Julio stood at the door of unit 102 at the Le Park Condominium's with the building manager. They knocked several times, but heard no sounds of any kind on the inside.
"She's not here," a young woman in running shorts and a tank top said as she walked up the steps.
Julio turned towards the voice, "Is she your neighbor?"
The woman shook her head, "No, we're roommates. Well we live together anyway." Reaching the final step she stopped in front of the men, "Maybe I can help you with something?"
Julio flashed his badge, "LAPD ma'am, we just wanted to ask Ms. Mason a few questions."
She nodded as the men stepped aside to make room for her to open the door. Julio turned to the building manager, "I've got it from here. Thank you for your help." The man smiled and walked away.
"Would you like to come in?" The young woman asked, "It's quite warm today."
It was hard not to notice how attractive she was, her skin was like caramel glistening from her workout. He tried not to stare, "It has been warm," he replied and stepped in as she opened the door for him. The cool blast of air conditioning was a welcome respite. He immediately took note of the clean and orderly state of the condo, "Have you lived here long?"
"About six months, I moved down here from San Jose. Google's not all its cracked up to be," she added with a smirk, "I bought this place back in January and moved in late February I guess."
The furniture all seemed high-end, Restoration Hardware, or the like, either the woman had impeccable taste or she hired a designer to do the work. The pictures were sparse, but the ones that hung seemed to be all of family, no real sign of Ann living there at all.
"How long have you and Ms. Mason known each other?" Julio asked as he continued to glance around the living room.
The woman moved into the kitchen and took two glasses out of the cupboard, "We've known each other since college. We both attended Berkley. I stayed up there to work in Silicon Valley and she came down here to go to law school." She turned towards him, "Water?"
Normally, he would decline but it was especially hot and his wool suit didn't breathe well. He had hoped to change after dropping Mark off at his mom's, but when the call came in from Provenza he knew that wasn't going to be an option. "Yes, thank you."
She moved to the fridge filling the cups up with ice and then water, "We stayed in touch over the years, but she didn't move in until about two months ago."
She handed him a glass. "Thank you. Do you know where she is?"
She took a long drink of water, "Housesitting for a mutual friend of ours, Micah." She paused unsure about how much information she should be sharing with him, "She's been a little lost for the last few years. When the whole lawyer thing didn't work out like she expected — Well she's trying to figure out what's next."
He filed that bit of information a way, "Does she have a boyfriend, or"
Julio couldn't finish his thought as the woman nearly started choking on her water. "Boyfriend? Uh no, definitely not. The last guy she was with really messed her up. Some cop I think. Did one hell of a number on her. She hasn't been with a guy since." He schooled his expression knowing she was most likely referring to Gabriel. While on a personal level he was still disappointed in the way his colleague handled the whole Baylor situation, professionally it no longer mattered.
"What's this about?" She asked finally getting suspicious of all the questions.
"Ah, an issue with her car," he quickly made up and played down the real issue, "Just trying to get it sorted out."
The woman seemed to accept the response, "Do you have a card? I can tell her you stopped by if you'd like?"
Julio took a card out of his pocket, "Please do. And thank you Miss?"
"Jordan Hall," she took the card and shook his hand. He set the water down on the counter, "Thanks."
When he reached his car he pulled out his phone and quickly dialed Provenza, "Looks like we are on the right track with IDing our Jane Doe."
Back at PAB Provenza put his phone on speaker so the others could hear Julio's update, "Why do you say that?"
"The woman that Ann Mason is living with confirmed that she is housesitting for Micah Williams. It might be why there's been no missing person's report filed, no one is expecting her at home," he replied.
Sharon jumped in, "Did the roommate mention anything else?"
"She apparently hasn't dated anyone since Gabriel, whole thing really messed her up I guess. Also, she mentioned something about being a lawyer didn't work out. I didn't press her on it, but it would explain why her prints weren't in the database." He offered up.
"Yes, well when you're spying on your boyfriend for a slime ball like Peter Goldman and it all goes to hell it might have a little fall out." Provenza replied sarcastically.
"I guess you can't say it's the boyfriend now if she wasn't dating anyone," Andy threw back.
"She wasn't dating anyone that the roommate knew about. Doesn't mean she wasn't seeing someone," he chided back.
Not everyone in the room had any clue what they were talking about, but for Sharon, Andy and Provenza all of this was an unpleasant blast from the past. The room went silent for a moment as they digested the information Julio collected before Sharon answered, "Okay, come back and let's see where we can get on the prints."
Provenza hung up the phone as Tao walked back into the murder room, "We've printed the entire car. Outside it's as you'd expect lots of unknowns and partials. Most likely nothing, but we're going to run what we have just to be sure. On the inside, a different story. The car is new, and very clean. There were only a few fingerprints in the driver and passenger seats, in total 5 unique individuals. But only two on the steering wheel."
"Well that's great, but we don't have Mason's to check against —" Provenza began to complain.
"No, we don't. Mike I know it's late but see if Morales is still in. Take the prints and see if they match our victim," Sharon got off the desk she was sitting on, "Take Sykes with you. If we can rule out that our victim was in the car, then it would suggest that our Jane Doe is not Ann Mason."
Sykes collected her things and headed out with Lieutenant Tao, while Sharon returned her attention to the rest of the team, "Andy do we have anything on our homeowner yet?"
Andy gave Paige the go-ahead nod, "He is up in Vancouver. Left six days ago," she pulled out a picture from a folder and posted it to the board, "LAX and customs in Canada prove that he did leave the country."
"What kind of business is he in," Nolan asked, "must be doing well for himself to afford that place up on Canyon."
"Yeah well you could say that. He works in the entertainment industry," she responded.
"Oh great, an actor. I really hate actors," Provenza muffled.
"Even worse, he's a lawyer," Paige said giving Louie a consoling pat on the shoulder.
A loud groan was emitted by the entire team, lawyers were indeed the worst. "So he's some kind of lawyer for the film business?" Nolan followed up.
"He works with Fox and they have a TV show, a pilot, they're filming up there. Not sure why the studio needed to send a lawyer to the set, but that's where he is," she moved back towards her desk, "According the return ticket he should be returning back to LA the day after tomorrow."
Sharon moved across the room back towards her office, "Okay that buys us some time. I don't want to contact him until we know more about what happened in that house." The team nodded and went back to their work, it was getting late and while there was always plenty to do while working a murder case they were moving a bit blindly at the moment until they had an ID. "Andy can you join me," she gestured towards her office.
He swiveled around and stepped in behind her, closing the door, "What's up?"
"Rusty sent a text. Dean stopped by a little while ago. Sounds like they had a nice evening together," she said with a bit of a sad smile.
"I'm sure the house will reflect their fun time together. Do you think there's any chance Rusty will have the place put back together before we get home tonight?" He joked.
"One can only hope. Apparently there's leftover pizza in the fridge if we want it," her face clearly conveyed a distaste for that idea.
"Or we could stop at Tender Greens or Lemonade on the way home and get a nice fresh salad instead," he smiled when he saw her give a how-do-you-know-me-so-well look, "So when do you think we are getting out of here? It's already after 8." He looked back into the murder room. Julio returned earlier, but Tao and Sykes were still at the morgue. Everyone had a reason to get home.
Sharon rubbed the back of her neck, "I think we've done about all we can do today. The social media angle didn't work out. I really thought we'd be further along. Until we get the surveillance video from the supermarkets or an ID we don't have a lot to go on."
He noted her posture and knew she was on the verge of a tension headache, the sooner they left the better for everyone. "We don't have much today, but we will have more tomorrow. Yes it was surprising that she has had virtually no presence on social media since the whole Gabriel thing happened, but we have other avenues to follow-up on. Why don't we get out of here, send the team home and come back fresh in the morning?"
She looked at her watch and then out into the bull pen and gave a nod of agreement, "You might be right. Let's go home and see how badly those rugrats destroyed the condo."
Andy plastered a large grin on his face. She looked at him inquisitively, "What?"
"You said I was right. I need to mark today down in my calendar," he said as he stepped aside making room for her to gather her things and leave.
"I believe what I said was you might be right, not that you were right. There's a big difference there that I think you're missing," she quickly tossed back.
"Nah, I was right," he placed a hand on her back and guided her out the door, flicking off the lights.
She shook her head, there was no point refuting the linguistic nuances, besides for it gave her a moment of jovial distraction something Andy was always giving her. She flashed him a look over her shoulder before turning her attention back to the team, "Alright, let's call it a day. Provenza if you could let Tao know. He and Amy can pick up where they left off in the morning."
It was late by the time they got back to the condo. They decided to eat at Lemonade instead of bringing take-out home. It was under the guise of wanting to give Rusty more time to clean up, but really Andy knew Sharon did better when she had a moment to unwind from work before going home. Frankly, they both did. Since they moved in together it was harder and harder to keep from bringing work home. They found if they went for a drive, out to eat, or even something as mundane as grocery shopping before stepping foot in the condo their relationship was all the better for it. It gave them a moment to ease back into being just Sharon and Andy.
They stood together in the elevator headed back to the condo, leftovers in hand, "Are you going to try and go to church in the morning?"
She leaned into him, "As much as I'd like to, I think I'll have to catch mass another time. If things turn out the way we expect to I don't want to lose any time on the case. What about you, going to the gym?"
Sometimes Andy would go to church with Sharon, the big holidays of course and occasionally when it felt right, but most of the time they did their own thing on Sunday mornings and regrouped for brunch. Andy would work out while she went to mass. He would joke that while she was working out her soul, he was working out his body.
"Maybe if I wake up early I'll go. I agree though this case takes precedent," the elevator dinged and he squeezed her shoulder as they stepped out together.
Andy put the key in the door and opened it, but quickly shut it causing Sharon to nearly slam her face into it. "Andy!"
"Uh, I'm not sure you want to go in there," he said nervously.
She groaned, really hoping everything would be back in its rightful place by 10 o'clock, "How bad is it?"
"Well, you remember that time we decided to bring the bedding into the living room and enjoy ourselves during that thunderstorm when Rusty was gone?" He asked enjoying thinking about that particular occasion together.
Her eyes went big, "Uh huh."
"This may be worse than that," he replied and slowly pushed the door back open.
Her hand went to her mouth in an attempt to silence the horror from her voice, "What on earth?"
There were blankets and pillows and toys everywhere. It looked like an explosion. Suddenly she spotted lights moving beneath the blankets. Not expecting anyone, or anything to be there they both instinctively put their hands on their holsters. A moment later they heard giggling and relaxed their postures.
Andy closed the door as Sharon shouted, "Rusty!"
She expected to see him walk down the hallway, and nearly fell back into Andy when she saw him crawl out from underneath the blankets, "Yeah?"
"Care to explain," she waved her arms around.
"Well, Dean came by to pick up the boys, but they were having such a fun time they kind of well talked us into having a sleepover." The boys crawled out on either side of Rusty.
"Yeah grandma a sleepover!" They shouted.
Andy stepped around her and took the leftovers into the kitchen with a chuckle. It was an entertaining sight. He pulled out his phone an covertly snapped a shot of Rusty with the boys and filed it away. It was rare that the kid ever did anything that wasn't serious or full fledged "adulting," seeing him on the floor playing with the boys in a pillow fort nonetheless was a really good thing.
"Mark and Ben said we needed a fort in order to have a sleepover," Rusty started to say.
Mark interrupted, "Grandma can you believe Uncle Rusty has never built a fort before?"
Neither Sharon nor Andy were surprised by this fact, considering what his childhood was like after the age of six, there wouldn't have been much time for fun let alone a wholesome sleepover. "So you decided to show him?" She asked kneeling down to the boy.
"Yeah! Look at how big it is!" he replied.
"It's the best fort in the entire world," Ben added.
Andy stepped back into the living room, "It certainly appears that way, but I think it's way past your bedtime boys. Time to crawl in there and go to sleep." They were quickly met with disappointed sighs as the two reluctantly crawled back under the fort.
Rusty shrugged at Sharon as she gave him a quizzical look, still surprised he would have done such a thing. Before either could say anything on the subject Andy gave Sharon a hand back to her feet, "C'mon time for bed."
"Night Rusty. Goodnight Mark, Ben," she said as she followed Andy down the hall.
"Night Grandma Sharon and Grandpa Andy," they chimed back.
Sharon looked back once more before stepping into their bedroom and caught sight of Rusty crawling back underneath the blankets. A smile came to her face as she thought about her beautiful boys playing together, it was a wonderful scene that brought light back into her life on days like these. Andy was right the darkness could way until morning, tonight she was going to enjoy knowing that her family was all around.