8:03 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, MORGUE
Bo took a small sip of his coffee before pulling on his second glove and walking to the other end of the room. His fingers skimmed the body drawers before he pulled open the one that held Ellen Briggs’s body. He closed his eyes for a moment before pulling back the white sheet that covered her body.
Her face was nearly entirely in tact. A single scratch resided just beneath her right eye, and her bottom lip was split. Gwen had already cleaned the blood from the cut—or maybe the Casanova had done that; Bo was certain—which made her look less battered. He appreciated the cleaned up look of Ellen Briggs, and he knew her father would fair better seeing his little girl when her face wasn’t beaten her bloody.
“I’m sorry I chased you away from CPD,” Bo said quietly, tugging at the wrist of his left glove. “I know this isn’t my fault, but like it is. Everyone deserves to have a place they feel welcome and comfortable. Before I came back from L.A., that was CPD for you, and I chased you off. I apologize.” He cleared his throat, stepping away from her body. He grabbed his camera from the counter and turned it on. “I’ll make sure to help your father cover the funeral costs. It’s bad enough that he’s lost you. It’d be worse if he put himself in debt to give you the peace you deserve.”
Bo held a small ruler beneath the cut under Ellen’s eye. Digging one corner of his camera into his chest to help stabilize it, he snapped a picture. He did the same for the split in her lip. “I treated you terribly the few times that we actually spoke, and I’m sorry for that, sorry that I never had the chance to apologize before… before now. Not to bring up old memories, but you insinuated that Jensen would grow out of being gay, and we had only been dating for a month or so, and I was insecure about that, about him leaving me, and I took it out on you in a much more aggressive manner than I should have. If it had happened now, I would’ve talked it out calmly, the same way I’ve taken the time and patience to explain things to Detective Jass, so… I’m sorry,” Bo said quietly.
The blonde pulled the sheet down further, holding the ruler to a large gash on her collarbone. He took a picture of the cut before sighing. “We’re going to find the guy who did this, Miss Briggs. Justice for you and Miss Davidson. Justice for… for all the women he’s killed or hurt. We’ll find him. Just, you know, give me time. We’ll figure it out, and we’ll get the right guy this time.”
9:17 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, DETECTIVE SERGEANT JENSEN AUSTEN-TAYLOR’S DESK
Bo sat down in front of Jensen’s desk, holding a folder out to his husband. The younger man grabbed it, setting it down and flipping it open. His green eyes scanned the papers inside. Bo crossed his left ankle over the opposite thigh, clearing his throat as he sat silently, waiting.
“Eighty-two times?” Jensen asked, his voice just above a whisper.
“Eighty-two times,” Bo echoed.
“How the hell do you stab someone eighty-two times?”
“Endurance, anger, excitement… something,” Bo said quietly.
“Does Jake know about this?”
The blonde shook his head. “Not yet. It’s not something I want to share with him just yet,” he said.
“Fair enough,” Jensen mumbled. “What about Ryan?”
“Not yet. I figured you could share it with him.”
Jensen nodded. “Thanks.”
“I called her father. He’ll be here in”—Jensen glanced down at his watch—“about ten minutes.”
“What’d you tell him when you called?” Bo questioned.
“I asked if he could come down to CPD to talk about his daughter.” Jensen sighed, raking a hand through his dark hair. “He said he’s given the notification of death talk far too many times for me to bullshit him. He wanted to know how she died, but I… but I said I’d prefer to talk in person.”
“Her dad was a cop, then?” Bo asked. Jensen only nodded. “You know what that means, right?”
“He’s going to want to see all the cuts on her body, not just her face,” Bo said. “Yeah, I know,” he said quietly.
9:30 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, MORGUE
Luke Briggs, a retired detective well into his seventies, stood tall in the morgue, arms crossed over his chest. Bo glanced up at him briefly before pulling down the white sheet, folding it neatly across Ellen’s chest. Luke swallowed roughly, clearing his throat. “The rest of the way,” he said gruffly.
“Sir, respectfully, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Bo said.
“Let me see what the bastard did to my little girl,” Luke ordered.
“Of course, sir,” Bo murmured. He wrapped his gloved fingers around the sheet, hesitantly pulling it down and folding it near Ellen’s hips. He closed his eyes at Luke’s sharp intake of breath.
“I don’t have an answer to that, sir.”
“Here.” Bo forced his eyes open, his gaze shifting to the wound Luke was pointing to. “That’s a direct wound, Mister Austen-Taylor. If that one doesn’t tell you what the weapon is, you aren’t doing your damn job. What was it?”
Bo glanced up at Jensen briefly before clearing his throat. “A six-inch clip blade, sir,” he said.
“Someone that knew her?” Luke asked, his eyes carefully roaming over the cuts on his daughter’s corpse.
“We don’t believe so, sir.”
“That’s a lot of passion for someone that didn’t know her.”
“I know, sir.”
Luke sniffled, turning his head to the side. “Cover her up.”
“Of course, sir.” Bo pulled the sheet back over Ellen’s body before tucking his hands behind his back.
“Anything you need to ask, Sergeant?” Luke questioned.
“Just a few simple questions if you’d like to follow me upstairs, sir,” Jensen said. Luke nodded, turned on his heel, and followed Jensen out of the morgue. Bo watched them leave before pushing the tray back into its drawer. He closed the small, metal door, closing his eyes.
Once upon a time, seeing a battered victim like Ellen Briggs would make him work overtime to find the killer, even if it meant sacrificing sleep, exercise, and a solid diet. Now, seeing a battered victim like Ellen Briggs made him more than thankful that his own daughters were in school instead of in some dark bar.
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