Saturday: February 9, 2008
Dallas had barely gotten breakfast onto the two plates on the counter before his little brother walked out into the kitchen, still in his pajamas. “Hey, wasn’t expecting you to wake up early today. Was just gonna put your food in the fridge.”
“If I gotta start waking up early on the weekdays for school, I figure it’s best to keep it up on the weekends too. Or, at least the weekends you wake up early on. Keep things consistent, you know?”
Dallas nodded. “Well, I won’t stop you if it’s what you think’s best.” He set one of the plates on the island and pushed it closer to his brother. “Need me to take you anywhere before I head in for work? Or are you good?”
Xavier shook his head as he stuffed a forkful of scrambled eggs into his mouth. “Planning on doing some homework and then gaming.”
“All right. If you decide you wanna hang out with someone, text me, let me know.”
“I will.” Xavier yawned, scrubbing a hand over his left cheek.
Aww, he’s so cute, isn’t he? But imagine how much better he’d be if we reached behind us to grab a knife from the block and slit his handsome little throat with it?
Dallas considered himself thankful that Xavier’s response pulled him further away from Ed’s control, “Do you have to go in every weekend?”
“No, I’m just going in today because I should have a warrant I can carry out, make some good progress.”
“Thank you. Good luck with your day of gaming.”
Xavier snorted. “Thanks.” He grabbed the plate and walked into the living room. After grabbing his coffee, Dallas followed suit. He hadn’t been lying when he told Bo his little brother liked patterns and predictability too. Making sure they ate breakfast together whenever they could was only one piece of that. Xavier’s daily video game playing—several hours a day, designated to specific times during the day—was another piece of it. Dallas did his best to accommodate it as well as he could, and if it helped his blonde lab geek ‘buddy’ at all, he’d do his best to do the same for Bo’s patterns.
Hopefully, it would make Dallas’s experience in Homicide a little less miserable than his experience in Narcotics.
Dallas found Bo in the lab, his arms crossed over the table, his face buried between them. Dallas flipped on the light almost cautiously, and without any prompting, Bo lifted his head. “Hey, man. You okay?”
“Did you… sleep here?”
“Yes.” Bo pushed himself to his feet, grabbing his satchel and camera bag from the floor. “I live with the other analyst I’m usually partnered with. Sleeping in his house by myself was a terrible experience. Sleeping here was easier and more familiar.”
Dallas nodded. “Okay. At least… you were able to find something familiar for you. That’s never really a bad thing.”
“Some people are familiar with cocaine and heroin. ‘Never’ is a strong term. But in this case, I suppose you’re right.” Dallas snorted, though Bo’s usual expression revealed that, once again, it hadn’t registered with Bo that the statement could be considered humorous. Bo lifted his satchel over his head and settled the strap of his camera bag on his shoulder. Eyes on the wall just beyond Dallas’s head, he tucked his hands behind his back. “Would you like to get coffee on the drive to the gatekeeper of our security footage?”
Dallas chuckled. “Would love to.”
Bo’s smile disappeared just as quickly as it had come. “Okay. Lead the way.”
No matter how long the smile had lasted, Dallas was making progress with his temporary shift buddy.
The closer you get to him, the harder it will be for us to kill him.
This time, Dallas chose to respond with a single thought, That’s the goal.
Dallas walked up to the house and knocked on the door. Bo hung back a few feet, far enough away that he didn’t have to be involved if the situation didn’t call for it.
A man opened the door, a cup of coffee in his hand. He sighed. “Hey, Austen.”
“Sir,” Bo greeted, his voice quiet.
The man’s eyes shifted to Dallas’s face. “If you want something, your chief knows damn well I ain’t helping you without a warrant.”
Dallas smiled, holding up the warrant in question. “We need your security footage for the parking lot you own near the beach. The timestamps we need are included here in the warrant.”
The man grabbed the warrant from him. “Great. The footage isn’t here, though. I’ve got a little office building by the parking lot. You can follow me there and wait for it, or I can bring it to you when it’s ready.”
“We’ll follow you. There’s a chance I’m not spending much time at the station today.”
“A’ight.” The man cleared his throat, holding up the coffee mug. “Let me move this over to a travel mug.”
“Of course, sir. We’ll wait.” The man nodded and stepped back, closing the door. Dallas turned to face Bo. “That went well, yeah.”
“Yes. It usually does once he’s presented with the warrant. He follows the laws without any issue, including the information given about Chief Pitman.”
“But you don’t?” Dallas asked.
Bo shook his head. “No. I’ve met the chief, and he did nothing but go out of his way to make sure I was comfortable in the station. Besides, the reporter who initially started the rumors of his supposed corruption was a racist. Accusing a black man in a position of any type of power of being corrupt loses a lot of its merit when that accuser is known to hate Black people.”
“That’s fair. I’d be inclined not to believe the asshole, either.” Dallas cleared his throat. “If you don’t mind, I have a question.”
“Should I be prepared for Burke to hone in on me eventually?”
“Yes. You said it yourself, Mister Silver. You’re fresh meat. When she’s bored of me, she finally has new blood to go after. That will be you.”
“And she harasses every dude at the station like that?”
“Yes, for the most part. If you won’t sleep with her, she finds other things to harass you about.”
“Is that why your favorite officer left?” Dallas asked. Bo refused to look up at him, but he nodded. “I’m sorry she chased the guy away, Austen.”
“Me too.” Bo took a step back. “Since I don’t foresee any issues arising with Mister Richardson, I’ll be in the car.”
“Is that his name?”
The tiniest smile tugged at one corner of Bo’s mouth. “Yes, that’s his name. You’ll remember it without me?”
“I’m unsure if you’re aware of this, but ‘totally’ in that tone of voice doesn’t inspire confidence.”
“Psh.” Dallas slashed a hand through the air. “I’ll be fine. Mister Richardson. I’ve got it memorized and filed away for future reference. And if not, I have the greatest default of ‘sir’.”
“Not a terrible point.” Bo nodded. “I’ll wait in the car.”
“Sure thing, man. I’ll be there in a few.”
What if we kill Mister Richardson while Short Stuff is in the car?
Still not a criminal, Dallas thought.
No, but a stranger is a compromise from my very, very deep desire to wrap our hands around the little blonde’s throat until the life leaves his eyes.
Dallas cleared his throat, reaching up to scratch his brow. It’s shit like this that keeps me from responding to you, for what it’s worth.
Aww, Tex, you’re no fun.
Latch your desire onto a fucking criminal–a real one–and maybe we’ll change that for a day.
Though he didn’t offer a verbal response, Ed’s chuckle let Dallas know that his answer had been satisfactory. He’d chalk that up as a win for the day. ‘Satisfactory’ normally made Ed shut his damn mouth for an hour or two.
The door opened, and Mister Richardson stepped outside. “Ready to go?”
Dallas nodded. “Following you, sir.”
Dallas sat in the small waiting room of Mister Richardson’s office building. Bo sat three chairs away, an open notebook on his lap. Dallas considered asking what he was working on, but there was a good chance he had already annoyed the lab geek enough for one morning.
Instead, it was Bo who broke the silence. “What’s your brother’s name?”
“He must live with you?”
“What makes you guess that?” Dallas asked.
“You were glad your father was dead. I don’t know if your mother was in the picture then or if she still is, but if she were, I imagine you would still feel safest if he lived with you.”
Dallas nodded. “Yeah, he lives with me.” He cleared his throat, flipping his cell phone in his hand, tapping it against his thigh with every turn of the device. “You an only child, Austen?”
“As far as I know.”
“Far… as you know?”
Bo nodded, his gaze still focused on his notebook. “I was given up for adoption when I was young. I could have a dozen biological siblings and have no idea any of them exist.”
“Does that bother you? The sibling thing, not the adoption.”
“I don’t think so, no. I’m not good at interacting with other people. I would prefer that my awkward interactions be as limited with family members as possible. A sibling I knew about would presumably want to interact.” A pause. “Thank you for clarifying.”
“How old is your brother?”
“Is he awkward?”
“Awkwardly long-legged, yeah.”
Bo snorted, but he didn’t respond.
“His best friend is the school’s guidance counselor. Yeah, he’s a little awkward,” Dallas said.
Bo nodded. “Is he withdrawn from his classmates?”
“What the hell are you doing? Psychoanalyzing my family?” Dallas leaned over and grabbed Bo’s notebook. In an unexpected turn, what Bo had been writing down had absolutely nothing to do with Dallas or his brother. Everything on the page was strictly related to their homicide case. “Umm… sorry. That’s pretty out of character for me. I don’t normally… I haven’t been sleeping well,” Dallas said quietly, handing the notebook back to Bo.
Bo smoothed a hand over his notebook page and, after a moment of absolute stillness, went back to writing.
“You were trying to back up the assumption that my father was abusive, huh?”
Bo didn’t respond.
“He was, for what it’s worth. My mom was already dead by then. For most of it, anyway. Xavier’s mom is still alive, though. She was thankfully deemed unfit to take care of him.” Dallas was greeted with more silence. He looked over at Bo, who had quietly moved over another seat, putting three chairs between them rather than the previous two.
Dallas closed his eyes, tilting his head back against the wall.
Now can we kill him, Tex? Since your friendship is clearly going nowhere?
No, we may not.
Ed groaned. So what? He makes you think of what a freak your brother will grow up to be if you don’t help him learn to better interact with people? He makes you realize how your brother’s little patterns and habits aren’t going to help him fair in the real world? But as long as you can show this little twerp that even one person cares, you can convince yourself your brother will be fine? You’re an idiot, Tex.
Dallas took a page straight out of Bo’s book and chose not to respond.
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