4:47 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, FOYER
Amber ran into the foyer, throwing her arms around Jensen. Jensen chuckled, picking her up and swinging her around to rest on his hip. “I missed you.”
“Aww, I missed you, too, baby,” Jensen said softly. He pressed a kiss to Amber’s forehead before kicking off his shoes.
“He’s parking the car in the garage and getting the mail,” Jensen said. Immediately afterward, the front door opened and Bo stepped into the house. “And there he is.”
Bo smiled faintly. “Hi, sweetheart,” he said softly, reaching out to tuck Amber’s hair behind her ear. “Where’s Grandma T?”
“Umm… kitchen, I think,” Amber said.
“Thanks, baby.” Bo kissed her cheek before walking out of the room. In the kitchen, Natalia Tangwerai closed the refrigerator door, her gaze shifting to Bo’s face as she smiled faintly. “Thank you for watching everyone today.”
She nodded. “No problem. Seventy-one percent of them are my grandkids anyway,” she said. “And you and Jensen are family, which makes your girls family, too.”
Bo smiled. “Points stand, Natalia. Thank you.”
Again, Natalia nodded. “Eve and Noah have been fed and changed, and they’re both asleep again. Is… is Jake coming to get Katie and the twins?”
“Yeah, he’ll be here in half an hour or so. Paperwork,” he said.
“Figured.” She sighed, crossing her arms over her chest. “I can’t thank you enough for watching over Noah and Eve. Honestly, Bo… what you and Jensen are doing means the world to Adashe and me.”
“It’s our pleasure, Natalia. Jake and Alice have dealt with my bullshit and taken care of me so many damn times. This is the least we can do.”
“I don’t know how long it’ll take them to recover, Bo.”
“I know. We have no idea, either. But we’re willing to take care of our family until they’re ready,” Bo said. “If it’s a couple weeks or couple years… we’ll be here.”
Natalia pulled Bo into a hug. “Thank you,” she whispered.
Bo smiled faintly, wrapping his arms around the woman. “You’re welcome, Natalia.”
10:50 PM; CLINSTONE, THE MASON HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Jacob lay on his back, one arm wrapped securely around his wife’s shoulders. She lay on her side, her hand resting on his chest. She hadn’t spoken a single word since he’d been home, not that that surprised him. But in the middle of his shower, she had stepped into the bathtub and wrapped her arms around him. He had considered it some kind of Godsend.
“Jay?” Alice asked quietly.
Jacob covered her hand with his own. “Yeah, Allie?”
“I need help,” she whispered, her voice breaking.
“Okay, okay,” Jacob whispered back. He pressed a kiss to the top of her head. “We’ll get you help, baby. I promise.”
Alice nodded, sniffling. “I just… I don’t know what to do. I can’t even touch my own kids, Jay. I’m like a monster to them now. I can’t…”
“You’re not a monster, baby,” he murmured. “We’ll… we’ll look into some people. Psychologist or a therapist or… someone.”
“I think psychologist. They’d be able to diagnose me,” she said.
“Okay,” Jacob said softly.
“I don’t know where to go from here, Jay.”
“Well, umm, the first step is admitting something’s wrong and asking for help. And you’ve done that. That’s the first part. From here on out, leave it up to me, okay? I’ll find someone for you to talk to. Just… just give me a few days, okay?” he asked.
“Okay,” she whispered. He closed his eyes, his arm tightening around her shoulders. He knew he’d have no choice but to ask Bo or Alice’s parents for help. They didn’t have enough money in the bank to afford sessions with a therapist or a psychologist. He knew the insurance he had through work wouldn’t cover it, either. Not that that was the station’s fault. According to Bo, most of the therapists and psychologists in Clinstone didn’t accept insurance in the first place.
“We won’t be able to afford therapy. You know that, too, don’t you?” Alice asked.
“I’ll figure it out,” Jacob said.
“I don’t want to go crying to Mom and Baba. I don’t think I have it in me to do that,” she said quietly.
“I’ll figure it out, baby,” he repeated softly. “Promise. We’ll get you the help that you deserve, no matter what.”
She nodded. “Jay?”
“I’m sorry for… not exactly living up to my duties as a wife.”
“The hell are you talking about?”
“I don’t cook or clean or take care of the kids. I… Forget about sex. I barely have let you look at me, let alone touch me. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize for grieving, Allie. I’ve been cooking and cleaning, and I’ve made sure the kids are taken care of. I have handled. It isn’t your job as a wife to keep the place spotless or any of that bullshit. I’m not Scott. I don’t believe in the whole housewife thing. You can be at home all day and not be a housewife. I don’t care about that.”
Alice nodded slightly, her fingers playing with the material of Jacob’s shirt. “If you had… fooled around with someone, I wouldn’t blame you.”
“Oh, my God, Allie,” Jacob breathed. “Baby, I would never forgive myself if I even looked at someone the same way I look at you. If I ever touched a woman, I’d let your father carve me up, no questions asked.” He turned his head to the side. Curling his fingers beneath her chin, he tilted her head back so he could finally look at her. “It took me ten years to get you, Alice. Ten years of watching you suffer while Scott treated you like shit. That’s not who I am, and it is not something I will ever turn into. You are the only woman I ever want beside me, no matter what.”
Alice laid a hand on his cheek and kissed him. Jacob closed his eyes, a soft sound of appreciation forming in the back of his throat. She pulled back after several seconds, her eyes still closed. “W–we could…” Rather than finishing the thought, she tugged on the collar of Jacob’s shirt.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” he whispered.
“We could take it slow. L–like we used to?”
“Allie, baby… I refuse to have sex with you if it’s something you’re doing because you think I’m pissed that there hasn’t been any sex.” Jacob shook his head. “I don’t think it’s a good idea, Al. This is the most we’ve talked in basically six months. It just seems wrong.”
“Y–you’re really not mad?”
“No. I’ve missed holding you at night, but I’m not mad,” he promised.
“Okay,” Alice whispered. She snuggled closer to him, curling her fingers around his shirt again. “You… know that I love you, don’t you?”
“I’ve never forgotten it.”
“Even when I don’t say it?”
“Every time I see you, you’re wearing my engagement ring and my wedding ring. Every time I see you, you’re wearing the bracelet I bought you when we got promoted to homicide. You don’t have to say it when everything you’re wearing screams it.”
Alice sniffled, smiling softly. “Well… I love you, Jay.”
Jacob smiled. “I love you more, Allie,” he whispered, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. He closed his eyes, holding her tightly. “So much more.”
11:34 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Jensen slid into bed behind Bo, wrapping an arm around the blonde’s chest. Bo smiled faintly, sliding a hand up to hold Jensen’s. “You smell good.”
“New shampoo, I think,” Jensen said quietly. He cleared his throat. “I shaved. You’re welcome.”
Bo chuckled softly. “Thank you.”
“Mmhmm.” Jensen lifted his head, pressing a kiss to Bo’s shoulder before he dropped his head back to his pillow. “Do you think there’s ever gonna be a time where we manage more than a couple hours of sleep every night?”
“Mm… not for a while, no. If it’s not one of the twins, it’s Amber. And when we get to have our own twins, we’ll have several more years of sleepless nights,” Bo said.
“If Jake and Alice have no interest in Noah and Eve… do we never get to have our own?” Jensen asked.
Bo frowned. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “We have the upstairs. We could… we could always turn it into a bedroom.”
“And then Eve and Noah would have to share a room. They can’t do that forever. It’d be weird. Boys are gross,” Jensen said.
“We’ll deal with it when we come to it. We have to give Alice and Jake whatever time they need. And if we…” Bo closed his eyes. “If we don’t get to have our own boys, so be it. You do what you have to for family.”
Jensen sighed. “Why does that have to be the thing you picked up from Jamal?” he asked. His arm tightened around Bo’s chest. “Unselfish little shit,” he muttered. “I just wanna have boys of our own, Eli,” he whispered.
“I know, Jens,” Bo whispered back. “I’m sorry,” he added, pressing a kiss to the back of Jensen’s hand.
“It’s not your fault,” Jensen said quietly. “We’re gonna make it work. One way or another, we’ll figure it out… right?”
“We’ll do our best, Jens. Promise.”
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