10:00 AM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, POLICE CHIEF JAMAL PITMAN’S OFFICE
Jamal glanced down at his watch, pressing his phone to his ear as it rang. “Dale,” he greeted before the other man had a chance to offer a greeting. “I hope you have good news.”
“Donna… has signed over her rights,” Dale said quietly.
“Oh, joy,” Jamal whispered. “How’d you manage that?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Well, I understand that one all too well.” Jamal cleared his throat. “Where’s the boy?” he asked.
“My office. He’s waiting for you or Mister Chambers to come get him,” Dale said.
Jamal nodded. “We’ll be there in twenty, then.” Without waiting for Dale’s response, he ended the call and tucked his phone into his pocket. “Good news, Frank.”
“We… we win?” Frank asked.
“We sure as hell do,” Jamal agreed. He turned, a faint smile on his face. “Let’s go get your boy.”
10:23 AM; LOS ANGELES, RICHARDSON AND SONS FAMILY LAW, DALE RICHARDSON’S OFFICE
“Dad!” the young boy exclaimed, jumping off the chair. Frank squatted down in time for the boy to throw himself into his father’s boy. “I missed you.”
Frank closed his eyes, burying his fingers in the boy’s hair. “I missed you more, buddy,” he whispered.
Jamal smiled softly, lifting his dark eyes to Dale’s face. “See? You’ve done a good thing here,” he said. Dale only nodded. “Come on, Frank.”
Frank released his hold on his son, pushing himself back to his feet. “Thank you so much for this.”
Dale shook his head. “No need for that,” he assured.
Jamal tapped a hand to Frank’s shoulder. “Go on. I’ll meet you two in the car.” Frank nodded, clapping Jamal on the shoulder before grabbing Anthony’s hand and walking away from the office. Jamal watched them over his shoulder before turning back to Dale. “I’ll wire five grand to your account once I’m back at my office. Buy your wife something nice.”
“Thank you. And… and of course,” Dale said with a nod. “Uh, does this mean we’re even?”
“I saved your wife’s life twice. I still have another favor to cash in,” Jamal said. “I’ll let you know if I need it.” Dale nodded.
12:49 PM; CLINSTONE POLICE STATION, QUIET ROOM
“Hey,” Jacob greeted in a whisper as he sat down on the armrest of the couch.
“Accomplishing anything great?”
Bo shook his head. “I wish.” Jensen, still asleep, shifted, wrapping his fingers around the material of Bo’s jeans the best he could manage. The blonde smiled softly, combing his fingers through the younger man’s hair. The smile faded. “I’ve looked at these pictures… so many damn times. I’ve looked at them on my camera and my phone and my laptop. I’ve held the physical versions in my hand. I’ve zoomed in on every single detail. I’ve read the reports and the blood reports over and over again.
“I’ve looked at every single thing I documented, Gwen’s documentation, and the reports of every single detective, officer, or otherwise police personnel that was there. I can’t make any of it make any sense,” Bo said. “If he was there for a week, if he truly waited at the house, there should have been something to indicate that. A stray hair or fingerprint. Proof he’d showered, eaten, something. But there’s nothing.”
Jacob scratched at his beard, offering a shrug. “It seems like a long ass time ago now, but a few years back, Allie and I worked a case where this guy had been living in the home of someone he’d killed. When we finally caught him, it was a total accident. We went to check on a woman, she didn’t answer the door, and we had permission to go inside. He was in the kitchen, and she’d been dead for a month.” He sniffled, clearing his throat. “See, he’d killed over twenty people throughout the country.
“At first, he didn’t stay at their houses long once they were dead. He was out within, oh, forty-eight hours or less. But he got braver and cockier, and he’d stay for weeks or months. The bodies that got discovered in the beginning, you know, the cops combed every single inch of those houses. They came up with nothing every single time. No prints, no DNA, no nothing.”
“How’d they link the murders to him?” Bo asked.
“He’d only ever touched two things without his gloves on. The inside handle of the doorknob on the tornado shelters in the basements, and the inside handle of the attic doors. It’s where he was actually living. It was the only places he felt safe without his gloves on, but those were places that hadn’t really been checked all that often or intensely. If there were no prints on the outside, it was logical to assume his prints wouldn’t be inside, either. Prints and DNA took a lot longer to come back then it does with you here now. There was no point wasting money, time, and other resources just to prove that they were right.”
“I didn’t check the inside knob on the shelter, either,” Bo whispered. “I let Gwen take the basement. I didn’t check the inside knob.”
One corner of Jacob’s mouth lifted. “Tada,” he whispered.
“Jake, I don’t know, you might be a genius.”
“What can I say? I’m learning,” Jacob said. Bo snorted, rolling his eyes. “You and Jensen gonna go back to the house after he’s awake, then?”
“I don’t know. I might just sneak away and let him sleep. I kept him up most of the night,” Bo said quietly. He lifted his blue eyes back to Jacob’s face. “Would you like to go back to the scene with me?”
Jacob glanced down at his watch. “Mind if we stop by the diner so I can grab some coffee?”
“Nah. Skipping it for the day.”
“Mm.” Bo lifted his shoulders. “Works for me.”
“Sweet. I need to wrap up a few things first, and then we can head out,” Jacob said, pushing himself off the couch.
“All righty.” Bo watched the lieutenant leave the room, closing the door behind him. Bo lifted Jensen’s head, carefully sliding out from under him. The younger man groaned, but any complaint was silence as Bo slid a pillow under his head instead. “I love you,” Bo whispered, pressing a kiss to Jensen’s temple before straightening himself back out.
Bo headed for the door and pulled it open. He flipped off the light, closing the door quietly. If nothing else, Jensen could catch up on some sleep until someone desperately needed him, and as long as no one got themselves killed in the next hour or two, he could sleep in.
Bo took comfort in the fact that at least one of them was relatively well-rested.
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