Tuesday: February 16, 2027
7:05 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, KITCHEN
“Morning, kiddo,” Thomas greeted as he walked into the kitchen.
Bo lifted his head, offering a tired smiled. “Morning.” He cleared his throat. “Did you sleep okay?”
“A certain someone woke me up a few times,” Bo said, hiking Castor up on his hip. Castor wrapped his hand around Bo’s pajama top, sucking aimlessly on his pacifier. “He usually sleeps pretty soundly unless he’s getting sick, so I think we may be in need of a check-up.”
“Well, I can watch them both today, if you’d like,” Thomas said. “You wouldn’t have to have them in daycare that way.”
“That could be nice. Cas does enjoy spending time with you,” Bo said softly. He pressed a kiss to the top of Castor’s head, using his free hand to pour himself a cup of coffee.
Thomas nodded, leaning back against the counter. “Where’s Jensen?”
“Asleep. He pretty much just takes a quick shower in the morning, so I usually let him sleep in until around seven-thirty.” Bo chuckled softly, stirring a bit of creamer into the mug. “The girls wake up earlier than he does, actually.” As if on cue, Kayla, already dressed, walked into the kitchen. “What’re you hungry for?” Bo asked.
“Fried eggs?” Kayla questioned.
“Sure thing, baby. Hair?”
“Brushed and ready to be braided,” she said. “Amber’s getting changed, but last time I checked, she was trying to wear a dress with a pair of pajama pants.”
Bo snorted. “Yeah, I think I have to fix that.” He lifted his eyes to Thomas’s face. “Mind frying up some eggs while I got deal with an Amber fashion crisis?”
Thomas watched Bo leave the room before pulling open the refrigerator. “How have you two adjusted to having brothers?”
“It’s not all that bad,” Kayla said. “Our dads still love us like before, so…” She lifted her shoulders. “And they’re both cute, so I guess that’s a good thing.”
Thomas chuckled. “Making sure the older kids don’t get jealous of the new baby is always the hardest part,” he said softly.
“How many kids do you have?”
“And… you love them all?”
“One hundred percent,” Thomas said. He smiled down at Kayla. “It doesn’t matter if your dads have four kids or a thousand. They’ll never stop loving you, sweetheart.”
Thomas laid a hand on the counter, squatting down to Kayla’s height. He held up a hand, his pinky extended. Kayla wrapped her own pinky around his, locking eyes with him as he said, “Promise.”
8:27 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, LAB
Bo flipped back the cover of the notebook in front of him, clearing his throat. When it came to the Casanova, his first victim has been found on the evening of February fourteenth, 2000. She had been thirty-four and a single mother. She had been found in New Jersey, and it had been suspected that she had died only a few hours previous to the finding of her corpse.
Bo looked back at his notes on the first victim in Clinstone, Hanna Davidson. Gwen had also suspected that the woman had been murdered only a few hours before being found near the hiking trail.
Both victims had had an above legal limit blood alcohol content. Hanna Davidson had been point-ten. The Casanova’s first victim had been point-three-one. Bo swallowed before clearing his throat. Point-three-one was an incredibly dangerous level to rest at. It risked loss of consciousness, life-threatening alcohol poisoning, or death from the body’s suppression of vital life functions.
He had experienced that first-hand.
He knew the Casanova’s first victim would’ve been unable to fight back. She wouldn’t have been able to scratch him. She would’ve been incapable of participating in whatever sexual acts had taken place. The woman had been intoxicated and nearly a shake away from death. The Casanova had still gotten the final blow in, beating her within an inch of her life before slitting her throat to slice through the carotid artery.
Bo flipped the page to look at the photos of the woman. He swiveled his stool, pushing away from the table. He grabbed the folder Gwen had started for Hanna Davidson and turned back around, setting it on the table above the FBI’s Casanova file. He flipped it open and spread out the photos.
The similarities jumped out at him almost immediately. The differences were just as obvious. The first victim lacked any evidence of a struggle. She had no defensive wounds. Hanna Davidson, however, had fought back. The defensive wounds covered her arms and hands. A few even cut across her lower legs, where she had tried to kick the knife out of the killer’s hand.
The first victim had long fingernails. Hanna’s nails had been cut soon before they found her body, certainly within a day or three of her death. Her fingernail polish had been chipped and broken closest to the unfiled, jagged ends of her nails. Bo could only imagine that the killer had cut them after he killed her. He’d never met a woman that would cut her nails and leave them unfiled before going out for a night on the town. She’s risk snagging her nails on her own clothes, and Bo didn’t know many women—or people in general—that would allow that.
The knife wounds on both victims were nearly identical. The first victim, of course, displayed evidence of the killer’s hesitation. There were wounds that were far too shallow to cause much damage, some of which just barely broke the skin. He had been nervous, scared. She hadn’t fought back, but he had been terrified of what would follow.
With Hanna, that hesitation, the fear, hadn’t been present. He hadn’t been scared of what would come. He had been happy she had fought back. Bo could only imagine that Hanna’s fight and will to survive had only served to further excite the killer. The cuts had happened quickly, barely a pause between them. He had lifted the knife and simply slashed away at Hanna Davidson’s flesh with a wild sense of abandonment.
Bo pushed the files away from himself, sighing softly. He pushed himself to his feet, grabbing his empty coffee cup from the table. If he was going to spend his day comparing pictures that let him see into the twisted mind of the Casanova, he needed a refill first.
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