Maura Isles pushed her way through the homicide unit's double doors intent on walking over to Jane Rizzoli's desk, but then paused when she noticed another detective speaking with her friend, smiling slightly as she recognized Detective Johnny Tam.
"I think you've covered all of your bases here, Tam," Jane said as she scanned the contents of a file. "No doubt this scum bag is going away for a long time thanks to your good work."
"Thanks, Rizzoli," he said and Maura could see his face flushing under the praise. "I was concerned I might have missed something."
"Nah, you're good," she said, closing the file and handing it to him. She paused a moment as she looked at the Asian detective. "So, have you seen Iris Fang and Bella Li lately?"
Maura was curious about the way Tam seemed to freeze at the question.
"Last week," he finally answered, eyeing Jane squarely. "Iris is doing well in spite of everything, but Bella is taking over more and more of the teaching for her."
Jane nodded slowly. "Well," she said finally. "Give them both my regards next time you see them."
"I will," he promised and stood up. The two detectives shook hands and when Tam turned and saw Maura waiting there, his face broke out into a wide smile. "Hello, Dr. Isles. It's nice to see you."
"Detective Tam," she greeted. She was very pleased to see him. Unlike some of the other officers and detectives outside of homicide, Tam was one of the few who still treated her with respect. "Is Jane helping you with one of your cases from A-1?"
Tam nodded. "Detective Rizzoli was kind enough to go over my work for a particularly brutal domestic violence case. I wanted to make sure it was airtight before I turned it over to the D.A. I want this creep gone."
"I'm sure he will be," she said. "You're a fine detective."
"Thanks, Doc," he said with a smile. "That means a lot coming from you."
After he left, she took a seat at Jane's desk. "It's nice of you to mentor Detective Tam, Jane," she said.
"Yeah, well, he's worth keeping an eye on," Jane said, then turned to Maura. "So, what's up, Doc?"
"I wanted to know if you're up for going out tonight," Maura said.
"What did you have in mind?" Jane asked.
"After the stressful week we've had, I thought it might be fun to go dancing."
"Dancing? That sounds like fun, but I'm really not in the mood to be hit on by a bunch of sweaty men at some club," Jane said with a grimace.
Maura thought for a moment. "I think I know just the place where that won't happen," she said. "So, you in?"
"Yeah, why not," Jane said with a shrug. "Like you said, we both need to blow off some steam."
"Great," Maura said. "I'll come by around seven. Dress casual."
Casual for Jane that night were black jeans, boots and a form fitting black tee-shirt that Maura heartily approved of as she looked over the other woman's lanky form.
"Very nice," Maura said with a nod.
Jane grinned as she appraised her friend. Maura was dressed in her own version of casual, which meant that the doctor was wearing black slacks and a tan blouse under a Versace blazer.
"Wow, Maura. You look great," Jane said.
"Thank you," Maura said smiling broadly. "So do you." She looked around and noted the absence of toddler and dog. "Angela?"
Jane nodded. "Figured we'd be out late tonight," she said.
"Good call," Maura said, then appraised Jane's body once again. "Are you packing, Detective?"
"Packing?" Jane laughed, her eyes dancing in amusement.
"Your gun," Maura clarified, putting a hand on Jane's hip where the detective normally carried her weapon. "Isn't that the correct phrase to ask if you're armed?"
"It is, but it's just funny hearing you say it," Jane said, then lifted up a pant leg to expose an ankle holster. "Never leave home without it. I didn't want to have to wear a jacket to cover it."
"I'm glad," Maura said. "You look positively delicious in that tee-shirt."
Jane smiled warmly at the doctor. "Thanks, Maura."
"Are you ready to go?" Maura asked.
"Yeah," Jane answered grabbing her keys and slipping them in her pocket.
Maura had a cab waiting for them outside of Jane's apartment building.
"Planning on getting a little tipsy tonight, Dr. Isles?" Jane asked as the driver pulled away from the curb.
"I am, Detective Rizzoli," Maura replied playfully. "Are you going to join me?"
"I might," Jane said matching the other woman's tone. "Gonna make it worth my while?"
"I'll try to come up with a suitable incentive."
The cab ride was short and as they both stepped out on to the sidewalk, Jane looked up at the building. The awning over the black door sported a stylized M.
"The Merch?" Jane asked after Maura had paid the driver.
"The new owners shortened it to just M," she explained.
"A lesbian club?" Jane asked. "Really, Maura?"
"You said you didn't want to get hit on by men," Maura pointed out.
Jane jerked her head at a group of women standing outside the club that were eyeing them like a school of piranhas closing in on a wounded capybara. "So how is getting hit on by women any different?" she asked.
Maura tilted her head at Jane. "Less sweat?" she shrugged and Jane rolled her eyes. "If you're uncomfortable, we can go somewhere else."
"Nah, that's all right," Jane said, putting an arm around Maura's shoulders and led her toward the door of the club. "We'll just stick together. If we do it for Giovanni, we can do it for the ladies."
Maura was very pleased with Jane's suggestion.
Inside, the club had been redesigned to be more intimate. The bar ran along the length of one wall with darkened booths filling the others, giving the patrons a measure of privacy. The dance floor in the center of the room was lit from above and below in muted tones of flashing blue and green. The music was loud and thumping and Jane immediately felt her pulse quicken in time with its rhythm. With a laugh, she pulled Maura onto the floor.
The floor was crowded with gyrating women, forcing Jane and Maura to dance closely with each other. At first Jane's movements were stiff, not knowing what to do with her hands, but Maura's complete lack of inhibition eventually caused her to relax. She placed her hands on Maura's hips and drew her closer. Maura smiled at her and wrapped her arms around Jane's neck.
The song mix melded together as they danced. And to Jane's delight, Maura could dance. They had danced together before, at the wedding, but that had been the type of dancing reserved for formal occasions. The type of dancing that was polite.
There was nothing polite about this. This dancing was raw, energetic, passionate. And it was definitely sexual. As the night wore on and the drinks flowed freely, Jane found herself getting more and more into it. Into Maura.
After a particularly sultry number, Maura excused herself to the bathroom while Jane got them more drinks and found a booth. She was waiting for Maura to return when a familiar face stopped in front of the booth.
"Please tell me you're not here undercover again, Detective."
"If I was, you just blew it," Jane said with a laugh. "Kelley, right?" Jane recognized the pretty redhead from the softball booth that Maura said had been flirting with her.
"Good memory," she said and motioned to her companion. "This is Jen. Jen, this is Detective Jane Rizzoli."
"I've heard about you," the tall brunette said. "You're kind of famous in certain circles."
Jane laughed, the alcohol in her system allowing the sound to flow freely from her. "I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing."
"Hero cop who's family? I'd say definitely a good thing," Kelley said. "So where's Dr. Isles?"
"Here she comes now," Jane said, slightly confused by the woman's comment, but letting it slide by as always uncomfortable with being called a hero. "Why don't you two join us for a while?"
The other women slid into the booth across from Jane and Maura was pleased to see their previous acquaintance. The conversation flowed as freely as the liquor and with the occasional break for more dancing with the couples sometimes swapping partners, the hours quickly flew long past midnight and into the hours of the morning.
Finally, Kelley and Jen said their goodnight after exchanging contact information and a promise for future social interaction.
"Last dance?" Maura asked as Jane drained the last of her drink.
After all the vigorous dancing, Jane was simply content to hold Maura in her arms as they swayed to the music.
"How do you do that?" Jane asked, pulling her friend closer and nuzzling her face into Maura's neck.
"Do what," Maura asked, shivering at Jane's actions.
"How do you smell so good even after dancing all night?" Jane clarified. "I must smell like a pig."
"No you don't," Maura protested. "Yes, you've been sweating, but your aroma is not offensive. In fact, you give off a hearty muskiness that I find…"
"What?" Jane asked after Maura broke off.
"Intoxicating," Maura finally answered.
Jane searched Maura's face for a long moment. "Ready to go?"
The cab ride back to Jane's apartment did nothing to dispel their intoxication.
"God, I haven't been this drunk for a long time," Jane slurred as she pulled Maura into the bedroom. "Let's go to bed, Dr. Isles."
Maura disappeared into the bathroom as Jane forced herself to carefully lock away her weapon. Then she pulled off her boots and jeans and climbed into bed wearing just her panties and tee-shirt.
After a few minutes, Maura emerged from the bathroom wearing a pair of Jane's pajamas.
"See," Jane mumbled as Maura joined her in the bed. "Ready for the photo shoot."
"Hardly," Maura said, her voice as slurred as Jane's. "Alcohol has a tendency to dilate the small blood vessels in the skin making it appear redder and cause the face to look bloated and puffy. We really should drink some water. Rehydration can lessen the adverse affects of…"
With a groan, Jane rolled over and stopped the doctor's rambling with the simple act of putting her lips over the other woman's. Stunned, Maura froze for a moment, but then responded to the kiss, sliding her arms around the lanky detective, pulling her closer.
At the first taste of Jane's tongue in her mouth, Maura moaned far in the back of her throat. Jane deepened the kiss for a few endless minutes and then pulled away.
"That was nice," she whispered, smiling at Maura. Then she snuggled once again into Maura's neck. "Smell so good," she husked and within moments was fast asleep.
Author's Note: Introduced in the last novel, The Silent Girl, Johnny Tam is a Chinese-American detective from another district who works with Jane on a case that takes place in Chinatown. Based on a single strand of hair, Jane suspects his involvement in a vigilante group who possess near super-human abilities. Although her case goes cold, she keeps her suspicions to herself, even giving Tam a praising commendation and requesting his assistance on other cases. That is very unlike bulldog Jane who always gets her killer. I hope we'll see more of Johnny Tam in the future.
Maura is not well-liked among the officers and detectives of Boston's PD. Her testimony sent a cop who beat to death a suspected cop killer to prison and, with few exceptions, she is treated like a pariah.