Maura’s mind felt frozen in panic as she watched Frankie walk to the chair next to her bed and sit down. He was looking at her with a puzzled expression. She realised her hands were twisting the bed sheet in fear and consciously relaxed her hands, trying unsuccessfully to school her expression into a natural smile. Instead, she could feel her eyebrows furrowing, her eyes narrowing and her mouth clenching into a thin grimace.
Frankie held her gaze for a few moments before he shuffled uncomfortably and dropped his eyes to his hands. “Look, I know that you might be angry with me. I’m really sorry you and Susie got hurt. I should have done more.”
Maura’s mouth fell open in surprise. She had been expecting more threats, or a request to keep out of Jane’s life, not an apology.
A burst of outrage overpowered her fear. “Sorry? After everything you’ve done, you tell me you’re sorry? What about your sister, did you apologise to her?”
Frankie looked confused, and replied defensively. “What do you mean? She’s home, she’s safe, she’s back with her family! It sucks that it took this long, but she’s okay now!”
Maura sat up, ignoring the pain in her shoulder. “Safe? She’s not safe while Detective Lucas is anywhere near her!”
Frankie’s expression darkened. “Well we agree on that. That creep won’t get anywhere near Jane if I can help it.”
Maura paused. He had sounded entirely sincere about disliking Lucas, but she was still wary of Frankie. It was entirely possible that he and Lucas could be working together and still not get along. She wasn’t sure whether she should bluntly accuse him of being a part of the organisation that had hurt Jane, or if she should continue to skirt the issue until she had a chance to investigate Frankie’s possible involvement. She wanted to trust him, but the cost of being wrong was potentially too high.
Frankie seemed to grow restless with the break in conversation. “So, I should thank you again for keeping Jane’s place. I think she appreciated having somewhere familiar to go. Ma and I have been taking turns staying with her, trying to help her remember things.”
With a barely suppressed eye roll, Maura replied in a cynical tone. “Ah, yes, the amnesia. How convenient. She just happens to forget who she is until it’s a useful time to bring her back.”
Frankie shrugged helplessly. “I don’t think anyone really believed it to begin with, but what else could it be? Cavanaugh had Jane in that room for hours, and her story didn’t change. She told me she had amnesia, and as ridiculous as it sounds, I can only trust her. If there is some other story, she’ll tell me when she can.”
Maura looked at him disbelievingly and scoffed. “So you’re just going to go along with this?”
Frankie stood up, his temper clearly getting the better of him as his voice increased in volume. “What else am I supposed to do Maura? She’s been gone for four years! She vanished! You know that better than anyone, you looked everywhere! But now she’s back, and she needs us to help her get back on her feet!”
Maura was almost yelling now too. “So tell me Frankie, what was it that made you suddenly give up on her? Why were you trying so hard to get me to stop? If you cared so much about her, why did you stop looking?”
Frankie threw his hands up in frustration. “She was gone! It had been months, we’d tried everything! Ma was out of her mind with stress, you were falling apart, I wasn’t much better than either of you! Tommy seemed to have the right idea, he’d accepted that she was gone and he’d managed to start living his life again! That’s all I wanted, to get you to stop being obsessed with a pointless search and dragging us down with you!”
Maura was about to reply when Frankie stepped closer and waved his hands near her face, making her flinch back reflexively. “Okay, enough. We’ve had this argument too many times over the years Maura. You were right, she was alive, but the way you were going about looking wasn’t healthy. And to be blunt, you didn’t find her. Someone else got her home. So we need to move past this and focus on helping Jane.”
Maura bristled immediately but decided to bite her tongue. Nothing Frankie had said had convinced her of his innocence, and she didn’t want to give away her plans or intentions. “Fine.”
Frankie sighed, walking away to calm down. He turned back to Maura, clearly fighting to stay civil. “Ma and I are going to keep staying with her. We’re not letting Lucas anywhere near her, I don’t care how much she asks for him. Once you’re out of here it would be great if you’d go see her.”
Maura suppressed the involuntary shiver at the thought of seeing Jane again. “Fine.”
Frankie frowned at Maura, his expression showing that he had heard her defiance. Despite their differences, he still knew her well. “Maura, I don’t want you doing anything stupid. Leave Lucas alone. Don’t get involved. Cavanaugh has people looking into their story, and they’ll work out what really happened if it’s any different to what we’ve been told.”
Maura fought the urge to cross her arms petulantly. “Fine.”
The Rizzoli eye roll was no less than she’d expected. “Really, Maura? Okay, fine, you’re not going to let this go. You’re too damn stubborn. Just please promise me you’ll tell me if you find anything. Don’t get yourself into a dangerous situation without backup. Let me help you.”
He stared at her for a few long moments, waiting for an answer. Instead Maura just stared back, rebelliousness clear in her rigid posture.
With a resigned sigh Frankie started towards the door, before spinning at the last moment. “And by the way, Susie doesn’t count as backup. Please don’t get her hurt again either.”
Maura let out a harried breath as he strode out of the room, relieved that the confrontation hadn’t escalated out of control. As she flopped back onto the bed her hands were shaking, either from barely suppressed rage or fear. Or a combination of both.
Maura had never been good at reading people, and this was a situation where lives depended on her assessing Frankie’s motives correctly. If he was involved in Jane’s disappearance, the conversation they’d just had could be interpreted as a threat against her and Susie if they tried to investigate. His request to be kept informed was exactly what Maura would expect of a double agent trying to keep informed of a threat to his operation. If he knew what Jane had been turned into, he knew how Lucas had used her to threaten and torture Maura, and had thrown that in her face when he asked her to come and visit.
However, if Frankie was innocent, the same comments would be as she expected from a concerned brother and friend. He would be worried about her and Susie getting hurt if they antagonised Lucas. He would want to help find out the truth and protect them. He would want Maura to help his sister regain her memories. He would feel guilty that he had left a dangerous woman in Maura’s house who had later injured both her and Susie.
Maura huffed in frustration. There was no easy answer here until she had more information. There was no reason to commit to either conclusion at present, she would simply exclude Frankie from any knowledge of her activities. She knew he would notice and question her reticence to be around him or Jane, but there was presently no alternative.
Unbidden, an errant thought rose to the front of her mind. What would Jane do?
Maura had no idea. She had never been able to understand how Jane made the logical leaps she did, allowing her to know who to believe and which leads to follow. It didn’t seem logical to Maura’s disciplined mind. There wasn’t a repeatable pattern to the so called ‘gut instincts’. There wasn’t a formula that Maura could establish and use. It was simply something Jane could do, and she could not.
Suddenly buried in a surge of loneliness and sadness, Maura fervently wished that Jane, her Jane, was here to help save herself.