Heart of gold.
It was a glimpse in her peripheral vision of a vehicle that first alerted Jane something was wrong, but in the split second her brain took to process the information, it was assaulted with the sound and movement of it hitting her own car. Jane had automatically turned the steering wheel to try and put her own car in a controlled skid, in a desperate attempt to stop the collision, but it was useless. Her unmarked police cruiser was no match for the large SUV that had cannoned into the passenger side. It was flipped over in seconds, like a matchstick would have been tossed around at sea, and then spun around on its roof; part of the A frame giving way crumpling in towards her head, sliding along the asphalt road surface for what seemed an inordinate amount of time.
The ripping sound of metal on metal or metal on the road had only been disturbed by the noise as airbags went off around her, hitting her in the face with a ferocity that surprised Jane. She immediately felt blood coming from her nose, and she wondered if it was broken.
As the movement of the car slowed, the momentum stopped as the car finally came to rest against the curb, Jane could then also feel the seat belt cutting in to her torso and shoulder as it effectively held her upside down. The car still swung like a pendulum, tipping back and forth, but eventually, the swaying stopped and Jane fought back the bile that had hit the back of her throat. Dust and debris swirled around her, making her eyes smart, and hitting the back of her throat mixing with the bile she’d only just fought down, making her want to gag; somehow she managed to avoid the mortification of throwing up and her stomach finally seemed to settle.
It was then she could smell the gasoline. That in itself wouldn’t have panicked her, but combined with the smell of burning that it mingled with was enough for her to fumble with her seat belt release mechanism. She’d been a cop long enough to see what any kind of spark and gasoline mixing in an auto accident could do to a person.
She looked to her right, and saw the woman in passenger seat was out cold, long blond hair fanning out, blocking her face, and there was no way Jane could help unless she got out of the car herself. Finally, her fumbling fingers found the release button on her belt, and bracing out with one arm so she didn’t fall since she was suspended, she pressed down.
The belt gave way, and despite a jolt that seemed to send her body into painful spasms, she was pleased that she’d managed that much. She was able to roll across on to her side, hissing in more pain as it pulled on her ribs. She knew from experience that she’d most likely cracked a couple.
Looking around, she tried to see if she could open her door, but it was mangled so badly, there was no way she was getting out that route. She twisted around again, and bracing against the seat as best she could, she began to kick out the windshield, which she noticed was partly damaged already by the roof collapse, so she hoped was weakened. It held for what seemed like an eternity, but finally gave way, popping out onto the wrecked metal and road. Jane was then aware of people milling around the vehicle, but no-one seemed as if they were going to approach and help.
She also began to hear other noise around her, but it all seemed distant, muffled as if her brain had suddenly switched her ears back on as if they were speakers, but they weren’t tuned in correctly and were picking up static.
“We need help here.” Jane’s voice sounded weak even to her, and it was the first time she realized there was blood streaming down her face and in to her eyes from some kind of head wound. Using her jacket sleeve, she wiped what she could away. Still people seemed rooted to whatever spot they were standing in, not moving forward to help. Jane finally pulled herself out of the car, catching herself on shards of metal and glass as she went but not caring. As she fell down on to the ground, jarring knees and the palms of her hands, she tried to stand up, determined to help the woman in the front passenger seat who was still unconscious.
It seemed as if every bone, every muscle cried out in protest as she attempted to straighten her legs and her knees gave way. Her collapsing a second time outside the vehicle seemed to prompt some people to come forward, and she heard a voice somewhere close to her.
“Hey, are you all right? Listen, help’s on the way.”
Jane heard the words, and wanted to answer, but before she could, darkness swept over her. Her last thought was she wasn’t sure if it was welcomed or not.
Maura came rushing in to the emergency room waiting area, for once looking flustered. Korsak was already there, and she ran right to him.
“What’s happening? Why wouldn’t you talk to me over the phone other than to tell me Jane had been in a car accident.” Maura demanded to know, looking agitated. “Is Jane all right? I heard over the scanner her car was totaled and it was amazing anyone got out.”
Putting his hands out to calm the distraught woman, Korsak took a deep breath. “Jane should be fine. I’m waiting to hear from the doctors attending her. She’s got some cuts and bruises, and a concussion, but it all looks okay. Yeah, she’s banged up, but it could be a lot worse....” Korsak lowered his voice. “Sue...she wasn’t as lucky.
Maura looked at Korsak confused. “Sue? Who’s Sue?”
Korsak looked horrified at the question. “You didn’t know.” was all he could say.
“Didn’t know what Vince?” Maura was looking increasingly upset. “Who’s Sue?”
“Shit. Doc, I thought you knew, being Jane’s best friend an’ all.” Korsak ran a hand through his hair, and with his other hand, grabbed Maura and pulled them over to some hard plastic chairs, pushing Maura down in to one, as he sat down in the other.
“For goodness sake Vince, who is Sue?” Maura was getting annoyed at having to repeat the question. “Surely it can’t be that hard to give me an answer.” she added.
“Jane’s girlfriend.” Vince finally spoke up, quietly.
“What?” Maura wasn’t sure if she’d heard correctly. Surely Korsak was talking about a friend, just as she was, even though Maura knew that thought was illogical when she compared it to the information, however sparse, that Vince had given her.
“Sue..... She and Jane, they’ve been seeing each other for a while now. God Doc, if I knew she hadn’t told you......” Korsak’s voice trailed off.
Still trying to make sense of what was being said, Maura then picked up Korsak hadn’t said how Sue was, except to infer it wasn’t good. “You said Sue hadn’t been as lucky as Jane. What did you mean?”
“Crap. This is gonna kill Jane.....” Korsak looked right at Maura, and she could see the lightest of tears in his eyes. “Sue was DOA. They couldn’t save her.”
“Oh.” Maura sat back, shocked not only about finding out Jane had been in a relationship, but also in one Maura had no inkling about her. To add to the mix, to find out Sue hadn’t made it, Maura knew Jane would be devastated.
“Does Jane know?” Maura questioned.
“No. I was hoping you could tell her....” Korsak looked apologetic. “That was until I found out you didn’t know about them. I can’t expect you to......”
Maura put a hand out and clasped Korsak’s arm. “I’ll let Jane know.” she said softly, wanting to be there for Jane when the news was given to her.
Korsak let out a breath he didn’t even realize he’d been holding in. “Thank you. You don’t have to do this, but I appreciate you offering. I really do.” His face mirrored his words of appreciation.
“I’ll ask to do the autopsy as well.” Maura added as an afterthought. “I know Jane wouldn’t want a stranger doing it.”
Korsak smiled, amazed at the way Maura could offer to do something like that, despite the circumstances. “Jane will appreciate it. Thanks Doc.”
“It’s the least I can do.” Maura replied, almost in a whisper. They’re attention was brought sharply back to what had happened as a doctor walked in to the waiting room, calling out Jane’s name. They both stood up quickly and walked towards him.
“Jane Rizzoli’s family.” He queried.
“Friends, her family are on the way, but they will be some time since they were out of state.” Maura explained quickly, “But I’m named as her advanced directive.”
The doctor nodded and Korsak didn’t look surprised to hear Maura saying she was Jane’s advanced directive. Korsak knew after the shooting at the precinct, that Jane afterwards had asked Maura, knowing she could make the right choices over her medical care, should, god forbid, the need ever arise again. The doctor looked down at his notes before looking back at them both.
“Although we don’t need permission on treatments as yet, since you’re her advanced directive, I’ll allow you some information in the unlikely case her condition changes. Jane is currently under sedation so we could do a scan of her head injury. She appears to be fine, and has had a grade two concussion. Her other injuries are lacerations, some in her torso and leg requiring stitches, and plenty of bruising, some pretty deep in the tissue and bone, although I don’t envisage it causing any problem. She has a couple of fractured ribs, but they are small and cleanly broken, so should heal with minimal problems. I will allow one visitor for now until her own family arrive since I feel in this instance it’ll be beneficial for her to have someone she knows with her.”
Korsak looked at Maura and gave her a slight nudge. “You should go see her Doc. I’ll wait here for Angela, Tommy and Frankie.”
“Of course, they were in New York visiting relatives.” Maura said, unsure if Korsak knew that titbit of information. “Thank you Vince, and I’ll see you soon.”
The doctor nodded towards them both, and without another word, led Maura through some doors and to a room where Jane was lying. Maura gave him a quiet thank you before pushing the room door open and walking in slowly.
Maura approached the bed, and although it didn’t appear like it to the outsider, Maura could see immediately that Jane was awake. She moved in closer, not wanting to touch, for fear of making Jane jump. Once she was sure Jane knew she was close, Maura put a hand out and rested it on Jane’s closest shoulder, offering silent support. She could feel the tension of Jane’s muscles underneath her fingertips and to know Jane was so tightly wound up was something that worried Maura. Suddenly, Jane spoke up, her voice lower and raspier than usual.
“Sue?” Was all Jane asked, as her eyes darted to the side, so she could see Maura properly, her eyes bloodshot caused by irritation from the powder emitted from the airbag, even though they had rinsed her eyes out. She didn’t need to hear the words, knowing by the look Maura gave meant devastating news.
“She was dead on arrival.” Maura said softly, needing to be sure Jane was under no misconceptions. “I’m so sorry.”
Without realizing it, Maura’s hand moved and brushed some hair away from Jane’s cheek, very aware of the cuts, grazes and bruising that was there. The tender touch was all that was needed for it to break through Jane’s defenses, and the tears began, before it turned in to racking sobbing.
By that point, Maura had moved in closer and pulled Jane as carefully as she dared so she could offer support in the form of a hug, resting Jane’s head against her shoulder; keenly aware of Jane’s injuries so Maura was twisting uncomfortably, but Jane wouldn’t be. While it was an awkward position for Maura to be in, her primary focus was on helping Jane with the agony of losing a friend. She whispered heartfelt assurances, unsure if they were penetrating Jane’s consciousness or not, but it seemed to be helping as slowly Jane’s sobs turned to sniffles.
Eventually, Jane pulled away, wiping what remained of the tears from her face, her sinuses feeling sore and her eyes red and swollen accentuating the bruising that was beginning to show. She took the tissues that Maura pulled out of the purse she’d arrived with with a slight nod of thanks, winching slightly as she blew her nose, which had been broken and reset.
“I’ll be doing her autopsy.” Maura said after a few minutes allowing Jane to compose herself. Jane looked surprised.
“But you didn’t know her.” Jane then said, sounding guilty over the admission.
“I might not have known her Jane, but she was important to you, so I don’t want a stranger doing this. I’m not on call tonight, but I’ll go in and do it as soon as I can so you can have answers as quickly as possible.”
“Thank you.” The words were little more than a whisper, and a few fresh tears rolled down Jane’s face, which she quickly wiped away.
“Do you want to talk about her?” Maura prodded gently. She knew she was asking the question, partly because she wanted some answers, but also to try and draw Jane out of the depression she was so obviously, and understandably, in.
“I don’t know if I can.” Jane admitted, fighting back the waves of emotion.
“How about you tell me how you met?” Maura kept her voice low as she asked.
“It was a complete fluke.” Jane admitted, a smile gracing her features for the first time since Maura had arrived as she remembered the first meeting she had with Sue. “I knew her older brother, but they moved away before I really got to know Sue, since she was still just a toddler. She moved back here about a year ago to get away from an abusive relationship. She was hooking up with some old family friends, I was hooking up with the same old friends. When we realized I knew her brother, we just started talking....” Jane voice drifted off, as the smile faltered. “We just clicked.” Jane finally managed to say between fresh sobs.
“Oh Jane, why didn’t you feel you could tell me?” Maura asked, once Jane had composed herself again.
“It wasn’t deliberate. It’s just to begin with, it’s like you and me, ya know. We’d go out, have a coffee, grab some lunch or dinner when you and I couldn’t. Talk about stuff. Then one night, we had a bit too much to drink, and she leaned in and kissed me. I can tell you, I freaked!” Jane gave out a short self deprecating laugh at the memory. “Sue then freaked, thinking she’d ruined our friendship, but once I’d had chance to get over the shock..... I realized it felt..... right. We talked, and decided to give us a chance..... to see where it went.”
“That still doesn’t explain why you felt you couldn’t tell me.” Maura kept her voice light, wanting Jane to be absolutely aware she was in no way criticizing or chastising her. “I knew you were meeting up at times with an old friend, but you never gave me more detail.”
“I just.... every time I went to tell you, something would come up. As time went on, I dunno. It’s as if it didn’t feel as important, that somehow the time would be right and I’d get around to introducing you. I didn’t even imagine that our paths wouldn’t cross at some point. Guess I got that wrong, huh.”
“Unfortunately, yes.” Maura’s comment wasn’t a rebuke, and Jane could tell as much, even though it still hit her hard that Maura would be hurt not knowing.
“Listen, Maura.” Jane began, trying to explain it without upsetting her further. “It wasn’t that I didn’t trust you, or that I thought you’d freak out I was seeing another woman.” Maura cocked an eyebrow to convey the message I would hope not. Jane smiled at Maura’s facial response recognizing it for what it was. “If it’s any consolation, Ma, Frankie or Tommy don’t know. The only one who does is Korsak, and that’s only because he caught us kissing one night after we came out from The Dirty Robber.”
“Oh.” Maura was surprised to find that only Korsak knew, even though she understood why Jane wouldn’t want her mother to know, somehow she was surprised Jane hadn’t told either of her brothers.
“Yeah, so I didn’t keep her away from you. If we’d arranged to meet up for a drink, and Sue was free as well, I’d have brought her along...... allowed her and you to get to know each other.... I wanted you to get to know each other .......it just never happened that way..... You would have liked each other....... She was a bit like you......” Jane was beginning to fight the fatigue of the sedation, painkillers and just general battering the day had given her. Maura could see she was struggling to keep her eyes open. She moved in closer, and kissed Jane’s forehead lightly before pulling away again.
“You need to rest. I’ll make sure they send your Mother, Frankie and Tommy in once they arrive. In the meantime, I’ll go and find Sue. To begin....” Maura didn’t elaborate. “Unless of course, you want me to be here to act as a buffer when the family do arrive.”
Jane was torn. On one hand she would love nothing more than Maura to be there, so she didn’t have to deal with her Mother. On the other hand, she desperately wanted Sue to be sorted. For her to be laid to rest with the minimal of fuss, and Maura could start that process. “Go, do what you have to do.” Jane made the decision, as she closed her eyes, allowing the tiredness to win the battle.
Maura bent down again, giving Jane another light kiss on her forehead, and gently ran her fingers through Jane’s hair, watching until she was certain Jane had finally fallen asleep again. Maura then left, and found Korsak where she had left him in the ER waiting room. He jumped up out of his chair when he saw her arriving.
“How is she?”
“Doing as well as can be expected. I don’t think it’s fully hit home yet though. She’s going to need all our support over the coming weeks.” Maura said, then sighed, looking at her watch, noting she would be in for a long night. “I’m about to make arrangements for Sue to be transported to our morgue. Do you have any idea of her next of kin?”
“No.” Korsak shrugged. “I didn’t know a lot, other than she and Jane had been seeing each other for a while, first as friends and only more recently as girlfriends, but had known each others family since they were kids. I don’t know if any of the family still live in Boston.”
“I’ll see what I can find out when we pick her body up. I should warn you, no one other than you, and now me, know about Sue. I would suggest nothing is said about her relationship beyond them being close friends when Angela, Frankie or Tommy arrive. Jane needs to be in a better state of mind and be able to tell them about it herself.”
Korsak nodded. “Yeah, of course. I wouldn’t have told you only I just assumed, ya know.”
“It’s understandable. I’ll call you later once I’ve done the autopsy.” With that, Maura left, leaving Korsak looking worried and slightly nervous at having to deal with Angela once she arrived.