1:07 PM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, DETECTIVE DESKS
Jensen and Bo walked through the detective desks, Bo taking twice as many steps to keep up with Jensen’s long strides. Jensen stopped suddenly, causing Bo to press a hand to his back to stop from walking into him. “Jass,” Jensen said, his voice hard.
Ryan lifted his head, his hazel eyes quickly sweeping over the couple before meeting Jensen’s gaze. “Yeah?”
“We’re heading to Cliffburn to examine the apartment Hanna Davidson was staying in,” Jensen said. “Do you wanna come with? Or is the car ride there gonna make you catch homosexuality?”
Ryan cleared his throat. “I, uh, I’ll come with.” Jensen nodded, immediately walking away from the desk. Bo hung back, hands tucked behind his back. “Ryan Jass,” Ryan said. “We haven’t been properly introduced.”
“Bo Austen-Taylor,” Bo said with a slight nod. “Do you want shotgun?”
Ryan shook his head, clearing his throat. “No, that’s all yours.” He walked alongside Bo, a considerable amount of distance between them. “So, umm… You’re gay, too?”
“Then what are you?”
Bo lifted his shoulders. “Just, you know, Bo. I’m Bo,” he said simply. “I have no preference either way. I’ve been in love with a woman, and I’m in love with Jensen. It isn’t always about what they look like or which sex they are. For me, it’s about who I’m close to, who I’m emotionally connected to, emotionally… invested in,” he explained.
“So… you don’t have a label?”
“Nope. I’m just the forensics guy.” Bo turned his head slightly, offering a smile. “That’s really all there is to me.”
“I, uh, I can ask a question without offending you?” Ryan asked. Bo only nodded. “Why choose men, then?”
“I don’t get to choose,” Bo said softly. “None of us do. Whether you believe in fate, God, science, life, the butterfly effect, or something else entirely, we ourselves don’t get to choose. Humans have this… sense that they’re in control of their own lives, but they’re not. It’s predispositioned for them, and they get to make the little choices. You know, step left or step right, say yes or no. That kind of thing. But the big things? The life-changing decisions?” He shook his head. “Those aren’t up to us at all.”
Ryan remained silent as the trio walked out to the parking lot. “You really have no say in it? At all?”
“None at all,” Bo assured.
“You’ve got kids. What do they think about it?”
“That their parents love them very much,” Bo said. “And they’d be right. Our world revolves around all of them. They’re perfect, and they think we’re perfect, too.” He shrugged. “Kids are accepting of everyone until they’re taught not to be. People naturally love other people until they’re told that they aren’t allowed to care about a specific set or group of people. That’s why we have a few things to learn from children. They know what’s up, Detective.” Lightly, Bo elbowed Ryan in the side, one corner of his mouth lifted in a smile. “It’s not a change you can force overnight. You have years of… of hate and intolerance drilled in your brain. Give it time, and you’ll come around.”
“What if I can’t?”
“You will. You’re talking to me, aren’t you?” Bo asked. He lifted his head as Jensen cleared his throat, pulling open the passenger side door of his cruiser. “Speaking to me? It’s a step in the right direction. That’s all I’m saying, Detective,” Bo said softly. He reached up and patted Jensen’s cheek before sliding into the passenger seat.
Jensen closed the door before looking at Ryan. “Just because he says it’s not offensive doesn’t mean you should ask it,” he said.
“I’m trying,” Ryan whispered. “I want to make this work, Sergeant. I can’t make that happen if I don’t understand it. He has given me the only kind of explanation that makes any sense at all.”
Jensen glanced down at the car. “Really?”
“Really,” Ryan echoed.
Slowly, Jensen nodded. “Sure. Just, umm… just be careful what you say to him, okay? He’s not like you and me. He’s takes things a bit more seriously.”
“Be careful with jokes,” Ryan simplified.
“Will do, Sarge.”
Jensen nodded. “Get in the car. We’ve got places to be,” he said quietly.
1:35 PM; CLIFFBURN, UPPER PARK APARTMENT COMPLEX, APARTMENT 5B
“As far as I can tell, if they did both come back here, they didn’t stay long,” Bo said, running a gloved hand over the door jamb. “Nothing’s broken or knocked over, so if he was here, there was nothing forceful about it.” He looked back at Jensen. “I could dust for prints, if you wanted. Up to you.”
Jensen shook his head, arms crossed over his chest. “If he went through the trouble of cutting her nails, he wouldn’t have touched anything without gloves on,” he said.
“That’s what I was thinking, too,” Bo agreed. He waved a hand toward the apartment’s kitchen. “There’s a laptop in the kitchen. We could take it to the station, bag it for evidence. I doubt there’s anything there, but…”
“But it’s worth taking a look,” Jensen finished. Bo only nodded. “I’ll go bag it.”
Ryan watched Jensen leave the room before turning his attention back to Bo. “You two work well together.”
Bo smiled. “We do. We’ve had a few years to work that out,” he said.
“How long have you been, umm… been married?”
“Just over a year. But we’ve been together for just over four. So, like I said, we’ve had a while to figure this all out.”
“What’re your kids’ names?”
Bo nodded toward the kitchen. “Why don’t you ask your partner?” he questioned. “If you want on his good side, the kids are his weakness.”
Ryan smiled faintly. “Thanks.” Bo nodded as Ryan turned and headed for the kitchen. “Sarge?”
“Mmhmm?” Jensen questioned, turning toward Ryan, the bagged laptop in his hands.
“Your kids. What are their names?”
Jensen stared at him for a moment before one corner of his mouth lifted. “Our oldest is Kayla, then Amber. Our boys are Castor and Pollux, but we call them Cas and Grayson. I know, that doesn’t make much sense right away, but Grayson is his middle name.”
“Do you… have any pictures?”
Jensen snorted. “Jass, man, I’ve got a shitton of pictures.” He nodded toward the door. “Come on. Walk with me to the cruiser and I’ll show you.”
Bo smiled at Jensen as the pair left the apartment. The blonde shook his head, drawing in a long breath, blue eyes scanning the room. He was disappointed, but he wasn’t certain if that disappointment was because Hanna hadn’t brought the killer to the apartment or because he had thought she had brought the killer back to the apartment.
Truthfully, he should’ve known the idea was farfetched. Finding evidence of the man in the apartment would’ve been far too easy, and Bo couldn’t even begin to wrap his mind around the fact that he had genuinely believed there was a chance of finding proof of the man in the place.
Bo sighed, looking down at his watch. He had no idea how it wasn’t even two in the afternoon yet, but he knew the day had dragged along, and he wanted nothing more than for it to be over so he could go home and be with Jensen, the kids, and Thomas. He just wanted to be with family.
Of course, Clinstone and murderers had a way of destroying those plans time and time again.
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