A/N: Sorry for the delay, but here’s yesterday’s chapter. Already off to a bad start this week for me. Second update coming today for Jamal’s birthday
Thursday: January 3, 2030
6:00 AM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, WEST BUREAU, CHIEF OF POLICE BO AUSTEN-TAYLOR’S OFFICE
Bo lowered himself into the chair behind his desk, reaching out to adjust one of the pictures of his children. “Would it be annoying to make copies of all of the things I have hanging on the walls of my other office? I’d like them in here, but I don’t think I’m willing to take everything down from in there.”
Frank shook his head. “Not annoying at all, sir. Whatever you need to make this office feel just as… homey as your forensic office are things we’ll make sure to get for you.”
“Thank you, Frank.”
“No problem, Mister Austen.” Frank cocked his head to the side. “Would you like me to get started on making copies?”
“Jupiter, no, that’s okay. It’s far too early in the morning for that, anyway. I’ll do it on my lunch break,” Bo said.
Frank chuckled. “I really don’t mind, Mister Austen. That’s what I’m here for. To do things for you. Until March when Mister Pitman comes back from his vacation, it’s genuinely in my job description. I’m here until you feel comfortable sitting in this office behind that desk.”
Bo twisted in his chair, clearing his throat. “Well… I suppose it would be nice to have at least a few of the copies in here before lunchtime.”
Frank smiled, pushing himself to his feet. “That wasn’t so difficult, was it?”
“It’s a little difficult. I never got used to the idea of ordering people to do things for me.”
“Well, consider it an offer, then. You have me offering to do things for you. No ordering me around or anything, promise.” Frank held out a hand. “Keys to your office, sir?”
Bo stilled for a moment before patting the pockets of his jeans. “Umm, just a moment.” He leaned to the side and flipped open his satchel. “I’m not sure where they are off the top of my head. I slept in a little late today.”
A smile tugged at one corner of Frank’s mouth. “That’s okay. I’ll ask Mister Taylor. I know he carries around a copy.”
“No problem, sir. You know where to find me if you need anything.”
Bo nodded, thanking Frank once more for good measure before the older man walked out of the room. Bo let out a long breath, pulling his cell phone from his back pocket. He unlocked the screen and opened his text message thread with Bridget.
She hadn’t been able to respond in just under a decade, but Bo knew there was no way around that. He’d been there when she was murdered back in October of 2020, only ten months after his arrival in Clinstone.
Still, he had done his best to keep her updated on the major events in his life, and every now and then, even the less major ones. After all, she was the first person his age he had ever loved. She was one of the first kids his age to care for him rather than throw abuse at him. Dead or alive, paying for her phone bill and sending her text message updates helped him cope with a lot of things.
Bo: It’s day three of working in Jamal’s office. Mine. Chief of Police. It’s terrifying, but it’s slowly getting a little less nerve wrecking with every hour that passes by. I wish you were here, cheering me on from the sidelines, letting me know that I was the dork that could figure this out without any problems at all.
Bo: But… this will have to suffice.
Bo hesitated for a moment, tilting his head to the side. With a short nod, he started typing out another message.
Bo: I don’t think I told you Amber started fifth grade back in August. She’s so damn close to being a middle schooler, it’s insane. She’s turning eleven in a few days. Watching her grow up for just over six years has been… crazy.
Bo: You would love her, Bridge. She’s perfect (a little wild, of course; she’s picked that up from Jens), but she’s so damn perfect. She likes Pokemon and zombie games. She’s beautiful and funny, and she and Kayla have been so patient these last few years while Jensen and I were learning to do their hair or paint their nails.
Bo: We’ll be leaving for Clinstone on sunday, so I’ll come visit you before then. I know it’s been a while, but it’s been a rough couple months for me (more than a couple, but you know me and how much I specialize in downplaying). But I’ll see you soon, I promise.
Bo: Take care, Bridge.
He fought back the urge to add, ‘wherever you ended up’. Bridget was one of the few people in his life he didn’t have knowledge of a religious affiliation for. He didn’t know if she had wanted to end up in Heaven or if she hadn’t believed in God or any form of the afterlife.
It always made his sign offs a little difficult, more so than the whole process was.
Sighing, he locked his screen and set the device on his desk. He scrubbed both hands over his face before tugging down on his beanie. Not exactly police chief attire, but didn’t care much. Jamal had given him permission to wear his usual work clothes unless there was a press conference or something of the like.
Bo twisted his wedding ring around his finger, closing his eyes. He had to work out the budget for the force as a whole, as well as each bureau. He knew that, thanks to Jamal, it wouldn’t be a difficult process, and most of what was already there wouldn’t need much of a change.
Bo considered himself thankful for that. It would be easy, something he could do just to keep his mind off of everything else.
He leaned over in his chair and pulled open one of the drawers. He flipped through the few folders. Jamal had left behind until he found the one labeled ‘budget’. Not exactly alphabetical order, but I’ll give you a pass this time, Jamal.
He closed the drawer and set the folder on his desk. He drew in a breath, allowing a faint smile to cross his face.
Slowly, his nervousness for all things Jamal had started to dissipate. He didn’t know how long that would last, but if it kept up, there really was a shot this could all become normal.
8:10 AM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, WEST BUREAU, CHIEF OF POLICE BO AUSTEN-TAYLOR’S OFFICE
Bo leaned back in his chair, knees pulled to his chest as he scrolled through the crime scene photos Gwen had sent him.
He stood by everything he had said during his original conversation with the medical examiner. It made sense to him that the killer and the mugger didn’t go hand-in-hand, that they hadn’t worked together. The two crimes were unrelated, possibly even half an hour or more apart.
He was willing to bet that Angie was the killer’s first victim. He wasn’t certain what would drive a female to display such violence out in the open like their killer had, but he figured there had to be something left behind somewhere that would eventually clue him in to the killer’s thought process.
He had worked cases with violent, killer females. The Obsessive Compulsive Killer, Ammut, Wings, Puppet Master, Ghost, Bonekeeper. Technically, Vivian Kane was on that list, as well, but she was a friend and had sought out help for the voices that had eventually driven her to kill another person. Bo did his best not to count his friends as the killers they technically were.
That would just feel… odd.
He sighed. Why did Clinstone’s first homicide in over a year have to occur while he was busy adapting in Los Angeles?
5:30 PM; LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT, WEST BUREAU, PARKING LOT
Bo smiled as he watched Jensen climb out of the driver’s seat of his car. “Aww, you came back for me.”
Jensen grinned. “Always will, babe.” He rounded the car and pulled open the passenger side door before Bo could. “Supper’s already on the stove and in the oven at home.”
“You’re on your game today, love.”
“I try.” Jensen tugged down on Bo’s beanie, a smile turning up either corner of his mouth. “I have more Clinstone homicide gossip for you. I’ll fill you in on the way home.” Bo leaned up and kissed Jensen before sliding into the car. Jensen shut the door and walked back around to the driver’s side. He pulled his phone from his pocket and unlocked the screen. He handed it over to Bo. “That’s what the woman looked like to David,” Jensen said as he shifted into gear and backed out of the parking space.
“Why the cowboy hat?” Bo asked.
“It was a country-themed party at the bar. You know, flannels, boots, hats, and that, uh, country singer.” Jensen waved a hand. “Adam Something.”
“Well don’t look at me. I know about as much about country music as I do about rap.”
Jensen snorted. “Fair.” He cleared his throat, dropping his hand to rest on the blonde’s thigh. “Anyway, Misty ran it through the system, once with the hat and once without, but nothing showed up.”
“Do you have it without the hat?”
“Uh-huh. Just swipe to the… left, I think.”
Bo did as told, eyes focused on the new image. “She was most likely wearing makeup. She probably did something with her hair she wouldn’t normally do.” He tapped his finger to the screen. “She’s almost smirking in the drawing. It could mess up the way the system searches for her.”
“ “Cause it differs too much from her driver’s license.”
“What about the one you use?”
“It… can account for a few things, but you have to remember it would’ve been relatively dark in the bar, the hat would have helped change her appearance, figure in some makeup, her expression, and David’s level of sobriety…” Bo lifted his shoulders. “I can only use it to make up for a few things. Sometimes it can see through changes that might have been done with makeup, sometimes it can’t. It’s not down to one hundred percent accuracy. It mostly depends on how accurate the originating sketch is.”
Jensen nodded. “You could give it a try when we got home. Couldn’t hurt anything.”
“Sure, I can do that.” Bo looked up at Jensen before his eyes fell to the phone again. “What about Will’s?”
“They’re finishing up his tomorrow morning. I’ll have a copy of it for you before eight.”
“No problem, Eli.”
Bo laced his fingers through Jensen’s hand and lifted it, pressing a kiss to the younger man’s palm. “Thanks for keeping in touch with the case while we’re here. I know it has to be at least a little annoying.” He let go of Jensen’s hand, smiling faintly as Jensen dropped it to his thigh again.
“Eh. Like I said, baby, it’s no problem. Besides, there isn’t much going on here right now. I’m not exactly busy with homicides or anything.”
“That’s because today’s cold for Los Angeles natives. L.A. criminals would prefer to commit their crimes once it’s warm again. There are exceptions, of course, as there are to any rule, but it’s a good general rule of thumb.”
“It’s supposed to be warm tomorrow. Maybe we can both get a crime scene in before we head back to Clinstone.”
“Homicide detectives,” Bo muttered, rolling his eyes. “It’d only be your case until Sunday.”
“I know. Still might be nice to do something other than push paperwork around and dick around on Pinterest,” Jensen said. “Then we go back to Clinstone and we both have something to do besides push paperwork.”
“I’ll admit it’ll be nice to go back to forensics after this week.” Bo clapped his hands together, shifting in his seat to tip his fingers in Jensen’s direction. “Did you manage to get anything on the Georgia cases?”
“Shit, yeah, I did. It’s in my email. You can print stuff off when we get home, if you want?” Jensen asked.
Bo waved a dismissive hand. “That’s okay. I’ll print them off in the morning when we get to the station. I’m done with work for today. Strictly family time.”
Jensen smiled. “It’s like taking over for Jamal has already taught you how to balance work with family.”
“I think it’s more the nervousness than it is the new job. Once the surrealness of it all wears off, I’m sure I’ll go right back to never taking a break until forced to do so or until the case is done.”
Jensen rolled his eyes. “Probably.” He squeezed Bo’s thigh. “In case no one else has told you so far, Eli, you’re doing a damn good job here, and again, I’m so damn proud of you.”
“Thank you, love,” Bo murmured. He laced his fingers through Jensen’s, closing his eyes. “Thank you for standing at my side for this. I know it’s a… pretty big change for the both of us, so having you on my side for it means the world.”
“My pleasure, babe. Always a pleasure.”
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