Author's Note: This is a second post-ep for the episode "Sons of the Father." This one is my usual JAM style story. I had a different idea for this post ep but Tirsh gave me an idea while we were talking about Forgiveness Doesn't Come Easy. So in this post-eps, the events of Forgiveness didn't happen and this story takes it place instead. This post-ep continues in the same line as Second Guessing, Our World Too, Paying it Forward, and What Dreams Our Fears Show. Hope you enjoy. This one is rated M by request. I hope it meets expectations.

Author's Note 2: Barry is mentioned here again. Several people have expressed a desire to know more about that story. As soon as Jules tells it to me, I'll write it.

Disclaimer: The show Flashpoint and its characters were created by Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern and belong to them and its respective networks. I am making no money off this story and it is for entertainment purposes only. However, this particular story is my creation and should not be used without my express written permission.

Waking Nightmares

Sam was alone in bed. He shouldn't be; he hadn't started out that way. But when the sudden thunderstorm during the night had woken him out of a sound sleep just after midnight, he'd discovered that he was in fact alone. Reaching over to the nightstand, he turned on the lamp and rubbed the sleep from his face. Definitely no Jules curled up next to him. Her side of the bed, which usually ended up being a good portion of his side, was cool to the touch suggesting that it had been empty for awhile.

Sitting up he listened carefully for the slightest sound that would clue him in to where Jules had disappeared to. The light was off in the bathroom and he couldn't hear any movement going on there. Throwing off the covers, he reached for the pair of sweatpants he'd discarded before going to bed and pulled them on. Remaining shirtless and barefooted, Sam checked the bathroom first and when, as he'd figured, she wasn't there, made his way downstairs. He expected to find her either curled up on the couch mindlessly watching some infomercial or in the kitchen fixing a midnight snack. But both of those locations were Jules-less as well.

He frowned. If they'd gotten a call, she would have woken him up and not let him sleep through it. So where was she? Going to the kitchen window, he peeked out into the night and an obliging flash of lightening reveal an empty driveway. The jeep was gone so it was clear that Jules wasn't in the house. Running back upstairs, Sam picked up his cell phone from the nightstand and hit number one on the speed dial. It went straight to voice mail. He didn't bother to leave a message but ended the call. He tossed the phone onto the bed in frustration.

Where had she gone? It wasn't like her to leave the house suddenly in the middle of the night and certainly not without waking him up first or at least leaving a note. The fact that she'd done neither worried him. She'd gone to bed extremely early; like almost as soon as they'd gotten home from work around seven claiming she had a migraine. When he'd turned in about ten thirty, she'd been sound asleep. Had her migraine gotten worse? But she would have woken him up if she'd felt the need to go to the emergency room. She wouldn't have driven herself. She had even willingly turned the keys to the jeep over to him when they had left HQ. He reached for his phone again and tried her cell once more. Again it went straight to voice mail but this time he left a message.

"Come on Jules. Where are you? I'm worried about you. Love you."

Sam once more ended the call. He glanced around the room, hoping to see something that would give him an idea where she'd gone. The clothes that she'd worn home from work were hanging out of the hamper by the dresser ready for washing so she hadn't put them back on when she left. Then a dresser drawer that hadn't been completely closed all the way caught his attention. He nodded, realizing where she'd gone but not exactly the why. He grabbed a comfortable t-shirt and pulled it over his head and sat on the bed to put on his socks and tennis shoes. Fully dressed, he grabbed his phone and keys and went back downstairs.

Fortunately the rain from the impending thunderstorm hadn't hit yet and he hoped it would hold off long enough for him to reach his destination since he would be on his bike. But if not, he'd willingly take a soaking if it meant finding out what had sent Jules fleeing from the house in the middle of the night without saying anything to him.

He drove through town on the almost deserted streets, depending on his own innate sense of direction to get him to where he was convinced that Jules had gone. He'd never gone by himself before so he was glad he paid attention. The side of town he was going to wasn't the best one; not so much dangerous but certainly neglected and more run down to the shinier bustle of downtown. He pulled in next to her jeep and cut the engine. The first drops of rain started to fall as he tried the door. He frowned when he realized it was unlocked; why hadn't she locked herself in if she was going to do this alone? He glanced around the parking lot but no other cars were there.

He let himself in and locked the door behind him. He was sure they all had their go-to places when they needed to unwind or blow off steam. Taggart's Gym was hers. It wasn't as sophisticated as what they had at HQ but it served a purpose. Al Taggart, the owner, tended to cater to people more interested in sports training than serious cardio workouts so the equipment he had was more old school rather than state of the art. A full boxing ring, gymnastic equipment, punching bag, jump ropes, and a set up for free weights that had seen a lot of use over the years.

Jules had brought him here a few times after calls that had left them more high strung instead of down. When a workout would work better than a Ben and Jerry's therapy session. The first time he'd been a little bemused that Jules had her own personal key to a gym to use whenever she needed. He'd asked her why she needed it when she had access to the work out room at HQ whenever she wanted whether she was on shift or not. She'd informed him then that sometimes it was nice to have a place where she didn't have to worry about people seeing her lose her cool. After joining her a few times, he saw what she meant.

He'd even gotten to meet Al. A good-natured older man who could play Santa Claus with or without a red suit. He had the look and the temperament to play the part to the hilt. The older man knew Jules well and obviously loved her like a daughter. Though Jules didn't know it, Al had filled him in on how the two had met and come to be such good friends during a visit the first time he and Jules had made a try at dating. The older man had fixed his stare on the younger one and without a trace of Santa in his eyes or stance, warned him that if Sam ever hurt Jules the way the man's son Barry had hurt her, then Al himself would use Sam's head and body as a punching bag. The genuine love, concern, and fierce protectiveness in Al's eyes both softened and reinforced the threat at the same time and Sam, without taking offense, had promised he would always treat Jules the way she deserved to be treated. It hadn't even been a promise he had to think about.

Now, as he looked around the open gym, it wasn't hard to spot his girlfriend. She was currently attacking the punching bag like it had personally offended her. She was completely focused on the short powerful jabs she was throwing. Each jab would send the bag bouncing away from her in recoil and each time it came back toward her she was ready for another jab. He didn't have to see her face to know that whatever had sent her to the gym for a late night workout session, it was affecting her deeply. Her whole body was tense.

For a moment, Sam just leaned against a wall and watched her. He was concerned but also mesmerized by the skill and precision he was witnessing. He'd always loved to watch her spar even before they were dating. She fought like she danced, like every move was at once both a carefully choreographed move and a spontaneous expression of emotion at the same time. Being her opponent in those sparing matches was a different story however. Most people had tells that signaled what move they were about to make a split second before they made it. Learn to read those tells and countering them was no trouble. Except, Jules had no such tells. Or at least in all the time he'd known her, he hadn't been able to decipher them if she did. There was no way to predict what she was going to come at you with and thus no way to prepare yourself. You simply had to be ready for anything. It was probably a good thing because even though she was outweighed and outsized by every one on the team, she could hold her own and had, at one time or another, beaten every single one of them.

He'd never forget the first time he'd sparred with her. It had been during his first weeks at SRU. When he'd been so cock sure of his own skills and abilities. When Ed had paired him with Jules on the mat, he'd actually been torn between being offended and being turned on. Offended by the fact that Ed was giving him such an easy opponent to defeat and turned on by the thought of pinning the beautiful and sexy team member who had intrigued him from day one to the ground with his body. That had quickly changed when she'd managed to pin him in less than a minute. She'd caught him off guard with some move that to this day he couldn't see coming and had him on the ground before he could even really get his body set for the fight. He'd lay there on the ground looking up at her smug face and felt both shame and admiration. He would never underestimate her again and it was in that moment that his intrigue became full on lust. It wasn't the only time she'd bested him but it was the only time it happened that quickly after that.

He was broken from his reverie when Jules suddenly let out a shout of pain, anger and frustration all rolled into one. Suddenly just punching the bag wasn't enough. She began to kick at it as well; putting into practice some of the kick boxing lessons Al had taught her that she couldn't use when sparring during training. Now the bag moved further away with each punch and kick only to come back for more abuse. This continued for another ten minutes until she suddenly seemed offended by the bag's backward retreat. She jumped on the bag and locked her legs around the base and held on with one arm as the other continued to pound away at it. The bag continued to sway but now she went with the motion, her attack relentless. When one arm tired of punching she switched and let it hold on while she hit with the other. Then she held on to the bag with both arms and kicked the bag with the heels of her feet almost like a child throwing a temper tantrum.

Sam left his spot on the wall. He could get no pleasure seeing the pain she was in. He needed to go to her, to find out what was eating at her so completely and then soothe away her pain if he could.

"I think it's dead."

His voice puncturing the near silence of the gym outside her heavy breathing and grunts startled her. Before he knew what was happening or even registering that she had moved, Sam found himself flat on the ground staring up at the ceiling or at least as much of the ceiling as he could see beyond Jules's face. As he lay there pinned beneath the woman he loved, her boxing gloved fist reared back ready to smash into his face. Before he could call out a warning, she managed to recognize who it was she was attacking.

"Shit Sam, what the hell?" Jules practically growled as she spit out her mouth guard and let it dangle from the head gear she was wearing. "What's the idea of sneaking up on me like that? You scared the shit out of me."

Sam continued to lay on the ground where she'd tackled him but reached up to brush the bangs from her eyes. "Yeah, I know how that feels. What's the idea of sneaking out of the house like you did? I was pretty scared when I woke up and you weren't there."

"I don't have to report my every movement to you." Jules grumbled as she slid off of him and reached a hand out to help him sit up. Instead of letting her pull him up, he grabbed hold of the wrist of her offered hand and tugged her down onto the mat beside him. Then he twisted so he hovered over her.

"You're right. You don't have to tell me everything but it doesn't stop me from worrying. And I'm sorry I scared you, but again in my defense, you really shouldn't leave that door unlocked when you come in here. Although obviously anyone who came in here on you wouldn't stand a chance. I take it the headache is better?"

She shrugged and sat up. Sam also sat up and gave her tense shoulders a squeeze. He should have seen it earlier. In the time he'd known her there were only two major triggers he'd discovered for her infrequent migraines. One was the change of season from winter to spring when the pollen count gave her fits and the other when the team went to eat Greek food for Sarge's birthday. He understood the pollen better than the Greek food but despite the fact she always regretted it later, she refused to miss out on celebrating Greg's birthday and refused to even mention the effect that it had on her. Neither of those triggers had happened today so there had been no real cause for her sudden headache. He paused in his mini massage with a frown. "You didn't have a migraine did you?"

Again she shrugged but didn't answer. Sam sighed. "Jules, why tell me you had a migraine if you didn't? What was really wrong?"

"I just needed some time alone to sort things out in my head. I know it was wrong to lie but I knew if I just said I needed the time by myself you would worry about what was wrong and I just didn't want to deal with that. It's nothing really. Did you drive your bike all the way over here? I thought I heard thunder earlier."

She stood up and went back to the punching bag, her punches once more measured and precise. Sam lightly jumped to his feet and joined her at the bag holding on to the bag for her. He let her focus on her hits for a few minutes before continuing the conversation. "If it's nothing you wouldn't be here treating this bag like it's public enemy number one. Come on Jules, Sweetheart. What's wrong?"

Instead of answering she took advantage of him holding the bag to get in a few good knee jabs to the sides of the bag. From the thin sheen of sweat on her forehead, he was sure she'd been attacking her demons and the bag for awhile. She must have slipped out of bed just after he fell asleep. As she prepared for another knee jab, he shoved the bag to one side and grabbed her knee and once more forcing her to a seated position on the ground, all before the punching bag could catch him in the return swing.

"Are you mad at me? Did I do something wrong? Talk to me."

She glared up at him and Sam knelt down beside her. He touched the side of her face. "Fine, how about we take it to the ring? Gloves off, hand to hand, first to pin the other, wins. If I win, you tell me what's wrong. You win, I'll drop the matter and not say another word about it. Deal?"

Jules glanced back over at the boxing ring. It wouldn't be the first time they'd gone a round or two in the ring. She had to admit that fighting a human opponent released steam better than the bag could. She nodded. "Fine, deal."

Sam helped her back up before going to the lockers on the side wall. He retrieved his own head gear and mouth guard from the locker she kept at Al's for just such occasions. Once he had it on, he joined her in the ring and raised an eyebrow. "Whose rules are we using? Ed's or Al's?"

"It's Al's place, only fair we use his rules." Jules suggested. He nodded; he'd expected that. Ed's rules were what they had to abide by at work. Formal and fair. Al was more of the Vale Tudo style of fighting or "anything goes." But even Al recognized the need for some rules. No head shots even with proper head gear and no going for sensitive body parts. Other than that, everything else was fair game.

They put their mouth guards in place and locked eyes with each other. They each nodded to show their readiness. Slowly they started to circle each other looking for an opening. Normally neither liked to make the first move so it sometimes took awhile before it was finally made. Tonight however Jules was frustrated enough that she didn't have the patience to wait. She reached in to grab his arm and he dodged, but he didn't see her right leg kicked out and caught him behind the ankle, sending him once more to the ground. She was about to pounce on him to pin him but he rolled out of the way tugging at her leg as he did. She crashed to the ground on her back. Immediately they both bounced back up and reassumed their fighting stances.

Both ended up on the ground time after time but each recovered quickly before the other had time to pin the one currently on the ground. They were both tired and their moves started to get sloppy but even sloppy, they were still evenly matched. They were both breathing hard and sweaty but neither wanted to give in to the other and submit. One of her punches happened to land on a particularly sore spot on his arm from his attempt to escape the exploding apartment earlier in the day. He hissed in pain and Jules stepped back, her eyes wide.

"Did I hurt you?"

He shook his head. "The wall I crashed into this afternoon has more to do with it."

Something flashed in her eyes that he couldn't quite recognize. She frowned. "Fight over. I'm not going to hurt you."

She turned her back to him and started toward the edge of the ring. The way her shoulders were slumped, Sam realized she was more upset than when they started. He grabbed her, wrapping his arms tightly around her not letting her move. He got close to her ear. "Since when did you become a quitter? I want to know what's bothering you but not at the expense of you walking away from a fight. You've never done that and I'm not about to let you start now. Neither one of us is leaving this ring until one of us wins fair and square."

"Fine, you want a fight; you'll get a fight." Jules grabbed his arms that were across her chest. In a move that was both polished and animalistic, she flipped him over her shoulder and had him pinned in under a minute. "Satisfied?"

He slapped the mat three times in surrender and she got off him. She moved to the side of the ring opposite the one they'd come in through. Sam sat up but didn't move from his spot on the floor. He wasn't disappointed that he'd made her continue to fight because he couldn't stand to see her quit anything but at the same time now that she'd beat him, she didn't have to open up to him and that bothered him more than he wanted to admit. Especially since she looked so forlorn even from the back. He sighed and pulled the mouth guard from his mouth so that his words weren't muffled any more. "At least you get to keep your secret. Work out as long as you want. But if you don't mind, I'm not going to leave. I can hear the rain on the room and I really don't want to ride home in that. But you don't have to tell me anything."

"This afternoon, standing on that sidewalk I felt helpless." Jules started, her voice low and haunted. She'd obviously removed her own mouth guard as well. "I heard you screaming for everyone to get out and I didn't know what was going on and all of you were too busy getting out to give me an update. Then the apartment exploded. My breath caught in my chest and once more I was in my worst nightmare. Only this time it wasn't a dream. This time you weren't going to wake me up, wouldn't wrap your arms around me and tell me it's okay. Wouldn't hold me as tight as I needed you too to convince me that you were right there and okay. You couldn't because this time it was real. This time you really were in the middle of an explosion."

Sam closed his eyes. How had he forgotten about that dream that had so scared her last week? It had taken her the longest time for her to get back to sleep that night. Even the next morning when she'd finally opened up about what she'd dreamed, she'd been tense and shaken. He should have realized that today's incident would have brought up those memories. "Jules, I'm fine. I wasn't hurt."

"Yeah, you so just proved that didn't you? You just said you got banged up when running from that bomb. You could have been killed today. All of you could have been killed. And there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. Once again I was completely helpless to do anything to save you. Helpless to do anything but scream into the headset asking for status reports. Status reports that too way too long in coming because you and the others were too damn busy staying alive."


She whirled around, her eyes blazing. "Don't. Don't tell me it's all okay. It being okay now doesn't change how I felt in that moment. And it wasn't like I could even say a damn thing because we were on a call and we had to save Peggy. Finding Colin and saving Peggy was more important than my stupid fears."

Standing, Sam crossed to her and wrapped his arms around her much like he had when she'd tried to quit the fight but this time it was more for comfort than restraint. He pressed his body against hers so that her back was flush against his chest and stomach and kissed her cheek. "I'm sorry, Jules. Everything was so crazy and pressed for time that I didn't even think about what it must have been like for you. I mean I did. I could hear the fear in your voice as you called for status reports. That's why I answered as quickly as I could which I know couldn't have been quick enough when you were fearing the worst. But Sweetheart, your fears are not stupid. Yeah, I get that you wouldn't say anything while we were working in the middle of the hot call. But after? We rode around in the same vehicle for several hours after everything was over. I wish you would have said something. I hate that you had this building all afternoon and evening and didn't say anything. I never even suspected anything was wrong."

Jules struggled in his arms but he wouldn't release his hold on her. "Yeah, right like we needed to have that conversation while riding around in the SUV. What was I supposed to say? Our jobs are dangerous Sam. I know that. Hell, I've got the scars that prove it. How whiney does it sound if I'm breaking down every time you have a close call? I won't be that person. I'm not that kind of person."

"Then when we got home… Sometime. The thought that you've been torturing yourself with this all day, kills me."

She shuddered. "Could you please use a different term? And just what the hell was I supposed to say? 'Hey, Sam, I know everything turned out okay but I need you to baby me a little here cause I'm letting a nightmare freak me out all over again'? I don't want to look weak; I don't want you to see me as some sort of clingy girlfriend who can't accept the risks our job has."

Sam turned her in his arms so he could properly hug her. He kissed her forehead and then down her jawbone to her ear. "I don't think you are weak and I could never think you are a clingy girlfriend. I didn't have time to do much thinking once we realized there was a bomb, but the one conscious thought I did have was that I was glad you were safe. That I didn't have to worry about you because you weren't with us. Don't you think I wanted to take you in my arms the moment I came out of that building? Show you how happy I was that you were okay? But like you I couldn't do that because it wouldn't have been the right time. We might be professionals but we're human as well. We're allowed to have feelings."

Jules frowned. "Sometimes I wonder…"

Sam waited to see if she was going to finish. When it was clear she wasn't he shook his head. "Wonder if we're human? Or if we're allowed to have feelings?"

"The big fear of us dating was that we wouldn't be able to maintain the priority of life. Sometimes I wonder if the real fear should have been whether we could handle seeing the other person in danger on a daily basis. If something happened to you on a call, I wouldn't be able to function. And then the team would be down two people automatically. Maybe they were right to worry. Maybe we shouldn't be doing this."

Sam sucked in his breath. He couldn't help but flashback to the times she's tried to have a similar conversation when she was recovering from being shot. A conversation he refused to have until she made it clear it was too late to talk about it. "Jules, you don't mean that. Please tell me it's just some lingering fear making you say that. You can't honestly think we'd be better off apart."

Jules didn't answer but once again struggled in his arms. Sam held her tighter. "Jules? Answer me. Tell me you know we're better together than we could ever be apart."

"Let go of me, Sam. I don't want to have this conversation."

"Tough." Sam argued. "Cause I think we pretty much have to have it now. Seriously Jules. Tell me what you are thinking."

"I'm thinking if you don't let me go I'm going to have to throw you to the mat again." Jules threatened.

Sam had no intention of letting her go, either figuratively or literally. He let her walk away before without a fight and it had hurt more than he could possibly express. There was no way he could do it again. "Do what you gotta do."

She started to flip him again but this time he was ready. He countered the move and used her momentum against her. Once more they both ended up lying on the mat but this time Sam was on top. Suddenly it was all too real. Grab met block and hold met hold. Punches were pulled only so far as to keep them from being deadly. Every bit of training both formal and down and dirty street fighting was put to use and neither had the opportunity to even rise to his or her knees. At long last Jules once more had Sam pinned to the mat. Between the heavy panting from the exertion of the fight, she explained.

"I can't lose you. It would hurt too much."

"And walking away wouldn't?" He reached up and put both hands behind her head and pulled her down to him and kissed her. He was afraid she was going to pull away again but she didn't. Instead, even though he was the one pinned, she was the one who submitted. She fisted his t-shirt in her hands and pushed it up, breaking the kiss only to push the material over his head.

Her hoodie and sports bra came off next and then Sam flipped them so he was on top of her. Once more he kissed her and this time it was their tongues in a silent duel with each other, each fighting for dominance over the other. His hands roamed over her lithe supple body while hers skimmed across his back.

Shoes, sweat pants and underwear soon joined the other discarded clothing and Sam hovered over her looking into her dark brown eyes. "Yeah, today could have been bad but it wasn't. I'm alive and with the exception of some sore muscles where I slid against the floor and collided with a wall, I'm fine. If you need the reassurance, by all means see for yourself."

Her hands explored over his body, checking for any possible wounds, any sign that any part of her nightmare had come true during the explosion earlier that day. He carefully controlled his expression as she did so, making sure that even if she did hit a particularly sore spot, he didn't react in the slightest. Her touch was electrifying and was having a definite effect on him. When she had satisfied her need to check him out, he kissed her once more. Then he trailed the kisses back to her ear where he could whisper huskily.

"I think it's only fair that I get to check you out as well. Make sure you weren't hurt."

Jules bit her lip. "I wasn't in the apartment, remember?"

Sam nodded. "I know but that bomb exploded out more than it did in. How do I know that some falling debris didn't hit you on the sidewalk." And so he took his turn exploring her body, planting kisses in various places until he felt the tension in her body being replaced with a tension of a different sort.

He gently spread her legs open a little further apart and with a few more kisses filled her with a gentle thrust. She moaned in pleasure and they began to rock with a slow gentle rhythm that quickly sped up to match the fast and furious pace they had demonstrated in their sparring. Now they were on equal footing and neither was trying to dominate the other into submission. He knew her release was close when her fingernails dug into his back and her breaths came in fast-paced hitches. He altered his angle just slightly so he could thrust just a little deeper, hitting her sweet spot over and over until she fell over the edge. A couple more thrusts and he joined her.

He flopped over beside her, both breathing hard. He kept her tucked in close to his body as they came down from their respective highs. Then Sam glanced down at her. "You still think we'd be better off apart?"

She shook her head. "No. I don't think I ever did. It's just I came so close to losing you and it scared me so much."

"So you thought pushing me away would hurt less? We tried that before and we both realized that the feelings didn't go away just because we said they should. I never stopped loving you and I don't think you did either. You're right, we have dangerous jobs. Anything could happen. We both know what's it's like to nearly lose the other on a call. But, Jules, if it has to happen, and I hope it doesn't, I'd rather face it with you than without you."

Her fingers skimmed up and down his arm. "I would to. I'm sorry. For all of this."

Sam pulled her closer and nuzzled her neck. "I can't say I'm sorry for all of it. The last little bit was pretty incredible. I don't think I'll ever look at sparring with you in the same way."

She lightly slapped his chest but then realized she agreed with him one hundred percent. But then almost as if she realized they were lying naked in a public -albeit closed - place, she reached for their clothes. She handed Sam his before starting to dress again. She blushed. "I guess it's a good thing no one came in while we were, um…"

Sam grinned at her as he pulled his t-shirt back over his head. "Otherwise occupied and distracted? I at least locked the door behind me when I came in so Al was probably the only one we had to worry about. Unless he's made a habit of giving out keys to people."

"I'm pretty sure I'm the only one." Jules assured him. She reached out and ran her hand through Sam's hair. "I don't want to lose you, Sam. Not to things like what almost happened today and not because I'm stupid enough to try to push you away."

He pulled her close to him once again, and kissed her softly. "I can't promise you won't lose me, Jules. It's a foolish promise to make cause we don't get guarantees. But I will promise you this. You won't lose me without a hell of a fight. And if you need me to keep reminding you of that I'll do so as often as I have to. Okay?"

She nodded. "Today scared me, Sam. It's like that dream I had was some sort of premonition of what was coming. Even now, deep in the pit of my stomach, I can't shake the feeling that the dream last week and the near miss today were just precursors of something bigger. Some larger shoe getting ready to drop."

"You can't live like that, Jules. We could have a wreck on the ride home tonight or we could both never get so much as a paper cut for the next year. There's just no way of knowing. Like I said, I'd rather face whatever happens with you rather than without you. I hope you do as well."

"I do." Jules assured him.

"Good to know. So how about we put the gear away and go home. I don't know about you but our little workout has worn me out."

She nodded and stood, then reached down to pull him to his feet. "You put the stuff back while I spray and wipe down the mat. Al would have a fit if we left sweat on the mat, I could just imagine what he would say if he knew what else we might have left behind."

Sam wrinkled his nose. "I'd rather not picture that, thank you very much." Before Jules could walk away, Sam took her hand and pulled her back to him. "We're good, right? No more putting off telling how you feel cause you are worried how I'll react. If something upsets you, I want to know. We're better as a team than separate."

She nodded. "Copy that."