Happy Face Killer – Chapter Twenty

A/N: Belated Tuesday update**

NOT EDITED

Chapter Twenty

Wednesday: January 9, 2030
3:15 AM; MAGNOLIA, THE HAPPY FACE KILLER’S FARMHOUSE, BASEMENT

Fiona watched the man’s eyes snap open. He groaned, the sound muffled by the gag she’d shoved in his mouth. “Hi, Buddy.”

He turned his head, his eyes meeting hers. “Mm?”

“My real name’s Fiona,” she said. “And today, I’m gonna kill you.”

“Mm!”

“You’re tied down. You’re not going anywhere. I’m going to kill you, and then we’re gonna dump your body in Clinstone.” Fiona pushed herself away from the wall. “I tied your hands up. I didn’t want you scratching me. My DNA isn’t in the system, but my mom’s is. My dad’s DNA is, too. They don’t have her name, but he’s dead, so they’d have his. Wouldn’t be all that hard to find me afterward.” She rolled her hands over each other, an action even she usually associated with, ‘Move it along.’ “You get it, don’t you?”

“Mm.”

Rolling her eyes, she tugged down on the gag, quickly pulling her hand away from his mouth. “What?”

“What the hell did I do to you?”

“Nothing. You just got drunk with the wrong gal,” Fiona said.

“Everyone saw you. You were the only woman there.”

“I’m not too worried about it.”

“Bar full of single guys, young guys, or divorced. They were all fucking gawking at you. They’re all used to seeing Breanna behind the counter, but none of ‘em are used to you. They committed every detail of you to memory,” Brandan said.

Fiona rested her hand on his chest, a frown on her face. It wasn’t like it had been in Clinstone. There had been no cowboy hat to change the appearance of her forehead or hide her hair. A loose flannel hadn’t helped change her appearance. Cowboy boots hadn’t changed her height any. She had worn heels, sure, but she had worn a tight shirt and tight pants to up the sexual appeal and grab her victim’s attention.

That had made a mistake, especially in a bar full of primarily straight men.

“Everyone at that bar is gonna remember you. I show up dead, and you have twenty guys ready to describe everything about you in extreme detail. That really what you want?” he asked. “Drunk or not, those guys aren’t gonna forget about you. They’re single, middle-aged, and horny, and they aren’t forgetting anything any time soon.”

He watched her for a moment. “Even if I don’t turn up dead, even if I just go missing, they’ll still remember you. They’ll remember us leaving the bar together. Then you got twenty guys and a bartender reporting me missing, and every single one offers the same damn description of you.”

“White men can’t describe me. You all think black women look the same.”

“You trying to convince me or you?” Brandan asked. “Because we aren’t all racist, and three of my black friends were there. You think white men can’t tell you apart? How about black men, hmm?”

Fiona smacked a hand against his chest, letting out a low growl as she shoved herself away from him. Brandan dropped his head back to the table, letting out a breath. After a moment, he forced himself to lift his head and focus his eyes on the woman again.

“I can’t let you go. I can’t keep you. I can’t kill you.”

“Well, looks like we’re in quite the predicament,” Brandan said.

“Got any family, Brandan?”

“Nope.”

“You talked about your mom at the bar.”

“She’s been dead going on three years now,” he said.

“Dad?”

“Died when I was, like, seven.”

“Dammit,” she whispered. “Siblings?”

“Sorry, Fiona. I’m an only child.”

“I can kill your friends if you… if you tell the cops about me or what I look like,” Fiona said.

“The difference here is that my friends know what you look like, but you don’t know what they look like.”

“I know what the bartender looks like,” Fiona said.

“But do you?”

Fiona closed and tried to remember what the bartender looked like, but she couldn’t. She was just a woman with a tight shirt and big breasts.

“Even if you did remember her, I’d keep her safe. End of story,” Brandan said.

“What if I slept with your lonely ass? Would it keep your mouth shut?” Fiona asked.

Brandan laughed. “Oh, honey.” The laugh was louder the second time. “I’m gay.”

“You…” Fiona laughed, pointing at him. “You’re hilarious. You approached me.”

“You looked lonely. No one deserves to be alone. We don’t go to bars to be lonely. We go to bars to be lonely together,” he said.

“You had no intention of sleeping with me?”

“Nope.”

“Positive?”

“I’m pretty sure of my love of dick, thanks, though. I just wanted to make sure you weren’t lonely. A woman buying me a drink when I was lonely is the reason I’m still alive today. Gotta pay that shit forward,” Brandan said.

“I’ll set you up with a guy.”

“If I wanted to get laid, I wouldn’t have been in Cliffburn at a primarily straight sports bar, sweetheart.”

“Jesus. I need time to think,” she proclaimed. Brandan watched her head up the stairs before dropping his head to the table again. He hoped he had played his cards right. He hadn’t gotten panicked, hadn’t yelled at her. He hadn’t begged for his life, hadn’t sworn he’d do anything to get out of this place. He hadn’t wanted to put his friends’ lives at risk for the benefit of his own.

He just hoped it had been the right call.

4:00 AM; CLINSTONE, THE AUSTEN-TAYLOR HOUSEHOLD, FAMILY ROOM

“Jens,” Bo whispered. “Your elbow’s in my bladder.”

Jensen groaned, dropping his arm over the side of the couch. “Where are we?”

“Family room.”

“The hell’d that happen?”

“I think we fell asleep during the movie.”

Jensen let out another exaggerated groan. “Fuck, we’re old, Eli.”

Bo snorted, combing his fingers through Jensen’s dark hair. “You’re only thirty-three, love. Hardly an old man.”

“Mm… maybe.” Jensen laid a hand on Bo’s chest, pushing himself up to his knees. “Marrying you has turned me into an old man.”

Bo chuckled, rolling his eyes. “I’m deeply sorry about that.”

Jensen locked his hands above his head, closing his eyes as he stretched out his back. “You wanna go back to bed?”

“Probably a wise idea. I need to be up in two hours anyway.”

“Sleep in,” Jensen said as he climbed off the couch.

“I wish it was that easy for me, Jens. Truly, I do.” Bo grabbed Jensen’s hand and stood up. He swiped his phone from the end table and followed the younger man out of the room.

“I’ll turn off your alarm.”

“That rarely does anything. You unfortunately can’t shut off my internal clock.” Bo lifted their intertwined hands and pressed a kiss to the back of Jensen’s. “I don’t mind. We’ll just make sure to not fall asleep on the couch tonight.”

Jensen laughed quietly. “Done deal, babe. We’ll do our best.” He pushed open the door to their bedroom and walked inside.

“If you have to pee, do it now, or you’ll be pissed when you have to get up in ten minutes,” Bo said as Jensen headed for the bed.

“Mm. Good call.” Jensen walked to the bathroom and flipped on the light. Bo rolled his eyes, shaking his head. He sat down on his side of the bed and set his phone on the nightstand. He unclasped his watch, set it on top of his phone. He traced a finger over the scars on his wrist, closing his eyes. He needed the tattoo redone to finally cover up the scar he’d left when he had cut into the bird meant to represent his place in his family.

Bo cleared his throat, forcing his eyes open as he unbuttoned his shirt. He could worry about the tattoo and the scars later. He had a family, a police station, a vigilante, a homicide, a mobster, and a cartel to worry about first.


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