Chapter Twenty

"Look at this deliciousness!" James said greedily, looking at the home-made pizza sitting on the kitchen table.

Jack sliced the pizza as everyone took their seats, though he made sure Cassie had no other option other than to sit next to his sister.

"Your recipe, Cassie?" Lisbon asked, scooting her chair in so James could get past to grab napkins. "There's no way these two could pull something off like this."

"Jack and Jim helped a lot," Cassie said, blushing slightly.

"Yeah, with you whipping our backs the entire time," James said as he fell back into his chair.

"That's not funny, James!" Lisbon snapped, glaring briefly at her brother.

"I thought it was amusing," James said with a shrug.

"Because you don't have scars from it actually happening to you," Lisbon muttered sourly. Only Jane heard.

"Now that we're all settled," Jack said, "would you like to leave for a moment, Patrick? Or are you going to stick around?"

Jane smiled at Jack before excusing himself to go to the bathroom.

"What was that about?" Cassie couldn't help but ask after praying.

"Jane's an atheist," Lisbon supplied while giving everyone a slice of the homemade pizza.

"That's sad," Cassie commented.

"There's not much we can do about it with his reasons," James said as he reached across the table for the pitcher of water.

"Reasons?" Cassie asked.

"They aren't any of your concern," Lisbon said curtly.

James looked over at Jack and mouthed, "PMSing?"

Jack nodded, but stopped and smiled immediately when Lisbon looked up at him.

Jane returned and sat down. "Did I miss anything interesting?"

"Oh, well there was a parade of elephants that passed by just a moment ago. Then after them came a couple of albino peacocks," James said casually. Jane only smiled.

"I thought the peacocks were on top of the elephants," Jack put in.

"Maybe it was a bit of both. I bet the peacocks at the back just got motion sick and asked to get off," James suggested.

"What's your major, Cassie?" Lisbon asked. James and Jack stopped talking and found themselves very interested in their food.

"Psychology," Cassie answered.

Jane tried not to laugh as he watched what was before him. Lisbon was slipping into her interrogation room self. She was after information. Cassie, on the other hand, was trying very hard to not lose control of herself. Jane noticed her hands were shaking slightly when she reached for her water, then changed her mind suddenly.

"Why are you still in school? Aren't you the same age as Jack?" Lisbon continued questioning.

"I am," Cassie replied. "My parents wanted me to put myself through school."

Lisbon frowned slightly. "What do they do?"

"Mom's a chef and Dad's a vet," Cassie said. Jane quickly took a drink of his water to keep from laughing. Things were likely to roll downhill in ten… nine… eight…

"Vet?" Lisbon said interestedly. "Where's his practice?"

"About three hours from here," Cassie said quickly.

"I'm curious. How far away does he live from his office?"

"Actually… they're the same building…"

"Really?" Lisbon said with emphasis. She looked over at Jack, who was finding his ordinary glass extremely fascinating.

Lisbon returned to the previous subject. "A vet and a chef… looks to me like they would have been able to get you through school."

"They could have," Cassie said honestly. "But after my brother's failure to be responsible and his sudden disappearing with a couple of his friends and a chuck of cash, they decided I should be responsible for myself."

Lisbon looked a bit surprised at the anger Cassie had put into her words.

"Does anyone care if I take the last piece?" James asked, clearly unaware of what was going on around him. After being given the all clear, he snatched the piece and bit into it before anyone could change their mind.

"Why psychology?" Lisbon returned her attention to Cassie.

"It's fascinating!" Cassie said simply.

"Therapist, right?" Jane spoke for the firs time since the meal had started.

"That's right."

"You're too good to be a therapist."

Cassie looked at Jane confusedly.

Jane grinned and leaned back in his chair. "That's what I'm talking about."

"Jane," Lisbon said irritably, "no mind games now."

"I didn't start it," Jane responded childishly.

"What are you talking about, Mr. Jane?" Cassie asked.

James and Jack scooted their chairs back from the table slightly.

"You'd better watch this one, Jack," Jane suggested. "She'll trick you into shoe shopping if you aren't careful."

"She already has," Jack admitted shamefully. James shoved his fist into his mouth to keep from laughing.

"From the moment you saw me, Miss Clement, you've known who I am," Jane began his explanation. "Yet you've done a marvelous job of covering up the fact. I can't quite figure out why."

Cassie lost all signs of being nervous as she began playing Jane's game. "I have known who you are," she admitted.

"They why have you been hiding it?"

"What fun would it be to say that I know who you are? It's not nearly as fun as trying to figure you out."

"I'm sure you already have me figured out."

"Everyone knows that you're broken," Cassie stated. "But how many people know about your personality? What makes you angry? What makes you happy? How you occupy your time?"

"If you can figure all that out about me from the little interaction you've had with me, you're very good indeed," Jane said. "Therapy isn't for you. You'd be far better at using your ability for other things."

"I don't trust myself with other things," Cassie said with a smile. "I get carried away easily."

"Oh, so do I," Jane freely admitted. "That's why I've got Lisbon to keep me in check."

"A job I'm sure she'd rather you do yourself."

Jane gave one of his famous grins and looked around at the Lisbons, all of who were looking at him and Cassie with completely shocked faces. "Do we have dessert?" he asked casually.

After a moment, Jack sprang up from the table. "We sure do!" He bounded over to the freezer, took something out of it, and brought it to the table. He pulled off the lid to reveal an ice cream cake that read "Happy 6th Birthday!" and had various colored smiley faces all over it.

"You promised you'd make it!" Cassie said with disappointment.

"Wrong!" Jack exclaimed. "I promised to provide it, and so I did!"

"Did you steal it from some little kid's party?" James asked with sarcasm.

"No, I didn't! It was an order that hadn't been picked up, so I got it really cheap. Is there anything wrong with that?"

Lisbon shook her head at her brothers and then noticed Jane. He was staring at the cake, his eyes moving between the 6 and the red smiley face.

"Sure, Jack! I'll get a knife for you!"

Lisbon's loud statement had the desired effect. Jane's head snapped up and he brought a smile back to his face as he leaned back in his char to watch everyone interact.

Jack slapped his knee. "I knew I was missing something!"

Thirty minutes later everyone was drowsy from the ice cream cake, though fairly content. Lisbon sighed and pulled herself out of her chair. "Come on, Jane," she said as she grabbed her keys.

"Eh. I'll call a cab in a minute," Jane argued, his eyes closed. He looked as if he might have been sleeping slouched in his chair.

"I have to stop at the store anyway. I'll be getting in my car in five minutes whether you're in it or not."

Jane opened one eye and looked at his colleague before stretching and getting up.

"I want my kitchen cleaned up by the time I get back," Lisbon stated, pointing at her brothers.

"As Queen Resa orders," James said lazily.

"Don't help them, Cassie," Lisbon ordered. "If anything, hinder them. They deserve it." Lisbon turned and headed towards her door, ignoring her brothers' questions of what they did wrong.

"You don't like her," Jane said simply as he slid into the passenger's seat and buckled up.

"Did I say that?" Lisbon asked, throwing the car into reverse.

"Not out loud."

"Well there you go."

Jane smiled. "And you say I'm the one with trust issues!"

"Trust issues? Where did this come from?"

"You don't trust Cassie Clement. That's why you don't like her," Jane said accusingly, turning in his seat slightly to point a finger at Lisbon.

"Yeah, I don't trust her," Lisbon admitted. "I don't like it when people play games with me, which is exactly what she was doing!"

"She wasn't playing a game with you, she was playing a game with me."

"A game in which she pretended she didn't know who you were. Probably just so she could brag to her advisor about how she held her own in a mind game with you," Lisbon said with a snort.

"Lisbon!" Jane exclaimed.

Lisbon jumped. "What?" she said aggressively.

"I'm touched! You're upset because she was messing with me!"

"No," Lisbon quickly denied.

"Yes, yes you are! I mess with you all the time and you don't normally get this angry unless it involves a lawsuit."

"You made me almost wreck my car for that?"

"It's true! Look me in the eye and tell me it isn't!"

"Patrick, can't you see that mommy's busy driving?" Lisbon said as if speaking to a small child.

Jane leaned back in his chair and smiled widely. "Let's say Cassie hadn't been playing mind games. What would you think of her?"

"She's smart, has some pretty good things going for her, modest…" Lisbon left her sentence hang as she concentrated on making a tight turn.

"So overall, you liked her. Interesting."

Lisbon stopped next to Jane's car. "Stop annoying me. Get out."

Jane hopped out of Lisbon's car and into his. Simply because he could, Jane tailed-gated Lisbon until he had to turn off onto a different road. A few minutes later, in his driveway, Jane looked at the text she'd sent him. "Way to be mature, Jane."

He looked up at his door, smile fading. Deciding tonight was a great one for joyriding, Jane backed out of driveway and set off without a destination.

Author's Note

Ha! Updated again! Yesssss!

I appreciate feedback in the form of reviews. :)