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Liberty, MO
July 22, 1997

“OK guys, we’ve got a fugitive to catch. You are all here because you are the best of the best and now is the time to show your stuff," John Keller addressed his small law enforcement group that was made up of two US Marshals, two violent crimes investigators, and a forensic psychologist.

“Here’s the 4-1-1 on our man," John stated as he passed out confidential documents to each member. “Read em, memorize em, then eat em. I want to see products here, people. Let’s get out there and get this man!"

Jarod quickly looked over the briefing he was handed, memorized it, then turned to the woman standing next to him and asked, “Do you think he really wants us to eat these?"

The woman studied him for a moment, then laughed when she realized he was being serious. “It’s just a figure of speech," she explained.

“Oh," Jarod said, thought for a moment, then smiled at the woman. “I’m Jarod Jones, US Marshal," he offered her his hand, which she took.

“Mary Davis, forensic psychologist," she informed him and smiled. “John’s got quite a sense of humor, so watch out," she warned with a laugh.

“Ready, Jarod?" A young woman behind him called.

Jarod turned to the girl and introduced her to his new acquaintance. “Holly, this is Mary Davis. Mary Davis, this is Holly Silver." The two exchanged hellos. “Holly is our newest member to the Kansas City Marshal department," Jarod explained to Mary.

Holly winced. She didn’t want to be known as the baby of the team. So much for trying to fit in. She would have to remember to have a word with Jarod about that later.

“Good to meet you, Holly," Mary said warmly. “It does not seem like long ago when I was the youngest of a team. You don’t have to worry," she motioned towards the three other men. “These are good guys." When Mary caught the eyes of the three men, she motioned for them to come over.

“Holly, Jarod, this is Mike Snow, John Keller, and Bobby Harp. Bobby and Mike are from the Violent Crimes Unit in Kansas City and John is…."

“The one who gets all the credit when we catch this bastard, so let’s get to work!" John interrupted and everyone burst out laughing.

“So, where do we start?" Mike asked after the laughter died down.

“We start with the locals. Mike, Bobby, you two take your pictures of the perp and walk Highway 23. Split it up and ask questions. Mary, you take these two Marshals to see the crime scene. Show em what you know." John dismissed his task force and they walked out of their meeting room.

Mary led Jarod and Holly out to the parking lot and stopped at her green Ford Explorer. “The crime site is not far from here. Just take a left out of here, go down four lights to Cornwell St., take a left. Then about two lights down on Bradwell take a right. It won’t be too hard to find, a block down and on your right. Got it?"

Jarod nodded his head.

“Just follow me, then," she stated and entered her car.

Jarod and Holly walked to their cranberry red Blazer and got in. Only then did Jarod realize how quiet Holly was being. He looked at her as she put her seatbelt on.

“You OK, Holly?" He asked with genuine concern.

“Yep, I’m fine. I’d just rather you not mention to everyone that I’m the rookie here."

Jarod smiled when he realized her worry. “Holly, you know that these teams are built on trust. You need to be honest about everything, or it could effect the outcome," he explained.

Holly sighed. “I know, Jarod. It’s just that, since I was the youngest in my family, I’ve always been the baby. I didn’t want to have to encounter that at work as well."

“Well, think of it this way. After this, you won’t be the baby anymore."

“What was it like when you were new?" She wondered.

“It was pretty much the same," Jarod answered as vaguely as possible.

Holly looked at him with a wry expression. “Thanks, Jarod. You’re a big help." Then she turned to the window to see the clearly marker crime scene.

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware
Same day

Miss Parker walked into her office and dumped papers on her desk. She was finally able to get away from her brother. The stupid boy was so persistent on catching Jarod; he failed to real all the clues along the way. Typical male. Never thinking with his brain- if there was one in that big head of his. She despised working with him, hated having to explain everything. A knock on her door interrupted her thoughts.

“WHAT!?" She might have blasted the door open with her words alone. A nervous, balding head peeked around the door. “What is it, Broots?" She asked a little calmer.

Broots stepped into the office. “Uh, we got something from Jarod," he mumbled out nervously.

“Does Lyle know?"

“Nnot yet…." He swallowed.

“Good. Let’s keep it that way." She walked towards the door and Broots stepped out. Miss Parker followed and the two walked to the tech.

As they entered, Sydney joined them and they gathered around a wooden crate that was just a little shorter than Miss Parker stood.

“Syd, you got a crowbar?" She asked, still staring at the box.

Sydney looked over to Broots who scurried off in search of one.

“What is your genius child up to, Syd? Have you heard from him?"

Broots returned and placed the crowbar in Miss Parker’s outstretched hand. She grabbed it and worked on the crate until she got one of the sides open. Packaging pieces fell out to reveal a sculpture. Miss Parker snapped her fingers at Broots and ordered him to take it out of the box.

Broots got a hold of it and dragged it out so they could view it better. Miss Parker let out a small gasp as realization hit her.

“Why, it’s you, Miss Parker!" Sydney reveled over the beauty of the thing. When the fact finally registered in Broots’s mind, he quickly backed away from the object, for he had accidentally grabbed the woman’s breast when he dragged it out. The woman was naked.

“What kind of sick…." Miss Parker fumed, trying to make sense out of it.

“Look at it, Miss Parker," Sydney urged her.

She got passed the fact that the woman, presumed to be her, was nude, and noticed the child. There was a small child, about the age of three, kneeling next to the woman, looking up towards her. One arm was outstretched; the child’s index finger was nearly touching the woman’s ring finger. The child, with a tender face that equally matched the woman’s, seemed to be crying out to her. The whole scene was touching, even to Miss Parker.

“It’s not me," Miss Parker whispered. “That’s my mother."

“Uh, it just says here, ‘Parker, May 19th, 1997.’" Broots informed everyone. He had stepped closer to study the sculpture.

“It’s your mother through you," Sydney corrected.

After another moment of quietly observing the beautiful sculpture, Miss Parker turned to Broots.

“Put it back in the crate and seal it. Have Sam take it to my house."

“You’re taking it home?" Sydney was a bit surprised.

“I don’t want anyone else to see it. No one is to know that we received something from Jarod today, got that?" She ordered.

Sydney nodded, relieved that she did not wish to destroy the artwork. He knew Jarod would be pleased when he found out.

“I wonder why the woman is naked," Broots asked the question that was troubling Miss Parker’s thoughts.

“It resembles truth," Sydney analyzed it as Broots put it back in the crate, careful now as to where he placed his hands- which made the task near impossible. “Truth, honesty, vulnerability," he concluded.

Miss Parker turned to him with raised eyebrows. “Let’s get back to work, OK?" It was not a question.

Liberty, MO

Jarod, Holly, and Mary were observing the crime scene where a young girl was murdered when the Deputy Chief urgently interrupted them.

“We’ve found our man!" He informed them and they all followed him out.

Jarod turned to Holly and said, “This is where the fun begins," with a smile.

“He’s headed for California, driving a dark green Jeep Cherokee with Illinois license plates ‘C 14872’."

They were outside in the parking lot now and stopped at the Deputy’s car. He handed them radios. “Start heading west on the interstate and we’ll let you know when we’ve spotted him."

Jarod and Holly rushed to their car, Mary to hers.

“Are you getting excited yet?" Jarod asked Holly as they pulled out onto the main street.

“I was excited the second I met my partner," she smiled, but did not turn towards him. She kept her eyes forward. “I was afraid that I’d get stuck with a mean, old ogre who would hate me no matter what."

“Well, I don’t know about the old part, but I don’t consider myself mean," he smiled at her. “However, there is one person who might disagree on that," he said as an after thought.

“Who would that be?"

“Just an old friend of mine."

“What’d you do to get on their bad side?"

“Well, I tend to call her at odd hours of the night."

“Hey, you could do that to me and I won’t get mad!"

Jarod laughed with her.

“So, why don’t you wait until a decent hour?"

“I am, what they call, a workaholic. I call her whenever I am done with a job, and that always ends up being in the middle of the night. By the time a decent hour rolls around, I’m on the job again."

Holly nodded her head in understanding. “Does she know that?"

“Yes, she does. That’s probably the only reason why she hasn’t killed me for it. Yet."

Holly laughed; not knowing that Jarod was being literal.

“OK, folks," John’s voice came over the radio. “The target has been spotted on I-90, heading west. Be advised. BOLO for a dark green Jeep Cherokee, license plates C14872. Whoever spots him first gets to be the first to spot him. Call it in."

“So," Holly continued their conversation from before. “Have you and this ‘old friend’ of yours dated?"

This idea brought a smile to his face and he held his laugh in. “No, we never dated. When we were friends, I didn’t even know what dating was," Jarod admitted.

“You’re not friends anymore?"

“She would say that, yes."

“Do you have a picture?" Holly was insistent on proving him wrong.

Jarod looked at his partner and realized she wasn’t going to let this go. He took out his wallet and showed her a picture.

“She’s very pretty. Did she know this was being taken?" She studied it.

“No. Someone was spying on her and I took the pictures from him. I destroyed all of them except for that one. Before, I never had a picture of her," he explained.

“How come you two never dated?"

“I picked that picture to keep because she looks like her mother in it. Her mother was like a mother to me."

“Oh, so you two are practically siblings?" She thought she understood.

“Yeah, something like that," Jarod saw an exit and took it.

“Who’s this?" She asked, showing him another picture.

“That’s my mom. She was dead when I was a child."

“Was dead? You make it sound like she’s alive again."

Jarod didn’t respond.

“I know what that’s like," Holly’s tone was somber. She closed the wallet and handed it back to Jarod.

“Your mother died when you were young?" Jarod’s voice took on a softer tone as well.

“Both of my parents. They were murdered. No one was charged for it, no one seemed to care. My sister said it was because my parents were on the brink of exposing some bad people, but somehow those bad people found out." Holly spoke with detachment. “That’s all I know. I was only six when they died. My family was split up and we were put in separate foster homes. My brother died in a car accident when her was 17. My sister was poisoned by a jealous boyfriend and died in the hospital. Obviously, my family is cursed," she tried to make light of the situation.

“Seems that way, doesn’t it? My friend’s mother was murdered as well, and she does not have much of a father either. I mean, her father does not really care for her. He’s a bad man."

“Is he who was stalking her?"

Jarod shook his head. “No, but she can’t see how bad he is."

“And I thought my life was messed up."

“You’d be surprised," Jarod answered.

“I guess so."

“Is that why you decided to go into this line of work?" Jarod wondered.

“I guess subconsciously it was one of the reasons. How about you?"

“I just like to help people," he answered.

“Back to vagueness," Holly pointed out with a smile. “We’ve all got out secrets."

“Hey," Jarod pointed. “There’s out man! Call it in."

The Centre
Blue Cove

“That’s no good, Broots," Miss Parker was disappointed. “Try again." She sighed and straightened up from leaning over the computer. Looking at Sydney, she shook her head. They had been searching for Jarod among the artist population. All three looked up when the door to the room made a hissing sound as it opened.

“Rumor has it that Jarod sent us a present," Lyle stated cockily as he sauntered in the room with hands in his packets. He grinned at his sister, waiting for an explanation.

“What, you’ve got MPD now? Who’s ‘us’?" Miss Parker stared her brother down.

Lyle tilted his head and smiled even broader. “Come now, Parker, share the wealth. I sniffed you out."

“So, what do you want Lyle? A bone for finding the loot?"

Ignoring her retort, “I would like to see it."

“You know, I don’t believe your name was addressed on the label."

“Where is it, Parker?" He was losing patience.

Miss Parker stared at her brother and narrowed her eyes. “It’s over there," she pointed to a box in the corner.

Lyle sauntered over to the box and examined it from a distance. Miss Parker walked over to him and whispered in his ear.

“It’s not gonna bite!"

“What’s in it?"

“Broots," Miss Parker snapped her fingers bringing Broots to her side. “Open the box for Mr. Lyle."

“Ye..yes Miss Parker."

Lyle watched intently as Broots opened the box. From where he was, once the lid was open, all he could see was packaging. He looked at his sister, who responded with a raised eyebrow. Finally he made up his mind and approached the box. Searching through it, he finally came upon a small cardboard can with a metal lid.

“Raisins? Why would Jarod send us…." He opened the lid and something flew out at him, causing him to jump back while throwing the can away from himself. The room burst with laughter- mainly Miss Parker’s.

Once Lyle realized what had happened, he did his best to keep the color out of his face and regain his composure. He eyed the fake snake, now lying limp on the ground, then looked to his smirking sister.

“Very funny, Sis. I just wish I could have been here to laugh when YOU opened the can up." With that he walked out of the room, pushing the now empty can into Miss Parker’s arms. Laughter followed him out.

“Do, do you think that was wise, Miss Parker?" Broots worried.

“Relax, Broots. It’s MY problem, not yours. Now, get back to work," she smiled at him, trying not to laugh from the memory of her brother’s face when he opened the can. It had been a gift of Jarod’s, just not today’s. She new it would come in handy sometime.

Crescent City, Kansas

“So, what do we do now?" Holly began to feel the thrill of the chase. The rush that she had always dreamt of when she decided to join the US Marshals Service.

“Now, we tail him until back-up arrives. Then we get him!" Jarod was excited as well.

“Who would have thought we’d be the first to find him."

“Thrilling, isn’t it?"

“Maybe we’ll get this all done before it’s late and you can call your friend at a decent hour," Holly suggested.

“You just don’t give up, do you?"

“I have a feel for this sort of thing," she explained mysteriously. “I think she means a lot to you, but something is holding you back.

“You assume that I have feelings for her that go beyond friendship."

“Am I right?" She smiled.

“I’m afraid not, Holly." Jarod shook his head.

“Yeah, right."

“All you’d have to do is meet her and you would understand. She has a very thick head, making it hard for her to see the obvious. It’s really rather annoying," Jarod explained.

“Maybe I will."

“Will what?" Jarod had lost her.

“Meet her."

“Why would you do that?" Jarod was a bit alarmed.

“I don’t know. Maybe we are kindred souls. I mean, not having any parents and all."

“What would you accomplish from meeting her?" Jarod was trying hard to understand.

“You sound like you don’t want me to."

“It’s not that… it’s just…."

“Just what? There are our reinforcements!"

“OK, team, this is how it’s gonna work," John’s voice boomed from the radio speaker. “We’re gonna box him in- one car in front, that would be Bobby, one to his left will be Jarod, and Mike in the rear. Mary, you get positioned in front of Jarod but give him space. I’m in your rear, Jarod. Let’s move!" The cars got into position with a line of squads about ten yards behind. “Now, when I say, Bobby, you are going to start slowing down, the rest of you follow. We have to do this together and do it right to make it work. Eventually he’ll have to stop. Be ready for resistance!" John warned. When he was sure everyone was mentally ready for what they were to do, he signaled them to begin. “Now, Bobby!"

Bobby released the gas pedal and let his car slow, watching the rear-view mirror. The car behind him slowed as well, but when Bobby did not increase his speed, the car behind began getting close. Bobby could see the driver looking to his left to see if he could get around. Jarod was there so there was nowhere to go.

Jarod noticed the perp look to his left to try to get around Bobby. When he realized he was blocked in, he hit the wheel. Looking in the rear-view mirror, Jarod was sure the man saw the line of squads not too far behind. Panic seemed to settle in. The square of 6 cars were nearing 30mph now, soon they would be stopped.

All of a sudden, the perp slammed on the breaks, causing John to swerve to the right to avoid rear-ending the car. Just as soon as the man could get out of the car, all those on the team followed. He ran to the right of the highway into commercial businesses, trying to get away. Jarod and Holly were right behind him.

The man ran relentlessly, knocking into people, trying to lose his pursuers in the crowds. They were gaining on him, though, and he could not see any way out.

When she felt they were close enough, Holly shouted to the man, “US Marshals! Stop where you are!"

As predicted, the man kept going. He eventually found a break between two store buildings and ran into it. Jarod let Holly follow the man’s exact moves, while Jarod ran into the store beyond the gangway and caught up with the man outside the back door of the store.

“Freeze!" Jarod pointed his gun at the man, causing results. The man froze at the sight of the gun, not less than five inches from his face. Holly almost ran into the man as she rounded the corner.

“Sheesh!" She screamed at the surprise.

“Handcuff him," Jarod ordered Holly. He looked at the man with disgust. It took a lot of strength to keep his mouth shut.

“Ok," Holly’s breathing was heavy, as was everyone else’s. She yanked the chain between the cuffs and dragged the man back through the gangway, Jarod following close behind.

John greeted them at the other end and smiled at Holly as he passed the felon on to a uniformed officer.

“Good job, Holly." He nodded at Jarod.

Holly stood where she was, Jarod next to her, both trying to catch their breaths. Then, Jarod turned to Holly and put his had on her shoulder. “You did good, Kid!" He exclaimed.

Holly narrowed her eyes and lunged at Jarod.

He had anticipated such a reaction and was prepared. He just stepped around and grabbed her waist from behind so she would not fall.

“I’m just kidding!" He exclaimed and they both burst out laughing. “It’s been good working with you. And, I would not mind if you went to meet my ‘friend’."

Holly smiled at his resignation.

“She could use a friend, and I think you would be a good one."

“Thanks, Jarod. I think that if she’s got you, she’s all right."

Jarod smiled and motioned towards the car.

“Common, I’ll give you her name and address."

“Wait a minute. Am I going to get a new partner?" Holly was confused at his previous statement. “I thought that I was going to stay with you until my supervision was up?"

“Normally, you would, but I have to move on. This is not where I want to be," he explained.

“What, the pay’s not good enough?" She smiled as she put her seatbelt on.

Jarod smiled back and started the car. “Something like that."

“I think I will call you Mr. Vague from now on," she said with a laugh.

When they were back at their station in Kansas City, Holly asked Jarod to wait for her so he could walk her to her car.

“Here’s the name and address," he handed her a piece of paper.

“Does ‘Miss Parker’ have a name?" She asked, reading what he had written.

“You’ll have to ask her that," Jarod grinned.

“OK, Mr. Vague. This is my car. I suggest you go home and give this poor woman a call," she held up the piece of paper. “If it doesn’t get you on her good side, at least it will surprise her that your call is earlier than usual," she smiled broadly at Jarod. “It’s been fun!"

Jarod smiled and closed the door for her, waving as she drove off. After he looked around, Jarod pulled out his cell phone and pressed speed dial. He was uncertain that she would even be home at such an early hour. He was surprised when he got an answer.

“WHAT?" A hint of tiredness was in her usually threatening voice. Only Jarod would have heard it.

“Did you get your present?"

“Jarod?" She found it hard to hide her surprise. This made him smile. Holly was right.

“The one and only!" He said cheerfully, for he knew it would bug her.

“What time is it? Have all my clocks stopped working?" She wondered, causing the man on the other end to chuckle. She let a little smile grace her lips. She had no idea she could make him laugh.


“Well, what?" She knew perfectly well what he was asking.

“How about the statue?"

She sighed heavily into the receiver. She sat in her living room, on the couch with a glass of scotch in her hand, staring at the work of art.

“It’s beautiful," she admitted, and that brought a delighted grin to Jarod’s face. She hadn’t gotten rid of it, and she even liked it!

“Do you know who it is?" He asked, it was important that she did.

“My mother." She stated, not truly believing.

“Only partly, Parker. It’s the image of your mother that I see in you," his voice was gentle. He knew her mother was a touchy subject.

Miss Parker pressed her eyes closed and thought about what he said.

“I think you can figure out the rest." Though he wanted to talk more with her, he hung up. He hoped she would understand.

To Be Continued...

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