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Chapter Text

"Hey," Jane said as she flopped onto the couch in Maura's office.

"Hi, Jane," Maura replied with a smile. She had been sitting behind her desk working on some recent reports on her laptop when Jane walked in. She gently closed her laptop before standing up and joining her friend on the couch.

"BPD is putting together a group to walk in the Pride parade next weekend," Jane explained, jumping right to the reason for visiting her best friend since she only had a few minutes before she had to get back to the bullpen. "It's not required for anyone, but Cavanaugh told me that the Chief of Police wants Boston's Hero cop to be there," she added, rolling her eyes.

"So, you were voluntold," Maura said with a smirk.

Jane laughed. "Yeah, I guess," she replied. "It's fine though. I don't mind going."

"It's a wonderful event," Maura said.

"You've been?" Jane asked, her face scrunched in confusion. She was wondering how she didn't know that Maura had been to one of these events.

"Yes, but not for years," Maura said. "I went to the parade and festival in college a couple of times as well as the first few years after I moved back to Boston."

"I've never been," Jane admitted.

"Did you know that the first Pride march in Boston took place in 1971? While New York holds the largest event in the country each year, the Boston parade and festival are among the most popular nationwide. I suppose that isn't surprising given Massachusetts history of being relatively progressive on issues of LGBTQ+ rights. However, early Pride events across the country were actually protests. Massachusetts decriminalized same-sex sexual activity in 1974 and was the first state to recognize same-sex marriage with the first marriage certificate being issued to a same-sex couple on May 17, 2004. This was well before same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide in 2015. Massachusetts was also the first state where the public voted in favor of transgender protections. Furthermore…"

"Okay, thanks for the history lesson," Jane cut in, her voice teasing, "but I have to get back to work. I just came down to see if you wanted to walk with us in the parade. We could go to the festival after…I mean, only if you want." Jane trailed off nervously, unsure of what Maura's silence meant.

Maura realized that she had been silent for too long when Jane's voice lost its usual confidence. She had been lost in thought about what Jane's invitation could imply. She hadn't expected Jane to be surprised that she had attended the event in the past, but it didn't seem like Jane was opposed to going, meaning it was unlikely that she was judging Maura for attending in the past.

The truth was, Maura had struggled with her sexuality since she was in high school. However, it wasn't something that she had ever discussed with Jane. Sure, they both made jokes about how much their relationship resembled that of a romantic couple, and they had always flirted over the years. But, despite this, they had avoided talking about the subject directly. Maura knew why she never brought it up, but she had often wondered why Jane never did. She had a few theories, but as someone who never guessed, she refrained from spending too much time thinking about the subject – well, she tried to refrain, at least.

"Y-yes," Maura replied quickly. "I would very much like to join you."

"Great!" Jane said, jumping up. "I'll send you the email with the details and we can figure out the logistics later. I actually think it's walking distance from your house."

Maura stood as well. "Thank you. I'm looking forward to it," Maura said honestly.

"C'ya!" Jane said, flashing Maura one of her signature smiles before leaving the office. Maura watched her go before turning back to her desk.

Maura was able to distract herself for the rest of the workday, but when she settled in her bed later that evening, her mind drifted back to Jane, the Pride parade, and her own untold history.

Maura wasn't sure why Jane's simple invitation had affected her so much. She knew that, in all likelihood, Jane just wanted a friendly face at the event. She knew it didn't mean anything. The problem was, she wanted it to mean something.

Maura had attended the equivalent of middle school and high school at a boarding school in Switzerland. On the surface, the school appeared to be very progressive. However, many of the students brought their old-world ideals along with their old-world money to the school. In other words, many conservative ideas were prevalent among the student body. This included significant prejudices against same-sex relationships and diverse sexual and gender identities.

Maura's parents had always been open-minded. They supported LGBTQ+ rights both politically and financially. They had raised Maura to be accepting and open to all kinds of relationships. However, her parents were rarely around during her childhood, which meant that as hard as she tried not to, she had somehow still internalized some of the fear instilled by her classmates.

Maura would never consider herself homophobic. She firmly believed that same-sex relationships should be treated the same as "traditional" relationships (and she hated the term "traditional" to describe male-female relationships). She believed that "love is love" and that people didn't choose their sexual or gender identities. She also believed that as long as they weren't hurting other people, everyone should be able to live the life they wanted and felt was right for them. She had had numerous friends and acquaintances throughout her life who identified as LGBTQ+.

Her issues came when she tried to identify her own sexual identity, and she wasn't entirely sure why. She knew it had to do with fear and her over-whelming desire to be accepted. Maura had never been very good at understanding people and that included herself.

At boarding school, a few of her classmates had been 'out,' but they were bullied terribly. Students who were suspected of being gay were also ridiculed relentlessly. While she had never been included in such conversations, she had overheard her classmates having prolonged discussions about who might be gay and warning each other to stay away from these individuals.

When she thought about her experiences growing up, Maura could now see her attraction to both boys and girls at least as early as age 13. However, at the time, her brain tried to 'rationalize' or explain away her interest in her female classmates. Her most common defense mechanism – for lack of a better term – was to convince herself that she was only looking at the other girls to compare herself to them, which of course was terrible in its own right.

It wasn't until she met Jane that she finally identified as bisexual, and it was like a floodgate opened. She still hadn't talked to anyone about it, nor had she dated any women, but when that final puzzle piece fell into place, so many things about her past made sense.

Maura rolled onto her side and grabbed her phone to check the time. She sighed. It was nearly 1am, and she needed to sleep. Not only did she need to go to the office tomorrow despite the fact that it was a Saturday, but she was also on call.

What Maura didn't know was that her best friend was also lying awake across town. Jane groaned as she buried her face in her pillows. She had been tossing and turning for a few hours now. When she had first thought to ask Maura to walk with them in the Pride parade, she hadn't thought much of it. Yes, she knew she had feelings for her best friend, but that was nothing new. The truth was, she always invited Maura to anything and everything that she could because she enjoyed spending time with her best friend, and this was no exception. However, Maura's hesitation had made her realize that maybe this wasn't the same. Inviting your best friend, who is not only the same sex as you, but whom you are also in love with to a gay pride event might have implications that Jane hadn't considered.

However, it wasn't the larger implications keeping Jane up tonight, it was her best friend's reaction. Jane had known that she was gay since she was 12 when she developed a huge crush on the only other girl on her baseball team, but at the same time, she had decided that coming out wasn't worth losing her family. Her father had made comments about "those people" throughout her entire childhood. Her catechism classes had drilled into them that being gay was a sin and that they would go to hell if they even lusted after another person of the same sex. She herself didn't believe that, but she did believe that if she came out, she would lose her family and the community in which she had grown up.

Marriage and kids had never been a life goal of hers anyway, so it was easier to lock that part of herself in a box and focus on her career. She had been with a few guys over the years, mostly to keep the rumors at bay, but she had never intended for them to go any further than a few months together. She threw herself headfirst into her job, and she loved it. She planned to dedicate her life to the force, and she believed that was be a life well lived. She was happy, and she didn't feel like she was missing out on anything – until she met Maura.

Maura. Dr. Maura Isles, Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Maura, her quirky, genius, kind, generous, amazing best friend. Maura Isles, the high-class socialite. Maura, the one person who made her reconsider all of her life choices. Maura Dorothea Isles, the only person Jane knew she couldn't live without. Maura, the love of her life.

And Jane was willing to give up everything for Maura, if only Maura wanted the same from her. Except Maura was straight. Not only was Maura straight, but she loved to gush about the guys she was seeing. Maura never failed to tell Jane every detail of her sex life, so Jane would know if Maura was attracted to women. No, Maura was straight. Jane was sure of this…or at least she was until Maura hesitated.

Yes, Jane was willing to come out if it meant she could be with Maura. She was willing to lose everything else, but she also knew she no longer would. Her mother had grown a lot since getting out from under her father's influence. Angela might struggle with the idea of Jane being with a woman at first, but Jane was sure that she would come around quickly – and she would come around even more quickly if that woman were Maura because Angela already loved Maura like a daughter. Her brothers were also a lot more accepting since they had left the shelter of their sheltered Italian Catholic community and seen more of the world. In fact, Jane was pretty sure both of her brothers already suspected Jane's feelings for her best friend. So, while Jane was willing to lose her family for Maura, she also knew that wasn't going to happen, and that meant the world to her.

But it didn't matter because Maura was straight…so why had she hesitated?

Chapter Text


Jane was staring at the computer screen in front of her, but she wasn't taking in anything she was reading. They hadn't been called in overnight, but she still hadn't gotten much sleep. She had continued to toss and turn throughout the night, only managing to get a few hours of restless sleep. All she had to do was finish this report; then, she would have the rest of her Saturday and Sunday free. The problem was, she couldn't concentrate enough to get through the report.

"Jane? Jaannneee? Janie!?" Frankie waved his hand in front of his sisters' face to try to get her attention.

"What?" Jane snapped as she forced herself out of her thoughts and back to the present.

"Are you alright?" Frankie asked.

"Yeah, yeah, sorry. Just tired," Jane replied.

"Okaayyy," Frankie said skeptically. "Well, Nina and I are heading out, but we were wondering if you wanted to grab a drink at the Robber?"

"Uhh," Jane hesitated. "Um, no, not this time," she said after a moment, surprising both Frankie and herself.

"Alright, well, we'll see you tomorrow then," Frankie said after a momentary pause.

"Yeah, c'ya tomorrow," Jane said, waving absently to Frankie as he headed towards the door. "Bye, Nina," she added as Nina joined Frankie near the elevator.

"Bye, Jane!" Nina called back. "Have a good afternoon!"

"Thanks, you guys, too," Jane said distractedly as she turned back to the screen.

Jane quickly filled in the rest of the report, not bothering to read through anything she wrote. Within 15 minutes, she was shutting down her computer. She quickly grabbed her keys, phone, and gun before nearly sprinting to the elevator. She pounded the down button impatiently. Nervous energy was flowing through her body, and she was bouncing on her toes. Every few seconds, she reached out to press the down button again.

She knew she was being impatient, but she wanted…no she needed to get to Maura. She hoped that Maura hadn't left for the day yet, but she wasn't sure how much work Maura had actually had to do today. For all Jane knew, Maura could have left hours ago.

Finally, the elevator arrived on the third floor. Without hesitating, she jumped into the elevator and rode it down to the basement. She was convinced that the elevator had somehow slowed down to a snail's pace.

When she arrived downstairs, Jane hesitated for the first time since deciding that she needed to see her friend. She had no idea what she was going to say. She couldn't just walk in there and ask Maura why she had hesitated when Jane had invited her to walk in the parade…could she?

Jane sighed. She was being ridiculous. This was Maura. All Jane had to do was ask Maura if she wanted to hang out tonight, something she probably would have done even if her own thoughts weren't jumbled up.

Jane glanced in Maura's office. Her friend wasn't in there, but her bag and computer were still in her office, so Jane knew Maura must be around here somewhere.

When Jane stepped into the morgue, she found Maura with her head buried in a supply cabinet.

"What'r ya doin'?" Jane asked with a hint of laughter lacing her voice.

Maura jumped, causing her to lightly bump her head on the shelf above her in the cabinet. "Ouch," Maura said under her breath as she brought her hand up to rub the spot on her head that had hit the shelf. She turned towards the voice that had interrupted her thoughts. "Jane," she greeted, surprise evident in her voice. "I didn't expect anyone down here."

"Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you," Jane said as she walked towards her friend.

Maura shook her head. "It's okay," she said, dropping her hand from her head once she had ascertained that she hadn't drown blood. "I was lost in thought. Normally, I would have heard the door."

"You okay?" Jane said, stepping closer. Jane gently gripped Maura's chin and tilted her head so that she could check for injuries.

Maura chuckled lightly. "I'm fine, Jane," she assured her friend. "I barely hit the shelf."

Jane gently brushed her fingers across the spot on Maura's head, causing a rush of heat to rush through Maura's body.

"Really, I'm okay," Maura said. She smiled at her friend as she took half a step back, putting space between her and Jane.

"Okay," Jane acquiesced. "Anyway, I'm done for the day. I was wondering if you had plans tonight. I thought maybe we could order dinner and have a movie night."

Maura glanced back at the cabinet that she had been inventorying. In all honesty, she had finished her necessarily work for the day over two hours ago, but she hadn't been able to get herself to go home. She wasn't sure if this was because she was hoping Jane would come see her or if she was just finding ways to distract herself from thoughts about her best friend – maybe it was both.

"It's okay if you're busy," Jane said quickly when Maura looked back at what she had been working on. "I just thought…"

"No, I'm not busy," Maura interjected. "And I don't have any plans for tonight. I would love to order take-out and watch a movie. Do you want to plan to spend the night?"

"I'd have to stop home to get some of my things," Jane said, purposely avoiding answering the question.

Maura noticed Jane's side-step around the question, but now that her best friend was standing in front of her, she realized that she wanted…no needed to spend as much time as possible with Jane. "Well, I'd like to finish up this cabinet. I hate leaving things unfinished," Maura said, causing them both to laugh at what might be the understatement of the century. "You could run home. Then, she would meet at my place…" Maura looked at her watch before adding, "around 5pm?"

Jane nodded and a genuine smile tugged at her lips. "Okay, yeah, that sounds perfect. Do you want me to pick up dinner on the way?" she asked.

"I suppose it depends on what you want for dinner. If we ordered Thai, it would make sense for you to pick it up since it's on your way. If we decided on Chinese or Pizza, I could pick it up on the way home. If we wanted something else, it would probably make the most sense to order delivery," Maura rattled off.

"Well, do you have a preference?" Jane asked.

"Mmm," Maura thought. "I'd prefer not to have pizza since your mother will likely make something tomato-based tomorrow. Maybe Thai or Chinese?"

"Let's do Thai," Jane said. "It's been a while since we ordered from there."


"Do you want the usual?"

"Sure," Maura replied. "Thank you."

"Okay, I should head out," Jane said. "I'll see you at 5 with food in hand."

"Sounds good," Maura said with a smile. "I'm looking forward to it." Maura watched Jane leave the morgue. She had been on edge all day as her thoughts continued to return to the topic that had consumed her since the previous day. However, just seeing Jane had calmed her somehow despite the fact that Jane was at the center of her stressful musings.

Maura sighed as she gave her head a gentle shake to clear her thoughts. She really needed to stop obsessing about this or Jane was going to be able to tell something was off.

As promised, Jane burst through the front door of Maura's house just after 5pm, food in hand.

"I'm starving," Jane said dramatically as she dropped the bag on the kitchen counter.

Maura laughed. "I happen to know that that is impossible given the food I have witnessed you consume over the past few days," she quipped.

Jane huffed in mock annoyance, but she couldn't keep a straight face. "Okay, fine, but I'm very hungry," she said through her laughter.

Maura just laughed as she pulled down two plates while Jane opened the bag. They continued to tease each other good-naturedly as they filled their plates and sat at the kitchen island to eat. Maura had already poured herself a glass of wine and opened a bottle of beer for Jane.

Both Jane and Maura quickly fell into their usual comfortable companionship, and they both forgot their previous worries. At least, they did until they sat down to choose a movie.

"It's your turn to pick," Jane said as she handed Maura the remote. "I'll get comfortable for my nap."

Maura laughed, poking Jane in the side. "No sleeping," she teased. "I don't have anything in mind, though, if you'd prefer to pick."

"Nah, it's your turn, and there's nothing in particular I really want to see. Let's just go through the new releases or recommendations or whatever," Jane said.

Maura navigated to the recommendations page on her Apple TV. She liked this list because it pulled from all of the different streaming services she and Jane subscribed to. Maura laughed internally as she scrolled through the options. The list was a pretty good representation of each of them. It was full of documentaries for Maura and action movies for Jane – and nothing in between.

Maura paused without realizing what she was doing when she got to one of the new release recommendations: a docu-series on Pride. Everything she had been thinking about since yesterday but had been able to put out of her mind for the past few hours came flooding back. She didn't even realize she had stopped until Jane turned to look at her.

Jane looked back and forth between Maura and the TV screen. She hadn't even considered that Maura might want to watch something about Pride, but she had to admit that she was also intrigued. Maybe she hadn't been the only one thinking about their conversation from the previous day.

Realizing that Maura seemed to be frozen in place, Jane gently offered, "We can watch that if you want."

Maura pulled herself from her trance and looked at Jane. She nodded before saying, "Yes, I'd like to learn more about the history of Pride before we attend next weekend. It looks like the episodes aren't that long, so if you don't like the first one, we can stop."

"I'm fine with this. Besides, it's your choice," Jane said, turning back to the TV and settling into the couch.

Maura and Jane started sitting next to each other but with a few inches in between them. But, as usual, by the end of the first episode, they were leaning against each other.

"That was pretty interesting," Jane said honestly when the episode ended. "Do you want to watch another one?"

"Y-yeah," Maura said weakly, but before she could press play, Jane stopped her.

"What's going on, Maura?" Jane asked gently. "Are you okay?"

"I-I…" Maura closed her eyes in an attempt to stop the tears threatening to fall. She wanted to lie. She wanted to say she was fine. She wanted to continue hiding. She wanted to just move on to the next episode. But she couldn't do it anymore. "No," Maura said thickly as she pinched her nose between her thumb and forefinger. "I'm sorry, Jane."

Jane shifted to better face Maura on the couch. She reached out to rub Maura's back. "You don't have to be sorry," Jane said. "You know that you can talk to me about anything, right?"

Maura looked back at Jane, and Jane could see the unshed tears clouding her eyes. "I-I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed," Maura admitted sadly.

Jane glanced at the TV. "Because of the documentary?" she asked softly.

"Yes and no," Maura said truthfully. She looked deep into Jane's eyes. She hadn't planned to talk about this to Jane ever, let alone tonight, but maybe she needed to. "Um, it actually started when you invited me to attend the Pride parade with you."

"You don't have to come," Jane interjected as kindly as she could.

Maura sighed. "It's not that I don't want to come," she continued, breaking eye contact with Jane. "This is hard for me…" Maura paused. "I've never talked about this with anyone."

"That's okay," Jane said sympathetically. "But I'm hear to listen if you want to talk about it now. There's absolutely nothing you can say that will change how I feel about you. I won't judge you."

"I know you won't," Maura replied honestly. "I've struggled with my sexuality since I was an adolescent. I truly didn't know how I identified until I was 30. I realize that sounds ridiculous and impossible, but…"

"No, Maura. It doesn't sound ridiculous or impossible. Everyone has a different journey," Jane tried to reassure her friend.

Maura nodded absently, but she continued to stare at her hands in her lap instead of making eye contact with Jane. "I've known for a few years now that I'm bisexual, but I've never told anyone – not because I'm embarrassed or think that there is anything wrong with that. I've just been scared. Well, you know how much I've struggled with being accepted. I suppose I just felt like I didn't need another reason for people to reject me."

"Oh, Maura…" Jane started.

Maura shook her head and cut Jane off. "It's not you," Maura said firmly. "It's not even about any of our friends or family. It comes from my childhood."

"Your parents?" Jane asked.

"Actually, no," Maura replied. "My school and my classmates, in particular."

"I'm sorry," Jane said quietly. "I'm not saying that I know what you've been through, but I…well, I guess that I had similar struggles." Jane met Maura's eyes before adding. "I've known that I was gay since I was 12 years old, but I never planned to come out. Growing up, my parents – well, really, my father – repeated and believed pretty much every anti-gay or anti-LGBT belief. And you know what the Catholic Church teaches."

"I'm sorry, too, Jane," Maura whispered as she wiped the tears from her cheeks.

Jane shrugged. "I'll tell you my story, but I didn't mean to interrupt you. Why don't you finish first?" Jane suggested gently.

Maura nodded. "I-I-I, um, I've never been with a woman, but I do believe that I've been in love before," Maura said slowly.

"With a woman?" Jane asked.

Maura nodded. "Yes, with my roommate from my last two years of boarding school. I didn't realize it at the time but looking back…I don't know how to explain it," Maura admitted.

"It's okay. You don't have to," Jane said kindly.

"I want…I need to tell you," Maura said thickly. "I've never talked about it. I need…I need…" Maura broke off as more tears threatened to fall.

"Hey, you can talk to me," Jane said gently as she reached out to rub Maura's arm.

Maura nodded as she folded her arms protectively in front of her chest. "I know," she whispered. "It's just hard."

"I get that. Take your time."

"Her name was Bethany," Maura continued. "She was my friend. Probably my best friend before I met you." Maura laughed humorlessly. "Except we never used the term 'best friend,' so I wasn't lying when I said I'd never had a best friend before," she said, and Jane could hear the deep sadness that penetrated her voice. "She may have been my closest friend, and while I think she considered me a friend, I doubt she ever considered me her closest friend.

"Anyway, I naively thought we had a friendship that would last. I think she was just so important to me that I thought…well, I really don't know what I thought. We both went to college in the U.S. In fact, we both went to college in New England. We met up a few times during the fall semester of our freshman year, but our relationship quickly fell apart. It became very clear very fast that I wanted a friendship with her much more than she wanted a friendship with me. To be honest, by the end, we were both quite mean to each other," Maura admitted.

"I can't see you being mean to anyone," Jane said honestly.

Maura snorted uncharacteristically. "We both know that's not true," she said. "When we fought after the shooting, we both said mean things to each other."

"Yeah, but…that's…it's not the same, Maura," Jane tried.

"It felt the same to me," Maura confessed, fresh tears clouding her eyes.

Jane sighed sadly. "I'm so sorry, Maura," she offered, her own voice showing uncharacteristic vulnerability. "I-I…it's not…I still…gah, why can't I get this out," Jane exclaimed, frustration lacing her voice. "Okay, yes, we were both jerks, and I understand that it felt the same, but you have to know, I never, ever wanted to end our friendship. I wouldn't have let you get away as easily as this…this idiot…"

"Jane," Maura reprimanded quietly.

"I'm sorry," Jane said contritely. "I shouldn't have called her that. But I meant the rest of it. I wouldn't have given up. I couldn't imagine my life without you in it."

"I know you're not the same as Bethany," Maura said. "I'm just saying that when we were fighting it felt very similar to when my friendship with Bethany imploded, for lack of a better word, and that scared me. Losing Bethany nearly broke me, but losing you…losing you would have broken me."

"Losing you would have broken me too," Jane admitted softly.

"I always knew my relationship with Bethany was different from all of my other relationships, much like my relationship with you. We were very tactile, very physically affectionate. I have always hated hugs and cuddling…touch in general…from anyone except for Bethany and you," Maura shared. "At the beginning of our friendship, I really struggled because I could feel myself falling into a similar pattern. I craved being close to you – in every way possible – but I was also so scared about what that meant. I felt…I still feel that I won't survive getting close to you and then losing you. Part of me wanted to protect myself from that, but at the same time, I couldn't resist you."

Jane had so much she wanted to say, but she knew that she had to let Maura get all of this out.

"When I went to my first Pride event in college, I went alone…well, actually in the past, I've only ever attended Pride events alone. What I meant was, at that point, I attended just to see what it was like because I still steadfastly believed I was heterosexual. I know that sounds ridiculous. I was in love with my high school roommate; how could I possibly not know that I wasn't straight. But I think that the fear instilled in me at school was so deeply ingrained that my brain just refused to see it," Maura said before pausing.

"I'm really sorry that you had to deal with all of that," Jane said genuinely. "And I'm even more sorry that you've been dealing with it alone all this time."

Maura shook her head. "It's not your fault, Jane," she said.

Jane shrugged. "I know I couldn't have done anything about the years before we met, but we've been friends for years now. I hate that you didn't feel like you could talk to me about this," Jane said, "and that is, at least partially, my fault."

"I really don't think it is, Jane," Maura continued. "I mean, I was projecting a past relationship onto our relationship. There's no way you could have known that in order to do something about it. I wasn't afraid to talk to you because I thought you would be unaccepting or unhelpful. I was afraid…I-I…" Maura sighed as she tried to find the words to explain her thoughts. "In my attempts to save my friendship with Bethany, at the end, I repeatedly told her how important she was to me. I didn't mean for it to be manipulative, but I do think that's probably how it came across. I also think it probably pushed her away faster. At the time, though, I think I hoped that she was just as scared of losing me as I was of losing her and that if I told her how I felt, she would realize that…god, this sounds horribly manipulative." Maura buried her face in her hands.

"Hey," Jane said gently as she pulled Maura's hands away from her face. "I think I understand what you are saying. Yeah, it sounds manipulative the way you're explaining it, but I truly believe that you didn't intend to be manipulative. You're just not like that. One of the hardest things about admitting you have feelings for a friend…that you want something more than a platonic friendship…is the vulnerability of being rejected."

"Yes, but I didn't even know that I wanted something more than a platonic friendship," Maura interjected.

"I get that, but the reality is, on some level, you did want more. You just weren't ready yet, and that's okay. I think what you were really trying to do wasn't to manipulate her; I think you were trying to tell her that you wouldn't reject her – that you wouldn't hurt her," Jane said.

Maura nodded and let out a shaky breath as more tears started pouring down her cheeks. Regardless of what she wanted with Jane, Maura was realizing that she should have talked to Jane about Bethany a long time ago. Her guilt and shame about how her friendship with Bethany ended had plagued her for years, but ultimately, Jane was right, and Maura felt like a giant weight had been lifted from her chest.

"Can I hug you now?" Jane asked gently.

Maura nodded again as she leaned towards Jane, letting herself fall into Jane's open arms. Jane wrapped her arms around Maura and held her tight, eventually giving Maura a soft kiss on the top of her head. Maura shut her eyes and let herself get lost in the comfort and safety that she felt in Jane's arms. She didn't realize how exhausted she felt until this moment, but the day's events and emotions had taken their toll. They had so much more to talk about, but Maura wasn't sure how much more she could take. Maura fought against the sleep that tried to pull her under, but surrounded by Jane, – surrounded by Jane's love – she was fighting a losing battle. She was asleep within minutes.

When Maura woke up the next morning, it took her a few moments to orient herself. She was in her bed, meaning that Jane must have carried her up sometime during the night while Maura remained asleep. Jane was spooning her from behind, her arms were holding Maura close, and their legs were tangled together. They had shared a bed many times, but they had never slept in such an intimate position. She wondered if Jane had intentionally cuddled her or if it had just happened in their sleep.

Maura didn't want to move. She could tell that Jane was still asleep by the slow breathing that she could feel against her neck. However, her hands couldn't help finding Jane's and lacing their fingers together. Maura thought back to her conversation with Jane the previous evening. They hadn't talked about their own relationship at all even though Maura had clearly implied that she had feelings for Jane multiple times. At any other time, she might have interpreted Jane's lack of reciprocation to mean that she didn't share Maura's feelings. However, she knew that Jane had been trying to let Maura say everything she needed to say. Jane wanted Maura to direct the conversation, and Maura was grateful for that. There were a few times that she spoke up – primarily when she thought Maura was flat out wrong – but she never interjected her own thoughts otherwise. Maura supposed that Jane probably also had unanswered questions about their conversation as well. She really hoped that Jane would be willing and able to stay over today to finish their conversation. Maura wasn't sure she could handle the anxiety of not knowing Jane's thoughts and feelings while still having to go through Sunday Dinner with the Rizzolis and potentially even having to go to work, depending on how long it would be before they could find another time to talk.

"I can hear the gears turning in your big brain," Jane teased in a whisper, causing Maura to jump slightly since she hadn't realized that Jane was awake yet.

Maura decided she needed to be strong and turn around to face Jane. She did so, but she put a few inches of space between them. It didn't yet seem appropriate to press the fronts of their bodies together. They were still quite close to each other as they lay face-to-face.

"Are you okay?" Jane asked quietly.

Maura nodded. "Yes, overall, I am okay, but I do still have a lot to work through. I think yesterday was just a lot," she admitted honestly.

"Does that mean you want some time alone?" Jane asked, referring to Maura's statement that 'I' – not we – 'do still have a lot to work through.'

Maura faltered, opening and closing her mouth a few times as she attempted to find an answer.

Jane decided to try to make this easier by offering options, "Okay, well, I'd really like a chance for the two of us to talk a little more, but I don't want to rush you. I also don't want it hanging over our heads forever. That leaves us with a couple of options. First, we could get up and have breakfast together. Then, I could go back to my place to change and get ready. Obviously, I would be back here for dinner. And I thought, maybe I could stay later, and we could talk after dinner. Another option would be for me to just stay here. We could continue our conversation after breakfast, or we could just spend the day together relaxing and still have the conversation after dinner. I guess that was kinda two options in one. It's also okay if you need more time. We can find another time to talk. I'd just like to at least set a time because I think this is important enough that we can't just let it get away from us."

"I want to do it today," Maura. "I also want you to stay all day, so I think either the second or third option would be my preference. At first, I was thinking the second option where we have the conversation during the morning so that we…I don't worry about it all day, but then when you offered the third option…well, there's definitely an appeal to having some time to relax and decompress before we continue this conversation. I think the most important thing for me is that you are around until we have the conversation. I do understand that that may be impractical though. We also need to take into account your preferences."

"I like the two options you listed," Jane said, and she meant it. "Why don't we get ready for the day and have breakfast? Once we're fed and caffeinated, we'll have a better idea of how we're feeling."

"Okay, that sounds logical," Maura said as she started to get out of bed. However, halfway to standing, she turned back to Jane. "Can I ask you one thing?"

"Sure." Jane said confusedly.

"I don't remember coming up to bed last night, so I'm assuming you carried me. Did we get into that position – spooning each other – consciously or did that just happen at some time while we were both asleep?" Maura asked.

Jane blushed. "We didn't start out like that. Yes, I carried you up and placed you in your usual position under the covers. I was worried about you, so I decided to sleep in here with you instead of in the guest room in case you needed anything, but I didn't initially spoon you. Not long after we were settled in, you started whimpering in your sleep. I thought maybe you were having nightmares, so I tried to wake you up, and I thought you did wake up. However, by the look on your face right now, I'm now thinking I might have been wrong. Anyway, it kept happening, so eventually I wrapped my arms around you and held you close. You settled down almost instantly. I tried once to pull away because cuddling you without your consent…well…anyway, the whimpering started within probably two minutes. I couldn't just leave you like that, so I held you from behind. You seemed to sleep through the rest of the night. I'm really sorry if I overstepped, Maura," Jane said nervously.

Maura sat on the edge of the bed facing Jane, who was still mostly lying down with her head propped up with one hand. She shook her head lightly before saying, "You didn't overstep, Jane. Yes, consent is important, but in our relationship, I believe that we have already given consent for those types of situations. We have both helped each other through nightmares in the past. I just don't remember any of my dreams or nightmares from last night, which isn't uncommon. Had I remembered them, I wouldn't have even questioned it. We can talk more about boundaries later, though, let's get ready for the day and eat breakfast."

Jane nodded before heading to the guest bathroom to get ready while Maura used the master bath.

Chapter Text

"How are you feeling?" Jane asked as Maura handed her a fresh cup of coffee. Maura sat down on the couch sideways and crossed her legs in front of her so that she was sitting facing Jane. Jane turned to mirror Maura's position.

Maura tilted her head as she considered her answer to Jane's question. "I'm okay," she said slowly. "If it's okay with you, I think I'm ready to continue our conversation from last night."

"Okay," Jane replied.

"Can I ask you something?" Maura asked nervously.

"Sure," Jane answered.

"You said you knew you were…that you were attracted to women when you were twelve," Maura said slowly.

"Well, girls, not women, since I was twelve," Jane quipped. "Although, I did have a bit of a crush on my high school gym teacher when I was fifteen."

Maura smiled weakly but continued, "But I've only known you to date men. I thought…I thought you were heterosexual."

"I know," Jane said sadly. "That's what I wanted everyone to think. It's not that I particularly cared that I was gay, but my parents would have, and my community would have. Pop…he would always talk about how unnatural it is, how it's against the Bible; he'd rant about how sick 'those people' were. Basically, he repeated every cliché anti-gay argument. And I heard the same things at church and at school. It just seemed easier to pretend. Sure, I had crushes on other girls and eventually on other women, but no one was ever important enough to make me want to deal with the fall-out…well, no one until now."

Maura's eyes locked on Jane's, but she didn't say anything. Jane could still see the uncertainty in her friend's features, so she added with a smirk, "I'm talking about you. You know that, right?"

Maura let out a choked sob, and her hand flew to her mouth as tears streamed down her face. She really hadn't thought that Jane was talking about anyone else but hearing Jane say it out loud…she hadn't realized how much she needed to actually hear it.

Jane placed her coffee mug on the table before taking Maura's tea and setting it next to her mug. Then, she wrapped her arms around her friend and held her tight as Maura let out her emotions. Maura's whole body was trembling in Jane's arms. They both remained silent until Maura's tears slowed, and she sat up again.

"But I don't…I can't…I can't be the reason you lose your family," she said thickly.

Jane reached out and took Maura's hands in her own. She waited until Maura made eye contact before she said, "I would choose you every single time. Without hesitation. I would give up everyone and everything else in my life if it meant I got to spend the rest of my life with you, even just as your best friend. But Maura, I'm not going to have to. Pop's not a part of my life anymore; you know that. So, I don't care what he thinks. Frankie, Nina, and Tommy won't care. In fact, I'm fairly certain they already know; they just understand it's something they need to leave alone."

"But your mom?" Maura said weakly because she knew that no matter how much Jane complained about her mother, she loved her very much. She knew that losing her mother would devastate Jane, and Maura wasn't willing to be the reason that Jane lost her family. Maura didn't want to lose the woman who had become like a mother to her either.

Jane shook her head. "She'll be okay. I mean, it'll probably be hard for her to accept at first, but I have no doubt that she'll come around eventually. And the fact that it's you…uh, sorry, that was a bit presumptuous…" Jane trailed off nervously. "Anyway, she loves you, so if we do decide to take the next step, she'll accept our relationship a lot faster than she would if I brought home some random woman. She's come a long way since Pop left her. Don't get me wrong, he's an ass for what he did to her, but it ended up being what was best for her. She needed to get away from him, but she never would have left him on her own."

"I don't know, Jane," Maura said sadly. She wanted Jane to be right, but Jane coming out to her mother wasn't something she'd ever be able to take back. If it ruined Jane and Angela's relationship, Maura wasn't sure she would ever be able to forgive herself.

"Okay, let me make one thing clear," Jane said firmly but kindly, "you mean more to me than anyone else, but just because I'm willing to come out to my mother in order to be with you, that doesn't make whatever happens next your fault. In fact, let me remove all of your doubt. Even if we decide that this…us…" Jane pointed her finger back and forth between the two of them. "Even if we decide that we're not going to change anything. Even if we decide to just stay friends. Even if you decide you never want to tell another soul that you're attracted to women as well as men. Even if you never want to talk about our relationship ever again after today, I'm coming out to my family, and I'll deal with the consequences. I still think it'll be fine, but if it isn't, I don't want you to ever think it's your fault because it wouldn't be."

Maura nodded as fresh tears burned in the corners of her eyes. Maura wiped furiously at the tears that managed to escape.

Jane decided to continue, "So, as I was saying, I dated a few guys throughout the years to stop the rumors, but I never planned to get married. I was married to my job, and that was exactly what I wanted…or I thought it was."

"But you almost married Casey," Maura whispered.

Jane looked down at her hands in shame. "I never would have gone through with it, but I admit that I got caught up in the whole thing…with the proposal and then the baby…but I have no doubt that I would have come to my senses quickly, even if he left the army. Casey was nice, and he was safe. We were friends, so I didn't mind spending time with him when he was around, but it was even more convenient that he was never really around. We never would have lasted as long as we did if we were both in the same city all that time."

"Did it not bother you to have sex with someone you weren't sexually attracted to?" Maura asked. Part of her was wondering if she was going to far, but both the scientific part of her brain and the emotional part of her brain wanted to know the answer – albeit for very different reasons.

"No," Jane said with a shrug. "Maybe it should have, but it didn't. I got pretty good at faking it. I'd fall into my own fantasy in order to get myself aroused enough to do what they needed. Sometimes I could get into my fantasy enough to get all the way there while we were…doing it…but usually, I'd just take care of myself later."

"I know you've said that you've never come out, but have you had sexual intercourse with a woman?" Maura asked. "I just wasn't sure if you were only referring to coming out to your friends and family since there are other ways to meet sexual partners and keep it separate from your everyday life."

"No, you're literally the first person I've said this out loud to or acknowledged my true feelings in any way. I've never kissed a woman. I've never slept with a woman. I never told anyone. I figured if even one person knew, it could get out," Jane said.

"I'm the same way," Maura said quietly. "You're the first person I've told, too."

"You don't have to answer this, but you said that you didn't even know your sexuality until you were 30. What changed? Like, was there something that happened that helped you realize that you're bisexual?" Jane asked softly.

Maura's cheeks instantly flushed bright red as the memory flashed through her mind, and her gaze dropped to her hands in her lap.

Jane noticed Maura's reaction right away. In any other situation, she might tease her friend, but she knew this wasn't the time. "You don't have to tell me," she said gently.

"It's completely normal and healthy," Maura mumbled towards her lap.

"What?" Jane asked, confusion evident in her voice.

"Research suggests that 8 percent of dreams are sex-related," Maura rattled off. "Nearly everyone has an erotic dream at some point during their life. However, the number and frequency of these dreams varies widely from person to person. The scientific community still doesn't fully understand dreams and how they are related to our real lives. There are a number of theories proposed by various disciplines, though. Sex dreams in particular are not well understood, probably because the taboo nature of sex in our society."

"Is this your unique way of telling me that you realized you were bisexual from a sex dream?" Jane asked.

Maura gripped her own ankles tightly in an attempt to control some of her anxiety. She nodded before adding, "The next day, I read every academic article I could find on the significance of erotic dreams. Just because someone appears in your sex dreams does not necessarily mean that you are attracted to them or that you actually want an intimate relationship with that person. There are many reasons a person may be involved in another person's erotic dream. However, the more I researched the topic, the more confident I became in my own feelings. There was no doubt in my mind that I wanted…" Maura trailed off awkwardly. "Jane, my dream was about you," she added quietly.

"Oh…ohhh," Jane said as realization hit her. She smiled and admitted, "Well, if it makes you feel any better, you have had a staring role in my fantasies for years now.

"Really?" Maura asked, finally lifting her head to look at Jane.

Jane chuckled. "Yes, really," she replied.

Maura cracked a smile before turning on the couch so that she was sitting closer to Jane with her back against the back of the couch. Jane followed her lead and shifted to sit next to Maura. Maura leaned against her friend and rested her head on Jane's shoulder.

"What does this mean for us?" she asked, vulnerability lacing her voice.

Jane turned her head and left a gentle kiss on the top of Maura's head before leaning her cheek against Maura's hair. "It can mean whatever we want it to mean," she whispered. "What do you want it to mean?" Jane knew what she wanted, but she didn't want to push Maura into anything she wasn't ready for.

Maura didn't answer right away. Eventually, she said softly, "I can't lose you, Jane."

"You're not going to. No matter what you want next, you're not going to lose me. If you never want anything more than friendship, I'll always be your best friend and you'll always be mine. If you want to wait and consider revisiting this at a later date, I'll wait with you – I'll still be your best friend. If you want to try taking the next step, if you want to try dating, I'm all in. And Maura, if we try dating and decide it's not working, you're still not going to lose me. You are my best friend first and foremost. Nothing will ever change that. I know staying friends with an ex doesn't always work, but I truly believe we're different. We've already been through hell together. We can get through anything. But just so you know, I think we'd make it. I think we'd last."

Maura sat in silence for a few minutes, considering everything that had happened over the last two days. The truth was, she knew what she wanted. She wanted Jane. She wanted everything with Jane. "I'm scared," she admitted quietly.

"I know," Jane replied. "Honestly, I am, too, but I want this. I don't want to pressure you into anything, though. You don't have to decide anything right now. You can take as much time as you need."

"I don't need time to know what I want," Maura replied. "I've known what I wanted for years. I just didn't realize that it was ever a possibility." Maura lifted her head to look at Jane. "I want to try," she said. "I want to go on a date with you. I want everything with you, but only if you promise that if it doesn't work…"

"I promise, Maura," Jane said firmly, not letting her friend finish. "I promise you won't lose me. If it doesn't work, we can always go back to being friends. You're stuck with me…foreeevvvvveeeerrrrrrrrr."

Maura laughed lightly. Her eyes dropped involuntarily to Jane's lips. Looking back in her eyes, Maura asked, "Do we have to wait until our first date to kiss?"

Jane chuckled. "Not if you don't want to," she said quietly, a hint of teasing in her voice.

"I don't want to…" Maura whispered, leaning forward slightly.

Jane closed the distance, and their lips met in a feather-light kiss. Maura's eyes fluttered closed as Jane's lips slowly began moving against her own. Maura returned the kiss tentatively as heat flooded her body. This is what all the books were talking about, she thought. Maura shifted slightly in order to increase the pressure against Jane's lips. They fit together perfectly. Maura couldn't believe how soft, how perfect Jane's lips felt against her own. It was unlike anything she had ever experienced before.

Jane's whole body was tingling as their lips continued to move together. She wanted more than anything to deepen the kiss. She wanted to reach out and pull Maura towards her, but she knew they needed to move slowly. This was new for both of them, and she didn't want to push Maura past what she was comfortable with.

Maura pulled back a hair. They opened their eyes, and their gazes locked. They were both breathing heavily, and their hearts were beating so fast that Maura couldn't believe that all they'd been doing is kissing for a few minutes. Maura smiled shyly as she bit her bottom lip.

Jane returned Maura's smile, but she didn't move away. They were only a few inches apart. "I…I love you, Maura," Jane whispered. "You don't have to say anything. I know it's fast, but I just needed you to know that."

Maura couldn't stop her smile from growing. "I love you too, Jane," she admitted softly. "I want to kiss you again."

"I'm not stopping you," Jane breathed out.

Maura leaned in for another kiss. This time, she brought her hands up to cup Jane's face, eventually sliding her hands back into Jane's hair. She gently gripped the unruly curls as she swiped her tongue across Jane's bottom lip.

When Jane felt Maura's tongue brush across her lips, she instantly parted her lips. Her own hands flew to Maura's hips as Maura's tongue slipped into her mouth. Jane let out an involuntary moan when their tongues met. She was quickly getting lost in the taste and feeling of Maura. This was better than anything she had ever experienced. Their tongues danced together as the kiss deepened.

Jane slowly leaned back, pulling Maura with her but giving her enough time to stop the movement, but Maura didn't stop her. Jane laid against the corner of the couch and Maura settled on top of her. They continued to make-out, their mouths moving together in a sensual dance while their hands gently caressed each other. Neither woman tried to take it any further. Their hands stayed above the waist and over clothing, but it didn't matter. Both of them were enjoying the new feelings flooding their bodies. Just the feeling of being with the person you love was more than enough.

Chapter Text


It had been a week since they had admitted their feelings for each other, and they had spent nearly every free moment together. They had gone on their first official date on Thursday. It was simultaneously both the best date either woman had been on and not all that different than all the times they had gone out together as friends. And that was exactly what both of them had wanted. They hadn't yet decided how or when they were going to tell people about this new development, but they hadn't realized how obvious they were being either. Once the kissing had started, neither woman had been able to keep their lips and hands off the other.

Nina was the first person to walk in on them fresh out of a passionate make-out session in Maura's office. Since Nina had knocked before entering, she hadn't actually seen them together, but with their flushed faces, swollen lips, and heavy breathing, it took her about two seconds to realize what they had just been doing.

Nina couldn't keep the smile that overtook her face. "How long?" she asked quickly. "If you're not ready for anyone else to know, I won't tell anyone, not even Frankie, but I have to know, how long have you been a couple."

Maura and Jane shared a soft smile before Maura answered Nina, "Since Saturday…well, no, technically Sunday."

Jane laughed at Maura's indecision about which day they officially started dating.

Nina laughed too. "You're gonna need to pick one so that you have an anniversary," she teased.

Jane looked at Maura. "Let's go with Saturday," Jane suggested. "I know we didn't actually label anything until Sunday, but I dunno, it feels like this started with our conversation Saturday night."

Maura's smile only grew as she agreed, "Yes, okay, Saturday."

"I'm so happy for both of you," Nina said genuinely.

"Thank you," Jane replied. "Can you let me tell Frankie, though?"

"Of course," Nina replied. "Like I said, I won't tell anyone."

After that, they fell back into conversation about their latest case and everything felt normal, which made Maura happier than she ever would have predicted.

It was now Saturday morning, and they were getting ready to walk to the park where they would be meeting the others from BPD who would be walking in the parade. Jane had Maura pinned against the counter. Maura's hands grasped desperately at Jane's back as they kissed passionately. They had a few minutes before they needed to leave, and they were making sure to take advantage of the time.

They were so lost in each other that they didn't hear the back door open. It wasn't until they heard a loud, "Oh!" that they realized that Angela had entered the kitchen.

Maura and Jane instantly separated, but Jane didn't step away from Maura. This may not have been how they planned or wanted to tell Angela, but Jane wasn't going to let Maura think she was embarrassed about their relationship. Jane was still standing close enough to Maura, though, that she could feel the other women start to tremble due to nerves.

"Ma," Jane started slowly.

"I, um, I…" Angela stuttered. "Are you two…are you…are you…lesbians?" Angela whispered the last word as though she was afraid that someone might hear her if she said it at a normal volume.

Jane sighed. "Ma," Jane paused and glanced at Maura before continuing, "Ma, yes, we're dating, but it's new. We were going to tell you eventually. We just hadn't decided when yet."

"But…but…" Angela glanced back and forth between the two women. She truly didn't know what to say. There was no doubt in her mind that she loved both Jane and Maura unconditionally, but she wasn't sure how she felt about this. If she were honest with herself, she'd admit that she had always wondered about her daughter. Her daughter was a tomboy, and she had never talked about boys the way her brothers had talked about girls. Angela had just hoped she would never have to actually deal with it. She knew it wasn't the best policy, but she preferred to live in denial and avoid the issue completely. However, she had never expected that Maura would engage in a homosexual relationship. "I don't know what to say…" she finally admitted.

Jane gave Maura's hand a gentle squeeze. "Look ma, to answer your original question, I'm not sure the labels actually matter, but yeah, I'm gay, so I guess that makes me a lesbian. Maura gets to decide what she wants to tell you about how she identifies, but like I said the label doesn't really matter. What does matter is how we feel about each other," Jane said.

"But you dated men," Angela argued, somewhat lamely. "You almost married Casey. You were going to have his baby."

"Yeah, because it was easier to pretend to be straight," Jane admitted. "I…I…I didn't want to lose my family," Jane said, and for the first time since her mother walked in, her voice cracked.

"Oh, Janie," Angela said sadly. "I love you no matter what." Turning to Maura she added, "I love both of you no matter what. I'll admit that I'm a little shocked, and I'm having a hard time processing this, but it doesn't change how much I love you both. You're not going to lose your family." Angela stepped forward and pulled both girls into a hug. Yes, this was hard for her to accept, but it absolutely broke her heart that Jane had thought for even a second that there was anything she could do that would change how Angela felt about her daughter.

Angela stepped back, but she kept a hand on each of their shoulders. "I know what the Church teaches. That's how I was raised, and that's how we raised you kids. I regret that we taught you three those prejudices. I realized a long time ago that condemning someone for loving another person, regardless of whether they were a man or a woman, is ridiculous. I don't care what the Bible says, I don't believe that God would be upset about love in any form."

Angela sighed. "I've always had a picture in my head of what your future would hold," she continued. "And that included husbands and children for both of you. I guess, I'll just need some time to change my thinking. I'm not proud of it, but I'll need time to get comfortable with the idea of you two kissing and all that."

"That's okay, Angela," Maura said, speaking for the first time since Angela had interrupted them. Jane was glad to hear that her voice wasn't shaking, and that Maura seemed less nervous. "It took a long time for me to come to terms with this myself. We both understand that you need time. We just don't want to lose you."

"You never will," Angela cut in. "Jane's been trying to get rid of me for years; see how well that has worked?" Angela teased. "Neither one of you will ever be rid of me."

Jane rolled her eyes good-naturedly but otherwise let her mother's quip slide because all three of them knew the truth.

Maura laughed lightly. "Jane was kind enough to try to protect me from having to share more than I want to, but I'm done hiding. I want to be completely honest with you Angela. I identify as bisexual. I've been attracted to both men and women throughout my life. However, Jane is the first woman that I have ever dated."

"This is new for both of us," Jane added. "Despite the fact that I've always known I was attracted to women, I've never acted on it, so it's not like I've had a bunch of secret relationships that you never knew about."

Angela nodded. "Is this why you're going to that Pride event today?" she asked after a few moments of silence.

Jane laughed. "Actually, no," she admitted. "Although, I do think our decision to attend the parade and festival was some kind of catalyst to get us to admit our feelings for each other."

Maura turned towards Jane. "Yes, it was. After you invited me, I spent the next 24 hours wondering if your invitation was some kind of coded message," she said.

Jane laughed again. "It wasn't, but if I had known this was a possibility, I totally would have done that. What I told you was true, BPD wanted me there for my name, and I just like spending time with you, so I invited you as a friend." Jane paused to give Maura a chaste kiss on the lips before continuing, "But this is so much better." Jane noticed a slight embarrassed blush color her mother's cheeks in response to her actions, but Angela didn't otherwise say anything or react.

"Speaking of, we really need to go. Otherwise, we're going to be late," Maura said.

"Right, let's go," Jane said, finally stepping away from Maura. They both grabbed their things and Angela turned to leave. Just before Angela walked out the back door, Jane turned and asked, "Ma, do you…do you want to come with us? It's okay if you don't want to, but if you do…well, you're more than welcome to join us."

Angela considered the invitation for a moment. She knew she'd likely be uncomfortable at the event, but she really did want to be able to fully accept Jane and Maura's relationship. She nodded slowly and said, "Yes, if that's okay with you, I think I'd like that."

A genuine smile took over Jane's face. She hadn't expected her mother to accept.

"Let me just change my shoes; I'll be fast," Angela said as she hurried to the guest house.

Maura looked at Jane while they waited for Angela. "That went much better than I expected," she admitted softly.

"Yeah, I mean, as much as I truly believed that she loves both of us enough to learn to accept it, knowing that she's…yeah, I guess, I was still nervous about it, and I feel a lot better now. Um, is it okay if I tell Frankie when we get to the parade? I feel like ma isn't going to be able to keep this to herself, at least around him, and I'd really like to be the one to tell him."

"Yes, I'm completely okay with that," Maura said. "In fact, I know we haven't discussed whether we want to tell people, but…but I don't want to hide this. First of all, we're clearly terrible at it, but more importantly, you make me so happy, and I want the world to know that."

"Yeah?" Jane asked, and the happiness was evident in her voice.

"Yeah," Maura repeated softly before giving Jane another soft kiss.

Twenty minutes later, they found their group at the beginning of the parade route. They were only about five minutes late since Maura had originally insisted on them leaving so early – their conversation with Angela hadn't made them too late. The parade itself didn't even start for anther fifteen minutes.

"Hey, can I talk to you for a sec?" Jane asked Frankie quietly.

"Yeah, sure," Frankie responded confusedly.

Jane pulled him aside so that they had some privacy for their conversation while Maura remained with Nina and Angela.

"Um, so, okay, I don't know how to tell you this, so I guess I'll just say this. Uh, Maura and I are dating…like romantically," Jane said, then added, "Frankie, I love her."

A huge smile took over Frankie's face. "That's great, Janie," he said honestly as he pulled his sister into a hug. He could feel her anxiety as he hugged her so when they separated, he asked, "Did you think I wouldn't approve?"

"Not really, no," Jane said. "I knew you'd be fine with it. Honestly, I was pretty sure you already knew my feelings, at least generally."

"You mean that you're into girls?" Frankie asked with a hint of teasing in his voice.

"Yeah," Jane said with a laugh.

"Yeah, Janie, I've known since we were kids. Tommy knows too."

"You guys talked about me?" she asked indignantly.

"Yeah, all the time," he said, his own laughter growing. "And it only got worse once we all met Maura."

Jane narrowed her eyes at her brother.

"Come on, it's Maura. How could we not fall for her?" Frankie said. "But we both realized quickly that you woulda killed us. Well, I realized much faster than Tommy did. I kinda thought you might actually kill him at one point. Anyway, it never woulda mattered because you were the only one she wanted."

"Really, Frankie?!" Jane tried to reprimand him, but she was having a hard time being annoyed when she realized that her brothers not only knew her feelings but thought Maura felt the same way all that time.

Frankie just laughed. "Now, she's like our sister. Besides, after I met Nina, I realized that what I did feel for Maura was nothing compared to what really being in love feels like," he admitted.

Jane smiled, but before she could say anything else, they heard Maura call, "Jane! Frankie!" When they turned, they saw her waving them back over since Cavanaugh clearly wanted to give the group instructions. Jane and Frankie exchanged one more hug before rejoining their group.

The parade itself was fun. There were so many people there that none of them felt awkward, and they enjoyed handing out BPD branded items to the kids along the parade route.

Angela walked a little behind Jane and Maura. As she watched them interact, she realized that she had been blind not to see their connection before. The small touches and the smiles were nothing new, but they were definitely the interactions of an intimate pair. When Angela finally let her walls of denial fall, it was almost like she could feel the intense love flowing between her daughter and the woman she considered to be a second daughter to her. Angela knew it would still take her time to curb the impulse to look away when they kissed or held hands, but she was determined to never make them feel uncomfortable about expressing their affection for each other around her – at least to the level that she would consider appropriate for any other couple. She still didn't want to know about any of her kids' sex lives.

After the parade, all five of them walked around the festival, but Angela, Frankie, and Nina left before Jane and Maura. Once they were alone – or at least alone among strangers – they decided to find a place to sit where they could still hear the music but could also talk.

"Thank you for today," Maura said quietly once they were seated.

Jane laughed softly. "There's nothing about today that you need to thank me for," Jane said softly.

"I don't know," Maura said slowly as she leaned against Jane. "I don't think there's anyone else in the world that I would have felt safe enough with to go from being completely in the closet to attending a pride event out and in a same-sex relationship in the span of a week."

"Well, when you put it that way, I should be thanking you as well," Jane said, and she turned to share a soft kiss with Maura. They sat together in comfortable silence for a while, just enjoying the atmosphere and each other's company. Eventually, they decided to walk the long way home, stopping for take-out along the way.

Maura insisted on quick showers after dinner before they moved to the couch since they were both sweaty from spending the day in the June heat. It was a little after eight by the time they sat down together on the couch.

"Would you be willing to watch the next episode of the Pride documentary series?" Maura asked. "I know it's technically your turn to pick, but I'd really like to watch more of that."

"Sure," Jane said. "Honestly, I really enjoyed the first one, so I wouldn't mind seeing the rest."

They did start the next episode, but neither of them really saw much of it. Within a few minutes, they were completely lost in each other. Their kissing grew in heated quickly as the passion between them threatened to boil over. They were once again lying on the couch with Maura half on top of Jane as they tried to get as close to each other as possible.

"Jane?" Maura whispered against Jane's lips after a while. "Can we, um, can we go upstairs?"

Jane leaned back slightly to look into Maura's eyes. "You sure?" she asked softly. She could see the passion and desire in Maura's eyes, but she didn't want them to go too fast. She was ready; she had fantasized about this enough to know that she wanted this, but she wasn't sure if Maura was ready. She didn't want Maura to feel like she needed to do more than she was ready for just to keep Jane happy.

Maura nodded.

A soft smile tugged at Jane's lips. "Yeah, we can move this to your bedroom." Jane helped Maura off of her, stood, and held her hand out for Maura. They walked upstairs together hand-in-hand.

When she closed the door softly behind them, Jane could see the fear that flashed across Maura's face. She reached out and took both of Maura's hands in her own. Jane gave Maura a soft kiss, but before Maura could deepen the kiss, Jane pulled back. "Sit with me for a second," she suggested gently, and they sat together at the foot of the bed. Jane gave Maura's hands a soft squeeze before she spoke. She reached up and gently caressed Maura's cheek. "I want this, but I need to know that this is actually what you want too," she said kindly.

"I do," Maura breathed out, but her voice was shaky.

Jane gave Maura another soft kiss. "Okay, but I want you to promise me that you will tell me if you want to stop," Jane said. "We can stop no matter what we're doing or how far we've gone okay? And if I do something you don't like, just tell me."

"I will," Maura said, her eyes once again dropping to Jane's lips. Looking back into Jane's eyes, she added. "I want you to do the same, okay?"

Jane nodded before leaning in and capturing Maura's lips in her own. Their mouths moved together in what was quickly becoming a well-known dance. Jane pulled one leg up onto the bed so that she could turn more into Maura, and her hands slid around Maura's back. Maura's hands cupped Jane's face. After a few minutes, Jane asked, "Do you want to move further up on the bed?"

Maura glanced nervously at the bed before nodding and standing up. She walked around her side of the bed and pulled the decorative pillows off the bed. She didn't pull the covers down though since she didn't want to lay on the sheets in her clothes and she wasn't ready to undress yet. She crawled onto the bed, and Jane did the same from the other side. They met in the middle and resumed their make-out session. As they continued kissing, they both got bolder, moving closer together and eventually lying down on the bed with their fronts pressed together as their hands grasped at each other's backs.

Jane was quickly getting aroused, and she was having a hard time taking things slowly, but she was determined to let Maura set the pace. Eventually, Maura slipped her hands under Jane's shirt, running them up the warm skin of Jane's back. Jane moaned at the touch.

Maura sat up, pulling Jane with her. They were both panting. Maura gripped the hem of Jane's shirt. "Can I?" she asked quietly.

Jane nodded and dropped her hands from their places on Maura's sides, allowing Maura to more easily remove her shirt.

Maura's eyes roamed over Jane's newly exposed skin. Jane was wearing a simple black bra. Maura reached out and softly ran her fingers along Jane's collarbone. The touch was so light that it sent a shiver through Jane's body, and Jane's eyes fluttered shut. Maura smiled at the realization that her touch was affecting Jane so much.

Maura shifted closer to Jane, but they were both still sitting up in the bed. She continued to let her fingers explore Jane's skin. She ran her hands up and down Jane's arms, along her sides, and across her stomach. She loved watching Jane's muscles react to her touch. She slowed her movements when she reached Jane's scar from when she shot herself. Tears burned at the corners of her eyes as her finger circled the scar.

Eventually, Maura's touch got bolder, and she traced the outline of Jane's bra. Jane's body shuddered as Maura's fingers softly ran along the tops of her breasts.

Jane leaned forward slightly and ran her own hands up Maura's thighs, which were still covered by her yoga pants. Now that Maura seemed more comfortable, Jane asked, "Can I take your shirt off?"

"Yes," Maura whispered, her eyes and fingers still running over every inch of Jane's exposed skin. Jane reached forward and pulled Maura's shirt over her head. Maura removed her hands from Jane only long enough for Jane to pull off her shirt. Maura's hands continued their exploration, her touch getting firmer the more time she spent looking and touching.

Jane tentatively reached out and ran her hands up Maura's sides. Maura's breath hitched at the touch, but she didn't pull back.

"I want to take your bra off," Maura said quietly.

"You can," Jane said.

"But, um, I don't know if I'm ready to take mine off yet," she admitted. "That's not really fair."

"It's okay, Maura," Jane said gently. "You don't have to do anything you're not comfortable doing. You can take my bra off even if you want to keep yours on."

Maura reached around Jane's back to unclasp the bra. She slowly slid it down Jane's arms before dropping it off the side of the bed behind her. Her eyes instantly locked on Jane's newly exposed breasts. "Lay back," she softly commanded, pushing gently against Jane's shoulder.

Jane laid back, and to her surprise, Maura straddled her, settling her weight on Jane's hips. Jane softly caressed Maura's hips and sides while she allowed Maura to explore as much and as slowly as she wanted to. Maura continued ghosting her fingers across Jane's skin. At first, she skirted around Jane's breasts, but with each pass, she got closer and closer. Eventually, she let her fingers trail lightly around the swell of each breast, causing Jane's eyes to flutter shut.

Jane was quickly getting worked up. She couldn't believe how such a simple touch could get her so aroused, but she was afraid she was going to explode. She tried to just close her eyes and enjoy the feeling of Maura's hands on her skin. Her body jerked violently, drawing a chuckle from the woman above her, when Maura pinched her nipple. Maura's hands continued to grow more confident as time went on, until she got to the point of cupping both of Jane's breasts in her hands. She began a gentle massage, and she could feel Jane's fingers digging into her hips.

"Ummm, Maura," Jane panted out between breaths. Maura tried to pull her hands back, but Jane used her own hands to gently trap Maura's hands on her breasts.

"Are you okay?" Maura asked nervously. She was afraid that she had made Jane uncomfortable.

"Yeah, I'm, um, I'm okay," Jane said.

"What's wrong?" Maura asked softly.

"I don't want to push you to fast, but uh…I-I don't know how much more foreplay I can take," Jane whined. "I'm sorry."

"What do you want?" Maura asked.

"I-I-I want you to touch me," she admitted weakly. "But only if you want to. If you don't, I think…I think I need to make myself come before you continue your explorations."

"I want to touch you," Maura said, "but I'm afraid I won't do it right."

"You won't do it wrong," Jane said. "Just do what you like, and I'll direct you to what feels good, okay?"

Maura nodded and climbed off of Jane. "Get off the bed," she told Jane. "I want to pull down the blankets."

"Can I take my pants and underwear off?" Jane asked.

Maura tilted her head. "Can I do it?" she asked with a smirk.

Jane chuckled. "Yes," she said as she climbed back into bed, this time with the blankets at the foot of the bed.

Maura slid off her own pants before returning to the bed in just her matching red bra and panties set. She kneeled next to Jane's hips and hooked her fingers in the sides of Jane's waistband. She looked up at Jane for confirmation that this was what she wanted, and Jane responded with a nod.

Jane let her head drop back to the pillows as Maura slowly slid her pants and underwear off in one movement.

"Jane," Maura whispered reverently. Her eyes had landed on the patch of hair at the apex of Jane's thighs. The dark curls were glistening with moisture. "You're so wet," she said in awe.

Jane chuckled as she lifted herself up onto her elbows. "I told you that you were working me up. Come here," Jane held out her hand and pulled Maura into a kiss. Maura settled against Jane's body. They continued to make out while Maura's hands slid along Jane's stomach, coming up to gently massage her breasts. She continued this circle a few times. Each time, she would circle lower and lower, eventually passing below her waistline but not yet touching low enough to relieve Jane's growing need.

"Maurraaa," Jane whined. She had been trying to hold it in, but she couldn't anymore. She either needed Maura to touch her or her own fingers were going to find their way between her legs.

Maura took a deep breath. She moved lower, pushing Jane's legs apart and sitting in the space between her thighs. She had a perfect view of Jane's folds. Maura trailed her fingers up the insides of Jane's thighs, causing both legs to start trembling. "I-I-I'm not sure what do to," Maura admitted, her voice thick with anxiety.

Jane lifted herself back onto her elbows. "Look at me, Maura," she said. When Maura was making eye contact with her, Jane continued, "You know what you like, right?"

Maura nodded.

"Okay, so start with that," Jane said.

"But what if I can't…what if I can't please you," Maura said weakly.

Jane held out her left hand. "Can I show you something?" she asked Maura, who nodded and let Jane take her right hand. "Tell me to stop if you want to stop," Jane said as she slowly guided Maura's hand to her center. Jane moved Maura's fingers so that two were pointed out and the rest were folded against her hand. Then, she used Maura's fingers to slide the length of her slit. Jane let out a loud groan and her first instinct was to drop back to the pillow, but she wasn't done reassuring Maura. "Did you feel how wet I am? I guarantee my underwear are ruined and I wouldn't be surprised if my yoga pants were too. This is all from you. I'm already pretty close, so I imagine it won't be hard for you to make me climax, but even if you don't, this will still be – by far – the best sexual experience of my life. So stop worrying and just do what you want to do."

"Okay," Maura said quietly. Her eyes and fingers returned to Jane's folds. She ran her fingers up and down the full length of Jane's slit a few times before she used her fingers to search for the bundle of nerves that would provide Jane even more pleasure. When she found Jane's clit, Maura tested out different patterns of stimulation, cataloguing which ones got the biggest reaction from Jane.

Jane's eyes were closed, her mouth was open, and her hands had a death grip on the sheet. Every movement of Maura's fingers was sending bolts of lightening through her body. She was so close, but she knew she wouldn't get there without a little more.

"Maur…I'm so close…" Jane whimpered.

"What do you need?" Maura asked breathlessly.

"I need…I need…"

"It's okay, Jane, just ask. I'll say no if I'm not comfortable," Maura said. Throughout the entire conversation, Maura's fingers had continued their ministrations down below, driving Jane even higher.

"I need you inside."

Maura turned to get a better angle. She lined up two of her fingers with Jane's opening and thrust inside. They both moaned loudly at the intense connection they just created. Maura moved her fingers experimentally inside of Jane before drawing them out again. On each thrust in, she pressed her thumb hard against Jane's clit, and on each pull out, she curled her fingers against the front wall of Jane's vagina. Jane's hips began moving in time with Maura's thrusts.

"Faster," Jane gasped, and Maura instantly complied. "Faster, harder," she repeated. Maura moved in and out of Jane as fast as she could. Her eyes remained glued to Jane's face, watching her reaction to every movement. She eventually found that perfect spot within Jane and began focusing her ministrations on that particular spot. It only took a few more thrusts to bring Jane over the edge.

"Ahhhhhh!" Jane cried out as her climax hit her. Her whole body spasmed, her toes curled, and every muscle in her body contracted as she rode out her orgasm.

Maura had seen the paintings in the Louve, she had seen the architecture on Santorini, she had seen the beautiful old buildings in Europe, she had seen the bright blue ocean of the Caribbean, and she had seen the vibrant life in the Amazon rainforest. Maura Isles had travelled the world witnessing the most beautiful sights the natural world and different cultures have to offer. But she had never seen anything more amazing than watching the love of her life come apart by her hands. Jane was beautiful while she climaxed, and the feeling of Jane's vaginal walls pulsing around her fingers was almost enough to drive Maura into her own orgasm.

When Jane collapsed back to the bed, Maura climbed up and laid against the side of Jane's body with her arm draped across Jane's waist. Maura continued to give Jane small kisses on her lips and cheek while Jane's breathing returned to normal. When Jane had fully come back to herself, she wrapped both arms around her girlfriend and held her tight. Jane buried her face in Maura's hair. Maura rubbed her hand up and down the side of Jane's back that she could reach.

"Are you okay?" Maura asked after a few minutes.

Jane laid back slightly so that she could look into Maura's eyes. "I…that was…I never realized that I was missing out," she said thickly, determined to keep her tears inside. Jane was not going to be someone who cried after sex. "I always thought that doing it to myself wouldn't be much different than with someone else, but it was. You were amazing."

Maura smiled. "And we'll get better with practice," she teased now that she was feeling significantly more comfortable and confident.

Jane rolled them so that she was on top of Maura. "Is this okay?" Jane asked.

Maura nodded. "I'll tell you if you do something I don't like," she said. "I trust you, Jane." After a pause, she added, "You can take my bra off if you'd like."

Jane sat up slightly so that she was straddling Maura's hips this time before she reached around and unhooked Maura's bra. She slowly trailed it down Maura's arms, enjoying the goosebumps that followed her fingertips before she threw the offending item off the bed, not caring where it landed.

"Oh my god, you're beautiful," Jane said quietly. "Your breasts are…can I touch them?"

"Yes," Maura said, but Jane could hear the nervousness that had returned to her voice.

"You've enjoyed sex before, right?" Jane asked.

"Yes, with men," Maura answered.

"Okay, so tell me what you like. Close your eyes and think about what you love when guys do," Jane said.

Maura brought her hands up to roughly massage her own breasts. "I like my breasts massaged with a lot of pressure," Maura said as her head fell back to the pillow.

Jane's hands replaced Maura's. Jane continued to play with Maura's breasts. Alternating between massaging the full breast and focusing her attention on the taught nipples.

"Oh, I really like this," Maura whispered so quietly that Jane wasn't sure if Maura was telling her or talking to herself.

Jane kept her right hand on Maura's left breast, but she dropped her left hand from Maura's right breast so that she could capture it in her mouth. Maura's eyes were closed, and she hadn't been expecting Jane's mouth to join the ministrations. A low guttural groan escaped from deep within Maura and she arched her back, pushing her breast deeper into Jane's mouth. Jane continued sucking, nipping, and licking Maura's right breast before switching to her left to provide it the same attention.

"Oh my god. Jane, this is wonderful. Please keep doing what you're doing," Maura continued talking the entire time Jane was touching her.

Jane finally allowed one of her hands to trail down Maura's side to her hip. The touch caused Maura's hips to buck involuntarily. "What do you want?" Jane asked Maura.

"This feels amazing," Maura replied, not actually answering the questions.

"Do you want to keep it above your waist tonight. We could just keep doing this. Or do you want to try more? You can change your mind at any time," Jane reminded her.

"I want to try more, but can we go slowly?" Maura said.

"Absolutely," Jane said as she pushed herself back so that she was sitting on the bed between Maura's legs. She leaned up onto her knees and leaned over Maura to give her a passionate kiss on the lips before she started kissing down Maura's body. She moved from her lips, across her jawline, down the column of her neck, across her clavicle, and down to her breasts. She slowed to pay extra attention to both beautiful breasts before she moved her kisses down Maura's stomach, swiping her tongue into Maura's belly button, causing Maura's hips to jerk.

Jane sat up slightly and hooked her fingers into Maura's panties, but before she moved them, she asked, "Are you still okay if I remove your panties?"

Maura nodded, but Jane could tell that she was still nervous. She decided that she was going to go as slowly as possible unless Maura asked her to go faster. After removing Maura's panties, Jane moved so that she was sitting right next to Maura's hip. From this position, she could see Maura's face while still being able to reach most of the places she wanted to touch.

Jane floated her fingers up and down the insides of Maura's thighs. Every once in a while, she would continue her path up along Maura's side and circle her breast before coming back down and repeating the pattern on her other leg. The more laps she made with her fingers, the closer her fingers got to Maura's center on each pass. When she reached the apex of Maura's thighs, she traced her fingers around the widest part of her vulva. The circles got smaller and smaller very slowly until Jane ran her fingers the length of Maura's slit. Jane's eyes remained glued to Maura's face as she continued her touches.

"Yesssss," hissed Maura when Jane's fingers slipped between her sopping wet folds. "Oh, yes. This…I love this…this feels so good." Maura continued repeating similar words and phrases as Jane's fingers explored Maura's folds.

Jane ran her fingers in a tight circle around Maura's clit, causing her hips to buck up involuntarily. "Ohh, yes, yes, yes. I love that. This is wonderful," Maura continued to let out a constant stream of words as they continued, and it made Jane smile. Maura was very vocal during sex.

Jane leaned forward slightly without removing her fingers from between Maura's folds. "Maur, can I…can I feel you? Can I enter you with my fingers?" Jane cringed slightly as she asked. Usually, she wouldn't be so direct because she hated saying sex-related words, but Maura's consent was much more important to her, so she knew she needed to be clear in her questions.

"Yes, I-I-I want to see what it's like, but can you go slow?" Maura asked. She wasn't sure why she was so nervous about this part. In many ways, it wasn't that different than sex with a man, and men loved to thrust in fast and hard right from the start. Maura thought that that was just how it was done, but maybe she was wrong, maybe she always could have asked for slow.

Regardless, it didn't matter anymore, but she could ask Jane for anything or tell Jane anything she needed.

Jane locked eyes with Maura before she slowly entered Maura's vagina with two fingers, keeping her thumb on Maura's clit.

Maura's head fell back, and her eyes slammed shut at the feeling of Jane being inside of her. She let out a loud, low moan of pleasure. "Yes, just like that," Maura said as Jane moved in and out at a relatively slow pace. "So good. So good. Don't stop." Words poured from Maura's mouth as she opened her legs even further, giving Jane better access. "Can you go deeper without going faster?" Maura asked.

"Yeah," Jane said as she reached as deep as she possibly could inside her lover, and god, did it feel good.

"Um, actually, it was better the first way," Maura said, and Jane instantly adjusted. "Yes, right there, right there, right there. Oh, sooooo gooooood. Yes, so, so good. Don't stop."

Jane shifted her weight to allow her hand to rotate just enough that she could better curl her fingers on the way out to hit the spongy spot of Maura's front wall. "YES!" Maura cried out loudly. "Yes!" she repeated more quietly. "That's perfect. Oh Jane. This is…I've never felt like this. I didn't even know it was possible to get so aroused from such slow movements. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god."

Jane continued her slow movements, driving Maura higher and higher than she'd ever been before. After nearly 30 minutes of this, Jane's arm was really starting to burn, but she was determined not to stop until Maura wanted to stop.

"I'm so close," Maura whined, a tinge of frustration now leaking into her voice. "I need something, but I dunno what…"

Since Maura seemed set on the slow pace, Jane inserted a third finger, which seemed to do the trick. It only took a few more thrusts from Jane and cries of "Yes! Yes! Yes!" from Maura to send Maura hurtling over the edge. Her orgasm crashed into her body, taking over every muscle and nerve ending and setting them on fire. Her eyes slammed shut so tightly that she could see stars behind her eyelids. Her back arched off the bed as spasm after spasm hit her and ran through her body. She shook violently before she finally crashed back to the bed. Her heart was threatening to burst out of her body as she tried to catch her breath.

Jane crawled up and cuddled next to Maura, placing a soft kiss on her cheek before laying her head on the pillow. She waited for Maura to recover. Eventually, Maura had regained some control over her body, so she turned, rolling into Jane so that they once again had their fronts pressed together. The feeling of their sensitive nipples brushing against each other's skin sent mini-aftershocks through each of their bodies.

They lazily kissed for a few minutes before the separated and allowed their heads to rest against the pillow.

"That was amazing," Maura said quietly. "I enjoyed it very much."

Jane chuckled. "I had no idea," she quipped.

Maura tried to feign offence, but she failed miserably. "I suppose I was rather vocal," she admitted.

"Are you always like that?" Jane asked. "A talker during sex?"

"No, but I never felt comfortable enough to just be myself with previous sexual partners," Maura admitted. "No one has ever spent so much time reassuring me. You made me feel safe, and that allowed me to let go. Was it annoying that I talked the whole time?"

"Not at all," Jane said. "I guess I just didn't expect it."

Maura smiled. "That was easily the most intense orgasm I've ever had. Focusing completely on one person's pleasure at a time opens up a lot of new opportunities. I loved it. I mean, I do want to try coming together at some point, but I actually didn't think I'd like the separate thing. I thought I wouldn't be able to feel as close to the other person if we weren't climaxing together, but it was quite the opposite. I have never felt closer to anyone in my life than I do right now. Of course, some of that is how close we were before, but some of it is definitely because of the intimacy created by focusing so much attention on your partner's pleasure."

"Yeah, I never really thought about it that way, but you're right," Jane said. "I loved being on the receiving end, but getting to bring you that kind of pleasure, it really is another level of intimacy. It's special."

"I love you so much, Jane," Maura said before leaving a chaste kiss on Jane's lips.

"I love you too," Jane replied as she wrapped her arms around Maura and pulled her close. Jane covered both of them in the sheet and they were both asleep within minutes, safe and loved in each other's arms.

Chapter Text


One year later

"Jane!" Maura called up the stairs. "You're going to make us late!"

"Coming! Coming!" Jane called back as she bounded down the stairs, but she stopped dead when she turned the corner into the kitchen and laid eyes on her mother. "You look like a unicorn threw up on you," she deadpanned.

"What?" Angela asked in mock innocence as she looked down at her outfit, but she couldn't hold her own laughter for long.

Maura had to admit that Jane's description, while a bit uncouth, was pretty accurate. Angela was decked out from head to toe in everything rainbow. She was wearing a tie die BPD shirt that she had somehow acquired from the precinct; she had paired this with a rainbow grass skirt over khaki Bermuda shorts.

"I'm a proud mama," Angela added with a wide smile, and Jane and Maura both knew that was true. Despite Angela's initial discomfort about their relationship, Jane had been correct. Angela had come around pretty quickly. She loved her daughter and she loved Maura. If they made each other happy – and it was abundantly clear that they did – who was she to ruin that.

Jane smiled at her mother's words before turning to address Maura. "You look adorable," she said softly before giving Maura a gentle, chaste kiss on the lips. Maura smiled into the kiss.

Maura was wearing a fitted black t-shirt that said "Love is Love" in rainbow letters with white shorts. She was also wearing black converse with rainbow soles. Her hair was pulled back in a loose ponytail since it was supposed to be warm today. But what really made her look not only adorable but absolutely beautiful was the wide genuine smile that graced her lips and the twinkle in her eyes.

"We should go," Maura said breathlessly when they separated. "Frankie, Nina, Tommy, and TJ are meeting us there.

"'Kay, let's go," Jane said, gently pushing Maura towards the door by the hip.

The walk to where their group was gathering for the parade was the same distance as last year, but to Maura it felt completely different. Last year, her anxiety was threatening to overwhelm her, but this year, she was excited. She was looking forward to today. This past year had easily been the best year of her life, and she was looking forward to celebrating that with her friends and family but especially with Jane.

When they reached the sidewalk in front of their home, Maura linked hands with Jane, threading their fingers together. Their home, she thought with a smile. Jane had moved in months ago but calling it their home still caused her stomach to flutter.

"Aunt Jane! Aunt Maura!" TJ screeched when she saw his two favorite people approaching. He ran towards them and jumped directly into Maura's arms. She lifted him and swung him around before placing him on her hip.

"Wow! You're getting so big. I'm not going to be able to do that for much longer!" Maura teased the little boy, whose smile lit up the whole area.

"I eats my veggietables," he said smartly, causing Maura to chuckle. "I wanna be as smart as you," he added, shoving his little finger in Maura's face, "and as strong as Aunt Janie."

"Well, if you keep eating your vegetables, I think you will be," Maura said with a smile, using her own forefinger to tap TJ's nose gently.

Jane's heart melted as she watched her girlfriend and her nephew interact. She loved seeing them together. Maura really had a special bond with TJ. The little boy absolutely idolized her. TJ had spent a lot of time with his aunts since he and Tommy had moved back to Boston the previous fall.

Jane was finally pulled from her trance when she noticed the back of TJ's shirt. "Oh, ma, what did you do?" she whined as she used her hand to smooth the back of TJ's shirt, which was printed with a picture of TJ with Jane and Maura. It was one of Jane's favorite pictures, but she was slightly embarrassed to have it printed on a t-shirt.

"Look!" TJ said excitedly, using his own little fingers to hold out the front of his shirt. "My aunts love me!" he said proudly, repeating the words printed on his shirt.

Jane wanted to roll her eyes, but she couldn't bring herself to wipe the smile from her nephew's adorable face.

They entire family had a blast at the parade and festival. TJ especially loved all of the rainbows. He even convinced his Aunt Maura to let him tie a rainbow ribbon around her ponytail. They spent hours exploring the festival together and just enjoying the day.

"We're gonna head out, Janie," Angela said as she walked up to Jane and Maura. Tommy had taken TJ home for a nap a while ago, so it was just Jane, Maura, Angela, Frankie, and Nina left at this point.

"Okay, I think we're going to stay for a little while longer," Jane said, looking to Maura for confirmation and receiving it in the form of a small nod and smile. "We won't be far behind you though."

"Okay, have fun," Angela said, giving each of them a hug.

Jane and Maura both waved their goodbyes to Frankie and Nina before turning back to listen to the live music much like they had the previous year. Jane wrapped her arm around Maura's shoulders and pulled her close. Maura instantly responded by snaking her arm around Jane's waist and resting her head on Jane's shoulder. After a few minutes of standing like that Maura brought her other arm up to circle Jane's waist, pulling her closer, and Jane completed the embrace by wrapping both of her arms around Maura and holding her tight against her body. They stayed like that for a while, just enjoying the atmosphere and the ability to be together.

Jane gently kissed Maura's forehead before asking, "Do you want to walk around a little more before we go home?"

"Sure," Maura replied, reluctantly releasing Jane from her embrace but maintaining contact by grabbing her hand. They walked silently hand-in-hand for a while until Jane paused when they reached the far corner of the park. Maura slowed to see why Jane stopped, and when she turned to face Jane, her heart jumped into her throat as she realized what was happening. Her hands flew to cover her mouth as tears instantly started pouring down her face.

"Maura, a year ago…" Jane started.

"Yes!" Maura cut in, unable to stop herself.

Jane laughed. "You didn't even let me ask!" she said in mock indignation.

"Sorry," Maura said, chuckling, but her smile made it very clear that she was in no way sorry. "Go ahead," she added, waving her hand vaguely in Jane's direction.

Jane took Maura's right hand in her own while Maura's left hand covered her heart. "I love you so much, Maura, more than I ever thought it was possible to love another person. When we started the journey together one year ago, we were both scared, but we got through it together, just like we've gotten through everything else together since we met. And I want to spend the rest of our lives getting through the hard stuff and enjoying the good stuff together. I want to be the person you come to when you're hurting or scared, and I want to be the first person you want to share your good news with. I want to spend the rest of my life trying to make you half as happy as you make me." Jane paused and let go of Maura's hand before lowering herself down on one knee and opening the ring box to show Maura what was inside. "Maura, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"

Maura nodded vigorously as she tried to form words through her tears. "Yes!" she finally choked out. "Absolutely! Yes! I would love to marry you!" Maura reached down and pulled Jane up and into a passionate kiss. Jane instantly wrapped her arms around Maura and returned the kiss with equal vigor. "I love you so much, too," Maura whispered against Jane's lips in between kisses.

Jane smiled so wide that she broke their kiss. She used the opportunity to let go of Maura, once again opening the box, but this time, she pulled out the ring. Maura held out her left hand, which was shaking with the emotions running through her.

Jane slipped the ring on Maura's finger. "It's beautiful, Jane," Maura whispered reverently.

"If you want something different…" Jane started.

Maura shook her head violently but did not take her eyes off the ring or her hand, which remained in Jane's. "It's perfect," she said. The ring was white gold with three twists. Inside the middle twist sat three diamond that were flush with the rest of the ring.

"Um, well I figured you wouldn't want something that could catch on things. I mean, I know you have to take it off for autopsies, so there's actually a chain in the box," she added, holding up the ring box, "but I figured even for other things, you wouldn't want something that could cut through gloves or catch on your clothes or whatever. And the twist forms two intersecting infinity symbols, which I thought were good representations of our infinite friendship and infinite love for each other. Okay, now that I say it out loud it sounds so cheesy, but…"

"I love it, Jane. Really, it's perfect," Maura said vehemently, finally tearing her eyes away from the ring to make eye contact with Jane before pulling her in for another passionate kiss. They continued to make-out for a few moments, and Maura could feel her own arousal threatening to override her rational thought. Before they could do something they would regret, Maura whispered seductively, "Maybe we should take this celebration home."

Jane paused and pulled back only a hair, but Maura could instantly read the look on Jane's face. "Your entire family is going to be there when we get back, aren't they?" she asked with a smirk.

Jane dropped her forehead against Maura's. "Yes," she breathed out, and Maura could hear the intense regret in her voice.

Maura chuckled. Yes, part of her was disappointed that they couldn't go home and celebrate the way she had originally intended, but that was only a small part of her. Most of her actually really wanted to celebrate with their friends and family. Jane, on the other hand, was 100% regretting the planned celebration with their family and friends.

Maura gave Jane a chaste kiss before stepping back from her and putting some space between their bodies. She laughed again at the look on Jane's face. "Well, we should probably get home then," she said. "Besides, the sooner we get the party started, the sooner they'll leave, and we can start our own celebration."

Jane laughed loudly. "You know that's not at all how it works," she said.

Maura laughed, too. "I do, but let's go anyway," she admitted.

They walked home hand-in-hand. After a few minutes, Maura teased, "You were pretty confident in yourself to invite everyone over before I actually said yes."

Jane laughed. She knew Maura was teasing. They had talked about getting married with increasing frequency over the past few months. The proposal was much more about the romanticism of the moment than actually asking a question. They both knew where this was headed.

Jane let go of Maura's hand and wrapped her arm around Maura's shoulders as they walked. "I was sure you'd say yes," Jane said honestly. "Actually, I was slightly worried – okay, worried is not at all the right word – but I was wondering if you'd ruin my plans by asking first."

Maura laughed loudly. "Well, you beat me to it," she admitted.

As soon as they opened the front door, there was an explosion of noise. Angela was on top of them, asking to see the ring before they could even close the door behind them. It wasn't until after she had showed Angela and Nina the ring that Maura looked past her future mother-in-law and noticed who else was present in the room.

Maura's smile grew impossibly larger when her eyes landed on parents – all three of them – and her sister. Maura squeezed Angela's hand before letting it go and walking away. She walked first to her parents, Constance and Arthur. Constance leaned in to give her a (somewhat awkward) hug, and Arthur gave her a kiss on the cheek. Both offered their congratulations and asked to see the ring. Like always, the interaction was a bit formal, but it meant the world to Maura that they were here today.

After a few minutes, Maura left her parents in conversation with Angela as she turned to talk to Hope and Cailin. They both gave her warm hugs and congratulations. Maura was still getting to know her birth mother and sister, but she was so happy that Jane had invited them today.

Neither Maura nor Jane could keep the smiles off their faces as they mingled with their guests. The house was packed with friends and family. Korsak was manning the grill, and Angela had set up quite the spread of food and drinks. It was a fun summer barbeque – exactly the kind of family event that Maura had wanted since she was a child.

Once she had finally had a chance to talk to every one of their guests, Maura was able to get a moment to slip upstairs unnoticed. She had been planning her own proposal, but she didn't want to wait. She found the ring she had purchased for Jane in the very back of the drawer of her nightstand. She slipped the box into her pocket and headed back downstairs.

Maura had never planned to propose in front of people, but since they were technically already engaged, she didn't have the same nerves she would have had if she had been the first to ask. She wanted to share this moment with their friends and family.

Maura found Jane outside talking to Korsak and Angela. She quietly asked Nina to get the few stragglers that remained inside and ask them to come out for a few minutes. When everyone was outside, Maura cleared her throat. "Can I get everyone's attention for a moment?" she asked nervously. Okay, maybe she was still nervous even if there was no chance Jane was going to say no. She was starting to slightly regret her decision to do this in front of everyone, but it was too late. Everyone was looking at her, so she decided to just go for it.

"Jane," she said softly, waving her over. Jane was only standing a few feet from her, but she instantly moved to stand right in front of Maura. Maura locked her eyes on Jane's as she started talking. "Jane, I spent most of my life hiding myself in order to be accepted and liked," she said, and as she talked, the world around her faded. It was only her and Jane, and she could say anything to Jane. Her nerves fell away as she poured her heart out to the love of her life.

"But once I met you, I realized that I no longer needed to change who I was for other people. Even when we were just friends, you made me feel more loved and accepted than I ever had before. It was because of you that I felt safe enough to learn more about myself, to better understand myself, to accept myself. You loved every part of me even when I couldn't always love myself.

"You did all that before we even took the next step, and when we finally did admit our feelings for each other, it was like you lifted a weight I didn't even know was crushing me from my shoulders. I've never been happier than I have this past year. Being with you – being everything with you – it's more than I ever could have hoped for. I never believed that this kind of love was possible, but you have proved me wrong at every turn."

"There's a first time for everything," Jane teased quietly.

Maura smiled as she continued her speech, "Jane, I want this for the rest of my life. I want you for the rest of my life. I know that I can get through absolutely everything with you by my side, and I want to be there every step of the way for you. I want to promise you, in front of all of our friends and family – both today and on the day we get married – that I will always be there for you, that I will always love you because there is nothing in my life that I have ever been more sure of than how I feel about you."

Maura paused as she pulled the box out of her pocket and lowered herself down to one knee. "Jane, I know I've already said yes to you, but I'm hoping that you'll still do me the honor of accepting my proposal. Jane, will you marry me?"

Tears were pouring down Jane's face as she listened to Maura. "Yes," she choked out between sobs. She reached out her hands, pulling Maura up and into a gigantic hug. "Yes, I will marry you," she whispered into Maura's shoulder where she had buried her face.

Maura pulled back slightly, just enough to give Jane a gentle kiss. It was the cheering that erupted from their friends and family that finally pulled them from their bubble. Now it was Jane's turn to be bombarded by their guests asking to see her ring.

Jane couldn't believe how perfect the ring Maura had chosen for her was. Only Maura knew her well enough to choose this unique style of ring. It was a white-gold wrap ring with a small circular diamond at each end of the band. Like Maura's ring, the diamonds were flush with the ring itself.

After at least 30 minutes of having her hand examined by their friends and family, Maura was finally back by Jane's side. She leaned into Jane's side and slipped her arm around Jane's waist. Jane placed her free arm around Maura's shoulders.

"I absolutely love my ring," Jane said so that only Maura could hear her.

Maura smiled as she could read the genuineness in Jane's features. "I'm glad you like it. I know it's not a traditional style, but it seemed right for you. And there's a wedding ring that goes with it. I can show you later, but don't feel like you have to use it. We could also decide we want matching wedding band or something, or we could just find something else that we like. My point is, I bought this for the engagement ring, so don't feel bound to use the wedding right too, but you can if you want," Maura rambled.

Jane laughed. "We'll figure that part out together, but what's important right now is that this ring is perfect for me. To be completely honest, I didn't think there would be a ring in existence that I would actually like. I figured you'd be able to find something I would be able to tolerate, and then I would love it because it came from you. But I actually love this ring, and I love it infinitely more because it's from you," Jane said.

"I'm glad," Maura said with a smile before she leaned onto her tiptoes to give Jane a kiss.

The rest of the party was just as fun as the rest of the day. Both women would forever remember today as one of the best days of their lives. It took a long time for everyone to leave, and to Maura's surprise, her parents were among the last people to leave along with Angela. Angela had of course invited them back for Sunday dinner the next day, and Maura and Jane had asked them to come over earlier so that the four of them could spend time together.

When they were finally alone, Maura was standing on the bottom stair while Jane remained on the ground floor. Since they were both barefoot, this position gave Maura just enough extra height to make her a tiny bit taller than Jane. She had her arms resting on Jane's shoulders, loosely folded behind Jane's back, and Jane was gripping desperately at Maura's hips. They continued their passionate make-out session for a few minutes.

As Maura moved her kisses down Jane's jawline, Jane whispered, "I hope you're okay that your parents aren't staying here. I know that you usually want them here but…"

"It makes sense," Maura said in between kisses. "I love that you surprised me. If they were staying here, it could have ruined the surprise," she said distractedly.

"That was part of it, but it was…it…ohhhh," Jane lost her train of thought when Maura nipped at her earlobe.

Maura smirked as she pulled her face away from Jane slightly. "It was what?" she asked, raising her eyebrow in amusement at Jane's obvious distraction.

Jane blinked a few times before answering, "Oh, um, I didn't think you'd really want your parents to know how vocal their daughter is during sex."

Maura blushed furiously as a smile tugged at her lips.

"And I plan on making you lose your voice tonight," Jane added seductively before leaning in for another bruising kiss.

"Uhhh," Maura groaned as she leaned more of her weight against Jane. "Good thinking."

Jane chuckled.

"Let's take this upstairs," Maura whispered against Jane's mouth.

"Mmm," Jane hummed. "But I know you want to shower first."

"At the moment, I'm having a hard time caring," Maura admitted as she got lost again in the feeling of Jane's lips against her skin.

Jane laughed and the vibrations sent a shiver through Maura's body. She reluctantly stepped back slightly, putting space between their bodies. "At some point, you'll remember that you do care," she teased. "We're both covered in sweat and sunscreen."

Maura pouted, but she knew Jane was right. Eventually, her brain would catch up to her arousal, and at that point, she wouldn't be able to stop thinking about all the germs and chemicals on their skin. "You're right," she admitted grudgingly. "But we'll be quick." Maura started walking up the stairs before turning around and adding, "And separate."

Jane chuckled. "Aww, come on," she whined. "No shower sex?"

"I don't want to wash my hair tonight," Maura explained. "I just want to wash the grime off of my skin. Shower sex with a shower cap on isn't exactly sexy. Besides, I know we can't behave enough for it to even stay on, which means my hair would get wet, and I hate getting in bed with wet hair, even if we won't be sleeping anytime soon."

Jane laughed. "Okay, okay," she relented. "I'll shower in the guest bathroom. Stop talking and start moving."

Maura laughed as she ran up the stairs with Jane not far behind her.

Fifteen minutes later, they were once again engaged in a passionate make-out session, but this time they were lying on their bed completely naked, neither woman having bothered to put clothes on after their showers.

Jane rolled on top of Maura and began kissing down her body. "What do you want?" she asked after she had paid ample attention to each of Maura's breasts.

"Uh, um…" Maura stalled as she tried to decide.

Noticing her girlfriend – no fiancée's indecision, Jane chuckled. "You don't have to pick one thing. We have all night."

Maura laughed. "Okay, I want you to make me come hard and fast, and then, I want you to do it slow and soft…just like our first time," she whispered.

"In other words, you want a quick fuck followed by slow love-making," Jane teased.

"Basically, yes," Maura conceded, but the rest of her thoughts were instantly wiped from her brain as Jane resumed her ministrations. "Oh my god," Maura whimpered. "Yes, yes, yes," she chanted as Jane's fingers worked their magic on her clit. "Ahhhhhh, yes," she cried out when Jane thrust two fingers inside her, but when Jane immediately pulled out, Maura groaned and pushed herself up onto her elbows to see why Jane stopped. "What's wrong?"

Jane laughed at the epic pout on Maura's face. "The patriarchy didn't consider left-handed lesbians when they decided engagement rings belong on the left ring finger," she said before she sucked the cum off her finger and slipped off her engagement ring. She quickly slid her ring onto her right finger and returned her attention back to what she had been doing.

"No, I don't think they did," Maura laughed. "The tradition dates back to ancient Rome. They believed that there was a vein that runs from your left-hand ring finger…oh," Maura was monetarily distracted when Jane once again thrust into her. She fell back against the pillow as the sensations shot through her body like lightening. Still, even in her state of intense pleasure, she couldn't not finish her thought. "Yes, right there…oh, yes, yes, yes…don't stop…faster…oh…the vein from the left-hand ring finger…oh, yes, yes…the vein runs directly to the heart, or so they thought…oh my god, don't stop…faster…harder…yes, yes…it's supposed to connect your heart directly to the love of your li-i-i…oh yes, gah…yes…the love of your life." Maura's hips were moving fast in time with Jane's hand, which was pumping in and out as fast as it could. Jane used her other hand to rub furious circles on Maura's clit, driving her higher and higher. "There's…oh, yes, yes…keep…oh, yes…faster…there's no such vein…oh my god, don't stop. Jaaaaannnnnneeeeeeeeeeeeee!" Maura screamed Jane's name as she fell over the edge. Pleasure pulsed through her body as Jane continued moving her fingers in order to draw out Maura's pleasure.

When the tension in Maura's body released, Jane moved back up the bed to plant a loving kiss on Maura's lips, but Maura had to break the kiss after a few moments as she tried to catch her breath after her climax.

"Only you would give a history lecture during sex," Jane teased.

Maura blushed – if that was even possible given the intense post-orgasm flush covering her body – at Jane's words. She reached up to cup Jane's face and pulled her in for another kiss. They kissed slowly and lovingly for a few minutes before Jane's hands began to explore again. As requested, her hands moved slowly, making sure to caress every inch of Maura's skin before eventually once again making their way to Maura's center.

"Ohhhh," Maura moaned loudly when Jane's fingers slowly slipped inside. "Yes, just like that…nice and slow," she whispered as Jane began moving inside of her. Maura's eyes were closed as she enjoyed the feelings flooding her body. "This…oh, yes, right there…this is still my favorite…please don't stop…don't stop…oh, ah…I love…oh, yes…I love how I can feel every movement, every caress…god, yes…ohhhh…slower…yes, just like that. I never feel more loved and cared for than when you make love to me like this. I love you, Jane." Maura reached out her hand without opening her eyes, and Jane instantly knew what she was looking for. Jane grasped Maura's hand, intertwining their fingers. She rotated her left hand to allow her thumb to gently move against Maura's clit while her fingers inside continued their slow, loving caress. Words continued to tumble out of Maura's mouth as Jane drove her higher and higher. Maura loved this slow, passionate assent. It took nearly 45 minutes for Maura to tumble over the edge as she reached her second climax of the night, and she loved every single minute of it.

In the past year, they had tried many new things, and they had both found that they loved a variety of positions and techniques. They had learned how to read each other at such an intimate level that despite Maura's constant vocalization of her thoughts and feelings, she knew that Jane knew almost before she did how she was feeling. They both knew how much Maura loved the slow lovemaking that they had partaken in that first night, but she was often reluctant to request it because she knew it was hard on Jane's hand and wrist. It didn't matter though because Jane always seemed to be able to tell when Maura wasn't being forthcoming about what she wanted.

Jane cuddled into Maura's side as she came down from her most recent high, but Maura couldn't hold back long. After a few minutes of recovery, she moved on top of Jane, beginning her own worship of Jane's body. Just like Jane had learned her favorite path to orgasm, Maura knew Jane's. To Jane's immense surprise, they had discovered that Jane loved when Maura would go down on her, and that was exactly what Maura was planning to do now.

Maura kissed, licked, and nipped at every inch of Jane's skin before she even touched where Jane wanted her most. She had Jane squirming underneath her within minutes, but she didn't let up. She knew that despite Jane's pleas, she loved the foreplay. The longer they both could hold out, the better Jane's resulting orgasm would be.

Jane was reduced to a begging mess by the time Maura finally wrapped her mouth around Jane's clit and sucked gently. She spent a few minutes rotating between running her tongue down Jane's slit and between every fold, circling her tongue around Jane's clit, and wrapping her lips around Jane's clit. On the next pass, Maura lightly dipped her tongue into Jane's opening, just enough to make her hips buck but not enough to provide any relief. She continued to move her tongue back and forth between Jane's clit and her opening, thrusting deeper on each pass over her vagina.

When she could feel Jane's walls twitching against her tongue, Maura moved her mouth back to focus on Jane's clit while thrusting two fingers inside. She pumped her fingers in and out as fast as she could while sucking hard on Jane's clit and applying pressure with her tongue. Within minutes, Jane was flying over the edge for her first climax of the night.

Maura moved back up Jane's body when the other woman had finished riding out her orgasm. She placed soft butterfly kisses across Jane's abdomen and over her breasts until she reached Jane's mouth. She captured Jane's lips in a passionate kiss, causing Jane to moan at the taste of herself on Maura's lips.

They spent a few minutes basking in the aftermath of their climaxes, cuddling and whispering sweet nothings into each other's ear, but neither of them was finished yet. They spent many hours showing each other just how much love they held for the other. By the time they finally passed out from exhaustion in the early hours of the morning, Jane had climaxed six times and Maura had had five orgasms of her own. They had even come together twice; while both women enjoyed coming together, they still felt an unmatchable intimacy when they focused all of their attention on pleasuring their loves.

It may have taken years of pain and fear for them to get here, but Jane and Maura would both say that it was worth every minute if it meant they got to where they were now. They had never felt happier or more loved, and with the knowledge that this was just the beginning of their life together, they had never felt more hopeful or excited.