It's always busy in the grocery store on Friday afternoon. Most people leave work early to do their shopping for the weekend. A thirty-three year old brunette sighs out loud, waiting for the woman in front of her to move her shopping cart so she can walk into the next aisle. Jane Rizzoli isn't someone who has the patience or time to wait for others to finish. She wants to get the hell out of here right now. Her phone vibrates and a message pops up on the screen.
From: Barry Frost
To: Jane Rizzoli
Message (5:12 PM): Our suspect has just confessed to all three murders, Jane. Thanks for helping out. See you on Monday!
Nearly bumping into another, this time abandoned shopping cart, she quickly types a reply to her partner and finally reaches the aisle with canned foods. It's not the best option, but there's no way she's going to cook a full meal for herself. At least this is better than takeout. Her mother should be proud of her. She's in the midst of grabbing a can when a voice startles her.
"My apologies for interfering, but canned food is probably not the healthiest option for you."
Jane leaves the pink salmon for what it is and looks up, searching for the person to whom that voice belongs. Next to her, a blonde woman points at the canned foods. "Canned foods contain chemicals that are associated with health problems, like heart disease and type two diabetes. I would go for a healthier option, something like fresh vegetables."
Jane scans the woman's face. She has hazel eyes, wears eyeliner and mascara and looks about the same age as her. Her clothes are definitely designer's clothes, and the blonde's purse looks like it costs at least two months of her salary. Jane finds the woman's eyes again before responding.
"Thanks for the comment, but I'm probably not gonna reconsider," she smiles. "Besides, this is the healthiest I'm gonna get. You're lucky I haven't opted for pizza yet."
The woman frowns. "Hmm. Alright. But you should really think about your food choices. Or at least read into it. I'm sure you won't want to eat that anymore," she points towards the cans, "when you know how much better real vegetables are."
"I hope it won't ruin your weekend," Jane starts, "but I'm gonna eat this anyway." She grabs the can and puts it in her shopping basket. "Thank you for the info, though."
"No problem," the blonde reaches for something on the upper shelf, barely catching it when it falls. She blushes and turns away, walking further into the aisle. Jane's eyes remain on her until the sound of glass shattering startles everyone around her, followed by three voices yelling at the same time.
"Everybody put your hands in the air! Nobody fucking move! Stay right where you are!"
Jane's hand automatically reaches for her weapon, which she has carefully hidden under her long winter jacket. She usually doesn't carry a weapon when off-duty, but she's gone straight to the grocery store after her shift. It was supposed to be quick, just grab a couple things and go. Celebrate her two days off.
Two more gunshots now have everyone on the floor, pushing themselves against the shelves, trying to get to safety.
"Empty the cash registers!"
Jane realises she's only three aisles away from those cash registers. She crouches down with her weapon drawn, and shuffles towards the end of the aisle. Text Frost. Let him now. She's in the middle of typing a message when people start to scream, and a quick glance into the store tells her more about what's going on. Two armed men have entered through the back door, pointing their weapons at everything that moves. Not shooting just yet.
"EVERYBODY QUIET! NOW!"
Most people fall silent immediately, with the exception of a few sniffles and coughs here and there.
"If everyone listens to what we say and cooperates, nobody will get hurt," one of them starts, while they continue making their way through the main aisle. Jane knows it's now or never and speed dials Frost, the sound of her phone call masked by the robber's voice. Luckily, her partner picks up within seconds.
She holds the phone close to her mouth before whispering, "Armed robbery. Whole Foods on Harrison Ave. I'm inside, probably five robbers, but I'm not sure. Come now, Frost." She quickly disconnects.
The voices and footsteps of the robbers are coming closer. The brunette scans the area, looking for possible exits and suddenly meets familiar eyes. On the floor of the aisle opposite her, a woman sits against the shelves, looking pale. Jane immediately recognises her as the blonde who stood next to her a couple minutes ago, commenting on her food choices. The woman's eyes travel downwards and Jane follows them. They land on her left hand, which makes the brunette realise that she's still holding her gun.
Hazel eyes shoot up to meet hers, wide and terrified. Jane slowly shakes her head, puts the gun back in its holster with one hand and shows her badge, also hidden under her coat, with the other.
It's okay, she mouths.
The voices have almost reached their aisle. Jane's math skills are pretty shit, but she knows there's no way she's fast enough to take out two robbers from this angle all by herself. And there are probably three more on her other side. It would be a suicide.
"We're just gonna stay here," one of them continues, "empty the cash registers and the safe." They're now standing directly in front of Jane's aisle, and she grips her coat tightly, looking up at them. They look tall from down here on the floor with their black masks and guns drawn.
"Hey, you," the left one has noticed her. "The fuck you looking at?"
Out of the corner of her eye, Jane sees the blonde woman move backwards, away from them.
Good. Stay there.
"Nothing," she replies, trying to sound more confident than she really feels. "I'm just wondering how you're planning on getting out of here."
One of the robbers walks into her aisle, towering over her.
"Looks like we've just found our first volunteer. Get up," he orders.
Jane sist frozen, unsure what to do. The guy steps closer to her and grips her upper arm so tightly that she has to work to not cry out. "Alright, alright," she gets up, keeping her eyes on the floor. Not wanting to annoy this guy even more. The other one points towards the three people behind her, who are still sitting on the floor. "You guys too. Get up."
They do so immediately, holding their hands up in front of their chest.
"Okay," the man still hasn't let go of Jane's arm. She knows it'll leave a bruise, but that's the least of her worries right now. "Over there," he points towards the aisle where the blonde is sitting. "You three."
A boy, who can't be much older than nine, gets up with his mother, but the blonde remains frozen. Jane meets her eyes again and slowly shakes her head. Don't.
"Get UP, I said!" the man who's holding onto Jane's arm yells out, and the brunette suddenly feels the barrel of his gun pressing against her temple. "Or I'll shoot this pretty lady right now."
The blonde's eyes widen and she gets up immediately.
"No! I'm sorry!"
"Barry Frost for dispatch. ETA 3 minutes. Has anyone else already arrived?"
Jane's partner finds himself in a police car, racing through the streets of Boston to get to the grocery store Jane called him from. Next to him sits Frankie, Jane's brother, who's also on the force.
"Dispatch here. You'll be first on scene. We have one SWAT-team on its way and three other cars. ETA in about ten minutes."
Frankie runs a red light and turns left, and Frost is glad to have his seatbelt securely fastened.
"We can't immediately go in there," Frost starts. "If Jane is right and there really are five armed men in there, it's gonna be a long evening."
Jane's brother has been on the force for years now, just like his sister. He was recently promoted and is now a detective like the rest of them. But he'll never get used to seeing his sister in danger.
"How many hostages?"
Frost shakes his head. "No idea. But it's a Friday afternoon, so I'm guessing a lot." He points at a red car. "Turn right there. We'll avoid the traffic jam on Washington."
"Are you sure Jane said Harrison?" Frankie questions. "Have you seen the size of that Whole Foods Market there?"
"I know," Frost replies. "I'm thinking there might be more than five people involved. There's no way they can defend that entire building against half of the Police Department."
Frankie is silent. He presses his foot harder on the gas pedal.
"Hang in there, Jane."
New adventure. Here we go.
I wanted to post this earlier, but in light of the George Floyd situation I didn't want to bombard you guys with a story that involves police. I know the fight isn't over yet and we'll definitely continue to fight against racism and police violence, so I'm in no way insinuating that the situation is over now. Nevertheless, I felt like I could post this now and I hope you won't associate it with any of the things that have been going on. I'm trying to be cautious with the words I write, but feel free to call me out if there's anything in this chapter or the upcoming ones that you want me to change.
I have no clue where/how far I'm going to take this story, but I already have a couple of chapters planned. Enjoy the ride ;)