Friday: September 1, 2028
12:03 AM; CLINSTONE, THE WILLIS HOUSEHOLD, FOYER
Miley and Oscar were laughing as they stepped into the foyer, both just a little too close to drunk rather than buzzed. Friday was Miley’s one day off of work, and they usually spend the night prior drinking and spent the morning together, catching up on whatever half-assed attempts at romance they’d made throughout the week.
Miley reached out and flipped on the light in the foyer before leaning back against the closed door. She pulled off her heels, dropping them to the floor. “God. Remind me to where flats next time we go out.”
Oscar chuckled. “I remind you of that every Thursday night, baby.”
She snorted. “Fair point.” She tilted her head back as the light flickered off. “Any luck that’s just a burnt out bulb?” she asked.
“Doubtful.” Oscar raked a hand through his hair, pulling his phone from his pocket with his other hand. “I’ll go check.”
“We don’t need it.”
“We need light, babe. Papa doesn’t get it on in the dark.”
Miley laughed, the corners of her eyes crinkling. Oscar smiled. It was good to see her laugh. Work kept her busy enough that her genuine laughs were far and few between. “Sure, hon.”
“I’ll be back in a jiffy,” he promised, turning on the flashlight option on his phone. “Stay.”
“Mm. Will do.”
Oscar shook his head and headed for the basement. He pulled open the door and headed down the stairs. At the bottom of the stairs, he cocked his head to the side.
The circuit breaker box was open. The electrician had closed it when he’d left, and neither he nor Miley had been down since.
He heard something move in the darkness. He spun the phone around quickly, catching a man in the bright light. The man shielded his eyes, and Oscar remained frozen for several seconds.
And then he bolted.
“Miley, get the hell out!” he exclaimed, slamming the basement door. He twisted the lock into place and ran for the foyer.
“What’s going on?”
“There’s someone in the basement,” he said, the words rushed and breathless. He reached past his wife and tugged open the door. “Go, go.”
Nothing like finding a strange man in your basement to sober you up in the middle of the night.
12:07 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Bo stared at the cup in Jensen’s hand before lifting his blue eyes to the man’s freckled face. “What’d you put in it?” he asked.
“It’s water,” Jensen said.
“Yeah, I figured. But what did you put in the water?” Bo asked as he grabbed the cup from his husband.
The younger man sighed. “The shit Jamal gave me to knock you the hell out if you ever got too, you know, wild or something. I just thought…”
“I forgot we had these.”
“I hid them away for a while. I knew we wouldn’t need them,” Jensen said. He held out a hand. “Here. I’ll dump it down the drain.”
Bo stared down at the water. “It’ll help me sleep?”
“I mean, I’d think so. Back when Jamal gave it to me, he said it’d knock you out cold in under a minute,” Jensen said.
“Mm.” Bo glanced up at Jensen’s outstretched hand before drawing in a deep breath. “Ah, what the hell,” he whispered. He tilted his head back and downed the drink.
Jensen closed his eyes briefly. “I just drugged my husband.”
“Actually, you just brought the drugs. I did them,” Bo said, setting the glass on the nightstand. He lay down on the bed. “I need to sleep, Jens. This is good.”
“Well, get in here. How do you want to sleep?” Bo asked.
Jensen smiled faintly, turning off the bedside lamp before climbing over Bo and dropping to his side of the bed. He slid under the covers, rolling Bo onto his back. “This way,” he whispered, dropping his head to Bo’s shoulder. “I hope… it’s a nightmare-less sleep. If it’s not, wake me up. Okay?”
“Okay,” Bo murmured. “I love you.”
Jensen scrunched up the material of Bo’s shirt in his fist. “I love you, too, Eli. Night.”
Jensen listened to Bo’s breathing soften and even out. The blonde’s chest rose and fell at an easy, calm pace, his fingers buried in the younger man’s hair. Jensen closed his eyes, inhaling deeply. Bo had showered before changing into his pajamas and coming back to bed. He smelled of citrus and mint, two scents he had switched to after their wedding just because Jensen liked them.
The younger man, pressed a kiss to Bo’s chest, snuggling closer to the blonde. He couldn’t help but feel guilty he’d tried to drug Bo without the blonde’s knowledge. Still, with Bo’s acceptance at the end, he knew it was for the better good. Bo needed to sleep, end of story.
That was the part that was important, no matter what.
8:00 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, BREAK ROOM
“Morning, Jake,” Bo greeted as he poured himself a cup of coffee.
“Morning, Blondie.” Jake leaned against the doorframe, crossing his arms over his chest. “You look… chipper. Did you get laid?”
Bo snorted. “Full disclosure, Jake, I ‘get laid’ pretty much every day,” he said. He turned his head toward the lieutenant, raising an eyebrow. “Coffee?”
Jacob chuckled, pushing away from the doorframe. He set his mug on the counter, snagging the coffee pot from the blonde. “What’s got you feeling better, then?”
“I got some sleep last night. A full six hours, which is… Well, if I believed in Heaven, I’d say heavenly,” Bo said. “It was nice. I needed it.”
“Well, good for you. I was starting to worry about you.”
“Starting seems like an understatement.”
Jacob cleared his throat. “So, I’ve been in here for about an hour, managing shit that happened overnight.”
“Well, a couple came in this morning, buzzed, drunk, something… Anyway, the husband was talking about some guy in their basement. See, their lights have been going out every now and then, like they’ve been tripping the main breaker. They called an electrician, he said nothing wa wrong, whatever. They get home this morning, lights go out, he goes down to check it, and he sees a man come out from behind the water heater,” Jacob said.
“Are you thinking drunk man’s tale? Or do you think it’s something we need to dig into?” Bo asked.
“Well, patrol was sent out to the house on good faith, and no one was in the basement. The door, though? The basement door, anyway, had been busted, kicked down. The husband locked it when he ran back up the stairs.”
“Whoever was downstairs busted the door to get the hell out of there,” Bo said.
“That’s what I was thinking.”
Bo took a long sip of his coffee, leaning back against the counter. “Has anyone talked to the neighbors?”
“We’ve got officers out now for that. It seemed a bit excessive to start pounding on people’s doors at midnight, you know?” Jacob asked.
“Early this morning, though, when the patrol went out? There was a neighbor standing outside on their porch. Patrol talked to them and got a partial description on the guy. Or, of a guy. No saying who it really is,” Jacob said.
“Right.” Bo scratched at his cheek, cocking his head to the side. “The Weavers had a circuit breaker in their basement, too. Ours is in the laundry room at home, but… the Weavers was in their basement,” he said.
“Yeah, where the son was.”
“Do you think… it’s related? That he was scoping out this couple?”
“That’s what I was thinking. Only problem is the wife. She’s nearing fifty, and she’s got black hair,” Jacob said.
“Nothing in common with Gia Weaver.”
“What about the husband?”
“Nope. Looks nothing like either male Weaver, either,” Jacob said.
“Dammit,” Bo whispered. “If it’s the same guy, he has no specific taste, nothing he’s trying to specifically victimize. Nothing… but the fact that they’re females.”
“Yeah,” Jacob said quietly. “Thought I’d get the witness reports to you, same with the half-assed sketch on the guy. We’ve got the one from the neighbor, and the husband’s in interrogation working with a sketch artist. He didn’t see the guy for long, but anything helps.”
“Who’s working this?”
“Two robbery cops. Nothing was stolen, but it’s a hell of a lot better than dropping homicide officers onto it,” Jacob said. “I figured… if you thought they were connected for certain, Jensen and Ryan could talk to the couple and the neighbors again, just to cross our T’s and dot our I’s.”
Bo nodded. “Of course. Get whatever we have down to me whenever you have time. I’ll see what I can do.”
A/N: I have to take Willie to the vet again in about four hours (possible ear infection), so I’m mostly going to just be uploading chapters until then. Hopefully we’ll get through the rest of this one today and move onto uploading book twelve!
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