Chase drove away from Brandis Lane as if he were running away from something, even though if you asked him, he was running towards something. Chase felt that he now had a legitimate reason to pay the infamous and mysterious Sebastian a visit, a reason that he could tell his superiors was related to the case they had given him. He had been assigned to investigate young Liam Landon for shoplifting, and now he had to confirm Liam’s alibi, which led him directly to the front door of Bash Industries. Chase was giddy with the excitement of it, a feeling bubbling in his stomach as if he was a little boy, tip-toeing out of bed on Christmas morning, trying to get a peek at the treasures under the tree before everyone else woke up.
Christmas mornings hadn’t really been like that for Chase, and if he was being honest with himself he was running away from something, his foot pressed onto the gas pedal of his car and his knuckles white on the steering wheel. He was running away from the memories of his childhood on Brandis Lane, he was running away from the things he tried to forget in a place that most of the world had already forgotten. Chase and his parents had always struggled for money, but for the first few years of his life, his mother and father made sure that their son would never know it. Unlike many others in Corver City, Chase’s father Blake had a steady job as a researcher for a major pharmaceutical company, and he was good at it, although you wouldn’t know from the amount he was paid. Chase remembered waiting at the living room window for his father to come home from work every evening. Every night Blake would pull into the driveway, and get out of the car still wearing his white lab coat and ID badge. From his vantage point at the window, Chase could see the lines of worry etched into his father’s face, and as Blake retrieved his briefcase from the backseat and began making his way to the front door, Chase could also see the exhaustion that seemed to seep from his father’s pores. But by the time Blake reached the front door, the worry and exhaustion were gone, hidden by a big smile and outstretched arms. Blake would always give his wife Rebecca a peck on the cheek before turning to Chase and sweeping him into a hug. But, those were the good times.
One night when Chase was about eleven years old, a knock on the door brought the good times to an end. He and his parents were just about to sit down to dinner, and they had no idea who was at the door. The residents of Brandis Lane didn’t pay each other social visits or come over to borrow a cup of sugar, everyone was so distracted by their own hardships that they didn’t have the time or energy for friendships. A friend was one more person you had to worry about, one more person you had to care for. Blake went to answer the door, and for once he could not conceal his concern as he saw what waited for him on the other side. Chase was so young, and he had blocked a lot of the details out, but he remembered his mother shouting and then crying. He remembered his father waving his hands in the air, grabbing folders out of his briefcase, and pointing at tables and graphs on various papers, but none of this seemed to deter the seven stone-faced men who had come to their little rundown house on Brandis Lane for one reason. Blake was led from the house in handcuffs, accused of doctoring reports which made his superiors believe a certain pharmaceutical drug was safe for people to use for a vast majority of illnesses and concerns and minimizing the side effects, some of which were fatal. He was charged, convicted, and thrown into prison, and no one ever asked themselves what he stood to gain by doing this. If his motive had been financial, where was the money? It certainly wasn’t in his bank account. Blake drove a car that was twenty years old, he lived in a house that was falling apart. No one seemed to ask the question of how a lowly researcher at a huge company was able to get this faulty and altered research past several higher-up individuals. Blake was a good fall guy, a lone ranger, someone the public could look at and feel that justice had been done, while still continuing to trust in their pills and potions being sold by DarkWinds. Chase knew the truth, in fact, he had gone into law enforcement specifically so he could find the truth. The real culprit was Darren Shepperd, the CEO of DarkWinds, who had been Blake’s boss for over a decade, and who promptly threw him to the wolves to save his own skin. Upon reflection, it made sense why Chase had such a distaste for the rich and powerful, who lived comfortably in the gray areas of the law while others weren’t even given a chance. And now he was on his way to visit one of these individuals, and if there was even a chance that Sebastian was up to something nefarious, Chase was going to uncover it, just as he had uncovered the truth about DarkWinds. Sadly, he had been several years too late. Chase never saw his father again after Blake was yanked away in cuffs, he wasn’t allowed to go to the trial because it was closed to the public, and within two weeks of being behind bars, Chase’s father was dead. They said he had been despondent, he had been crushed under the weight of the guilt of what he had done, and so he ended it all. The thought that they had framed his father in life and in death brought Chase’s blood to a rolling boil. Darren Shepperd might have gotten away with his dirty deeds done in the dark, but Chase would make sure that no one else did, as long as he could help it. And he was going to start with the biggest fish of them all. He pressed his foot down on the gas pedal harder, and strengthened his grip on the steering wheel. The sooner he got to Bash Industries, the better.