12:25 PM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, LOBBY
“Ma’am, I don’t know how many times I have to tell you that I’m a homicide detective,” Luca said. “Unless your son is dead, I’m not the person you should be talking to. The missing person’s unit is upstairs. Take the elevator to the third floor.”
“They aren’t going to listen to me.”
“That doesn’t change the fact that there’s nothing I can do for you,” Luca said.
“He hasn’t been missing for twenty-four hours.”
“How old is he?”
“Yeah, there’s really nothing I can do,” Luca said. “Just because your son hasn’t called you doesn’t mean he’s in danger.”
“He wasn’t at his house,” the woman said as she followed Luca back to the detective desks section of the station.
“A grown man not being at his home. Wow. How odd,” Luca said. “I really can’t help you,” he added, glancing back at the woman over his shoulder. He sat down at his desk, setting his coffee mug down beside his computer. “I realize you’re worried, but homicide is my department. Missing person’s is on the third floor.”
Instead of turning around, the woman slammed both hands down on his desk. Luca, although a rather nervous man, simply raised an eyebrow. He had already had a long enough day. He didn’t need this woman on his back, too. “He’s not like you or any normal grown man. He’s a retard.”
Luca let out a low whistle. “Yeah, now I’m definitely not helping you. He’s your son, lady.”
“He could be in danger.”
“You seem to care about him, all right? I get that. But I cannot do anything for you,” Luca said. He waved a hand. “Missing person’s is on the third floor. If you avoid the R-word, maybe they’ll be a little more willing to bend the rules just a bit.” The woman groaned before turning on her heel and walking away.
“You handled that well.”
Luca flinched. “Afternoon, Chief.”
Jamal chuckled, rounding Luca’s desk. “Afternoon, kid.” Clearing his throat, he lowered himself into one of the two chairs in front of the detective’s desk. “That woman? Amy Lawrence.”
“She killed her husband eighteen years ago.”
“And… she’s just, like, walking free?” Luca asked.
“There was never any real evidence against her. The kid was underage, so we couldn’t question him alone without her permission. He would’ve been the only one to witness it,” Jamal said. “Point is, I want you to find the kid before she does.”
“With all due respect, sir, I’m a homicide detective.”
“Yes, I’m aware.”
“Because you’re willing to tolerate all of Bo’s little quirks, and I’d like you to keep him updated on the kid,” Jamal said.
“Because a little birdie tells me that Ashton Lawrence is somehow tied in with our Werewolf.”
2:47 PM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, LAB
“Did Chief tell you about the missing person thing that I’m supposed to be handling with you?” Luca asked.
“I was told the gist of it, yes,” Bo assured, pushing his earphone back into his ear. “His disappearance may relate to the Werewolf case.”
“Right.” Luca cleared his throat. “I just don’t understand how.”
“Jamal has his ways of knowing things that a lot of others simply don’t know,” Bo said. Jamal’s men had tracked an ‘unidentified man’ leaving a house with Ashton Lawrence. Although they had lost sight of both men due to several crosswalk lights changing at odd intervals, Jamal’s people had immediately reported it back to him.
“Right, because he’s, you know, mysterious or whatever.”
Bo chuckled softly. “Yes, something like that,” he agreed. “I’ve already been running traffic cam footage, as well as security cam footage, through several algorithms in search of our killer. I can reconfigure them in search of Mister Lawrence’s face, too. If one of them is spotted on camera, we could get lucky enough to trace either one back to wherever our Werewolf is keeping Mister Lawrence.”
“Why… would the killer kidnap a grown man instead of kill him? Kidnapping isn’t part of his M.O., and even if it was, it certainly wouldn’t fall in line with the rest of his pattern or time frame,” Luca said. “So what the hell’s the point?”
“That is a question that is… incredibly hard to answer. I don’t even know how to begin to figure it out,” Bo said.
Bo snorted. “Don’t be. You’re just asking what needs to be asked,” he assured. He stared at his laptop screen, watching the footage flash by in the blink of an eye. He hated that he’d need to reconfigure it all over again, but what needed to be done needed to be done. He knew that.
“Do you think they know each other?” Luca asked.
“Anything’s possible,” Bo said.
“Yeah, but, like, what do you think?”
Bo shook his head. “I don’t know yet.”
“Is this one of those times you’re being an ass and just, uh, not telling me because it’s a theory and you can’t confirm it?” Luca asked.
“No, it’s not that. I just genuinely don’t know,” Bo said. He pushed his fingers through his hair, forcing it all away from his forehead. “Is it possible that they know each other? Of course it is. They’re both people living in Los Angeles. The difficulty that arises is trying to figure out how or why they know each other. I’ve theorized that our killer isn’t employed. He’s violent, and I can only imagine he has anger issues. He wouldn’t work well in an environment of taking orders from another person,” Bo said.
“So they wouldn’t have met at a place of work,” Luca summarized.
“Correct. At least, again, that’s what I theorize. Jensen suggested that our killer could be on disability. If his anger is debilitating enough, he very well could be.”
“What… if they’re both in therapy?” Luca asked. “My sister had anger issues growing up, so she was in therapy for a long time to help deal with it all. And if Chief is right and, umm, the mother killed her husband in front of Ashton? I see years of therapy for him, too.”
“They could be going to the same therapist,” Bo said quietly. “That’s good, smart.”
“Awesome,” Luca whispered.
Bo smiled faintly, rolling his eyes. “I’ll see what I can dig up on Mister Lawrence. If we’re lucky and you’re right, cracking this is going to take figuring out his therapist.”
“That isn’t gonna be easy. Confidentiality and all that,” Luca said.
“I know. That’s why I’m digging,” Bo said simply.
“So, like… hacking?”
“More like making my husband sweet talk the woman working at the credit card company when I call in for Amy Lawrence’s information,” Bo said.
Luca snorted. “Good luck.”
“That’s appreciated. Thank you.” Bo cleared his throat. “I’ll update you tonight on anything I find. Text or call?”
“Either or. Doesn’t really bother me.”
“Noted. I’ll talk to you later, Detective.”
“Sure. Later, Austen.”
Bo ended the call and rose to his feet. He pulled his earphones from his ears and unplugged them, setting them on his notebook. He headed upstairs and to the detective desks. He dropped down in front of Jensen’s desk, crossing his left ankle over the opposing thigh.
Less than a minute later, Jensen sat down behind his desk, a can of pop in his hand. He raised an eyebrow. “Now what do you want?”
Bo offered a smile. “Do you mind sweet talking our way into someone’s credit card records?”
“Ah, yes, breaking the law. Fun.”
“Well, it’s for a good cause,” Bo assured.
“I hate you.”
Bo’s smile widened. “I know.”
Jensen pulled his phone from his pocket and handed it over to Bo. “Give me a number and I’ll do what I can. But I get to choose what we have for supper tonight, and I’m going out and buying an ice cream pie.”
“And we’re having junk food over the weekend,” Jensen said.
“What kind of junk food?”
“Battered and fried.”
Bo closed his eyes for a moment before nodding. “Deal.”
“No wonder I’m in charge of the sweet talking,” Jensen murmured.
The blonde rolled his eyes as he rifled through one of the applications on his phone in search of information on Amy Lawrence. “You’re in charge of sweet talking because your voice is deeper than mine,” he corrected. He unlocked Jensen’s screen and typed in a number before handing it back over to the younger man. “Thank you,” he added.
Jensen nodded. “No problem, babe.”
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