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Maura stepped onto the dark porch. She stood still for moment allowing her eyes to grow accustomed to the dark. Jane’s tall figure was slumped in one of the deck chairs facing down towards the water. “Jane, are you awake?” Maura asked her voice barely above a whisper.

The dark figure turned towards her and she could just make out the nod before Jane answered. “Is that coffee, Maura?”

“If that’s what you want to call it with all that cream and sugar in.” She slowly made her way across the deck placing the warm mug in Jane’s waiting hands.

“Hmmmm that smells like heaven” Jane murmured as she lowered her head to the mug to take a sip. She smacked her lips appreciatively before noticing that Maura was still standing. “You looking to get taller Dr. Isles?” she asked looking up at her friend.

Maura looked at her confused at the meaning. “Though I’m not quite as tall as you Jane, but I find that my length is well within the national norm. I see no reason to change my height.”

Jane patted the seat next to her while trying very hard not to laugh too hard. “Oh, Maura! It mea… means...” Jane forced herself to take a deep breath and she flashed Maura an inviting smile. “Why don’t you take a seat Miss National Norm?” Coffee splashed over Jane’s hands as laughter won the battle.

Seeing that there was no stopping her Maura stepped closer and took the half empty mug from Jane’s grasp. She placed it on the little coffee table next to Jane and started to move back towards the house.

Almost immediately Jane stopped laughing. “Maur? Where are you going?”

“Since it seems that you are having a lot of fun at my expense, I thought it better to leave you to it.” Maura replied stiffly, refusing to look at Jane. It took all of her willpower not to bolt as she heard Jane get up behind her.

A light hand touched her elbow. “Maur? Look at me, please?” Jane pleaded softly. The concern in her voice made Maura’s throat grow dry and she had to blink back tears for the second time in ten minutes.

“Hey, I was pulling your leg Maura.” Jane said softly as she slowly guided Maura back towards the deckchairs. “Come sit with me and finish your tea?”

For a few minutes it was quiet between the two as both women were lost in thought staring out into the darkness beyond the porch.

“So, Ma called earlier.” Jane finally broke the silence between them.

“I forgot to call when we arrived yesterday. You’d think I’m twelve and still had a curfew in place the way she carries on sometimes!”

“She just cares about you Jane.” Maura tried to placate Jane.

“Well I can tell you one thing that woman doesn’t trust me one bit.”

“What on earth gave you that idea?”

“She practically accused me of being drunk! When I said I wasn’t, she practically insisted on talking to you. I swear to God that woman may be my mother, but she knows exactly how to push my buttons!”

“Why on earth would your mother think you were drunk?” Maura asked.

Jane felt her cheeks grow warm as she remembered exactly what had caused her mother’s concern in the first place. There is no way I’m telling you the real reason. Absentmindedly she started rubbing her thigh again. “Ugh, who knows? She’s just weird and she’s driving me crazy.”

“At least she cares Jane.” Maura said. Unlike Hope. As if hearing the unspoken words Jane grasped Maura’s hand and gave it a light squeeze.

“I just find it weird that I made it out of my crib…” Jane said ironically.

“What? What crib?” Maura asked feeling confused once again. Before Jane could answer she blurted. “Why would you think I need to be taller?”

Chuckling softly and squeezing Maura’s hand once again, Jane said: “I wasn’t referring to your height Maura” Jane started explaining. “I was inviting you to sit down.”

Leaning back into her chair Maura made a sound of disgust. “What possible link could there be between standing and growth?”

“What kind of genius are you? It’s a colloquialism Maur.”

“I still think it makes no sense at all.”

“I know, I know. But that’s what it means.”

A comfortable silence once again settled between them and together they watched as the sun started to rise over the water.