There was no way to hide the black eye. She applied more makeup than she was accustomed to wearing, concealer and foundation and powder, for good measure, and studied herself critically in the mirror. Worse. Much, much worse. So, what were the other options? Dark glasses? She could say she'd had her eyes dilated and had to wear them because the fluorescents were too bright. Who would question that? She snorted bitterly. Certainly not Michael, the king of tact, or Kelly, the queen of keeping her mouth shut or ...

She closed her eyes and took a deep, shuddery breath. What else was there? She had a pretty well-stocked bank of sick days saved up because Pam Morgan Beesly was nothing if not dependable. She could give it one more day and night to fade. Park herself on the couch in front of the mind-numbing lineup of daytime shows and keep an ice pack on the bruise and hope really hard that it would be coverable by tomorrow. Tempting, but maybe for the wrong reason. Mostly she didn't want to face Roy. He had kept her up most of the night—not that sleep would've come easy anyway—with phone calls and messages, pleading into her answering machine for her to pick up the phone already, he'd said he was sorry and he was going to keep calling until she picked up the phone and let him have his say. Lying in bed in the dark, tears long since dried on her cheeks, she said aloud to Roy's beer-slurred voice, "Didn't you already have your say, you asshole?"

If she stayed away from the office today it would be less because of potential embarrassment and more because Roy would be sure to confront her there. And that was unthinkable, especially if she was able to come up with a suitable lie to explain her face and then he chose to come up and make a scene. People would start to catch on, no matter how well she'd covered her bases. She reflected briefly on the basketball game in the warehouse, the not-quite-overt animosity between Jim and Roy, the elbow to the lip that could be written off as accidental. She couldn't fan the flames of that tension; she couldn't let Jim get involved.

So, she was left with freak accident. She'd walked into a door. Or ... that sounded stupid; she needed something more complicated, with the ring of truth born of "that's just strange enough to be true."

Got it.

She leaned over the bathroom sink and began to gingerly scrub away at the cakey mess of makeup around her left eye. Roy wouldn't make her cower here in her apartment like she had cowered in his, last night, when his anger had extended into the red zone. She would go to work, she would lie, she would make them—him—believe her story. As for Roy, when she was ready to face him she would. On her terms. She wanted him to sweat a little while longer.