8:59 AM; CLINSTONE POLICE DEPARTMENT, MORGUE
Bo flinched as his phone rang, the device immediately falling out of his shaking hands and hitting the floor. He leaned forward from his position on the floor, grabbing his phone and pulling it closer to himself. He caught sight of Jamal’s name flashing across the screen. He dragged the little green phone icon to the opposite side of the screen and pressed the phone his ear.
“You there, kid?” Jamal asked, his voice soft.
“Uh-huh,” Bo whispered. “I’m here.”
“Good. It’s not GBK,” Jamal said.
“How can you be sure?”
“I just am.”
“That’s not good enough,” Bo said. “Jamal, GBK practically stalked the department back in L.A.. They knew the work schedule, when David would be there, when he wouldn’t be. Who’s to say they weren’t stalking me, too?” he asked.
Jamal sighed. “You have to know I’m only going to tell you this because I love you and want you to know that I’m not lying to you,” he said. “I… know GBK. She lives in L.A. with her husband their two kids?”
Bo’s brow furrowed. “You…” The word came out breathlessly, nearly silent. “You told me I was a failure for not being able to catch her,” he whispered.
“That comment was directed toward you not finding Katherine,” Jamal corrected. “And I’m sorry for that either way. But I didn’t know who she was back then. GBK, I mean. When our department was looking for her, I had no idea who she was or that she was even a woman. It wasn’t until after she stopped killing and after she got married that I found out,” he said.
Bo closed his eyes, pulling his knees to his chest. “How did you find out?” he asked.
“The man she’s married to is a man that I raised. I took him in when he was a child,” Jamal said.
“And you raised him.”
“Yes,” Jamal repeated.
“And then he married a serial killer,” Bo said.
A pause. “Yes.”
“And then they told you who she was?” Bo asked.
“Basically, yes,” Jamal said softly. “That was when I closed the case. I wanted to catch her and put her behind bars, but… I couldn’t. He’s like a son to me. I couldn’t arrest the woman he loved. I promised I wouldn’t, not unless she starts killing again.”
“And you don’t break promises,” Bo whispered.
Bo swallowed, dropping his head to rest on his knees as he wrapped his free arm around his legs. “So… it’s not GBK. Most of the people who hate me are dead or behind bars,” he said. A pause. “Right?”
Jamal cleared his throat. “Most,” he said quietly.
“S–so it’s a new person who hates my guts?” Bo asked.
“There’s no proof they hate you. They are… stalking you,” Jamal said.
“That doesn’t make me feel better, Jamal,” Bo said. He swallowed. “If they’ve been… watching me, they know about Jensen and the girls. Stalkers never end well, Jamal. What if they hurt Jensen or–or my kids?” he asked.
“I will not let anything happen to you, your boyfriend, or your children. I will keep you all safe,” Jamal said. “I love you, Bo. I’m not letting anything hurt you again, not like with her.”
“Promise? I–it has to be a promise,” Bo said.
“It’s a promise,” Jamal said softly.
“Do I need to send Jensen and the girls back to Clinstone?”
“No. Jensen needs to be in L.A.. He’s been working that case for months, Jamal. Don’t pull him off of it for my benefit.”
“He can work the case from Clinstone. That’s how we’ve been doing it,” Jamal said.
“He needs to be in L.A. for at least a couple days if he wants to make any progress on the case. I’m fine,” Bo said.
“You’re not fine. If you’re going to lie to me, at least try to sound like you aren’t about to cry,” Jamal said.
“Sorry,” Bo whispered. He cleared his throat. “I have to go. I need to tell David about this so I can get back to the house. Katie’s never been alone with the twins before,” he said.
“All right, kiddo. Keep me updated,” Jamal said.
“Will do,” Bo said quietly. He ended the call and dialed Lieutenant David Quinn’s number instead.
“Yeah?” David asked after four rings.
“I need you.”
“Where are you? You were supposed to be in my office nearly three hours ago,” David said.
“The morgue,” Bo said. “I… found something,” he added.
“Okay. Be there in a minute,” David said. Bo set his phone on the floor after David hung up. Less than three minutes later, David walked into the morgue. “Bo?”
“On the floor,” Bo said. “But the thing you should see is on the autopsy table.”
David crossed the room, taking an immediate step back as soon as he stood in front of the gym bags. “They’re back?”
“It’s not GBK,” Bo said. “It’s a copycat killer. And my stalker,” he added in a whisper.
“Jesus Christ. Does Jamal know?”
“I called him first,” Bo said. “That, uh, that’s Natalie Lambert. I saved her life during the Surgeon case. My first case in Clinstone. Copycat here killed her to prove that they’ve been watching me for a long time,” he said. He lifted his head, his blue eyes shifting to David’s face. “They’ve been watching me since at least 2018, David. They’re going to know so damn much about me,” he said.
David squatted down in front of Bo. “We’ll find whoever did this. We won’t let them hurt anyone else,” he said softly. “You look tired.”
“I couldn’t sleep last night.”
“I figured. Go home. I’ll call Gwen and Misty in,” David said.
“Bo, you’ve got enough shit on your shoulders, okay?” David questioned. “Alice’s in the hospital, your kids and Jensen are, what, over a thousand miles away?”
“One thousand, three hundred fifty-one-point-four,” Bo murmured.
“Yeah, okay, that. And then you’re taking care of three children that aren’t yours. You have enough on your plate, and you’re holding up your world, Jake’s world, and the worlds of those kids on your shoulders. I won’t be adding putting Natalie together again to that list. Go home.” David offered a smile. “You let me help with Kathy and GBK way back when. Let me help with this,” he said softly.
Bo nodded. “Okay,” he whispered.
David stood up and held a hand out to Bo. “Let’s go, partner.” Bo stared at his outstretched hand for a moment before grabbing it and allowing him to pull him to his feet. David grabbed Bo’s satchel and draped it over the blonde’s shoulder. “Come on. I’ll walk you to your car.”
11:04 AM; CLINSTONE SPECIALITY CLINIC, INTENSIVE CARE UNIT
Jacob opened his eyes, immediately reaching over for his glasses. He slid them on, panic seeping into his bones. Alice wasn’t there. He stood up, turning toward the door as Bo stepped into the room. “Allie? Where…?”
“Surgery,” Bo said softly. “She’s in surgery.” He offered a smile that he couldn’t force to feel genuine. “She survived the night, Jake, and now they’re fixing the damage done during the first surgery.”
“I thought…” Jacob let out a heavy breath. “Jesus Christ,” he muttered. “Where are my kids?”
“The waiting room. I wasn’t allowed to bring them into the ICU. Germs and whatnot,” Bo said. “You go on down. I’ll catch up,” he said. The sergeant nodded, rubbing at his unshaven jaw before walking out of the room. Bo sighed and walked back out of the room, immediately heading toward the NICU.
“Hi, Mister Austen,” a doctor greeted. “Do you want to see them?” she asked.
Bo shook his head. “I just wanted an update. I’m planning on using most of my energy to convince their father to eat something,” he said.
The doctor nodded. “Both made it through the night, which is a very good sign. Both babies will probably need lung transplants, but it’s far too early to tell. Baby A has a tear in the right ventricle and will need a heart transplant. For now, we’ll watch it, repair it the best we can, but a heart as soon as possible is ideal,” she said.
Bo tucked his hands behind his back, staring into the room filled with sick, dying babies. “Which one’s Baby A?” he questioned.
“The girl,” she explained. “Do you know what their names are?”
“No. Jake isn’t much help. He says they’re not his kids, so I can’t get any useful information from him,” Bo said. He sighed. “I’ll look around their house this afternoon, see if I can’t find a list of baby names,” he said. “I believe they’ll get better quicker if they have real names.”
The doctor smiled faintly. “You and me both, Mister Austen.”
“I’ll get that information as soon as possible. They’ll need birth certificates after that, too,” he said quietly. The doctor only nodded. “Well, you know who I am. Name?”
“Oh, my apologies. Erin Murray,” she said.
“You’re going to take good care of these kids, Doctor Murray?” Bo asked.
“Of course. I’m the best there is,” Erin said softly.
12:30 PM; CLINSTONE, THE MASON HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
“What’re you doing?”
Bo stood up suddenly, smacking his head on the bottom of the open dresser drawer. “I was—Jupiter,” he whispered, holding a hand to his head. Jacob stood in the doorway, arms crossed over his chest. Bo sighed, wincing gingerly. “I need to know what you guys were planning to name the twins.”
“You know their names. Elijah and Charlotte.”
“Not them, Jake. I-I know this is hard. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. But you… you know what I’m asking,” Bo said.
If it were even possible, Jacob’s expression looked ever more tired than before. “Does it matter?” he asked, his tone far more defeated than angry.
“I’m not asking you to go visit them every day. I’m not even asking you to take them home when you and Alice are ready to go home. I just want to know what I should call them.”
“Why? What if… what if Alice and I…” Jacob closed his eyes for a moment. “What if Allie doesn’t make it? I can’t take the kids, Bo. I can’t live like that. I can’t risk being the father who took the guilt and anger out on his kids. I can’t.”
“Alice is strong. She’s going to make it. I got the best doctor around, Jake. I-I’m making sure of that,” Bo said. “If you guys can’t raise them, that’s okay. If it’s best for you, if it’s best for them, that’s okay. But let me have a name to call them by. A name is far more helpful to their healing process than ‘Baby A’ or ‘Baby B’.”
Jacob let out a harsh breath, shoulders falling in defeat. “Noah and Eve. That’s, umm… that’s what we narrowed it down to.”
“Thank you,” Bo whispered. Jacob only nodded. Bo closed the dresser drawer and walked up to Jacob. He wrapped an arm around the man and gave his upper arm a tight squeeze. “Come on. Let’s get you back to the hospital.”
11:21 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BEDROOM
“The girls miss you,” Jensen Taylor said softly.
“I miss them, too,” Bo said, pushing his earphones further into his ear. He lay on his back on the bed, arms folded over his chest.
“I miss you.”
Bo closed his eyes. “I miss you more.”
Jensen snorted. “As if.” A pause. “How’s Jake?”
“He’s not handling things the best,” Bo said quietly. “Alice made it through surgery, though. They, uh, have her in a medically induced coma. She’ll need another surgery in two days to clean up extra… issues or something like that. I don’t really remember.”
“God, you must be tired. I’m sorry. I’ll let you go.”
“No, I’m not tired at all,” Bo said, opening his eyes.
“Bo, if you can’t remember something that important, you’re tired as hell. I know you,” Jensen said. “Get some sleep. You sound like you need it. I love you.”
“Jensen, please don’t go.”
Another pause. “Eli, are you okay?”
“I’m fine. Great. I just…” Bo trailed off. If he told Jensen about the copycat stalker, he would drop his case and come straight back to Clinstone. “I’m just tired. But I miss your voice,” he said.
“Then I’ll talk until you fall asleep,” Jensen suggested softly. “How’s that sound?” “Wonderful,” Bo breathed. Listening to Jensen wasn’t exactly home, but it certainly was a step in the right direction.
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