Hacker – Chapter Eighteen

NOT EDITED

Chapter Eighteen

Friday: March 16, 2029
2:07 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM

Jensen rolled over in bed, reaching for Bo. His brow furrowed as he sat up. “Shit,” he whispered, eyes on the empty side of the bed. He leaned over, turning on the light. He yanked open Bo’s dresser drawer.

His gun was missing.

Jensen closed the drawer, grabbing his phone. He let out a breath of relieve as his eyes scanned the text from Bo.

Bo: Timothy and I are at Ben’s grave. I have my gun and one of Jamal’s guys is with us. I’m safe.

Jensen closed his eyes, falling to his back on the bed. At least Bo had given him a heads up this time, unlike his ‘sneak out of the house and make my way to Kansas to speak to a mob boss’ plan during the Acid Bath Killer case.

Jensen draped an arm over his eyes, his jaw tense. Safe or not, he wouldn’t be able to sleep until his husband was back in the house. With a sigh, Jensen climbed out of bed and shoved his phone into the pocket of his sweatpants. If nothing else, he’d wait in the kitchen and make himself a snack to help pass the time.

2:08 AM; CLIFFBURN, HARBOR AVENUE

“I’m sure you had better things to do, so… so thank you for coming out here with me,” Timothy said.

Bo lifted his shoulders. “I couldn’t sleep anyway,” he said honestly. “What made you want to come out here tonight? This morning, I mean.”

Timothy glanced over at Bo before squatting down in front of his son’s headstone. “Well, uh, tomorrow? That’s the anniversary of when you brought me out here to see him, when we made up for al the bad shit. I would’ve liked to be out here tomorrow, but my flight back to Tom’s leaves in two hours.”

“Oh.” Bo lowered himself to his knees beside Timothy, clasping his hands in his lap. “I’m glad we ended up on better terms, Tim.”

The older man smiled faintly. “Me, too, Bo.” He reached out and squeezed Bo’s shoulder. “You ever wonder what mighta happened if I had reached out to you sooner? If… if things had just gone differently?”

“Like if Ben hadn’t threatened to kill me or my family?”

“Before that. Like if I had apologized once I had a better job and a better house.”

Bo lifted his shoulders. “I don’t know. It’s nice to imagine what could have been, but when you start looking at what events led to what good things, you realize how much of it you lose. I left Virginia because I was afraid my parents would get sick of me. If you had reached out to me before then, I probably wouldn’t have left. I wouldn’t have gone to L.A., wouldn’t have met Jamal or Kathy or Dallas or Bridget. No Kathy and Dallas, so I don’t care when they end up in prison. I don’t move to Clinstone. No Jake or Alice or…”

He shook his head. “All the leads to is Jensen ending up with someone else, Castor and Pollux never being born, Amber and Kayla going into foster care. It ends up with me being alone, more than likely. No husband or wife, no kids, just me. I wouldn’t even have Acamas.” He offered a smile. “This turned out okay for me, Tim. We get to catch up now, and I’m going to work my ass off to make sure that you get as much time with my kids as you want.”

“Thank you,” Timothy whispered.

“No problem, Tim.”

4:09 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, KITCHEN

Bo set his car keys on the counter, his eyes shifting to where Jensen lay in the keeping room. One corner of the blonde’s mouth lifted. He turned off the light and headed into the keeping room. He sat down on the couch, combing his fingers through the younger man’s hair. “Jens?”

“Mm?” Jensen’s brow furrowed as he forced his eyes open. “Hey, baby,” he whispered.

“Hi.” Bo leaned to the side, kissing Jensen’s temple. “Do you want to go to bed?” he asked.

“Prob’ly.”

“Do you… want to stand up?”

“That’d be a lotta work, Eli.”

Bo nodded. “I figured.” He lay down on his back on the lounge, holding out an arm. “Come here.”

Jensen snuggled up to Bo, laying a hand on his chest. “How was Timothy?”

“He’s okay. I’m just trying to make him realize he doesn’t need to keep apologizing for everything that happened. I ended up in a relatively good place because I was given up. No question about that,” Bo said, dragging his fingers up Jensen’s arm. “I’m going to find someone to treat him. I don’t care how expensive it is. If he’s willing to try, I’m willing to pay.”

“Okay, baby,” Jensen said softly. He laid his head on Bo’s shoulder, clearing his throat. “I love you.”

“I love you, too, Jens.”

“Are you gonna be able to sleep out here?”

“I don’t think I can sleep anywhere right now,” Bo said. “But I’ll stay right here with you. Promise.”

7:15 AM; THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, KEEPING ROOM

Bo sat on the couch, Amber seated on the floor in front of him. While Jensen stood in the kitchen making breakfast, Bo braided Amber’s hair. He was tired, and he certainly didn’t feel like existing that morning, but he had a family that had to come before him and his feelings or thoughts.

“Daddy?”

“Hmm?”

“Can I do band next year?” Amber asked.

“Of course.” Bo cleared his throat, hands stilling. His brow furrowed. Somewhere along the braid, he’d messed up. “You’re going to hate me, but I’m going to start over.”

“That’s okay,” she assured.

“Right, umm… What instrument are you interested in?”

“I dunno. The flute’s pretty. That’s also what Lijah wants to play next year in fifth grade, so…”

“So you want to sit next to him and annoy him.”

“Maybe.”

Bo snorted. “I hope you know you’re a pain in that poor boy’s ass.”

“I know. But I’m older, so I, like, have a right to be.”

“By nine months,” Bo said. “If he and Charlotte had been born two months earlier, you’d be in the same grade.” A pause. “Just don’t torture him too much.”

“I won’t. I’m not Charlotte.”

Bo chuckled softly. “Yeah… there is that,” he agreed.

In the kitchen, Kayla helped Jensen with breakfast. “I’m worried about Dad.”

“You don’t need to be.”

“Daddy, I know what depression is. I’m not stupid,” Kayla said.

“I never said you were. You’re a child. You shouldn’t have to worry about your parents,” he said.

“I worry because I love him, and because I know what can happen when someone gets depressed.” She cleared her throat. “A senior killed himself last year because of depression and bullying. Remember? We had a big assembly about it with guest speakers and everything.”

“Yeah, I remember,” Jensen said quietly. “But you don’t have to worry. He’s gonna be okay.”

“How can you know that?” Kayla asked.

For the first time, Jensen looked down at his daughter, at the tears in her eyes. He wiped his hands on a towel before squatting down to better match her height. “Your dad has this… thing where he doesn’t break the big promises. He promised to take over for Grandpa J next year. He promised to run the LAPD and keep up everything else Grandpa has.” He tucked Kayla’s hair behind her ear. “He promised to take care of us, too, of you guys. Daddy’s not going anywhere, Kay. He’s got a lot of promises to keep. Okay?” Sniffling, she nodded. “I won’t let anything happen to Dad. I love that little shit too much to let him go.”

Kayla smiled, offering a laugh as she reached up to wipe at her eyes. “Okay, Daddy.”

“Okay,” Jensen whispered. He pressed a kiss to the top of her head as he pushed himself back to his feet. “Let’s, umm, get back to breakfast, okay?”

“Okay.”


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