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Authors note: This is from miss Parker's POV, if anyone was wondering...It's also my first posted fic, so be gentle. Keep in mind that English is my second-language. :-) This is one of the sticky sweet stories, with a little angst in between, so if you don't like that, don't read it. Feedback is craved!
It had been so long...So unbelievable, unforgetable long.
And now I just can't believe I am back. Home. It's so grey and boring here--was it always? Certainly a lot different than my boarding school. Everything doesn't seem as big and terrifying anymore. Ok, scary, yes. Terrifying, no. I can learn to live here.
The hallways are painted in dull gray. Why am I not surprised? If they could, they'd probably drain the color of their sweepers faces too, just to make them go with the walls. The dull, gray, silent, soulless walls. And the worst part is that most of these walls are dead ends. I never found out why. The only way to not get lost, is to follow the white lights. Like sheep, or ants, obeying orders.
There's only one place I know them to use a yellow lightbulb instead of a white one , and it's the Simlab. As a matter of fact, I'm heading there this very second. It's so nice there, compared to the rest of this hellhole. So light, so warm.. I don't know why, but I've always liked the Simlab better than my father's office. Maybe, because daddy is always absent. Totally different from where I'm heading. Sydney is always in the Simlab.
I think the Tower intentionally made this hallway look so ...dead. It only makes the Simlab so more glowing. Like God's light are to the dead, I guess.
"Hello?" I ask, as I approach my goal. The place is big, (And I mean BIG) so they should be able to hear me, or my echoes, and get done with Jarods SIM.
"Miss Parker?" Sydney asked, almost choked. I guess he didn't expect me to come home for christmas this year either. My Daddy would have reacted that way, if he was in his office. I hope.
"Syd!" I greet him with my biggest smile and open arms. He, of all people, deserves it. He picks me up in his arms for a bearhug, even though I'm 16, for crying out loud! Way too old to be lifted like a simple 5-year old. Still, I welcome it. Hugs has been a long lost luxury of mine.
"You're back," he confirmed as he let go of me. "And what have you done to your hair?" I felt a little pride well up. I had used the last days in Paris to get my hair curled -not very much, just for the holidays-, and shopped new clothes, and began with make-up. I had even used nail-polish. Oceanblue, like my eyes. And if my memory serves me right, Jarods favorite color. At least, that's what he told me.
"Do you like it?" I ask hopefully.
"You look so much like Catherine, when she was young." he said breathlessly. I couldn't be prouder. It was probably the nicest thing anyone ever said to me.
"Thank you, Da..Sydney," I catch myself before I say what I really want to say. Why couldn't Sydney be my father? It would've saved me a lot of pain.
What am I saying? It was just a slip of the tongue, just a mistake, just a wish.. I love my own father. Really.
"How is Jarod?" I asked. Sydney looked over his shoulder, as if he thought Jarod wasn't there. Then he looked at me with a glimmer in his eye. A manilla folder travelled from his hands to mine. He grinned this smile of his and put his index finger to his lips and made a hushing sound. The folder I held in my hands contained the SIM Jarod was working on.
"Don't tell anyone I gave it to you." He whispered. A typical SIM, I guessed as I read some of the contents. Jarod was supposed to be a una-bomber. 'How not-fitting.' I thought 'Jarod is too good for that.' Or maybe he has changed? I hope not, I adored him when he was shy and gentle. I wish I could check him out for myself. Honestly, how much could he have changed?
"I'll be leaving now," Sydney said, as if he was reading my most private thoughts. "Watch Jarod for me." I couldn't help but grin. A shocked grin, but a grin nonetheless.
"I will," I smiled and put the folder down. Jarod was sitting inside the SIM-bubble, totally oblivious to his environment. He sat in a position that reminded of meditating.
I closed the distance between us. What a rush I got from being near him, without him knowing. The only thing between us was that damn glass-wall. He was so beautiful. With a thin sheet of sweat on his forehead, and a slightly tanned skin. His hair had the same cut -which surprised me- but it only made him look cuter. He frowned and opened his eyes, -which I already knew to be chocolate brown-, and his long, dark eyelashes made his dark eyes seem deeper. They were blank with..Tears?
He had a dead, miserable look in those breathtaking eyes of his. He didn't seem to know who I was, even though he stared right at me. Hell, he didn't know who he was either. Was he in pain? He looked like a lost puppy and my protective instinct kicked in. I couldn't help myself, if he needed some comfort, I could give it. Damn all those hidden cameraes.
He wiped away some tears and looked at the desk on the other side of the room, in my opposite direction. My hand acted on it's own and landed onto the cold glass, like it wanted to say 'Hey, I'm here'. My ring hit extra hard. The glass didn't break, thank god, but it made a remarkable thud, at least loud enough to jerk him out of his little pretend and look thoroughly confused, partly because he recognized me but mostly because he didn't believe what he saw.
He put his hands on top of mine. Even though, I know I shouldn't be able to feel him through the glass, I did. It was electricity.
"Miss Parker?" he asked, with a child's vocabulary. He steadied himself with putting both hands on the glass. He tried to sit up-right, not a second breaking the eye contact. "Is that really you?" his voice sounded strange due to the glasswall, and to a puberty passed years ago. Years I had missed.
I couldn't have answered even if I wanted to, my voice was gone, my throath was dry. All I could do was nod, and hope my sheepish grin wasn't to obvious.
He looked so happy. I had never seen him so playful and hopeful and so ..lovable. He pushed his face up against the glass to get closer. His nose was flattened to the unrecognizable, and he looked funny in this adorable way. Not that I really noticed. My focus was on the single tear that still glided down his cheek. He grinned.
How could he look so sad and happy at the same time?
"How do you open this?" I said, indicating his glass-bulb-cage. He grinned and lifted the top and climbed out.
Now I could truly see what I had missed. He was taller than me, and had gotten more muscular. His chest was much, much broader. Everything had changed, to the better, I realized when he smiled and I saw his dimples.
How was I supposed to be able to boss him around now? All he needed to do was to pick me up and throw me away. When we were kids I at least had a 50-50 chance.
He walked around me, noticing how I'd changed. When he got into view again he took my hand. It was warm and the single touch made my skin tingle. "I've missed you," he murmured.
"Jarod? Miss Parker?!" Sydney called as he entered the room. I jumped away from Jarod as if I were burned. I knew without looking that Jarod felt hurt by my behaviour, but I couldn't risk being caught with him.
"Yes, Sydney?" I asked casually, pushing some hair behind my ear. I could hear that Jarod cleared his throath. Even as a child, it was easy to see when he felt he had done something he shouldn't. He was never good in hiding things. He looked down, guiltingly. But I was a master in this game. I guess practice makes perfect. Daddy would've been proud.
"Mr. Parker is waiting for you in SL-14," Sydney said, smiling. He'd probably seen Jarods reaction and guessed everything. Damn. Still, I couldn't help but to smile, after all I would finally see my father again.
"Fine," I said, and strode past Sydney, to get to the exit. When I reached the door, I hestitated and turned around. Where was I supposed to go to get to SL-14?
"Sydney--" I asked slowly. He turned away from Jarod and looked at me. I felt uncomfortable not knowing my way around, but I hadn't been home in a long time.
"You do know where to go?" he asked in his Belgian accented voice. I shook my head.
"Jarod, show miss Parker where the elevator is." he said firmly, as if Jarod had no other choice than to obey. There was an intelligent amusement in his eyes, as he walked up to Sydney, murmured something, I couldn't quite grasp. When he saw I was watching, he straightened and elegantly walked over to me, offering his hand. Sydney watched us, with his indexfinger on his chin. He probably tried to know what we were thinking.
I don't know why, maybe it was the fact that Sydney was in the room, maybe it was the smug look on Jarods face, but I couldn't take his hand.
Something inside forbid me.
So I just stared at him, waiting until he lowered his hand again. I wanted to cry in frustration. Why couldn't I just follow my heart?
"Show me the way, Wonderboy." I said, nonchalantly. That was the first time I'd ever used a nick-name on him. He looked shocked, confused and hurt.
"This way," he said, and we walked out of the Simlab. The minute we were out, he stopped my by grabbing my shoulder and turning me around.
"What was that all about?" he asked, almost angry. "Why did you treat me like I wasn't a human being, just a lab rat?" his voice was wavering, unsure if he wanted the answer. He had doubt in me. I could literally see the hope die in his eyes.
"My father is waiting, Jarod." was all I could say, even though I *knew* it was the wrong thing. I knew it, and still didn't try to fix it. When the words left my mouth they sounded cold, hard and I wanted to take them back. My eyes had begun to get misty with tears. I hope he didn't see them. His grip tightened, bruises formed on my arm.
"Jarod, you're hurting me." I said, surprised. Even though I was hurting him in a more serious way. He glared at me, consentrating on something beyond my understanding.
"Why do you try to be like him?" he said, disgusted by his new discovery. The worst part was that he was right, and he knew it. He let go of my arm, like it was something the cat brought in.
"How did you--" I asked breathlessly, before reality slapped me in the face. "You pretended to be me?" I cried i fury, how dared he? He had no right! He was not supposed to know my most secret thoughts.
" You f***ing bastard!" I screamed and hit him with my fists over and over. He just stood there, like he allowed it. I didn't realize until later, that my unshed tears had been shed and my attempt to get him to a hospital bed only tired me out, not causing any serious damage. When he though I was worn out, he took a hold on my wrists and pulled me over to his chest and hugged me gently. Then he stroke my messy hair, while he whispered soothing words in my ear.
"It's okay, I just had to know," he whispered. I cried silently, soaking his shirt. " I was afraid it wasn't just an act. That you had turned out to be like your father instead of your mother."
And in a way, he promised without words, that he would never allow it to happen. He kissed the top of my forehead.
"But now I know the truth, and nothing will change that. Come on, let's find that elevator," he said tenderly, all bad feelings gone. I had been forgiven. His soft hand wiped away my remaining tears. He was the only one that knew the real me.
He offered his hand, and I took it. The hallway didn't seem as dark and scary anymore. It felt home, as long as he was with me. We walked down the corridor, silent, like to akward teenagers.
Well, we were.
"Jarod?" I asked, deciding to break the silence.
"Why were you crying, during your SIM?" He stopped.
"The man I was... He killed many people." He confessed, the pained look returning. "He used to send them mail-bombs, and then, if he could, he would watch the result.. From far away of course. And this time it was a woman with a baby. A little baby boy.." his voice trailed of and his eyes glittered with tears again.
I wrapped my arms around his torso and pulled him close. He was genuinely sad about this simulation. He looked confused, because I've embraced him. If I knew the Centre right, physical contact wasn't encouraged. But I needed this. And so did he.
When he broke the contact, he took my hand again and walked up to the elevator. I couldn't breathe. I hated elevators. They scared the life out of me ever since my mother died in one.
"Jarod, where's the stairs?" I ask, my voice almost not audible.
"They're far away from here, I thought you wanted the elevators."
"Not anymore," I say, just as the elevator door opens. I started to walk away, but then Jarod lifted me up by the waist and carried me into the elevator. Trapped. He only wanted to tease me, I knew, but this was my constant nightmare. And as the doors closed, I could see that he understood what he had done. He actually tried to open the doors again, to save me. It wasn't enough.
"I won't forgive you for this Jarod!" I growled at him. Terror slowly entered my mind, making it hard to breathe. I relived my mothers death in my mind. I hid my face in my palms.
16 years later
The ring of the phone broke the fragile silence in my home. I got up from my couch and absentmindly picked it up.
"What?" I ask, as if I could care less. If Daddy don't show up in 10 minutes, all the food I made will be ruined. Just like last Christmas when he didn't show up.
"Merry Christmas, miss Parker," a well-known voice chimes in the other end of the phone. Jarod, as always.
"What's so merry about it?" I ask. If he could give me one good reason, I would give him a holiday from me. A week without hunt. He would have enjoyed that. I look out my window. it's begun to snow again.
"What's the matter, Parker? Daddy didn't show up?" he asked in mock concern. He was right, though. And it hurt.
"As usual," I say, trying to sound unaffected. It didn't work very well.
"And now the food is getting cold and he hasn't even called you?" he said. Everything he guessed was right.
"M-hm." I murmured.
"And you've curled your hair just the way you always do when it's Christmas?" I smile. How did he know that? "And a long, blue dress." My smile fade. There is no way he could know that. I whirl around and stare out my window.
"Where are you?" I asked, nervously.
""Behind you." he said. I searched my whole livingroom for him with my eyes. He was nowhere to be seen.
"I made you look, didn't I ?" I curse inwardly. In my mind I could see his annoying grin.
"Don't worry Parker, your father will probably call you sooner or later."
I throw the phone back onto the couch, and sit down on the soft carpet infront of the tree instead. It always reminds me of when my mother was alive. I put some more ornaments on it. The house feels so empty, I don't know what to do, so I decide to call him.
I get up, only to sit down onto the couch.
He always let the phone ring 3 times.
He's probably on his way to my house, I think.
Maybe something's wrong?
"Hello, luv?" Bridget answer. I wanted to scream.
"Is my father there?" I ask in my most controlled voice.
"Hi, daddy. Are you coming over?"
"Angel, there's been a problem."
"What kind of problem?"
"Someone has kidnapped some of our test-projects." he answered. I wanted to ask what he meant by test-projects, but I couldn't.
"So you won't be able to come?" I ask, tiredly. Does he know he's breaking my heart?
"I am so sorry, Angel. I will send a delivery-man with my present for you."
"Thanks." I say and end the call. "For nothing."
I waited for a long time before the delivery-man showed up. I'd began to lose faith, but finally it came, ringing at my doorbell.
"Just a second,"
Outside there was a Santa Claus and five kids. 'How imaginative' I thought, as I let them in. The Santa ushered the kids inside, before turning to me.
"Here's your presents" he said merrily, and handed me the whole bag. It was heavier than I thought and I nearly lost my balance.
"Whoa, easy there, miss Parker. You don't want to hurt yourself," He said as we tried to carry the bag into the livingroom.
I froze. How did he know my name? And when I got to think of it, he sounded pretty much like--
"Merry Christmas," he grinned and dangled my gun infront of me. He sat the bag down and poured lots of gifts under my heavily decorated tree.
"Where are all this children from, Jarod?" I asked, noticing that they all wore the same clothes. The same dull white, almost grey clothes. Jarod unloaded my gun and gave it back to me. He stripped from the Santa-suit.
"They come from the Centre,"