Chapter 9: The Stake-Out
"Where's O'Hara?" said Lassiter to the Chief.
"She had a doctor's appointment this morning," Chief Vick answered. "She'll be in later today. When she gets here, come see me. I have something to send you two out on. In the meantime, I need you to look into this 'Pinkerton' fellow that supposedly broke into Spencer's home and the Psych Office. It's unfortunate that Henry lost track of him last night, but at least now we have a description of his vehicle. So far nothing's come back on the APB, but I'll need you to run the license plate number that Shawn gave us and then this sketch of him based on Shawn's description. See if you can get a hit on him. Check all the databases. Figure out who this guy really is."
"Awww, man…," Lassiter complained.
"Detective Lassiter!" scolded the Chief. "This man murdered a child!"
Lassiter was startled by his own lack of decorum and immediately corrected himself, "Yes, Chief. I'm on it! I only meant that I was frustrated that we couldn't have nabbed this guy last night."
"Same here, Detective," the Chief agreed with a sigh. "But in the future, please spare your complaints and just do your job."
"Of course, Chief," Lassiter grumbled.
Thirty minutes later, Shawn and Juliet arrived at the station. Both were brimming with happiness, having just seen their child for the first time on an ultrasound. Even though the experience had proven to be just as awkward as Shawn had imagined, the awkwardness was forgotten when he saw that tiny white, peanut-shaped object on that black screen and heard the rhythmic swishing of its tiny heartbeat. It was all getting very real now. He was going to be dad! Juliet was going to be a mom! They were going to be parents! Together! As they approached Juliet's desk where Lassiter sat only a few feet away they did their best to hide their excitement.
Lassiter thought it suspicious that they had arrived together. "I thought you were at the doctor?" he said to Juliet.
"I was," she said.
"Um…No…haha," she laughed nervously, "That would be weird! He just…picked me up."
"In what car?" interrogated Lassiter, knowing that Shawn didn't own a vehicle besides his motorcycle.
"Mine," Juliet lied, "I lent it to him." Shawn sat quietly by, letting her take this one.
"What about Guster?"
"Spending the day with Rachael," said Shawn emphatically. "You know he hasn't seen his girlfriend in over a month."
"Oh…Ok…" It seemed to satisfy Lassiter and he went back to his work. Shawn and Juliet shared a nervous glance and then shrugged. Lassiter announced that he needed to make a trip to the records room and the happy couple took the opportunity to sneak a peek at their sonogram pictures.
"He looks like a tiny alien," said Shawn. "Wait!" he joked, "Are you absolutely sure you weren't abducted by aliens. Maybe I'm not the father."
Juliet smacked him playfully. "Are you kidding?" she said, "Those are totally your calves! Besides, how do you know it's a 'he.' It could be a 'she.'
"Because I know these things"
Shawn changed the subject. "I have a surprise for you!"
"Ooh!" said Juliet. "I love surprises!"
"For our celebratory date. Reservations for you and me. The Allegro. To-night. The most romantic spot in town! I know you've always wanted to go there."
"Yay! That sounds romantic. I can't wait!"
Just then, Lassiter rounded the corner. Juliet stuffed the sonograms that she was still holding into her desk drawer and Shawn hid the one he was holding in his back pocket. They tried to look like they were working, though their efforts were pointless since Lassiter hadn't even noticed the suspicious behavior.
"There is no sign of this guy anywhere," said Lassiter, referring to Pinkerton. "I swear, if you are making this all up to send me on a wild goose chase, Spencer!"
"Lassie, cool your jets, man! I'm not making this up. Admittedly, there has been a lot of goose chasing going on, but I promise you I'm not trying to pull a fast one on you. This guy has had me falling for his tricks too." Shawn moved over to Lassiter's desk and sat on top of it, knocking pencils and papers onto the floor. Lassiter growled under his breath. Shawn continued, "The good thing about gooses…"
"Geese, Shawn," corrected Juliet.
"…the good thing about geeses is that they exist. We're not hunting bigfoot or the elusive jackalope, here…although I'm not totally convinced that either of those examples are myths," he added. "We will find this guy. We just have to look in the right places. Now let me see that," said Shawn reaching for the files in Lassiter's hands.
"No. I will not…" said Lassiter pulling them away. The two of them fought over the files like children until Shawn finally pried them away from Lassiter's hands. "This is against police procedure!" yelled Lassiter.
Shawn, remembering his new ambition of being more responsible and staying out of trouble said, "You're right Lassie," and gave them back. Both Lassiter and Juliet were confused over his sudden change in character. "Tell me what dead ends you've searched," said Shawn instead.
Lassiter explained that he had traced the license plate number to a rental that had been reported stolen two weeks earlier. He had also searched the U.S. databases for wanted criminals and missing persons but hadn't found a match to the sketch of Pinkerton anywhere.
"I'm not surprised," said Shawn. "He didn't strike me as someone who was either lost or a routine criminal. He was mostly just awkward, and I'm pretty sure he was foreign. The strangest thing is he kept asking a lot of personal questions about me. I think we need to be looking back at some of my previous cases…see if there is anyone who fits his description that I might have angered…"
"Well, that narrows it down!" said Lassiter sarcastically.
"…or, I hate to say it, but might be looking for a piece of evidence that I overlooked! Start with cases that also involved my Dad. I know you already looked into the Towne cover-up, but it could be someone related to any of the other cases my Dad and I have worked together. It's probably going to be someone we least expect."
"That's actually not a bad idea, Spencer," said Lassiter, "Back to the grindstone!"
Shawn returned all of the papers he had knocked onto the floor back to Lassiter's desk. He didn't notice that his sonogram picture was among them. All three headed for the records room.
Two hours later Shawn, Juliet, and Lassiter returned from the records room looking dejected. "Still nothing!" complained Lassiter. Juliet slumped into her chair, looking tired and woozy.
"You Ok, Jules?" Shawn whispered with concern, kneeling down beside her.
"I'm starving!" she said.
"No kidding," said Shawn, putting a hand on her stomach. Juliet looked nervously at Lassiter (He hadn't noticed), and took Shawn's hand from her stomach.
"Right. Sorry," said Shawn, "Not to worry though, Gus and Rachael are already on their way with jerk chicken as we speak."
"Thank God!" said Juliet. She didn't even like jerk chicken but would eat just about anything right now.
They didn't have to wait long. In a few moments Gus and Rachael walked in with four Styrofoam containers, and both couples went to the conference room to enjoy their food.
Lassiter started arranging his desk before heading out to lunch on his own. Then he saw it. A sonogram stuffed halfway under his keyboard. He picked it up and stared at it in disbelief. His mouth dropped open in shock.
Lassiter returned from lunch, uncharacteristically quiet and pale in the face. "You ok, Carlton?" asked Juliet noticing that he was distracted.
"Yeah, fine," he mumbled, not making eye contact with his young partner.
Juliet was about to probe further when she and Lassiter were accosted by the Chief. "Lassiter! I thought I told you two to come see me when O'Hara got back."
"Is that true?" Juliet scolded with her arms crossed.
"Yeah, sorry Chief. We've been busy checking into some other leads….It was Spencer's idea!" he added at the disapproving look on his boss's face.
"I see, so you're saying you decided to take orders from a consultant instead of the Chief of Police?" Vick questioned smartly.
"No…I…I didn't," Lassiter stuttered. "That's not what I meant!"
"We were looking into some of Shawn's former cases that involved his Dad," Juliet cut in, trying to defend her partner. "Without any useful information coming from the sketch or the license plate we thought it was the most reasonable approach to take next."
The Chief thought for a second. "That was actually a good idea," she admitted. "What did you come up with?"
"Uh…unfortunately, nothing yet," O'Hara admitted reluctantly.
"I see…" said the Chief. "Well, I've got another approach for you." The detectives nodded and waited patiently for her to assign their task. "I was thinking that since this guy has been trailing Henry and possibly Shawn, he's probably still hanging around one or both of them. I've asked that they spend the afternoon together under appearances of spending quality time together. They are going to be fishing on Henry's boat."
"Ha!" Juliet laughed. "Shawn hates fishing. This should be interesting… So, I'm guessing that you want us to stake them out and see if Pinkerton is following them."
"Exactly," said the Chief.
"This is ridiculous," complained Shawn as he climbed into the boat behind his Dad. "Who is going to believe that I actually willingly came fishing with you?"
"The perp doesn't even know you, Shawn. How is he supposed to know that you have no respect for one of the oldest past-times in the world?"
"Dad, we don't know how long this guy has been following us or what he might know about us. For all we know, he might even know that you get all of your recipes from Oprah Magazine."
"Not all of them!" said Henry. "Just a few of my favorites… Anyway, you're right. This guy could be following us now, so we should keep the case-talk to a minimum." In order to stay visible to Lassiter and Juliet, Henry kept his boat right off the pier instead of taking it out to a good fishing spot. "If anything, it is going to look suspicious that we expect to actually catch anything this close to the pier…and also a little embarrassing."
"Come on, Dad. You're the only one in this city who actually pays any attention to where the fish hang out. Nobody's going to notice."
"Humph..." sounded Henry as he sat down and got into his tackle box, handing Shawn a lure and some bait, which Shawn held away from himself in his open hand.
"You're kidding me!" said Henry. "You don't even remember how to do bait your hook?"
"No, Dad, it's right on top of my list of 'totally useless things to never remember' right after 'memorizing the Gettysburg Address,' and 'how to do the Macarena.'”
"Alright, fine. Give me that," said Henry, taking Shawn's fishing pole and attaching the lure and bait himself. He then took it upon himself to cast Shawn's line and then handed the pole to Shawn. "Now don't drop it!" he said.
Shawn sat in silence, holding his pole, while Henry finished his line and cast it. After several minutes of neither man saying anything, Henry decided it was time for some man-to-man discussion. "So…tonight's the night, huh?" he asked Shawn.
"Yup, it is," said Shawn, suddenly being aware of the nerves that were beginning to flutter in his stomach. He really didn't want to talk about this with his Dad right now. "But, I'm not here to fish and chat with you. I'm here to catch a bad guy, so we don't have to talk about this, ok?"
"I know that's not why we're here," said Henry, "but we are here, and we have time, so why not talk about it."
"Be..because, I just…I just don't want to right now," Shawn mumbled.
Henry was concerned over Shawn's unwillingness to discuss his upcoming engagement and worried that his son was not thinking this through carefully enough. "Shawn, why are you doing this now?" he asked, seriously.
"Dad! I don't want to talk about it!" Shawn nearly yelled.
"That's exactly what I'm worried about, Shawn! If you can't even talk about it, how do you know you are even ready…and how do you know she's ready? For goodness sakes, a month ago you two were split up and suddenly you're ready to take the ultimate step in your relationship?"
"Because, I am. She is. This is want she wants. She basically asked me to propose to her. So…this is happening. Tonight."
"She asked you? Really?" Henry questioned suspiciously. "Are you sure about that?"
"She hinted at it," Shawn shrugged.
Henry shook his head. He was fairly certain that Shawn had gotten his signals crossed. He couldn't believe that Juliet would be suddenly so willing to consider marriage when their relationship was just getting back on track. "There isn't anything more to this?" Henry probed. "…other than you thinking that she wants you to propose?"
Shawn paused a moment. He considered telling his Dad about the baby for a split second until he imagined how his Dad would react…how he would assume that he was only proposing out of a sense of obligation. He decided against it.
"Yes, there is," said Shawn. "This is also about the fact that I love her and I want to marry her…but there's nothing more than that."
Henry wasn't so certain, but before he could think of what to say next, Shawn's phone rang. Shawn quickly glanced at the caller and putting the phone to his ear said, "Hey, Jules."
"Shawn, don't look now, but you've got someone roaming around your Dad's boat."
Lassiter parked his Fusion in the parking lot just off of the marina with a distant view of Henry's fishing boat, and scanned the area through his binoculars. Juliet watched as the tiny, distant figures of Henry and Shawn approached the boat with fishing paraphernalia and boarded it. As of yet, no one else could be seen in the vicinity besides a few other fisherman aboard their own boats.
Throughout the stakeout, Juliet noticed Lassiter acting strange. He was quiet and distant, even more than usual if that was possible. "Carlton…," she asked. "Is everything ok?"
"Yeah, yeah, fine," he mumbled again, clearly not willing to elaborate further without a bit of push.
Juliet wasn't convinced. "Are you sure? You have been acting…weird all afternoon."
"O'Hara, in case you haven't noticed this is a stake-out, not an interrogation. I told you, I'm fine!"
"Um…ok," she responded feebly deciding to let it go for now. She didn't need to start an argument while they were supposed to be watching the area. After a few moments, she added, "I think you could use a coffee. Do you want me to run down the street and get you a coffee?"
"Yeah, whatever," he said, and Juliet got out of the car and walked towards the Starbucks on the corner. She returned five minutes later with a large coffee for Lassiter and an herbal tea for herself. As she reached for the door handle, she noticed Lassiter looking at something in his hand. When she saw what it was, her eyes widened to the size of saucers and her mouth dropped open. She got into the car.
"Carlton, where did you get that?!"
"Oh! Uh…!" said Lassiter frantically, trying to hide the sonogram. He knew it was too late though. Juliet had already seen it. "Um…I found it on my desk," he answered, "Marlowe must have left it."
Juliet was speechless. Did he really think it was Marlowe's?!
Lassiter began to spill his guts. "We've been trying…ever since the wedding. She really wanted a baby. I did too…at least I thought I did…but now, seeing this tiny person on here…I'm…I'm not ready for this!" Lassiter was in a panic.
"Um…Carlton…" began Juliet, "Are you sure that Marlowe is pregnant?"
"What are you talking about, O'Hara? Why would she fake this?" he said, shaking the picture.
"Did she tell you she was pregnant?"
"Well, no…" he admitted, "..not in so many words. I thought this was her way of telling me, leaving the sonogram on my desk."
"Uuuhh…Carlton." This was it. She was going to have to tell him the truth. "I don't know how that got on your desk, but it's not Marlowe's"
"Oh really? And how would you know?!" argued Lassiter
"Because…it's mine," she said, bracing herself for a potential explosion from Carlton.
Lassiter looked back and forth between Juliet and the sonogram. "It's yours?" he asked for confirmation. He had a look of both relief and disappointment.
"B..But..I thought you said that was a false alarm?" he questioned, referring to more than a month earlier when she had feigned pregnancy symptoms to stall his progress on a case. Ironically, she realized that she had probably only just conceived the night before they worked that case.
"Well…I was wrong," she said, figuring it wasn't worth explaining any more than that.
Lassiter turned forward, anger starting to boil up inside of him. Juliet noticed his face turning red. "Spencer!" he yelled. Lassiter's relationship with Juliet was like that of a protective older brother, and the thought of his least favorite person getting her pregnant was infuriating. "Damnit, Spencer! I am going to kill that son of a bitch!"
"Carlton!" Juliet retorted. "I know you hate him, but I love Shawn! He may be a little juvenile at times, but he is a compassionate human being and a good man! He loves me and I love him! Believe it or not, I am thrilled to be having his baby! So, I would appreciate it if you could keep your issues with him to yourself and just be happy for me!"
Lassiter was taken aback by her rant. He regained his composure and said slowly but grudgingly, "I'm sorry, O'Hara. I am…happy for you. Congratulations." He put the sonogram into her hand and she tucked it into her purse.
"Thanks," she said, and they continued their stake-out in silence. Only moments later, Lassiter's eyes squinted at a figure in the distance and he whipped out his binoculars to get a closer look.
"What is it?" Juliet asked curiously.
"That guy has been hanging around here for quite a while carrying around fishing gear, but he hasn't gotten onto a boat. In fact, he's now standing suspiciously close to Henry's boat."
Lassiter passed the binoculars to Juliet who took a look at the man. The first thing she noticed was that it definitely wasn't 'Pinkerton.' This man was older, and shorter, and fatter, and had a white beard. The next thing that she noticed was that he was inching closer and closer toward Henry and Shawn, yet trying to appear uninterested in the two fishing men. Juliet took out her phone and dialed Shawn's number. "Shawn, don't look now, but you've got someone roaming around your Dad's boat."
"Pinkerton?" asked Shawn.
"No. It looks like Santa on a fishing trip," she explained.
"Hmm," said Shawn. "I think I know who it is."
Back on the boat. Shawn waved for his Dad to follow him to the edge of boat, and they stealthily sneaked over and looked right down onto Ed Harrison. "Ed? What are you doing here?" Henry asked.
"Oh! Henry. Shawn," said an apparently surprised Ed. "I didn't realize you'd be out fishing today. I came down to get in some practice…and I'm sorry if it came across as unsettling, but I was just taking a look at your boat. I've been thinking about getting one for myself and wanted to see what kind of specifications it had. I suppose it could have waited until tomorrow, though. I'm sorry to startle you just now."
Henry relaxed. Henry knew that Ed could sometimes come off a little inappropriate but was perfectly harmless. "It's alright, Ed," he said. "Why don't you join us?"
"Indeed, I'd love to!" said Ed, practically jumping onto the boat.
Shawn put his phone back to his ear and whispered into the phone. "Nothing to worry about, Jules. It's just my Dad's awkward buddy, Ed."