Guys. I planned on continuing Forever and A Day on Friday, but things aren't exactly going as planned. My mom is currently in the hospital and awaiting surgery. There's a long recovery process and I don't know how often/how much I'll be able to write. I put this up to give you something to read while I get my stuff together.
Maura sets her bag down on the floor of the library, frowning at the dusty carpet. She drapes her coat over one of the chairs before sitting down at her table. It's not her table, of course it's not, but it feels like it's become hers over time. She spends hours sitting here every day, after all.
Maura Isles is in her senior year of high school. She has just turned eighteen, but she's not sure anyone has noticed. There aren't many people around here that she'd call her friends. People either stare at her or don't even notice her when she walks through the hallways, carrying a few books in her arms. She always makes sure to look down at the floor, terrified of making eye contact with someone.
She settles on the chair and puts her study books in front of her, looking for her notebook that's supposed to be shoved in between the pages- Ah, there it is. A bright yellow notebook falls onto the table and Maura pulls it towards her, grabbing a pen from her bag.
It's a little after four, nearly thirty minutes after the last class has finished, when the squeak of the door opening pulls Maura from her reading. She looks up, curious who would show up at the library on a Friday afternoon. Usually, everyone rushes home on Friday, excited for their weekend plans with friends and family.
Maura hears the door fall closed and waits for the person to round the corner into the study hall where she's sitting. And where the study books are, assuming this person needs a study book.
When she sees who's walking into the library, her mouth nearly falls open. It's a girl who has never been here before, but Maura knows her nevertheless.
She doesn't know how she knows the brunette's name, but she does know that this girl is definitely the most popular kid of the school. Everyone knows Jane, and Jane knows everyone. Maura follows the lanky brunette as she makes her way through the library. Her brown curls are tangled and long down her back, her backpack casually dangling off her left shoulder. Jane squints her eyes, as if she's looking for something, but doesn't know where it is. When she looks in Maura's direction, the blonde quickly averts her eyes, praying that this girl didn't just see her staring at her.
Although this is the reason she usually studies in the library, she wishes it wasn't so quiet now.
She can clearly hear the sound of Jane's sneakers on the old, squeaky library floor, and it seems the brunette's coming closer.
Maura doesn't look up from her book and pretends to be reading, when in reality she's listening to Jane's footsteps. The girl passes her table and walks to a bookcase on her left, where Maura knows the science books are. She frowns. Jane Rizzoli is definitely not a science kid.
She knows Jane as a rough, loud girl who always gets in trouble during lunch time. She fights with boys, and then wins a soccer game against them even though they're nearly two heads taller than she is. But Jane herself is much taller from up close than Maura thought in the first place, and she finds it strangely attractive.
Maura looks around, trying to see if there's anyone near them. Her hands are already trembling, shaking with the thought of having to talk to this girl. A stranger. Although she's not so much a stranger when you've been observing her for the past ten minutes and know her by name, but Maura shakes that thought off her mind.
She sees Jane sigh, just before reaching up to put a book she just took back on the shelf. Her ribs show through her t-shirt, and Maura wonders if this girl has enough to eat.
That sudden thought throws her off guard, and she gets so lost in her thoughts that she doesn't see Jane look at her.
Jane puts the book back on the shelf, half-annoyed and half-terrified. She's never been to the library before, and has no idea where she needs to be. That alone is stupid enough, but it feels even more foolish when the smartest girl of the entire school is sitting at a table only a few feet away from her.
Why don't you just ask her for the goddamn book, you idiot. She probably knows this entire library like the back of her hand. Save yourself some time.
No! Didn't you notice her looking at you? She's definitely not in the mood to talk to you. Not like you've ever said a word to her.
Jane notices that her hands have knotted at her waist, and she quickly untangles them and flattens them against the top of her thighs. The blonde girl seems oblivious to her internal struggle, and Jane finds that she's grateful for it. It gives her a bit of time to look at her.
Jane has seen her walk in the hallway a couple of times, but they've never said a word to each other. She knows the girl's name is Maura and that she's in her Spanish class. That's all she knows for sure.
The rest is just gossip, like the times Jane heard people call Maura a freak, a book-nerd, a geek, and many other names. She now feels bad for not saying anything, for not speaking up. This blonde girl looks much more fragile from up close, and Jane is struck by a fierce need to protect her.
It's not like she ever could, though. Maura usually sits in the front row while Jane sits somewhere in the back of the classroom, interested in everything but paying attention. So when a couple of mean girls snicker behind Maura's back when the blonde gives another right answer, Jane doesn't call them out on it.
She feels terrible about it now.
Just walk up to her and ask it. It's not like she's dangerous or anything. Look at her, she's beautiful.
Before Jane knows it, her feet have taken her to the table where Maura is sitting, and she finds herself saying hi.
Maura's head whips up, a slightly terrified look in her eyes. She wills herself not to tremble.
"What?" It comes out harshly, and Jane nearly takes a step back at the blonde's tone.
"I, uh," she starts, shoving her hands in the pockets of her jeans. "I need a book, for my class? I'm not sure where I can find it. I just figured... with all the time you spend here. You'd know where it is."
Maura looks down immediately, disappointed. She thought Jane was different. She'd hoped Jane wasn't like those other girls, who made fun of her for being smart. Who made fun of her for studying, and for wanting to know how everything works.
"Wait- That came out wrong," Jane says, bouncing nervously on her feet. "I didn't mean it like that, I just," she sighs, trying to take a breath. "I need a science book. For my research project? I … lost it," she stammers. There's no way she's telling Maura that her parents can't afford it. Not when this girl in front of her probably has everything she wants and even more.
The blonde glances up again, trying to decipher if Jane is being real with her.
"Which one do you need?" she asks, still suspiciously eyeing the brunette.
"You know, the one on research methods. It's for the research project," Jane repeats, and immediately feels the need to punch herself in the face. She has already said that. Maura must definitely think she's stupid now.
Maura sighs and puts her pen down on the table, shoving her chair backwards. She walks towards a different bookcase, the one next to the bookcase Jane was looking at only a few seconds earlier. She studies the covers for a second before she finds the right one and pulls it from the shelf, holding it up to Jane.
Their fingers brush against each other when Jane takes the book from her, and Maura feels her entire body tingle at the contact. She cannot remember the last time she had human contact like this, except from the times people bumped into her in the hallway.
"I could help you with your project."
She doesn't know when this idea pops into her mind, neither does she know when she speaks. All she knows is that she's just offered Jane Rizzoli her help, and she's terrified.
"No!" Jane's voice is loud in the quiet library. But the brunette immediately covers her mouth, her cheeks already flushing. "No, I mean. I'm sure you have better things to do."
Maura just blinks, unable to respond. It feels almost like ... she's disappointed?
"Oh," she says. "Yes, I- Okay."
Jane's steady gaze lingers on her for a bit longer until she finally looks away, still nervous. When Maura looks back up, she notices that Jane is staring at her again, almost as if she's trying to read her.
The brunette shakes herself, already turning away. "No, I just.. I was just thinking. Nothing important."
"I don't think anything you say or do could be seen as not important," Maura says, unsure where this sudden feeling of confidence is coming from.
Jane stops dead. The book nearly slips out of her grip, and she has to catch it with her other hand, causing her backpack to slide off her shoulder.
"I- Oh shit- I mean, shoot. I'm .. I'm sorry, wait," she stammers nervously, pulling the maroon-colored bag onto her shoulder again. She turns around to face Maura, her face still flushed. "What were you saying?"
Maura nearly smiles. "I said that I don't think anything you say or do could be seen as not important."
Jane looks at the blonde girl in front of her. It was stupid to think that she knew who Maura was after hearing all the gossip. The only thing she knows for sure is Maura's name, and she finds there's more about this girl she wants to know. In fact, she wants to know everything.
When the brunette looks back up, Maura is still looking at her.
"I don't think you are what everyone thinks you are."
It comes out fast, and Jane only realizes she's spoken when she sees Maura's face change from unease to utter shock.
"Those other girls, they're just jealous, you know."
"What?" Maura repeats herself. This girl in front of her amazes her, and it's not just because of the fierceness she carries around with her. It's not just the way a brown curl tickles her cheek, or the way deep brown eyes seem to look straight through her. Now, in this moment, it doesn't feel so scary to be looked at after all.
"Cause you're smart and they're not," Jane continues, unable to stop now she's started. "You're a genius, and they're just a bunch of jerks, really. They know you're too smart and pretty to even compare-"
"You think I'm pretty?"
"I-Well," Jane stammers again. But then she finds that the shock in Maura's eyes has been replaced by anxiety and self-consciousness, and she thinks she's just as bad as those other girls if she doesn't say what she thinks right now. "Yes. You're really pretty, Maura."
The blonde smiles for real now, both from the compliment and the way her name sounds when Jane says it.
Jane immediately mirrors her smile, unable to contain herself. She holds out her hand and Maura takes it without question.
"Although this is a little backwards ... I'm Jane Rizzoli. Nice to meet you. Officially."
Jane's heart jumps when the girl in front of her smiles again.
The brunette feels the absence of Maura's touch immediately, and she wishes she had another reason to reach for the blonde's hand again. Instead, she crouches down and unzips her backpack, shoving the book in somewhere between folded papers and other textbooks she hasn't even opened today.
When she gets back up, Maura is still waiting.
"Do you, maybe, want to come home with me?" Jane asks with a smile. "I could at least offer you a hot chocolate with marshmallows for saving my next semester." She holds up her bag, motioning at the book inside, and swings it over her shoulder again. "Unless you have other things to do, of course," she adds quickly.
Maura shakes her head. "No, not really. I was just going to sit here and study for a bit longer."
"Oh," Jane says. "Well, although it might be a little loud, I can assure you that my house is a more fun place to be than the library on a Friday afternoon."
"I guess I'll just have to take your word for it, Jane," Maura replies, already reaching for her own bag. She doesn't mention that this is the first time she's been invited to anything by any of her peers.
She stops when they reach the door that will take them to the main hallway.
Jane walks a little further, still waving her hands around as to accentuate the point she was making, until she realizes that Maura has stopped walking.
"What is it?" she asks, studying the blonde's face.
"Don't you want me to wait for a bit? So you don't have to be seen out there with me?" Maura asks. She wants to give Jane the option to avoid being embarrassed. The most popular girl of the school with the nerdy geek. She can already imagine the looks they're going to get.
Jane's face contorts into something that Maura describes as incredible sadness. It disappears within a second, and the brunette sets her face into something furious. "Fuck those assholes for not seeing what kind of person you really are," she says, her cocky attitude reappearing.
"Jane," Maura laughs, loving how the name seems to fall off her lips like she's been saying it for years. "Don't swear."
The brunette smiles back, although she looks a lot more proud than happy. She reaches out for Maura's hand, and the blonde looks at her, confused.
"Come on," Jane urges. "By Monday, everyone will know how awesome you are. I only have awesome friends."
Maura wants to reach out, but hesitates. "I'm your friend now?"
"Yes. Most definitely."
Oh. Wow. The most popular girl of this entire school?
"Okay." Maura grips the taller girl's hand and holds on tight.
As if Jane would ever let go.
Thank you if you got this far! I hope you liked it.
I will be back. I promise.
I love you guys.