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Story Notes:
This is the first multi-chapter story I've posted in a long time, so I'm really excited. I'm also a little nervous, so I hope people like it!
Author's Chapter Notes:
This first chapter is fairly short, but hopefully the other ones will be a bit longer. I'm also posting this a little earlier than I intended to because of the lack of stories lately, so hopefully it's okay.
I'm ready. I really am. I'm wearing a brand new pantsuit, I got twelve hours of sleep last night, and at the rate I'm driving, I'm going to be fashionably early. What more could a new head detective need on her first day?

"A bed that isn't empty on one side," a part of me nags.

It's true, I did wake up several times last night, roll over expecting Shawn to be right there, only to find the bed empty. And maybe, because I've always felt most vulnerable at night, a few tears were shed in loneliness. But that doesn't matter; it's morning now and I'm ready.

I feel a lot less ready a few minutes later when I meet my new partner. Junior partner. The title sounds oddly different when it belongs to someone else. This someone else is tall and handsome: with sandy blonde hair like mine, and large biceps. He is the type of man that would have made my knees go weak a few years ago, before I grew up a bit. But that's not the problem. The problem is the way he's looking at me, like he's sizing me up to see how good I would be in a fight. I've seen this expression before: it's the one everyone always wears when they are doubting my ability to be a cop.

We exchange names with a handshake. While I know it's silly, I try and make my grip especially firm, hoping that it will somehow help convince my new partner that I am worthy of my title.

“It’s great to meet you Michael.” I repeat his name back to him.

“It’s Detective Baren,” he responds, curling his lip ever so slightly. Clearly he prefers last names.

“Right, sorry.” I immediately regret apologizing. I’m head detective now, not the little girl I was eight years ago when I first transferred to Santa Barbara, and I should be acting like it!

I push the thought out of my head as Karen calls us into her office. She flashes a small encouraging smile at me, but quickly enough so that no one else notices, and it doesn’t threaten her professional demeanor. Once in her office she explains the case she is giving us. A body was found dead at the San Francisco Giant’s stadium, in the slide shaped like a giant Coke bottle. The only thing I can think of is that Shawn would love that slide. I blink that thought away. I can't afford to be missing Shawn right now, so I continue to focus on what Karen is saying. The man was there because the pharmaceutical company he worked for often hosts dinner parties at games, as a way to win over potential customers. It could be an accident, but the chief wants it thoroughly investigated before we shut the book.

As we leave Karen’s office, Baren immediately grabs his keys and starts heading for the door.

“Come on,” he says gruffly. “We’re going to that pharmaceutical company.”

I’m so used to following Carlton’s every move without much question, that I almost forget to correct him.

“Actually, we should go to the scene of the crime first to see what we can scope out, then follow whatever lead we find there.”

Baren scowls deeply. “Are you correcting me?”

“Yes,” I reply, getting a little fed up with this. “I am the senior officer, remember?”

He scoffs. “Fine, let’s go to your precious little crime scene, Princess.”
Chapter End Notes:
I know there aren't many people on here as of late, but even a small review would mean a lot to me.

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