Monday: August 18, 2025
4:00 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, FOYER
Because Kayla and Amber started school on Wednesday, they had all come back to Clinstone earlier than morning. Now, Bo and Jensen stood in the foyer, handing Eve and Noah over to the Masons. “You have everything for them?” Bo asked.
Jacob nodded, smiling down at Eve. “Yeah, we’ve got it,” he said softly, his eyes flicking up to Bo’s face. “Thank you. Seriously, you guys… Christ, you’re amazing. Thank you.” He turned to look back over his shoulder. Alice was already putting Noah in the car. “You’ll never know how much you taking care of them has meant to me.”
Bo offered a smile that looked much more genuine than it felt. “It’s been our pleasure, Jake. They’re much better at sleeping now, so… less sleepless nights for you guys,” he said.
Jacob chuckled. “Of course.” He pulled Bo into a one-armed hug. “Thank you,” he whispered.
“Our pleasure,” Bo said. Jacob pulled away from him, patting Jensen on the shoulder in thanks before heading back outside and toward the car. Bo reached out, quietly closing the door.
Jensen laid a hand on Bo’s shoulder. “You okay, Eli?”
Bo sniffled, clearing his throat. “I’ve… been better,” he said. He turned suddenly, wrapping his arms around Jensen. Jensen hugged the blonde, one hand on the back of his head. “I kept telling myself that it wouldn’t hurt to just… to just be holding them one moment and then have them gone the next.”
“I know, baby,” Jensen murmured. He cleared his throat, swallowing roughly. “Let’s go see if the girls wanna play catch or something. Okay?” Bo nodded, but he made no move to pull away. “Or we can just stand here for a minute.”
“Okay,” Bo whispered. It was amazing to him, really, that killing another person two weeks before hadn’t broken him, but giving the twins back to their parents had. Killing another person had made him nervous and a bit antsy for a couple hours.
Giving back the Mason twins felt like something was eating him up inside, and he wasn’t sure how easily recovering would come because of that, recovery that would be even more difficult when he went to work tomorrow, because at work, he’d have to pretend that he didn’t miss them like they were his own children.
And that would be hell.
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