I'm so glad that I didn't rush to post this because I realized a week that Instagram was just barely a thing when this story is supposed to take place (2010). So I had to change some details; although it's still not 100% accurate, so I'll just claim an alternate reality were twitter was a few years ahead of where we were (I mean, the whole story concept is alternate reality anyways)
So Sharon is about 14 weeks pregnant here.
*Thursday May 27th*
A week later, as Carlton was driving to a crime scene, Juliet asked, "So, are you going to call her?"
"Sharon. Your girlfriend."
"Because we're heading to a fresh crime scene and Chief Vick wanted us to call Psych."
"How can they be a psychic detective agency without a psychic?"
Juliet shrugged, "I don't know; but you heard Vick when she said that Psych will still be called on to consult. Here, I'll call her." She took out her phone and quickly found the correct contact. "I think Gus is at work right now, should we pick her up?"
"We're almost there; I'm not going to be late to my own crime scene."
"Okay," Juliet shrugged, "Hey Sharon! … I'm good, how are you?... Good. Say, are you busy right now?...Well, Carlton and I are on our way to a crime scene and….Yes she did….Yeah, well, you know Carlton ….okay, let me send you the address. Will you be able to get there soon?... Okay, good, because we are just about there…. Okay, see you soon….Bye!"
Juliet quickly sent a text before turning towards Carlton with a smile, "Sharon said that she was on her way to the Psych office, but can meet us at the crime scene."
"I don't see why we can't solve our own cases." Carlton grumbled as he found a spot to park.
"The Chief prefers that cases get solved quickly so that we get killers off the street and give the victim's families peace of mind."
"And the high solve right makes her look good to the mayor and police commissioner."
"Carlton!" Juliet exclaimed as they both got out of the car. "You know that's not true! Well, that's not the Chief's goal, anyways. We all just want a safer city."
"As long as people continue to act like irresponsible idiots, this will never be a safe city."
"In my opinion," Sharon chimed in as she jogged across the street to join them. "We need to figure out where the Scarecrow is and get him to stop poisoning the water, thereby no longer making us the murder capital of the world!"
"The Scarecrow?" "Where the hell did you come from?!" Juliet and Carlton asked simultaneously.
"You know, the Superman villain that has a mind control gas." Sharon grinned as she took a sip of her smoothie.
"It's Batman and it was fear toxin," Juliet smiled.
"This isn't a comic book!" Carlton snapped as he marched across the park towards the yellow tape.
"I've heard it both ways. Although, I was thinking of the movie. Besides, life imitates art sometimes and you know someone probably tried to make a mind control gas."
Juliet shook her head as she and Sharon followed Carlton. "How did you get here so fast, anyways?"
"I had a mad craving for a strawberry smoothie this morning, so was just leaving the Jamba Juice a couple of blocks away when you called me. Since the Psych office is less than a mile thataway, I was gonna walk over there."
"Well, I'm glad that you didn't have to walk too far. Maybe Carlton and I can drop you off at the Psych office when we're done here."
"That would be great, thanks Juliet!"
Carlton cleared his throat as they joined him. "If you two ladies are done gossiping, we have a crime scene to investigate."
Juliet just rolled her eyes as Sharon grinned, "Okay, Sweetie pie!"
A couple of officers laughed, but quickly quieted when Carlton glared at them. "McNab! Sit-rep!"
Buzz quickly came over, "A, uh, what, sir?"
"Situation report." Juliet replied. "What do we know?"
"Oh, ah." Buzz fumbled with his notepad. "Jane Doe, white female, approximately 30 to 35 years old. Found an hour ago by an employee of the city's landscaping company. No clothes and there are signs of sexual assault."
Sharon stepped closer and tilted her head. She was about to put her finger to her head when Juliet asked, "Sharon, do you notice anything?"
Sharon quickly ran her hand through her hair instead and said, "By the way the ground is disturbed, you can tell that the assault happened here. I don't see any defensive wounds, so she was most likely drugged. There are a couple of bars and clubs nearby, and I wouldn't be surprised if she knew her attacker. Also, it happened within the last 12 hours, no more than 36."
"Wow," Juliet said as she took notes. "That was impressive, and a lot more straight-forward than what Shawn gives us. Where did you get that time estimate?"
"Well, it did rain two days ago, so if it happened before that, the scene would be clean. Plus, it is late May in sunny Santa Barbara, so the body would start smelling soon from being left outside in this heat."
"Any clues about her identity?"
"Nope. Her attacker most likely ditched her clothes or took them with him. So you can try the trash cans."
"McNab!" Carlton yelled as he circled the body. "I need you and a couple of buddies to check all of the trash cans within and surrounding the park."
Carlton bent down to take a closer look at the body as forensics prepared a body bag. "Can you turn the body over? I think I see a tattoo."
"Wow! Look at that ink!" Sharon exclaimed. "She must have spent over a thousand dollars and a dozen hours getting that done. That's amazing!"
"Who would spend that much time and money getting giant wings permanently inked on them?!"
"Dude! This is a work of art! Do you see all the shading and shadows and colors? The person who made this is a true artist. Do you know how much I would pay to get just a small tattoo done by this artist?!"
"Do you have any tattoos?" Juliet asked as forensics took pictures of the tattoo and Carlton checked the surroundings.
"Sadly, I am allergic to the ink that is traditionally used by American tattoo artists. I have to go all the way down to South America to get a tattoo, so only have one at the moment."
"Really?! Of what?"
Sharon grinned and winked. "I'll tell you later."
"Hey!" Carlton exclaimed as he moved a branch a few yards away from the body. "I've got some footprints here."
Sharon went over to stand by Carlton. She compared the position and direction of the footprints to where the body was and then turned around to see where the footprints might have come from. "It looks like they may have parked in that corner of the parking lot, so you should check those trash cans. Also, this branch was torn down from here, so between that and their shoe size, I put their height at about 6 foot 3, maybe 4."
"Huh, interesting." Carlton said as he examined the tree. "Good work."
"Thanks!" Sharon grinned. "Anything else you want me to figure out for you?"
Carlton rolled his eyes, "No. Why don't you get out of here, Spencer."
"I would, but Juliet offered me a ride."
"I thought you said the Psych office was less than a mile away?"
"It is, but I drank all of my smoothie and now I gotta pee. I don't think I can wait 20 minutes!"
"This is a public park, go find one of the restrooms."
"Fine, but don't leave me!"
"I can't make any promises." Carlton grumbled as he watched her walk away.
As Carlton drove to the Psych office a half an hour later, Sharon asked from the back seat, "So, when can I expect copies of the crime scene photos? I am particularly interested in tracking down the tattoo artist. Oo! Can I call dibs on checking out tattoo parlours?!"
Carlton just rolled his eyes as Juliet giggled and responded, "Since you're a private consultant, we can't control what you do."
"Unfortunately," Carlton muttered.
"I already have a cover story picked out!" Sharon grinned. "I'm going to show the artists portions of the tattoo and ask if they were the ones who did it and if they would be willing to do another one as a surprise for my boyfriend."
Juliet grinned, "I don't think that fairy wings are quite Carlton's style."
Carlton glared at Sharon's reflection in the rearview mirror. "I do not want a tattoo."
"I know, silly! But they don't have to know that! Any self-respecting artist will give you a time and price estimate before scheduling any appointments. Plus, they need to interview the person who is actually receiving the tattoo. And with such an important and big project, I would only ask for the estimates in order to compare them with others."
Carlton parked the car outside of the Psych office and turned around to look at Sharon. "Please be careful and don't talk to anyone alone. At least bring Guster with you."
"Lassie, it wasn't the tattoo artist! They know that their work is unique and can be tracked down. Until we figure out who our Jane Doe is, this is our best lead. Anyways, it'll be at least a couple of hours, if not days, before I actually go see any of them. Most artists like to share their work online, especially such a big project as this."
"Just be careful."
"I will," Sharon got out of the car and leaned into Carlton's window to give him a kiss on the cheek. "Thanks for the ride! I'll see you tomorrow night, right? If not sooner?"
"Okay, see ya. Bye Juliet!"
"Bye Sharon!" Juliet smiled.
"Hey Lassie!" Sharon greeted as she and Gus approached Carlton's desk later that afternoon.
"Sharon. Guster. What are you two doing here?"
"We have an update on the case. Have you figured out who our Jane Doe is yet?"
"No, but it's only been 6 hours. Her fingerprints are not on file and there wasn't any form of ID found with her discarded clothing. The coroner took an x-ray of her teeth to see if that leads anywhere. None of the missing persons reported in the past week match her description."
"Well, you're in luck! I am about 98% sure that I found her on social media!"
"Ah-hem," Gus cleared his throat.
"I'm sorry, Gus and I found her, although it was my idea to check social media." Sharon presented a tablet that was open to a facebook profile. "Meet Mindy Carter, 25 years old, graduate student at UC Santa Barbara."
Carlton pulled out the picture from the morgue and compared it to some of the selfies. "It does look like her. How did you find her?"
"Well, once I saw how many tattoo parlors were within a 20 mile radius, I decided my first plan would take too long. Then I remembered that parts of the tattoo were just recently completed and that young people would want to show their tattoos off. So I went on Twitter and looked at all the photos posted in the last six months with #FairyWingsTattoo."
Carlton raised an eyebrow as he wrote the name down. "That's surprisingly good work. I don't know if we would have thought of that."
"You gotta get hip with the times, Lassie! They are the selfie generation! They will photograph almost anything for likes!"
"You didn't by chance figure out how to contact her next of kin, did you?"
"I'm glad you asked! I know how you and my parent's generation are getting super into Facebook."
"You think I'm in the same generation as your parents?! I'm only like 5 years older than you! Plus, I don't even have a Facebook account!"
"Right, good to know. Anyways, I found Mindy's mom, Debbie Carter, who is a head nurse at the hospital." Sharon showed him the Facebook page. "She should be getting off work soon, so you should probably tell Juliet and break it to the mom gently."
"Do you have her address?"
"No, I thought I would give you something to do!" Sharon grinned.
"Plus, our phonebooks got ruined during our last watergun fight." Gus commented as he typed on his phone.
"Gus! I almost forgot you were here, buddy!"
"Do you know anything else about Debbie Carter?" Carlton asked as he turned back to his computer.
"She celebrated her 50th birthday about a month ago, according to the birthday posts she got."
"What's the exact date so I can enter into the BMV database?"
"Um," She took the tablet back and scrolled down. "April 20th, whatever 50 years ago was."
"Really, Sharon?" Gus asked. "50 years is easy to calculate."
"If you had said 5 years, I would agree with you. But trying to do the math for a different century is hard!"
Carlton shook his head as he wrote down some notes. "I have an address, so you two can be going now. Unless you have something else to share?" As Sharon opened her mouth, Carlton added, "About the case."
Sharon pouted and crossed her arms. "No, that's it for the case."
"Thank you for your help." Carlton said as he stood up and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. "I'll see you tomorrow night."
"Not if I see you first!" Sharon called as Carlton headed for the stairs down to records. She unashamedly watched him disappear.
"Wow," Gus said after a few seconds. "I don't think Lassiter has ever sincerely thanked us before."
"Yeah, it's a little weird." Sharon replied as she sat down and started going through the case file Carlton had left on the desk. "He also said we did good work on figuring out who the victim is."
"Maybe you dating Lassiter will turn out to be a good thing for our business."
She snorted as she took pictures of the case notes, "Yeah, right up until he finds out about Shawn; then he will have us barred from the station for life."
"He's been trying to keep us off cases for years, so that's never gonna happen."
"Here they come!" Gus whispered as he saw Carlton and Juliet come up the stairs.
Sharon quickly closed the file and leaned back in the seat.
"I thought you two were leaving." Carlton growled as he picked up the files and placed them in his briefcase.
"You didn't give me a proper goodnight kiss!" Sharon pouted.
"I told you no PDA at the station."
"Oh! PDA!" Sharon stood up so Carlton could grab his jacket off the back of the chair. "I thought you said no PSAs! Which is why I haven't been telling people to buckle up or that tobacco kills or that you and I are together and having a ba-" Carlton quickly covered her mouth.
"We don't need to know that either. Ew!" Carlton quickly pulled his hand back since Sharon had licked it.
Sharon smirked, "You shouldn't put your hand where I can lick or bite it. Self-defense 101."
"That's disgusting!" Gus scolded as he joined Juliet and started for the door.
Carlton wiped his hand off with a tissue and picked up his briefcase. "I have to go."
"Me too. Gus and I have reservations at the Olive Garden, and we can't be late or we might lose our spot to a couple of senior citizens."
Carlton frowned, "Since when do you need….wait, I don't want to know."
Sharon grinned as she followed Carlton to the station door. "It's not so much a reservation as it's our preferred table."
"You have obviously spent too much time with Guster and Spencer, you fit right in with them."
"Aww, that's so kind!"
"I never said it was a good thing." Carlton shook his head as they went down the steps.
"To each their ear to behold."
"What?! Do you mean the sayings 'to each their own' and 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'?"
"Huh, those make more sense, except I was talking about what I hear, not see."
"How about you call up Spencer in order to continue this asinine conversation while I go do my job." Carlton suggested as he unlocked his car and opened the door.
"Can I get a goodbye kiss since we're not in the station?"
"You should have thought of that before you annoyed me." He got in the car and shut the door.
"Is that a no, then?"
Carlton sent her a glare before starting his car.
Sharon pouted and looked towards Juliet, who was opening the car's passenger door. "I think Carly is upset."
Juliet laughed, "I'll see you later, Sharon."
*The next afternoon*
"I see you've made yourself right at home." Carlton commented as he looked around the Psych office
Sharon shrugged as she picked up her glass of water. "It's hard not to."
"And Spencer doesn't mind?"
"Nope. So how hungry are you? Like, do you need to eat right now? Or can you wait a few hours?"
"Preferably soon. Why?"
"Because I think I found Mindy's killer and I need a driver. Or an Uber."
"Why can't Guster go with you?" Carlton crossed his arms as he leaned against Gus' desk.
"He has a date tonight and refuses to reschedule. Something about there will always be criminals to track down but only a few first dates. Like he doesn't go on plenty of dates."
"Why don't you have a car?"
"I have a motorcycle, but I'm not allowed to ride it while preggers, even though I promised to drive slow and be extra careful."
"I should have known you would own a motorcycle, you're just like Spencer. Why would you want to drive a death trap, anyways?"
"Have you ever ridden one? To feel the engine rumbling directly underneath you, the wind blowing through your clothes, the adrenaline from having such freedom!"
"Are you sure the adrenaline isn't from being hyper aware of your surroundings in case a distracted driver tries to plow into you?"
Sharon rolled her eyes. "When I get my bike back, I'm gonna take you for a ride on the curviest road I can find so you feel the way we move with the road; and also so I can feel your body so tightly wrapped around mine."
"I would rather jump out of an airplane without a parachute."
"What type of airplane are we talking about here? The ones you hire in order to go skydiving? Because skydiving without a parachute is a death wish. Or do you mean if the plane has to make an emergency landing in water, kind of like in the end of the Star Trek whale movie, spoiler alert, so they only had to jump like 5 feet into the water; although it was a spaceship, not an airplane. Or do you mean jumping down one of those inflatable slides they supposedly have on commercial airplanes in case of an emergency landing, but who knows how reliable they are since they're rarely used."
Carlton frowned at her. "Clearly I meant skydiving without a parachute. And why would I need a spoiler alert for a movie that is 25 years old?!"
"I know plenty of people, including Gus, who get super upset if I spoil a movie no matter how old."
Carlton shook his head. "Let's get back to the case. How did you even pinpoint a suspect?"
"By searching through various social media posts. This guy is kind of lurking in the back of photos. And then I found his myspace and there are some very concerning posts. Like red flags and bright flashing lights. Too bad none of his so called friends on facebook had seen his posts or they might have been able to stop it."
"Do you know where he would be now?" Carlton asked as he pulled out his phone and called dispatch.
"He seems to spend his Friday nights in an online RPG that is set in medieval times."
"Role Playing Game? Come on, Lassie! You're killing me, here!"
Carlton shook his head as he concentrated on his phone call. "This is Head Detective Carlton Lassiter, I need more information on a Kevin Stienbeck. D.O.B. May 26, 1990. He is a possible suspect in the Mindy Carter murder." He lowered his phone and looked at Sharon. "Do you know where we can find him?"
"Yep! Based on various photos and those stupid personal question quizzes, I know exactly where he lives! Assuming he didn't secretly move recently." Sharon grinned as she stood up and got her coat. "Although we should stop for hotdogs first."
"Ugg, why do they always run?!" Sharon groaned as they got out of the car and walked up to Carlton's house. "It just makes them look more guilty."
"Basic fight or flight response." Carlton answered.
"How about freeze? I like freeze so much better."
"At least he confessed, so hopefully there won't be any more surprises tonight." Carlton said as they entered his house.
"Well, maybe just one more…." Sharon smirked as she took his hand and headed for the bedroom.
Carlton groaned, "Now what?! Can't we just go to bed?"
"But I want to show you something first! Now sit here!" Sharon led him to the bed and took a few steps back. She grinned as she slowly took off her loose-fitting polo to reveal a tank top that clung to all of her curves. "Notice anything different?" She turned to the side and ran a hand across her stomach.
"You have a bump." Carlton whispered.
"Yeah. I noticed yesterday morning, but couldn't figure out how to tell you. According to all of my research, I can probably hide it for another month or two, but will have to start wearing maternity clothes by the time I reach 6 months."
Carlton stood up and held his hand out. "May I?"
"Sure. Although we probably won't be feeling any kicks or butterflies for another few weeks."
"Just seeing signs of what's to come is amazing." He rubbed his hand slowly over her slight bump.
"What, are you saying that you didn't believe me?!"
"No. Just that, seeing is believing, and sometimes it amazes me that this is even happening. I almost gave up on the dream of having kids."
"Aww," Sharon pulled him into a tight hug. "You're going to be a great dad, Carlton! Maybe a little strict and grumpy at times, but a very dedicated and, dare I say it, loving father."
"You're going to be a great mother, too." Carlton replied as he hugged her back.
"Yeah, we'll see." Sharon whispered as she hid her face in his shirt.