Tuesday: May 16, 2028
6:21 AM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, POLICE CHIEF JAMAL PITMAN’S OFFICE
Jamal lowered himself into his desk chair, his phone pressed to his ear. “Any luck?” he questioned.
“Not yet, sir. We’re still searching the streets for him,” the man on the other end said. “How much time do we have?”
“The beginning of June, it seems. The morning of the sixth, preferably. Our killer will strike again that night or the next morning,” Jamal said.
“Great. We’ll give this tactic a week. If we can’t find him, we’ll switch up our plan next Tuesday. Does that sound all right, sir?”
“That sounds just fine,” Jamal assured. He crossed an arm over his chest, clearing his throat. “I want you to call me every six hours with an update. Whether it be information regarding the suspect or information regarding a change in plan, I want to know about it.”
“Oh, of course, Mister Pitman. I’ll call you at… twelve-thirty? Or would you like it on the hour?”
Jamal glanced up at the clock on the wall. “On the hour is fine.”
“Of course, sir. I’ll talk to you, then.”
“Good luck, Mekhi.”
The man, Mekhi, snorted. “Thanks, Pitman.”
Jamal smiled faintly, pulling his phone away from his ear. He pressed his thumb to the red end call button and slid his cell onto his desk. “I’d like Bo to meet Mekhi when he returns to L.A.,” he said.
Frank looked up from the open book in his hand. “Why’s that?”
“Mekhi’s intelligent. He knows the trade,” Jamal said. “After Bo takes over and after I’m dead, you’re only going to be able to take care of him for a few years, Frank. After that, he needs someone else to watch over him. He and Mekhi could get along quite well.”
Frank nodded. “I’d highly suggest showing Mister Austen pictures of Mekhi before you throw them in a room together. Mekhi can be alarming upon first glance,” he said.
“Fair,” Jamal agreed. Mekhi, a man standing just under six-foot-eight, had been working for Jamal for the last seven years. The man had quickly climbed into a position of leadership, controlling nearly half of Jamal’s lower ranks. If it came down to it, Jamal would trust him with his own life, just as he planned to trust Mekhi with Bo’s life, as well.
“Is that something you want me to schedule?” Frank asked.
Jamal shook his head. “We’ll wait until Bo’s back. I’ll let him decide if he wants to meet Mekhi or not. It isn’t my job to force him to do shit.”
“Of course, sir.” Franklin cleared his throat, his eyes shifting back to his book. “Think they’ll find him?”
“It’ll be difficult,” Jamal started. “They’re working with a lot less information than they usual have. But… between them and Bo, we’ll figure it out.”
12:07 PM; CLINSTONE, LITTLE DELIGHTS DINER, PARKING LOT
Jensen pulled open the car door and slid into the driver’s seat. “Here, babe.”
“Thank you,” Bo murmured, grabbing the bag from the younger man. “I’m sorry.”
“Not wanting to go inside.”
Jensen shrugged. “Sometimes you don’t wanna be around other people. Nothing wrong with that, Eli.”
Bo smiled faintly. “Thank you,” he repeated. Jensen reached over and squeezed his husband’s thigh before starting the car. “Do you want to eat at the station?”
“I was thinking the park, if you’re all right with that.”
The blonde nodded. “Works for me.”
In the small, gravel parking lot just outside the park, Jensen grabbed Bo’s hand and locked the car doors. “Any progress on the videos?”
“Not much yet,” Bo said as they headed for one of the picnic tables. “I’ve managed to get a few hits on him, but it’s nothing to brag about just yet.”
“Nothing to figure out a ritual?”
“Not really. I’ve found him in Slice of Life, a few coffee shops, he’s been in a few fast food places…” Bo trailed off, lifting his shoulders. “The algorithm’s doing a rather good job, though.”
“Well, that’s something,” Jensen said. Bo nodded his agreement. Jensen set the bag on the picnic table and sat down. He looked up at Bo, his usual charming smile turning up either corner of his mouth. “Sit.”
Bo sat down beside Jensen, leaning into the man’s side. “Between me and Jamal’s people, I think we’ll catch him before he kills again.”
“Is that why you’ve been a little… sluggish today?”
“I think so. The idea of being away from you and the kids for a week is hell, and it makes me… anxious, I suppose is one word for it.”
“We can talk on the phone every hour, if you want to. We’ll get used to it,” Jensen said. Lightly, he elbowed Bo in the side. “You don’t give yourself enough credit. As long as you take Hati or Acamas with you, you’ll be fine. They know how to keep you emotionally stable. That’s their job.”
“I know.” Bo pressed a kiss to Jensen’s shoulder before leaning away from the taller man. “I love you.”
“I love you, too, Eli.”
Bo reached out and pulled open the bag of food. He slid a container to Jensen and pulled his own bowl of salad toward himself. “When we get back to L.A., Mom and Dad want to take the kids for a weekend.”
“God, I don’t remember the last time we had actual alone time in that house,” Jensen murmured.
“I know.” Bo chuckled softly. “It, umm… it’s definitely been a while.”
“Definitely,” Jensen repeated. He picked up his hamburger, glancing back over at Bo. “Sounded like you had more to that thought.”
Bo nodded. “I thought we could plan a nice supper for that Friday or Saturday evening, depending on when my parents want to babysit. We could do something home cooked or we could go out. Either way, I’m all for it.”
“Home cooked, as long as you promise not to do dishes until the next day,” Jensen said.
“I think I can manage that. Why?”
“Uh, because dishes aren’t sexy.”
Bo rolled his eyes. “Of course. How could I have forgotten.”
“I ask myself the same thing every day, Eli.”
“You’re a dick.”
Jensen snorted. “Well, you know what they say, babe.” Bo shoved Jensen’s shoulder, although he couldn’t fight the laugh that fell past his lips.
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