Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. I do not own any of the characters of Psych and am not affiliated with the show or USA Network. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
SPOILER ALERT: Episodes "Tuesday The 17th" and major spoilers for the ending of "An Evening With Mr. Yang".
WARNING: This story deals with some relatively mature subject matter but it's not graphic in nature. No graphic descriptions are given.
Some characters may be considered mildly Out Of Character, but I like to think they are perfectly in character given these circumstances. I don't believe their reactions are OOC given the events of the story. They are supposed to be humans, after all.
That being said, ENJOY! Please be kind enough to review. All feedback, good or bad, is welcome.
Detective Juliet O'Hara followed her partner, Head Detective Carlton Lassiter, out the front door of the Santa Barbara Police Station. They each donned a pair of sunglasses as they stepped into the bright sunlight of a warm afternoon. It was lunch time and they were going to try out a new restaurant in the downtown area. The local eatery came highly recommend by one Officer Buzz McNabb, and Juliet wanted to try it for herself. Buzz knew good food, so she was eager to sample the menu for herself. She was surprised when her partner actually said yes.
As O'Hara walked quickly to keep up with Lassiter's long strides, she heard her cell phone ring. She pulled it out of her pocket and answered the call just as they reached the Head Detective's distinctive PD issued maroon Crown Victoria.
"O'Hara," she spoke into the phone. Lassiter opened the driver's door and buckled himself into the driver's seat as Juliet entered the passenger side. "Oh, hi, Robert! How are you?"
Lassiter looked at her and frowned. He was about to remind her of the SBPD General Orders regarding personal calls while on duty, but stopped himself when he remembered they were on their lunch break. He just hoped O'Hara would make it quick so he didn't have to listen to her prattle on through the lunch hour.
Juliet opened her purse and quickly glanced inside. "Yeah, I have it with me. You want me to what?" She paused. "Hang on a second, Robert." Juliet lowered her phone and covered the mouthpiece with her hand. "Carlton, do you think we could swing by the Morrison office building," she asked. "It's on the way and only two blocks from the restaurant. I need to, um, run a quick errand."
Lassiter scowled. "How quick? Our lunch break doesn't last forever, you know," he grumbled.
"Only about two minutes. No more, I swear. Please?"
"Oh, all right," he sighed, an annoyed look on his face. "Two minutes," he stated firmly as he started the car.
Juliet removed her hand from her phone and continued her conversation. "Yeah, I'll be there soon. Leaving right now." Juliet paused, listened, then said in a hushed voice, "Yeah, I'm looking forward to tomorrow night, too. See you soon, Rob," then quickly hung up the phone.
Lassiter arched an eyebrow and glanced over at Juliet. She stared out the window without saying anything. Lassiter put the car in drive and pulled out into traffic, but now his curiosity was piqued. After riding in silence for several minutes, his instincts to dig for information finally got the better of him. "Who's Rob?"
Damn it. She knew he'd have to ask. "Oh, no one. I mean, not important, really." She fell silent again, trying to let the subject die. Obviously there was something she was not telling him. Which, of course, made Lassiter want to dig for answers. He was a detective, after all.
"Ok, let me put it another way. Who's Rob." It was a statement demanding information rather than a question. He looked at her over the top of his sunglasses. It was the 'I know you're hiding something from me' look she knew so well.
Juliet sighed, knowing he'd never quit pestering her until his Detective's instincts for gathering information were quelled. "He's just a guy I met Friday night. He seemed nice, we exchanged phone numbers, talked on the phone a few times. That's all." She hoped that would be enough, but one glance at her partner told her he knew she still wasn't telling him everything. Juliet decided it was easier to just get it out of the way.
"And, um...we're going out on a date tomorrow night." She quickly added, "Nothing major, just dinner."
Lassiter raised his eyebrows and nodded slightly. "A date, huh?"
"Yes, Carlton, a dinner date. Something wrong with that?" she asked somewhat defensively.
"No," he quickly replied. Then his eyebrows knitted together as he frowned in thought. Lassiter was silent for a long moment, debating whether or not he should say what he was thinking. "You don't think it's too soon after that crap Spencer pulled?" The internal debate had apparently ended.
'Great. Just great,' Juliet thought to herself. "Carlton, I told you. I'm okay. Quit worrying about me."
Lassiter quietly thought back to the events of the previous week. It was only six days ago that they had assisted in capturing the notorious serial killer dubbed "Mr. Yang" by the press. After the arrest, Lassiter was processing the prisoner at the jail when he realized he was missing his favorite pen. The last time he had it with him was on scene during Yang's arrest. After a careful search of the booking area he knew he must have lost it somewhere at the arrest location. So the Detective returned to the drive-in that night, fully intent on recovering his favorite writing utensil, and instead found Juliet O'Hara sitting alone in her car in a quiet corner at the back of the parking lot. One look at her tear-streaked face told him she was most definitely not "okay."
Lassiter hated dealing with upset females, especially ones that were weeping. He had learned through personal experience that only bad things happened when women cried. Carlton never knew what to do. He just wasn't good at comforting people. Not with his ex-wife, not with Chief Vick while she was giving birth, and not now. He failed miserably every time he tried. Hell, if he was any good at it, he wouldn't be divorced. Whenever he saw tears spring to a woman's eyes Lassiter suddenly felt a nearly overwhelming urge to run. At this point in his life it was a Pavlovian response. He had seriously considered just turning round and pretending he never saw her, it would have been the easy way out of that mess. But deep down, no matter how uncomfortable he would be, he knew he just couldn't do it. He couldn't leave his partner looking like that. 'Never leave a man behind,' he had thought to himself.
So the hard-ass Carlton Lassiter decided to set aside his misgivings, quietly knocked on the car window to announce his presence, and politely asked Juliet O'Hara for permission to join her. She was clearly embarrassed and quickly wiped her face as she turned away from her surprise guest. But after a few moments she had unlocked the door, and allowed Carlton to sit in the car as she tearfully explained the reason for her emotional outburst. Acting on long-suppressed feelings, Juliet had mustered up enough courage to ask Shawn Spencer out on a proper date, and been rejected big time.
What Juliet found attractive about Spencer, Carlton would never know. But he did know that the so-called psychic had hurt her feelings terribly. He sat in silence, patiently listening to his partner's tearful confession about Spencer. In the end all he could do was repeat the usual over-used phrases one hears from sympathetic friends after getting shot down when asking for a date. 'You're a great person, he doesn't deserve you, you're too good for him', and so forth. Carlton thought he sounded like some cheesy after school special educating parents on what to do with emotional teens after prom night goes bad. He was pretty sure he had screwed up somehow and failed to be of any real help. As usual.
Lassiter snapped back to his present situation and regarded O'Hara with a wary eye. "It's been less than one week, O'Hara. You were not 'okay' last time we discussed this subject."
O'Hara's cheeks turned slightly red with embarrassment at the memory of crying in front of her eternally stoic partner. "Yeah, I know. But trust me, I'm fine." Ever since that night, Lassiter seemed to be attempting to engage her in conversation a bit more than usual, giving her concerned looks when he thought she wouldn't notice. Juliet also observed how Lassiter now intercepted Spencer before he could reach her desk every time he showed up at the station. It was nice to know her partner cared enough to be protective of her, but it was starting to get old. Juliet just wanted to move on and try to forget about Shawn Spencer's rejection. But Lassiter's actions, though appreciated, served as a constant reminder of one truly rotten evening.
Lassiter glanced at her again, then decided not to pursue that line of questioning any further. "Ok, so you're fine." He drove on in silence for a few moments before asking, "Tell me how you met this 'Rob' character."
O'Hara rolled her eyes. Wonderful. 'He's still digging because he doesn't think I'm over Shawn,' she thought. Juliet knew he wouldn't quit mining for information once he started. When on a quest for the facts, Lassiter was tenacious. "Fine. I met him when I was in line at the video store Friday night. We struck up a conversation, exchanged phone numbers, we've called each other a few times. He seems like a nice guy, so I decided to meet him for dinner tomorrow night."
"What were you renting?"
Juliet looked at her partner. "Excuse me?"
"What movie were you renting, O'Hara?"
"The Princess Bride. What difference does that make?"
"Were you buying anything else?"
She thought for a moment. "Yeah, ice cream."
She stared at Lassiter. "Yes. How did you know?"
Lassiter arched his eyebrow and looked over at Juliet. "I was married, you know." His eyes returned to the road. "Ex-wife was always stressed. Ate a lot of that crap. Double chocolate fudge brownie, to be exact."
Juliet silently nodded in understanding.
"Why are we going to the Morrison building?"
"Well, Robert let me borrow this movie, and he asked me if I could return it to him during his lunch break."
Lassiter's brow furrowed. "Thought you said you've only seen him at the video store and spoken on the phone a few times. When did you borrow a movie from 'Rob?' " He pounced on the apparent inconsistency as if picking apart a suspect's alibi.
"We have," she patiently replied. "He let me borrow it while we were at the store. He happened to have it in his car, and-"
"He had a movie in his car?"
"Well, yeah. We got to talking about movies and he suggested one he thought I might like."
"A Walk In The Clouds." Juliet pulled the DVD out of her purse. "He let me borrow it."
Lassiter scowled. "The chick flick about that stupid vineyard?"
Juliet looked offended. "Hey, I happen to like this movie."
Lassiter's scowl deepened further. "He was at a video store, renting a movie. But he already had a movie in his car."
Juliet didn't like where he was going with his. "Yes."
"He sees you renting some sappy romance while buying chocolate ice cream."
Juliet rolled her eyes. "So what? Is it illegal to buy ice cream with a movie now?"
"And he just happens to have that movie in his car," he continued.
"Yes," Juliet answered, getting frustrated.
Lassiter didn't like it. No self-respecting single male would ever be caught dead with a sappy romantic movie in his personally owned vehicle. This 'Rob' character - as Lassiter had dubbed him - probably saw some woman standing in line alone at the video store on a Friday night. Renting a romantic movie and buying chocolate ice cream. A woman that was obviously unhappy in her dating life. A woman "on the rebound," as the kids say nowadays. A woman that was probably vulnerable at that time. 'Predators look for weakness,' he thought.
"I don't like him," Lassiter announced briskly.
"What? But you haven't even met-"
"He's a creep."
"Carlton!" Juliet exclaimed in surprise. "Just...stop! You haven't even met the guy and you've already decided you hate him?"
"Oh for the love of..." Juliet took a deep breath, exhaled slowly, and used her 'calm' voice. "Carton. Just do me a favor. Please, just...don't judge him yet, all right? At least wait until after you've met him. Don't make a scene. Remember, we're going to his place of employment, so be nice."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean don't get up in his face and try to intimidate him, that's what. He's not a suspect, he's my date."
Lassiter's mouth was set in a firm line, clearly defiant. He wasn't going to budge on this. Juliet needed to try another approach. It was low, hitting below the belt, but she knew it would work. She cut him off just as Lassiter was starting to open his mouth to speak.
"If you chase him away I'll start crying again."
A look...was that fear?...crossed the Head Detective's face, and she knew that she had won the battle of wills for the moment. "Ok, fine," he surrendered. "But I still think he's a creep."
Lassiter pulled into a space directly across the parking lot a short distance away from the front doors of the Morrison office building. It was a shining, twelve story monolith of glass, granite, and steel that gleamed in the afternoon sunlight. There was a handsome young man of average height in his late twenties standing on the outer edge of the circular driveway. His short dark brown hair was perfectly trimmed and styled, and he was well-dressed in a neatly pressed dark gray suit tailored to fit his slender form. He looked every bit like a business professional. The man was checking his watch as if he was waiting to meet someone.
Lassiter looked at the young man and scowled. "So that's 'Rob,' I assume."
Juliet rolled her eyes. "Yes, that is Robert. Robert Smith, if you must know." Juliet wrinkled her nose and closed her eyes. "Oh crap, I forgot." She looked at Lassiter and said, "Ok, don't be mad, but I need you to do me a favor."
"What?" he said flatly.
"I know it seems a little odd, but, well...I haven't told Rob that I'm a cop yet." She winced and braced herself for his reaction, knowing that he would be one unhappy Head Detective. One look at her partner told her she was correct.
"You what?" he asked with an air of contempt in his voice.
"Look...a lot of guys are intimidated by me being an officer. I don't know why, but trust me, they are. I just want to get to know him before I tell him, that's all." Juliet looked over at her partner, a hopeful expression on her face. "All I'm asking is that we don't let him see a badge or a gun. Carlton, please...I would really appreciate it."
Lassiter glared over at his partner, then turned his icy blue eyes back to 'Rob'. He was clearly annoyed. In fact, O'Hara thought he looked downright pissed. "Fine," he finally agreed.
Juliet breathed a sigh of relief. "Thanks, Carlton. I owe you one."
"You owe me two," he said, as he shot her a look. "One favor for hiding my badge, the second for hiding my gun."
Juliet rolled her eyes, but was thankful he had managed to get him to cooperate. "Ok, I owe you two, then," she replied as she took off her badge and slipped it into the pocket of her light gray suit jacket.
"What did you tell him about your job?" Lassiter asked as he slid his badge around to the back of his belt.
"I told him I work for the city of Santa Barbara, and that my job involves lots of paperwork." Lassiter snorted in contempt. "What?" she said defensively. "I didn't lie. I do work for the city and we do have to complete reams of paperwork. It's the truth, just not the whole truth."
"Great," he retorted as he buttoned his black suit jacket to conceal the gun inside his shoulder holster. "We're paper pushers. Just great."
They exited the car and began walking towards 'Rob'. He saw Juliet and his face brightened with a smile. Lassiter noticed that his teeth were pearly white and perfectly aligned. 'Kid should be advertising chewing gum,' he thought.
"Hi, Robert," Juliet greeted him warmly.
"Hello, Juliet," he replied with enthusiasm. Robert's smile faded when he spotted Lassiter looming next to Juliet. At over six feet tall, he cut an imposing figure in his black suit, starched white shirt, and dark burgundy "power tie." He quietly stared at the smaller young man from behind his dark aviator sunglasses. Lassiter noted that 'Rob' was freshly shaved and exuded the scent of 'Obsession for men' cologne.
"Uh, I don't know your...friend, here," Robert stated nervously.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Juliet said. She turned towards Lassiter and put on her friendliest smile. "This is my co-worker, Mr. Carlton Lassiter. I owed him a favor so I'm buying him lunch today." She nodded at her partner, hoping he would get the hint. "Carlton," Juliet continued, "this is my friend Robert Smith."
Robert cautiously extended his hand and managed to produce a smile despite his obvious unease. "Nice to meet you, Carl."
Oh crap. Juliet winced as Robert used the casually shortened form of her partner's first name. Robert meant well, but Juliet knew he had just skyrocketed to the top of her partner's "shit list."
Lassiter glanced at Juliet, then returned his cold stare to the nervous man before him. She was surprised when he reached out and clasped Robert's hand. "Robert," he said briskly, as he firmly shook the younger man's hand. Lassiter locked eyes with Robert, and Juliet realized that her future date's hand was turning white under the pressure of Lassiter's iron grip. Robert's eyes were starting to water and his face began turning red.
Juliet quietly kicked Lassiter's shin to get his attention. He turned to look at her and she raised an eyebrow at him, silently reminding her partner of his promise to behave himself. Lassiter finally released Robert's hand and went back to staring at him in silence.
Robert wiggled his fingers and massaged his aching hand. "That's some grip you have there, Mr. Lassiter..." He looked to Juliet, confused as to what he should say next.
"Sorry, 'Rob'. Don't know my own strength sometimes," Lassiter stated flatly. He noticed that this time 'Rob' properly addressed him by his last name. 'That should teach you some respect, punk,' he thought.
Juliet broke the awkward silence. "Um, Robert, I have your movie. Thanks again for letting me borrow it." She handed him the DVD.
Robert's smile returned. "Did you like it?"
"Oh I loved it," Juliet stated enthusiastically as she took a step closer to him. "Thank you so much." She was clearly becoming enamored with Robert.
Lassiter winced at the sickening display. He was glad he hadn't eaten yet, because he suddenly felt mildly nauseous. He decided to engage in damage control and get O'Hara the hell out of there as fast as possible. Lassiter tapped his watch to remind Juliet about the promised two minute time limit.
Juliet acknowledged Lassiter's impatience and decided it was best not to push his tolerance level any more. "Sorry Robert, but we really have to go. Our lunch break is-"
"That's okay, I understand," Robert replied. "I'm on the tail end of lunch myself. I have to get back to the office." He motioned towards the large building behind him.
"Ok. Well, bye, Robert. See you tomorrow night at eight o'clock then?"
Robert smiled yet again, showing his perfect pearly whites. "Absolutely."
Juliet smiled, reached out to lightly touch his hand, then turned and started walking back towards the car. Lassiter fixed 'Rob' with another withering glare, causing the shorter man to shrink back a bit, then he turned and followed suit, leaving O'Hara's confused date standing by the driveway.
As soon as they were back inside Lassiter's car, O'Hara turned and smacked Lassiter's arm with a resounding 'whap.'
"Hey! What was that for?" Lassiter asked as he rubbed his upper arm.
"You promised to be nice, Carlton!"
"Well, he's still alive, isn't he?"
"You practically broke his hand!"
"I could have shot him, you know. You didn't make me promise not to shoot him."
"Damn it, Carlton." Juliet sighed in frustration. Even though her partner tried to crush her date's hand into oblivion, he was still going out with her. At least the encounter wasn't a total loss. "Let's just go to lunch. I'm hungry." She glared at her partner, and decided to try and lighten the mood a bit. If they both kept stewing in anger the rest of their day was going to be almost intolerable. "And no more spinach for you! That grip of yours is strong enough already, Bluto."
Lassiter grinned. Juliet thought it was because of her joke, but he was actually enjoying the memory of watching that 'Rob' character squirm in discomfort as he tightened his grip. Lassiter backed his car out of the parking space and pulled out to the exit drive, stopping to let traffic on the main road pass by. As he sat there waiting for the road to clear, a motion in the rearview mirror caught his eye.
Lassiter looked up into the mirror and saw a figure waking across the parking lot. The person was Robert Smith, and he was walking away from the Morrison building, not towards it. Lassiter watched as Smith got into a sleek black BMW sedan, pulled out of his parking space, and drove away in the opposite direction. 'There's something very wrong about that guy,' Lassiter thought.
"Let's hurry, Carlton." O'Hara's voice snapped him back to attention. "I'm hungry."
Lassiter looked over at his partner and regarded her a brief moment. Concern flickered across his features for a brief second before he managed to suppress it behind his normally stoic expression. "Yeah. Let's go." Suddenly he realized he wasn't very hungry anymore.
That afternoon over lunch, Lassiter informed his partner of the fact that 'Rob' left the office building instead of going back inside to finish work. Lassiter insisted it was proof that 'Rob' was evil incarnate. Juliet let Lassiter know she thought he was being paranoid, claiming there could be a thousand innocent explanations.
"Maybe he had to run a last-minute errand," she said, dismissing his claims of deceit.
"And maybe he's a creep," he retorted.
Annoyed by his unwillingness to let the subject go, O'Hara decided to put her foot down and dig in her heels. She declared that if Lassiter couldn't say anything nice about Robert then he shouldn't say anything at all. Neither detective would bend in the battle of wills. They worked the rest of the day in silence.
The next day was 'D-day' for O'Hara's so-called "date," and Lassiter decided to try something new. Like any good field general, he knew that if your current tactic wasn't working, then you should abandon it and switch to a new one. Lose one battle but win the entire war. So when Lassiter saw O'Hara that morning he mentioned nothing about 'Rob'. He even refrained from speaking about the subject the entire day. O'Hara regarded him with suspicion all afternoon, but seemed pleasantly surprised, eventually assuming that he had apparently dropped the subject completely.
When 4:30 that afternoon rolled around, Lassiter grabbed his navy blue suit jacket and headed for the door. "Hey O'Hara," he said on his way out. "I have to leave early for a dental appointment. See you tomorrow."
"Oh, have fun with that, Carlton. Try not to arrest the guy for assault when he breaks out the drill," she joked. She appeared to be in a good mood. She was going out on that date with Robert and was absolutely determined to put the Spencer "episode" behind her.
As soon as he got to his car, Lassiter drove as fast as posted speed limits would allow to the Morrison office building. He strode into the lobby at 4:42, just after most of the office staff had left the building for the daily exodus home. He was, however, early enough to catch the lobby receptionist. She was a plump older woman, probably mid-fifties, wearing a tasteful lavender blouse that complimented the gray hair pulled into a bun on the back of her head. She viewed the Head Detective over the rims of her reading glasses as he approached her large, crescent shaped desk. Lassiter pulled himself up to his full height, removed his sunglasses, and produced his badge.
"I'm Detective Carlton Lassiter with the SBPD. I need your assistance in obtaining some information."
The receptionist stared at his badge with wide eyes. "Why, of course I'll assist you, sir! How may I help you?"
"I'm trying to locate a Mr. Robert Smith. I was told that he works here. I need you to verify his employment for me."
"Why, of course, Detective. I know Mr. Smith quite well, he's a very nice young man. Brings me coffee every morning! I'll pull up his records from our employee files..." She began working on her computer as she pulled up the database. "Um, is everything okay with him? I mean, is he-"
"He's fine, ma'am," Lassiter reassured her. "I'm just trying to track down the owner of a vehicle that was involved in an incident yesterday."
"Oh, I see." She looked relieved.
'Nice young man?' Lassiter thought. 'Maybe O'Hara's right. Maybe I'm just being paranoid after all?' Lassiter hoped he was wrong. She was going to dinner with this kid in approximately three hours and fifteen minutes, and time was running out. His gut instincts were still telling him something different, though.
"Here he is, there's only one Robert Smith working here." The receptionist's face lit up with a smile. She turned around her computer monitor so Lassiter could see the employee ID photo of one Mr. Robert Smith.
According to their records, Robert Smith was a 6'6" tall African American male weighing approximately 265 pounds.
"Did you find what you were looking for?" the receptionist asked?
Lassiter smiled. "Yes, Ma'am. I certainly did."