"Hey, what are you reading?" Jane plopped down at her desk and squinted to read the title of the book in her partner's hands.
"Uh, well," Frost lowered the book, closing it and setting it on his desk with a little thud. "I'm taking a night class." At Jane's surprised look, he rushed to finish his explanation. "Nothing like I'm looking for a new job or whatever. I just wanted to do a little continued education. I'm just trying to improve on perfection." He grinned. She didn't. He cleared his throat and pressed on. "Right, well… see, I've been dating this girl," his partner made an 'ah-ha' face; he ignored her, "And she's really into books. Like, she's got a degree in English or something. So I figured it couldn't hurt me to take a couple of classes to catch up on my reading, you know?"
"Right, 'catch up," Jane chuckled as she started flipping through her paperwork. "So what are you reading, Frost?"
Frost shifted awkwardly in his chair, suddenly uncomfortable with admitting to what he was doing. "It's… it's called The Giver. It's this book about…"
"…a communist kind of society where only one person has memories of all the bad stuff and that person passes it to another person through some weird memory transfer thing." Jane shrugged, not bothering to look up from her paperwork. "Yeah, I know what it is. How far are you?"
"You do?" Shocked, Frost just blinked at the woman across from him for a moment.
"Hey," dark locks bounced as Jane's head shot up. "I read!"
He held his hands up in mock defeat. "Okay, all right, I just didn't think this was the kind of stuff you read. Anyway, I'm done with it. I'm just going back to check my notes because we have a test tonight in class over this stuff. The prof's going to have us write our interpretation of the ending, and, honestly," he picked the book up again and flipped through the pages, "I still can't decide what I think about it. I mean, was it real? Was it not? Are they alive?" He sighed, rolling his eyes and putting the book down again.
"I guess you just have to figure out if your glass is half full or half empty or what." Jane turned her attention to her monitor, keys clacking away as she looked something up in the department's database. "If you're a half full kind of guy, they lived and that village they found was real. If you're a half empty kind of guy, they died and that village was a hallucination just before they bit it." She grunted in frustration and flipped hastily through her paperwork again only to return to searching the database.
"Right, but maybe it's like that movie The Village, you know? Maybe they were just super isolated and there's really a whole world outside their little compound, and those two kids really did see a real village?" He took in a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "But they were freezing to death."
"Hard choice, Frost." Jane finally gave up on the database and pulled out a large notebook from the bottom drawer of her desk, quickly flipping to a well-used section and grinning to herself.
Frost shook his head at his partner's obvious moment of win. "Well, what do you think? Are you a glass half empty or glass half full kind of guy?"
"First of all," she looked up from the note she'd just written down in the pad she normally carried around with her in her pocket, "I'm not a guy. Second of all," leaning forward in her chair, she tucked the small note pad in her back pocket, "I think the answer is yes."
"Yes?" He shook his head. "Jane, that's not an answer."
"Sure it is," closing the larger notebook and putting it away, Jane spoke with an air of thoughtfulness as she began packing her desk up before she left to follow her lead. "That's the problem with a lot of you guys. You're too black and white on stuff. I mean, yeah, sometimes it's A or B, but a lot of the time it's a little of both. I mean, think about when we're working on a case." She turned her attention to the scattering of paperwork on top of her desk. As she sorted it out to be ready for her return, she explained. "A lot of the time, we follow a lead based on what our gut tells us because we have a pretty good idea of what's going on. That's what you'd call a 'grey area', Frost." She looked up to see him giving her a hard look, but he remained quiet. "We're detectives. We work in that grey area most of the time. If we were black and white all the time, like you're trying to be with that ending, then we'd never get anywhere because we wouldn't be able to figure out all the possibilities out there. The reason," she said as she stood up to pull her blazer on, "I'm the best at what I do," she grinned; he rolled his eyes, "is because, unlike some of you guys, I can see the grey most of the time. If you were more like me, Frost, you might come close to be as awesome as I am at this job." She gave him a smug smirked.
"Man, whatever!" He chuckled at her over-the-top bravado. "I'm just as good as you are, and you know it. I kicked your ass at that last case. I was the one who collared Ferrell."
"Yeah, but only after I pointed out that maybe it had nothing to do with anything you were working on. Come on, you know I'm awesome." She straightened her jacket, running a hand over her shirt and slacks as if checking for wrinkles.
"Fine… so yes, huh? You mean… what? They really did find that village but they died anyway?" He raised an eyebrow.
"Maybe." She ran a hand through her hair before pulling out her gun and badge to clip onto her belt. "Maybe the point of the ending isn't if they died or not. Maybe the point of the ending is to make you ask yourself if you want them to live or die. If they live, they discover everything they ever knew about their world is completely different from how the rest of the world works. If they do figure that out, can they live with this new information? If they die, then they don't have to face all of that, but, then, was everything he went through in the story worth it? Sort of a Brave New World kind of thing, you know?" She checked her phone for messages as she finished up her thoughts.
"Crap, that's something I didn't even think about." Frost gave a heavy sigh.
"See? That's exactly my point. If you're black and white all the time, then you miss this stuff, which is why you may have collared Ferrell, but I'm the one who figured out how to find him." She popped her phone onto her belt. "The obvious stuff isn't always so obvious, and sometimes you just miss what should be red flashing lights because you get so caught up in how you think you're supposed to think. Make sense?"
"Yeah, makes sense." The junior detective pulled the book up and dropped it into the bag beside his desk. "I think I'll think about it. Besides, my lunch is almost up. Where are you going anyway?"
"The morgue. Maura's got some of the results back, and she wanted to go to lunch. I figured we could do a working lunch, and then I have a lead I want to track down." She flipped her monitor off. "You want me to bring you something back?"
"Nah," he narrowed his eyes at her. "You got dinner plans tonight?"
"Maura and I are going out to that new Thai place." She shrugged. "It's open late."
He tilted his head, confused. "I thought you had a date tonight."
"Yeah, with an order of Thai food. You been talking to Ma too much. You know I never go out. Anyway, I'm out of here. Good luck with that test thing tonight." She turned to stride out to the elevators leaving her partner sitting in contemplation.
"Yeah," he said mostly to himself as Jane left the area. "Grey area," he muttered as the door closed behind her.