Saturday: March 6, 2027
6:00 AM; SAN DIEGO, THE PITMAN ESTATE, OFFICE
Bo lowered himself into the chair in front of Jamal’s desk, moving a hand to cover his mouth as he yawned. He leaned back, crossing his arms over his chest. “What’re we doing, then?” he questioned.
“Patience, kiddo,” Jamal said simply.
“I’m tired, Jamal. What’s this for?”
“Patience,” Jamal repeated. “We need to talk a few things out.”
“When you’re in Clinstone, you’ll still be responsible for all of my current duties. That relates to everything in correlation to the police department and otherwise,” Jamal said.
Jamal nodded. “Unless you have a different idea for how you want things done, the current plan is for Dallas to take over whenever you’re in L.A.. He’ll still be your lieutenant, but he’ll help push around paperwork. He’ll send you things that need your signature, and he’ll constantly keep you in the loop on everything else on a day-to-day basis. When you’re in L.A. but out doing something… extracurricular, Dallas or Frank will sit in for you that day. You may, obviously, eventually find your own Frank, per say, who will then take your place when you can’t be present.”
“How long did you know Frank before you allowed him to start taking over for you?” Bo asked.
“I wasn’t chief of police when I met Frank. That came… many years down the road,” Jamal said simply.
“Where’d you meet him?”
“I hired him from a private security agency. I pay better money anyway. It wasn’t hard to convince him to stay,” Jamal said.
“Why’d you hire him?”
“Not right now, Bo,” Jamal said quietly. Bo nodded. “You understand everything I’ve said so far, yes?”
“Good.” Jamal cleared his throat, leaning forward as he crossed his arms over the top of his desk. “Your main duties reside in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Kansas. There are some other important ones spread throughout, but they aren’t things you need to worry about at this moment.”
“Vegas?” Bo asked. “What do you have in Vegas?”
“A casino. You’d be in charge of the funds and distributing them to their rightful owners,” Jamal said.
“Mm… some. Some are just your average businessman,” Jamal said. He lifted his shoulders. “Or businesswoman. You’ll have two of those.”
“Do they know it’s dirty money?”
“The money inside of the casino is clean money, Bo. It’s run by the mob, but the money’s clean,” Jamal said.
“I can stop, Bo. I’ll… do what I can to find someone else.”
“I’m tired. I didn’t say I’m backing out,” Bo said. “Just because I’m not a Pitman doesn’t mean I’m a coward. I made a promise to you. I won’t be breaking it.”
Jamal sighed. “Kiddo, I don’t want you to be a Pitman. I don’t even want you to pretend to be one. Being a Pitman is what makes me a monster. Katherine thinks she’s entitled to be a bitch and better than everyone because she was raised by a Pitman. Wayne runs a goddamn company because he was raised by a Pitman. If I wanted a Pitman to take over for me, I would’ve chosen one.” He cleared his throat. “You know why I chose you?”
“Because you don’t trust Kathy, and you won’t make Wayne a killer again,” Bo said.
“Partially, yes. Otherwise, you’re a lot like me. Just without the darkness,” Jamal said. “Bo, I chose you because you’re a self-made man. You were treated like shit by your own parents. You were given up for adoption, bullied throughout your years of schooling, tortured by the kids in college, and you were treated like a freak after that. Adults were intimidated by you, and everyone else wanted you gone. But, you graduated high school, you graduated college, and you got yourself a job. You persevered the hard times, kid. You have to be able to fight through the tough shit if you want to handle any of this, and you definitely can.”
One corner of Bo’s mouth lifted. “Self-made, huh?”
“Hmm.” Bo cleared his throat. “What else?”
“Venetia’s coming in soon. You haven’t been formally acquainted. That needs to be remedied.”
“Sure, but Venetia’s terrifying,” Bo said.
Jamal snorted. “She’s slightly less terrifying than the last time you saw her, Bo. She’s married and they’ve got a baby. Truthfully, they’re still working to switch most of their operations over to the more legal side of things.” He tilted his head to the right, to the left, debating. “Well, Venetia herself will stop killing, anyway. The Horror Twins will keep, uh, doing their thing.”
“Their thing will keep getting the Lucchese family in legal trouble. If they’re trying to go legal, the Twins have to stop.”
“Ah, that’s where you’ll come in, lab geek,” Jamal said. “Covering a few things up here and there, tweaking facts in a blood report, keeping bodies off the record, keeping my twins out of jail.”
Bo cocked his head to the side. “Your twins?”
Jamal snorted, rolling his eyes. “I’ve kept them out of prison quite a few times, Bo. You’re my boy, they’re my twins.” He circled a hand in the air. “You get the point.”
Bo nodded, raking a hand through his hair. “Jamal?”
“Can I ask you something without you getting mad?”
“How soon are you planning on leaving me to figure this out on my own?” Bo asked.
Jamal stared at the blonde for a moment before shaking his head. “I’m not leaving you anywhere, Bo. I… want to retire soon.”
Jamal nodded slightly, crossing his arms over his chest. He cleared his throat. “I want to know that this is going to be something you can handle. If you take over before I’m done, I can still help you in the beginning. I can’t help if I’m dead, but I’m still around when you take over, I can walk you through it all. If you have questions, I’ll be around to offer answers or advice. I like it better that way. It gives you a chance to test the waters before committing fully. Does that… sound okay?”
“Yes. I… Yes,” Bo said quietly. “When will I have to take over?”
“The contracts don’t shift until 2030. Unless something drastic occurs, you’ll take over for me then,” Jamal said. “I’m keeping up on my diet and exercise, as well as all of my checkups, so stop looking at me like that.”
“Don’t be. Being worried means you care. That’s always going to be important,” Jamal said. Bo nodded. “When was the last time you boxed?”
“Well, this morning at about three,” Bo said. “Why?”
“Venetia’s bringing a man with her. She’s like you to… prove your worth. I was against it when she said it, and I’m against it now. I’ll refuse him access to the estate if you want me to.”
“What kind of fighting? Gloves on or off?”
“On,” Jamal said. “I’d make sure of that,” he added.
Bo let out a heavy breath. “Then let’s do it. Let’s prove I’m not worthless.”
9:34 AM; LOS ANGELES, PRESCOTT-WINDER MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, ROOM 100
“Are you okay?” Jensen asked, dropping down beside Bo on the hospital bed.
“A bit of pain, but I’m fine. It’s just a dislocated shoulder,” Bo said. “A couple weeks in a sling and a bit of mobility exercises, and I’ll be fine.”
Jensen pressed a kiss to Bo’s temple, closing his eyes. “And the other guy?”
“I… broke his nose.”
“What happened? Was this why Jamal needed you here? To prove a point?” Jensen asked.
Bo shook his head. “Jamal wanted to discuss details and formally introduce me to Venetia.”
“Mmhmm. She felt I needed to prove my worth,” Bo said.
“She’s a bitch,” Jensen whispered. “Jamal allowed this to happen?”
“Jamal asked that we didn’t do it. But when Venetia came in, she said that… after Jamal was dead, she wouldn’t work with me. She only works with Jamal because her father liked him. Working with Jamal is nothing but an honor to her father. If I wanted to hold up Jamal’s legacy, I had to prove myself,” Bo explained.
Jensen nodded, carefully wrapping an arm around Bo. “Did you?”
“Yes, apparently. I broke his nose,” Bo said. “Before Jamal decked him, of course.”
A ghost of a smile crossed Jensen’s face. “Always go out fighting, huh?”
“I have to,” Bo whispered.
“I know, baby.” Jensen kissed the top of Bo’s head, clearing his throat. “How’s the pain?”
“Manageable. They gave me these,” Bo said, reaching out right his right hand to drop a bottle of pills into Jensen’s hand. “The pain’s definitely not strong enough for me to willingly risk getting addicted to pain meds. Not my cup of tea, honestly.”
“You wouldn’t get addicted to them. You’re stronger to that.”
“I’m a recovered alcoholic, Jens. I’m more susceptible to addiction because of that.”
“Yeah… I know.” Jensen sighed, tucking the bottle into the pocket of his jacket. “You ready to go home?” Bo nodded. Jensen stood up, holding out a hand. Bo smiled faintly, grabbing the younger man’s hand as he stood up. “You should take the day to relax rather than working on the case. Think you can do that for me?”
“I’m sure I can manage that,” Bo agreed.
“Thank you,” Jensen murmured, squeezing Bo’s hand. He reached out and grabbed the handle of the door, tugging it open. Bo ducked under his arm, stepping out into the hall. Jensen followed. “Do you need to talk to Jamal?”
Bo shook his head. “I asked him to head on out after you said you’d be here. I didn’t want you two butting heads. You sometimes have a hard time grasping that it isn’t actually his fault when I do something utterly asinine.”
Jensen snorted. “Good call, Eli.” He glanced down at his husband, concern swimming in his green eyes. “You’re sure you’re all right?”
“One hundred percent, Jens.”
“You’ll let me know if that changes? If the pain gets to be too much to bear?” Jensen asked.
Bo nodded. “Of course. I’ll keep you updated.” He sighed quietly, leaning into Jensen’s side as they walked. “Thank you for coming. I would’ve been fine with Jamal and Frank, but…”
“It’s not something I need to be thanked for, Eli. You’re my husband. I love you. My job is to show up when you’re hurt or in pain. I’m your support system, remember? That’s how this works.”
Bo smiled, lifting Jensen’s hand to kiss the back of it. “I love you, too,” he said softly. “The girls are going to ask what happened once we get home. In that case, the story is that I slipped on the stairs at Jamal’s and banged up my shoulder. Does that sound okay?”
“Yeah, babe. Sounds all right to me.”
A/N: Things with Venetia will most likely be less violent and aggressive once I finish the Grimm rewrites and, eventually The Rise of Viper rewrite (Venetia’s book). As it stands, I only knew her in her violent stage, so that’s how she was when I wrote the Bo Austen series. Hopefully she’ll dial back a smidge once I get to know her more.
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