Lisbon felt her team's eyes on her as she strode into the bullpen. "That was the interim chief of police in Santa Barbara," she said, tucking her cell phone back in her pocket. "They've got a triple homicide on the beach. I want to be on the road in ten."
As one, the team rose from their desks, straightened papers, and grabbed coats and keys. Lisbon turned to the only person not moving.
"Jane, you coming?"
Jane was laid out on the couch as usual, a Sudoku booklet over his head. He carefully scribbled a number down before answering. "I'm going to sit this one out, if it's the same to you."
It wasn't. She frowned. "Why?"
"Santa Barbara and I...don't get along."
"Your loss. It's got to be cooler by the coast." Van Pelt aimed a disgusted look at the vista outside. It was late July, and the current heatwave had the forecasters predicting another above hundred degree day. Lisbon could feel the heat pouring from the windows, despite the building's valiant attempts at air conditioning.
"All the more reason to stay inside," Jane said amicably.
Lisbon's frown deepened, but she'd long ago learned that trying to pry any information out of Patrick Jane when he didn't want to give it up was like trying to cup water in your hands. He'd probably scammed a lot of people in the area, or maybe it held memories of his murdered family.
"Okay," she said doubtfully and turned to leave.
She stopped. "Yes?"
Jane sat up. The 24/7 amused smile was still on his face, but...was it her imagination, or did his eyes seem a bit strained? "You said interim police chief. They have a new one?"
"That's right." She glanced down at her phone. "A...Carlton Lassiter."
"I remember that," Risgby piped up. "It was in the state police newsletter. The previous one, Vick, retired last month. I met her once at a convention. Nice lady."
There was no doubt about it. The smile had slipped a little from Jane's face. "And Lassi-Lassiter called in an outside agency? On his own?"
"Do you know him?" Cho asked.
Jane's mouth quirked up. "We've met."
Definitely someone Jane had scammed before, Lisbon thought. "As a matter of fact, he did. Why?"
"Because he both hates and loves federal agencies. He admires the power they supposedly represent and, frankly, the coolness factor," Jane replied with the smooth bluntness that charmed as well as irritated. "And he hates anyone coming into his territory. He doesn't like to share. Or that's how he was. People change." He turned to Cho. "He'll be impressed by you most of all. Use that."
Cho raised his eyebrows, but didn't otherwise comment, reaching down to check his gun holster.
"It sounds like this was more than a casual acquaintance," Lisbon said. "Are you sure you don't want to come?"
Jane waved her off and settled back down on his couch. "I'm better use where I'm at. Don't have too much fun without me."
Hours later, Lisbon was unsurprised to see Jane's assessment of Carlton Lassiter was right on the money. She'd had her share of police chiefs who didn't appreciate CBI's assistance before, but none of them had quite this rough 'Dirty Harry' quality about them.
Lassiter was the type who'd fit like a glove in a severe western. Not what she'd been expecting for a coastal college town.
And Jane was right. He was most obviously impressed by Cho. Lisbon caught him asking Cho about best cases, how many people he'd shot, ect, with the air of a fanboy. That Cho did his best to stoically ignore him only egged Lassiter on.
Oddly, when Lisbon dropped the name Patrick Jane, Lassiter gave her a puzzled look.
"He's a consultant with our agency. He thought you may have met at one point," Lisbon said.
"I don't know who-McNab!" Lassiter barked and a nearby handsome officer jumped in surprise. "I told you to keep the media out of here. One hundred-yard perimeter!" He strode away, waving his hand at a collection of news crews who were setting up just at the top of the next beach dune.
Odd, Lisbon thought, but then Van Pelt ran up to her with news of a fiber found on one of the bodies and all thoughts of Jane were pushed from her mind.
Notes: Thanks for reading! This should be one of several parts. :)