Dolcemente - Part 4 - Final Part

A Rizzoli & Isles (J/M) Story
By Enginerd


Rizzoli & Isles were created by Tess Gerritsen and adapted for TV by Janet Tamaro.  This story takes place prior to the Season Two finale (which does not exist in my R&I universe) and contains mature themes involving the love and its physical expression between two women. 

Chapter 16 – Dubious Leftovers

After discussing her plan for Trejo with Cavanaugh, Korsak, and Frost, Jane returned to her desk with Maura.

“Ready to go?” Maura asked softly.  “You’re going to need a good night’s rest for tomorrow.”

Jane nodded and remained silent as she followed Maura to her car.  Maura also was uncomfortably silent as she drove Jane back to her apartment, debating how best to prompt a conversation they needed to have. 

“You must be tired,” Maura started.

“Yeah and hungry.  You hungry?”  Jane asked.

“It’s ten thir. . . ,” Maura said with a frown, intending to lecture her on not eating so late in the evening but was interrupted by Jane’s stomach growling loudly.  “Well then . . . I suppose we should have something,” Maura said wryly.

“Never argue with the gut,” Jane chuckled weekly, which Maura felt was a good sign and refrained from informing Jane that one can not actually argue with one’s intestines . . . or admitting that her own gut was not looking forward to tomorrow.

When they entered Jane’s apartment, Maura took charge of putting dinner together.  “Sit.  I’ll reheat the lasagna,” she said, marching to the refrigerator and pulling out two plates.

“We could have it cold,” Jane said, earning a dubious look.  “What?  It’s good cold too,” she said defensively, following her into the kitchen. 

“I’d prefer to heat it, thank you,” Maura said politely and placed one plate in the microwave.

“I’ll just have mine cold,” Jane said with a wince, glancing at the microwave with disapproval.

“Suit yourself,” Maura said with a sigh as Jane grabbed her plate and went to the dining room table.  Maura joined her shortly, with two glasses of wine in one hand and her plate in another.

“You could be a waitress if the Chief Medical Examiner gig doesn’t pan out,” Jane noted wryly.  “You’d definitely rake in the tips,” she added absently, looking over Maura with appreciation.  Jane then froze, realizing she actually spoke that thought out loud. 

“It’s good to know I have potential in other fields,” Maura responded with a pleased smile for the unexpected compliment.  The smile grew as Jane politely held her chair for her as she sat.

“Don’t forget flight attendant,” Jane offered, smiling slightly as she sat and put a cloth napkin in her lap.  “The safety briefs would be much more enjoyable,” she added with a smirk, then frowned, seeing Maura looking at her with surprise.  “Uh, sorry.  I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable,” Jane said, frustrated with her runaway mouth that got her in more trouble when she was tired, damnit.

“I’m not uncomfortable,” Maura quickly offered.  “I . . . appreciate your compliments,” she added carefully, her heart beating a little faster.  She wanted to say more but Jane’s skittish behavior made her cautious.

Jane nodded uneasily and picked up her fork, focusing on her plate.  Maura took a bite, then another as she noted Jane continuing to stare at her food, not eating.

After swallowing, Maura frowned slightly.  “I could still reheat it for you,” she offered, drawing Jane’s gaze.

“Ah . . . no thanks,” Jane said, rubbing the back of her neck.  “Maura?  I owe you an apology.  It was a low blow to bring up . . . whatshisname,” Jane said uncomfortably, briefly looking at her before her gaze dropped guiltily.

Maura tilted her head, warmed by Jane’s sincerity. “Perhaps, but you had a valid point,” she noted thoughtfully.

Jane looked at her with a slight grimace.  “Valid point or not, I shouldn’t have made it,” she said and took a bite of cold lasagna.

“Why?” Maura asked, genuinely curious. 

Jane blinked, surprised Maura would ask.  “Good friends don’t dredge up valid points that hurt, is why,” she explained with a slight frown.

“Good friends should be able to speak what’s on their mind without worrying about hurting their friend,” Maura countered.  “I want to know what’s on your mind, Jane.  I want to know how you feel.  I want to know that you play the piano and speak Spanish and Italian,” Maura said earnestly.  “I . . . I felt hurt when you did not share something that was important to you, like I imagine you felt, when I didn’t tell you about Ian,” Maura reasoned.

“Speaking a foreign language is not like the “love of my life,” Maura,” Jane said with a frown, rolling her eyes.

“No, I meant the piano,” Maura clarified, noting Jane’s immediate agitation.

“It’s not that important, Maura,” Jane bristled, her words contradicting her demeanor as her gaze dropped to her plate and grew hard.

“I . . . am mistaken, then,” Maura said uneasily, not wanting to further upset her.

“The piano is not that important,” Jane said severely, surprising Maura both with her intensity, and that she actually continued.  “There is no way you can compare it to losing someone you love, Maura; there is no comparison,” Jane declared emphatically, briefly glancing at her then to her plate.

Maura noted Jane’s hand was strangling her fork.  Her curiosity soared.  She desperately wanted to understand; but instead of asking outright, she proceeded with caution, not wanting to provoke her friend further.  “Of . . . course not,” Maura softly said in uncomfortable agreement, which received a firm nod from Jane, who took a long breath before taking another bite of lasagna.

After a long stretch of tense silence as they ate their dinner, Jane looked up uneasily, watching Maura quietly take another bite.

“I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t have snapped at you,” Jane blurted softly with a guilty wince.  “You put up with a lot of my sh . . .stuff,” Jane added with remorse.

“Well,” Maura said and took a sip of wine.  “I did say I wanted to know how you feel,” she offered wryly, hoping to ease Jane’s discomfort.

“That goes both ways, Maura,” she said sincerely, looking her in the eye.

Maura blinked, not sure how to respond.  She considered declaring “I love you” but her gut warned her that wasn’t the best plan.  Realizing that her gut was now actually part of her decision-making process, she frowned slightly.

“You were upset when you called me earlier and instead of me helping . . . ,” Jane explained regretfully, trailing off without finishing.  She didn’t need to. 

“You helped, believe me,” Maura responded honestly.  “And we caught a killer, not a bad night’s work,” she offered with a smile and shrug.

“So the cure for emotional distress is catching bad guys?” Jane asked with a small, amused smile, though she personally found work an excellent distraction to ease her own distress.

“When catching bad guys is with you, it is,” Maura admitted softly, noting Jane’s surprise.  Once again Maura’s heart raced as she contemplated what to say next.

Jane nodded, drawing a blank on how to respond, so she ate a bit of lasagna just as Maura did, letting the conversation falter.

Finally breaking the silence thanks to her masochistic curiosity, Jane asked.  “So . . . what happened with Dr. Doolittle?”

Maura looked at Jane, who had brought up a subject that was the furthest thing from her mind.  Though she quickly recognized it was an opportunity to steer the conversation in a useful direction.  Maura’s gaze dropped a thoughtful moment as she set her glass down. 

Jane tensed, knowing when Maura was asked a direct question, she’d either give a brutally honest answer or, if it were a topic Maura wanted to avoid, she’d skillfully deflect.  As Maura took some time to think about an answer, Jane was beginning to hope for skillful deflection.

“I wanted more,” Maura said simply, glancing at Jane, who nodded slowly, more to encourage her to continue vice relaying understanding.   

Maura stalled a nervous moment as she dabbed her mouth with her napkin and glanced at Jane.  “Charles only wanted a physical relationship, which I am no longer finding . . . sufficient.  I am realizing . . . that I want a committed, serious relationship; one that is both physically and emotionally satisfying,” she said, noticing Jane’s surprise.  “He was ill-equipped to provide me what I wanted.  But it wasn’t his fault,” Maura offered quickly.  “I understood his limitations when I entered our relationship.”

A small, pleased smile emerged on Jane’s face at Maura’s apparent change of heart; she deserved so much more than she was getting from the string of jerks she dated.

“My Nonna told me,” Jane offered softly, looking down at her plate as a fond memory surfaced.  “That anyone can have sex, but it was God’s gift to mankind to be able to make love,” she softly said with conviction, looking intently at Maura, who was riveted by Jane’s personal disclosure; it explained so much about her feelings about sex.  Jane wanted to be in love, Maura concluded as her heart skipped a beat.

A small smirk emerged as Jane gave a weak laugh, joking self-consciously “Though I think she was worried I’d rush into having sex after I told her about my big high school crush.”

“Well, teen pregnancy is a concern,” Maura offered with a small, understanding smile.

Jane chuckled with amusement.  “That wasn’t it,” she said confidently, gaining a confused look.  “My big crush was Jenny Whittaker,” Jane explained with a wry smile and a shrug, gazing at her plate.

Maura blinked with surprise as Jane picked up her wine and stared at it thoughtfully before sipping.

“I could tell Nonna anything.  She never told me what I was feeling was wrong,” Jane said placing her glass down and stared at it, tamping down her emotions.  “She just made sure I treated Jenny right and respected her.  I did, of course, but it was sort of easy since we were too scared about how people would react to really act on what we felt.  Fear of a public lynching is an incredible motivator for abstinence,” Jane offered with a weak, uncomfortable chuckle.

Maura looked at Jane and felt sorrow for the young love hindered by fear.

“Nonna never judged me.  She never told me how to live my life – like Ma did.  Does,” she amended with a slight frown. 

Maura listened, captivated by Jane’s disclosure, savoring the insight.

“According to Ma, I couldn’t be successful on my own.  I had to find a man to marry and have a boatload of children.  Nonna?” Jane continued with a shrug, absently tracing her long middle finger around the rim of her glass, unintentionally luring Maura’s gaze and libidinous thoughts.

“She believed I would be successful with anything, if I really wanted it.  She was the one person who really believed in me,” Jane offered and fell silent, staring at her glass.

Maura looked up, wanting to argue that she also really believed in her, but noted Jane’s faraway look.  With difficulty, she refrained from barraging her with questions, strongly believing it would make Jane self-conscious and stop talking – the last thing she wanted.

“She didn’t just teach me piano; she taught me what was important.  She taught me about myself.”

“She taught you piano??” Maura blurted, unable to help herself.  She winced, noting the darkness that now clouded Jane’s face, worried she had just put an end to Jane’s discourse. 

Instead, Jane nodded.  “Nonna was a piano teacher,” she continued, unaware of Maura’s immense relief that she had not stopped talking.  “I really didn’t understand what she did until Ma dropped us off at her house when she had to go to school for a parent-teacher conference.  Dad was on some emergency job and couldn’t look after us.  So to Nonna’s house we went,” she offered with a small smile. 

“Tommy and Frankie were happy just watching cartoons but I was curious and listened to the lesson Nonna was giving to Greg Bufalo.  He was a little older than I was and really really bad,” Jane noted disapprovingly, rolling her eyes, making Maura smile, imagining Jane as a opinionated young girl.  “He couldn’t do his scales and Nonna scolded him for not practicing.  He didn’t like that and quit.  Nonna caught me watching and asked if I thought I could do better,” Jane said with a weak chuckle.

“And you said yes,” Maura said warmly, feeling closer to Jane, even though the table physically separated them.  This is what she wanted in a relationship – not just the sharing of bodies but of the heart too.  She did not know if they would ever have it all, but Maura considered she would settle for whatever Jane was willing to give.  At that thought, she frowned slightly as her gut told her she wouldn’t settle until she had it all.

“I did . . . I told her I would be better because I would practice,” Jane said as if it were obvious, and sipped her wine, finishing it.  Staring at the empty glass a moment, she suddenly stood, collecting her plate and silverware.  Maura followed Jane’s lead and also took her dishes to the kitchen.

Maura quietly picked up the dishtowel and dried as Jane, who had retreated into her own thoughts, washed.  After they finished with the dishes, Jane glanced at the clock, which was now just shy of midnight.  “You staying?”  Jane asked softly.

“What do you want?”  Maura asked hesitantly.

“Stay,” Jane said simply. 

Maura nodded as a pleased smile emerged; but it quickly faded as she noted Jane’s mood was still off.  “Are you all right?” she asked, gently laying a hand on her arm.

“I wish you could have met her,” Jane said softly with a weak smile, the ache of her loss welling up again.  “She would have loved you.”

“Thank you, for telling me about her,” Maura said quietly.

Jane nodded hesitantly, her sad gaze dropping. 

Compelled to comfort, Maura leaned in and tenderly kissed her; their first kiss feeling so right and surprisingly familiar.  And it truly was, she realized, heartened by Jane’s response; she tenderly kissed her back. 

Desiring more, Maura slipped her hand around Jane’s slender waist, finding purchase on her back.  Gently, she pulled her in as her other hand carefully cupped her face like a fragile treasure.  Her tongue brushed against Jane’s lips, which parted without resistance, allowing the kiss to deepen.  Unrushed, the two reveled in the sensations that were building.

With Maura’s hum of pleasure, Jane panicked and stepped back uneasily.

“M…Maura??” she sputtered with alarm, struggling with her breath, which the good doctor managed to rob.

“Jane,” she exhaled, looking at Jane’s lips hungrily, her body humming with arousal.

“Really?  “Jane” is all you have to say?” Jane blurted with surprise, taking another step back.  Her heart raced as she tried to make sense of what just happened.  Her fantasy, which she believed would forever remain a fantasy, had just become reality - a reality that was so damn tempting.  But she feared the heartache it would eventually bring….

“I . . . wanted to kiss you,” Maura said, confused by Jane’s reaction, certain she had enjoyed it.

“You just can’t go around doing whatever you want all the time, Maura!” Jane countered tersely, not wanting to become one of many.  “What happened to wanting more??” she protested, recalling the long list of Maura’s conquests.

“I do!  With you,” she answered earnestly, not understanding Jane’s unease.

“It’s a bad idea.  A really bad idea,” Jane said uncomfortably, nervously running her hand through her dark mane.  She longed for what Maura was offering but…

“Why??”  Maura responded with dismay, finding her pulse racing, no longer from passion but growing fear.  “We are remarkably compatible and . . . ,”

“NO!”  Jane interrupted harshly.  Compatible or not, she’d never be enough….

“No?  Why not??” Maura asked, feeling like she had been slapped.  Then dread suddenly gripped her heart.  “You’ve fallen in love with her,” she exhaled. 

“Martha??” Jane said in confusion.  

“I knew I shouldn’t have listened,” Maura hissed, as she turned away, angry with herself.

Jane blinked.  “Listened?  Listened to who??”  Jane’s eyes narrowed with suspicion.

“Whom,” Maura corrected absently as her heart ached; she was too late.

“Maura,” Jane groaned.  “Fine!  Whom, then.  Whom has been telling you to go around kissing me??” She blurted with exasperation, swearing she was going to kill someone and suspecting it was going to be her mother.

“Who,” Maura corrected, unable to help herself.  Seeing Jane’s frustration soar, she quickly blurted, “No one has been telling me to kiss you.”   

“No one,” Jane repeated flatly, baffled.  

Maura’s embarrassment stopped her from elaborating.  Taking a deep breath to tamp down her emotions, she attempted to focus on a way to extricate herself from this terribly uncomfortable situation - unfortunately of her own making when she decided to listen to her intestines, she considered derisively.

“Maura . . . ,” Jane said gently, seeing Maura’s clear distress.  The last thing she wanted was to hurt her.

“I’m sorry, Jane.  I . . . I am extremely attracted to you and not just physically.  I had hoped you felt the same but it was inappropriate of me to express my affection when you are in a relationship with Martha Calderón.”


“I should go,” Maura said uneasily, looking at her purse, needing to flee.

“Oh no,” Jane said firmly and shepherded her to the couch.  “You have just opened Pandora’s box and now we are going to see what’s inside.  Sit.”

Maura sat, dropping to the couch like a falling rock rather than with the graceful ease she normally possessed.  “That’s a common mistake – calling it a box, when in fact it was a jar,” she quickly blurted, nervously staring at the coffee table.  “This error is commonly attributed to Erasmus of Rotterdam when he translated the Hesiod’s Greek tale to Latin, where he translated “pithos,” which is a large storage jar, to the Latin word “pyxis,” which means box,” Maura said, then dared to glance at Jane, who was staring at her with an unreadable expression. 

“And . . . you don’t really care,” she concluded uncomfortably, absently brushing the non-existent lint off her skirt as Jane sat next to her.

“And hope was in the box,” Jane noted softly, hating to see her so uncomfortable because of her.

“Yes,” Maura whispered, looking into understanding eyes.  Her gaze fell to Jane’s lips again; the desire to kiss them again nearly overwhelming.  Maura forced her dejected gaze down to her lap, knowing that hope was not enough now.

“Maura, what’s going on?  My best friend suddenly decides she wants to kiss me now?  Why?” Jane said, placing her hand over Maura’s.

“I’m attracted to you,” Maura offered quietly and withdrew her hand from Jane’s, denying herself that indulgence.  “I have been for some time but I hadn’t thought you would be receptive to a same-sex relationship - until Martha Calderón,” she said with pursed lips as she uttered the name.  “But I know you’re with her now and it was inappropriate for me to . . . ,”

“Maura!” Jane interjected with frustration.  “Just because I kissed the woman doesn’t mean I’m in a relationship with her.  You’ve kissed tons of people you weren’t in a relationship with!” Jane countered, adding with annoyance “Including me now….”

Maura frowned.  “Tons?  Is that why you don’t want to be with me?  Because you think that you are just one hundred and forty three pounds of these so-called tons?”  

“One thirty nine!” the former roly-poly Rizzoli objected.

And you think that you are just a passing fancy??” Maura said, insulted.

“Well . . . yeah,” Jane admitted reluctantly with a frown.
“Well, you’re not!” Maura said with irritation.

“Fine,” Jane said, not wanting to argue about what Maura was feeling.  “But it’s still a bad idea,” she stated softly.

“Damn it, Jane.  You can’t keep saying it’s a bad idea without explaining to me why!” Maura fumed, surprising Jane with her anger.

Jane frowned. 

“Please,” Maura whispered, looking at her with such sadness.

“Ok.  Ok,” Jane acquiesced softly, unable to say no.  After a heavy sigh, she awkwardly admitted “I . . . I don’t want to be one of your stand-ins.”

“Stand-ins?” Maura said, confused.

“Yeah.  For the love of your life?” Jane said with exasperation.  “Where would I fit in when the love of your life decides to waltz back in for a boo . . . visit?” Jane blurted uncomfortably, trying to censor her thoughts on Ian’s disrespectful actions. 

Maura took a breath to inform her she did not think Ian would return, but paused to consider what Jane was really saying.  “So you have considered us, as a couple?” She asked, hope filling her heart.

Jane looked at her uneasily.  “Yes,” she admitted.  “I love you, Maura,” Jane said with surprising ease, making Maura blink with surprise before a happy smile emerged.  “But I can’t be second best, knowing you love someone else more.  I need to be the only one in your life – physically and emotionally.  That is why it wouldn’t work,” Jane said with brutal honesty.  “I just can’t do that to myself, Maura,” she added softly.

“Thank you for telling me this!” Maura enthused.

Jane looked at her warily.

“Jane, I want you to listen to me carefully.  I love Ian,” Maura said, making Jane cringe.  “And he embodied what I thought was the perfect fit for me - a dashing intelligent hero, who would romance me and make me feel special.”

“I’m glad we have that all cleared up,” Jane said distastefully, wondering where a dead body was when you needed one.

“You’re not listening!” Maura scolded.  Jane sighed and motioned for her to continue.  “The problem with Ian is that it only worked between us when it suited him.  When it didn’t, I was no longer special.  I was alone and forgotten.  I don’t deserve that,” Maura announced with conviction, her annoyance seeping through.

Jane looked at her with surprise; Maura finally saw how poorly Dr. Feelgood was treating her.  About damn time, Jane considered as a pleased smile emerged.

“Clearly, I was not the love of Ian’s life and I recognize that now.  And while I will always remember our time together fondly, I am no longer pining away for him to come back.  A part of me loves him but . . . I’m not sure I ever really was in love with him or just the idea of him,” Maura admitted uncomfortably.

Jane blinked, digesting what Maura was saying. 

“But when I’m with you,” she said, firmly taking Jane’s hand.  Jane glanced down at their hands then back at Maura. “I realize what unconditional love is,” she said, squeezing.  “Everything Ian made me feel, the good and the bad, pales in comparison to what you make me feel, Jane,” she said sincerely.  “It’s a bit frightening, actually.”

Jane nodded weakly in silent agreement, her heart pounding at that revelation.

“And when I finally realized you were open to a same-sex relationship, I feared I was too late,” she allowed with a slight wince.  “I have never experienced such intense jealousy before; it isn’t a pleasant feeling,” Maura admitted gravely with a frown.

“No.  It pretty much sucks,” Jane offered wryly as her heart soared.

Maura looked intently into Jane’s eyes.  “I want a chance with you, Jane.  I’ve never wanted anything so much.  I want us to be lovers and partners in every possible way,” Maura declared earnestly. 

Jane felt light-headed; Maura Isles was actually wooing her!  Before now, she hadn’t realized how much she really wanted her to, having always thought she’d be the one to take the lead.  Finally hearing what her best friend really wanted, and that it was actually her, brought her indescribable happiness. 

To Maura’s great relief, she saw that happiness, thankful her heartfelt plea was not in vain.

“And you should know, my intestines are telling me we should take that chance,” Maura admitted with an amused smile and sparkle in her eye.

“I thought . . . your intestines didn’t talk to you,” Jane said with a smile that couldn’t help but grow.

“I suppose I just hadn’t been listening.  But I am now, and they’ve been quite vocal about you lately,” Maura offered dryly.

“Really?” Jane said looking at Maura’s lips with great anticipation as they slowly gravitated towards each other.  “Besides giving a relationship a try, what else have they been saying?” she asked softly.

“That you will be an exceptional lover,” Maura softly responded, “though, I still am a scientist and will require extensive research and empirical evidence to substantiate that expectation.”

“I would expect no less, Doctor,” Jane said, closing the gap between them.  A nagging doubt remained, prompting her to pause with her lips almost touching.  “Exclusive, right?”  

“Completely.  I do not share well with others; a byproduct of being a single child I believe,” she offered softly, brushing her lips against Jane’s, leaving them tingling.

“I don’t share well either, and I have brothers,” Jane countered, mimicking Maura’s action with a small smile.

“Well, perha…,” Maura’s alternate theory was overcome by a kiss.
As their lips merged, Jane slipped her free hand behind Maura’s neck, stroking the soft skin with her long fingers.  At Maura’s soft hum of approval, there was no panic or confusion this time, just a sense of rightness that settled within Jane. 

Maura’s hand sought Jane’s face, tracing over the sharp and striking planes.  She kissed her cleft chin with a smile.

Neither rushed, each savoring the tender, intimate touches and exploration of what only before they could only admire by surreptitious glances.  But as those kisses continued, Maura found it hard to not push for more, her body flush with arousal. 

As much as she wanted to see Jane writhing beneath her in pleasure, she wouldn’t push because she wanted Jane to set the pace and be comfortable.  

When she pulled back and gazed into Maura’s eyes, Jane saw overt want. 

Maura bit her lip worriedly as Jane stood.

“Come on, I don’t want our first time to be on the couch,” Jane said with a smile, holding her hand out.

Maura smiled brightly, hopped off the couch and into Jane’s arms, possessing her lips with a smoldering kiss, which Jane eagerly participated in until she needed air. 

“Keep that up and we won’t make it to the bedroom,” Jane chuckled, resting her forehead on Maura’s as she caught her breath.

She pulled back and looked seriously at Jane.  “Are you sure you are not too tired?” she said with a wince, compelled to ask though she did so reluctantly.  “You’ve had an exhausting few days.”

“Sweetie, after a kiss like that, trust me – my whole body is awake,” Jane said, sliding an arm around her as she walked them to the bedroom.

Maura smiled, pleased she had that effect on Jane - for Jane certainly had that effect on her.
“Well, arousal does . . . ,” Maura offered, but was interrupted by a light kiss.

“I think I’d rather you show me what arousal does,” Jane said as they got to the door.

“Yes.  A practical example would likely prove more insightful,” Maura smiled happily.

“I do try to be insightful,” Jane said with amusement as she politely motioned for Maura to precede her into the bedroom, which she did, allowing Jane the opportunity to overtly admire Maura’s lovely figure without her usual covert glances.

Maura turned and caught the hunger in Jane’s eyes.  Being the object of desire was not new to Maura, who knew her figure and clothing demanded attention.  She also found it gave her an advantage to control the dynamic in the bedroom, which gave her pleasure.  But control was not what was on her mind at the moment, Jane’s comfort and pleasure was as she anxiously waited for Jane to make the next move. 

Jane confidently stepped closer and pulled their bodies together.  Having Maura in her arms was a heady feeling, which Jane intended to fully enjoy.  She gently cradled Maura’s head as she leaned in and fully savored her mouth. 

The love and care Jane imparted in her kiss made Maura nearly swoon.  There was no doubt in Maura’s mind that she and Jane would be making love and experiencing “God’s gift to mankind.”

Jane pulled back and glanced down at Maura’s blouse, then looked at her expectantly. 

Maura nodded mutely as she basked in the confident aura of Jane, who proceeded to disrobe her soon-to-be lover.  It was tremendously arousing to have Jane divest her of her clothing.  She was pleased Jane did not rush so she could delight in the potent anticipation.

Jane slowly pulled Maura’s top up from the confines of her skirt, while indulging in a sensuous kiss.  She leaned back and looked into Maura’s eyes as her nimble fingers confidently unfastened the first button, which revealed a glimpse of her lacey bra.  She gently traced her fingers over Maura’s neck, down to her cleavage, and over the ample swell at the edge of her bra.  Maura sucked in an uneasy breath at the deliberate and deliciously slow exploration of her flesh.  Jane kissed where her fingers had caressed and unbuttoned the remaining buttons. 

Feeling Jane’s lips on her collarbone, and the warm mouth tasting her, she shuddered.  She could feel Jane’s lips curve into a deservedly proud smile.  All over her body her nerve endings came alive, especially at the juncture of her legs, where arousal was pooling. 

Jane slipped her fingers beneath the blouse at Maura’s shoulders and let the blouse drop to the floor.  Her gaze dropped to the floor an uncertain moment. 

Maura suddenly redirected her attention with a firm hand on her chin before hungrily possessing her lips; her patience was at an end.  Maura now intent on divesting Jane of her clothing grabbed the bottom of her yoga top and pulled it up.  Stepping back slightly, Maura pulled up further, Jane got the hint and lifted her arms.

The normally fastidious Doctor pulled off the top and unceremoniously discarded it with a carefree toss to the floor.  Jane’s amusement was cut short when she was suddenly pushed against the bed and fell back. 

Maura wasted no time removing Jane’s shoes and socks, then pants, leaving her in just her underwear.  Jane sat up as Maura kicked off her heals.  She grabbed Maura’s hands as they started to remove the skirt.  After looking into Jane’s eyes and seeing the slight shake of her head, Maura understood Jane wanted that pleasure.  Standing silently with one hand on Jane’s shoulder for balance, she allowed Jane to remove her skirt, then hose.  She sucked in an uneasy breath as Jane kissed up her ticklish stomach, causing goosebumps across her skin. 

Reaching behind Maura’s back, Jane grabbed her bra on either side of the clasp and looked into Maura’s eyes questioningly.  Receiving an encouraging nod, Jane unhooked and removed the bra, releasing what had to be the most beautiful breasts Jane had ever seen.  Reaching up, Jane’s fingers glided down the valley of Maura’s chest before both hands cupped the ample flesh.  She rubbed her thumbs over the nipples, which stood firmly out, asking to be suckled.  To Maura’s surprise, Jane refrained as she guided Maura’s hands to the back of her bra.  Maura gladly carried out the request and removed Jane’s bra as she kissed her. 

With the bra tossed aside, Maura’s hand rested against Jane’s chest as she slightly pushed, prompting Jane to move further back as Maura crawled onto the bed and straddled her.   

Jane pulled Maura down to her.  The contact of flesh against flesh and the searing kiss made each woman moan.  Maura broke it off when she needed air, then proceeded to pepper kisses down Jane’s chest until she reached a hardened nipple, which she took in her mouth and sucked, prompting a hiss from Jane.  “God!”

A skilled tongue lapped at the peaks, between nibbling and suckling, inflaming Jane’s arousal.  No one had ever caused her to get so wet from just teasing and caressing her breasts.

“Maura…,” she moaned, her hand cradling the back of Maura’s head, as if she was afraid she would stop.  But Maura was enjoying herself too much, humming a contented “mmmm” against the skin, the vibrations amplifying Jane’s pleasure.

“Maura . . . I’m close,” Jane hissed, amazed it was possible to climax without touching her sex.

Maura stopped, causing Jane to object.  “Maura….”

She smiled knowingly and slid down Jane’s long form, taking her panties with her.   “God,” Jane blurted, squirming with need.  Jane moaned when Maura parted her legs, allowing the cooler air to wash over her hot, wet center.  “Oh God,” she cried when Maura blew against her, the light puff causing her to tremble.

Jane almost shot up off the bed when Maura kissed her way up her inner thigh, approaching the drenched source of her need. 

“Jane,” Maura said reverently, inhaling in the intoxicating scent that was Jane before tasting her.

“Ahh!” Jane cried as a firm tongue lapped up her abundant arousal and teased her to further heights.  Close to climax, Jane felt Maura’s fingers enter her as her mouth firmly sucked.  It didn’t take many strokes before Jane was pushed over the edge. 

Though Jane’s muscles contracted tightly around her fingers, there was abundant lubrication; Maura continued to firmly stroke her.  As Jane came off of her high, she felt another stirring start in her loins.  Maura continued, determined to coax a second climax.  “Jesus,” Jane hissed as it welled up so close after her first.

Grabbing the sheets in her hands, Jane cried out “Maura” as the wave of pleasure crashed down on her.

Maura smiled as she kissed her way up Jane’s long body that trembled from the aftershocks.  She cuddled up to Jane, finding herself wrapped in long arms.  “Wow,” Jane whispered, kissing Maura’s temple as she tried to catch her breath. 

Maura smiled happily and propped herself up onto an elbow to look down at the sated Detective whose dark mane fanned out wildly against the pillow – a sight she drank in.  She cupped Jane’s cheek.  Lowered herself to her lips, she tenderly kissed her.  “I love you, Jane,” she whispered as she pulled back and looked into dark eyes.

Jane reached up and tucked a stray lock behind Maura’s ear with a smile.  “Good.  That makes us even.”

Maura smiled brightly.

“Well, not exactly even,” Jane amended, allowing her hand to travel down over Maura’s bare back to her perfect rear.  “Overdressed,” she said with disapproval, sliding her fingers under the silk panties Maura still wore and cupped her cheek, giving a healthy squeeze.   

Maura chuckled.  “Sorry, I was distracted,” she offered with a slight smirk as Jane slowly rolled them over so Maura was beneath her.

“Good thing that’s an easy fix,” Jane offered.

“Hmm.  You are a problem solver.  I admire that about you,” Maura responded with a smile.

With a small nudge from Jane, Maura lifted her hips, allowing Jane to remove the last stitch of clothing and discard it to the floor with the rest. 

“Problem solved,” Jane said with a smirk.

“My hero,” Maura said with amusement that faded when she saw the serious look on Jane’s face.

“I want to be that person for you,” Jane said, settling back on top of her and looking at her with clear love.  “I want to be the one you come to . . . when you have a problem, when you need something, when you just . . . want.  I want you to know you can rely on me . . . for anything,” she vowed.

Maura’s response concerned Jane, who was unaware emotion had rendered speech impossible at the moment.

“Hey, you ok, sweetie?” Jane said softly, her thumb wiping an errant tear.

“I just . . . this is real,” Maura said and swallowed.

“Yeah,” Jane said, kissing her damp cheek, then the other before focusing on what had to be the most sensuous lips and perfect mouth she had ever kissed.  Maura’s hand combed through Jane’s untamed mane as she pulled her in as their kiss deepened.

“Ahh,” Maura hissed in pleasure when Jane’s long fingers slid through her wetness and entered her, stroking her perfectly, stoking her arousal higher and higher. 
“You feel . . . so . . . fucking . . . good,” Jane whispered between warm wet kisses to her neck.

“Feeling’s . . . mu . . . tuahhhl,” Maura responded with difficulty, her body humming.

Jane’s kisses migrated down her chest and paused at her breasts, where she lavished warm wet attention.  Maura’s hand shot out to hold Jane’s head where it was as she arched into Jane’s mouth.

“Jane,” Maura hissed, feeling her release eminent, her hands roughly grabbed the sheets as she shut her eyes.

Jane peppered kisses up her chest as she continued her confident strokes through her wet center.

“Look at me,” Jane whispered, determined to watch Maura’s beautiful face as she peaked.  

Maura obeyed and looked into deep chocolate eyes that were full of love - a love that washed over her. 

“Hold onto me,” Jane said, prompting Maura to grab her back; her nails digging into flesh caused Jane to moan.

That sound was all it took to push her over the edge.  Sucking in a breath, she exhaled raggedly as her body shuddered in pleasure, releasing a surprising gush that drenched Jane’s hand.

“You’re so beautiful,” Jane said reverently, her heart swelling with joy. 

They looked at each other a reverent moment, basking in their intimate connection.  When Jane tried to withdraw, Maura’s hand reached down.  “Stay,” she whispered getting a slight nod; Jane’s fingers remained snugly inside, slowly resuming her strokes.  Maura reached up and lovingly caressed her face.

“Words seem . . . inadequate,” Maura admitted as Jane leaned down and kissed her bare shoulder.

Jane nodded thoughtfully, then shrugged slightly.  “I’ve always thought actions speak louder anyway,” she offered with a smile, punctuating that thought with a firmer stroke. 

“Speak to me again, Jane,” Maura challenged with amusement.

Jane grinned slightly, taking her up on that challenge, determined her actions would speak very loudly until they were both too weak to move.


The alarm clock jarred Maura awake.  With a cringe at the loud noise, Maura blinked away her grogginess as she rolled onto Jane’s side of the bed.  Immediately realizing it was empty, she frowned and sluggishly searched for the off button on the vile contraption, wondering why Jane didn’t have a sensible clock radio set to more soothing classical music.

“Sorry about that,” Jane said, returning to the room in a tee shirt and shorts.  “Forgot to turn it off,” she said with a guilty wince, quickly turning it off.  She sat on the edge of the bed, grinning at Maura who unceremoniously flopped back down on her stomach.   

“I didn’t know you got up,” Maura muttered into the pillow.

“I told you I was going to make breakfast and you could sleep in,” she said with amusement.  “You looked like you needed it.”

“Really?” Maura asked, propping herself up on her elbows, looking around curiously, trying to recall that conversation.

“Yeah.  But I forgot about the alarm,” Jane said guiltily.

“Uhngk,” Maura said, rolling on her back and throwing a forearm over her eyes.  Jane laughed, admiring the nice view of her breasts. 

“Well you can still sleep in while I make breakfast.  How does that sound?” Jane said, kissing her elbow as she pulled the sheet up over her so she wouldn’t shiver. 

Maura looked at her curiously.  “You are surprisingly energetic.”

“And you aren’t,” Jane chuckled with immense satisfaction, earning a whack of a pillow, then another. “Whoa,” she laughed.  “Careful, I’ll arrest you for domestic violence.”

Maura stopped and perked up.  “Will that involve handcuffs?” She asked with clear interest, stunning Jane.

“Uh…why don’t we cross that bridge later,” Jane said uneasily.

Maura sat up and placed a warm hand on Jane’s leg.  “I don’t want you to do anything that will make you uncomfortable, Jane,” she said sincerely.   

Jane nodded.  “Thanks.  I just . . . I’m not so sure about the restraint thing,” she said softly, glancing down at her scarred hands.

Maura caressed her leg with a nod.  “I understand.  How do you feel about toys?” she asked curiously.

“Uh . . . well, I’ve never used them,” Jane said with embarrassment, surprising Maura, causing her to amplify.  “With anyone else,” she muttered.

Maura smiled at her suddenly shy Detective.  “If they make you uncomfortable, I won’t mention them again.”

“I didn’t say no . . . I’m not a prude,” she said worriedly.

“I would never accuse you of being a prude, Jane.  Especially after last night,” Maura said with an amused smile, leaning in for a kiss.

Chapter 17 – Inquiring Minds

Maura returned to her home late-morning feeling terribly blue having left Jane after the wonderful night . . . and morning they shared.  She left, not wanting Jane to think she was too needy or insecure after their lovemaking by giving into her desire to not let Jane out of her sight . . . or bed.  She knew Jane didn’t appreciate smothering; Angela was one clear example.  So to avoid Jane pushing her away, she left.  But she had not realized how much she could miss Jane - until she entered her home.  It was a physical ache.

Her mother, Angela, and Frankie, who were eating brunch, immediately noticed the sad face.

“Uh oh,” Frankie muttered under his breath.

“Maura darling, what’s wrong?” Constance immediately went to her daughter’s side, quickly followed by Angela. 

Frankie winced, suspecting who was to blame.

“What did she do this time??” Angela moaned accusingly, just knowing it was Jane’s fault.  “Please tell me she’s not really serious about that Argentinian woman,” she grumbled.

“What?” Maura said with surprise.  “Oh, no.  No, Jane isn’t serious about her,” she said confidently.

“But they kissed…” Angela said in confusion, glancing to Constance.

“Mother, what else did you tell her?” Maura hissed with annoyance.

Frankie looked at the women with surprise, having thought the tabloids had been totally wrong about Jane and the pianist.
“Sorry dear, I just thought Angela should be aware of Jane’s . . . interests,” she said uncomfortably.

“She’s an idiot if she can’t see what’s right in front of her,” Angela offered, motioning to Maura.  Constance graced Angela with a small smile.

“Jane’s not an idiot,” Maura argued firmly.  “She’s . . . ,” she started firmly but hesitated. “Well … she’s,” she continued uncomfortably, uncertain how much to say.  They hadn’t discussed what to tell anyone.  They were too busy for a lengthy conversation, she considered. 

“Annoying?” Angela offered.  Frankie snorted.

Maura blinked.  “No that’s not what I was . . .” she said with irritation.

“Aggravatingly indecisive?” Angela suggested helpfully.

“No.  Not at all . . . ,” Maura said confidently. 

“Then what is she?” Angela badgered.

“She’s with me!” Maura finally blurted, slightly wincing from the surprised looks, hoping it wasn’t a bad sign.  “Well, uh . . . we’ve . . . talked and decided to see each other . . . ,” she said, noticing Angela’s confused look.  “Date,” she explained awkwardly.  “We’re dating,” she said more firmly.

“Hey, congratulations.  You guys are good for each other,” Frankie said sincerely, getting a relieved smile from Maura.

“So why the long face when you came home?” Constance asked curiously, briefly glancing to Angela, then back to her daughter.

“Oh honey!” Angela gushed with a sympathetic wince.  “I’m so so sorry.  But I’m sure in time, she’ll get better,” Angela encouraged with a weak smile.

“Ma!” Frankie gasped, horrified.

“Better?” Maura asked, truly baffled.  And Maura did not like that feeling.

“In bed, darling,” Constance clarified quietly and patted her shoulder in awkward sympathetically. 

“Whoa, look at the time!!” Frankie said, inspecting his watch-less wrist as he grabbed his jacket.  “Later MA!” he called out as he fled from Maura’s home and a conversation a brother did not need to hear about his sister.

“What’s with him?” Angela asked curiously, looking at Constance.

“I would imagine he doesn’t want to hear about his sister’s sex life,” she said.

“Or attempts at one,” Angela added with a heavy sigh, shaking her head.

“Angela!  I have no complaints about Jane’s performance in bed,” Maura said emphatically, needing to counter that ridiculous notion.  Then realizing what she had just admitted, she frowned slightly, really wishing she and Jane had discussed what to tell people.

“Of course not dear,” Angela said warmly, patting her cheek.  “You’ve got a sweet and understanding daughter, Connie,” Angela said, glancing to the elder Isles with a sigh.

“Thank you, Angela,” she said with a smile and turned to her daughter.  “On the bright side, Maura, Jane strikes me as a quick study,” she said helpfully.

Maura took an irritated breath to tell her Jane didn’t need any study but Angela interjected “Well, in most things.  Except for ballet, which is a whole other story,” Angela amended, shaking her head. 

“Who knew the “tango” or “horizontal mambo,” she said with finger quotes, “would also be a problem for her?” Angela lamented, gaining an understanding nod from Constance, who looked at her daughter sympathetically.

Maura’s mouth dropped as she looked between the two older women, unable to fathom how they could possibly jump to such terribly erroneous conclusions so quickly.

“Angela, for your information…” Maura blurted with exasperation but was interrupted by her phone ringing.  “Excuse me,” she growled and briskly grabbed her phone from her handbag.

She was actually thankful to hear the ring, though felt slightly guilty that the possible misfortune of another was providing her with a reprieve. “Isles,” she answered tersely as she marched to her bedroom and shut the door.

“You OK?” Jane asked with concern.

“Jane,” she exhaled with relief.  “I am now,” she said, the sound of Jane’s voice immediately soothing her unease. 

“You know, I realized when you left the apartment you were going to face our mothers alone,” Jane said guiltily. 

“Actually, Frankie was here too.”

“Oh.  That’s good, right?”

“It didn’t help,” Maura said flatly.


“I . . . told them.  About us,” Maura said uneasily, waiting for Jane’s response.

“Well, that saves me the trouble,” Jane said.

“You’re not mad?” Maura said with surprise.

“We’re together now.  I’m not going to hide that from anyone.  Especially family.  So . . . uh, what did Ma have to say?” She said uneasily.

“I don’t think you want to know.”

“Geeze, I’m sorry Maura.  I’ll talk to her and tell her to lay off and that I don’t give a flying…”

“She isn’t upset about us being together, Jane.  And Frankie was genuinely happy.  And my mother already approves of you.”



“Uh . . . so you don’t need me to come by and rescue you?” Jane asked awkwardly.

“I’ll always need that.  Wait . . . don’t you have to visit Ms. Calderón and prepare for tonight?” Maura asked, not wanting to be selfish.

“No.  All I need is some help with the wire.  You think you’re up to that challenge?”

“I believe I am,” she offered then frowned.  “Who’s . . . helping Ms. Calderón?” Maura asked, not wanting Jane to be placed in that position.

“Bailey and Teresa from Vice,” Jane responded with a small knowing smile.

“Good,” Maura said firmly, relieved.

“See you in a few minutes,” Jane announced happily.

“Jane, I don’t want you to break the speed limit - it takes at least twenty,” Maura countered, though she was warmed by Jane’s eagerness to come.

“Yeah.  Well, I left a few minutes after you did,” Jane admitted uncomfortably.

“You did??”

“Uh . . . I don’t want you think that I’m all clingy or anything but…I really hated seeing you leave this morning,” Jane confessed with a wince.

“Oh Jane,” Maura gushed happily.  “I felt the same way leaving.”

“Yeah?” Jane said, feeling ridiculously happy. 

“Yeah,” Maura confirmed warmly.

Chuckling, Jane offered with amusement “Man, are we a pair of codependents or what?”
“A pair of anything sounds delightful to me,” Maura said with a big smile.

The doorbell rang. 

“Guess who?” Jane joked.


“Jane, what a lovely surprise,” Constance answered the door with a pleased smile, inviting her in.

“Good morning, Constance,” Jane said with a smile as Angela joined them by the door.

“Janie!  Maura told us you finally came to your senses.  It’s about time,” Angela lectured, leaning in to kiss her daughter on the cheek.

“Glad you approve,” Jane said cautiously, eyeing her mother, then Constance, who offered a warm smile.

“Why wouldn’t I approve?  I just want you happy and Maura is a lovely woman,” Angela scoffed, then noticed her daughters gaze hone in on Maura, who had returned from the bedroom in a new dress.

“Lovely,” Jane sighed softly, looking Maura over from head to toe. 

Angela smirked at her daughter, who was so clearly enamored with Maura.

“You look great,” Jane said as Maura approached her with a radiant smile, and garment bag, which Jane took, letting their fingers brush together as Jane gave her a tender kiss on the lips.

Angela and Constance glanced at each other with satisfied smiles.

“Thank you,” Maura said warmly. 

“Let’s go,” Jane said with a happy smile.

“What?  Can’t you stay and visit your mother for a minute?” Angela groused with a frown.

Seeing Maura tense, Jane took her hand.  “Not now, Ma.  Maura and I . . . have to go - but I’ll see you tonight at the concert and post performance reception, right?” Jane said, sparing a brief glance for her mother, though her eyes preferred to appreciate Maura.
“Yeah, yeah.  Go on, forget about your mother,” Angela grumbled.

“Love ya, Ma,” Jane said, placing a quick peck on her cheek.  “Ready?”

“Very,” Maura answered truthfully.  “Mother, I’ll see you tonight,” she said, placing a kiss on Constance’s cheek.

“Have fun, you two,” Constance offered, noticing Jane stood a little closer to Maura with a hand at her back as they left.  A very satisfied smile emerged as she glanced at Angela, who suddenly rushed to the window to peek through the blinds to watch her daughter walk Maura to the car. 

Constance joined her at the window and watched as Jane efficiently placed the garment bag in the back seat and opened the car door for her daughter.  “Oh, she is very chivalrous, isn’t she?” she noted approvingly.

“Well, Maura’s a real lady and brings it out in her,” Angela offered.  “Whoa,” she said, seeing her daughter wrap an arm around Maura and pull her in for a heated kiss.

“It is hard to believe that Jane would be lacking in the boudoir,” Constance noted as she observed the woman’s public display of affection for her daughter, though to be fair the parking lot was not exactly open to the general public.  “She does seem . . . eager enough,” she offered, confused by the contradiction.

Angela glanced at Constance with an evil chuckle. 

“Oh.  You never did think she was lacking,” Constance realized with surprise, then chuckled with great amusement.  “Maura looked more flustered than I’ve ever seen her.  And it was quite impressive how fast you got Frankie to vacate the premises,” she offered, tipping her imaginary hat towards her.

Angela smirked proudly.  “The joys of motherhood.”

Constance shook her head and laughed.


“Thank you . . . for rescuing . . . me,” Maura said between kisses by the car.

“Was it really that bad?” Jane asked, pulling back to search her eyes.  The immediate glare made her wince.  “Sorry.”

“So!  Where are you taking me?” Maura asked brightly.

“Where do you want to go?”  Jane smiled.

Maura grinned as she leaned towards Jane’s ear.  “Wherever you want to go,” she whispered before suckling her earlobe.


“Jane?  We’ve got to get up,” Maura announced, reluctantly disengaging herself from Jane’s nude form.

“We’ve got plenty of time,” Jane argued, tightening her hold and stubbornly refusing to budge from her comfortable spot on her bed.

“We’ve got to get dressed,” Maura tried again with a small smile.

“Clothes are overrated,” Jane declared, tracing her hand over Maura’s side.

“While I tend to agree for certain circumstances, I don’t think Symphony Hall will ever be one of them.”

“Really?  Not even in a private box?” Jane asked curiously.

“There are no private boxes at the Symphony.”

“Well there should be.”

“Jane!  There’s only two and a half hours before you need to be there,” Maura said with exasperation. 

“Exactly.  Plenty of time,” Jane said, kissing Maura’s shoulder.

“That’s barely enough time to get ready.  And you have the wire to put on and test it.  And my hair!” Maura said worriedly.  “We need to start getting ready,” she said again.  “Please.”

Jane groaned and released her.  “Okay, okay,” she acquiesced and got up.  “We could save time showering together,” she offered with a sparkle in her eye.

“That will not save any time, water, or bathing products,” Maura countered with certainty, getting up and marching over to the closet.

“Don’t you need a test for that hypothesis?” Jane asked innocently, motioning to the bathroom as she glanced over Maura’s nude form with appreciation. 

“In this case? No,” Maura said, eyeing the detective.  “You go first and I’ll make something light for us to snack on,” she said, slipping on a short robe.

 Jane stared at her a moment with a frown before sighing with disappointment. 

“Jane?” Maura said, walking towards her.  She buried herself in Jane’s ready embrace.  “I love you,” she sighed softly into her neck.

Jane smiled and squeezed her more tightly, kissing her forehead. 

As she pulled back, Jane sought her lips.  “Jane!” she protested, placing firm hands against her chest.  “Shower.  Now.” 

“Aw Maur,” Jane pouted. 


“So?” Jane asked with a cringe, turning away from her full-length bedroom mirror as she looked down at her deep red dress.

“You look beautiful,” Maura readily offered with a smile, delighted whenever Jane dressed up.  They did make a striking couple, Maura considered, having picked a simple black ensemble to best match Jane’s attire.

“I mean the wire.  Can you see it?”  Jane asked, once again touching the small microphone tucked beneath the edge of her bra at the top of her breast.  The earpiece was well hidden under her long mane.

“No.  But I would advise you stop touching it.”

Jane briefly glared at her then looked at the clock.  “Ready?”

“I don’t like this,” Maura admitted with a frown.

“We need a confession,” Jane responded simply and shrugged, grabbing her purse.

“Really?  Do you really need it tonight?  Can’t you wait for Barry to search his financial records?  Or the Argentinian government to find more evidence?  Or…” Maura rattled off.

“Maura,” Jane interjected firmly.  “There is an opportunity now.  I really think I can rattle his cage,” she said confidently.

“That’s exactly what I’m afraid of,” Maura said worriedly.

“Maura, this is my job.  This is what I do.  I thought you understood that,” Jane said with growing concern.  “This . . . isn’t going to be a problem for you.  Is it?” she asked nervously, not sure what she would do if Maura objected to her doing her job as she saw fit.

Maura looked at her with surprise.  “Jane, I love you and I don’t expect you to change who you are,” she said, causing Jane to exhale with relief.  “But don’t expect me to change. I will always worry about you.  And I will tell you my feelings about your actions.  I will ask that you be careful.  That won’t be a problem for you, will it?”  Maura asked bluntly.

Jane looked at her a moment before a small smile emerged.  “As long as it’s not nagging, I’m good.”


Jane started to lean in for a kiss but felt two hands on her shoulders, preventing her.  “Jane!”


“You’ll smudge our lipstick!”

“I hate lipstick,” Jane muttered.


Jane and Maura arrived at Symphony Hall.  There was an excitement in the air as a large crowd of people milled about the lobby prior to the concert.  Jane had heard it was sold out, like every performance, weeks ago; she was impressed with Constance’s ability to still get last-minute tickets.

“Janie!” Angela cried, rushing up to them with Constance in tow. 

“Oh God,” Jane moaned, receiving a sympathetic look from Maura.

“You look beautiful!  Look at you!” Angela gushed, making a big production of inspecting her daughter from head to Louboutin-covered toe.  

“Ma!  Would you stop!!” she hissed with embarrassment, seeing some patrons glance at the spectacle with disapproval.

“What??  Can’t a mother enjoy seeing her only daughter dressed up in a designer dress?!?” Angela said defensively.

Jane just glared at her.

“You look wonderful, darling,” Constance said, kissing her daughter’s cheek lightly.

“Thank you mother.  And you look stunning as always,” Maura said warmly.  “And that green dress is perfect on you Angela,” Maura said, making the elder Rizzoli beam.

“See??  That’s the way you should treat your mother.  You should take notes,” Angela advised Jane, who rolled her eyes. 

“You do look really good, Ma,” Jane offered, glancing over her dress and shoes.  “Classy.”

“Better,” Angela grumbled.

“Ladies.”  A familiar male voice caused them to turn and find Vincent Korsak joining them - in a tuxedo.  “Whoa!  You actually are in a penguin suit!”  Jane said with a smile.

“Yes, well,” he said self-consciously.

“Don’t listen to her.  She needs to practice giving compliments.  You look very dashing, Vincent,” Angela said with a warm smile.

“Thank you, Angela.  You look very beautiful,” he said quietly with a small blush, then noted Jane eye him.  “Uh, you ladies all do,” he said with a smile.  “Well, duty calls,” he motioned absently behind him and quickly left.

“Can you be more rude?!?” Angela hissed at her daughter. 

“Me?  What did I do?”

“You made him run off, is what you did.”

“He has work to do.  So do I, for that matter,” Jane said and looked at Maura.  “Wish me luck?” she asked softly.

“Good luck,” Maura said, getting a small peck on her cheek and a whispered “I love you,” before Jane was off.  Maura couldn’t help but sigh contentedly as she watched Jane leave.

“Happiness suits you,” Constance offered with a smile.

Maura looked at her mother and beamed.  “Shall we?” Maura motioned towards the auditorium.


In a small supply room off the reception area, Frankie and Frost checked their gear over for the twentieth time.  “Jane gets to dress up and I get the stuffy closet,” Frankie grumbled, shifting uncomfortably on the folding metal chair next to the folding table with their gear on it.

“I’m done with closets at this point in my career, bro,” Jane said quietly with a small smile. 

Frankie snorted.

“Good.  Reception is still good,” Frost said with a smile.

“Where are you?” Frankie asked.

“Back stage.  I haven’t seen Trejo yet.   Ah, speak of the devil.  He’s here with Martha.”
“Good luck,” Frankie and Frost said simultaneously, then looked at each other.   


“Thanks,” Jane said and smiled as Martha approached with Roberto, who frowned at the Detective.

“Jane, I’m surprised to see you so soon after the accident.  How are you feeling?” Martha asked, kissing her cheeks in greeting.

“Ms. Calderón is coming in loud and clear,” Frost said.

The voice in Martha’s ear was mildly comforting.  She and Jane had help if needed.

“Good,” Jane responded.  “How’s Lidia holding up?” she asked, looking between the two Argentinians.  Roberto seemed bored.

“As well as can be expected.  It’s all still such a shock.”

“But the show must go on,” Jane offered.

“Yes.  It is what keeps me going,” she responded quietly.

“So Detective,” Trejo piped up.  “Will we be able to meet our final concert destination in Bar Harbor now that you have apprehended the murderer?” he eyed her in challenge.

“I don’t see why not.  I look forward to the concert,” she said with a smile.

“You . . . what?” he said in surprise.

“Jane has decided to keep me company while we finish our American tour.  Isn’t that wonderful, Roberto?” Martha gushed and watched her long-time manager glare at her, clearly not in agreement.  “I’ll get to work with her on her music and . . . ,” she added, then stopped as he shook his head and marched off.

“Roberto!  What’s wrong?”

He stopped and turned back.  “You and your distracting projects!  Must you insist on wasting your valuable time on her??” he said incredulously, motioning to Jane.  “An American Detective?  Bah!” he spat.

Martha watched him storm off and wrapped her arms around herself, still finding it hard to believe the blustering and disagreeable agent could be involved in killing someone.

After a silent moment, Jane asked softly.  “You ok?”

“No!  I’m a nervous wreck!” She blurted miserably, trembling.

“Martha, look at me,” Jane said firmly, gaining her attention.  “If this is too much, I’ll call it off now.  We’ll keep our presence here for your safety, but not engage him further.  We might get lucky with other evidence.”

Frost and Frankie looked at each other, surprised by Jane’s offer.

“No.  No,” she said softly, shaking her head.  “The show must go on,” she said, gathering her courage and taking Jane’s hand in hers.

“If you’re sure,” Jane said, eyeing her.

“That’s the only thing I am sure of,” Martha said absently, squeezing Jane’s hand before releasing it and shutting her eyes to mentally prepare for the upcoming performance.

“Guys, cut Martha’s mike and earpiece for the performance,” Jane said quietly.

“Done,” Frost said.  “Would you have actually called this off?”

“Shh,” Jane said.


The audience stood, clapping enthusiastically as the virtuoso bowed.  The orchestra also clapped for their honored guest.  “Brava!” was cheered.

Angela also stood, flanked by Maura and Constance.  “Who knew it could be like a ball game?” Angela relayed her surprise to Constance, who smiled.

“Encore! Encore!” came the next round of cheering.

“Well she earned it, don’t you think?” Constance offered, getting a nod from Angela as they sat.

Martha Calderón consented to the audience’s request with a gracious nod and returned to her piano bench, rousing another delighted cheer and round of applause as the audience sat and quickly quieted in anxious anticipation for another treat from the virtuoso.

Firm strokes of the keys sounded and Angela smiled brightly.  “I know this one!” she said enthusiastically, a little too loudly, getting shushed by one of the people sitting behind her.  Angela winced in embarrassment.

Maura frowned, now curious about Angela’s excitement about recognizing Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6, knowing she’d have to wait until its end to get her answer. 


After Martha Calderón left the stage and the house lights were brightened, the audience began to leave the hall as a small group of about forty influential patrons and important people migrated to the reception at the back in Hatch hall.

Jane stood in the wings and smiled.  “That was awesome,” she said as Martha approached her with a smile. 

Her music had calmed her; Martha almost felt normal.  “Thank you,” she said easily and walked up to Jane and slipped her arms around her.

“Uh . . . Martha,” Jane said uncomfortably, gently disengaging and stepping back.

“Not while working, I understand,” Martha said with a small smile.

“Actually, it’s Maura,” Jane said with an apologetic look.

Martha’s smile faded. 

“What about Maura?” Frost asked Frankie, who smiled and wiggled his eyebrows.

“Get out!” Frost said in happy surprise that Jane finally did something about her attraction to Maura.

“I see,” Martha said with a disappointed sigh, having known the relationship between the two was close. 

“I’m sorry, Martha.  I never meant to lead you on…” Jane said, causing Martha to roll her eyes.

“The tabloids got something right?” Frost blurted with surprise.

“Well Jane did kiss her,” Frankie offered.

“Martha or Maura?”



Jane exhaled with irritation.

“Jane, there is no need to apologize; I pursued you.  I really do wish you happiness,” she offered sincerely.  “But I had hoped it would be with me,” she added with a sad smile.

Jane nodded weakly and opened her purse.  Next to her weapon and badge was a folded piece of paper, which she pulled out.  She shyly handed it to her. 

Martha opened it up and read the aged flyer to her first Boston performance.  She glanced at it in confusion before it dawned on her.  She looked at Jane pointedly before laughing with delight.  “I knew it!”

“What did she know?” Frankie asked Frost absently.  He shrugged with frustration.

“You were a big inspiration then . . . and now,” Jane said sincerely, receiving a pleased smile. 

“Inspiration for what??” Frost asked.

“Maybe for asking Maura out?” Frankie shrugged, just as clueless as his friend. 

“Would you two shut up?!?” Jane finally hissed into her microphone.

“I had forgotten about them,” Martha gasped with wide eyes.  “I’m sorry if I . . . ,” she winced with worry, getting Jane to wave a dismissive hand to stop her apology.

“If you two could stop your yapping for a minute and turn Martha’s gear back on, I’d really appreciate it,” Jane said tersely.

“Done,” Frost quickly said.

“Shall we?” Jane said, motioning towards the reception area.

Chapter 18 – Dolcemente Non Troppo


When Jane and Martha walked into the Hatch Room, the small gathering clapped enthusiastically.  Jane spotted Trejo over by one of the bars, drink in hand as he talked with one of the servers, who nodded and promptly left.

“This is kind of exciting,” Angela admitted to Constance and Maura, who smiled at the elder Rizzoli as they watched Jane from across the room.

After the clapping died down, a photographer stepped up and took a few shots of the guest of honor, prompting Martha to slip an arm around Jane’s back and smile brightly.

Angela looked alarmed.

“It’s all right, Angela,” Maura said confidently, placing a hand on her forearm.  “I trust Jane implicitly.”

Angela nodded weakly, watching her daughter go to the bar alone as Martha Calderón mingled with fans and supporters, with the photographer following, taking several shots of her with the guests.

“Drinks, ladies?” Korsak said politely, appearing by their side with a tray of Champagne.

“Why thank you, Vincent,” Constance said warmly, taking a glass.  “You do look very dashing this evening,” she noted, getting a pleased smile from the Detective and a slight frown from Angela. 


“Not going to partake, Detective?” Trejo asked briskly, getting another double.  “Teetotaler?” he questioned, eyeing her club soda.

“Nah,” Jane said dismissively.  “I’m just a bit jumpy after the hit and run.  I want to be sharp.”

“Hmm,” he said, taking a sip.

“It’s a shame Emilio confessed then stopped talking.  He lawyered up pretty quick,” Jane offered, sipping her soda.

“If he confessed, what else do you need to know?” Trejo asked conversationally, gazing out over the gathering as he sipped his drink.


“So Angela, you seemed to know the encore piece Ms. Calderón was playing,” Maura said, taking the final glass.

“Yeah.  I remember every song Janie played but don’t ask me its name, I’m no good remembering that stuff,” Angela said apologetically.  “But it was one of the three songs Janie practiced for her Boston Conservatory audition,” she said, taking a sip. 

Maura blinked, wondering if she had heard right.

“Oh this is good!” Angela gushed approvingly, looking at Korsak who smiled.

“Jane auditioned for the Conservatory?” Constance asked before Maura could, sharing an amazed glance with her daughter.

Korsak looked between the women, not understanding their surprise.

“Oh no, she was practicing for their summer program.  She was like sixteen or seventeen,” Angela said dismissively, not really understanding.

“And she could play Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody Number 6??” Maura asked with astonishment.

“If that was what that encore song was, yeah,” Angela said with a shrug.  “Janie practiced really hard on that one.  I let her drop ballet to give her more time, but when it got closer to the audition, she even dropped out of track and softball to focus on practicing.  I never thought I’d see that.  The coaches and Frank were not too pleased, let me tell you,” she said with a snort.  “They think she ruined her chances for a scholarship.  But Janie didn’t care – she wanted to make her grandmother proud,” she said disapprovingly.  Maura frowned curiously, thinking Angela sounded more upset with Jane wanting to please her grandmother than losing a possible scholarship.

“That summer program is very prestigious, Angela.  Only the best get in,” Constance noted, impressed.  Maura nodded absently as she imagined how focused Jane must have been, preparing for that important audition.

“Maria . . . Nonna Rizzoli thought Janie was good enough.  But she didn’t get in,” Angela said sadly, shaking her head.

“Oh, that must have been terribly disappointing.  After all her hard work,” Constance said with a sympathetic wince.


“Well, I know that Emilio must have someone pulling the strings for him.  He isn’t smart enough to think of killing protégés on his own.  And I know Lidia isn’t cunning enough to have her brother kill for her,” Jane said conversationally and took a sip from her soda. 

Trejo just stared at her.   

“So I’m thinking, who is intelligent enough . . . and has the cunning necessary to eliminate the distractions to your virtuoso?  And who would benefit from the massive increase in record sales after the tragedy?” she asked with a shrug.


“Actually, she never auditioned,” Angela responded with a sigh.

“What happened?” Maura asked, thirsting for information about Jane.

Angela reluctantly answered.  “The day of Janie’s audition, we were waiting here, well, out in the lobby for Maria . . . but she was very late.  Jane was a nervous wreck.  And when it was about ten minutes before her audition, Janie was convinced something was really wrong.  I just thought Maria might have had a flat or couldn’t find parking, ya know?  Jane was right - Maria was carjacked on her way to the audition,” Angela said, frowning at the disturbing memory. 

Maura sucked in a surprised breath.

“Frank came to take us to the hospital; I never saw him look so scared in all our years of marriage,” she said, falling silent as she vividly recalled the horrible day.

“It was a real bad one,” Korsak added to help fill in the blanks.  “There were two gunmen.  A male pedestrian got killed trying to help Mrs. Rizzoli out.  She got shot too.  Died in the hospital,” he said, sighing sadly.

“Oh dear,” Constance said gravely, looking at her distraught daughter, who had erroneously thought Jane’s first personal experience with violence was when she was an adult and met Charles Hoyt.  Never would she have imagined it was so early in Jane’s life, robbing her of someone so incredibly important to her.


Trejo’s eyebrow rose.  “You exaggerate the increase.  The financial gain was not as one might expect for the loss of a popular artist,” he corrected her.

“Pity,” Jane said, shaking her head, feigning disappointment.

“You don’t strike me as someone who would value the business end of music.”

“I value anything that gets me out of what I’m doing now,” she said tersely, surprising the manager.  “Why should I have to live the rest of my life on what I can make as a cop?  Risking my life - for what??  If you hadn’t heard, the pay and pension are not that impressive,” Jane complained.

“I’m not following,” he said, ordering another drink.

“I have an opportunity to get out of this crappy rut I’m in - with Martha.  But she is not business-minded and does not understand the full extent of her opportunities,” Jane offered, noting the interested look in his eyes, as if he agreed.  “She needs you.  And therefore, I need you.  So it is in my interest to help you with whatever trouble Emilio’s confession might bring you.  And I’m pretty sure it is in your interest to accept my help,” she ventured. 


“My crazy mother-in-law argued with them!  She wouldn’t give up her precious Buick!  So what if it was her deceased husband’s; it was just a stupid car,” Angela hissed, unable to contain her annoyance at the woman’s horrible decision that took Frank’s mother away from him and their kids.

Maura sucked in a troubled breath and looked at her mother, who shared the same disconcerting thought; Maria Rizzoli didn’t fight over an old car because of her dead husband, but because of Jane – to be at her audition.  And as certain she was of the tremendous guilt that was born that day, Maura was certain it still haunted Jane, recalling her surprisingly strong reaction to comparing the importance of someone you love to playing the piano. 

“Ya know, that was the first time I met Jane,” Vince offered.  “I knew she was going to be a detective some day.  She called me or visited me every day asking a million questions about our progress in catching the second gunman, until we caught him,” he said, admiring Jane’s dedication and composure under stress even then.

Maura could not help but feel anguish for Jane, who did the only thing the teen could do to make sure her grandmother’s murderer was caught.  She blinked back the tears that formed.

“I never knew that,” Angela admitted with a frown, finding another reason to dislike her mother-in-law.

Korsak awkwardly patted Angela on the shoulder, getting a weak smile as she recalled that evening.

Maura looked at Angela incredulously, wondering how she could not have known.  With great annoyance, she turned away before she said something she would regret.  Her gaze sought Jane as she wiped a tear that managed to escape.

“Are you all right?” Constance asked softly, prompting Maura to shake her head no.


“I appreciate that, Detective.  But there is nothing Emilio Argerich could say about me that I am worried about.  I gave him some money to help his family.  If that is a crime, then by all means, arrest me,” he said with a smirk.

“Well, we know there’s a money trail,” Frankie said flatly.

“The timing and amounts still might be helpful,” Frost said.

“If we could just get the Argentinian government to help this century,” Frankie sighed.

“How generous of you,” Jane said with a thin smile as she got another club soda.

“I was generous with Emilio and Lidia,” he acknowledged readily.  “But I am not generous when it comes to Martha’s time,” he said, his voice turning cold.  “You . . . are a distraction,” he said simply, placing his empty glass on the bar and ordering another.  

Jane remained silent but eyed him with annoyance.

“Her record and performance sales have suffered because she doesn’t tour often enough; she’s not focused enough on her own career,” he noted with disapproval, sipping his new drink.

“You are not the only one thinking about what has transpired recently, Detective.  I found myself wondering how a Boston Homicide Detective, who I’ve never heard of from any of the musical circles, could be chosen as Martha Calderón’s latest protégé.  And I came up with two possibilities.  One – she’s sleeping with you and her attraction is clouding her judgment.  I’m afraid it has happened before,” he said with feigned sympathy and a dismissive shrug.

“Two – she’s helping you, not with your music, but with your job – to find out why her precious students died,” he said derisively, looking at her expectantly.

“Did anyone tell him there was more than one protégé that died?” Frankie asked with excitement.

Frost smiled.  “Nope.”

Jane eyed him. “There’s a third possibility,” she offered.


“My music is good enough to interest her.”

“You’ll need to show me to believe that,” he scoffed with a dismissive chuckle, irritating her more.

“Sure.  I’m free tomorrow, are you?” Jane offered, a bit disconcerted to see his smile growing.

“Perhaps it’s time to go home?” Constance gently asked her distressed daughter as an excited murmur erupted from the small gathering.  Four stagehands came into the Hatch Room, rolling in a Grand Piano. 

Maura looked curiously across the room for Jane, finding her with Mr. Trejo, whose satisfied smile was not very comforting.  She watched curiously as Martha Calderón marched towards them, not looking very happy.


“Roberto!  What is going on??” Martha Calderón asked with irritation.  “I told you I don’t want to play at the receptions,” Martha said tersely, having had that argument many times before.

“You don’t have to, my dear.  I thought it would be a great opportunity for you to formally introduce your newest protégé,” he said with delight, causing Martha to look at Jane with alarm.  “Attention! Attention!”  Trejo announced, glancing over the gathering that quieted.

Jane eyed him, concluding her initial assessment of the man was correct.  He was an ass.  She frowned wondering what to play.  Lidia probably told him about her playing Oblivion and Hungarian Rhapsody Number 6 was out, she considered, looking at her scarred hands that were sadly not as capable as they used to be.

“Wait!  Roberto, no.  I have not yet had time to work with her properly,” Martha hissed with quiet urgency.

“I could pull a fire alarm,” Frost said anxiously.

“Nah, Jane will pull it off,” Frankie said with confidence. 

Jane had to smile at Frankie’s faith.  She hoped he was right as she glanced around the room of curious people.  She took a calming breath, not having played in front of such a discerning and expectant group before.  Drunken family members at Christmas were not hard to please, she considered, her eyes drifting to the bar for a thoughtful moment.

“I have the great privilege of introducing a new musical talent….” he said, glancing back at Jane.  “. . . who Martha Calderón has decided to take on as her newest protégé!  Detective Jane Rizzoli!!” he announced and started to clap and step back with an amused smile.

A surprised murmur rumbled through the group before a polite applause emerged for the Boston Detective.  

Think of them naked, think of them naked, Jane silently chanted, trying to tamp down her sudden bout of nervousness.  She looked at one large man in a tuxedo and winced.  Maybe not…

Constance looked at her daughter and Angela worriedly, knowing this could go very poorly.

Maura felt nervous for Jane, recalling how nerve-wracking ballet recitals were as a child.  But she was extremely curious, having desperately wanted to hear Jane ever since she learned she could still play. 

Jane’s eyes found Maura and both their nerves settled.  Jane knew what to play and gave her inspiration a small smile.  Seeing Maura’s worry melt as she returned the smile and look at her with such love, Jane felt almost invincible.

Martha took a deep breath and glared at Roberto before raising her hand.  “I’m afraid that Detective Rizzoli is still recov...” she announced.

“Martha, it’s ok,” Jane interrupted loudly, causing the virtuoso to turn to her in alarm.  “I’ll play something.”

Roberto eyed her with surprise.

Martha went quickly to her side and whispered anxiously.  “What are you doing??”

“Just say the word, Jane.  I swear, I’ll have the building evacuated for you,” Frost said uneasily, feeling his stomach start to churn.

“Jeeze, have a little faith, will yah?” Frankie said, slapping him in the arm.


“You’re gonna make her nervous talking like that,” Frankie continued with a stern look.

Frost grabbed his abused arm and glared at him. 

“Trejo is cocky and has already slipped up once,” Jane said, getting a concerned look.  “He knows there was more than one protégé who died,” she explained.  “I’m sorry,” she said, getting a reluctant nod from the distressed woman, whose steadfast hope for Roberto’s innocence was just lost.  “I need to play something or I’m not likely to get anything more from him,” Jane explained.

“I understand that but . . . can you?” Martha asked worriedly.

“I’d better, or that would be embarrassing, huh?” Jane said flatly.

Martha eyed her uncertainly, noting the determined look.  With a reluctant nod, she turned and plastered on a smile.  “Well, ladies and gentlemen, my new protégé is not letting her accident and injuries to her hands prevent the show from going on,” Martha announced, her smile faltering slightly.  “So without further ado, Boston’s own Jane Rizzoli,” she said, gesturing with a sweep of her arm.

The photographer stepped up and took a few photos, the flash making Jane wince with irritation and Angela cringe.  As Jane approached the impressive instrument, she felt a bit nervous, not having played for more than family.  Lifting up the fallboard, eighty-eight deceptively simple-looking black and white keys were revealed.

Jane sat and cleared her throat as she noted the expectant group coming closer to the piano.

“Well, it’s been a long time since I took pleasure in playing,” Jane admitted uneasily, surprising the small audience.  “But I was recently inspired to play again,” she offered with a thoughtful smile, causing Martha to smile warmly. 

Maura really couldn’t blame Jane for being inspired by the woman; as a non-musician, the virtuoso had inspired her.  She could only imagine how much more a fellow pianist would appreciate Ms. Calderón’s talent.  But as logical as that rationale was, she still felt a twinge of jealousy.

“My Nonna . . . my grandmother, who had taught me the piano, told me what she liked most about my playing.  She said she could feel my love.  She said that was what made my playing such a wonderful gift.  Well . . . as it so happened, I needed a gift.  A really special birthday gift for someone who means everything to me,” Jane said sincerely, looking directly at Maura, who blinked with surprise, immediately wondering whether this story was for the benefit of the audience . . . or actually true.

Someone in the small gathering voiced what most thought.  “That’s so sweet.” 

It was Korsak, who prompted murmurs of agreement, especially from Constance and Angela, who nodded with happy sighs.

Roberto Trejo was livid, knowing the Detective was manipulating the audience with that sappy story!

“A gift way better than a Hickory Farm’s gift basket,” Jane added wryly, getting amused chuckles.  Jane shrugged with a small smile.

“What’s wrong with summer sausage as a gift??” Frankie asked Frost worriedly, drawing his curious gaze.

Angela frowned, wondering what to get Maura now.

“Then I met the amazing Martha Calderón, whose talent I have always admired,” Jane said, looking at Martha with respect.  “And even though both of us know my ability will never come close to hers, she graciously offered to help me with my music, even though Martha’s manager is not exactly thrilled she’s offering to spend her valuable time helping someone no one’s heard of,” Jane said with a wry smile.  “I don’t really blame him but I’d be crazy to pass up Ms. Calderón’s generous offer.  Unfortunately, due to some rather . . . stressful days recently . . . ,” she said, hearing a small murmur from the gathering.  “We really haven’t had much time to work on my music, so Mr. Trejo kind of put me on the spot, here,” Jane said, scratching the back of her head with a shrug, withholding a smirk. 

Martha watched Jane with new appreciation; before placing fingers to keys, she was gaining the audience’s approval, managing their expectations, and making her out to be a generous romantic while turning unwanted attention to her manager.  It made her want to cheer “Brava” . . . then mourn, wishing the wonderful gift was for her.

Roberto Trejo seethed as those who recognized him and tossed disapproving glances his way.  He cast a deadly glare towards the Detective.

“But I don’t mind; I think I won’t embarrass myself or Ms. Calderón too much,” Jane said, looking out at what she hoped were sympathetic listeners.  “Maura?”

Maura stiffened with surprise, hearing her name.

“I hope you don’t mind getting your gift a week early,” Jane said with a hopeful smile, looking at her with mixed emotions.  She had truly wanted to play for her, but expected it would be in a much smaller forum, among friends and family.  And they hadn’t discussed what they were going to tell people - though she did say she wasn’t going to hide.  But thrusting Maura and their relationship into the limelight so dramatically was not exactly what she had in mind.  She just hoped Maura wasn’t mad about the excessive attention.

Maura looked at Jane, stunned as a series of flashes went off.  Jane briefly glared at the photographer with annoyance.

Maura looked uneasily at the small gathering that was now looking at her; with a weak smile, she returned her gaze to Jane.  Unable to speak, Maura looked at Jane.  Remembering she had been asked a question, Maura shook her head no.  Was this really what Jane had planned to give her?

“Well, here it comes,” Jane warned with a small smirk.  “This is my rendition of Heliotrope Bouquet, by Scott Joplin,” she said, gaining some surprised murmurs from the audience for the unique choice.  “I know Maura already knows this, but for the benefit of everyone else, the floral meaning of Heliotrope is . . . devotion,” Jane announced, gaining nods of approval and smiles, even from Martha Calderón.

Maura took an uneasy breath as her emotions welled up at the tremendously touching selection; but was it truly selected for her?

Taking a moment, Jane focused on the keyboard.  Maura’s eyes were riveted to Jane’s hands, which were poised over the keys.  Then Jane began to play, her long fingers stroked the keys with confidence; the opening strains were soft, but crisp and firm. 

“Have you heard this before?”  Maura whispered apprehensively to Angela, looking at her expectantly, needing to know. 

“Nope.” Angela answered certainly, making Maura finally believe what she had desperately hoped.
Maura shut her moist eyes and finally let the profound gift wash over her like an embrace.

Jane drove the tempo a bit faster than the composer’s intent, but Martha liked it that way.  And she did say it was her rendition, the virtuoso considered with a smile, enjoying Jane’s cheerful, slow-drag two-step.  Martha thought Jane’s selection was not only thematically appropriate, but perfect for her currently abilities, not too simple to be respected nor too complex to be played well by an out-of-practice but talented pianist.  Well done, Jane, she considered, even more curious to see what she was actually capable of.

“Kind catchy, isn’t it?” Angela added with a pleased smile, bouncing her head to the upbeat ragtime tune, enjoying the performance and that Jane looked . . . happy.

“She can play,” Frost said in surprise.

“No duh,” Frankie said, rolling his eyes before returning to bobbing his head to the beat.

Roberto Trejo’s face twisted in anger as he turned on his heels and marched out of the room, roughly pushing past a few startled listeners who had the misfortune of being in his path.  Martha watched him storm out, making her smile fade as she was reminded why Jane was here.

Maura’s eyes opened and she studied Jane’s hands, noting how powerfully elegant they appeared as her long fingers coaxed such beautiful sounds from the keys.  While not as complex and dramatic as Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6, Maura found Heliotrope Bouquet a truly lovely piece and beautifully played; it transported her to a tree-filled park, her arm in Jane’s as they strolled on a sunny spring day.  They would stop, allowing Jane to pick up an overthrown ball and toss it back to a group of children, which they would watch run around, happily laughing and playing.

Nonna Rizzoli was right again, Maura considered, able to hear the love in Jane’s music.  She could not help but feel . . . overwhelmed, a state in which she was beginning to believe Jane would forever keep her.

When the music ended with a delicate flourish, the small audience clapped happily, having enjoyed the surprising and heartfelt entertainment.  Jane smiled as she looked over to Maura.  Her smile faded as she saw tears and Maura’s discomfort, prompting her to get up from her bench and quickly navigate through the small group of well-wishers.  The clapping died as people recognized something was amiss between the couple.

“Maura?” Jane asked uncertainly as joined her, searching Maura’s face.

“What’s going on??” Frost said with concern.  Frankie frowned.

The group cheered with delight when the tearful woman plunged towards the Detective and kissed her soundly.

“What do yah think?” Frankie asked smugly, backhanding Frost in the arm.

“Would you quit hitting me??”

“I didn’t take you for being such a baby,” Frankie retorted.

“I did ok, huh?” Jane said with a breathless chuckle, pulling back from the kiss and tenderly wiping the tears from Maura’s cheeks.

“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” she whispered earnestly, gazing into Jane’s delighted eyes before kissing her lovingly.

“Well ladies and gentlemen,” Martha Calderón announced.  “I believe that concludes our evening.  Thank you so much for being here,” she said, looking to one of the organizers, who nodded and promptly opened the doors for the attendees to leave.

Chapter 19 - Coda


As the small gathering started to disperse, several people made a point of congratulating Jane on a wonderful performance.  Jane’s right arm snaked around Maura’s lower back and it was clear, overt message intended or not, that they were together.  Maura stood by her side, beaming; her own arm was draped along Jane’s back, mimicking Jane’s hold.  Though if Maura had thought to analyze her contact, she would have to admit it was a result of her need to touch Jane, not to establish possession to the many admiring people in the gathering; though she really wouldn’t mind if people interpreted her hold as an attempt to establish her territory.

Well-wishers included the District Attorney and her wife, surprising both Jane and Maura when they walked up to them hand-in-hand. 

“Congratulations, Detective.  I didn’t know you had it in you,” Abigail Tarboro said with an approving smirk, glancing between the two women. 

“Really?” Dawn Tarboro asked with curious surprise, causing her wife to frown slightly.

Jane chuckled.  “What can I say?  I’m incredibly lucky,” Jane offered, happily glancing at Maura, who was at her side . . . where she belonged, she considered warmly.

“Jane, that performance wasn’t luck.  You practiced,” Maura objected.

Jane grinned.  “I was talking about you, Sweetie.”

Maura frowned.  “I wouldn’t categorize our relationship as being a product of luck.”

“No??  Then why do I feel so lucky?” Jane warmly countered with amusement, causing Maura to ponder that question.

“I’ll leave that argument for you ladies to sort out,” Abigail chuckled.   As they walked away, her wife asked: “So you really didn’t know Detective Rizzoli was family??”

“You played beautifully, Jane,” Constance said with a warm smile for the woman who made her daughter so happy.  Maura looked up at Jane with a bright smile.

“Good job, kiddo,” Vince said with a smile, glancing at Maura with a wink then back at Jane, who chucked.

“It was really wonderful, honey,” Angela gushed, proud of her daughter, who was smiling and in love - what she had always wanted for her aggravatingly independent daughter.

The photographer got closer and took a few more shots of the lovebirds.  Jane’s smile immediately disappeared as her eyes widened in surprise; she knew him.

“You!  Tabloid boy!” Jane spat angrily, pointing her finger towards the startled young man.  “I ought to arrest you for stalking!” Jane said releasing Maura from her embrace to take a menacing step towards him.

“Jane,” Angela cautioned with concern.

“I . . . ,” he sputtered, feeling like her dark eyes were boring holes into him.

“Did you get your kicks from it, huh?” Jane blurted angrily, causing him to back up nervously with each of her steps.  “Taking photos and making up stories about me??”

“Jane,” Maura called softly, only easing Jane’s ire slightly.

“No . . . I,” he blurted, glancing at Angela for help.  “I was doing a favor for your Ma!”

“What??” Jane said, swiftly turning to look at her mother incredulously.  “Those articles were a favor for you??”

“I didn’t ask Danny to print anything in that Tabloid, Jane!” Angela said with exasperation, glaring at her girlfriend’s son.

“What favor?!?”  Jane demanded with more frustration, looking between her mother and the photographer.

“I took the pictures like you asked,” the photographer said to Angela, then looked at Jane uncomfortably.  “But my boss saw them.  He thought they would help the paper and my career.  They did – I got a promotion,” he said weakly, lifting up his tie and camera as proof of being “respectable.”

Angela rolled her eyes.

“You might want to go now,” Korsak advised the photographer, who nodded rapidly and rushed out.

“Really, Ma?!?”  Jane blurted tersely, glaring at her mother, who smile weakly with a shrug.  “Really?  You wanted pictures so bad that you got a Tabloid photographer to take them?”

Maura looked at Angela with surprise.

“I didn’t know Danny worked for a tabloid,” she said defensively.  “Debbie just said that he was a good photographer who could get good pictures indoors, outdoors, any . . . where,” Angela finished weakly with an uneasy smile, shifting uncomfortably under Jane’s angry glare.  “You looked so beautiful in that blue dress, Janie,” she whined with a pout. 

“There were some really nice pictures,” Constance chimed in, making Angela smile at her gratefully.

“Mother,” Maura said tightly, glaring at her with a curt shake of the head, which was ignored.

“And she never wants her picture taken,” Angela bemoaned to her friend, rolling her eyes.  Korsak braced himself.

“It’s a shame.  She is extraordinarily photogenic,” Constance offered sympathetically, causing Maura to frown.

“I can not believe you two!!” Jane snapped, glaring between the mothers.  Constance winced slightly, never before having been on the receiving end of Jane’s fury. 

“What are you complaining about?” Angela argued with some annoyance, causing Jane’s mouth to drop.

“Really?!?  You make my life was a living hell because of those pictures and you really want to know what I’m complaining about??”

“Jane,” Maura said with a cringe, placing a hand at Jane’s back, hoping to temper her anger.  It did, a little.

“You should be happy he was following you!  Danny helped catch the murderer with his pictures, didn’t he?!?” Angela argued, crossing her arms across her chest.

Jane took a sharp breath to respond but her lip quivered with annoyance; her mother was right.  She growled with a glare and did an about face.  “Maura!  Let’s go,” she barked as she marched out of the room.

Maura cringed at her lover’s angry tone then glared at her own mother before following Jane out.

Angela smiled with satisfaction and looked at Constance.  “She really hates it when I’m right.”

Constance nodded weakly, finding being on the receiving end of their daughters’ anger not nearly as satisfying as Angela.


 Jane marched out of the room with Maura following.  “Jane.  Jane!”

“What??” Jane snapped, stopping and turning to her lover.

Maura just looked at her curiously, making Jane feel like a jerk on top of being angry.

“Sorry,” she exhaled heavily.  “I didn’t mean to ruin the evening,” she offered guiltily, reaching out to take Maura’s hand.  “But I just can’t believe all that tabloid nonsense was because of…” Jane blurted as her irritation quickly resurfaced; gentle fingers against her lips interrupted her rant.

Maura stepped very close to her.  “I know you’re frustrated with Angela, understandably so.  But you have much better things to focus your energy on,” she said seductively, desire clear in her eyes.

Jane blinked.  Maura had a good point; Maura was a genius, after all.  “M’okay,” she mumbled under Maura’s fingers, which were replaced by soft, smiling lips.  Sheer . . . genius, Jane considered reverently as she melted into Maura.

“Jane!” Frankie shouted as he and Frost ran towards them, startling the women from their kiss.  Jane glared at him for interrupting.

“Calderón’s guard is dead,” Frankie said anxiously.

Maura could feel Jane immediately tense up. “Where’s Martha??” Jane blurted with dread.


“Damn it!” Jane hissed, looking over Maura’s shoulder as she knelt by the dead body of Martha’s private security guard, Richard.  The cause of death was clear, a messy shot to the head.  “And no one heard the shot?” Jane said with annoyance as some unis placed yellow tape around the scene and kept some of the Symphony Hall staff behind the boundary.

“Probably used a silencer,” Frankie offered helpfully as Maura’s team arrived. 

“No, really??” Jane snapped sarcastically, causing Frankie to wince and drop his eyes, looking like a kicked puppy.

“Jane,” Maura scolded as she stood and quietly motioned for her team to begin gathering evidence.

Jane exhaled with irritation and looked at her brother apologetically.  He shrugged it off with an understanding nod. 

“I should never have let her out of my sight!” Jane hissed angrily, shaking her head.

Maura frowned, knowing that regardless of the number of police officers in the building, Jane would feel personally responsible.

“And we should have been faster when we heard her scream,” Frost said, getting a guilty nod of agreement from Frankie. 

“Wait, she still has her mike and ear piece??”  Jane asked with hope.

“Yeah but she’s out of range now,” Frankie said with a frown.

“But what if we’re back in range and scan the frequency, will they still work?” Jane asked urgently.

Frost glanced at her and shrugged.  “Yeah.”

“Frankie,” Jane said, placing a firm hand on his shoulder.  “Get a BOLO out with the frequency and have every patrolman look for Martha Calderón.  And let them know Trejo is armed and dangerous,” she said.

“Done!” Frankie said with a crisp nod and started to leave.

“Hold up!” Korsak said, walking briskly towards them with Angela and Constance following behind with the photographer in tow.

“Korsak, did you have to bring them to see this?” Jane said tersely, noting their cringes as they got a glimpse of the bloody body.

“Oh my,” Constance said with a pained grimace, but kept staring.  Maura rolled her eyes, contemplating whether it would do any good to suggest that perhaps she shouldn’t look at the body if it distressed her so much.

“You actually think I’d have any better success telling them what to do?” he scoffed, causing Jane’s eyes to narrow with annoyance, though she couldn’t argue.

He grabbed the photographer’s arm.  “Tell her what you told me,” Korsak said to the young man, pulling him towards Jane. 

Jane looked at Korsak with surprise, then the photographer with great interest.

“I . . . ,” Danny said nervously, looking at Jane with fear then to Korsak, who encouraged the photographer, “go on.”

“Please,” Jane urged gently, surprising the photographer.  Maura smiled, knowing Jane had an impressive ability to convince reluctant people to talk.

“R…right.  I saw Ms. Calderón being pushed into a cab by her manager.  Yellow cab 145.  She looked really upset,” he said worriedly.  “I didn’t think to take a picture,” he added apologetically.

“You did good, Danny.  Real good.  Thank you,” Jane said sincerely, shooting a brief glance to her pleased mother. 

Maura cringed, but refrained from correcting Jane’s grammar, her gut telling her it would not be appreciated at the moment.

“I got an unmarked car following,” Korsak relayed with a smile.

“Yes!” Jane blurted, relieved something was going right.  “Frankie, send out that BOLO anyway.  I don’t want to take any chances,” Jane said, getting a nod before her brother left. 

“Frost, you and I are going to catch up to the unmarked car,” she said, getting a firm nod from her partner.  

When they started to leave, Maura followed.  “I’m coming with you,” she announced.

Jane abruptly stopped and turned to Maura.  “Absolutely not,” she said with conviction.

Constance and Angela shared an uneasy look.  Korsak eye them worriedly.

“Jane, I’m going,” Maura countered with equal conviction.

“No!  This is not an interview, Maura.  We are going after a man with a gun, who I’m pretty damn sure killed him,” Jane said, pointing to the body Maura’s team was processing.

“But I . . . ,” Maura said, distressed by the thought of Jane going without her.

“No, Maura!  You are not a cop.  And you have a dead body to tend to, Dr. Isles,” Jane lectured irritably, making Maura wince at the tone.  “Frost, let’s go,” Jane barked impatiently and marched off. 

Frost looked back at Maura uncomfortably before rushing off to join the driven detective, who was already halfway down the hallway.

Maura stared at Jane’s retreating form with a hurt look as a storm of emotions warred within her; the most disturbing was the strong feeling of dread that welled up.

“Doc?” Korsak said softly and added hesitantly “you ok?” 

Taking a deep breath, she eyed him with a forced smile.  “Yes, thank you.  If you’ll excuse me, I have a body to tend to . . . as Jane pointed out,” Maura said crisply and refocused her attention to the body, which her team needed her approval to transport.  She gave it, after confirmation that photos had been taken and evidence properly collected.

Korsak frowned and looked worriedly at Constance and Angela, who remained silent as they glanced at each other uneasily.


“There they are,” Frost said as they finally caught up to the taxi.  Jane nodded and slowed their unmarked cruiser down to stop at the red light, four cars behind the taxi.

Jane got on the radio.  “All units, this is Victor 835.  The suspect, Yellow Cab 145, is at the corner of West Springfield and Washington.”

“Why are they south?  Wouldn’t he try for the airport or their hotel?” Frost asked Jane, who pondered the good question.

A marked patrol car crossed the intersection in front of the taxi, and kept going, without taking any action to provoke the suspect.

When the light turned green, the taxi turned left on Washington Street.

“He’s not sure what to do,” Jane concluded softly, following now only two cars behind.


Maura quietly sat at her kitchen counter as Constance paced and Angela vacuumed the perfectly clean rug.

Noticing her daughter just staring at her refrigerator, Constance joined her.  “Darling?  What’s going on in that head of yours?”  She said with a gentle hand on her arm.

Maura looked at her with a pained expression.  “I’m not sure I’m strong enough.”

“Strong enough?”  Constance asked curiously.


“What the…?” Frost asked, confused to see the taxi roll into a parking space by a sidewalk and stop.  “What’s he doing?”

“Well, there’s one way to find out,” Jane said, pulling up several car-lengths behind the taxi and grabbing her purse to get her gun.  “Tell all units I’m going to approach the suspect and would like them to secure the perimeter.  No flashing lights yet – I don’t want to spook him.  He was heavily drinking and is armed.”

“Jane?” Frost asked worriedly.  “Shouldn’t we get a negotiator or . . . ,” he started but was interrupted.

“I think he will respond to me,” Jane countered firmly and opened the car door to get out.

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” he muttered and picked up a handheld radio, tuning it into Jane’s frequency.


The vacuuming stopped.  “Would you two like me to leave?” Angela offered hesitantly. 

Constance looked questioningly at her daughter, who shook her head no.

“There is no need for you to leave, Angela.  I . . . I think you should know I may not be strong enough to be with Jane,” she said uncomfortably.

Constance looked aghast.  “Why ever not?”


Frost watched as Jane slowly approached the taxi with her weapon in her hand, lowered, pointing to the ground.  He absently noted that Jane was a bit over dressed in her dress and heels for her current endeavor as he pressed the transmit button.  “Can you hear me now?  Can you hear me now?” he said with a smirk.

“Wise ass,” she said softly before reaching the taxi.  She looked around the streets, noting her reinforcements were arriving as patrol cars pulled up.  As she requested, they kept their lights off.

“Martha?  Are you all right?” Jane asked loudly, counting on Trejo still caring for Martha in his own twisted way.  She did not seem to be the target - only her guard was killed.  If she focused on Martha and her safety, he might be receptive to letting her go.


“I understand,” Angela said sadly, surprising both Isles women.  “When you love someone, you hate to see them in danger.  And I have seen that job almost destroy her,” Angela said gravely.

Maura looked down at the countertop thoughtfully.  “It’s not like I hadn’t appreciated that Jane’s job can be dangerous.  I’ve personally faced that danger…” Maura offered with a frown, recalling her horror with Hoyt and his latest apprentice just before Jane saved her.  She took a moment to collect her thoughts that were bobbing chaotically on a stormy sea of emotion.  “But now . . . she’s out there and I’m not.  What if . . . ,” she said, then abruptly stopped with a cringe, as if voicing her fear that Jane might not come back might make it true.  “I have never felt so helpless.  And terrified something will happen to her . . . ,” Maura admitted uncomfortably, looking earnestly at Angela, who nodded sympathetically.

“Yeah.  And I imagine you are not shielded from the horrors like I am.  I can only imagine how much harder it is for you,” Angela said with understanding.

Maura sighed.  “And I am angry with her for making me feel this way, which I know is unfair,” she said with a frown.

“Hon, unfair or not, it’s how you feel,” Angela offered sympathetically.  “And I guarantee it won’t be the last time you’re angry with her,” she added with a small smirk.

“I don’t like this feeling.  I don’t like this fear,” Maura said with pursed lips.


The streetlamp illuminated the area enough for Jane to see the outline of Trejo and Martha sitting in the back seat.  She stood just behind the taxi’s taillights, in the street.

“Roberto, please.  Stop this now.  What do you think will happen? Do you really think you’ll be able to shoot your way free?!?  Please.  Stop this,” Martha pleaded, earning a blow when backhanded in the face.  “Ah!” she cried, cradling her throbbing cheek.

“Shut up!  I’m in control here!” He spat.

“Did you get that Jane?”  Frost asked, holding two radios next to each other.

“POLICE!  Get out of the car!” Jane barked angrily, raising her weapon towards the taxi.  She watched Trejo turn.  She dove to the ground as he fired three shots through the back window, causing a shower of shards to rain on her.


“So you’d . . . walk away?” Angela asked carefully.

Maura looked at Angela, her heart pounding at that horrible thought. 

“Maura, you can’t seriously be considering that,” Constance said, appalled.  “She’s always stood by you and supported you, even when her heart was breaking from some of your more questionable decisions.  For God’s Sake, Maura, it would be cruel for you to give up on her because of your fear!”

Maura blinked, surprised by her mother’s passionate position.  As she took a breath to inform her she did not think she was strong enough to walk away either, Angela interjected.

“Connie, it would also hurt Jane to know Maura was miserable being with her,” Angela countered.  “She couldn’t live like that,” she added.

“I’m not miserable being with her.  I love being with her,” Maura countered, once again feeling overwhelmed with emotions.  “It’s just . . . ,” she said with frustration.  “I hate this.”  

“Waiting,” Angela said with an understanding nod.  “Not knowing if some whack job is going to hurt her or if she’s coming back,” she added, causing Maura to wince.  “You’ve got to decide, Maura, if you can live like that.  Not many people can,” Angela offered with a sigh.  Constance frowned.  “I guess that’s why cops have such a hard time with relationships.  And as much as I harp on Jane about her job, she’s not gonna change who she is, no matter how much I’d wish it,” Angela said with a wry smile.

“So why do you harp?” Maura asked curiously.

“I love her.  And I want her to think about how much her family worries about her – so she’ll be extra careful,” Angela said then laughed softly.  “A lot of good that’s done, huh? That girl seems to attract trouble by just breathing.”

“She has had her fair share of trouble,” Maura allowed, her gaze dropping thoughtfully.

“Yeah.  You know, she’ll understand . . . if you can’t live like this.  She loves you more than anything, Maura.  She wouldn’t want you unhappy.  That would kill her,” Angela said with conviction.

“I hate this,” Maura said miserably.  Her cellphone rang, startling the three women.
Looking uneasily at Angela and her mother, Maura retrieved her phone from her purse and saw Jane’s number.

“Jane,” she answered anxiously as Constance and Angela glanced at each other.

“I need you,” Jane stated weakly.  

The ache in Jane’s voice resonated within Maura’s heart.  Knowing Jane needed her brought a profound sense of clarity, successfully driving away her doubts and fear.

“Where are you?” Maura asked firmly, determined to let nothing get in the way of being there for Jane.  


Frost sat uncomfortably in a plastic chair, glancing over at Jane, who just stared down at the floor in front of her.  She had refused treatment for her arm, which was not a surprise.   But her near catatonic silence really disturbed him.  When he looked up and found Dr. Isles, Mrs. Rizzoli, and Mrs. Isles approaching, he let out a relieved breath and stood to greet them.  

“What happened?” Maura asked pointedly, glancing worriedly to Jane, who did not show any indications of acknowledging their arrival. 

Frost ushered the women to the other side of the waiting area and spoke softly.  “We caught up to the taxi and they pulled over to the curb.  I tuned into Ms. Calderón’s frequency and heard her beg him to give up.  Jane ordered them out of the taxi but he fired through the back window.  Calderón grabbed his gun and got shot; she’s in surgery now,” he said, glancing back at Jane, who was still seated, staring at the tile in front of her.

“What happened to Trejo?” Maura asked.

“Trejo’s dead – shot himself in the mouth.  You’re team is processing the scene,” he said with a cringe, vividly recalling the incredible mess.  “I told them you were busy…,” he said uncomfortably, knowing that was going beyond his authority.

Maura took an uneasy breath and nodded.  “You did the right thing,” she said, glancing over at Jane.


Jane stared at the floor tiles.  They were white, mottled with streaks of gray and blue…not that much different than the tiles she stared at all those years ago.  It was funny how she could feel Maura’s presence.  When she arrived, Jane wanted to get up and run to her, burying herself in Maura’s comforting embrace.  But she refrained, knowing if she did, she wouldn’t be able to maintain her tenuous hold on her emotions. 

She heard the hushed voices, guessing Frost was explaining what had happened.  That would be good; the less she had to talk the better.  Jane then heard the deliberate staccato made from ridiculously impractical shoes.  It was actually soothing; Maura was coming to her. 

“Jane,” Maura said gently. 

Jane nodded weakly, glancing in Maura’s direction but not making eye contact.  She knew the wall holding back her emotions was close to crumbling. 

Sitting down, Maura refrained from saying anything more, worried her comments or questions would push Jane into an uncomfortable public display; Jane hated them and would especially hate it if she were the one breaking down.  Maura frowned, never having seen Jane so emotionally unsteady.  Not even when Hoyt was after her….

Jane exhaled with relief, not yet ready to talk. 

Maura silently checked Jane’s right arm, which had several cuts.  Thankfully they were superficial and could be treated later without great risk, she considered, knowing Jane would argue if she suggested leaving the waiting area for someone to tend to her cuts.  Doing what she could at the moment without her medical bag, Maura pulled out a tissue from her purse and proceeded to carefully collect the shards of glass out of Jane’s hair and clothes. 

Jane’s eyes shut as tears fell for the tender thoughtfulness.

Finished, Maura silently stood and walked to the nearby trash receptacle, prompting Jane’s eyes to pop open in mild panic; she immediately felt the loss.  Her gaze fixed on Maura as she disposed of the tissue with the shards. 

When Maura returned and resumed her seat by Jane, their eyes met.

Jane sucked in an uneasy breath when Maura firmly gripped her hand.  After a brief moment, Jane squeezed her hand tightly, desperately needing an anchor.

“Why did she have to fight them?”  Jane whispered guiltily, her brown eyes searching Maura’s.  “It wasn’t that important…” she said absently, her voice trailing off.

Maura looked at Jane with alarm.  Her gaze dropped worriedly as her mind raced to figure out how best to respond to Jane’s confused distress.  “You’ll have to ask Martha, Jane,” she offered, getting a puzzled look.

“Detective Rizzoli?” The surgeon came to the waiting area and glanced around, quickly spotting the brunette, who looked at him anxiously. 

Jane quickly stood, still holding Maura’s hand.  

“Ah, Dr. Isles.  It’s good to see you again,” he said warmly.

“How is she, Doctor Ramsay?” Maura asked.

“Ms. Calderón’s surgery went well,” he said with a pleased smile.

“Calderón,” Jane said absently, getting an uneasy look from Maura.

“We’ve moved her to Intensive Care.  We’ll keep a close eye on her for . . . ,” he said, proceeding to explain more to the Chief Medical Examiner and Detective.  But Jane didn’t hear him as her thoughts drifted to the vivid memory of glass shattering.  She blinked, her memory of Martha morphing into Nonna, who wrestled with the gunman before the gun discharged.

Jane winced, remembering the pain of getting shot.  Her eyes blinked rapidly as she glanced frantically around the waiting room, wondering why her Pop wasn’t there.  Her breathing grew more rapid and shallow.  She saw her distressed mother.  But Pop wasn’t with her.  Frost and . . . Constance . . . were.  Everyone was looking at her with concern.  Hold it together, Rizzoli, Jane silently chanted to herself, knowing she was close to losing it in front of them.  But she had to be strong.  She had to show them she wasn’t a silly, emotional girl; she refused to be a target for taunting.  

Florida.  He went to Florida and left us, Jane suddenly remembered as another ache welled up at that loss.  But she had been strong; her distraught mother, who couldn’t stop crying for days and days, needed her to be.  Even when her Pop had cried for Nonna’s death, she held it together.  Nonna was gone and she was strong; her father needed her to be.  And she had no right to indulge in the grief she had caused….

“Jane?” Maura asked with concern, noting Jane’s growing agitation.

“Nonna…” Jane said with anguish, startling Maura. 

Jane took deep breaths.  Nonna was gone.  A trembling hand wiped her tears away with clear aggravation.  She had no right to cry.

“I’m taking you home now,” Maura said firmly, knowing Jane would abhor the thought of breaking down in public, even if surrounded by friends and family - especially if surrounded by friends and family, Maura silently amended.

“Home,” Jane whispered and nodded absently, suddenly finding a strong arm wrapped around her back as she was whisked out of the waiting area.

Angela watched with concern as her tense daughter was led away by Maura.  She had never seen Jane so . . . distressed before. 


Maura did not fully understand what Jane was feeling but knew it required the safe haven of her home.  With great effort she refrained from hugging Jane before guiding her firmly into the passenger’s seat of her car; she feared that any comforting gesture would be the undoing of Jane’s fragile state.  So she provided what Jane needed - an air of calm determination.  She’d deal with her own fear later - Jane needed her now.

It felt like an eternity before they reached Jane’s apartment.  She had debated whether to turn on the radio but elected not to.  While music had a great calming effect, it also often provoked memories; Maura thought that additional sensory stimulation was not wise.  Finally turning down Jane’s street, she had not expected to feel such relief when she found a parking spot in front of the apartment building.  After quickly parking and shutting her engine off, she quickly got out and opened Jane’s door.

“We’re almost there, Jane,” she said, noting that Jane wasn’t moving, just breathing deep breaths as if she had run a marathon.  Kneeling down, Maura unbuckled the seat belt for her and firmly grabbed her arm.  “Come on, Jane.  Time to get out of the car,” she said, gaining a sluggish nod.  To Maura’s relief, Jane got out of the car and headed automatically up the stairs to her apartment without the need for her shepherding.  At the door, Maura pulled out her key and swiftly opened the door.  

With a relieved exhale, Maura shut the door behind her - they were finally inside.  She watched Jane just stand in the middle of her apartment, like she was in a trance.  Now Maura did not hesitate; she swiftly went to Jane and pulled her into a firm hug.  “It will be OK, Jane,” she promised softly, her hand stroking her lover’s back.  She felt Jane’s arms slowly return the embrace. 

“She’s dead,” Jane whispered miserably, feeling gutted by the loss that felt so fresh and raw.  “She shouldn’t have died for me,” Jane moaned before finally breaking down and wailing for her loss from over twenty years ago. 

Maura held on as Jane’s body shook with sobs.  Her own tears trailed down her cheeks as she wished for the perfect words to soothe Jane’s pain.  But she knew of no words that could ease the deep heartache - all she knew was that Jane needed her and she would be there.


Maura woke in the same position they had fallen asleep; Jane curled up at her side with her face nuzzled into her neck.  Maura’s arms were protectively wrapped around the slumbering Detective, who she realized by the light caress on her arm, was no longer slumbering.  Maura responded with light caresses of her own over Jane’s back as she kissed Jane’s forehead.

A warm contented sigh from Jane washed over Maura’s neck.  After several moments, Jane shifted and leaned on her elbow to look at Maura, who quietly waited.  When Jane’s gaze dropped self-consciously, Maura gently lifted her chin and looked at her.

“I love you,” Maura said.

Jane took Maura’s hand and kissed her palm before clutching her hand against her chest.  After a long breath, Jane shook her head.  “Even when I suddenly become a basket case?” she asked softly, her gaze once again dropping self-consciously.

“Jane, you are not a basket case,” Maura countered.  “You suffered from delayed grief, triggered by events that overcame your self-imposed disenfranchisement.”

Jane stared at her a moment.  “Precisely what I thought,” she said sarcastically.

“Well you must be feeling better,” Maura said with a slight smile.

Jane rolled her eyes.

“Disenfranchised grief is typically when a person is deprived of the catharsis of shared grief because society does not recognize it.  However, I believe you had caused that disenfranchisement because you erroneously believed you had no right to grieve, believing that you were the cause of your grandmother’s death, which you were not,” she added firmly, noting Jane wince.  “You do realize you were not responsible, don’t you?” she urged softly.

Jane looked at her an uneasy moment before exhaling.  “I think . . . logically, I know that,” she admitted, prompting an understanding nod from Maura.

When Jane quietly extracted herself from the bed, Maura sighed with disappointment that their intimate discussion had ended.  To her surprise, Jane went to her closet and extracted a worn cardboard box.  She curiously watched Jane return with the box and sit on the edge of the bed, tucking a long strand of hair behind her ear and looking at the box thoughtfully.

“I kept my practice books.  Nonna lectured to me that all the greats had to go through the same rigorous practicing - endless scales and finger exercises – there were no shortcuts!” Jane offered with a small smile for a fond memory, pulling out one of her books and handing it to Maura, whose smile grew as she looked through the well-worn book, appreciating the dedication to practicing Jane had possessed. 

“When I made mistakes, I always expected Nonna to yell at me, like Ma always did.  But Nonna never yelled, well except when I slammed the door rushing in for a lesson,” she offered with a wry smile, making Maura grin, able to envision a young Jane doing just that.

“She was really patient and told me not to get so upset with my mistakes,” Jane said, pulling out sheet music.

“Because you were so hard on yourself,” Maura offered, getting a nod.

“I wanted to be good,” Jane admitted with a shrug.  “When she mentioned the Boston Conservatory’s summer program, I was so excited.  If I got in, I would be able to meet and train with professional pianists.  Martha Calderón was one of the guest instructors,” Jane offered, surprising Maura. 

“Nonna took me to see her perform and . . . well, I had a huge crush on her.”

“I see,” Maura said with pursed lips, that Jane leaned towards and kissed tenderly.

“I have a huger crush on you,” Jane said with a sparkle in her eye.

“Huger is not a . . . ,” Maura said as Jane kissed her again.  “What were we talking about?” she said with a small, amused smile.

“How much I love you?” Jane suggested, looking into Maura’s eyes as she caressed her face.

“That is one of my favorite topics,” Maura said, slowly savoring another kiss.  As Jane shifted and attempted to move the box out of the way so she could show Maura just how much she loved her, Maura’s hands stopped her.  “Show me your sheet music,” she said with enthusiasm.

“Really?  Now??” Jane whined incredulously.

“Please?” Maura asked with a small pout, prompting a small frown and reluctant nod, causing Maura to beam.

“Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6 . . . ,” Jane sighed, pulling out the yellowed pages.

“Oh!  This was one of your audition pieces!” she gushed enthusiastically, looking through the pencil annotations and comments in Jane’s handwriting.

“How did you know that?”

“Your mother knew the encore piece that Ms. Calderón played, she mentioned the Boston Conservatory Summer program and . . . ,” Maura said and trailed off uncomfortably.

“That I never did audition,” Jane finished softly, getting a hesitant nod.

“What were your other two pieces?” Maura quickly asked, curious as well as not wanting to dwell on the tragedy.  “Your mother could not recall the names of what you played,” Maura offered.

Jane eyed her and reached into the box, pulling out more yellowed and worn pages.

“Oblivion!  My Jane, that is a rather emotionally mature piece for a teenager,” she said approvingly.

“When I heard it, I was learning about myself and my . . . preferences; the haunting sounds and longing in the music spoke to me,” she relayed to a mesmerized Maura. 

“I also knew to dazzle the judges I couldn’t just wow them with complex fingering.  They needed to know I had emotional maturity not just technical proficiency,” Jane offered, getting an approving nod from Maura, who smiled broadly at Jane’s strategy.

“What was your third?” Maura eagerly asked.

Jane smirked and pulled out the music, handing it over to Maura. 

“Peppermint Patty by Vince Guaraldi?” she read with a puzzled expression.

Jane grinned. 

“I’m afraid I’m not familiar with that piece,” Maura said with a frown.

“Well, most people are familiar with the Peanuts theme song, Linus & Lucy,” Jane allowed, noting Maura frown.

“Really?  You don’t know about the Peanuts cartoons on TV and the piano music??”

Maura shook her head no.

“Well, that’s easy enough to remedy,” Jane said with a small smile.

“You’ll play it for me?” Maura asked hopefully.

“I was thinking more like watching some DVDs,” Jane said with a cringe.  Maura sighed with a frown.  “Ok.  Ok,” Jane acquiesced, bringing a smile back to Maura’s face.  “But I will need to practice before subjecting you to it,” she said, scratching the back of her head as Maura lunged for her lips and captured them possessively.  After Maura pulled back from the smoldering kiss, Jane whimpered with need before quickly returning the music and practice books to the box and rushing over to her closet, tossing the box to the floor with a thud.

“Jane, your music!” Maura said with alarm, glancing worriedly at the closet as Jane returned to bed and climbed on top of her.

“Is fine,” Jane said, kissing Maura’s collarbone, up her neck, to her chin.  “I want you,” Jane said, which was obvious as she hovered over Maura and looked at her with desire in her eyes.

Maura felt a shiver of anticipation from the sound of Jane’s raspy voice.  “I love you,” Maura said softly.

Jane looked at her a long reverent moment before she whispered “thank you,” and slowly lowered her lips and tenderly kissed the love of her life.



Lidia walked around Martha’s hotel room, ensuring she had not forgotten to pack anything.  Satisfied she had accomplished her task, she returned to the living room and exhaled, waiting for Martha to return from her last doctor’s appointment before they were to fly back to Argentina.

The Bar Harbor concert had been cancelled as Martha recovered from her gunshot wound in Boston.  The doctors had said Martha was very lucky.  But Lidia could not agree, considering the brother of Martha’s assistant had been hired by her unstable manager to kill her protégés.  That did not seem very lucky at all, Lidia considered with a frown. 

While Martha had been very polite and understanding with her through this horrific mess with Emilio, who was going to be extradited to spend life in prison, Lidia expected that once they returned to Argentina, she would be in search of new employment.  She couldn’t blame Martha, who had gone through too much in her life to have to endure the presence of someone who could only remind her of the terrible violation of trust and senseless losses.

Glancing to the Grand Piano, she had a love-hate relationship with it.  She loved the music it produced when someone of Martha’s caliber played.  Yet she hated the fact she’d never be close to that caliber.  She sat on the bench and stared at the keys a long moment.  She’d miss Martha, more than the virtuoso would ever know, she considered with a humorless laugh.  Tears filled her eyes as she finally indulged in self-pity.  Sniffing, she placed her fingers on the keys and played Oblivion - Detective Rizzoli’s selection that did exactly what was intended, impress Martha, mistakes and all.  Lidia played, without any fumbles or errors; she was technically gifted.  Yet she lacked heart, Martha had sadly informed her with disappointment, which confused her.  If she had no heart, then how could such a comment hurt her so?

She drove through the haunting chords, feeling lost and alone.  Her baby brother Emilio was now lost to her and soon Martha would be too.  Knowing her musical limitations, she had at least thought she would be able to stay by Martha’s side as her capable assistant, to forever watch the amazing woman as she lived life to the fullest.  Now she would not even have that vicarious pleasure.  Tears fell as she played on, driving, searching . . . hurting.

Maura and Jane stood next to a stunned Martha, who froze when they entered her hotel room to the moving music.  Jane looked at Maura with a surprised grin before returning her attention to Lidia, who finished the emotional piece with soft, fading chords.

“Lidia,” Martha exhaled with amazement, startling her assistant, who jumped up nervously and wiped the tears from her eyes. 

“Sorry,” Lidia blurted uncomfortably.  “I’m done packing and was just . . . ,” she trailed off as Martha came to her, shaking her head.

“That was . . . wonderful, Lidia.  Truly wonderful,” Martha offered sincerely, looking at her uncertain assistant, who glanced at Jane, who nodded with a grin.  “You and I have much to talk about, dear Lidia,” Martha said, taking her hand and squeezing. 

“I . . . we have a plane to catch,” Lidia said, feeling a bit flustered.

Martha smiled.  “We do.”


They arrived at the airport in plenty of time to check luggage.  Flashing their badges, Jane and Maura were able to wait with Martha and Lidia for the plane to board.

“I will miss you, Jane,” Martha said emotionally and kissed her cheeks.

“I’m glad I got to meet you and call you friend.  I’m just sorry about the circumstances,” Jane offered apologetically.

“Perhaps you and Maura can come visit us in Argentina,” she said, glancing over to Maura who sat, chatting with Lidia, who seemed much more relaxed once she realized Martha had no intention of letting her leave her side. 

“Now there’s an invitation I would never have expected,” Jane chuckled.

“You should consider it.  And Argentina is an excellent place for lovers.  I understand it’s also a popular honeymoon location,” she offered with a satisfied grin, provoking a startled look.

The boarding of the flight was announced.

“You’re going to give Lidia a chance, aren’t you?” Jane asked as Maura and Lidia stood from their seats.

“We have been through a lot together.  I need her in my life, even if she never attempts to play another note.  But I hope she does,” Martha said quietly then turned to Lidia with a warm smile.  “So! Are you ready for the long flight?”

“I am anxious to get home,” Lidia said honestly.

“Yes, home.  That does sound wonderful,” Martha said, slipping her arm through Lidia’s, surprising her assistant. 

“Good-bye Jane.  Dr. Isles.  I hope Jane takes me up on my invitation for you two to visit me someday,” Martha said with a grin.  “Until we meet again,” she said, waving as she left with Lidia to board the plane.

“That sounds like fun,” Maura said enthusiastically.   

Jane nodded with a small smile as she slipped her hand in Maura’s; they left the airport, hand-in-hand.


“Happy birthday dear Maaaauuuuurrraaa, Happy birthday to you!”  They sang loudly and mostly on key as Jane played the piano and Angela directed her sons through the group as they carried a large sheet cake with several lit candles on it. 

Constance had been reluctant to change the venue of her daughter’s birthday party from the country club to the Dirty Robber as Angela had suggested, but seeing the big smile and delighted laughter from her daughter, she concluded it had been an excellent decision.

“Make a wish!!” Constance called out to her daughter with excitement.

“Geeze, Maura,” Jane said, holding up her hand to shield her eyes from the bright flames.  “I hope Murray’s fire insurance is paid up,” she offered, prompting a few chuckles and earning a slap in her stomach by Maura for her remark.  “Hey!” she blurted, earning more chuckles as she rubbed her stomach.

“Jane!  Be nice!!” Angela called out as Maura smiled with satisfaction at Jane, who frowned, predicting Angela would always be on Maura’s side. 

Maura pulled her hair back as she took a deep breath and carefully blew at the candles.  And blew.  And blew.  “JANE!” Maura said with exasperation after being unable to blow them out. 

“Hey wait a minute!  I didn’t do anything!!” Jane countered defensively, as her brothers snorted with amusement.  Too much amusement, she considered.

“Right,” Angela scoffed, crossing her arms over her chest. 

“I was playing . . . ugh,” Jane blurted, giving up trying to defend herself which prompted more snickers from her brothers.  “Frost, Korsak, let’s help Maura blow them out,” Jane said, glaring suspiciously at her brothers as Frost and Korsak promptly stepped up to help.

“Uh, having everyone breathe on my cake is rather unsanitary,” Maura said with concern, then cringed realizing from the frowns on their faces she had insulted her friends.

Jane sighed with exasperation.  “I’ll cut you a piece that only you have blown on, OK?”

“I don’t see how you could possibly ensure . . . ,” Maura responded curiously.

“Perhaps you should do something soon?” Constance interjected uncomfortably as she watched the candles continue to melt.

“We can just remove the candles and extinguish them by hand,” Maura said reasonably, starting to take them off.

“But what about your wish?” Constance said with concern. 

“You gotta have a birthday wish,” Angela offered.

“It’s ok, Mother, Angela.  My wish has already come true,” Maura said, glancing at Jane happily before kissing her chastely on the lips.

“Mine too,” Jane whispered.

“That’s so sweet,” Korsak said with a sigh.


“A spa day for two!” Maura gushed as she eagerly showed Jane the coupons that Barry and Vince had pitched in to get.  “Thank you!” she blurted, making the men smile with satisfaction.

“Yay,” Jane said weakly with a thin smile, glaring at her former and current partners, who cringed slightly.

“Here’s one of mine,” Angela said, handing over a nicely wrapped box.

“One of yours?  Angela, you shouldn’t have,” Maura said, looking at the pile of presents next to the cake.  It was an embarrassment of riches.

“You should say that after you open it,” Jane joked, her arm draped over the back of Maura’s chair.

“Jane,” Maura scolded softly as she opened her gift to find….  Maura tilted her head and eyed it curiously.  It was crocheted, with the letters B. P. D. on it.  

Jane bit her lip to not say anything. 

“It’s. . . lovely, Angela.  Thank you,” Maura said politely, pulling out the handmade toilet paper doily, covering a roll.

“Charmin.  Nice,” Jane said dryly as she tested the squishy roll.

“Oh,” Constance said when she got a good look at . . . the unique gift.  “Handmade gifts are always a favorite,” she added with a polite smile for her friend, who beamed.

“Here’s one you’ll want to open at home,” Angela said, sliding another wrapped gift box towards Maura.  “Trust me,” she said with a knowing smile, immediately alarming Maura.

“Well, dear, I’m afraid you’ll have to go home to get your gift.  And if you don’t like it, we can find something that better suits you.  But I’m confident we won’t need to,” Constance said with a smile.

Maura nodded, feeling a little let down.  She never asked for big or expensive gifts, just her mother’s attention.  Realizing she had been getting more of that lately, she smiled at her, knowing Constance was trying. 

“And in the mean time, here’s a little something for you two,” she said, sliding an envelope towards her daughter. 

“More spa days?” Jane asked with a weak smile.

“No.  Season passes to the symphony!” Maura said, happy she didn’t have to convince Jane to go.  Now that it was a gift, Jane wouldn’t want it go to waste.  “We’ll need to buy you more clothes!” she said happily. 

Jane eyed Constance, who smiled with satisfaction.  “Sounds like . . . fun,” Jane said, patting Maura’s knee. 

“I want pictures,” Angela declared without apology.

“Of course you do,” Jane said flatly, sipping her beer. 

“Here’s one from me,” Frankie said, nervously handing her a box, gaining a bright smile that made him blush. 

Maura tore into the paper and opened the box to read “Isles” on the back of a Red Sox Jersey.   She smiled at him.  “Thank you!”

“That’s nice,” Jane said approvingly, fingering the stitching around the lettering, causing Frankie to beam.

“And mine,” Tommy said, smoothly handing over his gift to her with a wink.

Maura smiled fondly at him and opened the gift.  After a pause, she smiled at him “I love Hickory Farms!” she said honestly.  “Thank you!”

“Can’t go wrong with Hickory Farms!” Tommy declared with a grin.  Frankie and Angela frowned, glaring at Jane, who smiled and sipped her beer. 

“So whaddya get Maura?” Korsak asked with a smirk, causing all eyes to look at Jane.

Maura glanced at Jane uncomfortably, not wanting her put on the spot.  “I already received my . . . ,” she started.

“I got you something else,” Jane said, also presenting an envelope with some hesitation.  “I just hope they have steel-toed Jimmy Choos.”

Maura looked at her curiously then opened up the envelope.  “Jane!”

“What is it?” Angela said with anticipation, seeing the big smile on Maura’s face.  “Yeah, what is it?” Frankie asked.  “Darling?” Constance couldn’t help but feel excitement.

“Tango lessons!” Maura gushed happily and planted kisses on Jane’s face.

“Just remember I warned you,” Jane cautioned her with an amused chuckle, delighted she could make Maura happy.  She just hoped the actual experience wasn’t going to cause either of them physical pain.


“Good night and Happy Birthday, hon,” Angela said, giving Maura a hug. 

“Thank you so much, Angela,” Maura said. 

Angela looked at Jane and sighed.  “Just try your best, OK?” she said, patting Jane on the shoulder. 

“Sure . . . Ma,” Jane said in confusion, glancing at Maura who winced and looked down at the still unopened present in her hand with trepidation.

“Mother?  Where are you going?” Maura asked curiously, noticing Constance quietly start to follow Angela to the guest cottage.

“You don’t really think I’d want to spoil your birthday evening with Jane, do you?” Constance said with a knowing smile.  “Happy birthday, darling.  And I am so happy for you,” she said, smiling at Jane, who had a hand on Maura’s shoulder.  “Good night, you two,” she said, giving Maura a kiss on the cheek then squeezing Jane’s arm affectionately.

“Good night, Mother,” Maura said and watched her mother retreat with Angela.


“Holy shit!” Jane exclaimed spotting the Steinway Upright as soon as they entered.

“Jane!” she immediately scolded then blurted “Oh . . . ,” when she saw what had prompted such a response.

“She doesn’t do things half way, does she?” Jane asked, going to the upright that fit perfectly along the wall.  Anything bigger would have overwhelmed the room.  Jane’s hand traced over the wood reverently. 

“Will you play for me?” Maura asked hesitantly.

Jane looked at her a moment.  “If you do one thing for me,” she negotiated.

“Anything!” Maura said eagerly.

Jane laughed.  “I can’t believe I’m going to waste that blank check but . . . I’ll play if you play with me.”

“I can’t play . . . ,” Maura trailed off worriedly. 

Jane grabbed her hand and led her to the bench.  “Trust me,” she said, motioning for Maura to sit.  Which she did and Jane quickly joined her.

With a smile, she slowly played the simple melody as she softly sang the words.  “Heart and soul, I fell in love with you, heart and soul, the way a fool would do.  Madly.  Because you held me tight . . . and stole . . . a kiss in the night…” she sang with a smile for Maura.  “Then you repeat the melody.”

“I’ve heard of that,” Maura said with a growing smile.

“Good.  Remember, there’s no rush and don’t worry if you miss notes.  Just have fun with it,” Jane said as she proceeded to play the rhythm line as Maura, with fierce determination to properly play the melody, dove in. 

“Oooh!” Maura blurted with frustration as she missed a few notes.

“Keep going, sweetie.  Sounding good!” Jane said happily, continuing with the rhythm.  As Maura went through the melody again and again, with fewer and fewer mistakes, she finally completed it without any errors, stopping with a perplexed look.

“This becomes rather monotonous after a while, doesn’t it?” Maura asked bluntly, causing Jane to laugh. 

“Well, it is a beginner’s piece,” she offered with amusement.  “Perhaps you’ll like something more advanced,” Jane suggested.

“I think I’m best suited as an appreciative listener,” Maura responded, sidling up to Jane and whispering in her ear.  “I can be very appreciative.  Play something for me.”

“Do you really think you can just use your feminine wiles to have your way?” Jane felt compelled to object.

“It’s not working?” Maura asked with a slight frown.

“No, it’s working . . . damn it,” Jane said begrudgingly, causing Maura to smile. 

“Peppermint Patty?”  Maura suggested hopefully.

“Peppermint Patty,” she confirmed, looking at Maura who beamed eagerly.

Jane played the piece capably, though she would have preferred more practice time.  Maura didn’t care, charmed by the happy music being played for her.

When Jane finished the piece, Maura clapped.  “Brava!” she said and laughed with delight.

Jane smiled, her heart swelling with joy.

“I read about Peppermint Patty,” Maura offered with a knowing smile. 


“She represented the first tomboyish character in the Peanuts cartoon that did not embrace social norms,” Maura said, leaning into Jane, who smiled.

“You selected a classical piece that showed your technical proficiency,” Maura continued, kissing her chin.  “A new tango-jazz fusion piece that highlighted your emotional maturity,” she added, slipping her hands around Jane as she kissed her cheek.  “And a jazz piece that represented a bit of rebellion,” Maura said appreciatively, her lips migrating to Jane’s ear.  “You were an impressive young woman,” she whispered, then suckled Jane’s ear lobe.

“And now?” Jane exhaled, feeling the tingle of arousal wash over her.

“You are a very . . . impressive . . . woman,” Maura said as their lips merged.


In the morning, after they had showered and dressed, Maura joined Jane in the kitchen, slipping her arms around her and pressing herself into Jane’s back as she made coffee.

“Careful, don’t want to spill the coffee,” Jane said with amusement, putting down the coffee grinder to turn and properly greet Maura with a morning hug and kiss.

“Hmmmm.  I like your kisses better than coffee,” Maura mused contentedly, resting her head on Jane’s shoulder.

“Thanks?” Jane responded with a chuckle.  “Hey, you never did open Ma’s present,” she said, looking out to the living room coffee table where the unopened present lay.

Maura tensed. 

“Aren’t you curious?”

“Not really?” Maura said hesitantly.

“Come on.  Open it,” Jane urged, nudging Maura to the living room.  “I’m curious,” she offered, grabbing Maura’s hand and dragging her to the gift.

“Jane,” Maura complained.

“Maura, you realize you are making me even more curious.  Why are you so reluctant?  Do you really think she could get you anything worse than a toilet paper doily?”

“That was kind of sweet,” Maura protested weakly, glancing at the coffee table and the package on it.

“Ugh.  Maura!” Jane whined.

“Fine.  I’ll open it.  Just promise me you won’t get too upset,” Maura said as she picked up the package.

Jane eyed her with a puzzled expression.  Why would she get upset?

When Maura slowly tore open the wrapping paper, it was like she was detonating a bomb, Jane considered with an impatient sigh.  Finally getting to the box, she carefully opened the lid as if it were booby-trapped.  With hesitant fingers, she carefully peeled away the tissue paper with a cringe to reveal . . . .  Maura blinked and looked at the present curiously.

Jane peeked over her shoulder to see a really nice wooden-frame and picture of them in it.  She smiled, noting they did make a very attractive couple.  It was just after she had played for Maura at the reception in the Hatch room in Symphony Hall.  Maura was looking out towards someone with a big smile on her face and she had her arm around her waist, looking adoringly at Maura, perfectly capturing the moment and her love on film. 

Maura felt her press into her back as Jane slid her arms around her waist and placed her chin on her shoulder.  “Danny’s stalking was annoying but he really does take good pictures,” Jane offered softly.  “Though he really couldn’t screw it up with you smiling like that,” she said, kissing her cheek before retreating into the kitchen to prepare their meal.

“So, what do want for breakfast?  I think you have everything,” Jane said, looking in the refrigerator.  “Well, except Lucky Charms.”

“I have that,” Maura offered absently, still holding the wonderful picture in her hands, caressing the edge with her finger. 

“Really?” Jane said with interest and looked around the likely places as Maura went to the piano and proudly displayed the picture on the top of it.

Returning her attention to Jane, she watched as she intently looked in several kitchen cabinets.  Maura frowned.

“Jane, are you really going to choose a sugary processed cereal, that could be easily classified as a dessert, over the multitude of healthier choices available?” Maura asked as she joined Jane in the kitchen.

Jane blinked.  “Uh . . . .” she responded, wondering if that was a trick question.

The End


Thanks to Trusty for proofing....

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