Maura pulled up to her home on Beacon Hill, taking both her purse and the groceries she had purchased on the way home out of her Prius, completely oblivious to the figure sitting on her porch steps.
It had been just over a week since Frost and Frankie had gone to Cavanaugh with their concerns, Maura with them though not as concerned. But he too had agreed, arranging for a squad car to drive by every few hours and stationing one outside her house every night.
Just till they got to the bottom of it, he said.
And yet nothing had happened. She'd neither seen nor heard from the mystery person since. Then again, aside from the occasional post-it, nothing had happened during that time either. As much as she understood the measures to be precautionary, she was getting tired of the lack of privacy and degree of insight the beat cops seemingly had on her personal life, with them knocking on her door every now and again, just in case. She immediately felt bad as Frost's words echoed back, "You're one of our own, and we look after our own." The man meant well. They all did. She just sometimes wished for that little bit of peace.
Opening up her boot, her mind working overtime wondering who it was who had left those notes. The items with the note was just too convenient for her liking. She berated herself for not having seen it earlier. She was beginning to think someone was playing a trick on her. If so, it was one hell of a cruel one. Locking her car, she made her way up the driveway in search of her keys, almost dropping the bag upon seeing a figure loom upon her.
"Woah there! It's just me. Just me," the person said, coming in to catch the bag of foodstuff.
"Addison!" Maura put her hand to her chest feeling her heart race at being caught off guard.
"So I gather you've missed me then," came the cheeky response.
"You scared me! How else did you think I'd react?"
"I wasn't exactly hiding behind the bushes, Maura," the redhead said dryly. "Besides," she shrugged, "I went to your office and some woman with black hair and glasses said you'd left early for the day. Hence, me gracing you with my presence here."
She followed the blonde to where she was searching for her house keys. Finding them, she turned the lock, letting them both in. They made their way into the kitchen where Maura put down her bags. Placing both hands on the counter, she looked the redhead squarely in the eye.
Social etiquette be damned, "why are you here, Addison?"
"You wound me, Doctor Isles," she said rather dramatically, placing a hand to her chest. Maura fought the urge to not roll her eyes. "Can't I just come and see how my friend is doing?"
"You can. Or you could have just called. That would have done equally well," was the measured response from the blonde who was currently putting away the groceries.
Addison Montgomery waved a careless hand as if in dismissal. "I had time off." Maura arched a rather well manicured eyebrow as she regarded her friend critically.
"Ok, so they made me take time off."
"I thought you ran the practice."
"I do. And as practice manager, I too am allowed vacation time. We're not all cyborgs," she said teasingly. The words pierced Maura, their familiarity resounded in her ears and the pieces of her heart that she'd tried to put back together countless times over the last few months, shattered once again.
It had been in the first few stages of their friendship, far before either of them had had any inkling of how they'd really felt about the other despite the attraction that was there. Jane had come over, nightmares of Hoyt making her unable to sleep. And Maura being Maura, had let her in, unable to say no to the one person who'd somehow started knocking down her walls from the time they'd met.
They'd been lying in the ME's guest bedroom enjoying each other's company when Dean had come over to pass the blonde a file. At the time, Jane had been certain that they were both after the same guy only to find it wasn't true. While she'd found his physical attributes to be not unkind to the human eye, she'd felt no sort of physical pull towards the agent. Her mind flashed back to that night...
Jane lay there fiddling with her hands. It was something she did when she was anxious and over the past few months, the ME had come to recognise it as such.
"Did you ever like the same guy as your best friend?" The question was hesitant.
Did you ever have a best friend?"
"You'd tell me if you were a cyborg, right?"
Maura quirked her head thinking seriously before she shook her head saying, "No, I don't think I would."
"Maura. Earth to Maura." Maura came back from her musings to see her friend waving a hand in front of her face.
"I'm sorry, what did you say?"
"Where did you go?" Addison looked at her concerned.
"Nowhere important," she hedged, shrugging it off.
Realising she hadn't displayed the proper social etiquette that had been ingrained in her, she turned to the refrigerator.
"Can I get you something to drink?"
"What do you have?" Addison asked, peering over her shoulder.
"There's a fine merlot if you're interested, or beer, or you're welcome to have some coffee or tea? I'd be quite happy to make some for you."
The concern Addison felt appeared again. "Blue Moon?"
"Yes," she said, "Frankie and Tommy drink it." The last part was said almost defensively as if she knew her friend was questioning her decision of keeping Jane's beer in the fridge.
Addison held her hands up in defense. "I didn't say anything."
"Yes, well..." she went to get a glass, ignoring the slight tremor in her hands. "You never answered my question Addison. Why are you here?"
The redhead considered the blonde carefully. She had lost a bit of weight in the months after the funeral and there were slight bags under her eyes, not quite concealed by the make-up she wore. And just as the life had been snuffed out of Jane, the light in Maura's eyes was no more. She shrugged nonchalantly.
"I'm worried about you. Sue me. We're all worried about you. Your mother's worried about you. And I have to say, she's a far cry from the Constance Isles I once knew."
The ME twiddled with her wine glass before forcing herself to still her hands and look her friend in the eyes. That too had been Jane's doing.
"You'll have to thank for Jane for that." The words slipped without warning but neither missed the use of present tense implied within. Once again, Addison ran a curious eye over her friend taking the opportunity to run one over the house she now sat in without invitation as well. Nothing had changed since she'd last been here. It was like being stuck in a time warp; Jane's things still stood where they had been the last time she was here just over four months ago. Her trench coat still hung on the coats' peg, her boots still stood by the door; she'd noticed them when she'd come in. To be honest, it had been hard not to. The jar of instant Maura had complained Jane had hid behind the cereal was now on full display in front of it and it looked to be a new one too. Hell, she even kept Jane's beer in the fridge.
Addison cast her mind back to when Derek first walked out on her. She hadn't changed a thing either then in the hope that she wouldn't have to, that he would eventually return, she'd beg his forgiveness and all would be right again with the world. Then he'd moved. To another state and straight into another woman's arms; the arms of Meredith Grey. Once she'd finally realised he wasn't coming back, she'd gone after him and after weeks of pulling and pushing from both their ends, she'd given up. What they'd had was no more. So she'd taken some time off and went to visit Maura only to find her happily and sickly in love.
From the moment she'd picked her up from the airport to the moment Jane had arrived home, the woman had gushed about nothing BUT Jane, with the exception of a little bit about her work thrown in here and there. She'd thought, oh god, it was going to be another Garrett Fairfield who'd only had the blonde's status and money on his mind when they'd first started dating and later asked her to marry him, but then Jane had come home. And she'd seen for herself how her world revolved around the honey blonde, how the moment Jane arrived home, her eyes had searched for Maura's, how her weary expression lit up and a smile stretched across her face once she found her, the kiss they shared as she came to meet her and the utter look of devotion, adoration and love in orbs which were reflecting the exact same emotion. Frankie, who'd been sitting across from her at the time had just chuckled, quite used to their display of affection.
"It's sickening isn't it?" he whispered.
Quite taken aback and gobsmacked, she had agreed but she couldn't help but feel just the slightest bit of envy for the look of giddiness and love that adorned her friend's face, wishing that she had that for herself - someone to come home, someone to love who loved you back unconditionally. Some way, somehow, her socially awkward, quirky genius of a friend had found her place in the world; next to the side of one Jane Rizzoli.
No. Getting divorced wasn't quite the same as having someone you love die in your arms. And loving Jane Rizzoli had been a whole other kettle of fish. Her expression softened.
The woman before her gave her a somewhat strained smile as if she were trying to convince herself of her words.
"I'm fine," she said.
Addison placed one hand over her own.
"Are you, Maura? Are you really?"
Maura turned the wine glass round and round, seemingly lost in her own thoughts. In truth, she had no idea how to answer her friend's question without breaking out in hives. The warmth of a hand on hers stilled her movements.
"Tell me, Maura. What can I do?"
Build me a time machine.
Grant me a miracle.
Bring me back Jane.
The honey blonde shrugged her shoulders. "Nothing," she replied.
The two women sat in the kitchen, oblivious to the hooded figure watching them through the window.
To the ordinary observer, they looked like two women simply catching up, having a chat, a bit of a laugh. To the person watching, they knew better. They took in the slight stoop of the ME's shoulders, the anxiety that coursed through her as she rotated the glass in circles. The loss in weight and lack of sparkle in the ME's eyes didn't go unnoticed either. For weeks they had been watching, waiting. For the right moment.
The figure straightened slightly at the sight of the redhead placing a hand over the ME's, taking note of the crease between the taller woman's brows. Their concern went up a notch. They watched as the ME gave her friend a weary, wistful smile, the small yorkie pattering round their feet begging to be let out. It was time to go.
Soon, Maura, soon, they thought. At the end of it all, it would be worth it.
And with that, they were gone, the darkness swallowing them up.
Cliffhanger! I'm evil I know. :) On a positive note, this is almost finished - there's only two chapters left. So hang in there and thanks for sticking by!