12:07 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, BREAKFAST NOOK
Bo looked up as a hand touched his shoulder. He smiled softly. “Hey.”
“Hi.” Jensen leaned down and kissed the blonde. “Elijah and Charlotte are in the family room with Tom.” He cleared his throat, pulling a chair closer to Bo and sitting down. “There’s something we need to talk abou—What’s that?”
Bo reached across the circular table and pushed the small box closer to Jensen. “That was in our mailbox this morning. It’s where he leaves his… presents.”
“What’s in it?”
“I haven’t opened it. You wanted to be included. So…” Bo held out a hand. “So there you go,” he said quietly. Jensen cleared his throat again and grabbed the little box. His green eyes flicked up to Bo’s face before he opened the box. “Well?”
“It’s another little clay thingie,” Jensen said. “Do I need to touch it with gloves on?”
“No, he never leaves fingerprints,” Bo assured. Jensen nodded. He pulled the clay figure out of the box and set it in front of Bo. “Ah. Sinhika. She was… our fifth display. She was found on my deck,” he said, offering an almost nervous chuckle.
“Explain her to me?” Jensen questioned quietly.
“She’s from Hindu tradition. She… fought against the monkey god, who defeated her by jumping into her mouth and cutting her open from within.” Bo turned the figure toward Jensen. “That gray thing sticking out of her lower abdomen there? In the slice in the clay? That’s a knife. It represents the monkey god,” he said. “Is there a note in the box?”
Jensen nodded, pulling out a piece of paper. He unfolded it, his eyes quickly skimming through it. Finished, he cleared his throat and handed it over to Bo.
My pint-sized little lab geek,
This one doesn’t have blood in it, either. You’re welcome. I’m glad to see you haven’t fulfilled your promise to Jacob yet. If you tell him about me, I’ll kill someone you love. I have a LONG list of people I can kill, Bo. Mom, Dad, Jamal, Jake, Jens, Kay, Amber, Lijah, Char, Kate, Alice… Aramis, Tom. I’d threaten Bridge, but Steven already did that for me.
P.S. how would the media feel if I payed the most SPECIAL of homages to Mammoth?
“You okay?” Jensen asked quietly.
Bo nodded, folding the note and setting it on the table. “I’m good,” he promised.
“Good. Because… because I have something pretty fucking important to address,” Jensen said. Bo lifted his blue eyes to the younger man’s face. “This morning, a missing persons report was filed.”
Bo frowned. “It relates to me, doesn’t it?” he asked in a whisper.
Jensen laid a hand over Bo’s, his second and third fingers resting on the face of Bo’s watch. “It was a young boy. Fifteen years old,” he said quietly. “A blonde with blue eyes.”
“He’s going to kill a kid that… that resembles me?” Bo asked.
“For the Mammoth imitation, I think.”
“When did he go missing?”
“Monday evening around eight or so, I think,” Jensen said.
“So we have a couple days,” Bo said quietly. “I’m calling Jamal.”
“Are you sure?”
“I can’t let him kill a kid just to prove a point,” Bo whispered. “C–can you get started on lunch?” he asked as he stood up.
“Sure, babe,” Jensen whispered. “Eli?”
“It’s gonna be okay.”
Bo leaned down and pressed a kiss to Jensen’s forehead. “We can hope, anyway.”
10:57 AM; LOS ANGELES, STARLIGHT FILM PRODUCTIONS, CEO WAYNE DUNCAN’S OFFICE
“I tried to stop him,” Nicole said as soon as the office door opened.
Wayne looked up, immediately meeting Jamal’s gaze. “What can I do for you, Jamal?” he asked, folding his arms over his desk.
“Your wife’s going to Clinstone,” Jamal said.
“No, she’s not.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Did that sound like a fucking request?” Jamal questioned. “It was an order. She has two to three days to find either the killer or a boy he just kidnapped before the boy dies. I will not let my Bo blame himself for another child’s death.”
“We have things to do, Jamal,” Wayne said.
Jamal crossed the room in four strides, smacking a hand down against Wayne’s desk. The younger man pushed his chair away from the desk, cautiously lifting his russet brown eyes back to the older man’s face. “You and she promised to be on the ready for when I needed her. I didn’t raise a dirty fucking liar, and I didn’t raise a man that allows his woman to break promises like that. Your word is your bond,” Jamal said, smacking his hand against the desk a second time.
Slowly, Wayne’s gaze shifted to his wife’s face. “You’re going to Clinstone.”
“Wayne,” Nicole pleaded.
“You made a promise to one of the most powerful men in this country. You have to keep it,” Wayne said. He cleared his throat. “I’ll watch after the kids, but you… you have to do this. And you have to keep the promise you made to me, too, to yourself. Don’t kill anyone. Ever.”
Jamal nodded. “You have five minutes. Talk, say goodbye, do whatever the hell you want to do.” He turned around to face Nicole. “And then we’re leaving and your main mission is to find that boy before he’s dead.”
“And if I don’t?” Nicole said.
“You better fucking hope that you do.” Tucking his hands behind his back, Jamal left the office.
“God, I hate him,” Nicole muttered. She crossed her arms over her chest. “Why do you let him do this to you? To us?”
“First, don’t talk about him like that. Second, he’s Jamal Pitman, and you do not fuck with a Pitman, especially him. Third, you made a goddamn promise. It’s not my fault you’re being expected to live up to it,” Wayne said.
“You’re much weaker than you should be.”
“Nicole,” Wayne ground out, his voice deeper and rougher than usual. It was his killer voice, the one she had only heard a few times. He’d used it years ago when he found out she was planning on killing the people that attended his Serial Killers Anonymous meetings, the people working to fight the darkness inside of them. Even today, she found the voice absolutely terrifying.
Wayne nodded. “Just… just respect Jamal, do your job, and come back home. Please,” he said quietly.
“Okay.” Nicole crossed the room, leaning down to hug her husband. “I love you.”
“I love you, too, Nickie,” Wayne said softly, burying his fingers in her dark hair. “Come back in one piece, okay?”
“I’ll do my best.” She kissed him and straightened herself back out. “Don’t worry too much, okay?” Wayne offered a timid smile. “I’ll… I’ll do my best,” he echoed.
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