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“He looks so peaceful.”

The presence of another is unexpected and Grace startles. “He always looks peaceful,” she replies, trying to conceal her alarm. She’s pretty sure who this is – she’d never expected to meet him. How did he know…?

“Nice work,” he says, his voice smooth, and she could swear the admiration is genuine. “Someone’s been studying…really studying. Not like…”

“Yeah,” Grace cuts him off. Talking about…it might destroy her calm detachment and she thinks she might need that still.

“Your psychology – it’s not bad. I might even be presumed to have a good reason for this. Wanting you out of the way… You’ve done some impressive work. Besides, you’re close to Sam, that’s reason enough, I suppose, at least that’s the way they think.”

Grace says nothing. Neither does Morgan, but then again, he’s not really in any shape to talk, now is he?

“I’ll take it from here,” he says. “It’s more authentic that way. In fact, maybe you should just leave. Surprise will come so much more easily when there’s something left to surprise you.”

She obeys, trusting him for reasons she can’t begin to understand.

As she starts to open the door, purse now slung over her shoulder, his voice stops her. “I must say that I admire your work. You’re an artist to watch.”

She turns back. “Jack…”

He puts his finger to his lips. “No need to speak. At a time like this, words are so superfluous, don’t you find?”

She simply stares, thinking that there were so many other times when there should have been words – words to tell her what she had to find out on her own in a rush of ice-cold humiliation – times when instead everyone stayed silent…as silent as Morgan, swaying at the end of a rope.

“I’m enjoying this collaboration,” Jack says. “We’ll do it again sometime.”

His eyes are a promise that remains even as she turns and leaves.

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