Circus- A Valentine's Day Story by Miss Shannon
Story Notes:
Disclaimer: None of this is mine. Neither the lyrics used nor the characters messed with. :-)

Author’s Note: I came up with this idea while listening to Circus by Britney Spears. I guess I’m well too old to be a fan, but I like that song. It’s kinda catchy. So I found it interesting to work the whole lyrics into my story. It was quite a challenge. See whether you’ll find all the lines. :-) And don’t fear. I felt like writing but I didn’t feel up to facing all the drama that is Rain City. But the next chapter is already halfway finished. Well, I hope meanwhile you'll enjoy this little story!

Story by Miss Shannon

“What kind of circus is this?” Miss Parker asked, clearly annoyed and kicked one of heart-shaped pillows that littered the floor to emphasize her point. Broots looked around curiously, eager to take in the contents of the room Jarod had led them to this time. The walls were a kind of pink that threatened to hurt the eyes if stared at too long. The flowing white curtains that covered the huge windows helped, but not much. For the most part the room was dominated by a huge bed adorned with red silk sheets that clashed horribly with the walls and the pink heart shaped-pillows that seemed to be everywhere.

There were also more roses than the average first grader could have counted. Like the pillows, they were scattered all over the room by no recognizable pattern. It looked more like chaos than as if it had been given thought to. The floor was a fluffy white carpet into which his trainers had sunk almost immediately. Miss Parker stalked the room, her notoriously high heels catching in the carpet now and again. Sydney had remained standing by the door, amused as usual. Broots often wondered how he kept his calm around Miss Parker who was especially mean-spirited today.

When he’d tried to tell her the hilarious joke he had heard from an accountant named Edna who worked in the Centre as well, she had just given him a very dark look and had explained to him in a fake-bored voice that actually just conveyed a truckload of dark sarcasm: “Broots. There’s only two types of people in the world. The ones that entertain and the ones that observe. You are the latter. Don’t try to change it, or things will get ugly.”

She had left it at that and he had turned away feeling hurt although after working with her for such a long time, he should have been used to it. Sometimes he thought she’d make a pretty good Dr. Cox on the TV-show "Scrubs" since her insults were always quite elaborate. He wondered whether she made them up along the way or thought of them earlier and just delivered them at the right moment...

“I don’t see how this is going to make us find Jarod,” Miss Parker stated, getting more annoyed by the minute. She walked across the room again and picked up one of the champagne glasses that sat next to a cooler and the bottle. She poured herself a generous glass and downed it in one go, setting it down hard on the bedside table again. Broots had to admit the gesture had looked pretty cool.

Miss Parker ripped open the bathroom door and froze, raising an eyebrow in obvious disgust.

“Now this is repulsive,” she spat and Broots leaned over her shoulder to find his eyes hurt by a bathroom entirely done with screeching pink tiles. The bathtub had been filled with pink foam that bubbled over the side of it. On top of it were rose petals.

“I better stay here since I feel like I am going to be sick,” Miss Parker stated and went backwards, of course bumping into Broots who had been lost in thought wondering not for the first time just what it was that made her hair smell so good.

She gave him a death glare and growled: “If not for your daughter, I wouldn’t be able to believe you’ve ever had sex.”

Broots was too embarrassed to object and followed her out into the hallway, a chuckling Sydney in tow. Did he ever to anything else these days than grinning to himself? Broots really wondered whether he and Miss Parker were that much fun to watch. It definitely wasn’t much fun to be him. Maybe it was fun to be Miss Parker?

Right now Miss Parker would have rather stuck her head in a bear-trap than chase after Jarod on Valentine’s day. Not that she’d had a date or any cards to read - except for the anonymous one that was sitting on her desk every year, but heck she knew it was from Broots- but in all her carefully built-up hatred for a day that had been invented simply for the purpose of selling more chocolate and gift-cards, she’d rather be at home, drowning her sorrows in scotch. And she’d like to be in her bathtub in her lovely neutral bathroom. Without rose petals, without pink and without the overwhelmingly sweet scent of roses, chocolate and vanilla, all in one nauseating mix.

But no. She was here in Las Vegas, chasing after Jarod and if it went on as fruitlessly as this, she wouldn’t be able to catch a flight home tonight.

She couldn’t decide whether she should go on torturing Broots a little further or wiping the grin of Sydney’s visage.

“Miss Parker,” Sydney’s calm voice spoke from behind her and she turned around and looked at him menacingly. “What. Is. It.” She said, emphasizing every word.

“I found this on the table besides the door.”

She snatched the three cinema-tickets from him and groaned when she read the title of the film.

“I’ve seen that cinema when we came here,” he said. “It’s only ten minutes from here.”

“Well we’ll have to stop at a liquor store, Broots. It’s Twilight.”

They walked towards the car, a complaining Parker in tow. Jarod had been executing an elaborate kind of goose chase through the city and they had started out at the airport where they’d had returned the paperback-novel he’d initially sent them with the sales slip and received another one in return. It had contained directions that had led them to a gift shop where a life-sized cardboard Jarod had been greeting them from the shop window. Inside a woman that Miss Parker was sure was on some level sanity-challenged had told them to drive to the hotel and handed them a key to room number 203 that they had found in the condition described above. The old bat had also looked Miss Parker up and down and nodded approvingly. “Jarod told me you were a hottie.” Miss Parker’s reaction had been a choke, but the woman had gone on unaware: “Well, the way you came in here I can understand he talked about you like you were a Hollywood star.”

Miss Parker couldn’t quite believe that Jarod had actually not made fun of her for once but opted to praise her abilities in front of anyone. Still she felt a little mollified: “Well baby, I’m a put-a-show-on kinda girl,” she said and shrugged, feeling foolish the same instant. Nobody but her seemed to have noticed her slip anyway since Broots was his usual terrified self and Sydney looked like something between disapproving and -of course- amused.

Sydney was brave enough to extent his hand for the car-keys when they reached the rental. Miss Parker cocked an eyebrow at him.

“You shouldn’t drive, Miss Parker since you drank alcohol.”

She looked mutinous but handed him the keys, then glared at Broots: “Don’t like the backseat,” she warned, then sat down in the passengers-seat next to Sydney.

The drive was indeed short, but Miss Parker’s increased groaning put quite a strain on the relations of Jarod’s hunting team. Finally after five minutes of angry murmuring and cursing Jarod coming from Miss Parker, Broots gathered up the courage to ask:

“What’s so bad about that movie? Debbie’s seen it and she loved...”

Miss Parker turned around with an evil stare in her face, although on some level he knew she was thankful that he once again provided an outlet for her fury or whatever she was feeling. Sometimes Broots wondered whether something else was also part of her strong reactions to Jarod.

“Broots. It’s a chick-flick. That guy’s a vampire and... have you seen the trailer? You’re incredibly fast, you don’t eat or drink anything, your skin is really cold and pale...” she said in a mock voice.

“Sounds a bit like you,” Sydney chuckled which put a stop to her rambling. She folded her arms in front of her chest and stared through the windscreen. “I would really like to be a vampire,” she told Sydney for the sake of it. “I’d bite Jarod and have him bleed to death slowly.”

“Or he would become an immortal vampire, too and you two would be stuck with each other for eternity,” Broots said but regretted it immediately when Miss Parker’s lipstick came flying at him.

Two hours later a pale Miss Parker stumbled out of the movie theater, a grinning Sydney and a Broots in tow who was desperately trying to hide his laughter.

“He actually made us sit through that whole damn movie!” she hissed.

Indeed Jarod had only inserted a few lines at the very end of the credits that simply said “To Club Nighthawks. Gotta be first. :-)”.

Miss Parker did look murderous when she walked out of the building ahead of the others.

“At least we’re going to a club,” Miss Parker said, back in the car. “They’re bound to have alcohol there.”

“I wish you wouldn’t drink so much alcohol, Miss Parker,” Sydney said in a concerned voice. Broots was about to run a bet with himself just how long it would take for his stoic behavior to make Miss Parker explode but she just closed her eyes and slapped her hand to her forehead. She remained like that until they pulled up in front of the club. The movie seemed to have really done it to her.

The “Nighthawks” was located in the basement of a stylish building right at the edge of downtown. They waited in line behind a crowds of already tipsy college-students of which one was stared down by Miss Parker after he had dared to look at her legs for too long. When they finally arrived at the door, the doorman nodded towards Miss Parker who was dressed in a short black skirt and a low-cut red top under her blazer, but put his hand on Broots’ chest as he tried to pass. Broots stopped in his tracks, quite used to this kind of treatment.

“What?” he asked, tired.

“I'm like the ringleader, I call the shots round here,” the guy said with arrogance seeping his low voice. “And you’re not going in.”

Broots looked down at himself and found dirty trainers, jeans and a shirt that had been white before Debbie had washed it with her red scarf.

“But...” he began, but the guy shook his head and sneered at Sydney. “Oh my. The lady seems to have to spend her evening without you. It is a young and fashionable crowd in there. You’re both out.”

Broots and Sydney looked at Miss Parker who shrugged, not visibly upset by the refusal since she was probably looking forward to downing a few Gin Tonics without Sydney looking on either amused or disapproving. She threw her coat and scarf at Broots.

“Well, I’ll see you later, guys. Get yourself some doughnuts and stake out in the car. I’ll get back to you.”

Broots watched her vanish down the stairs and didn’t know whether he should be disappointed or relieved not to find out whether she would be dancing or not.

Miss Parker entered the club and was impressed besides herself. The walls and ceiling were a sparkly blue that reflected cleverly placed spot-lights which gave the room an airy science-fiction look. For eleven o’clock a lot of people were already on the dancefloor and there was a vacant stool at the bar that seemed to be waiting for her. She also liked the music that seemed to be of popular songs mixed with house-beats. She sat down at the bar and ordered a glass of champagne from the barkeeper, telling him -just to try- that it was on Jarod. The man nodded obligingly.

“So you’re Princess Beautiful,” he said.

“Princess what?” she almost spit her champagne across the bar at his comment.

“That’s what he called you. Kept going on about how beautiful you were and how all the men kept staring at you. I get it now. Always thought he was exaggerating.”

Miss Parker for once was speechless. Just like the woman in the shop, this man had obviously been told about dubious qualities Jarod deemed her to possess.

“Is he here tonight?” Miss Parker asked with sudden urgency and it must have been showing in her eyes, too, because the barkeeper was grinning already.

“Soon will be, honey. Wow, you must have the hots for him.”

She smiled a predatory smile at the thought of what she would be doing to him if he dared to show up. Unfortunately she’d had to leave her weapon in the car because walking into a club, armed, didn’t seem to be such a good idea and her outfit didn’t leave much space to hide the gun.

“I’m like a fire cracker,” she leaned over the bar and winked. “I make it hot.”

“Man, don’t tell me these things. My girlfriend’s away for the weekend and I feel rather...” Miss Parker held up a silencing hand before he could continue: “Too much information.”

“No one ever listens when I put on a show,” he smiled and hurried away to take an order at the other side of the bar and Miss Parker sipped her champagne, turning towards the dancefloor to observe people’s faces. Did these people, she wondered, even suspect how stupid most of them looked? A group of girls was acting out the lyrics of the song playing which looked particularly stupid with the line “I feel the adrenaline moving through my veins” because they shook as if electricity was going through them instead of poor innocent adrenaline.

Miss Parker didn’t have a desire to throw her thirty-something body between all the college students that were barely out of her teens. She wasn’t by far the oldest person here, but it didn’t feel right to start dancing right now. Her colleagues probably didn’t suspect her, but she loved to dance. And she wasn’t talking about the ballet lessons she had been taking when she was little. Back at college in Rome in had been “spotlight on me and I'm ready to break”. She remembered fondly the nights she had spent dancing with a group of guys. Probably half of them had been in love with her then, but they’d been a good crowd to go partying with. Later she had stopped going out to achieve the grades she needed to go to law-school, but there she’d gained herself the questionable nickname “energizer bunny” for she was still dancing on the high heels she’d been wearing even then when everybody else was exhausted.

“I'm like a performer, the dance floor is my stage” a female voice came from the speakers and the crowd of girls tried once again unsuccessfully to put the lyrics into action. It was pathetic, really, but Miss Parker enjoyed herself more than she had thought possible already.

She ordered another champagne from the abstinent waiter and turned back around. The floor was even more crowded now, the group of students had vanished which led her attention towards the DJ set that was mounted up on a platform slightly above the ground. A flight of stairs led upwards that were just climbed by a tall man who looked remotely familiar. Miss Parker was in alert mode immediately. Her earlier annoyance was forgotten with the soothing taste of champagne in her mouth and the surges of excitement in her stomach.

“Better be ready!” the guy at the DJ-set yelled through a microphone. He had a melodic Italian accent that struck Miss Parker as very fitting with her earlier reminiscence of her days in Rome: “Better be ready! Here’s Jay! I sure am excited. Hope that ya feel the same!”

Lame, Miss Parker thought. Although it still sounded good with that accent.

Jarod took position and began to play a song. Miss Parker felt laughter bubbling up inside her and it mixed very well with the champagne and her huntress’ instinct. She felt almost elated and she had to admit beside the fact that she found the idea of Jarod as a DJ both strangely amusing and pathetic, he looked kind of sexy up there. Of course he was aware of her presence. Maybe he wasn’t sure from where exactly she was watching, but he was probably thinking all eyes on me in the centre of the ring. Oh and he would be in the Centre alright as soon as she had caught him. Of course she was aware of the fact that this was just like a circus, one of his games he played with her and he made her jump like a trained animal, but this time she wouldn’t let him get away.

“When I crack that whip, everybody gonna trip!” Jarod yelled into the microphone and it seemed that it wasn’t his first time in this place because everybody seemed to know what he meant and pretended to trip, then cheered. It looked faintly ridiculous but showed Miss Parker that Jarod had his crowd under control. Just like a circus... she repeated her earlier thought, shaking her head slightly. He was always so intent on helping people and being a good Samaritan, but this time he might have just chosen the job for fun. She didn’t begrudge it, since it would be his last job in freedom.

She downed the rest of her champagne and walked over to the DJ set. Jarod was bending over it slightly, apparently completely absorbed in his music. Stupid of him. What had she told Sydney a while ago? It was always the smart ones that did stupid things.

She wriggled through the dancing teenagers and approached Jarod quickly. Just when she was about to hurry up the stairs, a man grabbed her arm and stared at her in silent admonishment. “Don’t stand there watching me, let go off my arm!” she hissed, but he refused.

“You can’t go up there, lady.” It was the DJ with the Italian accent.

She was up in his face immediately. “And why can’t I?”

“You think you’re the first groupie who wants to get to Jarod?”

“Groupie?!” Her voice had risen several octaves when it dawned on her.

“Oh my I am not a groupie!” she hurried to explain, horrified at the thought that somebody might think she was lusting after Jarod from afar. “I’m going up there because I have to talk to him.”

“That’s what they all say,” the man said, unmoved and when she gave him a sardonic smile, frowned. “Wait... are you Miss Parker?”

For the third time that day Miss Parker was stunned. It was getting old and annoying, because she hated to feel helpless.

“Yes. Why?” she asked, too surprised to make herself sound irritable.

“He told me about you. It’s about time you showed up! I didn’t recognize it was you right away, since Jarod just kept going on about your beautiful smile. You weren’t really friendly but I understand what he meant.”

Miss Parker’s felt like her eyes must be bulging out of her face. What the heck was going on here?! Had Jarod finally lost his sanity? Was he up there kicking the beat while having become completely nuts? That would certainly explain the hideous hotel room. Maybe he was living there, sitting on his bed every night swaying back and forth like a madman...

“Follow me,” he said and gestured towards the stairs. “I’ll take you to him.”

Maybe it was easier to catch Jarod when he had lost his mind?

She climbed the steep stairs as elegantly as she could in her high heels.

“Show me what you can do!” Jarod was just telling the crowd when the man approached him and touched his shoulder, then leaned into him to tell him something. Jarod smiled and turned around, leaving the set to him, stepping back. The crowd howled with disappointment, but Jarod ignored them and walked towards Miss Parker. The grin all over his face was far too much like him to be caused by insanity and Miss Parker buried her hopes of being able to just lead him out and shove him into the car to get him back to the Centre.

“Well, hello.” He smiled at her and looked her up and down appreciatively. “You look fantastic.”

Okay, she didn’t know who this man was and what he had done to Jarod.

“You sent me into a screening of some sappy vampire movie, have me hurt my eyes with that hotel room and have random people passing compliments on from you to me and all you have to say is this?”

He looked amused at her outburst. “I gather it’s been a tough day. I liked the movie, though.”

“Yeah, those heroics must exactly be what pushes your buttons.”

“I was more interested in whether evil is pure evil and whether you can be dangerous and a killer and a loving person at the same time.”

“Oh Jarod, go somewhere and talk to somebody who’s actually interested in that kind of crap.”

Jarod took her hand. “Stop that. I didn’t invite you here to argue.”

“Invite me? That’s a nice way to put it...” she growled, but felt her irritation ebb away already. He looked far too good in his dark jeans, black shirt and faded leather jacket. His hair was ruffled and she felt the sudden need to just grab him.

“It’s Valentine’s Day, Miss Parker.”

“As if anyone could forget that commercial bullshit...”

“Actually Valentine’s Day is derived from a poem called Parlement of Foules written back in 1381 by a man named Geoffrey Chaucer in honor of the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England and Anne of Bohemia,” Jarod said honestly.

“Thanks for the history lesson,” she snapped.

“It’s an old thing from back when people weren’t that commercial-minded. It’s also mentioned in Hamlet.”

Miss Parker couldn’t help but drop her mean stare and just look at him, baffled once more.

“So?” she asked, curious where this was heading.

“Well since my research has turned up that Valentine’s Day has been an old tradition and that it has not only been invented to keep the florist’s business up and running, I thought I might treat you to a night out and ask you to be my Valentine.”

Miss Parker was far too busy wondering whether she was in some very strange dream to answer and Jarod touched her shoulder: “You don’t have to answer right away.”

She watched him say goodbye to the other DJ and head back over towards her. He took her arm and she felt laughter bubbling up inside her again. Maybe it was the champagne on an empty stomach, maybe it was the sheer ridiculousness of the situation, but she let Jarod take her to the exit at the back.

“Just like a circus...” she thought once again, shaking her head at the absurdity. If she only had her gun with her. A taxi was already waiting for them, which made Miss Parker painfully aware of what little control she had over the situation.

“I thought we might spend an evening in a relaxed situation. Just you and me, all that Centre and chasing stuff put aside.”

“So you think that is possible?”

“We’re in Vegas. Everything’s possible.” He leaned into her and the scent of his after shave invaded her nostrils, leaving her with the desire to just lean back and pull him on top of her.

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

“Stay away from me. I can’t resist if a man smells good.”


Miss Parker looked at Jarod laughing and realized that she had in fact said it.

“Who said you were meant to resist?”

Damn him!

They pulled up in front of a tall building a moment later and Jarod helped her out of the car and stirred her into the direction of the entrance. The entrance hall was vast and empty and Jarod headed directly to the set of elevators at the other end of the room.

They rode up in silence, Miss Parker taking occasional glances in his direction. Finally the elevator stopped and they stepped out into the night. They were on top of the building which was completely covered in white tiles. There was a pool to their left which was illuminated and glittered mysteriously in the light of underwater spotlights.

There was a table set for two next to it and few cleverly placed rose petals were on the floor. It was very unlike the horrible room in the hotel, Miss Parker noticed.

“You’re really going to pull this off!” Miss Parker murmured and looked at his extended hand in shock before she hesitantly took it. His hand felt good in hers and she found herself suddenly short of breath. This was the exact opposite of what she had expected of this night. Maybe a helicopter would come and take him away, leaving her alone and embarrassed.

Right now, honestly, it didn’t look as if that was going to happen.

He led her towards the table and touched her hand with his lips before he pulled the chair out for her. Strangely enough, his actions could have been from a bad movie, but were actually romantic. Miss Parker sat down across from and watched him pour more champagne. They ate the light meal in silence and she wouldn’t have been able to tell what it had been later. There was a heater next to their table so she didn’t even get cold. Or maybe it was the tingle that had taken possession of her whole body.

“Would you care to dance?” Jarod asked, holding his hand out for her once again. She tried to come up with an insult to throw at him, but short of that, she had to give in and follow him. There was no music, but Jarod began to sway slowly and she found herself engulfed in sudden bliss that she had been missing for years. In all those years when she had been dancing with her pals, admired by every guy and envied by every girl in the club, she had never danced slowly.

She leaned her head against Jarod’s shoulder and was once again faced with the mingling smells of his aftershave and the leather of his jacket. Why did it affect her so much, damn it? Maybe she would just have to give in and arrange herself with the fact that the barkeeper had been right. She did have the hots for Jarod. And not since yesterday.

And here they were, in an impossible scenario: On a roof in the middle of February, dancing under the stars in each others arms next to a very promising pool... yes.... She somehow had to stop this madness and regain control. Maybe there wasn’t any other way. She pulled Jarod towards her and momentarily took the lead to turn them around. Jarod gave her a knowing smile that nearly made her knees buckle.

Concentrate, Parker.

Before Jarod knew what had happened, she had thrown him in pool, but she had classically underestimated his reactions and found herself grabbed by the arm and pulled into the water with him. They came up snorting water and looked at each other:

“What is it with you, Parker?” Jarod asked, shaking his wet head. “I was trying for a romantic date with you and you throw me in the pool?”

“There's only two types of guys out there, the ones that can hang with me and ones that are scared,” she explained to him, treading water.

“You are completely crazy,” Jarod stated.

“I was thinking the exact same about you,” she replied, somewhat happy with the situation. She wouldn’t have been able to stand the tension between them and the romantic setting that seemed to only be able to lead into one particular direction any longer.

“I actually had sex in a pool once,” Jarod mused, looking around them as if there was anything to see.

Miss Parker burst out laughing. “Me too!”

Jarod started laughing too and they couldn’t stop until they were clinging to each other.

“I don’t understand the whole concept of Valentine’s Day, really,” Miss Parker finally confessed. “It’s just like any other day.”

“Not really,” usually cocky Jarod suddenly sounded almost shy.

“What?” she reacted with her usual vigor.

“Well it was the only day that I dared to ask you out.”

“You didn’t ask me out, you practically abducted me. So baby, I hope you came prepared.”

He cocked his head. “Prepared?”

“I’m known to put on a fight,” she said, but it sounded like a promise rather than a threat. She pulled herself towards him in one swift motion and began to kiss him. After a while they broke apart and Jarod grinned. He couldn’t quite keep the dreaminess he knew Miss Parker would despise out of his words: “There’s a pool house. Why don’t we go over there before we freeze to death out here?”

They got out of the water, maybe anything but a stunning sight since their clothes were soaked and Jarod even once fell back into the water.

Back inside they quickly got rid of their wet clothes and wrapped themselves in towels, then sat down next to each other on the sofa that stood in one corner, facing the huge windows that overlooked the city. When Jarod leaned over and resumed their earlier kiss, Miss Parker was glad the smell of the chlorine from the pool water masked his after shave, so that she did not completely lose it.

“Is this about love?” she whispered when they broke apart.

“It doesn’t have to be yet, as long as you agree to being my Valentine.”

She smiled, catching the implications. “I would be honored.”

And she was his Valentine that night. Three times.

Broots was pretty sure his feet were frozen and his stomach grumbled almost loudly enough to tune out Sydney’s snoring. The club had closed down two hours ago, he had found out on one of his walks in order to unfreeze his feet. They had so far all been unsuccessful.

The first time he had been faced with the doorman again who had pointed his forefinger at him: “I run a tight ship, so beware!” Broots had just shrugged and taken off again. Where was Miss Parker? Had she found Jarod and just taken him back to Centre to punish them from keeping her from leaving the cinema during Twilight? Broots actually felt a little scared thinking of Vampires at seven in the morning in some godforsaken part of town. Maybe something had happened to her?

But there she was! She appeared in the light of a street lamp, accompanied by a tall man. She glanced over at the car nervously so Broots quickly dropped his head, trying to look asleep. She didn’t seem to be very cautious because she bought it and turned back to the man and kissed him hungrily. Oh what Broots would have given if he could have.... no, don’t go there!

She whispered something in the man's ear and they both chuckled, then she walked toward the car while he held on to her hand until she was out of reach. Very romantic. Stop! He saw the longing gaze in the man’s face and realized that it was none other than the Pretender. His first impulse was to jump out of the car and tackle him (as if he had been able to), but then he stopped himself. This was far too interesting!

When Miss Parker arrived at the car, she was her irritable self again and “woke” him unceremoniously, hitting him with a heart-shaped box of chocolates.

“Got distracted?” Broots couldn’t keep himself from asking.

“Jarod got away”, she said simply. “Let’s drive back to the hotel.”

Broots turned around and halted. “Uhm... Miss Parker... You’re....”

Her hair was wet, her make-up was smudged and her clothes were clinging to her body.

“I don’t want to talk about it. Sydney! Wake up!”

She hit his shoulder and while the psychiatrist was still slightly disorientated and only slowly came to, Broots asked casually: “How did Jarod get away?”

Miss Parker snorted. “He was lucky once again.”

“Or did he get lucky this time?” Broots asked and Miss Parker gave him a stare vicious enough to make him forget immediately what he had seen.

When Sydney was finally awake enough to drive them back, Miss Parker leaned back in her seat and watched the streets pass by outside. A disbelieving smile crept up in her face and she was startled out of her thoughts by the sound of an incoming text message. She wrestled her blackberry out of her handbag and read: “I would be honored if you went on chasing me so we could get together again soon. And tell Broots to shut up about it. ;-) I fear this is actually about love, J.”

She smiled to herself and pressed the blackberry against her chest for no particular purpose.

“You bet on it, Jarod,” she murmured to herself. “You bet.”

The End

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