For Yana who said, and I quote: "hurry so i can read :p"
17. Prime Trust
"Well, maybe, just maybe, this case is exactly what it looks like it's about: bitter unsubs with a grudge against the fat cats," Lisbon suggested to an unconvinced Jane. The man was stubborn. He always looked for the interesting solution, not the obvious one. One day he would learn that sometimes the solution was the obvious answer.
"Nice drive though," he commented.
She suppressed a groan. "Nice three-hour drive," she pointed out. Maybe Jane had all the time in the world, but she had things to do. Wasting six hours driving wasn't high on her priority list. Sometimes Lisbon wished Jane would realize that she wasn't working a lot just for fun, there was actual work that needed to get done.
"I'm hungry," Jane said as he got in the car. "Are you hungry?"
Lisbon sighed, preparing herself for the long drive.
"Ready?" Jane asked her.
"Ready," she answered and he drove off.
"You know, I like that the drive is so long," he mused.
"We spend time together," he answered simply.
Lisbon rolled her eyes. That hardly justified the enjoyment of a three-hour drive. Besides, it wasn't like they didn't see each other during the day. "We work together. We spend a lot of time together, more than most married couples," she argued, unconvinced about the virtues of the long drive. It wasn't like his car was the most comfortable car to drive in. For some reason, he had been extremely insistent on taking his car. She had agreed because she hadn't been in the mood to drive for three hours.
"I know," Jane agreed, "but it's different at work, with the guys there. Here, it's just you and me." He was smiling, just happy to be with his wife. He wished she wasn't so focused on work and would understand how nice it was to drive around the country together.
"It shouldn't matter. During work hours, our relationship should remain the same whether we're alone or with the rest of the team." She paused for a minute, thinking. "I think we haven't set enough boundaries for our professional relationship."
"What do you mean?"
"I don't think we're professional enough. Just last week, we kissed in the building even though we said we wouldn't do that anymore. We touch and kiss whenever we're out of the building and alone. It shouldn't happen."
Jane chuckled. "Um, I know our marriage isn't based on the physical, but I don't really intend to give it up just because we work together."
She eyed him, annoyed. Didn't he realize she was serious? This was no joking matter. "I mean during work hours," she clarified. "We shouldn't be affectionate under any circumstances when we're on the job. We shouldn't even talk about our personal relationship. If we address our relationship at all, it should be only our professional one. On the job we're co-workers, not husband and wife."
"So all our conversations should be strictly on a professional level?"
"Yes," Lisbon confirmed.
"But we talk about personal stuff with the rest of the team," Jane argued.
"We do?" she asked, surprised. "When?"
"Okay, maybe we don't," Jane conceded, "but I don't really see what the big deal is about being slightly personal when we're alone." Things had been fine this last year. He didn't really understand why the sudden need for change.
"Because we are professionals and should act accordingly. Just look at Faulk and Nadia. I don't have to be a mentalist to see that their colleague resented their personal relationship. How can I maintain that I am objective about you when we discuss our personal lives during work hours? We need to remain professional at all times."
"Fine," Jane mumbled, unconvinced. He was going to let it slide for now, but she would see that there's no harm in getting a little personal at work. And not just with him, but with the rest of the team. Jane was certain that they would love it if Lisbon opened up a bit more to them. The unity of the team would only strengthen with it. He was sure. For now, he would simply enjoy the time he had with her, however she wanted it. This was a lovely drive; the countryside was beautiful around here. He suddenly noticed a board on the side of the road. "Oh, look, they're selling fruit and vegetables over there."
"So only work-related talk, huh?" Jane asked as he paid for his apple and Lisbon's strawberries. This did put a damper on the 'surprise' he had planned for later. He supposed he would be able to convince Lisbon to make an exception, just for that one thing. Best way to convince her was to go along her professionalism rules. He didn't want to anger her and ruin everything.
"Yes," Lisbon confirmed as they walked out of the stable. "Do you have any idea who might have done it?"
"Everything's still mucky right now. I need to wait until things clear up a bit," he explained. "It's one of them, though."
"Do you think they could have done it together?"
"Interesting theory, but I don't think so. There's something very individual about this case. A murder done by a group of people is different." He scrunched up his face, trying to think of a way to explain what he meant. When he couldn't think of anything, he just said: "It's hard to explain."
"You know what's weird about those guys? None of them seem to give a damn," she said. "A colleague of theirs falls out of the sky and they seem okay with it. Is that guilt or indifference?" she wondered.
"Corporate brainwashing," Jane answered. "Turns them into robots. Grief isn't productive, and that's all." That was one of the reasons why Jane had always been appalled by the corporate world. He had preferred his psychic stints because at least he was his own free man. The CBI, although strugglingfor closed case quotas for budgeting reasons, did not have the same feeling as so many businesses.
"I don't buy that," Lisbon said. It was too easy. Throughout her career, she had seen all kinds of people from all kinds of backgrounds, doing all kinds of things. No one seemed to have been brainwashed by anyone. They all acted out of their own volition. "People make up their own minds. You can't brainwash them."
"Oh, sure you can. That's what these corporate retreats are about. It's primitive brainwashing via group suffering," Jane explained, "It's like office karaoke and fraternity hazing."
"When the individual is humiliated, their perceived value of the group is raised." He continued his explanation, gesturing as he spoke.
Lisbon wasn't convinced. "I went on a retreat when I got promoted to head of the unit," she told him. "I wasn't humiliated. I wasn't brainwashed." She had really enjoyed the retreat to her surprise. It had been useful and she had felt more prepared for her role as head of the SCU. She had liked to be among men and women who were facing the same challenges she was. Of course, none of them had the additional challenge of dealing with a consultant such as Patrick Jane.
"So you say."
"I wasn't," she retorted. "It was useful, actually."
"Learning about communication and leadership skills," Lisbon explained. "Building trust. Something you could profit from." She wondered how Jane would act in such a retreat. He would probably find a way of manipulating everything and everyone around him. The retreat would be useless for him, even if he DID need to learn a thing or two.
"What does that mean?" He wondered. Where was she getting at? Why would he need to profit from an idiotic retreat like that?
"Like you don't know you have major trust issues?" she said dryly.
"I trust people. I trust you."
Lisbon thought about it for a fraction of a second. "No, you don't." He trusted her at home, that she knew, but he didn't trust her at work. "And I don't trust you either."
For a moment, Jane froze. Did she really mean that there wasn't any trust in their marriage? No, that was impossible. She had confirmed many times that she trusted him. She obviously meant on a professional level, considering she had just told him that she wanted to keep things professional between them during work hours. Nevertheless, he wasn't happy that she didn't trust him professionally. "It's upsetting to hear that." He had always felt that even through her sighing and groaning, Lisbon appreciated his place on the team. How could she when she didn't trust him at work? "And... really, you don't trust me?"
"Of course not. How many times have you lied to me? Misled me? Tricked me? Is that trust? No." As she spoke, she saw that her husband knew she was only talking about their professional relationship. Despite the trust they had within their marriage, it didn't diminish the lack of trust in their professional one. It wasn't a bad thing that Jane was made aware of it.
"Well, we have to remedy this. Let's do a trust fall," he suggested.
"A trust fall?" she asked skeptically. She had long ago learned to be wary of any wild idea her husband had.
"Yeah, I'm sure you did one on your CBI retreat," he spoke with a slight mocking tone. Stupid retreat. It had brainwashed his wife. Now, she was incapable of seeing when someone trusted her and could be trusted. Just because he liked to play around, he was NOT untrustworthy. "It's when you turn around, fall backward, and I catch you."
"Oh, yes," she recalled. "We did do that."
"Mmmhm?" he encouraged her.
"We have a long drive still." She walked around the car and he followed her.
"Here we have two coworkers recognizing the boundaries of their professional relationship." He repeated the words she had said earlier. She turned around to face him, a slight pout on her face, showing that she was indulging him. Jane didn't understand why she was being so stubborn. She had been the one who had wanted to keep their conversations strictly professional. Had it been also personal, they would have never talked about trust issues. Nevertheless, it was really interesting how she so clearly separated their personal and professional relationships. "See, you wanna trust me, but there's something holding you back."
"Yes," she agreed. "You're untrustworthy. It's my job not to trust you." Even though she was now completely sure that Jane knew they were strictly addressing their professional relationship, Lisbon felt the need to emphasize that this was about work and her job. Sometimes she wished he would understand how important it was for her to keep him in line, to make sure he wasn't going to blow up a building, or anything like that.
"Lisbon, I want you to know that you can trust me," he said seriously. He needed her to know that she could trust him on every level of their relationship. It was important that they trusted each other completely, including at work. "No matter what happens, I will be there for you. I will." He lowered himself a little so he was on eye-level with her when he saw her skepticism. "I need you to know that." She nodded a little. He was pretty sure that he hadn't achieved complete trust in five seconds, but that was a start. "Now, can I catch you?" he asked playfully. He might as well have a bit of fun.
"Come on," she pleaded. She knew that if he was stuck on the idea, she would eventually agree to it. She hated how he could persuade her to do just about anything.
"Please." He gesticulated with his hands, urging her on.
She sighed. It was obvious that no matter what, he wouldn't budge. If she didn't agree to it, they could stay here for hours. "Fine," she relented, turning around.
He grinned happily and clapped his hands, waiting eagerly. "Come on," he urged her.
She closed her eyes and winced. Granted, this was only a matter of catching her and didn't require much fitness, but she had seen her husband play basket ball. He was not good on the whole catching thing. She let herself fall and for a brief second that seemed to last an eternity, she thought he wasn't going to catch her. Fortunately, just as she was about to hit the ground, he caught her and she let out the breath she had been holding out of relief.
"See? You can trust me," he said as she got up.
"Oh, wow, that worked. Suddenly I trust you," she answered sarcastically, smiling.
"Ah huh." Jane said in a 'there you go' manner. Even if she denied it, he was sure that she trusted him a bit more than she had before they started this conversation.
"I allow you to drive me around the country in this contraption. That's serious trust," she said as she and Jane both got in the car.
"Lisbon, you wound me," he said. "I thought you loved my car."
After driving for thirty minutes, Lisbon realized that Jane had taken them off the main road - which was already saying something. The 'main' road reminded her of a path between two farms more than anything else.
"Where are we going?"
Jane grinned. "You'll see."
"Jane..." she said in a warning tone. She was not in the mood for games.
"Will you please trust me?" he said, looking sheepishly at her.
She leaned back in her seat, slightly pouting. She had a feeling that she was going to regret 'trusting' him. Two minutes later, he stopped the car and got out. Lisbon stepped out and looked around her. There was absolutely nothing. Not a car, house, building or proper road.
"WHERE are we?"
"Middle of nowhere," Jane answered, opening the trunk.
Lisbon tried to remain calm. She was definitely not in the mood for one of his games. They still had at least two hours to drive to get back to Sacramento, not counting the time to get to this deserted spot. "And what are we doing in the middle of nowhere?"
Jane took a cooler and a basket out of the trunk. "Celebrating our anniversary."
"What?" Lisbon asked, confused.
"I know we just talked about keeping our professional boundaries, but maybe we could make an exception today as it is our wedding anniversary," Jane said as he laid the blanket on the ground, next to a tree. He took things out of the cooler and basket: plates, glasses, food containers and a bottle of champagne.
"Today's the 25th?" she said, wide-eyed.
"Yes, my dear."
"Already?" She had forgotten their wedding anniversary. Well, she hadn't completely forgotten it. She just hadn't known that today was the 25th.
"Please refrain from exhibiting your enthusiasm," Jane said sarcastically. His wife was definitely not the romantic one in the couple. Oh well, he knew it wasn't because she didn't care. For the things that mattered, she definitely cared.
"I just... I was so caught up in this case," she explained, still a bit shocked. "I completely forgot that today was the 25th."
"Luckily for you, your husband hasn't." He grinned at her, sitting on the blanket. He tapped on the space next to him and said, "Come on."
Lisbon smiled as she sat on the blanket. "I can't believe you did all this," She said as she looked at everything Jane had set on the table. Such a lovely picnic. She felt a bit ashamed that she had gone on and on about keeping their interactions strictly professional during work hours on the day of their anniversary. She had, as usual, perfect timing. Fortunately, Jane didn't dwell on things like that. He really wasn't a petty man.
"Well it is our first wedding anniversary," he explained. "I had to do something. It's still pretty cold," Jane said happily when he took the bottle of champagne. "We better drink this before it gets too warm and undrinkable." He poured the champagne in two glasses and handed her one.
She smiled at him. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. Now let's toast: let's thank our lucky star that you're too caught up with work to realize how big a catch you are and decided to settle for me."
Lisbon laughed as they clinked their glasses and drank. "Like you're not?"
"With my issues? Please." Jane said skeptically. "I think just about every woman would run very, very far."
Lisbon shook her head. She couldn't believe he was this obtuse. He must be playing her. "Women love nothing more than mending men's old wounds."
"That's exactly why you're a catch, Lisbon - apart from how incredibly hot you are; you know that you can't mend my wounds. You just accept them."
She took the rest of her champagne in one gulp and leaned in to kiss him, already feeling the effect of the alcohol. She was determined to show him that even if she had her pick of every man, she would still choose him.
An hour later, Lisbon and Jane were lying under the blanket, rather than over it, completely naked. Lisbon kissed Jane's chest. "This has been a very good wedding anniversary."
"I'm glad you approve."
"We didn't really eat the food though. And you went to all that trouble."
"That's okay. I got the reward, so..."
She lightly tapped him on the chest. "Pig."
"I try," he said, capturing her lips with his own. He rolled on top of her as he deepened the kiss.
After a few minutes, Lisbon pulled away. "We should get going, it's getting late." She fumbled through the pile of clothes, looking for her bra and underwear. Jane caught her arm and dragged her back on the ground, pinning her under him.
"Come on, what difference is twenty more minutes going to make?" he said, trying to convince her by leaving a trail of kisses on the crook of her neck.
"Fine," she gave up. "It is our anniversary." She kissed him, running her fingers through his hair. This was definitely not part of the professional boundaries she had mentioned earlier.
Lisbon woke when she felt someone shaking her. She opened her eyes, blinking, trying to recognize her surroundings. It was pitch black. She turned and saw Jane, naked, staring at her. "What time is it?"
Lisbon sighed. "This was not twenty minutes."
"You fell asleep," Jane pointed out.
"Well, you..." she paused, realizing that she had no argument, which made him smile.
"I like watching you sleep."
She rolled her eyes. "You just had nothing better to do," she said as she began to get dressed. "We really have to go now."
"Talk to me," Jane said to a sleepy Lisbon.
"Do I have to?" she whined.
"No. I can just fall asleep and we can drift into oncoming traffic. Your call."
Lisbon straightened up, waking herself up. "Have you seen any good movies lately?"
She thought about it for a second. They hadn't really watched anything lately, and the few evenings she had spent alone, she had preferred spending them in a hot bath with a good book. "No."
"Interesting, '' Jane mused and Lisbon snorted. Of course he would find such a boring conversation interesting. ''We should go to the movies, '' he suggested. ''We don't go out much."
"How about this weekend?"
She shook her head. "No, not this weekend."
She smiled at him happily. "I've got things planned for this weekend." She could do surprises too. She just hoped he would like it. Jane looked at her in confusion.
"Anniversary plans. Just because I forgot today was the 25th doesn't mean I forgot about our anniversary."
Lisbon had to spend a better part of the night, calming the Carnelian executives down and urging them to find lodging elsewhere after the bomb failed to go off. Jane stayed on the sideline, observing everyone's actions and behavior. When the executives left, Lisbon joined Jane, who was leaning against his car, patiently waiting.
"They've gone to the nearest hotel. The bomb squad will get here in about two hours. We can't really leave this place until they arrive."
"Come on," Jane told her and he took her hand, leading her around the house.
"Where are we going?" Lisbon asked.
"Some spot I found near the back of the house," he said excitedly.
"What kind of 'spot'?" she asked, suspicious. She never trusted her husband when he was looking at her in this particular way.
"A place to have sex."
Lisbon stopped in her tracks, forcing Jane to do the same. "A place to have sex?" she asked, annoyed. "Don't you think it's not really the time or place for that? This is definitely not professional."
Jane shrugged. "Well, we can't really sleep, and we have two hours to kill. Everybody's gone so no one will catch us. Sex sounds like the best option."
She blinked, hardly believing what she was hearing. She thought she had filled her quota of outdoor sex for a while. "We already had sex this afternoon. Twice."
"What, is there a limit on the number of times you're allowed to have sex in a day? Besides, technically, it wasn't this afternoon; it was yesterday afternoon."
"We are not having sex again. First, I think we covered our outdoor sex experience for at least the next six months. Second, this is exactly the kind of unprofessionalism that I was talking about earlier. I let it slide this afternoon because it was our anniversary, but as you just pointed out, it is now the 26th. No sex. We're simply going to patiently wait for the bomb squad to arrive."
"Teresa," Jane shook her awake. "Get dressed. I think the bomb squad is here."
"What?" Lisbon sat up. She looked down at her body and sighed when she saw that she was naked, memories flowing back. She had been so easily convinced. When she heard voices in the distance, she began to dress quickly. "I can't believe I fell asleep." She shook her head as she put her shirt on. "I can't believe we had sex again."
She sent him a deathly glare. "When did you even get dressed?"
"When you were sleeping. Hurry up or they'll catch you in a very compromising position."
"I hate you," she said, annoyed.
"What every husband likes to hear from his wife," he noted dryly.
"You know I didn't mean it like that," she retorted as she put her shoes on. "I obviously don't hate you, but I'm a little stressed right now and you're definitely not making things easier."
"Sorry," Jane said petulantly.
"Agent Lisbon?" they heard someone cry from several feet away.
"We're here!" Jane yelled out as Lisbon put her jacket back on. They walked toward the house and were met by an agent from the bomb squad.
"You're Agent Lisbon?" he asked her, a hint of surprise in his voice.
"Yes," Lisbon confirmed, glowering at him.
He smiled at her. "Sorry, I just didn't expect someone like you."
Lisbon raised her eyebrows. "What did you expect?"
"Just not someone as beautiful."
Lisbon kept her eyebrows raised, but a small smile played on her lips. It had been a while since anyone had hit on her. Jane didn't even count as he shanghaied her into dating him more than anything else.
"There's a failed bomb that needs checking out," Jane pointed out.
"Right," the bomb squad agent agreed. "Could you show me its location?"
The three of them went to the house, and Jane made sure he was walking in the middle, separating his wife and the bomb squad agent.
"What are you looking for?" Jane asked Lisbon as she rummaged through the car.
"Hairbrush. I know there's one in here somewhere. I took it when we went to the beach last month and left it in your car."
"Do you want to stop at a motel somewhere so we can at least shower before we go to Lee Skelling's house?"
She shook her head. "No, let's take care of him. I'd rather shower at our house."
"Okay. The hairbrush is in the glove compartment in front of you."
"Thanks," she said, opening the glove compartment and retrieving the hairbrush. "This feels like the longest day."
"We have been up for over 24 hours. Well I have been. You caught a couple of hours of sleep. Maybe when we're at the house, we'll have time to..." He trailed off, grinning suggestively at her.
"Are you kidding? What's up with you today?"
"It's not my fault. Do you have any idea how attractive you are when you're grumpy and sleep deprived?"
Lisbon rolled her eyes. "Please."
"Honestly. Your eyes sparkle, your hair's tousled and you let your inhibitions down. All very attractive."
"I could be wearing a potato sack and have a paper bag over my head, and you would still find me attractive, '' she said dryly, not easily swayed by romantic words. ''You're not very difficult to please."
"Actually, I am, '' Jane disagreed. ''I find many women very beautiful, but there are very few that I find attractive. Therefore, once I'm attracted to a woman, that attraction sticks no matter what. However, as attractive as you are every day, I find you particularly attractive today."
Lisbon shook her head. "I will never understand you."
When Lisbon walked into her bedroom, a towel wrapped around her body, she braced herself for avoiding her husband's flirtation. She really needed to sleep. She shouldn't have been worried, however, because Jane was fast asleep, vest unbuttoned, on their bed. Two minutes later, she was fast asleep, arms wrapped around him.
At noon, the alarm went off and Lisbon, waking up, turned it off. She groaned as she crawled back into her husband's arms. "We have to get up," she told him.
He stirred at her words, but didn't make a move to get up. "But we were sleeping so well."
"I know, but the team's waiting for us."
"Lisbon, always the professional."
"What?" she asked defensively. What was so wrong about being professional? Actually, she couldn't believe she even had to defend this. She should be lauded for her desire to remain professional.
"Just saying, '' Jane replied, sensing that he was aggravating his wife beyond the invisible limit of his personal safety. He had learned early on that he could goad his wife to a limit. After a certain point, his personal health, physical and mental, was at risk. He decided to change the topic. He used it as an opportunity to clarify what they had been talking about the day before. ''So, your lack of trust in me is only within our professional relationship, right?"
"Yes," she confirmed. "I trust you completely on a personal level."
"And I trust you."
"But I don't trust that bomb squad guy."
She stopped smiling and hit him in the back of the head before heading to the bathroom. Jane grinned, amused by her reaction. He loved his little spitfire.
"We made the deal," Cho said to her, walking into her office.
She smiled. "Good. I hope someone makes him his bitch in jail."
Cho almost smiled. "Boss..."
"What? You were thinking the same thing," she defended herself.
Cho nodded and left her office. A second later, his head popped in. "Did you have a good day yesterday?"
"Uh, sure..." she trailed off, confused by the question.
Cho shrugged. "Just wondering. You had so much driving to do, stuck in that car with Jane. Must have been a drag."
Lisbon gently smiled, remembering the day before. "Nah, it wasn't that bad."
He nodded. "Good. I'm glad."
Author's Notes: I promise it won't take as long to answer your wonderful reviews this time. It's really not that I don't appreciate them. I love them. You guys are so lovely. Life has just been completely insane in August. It's slowly calming down, for which I'm very grateful. I will hopefully write more often, but I can't many any promises. When I started Amalgamation, I was unemployed. Now, I am in full-time permanent employment and I don't think I'm getting fired any time soon so I don't have as much time as I used to so please be patient with me.
Also, I would like to give a special shout-out to the people at the Spanish Mentalist forum who have said the nicest things about this fic. It was so, so sweet to discover this. I'm really touched.