Maura sat on her couch turning the package over and over in her hands delicately. She'd gotten home not more than an hour ago having come straight home after calling Susie to say that she wouldn't be in for the remainder of the day. It was a slow day anyway.
The trip to the bank had been successful to say the least. Locating the box in question, she'd turned the key to find a small package inside. Apprehensively, she fingered the fold of the envelope before sliding a slender finger through the slit above. Tipping it, out fell a dvd. Much like the envelope, she rotated it in her palms, over and over, the words PLAY ME on the top side taunting her. She slid the in the DVD pressing play and the tv came to life as Jane's face appeared on screen.
Kneeling in front, mere inches away, Maura choked back a sob seeing her beautiful detective looking back at her. Timidly, she reached out a hand caressing her beloved's cheek as if nothing stood to separate them. The brunette gave a little wave and a small smile.
"Hey Maur," she said running a hand through dark tresses. Her eyes focused on a spot beyond the recorder. "So umm...I guess if you're watching this you found the key I left for you. I knew you'd figure it out."
She grinned, pride evident in her features. The smile disappeared as quickly as it had appeared. "Uhh...I guess this also means that I'm you know...no longer here. There," she said gesturing between them. "God, I'm so sorry, Maur. For Doyle, for what happened. Most of all for breaking my promise to you." Jane's image took on a pained expression as her fingers rubbed over scarred palms. "I told I'd never leave you, that I'd always be there for you. It's kinda hard to do that when you're dead."
She scratched her hair as if unsure as to how to go on. "I would never have gone willingly and I just hope you can forgive me for that." For her part, Maura couldn't tear her eyes away from the screen. Jane went on. "That day in your office, I said some god-awful things."
Language, she thought automatically.
"I didn't mean any of it. Well, ok no, that's not true. I did mean the last part. You know, the part I said about finding yourself? I meant that."
"What you're looking for...it's not logical...it can't be found with science or theories or hypotheses. It can only be found within here," she said, placing a hand over her heart. " The words echoed in the recesses of Maura's memory. Her hand automatically went up to her heart as if grasping Jane's hand in hers.
The Detective sighed. "You're not Paddy, Maura." Maura flinched as she heard his name. "And finding your mother, convincing yourself that you're not him by doing so, it's not going to work either." She'd hit the proverbial nail on the head. "You are who you are. You just need to see that for yourself because everyone around you sees the exact same thing I do. It's one of the reasons why Tommy had a crush on you, why Ma took such a liking to you even before you became a Rizzoli, why Frost and Korsak view you as their friend now, why I fell in love with you..."
Maura just sat there staring at the brunette, drinking in her appearance, her eyes raking over her love's strong Italian features, those high cheekbones, her thin lips before coming to rest on her big brown chocolate eyes. The eyes are the windows to a person's soul, she remembered hearing somewhere and it was true. She could see the remorse, guilt, adoration, love, uncertainty, hesitancy, regret, ruefulness. She only wished Jane was there to see those exact same feelings reflecting back in her own. It was too late now.
It occurred to her suddenly, catching her unaware, but watching the video, she realised that Jane had known she probably wouldn't be here by then. She had known. Somehow, she had realised. And yet, she'd been prepared for the inevitable. It was clear in the leaving of the video. And then before she knew it, Maura was angry. She had known and she hadn't bothered to tell her, to even give her an inkling. If she had, she'd never have allowed Jane to go in there. But would she have listened?
The constant guilt and niggling thought trailed in her mind. God, she had sacrificed herself. It wasn't supposed to be like this. They were supposed to get married, go on their honeymoon, wake up and go to sleep in each others' arms, grow old together, make love together, have children together; a little curly haired boy with Jane's spirit and never-ending energy; spend forever together. She came back to the present as she heard Jane's voice speak again.
"So anyway, if you look inside the envelope a bit more," Maura reached for said item, "and just give it the smallest of shakes, there's a present for you," a small A5 sized book of W. H. Auden's poems fell out. It was a first edition. "I found it in this old bookshop I passed by on the way home a few weeks ago. I was supposed to give it to you for your birthday but well, I don't know when you'll get it now but happy birthday anyway. I hope you like it," her face lit up with hope, "I remember you mentioning him in one of your 'google' moments," she air-quoted, "and how he was one of your favourite poets, aside for what's that guy who sounds like those funny men who were skirts that have those folds in em'? Those pleat things..." she said, scrunching her nose in thought.
Maura laughed. Keats. "Keats! That's it. Yeah." Jane chuckled, brown orbs twinkling with mirth. She ran a hand over the book trying not to cry but the tears continued to just streamed down her face. "So yeah, happy birthday, Maur."
The Detective got up to turn the recorder off but at the last moment, knelt down in front of the camera, before saying, "Oh, and Maur? I would have waited."
She had no idea how long she sat there, watching and re-watching over and over again, her make-up long past ruined. A few hours later, Angela came home to find her curled up next to the tv, fast asleep, her head resting on the console, Jane's face peering out from beyond. She briefly thought about waking up the blonde but decided to let her sleep instead.
She grabbed the throw lying on the couch before gently draping it over the ME as she set about cleaning the place up a bit. Coming to a stop beside the book of poems, she bent down to pick it up. She gave it a quick flip through, the pages coming to rest on a slightly browned front page which held the title and author and just below that, the words, 'Happy Birthday, Maur' written in Jane's scrawl.
She ran a worn hand over them her mind on happier times before placing it on the coffee table before making her way into the kitchen to fix a light snack for them both.
An hour later Maura sat at her island as Angela bustled around, hands encircling a warm cup of tea, looking no better but certainly no worse for the wear.
She was all cried out. Her neck was sore from the position she'd slept in on the floor but her heart ached even more. "What if she thought I didn't want to marry her?" That wasn't what she had meant to say. No. What she had intended to say was 'how do I live without her'.
"You have to be a Rizzoli to understand." Maura looked down, one hand twisting the engagement ring she had never taken off. The jeweller had called the day before saying the rings were ready for collection whenever she or Jane wanted to pick them up. She hadn't known what to say.
Bringing herself back to the present, she thought, that was it, wasn't it? She wasn't a Rizzoli. Fate had been cruel that day and taken that away. Angela took in Maura's downcast eyes, her slumped frame. The Maura Isles in front of here was very different from the carefree person she used to know; when Jane had been around.
"Oh sweetie, I didn't mean it like that. All I meant was, well, take me and Janie. When we fight, what do we do?"
"Scream and shout at each other?"
"Exactly!" Angela replied, a full smile on her face. She took Maura's hands in hers, stilling her movements. "We act on our feelings. We go barging in, everyone else be damned. You on the other hand – you have a tendency to analyse things, to need space, to go through each emotion piece by piece. It's who you are. And Jane understood that. She knew you were just working through your feelings. She was giving you space. That's all."
"I don't want space. Look at this place," she said gesturing around the room. The older woman did. The place was filled with things; Jane's memorabilia, her sports trophies stood proudly on the shelf where Maura had insisted they go, pictures of them and the rest of the Rizzoli's covered the walls, the blazer she'd thrown back at Jane that fateful day remained slung over the back of the couch, Jane's boots stood by the door. It was a stark contrast from the home she'd first come to when Maura had offered to let her move in.
"It looks very...homely," Angela replied, trying for normalcy.
"What's a home if the people who matter most aren't here?" she softly questioned. "It's merely four walls filled with stuff, none of it of importance."
Angela studied her near daughter-in-law thoughtfully before seeming to come to a decision. "Come on," she said, patting the ME's knee. She got up and walked to the door where her coat hung, taking it off it's peg. Maura was mystified.
"Wha..where are we going?"
"You'll see." She handed her her coat before giving her a slight push out, locking up after her.
Maura looked at Angela confused as they pulled into the gravel driveway that lead to the cemetery.
"Angela, I don't think visiting Jane's grave is going to help here," the ME said pointedly. Her visits with Jane had so far consisted of just her and Jane, Maura taking solace in the time she spent by her lover's side, her chats often vast and lengthy.
Almost always, she spoke of their cases, the ones that had just come in, the ones that left her stumped. Sometimes she spoke about the rest of the Rizzoli's; how well Tommy was doing, Frankie's promotion and how Jane would be so proud of him. Other times, their conversations were based on little insignificant things like the weather or a new factoid Maura had learnt.
"That's because we're not here to visit Jane," she said pulling up and getting out of the car. Maura stayed where she was while Angela stood on the freshly cut grass patiently waiting for the ME to follow which given that it was Angela, was not very patient at all. She took a deep breath in attempt to build her courage before following the Italian woman as she criss-crossed in and among the dead buried there.
Finally they came to a stop. Maura looked at Angela who nodded down at the stone in front of her. She turned her head to look and one look was all it took to shatter her entire facade.
Kneeling in front of the grave, Maura sobbed. The words 'Baby Doyle' could still be seen through her blur of tears. She had since lost count of how many times she'd cried today. With Angela beside her, she'd told her the story of how Jane had found the stone after having put two and two together and found Paddy's famous black book. She'd brought Angela, in the event that something happened during her confrontation with Connors and she couldn't show Maura. That was probably why she'd done it, Angela reasoned. Even with the possibility of death looming over her, Jane had made sure that someone else had known about her finding, that Maura had at least one more piece to the puzzle, was one step closer to finding her birth mother. Even in death, she was still looking after her.
The thought only made Maura sob harder, pain reverberating throughout her body. Her heart ached. She knew what it meant now when people spoke of heartbreak, to feel like a piece of your heart, your soul had been ripped away, even if it wasn't physically possible. She wanted the pain to go away. She wanted it to be Jane showing her the grave, Jane to hold her while she cried, Jane to be by her side. At the end of the day, she just wanted Jane.
All this...didn't matter any more.