She didn't look up as she thumbed through the file in front of her, but he just waited, slight smile on his lips as he took the opportunity to study her.
She'd crack first. She always did.
Her fingers continued to skim the pages, flipping back and forth, but her breathing had become forced in its slow pace and her eyes weren't quite tracking as smoothly over the words. He couldn't see her pulse point with her head down and her chin concealing it, but he was pretty sure it was fluttering like a butterfly on speed. Next... ah yes.
There it was. The faint hint of red creeping up her cheeks.
He kept his outward expression the same, but inwardly his grin had widened and he chuckled in a way some might deem 'evilly'. He marked a point on the scoreboard in his head.
He was so going to win this round.
She looked up, finally acknowledging him.
"Oh I'm sorry, Shawn. Was there something you needed?"
Oh well played, Juliet, he thought appreciatively.
Her skin was flushed and her breathing was still being consciously controlled, and yes, her pulse was indeed flickering madly under her skin, but she was doing a fine job of otherwise appearing cool and unaffected.
Point to her.
But the match was so going to be his.
"I was wondering what you were doing this Saturday afternoon and evening."
She looked back down, the blush deepening, and his lips twitched before he got them under control again. She shuffled through papers, but she wasn't paying them any attention at all.
"Ah, some of my girlfriends and I were thinking of going clubbing."
Another inward, evil chuckle. Almost, but no. No she whiffed that one hard. Potential plans mean nothing.
"Well I was wondering if maybe you wanted to accompany me to the Foresters' game this weekend. I mean, I know it's not your beloved Marlins, but baseball is baseball and—"
She looked up, meeting his gaze dead on, all signs of nervousness gone. "I'd love to."
And blinked again.
Aaaaaand once more for good measure.
"You'd what?" he said, coughing immediately afterward as his voice had risen in pitch by a few bars.
"I'd love to," she said with a smile, tapping the stack of papers on her desk to align them, then standing. "Do you want to meet at the park or go out for lunch first?"
His jaw hung open for a moment before he recovered.
"Um, lunch... Lunch sounds great."
"Great!" she said, flashing him a brilliant grin. "Pick me up at eleven!"
And she walked away, headed for the chief's office where Lassiter was waiting for her. Shawn watched her go, still not quite able to believe what had just happened.
Not only had he lost, but he had a sneaking suspicion that he hadn't even been playing the actual game.
When Gus walked into the Psych office after lunch, having cleared his schedule—because it had been three days since their last case and he just knew that trend wasn't going to last—he found Shawn sitting in one of the armchairs upside down, squeezing the squishy frog like he was in a race with some unknown opponent to see who could demolish it first.
He paused to take in this scene for a moment, then decided that he didn't really want to know—and Shawn would tell him eventually anyway—so there was no need to ask.
Moving to his desk he set his samples case down and settled in to check his e-mail until the inevitable conversation ensued.
Though it must be a doozy of a case if Shawn was trying to force the blood into his head to help him think.
"Gus, I need you to kidnap me."
Gus looked up at the wall across from him—though he wasn't actually looking at the wall—and, after a moment, gave up trying to figure it out on his own and looked at Shawn.
"Why would I do that?"
"Because I need an alibi."
Gus' eyebrows rose.
"An alibi? What did you do to Lassiter now?"
Shawn flipped around and sat up—then immediately put his head down between his knees to stave off the lightheadedness. The hand working the squeezy frog didn't slow or falter in the slightest through this positional adjustment.
"I didn't piss off Lassiter," he mumbled to his ankles.
"Oh. Okay," Gus said. He deleted an e-mail, then said, "Chief?"
Gus frowned. "Juliet?"
Shawn didn't answer and Gus half-smiled and nodded.
"What did you do, Shawn?"
Three more junk e-mails bit the electronic dust before Shawn said quietly, "I asked her out."
Gus' head pulled back in surprise and he looked at Shawn again. Who was still in the 'about to pass out' position.
"You asked her out? But you do that all the time."
"Yeah, well, she doesn't usually say 'yes'," Shawn informed his knees.
Gus' eyes widened. "She said 'yes'?"
"She said yes."
Gus' mouth opened. Then closed.
Then opened again.
Then closed again.
"She said 'yes'," was all he managed to get out on the third try.
"She said 'yes'," Shawn confirmed.
Then Gus frowned at the top of Shawn's head. "Wait, this pissed her off?"
"Okay..." Gus was going to give himself a migraine trying to figure this out. Shawn was the detective, not him. "Well then, why aren't you doing the victory dance to end all victory dances? You look more like you're going to be sick."
Now Shawn sat up. And though Gus had been trying to be facetious, Shawn really did look like he might be sick. "She said 'yes', Gus."
Gus nodded slowly. "Right, I got that." His eyes widened and he shrugged as if to say, 'And this is a bad thing how?'
"This breaks the pattern!"
Shawn stood, wobbled slightly—which made Gus shift to prepare to stand if need be—and then started pacing, slowly at first, but quickly picking up speed.
"Three years we've been doing this, playing this game, flirting, having fun, and then she goes and does this!"
Gus' brows drew down. "Wait, you're mad?"
Shawn stopped, looked at Gus, and said indignantly, "No, I'm not mad! Dude, Jules said 'yes'. She agreed to go out with me! On a date!"
Oh yeah. There was so a migraine in Gus' very near future.
"So you're happy?" he cautiously guessed.
Shawn came over, braced his arms on the desk and leaned down, the frog giving a desperate, wheezing squeak as it was crushed against the desktop.
"Dude," Shawn said, emphasizing things as though Gus was the one being exceptionally stupid. "Juliet agreed to go out on a date with me. Happy is not the word for how I feel right now."
Oh well, yeah, that clarified things.
Gus thought for a moment, then gave up. "So what is the word, Shawn?"
Shawn's face did a rapid shift between several expressions before deciding on confused. At least now they were on the same page. "I..."
"And why do you need an alibi?" Gus dared to ask.
Shawn stood and resumed pacing, though it wasn't the frenetic speed of before. The squishy frog mutilation had also slowed down, though it might have increased in intensity. Gus wasn't sure the poor thing was going to survive the conversation at this rate.
Gus was tempted to resume checking his e-mail when it looked like that sentence was never going to be finished, but ignored the impulse. He might protest at times, but Shawn was his friend and Gus would always be there when Shawn really needed him.
"Because now we have to go on a date," Shawn said. His tone said 'kicked puppy dog' and his expression said 'shy virgin that was just asked out by the quarterback'.
"Okay," he said and stood, circling the desk and sitting on the front edge. "Let me get this straight: You asked Juliet out."
"And Juliet said 'yes'."
"And now you're supposed to go on a date."
A pained expression and a reluctant nod.
Gus pondered this for a moment. "How is this a bad thing?"
"Because I... Because it..." Frustration flashed across Shawn's face. "It changes things, Gus!"
"Because Juliet finally acknowledged your interest in her and reciprocated?"
"Shawn, if you don't want to go out with her, then why have you been asking?"
"Because... It would be weird if I didn't!"
And confusion was back. Not that it had ever really left, so maybe back in force would be more appropriate.
"Why would it be weird if you didn't?"
"Because I flirt with her," Shawn said in a 'duh' tone.
Gus had a thought and his eyes widened with the shock of it. "Shawn, are you gay?"
"Because if you are, that's fine, I mean—"
"No Gus! I am not gay." Shawn glared at him. "Geeze, Gus. You don't think in like thirty or so years of friendship you'd have noticed something like that? I mean, I know you're not as good as me, but the fact that I go out with a new girl like every week—if not every other day—wasn't enough of an indication?"
Gus put up his hands, "They call it 'coming out of the closet' for a reason, Shawn. And you were gone for a few years. Something might have happened to... change... your opinion."
Shawn rolled his eyes and started tossing the frog back and forth as he dropped into the chair behind his desk. "You know I don't like closets and nothing changed my opinion on anything while I was gone. Not about this anyway."
"Okay... Well then, if you're not gay... why would it be weird for you to not ask Juliet out if you flirted with her?"
"Because flirting is done for a reason, Gus. You flirt with girls you think are cute because you're hoping to take the next logical step and go out with them."
Gus took his turn to glare at Shawn. "I know why people flirt, Shawn. What I don't know is why you think it's a big deal that you asked Juliet out. If you didn't mean it—"
"But I did."
"Okay. And she said yes." Gus smiled, spreading his hands wide. "Sounds like there's no problem to me." He stood and circled his desk to resume his seat.
"But there is, Gus!"
Gus sat and let his head drop forward, a sigh escaping him. "What is it then, Shawn?"
Shawn glared and Gus shot him back a Look.
"Answer the question or I'm checking my e-mail."
Shawn sighed in aggravation. "You know what? Never mind."
"Okay." Gus clicked on the next message. When Shawn was ready to talk he'd be here.
Shawn gave the squishy frog a few more seconds' worth of abuse, then tossed it on his desk and stood up.
"I'm going for a ride. If something should happen that requires a Psychic Detective... take a message."
Gus watched him leave, brows drawing down in concern, then sat back as the front door was slammed shut.
Not even thirty or so years of friendship could begin to explain what had just happened.