STEADY RED MEANS STOP (Case-file #5)
Author: G. Waldo
Rating: Case-fic'. Light humour. Pairing: Jane/Cho (Chane?) light plus Jane/Lisbon friendship.
Characters: Jane, Lisbon, Cho, Rigsby, Van Pelt, Karen Cross and Red John.
Summary: Former attorney and now television reporter/host Karen Cross has a new show and imagine who her special interview-e is this week!Disclaimer: Not mine though I wish he was.
"Mister Jane? – Patrick!"
Jane turned to see a tall lithe woman with blonde perfectly arranged shoulder-length hair striding quickly to him on long energetic legs. Had she been sweet Jenna from the CBI clerking staff he would have smiled and wished her a pleasant morning, but it was not Jenna, it was Karen Cross in her expensive cream coloured suit over too tight skirt - a woman he had seen far too much of lately.
"Oh, good morning, Karen." Jane looked around wishing there was someone familiar nearby to talk to so he could make a fast excuse and leave. Alas, Karen had managed to corner him once again, alone and undefended.
"Patrick, I keep running into you."
Jane nodded indulgently. "Ah, "running into me"?" He shrugged at her lame explanation for her recent stalking. "Okay. I guess that works."
"Have you thought over what we talked about?"
Jane was growing tired of the woman's trailing him everywhere. "Uh, you talked about me coming on your new show and I said no. That decision hasn't changed in the last week." He turned to make a get-away when Karen placed a hand on his forearm. He looked down at her long finger-nails. They were painted blood red. Predatory nails.
She smiled and gently held on. "Oh come on, Patrick, just hear me out. I promise this will be a good experience; people want to know about you. This last year's been hard on you, we both know it, and now my viewers want to know it, too. You're a celebrity. What harm could it do to just talk to them, tell them your story?"
"My story?" Jane repeated. "My story is mine and for me. Whatever part of my life is still private I'd like to keep that way. And I hate cameras, as you know. Thanks anyway, Karen."
But she did not let go of his arm, squeezing it just once. It was enough to hold him back for just another few seconds. All she needed. "Look, I'm sorry I've bothered you with this, I guess I've worn out my welcome around here but I'm a reporter – can you blame me for digging?" Another firm squeeze, higher up his arm. "Tell you what - let me make it up to you. Let me buy you breakfast, just you and me, no cameras. And no shop-talk - I swear."
Jane just as gently removed her arm from his. "Thanks, Karen, I appreciate the offer but work calls." He walked away, waving over his shoulder. "Bye, Karen. Be well."
Karen Cross, former lawyer and now successful television host reached into her pocket and removed her tiny digital recorder. Pressing a button, she switched it off. "Damn." She hadn't even gotten enough for a promo-slot.
Out of nowhere a man appeared beside her, holding a mobile camcorder in one hand. He switched it off. "You ready to give it up now, Karen? This is the fourth time you've tried to nail Jane down this month. Jerry expects us back at ten. You remember Jerry, our producer? We're wasting our time with this guy. He's not going to come on the show."
Karen watched Patrick Jane disappear up the stairs and in through the doors of CBI's main sand-coloured building. She tossed her camera man a sardonic eyebrow. "When do I give up, Zack? Never, that's when." She walked back to the van with hard, angry steps. "My producer's an idiot. A bloody D.A? An old and not even attractive D.A. and his overweight slut? This is the kind of crap he thinks will keep my ratings up? What a moron."
Zack sighed. Karen was the best but she was not an easy woman to work with. "Let's go get some breakfast. I haven't eaten yet."
Karen waved away that idea and slammed the passenger door. "Come on." She barked. "I've got a few favours I can cash in and when I do Jane will be on my show. By next month." She predicted. "Trust me, by next month he'll be there. I'll show that idiot producer how to run a talk show. With Patrick Jane in the spot light, our numbers will go so through the roof Jerry will have an orgasm."
CBI – A week later.
Lisbon turned on the outer office's only large screen computer and switched to "TV Mode". On any day when the team drifted in early they sometimes took in the morning news together. Everyone except Jane who almost never came in early or even on time for that matter.
"And that was our news update." said the pretty brunette news woman with the stiff smile. "Please join us at six for complete new, sports and weather. And now back to Cross-Hairs with host Karen Cross."
The image switched to a blonde reporter with whom they were all familiar. A tall, slender woman named Karen Cross who was ever eager for a story that would boost her ratings. To her credit Cross-Hairs had gained immediate appeal and after being on the air for just on five months her viewer numbers were already dwarfing those of her previous show.
Cross was also the reporter who had tirelessly dogged the team in general and Jane in particular, during some of their more sensational cases. Red John cases were Karen's favourite ghoulish profession-related interest and when it was a Red John case the team were pursuing, she hardly gave Jane a moment's peace.
"Good morning. I'm Karen Cross and this is Cross-Hairs. Today we'll be speaking with former Sacramento County District Attorney Mitchell Allen whose routine we have interrupted to bring him here and place him directly in our crosshairs – where we will fire off the hard questions regarding his alleged illicit affair with recent grand jurist Stephanie Monahan. Will he deny the allegations? Does he plan to resign or will some other revelation come to light? Stayed tuned. We'll be back in a moment."
Rigsby drifted in with a coffee, shedding his windbreaker and suit jacket. "Her again?" She seemed to be all over the TV.
Lisbon said, not managing to keep the contempt completely from her tone "Yeah. I'm surprised she isn't in here on her off hours, going through our desks trying to dig up dirt."
Van Pelt, half-watching a bland commercial about underarm deodorant, said "She preys on people's weaknesses. The guy hasn't even been charged yet and she's trying to prove he's guilty on national television. I hate people that pretend to be nice but aren't."
At that moment Jane walked in, tea in hand, and smiled. "O-o-o, are my ears burning."
Van Pelt threw him a dry look. "You know what I mean, Jane. That's different. You only pretend to be a jerk – usually - and it's on the job and anyway who cares about being nice to a criminal?" She threw a hand at the screen. "She's supposed to be fair with her "guests" but she never is. I hate that."
Jane stirred a mug of tea and Lisbon noted it. The dishwasher must be full of dirty tea cups and saucers as Jane would never use a mug otherwise. He said mugs "sucked the heat out" of the tea.
"Come on, Grace." Jane said reasonable. "She's just a greedy media piranha trying to make a living."
"She's already a millionaire. How much money does one person need?" Van Pelt appealed to the fifth member of the team, Cho, with her eyes.
Cho looked up from his newspaper. His opinion was succinct. "Jane's right. She's a land shark."
Van Pelt looked back to the screen. The string of commercials was almost over.
Leaving the debate of Cross's moral rectitude, or lack thereof, behind, Jane watched the program, settling into his worse for wear leather couch with a sigh.
Lisbon never felt more at home when she was with these four people, and she swore she never saw any among them look as content as Jane did when he was sitting in that spot in early morning with a cup of tea in his hand. So would a wealthy banker look as he fired up his first twenty-dollar cigar of the day.
"Hello once again, I'm Karen Cross and this is Cross-Hairs. Today we will be speaking with Sacramento County District Attorney Mitchell Allen, questioning him on his alleged secret affair with former grand jurist Stephanie Monahan, but first..."
Karen, in a signature move, stepped closer to the camera as it zoomed in, staring intently into it and dropping her former half-smile for a more serious, unblinking look. "But first I have an appeal to make to one of our own more well-known Sacramento residents – CBI consultant Patrick Jane."
Jane looked up from his momentary contentment and Lisbon's guts told her that their day was about to begin in earnest.
"Patrick Jane is a consultant with the California Bureau of Investigation. He works with the homicide division - in particular on serial killer cases, the most famous being the serial killer known as Red John. Red John is believed responsible for over thirty-five murders and he is still at large and still killing. Red John, interestingly enough, was also the man who took the lives of Patrick Jane's own family, murdering his wife Angela and only child, a beautiful daughter named Charlotte."
"What the hell is she doing?" Rigsby asked rhetorically. "She knows it's dangerous to talk about Red John on TV – what he's capable of. He could target her."
Jane said nothing until Lisbon reached to turn off the screen. He raised a quick hand to stop her. "Wait."
Lisbon stilled her finger but kept it hovered over the OFF button.
Jane offered. "She tried to talk to me last week outside the office about an interview. I said no."
Cho asked. "Then that's more than twice this month, isn't it? She was at the Oakland drug store murders three weeks ago. She talked to you then, right?"
Jane nodded. "Four times so far with a no from me each time."
Lisbon asked "An interview about what?"
Karen Cross, still talking, answered it for them. "We are anxious to learn of any new leads in the Red John case but we are more interested..." She paused for effect "we are more interested in you, Patrick Jane. This show is about the individual and his or her struggle and we want to hear about your struggle. How has working for the CBI changed your life since the death of your family? How professionally challenging and personally heart wrenching has it been hunting down the man who murdered your wife and child? We'd like you to give us a call and arrange some time on our show to answer these questions and perhaps others from myself and our viewers. We want to put you, Patrick Jane, under the Cross-Hairs. Please call."
Lisbon asked Jane. "That's the interview she wanted you for?"
Jane nodded, staring at his tea cup. "I guess so."
"Well, I'm glad you said no." Lisbon switched it off. "I'm with Van Pelt, I can't stand that woman. She eats people alive and then picks her teeth with their bones. Cho's right - she is a land shark."
Bertram called Lisbon and summoned her and Jane into his office.
Lisbon entered and stood before his desk. "Sir, if this is about the drug store murders, we're still chasing down evidence, but I think we're close to an arrest."
Jane entered after her and sat down on Bertram's couch, crossing his legs. Bertram glanced at Lisbon's consultant who was still sipping from the first of no doubt many tea concoctions of the day, a drink that Bertram would not have tasted for fifty bucks. "Thanks for the update, Lisbon but that's not what this is about. Please sit down."
Lisbon did so. Whatever it was Bertram sounded a little more sober than usual. "As you know we have had a budget shortfall for the last year, and as it currently stands, we're over two million in the hole. Now we've managed to squeak by these last two years but that hole is getting bigger and some recommendations have come down to my desk on how to fix it."
Lisbon reassured him. "We'll certainly do our part, sir, we can cut the vehicles down to two if we have to and watch our –"
"All good things, Lisbon but unfortunately that won't be enough. Management has been forced to make some hard choices –"
"Excuse me?" Jane put up his hand. "Why am I here?" Boring budget talks were not his concern. Ever.
Bertram slid his hands in his pockets and addressed his most frustrating employee to ever grace his office. "Just have a minute's patience, Jane."
Jane spread his hands in surrender.
Bertram addressed Lisbon again. "They're talking lay-offs, most notably those employees who are seen as a sort of luxury we can no longer afford."
Lisbon understood, swallowing hard at the implication.
Jane understood too. "I'm being fired?"
Lisbon could not keep the anger and shock from her face. "With all due respect, sir, are they nuts? Jane closes cases – our numbers have gone up thirty-eight percent since he came to work here."
"Thirty-nine, actually." Jane corrected.
Lisbon looked at him over her shoulder. This was not the time for debating.
"Hey," He said, "I read the departmental evaluations too." Then he muttered "Sometimes."
Bertram sat down at his desk. "Until we get our beans in order, they've made it clear - no frivolous employees."
Insulted - "Frivolous?" Jane repeated.
Lisbon shook her head, stunned by this move on the department's heads, those who held the reigns even over Bertram. She was angry. "Did you at least fight for him?"
Bertram frowned his displeasure. "That's out of line, agent. Of course I did and although I came up with a solution, they said it was up to you and your team."
Anxious to un-fire her best investigator and her friend - "What solution?" Lisbon asked. "Whatever it is, we'll make it work."
Bertram tapped his pen on the desk. "Good to know. There is a money source that has come forward. A two million dollar donation, free and clear, to the department."
Lisbon wondered why he didn't mention it earlier. "In exchange for what?"
Bertram's eye drifted over to Jane. "A certain television celebrity has agreed to donate the two million..."
Jane now knew exactly who Bertram was talking about. "Ah, the ice queen has her cold hand on someone's balls once more."
"We need the money, Jane. It's the only way." Bertram reminded him. "You want this department to be split up - or worse - dissolved? It would be a chance for you to do some good."
"If I agree to go on her show." Jane reminded him back.
Bertram nodded. "Yes." He admitted. "If you agree to go on Cross-Hairs, they'll transfer the money immediately and this little money problem goes away."
Lisbon was insulted now, for Jane. "So they agreed to sell one of our agents to that vile woman? What is your take on this, sir?"
Bertram sat back in his chair, rocking it. It had left a distasteful film in his mouth but there were people to whom he owed favours and those people owed other people favours – there was a whole maze of favour exchange within the Bureau, it was the way the human part of the system worked. "My take is they've given us the option. Jane goes on the show or his position is terminated. The decision is yours, Lisbon."
Lisbon was furious but managed not to direct it at her boss. "A pound of flesh served up on national television or his job? This is so wrong, sir, I can't even begin to describe how wrong it is."
"I agree, but that's the lay of the land. It is also, by the way, how things sometimes get done. Not everything can always be made..." He looked for a found a word that he thought beast fit "...comfortable."
Lisbon shook her head at what she considered a betrayal. "Oh I feel completely reassured." She said sarcastically, and before she really did lose her temper, "With all due respect, sir, this sucks. Are we done?"
Bertram nodded to both of them. "Yes, we're done." Looking at Jane he said "I'm sorry, Jane. Best I could do."
Lisbon stormed out.
Jane stood up, not in the least convinced. "Right." The idea of going on television left a cold fear in the hollow of his stomach. "I'm not doing it, by the way."
Bertram frowned. He really had not expected Jane to refuse. "Jane, let me appeal to your reason and sense of team-workmanship. They could make it Lisbon's job that's on the line. I wouldn't be able to stop them. Cho's proven his leadership abilities - he can do the job just as well."
Jane lifted his head in understanding. "Ah." He said. "I have no choice but to agree."
Bertram spread his hands. "Best for all concerned I think."
Jane headlined to the kitchen to make a fresh cup of tea. Cho had voiced his amusement over Jane drinking so much of the caffeinated stuff while claiming it settled him. But the simple, physical motions of boiling the water, preparing the cup and saucer, steeping the tea, removing the tea bag, adding the honey and watching it melt in the cup, then stirring the murky and delicious bergamot-infused liquid were like a choreographed dance that always did their small part in soothing his nerves.
Lisbon found him in the kitchen. "Jane, let me talk to Bertram again about this, they can't make you do this. It's not fair."
"Life is seldom fair, Lisbon, I wouldn't worry about it. I do this and jobs are safe."
Jane was falling into line far too quickly – out-of-character for him in every way she could not list if she tried - and that bothered her most of all.
"Bullshit." She left Jane there stirring his tea and entered Bertram's office once more, ignoring that he was on the phone. "I'm sorry, sir, but I can't believe they talked you into this." She thrust a finger back in the direction of the kitchen. "After what he's been through this year, they're willing to feed Jane to the dogs for a few bucks? It's wrong, it's cruel and as far as I'm concerned it's downright immoral and I am not going to keep quiet about it."
Bertram hung up his phone. "I would hope not, agent."
Lisbon stopped, biting her tongue on the You bastard! that was about to leave her lips. "I-I'm sorry?"
"Don't keep quiet about it. Jane's your agent. It's your responsibility to act accordingly. In fact I expect you to make calls and write the proper letters protesting this blatant bribery - I'll even deliver them to the head of the Bureau myself. You may not think much of me, Lisbon, but I do care about what happens to the people under me. This was not my choice. But my job, as it was explained to me very thoroughly, was to make it happen."
Lisbon took a deep breath, calming herself. "I see."
Bertram shuffled papers on his desk. "Just do me a favour and make sure Jane stays..." How should he put it without making it sound like he expected them to babysit a grown man? "...out of harm's way."
Lisbon nodded, still feeling sick about the whole thing. "We'll do our best, sir." She backed toward the open door. "I, uh, I'm sorry I burst in. It won't happen again."
Bertram allowed himself some indulgence of humour. Lisbon was a fire-ball. "Of course you will. If you were a soft sap, I wouldn't have kept you in charge."
Karen Cross met Jane as he entered the studio. "Patrick, how nice of you to have finally agreed." She glanced at the person who had accompanied him, a half smile on her lips while her eyes questioned it. "And Agent Cho is it?"
Cho nodded his hello, not intending to give the woman the time of day.
Karen pointed to a chair for the cop she perceived as Jane's body guard. It was an upright hard affair set near a wall, well away from the camera lights and equipment.
Already present in the building was a seated studio audience of about two hundred getting hot and itchy under the lights. "Make yourself comfortable." She said to Cho.
Reluctantly Cho left Jane's side and settled himself in the chair. He could at least see everything that was happening.
"I didn't agree, actually." Jane reminded Karen in answer to her statement, knowing she already understood that. He looked around at the familiar set-up, already wishing he were someplace else.
The set for Cross-Hairs took up one end of the large building. Cables and other electronic goods snaked across the twenty-five foot ceilings. Hot camera lights illuminated the scene to erase unwanted shadows, and over the interview chairs and small table two microphone booms hung from overhead like brontosaurs. Three currently un-manned studio cameras completed the set.
Karen took his hand in hers and gently squeezed, leading him over to a make-up counter. She whispered to the artist. "Not too much, okay." She said to Jane with one hand rubbing his shoulder ever-so-slightly. "We don't want to hide that handsome face under too many layers, do we?"
Karen left him there and Jane endured the artist's small talk while she smeared her gunk on his skin and his heart hammered in his chest. Breathing calmly was already becoming problematic.
Karen stood in a more private corner and spoke to her producer. A young woman stood nearby, Jerry's go-get-it girl, waiting for instructions. "Don't worry, Jerry, believe me, this will be the best show yet."
"Going to slaughter another poor lamb in front of millions, are you Karen?" Jerry was proud of his prime slot production, but his shows' host much less so.
"I have a few things up my sleeve." Karen reassured him. "And it won't be a slaughter, just a little blood-letting. Believe me, when my viewers get a load of Patrick, you won't be able to keep them off the phone, especially the women."
"Oh." Jerry understood. "Here's one who rejected you, huh." He said slyly. "He wouldn't give you his, so now you're going to give him yours."
Karen stared at him for a few seconds, not blinking. "Piss off, Jerry. I have a hit show to host."
Jerry watched her walk away, back to where her latest sacrifice's make-up was being finished up. Jerry said to his young get-it girl. "Poor bastard. I already feel sorry for him."
Karen escorted Jane to the studio set and had him sit to her right. "Now that camera" She explained, pointing, "will be on your face for almost the whole interview. When the red light is blinking, the camera is active, when it's a steady red, it's not. Now they will only switch to my face during commercials or when I signal to the lead camera man on One." She leaned way over, until she was almost on top of him, and adjusted the tiny microphone clipped to his shirt collar. "Sorry, here, let me get that for you."
Ignoring the woman's bosom hanging in his face, Jane's gaze drifted between the table, the walls to his right, the people milling about off camera but never to Karen or the camera itself.
"Now this is two-part-er and it's going out live, Patrick, so please just relax and answer any questions I or a call-in viewer might have. We have a few minutes, would you like to go over the scheduled breaks? The first is-"
No one had said anything to him about doing two shows. Jane finally did look her way, just a glance but with no eye contact. "Can we just get this over with?" He would do this show, this one show and that would be the end of it.
Karen paused, twisting her bottom lip. "Sure. Fine. Hal – you ready?"
Her camera Lead nodded. "Whenever you are, Ms. Cross."
"Call center?" She asked into the air, adjusting her own microphone.
Jerry, off camera and standing in the shadows said "Ready."
"Okay, let's do it people." She said, a camera-ready smile breaking out on her face.
Jane jumped when the shows' canned music boomed out over the high-end sound equipment.
As it faded, he watched as the fellow on Camera One held up five fingers and counted down. "Okay, in five, four..." He mouthed the final three seconds silently then pointed his index finger to Karen.
She looked directly into the camera and into millions of homes. "Hello. Welcome to Cross-Hairs. I'm Karen Cross and this week, we'll be speaking with Patrick Jane, our local California Bureau of Investigation's consultant. Jane works with the Bureau's homicide division here in Sacramento assisting them in tracking down and catching killers. If you recall last week Cross-Hairs made a public appeal to Mister Jane to join us here at the studio and he has graciously agreed."
Karen turned to him. "Welcome to the show, Patrick, we're glad to have you."
Jane did not look at her, merely nodded, his face blank, his eyes everywhere but the camera. "Hi."
Karen cleared her throat. "Uh, sorry, Mister Jane, I guess it's been a while since you've been on television." She pointed a genteel and helpful finger. "The camera's right there for you."
Jane, legs crossed and hands folded in his lap, said. "I will not be looking at the camera, Karen. Coming here wasn't my idea."
Karen paused. It was almost imperceptible but she swiftly recovered, turning to her studio audience. "Patrick is a little camera shy." She turned back to Jane. "Well, we want you to be comfortable here, Patrick, so please just look where you are comfortable. Look at me if you like."
Jane didn't and Karen continued. "We all understand why that camera shyness might have developed, it was while you were on camera, during your very last television appearance, actually your very last public appearance anywhere, that your family was murdered, isn't that right?"
He nodded once. "Yes."
Karen turned back to her audience. "For those of you unfamiliar with Patrick's story, nine years ago while Patrick was making an appearance on Top-Case and speaking with its host Raymond Chance about the serial killer Red John, it was Red John himself who broke into Patrick's home, brutally murdering his wife and young daughter. The story made the headlines for weeks and soon after Patrick disappeared from public life."
She turned to Jane. "But you re-entered your life again, elsewhere, didn't you, Patrick? This time, to hunt down criminals and in particular Red John himself, isn't that right."
"You know it is."
"Care to elaborate on why you chose that path? Did the death of your family render a kind of epiphany? That saving people from criminals was better than rooking them for money as a fake psychic?"
Jane had expected this. He had no illusions to as to why Karen wanted him on the show. She wasn't interested in his story, only the sordid details of how it had nearly destroyed him. Screw her. "I already explained to you that I will not talk about the Red John case."
"Don't you mean you refuse to talk about Red John himself? That is why he murdered your family to begin with, isn't it? Because you went on television, a live broadcast, and spoke about him? Spoke things you knew were lies and that Red John heard these lies and was not pleased with you, making his displeasure known by killing your wife and child?"
Jane stared at the Exit sign on the back wall. "No comment."
Karen ignored his attempt to shut her down. "And now you're hunting Red John, but instead of capturing him you have in fact been taken by him on more than once occasion and even tortured. Is that not also correct?"
"Do you have a question about my hobbies?" He asked. "I collect vintage cars."
Karen heard the music that cued it was time for the first commercial. She turned to the camera and said to her millions of fans. "We'll be right back when Patrick and I will get more into these and other topics. Please stand by."
When the camera was off, Karen covered her tiny microphone with her fist, leaned over to him and whispered. "Are you really going to blow this? Remember whose job is on the line here? Don't try fucking me over, Patrick, because you'll regret it."
Jane smiled to himself. "You disgust me, Karen, and don't think I didn't clue in that you've been flirting with me these last few weeks. You were as vulgar and obvious as a painted whore. Given the choice, I'd sooner sleep with a corpse."
Karen pursed her lips in a perverse smile. "Or with a man if I am to understand the rumours. I wonder if your wife would have approved."
The commercial was over and the music cued in once more. Karen studied her most stubborn guest for a moment then turned to camera One once more. "Welcome back to Cross-Hairs. We're here with Patrick Jane, the CBI consultant who is with us today to discuss his life since the murder of his family by the serial killer Red John."
Karen said. "We were discussing Red John..."
Jane walked over her words with his own. "You were discussing Red John, I wasn't saying anything."
Karen ignored the interruption. "I have learned in my research that Red John has a particular hatred for liars, Patrick, so if you simply tell the truth to our studio audience, there should be no repercussions from him, wouldn't you agree?" She did not wait for him to respond and continued with "So what happened to you in February, when Red John took you? Or in June when he took you again? What did he do and how has this affected you?"
Gone was her understanding manner and front and center was her vicious attorney/reporter teeth. It was her signature move. "I have the reports right here on the table - shall I read them out for our studio audience and millions of viewers?"She picked up a sheaf of papers Jane had not noticed before. "Or do you want to tell us what happened in your own words?"
Jane was already exhausted by the few minutes spent before the hated cameras and in the presence of the viper-like female. "I thought you wanted to hear about my life?"
"This is your life, Patrick. Red John is your life, hunting him down, getting kidnapped by him. It seems all so bizarre and sordid. It's like you have an obsessive thing for Red John, or perhaps he does for you since he let you go both times, though not without some scarring of one kind or another so I have discovered."
Jane took a long breath of stale studio air. "You want me to give you a run-down on everything he did to me? My short answer is no. Ask me something specific and I'll tell you." Anything to get the hell out of there faster.
Willing to play along Karen said "Okay, fair enough. The coroner's report said that by the time the police were done with their investigation and he arrived on scene you were sitting by your wife's body and holding your daughter's body in your arms. Weren't you worried about destroying evidence?"
A flood of mental and physical memories of that night poured in and Jane took a few seconds to compose the rising tremor in his voice. "My wife and child had just been murdered. I wasn't concerned with anything but that."
"But you had spent some considerable time working with the police, helping them..." Karen did bunny-ear quotes with her fingers in the air "..."solving" murders with your so-called psychic insights - hadn't you? Surely you would have understood the importance of keeping the scene and the bodies intact? Untouched?"
Jane smoothed his pant-leg that did not need smoothing. "The police had finished their work at the scene, and I wanted..." Jane could feel the body of his daughter pressed up against him, even now. Holding her cooling face and limp hands in his as he patted her down, vision blurred with gushing tears, looking for signs of life on her body. Waiting for her to open her eyes and look up at him, waiting for the room to spin about on its axis and the whole scene to just go into reverse, for it to somehow unwind as though it had not visited upon him at all. And for all of the gargantuan pain that had knocked him helplessly to his knees to fly away and leave him no longer crushed by it. As though everything he was seeing in that bedroom was all just a terrible, horrible mistake.
"I just wanted..." Jane had to drop his head into his hand, and rub his eyes to force the memory back into the depths of where it had lain buried for nine years. He cleared his throat and looked at the audience, his eyes still clear. "I wanted to hold my child." These were all things Red John would have guessed at anyway. None of it was a lie. All of it was a knife to his heart.
Karen nodded, playing at sympathy. "I'm sure it must have been terrible. But then they had to arrest you, and confine you because you were disturbing evidence that could have potentially solved the question of Red John's identity once and for all."
Jane picked at the fabric on his knee. "Do you have children Karen?"
"It's not relevant here, Patrick. It is not my actions that we are discussing, it's yours."
"So you think but anyone out there who has children understands, Karen. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that you don't."
The music cued and Karen turned to her audience once again. "Stayed tuned, everyone. We'll be right back." Once the camera was off she said to Jane. "Better. Just keep answering like that and we'll get through this."
Jane took a sip of one of two glasses of water that had been provided. "Bitch." He said.
Lisbon muted the wide computer screen. No one said a word for a minute. Trying to be encouraging about the whole ordeal "He's doing well, she's not breaking him. She won't."
Van Pelt was taking two aspirin and Rigsby looked ready to punch someone. No one was doing any work. "I hope you're right." Van Pelt said. "There's twenty minutes left."
"And this is only the first show." Rigsby reminded them. "Who knows what might happen on the second one?"
Lisbon watched the public service commercial of the girl on her tricycle crossing safely in the crosswalk and the crossing guard smiling into the camera. Jane would get through this. It was just another bump in what had so far proved to be a washboard year. "He'll do fine."
Jerry sent his Get-It girl over to speak with Jane. "Mister Jane? Would you care for something besides water?"
"I'd like some tea please." He had managed to still the shaking of his hands and the vibration in his stomach but he knew more would be coming from Karen Cross.
Karen left his side to speak to her Producer.
"So?" She asked. "Was I right or was I?"
"The audience already hates you." He said. "That means the TV viewers will, too."
"Who cares? There's only two ways a hosted show lasts: the viewers either hate you or love you. If my goal was to incite blandness, I would never have left the Pittsburgh DA. They hate me – not important because they already love Jane. You watch the ratings, Jerry, and you'll see how right I am."
A voice called out. "Forty seconds Ms. Cross."
Karen returned to her seat, and a girl brought Jane a cup of tea, setting him down before him. He nodded his thanks.
Karen adjusted her skirt and made certain her microphone was still clipped in place, and then smiled into the camera as it focused in on her. "Welcome back to Cross-Hairs. I'm Karen Cross and as you know we're talking with Patrick Jane, a local consultant with Sacramento CBI who has for many years been heavily involved in one way or another with the CBI's case concerning serial killer Red John."
She turned to him. "Patrick, after Red John murdered your family, how much time did you spend in Greenlawn Psychiatric Center?"
Jane cleared his throat. "Four months."
"Treated by Doctor Sophie Miller?"
"It's right there in your notes, Karen."
"And how did it go, her treatment? You came out perfectly normal again? No headaches, no sleeplessness, no lingering anger or issues about control –?"
"What the hell are you getting at? Do you have a real question, Karen? It's not like you to cast bait upon the water."
Karen smirked. "Okay, we'll go straight to the heart – were you aware that Sophie Miller has been implicated in a series of sexual assaults on male patients dating back twelve years?"
Jane, for the first time, looked over at his host. "That's bullshit. Your information is wrong. Sophie Miller saved my life. I'd be dead if not for her."
"Is that right? Are you sure? Because there are seven other former patients of hers - besides yourself - who have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct during her tenure there."
Jane looked away, at a loss of what to say. Karen smiled to herself. Finally she had scored one over on the arrogant ass. "Do you have a comment, Mister Jane that you'd like to make? You say you came away from her treatment perfectly well. I find it difficult to believe that, if these allegations are true, that she would not have, shall we say, availed her particular brand of physical therapy upon you as well, as one of her more attractive male patients."
Jane said nothing. The tea in his cup was bitter. The Get-it girl had not removed the tea bag. Sophie Miller had saved his life. He was bent on suicide the day he arrived and she had...
Jane tried to recall specific therapeutic sessions and the things that had occurred there-in.
"Call me Sophie..." Her voice was suddenly in his head, saying that to him. An intimate form of address for a doctor to her patient. Always in her office, she had tea ready for him. They drank it together. He was soothed from his anguish for an hour. She was a good doctor. She helped him.
"Patrick?" Karen urged after allowing him a dramatic ten seconds to think, to appear unsettled and to allow the female viewers of her show to get giddy all over with empathy and longing for the good looking, hurting Patrick Jane.
"Patrick - did Doctor Sophie Miller perform unwanted illicit acts upon you while you were under her care? She has already been charged. There is no need to hide it any longer."
Jane felt like shit. His head hurt and he was astonished to suddenly discover that he had no really clear memories of their sessions together. Nothing concrete to answer the ratings-greedy bitch beside him, to prove she was chewing on the wrong bit of his flesh, that there was no old blood here to spill out all over the set. Nothing had happened there. Nothing could have happened because he was fine after Greenlawn. He had made a full recovery, leaving there well enough to find work at the CBI. His family dead, his doctor...the idea was too much to process...horror upon horror.
"I have no clear memories of Greenlawn." He said finally, knowing it would none-the-less hang him in her eyes. No memories would be interpreted as hidden truths. Rotten things he could neither feel nor remember which Karen would bring down on him like a sword. Next she would imply doctor/patient sexual gropings of his person for which he had no memory and no defence. "I don't remember very much from those days."
"I see." Karen said. It was all she needed to. "How can you be sure of anything, Patrick, relating to the Red John case if you cannot even remember your time spent in a hospital? The place where you went to get well?"
Jane was very tired. Sweet salvation took pity on him in the form of music that signalled the wrap-up of the show. He rubbed his eyes, not even acknowledging the woman beside him as she spewed her goodbyes to the audience and to the camera.
Karen removed her microphone. "That was fabulous stuff, Patrick. Next week, same time okay?"
Jane stood and walked away from the set, tossing the microphone to the floor. Cho joined him and walked him to the car, not needing to ask whether Jane wanted to drive as Jane took his seat on the passenger side. He fastened his seat belt, slumped down in the seat and rested his head in his right hand, attempting to massage his headache away. "I'm hungry." He said to Cho. "Take me somewhere."
Part 2 soon.