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Falling Down an Upward Spiral (part 5/8)
by M. Rose
She woke up with thoughts of him ... of them still fresh in her mind.
They were standing, face to face in her kitchen as he cradled her features in the warmth of his hands.
His eyes radiated something she hadn't allowed herself to acknowledge ... he loved her.
He always had.
An overwhelming sensation began to stir within her.
Could it be ... love?
She never thought herself capable of such an act until she met Thomas Gates. And after his death, she vowed never to open her heart to anyone else.
But Jarod got under her skin.
There was a point in her life when she didn't care what happened to him. He was merely the ticket to her freedom. She couldn't remember when she began to see him not as a lab experiment, but as a person ... looking for the same thing she was -- the truth about who they really are.
Now a different truth was before her -- he loved her, but she couldn't return the feelings. There was no doubt in her mind that he would suffer the same fate as Momma and Tommy if the Centre ever knew her feelings went beyond childhood friendship. It was too much for her to bear.
She didn't realize she was crying until she felt him wiping away stray tears streaking down her face with the pads of his thumbs.
"Don't," he said, interrupting her thoughts as if he knew what she was thinking.
It shouldn't have surprised her, but it did.
He leaned his forehead against hers, closed his eyes and whispered, "Parker, please ... don't ... don't do this to yourself."
He leaned back and looked into the depths of her eyes. "Trust what's in your heart.
Let me love you."
Her strength weakened with the tender way he said those four words.
She wanted to let go.
She wanted to love and be loved.
In the short time she was with Tommy, she felt oddly complete, but she didn't realize it until the possibility of feeling that way again presented itself ... in Jarod.
She couldn't. It was easier to push him away than to take a risk and accept his love, regardless of the consequences. "Jaro--" but before she could finish his name, he silenced her with a slow, passionate kiss.
She couldn't stop a grin from emerging as she thought of the way he seamlessly picked her up and carried her to the bedroom to make love for the second time in just a few hours.
The Miss Parker she knew would kick any man's ass for performing such a Harlequin act, but he wasn't any man and she wasn't the same person she used to be.
She shook off her thoughts, grabbed her robe and headed towards the living room in search of Jarod.
He wasn't there.
In fact, there was no sign that he had ever been there.
The room was spotless.
The things they knocked over on the journey to the bedroom last night were put back in place. The picture of her and Momma was back in its original spot on the mantel and her glass was washed and put back in the cupboard.
She ran to her closet and threw the doors open. Hanging inside, the suit she wore last night. She pulled it out and noticed that it was neatly pressed as well.
She wondered why he would go through so much trouble? Not to mention, why he would leave if he wanted her to go with him? Unless ... he was simply a figment of her imagination -- again.
She was losing her mind. "Straight-jacket here I come," she quipped as she put the suit back into the closet and headed towards the shower.
*It felt so damn real.*
She stood under the hot spray and imagined all her problems with the Centre and her dysfunctional family cascade down her body and down the drain along with the water.
*If only it were that easy.*
And then her thoughts turned towards Jarod as she imagined the feel of his muscular chest against her back. His strong soapy hands slowly sliding up her thighs, hips and up her sides. Her skin breaking out in goose bumps as his fingers brushed against the swell of her breasts.
Tension as thick as the cloud of steam that surrounded them, waiting was no longer an option as he began devouring her neck.
Her head rocked back in pleasure. How she could have gone so long without him was a mystery to her.
And then, without warning he stopped, turned her around and pushed her against the tile. She felt her heart beat faster in excitement as she caught the intensity of his stare. Those dark pools of desire radiated through her and she knew what he was planning to do -- ravish her from head to toe.
She prepared herself in anticipation, but as his lips made contact, she jumped at the coldness of his touch.
As she came back to herself she realized it wasn't him who was ice cold, it was the freezing water bringing her out of her reverie.
"Dammit to hell."
She wasn't sure if she was mad because her fantasy was cut short or because it was only a fantasy.
As she shut off the water, she heard an unfamiliar buzzing sound. She put her robe on and followed the sound into the kitchen.
It was her coffee maker.
Even though it had an automatic timer, she never used it. She would simply start brewing a pot of coffee as she got dressed most mornings.
She also noticed a plate of fruit and toast next to the machine. A smile began to form as she wondered how he knew what time she would wake. "Not bad, Boy Wonder."
*That jacket will have to wait for another time.*
She drank her coffee, dressed and prepared herself for what would lie ahead.