She smoothed out the front of her dress. Her hands squeezed together once. Twice.
She ran a hand through her hair, the citrus scent of her shampoo filling her nose.
She always took this day for herself, even if it fell on a weekend. She didn't answer her phone. She didn't go to work.
She always began the day reading, at this point in her life re-reading, his favorite book. She remembered the first time he had read it to her and her brothers. He did all the voices and sound effects. It was one of the few times in her childhood that she sat still. If he was reading Lieutenant Hornblower she would curl up, knees to her chest completely enthralled. She could imagine the smell of the sea, the excitement of being in the Navy.
She found out later that it wasn't the first book in the series, but he told her once, it was the one that had captured his attention. He had found it at a used bookstore and bought it with the last 10 cents he had, as he didn't have a job. He always said he found it odd he loved the book so much considering he had just come back from the war.
Even after she and her brothers got to old for being read too, she continued to read the series on her own. She even contemplated joining the Navy for a while, but she realized that she loved Boston too much to live a life where she might only see it a few times a year. She didn't give up on fighting for justice and having adventures though. She never thought she would end up being a cop, but that's how the cards fell and she rolled with it. He had been so proud when she announced she was joining the academy.
She moved to put her coat on, surreptitiously whipping the tears that had started to form in her eyes.
"Be good Joe," Jane bent down to pat the dog on the head. "No couch or shoe chewing, at least not until I can referee you," Jane smiled as she exited her apartment.
She was, of course, running a little late, but she would be there with enough time to spare that she wouldn't miss the actually show. She just wouldn't have as much time to absorb the atmosphere.
She always took the T. As she boarded she couldn't help remembering when he took her. She was so excited for getting to go on the subway. No matter how many times she got on as a kid, she always loved it.
These days, she used it more for special days like this. She was always driving and she had to admit, sometimes she missed the freedom, being on, the T gave a person. She got lucky and grabbed a seat. She opened the newspaper to read and stayed absorbed until she got closer to her stop.
Once she exited the T she hustled down the street easily swerving around the weekend crowd that always filled up the city streets, even in the off-season.
She climbed the stairs two at a time, forgetting for a moment that she was in a dress and not work slacks. Halfway up she slowed her pace, remembering.
They're were a lot of people here tonight, sometimes the show was half full and sometimes it was like being in a sardine tin. Tonight was definitely going to be cozy, Jane mused as she took in a long breath of cold air, knowing that once inside it would be too warm and for once she would be thankful for the dress. They did have their advantages, not that Jane would admit that to anyone, especially her mother.
Jane took in the wintery city around her. It was her favorite time of year. She complained like any other New Englander about cold, snow, and having to drive in it, but there was something untouchable about winter. It just had no qualms. No apologies. Jane had to respect it for that. She turned back toward the building checking her watch. She had five minutes to find her seat.
She had it with a minute to spare. It was a good thing these rarely started right on time. The lights were still up and Jane took in the stage and the people around her some dressed to the nine's, some wearing business casual. It amazed her the range of people who came to events like this. Music really was a universal language.
She had splurged this year and gotten herself a center seat, sitting on the side put a crick in her neck. She wasn't in the front row, but that wasn't really a problem with her height.
"You're first time?" the elderly woman next to her whispered.
Jane lowered her chin, as she had been admiring the chandelier, "No, but I still get a thrill coming here," her eyes softening as she took in, not only the woman next her, but her husband beside her.
"We come here all the time, so nice to see young people taking advantage of what this city has to offer," she smiled at Jane while her hand went to hold her husband's, "It always feels like the first time," she whispered as the lights began to dim.
"I agree," Jane whispered.
It got her every time. Beethoven's seventh. It was her grandfather's favorite. Well, Beethoven was. He had this record player and everything he owned was Beethoven or Miles Davis. When Jane was young she thought those were an odd combination, but when she got older she understood why. They were both master's of their type of music and greatness, was greatness.
Her grandfather was a huge part of the reason she didn't mind when her mother shoved her into piano lessons. It had been a struggle at first, but before she knew it she was playing Dave Brubeck songs and her grandfather used to keep time by tapping his hand on his knee.
Jane was so lost in thought that she didn't hear the voice calling her.
It was intermission, and she had, luckily, found a lonely, if not quiet corner. The building lobby was awash with sound, people chatting, glasses clinking, doors opening, but Jane had been lost in the rhythm of the music that was still playing in her mind.
"Jane," the voice repeated, this time closer.
Jane turned and nearly lost her cool.
Maura was standing next to her wearing a Vera Wang dress, looking gorgeous, if a little puzzled. "I didn't know you were interested in these events," Maura said taking a sip from her champagne flute.
Jane blinked once. Twice. In all the times she had come here, she had never bumped into Maura, although she figured she came to events like this one. "I always come to this performance," Jane straightened her stance and tried not to smooth her dress out.
"Really?" Maura turned so she could more fully look at Jane. She was in a dress and Maura was resisting saying something about it. "I come to this one as well, Beethoven is a wonderful composer. You like classical music?"
"I…" Jane cleared her throat, "Yeah, someone taught me about music a while ago, so I come because Beethoven was his favorite."
"That's wonderful, " Maura smiled genuinely, "Where are you sitting, I'm in Box 10."
"Oh, I'm in the second tier, in the center though, so my neck will survive the night, " Jane grinned a little. The chimes began to ring that intermission was almost over.
"I better get back, got to climb those stairs…" Jane turned to rush away.
"Jane," Maura spoke her name quietly, but in such a way that it got Jane's attention.
"I'll meet you here after the concert is over?"
Jane heard it as a question, but knew it was more of a sincere request.
How could she turn her down, that look in her eyes? The lighting perfect behind her.
"Sure," she smiled trying to not make it a grin, at least while Maura was watching.
The rest of the show was breathtaking. Jane couldn't take her eyes off of the stage.
"Dear, I'll be back, I need to run to the gentleman's room," Jane heard the husband of the elderly couple say near her.
"Don't worry, you know I like to linger in the Symphony Hall," the elderly lady next to her replied.
"Madam, I can wait with you and help you down, " Jane offered with a smile.
"Why thank you…." The woman began
"Well, Jane, that would be lovely. My name is Mildred and he's David," the woman said holding out her hand. Jane shook it gently.
Maura had relished the concert. It was one of the most beautifully conducted versions of Beethoven she had ever had the pleasure of seeing live. Normally, she would go home and listen to some more music or think about the complexities and themes within it, but at the moment she was trying not to tap her finger nail on the railing near the window. Where was Jane? Maura hoped she had not run off.
"You haven't read them?" Maura knew the voice, although she had never quite heard it so openly excited. She continued to listen her back to Jane and whomever she was talking with. "You've read Kent and O'Brian, but not Forrester. I can't believe it, they're so tightly written and have such a good message. Well, and adventure..." Maura had slowly turned around as the conversation went on.
Jane's eyes were alight with glee as she helped an elderly woman down the stairs exiting the Symphony Hall, a man, who appeared to be the woman's husband, was on her other side.
"I'll have to give them a try," the man smiled at Jane, as she continued to spout the merits of Forrester's novels.
"Hello, Jane," Maura said walking over to them.
Jane had started in on the merits of Dewey Lambdin when she heard Maura.
"Oh, hey, Maura sorry I'm late," Jane turned to include Maura in the group, "I was helping Mildred leave the Symphony Hall."
Maura nodded and was about to introduce herself…
"Where are my manners?" Jane shifted closer to Maura.
"Maura this is Mr. and Mrs. Morris." Jane motioned to Maura. "And this is Dr. Maura Isles, we both work for the Boston PD."
"Nice to meet you, dear. Please call me Mildred." Mildred held out her hand. Maura shock it carefully, her eyes beginning to sparkle. How could she forget that Jane was so good with people?
"I'm David." Mr. Morris said also holding out his hand.
"I'm Maura, nice to meet you both. Did you enjoy the show?" Maura folded her hands in front of her trying to ignore warmth that was radiating from Jane being so close to her.
"Always, I don't think I'll every get used to it," Mildred beamed. "I've been coming for, oh, probably since you were both in dippers. I couldn't afford it before then and I don't think I'll ever get over being able to come to shows like this one."
"I have to agree," Jane replied, "I only came a few times as a kid, my grandfather liked to take me. I was the only kid who liked music," Jane winked at Mildred.
"Well, we should be going…" David began.
"I'll walk you to the coatroom. I have to get mine," Jane turned to Maura putting her hand at the small of her back and turning her gaze toward her, "Do you need to pick up a coat, as well?"
Maura tried not to jump at the contact of Jane's hand. It was not an unpleasant sensation, far from it, it was warm and sent a feeling up her spin. She cleared her throat, "Yes, thank you, I do."
They all turned toward the coatroom.
"Have any of you read The Pickwick Papers?" Jane chimed in picking up the book discussion that had been going on.
"Yes, indeed," Mildred replied, "You really have interesting taste Jane. " She paused as her husband helped her into her coat. "I'm glad we ended up sitting next to one another. Now you have my number. Give me a call if you want to come to another show, but we really should be heading home."
"Yes, us old people can't stay out as late as you young people," David added trying not to yawn.
"Give me a hug," Mildred demanded of Jane.
Maura tried not to giggle at the sight of Jane's lanky frame bending down to Mildred's much more compact frame.
Mildred whispered in Jane's ear, "You two would make a lovely couple." Jane blinked at her for a second and then straightened back up.
Everyone waved goodbye.
"I'll give those books a try, Jane. Thank you," David said as they headed for the exit.
Maura and Jane put their coats on in silence, as they headed out of Boston's Symphony Hall.
They stood outside for a little bit, Maura trying not to stare at Jane while she looked out into the wintery sky.
"Do you need to run home or do you have some time?" Jane lowered her eyes to meet Maura's, the cool air calming her a little as it went into her lungs.
"I've got time," The corner of Maura's lips went up a little at Jane's grin.
"Good, this is tradition," Jane laced her fingers with Maura's as she started walking down the street.
"So your grandfather took you to concerts?" Maura enquired turning her eyes to the sky.
"Yes, whenever he could afford it, he loved Beethoven in particular," Jane look at Maura out of the corner of her eye, knowing that was not what she really wanted to ask, "And I'm not telling you where we're going, it's a surprise, but it's not too far away," Jane finished as the corner of her mouth turned up just a little.
Maura tried not to let her mouth drop open, so she decided to ask another question, "You like historical fiction novels, I would never have guessed that."
Jane chuckled, "Smooth Maura, very smooth. I do and Forrester is my favorite."
They walked in silence for a while after that.
"How far is…" Maura began
"Just a few more minutes, we have to walk there," Jane smiled trying not to bounce while she walked.
"Fenway?" Maura's jaw was slack open and Jane could not hold back a laugh.
"Yes, I know a guy," Jane wandered around a pillar and a door appeared almost like The Wizard of Oz.
"Jane, you're late," a booming voice sounded from inside the door that Jane knocked on.
"I know, James, I got a little tied up," Jane leaped into his arms as he opened the door.
"Oh, well, it's okay, kid, just glad to see you. You haven't been around recently. I was getting worried. Who's this?" James tilted his head toward Maura.
"A friend," Jane replied moving back to Maura's side, "Can we go in?"
James gave Jane a slow accessing look. "Just don't go letting her tell the town about this."
"My word," Jane said without hesitation.
James nodded and headed around the corner.
"Where are we going?" Maura whispered having to skip a little to keep up with Jane.
Jane just kept walking.
"Take all the time you need," James said after unlocking a door.
Jane nodded and held the door open for Maura.
After Jane closed the door, she silently took the lead. She ended up leaning against the low rising wall right behind home plate. Maura just quietly moved next to her, taking in the dimly lit baseball field.
Jane rolled back and forth on her feet for a little while breathing in the smell of the field that never seemed to go away even in winter.
"My grandfather loved three things behind God, his family, and this country. He loved Beethoven, although I think I like Verdi a little better, Horatio Hornblower novels, and baseball."
Jane turned toward Maura her fingers running along the wall.
"I made a decision, after he passed, to honor the things that I remember the most about him."
"I go to the Nutcracker ballet every year."
Jane gave a slight snort.
"I know it's cliché, everyone does that, but my grandmother, at least the only one I think I will ever know, loved it. She knew it all by heart." Maura finished slumping a little to lean against the wall.
"That's really sweet," Jane smiled a little kicking her foot against the ground. They had moved closer together, although Jane couldn't tell if it was because Maura was cold or something else…
"Do you do this every year?" Maura whispered looking around the stadium, from first base and back to home.
"I do." With that Jane walked out onto the field and around the bases. Maura watched her the entire time. Waiting.
When Jane returned they didn't say anything they just headed back to Symphony Hall, after waving goodbye to James.
Jane walked Maura to her car. Maura turned toward Jane. Their eyes met.
"Jane," Maura had to look down, Jane's eyes were too penetrating sometimes. She cleared her throat.
"Is this the only time you come to the symphony?" Maura continued to look down.
Jane had to resist wrapping an arm around her. She just stood there looking at the crown of Maura's hair.
"I've got tickets for the Bach concertos next month," Jane whispered her cool breathe creating a momentary cloud around them. "I was gonna try and drag Frankie…but he hates this kind of thing."
Maura finally looked up, if not directly, into Jane's eyes.
Jane maneuvered until she caught Maura's eyes, "Would you like to go with me?"
There she had said it. She had thrown it out there just like Old Man Winter did when he decided snow needed to stick to the ground in feet, not inches.
"Yes," Maura replied too quickly and then slide around Jane to climb into her car. Jane let her.
Maura had fired up her engine, but Jane was still standing there. Maura put her purse on the passenger seat. She heard a tap on the window and she turned and rolled it down.
Jane was starring at her, eye-to-eye, "It's a date." With that she walked away heading back toward the T.