The first mention of it came in mid January and was something Jane had dreaded since she started dating Maura. “I don’t do Valentine’s Day. It’s a dumb made up holiday and I want no part of it. Besides I hate pink,” she said.
“I didn’t say we had to celebrate in any of the ways dictated by popular culture, I merely suggested we go out to dinner. Pink has nothing to do with it,” Maura said. “Not to mention it was originated by the Romans, granted with darker overtones than today, but not exactly 'made up' yesterday.”
“We went out to dinner last Valentine’s Day. We even watched a movie afterward and I don’t remember any complaints.” Maura was completely bemused by her girlfriend’s reaction.
“That was different, we weren’t dating then. We were just going out as friends it wasn’t a-a- thing ,” Jane said.
Maura’s eyebrow quirked. “A thing? I’m sorry you will have to be more specific.”
The detective ran her hand distractedly through already disheveled hair. “You know a thing a romantic thing with all sorts of expectations and pressure.” The kind of thing I screw up. She thought to herself. “The kind of thing that has never once gone right for me on Valentine’s Day. As far as I’m concerned the day is cursed and I want no part of it.”
“I’ve never really celebrated a ‘romantic’ Valentine’s but last year was nice,” Maura said.
“That’s because it wasn’t a thing !” Jane threw her hands up in in the air.
Cocking her head to the side Maura studied the agitated brunette for a moment. “There’s that deceptive complexity again. I despair of ever understanding you.”
“Good, not fair for you to know everything ,” Jane grumbled. “Can we please just drop this?”
Maura who had already closed her eyes and begun meditating nodded. “You know I don’t like to argue with you.”
“Good,” Jane said again. Somehow, she really didn’t feel like she’d won. Much to her surprise, Maura didn’t mention it again as the days passed by. Not even once. Not even when they were in the market a few days later and passed what Jane called “The Great Wall of Pink Insanity” displaying every sort of Valentine’s candy and flower imaginable.
Hedging her bets Jane commented as they walked by the gaudy display. “Wow. Really? That’s sickening.” The only response she got was a distracted “Hmmm?” from her girlfriend. Okay she was missing something... but what? Not that she minded that Maura had dropped the subject but it was weird for Maura not to at least comment if not launch into a whole history of either the holiday or the origins of marketing. Something was definitely off.
Weeks went by and much to Jane’s surprise still Maura steadfastly avoided any mention of Valentine’s. Not even Korsak needling them both about celebrating the day had made Maura crack. Jane had to admit she was a bit awed. Part of her said let it go but the detective in her always latched on to a good mystery and Maura could be downright mysterious without even trying. When she did try, Jane wasn’t sure if anyone could decipher her but Jane was determined to give it a shot.
Finally, in a fit of desperation Jane enlisted the help of her mother.
“You want me to spy on your girlfriend? Janie, that hardly seems ethical. I don’t want to get labeled as 'that kind of mom',” Angela said.
“Really? Since when do you keep your nose out of anyone’s business especially mine?” Jane was beginning to wonder if she hadn’t fallen into some sort of parallel universe or the Twilight Zone.
“You’re the one that told her you don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. Why I don’t know... you always did very well with it. Remember all those flowers and cards you got in high school?” Angela asked with a dreamy smile.
“Yeah, because you and Pop sent them to me,” Jane said. She wondered for the hundredth time where her mother got those rose colored glasses. Her memories of being a teenager never matched up with Angela’s reminiscing.
“That’s not true! Not all of them and you got plenty of gifts from other people too. Remember that bracelet Casey gave you?”
“It turned my wrist green, Ma.” Jane was really regretting opening this line of conversation.
“And what about those flowers that nice O’Sullivan boy sent you, what was his name?”
“Pete, ma, and they were daffodils! I’m very allergic to daffodils, I had to have a shot remember?” Jane mentally kicked herself.
“What about the Bruins game you went to a few years ago?That was a Valentine’s date wasn’t it?” Angela wouldn’t be deterred.
“First of all, I went to that game with Frankie , so no that wasn’t a date, and second of all I got hit in the face by a puck. Not the best night of my life.” I should have banged my head against a wall until I got an answer it would have been easier. Jane thought.
“Oh that’s right, you were supposed to go with Kevin but he stood you up,” Angela said brightly
“Thanks for reminding me, Ma. See this is why I don’t celebrate Valentine’s day.” Jane pushed back from the table. “I’m leaving and I’m dropping this. All I’m doing is aggravating myself.”
“You didn’t finish your coffee,” Angela scolded. “Here I’ll get you a to-go cup.” She hurried behind the counter of the cafe.
Impatiently, Jane waited for her mother who returned momentarily with two cups of coffee and a bag of pastries. “What’s all this?”
“Coffee and danish for you and Maura. Go talk to her. Ask her what she wants for Valentine’s Day.” Angela pushed her daughter toward the door. “She deserves something nice for putting up with you.”
Jane glared. “Nice, Ma, real nice. Great pep talk, thanks!”
“You know what I mean and you know she makes you happy,” Angela said. “That alone is worth more than flowers in my book.”
Jane’s expression softened. “Okay, I’ll admit, you have a point.” She sighed heavily. Knowing her mother was right didn’t make it any less irritating. “ I’ll go see her.” She kissed Angela on the cheek and headed for the morgue.
It was true, Maura made her happy, extremely happy and she had to admit she wasn’t the easiest person to get along with. Maura didn’t seem to mind though, she seemed to take all things Rizzoli in stride. Did they bicker? Sure. Did they aggravate the crap out of one another at times? You bet. But the bottom line was they cared for one another deeply. That, Jane decided, was all that mattered and that was something that they could celebrate any day. By the time she reached the morgue, she decided to let the matter drop. She’d got what she wanted and Maura seemed fine with it so no need to stir the stew.
She didn’t think about it again until February 14th. Korsak wouldn’t leave her alone. “C’mon, Rizzoli, everyone celebrates Valentine’s Day! It’s un-American not to!”
Jane rolled her eyes so hard her head began to hurt. “Oh yeah? Says who? I don’t recall the founding fathers putting THAT in the constitution.”
“You mean to tell me, you aren’t doing anything ? No flowers, candy, or dinner?” Korsak asked. “C’mon, Maura deserves better than that.”
“Maura doesn’t care.” Jane shot back. “I don’t celebrate and she’s okay with that. It’s a lame ass holiday anyway.” Korsak wouldn’t let it go and by mid morning Jane had had enough. The best course of action she decided would be to hide out in the morgue until he went to lunch. Sure he meant well but damned if the constant badgering didn’t annoy the hell out of her and if she was honest with herself had made her feel a little guilty. Maybe it was selfish of her to skip Valentine’s Day.
As she approached Maura’s office, she could hear snippets of conversation. Frost was there to pick up a toxicology report. Not wanting to interrupt her girlfriend’s work, Jane hung back. She wasn’t intending to eavesdrop but a change in topic caught her attention.
“You know doc, I’m surprised your desk isn’t covered with flowers and candy. Jane must be slacking or something,” Frost said in a playful tone.
“Oh, Jane doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day,” Maura replied.
That’s my girl, was Jane’s first thought, her second was Holy shit. Is that disappointment I hear?
“For real? I thought that was an act she had with us guys because she didn’t want us in her business.” Frost sounded genuinely surprised. Jane suddenly felt like a jerk.
“No, she has very strong feelings on the matter. Apparently, she’s had some bad experiences so she’d rather not celebrate it.”
There was an awkward pause. “Well, what about you? Would you like to celebrate it?” Frost asked.
Jane held her breath.
“I respect Jane’s wishes,” Maura said. “Really, Barry, it’s just another day. No big deal as they say.”
“Uh, huh. Sounds like it’s a big deal to you. You should tell her,” Frost said. “I’ll bet she’d change her mind if she knew it meant something to you.”
Maura laughed softly. “I don’t think so. You know, Jane, when she makes up her mind about something it difficult to dissuade her. It’s really not important enough to fight with her over, especially when she feels so strongly about it.”
“Doesn’t seem right if you ask me. Your feelings matter too. Besides, Jane needs her world shaken up from time to time.”
Jane’s head was spinning, she thought she might pass out, until she remembered to breathe. Slowly, she exhaled, She knew she should leave. She shouldn’t be listening to this, yet, she remained rooted to the spot. She had to know what Maura’s response would be.
“I think her world has been shaken up far more than you realize. That’s why she has such a hard time letting people in,” Maura said. “As tenacious and tough as Jane is, she’s also very delicate. It’s one of the things I love most about her. She’s unequivocally, uncompromisingly, Jane Rizzoli. She takes on life on her own terms and part of loving her is accepting her as she is.”
Jane didn’t wait for Frost’s response. She headed straight back to the elevator. Fuck! I’m so stupid. Why didn’t I see this was important to her? Even as she asked she knew why. It was something she was uncomfortable with so she’d shut down. She should have listened or rather she should have let Maura speak but Maura had been so polite about letting it go. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle clicked into place. Maura hadn’t just been polite, she’d been too polite.
Why hadn’t Jane seen it before? Where she railed and shouted and stomped around when she didn’t get her way, Maura retreated into refinement and over extended courtesy. “Crap on a cracker,” she muttered. Some detective. She couldn’t even figure out her own girlfriend.
She had to do something to fix this. Even before the overheard conversation, she knew no one understood her like Maura did. This just drove the point home. The hell of it was, Maura would be perfectly okay if Jane didn’t step out of her comfort zone and let the day pass without even acknowledging it. Screw it, she was going to do something. There was no way in this world she was going to let this day pass without letting the woman downstairs know how much she meant to her. That’s what all this Valentines business was about anyway wasn’t it? Not chocolate or teddy bears or roses... but about letting that special someone know how special they were.
By the time she got back to the squad room, she’d made up her mind what she was going to do. “Korsak, cover for me, I’m taking the afternoon off,” she said as she pulled on her coat.
He eyed her shrewdly as he leaned back in his chair.“ Looks like somebody changed their mind.”
“Maybe,” Jane shook her head and grinned. “Yes, okay, you’re right she’s worth. Cover for me all right? I want to surprise her.”
“I’ve got you covered, don’t worry about it,” Korsak said.
“Thanks, Vince, I owe you,” Jane said as she headed out the door.
She stopped and turned around bracing herself for the teasing that was sure to come. “Yeah, Vince?”
“You’re worth it too. I hope you know that,” Korsak said.
A blush crept up her neck but Jane smiled. “Yeah, I do, Maura’s helping me realize that.”
It took most of the afternoon and the calling in of some favors but Jane finally rounded up everything she needed. As pressed for time as she was, she decided simple but heartfelt was the way to go. Her biggest worry was that Maura would arrive home before she was done, but with Korsak on the case even that wasn’t too much of a concern. Whatever he’d told Maura apparently worked because late in the afternoon, Jane received a text from her girlfriend inquiring about picking up take out for dinner. Jane responded that they should meet at Maura’s place and decide from there.
As evening approached she found herself actually getting excited... and nervous. What if she’d done all this and Maura hated it or worse still was disappointed? No, she couldn’t afford to think like that.
Jane glanced at the clock, nearly 6 o’clock. Maura would be home by then if she kept to her schedule so Jane put the finishing touches on dinner and hurried off to change. She barely had time to open the wine before she heard a key in the lock. Taking a deep breath, Jane went to greet her girlfriend.
The second Maura saw Jane she threw her arms around her.
“Hey, welcome home,” Jane said with a grin.
“Jane! The flowers were gorgeous!” Maura said. “They arrived just before I left work. It was such a lovely surprise, I nearly contaminated a DNA sample when the delivery person brought them into the lab.”
The words tumbled out so fast, Jane had trouble keeping up, especially since she was being squeezed within an inch of her life. “You’re welcome,” she wheezed. “Glad you liked them.”
“Why are you short of breath? Oh!” Maura said and took a step back. “I’m so sorry, I just got so excited!”
“It’s okay.” Jane laughed wincing at the ache in her side. The pure joy that radiated off Maura made the bruised ribs and lack of oxygen worth it. “I’ve got another surprise for you, a couple of them actually...”
“Jane!” Maura interrupted. “You’re wearing the Dior dress I bought you!”
“Yeah, it’s red so I figured it would work for Valentine’s Day. Besides, you say I look good in red.”
Maura nodded. “You certainly do and you look really good in that dress,” she said as her hand slid along the curve of Jane’s hip. “I love it when you dress up for me.”
Jane leaned in to steal a kiss. “I love dressing up for you,” she said softly. “I like the way you look at me when I’m all fancy... actually I love the way you look at me pretty much anytime.”
“You’re a beautiful woman, Jane. I enjoy looking at you,” Maura said as slowly raked her eyes over the tall brunette. “I enjoy it very much.”
There was something else she was supposed to tell Maura but for the life of her Jane couldn’t remember. The way Maura was eyeing her was very distracting. Dinner! Yes, that was it she’d made dinner.
“C’mon, I have something else to show you,” she said as she took Maura’s hand and lead her to the table. She pulled out a chair. “Have a seat, dinner will be served shortly.”
Maura’s eyes lit up and her smile widened. “You made me dinner?”
“Yes, I did.” Jane lit the candles on the table. “Stuffed mushrooms, chicken caprese, linguini with white sauce, and tiramisu for dessert.”
“Those are my favorites,” Maura said.
“I know.” Jane sauntered into the kitchen to retrieve the wine. “And this,” she said as she poured a glass. “Is your favorite, Pinot Grigio, if I’m not mistaken. I think you’ll find it pairs nicely with what I’ve prepared.”
Maura took a sip of wine and sighed. “Heavenly.”
“Wait until you taste the chicken. Be right back,” Jane said. She glanced over her shoulder as she went get the food to see if Maura had noticed the envelope left on her plate. Apparently she had because when Jane returned it was opened and Maura’s eyes were bright with tears.
Jane bent down and kissed her lover’s cheek. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
“But I thought you didn’t celebrate it,” Maura said. “You didn’t have to go to all this trouble, to make yourself uncomfortable just for me.”
“Normally I don’t but this year I changed my mind. For once, I have someone I want to celebrate with, a relationship I want to celebrate,” Jane said. Her smile was warm and her throat choked with emotion. “It’s no trouble for me, babe, I swear. I’m the one that’s been giving you trouble. I’m sorry I didn’t realize sooner how much this meant to you and I’m sorry for being a jerk.”
“There’s nothing to forgive,” Maura replied. Cupping Jane’s face in her hands she drew her down for a long tender kiss. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” Jane said. “Now let’s eat before it gets cold.”
“Sounds great. You’re an excellent cook,” Maura said.
“I do okay.”
“You do better than okay, you’re wonderful. Thank you for loving me,” Maura smiled.
“And thank you for not telling me to get lost,” Jane grinned.
Maura took another sip of wine and shot Jane a sly look. “You know I have a Valentine’s gift for you too.”
“Oh yeah, what is it?”
“Some lingerie I picked up on my last shopping trip,” Maura said.
“Will it look sexy on me?”
“Maybe, but I didn’t buy it for you to wear.” Maura smirked. “I bought it for you to take off me.”
Jane took a deep drink of her wine and swallowed hard. She really liked the mental images she was getting. “You know what, Valentine’s Day could be my new favorite holiday.”
“If I have anything to say about it, it will be by morning.” Maura pursed her lips and fixed Jane with a smoldering . “Dinner, first though. Dessert later.”
“Whatever you say,” Jane replied pouring another glass of wine. Yep, no question about it, new favorite. In fact, she might insist on celebrating it every month from now on to make up for lost time. It wasn’t about the presents or the chocolate though that was pretty awesome, it was about having the right person to celebrate with. Jane had finally found her Valentine and she couldn’t be happier.