Fandom: Rizzoli & Isles
Spoilers: Will eventually contain spoilers for most of Season 1
Disclaimer: Rizzoli & Isles and its characters are the property of Tess Gerritsen, Janet Tamaro and TNT television network. I wish they weren't, but oh well.
Rating: MA +
AN: For slickchick87, who encouraged me to venture outside Alex/Olivia land (Law & Order: SVU) and visit Jane/Maura land! I have now extended this one-shot, with plans on turning it in to a full story.
Chapter Six: Suspicions
“Hey, Maura, are you coming to see me later?” Jane asked, sitting by the window in the ‘community visiting area' as she spoke into her cell phone. The section of the hospital that Maura had paid for her to stay in was really ritzy. It was definitely more expensive than she could afford and far fancier than she wanted, but she didn't have the heart to tell Maura no. Besides, there were some perks... she was really enjoying her private recovery room.
“Once I finish up this au – I mean, yes, in a little while,” Maura answered from the other end. The medical examiner avoided talking about work around Jane even though the stubborn detective liked to hound her for details. She knew that Jane missed being busy with work, and the subject usually made her feel depressed.
Unfortunately, she didn't correct her sentence quickly enough. “You're talking on the phone while doing an autopsy?” the brunette squawked, sitting a little straighter in her wheelchair and causing several people just entering the room to glance at her in surprise and curiosity.
Jane could almost hear Maura roll her eyes. “Of course not, that would be unsanitary, distracting, and counterproductive. You called while I was transcribing my autopsy notes from my tape recorder to my computer.”
“Don't you have assistants to do that sort of thing?”
“I've already been overworking my assistants lately,” said Maura. Jane frowned, feeling a little guilty for usurping so much of Maura's time. She knew that her... friend? Maura was more than a friend... but definitely not a girlfriend. Jane wasn't ready to go there. Yet. Well, whatever Maura was, Jane knew that she had a very busy and important job – one that the detective had been keeping her away from too much over the past few weeks.
“You know, you can visit me tomorrow instead,” the detective offered. She was sincere, but unable to keep a note of sadness from her voice. Jane was feeling lower by the second. First she was stuck in this stupid wheelchair, and now she was becoming a burden on everybody she cared about...
“Of course I'll come visit you tonight, Jane. In fact, I'm finishing up right now.”
Even though she hated herself for being so needy, Jane was pleased to hear that Maura was coming to see her. “Thank you... I hate being a prisoner in this damn place.” The brunette glanced over at Mr. Heissmann, an older gentleman who visited the hospital on most weekdays to spend time with his wife. He was speaking to one of the nurses on duty with a peculiar expression on his face.
Maura's sigh redirected her attention back to her conversation. “It isn't so bad. You need to stay at the hospital to rest and recuperate.”
“I know,” Jane grumbled. “That doesn't mean I have to like it.” Suddenly remembering that Maura was the one financing her stay, she hurried to add, “I mean, this private wing is really nice... I'm glad to be staying here. It's just not home.”
“And I'm sure your lack of mobility is particularly frustrating.”
Jane decided not to respond to that comment. Instead, she continued to watch Mr. Heissmann as he sank into an available chair. The nurse, one that Jane recognized from the day shift, put a hand on his shoulder.
They were a good distance away, but between the inflection in their speech and Jane's ability to lip-read, she put together pieces of the conversation.
“ – so sorry for your...”
“The doctors said she – it's such a ...”
“ – not sure how... died–”
Jane's eyebrows rose as she tried to fit together the broken phrases. Suddenly, she remembered that Maura was still on the other end of the line. “... and you should be able to try crutches in a week or so,” she was saying, trying to pass some of the cheeriness in her voice on to Jane.
Even though talking to Maura was one of her favorite things to do, especially recently, Jane's curiosity had gotten the better of her. “That's good. Listen, Maura, I'll let you go finish up the rest of your paperwork. Then you can be done faster... See you later, right?”
Maura said something in acknowledgement, but Jane wasn't really paying attention. When she heard the medical examiner say ‘talk to you later', Jane mumbled a quick goodbye and hung up the phone.
“I can't believe she's gone...” Mr. Heissmann's voice became clearer now that the phone conversation wasn't distracting her. Jane had never been very good at keeping up with two conversations at once.
“It's just so strange. The other nurses and I were all so pleased with how much progress she was making.”
Jane began searching her memory for all the information she knew about Mrs. Heissmann. She was currently staying – or was it ‘had been staying' now? – in the room across the hall and one door down from Jane. From what she could recall, her first name was Rose, she was in her early sixties, and she was finishing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Thinking back, Jane remembered the last time she had seen Rose Heissmann. The older woman had been using a walker, but moving on her own, and her hair was beginning to grow back. She had smiled at Jane as the detective was being wheeled past for physical therapy and, as usual, greeted her with a cheerful ‘Hello, dear.'
On the other side of the room, Jane could still hear Mr. Heissmann speaking. “Do they know if she was in any pain? The doctors haven't been able to tell me much. She was doing well when I left yesterday.”
The nurse sighed. “I wasn't on duty, but from what I've heard, she was complaining of chest pains. You would have to talk to Susie if you want to know more.”
Jane recognized the name. Susie was the short, plump morning shift nurse that came to check on her around breakfast time.
“Will there be some sort of – I don't know... test? To see what happened?”
“I'm not sure.”
“The doctors haven't explained things very well...”
Seeing her opening, the detective began wheeling herself over to the two people. “Excuse me, Mr. Heissmann,” she interrupted as politely as possible. “You might not remember me, but–”
The sad gentleman's eyes narrowed a little as he studied Jane's face, and then brightened with recognition. “Jane? Jane... something. I'm sorry, young lady, I can't remember your last name... In fact, I'm not sure if Rose ever mentioned it.” Jane felt strange after being called ‘young lady', but decided to let it slide. “My wife told me you were moving in down the hall. Aren't you some kind of policewoman?”
Jane offered him a small smile. “Yes sir, I'm a detective with the BPD. I didn't mean to eavesdrop on you,” she lied, “but I overheard part of your conversation. I'm very sorry about your wife.”
“It's... certainly a shock,” he said, frowning.
“Of course,” Jane murmured sympathetically. “I wouldn't have bothered you, except that my good friend is a medical examiner. Since your wife passed away very suddenly, maybe she could help answer some of your questions if your doctors weren't much help.” Silently, the detective prayed that Maura wouldn't be angry with her for volunteering her assistance with such a ‘speculative' assignment. The ME usually preferred cold, hard facts along with cold, hard bodies, and unless she had access to both, she was generally reluctant to draw conclusions. Still, at the very least, she might be willing to translate some of the ‘doctor language' that Mr. Heissmann had been unable to understand.
Mr. Heissmann looked up. “Really?” he asked, looking hopeful in a tired sort of way. “Rose's death was just so sudden, and her attending physician only confused me more. The way he explained it didn't make sense to me.”
“Yes. I just spoke to her on the phone, and she's coming over to visit me in a little while. If you want to hang around here for about thirty minutes, she could try to clear up some of the confusion.”
“Jane, I'm really not sure about this,” Maura whispered. “I hardly know anything about this particular patient. There's no way I can determine her cause of death or explain it to her husband.”
The detective, who had been expecting Maura's reluctant attitude, was prepared to argue her case. “Listen, just talk to the guy for me, will you? His wife died suddenly and he only wants some answers.”
“That's the problem,” Maura muttered. “He wants answers, and I don't have any. It would be unprofessional, not to mention inaccurate of me to make conjectures about his wife's medical problems.”
Jane sighed. “Maur, his wife's already dead. What harm could it do? Just listen to what he has to say and explain some of those big medical words you people use.”
The ME raised her eyebrows and crossed her arms over her breasts. Jane tried valiantly not to look down. “You people?” she repeated.
Realizing that she was losing ground, Jane stared up at Maura from her wheelchair and gave her a pout. Inwardly, she grimaced at using such an underhanded tactic. If Korsak or Frost saw her using a puppy face on Maura, they would never let her live it down...
But then Maura smiled, and Jane knew that she would get her way. “Thanks,” she said, not even waiting for the medical examiner to agree with her out loud. “I owe you one.”
“I'll talk to him, but I can't make any promises other than that. Medical problems can be very complex and unique to each patient...”
Sensing that Maura was about to go on a tangent, Jane briefly touched the medical examiner's hand, causing both of them to jerk with surprise as a strange spark shot between them. The blonde doctor blinked, surprised that the contact had summoned such a strong reaction. Then again, Jane's touch had always been ‘electric' to her...
“Excuse me.” A masculine voice interrupted the strange moment hanging between them, and both women turned. “Are you Dr. Maura Isles?”
“I am.” Automatically, Maura extended her hand. “You must be Mr. Heissmann. I'm sorry about your wife. Jane told me that she had a very pleasant disposition.” Although the words were somewhat clinical, the feeling behind them impressed Jane. Obviously, Maura's condolences were heartfelt even though she had not known the deceased.
“Thank you,” said Mr. Heissmann, equally touched. “Everything's still settling in. The worst part is that her doctors can't seem to tell me what went wrong.”
Maura nodded thoughtfully. “Sometimes it can be difficult to tell. The only way to know for sure is to do a full autopsy. That's what my job is, actually.”
Mr. Heissmann looked disappointed. “I asked about that. Dr. Ferrell – that's the breast cancer specialist – he told me that it would cost several hundred dollars. I can afford it, if you think it's a good idea–”
Instantly, Maura's expression changed from sympathetic to annoyed. “Legally, they should have told you that you have the right to request a free autopsy. It might not necessarily be done at this hospital, but it's still federal law.”
“How much do you charge?”
Mr. Heissmann seemed slightly uncomfortable asking, but Jane couldn't really blame him. She knew that if she were trying to settle Maura's affairs after the doctor passed away, she would be just as bewildered and confused.... – wait, where had that thought come from? Why on earth would she be the one managing Maura's affairs? ‘ Slow down, Jane,' the detective thought silently. ‘ You're getting way too far ahead of yourself.'
“I work for the police department, so nothing. I do autopsies on people that have died in unusual circumstances.”
“Rose did die in unusual circumstances. She had breast cancer, but they said she was complaining of chest pains and throwing up before she died.”
“What stage of breast cancer?” Maura asked, pressing for more details. Jane noticed that she avoided using Rose's name, keeping the questions purely clinical.
“She was diagnosed in stage II and moved to stage III. The cancer had spread to her upper lymph nodes... but the chemotherapy was working. Dr. Ferrell said that, hopefully, they had caught it before it spread to her other organs.”
“So there wasn't any further metastasis yet?”
As Mr. Heissmann shook his head, Maura noticed his pale complexion and became concerned. “Why don't we sit down in the chairs over there?” she said. “Jane can pull up beside us. All right?”
“Yes, thank you,” he said, relieved for the short break.
Jane tried not to be too disappointed that she couldn't walk over and sit in a chair like her companions. “Metastasis is when cancer goes into the rest of the body, right?” Jane asked for clarification. Maura nodded. “So she was getting better?”
“That's what we thought.”
The medical examiner sighed, shifting in her seat to face the tired looking man. “Mr. Heissmann, vomiting and pain are normal symptoms of cancer and also side effects of the drugs used to treat it, but sudden onset like you've described sounds like an overdose. Of course, without access to the body, medical history, or toxicology reports, I can only speculate. ”
Both Jane and Mr. Heissmann stared at Maura. “You think she ODed on something?” the detective asked, sounding surprised.
“Why do you think that?”
“The mention of abnormal chest pain could mean that her heart was strained by an overdose. Again, this is just a rudimentary guess. You shouldn't assume anything until the body has been examined.”
“Isn't the hospital supposed to make sure things like that don't happen?”
“Yes,” Maura said again. “In this case, Mr. Heissmann, I would recommend a full autopsy and lab report. If your wife's toxicology results are abnormal, you'll have your answer.”
Chapter Seven: Questions
“Dr. Isles, I'm afraid I can't release any of that information to you. I'm sure you understand–”
Inside of her room, Jane shifted on the mattress and tilted her head, tucking a lock of dark hair behind her ear and listening intently to the argument happening on the other side of the door. She was supposed to be asleep, which was probably why Maura had decided to question the night shift nurse in the hallway, but the constant soreness that radiated out from the bullet wound in her abdomen kept her from drifting off. She wasn't allowed to use a morphine drip anymore, but Jane preferred the pain. She had seen too many other cops become reliant on painkillers after being injured on the job.
“I simply want to know where the bodies are sent to be autopsied if a person dies under unusual circumstances here,” Maura continued. “Surely that information isn't protected by federal and state privacy laws.”
The nurse's answer was too low for Jane to make out, but she was almost sure she caught the word “lawsuit” in there somewhere. A familiar, exasperated sigh followed, and Jane could picture Maura tapping the toe of her shoe impatiently.
“Mr. Heissmann is the one who wanted me to ask in the first place! Apparently – and I can't imagine why – he is under the impression that a fellow doctor's request for information might carry more weight with the decidedly unhelpful staff...”
Jane smiled when Maura continued after a brief pause, obviously not pleased with whatever the nurse had said. “Well, no wonder you don't advertise where you send your bodies! Dr. White couldn't find his own ass with both hands, let alone identify a cause of death, and I'm sure his students are hardly any better.”
Maura's atypical outburst made Jane laugh, but she regretted it when violent streaks of red exploded behind her eyes. Letting out a muffled groan of pain, she tried to ignore the sharp, stabbing sensation in her gut. Unfortunately, Maura heard her from outside the door and abandoned her tirade, hurrying back into the room.
“You're supposed to be asleep!” she scolded, bending over to check on her friend, her brow creased with worry.
Jane tried to bat Maura away with a few weak swings of her hand. “Stop that. I'm fine. Why were you swearing? You don't swear.”
Maura sighed. “Well, I certainly won't attempt to do so again any time in the near future if this is the standard result...” she muttered, pushing past Jane's arms and lifting her shirt to check on her bandage, not thinking twice about Jane's modesty. Jane, however, was not so oblivious, and she tried to pull her shirt back down, at least for the sake of the bewildered nurse who was standing in the open doorway. The bandages stopped just beneath her breasts, and she didn't want to give the poor woman, plus anyone else who happened to be strolling through the hallway in the middle of the night, a free show.
“Maur, stop that,” she said, managing to preserve some of her dignity while the ME fussed over her. “Who is this Dr. White guy who can't find his ass with both hands?”
Maura sighed. “I use the term Doctor loosely in reference to him. He is a professor at the University, and while Boston sports some of the greatest Academic minds in the United States, his is not one of them. I had the displeasure of sharing my second year residency with him. The man is a complete moron. I'll do poor Rose Heissmann's autopsy myself just to prevent him or one of his students from making a butchery of it.”
“Is that even allowed?” Jane asked.
“I'll make it allowed.” Ignoring the fact that her sentence wasn't grammatically correct – she was two for two today on unusual sentences – Maura turned around to send the attending nurse away with a pointed glare. Wisely, the cowed woman shut the door behind her, leaving the two women in relative privacy.
An uncomfortable silence stretched between them, setting the doctor and the detective on edge as they studied each other. Maura was the first to speak, but she did so reluctantly. “Please don't think that I'm arguing the merits of looking into Rose Heissmann's cause of death, but Jane, have you given any thought to your motivations?”
Jane gave the medical examiner a curious look. “My motivations? I never asked you to do anything but talk to her husband. You're the one that's going all body snatcher on the hospital.” The way that Jane's dark eyebrows moved as she spoke made Maura's stomach twist itself into slippery, uncomfortable knots.
“I knew you wanted me to look in to it. I know you, Jane. I know how you think. You didn't have to ask.”
The detective took an almost defensive posture, not sure she liked what Maura was implying. “You're exaggerating. I'm not that easy to read...”
“You are to me.” There was no smug pride in Maura's admission. Like most of her statements, it was simply a fact. “I can tell you want to find out what happened to her. What I would like to know is why.”
Jane shrugged, even though the motion stretched the bands of muscle across her stomach and made her feel a little sore. “I'm bored. Let's just leave it at that. It'll be weeks before I can get back to work, and I have to see a shrink, re-qualify with my weapon, all that crap. I know finding out how she died is your line of work, not mine, but putting the wheels in motion gives me something to do. God, time just crawls by in this place... and Ma never gives me a moment's peace...”
Although she could tell that Jane was being truthful, Maura suspected there was more that her friend wasn't saying. “So that's it? This is just a distraction for you? There's nothing else on your mind?”
“Yeah.” But the blonde didn't miss the slightly startled look in Jane's eyes. Suddenly, it didn't feel like they were talking about Rose's death anymore.
“Well, I've been rather preoccupied lately. In fact, I have a confession to make.”
Still a little nervous, Jane tried to tilt the conversation in a more humorous direction. She was too tired and sore for serious discussions. “As long as you aren't going to confess your undying love for Korsak or force me to move back in with my parents once I break out of this joint, I think we'll be okay.”
Maura gave Jane a reassuring smile and instinctively placed a hand on her arm. “Actually, I wanted to talk about...” Us. Maura couldn't quite bring herself to define ‘them' as an ‘us', at least not out loud. Even though she felt ready for that step, she didn't want to pressure Jane in any way. “Over the past few days – no, before that... Recently, I've come to certain realizations about myself...”
Jane sat up straighter against the headboard, making use of the stack of pillows behind her head. She tried not to look as uncomfortable as she felt. For some reason, Maura's touch seemed unbearably warm on the bare skin of her arm. The contact almost burned, but it wasn't unpleasant.
“–I think I'm developing strong feelings for you.” Maura barreled on, determined to get the rest of her impromptu speech over with before Jane could stop her. “I don't know how to classify them, since this is a new experience for me, but I felt that, as your friend, I need to be honest with you.”
“What do you mean, feelings?” Jane said, almost choking on the words. Her mouth suddenly went dry, and she struggled for words. “Maura, we're friends... good friends... I mean, I know we've, but – do you really want to screw that up?”
Instead of deterring her, Jane's hesitance only emboldened Maura. Obviously, Jane knew what she was getting at, and she didn't seem surprised, just very unsure, testing each step before she took it so that she wouldn't start sinking. That meant there was a chance – a slim chance – that her feelings might be reciprocated. “Nothing's going to change right now. You need to focus on getting better. I just thought you should know.”
Instantly, Jane felt a little of her panic subside. A thin layer of sweat spread itself over her palms, and she hurriedly wiped them on her bedsheets, trying not to look as nervous as she felt. Somehow, she had known this conversation would happen between them one day... but she had always tried not to think about it.
“Jane...” The familiar sound of her name on Maura's lips was soothing somehow, and the detective relaxed. She looked up into soft, concerned green eyes. “Jane, you look exhausted. Get some sleep.”
“If I had a quarter for every time someone told me that, I'd be richer than Donald Trump,” Jane muttered, deciding to fall back on ill humor in order to avoid thinking about all of the things Maura had said.
“We've been friends for a long time now. You know I only tell you the truth, even if you don't want to hear it.”
The detective sighed. “Especially when I don't want to hear it.” To soften the words, she placed her hand on top of Maura's, giving the medical examiner's hand a friendly squeeze. For just a moment, their eyes met as a brief connection passed between them before both women looked away with identical sheepish expressions.
“Ma, what did you mean the other day about me and Maura?” Jane asked her mother the next morning as the determined Angela Rizzoli attempted to replace Jane's damp hospital sheets with colorful ones from home. The detective suspected that her mother was deliberately disobeying hospital policies by doing so, but she didn't have it in her to argue or protest. She simply sat in her wheelchair and watched, content to let Angela have her way for the moment.
“Oh, so now you want to talk?” Angela said, pausing in her task to fold her arms over her chest and give her daughter a smug look. “I thought all you've been doin' lately is complaining about me.”
For a moment, Jane wondered if Maura had ratted on her, but dismissed the thought immediately. Her mother just knew. “You know I love you, Ma. I just don't like being babied.”
Tucking the sheets under the mattress in a perfect corner, Angela walked over to Jane's wheelchair and threaded her fingers through her daughter's hair, massaging her scalp and rubbing the back of her neck. “I know, but you'll always be my baby, Janie.”
Jane realized that she would have to give in a little, at least for now, if she wanted any useful advice from her mother. “I know,” she said, permitting the attention. “So, what did you mean?”
“I told you. That girl's in love with you, and in my opinion, you couldn't do much better.” Angela sighed. “But since when do daughters ever want the people their mothers approve of?”
“You approve of Maura?” she asked. Even though the topic was uncomfortable for her, Jane couldn't help being curious. “I mean, we're Catholic...”
“My Maura's a good girl,” Angela said, referring to the absent doctor almost like a family member. For some strange reason, it felt right to Jane. “The Pope probably wouldn't approve, but since when is it his business? God saved both of my children, and Maura helped... All I want is for you to be happy and healthy.”
“I'm working on the healthy part,” Jane said, stretching her arms and doing a few twists to show her mother the results of her PT exercises. Angela seemed pleased with Jane's range of motion, but she shepherded her daughter into the freshly dressed bed anyway and forced her to lie down.
“So isn't it about time to do a little work on the happiness part?”
“I am happy,” Jane said, but she knew that she wasn't. Even prior to the shooting, she hadn't been truly happy. Before, she had just assumed it was a rough patch, the kind of tough few months everyone went through at some point, but now, she wondered if there wasn't more to it. Maybe the lingering dissatisfaction that had been plaguing her had something to do with Maura.
‘Why do all of my thoughts seem to come back to Maura?' Jane wondered to herself. ‘Maura... Maura...'
“Jane!” Her mother's voice jolted Jane out of her entranced state. “Your cell phone?” Now that her mind was focused, she could hear the familiar ‘Dun Dun DuDun' that signaled a call from the very woman she had been thinking about. Maura's voice floated in her ears. ‘ You should really change it to Dies Irae, Jane... the melody is so much more melodic...'
Reaching for the phone, Jane held her breath as she waited to hear Maura's voice. “Hello?”
“Hi there. You'll be pleased to know that my connections have paid off and I can solve your little mystery for you. I'm going to perform Mrs. Heissman's autopsy, with her husband's permission of course. At least I'll have some news to entertain you with tonight when I visit.”
“I'm always entertained when you visit,” Jane blurted out before realizing how that sounded. Angela winked at her and she let out a frustrated groan.
Recognizing that Jane was irritated rather than in pain, Maura wasn't too concerned. “What's bothering you now?”
“How do you do that, Maur? It's creepy... And nothing's bothering me. “
“Are you sure?”
“You're worse than my mother. I'll see you tonight. Does Rose's husband know you're going to do the autopsy? He was really worried about it yesterday. It might put his mind at ease.”
“Yes, I've already spoken with him. It will mostly be standard procedure, and my assistants have been doing a good job lately helping me get through my regular caseload, so I should be able to take her out of the freezer in a day or so.”
Jane shuddered. Although her up-close and personal experiences with the dead had increased in recent years thanks to Maura, the thought of human bodies being stored in a freezer still gave her goosebumps. “Eurgh, Maura, that's gross.”
The light sound of Maura's laughter put a smile back on her face. “Why do you think I said it? Anyway, I have obtained her medical records, and by all accounts, she was doing much better. Her cancer was responding very effectively to the treatment. Whatever happened to this poor woman, it wasn't the disease that killed her.”
“Yeah?” Jane said, feeling slightly guilty for being excited over someone else's death. Of course she didn't like to think of anyone being hurt or killed, but finding the solutions to problems, especially problems that involved dead people... well, that was what she and Maura did best.
“Yes, Jane, not ‘yeah'.”
“Fine, fine, ‘yes'...” Angela nodded her approval at the side of the conversation that she could hear, and then gestured that she was going to leave the room for a little while. Probably to find more food to torture her with, Jane thought glumly. “I'll see you tonight,” she said, waving goodbye to her mother as she simultaneously ended her conversation with Maura.
Chapter Eight: Puzzles
Maura Isles enjoyed solving puzzles. Puzzles only had one right answer, one correct sequence, and she liked using the process of elimination to discover it. Currently, she was labeling the chart of her latest puzzle – Rose Heissmann.
It was late evening, and the first two shifts of the day had already departed. The almost otherworldly third shift cops, the ones who patrolled through the early morning, were out doing their jobs. Maura made her own work schedule, and performing an autopsy close to midnight didn't bother her. Fears and superstitions were borne from ignorance, and there was no room for ignorance in her life. Maura Isles' universe was constructed entirely of facts. And facts would lead her to the answer to this particular puzzle: the cause of death.
“Head—Central Nervous system: the brain weighs...” [A crackle as the microphone shifts, then a pause] “1,310 grams, within normal limits.”
Maura dutifully typed out the weight of the brain, letting the recording of her voice continue to run as she prepared her report. The glow of her computer screen gave the glass walls of the morgue an eerie sheen, but she ignored it.
“Skeletal system: Significantly decreased bone density–”
Even though she was dead, Rose Heissmann's expression had seemed strangely peaceful to Maura while she worked. During the external examination, the doctor had noticed her sunken cheeks, the brittleness of her bones as they poked through thin layers of skin. Maura did not work with many cancer patients. Most of her bodies were clear homicides or bloody accidents – brutal, but quick. Seeing the way that the cancer, radiation, and chemotherapy had ravaged the old woman's body was depressing in a different sort of way.
“ The lungs weigh: right, 353 grams, left... ”
Maura turned off the recording. She normally liked taking dictation, but tonight, her mind was filled with thoughts of Jane.
She hadn't spoken with the detective since their awkward conversation the day before. Maura had called in the morning and offered to spend a few hours visiting, but Jane had told her not to bother, claiming she had physical therapy scheduled. The blonde knew that was a lie, but she couldn't get a handle on Jane's motives. Was the detective embarrassed by Maura's confession, or was she just tired of everyone hovering over her? Maura knew how much Jane valued her space and her independence.
“I can't finish this until I get the toxicology report back anyway,” Maura said to herself, saving her work so far and shutting down her computer. Trying to get anything else done tonight was hopeless. The techs in the lab would take a while to send her the results.
Raising her arms above her head and leaning forward, Maura let out a sigh of relief as she stretched the soreness out of her shoulders. She normally had excellent posture, but working long hours into the night took a toll on the healthiest of physical specimens. A fleeting thought of what a fine specimen her friend Jane Rizzoli was made the medical examiner pause, and then chastise herself as she lowered her arms.
Perhaps confessing that she felt something ‘more' for Jane had not been a wise decision. At least she had not attempted to define ‘more'. That might have gotten her into even deeper trouble.
The buzz of Maura's phone against her hip interrupted her silent analysis. “Isles,” came the crisp, automatic response as she answered the call.
“Maura, it's Jane. Can you get over here right now?”
The medical examiner frowned even though Jane couldn't see her. “Where, the hospital?”
“Yeah, could you – sir, you need to calm down. No, I'm just – sir, I... Maura, I need you...”
If only Jane had said those words to her in a different context, it would have made Maura's night. But it sounded like the detective needed to her help. That hypothesis was confirmed when Maura heard muffled voices in the background and what sounded like the scuffing of boots across a tile floor. Then, Jane's voice again – “Oh good, security. Listen, if you don't calm down, they're going to haul your ass out of here.”
Maura's eyes widened and she instantly grabbed for her purse, leaving the computer and the rest of her belongings where they were. “Security? Jane, what's going on?”
“Sorry, Maur, I have to go...” was all the detective managed to say before she hung up the phone.
There was no question in Maura's mind. If Jane needed her, she would come right away, even without a full explanation.
The drive to the hospital seemed to take longer than usual despite the lack of traffic on the roads. Even in a city as busy as Boston, most people were sound asleep at this time of night. Maura clutched the steering wheel hard enough to drain the blood from her knuckles. She knew that Jane was capable of taking care of herself, and it hadn't sounded like her friend was in immediate danger, but Maura's mind kept returning to the shooting.
‘There was so much blood...'
Clinging to the rational hope that Jane wouldn't have hung up if she was in physical trouble, Maura parked the car near the emergency entrance in the back, ignoring the blaring, large-lettered signs that told her the area was off limits. If Jane did need her help, she wasn't taking any chances.
Pulling out her cell phone again, Maura quickly checked for messages and missed alerts. Jane hadn't tried to call her a second time. Deciding to take that as a good sign, the medical examiner scrolled through her contact list, hitting a number that she had used several times in the past few weeks. She was lucky that Gerald Forbes owed her a favor – she had helped him pass his Boards with flying colors several years ago.
“Gerry? Yes, this is Maura,” she confirmed when a sleepy voice answered. “No, just stay on the line. I need you to say ‘open sesame' for me so that I can get into the hospital after hours...”
After explaining herself to two EMTs, the irritated night receptionist, the RN on duty, and a Fellow who blanched at the word ‘lawsuit', Maura was finally able to gain access to the upper floors. There was muttering about ‘visiting hours' and ‘completely unnecessary panics', but Maura ignored the cross-looking nurse that finally let her through.
To her surprise – and the nurse's, she could tell – there was already quite a crowd assembled in the hallway. A trio of security guards fingered their belts, reaching for something Maura couldn't see, but assumed was some sort of stick or taser. Were hospital security guards even allowed to carry weapons...?
And then she saw the source of the commotion. Jane, always one for finding new ways to get in trouble, had used the bulk of her wheelchair to back an angry looking young man against a door, positioning herself directly between him and the frightened looking floor nurses and a night janitor who had stopped at the other end of the hall to watch.
“Let me talk to someone in charge!” The young man pushed forward, moving past Jane's chair and clenching his fists.
“Sir, you need to leave,” one of the security guards said, stepping forward. “This area is restricted.”
“Find me someone who can explain what happened to my mother! I just got off the plane from New York, and nobody knows where her body is or how she died...” The man continued ranting, completely ignoring the presence of the security guards.
Typical to her nature, Jane interrupted, putting herself right in the middle of the confrontation. “I understand that you want to know what's going on with your mother. Have you talked to your father at all, Mr. Heissmann?”
“Weaver,” the man corrected. “My last name is Weaver. He's my stepfather.”
Jane raised her eyebrows, making a mental note of the new information. “Your mother's body is at the Boston Police Department. I promise, we're going to figure out what happened to her, but you need to calm down.” Noticing her new audience, Jane motioned for Maura to join her. “This is Dr. Maura Isles. She's doing the autopsy-”
As soon as he heard those words, Weaver's interest was immediately piqued. “No one's giving me any answers. She was doing better, and now...”
An expression of grief played across his face, and Maura couldn't help empathizing with his loss. She stepped forward. “I promise that your mother is in good hands.” She extended an arm in greeting, and then reached into her purse to fish for one of her business cards. “Her autopsy is complete, and all of her bloodwork has been sent to our lab. Hopefully, we'll have some answers for you soon. Normally, those results are kept confidential, but considering the unusual circumstances, I would be willing to discuss some of the details with you...” she paused, glancing at the security guards who were still hovering around them, “... tomorrow morning. Here's my contact information. Call me, and we'll set up an appointment.”
She didn't mention the numerous favors she had called in to get Rose on her table. A sweet, angelic smile had convinced the Chief to let her tap BPD resources, and a touch of blackmail (she had witnessed a certain lab specialist in a compromising position with a colleague at last year's New Years gathering) had gotten her name bumped up on the waiting list. Although she was extremely satisfied with her career as it was, Maura would have made an excellent businesswoman.
“Okay.” Still burning off his residual anger, Mr. Weaver shoved Maura's card into his pocket a little too roughly, but he seemed satisfied with the compromise.
“All right, people, clear out,” the detective said, waving her hands and trying to look as official as possible from her wheelchair. Surprisingly, everyone obeyed, even Weaver, who finally allowed the burly security guards to escort him off the floor, although he did snatch one last glance over his shoulder before leaving the hallway. The nurses and janitor were quick to leave since the commotion was over, and Jane and Maura suddenly found themselves alone.
The medical examiner reached out to push Jane's wheelchair, but pulled her hands back before making contact, realizing that Jane would probably resent the help. “How did he even get up here? The RN looked at me like I had requested the secret formula to Coca-Cola when I asked to come upstairs,” Maura asked, opening the door to Jane's hospital room and letting the detective wheel herself through.
Jane shrugged, stopping next to her bed and attempting to lift herself onto the mattress. “Well, you didn't have security come chase you down,” she pointed out. Reluctantly, she accepted Maura's nonverbal offer to help. “Ugh, I hate this. It feels like I can't do anything anymore because the rest of my body is all connected to my torso.”
Maura opened her mouth to begin explaining how the abdominal muscles and lower back helped regulate balance and posture, but stopped as she looked down into Jane's familiar brown eyes. They were creased at the corners in discomfort, and she was obviously irritated at her limited mobility, but somehow, Jane still looked beautiful to her.
‘Beautiful. I have always thought of Jane as powerful, confident, maybe even sexy, but beautiful?'
“Jane, why did you ask me to come here tonight?” Maura asked impulsively, almost blurting out the question. “Mr. Weaver seemed frustrated, but it didn't seem like anything you couldn't handle.” Jane had faced down serial killers and convicted felons before. Surely one pushy relative couldn't be too much trouble.
“Because we're a team. I know this isn't a real case, but... you're my back-up, Maur.”
Coming from anyone else, it would have been a casual statement, but knowing Jane like she did, Maura knew that it meant so much more. The doctor was suddenly acutely aware of the fact that Jane was in her nightgown, definitely lacking a bra, and even with slightly messy bandaging and even messier dark hair, she looked absolutely stunning. Maura couldn't decide whether to step back or pull closer...
‘Jane, if you had any idea...'
But Jane did seem to have an idea. She was a detective, after all, and she gave Maura a pointed look when the medical examiner's eyes drifted down the length of her body. Reaching a silent decision, Jane patted the mattress beside her. “Come here.”
The normally verbose Dr. Isles obeyed without a word, perching on the edge of the bed. She almost jumped when Jane's arm moved to wrap around the curve of her waist. “You don't have to sit so far away...”
“Jane, I really don't want to make you uncomfortable. I know what I said yesterday-”
“I've been thinking about that,” Jane said in a low voice, never breaking eye contact. Maura felt hypnotized. How could Jane just look at her like that and make her train of thought completely disappear? “I'm thinking that... maybe you shouldn't think so much...”
And miraculously, Jane leaned up, and Maura found herself dipping down to meet her, pausing inches away from her lover's face and holding her breath. She still felt the detective's arm, warm and secure, around her waist, and her heart was hammering double-time against the wall of her chest. She held completely still, waiting for Jane to close the final distance.
With a tilt of her chin, Jane caused their lips to brush, and Maura felt the familiar spark shoot up her spine, the welcome heat blooming in her abdomen, causing her face to flush and goosebumps to spread rapidly along her arms.
They pulled apart for a single heartbeat before their mouths met again. And again. And somehow, Maura found herself with eyes closed, tucked tight against Jane's side, their thighs pressed together and their lips dancing in a deep, hungry kiss that was everything Maura wanted, but also everything that she was terrified of.
Chapter Nine: Feelings
“Jane,” Maura whispered, almost choking over the detective's name. “What are we... are you sure you...” She groped for words, but nothing came to her. There were only Jane's lips, Jane's hands holding her waist. Bliss.
“Don't talk so much,” Jane whispered. “Don't think so much.” Their mouths met again in a fierce dance, tongues stroking, hands wandering. When Jane's fingertips crept beneath the hem of Maura's blouse, skating over bare skin, they left trails of fire in their wake.
Memories floated up through the haze of arousal, leaving Maura almost as breathless as the kiss. Jane pinning her against the door, taking her... A warm, wet mouth folding around the excited tip of her breast... Kneeling between lean thighs, dipping her head, grazing her tongue through slick heat...
Jane held Maura closer, tangling her fingers in silky blonde hair as the medical examiner tucked her face against an offered shoulder. “Maur...”
The sound of Jane murmuring her name only drove her need higher, and she caught the detective's lower lip between her teeth, tugging sharply before using her tongue to soothe the sting. Jane tried to move beneath Maura, giving her more room on the bed, but the shift in weight caused the ache in her abdomen to flare sharply, and she grunted in pain.
“Oh no...” Maura pulled back immediately, almost losing her balance. “I could have hurt you!” She hadn't even remembered that Jane was injured. She chewed on the corner of her mouth, her glazed eyes clearing and filling with guilt instead.
Jane frowned, shaking her head and trying to pull Maura back on top of her. “Don't care.”
“Maur. Just keep kissing me... keep kissing me...” Jane leaned forward, touching her nose to Maura's, breathing lightly against her cheek. “Kissing can't hurt, right?”
“I –I don't know...”
The detective gave a deep, throaty chuckle, using the strength left in her upper body to coax Maura to straddle her waist. It hurt, but she tried to hide the grimace of pain that crossed her face. “The brilliant Doctor Isles doesn't know the answer?” Jane let her hands trail along Maura's upper thighs, toying with the hem of her skirt, which fell to just above her knees. She was delighted to notice that the medical examiner was wearing stockings. “Maybe we should conduct some tests.”
For a moment, Maura came back to herself. She shook her head. “I want you, Jane... I do. But your body isn't ready,” she said regrettably. She dipped her chin to place a kiss on Jane's forehead. “Now stop that,” she murmured, placing her hands over Jane's to try and stop the detective from stroking her legs. Despite her words, Maura's hips pressed down against Jane's, and she could tell that her panties were probably already ruined.
Seeing her chance, Jane let her right hand slide higher underneath Maura's skirt, taking encouragement from Maura's quickened breathing and the subtle rocking motion of her pelvis. Right now, she didn't care about the confusing state of their relationship, that she was still injured, or that they were in a hospital room. She needed to feel Maura. All of her.
Her fingers skimmed over the garters that held up Maura's stockings, smiling at the softness of the material. “Just how much did these cost, I wonder?” she mused, deciding that a slow, seductive touch was just what she needed in order to persuade the medical examiner.
When Maura didn't resist, Jane's touch became even more daring, and she cupped her hand directly between Maura's legs, her eyes widening at the heat and the obvious wetness she could feel through the soft material. “Nothing's wrong with my fingers, right?” Jane purred, but when Maura's hips bore down on her hand, it put a slight strain on her torso, and she couldn't hide a small grunt of pain.
“No,” Maura decided, immediately swinging her leg over and away from Jane, avoiding the all-too-tempting touch. “It's too risky...”
“We'll be careful.”
There were only two ways to end this battle of wills, Maura realized. One would be to give in. To surrender herself to the things that she and Jane both wanted, to disobey all of her instincts except one and ignore all the possible repercussions. The other was to walk out the door. And as much as she wanted to, she couldn't find the strength to climb off of the small, cramped hospital bed that she and Jane had managed to squeeze on.
“If we... have sex...” She settled on ‘sex', since ‘intercourse' sounded far too medical even for her, and ‘making love' was too much of an emotional gamble. “You have to promise to do exactly what I say, Jane Rizzoli.”
Jane smiled. “Does that mean you want to be on top?” she whispered, beginning to unbutton Maura's blouse from the bottom up. If the doctor wasn't going to straddle her anymore, she could at least get working on her clothes. Maura slapped her hands away lightly.
“I mean it, Jane. Exactly what I say.”
So it was decided. And once Maura committed herself to a course of action, she always followed through.
Reaching beneath her own skirt this time, she unclipped her left stocking and, turning to make sure Jane could watch, began rolling it down over her knee. The detective's eyes widened, aroused but also slightly surprised by the sight. She had assumed that they would keep their clothes on, just in case one of the nurses felt the need to check on Jane or investigate a ‘suspicious noise'.
Once the stocking was pulled down to her ankle, Maura removed it and straightened the bunched material, tucking her knees beneath her as she shifted her weight on the bed beside Jane. Taking one of the brunette's hands in hers, she began tracing the outline of her fingers, exploring the texture of her palm and the lines that creased its center. Jane attempted to take Maura's hand in hers, bringing her knuckles up for a kiss, but the ME resisted. She pulled Jane's hand up to the head of the bed, threading the stocking through one of the white bars on the side and looping it around the detective's wrist. That got a surprised snort from Jane, but no verbal response.
“I don't trust you to keep your hands to yourself,” Maura clarified. “You get carried away.”
“I still have one hand free,” Jane pointed out, turning slightly onto her side so that she could cup one of Maura's breasts through her partially-unbuttoned blouse. She was about to slip beneath the underwire of her bra, which Jane knew was completely unnecessary, when Maura stopped her.
“I still have another stocking.” Shifting down on the bed so that Jane couldn't quite reach, she removed her right stocking in the same manner as the first, holding it up when she was done and reaching for Jane's other wrist. “You promised to do exactly what I said. This is just a... reminder.”
Having delivered her orders, Maura finally climbed down off of the mattress, not even noticing the cold tile under her bare feet. Her body felt like it was on fire. The sight of Jane's arms restrained to either side of the bed, even by something as flimsy and easily tearable as a stocking, was strangely appealing. She would examine her motivations later. Jane's dark eyes bored into her, somewhere between demanding and pleading for Maura to come close enough to touch again.
“Hold completely still,” Maura warned as she approached the foot of the bed, standing level with Jane's knees. Seeing the frustration in her lover's eyes, she tried her best to add a little humor to the situation. “Why don't I check on your bandages, then, Detective Rizzoli?”
If it were possible, Jane's eyes grew even wider, even darker as Maura lifted the hem of her gown. Thankfully, it was a nicer one that had been purchased for her instead of the paper hospital variety. “Fuck, Maura...” For some reason, that simple action was almost as arousing as a physical caress. Jane felt her desire double and her inner walls twitch as Maura hooked her fingers in the elastic of Jane's underwear, pulling them down to her knees and urging her to spread her thighs as much as the restriction would allow.
Maura almost swallowed her tongue as she looked down. Even in the unflattering fluorescent lighting, with the middle of her torso wrapped in bandages, what she could see of Jane's naked body was absolutely stunning. She trailed her fingertips along the soft, tanned skin of Jane's inner thigh, drawing a trail of hearts using the edge of her nail and making her lover shiver. Jane arched the small of her back, offering herself. “Maura...”
“Don't move, and be quiet.”
The medical examiner wasted no time, dipping her fingers into the wetness pooled between Jane's legs, using her other hand to hold the taller woman's lower body absolutely still. Not being able to thrust up, to take the teasing fingers inside of her, was absolutely maddening, and a sob broke in Jane's throat. She wasn't too proud to beg. “Please!” She reached down to try and direct Maura's touch, which was playing through her folds at a torturously slow pace, but remembered too late that her hands were fastened to the bars on the side of the bed. “Dammit!”
“You need to learn how to take instruction better,” Maura chastised, emphasizing her point by hooking her fingers just inside of Jane's entrance.
Unable to speak loudly, unable to use her hands, and unable to move unless she wanted Maura to stop what she was doing, Jane's only way of dealing with the building pressure was to chew furiously on her lower lip and concentrate on her breathing. But Maura was making it exceedingly difficult, and Jane knew that there was no way she would last. Maura's hand was playing her expertly, and she knew that the blonde was doing it on purpose. She knew how to draw Jane's release out, and she knew how to send it crashing down around her head. Right now, she was obviously not going to stretch it out, however much Jane might have wanted her to.
Since Jane's plea came out as a breathy whisper instead of a shout, Maura didn't object to it. She shot Jane a meaningful look as she sped up the pace of her thrusts, crossing her index and middle fingers as she twisted them forcefully inside of her partially immobilized lover.
It was all too much for the poor detective. The threat of getting caught, the smooth texture of the stockings wrapped around her wrists, and the furious motion of Maura's hand between her legs. “Jesus. I'm gonna... aaah...”
Feeling the tips of Maura's fingers push against the rough spot inside of her that always made her melt was too much. Jane's release was quiet, but shattering. It left her gasping and staring up at Maura with a dazed expression on her face, wondering what had happened to the truck that had obviously just run her over...
“There, Jane, that's it.” Maura stopped the motion of her hand, keeping her fingers inside as her other hand caressed Jane's cheek, sweeping over the detective's lower lip with the pad of her thumb. She smiled when Jane bit down before the imprint of her teeth with a kiss. “Are you experiencing any pain?”
“No, Doctor Isles,” Jane said, trying to roll her eyes but unable to sound annoyed after such a powerful orgasm. She exhaled, relishing the feeling of Maura inside of her, lying next to her, and hoping that they could risk a few more minutes in this position. “That... was not what I expected," she panted, unable to resist returning Maura's seductive smile. “But...”
“But?” Maura gave her embedded fingers another shove, coaxing a few more aftershocks from her bound bedpartner.
“But I'm definitely not complaining.”
Chapter Ten: Risks
‘I can't believe I did that...'
At 9:00 the following morning, Maura still couldn't fully process the frantic, forbidden experience that she and Jane had shared just a few hours before. Unfortunately, most of their encounters were frantic and forbidden.
‘I can't believe Jane let me do that.'
Perhaps it was partially because of their eclectic work schedules, but Maura suspected that there was more behind their tendency to rush, to consume each other in flames until nothing remained but ashes. Maybe they didn't want to bring deeply buried emotions to the surface and jeopardize their fragile relationship.
‘She made herself so vulnerable to me...'
Maura shook her head and sighed. “What am I doing here?” she asked aloud. The Medical Examiner was not referring to her early-morning presence in the morgue, but it was easier to phrase her question as ‘what am I doing here' instead of ‘what on earth are Jane and I getting ourselves in to...'
Unfortunately, Maura had a feeling that she knew exactly what they were getting themselves in to. According to her research, it was called a ‘relationship'. The only problem was Jane. She wasn't sure if the detective was ready for labels, or any kind of relationship beyond what they already had. Maura knew that Jane was fond of her. More than fond of her. They were friends. But did her friend have any romantic feelings for her aside from sexual attraction?
Maura had never been good at working through these sorts of problems. In fact, she went out of her way to avoid them. This time, she did not need to search for a work-related distraction, because one presented itself right on cue.
Maura looked up. She had a memory for voices as well as faces, another of her quirks, and she immediately recognized Rose Heissmann's son. “Good morning, Mr. Weaver. I assume someone upstairs directed you to my morgue, since there is no other way you could have gotten past the detectives and patrol officers upstairs.”
The young man reached into his pocket and pulled out a small white square. “I showed them your card.”
Maura decided to have a talk with the boys upstairs later. Although she was actually grateful for the brief respite from her own thoughts, that didn't mean she wanted strangers tramping through her morgue on a regular basis. She gave her card out frequently, and it wasn't an all-access visitor's pass by any means.
“Very good,” she said anyway, putting the problem aside for later. Maura was very skilled at putting problems aside for later... “How may I help you?”
Looking much less angry than the night before, Mr. Weaver seemed almost contrite as he shifted his weight from loafer to loafer. His hair was neatly groomed and he had no facial hair to speak of. “I apologize if I behaved... inappropriately last night. I was very upset, and no one seemed to be able to give me any answers.”
“Understandable.” Maura dismissed the apology. “First thing's first, your...” she paused, remembering that Mrs. Heissmann's husband was not Weaver's father, “your mother's husband is officially on record as our contact for her remains. This might be an awkward subject, but do you have any plans to challenge that in court?”
“I didn't know I could,” said the young man. “But no. I'm sure I'll help with the funeral arrangements, but I have no problem with that. I just wanted to be certain that she was... taken care of. You understand.”
Maura was about to state that she did not understand, since her own mother was still alive, but thought better of it. Sometimes her literal nature rubbed people the wrong way. “Of course.”
“Do you know how she died?”
The medical examiner did not mind the abruptness of the question. “I'm afraid that I can't give you a straightforward answer,” Maura said, putting on her most convincing disappointed face. “I will say that her death was unexpected and sudden, and most likely not directly related to her recent battle with cancer. There were no signs of trauma to her body, so I suspect the answer will come from the lab in a few days.”
“You think she had some kind of infection? Or something poisonous got in her system?”
Maura's eyebrows rose slightly, lips parting. “It is possible that your mother received too much medication, or medications. Sometimes the danger lies in the combination...” She decided not to delve further into the subject. “Anyway, as soon as I find out anything pertinent that I am authorized to share with you, I promise to let you know. You have my card and my work phone...”
To be honest, Maura was slightly confused about why Mr. Weaver had dropped by in person. Most of this information could have been delivered through a phone call. However, she chalked it up to normal grief and concern after the death of a loved one and the fact that he didn't live in the area.
“I'm planning on staying for a few weeks,” Mr. Weaver said, “just to make sure everything is settled. I want to find out what happened to my mother, and make sure she died of natural causes.”
Maura nodded sympathetically even though she already suspected that Rose had definitely not died of natural causes. She wasn't going to make her next move until she was absolutely sure – the lab results would answer her questions. “All right. I promise to stay in touch.” Making sure that he was comfortable with having her in his space, she carefully approached him and put a small hand on his upper right arm. “I'm very sorry about your mother. My friend Jane tells me that she was a very strong and cheerful person despite her illness.” The medical examiner wasn't always the best “people person”, but she wasn't terrible at faking it, either. She really did feel sorry for Mr. Weaver.
“Thank you. My first name is Jim, if you'd like to use it.” As far as Maura could tell, Jim wasn't trying to flirt with her, and so she didn't object.
“All right. I need to get back to work, but I would highly recommend the deli across the street. I don't always trust meat in places like that, but Frank's has some excellent lunch sandwiches... that is, unless you aren't omnivorous and prefer a vegetarian diet.”
Jim Weaver nodded his thanks. “Uh, yeah, I'm not a vegetarian. I'll give it a look. I definitely need something to eat. Thank you again.”
“You're most welcome.”
Maura wasn't sure whether to be relieved or disappointed when her guest departed, leaving her alone in the morgue. She almost wished one of her assistants were there to bother her. She could use the distraction. She stood in silence for a moment, wondering exactly what she and Jane were heading towards, and hoping the fast pace of... whatever it was... wouldn't end in a collision.
Automatically, Maura started drawing up a mental contract with herself. The passionate, risky sex she and Jane had engaged in the night before couldn't happen again. They would just have to return to their regular friends-with-benefits routine or cease and desist completely, she decided.
Rule one. I will not have sexual intercourse with Jane in places where we might be discovered. Rule two...
Maura paused. Unfortunately, the thought of discovery aroused her even more than simply remembering the encounter, and even though she was glad that no one had walked in on them, she had to admit that it heightened the sense of excitement. Perhaps she was a closeted exhibitionist... but she would deal with that later. Like so many other things that swirled around in Maura's giant brain, it would just have to be put off for another, more convenient time.
Rule two. I will not confess my feelings to Jane because it might scare her away.
The medical examiner deliberately ignored the fact that she had already let a few things slip. She would have to keep the rest of her cards close to her chest.
Rule three. I will not do anything to endanger Jane's physical or mental health while she is recovering.
That was the only rule that Maura thought she would have an easy time following. She didn't want to do anything to jeopardize her friend's healing process.
Rule four. I will resume my yoga practice in order to perfect the art of meditation and clearing my mind of all... distractions.
Distractions – Jane, licking her – long, dexterous fingers clutching at her thighs, spreading her knees –
“Ugh,” Maura said, walking over to the desk that held the autopsy room computer and banging her head on it repeatedly. “Rule four needs to begin immediately.”
With a sigh, she decided that she might as well get most of her boring paperwork out of the way. If she was going to be distracted, it was better to be distracted over paperwork than a corpse. She didn't want to miss a single detail during the autopsies she had lined up for later in the afternoon.
Maura collected her things and headed for her office, smiling at the thought of the new red chair that was waiting for her there. Jane would throw an absolute fit when she saw it... Have to stop thinking about Jane.
Digging through her purse to find her keys, Maura finally found what she was looking for and pull them out, inserting them into the lock and entering the dark room for the first time that day. To her surprise, a red light was blinking on her work phone, indicating that she had a message. “Already?” she asked herself aloud, setting down her things and striding over to her desk to see who had tried to call.
The medical examiner pressed one for Voicemail, then speaker. “Dr. Isles? This is Teddy from the lab.” Maura smiled at the familiar, slightly high-pitched voice of the lab technician. He was still very young, in his mid-twenties, and had a bit of a crush on her. Despite her guilty conscience, she had occasionally used that to get her results processed slightly faster. “I processed the samples you gave me for Rose Heissmann. Apparently she was on several medications, but one level was several hundred times over the recommended dosage limit, an SERM called Raloxifene, marketed as Evista.”
Although Maura wasn't a surgeon, she knew enough about cancer to recognize the acronym. SERMs were Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators, hormone therapy drugs used to slow or prevent the growth of breast tumors.
“But aside from the sky high dosage, here's the weird thing... she's also on another SERM called Tamoxifen. I'm no surgeon, but I don't know why they would prescribe both. Just something to look in to. I'll fax you the full report later in the day.”
The message ended. That was all Maura needed to hear. Obviously, someone had given too much medication to Rose, causing her untimely death. Now, she just needed to find out who, why, and how.
To be continued...
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