ChasedBy: Cristin Harber
Asher McIntyre left the keys in the front door of his Georgetown row house and stared at the note taped to the mirror right inside the door. His heart thudded, more angry than apprehensive. He didn’t need to read the printed paper to know who it was from.
He turned to his alarm system panel. It blinked disengaged and ready to arm. He had turned the pricey piece of garbage on that morning. His note-leaving friend had officially upgraded himself from creepy to criminal.
Asher couldn’t stand in his doorway all night and growl at a piece of paper. It was safer to turn around, walk to a coffee shop, and call for investigators to sweep his townhouse, just like they’d done with his car and office days ago. But his head pounded after hours of congressional hearings, constituent meetings, and lobbyist meet-and-greets. He wasn’t in the mood to smile pleasantly if he accidentally bumped into a reporter or blogger. His soured attitude would be speculated about and end up as political fodder. Every misstep would be analyzed for the next six weeks, until Election Day.
Asher cracked his neck, snagged his keys, and took a step inside. His shoe echoed on the hardwood floor, and he swiped the note off the mirror.
Dear Congressman McIntyre,
Still watching you. Still waiting. Time to right your wrong. Let’s meet soon.
Asher shouldn’t have touched it. Could have read the note’s nonsense while it remained taped to his mirror, but he didn’t want the stupid thing mocking him until the investigators came. He shrugged off his jacket, loosened his tie, and pulled his smartphone out of his pocket. Is all this worth it?
He scrolled through his contacts and found the special agent who had handled his previous notes and hit send.
It rang once. “This is Murphy.”
Asher scowled. “A new note was waiting for me today.”
“Give me one second.” The agent excused himself from someone on the other end of the line. “On your car again?”
“Nope. Inside my townhouse, taped to a mirror.” He paced his living room. An invasion of his privacy wasn’t anything new, but Asher had no idea what Maxwell was after.
“Son of a bitch. Don’t touch—”
“Too late.” Asher tugged off his tie, tossed it on the couch, and headed for the wet bar.
He ignored the People magazine he’d thrown there the night before. It wasn’t his type of magazine, but his campaign consultant had mailed it to him. The headline stared up from the bar. A fifty most beautiful people list. Five bucks said his name was on that list somewhere, and for the next few weeks, he would have invitation after invitation to events that he didn’t care about from women who wanted to appear with him like he was their fashion accessory. Every time a list came out, the same charade unfolded, and every time, it gave him a headache.
“Are you kidding me? You know better than to touch evidence.”
That made Asher chuckle. Murphy was formal because he was supposed to be. But they were about the same age and had the same get-the-job-done disposition. By the time they found Maxwell, he and Murphy would probably be buds.
Asher poured a glass of scotch and shrugged. “Sorry, man. Anger got the best of me. I would’ve stood on my front porch, giving the finger to anyone interested, but then I’d have to deal with that picture on the front page of the Washington Post. One nuisance at a time.”
“I’ll head your way with a couple guys. We’ll be discreet.”
Asher swirled the drink in his hand and walked into the kitchen. “Thanks, man—”
Another note was centered in the middle of his stainless steel refrigerator. His Georgetown home was where he crashed, not really his home. That was in New York. Asher had no personal items in DC, certainly not a picture magnet of his sister and her best friend. They were younger by five years and had spent the past week in Disney World for a wedding reception. The picture on the fridge showed them posing in front of Epcot Center.
His hands shook, and his jaw cemented shut. A harsh breath flared through his nostrils. “Murphy, send the whole goddamn FBI.”
“Care to explain?”
“There’s a recent picture of my sister and her best friend, along with another damn note from Maxwell. Aren’t they cute?”