So it wasn't just a bit of one-off weird. There was another Chase Dawson in the building, in the city, wreaking havoc on the original Chase's life just by being. She recognized her doppelganger with a sinking heart though - that was the Chase she'd been fresh from the Nexus, the Chase she had almost become if she hadn't held out in her interview for more serious subject matter to be allowed to write on. That Chase wrote a whimsical column and toured the town in ridiculously skimpy dresses, flirting with anything even vaguely male and apparently even going to far as to proposition a god for a roll in the hay. No wonder Ivan was so mad at her, the original Chase. He must have met the other one on the day of his interview at the university.
Well, it had to stop. It had taken a bit of work, but finally she'd found out where Columnist Chase made her home in the Post building, marching up there. She was tired of getting odd looks from her colleagues, of Emmet Bane's suggestive comments about her hands and his backside, of people who had respected her until a couple of weeks ago now assuming all she wanted to do was sleep with them. There had to be some way to differentiate between these two versions of her, and she had a feeling she was more stubborn than the other one.
Stalking along the line of cubicles toward the one currently occupied by a younger version of herself, Chase was unaware that what looked like the rest of the floor was retreating to a safe distance to watch the fireworks hat were inevitably going to ensue. She came to a halt behind her younger self, reached out, and snatched the phone from her ear, slamming it down and tugging the plug from the wall. The other Chase turned, fury igniting in familiar chocolate brown eyes only to be stopped dead by the sight of, well, herself, glaring down at her.
"What the hell ...?"
"Yes, what the hell. I'm getting trouble because you haven't learned how to control your sex drive yet. So here's the deal - you stop using Dawson as a surname. Use Mom's surname instead. Get out of my space, and for god's sake, leave my boyfriend alone!"
"Why do I have to change my name? You're the one with the problem!"
"I belong here!"
"So do I!"
"You're only here because of some freak cosmic alignment! Give or take a few weeks, you'll go poof in a little puff of smoke, and I'll still be dealing with the population of the city you've slept with!"
"Are you calling me a slut?"
"Hmm, let me see ... yes. Yes, I am."
From their place near the elevator, it was virtually impossible for the curious columnists to see what exactly was going on at this point. The argument had degenerated into a screech of anger abruptly cut off by the sound of furniture being quite heavily moved over the floor. Speculation abounded as to what the Chases were doing to each other, though blessedly, no one thought to get Bane down here to watch. He could have written a whole column just about this, and their Chase, the real one, would have blown her top even worse. As it was, the little fracas seemed to die down fairly quickly, and the familiar original Chase came back into view, a little disheveled, but calm once again.
"Are we done?"
The other Chase sounded just a little bit sulky. "We're done."
"And you are?"
"And what else?"
"I'll have more respect for my body and your reputation. You're such a killjoy."
"Get used to it."
The original Chase turned on her heel and walked back along the line of cubicles, ignoring the sudden scatter of her colleagues back to their individual work-spaces in the glow of victory. With any luck, she'd just dealt with her own problems in one fell swoop.