7:30 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, PARKING LOT
Jacob flinched before turning around to face Bo. He offered a smile. “Scared the shit outta me, Blondie.”
“What’s up? You look… Well, I’d say troubled, but that’s really just your face,” Jacob said.
Bo snorted as he walked up to the lieutenant. “There was a crime scene last night,” he said, shoving his hands uncomfortably into the pockets of his jacket.
“Yeah, I caught that on dispatch. Was it the, uh, the Casanova?” Jacob asked.
“A’ight. What about it?”
“I’d like to wait until we’re inside and in your office,” Bo said.
“Do we gotta do the cryptic bullshit today, Bo? We’re friends, aren’t we?”
“We are, and yes, we do.”
Jacob grunted his response as they headed toward the station. “You know how impossible you are some mornings, don’t you?”
“Yes, I’m aware,” Bo confirmed.
In Jacob’s office, Bo waited for the lieutenant to sit down before he closed the door. “Okay. What’s going on?” Jacob asked. “Did you do something I need to know about?”
Bo shook his head. “No, I didn’t do anything. I didn’t even go last night. I was making supper when the call went out,” he said quietly. He crossed the room, lowering himself into one of the chairs in front of Jacob’s desk. “The woman who was killed last night?”
Bo looked down for a moment before his gaze shifted back to the lieutenant’s face. “The woman that was killed… was Ellen.”
Jacob cocked his head to the side. “Our Ellen? Ellen Briggs?”
Jacob smiled as he blew a short burst of air out through his nose. His brow furrowed, and the smile disappeared. “Why’d he kill Ellen?” he asked, his voice barely above a whisper.
“I imagine he flirted with her at the bar,” Bo said.
“I don’t know that yet,” Bo said quietly. “I’m going to work on finding that out today after I examine the body.”
“After you examine Ellen,” Jacob corrected.
“Of course, sir. After I’ve examined Ellen,” Bo echoed.
“This is our fault,” Jacob said. “We scared away from this station, you and me. If we hadn’t pushed her away, she’d still be working here, and she’d know about the Casanova. She would’ve known not to go home with anyone. She would’ve known, but we pushed her away, chased her off, and now she’s dead.” He waved a hand between them. “That’s on us.”
Bo knew better than to argue, and he offered a simple, “I know.”
“Who’s gonna tell her dad?”
“Jensen and I will handle that.”
“He was so damn excited for his little girl when she got the job here, Blondie,” Jacob said. “It’s gonna be rough on him. Maybe I should do it.”
Bo shook his head. “Jensen and I can handle it,” he promised. Jacob nodded, waving a dismissive hand. Bo stood up and headed for the door. As soon as he wrapped a hand around the doorknob, Jacob cleared his throat.
“Do you think she’d be dead if she still worked here?” Jacob questioned.
“It’s impossible to know the answer to that,” Bo said.
“I know. That’s why I said ‘think’,” Jacob said.
“I think… Miss Briggs would’ve gone home with a man if she wanted to regardless of the case we’re working,” Bo said slowly. “I don’t think the case would’ve stopped her from getting something she wanted.”
Jacob nodded, raking a hand through his dark hair. “Think he’s married, then?” He cleared his throat. “Ellen, she… you know. She liked married guys. Think he knows that?”
“Anything’s possible,” Bo said softly.
“Keep me updated?”
“Of course, Jake.”
“And, uh… Bo?”
“Promise me Ellen’s gonna get the justice she deserves for this?” Jacob asked.
Bo hesitated for a moment before nodding. “I promise, Jake. We’ll find him.”
“Are… are you going to be okay?” Bo asked. “Because I can stay here if you need me to,” he added.
Jacob shook his head. “Go. I’m fine. Not like she was my best friend or anything,” he said.
“Of course, Jake.”
The lieutenant let out a sigh as Bo opened the door. “I lied. Can you just, I dunno, sit here a while?”
“Mmhmm.” Bo closed the door and crossed the room, sitting down in front of the desk once more. “I’m sorry, Jake.”
“It’s not your fault.” Jacob offered a smile. “Even though I said it was.”
“I know. You have a process of working through death. There’s nothing wrong with that,” Bo said. He lifted his satchel over his head, setting it on the floor. He folded his legs Indian style, wrapping his hands around his ankles. “Do you want to talk about it?”
Jacob shook his head. “Not about her, not yet. When we know more. Is that okay?” he asked.
The blonde nodded. “That’s fine with me. What do you want to talk about?” he questioned.
“I dunno. Umm… the kids, maybe?” Jacob asked. “Talking, walking?”
“Cas likes to stand up as long as someone’s holding his hand, but no steps yet,” Bo said. “Neither one of them has formed actual words yet, and Grayson’s still happily crawling everywhere.”
“I need to stop by the house to see them both at some point. Moving took me away from adorable babies.”
Bo smiled faintly. “Understandable. I miss having you and the kids at the house all the damn time.”
Jacob sighed, “Me, too. Have to do what you gotta for family, right? Even if it means abandoning the only town you’ve ever lived in.”
“Right,” Bo agreed softly.
“I don’t know how you do it, brother.”
“Bounce back and forth between L.A. and here. I remember when Allie was living in Chesterwick. Only seeing her on the weekends or during a court trial killed me, even though she was just three hours away. Being over a thousand miles away from home no matter where you are? Even Stokely’s just too much for me. I don’t know how you do it.”
“I have family no matter which place I’m in. I have Jensen and the kids no matter which place I’m in. I have you here, and I’ve got my parents and Jamal in L.A.. I leave the town, yes, but I never have to leave my family,” Bo said. “That’s how I do it. You have Alice and your kids in Stokely, and you have me here. Hell, you even have your kids in Clinstone during school hours. It just takes time to get used to do, that’s all.”
“How long did it take you?”
“Years. It wasn’t normalized until I had Jensen, and then it got hard again far too soon once we took in the girls. It’s a bit easier now, but only returning to L.A. when the girls aren’t in school is… Well, it isn’t something I necessarily enjoy.”
“Gonna be even worse when you take over for Jamal.”
Bo nodded his agreement. “I know,” he said quietly.
Jacob cleared his throat, leaning back in his chair as he pulled his glasses off. “You can head on down to the lab if you want.”
“Are you sure? I can stay here as long as you need me to.”
“Positive.” Jacob set his glasses on his desk. “I’ll be all right.”
“Text me or call me if you want me back up here. Otherwise, come down to the morgue. I’m always open to conversing with you, Jake.”
Jacob smiled faintly before bowing his head. “I know, Blondie. Thank you. I, umm… I’ll join you and Jensen for lunch today, all right?”
Bo nodded, leaning over to grab his satchel. “Sounds like a plan, Jake. I’ll keep you in the loop, okay?”
“All right. Thanks, brother.”
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