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He's going to sit there and sulk until I apologize, isn't he?

Yup, that's what he's going to do.

I have the foresight to actually have a plan to go in there with, and he gets mad because I failed to inform him. He never informs me of his schemes either. I am not going to apologize.

"I'm sorry." Damn, I thought I could pull that off. He just keeps looking at me, and his eyes are so sad, I have to make him feel better.

He brought me and his mother to a little house not five miles from my place, never would have guessed it was there. It's very secluded, only accessed through many twisting back roads. Margaret went to go clean herself up and sleep off her ordeal. Leaving me alone with Jarod.

"Did you think I would go in there unprepared?" I asked him.

He shrugged and looked away.

What's up his butt? I did him a favor here. I rescued his mother. Alex is no longer a problem… at least for the time being. No one got hurt in the process, save the three bruises now splotching my chest, and the new hole in my arm.

"You could have told me. Instead, you let me think…" He shook his head sadly. He thought he had lost her.

His mother said that after Alex shot her, she fell over the railing and hit her head on the edge of a chair. 'Fortunately, she's hardheaded' he thought. When he gathered her body to him, she was still and unconscious. That fact pushed him to believing that Alex had killed her. He prolonged his own agony even more by not even bothering to check for a pulse.

The longer he rocked her, the harder he cried. When he heard his name being whispered, he thought he was imagining things. She said it louder, more forcefully, and told him to stop rocking… that she was getting dizzy.

All the blood that had pooled around her had come from her arm as it lay across her chest he realized slowly. The three other bullets found their target in her 'kevlar' vest… the one he did not know she was wearing.

He had gone in there thinking he had lost his mother and would never get to know her. Except, his mother was fine, and it was Miss Parker that was hurt… and that was even worse. He wasn't sure why, but he definitely knew it was.

It was an oversight on his part not to see Alex's intention the whole time. When Alex was spewing all that nonsense about killing someone important to his world, he had been confused. The second Alex said her name though it all made sense. It was stupid of him to think that Alex would just give up on his promise to take her from his world. She is the most important person in his world and he almost lost her.

The happiest grin he could manage through his tears appeared as soon as he knew he wasn't just hearing her voice in his head. It was her, she was alive… and complaining, always a good sign.

After being yelled at by Miss Parker to stop squeezing the life out of her, he released her to thoroughly check her injuries. She had a lump on her head from hitting the chair, and the wound in her arm had bled quite a bit at first but was now just trickling. He knew that under that vest she would have painful bruises.

As soon as he reached his house, he made sure there was no internal injuries caused by the force of the bullets. He removed the bullet that was lodged in her arm and bandaged it up. But not before complying with her demands for "more drugs."

He had to detach himself from the situation so as not to react to her painful cries as he stitched her arm up. Then when he was done, he couldn't bring himself to discuss what he was feeling. Every time he would try, he'd look at her reclining in his lazy boy and the words would escape him. He could picture her here with him everyday… except in the picture she was sitting on his lap while he reclined in the chair. But those are just details. Details Jarod wasn't sure Miss Parker would be happy with if he chose to share his thoughts.

"Jarod, if you don't want to talk to me, I'm going home." Miss Parker received no response.

Jarod wanted to talk to her about his feelings, but he didn't know where to begin, and even if he did, Miss Parker could very well break his heart if inspired to sarcasm. Since his prior conversations with her were heavily laden with that very ingredient, he wasn't sure he was ready to take that chance. Maybe if she gave some kind of sign that she would not rebuff him…

Cradling her left arm to her chest with the help of a sling, Parker grabbed her now ruined jacket and stood.

"Call me when you know how we should rescue 'our' son. Goodbye, Jarod."

He was grinning stupidly, his cheeks locked in an upward position at the emphasis she used to say 'our' son. He would take that as a sign any day of the week.

"You're heavily medicated Parker, and your arm is inoperable at the moment. I'll let my mother know I'm going to take you home." He had already reached out for a piece of paper and a pen and was scribbling furiously.

Miss Parker didn't argue with him. She wasn't feeling very awake. Jarod was right; it was not a good idea to drive all drugged up.

"Fine, let's go. And remember, just because I'm giving you permission to drive my car now, that does not mean you can have any future joy rides. This is a one time deal buddy."

He grinned again. Not only had she called him buddy, but she was smiling when she said it.

A problem arose a split second later as he realized he wasn't sure if she was kidding, or if she was dead serious. Her smile definitely threw him off with that one. He'd over analyze that later, now he had to take her home to rest. Jarod helped her into the passenger seat and leaned across to buckle her.

'God, why does he have to smell so good' she thought drowsily. Unaware of what she was doing, she smiled and took a deep breath while he was still in close proximity.

He froze when she inhaled. Turning his head slightly he was delighted to see a sleepy smile appear on her face.

* * * *

Easing into her garage, he came to a slow stop so as not to jerk her awake. Shutting the car off, he took a couple minutes to study her face while she continued to rest peacefully.

Wanting to get her inside so she could sleep more comfortably, he nudged her uninjured arm lightly to wake her.

Her head was turned facing her window. When Jarod had touched her arm, her head drooped over to the side to look at him through half-closed eyelids.

"What?" She had slept with her mouth open. Her throat was dry and so the question came out gravelly.

"We're home. Let me help you get settled inside." He moved around to her door, draping his arm around her when her head found a resting spot on his shoulder. They slowly made it to the door that leads from the garage to the house. Once inside he asked if she'd like him to make her something to eat. She declined stating that she wanted to go to bed and sleep around the clock.

Still holding her drowsy form up with his body, he moved them to her room and deposited her on her bed.

She sat up slowly, eyes now closed, removing the rest of the shirt that Jarod had already cut up when sewing her back together. When she had divested herself of that now ruined material she also kicked her shoes off, and began squirming to slip out of her pants.

Jarod cleared his throat nervously to alert her to the fact that he was still there. He averted his eyes and quickly scanned the room for something else to focus on. He looked at her dresser hoping to find a picture on top to distract him. Maybe one of her and her mother; she was always so happy in those.

Unfortunately, an open drawer caught his eye. It was just his luck that it was her underwear drawer. He stared for a second and then blinked rapidly, looking back to see that Miss Parker had crawled, and was now huddled under the blankets.

"Jarod, c'mere." Miss Parker demanded sleepily, voice still raspy.

Inching closer to the bed, Jarod's heart pounded quicker in his chest until he thought it might leap out.

"What?" He whispered.

"Closer." She reached a hand out, and used her finger to motion him closer.

He asked again, "What?"

Grabbing his hand, she pulled him so that he sat on the edge of the bed. Using her good arm, she propped herself up. Sensing Jarod's discomfort, she pulled the blankets more tightly around her in an effort to cover herself.

She craned her neck up and pulled Jarod's head down to give him a tender kiss on the cheek, and whispered passionately, "Thank you."

Jarod wasn't expecting her offering of thanks, but gratefully accepted. He would have to thank her as well for all the work she did in getting his mother back. Not now, of course! He'd wait for her to be awake. Watching her eyes blink shut and struggle to open again, he urged her to lie back down and get some sleep. He brushed his lips across her forehead before standing up to leave. Again, he caught a sleepy smile spread across her face. Just like in the car. Rubbing his thumb over his chin, he cocked his head and smiled. If he wasn't mistaken, then his presence was having an affect on her. 'Interesting.' Things were definitely looking up.

He practically skipped into her living room. He pulled out his cell phone and called his friend to come pick him up. While he waited, he rummaged in her cabinets for some kind of snack. Frowning, he opened the fridge to see if that was as un-stocked as her cupboard shelves. He sighed when he saw that the condition of her fridge was even worse. There was only a carton of milk and some other drinks, mostly juices. He didn't consider the low-fat yogurt to be very filling either. 'What did this woman ever eat?' he questioned himself.

Opening one of the two drawers on the bottom, he was happy to see that that was at least filled with assorted veggies. The other drawer contained fruits, one of which was an apple. He picked one out, and rinsed it before biting into it.

He heard a horn honking outside and quickly made his way out after tossing the apple core in the trash. He was still hungry, but there was a nice big chocolate cake -- and ice cream -- waiting for him at home.

Sinking into the plush leather seats, he just closed his eyes and leaned his head back. There was still a lot to be done on his part. He had to rescue his son. His and Parker's son.

"Hey Jarod, you look exhausted. Rough day?" His new friend Steven asked looking curiously at him, while keeping an eye out for a tail as instructed by Jarod. "Is Parker giving you a hard time? I'll give her a real work out next time I see her if you like. I know how difficult she can be."

Steven had been Miss Parker's personal trainer before she was pulled from Corporate to chase Jarod down. He had learned that information just a couple months ago when he had followed her to a gym. When she went inside, she met up with this guy. At first Jarod despised him because he was meeting and spending time with Parker, and… it was very disconcerting for him when Steven helped her to stretch. That was a very unpleasant picture. Actually, he frowned, it still is.

He shook his head slightly side to side to clear the image from his mind. After her workout that day, he caught up with this Steven character to see what he was all about. And to his dismay, he genuinely liked the guy. So, he went for it and asked him how long he'd known Parker. That is how he learned that Steven had been her personal trainer.

Jarod asked Steven more questions about his life, and was extremely gleeful to find that he was married and had two kids. He had even whipped out his wallet to show a happy family picture.

"No Steve, Parker was helping me out today. We found my mother. She had to go and get herself shot in the process." Jarod grumbled the last part still upset that she had not informed him of her plan.

Steven gasped and looking alarmed asked, "Is she ok?"

"Would I have left her if she wasn't?" Jarod asked teasingly to ease his friend's fear.

Another good thing about Steven was Jarod could confide in him and had confided in him numerous times about his feelings for Parker. He had already checked the guy out, and he was well below the Centre's radar having never worked for them. While Parker was in Corporate, the Centre did not pay as much attention to the comings and goings of her acquaintances. And since she no longer contracted him as her personal trainer, the Centre had no idea that she would meet up with him at the gym. Sometimes they would have lunch, and occasionally she would discreetly visit him at his home. Apparently, Jarod discovered that Steve's wife Linda, and Miss Parker herself, loved to share recipes. Odd, considering the lack of ingredients Miss Parker keeps available at her house.

While Jarod was lost in thought, Steven continued to drive. In no time, they had reached Jarod's house.

"Would you like to have some cake with me?" Jarod asked over the roof of the car as they both had exited the vehicle.

"A small slice, you know I don't eat junk food often."

Walking into the house, Jarod found his mother tidying up the kitchen. He looked on in horror as he saw his chocolate cake lying face down on the floor.

"Oh you're back Jarod. I hope Miss Parker is going to be all right. Oh, who's this?" She offered her hand to Steven, and let the slack-jawed pretender introduce them.

Then sighing exasperatedly Jarod bent down to clean up the fallen cake.

"Oh, I'm sorry about that Jarod, but I saw a mouse on the floor. When I climbed on the chair I must have bumped into the table." Margaret smiled apologetically at her son.

Turning around after dumping the rest of the cake in the garbage, Jarod smiled, "You're scared of mice?"

"My reaction to that mouse is a resounding yes!" She stated laughingly. "Those beady little eyes give me the shivers."

Jarod laughed too and hugged his mother. When he released her, he opened the freezer so they could at least have some ice cream. Thank god, that wasn't ruined, he thought.

Steven, who had been chuckling quietly sat at the table and accepted the bowl of vanilla ice cream Jarod served him.

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