Tuesday: September 5, 2028
7:54 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Bo lifted Castor onto the bed, setting him down beside his brother. “I won’t be gone long. I’m dropping the girls off at school and running by the station to talk to Jake.”
“Can I assume it’s about the case you aren’t supposed to touch?” Jensen asked.
Bo smiled. “Possibly.”
Jensen snorted. “Don’t take too long, okay? Give the man a break.”
“I’ll go easy on him,” Bo assured. “I’m really not even heading there to grill him for anything.” He pulled both coloring books from the nightstand and handed them over to the toddlers, dumping on the crayons on his side of the bed. “Like I said, I won’t be gone long. Okay?”
“Sure, baby. I’ll be here.”
“Mm.” Bo leaned down and kissed Jensen. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
“Love you both. Be good for Daddy,” Bo said.
“Okay,” Castor said happily, grabbing a crayon. Pollux quickly nodded his agreement. Bo smiled faintly, squeezing Jensen’s arm before walking out of the room.
After he dropped Kayla and Amber off at the school, Bo headed for the station. He caught Jacob in the parking lot.
The lieutenant climbed into the passenger seat of Bo’s car, closing the door behind him. “You’re supposed to be at home.”
“I know. I’m heading there. I just had to take the girls to school,” Bo said. “I’m… worried that whoever killed McCullough wasn’t just some guy with a grudge. That wouldn’t add up. It wouldn’t make sense. I think it could be a vigilante killer, and Clinstone and Stanley McCullough could just be the start of it.”
“Freaks you out, doesn’t it?” Jacob asked after a moment. “Because of Dallas and that GBK thing?” Bo nodded. “Hey, if it is, we’ll handle it. Don’t worry yourself about that right now. For all we know, at this moment, it’s just an isolated incident. That’s it. Let’s do our best to treat it that way, okay?”
“Okay,” Bo said quietly.
Jacob patted Bo’s knee and opened the car door. “Worry about taking care of yourself and Jensen, okay? I’ll worry about this case for now. Sound good?”
“Sure, Jake.” Bo raked a hand through his hair. “Take care of yourself while I’m at home babysitting, okay?”
The lieutenant sorted. “Will do, Blondie. Same goes for you. Take care. I’ll see tonight. Supper. Got it?” Bo nodded. “Sweet. See you soon, Bo.” Jacob climbed out of the car, closing the door behind him. He bent down and waved, a gesture the blonde quickly returned. Bo sighed as Jacob turned and headed for the station. Bo shifted into reverse and backed out of his parking space.
Today, he would force himself to ignore the case—the damn case that wasn’t even his to worry about in the first place—and only worry about himself and his family. Today, he wouldn’t look at any crime scene photos or read any blood reports.
Today, he would simply be a family man, no matter how hard that would be.
11:00 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, FOYER
Bo pulled open the front door, Castor on his hip. A smile crossed his face. “You didn’t have to come all the way down here.”
Jamal smiled, offering a shrug. “What can I say? I worry.” He pulled Bo into a quick hug before taking Castor from him. “Where’s our injured man?”
“Family room. He’s gaming,” Bo said. Jamal clapped him on the shoulder before walking out of the foyer. “Hi, Frank.”
Frank nodded. “Good morning, Mister Austen.” He cleared his throat, nodding down to the child at his side. “This is Anthony.”
Bo smiled softly. “Hi, Anthony.” The boy waved. “I’m afraid my girls are at school, but my husband’s gaming in the family room. He might even let you play a level.”
“Really,” Bo assured. He took a step back and gestured to the family room. “There you go.”
“Thank you,” Anthony said happily. He squeezed Frank’s hand before hurrying out of the foyer.
Bo turned back to the older man. “Who’s he?
Bo raised an eyebrow, leaning his shoulder against the wall. “I didn’t know you had a kid,” he said.
“Two,” Frank said softly. “My girl’s a senior in college this year.” He shook his head. “Waited a long damn time to have kids, but the two I’ve got are entirely worth it.”
Bo drew in a long breath, nodding. “I hear you there.” He patted Frank’s arm. “Come on. Let’s go see what our family’s up to.”
Frank smiled. “Sure thing, Mister Austen.”
7:03 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, KITCHEN
Jacob leaned back against the counter, a beer in his hand as he watched Bo load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. “It’s good to see Jensen doing better so fast. He looked like hell when he was in the hospital.”
“I know. I chalk it up to the hospital lighting. I think it aims to make patients look worse,” Bo said.
Jacob chuckled. “Probably.” He took a sip of his beer, clearing his throat. “Jamal drop by just because, then?”
“Yeah. He wanted to come by and check on us all, see how Jensen was holding up. It’s appreciated, really. He helps take a few things off my plate,” Bo said. He closed the dishwasher and started it before turning to face Jacob. “Anything… on the case?”
“What? I lasted all day without asking questions. That’s been incredibly difficult for me,” Bo said.
Jacob snorted. “Yeah, I know.” He shook his head. “No. There isn’t anything on the case. It’s barely a baby, brother. You gotta give it time to grow and develop before you start expecting anything great to come of it.”
Bo sighed. “I guess.”
“Just be patient. If anything important happens, I’ll keep you updated on it. Until then, worry about your family and whatever case comes your way next.”
“Yeah, okay. Thanks.”
“Sure thing, Blondie.” Jacob looked back over his shoulder at the family room. “Kids seem real damn happy to have their Dads back home,” he said, turning back to Bo. “They were worried sick about you guys.”
“I know. We were worried about them, too,” Bo said honestly. “Thank you for taking care of them. Again.”
Jacob waved a dismissive hand. “Least I can do, Bo.” He nodded toward the family room. “Come on. Family time, hmm?”
Bo smiled faintly, grabbing his pop can from the counter. “Sure, Jake. Family time,” he echoed.
10:48 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Bo held Jensen’s hands as the younger man sat down on the edge of the bed. “Good?” Bo asked.
Jensen nodded. “Yeah. Thanks, Eli.” He pulled his hands from Bo’s grip, gently running the heel of his palm down his thigh. “When do I get to go back to work?” he asked.
Bo chuckled softly. “I don’t know, love. Eventually,” he said simply. He wrapped his hands around Jensen’s shins, helping his legs onto the bed. “Let’s wait until you’re better before we start worrying about work, okay?”
The younger man snorted. “Sure, Eli.”
Bo unbuttoned his flannel and shrugged out of it. Jensen’s eyes skimmed over the scar on Bo’s torso before the blonde headed for the bathroom, dropping the shirt into the laundry basket. He came back in a pair of plaid pajama pants and one of Jensen’s t-shirts. The blonde climbed into bed, raising an eyebrow in his husband’s direction. “What?”
“Nothing. Just missed seeing you in my shirts.”
Bo rolled his eyes, unable to fight back a soft chuckle. “You weren’t in the hospital that long, love,” he reminded. He folded back the covers, smoothing a hand over the comforter. “I love you.”
Jensen smiled, leaning over to kiss the blonde. “I love you, too, Eli.”
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