Here is the long awaited chapter! Sorry I made you guys wait but I really had writer's block for this story. Hope you like the chapter. Don't worry if you don't remember some stuff. I do a small recap at the end of this chapter.
"I just think it sucks that you have to go out of town for the weekend." Booth replied as he pushed open the door to his office.
Hanging his coat on the wall, he walked over to his desk and sat down.
"It's only for two days, Booth. It's not the end of the world." He heard his girlfriend say on her side of the line. "You can call me any time you want, if you like."
"You owe me, Temperance Brennan."
He almost thought he could hear her smile through the phone.
"Monday, I'm taking the day off."
Booth raised his eyebrows.
"You? Taking a day off?"
"Yeah. What's wrong with that?"
"Nothing's wrong with that."
"Then why do you sound surprised?"
"Maybe because you haven't taken a single vacation in the past two years."
"I took a vacation." Temperance replied, offended. "I went to Guatemala last summer."
"Excavating remains from an old well doesn't count as a vacation, Bones."
"Anyway, if you don't want me to take the day off, I won't."
"I never said that."
"Then I'll see you Sunday night?"
"Yes. Sunday night."
After wishing her a safe trip, Booth hung up.
He sighed as he thought about the extra alone-time he would be getting over the weekend. Maybe he could get Rebecca to let him see his son for a couple of hours. He could take him out for lunch and then to the park. Checking his watch, he quickly realized it was too early to bother his ex-girlfriend at work. Sighing once more, he leaned back against his chair and closed his eyes.
A loud knock at his door startled him back to reality. The clock on his wall showed nine.
"Shit." Booth muttered, under his breath.
Rubbing his face with both hands, he just hoped his boss hadn't walked in on him sleeping for the last hour and a half. He couldn't quite understand why he was so tired lately. There was just something about this case that was draining him. Maybe it was for the lack of suspects or the numerous bodies showing up all over the city and the countryside.
Another knock reminded him of why he was awakened.
"Come in." He replied, loudly.
He watched as the door slowly opened to let a young man in. Booth frowned as the man, who looked no more than 25 years old to him with his short blond hair and small stature, entered his office.
"Hi." Booth replied, unsure.
"I'm Matt Larry, Ian's friend."
Booth's heart skipped a beat at the mention of Ian's name. He had spoken with the boy's friends already and he had pretty sure he had gotten them all. Yet, here was one man he had never met before, standing in his office.
Booth motioned to the newcomer to sit down. The man did so.
"I heard about Ian a couple of days ago and I came as quickly as I could."
"I already spoke to Ian's friends. None of them mentioned you."
"I was Ian's roommate for two years before he moved out on his own. We stayed in touch after he left, mostly when things got rough for him. He confided in me, told me things he would never tell his other friends. We were almost like brothers."
Booth thought he heard the young man's voice quiver. He smiled sympathetically at him.
"What kind of things did Ian tell you?"
"Lots of things." Matt replied, a small smile appearing on his face as if remembering his conversations with his friend made him happier about the whole thing. "We'd spend a lot of time talking. Everyone thought we were a gay couple, you know how people can be something. I didn't mind but I think Ian did most of the time."
"We mostly talked about school and our courses but on a few occasions Ian would talk about his feelings. I remember the night he came home, drunk, because his girlfriend had left him. I was scared for his life, he had drunk so much that night. It all turned out for the best though."
"When was the last time you spoke to Ian?"
Matt paused and frowned as he tried to remember.
"I think it was maybe four weeks ago. Ian called me because he thought..."
Matt stopped in mid-sentence, making Booth frown.
"Because he thought what?"
Matt chewed on his bottom lip for a few seconds, as if considering whether or not he should go on.
"One thing you have to know about Ian is that everybody liked him. He had no enemies, only friends. He liked everybody. But he was also very impulsive. Last summer, he went to visit his parents up north."
"I know. I already spoke to his parents."
"He met a girl over there. Did they tell you that?"
Booth shook his head.
"Jennifer Kellerman. A sweet girl, apparently. She was nineteen years old, very pretty. Ian sent me a picture of her over the summer. He said he thought she was the one. They came back together in Washington, they took the same train. She didn't have anywhere to stay, she moved in with him. But after a couple of days, she simply disappeared. Ian tried to call her cell but he always got her voice mail and after a while the operator told him the person was unavailable. He got worried."
"His parents told my partner and I that Ian had gone out the night he came back from Vermont."
"He did. I was supposed to meet up with him but there was a change of plans at the last minute."
"All of his friends say that is the last time they ever saw him."
"I believe it's possible. I spoke to him the morning after. I called him up to apologize for not going out with him the night before. He told me that he couldn't talk, that he knew where Jennifer was and that he was going to get her."
"What do you mean he knew where Jennifer was?"
"He didn't tell me anything else. He sounded in a hurry. He said he didn't have time to talk and that he would call me back that night. He never did but I figured it was because he had found his girlfriend and wanted to spend time alone with her."
"Didn't you find it weird that Ian never called you back?"
Matt shook his head.
"We could go weeks sometimes between conversations. I didn't worry. I figured that he was simply busy with school and his new girlfriend. If only I had known..."
"And Ian never mentioned where he was going?"
Something flashed in the young man's eyes that told Booth there was still something the man hadn't told him.
"There's something else, isn't there?"
"After Ian came back from Vermont, we met up somewhere to catch up. He seemed edgy and his eyes kept darting from left to right. Out of nowhere he grabbed my arm and told me to look five tables away from where we were sitting in the food court at the mall. I turned around to see a man with dark brown hair. Ian told me he had seen that man in the train on the way back from Vermont and that he simply kept showing up wherever he went."
"Did Ian know his name?"
"No. He just told me that the man had taken the same train as him, that he had been asleep the whole way down and hadn't spoken to anybody for the whole ride."
"Do you have any reasons to believe that the man could have murdered your friend?"
"Not really. Until this morning, that thought hadn't even crossed my mind. I don't remember what he looked like. All I remember is that he was sitting at the table, reading his newspaper and glancing around every now and then as if he was waiting for someone."
"Jennifer Kellerman. You said that she was Ian's girlfriend?"
"And she disappeared?"
"Yes." Matt replied, a little harsher than he had intended to. "Look, it's all I can tell you. I don't know anything else other than what Ian told me."
Booth smiled politely at him.
"Thank you. I really appreciate it."
Both men got to their feet. Booth walked over to the other side of his desk and opened the door. Shaking hands with the young man, he waited until the student had stepped inside the elevator at the other end of the room before closing the door.
Sitting back down at his desk, Booth rummaged through his folders until he found the Amtrak listing. He turned to the page where he had first found Ian Shelley's name.
Ronaldo Mesa, seat B1. Emilia Mesa, seat B2. Hannah Kennan, seat B3. Ian Shelley, seat B4.
Loughlin had taken the Mesa case as well. A first examination had told them the couple had been shot from a distance, each of them hit with only one bullet. The shot had been precise and Booth's guts and life experience had immediately told him the rest: the Mesas had been killed by a sniper.
Hannah Kennan had been found in a dumpster, hit behind the head by a blunt object before being strangled to death. No other signs of struggle or injuries had been found on her body.
Ian Shelley, his remains found in a ditch just outside of Washington. With Matt's side of the story, Booth now had a reason as to what Ian was doing out so far from the city. He tried to picture the scenery. There had been a field but no buildings in the area. Was it possible that Ian had never gotten to where his girlfriend supposedly was?
Jennifer Kellerman, seat B5. Damian Wright, seat B6. Paul Rutherford, seat B8. Vince Baker, seat B10. Theresa Bingham, seat B11. William Bingham, seat B12.
Jennifer Kellerman, MIA.
Damian Wright, the man that had given him a fake name. Was he the one doing all these killings? Was he going to be the next victim?
Paul Rutherford. He had nothing on him. Booth knew he ought to start looking for the man, maybe even put him in a security house for the time being, until he caught at least whoever was committing the murders. The thought that maybe Rutherford could be a suspect suddenly struck him. So much for the protection.
Vince Baker, the man who was supposedly behind all this madness, if he believe Damian Wright of course. But after talking to the man's parents, Booth wasn't inclined to believe that Baker could be a serial killer. His parents and Damian's mother had spoken so highly of him that Booth had a hard time conceiving that he was killing for the pure pleasure of it.
The Binghams, both of them dead. One staged suicide, the other from strangulation.
The other names, in the C seats, meant nothing to him. Putting the papers back into the folder, Booth sighed. For a split second, he allowed himself to miss his girlfriend. Working on cases without her seemed so dull. Then, taking a deep breath, he turned to his computer.
First order of business: finding Paul Rutherford.