Jane had been on this week long cruise for exactly three hours and she was just about ready to be done with it. She wondered idly how she could throw herself overboard and make it look like murder. Then the cruise liner would probably pay her parents a shitload of money, set them up for life.
Being a top notch detective and all, Jane could probably pull it off too if she was actually into fraud and suicide. Which she wasn't, not at all. That was what happened when she got bored. Her mind wandered to strange places; it was actually a small wonder that she didn't mull these types of things more often. A person working in homicide as long as Jane had was bound to get a slightly morbid streak.
The detective took another sip of her beer, some foreign stuff that she did not recognize. It tasted like shit. Well, really, it tasted more like watered down shit, but it had been cheap at an otherwise overpriced bar.
Jane had this particular bar all to herself because a lot of the entertainment had just started. Her parents were off at some boring as hell show with some singer or other from years ago that Jane had never heard of. But Angela had been really excited about it, so the elder Rizzolis were off for a few hours.
Jane did not mind so much; actually, she didn't mind at all. She loved both of her parents dearly, but spending an entire week trapped on a boat with them was going to be quite tiring, especially when her mother pointed out every decent looking man so that Jane might 'pick one.'
At that thought, Jane took another swig of beer to polish off the bottle.
As Jane contemplated getting up to go take a nap in her small, bare single person room, another woman sat down at the bar. She actually sat right next to Jane, which seemed a little weird considering the fact that the rather sizeable bar was empty.
"Hello," the woman said. Great, so this was a chatty one. "How are you?"
The woman, who appeared to be about Jane's age, had an unusual air about her. She spoke very clearly, her words crisp and distinct, the way that a very well educated person might speak. But she put on none of the airs that Jane had grown accustomed to seeing in those types. She appeared genuinely interested in what Jane had to say.
Jane wanted to give the woman more than a generic 'I'm good.' She wanted to engage this warm, inviting person in conversation, so she tried a joke.
"Oh, I was just thinking about throwing myself off this ship," Jane said, a smile on her lips and her voice dripping with sarcasm. Or so she had thought. Apparently her new drinking partner thought otherwise because she did not laugh.
The woman looked genuinely upset and very flustered, as if she thought Jane was actually suicidal.
"Oh, please don't," she said. "I'm really not very good at these things. I mean I am a doctor, so I know about mental illness. But I don't exactly deal directly with people a lot, at least not in the traditional manner of speaking. I do know that drowning is a terrible way to die, psychologically speaking. Physiologically, being burnt to death is much more painful, but as far as I am aware that is a fairly rare way to commit suicide."
So, Jane had not opened with the best of lines. She knew that it had probably been in bad taste to joke about jumping overboard, especially with this kind, slightly quirky, really gullible stranger. The woman just made Jane nervous to the point that she said the first stupid thing that came to mind. It was a strange thing, because this doctor woman had such a welcoming way about her.
No, Jane realized what it was. The woman was exceptionally beautiful, with perfectly coiffed blonde-ish brown hair that fell in soft curls around her shoulders and her warm eyes, which she had squinted thoughtfully as she rattled off all that information. Jane collected herself and focused back on the woman's words by the time she finished her monologue.
"I'm sorry," Jane said looking at her beer bottle and picking at the label, feeling more and more like a jackass each and every moment. "I didn't mean I was actually going to, you know, kill myself. It was just a bad joke, I guess. You know, sarcasm."
"Oh," the doctor said.
"Yeah, sorry, I tend to make an ass out of myself on a pretty regular basis," Jane said, then dared to look up at the woman. She did not seem too upset, so Jane continued on. "I guess I just can't help myself. It comes so naturally. One of my gifts, I guess."
That joke got a smile out of the woman, a wide grin that looked like it might break into a laugh. Jane felt a little less anxious, since her new friend had apparently forgiven the misunderstanding.
"Please, don't worry. I don't do well understanding irony, but you would have no way of knowing that," she said.
Jane just smiled at the blonde and they made eye contact while a smile was still on their lips. She lingered just a second longer than she had intended to because her doctor friend had not looked away and even appeared to be admiring Jane.
No, that couldn't be it, because a second later, the doctor spoke as if nothing had happened.
"My name is Maura Isles," the doctor said as she held out her hand. "What's your name?"
Jane stuck out her hand a little too enthusiastically for the situation. Yeah, Jane definitely was way off her game today, or maybe it was just this unusual Maura character, this doctor that she wasn't quite sure what to make of.
"I'm Jane Rizzoli," Jane said, as she shook Maura's hand. They were soft, but cool, as was the case with most doctors Jane knew.
"So, Jane Rizzoli," Maura said as she leaned forward ever so slightly. "Are you here with anyone?"
"Yeah, my parents," Jane said. When she realized that it sounded a little pathetic that she was on a cruise with her parents and drinking alone on said cruise, she added, "it was supposed to be a family trip, but one brother's, um, away, and the other's a rookie cop. Couldn't get the time off."
"That sounds lovely. I mean to say taking a family vacation sounds lovely," the doctor said. She looked down and flattened the hem of her dress. "I'm here on my own. It's a birthday gift from my parents. I'm sure they would have enjoyed the trip, but they're very busy people."
Maura did not immediately look at Jane after she finished speaking. So this woman appeared embarrassed that she was here without her parents and Jane felt embarrassed that she was on the cruise with her parents.
Jane just nodded because she wasn't sure what else to say. She would have commented on her observation, but did not know Maura well enough and feared making an ass of herself twice in the span of five minutes.
"Let me buy you a drink," Maura said suddenly to break the silence that had fallen over the pair. "What do you like?"
Jane could have sworn from the slight curl of the woman's lips that there was a double entendre somewhere in that question. Given Maura's earlier naivety though, her new doctor friend could very well be completely oblivious to the flirty vibe she gave off.
"Beer," Jane finally said when the woman tilted her head to the side as if to coax an answer out of her. "I like beer usually, but this stuff here is kind of crap."
"I never did take a liking to beer," Maura said. "May I make a suggestion for what you might try?"
"Sure," Jane said, leaning back in her chair so that she could hang her elbow over the back. "But there's really no need to pay."
"Don't be foolish," Maura said as she took a card out of her small purse. She looked down the bar to wave over the bartender who had occupied himself cleaning glasses. "It's part of the package my parents got me."
"If you insist," Jane said, shifting again in her seat. "If you're going to pay, you get to pick what I drink."
Maura grinned enthusiastically, pleased by Jane's decision and turned to the bartender to hand him the yellow VIP card.
"We are going to have," Maura paused to think for a second. "Two tropical dreams, please."
The bartender nodded and went to work on the drink. Jane watched closely as the man put the ingredients together. She had never heard of this drink before and wanted to know exactly what it was she was getting herself into.
The bartender swiped Maura's card, gave it back to her and placed the identical drinks in front of his patrons.
Jane took a hesitant sip of the drink.
"Wow, that's actually really good," Jane said, before taking another sip and licking her lips. "It tastes like, I don't know, it tastes like summer."
Maura put her glass down and squinted her eyes in confusion.
"I'm not sure that I understand what you mean," she said.
Jane shrugged and took another sip of her drink to try to think of another way to respond. She was not accustomed to people like Maura. Having gone right from a sort of tough lower-middle class neighborhood to hanging around with world weary cops, Jane had rarely encountered someone so gentle and sincere. Jane really liked the change.
She leaned forward and rested her hands on the bar so that her fingertips nearly touched Maura's.
"It's like, I don't know, all the summery fruits and it's light, not heavy like a winter ale or something," Jane explained.
"Oh, I see," Maura said, looking down at her drink as she ran a finger down the side of the glass. "That makes sense."
Jane nodded and took another sip of the drink. Then Maura spoke again. Really it was more like she blurted it out.
"Thank you," Maura said. "For explaining it so patiently. Most people get frustrated with me because I interpret things literally. I just, I can't help it. That's how my brain functions. I do extremely well with numbers, statistic and memorization, but my ability to deal with the abstract, unknown or non-literal is impeded by—
"Hey, hey," Jane said, putting her hand on Maura's forearm. "It's alright. It didn't bug me. Really, you can ask my mom or my partner, I don't hold back if someone pisses me off."
Maura smiled thinly at Jane then her grin went away.
"So you have a sexual partner?" Maura asked.
Jane was a little bit taken aback to here this well groomed, articulate woman ask the question so bluntly. More interestingly for Jane though, was the hint of disappointment in the doctor's voice.
"What? No, of course not. Ew, that would just be weird," Jane said, images of some kind of illicit affair between herself and Frost springing up in her mind. "I meant my work partner."
Jane liked to keep her job as a homicide detective to herself when meeting new people, because it usually aroused a kind of morbid interest or completely ended the conversation. She did not want to go there just yet with Doctor Maura, so she left her line of work out of it for now.
"Me neither," Maura said perkily. "I mean to say that I don't have a sexual partner at the moment."
"Well, um, that's good, I guess," Jane said. She glanced down and only then realized that she still had her hand resting on Maura's arm. She quickly removed her hand. "Oh, sorry."
"I didn't mind," Maura said, lifting the glass to her lips to take another sip. "I actually quite enjoyed it."
There it was, that coy, half smile, and this time Jane decided it was definitely meant to be flirty.
"You certainly are to the point, doctor," Jane said, putting her hand back on the counter so that it touched Maura's finger tips ever so slightly.
"I find that it is more convenient that way," Maura said. She moved her hand so that her fingers overlapped Jane's as she leaned forward. "More, efficient, if you will."
There was nothing at all sexy about the actual words that Maura spoke. Yet, the way she said them, the way they rolled off her tongue, especially as she lingered on the word 'efficent,'did things to Jane that she had not expected. Even though she had felt attraction to the doctor before this particular moment, Jane felt it so intensely that she could hardly think clearly.
She thought vaguely that a woman apparently inept at detecting sarcasm and interpreting figures of speech had no right to be so damn good at flirting. Jane considered herself a people person, but she highly doubted whether she could create the reactions that this woman created in her.
"Um, yeah," Jane said. She felt herself blush. Damn, Jane Rizzoli never blushed, not out of embarrassment and never out of lust, but there she was blushing like an idiot.
"You appear to be aroused, Jane," Maura said.
That particular observation was not nearly as sexy as one would think. It was delivered as if she were giving a diagnosis, merely stating a fact. When Jane did not immediately respond, Maura pressed on.
"At least your physiological reaction seems to indicate that. Your pupils are showing signs of arousal, as is your slightly increased breathing rate and your apparent inability to carry on a lengthy, coherent conversation. Your skin also appears flushed. Although depending upon your drinking habits, the latter symptoms could very well be caused by alcohol."
"You're a good doctor," Jane said. Before the woman could interrupt with another spurt of information, Jane leaned in and kissed her.
Maybe it was the beer coupled with the strong cocktail, or maybe it was just that they had incredibly chemistry, but Jane felt her head swim as her lips pressed to Maura's and she felt the doctor kiss back. The kiss only lasted a moment, but it definitely ranked way up there in terms of first kisses for Jane.
When she pulled away, Jane's arousal suddenly mixed with fear and shock at what she had just let herself do. She had just kissed a woman that she did not know existed two hours ago. For all she knew, Maura could be some well dressed, sociopathic serial killer who preyed of lonely looking lesbianish women on cruise ships.
Then the cop in her kicked in and she realized she had absolutely no reason to believe that Maura had any ulterior motive. Not even her ever reliable gut instinct detected anything dangerous about Maura. On the contrary, she instinctively trusted the woman in a way that she rarely trusted anyone.
"I, I'm sorry," Jane said, looking anywhere but at Maura. "I, just, that's not something I—
"It's alright," Maura said. She rested a hand on Jane's wrist. Jane nearly drew away at having someone nearly touch her scars, but she remained still and forced herself to look at Maura. "It is perfectly natural to kiss someone that you are sexual attracted to."
"I know, it's just that I don't know you," Jane said. "I don't usually do that with people I don't know."
"What would you like to know?" Maura asked. She smiled, more to herself than for Jane's benefit. "I promise that I won't lie."