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Date Posted: 16:24:55 07/15/02 Mon
I just saw your board, so I figured I'd post. This something I wrote a while back. I don't know if I'll continue, but hey, figured I share :-)
DISCLAIMER: Insert obligatory disclaimer here. I am a college student who is poor. I am not worth anything whatsoever unless you want my PII 300MHz dinosaur of a computer.
TITLE: Undecided (any suggestions?)
RATING: PG-13/R for language and suggestive situations
CATEGORY: MPJR, V
SPOILERS: Second TNT movie, but not much, nothing really.
SUMMARY: A rainy night....
Yet another long day at the Centre had passed—more secrets, more lies, more reasons for Vodka before bed. Running wearily from her car, Miss Parker stopped at her front door opened it and cursed as the ridiculous amount of water that potentially ruined her leather trench coat. She shrugged off the water, shaking her head as she shut the door. A dry chuckle escaped her throat.
“At least it wasn’t Gucci,” she mused, sliding the trench coat off and tossing it onto the couch. Taking two steps toward the kitchen and her liquid relaxation, the phone rang. She stopped mid-stride, dropping her arms to her sides. “Dammit,” she muttered. She picked up the cordless phone, her thumb jabbing the “on” button, and continued her holy pilgrimage to the liquor stash.
“What?” she barked into the phone, knowing that there were only three people who called her at this hour.
“Feeling a little under the weather, Miss Parker?”
She reached the bar and unscrewed the lid of the frosted glass bottle, a dangerous smile on her face. “Jarod,” she spat. Her free hand poured her the much-awaited glass of Vodka, which she drank without pause.
“Bad day at the Centre?” the pretender asked. She smiled as she poured another glass. His smug smirk practically materialized over the line—another image to haunt and tempt her.
“You could say that,” Parker replied, her tone somewhat calm, for her at least.
“Did you get my package?” he asked curiously. The brunette raised her eyebrows, contemplating her reply. Already she could guess what his follow up questions would be—she knew the dance. She finished the second glass, quickly realizing that the lack of food, an empty stomach, and two hastily consumed tumblers of Vodka were a bad combination.
“Yes,” she stated, pouring her third glass.
“And?” he prompted. She sighed, not really in the mood for his cat and mouse game or a play-by-play rundown of the day’s search.
“And yet again there were more doors opened,” she breathed sitting down in the chair, sipping her tumbler, “more questions than answers.” Setting the glass down on the table, she squinted her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. The buzz was not enough. She still had a headache.
“I thought you narrowed your search,” he replied, an undercurrent of alarm beneath his calm exterior. She kicked off her heels and leaned forward slightly in the chair as if he were sitting on the couch opposite her.
“I have,” she responded, “but…” Her voice trailed off, remembering the DNA results. She wearily blinked the thoughts away. Silence hung between them for a few more seconds before she continued. “Did you get the information I sent you?” she asked, changing the subject. His response was immediate and bright.
“Let’s just say I’ve been getting to know my nephew this past week,” he smiled. Miss Parker smiled with him—happy that he finally connected with someone in his family.
“Proud uncle I take it?” she smiled briefly.
“The proudest,” he replied. Once again she returned to the darker thoughts of her mind of how his family was coming together, but hers was falling apart. She played absently with the rim of her tumbler. “You risked a lot to tell me, Miss Parker.” The statement was an awkward way of saying thank you. She chuckled. How ironic. Her enemy, the person she was supposed to be hunting down was thanking her for helping him out. Sure the Centre lied to her, ignored her, gave her a paycheck, but they never thanked her. Blinking back tears, she quietly acknowledged where her loyalty lay and what could happen to her for it.
“It was nothing,” she replied darkly. Even though her father’s identity was in question, she did know who her mother was. She allowed herself to be amused at the thought of being her mother’s daughter, trying to get people away from the hellhole that was the Centre. She only feared that her fate might be that of her mother, especially after reading what she read today.
“Parker?” His voice broke her train of thought.
“Talk to me,” he requested softly, like a child wanting its mother to read a bedtime story. Her mind raced though possible responses. A year ago, she would have never had this conversation, much less consider confiding in him. Much had changed since then.
Her confidence in the Centre was shattered. It had been for a while, she just finally admitted to herself after she met with him on the island. The island. It was the setting of the memories that still haunted her at night. There was always a lack of simplicity in their relationship and even less after teaming up with him to find the Centre’s past while on the island. He had nearly stolen a kiss, and then left her there to make heads or tails of it. She replayed that moment in her mind almost daily, half of her wishing it had never occurred and the other wishing she had kissed him anyways. She wished that she could say that the moment meant nothing, but it did mean something to her.
It was that night that had solidified their renewed friendship of sorts—an unholy alliance whose goal was to bring down the Centre, and to free them. An alliance, to be free. She sighed. His simple request though is just what she needed and she knew that he knew that. It was an offer she didn’t want to take, but couldn’t refuse.
“Jarod, I—“ she started, and then froze. What could she possibly say? That she had never gotten over her mother’s death? That she missed her? That she was sick of sifting through the web of deceit the Centre created just to find out what happened to her mother? That she was weary from the search? That she was losing hope? That she feared her brother, Lyle, might know about her contact with Jarod? Shaking her head, she blinked back already falling tears. She took a shaky breath and steeled herself.
“Jarod, I wish,” she started evenly, “that…” She never finished. There were no words for what she wanted, what she needed. It just was. She didn’t know how to express it. After a few seconds, her mind focused and gave up on the task of completing the impossible sentence. Frozen in position and in time, she waited for a small eternity for him to answer. He didn’t. “Jarod?” she asked worriedly. His tone was soft when he replied, like the pitter-patter of the rain outside.
“Check the front door,” was all he said. The next thing she heard was a dial tone. Before his words completely registered in her brain, however, she was out her chair, walking to her front door. The brunette reached for the door handle, opening it. Drenched from the rain, hair pressed to his skull, the pretender stood on her porch. The black leather duster had done little to keep him dry, resulting in his black jeans and T-shirt also being soaked. How long he had been there, she had no idea. Her first instinct was ask him why he was here, if he had been talking to her just outside her door the entire conversation. Seeing him, however, put her questions to rest. She didn’t care why he was here. She cared only that he was here—cold, wet, but alive and breathing before her. The door still open, she cocked her head to the side questioningly as he walked in, closing the door behind him.
“Jarod?” she asked quietly, the undertones of her voice giving away all the questions she didn’t care to ask. He understood. Without her heels, she was somewhat shorter than him, and he marveled at the chance to actually see her look up at him.
She looked so lost and sad. The look in her eyes and the tears he saw clinging gently to her cheeks—they told her story. Whatever she found today, whatever horrors were added to her list of nightmares, it damaged her more than even she wanted to admit. His eyes darkened with compassion for her. His huntress looked more like a china doll. She looked paler than he remembered her, her eyes wider, and her disposition radiated a rare, beautiful vulnerability. Neither said anything, but seemed to just stare at each other. Her feelings of loss and total disorientation, he could feel them as though they were his own. It wasn’t that long ago that he was playing her part in this particular charade. His hand settled on the side of her face, brushing away her tears. The very thing that had shoved them apart on the island, paled compared to their bond, which now drew them together. The second they touched neither could fight it.
“Jarod,” she whispered, her eyes dotting nervously across his face. She did not realize that she was rambling quickly between increasingly shakier breaths. “You’re soaked…you shouldn’t be here…it’s too risky…if the Centre catches you here…Lyle…Raines—” His other hand cupped the other side of her face, his eyes wildly looking into hers.
“I don’t care,” he whispered and moved to kiss her.
The men outside the Tower waited for orders, guarding the doors with their arms clasped together. Lyle nervously smiled at them from his seat, before they wordlessly opened the glass doors.
“You may enter, Mr. Lyle,” one man said, gesturing to the awaiting panel of three men in silhouette. The Centre really was paranoid to no end. Lyle stood up, straightened his tie, smoothed over his suit jacket, and confidently strode into the room. The men closed the doors behind him. Lyle tried to not let his fear show, but this was the Tower. Only dead people were called up here, or soon to be dead people—or worse. But he knew that he had what they really wanted. And because of it, he would run the Centre, not that brunette bitch he called a sister.
“Mr. Lyle,” one of the three men spoke quietly, “please step into the light.” Lyle did so, moving into the bright pool of light in the center of the room. Around him he noticed only shadows, no other people visible except for the three men in front of him seated behind a table. They were visible only in silhouette. One man smoked; the other sipped a glass of water. The center man talked. “We have been told under good authority that you are trustworthy.” Lyle nodded. “Mr. Parker spoke very highly of you.” Another nod. “He informed us that you have some information vital to Centre security and…” he paused, “our interests.” The young man smiled.
“I have vital information concerning *both* our interests,” Lyle smiled widely.
Their lips parted briefly, both aiding the loss of his black, leather duster, which fell to the hard wood floor. The sound of water and leather on wood was quickly lost on both of them as they resumed the interrupted kiss. Miss Parker’s mind was humming just as much as her body.
“His trust will set you free.”
The words of her mother, from her latest vision danced through her mind. Instead of being cryptic, the words made sense, along with the whispering background voices she couldn’t discern before. As Jarod moved to explore her neck, she realized that those whispers were *his* voice. She could hear him—the pain, the anguish, the longing, the fear, the confusion, the loneliness, and all of them echoed within her. She could sense everything within him—it permeated his touch, his soul, and his very existence. How he wanted to take her pain away, how he wanted her, needed her…all spoken inaudibly within her mind. She lost herself in those whisperings, barely aware of him guiding her down the hallway toward the stairs.
Lyle handed over a yellow envelope, which the three men quickly opened and examined. Inside there were various papers, photos, and a DSA. The previously thumbless-now thumbless-again-man shifted his weight and took a breath before speaking.
“As you can read for yourself,” he began, “I have proof that Miss Parker has betrayed the Centre.” He surveyed the Triumvirate, gauging their response.
“Go on,” the center man urged.
“Last week, I intercepted an e-mail from Miss Parker,” Lyle said. “Broots obviously encrypted it, but we were able to crack the coded message using…various resources. The e-mail gave the location of Emily, Jarod’s sister.” The men stopped shuffling papers. The smoking man leaned forward, his wire-rimmed glasses reflecting a small amount of light, but not enough to discern his face.
“Are you suggesting that Miss Parker has aided in Jarod’s reunion with his sister?” he asked. Lyle smiled broadly.
“Yes,” he replied, then gestured to the other papers and the photos. “As you can see, she’s been doing this since her visit to the Island. Those papers a transcripts of conversations on her cell phone and the photos, well, I think they speak for themselves.” The men looked over the photos—images of Miss Parker and Jarod talking, running, and hiding from sweepers. The last photo was of particular interest, not for what the man and woman pictured were doing, looking through filing cabinets, but for the particular look on his face toward the woman—compassion or concern were understatements.
“I see,” the center man said.
Climbing the stairs was a less than graceful feat with each fighting for control over the other. With each step, however, Jarod was losing the battle, not over her, but over himself. Systematically, Miss Parker had always found a way to lower his senses. Like his black T-shirt on the bottom stair, she had long ago removed any formalities concerning her right to be involved with his life. He in turn promptly swept away her right to conceal her emotions around him, leaving them both exposed to each other.
The deepest battles were the not the vulnerabilities however, but the lessons they taught each other. He taught her about her past, her mother, her emotions. She in turn taught him the most illusive lesson of all, who he was. All his life, he was trained to pretend, to become anyone he wanted to be. Those answers about who he was and where he came from were ones he longed to know since he was a child, but secretly was terrified to learn. But tonight, with her eyes focused on his, strands of her hair tossed carelessly across her face as she reached for his belt, he didn’t want to be afraid anymore. Her smile, her kiss took away what fear remained. For the first night in his life, Jarod wanted only to be himself regardless of the lacking answers. None of that mattered now as the bedroom door shut behind them. He stopped pretending.
The Triumvirate settled back in their chairs after perusing the photos he brought with them. They all seemed to fold their hands in their laps and await his all-knowing answer to the problem at hand.
“What do you suggest we do?” the smoking man asked. Lyle offered his brightest smile.
“Nothing,” he replied. The three men remained motionless.
“Nothing?” one asked. Lyle relaxed, shifted his weight and then gestured with his hands.
“Jarod and Miss Parker have solved the problem for us,” he stated confidently.
“And how is that?” another man asked.
“They can give us the ultimate pretender,” Lyle said, the smile growing. “Raines has been trying for decades to perfect Jarod, but Jarod will never come back to the Centre. Ethan was an excellent, but failed attempt who turned into a psych case and Miss Parker was never properly trained.” He sighed. “As you all know, the situation gets more critical everyday that we bring the Pretender Project back to its former glory as soon as possible. By insuring that Miss Parker and Jarod’s child will take over the Centre—“
“And what makes you think that Miss Parker will give us the child?” the left man asked.
“We steal it,” Lyle replied. The center man leaned forward revealing his face.
“And how do we bring this child into existence?” Alex asked. Lyle smirked.
“Nature’s already seen to it,” he replied.
In a strange way, he enjoyed his job. He did after all get paid to watch two highly interesting albeit strange people go about their irregular lives, and tonight, they became lovers. Past the falling rain and through the window to the master bedroom of the brick mansion, he could still dimly see the outlines of two people, their hands entwined, making love amid the darkness. Even under such high magnification, the image almost looked…romantic. He smiled slightly as he pressed the button.
The more photos he produced for Lyle, the happier the ruthless man would be. Adjusting the focus, he zoomed in on her face. Although grainy, there was no mistaking the daughter of Catherine Parker in the obvious throes of passion. Next he focused on the man, making sure that his mole just to the left of his eye was clear.
Having completed his job for the evening, he lowered his camera, started his black sedan and drove to the Centre to develop the pictures.