Bonekeeper – Chapter Thirty-Nine

NOT EDITED

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Wednesday: June 25, 2025
1:37 AM; LOS ANGELES, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM

Jensen glanced back at Bo before stepping into the bathroom and closing the door behind him, his cell phone pressed to his ear.

After the second ring, Jamal’s gruff, “Listening,” came through the line.

“I fucked up,” Jensen said simply, reaching back to turn on the light.

“What the hell did you do?”

Chill. It’s just… when we were in Clinstone, Bo came up with a theory about the killer we were working, and… I called him crazy.”

“You called Bo crazy? Bo, the man who has never once felt comfortable in his own fucking skin or mind?” Jamal asked.

“I did.”

“Jesus Christ, Jensen.”

“I know. I’m terrible. I know. I’ve apologized every day for it, and I’ve been trying to get him to tell me the theory again, but he keeps saying that I was right and that I should just drop it.”

“Yes, because you made him think he was crazy,” Jamal hissed.

“I know that,” Jensen said through his teeth. “The point is that the killer killed again, and I’m starting to think Bo was right.”

“He’s almost always right, you dick.”

“I’m aware.”

“So what the hell do you want me to do?”

“Clinstone. There’s a woman there with a shed. Bo thinks it has something to do with the killer.”

“I’m gonna need a name, Taylor,” Jamal said.

“Something Lincoln,” Jensen said.

“I need a first name.”

“Hold on.” Jensen opened the door and stepped back into the bedroom. He walked over to the bed, squatting down in front of Bo. “Eli?” he questioned, gently reaching out to comb his fingers through the blonde’s hair.

“Mm?”

“What’s Miss Lincoln’s first name?”

“Mary,” Bo murmured, snuggling deeper into his pillow.

“Mary Lincoln?” Jensen asked.

“Mmhmm.”

“Thanks, babe.”

“Mmhmm.”

Jensen pressed a kiss to Bo’s temple, pushing himself to his feet. “Mary Lincoln,” he said quietly, heading for the bathroom.

“Okay. I’ll send a few people there, have them check the shed,” Jamal said. “What do you plan to do if he’s right?”

Jensen let out a heavy sigh. “I don’t know yet.”

“You have to make this up to him if he’s been right this whole damn time. Is that the reason his confidence is down so much?” Jamal asked.

“Uh-huh.”

“Goddammit, Jensen.”

“I know, sir. I’m sorry.”

“Do you know how detrimental that is to my boy?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Do you know what it’s like to train him to do my job when he’s this low?”

“No, sir.”

“It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do, Jensen.”

“I’m sorry, sir.”

“I’ll send my men to Clinstone to check out this shed. But if he’s been right this whole time and suffering because you called him crazy? You better pull some kind of goddamn miracle to boost his esteem. He’s not accomplishing anything if you’ve broken him,” Jamal said.

“I know, sir. I’ll fix it,” Jensen said.

“I can’t send in another you to fix him, Jensen. I don’t have another you at my disposal.”

“I know, sir.”

“He’s really all I have left, Jensen. Please don’t hurt him. I can’t lose him.”

Jensen glanced up at the ceiling, biting down on his bottom lip. “I know,” he whispered. “He’s everything to me. I just… I forget that he takes things seriously. His mind doesn’t work the way mine does, and I just forget that sometimes. That’s all. I don’t… I don’t mean to do it.”

Jamal let out a sigh. “It’s not your fault. He’s so much better than he was back when you first met him, Jensen. That’s because of you, but it’s because of that that it’s hard to remember he’s… different than us,” he said. “You just have to drill that through your thick skull.”

“I know. If he’s right on this, I’ll fix it. I’ll grovel if I have to, but I’ll make it up to him.”

5:32 PM; LOS ANGELES, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, KITCHEN

“Hey, baby, got something super important to tell you,” Jensen said.

“Yeah, what’s up?” Bo questioned, dropping a handful of spaghetti noodles into the pot of boiling water on the stove.

“We found the killer.”

Bo smiled, reaching up to pat Jensen’s cheek. “Good job, love.”

“No, Eli, you… We didn’t catch them, but… Miss Lincoln is the killer.”

“Jens, we talked about this. It was crazy. You don’t have to keep trying to convince me it was some genius idea.”

“It was a genius idea. I called Jamal this morning and he sent some guys out to her house. They checked the shed,” Jensen said. He held his phone out to Bo. “Jamal sent me this picture of the shed.”

Bo turned toward the phone, his blue eyes quickly searching the image. “Dermestid beetles. Basically flesh-eating beetles,” he said. “What’re they eating?”

“Human flesh off of human bone,” Jensen said.

“Hmm.” Bo offered a smile. “Cool.”

“No, Eli, baby, you don’t understand. This is Miss Lincoln’s shed.”

“Okay.”

“Who you said was the killer.”

“Mm, no I didn’t. I said she paid for the air conditioning in her shed roughly two weeks before Serena Bishop was killed, and that was an odd comparison for time,” Bo said.

“Eli, you were right,” Jensen said.

Bo shrugged. “So?”

So?” Jensen laughed. “So rub it in my goddamn face. I was wrong.”

Bo shook his head. “I’m not going to do that. Just because you proved I was sort of correct doesn’t mean I’m going to rub in your face. There’s nothing wrong with being… well, wrong,” he said.

“Eli, what the hell can I do to make this better? I love you. I’ve… I’ve broken you,” Jensen whispered.

“I’m fine, Jens.”

“No, you’re not. You haven’t been you since I called the idea crazy. Help me fix you.”

“I don’t need to be fixed, Jens. I’m okay,” Bo said.

“You aren’t. Your confidence is shot. You have no self-esteem. That’s on me. I did that to you,” Jensen said.

“I don’t know what you want, Jens.”

“I want you to be you. You found the killer. You identified her.”

You found the killer, love,” Bo corrected, tapping a finger on the tip of Jensen’s nose.

No, Eli. You told me your theory. I never would’ve sent Jamal’s people there if you hadn’t told me you thought it was her and her stupid shed,” Jensen said.

Bo shrugged. “Jens, it’s not a big deal. You can’t do anything with that information. You gathered it illegally. So what’s your point? You found a killer and proof of their kill but you can’t arrest her. You can’t put her in jail. You have no reason to bring her in for questioning. What do you want from me?” he asked.

“Admit that you were right,” Jensen begged.

“I… wasn’t.”

“Yes, you were,” Jensen whispered.

“I had a theory that was totally insane, and you used it to find the killer. Congratulations.”

“I broke you.”

Bo chuckled, shaking his head. “No, love. I’m always broken. You just pieced me back together, remember?”

“I called you crazy,” Jensen said quietly. “I called… you crazy.”

“Yes, because I am. I’m crazy, Jens. Mad, insane, deranged, unhinged.” Bo smiled faintly. “Abnormal.”

“No,” Jensen breathed, shaking his head. “No, no.”

“Mm. Well, agree to disagree.”

“Eli, please. You’re not crazy or abnormal. You’re not unhinged. You’re perfect,” Jensen whispered.

“You’re adorable.”

“Eli.”

“I don’t know what you want from me,” Bo repeated, his voice soft.

“You’re not crazy.”

“I am crazy. I always have been. You’re just finally realizing it, that’s all.” Bo held Jensen’s face between his hands, cocking his head to the side. “Jens, love, I’ve killed six people. One of them was my girlfriend, whom I wanted to marry. One of the others was my brother. I let a killer hold a knife to my throat so that way I could keep her from being arrested. My boxing trainer? He’s a former serial killer. I’m going to work for the mafia to take over for Jamal. What makes you think I’m not crazy?”

“I–I love you,” Jensen whispered.

“I love you, too, Jens.” Bo glanced up at the ceiling as Eve started crying. “I’m going to go take care of her. Watch the pasta for me?” Wordlessly, Jensen nodded. He watched Bo leave before dialing Jamal’s number and pressing his phone to his ear.

“Did you fix him?”

“H–he says that his theory wasn’t correct and that he’s always been crazy. He listed off people he’s killed and other reasons why he thinks he’s crazy. I screwed up Jamal. I don’t know what to do,” Jensen whispered, his voice breaking. “I don’t know what to do. He’s, like, happy about it. Smiling and laughing and shit.”

Jamal sighed quietly. “You… try to do something big, okay? Something romantic or… whatever. I don’t know. Been a long time since I’ve dealt with a romantic relationship. Just make sure he knows you love him. If you can’t fix this, I’ll… do my best.”

10:35 PM; LOS ANGELES, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM

“The girls are asleep and the twins are fed and changed,” Bo said, closing the bedroom door. He lifted his gaze to Jensen’s face. “What’re you doing?”

“Come here,” Jensen murmured, patting the mattress.

“You look sad,” Bo said as he crossed the room. “Are you all right?” he asked, climbing onto the bed.

“I’m good.”

“You don’t seem good,” Bo disagreed, folding his legs Indian style.

“Yeah, well… you know.” Jensen sniffled, clearing his throat. “You’re crazy… because you fell in love with me. You’re crazy adorable. You’re crazy funny, and crazy fucking awkward,” he said. One corner of Bo’s mouth lifted. “You’re a crazy good baker, and even better cook. You’re crazy good at all that sciency stuff that I’ll never be able to wrap my brain around. You’re crazy because you wanted to adopt a little girl I knew next to nothing about. You’re crazy because you convinced me to adopt her with you. You’re crazy because you brought those amazing little girls into our lives.

“You’re crazy because you asked me out. You’re crazy because you bought two houses with me. You’re crazy because you’re so much smarter than I am, and you still make it a point to never talk down to me. You’re crazy because you’re planning to marry me. You’re crazy because you’re wearing my engagement ring on your finger.

I am crazy because if I don’t fix my own mistake, I’ve ruined the best damn thing to ever walk into my life. You’re amazing, Eli. Crazy or not, I love you with everything I’ve got, and there’s no reason for you to hate yourself because of some stupid comment I made when I wasn’t—” Jensen moaned softly, closing his eyes as Bo kissed him.

Bo moved his hands up to Jensen’s face, leaning his forehead against Jensen’s. “You’re so perfect,” he whispered.

“I don’t want you to hate yourself,” Jensen whispered. “Please don’t hate yourself. I need you. The last time you hated yourself, it…” He turned his head, pressing a kiss to the scars on Bo’s left wrist. He laid his hand over Bo’s, intertwining their fingers. “Please,” he said, his voice broken.

“Take off your pants.”

Jensen’s brow furrowed. “Hmm?”

“We haven’t had sex since before we left Clinstone. That’s because I knew I wouldn’t enjoy it if we did it while I had… no self-esteem. But…” Bo smiled softly, pressing a kiss to the tip of Jensen’s nose. “I love you. That’s the most heartfelt apology I’ve ever received. And incorporating the word crazy into a ton of compliments to take away the negative connotation of it? You are crazy intelligent,” he whispered.

Jensen kissed Bo quickly. “You’re perfect, and I love you.”

“I love you, too, Jens,” the blonde said softly.

“Are you…? Do you feel better?”

“Much. This’ll sound odd, but… make love to me, and then we’ll discuss how to catch my killer.”

A slow smile worked its way across Jensen’s face. “That’s the best damn thing you’ve said all week.” Bo laughed as Jensen pushed him onto his back. He hooked his legs around the younger man’s waist, wrapped his arms around his neck. “I love you, Eli,” Jensen whispered.

Bo smiled. “I love you more, Jens.”

“Mm… I love you most.”


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