11:27 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, CONFERENCE ROOM
“He smiled when he greeted you?” Bo asked.
Thomas nodded toward his partner. “Not at me. He smiled at Chris.”
Bo turned to Chris. “Because you arrested him?”
“And he said he was honored to have a copycat running around?” Bo asked. Thomas nodded. “That is enough to let me know it’s not him. I’ve never met a serial killer that’s happy that someone else is copycatting them. It’s like piggybacking off of the former’s fame to make a name for yourself. It pisses them off. He wouldn’t be honored.”
“Why describe it to us, then?” Chris asked.
“To convince you that you’ve caught the right guy,” Bo said plainly. “To lead you to believe that you don’t need to be looking for the Casanova.”
“Misdirection, more or less,” Thomas muttered.
“Right,” Bo agreed. “Can I see your notes on his little speech?”
“Mmhmm.” Thomas held the small notepad out to the blonde. Bo grabbed it, lowering himself into one of the chairs at the table as his blue eyes skimmed the words before him. “Thoughts?”
“The guy’s either really committed to his game, or he also genuinely believes that he’s the Casanova. At this point, anything’s possible,” Bo said. He handed the notepad back to Thomas as Jensen and Ryan walked into the conference room. “Well?”
“Bartender says it isn’t his, and I quote, ‘fucking job to observe customers and remember what they look like’,” Jensen said. “It also isn’t his job to remember what their names are.”
“In short, a waste of our time,” Ryan said. “You were wrong, Austen. He had nothing for us.”
“Watch it, Detective,” Jensen warned. Ryan held up both hands in surrender before lowering himself into one of the chairs at the table. “What’s the plan now?” the sergeant asked.
“Unless I’ve been omitted from some big conversation, we have no useful evidence, right?” Thomas questioned.
“Nothing incredibly useful, no,” Bo said. “He introduced himself as Joel in Clinstone. Otherwise, we know next to nothing, and truthfully, with what we do know, we might as well know nothing.”
“Here’s how this goes, folks,” Chris said as he pushed himself to his feet. “Now you’re all included in the Casanova’s little shit group. He makes it his goal to kill as many women as possible, leave as many bodies behind as he can, and make sure there’s no evidence against him. It’s a game, and you’re all playing.” He shook his head, letting out a soft sigh. “We know nothing, and if he has it his way, it’s going to be a long damn time before we know something.”
5:31 PM; BRANDON, SOUTH DAKOTA, DÉJÀ TATTOO
With gloved hands, the tattoo artist pulled back on the damp paper he had smoothed over the inner side of Bo’s wrist. “All right, Bo. What do you think of the placement?”
Bo stared down at the purple lines on his skin, a soft smile turning up either corner of his mouth. “That’s perfect, Berry.”
Berry smiled. “Awesome. I’m gonna finish setting up the machine, you’ll pick out some ink colors, and then we’ll get started. Okay?”
Bo nodded. “Sounds good.”
Jensen smiled as Bo turned toward him. “Nervous?” he asked.
Bo took in a long breath before shaking his head. “I wouldn’t say nervous,” he said quietly, reaching up with his free hand to brush Jensen’s dark hair away from his forehead. “Happy to cover up the scars, though. It’ll be annoying not being able to wear a watch for a bit, but I’ll deal with that on Monday.”
“Mm.” Jensen held Bo’s hand between both of his own, offering a smile. “The girls are super excited to finally get to see the actual tattoo.”
“So am I,” Bo agreed.
“Ready to sit still for the next bajillion years?” Jensen asked.
Berry laughed, shaking his head. “It’s not exactly a bajillion years,” he said. “And if you need to move your arm at any point once we start, just say something and we’ll take a break. Deal?”
“Will do, Berry.”
6:45 PM; BRANDON, SOUTH DAKOTA, DÉJÀ TATTOO
Bo and Jensen thanked Berry one last time before walking outside, fingers intertwined. “Are you hungry?” Bo questioned.
“Babe, I’m always hungry.”
The blonde snorted. “I know. Would you like to stop somewhere?”
“Tacos, Clinstone?” Jensen asked.
“I assumed as much,” Bo said as Jensen unlocked the car. “It works for me.”
“Awesome.” Jensen reached out, pulling open the passenger side door before Bo could.
Bo smiled softly. “Thank you.”
Bo slid into the seat, locking his seat belt into place as Jensen closed the door. He looked down at his left wrist, where saran wrap allowed him to see the design inked into his skin. The words ‘Fly Free’ were written in cursive just beneath where his watch usually rested. Six birds flew to the right of the words, each one inked with a different letter. J, B, and C marked three of the birds in blue. In pink, A, K, and P marked the other three birds. Much like one of the three necklaces he wore around his neck, the birds represented both his family and the freedom he felt every single day by getting to be around them. Although the tattoo would never rid him of the memories of what had happened to him before the scars or why he had created them in the first place, the new image before him would always remind him of the progress he’d made since then, and that was more than enough for him.
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