Of Karma, Kismet, and Finding the Way

by Rescuewarrior

For disclaimers, see part 1Copyright 2000, by RescueWarrior.
Other Copyright information: In this chapter I used a song called 'I've Gotta Find You' by Lone Star. It's from the Lonely Grill Album, BMG Record label, 1999. If you've not heard the song, I highly recommend it. J

Part Five

Blake and Brigitte returned from the hotel later than they had planned and both had overindulged in Long Island ice teas throughout the evening. Both were quite drunk as they walked arm in arm through the hotel lobby. While waiting at the bank of elevators Blake had secretly stolen a glance around, hoping to find the object of her desires lurking somewhere in the lobby, or maybe in an isolated elevator. The lust filled look in her green orbs were not missed by her sister, who smirked as she asked the obvious, “Thinking about tall, dark and gorgeous?”
Blake blinked, then giggled as she caught her reflection in the polished brass of the elevator doors in front of her. She must look like a lovesick puppy for her sister to have noticed it. She smiled wryly at her sister, verdant gazes locking through the mirrored images. “What makes you think that?” She asked innocently.
Brigitte smirked at her in reply and said nothing. As Blake began to shift her weight from one foot to the other, Brigitte figured she now had to pee as well. “Doin' the 'pee pee' dance sister dear?”
Blake looked offended and smacked her sister lightly on the arm. “I do not do the 'pee pee' dance. You jerk. I'm just tired of waiting for the damn elevator.” She replied indignantly.
Brigitte snorted in reply and as she opened her mouth to retort to her sister's idiocy, she noticed the sound of jazz music coming from the hotel lounge. Instantly she turned dragging her sister with her. Blake planted her feet, refusing to budge, causing Brigitte to turn around, “Will you come on? I want to check out this lounge, and have another drink Blake. Please?” Blake shook her head in reply.
“I have got to go pee, and then I've got to get a little sleep before my meeting in the morning. If you want to go, then go. You have a room key, just come up when you're done.” Blake replied drowsily. The alcohol had made her head feel fuzzy, and another drink was the last thing on her mind. The elevator car door slid open with the soft 'ding' that announced its arrival to the pair. Blake stepped inside and held the door for a moment waiting for Brigitte to make her decision.
Brigitte made her decision and quickly kissed her sister on the cheek before scampering off to the lounge and the sound of the jazz coming from inside it. “Okay, see ya later sis.” She waved as she rounded the corner.
“Traitor,” Blake said to no one in particular as she leaned heavily against the mirrored wall of the car. Watching the doors slide shut she closed her eyes waiting for the short ride to the tenth floor to be over.

Blake finally entered her room after four failed attempts to get her key card to open the door. 'Damn thing.' She muttered to herself. She leaned heavily on the door as it closed behind her. She debated on the bed or the bathroom for a millisecond before her bladder screamed in protest, effectively ending any argument that her body may have made for the bed. As she finished up in the bathroom, she brushed her teeth, and pulled on a long tee shirt and a pair of shorts to sleep in. Normally, she slept naked, but she didn't think Brig would appreciate it. She found herself giggling uncontrollably at the thought of her younger sister finding her in bed naked in the morning. She continued to giggle as she threw herself down on the bed, laying there momentarily she waited for her head to quit spinning and catch up with her now still form.
'Gods, I'm gonna hate myself in the morning,' she thought as she laid her arm over her eyes. Rolling onto her back, she had to wait again for her head to stop swimming. But it didn't. 'Oh gods,' she said out loud as the bed began to spin. She slowly scooted herself over to the edge of the bed. She lowered a short but shapely leg down, planting her foot solidly on the floor. 'There that should stop the bed from spinning.' She smirked as she waited for the spinning to cease. Suddenly, she felt her salivary glands kick into overdrive and she swallowed in protest at the sudden accumulation of saliva in her mouth. Then the vertigo hit her along with a powerful shot of nausea. “Oh shit!” she exclaimed as she shot off the bed and into the bathroom as fast as her drunken body would take her. She spent a good portion of the next hour worshipping any god that would make the punishment she was suffering stop.

While Blake was upstairs in worship, Brigitte was down in the hotel lounge having a very entertaining conversation with a detective she had met from Virginia. She had noticed the woman sitting at the bar, a half empty beer in front of her, a far away look in her eyes. The same look she'd seen on her sister earlier that very day. So she walked up to the woman and asked if she could sit next to her. When the woman turned to look at her, Brigitte had to confess if she was into women, she'd take this one to bed in a heartbeat. God, she was gorgeous, in a dangerous way. Tall, around six feet she guessed, with high cheekbones, rich olive colored skin, and the bluest eyes she'd ever seen. 'Damn Blake's gonna pissed she missed this.' She mused. She was totally taken back by the woman's voice, it was low, rich and deceptively feminine. The soft alcohol induced bur that accompanied the voice sent an involuntary shiver down Brigitte's spine. They had talked about what brought them to New York and Brigitte had discovered that the dark woman was here on business. Prying deeper she found herself enthralled in the story of the serial killer and the messages in a bottle. As romantic as the letters had sounded, Brigitte couldn't help the shiver that accompanied the thought of a killer infatuated with the writer of the letters.
Chase misinterpreted the shiver, “Are you cold?” She asked lightly as she turned to get her jacket off the chair and offer it to the younger woman.
Brigitte smiled at the offer and politely shook her head in the negative. “I was just thinking how awful it was to have to chase a serial killer that was infatuated with an unknown author. It's kind of scary. My sister had a problem with a stalker here a while back, but they caught the guy last week. I was so worried for a while.” Her voice faded off as she finished the sentence.
“I know the feeling.” Chase replied understandingly.
“You know, I think my sister is gonna be mad as hell she didn't come in here tonight. I've had a wonderful time talking to you, umm, I'm sorry I didn't get your name.” Brigitte said softly.
Chase smiled at the woman as she extended her hand. “I'm Chase.”
“Brigitte.” The younger woman said as she took the offered hand. “Glad to have met you, Chase. But I'm afraid I need to get to bed. My sister will be up early and I don't do mornings well. I do hope to see you again.”
“It would be my pleasure, Brigitte, but I'm only in town for a day or two. However long it takes to get the information I need, then it's back to Virginia to chase down this guy.” Chase explained as she finished her beer. She placed a bill on the bar to cover both her and Brigitte's drinks and stood with the younger woman as she prepared to leave.
“Well, I hope you find what you're looking for Chase.” Brigitte took her purse from the bar and then bid the detective good night.
Chase stood and watched the woman take her leave, then smiling as she put on her jacket she headed up to her room to catch up on some sleep.

Morning came all too soon, Brigitte decided as she slapped the alarm clock off. Blake hadn't moved to turn it off, and Brigitte had gotten tired of listening to the annoying bleeping. After bringing herself to a sitting position on the side of the bed, she looked over at the comforter covered mass on the bed next to hers. Smiling she decided to let Blake sleep a little longer, and with that she jumped up and into the shower. After her shower she called room service and ordered bagels with cream cheese and an assortment of fresh fruit along with a carafe of coffee. Maybe that would motivate her older sibling into getting out of bed. As she wondered the hotel room, she noticed a radio mode on the television remote. She quickly grabbed the remote, and pressed the appropriate buttons, she found a country station and began singing along with Reba McEntire's 'Fancy'. As she danced around the room clad only in a white terry cloth towel, she didn't notice the mass on the bed begin to stir.
Blake slowly drifted back to consciousness to the booming sound of a familiar country song. The low thrum of the bass reverberating in her chest and making her head hurt instantly. She swore the loud bass was beating in time with her heartbeat and they were working together to pound an exit in the top of her head. She tried in vain to pry her eyes open, but she still could see nothing other than hazy gray and white. Suddenly, a bright light caused her eyes to retreat behind tightly closed lids. “Oh Gods! Turn that light off!” She yelled, then she softly added, “Oowww, my head.” As she put her hands to the aforementioned part. She could hear Brigitte laughing at her, but couldn't pry her eyes open or peel her hands from her head to throw something at her. As she finally got her eyes open, she tried to sit up on the side of the bed, but her head spinning caused her to immediately drop it between her knees.
Brigitte flopped down on the bed next to her and patted her sister on the back lightly. “Aw, poor baby have a little hangover?” She watched in amazement as Blake's head sank lower between her knees. Deciding that she was indeed feeling truly evil this morning, she lowered her head level with her sister's ear. “If you can get your head down there yourself, what the hell do you need a woman for?” She whispered wickedly.
Blake groaned again. “Go away.” She whispered, not wanting to make her head rebel again. She felt the bed give way as Brig removed herself from it. The radio began playing another of her favorite songs. She began belting out in perfect pitch with Lone Star's 'How about now', and the dancing resumed. Blake wearily sat up, watching her younger sibling with undisguised jealousy. She remembered ten years ago when she was in college and could drink the entire night and still go to classes all day. 'I hate her', she thought to herself bitterly. She oddly found herself smiling a little at her sister's antics.
Brigitte was oblivious to her sudden audience of one as she danced around singing one of her favorites. “What about now? How about tonight? Baby for once let's don't think twice. Let's take that spin that never ends that we've been talkin about. What about now? Why should we wait? We can chase these dreams down the interstate. And be long gone 'fore the world moves on and makes another round. What about now?”
Blake continued to watch her sister, an amused grin replacing the smile she had before. She really did have a good voice.
Suddenly realizing she had an audience she approached her sister, dancing and using the hairbrush she held as a microphone, she lowered herself to Blake's level. “What about now? How 'bout tonight? Baby for once let's don't think twice.” She shook her head to the negative she continued the song for her audience of one. Blake found herself laughing at her sister's antics. As soon as the song was over, Blake excused herself to go take a shower. As she showered, Brigitte continued primping and listening to the radio.
As she combed her hair she thought about Chase and about Blake and their needs to find people that were elusive, yet familiar to them. Thinking it ironic that they were both searching for what was probably the same thing. Life was funny that way. She realized that the radio announcer was talking and listened as they gave a phone number to call in requests. After pausing for a moment, she made a quick decision. She loved Lone Star, and knew they had a song that fit both Chase and Blake to a tee. She grabbed the phone a dialed the number, waiting patiently for someone to answer then made her request with a special dedication to two really special people.
Blake finished toweling her hair and applying a light mousse to it when she heard the door. She cautiously stuck her head out of the bathroom door, looking at her sister. “You expecting someone?”
Brigitte huffed at her sister as she walked to the door, “Just breakfast.” Then eyeing her sister closely she leaned in and asked, “Are YOU expecting anyone?”
Blake slapped her sibling lightly on the arm and replied, “yeah right. Unless it's tall dark and gorgeous, I'm not interested.” Then reconsidering she added, “unless they have coffee.”
Brig laughed at her as she opened the door to let the waiter in to set up a small tray loaded with goodies for them. As he turned to leave, Brig signed the guest check and tipped the young man generously. He thanked her and took his leave.
Blake walked to the tray and poured a cup of coffee for herself and then one for her sister. She opened the lids of the platters with wide eyes. She wasn't quite sure her stomach was quite ready for food, but the coffee would do for now. Brigitte bounced over to the chair opposite her, and flopped into it. She took the offered coffee, and took a sip tentatively before deciding it was drinkable. She leaned back and studied her sister with a critical eye.
Blake, not sure why she was under scrutiny, looked at her sister and waited for her to say something. Finally tired of waiting, she asked, “What?”
Brigitte smiled, “Nothing, I was just thinking. I met this really cool detective from Virginia last night. She's tall dark and gorgeous, you'd love her to death.”
Blake, not finding a lot of humor in her sister's planning of her life, snorted softly into her coffee cup. "Tall, dark and gorgeous huh? What's wrong with her?”
Brigitte sat up, looking her older sister straight in the eyes. “She's lost.” She answered simply, then as an afterthought added, “Just like you.”
Now it was Blake's turn to sit up. “Just like me? What makes you think I'm lost? I know where I am, thank you very much.”
Brigitte shrugged, “If you say so.” Then went on to add, “Chase is different. She looks lonely, like she's searching for something. You know, like you are. You and this need to be close to the ocean thing. I'll be honest, I don't understand it, but if you find what you're looking for, then more power to ya sis.” Brigitte added the last part with such sincerity that Blake forgot about the insult she'd gotten in the previous sentence.
“Thanks, Brig, that means a lot to me.” She said as she reached across the table to squeeze her sister's hand. As she sat there finishing her coffee, Brigitte's ears perked up at the sound of the radio announcer's voice making their dedications. She bounced over to the remote, turning it up slightly and looked at her sister with a small, shy smile. “This is for you Blake.”
Blake looked slightly perplexed as she listened to the radio announcer as he made the dedication.
'And from Manhattan this morning, I had a call from a young lady named Brigitte. She wants to have a song played for her sister and a new friend she made yesterday. So here ya go Brigitte, and by the way, you had a sexy voice too.' The man purred over the airway.
Brigitte blushed as Blake laughed, “You flirted with the radio announcer?” Then she shook her head, of course she did, that's what Brigitte does, she flirts. Then the sound of a Lone Star song she loved filled the room.

I've got this dream… that won't go away.
When I close my eyes… you're there night and day.
Baby whatever it takes… I've gotta find you.

Are you someone I know… or that I meet by chance?
Are you somewhere close…or in a far away land?
Cross the ocean or burning sand…I've gotta find you.

I've gotta find you, don't care how long it takes.
I know when I do… it'll be worth the wait
With God as my witness, and love as my guiding star.
Maybe Miami… on some sandy beach
New York City… making waves on Wall Street.
No matter where you are…I've gotta find you.
I've gotta find you

You could be a checker… at the grocery store.
For all I know, you're the girl next door.
One thing I know for sure… I've gotta find you.
You might be a waitress, working your way through school
Or the anchor-person on the six o'clock news.
Only my heart knows who….I've gotta find you.

I've gotta find you, don't care how long it takes.
I know when I do…it'll be worth the wait.
With God as my witness…and love as my guiding star.
Maybe Miami…on some sandy beach
Or New York City…making waves on Wall Street
No matter where you are…I've gotta find you.

No matter where you are…..I've gotta find you.

Blake shed a silent tear as she watched her little sister sing along with music and Brigitte smiled in understanding. Her sister had the same look of longing that Chase had on her gorgeous face last night. She held out her hand for Blake, who gratefully took it and squeezed it lightly. “I love you Brig.” She said softly.
Brigitte blushed and smiled a soft gentle smile for her sister. “Love you too, Blake.”

Chase awoke as usual, well before the morning wake up call, and decided to head to the hotel's fitness center. She ran on the treadmill for forty-five minutes before deciding to expend a little extra energy. Heading over to the Nautilus machine, she worked her upper body for another half an hour before deciding to go in search of a shower and some coffee. She headed back to the hotel room, and showered. As she stepped from the shower, she noticed the message light was blinking on her phone. Quickly checking the message, she discovered that Travino was just arriving at the office and wanted her to check in with him.

“Homicide, Travino.” His voice came over the line with militant precision and authority.
“Hey shithead, what's up?” Chase asked.
“Hey yourself. How's Manhattan proper?” He asked, a slight tinge of jealousy in his voice.
“Ah, you know, the usual. Beautiful people, lots of money, high costs. Yadda, yadda, yadda.” Chase laughed.
Travino found himself laughing at his partner's good mood. 'Must be contagious.' He thought. Then out loud he added, “Find our paper buyer yet?”
Chase's good mood was not to be relinquished this morning as she saucily replied. “Nope, not yet. I'm meeting with him this morning at Rutledge Publishing. Guys name is Raynor something or other. I'm gonna see him and see if he bought the stuff or just ordered it for someone or if it was just a departmental approval for someone else's purchase.”
Travino pursed his lips in thought. “Hmm, so how long ya gonna be?”
“Miss me already? I didn't know you cared Travino.” She teased lightly.
“I don't. But I'm up to my eyeballs in work here and need another pack mule.”
Chase laughed out loud at the detective's banter. They had shared a great deal of their work over the last few years, but Travino couldn't type for saving his life. So as a trade off, Travino did most of the phone work and Chase typed the reports for processing. “I see, well, I'd hate for you to have to carry anymore weight than absolutely necessary. I'm hoping to be out of here tomorrow. It depends on if this guy can lead me to who got the paper or if I'm gonna have to chase down some little pencil pusher in purchasing.”
“Okay.” Travino agreed that was what he was expecting anyway. “I'll plan on seeing you in two days. Be careful up there, okay?”
“Will do. If anything comes up down that way, leave a message. I'm not sure how long this is going to take but I'll call in and check messages a couple of times throughout the day.” Chase explained.
“Okay, fine. I'll talk to you later.” Travino said as he bid her goodbye.

Blake and Brigitte exited one of the elevators in the lobby shortly before nine o'clock. They strolled purposely to the concierge desk and politely waited until a young man named Tim got off of the phone. Tim hung the phone up, then delightedly smiled at the two ladies in front of him. “Good Morning ladies. What can I do for you?” His smile was polite and his eager to please attitude made Blake smile kindly in return.
“Good morning Tim. I'm Blake Hudson, I'm to have a car pick me up here this morning.” She explained.
Tim nodded, then smiled again sweetly to Brigitte, as he replied. “Your car's already here. Driver from Rutledge arrived about ten minutes ago, said he was ready when you are. And here you are.” He explained as he escorted them to a large black Lincoln with dark tinted windows. He opened the door for the ladies, then turned to each in kind, offering his hand to assist them into the car's lush dark interior. “Have a pleasant day ladies. Enjoy Manhattan.” Tim waved to them as the car slid away from the curb.
Brigitte looked around the car's sleek interior and whistled in approval. “My, big sista's got it going.” She said, adding a light touch of the city's slang to her words. “You travel like this all the time sis?”
Blake smiled, slightly embarrassed at the treatment, as she replied to her sister. “Pretty much. Ray always makes sure I have a car available and a driver when I'm in town. His secretary makes all the arrangements for me though. I'm pretty sure they make these concessions for all the writers who come to town on business.”
“Well, we should come to town on 'business' more often sister dear.” Brig stated approvingly, “this is nice.”

Chase entered the hotel lobby about twenty minutes after finishing up with Travino. Raynor's secretary had advised her yesterday that one of the authors was in town for an editing review and he would be tied up for most of the day. She was also politely informed that if she arrived early, perhaps he could sneak her in before editing deliberations began. Chase new nothing about literary works and how they were processed. She did sense from the secretary that if she were to come in early to talk to Raynor, it would be more productive than trying after several hours locked in a room with a group of writers and editors. So she'd decided to head out early in search of this Raynor fellow, who's last name she couldn't pronounce. She walked through the lobby with long purposeful strides, to the revolving doors and out into the Manhattan morning. After having a cab hailed for her, she informed the driver where she wanted to go and sat back reviewing her notes that she'd taken from Travino over the phone last night.
After deciding there wasn't a great deal of background information on the man, she leaned her head on the back of the vinyl-covered seat. She took a deep breath and let her mind wander to the blonde she'd spied at the airport yesterday and that she thought she'd glimpsed again at the hotel last evening. She'd dreamt about the woman again last night, not about making love to her though. She dreamt about a search, a desperate one. She'd seen the beautiful woman falling into a huge open chasm, that, although lava could be visualized below, it appeared to be bottomless. She could still feel the constriction of her heart as she saw the vision before her again and again. The dream had continued and Chase had found herself thrust into a time frame she didn't recognize. She could feel herself plunging a knife into a horse's chest. Still felt the slick sticky feeling of its blood as its spirit was released to take her to the land of the spirits. That was where the search had begun. She had followed the path to a lost tribe of Amazons and had made amends to them of her own wrongs. Retribution had seemed to be something Chase had a need to feel in this particular time. She remembered the welcomed feeling of pain that had accompanied harsh words of those who'd trusted her and she'd previously betrayed. Penance seemed to follow her throughout the entire search. It was a cold but welcomed feeling to her. As if she depended on it to live, it proved she were still among the living although the Amazon's she'd encountered in the land of the lost had been dead. It was oddly comforting to Chase as she now sat among the hectic bustling and hustle of Manhattan securely encased in the cab.
She arrived at Rutledge Publishing within thirty minutes of her departure from the hotel. Chase looked at the building with undisguised admiration. It was a beautifully restored and well-kept piece of architecture. The gothic stone front had faded with years of weather, sunlight and smog exposure, giving it a purgatorial appearance. Its towering two hundred-foot peak incited a slight tremor of fear in Chase as she casually observed herself in the reflection of glass doors. She felt like a lone warrior standing next to a demon of twenty times her own size. She mentally chastised herself for feeling inadequate next to a damn building. Taking a deep breath, she pushed the polished brass of the door, quickly releasing the breath when it yielded under her hands. 'Jesus, Chase. Get a grip here will ya?' she thought quietly. 'This case is really getting to you.' She looked around the impressive lobby of the purgatorial building and decided quickly that the ancient gothic appearance did not stop at the outside of the building. She noticed that the lobby was two floors high, with a gray stone floor, not polished to a shine, clean, but allowed to keep a matte appearance that added to the dark aura of the building. She looked to the center of the massive entrance and noticed a large circular desk facing the door she had just come through. A pleasant looking woman dressed in a well-cut wool dress sat behind the desk. To Chase, she had a librarian-like appearance that screamed conservative. Chase approached the desk purposefully, waiting patiently for the woman to notice her standing there. As the woman looked up above the wire-rims of her glasses she smiled slightly at Chase. “Can I help you?”
Chase was relieved. If she were entering a form of hell, the secretary would at least make the directions clear and pleasant to receive. She smiled nervously and replied, “I'm Detective Hunter, Norfolk Homicide. I'm here to see a Raynor, uhhh,” she looked at the name on her note pad and flushed. With a slight shrug, she acknowledged she could not pronounce the man's last name.
The secretary smiled in understanding. “It's okay. We all call him Raynor, he's the only one in the building.” Then leaning up to Chase she whispered conspiratorially, “we can't pronounce it either. I don't even know if HE can.” Then she winked at Chase and looked down at her phone console. She picked up the receiver and punched in an obviously familiar extension and quietly spoke to the person on the other end of the line. After hanging up she looked back to Chase and smiled again. “He's expecting you. The elevators are at the back of the lobby, go to the fifteenth floor and turn right. His secretary is at the end of the hall. She'll direct you to him when you get there.”
“Thanks.” Chase intoned as she headed off in search of Raynor.

Brigitte and Blake had been led to the conference room on the fifteenth floor, where they were seated now. Raynor had escorted them in, seen that they had coffee, then announced he had a little business to take care of before the editors arrived. The copyright lawyers from legal would be present shortly and Brigitte could feel Blake tense slightly as she sat next to her. “What's wrong with you?” She asked her lightly.
Blake looked at her sister and smiled tightly. “Nothing, I just always remember what I hate about writing at these meetings. It never goes as planned. Editors and lawyers always want to negotiate terms of my work, as if I can't do it myself. Sometimes I feel like I'm not even in the room while they make decisions about what changes should be kept and what should be eliminated from my prose.”
Brigitte looked at her sister more closely; noting the lines of tension now etched on her sister's normally youthful and open face. She sighed and took Blake's hand in her own. “Anything I can do to help?” She offered lightly.
“You're doing it.” Blake replied quietly as she squeezed Brig's hand in return. Then softly she added, “thanks.”
Brigitte merely shrugged her reply. “That's what I'm here for sis.”
One of the editors walked in and greeted Blake with a slight hug. “Hey Blake, howzit goin?” The young man looked Blake over approvingly and he hefted the manuscript he held in his left arm. “You ready for another day in hell?” He grinned wickedly at her as he indicated the pages he held.
Blake laughed lightly. “I'm as ready as I'm gonna get today Jeremy. I'm fine by the way, thank you.” Then looking at her sister, whose interest had instantly peaked when the young man had entered the room, she added. “Jeremy this is my little sister, Brigitte. Brigitte, this is Jeremy Malloy, he's an editor here at Rutledge.”
Brigitte smiled shyly at the handsome young man. Perhaps the day wouldn't be a total loss; at least she had some good scenery. She took the offered hand and shook it as Jeremy began to speak. “You told me you had a younger sister, Blake, but you didn't tell me she was gorgeous.” He teased lightly.
Blake snorted slightly, and then smiled at Brigitte's look of absolute delight. “Well, that's because everyone would be bugging me to meet her.”
Jeremy nodded in response to Blake's comment but his eyes never left Brigitte's. “I'll say.” He intoned.

Chase waited patiently in the small waiting area that she had been directed to by Raynor's secretary. She noticed an older distinguished looking man exiting an office and heading her way. He was short, with thinning dark hair and a nose that seemed to be the most prominent feature on his narrow face. He approached Chase slowly, a warm smile gracing his features as he extended his right hand in greeting. “Detective Hunter?” He inquired politely.
Chase stood and took the offered hand, and the man cleared his throat, as he looked up to meet her steady cerulean gaze. Chase nodded in reply to his question.
“I'm Raynor Czysewski.” Chase smiled at the offer of pronunciation of his last name for her.
“Nice to meet you, sir,” Chase replied politely. “Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. Your secretary tells me you have a full day ahead of you.”
Raynor smiled, and leaned into Chase slightly, “Well, if any of my other authors were here, you'd be right detective, but the author that's here today is a true delight to deal with.”
Chase smiled and followed his outstretched arm inclining towards his office, “Then I'll be sure to make this as quick as possible. That way you can at least enjoy your day.”
Raynor followed Chase into the office, slowly closing the door behind him. He gestured towards a chair in front of a large mahogany desk and softly offered her a seat.
As soon as he was settled behind his desk he politely folded his hands on top of the polished surface and waited patiently for Chase to explain her presence in his office today.
“Mr. Czysewski, I flew in from Virginia yesterday in hopes of asking you about some stationary you purchased.” She began.
Raynor's face registered a quiet surprise, then quickly went back to passive as he asked. “Why is a detective from Virginia looking into purchases of stationary from a New York publisher?”
“It's a long story sir,” Chase began, “and in the interest of saving you some time today. I'd really like to know if you purchased the stationary. It's a heavy weight parchment paper, beige in color, I think the weight was about thirty pounds, it was accompanied by an authentic quill and indigo ink. I believe your office purchased the items about a year ago. Followed by more ink and paper of course over the last twelve months.”
Raynor nodded his head to the affirmative. “Yes I did make those purchases. They were a gift for one of our writers. One who has a strange sense of romanticism and nostalgia.”
“Could I have the name of that author sir?” Chase inquired.
Raynor contemplated telling the detective that the writer was just down the hall, but decided to hold his cards for a little more information. “Is there something going on illegally I should know about detective?”
“No sir, we just…” Chase hesitated briefly, then decided honesty would be her best bet. “We found a letter written on the parchment you purchased with a murder victim in Virginia. Forensics traced the paper to New York and thus to you. We don't think the author of the note had anything to do with the murder, but we'd like to talk with her about the letter we found.”
Raynor didn't miss the use of 'her' in the sentence and decided to ask about it. “You said 'her', you know the author is a woman?”
“Yes sir,” Chase intoned. “The letter was of a romantic nature and had physical descriptions with it. We know the author is a woman. Short, athletic build, blonde hair, and green eyes.” Chase repeated the description she'd been hearing in her sleep for months.
If Raynor was surprised he certainly did not show it. From the look on his face, Chase would about bet her next paycheck, that Raynor knew exactly who the author was. Finally after a long grueling internal battle with himself, he looked up at Chase. “Is she in any danger?”
Chase wanted to reassure him that she was not, but the truth of the matter was, if they could find the author of the those letters in as short an amount of time as they had, then anyone who could access the world wide web had the same advantage. She shifted slightly in her seat and replied honestly, “She may very well be sir.”
Raynor dropped his head slightly and nodded when his fears were confirmed. “I was afraid of that.” Then he raised his eyes to meet Chase's. “Let me go get her for you.”
Chase looked surprised. “She's here?”
Raynor nodded again and simply shrugged. “Must be your lucky day detective. The Fates have saved you a great deal of travel time. She's in town for an editing meeting for two days.”
With that he stood and excused himself, leaving Chase alone with a great deal of silence and too many questions for her head to sort out.

'Holy shit! She's here'. Chase got up and paced the floor. 'The Fates must be smiling on me?' she intoned to the empty room. Chase noticed her hands were sweating, and she quickly rubbed them against her trouser legs in an attempt to ward off the clammy sensation. She felt the familiar rise of butterflies in her stomach and secretly wished she hadn't had any breakfast. She honestly felt like she was going to throw up. Of course, she reasoned she was going to have to meet the author sometime sooner or later; but the later definitely appealed to her more at this moment. “The Fates smiling on me my ass. They are probably outright laughing their little asses off right now.” She continued to pace the room, suddenly feeling trapped by the four walls that surrounded her. She could always just leave, yeah, that's it. Tell the secretary she had an urgent call and would be back later in the day. As she made up her mind to flee, her exit was quickly blocked off by Raynor's return to the office. He smiled at Chase, “Detective Hunter. Sorry about the delay, I had trouble finding her. May I present Ms. Blake Hudson.” He turned slightly to present the young woman to the detective and both women's mouths dropped open in absolute shock.
As blue eyes met and locked with verdant ones, an instant recognition occurred. “It's you.” They both said at the same time.

Part 6

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