Jane was in the process of helping Maura pick out a dress. Really, not her forte but at this point she had no choice. The New Years Eve party that the precinct was throwing was 4 hours away. Maura had called in a panic the dress she had picked out to wear had a snag running down the front and she couldn't decide on a new dress. Jane rolled her eyes when she heard her friend dismiss the third dress she had pulled out for her. She glanced to her right and saw a shiny blue number she had never seen on Maura before. As she pulled the dress from the rack a shoe box suddenly fell to the floor. At impact the lid popped off and an old scrub brush tumbled out. Jane frowned at the object; it reminded her of something her grandmother used when starching her grandfather's work shirts. Reaching down she picked it up, its once white bristles had yellowed with age. She looked closer at the wooden handle, there were faded designs covering the smooth surface. They were too crude to be something stamped upon the brush by a company. She frowned, why on earth was Maura keeping an old scrub brush in her closet?
"Maura? What's this?"
"What's what?" Maura asked poking her head into her large walk in closet. She had one heel on and one off making her look slightly lopsided. Her smile faltered as she looked at what Jane held in her hand. "Oh, that's um…where did you find him?" She reached out and grabbed the brush from Jane's hand.
"Him?" Jane asked her confusion mounting.
"It." Maura corrected, "It is my mother's old scrub brush." She ran her thumb over the designs on the handle and smiled softly. "I forgotten I still had hi-it."
"Oh," Jane was still frowning, she was pretty sure she didn't have her mother's old scrub brush hiding away in her closet.
Maura chewed on her lower lip. She should explain to Jane, but she knew the story would seem odd to the detective. Her thumb worked over the smooth handle, Jane was the closest friend she had ever had in her life. If she really thought about it, she was the only person she let into her life completely. All the things Maura had told her, Jane hadn't gone running or pushed her way. She sighed; this brush had been her security blanket throughout her childhood. She had never told a soul about it, until now. "We have a few hours before the party." She pushed off the closet door that she was leaning on and climbed into her bed. Jane followed slowly; she paused taking in the scattered dresses littered around the room. Maura looked so small sitting on the large bed in her white silk slip, her hair beautifully pulled back in a French bun cradling a scrub brush. She held back a laugh.
"What?" Maura asked her eyes flying up to Jane's face.
"I'm sorry, it's just you look so…I don't know, out of place."
"Out of place?"
"Yes, you look like a Grecian goddess cradling a scrub brush."
Maura looked back down, "I didn't always wear designer clothes Jane. I was a child once."
Jane's smile fell from her lips, "I'm sorry Maur, that's not what I meant."
"It's okay." She took a deep breath, still fiddling with the brush. "Do you remember when I said I spent a lot of time alone as a child?"
Jane nodded. She climbed onto the bed to sit next to Maura. She could tell she was struggling for words; Jane reached over and put her arm around the smaller women's shoulders. She was surprised when Maura leaned her full weight against her.
"I was a weird kid Jane. I always wanted a pet, something I could play with, take for walks, something that was mine. Every year for my birthday and Christmas I asked for a pet, but the answer was always no. They were dirty, took too much time and space and I wouldn't be responsible enough to take care of one. No matter how much I begged and pleaded the answer was always no." Maura paused and moved closer to Jane, pressing herself into her side, "Stuffed animals were not allowed, I was told they didn't stimulate brain growth. I had educational toys, chemistry sets and microscopes but nothing I could really play with, do you know what I mean?"
Jane nodded against Maura's hair. She remembered the tea parties she had with her stuffed animals and her father when he came home from work. "I had a stuffed pig named Pinky. I drug it everywhere with me until I was about seven."
Maura frowned, "A pig?"
Jane gave a short laugh, "My aunt Edna gave him to me when I was really little. He use to oink, but I had pushed the hoof so much that it wore out."
Maura laughed, "I bet you were so cute." She gazed up at Jane, watching her face color. For a brief second she wondered what it would have been like if she had grown up in a household like the Rizzoli's. Too many what ifs began to circulate in her head, she quickly cut them off. "Anyway, a few weeks before my seventh birthday I asked my parents again if I could have a pet. The answer was an automatic no and if I asked again I would be getting no presents for my birthday. I was very upset and threw a bit of a temper tantrum. Whenever I was bad I would have to sit on a stool in the supply closet for the wait staff. Mother would make me sit with my back to the open door and 'think about what I had just done' for fifteen minutes. Let me tell you, those were always the longest fifteen minutes in the world.
"It was lit by one single light bulb and smelled like pine sol. I would count the boxes of soap and liquid cleaners to pass the time. As I was looking around in the closet I saw a brush laying there all by itself on one of the shelves, it wasn't there last time. It looked as lonely as I felt. When mother wasn't looking a grabbed it and stuck it in my sweatshirt and smuggled it into my room." She felt Jane shift to look down at the brush, she smiled. "I had a VERY active imagination Jane. I named him Harold and he was my very best friend until I went off to boarding school. He came with me overseas actually." She felt her cheeks burn hot. "He was my friend, my dog, my guinea pig for experiments…" She shook her head feeling very embarrassed that she we telling Jane Rizzoli this, "I told you I was a weird kid."
Jane felt her eyes prickle, "No," the brunette pushed Maura away so she could look into her eyes. "No, not weird, you were a very lonely, smart child that took an ordinary household object and made it into something amazing," She watched as Maura turned even redder. Jane studied Maura's face, her blush showed her through her perfect make- up, and the freckles on her chest were highlighted by it also. A piece of her hair had worked its way loose and fallen across her left eye; Jane reached out and pushed the hair behind a small ear. Suddenly the urge to kiss this beautiful, kind woman over took her. She locked her eyes on to the hazel ones in front of her and slowly lowered her lips to Maura's. The kiss was soft and slow. Jane pulled back immediately searching Maura's eyes for regret. What she found was nothing but love shining through. "How about we forget about the party tonight? Just stay in?" Jane's voice and dropped and octave and sent shivers through Maura.
Maura's smile lit up the room, "I'd love that."
Jane reached over and picked up the brush. She looked at the colorful designs drawn by a young Maura and smiled, "So Harold huh?"
Maura just smiled, "Thank you."
Jane pulled back to look more fully at her friend, "For what?"
"For not thinking I'm a freak."
Jane again felt the tears threaten, "No, Maura. Anything but, you are amazing." She again leaned forward to brush her lips against Maura's, "Absolutely amazing."