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For all that I know, I am absolutely baffled as to how I end up back at the scene of the crime. When I say scene of the crime I am not referring to anything work related—which has incidentally been suffering lately—but rather the restaurant where we held Maura’s birthday party.
As I sit watching the door, and feeling a little more than creepy, I don’t know what I’m doing here. When she comes into sight though, it all makes a little more sense.
I throw Gretchen a wave through the car window and she climbs inside as if it’s the most natural thing in the world.
“Hey, Detective! How are you?”
If she hadn’t just called me detective I would almost believe that we were friends.
“I’ve been better,” I admit honestly.
I can’t remember when, but I know there has to have been a better time in my life than this. The constant feeling of despondency is beginning to weigh heavily on me, affecting every part of my life. It stays with me morning, noon, and night, never lessening, never waning.
For all I know about emotions, I am only able to conjure anger and sadness on a daily basis. When I’m not snapping at my partner or a perp., I’m weeping miserably at home. It’s a terrible existence and at times I wonder I how long I can continue in this fashion.
Even Frost with his ever present affability has lost patience.
“I love you, Jane and its because I love you that I’m going to say this once and we never need to discuss it again. Either talk to her or move on,” he whispered harshly. “Because I’m getting sick of your attitude. You were less bitchy when Hoyt was running around.”
Talk about an eye opener. I’m more pleasant to be around when a serial killer is running loose than when I’m lovesick. Go figure.
“I take it that conversation didn’t go well last weekend,” she notes perceptively.
No, it did not go well. And the week after has been even more difficult. For all the courage I’ve conjured up in my life, I have been unable to face Maura. She’s tried to speak to me, reason with me, but I haven’t been able to listen to a word of it. I haven’t been able to listen because I can’t have Maura look me in the face and confirm that she’s wanted me all along. I don’t want to be told that my cowardice is what has kept us apart. I can’t face that she had to take physical and emotional solace in the arms of another woman because I was too blind to see that my feelings were indeed returned. I certainly can’t stand to hear her tell me she’s sorry and we could have worked things out had I said something sooner. Because more noteworthy than anything…I’ve seen Reggie in the precinct since that night. They’re still together and I’ve let my opportunity slip through my fingers.
“So she does feel the same way about you,” Gretchen surmises once my story is complete.
“Did,” I correct. “I told you they’re still together.”
“So what? She doesn’t love that woman. Anyone can see that.”
I look to her with apparent confusion.
“She tracked you with her eyes during the entire party. Never once were you out of her sight. That’s probably why she was so angry after the party. The moment she looked away you slipped out with me. She was mad at herself more than anything that night, take it from me.”
A pain I hadn’t noticed flits across the waitresses face before its shuttered once more behind a look of companionable naïveté. I do know not to fall for it.
“Be that as it may, she made her choice.”
“Oh, I see what this is.” She turns accusatory eyes in my direction. “You’re angry with her for finding an alternative. You’re trying to punish her.”
“No,” I frown. “That’s not it at all. And how did I become the bad guy in this? She’s with someone else. A someone else who happens to be a cheap knockoff of yours truly.”
“Because you were too much of a coward to tell her how you felt.”
“So was she!”
Gretchen shakes her head in disappointment. “Is she the type of woman that asks people out or gets asked out?”
Shit. I pause in thought already knowing where Gretchen is going with this. While Maura may be brave in many regards, she’s not necessarily strong when it comes to social matters and even lesser so when it comes to matters of the heart. Maura has a healthy appetite for matters of a sexual nature, but she doesn’t usually partake until the opportunity presents itself.
“You’re the big, strong, Italian detective kicking ass and taking names,” she continues. “She didn’t say anything to you for the same exact reasons you haven’t said anything to her. Did you really expect her to lay her feelings out on the line and risk both your friendship and her career? Homophobia ruins lives and you know it.”
“I’ve never presented myself as a homophobe,” I defend.
“Clearly you haven’t removed all doubt either.”
“Why the hell did I come here?” I smile.
“Because I’m wise beyond my days, I’m an impartial voice, and I kind of look like her. And let me just say that both of your preoccupations for finding women that favor each other is a bit disconcerting.”
For all the depression I’ve felt these passed few days, I can’t help but laugh now. I laugh long and hard. I laugh because she’s right. And I laugh because maybe, just maybe, there is a light at the end of this tunnel.
“Maura we need to talk and I don’t care if Reggie is here or not,” I announce as I storm passed her into the house. I take a quick survey of the room to make sure we’re alone.
“She’s not here, Jane. What’s wrong?”
“Nothing…everything. I just need to talk to you.”
Maura folds her arms across her chest. “You avoid me all week then decided you’re ready to talk so you storm over here in the middle of the night?”
“No…well yes, sort of, but this is important.”
“It was important last weekend when I was worried sick about you, sick about us. You wouldn’t even give me the respect of letting me speak, why should I let you barge in here and talk to me now?
“Because I love you! I’m in love with you and I’m pretty sure that you’re in love with me too.”
Our eyes catch and hold for an indeterminate amount of time.
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