Chapter 10: The Sting
Shawn got out from the driver's seat of Juliet's Bug and circled around to open the passenger door for her. He took her by the hand and gently helped her from the vehicle, placing a kiss on her hand and then her lips while pulling her into his arms.
Shawn was dressed in the black suit he had worn to Lassiter and Marlowe's wedding. It was the only one he owned. And Juliet was dressed in a stunning silver gown. He led her towards the entrance of The Allegro which was an upscale establishment that Juliet had wanted Shawn to take her to for a long time, but Shawn insisted that it was stuffy and for A-holes, and had refused. Tonight was a special night though. He wanted to make sure everything was done right. He had to sweep Juliet off her feet.
"Shawn, I'm so excited that you finally agreed to take me here!" exclaimed Juliet.
"Of course! Your deserve it!" he said, stopping before reaching the entrance of the restaurant to pull her into another kiss. "Did I mention that you look absolutely gorgeous tonight?"
"You don't look too bad, yourself," Juliet flirted back.
"I agree. My hair is even more fabulous than usual." He looked at Juliet longingly. "If I had my way, I'd be all over you right here in this parking lot." Juliet looked like she was thinking the same thing. "But…there will be time for that later," he said. "First we need to enjoy a very delicious and romantic dinner."
Entering the low-lit restaurant, Shawn announced his reservation to the host and immediately implemented his plan to distract Juliet.
"Look over there!" He motioned for Juliet to look at something on the far wall and then leaned into the host, slipping the black velvet box into his hand, and whispering, "According to my instructions?" The host nodded and winked with a smile. He was aware of Shawn's request. Shawn winked back.
"I don't see anything," said Juliet puzzled.
"Oh. My bad," said Shawn. "I could have sworn I saw Val Kilmer over there."
"Your waiter will take you to your seat now," said the host, and they followed the waiter to a private table in a low-lit room, candles on the table and walls to set the mood, a roaring fireplace nearby.
Juliet took in the atmosphere and smiled deeply. "Shawn, I am impressed! You really went all out!"
"Anything for my baby mama," winked Shawn.
Juliet's contented grin very quickly turned reproachful. "Please don't ever call me that again," she said sternly.
"You got it." Shawn swallowed. He'd have to remember to think before speaking. He needed Juliet to be a good mood tonight. They settled into their seats and the waiter took their drink order, leaving them to look over the menu.
Juliet decided now was as good a time as any to fill him in. "So…uh, Shawn, I think you should know that Vick and Lassiter know."
"You mean they know about…" Shawn made a motion to indicate a pregnant belly. "You told them?" he asked.
"Not exactly. More like, they figured it out," she said.
"How did they take it?" asked Shawn worriedly.
"Well, the Chief congratulated us, but Lassiter wanted to kill you." Shawn swallowed. Seeing his fear, she added, "Don't worry though, I set him straight. He will not be discharging his pistol in your direction as long as I have anything to say about it."
Shawn was relieved. "That's my girl!" he said proudly.
"So, sorry about the impromptu fishing trip today?" Juliet sympathized. "I know that fishing isn't your thing, and it's unfortunate that nothing came out of it. Tracking down this 'Pinkerton' guy has been getting very frustrating.
"You know that's right," said Shawn. "…but let's not talk about work tonight. Tonight is all about you and me." Shawn took Juliet's hand in his and gazed lovingly into her eyes.
Juliet's stomach fluttered and all thoughts of the case went out the window. "Good idea," she said in a sultry voice.
Their dinner continued pleasantly. Juliet swooned over the filet mignon with crab macaroni and cheese, and Shawn couldn't disagree. Along with dessert, the waiter brought two flutes of a bubbly golden liquid."
"Shawn? You know I can't drink that…" whispered Juliet, tensing uncomfortably.
"Relax Jules, its grape juice." Shawn said lifting his glass and taking a quick sip. Juliet's eyes didn't leave Shawn's while she too took a taste as if to see if it really was grape juice, and she relaxed when there was clearly no trace of alcohol. "See, I thought of everything," he said.
"So you did." Juliet leaned in and kissed him on the lips.
Out of the corner of his eye, Shawn saw the ring resting gently in the bottom of Juliet's glass, just as he had requested. Then his eyebrows scrunched with curiosity as he noticed something. The glass and the grape juice magnified the ring, so he could see it in closer detail than ever. On either side of the diamond were tiny squiggle patterns in the silver. He had seen those squiggle patterns before. He was sure of it.
He flashed back to Pinkerton's cuff-link. It was the same pattern. But wait…he was sure he had seen it somewhere else too… It only took a few seconds until it came to him. Ed Harrison! Ed had been wearing a ring on his pinky with the same squiggly pattern on a red background, identical to Pinkerton's.
As they finished their kiss, he saw Juliet's gaze turning towards the glass. He had to distract her, quickly!
"Look! It's Billy Zane!" he proclaimed, pointing across the restaurant.
It worked. While Juliet was looking about the room for signs of Billy Zane, Shawn quickly grabbed her flute, fished out the ring with a butter knife, shoved the ring into his pocket, and placed the glass exactly where it had been. He did all of this just in time before Juliet turned around, saying disappointedly, "I don't see him."
"Oh. I'm sorry," said Shawn. "It must have been someone else with exquisite hair."
Juliet noticed the stunned look on his face. "What is it?" she asked.
"Nothing. Let's get on with our date, shall we?" he said nervously. His plan may now have been ruined but he still wanted the night to be special. He still wanted to give Juliet the romantic evening she deserved without work getting in the way, and then he wanted to take her home and make love to her.
Juliet sighed impatiently. She wasn't an idiot and she knew Shawn well enough to know that his expression meant something. "Shawn, I know it's not nothing. That's your 'I've-just-had-a-revelation face'. You remembered something."
Shawn's face fell. "You know me too well, Jules," he sighed. "I just figured out that 'Pinkerton' wasn't working alone. He had a partner, and I know who it is." He didn't dare tell Juliet about the ring. His big question would have to wait.
Juliet awoke to a sudden wave of nausea. She lay still, trying to wait it out, while watching Shawn's sleeping figure. She glanced at the clock. It was only 4:30 AM. It was early but still almost near time to be up that morning. Shawn was supposed to meet Gus and his father to confront Ed when he came for his next fishing lesson. Their plan was to get Ed to confess. Shawn was going to wear a bug, while she and Lassiter were to lie in wait and take Ed in as soon as the confession came.
Waiting out the nausea was to no avail. Juliet climbed out of bed, taking the bed sheet with her to cover her body that was still unclothed from the night before. She rushed to the bathroom and emptied her stomach of the expensive food she had eaten the previous night. Shawn was awakened by her movements and the removal of the sheet from his own naked body. He slipped on his boxer shorts and followed her sleepily. "You alright sweetheart?" he asked.
"Yeah. It's just morning sickness again. It will pass," she grunted, unhappily. Shawn approached her and leaned over to brush her hair from her face and placed a soft kiss on her forehead.
"I'm sorry, Jules…are you going to be alright for the sting operation this morning?"
"Hmm…" she moaned again as her stomach swirled. "I don't know. You might as well get ready and go, and please call Lassiter and see if he can get McNab or another officer to help. I'll try to join you guys if I can, but I can't make any promises."
Shawn nodded and did as she said. It had been a least an hour until the sick feeling finally subsided and Juliet began her morning routine, intent on joining the group. She finished by grabbing a juice and a granola bar and started out the front door. Just then, she felt something come down hard on the back of her head and everything went black.
Ed strolled across Henry's lawn wearing a fishing hat and vest, a pole and tackle box in hand. It was 5:30 AM and the sun had yet to rise. Before he could knock on Henry's door, it opened. Henry grabbed him by the shirt collar and pulled him inside. "Ok, 'Ed,' or whatever your name is. Who are you and what are you up to?"
Ed was stunned and clearly terrified of the angry faces of Henry, Shawn, and Gus staring him down. "Henry? What is this? I thought we were going fishing," he whimpered.
"Enough of your lies," threatened Henry. "I know you are up to something. I know you weren't just hanging innocently by my boat yesterday afternoon. You were following us…like you have been for weeks. Confess. Now! Or I'll make you."
Either Ed was a very good actor, or he was truly scared of what Henry might do to him, which was very unlike his supposed accomplice. "Ok. Ok. Alright, I'll you the truth. Just…please, don't hurt me."
"Ok. We're listening," said Henry.
"I admit, I was following you, BUT I honestly did not mean you any harm!" Ed began to panic at the disbelieving expressions on all three men's faces.
"Tell it to the judge," said Gus.
"Seriously, please hear me out," Ed continued and sighed nervously as Henry motioned for him to continue.
"I am not really Ed Harrison, the retired hopeful fisherman," he stammered. "My…My name is Edmund Habsburg. I am a descendent of the royal house of Habsburg of Austria." Ed's voice transitioned from a very convincing American accent to his true Austrian one. Shawn, Gus, and Henry looked at each other in astonishment.
"The truth is, I've come here in search of a family heirloom…a ring." Shawn's eyebrows lifted in astonishment. He had guessed that Ed and Pinkerton were after the ring because of pattern on it, but he had no idea that the ring had belonged to a royal family. Ed continued. "The ring has been missing from our estate for over 90 years. We had all but given up hope of ever finding it, and then we found this.”
Henry braced himself as Ed reached for his pocket. He didn't pull out a weapon as Henry anticipated, but a photograph. The photograph looked like it had been cut from a magazine and depicted a black-and-white image of a young man that looked an awful lot like Shawn and a beautiful woman in his arms. It was unmistakable that the diamond ring on the woman's finger was the same one that was now resting in Shawn's pocket.
"Unbelievable!" said Henry. "That's my dad and my mom."
"I thought so," said Ed with a smile. "You've finally confirmed it for me."
"Where did you get that?" asked Henry.
"It appeared in a publication last year that documented the wartime social lives of soldiers…both domestic and foreign. A relation of mine recognized the ring and I determined to discover the identity of the couple in this photo and hoped to recover the ring. Through extensive research, I suspected this man to be an American soldier, one William Spencer. When I discovered that William and his wife Elizabeth had long been deceased, I naturally looked to his next of kin."
"Me," said Henry.
"And me next," Shawn added.
"Yes, and you too," chuckled Ed.
"You see, I had to first determine whether I was correct in my assumption that you were the descendent of the man and woman in the photo and to find out if you had any knowledge of the ring. That's why I disguised myself as a fisherman and befriended you. Believe me, I never wanted to deceive you, but felt it necessary for keeping my investigation quiet. To my family that ring is priceless, and for many others it would gather a very hefty sum. There are plenty who would do anything to get their hands on it."
Henry and Gus's mouths were gaping. Shawn was suddenly very aware of the tiny chunk of metal and diamond in is his pocket. He couldn't believe he had been so careless with it.
"So, how do you think my dad got ahold of it?" asked Henry.
"I couldn't say," said Ed. "We had long suspected the ring to have been stolen by our distant German family in the early 1900s. I suspect your father came across it during a World War II raid on Germany. He probably had no idea of its significance or worth…just thought it a pretty piece of jewelry to give to his sweetheart."
"It's true my parents met and were engaged during the war," Henry explained. "My mother was a military nurse stationed in Germany. My father was also stationed there and met her when he was wounded." Ed nodded in satisfaction. All of the pieces were fitting together.
"This is all very interesting," said Shawn, "but you haven't told us about the breaking-in, and the vandalism, and the thievery. What about your partner…the so-called 'Pinkerton'? Were you two hoping to find the ring all on your own…taking out anyone who got in the way, and hoping you could just take it home without us being the wiser."
"I am sure I have no idea what you are talking about, son! I was planning to offer a sizeable compensation for return of the ring to my family," said Ed.
"Oh, really? Then why did I find one of your partner's cuff-links at the scene of the crime? Explain that!"
"Partner?" said Ed with horror in his eyes. "I don't have a partner. I came here on my own."
Everyone shared nervous glances. "Are you telling me…" said Shawn, "…that you have no idea who this man is." He pulled out a piece of paper from his breast pocket and unfolded it. It was the sketch of Pinkerton.
"Oh my goodness!" exclaimed Ed. "I do know who that is! It's Felix. Felix Habsburg. He must have followed me here."
"Who's Felix," asked Gus.
"Felix is my third cousin," Ed answered. "He is a criminal and a low-life. The family disowned him many years ago. I am sure he would kill to get his hands on that ring!"
"It looks like he already has," said Shawn. "Any idea where he might be now?"
"How should I know?" said Ed. "I had no idea he was even here."
"Well, if he was following you following us we might be able to assume that he knew as much as you did about the whereabouts of the ring," said Gus. "So, if you were him…and you were evil…where would you go next?"
"Seeing as that I knew that young Shawn had given the ring to his newly affianced last evening, I would guess that the ring would be on her finger," reasoned Ed.
"Wait! How did you know about that?" interrogated Henry.
"I apologize for my lack of manners Henry, but I admit that I heard you and Shawn conversing through the door the other night. As did he." Ed pointed to Gus. Gus shrugged guiltily.
"Gus? You knew I was planning to propose and you didn't say anything to me?" asked Shawn.
"Believe me, if I thought you were making an epic mistake, I would have tried to stop you. But, even though I didn't totally agree with your timing, I supported your decision and, even though I was very hurt that you decided not to share it with me, I knew it wasn't my place to get in your way. Besides, I thought she would probably say yes...you know, considering…" Gus's tone became soft.
"Considering what?" asked Henry, confused. His questioned was ignored.
"Thanks Gus, and I'm sorry I didn't tell you, but I honestly thought that you would get in my way. And to be even more honest, I'm not sure I was thinking straight and even I wasn't sure what she would say."
"Why weren't you thinking straight?" asked Henry, even more confused. Simultaneously Ed and Gus asked in unison, "What did she say?!"
"That's just the thing. I didn't ask her." Shawn took the ring from his pocket. "When I noticed the matching patterns on this ring, Ed's ring, and the cuff-links, I had to abort my plan."
"So, then Pinkerton…I mean, Felix…wouldn't need to find Juliet to find the ring!" said Gus.
"Yes, but HE wouldn't necessarily know that!" said Shawn, worry building in his voice. Shawn spoke into the microphone attached to his cuff. "Lassie! Did Jules ever get here? Please tell me she's with you!"
"Uh…that's a negative…" said Lassiter, worry building in his voice as well.
"I better call Jules and see if she's ok." Shawn took out his iPhone and selected her speed dial. After a minute the phone went to voice mail. "She's not answering! We need to get to her now!"