Tuesday: March 16, 2027
4:07 AM; CLINSTONE, SUNSET APARTMENT COMPLEX, APARTMENT 506
Timothy Smalls turned toward the door as it opened. “Beauregard,” he said distastefully.
“Mister Smalls,” Bo said quietly.
Timothy cleared his throat, glancing up at the ceiling. “What happened to your arm?”
“Looks like someone beat me to it,” Timothy said, although the statement held no true conviction. “What do you want, Beauregard? I want this over with.”
Bo sighed quietly, closing his eyes. Jensen grabbed his hands, intertwining their fingers. “Mister Smalls, your son was killing people in Clinstone, as well as actively stalking my family. He was watching us, taking pictures of my children. He was preparing methods for how he wanted to kill them. He was looking for ways that would hurt me the most. But that… None of that’s the point. None of that’s why we’re here.
“I want to give you closure, Mister Smalls. You may hate me, and you have every right to, but that doesn’t mean you deserve to suffer until you die,” Bo said. He cleared his throat. “Bernard is dead, Mister Smalls. I’m very, very sorry, but he’s gone.”
Timothy lowered himself into one of the chairs in the room, clasping his hands between his legs. “Was I right?” he asked. “Did you kill him?”
Bo squeezed Jensen’s hand. “Yes.”
“Because he was stalking your family?”
“I wanted to get him help. I wanted to… help him change his ways, show that he didn’t need to do this sort of thing. He didn’t want to change, Mister Smalls. He didn’t want help.”
Timothy nodded slowly. “Did he suffer?” he asked, his voice breaking.
“No. It was painless,” Bo said.
“Where’s… where’s he buried? Or did you…? What’d you do to him?”
“He’s buried on a small plot of land on the outskirts of Cliffburn,” Bo said.
“Can I see him?”
“If you don’t mind going for a drive,” Bo said. Timothy nodded, pushing himself to his feet. “I’m sorry, Mister Smalls.”
“Stop talking,” Timothy whispered. Bo only nodded.
4:29 PM; CLIFFBURN, HARBOR AVENUE
“You bought him a headstone?” Timothy asked, lowering himself to his knees.
“Yes,” Bo said. Although Jamal had buried Bernard and purchased the headstone, Bo didn’t want to name him as a participant. Timothy knowing the role he played in his brother’s death was more than enough.
“Respect for the dead,” Bo said.
“Do you visit?”
“Sometimes. Other times… coming out here is far too much for me to handle,” Bo said, leaning into Jensen’s side. The younger man wrapped an arm tightly around him, holding him close.
Timothy nodded, sniffling. “He was my redo.”
“I fucked up with you. There’s no denying that. I was poor. I hadn’t been through college. I was young and stupid, and I was dating a girl who was young and stupid. My parents disowned me when they found out I was having a kid. They took away my money. I needed it to pay for the house. I had to take up a second job, but it… it didn’t do much to help. Your mother was…” Timothy cleared his throat. “Your mother was into drugs. The extra money we needed to take care of you went into drugs instead. Tom couldn’t help me. Mom and Dad found out he and Jen had slept together before they got married, and our parents threatened to disown them, too.
“We had nothing, and everything was against us. When… when you turned out to be this little genius, I saw it as a blessing at first. Your mother thought it was hilarious, thought you were some… some kinda freak. But I thought it was good when it first became visible. But, uh, but when I realized that you would be smart enough to go to college, that I would need to pay for it, I didn’t know what to do. I knew you deserved something better than public school, but I wouldn’t be able to give you that either.
“You were fucked from the beginning because you ended up being born into a broken family made up of two dumb kids. You never had a shot, not with us. When she wanted to give you up for adoption, I didn’t want to. Not at first. But I figured you’d end up somewhere good.” Timothy lifted his gaze to Bo’s face. “And you did. You ended up in a real good place. Before Ben was born, I had time to recover. I had time to save up money, and when we found out another kid was on the way, I was prepared. I gave him everything I could, even after she died. He was my kid, he was my redo, my second shot. I had to do everything for him. And then… and then he still turned out to be a goddamn serial killer.”
Bo cleared his throat, pulling away from Jensen. Carefully, he lowered himself to the ground beside Timothy. “That isn’t your fault. “Ben chose his lifestyle. That wasn’t because of you.”
Timothy shook his head. “I don’t need your pity, kid. It’s on me.”
“It’s not. He was screwed up all on his own. That wasn’t because of you,” Bo said. “It’s not your fault.” Again, the older man shook his head. “It isn’t your fault,” the blonde said. “I ended up with the Austens because you gave me up. I ended up in such a good family because you gave me up. You did what was best for your kid. You learned from your mistakes the first time and improved yourself the second time. What Ben became wasn’t your fault. It isn’t your fault. It never will be.”
Bo grunted as Timothy pulled him into a hug. “Thank you,” Timothy whispered. “Thank you, thank you.”
Bo wrapped his uninjured arm around Timothy’s shoulders. “You’re welcome, Mister Smalls,” he whispered back.
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