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The sun was positioned high in the brilliant blue sky, and the air was warm. It was a wonderful May day, and she watched the little boy run through the fields.
Watching him stop to pick the first spring flowers, she smiled as she looked at his little face. Five years old, today, and it amazed her how much he looked like both of them. The shining dark hair, the brilliant blue eyes and a grin that could charm a snake. Like the time that Jarod waltzed into the Centre and traded her father for his. He sat there with a grin that said, here I am and there's not a thing that you can do about it to keep me here.
Her son was the cause of her shift in loyalty regarding the place once known as the Centre. It had been Angelo that had given her the cryptic message, which sent her on a hunt through the archives. Well, Broots actually did the dirty work and the envelope that she saw in a strong box, resurfaced, the one marked,"Baby Parker's medical records". When she read the contents, the betrayal she felt was worse than finding her lover shot on her front porch.
What she hadn't known was that Jarod had received the information as well, courtesy of Angelo, yet she acted first. She took the little boy, because if there was one lesson that Thomas' death had taught her was that it all came down to love. That was the bottom line, that was what Jarod had been trying to tell her for the past four years. It's what he showed her by sending Thomas to her, that she could love, be loved and that it was her turn to be the person that she was always meant to be. Yet there were times that she still felt unworthy of anyone's love, even their son's.
The night that she took the little boy was the same night that Lyle located Jarod on the outskirts of Blue Cove. The more she thought about it, the more she believed that Jarod somehow knew that she was taking the boy. According to those there, the confrontation between the two men took place in a dilapidated warehouse, a gasoline drum ignited due to an errant bullet from a nervous sweeper. The end result was Lyle's death and Jarod's disappearance. At least that was what Sydney believed, because Jarod's body was never recovered. She waited for that late night phone call, but it never came. Lyle's charred remains where brought back to the Centre by the sweepers. Days after the explosion, operatives from the Centre combed the charred ruins, searching.
Four years passed, and not a word, a sighting or a sign that he was alive. The Centre declined, nothing went as planned. It was a downward spiral from that point in time. Mr. Parker was found dead at his desk one morning of an apparent heart attack, a letter from the federal government in his hands asking those in charge to report before a Senate Committee Hearing. It seemed that information had come to the attention of the Attorney General, information that was responsible for the Centre's fall. The interesting thing was that Sydney, Broots and she were never called to testify. It was almost as if they didn't exist. She always believed that Angelo was responsible for that. The little boy trapped in a world of feelings, so intense at times that they caused him physical pain. He lived with Sydney, skulking in the dark attic or the musty old basement of the old victorian home that he and Michele lived in, here in Maine. According to Syd, staying close, waiting for the day that. .
Then yesterday, it happened. When she went to visit Thomas' grave, really not expecting to find a shot glass other than her's sitting on the top of the headstone, it had unnerved her. There was only one person who knew about that or the toast she made every year to Thomas as well as to him. He was the one that gave her closure regarding Thomas' death. She left the cemetary, then boarded a plane for her son and her home in Maine. Yes, she thought, she had accepted that revelation the moment she read the files. What she regretted was that the boy didn't really know his father. He only knew him through the eyes of Syd, Broots, and herself. After all, Jarod was dead, wasn't he?
Her memories of the prior day were interrupted by a small voice.
"Mommy, look who's coming across the fields!" the little boy said solemnly, pointing, then running toward the lone figure that was dressed in a black tee shirt and jeans.
Looking into the distance, she stopped painting, terrified, wanting to call the little boy back to her. Believing it was a trick, but it wasn't, and she started toward them. All she saw was him. He was smiling at the boy, and at her. She began to cry and continued to walk toward him. She watched him pick up the little boy and place him on his shoulders, both laughing.
She watched fascinated.
"You have a lot of explaining to do?"
An understatement if ever there was one.
"Same goes for you too."
"All you had to do was ask, wonder-boy."
"I'll remember that the next time," he said softly, letting the little boy down," You did a wonderful job with him, Miss Parker."
"Miss Jamieson, but you already know that, don't you?" she eyed him, critically.
"Yes. I know that, but your cleverness never fails to amaze me," he laughed, his eyes tracking the boy.
"Nor your's," she grinned as she followed his gaze. The little boy settled himself onto the tire swing.
"Daddy's home!" he yelled, as he swung, higher and higher, standing up in the tire.
"TJ, sit yourself down," she scolded, her arms crossing her chest. An oh so Miss Parker manner, he surmised.
"TJ?" he inquired," I thought. . . ."
"Timothy Jamieson," she said," he's not a Parker. Neither am I."
"Told you that a long time ago, Minna."
"Don't," she whispered.
"What?" he chuckled, leaning into her ear," Call you by the name that your mother gave to you, knowing the reason she did so."
"I don't deserve it, Jarod. I never did."
His hand reached up, his fingertips grazing her cheek, as he tenderly brushed the tears that threatened to escape from her eyes.
"You deserve it, Minna. Don't deny what your mother gave you, not now. You've experienced it with Thomas, with Timothy. You can love. Accept it, Minna. Catherine knew that when she named you. Your name means love and there is no denying the legacy that Catherine gave you."
"I'm not worthy of that legacy, Jarod," she said softly.
"You are more than worthy, Minna. Anyway, I won't stop reminding you. So, even if you send me away, I'll still call you by your given name," that grin, gracing his face.
"Away?" the tiny voice broke into the conversation," Mommy? Daddy, are you going away again?"
"That's up to your mother, TJ," Jarod said as he scooped the boy up into his waiting arms," Well?"
"No, baby. Your daddy isn't going anywhere," she murmured as he pulled her to them, any fears, doubts she had fading, as he did so.
That was how Sydney and Broots found them, when they arrived with their families to help celebrate TJ's birthday an hour later.