Disclaimer: psych's not mine, don't claim it, blah blah blah.
Summary: Since it will be four and half MONTHS before the S7 premiere, I am going to be forced to write more Lassiets while waiting. Sorry. This idea came from Lawson227, who has been responsible for quite a few of my psych-ic wanderings, so once again, blame her. PLOT: Juliet does something incredibly stupid and turns to Carlton for help, but this task may prove more than he and his heart can handle.
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It was a pretty place, really, with a pretty view. West of I-5, south of Santa Clarita, surrounded by hills and mountains.
The sun had just set behind the nearest peak, the evening breeze was cool, and there was a faint scent of coconut and chlorine from the pool around the corner of the main building.
Shawn was ecstatic: the room's accommodations included what he considered an excellent cable package, and he was on the phone with Gus comparing notes about which channels had the best retro shows from their childhood.
Juliet turned from the window and looked at him, feeling flat.
"That would be even more awesome if we watched it together, Gus. We'll come down."
She couldn't believe it, but she wasn't surprised, either.
Shawn popped a cheese curl into his mouth, crunching openly as he went on, "Gus, no really, she's great. She's ready to go. She's here now. Jules, say hello to Gus."
He held the phone out, but Juliet only sighed and sank into the stuffed chair close to the window.
"She's saying hello with her eyes. Look, we'll bring what we found in the room fridge and we'll split room service. Does Kelli like nachos? No, the kind with real cheese instead of Cheez Whiz? Because I'm pretty sure this place has real cheese. Gus, don't be a snob. Yes, you know you're being—no, I didn't—Gus, I told you I took good care of the Blueberry!" Shawn fell into a grumpy silence, listening to Gus' end of the conversation. "Fine, I'll wash it when we get back. Twice. Yes. Now can we come down before Webster starts? We can catch the last fifteen minutes of Charles in Charge! Yeah, baby!"
He disconnected and scrambled off the bed, looking for his shoes.
Juliet watched him, her head aching. Clearly she had learned nothing from their last weekend getaway, and this one had far higher stakes.
"Jules, can you carry the soda and the—Jules. Come on, honey, we've got a date with Emmanuel Lewis!" He was beaming.
"Not me, Shawn."
"What? No—come on," he wheedled. "This'll be great. Gus says Kelli likes all the eighties stuff too so this'll be the first time we'll both have our best girls with us to really critique the shows!" He looked into the cheese curls bag, crushed the whole thing and poured orange dust directly into his mouth.
Our best girls.
Gus had been dating Kelli for a couple of months; she worked in the gift shop for the hospital where Henry Spencer had been treated after he was shot. Juliet had met her all of three times before today and she seemed perky, not so smart that Shawn would feel threatened, but smart enough to be a good match for Gus' encyclopedic knowledge of strange information.
Shawn tossed the bag toward the wastebasket—already half-full of candy wrappers and soda cans—and missed, but naturally didn't pick it up. He looked expectantly at Juliet.
She met his gaze, still feeling simply… flat. "No, Shawn. You go on."
He seemed genuinely shocked. "But Jules, you have to come. It's six full hours of the best eighties sitcoms, in HD, limited commercials, and room service! I mean, really! I can't think of a better way for us to start things off. It's the ultimate in couple-y adventurosity."
Juliet stared at him, the anger tickling at her senses now. "Really? The ultimate?"
"Yes!" He found one sneaker and put it on, hopping over to the TV to collect the other.
"It's the best way to start things off?" she repeated, hands clenching the arms of the chair just… a… okay, a lot.
"I can't think of anything more perfect." He bounced away to where his jacket lay on the floor by the bathroom. "I just need—"
Juliet couldn't hear him anymore. She stared in his direction, at his backside more specifically, and knew he was talking—babbling, even, in his sitcom-fueled excitement—but she simply couldn't hear him anymore.
All she could hear was her own voice telling her she had made a huge mistake, a big-ass mutant uber-mistake, the fifty-foot-mother of all mistakes.
Shawn straightened up, grinned, patted his butt as if she'd been admiring it rather than being stunned by her own stupidity, and bounced back to her side.
When he bent to kiss her, his cheese-curl breath woke her up, and she jerked back from him before he made contact. She got out of the chair and away from him rapidly.
He stared at her, puzzled. "What is it?"
Juliet found room, between the despair and the anger, to feign calm. "What do you think it is?"
He beamed again. "Too much excitement. That's what my dad used to say about me when I was a kid."
"He said it a month ago too," she snapped.
"Heheh, yeah. But come on! Time's a wastin'." He started for the door, turning back to see if she was following—that in itself a rarity.
She returned to her spot in the chair. "No."
He was at a loss. "Why not?"
"I don't feel like it, Shawn. I've had a long day. Earlier I had a lot of sangria. I had an inadequate dinner, my head is aching, and really, this is not what I expected for the evening."
For a moment he looked puzzled, then grinned. "Life is about going with the flow, honey."
"Well, flow right out of here, then." She doubted he would hear the ice in her tone.
He debated—she could see it in his furrowed brow—and then declared magnanimously, "You rest, Jules, and when you're feeling better, you can come down and join us. Room 1740." He patted his pockets, muttering something she couldn't hear, and finally pulled out a credit card. "I've got this, so we're covered for pizza if room service can't cut it."
"Just a minute!" She got between him and the door in time to pluck the credit card out of his hand. "This," she said with anger and disbelief, "is my credit card. When did you get—oh my God." She stared at him.
"Shawn. When did you take this?"
He looked uncomfortable. "I guess I forgot to put it back when we stopped for gas. You know, you went to the restroom, and I had to pay at the pump."
Juliet could not absorb this with the necessary speed. "So you stole it out of my purse?"
"No, Jules, I didn't steal it. It's kind of ours now, isn't it?"
Coldness settled over her. "And of course you charged the room to my card, too, didn't you."
"Have you paid for anything today?"
"I bought you that soda in the gas station!"
"Ooh, a dollar and a half. Thanks, big spender. Did you get Gus' permission to use the car?"
He rolled his eyes. "I don't have to get permission. After all these years, you know the Blueberry belongs to both of us."
"Shawn, it's a company car, so it's sure as hell not something you get to share. Did you ask him?" she repeated. "If you could borrow his company car while he was up here with Kelli? Specifically and in so many words?"
Shawn sighed. "You sound like Gus. Or my dad. No, I didn't, but the beauty of my friendship with Gus is that we don't have to ask each other things like that. Just like I knew I didn't have to ask to use the credit card. I knew you'd say yes, and consider it a joint expense."
Do not kill him.
DO NOT KILL HIM.
Deeeeeeep breath. "I might have, if you'd asked. That's the thing, though. You never ask."
His hazel eyes were analyzing her, and she knew him well enough to know he was figuring the right approach to take. "Jules, look, it's been a long day. I had an epiphany—which can really take a lot out of a guy—you were drinking, we decided to get married, and now we are, and we're in a strange place but really everything is going to be fine. You just have to relax. Maybe lie down. I'll save you some pizza." He held out his hand for the card.
Juliet did not release it. "Do you have any money at all?"
"No. Well, not much. Okay, none. Well, I might have seven bucks and a couple of coupons from Java Lava."
"Who gave you that money?"
He was irritated. "I do work, you know. Remember my thriving detective agency?"
"Seriously? I was under the impression that eighty percent of your cases are through the SBPD, and more than half of those are cases you barge in on without invitation because you don't have any other work going on."
"You always need me, though."
"Oh, thanks for the vote of confidence in my ability to do my job."
"Well, Lassie needs me."
"No, he does not, and stop being so insulting. The point is, you don't really do much. You mooch off Gus all the time when you're not flat-out stealing from him, and even when you pay for both of us on a date, I can't help but wonder if he's not bankrolling that too. What do you spend your money on? Other than food? Which admittedly would be a huge outlay in your case?"
"For that matter, how do you make your rent every month?"
"Psych," he said, irritated again. "Are we really having our first fight about money on the same day we got married?"
"This is neither our first fight about money nor our first fight. I've just never been as angry about money as I am right now."
"Well… well don't be! This is going to be okay," he promised. "You and I will make good on our debts, and everything will be okay."
"I don't have debt, Shawn. I don't intend to have debt."
"I don't have debt either! I'm never late on my rent, I don't even have a credit card—can't trust those things—and I've never—"
Juliet cut him off. "I'm talking about what you owe your friends, Shawn. Today you filled up Gus' gas tank and rented this room on my credit card, mooched off me to pay for the marriage license and the snacks at the gas station, and now you expect me to pay for your foodfest down in Gus' room, but you know what? No. You're thirty-six. You need to be able to pay your own way. If you can't afford the things you want, then you can't have them. It is that damn simple."
Shawn shook his head—and why did he seem so confused, when he was so very intelligent about so many other things?—and protested, "That's not simple at all. And it's not mooching when people are married!"
Gaaaaah! Hold it together... hold it together...
"Okay, then let's talk about the lying!"
Was he actually horrified? Juliet was agog. "You lied about where we were going. You lied about knowing this was where Gus and Kelli were staying. You stole my credit card and let me think you paid for the gas and the room. You—"
"But it's our room! It's our gas! It's ours, Jules, can't you see that? Married. Maaaarried."
O'Hara, as much as you might enjoy it, you cannot kill him.
(Damn, was that Carlton's voice in her head?)
"Shawn." Deep breath. Another. Another.
"It's sharing," he insisted. "Sharing of resources, and never is that more important than between best friends and married people, which we are."
Oh, no. My best friend is Carlton. And if I'd remembered that at the station this morning, I wouldn't have been snockered on sangria when you showed up.
"Your best friend is Gus, we've only been married six hours, and furthermore, you don't actually share. Not your resources, anyway. You're perfectly happy to 'share' other people's resources."
"That's simply not true. Last week I loaned Gus a blue shirt he was coveting for his date."
"Way I heard it," she retorted, "it was his shirt to begin with."
"Potayto, potahto." He huffed at her. "I don't get it. When did money become so important to you? I never thought you were so… cheap."
"Cheap? Cheap?" No screeching. Never screech. "If by cheap you mean financially responsible and careful with my expenses then yes, I am cheap. I have a budget, I plan ahead, and I look to my future. Call me the cheapest of the cheap. Go ahead."
"No," he said after a moment. "That would be Lassie."
She shot back, "If Carlton—because that's his name—is cheap, it's because he's been on his own a long time, and he had to maintain two households while he was separated. Cops don't make a lot of money, you know. We have to be careful with what we get. Ask your dad about that sometime."
"I don't talk to my dad about money." He was dismissive.
"Except when you need some."
"Okay, you know what? That's enough. I get you've had a long day and you're stressed out but this is our wedding night. We're supposed to be happy and relaxed and having fun, and right now that means going to be with our friends down the hall and do fun friends things together because that's what friends do." He glared at her.
She almost said something about how wedding nights usually excluded friends, but then realized she was in no mood for him to be 'in the mood.' "Then go already."
Shawn drew a deep breath. "May I have the credit card, please?"
Juliet studied him. He met her gaze squarely, and she could not read one single thing about him.
"Are you scared?"
"Are you just… scared? Did it hit you that you're married now and your life is never going to be the same? Are you just acting like nothing's changed because everything's changed?"
Because that would help. It would make a little sense. It would make it easier if she knew that deep down he was just scared and there was still a chance he could be the man he'd…
The man he was never going to be.
"Jules," he said patiently. "I'm not scared of anything. Other than the past fifteen minutes, this has been the best day of my life. I got to marry you—the woman I love. I get to look forward to our life together. And if you'd give me the credit card, I could go and start having fun with Gus and Kelli. It would be thrice as nice if you would come too." He smiled benignly and extended his hand.
If she thought it was to take hers instead of the credit card, she might have given in.
But… no. No more.
"I can't." She went back to the window, card safely in her grip—a grip growing more tense every second.
"Is this about Webster?"
"You don't like the little guy?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Webster! Emmanuel Lewis! Alex Karras! Susan Clark! 1983 to 1987! Come on, Jules, it was a classic among sitcoms!"
"I was six when it went off the air, Shawn. Forgive me for not remembering that much about it."
"But it was in syndication. It was on all the—"
"Then go!" she yelled. "Just go already!" She pointed to the door, and when he stared at her as if she'd lost her mind, she stalked to the door and yanked it open for him.
He left—staring at her the whole time as if truly, he were at a loss to understand her. At the last second, he darted in and kissed her on the cheek. "I'll be back in a bit, sweetie. You lie down and rest, okay?"
She wished she could slam the door behind him. Damn hotel doors didn't allow for fits of temper.
You will not cry yet.
The first thing she did was use her phone to notify the credit card company to cancel the card, because there was no doubt in her mind that Shawn had memorized the number, the expiration date and the CVV code. Second, she called the front desk and advised them not to allow any additional charges to the room because her credit card had been compromised. Did that include charges made by Mr. Spencer? Why yes, it did, thank you very much; and she told the clerk to notify her if anyone, including Mr. Spencer, tried to add charges to their room bill. And by the way I'm a cop, so assume I mean business.
Then she waited.
Thirteen minutes later, the desk clerk called to say Mr. Spencer had asked to charge food service for 1740 to their room and had been declined, and was asking why.
She said, "I can't tell you why without using profanity."
"I see," the clerk said nervously. "I'll just tell him the card's been declined, shall I?"
Then, after another fifteen minutes, sitting frozen in the chair and feeling progressively sicker and sicker, she began to cry.
She was eighty miles from home. She had the clothes she was wearing and her wallet, phone and housekeys. No transportation—certainly no keys to Gus' car.
I have to get out of here. I'll just rent a car and…
No. She would not rent a car, because she had brilliantly just cancelled her credit card.
I'll find a bus, then.
Doubtful, at his hour. Plus, her debit card was at home and she only had about fifteen dollars in cash. The marriage license had cost ninety dollars, money she only had because on her mad rush home after fighting with Carlton, she'd stopped by the bank with the intention of getting cash for retail and bakery therapy (but only got as far as buying the one bottle of sangria to drink herself near-silly with on her sofa).
It's only one night. Just go to sleep, and in the morning if you have to pitch a fit, pitch a fit to get him to take you home. If fit-pitching doesn't work, take Gus' keys and drive home alone.
But the more she thought about it, the more she looked around the room, the more she grasped that she had inexplicably married Shawn Spencer today, the more she understood she could not.
Could not stay here.
It was ten-fifteen. The screaming would start before midnight.
Huh. That could be a plan. Get carried off to an asylum.
She cried, alone in the room meant for her honeymoon, and there was no place left in her head which wasn't full of regret, panic, fear and pain. And self-mockery, because that little damn voice had been offering a running commentary for hours—ever since Shawn pulled up at the hotel and beamed at her and said Oh hey I just remembered, this is where Gus and Kelli are staying; isn't that an amazing coincidence?
Oh Carlton, she thought between sobs, I am so sorry I've been so dumb.
And in that moment, she knew he was the only one who could help her.
If she could just stop crying long enough to make the call.
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