Tuesday: November 26, 2024
2:00 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
Bo’s eyes shot open as an arm wrapped around his waist. “It’s just me,” a woman’s voice said, the three words laced with a soft French accent. Bo sighed. Cecilia Delacroix.
The blonde drew in a long breath, his body slowly relaxing. “Is something wrong?” he asked.
“Not with me. With you,” she said.
“You don’t have to lie to me. Katie texted me from your phone. You were having a nightmare and wouldn’t wake up,” she explained. “So… what was the nightmare? Bridget?”
Bo shook his head. “No, not her. I… You won’t tell Jensen?”
“Nope. Best friend confidentiality.”
He smiled faintly. “Okay,” he whispered. “I have a stalker, I think. It… seems to be a stalker, anyway. They’re copying the killing style of one of my old cases, GBK.”
“There was a film on that, right?”
“Does the film mention your name?” Cecilia asked.
“I think so. I can’t remember,” Bo admitted.
She nodded, lifting a hand to comb her fingers through his hair. “Did this stalker send you a letter?”
“With the dead girl, yes.”
“Did it say anything personal? Anything they couldn’t have found on the internet?”
“Not really. I mean, there was a part about following me down the street in L.A. and the wind catching my cologne or something, but that’s it.”
“And that could be made up,” Cecilia said softly.
“Maybe,” Bo agreed quietly.
“And Jensen doesn’t know?”
“He’s working a case in L.A.. If I tell him about this, he’ll drop everything and come back,” he said.
“And that would be wrong. It’s his job.”
“You’re insane. You know he loves you. He would much rather be here if you’re suffering than in L.A. working some case,” she said.
Bo rolled onto his other side, shoving an arm under his pillow. In the near darkness of the room, he met Cecilia’s cornflower blue gaze. “It’s an important case. It’s the governor’s daughter,” he said. “He’ll get so much damn credit for this. It’s good for his career.”
“He doesn’t care about his career more than he cares about you,” Cecilia said.
“I do,” the blonde whispered.
“Because I’m going to be dead or crazy long before he is. He needs a career to support himself and his family more than he needs me.”
“That isn’t how he feels.”
“He’s going to stay in L.A. until the case is done. That’s just… It’s important,” Bo said. “I’ll be okay. I survived dealing with this kind of thing before I met him. I have Jake and David and…” He lifted his shoulder. “I’ll be all right.”
“Hmm.” Cecilia frowned, pushing Bo’s hair away from his forehead. “You are aware that you’re crazy, right?”
“Most of the time.”
She shook her head. “Are you tired?”
“No. I only fell asleep because I was on the phone with Jensen.” Bo rubbed at his eyes, clearing his throat. “How pathetic is that, huh? I can only sleep with his voice in my ear.”
“I wouldn’t say pathetic. I’d say adorable,” she said.
Bo shrugged. “I suppose.” He raised an eyebrow. “Enough about me and possible stalker. What’s new with you? Your boyfriend?”
“We broke up,” Cecilia said.
He frowned. “Why?”
“Ah, it just wasn’t meant to be. We see things differently,” she said. “Jonathan, back in our time, liked me having a job because it meant he didn’t have to work as much. Cole, though… Cole wanted me to quit and be a housewife. You know, start a garden and have food and a scotch ready for him when he got home from his job. That plan doesn’t work for me. It works for other women, and that’s okay, but it’s not my thing.”
“Good. More power to you, Celia.” She smiled faintly, snuggling up against the blonde. He wrapped an arm around her. “Katie woke you up when she texted?”
“Yeah. I don’t mind, though.”
“Go to sleep, Celia.”
“I’m not leaving you awake to wallow in your sorrows all alone,” Cecilia said.
“I’ll be fine,” Bo said softly. “Just go to sleep. If I need you, I’ll wake you up. Promise.” She nodded, closing her eyes as she wrapped an arm around his torso. Bo kissed the top of her head, letting out a quiet sigh. Back before he started dating Jensen, sleeping beside Cecilia was calming and a way for him to sleep through most of his nightmares. Now, however, it reminded him that Jensen would probably be jealous, and jealous wasn’t a side of the taller man that Bo enjoyed. It made him nervous, uncomfortable.
Bo reached back for his phone, holding it behind Cecilia as he unlocked his screen and brought up his text thread with Jensen. It was after two, so he wasn’t expecting an answer immediately. Still, he sent him a message.
Bo: Cecilia came over. I can’t sleep beside her knowing you’re jealous of her.
Bo stared at his phone for a moment before sending another text.
Bo: I love you
Jensen: I said I was an ass for being jealous, remember? As long as you don’t find a guy hotter than me to sleep beside, cuddle whoever you want. I love you, Eli. Get some sleep. You need it.
Bo smiled. He wasn’t planning on sleeping anytime soon, but the sentiment was nice.
Bo: Thank you
Jensen: No problem, Eli. Goodnight
Bo: Goodnight, Jens. I’ll see you soon, okay?
Jensen: Soon, babe. Promise
2:19 AM; CLINSTONE, THE COPYCAT’S KILL ROOM
The man stared down at the eyeless, tongueless corpse, one eyebrow raised. Mimicking the Gym Bag Killer’s style the first time had been fun. It had been enjoyable. But kills got old fast, and he needed to move on. The dead woman in front of him proved that. Bo didn’t know the woman, and the man was okay with that. The little blonde would, however, recognize the kill style immediately.
Initially, it would throw Bo off. That was the plan, anyway. The note he would leave with the body would indicate he was stalking the blonde. The body, however, the kill, would reveal something different.
CGK wasn’t Bo’s case, it had been a case Thomas Smalls had worked. And as Thomas Smalls was the little blonde’s uncle, it would let Bo know that the man really had been stalking him, because Thomas’s relation to Bo wasn’t something that could be found on the internet.
This would destroy the blonde.
4:30 AM; CLINSTONE EMERGENCY ROOM, ALLEYWAY
Everything about the man’s crime scenes had to be meaningful. The notes he left behind, what he did to the bodies and where he displayed them. The alleyway was important for the same reason killing Natalie Lambert had been important. They both related to the Surgeon case. The first body in that case—Tess Brown—had been found in this very dumpster. It was the thought running through the man’s mind as he dumped the corpse into the dumpster, face down.
It’d be much more fun to see the surprise and disgust on Bo’s face when he turned her over.
The alleyway, of course, was also the first time that Jacob Mason and Caleb Lehman got to see what a freak their newest addition to CPD was. The man wanted Bo to remember that, wanted the blonde to remember exactly how he had felt when the detectives had seen what his mind was capable of.
He wanted Bo to remember that both of the detectives he had started in Clinstone with were no longer detectives. One had been promoted, one had been fired.
Even better, Sergeant Mason was stuck in the hospital with his dying wife. It would amplify Bo’s suffering.
He liked the thought of that.
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