Hey, so… nearly three weeks since the last update. *hides* I'm really trying but stupid education keeps getting in the way. No Jane in this chapter. Oh Noes! It just doesn't seem the same without him. Thanks to Anna, The Mentalist Girl, Lucyyh, Streak Of The Sun, In The Name, blueMnM415, Mentalist Lover, Leann37, Gtyy, Jisbon4ever and Iloveplotbunnies for reviewing the last chapter. And of course Smudje for reviewing chapter 3. ^^

A bit of a dull chapter now I'm afraid but at least it's something. Gets rid of some boring technical stuff so it won't get in the way of Jisbon. XD

Chapter 9

Initially, Lisbon was not suspicious. She was wary, as she always was, of the woman that answered the door but so far neither the surroundings or any aspect of the woman's immediate appearance indicated that Lisbon had any reason to be apprehensive.

Before Megan had even reached the door she had already prepared her carefully constructed smile and had it fixed perfectly in place by the time she began walking down the hall. It fitted easily into her features and slid eerily on to her face as if it were made of liquid. Patting her hair, Megan peered cautiously through the small hole in the door before smoothing down her dress and organising her thoughts into a cheery greeting.

"Good Morning, but I suppose it's nearly afternoon now isn't it." She laughed, looking at her watch which dug deeply into her large wrist. "Is there anything I can help you with?" To most people she would have sounded perfectly pleasant and Jane only hoped that Lisbon could hear the overly friendly tone and forced merriment in her voice.

"Hello Mrs. O'Hara. I'm with the CBI." Jane heard Lisbon reply, following the abbreviated form of their job with the complete title. "I have a few questions I would like to ask you about the disappearance of a local police officer."

"Oh dear," Megan said with false concern, "I do hope he's alright. Please, come in, come in." Jane heard the sound of the door shut as Lisbon entered the house. "Would you like some coffee, or maybe some water?"

Lisbon declined both coffee and water and sat on the large cushioned chair closest to the door. From the outside the house had appeared rather small and Lisbon considered the room she sat in now to be far to grand for a house of that size.

There was a cream four-seat sofa against one wall as well as two chairs positioned with their backs towards the adjacent walls. One of which was the plain red one Lisbon now sat it and the other was a sickly green with a gold floral pattern that ran across the cushions. In the centre, placed on a large leopard skin rug, was a glass coffee table with a modern metal frame. No piece of furniture suited the rest and the seating alone turned the room into what looked like and indoor yard sale.

As Lisbon took in the randomly miss-matched décor and slightly psychedelic wallpaper, Megan sat in the opposite chair across the room. "Are you sure you won't have anything?" She asked again, "There's some fruit juice in the fridge if you'd prefer."

"I'm fine thank you Mrs O'Hara." Lisbon replied, her words slightly strained.

"Please, call me Megan; and I'm afraid it's Miss O'Hara now. My husband died quite a while back." At this, Megan's face took on a cheerless expression, her gaze wondering from Lisbon to the open window. "It's never been quite the same." Her face palled and her eyes became dark. The corner of her mouth twitched slightly before she turned back to Lisbon and smiled, although it wasn't quite as dazzling as before.

"but I won't trouble you with that." She rose again, making her way towards the kitchen. "You're quite sure I can't tempt you with a warm cup of cocoa?" she called back as she disappeared from view into and equally bright kitchen with similarly conflicting décor. Despite Megan's obvious lack of taste in interior design, both her living room and kitchen were impeccably clean.
There was no dust on her table, no stains or marks. All her books were placed neatly on shelves and her ornaments were well polished and positioned perfectly on the mantelpiece. There were two dogs at the far end, both facing in, and two candles placed either side of a small golden church that stood faultlessly in the middle.

"I'm really alright Miss… Megan."Although Lisbon had confidently decided Megan to be harmless, something in her mannerisms still kept her on edge.

"Ah, well." Megan continued, having pored herself a glass of water. "I'll bring in a plate of cookies in case you feel a bit peckish." Lisbon was about to protest again when Megan walked a little clumsily back though the door that led to the kitchen holding her glass of water and a colourful plate of cookies.

"There," she said, placing them proudly in the centre of table. "Now doesn't that look homely. I always try and be and a good host. You will tell me if you want anything wont you? I have cakes if you prefer, or fruit! Would you like some fruit? I have all sorts you know. Apples, oranges, bananas, grapes…" The list went on like this with a whole assortment of fruits Lisbon would never even have thought of. "I even have pineapple…"

"Really Miss… Megan. I don't want anything."

Megan looked slightly displeased that her hospitality had been dismissed so easily but covered it well as she took a sip from her water and reached over to place the glass on a coaster. "Well, I always make sure I offer, and I'll leave the cookies on the table," she said, sliding the plate pointedly in Lisbon's direction. "…just in case."

Right then, she reminded Lisbon of her second grade teacher. Always offering gifts of cake and sweets, but this was not merely out of kindness. And Lisbon knew this was the case with Megan. Just as her teacher had kept her students in line with sweetness and bribery, Megan had her own agenda.

"Now, what was it you wanted to ask me dear?" Megan chirped as she folded her hands in her lap and looked up at Lisbon expectantly, her expression carefully hiding her slight resentment. Startled by the question, Lisbon realised that whatever plan Megan had devised might be working better than she thought it had.

"A local police officer disappeared either on his way here or after he questioned you. Did he ever arrive here?" Lisbon asked mechanically, careful not to imply that Megan might be under suspicion.

"Oh yes!" Megan excitedly replied. "He arrived nearly a week ago. Nice fellow, very polite, I'm sorry to hear he's missing. He seemed like such a lovely young man."

"He was here to ask you about the 'Barnes' case. Were there any problems during the questioning" The implication was subtle but Megan visibly tensed at the question, her expression hardening at the suggestion.

"Everything was fine." Her voice was harsh and grating with barely concealed bitterness. "I had nothing to do with it. It was all that Barnes woman. She blames me for everything you know. Every animal that goes missing, every possession that gets damaged. She hates me, she does. Hates me right down to my socks. There's nothin' I've ever done to her but she just won't quit."

"That's ok," Lisbon reassured, making a soothing gesture and leaning back in the chair. "I'm not here about Mrs. Barnes." Megan's posture relaxed slightly but her cautions appearance remained.

"She's got everyone against me, you know. It's all her." Her words were still sour but were delivered with far less force than before.

"I just want to know what happed after Brieson finished here."

"Well," Megan began, resuming her previous hospitable charade. "I offered him a cup of coffee which he accepted," Lisbon felt sure that unnecessary comment was aimed directly at her. "and after he had finished he got back in his car and drove away. I remember seeing his car headlights shine through the window." She gestured to the window Lisbon now sat in front of. It was covered by a white, lace curtain but she had a clear view of both the front yard and the driveway. "I didn't see him again."

"Did he drive back the way he came?"

Megan thought for a moment, "No, no I don't think he did. From the direction of the light I'd say he continued up the road. Not much up there though. It's a good number of miles until you reach the next house."

Despite her feeling of unease, Lisbon felt inclined to believe Miss O'Hara's story. After all, it seemed perfectly plausible and she had no evidence to suggest that it was in any way false. She seemed like a nice woman, friendly, cheerful and eager to please. Her house was quaint and the odd combination of furniture seemed fitting to her quirky personality. But that was just it, everything fit perfectly. They had been made to fit perfectly, but it was the air of designed perfection that created that nagging feeling in the back of her mind.

"Ok Megan, that will be all," she said as she collected her pen and notepad she had not bothered to right on. There was nothing remarkable about what Megan had said and there were no details so she would remember it easily.

"Really, are you leaving so soon? Well, I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help to you. I do hope that nice young man is alright. He seemed so nervous when I answered the door, I actually thought he might faint." Megan chuckled.

"Could I quickly use your bathroom. It's a long drive back."

Megan's face brightened as she replied, happy to finally be able to offer assistance. "Oh, of course. It's the door at the end of the corridor, past the stairs."

Walking down the hallway, Lisbon was aware of Megan's eyes following her, watching closely for any signs of snooping. Lisbon knew that Megan considered her to be someone who couldn't be trusted, that the police couldn't be trusted. She thought they had been turned against her, just as she thought everyone had been turned against her. Shutting the door behind her, Lisbon still felt as though she was being watched. Maybe Megan had cameras, really tiny ones in the light fittings. Despite knowing it was illogical, she still glanced apprehensively around the room, even checking the edges of the mirror to ensure it wasn't one way.

Confidant that her privacy was not being invaded, Lisbon began to look round with a more professional intention. Glancing over the labelled bottles or various medicines and hair products, she found nothing incriminating, but then what had she expected to find in a bathroom? Blood soaked clothes, a murder weapon, maybe a body in the bath tub?

'Jane would know' she thought suddenly.

He would be able to tell what day Megan did the dishes and what colour socks she wore when she last did them just by looking at what brand of toothpaste she used. He would have known instantly whether she was involved in the disappearance. He would have had his fun first of course. Delighting in revealing her secrets whether they were relevant to the investigation of not, most likely the latter.

Flushing the toilet so Megan would not be suspicious of her motives to enter the bathroom, she turned to leave as her phone vibrated against her leg. Flipping open the top she realised she still hoped to see Jane's name illuminated on the screen. Of course it wasn't Jane and she read Van-Pelt's name instead. At least it might mean some news on the case.

It hadn't taken long for Cho and Rigsby to return to the CBI building having heard of Van-Pelt's breakthrough. Before she had even explained what she had found, both men were already sat in the car and on their way.

When they arrived, Van-Pelt was just finishing going though the list of people in security and marking the ones who would have had access to the control room during the week of Jane's disappearance. This list had now been narrowed down to 7 people.

"Boss is gonna' be really pleased with this." Rigsby said, a broad grin plastered firmly into his features. "It's got to be one of them."

"and look at this," said Van-Pelt as the profile of one of the security workers came up on the screen. They both scanned the writing until reaching the end of the file.

"Quit the job the day after Jane disappeared?" said Rigsby, the grin still firmly in place. Even Cho was smiling slightly. "Yeah, and lives over an hour away, who would choose that commute without a motive?"

"It looks like we've got our abductor."

Hey Boss,

Finally made some progress, a lot of progress actually. Narrowed it down to 7 people who work in security, most likely to be Megan O'Hara. She lives in Santa Rosa, Cho and Rigsby are on their way now, you might be able to help if you're not too busy.
I'll keep you updated,

VP

Not such a great chapter, I have a pretty bad cold at the moment so be nice. I had fun describing Megan's living room though. Should only be a few chapters left now. I have a really great idea for my next story but I won't start until I've finished this one. That's how Fic-wars start. XD