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Falling Down an Upward Spiral (part 6/8)

by M. Rose


Sydney was outside the elevator, pacing. He was debating whether or not to call Miss Parker. Looking at his watch for what seemed like the hundredth time, it was almost noon and she had yet to show up for work.

He remembered her warning as she walked out of the door the day before. She was on her way home and threatened certain death to anyone who would dare disturb her.

He was glad that she was finally taking some time for herself, but he was now beginning to worry. He would never forgive himself if something ever happened to her.

He pulled out his cell phone and called her.

No answer.

He was about to leave a message in her voice mail when he heard her familiar footsteps from down the hall and was relieved to see her walking towards him dressed in her usual designer clothes and flawless hair. She seemed more relaxed than the last time he saw her, but there was something different about her today ... something he couldn't put his finger on.

He wondered if Jarod had anything to do with her current state.

"Miss Parker. I was just trying to reach you," he said as he tucked the cell phone back into his jacket. The elevator doors opened and they stepped inside.

She smiled as she pushed the button for her floor. "Worried about me, Syd?"

She had a brilliant smile. It reminded him of her mother. Catherine's warmth had radiated through her smile and always made him feel at ease in a place that promoted chaos.

A Miss Parker smile was a rarity indeed and he wished to see more of that. However, it was impossible to be happy when surrounded by so much tragedy.

"You seem to be in a good mood," he commented as the doors slid open and they approached her office.

"I am, Syd. But with my luck, it's going to be ruined any minute now."


As they entered her office, she stopped in her tracks at the scene before her. Lyle was sitting in her chair with his legs propped up on her desk and a phone in his hand.

Her good mood vanished as she growled, "What in the hell do you think you are doing in my office?"

He looked up and gave her a smirk. He used to be simply annoying, like a fly buzzing around. But knowing what he was up to, terrified her. She'd known he was capable of murder, but to kill his own flesh and blood was beyond sick.

She crossed her arms. She'd be damned to show any fear to him of all people.

"Uh, why don't I call you later." Lyle hung up the phone. "I've been looking for you."

She stepped up to the desk and pushed his feet off. "I see you've been trying real hard." She pointed towards her door. "NOW, GET OUT OF MY OFFICE."

He raised his hands. "Now now, calm down, sis. I'm here under the most charitable of causes."

She didn't believe a word he said. "You're all heart. If you don't mind, I have work to do."

He ignored her as he stood, smoothed the front of his jacket and asked, "So, have you any leads on Jarod?" She could tell by the tightness of his jaw how much he hated the Pretender.

If only he knew just how close she was. Visions of her dream flashed through her mind.

Lyle laughing.

Jarod's blood spattered on silk sheets.

Lyle poised to shoot at her point-blank in the face.

Sydney's voice cut through her thoughts as he spoke to Lyle. "We are pursuing all avenues."

"And I can see how successful that plan has been for you in the past."

Miss Parker growled, "And what is that supposed to mean?"

"Look, I don't want to fight ... I came here to talk."

"So talk."

"Not here."

Frustrated with this conversation, she spat out, "What?"

"Have dinner with your dear old brother."

"I'm older than you."


"And if I don't?"

He led her away from prying ears and whispered, "Dad is alive."

She already knew that, but faked a surprised look. "What? Are you sure?"

"Oh yeah, but there something else, he's ... he's not right. He keeps mumbling about prophecies and how you're a big part of it. He wants you dead, Parker. Because the scrolls say you have to be."

"Did you see them?"

She never had the chance to read the scrolls before Daddy jumped with them out of the plane. Was that her fate? Death? After everything she had gone through?

She'd be damned if she let that happen.

"No. He said he couldn't hold on to it when he jumped out of the plane. As far as he knows, it sank into the water." Lyle answered, unaware of her inner turmoil.

"Why are you telling me this?"

"Because you need to know. Because, believe it or not, I care."

She gave him an incredulous look and then realized something, "You're afraid he'll turn on you next."

"The thought has crossed my mind."

She wasn't surprised. Lyle was always looking out for one person -- himself.

She was about to make a sarcastic comment when Broots came rushing into her office.

"Dinner." Lyle walked backwards towards the door. "Sprezzo's. About seven?"

She forced a smile. "Can't wait."

Her frown came back as soon as he turned and disappeared through the doors. There was a small part of her that wanted to believe he really cared about her, like siblings should.

"Uh, Miss Parker?"

Tense and confused from her confrontation with her brother, she bit out, "What, Broots?"

From behind the nervous Tech's back emerged a package. "Uh ... this came for you."

"From Jarod, I presume." She took the package from Broots and ripped it open only to find a life preserver.

"A life preserver? Why would Jarod send a life preserver?" Broots asked.

Miss Parker glanced at Sydney. She knew what he was thinking. The symbolism was not lost on either of them. Jarod wanted to save her drowning soul. He had been trying to save her for a very long time and she wondered if he would ever give up.

Sarcastically she said, "How the hell should I know," and threw the object at Broots. He caught it as she walked away.

"Uh ... wait, Miss Parker."

She stopped and turned. "What now?"

He bent down and picked up an envelope off the floor. "Look, this must have fallen out of the box and it has your name on it."

She snatched the envelope and ripped it open.

His curiosity peaked, Sydney asked, "What is it, Parker?"

She showed it to the doctor. "Just the number twelve written on it."

"It's in Jarod's handwriting. I wonder what's the significance of that particular number?"

"Just another one of his cryptic messages."

"There is always a meaning to his messages, Miss Parker."

Annoyed with the doctor's musings, she started to crumple the note until she noticed something written on the back of the paper. It was today's date and a time.

She glanced at the preserver in Broots' hands, "Find out where this came from and notify me as soon as possible." She walked out the door with the note still clutched in her hand.

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