"Please, Dad, no!" ten year old Shawn Spencer pleaded. "I'll do anything! I'll clean my room! I'll…take out the trash everyday! Just don't make me do this!"
"Sorry, kid," Henry Spencer responded, pushing open the door in front of them. "Your mom wants you to do this, and I am not going to argue with her. You're going to have to learn sometime that you will not be able to do what whatever you want all the time."
Classical music filled the lobby of the dance studio. "When I'm grown up, I will never do anything I don't want to!" Shawn declared. "There is absolutely no point in learning to dance!"
"Well, you're going to learn anyway. It'll be a summer project for you," Henry told him firmly. He smiled at the approaching woman. "I'm Henry Spencer, and this is my son, Shawn. He is here to join you're junior class."
Smiling broadly, the tall woman checked her clipboard. "Welcome, Shawn," she said. "I'm Hattie Larson. It's wonderful to see a young man such as yourself taking an interest in the cultural achievement of dance. I'm sure we're going to have a lot of fun in the next few months."
Instead of responding, Shawn turned his head and gagged silently. "Well, I'll leave him in your care," Henry said, sending a glare at his only child. "I'll be back in an hour to pick you up, Shawn. I will know if you try to sneak away, got it?"
Morosely, Shawn nodded. "I look forward to seeing you this evening, Mr. Spencer," Miss Larson exclaimed, looking up. Henry stared at her incredulously. "You'll be in our adult beginner's class, which begins at seven o'clock. It's the best time for most working men, such as yourself."
Still smiling, the woman walked away, calling for her class, made up of mostly girls, to begin. "Sometimes you have to do what you don't want to do, Dad," Shawn spoke up, as his father continued to stare where the dance instructor had been. "Mom signed you up too, huh?"
All right," Henry said, leaning down and lowering his voice. "This is going to be our story: we got here, the nice lady insulted us both, which in a manner of speaking she did, and we will not be coming back. We will never ever discuss this again. Got it?""Got it," Shawn agreed cheerfully.
When the dance instructor turned to call Shawn over, the boy and his father were not in sight.
Twenty-One Years and Two Months Later (August, 2008)
Despite being early morning, the buss terminal was bustling with activity. Five buses had arrived at the same time. Passengers were disembarking and fighting to get their luggage. At the same time, three buses were about to leave, and there was a rush of passengers trying to get their luggage on board and get to their seats.
In the midst of the chaos, a boy and a girl stood with backpacks on their shoulders. Behind them, a tall, black haired woman was looking around. "Ethan, Evelyn, I'll be right back," she said to the two kids. Without waiting for a response, she picked up a black duffel bag and entered the stream of people headed for the buses.
"This was an incredibly stupid detour," the girl commented, brushing her sandy brown hair out of her face.
"Evie, she said she had to send the bag to someone," the boy commented. He closed his eyes, tapping his fingers on his leg. "We'll get to wherever we need to be in time to officially enter the contest." He frowned. "To our right, someone is about to lose the wheels on his bag."
Sighing, Evelyn turned her head. One of the wheels on a man's bag wobbled off, and the bag twisted sideways. Aggravated, the man picked the bag up by the handle and hurried on. "You were a little off," Evelyn reported smugly. "It was only one wheel."
Snorting, Ethan waved his right dismissively. "Whatever," he responded, opening his eyes. "Do you see Miss Jones?"
"No. Why?" Evelyn asked, going up on her tiptoes. Even then, she couldn't see over the crowd. "Let me get on your shoulders."
"You can't just go stand on the bench?" Ethan asked, shedding his backpack and crouching down. Scowling at him, his sister climbed onto his back and he straightened up carefully. "I did hear something strange, OK? This guy was saying they saw 'her' and she'd left the two kids but she didn't have the bag. I think he was on the phone."
"What makes you think they were talking about Miss Jones?" Evelyn asked, balancing on his shoulders. She scanned the thinning crowd. She turned her head towards the parking lot, and she saw three men standing by a car. Narrowing her gaze, Evelyn focused on the third man slumping to the ground lifelessly. One of the men looked over and spotted her. "Ethan, you look!"
Evelyn slid down his back to the ground and Ethan bolted for a bench. Jumping up, he looked over to the parking lot. Turning from a passenger door, one man caught sight of Ethan and stared at the boy. Then, the man and his companion climbed into the car. Ethan just barely spotted the dark haired woman in the back seat before the car took off, but it was enough to draw a conclusion.
"Miss Jones is gone," he reported, jumping down. "Now what are we going to do?"
"Call the police?"
Ethan shook his head. "The police won't believe us," he responded. "Wait! Do you still have that card? The one with the number we're supposed to call in the case of an emergency?"
Nodding, Evelyn swung her own backpack off her shoulder and unzipped one of the small pockets. She pulled out a business card. Taking the card from her, Ethan hurried to the side where there was relative quiet. He flipped open his cell phone and dialed the number written on the back of the card.
"Hi, my sister and I just saw a kidnapping and we were told you'd help us if something bad ever happened," he said. The response was loud and emphatic. Flinching, Ethan closed the phone. "He said to call the police."
"Told you," Evelyn responded with a smirk. "I'll call this time. You're too abrupt."
She reached for his phone. "Hold on a second," Ethan objected, holding it away. He turned it over and read the actual business, "Psych. Private Psychic Detective Agency. Let's try this!"
"Gus! Gus, I need you!"
Just entering the office, Burton Guster paused in the doorway. Shawn Spencer was sitting in front of the TV, playing a video game. "Shawn, what are you doing?" he demanded, glaring at his partner. "I thought you said you'd look the case the chief gave us yesterday?"
His thumbs hitting the controls, Shawn glanced over briefly. "I haven't had time," he answered with a grin. "Bring me something to drink, OK? If I stop for one moment, I will lose my place and I'll have to start all over again! I'm almost up to level 99!"
"Shawn, did you stay up all night playing Tetris?"
On screen, the objects piled up and GAME OVER flashed on the screen. "Aw, man!" Shawn groaned, dropping the controller. He flexed his fingers and stretched. "Not all night. I couldn't sleep and you took your list of new fungus drugs with you, so I had to do something to sleep."
"Only you didn't sleep," Gus responded, going to his computer. "Now can we please focus on this case? Drug rings are serious business."
"So is being Tetris Champion," Shawn answered, jumping to his feet. "First breakfast, and then I will solve the case."
He headed for the cupboard. "I finished the cereal," Gus mentioned.
Stricken, Shawn whirled around. "Dude! And you didn't replace it?" he exclaimed. "How could you not replace what you've finished? You know I practically live here! Now I'm going to have to go out for breakfast. This will be a serious loss of time to get to the case."
"First of all, you never replace the food when you finish it," Gus said sharply. "And second, you have your own place to live. Third, you've had plenty of time to get to the case. You've been playing a game."
There was a knock on the front door. "Go get that," Shawn ordered. "I'm going to find some food."
Rolling his eyes, Gus went back to the front door and opened it. He did a double take as he saw two faces looking back at him that were nearly identical. "I'm Ethan Spencer, and this is my sister Evelyn," the boy spoke up first. His brown hair was tousled, and his blue eyes had a spark of mischief in them. "We think we saw a kidnapping."
"Spencer?" Gus repeated. As he looked at them, he realized the pair bore a striking resemblance to one person he knew very well.
The pair nodded. "We were given your card," Evelyn added helpfully.
"I see," Gus said. "Just a moment."
Closing the door, Gus walked back to the office. Shawn was in the middle of devouring a bag of Doritos. "You see what I am reduced to because you didn't restock?" Shawn said, turning to face him. "If there were girl scouts selling cookies and you turned them away, I will be very upset. Maybe even furious."
"Shawn, if you ever had kids, I'd be the godfather, right?" Gus asked, seriously.
Frowning, Shawn considered the question. "Since I'd have to choose between you, Lassiter, and McNab, I would definitely pick you," he answered. "I shudder to think of what Lassie would teach my children if I died. Why? What's with the serious look?"
"And you would tell me if you had any kids, right?" Gus questioned further. "Even if it was a youthful mistake?"
"Gus!" Shawn exclaimed in protest. His best friend continued to stare at him. "Fine. Yes, I will tell you when I become a father, which won't be any time soon. Why are you asking these weird questions?"
"Because, Shawn, there are two kids with the last name of Spencer standing on our doorstep, who look alarmingly like you!"
Surprised, Shawn raised his eyebrows. "Really? And you just left them there?" he replied, walking to the door. "I think I'll have to change my decision about you being godfather. You only think these kids are mine, and you leave them out on the doorstep. What will you do to kids you know are mine?"
When he opened the door, the two kids outside turned to face him. He took in their bulging backpacks, and the tags on the straps. Mainly though, he stared at their faces. The boy in particular bore a striking resemblance to what he'd looked like at that age, which he estimated to be twelve.
"Look if you don't want to help us because we're kids, just say so!" the girl said. Her forehead creased with puzzlement and annoyance as she looked up at him.
"Not at all," Shawn responded, stepping back. "Please come in," he invited. "I'm sorry. My partner, As Quiet As A Mouse, is not used to visitors this early in the morning. I'm Shawn Spencer, Resident Psychic. Your names are?"
"I'm Ethan, and this is my sister Evelyn," Ethan introduced yet again, bouncing inside. Evelyn entered more sedately. Shawn noticed how she was walking light on her feet, like any moment she would start to dance. Ethan glanced around as he walked to the main part of the office where Gus was. "Wow! This place is awesome! Evie, look! They have a gigantic TV with a…what is that?"
He pointed to the game system Shawn had been using. "That would be a vintage Nintendo system," Shawn announced. He paused. "Gus, that thing was new when I was a kid. I'm beginning to think like my Dad! We need to get a Wii system for the office. Today!"
"Hey, you just said his name was Quiet As A Mouse," Ethan complained. "Way to be confusing."
"Later Shawn," Gus snapped back. "That thing was good enough for you earlier." He turned towards the kids. "Please. Have a seat. My name is Burton Guster, but you can call me Gus. What can we do for you today? You say you saw a kidnapping?"
"Wait! Let me!" Shawn said, raising his fingers to the sides of his head. "You are twins. You two have traveled a long distance alone…no, not completely alone and not terribly far. You were met at the airport by the woman who has been kidnapped. And…you are here to enter the junior dance competition, though Ethan here is doing it reluctantly."
Sitting down in Gus' chair, Evelyn blinked. "Wow!" Ethan exclaimed, throwing himself into one of the plushy chairs in front of the window. "You're absolutely right! How'd you know all of that?"
"Because I am a psychic," Shawn said, pulling up a chair. "Tell me everything and perhaps the spirits will talk to me."
The twins looked at each other and nodded. "Ethan and I arrived a couple hours ago," Evelyn spoke up, her tone serious. "Our guardian couldn't come with us, so we were met at the airport by someone from the dance competition, Miss Maria Jones. On our way to our hotel, she stopped at the bus station."
"She said she had to give a package to someone waiting for her there," Ethan chimed in. "Her voice was scared and worried at the same time. She said she'd be right back, but she didn't come. Then, I heard a guys say, 'There's Maria, but she doesn't have the bag.' Another guy answered, 'Doesn't matter. She'll talk.'"
Shawn frowned. "You remembered word for word what you overheard in a noisy bus station?"
"I was paying attention," Ethan responded simply.
"I thought you said you saw a kidnapping," Gus pointed out. "Maybe Miss Jones got turned around. The bus station can get pretty hectic in the morning. Maybe she even thinks you are lost. I'm sure once you go to where the dance competition is being held, you'll find her."
"Gus, don't be an empty cereal box in the morning!" Shawn chided. "Neither of them has said 'the end' yet. So they're not done!" He turned his attention back to the kids. "You saw something, didn't you?"
Again, the twins looked at each other. "Yeah, you could say that," Evelyn responded slowly.
"First, I tried to boost Evie up high enough to see over the crowd," Ethan admitted. "Then, I climbed up on a bench. I saw two guys getting into a car. In the back seat, there was a dark haired woman, just like Miss Jones. Since she didn't come back, we figured it must have been her I seen."
"You should go to the police with this," Gus told them.
Leaning back in his chair, Shawn frowned thoughtfully. "I only have one question," he announced. Turning to Ethan, he asked, "Man, why would you even agree to enter a dance competition if you don't want to?"
Ethan grinned. "Because she agreed to learn stunts on bikes if I was her partner in the dance competition," he replied. "It was a fair agreement to us both. Besides, it only took a couple hours to learn the steps." He frowned. "The hard part was sticking to it all summer to get to the competition."
His sister scowled at him. "Can you help us find Miss Jones?" she asked formally. "She has all of the papers we need for the competition." She hesitated. "We don't have a lot. Ethan spent his allowance for the next five years already. I only have five dollars on me."
"It just so happens this is our work free for twins day," Shawn said decisively. Evelyn regarded him skeptically. "It's true! It's not an important day to most people, but how many good things are? I will find your Miss Jones before the day is out." Gus glared at him as he paused. "What does she look like?"
Grabbing one of Gus' pens, Evelyn commandeered a sheet of paper and started to draw. "Not only are you a dancer, you're an artist too?" Shawn asked, pushing his chair over to the desk.
Stepping over, Gus grabbed his arm. "Shawn, may I speak to you in the 'we don't work for free' corner."
"Gus, can't this wait? I am watching a masterpiece in progress here!" Shawn protested, even as his friend pulled him and the chair towards the door. "All right. I'm coming! Just stop trying to pull my arm off. I need it to solve this case."
Outside the Psych office, Gus turned to Shawn. "How could you accept this case?" he demanded. "We already have one that the chief gave us three days ago that you haven't even touched! How do we even know these two really saw what they say?"
"First of all, the chief's case is boring," Shawn responded. "I'll solve that easily. Second, the only way I'm going to learn about these kids is if I help them out. Gus, there is only one person I know who can remember everything she hears!"
Gus paused. "Your mom?"
"Exactly," Shawn said, lowering his voice. His eyes had an unusual look of concern. "Think Gus! When my mom left, she and Dad didn't talk hardly at all. These kids are about twelve, right? Since they are not, as you so obviously thought, my kids, what other explanation can there be for why they look like me?""Shawn, I don't think your mother is the type who would keep this kind of thing a secret," Gus argued.
"What else, Gus?" Shawn demanded. "How else would you explain this?"
"Maybe we should ask them."