11:27 AM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, MORGUE
Bo lifted his head at the sound of unrecognizable footsteps in the hall just outside the morgue. He knew it had to either be one of the new detectives or someone else Jamal had hired or promoted without his knowledge. Just as he thought, Luca appeared in the doorway, lifting a hand to knock on the open door.
When the young detective noticed Bo was already looking at him, he offered a wave instead. “We couldn’t get anything on the phone. GPS’s last location is where he died, but I have the path he took for his run,” he said.
“That’s good. It’s definitely a step in the right direction,” Bo said. “If you could print that off for me or email it to me, I’ll draw up an algorithm for the security cameras along the path, see if we can’t catch a glimpse of our killer,” he said.
“Sweet.” Luca cleared his throat, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jeans as he stepped into the morgue. “What’re you doing?” he asked.
“Taking notes, searching for any evidence that couldn’t be found at the scene,” Bo said.
“Like… marks on the victim that would have been covered up by his clothing?” Luca asked.
Bo nodded. “Bingo.”
“Are you… finding anything?”
Bo glanced up at the younger man, his expression neutral. Luca was incredibly nervous around him, and in turn, it made Bo nervous. He didn’t know many people that were genuinely nervous to be around him. His parents had been nervous after they adopted him, always far too cautious and fearful that they’d scare him away. So what the hell was Luca so nervous about?
“Can I ask you a question?” Bo asked.
“You’re nervous,” Bo said plainly. “Why are you so nervous?”
“Because… because you’re Bo Austen?”
‘Oh, my God,” Luca whispered. “Chief and Loo were right. You have no idea how important you are,” he said. “Dude, you’re the Kathy Baker of forensics, okay? Not by intelligence or anything like that. You have her beat by a landslide. But the fame part? You’re in the news all the time.”
“I don’t really watch the news. My laptop filters out anything unimportant and sends everything else to my phone in the morning,” Bo said. “In short, I’m unaware of my media presence,” he added.
“You’re like a celebrity, especially in this station. Chief talks about you all the time, and there are all kinds of articles about you hanging in the halls of this place. I’m nervous because you’re a big fucking deal.”
Bo chuckled, shaking his head. “Well, if it’s any consolation, I’m no better than you or Jamal or your partner or Dallas. We’re all simply human beings. You don’t have to be nervous around me.”
“Thank God.” Luca cleared his throat. “That’ll, uh, that’ll take me a little bit to get used to, but I’ll do my best.”
“Thank you. That’s appreciated, Detective,” Bo said. He directed his attention back to the corpse before him, clearing his throat as he picked up his pen and made note of another bruise on the man’s body. It was healing, maybe two or three days old. It certainly wasn’t from the killer. “The bruise on his right shoulder. If you had to guess, what would you assume it’s from?” Bo asked.
Luca leaned down ever so slightly, hands still tucked away in his jean pockets. “I get bruises like that all the time when I walk into a doorway.” He lifted his gaze to Bo’s face. “Right?”
Bo snorted. “I can’t say for sure. I’m not that good,” he said with a soft laugh. “But it is what I was going to guess, as well,” he added. “Does he have a girlfriend? Significant other?”
“Not that I’m aware of, but after I got a number for his mother, I didn’t look any further,” Luca said. “Why?”
“Two reasons. One, if he does, we need to call her after we call his parents. Two…” Bo trailed off, wrapping a gloved hand around the man’s shoulder. The sheet pressed to the man’s stomach, he turned him onto his side. “The scratches. They’re certainly not from the killer,” he said.
“But they could have happened during sex.”
Luca nodded, pulling a hand from his pocket to pass a hand through his hair. “Do you want me to go back up and find out if he does have a girlfriend?”
“If you’d like to,” Bo said. “Otherwise, I’ll handle it after his body’s been cleaned,” he said.
“Umm… which one would you prefer?” Luca asked.
Bo shrugged. “Either works for me.”
Luca tilted his head back, sighing deeply. “You really are kind of a pain in the ass.”
Bo smiled, chuckling as he nodded his agreement. “I know.” He waved a gloved hand. “If you want to give yourself something to do, go ahead and see if you can figure out if he was single or not. If he’s single, see if you can’t figure out who he was with within the last couple of days. You may have to talk to Dallas or Jamal to get a warrant for credit or debit card records to figure out where he was or who he with,” he said. He lifted his blue eyes back to Luca’s face. “Does that sound all right?” he asked.
Luca nodded, jerking a thumb over his shoulder. “I’ll be upstairs, then.”
“Sounds good,” Bo said, looking back down at the victim.
Luca made it to the door before he added, “Sorry for calling you an ass.”
Bo snorted. “It’s a compliment at this point. Don’t worry about it. I’ll see you in a bit, Detective.” Luca nodded, slapping a hand against the doorframe before walking out of the morgue.
12:47 PM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, MORGUE
Bo pulled the cover down to Archibald’s shoulders, refusing to go any further. If the mother asked otherwise, he would kindly deny her the ability to see what had been to her son. The woman, Shannon Knight, stared at her son for all of three seconds before turning away from him, a sob falling past her lips. Bo pulled the sheet back over the body, pulling off his gloves as the woman cried into Luca’s chest.
Luca, much to Bo’s surprise, made no move to comfort the woman. He stared down at her, his brow furrowed. Bo sighed quietly. Luca was definitely new to this part. Bo tossed his gloves into the garbage and rounded the table. He laid a hand on Shannon’s shoulder. Almost immediately, she turned and buried her face in the crook of his neck instead.
“I’m so sorry for your loss,” Bo murmured, a hand resting on the back of the woman’s head. He looked up at Luca, whose expression had softened considerably. Someone at the station would definitely need to teach the kid a thing or two about comforting a grieving family member. If Luca had ever been forced to do it before, he clearly hadn’t been much good at it.
That much, Bo was certain of.
“I know this is… beyond terrible, and I’m sorry for that, but we have just a few questions for you, Mrs. Knight. We can stand here as long as you want, or we can go upstairs and get you some coffee, set you up in an interrogation room. We’ll do whatever you want to do, okay?” Bo asked. She nodded against his chest, sniffling harshly. “Would you like to just… stand here for a while, then?” he asked.
Again, the grieving woman only nodded.
“Okay,” Bo murmured. “We can do that,” he added softly.
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