Dolcemente - Part 2

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 5 - Sensational

“What was she thinking?!?” Angela bemoaned, placing the cloth napkin in her lap.  “I want to wring her neck!”

“Angela, darling.  I think you are over-reacting to this tabloid nonsense.  They are known and expected to fabricate sensational stories.  It’s what they do,” Constance said dismissively, taking a sip from her lemonade.  “You know as well as I there is nothing going on between Martha Calderón and Jane.”

“Of course I know!  But the brass is not happy with Jane for bringing the woman they are trying to protect home with her!”  Angela blurted with frustration at her daughter’s questionable judgment.

“I’m sure Jane did what she thought was best for the poor woman,” Constance offered reasonably.

“Unfortunately the brass doesn’t see it that way.  Jane got thrown off the murder investigation!” Angela responded.   

“Oh dear,” she said with surprise.  “It’s not going to hurt her career . . . is it?” Constance asked tentatively.

“Who knows??  I swear to GOD Jane is going to give me a stroke one day!” Angela said, pushing her lunch from her; she was no longer hungry.
Constance’s gaze dropped worriedly.


At the end of the very long day, Jane sat at her desk with a big smile on her face as she pulled out her cellphone and dialed a private number.   After two rings, the call was answered.


“I am back on the case.”  Jane said, her smile hadn’t left her face since Cavanaugh told her the brass changed their minds. 

“There is some sanity in the world!  I wanted to call you after Detective Frost told me this morning, but didn’t want to make it worse.  I am so sorry I got you into trouble for helping me,” Martha said guiltily. 

“It wasn’t your fault and I’d do it again.  Don’t worry about it.  I’m just glad I’m back on this case.  I made you a promise and I intend to keep it.  How’s the security firm you hired?”

“Suffocating.  But a necessary evil.  I’d prefer you and your apartment but that would undoubtedly end the world as we know it.”

“Been there done that, got the front page to prove it,” Jane joked.  “I’m thinking of getting a tee-shirt; they make tee-shirts from pictures and we have several of those, as you know.  I’ll get one for you too.”

Martha laughed warmly.  “I do look forward to seeing you again, Detective.”

“Well, you’re stuck with me unless something else hits the fan,” Jane said wryly, glad she reported the incident with the photographer to Lieutenant Cavanaugh; she was sure something else embarrassing would be printed about her. 

“I could think of worse things, Jane.  I was honored to be in a torrid love affair with you, however brief it was.”

At the end of her shift, Maura entered the bullpen.  It was empty, save for Jane, who was talking on her cell.  She smiled at the sound of Jane’s chuckle.

“And here I thought you were slumming,” Jane said with a laugh, which Maura heard making her smile.  Her friend was in a good mood.

“I’d be honored, Jane,” Martha repeated firmly, leaving no doubt of what she meant.

“Oh,” Jane said with surprise.  “Uh, well,” she added as a small smile emerged,  “Thanks.  I’m gonna have to look up the word torrid though,” she joked.  “I’ll let you know if we are making progress, Martha.”

“I hope it’s soon.”

“Me too.  Bye.”

After hanging up, Jane stared at her desk thoughtfully, then jumped when she heard a voice clearing.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you,” Maura said uncomfortably.  “I heard you are back on the case.”

“Yeah.  I feel like I have whiplash,” Jane noted with a smirk.  “Cavanaugh said the Brass thought taking me off the case was lending credibility to the story.”

“It was surprisingly quick that they would change their mind.”

“Well, I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.  I’m just happy I can keep working the case.  Frost is still running a check into Martha’s manager, which is complicated by his nationality.  I have a funny feeling about him,” Jane said with a thoughtful frown.

“Martha’s . . . manager?” Maura said uncomfortably, noting the use of the pianist’s first name.

“Roberto Trejo.”

“Jane . . . I think you should . . . ,” Maura said uneasily and stopped, knowing Jane would not appreciate her words of advice about being careful.

“I should…?”

“Come over for dinner?  I’ll cook something?”

“Oh . . . ,” Jane said with a wince.  “I have plans tonight.”

“Plans?” Maura repeated with surprise then frowned “You work too hard, Jane.”

“True, but it’s not work,” Jane joked with a smirk.  “Rain check?”

“Of course,” Maura said with a smile that covered her disappointment.


After work, Jane drove across town and parked in front of a small grassy field of simple tombstones.  She got out of her car and looked around, before heading towards a familiar headstone.  She knelt down and placed her fingers against her lips then pressed them to the headstone next to the inscription.

Maria Jane Rizzoli
Beloved Wife, Mother, Grandmother, and Teacher
1922 – 1990

“Hey, Nonna.  I know it’s been a long time,” she said sadly. 


As Jane walked to her car, her stomach growled loudly, prompting her to get a bite to eat in the area.  She found an Indian restaurant and considered it a good change of pace. 

Entering the restaurant, she was greeted by a smiling hostess, who wore a green sari.  Jane noted that was likely the only thing authentically Indian about her, glancing at her strong Italian features.  As she was taken to the back of the restaurant and seated, she noticed how dimly lit the room was in the dining area.  “Enjoy,” the woman said and handed her a menu.  After the hostess left Jane’s smile faded as she opened the menu and tried to read in the poorly lit room.

The waiter appeared by her table.  “Good evening.  What would you like?”

“A cheeseburger and fries?” she joked, imagining the look of disapproval she’d get from Maura.

The waiter sighed, shaking his head. 

“Butter chicken,” Jane quickly ordered with a weak smile, handing back the menu.

“Adventurous,” he said flatly, unimpressed.  “Anything to drink?”

“Ice water is fine.”

“Of course,“ he said flatly and retrieved a red plastic glass and matching pitcher of ice water.

“Thanks,” Jane said after he poured the water.  The waiter glanced at her and silently left her table to give the order to the kitchen.  She silently snorted in amazement at his rude behavior.

As she waited, she sipped her water and glanced around the room.  She noticed a couple in the corner of the restaurant.  It was rather embarrassing to watch them practically molest each other.  She wondered what it would be like to be less inhibited and not worry about public displays of affection, like Maura, who didn’t seem to have a problem with PDA; she winced, recalling the heated kiss with Charles in front of the station that fueled Frost and Korsak’s immature behavior for that whole irritating day.

When the man got up and left for the restroom, she could see the woman’s face; one she recognized.  Anita Riser – from Child Protective Services, she recalled with a slight frown.  She was still at an impasse on the Potter case.  Her frown deepened knowing that there were strict policies about professional conduct and she wondered if playing tonsil hockey in public was bordering on breaking those policies.

The waiter returned with the dinner order.  “Your adventure in Indian cuisine - butter Chicken to go with your . . . ice water,” he said in a condescending tone, causing her to look at him in disbelief at his attitude.  “Enjoy,” he said with a thin smile that looked like he had gas.

As Jane started to eat, the man returned to the Ms. Riser’s table, getting a warm, bordering on indecently hot welcome.  Her eyes widened when she caught a good glimpse of his face.

She quickly pulled out her wallet from her coat pocket and tossed a few bills down to cover the barely eaten meal.  As she started to walk out the door, she glanced at the curious waiter as she passed.  She paused a moment, pulling back her jacket to discreetly reveal her badge and weapon.  “Here’s a really good tip for ya,” she said quietly with a piercing gaze of irritation.  “Never piss off a customer – you never know if they might have a gun.”

Seeing his eyes widen with alarm, Jane left as a small smile of satisfaction emerged.


Jane went to the station and started up her computer.  She debated calling Frost but thought she could do the basic searches she needed.  Pulling out the Potter file, she looked at the picture of the foster parents, Jack and Kim Urban.  Jack was in the Indian restaurant playing tonsil hockey with Anita Riser.

After searching for a few hours through various databases, she started to wish she had imposed upon Frost; he was much better at it.  Finally finding what she was looking for, or rather not finding it, she pulled out her cell phone and pressed her speed dial button and number one. 

After three rings, she heard a soft “Isles.”

“Maura, don’t all Child Services Workers have to undergo a background check and have their fingerprints and DNA on file?”  Jane asked without the usual pleasantries. 

Maura blinked and sat up in her bed. “Not all.  If there is no direct interfacing with children, then DNA may not be required,” Maura said and yawned.

“But Anita Riser has no fingerprints or DNA on file.”

“That’s highly unlikely,” Maura said doubtfully as she rubbed her eyes and asked “Are you sure you are looking in the right database?” 

“Yeeeess,” Jane responded with annoyance.  Sure she was no Frost but she could do computer searches too!  “I found her assistant’s file WITH fingerprints and DNA information.”

“That’s highly unusual,” Maura said, shifting the pillows behind her.

“Thank you for that expert opinion, Doctor Isles,” Jane said dryly.

“Why are you looking into Anita Riser’s file?” Maura asked, ignoring Jane’s sarcasm.

“I saw her with Jack Urban at a restaurant together.  With very public displays of affection,” Jane said, making a disapproving face.  “The kind that makes you want to take a scalding shower with a Brillo pad after witnessing,” she said distastefully.

After an awkward silence, Maura asked.  “Are you suggesting that Anita Riser might have killed Lacy Potter?”

“Well, she did the investigation of Jack and Kim Urban’s Foster Care – which one could question the objectivity of, to say the very least.  And I’m pretty sure adultery is not one of the character traits Child Services is looking for when placing a child in Foster care.”

“In fact it is a disqualifier.  According to Child Protective services regulations, a prospective foster parent may not have a felony conviction - that includes employees for the department as well.  And adultery is a felony in this state.  Per Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 272, Section 14 - a married person who has sexual intercourse with a person not his spouse or an unmarried person who has sexual intercourse with a married person shall be guilty of adultery and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in jail for not more than two years or by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars.”

“Ok.  And you know this, how?” Jane asked with mild concern.

“I looked it up on my laptop, Jane.”

“Oh, here I though you might have memorized all of the Massachusetts State law for fun.”

“No.  I have never really had an affinity for law.”

“Really??  Says the Chief Medical Examiner?” Jane asked with amusement.

“Jane, now you are just being difficult.”

“Sorry,” Jane said with a yawn. “Can you believe those two?  What else are they covering up?  What about the Urban’s other foster kids??  And how the hell does Child Services let someone work without the required checks?  Are they even doing their jobs and looking?” Jane vented her growing frustration.

“All very good questions, Jane.  The State could be putting the children at risk without realizing it,” Maura said with equal concern.

“Because they are not doing their damn job!” Jane snapped.  “I’m going to arrest them all!”

“Jane,” Maura said wearily.  “You’ll need solid proof to go after the Child Services department - not just missing information; they may have a reasonable explanation.  This will become a very sensitive issue for the State,” Maura countered practically.  “And you’ll need DNA from Anita Riser to see if she’s actually connected to Lacy’s beating and not just exhibiting a gross lack of judgment with Karl Urban.”

“I know, which is why I’m going to get the needed warrants and get that proof!” Jane declared passionately.  “I’m going to call the DA’s office right now,” Jane blurted with conviction, on a mission now.

“Jane!” Maura called out so she wouldn’t hang up.


“You might want to wait a few hours,” Maura counseled uncomfortably.

“Why would I do that?!?” Jane said testily. 

“It’s four thirteen in the morning - and you’re not exactly in their good graces,” Maura said carefully. 

“Oh shit!!  I’m so sorry, Maura.  I didn’t mean to disturb you and Jar. . . uh forget it.  I don’t want to know,” Jane said with a cringe.  She really didn’t want to know.

“You’re not disturbing us and it wouldn’t matter.  Charles knows my work is unpredictable and important to me.  I want you to call me, Jane.  Any time - even if it is to bounce an idea off me.” 

“Ok,” Jane said softly, a small smile forming at the offer before it disappeared with her next thought.  “But it’s still interrup…never mind.”

“Just so you know, he’s not here now . . . and he’s unlikely to be for the immediate future,” Maura offered, glancing in the direction of her guest room.

“Oh?” Jane asked, trying to tamp down her immediate curiosity.

“Mother and I decided she should stay with me while she is in town.”

“That’s good, right?  Getting to know your mother better?” Jane offered.

“I think so.  Yes.  She really seems to be making an effort to spend more time with me.  She wanted to see where I work tomorrow.  She has never asked before,” Maura said with surprise in her voice.

“She’s probably realizing what an amazing woman Maura Isles is and how much catching up she has to do,” Jane offered, causing Maura to smile at the sincere compliment that made her extraordinarily happy.  “I’m sorry I missed out on the dinner with you . . . two,” Jane said with a wince, unable to help herself for some masochistic reason.

“Oh, she already had plans with a friend,” Maura readily supplied, unaware she had just brought a small, pleased smile to Jane’s face.  “But if you’d like, we can try to plan something with the three of us, or perhaps the four of us - we should invite Angela too and make it a mother-daughter evening,” Maura said with growing enthusiasm. 

“Great.  Just what we need to do, encourage our mothers to spend time together,” Jane muttered.

“What’s wrong with that?”  Maura asked, genuinely confused by Jane’s concern.

“Why, nothing.  Nothing at all,” Jane said flatly and yawned loudly.

“Have you been working all night??” Maura suddenly asked with disapproval in her voice.

“Uh . . . Kinda?”

“Jane, you need to get some sleep!”


“No buts.  I mean it, Jane,” Maura said sternly.  “Go home and get a few hours.  And I had better not see you in the same clothes when I come in.”

“Fine.  Fine.  You win,” Jane said with a sigh, rubbing her exhausted eyes.  She knew she could use a few hours of sleep before getting warrants and raising hell with the Child Protective Services department; she wanted to be on her A-game for that.

“What was that??  I’m sorry, I don’t think I heard you,” Maura teased.

Jane laughed.  “FINE!  Hanging up now,” she said and heard Maura chuckle before she disconnected.

Maura sighed with a smile, staring at her phone a moment before placing it back in its cradle.

Chapter 6 – Twilight Zone

In the morning, Maura entered the police station’s coffee shop with her mother, who glanced around curiously.  “Well, this is the café,” Maura said, awkwardly motioning around the shop.

“I can see that,” Constance said with amusement, making Maura smile weakly.  They glanced over to the counter and spotted Angela waiting on a customer.  Angela saw them and happily smiled with a small wave, before returning her attention to the young officer and taking his order.

“Perhaps we can have a coffee before we see your office and work area.  That is, if you have the time for coffee, darling,” Constance said with a warm smile.

“Really?” Maura said with delight.  

“Really,” Constance confirmed with a warm smile, though her heart ached from her daughter’s childish enthusiasm for such a simple thing, coffee with her mother; she vowed to make up for the lifetime of neglect.  “You know, I have never seen a Chief Medical Examiner’s office and workspace before,” she relayed, not surprising Maura.

“Most people don’t care to see where bodies go to be examined.”

“I suppose.  However, I am not most people.  I’m the mother of THE Chief Medical Examiner and I would love to see where my daughter works,” she said firmly, making Maura smile happily.  “After a cup of coffee, that is,” she added, making Maura chuckle.

“Of course,” Maura said, her delighted smile still on her face as they went to a table.

As Constance sat, she noted a handsome uniformed man enter the café with urgency, marching towards Angela with a paper in hand.

“That’s Frankie Rizzoli,” Maura supplied, noting her mother’s curious look.  “I wonder what’s going on,” she added absently.


“Frankie!  Where’s the fire??” Angela blurted with irritation as he pulled her back from the counter and handed her the paper as he glanced around the café uncomfortably.  She looked at the headlines and provocative pictures. “Again???” Angela moaned incredulously, rolling her eyes.

“Sorry, Ma.  Just thought you should hear it from family,” Frankie said with a wince.

“Unlike the first time.”


As Angela poured Maura and Constance coffee, she shook her head.  “I really hope this doesn’t hurt you, Maura,” she said worriedly, glancing at the tabloid.

“I don’t see how it would,” she said honestly.

Angela and Constance shared a quick look before glancing back down at the tabloid with showed several pictures of Jane, with two “other women” she was cheating on Martha Calderón with.

“Who’s that blond bimbo?” Angela asked with disapproval, pointing to the picture with the attractive woman kissing Jane’s cheek.  Maura looked at her with interest, wondering how she could have come to that conclusion from those pictures without having met her.  “Doesn’t she know Janie hates it when people get into her personal space?” Angela said, making Maura smile slightly.

“Jane had mentioned something to that effect at lunch,” Maura said with mild satisfaction and sipped her coffee.

“Well, except for you, huh?” Angela said, patting Maura’s hand.  Maura looked at her curiously.

“Clearly,” Constance said with a knowing smile, tapping her finger on the picture of Jane kissing Maura’s cheek, invading her personal space.

Maura took a breath to explain what prompted Jane to kiss her cheek when her mother continued.

“Well, you two do make a striking couple,” Constance offered approvingly.

“Mother…” Maura responded with concern, glancing at Angela uncomfortably.

“She’s right, ya know,” Angela interjected with a warm smile.  “Too bad Janie isn’t a doctor or lawyer, huh?  Like Dr. Pendleton,” she said with a shrug. 

Constance frowned slightly at his name.

“I . . . ,” Maura exhaled, blinking.  “Her profession doesn’t matter,” she said firmly, then cringed at the sound of that.  “I mean, of course it does . . . but . . . uh,” she blurted in helpless confusion and looked between the two older women, who appeared to be hanging on her words. 

“But she’s not a man,” Angela supplied with a shrug and understanding smile.

Maura blinked, wondering how on Earth did she end up talking about Jane as if she were a potential lover?  It wasn’t as if her best friend had ever even showed the slightest bit of interest, she considered and looked down at the tabloid and the picture of Jane kissing her cheek.  A slight flush washed over her as she recalled how . . . pleasant Jane’s attention was.

“Well that is readily apparent,” Constance said with amusement, causing Maura to look up at her mother in alarm until she noted her mother was glancing down at the pictures.  Jane’s not a man - Maura’s brain shifted back to Angela’s comment and the conversation at hand.

“But I think men are overrated,” Constance added conversationally, sipping her coffee.

Maura looked at her mother with surprise.

“Yeah.  Look what my man did,” Angela groused.  “I don’t think a woman would have treated me like that,” she complained, prompting Constance to place a comforting hand on Angela’s arm, drawing Maura’s gaze to Angela’s arm.  

“Sadly, being involved with a woman doesn’t spare you from possible heartache, Angela,” Constance said sagely as she glanced to the paper and retracted her hand, but not before squeezing Angela’s arm sympathetically.

Maura’s curious gaze returned to her mother.  Since when had she been so tactile and compassionate?

“Too bad,” Angela said with a sigh, then snorted with amusement.  “Look at this - according to this article, Romeo Rizzoli is intimately involved with three women at the same time,” Angela noted wryly with a shrug.  “Jane has always been an overachiever.  Her father only cheated on me with one.”

“This article is clearly preposterous,” Maura blurted with irritation, causing Constance and Angela to share another brief look.

“Darling, don’t you think Jane could have several lovers if she wanted?” Constance asked innocently.

“I . . . no . . . I didn’t….” Maura protested weakly, once again terribly confused by this surreal conversation.

“Well, I certainly do,” Constance interjected.  “She’s quite the catch.”

“Aw, thanks Connie,” Angela gushed, withholding a laugh at the perplexed look on Maura’s face.  For someone without a lot of practice, Constance Isles certainly seemed to be a natural at getting under her daughter’s skin, Angela considered with approval.

“Frankly, I am surprised she’s not constantly fighting off suitors,” Constance offered.

“Well, she’s pretty intimidating, even without her gun.  I’ve always told her to be nicer and smile more . . . and not flash her gun and badge so often,” Angela offered wearily with a shrug, drawing Maura’s confused gaze. 

Constance bit her lip to not laugh. 

“She . . . ,” Maura started to counter Angela’s tangent but stopped herself, trying to get back to the original train of thought; she wasn’t really sure why, but she felt compelled to explain “I only meant that Jane would never cheat on anyone.  Jane’s just not like that,” Maura said emphatically.

“Of course, not.  I wasn’t suggesting she was,” Constance easily replied, glancing at Angela, who smirked slightly.    

“Ah sweetie, that’s so sweet of you to defend her honor, though,” Angela said warmly.

“Well, they are best friends,” Constance chimed in, sharing a knowing smile with Angela.

“Yes.  We are best friends,” Maura answered, feeling she was returning to solid ground, finally

Maura glanced uncomfortably between the women, starting to suspect that Jane’s wariness about their mothers spending more time together had serious merit.  She also suspected this conversation of bizarre conjecture, which provoked incredible unease, was akin to something Jane referred to as being in the Twilight Zone.  Though on the positive side of this uncomfortable encounter, Maura considered as she sipped her coffee, she had new appreciation for Jane’s selection of that theme for her mother’s ring tone. 

“Jane ought to try women for a change,” Angela blurted, causing Maura to cough on her coffee.

“You all right, dear?” Constance patted Maura’s back.

“Fine,” she wheezed, realizing she had not yet left the Twilight Zone.

“Who’s to say Miss Right isn’t right in front of her and she might not even know it.  Ya know?” Angela offered, pointing to the picture of the blond for example.  “Well, not her,” she amended, retracting her finger with a wince.

Constance smiled with amusement.  “How very enlightened, Angela.  Being Catholic, I would have thought lesbianism would have bothered you more.”

Maura glanced at Angela, greatly interested in her answer.  She had always heard of Mrs. Rizzoli pushing men on her daughter, never expecting she’d be open to….

“I just want my Janie happy.  As long as she finds someone she loves who treats her right, who am I to say it’s wrong?”

“Well said,” Constance said approvingly, cheering Angela with her coffee cup.

“And besides, I know Lesbian couples can get married and have kids – so I can still see her get married and give me grandbabies,” Angela said with a pleased smile, then looked at Constance’s empty cup.  “A refill?” Angela asked.

“No!” Maura blurted, getting surprised looks.  “Uh, I mean,” she offered uncomfortably.  “I would like to show you my office now, if that is all right?” Maura asked with a weak smile.

“It’s quite all right, darling,” Constance said warmly, getting a relieved look from Maura who stood with a pleased smile, her excitement returning.

“Angela perhaps we can catch up with each other later?”

“It’s a date!”

“Marvelous,” Constance said and turned to her daughter.  “Shall we?”

“O . . . of course,” Maura said with a weak smile, looking between the two women warily before motioning for her mother to precede her out of the café.


“Maura, I am soooo . . . ,” Jane said as she rushed into Maura’s office, abruptly stopping when she saw Constance in Maura’s chair.  “Oh.  Mrs. Isles,” she said uneasily, awkwardly placing the tabloid she carried behind her back.

“Jane, good to see you again.  And please, call me Constance,” she said warmly, receiving a slight nod and smile.  “Maura is discussing a case with her assistant and should be back shortly,” she informed the detective.

“Oh,” Jane said, looking around the office uncomfortably.

“I see you have the latest gossip rag,” Constance said wryly.

Jane winced.  “Mrs. Isle . . . ,”

“Constance,” she corrected once more.

“Constance, I am sorry for dragging Maura through the mud like this,” she said as her gaze dropped guiltily.

Constance frowned.  “Mud?  Jane, darling, if you had seen what was written about me years ago in those rags when I was engaged to Mr. Isles,” she said with a small chuckle.  “And if you really were with Maura, that would hardly be a scandal, it would be wonderful news.  Though, I would certainly hope you wouldn’t seek the attentions of other women while in a relationship with her,” Constance said with an amused smile.

“Uh,” Jane blurted.  “Excuse me??”

“All I’m trying to say is that I don’t think you really understand how unimportant the tabloids are to the Isles family, Jane,” Constance said firmly. 

Jane frowned, believing that was not all Constance Isles was trying to say.

“Unfortunately, the Police Chief, Mayor’s office, and the DA’s office seem to have a different opinion,” Jane said looking down at the tabloid as Maura finally returned to her office.

“A different opinion about what?” Maura asked brightly and stood next to Jane with a smile.

“Maura,” Jane said miserably with a pained cringe. 

“What’s wrong?” Maura immediately asked with worry, instinctively placing a hand on Jane’s arm, which Constance quietly observed with a small smile.

“They barred us from the Potter and Protective Services case.  I am so sorry.”

“Oh dear,” Constance said worriedly, looking between the two.

“Why?” Maura asked with surprise, feeling the sting of the decision.

Jane briefly held up the tabloid.  “The DA thinks the optics of two women working on the case who are reportedly in an intimate relationship, with me cheating with two others at the same time,“ Jane said with clear irritation “…is not exactly helpful to the case involving adultery and inappropriate conduct.  They think if we’re involved it will be a media circus distracting from the case at best, and at worst - the defense might have grounds for repeal.”

“Based on what?!?” Constance blurted indignantly.  “Perception of hypocrisy?  That’s just absurd.” 

Jane looked at Maura’s mother with small smile of gratitude for her support.  Her smile fell, hearing Maura’s rationalization.

“I can see their point.  They want no potential liabilities, however small, for what we expect to be a politically sensitive investigation of the Child Protective Services and Anita Riser,” Maura said logically.
“Maura I am sorry you were dragged into this,” Jane offered softly with a pained wince.

“It’s not your fault, Jane,” Maura said absently with a disappointed sigh; she really wanted to personally conduct the DNA test of Anita Riser when Jane made the connection.

“Certainly not,” Constance added indignantly. 

Jane nodded weakly, unconvinced; had she not taken Martha Calderón to her apartment, there would have been no story and no follow-up article involving Maura that got both of them kicked off a case.  “I’ve got to get back to my desk.  I’m still on the Symphony Hall case . . . for now,” she said dejectedly and started to leave Maura’s office.

Constance glanced over to Maura with worry; but she found to her relief that Maura was already responding.

“Jane,” Maura said taking a quick step to firmly grab her arm.  “Look at me,” she demanded when Jane was hesitant to look her in the eye.  When she reluctantly met her insistent gaze, Maura continued.  “This whole foolish tabloid debacle is not your fault,” she insisted firmly.  “And you shouldn’t second-guess yourself about your actions; actions which were nothing, if not professional.  I know that; everyone who knows you knows that.  And I know if I asked Martha Calderón whether your actions gave her the security and safety she desperately needed during an extremely vulnerable time, I know the answer; it would be a resounding yes.” 

Jane intently listened to Maura, whose unwavering faith in her slowly lifted the burden of guilt.

“The Brass is being extraordinarily careful on what will no doubt be a volatile case - a case that you found key evidence for.  You may not get the satisfaction of getting the arrest personally, but you should feel great satisfaction in knowing that because of you, many children will be helped,” Maura said with a fire in her eyes.

“You’re guessing . . . about the outcome,” Jane noted softly with a small smile, looking into Maura’s mesmerizing eyes that narrowed slightly.

“No.  I’m using current evidence and experience to support my conclusion.”

“You mean, your gut,” Jane countered as her smile grew slightly.

“My brain, not my intestines, Jane,” Maura scolded mildly with feigned exasperation, causing a small chuckle from Jane – an immensely satisfying sound to Maura.

Jane’s soft chuckle quickly faded as she offered: “I hope in all this mess, they don’t forget about Lacy.”

“I won’t,” Maura offered.  “And I won’t let my team,” she vowed and Jane believed her.

They looked at each other a long, silent moment before Jane’s gaze dropped, pausing a dangerous moment at Maura’s lips before glancing over to Constance, who had the grace to be inspecting an interesting paperweight on Maura’s desk.  With a small, lopsided smile, Jane whispered “Thanks” and placed a hand over Maura’s.  With a gentle squeeze, Maura hesitantly released her arm.

Maura watched Jane leave.  After a moment, she felt her mother’s comforting hand on her shoulder and smiled tightly.  “You’re a good friend, Maura,” Constance said proudly.

“I wish I could do more.”

“I know, darling.  But you have eased her burden for now,” Constance said with a small smile.  “That is an incredible gift for someone like Jane.”

“She’d do the same for me,” Maura offered dismissively and added quietly “she has.”

Constance simply nodded.  “So!  Where are these dead bodies I keep hearing about?” she asked brightly, causing Maura to chuckle.

Chapter 7 – Protégé


Jane and Korsak stood at the hotel door.  “Wonder if she’ll be pissed at you, Romeo,” Korsak joked with amusement.

Jane shook her head with a sigh as she knocked on the door.  As Korsak took a breath for another comment, Jane interjected with an angry groan “Korsak, I swear to GOD…!”

“Touchy touchy,” Korsak said, holding his hands up innocently.

A muscular man in an ill-fitting blazer answered the door.  Jane and Korsak flashed their badges, which didn’t impress the security guard.

“Detectives Rizzoli and Korsak, Boston PD.  Ms. Calderón is expecting us,” Jane offered with an easy smile, one that was not returned Jane noted.  Perhaps his tie is too tight, she considered with a slight frown.

The man stepped back and allowed them to enter.  “Thanks,” she said with a friendly smile, causing the guard to roll his eyes. 

Korsak glanced around the large, impressive suite, and looked at Jane, silently mouthing “classy.”  Jane had to agree.

“Jane,” Martha said, warmly greeting the Detective with kisses on both her cheeks. “I wasn’t sure you’d return to me after having strayed.  I’m not sure I should take you back,” she teased.

Jane wasn’t sure if she should respond and caught Korsak’s smirk.  She glared at him to behave as the pianist turned her attention to the other officer.

“Detective Korsak,” Martha said cordially, offering only a polite nod, which both detectives noted.

“Ms. Calderón,” he said respectfully.

“Nice place,” Jane said, scratching her neck and looking around the large suite.  “Nice big place,” she added, spotting the grand piano with interest.

“It is adequate,” Martha said, looping her arm in Jane’s as they walked towards the Steinway.  Korsak’s smirk grew as he followed at a distance.  He glanced back the guard who sat in a chair reading a newspaper.  Tough work, he considered wryly, wondering how much this gig paid.

“Don’t you keep the neighbors up with your playing?” Jane joked.

“I am told there is sound proofing, so they are spared the noise,” she said wryly.  “So, do you and Detective Korsak have any leads?” Martha asked and sat on the edge of the piano bench as Korsak continued to roam around the suite and listen. 

“A few things to follow-up on.  Did you know Kyle Gruhoffer was taking medication for anxiety?” Jane asked as she took a seat near the bench.

“Yes.  He struggled with his anxiety since he started our tour to promote the album of duets.  It is . . . was,” Martha corrected herself with a wince “his first tour and album.  Why?” Martha asked curiously.

“It appears he had ingested more than the normal dosage, which can lead to medical complications including heart attacks, which was determined to be the cause of death,” Jane offered, studying her reaction.

Martha frowned.  “Kyle was very careful about his medication,” she said confidently, then hesitated, thinking.  “Or he seemed to be.  He said it affected his performances so he had certain times he would take it.  I can’t imagine him taking too much.  His music meant too much to him,” Martha offered earnestly.

“Do you know what foods he liked to eat?” Jane asked, getting a surprised look from the pianist.

“Rich foods.  He wasn’t one to pass up a French fry or potato chip,” she offered, getting an understanding nod from Jane as she took notes.  Martha recalled a memory with a wistful smile “He loved to celebrate after a performance – he was also not one to pass up wine or champagne, either.”

Jane looked at her thoughtfully.  “You had previously mentioned he had not been drunk, but did you see him drink any alcohol the night of his death?”

“A glass of champagne.  We all had a toast for the successful performance.”

“You had also mentioned he was your Protégé,” Jane said and looked her in the eye as she gently asked “did you have an . . . intimate relationship?”

“Of course we did, Detective,” Martha said honestly, noting what looked like disappointment cross Jane’s face before her neutral mask returned.  “When one shares music with another, one can not help but be intimate,” Martha felt compelled to elaborate.

“Were you physically intimate?”  Jane persisted.

“How so . . . exactly?” Martha innocently asked with a slight smile.

Jane frowned.  “Were you sexually involved?”

Martha looked at her a long moment before answering.  “No.  As I think you are aware, I prefer the female form, Detective,” Martha said, continuing to focus intently on Jane.  

Korsak looked between the two women with great interest, not having known Ms. Calderón’s preferences except for what was written in the tabloids, which he took with a grain of salt.

“How does one become your protégé?” Jane asked, ignoring the subtle and not-so-subtle comments.

“There is no formula, Jane,” Martha sighed, getting up from her bench and walking along the piano, allowing her fingers to trace over the instrument like a caress.  “I meet someone who has a passion to learn and who I think I can teach.  And of course, the person must truly have promise, not just . . . desire,” she said, glancing at Jane intently again as she sensually leaned against the instrument. 

Korsak fingered his collar, wondering how Jane was faring with those looks being directed at her.

“When I find someone with the right qualities, I will commit my time and energy to see that they learn what I know.  And in return I get exposed to a fresh, unique perspective.”

“Do you have more than one protégé?  Someone who might be jealous of Kyle Gruhoffer’s success?” Jane asked.

“I thought you said he died of a heart attack.  Do you really think he was murdered?” Martha blurted with alarm. 

“I don’t know.  The evidence is inclusive.  He could have died from natural causes or an overdose of Adapin, accidentally or intentionally.”

“He would never have killed himself,” Martha said emphatically.

Jane nodded.  “Any other students?”

Martha shook her head no.  “I have precious little time to devote to my own music and guide Kyle’s.  And I can’t imagine any of them being able to . . . kill.”

“Unfortunately, people surprise us all the time,” Jane offered softly, making Martha pause uneasily. 

“As far as jealousy is concerned, there is no reason.  Kyle’s success has not yet been realized; we have not released the album – his first.  I don’t see how anyone I taught before would feel Kyle was garnering more attention or was more successful,” she said, clearly perplexed at the potential for her former protégés to be murderers.

“For thoroughness, would you please give us a list of your protégés names?” Jane asked.

Martha sighed heavily, thinking it would not be very useful but relented.  “Very well,” she said and leaned forward, placing her hand on Jane’s that held the notepad, which Jane relinquished.  Holding her other hand out, Martha waited, getting a small smile from Jane who handed her the pen too.  Martha jotted down a few names and handed back the pad to Jane.

“Thanks,” Jane said softly.

A loud, insistent banging on the door startled everyone in the suite.  Standing protectively in front of the pianist, Jane glanced at Korsak, who stepped closer to the door with his hand on his weapon, focusing on the noisy arrival with interest.  The security guard answered the door and blocked the way of the irate man.

“Get the hell out of my way, you buffoon!” Roberto Trejo spat and tried to barge his way in, easily detained by the guard.  “Get your filthy hands off of me!”

“Calm down,” the guard said in a deep voice, which annoyed Ms. Calderón’s manager more. 

“You know I’m her goddamn manager and I need to see her!”

“Daniel, let him in,” Martha said with a heavy sigh.  The guard frowned and stepped back as directed, allowing the angry man to march into the suite.  He stopped in his tracks, seeing the Boston police officers.

“I thought I told you NO interviews without my presence!” Roberto spat at Martha, who rolled her eyes.

“Are you her lawyer?” Korsak asked politely, earning a glare.

“We were about to finish up but . . . ,” Jane said hesitantly, looking at Martha with concern. 

Martha smiled slightly and walked towards her, stepping into Jane’s personal space.  “It’s all right, Detective,” she said in a quiet voice. 

With the crisis apparently passed, Daniel sighed and sat back down, picking up his magazine.  Both Korsak and Roberto watched the women, annoyed they couldn’t hear their conversation.

“I grew up on the streets of Cordoba.  I know how to handle an angry man,” Martha offered with mild amusement.  “Roberto is harmless.”

“If you say so,” Jane said with a sigh, making Martha smile warmly at her concern.

“I do and I have Daniel here.  Though you know the arrangements I’d prefer . . . ,” Martha said with a sly smile, not needing to finish as she glanced over to the two curious men staring at them.  “You have my number.  Please call if you wish to talk about the case or . . . ,” she offered, slowly placing a kiss on both of Jane’s cheeks.

Roberto rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest with a disapproving grunt.  Korsak frowned slightly.

“Martha,” Jane said uncomfortably, feeling a warm flush wash over her.  “I’ll be in touch,” she said, getting a smile.

“I hope so.  I have one more performance in Boston.  I am hoping to go to Bar Harbor to finish the tour,” she said.

“I can’t promise you anything,” Jane said with a wince.

“I’m not looking for promises, Detective,” Martha noted with a slight smile, giving Jane pause.


“Would you mind telling me what the hell was all that in there?” Korsak said in a hushed tone as they left the pianist’s hotel room.

“What?  Are you buying into the Tabloid crap too?”  Jane snapped as she entered the elevator.

“What I saw in there was real.  She’s attracted to you,” Korsak said quietly, not that it mattered.  They were alone in the elevator. 

Jane glared at him. 

 “And . . . ,” he said and paused, debating whether to mention his other observation.

“Do you have a point, Korsak?” Jane said tersely, crossing her arms across her chest.

Korsak shook his head, knowing Jane was stubborn and unreceptive to his attempted cautionary words.  He sighed heavily and pulled out a handkerchief.  He handed it to her, causing her to eye it in confusion.

“You’ve got lipstick on your cheeks.”


“Maura, did you process the….,” Jane asked as she blew into Maura’s lab. “Oh.  Hey Frost,” she said and smiled at Maura.

“Hey, Jane.  Any breaks on the Symphony Hall cases?” He asked curiously.

“Not yet.  Just got back from interviewing Martha.  Her manager is a piece of work; Korsak is looking into his background.  Whatchya got there?” Jane asked, seeing a swab in the evidence bag that Frost held.

“DNA sample of Anita Riser,” he said with a big grin.

Jane looked at Maura with concern.  Maura nodded in understanding. 

“I know I can’t process it personally.  My assistant will do it,” Maura said and looked at Frost.  “If you’ll please place it in the basket on the counter, I won’t even need to touch it,” Maura offered, causing Frost to shift uncomfortably

He had never been banned from working a case; like the whole department, he thought it was ridiculous for people of Jane and Maura’s caliber to be tainted by the messy politics of public perception.  Well, except for Crowe, he considered with a cringe.

“Good,” Jane said with a small smile.  “I was wondering if your team had processed the Adapin bottle for fingerprints yet.”

“Not yet,” Maura said apologetically.  “But it’ll get done today,” she promised.


“You think someone tampered with his meds?” Frost asked with interest.

“I’m not ruling anything out at this point,” Jane said with a sigh, causing Frost to nod.

“Gotta get back to Crowe,” he said with a groan and started to leave.

“Sorry about that,” Jane called out with amusement.

“Uh huh.  Tell me again why you got Korsak?” Frost asked at the door.

“Cavanaugh knew I’d be more likely to shoot Crowe before the end of the day?” She joked.

“After today, I’m not sure that will be true,” Frost frowned.  “Oh, I thought you might want to know - we’ve got the Inspector General’s Office involved in auditing Child Protective Services.  They’ve found other gaps in personnel records,” Frost offered.

Jane frowned and shook her head in disgust.  “Did they even once think about the kids?”

“Well, they are thinking about them now,” Frost said, lightly tapping on the doorjamb with a fist before leaving the women alone.

“Are you free for dinner tonight?” Maura blurted with a smile.  “I thought we could also catch a movie.”

Jane winced.  “Sorry, I’ve got plans.”

“Oh,” Maura said with surprise.  “Anything interesting?” Maura asked curiously, forcing a smile to hide her disappointment.

“I think so,” Jane said with a smirk.  “You’ll let me know about the Adapin bottle?”

“Of course,” Maura said.

“Thanks,” Jane said with a smile and left the lab. 

Maura watched the Detective until she was out of sight with a dissatisfied frown.


Jane sat at her desk, sifting through a folder on the Brian Carter case, reviewing the sketchy facts.  A popping sound, cables cut except for one - which had explosive residue on it – but no traces of detonator.  It looked like an intentional act to have the light fall.  From a background check of Brian Carter, he did not appear to be a target.  He was never arrested, had an excellent work record with Symphony Hall, an all around, squeaky-clean guy.  Not to mention Martha said he had pushed her out of the way, which would mean she was the likely target.  But who would like to kill off a famous pianist?  And was that intended murder connected to the death of Kyle Gruhoffer an up-and-coming pianist and protégé to Martha Calderón?

“Anything on Trejo, yet?” Jane asked Korsak with a heavy sigh.

“Nope.  But I found something else interesting,” Korsak said as Jane came to his desk.

“A car accident three years ago?” She said, sitting on the corner of his desk as she read the article on his screen.  “Promising pianist…,” Jane read and paused, glancing to Korsak.  “Francesca Arrau, died in a tragic car accident in Buenos Aires following the final, sold-out performance of the wildly successful Argentinian tour of celebrated pianist . . . Martha Calderón,” she said looking at him with a raised brow. 

“Keep reading,” Korsak said, motioning to his screen.

“Arrau, who survived a large . . . apartment fire,” Jane said with surprise.  “…earlier in the month, said she still had her health and her music, for which she thanked God every day,” Jane said with amazement, looking curiously at a picture of Francesca and Martha on stage, receiving a standing ovation.

Jane read on.  “Martha Calderón, too distraught for an interview, released a statement about her protégé.  ‘It is rare to find a soul whose music transcends our physical limitations.  When Francesca played, we knew no limitations and heard what was in her heart.  The country has lost a treasure, I have lost a friend,” Jane said softly, looking at another picture – one of Martha with Lidia’s arm around her, consoling her.

“Interesting, huh?  You know, Janie, bad things seem to happen to people around her.  You’d better be careful,” Korsak teased, prompting Jane to roll her eyes with an annoyed groan.

“Why must Jane be careful?” Maura asked as she approached them.  “Well, other than the obvious.”

“The people around Jane’s girlfriend have really bad luck,” Korsak snickered.

“Would you give it a rest, Korsak!?!” Jane snapped and returned to her desk.

“Jane’s . . . girlfriend?”  Maura said curiously, looking between the two in confusion.

Jane shook her head with a heavy sigh and sat in her chair.

“Martha Calderón,” Korsak supplied helpfully.  “The woman Romeo here cheated on with you and the other woman,” Korsak added with a chuckle.

“Ah,” Maura said with understanding.  “Actually, the more apt term in this scenario would be Casanova.  He was known for his seduction and sexual conquests of several women whereas Romeo was known for only romancing Juliet . . . and as you know, that ended badly.”

“One should always try to be apt,” Jane said flatly.

“Casanova Rizzoli?  Nah, Romeo Rizzoli has a nicer ring to it,” Korsak said as he printed out the article on Francesca Arrau. 

“I suppose that is one reason for the inaccurate sobriquet,” Maura allowed with a slight frown.

“Jane??” Angela called out as she entered the bullpen.

“Oh look, Mama Montague herself,” Jane muttered, causing Maura to smile with delight; Jane always had a way of surprising her with her knowledge.  “Hi, Ma.  What’s up?” Jane asked.

“I know it’s not Sunday but . . . ,” she said with a wince.  “What do you say you and Maura come by the guest house for dinner?  Connie and I thought it might be fun to have another mother daughter dinner.  What do you say?” Angela looked hopefully between the two women.

“Ah, darn Ma.  I already made plans.  But I’m sure Maura would love to,” Jane said with a thin smile as she batted her eyelashes at her friend.

“No!  I mean . . . uh, that sounds lovely Angela but . . . I have plans with Charles.  Sorry,” Maura said uncomfortably.  Jane looked at Maura with amusement.  Seeing Jane’s amused smirk, Maura shifted uneasily.

“So what are your plans, Jane??” Angela asked bluntly with a frown.  Maura looked at Jane with a pointed look and now batted her eyelashes at Jane, pleased Angela had asked the question. 

Jane’s eyes narrowed at Maura slightly before glaring at her intrusive mother.
Plans that don’t involve me coming to the guest house and having dinner with you and,” Jane said with irritation then stopped and winced “. . . oh please don’t tell me you are calling Constance Isles Connie to her face; she must think we’re grade-A dorks!”

“Connie is a friend, Jane.  You know the only one worried about her name is you!” Angela protested.  “Right Maura?”

“I . . . .”

“Would you not drag Maura into this?  The fact is neither Maura and I are free so perhaps we should try another time?  OK??”  Jane said, getting a heavy sigh from her mother. 

“Fine,” Angela said tersely, disappointed the dinner plans fell through.

“That would be lovely,” Maura offered with a smile for Angela.

You area sweet girl, Maura,” Angela said with a warm smile, then glared pointedly at Jane, who chuckled and rubbed her eyes.  “I’ll tell Connie we’ll need to try another time.  See ya later girls,” she said and turned to leave.  “Vince,” she said on the way out, offering a shy smile for the Detective who weakly waved with a small smile.

After Angela left, Jane leaned back in her chair and looked at Maura.  “You so totally lied to her!” Jane said with an amused snort.

“I did not,” Maura said defensively, shifting uncomfortably.

“So does Charles know of these plans of yours this evening?” Jane said with a knowing smile.

“Uh . . . not yet,” Maura said, biting her lip.

Jane’s smile widened.  “So being alone with the two of them spooks you, doesn’t it?  Admit it,” Jane said with a smirk.

Maura wanted to deny it but she couldn’t.  “It does seem that they are communicating on a different plane.  I’m not sure how to describe it; but it is quite…uncomfortable.”

“Ah Grasshopper, you are learning,” Jane said in a poor accent, bowing her head.

Maura looked at her, her head tilting slightly in confusion, not understanding the reference.

“Oh come on, you’ve must have watched Kung Fu!” Jane said.

“I have seen a very impressive Kung Fu weapons demonstration when our fencing team hosted Chinese students during their stay in Boston,” Maura said enthusiastically.

“Kung Fu was a TV show Pop really loved . . . , you know what?  You need to see it to understand.  We’ll have to have a Kung Fu night – with Chinese, of course.”

Maura smiled at the thought of spending more time with Jane.  “I look forward to it!”

Jane smiled at her enthusiasm.  Maura and she shared a smile for an unusually long moment that caused Jane’s smile to fade as she looked at Maura curiously.

“Oh,” Maura said, her appreciation of Jane’s expressive eyes interrupted.  “I have the results on the Adapin bottle, if you’re interested,” Maura offered with a pleased smile at the spark of anticipation in Jane’s eyes.

“Tell me you have something good,” Jane pleaded.

“I have something good,” Maura dutifully repeated back.

“Yes!”  Jane said with a fist pump.  “What did you find??”

“Uh . . . well, I’m afraid it’s not THAT good,” Maura winced.

“What is it?”

“We retrieved two partial fingerprints off the bottle that are not Kyle Gruhoffer’s.  There are no matches in AFIS,” Maura said.

“Does AFIS access passport biometrics for other countries?” Jane asked pointedly, looking at Maura.

“Unfortunately, there is no master world database, yet,” Maura offered, interested by Jane’s question.  Jane had an uncanny ability to unravel complex cases into fundamental principles of human behavior.  Her deductive reasoning was truly fascinating, Maura considered with appreciation.

“You’re thinking Argentinian suspects?” Korsak asked, getting Jane to nod.  “Doc, can you forward me the prints?  I’ll see if I can get some help accessing the biometrics.”

“Of course,” Maura offered, interested in where Jane’s hunch might lead.

“Let me know what you find?” Jane asked Korsak, who nodded as she got up and looked at her watch and grabbed her coat.

“Hot date?” Maura joked with an uneasy smile.

“Of course I am,” Jane joked.  “Just look at the tabloids,” she added, shaking her head at the irony.  “See you tomorrow, assuming it’s quiet,” Jane said and walked out.

Maura frowned in frustration.  “Is she deliberately obfuscating?” 

Korsak looked at Maura.  “I think she thinks the less she says, the less we can tease her,” he said with a shrug. 

“She has been through a lot lately with the tabloids,” Maura said sympathetically.

Korsak snorted.

“What?” Maura asked curiously.

“She may have been through a lot lately, but it can get worse if she’s not careful,” Korsak warned. 

“Careful?  Vince, what are you talking about?” Maura said with concern.

Vince sighed.  “I know Jane wouldn’t compromise an investigation because of … emotional attachments,” he said uncomfortably.  “But I think Ms. Calderón and Jane have one.  And while Ms. Calderón has been more overt in her interest with Jane . . . ”

“Overt?” Maura said with surprise and a tinge of another feeling that was new to her - a feeling she did not particularly like.

Korsak cringed.  “Uh, just trust me, she is.”

Maura frowned, though she could understand the pianist’s interest in Jane, who was noble, intelligent, kind, and of course, physically attractive.  Exceptionally so….

“I don’t think it’s one way,” he offered, startling Maura.  “And as you know with the Potter case, it doesn’t matter if there is anything there it’s the perception that there is that counts.  Jane just needs to be careful,” he finished uncomfortably.

Maura looked at him with a weak nod of agreement, feeling a growing unease.

Chapter 8 – Fine Dining


“Jane can be so infuriating!” Angela groused as she placed a slice of pepperoni on a plate for Constance then served herself.  “Jane is . . . God knows where, and Maura is out with Dr. Pendleton.  Not exactly the perfect evening we planned,” she said with a heavy sigh.

“Well, you must admit our idea was not exactly well thought out.  We need to plan better,” Constance added optimistically, accepting the plate.  “And don’t worry about Charles,” Constance smirked.  “Once he realizes I’m here, he won’t try to spend the evening.  He’s not that bold,” she said confidently.

“Maura deserves someone who can’t be intimidated by her mother,” Angela said with a frown.  “Beer?”

“Uh, sure,” Constance replied cautiously and accepted a longneck bottle.  “Unfortunately, I’m rather intimidating - even when I’m not trying,” she said wryly.

“You shouldn’t apologize for THAT.  It’s actually a good thing, ya know?  It’s like a gauntlet . . . if someone can still get the family stamp of approval – they are worthy of our daughters.”

“But . . . ,” Constance said, then fell quiet with a wince.

“But what?”

“From what I understand with Jane, you are not exactly a discriminating . . . gauntlet,” Constance offered awkwardly.

Angela smirked.  “That’s because Jane is the gauntlet.  I don’t have to be.  So I pushed a few . . . less than desirable dates her way,” she admitted with a shrug.  “Unless she’s out there actively dating, who’d know she’s available?  Right??”

“Uh . . . well, I suppose,” Constance said with a polite smile.  “I’m afraid with Maura’s taste, I will need to be the gauntlet until Jane is in the picture.”

Angela nodded thoughtfully.  “I hope you know that even if it doesn’t work with Janie, I’d hope that Maura finds someone worthy.  She really is a sweet girl.”

“Oh Angela, thank you.  I wish I could take credit for how she turned out but she is who she is - in spite of me,” Constance said sadly and took a sip of beer, finding it not so bad.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, Connie.  You’re here now and that’s what matters,” Angela said sincerely.  “To our daughters,” she said, clinking the necks of the beer bottles together. 

“To our daughters,” Constance said approvingly and took another sip.  “You know, this is really good,” she offered with genuine surprise, making Angela chuckle.

“Plenty more where that came from,” Angela said with a smile.


“This was a nice surprise,” Charles said as he sat across from Maura in the restaurant.

“I know spur of the moment plans don’t usually work out for us but I thought I’d give it a go,” she said with a smile. 

“I’m glad you did.  And you were able to get us a cozy table for two,” Charles said with a grin.

The waiter came over with menus, which Charles waved off and just ordered.  “I’ll have a filet mignon medium with a glass of ’98 Stag’s Leap Cabernet.  She’ll have the Coquille St. Jacques with a glass of ’02 Cullen Chardonnay.”

“Right away, sir,” the waiter said with a slight bow and left.

Maura frowned slightly.  “What if I had wanted the salmon?”

Charles looked at her with surprise.  “Do you want the salmon?”

After a thoughtful moment she responded “no.”  He smirked.  “But you always order for both of us,” she offered curiously.

“You never complained before,” Charles countered with a frown.

“I had not really thought about it before.  Why do you do that?” She asked.

“Do what?” Charles asked, confused by her questions.

“Order for me?” She asked curiously.

“I . . . if you want something besides Coquille St. Jacques, I’ll go get the waiter,” Charles said with irritation, perplexed by his date.

Maura thought a moment.  “No.  That won’t be necessary.  I’m actually in the mood for Coquille St. Jacques.”

Charles stared at her.


“I made her take ballet lessons,” Angela said as they retired to Maura’s couch with their beers.  “Something I never got to do,” Angela said regretfully, sipping her beer, her fourth – one behind Constance, who was really enjoying the beverage more than she had expected.

“Ballet is a wonderful thing,” Constance gushed.

“I thought so – the grace and beauty of it all,” Angela said with a shrug, sipping her beer.  “But Jane didn’t like it,” she offered then chuckled weakly.  “Well, that’s an understatement – she hated it.”

“I can see that her height might have been a problem,” Constance said thoughtfully, sipping her beer. 

“Yeah, she grew quickly.  She wasn’t very graceful, like a baby giraffe trying to walk,” Angela said with a smirk, getting an amused snort from Constance.  “Oh she wasn’t a total klutz – she excelled at softball and track, she was better than her brothers and competitive as all get out,” she offered with a shrug.  “But Jane really wasn’t made for ballet and hated it.  Oh and the tutus!  The fights we would have over the tutus, you’d have thought I was asking her to swallow rusty thumbtacks or something!” Angela said, shaking her head at the memories. 

Constance smiled, envisioning Jane’s rebellion.  Her smile faded, recalling Maura never complained about anything . . . and wishing she had.

“But I thought if I just made her go some more, it would grow on her and my little girl would learn to love it,” Angela said with a frown. 

“You didn’t have Frankie or Tommy take ballet?” Constance asked curiously.

“Ha!  Like they’d be caught dead in tights!  There would have been a mutiny and Frank would have disowned me and them!” Angela said with amusement.

“I find it sad that Jane’s aversion to ballet was not respected because of her gender, yet the men’s were.  At least Jane had her own interests and as you said, excelled at them.  It would have really been tragic if she was discouraged from those interests because of gender roles - she may have felt like a failure; not fitting into a mold that was never meant for her.”

Angela looked at Constance with a frown.  “Are you channeling Nonna Rizzoli or something?”
“Nonna Rizzoli?” Constance asked curiously, sipping her beer.

“You want to talk about intimidating mothers?” Angela groused.  “Frank’s mother was the most strict and uncompromising woman I have ever met!  She was a music teacher and of course my lack of any musical ability didn’t win any points with her.  But Jane took to her immediately.  I think . . . I know I was jealous of their relationship,” Angela admitted with difficulty.  “Jane would go to Nonna Rizzoli’s for hours.  I know our house was not exactly a great environment for her to play, but we had a piano and I tried to curb the boys’ behavior to give her practice time.”

“She played piano?” Constance said with interest.

“Yeah.  She did,” Angela said thoughtfully and sipped from her bottle.


“Have you ever watched the TV show called Kung Fu?” Maura asked Charles, who paused his forkful of chocolate cake at his lips.

“Uh . . . Why??”

“Jane had referenced it today and I was unaware of the TV show.  Did you enjoy it?”

“I . . . I guess.  It was a while ago.  Kind of hokey – a Shaolin priest roaming the old west and fighting for good while searching for family, yadda yadda,” he said dismissively, waving his fork for emphasis. 

Maura nodded.  Family - a simple word that held so much meaning.  And thanks to Jane, she had learned what it was like to have one.  She smiled to herself, thinking about how much the Rizzoli family meant to her.  They had accepted her, idiosyncrasies and all.

“I think I’d like to go home now,” Maura said softly, getting a surprised look from Charles, who then smirked.

“Your wish is my command,” he said, waving to the waiter.


“So she doesn’t play anymore?”  Constance asked curiously.

Angela frowned.  “No.  She stopped after her hands were injured,” she said, looking down at her own, scar-free palms.  “I’m just happy she is able to use her hands for everyday stuff.  We weren’t sure she’d be able to, ya know?” she said with a quiver in her voice, recalling her fears for Jane.

“I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you,” Constance said sympathetically, finishing off another beer.

“Yeah, well, I wasn’t the one with my hands stabbed by scalpels,” Angela said with a sniff, trying not to tear up.  “Jane worked so hard to get her hands working.  I just wish….” she said and fell silent with a thoughtful frown.

“You wish what?” Constance asked gently.

“I just wish she would have let me help her.  But she pushed me away, Connie.  She pushed everyone away - like she had to prove she wasn’t weak,” Angela said sadly.  “No one ever thought that.  Janie is one of the strongest people I know,” she said emphatically.  “But my baby was hurt and wouldn’t let her own mother help her,” Angela said weakly as tears began to fall.  “She never has talked to me about Hoyt.  Even after this last time when she finally took care of him for good, thank God.  I was always worried about her but I just wanted her safe, you know?” Angela said and shook her head with a sad laugh.  “If only she had been interested in plumbing.”

“Oh Angela, that would be like expecting Jane to want to be a ballerina.  From what Maura has told me, Jane is perfectly suited for her profession and excels at it.”

“I know!  I just wish she wasn’t so damn good and liked plumbing!” Angela groused, causing Constance to chuckle.  “She never did listen to me,” she added with a frown.

“Perhaps . . . that’s because you never listened to her?” Constance offered hesitantly.

Angela looked at Connie with irritation.

“I’m sorry, Angela.  I shouldn’t have presumed to say anything - as if I know anything about motherhood,” Constance said dejectedly.

“No.  It’s all right.  You’re right you know,” Angela admitted reluctantly.

“Jane, continue with your scales, while I chat with your mother,” Nonna said to Jane, who was still in her softball uniform from the game earlier that day.  Jane frowned, but nodded and did what she was told without argument.

Angela frowned slightly, wishing just once Janie would do as she said without argument.  She watched her mother-in-law slide the pocket doors shut, closing off the music room, though Jane’s dutifully played scales were heard loud and clear.

Maria Rizzoli sat on her couch with a thoughtful look.  Angela found the silence uncomfortable.

“So . . . how is Jane doing?” Angela asked awkwardly as Maria a patted the seat next to her.  Angela smiled weakly and sat rigidly next to her mother-in-law.

“Molto bene,” she said with a pleased smile.  “Which is what I wanted to discuss with you.  I am thinking she has a very good chance of getting into the Boston Conservatory’s summer music program.”

“That sounds expensive,” Angela said worriedly.

“It costs nothing except hard work - she would have to focus more on her music and try out.  The competition is substantial, but I think Jane has the talent to get in – with more practice.  And if she gets in, many more doors will be opened for her.”

“And where’s she gonna get this time for more . . . ?  Oh.  I should have known,” Angela said with annoyance, rolling her eyes.  “Janie is not giving up her ballet lessons,” Angela said stubbornly. 

“Angela, Jane will never be a ballerina, no matter how much you may wish it.  But she could be a pianist or whatever else her heart desires.”

“She’s playing piano because it makes you happy,” Angela countered with irritation.

“You clearly do not pay attention to your own daughter.  She plays because it suits her,” Maria said with irritation.

Angela was about to respond but her surprised gaze was drawn toward the music room when she heard Jane’s scales become more impressively complex.  She glanced at her mother-in-law who smiled knowingly.   

“Angela, she takes ballet because it suits you; and she goes because you have threatened to take away the things she loves – softball, track, piano - if she does not,” Maria said with a frown. “And in forcing her, you risk a precious thing.”

“Yeah, what’s that?” Angela said a bit defensively.

“Her trust,” Maria said bluntly, causing Angela to wince.  “I know you love her, Angela.  But you cannot force her to be something she is not.  Let her be who she is; encourage her and you will be amazed by how she blooms,” Maria said imploringly.

“I just want her to be happy,” Angela said weakly.

“I know,” Maria sighed.

The pocket doors slowly slid open and Jane poked her head in.  “More scales?” Jane said uncomfortably.

Angela took a good look at her daughter, who had a dirt stain smeared across her team jersey.  She just wished Jane would like more of what she did - the pink canopy bed, pretty dresses, ballet and shopping, cheering the boys on . . . not trying to beat them at their own game.  She just wished she and Jane had more in common, she considered wistfully.

“Excellente, amore mio,” Nonna said with a warm smile, causing Jane to smile broadly. 

Angela couldn’t help but notice Jane’s pure happiness, one she never saw with ballet classes.  Her gaze dropped with guilt.  Janie definitely got the musical talent from Frank’s side of the family, she considered dejectedly and looked at her daughter with an uneasy smile.

“Janie?  Nonna says there’s a summer program at Boston Conservatory that you might like,” Angela offered, causing her mother-in-law to look at her with hopeful surprise.

Jane looked between the two women uncomfortably.  “I’d have to try out,” Jane said guardedly, slowly entering the living room.

“Yeah.  Well, of course and you’d have to practice a lot more because the competition is pretty fierce from what I understand,” Angela said. 

“I can do it, Ma,” Jane said with growing hope.

“But I’m afraid you’d have to cut down on your other activities to focus on your music.”

“Oh,” Jane said dejectedly, looking down with disappointment.

“Now I know Mr. Reardon and Miss Demetrious would kill us if you dropped softball and track.  So as I see it, if you want this, you’ll need to drop ballet,” she said, watching Jane’s eyes pop up in disbelief.

“Really?” Jane said, barely able to contain her excitement.

“Well, unless you have another idea,” Angela said with a smirk.

“Uh.  No,” Jane offered.  “Maybe I could pick ballet back up after the summer?”

Angela’s heart broke a little at her daughter’s attempt to negotiate to make her happy.  “Nah.  I think you’ll have your hands full  – but so help me if your grades fall!” Angela said with warning.

“They won’t. Promise!” Jane said excitedly, barreling into her mother with a big hug.  “Thanks, Ma!”

“Janie!  Ah the dirt!!” Angela scolded, looking down now at the dirt on her own shirt.

“Sorry, Ma,” Jane said with a cringe.

“Eh, just more wash, huh?” Angela said with a shrug, getting a relieved smile from her daughter.

“Now why don’t you play Rondo Alla Turca – as written, no more no less,” Nonna said with a knowing smile.

“Ok!” Jane said and darted back to the piano.

Nonna stood up and smoothed out the wrinkles in her skirt.  “Te sei una buona madre, Angela,” she said before joining Jane in the music room.


Charles chatted as he drove them back to Maura’s house.  He did love to talk, Maura noted, though found that he did not appreciate it when she clarified something he said or added additional interesting facts to the discussion.    

Maura glanced at his profile, noting he was very handsome.  Complementing his excellent bone structure was blond hair, a fair complexion with nearly flawless skin, and light blue eyes. 

As Charles continued to chatter, Maura realized she had not been paying attention, uncertain if he was still talking about his job as they approached her front door.  To her surprise, she found she really didn’t care.

She felt his hand at her back as she put the key in the door and tapped the security codes and opened the door.
“You know, I’ve been looking forward to this all night,” Charles said into her ear as he pressed himself into her.

Maura frowned slightly, and pushed him away gently.  “Uh, Charles.  I’m sorry but I’m not in the mood tonight.”

Charles paused with surprise, then smiled.  “Are you sure, hun?  Give me a chance to get you in the mood.  You’ve all ready got me in the mood,” he said, slipping his hand back around her waist and pulled her in, his hardness confirmed his statement.

Maura sighed.  “Charles, I am sure.  Please,” she said firmly, making him sigh with frustration.

“I really don’t get you, Maura.  You called me up, remember?” Charles complained.

“Yes.  But why do you automatically think dinner equates to sex?  Can’t we just have a nice evening out, enjoying each other’s company?”

“Have you just changed the rules on me, Maura?  Didn’t you say that we were consenting adults who enjoyed sex and did not need to worry about where this would lead.  Are you looking for a serious relationship now??”

“How does wanting to just enjoy an evening out, without sex, become a serious relationship?” Maura said, baffled.

“That’s it, isn’t it?  You want more now, don’t you?” he accused in an angry hiss.

“Charles, your anger is unwarranted and unappreciated.  It appears you have deep-seated commitment issues or you wouldn’t be reacting so immaturely at the thought of a serious relationship – or is it a result of being denied sex that makes you act like a spoiled school boy?”  Maura asked pointedly, both irritated and strangely fascinated by his behavior.

“You’re a real piece of work, Maura.  You ought to take a hard look in the mirror before you start accusing someone of commitment issues,” he spat, making her wince before he stormed off in a huff.

Maura watched him slam his car door and drive off, stunned by his anger as she reviewed their bizarre conversation.  She frowned at his accusation; she wasn’t afraid of commitment, she thought with irritation. 

She had never made apologies for enjoying sex and for indulging in the perfectly normal physical act.  She was an attractive, healthy, successful woman who enjoyed being the object of someone’s desire, being wanted.  She enjoyed flirting and being flirted with.  She just didn’t want to complicate an enjoyable physical relationship with emotional intimacy and potential heartache, she considered, recalling the hurt Ian had caused.  She frowned again believing it was getting far too late to be analyzing her id and ego.

Shaking her head, she entered her house to find all the lights on.  “Mother?” she said curiously, then spotted her on the floor by the coffee table, which had several empty beer bottles covering it.  “Mother!” she went to her side and saw Angela sitting up against the sofa, holding a box of Kleenex in her lap, sound asleep.

With a small grimace, she gently shook her mother’s shoulder.  Constance groaned and blinked as she roused from her nap on the carpet.  “Maura?” she called groggily.

“Yes, mother.  Can you sit up for me?” Maura asked, kneeling next to her.

“Of course I can, daaaarling.  You know, you’re carpet is veeeery comfortable,” she noted approvingly, awkwardly pushing her hair back from her face as she sat up.

“Frankie and Tommy weren’t by to help drink this, were they?” Maura asked hopeful though the evidence indicated otherwise as she picked up an empty beer bottle from many and looking between the two women.

“No.  Just Angela and I – we had a veeery good conversation and . . . ,” Constance said.  “Oh dear,” she said, holding her hand to her mouth with wide eyes.

Chapter 9 – Never Easy


“How’s the Potter case coming along?” Jane asked curiously as she looked up from her desk to Frost.

He looked at her uncertainly.  “Good?”

“Hey, I already told you – I’m glad at least you are working it.  And the good news for me?  No tabloid article today,” Jane said with a bright smile, making Frost smirk.

“Ah damn.  I was kinda hoping for another chapter in the lives and loves of Romeo Rizzoli,” Frost teased dramatically.

“It’s disgusting,” Crowe piped up, handing Frost a folder.

Jane rolled her eyes and slowly rubbed her sore hands.

“Yeah, that Jane can get more action from “the ladies” than you could,” Frost countered with amusement.

“I do just fine,” Crowe snapped with a frown and left.

Jane looked at her supportive partner. “Thanks??” Jane said hesitantly with a cringe.

“Got your back, Romeo,” Frost said with a twinkle in his eye.  “And maybe we can go clubbing together so you can teach me how you do it,” he said with a grin, waggling his eyebrows.

“I’m quite sure there is nothing I can teach you,” Jane said flatly as Frost chuckled.

“I wouldn’t be so sure, Jane.  You are very informative on several topics,” Maura interjected encouragingly as she joined them.  “What topic does Frost want your assistance on?”

Jane looked at her a moment, sighed, and swiveled in her chair to glare at Frost.

“Picking up women,” Frost said helpfully with a big grin.

“Oh.”  Maura frowned.  “Is this is where you tell me I shouldn’t come into the middle of a conversation?” she asked with a wince.

Frost chuckled and returned his attention to the case file on his desk.

“It’s always a risk,” Jane noted sagely, flexing her hand before grabbing her coffee.
“Any interesting news from the basement?”

“Well, not from the basement,” she responded and glanced at Jane’s hands.  “Are your hands sore?”

Jane shrugged.  “Probably gonna rain or something,” she said dismissively.  “So what news is interesting that is not from the basement?”

“Our mothers decided to have that dinner anyway,” Maura said uncomfortably.

“Ok?” Jane said, still not understanding why that was interesting news warranting a visit to the bullpen, not that she minded Maura visiting.  Ever.

“They . . . ,” Maura said and stopped, biting her lip.

“What?” Jane said guardedly, getting up from her chair.

“Well, they . . . imbibed.  A great deal,” Maura explained with a cringe.

“Aw geez, I’m really sorry, Maura,” Jane moaned guiltily, not wanting to have her family impose on her friend…well, any more than they already had.  “Why didn’t you call me?” Jane looked at her curiously, instinctively reaching out to touch her arm.

“I didn’t want to interrupt your . . . plans,” Maura said uncomfortably.

Jane frowned, glancing down at her hands.  “You call me.  Anytime.  For anything,” she said unequivocally.  “Don’t worry about my “plans,” all right?  If you think of calling and are not sure – just call.  I’ll make myself available.  OK?” She said, gently squeezing her forearm.

Maura blinked; Jane’s fierce declarations washed over her . . . like a strong, protective embrace.  No one in her life had ever put her so clearly first, she considered as her heart pounded.

“Please?” Jane said hesitantly when Maura didn’t respond, worried she was being overbearing…again.  But Maura should never feel alone when dealing with crap, Jane firmly believed.

“Ok,” Maura finally responded with a shy smile, getting a relieved one from Jane.  “But it really wasn’t necessary last night, Jane.  Your mother really was no bother,” she offered, getting a skeptical look.

“Mine on the other hand” Maura continued, rolling her eyes, “has developed an affinity for beer, which unfortunately her stomach hasn’t realized . . . as evidenced by my sofa.”

Jane winced sympathetically, though she couldn’t squelch a small chuckle at the thought of Constance Isles getting loaded on beer.  “You should have still called,” Jane said.  “I could have helped you clean . . . or burn the sofa,” she added thoughtfully.

“No burning was necessary.  But thank you,” Maura said warmly, gazing into Jane’s expressive eyes.  Eyes that lit up with a mischievous glint, making them even more striking, she considered.

“You know what?  I think I need a cup of coffee from the café.  Care to join me?” Jane smiled brightly.

“I already have a latte in my . . . ,” Maura responded then understood her friend’s intent.  “Oh Jane, you really shouldn’t,” she said mild concern.

“I know,” Jane responded with an evil grin and chuckle.  Her husky voice and predatory gaze stirred Maura so unexpectedly she took in a startled breath.

Clearing her throat, Maura managed to caution her.  “Be nice.”

“Oh I will,” Jane said devilishly and left the bullpen.

Maura blinked again, trying to process the onslaught of physical responses to her best friend.  Shaking her head slightly, as if that might clear it, she silently left the bullpen and returned to the morgue.

Frost watched Maura leave then returned his attention to his file.  “Romeo, imagine if you actually knew what you were doing,” he muttered under his breath.


Jane entered the café and immediately spotted her mother, who was wearing dark glasses and moving in slow, methodical steps as she refilled a napkin dispenser on the counter.

“Hi, Ma!” Jane said enthusiastically as she sat at the counter, prompting Angela to flinch.

“Hi, honey.  Would you like something?” Angela said tiredly.

“SURE!” Jane blurted with a grin, causing Angela to cringe.

“Would you PLEASE stop shouting?!?” Angela barked then winced at her own voice.

“You don’t look so good, Ma.  Coming down with something??  The flu??”

Angela lowered her dark glasses and glanced at her smug daughter with narrow, blood-shot eyes.  “You know very well it’s not the flu,” she hissed.

Jane smiled unrepentantly.  “How about a glass of water?”

Angela frowned with a heavy sigh, placed her dark glasses back on, and slowly retrieved a glass of water for her daughter.  She smiled thinly as she placed the glass down and slid it in front of her.  “Anything else?”

Jane pulled out a blue rectangular packet from her pocket and tore it open over the glass, allowing the two pellets to drop in the glass and bubble as they dissolved.  Jane pushed the glass back towards her mother.

“Not that I’ve ever, ever, had to use it myself,” Jane said innocently and stood to leave.

Angela looked at the glass then her daughter.  “Jane,” Angela called out, causing Jane to stop and look at her.  “Thanks,” she added softly.

Jane smirked.  “I am sooo glad you were not the one who puked all over Maura’s couch,” she said with amusement.  “Love ya, Ma,” she added and left.

Angela chuckled weakly at her departing daughter and picked up the glass and took a long sip.


At the end of the busy day dealing with two accident victims, Maura headed to the bullpen.  She found only Frost and Crowe at their desks.  Looking more closely at Jane’s desk, she saw her friend’s blazer was still on her chair.

“She’s in Cavanaugh’s office with Korsak,” Frost offered, looking up from his desk at the CME.

“Ah.  Thank you, Barry,” she said warmly.

As they came out of Cavanaugh’s office, Vince sighed.  “It’s never easy, why is that?”

Jane shrugged.  “Well, we’ll get a dinner out of it,” she said as she headed to her desk, smiling at Maura.

“You mean, you’ll get the dinner,” he grumbled. 

“What dinner?” Maura asked with interest, then winced.  “I’m doing it again, aren’t I?”

Jane smiled at her.

“The dinner where we’ll need to get fingerprints from several of our potential suspects,” Korsak offered with little enthusiasm.

Maura frowned.  “Your search on the partials wasn’t productive?”

“No,” Korsak groaned. “Thanks to the slow wheels of international bureaucracy, I’m gonna have to collect evidence at a fu-fu banquet.”

“Quit being such a baby,” Jane scolded him.

“You’re not the one who will have to collect the evidence – or wear a tux.”

“Oh PLEASE!” Jane said incredulously.  “You don’t have to wear hose and heels!  If you want to moan, do it about something worthwhile, huh?”

“A formal affair?  Sounds like fun,” Maura interjected with enthusiasm.

“Yeeeeah,” Jane said, clearly not of the same opinion.  “It will be a banquet in Ms. Calderón’s honor after her final performance in Boston on Saturday.  Which I will also get to attend.”

“Do you know what you are going to wear?” Maura asked with great interest.


“Jane,” Maura sighed with disapproval, not amused.

“I have that blue dress…” Jane said with a shrug.

“You can’t wear your blue dress again,” Maura said emphatically.

“Yeah, Jane, what are you thinking?” Frost supplied with feigned disbelief, earning a glare from Jane.

“Geez.  Even I knew she shouldn’t wear the blue dress again,” Korsak chimed in, shaking his head, withholding a chuckle.

“There is nothing wrong with….,” Jane blurted with irritation.

“We need to go shopping!” Maura said excitedly.

Jane blinked at her, knowing to argue was a lost cause.  Maura had a shopping trip in mind for her best friend and any attempt by said best friend to get out of it would be met with as a minimum, a disappointed look and frown.  And depending on how excited Maura was about the planned excursion, Jane could be left to face the quivering lip and watery eyes of rejection that Maura would attempt, unsuccessfully to hide from her, making her end up promising even more than Maura originally asked of her to banish all signs of hurt.

Jane turned to the older detective with a pointed gaze, causing his smirk to fade.  “So Korsak, exactly what were you moaning about again?” Jane said flatly.

“Nothing.  Nothing at all.”


“Jane!  Would you stop fidgeting!” Maura scolded as she held another dress, a deep red, almost black one that looked very promising.  In fact, knowing Jane’s preferences perhaps better than Jane, Maura considered this was likely to be the one Jane would want to get.  While she had seen it immediately upon their arrival, Maura couldn’t pass up the rare opportunity of seeing Jane in several types of dresses, even though it came with the inevitable complaints.

“Let’s face it, I won’t find anything.  I’ll just wear my blue dress again,” Jane moaned, rubbing her hands.  She hated trying on clothes and they had been through a bazillion, she considered.

“No,” Maura said with mild annoyance.

“No?  But my blue dress goes really well with my gun and badge,” Jane responded with a thin smile.

“Put this on.  Now,” Maura said firmly.  Jane sighed with a light growl of protest and retreated into the dressing room. 

After a moment, the door opened up.  “Well?”

“You have to zip it up to know if it fits right, Jane,” Maura said with frustration.  Jane was worse than a two year old.

“Well can you help me out?  The zipper’s small and . . . why can’t they just use Velcro or something?” Jane grumbled, turning around and presenting her bare back as she flexed her sore hands.

Several thoughts crossed the ME’s mind as her eyes traveled over Jane’s exposed back, which sported several scars.  One was the need to refrain from reaching out and touching the angriest scar; the bullet’s exit wound, which almost took her life. 

Maura frowned slightly as she grasped the small zipper, and indulged in the light contact with Jane’s smooth skin as she allowed her fingers to slowly glide up her back with the zipper.

“Maura?” Jane asked, turning around to glance at her suddenly quiet and thoughtful friend.

“They are sore, aren’t they?” Maura asked gently, taking a hand in hers, another reminder of how Jane had cheated death.

“It’s probably the start of monsoon season,” Jane said with a smirk that quickly faded, seeing the disappointed look from Maura. 

“While there are monsoons possible in North America, they are limited to the Southern States and I highly doubt…” she said with irritation.

“Even with global warming?” Jane interjected with a shrug.

“Jane, please.  Just tell me,” Maura asked earnestly. 

Jane sighed, unable to say no when Maura played that totally unfair “please” card.
“They are sore,” she admitted and quickly added.  “Not bad, but sore.”

Maura nodded.  “Aspirin should help,” she said softly, glancing down to Jane’s hand, which she tenderly caressed with her thumb.  “I have some in my office,” she added and looked into Jane’s eyes, which bore into her with a surprising intensity - an intensity that drew her in, making her want....

“Do you ladies need any help?”  The sale’s clerk asked as she checked on them.

Maura took a sharp breath as she broke her gaze from Jane’s, allowing it to fall, pausing momentarily at Jane’s lips.  “We’ve decided on this one,” Maura said, surprising herself by her calm voice. 

“We have?” Jane said with surprise, looking down at her dress, which actually wasn’t bad.

“Absolutely,” Maura said confidently and gazed over Jane and her new dress with appreciation.

“Excellent choice,” the clerk said with a smile.


As they left the boutique, Jane glanced down at the bag with a frown.

“I told you I would buy it for you,” Maura said with pursed lips.

“I can buy my own clothing, thank you.  I’ll just have to skip food shopping for the next few months.”

“It was actually a good price,” Maura protested.

“Uh huh.”

“Why don’t I treat you to a dinner tonight?  I’ll make sure you get left overs that will last you a while,” Maura offered with a small smile.

Jane eyed her with mild amusement.  “Actually, I have plans.  But don’t worry; I’ve got Ma’s leftovers in the freezer.  I’m sure I’ll survive.”

“Oh,” Maura said with disappointment.

Jane hated to see Maura disappointed.  “Hey.  Not big plans.  I can…” she said, reaching out for her shoulder.

“No.  I . . . you don’t need to change your plans for a spur of the moment idea.  We’ll just have dinner another time,” Maura said with a fake smile, squeezing Jane’s hand.

“You sure?  I mean…” Jane said uncomfortably, then noted a shiny reflection of light across the street.  “Son of a . . . ,” Jane blurted angrily and started to dash towards the camera man in his car.  She slowed to a halt when the car peeled away from the curb and raced away. 

She glanced at the Massachusetts plate that was conveniently covered with mud.  “Damn it!” she spat in frustration for the continued intrusion.  “I’ve got a gun!!  You don’t stalk someone with a gun!  What the hell is he thinking?” Jane fumed, tempted to use it the next time she saw him.

Maura walked up to Jane.  “I’m not sure,” she offered with a sigh, shaking her head.  “It would have been a much better picture had you been wearing your new dress,” she said with a big smile.

“Thank you, Coco Isles,” Jane said wryly with a smirk. 

Next Part

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