DISCLAIMER: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network.
SPOILERS: When the Gun Goes Bang, Bang, Bang (1st season finale)
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Maura Isles' matchmaking skills were improving, Jane had to admit. So far, Jane's dinner companion had carried his half of the conversation, and had the sense to agree that Kevin Garnett had at least one more ring in him, unlike that idiot brother of hers. And, yeah, Ma, he's in medicine! Sort of.
Thinking about that brought a question to mind. "So, what was wrong with Bass, anyway?" Jane asked between bites of her pasta fagioli. "That time he wouldn't eat." That time my brother and I almost died.
Jane had resolved since then to make more of an effort with Maura's turtle, still feeling a little guilty that Maura had been thoughtful enough to get someone to take care of Joe Friday and Bass Junior while Jane was laid up, but had been camped out in Jane's hospital room for three days before Jane had thought to ask about her friend's pet.
For most of three days, anyway. One evening, the chair had been empty when Nurse Rowanna woke Jane for the periodic "Is she still alive" check. Good; maybe Maura had finally gone home. During a semi-lucid moment, Jane had assured Dr. Isles that she didn't need a babysitter, that it was bad enough that Ma was in there sniffling all the time, and weren't there bodies out there needing to be dissected? Still, Jane had become used to drifting awake every so often and seeing a familiar face. "My friend . . . ," she inquired vaguely.
"Down the hall," the nurse replied. "She's been ordering in and eating it in the lounge. I told her we've got a cafeteria downstairs, but . . . ."
But Maura had probably taken one look, or one taste, and made other arrangements.
"Your mama's here, too. She's in with your brother."
"Frankie?" Jane asked.
"Still good," Rowanna assured her. "He said to tell you he'll be getting out before you do, and since it doesn't look like you're gonna use those Red Sox tickets . . . ."
Outraged, Jane said, "I'm gonna use 'em! You tell Frankie that if those tickets aren't on top of my dresser when I get home, I'm gonna"
"Jane! You're up!" Standing in the doorway with a thermos in hand, Maura looked utterly delighted that Jane had managed to sit up (almost) of her own accord.
"Yeah, Rowanna and I are gonna go do some aerobics," Jane said sarcastically. She eyed the container. "Is that coffee?"
Bullshit Jane could smell it from the bed. "Did you just lie to me?" she asked incredulously.
"No, I was answering your next question, 'No,' as in you can't have any," Maura explained. "I thought it would be more efficient, since what you were really wanting to know was whether you could have some of this coffee."
"You weren't?" Maura asked.
"No, I was just answering your next question, which is whether it was more efficient to answer a question I hadn't asked yet," Jane replied. "Annoying, huh?" Switching to a more important subject, she begged, "At least give me a whiff."
Maura unscrewed the cap as she approached the bed, and wafted it beneath Jane's nose.
"God," Jane groaned. "How long before I can have some?"
"I'll ask your doctor."
"You're a doctor," Jane pointed out. "Can't you prescribe it or something? Hell, if I knew I couldn't have coffee, I would have aimed higher."
"Don't joke about that," Maura said coolly. She replaced the cap and walked over to set it on a small tray beside the armchair in the corner, nodding her thanks to Rowanna as the nurse slipped out.
"It will always be too soon," Maura replied. She loosened and tightened the thermos cap again unnecessarily, fidgeting in the only habit they hoped she had inherited from her sperm donor. "I saw it, remember?"
"I know." Jane recalled well the scream as she wrestled with Bobby for control of the gun.
"I saw that, and I had Frankie on my table, and I thought I had lost my two closest friends," Maura continued.
Jane was touched by the simple declaration, but she had never been overly good at this sensitive stuff. "Frankie is one of your closest friends?" she said. "You need to get out more."
Maura didn't laugh.
Okay, no more joking. "Sorry," Jane said. "I'm just tired of being cooped up."
"At least you've been unconscious for most of it," Maura said. "After seventy one hours on that" she gestured toward the armchair "I'll be signing up for extra Yoga classes."
"Extra classes, or extra workouts with the instructor?" Jane asked.
Puzzled, Maura replied, "Workouts? Oh, you mean Brock. I won't be seeing him any more."
"Do I want to know why?"
"I don't know," Maura replied. "Do you?"
"Yeah, I guess so," Jane admitted, "unless it has something to do with sex."
Maura contemplated for a moment, and then said, "I don't think I can discuss it, then."
"Oh, ew." Even though she preferred for Maura not to talk about sex and especially not about Maura having sex Jane still couldn't stop herself. "He wasn't any good?"
"It didn't get that far."
Oh, yeah? The ability to essentially force Maura Isles to tell the truth, while perhaps unfair at times, came in rather handy at other times. Like now. "Why not? You seemed pretty into him that night at the restaurant."
"He said he was unwilling to take precautions."
"Neanderthal," Jane said disdainfully. "How many little Brocks do you suppose are running around out there 'balancing their energy'?"
"I explained the number of diseases that can be communicated through unprotected sex," Maura went on. "Trichomoniasis, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, of course, genital warts"
"And he left."
"Yes, actually," Maura said, seeming surprised. "Even though I told him that I have routine examinations and couldn't possibly be a carrier."
Jane ran a hand across her face. "You don't even know when you're doing it," she muttered.
"Diagnosing a guy."
"I wasn't diagnosing him!"
"You tell him about all these diseases nice pillow talk, by the way and then you say you don't have any of them."
Maura looked at her blankly.
God, sometimes it was like talking to a wall. ". . . Maura, if you tell a guy you're worried about disease . . . and that you don't have a disease . . . then what you're saying is . . . ."
"Oh!" The light finally went on. "But I wasn't stating that he had any of those diseases. I wouldn't be able to tell that from an external examination." She ran some scenario through that brain of hers. "Not with his clothes on, anyway, although some symptoms of herpes can"
"Maura!" Jane interrupted. To avoid hurting her friend's feelings, she added, "Could you get me another pillow?"
"Of course!" Maura hurried over to the chair and grabbed a hospital pillow resting against one arm. "I've been using it," she apologized. "Do you want me to get you a new one?"
"Unless you've been having sex with Brock on it, it's fine," Jane said.
Maura continued to scrutinize it. "It's kind of wrinkled . . . ."
"Good, that's what I want," Jane declared. "It's already wrinkled, so I won't have to worry about wrinkling it." She trusted Maura to find some sort of logic in that.
"Where would you like it?"
Actually, Jane was already comfortable, as comfortable as she could be with tubes sticking out of her arms, but she had committed herself. "Um, up here, behind my neck," she decided.
Wait a minute seventy one hours? Maura's earlier words suddenly sank in. Maura never stayed at Jane's more than one night, always insisting she had to get home to check on
Shit "How's Bass?" she asked. Geez, she hoped the thing hadn't croaked or something while Rizzolis were monopolizing its owner's attention.
Maura's face lit up, so it must have been good news. Or maybe it was because Jane had finally been a good enough friend to ask about something important to her. "He's eating again," she reported happily.
"That's great," Jane replied. She wasn't really sure what to say. "So, back to chasing flies or whatever?"
"Bass doesn't chase flies."
Forcing back a laugh, Jane said, "Yeah, I kinda figured that."
"African Spurred Tortoises are herbivores," the pathologist explained. "He had escarole and hay flakes this morning."
Jane looked around the room. "Is he here?" she mouthed.
"Of course not," Maura said. "That would be against hospital rules."
"And it wasn't against Department rules to have him in the M.E.'s office?" Jane countered.
"I . . . ." Maura looked uncomfortable.
"Oh, my God, you actually looked it up, didn't you?" Jane asked. Of course she had. "And it said you couldn't, and you did it anyway."
"The policy language was ambiguous."
"Hey, I'm not coming down on you," Jane said. "I'm proud of you. You put reptile over rules."
Dodging the accusation, Maura said, "It would be far too noisy for him here, anyway. Especially now that you're awake."
Joke, insult, or mere statement of fact? Jane wasn't sure and didn't care; she was just glad to be with her friend again, her wonderful, goofy friend who had saved her brother's life.
One thing Jane hadn't thought to ask at the time was how Maura had gotten Bass into the station house to begin with. She couldn't carry it, could she? The man who had taken him in for a week after the shootings would know. "How much does that thing weigh, anyway?" she asked him now.
"It varies," he replied, gesturing for the waiter to bring them two more beers.
Well, that was helpful. "On what, water retention?" she joked. Deciding that she really did want to know, she said, "Okay, an average adult male, then."
Maura would have launched into a discourse on the growth patterns of African Spurred Tortoises and probably the origins of the species and who first named it, but, one headache later, would eventually have answered the question. Instead, he just smiled at her and said, "Thinking about getting one?"
"I already have one, actually," she said, thanks to her overenthusiastic friend. "A baby. So, what's in my future?"
His smile widened. "That's a broad question."
Not really, Jane thought; she was just asking about the tortoise.
So he wasn't big on talking about his work, huh? Jane could respect that. And it was better that than one of the All-About-Me marathons Jane had suffered through on other occasions. Overall, the evening wasn't turning out badly.
And so it was with some relief that she was able to dash off a response to Maura's inevitable mid-date text "How's it going?" with a quick, "So far so good."
"Sorry about that." Jane placed the phone back into her purse. "I'm on call."
"I thought Maura said you weren't on tonight."
And she wasn't, in fact, but Jane knew that, if she didn't appease her friend's breathy inquiries, the next text would come in five minutes instead of thirty. Nothing would squelch the incessant curiosity entirely; Jane almost believed that, if she did take this guy home, she'd be getting texts all night asking, "Now who's on top?"
"Uh, yeah, I wasn't supposed to be," she fudged. "One of the guys had a thing . . . ."
At least when they ventured out in a foursome, Maura could grill her about chemistry and sleeping arrangements in real time. And Maura's job, frankly, made Jane's look a lot better. Jane supposed she should consider lifting the post-Jorge ban on double dating. It was just so awkward, watching some guy suck Maura's face, knowing that Jane's date expected and wouldn't be getting the same.
". . . your name in the paper last week. The girl in the warehouse?"
Ah, now for the true test: They had finally segued into her chosen profession.
"Yes, that's my case," Jane replied. Would he shy away from the badge, or ask her to get out the handcuffs?
Instead, he surprised her. "Must be frustrating," he said, "wanting to help her, having obstacles in the way."
Jane was impressed someone who actually recognized that her job was about helping people, not just catching bad guys. Helping not only the dead, but the survivors who needed closure. She had said almost the identical thing to Maura the other day in a pointless late-night venting that her friend hadn't seemed to mind, even though Jane was fairly sure she had been awakened by the call.
Had Maura fed him this line? Jane instantly regretted the unkind thought. The good doctor might have tracked Jane's dates like a NASA space launch, but she generally let them run their own course.
"'Frustrating' is an understatement," she admitted. It was slow going on this girl. Her I.D. wasn't even legit.
"How do you go about an investigation like that?" he asked. "The paper said there were no witnesses."
Jane supposed there wasn't any harm in giving him a little Homicide 101. "We look for motives," she said. "Associations."
"Depressingly often," Jane replied. "Or husbands."
"I believe it," he replied. "I testified once when a client's boyfriend took it out on her Yorkie." At Jane's expression, he assured her, "Don't worry; the little guy's fine. They moved back to Wisconsin, I think."
Good looking, beer drinking, and an animal lover Korsak would love this guy, Jane thought.
"And free vet bills for Joe Friday!" as Maura had pointed out in the sales pitch for this date.
"And for Bass?" Jane had accused her, although it wasn't like Maura couldn't afford the veterinary needs of large turtles.
"Perhaps," Maura had replied. "After all, if it works out, I will be the one who introduced you . . . ."
"And if it doesn't work out, you'll be the one who introduced us," Jane warned.
"Now, Jane . . . ."
Speaking of which, the subtle ping indicated that it was time for another update, apparently.
"I'm doing him on the table," Jane was tempted to respond. But when she looked down at the screen, she was puzzled.
"I would prefer that you be honest with me, Jane," Maura had typed. "I think I deserve that."
Okay . . . and what exactly had brought this on? Jane usually had at least some clue when she had done something to upset her sensitive friend. Sometimes Jane was being an ass, sometimes Maura was just being Maura. Which of the two it was this time, she had no idea.
"So, do you think it was someone who knew her?"
As Jane continued to ponder the unprovoked lecture from Maura, her companion's next question barely registered. "Uh, yeah," she said distractedly. "We've got some theories."
Forget Maura Isles, she decided. Did she assume that Jane was incapable of having a genuinely good time with someone smart? Did she think that, because someone went to college and veterinary school, Jane couldn't keep up with him?
Hell, yeah, Jane decided. She dropped the annoying message into her purse unanswered.
The company really was good, and she had almost forgotten her earlier irritation when she recognized the muffled ring tone emanating from her purse. Frost. "Sorry," she apologized again.
"Jane, I don't want you to worry," her rookie partner began.
"Okay, any time you start a phone call with, 'I don't want you to worry,' I'm going to worry," Jane pointed out. "What's up?" Shoving the chair back with her legs, she offered a quick, "Excuse me," gesturing that she would take the call away from the table. Glancing back, she saw the veterinarian pull out his phone and start scrolling through his own messages.
"I'm only calling because I know you'd be pissed if I didn't," Frost continued. "I'm sure it's nothing."
Damn it "What's nothing?" she demanded, rounding a corner into the lobby.
"The shot detector went off a little while ago," he said. "It was in the vicinity of Dr. Isles' house."
She stopped in her tracks. "Maura?" she said. "Have you tried her?"
"You know, Jane, the software isn't that accurate; it might not even"
"I just got a text from her less than an hour ago," Jane said. "I know she's at home. She's not answering? Are you on your way out there?"
"Smithson and Clark are," he replied. "Korsak and I are on another call."
"Another call?" she said, not really giving a shit. She needed to hang up and try Maura herself.
"Beacon Hill," Frost said. "A Jameson Duff."
"Jameson Duff," he repeated. "You know the guy?"
"Yeah . . . ," she said slowly. "I'm having dinner with him."
She stepped back into the dining room and looked over at two empty chairs.
So far so good, Jane had said. Excellent! The reports from Jane's last two dates had been a less encouraging "I may shoot myself again" still not funny and, after the natural history museum disaster, "I'm going to hurt you."
Maura hoped that everything was on track. She had left a very specific message yesterday reminding Jane to shave her legs.
Jane deserved sex. She was a good friend, and a good person for the most part, and she had a family that she loved even if she denied it, and a job she liked even when she hated it, and really the only thing that Jane needed in Maura's opinion was sex. Sex would make Jane happy. Even bad sex, probably, although Maura hoped that Jamie's gentle thoroughness with animals carried over into other areas of his life. She smiled again at Jane's message. It made Maura happy to think about Jane being happy.
She reached lazily for the phone, automatically checking the caller ID. That didn't make sense . . . . "Hello?"
"Hi, Maura, Jamie Duff."
"Jamie?" Were they back at his place already?
"Listen, Maura, I have a question, and I know that you'll tell me the truth. . . ."
Confused, she said, "Okay . . . ."
"Did Jane really have to work tonight, or should I read between the lines?"
Did Jane . . . .
"I'm not normally paranoid, but if she really isn't into this, you know, I'm okay with that," he continued. "Okay but disappointed. From what you told me, she sounded terrific."
Growing more furious with her friend by the second, Maura wrestled with how to answer. "I . . . don't know what Jane's doing tonight," she said, which was painfully apparent. "I would have expected her to tell me if she didn't want to go out with you." Incorrectly expected, evidently. "She didn't say anything to me this afternoon."
Or this evening, until she sent that deceptive text. That bald faced lie.
"If I hear anything, I'll let you know," she promised as the call ended.
Maura reached for her cell phone. This was very upsetting. All she wanted was for Jane to be happy. If Jane didn't want Maura to set her up, why didn't Jane get her own dates?
"I would prefer that you be honest with me, Jane," she typed. "I think I deserve that." Angrily, she tossed the cell onto the carpet beside her purse, and walked into the kitchen to pour herself some wine.
She was still stewing over Jane's deception when she first heard the noise. "Bass?" she called out.
No, she could see him now, in the pantry. Instead, it was Maura's heart flipped it was someone at her front door, someone turning the knob.
She backed nervously away from the living room just as the front door exploded inward with a hard kick. Instinctively, Maura ran for the back door, screaming as a shot buried itself in the wall above her head. "Oh, my God!" she exclaimed, yanking open the door and sprinting across the yard and toward the fence. Another bullet whizzed past her as she ran, splintering the redwood eight inches from her as she hauled herself up and over the dog-eared wooden slats.
He was still after her Maura could hear him cursing the six-foot barrier and thanked God for all the time she had spent on upper body strength and she ran, barefoot, through the neighbor's darkened yard and down the street as though her life depended on it.
"Two shots?" Jane shouted into the phone. She was going to kill Frost. She listened for a moment, and then said, "Because I don't usually card my dates, Korsak; I'm funny that way. Maura set it up the guy shows up at the right time and the right place and says he's Jameson Duff. Was I supposed to frisk him?"
At the moment, Jane recognized that her main focus was not on her partner's crime scene. Ordinarily, she would have been quite interested in the fact that the man she thought she was having dinner with was instead lying dead on his apartment floor, but she was far more concerned about the newly disclosed detail that the software had recorded two shots at Maura's address. One could be a false alarm; that wasn't uncommon. But two . . . . And Maura hadn't answered any of Jane's increasingly frantic calls or texts.
"Oh, God," she said as she rounded the corner on Maura's street and slammed on the brakes. Neighbors were huddled together across the street, speculating among each other as uniformed officers draped yellow CRIME SCENE tape around temporary metal posts.
Jane jumped out of her car and flashed her badge to the crowd-control officer, skipping the normal recitation of name and badge number. "Maura?" she yelled. God, the front door was off its hinges.
Detective Adam Clark appeared in Jane's path. "Not here," he said abruptly.
"Where is she? The hospital? What happened?" Please let it be a hospital, and not . . . .
"Don't know." He pointed at Maura's entry way. "Door was like that when we got here, no one inside. One bullet above the sink in the kitchen."
Answering the unspoken question, he said, "No blood. Back door was open; we're setting up lights in the yard."
"Thanks." She stepped around him and was halfway into the house before she realized that she was intruding on someone else's crime scene. "Mind if I look around?" she forced herself to ask.
"I know the two of you are tight," he said. "Holler if you find anything."
She wouldn't, Jane suspected; Clark was pretty good. Her heart ached when she saw a nearly full wine glass shattered on the floor, the contents of which would have been quickly wiped up had Maura been able, and the matching purse and shoes that Maura had been wearing earlier in the day on the floor beside the couch. Beside the purse lay Maura's cell, the most damning evidence that her friend's departure had been against her will.
"Hey, Rizzoli," Detective Smithson greeted his colleague. "Sorry about the doc."
"Listen," he said, "we need someone to check the bedroom . . . bathroom . . . you know . . . ."
It was considerate, Jane realized, letting a friend wade through the Medical Examiner's most personal possessions instead of relative strangers. Maura would appreciate it.
"I got it," she said. "Thanks."
Maura knew that she was not at her best under stress. She wasn't really a quick thinker, not like Jane. For Maura, stabbing a serial killer in the leg or pressing a walkie talkie against a table took planning, took a distraction Jane, both times that allowed an idea to germinate.
She needed time to think now. She felt as though she had run forever, but she wasn't sure if she was still being pursued. Every noise paralyzed her.
She had never been shot at before. Not directly. She needed Jane, but Jane was where was Jane? She wasn't at dinner with Jamie as Maura had thought. Was she at home? Maura had no phone, no change if she was able to find an actual working payphone, no money for a cab no nothing, as Jane would say.
Jane would take care of this. She could go to Jane's.
But what if he followed her there? What if he was waiting for her there? Anyone who spent any time observing them would know that Maura tended to fall asleep there at least once a week. Jane could be in danger Maura needed to warn her. What if Jane wasn't home? What should she do? Jane!
She peeked around the dumpster behind which she had taken refuge, assuring herself that she didn't hear a man creeping toward her, didn't hear ragged breathing, didn't hear all the tricks her overactive imagination was playing on her. This was Boston, the second-most condensed population in the United States; people walked in this city, the vast majority of whom were not trying to kill her.
Boston . . . 48.4 square miles of land, as she had once mentioned in explaining why Jane could not in fact move "a hundred miles away from that woman," unless either Jane or her mother, or, technically, both of them, Maura supposed, moved outside the city limits. Which, of course, wasn't likely, since Jane's parents had lived in the same house for thirty years . . . .
Oh. Suddenly, Maura had an idea.
Angela was just clearing two sets of dishes off the table "No, I got it," she yelled sarcastically when a hand appeared from nowhere and tapped on the window. "Frank!" she cried, dumping the dishes into the sink and reaching for a butcher knife.
A face momentarily came into view, and then popped back down.
"What's up, Babe?" Strolling into the kitchen, Frank's eyes widened at the imposing weapon in his wife's grasp.
Not sure of what she had seen, Angela said, "I think Maura is out there . . . ."
"Janie's friend Maura?" Frank asked. "In our back yard?"
"No, Maura Rubenstein from the fifth grade. Of course Janie's friend. That doesn't really make sense, though," Angela acknowledged. "But someone's out there."
She started for the door, but Frank grabbed her arm. "I'll do it," he said.
"Oh, I get it, you're the hero."
Ignoring her, he jerked opened the door. Angela ducked behind him with a squeak as a disheveled form quickly crawled inside. "Shut the door!" Maura whispered. "Act as though I'm not here! Good to see you both again, by the way."
Ma and Pop Rizzoli looked from their guest to each other. "Uh, you, too . . . ," Frank replied.
"Someone's shooting at me," Maura explained.
"What? Oh, my God!" Angela shouted. "Out there?"
"No, at my house."
"At your house, like across town?"
Noting Maura's bare feet, Angela asked, "Did you walk all the way here from your house?"
"Ran, actually," Maura replied. "I need to talk to Jane."
Turning to her husband, Angela said, "You heard her."
"Okay, thanks." Jane stepped down from the neighbor's porch. Dark sedan parked at the end of the street earlier, that was useful. No make or model, no license plate, except that it might have been a Massachusetts plate. Yeah, that would blow the case wide open.
The device on Jane's belt launched into the Twilight Zone again, and Jane groaned. "Come on, Ma!" she said to the air. It was the same hellish routine after every one of Jane's dates, her mother interrogating her for an hour: How'd it go? Could she finally expect grandchildren in her lifetime? Why was Jane so picky?
Jane wished again that she had the self-discipline to keep her mouth shut when she was going on a date. But then Frankie would probably blab, and Jane would catch even more shit for being too secretive.
Her mother would not give up, Jane knew from experience. She snatched the phone from its clip and pressed the Talk button. "Not a good time, Ma," she said.
Surprised, she said, "Pop?"
The next voice was the one she had expected. "Janie, we need to talk to you."
"Ma, I can't right now. Maura is missing, okay?" Jane articulated. For once, she needed her mother to comprehend that something was more important than Jane's biological clock. "She's in trouble." Oh, and my date was either dead or a killer, depending on your perspective.
"We've got her."
"She says don't repeat this out loud," Angela said. "Maura's here."
Not really understanding the instruction but willing to honor it, Jane turned away and spoke quietly. "Is she okay?"
"Of course she's not okay!" Angela said. "Someone tried to kill her!"
"Yeah, I know, but was she hit?"
"No, but she had to run all this way and she's scared to death and she's worried about you, too," Angela said. "Are you in some kind of danger?"
"No, Ma," Jane said, although she had no idea what was happening to them. "I'm on my way." Waving to Clark, Jane yelled over, "I'll call you."
It sounded as though Maura wanted her to play it cool, but Jane ran up the sidewalk anyway. The porch light came on and her father opened the door as Jane approached, then quickly closed it behind her.
"Maura?" she called out. Had she not trained herself well over the years, she might have burst into tears from sheer relief when she saw the blonde standing in her mother's kitchen. As it was, she held open her arms. "Come here."
She could have hugged Maura Isles all night, but they still had major problems.
"Someone broke in and shot at me," Maura said into her shoulder.
"I know." She ran a hand across Maura's back. "And it gets worse." There was no easy way to say this, but she had to. "Jamie's dead, Maura."
Stunned, Maura took a step back. "What?" Jane led her to the couch, where she dropped down as though her legs would no longer support her. "But I just talked to him! He was . . . ." She remembered what Jamie had called about. "You were supposed to have dinner tonight."
"And I did," Jane said. "Thought I did, anyway. I don't know who I was eating with, but it wasn't Jamie." Which explained . . . "Oh, hell." Jane joined her on the couch. Which explained why he never answered any of her questions about Bass, because he didn't have a fucking clue who Bass was.
"We were still together when they went after you," Jane mused. And when Duff was killed. "So he didn't take the shot, but he was in on it." To her mother, she said, "We haven't ruled out kids, though."
"Don't be smart."
Jane thought back to the man casually checking his messages as she spoke with Frost. He hadn't taken a call all evening too polite, Jane had thought, but maybe just too cautious. Somehow he had known that Frost's call to Jane was about Duff or Maura, so he must have gotten word from at least one of the shooters.
"You talked to Jamie?" Jane asked. "Tonight?"
Maura nodded. "He called. He said you'd cancelled your date. I thought . . . ."
"You thought I was screwing with you."
Her friend looked miserable. "I sent you a mean text."
"Don't worry about it," Jane said. "What else did he say?"
"Just that if you didn't really want to go out with him, I should let him know."
Less than an hour after that phone call, someone had killed one of its two participants and tried to kill the other. How had they . . . ? "Maura." A suspicion was forming. "When's the last time we talked about Bass?"
The question was unexpected. "Bass?" Maura said. "Oh, my God, is he okay?"
Jane laid a hand on her arm. "He's fine. I was out at your place, and he was eating . . . some kind of . . . greenish thing. But when's the last time we talked about him on your land line?"
"My land line?" Maura repeated. "I don't know; a couple of weeks?"
Okay, and, "When you left that message telling me where to meet Jamie?" And to shave her legs, and to wear the maroon v-neck with three buttons undone, and to remember that sex releases hemogoblins or whatever?
"The phone on my nightstand."
Undoubtedly the same phone through which a slightly buzzed homicide cop ranted three nights earlier about her fucking job. Shit . . . . Jane reached for her cell and found the number she was looking for. "Clark?" she said. "Rizzoli. Do me a favor and sweep Maura's place, the phones especially."
"They bugged my phone?" Maura asked. "Someone was in my house?"
"We don't know that." Yes. But Jane had another call to make. "Frost, you about done there?" she asked.
"I could be," he said. Perceptive guy.
"Someone tried to kill Maura tonight and I think they tapped her phone," she said. "I need to get her to a safe house for a few days." She rose and walked a few steps away. "And my parents."
At Jane's last words, Angela erupted, "What are you talking about, Janie?"
"They may not be tracking Maura, Ma, but if they are . . . ."
Maura shot to her feet, horrified. "Oh, my God, Jane, I put your parents in danger?"
"No, no, of course not," Jane tried to assure her. "I'm just it's just procedure."
"I shouldn't have come here!" Maura turned to the elder Rizzolis. "I'm so sorry. I didn't know what else to do."
"Nonsense," Angela said. "Where else could you have gone?"
About a hundred other places, actually, Jane thought.
"I didn't know where you were," Maura explained anxiously to Jane. "I thought about the station house, but I didn't have money for a cab and this was closer."
Was she serious? Rich people. "It's okay, really," Jane said. She placed her hands on Maura's shoulders. "But, Honey, next time I mean if you ever get in trouble like that again, you can go to the station and tell the cabbie to come in with you. The desk sergeant would have paid the fare. Okay?"
Oh, great, now Maura looked really upset.
Angela shot a glare at her daughter. "Don't listen to her, Maura," she said. "We're glad you came. Aren't we, Frank?"
"Sure we are," he echoed dutifully. "Any time."
"I'm not criticizing her, Ma!" Jane insisted. "She got away from a guy trying to kill her; that's major ass kicking in anybody's book." Crap; her best friend was on the verge of losing it. "Come on, Maura, let's get you some shoes," she said. "I've got a couple of pairs in my old room."
"Not those awful Keds," Angela said. "I shoulda thrown those out years ago."
Gritting her teeth, Jane took Maura's hand and led her to the back bedroom. "There's probably a t-shirt back here, too, if you want to slum it," she said, but her friend was no longer beside her.
Maura stood frozen just inside the doorway. "Jane, I'm sorry that I put your parents in danger, and that I'm terrible under pressure, and that you're having to take care of me"
"Wanting," Jane interrupted. "Wanting to take care of you. And you didn't put my parents in danger; I'm just taking precautions. And if you were terrible under pressure, I'd only have one brother right now. Okay?" She laid a hand on Maura's cheek. "You've had a really bad day; you're entitled to freak out a little."
Walking over to the closet, Jane knelt and began rummaging through a pile of random objects on the floor, laughing a little at herself.
"Hell, I freaked out at your house," she rambled, needing Maura to understand that it was nothing to be embarrassed about. "I thought you were gone, Maura. I mean gone" she tossed a shoe over her shoulder in the general direction of the bed and continued digging "and I thought, 'God, I've lost her; I lost her while I was at some stupid dinner with some stupid guy when I would rather have just'"
That wasn't coming out right. Clutching the matching tennie to her chest, Jane backed out of the closet to see Maura studying her.
"Rather have just what?" Maura asked.
"I don't know." Whatever Jane said, it was going to sound pathetic. "Hang out with you, I guess, I don't know. These'll fit, won't they?" She held out the shoe for Maura's inspection.
Jane plopped down on the bed and began attacking the laces, still tied in a knot from the last time they were kicked off impatiently rather than removed responsibly.
Maura was still staring at her. Suddenly, she said, "I want you to be happy, Jane."
Jane glanced quizzically over at her. "Thanks," she said. "I want you to be happy, too."
"I think I might be."
"Well, don't rush into any quick decisions on that," Jane said sarcastically.
Maura tilted her head. "I'm not." Her face lit up with that happy-Maura smile of hers. "You promised me a Jane Rizzoli t-shirt?"
Watching Maura try on various shirts, looking for one that wouldn't cling quite as tightly to her more generous assets, things were becoming clear to Jane. Someone had tapped the Medical Examiner's phone within the last week or so, shortly after the discovery of the remains of a girl who had gone from Jane Doe to Carolyn Parkinson and back to Jane Doe.
Maura didn't spend that much time on her land line she wasn't home that much but it was enough for someone to learn that the medical examiner had arranged a blind date for a friend of hers, who also happened to be the detective in charge of the Jane Doe case. Time, place, name and occupation, all conveyed in a series of messages by an excited Maura Isles last Sunday.
And then that beer-facilitated call from Jane, after learning that Carolyn's whole identity was of recent origin. Jane hadn't gone into much detail during the call, Maura had assured her, and maybe that was the problem: If the doers had known how little Jane actually had to go on, they might not have felt the need to infiltrate her date to wheedle information about the case.
Why had they killed Duff? Because he had blown their cover with his phone call to Maura. At any moment, they realized, Isles could alert Detective Rizzoli that she was sitting two feet away from someone she probably ought to arrest.
That the men outside Duff's and Maura's places had moved in so quickly suggested that the intent all along might have been to eliminate everyone involved in the scheme; the phone call had just moved up the timetable.
The original plan, Jane guessed, would have been to take advantage of the fact confirmed by her friend's rather explicit messages that sex was an anticipated outcome of the date, at least on Maura's part. And then, when he had extracted whatever intel he could, he would have pressed a 9 millimeter against a pillow while Jane slept. Three deaths unlikely to be tied to a dead girl in a warehouse, but guaranteed to put every other investigation on the back burner.
A conspiracy this complicated took the Jane Doe case to a whole new level. Narcotics, maybe, but on a huge scale, something worth the extra body count.
"If I'd taken that guy home, I would have been dead by morning," Jane mused aloud.
Maura whirled around at the statement, momentarily topless again except for that virtually transparent bra that Jane had been trying to ignore.
"Reddish brown stains everywhere," she went on. Geez, Maura; did you pay money for that bra? "I think that officially makes you the worst matchmaker in history."
"That's not fair," Maura protested.
Continuing to tease her, Jane said, "I'm through with dating. I'll just have to run twelve miles from now on to get my 'runner's high.'"
"Or you could date people that you already know," Maura suggested. "They would be less likely to want to kill you."
"Less likely?" Jane laughed. "Okay, who?"
Maura reached for another t-shirt. "Frost"
"Right, I'm going to date my rookie partner," Jane scoffed. "And don't say Korsak."
"Mr. Biceps? I'll bet he spends 24/7 in the gym looking at himself in the mirror."
"Been there, dumped that."
"Thompson from vice, Todd Tacha, me, Lee Stanley." Maura slipped on the shirt as she rattled off more candidates. "D.C.'s not that far, maybe Joe Grant would come back once in a while."
"No No What? No and Hell No," Jane said. Backing up a few names, she said, "You put yourself on the list?"
Examining the distractingly snug shirt in the mirror, Maura said, "Well, I'm willing to run twelve miles with you."
"So we could get runner's high together?"
Maura didn't reply.
"Simultaneous runner's highs?" Jane was enjoying this. "Multiple runner's highs?" Oddly, the idea wouldn't leave her mind. She walked over to Maura. "Have you ever had a runner's high with a woman?"
Somewhat stiffly, Maura said, "Runner's high is just an internal release of endorphins that isn't associated with"
"You know what I'm asking," Jane interrupted. "Come on, Maura, you made me tell you that dumb story about Freddie Offenbacher and his convertible in high school."
"Europeans have a far more healthy attitude toward sex," Maura said, as if that answered the question.
"So do penguins," Jane said, frustrated. "You're not European." What did that have to do with anything?
"All right. I would be perfectly comfortable going out with a woman and having sex with a woman, if that's what you're asking" Maura said. "Objectively speaking, you're a very attractive woman, and if we weren't friends I would be comfortable going out with you."
"I thought you said I should go out with friends," Jane pointed. "Better odds of making it through the night."
Maura frowned. "Are you making fun of me?"
Now Jane was the one feeling defensive. "No," she said. "I don't know . . . . This seems like kind of a big conversation. . . ."
"Janie?" her mother called through the door. "Your new partner's here!"
Jane wasn't sure whether Frost's timing was great or lousy. The ride to the station house was quiet, but the flurry of activity triggered by their arrival was not. Nearly a full day passed before Jane saw her friend again.
The first few hours had been spent with a sketch artist coming up with a remarkably good likeness of "Jane's boyfriend," as her annoying ex-partner called him, or "Suspect No. 1," as her current partner more wisely put it.
Dr. Isles and Jane's parents were settling in all right at the safe house, Clark reported, although Mrs. Rizzoli seemed unhappy about something. Jane laughed.
At noon, Jane's plan to slip away and check on everyone went out the window when half a dozen DEA agents converged on the station, anxious to have a word with the detective who had circulated a sketch that morning of Robert Ellis, alias Tim Herrod, alias Aaron Blakely, alias Jamie Duff, who had, until an hour ago, been thought to be hiding in Bogota.
Jane did sneak in a phone call to her father she didn't feel quite comfortable calling Maura yet for some reason but was occupied the rest of the afternoon explaining up the chain of command why the DEA should not be confiscating her Jane Doe. Yes, Jane appreciated the positive ID, and yes, she understood the 'international implications,' whatever those were, but it was her case, her dead body, her Medical Examiner who had almost been killed.
Hours later, Jane plodded up to the nondescript beige house and rang the bell. It would just be a couple of days, she informed the temporary residents; DEA predicted that Ellis and his crew were already on a fast boat to China, but there was no need to rush things.
It was weirdly familiar, Jane thought later, her mother in a strange kitchen washing up (because Maura was a guest), her father off somewhere arguing fastball versus slider with Frankie and Officer Denckley, and Jane sitting beside Maura on the couch, trying to figure out how to start this conversation.
"So, I was thinking . . . ," she began, but that was as far as she had gotten in her rehearsal.
"About . . . ?" Maura prodded.
"I don't know."
"You don't know what you were thinking?" Maura said. "That seems unlikely."
"I don't know if I want to say what I was thinking," Jane clarified for Ms. Literal.
"Was it about us having sex? Because I've been thinking about that, too," Maura said.
Oh, my God.
"For example, this afternoon I visualized you on top of me, and we"
Jane's head whipped around, certain her mother would appear behind them at this exact moment. "Jesus, Maura!" she whispered.
"With the rigidity of the walls and ceilings combined with the angle of the hallway and size of the room, your mother couldn't possibly hear what we're saying unless our voices reach approximately 95 decibels," Maura said. She raised her voice. "This is 90 decibels."
"What?" Angela called out from the kitchen.
"Nothing, Ma," Jane yelled back.
"I'm making you some cherry tortes."
A moment later, Maura laid a hand on Jane's thigh. "I want you to be happy, Jane."
Jane turned toward her.
"Naked, sweaty, and happy." Maura leaned forward and gently pressed her lips against Jane's.
Suddenly, Jane felt very warm. "Jesus, Maura . . . ."
Later that night, upon determining that, with the location of the spare bedroom relative to the master bedroom, along with the dampening effect of one occupied and one unoccupied bed and other furnishings, no one could hear sounds emanating from the spare bedroom unless they exceeded approximately 83 decibels, Maura Isles made Jane Rizzoli very happy indeed. Twice.
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