Bonekeeper – Chapter Twelve

NOT EDITED

Chapter Twelve

Saturday: June 7, 2025
6:00 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, KITCHEN

“Little early to be calling, don’t you think?” Bo questioned, his phone tucked into his pocket, his earphones pushed into his ears. He stood by the counter, watching coffee drip into the glass coffee pot.

“I knew you’d be awake,” Jamal Pitman said.

“I meant for you, genius. It’s four in the damn morning for you.”

Jamal chuckled. “Ah, please. You know I don’t sleep much.”

Bo rolled his eyes. “Fair point. So… what do you need?”

“I don’t need anything. That’s my question, kiddo.” Jamal cleared his throat. “No, I just wanted to check up on you. I know you’re stuck in Clinstone until this case is over, so I just wanted an update on… you.”

One corner of the blonde’s mouth lifted. “I’m good, Jamal. Jensen and I are starting work on the girls’ treehouse after we’ve had breakfast and ample amounts of coffee.” Jamal chuckled. “How’re you?” Bo asked.

“Also good. Are we still on for poker at the end of this month?”

“Of course. Jake will be there, if that’s okay with you and the guys. I’d prefer not to piss anyone off.”

“Ah, they won’t mind at all, I assure you,” Jamal said. “Is he any good?”

“I still have to teach him how to play. He just thinks he needs to pay me back for everything I’ve spent on him or Alice. He doesn’t need to, but he doesn’t understand that,” Bo said.

“I’d say it’s about pride, Bo. Everyone has pride, and some people have enough of it that they feel… damaged if they can’t provide for themselves or their family.”

“Have… you ever felt that way?” Bo asked.

“I’ve never been unable to provide for my family, but my pride has definitely taken a few damaging blows in my day,” Jamal said simply.

“Like?”

Jamal chuckled softly. “Well, Katherine has always been great at making sure I feel worthless to her, to myself,” he said.

“You’re not worthless, Jamal.”

“I know. That’s why I like you the best, remember?” Jamal asked.

“Yeah, yeah, I remember.”

“Well, don’t have too much fun today, all right? I’ll see you on the twenty-ninth unless your plans change, yes?” Jamal questioned.

“Of course. I’ll text you or call you if something changes, but even if I’m working this case, I should be there,” Bo said. He cleared his throat, grabbing the coffee pot. “I’ll make time for it, no matter what,” he assured, pouring himself a cup of coffee.

“I appreciate that, kiddo,” the older man said, his voice soft. “I’ll see you around, all right. Love you, Bo.”

Bo smiled faintly. “Love you, too, Jamal. I’ll see you soon.” He pressed the end call button on the wire of his earphones. Sliding the coffee pot back into place, he pulled open the refrigerator door. He grabbed the coffee creamer, closing the door as quietly as possible. The Mason twins were still asleep—surprisingly—but Bo couldn’t stand to sleep in any longer. On the rare occasion he had a chance to sleep in, his body refused to take it.

He poured a splash of creamer into his coffee, carefully setting it back in the refrigerator. Spooning three spoonfuls of sugar into his cup, he walked out of the kitchen and headed into the breakfast nook instead. Setting his coffee cup down, he pulled out a chair and sat down. He cleared his throat as he opened the lid of his laptop and typed in his password. Pulling his phone from his pocket, he unlocked his screen and turned on his music. Cecilia and Jensen had gotten him into listening to actual music rather than instrumental covers of songs. It was something he was still getting used to, but it was slowly becoming part of his routine.

Bo locked his phone screen, pulling open a Word document on his laptop. Yesterday evening, he had gotten an email inquiring about his interest in writing an article for Forensics Monthly: A Progressive Future. Although Bo didn’t see himself as being qualified enough to write an article for a magazine that had been the nation’s most popular forensics magazine for the last decade, he had accepted the offer.

He hadn’t told Jensen or Jamal or anyone about the article. He didn’t see any reason to brag about it. It was just an article. He was supposed to share the details of how he had worked to make forensics a more progressive field, all the work that had gone into the devices and technology he had created from nothing, more or less.

Bo sighed quietly, taking a sip of his coffee. He wasn’t exactly sure where to begin, but he knew he had some time to get started. Jensen would take any chance of extra sleep he could get his hands on, not that Bo blamed him. In a few hours, Jensen would wake up, they’d have breakfast with the girls, and then they’d set to work on building the treehouse. Until then, Bo would work on the article.

3:39 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, BACKYARD

With half of the floorboard installed on the treehouse’s platform, Bo lay down on the finished side of it. Jensen chuckled, sitting down beside the blonde. “You’re not getting much done from this angle, babe.”

“Ah, give me a sec.”

“Mmhmm.” Jensen reached out, combing his fingers through Bo’s hair. “Been a second.”

Bo snorted, reaching over to smack Jensen’s thigh. “Don’t be a dick.” The younger man only smiled in response. “I was thinking of going in and starting a late lunch, early supper.”

“That would be called lupper.”

“I refuse to call it that.”

“Hater,” Jensen muttered. “But if you wanted to head on in and start something for food, I’ll go ahead and finish the floor here.”

Either corner of Bo’s mouth lifted. “Mm, that’s my big, strong man.” Jensen rolled his eyes. Bo laid a hand on Jensen’s cheek, lifting himself up just enough to kiss him. “Lunch. What do you want?” he asked.

“There’s some sweet corn in the fridge. We could do that with the zucchini and squash… peppers, onions. All that fun jazz.”

Bo chuckled. “Okay, Jens. I’ll, uh, run to the store, grab some stuff. Watch the girls and the twins till I get back?”

“Always.”

Bo sat up, pressing a kiss to Jensen’s forehead. “I won’t be long. Don’t have too much fun without me, okay?”

“Sure, babe.”


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