1:05 PM; LOS ANGELES, TAMARA CHRISTIAN THERAPY, DOCTOR TAMARA CHRISTIAN’S OFFICE
“I went hunting again,” Dominic said.
“More jackrabbit?” Tamara asked.
“Of course. Can’t hunt much else this time of year.”
Tamara nodded. “Well, did you name them again?”
“Yes. I had to search for quite a while before I found one with… a good enough backstory,” Dominic said. “Spencer, Corey, Lola, Samuel, Bella… I had to name so many of them, and I learned so many of their stories. It took a long damn while, but I finally found a… jackrabbit that was interesting enough.”
“What’d you name it?” Tamara asked.
“Jade,” Dominic said.
There was a flash of something in the therapist’s eyes. Fear, maybe. Realization, possibly. Dominic couldn’t be entirely certain. He’d never managed to touch Tamara. Back when they’d first met, he had done his best to avoid all human contact. He’d worn gloves and long sleeved shirts. He’d never shaken her hand with his own bare hand. When they first met, he hadn’t wanted to see people’s lives. It had only helped fear his paranoia, his anger. He didn’t want that in his life. Tamara was supposed to help him get rid of all of the ‘bad’ habits and ‘bad’ feelings.
Still, because he had never shaken the woman’s damn hand, he couldn’t read her the way he could others. He needed to shake her hand again, for real this time.
He just wanted to know what the hell the doctor was thinking. Was he entertaining her yet? Did she still find him boring?
“Jade,” Tamara said after a long moment of silence had passed between them. “And what was her story?”
“She was truthfully a bit of a rabbit whore.”
Tamara cleared her throat, tapping her pencil against her clipboard. Dominic hated that. She was still bored. She always did it near the end of their sessions, a subtle act that let him know just how tiresome his sessions were to her. Sometimes, he had to stop himself from lunging over the little brown coffee table and ripping her heart out of her chest.
Clipboard tapping was one of those sometimes.
“So you couldn’t relate to her story? Is that why you were able to kill her?” Tamara asked.
“Yes. I don’t sleep around all the time, so… there was no empathy there,” Dominic said.
“What if she was sleeping around, as you put it, to make herself feel perfect? That’s how you were able to relate to previous jackrabbits and their stories,” Tamara said.
Dominic raised an eyebrow. The woman may have been bored, but at least she was listening to him whenever he spoke. That had to mean something. “That wasn’t part of her story, Doc.”
“How do you know?”
“Because she’s a rabbit. I create the stories.”
“Jade had… beautiful blue eyes, though. I must give her that.”
“I wasn’t aware jackrabbits had blue eyes.”
“They don’t,” Dominic said simply. Tamara’s expression shifted, but Dominic didn’t know to what. If nothing else, that was sure to get the woman’s attention.
2:30 PM; LOS ANGELES, THE PITMAN ESTATE, GOLF COURSE
Jamal blew out a puff of smoke before swinging, sending the golf ball sailing through the air. He straightened himself back out, clearing his throat. “I know we agreed that I was sorry and that you had forgiven me, but it still doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t sit right with me.”
“I shot your nephew three inches from his heart,” Bo said. “You were allowed to be upset.”
“I suppose, yes, but I handled it incorrectly.”
“Everyone loses their cool every now and again, Jamal.”
“Yes, but not me. I’m not supposed to. I was trained not to,” Jamal said.
“By whom? Your father?” the blonde asked. Jamal offered a lazy shrug. “Who gives a shit what he thought about you or what he told you had to be? He’s dead,” Bo reminded, dropping a ball onto the golf tee. “You don’t have to be some stone cold emotionless character. You’re allowed to be a real human being. Real human beings have emotions, and sometimes, that’s anger or fear or sadness. You have no control over that. None of us really do, I’ve learned. You can mask it and feel a bit numb to it, but it’s never gone in its entirety.”
“A fair point,” Jamal agreed. He watched Bo hit the golf ball before he sighed. “It’s been a long time since I’ve held an injured family member in my arms. There was Nicole, sure, but she still doesn’t necessarily want me to consider her family. Otherwise… the last person that I ever held while they were hurt was my brother, and that… fucking stung. A lot. Jacó had his eyes, and that was all I could think about. I was looking at the bastard that wanted to kill me, that wanted to kill Frank, but I could only think of my brother. That is why I reacted the way I did. Staring down at Jacó like that made me feel like I was losing my brother, and I…”
Bo stared down at the ground for a long moment before lifting his blue eyes to the older man’s face. “Is he…?”
“I’m sorry, Jamal.”
“It’s not your fault. There’s nothing to apologize for,” Jamal said. “God… has to take everyone eventually. I know you don’t believe in that, but…”
“Just because I don’t believe in Heaven or God doesn’t mean you can’t. I don’t know why people always think they have to defend their beliefs to me,” Bo said quietly. He cleared his throat. “If you believe souls go to Heaven when they die, that’s okay,” he added.
“Mmhmm.” Bo cocked his head to the side. “What was his name?”
“Malik. He was everything to me for the longest time. I got married and had kids, but Malik was…” Jamal let out a breath before laughing, quickly running his tongue over his top row of teeth. “He was my baby brother. I protected him with my life. The things I did growing up? Never regretted any of it if it meant keeping him safe.”
“He wasn’t… like you?”
“No, I made damn sure of that. The last thing I wanted was for our father to corrupt my brother the way he’d corrupted me.”
“Damn,” Bo whispered. “I’m sorry, Jamal. I… wish I had been able to meet him.”
Jamal smiled. “Me, too, kiddo. You two would’ve hit it off so damn well.”
“Can I ask what…?”
One corner of Jamal’s mouth scrunched up before he shook his head. “Not today.”
Jamal cleared his throat. “Hand me a ball?” Bo nodded, grabbing a golf ball and tossing it to Jamal. “One of these days, I’ll let you go through all the files and journals and notebooks in my office, and you’ll know every last detail that you want to know about me. Okay?”
“Okay,” Bo said softly.
Jamal set the ball on the golf tee before straightening himself back out. With a heavy sigh, he pulled his wallet from his back pocket. He flipped it open and handed it to Bo, touching a finger to the picture inside. “That’s Malik. When, uh, when he turned sixteen.”
“He looks a lot like you.”
“Yeah,” Jamal whispered. “A bit more boyish and little less harsh than me, but… but yeah. He was my rock. He kept me alive and fighting. He was a damn good soul,” he said.
Bo smiled faintly, handing Jamal’s wallet back to him. “I’m glad you had him, Jamal. Not being alone growing up must’ve been a lifesaver.”
“Of course. Little shit’s the only reason I’m still alive today,” Jamal murmured, shoving the wallet back into his pocket. He offered a smile, gently shoving at Bo’s shoulder. “Let’s play some golf, huh?”
11:41 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
“How was your day? Was he a total dick?” Jensen questioned, dropping to his back on the bed, his phone held to his ear.
“He apologized to me, actually,” Bo said, his voice soft.
“And you, what, accepted it?”
“Not at first. I did my best to remain angry at the beginning of the whole… ordeal, I suppose it one way of wording it. But he insinuated he was going to go get drunk, and I couldn’t be the cause of that. I don’t want to be like Kathy.”
Jensen sighed, closing his eyes. “Did he at least tell you why he reacted like a raging asshole?”
“I shot his nephew.”
“He has a nephew?”
“Well, had. He had a nephew. Jamal killed him for threatening to kill me,” Bo said.
“I know. It was a lot for me to take in, too. I told him he was allowed to lose his cool every now and then. I didn’t know what else to do. I love him, Jensen. I can’t lose him now.”
“I know, baby.”
Bo cleared his throat. “How was your day?”
“Long, boring, and tiring. Pollux figured out how to open one of the baby locks on the cupboard under the sink, so I had to replace it with a different brand. That’ll be a new adjustment for everyone. Figuring out how to open the original damn locks was hard enough the first time,” Jensen said, scrubbing a hand over his face. “There was a hit and run this afternoon. The guy died in the hospital an hour later. Jake handed it over to Floyd and Ramirez. I guess Ryan and I are bound to nothingness for the rest of eternity in this damn town.”
“I can spice it up with something bloody.”
“God, please do.”
“Hold on.” Several seconds of silence passed between them before Jensen’s phone dinged with a text. “There you go.”
Jensen rolled onto his stomach, pulling his phone away from his ear. He turned it to speaker and opened up the photo. “Holy shit. That’s your vic?”
“Uh-huh. Woman found in her own home.”
“Jesus. Heart missing?”
“Mmhmm. Blood spatter on her throat matches the spatter from the first victim,” Bo said. “He bit into the heart again.”
“Damn. Dude’s hard-fucking-core.”
“I… suppose that’s one word for it, yes. He appears to have a lot of pent up aggression, as far as I can tell.”
Jensen rolled onto his back, pressing his phone back to his ear. “Any clues yet?”
“Nothing of use, anyway. I just know that he’s what most would classify as a relatively tall man,” Bo said.
“Mm.” Jensen closed his eyes, draping an arm over his eyes. He couldn’t help the smile that tugged at the left corner of his mouth. “What’re you wearing?”
“You’re not still looking at the picture, are you? Because… because that seems oddly innappropriate.”
“God, no, babe. Picture down, imagination up.”
Bo laughed. “Of course. Apologies. Umm… are you actually asking?”
“Well, uh, sweatpants and one of your shirts.”
“You’re adorable,” Jensen whispered.
“I do my best.”
Jensen smiled softly, shaking his head. “When’re you coming home?”
“Tomorrow evening, I think. I’m planning on hanging around here tomorrow just in case the detectives need anything,” Bo said.
“Okay.” Jensen cleared his throat. “Well, just let me know what time you’ll be in Clinstone and I’ll come pick you up.”
“Sounds good to me, Jens.” Bo cleared his throat, and Jensen heard the blonde shift. “I love you.”
One corner of Jensen’s mouth lifted. “I love you, too, Eli. You wanna stay on the phone until we fall asleep? Like always?”
“Of course. How else would I manage a whole hour of sleep?” Bo asked. Jensen chuckled. “Damn good point, Eli. Damn good point.”
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