Tuesday: August 29, 2028
4:15 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, KEEPING ROOM
Jensen sat on the couch, arms around Bo’s shoulders, a gaming controller clutched in his hands, green eyes locked on the television. Bo glanced at the screen before slouching down against Jensen even more, pulling his knees to his chest. He looked back down at the book in his hands. Although Bo much preferred mystery novels or nonfiction of nearly any kind, he had decided to try his hand at one of Jensen’s favorite fantasy novels.
Bo looked up at the screen as Jensen’s character respawned. “You wouldn’t fall to your death so often if you’d stop jumping between high rooftops.”
“That was a radio tower, actually.”
“The point stands.”
“She likes heights,” Jensen argued. “And, you know, parkour. Don’t be such a hater.”
Bo chuckled softly. “It’s one of the things I’m excellent at.”
“Clearly, you dick.” Jensen pressed a kiss to the top of Bo’s head. “Tired yet?”
“Nope. Are you?”
“Nope. Parkour keeps me awake, I tell you.”
Bo rolled his eyes. “Of course,” he agreed. “Are you sure this is comfortable you? I’m not in your way?”
“This is totally perfect, Eli. Go back to reading,” Jensen said.
“Okay,” the blonde said softly. He patted Jensen’s thigh, allowing his gaze to fall back to the book in his hands. “Let me know if you get tired. We’ll go back to bed if you are.”
“All righty, babe. Will do.”
6:56 AM; CLINSTONE, THE WILLIS HOUSEHOLD, KITCHEN
Miley Willis pulled open the door and twisted the lock. She turned toward the kitchen as the light above the bar went out. She raised an eyebrow, letting out a sigh. “Oscar?” she called.
“Can you call the electrician? The lights went out again!”
“Can you go down and flip the switch?” Oscar asked.
“I’m literally heading out the door, sweetheart! The fuse box is on the wall right across from the steps. Call me if you need help finding it,” she said. She listened for a moment. “Okay?”
“Sure thing, Miley.” Oscar walked into the foyer, still dressed in his pajamas, his hair a mess. He walked up to her and pressed a kiss to her forehead. “Have a good day, babe. Supper tonight, Jade. Don’t forget.”
“It’s in my calendar. I’ll see you at seven.” She patted his cheek. “Turn on the breaker and call the electrician.”
7:45 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Bo squatted down beside the bed, combing his fingers through Jensen’s hair. “Jens, love? I let you sleep in as long as I could.”
Jensen groaned, cracking open one eye to meet his husband’s gaze. “What time is it?”
“I’m going to run the girls to school here in a few minutes. I’ll take the boys with so you don’t have to worry about them while you shower,” Bo said.
Jensen nodded, snuggling back into his pillow. “Okay.”
“And… make sure to shave.”
One corner of Jensen’s mouth lifted. “Sure thing, Eli.” He forced his eyes open, raking a hand through his hair as he rolled onto his back. “Come back in here before you leave? Make sure my ass is up and in the shower?”
Bo chucked softly. “Will do, Jens.” He pushed himself to his feet, patting the younger man’s chest before walking back out of the room.
“Dad’s up then?” Kayla asked as Bo stepped into the kitchen.
“Mostly.” Bo lifted his shoulders, grabbing his coffee mug from the counter. “You know Dad. He needs to be woken up many, many times before he’s actually awake.” Not to mention that Jensen had made it to six that morning without sleep, but Bo decided to keep that to himself. He already felt guilty enough that his husband had stayed awake with him in the first place. He figured saying it aloud would only make it worse.
He grabbed his keys from the counter and held them out to Kayla. “Mind starting the car for me? Just turn on the AC so it’s not too hot in there,” Bo said.
“Sure thing, Daddy.” Kayla grabbed the keys and cocked her head to the side. “Did you get any sleep last night?”
“That’s not something you have to worry about, sweetheart.” He patted her shoulder. “Just go on and start the car, please. I’ll be out in a few.” Kayla nodded and walked out of the kitchen. Bo let out a sigh, leaning back against the counter. He held his coffee mug to his chest for a moment before taking a sip.
He wasn’t sure what his plan for the day was or how he was going to survive another day where he accomplished absolutely nothing, but he knew he’d figure it out eventually. Even spending the day in front of Jacob or Jensen’s desk was better than sitting down in the lab, staring at crime scene photos and analytical data that would get him nowhere. Spending all day with one of them was certainly preferable to the depressive outlook on the case while he spent his days alone in the lab, if nothing else.
Bo headed back to the bedroom and leaned against the doorframe. “Last chance to get up, love.”
Jensen groaned, rolling onto his stomach. “Can I stay home?”
“Or, we go to work, and you can nap during our lunch break.”
“But I love food so much.”
Bo chuckled, shaking his head as he took another sip of his coffee. “I’ll run to the diner and get you something for lunch. You get to take a nice nap and then eat at your desk afterward.”
“You’ll eat, too?”
“Of course, Jens.”
Jensen pushed himself up on his hands and knees before sitting up entirely. “A’ight. I’m up,” he mumbled, raking a hand through his hair.
“Are you going to stay up if I leave?” Bo asked. Jensen threw out a quick thumbs-up. “I’ll call you from the car just to make sure. I’ll see you at the station.”
“All righty, babe.” Jensen cleared his throat, shifting to drop his feet to the floor. He lifted his eyes to Bo’s face, a smile tugging at either corner of his mouth. “Love you, Eli.”
Bo smiled a tired little smile. “I love you, too, Jens.”
11:57 PM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, QUIET ROOM
Bo sat on the end of the couch, phone in his hand. Jensen lay stretched out, his head on the blonde’s lap. Bo cleared his throat, scrolling through the photos he’d taken at the crime scene the second time he’d been at the house. He couldn’t wrap his mind around any of it.
He could only imagine that the killer had lived in the house for a week. If he’d been in the house for that long, how had he left nothing behind? Nothing but a flake of dandruff?
Bo had gone through all the trash cans in the house. They had been full. The killer hadn’t dumped them or any of his trash for the garbage truck to pick up. Bo and Gwen had even tested each and every piece of garbage for fingerprints. Everything that had come back matched the prints of the family and no one else.
The clothes in the dryer had belonged to the family, and the washer had been bone dry. Bo considered both telltale signs that two teenagers had been left home alone and hadn’t done any laundry. The dirty clothes in their rooms had only served to further prove that point.
The bathroom had been dusted for prints. The shower curtain, the shower walls, the faucets. They had checked the sinks and the counters, the mirrors, the door handles, anything that hands had ever touched Everything came back with clean, clear prints that belonged to the family. Even if the killer had worn gloves the entire time, something should have been found. A hair, saliva, anything.
If he had touched things enough times, the prints would be gone. The gloves would have smeared them, but they hadn’t been smeared. Nothing had been smeared, nothing at all.
Bo couldn’t make it make sense.
Jacob had finally gotten the credit card transaction report for the parents that morning, which he had promptly handed over to a tired Jensen and a half-asleep Ryan as soon as they made it to their respective desks.
Bo had scanned the reports until he had found what he needed most. The parents had purchased plane tickets to Texas. Bo had dug around in the family’s history to figure out what it was in Texas that was important enough to leave their children alone for three weeks.
But he had come up empty handed.
Jensen and Ryan had already spoken to any relatives they could find. None of them had mentioned anything about Texas. Bo figured they would need to speak with them all again, bring up Texas, ask if they knew its importance. Bo couldn’t help but assume that would lead to nothing, too. Yet, if it did lead to nothing, the blonde didn’t have a backup plan.
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