When Chase had entered Bash Industries just less than an hour earlier he had been a bundle of nerves and anticipation, but as he strolled out he felt relaxed. It turned out that the infamous Sebastian wasn’t as impressive in person as everyone made him out to be, and Chase had noticed two things in Sebastian’s office that had put him in a considerably better mood. In the waiting area, Chase had spotted a stunningly beautiful redhead peering at him through eyeglasses that she clearly did not wear on an everyday basis, but that didn’t matter because it worked for her. Secondly, as he had been perusing through Sebastian’s office, Chase had noticed a small notch in the corner of one of the otherwise smoothly sanded and polished bookshelves, a tiny imperfection that anyone else would have written off, but was significant to Chase. He had seen something like that notch in a different investigation, the murder of a wealthy businessman named Arnold Jones. Jones had been making deals with some dangerous people, people who had finally come to collect, but when they couldn’t find their product or their money, they put three bullets in the back of Arnold’s head. Men with guns so rarely used their heads, it was easier to solve something with a bullet, but at the end of the day, they were still left empty-handed. If only the thugs that Arnold Jones had gotten himself mixed up with were a little bit more observant, they may have noticed a small notch in the bookshelf behind Arnold’s desk, which once pressed revealed a secret compartment that was filled from the top to bottom with enough drugs and cash to make even the most trigger happy hitman forget the gun in his hand. Chase smiled as he rode down to the lobby in an elevator. Sebastian had a secret room behind his bookshelf, which meant that he was certainly hiding something and now Chase had to get to the assessor’s office and get his hands on a copy of the Hawthorne Heights floor plans so he could prove it.
It was going to be so sweet to knock that smug look off of Sebastian’s face for good. Chase had already gotten a huge amount of satisfaction during their conversation in Sebastian’s office, which should have given the CEO home court advantage, but as soon as Chase had spoken to the man for just a few minutes he knew exactly what kind of person he was dealing with. He interacted with rich assholes like Sebastian all the time, too often if he was being honest, but Chase had almost expected this rich asshole to be different. You couldn’t turn on the television or open a newspaper without seeing Sebastian’s face or name everywhere, on the lips of the most influential people of Corver City, in the conversations of the hugely important power players who were responsible for creating policy and culture in the city. Chase had found Sebastian to be quite unremarkable and surprisingly transparent. He hadn’t meant to be transparent, he attempted to put on a good poker face and keep his hand hidden, but Chase’s visit had surprised Sebastian, and so Chase had gone into the situation with the upper hand and he never lost that advantage.
Even though things were technically falling into place, there was a problem. If Chase knew anything about guys like that, Sebastian was already on the phone with the head of the Corver City Police Department, Chief Damien Dart, and Chase tried at all costs to never be melodramatic, but Dart was his archnemesis. Chief Dart was one of those ancient artifacts of the CCPD who were accustomed to the way things ran, and who benefited from the immense corruption that plagued the city. Dart had been a young buck himself when the CCPD’s motto, to protect and serve, had been adjusted to protect the rich and serve the powerful. It wasn’t an accident that all the high-level figures in law enforcement and politics were now wealthy themselves, and that included Damien Dart who may have been a regular guy once upon a time, a guy who would share a beer with you at the end of his shift, but now he sipped whiskey that cost more than one thousand dollars a bottle in the luxurious privacy of his expansive country home. Chase was expecting to get the call at any moment, the call that would summon him back to headquarters where at best he would be told to back off, again, and at worst he would be put on desk duty again, not even allowed to investigate the most basic of crimes, like teenagers shoplifting. Anything he did going forward, in regards to Sebastian and Bash Industries, would have to be completely off the books, and most likely done on his own personal time, which wasn’t a big deal because Chase didn’t place much value in downtime. They say the devil never sleeps, so that meant that Chase didn’t get much rest either, because he already felt one hundred steps behind all the evil forces at work out there in the city, making things worse for average people every single day. He wasn’t bothered by the fact that he was going to be reprimanded for sure, he wasn’t bothered by the realization that pursuing Sebastian would mean a lot of late nights and empty coffee cups, but he was frustrated that every good thing he tried to do felt like an uphill battle, and there was no one on his team.
Chase headed down the street to where he had parked his car, jotting down a quick to-do list in his head. He would need to get to the assessor’s office and grab those blueprints before his mission was exposed, then he would go in and take his licks from Damien Dart, but when he clocked out that night he would be studying those floor plans like they held the answers to the universe. But before he could do anything, Chase had to first deal with the person who had been following him since he had left Sebastian’s office.