Table of Contents [Report This]
Chapter or Story Chapter or Story
Author's Note: This is definitely going to be a long story, if not a long series. Hope you enjoy and please send comments.
By Apollo's Girl
* * * * * * * * * * Part I* * * * * * * * * *
Raines walked out of the room in the renewal wing, leaving a blind Sydney behind. Sydney took a bite out of the apple he was holding. Just then he heard footsteps entering back in.
"What do you want?" He asked, then realized that it wasn't Raines. "Who is it?"
"A friend." Mr. Lyle replied as he stood in the doorway looking at Sydney. Sydney just continued to eat the apple.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Miss Parker walked towards her bed as if it were a sanctuary. 'Actually it is!' She thought to herself. It was the only place she could leave the real world behind, at least most of the time. She shrugged off her robe, revealing her slender body in a black satin nightgown. A wicked smile came over her face as she thought about Broots seeing her in this or Jarod. The thought of Jarod sent shivers down her spine for reasons she was very unsure and unhappy about.
'Damn it, stop thinking about him. He's not worth it!' She argued with herself as she pulled her bed covers down so that she could climb in.
However she was stopped by the pressure of two arms surrounding her and a cloth being closed around her mouth. She slumped into the arms as a moan escaped her lips, her mind blacking out.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Miss Parker woke slowly to the soft hum of an engine. She felt the slight bumps and steadiness of movement and realized she was in a car. She opened her eyes and looked around her, finding herself in the passenger seat of the car. Without making a sound she turned to see who her assailant was and was greeted with the sight of Jarod sitting at the driver's wheel.
"You son of a bitch!" She screamed at him, startling him. He swerved slightly but was quickly back in control.
"I see you are awake!"
"What is the meaning of all of this?" She asked as she sat up from the passenger seat and felt a wave of dizziness hit her from her fast movement.
"I suggest that you take it slowly."
"So I see you're adding kidnapping to your list." Miss Parker snapped. She moved the seat up and took a look out the window to see where they were.
"Well I had to make sure that the Centre didn't follow us." Jarod replied. "I'm sorry I had to drug you but I didn't think you would come willingly."
"No, you just wanted to act like a macho asshole!"
"You shouldn't use such foul language Parker." Jarod scolded.
"Are you going to tell me what is going on?" Miss Parker demanded.
"I needed help."
"Then why kidnap me? You could have just sent me some clue or something like you always do for me to follow up on. Or you could have just called me and asked."
"Oh, I thought you hated me doing that." Jarod replied with a grin.
"So you decide to give me a break and kidnap me."
"Anyway I thought you might like a break from the Centre. Also this might be a chance for you to see what exactly it is I do."
"You just run around playing a child's game of pretend trying to act like an overgrown superhero!" Miss Parker replied. "I know what you do! You just do everything to torment me!"
"Don't flatter yourself Miss Parker."
"Jarod, I'm tired of this! Would you just please tell me what it is you want?"
"I want you to pretend to be my wife."
Miss Parker looked at him in shock. Before she could say anything he continued.
"Look I don't like this either, but you are the only one who I know has pretender skills too. I'm to start a new job at this firm that has had some mysterious dealings and deaths. I need you to act as my wife. You can get close to some of the people that I wouldn't be able to."
"What makes you think I will help you?"
"Because I know who you really are inside, deep, deep, * deep * down beneath that icy exterior." Jarod replied.
"That's not a reason!"
"I think that they may also be using children for things worse than the Centre."
"Are you saying that this firm is like the Centre?" Miss Parker asked.
"I think so, although they are a lot more public than the Centre."
"What firm is this?"
"I didn't think they did anything other than new birth techniques and disease related research."
"You know about it?"
"The Centre keeps track of new businesses. Do you have anything that proves that they are doing this?"
"Nothing concrete. Only some documents that keep referring to some project, everything is in code. I tried hacking into their computers but I couldn't come up with anything. I think that the best way for me to get what I need is to work for them."
"I still don't see why you really need me."
"Because if I have another person helping me gather information, the faster it will go."
"But why your wife?"
"Because they won't suspect given my relationship with you. They can't question why we talk if we are married." He explained, somewhat like an adult telling a child something that everyone should already now. Miss Parker studied him, trying to figure out what was going through his head.
"What is the real reason you want me to do this Jarod? Don't give me some bullshit about 'me seeing what you really do'! I know its not just about them being like the Centre. I can see it in your eyes! I want an answer Jarod, now!"
Jarod glanced at her, some fury clouding his eyes. At first she thought it was directed at her but realized it wasn't when he spoke.
"Parker, I think they have my family!" Jarod replied through clenched teeth.
"What?" Parker asked, bewildered.
"I think they have my family, my sister Emily." Jarod said as he calmed himself down.
"Jarod..." Parker replied softly.
"Parker please! Help me."
She looked at him, wondering if she should. The look on his face, the sadness in his eyes made the decision for her.
"I'm going to regret this later." Parker muttered as she sat back into her seat.
"Thank me when it is over. How long do you think this will take?"
"Probably a couple of months."
"Months?!" Parker asked, incredulously.
"You can't expect us to get everything in a couple of days."
"I really am going to regret this! Give my your phone!" She demanded.
"What?" Jarod asked, looking over at her.
"I need to call my father."
"You don't need to!"
"I'm not going to tell them where you are. They can't triangulate your phone signal anyway."
"You still don't need to call him."
"I need to tell him that I'll be alright."
"You won't tell him about this?"
"If I did I would be shot on the spot. You think my father would like to know that I'm working with a lab rat?" Parker asked, exasperated.
"Here." He replied as he handed her the phone. "This will be the longest Pretend in my life, if not the worst." He muttered.
"I heard that!"
Jarod sighed and prayed that he was doing the right thing by bringing her.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Sydney sat in his office bemused, which with the help of Mr. Lyle he was now able to sit in. He had just gone through a meeting with Mr. Parker and the rest of the gang. Mr. Parker was on a short fuse from the phone call he had received from his daughter. She hadn't said much except that she would be gone for a while and that she made some deal that would get Jarod back.
"What has my sister gotten herself into?" Mr. Lyle asked as he walked into Sydney's office.
"I have no clue. I wonder what kind of deal she made." Sydney replied.
"Well whatever it is, I don't want to have to go looking for her, too!" Lyle said frustrated. "It's bad enough that I have to look for Jarod as well, but to add her to the list."
"I'm sure she'll turn up."
Lyle gave him a look that said "I doubt it!". "Well where is Broots? We need to find her ASAP or my father is going to have a heart attack."
"Already at his computer doing searches." Sydney replied. As soon as the meeting was over Broots had hurried to his office saying that he didn't want to be yelled at. He figured the sooner he got to work the sooner he could be out of everyone's path, especially Mr. Parker and Mr. Lyle's.
"Just keep me informed of your progress. If you get a call from either of them, I want to know about it first thing. No secrets understand?"
"Perfectly Mr. Lyle." Sydney replied in his ever-always innocent looking face.
Lyle was about to leave when he stopped and turned around. Quietly he asked, "Have you found anything on her?"
By the way he emphasized her, anyone could tell he was not talking about his sister.
"I haven't. As soon as I hear anything I will let you know." Sydney replied. "I wouldn't keep you in the dark about this."
Lyle nodded and left. As Sydney listened to the man walk out, he felt sorry for him. Sydney wished that what plagued Lyle and made him into the evil he was would soon be found.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Three Hours later at a Road Side Restaurant
Miss Parker watched in amazement at how much Jarod could eat. He had already eaten two burgers, a basket of fries, gone through four glasses of soft drinks and was now on his fifth glass and third burger. She was still eating her chicken sandwich and had barely touched her potato chips.
"How do you do that?" She asked, bewildered.
"Do what?" Jarod asked, not sure what she was talking about.
"Eat that much food!"
"I'm hungry." Jarod replied sheepishly. "Sorry, I just haven't eaten in a while."
"Do you always stop eating when you do a Pretend?" Miss Parker asked, concern tingeing her voice.
"Sometimes, I guess I just forget to eat."
"Like you forget to sleep."
"How do you know about that?"
"Your calls at four a.m. and I've read your files Jarod. You never could get a good nights rest."
"Oh." Jarod replied. He took another bite out of his burger; some ketchup was left on his lip. Miss Parker couldn't help but smile, as thoughts of how cute he looked ran through her head.
"What?" Jarod asked, noticing her smile. She took a napkin and leaned over, gently wiping the ketchup from his lip. He raised his eyebrow at her gesture.
"What?" It was Miss Parker's turn to be bewildered.
"It's just that you never acted that nice to me before."
"What?! I'm not allowed to be nice? I am suppose to be your wife, remember?" Miss Parker asked, some of her icy tone creeping back into her voice.
"Hey, don't be offended. I like you being nice, it just took me by surprise." Jarod apologized. "I just thought that we would be fighting most of the time."
"Well I figure that it would just make it more hellish for me, however don't think I will do everything you say. I want to have equal partnership in this." Miss Parker demanded.
"Deal. No fights?"
"I didn't say there wouldn't be any fights Jarod, I just said not most of the time." Miss Parker replied with a sly grin on her face.
"I think I could live with that. Besides you wouldn't be Miss Parker if you didn't start a fight every once in a while." Jarod said, a twinkle in his eye. Miss Parker looked at him and found herself lost in his eyes, just as Jarod found himself lost in her piercing blue ones.
'God she's beautiful!' He thought.
Miss Parker broke eye contact. "So tell me about this Pretend."
"As I said before I have a new job at this firm. I have a pretty high position for a newbie. Anyway, my name will be Michael Jarod Hall. You'll be my wife Andrea Marisa Hall."
"You had to use my first name, didn't you?" Miss Parker asked at his use of Marisa.
"Well I used it as your middle name. I thought there would be less of a chance of the Centre catching us if I used our names as our middle names."
"Why don't you just not use it at all?"
Jarod gave her one of those taunting looks.
"Oh, it's a clue that is right under their nose that you can laugh about later." Miss Parker figured out.
"It worked every time." Jarod replied. Miss Parker looked at him completely vexed.
"You just love to gloat don't you?"
"Why Miss Parker! You know I'm a modest guy."
"Like hell you are!" Miss Parker muttered. Speaking more clearly, "Where is this place?"
"Just outside of New York City. I got us an apartment in the city and it is only an hour commute away. I start in a week so that will give us some time to settle in. We are close to Chicago, so when we get there we will take a plane out to New York. When I start you will have to attend party functions with me and such. I also got you a job at the firm."
"What kind of job?"
"Security. After all you were head of security and Corporate at the Centre."
"Gee that sounds like so much fun!" Miss Parker replied, sarcastically.
"Would you prefer staying home all day as a house wife?"
"That doesn't sound so bad, it would be a nice rest from chasing a lunatic all around the country." Jarod shot her a hurt look.
"That lunatic is sitting right in front of you."
"I know." Miss Parker replied with a smile. "Okay back to the Pretend, what do I tell them when they ask about us, personally."
"Mostly we will stick to the truth, we were childhood sweethearts, we got married two and a half years ago. Your father works at a company out of Delaware, he's remarried, you have a twin, yada, yada."
"Where did we get married?"
"Where do you want us to get married?"
"Lake Catherine." Miss Parker replied, thoughtfully.
"Where your mother would go in the spring."
"Yeah. It seems like the perfect place to get married, don't you think?"
"It does." Jarod nodded in agreement. He smiled at the soft, almost dreamy expression on her face. When she saw him staring at her, she quickly made a face, causing Jarod to laugh.
"We probably should get going." Miss Parker said.
"We probably should. Waitress." Jarod said as he waved the waitress over for the check.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Jarod sat in the airport chair exhausted. He had been up for almost 48 hours. As he was about to fall into the comfort of sleep, he was startled by Parker sitting down beside him.
"Here." She said as she held him a cup of steaming liquid.
"What?" He asked as he took it from her.
"Oh, thanks." He replied as he took a sip. Parker did the same, although he could tell from the smell that she was drinking coffee. They sat in silence for a while, finally breaking it as Miss Parker asked, "What about my clothes?"
"I'll need clothes, toiletries, jewelry and some other items." Parker replied.
"To go with the clothes." Parker said as if it was something even an idiot would know.
"We can go shopping when we get to New York."
"I want the best, Jarod."
"I know." He replied as he took another sip of his hot chocolate.
"So how will we pay for these things?" Parker asked.
"Hmm? Oh, with these." Jarod replied as he handed her a small zippered black bag. Inside she found credit cards, ID's such as driver's license and social security card, a birth certificate, among other things.
"You thought of everything didn't you?" Parker asked amazed at the amount of things she found in that tiny bag.
"We need to be prepared." Jarod shrugged off. "By the way we have about two billion dollars in the account and in case we run out I can get more."
"How much of it is the Centre's money?" Miss Parker asked suspiciously. Jarod just answered her with a shrug.
"Oh before I forget, you might want these." Jarod said as he handed another bag, this one was smaller and was made of burgundy velvet. Parker opened it up and found a small jewelry box inside. She lifted the lid and gasped at what lay inside. There were two rings, one a simple wedding ring made of a thin gold band. Beside it was a delicate looking engagement ring, with the diamond carved into a blooming rose. She took the two out and placed them on her finger, marveling at how the diamond caught the light and made the diamond rose come to life with color.
"They're beautiful." Parker murmured to Jarod. He looked at her and nodded, a smile playing across his lips at her obvious liking of the rings. "Where did you get this? It most have cost a fortune!"
"No, not really. I found the diamond when I was working in a mine and I made the ring myself." Jarod replied nonchalantly. Miss Parker looked at him in amazement.
"How did you get the diamond to look like this?" She asked admiring the rose diamond.
"A lot of patience." Jarod replied, smiling a little at her.
"Where's yours?" Miss Parker asked, noticing that his finger was not bound by a ring.
"Right here." He replied as he took out a small velvet bag from his coat pocket. He pulled out a gold band and placed it on his finger.
For some reason Miss Parker liked the idea that he was now off limits to other women, which really disturbed her. The two sat in silence till their flight was called.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Lyle came home that evening exhausted. What he really wanted was a vacation from this place. His father was storming through the Centre hell bent with rage and he was getting most of it.
"Probably because I'm his son." He muttered. For a minute he was reminded of his youth in Nebraska, where his adopted father, the true Mr. Lyle, had treated him like shit. He had really thought that he would get away from it.
'Guess I was wrong.' He thought. The only good thing was that Brigitte was receiving some of the hostility from Mr. Parker. 'Serves her right!'
Lately Brigitte had become more of a nuisance rather than an ally. He walked into his room, discarding his jacket on a chair nearby. He sat down on his bed, closing his eyes as he relaxed for the first time that day. Without really thinking about it he reached behind him and pulled out a secret compartment from his nightstand. Inside were pictures and letters.
He picked them up and looked at them, a nostalgic smile appearing on his face as his eyes filled with sadness and rage. He picked up the picture at the bottom of the box and one could see it was worn from love. Lyle looked at it and a tear fell from his eye, which he quickly brushed away with a whisper of "I'm so sorry Sylvia. So sorry I let them take you both."
He brought the picture to his chest and closed his eyes as he thought of that brief moment in time when he had true happiness.