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This is the first in a series. Next are 'Sanctuary'descargar freeze-framer and 'Falling Down and Upward Spiral'
by M. Rose
With the tea that Ocee gave him in hand, Jarod entered the dimly lit room and stopped in his tracks at the sight before him.
She was changing out of her wet clothes behind a screen that didn't offer much in the form of coverage.
He knew he shouldn't stare, but his usual steadfast control evaded him as he took her in from head to toe, committing to memory every curve that caressed the vast canvas of her skin.
She was breathtaking.
He has had plenty opportunities to see her exposed like this, but he never took advantage. He always respected her privacy and looked away.
He recognized the feelings stirring within him and quickly realized just how much he wanted ... no ... how much he needed her.
Unknowing of his presence, she turned and grabbed a robe.
He wondered if her skin was as smooth as it looked. He knew she took great pride in her thin, lean body.
Inherited from her mother, of course.
He wondered if she closed her eyes when she kissed. She did during the one and only time they did commit the harmless act as children.
The innocence of youth no longer existed between them.
He wondered what she looked like in the throes of passion. Did she flush? Would she moan in pleasure? Was she just as demanding as her presence would suggest?
He hoped so.
So fixated on her, he ignored the soft humming in the background and let his thoughts turn extreme as he imagined kissing down the nape of her neck, the expanse of her shoulder, the swell of her breast and down her firm stomach. He dared to venture further down...and then paused to wonder if she would ever let him even get that far.
To hell with wondering, he thought, as he approached the divider between them and yanked it down. She jumped at the surprise attack, covered herself up with her robe and stared at him speechless.
Before she had a chance to respond, he grabbed her upper arms, pulled her towards him and kissed her -- hard. To his unexpected delight, she reciprocated. The kiss softened and his hands took on a mind of their own as he explored the expanse of her back.
He heard her robe drop to the ground and then felt her hands snake through the strands of his hair, massaging his scalp in deep languid motions, matching their rhythm.
Suddenly the soft hum turned into a deafening roar, he quickly placed his hands over his ears and shut his eyes wishing the noise to stop.
When he opened his eyes again, he was in bed.
He slapped a heavy hand on the alarm and was greeted with silence, but the damage was done. He could no longer recreate his fantasy. He cursed the damn thing that ripped him apart from his amazing dream, untangled himself from the sheets twisted around his waist, sat up and rubbed his weary and unshaven face.
It was only a dream.
One of many he'd had since he came back from Scotland over three weeks ago. Except these weren't fractured images from his time spent at the Centre. These were extremely vivid dreams about her ... them in various scenarios that never occurred on the Island of Carthis.
Simple psychology told him the dreams were answers to questions lingering in his mind.
What if Ocee never interrupted them in front of the fire?
What if Raines and Mr. Parker hadn't found them with the Scrolls in hand?
What if she hadn't pulled away when he reached for her in the limo?
Each scenario differed, except for one detail -- she never refused his advances.
It was late at night and everyone had gone home, everyone except for Sydney.
Retrieving Jarod may have been his main responsibility for over five years, but it certainly wasn't his only one. He had other projects to oversee and when he, Broots and Miss Parker were on the hunt for the elusive Pretender, the only time he had to catch up was after hours.
It was also an opportunity for him to take advantage of the temporary tranquility and reflect on the day's events.
They were following a lead on Jarod's whereabouts or at least it seemed until Miss Parker quickly realized that she was being played by Lyle once again and cut short the adventure.
Luckily, her brother wasn't successful at his attempt to capture the Pretender and secure his power at the top.
As usual, Jarod was a step ahead and Lyle came out the fool. Miss Parker took satisfaction at her brother's failure; the doctor thought he detected relief as well.
He leaned back in his chair and thought about human evolution ... or rather the evolution of one person in particular.
The trill of his cell phone interrupted his thoughts and he smiled. There was only one person who would call at this time of night.
"Hello, this is Sydney."
"Sydney, do you think that someone can change if given the right ... stimulus?"
He always found it slightly amusing how Jarod would jump head first into a conversation. And what a subject it was. "Jarod, you know as well as I do that a person will only change if they really want to, regardless of the stimulus."
He knew Jarod was referring to Miss Parker and wondered if the Pretender would ever succeed. He remembered what a happy little girl she was before her mother's tragic death. If anyone deserved to be happy in that God forsaken place, it had to be her, but years of her father's influence made the transition difficult at best.
Still, Sydney noticed her demeanor change slightly since they were first paired to capture Jarod five years ago.
He had a front row seat to the puppet show Mr. Parker performed on his daughter. Eyes clouded with family loyalty, she couldn't see the manipulation, but throughout the years her vision began to clear as Jarod brought lie after lie to light.
The change became especially apparent after her encounter with Jarod on the Island of Carthis. Either Raines and Lyle were too wrapped up plotting their next move to notice or they just didn't care.
His relationship with Miss Parker had grown closer over the years; and he had often thought of her as more of a daughter than a colleague. And like a father should, he worried about her.
"But, if the person in question is worth the effort, don't stop trying, Jarod. You might be surprised at the result."
As he closed his cell, Jarod touched his lips and remembered how real it felt to kiss and touch her without the barrier the Centre provided so generously.
It was just a dream.
He thought about the last time he spoke to her.
"You run, I chase. That choice was made for us a long time ago."
Her words, usually full of irritation and anger, no longer held the same meaning. He could tell she didn't want to continue the chase, but rules of the game had changed. Survival was now her motivation and Daddy wasn't around anymore to protect her, not that he ever did. All he did was feed her lies.
Back on the Island, she opened herself to him. Exposing the wound her father had imbedded so deeply in her.
That was when he knew she was teetering on the edge.
"I just hate to see anyone missing a turning point when one is staring them in the face."
"Turning points only come when you've got something to turn to."
He leaned in and tightly grasped her hands, to her obvious shock. He tried to covey his feelings for her -- show her that she had someone to turn to.
She had him. She always did, but she pulled away.
"Hell of a life we have here, Jarod."
After five years on the run, he was tired.
Tired of running.
Tired of fighting.
Tired of being alone.
There was only one person who truly understood what he was going through and she was on the enemy's side.
"And what about ... us?"
The attraction between them had never felt stronger than when they were sitting in front of Ocee's fireplace, talking ... not like hunter and prey, but as a man and a woman.