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Disclaimer: Don’t own the characters, not making any money, no infringement intended so please don’t sue J

Note: This is a response to Mickey’s Announcement Challenge. Don’t take it seriously, I was tired when I wrote it (yes, I’m making excuses & no, I don’t care *g*)

Inner (non)Sense

By Melanie-Anne

Miss Parker’s jaw dropped as she saw the picture in the announcement section of the newspaper.

The picture of her and Jarod and the paragraph announcing their engagement.

She couldn’t believe his nerve. Did he actually expect her to let this one slide? And did he want the Triumvirate to kill her when they saw it?

I’m going to kill him, she thought. Slowly and painfully. If he wants me to go to Maine, fine. I’ll go to Maine. But he’ll be coming back to Blue Cove with me – in a body bag!

She quickly packed an overnight bag and left a message on Sydney’s machine. By the time he got it she hoped she’d be on her way back with the lab rat in tow.

*

Jarod flipped through the pages of the newspaper, looking for anyone who might need his help. He flipped to the back and saw the page containing the engagement announcements.

"What?!"

He blinked a couple of times and then looked at the picture again. There was nothing wrong with his eyes. According to the newspaper, he and Miss Parker were engaged.

What’s going on? Is this a trap? Where did that photo come from?

Smiling, he wondered if she’d seen it and what she thought. He doubted that she was impressed. Maybe he would go to Maine and see what all this was about. It couldn’t hurt, unless, of course, she overreacted.

Who’s responsible for this? He wondered. And what does he or she hope to achieve?

*

"Hello, Ben," Parker greeted the man standing on the front steps of the inn.

"Miss Parker! How lovely to see you again," he said warmly. "What brings you so far? Are you on vacation?"

"Umm...just taking a few days off. I was wondering if-"

"Of course you can stay here. You know you’re always welcome."

"Thank you." She smiled at Ben and followed him up to her room.

"We’re not that busy this time of year so things are kind of quiet. Come on down when you’re unpacked. I want to hear all your news."

Parker sat on the edge of her bed and took off her shoes. Ben hadn’t mentioned anything about the announcement and she wondered if this was another wild goose chase. Still, she didn’t really mind being away from the Centre for a while. Why was it that she only realized how unhappy she was with her life when she was taking a break from it?

Maybe she wouldn’t shoot Jarod after all....

*

Jarod pulled up at Ben’s inn and grabbed the haliburton from the trunk before going inside. "Ben?" he called from the doorway.

"Jarod! It’s so nice to see you again. How are you?" Ben said, walking into the hallway.

"Good, thanks. And you?"

"Can’t complain. What brings you to this part of the world? Wait- Don’t tell me. I’m too nosy for my own good. Do you need a place to stay?"

"Uh, yeah. Please."

"Great. I have the perfect room for you."

Jarod followed Ben upstairs. As he unlocked the door, Parker stepped out of her room.

"Ben, I- Jarod! Don’t move!"

"Miss Parker, wait!"

"No, you wait! Maybe you can explain this to me."

"Explain what?"

"This!" She pulled the newspaper clipping from the back pocket of her jeans and waved it in front of Jarod’s nose. "What kind of game do you think you’re playing?"

"Me?!"

Ben took advantage of their pre-occupation with each other to disappear. He returned to the kitchen where his young companion was patiently drinking coffee.

"I hope this idea of yours works," Ben said, pouring himself a cup.

"Of course it will. It had to happen sometime, but we’re all just sick of waiting. And both of us know they want it too."

Ben shook his head, holding back a smile. "If Catherine could see them now...."

"She can," Ethan said quietly. "It was her idea, you know."

Upstairs, Parker had pushed Jarod backwards into his room. He dropped the case and held up his hands in protest. "I don’t know why you’re taking this out on me! I know just as little as you do!"

Parker paused. "Really?"

"Really."

"Why should I believe you?"

He shrugged. "Because it’s the truth."

"Well, somebody wanted us here. But who? And why?"

"I don’t know."

She leaned against the wall. "It’s a nice photo, though."

"It is," he agreed.

She looked at the haliburton lying on the floor and took a step towards it. He blocked her path, grabbing her wrists.

"Uh-uh, Miss Parker. You can’t have those."

"Didn’t anybody teach you to share?"

"What? At the Centre? Yep, they were just full of morals and good manners," he sneered.

"You’re hurting my wrists," she complained.

He released her wrists but slid his hands around her waist and pulled her against him.

"What-" she protested but was cut off by his kiss. When he pulled away she was speechless.

So she slapped him.

"Ow!" The smile vanished from his lips.

"How dare you? I- argh!" She gave a frustrated groan and stalked out of his room, unlocking her door.

"Hey, Parker! Hey, wait up!" he called. "I’m sorry. It won’t happen again, okay?"

She stopped and brought one hand up to her mouth, her fingertips touching her lips. The lips that could still feel his kiss.

"Was it so bad?" he asked.

No, she thought. It was wonderful.

She felt his hand on her shoulder and turned around to face him.

"Would it really be so bad, you and me?" he asked softly.

"Huh?"

he held up the clipping and repeated his question.

"Oh," Parker repled. "Umm, I don’t know." She stared at him in silence, studying his features, fascinated by the tiny mole on his face. In the end it was the mole that decided her. She reached up and gently, very gently, placed a kiss on the mole, then kissed his lips, just as gently.

The kiss grew deeper and she pulled him closer to her.

"See, Ben," Ethan said. "I told you it would work."

Parker and Jarod broke apart and looked at their brother. Jarod grinned happily and winked at him. Parker tried to look angry but failed. Ethan laughed and pulled the door closed with a "Have fun! Seeya at dinner!"

"I should have guessed," Parker said, shaking her head.

"Well, at least now we know it’s not an evil Centre plot."

"Mmm...so that means that we don’t have to go investigating."

"Mmm...." He nuzzled her neck.

"Whatever will we do with all this free time?" she asked, mock-innocent.

"Oh, I’ll think of something. I’m very creative," he said suggestively.

Parker smiled and made a mental note to do something nice for Ethan later. She’d never guessed that little brothers could come in so handy and wondered just how exactly he had known what she wanted.

Blame it on the voices, sweetie.

Mama! Do you mind! I’m....uh, busy.

Don’t mess this one up, Miranda.

Mama! Please...I’d like a little privacy!

Wow! Honey, why’d you wait so long for that?

Mama-

Okay, I’m gone!

Good,
Parker thought. Because I don’t like sharing.

She had, after all, been brought up at the Centre and the Centre did not encourage sharing.

They were very late for dinner....

~*~











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