Dallas couldn’t believe it. It had been almost two hours, and he still couldn’t believe it.
Me, neither, Tex. Can’t believe you talked that girl into killing herself.
Fuck you. I didn’t talk her into anything.
Ed chuckled. Whatever helps you sleep at night, darling.
Dallas bit back a growl, crossing his arms tightly over his chest. He had already handed his blood-spattered shirt and jacket over to forensics and changed into a clean set. Now, he sat down in the lab with Bo, writing up his report of the incident.
He glanced up at Bo, who sat on the floor rather than at the table or counter. He had been quiet. He hadn’t spoken a word since, ‘Don’t touch her. They’ll need pictures’.
Man, if only we’d known sooner how to shut him up so quickly, huh? Ed asked.
Dallas rolled his eyes rather than responding. He’d had enough of Ed’s bullshit that day, even more so now.
Dallas turned to the doorway at the same time Bo scrambled to his feet. Bo hurried across the room and wrapped his arms around the black man in the doorway.
“Oh, God, I’m so glad you’re okay. Your picture was all over the news with reports of a suicide or a shooting, and I…”
“I know, Squirt. Thank God.” The man rested his chin on top of Bo’s head. “Your mom’s been texting me from work, worried sick. I’ll let her and let her know you’re safe. Proven with my own eyes and everything.”
Bo chuckled. “Okay. Thank you.” He took a step back, tucking his hands behind his back. “Dad, this is the rookie homicide cop I’m babysitting. Dallas, this is my dad.”
The man lifted a hand. “Denzel. Nice to meet you.”
“You too.” Dallas smiled. “Wasn’t expecting to meet the guy that raised this genius so soon. Was hoping to charm Bo into a supper invitation or something.”
Denzel laughed. “Good luck with that.” He reached out and smoothed a hand over Bo’s hair. “You want something? Blatantly ask him for it. He’ll give you a yes or no, but he prefers direct questions.”
Bo offered a smile. “I’m sure my mom would love to have me over tonight so she can also confirm my state of liveliness. If you’d like to join us, she never minds another person at the table,” he said.
“Are you sure?”
“Oh, he’s sure. He wouldn’t offer if he wasn’t,” Denzel assured. “I’ll have your mom text you, okay?”
Bo nodded. “Okay. And… thank you for checking in on me. I appreciate it.”
“No problem, Squirt. Stay safe, okay?”
“I will. You too.”
“Of course.” After the man left, Bo retreated to his spot at the table rather than the floor.
“So… your dad’s pretty cool,” Dallas said.
Wow. Hard-hitting, emotional stuff, Tex. Great connection there. Really.
“He is,” Bo agreed after a moment. “I lucked out with the Austens.”
“I don’t believe there are many people who would have put up with me, especially as their child.”
The quietness of Bo’s voice was more than enough to let Dallas know he didn’t want to discuss his adopted parents any further. “So, case-wise. Why the hell did she shoot herself?”
“Are you done with your report?”
“Yeah. Still need to hand it in, but it’s written.”
Bo nodded. “Well, why does anyone kill themselves? There are a number of reasons, some more common than others. Mental illness, accidental, they feel as though they have no other option, silence… There are many reasons. One could assume her reason, but that’s all it will ever be.”
“Because she’s not alive to confirm the reason for us,” Dallas said quietly.
“Yes, exactly. It will always be an assumption, but in this case, I would… be willing to say that assumption will be necessary.”
Dallas raised a brow. “Are you saying you’re going to bounce ideas off of me?”
Bo offered a smile, shaking his head. “No, but I’m willing to let you bounce ideas off of me.”
“Will you respond to them with more than a ‘maybe’?”
“Yes. I’ll do my best to.”
“That’s good enough for me. You know those suicide cults? Do you think there’s a possibility this is one of them?” Dallas asked.
“I think… it’s unlikely their intention is to commit suicide together as some kind of message. Let’s call the ones who supposedly eat the organs ‘the elders’. The elders of this cult have gone through far too much trouble to end their own lives, and intentionally sacrificing the life of a young person who has yet to provide a strong and healthy organ for them seems unlikely to me.”
Call me whatever you’d like, but he makes a good point.
I usually stick with calling you an asshole.
“You make a good point on that one, Austen. Do we know if she had any cuts or scars on her? If they were… preparing her for something?”
Bo offered a shrug. “Because we were there for the shooting, I haven’t been involved in any of the examinations of the body. Once both of our reports are marked off, we’ll be allowed to return to the scene and exam the house, and we’ll be able to look at the body.”
“And if not?”
“Then I imagine the case will be assigned to someone else, and it won’t be our problem any longer,” Bo said. “But for Burke’s sake, she might want to hope that our reports are approved and we’re both signed off as good to go.”
“Questions will be asked as to why we were there and not her and her partner.”
“I… almost hope we don’t get signed off.”
Bo chuckled, but it was quiet. Hell, if Dallas hadn’t been paying attention, he probably would have missed it. “It unfortunately wouldn’t do much. At most, she won’t get her next promotion as quickly as she had hoped for.”
Dallas shook his head. He wanted to push Bo further on the subject of Tessa Burke, but he knew better. He didn’t need to earn Bo’s distrust again, not when he was slowly closing in on actual trust. “I don’t know how you put up with her.”
“I just try to keep my head down. Outside of that, I love my job, and I won’t let her take that from me.”
So he has SOME fight in him. I’m not sure if that increases or decreases my desire to choke the life right out of him.
Dallas cleared his throat, doing his best to ignore the flash of his hands around Bo’s throat in his mind. It wasn’t often Ed sent him little bits of imagery of what he wanted to do, but when he did, it was difficult to simply pretend it wasn’t there.
But he’d do what he could to accomplish just that.
“I’m actually pretty proud of you for that kind of ambition. It can’t be easy.”
“I don’t want to talk about Burke. We’ve discussed this.”
“I don’t mean because of her. I mean after all the shit you’ve been through. Bullying, abuse, already having this job taken from you a couple times. That has to eat away at your ambition.”
“Oh.” After a moment, Bo nodded. “It does, a little bit. But if keeping my job requires pushing harder for what ambition I have left to do the work, so be it.”
“Yeah, definitely proud of you.”
Bo smiled faintly. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome.” Dallas turned around in his chair, crossing his good arm over the back of it. “Think she did it so we couldn’t bring her in an pull information from her?”
“It’s… certainly a possibility.”
“So you think that one’s, like, logical?”
“I think if the elders of this cult want to eat the organs of young people, they aren’t going to risk that information getting out to the police. It wouldn’t surprise me if the other members have been told to avoid police at all costs. And if you can’t avoid them, well…” Bo closed his eyes for a moment before shaking his head. “Then I suppose we know what one’s only other option might be.”
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New update roughly every Thursday!
A/N: I’ll make an official blog post about it later today after I’ve slept, but I’m going to start setting view goals for every month, trying to make each month a little higher than the last. This month, we’re aiming for 8K views in the entire month (a little under 260 views a day). Views from any and all pages and posts on my website count toward this goal, not just Symbolically Carved. The exciting part? If we can reach 8K, I’ll be posting a short story of the day Ed talked Dallas into finally letting him kill his dad.
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