8:05 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, BACKYARD
Bo sat on one of the swings, his phone in his hands, the baby monitor on his lap. Jacob, his kids, and their dog were still at the house—not that Bo minded. Cecilia had decided to stick around, as well, helping with the twins and keeping the children entertained. Bo appreciated the extra help. Jensen was at the gym, and with Cecilia and Jake around, he could finally sit down and do a little digging on Miss Lincoln.
She had moved to Clinstone a year and a half ago, and she had gotten the job at the elementary school halfway through the 2024 to 2025 school year. She owned a small house on a large plot of land. According to her bank statements—which Bo had admittedly hacked into—she had hired a construction company to build some sort of building on the land. The last payment had gone out near the beginning of May.
After that, she had hired a heating and cooling company to install an air conditioner of some kind, one she could control from her phone. According to the company notes—he had admittedly hacked into their database, too—the air conditioner had been installed in a shed.
What kind of shed needed an air conditioner?
Bo looked up as a hand touched his shoulder. “Hi,” he greeted.
Jensen smiled softly. “Hey, babe.” He squatted down in front of the blonde, hands on Bo’s knees. “Whatcha doing?”
“I don’t think you want me to answer that.”
“I think I do.” Bo sighed, turning his phone toward Jensen. “A’ight, whose bank account did you break into?”
“I know. But I don’t like her,” Bo said quietly. “I don’t have a good feeling about her, Jens,” he whispered.
Jensen stared at the blonde for a moment before sighing and handing the phone back to Bo. “This isn’t just because she called Kayla your nickname?”
“Of course not.”
“Okay.” Jensen nodded, crossing his arms over Bo’s thighs. “What’d you find?”
“Really small house on a really big plot of land. She hired a construction company to build a shed, and she hired a heat and cooling company to install an air conditioner in the shed roughly two weeks before—”
Jensen cocked his head to the side. “Before what?”
“Before… our killer killed Serena Bishop,” Bo said quietly.
Jensen laughed, leaning up to kiss Bo. “I love you, you crazy little man.”
“Jens, I’m serious,” Bo said as Jensen pushed himself to his feet.
“So am I. You’re insane. Just because she has a shed doesn’t mean she’s a killer.”
“She’s not right, Jens. There’s something wrong,” Bo insisted.
Jensen smiled, shaking his head. “I’m gonna take a shower. Stop hacking into the woman’s stuff.”
“Eli, I’m serious. No more. You’ve already taken this too far,” Jensen said.
“So you just don’t believe me at all?”
“I… believe that you believe she’s weird. But she’s not. She’s a teacher. I’d be a little crazy if I was stuck with thirty or more kids every damn day for eight hours,” Jensen said. He jerked a thumb over his shoulder. “Shower. I’ll be back in a few.”
Bo sighed quietly, looking down at his phone as Jensen headed for the house. He scrolled through the information on his screen one last time before shaking his head. Jensen was right. He was just… crazy. A crazy person that had killed more people than Miss Lincoln ever had or ever would.
He exited out of the details he had illegally gathered and shoved his phone back into his pocket. “You’re crazy,” he whispered, hooking his arms around the chains on either side of the swing. “Crazy little man.” Bo nodded, turning to his left. Amber and Kayla were in the treehouse. Katie was on the bench swing by the fire pit, an open book in her lap. Elijah and Jacob were playing catch. Cecilia and Charlotte were playing a much more aggressive round of catch.
Bo sighed, dropping his gaze back to the ground. Usually, he’d call Jamal and pitch a theory to him, but it wasn’t time for that. He had to learn when to let things go, and it was definitely time to let it go.
11:39 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, FAMILY ROOM
“Are you coming to bed?” Jensen asked as he stepped into the family room, hands shoved into the pockets of his sweatpants.
“No, I’m not tired,” Bo said quietly.
“Is this because I called you crazy?”
“No.” Kind of.
“That wasn’t an insult, Eli.”
“I said it wasn’t because of that. I’m just not tired,” Bo said.
“ ‘Kay,” Jensen murmured, the doubt clear in his voice. “Want me to stay up with you?”
“No, you should sleep,” Bo said, pushing himself to his feet. He crossed the room to stand in front of Jensen and leaned up to kiss up. “I love you.”
“Love you, too.” Jensen wrapped his arms around Bo, shoving his hands into the back pockets of his jeans. “Are you sure I can’t convince you to come to bed? You don’t have to sleep, I just…” He smiled faintly. “I just don’t want you out here all alone. It makes me feel like we’re fighting.”
“I’m just going to make a pot of coffee and… write up a few reports, get some things done before we head to L.A..”
“You can do that in the bedroom, can’t you? I can sleep through your laptop light without any problems,” Jensen said.
“It’s just easier for me to stay out here. I’ll come back when I’m done,” Bo said.
Jensen groaned. “You’re lucky I love you. You’re fucking impossible.”
“I know,” the blonde said quietly.
Jensen wrapped a hand around Bo’s chin, forcing him to meet his gaze. “That wasn’t an insult, either. I love you because you’re crazy. I love you because you’re impossible. They’re not insults,” he said.
Jensen sighed, stepping away from Bo. “What do you want me to do? Say I believe your theory? I believe your theory, all right? She’s obviously a killer.”
Bo shook his head. “There’s no need to be condescending. I said it wasn’t because of that. I’m not an idiot,” he whispered. “I just have work to do. I have information that needs to be dug up on possible suspects in the case. I have to gather that information and write up a report if you want to go back to L.A. anytime soon.”
“You want to go back to L.A.. I just agreed,” Jensen said.
Bo took a small step backward, uncomfortably shoving his hands into his pockets. “I’m not trying to start a fight, Jensen. Just because you’re taller than me doesn’t mean you have to talk down to me.”
“I’m sorry,” Jensen said quietly.
“Okay,” Bo whispered. “I’m going to make coffee. You can go to bed if you’d like. You need your sleep.”
“So do you.”
“If you—” Bo cleared his throat. “Apologies. If I want to go to L.A., I have to finish these reports.”
“Don’t be a dick. I didn’t mean it that way.”
Bo pulled his hands from his pockets, tucking them behind his back instead. “I’m sorry, sir,” he murmured. He lifted his head suddenly, meeting Jensen’s concerned expression. “Sorry. I didn’t mean that.”
“Are you… scared of me?”
“You called me sir.”
“That’s not fear. It’s…” Bo trailed off, clearing his throat. “That’s just a lack of self-confidence. My apologies.”
Jensen’s expression softened considerably. “Come to bed, babe. Please? This is my fault, okay? Crazy was the wrong word. I’m so damn sorry. Sometimes I forget that you take things a lot more seriously than I do. I’m sorry.” Bo closed the distance between them, wrapping his arms around Jensen, his head resting on the younger man’s chest. Jensen squeezed him tightly. “You can tell me all about your theory again. I’ll listen better this time. I’ll see what you saw.”
“No, you were right. It was crazy,” Bo denied.
“I’m sure it wasn’t. You’re the smartest person I’ve ever met, Eli. You wouldn’t think something like that if there was no reason to.”
“No, you were right,” the blonde repeated. “I was just pissed that she called Kayla by my nickname for her. It has… nothing to do with the woman or her shed or any of that BS.” Bo closed his eyes for a moment. “Let’s just go to bed.”
Jensen pressed a kiss to the top of Bo’s head. “I love you, Eli.”
“I love you, too,” Bo murmured.
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