Disclaimer : Characters and situations are owned by TNT and their respective creators!
Warnings : Sex and love between women. There's a moment of betrayal that might make your jaw drop, but keep reading before you light the torches. ~g~
Feedback : Constructive criticism and feedback, both welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org
It was the sixth straight day of rain, and Boston was fairly drowning. I sat with one foot up on my desk, turned to watch the water streaking down my window. I tried to remember how the sun fell through the glass, if it hit my desk or not, but it had been so long I couldn't really remember. The lights across the street were faded and dim, like the storm cloud was wrapped around this building. The dame sitting across from me was Maura Isles. She hadn't spoken in a few minutes, giving me time to think. I appreciated that, since she'd put a hell of a load on my mind.
The sign on the door reads J. Rizzoli, a sneaky bit of cloak and dagger that helps keep me in business. By the time people are desperate enough to come into the office and see the truth, they're usually too desperate to back out and find someone else. The name is Jane Rizzoli. I'm a private eye.
Jane finally turned back to face her friend, who was currently trying to become a client. Maura was overdressed in a lot of places, but here in Jane's shabby office she looked like a visitor from another planet. Her hair was curled at the ends, touching her shoulders. She wore a small black hat with a veil that dipped down over her right eye. Her dress was slate gray, with a flap that crossed the chest to be held up by a large black button over the heart. She had taken off her gloves when she came in, and they were now draped over the thigh of her right leg.
Jane tried not to compare Maura's outfit to her own waistcoat and tie, the sleeves of her threadbare Oxford shirt rolled up past the elbows. She was comfortable; that was the important thing. Besides, she had more important things to worry about than fashion. She picked up the small metal slug that Maura had brought to her, squinting to see the tiny little marks that Maura had pointed out to her.
"A lot of weight to put on a little dent, doc."
"It's not the dent. It's what the dent means."
Jane put down the first slug and picked up the second. It could have been similar, she supposed. Maura had used magnifying lenses to give her a closer look at it, but looking through the glass too much made Jane's eyes hurt. She put the slugs down side-by-side on her desk and stroked her tie. "Okay. Start again from the beginning."
Maura closed her eyes, weary of telling the entire story over again. "Okay, well, you know that I help the police sometimes with their crime scenes. Dealing with the dead bodies and cleaning up the blood, that sort of thing. They let me perform autopsies to determine cause of death. It helps me with my living patients. The few living patients I have, that is." She smiled. "That's not to saw a lot of my patients die after seeing me, just that--"
"No one wants to see a lady sawbones," Jane muttered.
"Right. Anyway, the first bullet was taken from the body of a man shot at a gambling parlor. He opened fire on the police and they shot back. The shooting was considered justified, and I kept the bullet in case anyone needed it for court. Not likely, but like I said. Just in case. Then, four days ago, I get another body. Hugh Kowalski. He was found shot to death in an alley. He was a shop owner from Dorchester Heights."
Jane's lips quirked at Maura's lack of accent. "Dah-chest-ah" was "Door-chester" on Maura's Ivy League tongue.
"He was a good man, from what I'd heard. I didn't know why anyone would kill him and dump him like that. So I looked into it, talked to the Kowalski's widow."
"Did the cops know you were doing this?"
"Of course not. The widow thought I was a concerned citizen--"
"And why did she think that?"
Maura winced. "I may have told her that's what I was. Anyway, she told me that some goons had been coming around asking for protection money. Kowalski refused to pay. The first time, their front window got broken and some stuff went missing. Then they got a bunch of garbage set on fire on their stoop. Last week was the third time Kowalski said no."
"You think these goons went from pranks to murder?"
"I think things got out of hand. Maybe they tried breaking in again and Kowalski caught them. I don't know, Jane. But I did the examination and took two slugs out of his body. The indentations on those two bullets are the same."
Jane held out her hands questioningly.
"They came from the same gun. I've done the research, Jane. Guns have a specific firing--"
"You're saying it was cops who did this? Cops roughed up this Kowalski and then shot him dead in an alley."
Maura leaned back in her chair. "Yes."
Jane took a breath and let it out slowly as thunder shook the building. She picked up both bullets and examined them. It seemed crazy that someone could tell what gun they were fired from just by looking at the little bumps and dents on the side. If it had been anyone but Maura Isles bringing it to her... Six months ago when she'd been winged by a rumrunner's bullet, it was Maura she trusted to sew her up. It was Maura that she trusted with her doubts and fears. She sighed and put the bullets on the desk.
"I'll see what I can do for ya."
Maura's smile brightened the dank office and almost made it worth the can of worms Jane knew she was about to open.
The informant was already waiting when Jane arrived. She had a trenchcoat on over her clothes, but the rain still managed to get through and chill her bones as she headed down the concrete steps. The building's basement entrance was surrounded by garbage and old pallets, and she found Barry Frost leaning against the brick wall with his arms crossed over his chest to control his shivering. The rain poured from the brim of Jane's fedora as she looked back up to the street to make sure she wasn't being followed.
"You can never meet me in nice places, can you, Jane?"
She shrugged. "It's part of my charm. How are you?"
"For a guy standing in an underground box during a flood, I'm doing pretty well." He smiled. "What do you need?"
"I heard something about a protection racket. Maybe a couple of guys strong-arming local business owners for protection money. Sound familiar?"
Frost scratched his forehead. "Too familiar. Happens every day down in Southie. You have anything else for me to go on?"
Jane reluctantly showed her ace. "They might be cops."
Frost whistled. "Bad news there, Jane. You sure you want to poke the bear?"
"No. But if cops are hurting people, they need to be stopped." She hunched her shoulders and pulled the lapels of her coat tighter. "Besides, if this sort of thing is sanctioned by the cops, I'm not sure I want to wear one of their badges after all."
"Yeah." Frost wiped a hand over his head and flicked the rain water onto the ground. "Give me a couple of days. I'll ask around and see what I can find out."
"I appreciate it, Barry. Look on the bright side. If we do uncover a bunch of cops working against the system, there might be a couple of jobs opening up soon. I'll put in a good word for you when they swear me in."
Frost scoffed. "I'll be a cop before you are, Jane. Black beats crazy every day."
Jane laughed as she headed back up the stairs, turning her collar against the rain as she ran back to the safety of shelter.
Vince Korsak sighed as he slid behind the wheel of his car. He glanced to his right and involuntarily cursed when he realized the seat beside him wasn't empty. "People have been shot for less than that, Rizz." He looked out the window, but it was too rain-streaked and fogged over for anyone to see inside. "You know, you're pretty persona non grata around here after you closed that case last month."
"I'm sorry. Should I have let Simmons rape a few more girls so you guys could catch up to me? Way I see it, I did you a favor. And now I need you to pay me back."
Korsak groaned and wiped the rain from his beard with a pass of one meaty hand. "You're a load of trouble, Rizzoli, you know that?"
"I get it from my pop." She took a bag from her pocket. "These bullets. Can you tell if they were fired from the same gun?"
"Do I look like Sherlock Holmes to you?" He took the bag and looked inside. He took out both bullets, pinched one between the fingers of each hand, and carefully examined them. "I don't know. They look like bullets."
Korsak's laugh was like a bark, and he threw his hands in the air. "Oh, here we go ."
"Doctor Isles," Jane continued as if she hadn't heard him, "thinks that these bullets came from the same gun. One is from a known cop shooting, the other is from a cold-blooded murder in a Dorchester alley. Shopkeeper named Kowalski who wouldn't pay his protection money. Sound like anyone you know?"
"You asking if I know any dirty cops? Jesus, Rizzoli." He dropped the bullets back into the bag and shoved it at her. "These guys are my brothers. I'm not about to rat on 'em, especially to some shamus."
Jane glared at him. "These brothers of yours might have killed a guy because he wouldn't pay up. A guy standing up for his principles. You wanna be brothers with people who might do that?"
"You don't understand, Jane. You don't just point the fingers at other cops. Not with tiny little, what, dents in a bullet? C'mon, Jane. You know better than that."
"I trust Maura. And if she tells me these bullets came from the same gun, then I'm gonna pursue that."
Korsak shook his head sadly. "That's why you'll never be one of us, Rizzoli."
"I thought it was because my tits got in the way when I reached for my gun." She took her fedora off the dashboard and pressed it back onto her head. "Thanks for nothin', Vince. Same as always." She opened the door and stepped out into the rain. She heard Korsak calling after her as she hurried down the street, but she didn't bother to look back. It wasn't until later that she realized she had left the bullets behind on the passenger seat.
Home again. I didn't have the heart to call Maura and tell her that I'd come up empty. I left the lights off and took off my coat and vest. The streetlight came through the blinds and made sickly yellow lines on the living room rug. I unbuttoned my shirt and looked down at the street below. Twin rivers ran on either side of the road, making the street look like an island in between them. I took off my tie and let the halves of my shirt hang open around my undershirt. It felt good to be home. I rubbed my throat as I went into the kitchen and poured myself a drink, the hard stuff. Another reason I would never make it as a cop; technically I was a criminal. The liquor stung going down, like good liquor should, and I winced until the burn faded.
If I was going to pursue the case, I was going to have to face the reasons why I wanted it. I didn't just trust Maura's opinion; I cared for her. I was touched that she had come to me with something so big and I didn't want to screw it up. I wanted to make her proud of me, I wanted to come through for her more than I wanted to bring the bad guys to justice.
I took another drink, rinsed out the cup, and put the bottle back in the cubby hole between the cupboard and the icebox. Tomorrow was another day. I finished undressing as I walked down the hall to my bath. Crimes had been solved for more selfish reasons, I suppose, but I was hard-pressed to think of any.
The seventh day of rain started with a telephone call at the crack of dawn, not that anyone could tell the sun was out. Jane dressed in darkness so complete that it might as well have still been the night before. She hadn't slept well, and she put on the same rumpled clothes she'd worn yesterday before heading out. She drove through streets that were almost deserted either due to the hour or the weather until she reached the small corner shop in Dorchester Heights.
Maura was still inside. The woman behind the counter was most likely Kowalski's widow. Jane kept her hat on until she got through the door, then she doffed it and shook it outside so she would drip less. Maura left the counter to meet her. "Jane. Thanks for coming."
"This better be good, Maura."
"It is, trust me. Sofia, this is Jane Rizzoli. She's a private detective. Tell her what you told me."
The woman was shaking, looking at Maura as if at a lifeline. "The men came back. They told me that my husband's death was unfortunate, and had we paid them for protection it would not have happened."
"Sounds like a threat to me." Maura was holding Sofia's hand.
"Let her talk," Jane said. "What did the men look like?"
One was tall, the other was short. Very fat. He had bushy mustache like Roosevelt. Not... not this President now, the other Roosevelt. The tall one had..." She made a gesture by her eyes.
"Glasses?" Maura said, and Sofia nodded.
A car sped by the store, sending a spray of water into the air. Jane glanced toward the window and then focused on Sofia again. "What were these men wearing?"
"Suits, like you, only nicer. Without the, the... waistcoat."
The image forming in Jane's mind was 'cop.' In fact, the description of one man was pretty damn close to Vince Korsak. She was almost afraid to pay him a visit to see if he'd shaved his beard since the previous afternoon.
Maura was watching Jane closely. "I know what you're thinking."
"I'm thinking you're right." She heard water splashing again and looked toward the street. The same car from a moment ago was speeding by, only this time the passenger window was down despite the weather. Jane didn't need to see the gun barrel to realize something very bad was about to happen. "Mrs. Kowalski, get down on the floor!"
Jane moved to the side and grabbed Maura, tackling her to the ground just as the shop windows exploded. Bottles and bags of candy were torn apart by bullets, and Jane could hear Mrs. Kowalski screaming in terror. Maura had both hands on top of her head, and Jane covered her body as well as she could. "Stay down, stay down," she said, the words falling from her mouth with each rapid breath.
The gunfire stopped and Jane sat up. "Are you okay? Maura! Are you--"
"I'm fine, fine."
Jane got to her feet. "Sofia!"
She heard sobbing, but Maura was already crawling around the counter. "I'll check on her. Go!"
Jane ran from the store, drawing her gun as she raced into the downpour. She caught sight of the car as it rounded the corner, nearly going up on two wheels before correcting itself. Jane took aim at them even though she knew it was a lost cause, but she stopped herself from firing. The rain coursed down her face, dripping off her chin as she went back into the shop.
"Here. Jane, call an ambulance."
Jane grabbed the phone off the counter as she knelt next to Maura and Sofia Kowalski. Broken glass had cut Sofia's hands and face, and Maura was doing her best to stop the bleeding. Jane picked up the receiver and an operator came on immediately.
"I need an ambulance. We're at the One Stop Shop in Dorchester Heights." She looked at Maura, scanning her for any signs of duress. Her blouse, once spotless, was stained with spilled Pepsi-Cola and chips. The sight affected Jane almost more than if it had been blood, seeing Maura in clothing that was less than perfect. While she waited for confirmation the ambulance was on the way, she picked up a rag off the floor and began trying to clean the mess from Maura's back.
Maura looked over her shoulder. "Jane? Wh-what are you doing?"
Jane blinked. "I-I don't know." She dropped the rag and focused on Sofia. The operator told her an ambulance had been dispatched, and Jane relayed the information even as she heard distant sirens begin to wail. "You're gonna be fine, Mrs. Kowalski. Don't worry." Jane disconnected the call and then, after a moment, released the button so she'd be reconnected to the operator.
"Vincent Korsak, with a K."
Maura's eyes widened. "Jane!"
"We have to trust someone, Maura." The line buzzed and then Korsak, sounding half-drunk and fully asleep, answered with a few random syllables strung together. "Korsak, it's Rizzoli. I need you to get down to the One Stop Shop now." She listened and rolled her eyes. "I don't care how long you've been in bed, get out now and come down here. Someone just tried to kill me, Doc Isles and the store's owner. Get your fat ass down here now."
She hung up and looked at Maura. She touched Maura's hair, uncovered by a hat this morning. Maura turned to look at her.
"You sure you're okay?"
Maura smiled reassuringly and nodded. Jane stood up and went outside to wait in the rain for Korsak and the ambulance.
By the time everything was finished with the ambulance and the cops Korsak brought with him, we were all soaked to the skin. Maura looked like a drowned rat, so I knew I had to look like death warmed over. Korsak took Mrs. Kowalski to the hospital and swore he'd personally see to her protection. Maura didn't seem overly confident in her safety, but I convinced her that he was our only official ally in this mess.
I took Maura back to my apartment. We both needed to dry out, and I don't think either of us really wanted to be alone. The adrenaline was starting to wear off, and shock was setting in. I got a robe for Maura and let her change in my bathroom, and I took off my shirts and slacks and exchanged them for dry ones. I left the shirt unbuttoned to show my undershirt, lacking the energy to do up all the buttons. I let my hair hang down in my face as I watched the rain out the window, trying to remember every detail of the shooter's car. But my mind insisted on remembering other details instead.
The weight of Maura's body as I pushed her down. Feeling her underneath me as we sprawled on the floor together. Her breath against my neck when I turned to make sure Mrs. Kowalski was okay. I took the bottle from its hiding place and was pouring a glass when Maura came out of the bathroom. Her hair was combed and mostly dried, and rested on the shoulders of her borrowed robe. Her makeup had been washed away and made her look fresh and scrubbed. I didn't know I owned anything that could make a woman look that good.
"Want a drink?"
"That's illegal. And it's six in the morning."
"I'm the one who wants to be a cop. So if I'm not worried about it..." Maura still hesitated. "Come on. If ever there was a morning for liquor, this is it."
Maura stepped closer and shrugged, holding out her hand for a glass. Jane gave her the one already poured, and made another for herself. She tapped the rims together before downing hers in a single swallow. Maura took a more ladylike sip, wrinkled her nose, and touched her finger to her lips as she sat the glass down.
"So what do you think?"
"They knew we were there. I saw the car drive by once to scope the place out before the shooting started. Someone knows what you found out." She thought of the bullets still sitting in Korsak's car, their only evidence that cops were involved in Kowalski's murder. If he had betrayed her, sold her out to his 'brothers,' then she had just left him alone with Sofia Kowalski. She resisted the urge to call the hospital to make sure she had shown up in one piece. "Did you tell anyone?"
"Only you. I didn't know who else I could trust."
Jane looked down into her empty glass to avoid looking at Maura. Thunder filled the silence, along with the steady patter of rain against the apartment windows. She saw that Maura had still only taken a small sip of her drink, so she plucked the glass from Maura's fingers and downed it as well. She ran her tongue over her lips and said, "Sorry. I'll pour you another." Maura smiled and looked away, stifling a laugh with her fist. "What? What is it?"
"Sahry, Ah'll pah you anothah." Maura waved off her laughter. "I'm sorry. I just, I noticed that your accent always gets a lot worse when you're alone with me."
"Yeah, well, maybe I just let down my guard around you. Maybe a little too much." Jane kept her eyes on Maura until she turned and met her gaze. Maura's smile faded when she saw the emotion in Jane's eyes, and Jane finally looked away to pour herself another drink. Maura put a hand on Jane's wrist to keep her from pouring, and Jane gently pulled it away from her. "Don't."
"Maura, I'm beggin' you, don't humor me."
They were standing uncomfortably close, Maura brushing against Jane's side. She put her hand on Jane's cheek, stroking the soft skin until Jane turned to face her. Jane kept her eyes closed, but opened her mouth to press a kiss against the heel of Maura's hand. Maura brought her other hand up as Jane turned. Her fingers pushed up into Jane's hair and pulled her closer. Their lips touched, and Jane tried to pull out of Maura's grip with a groan of despair. Maura shushed her, kissed her again, and held the kiss until Jane began to respond.
Jane kept her hands at her side, curling them into fists to fight the urge to embrace Maura. It was bad enough that Maura had pushed her lips apart, that their tongues were lightly dancing, but to embrace her was to make it real. She furrowed her brow, eyes closed, as if she was trying to fight off a headache as Maura pressed closer to her.
Jane regretted that she wasn't fully dressed, that she could feel the softness of Maura's robe through her undershirt. She focused on the feel of Maura's lips, soft and tasting slightly of ozone from the rain. Something shifted in Jane's brain; perhaps the kiss had just gone on long enough for her to make the leap or maybe she just decided on her own to give in. Maybe it was the way Maura moaned in such abject pleasure that made her realize it was okay. Whatever the reason, Jane stopped fighting. She brought her hands up and wrapped them around Maura, pressing forward until Maura's back was against the icebox. Their kiss became hungry and frantic, and Maura grabbed handfuls of Jane's hair as she bent one leg against Jane's hip.
Jane slid her hand down to the curve of Maura's ass, pushing the robe away and touching warm, bare flesh with a groan of pleasure. How many nights had she stroked her own thigh and pretended it was Maura's, or ran her tongue along her finger and told herself that it was Maura she was tasting?
Their lips came apart for only seconds, always quickly resuming contact. Jane stroked Maura's hair, her heart pounding as she struggled to catch her breath. It felt like something was pressing against her stomach, just below her ribs, making it hard to draw a full breath. She dropped her free hand to Maura's other thigh and lifted her, sitting Maura on the counter before dropping her lips to Maura's chest.
She opened the robe to discover the lacy top of Maura's slip and the curve of her chest. She couldn't resist the urge to drop her head, kissing and licking along the upper slope of Maura's breasts as she stroked the sides of Maura's legs with both hands. Maura reached up to press one hand against the wall, leaning back as her other hand slid under the collar of Jane's shirt to stroke the back of her neck under her hair.
Jane used Maura's quiet encouragement to go farther, pushing the robe off her shoulders and then brushing down the straps of her undergarment. The material sagged and Jane peeled it down with her teeth to expose Maura's breasts. She ran her bottom lip along the inside curve of Maura's left breast, feeling her heartbeat, and then gently kissed the nipple until it hardened against her tongue. She circled it and then moved to the other nipple, sucking while her other hand cupped Maura's breast.
Maura suddenly started pulling at Jane's shirt, and Jane sat up so her shirt and undershirt could both be pulled off. She kissed Maura's lips as Maura reached back, wrapping around the outside of Jane's arms to undo the hooks of her brassiere. Jane broke the kiss and pressed her face against Maura's throat, opening her mouth to sweep her tongue over Maura's skin as the bra was pulled away and dropped.
"Touch me, Maura." Jane closed her eyes as Maura complied, soft and warm hands sliding around to cup Jane's breasts. Her breath was ragged now, forced through flaring nostrils as Maura touched her nipples. Maura kissed the corners of Jane's mouth and then kissed her properly, and Jane stepped closer to let Maura's legs wrap around her.
Jane let herself get lost in the kiss. She didn't hear the rain or the thunder, she only heard Maura's breathing. She opened her mouth to Maura's tongue, and arched her back so their breasts could touch. Skin against skin, the heat of another woman's body against hers. Jane couldn't bear it another second; she'd had enough foreplay. She broke the kiss and dropped, kissing as she slid down Maura's body to kneel between her legs. She put Maura's feet on her shoulders, lifted the hem of Maura's slip, and ran the flat of her tongue along the inner muscle of Maura's thigh.
Maura's cries grew in volume as Jane kissed her, her toes curling as she lifted her hips forward. Jane reached up and Maura grabbed her hand, lacing their fingers together and squeezing tight as Jane curled her tongue and pushed it between Maura's folds. Her face was burning as she did what she had dreamed about for so long, holding Maura's hand as she finally tasted her. Maura let one foot slide down Jane's naked back, leaving the other on her shoulder to pull Jane closer. Jane curled the index finger of her free hand and used it alongside her tongue, and Maura began to whisper her name like a mantra. She pursed her lips against Maura's clit, and pushed a single finger inside. Maura tightened around it, and Jane eased a second finger in.
"Is that all right, Maura?" she whispered, kissing the inside of Maura's thigh. Without waiting for an answer, she kissed Maura's clit again and began to thrust with her fingers. Maura banged her hand against the wall, lifted her hips, and cried out Jane's name as she climaxed, her entire lower body shaking.
Jane put her arms around Maura's waist, her head against Maura's stomach, and held her as they both caught their breath. She closed her eyes and breathed deep, drawing in the scent of Maura's sweat and her orgasm. She ran her tongue over her lips, hoping for some trace of Maura's taste before she kissed Maura's stomach through her slip.
"I've never done that before," Maura admitted.
"Never?" Jane looked up and met Maura's eyes, suddenly extremely shy. "What about men...?"
"I've been with men. I've never done that with anyone." She stroked Jane's hair. "Guess I was waiting for you."
Jane closed her eyes. Her fingers pushed under the slip to stroke the soft skin in the small of Maura's back, just above her rear end. Her legs ached from the awkward not quite squatting position, and she had an almost painful ache between her legs crying out for Maura's touch. But she could feel Maura's breathing, and the beat of her heart, so she wanted to stay there, just like that, until she fell asleep.
"Jane." She looked up and met Maura's eyes. Maura stroked Jane's hair out of her face. "Take me to your bed. I want to make love to you."
Jane stood up and gathered Maura in her arms. This was it. The moment she had dreamed of, the moment that occupied her waking and dreaming mind. She arms shook as she carried Maura from the kitchen and down the hallway. Maura put her arms around Jane's neck and kissed her, her tongue darting and swirling in a preview of what she was going to do in just a few moments.
She laid Maura on top of the blankets and stood by the bed, taking a moment to drink in her fantasy brought to life. She touched Maura's face. "Just in case you're worried... that I'm drunk, or that this is just a knee jerk reaction to almost dying, don't. I love you. I've loved you for so long, Maura."
"Good. Let me catch up."
Jane unbuttoned her pants and pushed them down before she joined Maura in bed.
We made love all that morning, into the afternoon. The rain let up a little, but not enough that we noticed it in our stupor. When Maura finally fell asleep, I stroked her face. I touched her hip. I pressed handfuls of her hair against my face to assure myself she wasn't going to fade away if I closed my eyes. We spoke a little when she woke to use the bathroom, and then I stroked her back to sleep. Once she was out, I wrapped myself in the robe I was already thinking of as hers. It smelled like her, and I tried not to bring it to my face and smell it as I went into the living room.
I picked up the phone and carried it to the window, all the way to the farthest reaches of its cord. The operator connected me to Homicide and I looked out the window as someone answered. His voice was rough, like the thunder had left the sky and jumped down his throat.
"This is Jane Rizzoli. I talked to Vince Korsak this morning and he told me you were the one I needed to talk to. You and your partner." I fought the bile rising in my throat as I spoke. "I want a badge, and if this is what I gotta do to get one, then I guess I'll sell my soul. The lady who is causing you all these problems, sniffin' around your protection racket? She's yours. I'll bring her to ya." A tear rolled down my cheek. "She gets shut up, and you get to go on with your dirty little secret. And I finally get my goddamn badge. Sound like a deal to you?" A pause. "Great. Charles Street Embankment. Tonight at nine. See you there."
I hung up and went into the kitchen. I didn't bother with the glass, taking a slug straight from the bottle and swishing it around in my mouth before spitting it into the sink.
I left the bottle and walked down the hall, shedding the robe before I climbed back under the blankets. I took Maura into my arms, our naked bodies fitting together perfectly.
"I woke up alone in a strange place. I got scared."
"It's okay. I was right here the whole time." I kissed her eyebrow and rubbed her shoulder as I watched the lightning flash in my bedroom window.
Jane waited in her car until she saw the car from that morning drive past her. She pulled out behind it, pulling up close and leaning on her horn until the car pulled over to the curb. The Charles River was to their right, dark and majestic in the prematurely dark night. The rain pockmarked its surface in curtains, and the occasional flash of lightning and roar of thunder made it seem as if they were at the edge of the civilized world. The Cambridge Street Bridge spanned its length with the occasional sweep of headlights as a car traveled from one side to the other.
The two cops described by Sofia Kowalski climbed out of their car. Jane saw their guns, hanging well within reach in shoulder holsters. Jane got out of her car as well and made sure they saw that she was armed as well. She stood beside her car and made them come to her.
The tall cop, Leary, bent down to look through the front windshield of Jane's car. "I don't see the lady you mentioned bringing as your bargaining chip."
"I wanted to make sure that you fulfilled your side of the bargain. I have Doc Isles in a secure location."
Brenner, the other cop, scoffed. When he spoke, his lips were hidden by his walrus mustache. "We're supposed to just take your word for that?"
"Nah. You can see her if you want." She motioned for them to follow. Lightning flashed as they crossed the street. Jane kept her wits about her, looking back to make sure they weren't drawing their weapons to shoot her in the back. "You shoot me, by the way, and your problems double. You end up with a dead shamus on top of a nosy sawbones. You wanna keep me alive."
"Just keep walking, Rizzoli."
Jane led them to the alley where she had been parked. "I got another stipulation to add if you want my help." Leary scoffed. "Hey, I'm handin' you a bothersome woman right next to the Charles. You think I don't know what the next step is? I know she ain't walkin' away from tonight. So I want the badge, and I also want in on your operation. You gotta be clearing, what, five hundred a week? More than enough to go around."
"Five don't split three ways." Brenner was touching his weapon like it was a talisman, eyeing Leary as if waiting for the okay to draw. "You get your little badge and your uniform, and that's it. That's all we're offering."
Jane laughed. "Yeah, right. Five hundred was just a guess. You guys are doing that whole block, right?" Lightning flashed again and lit up the alley. "How many businesses is that? I mean, not counting the One Stop, since it's basically outta business now. You got more than enough to split it three ways. I'll even take on some of the collections. People down there in Dorchester, they know me. They trust me. I could even get you guys more than you've been taking."
"We got a good thing going, Rizzoli, okay? And no, it ain't just Dorchester. But it's me and Brenner. That's it. The more people get involved, the messier it gets."
Jane held her hands up in mock surrender. "Okay. Just had to make the suggestion. So how you guys gonna do it?" Brenner and Leary looked at each other, confused. "You know? Getting' my badge, convincing the brass to let me into the department. It's probably something pretty impressive, right? Can't wait to hear it."
The cops remained silent as lightning flashed again.
"Yeah. That's what I thought."
Leary pulled his gun. "Take us to the doctor. Right now."
Jane moved her hands to the back of her head. "Relax, Detective Leary." She started to kneel, and Leary followed her down with the barrel of his gun. Brenner pulled his gun as well, aiming it at Jane's head as she knelt in the wet alley. The runoff flowed over her knees and shoes as she laced her fingers behind her head. "I just want to be friends with you. That's all."
"We got enough friends." Leary cocked his weapon and stepped closer. "Now where is the damn doctor?"
Jane nodded toward the door of a loading dock. "Over there. Takin' pictures of you."
Another flash of lightning that wasn't followed by a rumble of thunder. Then the sound of a door being slid open as Maura ducked inside the building. Leary shouted for her to stop, and Brenner tried to take control of Jane. She had used their distraction to get off her knees and she tackled Brenner before he could take aim at her. She tore the gun from his fat fingers and used her shoulder to knock him into the brick wall. She heard someone running into the alley, their footsteps splashing in the ankle-deep water. "Leary's gone after Maura. He's in the building."
Korsak, who had spent the last five minutes searching Leary's car, ran past her. He tossed her his handcuffs and Jane secured Brenner to a drain pipe before running after Korsak. "You let her go in there alone?"
Lightning, real this time instead of just the flash bulb of Maura's camera, filled the windows as Jane and Korsak ran into the abandoned warehouse. Leary was lying facedown on the concrete floor, his arms and legs spread out. He was obviously unconscious, but Barry Frost was sitting on top of him anyway. He smiled and held his arms up over his head so there was no miscommunication. "Rizzoli. Detective."
"Where's Maura?" Jane asked, breathless and sure that the plan had somehow gone awry. Frost jerked his thumb over his shoulder and Jane kept running until she found Maura by the front door of the building. "Maura!"
"I was looking for a phone to call more reinfor--"
Jane cut her off with a kiss, sweeping Maura up in her arms and spinning her in a wide circle. When she finished kissing her, she pressed her forehead to Maura's and ran her thumbs over Maura's cheeks.
"That was a stupid plan. A really dumb plan."
"I'm sorry about the guns to your head. But I didn't think they would shoot before--"
"I didn't mean that part. I meant me sellin' you out."
"Oh." Maura kissed Jane. "It was just an act."
Jane shrugged. "You didn't have to say those words."
"I'm sorry. But it all worked out for the best."
Jane grinned. "Yeah. Rizzoli and Isles, crime fighters."
Maura raised her eyebrows. "Could work. I can see it painted on the door of your office right now." She looped her arm around Jane's and started back to where Korsak and Frost were dealing with Leary. Jane could hear sirens, implying that Korsak had let others know where he was going before he left the station.
Korsak looked up as Jane and Maura came back. "Everything all right, Rizz?"
"Yeah, Korsak. Everything's aces."
The rain ended after nine days. The sun was like a revelation, shooting through the thick clouds like solid blades of yellow steel. The city sparkled, and you could forget how dirty parts of it were if just for an hour or two. Sofia Kowalski left the hospital and, a few days later, the glass window of her store was replaced by bright and shiny glass. Korsak gave his recommendation for me to receive a special award from the police commissioner for my part in rooting out Leary and Brenner. We're still waiting for an answer on that.
I was in my office in my usual uniform, sleeves rolled up, waistcoat on but jacket off. I was trying to sneak a cat nap, my fedora down over my eyes to block out the newly reborn sun. I had my feet up on the desk, crossed at the ankles, and just starting to worry about my hunger when there was a knock on my door. I tossed the fedora down as the door opened without my invitation.
The dame who walked in was trouble from the word go, no doubt about it. Legs that went on forever, a waist that begged to have your arm around it, breasts that would make a blind man's mouth water. The whole package was wrapped up in a red dress that clung to her in all the right places, and a smile that said she'd do anything you wanted if it felt good. I licked my lips, and not because of the bag of lunch she was holding in her right hand.
"You need help, miss?"
Maura smiled and closed the door behind her. "All depends on what kind of help you can give me."
She put her hands on the desk and leaned forward, lifting her right foot in the air behind her. I rose from my chair and placed my fedora on her elegantly coiffed hair. "Sister, you can have whatever I got."
Maura grabbed my tie as she pulled me forward for a kiss that made all ten of my toes curl. Maura put our lunch aside and proceeded to crawl onto my desk. I forgot all about my hunger as I pushed her dress up past her stockings and bowed down to show her what I had.
There were far worse ways to spend a lunch break.
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