Hey! So, I wanted to post this a couple of weeks ago, but tragically I broke my flash drive which had all my fanfics on them so I had to rewrite this entire chapter with just a few sheets of written notes. *sigh* I had a really good scene written for further along in the story and I've been trying to recreate it but it's not the same. I'll try to get the next chapter up by the end of February, but classes have started so I won't have as much time to type it up, although it's mostly written out. At least these are long chapters, especially compared to my usual chapter lengths.

Anyways, standard disclaimers apply: I'm not associated with anything that you might recognize and either make things up or do too much research (like which movies were in theaters in Jan 2010).

Thank you to the anon reviewer! I do like reviews, especially random comments, including theories, that I can reply to :D

Enjoy!


CHAPTER 2

*January 28*

Carlton sighed as he stepped out of his car. It had been a long day, having to deal with Spencer's idiocy and all the paperwork that it entailed. Vick had finally him kicked out of the station around 8pm. He was ready to just collapse on his couch and relax when he got home. Those plans were shattered when he noticed someone waiting on his front porch. "Hello?"

"Hey Carlton." The voice replied as they stepped into the light cast by the streetlight.

"Sharon?" Carlton asked hesitantly as he climbed the steps.

"Yeah. Can I come in?"

Carlton crossed his arms. "Why should I let you?"

"Because we had fun last time!" Sharon smiled nervously.

"Fun?! You used me and then left without any clue as to how to find you again!"

"I know! And I'm so sorry!"

"Then you come waltzing back into my life a month later and expect me to open my house to you without knowing anything about you?!"

"Maybe? Look, can we go somewhere? We can talk and find out more about each other."

He frowned. "Like a date?"

"Yeah, if you'd like. A proper first date. I'll pay."

"Shouldn't I pay, if it's a proper date?"

Sharon shrugged, "You could. Or I can pay and you can accept it as a peace offering and not me using you."

Carlton thought about it as he walked to the front door. "What do you have in mind?"

Sharon smiled, "There's this nice bar a couple of miles away that has pool tables and darts."

"You play pool?"

"Yep, and I'm pretty good at it, if I dare say so myself."

"I'll be the judge of that." Carlton said as he opened the door. "Should I change or…."

Sharon gave his outfit a once-over, lingering over certain parts of his anatomy. "I think you'll be okay if you ditch the jacket and tie. Although I wouldn't say no to a pair of jeans."

"I don't think that I own any jeans." Carlton said uncomfortably.

"Pity." Sharon smirked as she walked past him and sat on the couch. "I'll just wait here."

"Okay. I'll, um, be right back."


Once they had put in their food orders and received their drinks, Sharon stood up. "So, care for some pool?"

"Isn't that why we're here?" Carlton asked as he picked up his drink and followed her.

"Yeah, but are you ready to lose?"

"I'm not going to lose." He replied as he picked out a cue stick. "8 ball?"

"To start. Would you like to break first?" Sharon asked as she set up the table.

"Ladies first."

"Aww, how sweet!" She cooed as she kissed him on the cheek. "But your chivalry might do you more harm than good."

"How so?" Carlton questioned as he watched Sharon leaned over the table to line up her shot.

"You'll see soon enough. Enjoying the view?" She smirked.

Carlton coughed nervously as he took a step back. "No, I mean yes. I mean *cough* Are you going to break?"

"Sure, I'll start with the balls on the table." Sharon turned back to the table and made her shot.

Carlton watched in amazement as all of the balls ended up in the pockets. "What the hell?!" He whispered.

Sharon laughed as she stood up. "So, do you want to break next?"

"How the hell did you do that?! I've never seen anyone run the table before!"

"This is probably only the third time that I have ever managed that. Besides, I warned you that I was good." Sharon grinned as she took a sip from her drink.

"It seems that you have an unfair advantage, then." Carlton crossed his arms.

She laughed, "Aww, is someone grumpy? Would a kiss make you feel better?" She pulled him down for a deep kiss. When they broke for air, Sharon asked, "Are you ready for another round? I'll go easy on you, or at least try."

"The odds of you running the table again are slim, so I'm game." He replied as he picked up his cue stick.


"Where can I drop you off?" Carlton asked as they left the bar.

"Oh, I'll be fine just walking." Sharon replied as she zipped up her coat. "I'm about a mile away."

"It's almost midnight and you've been drinking. There's no way that I'm going to let you walk."

"Aww! Are you worried about little old Sharon?!" She smirked as she stepped up to him and wrapped her arms around his neck. "How sweet!"

"You can barely walk straight." Carlton grumbled as he tried to hold her steady.

Sharon snorted and threw her head back to look at the stars, "Trust me, nothing about me is straight, even when sober."

"Care to elaborate?"

"Nope!" Sharon giggled than sang, "You wouldn't believe me!"

"Try me."

Sharon shook her head as she leaned forward to whisper in his ear, "If you knew, you would shoot me. And I'm not a fan of bullet holes."

Carlton frowned, "I wouldn't shoot you."

"Maybe not right now, but later you would." Sharon sighed as she took a step back. "I believe that you were taking me home?" She snorted and laughed. "Or at least a friend's place."

"What about your place?"

She continued laughing while she started walking towards the car, "Sharon does not have her own place here." She almost walked into a lamppost before Carlton grabbed her arm.

"And why not?" Carlton asked as he wrapped his arm around her to help steer her and keep her upright.

"Because Sharon is not here often enough."

"And does Sharon always talk about herself in the third person?"

"Sometimes. But especially when really, really drunk."

Carlton shook his head as they reached his car and he helped her into the passenger seat. "I guess I need to watch your alcoholic intake."

Sharon snorted. "Good luck, detective. Although I usually don't drink this much."

"And why did you tonight?" Carlton asked as he fastened the seatbelt for Sharon. He was about to stand up when Sharon pulled him in for another kiss. Unbalanced, Carlton braced himself as best he could.

Sharon laughed as she released him. "I have my reasons."

"You're enjoying keeping me in the dark, huh?" Carlton asked as he straightened up.

"Yep!" She giggled.

He shook his head as he shut the car door and walked around to the driver's door. Once he was seated with seatbelt buckled, Sharon tried to pull him into another kiss but Carlton stopped her. "I need to drive, stop distracting me."

"Oh! You're no fun!" Sharon pouted then laughed. "Very responsible."

"Yes, now please tell me where I am going."

"Fine. Go left, then after 5 blocks go right. At the mini mart, take a right. It's the Kirkland Towers."

"Kirkland Towers?" Carlton frowned as he put the car into gear. "I know that place. Isn't it mainly bachelors in their 20s and 30s?"

"And a few bachelorettes. Mostly professionals."

"And do you, um, hang out with any of the um, bachelors?"

"Well, there is one guy, early 30s. Bit of a stick in the mud at times, but we do have sleepovers every so often."

"Is that, that what they call it these days?" Carlton said with a clenched face.

Sharon laughed, "Relax! No sexy times happen; he totally would deck me if I tried! We've been best friends since we were kids and I sleep on the couch. He offers me his bed, but I know how grumpy he gets if he sleeps on the couch. A couple of nights on the couch do not bother me anyways."

"It's not nice to intentionally mislead people."

"No, but it is a lot of fun!"

"You can sleep on my bed." Carlton offered nervously.

Sharon grinned. "No thanks, you have work tomorrow and I would rather sleep away the morning, and hopefully the hangover. Look, there's the mini mart. Turn here."

Carlton shook his head. "You are giving me a headache."

"Well, I'll be out of your short, yet fun-to-grab, hair shortly." Sharon giggled. "Tomorrow night, we can have fun sexy times."

Carlton tried not to blush as he parked the car outside of the apartment building. "What makes you think that we're going to hang out tomorrow?"

Sharon grinned as she unbuckled and climbed onto Carlton's lap, straddling him as best as she could. "Because I'm a mystery too interesting to ignore. Plus, I do like you, Carlton. We can have a lot of fun together." She kissed him passionately. "I'll call you tomorrow." Sharon clumsily climbed out of the car and walked towards the building.

Carlton sat stunned as he watched Sharon slowly made it up to the front door. She turned back and blew him a kiss before heading inside. "Oh boy." Carlton whispered before driving home.


*January 29th*

Carlton was working on a report when his cell phone rang. "Head Detective Lassiter." He answered distractedly.

"Is that how you always answer your personal cell phone?" Sharon asked.

"When I'm at work, I do." Carlton replied as he checked to make sure that no one was nearby. "How did you get my number anyways?"

"I have my ways. So, have you had lunch yet?"

"Not yet. I figured that I would heat up a can of soup later."

"I have something more…enticing at your house."

"And why are you at my house?" Carlton growled.

"Why don't you come over here and find out?"

"And if I don't show up?"

She laughed, "Well, then you might have to explain to your neighbors and coworkers why a strange woman was waiting on your porch in broad daylight…."

"I don't think…." Carlton tried to interrupt, only for Sharon to continue.

"Completely naked."

"W-what?!" He sputtered.

"You heard me. For every minute that you're not here, I'm going to take off an article of clothing."

Carlton quickly stood and grabbed his stuff. "It takes me ten minutes to get there!"

"Then you better hurry." Sharon whispered before ending the call.

"Crap." Carlton whispered as he made his way to the exit. He was almost to the door when Juliet came in.

"Carlton, where are you going?" Juliet asked.

Carlton glanced at his watch. "I'm, um, meeting someone for lunch and I'm running late."

"Oh, okay. Have fun!" Juliet smiled as she let him pass.

"Thanks." Carlton mumbled as he hurried out the door.


Carlton managed to get to his house in less than seven minutes while only breaking a few traffic laws. He hurried up to his front door, only to stop when he found Sharon leaning against the wall.

Sharon smiled, "Six minutes and 48 seconds to get here. Not bad. Nice to see you can be motivated."

"Nice to see you fully clothed."

"Aww, now you don't really mean that!" She pouted.

"I prefer my private life staying private." Carlton growled as he approached the door. "I don't need any officers even setting eyes on my house."

"Good to know."

Carlton opened the door and gestured for Sharon to go inside first. "So, what did you bring for lunch?"

"Sandwiches. Something quick to eat."

"I have an hour for lunch break; we don't have to eat quickly." He said as he shut the door.

Sharon placed the bag on a coffee table and turned back to him. "I had something more….fun planned first." She smiled before pulling him close for a kiss.

After a minute, Carlton pulled back. "I need to be back at the station in an hour."

"You'll make it, more or less." Sharon replied as she started undoing his tie.


A little over an hour later, Carlton rushed into the station and to his desk. He opened the report from earlier and tried not to draw any attention to himself. It seemed to work for a few minutes, until Juliet came over.

"Oh Carlton! About time you got back! I just got a report from labs and…what's wrong?" Juliet frowned when Carlton didn't look up.

"Nothing."

"Are you sure? You seem kind of red and *gasp* Carlton!" Juliet exclaimed.

Carlton frowned at her. "What?"

Without replying, Juliet grabbed him out of his chair and pulled him into the conference room. She shut the door and closed all the blinds before facing him and whispered, "Carlton, is that a hickey?!"

Carlton tried to pull his shirt collar up higher and growled. "I do not believe that is any of your business!"

"Oh, it is totally my business!" Juliet exclaimed excitedly. "The fact that you met up with someone during the workday to at least make-out, possibly more since you also changed your suit, means that you are in a serious relationship! Who is it?! And do I know them?!"

"O'Hara! Calm down!" Carlton whispered forcefully. "I don't need the whole station to know!"

"With a hickey like that, it would be hard not to. Wait here!" Juliet left the room and was back in a minute with her purse. "Sit down."

"Why?" He asked warily as he complied.

Juliet sighed as she opened her purse. "So I can cover up that hickey. Or at least try since the color won't match perfectly."

"Fine!" Carlton growled.

"So, what's her name?" She asked as she pulled out concealer.

"Sharon. I met her on New Years Eve."

"Oh! I remember! You were having trouble trying to find her afterwards but weren't having any luck. What happened?"

"She showed up on my doorstop last night after no contact for a month and managed to convince me to go out for dinner."

"And she got you to come home in the middle of a work day?"

Carlton coughed nervously and tried not to blush. "I didn't know that we would be…doing more than just eating lunch. If I didn't show up, she threatened to get arrested for … public indecency."

"Wow!" Juliet laughed. She leaned back and said, "There. That should work."

"Thanks." Carlton adjusted his collar and stared at the wall.

"So, are you going out tonight?"

"Yes, not that it is any of your business. We're going to the movies."

"Oo! Which one?!"

"Well, 'Edge of Darkness' came out today."

"Seriously? I've seen previews for that and it does not seem like a good date movie. Do you want to drive her away?"

"Hey! It's about a homicide detective who tries to figure out who killed his daughter! If she doesn't at least appreciate it, then I don't think that I should continue to date her."

"Carlton! Not every relationship is going to end up in marriage."

"Then what is the point of dating?" Carlton rolled his eyes.

"Relationships, whether platonic or romantic, help you grow and learn, no matter how short or long they are. Now, I'm not saying that this relationship won't last, but you need to be open to it. You can't just end it early because you're afraid of getting hurt later on. Life is about the journey, not the destination. Everyone gets hurt, but you will miss out on a lot if you don't give someone at least a chance."

They sat in silence for a minute before Carlton mumbled, "I didn't ask for your opinion, O'Hara."

"No, but I hope you listen to me anyways. I care about you and want you to be happy; even if this relationship does end up only being short term."

Carlton sighed as he stood up. "What movie would you suggest, then?"


"Well, that was…interesting." Sharon commented as they left the theater.

"Could have been better." Carlton shrugged.

"It was very unrealistic. All that bad luck she ran into and she still tried to propose to him? Plus, she should have seen earlier that her boyfriend was unfaithful. She should have ditched him as soon as she met Mr. Irish."

"Yeah."

"Why did you pick this movie anyways?"

Carlton shrugged, "My coworker thought that 'Edge of Darkness' was not an appropriate movie for a date."

"Ah man! I want to see that movie! I think there's another showing in 30 minutes."

"You actually want to see that?"

"What can I say; I have a thing for homicide detectives and thrillers."

Carlton shook his head, "I knew I shouldn't have listened to O'Hara."

"You know what, it's opening night for 'Edge of Darkness', which means that there will probably be half a dozen more showings tonight. How about we get some food first and then come back?"

"Sounds good. Have any place in mind?"

"Yeah, there's a good pizza joint around the corner. They have the best chili loaded fries in town."

"We just had popcorn and nachos; do you really want to get more greasy food?"

"Why not? We can eat healthier tomorrow."

"What makes you think that we're hanging out tomorrow?"

Sharon grinned as she stood in front of him, wrapped her arms around his neck, and pulled him close for a kiss. "I have it on good authority that you have tomorrow off work and have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get someone to go to a civil war convention with you."

Carlton frowned, "How do you know that?!"

"A little birdie told me. If you would rather go alone, I understand."

"No, I could use the company."

"Good. Now let's go get some pizza." Sharon pecked him on the lips before darting off down the street, Carlton barely keeping up with her.


*January 30*

"Sharon? You need to wake up." Carlton whispered as he shook her shoulder.

Sharon shrugged his hand away and mumbled, "Go 'way, Lassie?"

Carlton frowned, "Excuse me?! What did you just call me?"

Sharon stretched and opened her eyes. "What?"

"Did you just call me Lassie?"

"Nope. Why, do you like being called that?" Sharon asked as she looked around. "Hey, where did everyone go?"

"They left. The lecture ended about 10 minutes ago."

"Really? Huh, that was a short lecture. What was it, like 20 minutes long?"

"Try an hour. You were asleep for most of it." Carlton sighed as he stood up. "I guess we can head home now."

"Aw, no! I'm sorry. This is actually a very interesting convention!"

"You don't seem very interested. You've been just letting me talk."

Sharon smiled as she stepped up to him and rubbed a hand across his chest to play with his shirt buttons. "Well, your enthusiasm and passion for these subjects are…inspiring and, frankly, kind of hot."

Carlton coughed uncomfortably and stilled her hands. "Well, uh, thank you. We, um, we can leave, if-if you want."

"Nah, we can stay. I like seeing you this relaxed."

"There are a couple more lectures that I would like to attend, if you think that you can stay awake through them."

"Depends, can I play games on your phone?" Sharon smiled sweetly as they headed for the door.

"There are no games on my phone."

"Hmm, pity."


When they arrived back at Carlton's house after dinner, Sharon started to lead him to the bedroom. Carlton tried to stop her. "Not that I'm complaining, but maybe we should take a break, at least for one night."

Sharon kissed him. "Trust me, I'll get a break soon enough. I would rather live in the moment than to worry about tomorrow."

"Why? What happens tomorrow?" Carlton frowned.

"I can't tell you, it's a secret." She smirked before kissing him more passionately and leading him to the bed.


*January 31*

Carlton barely registered movement of the bed as he strayed on the verge of consciousness. He rolled over and tried to fall back asleep. He felt a kiss on his cheek and a hand brush his hair as Sharon whispered, "Until next month, Lassie." Carlton sighed contently as he fell completely asleep.

When his alarm went off, Carlton hit the snooze button and rolled onto his back. The house seemed too quiet compared to the last couple of days. He was about to call out to Sharon when the whispered words came back to him. "Next month?" With a frown, Carlton sat up and looked around the room. There was no trace of Sharon, but he did notice that his phone was flashing. Checking his phone, Carlton found a text message from Sharon.

"Sry I left, but have early flight & want u 2 sleep. Had gr8 time, b back Feb 27 ;D"

Carlton frowned as he slowly translated it then replied, "If you had woken me up, I would have driven you."

It was barely a minute later when he received a reply. "U look cute when sleep"

"Don't call me cute. Why Feb 27?"

"In town next Feb 27"

"Not any sooner?"

"No I have job I must do. U can txt & email"

"What is your email?"

"G2g, give u l8r."

"Okay. Have a good flight."

"Thx"

"What is g2g and ;D"

"Got to go, Winkin excited smiley"

Carlton shook his head as he checked the time. He needed to get ready for work soon or else he would be late. "Text me when your flight lands."

"Ok ;D"


That afternoon, Carlton and Juliet were called out to a crime scene. After his initial assessment, Carlton was checking in with officers when he noticed Shawn and Gus arrive.

"Hey Lassie!" Shawn exclaimed. "What's up?!"

"Spencer!" Carlton groaned. "This is a crime scene! Either behave or leave!"

"Gus, did Lassie just invite us to stay?" Shawn asked Gus.

Gus nodded as he looked around. "Technically yes. But knowing you, you won't behave and will be kicked out in less than five minutes."

"Pssh! Yea of little trust."

"Faith, Shawn. It's 'yea of little faith'."

"I've heard it both ways. So Lassie, care to give us an overview?" Shawn smiled.

"You're the Psychic, you tell me!" Carlton growled as he walked away.

"Oh! I am getting something!" Shawn exclaimed as he placed a hand to his head. "But it's not about the case!"

"Then I don't want to hear it!"

Shawn grinned as he caught up with Carlton. "In fact, it's not actually me that is getting some, it's someone else! Someone close by!"

"Spencer! This is a crime scene! Act like a professional." Carlton growled as he stopped in a hallway.

"You're right, discretion is a must! Which is why the spirits insist that I whisper it in your ear."

"Spencer!" Carlton warned.

Shawn leaned close to Carlton and whispered, "The spirits know what you've been up to and they whole-heartedly agree since you seem to be losing some of the tension in your shoulders. Although they suggest that you do a better job of hiding your hickeys, unless you want everyone to know." Shawn pulled back and winked at Carlton, unable to hide his grin. "Personally, I think they should always be shown off."

"What should be shown off?" Juliet asked as she joined them, looking between Shawn's grinning face and Carlton's red one. "Carlton? Are you okay?"

"I'm fine!" Carlton snapped as he stormed off.

Shawn laughed until Gus and Juliet both hit him. "Ow! Double ow!"

"Was that necessary?" Gus asked as Juliet exclaimed, "What did you say to him?!"

"Relax! I was just letting Lassie know that his hickey was showing." Shawn shrugged as he rubbed his sore arm.

"I covered it up this morning, it shouldn't be showing." Juliet frowned as she looked down the hallway after Carlton.

Shawn shrugged. "I guess Lassie was rubbing his neck. Thanks for letting us know that Lassie wears makeup! Ow!" Juliet hit Shawn on the arm again before following after Carlton. "Touchy." Shawn commented.

"Shawn! Grow up!" Gus said as they walked towards the crime scene.

"Gus, you know I can never grow up! I'm like Peter Pan."

"Peter Pan is a fictional character that could fly and whose best friend was a fairy."

"See! I'm exactly like Peter Pan!"

"Shawn! I am not a fairy in any way, shape, or form!"

"You're right. Maybe Lassie should be my lucky Irish fairy."

"You better watch out or else Lassie will shoot you."

"Lassie will never shoot me!"

"He will when he finds out your secret!" Gus whispered.

"Gus, the only way that Lassie will ever find out is if someone tells him. And no one is going to tell him, right?"

"Right, but only because I don't want to get shot."

"Lassie isn't going to shoot anyone!" Shawn exclaimed as Carlton reappeared. "Right, Lassie?"

"Not in front of witnesses." Carlton growled as he passed them, pulling his shirt collar up over his freshly-hidden hickey.

"See Gus! If you're never alone with Lassie, then you have nothing to worry about!"

"Shawn!" Gus exclaimed.

Carlton rolled his eyes. "Spencer! Do you have any information about the case?"

"Indeed I do, Lassie!" Shawn grinned as he joined Carlton.