10:03 AM; CLINSTONE, MUNICIPAL AIRPORT, JAMAL PITMAN’S PRIVATE PLANE
Jensen wrapped Bo in a tight hug, his eyes closed. “Call me when you land?”
“Always,” Bo promised. He pulled away from Jensen, holding the younger man’s face between his hands. The blonde leaned up and kissed him. “I love you.”
“I love you, too.” Jensen tugged on one side of Bo’s flannel, sighing softly. He glanced down at Acamas’s pet carrier, nodding slightly. “Stay safe.”
“You, too, babe.” Jensen pressed a kiss to Bo’s forehead. “I’ll see you real damn soon, okay?”
“All righty, love.”
11:37 AM; LOS ANGELES, PRESCOTT-WINDER MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, RECOVERY ROOM 109
Dominic opened his eyes, staring up at the ceiling. He didn’t have to look down to know he was handcuffed to the hospital bed. “Is she dead?”
Dominic, more than surprised to hear Ashton’s voice rather than a random cop, turned his head to the side. “The hell you doing in here?” he asked.
“I told one of the officers I was your friend, and he said I couldn’t come in here, but then a blonde guy said that I could go in and he’d call his boss if anyone said anything different.” Ashton nodded once. “So… here I am.”
Ashton leaned forward in his chair, clasping his hands between his knees. “She stabbed you.”
“I got distracted, let my guard down.”
Ashton nodded. “The blonde guy said she’ll be in jail for a long time for what she did to me. They’re gonna talk to her other patients, see who else she hurt,” he said.
“That’s good,” Dominic said quietly. “I’m gonna go away for a long ass time, too. You know that, don’t you?”
Again, Ashton nodded. “I’m gonna visit you, though. Like, all the time,” he said. “And the blonde guy says I can find a job and pay my own bills. Mom’s not gonna control me anymore.”
Dominic let out a breath. “That’s good, too.” With a grunt, he pushed himself up so he could sit. He looked down at his hand, rattling the handcuffs. He was in pain, but not enough that it was unbearable. He looked toward the door, catching sight of two uniformed officers standing guard. A blonde walked down the hall, and he came into the room less than thirty seconds later.
“Oh, that’s the blonde guy,” Ashton whispered.
The blonde lifted a hand. “Bo Austen-Taylor, forensics.” He held a hand out behind him. “Detective Roth. We have a few questions for you.”
Dominic shook his head. “I’d like a lawyer.”
Bo nodded. “Of course. We’ll get you a lawyer,” he said. He patted Luca on the shoulder and walked out of the room. The detective stared at Dominic for a moment before following the blonde back out of the room.
Dominic sighed. “Where are you staying?”
“My house. The blonde says Mom can’t throw me out or anything like that,” Ashton said. “She pays the bills with my allowance, so… so it’s still my house.”
“Good.” Dominic offered a smile. “Thanks for being here, Ash.”
Ashton nodded. “Thanks for taking care of Miss Christian. She’s never gonna touch me again.”
“No problem, Ash.”
4:01 PM; LOS ANGELES, THE PITMAN ESTATE, GOLF COURSE
Jamal adjusted his grip on the club before swinging, sending a golf ball sailing through the air. “How’d it go?” he questioned.
“We didn’t get anything out of him. Between the nurses and his lawyer, he didn’t do much of his own talking,” Bo said, hands tucked behind his back. He walked up to stand beside Jamal, clearing his throat. “We need a warrant, Jamal.”
“You’ll have one tomorrow. I’ve got a judge to wine and dine tonight. You, Luca, and Roth can go tomorrow, find what we need to convict him of the Werewolf murders,” Jamal said.
“Wine and dine?”
“Well, more like Whiskey and dine. Curtis Boyer, I tell ya. Whiskey and steak, and he’ll give you whatever the hell you want,” Jamal said.
Bo chuckled softly, shaking his head. “Luca.”
“What about him?”
“You called him Luca. You never call the detectives by their first names, especially rookies. You know him better than the others. How?” Bo questioned.
“I grew up with his grandfather, and I helped raise his father,” Jamal said. “He’s actually Luca the third. He just doesn’t have his father’s last name. His mother didn’t want that.”
“You grew up around the grandfather?” Bo asked. Jamal nodded. “So he was in the Lucchese family, wasn’t he?”
“He was a soldier like me,” Jamal said. “We trained together, ran a few missions together. We were mostly just friends. They tried to make us run solo missions more often than not.”
“Did your brother know him?”
“A little. I tried to make sure Malik only ran with people that we a good influence. Luca was like family, but he definitely wasn’t the best influence,” Jamal said with a chuckle.
A smile tugged at one corner of Bo’s mouth. “I’m glad you had actual, you know, people your age when you were there.”
“Me, too. Hell, Luca’s the reason I learned Spanish. Everyone in that house may have been a criminal, but I learned something from each and every one of them,” Jamal said. He held out his hand. “Hand me a ball?”
Bo bent down and grabbed a golf ball, tossing it to Jamal. “It was a shitty childhood, but you used it to your benefit.”
“Hell yeah, I did.” Jamal smiled faintly, running his tongue over his top row of teeth as he set the ball on his golf tee. “When I’m gone, you’re going to find out a lot of shit about me. I raised a lot more kids than just Wayne and Katherine. When I’m gone, the things they need will be your responsibility. You have to take care of my kids.”
Jamal nodded, clearing his throat. “After you and the detectives go through Wilkinson’s house tomorrow, we’ll start on paperwork as soon as you get back to the station. Sound good?”
“Sounds fine, yes.”
“You wanna sleep here tonight? Or are you planning on torturing yourself by sleeping at your house?” Jamal asked.
“You’d let me sleep here?”
“Wouldn’t be the first time, genius. The room you stayed in after my transplant is clean, if you’d like,” Jamal said.
Bo nodded slowly. “Acky’s at my house. And my clothes, of course.”
“You can drive back for her and the clothes. It’s just an offer, kiddo. I know you and Jensen have a hard time being apart for two seconds. Can’t even imagine a week.”
“It won’t be easy. You… have that right. But we’ll figure it out. Stupid text conversations throughout the day, long nighttime conversations until we both fall asleep. We work around it,” Bo said. “We… have to get used to it if I really am taking over for you.”
“He’s still okay with that?”
“He’s more okay with some days than others, but the general consensus is that he supports it,” Bo said. “As long as I stay safe. That’s his only requirement.”
“And you will. You’ll stay safe. Frank will make sure of it at the beginning, and your own personal Frank will make sure of it afterward. Speaking of, are you willing to meet one of my men tomorrow? I’d like him to be your, well… your Frank when I’m gone,” Jamal said.
“How terrifying is this man?” Bo asked.
“He isn’t terrifying. He’s just tall and keeps up at the gym,” Jamal said. “He’s very intelligent. You’d like him.”
“I don’t know.”
“He’s my main lead. He knows the business, knows the inner workings of it all. The things you don’t want to do? He could do them for you, and I would have absolutely no issue with that,” Jamal said. “For all I care, you never have to get your hands dirty again.”
“I… suppose I could meet him,” Bo said quietly. “Tomorrow for lunch? With you and Frank, preferably.”
Jamal nodded. “Sure, kiddo. Lunch.” He smiled faintly. “I’ll set it up.”
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