Warning: sexual situations
God, it had been a whirlwind of a month. Every day I'd woken up with August in my arms, I had to honestly pinch myself. It felt like I was dreaming. I'd moved in some of my things, including my bed, to give this elaborate musician's penthouse a bit of my artistic flair. August didn't mind. It was his mother who had decorated the place.
We were living just like I had always dreamed we would. After we'd both get off work, we'd meet up, sometimes going to the grocery store to pick up that night's meal. I still had to wear my disguise--that wig and sunglasses--the icon I'd created. To the world, August was living with Caleb Vatore, owner of a chain of upscale salons. Even his parents thought this (although, we'd avoided them meeting me. The inevitable was going to happen, but with a killer on the loose, whether in Brindleton Bay or not, we couldn't take any chances.)
I'd chosen that name after the main character of a book series I'd read as a kid: CRYPT CATCHERS. In it, Caleb Vatore was a vampire detective. I thought it was a fitting name. I would not rest until I'd found out who'd plunged August's family's knife into Daniel's back and had sent me that threatening note.
August was so sweet in bed. Always treating me like a treasure. Telling me he loved me over and over. It was surreal.
Sometimes as he'd stroke me, I'd just marvel at how beautiful he was to me, wondering what our future was going to look like. We were already talking about it. August did not want to ever lose me again. But I worried. Worried about that nut job who was out there, waiting. If they ever found out...
Shortly after I'd moved in, I'd unearthed that note for August to analyze. It was hard to find since I'd never wanted to look at it again. It'd drug up so many painful memories.
"And you have no recollection of that night?" August asked as I'd read that horrible scrawl again.
"No," I said, shuddering inside. My blood ran cold just looking at it. "I wish I could remember. I'm sorry."
The note read:
You will leave Brindleton Bay and never come back. You will not contact August EVER or I will kill him. I will kill his family. Don't believe me? Think about your sister. Think about Daniel. I killed them too.
The last sentence sent chills up my back. That psychopath killed my sister. Pushed her. She never committed suicide like we'd once thought.
"You realize this changes everything. The murderer is someone who attended Wilder's party," August explained. He was going into detective mode.
I nodded. "I've thought about that. But we didn't know everyone there. Some of Wilder's friends weren't ours. It could have been anyone."
"I could get the list from Wilder. I'll open the investigation back up. We need to think about motive, too. This person had to have been close to us. Someone who had a real hatred. But who could that be? Do you have any enemies?"
"I've gone over and over who that could be, but I get nothing. One of our friends couldn't have done something like this. I just bet it was some random stalker. Maybe someone from high school with a weird crush who's psychotic?" I shrugged. "Listen, August, I don't like you getting involved. What if that murderer finds out you're investigating this? They'd kill you. I know they would."
"Baby, don't worry. I'm with the FBI now. We know how to investigate covertly. Trust me." He bent his head, giving me a soft kiss for reassurance.
But it didn't make me feel better. Ripples of unease seemed to course through me. I felt as if we were on an elaborate chess board and the murderer had many ways to check mate.
In the weeks that passed after the day I'd discovered Beau, I grew deliriously happy and so much in love. We just fit together. We always had. Back when I was just a stupid as fuck kid, I didn't see him for my soulmate. But all that had changed. I'd never felt like this about anyone. Not even Briar. The feelings I held for Beau went deep to the core. We'd grieved Briar together. We'd suffered the gut wrenching separation and now that we're back together, nothing, not even a fucking loser from hell, was going to keep us apart. I wouldn't allow it.
I hated that out in public Beau had to be someone he's not. He'd created this character that was so unlike him, it made me laugh. Caleb Vatore was a flamboyant, artsy gay guy, who always wore flashy clothes and constantly obsessed over the colors of his nails. My Beau was nothing like that. The only thing he had in common with Caleb was his sexual orientation. But if it'd kept us safe, I was all for it.
I was so proud of him, too. When he'd arrived in San Myshuno with as little as a few thousand dollars in his account and no support, he'd rented a shady apartment on the dangerous side of town, worked as a bartender, all while he attended beauty school. Then he'd landed a job with an eccentric salon owner of the first Mane Event. This man, Bart Rossi, became Beau's mentor and gave him the salon after the man grew tired of it and moved overseas. Beau wasted no time in taking out loans and revitalizing the direction of the place. Beau's salon went viral on SimTube when none other than Rune Iversen discovered it and made a video of its inside. The rest is history.
I'd asked Beau if he'd ever dated Rune. He said he hadn't. Back then, Rune had a serious boyfriend--probably the one he'd broken up with when Wilder had fixed me up with him. We both never mentioned Jake as I knew he'd dated him. The only thing that matterd to me was us. And our future. I'd decided after only a few short weeks of living together that I wanted to marry him. I couldn't wait to ask him. But it would be special and a surprise.
I'd thought about it after we'd celebrated Beau's birthday. Just spending romantic moments at home filled me with joy. I wanted this forever.
My Beau was the sexiest person I'd ever been with and the more time I spent with him, the deeper my feelings grew.
I was determined to find that asshole who had this hold on us. That forced Beau to hide behind an alter ego. I'd do this for us so we could get married, have kids, and never look back to the past that haunted us.
I'd decided it was time to tell the boss about the new information uncovered in the Fortner murder. I was hoping he'd give me the go ahead since I was at a dead stall with the Bambino case. My last meeting with Wilder didn't uncover anything. He didn't seem connected with his girlfriend's brothers at all. He rarely saw them as the sister didn't have much to do with her brothers. Seemed like they had a falling out and only visited on rare occasions. To make their father happy.
I did call him to have drinks at a new pub in town, though. But seriously didn't think it would amount to much. I was doomed to surveillance. I hated stake outs.
As I'd entered Agent Dickens' office, he shook my hand and asked, "What's the special occassion, Agent Day? Got some good news for me on the Bambino case, I hope."
God, he had a one tracked mind. But it was his job. "Um, well, I do have some news, but it's about a different case."
He gave me a look. The look. It was famous around here for making even the best agents in our division crumble at the sight. "What do you mean, 'different case'. You aren't on any other cases."
"Yeah, well, it's what I came to ask you about."
He just stared a hole into my back as I stumbled to a chair. My knees were shaking.
Trying to squash down my nervousness, I flipped up my hands and said, "I've got new evidence for the Daniel Fortner murder. I think that cold case just got hot, so, I figured I could work on that on the side until more clues pop up with the Bambinos." How could he argue with that logic?
But he shot me with an angry glare. "That case is old news, Agent Day. No one cares about some bastard thug of a tiny town. What the FBI needs to get off the streets is one of the biggest mob influences of our time. By taking the Bambinos out, their whole network will crumble, saving countless innocent lives. You have the Italian pedigree. If Wilder Roberts can't grant you access then I suggest you find another way of infiltration. Get creative here. You have the resources." His voice went low and scary. "Understand?"
I stared him down trying to stifle my anger. He didn't understand, but I wasn't ready to tell him this was personal. The FBI wouldn't care about my love life and the threat we faced. They'd see it as miniscule. The killer was probably in Brindleton Bay not posing an immediate threat to us.
I sighed and finally said, "Yes, sir, I understand."
Relaxing his severe look, he lifted the side of his mouth. "Excellent. I expect a good report soon."
I stalked out of his office, feeling out of control. Somehow, I was going to work on the case anyway. He didn't have to know. I could get fired, but it was a chance I had to take. At least I'd secured that meet up with Wilder soon. I'd decided to up the pressure on him. And ask a few questions about the Fortner case. One way or another, that murdering asshole was going down.
Next chapter on Friday, March 23rd!
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