7:55 AM; CLINSTONE, LITTLE DELIGHTS DINER, PARKING LOT
Bo turned as Jensen opened the driver’s side door. The younger man handed a coffee cup to the blonde as he climbed into the car. “Thank you.”
Jensen nodded. “Sure thing, babe.” He cleared his throat, fitting his one coffee cup into the cup holder. “You’ve been quiet. What’s up?”
“Celia came over this morning.”
“Is the baby okay?”
“Yes, it’s nothing to do with that.” Bo cleared his throat. “She’s been assigned to Dominic Wilkinson’s case, which is… something she promised me she’d never do, but here we are. Umm, anyway, she wants to know if she and David can stay in the house in L.A.. I’m okay with it, but I said I’d ask you.”
“Do I have a choice?” Jensen asked.
Bo nodded. “You always do.”
“I don’t know.” Jensen started the car and shifted into reverse, wrapping an arm around the back of Bo’s seat as he backed out of the parking space. “How do you feel that she’s representing him?”
“Like she’s going to make sure he doesn’t go to prison,” Bo said.
“Right. How’s that make you feel?” Jensen asked, shifting into drive.
Bo cleared his throat. “I feel… I don’t know. Betrayed is the word that comes to mind. She told me she would never represent a person that I helped arrest. Conflict of interest, you know?”
“And you have every right to feel that way.”
“Do I? It’s her job.”
“Yeah, sure, but you don’t get to control how you feel about things. That’s the point, babe.” Jensen laid a hand on Bo’s thigh. “Are you okay with her working his case?”
Bo stared out the window, letting out a sigh. “Yes.”
“You’re sure?” Jensen asked, glancing over at the blonde. Bo only nodded. “Then it’s fine with me. They can stay in the house for as long as they need to.”
“Thank you,” Bo said quietly.
“No problem, Eli.”
Bo pulled his phone from his pocket and opened up his text thread with Cecilia.
Bo: Jensen says it’s fine if you guys stay at the house.
Cecilia: Thank you!
Bo: Sure thing. You’ll have to let me know when you’re planning on leaving. I’ll give one of you the key to the house.
Bo: I’ll just ask that you treat the house with obvious respect?
Cecilia: Of course.
Cecilia: I’m sorry, sweetheart. I know this must piss you off. This is just my first real case since my Duncan found out I was pregnant. It’s nice to finally have a case, you know? If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have accepted to represent him. I promise.
Bo: You don’t have to explain yourself to me, Celia. It’s your job. Do whatever you need to do. I’m not *that* much of a child.
Cecilia: Thanks, Bo.
Bo: My pleasure, Celia.
9:21 PM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, POLICE CHIEF JAMAL PITMAN’S OFFICE
Jamal stood at the window of his office, phone pressed to his ear. “Heard Miss Delacroix will be taking over the Wilkinson case,” he said.
“Yeah, that… seems to be the case,” Bo said.
“You all right with that? I’ll pull some strings, get her dropped.”
“It’s okay, Jamal, really. She’s just doing her job.” Bo cleared his throat. “I went boxing this morning.”
“With a bad wrist?”
“Yes. I wanted an excuse to wear the brace. Now Jensen thinks I hurt myself boxing,” Bo said.
Jamal shook his head. “Whatever you want, kiddo.” He cleared his throat. “Saw Mister Mason on the news. Can I assume that was one of your little stunts?”
“It was, yes. Scaring the shit out of the public is the only thing I can do to help protect at least some of them,” Bo said. “They won’t listen to the news reports unless they have a reason to be scared of getting hurt.”
Jamal nodded. “Right. You have any evidence against this sick fuck?” he asked.
“No. No DNA at the scene, no prints that didn’t match one of the four family members,” Bo said. “All I know is that the guy’s dangerous. All I know is that he’s willing to rape and murder a teenage girl and take down the rest of her family while he’s at it.”
“I’ll find him.”
Jamal chuckled. “Really? Not even going to list your reasons?”
“Nope. I think we’re at a point where I no longer have to validate myself to you,” Bo said.
“Fair enough. But you know I’m here if you change your mind?” Jamal said.
“I do. I just don’t want you twisting the rules for me all the time. My job has no purpose if I let you find the criminal every single time one arises,” Bo said.
“Yeah, yeah, I know.”
Bo cleared his throat. “Cecilia and David will be staying at the house in L.A.. They seem to suspect you’ll find a temporary replacement for David at the station.”
“I will. I’ll have a suggestion for the Clinstone board in a few hours,” Jamal said. “I have an issue that Frank suggests I not handle on my own.”
“What is it?”
“A prison break.”
“You’re breaking someone out of prison?”
“Why not just, you know, pay to get him out?” Bo asked.
“Kiddo, if I could just pay someone to get a prisoner released, you would’ve been out of county jail a lot sooner,” Jamal said. “Some people can’t be bribed.”
“Fair enough.” Bo cleared his throat. “Can… Mekhi handle it?”
“Mekhi’s out that week to be with his daughter,” Jamal said. “If you don’t want to do it, I’ll ignore Frank and do whatever the hell I want.”
“Is it dangerous?”
“I don’t want you to handle it if it’s dangerous,” Bo said. “No offense.”
Jamal snorted. “None taken, you little shit. It’s not until September eighth. You have a bit of time to kill first. Worry about the case, and I’ll fill you in on the actual plans on the sixth. Does that work for you?”
“Sure, Jamal. That’s fine,” Bo said quietly. “When I’m in L.A., I want one of your people outside this house to make sure my family’s safe. There’s no reason this man should target Kay or Amber, but that’s not something I’ll risk just for the hell of it.”
“Of course. I’ll make sure a couple guys are on your street, throw in a protection watch on the Masons.”
“You’re a lifesaver. Thank you.”
“My pleasure, kiddo.”
“Well, uh, I think I’m going to go back to staring at these pictures in hopes that I find something I didn’t see before. I’ll talk to you soon, okay?” Bo asked.
“Sure thing, kiddo. Stay safe.”
“Doing my best. You, too.”
“Always. Love you, kid.”
“I love you, too.”
Jamal ended the call and turned to set his phone on the desk. “Who do you think’s best to watch Jensen and the kids while Bo’s here?”
Frank lifted his shoulders, glancing up at his boss only briefly before his eyes fell back to his newspaper. “You know them better than I do.”
“You’ve met all of them,” Jamal reminded, lowering himself into his desk chair. He leaned back, his left elbow digging into the armrest. “Two names.”
“Uh… Zeke and Toby.”
“Thank you,” Jamal muttered. “What’s up your ass this morning?”
Frank looked up at the man through narrowed eyes. “Donna wants full custody of Anthony.”
“Donna’s a bitch. I can get rid of her.”
“I’m not going to let you kill my ex. That’s a bit too far.”
“Well, then I’ll just settle the case with her. Everyone likes money,” Jamal said.
Frank shook his head. “Jamal, you know just as well as I do that I can’t take custody of him in the first place.”
“Stable job, nice home, stable relationships, has always shown great love for the kid, has never laid a hand on the kid or the ex… What the hell more do you think they want from you?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe they want me not to work for Jamal fucking Pitman.”
“Then you’re fired.”
Frank stared at the older man before rolling his eyes. “Anthony deserves to be with his mother.”
“Anthony deserves to have both parents in his life, but Donna’s petty,” Jamal said. “He could stay at the house.”
“I put my life on the line for you, Jamal. I can’t raise a kid in that condition.”
“I did.” Jamal cleared his throat. “I have a rather high success rate with raising kids in those conditions.”
“Yeah, and how many of them turned out to be killers?” Frank asked.
Jamal scoffed. “That’s not my fault, you asshole.” He pushed himself to his feet, snagging his coffee from the desk. “Keep your damn kid or don’t. I can guarantee she never sees him again, or I can guarantee you never see him again. I’m getting coffee. Have a damn decision by the time I get back, or you really are fired.” Frank rolled his eyes as Jamal walked past him. Sometimes, he forgot just how ‘persuasive’ Jamal Pitman could truly be.
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