3:14 PM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, LAB
Jensen leaned against the doorjamb, hands shoved into the pockets of his dress pants. Bo sat at the table across the room, Hanna Davidson’s laptop open to his left, his own laptop open to his right. One of his notebooks sat open in front of him, a pen tucked behind his right ear. One corner of Jensen’s mouth lifted before he cleared his throat.
Bo’s blue gaze shifted to his husband’s face. “Hey, love. I didn’t hear you come down.”
“That’s all right. I’m done with my report if you wanted to head on out and get the girls from school.”
Bo tilted his arm enough to look at his watch. “Yeah, we could do that,” he said simply. Unplugging his laptop from Hanna’s, he closed the lids of them both.
“Find anything interesting?”
Bo snorted. “I wish,” he muttered, sliding Hanna’s laptop back into the evidence bag. “No files saved to her computer. No pictures, no Word documents. She’s not signed into her email on any of her Internet browsers, and none of her passwords are saved for anything. We thought she was private before I tried to get into her laptop?” He shook his head. “I can’t get any insight on the woman,” he added, standing up as he set the laptop in the box on the table.
“So what’s the plan?” Jensen asked.
“Umm… wing it?” Bo suggested, picking up the box. “No, I’m at a standstill with this. I can’t figure out why, if it’s the same killer, he would come back now after all these years.”
“He got tired of living a normal life?” Jensen questioned as Bo disappeared into the evidence locker.
“I don’t think so,” Bo said loudly. “He’s violent, Jens. He loves watching them fight him, watching them struggle and cling to life. It’s clearly something he loves, something he… Well, he probably gets off on it.” Bo came back out of the evidence locker, closing the door. “You don’t just take a break from something like that. You don’t take a break and go back to normal life.”
“Wayne did. Dallas did. Nicole did.” Jensen cleared his throat. “Vivian did.”
“Three of those people hated themselves for what they were doing. Killing? They hated it. Nicole only stopped for Wayne’s benefit, and I know she still sneaks out to stalk killers in her free time,” Bo said. “She stopped killing people, sure, but her ritual never stopped, it just changed.” He smacked a hand against Jensen’s chest. “His ritual never stopped, it just changed,” he repeated.
“He probably still went out to bars, found women, charmed them, and slept with them. The only thing that changed is that he stopped killing them,” Jensen said.
“Because he needed the FBI to think they had definitely caught him,” Bo said. He smiled faintly before walking back to the table and packing up his notebooks and laptop. “Do you think the man in prison is related to the killer in any way?”
“Like… they’re family?”
“No, just that they know each other,” Bo said. “It’s possible that the killer thought the FBI was getting too close, so he set up a friend as a scapegoat,” he added.
“I dunno. You’ve kinda taught me that anything’s possible, right?” Jensen asked.
One corner of Bo’s mouth lifted. “Anything’s possible,” he repeated. He lifted his satchel over his head and grabbed his camera bag. “I could request the file on the man they have in prison.”
“Oh, you don’t wanna just hack your way into the system?”
Bo chuckled as he crossed the room and flipped off the light. “I do try to follow the rules when necessary,” he said.
“Mm… debateable,” Jensen said, grabbing the blonde’s hand. “Requesting the files? Is that through the prison?”
“Through the prison and the FBI,” Bo said. He glanced up at Jensen, offering a smile. “But I have a foot in the door when it comes to the FBI.”
Jensen snorted. “Yeah, ‘cause you’re related to their most treasured player,” he said. “Would it make this all easier if we just, you know… called in the FBI?”
Bo shook his head. “I don’t know. That’s Jake and David’s call, not mine. But at this very moment in the case, I think it’s a waste to call the FBI in for help. I’d like to wait until after I flip through some more of the victim case files. I want a progressive look at his method, at his cuts. I want to see how he perfected his craft. If it matches, if it’s up to the same level, we’ll talk to Jake and David about calling in the FBI. Okay?”
“Sounds like a plan, Eli.”
5:02 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, KITCHEN
Bo pulled open the oven door, sliding the pan of lasagna onto the top rack. He closed the door, bouncing Castor up on his hip as he straightened himself back out. “Hey, Tom,” he greeted before turning around.
Thomas smiled faintly. “Hey, kiddo.” He crossed his arms over the counter, clearing his throat. “How’s the case?”
“I’m comparing the pictures of the victims to the pictures of Hanna Davidson, our first victim. I’m looking for similarities. I’m even looking for differences. I don’t want this to be the same guy, but…”
“But it looks like it is,” Thomas filled in. Bo nodded. “So what’s the plan?”
“I keep comparing everything… and we go from there. If I think it’s definitely the guy, I’ll tell Jake and David so we can bring in the FBI,” Bo said. He looked down as it phone went off.
“Crime scene?” Thomas questioned.
Bo nodded. “Appears so. But I’m off the clock,” he said, smiling down at Castor. “Gwen and Misty will handle it.” He cleared his throat. “Tell me about your kids.”
Thomas chuckled. “Why?”
“We never talk about you. Let’s talk about you, about family,” Bo said. The two talked about all nine of Thomas’s children, as well as his wife, only pausing when Jensen walked into the kitchen. “Where are you going?” Bo asked.
Jensen lifted his green eyes to the blonde’s face, swiping his car keys from the counter. “Jass called. Crime scene is one of ours.”
“Oh. Do you… want me to come with?”
“Gwen and Misty are already there,” Jensen said. “You stay with the kids. I won’t be long. I just want the details.” He rounded the counter and kissed the top of Castor’s head. “Love you,” he murmured, kissing Bo.
“I love you, too,” Bo said. Jensen flashed a quick smile before walking out of the kitchen. Bo let out a soft sigh. “Come on, Tom. We might as well hang out in the family room with the girls and Grayson until supper’s ready.”
Nearly ten minutes later, Bo’s phone rang. Castor held to his chest and sound asleep, Bo did his best to keep his movements minimal as he grabbed his phone from the end table. He slid his thumb across the bottom of the screen and pressed his phone to his ear. “Yeah?”
“Remember that chick that wanted to sleep with Jake?”
Bo glanced up briefly before nodding. “Ellen Briggs.”
“Uh-huh. She’s dead.”
“She’s what?” Bo asked in a whisper.
“Ellen Briggs is victim number two, Eli. She’s dead.”
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