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Chapter or Story Chapter or Story
by Jonathan Yip
Willie entered the computer lab only to find Broots sleeping.
"Huh…what?" The tech snapped awake. Fortunately, he had no coffee nearby.
"Mr. Raines would like you to expand the search to the entire United States."
"But a search like that could take days," he stammered.
"Then you'll have plenty of time for sleep." The sweeper left the room.
He lay sprawled out on the couch. His head swam with thoughts, doubts, and emotions unreleased. The glass next to him sat empty, like the other three beside it. He looked down sadly at his finger, where he had put Miss Parker's ring. He slowly twirled it around on his pinkie.
He had to work to focus his vision. "Yes, Helen?"
She looked down at the glasses that rested in triplicate on the table. She daintily picked one up and sniffed it.
"I'm not on duty anymore, so don't tell me I can't drink."
The nurse looked at him sadly. "There really was nothing you could have done for her."
"That's a nice sentiment, but it doesn't stop the pain." The doctor sat up on the couch to make room for her.
She accepted the seat. Her hand reached for his. "You love her, don't you?"
Tears began to slowly run down his cheeks. He dropped his head into his hands. "Yes. Yes I do."
She put her arm around his shoulder and cradled him to her. "Even the best doctor in the world couldn't have done anything. Cherish the last few days you have together."
Sydney, out of habit, checked for a message from Jarod. There was none.
He walked for a while, just walked. There was no point, no reason, but still he walked.
He stopped in front of a door he knew well. A quick code let him into the room. He surveyed the room where his project had spent thirty years of his life.
/What have I done to you, Jarod? All these years, all these long years alone./ He could count Jarod's 'friends' on one hand. Kyle. Angelo. Miss Parker.
/Miss Parker. Only she really knew you for who you were. An experiment? Yes. A genius? Most
certainly. But a friend? A friend who could love and feel? /
He shook himself out of that thought. With a sad smile, he walked back to his office.
"Mr. Raines?" Broots nervously approached him. "I've found a location for Jarod and Miss Parker."
"Excellent. Where are they?"
"It looks like southern California."
Raines turned away from the technician and made a phone call.
Jarod rolled over and off the couch with a thud. He moaned, then sat up. He quickly realized the error in his ways as stars flashed before his eyes. He clutched his throbbing head and slowly stood up. The previous evening's alcohol had worked its dark magic on the Pretender. Jarod limped over to the coffee machine and poured himself a large cup of fully caffienated, black coffee.
A nurse stuck her head into the lounge. "How are you, doctor?"
He couldn't come up with a name, so he settled for a curt, "fine." /Yeah. I'll be fine once I recover from this god-awful hangover./ With a start, he recalled the previous night's surgery. "Nurse?"
"Yes, Doctor Hopkins?"
"How is my patient doing?"
She looked at him sympathetically. "Dr. Littig finished her up, but they only give her about three days to live. I'm sorry."
He nodded, then headed for her room.
She handed him his cup. "Don't forget your coffee."
Gar had a bump on his head that hurt like bloody hell, but no permanent damage had been done. The doctor released him to Raines.
"We have found Jarod. I want you to take a sweeper team and bring back both of them."
The cleaner accepted the location from Raines, then headed for the helicopter pad.
He gently pushed the hair off of her forehead and brushed her cheek with his lips.
"I'm so sorry, Parker. I'm so sorry."
She opened her beautiful green eyes and looked up at him. "What's wrong?"
He couldn't look her in the eye, so he glanced away. "We… I…couldn't do anything."
She nodded knowingly. A single tear ran down her cheek and dropped onto her hospital gown. Her hand reached out for his.
He still averted his gaze. "I'm so sorry."
She forced him to look at her. "Listen to me, Jarod. There was nothing you or anyone else could have done." She let it fall silent for a while. "How…how long?"
He let her hand drop from his. He stood up and walked over to the window.
"Damn it, Jarod! How long?"
The words barely slipped by his lips. "Three days."
There was silence, for there was nothing to say.
Willie and Gar shared the limo from LAX. They ran through the blueprints together, searching for the easiest way in and out.
After two hours, they pulled up to St. John's hospital.
Willie approached the receptionist. "Ma'am? May I ask you a few questions?" He pulled a picture out of his coat pocket. "Have you seen this man?"
"Why, yes. That's Doctor Hopkins."
"Is he in today?"
She consulted a chart briefly. "Yes, he is. Would you like me to page him for you?"
Jarod heard his name across the loudspeaker. He turned away from the window and exited the room.
On the way, he was met by Helen.
"Do you mind if I walk with you, doctor?"
"Not at all."
They took the elevator down to the lobby. She finally stabbed the stop button.
"Are you doing alright, Doctor?"
"Yes, I'm fine," he answered tersely.
"Do you want to talk about it?" she prodded gently.
"No. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a page to respond to." He pushed the button to continue their descent.
The doors slid open, and Jarod strode out of the elevator.
He jumped back in quickly as he spotted Gar in the lobby.
"Maybe I would like to talk, Helen."
Willie looked down at his watch. "Where is he?"
"Would you like me to try again?"
He looked at Gar. "No, we'll just go find him."
The receptionist shook her head. "I'm afraid I can't let you do that, sir."
Gar sprinted past the desk and was up the stairs before she could stop him. She quickly hit the intercom button. "Security, please stop the man with white hair."
Willie silenced her with a shot to the head.
"Helen, I need you to do a favor for me."
"Sure, Dr. Hopkins. What do you need?"
"I'd like for you to accompany me on a little trip I have to take." He paused for a moment. "How do you like the mountains?"
Helen helped him load Miss Parker into his jeep, then hopped into the passenger seat. Jarod tucked an extra blanket around his patient, then drove off quickly.
He checked his rearview mirror and laughed at the looks on the two sweepers' faces as they burst out of the hospital. He turned left onto the 101 and headed due south.
(Several hours later)
Helen checked on Miss Parker, then headed back to the Lear jet's cockpit. She scrambled into the copilot's chair and turned to face Jarod.
"Where are we going, Dr. Hopkins?"
"Call me Jarod, and our flight plan says Nevada."
She asked the inevitable "but?"
He glanced over at her. "We're going north. How is she?"
Helen heaved a sigh. "As well as can be expected for someone in her condition. She's one tough lady."
Jarod grinned. "You could say that."
"Sir, he escaped again." Gar was very quiet.
Raines voice could have melted the phone. "Then find him!! And don't come back until you do."
Gar closed his cell phone and turned to Willie. "We may have a problem."
Jarod bundled Miss Parker up and lifted her into his arms. He cradled her close to his chest as he walked up the icy pathway.
"We're almost there, Parker."
"Where are we?" Her voice was just above a whisper.
He smiled at her. "A friend's house."
Helen knocked on the door. "Hello?" There was no reply.
Jarod tried to motion at the bench on the porch. "There's a key behind the bench."
She found it, then opened the door. She groped around for a light switch. "It's dark in here, Jarod."
He gently laid Miss Parker down on the couch, then started to look around.
"Nia? Are you here?" He searched upstairs to no avail.
Helen picked up a piece of paper lying on the kitchen table. "Doctor, you might want to see this."
He took it from her hand and began to read.
My dear Jarod,
I know that we can not be together again, so I have gone. Please do not try to find me. I know that we both have to work some things out.
Stay true to the force, young Jedi.
He let the paper drop from his hand, then turned to Helen. "We had better get some rest."
She nodded slowly, then made up the bed for Miss Parker.
Jarod reached into the back of his jeep and brought out a large bottle. He popped the top and poured himself a large shot. The lake was almost completely frozen over. He walked down to the bank and watched the moon's silver reflection as it danced across the ice. The bench near the shore was covered in snow so he brushed it clean before he sat down. He reached for the bottle and filled his glass again.
End Part Two.