DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network.
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I Want Candy
Maura had occasionally heard the phrase "sex on a stick" and had always found it to be silly, vulgar and illogical. As such, it held virtually no meaning for her. Until she saw Jane walk into the ballroom.
For a moment, she couldn't believe her eyes. Jane's regular wardrobe, while certainly not masculine, tended toward the androgynous. She fidgeted anytime she even had to contemplate wearing "girl clothes."
Yet here she was, wading through a crowd of colleagues and a sizeable collection of socialites, wearing something that wouldn't look out of place on a Playboy Playmate. At first she thought that the contrast of this faintly indecent presentation with Jane's usual attire was the reason she was so mesmerized.
But a more honest assessment centered on the fact that Jane was just plain stunning. And she wasn't the only one who noticed. From all of the eye tracking and neck craning she detected, there were quite a few party-goers who shared her appreciation.
With a twinge of melancholy Maura chided softly, "Sorry, she's taken."
And I should really be happy for her.
When Maura had first seen Jane with Travis, she'd thought it was quite a cute little scene. They were awkwardly flirting outside the precinct, looking far more like smitten high school students than veteran police detectives.
Jane had been so caught up in watching him walk away that she hadn't even realized Maura had joined her on the sidewalk. She'd blushed and immediately sought Maura's opinion.
"So . . . what do you think?"
"I think he has spectacular glutes. But someone should really do more research in that area."
It was really no different than any other time one of them had been interested in a guy. They'd gossiped and teased, with Maura encouraging Jane at every opportunity to go for it, to open herself up to the possibilities. She'd even helped her dress for their first date and laughed into the phone later that night as Jane described every giddy detail of the evening.
It's what they did. It was all part of who they were to each other. But then the totally unexpected happened: The relationship didn't implode after a few days or a few dates -- and Maura found herself decidedly and unreasonably jealous.
She'd told herself over and over that it was perfectly normal to resent the time Jane spent away from her after they had been attached at the hip for so long. That it was only natural for her to be reminded that she didn't have a similar outlet or alternative, and to be wistful about that reality.
Then she had witnessed Jane kissing him good-bye one morning before work and all of her rationalizations were effectively erased. It had been a lingering, full-body-contact kind of farewell and it made Maura slightly sick. And angry.
She was astonished to discover that she wanted nothing more than to separate them and injure Travis is some way. No. That wasn't entirely true. She wanted nothing more than to BE Travis at that moment. And that rocked her to her core.
Uncharacteristically, she'd avoided Jane the rest of that day, finally phoning Korsak to plead illness and ask him to let Jane know that she'd gone home. When Jane called later to check on her, she'd made vague references to staying up too many nights working on an academic paper that was really kicking her butt. She wasn't sure Jane believed that she just needed to catch up on her rest, but it bought her some more time.
Time that she spent staring at her wall trying to figure out when she had fallen for her best friend and what she was going to do about it.
Ultimately, she'd gone into survival mode. She tried to be as normal as possible whenever she was around Jane, chatting at work while engaging in as few personal activities as she could get away with. Since Jane was arranging her free time around Travis, Maura had a built in excuse to make herself scarce.
Jane rarely spoke about her dates or romantic interludes anymore, so that sore subject was minimized. Maura took this to mean that she had moved past the kiss-and-tell stage into a more serious phase of the relationship. She pushed her own feelings further down and vowed to concentrate more on her professional career.
In her weaker moments, she tortured herself by prodding Jane for information. She knew Travis was basically a good guy, with a solid reputation. She'd thoroughly and covertly had him checked out. She might have actually liked him if the circumstances had been different.
When Jane had finally opened up and revealed that he was a lousy lover, Maura was conflicted. Part of her was thrilled in a childish, competitive way that he wasn't able to adequately fill that role. Part of her felt terrible for Jane that she had to be so disappointed in such a major aspect of an otherwise promising affair. And part of her was infuriated.
What in the hell was wrong with him? He had been graced with the opportunity to experience what she could only dream about and he was so clueless and selfish and stupid she couldn't fathom it. She knew how it resonated to be the one to make Jane smile or laugh. What kind of pathetic creature would throw away the chance to see hear or dear God feel this gorgeous, amazing woman come?
The very thought of it made her dizzy. She had to brace her hands on the cool metal of the autopsy table and find her balance.
She knew she wouldn't ever get enough if she were the other person in this equation. That she would be permanently addicted. And that she would rather cut off one of her fingers than leave Jane with the empty ache that this idiot routinely ignored.
Somewhere along the way, her ire had seeped over toward Jane as well. How could she continue to accept less than what she gave? Did she not believe that she deserved better? Was she so enamored of him that she was willing to forego her own happiness? Or, God forbid, had she turned into one of those women that was happy as long as her man was happy?
The irritation such thoughts provoked made it much easier to distance herself from the everyday easiness they had previously enjoyed. It helped fortify the barriers that were currently protecting her from utter heartbreak. And finally, it spurred her to challenge herself along the same lines.
Why was she shutting herself off from the rest of the world because of her feelings for another person? Why was she ceding that much power and control?
Maybe she just needed to "get some" to use Jane's phrasing herself to clear her head and get past this whole mess.
With that in mind, she'd set out to tailor her costume to her best advantage she didn't want to look cheap or sleazy, but she most definitely wanted to attract a specific type of attention.
There would be plenty of eligible, available, physically desirable men she smiled and women at the benefit party. Why shouldn't she make the best of it? Besides, she needed something to distract her from hours of watching Jane and Travis work the room. Gazing into each other's eyes and touching every second. Ugh.
Sizing up and flirting with potential sexual partners might be just the antidote she needed.
The night of the event, she'd changed in her office and had been completely pleased with the resulting look. The icing on the cake was the shout out she'd gotten from Mary in Evidence as she'd walked past.
"Girl! They better be on the lookout over there at that big party! Dr. Isles has on the fiercest fuck-me pumps I've ever seen!"
The additional ego and confidence boost she'd gotten from the numerous verbal and non-verbal compliments regarding her appearance had Maura buzzing in the most pleasant way. Because of the goal she'd set for the end of her evening, she was already sexually on "simmer" and highly sensitized to anything even remotely related to the topic.
It was exhilarating to feel predatory and in charge to know that the choice was entirely up to her. The uniform made her surprisingly more confident, even though any authority it might convey was strictly an illusion.
She'd been engaged in a charged conversation with a very interested Gold Circle donor when the stark white of Jane's costume caught her eye.
The smile that lit up Maura's face was the first genuine one aimed at Jane in a long time. She was happy to see her and that she was alone. The full effect of the skimpy nurse's costume had yet to sink in.
All of her other plans immediately vanished. It took her less than a second to excuse herself and move in Jane's direction.
Sleeping with anyone else tonight would be a completely hollow victory.
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