|Sam reached down and picked the tumbler from the desk, swirling it briefly as he raised it to his lips, he felt the warmth of the bourbon on his lips as his mind made use of the valuable seconds that this action had gained him.
"I don't think I know her" he lied, carefully avoiding eye contact with Janet, he'd decided denial was the best short term policy.
"Oh ok, I thought you might have come across her when you were working on the Mcmillan project."
A brief sigh of relief as he realised that Janet didn't know about the scheme that he and Pam were working on was immediately replaced with the suspicion of why his boss had come into his office enquiring about Pamela Grady.
Sam had worked under Janet for nine long years, he had assumed that he had been taken on so that he would be in a position to take over the department when she retired, but Janets drive and enthusiasm seemed to be greater now than ever. At sixty five, many would mistake her for a woman of twenty years younger, both in her appearance and her stamina. Her memory was one of her attributes that gave her an advantage over competitors, and Sam was not surprised that she had remembered that Pam had been involved with the Mcmillan project, but he was confident that it was quite plausible that he and Pam could have passed like ships in the night while working 16 hour days to get the project signed off.
Sam dared to glance across at Janet, her expression was unusual, normally she glowed confidence but she was looking almost lost, their eyes met and Sam thought hers were more moist than normal. Sam felt the need to reach out but resisted, personal space was a boundary that had never been crossed between them and he hadn't detected any signals to suggest that it would be appropriate at this time. The silence, although brief was becoming uncomfortable, so Sam decided to satisfy his curiosity .
"So why were you wondering if I knew Ms Grady" he asked.
"She's dead" Janet said, as a tear trickled down her cheek.