12:00 PM; CLINSTONE SPECIALTY HOSPITAL, ROOM 101
“When do you think I get to go back home?” Jensen asked as Bo walked into the room.
“Soon. They want you here for at least twenty-four hours, and then we’ll just play it by ear from then on out. Bed rest is for the first twenty-four hours. After that, it just depends on how you’re recovering and how you’re feeling,” Bo said. He sat down on the edge of the bed and held out a cup of Jell-O and a plastic spoon. “Here, love.”
“Mmhmm.” Bo kissed Jensen before pulling his legs onto the bed. He leaned back against the pillow as Jensen wrapped an arm around his shoulders. “How’s the pain?”
“Good.” Bo pressed a kiss to Jensen’s shoulder. “Did… you like seeing the kids today?”
“God, obviously. I missed ‘em so damn much last night.”
Bo chuckled softly. “You and me both, Jens.”
Jensen held the Jell-O cup out to the blonde. “Help.” Bo peeled back the foil, turning to set it on the bedside table. “Thank you.”
“No problem, Jens.”
Jensen sighed. “I just wanna go home, Eli.”
“You’ll be able to soon. Promise.”
“This isn’t, like… something you’re doing just to keep me in here until they catch the killer, right?”
Bo shook his head. “If it were up to me, we’d be at home. I feel quite a bit safer there,” he said.
“And security system or not, I’d feel safer if the kids were with us, too. As soon as you have the all-clear to go home, we’re checking out and heading on home,” Bo said.
“Sweet,” Jensen whispered. He stuck a spoonful of Jell-O in his mouth, leaning back against his pillow. “You know, I didn’t realize how scary all this shit was until I was with the kids. I coulda bled out and died. That’s…”
“Scary,” Bo said quietly. Jensen nodded, dropping his head to rest on Bo’s head. Bo reached up, gently combing his fingers through the younger man’s dark hair. “I know Jamal hired you back in the day to protect me, but it’s my job to protect you, too. I’m not letting you go anywhere, Jens. I’ve got your six as long as you’ve got mine.”
Jensen smiled softly, turning to kiss the top of Bo’s head. “Always will, baby.”
“Good.” Bo squeezed Jensen’s uninjured thigh, letting out a short breath. “Can I ask a favor?”
“Always. What’s up?” Jensen asked.
“Can you, you know, maybe avoid getting shot from here on out?”
“I’ll certainly do my best, Eli. Promise,” Jensen said. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
“When we go home, I’m gonna have to take time off, aren’t I?”
“For a little bit, yes. You need time to recover and heal. You don’t want to screw yourself over and cause some kind of unrepairable damage,” Bo said.
“Yeah, fair enough,” Jensen said quietly. He patted Bo’s thigh. “Now you get to take care of me like the big baby I am.”
Bo chuckled. “With pleasure, love.”
Jensen sunk down on the bed, resting his head on Bo’s shoulder as he scooped up another little spoonful of Jell-O. “Think we’ll get him dead or alive?”
“I don’t know. Alive, most likely.”
“Which do you want?”
“I don’t know,” Bo repeated. “Mom used to say people… like McCullough should have to suffer the same situations they put their victims through. In a sense, I suppose I agree with that line of thinking.” He cleared his throat. “Although I’d like him dead just because he shot my husband, but that’s just a personal vendetta.”
Jensen snorted. “I want him alive long enough that we can talk to him. After that, once he’s in prison and it gets out that he raped a little girl? The other prisoners would take care of him in no time.”
Bo nodded. “There is that,” he agreed quietly. “They’d put him in isolation so no one could kill him. You know they like keeping the real monsters safe.”
“Not if Jamal has anything to say about it,” Jensen said.
“Well… yes. Fair enough.”
Jensen rolled his eyes. He set the empty Jell-O cup on the bedside table and laid a hand on Bo’s chest. “You should go home soon.”
“You’re still in the clothes you were wearing when I got shot,” Jensen murmured, touching a hand to the dried blood on Bo’s jeans. “You should be in something more comfortable, grab a shower.”
“Maybe.” Bo cleared his throat, combing his fingers through Jensen’s hair as the younger man toyed with one of the buttons on his flannel. “I don’t want to leave you here alone, Jens.”
“Call Jake or Ryan in for a while, then. One of them can sit with me,” Jensen said.
“I suppose.” Bo pressed a kiss to Jensen’s forehead. “I’m not leaving until one of them is in here with you, and even then, I don’t plan on being gone much more than half an hour.”
Jensen chuckled. “Deal.”
8:30 PM; SAN DIEGO, THE PITMAN ESTATE, OFFICE
Jamal sat at his desk, phone pressed to his ear. “How’re you holding up, kiddo?”
“I’m okay,” Bo said softly. “Jensen’s asleep, and the kids are still with Jake and Alice.”
“Good. How’s Jensen managing?”
“He’s strong. Taking it like a champ,” Bo said with a chuckle. “I was going to tell Jensen that I was going back to L.A. for the prison thing, but now that he…”
“Oh, don’t worry about it, kiddo. I’ll pull a few of my men, draw up a plan, and run them through it. It’ll be fine. You worry about your husband.”
“Are you sure?”
“I’m sure,” Jamal confirmed. “I’ll handle everything here. Promise. Your focus should be on your family and the fucker that shot Jensen.”
“Of course,” Bo said after a moment. “I hope this doesn’t disappoint you in any way.”
“Not at all, kiddo.”
“Good,” Bo whispered.
Jamal cleared his throat. “Well, I’ll let you go, kiddo. I just wanted to check up on everyone.” A pause. “You need to get some sleep.”
“Working on it. Slowly. Thanks for calling, though.”
“My pleasure. Get some sleep, Bo. I’ll talk to you in the morning, all right?”
“Love you, kiddo.”
“Love you, too, Jamal.”
Jamal waited a moment longer before ending the call. He set his phone on the desk, turning back toward Carmine Lucchese. “What can I do for you?” Jamal asked.
The dark-haired man straightened himself out in his seat, holding out a folder. “Gun transport from Italy. I just need a confirmation that the police won’t be interrupting the route we’re taking back to L.A.,” he said.
“These are guns for the L.A. base, then?” Jamal questioned, leaning back as he flipped open the folder.
Jamal nodded. “Is this copy mine?” he questioned, slowly flipping through the pages within.
“I’ll make sure no officers are stationed anywhere near the route.” A pause as he skimmed over the information before him. “You’re bringing it in through John Wayne?”
“It’s the only one we could get our hands on a runway. We just got news of the delivery yesterday. It wasn’t supposed to come in for another week, but the warehouse in Italy got word of a potential police raid. Getting the guns out now is safer for everyone involved,” Carmine said.
“Definitely safer,” Jamal murmured. He nodded, tossing the folder onto his desk. “Tell your wife your travels will be free of any police interference.”
“No problem.” Jamal cleared his throat. “When I’m dead, I’d prefer my boy talk to you over Venetia as much as possible. She’s still…”
“Against the idea of working with anyone outside of the Lucchese bloodline? I know. She wants to go full Italian, go back to ‘the way it used to be’.” Carmine rolled his eyes. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reminded her how stupid the idea is.”
“Is that what’s it about? Italians?”
Carmine nodded. “She said her grandfather destroyed the way the mafia is supposed to be.”
“By letting my father into the mix.” Slowly, Carmine nodded. “And she wants to fix it.”
“Tell her to do whatever the hell she feels is necessary. Just make sure she’s aware that the only Italian mindset is the reason most mafia families in America are running very, very low on full, made members. Most of them aren’t large enough to carry out their daily business anymore,” Jamal said.
“I know. Besides, we already made our deal with you and Mister Austen-Taylor. I’ve made sure to remind her of that as often as possible,” Carmine said.
“Good. What has her so… confused?” Jamal asked.
Carmine offered a smile. “I’m chalking it up to hormones and grief. She never properly mourned her dad’s death, and nowadays, we’re just both bogged down with taking care of the family and the kids.”
Jamal nodded. “Keep her sane, and keep her focused. I won’t let what I’ve built fall. If I have to find another family before I die, I will, and she’ll regret it.”
Carmine snorted. “Believe me, I know. We don’t wanna lose you, Pitman. I’m just hoping that once she’s well-rested, she’ll see the insanity she’s been riding on for God only knows how long. He offered a shrug. “I’m making her take next week off. I’ll take over again while she’s on a little bit of… of a break, we’ll call it. Hopefully, it’ll help her get her priorities straight.”
“It damn well better.”
“I know.” Carmine sighed, pushing himself to his feet. “I’ll handle her. She knows we need you, and she knows we’ll need Mister Austen-Taylor after that. She’s just, well… a woman,” he said, chuckling almost nervously.
Jamal snorted. “Of course.” he waved a hand toward the door. “Enjoy your night, Carmine.”
“You, too, Jamal.” Carmine stopped in the doorway. “And, umm, I hope your boy’s husband makes a speedy recovery.”
“You and me both,” Jamal murmured. He watched Carmine leave before letting out a sigh. He hoped the man could manage to talk some sense into his wife. Leaving behind the Lucchese family and opening business with another family seemed almost petty, and it felt like he was betraying Antonio and Alessandro.
But neither of the deceased Lucchese men would approve of what Venetia was doing to the family. Jamal was certain of that. He’d grown up around Antonio in his days as don of the family, and he’d helped raise and train Alessandro.
Venetia was attempting to tear down what her grandfather and father had built, and Jamal only hoped Carmine could put a stop to it before he had to step in and fix it himself.
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