"She has a whole site set up for Lassie!" Shawn was staring at his computer screen, his face a mixture of amusement and disgust.
It had taken almost no time to track down the site. Laura hadn't been any more creative with the site name than before; ShawnSpencer.net had been replaced by LassiterRocks.com. A quick Google search for "the great Detective Lassiter" had returned the site in its top three search results.
"I mean, the only condolence is the lack of short stories," Shawn mused, clicking through some of the photo albums.
"How was she released after only two years?" Gus was reading over Shawn's shoulder.
"Who cares? The bigger question is how we break it to Lassie that he's got his own stalker site?" Shawn frowned as he came across a picture of Lassiter accepting an award for the Salamatchla case. "Can we print out the site and post it all over his desk? Show up at his apartment with balloons and a condolence card?"
Gus wrinkled his nose. "It might lack some of the stories, but it's still just as creepy. I agree; Lassiter should know."
"Can we tell him tomorrow? I was planning on watching the Jake and the Fatman marathon this afternoon. That's why I wanted to wrap up the gymnastics case yesterday," Shawn protested, reaching for the remote.
"Fine," Gus huffed, grabbing the remote first and turning on the TV. "But only because I love me some William Conrad."
Lassiter was somewhere between fast asleep and half-awake when the peaceful quiet of his dark apartment was interrupted by a loud banging on his door. "Sweet Justice!" He was tempted to ignore the banging but quickly gave up on that idea when it persisted even louder than before. "I'm coming!" he yelled, stumbling through the living room and nearly tripping over the coffee table in his haste to get to the door. He checked the peephole, groaning as he saw who was on the other side. "Spencer, so help me, I will have you arrested for disturbing the peace if you don't stop it this instant!" he snapped, yanking open the door.
Shawn and Gus pushed their way in the moment the door was open. They were clinging to each other like they were scared out of their minds. Lassiter took a step back before they could latch onto him as well. Judging from their expressions, it was a completely plausible possibility.
"Lassie!" Shawn was relieved to see the detective unharmed. He paused. "Are those really your pajamas?"
Lassiter looked down at his red and blue plaid flannel pajamas. He crossed his arms defensively. "They were a birthday gift from Marlowe. She likes me in plaid."
"They look really fuzzy." Shawn reached out to run a hand along Lassiter's sleeve.
Lassiter smacked the hand away and took another step back from the duo. "Did you two show up at my place before dawn to compliment my sleepwear, or am I under the influence of drugs again?" The detective still hadn't fully woken up, and he was in no mood to deal with the current situation.
"Here's the thing," Shawn began slowly. "We were going to tell you yesterday, but then we started watching Jake and the Fatman because Gus loves him some William Conrad."
"You know that's right." Gus gave his friend a fistbump. "Then, when that was over, we watched Criminal Minds, and the episode was about a stalker who killed his victims in their own homes. We realized that waiting another minute could put your life in serious jeopardy."
"And since we couldn't actually call Thomas Gibson if anything happened to you, and Gus isn't really tall enough to pass as Shemar Moore, we decided we had to come over and tell you," Shawn added.
Lassiter's head was hurting just listening to the babble. "Jeopardy?"
"I'll take people who have stalker websites for 500, Alex!" Shawn exclaimed. "You have a stalker site! Laura Peters made you one! I found it yesterday."
"You should take comfort in the fact that there are no stories of matrimony on it," Gus tried to console the detective.
On the ride over, Shawn and Gus had been placing bets on Lassiter's reaction. They had come up with dozens of possibilities, but complete apathy was not on the list.
"You don't look concerned," Shawn observed, eyebrows arching in surprise.
"Why would I be concerned about a girl who has completed her state-ordered therapy?" Lassiter went back to his kitchen to start making his coffee.
Shawn shared a look with Gus and then followed the detective into the next room. "How did you know Laura completed her therapy?"
"That was posted on her website..." Gus trailed off.
"Lassie!" Shawn connected the dots. "Bad Lassie!" He shook his finger at the detective. "You do not look at websites dedicated to yourself."
"You didn't seem to have a problem with it last time," Lassiter told him calmly. He was staring intently at the coffee maker, willing it to brew faster. "Laura Peters lives in Sacramento. She's being monitored by the authorities there. There is no danger of me being kidnapped again. I appreciate your concern, Spencer, Guster, but I am completely safe."
"You might as well just say 'Good day, sirs' and put us out on the stoop," Shawn rolled his eyes. "Look, where is your laptop? Let's fire it up, and we'll take a peek at what the creepster herself has posted. Maybe it'll be five dozen pictures of your eyes." He batted his eyelashes at the detective for emphasis.
"If you promise to leave and not show up at the station for the rest of the day, I will play along." Lassiter headed for the spare bedroom he was using as an office.
"Unless the chief calls us in for a case," Shawn clarified. "Then we will definitely still show up because Gus is obsessed with us being able to pay the bills."
"She won't," Lassiter muttered, ignoring the faces Shawn and Gus were making at each other. He opened the laptop and clicked a bookmark link in his browser. The website loaded up, and the trio was greeted with a picture of Lassiter. The caption read, "I'm Sexy and I Know It."
"That's awkward," Gus whispered to Shawn.
Lassiter ignored them and clicked to close the picture. "See, nothing out of the ordinary." He pointed to the wall of text.
Shawn squinted and leaned closer to the screen. "Dude, that's not the same text that was there last night."
"What?" Lassiter turned back to the computer.
My Dearest Detective,
Don't think I don't know that you're reading my every post, Carlton. I know enough about you to realize that anyone who signs up for the forum as "Glockinator269" is probably you.
I'm a little hurt that you haven't reached out to me even though I've sent you multiple letters and postcards. You're obviously intrigued by the fan club. I can't blame you. Maybe you don't have any free time now that you're a married man.
We can talk about your marital status later, but, for now, just know that I think we would make a great couple.
"Great couple? Who is she, Dr. Phil?" Shawn snorted in laughter.
"How did you even find out about the website?" Gus looked over at Lassiter.
"Sometimes I google myself," the detective shrugged. Hoping his apprehension about Laura's latest note didn't show on his face.
"You can set up alerts," Gus informed him. "In case anyone tries to steal your identity."
"Who would want to be a remarried Irish detective with a civil war collection?" Shawn frowned. Then he turned and grinned at the detective, who was massaging his temples, trying to get rid of the headache that had started the moment the duo had burst through his door. "So, Lassie, when's breakfast?"
"There isn't one," Lassiter started pushing them towards the door.
"But Marlowe could make us her strawberries and cream waffles," Shawn was not deterred by the frown on Lassiter's face. He paused and looked around the room. "Speaking of our favorite reformed criminal. Where is Marlowe?"
"Marlowe is out of town for the weekend visiting a friend," Lassiter informed them, pushing them towards the door. "Now get out!"
It had taken Lassiter over half an hour to get Shawn and Gus out of his apartment. Even after telling them Marlowe was gone, the duo seemed convinced Lassiter would be making them waffles.
"We like powdered sugar on them," Shawn was still protesting as Lassiter shoved him into the hallway and shut the door, throwing the deadbolt just in case.
Lassiter glared at the door for a moment as he realized he was never going to be able to get back to sleep. He resigned himself to getting ready for the day, grumbling under his breath about psychic shenanigans. As he drove to the station, he tried very hard to forget about Laura Peters and her ridiculous website. Yes, he had made an account on the stupid thing, but that was only to keep closer tabs on a known sociopath. He hadn't posted or looked at the photo gallery… much. And he hadn't been on it in months.
By the time he reached the station, trying to forget about the website had only succeeded in making him more and more irritated by it. Several hours later, he was still grumbling under his breath as he filled his mug with fresh coffee when McNab appeared beside him. "Any new cases?" Lassiter growled at the rookie.
"Nothing yet… I mean the usual reports of shoplifters and vagrants-"
"If I wanted to be bored for the rest of the day, I would be on the radio myself." Lassiter cut him off and headed for his desk. "At least I can catch up on some of these reports."
He had barely sat down when Juliet appeared in front of him; she had the same look on her face she'd had when Spencer had accidentally spilled a smoothie down the front of her new white blouse. "Is there anything you'd like to tell me?" she asked him.
Lassiter ducked his head and busied himself with the pile of paperwork on his desk. "Not anything that I can think of."
"Maybe something about a website?" Juliet prompted.
"I hear the National Basset Hound Society updated their webpage," Lassiter commented, trying to be conversational.
"Carlton!" Juliet yelled at him, attracting the attention of the entire bullpen.
"Has Spencer been here?" Lassiter glanced around as if the psychic would be hiding in the conference room or under his partner's desk.
"He called me after you kicked him out this morning," she replied, her voice lower but still exasperated.
"It was four in the morning, and he wouldn't shut up about waffles!" Lassiter protested.
"I don't care about waffles!" Juliet glanced around and then grabbed Lassiter's arm. She half-dragged him into the conference room. Once she shut the door, she turned on him again. "You've known for weeks about the website." It wasn't a question; it was a direct accusation.
"I've been monitoring it," Lassiter sighed.
"Why didn't you say anything yesterday?" Juliet's irritation was gone, replaced by genuine worry.
"Because it's just a dumb website, and, technically, she isn't breaking any laws."
"You still could have said something." Juliet half-reached out like she wanted to hug him and then put her arms back at her sides. "I don't like her."
"She stalked your boyfriend," Lassiter scowled. "Of course you don't like her."
"She almost killed my partner," Juliet snapped at him. "That seems a bit more important."
Lassiter opened his mouth to reply, then shut it again. Letting out another sigh, he held out a hand. "I promise that, if she contacts me again, you will be the very first person I tell. Deal?"
"Deal," Juliet bypassed his hand and hugged him.
"Can we go finish that paperwork now?" Lassiter asked, pulling away before anyone happened to look in. "I'd like to have a clean desk before the next case."
"After you show me the site." Juliet raised an eyebrow at him.
"Sweet Lady Justice; I should start charging for this," Lassiter grumbled but followed her out to the bullpen and pulled up LassiterRocks.com. "See, nothing terrible."
Juliet pushed him out of the way and scrolled through the site herself. "It does sound a little scary, though," she observed after a few minutes of reading.
"Well, so do those emails that threaten to curse you if you don't forward them within 24 hours or people saying they're going to die if they don't get something they want," Lassiter responded. "It's just harmless internet jargon."
Juliet shook her head. "I'm not completely convinced."
"It'll be fine," Lassiter assured her. "Just be grateful there aren't any stories. Plus, no one has organized any phone and email campaign to get you to appreciate me more."
"I appreciate you already," Juliet scowled at him.
"Laura Peters doesn't live in Santa Barbara anymore," Lassiter assured her. "The worst she can do is email me pictures of kittens."
But, although the detective sounded sure of himself, even he had to admit there was a slight bit of doubt starting to nag at the back of his mind.