11:30 AM; CLINSTONE, LITTLE DELIGHTS DINER, PARKING LOT
“Bo?” Katie asked as he climbed into the driver’s side of his car.
“What’s up, sweetheart?” Bo asked, shutting the door before turning to look at her.
“What happens to the twins?” she questioned.
Bo frowned, pulling his seat belt across his body. “What do you mean?”
“Where do they go?”
“Umm, I think that depends, Katie,” he said quietly. He cleared his throat as he turned the key in the ignition. He reached out and turned down the radio. “Eve’s in surgery now and won’t get out for at least three hours. And after that, I don’t know.”
“I don’t think Mom and Dad want them.” Katie dropped her hands to her lap. “How can you create something and not want it?”
“Your parents went through a very traumatic event, Katie.” He shifted into reverse and backed out of his parking space. “You have to remember how much your father loves Alice. You all could’ve lost her, and his grief tells him to take it out on himself and the twins. It’s human nature, Katie.” He shifted into drive and drove out of the parking lot. “It’s psychological and it’s hard to understand for most people. You just have to give them time to come around.”
“What if they don’t?”
“Then… then I’ll adopt the kids and you can come over and see them whenever the hell you want to,” Bo said.
“You don’t have room for two more kids.”
“I made room for you three, didn’t I? They’re family, too, Kate. If I have to make room, I will. It depends on how your parents feel after the twins get out of the NICU,” Bo said.
“What’s that?” Charlotte asked from the backseat.
“Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It’s where sick babies go to get better,” Bo explained. “It’s where your brother and sister are.”
“They’re gonna get all better?” Charlotte questioned.
“Yeah, buddy. They’ll be just fine,” Bo promised. “Do you want me to take you to school for the rest of the day? Or do you want to take a full sick day?”
“I think I just wanna go back to your house,” Katie said.
Bo chuckled quietly. “I don’t blame you,” he said softly, flipping on his turn signal. “It’s supposed to snow tonight, not that that’s a surprise for this wretched state.”
Katie snorted. “I can’t believe you still hate Minnesota.”
“Because I have to look like a hipster if I want to be warm,” Bo said.
Katie rolled her eyes. “Oh, come on, Uncle Bo. The beanie works for you. It’s a cute look.”
Bo smiled faintly. “Thanks, kiddo.” He cleared his throat, turning onto his road. “So, Uncle Jensen’s still at the police station, and Amber and Kayla are in school until after three. So you guys can watch a movie or play a game until they’re all home,” he said. He pressed the button to open the garage door as he turned into the driveway. Pulling into the garage, the motion sensor lights kicked on. Bo shut off the car, pulling the key from the ignition. “Tom might be asleep inside, so be quiet until we know for sure, okay?” he asked.
“Sure thing, Bo,” Katie said softly. She climbed out of the car, shutting the door before pulling open the back door and helping Charlotte out of the car.
With a sigh, Bo got out of the car and lifted a sleeping Elijah out of the backseat. He had fallen asleep back in the diner while he waited patiently for Katie and Charlotte to finish eating. Bo, feeling guilty about the very idea of waking the child up, had carried him out to the car as quietly as possible. “Kate?”
“I’m going out to grab the mail. Let Chloe and Hati outside for me?” Bo asked.
Katie nodded. “Will do.” Bo watched her go inside before he walked out of the garage. At the mailbox, he tightened his right arm around Elijah and pulled open the mailbox door with his left hand. He grabbed the mail from inside, as well as the tiny cardboard box at the back. He’d have to check the camera he’d installed on the porch. If he was lucky, it had caught a glimpse of his stalker.
Of course, Bo didn’t have a winning streak for good luck.
He closed the mailbox and headed back for the garage. Using the back of his wrist, he pressed the button on the wall to close the garage door. He walked into the house and kicked off his shoes. He set the mail on the bench in the mud room before caring Elijah into the master bedroom. He pulled back the covers and laid the boy down on the mattress. Elijah snuggled into the pillows, an action that brought a soft smile to Bo’s face.
In an odd little way, Elijah was truly the only reason Bo wanted a son of his own. Bo pulled the covers back over the boy. He walked out of the bedroom, shutting the door behind him. In the mud room, Bo sat down on the bench and picked up the small box. He frowned as he stared down at it.
“What the hell have you done this time?” Bo whispered. He opened the box, raising an eyebrow. A small dragon sat in the box, a ball of fire sculpted in its mouth. Bo pulled it from the box. A small lake had been sculpted at the bottom, insinuating that the dragon was rising out of its water home. “Gaasyendietha,” Bo said quietly. He set the dragon aside, pulling out the note at the bottom of the box.
It’s good to see Alice awake, isn’t it? I was glad to see you chose NOT to tell Jake about me. The less people you tell, the less people I’ll kill.
Or, the less of your FAMILY I’ll kill. I’ll stick to ending the lives of strangers instead.
Oh, and good try with the camera you put up. I wore gloves and a hat, bowed my head a little more than usual. I even waved at it for you. But you won’t see me or my face. To you, I’m nothing but an entity.
And I’ll save you the trouble of measuring me in that video. I’m 5’11. You’re welcome.
P.S. there’s no blood in this one. I thought you’d like to save it. You know, as a reminder that I am ALWAYS watching.
6:01 PM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, MASTER BATHROOM
Bo closed his eyes as Jensen stepped into the shower and wrapped his arms around the blonde’s waist. “Did you see Alice?” Jensen questioned, pressing a kiss to Bo’s shoulder.
“Briefly,” Bo said quietly. “He left a note today,” he said.
Jensen cleared his throat, his brow furrowing. “What’d it say?”
“I… I think he was at the hospital today. He knew I didn’t tell Jake about him, and he could only know that if he was there.” Gently, Bo pushed Jensen’s arms away from him, turning to face the taller man instead. “He was watching us today, and I… and I had no idea. He was right there, and I had no fucking idea,” he whispered.
“That’s not your fault, Bo,” Jensen said softly. “Did you catch him on the camera?”
Bo shook his head. “He knew it was there. He covered himself up too well to find out… well, anything. He’s five-foot-eleven, though. That’s all I know.”
“That’s better than nothing,” Jensen said. The blonde nodded. “Look, we’ll figure this out, Eli. We’ll catch this guy. I promise,” he said, laying a hand on Bo’s cheek. He leaned down and kissed Bo softly. “After supper, we’ll go over the case file and crime scene photos. I brought those home so you could see them, too.”
Jensen nodded, lightly patting Bo’s cheek. He dropped his hand back to his side as he stepped past Bo, moving into the warm stream of water. “What? Don’t look at me like that. It’s cold back there.” Bo snorted, rolling his eyes. Jensen smiled faintly, his gaze quickly raking over Bo’s figure. “How much weight did you lose while I was gone?”
“I don’t know. Just a couple pounds, I think,” Bo said. “Not enough that it was, like, unhealthy or anything.”
“No, but enough that you’re probably underweight,” Jensen said. The blonde lifted his shoulders. “I’m gonna make sure to fatten you up,” the taller man said.
“Sure. I’ll start the night off by making fudge tonight,” Bo said.
“Yes. Yes, do that,” Jensen agreed. Bo stepped forward, and hugged Jensen, turning his head to the side so that his cheek rested against the younger man’s chest. “What’s this for?”
“You’re right. It was cold back there,” Bo said. Jensen chuckled, bowing his head enough to press a kiss to Bo’s damp hair. “Jensen?” Bo asked, his voice quiet.
“Do you…?” Bo cleared his throat. “After Alice is out of the hospital and after this case is done and after everything with the newborns settles… would you be up for another kid? I–it doesn’t have to be anytime soon, but being around Elijah makes me want to raise a little boy.”
“Like… d–do we wait until we stumble upon another damaged child like ours?” Jensen asked.
“Well, I was thinking surrogacy,” Bo said quietly. “B–because we could be biologically related to the kid that way,” he added.
Jensen’s arms tightened around Bo. “Yes. I don’t know when, but after… after everything settles? Yes.”
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