Author's Note: Please enjoy, escape, and review if you feel compelled. Thank you for reading.
"Boston, twenty-five miles," she mumbled to no one but herself in her empty car. The irritating glow of the sign only aided in her anxiety of going back home. She threaded her agitated fingers through long dark wavy locks and let out an exasperated huff.
Though she did consider herself close with her family, those strong Italian ties have slowly unraveled in the years after her departure from Boston. This is why she has chosen to take three weeks away from work to regroup and reconnect with everyone. It was the middle of August and she would stay until the first week of September - just to finish the rest of the summer being with those she has spent too much time missing as of lately. Her parents and two brothers were under the impression she was simply going to stay the weekend so she could attend her ten year high school reunion and head back to her home in New York as soon as it was over.
Jane had been recruited straight from the police academy days before graduation to join what was considered a prestigious security agency in New York City. The jobs ranged anywhere from security detail for politicians, armed guards for large and high profile events, club and bar floor security, the range was wide and offered a whole word of possibilities. She was twenty at the time, just finished two years of community college alongside her best friend Barry Frost who was also recruited to the same agency. How could she have said no?
The sinking realization of how much time had gone by caused some serious drumming of her fingers against the steering wheeling and a heavier foot on the pedal. She bit her lip a little too hard when thinking about this damn reunion. A shudder rippled down her spine. It was only a quarter after six o'clock on a Friday evening and Jane didn't want to waste a beat of time over the next few weeks.
She wound herself with ease around the streets of the Back Bay neighborhood until arriving at the destination. There was at least an hour to kill before she headed in the direction of her parent's house where she had intended to crash, hopefully, for just under a month.
The bar was pretty much unchanged, she noted as she stepped through the threshold of the Dirty Robber. Known primarily as a cop bar, she had only attended this place when coming in and out of town. It was the kind of neighborhood bar where even after ten years, when you walked in that door you were guaranteed to know someone from the good ol' days.
Jane managed to snag the corner spot of the L-shaped bar which gave her the best vantage point of the entrance. The place was pretty slow right now but she was guessing soon enough people would be filing through the door. Friday evening in the summer? Yeah, she knew this place would be flooded with cops off duty in no time. Taking a glance at the vacated seat two spots away, she intakes the sight of the silky-looking scarf and purse draped over the back of the curved back stool.
She orders a beer that she knows she will end up nursing for the next hour or so and waits a beat before it's placed in front of her in it's golden glory. Placing a solid grip around the pint glass, she brings the liquid to her lips and enjoys a gulp. As she brings her head back down and puts the frothy glass back on the coaster, she feels the air around her change. The owner of the silky scarf was back in her chair and the scent of perfume that came along with her tickled Jane's nose. It was like sunshine and brightness wrapped in cookies. She downed another sip of her beer to rid herself of the strange association and glued her eyes forward.
The moment the woman was settled in her seat, the bartender placed a glass of white wine in front of her with perfect timing. She simply thanked him and fell into a sipping and checking her phone pattern. Jane thought this may be a good opportunity to assess the woman next to her with her keen peripheral vision so as not to get caught staring. The training in her told her this lady with the scarf had frequented this establishment.
This woman had long golden blonde hair that fell in soft and loose waves around her freckled shoulders. She exuded perfect posture in a turquoise dress that Jane had assumed cost more than her own wardrobe all together. Even if Jane only had a view from the side, she could tell this woman had such an air of professionalism about her. The captivating blonde was poised and beautiful and Jane had a difficult time tearing her side stare away.
Some more awkward moments passed by and the woman slid a few bills on the bar top, thanking "Murray" and wishing him a wonderful evening. This affirmed the security guard's initial assessment that the woman she had been unabashedly staring at for God knows how long, was in fact familiar with this place.
Her departure spins Jane into a black hole of locked vision with the bowl of peanuts. The scent of the blonde is still lingering and puts Jane into motion as she leaves the rest of her beer and places a twenty on the counter.
Time to face the parents, she thinks to herself as she slowly walks in the direction of her car.
The drive through the neighborhood was shorter than she would have liked and fought with milking the last few minutes. It was still light outside when Jane arrived at her childhood home and immediately felt that tingle in her belly that stirred up memories she thought she had lost. Strolling up the sidewalk, she looked from side to side and remembered the spots where she and her two younger brothers had deemed first base through home base when playing baseball together in the yard. Taking a quick step over the missing chunk of pavement, she instantly remembered the feeling of her roller blades across the divet. Gripping the railing to the staircase she reaches the front door and gives a nervous knock.
Her mother answers the door and Jane wants nothing more than to burst into tears. She barely managed to hold it together as she was wrangled through the threshold and crushed into a hug. The Rizzoli matriarch pulls away only for a second, "Frank! Janie's here!" The middle aged Italian woman shouts, her thick Boston accent more prominent than Jane remembers. Pulling her back into a face smothering embrace, she feels her mother whisper against her head, "You're here." Nearly a decade of guilt cements her feet to the ground beneath her soles.
Falling asleep in her childhood bedroom was easier than waking up in it. The collages of photographs, the trophies, the history embedded between the walls. Despite the emotional entrance yesterday evening, spending time with her parents had been, in a word, wonderful. The three of them sat outside and indulged in a pot of coffee and Jane's mother, Angela, just so happened to be making homemade zeppoles that they also finished off while chit-chatting into the midnight hours.
Her Father had been doing well in his plumbing business thanks to a job for someone who works the Police Department that spread the good word around. It seemed to Jane that it had done wonders for their marriage as they both appeared, dare she even think it,… happy. Her dad, Frank, was not his usual grumpy self and spent a good amount of time picking on himself instead of taking it out on my mother. She found it insanely refreshing and knew the start of her three weeks at home had been a smooth and relatively easy transition.
All of today would be very trying, however. Jane knew her mother had already invited her brothers over for breakfast as she announced she was going to do last night and make a huge Rizzoli-style breakfast. She knew they were going to poke and prod but desperately hoped it would go over quickly and smoothly just like the previous evening with her parents. Plus, tonight was the reunion and her best friend Barry Frost who was supposed to be attending ended up taking a great paying job last minute that he just couldn't say no to.
Jane knew his work ethic mirrored hers and just simply understood, as much as it dampened her plans a little. It was only a few day gig so he would come to town after that which Jane had learned to accept. As much as she hated the idea of going to the reunion by herself, she still thought she should go through with it, as if the Boston native had something to prove to all of her former classmates.
One thing at a time, she reminded herself and rolled off the twin size bed and into the ensuite bathroom - something she never realized that she had missed. By the time she steps out of the shower she can hear the voices of her brothers echoing across the floor beneath her. A smile spreads on her face and in a flurry she throws some sweatpants and a hoodie on and rushes down the stairs only to be scooped up by the middle brother, Frankie.
He looks like a younger and male version of his older sister while Tommy, the littlest brother, was still growing out of his cheeks as Jane liked to say when referring to his baby face. Even though he was nineteen and a teenage trouble maker. Over french toast, coffee, and bacon they caught up with the more superficial ongoings in each other's lives. Though Jane had visited for all major holidays over the years, there is only so much information that can be processed in a small amount of time. Plus, her family is huge so making it around a room during Christmas takes an entire evening of rapid conversations.
She had no idea that Frankie had taken a whole year off after getting his associates degree from community college, where Tommy currently attends, and then joined the academy with only a few weeks left. Jane made a mental note to find out the exact date so she could extend her stay and be there for him on that day. Apart from taking the minimal amount of classes, baby brother Tommy was working with their father on the side and apparently showed a lot of interest and talent in the field of plumbing. Pride shone easily from his face when he talked about how quickly he was getting even the most complicated jobs done.
Once the idea of Jane going by herself to her high school reunion came to the table, her brothers had a hard time keeping the jokes and jabs in. She let it roll off, having already had these thoughts on the drive into town. Working security for as long as she has, Jane is well trained in creating a presence to influence the behavior of others toward her. She just hoped she would be able to hold it together well enough tonight and not allow the stress of the evening to interfere with her stone exterior.
After much debate, she settled on a little black dress, simple black heels that she would surely be ripping apart by the end of the night, and wore her hair down with tight curls brushed to one side. Normally not the dress wearing type, but this was no ordinary day and her usual all black attire just would not suffice for the occasion.
Approaching the name tag table with only a slight tremor in her hands, she stated her name and waited.
"Oh my God, Jane Rizzoli!"
"That's what I said, yes…"
"Michelle Mason, we had English Lit together," the barely familiar woman trailed off before it clicked with Jane.
"Oh right, right! You look great Michelle, it's good to see you. Time has done you well."
"Funny enough, you're the first person to not bring up the fact that I was called 'overalls' for all four years of high school," she chuckled. "But let me tell you how well time has fared for you, Jane Rizzoli. I see no ring on the finger, good for you. Go enjoy."
And with that, she stalked off mentioning she would like to catch up a little bit later. So far, so good.
The gymnasium where she once decked Emily Bruno with a dodgeball so hard she knocked her out of her shoes was now covered in streamers and over the top decorations. After letting her eyes scan around the lay of the area, she spun on her heel in the direction of the punch bowl and took her place in line behind classmates who she didn't remember and an insane amount of jello molds.
Just as she was about to ladle a cupful of punch, an old nickname made its way to her ears from a voice she knew all too well.
"Well if it isn't Frog Face. Didn't think you'd show yourself tonight, Rizzoli, aren't you busy being a mall cop or something?"
She knew there was no use in trying to correct him and just took the insult along with a few others as she stood there and emptied the contents of the plastic cup.
"So what have ya been up to Joey?" She turned to face Joey Grant - the boy who terrorized and bullied me from first grade to our last days of high school.
"Just made detective, Rizzoli, something you'd know nothing about."
Jane was about to begin name calling when a figure behind the bully began illuminating in the doorway. Instantly, the Italian recognized the woman walking toward her in a deep purple dress that fell off of her shoulders and worked very hard to keep her jaw from dropping.
Noticing the change in the banter between the two of them, Joey looked behind himself and stepped toward the woman with the golden blonde hair and perfect everything. "Rizzoli, meet my hot date, don't get too jealous though, I know what way you're swinging now-a-days." My old high school nemesis hooked his chin in the direction of the woman who looked as if she had stepped off of a high fashion runway. "Jane Rizzoli, meet Maura Isles."