— 9 —


Vivek and Livia had done—in the morning—what it had taken me all of yesterday afternoon, most of the night, and this morning to do. Equally devastating, they had come up with almost the same organizing tool I had. I thought I was being so clever, so creative.

I was such a rookie.

“What’s wrong, Justin?” was Livia’s first question. “You look pale.”

What could I say—that I hated them for their competence, their efficiency, for blowing my chance to get back in Ken’s good graces? What could I say?

“Oh, nothing. Actually, I’ve been working on something similar to what you’ve got there.”

Vivek was mildly interested. “OK. Let’s see what you’ve got. Maybe you can fill in some of our missing pieces, cross-check our information sources. ...

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