Author's Note: Sorry this chapter took so long. It wasn't coming out at all, until Gus popped up and demanded his own chapter. So, here you go, Gus on Shassie (that came out wrong).
"For the record, I never would have let the job come between us." (greetings: goodbye)
'You,' Gus thought, as he looked at himself in the mirror of the men's restroom, 'are one lucky son of a bitch.'
After nearly two weeks of endless effort, he'd finally managed to get the cute new rep to agree to go out to dinner with him. He'd even scored hard-to-get reservations at Via Maestra 42, a move that he was sure had managed to win him some points.
Now, he just had to hope that she showed up.
Leaving the restroom, he headed back toward the table that he'd been sitting at for the last fifteen minutes. He winced when he saw that the second chair was still empty, but he quickly schooled his face into an impassive mask as he sat down. If Janna did happen to show up, he didn't want to give her any reason to think that he wasn't looking forward to their evening.
She finally arrived nearly five minutes later, and he stood up as she was guided to the table by the maitre de, pulling her chair out for her and waiting as she sat down.
"I'm so sorry that I'm late," Janna said, batting her eyes at him as he sat down across from her. "I couldn't find anything that I liked in my closet."
"You look lovely," Gus assured her, and then when a shadowed expression flickered across her face, he wondered if he should have said beautiful or stunning, instead.
But, he didn't have any time to dwell on it, as their waiter arrived bearing menus. They dwelled on the menus for a few minutes, and Gus managed to keep his eyes from popping out of their sockets when Janna ordered one of the more expensive items on the menu as casually as anyone else would ask for water.
'Maybe I should have budgeted a full paycheck for dinner,' he thought, ruefully.
He went with something that wasn't likely to make his credit card implode, and they sat back and made small talk while they waited for their food to arrive. Conversation was stilted at first, and Gus was wondering if he'd made a mistake. But, eventually, Janna loosened up enough to laugh at his stories from work, sharing her own tales of woe and crazy doctors, and it seemed like they were really hitting it off.
At least, until Janna broke off in the middle of a sentence to stare over his shoulder, a frown marring her delicate features.
"What's wrong?" Gus asked, wondering what it said about him that his first thought was that some kind of crime was going on. Probably too much time spent working for Psych.
Janna shook her head, a disgusted expression flashing so quickly across her face that he was almost convinced that he'd imagined it.
"You'd think that some people would have more decency," she muttered, clearly trying not to be overheard.
"What's wrong?" Gus repeated, insistently, looking around and half-expecting to find someone having sex on a table. All his quick glance revealed were happy people all enjoying their dinners.
"Them," Janna said, shortly, jerking her chin over his shoulder, and Gus twisted around in his seat to look in the direction she'd indicated.
For a second, he didn't see what had her so worked up. Then, his gaze landed on a table in the corner, and a pair of men sitting across from each other. They were leaning close to each other as one of the men held a forkful of food out to the other, reaching out with his free hand to wipe a bit of sauce away from his companion's mouth after the fork was empty.
Then, the second man sat back in his chair, chuckling at something the first man had said, and Gus smirked when he recognized Carlton Lassiter. He looked closer, and he wasn't too surprised to see that the other man was Shawn.
Okay, maybe he was a little surprised. He would never have expected Lassiter, of all people, to be out on a date with another man, least of all Shawn. Honestly, multiple kisses aside (and that, in itself, was just absolutely baffling), there was a tiny part of Gus that had wondered if Lassiter was just screwing with his friend.
But, seeing the two men, now, Gus would very happily admit that he had been wrong. Shawn looked happier and more relaxed than he had in a while and Lassiter had a genuine smile on his face that Gus was pretty sure he'd never seen before. At least not when guns weren't involved.
Janna made a sound from behind him, and Gus turned back around to see his date looking away from the two men with a scowl firmly fixed on her face.
"Don't get me wrong," she said, hastily, catching sight of some expression on his face, "I don't have any problem with gay guys."
"But-" Gus prompted, sensing that she wasn't finished.
"But, they don't have to go flaunting it in public, you know?" she continued, blithely. "I mean, some of us are trying to eat, here."
"Yeah," Gus said, slowly. "Right."
He flagged down their waiter as the man passed by a couple of seconds later, motioning for the check. The man produced a slim leather book about a minute later, and Gus wordlessly scanned the receipt, scrawling a hefty tip at the bottom and slipping his card into the pocket at the top. He handed the bill back to the waiter and looked up to see Janna watching him in amazement.
"What was that about?" she demanded, and Gus gave her a tight smile.
"I think our evening is over," he told her, bluntly. "Don't worry about dinner, feel free to take your food home and enjoy it there. I'll see you at work tomorrow."
"Wait a minute," Janna said, glaring at him. "Are you seriously dumping me over a couple of-"
"Those men," Gus cut her off, emphatically, "are two very dear friends of mine, and I couldn't be happier for them. And you and I have nothing more to discuss."
Janna stared at him, her mouth opening and closely, wordlessly, making her look like a fish. Then, she stormed off and left him alone at the table, so angry that Gus wouldn't have been surprised to see steam coming out of her ears.
His evening was effectively over, but Gus really didn't feel like going back to his apartment just yet. So, he ambled over to the bar, settling on one of the stools and staring morosely at the glittering selection of liquor bottles behind the bar. He'd just ordered a beer from one of the bartenders when someone sat down on the stool next to him; he didn't have to look up to know who it was.
"Saw you with that woman," Shawn started, hesitantly, and Gus sighed.
"Of course you did," he muttered.
"Was it because of us?" Shawn asked, bluntly.
"It was totally because of you," Gus told him. Then, before Shawn could start apologizing, he added, "And it was totally worth it, too."
"You are the closest thing I have to a brother," Gus told him, finally looking over and meeting the other man's eyes. "And Lassiter is a good guy, and a hell of a cop, and the closest thing I'll likely ever have to a brother-in-law, since I'll kill any guy who even looks at Joy-"
"Gus, point," Shawn said, pointedly, as he started to ramble.
"Right," Gus cut himself off. "My point is that if whoever I'm with can't handle you and Lassiter, then she's not worth it."
"Thanks, man," Shawn said, quietly, clearly touched by his declaration. "Although, I don't know if Carlton and I are as serious as you think."
"You're calling each other by your first names, and he ate off your fork," Gus reminded him. "And I'd say the fact that you both decided on one of the most expensive restaurants in Santa Barbara says something about your respective levels of commitment."
"No, what it says is that I'm going to be broke in the morning," Lassiter spoke up from behind them, making Gus jump about a foot in the air, even though Shawn didn't even twitch.
"Thought we were going Dutch treat," Shawn commented, spinning on his stool to face Lassiter.
"When a man asks a date out-" Lassiter started.
"Then, I should be paying, because I asked you," Shawn interrupted him.
"But, I asked you first," Lassiter said, stubbornly.
"No, you offered to cook," Shawn reminded him. "I'm the one who brought up the whole dinner idea in the first place."
"I'll pay for both your meals if it'll stop this crazy argument," Gus muttered under his breath, the sudden silence following his statement telling him that he hadn't been as quiet as he'd been hoping for.
"We're making Gus blush," Shawn said, a smirk on his face.
Before Lassiter could say anything in response, both his and Shawn's cell phones rang. Both of them dug their phones out of their pockets, moving away to give the other privacy. But, they weren't so far away that Gus couldn't hear both of their conversations, and from what he could gather, they'd just caught a case.
"Time to go to work," Shawn said, with a sigh, as he clicked his phone off and shoved it back in his pocket. "Gus, you want?"
"I'll be right behind you," Gus told him.
He'd already started for the door when he realized that Shawn and Lassiter weren't following him. Shawn had started, but Lassiter had stopped him with a hand on his elbow, a strange expression on his face.
"I don't want to end our evening like this," Lassiter said, quietly, as Shawn moved back into his space. "From personal straight to work – I've had too many relationships go down the drain because I let the job come between us-"
Shawn put a finger to Lassiter's lips, cutting the older man off, mid-sentence. He pulled Lassiter down into a slow kiss, his hand resting on Lassiter's cheek as they parted.
"For the record," he said, quietly, "I never would have let the job come between us."
Lassiter nodded, quietly, an almost peaceful expression coming over his face.
"Now, let's go catch a murderer," Shawn added, with a grin.