11:25 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, LIEUTENANT JACOB MASON’S OFFICE
“Don’t call me that,” Jacob said. He lifted his head, offering a smile. “You all right, Jensen?”
The younger man nodded. “Can I come in?”
“You betcha.” Jacob watched Jensen close the door before simply gesturing to one of the chairs in front of his desk. “Sit.”
Jensen crossed the room, lowering himself into the chair. “I’ve thought long and hard about the sergeant’s position.”
“And… I’m going to study for the test and do my damnedest to pass it,” Jensen said.
Jacob smiled. “You’ll pass it. You’re a lot more intelligent than you give yourself credit for, Jensen. Just because we aren’t as smart as Bo doesn’t mean we’re stupid.”
One corner of Jensen’s mouth lifted. “Yeah, I know. I just…”
“Have a hard time believing you deserve this?” Jacob questioned.
“Yes. I was just supposed to be a bodyguard, Jake. And now… now I’m married with kids and already on my way to a promotion to sergeant? It’s fucking insane.”
The lieutenant chuckled, leaning back in his chair as he crossed his arms over his chest. “Everything’s insane, Jensen. That’s the way the world turns, you know. Insanity,” he said. “You just gotta make the insanity work in your favor. Your insanity? A husband, kids, and an incoming promotion? That’s the kind of insanity you’ve already been twisting to work in your favor.”
“Yeah, sounds about right,” Jensen agreed with a soft laugh. He cleared his throat. “When, uh, when do you want me to take the test?”
“Whenever you’re ready. You study and come to me when you think you’re good to go. We’ll set it up from there,” Jacob said. “It’s good to hear that you wanna take this promotion, Jensen. I don’t really put my full trust in many people any more, but you’re one of the few I trust. I wouldn’t want anyone else to serve as my sergeant.”
“Thank you, Jake. Honestly, thank you.”
Jacob slashed a dismissive hand through the air. “Please, it’s my pleasure. Like I said, I wouldn’t want anyone else at my side. Christ, Jensen, why do you think you stand beside me at press conferences more often than our acting sergeant?”
“I guess I hadn’t taken notice of that,” Jensen said quietly.
“Ah, you’ve noticed. You just don’t see yourself as worthy. You did the same thing when Bo wanted you to become a police officer, when he was working to get you promoted to detective. You didn’t think you deserved that, either.” Jacob smiled faintly. “And now look at you.”
“It’s all definitely something I’m proud of.”
“As you should be,” Jacob said. He nodded slightly. “You have that study booklet I gave Bo. Use it to your advantage. Learn all you can and we’ll get you a test time scheduled. You’ll do well, Jensen.”
“My pleasure, Jensen.”
Jensen cleared his throat, pushing himself to his feet. “You wanna take lunch and come out with Bo, Kay, and me? You don’t leave this station often enough any more.”
Jacob looked down at his watch. “Oh… how about we head out around noon?”
Jensen nodded. “Sure, that works for me. I’ll see you in about half an hour, then.” Jacob nodded slightly as Jensen headed for the door. “Open or closed?” the younger man questioned, his hand on the doorknob.
“Open, thank you.”
“Sure thing, Jake.”
12:09 PM; CLINSTONE, LITTLE DELIGHTS DINER
“How’re things coming along on the case?” Jacob asked after Ruth had taken their orders.
“I’m not sure yet,” Bo said honestly. “Everything’s kind of jumbled together at the moment, but I’m working on… organizing it.”
“Anything I can do to help?” the lieutenant questioned.
“Not yet. I have some drugs and chemicals to mix together first.”
“Aren’t drugs bad?” Kayla asked.
Jensen chuckled softly. “They are, sweetheart. They’re very bad,” he said. “But Daddy’s mixing certain ones together to try and figure out how this guy is hurting his victims.” Kayla looked at Bo for confirmation, who only nodded his agreement.
“Once you successfully mix together this drug cocktail, what’s your plan?” Jacob asked.
“Well, I’ll need to test it on something, both to see if I got the right measurements of each and to see how quickly it infects the liver like that,” Bo explained.
“How’re you gonna test it?”
“On a liver, preferably.” Bo rolled his eyes. “Oh, come on. Don’t look at me like that. Not a human liver, you freak.”
Jacob laughed. Hearing Bo call anyone but himself a freak was a sweet relief Jacob had never known he needed until right then. Something as subtle as Bo’s use of the word would mean nothing to most people, but to Jacob, it was further proof that the little blonde he felt the need to protect was still getting better and better all the time. “My bad. What kind of liver?”
“Gross,” Kayla said.
“I know, baby. It’d be dead. I’m not torturing an animal,” Bo said.
“Where are you gonna get it?” Jacob asked.
“Butcher shop, one would assume,” Bo said quietly. “But, again, I have to try and figure out the exact amount of each drug before I have to worry about that.”
“Think it’ll work on a liver that isn’t living any more?” Jensen asked.
“I would hope so. As long as it’s a healthy liver, I don’t think dead or alive will matter much in the overall equation. If not, I’ll figure something else out.”
“Well, good luck,” Jacob said.
Bo snorted. “Thanks.” He cleared his throat. “Unrelated, but when are you and Alice planning on looking into houses in Stokely?”
“Possibly this weekend. We can’t do much during the week, obviously, since she rarely gets home before nine,” Jacob said.
Bo nodded, “I hope you guys find one that just screams perfection.”
“Well, you know what I’ll be looking for.”
“Of course I do. The best kitchen Stokely has to offer.”
One corner of Jacob’s mouth lifted. “You betcha.”
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