The good news is that we are still in Chapter One, this is the perfect time to get on board the serial train. 12,000 unique views per month cannot be wrong! Here Kaori learns the value of not getting pissed off, as an apparent setback proves an opportunity.
Kaori paced the outer lobby of the station, struggling to maintain a strict diet of calming thoughts. Yamahito was not in his office and none of his colleagues seemed to know where he had gone. She was familiar enough with their ways to surmise that they might or might not know where he was, would stonewall her out of principle. Kaori glanced at her watch. Where the hell was Yamahito? It was only a half hour until their appointment with Yuki Sato, manager at the GEON branch where Steve Loewe had taught. They had to return the keys to his apartment and deliver a report that she had written up and set on Yamahito’s desk an hour ago. An inventory of everything in storage and assurance that the case was going forward––to be notarized by his hankou. The paper still lay on the desk, seemingly untouched.
It was not simply the necessity of getting Yamahito’s stamp on an official document that vexed Kaori. The visit to GEON had assumed a certain importance in her mind––she was not sure how, but something was off in the way the apartment had been left. As if it had been staged. She was not going to leave GEON without coaxing out some sort of insight into Steve from the young manager, Yuki.
Impatient, Kaori went searching again, first in the smoking area, then in Yamahito’s office. Testing her powers of persuasion, she glowered at a junior officer who had professed ignorance at her question and whose eyes had indicated otherwise. Of all of the detectives on Yamahito’s staff, she felt Aki hated her the least––maybe he hadn’t been here long enough. Her gaze had surprising effect as Aki blinked a hint of apology, glancing towards the more senior officers who sat behind smirking. “Actually, Yamahito mentioned he has an interdepartmental meeting. He can’t chaperon your––” he cleared his throat for effect, “investigation.” Kaori’s eyes bore down on Aki. She was tempted to stuff his patronizing words down his throat. She stopped herself just in time––the words were for the benefit of his colleagues she knew, a way of passing on information while saving face.
Aki blinked purposefully in a way that brought her gaze squarely on the paper held by paperweight on Yahamito’s desk. She walked over and took a close look. The hankou had been neatly stamped, the paper was ready to be delivered. The apartment keys sat along the upraised edge of the heavy paperweight, shielded from casual view.
Kaori forced a casual smile, “I guess Yamahito trusts me to conduct an investigation on my own. That’s progress of sorts.” Taking the paper and keys, she turned on her heels before anyone could respond, striding through the smoke-filled hallway to the lobby. Whether or not Yamahito considered Steve Loewe’s disappearance important enough to get involved in, this was an official case, just as important as the conversations about golf that made up interdepartmental meetings. As she crossed the street to the parking lot, anger gave way to a distinct sense of relief––things went so much more smoothly without Yamahito and the trail of cigarette smoke that accompanied him. And there was no question she could finagle that sit down with Yuki she found herself badly wanting.