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Maura Isles woke up in complete darkness. The house around her was silent and the space next to her was cold. So she didn’t come back to bed? She mentally asked. She switched on the bedside lamp and glanced at the clock. 4am. Getting up out of bed she made her way into the dark bathroom. She switched on the light and was startled at the haunted look in her own eyes. Oh Jane, why does everything always have to be so difficult with you? She quickly washed up and brushed her teeth and then her blonde hair before returning to the bedroom. She opened the wardrobe and changed into a more suitable outfit. She carefully folded up the lingerie she had worn the previous evening and sighed as she put it away. She smiled wryly at the outfit and whispered, “Maybe some other time…” before closing the wardrobe.

The house was still quiet as she made her way to the kitchen. She took out two mugs from the cupboard above the coffee machine and put them on the counter. She quickly refilled the coffee machine and smiled as the rich aroma of roasted beans started to fill the air around her. Humming softly she put some water on and started preparing a cinnamon and honey tea.

“Ah, you still remember where to find everything.”

“I do.” Maura replied. Reaching overhead she took another mug from the cupboard and placed it next to the first two. Opening the fridge she took out some cream and sugar and added some cream and four heaped teaspoons of sugar into one of the mugs. She poured her tea into the middle mug and switched off the stove. With practiced ease she poured coffee into the two remaining mugs. She handed the black coffee to Em and leaned against the counter watching pleasure and contentment play across the attractive doctor’s features.

“This is so good, Bella” Emily said taking a deep breath of the aromatic brew. “You always knew exactly how I like it.”

Maura flushed at the comment and gave a small smile. “You’re one of the easiest coffee drinkers I have ever met, miss 'Just Add Water'”

After taking another sip of the delicious coffee Em looked at Maura searchingly. “Did you sleep well, Bella?”

Maura could hear the concern in her voice and she quickly turned back to the counter blinking back the sudden tears that threatened to fall. “I should take this to Jane” she said with a trembling voice. Still refusing to look at her friend she lifted Jane’s mug and started to make her way out of the kitchen.

“She’s on the deck.” Emily said before taking another sip of her coffee. She knew Maura too well. The dark circles under her eyes had told Emily that Maura had not had a restful night. Though she was concerned she knew that if she pushed the issue, Maura would retreat back into her shell. Once Maura’s brain had worked through whatever was bothering her, she would talk and for once Emily Brent swore she would be available to listen to the woman she had loved since college.