Please see notes and disclaimers in earlier parts.
CJ leaned carefully on the door frame. He didn't notice her there. His back was to her
as he stared at the file in his hand.
"Sam." She called softly.
When he didn't answer, she stepped in and put a hand on his shoulder. He startled
slightly and she thought he might have been asleep.
"Hi." Sam mumbled. He closed the folder and reached for another. "Here's
a draft of your commencement speech. Read it and let me know what you think."
She shook her head in confusion. She'd forgotten about the speech. When had he been
able to do it? She noticed he deep purple smudges under his usually bright eyes. He looked
like he hadn't slept in days.
She leaned on the corner of the desk then, and put her hand on his other shoulder to
swing him to face her. "I don't care about the speech right now. When did you sleep
"You slept here again, didn't you?"
She saw a moment of indecision flicker in his eyes. He considered lying but knew she
wouldn't believe him. "Yes."
"Sam, you can't keep pushing like this. You've been on full throttle for
"I do this all the time, CJ. We all do."
"But eventually we get a slow week or day and we catch up. This was supposed to be
a slow week." Her hands gestured wildly in loose circles.
"It doesn't always work that way." He gave her a small smile and put a hand
on her arm.
She felt a bit of the worry recede at his response. Then she dropped her gaze to the
hand on her arm and saw the bandage. Under the bandage his hand stirred with barely
perceptible tremors. He got those when he'd had too much coffee, too little sleep and too
much emotional pain.
The last time she'd seen it so bad was after Josh's shooting. He'd been frazzled for
days. He'd looked shockingly normal to ninety percent of the people who'd seen him. But
those who knew him best knew how to tell he'd reached the limits. It was a small thing in
their world. But seeing his hand shake reminded her that he was only putting on a good
show for her. And he could put on a show. They usually forgot how good Sam was at
misdirection. But Gage Whitney hadn't paid him a six figure salary just because he looked
good in suits.
She stepped back from him, but held his bandaged hand in her own. Then she held it up
it front of his face. "I might have believed you before, but I just saw you put your
hand through a wall, remember."
Sam pulled his hand away and walked to the other side of the room. "CJ, don't play
Den Mother. Leave it alone."
A knock on his open door made them both turn their heads. A uniformed messenger held an
"Mr. Seaborn, I need you to sign for this, please."