Life is not made up of a single moment. It’s made up of a gazillion moments. What defines us is the choice we make in the next moment, and the one after that. These moments, Shawn, they’re happening...they’re all around us, all the time.
- Henry Spencer, “Murder?...Anyone?...Anyone?...Bueller?” (3x02)
Don’t take pictures of buildings. Take pictures of moments. That’s what matters.
- Shawn Spencer, “One, Maybe Two, Ways Out” (5x09)
“Ok, so I still know nothing about San Francisco, which means you’re gonna have to tell me where we’re going,” Shawn told Juliet, leaning in the bathroom doorway.
“You haven’t memorized the entire city yet?” She smirked in the mirror as she put the finishing touches on her hair. “You think I know much more? I’ve only been here a few months, most of it spent working.”
“All work and no play, Jules…”
“Hush. We’ve been trying to get this precinct off the ground, and the hard work’s paid off. Our arrest record is fantastic now.”
Shawn thrust his arms out in an ‘obviously’ sort of pose. “Well of course it is. They’ve got you, and I’ve never known a prettier head detective.”
She leaned over for a quick kiss. “Thanks, Shawn, but that has nothing to do with my record. Anyway, tonight I thought we’d...I don’t know...wing it.”
“That’s my Jules! You’re learning.”
Out in the hallway Gus stopped, saw them dressed for their Friday evening, and poked his head in around Shawn to pout. “What about me?”
“Gus, don’t be a wet blanket third wheel burrito,” Shawn scolded.
“There’s leftover lasagna in the refrigerator,” Juliet offered.
As much as she loved them both, she hoped Gus found a job here soon and got his own place. Having both of them in her apartment had worked out fine enough for the two weeks since they showed up here—there was a second bedroom for Gus to crash in—but even though Shawn wasn’t bothered by any of it, an unemployed Burton Guster was no fun for anyone.
By now she was alone with her thoughts, because Gus had gone off to find the lasagna and Shawn had followed him. He seemed suddenly captivated by the idea of a plate of pasta as a precursor to dinner.
Juliet expected to hear the bickering coming from the kitchen, but she did not expect to hear a knock on the door. She didn’t worry about it—Shawn could handle it—but it was strange. She listened as she slid a clip into her updo, running curiously through the possibilities of door-to-door this or that and other things. None of her ideas would have involved the amount of noise in the entry when Shawn answered the door. More than one voice, and finally Shawn’s rising above the rest.
“Jules!! It’s an invasion!”
Her instincts taking over, she dropped everything and hurried from the bathroom. She was on the balls of her feet in the hallway trying to decide whether to duck back to the bedroom for her firearm when Juliet realized she recognized a deep voice that was not Shawn or Gus.
She grinned, rolled her eyes and made her way to the living room in her stocking feet.
“O’Hara! There you are.”
“Carlton! What are you doing here?”
Juliet sidled past her excitable fiance and his best friend to hug Lassiter. He was much better at it than he used to be, in general. This time, though, she had to get on tiptoes and go for his neck to get around the several month old baby nestled against his chest.
Baby. Carlton’s baby.
“Oh!” Juliet released her former partner and dropped back down on her heels to hold out her arms imploringly. “This must be Lily!”
The proud father handed over his daughter without argument, grinning that grin that at times in the past had made Juliet wonder why it was Shawn she fell for. “Lily, this your Aunt Juliet,” he was saying to the baby.
“Awww….hi, Lily! And of course you have your dad’s eyes. Carlton, she is so cute!”
“Of course she is. She’s her mother’s daughter.” Marlowe was at Lassiter’s elbow, giving Shawn and Gus looks and trying not to look like a deer in headlights, but at her husband’s comment and the arm he looped around her shoulders she relaxed and smiled.
“Hey!” Shawn protested. “If Jules gets to be an aunt, I get to be an uncle!”
“No you don’t, Spencer.”
“You don’t get a say, Lassie. When Jules and I are married and legal and have done all of the legal things, it’ll be automatic. I’ll be an uncle, and if I’m an uncle Gus is an uncle. Which makes my dad a great uncle. And maybe Gus’s dad. And what about poor Woody? Doesn’t he get to be an uncle? You did sleep with the man. Either way, Lily will never run out of uncles.”
“I was on that couch first! Spencer, if you don’t shut—What?” Carlton stopped and spun on Juliet. “O’Hara! Please don’t tell me you’re marrying this nitwit!”
She answered by shifting Lily to her hip and holding up her left hand. Lassiter stared at the ring, sputtered a bit, and finally scrubbed a hand through his hair and sighed. “Well, I suppose it was inevitable…”
“Shawn’s going to get a stern talking-to later, isn’t he?” Juliet whispered in amusement.
“Oh, you bet he is,” Carlton smirked back quietly. He seemed to be positively looking forward to it.
“Back to why you’re here?” Juliet asked at normal volume.
Lassiter’s eyebrows went up at that. “Right! Yes. Well, remember, O’Hara, you sent that-that email, with your new address, saying we were welcome any time, and you couldn’t wait to meet Lily—”
“Carlton, I sent that e-mail two months ago! I meant it, but that was before I had Shawn and Gus here and I still had an extra room. And as much as I’m glad to see you, with that sort of invitation it’s generally sort of implied you should still call first.”
“Aaand I was going to, but then I thought it could be a surprise.”
She wished she could put at least one hand on a hip, but Lily was moving too much and playing with the bits of hair framing Juliet’s face that weren’t held up by clips. It was ridiculously cute, and it was becoming far too hard to pretend to be angry.
“Meaning you forgot to call,” Juliet deadpanned.
“No! Of course not. I-I mean...it’s possible.”
“It takes five hours to drive here; you couldn’t have called when you remembered?”
“That...was about twenty minutes ago,” Lassiter mumbled finally.
Thankfully Marlowe seemed more amused than mortified. “It’s ok,” she said, pulling on Lassiter’s elbow. “We can get a hotel—”
“No, no, of course not,” Juliet cut in quickly. “Just giving him a hard time. That’s my job. Of course you’re staying here!”
Shawn clapped Gus on the shoulder. “Sorry, buddy. Looks like you’re sleeping on the couch this weekend.”
Gus sighed. “Fine.”
Carlton looked eager to move on. “Good!” he said. “I appreciate it, O’Hara. Of course, we’re here because I promised I’d bring my wife to San Francisco, but hopefully we can all find time to do something as a group...perhaps. Sightseeing...or something.”
“Sightseeing? Since when do you sightsee?” Gus questioned.
“Since I have a wife and a child and family responsibilities, Guster,” Lassiter snapped.
“Liar!” Shawn called out. He had a finger to his eyebrow. “I’m sensing something, Lassie. I’m sensing that you are a liar.”
Lassiter didn’t dignify that with an answer. He just glared.
Shawn made the high-pitched little moan he sometimes made when pretending to snap out of a psychic episode, dropped his arm, and grinned goofily. Of course, Juliet doubted anyone in the room still thought Shawn was actually psychic, unless Marlowe did, but by now his antics were just him.
“Lassie, you’re not here because you promised Marlowe anything. You missed us!”
“Shut up, Spencer.”
“Sure, maybe you missed me and Jules more than you missed Gus, but you did. You totally missed us, Lassie.” Shawn opened his arms wide. “It’s ok. We’re here, and we understand. Let’s hug it out.”
“I would rather raise a Democrat,” Lassiter groused. “If I missed anyone, I missed O’Hara. And I’m perfectly entitled to do that; she’s been gone longer.”
“Aw, thanks partner,” Juliet interjected. Carlton gave her a brief smile and then went right back to glaring at the boys.
“We love you too, man!” Shawn elbowed Gus. “Tell Lassie you love him, Gus.”
Gus made a smacking sound and crossed his arms. “I’m not telling him that.”
Lassiter rolled his eyes, but she caught the smile he quickly squashed. “O’Hara, corral your children.”
“Fine, if you take yours back,” Juliet agreed. “I love her already, but she’s heavy.” Carlton reached to take Lily, but in the exchange Shawn swooped between them and took her.
“Baby snatching! Uncles get time too!” he called.
“Spencer!” Carlton shouted. He charged across the living room after Shawn. “Unhand my daughter!”
“Only if you admit you missed us, Lassie!”
Gus followed them, and Juliet sighed and sidled up next to Marlowe. “So...you realize, with those three together all weekend...it’s basically you, me, and four kids.”
Marlowe shrugged. “I’m aware. I can handle it if you can.”
Juliet laughed and rocked back on her heels. “Carlton missed us, didn’t he?”
“You think this was my idea?”
Then they were both laughing.
It was the moment Juliet realized that just as much as Shawn—and, apparently, Gus—would be, Carlton Lassiter would always be a part of her life.