4:14 PM; CLINSTONE POLICE STATION, LIEUTENANT JACOB MASON’S OFFICE
“Hey, LT Sherlock?”
“That is even worse than just LT,” Jacob said as he lifted his head. “What do you want?”
Bo cracked a smile. “Do you want to come over for supper and drinks? Jensen had a new game shipped to the house. All I know is it has no storyline, it’s packed full of four hundred times too many enemies, and it’s two player.”
Jacob smacked a hand against his desk, “Sold.”
Bo snorted. “I figured.”
“Dave and Cecilia gonna be there?”
“Probably. Jensen invited David, but I suppose it depends on what Cecilia wants to do,” Bo said.
Jacob nodded. “Dave told me the good news,” he said. “Way too excited to keep it contained.”
One corner of Bo’s mouth lifted. “They’re both pretty excited about it.” He tilted his head to the side before nodding. “Nervous, of course, but definitely excited.”
“And you’re gonna be there for Celia? Dave makes it sound like she doesn’t like to talk much about the parts that make her nervous or worried,” Jacob said.
“She feels like talking about it just brings his spirits down. But I’m there for her, always. She knows that,” Bo said.
“You’re a good friend, Bo.”
“What can I say? I learned from the best.”
“Aww, shucks, Blondie. I’m flattered,” Jacob said. Bo snorted. “You head on home. I’ll be over with Allie and the kids around… what, five?”
“Supper will be ready around six. Whatever time works for you, really,” Bo said.
“Great. I’ll wrap shit up over here and we’ll be right over.”
“Sounds good, Jake. See you in a few,” Bo said. Jacob offered a two-finger salute, which Bo quickly returned. The blonde backed out of the room and turned around, heading back to Jensen’s desk. “Ready to go?”
Jensen nodded, grabbing his water bottle. He held out a hand. “I’ll take it.”
Bo glanced down at his satchel. “I can handle it.”
“You’ve got, what, three damn laptops in there? Your shoulder’s been screwed up enough times without the help of the extra weight. Gimme.”
Bo sighed, rolling his eyes as he handed the satchel over to Jensen. Still, he couldn’t help but realize how much better he felt without the excess weight on his shoulder. “Thank you.”
“My pleasure, babe.” Jensen lifted the strap over his shoulder and grabbed Bo’s hand. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I spent the last hour and a half scrolling through house improvement pictures instead of finding something that I wanted for supper,” he said.
The blonde snorted. “Before I react, do you want me to pretend to be surprised?”
“Oh, yes, please.”
“Oh, my gosh, Jensen. I can’t believe you’d look at pointless things instead of something relatively important. Wow. You’ve never done that before,” Bo said.
Jensen laughed, squeezing Bo’s hand. “What can I say? I love me some distractions.”
“Clearly,” Bo agreed. “You can go shopping for your ingredients after you figure out what you want to eat.”
“Sure, I can manage that.” Jensen opened the station door, following Bo as soon as he walked outside. “Anything you want?”
“I’m fine on food, but I could benefit from a stress ball. My wrist is killing me from all the typing.”
Jensen snorted. “I’m your stress ball.”
“I… think that’s sexual? And if it is, gross.”
Jensen laughed, pulling his hand free from Bo’s grip to wrap an arm around his shoulders instead. “You love me,” he insisted, pressing a kiss to Bo’s temple.
“Most of the time,” Bo agreed.
“I’ll look for your stress ball,” Jensen said, pulling his keys from his pocket. “You wanna be the best hubby in the world and choose three recipes for me to choose from?”
“I thought part of our deal was that you got to pick whatever you wanted?”
“Yeah, but then I got distracted.” Jensen unlocked the car and pulled open the passenger side door. “M’Lord.”
“Ugh.” Bo shoved at Jensen’s chest before sliding into the car. “You’re a pain in the ass.”
Jensen flashed his usual charming grin. “I do my best, babe.” He set Bo’s satchel on the floor at Bo’s feet and pulled his phone from his pocket, which he promptly handed over to his husband. “You know the drill. Pick three from my Pinterest board.”
“Which one? You’ve got, like, a thousand.”
Bo snorted. “I’ll do my best, love,” he promised.
6:03 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, KITCHEN
Bo’s posture straightened out as Jensen smacked a hand against his ass. “I was just about to tell you food was ready,” Bo said, reaching down to pick up Castor.
“Mm. Perfect timing,” Jensen said as he pulled open the refrigerator. His eyes searched the shelves for a moment before he grabbed a beer. “Do you care if I go out tonight?”
“Jake and Ryan.”
“If you want to,” Bo said quietly. “Try not to get too drunk? And don’t be stupid and drive. I’ll come get you.”
“Of course, babe.” Jensen patted Bo on the cheek before smoothing a hand over Castor’s head. “I’ll get plates and cups out. You got sit.”
“All righty. Thank you.”
Bo squeezed Jensen’s arm as he walked past the younger man, hiking Castor up on his hip.
“Food’s ready,” Bo said as he walked into the family room. He watched the people he considered his family stand up and walk out of the family room. He squeezed Cecilia’s hand as she walked past her, one more silent reminder that he was there if she ever needed anything. He found just as much comfort in this as Cecilia did.
For her, it meant she always had a friend that she could share anything with. For him, it meant he was useful. He liked having a purpose, a use. It was one of the many things that kept him from drinking or hurting himself.
Bo stood in the middle of the family room, Castor on his hip as he pulled his phone from his back pocket. He unlocked his screen and opened up his text thread with Jamal.
Bo: Tamara Christian. She appears to be Ashton Lawrence’s therapist. Is she someone you have access to?
Jamal: She hates me.
Bo: Why? What’d you do to her?
Jamal: Wow. The only way someone can hate me is if I’ve done something to them?
Jamal: Actually I’d prefer you not answer that
Bo: Uh-huh. That’s what I thought.
Jamal: Honestly, though, she just hates me because I’m me. That’s more or less the *best* reason to hate me.
Bo: Sure, something like that. So… I need to find my own way into her records?
Jamal: Yep. What’s the firewall like?
Bo: I hadn’t looked into that yet. I’ll let you know after supper.
Bo: Or, after the kids are asleep. Everyone’s over here tonight, so I won’t be able to dick around with her security system as much as I’d like to.
Jamal: That’s fine. We’ve got time. Family comes before work, kiddo. Don’t ever forget that.
Bo: I won’t. They’re everything to me.
Jamal: Eat something and get some sleep tonight. Worry about the files in the morning, okay?
Bo: Sure thing, Chief. Talk to you soon.
Jamal: Sure thing, kiddo.
Bo slid his phone back into his pocket, hiking Castor up on his hip. “Should we go check out all the pretty food?”
Bo chuckled softly, pressing a soft kiss to the boy’s head. “I figured. Just like your daddy, huh?’
“Oh, honey, I know you love food,” Bo assured. Come on. Let’s go get something for your veggie lifestyle.”
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