Saturday: August 26, 2028
7:14 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, KITCHEN
Bo glanced back over his shoulder as he heard footsteps behind him. He raised an eyebrow. “What’re you doing up so early? I thought you slept until noon?” he asked, turning around to face his closest friend.
Jacob chuckled softly, raking a hand through his dark, messy hair. “Can’t help it. Slept like shit.” He cleared his throat, leaning back against the counter. “I just kept thinking about this killer. He waited for the parents to come home. For one reason or another, he wanted to kill all four members of that household. He isn’t going to just target one individual person. This is Dollhouse all over again. We’ve lost four people with one crime scene. If there’s another rape, are we expecting to lose another four people?”
“It’s… hard to say for sure,” Bo admitted. “He might target a single person, and he might target a family of ten. It’s nearly impossible for me to tell at this point.” He shook his head. “Hell, Jake, I don’t even know if his interest is in redheads, teenagers, or something entirely different. I just don’t know.”
“I can’t handle another eight homicides, Bo.”
“I know. We’re going to do our best to prevent that,” Bo said.
Jacob sighed, bowing his head as he closed his eyes. “I guess that’s really all we can do at this point, right? Just… warn the people and hope for the best. We have no evidence. Crimes go unsolved and… and cases go cold all the damn time simply because there’s no evidence.”
“But we’ll hope for the best. We can hope that a neighbor remembers seeing something that they just didn’t think was important at the time, or we can hope the attacker walked past someone and they happened to see blood on his clothes. We can hope to get a description of a strange man, someone we can talk to,” Bo said.
“I guess.” Jacob lifted his head, pushing his glasses up on the bridge of his nose with his shoulder. “You couldn’t get a height on the guy?”
“There was no blood spatter for the purpose. I can tell you that he leaning over the daughter when he slit her throat. I can tell you that her blood would’ve been all over his face and neck. He blocked most of the arterial spray with himself. I… can tell you that he didn’t step in the blood in the house. He didn’t leave any footprints. The ground’s dry, so he left nothing outside, either. No shoe size or type. I didn’t find any fibers that could clue us in on a pair of gloves or a jacket of some kind.” Bo offered a shrug. “I have next to nothing at this point.”
“Maybe Jensen and Ryan should talk to the neighbors again,” Jacob said. “Just in case.”
“You’re the lieutenant. Tell them to do it,” Bo said. “Although, I’d wait until Monday.”
Jacob nodded. “I know. Planning on it.”
“Good,” Bo said quietly. He cleared his throat. “I’m planning on heading out for a jog after I finish my coffee. Would you like to come with?”
“They’ll be safe here?” Jacob questioned after a moment.
“They’ll be safe here,” Bo confirmed.
“Great,” Jacob whispered. “Yeah, I’ll go with.”
“Might as well grab a cup for yourself first, then. Tired doesn’t even begin to do you justice,” Bo said, pushing himself away from the counter.
Jacob smiled, a chuckle falling past his lips. “Thanks, Blondie. See, I thought for sure that we had a pact.”
“What kind of pact?”
“One where you always tell me I look flawless, even when I’m clearly a mess,” Jacob said.
The blonde snorted. “You look absolutely flawless this morning, Jake,” he said.
“There you go. Now we can be friends again,” Jacob said, clapping a hand down on Bo’s shoulder.
Bo rolled his eyes. “I’m deeply offended at the insinuation that we ever stopped.”
“Ugh. It’s too early for you to throw out big words. Give me an hour,” Jacob muttered.
Bo chuckled. “Sure thing, Jake.” He took a sip of his coffee and held the mug to his chest. “After we get back from our jog, I’ll install the security system at your house. It shouldn’t take long.”
“My pleasure. Half my job in this town is making sure my family’s safe. That will always include you guys,” Bo reminded.
“I know,” Jacob said softly. He sighed. “Come on. Let’s go see what bullshit we can watch on TV, waste some time on something other than just coffee.”
Bo nodded. “Sounds like a plan to me.”
9:01 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, BACK DECK
Bo sat down beside Jacob on the deck, feet resting on the grass below. “I mean this in the nicest way possible, but you run a lot slower than you used to.”
Jacob shoved the blonde’s shoulder. “Don’t be a dick. I skip cardio ninety percent of the time when I go to the gym,” he said. He ran a hand down his thigh, shaking his head. “I don’t have time for an actual workout anymore. Just a bit of weightlifting.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“How’s your wrist?”
Bo looked down at his wrist, shrugging as he adjusted one of the straps on his brace. “It’s okay.”
“So… how’d you actually hurt it?” Jacob asked.
Bo looked up at his closest friend, his brow furrowed. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Jacob rolled his eyes. “You said it’s from boxing, but you were favoring that wrist before you ever boxed again. So what’d you actually do?”
Bo sighed. “I got hurt on my last… run with Jamal. Altercation went just a little haywire and I fell, caught myself with my hand.” He cleared his throat. “I promised Jensen that I wouldn’t get hurt on any of these missions. I don’t care that it’s just a bad wrist. It still breaks a promise.”
“What’re you scared of?” Jacob asked.
Bo closed his eyes briefly, letting out a heavy breath. “A lot of things, of course. If Jensen finds out I got hurt again, he might ask that I not take over for Jamal. I told him he can tell me to stop at any time and I won’t be mad. That’s true, but I’m scared it’ll disappoint Jamal.”
“And you can’t stand Jamal being disappointed in you.”
“Right, but I hate lying to Jensen, and I hate him being angry with Jamal. Which… is why I didn’t tell him I got hurt on a mission,” Bo said. “I love him, but he always thinks it’s Jamal’s fault, even when the blame is one hundred percent on my shoulders.”
“That’s just ‘cause he loves you, babe,” Jacob said. “When I had my heart attack, Allie didn’t think it was my fault, even though it was. I should’ve taken better care of myself. I could’ve had a better diet and a better exercise regimen, but I didn’t. I could’ve gone to the doctor’s more, but I didn’t. It was my fault for ignoring it for so long, but she refused to accept that because she loves me. It’s the same with you and Jensen.”
Bo shook his head. “Love sure makes you people illogical and… and unreasonable,” he said.
Jacob chuckled. “A-fucking-men.”
“Do you ever, you know, wish you were more logical about it? About everything?”
Jacob shook his head. “If I was logical, I wouldn’t be married to the love of my life, and I wouldn’t have five beautiful kids.”
“How do you figure?” Bo asked.
“Well, if I was logical, I wouldn’t have gotten drunk and slept with a drug addict to prove I didn’t love Alice. That’s how I ended up with Katie-Kat.” Jacob cleared his throat. “On top of that, if I was logical, I never would’ve told Alice I loved her, never would’ve kissed her or slept with her. She was recently divorced. I went from being a best friend to someone that suddenly loved her. I put my interests above hers. That was totally dick brain thinking. It was illogical.”
Bo snorted. “Please tell me… you didn’t just refer to it as dick brain.”
“Oh, I most definitely did.”
Bo rolled his eyes, raking a hand through his hair. “I hate you.”
“Well, then. Mission accomplished,” Jacob said.
Bo chuckled softly. “I suppose you’re right, though. I wouldn’t be with Jensen if I was logical, and he and this family are…” He cleared his throat. “They’re everything to me.”
“See? Even you can’t be logical every second of the day, Mister Scientist.”
Bo couldn’t help but roll his eyes again. “Not a scientist.”
“No, but you coulda been. Instead, you chose to be stuck with me forever,” Jacob said, hooking an arm around the blonde’s shoulders.
Bo snorted, shoving at Jacob’s chest. “Don’t be a dick. He pushed himself to his feet and held out a hand. “Come on.”
Jacob slapped his hand into Bo’s, allowing the shorter man to tug him to his feet. He cleared his throat. “You should tell Jensen. About your wrist, I mean.”
Bo nodded. “Probably,” he agreed. He sighed. “I’ll do it tonight. No more lying right?”
“Right.” Jacob patted Bo’s shoulder. “Just make sure he knows it’s not Jamal’s fault. Then you’ll be okay.”
“Right.” Bo reached out and slid open the glass door. “Thanks, Jake.”
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