Double Trouble

Chapter 2

Leaning over the back of the chair, Ethan tried to get Shawn and Gus in sight. "Ethan, don't" Evelyn warned, without looking up from her second sketch. The lines showed the two men staring at her. "You know how much adults hate it when we eavesdrop on other people's conversation and not even be in hearing distance."

"I don't see how lip reading is any different from listening," Ethan answered, turning around. "I didn't think he'd really be a psychic, but he is!" He paused. "And did you see the awesomeness of his hair? Someday, I will have hair just as awesome."

Shawn entered the office in time to hear. "But only if you work hard," he cautioned. "It's not easy to have hair that looks this good." He leaned against Gus' desk. "Picassa, may we see our victim now?"

Lowering the pen, Evelyn held up her sketch. A woman with long dark hair and dark eyes gazed at Shawn and Gus from the paper. "Wow. You're really good," Gus said, taking it from her. Shawn spun around and started rifling through some papers. "Shawn, what are you doing?"

"Find her," Ethan ordered. "There's a pool at our hotel and I want to check out all the girls in bikinis sometime today."

"Ethan!" Evelyn protested, putting her hands over her ears. "That is not something I need to hear my brother say! Ever!"

Straightening up, Shawn studied a single sheet of paper. Snagging the sketch from Gus, he turned to the twins. "The spirits are not speaking to me here," he announced. "Gus and I need to take a trip down to the Santa Barbara Police Department."

"What about us?" Ethan asked as Evelyn lowered her hands.

"Shawn, we can't take them with us," Gus warned in a low voice. "Lassiter would have a heart attack and then throw us out! Not to mention what the chief would do."

"We can't leave them here," Shawn answered with a grin. He grabbed Gus' keys up off the desk. "Ethan, Evelyn, I'm going to be driving a tiny blue Echo and no one's called-."

"Shotgun!" Evelyn shouted, jumping to her feet.

"You haven't heard from Shawn have you?" Detective Juliet O'Hara asked, approaching her partner's desk. The Head Detective looked up at her in annoyance. "The chief gave him that drug case three days ago and I haven't heard anything from him. I was expecting something by now."

"Maybe you'll finally realize the only way to solve a case is hard work and not that psychic mumbo jumbo Spencer brings to the table," Carlton Lassiter responded sharply. O'Hara frowned at him. "Look. When someone declares him a missing person, I'll look for him then."

Shaking her head, O'Hara walked on. "I'd throw a party first," Lassiter muttered under his breath. Grinning at the thought, he bent over his work. A few moments passed, and he got the feeling he was being watched. Looking up, Lassiter stared at two kids standing in front of his desk. "Can I help you?"

"Are you really the Head Detective?" Ethan asked seriously. Beside him, Evelyn was studying the design on the floor nearby.

"Yes," Lassiter responded cautiously. He glanced around, trying to find someone who was responsible for these two. "Who are you?"

Ethan stuck his hand out. "I'm Ethan Spencer and this is my sister Evelyn," he responded easily. Lassiter's eyes narrowed at the last name. "So, were you Head Detective before Shawn started working for the police department? Because I'm trying to figure how you can be in charge if Shawn's the one who solves all your cases."

Furious, Lassiter jumped up. "For your information, I solve just as many crimes as that…psychic," he growled. Her attention snapping back to the Head Detective, Evelyn took a step back along with Ethan. "Is he the one that brought you here? Shouldn't you be in school?"

"Uh, it's summer," Evelyn answered. "Are you jealous of Shawn?"

"No, I'm not jealous!"

"Lassie!" Shawn exclaimed, jogging over. Lassiter transferred his glare from the twins to Gus and Shawn. "I see you've met Ethan and Evelyn. I was telling them about some of the cases I've solved for the department. I told them they should talk more about it with you."

His left eye twitching slightly, Lassiter moved around his desk. Instantly, Evelyn took refuge behind Shawn. "Did you know you're face looks all red and weird when you get mad?" Ethan asked, studying the Head Detective's face. "Is that on purpose or does it just happen?"

Gus grabbed Ethan's arm and pulled him away from the Head Detective. "We need to get going," he said. "We're sorry to have taken up so much of your time, Detective."

"What are the two of you doing here in the first place?" Lassiter demanded, reining in his temper.

"Oh, you know," Shawn responded. "Just checking in with the chief. You know she gave us that drug case the other day."

O'Hara hurried over. "Shawn, I was wondering when you'd come in." The detective paused as she saw Ethan grinning at Lassiter and Evelyn peeking around Shawn. "You brought friends?"

"Jules!" Shawn exclaimed in delight. "Just the person I was looking for. I was drawn her for a reason. I'm getting a vision about the case!" He raised his hands up to his head and closed his eyes. "It's not making sense. A woman named Maria in danger."

Swiftly, O'Hara checked her file. Evelyn pulled on Shawn's arm to get his attention. When that failed, she kicked his ankle. "Our Maria?" the girl asked in a low tone.

Flinching in pain, Shawn opened one eye to look down at her and moved one finger to his lips. Evelyn shrugged and Shawn returned to his pose of intense thought. "Maria Jones is the daughter of Carl Jones, who we suspect of being behind the drug ring," O'Hara announced. "What does she have to do with it? What kind of danger is she in?"

Shawn opened his mouth to answer. "I know!" Ethan exclaimed, his eyes wide. Evelyn heaved a sigh and smacked her forehead. "She was kidnapped!"

"Really, Ethan?" Shawn said, opening his eyes to look at the boy. "The spirits don't like someone stealing their show."

"And a show is all this is," Lassiter spoke up. Horror on his face, Shawn turned his attention to the Head Detective. "When you have something conclusive, talk to the chief. Until then, get out of my sight. And take your two friends with you. O'Hara, there's a witness in Interrogation Room 1 that I've kept waiting long enough."

Lassiter went down the hallway, officers dodging to get out of his path. Offering an apologetic smile, O'Hara hurried after him. "Check into the daughter," Lassiter ordered in a low voice when she caught up.

"See, I told it was no use coming here," Gus said. "Now what are we going to do?"

Extremely pleased, Ethan took a big bite of his hot fudge sundae. "What is with you and your pineapple?" he demanded, making a face at the smoothie in his sister's hand. He transferred his look of disgust to the matching smoothie in Shawn's hand. "You people are weird."

"Shut up, Ethan," Evelyn ordered. "Pineapple is my only consolation at this point."

"Shawn, how is this helping us solve the case?" Gus demanded in a low voice.

Not answering, Shawn sat at the picnic bench across from the twins, slurping his smoothie. This elicited another look of disgust from Ethan. "So, how come your guardian didn't come with you for this trip?" Shawn asked. "Most people don't trust twelve year olds to keep out of trouble."

Pausing, Ethan turned to his sister. "He knows we're twelve!" he whispered loudly. "This is so cool!"

"Our guardian travels all the time," Evelyn answered, ignoring her brother. "Look, can we go down to the dance center? We have to have everything signed in by tonight or we'll be disqualified from the competition. We'll have come all this way for nothing!"

"Wow. You're that sure you'll win?" Gus asked in surprise.

"We wouldn't enter unless we were sure," Ethan informed him. He scrapped the last bit of fudge out of his bowl and licked his spoon clean. "Evie is right. We've got to get signed in soon. I did not waste my summer vacation proving I could stick to something to not compete now."

Shawn leaned back. "You said your escort, Maria, had all your papers for the competition, right?" Gus spoke up before him. The twins nodded. "So even if you go to the dance center, you won't be able to sign in. You'll probably have to call your guardian…what did you say her name was again?"

Ethan frowned. "We never said," he answered. He hesitated, glancing at Evelyn. "Maddie Spencer. I'll write the number down for you."

"No, that's OK," Shawn said. "I already know it."

"Wow. You're good."

Shawn's phone rang. Pulling it out of his pocket, he read the text. "Gus and I will drop you off at the office," he announced. "Lassie and Jules found something they want us to see. We have some places to hit after that and then we'll have this case solved."

Bored, Ethan found a ball underneath one of the desks. "Where do you think they went?" he asked, throwing the rubber ball against the wall. He caught the ball as it bounced back. "I'm so bored! There has to be something we can do in this place!"

At Gus' desk, Evelyn was drawing. She barely looked up to acknowledge her brother. "Read a book or something," she answered, patiently. She gestured with her pencil. "The TV is right in front of you. I know you're not afraid to turn on and watch other people's TV."

"I did not come all this way to watch TV," Ethan complained. "Let's go out and do something."

"No," Evelyn answered. She sat back to survey her sketch. On one side of her page, her brother laughed at her. On the opposite side, Shawn grinned. There was no mistaking the resemblance between the two, especially right next to each other. Evelyn shook her head.

Missing the ball, Ethan stood up and went to the window. As he bent to grab his only distraction, he caught sight of two men coming towards the office. The breeze caught one of the men's jacket, whipping it back. "Evie," the boy called uneasily. "That guy has a gun."

Coming out of her seat, Evelyn darted to his side. Her eyes widened as she saw the men. Grabbing her brother's arm, she ducked to the floor. "What are we going to do?" she asked.

"If the office is a disaster when we get back, you're cleaning it up, Shawn," Gus threatened as they walked up to where the dance competition was being held. "I know what two bored twelve year olds do when they get bored: the same things we used to do."

Unconcerned, Shawn pushed the doors of the hall open. "What kind of damage can be done in a couple hours?"

Gus snorted. "Shawn, do you not remember anything of what we used to do?" he demanded. "And there are two of them! We'll be lucky if they don't burn the office down."

"Jules!" Shawn exclaimed, spotting the detective. "What can we do for you?" He stopped in front of the caution tape spread across the hallway. "Don't tell me someone was desperate enough to commit a crime in a place like this."

The woman had a grave look on her face as she approached them. "I checked into Maria Jones," she informed them, holding up the police tape for them to duck under. "Her co-workers said she wasn't answering their calls, and then we got a call that brought us here."

"This is where she works, isn't it?" Gus clarified. O'Hara nodded, leading the way through the "What brought you here?"

O'Hara gestured to where a dark haired woman lay on the dance floor. Lassiter stood up from where he was kneeling beside the body. "She was strangled to death a few hours ago," the head detective announced. "She was killed somewhere else and brought here."

Swiftly, Shawn scanned the body. He saw the water stain on her shoes, but the only other thing he took notice of was the lack of a struggle. Raising his hands to his head, he exclaimed, "She didn't know she was going to be killed. She didn't believe he would do it."

Everyone looked at him. Shawn flung his right hand out, waving it up and down. "They were near water," Shawn continued. "She expected to be safe."

"Do you have any idea who did it?" Juliet asked.

Dropping his hands, Shawn shook his head. "The spirits are being blocked by an extreme negative presence," he answered. O'Hara sent a pointed look at her partner. "Don't worry, guys. I'm sure it's just a glitch. I will solve this case for you."

"Look, Spencer, we don't need you," Lassiter snapped. "When you can bring something viable to the table, we'll talk."

"What table? Are we going out for lunch? If I'd known, I would have changed my shirt at least! " Shawn asked innocently. "And now you're changing your criteria! First, I had to have proof. Obviously, the dead body of Maria Jones is all the proof we need. Now we need to do something else?"

Rolling his eyes, Lassiter turned away. "Shawn, you really shouldn't antagonize that man," Gus warned. "He carries a gun, and I don't think he would hesitate to shoot either of us."

"First we were dealing with drug dealers, then kidnappers, now murderers? Gus, this is finally getting interesting!" Shawn responded, ignoring his friend's worry. He paused, his mind going back to Evelyn drawing the men at the car. "We've got to get back to Ethan and Evelyn now."

"Now you're worried about the state of out office?"

"No, I think they're in trouble. The murderers saw them."

Gus parked the little blue Echo as close to the office as he could get. As he got out, Shawn grabbed his phone and dialed a number. Despite his initial statement of trouble, his steps were slow. "Shawn, who are you trying to call?" he demanded, climbing out of the car.

"Hey, Mom, it's Shawn," Shawn said, as he got a voicemail box. "Look. I need to talk to you, so give me a call as soon as you get this, OK? It's very important."

"You know that's going to panic her," Gus commented.

"Nah. I didn't use my panic voice," Shawn responded, speeding up. He opened the door to the office. "I've got to know, Gus. It's no coincidence that two kids with the last name of Spencer refer to my mother as the one in charge of them. Dad and I will have words about this."

He pushed open the door of the office. Absolute chaos was inside. Papers were on the floor. Furniture was overturned. And there was no one inside. "We're too late," Shawn said.

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