2:27 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, KEEPING ROOM
Jensen groaned as Bo reached out for his ringing phone. Jacob’s name flashed across the screen. Bo frowned, sliding his thumb across the bottom of the screen before he pressed his phone to his ear. “Jake?”
“Morning, Blondie,” Jacob greeted.
“You don’t sound as tired as you should at this hour.”
“I haven’t slept yet,” Jacob said simply. “Look, I’ve got a homicide here, and I’d prefer it be you instead of Gwen and Misty.”
“Sure. Jensen, too?”
“Mmhmm. I’m just not ready to be around any other women today.”
Bo snorted, gently pushing Jensen’s arm away from him. He sat up on the couch, rubbing his jaw with the heel of his palm. “Does that mean you’re at the crime scene?”
“Because I’ve got a decapitated woman in the middle of my damn town, and that’s kind of something the lieutenant should be present for,” Jacob said.
“Decapitated?” Bo asked. “Is the head at the scene?”
“Yep. Clean cut, too. I’m thinking one swipe on this, Bo. Clean through,” the lieutenant said.
“Damn,” Bo murmured. “We’ll be there in a few. Main Street, then?”
“You betcha. West Main. Just, you know, look for the flashing lights. There’s a lot of them,” Jacob said.
Bo nodded, sliding his hand around to rest at the back of his neck. “All right. Give us a few to get changed and grab coffee somewhere. We’ll be there in, say… fifteen or so?”
“Works for me, Blondie. I’ll be here,” Jacob said.
“See you in a few, Jake.” Bo pulled the phone from his ear and ended the call. He reached back, tapping his phone against Jensen’s thigh. “Time to go, love.”
Jensen grumbled a dramatic, “I don’t wanna.”
Bo chuckled, turning his head just enough to look at Jensen over his shoulder. “We have a crime scene, Jens. We’ll grab coffee at Casey’s, okay?”
Jensen nodded, his fingers biting into Bo’s shoulder as he pulled himself into a sitting position. “Kids?” he questioned.
“Cecilia can keep an ear out in case any of them need something,” Bo said.
Again, the younger man nodded. “You should go back to the bedroom first, then.”
“Why?” Bo asked, pushing himself to his feet.
“Because girls are gross, and I don’t know what they sleep in.”
Bo laughed quietly. “Sure, Jens. Want me just to bring clothes out to you?”
“That’d be preferred.”
Bo nodded. “The usual?”
“Nah. Too tired to tie a damn die. Just, umm… jeans and a button-up.”
“All right, love. Be back in a few.”
2:46 AM; CLINSTONE, WEST MAIN STREET
“Nice job on the barricades, Jake. Can’t even see this shit from outside of them,” Jensen said.
Jacob nodded, shoving his hands into the pockets of his suit pants. “That was the hope,” he said quietly. “You know how bad it is to have to shut down Main Street? Again?” he questioned.
“Well, I would assume it isn’t pleasant,” Bo said, locking the external flash onto his camera. “From what I can see, that’s where the head landed when the killer cut it off. You have to imagine that the victim was on her knees rather than laying on her side,” he said.
Jacob nodded. “What do you think did it?” he asked.
“Well, something incredibly sharp,” Bo said, turning on his camera. He cleared his throat, reaching up with one hand to pull down on his beanie. He was certain that no matter how long he lived in Clinstone, he’d never get used to the cold again. He grabbed a pair of gloves from his coat pocket and pulled them on. “One would… guess that it was something the killer sharpened themself to make sure it was sharp enough to cut through bone this cleanly. Machete, possibly. They use those in—” Bo cut himself off, deciding to snap a picture rather than finish the thought.
“In what?” Jacob asked.
“Beheadings with machetes. That’s how they do it in some of the terrorist propaganda videos,” Jensen said quietly.
“Ah,” Jacob whispered.
“Blood spatter on the ground here would be cast off from the weapon,” Bo said, squatting down to take a picture of the blood in question. “There are cameras behind you on the four-way stop there. If we get lucky, the camera across the way caught sight of the killer. More than likely, the killer’s back was to the camera or they were smart enough to keep themself covered from being seen. If nothing else, I can get an estimate on the height that way.” He lifted his shoulders, glancing back at Jacob. “Hopefully a gender, too.”
Jacob nodded. “Question off the record.”
“You think the suicide was a homicide. Do you think this…?” Jacob cleared his throat. “You think they’re related?”
“Well, on the surface, no. But at the root? Possibly.”
“Bo, I haven’t slept yet. You have to be less cryptic than that,” Jacob said.
Bo chuckled softly. “My apologies.” He pushed himself to his feet, turning to look at Jacob and Jensen. “A public hanging and a private beheading where everyone only sees the aftermath. They’re both methods of execution. In different countries, in different religions, in different time periods. It doesn’t matter when or where, but they both are and were methods of executing people.”
“So we have an executioner?” Jacob asked.
“Well, I can’t say that. On the record, there’s no proof Alonzo was a homicide. Off the record, once it’s realized that Alonzo didn’t jump off that building on his own accord, there’s nothing that immediately ties them together,” Bo explained.
“What’s the plan, then?” Jacob questioned.
“Finish taking pictures, identify this poor woman, and do everything we can to connect the two cases,” Bo said quietly.
6:03 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BATHROOM
Bo, freshly showered and already dressed, sat on the bathroom counter, Jensen standing between his legs. “Are you planning on staying here with the kids until school?” Bo asked, his arms wrapped loosely around the younger man’s neck.
“Yeah, planning on it.” One corner of Jensen’s mouth lifted. “I’m gonna miss you, though.”
Bo snorted. “Oh, honey, if you think dishes aren’t sexy, you sure as hell aren’t going to think an autopsy is sexy.”
Jensen chuckled, dipping his head to kiss Bo’s shoulder. “You’re probably right. I have my share of healthy limits on sexiness.”
“Thankfully.” Bo threaded his fingers through Jensen’s hair, pressing a kiss to his temple. “Can I ask you something unrelated to everything?”
“Before me, how many people had you slept with?”
Jensen snorted. “Way less than you, that’s for sure.”
“Ouch,” Bo whispered.
Jensen frowned as he lifted his head. “Baby, that wasn’t an insult. That was a joke. I mean, it’s true, but it was a joke. I know I’m a dick—reasons obvious—but you can’t take everything I say so seriously. I joke around. It’s my personality, babe, that’s all.”
Bo nodded. “I know. Sometimes I can’t help taking it to heart.” Lightly, he shoved at Jensen’s shoulder. “How many? You know nearly everything about me. I still only know bits and pieces about your past, you know.”
“You know the important stuff.”
“I know, but everything about you is important to me,” the blonde said.
Jensen smiled. “You… want a real answer?”
“Damn,” Bo whispered. “I’m sorry you got stuck with me that soon.”
Jensen shook his head. “I love you, Eli. I wouldn’t want to be stuck with anyone else.” He cleared his throat. “About halfway through my freshman year of college, my best friend and I got wasted and had sex. He was too shitfaced, and he didn’t remember it in the morning, so I never brought it up again. He started dating some chick a couple months later, so I thought that, uh, that being gay was some sort of mistake that happened when I was drunk. I tried to sleep with a woman, cried like a bitch before I even got her undressed, and never slept with anyone else until”—he tapped a finger against Bo’s nose—“you.”
“Did… did anyone know you were gay?”
“God, of course not. I was embarrassed about it all. You were the first person that I told. The first person that remembered that I told them, anyway,” Jensen said.
“I’m sorry you were alone for that, Jens,” Bo said.
Jensen smiled softly. “It’s all right. I still ended up in the right pair of arms,” he said.
A smile tugged at one corner of Bo’s mouth. “You’re adorable.”
“Oh, I know.” Bo rolled his eyes. “What brought that up, Eli?”
Bo lifted his shoulders. “Like I said, I’m genuinely curious about your past, all the little details. I love you, and I want a reason to love every little piece of you.”
“See? That’s why I love you,” Jensen murmured, pressing a soft kiss to Bo’s lips. “Look, on our lunch break, you can ask whatever questions you have about me. Okay?” Bo nodded. “You should get to work. I’ll be at the station at eight.”
“Sure, Jens.” Bo kissed him, tugging at a lock of his dark hair. “I love you.” Jensen smiled broadly. “I love you, too, Eli. Now, get your ass outta here. I’ll see you in a bit.”
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