Notes: While double checking things, I read that pregnant people shouldn't be the ones painting the baby room because the fumes from the paint are dangerous. I don't feel like changing this chapter, so we're gonna pretend that it's safe. If you are pregnant, please be careful and don't take anything I write as suggestions/advice/truth.
Also, I found out that I am so off on the average temperature in Santa Barbara. Apparently, it rarely exceeds 85 degrees, so it probably doesn't feel as sweltering as I was imagining. Oh well, good thing this is fiction and slightly a/u.
Also, also, there is a Quantum Leap reference/nod because I wasn't feeling very creative in naming a new person.
Sharon is about 24 weeks pregnant here (I had to write out my timeline and realized that I was a bit off in the last few chapters, so I fixed them).
*Wednesday August 4th*
"So, what's it like?" Gus asked as they got back into his car with pizza. "Living with Lassiter now that he knows the truth?"
Sharon shrugged, "It's weird."
"Like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I mean it's nice, not having to watch what I say all the time; I can complain about my parents and not be worried. But what if I'm being too obnoxious and he remembers how much of a pain in the ass Shawn is and he decides to dump me?!"
"Well, it sounds like he's pretty committed to the baby and wants to work things out with you. You know how stubborn Lassiter can be."
Sharon sighed. "Sometimes I think that we're just too different, and that one day, things are going to go bad really quickly."
"Have you asked your mom for advice yet?"
"Nah, I don't want to bother her since she's busy right now. Something about leading college faculty meetings."
"What about couples therapy?"
"We have an appointment on Saturday morning. I'm so not looking forward to that."
"Why not? Didn't your mom recommend them?"
"Yeah, but this doctor is located in LA, so we're gonna have long awkward car rides after each session."
"I think therapy will be good for the both of you. Hopefully you will both get over your insecurities enough to see how well you too work together. and maybe you will finally make a commitment to stay here long term, instead of me always wondering if you are going to suddenly leave."
They sat in silence for a few seconds before Sharon said, "Gus, thank you for always being here for me. I know I'm not the easiest person to stick around, hence why I don't really have any other friends."
"Sharon, you have always been there for me when it truly counted. And with how serious and, honestly, boring my job can be, I'm glad to have a bit of comic relief in my life."
"Comic relief?! Come on, son!"
Gus shrugged as he parked his car in Lassiter's driveway. "Hey, I just call it as I see it. Now get out of my car so I can go home and get some damn sleep!"
Sharon laughed as she slowly obeyed. "Okay, okay! I'll see ya Friday."
"And you better give me my pizza!"
"Oh, right. Sorry, Gus." Sharon grinned as she handed the smaller box to Gus before shutting the car door. Once she made it up to the porch steps, she waved at Gus and watched him leave.
As Sharon entered the house, she called out, "Hey Lassie! I'm back! And I brought some pizza!" Sharon frowned when she didn't see him in the living room.
Setting the pizza down in the kitchen, she headed towards the bedrooms. "Lassie, where are you?"
Hearing a muffled curse from the office, she slowly opened the door. "Hey Lassie, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." Carlton sighed as he tried to pick up one of his crutches while sitting in a rolling chair.
"Let me get that." She quickly grabbed it and handed it back to him.
Sharon glanced around the room and noticed the light coat of paint on the walls. "Nice; did you decide on a color?"
"No, I thought we could pick out one tomorrow after my appointment." He pushed the cart with the paint tray and roller away from him. "I just wanted to get the walls primed and ready since I had nothing else to do today."
"Did you get this done all by yourself?"
"O'Hara stopped by after work and climbed a ladder to get the top of the walls."
"I could have helped, if you told me."
"You were working. What time is it anyways?"
"Um, about 8:30." She shrugged.
"Really? I thought you said you would be back around 7."
"Gus and I got caught up in a case. Time flies when you're having fun, eh?"
Carlton narrowed his eyes. "You weren't chasing a suspect, were you?"
"Spencer! You need to be more careful!"
"Hey! We weren't chasing, we were sleuthing! I never got out of the car! Well, except when I needed a bathroom break; but otherwise I stayed in the passenger seat with my camera and used the long-range lenses. Then we had to go back to the office in order to upload the photos, which took longer than expected. So we grabbed some pizzas on our way over here!"
"Okay, um. Well, good. Let me clean up real quick and then I'll join you." He moved his chair closer to where his other crutch was leaning against the desk in the middle of the room.
"Aww, you mean you don't want to have a paint fight?"
"No. If you make a mess, you sure as hell are going to clean it up all by yourself."
"Do you even know the meaning of fun?"
"I know how not to make a mess."
"Fine!" She sighed. "I'm too tired to be cleaning paint off of my skin, anyways. I'm gonna turn on a movie and eat pizza."
"I hope you're going to stop in the kitchen for plates and salad."
"But Lassie! It's pizza! It's already healthy!"
"Salad and water."
Sharon groaned as she left the room. "Being pregnant sucks."
"Are you sure that this is what you want?" Carlton asked as he watched the store associate mix the paint colors.
"Yes!" Sharon grinned as she looked at some of the wall decals.
"Because I am not going to buy any more paint if you change your mind."
"Lassie, I'm sure! This will be perfect!"
"I don't know why you can't pick something simpler."
"Because this will be great mental stimulation for the baby when they are older. And you won't want to paint the room again"
"I'd rather not if I don't have to."
"So," Sharon grinned. "Can I also paint the ceiling?"
"But Lassie! Clouds will look so cute!"
"Besides the fact that neither one of us are supposed to be on a ladder right now, I don't need you dripping paint all over my wood floors."
"Well for one, you use a paint roller with the extension like when you did the higher parts of the wall, so there's usually less drippage. And B, you have like three layers of drop cloths down already. The only way there's going to be any paint on the floor is if someone knocks over a gallon of paint."
"If that happens, you're paying for the repairs out of your own pocket."
"Dude, I don't have any pockets."
"Ugg, out of all the weeks for your a/c to be out, it had to be when we're painting and it's like 100 degrees outside." Sharon groaned as she wiped sweat from her brow.
"It was only 82 last I checked. Someone is coming out this afternoon to fix it." Carlton commented from the other side of the room.
"Are you sure this heat isn't bad for the paint?"
"The sales associate said that as long as the humidity stays low, it's good for up to 95 degrees. Besides, you're the one who wanted to start today since you are between cases."
"I said that before I knew your a/c was gonna die on us!" Sharon put down her paint roller and took off her t-shirt.
"Spencer! What the hell are you doing?!"
"I'm too hot! And it's not like you haven't seen me naked before."
"The windows are open and the neighbors could see you!"
"You mean the neighbors who are out of town this weekend? Look, ordinarily, I would be fine with this weather, but I currently have an extra 50 pounds around my stomach and other places, which means I'm gonna get hot way faster than before."
"You've barely gained a third of that." Carlton sighed as he rolled his chair over to her.
"It feels like a lot more. Maybe I should shave off all my hair."
"Yeah, like I would ever hear the end of that! Give me the shirt and your pocket knife."
"Why?" She frowned.
"I figured I wouldn't get the shirt back anyways, might as well cut it up some more." He chopped the bottom half of the shirt off as well as most of the sleeves and shoulders, leaving a few skinny strips. "Here, now if someone like Guster or Henry stops by, then they won't be completely horrified."
"Again, people who have seen me naked before." Sharon said as she put on what was left of the shirt. "Well, not Gus. He has seen me plenty of times in my favorite bikini, although not by choice. His parents definitely raised a respectable gentleman."
"Look, just finish the wall that you're working on and then we can take a break. You can go soak in the tub or whatever. Hopefully we can finish putting on this first coat of paint today."
*Saturday August 7th*
Sharon nervously bounced her leg as she looked around the psychiatrist's office, avoiding eye contact with either of the other two people in the room.
With a gentle smile, the psychiatrist, Doctor Beeks, spoke first. "So today, for our first session, we're just going to do introductions, establish any goals for therapy, and set up some boundaries and safe words."
"Safe words?" Sharon asked with a grin. "As in sex?"
Carlton groaned, "Real mature, Spencer."
"It is a similar concept." Doctor Beeks nodded. "Anytime we come to a question that you are uncomfortable answering, you can simply say pass. If there is something that you need more time to think about and want to come back to, you can say circle."
"Ooo!" Sharon raised her hand. "Can we say something more fun? Like pineapples or heffalump or kniggit?!"
"Can you even spell those words?" Carlton rolled his eyes.
"Of course! P-i-n-e-a-p-p-l-e!" She beamed.
"What about the other two?"
The therapist laughed, "How about we keep it simple, okay?"
Sharon sighed, "Okay."
"Good. Now, as you know, I am Doctor Jeanette Beeks, and I have been a psychiatrist for over 20 years, specializing in therapy for LGBTQ+ couples. When Doctor Spencer referred you to me, she mentioned that you are in a very unique and confidential situation. So I will be taking the barest of notes, in pencil and code, and will remind you of doctor-patient confidentiality, with the stipulation that I will only disclose information if I find one or both of you are a danger to yourselves or others. Do you have any questions?"
Carlton and Sharon both shook their heads no.
"Alright, then who would like to go next?"
Sharon shrugged and picked up a pillow to hold to her chest.
Carlton took a deep breath. "I guess I will. I'm Head Detective Carlton Lassiter and have been at the Santa Barbara Police Department for over 18 years. I was married for about 10 years before we separated and eventually divorced."
"And how long ago was the divorce finalized?" Doctor Beeks asked.
"A little over a year ago."
"When did you and Sharon meet?"
"Well, that's a complicated question. I guess I technically met her in 2006, although I didn't know her as Sharon back then. Sharon and I started dating at the beginning of this year, if you would call our two-night stands once a month dating."
"Okay, that seems like a good place to pause. Sharon, would you like to speak now?"
Sharon shrugged, "Well, um. Have you ever heard of Teiresias or Ila people?"
"Yes, although I have not had the pleasure of getting to know any of them."
"Well, here's your chance! I was born a boy, named Shawn, and I didn't start changing into Sharon until I was 13. I hid it as best I could, my parents would call me out sick to school or schedule vacations. Once I left after high school, I drifted between cities, short term jobs, and one night stands. I landed as a psychic detective, consulting for the SBPD with Lassie here; although he acted like he hated my guts. I eventually worked up the courage to approach Lassie as Sharon."
"While I was drunk, mind you." Carlton interrupted.
"Haha, yeah." Sharon grinned. "I didn't want to risk him shooting me if I slipped up. So I led a double life for a few months; until I got pregnant and have been stuck as Sharon ever since."
Doctor Beeks raised an eyebrow. "Wow. I will honestly say that I was not expecting all this when you two walked into my office."
Sharon shrugged, "That's just the cliff's notes version. I haven't even mentioned my mental health issues, our precarious work relationship, or what happened when he found out about Shawn and Sharon."
"Like I said at the beginning, we are just going to stick with introductions and building a framework. So, what would you like to get out of these sessions? Or, to put it another way, how can I help you as a couple?"
"Well," Carlton cleared his throat. "I want to keep and raise the baby; and the last time we talked about it, Sharon was still unsure. So I would like to focus on rebuilding our relationship, figure out facts from deceptions, and, eventually, establish whether or not Sharon would like to raise the baby with me."
"Sharon, what do you think? Do you agree with Carlton?"
Sharon shrugged and squeezed the pillow tighter. "Yeah, I mean that seems like some pretty good goals."
"Is there anything else you would like to focus on as a couple?"
"Not really. Other than establishing whether or not he's going to arrest or shoot me if he finds out the whole truth." She looked away.
Carlton took a deep breath. "It depends on what you tell me, since I already have a suspicion. The only promise I can make is that I will not shoot or arrest you before the baby is born."
"So what you're saying is that I'm only safe for the next 5 months?" Sharon tried to say lightly
"Sharon, the baby is due in 3.5 months." Carlton rolled his eyes.
"Really?!" Sharon frowned as she took out her phone. "Oh, would you look at that! I should really pay more attention to this pregnancy app."
"Carlton," Dr Beeks said. "I think it's counterproductive to threaten to shoot Sharon if you are trying to strengthen your relationship."
"I was shot in the leg two weeks ago, gun shot wounds are survivable in certain areas. Recovery time can be excruciating, so I wouldn't recommend it. Maybe we'll just go to a paintball field and shoot at each other, again."
"Carlton, seeing as you're a police officer, have you ever taken anger management classes before?"
Sharon snickered as Carlton glared at her. "More times than I would like to admit. If the Chief thought I was a high risk, she would have fired me years ago. Also, Shawn would probably be dead by now."
"I don't think you're helping your case, Lassie." Sharon grinned. "Listen Doc, this is just how we roll. I annoy Lassie, he gets upset, makes threats, we go our separate ways, calm down, and then we start all over again!"
Doctor Beeks frowned, "That does not sound like a healthy relationship."
"Hence why we are here with you!"
"Alright, well." Doctor Beeks cleared her throat as she picked up a couple of clipboards. "Here's an activity I ask all couples to work on during the first session, and then to continue it during the week, see what changes. I'm going to give you both a few worksheets and a marker, and have you write several lists of at least five things: best personal traits, the other person's best personal traits, favorite activities to do together, and what you like to be complimented on the most. I'm going to turn on some soft music, and let you two work on the lists for about 20 minutes. Then we will spend the last 10 minutes of our time today discussing it. Any questions?"
"Yeah, um." Sharon adjusted the pillow so it laid on her lap. "What all are we writing? I have ADHD, and that was a really long list."
"That is a good point and prompts are all written out on the worksheets."
"Ugg, I'm so ready for a nap now!" Sharon groaned as she leaned back in the passenger seat of Carlton's car and closed her eyes.
"It's not even noon yet." Carlton commented as he started the car. "Maybe you shouldn't have stayed up so late last night."
"Hey! It's totally the baby's fault, not mine! Junior was being too restless and wouldn't calm down until I had some old Looney Tunes playing on tv. Something about their voices were very smoothing."
"You mean soothing?"
"Eh, I've heard it both ways. Wake me when it's lunch time."
"I'm tempted to let you sleep the whole day in the car if it means I get some peace and quiet. Maybe even drop you off at Henry's for the weekend."
"Aw, Lassie! You don't *yawn* you don't mean that."
Carlton shrugged. "Depends on the day."