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When We Were Young

The cold February wind beat mercilessly against the window, as Miss Parker continued her task of going through Mr. Parker’s household processions. It had been over two months since his disappearance into the icy waters of the Atlantic, and her hope, of finding him alive, had all but disappeared as days had turned to weeks and then months. At the constant urging of Sydney and Broots, she had finally brought herself to the realization that it was time to go through his things.

It was a task that was neither wanted or expected, but in the end was hers just the same. She had begun early that morning and as dusk approached had found herself sitting among endless piles of paper work and photographs. She had stared at the photographs for hours, most were of her parents and herself as a child, but there was one in particular that she found her eyes wandering to no matter how many times she tried to put it at the bottom of the growing pile. She was sure her mother must have taken it although she couldn’t remember if that was true or not. She had found it tucked discreetly inside one of the books her mother had loved to read.

The photograph had yellowed with age and the edges were worn slightly as if it had been held often. Parker couldn’t help but to think it had been a reminder of just what Catherine had been fighting for, and she held it closely to her chest trying to remember the day it had been taken. Such memories seemed to be lost to her and she wiped away the tear that came with that realization. Pushing herself to her feet, she wandered over to the window seat, the photograph still clutched in her hands. As she sat down, she heard a small creak and moved to investigate.

Under the soft cushion seat, she found a loose board. As she lifted the tiny piece of wood a memory flooded her mind. She was six years old and her mother had shown her this very special hiding spot in which to keep her most prized processions. Placing her hand down inside the small opening she felt around with her fingers. When they finally fell upon the hidden treasure, she grasped it and pulled it out.

The first item to appear was a worn old teddy bear in great need of a lot of TLC. The feel of the tattered teddy in her hands brought back a flood of memories. She could see herself toting the bear all over and she could still remember the alarm she felt when her daddy had told her that it was time to rid herself of what he considered an eyesore. She had placed it in the hiding spot that night for safekeeping, and had taken it out whenever she felt lonely or afraid. It had been a great comfort to her in the days after her mother had passed. Before she knew what had happened she found herself cradling the musty bear to her chest, its head damp with her tears.

The next item was a journal. She flipped it over in her hands a few times trying desperately to remember the number combination to the lock. After a few minutes she gave up and placed it aside deciding that she could always pick the lock later. After all she was hardly interested in reading more somber memories from the past.

Reaching her hand inside, she pulled out another item, a small wooden jewelry box. She lifted it to her lips and blew the inch of dust off the top, then carefully opened the small metal latch that held it closed. Tucked inside was a small plastic ring, the kind one would get out of a gumball machine, and a silver charm bracelet cluttered with charms. She pulled the ring out first trying to remember why she would have hidden the worthless piece of jewelry. When no memory came, she simply shrugged and placed it back inside the box. Pulling out the charm bracelet, she was flooded with a million memories, one to accompany each tiny silver charm. Her mother had started the tradition on her fourth birthday. There was a charm for every special occasion after that up until the day her mother had passed on. After that it hurt too much to wear it, knowing that there would never be another charm to add, so she had taken it off and hid it for safe keeping.

Finally, she reached inside and removed the last item; a folded worn piece of paper. Delicately, she unfolded it and read the small print scrawled in a child’s handwriting. It was dated September 15, 1970 just five short months after her mother had passed. Written in bold letters across the top it read ‘Things I want to do when I grow up’. Chuckling slightly to herself she read the list. Some of the items were so humorous they caused her to laugh out loud, and others brought tears to her eyes, all of them dreams lost and somehow forgotten. There were two items that hit her particularly hard, Item number nine which was to help her friends at the Centre find freedom and their families, and item number ten, which seemed to be the most difficult to read, even though it consisted of just two small words…Marry Jarod.

Those words hit her like a brick in the stomach and she gasped in an effort to keep the tears in her eyes from spilling. How was it that she had once thought of him in that way? She could barely remember wanting to be his friend, much less wanting to be his wife. Suddenly her mind drifted to their time on Carthis. Emotions washed over her in chaotic overwhelming tides and she began to remember every moment and every emotion she had been denying for years. Perhaps at last it was the turning point she had been waiting for, the only question that remained…. Would there be anyone left to turn to?

She wasn’t sure when she had made up her mind, if it had been seeing her childhood dreams scribbled out on paper or if it had been the remembrance of her time alone with Jarod. But her mind was made up just the same, it was time to find the answers…. for both of them.

Looking out the window of the Centre jet, Miss Parker was greeted with the traditional gracious beauty and character of the south. Revolutionary and Civil War mansions were scattered lazily along the coastline, tucked quietly among placid waters and rolling quakes of the oceans tides. The eastern seaboard may have felt more welcoming if she had not been so worried about what she was about to do. It had only taken a week to find her first bits of information and a part of her felt guilty for not having gone looking sooner. Her stomach turned as she checked her watch for the fifth time in an hour.

“Miss Parker’s worried.” Angelo said softly from the other side of the compartment.

She glanced up at him with a soft smile. “Are you sure he got the message?” She probed for the tenth time since they had boarded the plane.

“Angelo’s sure. Jarod knows. Jarod coming.” He said returning the smile.

“And he has no idea it was from me?”

“Why does Miss Parker want to keep secrets?” it was Angelo’s turn to ask.

“Does that mean you told him?” She asked suddenly more alarmed than worried.

“Jarod knows nothing.” Angelo reassured her.

“Let’s keep it that way.” She said firmly.

Angelo just nodded and went back to looking at the approaching tarmac.

Releasing a heavy sigh, Miss Parker took out the photograph she had found at her father’s house. She had kept it with her constantly since the day of it’s discovery as a continuous reminder that she was doing the right thing. Glancing up, she studied Angelo’s features. “You still look the same.” She said softly.

He turned to look at her confusion on his face.

Turning the photograph so he could see it, she asked, “Do you remember when my mother took it?”

“May I?” He asked reaching across to take it from her.

She simply nodded in response and handed it to him.

Angelo studied the picture of Jarod, Parker and himself as children for a few minutes before he spoke. “She was afraid for us. Afraid her plan would fail.”

A tear slipped down Parker’s cheek as she nodded in acknowledgement.

“She loved us very much, all of us. Wanted us to be free. We…we were friends.” Angelo said with a sad smile. “Best friends.”

“How long does it take to land a damn plane?” She growled out wanting to change the subject as quickly as possible. She knew that everything he said was true; that they had been very close as children and that her mother had been afraid of failing them. In the end those very fears had been realized and she was slightly afraid that she would fail them too. It was only a matter of time before Lyle and Raines would discover she was gone and had taken Angelo with her. She knew they would try to find her and that if they did it would mean danger for all of them.

“Have faith Miss Parker.” Angelo whispered handing her back the picture.

“If only it where that easy.” She said sadly.

Twenty minutes later, they had landed and were making their way to the water front park in the small historic town of Beaufort, South Carolina. Angelo had arranged to meet with Jarod there and Parker had planned to watch from a distance just to be sure that all had gone according to plan. Angelo would accompany Jarod to his childhood home on the banks of the Broad River, and Parker would follow behind to ensure their safety while there.

This town was hardly what she had expected. It was a far cry from what she had imagined would have been a home for Major Charles and his family. No this town was more like one of those flashbacks to the times of slaves and Civil War heroes. She had half expected to find herself in the middle of a re-enactment scene as she turned the corner and headed through what the locals considered down town, this consisted of a strip of small specially stores with names like Boogles and The Cat’s Meow, a far cry from the Dillard’s, Tiffany’s and Sax she was use to.

Spotting the entrance to the waterfront, she felt her stomach flip flop as she turned into the parking lot. Her eyes began to scan for any sign of Jarod. When she found none she and Angelo exited the car and began to walk over to the water’s edge. Glancing at her watch again, she took the large envelope she had taken from the Centre and handed it to Angelo.

“This has all the information he’ll need. I’ll watch from here.” She said sitting down on one of the swings that lined the waterfront. “As soon as you have a safe lead I’ll follow.”

“Miss Parker needs Jarod and Jarod needs Miss Parker. Why not tell him you’re here?”

“That is not an option Angelo. Now go, he’ll be here any minute.” She sneered pushing him towards the middle of the park.

A few minutes later she could see Jarod off in the distance approaching. Holding her breath she ducked behind the paper she was reading and watched. He looked so tried she thought and then realized that he probably hadn’t gotten much sleep after the message from Angelo. After all it wasn’t everyday that he got information about his past handed to him. Shifting slightly in her seat to see him better, she watched as he took the envelope from Angelo. Her heart caught in her throat as she saw his brown eyes pool with unshed tears.

So this is what if felt like to help someone, she thought as she watched her two old friends embrace and head for the parking lot. She had been correct in her assumption that he would follow up on the information immediately. She waited a few moments and then as discreetly as possible began to follow behind them. The whole way to the parking lot she scanned the area for any sign of sweepers or her other usual cohorts, finding none she climbed behind the wheel of her rental and waited for Jarod’s car to leave.

She followed them for a few miles at what she felt was a safe distance, not that she needed to because she had written the address down for herself in case he tried to give her the slip. When he finally pulled into the driveway of the house, she drove past as not to look suspicious. The whole time asking herself how Jarod managed to remain so discreet and allusive when keeping an eye on her, it was exhausting.

Jarod and Angelo made their way up the unkempt steps of the house before them. It was obvious that it had been abandoned for some time, and both had to watch their step. As they reached the front door Jarod paused for a minute allowing a distant memory to wash over him. He could see himself as a child, no older than two or three waiting in the very spot he stood for his parents to carry his new baby brother up the stairs to meet him. Every detail was so clear that it took him off guard and he trembled slightly.

“Jarod remembers this place.” Angelo said softly, taking his friend’s hand to steady him.

Swallowing the lump in his throat, Jarod nodded and reached for the door. It felt as if he was walking back in time as he walked through the doorway and inside. He could hear the soft sweet voice of his mother laughing from the living room and moved in that direction half expecting to see her and his father sitting there waiting for them. Flashes of his childhood bombarded his mind and he sank to his knees under the emotional pressure.

“Jarod sad. Misses family.” Angelo noted helping the pretender back to his feet.

“My mother loved to sit in this window and watch me play. I can still hear her laughter.”

Touching the wall next to the window, Angelo’s face grew very solemn. “Mother sad. Mother looking for Jarod. Mother afraid, afraid Jarod is gone forever.”

Jarod watched him wiping the tears as they fell down his cheeks. “When I think of what they put her through.” Jarod growled angrily.

“Mother will love Jarod always.” Angelo assured pulling his hand from the wall.

“Thank you Angelo, I don’t know how you found this place but I’m more grateful than you will ever know.” Jarod said placing his hand on the empath’s shoulder.

“Not Angelo.” He responded simply moving away from Jarod and looking around.

“What do you mean? If you didn’t do this who did?” Jarod asked confused and slightly alarmed.

“Friend.” Angelo answered never looking up to meet his eyes.

“Why wouldn’t Sydney bring it to me himself?”

Angelo snickered like a child and moved towards the window.

Confused and a little curious, Jarod followed him and looked outside. “What are we looking at?”

“Sydney is not Jarod’s only friend. He has others.” Angelo smiled before stepping away from the window.

“Where is she?’ Jarod asked suddenly understanding just who had helped him.

“Angelo can not say. Angelo promised. Promised Friend. Friend will be angry.”

“Where is she Angelo?” Jarod persisted a bit more firmly than the first time.

“Watching.” Was the only answer the empathy would give before he went about searching the house.

Jarod looked out the window again, but saw no sign of Miss Parker. His mind was a flood of questions. Why would she suddenly be so willing to help him? Was it just a trap set up to capture him and bring him back to the Centre? Turning around he looked at Angelo, who was heading up the steps to explore the upstairs. As much as Jarod wanted to follow, he wanted answers more and headed out the front door in hopes of finding Miss Parker.

Seeing Jarod exit the house, Miss Parker wondered if the information she had taken from Lyle’s computer had been a decoy. It had stated that Margaret had visited the house just a month earlier but had evaded capture. She had found out through connections at the military base near by that Major Charles and his family had spent just a little over a year in the house before being transferred to Charlevoix, MI: the place that Jarod had been taken from. Deep in thought over how she could have been mistaken, Miss Parker was oblivious to Jarod standing beside the car.

“Come to take me back?” He snarled opening the door and pulling her out of the car. “I would have expected this kind of betrayal from Lyle, but not from you, never from you.”

“ I should have known cousin It would open is big mouth. “ Miss Parker attempted to respond but was cut off by Jarod’s irate rambling.

“I can’t believe you would use my family to get at me! I guess your right I guess I don’t know a damn thing about you. Well you can forget the plan Parker, because I’m not going back. I’m never going back.”

“Do they ever shut up on your planet?” Parker sneered yanking her arm from his grasp. She straightened the skirt she wore and stared at him. “Is that what you think this is? A setup?”

“Isn’t it?” Jarod growled in retaliation.

“You know for a genius you’re not too bright.” Parker quipped. “If this had been about taking you back I would have done that already wouldn’t I?”

“Then why?” Jarod asked softer in his tone. “Why now?”

“Because everyone deserves a family, Jarod. I guess it just took losing mine to understand that.” Parker said moving away from him and reaching for the handle to the car door.

“Parker. Wait. Stay?” Jarod asked, placing his hand over hers.

“I can’t.” Parker said pulling her hand back as if it had been burned.

“You can’t or you won’t?”

“Both, I guess. Go on Wonderboy, your past awaits you. “ She replied quietly pulling the car door open.

“Tell me what you know about this house? You owe me at least that.” Jarod said pushing the door closed again.

“Demanding aren’t we?” Parker quipped.

“Please Parker. I can remember little things but nothing major. Please tell me what you know about the house.” Jarod asked his brown eyes pleading his case for him.

“I don’t know much. I found a file on your mother in Lyle’s computer. It said she was here about a month ago.”

“Is she all right?” Jarod interjected concerned.

“If your asking if she was captured the answer is no. She evaded Lyle and his goons and according to the file she just disappeared. I discovered that your family had lived in this house for a little more than a year before you moved to Charlevoix, MI. You father was working at the military base nearby.”

“So Lyle is keeping track of her.” Jarod growled. “That is how he knew about our meeting a few years ago, and how he knew she would be on Carthis.”

“For what I found it looks like they have always been a step behind her. Guess we know where you get those illusive qualities. You better go Jarod. If Lyle knew your mother was here, it will only be a matter if time before he finds out you’re here too.”


“Let’s not pretend this is anything more than it is Jarod. You helped me find things about my mother and now I’m helping you. It’s nothing more than that.”

“Yeah I guess your right. Who finds their soul mate when their ten years old?” Jarod said sadly moving away from car.

“I should go. It was a mistake to come here in the first place.” She said opening the door again.

“Why is it that everything that makes you feel something is a mistake in your eyes Parker? Why can’t you just admit for once in your life that something is right, that this is right?” Jarod asked moving forward to pin her between himself and the car.

“What the hell do you think your doing?” Parker sneered, pushing her palms against his chest in a hopeless effort to move him.

“Something I should have done a long time ago.” Jarod whispered in a soft desire filled voice. Leaning forward before she could protest, he brushed his lips tenderly over hers before applying the pressure needed to deepen the kiss.

Surprised by his unexpected gesture, Parker attempted to resist him but her heart and body defied her mind and ultimately ended up melting into his arms and allowing the kiss to deepen further. The world around her began to swirl into a mixture of flowers blooming and the soft feel of his flannel shirt against the skin of her arms.

Angelo watched quietly from a few feet away a smile painted happily on his face, a childhood rhyme playing over and over in his mind. ‘Jarod and Parker sitting in a tree K_I_S_S_I_N_G. First comes love, second comes marriage, then comes Parker with a baby carriage.’ He snickered softly to himself the tune still gleefully playing in his head as he moved back towards the house.

Suddenly, all to aware that they were standing in the middle of the street, Jarod pulled slowly back from the kiss. His chocolate eyes immediately locking with Parker’s deep baby blues. “It’s getting late.” He said softly.

Breathing in deeply, Parker furnished her lungs with the oxygen they had been denied with the kiss. “Jarod…” She began only to be silenced by his lips on hers again.

“Thank you Parker. For everything.” He whispered. Releasing his hold on her and stepping back, he turned to leave.

Stunned and speechless, she watched him go.

“Where’s Miss Parker?” Angelo asked, as Jarod appeared in the doorway.

Jarod didn’t answer just went about investigating the rest of the house, leaving Angelo alone in the living room.

Wanting to understand what had happened, Angelo stepped outside to find Miss Parker sitting on the front steps. He moved slowly and sat beside her. Placing his hand over hers, he looked at her. “You love him.” He stated sympathetically. “Your afraid because you love him.”

“I don’t have a right to love him.” Parker sneered. “He deserves more than I can give him.”

“Daughter needs Jarod.” Angelo continued. “Mustn’t push Jarod away.”

Patting his hand, a rebel tear escaped her eye. “Take care of him for me.” She said sadly, getting to her feet.

“Jarod needs Miss Parker. Miss Parker should stay.” Angelo persisted, as he rose to his feet to look her in the eye.

“He’s right you know.” Jarod ‘s familiar voice called from the open door.

Parker looked up surprised, wiping the glossy streak from her cheek with the back of her hand. “About?”

“I do need you, but I’m tried of this game we play. It’s always I run you chase, but when I finally let you catch me you’re the one who ends up running away. So now the ball is in your court. You can come inside or you can walk away. The choice is up to you.”

“You know it’s not that easy Jarod.”

“That is just it Parker, it’s a choice. So it’s only as hard as you make it.” Jarod growled out, frustration in his tone.

Angelo took Parker’s hand in his and pulled her up the stairs. As they reached the porch where Jarod stood, he reached for Jarod’s hand as well. As the two stood stunned, he put their hands together and clasped his over them. “Angelo remembers.” He said, a small smile on his lips.

“What? What do you remember Angelo?” Jarod asked never taking his eyes off the empath.

“When we were young.” Angelo said softly.

Surprised by his answer, Parker and Jarod looked from him to each other. The three of them stood like that for what seemed like forever, before the sky overhead opened up releasing heaven’s tears.

“We better get inside before we’re drenched.” Jarod offered, finally pulling his hand away. Angelo nodded in agreement letting go as well and moving inside the house. Jarod turned and looked at Parker. “You coming?”

“Like I have a choice.” Parker sneered, moving towards the door.

“Haven’t you been paying attention these past six years Parker? You ALWAYS have a choice, It’s just a matter of making the right one.” Jarod said, gently grabbing her arm.

“Spare me the lectures Pez head and find me something to dry off with.” She mocked with a small smile.

Jarod smiled and directed her into the musty house.

“You stayed.” Angelo smiled happily.

“Yes Angelo I stayed. Lot of good it will do me when Lyle and the goonies show up.” Parker quipped. “Any day you want to find me that towel Wonderboy!”

“Angelo found this.” He offered holding out a tattered baby blanket.

“That is my old baby blanket.” Jarod replied. Taking the blanket in his hand, he found his name embroidered carefully on the bottom of it. “Where did you get this?”

“There.” Angelo answered, pointing at a closet in the entrance hall.

Jarod pushed past him and into the closet. A few seconds later, he returned holding a pair of bronzed baby shoes in his hand. Tears pooled in his eyes. “These were mine too.” He said softly, reading the plaque they sat on. “After all these years, their still here.”

“I hate to cut this little trip down memory lane short, but I am freezing my ass of here.” Parker quipped, wrapping her arms around her still damp form in a vain attempt to keep warm.

“Here take this.” Jarod slid out of his flannel shirt and offered it to her.

“God I could use a drink.” Parker said, slipping her arms into the soft warm shirt. Breathing in, she was intoxicated by the smell of Jarod’s cologne, which seemed to be woven into the fabric that now encompassed her.

“Want a glass of water?” Angelo offered.

“Thanks, but that’s not the kind of drink I was talking about.” Parker smiled.

“I know.” Angelo smiled shyly.

“My Mother stood in this very spot. “ Jarod said softly, standing at the window.

“It’s getting late. We had better get a good look around before we lose the daylight.” Parker urged, reaching out to touch his arm gently.

Jarod turned to face his childhood friends and smiled. “Parker’s right we better get a move on it’ll be dark soon.” That said the three dispersed and began looking for anything that Jarod’s mother may have left behind.

As night fell they gathered back in the living room. The room echoed with the sound of rain beating against the window and the distinct sound of thunder crackled in the sky overhead. A few childhood mementos in hand, Jarod looked around one last time at the place he had once called his home. In his mind, he pledged a silent oath that someday he would return with his family reunited to live out his parents faded dream for the future.

“You ready Wonderboy?” Parker asked, placing a hand on his shoulder.

“Let’s get out of here.” Jarod answered quietly.

“Come on Cousin It, the train is leaving the station.” Parker called affectionately to Angelo, who sat on the floor in the corner playing quietly with a small brown mouse he had found in a cupboard in the kitchen. “Oh and in case you needed verification the rodent stays.” She quipped over her shoulder as she moved towards the door.

“Parker wait!” Jarod called, spying Lyle out the window.

“What?” She asked, her hand lingering above the doorknob.

“We have visitors.” He answered, pointing at the unwelcome guests outside.

“Jarod get out of here.” Parker ordered, grabbing her gun out of its holster. “Angelo and I will stall them for as long as we can.”

“I’m not leaving you here.” Jarod replied.

“Right because it makes so much more sense to let him find us here together. You may have a death wish there Boy Wonder, but I for one do not. Now get the hell out of here.”

“Parker.” Jarod started to say but was silenced by Parker’s finger on his lips.

“For once in my life let me make the RIGHT choice, will you?” she said softly. Jarod’s eyes pleaded a moment longer before he nodded in agreement. “Good, now head out the back. Take my rental.” She continued as she handed him the keys.

“Jarod must hurry,” Angelo added, keeping his eye on the moving mass of sweepers.

“I don’t want to say goodbye.” Jarod replied sadly, moving towards the kitchen.

“Then don’t. Just get your ass moving.” Parker quipped, preparing to open fire if she needed to.

The thunderous sound of footsteps on the porch was the last push Jarod needed and in an instant he was gone. Angelo unsure what to do, did the only thing he could think of as the door opened. He grabbed Miss Parker in his arms and kissed her.

“Sis, I had no idea Raines’ little lab monkey got you so hot and bothered, and you say I’m the one who’s depraved.” Lyle sneered from the doorway.

Stunned Parker just glared at a snickering Angelo.

“Really sorry to break up this little love fest of yours but we have a lead on Jarod. Think you two can stop sucking face long enough to help us find him?” Lyle chuckled ordering the sweepers in his company to search the house and grounds.

“Watch it Lyle I’m in no mood to play nice.” Parker sneered, pushing past him and heading outside to be sure that Jarod had gotten away.

“Is that a threat?” Lyle mocked following her out.

“That baby brother is a promise.” She growled. “Angelo. Now!”

“Leaving before we find your favorite lab rat? Maybe you are going soft.” Lyle cooed.

Parker turned abruptly and charged back up the stairs, grabbing Lyle’s good thumb in her hand she twisted it bringing him to his knees. “Watch who your calling soft, flesh eater.”

“Looks like someone has a bad case of PMS.” Lyle growled out, clenching his teeth in pain.

“No sign of Jarod sir.” A sweeper called from the doorway.

“There’s a shocker.” Parker quipped, releasing Lyle’s hand and sauntering back towards the car in the driveway. “Now why don’t you crawl back into your hole and nurse your wounds.”

Lyle watched as she got into the car and drove away before he gathered his men and followed.

“What the hell was that?” Parker turned to Angelo as they drove back to the airport.

“Buying time.” Angelo smiled.

“Well one more stunt like that one Romeo and you’ll be missing more than your mind. You got that?”

Chuckling, Angelo nodded and turned his attention to looking out the window.

The plane ride home proved to be uneventful and after an uncomfortable explanation to Sydney, Broots and Raines, as to why she had taken Angelo out of the Centre, Parker gathered her things to go home. Opening her briefcase, she spotted the photograph that had gotten her into the vicarious situation. Running her hand over it gently, she smiled and tossed a few files on top of it before heading down to bid Angelo goodnight and head home.

Pulling into the driveway of her house, Parker tuned off the ignition and stumbled up the stairs. She unlocked the door and moved inside exhausted and dreaming of a nice hot bath to soothe her body and mind. Setting her briefcase by the door and tossing her keys on the table, she stumbled up the stairs kicking her heels off as she went. It wasn’t until she had began to pull at the clothes she adorned, that she realized she still had on Jarod’s flannel shirt. Pulling it from her body, she lifted it to her nose and breathed in deeply before dropping it on her bed and heading to the bathroom.

Opening the door, she was surprised to see burning candles scattered about and a bubble bath had already been drawn and was waiting for her. Just then her cell phone rang. Flipping it open she barked her usual “What?”

“Welcome home.” Jarod’s voice oozed through the receiver.

“You know your not suppose to leave burning candles unattended genius.” She quipped, pulling at the zipper of her skirt with her free hand.

“Who said they’re unattended?” Jarod’s voice grew suddenly louder.

Spinning on her heels, Parker found herself face to face with the pretender, clad in only a pair of worn blue jeans. “Well aren’t we a clever monkey.” She quipped snapping her phone closed.

Stepping fully into the room, Jarod pulled her into his arms. “You have no idea.”

“Is that so? Prove it.” She whispered seductively in his ear.

“Oh I have every intention of doing just that. I won’t want to lose to the competition, now would I?” Jarod teased.

“Remind me to tape Mush head’s mouth shut.” Parker quipped, leaning forward and capturing his lips.

The End.

Authors note: This is a response to my own Challenge List posted on February 7 of 2003. The challenge was to include five out of the twenty items listed. I believe I have included all twenty. (The smell of flowers blooming, A whisper, a glass of water, a dream about the future, sound of rain on the window, a flannel shirt, an old stuffed bear who needs TLC, A child’s rhyme, A list entitled “Things I want to do when I grow up’, a special hiding place, a mother’s voice, a photograph, a pair of brazened baby shoes, an unexpected kiss, a memory, a baby blanket, burning candles, an oath, An unwanted visitor, a small brown mouse.) It also includes a picture challenge by Mickey __the one with Parker, Jarod and Angelo as children_.

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