Hi! This is my first angsty Psych fic. It's centered on Lassiter, and his crumbling marriage with his wife.

Noticing

It was days like this Lassiter wondered whether he was better off without her. With annoying people like Spencer running all around the station, it was easier to go home to a quiet house free of screaming and accusations. There had been silences, of course- but they had been bitter, hating silences that were worse then the arguments that shook the house. She would barely acknowledge his presence and, when she did, it would be with a cool look, that he couldn't help but scowl at.

Most days, he'd pour his coffee- black- and she'd lean against the counter, with that hating look on her face.

"Off to work then?" She'd asked, almost condescendingly. But not completely. That would make it all too easy.

"It's a weekday, isn't it?" He'd bite back gruffly, and he'd grab his jacket and leave. And, every day for the last few years, as he stabbed the key into the ignition, he'd remember a time when he used to kiss her on the cheek, and say, 'See you when I get home,' and she'd laugh, and say, 'Can't wait!' But then, he'd be driving through the Santa Barbara streets, his hand firm on the wheel, his knuckles white, his eyes set on the road, and he'd try to forget everything. The morning. The words. Hell, even the time when the morning and words weren't things he despised.

He'd go into the station, and get another cup of coffee, because one just wasn't enough. Then he'd sit at his desk, covered with papers, and he'd file them dutifully. Maybe he'd get lucky; lock up a few big thugs, and get a few small-timers to quit while they still could. He'd make small talk when he had time, but, usually, he'd just sit in solitude, solving the crimes he could, feeling the guilt he'd grown accustomed to when he couldn't. Then it would be time to go home.

"Is there anything else I can do?" He'd ask. Civic duty, he'd tell himself. I'm asking because it's my civic duty to care, and do all I can do.

"If you really want to, Carlton..." They'd say, and there he would still be an hour or two later. He used to call, 'I'll be a little late tonight, hon,' but after a while there wasn't a point. Either she wouldn't pick up, or he wouldn't call.

"You really ought to go home, Carlton. You've done enough,"

"Oh, no- I mean, it's my job, isn't it?" And they'd just smile. Look at that. Such a hard-working cop. What a role model.

"No, it's really fine. Head on home."

"If you insist." And he'd stop by at the bar for a few drinks before he got home. Why not?

The house would be dark when he got home, an empty wine glass waiting in the dishwasher. She'd be in bed, her book in her hands. And she'd read it like the bible. Sometimes, he attempted to care. Even if it was only a tiny little effort.

"What are you reading?"

"A romance," She'd say. And she wouldn't elaborate. But of course, she'd look wistful as she read it. Look mad, sometimes. Carlton never read the book once she fell asleep, the book sprawled open on her lap, the pages there, so willing to let him know what she wanted. So willing to say what she daydreamed. What kind of man she loved. What she wanted him to do- how she wanted him to act. What she wanted him to say when he left in the morning, and what she wanted him to say when he got home. But he'd just turn the lamp off, push his head against the pillow, his eyes wide open.

"G'night." He'd mutter. She'd snore in response.

But other days weren't so nice. Sometimes, he stayed at the bar too long, and she'd be waiting in the kitchen, the wine glass filled to the brim. She'd swish it lazily, then say,

"You're late. Again."

"Work at the station."

"You didn't bother to call?"

"I figured you knew."

"You figured."

"Yea," And he'd already know what was coming. She'd stand, and she'd glare at him.

"You never think, Carlton. You just figure, don't you? Every day, you just leave. And I'm home alone. You wouldn't even notice if I left." She'd always say that. Every single argument, 'You wouldn't even notice if I left, would you?' "Honestly, Carlton, why can't you just take a day off?"

"The station needs me." It was the truth. Sure, there weren't any big crimes, and he was mainly just dealing with little shoplifters, but that didn't mean he could just use one of his vacation days.

"Is that what you think?" She had asked the last time. "Do you think that the station needs you? Is that why you leave me alone every day? Is that why you come home at eight-o-clock- on a good day? So that you can keep your promise to the station?! Honestly, Carlton, if I didn't know you, I'd swear you were having an affair."

"Why would you even say that?!" He snapped. "You know I'm loyal."

"That's true. You're a good little police dog." She took a large gulp of her wine, then glared madly at him. She slammed the empty glass onto the counter. It shattered, and he cringed. "Damn it, Carlton!"

"What are you mad about!?" He shouted. "I'm the one who works everyday!"

"Really? I didn't notice!"

"Why do you always make such a big deal out of everything? Why does this have to be about you? I risk my life every damn day for this town!"

"It's your choice, though, isn't it?" She seethed, her eyes narrow. "But me? I'm just the lowly wife of a cop, whose brave husband risks his damn life every day from eight to eight, while she sits in an empty home sucking on a chipped wine glass!"

"What do you want me to do?!"

"Take a day off! Be a husband instead of that stranger that comes home sometimes, smelling of booze and failure!"

"Oh, I'm a failure now!?"

"As a husband? You sure as hell are!" It went on for far too long.

When he awoke in the morning, his neck pained from sleeping on the couch, she was already awake, drinking away. Was it coffee? Was it scotch? Wine? He didn't know. He didn't care.

"Off to work?" Snidely. So snidely. He didn't even reply.

The day passed slowly. But her words rang in his mind, 'You wouldn't even notice if I left." When it was time to go...

"Any work?"

"Are you sure? You look tired." He was sure. He didn't want to go home. He couldn't go home. He nodded. It was ten when he finally made it home. The house was dark. The wine glass was on the counter. The almost-empty wine bottle sat in the fridge. There was no horrible silence. There was no screaming.

She was gone.

And he had noticed.

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Thanks for reading. I don't know if anyone will actually read this all the way through, but, if you do, thanks a lot. I wrote it for some odd reason, and who knows why. R&R please!!!