12:01 PM; CLINSTONE, LITTLE DELIGHTS DINER
Bo opened up his laptop, clearing his throat. “So, I’ll download the videos on my laptop and set up an algorithm to run through the videos in search of anyone that doesn’t live in the apartment. If it doesn’t find something on its own, I’ll watch them myself and find something useful that way. Even if it’s not a face, I should be able to get a height that way,” he explained, typing in his password.
“Good. That’s something,” Jacob said. He glanced down briefly, only long enough to stab his fork through several pieces of lettuce. Because Bo had let him get away with a sandwich the day before, he had ordered a salad without complaint. “What do we do if nothing shows up?” he asked.
“I honestly haven’t thought that far ahead,” Bo admitted.
“Well, when are you leaving?” Rick questioned.
“We haven’t decided yet,” Bo said, opening up his email. “David would like us to stay until Monday, just in case anything breaks in the case, but I’m not actually certain.”
“We’d like to head out tonight, but it depends on what shows up in these videos and what the hell David has to say about the whole ordeal,” Jensen said.
“Why don’t you just call Jamal? Can’t he… work his magic and order LT to let you go back to L.A.?” Jacob asked.
Bo chuckled. “Because, eventually, I have to stop relying on Jamal working his magic,” he said softly.
Jacob nodded. “Well, I can talk to him. If you want, obviously. It wouldn’t be hard to show him the other times you’ve helped when you’ve been out of state. Once he realizes you’re incredibly helpful when you’re over a thousand miles away, too, he shouldn’t have a problem with letting you leave whenever you’re ready to.”
“You’d do that for me?” Bo asked.
“Thank you, Jake.”
“No problem.” Jacob cocked his head to the side. “How’s wedding stuff going?” he asked.
“We almost have a color picked out,” Bo said, lightly elbowing Jensen in the side.
“Oh, yeah. Hold on.” Jensen leaned up, pulling his phone from his back pocket. “We’re thinking purple,” he said as he unlocked his screen and opened up his photo album. Clicking the picture of a solid square of purple, he slid the phone over between Jacob and Rick. “That one.”
Jacob nodded. “I like it.”
“Definitely,” Rick agreed. He looked up at Bo and Jensen before looking back down at the phone. He nodded. “Yep. I think it’d look good on you both. What about your girls? Are they both involved in the wedding in some way?”
“They’re both rather big fans of the flower girl idea,” Bo said. “So we’re planning on letting them walk down together and probably toss flowers out of a shared basket.”
“Except Amber will have to be taught how to gently toss things,” Jensen said. He chuckled softly, stretching an arm across the back of the booth. “She likes to throw things. Hard.”
Jacob laughed, handing Jensen’s phone back to him. “I’m gonna go ahead and apologize for that. I think she’s been hanging out with Charlotte too much.”
Bo snorted. “Probably.”
“So Charlotte’s one of yours?” Rick asked.
“Oh, yeah. She’s my little hellion,” Jacob said. “I love her, but she’s an asshole.”
Rick chuckled. “My oldest two were hell raisers growing up,” he said.
“Always has to be at least one that’s a total shithead,” Jacob said.
“Amen to that,” Rick agreed, reaching out to pick up his glass of water. “But your girls. Are you gonna make them match?”
“Depends on them, I think. They picked nearly identical dresses for Jake’s wedding on their own accord. I think that as long as they both choose something with our color in it—whether it be purple or otherwise—it’ll be all right with me,” Bo said. “There we go. Algorithm complete and actively searching for strangers in the alley,” he added, lifting the laptop and setting it beside him on the seat.
“God, you’re amazing, Blondie,” Jacob said.
Bo smiled faintly. “I do my best, Jake,” he said softly, leaning over to swipe a fry from Jensen’s plate. “Are you staying until the end of this case, Rick?”
“That’s the plan. Justice for Serena,” Rick said. He folded his hands beneath his chin, resting his elbows on the edge of the table. “I still don’t understand what the killer was doing in Ames. There are a lot of towns she could’ve hit, towns that were much closer than Ames. It’s four hours away. Why?” he asked.
Bo offered a thoughtful shrug. “I’m not sure. Do you know of any events that would’ve been going on that weekend?” he asked.
“Not that I know of,” Rick said. “I’m not exactly the, uh, hippest of people, you know. I don’t go out to drink. I go out to work and then I go home,” he added.
Bo nodded. “There is that,” he agreed. “I don’t know. It could be a stalker of some sort. There’s no true evidence of that, though.”
“How could a stalker from Clinstone track a housewife from Ellepath?” Jacob said. “Most people haven’t heard of the town.”
“He’s right. There are people just twenty miles away from Ellepath that have no idea that it even exists. It’s too small,” Rick said.
“Those women were posting selfies all night long,” Bo said. “One of her friends appears to be incredibly popular on Instagram,” he added, pulling his phone from his pocket. “Miss West, if I recall correctly.” He unlocked his screen and brought up the app in question. Although he still didn’t use the app himself, he kept it around. In an odd sense, keeping it was important to him. It was something Bridget had introduced him to. Keeping the app was a way of staying connected to the woman.
“Yes, here we go. Miss West posted well over twenty selfies on Saturday. Most of them are group pictures of her and the friends. Either way, all over them are well over five thousand likes. There’s an average of…” Bo trailed off, his mind quickly rifling through the numbers below each picture he clicked on. “There’s an average of right around seven thousand and eighty-six likes per photo. Each one of these has the location they were taken from. The name of the bar, the town, the state. Anyone could track this, and with Mrs. Bishop in most of those pictures? It wouldn’t have been hard to find her, to see where she lived, to lie in wait for her,” Bo said.
The blonde offered a shrug. “Of course, I have a problem with all of that, too. If she was stalking Mrs. Bishop, there’s no logical reason as to why she would wait in that apartment. Mrs. Bishop’s name is on the house in Ellepath. Even we didn’t find the apartment in our first search,” he said.
“Right. So… what’s your grand theory?” Rick asked.
“Honest answer?” Bo questioned.
“I have no fucking clue.”
1:49 PM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, DETECTIVE SERGEANT’S DESK
Bo set a small stack of papers on Jacob’s desk, Jensen at his side. “Just under thirty unrecognized people in the alleyway, eleven of which were female. These are the women and their driver’s licenses. That’s currently all I have. I’ll work on it tonight. I have copies in my satchel. But Jensen and I are heading out to Chesterwick to look at the venue,” he said, running through the statements much quicker than usual.
Jacob stared at the blonde for a moment before nodding. “Sure. Take your time, Bo. And good luck with the venue. Hope it’s everything you guys are looking for.”
Bo smiled. “Thanks, Jake.”
The sergeant nodded. “Of course. Call me? Let me know if you guys pick it?”
“Will do, Jake. See you… Monday? Hopefully?” Bo asked.
One corner of Jacob’s mouth lifted. “You betcha, Bo.”
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