"It's her," the voice repeated on the other end of the phone.
Andy rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, still trying to adjust to the early hour. He glanced at the clock it was only 5:24 too early to be thinking about the case yet. He felt Sharon stir next to him, he pulled the sheet back and sat up on the edge of the bed, "Okay go over that again Tao."
"I couldn't sleep. I came back in about two hours ago to look over the prints. It's her," he said again.
"Are you sure?" They all knew it would be her. Sharon turned on the lamp next to Andy and pulled up behind him, partly to rub his back and be near him and partly to hear what Tao had to say.
"I double-checked the results myself. The prints from our Jane Doe match the ones I pulled from the steering wheel. I then matched that to the DMV records. It's Ann Mason."
Andy nodded and looked up at Sharon, "Okay, we're coming in. Call Provenza, let's get the rest of the team in."
"Will do," he heard as he clicked the phone off. He and Sharon stared at each other for a moment, "So now what?" he asked.
"Crawl back into bed and hide under the covers until another division takes the case?" She says with a cute, tired morning smile.
"Sure, works for me," he pulled her into a close embrace and they shared a few sweet, soft kisses, "Morning."
"Mmm, morning. Ugh is it wrong for me to say this is not how I imagined waking up on a Sunday morning?" She said laying against his chest.
"Wrong? No. I tend to agree. Mike could have waited at least another hour to call," he said with a filthy smirk, "I could have found much better ways to wake you up." He kissed along her jaw and smiled as he heard her sigh.
She allowed them to stay like that for a moment longer, "Okay, time to get up. Do you want the shower first?"
"I'd prefer to shower with you, but since we don't have that kind of time today. You go ahead. I'll get the coffee going," he placed a kiss to her temple and left her on the bed as he headed into the kitchen.
The moment he stepped into the living room he realized he forgot about the boys. The pillow/blanket fort was still mostly, well kinda intact. He could see feet dangling out the sides. He peaked underneath and saw both Ben and Mark, but no Rusty. He shook his head and smiled, knowing that he needed to remember to tease the kid about being too old to sleep on the floor. He quietly turned into the kitchen and got the coffee going. Thankfully there was already a batch of fresh grounds to use, so he could avoid the noise from the grinder. The boys did sleep like the dead, but the last thing they needed was to wake them up at this hour.
Opening the fridge, he found a few eggs and tomatoes. He decided to make them both an egg white omelet before heading in. Sharon wasn't a big breakfast eater he discovered quickly during the friendship, well unless they got a workout in when they woke up, but he knew how she got on a case - food took a backseat to the case. The coffee began percolating as he tossed a little butter into the pan and whipped up the eggs. As the pan warmed he poured the mix in and turned to low, then headed back to the bedroom. The shower was still on, so he poked his head into the bathroom and took a moment to admire her beautiful figure as the water poured across her skin.
Sharon felt the eyes on her as she pulled the razor up her calf, "Are you trying to distract me?"
"Me, no, never," he moved in closer, "Just checking to see if the shower was free. Coffee's on."
She hummed in doubt of his weak excuse, "I'll be out in a minute."
As much as he wanted to stay and watch her, he didn't want to burn their breakfast, "Don't forget to text Dean. I'm not sure what arrangement Rusty made, if any, to have the boys picked up this morning," he shouted as he stepped out of the bathroom, and reluctantly retreated back to the kitchen.
Sharon silently cursed to herself for forgetting they were in the condo. Both she and Andy passed out so quickly last night that any noise they might have made was lost on them.
When he came back into the bedroom several minutes later, she was already dressed in a black skirt and her new DVF white sleeveless high-neck silk blouse. Andy rubbed his hand in the small keyhole in the back as she tucked the bottom into the skirt, "Zip me up?"
"Happily," he put both hands on her hips and then moved them to the center as he eased the zipper up. He placed a kiss to her bare shoulder, "Breakfast is on the table. I'm going to hop in the shower."
She turned around a placed a hand on his white undershirt, "Thank you."
An hour later, Sharon and Andy arrived at PAB ready to dive back into the case. Now that they had a positive ID on their victim they could really begin the investigation. The team didn't need any orders, they knew where they needed to pick up and moved accordingly. Andy and Paige joined Buzz in RACR to go through the surveillance video while Provenza and Nolan began piecing together the life of one Miss Ann Mason.
They spent hours sifting through all the details they could get their hands on, when Buzz asked the rest of the team to join them in RACR.
"Ah Commander," Andy said gesturing to the middle seat, "our review of the supermarkets has turned up something." Once everyone else filed in he began debriefing the team.
"Buzz pull up the video. We finally found our victim at Gelson's Market on Franklin." The video monitor paused, "She pulls up in the Mercedes at 7:12pm. Here she is entering the store," Buzz fast-forwarded the video, "And here she is leaving 22 minutes later at 7:34pm. She gets into the car with one reusable shopping bag and heads out. From the parking lot camera she turns left onto Canyon Drive. Presumably to head up to the house." The video froze as the car left the video frame.
Nolan was the first to speak up, "Do we have any traffic cam footage?"
Buzz pulled up the feed, "Canyon and Franklin is a major intersection so we can pull that, but there aren't any camera headed up Canyon Drive."
Sharon turned to Buzz, "Can we see when she goes through the intersection."
"Yes," he started to click on his computer to pull up the video.
"What are you thinking about?" Provenza asked.
Sharon turned towards her Lieutenants, "I'm thinking that we already know where she ended up, but where did she come from. Have you gotten any details that might tell us what she was doing prior to her death?"
Provenza gestured to Nolan who pulled up the information they uncovered thus far and projected it onto the screen, "It sounds like her roommate was right. Ann was a bit lost after becoming a lawyer fell through."
Sharon was still surprised by that piece of information"And what happened with that?"
"She failed her boards," Tao shared, "four times."
Sharon shuddered, even Jack didn't take that many times to pass. In fact she was surprised Jack passed at all considering the lack of studying he was doing those days. She shook off the distant past to focus on the now, "So she never passed the exam. What did she end up doing? Please tell me she still isn't working for Goldman." The last thing they needed was to have to interview that worm.
Provenza provided the immediate relief the room was looking for, "No."
Sanchez continued, "I guess after things fell through with Gabriel she walked away from that job."
Ever the realist Provenza couldn't help but add, "It seems to me, she got what she wanted from Goldman then cut ties."
"We can't find any work history from September 2012 to February 2013. Based on the bar exam results it seems that she was off that entire time, most likely studying. She first took the exam in November 2012."
Tao jumped in with his knowledge, "The California Bar posts results 10 weeks after the applicant sits for the exam. So she would have gotten her first rejection around February 10th. They offer exams bi-annually, it would seem that she opted not to wait and immediately retook the test at the end of February. She found out in May 2013 that she failed again. You see her scores show—"
Nolan cut him off and switched screens, "We picked her up again the following month working as a legal secretary at Holland, George, & Myers. She stayed there for a little over a year and then she tried taking the bar a third time, when she found out she failed she left the firm."
"Some law firms are willing to hire law students on the provision that they pass the bar, when she didn't it is possible they let her go," Tao added.
"Then she got a job as a paralegal for," Nolan was interrupted by Provenza's chuckling response, "by the same group that Madeline Morgan works for."
He knew that was one of Sharon's least favorite defense attorney's that came through their murder room. Sharon gave Provenza a Darth lite stare and ignored his effort to rile her up, "How long did she stay there?"
Nolan brought up another screen, "Until March 2016 when she failed the board exam for the fourth an final time."
Andy crossed his arms, it felt odd, "After four years of trying to become a lawyer and working for law firms, she still couldn't get the job done. So then what?"
Nolan wasn't sure, "A series of short term jobs, all over the place really. Seemed really lost."
Sharon looked at the monitors, at all the data they managed to pull together over the last several hours, "Was she currently employed?"
"If she did it was off the book ma'am," Julio stated, "Maybe the roommate knows more. Should we bring her in?"
"Not yet," she shook her head, "I want to hold off on any notifications. I know this goes without saying, and I don't mean to repeat myself, but we need to tread carefully with this investigation. It is possible that this was a simple follow home, but it's also highly likely that this is connected to something else."
"So Commander," Andy turned his attention back to Sharon, "how do you want us to proceed?"
She glanced at her watch, it was already getting late and until she had a chance to brief Mason and Pope their options were limited, "Continue pulling the street cams, let's see if we can track her, at the very least it will help us understand the timeline." She turned back towards Provenza, "Pull anything else relating to Mason that might be of record. Cases she worked on. Those were all criminal attorneys it might be nothing, but we need to do our due diligence."
As Provenza, Sanchez, and Nolan got up to return to the murder room Sharon tapped Julio on the arm, "Julio I would like you and Amy to pick up our Mr. Williams tomorrow when his flight arrives. Be vague, say it has to do with a neighbor, we need to get as much out of him as possible."
Andy agreed, "Maybe he was the real target."
"Fair point," she sighed, "Add that to the list of things we need to check into. Known enemies of Micah Williams."
Once half the team shuffled out of the room Sharon began rubbing her temples, this case had only just begun and already it was filled with a myriad of issues. She let out another sigh. Andy tapped on her shoulder and gestured towards the door. She got up and followed him out. As they walked together towards the break room he rested his hand on her shoulders, he could feel the tension flowing off her.
"You looked like you needed a break," he gave her a sad look.
Mmm she hummed, "I did." She turned and looked around the room noting it was empty, "Oh Andy, this case. Why do I feel like the past is coming back to haunt us?"
He smiled at her groan, she didn't often let out such vocal frustrations at work, "Because it is. Proof that we never truly put something behind us." He rubbed her shoulders, "The team is on it. We've only been at this for two days now and we already IDed the victim and put together a bit of a timeline. We'll bring Micah in tomorrow and once you brief the Chiefs you'll be able to put together a game plan. You'll figure this out Sharon, you always do."
She let her self sink back into the weight of his touch. To anyone else walking by it would just look like two colleagues standing closely, there wasn't much in it, but for her it was just enough. She let out another sigh, "Do you think we will need to let Gabriel know?"
It was something Andy had also thought about. He had mixed feelings on the subject. Given his trail of ex-girlfriends many of which ended badly he wasn't too sure he'd want the past dredged up again. On the other hand, at one time Gabriel did care for this woman deeply. Yes she betrayed him, but he did love her. That feeling might not entirely go away just because he willed it to happen. He stopped rubbing her shoulders and took a step back to face her directly, "Right now, no. We don't know what happened to her, so for now let's wait. He will hear about it eventually, but when it gets to be public or at least becomes DA knowledge, we can revisit it."
"It'll be DA knowledge tomorrow Andy. I can't hold off calling Hobbs in, especially given the victim's connection to Peter Goldman and the whole Baylor case," she turned around and began pacing.
He stepped towards her again and placed a hand on her arms to settled the nervous energy, "True, but Hobbs is discrete. I doubt she is going to want the world to know about this case. Have her come in tomorrow, in-person, and discuss it. If she can't then maybe she can talk to Brenda. Either way it'll be okay, but we're not going to be able to solve everything tonight."
She looked up and smiled, it still surprised her at times how the resident hot-head could be the most calming influence in her life. The thought caused her to chuckle, "You're right."
"You said it again! I must really be on a roll!" He pulled her in for a quick embrace. "Now get some tea and we'll get back to work. Don't worry you got the A team on it."
She laughed, it felt good, the break, the talk, the embrace, all of it. "Thank you Andy."
"Just another service," he smiled as he poured himself a glass of iced tea from the fridge. After the heart attack she limited him to just two cups of coffee a day. While tea still had caffeine apparently she was okay with that, it didn't make sense to him, but he mostly went along with it. It didn't hurt her if she didn't know about the occasional third cup during his AA meetings, or while out with Provenza. In reality, she knew about those, he could eat all the mints he wanted but he was never going to be able to cover up the taste of coffee from his lips. At the end of the day it didn't matter, they were happy and it was working, something that neither had experienced in decades.
"Get back to work Lieutenant," she smiled as he walked out of the break room. She knew it would only take a minute for the flood of the case to seep back in, but she was going to take the moment she got and enjoy it.