Long days and long hours had left Jane exhausted and strung out. She was too restless to drink, too tired to sleep and too on edge to read. There was only one thing that helped when she felt this way Jane sighed, it was late, but that didn’t matter. Fighting the urge to get out would only make her more irritable, so Jane locked up her apartment and headed out into the night.
She walked slowly, her hands deep in the pockets of her jeans. Jane actually preferred the city this way dark, surreal with an edge of danger lurking. It seemed more real to her, more true to life. Daylight glossed over the chaos and confusion; night bared the city’s soul.
A smirk tugged at her lips, only Jane Rizzoli could find peace among the chaos. That’s what Maura would say. Jane shook her head and chuckled soundlessly . Funny how everything circled back to Maura.
Jane wandered a bit, trying to convince herself she had no particular destination in mind. She was clearing her head, that’s all. Just a few laps around the block to settle herself down.
She was still telling herself that when she turned the corner onto Maura’s street and then again as she walked four houses down and around the side to the back. She stopped several feet from the back door, debating whether to turn back or continue. Her fingers closed around the key in her pocket. The key that would open this door and take her where she most wanted to be. Maura had given it to her three... no, four weeks ago but Jane had yet to use it. There was something about it that was too formal, too symbolic of a closeness she didn’t want to admit.
It’s just a key she reasoned. People exchange keys all the time, it doesn’t mean anything. Deep down Jane knew it meant a lot. Maura didn’t let her guard down for just anyone. Neither did Jane for that matter. It was one way in which they were alike.
“Are you going to stand there all night or are you going to come inside?”
Jane looked up a scowl twisted her lips to cover her embarrassment. “No... yes... I wasn’t sure you were still awake.” Sighing she kicked at the ground. “You gonna move or should I leave?”
Maura smiled and stepped aside. “Don’t give me that, you know I’m usually up at this hour.” She bumped Jane’s shoulder playfully as the detective passed. “Besides, I figured you’d need to talk.”
Jane frowned and shook her head. “No, I don’t want to talk,” she mumbled as she made her way into the kitchen. She could feel Maura’s eyes on her as she opened the refrigerator door and helped herself to a beer.
Maura crossed her arms and leaned back against the counter. “I know you don’t want to talk but you need to. It’s okay to need things Jane. It’s okay to step out from behind the wall every once in a while,” Maura’s voice grew softer. “It’s okay to be scared.”
A long shuddering sigh escaped Jane’s lips. How could Maura do that? What insight gave her the ability to see so deep into her psyche? Jane suddenly felt small and vulnerable; she clenched her teeth to keep from trembling. “Is it okay to fail?” she asked finally.
“Failure- is a lack of success, not a lack of effort,” Maura replied. She moved behind Jane, wrapping her arms around the taller woman hugging her fiercely. “You’re the hardest working person I know and the most determined. You might not find all the answers but you won’t fail.”
The quiet confidence of Maura’s tone, relaxed Jane, as did the embrace. She turned slightly and grinned. “The old ‘just do your best that’s all anyone can ask’ routine?” She laughed softly.
Maura smiled. “Well to utilize another trite phrase, ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’ Also, it’s true.”
Jane nodded. She felt better but that was no surprise. Maura had a calming effect on her. “Okay, let’s have that talk but not in here. Might as well be comfortable.” Her legs were about to give way so she covered her fatigue with grumpiness which of course, Maura steadfastly ignored.
Maura gave Jane one more squeeze before releasing her. “C’mon let’s go in the den,” she said taking Jane’s hand in hers.
Gratefully, Jane allowed herself to be led to the sofa, Maura was too ritzy to own a couch, and they both settled back against the cushions.
She had no idea how long she talked and Maura listened. Once she got past the first sentence the words tumbled from her lips. Jane listened to herself voice insecurities she’d never shared with another soul. That’s another bit of Maura Isles magic, Jane thought, when have I ever laid myself bare like this to anyone?
Finally, the torrent subsided. Spent, Jane rested her head on Maura’s shoulder. The need for words was over, so they sat in silence holding tight to one another until at last drowsiness crept over Jane and her head began to nod. Maura’s soft lips against her forehead roused her.
“Hey, sleepy head, time for me to tuck you in.”
“Mmm hmm,” Jane mumbled as Maura helped her up off the sofa. There was a dreamlike quality to her surroundings as Maura guided her down the hall. Sounds were muted and the light was faint, except around Maura. Jane wanted to ask her how she managed that but a yawn formed on her lips instead.
She must have dozed for a moment because the next thing Jane knew she was sitting on the edge of Maura’s bed. Her shoes had long since been discarded and with a little help from Maura she wriggled out of her jeans. As she slid under the covers, Jane relaxed completely. Barely awake, she lay still listening to the sounds of Maura getting ready for bed. There was silence, then movement. The bed shifted and a warm body pressed against hers.
“Comfortable?” Maura asked as she snuggled tighter.
“Uh huh, home.” Jane couldn’t pry her eyes open to see Maura’s reaction to her incoherence. She didn’t have to. The delighted sigh she heard from Maura was all the response she needed.