Saturday: May 20, 2028
1:58 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Bo looked up from the open book in his lap as his phone rang. He reached over and grabbed it from the nightstand. Seeing Jensen’s name on his screen, he swiped his thumb across the bottom and pressed the device to his ear. “Hello,” he greeted.
“Heya.” Jensen cleared his throat, sniffling. “I think I’m a bit further ‘long than tipsy. Can’t drive. Jake and Ryan are jacked.”
“Does that mean they’re incapable of driving, as well?”
“They’re calling somebody?”
“Mmhmm. You,” Jensen said.
“Ryan doesn’t live in Clinstone, Jens.”
Bo sighed, looking over at his alarm clock. “I’ll be there soon.”
Bo ended the call and set his book on the nightstand. His fingers grazed the tattoo on his wrist as he clasped his watch back into place. He climbed out of bed, grabbing his flannel from where he had draped it over the footboard. He shrugged it on and shoved his phone into the pocket of his sweatpants.
He buttoned his shirt as he walked. In the kitchen, he wrote out a quick note to let the girls know he had to run out to pick up Jensen, just in case either of them happened to wake up. He grabbed his keys from the counter and headed for the garage.
He drove to Ivory Hill in near silence, deciding to leave the radio off. The one thing he’d asked of Jensen was for him not to get too drunk, but based solely on the younger man’s voice, he had done just the opposite of that.
Not that he really blamed Jensen. He had tied Jensen down and had kids with him before he had the chance to go out, get drunk, and party every single weekend.
Bo parked outside of the bar and climbed out of the car. He locked the doors and stared up at the bar, unable to stop himself from thinking about the time Jacob had talked him down from the ledge. He shook his head and headed for the bar instead. He had bigger things to concern himself with, like a drunk husband, brother, and coworker.
Inside the bar, Bo let out a sigh. Sober or otherwise, he hated being in the bar. It always brought on an onslaught of memories he didn’t want or need. He walked up to the bar and laid a hand on Jensen’s back. “Time to go, Jens.”
Jensen slid off the bar stool, hooking an arm around Bo’s waist. “You’re like a knight in shining armor, Mister Austen.”
“You’re gonna take me home?”
“After I take Jake and Ryan home, yes,” Bo said as they walked out to the parking lot. He unlocked the car and pulled open the passenger side door. A hand on Jensen’s head, he helped him into the car. “I’ll be back in a moment.”
Bo closed the door and headed back into the bar. “All right, brother. Come on.”
Jacob hooked an arm around Bo’s shoulders. “To my credit, I am less drunk than your husband.”
“I can tell,” Bo agreed. “Ryan, come on. You get the backseat with Jake.” Ryan followed the two out of the bar, and Jake pulled open the back door before Bo could. “Watch your heads,” Bo said softly, watching both men climb into the car. He closed the door and walked around the car, sliding into the driver’s seat. He started the car, pushing his fingers through his hair. “Seat belt.”
Jensen groaned, clicking his seat belt into place. Bo glanced up at the rearview mirror before locking his own into place. Jensen laid a hand on Bo’s thigh. “No jeans?”
“I was in bed,” Bo said, turning on the radio.
“Mm.” Jensen closed his eyes as he leaned back against the seat.
Bo let out a breath, shifted into gear, and drove out of the parking lot. “You live in Cliffburn, right?” he questioned.
“Yeah,” Ryan murmured, resting his head against the window.
“I’ll need directions when we get there, then.”
“Sure thing, lab geek.”
Bo stiffened as Jensen slid his hand over to rest on his groin. “Let’s not do that,” Bo said quietly, moving Jensen’s hand back to his thigh. He wrapped his fingers around the younger man’s hand, keeping it from moving too much.
“You’re no fun,” Jensen muttered. Bo rolled his eyes. The drive to Cliffburn and back was certainly going to be a long one.
2:50 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
“You need a shower.”
“In the morning,” Jensen said, tugging his shirt over his head and dropping it to the floor.
“The sheets are fresh, Jens. If you aren’t going to shower, sleep on the couch.”
Jensen grunted his response, dropping to his stomach at the foot of the bed.
Bo sighed, bending down to pick up Jensen’s shirt. He tossed it into the hamper and pushed Jensen onto his back. He unbuckled his belt and unbuttoned and unzipped his jeans before pulling them off. Jensen cleared his throat, rolling onto his side. Bo dropped the jeans into the hamper and hung the belt up on the door.
He walked back to the bed and hooked his arms beneath Jensen’s. “Come here,” he said softly, tugging Jensen onto his side of the bed. The younger man shoved an arm under his pillow, snuggling into it. Bo pulled the covers up to Jensen’s shoulders and pressed a kiss to his temple. “I love you.”
Jensen grunted. “You, too,” he mumbled.
Bo patted him on the shoulder and flipped off the bedside lamp. Grabbing his book from the nightstand, he headed into the hall, closing the door behind him. A drunk Jensen meant a night of sleeping, or attempting to sleep, on the couch for Bo. If nothing else, he figured it meant he could get some reading in before he spent the rest of the day working on getting into Tamara’s Christian’s records.
1:43 PM; LOS ANGELES, THE WEREWOLF’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM
“Look at that, Dom. I’m on TV.”
Dominic lifted his gaze to the television screen, a frown on his face. Ashton’s mother had officially reported him as a missing person. Dominic knew they were in no danger of being found. No one had seen them leave Ashton’s house.
No one important, anyway, no one that had looked up from their phone long enough that they would actually recognize one of their faces.
“Your mom reported you missing,” Dominic said simply, looking back down at his tablet.
“Oh.” Ashton frowned. “Think she’s worried?”
“Maybe. I imagine she’s pissed she can’t control what you do,” Dominic said. Or who, he thought dryly.
“She’s not controlling.”
“You weren’t allowed to decide you didn’t want to see Tamara anymore. She was making you uncomfortable, and your mom could’ve asked about that, but she didn’t care enough to. That’s controlling.”
“I guess,” Ashton agreed.
Dominic cleared his throat, scratching the side of his head. “Are you… hungry?”
“I could eat.” A pause. “If it’s no trouble.”
“It’s nothing. Pizza okay?” Dominic asked. Ashton only nodded. Dominic patted him on the shoulder as he pushed himself to his feet. A part of him hated himself for taking care of Ashton as though he was a child. The other part of him didn’t truly mind all that much. Ashton needed someone to take care of him, and his mother clearly wasn’t all that fit for the job. She’d kept him alive, but Dominic was the one keeping him from being assaulted again.
Dominic couldn’t help but consider that the more important job of the two.
He headed into the kitchen and turned on the oven. He crossed his arms over the countertop, bowing his head. He hadn’t figured out what the hell he planned to do with or to Tamara. He didn’t want to kill her. He killed for her attention. Killing her wouldn’t get her attention, not at all.
Killing Tamara would prevent him from having her attention.
Still, he couldn’t see another true option beside holding her captive for the rest of her life, or his, dependant on which ended first. He had wanted to turn her into the police, but what Tamara had told Ashton sure as hell hadn’t been a lie. The police wouldn’t believe a guy like Ashton. There was no denying it.
Not to mention that Dominic knew Ashton would be beyond uncomfortable telling anyone about what Tamara had done to him. He thought talking about it was wrong or dirty. Dominic had tried to convince him otherwise, but he hadn’t been successful in that short-lived endeavor. He could only convince Ashton of so many things, and Dominic had apparently already worn out every viable thing he could, indeed, convince the younger man of.
Even now, if Dominic did manage to convince Ashton to try talking to the police, it was too late. He’d been reported missing. Dominic couldn’t go to the station with him, or else the cops would be all over them both. Dominic would be accused of kidnapping, even though Ashton was a grown ass man who had willingly gone with him.
The cops wouldn’t believe that, either.
Dominic let out a heavy sigh. He didn’t have a damn clue what to do anymore.
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