DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: End of Year Gift Exchange - for seriously_em based on the prompt 'Jane has to bring a date to a family vacation/celebration/wedding (or something like that), she brings Maura (as a friend) but feelings start to happen...
FEEDBACK: To i_think_youre_wonderful[at]hotmail.com
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
A "Date" Date
"Jane? Are you alright in there?" Maura called out, hearing the familiar sound of a body hitting the ground.
"Yeah, I'm fine." Jane grunted back.
Maura thew a patient smile towards the curious shop girl at the front of the dressing rooms. It was a glorious Friday afternoon, the sun was shining and the two women were out shopping. Only one of them was happy about this.
"Maura?" Jane called out, desperation and frustration tinting her voice. "A little help?"
"I'll just go...help...her." Maura explained to the the other woman before she tapped on the door and pushed it ajar just enough to slip in. "Oh, Jane!" She giggled, her hand flying up to hide it. Her brunette friend stood before her clad in her white sports socks, and her utilitarian black bra and underwear... her head and her outstretched arms stuck in the dress above her. For someone who often looked swallowed up in her too large, too shapeless wardrobe, Jane Rizzoli was surprisingly slender and attractive. Suddenly, Maura missed her yoga classes with Jane.
"Are you laughing at me?" Jane asked, "Just 'cause I can't see you doesn't mean I can't - you know - feel it!"
"Oh Jane, I'd never laugh at you to your face. It would be rude. Bend over."
"Yes Jane, I can see that." Maura explained as patiently as if she were talking to a small and particularly sensitive child. "I'm going to get you out of those clothes."
"Many have tried, Isles, few have succeeded." Jane shot back.
"Bend over." Maura instructed again, gently pushing Jane against the wall then easing her body down at the waist. She she could finally reach the gathered fabric at the taller woman's arms, she began to ease the dress off her arms. "Why didn't you just unzip, Jane?"
"Because, Maura..." The dress popped off. "There is no zipper. You think I'd go through that willingly?"
Wordlessly Maura unzipped the dress from the left arm down the side and handed it back to the other woman.
"Shut up." Jane began to shimmy into the dress, this time from the appropriate opening.
"I've never seen you so...upset about dress shopping." Maura explained, zipping the navy fabric up and patting and smoothing the dress until it looked just so. She stood behind the brunette, hand on the other woman's hip to steady her as she stood up on her tiptoes to watch her reaction in the mirror. "Nice perfume." She murmured softly.
"Thanks." Jane mumbled, blushing at the complement. "It's the one you got me for my birthday."
"I know," Maura smiled, their eyes meeting in the mirror. "That dress really is lovely on you." It really was, a navy slim fitting shift dress in a sturdy raw silk. Classic, elegant, unpretentious and with strong, clean lines - much like the woman it was on.
"I don't know." Jane sighed, throwing her hair back with frustration and shaking out her limbs like a child. "I JUST DON'T WANT TO GO! I don't want to wear a dress, I don't want to smile and sit at the kids table and ... and ... and have to explain why I'm still single, or why I carry a gun. Is it wrong to pray for a murder? Would it work?" Jane turned to ask Maura.
"Well, I'm not sure what support there is for the theories that you can simply will something into happening - there have been circumstantial evidence to support that it may work, but that could all simply be a coincidence. As for the moral reproductions of it - that I feel wholly unqualified to pass judgement on. Now - if you don't want to go, why are you going?"
"Because." Jane stared at Maura as if she just asked why the Boston Red Sox were the greatest team in Baseball history.
"I don't understand."
"It's a family thing, you can't just, you know, not show up."
"Because. It's. A. Family. Thing." Jane repeated, this time speaking as if it were her companion who was the small and particularly slow child. "Geeze - haven't you ever been dragged to a family thing?" Jane asked, unzipping her dress and shimmying out of it.
"Well don't feel too bad," Jane responded, "You aren't missing much. Just my dumb cousins who are all married with kids and still act like we were in high school; and aunts who pinch your cheek and wipe your face with spit and uncles who pinch your butt and ask why you don't have a nice boy yet."
"That doesn't sound too bad." Maura proffered.
"Then there's the fact that they inevitably stick the single people with the kids - and lately it's just been me, and a bunch of 12 year olds and even THEY ask about my boyfriend. AND the kids won't even trade my beef for their chicken fingers!"
"That reference is lost on me." Maura noted as she hung the dress back on the hanger and handed Jane her clothes back. "If it's so bad, why don't you tell your mother you have to work?"
"Because Frankie already called that excuse - and Ma insists one of us go to 'represent' the family, you know?"
They exited the dressing rooms together and Maura guided them towards the cash registers. She handed to dress to the clerk and watched as she wrapped it up in tissue. She eyed Jane nervously - usually by this point in the transaction, Jane'd have stormed out, or insisted she didn't need the dress - but there was a dangerous glint in her eyes. Maura quickly handed over her credit card and paid for the dress before she ushered Jane out of the store and thrust the bag in her hand. "Jane, I've seen that look in your eyes before. What are you thinking?"
"Hey Maura," Jane asked, her voice falsely casual - "What are you doing next Saturday?"
"Well," She thought, "National Geographic has a fascinating 18 part documentary on the mating habits of... You don't really care, do you?"
"Nope. How'd you like to come with me to my cousin Angie's wedding?"
"Yes - listen, we wouldn't stay long. We'll sneak in late to the church service, then right before they serve the meal, we'll say we got an urgent page, quadruple homicide or something, and we really hate to, but we have to go! I'll even buy you a beer afterwards!"
"While it sounds fun, won't your family be suspicious, I mean, out of nowhere you bring a stranger with you to a family affair?"
"You're not a stranger, and Ma'll be there, and besides," She eyed the bag with the dress as if noticing for the first time, "Half of them think I'm gay anyways - it'll give them something to talk about. Whatta say?" Maura eyed Jane suspiciously for a moment, then turned and headed back towards the store. "Isles? Where you going?"
"Shopping! I have nothing to wear to an Italian wedding!" She responded over her shoulder. Jane trotted back to meet her, a beaming smile on her face. "Oh, and Jane? If that's how you ask people out - no wonder you're still single." She disappeared into the racks upon racks of clothes, leaving a bewildered Jane in her place.
"Um, Maura, you know it's not a 'date' date, right?"
Things were not at all right in Jane Rizzoli's world.
She was in a dress, for one thing, complete with heels and a frilly stupid purse too small to put her badge in, let alone her gun. But even worse than that, she was still at the wedding.
That was not the plan.
The plan had been well thought out and discussed at The Robber the previous night over beers and went as follows: 1) Show up 15 minutes late to the church ceremony, allowing them to sit in the back of Saint Patrick's church; 2) Have a drink at whatever the nearest and cheapest bar to the church was afterwards while the bridal party was taking their photos 3) Show up fashionably late to the cocktail hour of the wedding (but not late enough that they would miss it completely, 'cause, you know, open bar) 4) Munch on some appetizers then fake an emergency murder call - something gruesome and bloody that would prevent their table from asking too many questions 5) Leave the wedding and go watch a movie and eat pizza at Jane's.
As far as plans went, Jane thought it was a pretty good one. Too bad it happened to get hijacked by her mother and Maura, both of whom were determined to make this as long and as painful an experience as possible for Jane. Jane begrudgingly picked up her fork and began to poke at the chicken on her plate and sighed audibly. Her uncle Leo reached over and patted her on the cheek, "Don't worry Janie, your girl'll be back soon. You miss her, eh?"
"Uncle Leo, she's not my-"
"Janie dear, you don't have to pretend." Her aunt Irene interjected, fixing Leo's toupee, "We watch Ellen, we know all about the gays."
"That's just it, we're not -"
"And a Doctor too, Janie." Uncle Leo continued.
"And a pretty one, no wonder you wanted to show her off."
"Show who off, Aunt Irene?" Maura asked, as she sat herself down between Jane and Angela.
"You're really having too much fun, Mar." Jane shot under her breath.
"Why wouldn't she, Jane?" Angela asked. "I've been introducing Dr. Isles to everyone Janie! You should see the look on your cousin Matt's face."
"Angela, you can introduce me as Maura, you don't have to use the 'Dr. Isles'."
"Don't be silly dear," Irene explained as she cut up the steak on her plate, "You didn't go to medical school for 12 years just so Angela could introduce you as Maura. We finally have a doctor in the family."
"What about Betty's husband John?" Jane asked, "I thought he was a doctor or something."
"Please, he has a PhD in English! What good is that? If I had a goiter I needed looked at, you think he'd be any help? What good is poetry to a goiter?"
"Well Irene, I'm not in the the family. At least not yet." Maura smiled shyly, lowering her eyes and slipping her hand onto Jane's lap.
"I'm going to kill you Maura." Jane hissed through her smile.
"Then they'll be nothing standing in the way of you and Vito's happiness." She murmured back, raising her eyes towards Vito, the Best Man sitting beside the groom.
"Yours to make, Janie." Maura smiled gleefully. Truth be told, she was having fun. Lots of it. She was nervous at being brought in to a family function as someone who was so clearly an outsider, but while people were nosy and curious about her, they were always polite and welcoming, bringing her into the fold and making her feel like one of them. She wasn't sure why Jane made such a big deal about skipping the wedding when everyone she had met was nothing but charming. Even when they began to think that she and Jane were dating, their behavior towards her didn't change. In fact, that may be why she continued to play along with it.
Pretending they were a couple wasn't part of the 'plan' Jane had drunkenly scrawled out on a napkin the previous night, but it certainly was fun. It only arose out of the necessity of rescuing Jane from the corner Vito had her trapped in. Without thinking, Maura slipped in beside Jane and slid her arm around her waist possessively and introduce herself in the sultriest voice is she had. It didn't take long for the news to ripple through the family. When they reached reception, Angela hadn't said or done anything beyond taking her firmly by the hand under the guise of introducing her to a few people. When she finally had a moment alone with the older woman, she tried to explain but was swiftly cut off with a "Listen Maura - do you know how long I've waited for Jane to bring someone decent that I can introduce to the family? I don't care what is or isn't going on with the two of you, not tonight. All I care about is that for once, I can proudly introduce my daughter's date, the Doctor. Don't take that away from me, not just yet." So Maura agreed, much to Jane's dismay, to play along. In fact, when Jane had received the call from Frost that was supposed to give them the excuse to leave, she slipped her hand into Jane's and sweetly shut the phone off.
"So Janie," Uncle Leo asked, "How'd you two meet?"
"Oh, well Uncle Leo, I think I'll let Maura tell this story, she's just so much better at it than I am."
"I am?" Maura asked, choking on her water.
"You know you are, Honey." Jane leaned over and placed a quick peck on the other woman's cheek.
"Well, uh...It was at work and..." Maura began, her voice shaky.
If Maura wanted to play games, then she'd play games. She loved watching the lighter haired woman squirm in her seat. At the start of their relationship, Maura would've simply looked at her and said out loud that she didn't know what was going on. Hell, at the start of their relationship she wouldn't have had the ability to pretend they were dating, or hold a conversation, or even behave passably normal. Jane squeezed Maura's hand affectionately as pride mixed with some other, unnamable emotion began to swell up inside her.
"I was uh, examining a body and I happened to look up and there she was, the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen." Isles found her voice steadying as she went further with the story. It wasn't too far from the truth. In fact, it might very well be the truth. She hadn't been able to lie before, and she was pretty sure she wasn't starting now. "It wasn't just the way she looked, but the way she carried herself, and handled the scene." Maura quickly shot a look at Jane then looked away, embarrassed. "She came over and asked a question and I couldn't speak. I just remember thinking how beautiful she was."
"Your mother is -"
"Crazy?" Jane responded as she drove down the empty Boston streets towards Maura's house.
"Fun!" Maura corrected her, "I don't think I've ever seen my my mother tipsy let alone..."
"Jane! Don't say that! She wasn't drunk, she was just...happy!"
"Maura, we had to help her up the porch stairs. She reeked of wine. She was singing Timi Yuro for Christ's sake! That's not happy, that's drunk! I'm just glad we cut her off when we did - another glass of red and she'd be switching from Timi to Vikki Carr, then we'd really be in trouble."
"I don't know what you're referencing Jane. But, I'm a little tipsy myself, so it's ok. It is ok, right? That I'm tipsy? Because I don't really get tipsy often. Am I slurring?"
"Maur," Jane slipped her free hand onto her friend's knee to calm her down, "It's fine! You're not slurring, but you are kind of fun! We might have to work on getting you tipsy more often."
"No. Not unless I have flowers."
"Honey, now I don't know what you're referencing." Jane pulled into Maura's driveway and turned off the car.
"The flowers!" She held up the bridal bouquet she caught earlier. "I won them."
"You didn't win them, you caught them. After you elbowed Suzie Marchessi in the chin for them."
"I did not!" Maura crossed her arms.
"You did too. I saw you. But it's OK 'cause I've wanted to do that to her since she stole my date for our junior prom!"
"I can't believe you'd say such things about me, Jane. I did NOT elbow her!"
"You know how I know you're drunk?"
"Tipsy." She corrected her friend.
"You're past tipsy and into stubborn and sulky. That makes you drunk."
"I am neither stubborn, sulky, drunk or any other slanderous thing you care to call me. That's a fun word, slanderous. Slander."
"Now you're slurring." Jane remarked, pulling into Maura's driveway and turning off the car. "But it was worth it - did you see the look on Angie's face? Priceless!"
"I thought she looked lovely."
"That was before she realized that you were stealing all the attention!"
"I was not Jane, what an awful thing to say!" Maura whacked Jane on the arm with her bouquet.
"Not intentionally, no - but how was she going to compete with the cute lady doctor her cousin brought to the wedding? She was flipping out that the two lesbians were stealing her thunder! I mean, now it'll be awkward at the next family thing 'cause everyone'll ask where you are. How long do you think it's appropriate before I break up with you?"
"You'd break up with me? Why? Your family loves me, and you love me and you think I'm cute and we have so much fun together and... and..." Isles' argument petered off, looking like she was about to burst out into tears.
"Don't cry, Mar. Come on!" Jane was visibly uncomfortable at the sight of Maura's impending tears, "Come here, what's wrong?" She asked, pulling her friend into her arms and trying hard not to notice her new scent.
"You said you were going to break up with me!"
"We were just pretending to be dating, Maur. You know, pretend, as in not for real dating. I mean, you said it yourself, I'm not your type, right?" She watched Maura blush at the memory of admitting that to her friend. "And while we're at it, while I appreciate how believable you were trying to be when they made us kiss, did you really have to slip me the tongue?" Jane pulled back from her friend's arms, embarrassed.
"Well," Maura Isles paused to examine her actions, "they were all clapping and cheering when I caught the bouquet. I didn't want to offend you by not kissing you in front of your family, and I've always found myself drawn to Strasberg's method style of acting and using sense memory, but if you'd prefer we can go with Meisner."
"Oh yeah, what was Miser's style?" Jane asked, suddenly finding her mouth parched and her car entirely too small as Maura stayed in the center of the car.
"Meisner? He liked to focus on action. What are you doing? What is your objection?"
"Yeah?" Jane mumbled, praying the world would end right here and now before this could go any further.
"He was also a big fan of repetition." Maura murmured, leaning in against Jane and placing a chase kiss on her lips. Jane's wish indeed came true, it seemed that the world began to implode as Maura's soft lips pressed against hers.
And then it was over.
At least is seemed it was over. Jane couldn't be sure just how long she had stopped breathing, or thinking, or...doing anything much more than holding her breath and praying that this moment would simultaneously end and go on forever. Except it didn't. Maura simply pulled back, glanced around as if realizing for the first time she was home, then sat back into her chair and gathered her belongings. "Well. Here we are, thanks for a really great evening Jane." She opened the car door, and slipped out, tip-toing her way across her wet lawn in her bare feet, her shoes dangling from her hand.
Jane couldn't understand half the things Maura did, and she understood even less of what Maura said, but sitting in her car, alone, watching Maura fumble through her purse she knew one thing. Sighing and rolling her eyes skyward, Jane got out of her car and walked over to Maura, who stopped searching to stare at Jane. "What are you doing Jane?" Maura asked, as the tall brunette approached her. "I may be a lot of things Maura Isles, blue collar and all that crap, but I have manners. My father always said that after a date, a lady should be walked to her door. So I'm walking you to your door."
"Jane," Maura blushed, hiding her face behind her hair. "I thought you said this wasn't a 'date' date."
"It wasn't. Until you kissed me. Twice. I think that kind of makes it one now." Jane stepped closer to Maura, causing the other woman to step back, bumping up against her door.
"Yes, Isles, it does." She looked down at the look of amazement in the other woman's eyes and then, with a deep breath, leaned down for a kiss - short, sweet, but with a little bit of power and a promise of what could come. With a smile, Jane pulled back and waited while Maura found her keys and went into her house with a quiet and thoughtful "Goodnight."
Within moments, the following was tweeted from Maura's personal account: Thanks to @janerizzoli, @mauraisles is definitely reconsidering her type.
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