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Jarod looks around him in a swirl of desperation. No way out. This pretender had run out of luck. Brigitte, Lyle, Raines, and the sweeper began to close in on him slowly, their guns drawn. Jarod tried to back away.

"There’s no where to run this time, Jarod," Brigitte grinned with pride of having caught the rat.

"We’re taking you home," Rains rasped.

The sound of an engine getting closer diverted everyone’s attention for the moment. A plane headed right towards them.

"Dad!" Jarod rejoiced, realizing his father had come back for him. The plane touched down and continued straight for the group, now panic-stricken. Jarod moved back in one direction, the group in another. The plane rolled quickly by. Brigitte and the sweeper shot at it and it picked up speed.

"Jarod’s gone!" Lyle was the first to notice.

"Damn!" Brigitte was more upset her shots had missed.

"Get in the helicopter!" Raines ordered of everyone.

Brigitte turned to Raines, shoving her gun in his face. "You tried to kill my husband!"

Raines pulled back in fear.

"Brigitte," Lyle warned, "it’s not a good thing for the baby for you to get upset like this."

"I’m not going to let this go, Billy," she hissed and lowered her gun.

Raines relaxed and retorted, "You just let Jarod get away."

Brigitte could not take it anymore. She turned around and shot Raines in the foot.

"Anything else you’d like to say, Billy boy?" She aimed her gun at his knee.

Raines glared at her with hatred and pain. He motioned to the sweeper who approached him and helped him to the helicopter. A few moments they were gone.

Lyle stared amazingly at his stepmother.

"What?" She hissed at him.

"You sure you’re not related to my sister?"

"Shut up."

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"Angel? Angel, don’t leave me?"

"Let’s get her in the car," Sydney suggested.

Mr. Parker nodded his head and the two placed Miss Parker gently in the back seat of the car.

"Sydney," Mr. Parker’s eyes bore into the other man’s. "Who ever did this to my Angel will pay," he declared.

"We will find out," Sydney nodded. He got in the back with Miss Parker to hold her head. Mr. Parker and Broots got in the front.

"To the nearest hospital, Broots."

Sydney looked tenderly upon Miss Parker and yearned for her to open her eyes as he stroked her hair. He could feel the blood soaking her clothes and his hand as he applied pressure to the wound. He knew he loved her as if she were his own. He did not doubt that he might even love her more than her own father ever could. He had, in fact, been more of a father than Mr. Parker had. Sydney certainly did not want to lose Miss Parker because she tried to save that man’s life.

"Is she- she going to be alright?" Broots was worried.

"My Angel will pull through. She’s a Parker."

"Just get there fast," Sydney noticed Miss Parker was hardly breathing.

"We’re here," Broots announced.

As soon as the car was stopped in front of the emergency door, Mr. Parker was out exercising his power.

"Doctor, my daughter’s been shot. Take care of her this instant!"

Nurses rushed up to the car with a gurney and quickly but gently moved Miss Parker into an emergency room. Mr. Parker tried to follow them in, but he was stopped at the door.

"I am her father!"

"Sir, she’s in good care now. We will do the best we can, but we cannot have you in the way. Please sit over there and wait. We’ll let you know as soon as there is any news."

Sydney listened to the exchange and silently hoped that Miss Parker would pull through and that Jarod was all right. All three men took seats in the waiting room.

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A Cabin

Jarod paced the small dining room of the cabin. What could he have done differently? Would Parker be all right? He did not want his last words to her to be those of anger. He had accused her of lying to him. How could she still love her father so damn much? After all he’d done to her?

Jarod felt a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"There was nothing you could have done, son," Jarod’s father reassured him. "I’m sure she’ll be fine."

"I’ve got to see her."

"And risk getting caught? You’ve got your life ahead of you. You’ve found half your family, a chance to find the rest- are you willing to give that all up just to see this woman?"

"She is part of my family, Dad. We grew up together! Her mother died for me. I need to know she’s all right."

Jarod’s dad looked deep into his son’s eyes and nodded his head.

"You will, Jarod. You will. But not now."

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"Sir?" A nurse shook Mr. Parker gently; who fell asleep in the waiting room. Broots and Sydney wake. "Sir?"

"Hmm?" He stirs, slowly recognizing his surroundings. "What?" He asked gruffly.

"Your daughter is stable now. We were able to remove the bullet. A bone in her shoulder stopped it, so there were no vital organs punctured. She should be able to go home in a day or so, but she needs to rest. You may go see her now."

"Thank you, nurse," Sydney replied before Mr. Parker could take it all in. When he did, he followed Sydney into the room the nurse had directed them to.

"Miss Parker!" Sydney was elated to see her awake and sitting half way up.

"Hey Syd," she greeted with a tad warmth in her voice. Than she saw her father.


"Angel! You’re all right!" He walked to her bed, took her hand and squeezed it. "Would you know who it was that tried to kill me?"

"Yes, I’m fine Daddy, thank you for caring," she was a bit bitter to realize that that was all the comfort she would get from her father. Now he was on to business.

"No, I don’t. Brigitte informed me, I had no time to find out. Maybe you should ask her."

"Hmm, maybe I will." He smiled down at her, but his eyes were distant. "Well, you get rest so you can come back to work soon. I’m going to head over there now," he leaned over his daughter and barely brushed his lips on her forehead. She could hardly feel it.

"Bye," she said regretfully.

Sydney and Broots remained in the room. Miss Parker stared after her father, then turned her attention to them. "Did you see who it was?"

"No, Parker, we were caught in the confusion," Sydney answered. "How are you feeling?" He was genuinely concerned.

"Fine," she stated, void of all emotion.

"Just two chocolates a day, and she’ll be good as new," a familiar voice came from the door.

All three looked to confirm what they already new.

"Jarod!" Sydney exclaimed incredulously. Broots almost choked and his face tuned red. He stepped a bit closer to Sydney.

Miss Parker was caught off guard. "What are you doing here?" She demanded to know.

"Why Miss Parker," Jarod entered the room with a heart shaped box of chocolates in his hands. "Is that any way to greet a person concerned for your well being?"

"Not when you’re carrying those heart attacks-in-a-box, you’re not concerned for my well being." She stated cynically, eyeing the heart. "Those look familiar."

"Yep, I thought I’d stick with what I knew you’d like," his smile was nauseating to her.

Sydney cleared his throat. "Well, Broots and I should really get back to The Centre. Take care, Parker. We’ll come visit later." The two men left.

Jarod placed the heart on the stand next to the bed and stood closer to Miss Parker. He looked at her with care, and she squirmed under his fierce gaze.

"Seriously," his voice was low and full of compassion. "How are you doing?"

Miss Parker got a hold of herself and tried to hide her feelings. Why did he have this effect on her? "Seriously, Jarod. I’m fine. The doc says I’ll be out in a day or two."

Jarod took a seat on the bed, but did not break eye contact. "You could have been killed."

Miss Parker narrowed her eyes at him. "I know," she stated, irritated.

"Sometimes I just don’t understand you, Parker."

She was thrown aback by this confession. Jarod never had a problem understanding anyone. "Good," she stated. "That should make it easier to catch you."

Jarod sighed. Right now, he thought she might be vulnerable, after seeing her life flash through her mind, but if she was, she was hiding it well. He had to find the right button to push. He thought for a second.

"I’m not going to give in to you, if that’s what you’re thinking," she guessed at his reason for being there. She was surprised to see that she had guessed right, judging from his reaction.

"How can you love him, give your life for him, after all he’s done to you? After all the pain he’s caused you? He’s ruined both our lives!" Jarod’s anger rose as he tried to get his point across to her.

Miss Parker’s eyes returned to their normal frozen blue as her spark was ignited from his anger towards her. "You are confusing The Centre for my father," she said slowly in a low, flat tone.

Jarod shook his head in disbelief. He was not going to get her this way. He stared at her for a moment, waiting to see if she’d melt, but decided it would be best if he left, incase the Centre was on its way to obtain him. He heaved a sign, stood up, quickly leaned over and presses a firm, but gentle kiss on her cheek, just near her mouth, turned, and left the room.

Miss Parker was about to break under his fervent gaze, when suddenly he broke it to give her a kiss and leave. She could hardly believe that he had the nerve to kiss her. He left her baffled, and that was something she hated to be.

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St. Joseph’s Hospital

Kansas City, MO

Jarod was just about to pack up his stuff and leave his last pretend when one of his colleagues rushed towards him. His face let Jarod know that whatever it was, it was urgent.

"There’s been an accident, I’ve been called to check over the victims, but there will be an OD patient coming in, could you take her before you go?"

"Of course," Jarod said, thankful he had decided not to lead Miss Parker to him this time.

Seventeen years old, Kara Malloy was rolled in by the paramedics as they filled Jarod in on her status. It was an apparent attempted suicide. These cases made Jarod especially sad. This girl was serious in her actions and near death. Jarod did what he could for her, then went out to her waiting parents and explained to them.

"She’s out of the dark now, but it will be a few days before she can leave. Have you any idea why she would do this?"

"She’s been depressed," her father stated.

"No," her mother argued, "she’s just a teenager. They are never happy with their lives. I never thought she’d resort to something like this. We have a pretty good relationship, I never saw it coming."

"You usually don’t, Mrs. Malloy. That’s why a lot of them succeed. They never show that they need help, and it all gets to be too much for them," Jarod explained.

"Can we see her?"

"Sure, but only for five minutes. It’s past hours and she really needs her sleep."

Jarod decided he would stick around a little to see if he could understand what Kara was going through. He knew it was risky, staying in one spot for so long, but he had such an urge to understand.

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The Centre

"You bozo’s ready to get back to work?" Miss Parker demanded to know as she entered the tech room where Sydney and Broots were leaning over a computer screen.

"Miss Parker," Sydney straightened and smiled. "It’s good to see you up and about. Did you have a nice vacation?"

"The best a girl could ask for," she replied negatively. "What’s new in the ‘insane asylum’?"

"Interesting you should ask," Sydney motioned towards her office. "Jarod sent you something."

Miss Parker raised an eyebrow, looked to her office, and then followed her gaze with her body. What was Wonder Boy up to now? She was still confused about the last time she had seen him in the hospital. She had since then been trying desperately to remove that memory from her mind.

Miss Parker entered her office and found a package on her desk. She ripped the box open, guessing what its contents could be. Was it something to do with her or her mother’s past? All hope vanished when she came upon the object, just another dumb clue on Jarod’s location. After reading the short note, which said, ‘A world of fun!’ she threw the object across the room and picked up her phone.

"Get a jet ready for Orlando." She slammed the receiver down. The stuffed doll of Mini Mouse smiled at her from the other side of the room. "And the hunt continues," Miss Parker stated to herself.

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Kara woke with such a pain in her head, she felt like someone had smashed it in between elevator doors. Her eyes took awhile to adjust to the light, but when they did, she focused on a man sitting in a chair next to her bed.

"Am I dead?" She wondered out loud.

Jarod studied her for a moment, then answered.

"No, but a few hours before, you were pretty close to it."

Suddenly Kara remembered what had occurred and anger filled her.

"Who the hell are you? Why am I not dead? Where am I?"

"I am your doctor, Dr. Scope, but you can call me Jarod. You are at St. Joseph’s Hospital. I’m glad you’re awake because I have a few questions for you."

"Yeah? What?" She eyed him cynically, a surprising resemblance to a look he would get from Parker.

"Do you remember why you are here?"

"Yeah. I tried to kill myself."

"Do you know why?"

"Ha!" Kara laughed at the question. "What idiot would kill themselves without reason?"

Jarod looked her in the eye and tenderly asked, "Why then?"

Kara backed away as if to protect herself. Jarod could see her retreat into herself and knew what was coming. He had seen the same in Parker a million times.

"I’m not gonna tell you."

"Do you remember how you got here?"

"No. What is this? 20 questions?"

Jarod was confused for a moment, but moved on.

"Well, you’re going to have to go through counseling, so you should get used to the questions."

"What’s your deal anyway? Why do you care?"

"I don’t know. I guess it’s just my curse. But I do. Do you believe me?"

Kara started into the man’s eyes and sighed.

"My life is one big mess." She knew she was walking out on a plank here, but she needed to unload a little, and something about this man made it seem all right, thought that was near impossible for her to find in a man. "And it just seems to be getting worse," she continued. "I didn’t know what else to do."

"Did you ever try to talk to anyone? Your mom said you two have a good relationship."

"My mom’s got enough of her own problems. So does everyone else. I needed a friend to listen to me, but no one wanted the job. I had nowhere else to go."

"I will listen to you," Jarod assured her softly. He cringed at her reaction.

"Are you kidding?" She went back behind her wall. "I don’t know you at all. I’m not about to tell a total stranger my life’s problems. I want to sleep now, so please leave," she ordered, then put her back to Jarod and pulled the sheets up over her.

Jarod’s head was racing with ideas as he left the room.

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Disney World

Miss Parker angrily paced the director of entertainment’s office in Disney World, Sydney and Broots leaning in the back, watching her, but trying not to look like it. She was sick of hearing Disney tunes, seeing Disney characters everywhere she turned, and pissed that the director was making her wait. The hot weather was doing nothing to help her mental state.

Finally, a balding, roly-poly of a man in his late forties walked in with a smile that faded with one glare from Miss Parker. The room suddenly seemed hot and stuffy. He offered his hand to the angry woman in his office, only to have it ignored.

"Wha…what can I do for you?" His voice shook with nervousness.

Miss Parker glared at him in disgust for a moment longer, then shoved a picture of Jarod in his face.

"Have you seen this man?" she demanded to know, desperately craving a cigarette.

The man studied the picture, then shook his head.

"Are you sure?" she barked out the question. "He was not employed here?"

"Never seen him in my life. Oh, wait a second." The man studied the picture harder. "Isn’t that that doctor who saved all those children over in Missouri? Yeah, I bet that’s him," he looked up at the woman before him with a triumphant smile.

"Excuse me?" Miss Parker blinked hard. She had no idea what he was talking about.

"Yeah, we donated money to help his fund. He sent us a picture of him and the children with thanks…. Here, I have the picture right…."

Miss Parker grabbed the picture from the man’s hands. Sure enough, she looked down to find Jarod grinning at her.

"Son of a bitch!" She wanted to rip the picture, but instead she shoved it back at the man and left his office without a word.

To Be Continued...

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