from her mother's clearly loaded words.
Holding up the sandwich bag, Jane managed a simple, "thanks Ma," and started to head towards the exit.
Having pulled out of the parking lot, Frankie was first to cut the silence. Jane sat with her elbow up against the window ledge, her fingers braced off her forehead, looking straight ahead into the traffic.
"I'm sorry to hear about your friend Kate. That must've been a shock yesterday."
"It was. And thanks."
"I remember her from when she visited our house. I thought she was so cool."
Jane looked towards her younger brother. "You remember her visits?"
"Yeah. She was a good lookin' girl, how could I forget."
Jane smacked her brother playfully on the arm.
"C'mon, I was fifteen, I was supposed to like my big sisters friends!" That earned a smile from Jane, the first genuine one that she had smiled in what appeared an age to her.
"I remember her drawing in those little note books that she had on her all the time. I still have a picture she drew of me when we visited the park one Sunday before dinner. You, Tommy and I were fooling about with a baseball, taking turns to pitch and catch and Kate sat on the grass bank drawing us all."
"Jeeze, that's a long time ago. I do remember that afternoon. I caught Tommy in the face with the ball and gave him a nosebleed."
"Taught him to be faster with his hands." They both laughed out loud at the memory as only siblings could.
"She showed me the drawings later on that day and even though I didn't know anything about art, I knew she had talent. She could see that I loved the drawing of Tommy and me, so she clean ripped it out of the book and handed it to me. I still have it."
"You do?" Jane was a little stunned by the revelation.
"Yeah. It was beautiful in a way I can't describe, y' know. It felt special."
Hearing her brother talk about something that had touched him all those years back made her heart swell with love for him. They both knew that if he had mentioned it then, she would have teased him about it. But then again she knew the impact Kate's drawings could have on a person, so she couldn't have be sure how she would have really reacted.
"I know she was a special person to you Janie."
The words were delivered in the same wistful way he had used to talk about his treasured picture. For once her mouth stayed shut, not cutting him off with an offhand comment. They were on the hallowed ground of brother and sister where truths could be spoken and never repeated.
"It was the same day we'd been to the park. We'd finished dinner and after we'd helped Ma with clearing the table, we all went off to do our own thing. Pop was watching some old war movie whilst Ma was in the kitchen doing the dishes. I was up in my room with Tommy who was messing about with some action figures. You girls were out in the yard with the basketball."
Jane knew where this was going as she had her own memory of that particular afternoon. She kept quiet to let her brother tell his story whilst he concentrated on weaving through the morning traffic.
"I was watching you out of the window watching you fool about with the ball. I could hear Ma singing to some music that was playing on the radio and if I listened carefully I could hear some guns going off in the background from Pop's movie. With Tommy all caught up with some make believe battle of his own, I just felt happy, because everyone around me was happy."
"It was a good day. I remember that too."
"I saw you kiss Kate in the yard. The type of kiss that meant you weren't just friends."
"You saw that...why have you never mentioned it?" Jane was shocked by the revelation.
"I saw that you were happy, probably the first time I saw that happiness in you Janie. I didn't want to spoil that for you."
After all these years, her secret had been known and yet not a single word had been uttered or insinuation made. His hero worship of his elder sister had gone beyond the bounds of just following in her footsteps.
"Why have you never mentioned it?" The question was asked again, but it was gentle opposed to accusatory.
"Because you're my sister and I love you. Nothing will ever change that."
Jane had to stuff her knuckles into her mouth to try to quell the sob that she could feel build up inside of her trying to break free. The tears she had no chance with.
Swiping the warm tears away, she tried to calm herself. If there was a time to unload her heavy heart it was now with someone she knew she could trust.
"Hey sis, don't cry. You love who you love. There's no changing that."
"When did you get to be so philosophical?"
"I know this great woman..." Frankie paused to look and wink at his sister. "She's always said to me that the best things in life are free. I see love falling into that category, don't you?"
"I can't believe you're using my line there little bro! But you have a fair point."
With the conversation flowing freely between them, Frankie felt brave enough to go further. "So, what y'gonna do?"
"About what?" Jane was being wilfully evasive and she knew it, but decided that it was time to be really honest. "Last night, I thought about a lot of things and the fact that I'm nearly forty and don't have a lot to show for my life."
"You're kiddin' me right?"
"A chest full of medals and certificates of commendation are great but that's not the whole deal. Just look at me. I rent an apartment that has more pizza boxes and beer bottles than your average college student dorm room. I said no to marriage. I lost my chance of being a mother." Jane paused to gather herself as the loss of her child always evoked a strong emotional response that she shielded from those around her. "And...I cannot seem to make it past a couple of nights without having some sort of flashback or nightmare. No wonder the guys just keep on running. So, tell me Frankie, what do I really have to show for myself?"
Feelings were running amok within the confines of the car, but there was still a little way to go.
"You have a family and friends who love you. Not everyone can say that."
"True. But there's something missing, I can feel it. I know folk may not think this about me, but I wouldn't mind the fairy tale coming true for me just once, without any mishaps or disappointment along the way."
Their frank discussion had distracted Jane and she hadn't noted that they had pulled in front of and stopped at Maura's drive which had Jane's car parked on it.
"I think your fairy tale has been staring you in the face for the last couple of years Jane." The statement took a few seconds to lodge in her brain after she followed the eyes of her brother who was staring at Maura's house.
Jane took the Frankie's hand and squeezed it tight. "I know what you're saying, but I can't seem to find the right words. I'm scared that she doesn't feel the same way."
"Believe me Janie, I don't think that'll be an issue. The way she looks at you should tell you all you need to know."
"All right Cupid, let it go. I've got it in spade fulls and trust me when I say that I'm working on it."
It was nearing 7pm when Jane took a look at her watch. Her stomach growled loudly just to reinforce the point that she hadn't eaten anything since the bagel her Ma had prepared for her earlier in the day. She had almost finished what she had set herself to do and when she looked around her apartment she felt happy with the result. Jane had literally taken her apartment apart, stripped and cleaned everything like it had never been cleaned before.
Deliveries had arrived throughout the day from Macy's and Target of new bed linen, towels, and soft furnishings to make her place more becoming of a female resident. She had in the hours of the previous evening resolved to turn her life around, make a fresh start and she was almost done with step one.
Her place looked and felt different. Jane was pleased with what she had achieved. Pulling open the refrigerator door, she reached for a bottle of water and smiled again. Change was up front and centre there too. Gone were the remnants of some long forgotten take out meal or just a line of beer bottles, instead were healthy food options and snacks that she could refuel properly on. A pack of six was still there but balanced by bottles of water and a carton of freshly juiced fruit. Change was properly afoot.
On turning to survey her achievements Jane noticed a rogue bag of trash that was propped up in the corner of the kitchen. Even though it was getting late to go back down to the trash area, she wanted it out. Putting down her water, she quickly swiped at the bag to pick it up. It was only then she registered why she had left it there, but it was too late. A shard of glass, remnant from her earlier pitching activity, sliced clean through her right palm. Blood was instantaneous seeping easily through her clenched fist, dripping onto her freshly cleaned wooden floor.
Shit, shit, shit.
Grabbing a newly acquired kitchen towel, she wrapped it around her hand. Her attention shifted from the sharp pain in her hand to the knocking at her door. The last thing she needed was another round with her Ma right now, but she knew that she was like a dog with a bone when she had something on her mind.
Stepping over the droplets of blood to avoid walking it across the rest of her apartment, she called out to whomever was on the other side of the door.
"Comin'. Just give me a sec."
Pausing out of habit to look through the spy hole, she was taken aback by who she saw. It was unexpected and thankfully not her mother, but the woman who was central to her life. Maura.
Struggling to twist the door in an attempt not to smear it with blood, she grimaced at the effort it took. The Detective's pain was instantaneously registered by the ME and any feelings that she had cooped up inside of her rapidly fell away.
Noticing the bloody cloth wrapped around the hand of the woman she so desperately wanted to have holding her heart instead, she stepped without invite across the threshold and drew the injured hand into her own. With eyes soft with nothing but love, the only words that Maura could muster were, "oh Jane."
Maura guided Jane back into the kitchen, not releasing her hand for a second. Placing Jane's hand gently onto the counter, she instinctively reached up to the top of the refrigerator to retrieve the hefty, well stocked, well used first aid kit.
"Your turn to save me Dr. Isles. Do you think it's life threatening?" It was an attempt to break the ice as Jane had no idea as to what state of mind the ME was in when she knocked on the door.
A gentle tut and a head shake was all she got from the blonde.
Peeling back the bloody and now ruined cloth, Maura looked at the open wound to deliver her prognosis. She knew that Jane was trying to lighten the moment, but her responsibility was as a physician came first. Jane was wise enough not to pre-empt the assessment, instead choosing to gauge for herself the damage that had been done.
"It is a clean cut, not too deep, so it can be closed using butterfly stitches. I'll have to clean it first. What did you cut it on Jane, so I know how thorough I have to be?"
"It could've been either a piece of crockery or glass from a beer bottle." She knew that there would be more detail required, so provided the clarity Maura would be after. "I pulled the broken pieces from the sink which had been in there overnight."
Maura adopted the raised eyebrow look she had learned so well from Jane, but chose not to press how the two would come to be mixed together. Rummaging through the first aid kit, she found the saline solution and antiseptic wash and looked Jane square in the eye for the first time that evening.
"This may hurt a little, but it has to be done."
"I know." The response had lost any hint of previous mirth.
"Shit! Maura you could've warned me." The liquid washed over and seeped into the cut. Jane had to do her best not to rip her hand away from Maura, but her need to remain connected overrode the temptation. Instead she rose up onto her tip toes and only came down when the sharp stinging abated.
"I thought I did?"
Jane was certain that a small smile had edged its way to the corners of Maura's mouth. That was a good sign.
Gently dabbing away the residual moisture, Maura set to work with the sutures, making quick work to close the gap and prevent any new blood flow. Placing a larger dressing over the top, she smoothed down the edges to force the plaster to stay in place. Maura took more time than was necessary to complete the task, using the opportunity to simply have Jane's hand close to her own. Knowing that Jane was watching her intently, she clasped the injured hand gently and ran her hands down to the finger tips before finally letting go.
Rooted to the spot, mesmerised by the attention Maura was placing on the fixing of a cut, Jane could only muster a croaky, "thanks Maur." The connection they felt during moments of closeness was right there now. If the lights had been dimmed it may have been possible to see blue streaks of electricity arcing between them. They both could feel it. Jane took Maura's hands into her own and gently squeezed them.
Taking the initiative, Jane felt the need to get this conversation started.
"I'm sorry Maura for hurting you. Can we talk? Please." The last word was delivered as a heartfelt plea. It took great resolve for Maura not to simply melt into Jane's arms there and then.
"Oh, Jane of course we can talk, but I need to say something first. Just give me the chance to get this off my chest as it's been haunting me since yesterday."
Jane was curious as to what Maura had to say as she thought that the ME would have been primarily on the receiving end of Jane's explanation.
Not letting go of Jane's hands, Maura once again connected with the Detective's eyes, who resolutely stared back, not wanting to break any form of contact.
"I am thoroughly ashamed of my behaviour towards you and I cannot apologise enough. You bared your soul and let me in on a clearly treasured part of your life and I put my own feelings ahead of yours. That was hugely inappropriate of me." Taking a momentary pause, to see if the words had hit home, she closed her argument. "I hope that you can forgive me."
Strong arms pulled Maura into an embrace. Jane nuzzled into the crown of Maura's head and shamelessly indulged in the smell of blonde locks attacking her senses. They both felt as if they had arrived home and able to feel whole again.
Trying her best not to get swept away by the moment, Jane pulled reluctantly away. "We need to talk Maur. I've got quite a few things to get off my chest too."
"I know. Do you want sit or stay here in the kitchen?"
"How 'bout we go and sit down on the couch. I have wine and I also have snacks. Ok, with olives?"
"That would be lovely Jane." As her host set about pouring the wine, Maura took the opportunity to scan the apartment. She had noted the splashes of colour provided by a throw carefully draped over the back of the sofa and the soft pillows that flanked each end. Gone was the usual clutter that sat beneath the coffee table. Everywhere had been straightened and polished. She even noted a change in scent and smiled when she saw freshly cut flowers sat in a vase. Real effort had gone into the turning the place around and she saw similar attention had been applied in the kitchen.
"I thought it was about time to clean my act up. Your place is always so well kept, I always felt like a slob when I got back here."
"You lead a busy life Jane, sometimes there are different priorities."
So do you, but you seem to manage with the chores. Jane once again opted not to quibble.
Placing the drinks on the coffee table, Jane patted the space on the sofa beside her. Maura slipped off her shoes, sat down sideways and drew her legs up behind her. Resting her side against the sofa, she got comfy to listen to whatever Jane wanted to share with her.
After passing Maura her glass, Jane fiddled with the stem of her own trying to find the right words to start with. Nervousness was starting to creep in and threatened to overcome her need to share her story.
Maura sensed the growing anxiousness and placed a free hand on Jane's knee. Take your time. I would very much love to know a little more about Kate, as she was clearly someone very special to you."
"She was." Jane ordered her thoughts. "She was my first love, if I'm being honest." She really wanted to get through this without becoming a blithering idiot.
"Look, I have never talked about her to anyone before today, so can I ask that you be patient with me? We might have to come back to stuff another time, but I want to tell you so much, I just don't know where to start."
Maura gave Jane's knee a squeeze, keeping her hand there as it felt like the right thing to do. Neither of them felt uncomfortable about the proximity. "Take your time Jane. Would it help if I asked a couple of questions to get started?"
Jane nodded. Taking a large gulp of wine, she prepared herself for the questions to begin. Maura in turn took a sip, swirled the wine around her glass and thought of how to gently coax some answers from Jane.
"You said that you had been lovers. How long had you been together?"
"Almost four years by the time we had finished at the Academy. We grew close during our time at hockey camp. It felt like the most natural thing to be together, even though we knew that other folk wouldn't exactly see it that way. We weren't naïve to think otherwise, so we kept everything well under the radar...or so we thought. Frankie told me today he caught us kissing in our parents' yard one afternoon."
"And he didn't let on? How was he about your relationship with Kate?"
"Not a whisper and he was fine with everything. Absolutely fine." Jane had to laugh out loud at the world of doom she had painted for herself. Those who knew had been nothing but supportive. There had been no thunder bolts of lightning striking at her feet. But times had been different back then, and she had wrapped a cocoon around herself so tight that it would take some convincing to peel the many layers of metaphorical protection away.
"Why did you stop seeing her, as you've told me many stories about your early days as a police officer, but you've never mentioned her even in passing?"
"Can we come back to that one please? It wasn't my greatest moment and it's just a little raw right now."
"Ok. Did you see other women after Kate?"
"No." Jane put her wine glass back down on the table. She didn't mean for the gesture to signal any degree of annoyance, but Maura thought she had overstepped her mark and regretted her directness immediately; the art of subtlety was still not a skill set she could easily draw upon.
Jane turned to face Maura. She didn't want to become confrontational with Maura, so decided there and then to just tell the story and hope that the woman sat opposite her didn't run a mile.
"I broke it off with Kate, two days after graduating as I was essentially a coward. I broke her heart and if there was anything that I could do to undue that hurt I would do it."
Anger and frustration of her actions rose to the surface and all Jane could do right now to put a lid back in that box was to run her hands back over her head and through her long hair.
"Whilst she hadn't said anything to me, I knew that she wanted the full deal. She wanted for us to come clean, but I couldn't do it."
"Why not Jane?"
Jane stood up from the couch and started to pace around the small space in front of the coffee table.
"C'mon Maur, the world was a different place back then, and the police force was still another twenty years behind that! It's a far cry from the positive role models the kids have today. I mean Ellen hadn't come out at that point and when she did, she was a social pariah for some years after. People's mindsets were still tuned to thinking that..." Jane was struggling to say one particular word..."people like me and Kate were not seen as right."
"Did your parents think that way?"
"They're Catholic. Of course they did. The irony of it all is that the priests who were busy telling us that those people would go to hell for their sins, were doing things to kids which quite frankly they should..." Jane stopped herself before she spiralled further.
"And they never suspected?"
"I'm still livin' and breathin. Pop would've disowned me rather than have me around shaming the family. I'm not so sure about Ma. She said something today which suggested she may have known, but she has never asked and I have certainly never told."
"So you denied yourself happiness, being with someone you loved."
That stopped Jane dead in her tracks. Her response was whispered, racked with emotion.
"Yep. I suppose I did, but I was young and I thought I knew better."
"Is that why you started seeing Casey, because you wanted to be seen to do what was expected of you?"
"Perhaps, you could take up being a shrink in your spare time Maur."
Jane wasn't being cruel, but everything Maura had asked was true. She had started to see Casey to partially fill the gap Kate had left, but to protect herself from having her true self exposed. It wasn't the ideal platform to start a relationship and in hindsight whilst she could blame their breakup on Casey's inability to properly commit, her heart truly wasn't in it. The same could be said of any other relationship she had been in. She had never felt the same way as she had done with Kate. But there was an emerging opportunity, Jane just had to be brave enough to take a chance.
"Come and sit back down Jane. I'm not judging you."
Calming herself down, Jane nodded her head and sat back down, closer to Maura than she had previously been.
"Everything you have said is true. I've just not been honest with people or myself. I've been doing what I've been doing for so long now, it became the norm. I never once considered that there could be a different option."
"You can make a start now."
Jane wasn't sure if the statement was trying to lead her in a particular direction. She chose to be cautious. She was starting to become a little nervous, doubting her long standing suspicion that Maura may want something more. It was her turn to resort to type and start asking the questions. Picking up her glass of wine, she boosted her confidence with another large gulp of the velvety red liquid.
"Why did you react the way you did yesterday?"
Maura was unprepared for the change in tack, but didn't let it show. She acknowledged that Jane would only give so much before she pushed back. She equally felt a little nervous now. Despite wanting this conversation to happen for some time, the reality of it was a little overwhelming.
"I." She paused. "I." There was an even longer pause this time. "I was jealous. I'm sorry, but there is no other explanation for it."
Jane's eyes had widened at the response. This conversation was really heading in one direction. "Jealous? Of someone I saw nearly twenty years ago?"
"It wasn't just someone Jane. The one person you have admitted to loving, and there haven't been any others if my memory serves me correctly, was a woman."
It was Maura's turn to take a larger intake of wine than she normally would, an action that was not lost on Jane.
"I was jealous because, she had been the only one to get truly close to you. I was jealous that your history prevented you from taking a chance on me. You never asked me. I've waited a long time for you to take a chance on me." Maura practically whispered the last words of her confession. Tears that she had so valiantly fought to keep at bay broke free and spilled slowly down her flushed cheeks. It was now or never. She needed herself to be fully understood and unequivocal in her meaning.
"Jane Rizzoli, it may have come to your attention that I am in love with you. I will personally recommend to Lt Cavanagh that you relinquish your Detective's shield, if this comes as a complete surprise to you."
Wine glasses were hurriedly extracted from hands and almost tossed onto the table. Jane launched herself across the sofa, cupped Maura's face with her hands, and delivered a kiss that was devoid of any doubt. It wasn't the first kiss she had countless times imagined; chaste and gentle. Instead it was fire on fire, the spark had been lit and the inferno of pent up longing and passion ignited. Hands and mouths wanted to feel and touch what both had denied the other.
Jane paused when she realised that she had already pulled Maura's blouse free from the waistband of her skirt. Her face said it all. Is this too much?
Maura answered her thoughts. "Don't you dare stop. We've waited too long."
Almost feral in their desire for each other, clothes were pulled off and discarded unceremoniously. Hands traversed soft mounds of flesh and lines of defined muscles with fingers contouring the intimate dips and folds of heated cores.
Their bodies wedged tight between the length of the sofa found a natural rhythm. Each pushed into the other desperate to keep skin connected to skin. Pressure and friction was all that mattered. A cacophony of deep and shallow breathing mixed with unchecked wanton sounds of reciprocated desire filled the room.
Feeling and hearing the woman below her near the point of total abandonment, Jane managed to plead, in breathy rasps for Maura to open her eyes.
As eyes met eyes, registering the summit they had jointly climbed, Maura succumbed to an explosive wave of pleasure, temporarily rendering her speechless. Follow on ricochets of released energy, initiated ear splitting proclamations of joy and incredible satisfaction. Amplified in kind by Jane, whose body responded almost in unison to Maura's euphoria, each shamelessly fed from the other, squeezing every atom of enjoyment from their landmark moment.
As calmness slowly replaced the exhilaration, Jane pulled the throw haphazardly over them to ward off the chill from their cooling bodies. Hands reverently smoothed the skin of the lover they each had finally claimed.
Looking at the woman, who without doubt held her heart, Jane softly kissed Maura's lips.
With no longer any fear left inside of her, she said out loud the words she had felt for years.
"I'm in love with you too."
Wind whipped through Jane's hair, but it wasn't an unpleasant day to be stood on the beach, sun providing warmth to the small group congregated facing the rolling surf. It had been three weeks since Kate had been found, and the Detective was back on that same beach. This time there was no police tape, forensic techs or curious bystanders to spoil what was a beautiful view. That was what had drawn Kate to this place, to draw and paint and enjoy the serenity that life by the ocean afforded.
Maura had concluded that Kate hadn't been murdered. The autopsy had found high levels of Anastrozole in her system, indicating that Kate was on strong medication to try and slow the spread of breast cancer. Fatigue, a common side effect, had most likely contributed to her losing her balance and slip on the rocks. The blow to her head was, as Frost surmised, the cause of death, however there had been underlying contributing factors. On the one hand it was just bad luck, but fate had drawn Jane Rizzoli back to Kate, albeit too late for her to catch another glimpse of the raven haired beauty she had fallen in love with all those years ago.
On the other hand, fate in line with the yin yang balance between life's forces, had brought about some good. Jane and Maura had finally capitulated their feelings to the other and their bond had become stronger and deeper than it had ever been. Unlike her predictions of the world coming off its' axis, Jane's family wholeheartedly embraced Maura; the change in status was a mere formality.
Very firmly together in every way, and known to all those around them, they stood side by side, listening to anecdotes from those who knew Kate. Each in turn were saying their final goodbye to a woman who had touched their lives in some way.
Jane massaged each of her palms, her anxiousness visible only to Maura. This was her time to set everything right, so her words had to have meaning, convey the thousand apologies Kate deserved.
"I've learned the hard way that being in love is a very precious gift, it is something that has to be cherished and worked for in equal measure. I squandered that gift many years ago and it has taken nearly twenty years for me to give love the respect and honestly it deserves. Kate gave me the chance to be a stronger and better person and for that I will be forever grateful."
Silence fell over the hushed gathering as eyes settled on an older couple who dabbed at their eyes. The gentleman, cleared his voice before he spoke.
"Goodbye our beautiful daughter. Be at peace. Go and join the colours of the sky."
With that he kissed the side of the urn he held and unscrewed the lid. Taking a deep breath and trying not to mirror his wife's sobbing, he stepped forward, held his hand up and shook Kate's ashes into the sea breeze. As the wind took her, Maura took Jane's hand into her own and squeezed it gently, letting the Detective know that she was there, would always be there and that they could get through anything together.
If you reached the end, thank you for reading. Your reviews and PMs have provided exactly the right boost for me to continue and finish my book, which will now become the focus for my writing.
For those who are writing, keep writing as when there are moments when the words are not flying onto paper, you provide a welcome distraction to my frustration. For those who are thinking about writing and sharing your work, do it. It is a hugely rewarding experience!