Chapter 16: The Rule of Chief Trout
Several weeks had passed, and the SBPD had gone from sad to miserable. Lassiter was working under the new head detective Dave Crofton. Crofton was tough and obviously was not fond of Lassiter, who didn’t take well to Crofton’s unreasonable orders. In one sense it was as if Lassie was getting a taste of his own medicine. He was being treated like he used to treat his own subordinates; delegated to doing all of the tedious jobs and retrieving coffee. But even Shawn felt bad for him. Lassie had grown a lot during his seven years as head detective, and had shown that he was capable of being compassionate. Certainly it was Juliet’s influence that had softened him.
Juliet, on the other hand was working with a younger detective Warren Wallace, or “WaWa” as Shawn liked to call him. The name fit him well, as he was an epic complainer. Juliet wondered why he even became a detective in the first place. He seemed to abhor his job, always putting in his best 50%; a number that could not be outweighed by Juliet’s 110%. Worst of all, he did not seem to appreciate Juliet’s efforts or care at all for her well-being. Juliet knew that trying to establish a trust with him was futile, and Shawn worried about her safety while working in the field with him.
Juliet and Lassiter rarely saw each other anymore. They tried to check in on each other as often as they could while they were at the station, but they hardly ever seemed to be there at the same time and their meetings were usually interrupted by Trout. It was almost as if Trout was trying to keep them apart. Lassiter, distrusting both Trout and Wallace, had instructed Juliet to call him immediately if she ever felt like she was in danger. Luckily, she hadn’t had to resort to that so far.
In the meantime, Shawn and Gus too were seeing less and less of each other. Gus was keeping busy with his job at Central Coast Pharmaceuticals, while Shawn was working a lot of private, trailing-cheating husband cases. He hated sinking to that level, but the fact of the matter was that it paid well and he needed the cash. Shawn tried to balance this out by helping Juliet with her cases when he could, but he had to be careful not to let Wallace or Trout discover his involvement and he certainly wasn’t getting paid for it. However, it did allow him the opportunity to keep an eye on Juliet and make sure Wallace wasn’t putting her in harm’s way.
Late on a Tuesday night, Shawn and Juliet were getting ready for bed. Shawn was already sitting on the bed in a white t-shirt and boxer shorts while Juliet removed her pantsuit and changed into cotton pajamas. It felt nice to get comfortable after such a long and grueling day. Shawn couldn’t help but notice Juliet’s abdomen just before she pulled her soft pink shirt over it. Juliet was now three and half months into her pregnancy and a modest bump was starting to show itself.
Though Juliet had been proudly wearing her engagement ring and everyone at the station was aware of her pending nuptials with Shawn, she had so far been able to hide her pregnancy from most of the station, and most importantly Trout and Wallace. She did not want to reveal it to them for fear of being relegated to desk duty. Without her, she thought that none of Wallace’s cases would ever be solved. It was clear though, that she wouldn’t be able to hide her growing belly much longer and the truth would soon have to come out.
Juliet finished her nightly routine and crawled into the bed, sitting up with her back leaning against the headboard. These quiet moments before bed were typically used to discuss the events of the day. Now that they weren’t working together on a daily basis anymore, she and Shawn had to find time to share day-to-day happenings with each other.
“I missed you at dinner tonight,” said Shawn.
Juliet was supposed to have joined Shawn and Gus for tacos but had been caught up with a case.
“I’m sorry honey. I would much rather have been eating tacos with you but I was busy cleaning up Wallace’s mess.”
“What did WaWa do this time?” Shawn asked.
“We went to arrest a man named Diego Lopez on armed robbery charges…you know, the robbery at Bob’s Minutemart last week. Well, Wallace was keeping him in position while I was cuffing him. Wallace’s phone rang, and the idiot actually tried to answer it whilekeeping Lopez in position. Next thing I know, Lopez pushes me to the ground, elbows Wallace, and makes a run for it. I spent the next four hours tracking him down again so we could finally take him into custody.”
“Damn!” said Shawn, a little angry at the thought of his girl being put in danger, “How did WaWa ever even make it through the academy?”
“Your guess is as good as mine,” said Juliet. “The worst part is, Trout isn’t doing anything about it. Chief Vick would have had a cow if something like that happened to Lassiter or me. Wallace didn’t even get a reprimand and he’s acting like it’s all somehow myfault.”
Shawn saw Juliet starting to get worked up and tried to lighten the mood. “Well, WaWa is a stinky-face, and for that matter, so is Trout. Trout smells like…rotten…well, trout. And, can I say? Thank God Trout didn’t have cow, because I don’t even want to imagine what kind of hideous aquatic-livestock-beast that would turn out!”
Juliet laughed. His boyish charm always made her feel good. Even so, it was hard to just let go of her frustrations. She sighed.
“Jules…” started Shawn with worry in his voice. “Maybe it’s time you tellTrout, and transfer to desk duty.”
“Shawn, we talked about this,” said Juliet impatiently. “I am still perfectly capable of doing my job. And my job is more important now than ever. I can’t leave the city of Santa Barbara in Wallace’s and Crofton’s hands!”
“Lassiter’s still out there!” argued Shawn. “Wow, I can’t believe I just said that…”
“That’s true,” said Juliet, “but he can only do as much as Crofton will let him do. Wallace may be an awful partner but at least I can have some level of control over things.”
“I know…I just don’t trust WaWa. If it was Lassiter out there with you, I would probably feel different. I know you say you can take care of yourself, but it’s different when you don’t have a partner who has your back.”
Juliet was silent, thinking over Shawn’s words. “I’ll…think about it,” she said. “I mean…I won’t be able to keep this quiet much longer,” she said while massaging her belly. Her gaze lingered for a few moments on her bump before she changed the subject. She turned to Shawn, and asked “So how was your day?”
“Oh…you know…followed around another sleazeball. Found him meeting, not one, but two different mistresses at different cheap motels. Solved the case. Got paid. I can’t really say I’m proud of myself.”
“I’m sorry,” said Juliet. “…you know, you don’t have to work those cases if you don’t want to.”
“Uhhh…I know,” said Shawn, “I can’t just…do nothing…though. Gus and I have worked a few legitimate cases, but those are not enough to pay the bills. I have to do my part. I don’t want to let you two down.” Shawn put a hand on her stomach.
Juliet put her hand on top of Shawn’s. “What about the money you got from Ed?” she asked. “You must have some leftover after the ring.” Juliet was referring to the compensation Shawn had received for return of his grandmother’s ring to the original owners. The Habsburg family had given him a very generous amount and he had used part of it to get Juliet a shiny new engagement ring.
“Before all this happened, I put the rest of that money in an account for Starfi…I mean…the baby.”
Juliet hated when he called their child ‘Starfish.’ Why would he want to name his kid after a sea creature anyway?
“It’s his…or hers…now. I’m not going to touch that.”
“Shawn, I am very proud of you for that, and for how hard you have been working, but I would rather my baby’s father be happyand someone that he can look up to. I don’t want you to lose your youthful spirit. That is one of the reasons I fell in love with you. Money is just money. It’s not worth losing yourself over.”
“Oh, sweetheart. You are awesome! How did I get so lucky?” said Shawn as he leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. He picked up the hand that was on top of his and started to kiss it, but suddenly stopped. “Did you say ‘he’?” Shawn asked looking at Juliet’s belly.
“Oh, Shawn, it was just something I said. Today I’m calling the baby a ‘he.’ Yesterday, it was a ‘she.’ You know we won’t find out for a few more weeks.”
“I knooowww,” said Shawn. “I just got excited. I can’t wait to finally know so I can stop calling it a he-she!”
“Or Starfish!” Juliet added.
“Oh. I’m still calling him-her Starfish. It will grow on you soon, you’ll see”
“I don’t think so,” she said.
Shawn finished kissing her hand, then kissed her belly and turned off the light so they could cuddle up and fall asleep.
A few days later, Shawn settled in for another day at the Psych Office. He was taking a break from working sketchy cases, and was hoping he could find something real for Gus and himself to work on. He would scour the news and police reports for anyone who seemed like they could use his expertise. Gus was at the Psych office too, since it had become routine for him to start his mornings there before going out on his route.
“How’s it going, old friend?” Shawn greeted Gus. “Long time, no see.”
“Tell me about it,” said Gus. “I had forgotten how boring pharmaceutical sales really is. I miss working cases. Chief Vick can’t come back soon enough.”
“Amen to that!” said Shawn. “Jules is miserable too. I’m trying to convince her to transfer to desk duty, but you know how she is…”
“Stubborn?” said Gus “…just like somebody else I know,” he winked.
Shawn clicked his tongue “Come on son!”
“You know, if stubbornness is an additive trait, you two are in big trouble.”
“Yeah, I know…Look, Gus. I am going to find us an actual case. There have got to be some people that the Trout-led SBPD have turned away and we are going to help them.”
Shawn changed the subject. “Any news on the Rachael front?” Although, Rachael had been able to make some visits to Santa Barbara, she still wasn’t able to stay in the U.S. permanently until her visa renewal was complete.
“Actually, yeah!” said Gus, looking much happier at the mention of her name. “She finished squaring away her visa issues much sooner than expected, so she’s coming home early! Seeing Rachael again is the only thing that is keeping me going.”
“That’s awesome Gus! I gotta say, I love you two together. You’re like…Kevin and Winnie.
“That would make you Josh Saviano.”
Shawn grimaced. “Uh…Chandler and Monica?”
“Either Matt LeBlanc or David Schwimmer.”
“No. No. That’s not it…I know. Corey and Topanga!
“That makes you Rider Strong.”
“Uh…yeah, I guess that’s ok…considering my options. So when is Rachael getting here?”
“End of the week!” said Gus happily.
“Awesome! We’ll do another one of those double-date thingies. Jules and I could both use a night out.”
Suddenly, they heard a knock and looked up to see a teenage girl in the doorway. Her black hair was streaked with hot pink and turquoise and she was dressed in all black, complete with chains, fishnets, and combat boots.
“Uh…hi,” said Shawn.
“Hi,” she said. She was unexpectedly polite, considering her appearance. “Sorry I just walked in. The door was open.”
“No problem,” said Gus, getting up. “Please, come in.”
Shawn rose from his seat. “Hi, I am Shawn Spencer, and this is my partner Yancy “Purpletooth” Jackman.” She momentarily screwed up her eyebrows at the silly name and then seemed to accept it. “What is your name and what can we help you with?” asked Shawn.
“Hi Shawn, Yancy…” She shook their hands.
“Please, call me Gus,” said Gus.
“Ok… Gus? My name is Avery…and…I think someone is trying to kill me.”