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Chapter or Story Chapter or Story
Author's Note: Special thanks to Schuyler & Cheryl
The young woman stepped off the airplane, looking for the driver. Turning her head a sign caught her eye. 'Miss Parker,' it read.
She walked to the black luxurious limo. "The luggage is under the same name," she told the man who opened the door for her. He scurried off to collect it.
Parker leaned back against the smooth black leather seat, taking a deep breath. Deciding she was thirsty she reached for a bottle of Evian.
The gopher came back with her bags; he tossed them into the trunk. Then he tapped the window and the driver pulled away...
Jarod was pacing in the SIM Lab, waiting for Sydney to come in with his newest project. The sound of shouting voices drew on Jarod's curiosity; he crept silently towards the door. He heard Sydney and Mr Parker aruging. Jarod's ears perked at the subject of their disagreement: Miss Parker. Sydney believed that the Chairman should have brought the girl back to the Centre for her vacation, instead of sending her off to New York.
Jarod's heart raced. His longing to see Parker almost consumed him...He had to see her!
More shouts woke Jarod from his thoughts. Sydney and Mr Parker were still arguing, but this time it was about Sydney going to a weeklong pysch convention in Australia. Syd didn't want to go; he didn't want to leave Jarod. But Mr Parker ordered him to go anyway.
Almost jumping with happiness, Jarod heard the sound of footsteps, and he knew that Sydney would be in the Lab in a minute. He raced across the room and dropped into a chair just as Sydney entered. His last thoughts before he started the SIM were of Parker...
The words 'What took you so long,' greeted Parker as she walked into the suite.
"The plane was late, and the traffic was horrible."
"Well, I'm happy to see you; I still can't believe I'm in New York with you!" Heidi squealed.
"Better believe it! I'm getting a shower, then we'll go pick up some guys."
"Isn't it the other way around?" Heidi asked.
"Not when you're with me!"
Jarod smiled; his plan was going along smoothly. Sydney was gone, and Jarod was under the supervision of the Chairman. Who had promptly stuck him with Sweepers. Who, in turn, had turned him over to the techs. Jarod had spent hours infron of a laptop, reasearching routes to NYC.
When he found what he wanted, Jarod deleted the record of his searches. He then turned his attention to creating a false trail of cyber footprints.
Later that night, when he'd been returned to his room, Jarod knocked on the vent. He waited a few minutes, then popped the screws that he'd already loosened. Jarod jumped up, into the small square dark hole. He crawled forward a few feet, then turned and replaced the grate.
Ahead of him, Angelo's eyes shown like beacons in the inky darkness...
Jarod dropped out of the tunnel. A chainlink fence was in front of him. It was his last obstacle to overcome before he was free. He looked up at Angelo, who was sitting in the tunnel. 'Thank you, Angelo. Goodbye," Jarod told the empath. "You'd better go back so you don't get into trouble."
Jarod started toward the fence, while Angelo turned back.
He climbed the fence, the chains making foot and hand holds. Once he reached the top he jumped down and managed to land on his feet.
Jarod allowed himself one last look at the Centre. Angelo was already gone, the grate back in place. "Goodbye," he whispered again, to Angelo, to Sydney...
"Thanks!" Jarod called to the truck driver who dropped him off in front of the Hilton. He'd thumbed rides into NYC. Many truck drivers had been sympathetic when he told them that he was after his girlfriend. They'd given him a ride, advice, luck; some had given him money. One woman had even given him clothes of her sons'.
Jarod hoisted the backpack onto his shoulders. He hoped he looked just like any other kid...
Parker and Heidi had spent four of the best days in their lives. Until Heidi had gone home to her family, sick, both of them had been at the clubs every night, picking up guys.
Parker wished Heidi hadn't left, because she would have to spend the rest of her vacation, almost a month, alone. Oh well, there was no use in self-pity. Might as well do something.
The mall sounds pretty good, she thought. Pulling on a pair LEVI jeans and a tank, she grabbed her keys and left the room.
Once on the streets, Parker felt a bit better. She decided not to take a cab; it was a nice day. She could take a cut through Central Park.
Standing at the gates of Central Park was a ghost from her past. It couldn't be...Jarod?
Jarod couldn't believe his eyes...it was Parker. The very reason why he was here...and they'd found each other. He took a closer look; she was shocked to see him...
"Parker!" He called out. "It's Jarod."
"I know who it is. What are you doing here?"
Jarod gulped. "I came to see you."
"The Centre let you go?" She asked.
"Uhm… Not exactly."
Her eyes hardened. "You escaped? I can't believe it!"
Jarod smiled. "Yes, I escaped." This conversation wasn't going the right way at all! He'd better change the subject. "Are you happy to see me?
"Jarod...I was just surprised to see you." She paused, giving him an inspecting glance. "Well, you could use some better clothes. You look like a rat. Comon, we're goin to the mall."
Grinning, Jarod said, "Lead on."
Later that night, the two went back to Parker's motel. Jarod had had the best day of his life; they'd gone to the mall, a carnival, and then they had walked back to Central Park, to catch up on the years they had missed.
Jarod had been amazed at the different things Parker told him, they opened up to each other. Something they hadn't done for years, since Parker had left.
She told him how she had hated her father for sending her away; how she herself had wanted to escape. But, in time, Parker had adapted to being away. She'd come to like the freedom of living alone, the freedom of being away from the Centre.
Only one thing had been wrong. She missed Jarod.
Parker had thrown herself into everything, trying to lessen the ache she'd felt. She had almost succeeded. Almost. Jarod still occupied a part of her mind, something she could never block out totally.
When summer had come, and school had ended she'd fully expected to spend the time in the Centre, seeing her father seldomly. Instead Mr. Parker had sent her away again, to France.
It became a cycle. Parker spent fall, winter, and spring in one boarding school or another; the summer in a foreign country with a friend.
In turn, Jarod told her everything that had happened to him since she had left, which wasn't much. Simulations weren't that exciting.
At first, Jarod couldn't remember where he was. His surroundings were unfamiliar. Then he looked across the room and saw Parker lying on a bed, asleep. I still can't believe I'm here, with her. She's the one I love...I've loved her since that first day we met. But she was always kept away from me. Now though, she isn't...
He rose and smoothed back the royal blue comforter. Jarod crept silently towards the bathroom, not wanting to wake her. He closed the door and stepped into the shower.
The faint sounds of water awoke her fully; she'd just been dozing. Used to getting up early, she found it hard to sleep in for the first few days. The habit was slowly breaking itself, though.
Reaching for the phone, Parker dialed for room service. Flipping idly through the menu while waiting, she heard the water shut off. Jarod's muffled curse followed a few minutes later.
Jarod turned off the stream of water and reached for the towel. After drying himself off, he realized that he didn't have any clothes. "Damnit," he muttered. How could I have been so stupid? I can't believe I forgot to bring some clothes in with me... There was nothing he could do. Wrapping the towel around his waist, he left the bathroom and prepared himself for the laughter sure to come...
"I thought you were a genius." Parker said, giggling.
He didn't reply, though his face turned bright red. He only looked through the shopping bags that were the result of yesterday. Finding a blue shirt, boxers, and jeans he headed back to the bathroom to get dressed.
"Wait a second." Parker's horrified glance stopped him. "You aren't thinking of wearing that?"
How much of this could a guy take? First cracks about his mind, then his taste in clothes. "Yes I was," Jarod replied sharply.
"Not if you wanna go out with me today." Getting up, she walked over to the bags. Digging around, she came up with a pair of jeans. She handed them to Jarod. "Go put these on, and come back."
"With this shirt?" He asked, pointing to the blue shirt he'd found.
Rolling her eyes, she answered, "No. You need some help with style, Jar."
He walked to the bathroom; Parker continued to search. When Jarod came back she tossed him a bundle.
When he walked out for the third time, Jar was dressed in jeans, and an overly large teal shirt over a white muscle tank. "You are a dunce," Parker told him. "You aren't supposed to button the shirt!"
"Why is it so important about how I look?" He asked impatiently.
"Because," she said, fixing his shirt, "I like nice looking guys. There." Done for the moment with his clothes she kissed him...
Finding himself leaning into the kiss, Jarod felt as if he would never be happier. Everything was perfect...