The following takes place minutes after the last scene of episode �Wake Up,� first aired 5/1/99. I do not own the characters created by NBC/TNT/Van Sickle and Mitchell.
This was written for fun and the entertainment of readers.
Wake Up, later.
Miss Parker carefully leaned the stained glass window up against the back of a nearby grave stone and kneeled down on the grass next to Tommy�s grave. A wave of emotion washed over her � sorrow, guilt, anger, and oddly enough, a sense of joy, as she again suddenly realized that Jarod had gone to extraordinary lengths to do something nice for her. Far better than the pile of condolence cards she�d gotten in the mail, now cluttering up her kitchen table.
The stained glass window had to have taken some time to do � an original piece of art using materials not that easy to work with. He took a great risk remaining in one place long enough to build it, with the Centre constantly on his trail. Oh well, he�d fooled them all repeatedly, making Centre personnel chase their tails and getting caught in his highly embarrassing traps.
Miss Parker looked over at the stained glass window, focusing on the empty space shaped as a heart. Missing pieces. Yep. That would accurately describe her life. Holes everywhere. The one good thing she had was Tommy, and now he was gone, taken away from her by the very people she worked with. She wondered how her life had come to this. Few friends, an ulcer, and a job that made her a virtual prisoner.
�It�s good to be here, Tommy,� she said aloud. As there was nobody else about, it seemed talking to herself was not a problem.
�Thank you for your love, thank you for our time together.�
She kissed her hand, then touched the gravestone, arranged the flowers neatly about and then stood up. It was a Saturday morning and besides her visit to the cemetery, she had a few errands to run before returning home to a house that just seemed all the more empty. There will still a few phone calls to be made to Tommy�s few business interests. As the executor of his estate, albeit small, there was still property to sell and distribute according to the will.
Miss Parker picked up the stained glass window and started walking slowly back toward her car, now thinking about how to best get it home. She certainly hadn�t planned on this, suddenly wondering how Jarod did it all in the first place. What an amazing mind, she thought, as she approached the parking area of the cemetery, located next to the office. Walking up to her sports car, she stopped in her tracks. There was no real place to safely store it to get it home in one piece. Too big to place on the passenger seat, the floor was oddly contoured, and the front trunk not well padded. More than once in the past she�d had to pay a delivery service to get her outsized purchases sent to her home.
All of a sudden the office door opened and two men came out. Laborers, by the look of them. They wore work boots and stained clothing. One of them had a set of stained painter�s goggles on his head with a stained painters cap set at odd angle on the back of his head. He looked as if he was well over 6 feet tall, wore a silly grin on his face and was carrying a convenience store soft drink cup that must have held a gallon of liquid. The other man was short with a round pot belly. A stub of a cigar wandered from the left side of his mouth to the right. His stained apron had a printed message reading �PAINT ME.�
They stopped and looked at her.
�How ya doing?� the short one said to her.
�Hi!� beamed the tall one.
Lovely, Miss Parker thought to herself. These two could be caricatures of themselves. I get all the weird ones, she thought, now starting to wonder if these two men were just more of Jarod�s tricks.
�Whacha got there? The short man asked her.
A dozen snappy responses coursed through Miss Parkers� mind before she settled on the calm answer of,
�A gift from a friend. I need to get it home, somehow. My car isn�t really set up for this.�
The two men looked at the stained glass window in Miss Parker�s arms and appeared to be sizing it up. Miss Parker started thinking about her sidearm, now concealed by her suit jacket. She didn�t need this today.
�Not a problem. Ray, pull some packing material out of the dumpster there,� said the short man all without removing the cigar stub.
The tall man looked down at the short man.
�Oh, you mean me?� replied the tall man, still with the goofy grin on his face.
�No, I mean the entire sanitation department of Blue Cove. Yes, you!� the short man returned.
Ray turned and walked over to the dumpster nearby which was full of the trash and discards of recent construction. Apparently the office was being renovated. He almost seemed to float over to it, and incredibly, looked down into it working to pull out several pieces of cardboard and packing materials.
He walked back over with his arms full and kneeled down on the ground. He stopped and looked up at Miss Parker.
�Um, we�ll be glad to take that and get it wrapped up so you can get it home safely. Something that nice needs some TLC. Tender loving care,� Ray said.
�Yes, I know what it means,� Miss Parker replied still wondering if Jared was up to something. After a moment, she extended the piece of art to Ray who took it in his very long arms, carefully placing it down on a large piece of cardboard and packing material. The short man arranged another piece of foam padding and cardboard on top of it and produced a roll of blue masking tape, pulling out a few feet of it and wrapping it around a newly formed box. The stained glass window was now completely covered.
The short man picked it up and walked over to Miss Parkers� car.
Miss Parker pulled out her key fob and unlocked the passenger door. Ray opened it and the short man kneeled down and carefully placed the package on the floor of the passenger seat, and the job was done.
How is this happening? Miss Parker wondered. She walked around to the drivers� door, opened it and got in. Ray followed her at a discreet distance and carefully closed it, kneeling down as he did so. Miss Parker found her self looking at him straight in the eye.
�Okay, on the way home, no sudden cornering, brake gently, and you�ll get that window home just fine. I would suggest getting into a nice wooden frame. Plenty of picture-framing shops about which could do that for ya. Yep, Jarod did a real nice thing there-�
�Okay, we gotta get back to work, this job isn�t done yet and we�re behind schedule!� came a curt interruption from the short man.
�Oops! Okay, Bob, back to work!� Ray replied. Standing up he turned and returned to the office, with Bob hot on his heels, admonishing Ray about staying on task and the door shut behind them.
Miss Parker, now alone in the parking lot simply said,
She started the engine and backed the car from the parking slot. Time to get going. Miss Parker guided the car down the driveway of the cemetery towards the exit. Okay, she thought, there is still some good in this world. She was almost down to the exit when she just about slammed on the brakes when a sudden realization exploded in the back of her mind. She caught herself just in time and eased the car to a stop.
Ray the tall man had mentioned Jarod! I didn�t say Jarod, I said a friend built it for me as a gift! How did he know that?
Miss Parker turned around in the driver�s seat, looking back at the office. The door was still closed. She put the car in reverse and eased it back up the driveway towards the office and stopped the car. Silence. The door was still closed.
She shut off the engine and got out of the car, walked over to the door and knocked. Silence again. Nobody answered.
That�s odd, she thought. They just walked in two minutes ago.
She tried the door knob, but it didn�t budge. She stepped to the adjacent window, cupping her hand to the window to look inside.
It was dark inside. Miss Parker could just see the tools and bric-a-brac of recent construction lying about. A sheet of drywall leaning against the wall, not yet fitted. Surely, a painting crew would have the lights on and doors open while painting. She walked around to the other side of the building, finding a roll-up garage door. It was locked, and padlocked from the outside. There was nobody about.
Miss Parker walked around to the front of the building and towards her car. What on earth is happening here?
She looked across the cemetery. There had to be somebody around. Another mourner at a grave, maybe a groundskeeper or two.
Her wandering gaze fell upon the structure of a mausoleum about halfway across the grounds. There appeared to be a man sweeping the front steps. Miss Parker returned to her car and drove over to the building. She stopped the car and got out, walking over to the steps of the mausoleum. The man stopped sweeping and greeted her.
�Good morning,� with a pleasant smile.
�Um, hi, listen, I was just down at the office talking with two men.�
�Huh? That office is locked,� replied the man.
Miss Parker paused again. The man was wearing coveralls, work boots, a straw hat and had the name of Aaron stitched into the coveralls. Obviously an employee at the cemetery. He would know what was going on.
�No, it was a painting crew. I need to talk to them.�
�No painters here today, they aren�t due back until this coming Thursday � when the framing and drywall crew gets finished, and they�ve been a pain,� Aaron replied.
�But they walked inside-� Miss Parker countered.
�Can�t be. I have the only key here today,� as he held up the key ring attached to his belt. Aaron was used to people in the cemetery asking odd questions. People who came here were either burying a loved one or coming to visit a loved one, already buried. Emotions ran high.
�Can you describe the painting crew, what they look like?�
Aaron could have dismissed the question, but he�d decided that the woman seemed rather troubled.
�Two men, one black, one white, both of medium height, medium build. Rather ordinary. Quoted a good price.�
This did not describe Ray and Bob.
Miss Parkers� mind arrived at a blank. None of this made sense.
�Why don�t you come back on Thursday and talk to them. They might be able to help. They may know other painting crews in Blue Cove,� offered Aaron.
Miss Parker suddenly realized there was no going further here. Aaron had been polite and helpful, just like the mysterious pair of Ray and Bob, and it would not do to start antagonizing Aaron. Or Jarod was just leading her off on another wild-goose chase.
�Thank you, Aaron,� Miss Parker replied.
�You�re welcome, and I hope you find what you�re looking for,� he said, and resumed sweeping.
Miss Parker paused again. She�d been hearing that line a lot lately.
She turned and walked back to her car. Starting the engine, she turned around, guiding the car towards the exit again. She looked up at the steps of the mausoleum, noticing that Aaron had finished sweeping and was now unlocking the door of the building. Probably had some work to do inside. He turned and waved before stepping inside. She waved back.
The car headed down the driveway of the cemetery, and again a flurry of thoughts coursed through her mind � trying to process what had happened here today. Miss Parker turned on the radio, hitting the preset for an adult contemporary station she liked.
And the song, �Calling all Angels,� came on.
She stopped the car.
The tears came again, as the sorrow of Tommy�s loss washed over her. She missed him so much. The short time they had together had meant more to her than anything else had in too many years, and the Centre wouldn�t let her have him. How could her life have come to this?
She sat there for a few minutes while the song played, the engine running in the middle of the cemetery. The few moments of sorrow passed, and she assumed there would be more over the coming days.
The song ended and the disk jockey chimed in saying,
��and that was calling all angels, a special request by Jarod, and thanks for all you do! I�m Jay Kramer playing your favorites this morning on ninety-eight live. We�ll back after these messages��
Miss Parker turned down the audio. Every time she turned around, there was Jarod, sometimes taunting her, sometimes helping her. Today he was helping, she reminded herself.
Time to go, she thought, as she stepped on the gas and headed for the exit. One more crazy, mixed up episode in my crazy, mixed up life. She remembered the invitation she�d gotten for a dinner party in her neighborhood and decided she would go, as it would be time away from the Centre and time with some nice folks.
Miss Parker turned the car onto the main road, thinking of her next stop, and thinking of Tommy.
Ray stood on the rooftop of the mausoleum and slurped at the giant soft drink container while he watched Miss Parker drive away.
�Stop slurping, Ray, it�s rude,� Bob told him.
Ray ignored Bobs� comment and said,
�Is Miss Parker going be okay? She seems so distraught.�
Bob paused for a moment.
�Yeah, I think so. Jarod did a really nice thing for her. Next time make sure you don�t let things slip like you did earlier. She picked up on that.�
Aaron, angel first class supervisor looked at the both of them and adjusted his straw hat.
�She will be fine, and there will be others looking after her. Your next assignment will be with Sydney. He�s feeling racked by guilt by his involvement with the Centre��