11:30 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT; LAB
Jensen set two cups of coffee on the table before sitting down beside Bo. “So we’re looking for signs of a relationship of some sort,” he said.
Bo nodded, scrolling through Hanna’s contact list. “Hopefully. Do you think she would have deleted his contact information?”
“I mean, if he actually dumped her? Maybe.”
“Would you have deleted it?” Bo asked.
Jensen lifted his shoulders. “Probably not. I think I would’ve just, you know, added an angry emoji to the end of his name. Maybe a broken heart, too.”
Bo laughed, the sound dying on his tongue. “Holy shit, Jensen. She marked his name with a damn broken heart. How didn’t I notice that before?”
“Because you were looking for a Joel. And, obviously, you don’t really focus on the emojis. They aren’t your thing.”
“That’s because they don’t mean anything,” Bo said. “It’s just another way for people to stop talking to each other.”
Jensen chuckled softly, leaning to the side to press a kiss to Bo’s temple. “I know, babe.” He tilted his head to the side. “Should… we call him?” he asked.
“It’s your case, Sarge,” Bo said, holding out the phone. “It’s up to you.” Jensen stared at him for a moment before grabbing the phone. Clicking the contact information, he tapped the small green phone and put the call on speaker.
“Hanna,” a man said after the fourth ring. “Hanna, I’m so sorry. I—”
“Sir, this is Sergeant Austen-Taylor with Clinstone Police Department. Are you Miss Davidson’s ex-boyfriend?” Jensen asked.
“Y–yes. Is she okay?”
“I’m afraid I can’t answer that, sir,” Jensen said, closing his eyes. “Would you mind coming down to the station? Answering a few questions for us?”
“I, umm… Okay,” the man whispered. “I can b–be there around noon?”
“Noon works for me, sir. Can I get a first and last name?” Jensen asked as Bo reached over and grabbed a pen.
“Nic Palmer.” He cleared his throat. “That’s N-I-C.”
“All right, Mister Palmer. I’ll see you at noon,” Jensen said softly. He ended the call, letting out a heavy breath. “We can rule out Palmer as the killer,” he murmured.
“Well, it couldn’t have been him, anyway. He introduced himself as Joel.”
“It’s called roleplay, Eli. Some couples go out in a public place and pretend they’re different people. Anything’s possible,” Jensen reminded.
“What’s the point?”
“Mm.” Bo shook his head. “I should probably see what I can dig up on Palmer.”
Jensen waved a hand. “Don’t worry about it. He’s coming down for questions, Eli. Unless he’s a suspect, we don’t need anything more than that.”
Bo nodded. “Sure,” he said quietly.
Jensen frowned. “Ah, it makes you feel useful if you look into everyone that’s involved, right?”
“Just a bit,” Bo admitted.
“Then you can go ahead and dig into anyone and everyone we come across, okay?”
One corner of Bo’s mouth lifted. “Thanks, Jens.”
“No problem, Eli.” Jensen glanced down at his watch, sighing softly. “I’m gonna run upstairs and fill Jake in on Palmer. It isn’t much, but it’s something.”
Bo nodded. “Are we including Jass in the questioning?” he asked.
Jensen considered the thought for a moment before shaking his head. “Not today. I can’t handle him trying to worm his way into our private life.” He leaned over and kissed Bo before pushing himself to his feet. “I’ll be back in a few, all right?”
“I’ll be here.”
12:00 PM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, LOBBY
“Mister Palmer,” Jensen greeted, holding out a hand. “Sergeant Austen-Taylor.”
Nic Palmer grabbed Jensen’s hand, shaking it. “Who’s he?” he asked, nodding to his right.
“Bo Austen-Taylor. Forensics analyst,” Bo said. He held up his notebook. “I just take the notes.” Nic nodded.
“Come on, Mister Palmer. Let’s head on back to Interrogation,” Jensen said.
Nic shoved his hands into the pockets of his jacket as he followed Jensen through the station. “Am I… am I in some kind of trouble?”
“Is there a reason for you to be in trouble?” Bo questioned from behind the man.
“No, but Hanna’s good at doing crazy things when she’s pissed. She threatened to call the cops when I broke it off.”
“What would she have called for?” Jensen asked.
“Uh… off the record?” Nic questioned.
“Once we’re in the interrogation room,” Bo said. He gestured to the hall as Nic glanced back at him. “Cops all around the building, Mister Palmer. Every room and wall has ears.”
Jensen pushed open the door to Interrogation Room One, flipped on the light, and nodded toward the empty room. “Take a seat, Mister Palmer.” Nic wrapped his arms around himself as he walked into the room. Jensen and Bo stepped inside, and Jensen closed the door. “So, Mister Palmer, what would she have called for?” he questioned, reaching up to turn off the camera in the corner of the room.
“One hundred percent off the record?”
“I’ve got bigger fish to fry, Mister Palmer. You can tell me,” Jensen assured.
Nic lowered himself into one of the chairs at the table, licking his lips. “I used to peddle smack for Lucchese.”
“Which one’s smack?” Jensen asked as he sat down.
“Heroin,” Bo said, pulling out the chair beside his husband.
Jensen nodded slightly. “And… Miss Davidson knew about this?”
“She knew, yeah. I didn’t hide anything from her. It’s what our deal was when we started dating. No hiding anything from each other,” Nic said. He raked a shaky hand through his hair. “One of my guys, my… my clients, you know? They told me they wouldn’t buy it unless I proved it was good shit.”
“So you shot it up,” Bo said quietly.
“So I shot it up,” Nic echoed. “I didn’t tell Hanna. Didn’t see a need to. Lucchese found out and beat the shit out of me as a quick reminder of what would happen if I told anyone. I ran the hell away from Kansas, changed my name, whatever. Hanna came with.”
“She stayed with you after she found out?” Jensen asked.
“Yeah,” Nic said nodding quickly. “But I couldn’t stop myself.” He reached out, yanking up his sleeve. Bo’s eyes scanned over the track marks on the man’s arm. “I’m a danger to myself, and I was a danger to her. I love her. I didn’t want to hurt her, so I broke up with her. I gotta get better, and I gotta stay away from her till then.” Nic sniffled, scratching the side of his head. “She’s dead, isn’t she? That’s what I’m here for? You think I did it?” When he didn’t get a response, he added, “When’d she die?”
“The fourteenth,” Jensen said.
Nic nodded, swallowing. “Day after I dumped her. Bet she went out and did something stupid to prove a point to me.”
Jensen cleared his throat. “Mister Palmer? Do you know where Miss Davidson lifted? Her home address isn’t listed anywhere in the system.”
“My apartment,” Nic mumbled, dropping his head to rest in his hands. “I’ve been staying in a hotel the past couple nights. I let her stay in the apartment till she found a place she could call her own.”
“Are you willing to allow us to take a look around the apartment?” Jensen asked. Nic only nodded.
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