9:17 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, DETECTIVE SERGEANT JENSEN AUSTEN-TAYLOR’S DESK
Jensen looked up from his computer as Bo sat down in front of his desk. “Hey, Eli,” he greeted, his voice soft.
Bo smiled faintly. “Hi. Finding anything newsworthy?” he questioned.
“I found a few things on Hanna Davidson,” Jensen admitted. He held a small pad of sticky notes out to Bo. “Hanna was at Ivory Hill,” he said.
Bo nodded, his eyes skimming the information written on the sticky note. “So she purchased her last drinks at Ivory Hill,” he said. “It could be where she was last seen before her death.”
“Right. I thought we could go down and talk to the bartender. If we’re lucky, it was Will. He seems to pay the most attention to his customers,” Jensen said.
“Although I was a little concerned that the last thing she bought was on the thirteenth. We don’t think she was killed until the evening of the fourteenth, right?”
“Right. That’s been what we’ve settled on, anyway. She would’ve been stiffer, presumably, if she’d been dead longer than that,” Bo said.
“So maybe he took her home on the thirteenth, slept with her, and kept her around until the next evening?” Jensen asked.
“Possibly. He could’ve beaten her throughout the day, for all we know.”
Jensen nodded. “Right,” he said quietly.
Bo cleared his throat, setting the sticky notes back on Jensen’s desk. “So… is your partner coming with us to the bar?”
Jensen groaned, leaning back in his chair. “I don’t know. I was wondering the same damn thing, actually. I was hoping you would have an answer,” he said.
“Sorry, love. It’s not up to me. He’s your partner. You’re his boss. It’s up to you,” Bo said softly.
Jensen nodded, scratching his jaw. “I dunno. I guess. I probably have to put forth at least some effort to like the guy, right?”
“I don’t know. I suppose that depends. Are you willing to put forth more effort than he does?” Bo asked. Jensen only shrugged. “Good answer.”
“I thought so.” Jensen cleared his throat, reaching out to grab his coffee cup. He took a small sip before lifting his green eyes up to Bo’s face. “I should probably make sure he comes with, right? It seems like I’m a total fucking asshole if I don’t at least try to like the dude.”
“It could be a good idea,” Bo agreed. He cocked his head to the side. “Do, umm… do you want me to come with?” he asked.
“Of course, Eli. Why the hell wouldn’t I want you there?”
“He doesn’t like you because you’re gay, Jens.” Bo lifted his shoulders half-heartedly. “Me being there with you might be an instigation of an issue. I don’t want to cause any bad blood between you two, not when it can be prevented.”
Jensen shook his head. “I don’t care about that, Eli. If he truly hates you that much, if he truly hates me that much, it’s his problem, not mine, and certainly not yours,” he said.
One corner of Bo’s mouth lifted. “Okay, Jens. I’m going to go ahead and run it by Jake really quick, all right? Then we can all head on out,” he said.
Jensen nodded. “Sounds good, babe.”
9:31 AM; CLINSTONE, IVORY HILL
“Hey, Will,” Bo greeted.
William Foreman smiled at the blonde. “Hey, Bo. Haven’t seen you in a while,” he said.
“Well, you know. Sober and raising a family,” Bo said. “Were you working on Valentine’s Day?”
“Did you see happen to see this woman?” Bo asked, setting a picture on the counter.
William cocked his head to the side as he stared at the image. He shook his head. “Nope. If she was in here, she never bought anything.”
“Yeah, that’s what we were thinking. How about the thirteenth?”
“I worked that, too.” William nodded. “Yeah, yeah. Thirteenth. She was in here,” he said simply.
“Was she with anyone?” Jensen asked.
William frowned. “She’s the dead gal from the news, isn’t she?”
William sighed softly. “Well, she didn’t come in with anyone. She was alone. Day before Valentine’s Day, you know? Girls and guys always come in here alone, looking for someone to go home with that night. Some guy came up to her, talked with her, bought her a drink,” he said. He cleared his throat. “I don’t remember what he looked like. It was busy. He spoke with an oddly… southern accent, I think?”
“Did you happen to catch a name for him?” Bo asked.
“Uh, maybe.” William glanced up briefly before nodding. He crossed his arms over the counter, leaning forward. “Joel. I think he introduced himself as Joel,” he said.
“Good, that’s something,” Jensen said.
“You heard his name, but you don’t remember what he looked like?” Ryan questioned from several feet away. Jensen glanced over at his distant partner, clearing his throat. The man was so afraid of homosexuality that he wouldn’t even dare stand near them.
“I typically don’t lean back and observe my customers,” William said. “Is that some sort of crime?” he asked.
“No, but what’s your reasoning for remembering what she looks like?” Ryan asked.
“She’s a woman. I tend to watch the women a bit closer than the guys, especially when they leave the bar area. I make it my goal to remember the faces in case something happens to their drink, let’s say. They go to the bathroom, some jackass touches their drink, and then, because I remembered their face, I’m able to alert them to the situation,” William said.
“Good enough of an answer for you, Jass?” Jensen asked, one eyebrow raised.
“Yep,” Ryan muttered, taking another step backward.
Jensen rolled his eyes before looking back at William. Anything else you can think of, Will?”
“No, nothing off the top of my head,” William said. He tapped his fingers against the counter. “How about you go ahead and leave me a business card. I’ll give you a call if I think of anything relevant.”
Jensen nodded, pulling a card out of the pocket of his suit jacket and setting it on the counter. “Good plan, Will.”
William pulled the card toward himself, tucking it into his shirt pocket. “Thanks, Taylor. I’ll let you know if anything rings any bells, a’ight?”
“Sounds good.” Jensen smacked a hand against the counter. “Thanks for your time, Will.”
“No problem, Sergeant.” William nodded slightly. “See you around.”
9:37 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, LIEUTENANT JACOB MASON’S OFFICE
Jacob looked up as a knock sounded at his door. He raised an eyebrow. “Hey, Chief,” he greeted.
David Quinn nodded. “Are you busy?”
“Not really. Do you need something?”
David nodded, stepping into the room. “It’s not work-related,” he said, closing the door.
“All right,” Jacob said slowly. He gestured to one of the chairs in front of his desk. “Come on over here, sit down, and let’s talk.”
David crossed the room and lowered himself into the chair. He crossed one ankle over the opposite thigh, clearing his throat. “It’s about Cecilia.”
“What about her?”
“We’ve been dating for almost a year,” David said. “And I… I want to get married and have kids. That’s what I want, no matter what. But… but I don’t know if it’s what she wants. Is it too soon to have that conversation?”
“Too soon? No. You deserve to know what you can expect from your relationship, and she deserves the same,” Jacob said softly.
David nodded. “Yeah, that… that’s kinda what I thought. What if she doesn’t want to get married?”
“I don’t know, Dave. Do you love her?” Jacob asked.
“Does she love you?”
“Well, she says she does,” David said with a chuckle.
Jacob smiled faintly. “Then just sit down and talk it out. Let her know you aren’t talking about getting married right this minute, and let her know it’s the same for kids.” He cleared his throat. “And, uh, if you really love her? Let her know you’re totally open to compromise.”
“Really. When Allie and I got engaged, we didn’t know she was pregnant. When we got engaged, I assumed we’d never have kids. She didn’t want any more kids, and she kept telling me she was far too old for kids,” Jacob said. “That was a sacrifice I was willing to make. Having Alice on my arm and Katie as my only kid would have been good enough for me. You just have to be open to change, especially if it’s for someone you love,” he said.
David nodded, smiling softly. “Thanks, Jake.”
“My pleasure, Dave,” Jacob said simply.
10:02 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, LAB
Bo sat at the table, Hanna Davidson’s phone in his hand. He had already tried to unlock her phone five times. One more failed attempt, and he’d be locked out of the device for a minute. Absentmindedly, he tapped his thumbs against the side of the phone. The screen had been wiped, the fingerprints smudged, but the smudges were the most concentrated on the numbers one, six, eight, and zero. The numbers left open a lot of options, twenty-four, to be exact.
Five down, nineteen to go. The tragedy, of course, was that he only had ten attempts, five of which had already been used.
With a sigh, Bo typed in the next pattern he had written down. One-zero-six-eight. Disabled. Try again in one minute. Bo closed his eyes, letting out an annoyed breath. Hanna didn’t have a fingerprint scanner passcode on her phone. That had been the first thing he’d checked. He’d even checked for a facial recognition code, but she didn’t have that turned on, either. Just a four-number passcode.
He set the phone down and picked up his pen. Clicking the end, he drew a neat line through the ‘1068’ written on his notebook page. He clicked the end again and set the pen back down. He grabbed the phone and leaned back, waiting. Truthfully, sixty seconds never seemed like a long time until one was forced to watch the seconds count down, slowly ticking closer and closer to zero.
As soon as the option was available to him, he skimmed over the list of other options. Lifting his shoulders in a ‘why the hell not’ shrug, he typed in zero-six-eight-one.
The lock screen faded to an image of Hanna and a woman. Bo smiled. Her homescreen. He set the phone down, picked up his pen, clicked the end, and circled ‘0681’. Satisfied with his pure luck, he went through and crossed out every other possible code he had written out previously.
Bo grabbed Hanna’s phone again and opened up her photo album. There wasn’t an open album for selfies, like there usually was. Hanna didn’t take pictures of herself, or, if she did, it wasn’t with the front-facing camera. He sighed, opening up the ‘all photos’ album and clicking on the most recent image.
It had been taken last month on New Year’s. It was of no real help to him. He opened up her text messages and scrolled through them. No text messages send or received since the first of February. He locked the screen and set the phone down on the table.
A cell phone allowed the outside world into a person’s life. Between Instagram, YouTube, and other social media websites that Bo had never touched, a person could let the world see their entire life with just a push of a button. In Hanna Davidson’s case, however, she hadn’t let anyone see her life, and for once, Bo saw it as a disadvantage.
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