Friday: March 9, 2029
12:02 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Bo threaded his fingers through Jensen’s hair, his chest tight, heart pounding. He couldn’t breathe. He tugged on Jensen’s hair, drawing a moan from Jensen rather than the stillness he wanted.
“J–Jens, s–stop,” he managed to choke out.
Jensen lifted his head, a hand still resting on Bo’s stomach. Bo pulled his shaking hands to his chest, squeezing his eyes shut. “Breathe, Eli. Jesus Christ, breathe.”
Jensen leaned up and over Bo, laying a hand on the blonde’s cheek. “You can, baby. Just listen to my voice, and find your way back to Earth, okay? That’s all you gotta do. Find me and breathe. No one’s here to hurt you. I’ll protect you with my life. Promise,” he whispered.
Bo let out a gasp of a breath, wrapping his arms around Jensen’s shoulders. “I’m sorry,” he whispered.
“No, no, baby. Don’t be sorry for anything. You never have to apologize for, what, a panic attack?”
“I don’t even know,” Bo muttered. He dropped an arm from Jensen’s back, laying a hand over his face instead. “Maybe panic attack describes it. I don’t know.”
“It’s okay.” Jensen pressed a kiss to Bo’s forehead before kissing a slow trail down the scar on Bo’s toned stomach. He closed his eyes as soon as his gaze landed on the healing cut on Bo’s thigh before pushing himself away and dropping back to his side of the bed. He folded his arms over his chest, eyes on the ceiling. “So… no more blowjobs, huh?”
Bo laughed, the sound quickly devolving into a sob.
“No, shit, I’m sorry, Eli,” Jensen said.
Bo shook his head. “It’s not you.” He rolled onto his side, closing his eyes as Jensen wrapped him in a hug. “I–I need to ask you something, and I need to know you won’t be offended.”
“Ask anything you need.”
“If… if I’m like this for a while, are you…?”
“I’m not going anywhere, Eli. Ever. You’re stuck with me forever,” Jensen said.
Bo wrapped an arm around Jensen’s chest, clearing his throat. “I’m sorry I’m like this, Jens.”
“I knew exactly what I signed up for when I married you. Don’t apologize for any of that. If I wasn’t prepared to help you through your worst, I wouldn’t have married you at the best,” Jensen said. He pressed a kiss to the top of Bo’s head, squeezing the blonde tightly. “How about we go take a shower, hmm? Then we can watch a movie or play a game or read a book for all I care. As long as it makes you comfortable, that’s all I care about.”
Bo nodded, sniffling. “Thank you,” he whispered.
“My pleasure, baby.” Jensen cleared his throat. “Now… can I ask you a question?” The blonde nodded. “Do you know what triggered that?”
Bo fell silent for a moment. “One second, I was enjoying it, and the next, I remembered that you could see the cut from there, and…” He let out a broken sigh. “I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like a wave of… of shame and pain washed over me, and that was quickly followed by the fact that I was trying to leave everything amazing that I have here, and that’s a reminder that I’m not good enough for what you deserve.”
Jensen hooked a leg through Bo’s, rolling them both over. He straddled the blonde’s hips, his hands sinking into the mattress on either side of Bo’s head. The blonde watched him carefully, blue eyes teary but on full alert. “You’re perfect to me. To me, you and our kids are the best damn family I could have asked for. You’re perfect, they’re perfect. End of story. I fucking love you, shame, pain, whatever you’re going through right now. I love you.”
“I love you, too,” Bo whispered after a moment.
“Mm. You better.” Jensen leaned down, pressing a kiss to Bo’s jaw. “Let’s grab a shower. Whatever follows that is totally up to you, okay?” Bo nodded. Jensen pushed himself to his knees, pulling Bo into a sitting position. “We’re gonna work through this, Eli. You and me and your psychiatrist friend. We’ll work it out.”
7:51 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, PARKING LOT
Bo flinched at the knock on his window. He looked up at Jacob before unlocking the doors. The radio shut off as the lieutenant opened the door and slid into the passenger seat of the car.
Jacob cleared his throat. “Where’s Jensen and the boys?” he asked, eyeing the pack of cigarettes in Bo’s hand.
“Amber’s sick, so Jensen stayed home with her. He has the boys for now, and if he needs them off his hands, I’ll bring them here,” Bo explained.
The older man nodded. “Umm… bad day?” he asked.
Bo looked down at the pack, offering a slight nod. “You could say that.” He cleared his throat. “Since you love talking about your sex life so much, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?”
“Go for it.”
Bo turned to look out his window. “Ever have a panic attack during oral sex? Or sex in general?”
“Can’t say I have, brother,” Jacob said quietly. “Did you?” Bo nodded. “Is that what’s got you back to contemplating bad decisions?”
“Yeah, that’s a big part of it.” Bo glanced over at his best friend before turning back to the window. “Ever fear Alice would leave you for a lack of sex?”
“When you were sitting in county. I was so damn stressed out I couldn’t get it up to save my damn life,” Jacob said. Bo snorted. “Hey, now. Don’t laugh at my… What would you call that?”
Bo couldn’t help but chuckle. “Situational erectile dysfunction.”
“Dammit.” Jacob cleared his throat. “Is that what your issue is?”
“For all intents and purposes, I don’t really have to ‘get it up’ for anything Jensen and I do.” Bo shook his head. “I’ve always been able to do that, even before I felt any sort of pleasure from sex. Mind over, you know… erection, I suppose.”
“Oh, so you’re a—”
“If you call me a bottom, I’ll punch you in the throat,” Bo said. “Generally, couples choose to alternate. But, also in general, I just get more pleasure out of it that way.”
“Sure,” Jacob said softly. “So… what happened, then?”
“I was one hundred percent okay with the idea of… of trying to have sex. I was fine with it, and he asked me about a hundred fucking times just to make sure I wasn’t saying it to please him. But after, what, thirty seconds? Maybe sixty. I don’t know. I realized he was close to the cut, and it made me ashamed and afraid, and I knew he deserved better than me, and… and I couldn’t breathe. My chest was tight and my heart was beating, well, rather far above what’s considered normal. I thought I was going to die. I just… I couldn’t.”
“You know Jensen doesn’t think he deserves better than you, right?”
“Yes. He says as much,” Bo said. “No one deserves to be stuck with someone who hates themselves, who lives in constant fear of not being good enough, of being a failure or a disappointment. He should just get to enjoy his life.”
“He does enjoy his life, as long as you and the kids are in it,” Jacob said.
“Yeah,” Bo whispered. He held up the cigarette pack in his hand. “Do you mind?”
“Won’t Jensen be mad?”
Jacob waved a hand. “Do whatever you gotta do. I don’t control you, Bo.”
Bo nodded. He started the car only long enough to crack the driver’s side window. For the first time, he pulled the plastic off the pack, reaching back to drop it into the garbage can beside Jacob’s seat. “Can you hand me the lighter from the, uh, the glove box?”
Jacob sighed, but he did as told. “You sure this is what you wanna do, Bo?”
“I’d rather smoke than get drunk off my ass.”
“Yeah,” Jacob mumbled. He turned toward the window, and it wasn’t long before he heard the lighter click.
Bo inhaled deeply, leaning back in his seat before turning his head to blow the smoke toward the window. “I have missed that,” he whispered.
“I’m not gonna sit here and pretend I support you going back to smoking. It ties back into a lot of baggage and bad shit. But, if it makes you feel better for a few minutes, I’m not going to complain,” Jacob said.
“Once I feel like I’m not dying every time I breathe, I’ll quit again. I just a bit of time to get to that point. I have a phone appointment with Gabriel today during my lunch break. I’ll talk through some things, I’ll figure out some other things, and… and we’ll go from there.”
“Is this all because of this suicide?”
“If we’re being honest, I think it’s ‘all because’ Celia got that bastard out of jail and kept him out of prison, where he belongs,” Bo said.
“Because you’re afraid he’ll kill again?”
“That’s part of it. I think the other part’s because she broke a promise to me when she fought for him.”
“You could have Jamal kill him.”
“If we’re being entirely transparent here, I considered that, but I’m afraid she’d find out and never forgive me,” Bo said. “I already have one former best friend that hates me. I don’t need to add her to the list.”
“You’re forgetting that Kathy’s always been a bitch. Cecilia hasn’t,” Jacob said. “And if push comes to shove, Jamal made the decision on his own. He wouldn’t mind taking the blame off of you.”
“Wow, Jacob Mason supporting and endorsing Jamal murdering people. It really is a crazy world.”
“In my defense, I’m okay with Jamal.”
“Your argument the other night would rather detest that statement.”
“I know.” Jacob cleared his throat. “The guy’s okay. I just want you to be Bo, not Jamal. Just like how I want Alice to be Alice, not, like… Halle Berry. See, I don’t have anything again Halle, I just don’t want my wife to suddenly be someone besides herself. Same with you, you know?”
Bo nodded. “I get it,” he said quietly. He blew out a puff of smoke, shaking his head. “Mind if I lurk in your office today? There’s nothing I can do with the suicide case until I have her computer and phone.”
“You can’t just, like, hack into it?”
“They’re both turned off,” Bo said.
“Ah, that’s bullshit.”
“I’d be more concerned if they were both still on,” Bo said.
Jacob tilted his head to the side before nodding. “Fair enough.” He reached over and patted Bo’s thigh. “Should we head in?” Bo nodded, rolling up his window. He pushed open the door, flicking the cigarette to the ground. Jacob let out a breath of relief as the blonde ground the toe of his shoe into it.
“I’m not going to grind it into my palm. This isn’t Bridget we’re talking about,” Bo said as he climbed out of the car.
Jacob leaned back as Bo pulled open the back door. “Just because this doesn’t all revolve around her doesn’t mean I can’t be worried.”
Bo offered a smile as he grabbed his satchel and camera bag. “I know, Jake. It’s appreciated.” He nodded toward the station. “Come on, then. Let’s go inside and… and see what the day brings.”
Jacob smiled faintly. “Sure, Blondie.”
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