DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm a big fan of the Tess's novels. I love them more than I love the TV series. So there will be elements from them in this story, including people and situations all the way through the most recent, The Silent Girl. Is it September yet? However never fear, this is Rizzles, so I'll just be using those bits from both universes that make me happy. And I deserve to be happy, damn it! If you have any questions feel free to email me at skeeter451 at yahoo dot com. I'm a fantastic email pen pal.
SPOILERS: I'm a total spoiler ho, so yeah, expect 'em.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To Skeeter451[at]mysticmuse.net

Five Dates Jane Rizzoli Didn't Know She Went On...and One She Did
By Susan L. Carr


1 – Time's a Warpin'

The Medical Examiner's meticulous report lay neatly in a file folding resting on the detective's desk. The two were discussing the closure of their latest case and the upcoming trial when laughter from the hallway leaked through the closed door of the squad room. The women and the sergeant, all having skipped going out for lunch, instead sending the most junior detective and ambitious patrol officer out for spuckies, watched as the door crashed open and their errand boys literally danced their way through.

"Let's do the time warp again!" the two men sang in unison.

Detective Sergeant Korsak rolled his eyes and returned his attention to his computer, which Jane had intuited from the tinny sounds emanating from his headphones was tuned to kitty porn on YouTube again.

"What are you guys, five?" she asked.

"No we're just…" Frost started.

"A sweet transvestite…" Frankie continued.

"From transsexual…" Frost sang.

"Transylvania!" they concluded together doing a really great bump and grind.

"Like I said," Jane smirked as she grabbed the bag from her brother. She pulled two of the paper wrapped sandwiches out and handed one to Maura. "Five."

"I had no idea you were transsexuals," Maura said calmly. "But I thought you both were from the New England area?"

Both Frost and Frankie choked and sputtered and Jane smirked even more at her best friend's seemingly innocent words. Jane was one of the few who knew that even though she couldn't lie, Maura had no problem play acting.

"What?" The two young men exclaimed at the same time.

"No, oh no, we're not," Frankie said pointing between him and the other man.

"Not that there is anything wrong with that," Frost put in making a warding off gesture, but then realized it too closely resembled a fine impersonation of jazz hands and hastily stuffed them in his pants pockets.

Jane's eyes met Maura's and Jane could see the amusement twinkling in the Medical Examiner's eyes. "It's a song from a movie, Maura," she explained.

"Ah," Maura said nodding her head in understanding. "Which film?"

"Wait," Frankie said, a shocked looked on his face. "You've never heard of The Rocky Horror Picture Show?"

Maura's eyebrows rose at the patrol officer. "Should I have?" she asked.

"No," Jane promptly interjected, accustomed to Maura's lack of experience when it came to the social customs of young and stupid American youth.

"What do you mean no, Jane?" Frankie persisted and Jane felt an urge to punch her brother. "Everyone knows Rocky."

"No, not everyone," she said, the sarcasm dripping from her voice. "Especially those who grew up overseas and pursued a first rate education so they could become the top in their field instead of getting stoned, dressing up and screaming at a movie screen."

"Oh," Frankie said, his posture shrinking as he realized he had probably hurt the sensitive doctor. "I'm sorry, Maura," he apologized.

"It's quite all right, Frankie," Maura said, smiling widely at the uniformed man. "So what is this film about?"

Jane snorted as she swallowed a huge bite from her sub. "Geeks, freaks and aliens singing and dancing in a haunted castle," she said and then took another, even larger, bite.

Maura blinked for a moment. "So it's a musical?"

"It's total camp," Frost explained. "It started as a low-budget satire of bad horror and sci-fi movies and then over time became a cult classic. Today, it's the longest running theatrical release. There's a midnight showing at the Lowe's in Harvard Square."

"It's not just a movie, Maura," Jane said to her best friend. "It's an experience."

Maura's eyebrows clenched again in one of the many expressions Jane adored about her friend. "How does one experience a film?" the doctor asked.

"Audience participation," Frankie answered. "People dress up as the characters in the movie and talk back to the screen, often changing the lines to make them funnier."

"And lots of folks will dance in their seats, the aisles or the stage if the theater has one," Frost added.

"Don't forget the props," Korsak interjected from his corner of the bull pen. He had removed his headphones and was in the process of devouring his spuckie, half of which seemed to have landed on his shirt.

Jane leaned back in her chair as she eyed her large man. "Let me guess," she said beginning to think her smirk would be forever plastered on her face after this conversation. "Eddie?"

"Hot patootie, bless my soul," Korsak said, a smile playing over his greasy lips.

"I really love that rock 'n' roll!" Frankie and Frost burst out again in song.

"Gotta love Meat Loaf," Korsak chuckled and shook his head in remembrance of his younger, and undoubtedly slimmer, days.

"The film is about meatloaf?" Maura asked.

"Meat Loaf, as in the singer, is in it," Frost said trying to be helpful.

"But he is dinner," Jane quipped causing all of the others in the room, except the Medical Examiner, to burst into laughter.

"I thought you were more an Animal House guy," Frost said to Korsak.

"I can't be both?" At the junior detective's shrug, Korsak added with a smirk. "But yeah, I used to do Rocky back in the seventies. I've still got the bloodstained leather jacket in my closet."

Jane chuckled while Maura looked alarmed. "Bloodstained?" the doctor questioned.

"This time it's definitely reddish-brown stains, Doc," Frost said and Korsak nodded.

"Sounds…fascinating," Maura said thoughtfully.

Frost wiped his lips neatly with a napkin and then threw away the detritus from his lunch. "Come on, Riff Raff," he said to Frankie as he stood up from his desk. "It's time for the Simpson interview."

"Okay," Frankie agreed also tossing his trash in Jane's wastebasket. "Can I do the questioning this time?"

"No," Frost said and added with a smirk, "But if we need to break down the door again, I'll let you do it."

"Why do I always have to…?" Frankie grumbled and the rest was lost as the two men left the squad room.

Korsak chuckled and replaced the headphones over his ears and Jane and Maura went back to their prep work on their testimony as various detectives and officers came in and out of the squad room. Finally, one of the officers stopped at Jane's desk. He was wearing a shy, hesitant smile on his face as he cleared his throat.

Jane looked up and inwardly groaned. Maura looked amused.

"What can I do for you, Officer Duncan?" Jane asked, plastering a smile on her face.

"Ronald, please," the officer said and Maura suppressed a giggle at the blush appearing on the man's face.

"Okay…," Jane drawled. "What can I do for you?" she repeated, reining in her patience.

"Oh," Duncan seemed to come out of a daze and awkwardly handed her a thick envelope. "Messenger brought this for you. I thought I'd bring it up so you wouldn't have to wait for the mail clerk."

Jane took the envelope, glanced at it and tossed it on her desk. "Thank you," she said. "You didn't have to do that, but it was very kind of you."

"Oh, it was no bother," Duncan said eagerly. "I don't mind."

"Yes, well, thanks again," Jane said suddenly regretting all that sensitivity training as she was getting ready to offend.

"Okay," Duncan said, his awkwardness reaching a new height as he stared at the brunette detective. "I'll see you later, okay?"

"Okay," Jane said. "Bye now." She gave him a little wave.

Maura chuckled as Duncan left the squad room. "He's so sweet."

"Vomit," Jane groaned.

"Aren't you going to open it?" Maura asked indicating the package.

Jane's expression hardened as she shook her head. "I already know what it is," she said, picking up a pencil and opening up the folder, hoping Maura would drop the subject.

"Oh?" Maura frowned at the sudden change of atmosphere.

Jane sighed, knowing her silence would only hurt her friend. "Final papers from my lawyer," she explained, her voice heavy. "All signed, sealed and officially delivered by my own personal crushing puppy dog."

"Oh Jane," Maura said, suddenly understanding Jane's change of mood. Her friend had stoically endured a lot of emotional upheaval during the past few months and Maura couldn't help but admire Jane's strength of will. It was an experience she had herself gone through and knew the heartache it brought firsthand. She laid a comforting hand on Jane's arm. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be," Jane said, brushing the apology off with a waved hand. "I'm not. It's over and done with. He's gone and out of our lives. It's time to move on."

"I'm sure the both of you will be fine and that's a very good attitude to have," Maura said encouragingly. She watched thoughtfully as Jane continued to make notes on her legal pad and then an idea occurred to her. "Jane, would you go with me this weekend?"

"Go where?" Jane asked, looking up.

"To see The Rocky Horror Picture Show," Maura said.

Jane blinked. "Maura, we're too old for that. Rocky's for kids."

"So what?" Maura said with a shrug. "Like you said, it's an experience and one is never too old for new experiences. Don't you agree?"

Jane tilted her head at her friend and smiled. "You're right," she said with a nod. "You shouldn't miss out on it, but we're not dressing up." She pointed a warning finger at Maura and added, "And do not do any research beforehand. If you're going to experience it, then you should go into it without any preconceived notions. All right?"

"All right!" Maura said eagerly, dancing in her seat and once again Jane was charmed by her friend's enthusiasm. "I'll pick you up then?"

"Sure," Jane said and pushed the pad toward the other woman. "Now let's get back to work, Doctor Isles. We've got a perp to convict."

Maura gaped at the line of people waiting in front of the theater as her and Jane turned the corner onto Church Street. "Oh my!" she exclaimed.

Jane grinned as her friend observed the crowd of mostly young people in wild costumes. Maura's eyes were bright with excitement, but then the doctor's expression grew worried. "We should have come earlier," Maura said as they took their place at the back of the line. "We might not get a seat."

"Oh, we will," Jane reassured. "Most of these people won't be sitting down anyway."

"Really?" Maura said, frowning. "They let more people in than are seats? Is that even safe? Fire codes specifically dictate that…"

Jane cut her off. "Maura, when you do Rocky you don't worry about fire codes, you just have a good time. Experience it. Well, in this case, be it. Okay?"

Maura nodded in agreement, trusting Jane enough to know that the protective woman wouldn't knowingly put them in a dangerous situation. Jane smiled and gave her a warm look that the doctor felt low in her abdomen.

The line began to move forward and when the two reached the ticket window, Jane pulled out her wallet only to have it shooed away by Maura. "I've got this, Jane," the doctor said. "I asked you after all."

"If you're sure," Jane said. "You also paid for dinner."

"I'm having a lovely time with you," she said, smiling brightly at her friend.

"Good, I'm glad," Jane said and opened the theater door for the other woman.

The large lobby was filled with mingling people as Jane strong armed her way to the concession stand for drinks while Maura people watched. She noticed that there were many people dressed similarly, some in fishnet stockings and corsets and others in strange versions of domestic servants and party goers from some kind of warped masked ball. Then she realized that what at first glance appeared to be a couple dressed in unfortunately outdated clothes were also, based from the many such couples dressed the same way, characters from the film. Then someone brushed past her wearing a leather jacket covered in reddish-brown stains and she smiled as she imagined a much younger and much thinner Vince Korsak wearing such a costume.

Jane returned carrying two cups and a large bag of popcorn under her arm. Maura relieved Jane of one of the cups and the two headed for the theater. As expected, the theater was crowded, most of the people either on or in front of the large stage.

"Did you know that most modern theaters no longer have stages?" Maura commented as Jane paused in the aisle to look around. "However, in Europe there are many older ones that still have remnants of them, but I've never viewed a film where the audience was allowed to occupy the stage."

Jane finally spotted her goal. "Come on," she said taking Maura's free hand and pulling her up the stairs to the last row of the theater.

"Jane, this row is full," Maura stopped walking causing Jane to turn around.

"Maura, I'm not getting hit by flying toast and toilet paper," Jane said.

"Toast?" Maura said, but Jane ignored her and yanked on Maura's hand, forcing the Medical Examiner to follow.

Jane paused in the middle of the row and glared down at a couple of college-aged young men.

"Hey, wanna move it, bitch?" one of them said.

Jane smiled tightly and moved her jacket slightly to reveal the badge and gun. "Wanna empty your pockets or would you rather give up your seats for a couple of ladies, bitch?" she asked.

The two boys glanced uneasily at each other and then quickly stood and made their way out of the row.

Jane settled into her seat with a satisfied smile. "Have a seat," she said to an astonished Maura.

Maura sat down and placed her drink in the cup holder. "How did you know they had drugs?"

Jane snorted as she dug into the popcorn. "I worked narcotics long enough to recognize the bloodshot eyes of a stoned frat boy," she answered through a mouthful of butter and salt.

Maura chuckled and crossed her legs as she got comfortable. She daintily picked out a single kernel of corn from the bag and popped it in her mouth. "You're too much," she said.

"Yeah, but that's why you love me." Jane grinned cheekily at her, revealing perfect teeth studded with bits of white popcorn.

Maura rolled her eyes and as the theater darkened, she could only stare in fascination as a pair of disembodied lips floated on the screen and the theater erupted in chaos.

The two giggling women danced their way into Jane's apartment. Jane was behind Maura and her hands on the other woman's hips as they did a funky version of the Time Warp.

"Let's do the time warp again!" The two women sang the final line of the song and collapsed in a heap on the sofa much to the astonishment of Joe Friday and the young college student who had been quietly studying at the kitchen counter.

"I take it a good time was had by all?" the girl asked.

Still chuckling, Jane gave Jo a pat on the head and stood up. "Yeah, but I think Maura's still a little shell-shocked," she answered and pulled out her wallet. She handed a couple of bills to the girl. "Thanks, Lora. She's asleep?"

"Finally," the girl groaned as she tucked the money and her computer into a backpack. "I don't know how you do it, Detective."

"Some days I wonder that myself," Jane said and led the girl to the door. "Goodnight."

"Night," she said. "And good night, Dr. Isles."

A still giggling Maura simply waved a hand in farewell.

Jane locked the door and fetched a couple of beers from the refrigerator. She returned to the couch and handed one to Maura. "I'm not even gonna ask if you had fun," she said.

"So much fun, but Jane, what a fascinating example of what Detective Frost rightly labeled a cult experience." As if realizing she was about to go off on a lecture tangent and not wanting to spoil the mood, Maura turned to Jane and asked, "So you did that a lot when you were younger? I noticed you were quite familiar with the film's script, lyrics and the audience's antics."

"Oh yeah," Jane answered with a smirk. "Almost every weekend starting from senior year and all the way through college."

"Why did you stop?"

"Had to get serious when I joined the academy," Jane answered with a shrug. "Weekends became the time for extra training in the gym and on the firing range. I was getting too old to be doing that after drinking and partying all night."

"Your dedication certainly paid off as you're now top in your field," Maura said, remembering Jane's earlier compliment. "I'm glad you did have that much fun in your youth. I only wish…" She broke off wistfully.

"Hey, at least you've had the experience now," Jane said, wanting to sooth her friend. She gave Maura's hand a gentle squeeze.

Maura returned Jane's smile and patted the hand on top of hers, her hand lingering on the warm flesh. "And I'm very happy I experienced it for the first time with you, Jane," she said.

Jane looked into her friend's shining eyes and shrugged, only happy that Maura was happy at this moment in time. "Here's to new experiences," she said holding up her beer bottle.

"To new experiences," Maura echoed and clinked her bottle against Jane's.

After they drank, Jane asked, "Stay the night?"

"I'd love to," Maura instantly agreed, secretly glad that Jane had extended the invitation.

"Gotta warn ya, though," Jane said as she stood to dump their bottles in the recycle bin and turn off the lights. "Her Highness will probably be up at the crack of dawn."

"I don't mind," Maura said. She stretched her back, already anticipating the relaxing warmth of Jane's bed. "Oh! Maybe tomorrow we can teach her yoga so she can go with us in the future?"

"Really, Maura?" Jane asked as they headed down the hallway. She looked askance at her friend. "Yoga? Think about that for a moment."

Maura did just that and her face fell. "Oh, you're right. Jane and Mini-Jane. Well, maybe when she's older."

Jane snorted doubtfully as she stopped outside the first bedroom door while Maura continued on to the master. "But maybe we can take her to your house tomorrow instead. You know she loves to play with Bass."

Maura sighed. "I know, but I really am afraid that he will never understand the concept of 'giddy up'."

Jane laughed. "That's okay," she said. "She loves him anyway. And she adores you."

"The feeling is mutual," Maura said warmly. "Now go give Regina a kiss for me and come to bed."

"See you in a few," Jane said after a long look at the other woman. Then she went inside, eager to spend more time talking with the best friend she's ever had.


2 – The Devil Wears Armani

It all started with Jane unwisely asking Maura for advice. Fashion advice. Within earshot of her mother. All Jane needed was a new suit to wear for court and now here she was in a pretentious boutique on Newbury Street being fawned over by an overbearing sycophant of a sales clerk and cooed at by her mother and best friend.

"Oh Jane!" her mother exclaimed as Jane stepped out of the dressing room. Angela's eyes shone brightly as she took in the appearance of her daughter. "You look wonderful."

"Ma, come on," Jane said. "It's just a suit."

"You really do look stunning, Jane," Maura said, smiling widely. "The cut is perfect for your frame and the fitted line accents the form of your figure in a most flattering way."

Jane smirked at her. "Are you trying to say it makes my ass look great?"

"Jane, be nice," Angela admonished.

"To put it bluntly, yes," Maura laughed. She turned to the clerk. "We'll take it."

"Wait a second, Maura," Jane said, raising a hand. "How much is it?"

"Oh, we're having a special deal this week," the woman said smugly. "Only eight."

"Eight?" Jane looked askance. "Eight hundred dollars? No way." She turned to take off the suit.

"That really is a bargain, Jane," Maura said, putting a hand on the detective's arm to stop her.

"She's right, Detective," the clerk said with a smirk. "That suit usually goes for fifteen."

"A grand and a half for a simple suit?" Jane asked. "That's ridiculous."

"You said you wanted to look good in court, Jane," her mother said. "To make a…what was it again? Oh yes, a formidable and intimidating statement against slime ball defense attorneys."

"Yeah, Ma, I do, but a cop wearing a fifteen hundred dollar suit would also give the impression that I'm supplementing my income in other ways," Jane pointed out.

"Not necessarily, Jane," Maura said. "Looking good on a budget is a sign of a savvy and shrewd consumer. One does not need a large income to afford fine things and well-made clothing if one knows how to shop."

"And you do, Doctor Isles?" Jane grinned.

"Of course," Maura said. "With my charitable endowments I too, have to live on a budget."

"Oh, I'm sure you've had to sacrifice many new pairs of Jimmy Choos because of what the city pays you," Jane said with a smirk.

"Jane, be nice," Angela said and Jane thought it was rapidly becoming her mother's favorite refrain. Angela turned to Maura and said, "You're such a saint to put up with her abuse."

"I tell myself that often," Maura said nodding her head.

Jane rolled her eyes and then returned to study her reflection in the mirror. She ran a hand down her abdomen, liking the feel of the soft weave of the blazer and inwardly admitting that Maura was right, the suit did make her look good. The straight cut of the legs even made her look taller.

"Fine, I'll take it," she finally said.

The clerk clapped her hands with delight and left to write up the sales order.

"Good decision, Jane," Maura said approvingly.

"Maybe you could wear it someplace nice on a date, Jane," Angela suggested with a knowing look. "It's about time you got back into the swing of things."

"Ma," Jane admonished. "I bought this for court appearances. I don't go anywhere that would require a suit like this."

"Well, you should, Jane," Angela argued. "You should go out more."

"I agree," Maura said.

Jane turned to her with an incredulous look on her face. "Really, Maura?" she asked. "You're taking sides with my mother? Nice."

Maura rolled her eyes. "I'm not taking sides, I'm taking action. I have to attend a function this weekend. Why don't you come with me? It'll be the perfect event for you to wear your new suit."

"What kind of function?" Jane asked suspiciously.

"A cocktail party Mother is hosting for her charity foundation," Maura answered.

"A cocktail party?" Jane reiterated. "Really?"

"It'll be fun," Maura said. "There will be a lot of artists and people from the fashion industry there."

Jane rolled her eyes. "Keep talking and I'll only want to say no."

"Does that mean you'll go with me?" Maura asked, her eyes shining as brightly as her hair.

"Yeah, I'll go," Jane said with a smile which grew even larger as Maura happily clapped her hands together. She returned to the dressing room to change.

"What about you, Angela?" Maura asked, turning to the other Rizzoli. "I could ask Mother for an invitation for you."

"She mentioned it to me last week, but Vincent and I already have plans," Angela answered.

"Oh, how nice," Maura said.

"Korsak said he wouldn't be available this weekend," Jane said as she tucked her shirt into her pants. "You guys going somewhere?"

"Martha's Vineyard," Angela said with a nod. "We have reservations at a wonderful bed and breakfast there. Oh, maybe I'll get some new lingerie. Hurry up and pay for your suit, Jane and you girls come meet me at Victoria's Secret." With that, the older woman hurried from the store.

"Oh vomit," Jane groaned. "I can't believe my mother wants me to help her shop for underwear she can wear for my ex-partner."

"They're engaged so it's allowed and I think it's sweet," Maura said with a laugh.

"You're not the one who's gonna have Korsak for a step-father, Maura," Jane pointed out.

"They're in no hurry to get married so it might be quite a while before he is that, Jane."

"I know," Jane said. She pulled out her wallet and handed her credit card to the sales clerk. "I'm happy for them. I just don't want to imagine them having sex, okay?"

Maura laughed and merely shook her head while Jane signed the credit card receipt. "Thank you," Maura said to the sales clerk after she handed Jane her package. "You were very helpful."

"Thank you," Jane said using the tone of voice she reserved for when she wanted her sarcasm clearly known.

Maura just shook her head. "I'll pick you up at six."

"Fine," Jane said. "Come on, let's go find Ma before she ends up buying a thong."

"Do you think she will?" Maura asked, alarmed.

Jane simply eyed her friend. "What do you think, Maura?"

"Oh dear."

Jane opened the door to her apartment to reveal a smiling Maura Isles.

"Wow!" Jane exclaimed. "You look stunning."

"Thank you," Maura said. The good doctor was wearing a black and white sheath that came to her knees. On her feet was a pair of black Louboutins, the red of the sole the only show of color. "So do you, Jane. You're going to turn quite a few heads at the party," she said.

"We'll be the best looking couple there," Jane said.

"That we shall," Maura agreed. "Ready to go?"

Jane grabbed her keys from the table next to the door and after locking it, slipped them in her pocket. Maura drove the short distance to her mother's high rise condo in the city and after leaving the car with the valet, she and Jane took the elevator to the penthouse.

Inside the large apartment were more beautiful people than Jane had ever seen gathered in one place. "Holy crap!" she exclaimed.

Maura smiled as she looked around the room. "There's Mother," she said pointing a finger. "Let's go make our greetings."

Jane placed her hand on the small of Maura's back as she led the doctor through the crowd.

Maura's mother's eye lit up as the couple approached her. "Maura, darling!" Constance said as she leaned in to kiss the Medical Examiner's cheek.

"Hello, Mother," Maura said.

"That Chanel looks divine on you, darling," Constance said as she appraised her daughter's appearance. Then she turned to regard Jane. "And you look lovely, Jane. Armani?"

Jane nodded as she accepted Constance's kiss on her cheek. "Your daughter insisted I buy it."

"Of course she did," the older Isles said. "Maura has always had excellent taste. How's your mother, dear?"

"Good," Jane answered. "She and Korsak are spending the weekend on the Vineyard."

"Oh, I hope they're staying at that lovely bed and breakfast I recommended," Constance said.

"She did mention that they're staying at one, so I'm sure that's it," Jane agreed.

"Oh good," Constance said and then spotted someone over her daughter's shoulder. "Oh, there's Gisele. She and Tom have promised a large donation to the foundation and I need to set up a time to meet with them next week. You girls enjoy yourselves."

Jane looked around. "I can't believe you brought me to a party with Tom Brady," she said.

"I knew you'd have a good time," Maura said. "Can you get us some drinks?"

"Sure," Jane said. "Chardonnay?"

"Please," Maura said and watched as Jane headed for the bar.

"Let me guess," a voice from behind her said. "Professor at BCU?"

Maura turned to find a tall, blond-haired man holding a cocktail glass. "Excuse me?" she asked.

"Your profession," the man said and plastered what he obviously thought was a charming smile on his face. "Professor at BCU? Or maybe Harvard?"

"Well, I went to BCU, but no, I'm the Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts," Maura answered.

The man let out a low whistle. "I never would have gotten that," he said and stuck out his hand. "Christian Thompson."

"Dr. Maura Isles," she said shaking his hand. "And what is it you do, Mr. Thompson?"

"No guesses, Dr. Isles?" he prompted.

"I don't guess," she said. "I only deal in facts."

"Fair enough," he said, bobbing his head. "I'm a freelance writer. Mostly The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. Although I have been in other publications."

"I see," Maura said. "I'm afraid I'm not familiar with your work."

"That's quite all right," he said. "I imagine you don't have much time to read."

"That is not necessarily true," she said. "I make time every evening before I go to sleep to read."

"Any favorites?"

"Dennis Lehane, for instance," she answered. "But I think his first three are his best."

"Not bad," he said. "Say, after the party, how would you like to join me for a late dinner?"

She tilted her head at him. "That's an interesting offer, but I'm here with someone," she said.

"Oh, lucky guy," he said. "Who is it?"

Maura pointed at Jane. "That tall woman chatting with the bartender," she said. As if feeling the attention, Jane turned to look at Maura and narrowed her eyes at Thompson's proximity. She motioned to the bartender for the drinks and began to make her way through the crowd, back to Maura.

Thompson eyed Jane. "She looks familiar," he said. "I think I've seen her in the papers. She's a cop, isn't she?"

"Detective," Maura answered.

Thompson laughed. "Good thing I haven't broken any laws lately," he joked, but Maura was not amused.

"God help you if Jane Rizzoli decides you're guilty of something, Mr. Thompson," Maura said.

Jane arrived and handed Maura her glass of wine. "Here you go," she said and turned to look at Thompson.

"Christian Thompson, Detective," he said holding out his hand, which Jane ignored. "I'm a writer," he continued smoothly. "I was wondering if we could get together for an interview," he asked hopefully.

"Sorry, I don't give interviews," Jane answered.

"Oh, well, if you change your mind," he said and pulled a card out of his pocket. He handed it to her and then turned to Maura and handed her a second card. "And if you change your mind about that dinner, just give me a call." Before either woman could answer he tipped his imaginary hat at them and went off.

"That jerk asked you out?" Jane asked.

"He invited me for a late dinner after the party," Maura explained sipping her wine. "Mmm, Mother's wines are always so wonderful."

"Did you want to go out with him?" Jane asked, not understanding the sinking feeling she was having in the pit of her stomach.

"Of course not, Jane," Maura said. "I'm here with you."

"Because you know, it's okay if…"

"Jane," Maura said, placing a hand on the detective's arm. "I don't want to be with anyone else tonight and I certainly have no intention of dating that man."

"Good," Jane said with a smile. She looked into her friend's eyes and plucked the card out of Maura's hand. "Then you won't need this." She tossed both cards on a passing waiter's tray.

"Oh, there are Tom and Gisele," Maura said. "Let's go introduce ourselves. I know you want to."

"Oh hell yeah!" Jane agreed.

"So Rat is coming for a visit next week," Maura said as she opened the door to her house. With Regina spending the weekend with her uncle Frankie, Jane had agreed to spend the night.

"Yeah, that's cool," Jane said as she headed for the refrigerator, carefully walking around the huge tortoise. "Is he bringing Bear?" she asked.

"I'm sure he is," Maura said. "I can't imagine Rat going anywhere without his dog."

"That'll make Regina happy," Jane said and handed Maura a bottle. "At least he understands the concept of giddy-up a whole lot better than that guy over there."

"It's good that you trust your daughter with him, Jane," Maura said. "I saw that dog tear out the throat of a trained bloodhound."

"It saved your life, Maura," Jane said. "That's what counts. I'm sure by now he would do the same thing for Regina."

"He is very protective," Maura said with a nod. "So would Rat. I think Regina reminds him of his little sister. We should do something together while they're here."

"Sure," Jane instantly agreed. She liked the young boy who had saved her friend's life. He was a little odd, but so was Maura and that's why the two of them were perfect for each other. "Come on," she said standing up. "I'm sleepy."

"All right," Maura said.

"Man, Tom Brady!" Jane enthused much to Maura's amusement.

"I think he was a little star struck to meet you, Jane," Maura pointed out.

"Nah," Jane said shrugging it off. "I'm just a cop."

"Oh no," Maura said with a warm smile. "You are so much more than that, my friend."

To Jane's chagrin, she felt herself blushing. "You've got a biased opinion, Dr. Isles."

"Maybe," Maura said and batted her eyes.

Jane rolled hers in response and opened the door to Maura's room. She stepped aside and held up an arm. "Ladies first," she said.

"Thank you, Detective," Maura said and stepped into the room.

Author's Note: I confess. I did it. I totally and with clear intent did willfully steal a line from the great Tess herself. I'm guilty. Now, can I end up in Jane's interrogation room and have that wonderful bedroom voice directed at me? Please?


3 – Barefoot in the Park

When Maura and Julian "Rat" Perkins arrived at the apartment that morning to pick them up for their Sunday picnic in the park, Regina flew to the door, her chubby little legs barely keeping her balanced as she threw herself into the seventeen-year old boy's arms. Rat looked startled for a moment, but then his handsomely rugged face broke out into a rare grin as he hugged the toddler.

"Hey Reg," he said. "How ya been?"

"Rat," she said, squeezing his neck.

Maura and Jane watched the charming reunion between their kids. Then Jane patted the huge shepherd/wolf mix breed that was sitting by his master's side, ignoring the small terrier trying to get his attention. Bear's warm, wet tongue slipped out to give Jane's hand a sloppy lick, a sure sign of respect for the tall detective.

Rat finally put down the little girl who then threw herself around the dog's neck. "Bear!" the dark-hair girl cried with a squeal, her unruly curls mingling with the dog's furry mane. Bear responded with a soft woof.

Maura frowned. Regina was wearing purple shorts and a Boston PD tee-shirt printed with the slogan Zombie Task Force: To Protect and Serve…the Living. "Jane, do you really think that shirt is appropriate for a little girl?" she asked.

Jane laughed. "It was a gift from Frost and her current favorite of the week," she said. "I dare you to get her out of it."

Maura shook her head, knowing that the toddler's stubbornness matched that of her mother's and any suggestions to improve the girl's wardrobe would only be met with distain. "Are you two ready to go?" she asked Jane, her eyes shining with anticipation. The Medical Examiner was dressed in a yellow sundress with white sandals that revealed perfectly manicured toenails.

"Let me grab our bag," Jane said and ran her hand down her friend's arm as she slid by her. Jane was wearing a Property of Boston Police shirt and soft jeans. The contrast in the wardrobe choices of the two friends suitably matched their ideals for a picnic outdoors: Maura enjoying the fresh air as she looked pretty while sitting on a blanket and Jane getting down and dirty with some kind of physical activity.

After transferring the picnic supplies from Maura's car to Jane's and then loading the kids and dogs inside, the detective drove them all to the park Maura had requested when she asked Jane if she and Regina would join them for the day. The park was busy with couples and families and as they searched for a spot, Jane pushing Regina in her stroller and Rat carrying a huge cooler, Jane finally realized something.

"Um, Maura?" she started.

"Yes Jane?" Maura was holding a blanket over one arm and a large Gucci tote bag on the other. She was also holding Joe Friday's leash while Bear padded along by her side.

"Have you noticed that most of the people here are, like, gay?" she asked.

Maura looked around them for a moment and then nodded. "It's Pride Week, Jane," she answered. "There are a lot of people in town for the festivities."

"You brought us to a gay pride picnic?"

"Does it matter, Jane?" Maura asked in return.

Jane scratched her neck as she looked around the park again. It looked like a typical family day in the park except that the majority of the couples were of the same sex. A few of them were free with their public displays of affection, but there were none of the extreme antics she had frequently observed at the city's pride parades she had worked during her beat days. Finally, she shrugged. "No, I suppose not," she said. "Where do you want to set up?"

"Over there," Maura answered and led the way.

They spread the blanket under the limbs of a large oak tree, sharing the space with two other couples, one male couple with two toddlers approximately Regina's age and one female couple with an infant sleeping in a carrier. They politely greeted the others and then continued to arrange their space. Jane let Regina out of the stroller and gave her several toys to play with, but the little girl ignored them and immediately started crawling over Bear who sat at one corner of the blanket, panting quietly and stoically enduring the toddler's attention. Joe Friday immediately curled up next to her larger canine companion.

Rat shook off his backpack, pulled a plastic water bowl from it and grabbed the container of water from the cooler Maura was rummaging through. After setting water out for the dogs, he pulled out a box of dog kibble and scattered a handful out for the mutts. As Jane watched, he held the box out to Maura and, to the detective's astonishment the doctor absently pulled a nugget from the box and began to nibble on it. Rat also stuffed a handful into his mouth, his jaws noisily crunching the chunks.

The Medical Examiner must have felt Jane's askance gaze on her and she looked up sheepishly. "It's an acquired taste," she said with a wry shrug. "Want to try?"

Jane shook her head. "I'll think I'll just stick with the potato chips," she said.

While Maura set out the various dishes she had prepared, Jane attempted to clean a squirming Regina's hands with a wet nap, finally getting the child to settle down with her sippy cup.

Jane was amused to see Maura had already cut up Regina's food for her as the doctor laid a plastic container on the blanket. The little girl immediately grabbed a handful of buttered corn with her chubby fingers and jammed it into her mouth, most of the kernels landing on her ZTF shirt.

"She has your manners, Jane," Maura observed with an amused grin.

"Yup, that's my girl," Jane said proudly and took the container Maura handed her. Inside several different compartments was cold fried chicken, corn on the cob impaled on a stick to make for easier eating, collard greens and a light tossed salad already coated with Jane's favorite dressing. Jane took a bite out of a chicken leg, finding the skin crisp and the flesh succulent and tender. "Thanks, Maura," she said swallowing. "Did you make this yourself?"

"Yes," Maura nodded, handing Jane an ice cold bottle of Sam Adams ale. "Rat helped me cook."

Jane looked at the wiry teenager who was leaning against Bear. He was eating out of a container the size of a large KFC bucket. "Thanks, Julian," she said.

The boy regarded her with eyes way too old for someone his age. "Rat," he finally said.

Jane gave him a short nod, accepting what the boy offered. "It's great, Rat," she said and took another bite of her chicken.

While they ate, Jane silently observed the strange young man who, were it not for him, Maura would have long been dead. She flashed back to the horrible day they held the Medical Examiner's funeral, sitting in the cold church pew and fighting off the tears for the friend they had all believed died. Julian Perkins had given Maura back to them and for that, he would always have Jane's undying gratitude.

Rat was a strange and quiet boy with a troubled history. At first she had opposed Maura's attempts to adopt the orphan, thinking that a woman living alone with a demanding job had no business taking in a boy like that. When Maura was denied custody, Jane had thought it for the best, but her friend had surprised her by doing exactly what she had vowed to do: she was making a difference in his life. In return, he was making a difference in hers. Jane saw it as a good thing.

After their meal, during which Maura had blithely lectured them on the history of soul food, Rat took out a Frisbee and threw it for the two dogs to chase, while little Regina ran happily back and forth, giggling with happiness. Maura sat with her back against the tree as Jane lay with her head in the doctor's lap watching as their children played.

"I think my kid is going to Forrest Gump her way through life," Jane commented. She was feeling warm and relaxed and was thoroughly enjoying the day, very glad her friend had extended them the invitation.

"Forrest Gump?" Maura asked as she idly ran her fingers through Jane's hair. She too was enjoying the day, happy to be surrounded by people she loved.

Jane looked up at her friend. "Really, Maura? You don't know the life is like a box of chocolates guy?" she asked.

"Yes, Jane, I'm familiar with the film and the character," Maura said, rolling her eyes. "I was confused by your use of his name as a verb."

Jane chuckled. "I meant that she's going to run her way through life every step of the way," she explained.

They watched as Regina tripped over her own feet and was helped up by Rat, who brushed the grass off the seat of her pants. Regina immediately ran toward the romping dogs. "Yes, I do believe she will," Maura agreed. "I look forward to future marathons with her."

With a full belly and warm comfortable thighs cushioning her head, Jane Rizzoli slipped into a light doze lulled by the soothing caress of soft fingers through her brown locks.

After her nap, Jane felt like stretching her legs, so she and Maura left a sleeping Regina with Rat who was content to read a schoolbook under the shade. The two women strolled through the pretty park eventually coming to an open area set up with tents for vendors and organizations promoting their causes. Jane patiently watched in amusement as Maura eagerly visited each booth, engaging with those running them, but when her friend got into a lively discussion about lesbian safe sex practices with a physician from a women's health clinic, she discretely wandered off to another booth, her cheeks blushing slightly.

Jane found herself standing in front of a table that had a display of softballs arranged in a pyramid.

"Tryouts are next Saturday."

Jane looked up. A redheaded woman wearing a Red Sox hat and matching jersey was standing behind the table and giving Jane a wide smile. "But I bet you won't have any problem getting picked for a team," the woman continued.

"Already on one," Jane said, returning the smile. "For the Boston PD."

"You're a cop?"

"Homicide detective," Jane clarified.

"Whoa, impressive," the woman drawled. "Kelley Wingate."

"Jane Rizzoli," she said shaking the extended hand.

"Homicide, eh? Were you part of the investigation of that murder at Merch?" Kelly asked.

"Heard about that, huh?" Jane asked wryly.

"Are you kidding? The whole lesbian community in the New England area heard about that," the redhead answered.

Jane chuckled and gave nod. "Yeah, that was our collar," she answered.

"Which arrest was that, Jane?"

The detective turned to see Maura had finally rejoined her. "The homicide at Merch."

"Oh yes," Maura said. "I'll never forget that one. It was my first time undercover."

"You're a cop, too?" Kelley asked, her eyes widening in surprise.

"Medical Examiner," Maura answered, shaking her head, her shining honey-blonde hair gently caressing her shoulders, Jane noted. "But I work closely with the homicide unit."

"Kelley Wingate, Dr. Maura Isles," Jane introduced, gesturing back and forth between the two women.

"Hey," Kelley said.

"Delighted to meet you," Maura said and looked at the table. "Women's softball?"

"Yeah," Kelley answered. "You guys should sign up. We have a few cops in the league, but no pathologists, I think."

"But we're already on a league for the summer," Maura said, sounding disappointed.

"Here's a schedule for the teams," the redhead said handing them a sheet of paper. "Games vary from Saturday or Sunday and with some night games thrown in during the week for flexibility."

"That's cool," Jane said as Maura tucked the paper into her tote. "We'll think about it."

"Great," the woman said enthusiastically. "I hope to see you around."

Maura smiled and said, "Maybe you will."

"Take care," Jane said and placing her hand on the small of Maura's back, led them both away from the booth.

"So did you get all the information you needed back there?" Jane asked, waving a finger toward the clinic's booth.

"Oh, I think I have all the information I could ever need now," she answered with a sly grin.

"I am soooo happy for you," Jane dragged out, finishing with a chuckle.

Maura paused and looked at Jane. "That woman was flirting with you, Jane," she pointed out.

"You think so?" Jane asked. At Maura's nod, she added, "Why? Are you jealous, Dr. Isles?"

"Maybe I am, Detective Rizzoli," Maura said playfully.

Jane glanced back at the table where the woman was already talking with another potential softball player. "Nah, she's not my type."

Maura laughed. "Well, what is your type?"

Jane paused a moment, her eyes roaming over the delicate planes of her friend's face. "Less redhead," she finally answered. "More blonde."

Maura's smile outshone the brightness of the sun.

The rest of the afternoon was spent with more relaxing, more playing and more eating. After the sun set, there was a fireworks show much to the delight of the small group. Like her mother, Regina had rallied after her nap and had returned to chasing after boy and dogs with her usual wild abandon, but by the time Jane had driven them back to Maura's house, she had conked out again. Rat carried the toddler into the guest bedroom that was slowly being transformed from the pretty feminine décor she was familiar with into a teen-age boy's room that brought back memories of Frankie's and Tommy's room at the old house. Jane hadn't been in here for some time; when she spent the night at Maura's, it was simply more natural for them to share the same bed since they usually ended up speaking long into the night anyway.

Rat laid the girl down on his bed and then grabbed some clothes and a few more school books.

"Thanks for giving up your bed, Rat," Jane said as she began to untie her daughter's sneakers.

Rat snorted. "Maura's couch is a lot more comfortable than some of the things I've had to sleep on, Mrs. Rizzoli," he said.

"It's just Detective Rizzoli now," she said. "But call me Jane."

He looked at her for a long moment and then nodded his head. "All right," he agreed. "Good night, Jane."

Maura was sitting up in bed when Jane entered the bedroom after changing into her sleep wear. She was reading through the various pamphlets and literature she had picked up at the vendor booths earlier.

As Jane slipped into bed, Maura turned to her and said, "This is fascinating, Jane. Did you know that dental dams were invented in…?"

"Vomit, Maura!" Jane interrupted and was about to protest even more, but then stopped. She looked at Maura with narrowed eyes. "You do that on purpose, don't you?"

"Do what?" Maura asked innocently, blinking her eyes at Jane.

"Never mind," Jane said rolling her eyes. She punched the pillows under her head until she was comfortable. "So I want to thank you for today. I think the kids had a great time and even the dogs are exhausted. Bear and Joe were both passed out next to Bass when I got a glass of water."

Maura chuckled as she put the brochures aside and turned off the light. "I'm sure they did have fun," she said as she rolled over on to her side to face Jane. "But what about you? Did you have a good time?" she asked, her voice growing softer. She brushed an errant curl of hair off of Jane's face.

Jane looked into her eyes and nodded. "I had a wonderful time, Maura," she said, her voice hitting one of its lowest registers. "Thank you."

"You're welcome, Jane."

On impulse, Jane leaned over and kissed her best friend's cheek, lingering for a moment as she appreciated the incredible softness under her lips. When she pulled back, Maura's eyes were shining brightly at her through the darkness of the room. "Night, Maura."

"Good night, Jane."

Author's Note: You can buy Regina's tee-shirt online.

Rat, short for Ratatouille like the movie, is, for all intents and purposes, Maura's adopted son. They spent weeks together on the run from killers in the mountains of Wyoming during the middle of winter and it was only Rat's superior outdoor survival skills that kept them alive. He saved her life, she saved his and Bear saved them both. Tess described their relationship thusly: "They were joined, the three of them, woman, boy, and dog. An unlikely union forged by hardship into something close to love. Maybe even stronger than love."

While Rat was recovering from being shot, Maura promised to herself that she would never abandon the orphaned boy and he'd always know someone cared about him. She tried to adopt him, but when she was refused because of the demands of her job, she arranged to have him enrolled into a school for unique students run by the eccentric billionaire Anthony Sansone much closer to Boston. Rat and Bear visit her and he's even helped her solve one of their cases. When he tells her he wants to be just like her, Maura says that is the most flattering thing anyone has ever said to her. We'll hopefully see more of Rat in the next book, Last to Die, as his school is mentioned in the synopsis: "Having withstood violence, the students at Evensong, a school deep in the Maine wilderness, prepare for careers in crime fighting. That's where Det. Jane Rizzoli decides to hide Teddy Clock when the rest of his foster family is murdered." Release date: August 28, 2012. The publisher moved up the date to coincide with the ending of Season 3.

While writing this, I questioned to myself if Jane would feel comfortable leaving her child in Rat's care. Then I found this: during a scene where the killer was bearing down on them and, too exhausted to continue running, Maura begged Rat to leave her behind and save himself. Rat refused. Maura thinks, "If ever I had a son, she thought, this is the kind of boy I would want him to be. As loyal, as courageous, as Julian Perkins." So the answer is yes. Jane trusts Maura and Maura trusts Rat, therefore, Jane would trust Rat.

A scary trailer for Ice Cold, the Tess Gerritsen novel of Maura's adventures with the boy can be seen at Goodreads dot com under the ICE COLD page. Just do a search for Tess Gerritsen.

Oh, and since this author's note has by now reached ridiculously epic proportions, I'll leave you with this extremely rare Rizzles moment from Ice Cold: "Jane reached out to take Maura's hand. It felt strange to do so, because Maura was not a woman who invited touches or hugs. But she did not flinch at Jane's touch; she seemed too weary to react at all."

Yup, that's about as subtexty as it gets, folks.


4 – My Big Fat Gay Wedding

The doorbell rang and Maura went to answer it, leaving Jane sitting on the couch. Jane picked up the remote and hit pause. The television froze on an image of Ian McShane dressed as a pirate and pointing a cutlass.

"Who was that?" Jane asked when the doctor returned a few minutes later.

"Messenger," Maura said sitting down. She was pulling the zip rip on an oversize cardboard envelope. Inside was a large cream colored envelope with Maura's name written in a fine calligraphic script. The flap was sealed with a blob of wax. "Oh, it's from the Cushings."

"Who?" Jane asked, watching as Maura broke the seal.

The lining of the envelope was made of gold foil. Maura pulled another envelope out. "Old Boston family," she said absently.

"Oh those Cushings," Jane said. "Why haven't we had them over for drinks, dear?"

Maura ignored the sarcasm and pulled a card from the nested envelopes and tissue paper. "Mr. and Mrs. Peter and Abigail Cushing," Maura read, "request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Kaye Winifred Cushing to Kris Minot Eliot."

"Who sends a wedding invitation via messenger?" Jane asked. Maura eyed her for a moment until Jane added, "Oh, right. Nevermind."

"Oh, it's in Provincetown and I can bring someone," Maura said. "Want to go?"

Jane blinked in surprise. "Why me?" she asked.

"Well, I'm not seeing anyone else and I think we'd have fun. Provincetown is lovely this time of year," Maura answered.

Jane frowned. "Aren't you afraid I'll embarrass you in front of all those Brahmins?"

"Of course you will, Jane," Maura said with a smirk. "But I'm used to it by now."

"You're not as funny as you think you are, Dr. Isles," Jane said, wagging a finger.

"I'm funnier than I used to be so I'm well ahead of the game." Maura's eyes gleamed with the mischief that always made Jane warm.

"Whatever," Jane said, playing the game. "So what's your connection to the Cushings anyway?"

"Kaye and I were in the same year at BCU," Maura answered. "She went to Harvard Medical School, but we've kept in touch over the years. Her specialty is pediatrics."

Jane nodded as she absently filed the information away, then she scratched her neck as she thought. "It's a long drive to P-town," she said.

"We can fly," Maura said reading the information that was included with the invitation. "The Cushings are providing shuttle service for their guests."

"I've had enough of private jets to last me for a while," Jane said with a grimace.

"They have secured a helicopter, not a jet," Maura said, still looking at the invitation.

"Helicopter?" Jane asked eagerly. "Okay, I'm in."

Maura glanced up. "That's it?" she asked. "A helicopter ride and you're in?"

"Hey, what can I say," Jane quipped with a shrug. "I'm easy."

"Yes, you are," Maura said blandly and Jane threw a pillow at her.

If Jane had known the helicopter ride was going to take place at the crack of dawn, she might have reconsidered going, but by the time they took off and headed into the rising sun, all traces of tiredness had fled. She glanced at Maura who was sitting in the seat across from her. The doctor was watching Jane's enjoyment of the ride, an amused smile playing over her lips.

"This is great, Maura," Jane said. "Thanks."

Maura simply nodded and smiled even wider when Jane went back to looking out the window, her neck craning nearly to its extreme as she spotting another boat far below in the bay.

The luxury helicopter was filled with two other couples who were attending the Cushing wedding. Maura vaguely remembered one of the women from college and they chatted during the short flight from Boston to Provincetown. A limo was waiting for them at the airport and the driver dropped Maura and Jane off at the guesthouse they were staying at for the night.

"Wow," Jane said, looking up at the small, two story wooden house. "This is a hotel?"

"Inn," Maura clarified.

The limo driver carried their bags inside and then left to take the other couples to their lodgings. The two women were greeted by the owner who led them upstairs to a bright room with multiple windows that overlooked the garden below. Jane glanced into the bathroom while the owner set their bags down next to the queen sized bed.

"This is lovely, Gary," Maura said.

"Thank you," the grey-haired man said. "There's breakfast set out in the garden or if you want there is a café around the corner. What time do you need to leave for your event?"

"We have to be at the church at three," Maura said.

"I'll have the car ready by two-thirty then," he said and then backed out of the room. "Enjoy your stay, ladies."

Jane used the bathroom while Maura unpacked their overnight bags and carefully laid out their dresses for the wedding, checking each one for wrinkles as she pulled it out of the garment bag.

"Everything okay?" Jane asked, coming out of the bathroom.

"Yes," Maura said.

"Great," Jane said and then paused, her hands stuffed into the back pockets of her jeans. "Um, Maura, it just occurred to me that this room must be costing you a lot. I mean, when I used to come to Provincetown during college, it was always a bunch of us piling into a cheap room to crash for the night after partying. It still cost an arm and a leg. Are you sure I can't chip in?"

Maura looked at her for a long moment and then stepped forward until Jane could feel the warmth that always seemed to radiate from the doctor's body, even in the coldest weather. "Jane," Maura began, putting her hands on Jane's hips. "I would have stayed here regardless. That you're here with me makes it all the more wonderful. I treasure the time we spend together. That means so much more to me than money, Jane."

Jane smiled as she looked deep into Maura's eyes. "You only deserve the best, Maura."

"As long as I have you, then I already have it," Maura said.

Jane took Maura's hand in hers. "Then let's go," she said, pulling her friend to the door. "As magnificent as this room is, it's been a while since I've been to P-town and we've got a few hours to explore."

"Oh, let's hit the art galleries," Maura said as Jane led her from the room.

"Sounds great," Jane said. "And I know a great place for lunch. I'm in the mood for lobster rolls. That all right with you, Dr. Isles?"

"It is indeed, Detective Rizzoli," Maura said, staring into her friend's happy eyes.

Jane, her eyes hidden behind a pair of mirrored aviators, was leaning back in her chair with her boots propped on the wooden railing in front of her, her long, jean-clad legs crossed comfortably. They were sitting at a small, beachside food dive, the remains of their meal of lobster rolls and French fries littered the table between them. Jane picked up her bottle of ale and drained it as she continued to watch the colorful tourists strolling past.

Maura, dressed in a pleasant sundress, looked lovely with her hair pulled back into a ponytail, a few stray strands shimmering in the light breeze. The doctor was reading from a magazine she had picked up at a newsstand. They had spent the morning hitting several art galleries and antique stores, Maura making several purchases, including an antique brass and wooden umbrella stand she thought Angela would appreciate for the guest house. Jane had simply smiled as she watched Maura blithely make her purchases and shipping arrangements.

"What is it?" Maura asked, realizing that Jane had been staring at her.

Jane shrugged. "Nothing," she answered. "I'm enjoying myself, just you and me with no kids or mothers or, thank god, murders to worry about. It's nice, you know?"

"I do," Maura said, but then glanced at her watch. "However, I'm afraid we really must get back so we have time to get ready. I want us to look our best today."

Jane laughed as she stood up and dropped a few bills from her wallet onto the table. "I can't speak for myself, but you always look good, Maura."

Maura smiled sweetly. "Thank you."

The wedding ceremony was held at a moderately sized Episcopal church on Commercial Street. As Jane followed Maura up the steps to the lobby, she couldn't help but admire her friend's long legs, the doctor's muscular calves highlighted by a pair of heels so high that Jane herself would never brave.

The lobby was filled with equally fashionable people of all sorts. Jane recognized a few and when Maura went over to speak with someone, Jane walked over to a tall and beautiful woman.

"Good afternoon, Catherine," she said.

The woman turned around and gave Jane a cautious smile. "Jane," she said. "How nice to see you."

Dr. Catherine Cordell was not one of Jane's regular acquaintances, despite the doctor having been married to one of Boston's homicide detectives for several years now. The brilliant trauma surgeon worked as long hours as her husband did and only on occasion joined him for the more formal department functions. Jane also wryly reflected that the memory of her and Catherine's unfortunate shared experience made them both uneasy in each other's presence. Still, Cordell was an exceptionally brave and strong woman Jane could not help but admire.

"Moore's on call this weekend," Jane said, her gaze firm. "So I'm a little surprised to see you here."

"I came by myself," the doctor answered, refusing to flinch under Jane's scrutiny. ""But just for the ceremony. I'm returning to Boston immediately afterward."

Jane simply nodded, knowing it must have taken a lot for Cordell to come here without her husband.

"Jane," the beautiful woman continued. "Thomas told me what happened at the prison. What you did." She paused. "To him." The last was said with bitter rancor in her voice.

Jane stared at the doctor for a few long moments. "Well, it was incredibly stupid of me to get caught by him a third time," she said rubbing her neck sheepishly. She glanced across the room at Maura who had also been caught up in Hoyt's insanity.

"Third time was the charm though," Cordell said softly. "What matters is that you're alive and he's not. So I want to thank you."

"You don't have to do that," Jane said, uneasily.

"Yes, I do," Cordell said with a firm nod. "After all these years, I can finally sleep through the night again."

"Let's just call us even, then, okay?" Jane said.

"All right," the doctor agreed. "Enjoy the wedding, Jane. You and Dr. Isles both look lovely."

"I'll tell her you said that," Jane said, finally giving the other woman a smile. "Take care, Catherine."

Jane watched as the doctor walked into the church.

"Was that Dr. Cordell?" Maura asked, rejoining Jane.

The detective nodded and turned to her friend. She glanced down at Maura's outfit. "Have I told you how beautiful you are today?" she asked.

Maura nodded. "Three times so far," the doctor answered, her smile outshining Jane's. "But I don't mind."

"Good," Jane said and took Maura by the hand to lead her into the church. "Because I just might have to do it several more times before the day is over."

"Didn't you think that was a beautiful ceremony, Jane?" Maura asked.

The two of them were sitting at one of the many dining tables filling the large tastefully decorated reception hall. The food was excellent and despite having had her fill of lobster rolls earlier that day, Jane was eating heartily.

"Sure," she said after swallowing a bite of her roast beef. "The brides were both lovely."

"You were a lovely bride," Maura said after a few minutes.

Jane snorted. "I looked like a cow in a pantsuit."

"You did not!" Maura admonished.

"How long have you two been married?" the doctor sitting next to Jane asked.

"Oh no," Jane laughed. "We're not married. We've just been friends a long time."

As the dinner concluded and the party moved to the speech portion of the evening, Jane found herself watching Maura. The Medical Examiner's eyes were shining and Jane's eyes lingered on the graceful way Maura's throat rippled when she drank down another toast.

As she was laughing at another joke made by the best man at one of the bride's expense, Maura turned to Jane and caught her staring. "What?" she asked, her voice hitching from the intense expression in Jane's eyes.

"You're glowing," Jane finally said. "You're not pregnant, are you?" Jane narrowed her eyes to let Maura know she was playing.

"No," Maura laughed and shook her head, the long curls of her hair dancing prettily over her shoulders.

"Good," Jane said, taking the doctor's hand in her and lacing their fingers together. "It's just that I don't think I've see you this happy in a long time." It was true, she reflected to herself, at least since Maura finally had the sense to cut Father Asshat out of her life.

Maura squeezed Jane's hand. "It's all because of you, Jane."

Jane smiled at the warm sincerity in her friend's eyes. "Can I have the first dance?" she asked.

"And the last," Maura promised.

After the wedding and despite the lateness of the hour, Maura was still full of energy and asked Jane to go for a walk with her. Jane immediately agreed and after changing, Jane in jean shorts and a tee shirt and Maura in to a light blouse and pedal pushers, the two made the short walk to the beach where they quickly shed their shoes and headed for where the waves met the surf.

"I've always loved the feel of sand in my toes," Jane said as they started walking along the waterline. In the back of her mind, Jane noted she was holding Maura's hand and it felt like the most natural thing in the world.

"I never was much for the beach," Maura commented, shaking her head.

"You never went as a kid?"

"Oh, I was there all the time during summers," Maura answered. "Our family home in Hyannis has its own private beach, but a beach without people enjoying it always seemed so lonely to me."

"Yeah, I can see that," Jane said, sad for the solitary childhood her friend had. "Private beaches are only fun if you have someone to share them with."

Maura smiled at her through the darkness. "Maybe I'll invite the whole Rizzoli clan over for a clam bake."

"Ma would love that," Jane said.

The two of them continued to stroll down the beach, chatting comfortably about their shared colleagues, friends and family. Finally, a gust of wind lifted the dark hair draped over Jane's neck. Looking up, she saw flashes of light skimming through the bulging clouds gathering above. "We should head back," she said. "Storm's moving in."

Maura nodded and the two women quickened their pace. Jane thought they were going to make it, but they were still a quarter mile from the hotel when the heavens opened up and within minutes they were both drenched. By the time they ran through the gate to their guesthouse, they were laughing.

Jane pulled Maura up the porch steps and spun the doctor around as she came to an abrupt stop. Caught off guard by the sudden move, Maura stumbled, but Jane clutched her easily, holding the slightly shorter woman firmly in her arms.

"Are you all right?" Jane asked.

Maura, out of breath more from Jane's proximity than from their race through the rain, nodded.

Jane searched Maura's face as she held her friend. "Maura?" Two syllables, the second raised slightly to turn the word from a name into a query and not simply of a single question, but of many. Lightning flashed overhead and the immediate crash of thunder shook the porch.

"Jane," was Maura's answer to all of the detective's questions. She brushed her hand along Jane's raindrop kissed face.

"Maura," Jane said again and this time it was not a question. She leaned forward. Maura's eyes fluttered shut, but they both froze as the door to the inn opened and the jovial owner of the inn stepped out, carrying two fluffy towels.

"I thought you two might need these," he said.

Jane and Maura looked at each other for another long moment and then Jane reached out for the offered towels.

"Thanks, Gary," she said and handed one to Maura as she stepped away from the doctor.

In their room, they dried off and changed into their sleep clothes. When Jane came out of the bathroom, Maura was standing at the window watching the storm.

"Cold?" Jane asked when Maura shivered.

The doctor turned around and their eyes met. Maura nodded.

"Come on," Jane said and turned off the light. She pulled the covers down and when Maura lay down, she tucked them both in. Scooting close, Jane took Maura into her arms. "Better?" she asked.

"Much," Maura said with a contented sigh. "Good night, Jane."

"Good night," Jane said and listened as the other woman's breathing settled into the regular pattern of sleep.

Jane lay holding the other woman in the darkness as the storm ran its course outside their room.

Sleep for Jane was a long time coming.

Author's Note: Dr. Catherine Cordell was Hoyt's obsession before Jane. She was the other woman in that basement when Jane was stabbed in the hands and it was her who saved Jane from Hoyt. Prior to that, though, there had been a lot of conflict and jealousy between Jane and Cordell. Strong women characters like Catherine are the main reason I keep reading Gerritsen's books.

By the way, in the books, Hoyt is still alive. When Jane shot him in The Apprentice (pilot ep), she took out his spinal cord leaving him a quadriplegic. Hoyt does nothing except lie in bed and think…about Jane. Interesting tidbit: Gerritsen was planning on killing off Jane, but positive fan feedback changed her mind. I bet the doc is glad she didn't make such a foolish move.


5 – Dirty Dancing

Maura Isles pushed her way through the homicide unit's double doors intent on walking over to Jane Rizzoli's desk, but then paused when she noticed another detective speaking with her friend, smiling slightly as she recognized Detective Johnny Tam.

"I think you've covered all of your bases here, Tam," Jane said as she scanned the contents of a file. "No doubt this scum bag is going away for a long time thanks to your good work."

"Thanks, Rizzoli," he said and Maura could see his face flushing under the praise. "I was concerned I might have missed something."

"Nah, you're good," she said, closing the file and handing it to him. She paused a moment as she looked at the Asian detective. "So, have you seen Iris Fang and Bella Li lately?"

Maura was curious about the way Tam seemed to freeze at the question.

"Last week," he finally answered, eyeing Jane squarely. "Iris is doing well in spite of everything, but Bella is taking over more and more of the teaching for her."

Jane nodded slowly. "Well," she said finally. "Give them both my regards next time you see them."

"I will," he promised and stood up. The two detectives shook hands and when Tam turned and saw Maura waiting there, his face broke out into a wide smile. "Hello, Dr. Isles. It's nice to see you."

"Detective Tam," she greeted. She was very pleased to see him. Unlike some of the other officers and detectives outside of homicide, Tam was one of the few who still treated her with respect. "Is Jane helping you with one of your cases from A-1?"

Tam nodded. "Detective Rizzoli was kind enough to go over my work for a particularly brutal domestic violence case. I wanted to make sure it was airtight before I turned it over to the D.A. I want this creep gone."

"I'm sure he will be," she said. "You're a fine detective."

"Thanks, Doc," he said with a smile. "That means a lot coming from you."

After he left, she took a seat at Jane's desk. "It's nice of you to mentor Detective Tam, Jane," she said.

"Yeah, well, he's worth keeping an eye on," Jane said, then turned to Maura. "So, what's up, Doc?"

"I wanted to know if you're up for going out tonight," Maura said.

"What did you have in mind?" Jane asked.

"After the stressful week we've had, I thought it might be fun to go dancing."

"Dancing? That sounds like fun, but I'm really not in the mood to be hit on by a bunch of sweaty men at some club," Jane said with a grimace.

Maura thought for a moment. "I think I know just the place where that won't happen," she said. "So, you in?"

"Yeah, why not," Jane said with a shrug. "Like you said, we both need to blow off some steam."

"Great," Maura said. "I'll come by around seven. Dress casual."

Casual for Jane that night were black jeans, boots and a form fitting black tee-shirt that Maura heartily approved of as she looked over the other woman's lanky form.

"Very nice," Maura said with a nod.

Jane grinned as she appraised her friend. Maura was dressed in her own version of casual, which meant that the doctor was wearing black slacks and a tan blouse under a Versace blazer.

"Wow, Maura. You look great," Jane said.

"Thank you," Maura said smiling broadly. "So do you." She looked around and noted the absence of toddler and dog. "Angela?"

Jane nodded. "Figured we'd be out late tonight," she said.

"Good call," Maura said, then appraised Jane's body once again. "Are you packing, Detective?"

"Packing?" Jane laughed, her eyes dancing in amusement.

"Your gun," Maura clarified, putting a hand on Jane's hip where the detective normally carried her weapon. "Isn't that the correct phrase to ask if you're armed?"

"It is, but it's just funny hearing you say it," Jane said, then lifted up a pant leg to expose an ankle holster. "Never leave home without it. I didn't want to have to wear a jacket to cover it."

"I'm glad," Maura said. "You look positively delicious in that tee-shirt."

Jane smiled warmly at the doctor. "Thanks, Maura."

"Are you ready to go?" Maura asked.

"Yeah," Jane answered grabbing her keys and slipping them in her pocket.

Maura had a cab waiting for them outside of Jane's apartment building.

"Planning on getting a little tipsy tonight, Dr. Isles?" Jane asked as the driver pulled away from the curb.

"I am, Detective Rizzoli," Maura replied playfully. "Are you going to join me?"

"I might," Jane said matching the other woman's tone. "Gonna make it worth my while?"

"I'll try to come up with a suitable incentive."

The cab ride was short and as they both stepped out on to the sidewalk, Jane looked up at the building. The awning over the black door sported a stylized M.

"The Merch?" Jane asked after Maura had paid the driver.

"The new owners shortened it to just M," she explained.

"A lesbian club?" Jane asked. "Really, Maura?"

"You said you didn't want to get hit on by men," Maura pointed out.

Jane jerked her head at a group of women standing outside the club that were eyeing them like a school of piranhas closing in on a wounded capybara. "So how is getting hit on by women any different?" she asked.

Maura tilted her head at Jane. "Less sweat?" she shrugged and Jane rolled her eyes. "If you're uncomfortable, we can go somewhere else."

"Nah, that's all right," Jane said, putting an arm around Maura's shoulders and led her toward the door of the club. "We'll just stick together. If we do it for Giovanni, we can do it for the ladies."

Maura was very pleased with Jane's suggestion.

Inside, the club had been redesigned to be more intimate. The bar ran along the length of one wall with darkened booths filling the others, giving the patrons a measure of privacy. The dance floor in the center of the room was lit from above and below in muted tones of flashing blue and green. The music was loud and thumping and Jane immediately felt her pulse quicken in time with its rhythm. With a laugh, she pulled Maura onto the floor.

The floor was crowded with gyrating women, forcing Jane and Maura to dance closely with each other. At first Jane's movements were stiff, not knowing what to do with her hands, but Maura's complete lack of inhibition eventually caused her to relax. She placed her hands on Maura's hips and drew her closer. Maura smiled at her and wrapped her arms around Jane's neck.

The song mix melded together as they danced. And to Jane's delight, Maura could dance. They had danced together before, at the wedding, but that had been the type of dancing reserved for formal occasions. The type of dancing that was polite.

There was nothing polite about this. This dancing was raw, energetic, passionate. And it was definitely sexual. As the night wore on and the drinks flowed freely, Jane found herself getting more and more into it. Into Maura.

After a particularly sultry number, Maura excused herself to the bathroom while Jane got them more drinks and found a booth. She was waiting for Maura to return when a familiar face stopped in front of the booth.

"Please tell me you're not here undercover again, Detective."

"If I was, you just blew it," Jane said with a laugh. "Kelley, right?" Jane recognized the pretty redhead from the softball booth that Maura said had been flirting with her.

"Good memory," she said and motioned to her companion. "This is Jen. Jen, this is Detective Jane Rizzoli."

"I've heard about you," the tall brunette said. "You're kind of famous in certain circles."

Jane laughed, the alcohol in her system allowing the sound to flow freely from her. "I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing."

"Hero cop who's family? I'd say definitely a good thing," Kelley said. "So where's Dr. Isles?"

"Here she comes now," Jane said, slightly confused by the woman's comment, but letting it slide by as always uncomfortable with being called a hero. "Why don't you two join us for a while?"

The other women slid into the booth across from Jane and Maura was pleased to see their previous acquaintance. The conversation flowed as freely as the liquor and with the occasional break for more dancing with the couples sometimes swapping partners, the hours quickly flew long past midnight and into the hours of the morning.

Finally, Kelley and Jan said their goodnight after exchanging contact information and a promise for future social interaction.

"Last dance?" Maura asked as Jane drained the last of her drink.


After all the vigorous dancing, Jane was simply content to hold Maura in her arms as they swayed to the music.

"How do you do that?" Jane asked, pulling her friend closer and nuzzling her face into Maura's neck.

"Do what," Maura asked, shivering at Jane's actions.

"How do you smell so good even after dancing all night?" Jane clarified. "I must stink like a pig."

"No you don't," Maura protested. "Yes, you've been perspiring, but your aroma is not offensive. In fact, you give off a hearty muskiness that I find…"

"What?" Jane asked after Maura broke off.

"Intoxicating," Maura finally answered.

Jane searched Maura's face for a long moment. "Ready to go?"

Maura nodded.

The cab ride back to Jane's apartment did nothing to dispel their intoxication.

"God, I haven't been this drunk for a long time," Jane slurred as she pulled Maura into the bedroom. "Let's go to bed, Dr. Isles."

Maura disappeared into the bathroom as Jane forced herself to carefully lock away her weapon. Then she pulled off her boots and jeans and climbed into bed wearing just her panties and tee-shirt.

After a few minutes, Maura emerged from the bathroom wearing a pair of Jane's pajamas.

"See," Jane mumbled as Maura joined her in the bed. "Ready for the photo shoot."

"Hardly," Maura said, her voice as slurred as Jane's. "Alcohol has a tendency to dilate the small blood vessels in the skin making it appear redder and cause the face to look bloated and puffy. We really should drink some water. Rehydration can lessen the adverse affects of…"

With a groan, Jane rolled over and stopped the doctor's rambling with the simple act of putting her lips over the other woman's. Stunned, Maura froze for a moment, but then responded to the kiss, sliding her arms around the lanky detective, pulling her closer.

At the first taste of Jane's tongue in her mouth, Maura moaned far in the back of her throat. Jane deepened the kiss for a few endless minutes and then pulled away.

"That was nice," she whispered, smiling at Maura. Then she snuggled once again into Maura's neck. "Smell so good," she husked and within moments was fast asleep.

Author's Note: Introduced in the last novel, The Silent Girl, Johnny Tam is a Chinese-American detective from another district who works with Jane on a case that takes place in Chinatown. Based on a single strand of hair, Jane suspects his involvement in a vigilante group who possess near super-human abilities. Although her case goes cold, she keeps her suspicions to herself, even giving Tam a praising commendation and requesting his assistance on other cases. That is very unlike bulldog Jane who always gets her killer. I hope we'll see more of Johnny Tam in the future.

Maura is not well-liked among the officers and detectives of Boston's PD. Her testimony sent a cop who beat to death a suspected cop killer to prison and, with few exceptions, she is treated like a pariah.


6 – My Dinner With Maura.

Pushing through her front door, Jane Rizzoli juggled the two bulging bags full of groceries, her keys and a case of Sam Adams. The telephone was ringing and after depositing her things on the counter, she picked it up.

"Yeah, Ma?" she asked noticing the caller ID.

"How'd you know it was me?" her mother asked.

"Detective, remember Ma?" Jane said and began to empty the grocery bags. "It's my job to know."

Angela chuffed. "Anyway, what are you doing?"

"I just got back from the grocery store," she answered. "The veal sauce is already simmering on the stove, but I needed some fresh vegetables for a salad."

"You're cooking?" Angela asked, surprised. "Janie, do you have a date?"

"Yeah," she said folding the bags and storing them away for next time. "Maura's coming for dinner."

"Oh," Angela cooed happily. "Are you having two gentlemen over?"

"No, it's just Maura and I," Jane said and grabbed a pot for the potatoes.

"Oh," her mother repeated, this time more thoughtfully.

"So how is her highness?" Jane asked as the pot filled with water. "She's not giving you too hard a time, I hope?"

"She's a perfect angel," Angela said.

Jane snorted doubtfully. "If you say so. What's she up to?"

"Vince has been trying all day to get her to call him Pop Pop."

Jane had to suppress a groan and remind herself once again that her mother was happy and that was all that should matter, but that didn't mean she wasn't going to bop Korsak on the head come Monday. "Listen, Ma, thanks for taking care of Regina and Joe for me." She moved the pot to the stove.

"You deserve to have some time for yourself, Jane," Angela said and after a pause asked, "Is Maura staying over there tonight?"

"I don't know," Jane answered as she began to wash the potatoes. "I hope so. Probably. She always spends the night after we go out. Not that we're going out tonight, but you get the idea."

"Yes, Jane," Angela said softly. "I understand."

Jane paused and smiled, feeling a burst of love for her mother.

"Tell Maura not to worry," Angela continued. "I'll feed Bass for her. I even have some organic Swiss chard to give him."

"Thanks, Ma. I'll let her know."

After saying goodbye to her mother and putting the potatoes on to cook, Jane took a quick shower and changed into a pair of khaki slacks and a new blouse she hoped Maura would like her in. She applied some light makeup and then returned to her dinner preparations.

Always punctual, Maura arrived at Jane's door carrying a bottle of wine and smiling. She was wearing a simple sleeveless black dress and high heels, but Jane thought she looked awesome.

"You are as beautiful as ever, Maura," Jane said. She took the bottle of wine from the doctor's hands and then leaned in to kiss Maura lightly on the lips. "Come in."

"Thank you," Maura said, her eyes shining brightly as she stepped through the door. She followed Jane to the kitchen. "Jane, is that blouse a Vera Wang?"

Jane nodded. "Do you like it?"

"It's lovely," Maura answered and took a deep breath through her nose. "And it smells fantastic in here."

"Thanks," Jane placed a corkscrew next to the wine bottle, and then re-donned her apron. "I'm a little behind in getting things ready."

"That's all right," Maura said. She began to open the wine. "What can I do to help?"

"Just relax," Jane said.

Maura watched as Jane stirred flour into a bowl of mashed potatoes and eggs and when the dough was thick enough, she turned it out onto the board and began to knead.

"I love to cook, even though I'm usually too busy to do it," Jane commented. "It's relaxing and can be very intimate, especially when I cook for someone I care about. Like you."

Maura's eyes met Jane's. "You do?"

"So very much."

"Me too," Maura said, her voice hitching slightly.

Jane smiled and returned her attention to the dough. "It's been a long time since I made gnocchi for a date."

Her head tilted as she watched Jane's nimble fingers roll out long ropes of dough. "I wondered if you meant tonight to be a date when you asked me," she said. "Instead of just best friends having dinner together."

"Yes, tonight is a date," Jane affirmed. "And I think you and I have been dating for some time now, Dr. Isles."

Maura glanced up to see Jane's eyes glittering playfully at her. "I thought you would have figured it out sooner."

"Oh, I realized something was up a while ago," Jane said. "Especially since there was a certain theme to the places you took me." She laughed. "I wasn't really surprised when we went to Merch the other night."

"M," Maura, ever the perfectionist, absently corrected. She scratched at a spot on the back of her hand, and then looked at Jane again. "You weren't upset?" she asked. "I wasn't trying to be deceitful, but I wasn't upfront about my intentions either."

"Nah, it's all right," Jane said, smiling. "If you had been more direct, I might have freaked. It gave me time to adjust to the idea. To become open to the possibility we can have more between us than we already do. This is very new to me, so it's a little scary."

"It's new and scary to me too," Maura said. "But I think it can work."

"So do I."

Jane glanced at her and then went back to pressing her thumb into the small flour dusted blobs. Each perfectly shaped piece bore a faint imprint of Jane's finger as if she was sharing a part of herself with Maura. The intimacy of the process made Maura's mouth water.

When the last of the gnocchi were formed, Jane took the tray to the stove, poured a dollop of olive oil into the pot of boiling water and began adding the little lumps of pasta. While Jane waited for the first ones to rise to the surface, she turned to Maura with a one-sided grin and asked, "Do you know how flattering it is to be wooed by a beautiful woman?"

Although she knew it to be impossible, Maura's heart seemed to flip over happily in her chest and she felt herself blushing. After taking a few deep breaths, she said, "Judging from the incredibly romantic dinner you're preparing for me, I think I'm about to find out."

Jane's grin was all the promise Maura needed.

Jane had already set the table with her best china and silverware. Maura watched as Jane lit the two long tapered candles, and then turned down the all of the lights except a small one, giving the room a warm, cozy feel.

"Can I do anything?" Maura asked as Jane glided between the kitchen and table, her actions smooth and efficient, qualities that Maura had always admired about her friend.

"No, it's good, almost done." When Jane finished setting the dishes of food on the table, she removed her apron and held out a hand to Maura. The doctor took it with her own, feeling the rough calluses that came from Jane's long hours practicing with her weapon on the firing range.

Jane led Maura to the table and then pulled out the chair for her. The doctor sat down and looked at the array of dishes on the table. The first time she sat down with the Rizzolis, she had her first experience with 'family-style' dining. Growing up, Isles family meals were prepared either by the chef, or on occasion, her mother, and each course was served on a carefully prepared plate, perfectly proportioned to maximize nutritional benefit and designed to entice all of the senses.

The Rizzolis simply served the food in its own dish piled on the table and everyone literally dug in, serving themselves with spoons or forks, heaping food on their plates without regard to any type of spatial order, in fact, taking delight in the admixture of dishes that would not be compatible with each other by the people her family socialized with. At the end of the first meal she ate with the Rizzolis, she watched in amazement as Frank Sr. piled a mound of oil and vinegar dressed salad on top of the remains of his spaghetti. The Rizzoli patriarch had leaned over and whispered confidentially to her, "Salad always tastes best mushed up with tomato sauce."

"What's funny?" Jane asked as she sat at the other place setting next to hers, Maura noted, rather than across the table.

"I was thinking about the first time I had supper with your family," Maura answered.

"I'm surprised you made it back for a second meal," Jane deadpanned.

"So different from my family," she said as she picked up the spoon and began to scoop gnocchi on her plate. "Did you know that gnocchi is plural for gnocco, which comes from the word nocchio and means a knot in the wood?"

"Is that right?" Jane was looking at her with fond amusement.

Maura nodded and used her fork to pick up a piece of ground veal and a dumpling. She swirled it in the tomato sauce and took a bite. Closing her eyes, she savored the delicate rosemary seasoning. "Oh, this is delicious, Jane."

The detective watched her friend's enjoyment, loving the look of contentment that crossed Maura's face. "Thanks." She handed Maura a piece of garlic toast and then served herself.

The conversation flowed easily as the dinner progressed. Now that they had come to an agreement about their relationship, that there would be a relationship, Maura felt free to relax and bask in the warmth of Jane's company. And Jane was the perfect hostess: attentive, charming and affectionate. It seemed her hand was always reaching out for Maura as if she wished to remain in physical contact with the doctor. Rather than comforting though, each caress only seemed to heighten Maura's craving for the brunette and judging by the amused sparkle in Jane's eyes, the detective knew exactly the effect she was having.

At the end of the meal, Maura excused herself to the bathroom and when she returned Jane had the table cleared and coffee brewing. Maura frowned.

"You should have waited for me to help, Jane."

Jane placed cannoli on a plate and then walked over to Maura, putting her hands on the slightly-shorter woman's shoulders. "Tonight is for you, Maura," she said. She ran one hand along her cheek and Maura leaned into the touch.

"I hope it's not all about me," Maura said, her voice husky.

Jane smiled and leaned forward to whisper in her ear. "Believe me when I say, Dr. Isles, that tonight your pleasure is my pleasure."

Maura moaned as she gripped Jane by the hips and pulled her closer.

"Jane," she said, her mouth so close to Jane's she could feel the soft puff of the other woman's breath. "I'm suddenly not very interested in having cannoli."

Jane rubbed the side of her nose against Maura's. "What do you want, Maura?"

"I want you to take me to bed, Jane."

Jane pulled back, her dark eyes searching Maura's face. "Are you sure?" she whispered, butterflies soaring wildly in her stomach. "I mean, I really don't know what I'm doing."

"Neither do I," Maura said. "But I think together we can figure it out."

Jane's heart swelled as if it would burst and as she stared into her friend's eyes, she felt that she was on the brink of a precipice where her life as she had always known it lay behind her and before her was a whole different life, one more than little scary, but full of new and richer possibilities just waiting to be explored. And when faced with such a life-changing event that had the potential to change her life even though it was unnerving, Jane did what she always did.

She jumped.

Running her hand down Maura's bare arm, she intertwined their fingers together and led the doctor to her bedroom. Candles were already softly burning, providing warm light and the scent of vanilla.

"You were expecting this?" Maura asked as Jane stopped beside the bed.

"You always stay, so I was sure of that at least," Jane said with a wry smile. "But I do admit I hoped for more, even though the thought terrified me."

Maura wrapped her arms around Jane's neck. "It does me too, but Jane, haven't we faced terrors more frightening than us loving each other?"

"Maura," Jane whispered, "I think that loving you will bring me some of the greatest happiness of my life."

"Oh Jane," Maura said and Jane finally brought their lips together.

As they slowly undressed each other, Jane could not help but compare this with her other experiences. Before, she had always been the aggressor, taking charge and never, ever showing any sign of submission. For Jane, she had to prove herself the equal of any man, outside or inside the bedroom.

With Maura, they were already equals, they always had been and instead of struggling to prove her dominance, Jane found herself receptive to Maura, just as Maura was equally receptive to her. And as their first awkward, tentative touches turned bolder and grew in passion, Jane Rizzoli knew she had finally come home.

The End

Author's Note: Well, this is the end. I want to thank everyone who stuck with my insanity and for allowing me to share some of my favorite people and moments from the novels. In one of my most favorite scenes from The Sinner, while preparing gnocchi, Jane and Angela have a heartfelt conversation that leads Jane to make a decision that changes her life. I figured her making gnocchi on another life-altering event was apropos.

Return to Rizzoli & Isles

Return to Main Page