7:56 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, LAB
Bo looked up from his laptop as Jacob leaned into the lab. He tilted his head to the side. “You okay?”
“Umm, yeah, I’m good,” Jacob said quietly. He cleared his throat. “Can we talk?” Bo nodded. The sergeant stepped into the room, pulling the door shut with him. Bo closed the lid of his laptop as Jacob lifted himself onto the counter. “Allie had… a breakthrough last night. Or, uh, I guess that’s what you’d call it. She wants help. She wants to talk to a psychologist.”
“That’s so good, Jake,” Bo whispered.
“I know. I’m proud of her for admitting she needs help, even prouder for her finally being able to ask for it. And I told her that I would make it happen, no matter what. But I’ve been looking all morning, and you weren’t wrong about the psychologists in this town. They don’t accept insurance.” Jacob let out a heavy breath, clasping his hands between his knees as he let his head hang at his chest. “I don’t want to ask you for help.”
Jacob’s brow furrowed as he turned toward Bo. “What?”
“Then don’t ask. Your problem with asking is that you think it makes you sound weak, like you’re begging. So tell me instead,” Bo said.
Jacob glanced upward, considering the idea for a moment. “I need help, Blondie.”
Bo smiled faintly. “Okay, good. You and Alice pick a psychologist, and I’ll go in and set up an automatic transfer for her appointments,” he said.
“I’m gonna pay you back, Bo. For everything.”
“You really don’t have to. Believe me, Jake, I’m glad to help,” Bo said.
Jacob leaned back slightly, letting out a sigh. “How much money do you have to throw around?” he asked.
“Uh, depends, I suppose. I tend to keep only a couple thousand in my checkings, but I have nearly a million in savings spread in different banks for FDIC insurance on it all,” Bo said.
Jacob nearly choked on his own breath. “That’s just a casual thing for you?” he asked.
Bo offered a shrug. “Before Jensen and the girls, I didn’t have much of a reason to go out and spend all my money. I paid my bills, bought my groceries, and paid for gas whenever I actually drove anywhere. I was in L.A.. I didn’t drive everywhere all the time,” he said. “Playing poker with Jamal obviously has its benefits, as well. And when I was… broken after Bridget, I wasn’t any of my bills or buying my groceries. Jamal was. Money accumulated for me because I’ve never had to take care of other people until recently. It’s totally different for you. You’ve had someone to take care of since Katie.”
“I guess,” Jacob whispered.
“And if you still want me to teach you to play poker, I will, and then you can bring in some money with Jamal and me. I can help you budget afterward… if you want,” Bo said.
“All of that is… appreciated. Thank you,” Jacob said quietly.
“My pleasure, Jake.”
“What can I do to pay you back?”
“You don’t have to.” Bo offered a smile. “I’m serious, Jake. I’m fine. You don’t have to do anything in return. You’re the only reason I survived long enough to get engaged to the love of my life. You’re the only reason I stumbled upon Kayla and Amber. I wouldn’t have stayed in Clinstone if it wasn’t for you. If you ask me, that is payment enough.”
One corner of Jacob’s mouth lifted. “Brother, my God, I love you.”
Bo chuckled softly. “I love you, too, Jake.” He pushed himself to his feet as Jensen opened the door to the lab. “Let me know when you guys find a psychologist, okay?” Jacob nodded.
“I bought you a coffee, Jake. I didn’t think you were at the station yet, so I just set it on your desk,” Jensen said.
“Thank you,” Jacob said softly.
“Mmhmm.” Jensen crossed the room, setting a coffee cup in front of Bo. “The usual, Eli,” he said softly.
“Thanks.” Bo leaned across the table, laying a hand on Jensen’s cheek as he kissed him. Across the room, Jacob smiled faintly. “And you did shave. Thank you,” Bo said quietly.
“Mm. You’re welcome.”
Bo reached up, fixing the collar of Jensen’s shirt before patting him on the chest. “I have work to do down here, so you two should go up and keep Rick company. He needs that.” He sat back down, clearing his throat. “Love you both, disperse.”
Jensen snorted. “Love you, too, Eli.”
“See you for lunch?” Jacob asked, jumping down from the counter.
“You betcha,” Bo assured. Jacob smiled faintly, lifting a hand in departure before following Jensen out of the lab. Bo sighed quietly, lowering himself back into his chair. He lifted the lid of his laptop, typing in his password as soon as his lock screen popped back up. He had nothing on the killer. There was no denying that. He didn’t have a gender or a height. He didn’t have anything to go off of, nothing to build a profile upon.
Bo took a small sip of his coffee before setting the cup down and dropping his hands to his lap. He stared at the image of Serena’s headless body on his computer screen, twisting his ring around his finger. He cocked his head to the side. In Ellepath, the Headless Killer had kidnapped young children in order to quickly gain attention, fame. He hadn’t tried to hide the bodies; he had displayed them in the town’s park by the running trail.
Clinstone’s killer had tried to hide the body. Sure, they had failed quite miserably, but they had attempted to keep Serena Bishop out of sight. If they weren’t looking for fame, they had definitely kept the skull for a personal trophy, not as a signature. Bo sighed. That made their bonekeeper even more similar to the Hunter than he had originally thought. The killing wasn’t for fame or glory, it was for something else entirely.
But for what?
5:57 PM; CLINSTONE, THE MASON HOUSEHOLD, FOYER
Jacob stepped into the house, kicking off his shoes as he reached back to shut the front door. Alice walked into the foyer, a kitchen towel held between her hands. Jacob tilted his head to the side. “Whatcha been up to, Allie?” he asked.
“I made brownies,” she said quietly.
“I can see that,” he said softly, reaching up to brush flour off of her cheek. He pressed a kiss to her forehead. “The kids are staying with Bo and Jensen for a few more hours so we can talk about you, about us. We’ll research psychologists, find one that you like, and then we’ll make an appointment.”
“You found a way to make it work?” she asked skeptically.
“Of course. I told you I would, baby.”
“Don’t worry about it. It’s handled, okay?” Jacob questioned. Alice nodded. “I’m gonna take a quick shower and get changed out of this suit. Then we’ll open up the laptop and… and look at some people that can help, okay?”
She nodded. “Can I…? Can I come with?”
“Yes,” he whispered. “Please.”
Alice nodded slightly. “I’m gonna grab my pajamas. I’ll… meet you in the bathroom. Okay?”
“All right, Allie,” Jacob said softly.
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