Author's Note:

This story will not contain swearing, smut, or slash. I won't write any sexual scenes or imply that an unmarried couple is sleeping together. If I ever receive any reviews with swearing I will read and then delete them. I don't care how interesting or flattering they are. If I receive a long message with lots of swearing, I might not even finish it. I'm sorry if this offends anyone.

That being said, I obviously hope to get lots of reviews. If anyone notices an error or inconsistency please let me know so I can correct my mistakes. This story is not fully written so if anyone has any story ideas go ahead and share them.

I intend to update every Friday, but I apologize in advance for if I miss an update. If I know in advance that I will miss an update I will let the readers know. It might take me a while but I guarantee that I will not abandon this story.

-KeepHoping


Chapter One

As I waited for the light to turn green, I could practically feel everyone looking at me. Their judgement would have bothered me if I didn't know that I would be giving someone the same looks if they were dressed like I was. Stupid uniform. Dad probably gave me this assignment just so he could laugh at how ridiculous I look. At least I had decided to wait to put the hat on until I arrived.

Finally the light changed colors. I turned left, thinking about my destination: the Santa Barbara Culinary Institute. When I first started researching it I had wondered why there weren't a lot of students. Now that I was in the stupid uniform I get it. No one in their right mind would attend this place. If the instructors looked anything like the students, then I wouldn't be surprised if one had turned to murder.

Who am I kidding? Chef Andrew wasn't the serial killer. I doubt he's even really a suspect. So what if he fit the description and was seen near the one of the bodies. The other suspects had all been seen multiple times in suspicious areas.

I knew that Mom and Dad just wanted to protect me, but this was my first case. I finally turn eighteen and the first thing they do is send me on a wild goose chase. They hadn't even let me see the pictures of the victims. I had to sneak a look. A look which I regret taking, but that's beside the point. I mean, if I wanted to officially join Psych, then I had to get used to this kind of stuff.

As I spotted my destination in the distance, I thought about what I knew about the case. There had been nine victims so far. All dead in the past year. All teenagers between fifteen and eighteen years old. All homeless or runaways. All slowly strangled or starved to death. All deposited in random dumpsters after their deaths. I couldn't even begin to imagine the pain those kids were in before they died. And it had been getting worse. The first victim had died of strangulation after eleven days. The most recent had died of starvation, meaning that he had suffered for a month. Whoever was doing this had learned how to draw it out.

I cleared my head of the dark thoughts as I parked. I couldn't let my anger about this case show, just in case Chef Andrew really was the murderer.

There was girl looking for something in the trunk of the car next to me. Wow. That trunk makes my closet look clean. Noticing the smirk on her face, I decided to mess with her head a little.

"Actually, you'll be seeing me every day." I commented with a grin as I took off my helmet. "That is what you were thinking, right? That I'm not a normal sight." I said as innocently as I could.

"Can you blame me?" she asked, causing me to chuckle. Oh, I liked this girl already. I took a moment to look at her. She was obviously part of the baking program. She had been baking something this morning. She had a bit of dough in hair.

"I don't suppose there was any pineapple in whatever you baked this morning?" I inquired. She shook her head. "Oh, right. It was pumpkin. I was close though, they both start with the letter P. Let me guess, pie?"

"Mini tarts, actually." How was I supposed to know the difference between tart and pie dough! "But they were mini pumpkin pie tarts." As I glanced into the trunk of her car, I saw exactly what I needed to psych her out.

"Did you bring any of these mini pumpkin pie tarts, Fall?" I brought my hand to my head with a look of concentration. "No. That's not right. Autumn. Did you bring any mini pumpkin pie tarts, Autumn?" I patiently awaited her questions. 'Do we know each other?' 'How do you know that?' I'll never forget the one lady who slapped me for stalking her.

"Yes, would you like one?" she offered. I tried to cover my shock. What was wrong with this girl? Was she so oblivious that she's not even noticing? Or is that just what she wants me to think?

"Absolutely." Of course I wanted a mini pumpkin pie tart! "By the way, are you insomniac or do you just get up crazy early in the A.M. every morning to bake?" I asked as I took a tart. And just to make sure she didn't ignore my 'abilities', I added, "Sorry if that was inappropriate, but the spirits are sensing that you haven't been getting enough sleep."

"Spirits?" she inquired, her voice thick with doubt and, oddly enough, a trace of disappointment.

"Yeah. Spirits. See, I'm psychic." As soon as the words left my mouth I wanted to facepalm. I'm supposed to be undercover and here I am bragging to the first person I meet about how I'm psychic. Idiot! I ate a tart to cover my regret and momentarily forgot my problems. This girl could bake.

"No, you're not." she responded.

Know-it-all.

"Well how else do you explain how I knew all that?" I asked. Now come the stalking accusations.

"You knew I baked something because I have pastry dough under my finger nails. You could tell it had pumpkin in it because I accidentally smeared some on my sleeve. I have an envelope in my trunk addressed to Autumn. I know how exhausted I look. And to answer your question, I am both insomniac and an early morning baker." she listed, barely pausing for breath.

She was right. She was absolutely right. Not that I was about admit it, but still.

"Huh, well apparently I didn't even need the spirits to figure that stuff out. These are delicious." I responded honestly as I grabbed another tart. What number was it? Four, five? Who cares.

"How about I take a turn being psychic?" she asked with an annoyingly innocent smile. Is this how people feel around me all the time? No wonder I don't have any friends.

I nodded. "Go right ahead. But I have to warn you, the spirits aren't very helpful to nonbelievers."

She brought her hand to her temples, mocking my earlier motion. "I sense that you have at least two cats. Wait, no. They aren't yours. They belong to someone else in your household. In fact, you don't like them, but they like you." Correct so far. She was describing Mom's cats perfectly. "You're an only child named… Steve. Steve Spencer."

"Wrong! My name's Ethan Anderson." I insisted. How the heck does she know that? No wonder I got the safest case. Apparently, I was horrible undercover.

"Then why does your motorcycle say Steve Spencer?" she asked sarcastically, pointing to the side of my motorcycle, where the words were painted. I suddenly had the urge to start banging my head on the nearest wall. Instead I started searching for my 'normal is for cowards' decal.

"Because I bought it used. I had a sticker covering it." I tried to explain. "Great! It's gone. What am I gonna do now?" I sighed. Maybe I could go park in one of the neighboring parking lots and hope this annoyingly observant girl didn't start pestering me about it.

"I have a decal in the black hole, if you want it." she offered. Despite my frustration at myself and my relief at a simple solution I couldn't help but smile.

"I suppose you mean the disaster area that is your trunk?"

"Yep." she replied before pulling out a decal that said, 'I'm a bookworm and proud of it'. "You can have it on one condition: you tell me why you're using an alias and if it pertains to your dad's psychic detective agency." I can't decide whether I should hate this girl or admire her. I'll probably end up doing both.

"First of all, this sticker is just sad and embarrassing." I stalled while weighing what I should tell her. I honestly didn't see any harm in telling her the truth. In fact, she might actually wind up being helpful. "Second of all—Second—Secondly—Next, yes, I'm here on a case. You can't tell anyone." I said sticking the decal on over my name. "We have reason to believe that one of the instructors here is a serial killer."

"A serial killer? And your dad is okay with you putting yourself in danger by coming here?" she asked, surprised. I had expected her to be shocked by the fact that a serial killer might be teaching her, but instead she sounded disappointed with my dad for putting me in danger.

"No, there are four suspects. My dad gave me the least likely option, but there's still a chance that he might be the bad guy." I told her to my chagrin and her relief.

"Can you even cook?" she abruptly changed the topic.

"Yes! Maybe. A little. But this a school! They're supposed to teach; if you already knew everything you wouldn't be here." I stated in my defense.

"They probably expect you to know the basics. Just please tell me you aren't one of those idiots who can't even boil water properly." she joked, smiling.

"That was one time!"