Like a...

Santa Barbara, CA

Things couldn't get any worse. It just wasn't possible. A black cat could have crossed his path (twice) before a piano fell on his head, and it still wouldn't have been as bad as this. Gus could have puked a half-digested hot fudge and Pop Rock sundae all over his shoes, and Shawn would still not be as miserable as he was right now.

Or so he thought…

Walking through the front door of his house, Shawn didn't exactly stomp and scream to announce his presence. But he didn't take the precautions his father had taught him in order to go unnoticed either. If he had, the boy might have been spared the icing on the cake of his night. If he'd just taken some extra care with how he shut the door and walked only on the balls of his feet, the brunet may have made it to his bedroom unscathed.

The keyword, however, was "if".

"Shawn?" As always, his father's voice was a mixture of question and accusation. It just wasn't fair. Shawn was already being blamed for something, and he hadn't even been given a chance to do anything worthy of blame. Before he had a chance to try and escape up the stairs, Henry came walking out of the kitchen, beer can in hand. "Shawn, what happened to you?" He sounded shocked but not all that surprised at the sight before him.

As his father's eyes raked over his body, the young boy felt his ears begin to burn. He dropped his eyes to his feet in shame, but that only made things worse. Looking down at his sneakers, Shawn had an excellent view of the sticky red mess staining the front of his favorite Knight Rider t-shirt. "Molly Gray poured her fruit punch on me."

"… Molly Gray poured her fruit punch on you." Henry sounded confused but not at all surprised, and Shawn couldn't help himself from dropping his head a little lower.

"Yeah." Trying to fight back the desire to wipe away the sugary mess, the boy stuffed his hands in his pockets. Shifting back and forth on his feet, he waited for whatever admonishment his father would dole out. After all, he always did. It was only a matter of time.

"And why did Molly do this?" The cop gestured at his son's ruined shirt.

There were sometimes when Shawn really, really wished that the floor would open up and swallow him hole. This was definitely one of them. "Cause she caught me looking at Isabel Walker."

"… Because she caught you looking at Isabel Walker." The statement was followed by a very obvious eye roll and then an amused chuckle. "Come on, kid, in here."

Shawn gave the stairs up to his bedroom one last desperate look before shuffling into the kitchen after his father. He'd expected the older man to sit him down and lecture him about how stupid he'd been. But what Henry did do… shocked him.

Closing the refrigerator door, Henry had his beer in one hand and a bottle of Coke in the other. Skillfully twisting off the cap with the hand still holding the alcohol, the man tossed the metal disc in the garbage. Setting the cold drink in front of his son, Henry took the seat opposite him. It was one of the kindest things his father had done for him in a long time.

Cautiously, the boy reached out for the bottle and pulled it towards himself.

"So… Molly Gray poured her drink on you because she caught you looking at Isabel Walker." In the glow of the kitchen light, Shawn caught the smirk that was threatening to take over his father's face.

"… Yep. That's what I said." It really was ridiculous. It was almost like Henry knew that with each repetition of the situation, it made him feel worse. And he certainly wouldn't put it past his father to do that.

"I thought we talked about this. When you're with a girl, you pay attention to-"

"But I did! I paid attention to every word she said! I even repeated what she'd said when she was pouring her fruit punch on me." That was it. Shawn Spencer was officially defeated. He'd done everything his dad had said. He'd listened to every word out of the girl's mouth, and she'd still gotten mad at him. What did it matter if he was looking at Isabel if he could repeat every word Molly had said?

"Well there's your problem. You listened to her, but you didn't listen to her." From the confused look on his son's face, Henry could tell that Shawn was totally confused. "Look, kid, it's one thing to hear what a woman says, and it's another to truly listen to her."

Swallowing a mouthful of soda, Shawn considered his father's words, as the carbonation tickled his throat and nose. "I still don't get it."

With great effort, Henry stopped himself from rolling his eyes again. With a few finger taps on the cool beer bottle, the older Spencer remembered something his father had told him when he was a boy. "With women, you have to be careful. If you don't treat them just right, you'll know it."

He knew it was mean, but the older man couldn't help but gesture at his son's ruined shirt. "If you want to not end up with fruit punch dumped on your shirt again, remember this…" Henry paused for just a moment. This was one of the most important things his father had taught him, and it was finally time to pass it on. "You treat a woman like a person, then a princess, then a Greek goddess, and then a person again."

Henry looked over at his son who seemed to be digesting the information. The man knew that Shawn was smart and that he'd work it out eventually, so, instead of waiting around, he stood up. Making his way towards the kitchen door, Henry looked back at Shawn one more time. "You were clearly treating Molly like a person when you should have been treating her like a princess."

Squeeka Cuomo's Notes
- This was originally written for the "Like a…" challenge posted by Ablissad on .
- The quote, while paraphrased, was taken from the episode "Black and Tan: A Crime of Fashion".
- Katie – So there aren't octozombies in this but the 'pop' does make it as the standard grand gesture. (Even if it isn't Mello Yello.) Thank you so much for all of your help and support. :duck:
- Reviews are love.