Wednesday: November 27, 2024
8:10 AM; CLINSTONE SPECIALITY HOSPITAL, PARKING LOT
Bo shut off the car, leaning back in his seat. He closed his eyes, lightly wrapping his fingers around the bottom of the steering wheel. A new homicide had yet to be reported. It made Bo nervous. He couldn’t help but worry what his stalker’s plan was. He couldn’t even decide if the stalking was pretend, if he wasn’t actually being watched. Maybe the killer was getting information from Bo’s real stalker, and it was just an intimidation technique to keep Bo away.
Not that having a copycat killer and a personal stalker divided into two people was better that the two aspects being rolled into one.
Bo forced his eyes open and pushed the car door open. Thomas was at the house with Jacob’s kids, and with his alarm system rigged to his phone, Bo felt they were all entirely safe. He had spoken to Jamal sometime around three that morning, while he lay in bed, entirely unable to sleep. Jamal had listened to any and all of his concerns before promising to up the security system on the house in Los Angeles.
He’d even sent over extra bodyguards to watch the house from afar, just in case. Bo hadn’t been able to thank Jamal enough for how grateful the action made him. But, as always, Jamal dismissed it with a simple: “You’re my family, Bo. I’d do anything for you.”
Bo slid out of the car, grabbing both coffee cups from the center cup holders and shutting the door as he stuck the keys back into his pocket. Drawing in a deep breath, he headed up toward the hospital. After a walk through the lobby and an elevator ride to the ICU, he walked into Alice’s room. Jacob, still asleep, sat in a chair pushed against the wall. The blanket Bo had draped around his shoulders after supper the evening before still covered his body.
Quietly, Bo sat down in the chair beside Jacob, leaning forward to set the coffee cups on the floor. He sat back as he rolled up the sleeves of his red flannel. It was much colder outside and in the lobby than in the patient rooms. Bo had expected that. It was the reason he hadn’t worn a jacket. Still, he had tugged a gray beanie on over his blonde hair before leaving the house.
Jacob shifted, clearing his throat. He lifted his head from where it rested against his fist. He rubbed at his eyes, reaching over to grab his glasses. “Bo?” he asked, his voice rough.
“Hey,” Bo said softly. He reached down and grabbed one of the coffee cups, holding it out to the sergeant. “Here. Coffee.”
“Mm,” Jacob grunted, grabbing the cup. “Thanks, Blondie.”
“No problem.” Jacob leaned to the side, dropping his head to Bo’s shoulder. Bo reached up and patted Jacob’s unshaven cheek before letting his hand drop back to his lap. It felt odd being the strong, solid one in their relationship. He was used to being the broken one, the sad one. He was used to being the one that was depressed or barely hanging on. Losing his rock was… strange, surreal. He didn’t like it.
“Where are my babies?” Jacob asked.
“The house with Tom. They were asleep when I left. They don’t sleep much, so I didn’t want to wake them,” Bo said.
Jacob nodded. “Good call.” Again, he cleared his throat. “Who hurt you?”
“Hmm?” Bo questioned. Jacob reached out, running his fingers over the small bruises on Bo’s forearm. “Oh. Nobody. Just a guy. I can’t even imagine what kind of terrible grief he’s suffering through,” he said quietly. “He just needed to take it out on somebody, that’s all.”
“Mm.” Jacob closed his eyes. “What an ass.” A pause. “Want me to kick his ass?”
“No, Jake, it’s fine. Like I said, I imagine the poor guy’s dealing with a lot of bad things in his life,” Bo said.
“Okay,” Jacob whispered. “Allie has her last surgery on Friday. They’re gonna make her stay asleep for a day or two after that so she has a little bit of time to heal, and then they’ll wake her up. They’re just scared she’ll fight them if they wake her up sooner than that.” He lifted a shoulder. “They’re not wrong. She’s a fighter, you know.”
“Oh, I know. That’s why you love her,” Bo said, reaching over to pat Jacob’s knee.
“Mmhmm. One of the… many reasons,” Jacob said quietly. “How’re my kids handling this? I… I’ve been a terrible father.”
“You aren’t a terrible father, Jake. Not before, and not now,” Bo said, moving his hand up to the side of Jacob’s head. “It isn’t your fault. You’re grieving and you’re genuinely depressed. It’s okay that you can’t handle the kids the way you normally would. I’ve made sure they’re okay,” he said. “They’re… okay. They’re dealing, I suppose. I’ve let them know she has the best surgeons on her case and that seems to have helped them sleep better at night.”
Jacob nodded, sniffling. “You’re amazing, Bo. Thank you.”
“It’s what you do for family,” Bo said simply. “I love you, Jake. You know that, right?” he asked.
Again, the sergeant nodded. “Uh-huh. I love you, too,” he whispered.
Bo turned his head slightly, combing his fingers through Jacob’s hair. “You need a shower. It’d make you feel less… tired. It might almost be relaxing at this point.”
“I can’t leave her,” Jacob said, shaking his head.
“I’ll stay here with her,” Bo suggested. “Or her parents will be here soon. We can stay here until they get here. They’ll be with her the whole time you’re gone,” he promised. “Does that sound okay?”
“I don’t have… I don’t have my car.”
“I have mine. I’ll drive you,” Bo said.
“Don’t you have to get to work?” Jacob asked.
“I, uh, have the day off unless… I’m on call. That’s the basics,” Bo said.
“Okay,” Jacob agreed with a nod. “After her parents get here.”
“Okay, Jake,” Bo said softly.
Jacob sniffled, lifting a hand to rub his jaw. “You know you’re the only reason I can survive this, right? You know… that you’re the only reason I haven’t completely fallen down, yeah?” he asked.
“You’re a lot stronger than you think you are, Jake,” Bo said. “But, either way, I’m doing my best to make this easier than it would be if you had to be alone.”
“I know.” Jacob patted Bo’s thigh. “Thanks, brother,” he whispered.
“My pleasure, Jake.”
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