Sunday: May 21, 2028
6:02 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Bo rolled onto his side as his phone dinged with a text message. Behind him, Jensen groaned, wrapping an arm around his waist. He slid a hand up Bo’s chest, wrapping a hand around the collar of his shirt.
Jamal: Whenever you’re up, just asking for a progress report.I’ve gotta update my guys in two hours.
Bo: Lawrence has been her patient for about five years. I have to run through the names for that time period. Jensen wants me to spend the day with him and the kids. I’ll get to the rest of it on Monday.
Bo: If that’s okay?
Jamal: More than okay. Just needed to know where we were.
Jamal: And get your ass to sleep. It’s a damn Sunday.
Bo: You texted me.
Jamal: Go back to sleep, you little shit
Bo smiled softly, rolling his eyes.
Bo: Sure thing, Jamal. Enjoy your day.
Jamal: You, too, kiddo
Bo: And maybe you should stop being a hypocrite and get some sleep yourself? It’s 4 in the damn morning for you, Jamal.
Jamal: Psh, that’s different. Go to bed.
Bo rolled his eyes. Locking his screen, he set the phone back on his nightstand. He closed his eyes, reaching up to lay his hand over Jensen’s. He threaded his fingers through the younger man’s.
“Mm.” Jensen cleared his throat, pressing a kiss to Bo’s shoulder. “Planning on leaving me already?”
“Nope. I just had to text Jamal back.”
“Oh.” Jensen yawned. “Are you, like, set on spooning?”
Bo snorted. “You’re the one who rolled over, love.”
“Mm. Good.” Jensen sniffled, scooching away from Bo. The blonde turned onto his back, stretching out an arm as Jensen snuggled up to his side. “Can you sleep in today?”
“I can do my best to, yes.”
“Good enough for me,” Jensen mumbled. “I love you, Eli.”
Bo combed his fingers through Jensen’s hair. “I love you, too, Jens.”
8:29 AM; LOS ANGELES, THE WEREWOLF’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM
Dominic grabbed both plates from the coffee table and headed for the kitchen.
“Can we go outside today?” Ashton asked.
“You’re a missing person, Ash,” Dominic said.
“So if I get seen with you, I could get taken in for questioning. Not to mention that you’ll be taken back to your mother. And Tamara,” Dominic said, setting the plates in the sink.
“Oh. Right,” Ashton said quietly.
Dominic sighed as he walked back into the living room. He picked up the remote from the coffee table and shut off the television. “Come on.”
“Where are we going?” Ashton asked as he rose to his feet.
“Outside,” Dominic said, tossing the remote onto the couch. “If we head out the back, we can avoid the cameras and… and most of the civilians,” he said. He headed for the front door, slipped his feet into his shoes. He kicked Ashton’s shoes toward the other man. “Here. Put ‘em on.”
Ashton did as told and followed Dominic out the back door of the house. “I didn’t know you had a backyard,” he murmured.
Dominic lifted his shoulders. “Haven’t really been here long enough to know, dude.”
Dominic shoved his hands into his pockets as they walked down the grassy slope. “Watch your head here,” he commented, ducking under the tree branches at the bottom of the hill.
“Whoa. What’s that?” Ashton asked.
“Hmm? Oh, that. It’s just an old shed.”
“Nah. Been here longer than the house has been.”
“Ever been in it?”
Dominic shook his head. “It’s got a heavy duty lock on the door,” he said.
“Can’t pick locks, then?” Ashton questioned.
Dominic snorted. “No, not really. I didn’t exactly take a lock-picking course in high school,” he said.
Ashton laughed. “Right,” he agreed. “Ever wonder what’s inside?”
“Oh, yeah. Sometimes. In the beginning, that was, like, half of the reason I moved here,” Dominic said.
“We should break in,” Ashton said. “It’s, you know… on your property.”
Dominic bent down and picked up a rock. “Ever play baseball, Ash?”
“Sorta. For a bit.”
“Yeah? Ever any good at pitching?”
Dominic snorted, holding the rock out to Ashton. “Aim for the window.”
Ashton grabbed the rock and chucked it at the window. The rock shattered the window before thudding to the floor within. Ashton clapped his hands together, turning toward Dominic. “Now what?”
“Now we go inside,” Dominic said. He walked up to the old shed. He couldn’t believe how much bigger it looked up close. It looked more like a small barn than a shed. “All right, Ash. You’re shorter. You want help climbing through?”
“Umm… I dunno. Won’t it be dark in there?”
“Well, yeah. You don’t like the dark?”
“Not when the dark’s inside an old building,” Ashton said.
Dominic snorted. “Yeah, okay. Fair enough.” He cleared his throat, picking up a small, broken branch from the ground. He reached up, shielding his face with his other arm as he used the branch to push the glass out of the window.
Slicing his hand wide open on some old, broken glass wasn’t exactly in his plans for the day.
He tossed the branch to the ground, wiping his hands on his jeans. “All right. I’ll go in first, make sure there’s nothing too, you know, spooky in there, and then I’ll come back out here and help you in, okay?”
“Okay.” Ashton clasped his hands together at his chest as Dominic grabbed the bottom of the window and pulled himself up. “Be careful, Dom.”
“Sure thing, Ash.” Dominic grabbed the upper part of the window frame, slinging a leg through the empty frame. The wood creaked beneath his weight, but he paid it no mind. He wasn’t planning on sitting there long. He drew in a breath and dropped down from the window, bending his knees to lessen the strain on his ankles.
He straightened himself out, dusting his hands on his shirt. His eyes scanned the shed.
Dust floated in the stream of light shining in through the broken window. Sunlight managed to force its way through the dirt and grime caked onto the other windows, the light scattered across the floor.
Dominic cleared his throat as he walked over to one of the tables. A small key sat next to a closed book, both covered in dust and cobwebs.
“I’m all right!” Dominic assured. He grabbed the key, wiping his hand on his jeans to quickly rid himself of the cobweb feeling between his fingers. He tucked the key into his pocket and headed for the window. He pulled himself back up and out, dropping to the ground below.
“Dom, look,” Ashton whispered.
Dominic walked back to where Ashton stood, his eyes focusing on the rabbit Ashton was staring at. “It’s just a rabbit.”
“I mean, you’ve probably seen ‘em before.”
“Well… yeah, but they’re still, you know, life. You gotta, like, stop and smell the roses, right?” Ashton glanced up before shrugging. “Or look at the rabbits, I guess.”
“You should buy a rabbit when you go back home.”
“Mom says I can’t have any pets. She pays my bills,” Ashton said. “Well… I have an allowance, I guess.”
Dominic frowned. “How much do you get a month?”
“I dunno. Mom buys my groceries, so I kinda just, you know… stay home. I buy a pop at the gas station after my appointments with Miss Christian, though.”
“I’m used to it,” Ashton said simply.
Dominic shook his head. “Doesn’t make it any less bullshitty,” he said. He walked up to the door of the shed, pulling the key from his pocket. Ashton let out a sound of disappointment as the rabbit hopped away. Dominic squatted down and, with a bit of finagling, turned the key in the lock. He dropped the lock to the ground and rose to his feet, pulling the door open. It creaked and scraped against the ground in one last fight against him, but he managed.
“There we go,” Dominic said quietly.
Ashton followed him into the shed. “It’s dirty.”
Dominic snorted. “Well, yeah, dude. I coulda told you that,” he said.
Ashton shoved his hands into his pockets. “What’s that?” he asked, nodding toward the table.
“A book, diary, something like that.”
“No, I know that. I’m not that stupid,” Ashton said.
“I just meant, like… did you read it?”
“Not really something I’m interested in.”
Ashton crossed the floor and grabbed the book, gently shaking it free of cobwebs. He cracked it open and walked back toward the door. After flipping through several pages, he whispered a single, “Whoa.”
“Some guy killed people here?”
Dominic frowned. He walked up to Ashton, looking down at the book over the shorter man’s shoulder. He scanned the page Ashton had stopped on, his brow furrowed. “I’d call that the scribbles of a mad man,” he said, despite the fact that the page detailed the murder of a young woman.
“Realy? Think it’s like, fiction or something?”
“Could be,” Dominic said quietly. He touched his fingers to the page, wishing the person that had written it was in front of him. If he could touch the writer, he’d know exactly what had been running through their head when they’d sat down to write these words out. Sadly, the writer of the angry words wasn’t around, and Dominic had no way into their mind.
He cleared his throat, patting Ashton on the shoulder. “Come on, Ash. Let’s go inside.”
“Can I take the book?” Ashton asked.
“Sure, man. Whatever you want.” Dominic crossed his arms over his chest as they headed back for the house. “Once it’s dark, we can have a little, you know, fire or something. If you wanted. I just don’t feel safe letting you walk around in the daylight. I won’t let you get spotted until after Tamara’s taken care of.”
“That’d be cool,” Ashton said with a nod. “When’s Tamara gonna be ‘taken care of’?” he asked.
“June, maybe,” Dominic said. He’d hate to break his ritual. He’d hate to kill her outside of a full moon, but he’d do it if he had to. He’d stop Tamara before she had a chance to violate Ashton, and he’d stop her before she could make his anger issues any worse than they already were.
He just needed a little bit of time first.
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