Food shopping was number three on Karen's list of things she hated to do. Only laundry and spending time with her mother-in-law topped it. She didn't mind popping into the local store for milk, but when she had a baby who had just learned how to grab things, a list a mile long (and no matter how many times she tried, she always forgot at least one thing) and had very little time to herself what with work, a kid and a husband, the last thing she wanted to be doing was stressing over whether to buy smooth or crunchy peanut butter.
Karen gripped the shopping cart handle tightly as she manoeuvred round the corner and up the aisle. She stopped halfway down and began searching for her favourite flavour chips, batting Iris' chubby hand away from a pack of breadsticks in the process.
"Chief?" A voice called and Karen groaned. It was her day off and she hated being forced into Chief mode on her day off. She turned and plastered on a grin.
"Mr. Guster, fancy bumping into you here."
Gus stood in front of her, a basket hooked over one arm, a six pack of beer, some deli meats, salsa dip and a pineapple clued Karen in on Gus' plans.
"Watching the game with Mr Spencer later?" She inquired
He raised an eyebrow. "How did you…?" Karen smiled as she thought back to the conversation she'd had with Shawn Spencer a couple of weeks ago. She'd found herself taking more notice of everything around her, even going so far as to run memories through her head. After all, with all Henry had taught her all those years ago something was bound to stick; it wouldn't be too much to believe he had possibly taught the same lessons to his son.
"I've spent enough time around Shawn to know his feelings on pineapple."
"You only have to spend five minutes with him to know that," Gus replied.
Karen laughed, "I guess so." A small whimper from behind her caught her attention and she pushed the dropped pacifier back into her daughter's mouth.
"She's cute," Gus remarked.
"Thanks." She turned back to Gus. "I'm just glad she hasn't got her father's ears," she added with a smirk.
"Dumbo?" Gus questioned.
"Spock," Karen replied.
Gus nodded, "Well, I should go, Shawn'll be wondering what's taking me so long." He walked past Karen and began strolling away when Karen stopped him.
"Mr. Guster?" Gus stopped and turned. "Can I ask you a question?"
He stepped towards her. "Sure, if you stop calling me Mr Guster. Every time you call me that I start looking around for my father."
Karen smiled. "Okay...Gus," she said, as if trying out the name for the first time. "My question?" Gus nodded. "I was speaking to Shawn a couple of weeks ago."
"You bumped into him at the coffee shop."
"How did you…?" It was Karen's turn to look confused.
"I told me he saw you. I remember because he wouldn't shut up about pineapple muffins for the rest of the day, even got the easy-bake oven back out in an attempt to top the pineapple upside down cake disaster."
Karen wondered briefly how Gus ever survived spending so much time with the hyper psychic. "Did he tell you what we talked about?" Gus shook his head and Karen continued, "He explained some things, mostly how the psychic act works." Gus raised his eyebrows. "Hypothetically, of course." Karen added quickly.
Gus laughed weakly, "Of course."
"I couldn't get our conversation out of my mind, what he can do, how quickly his mind must work. He tried to explain it to me but he didn't really understand it himself. It's all second nature to him."
Gus frowned, "Your question?"
Karen looked down at Iris and then back up at Gus, "Does it scare you?"
Gus thought about it for a second. Shawn's ability to walk into any situation before thinking about the implications or the dangers was definitely scary, as was his obsession with Lori Loughlin, but did Shawn's mind scare him? "Sometimes," Gus answered honestly.
"Sometimes?" Karen repeated.
"Knowing the speed his mind works," Gus gave a slight shrug, "Knowing that there is little I can hide from him, little anyone can hide from him because he can read people like they are open books. He scares me because his mind is like an elephant's and doesn't forget a single thing and that he sees more and knows more than he's ever let on. It scares me to think what he could actually do with that brain of his if he actually worked hard enough at something," Gus stopped and took in a deep breath. "Hypothetically, of course," Gus added as an afterthought.
"What about you?" Karen thought about telling Gus about the sleepless nights following the conversation with Shawn, how she could stop thinking about what he might have learned about her, what was keeping Shawn from telling the world what he knew about her. She didn't have any deep dark skeletons in her closet but still, given half the chance, he could use what he knew against her. And it wasn't just his mind that scared her, she'd heard the rumours about him at the shooting range. Her fear of what he could do with a gun only just outweighed her curiosity.
"I haven't really thought about it," she lied and she knew from the look Gus was giving her that he didn't believe her. She shook herself out of her thoughts as Iris made a grab for her sleeve. "Anyway," she smiled, putting an end to the conversation. "I should get this finished, Iris needs feeding."
Gus nodded, "Shawn too." A comment on the similarities between her baby and Shawn Spencer sat on the tip of her tongue and she grinned. "I'm sure I'll see you at the station soon."
"Not too soon I hope," Gus nodded. He turned and began to walk away. She watched as he stopped and looked back at her. "What scares me most of all, is that one day he'll get himself killed," he said and Karen suddenly realised why Gus suffered through Shawn's escapades.
She didn't say anything as she watched his retreating form until he disappeared around the corner before looking back at her daughter, and the pile of food on the floor courtesy of said daughter. "Just wait till you're old enough to pick those up yourself missy," she said to the wide eyed baby before grabbing the desired potato chips, dropping them into the cart and pushing off down the aisle.