Monday: February 15, 2027
7:57 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, DETECTIVE SERGEANT JENSEN AUSTEN-TAYLOR’S DESK
Jensen lifted his head, stilling as his gaze shifted to the man’s face. He was dressed in a dark blue button-up and a pair of khakis, a stark contrast to Jensen’s usual suit and tie ensemble. “That’d be me. What can I do for you?”
The man stuck out a hand. “Ryan Jass. I’m your partner.”
Jensen smiled faintly, shaking the man’s hand. “Good to meet you, Ryan. I’m Jensen Austen-Taylor.” He sat down at his desk, gesturing to one of the chairs in front of it. “Where’d you come in from, Ryan?” he questioned as the detective sat down.
“That’s where my husband was born.”
Jensen’s green eyes flickered up to Ryan’s face. “Yes. Husband,” he repeated.
“Then don’t say it,” Jensen interrupted. “If you have to start a sentence with ‘no offense’ or ‘I don’t mean to offend you’, then you probably shouldn’t let the words leave your mouth in the first place.”
Ryan held up his hands. “I was just gonna say that I’ve never understood the gay thing.”
“And I’m gonna say that I’ve never understood the straight thing,” Jensen said, reaching out to stir his coffee. “I blew your mind, didn’t I? You see me as abnormal and unnatural, but to me, you’re abnormal and unnatural.”
“Huh,” Ryan whispered. “Look, I… was raised to believe your kind were sinners. You know?”
Jensen nodded. “Lots of people were. Lots of people have gotten over it and grown, too. What I do outside of work isn’t any of your business, just like whatever you do outside of work isn’t any of mine. People wouldn’t be so offended by me being gay if they’d stop trying to figure out how two guys have sex together.” He tapped a finger against his temple, a faint smile on his face. “If you stop trying to put yourself into other people’s bedrooms, it’s suddenly three hundred times less offensive.”
“Well… I guess.”
“And, uh, for your sinner comment? I believe in God, too.” Jensen offered a shrug, leaning back as he took a sip of his coffee. “If you actually read the bible, we’re all sinners. If you’re going to call me out for something, you can’t sit in front of me and casually choose to break other biblical rules and say you aren’t a sinner.”
“Dude, I just feel uncomfortable working with you.”
“Let me guess, you’re afraid that I’m going to find you hot.”
Jensen snorted. “Ryan, tell me, do you think every single woman you come across is hot?”
“Of course not.”
“Mmhmm. Then why do you think every single guy I come across is someone I think is attractive?” Jensen asked. “I have a type, and my type is my husband. Happily married with four children, Ryan. I assure you that you’re safe from my uncontrollable gay urges,” he said, pushing himself to his feet. “Welcome to CPD, Detective,” he added before walking away from his desk. He headed down to the morgue, sighing faintly as his eyes landed on Jacob and Bo.
“Hey, Jens,” Bo greeted.
Jensen nodded. “Hey, babe.” He crossed the room to stand beside Jacob.
“Did you meet your partner?” Jacob asked.
“Do you like him?” Jacob questioned.
“He is… minorly offended by my existence.”
“The hell does that mean?”
“It means his partner’s a homophobe,” Bo said quietly.
“I told him to stop worrying about what goes on in my bedroom,” Jensen said. He lifted his shoulders. “What’re we doing today?”
“Well, I’m going to go through the clothing that the victim was found with,” Bo said, more than aware that the last thing Jensen wanted to talk about was his partner. “Gwen and Misty just took pictures and measurements last night.”
Jacob elbowed Jensen in the side. “You want this case?”
“What’s the other option?”
“Hit and run downtown.”
“I’ll take this one,” Jensen said.
“Figured.” Jacob cleared his throat, shoving his hands into the pockets of his dress pants. “You want me to talk to him?”
“Nope. I can handle it,” Jensen said. “I am gonna go down the hall and visit the kids. Then I’ll be back and help you go through the vic’s clothes.”
“Sounds good, love,” Bo said softly. Over the summer, Jacob had pushed to have the station build a daycare center, arguing that it would help parents get to work on time. It had been a conversation carried on throughout seven debates, but in the end, Jacob had won and the city had granted them another renovation. “I’ll never be able to thank you enough for the daycare. Not leaving my kids at some stranger’s house is… a lifesaver.”
Jacob smiled. “My pleasure, Bo. Having Noah and Eve just down the hall is a daily relief for me, too,” he said. He frowned. “Should I talk to him?”
Bo shook his head. “Not yet. If it gets to a point that it bothers Jensen too much, I’ll let you know.”
“Thanks.” Jacob checked his watch. “I’ve got a meeting with David. I’ll see you for lunch, okay?” he asked, tapping a hand against Bo’s upper arm.
“You betcha, Jake.” Bo watched him leave before pulling open Jane Doe’s morgue drawer. He pulled his phone from his back pocket and took a picture of the woman’s face. Bo closed the drawer as the picture ran through one of the social media tied apps on his phone. He headed into the evidence vault and grabbed the box that held the clothes found at the scene. He took the box into the lab and set it on one of the tables. “How’re the boys?” he asked as Jensen walked back into the room.
“Adorable,” Jensen said simply. He took a sip of his coffee before sitting down beside his husband. “Was she found wearing the clothes?”
“Nope.” Bo handed Jensen a pair of gloves and pulled on his own. “The clothes were found about half a mile down the trail from where her body was found. She was found in her bra and underwear.” He pulled the lid off the box and pulled out five evidence bags. He set the box on the floor, looking down at his phone as it vibrated. “Hanna Davidson.”
“No driver’s license, then?” Jensen asked.
“I’ll look around on her Instagram and Facebook after we look through the clothes, see if I can’t find an answer to that,” Bo said. He slid an evidence bag over to Jensen. “The way she was killed and just… thrown out in the woods like that reminds me of a case in 2000. He’d meet these girls in a bar, charm the hell out of them, get them drunk, take them home, sleep with them, beat the shit out of them, slash an artery, throw them out in the woods. It took almost three weeks for them to find the first body.”
“Jesus. Did they ever catch the guy?” Jensen questioned.
“Yeah, back in 2005, I think,” Bo said. “But the guy, see, he’d leave a business card in the pocket of the victim’s pants. Even on his very first kill, that’s what he did. He wanted to be known.” He pulled a pair of jeans out of the evidence bag in front of him. “And our killer? It doesn’t seem like it’s possible for Hanna to be his first kill. He’s aggressive and Gwen didn’t find any hesitation marks on the body.”
“What if it’s the same guy?”
“They caught him,” Bo reminded, sticking a gloved hand into one of the back pockets on the jeans.
“What if… they didn’t? Innocent people get convicted, you know,” Jensen said.
“Well… yeah, I suppose,” Bo agreed, searching the other back pocket. He pulled out a set of keys on a lanyard. “House keys and car key, I would assume.”
“Did she have a phone on her?” Jensen asked.
Bo nodded. “That’s in the box, too,” he said. “Gwen says it fell out of the jeans when she picked them up to bag them,” he added.
“And no one’s looked at any of this yet?”
“No, Gwen tends to leave the bigger stuff up to me,” Bo said. “She calls it a thank you for, you know, not letting her die when Steven blew up the station.”
“Fair point.” Bo reached into the front pocket, his brow furrowing as he pulled a small, rectangular card out between his fingers. “Well… we either have a really good copycat, or they put the wrong guy in prison twenty-two years ago.” He cleared his throat. “Well, uh, Jensen, welcome to the killings of the Casanova.”
Enjoying the story? Consider dropping a comment or a like down below!!
Love what I do and want to help support me? You can ‘buy me a coffee’ on Ko-fi!