Bonekeeper – Chapter Forty-Four

NOT EDITED

Chapter Forty-Four

Sunday: August 3, 2025
9:00 AM; LOS ANGELES, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM

Jensen’s eyes opened at the sudden weight on his hips. He smiled faintly. “Morning,” he greeted roughly.

Bo smiled, pressing his hands to the younger man’s chest. “Morning,” he said softly. “My parents came and got the kids an hour ago. We have the whole place to ourselves until tomorrow morning,” he said.

“Mm.” Jensen moved a hand to rest at Bo’s hip, his fingers curling around the bottom hem of the blonde’s shirt. “What’s the occasion?”

“Your birthday.”

“Is it?”

One corner of Bo’s mouth lifted. “It is. So… happy birthday. You’re almost old enough to start being mature,” he said.

Jensen chuckled, rubbing a hand over his unshaven jaw. “What time is it?”

“A little after nine. I let you sleep in.” Bo cleared his throat, skimming his hands down Jensen’s torso. “I thought we’d start the day off with a good breakfast,” he said quietly.

“What’d you make for breakfast?”

“Well, I… I wasn’t really talking about the kind of breakfast you make in the kitchen.”

A smirk tugged at one corner of Jensen’s mouth. “You dirty little man,” he whispered.

“I’m doing my best to match your level of pervertedness.”

“Clearly.” Jensen groaned as Bo leaned down and kissed him. He buried his fingers in the blonde’s hair, wrapping his free hand around the hem of Bo’s shirt. As soon as Bo broke the kiss, Jensen pulled his shirt over his head. “Are you sure?” Jensen asked as Bo kissed a slow trail down his neck. He knew Bo had a job with Jamal later in the evening. His first job, really. Bo had a habit of using sex to keep Jensen from asking questions, but the younger man wasn’t going to let him get away with that today.

“Why wouldn’t I be sure?” Bo questioned, lifting his head.

“Because you have that… thing with Jamal tonight,” Jensen said distastefully.

“And?” Bo asked, pressing a kiss to Jensen’s jaw as he moved to lie down beside Jensen, lazily slipping a hand into his fiancé’s sweatpants.

Jensen’s breathing hitched. He swallowed roughly. “A–and you like to use sex to keep me from asking questions.”

Bo chuckled softly, kissing Jensen’s chest. “Well, if that were the case, I’m not doing a very good job.”

“Promise this isn’t to distract yourself? Or me?”

“Promise,” Bo assured. He wrapped his fingers around the waistband of Jensen’s sweatpants and boxers, tilting his head back to look at the man. “This is because I love you, it’s your birthday, and because, in general, I enjoy having sex with you. I don’t believe I need a reason, do I?” he asked, pulling down Jensen’s sweats and boxers.

Jensen shook his head, kicking off his sweatpants. “No, no reason at all. Ever.”

Bo smiled faintly. “Didn’t think so.” He pulled off his own boxers, tossing them into the laundry hamper across the room. He moved to straddle Jensen’s waist, reaching over to pull open the nightstand drawer. “I have to be out of the house for a meeting in about half an hour. After that, though, I’m all yours until tonight,” he said quietly, grabbing a condom from the drawer. “So this’ll be a little quicker than usual. Sorry in advance,” he added.

Jensen chuckled, swiping the small, square packet from the blonde. “You’re gonna make it up to me tonight?” he asked.

“Mmhmm.”

“Then this can be as quick as you need it to be. I get to join you in the shower?”

Bo snorted. “As long as we’re only showering.”

“Deal.”

Bo watched him roll on the condom before lifting his gaze to Jensen’s face. “I love you.”

Jensen smiled. “I love you, too, Eli.” He pulled him down for a kiss, wrapping an arm around his back. With a grunt, he rolled them both over, positioning himself above Bo. His green eyes quickly raked over the blonde’s body. Although he was still skinny, the workouts had given him more muscle definition. Although Jensen wished he would eat more and sleep more regularly, the muscle made him look healthier. He leaned down and kissed the blonde. “I love you so fucking much,” he whispered.

A soft smile spread across Bo’s face as he threaded his fingers through Jensen’s hair. “I love you, too, Jens,” he murmured. He lifted his head, pressing a kiss to the younger man’s lips. “Now, get on with it. I have places to be,” he teased.

Jensen snorted. “Of course, Mister Austen.”

6:02 PM; CHESTERWICK, SULLIVAN LAW FIRM, ADAM SULLIVAN’S OFFICE

Adam looked up as the door to his office opened. “How in the hell did you get in here?”

“It’s a Sunday, Adam. Your dork of a receptionist-slash-bodyguard isn’t here,” Alice said.

“How’d you know I was here?”

“I know this comes as a surprise to you, but women are allowed to drive. So, in short, I drove here, saw your fancy ass car in the parking lot, and decided to stop by.”

Adam’s eyes narrowed. “What do you want, Alice? I was rather certain we agreed to never see each other again after you forced me to drop the charges on the little blonde twink.”

Alice scoffed. “You know that kind of shit isn’t going to fly with me. He’s Mister Austen to you.”

“Doesn’t change the point, Alice. What do you want?” he asked.

Alice shrugged, crossing the room. “A job,” she said simply, dragging her fingertips along one of the chairs in front of Adam’s desk.

Adam laughed, shaking his head. “I knew you were crazy, Alice, but this is a whole new level to me,” he said. He shoved a folder into his suitcase. “That’s a no, in case you couldn’t gather that on your own.”

“That’s okay. I’m sure Cecilia’s firm would hire me,” Alice said.

“You’re not meant to work in defense. You wouldn’t be able to function like that. Putting all of the Angelo Sullivan’s back on the streets?” He clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. “Nope.”

“I’ll adjust to it. Imagine how often you’d be up against me in the courtroom. Three to five days a week, I figure. How many cases do you think you’d win once you were up against me?” she asked.

“I thought you enjoyed being a stay-at-home mommy, Alice?” Adam questioned. He stuck another file in his suitcase before closing it. “What happened, hmm? Did you decide you were too good for them? Left them to die the way you left Scott’s children? Left Jacob the way you left Scott? Would you like him in jail, too? I can arrange that, if you’d like,” he said.

Alice stared at him for a moment, tapping her nails against the chair in front of her. “You’re good, Adam. You’ve gotten better. Bringing my children into it. Bringing Scott into it. That’s good,” she said. “But you’re wrong. Jake and I are married, and I’m not divorcing him.”

“Mm, not anytime soon. I saw you’re living with mommy and daddy. Jacob’s been raising all three of the little bastard children. And… the only two that weren’t born out of wedlock are… where, again? Oh, that’s right. They’re in L.A. with your gay best friend. How sweet. It’s so good of them to take care of them while you’re busy hiding.”

“If you had done this a month ago, you’d be winning, but I’m a lot stronger than I was then. After I’m done here, I’m going to go see my husband and my children for the first time since June, so throw whatever nasty comments you want at me. It doesn’t bother me,” Alice said.

“Go to the defense firm, Alice. I want to see you grovel there,” Adam said. He picked up his suitcase. “You aren’t cut out for this any more,” he added.

She cocked her head to the side. He had sounded genuine for a moment, almost concerned. “Are you scared?” she asked.

He laughed, nothing but a quick burst of air. “Scared of what, Alice? You aren’t cut out for this. You’ve been a family woman for too long. You aren’t who you used to be. My brother destroyed you, and you haven’t been the same since. No matter what you do here, that won’t change. You are not cut out for this any more.”

“Your brother didn’t destroy me. I took time away because I needed it to raise my children,” Alice said.

Adam smacked a hand against his desk before pointing at the woman. “The answer’s no. You aren’t cut out for it, and I don’t want you working in my damn firm.”

She sighed deeply. “I need this, Adam. I need this. I need something to keep me strong, and burying myself in work is that something.”

“Go back to the damn police station!”

“That won’t cut it any more!” she exclaimed.

“You’re insane,” he said through his teeth. “This is the last time I say it, Alice. You don’t want this.”

“I need this,” she repeated.

Adam licked his lips, shaking his head. “Monday morning, six o’clock. Meet me in here and you’ll fill out some paperwork. But when you’re sick and tired of the bullshit? Don’t come crying to me, because it sure as hell isn’t my problem.”

9:31 PM; CLINSTONE, THE MASON HOUSEHOLD, FOYER

Jacob pulled open the front door. His heart skipped a beat, his breath catching in his throat. “Allie,” he breathed.

Alice offered a smile. “Hi, Jay.” She stepped into the house, closing the door behind her. “Are you just gonna stand there?”

He pulled her into a tight hug, burying a hand in her curls. “I’ve missed you so damn much,” he whispered.

“I’ve missed you, too,” she murmured, wrapping her arms around his back.

“Are you…? I–is this you coming back for good?” She nodded against his chest. “Good,” he breathed.

“But we have something we need to talk about.”

“Like?”

“I got a job. It’s the thing that’ll keep me strong.”

“Where?” he asked.

“Adam Sullivan’s office.”

Jacob stepped away from her. “You can’t.”

“I already did.”

“I–I thought we were supposed to do things as a team,” he said.

“Jay, if I hadn’t gone back to him for a job, I wouldn’t be here. It keeps me strong. It makes me feel… like I belong, and I need that. Please understand that,” she said.

He shook his head. “I can’t. I can’t understand that. He treats you like hell. You hate him. He hates you. He made you miserable and tired. He overworked you. He…” Again, at a loss for words, he shook his head. “Team,” he whispered. “We’re supposed to be a team.”

“I’m sorry, Jay. This isn’t meant to hurt you,” she said.

“Well, it does. You left me, Al. You left, and for a while, I didn’t think you were ever coming back. And now… and now this? You have a chance to ask my opinion on something and you don’t tell me about it until after it’s said and done? D–do you know how much that hurts?”

“A lot, clearly.”

Jacob stared at her for a moment before letting out a quick breath. “Good to see you’re back to the Alice I know and love,” he said quietly. “Always looking out for herself,” he added in a barely audible whisper.

“I can leave, Jake.”

“No, I…” He cleared his throat, gesturing to the kitchen. “There’s leftovers in the fridge. If you were in Chesterwick, you haven’t eaten yet.” He cleared his throat, shoving his hands into his pockets in defeat. “I’m gonna grab a shower. The kids are in their rooms. They won’t bother you.” His gaze dropped to the floor. “I’m glad you’re back, Al.”

“Thank you.” He nodded, turning to leave the room. “Jay?” Silently, he stopped. Alice moved up behind him, wrapping her arms around his torso. “I’m sorry. I should’ve talked to you first, but I didn’t have the courage to do that.”

“But you had the courage to talk to Sullivan?”

“It takes… a lot more courage to talk to someone you love when you know they’ll be disappointed,” she said.

Jacob sighed, laying a hand over her arm. “I’ll forgive you for not talking to me about it, but that doesn’t mean I’m not pissed.”

“I know,” Alice said quietly.

“I love you, though. No matter what. I love you.”

She smiled softly, pressing a kiss to his back. “I love you, too.” She squeezed him tightly. “Game plan for the night. I join you in the shower first. Afterward, I have a talk with our children, let them know that I’m no longer… broken. Then I’ll eat. Soon, after we’ve found out what we’re gonna do, we’ll get Eve and Noah from Bo. Sound like a plan?”

“You betcha, Allie.”

10:11 PM; LOS ANGELES

“That’s one of them,” Jamal said, his hand tightening around the man’s arm. “Where’s the second one?”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about, Pitman,” the tall man said. He stood several feet in front of Jamal and Bo, one hand on his gun, his other wrapped around another man’s arm.

“Twins. You stole a set of twins. They’re both giants. I’m sure you didn’t just lose one of them,” Bo cut in. “You’re holding Tito. Where’s Vito?” he asked.

“Don’t know.”

“We made a deal. Your man in exchange for the Minetti twins,” Bo said.

“Don’t have him,” the man repeated.

Jamal rolled his eyes. He stared at Tito Minetti for a moment before pulling his gun from his holster. “I don’t have time for this,” he said simply. Pressing the gun to his captive’s head, he pulled the trigger. Before Tito’s guard could shoot him, Jamal shot him in the knee. The man grunted, falling to his knees. “Untie him,” Jamal said simply, gesturing to Tito with his gun.

Bo swallowed roughly before walking over to Tito. He pulled a knife from his pocket, flipping it open to cut the ropes around Tito’s wrist. He took the gun from the man on the ground before looking up at Tito. “Where’s your brother?”

Tito grunted, reaching up to pull the gag from his mouth. “Warehouse downtown. Three guards. Two outside, one inside,” he said.

“Good. We’ll go get him,” Jamal said. “Bo, finish… that,” he said, gesturing to the man on the ground.

The man’s eyes locked with Bo’s. “You ain’t a killer, blondie. You ain’t. I can see it in your eyes,” he pleaded.

Bo pulled back on the hammer of the man’s revolver, pressing it to his forehead. “I’ve killed six people in five years. You don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. Turning his head to the side, he pulled the trigger, unable to stop himself from flinching. The second flinch came when Jamal’s hand clapped down on his shoulder.

“Come on, kiddo. We’ve got places to be.”

11:49 PM; LOS ANGELES, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BATHROOM

Bo met Jensen’s gaze in the mirror above the sink as the younger man walked into the bathroom. “Hi,” he greeted.

“Hey,” Jensen said quietly. “You… okay?”

“Better than expected,” Bo said after a moment of silence. As soon as he had come home, he had showered and brushed his teeth. Now, standing in his boxers and one of Jensen’s too-big shirts, he offered a little half-smile. “I’m all right. I’m not going to break or anything like that.”

Jensen nodded as he crossed the room. He wrapped his arms around Bo, pressing a kiss to his temple. “I’m glad you’re okay, Eli.”

“Me, too,” Bo said honestly.

Jensen rested his chin on Bo’s shoulder, gently rocking them side to side. He smiled. “You should wear my shirts more often.”

“Yeah?”

“Mmhmm. Right next to your purple flannels, it’s officially my favorite thing to see you in.”

Bo chuckled softly. “I’ll make sure to remember that.” He turned his head, kissing Jensen’s cheek. “How about we go to bed? We have work in the morning, and I have a cardio session before that.”

Jensen nodded. “ ‘Kay.” He stepped away from the blonde, holding out a hand instead. Bo grabbed it without complaint. “You’re okay?” he asked again.

Bo smiled faintly, squeezing Jensen’s hand. “Much better now.”


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