Wednesday, December 24, 2003, just
another day at the Centre. No office parties, no holiday decorations,
nothing. Just dimly lit offices and corridors that pepper the Centre,
its personnel scurrying about, oblivious to the outside world’s
celebration of the Christmas holiday season. That’s how Mr. Raines likes
it, business as usual.
Miss Parker stares at her clock. The
seconds seem like hours. It is almost 2 p.m. the time in which
non-essential Centre personnel are allowed to leave for Christmas break.
Parker listens to the exodus of those leaving. “The hell with this
place, I’m outta of here, too,” Parker says to herself as she gathers
her things to go home.
Miss Parker leaves her office, dreading to
go home. She decides to wish Sydney and Broots a happy holiday as a
stall tactic. Parker stops by Sydney’s office, where Broots is seated
next to the psychiatrist’s desk.
“Still here?” Parker lights a
cigarette, looking at the two men. “I stopped by to say Merry Christmas
and enjoy your time away from this hell hole.”
“We’re just about
to leave, Miss Parker,” says Sydney, looking disapprovingly at the
cigarette. “I really wish you would stop smoking.”
help me maintain my sanity,” Parker says, as she exhales a plume of
smoke. “Besides, I like it.”
“Umm, Miss Parker. I’d like to ask
you something,” Broots stammered.
“What,” said the Ice Queen,
blowing smoke in Broots’ face.
“Uh, would you like to spend
Christmas day with Debbie and me. Sydney will be there,” coughs the
computer tech. “I’m a very good cook and so is Debbie. We’d love to have
Parker looks at Broots and smiles, “I’d love, too.
Broots, mildly shocked, says “Anytime after noon will
be fine. Uh...dinner will be served about 2 p.m.”
“Ummm, about 24
hours from now,” smiled Parker. “Do you want me to bring anything?”
“No, no, nothing, unless you just want to,” Broots said, as he gets
up from his seat.
“Let me see, I could make a green bean
casserole,” Parker cheesed in Broots’ face.
“TTThat’s fine, Miss
Parker,” as Broots makes his way out of Sydney’s office. “I’ll see you
two tomorrow. Good night.”
“Good night, Broots,” said Sydney.
“Thank you for inviting me to spend Christmas with you and Debbie.
“Ditto, Broots,” Parker grinned like the Grinch.
didn’t have to be so sarcastic to Broots. He was just being nice,”
“I was just having a little fun at the expense of
Broots’ feelings,” Parker said, defending her behavior. “Besides, Broots
knows I was teasing him. This time of year is very depressing for me.
I’m looking forward to tomorrow, spending Christmas day with you,
Broots, and Debbie.”
“I wonder where Jarod will spend his
holiday,” the doctor wondered. “We haven’t heard from him in over two
“I know,” Parker said sadly, remembering the last time
she heard Jarod’s voice. “Perhaps he has found his family. I hope so.”
Crushing her cigarette out she tells the doctor, “I’m outta of here
Sydney, see you tomorrow.”
Miss Parker pours herself
a Scotch on the rocks. She walks slowly around the living room, sipping
her drink, thinking about the happy times with her mother during the
Christmas holidays and how this house was once filled with happiness.
The last time she was remotely happy during Christmas time was in 1996,
when Jarod gifted her with a white bunny. She loved Thumper. It was her
first and only pet. Tears fill Parker’s eyes as she remembers her gift
from Jarod. Because of her job, she gave Thumper away to a local school.
Parker pours herself another drink, feeling more alone and depressed
“I hate my life,” she moaned, burying her face in her
hands. Her mind replays the last few years from Jarod’s escape, to
Thomas’ death, to her father’s disappearance, learning that Raines may
be her biological father, and her almost locking lips with Jarod.
Parker hears a knock on her door. She looks at her clock and it is 9
p.m. “Who the hell is at my door at this hour?”, she wondered to
“Who is it?” asked Parker, as she reaches for her gun.
“Jarod? JAROD!” Parker puts the gun down and
quickly opens the front door. Standing in her doorway is Jarod, looking
“OH MY GOD,” screamed Parker. “I DON’T BELIEVE
THIS.” She gives Jarod a hug. Surprised by this, Jarod hugs Parker back.
“Did you miss me,” grinned Jarod sheepishly. “I’ve missed you.”
Parker pulls Jarod into her home. “Damn, man, you took one hell of a
risk coming here.”
“I’m a genius, remember. I would not have come
here if I thought I’d be captured,” said Jarod, as he sits on Parker’s
love seat. “I came here because I have some unfinished business to
attend with you.”
“Unfinished business?” asks Parker, as she sits
next to Jarod.
“Yes.” Jarod leans towards Parker and begins to gently kiss her on
the lips. She responds by melting into Jarod’s mouth.
wanted to do this for a long time,” Jarod whispers to Parker as he
cradles her head in his hands. The two continue deeply kissing one
Jarod and Parker finally stop, eyes locked on each
other. Jarod lightly touches Parker’s face and she Jarod’s.
haven’t been kissed like that since...” Parker’s voice trails off as she
turns away from Jarod, her face filling with sadness.
Jarod said looking at the pain on Parker’s face.
“Yes.” Parker clutches her hands to her chest. “I enjoyed that,
Jarod. You’ve awaken feelings in me that have been buried for years.”
“I have to ask you something, Miss Parker.” Jarod nervously gathers his
“You kiss me like that and still call me Miss Parker”.
Parker giggles as she turns toward Jarod, looking at his sad, kind eyes.
Chuckling, Jarod says, “Yea, Miss Parker.” He clears his throat. “How do
you feel about me?”
“Feel about you?” asks Parker, looking
“Yes, do you love me...hate me...like me...dislike me?” Jarod
“Uhh, oh, umm, I’ve never really thought about
it, “ blurts Parker wishing she could take back what she just said after
seeing the hurt look on Jarod’s face. “I’m sorry, Jarod. I didn’t mean
it the way it came out. Damn it, you caught me off guard with that
“Sorry,” Jarod said sadly, as he hung his head looking
at his feet. “I just need to know how you truly feel about me.”
Parker hangs her head, too, looking at her feet. She takes a deep breath
before breaking the silence that now filled the room.
“I fell in
love with you when we were kids.” Parker lets out a sigh of relief.
“Jarod....I wanted to lose my virginity to you. We just about did it,
before Daddy almost caught us.”
“You were the aggressor.” Jarod
turns to Parker grinning. “That was the last time I saw you until I
escaped and the chase was on.” Jarod’s face fills with sadness.
“I know. Daddy never said anything to me about it, but he knew what we
were about to do. That’s why he sent me to Europe. Damn him!” Parker
runs her left hand through her hair. “That’s when he poisoned me against
“Your father didn’t want his pretender soiled,” Jarod said
bitterly. “Especially by his own daughter!”
pauses as she gathers her strength to continue. “I’ve learned Raines may
be my biological father.”
Jarod puts his arms around Parker,
comforting her. “I heard about that. Maybe it’s another Centre lie.”
“I don’t know what to do, Jarod,” as Parker softly sobs. “I hate my
life. I can’t go on like this. I want to be happy....normal.”
want the same thing.” Jarod gently rubbing Parker’s back. “You have the
power to change that.”
“How?” Parker looks at Jarod. “I just
can’t walk away! They’d kill me.”
“Yes you can. I did.” Jarod
wipes the tears from Parker’s cheeks with his hand. “It won’t be easy at
first, but you can do it.”
“Leave with you?” asked Parker. “Now?”
“Well, that was my plan. But we don’t have to do it this very
moment.” Jarod reassured Parker.
“Broots invited Sydney and me to
spend Christmas day with him and Debbie.” Parker reaches for a tissue.
“I’m really looking forward to it.”
“Then spend Christmas day
with them.” Jarod takes Parker by the hand. “I would love to spend
Christmas day with loved ones, too.”
“Come with me,” chirped
Parker. “Surprise Sydney and Broots. They’ve missed you as much as I
“I don’t know.” Jarod sighs. “It could be too risky.”
“Raines and Lyle have slithered to Africa for a month. A big pow-wow
with the Triumvirate about you.” Parker rubbing Jarod’s hand. “Only
essential personnel are at the Centre during the holiday break. It’s a
“I need to see Angelo,” said Jarod looking at the now horror on
Parker’s face. “I want him to help me find my parents.”
are you nuts!” Parker almost shrieking. “You may be a genius, but you
can’t take that chance.”
Jarod smiled. “I can get in there and
get out without being detected. I’ve done it before, many times.”
“You have?” asked Parker with a raised eye brow. “Ok. Let’s go.”
“Ok, let’s bounce,” smiled Jarod.
“Bounce?” asked Parker.
“You don’t know what that means,” laughed Jarod. “Now that’s a
switch. I’m usually the one asking the questions.”
Christmas Eve, Parker and Jarod leave for the Centre.
“Love the disguise, Jarod,” laughed Parker. “I
hope it works.”
“It will. I’m a new sweeper, remember.” Jarod adjusts his sun
Parker swipes her electronic key to enter the Centre’s back door.
She signs in and vouches for Jarod. The guard nods his head, hardly
noticing Jarod. Parker and Jarod head down the corridor and to the
elevator. She presses SL-5.
“That was easy,” said Parker. “Geez,
so much for security around here.”
Jarod grinned. “Now you see how I get in and out so easily.”
The elevator stops and the doors open to SL-5. Parker and Jarod head for
“Angelo,” calls out Parker. “Where are you. I
need to see you now!”
Parker and Jarod see a figure in the darkened hallway. “Angelo?”
“Yes, Miss Parker. I here,” replied the empath.
“We need your help Angelo.” Parker walks towards Angelo.
“Jarod?” Angelo comes towards him.
“Yes Angelo, it’s me.”
Jarod and Angelo hug. “I need your help, Angelo. Please help me locate
Angelo smiles. “I will help you Jarod.”
Angelo leads Parker and Jarod to his space. Once there, Jarod hands
photos of his parents to Angelo. “Please Angelo. Can you feel where they
Angelo takes the photos and puts them on the floor. He
begins to walk around them, chanting ohm. Angelo walks faster around the
photos; then he stops abruptly. He stares at Parker and Jarod and says,
“Aloha?” asks Jarod. “Are my parents in Hawaii?”
“Aloha, Father Damien.” Angelo picks up the photos and hands them
back to Jarod. “You and Miss Parker will be safe there. So will Sydney,
Broots and Debbie.” Angelo hugs Jarod and Miss Parker. “Good-bye.”
Angelo heads back to his world.
“Damn,” says Parker. “He was a
wealth of information.”
“Hawaii? We’ll be safe there?” Jarod scratches his head. “We’d
better get out of here.”
“Yep, you’re right Jarod. Let’s bounce.”
Parker grabs Jarod by the hand and leads the way to the elevator. On the
ground level, she signs them out of the Centre and wishes the guard a
“It’s 1 a.m.,” Parker tells
Jarod. “I’m tired. Are you?”
“A little,” said Jarod with his mind on what Angelo told them. “We
need to go to Molokai, tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” asks Parker.
“Yes, tomorrow. We may find our answers there. He mentioned Father
Damien’s name. He helped the local people who suffered leprosy on
Molokai.” Jarod is pacing the floor.
“Do you suppose your parents
are there?” asks Parker as her eyes follow the pretender.
don’t know. Angelo said we would be safe there.” Jarod rubs his chin.
“I’m very tired, too.”
Parker clears her throat. “Do you want to
sleep with me?”
Jarod stops abruptly. “Sleep with you?” He was uncomfortable.
“Well, you said you came here to attend to unfinished business,”
Jarod laughs nervously. “I guess I did.” He runs
his hand through his hair. “I wanted to kiss you, like we almost did
before Ocee walked in on us.”
“Oh....just kiss me, uh,” Parker
says flatly. “There’s the guest bedroom.” She points to the direction.
“Good night, Jarod.” Parker storms off to her bedroom and slams the
Jarod flops on the love seat, sighing. “Oh boy.” Jarod gets
up and walks quickly to Parker’s bedroom.
“Miss Parker, please
open the door,” begs the pretender.
Parker opens the door and lets Jarod in. “What!”.
apologize. We’re both extremely vulnerable right now and I didn’t want
to take advantage of you,” said Jarod as he touches Parker’s cheek. She
knocks his hand away.
Jarod struggles to find more words to
explain his apprehension. “I, I haven’t been with that many women and
I’m not as experienced as you.” Jarod sighed.
Parker fills pity
for the pretender and turns to him. “I’m sorry for my behavior. You’ve
awaken the passion in me, Jarod. I guess I’ve always been the
“I was this time. I came here out of the clear blue
sky and kissed you,” said Jarod. “You’ve been on my mind lately. I
wanted to see you...to find out how you really felt about me.”
“Jarod, I love you, maybe in love with you,” Parker smiled. “I also keep
kicking myself for not letting you go when we were in Scotland. I
knocked your hands away as you pleaded with me to let you go. Jarod, I’m
so sorry. We could have escaped together.” Tears well in Parker’s eyes.
Jarod says nothing and holds Parker close to him. She looks up and asks,
“Do you...love me...hate me...like me...dislike me?”
Parker. “I love you.” The two retire to Parker’s bed.
Parker’s alarm goes off at 8 a.m. “I forgot to
turn that damn thing off ,” she says apologetically to Jarod. “See, a
man and a woman can actually sleep together without having sex.”
Jarod snuggles closer to Parker. “What do you want for breakfast, boy
wonder?” as she pushes her body into Jarod’s.
“Oooooo Jarod, you’re being naughty! I’d better serve you breakfast
while it’s steaming hot.” Parker climbs on top of him. “I may not be
Wilma Flintstone but I can sure make your BED ROCK.”
a clueless Jarod asked. Parker laughs and the two consummate their love.
“Jarod, it’s about 11:30. We better leave for Broots’
place,” Parker called to him.
“HO HO HO”. Jarod is dressed in a
“Oh my gosh,” laughs Parker. “Debbie is going to love
this. Nice disguise. I wonder how long it will take Sydney and Broots to
figure out it’s you?”
“Let’s bounce,” grinned Jarod through his beard.
Jarod arrive at Broots’ house around 15 past noon. Sydney’s car is
already there. They get the Christmas gifts from the trunk of the car.
Parker rings Broots’ door bell and he answers. “Merry Christmas,
Miss Parker. Oh, you brought along Santa?”
“Yes I did and he is
bearing gifts for all of you!” beamed Parker.
“HO HO HO, MERRY CHRISTMAS,” Jarod boasted in his best Santa voice.
Sydney and Broots stare at the tall Santa. Sydney looks at his eyes.
He knows those eyes quite well. “Jarod? Jarod, is that you?”
HO HO, I’m Santa Claus,” laughed Jarod. “Hello Sydney, I guess I failed
my pretend as Santa Claus.”
“JAROD, OH MY GOSH,” blurted a
stunned Broots. “When, where, how?”
“Don’t wet your pants Broots,” laughed Parker. “He stopped by my
house last night. We did a lot of reminiscing.”
the faces of his colleague and his former child prodigy. Sydney knew
they did more than just reminisce.
Jarod hugged Sydney and
Broots. “It’s great to see you Jarod,” said the psychiatrist. “We’ll
have to catch up.”
“Please, everyone come in the family room,”
said Broots, directing the adults. “Debbie, Miss Parker and Santa are
“Hello Miss Parker. You look very beautiful. Hello Santa.
I know you aren’t a real one,” smiled Debbie.
Jarod pulls off the
Santa hat and fake beard. “Hello, Debbie, my name is Jarod. I’m an old
friend of your Dad’s.” Jarod looks at Broots for approval.
honey, Mr. Jarod and I go way back. He has helped me out a lot.” Broots
nods towards Jarod. “Do you want to open the gifts now?”
agreed. It was a joyous time for all, each pleased with his or her
“We can eat now, if you all are hungry,” said Debbie.
“Is that OK Dad?”
“If it’s OK with our guests, who are more like FAMILY,” Broots said
Debbie directed everyone around the dining room
table. Broots said the blessing and they all began to fill their plates.
“Everything is delicious,” complimented Parker. “I bet I’ll gain 10
“Thank you, Miss Parker,” said Debbie. “Dad did
most of the cooking. I did bake the pumpkin pies.”
Jarod felt a
warmth he had never felt before. Dinner with loved ones. Family. A sense
of belonging. “Thank you Broots for extending your hospitality to me,”
said Jarod, “since I was an unexpected family member.”
smiled. “This is an absolute honor for me, Jarod. You’re my hero.” Jarod
“Broots, Sydney. Do you have any plans during the
Christmas break?” Parker asks.
“No, I don’t,” said Sydney.
“Me either,” said Broots.
Parker clears her throat and looks at Jarod. “Jarod and I are
leaving for Hawaii tonight. Molokai, to be exact. Do you want to join
“It would be nice to go to a warm climate,” said Sydney.
“Yes, I’d love to get away from here.”
“Me too,” said Broots.
Jarod looks at Parker. “We need to leave by 5 p.m. I’ve chartered a
plane. If all goes well, we’ll arrive on Maui about 10 p.m. their time.
We’ll spend the night there and take a prop to Molokai tomorrow.
They all chip in to clean up the holiday dishes.
As Parker and Jarod head for the airport, he says
to her, “I don’t know what we’ll find there, if anything. I think Angelo
wanted us as far away from the Centre as possible. Angelo knows a lot
more about the internal workings of the Centre.”
“What ever it
is, we’ll find out soon enough,” as she rests her head on Jarod’s
shoulder. “I just want a normal life. I truly hope your family is
“After all of these years, I am ready to accept the fact
I may never meet my mother or ever be reunited with my father and
sister. I have you, though, and it makes it all worth while.”
“Jarod, you have given me the happiest Christmas in my entire life.”
Parker snuggles closer to Jarod. “Thank you for coming back into my
Five hours into the flight, Broots, Debbie, and Sydney have fallen
asleep. Parker nudges Jarod, motioning him to follow her to the back of
“Do you want to join the Mile High Club?” smiled Parker, as she
presses herself into Jarod.
“The Mile Hi.....oh, oh, yes,”
“Didn’t take you long to figure that one out, boy
wonder,” Parker grinned. “Let’s go into the sleeping quarters.”
“Let’s bounce,” winked Jarod.
“The Centre’s going to die, the Centre’s going to
die, thanks to the FBI, the Centre’s going to die,” Angelo sings as he
eats his Cracker Jack.
He is pleased with himself for supplying
the FBI with the information needed to shut the Centre down. Once Raines
and Lyle return to the United States, they will be apprehended. Finally,
the people that Angelo loves will be free of the Centre and can live a
happy, normal life.