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Onisius is the one that keeps me honest in the telling of this tale, and all my thanks go out to her, couldn’t do it without you Kye.
When I awoke, I felt as I if I had had no sleep at all. It is not unusual for me to only sleep for a few hours, but the bad dreams were very unusual. I used to be plagued by the most awful dreams. As a child I used to wake up screaming, but I soon learnt that if I did that, the consequences were often worse than the dreams. And of course that is what caused the dreams in the first place. So I learned to repress them I guess. I am a genius after all.

But I woke feeling disorientated and the dream slipped away quickly. Holding on to it was like trying to hold onto the morning fog. I shook my head and made my way to the shower. It was very unusual for my sleep to be disturbed these days, and frustrating that I could not remember what I had dreamt about.

After a shower and a shave, I had a large breakfast sent up and went on another excursion into the Centre’s mainframe. There was a wealth of information that I gathered, but none of the answers to the questions that I wanted answers for. After a small amount of creative manipulation, it was very easy for me to have the computers sitting up and begging, I had access to Sydney's email account and both of his phones. It was my ‘gut’ feeling that it would be Sydney that got into contact and did my dirty work for me.

I smiled. People were so easy to manipulate. Although, my mind was still reeling from the news that Sydney had been allowed to keep this Jarod for so long. It was no wonder that a strong emotional attachment had been forged. And yet he must be a heartless bastard to allow such things to happen to a child, and even worse, to a child he was supposed to care about. I wondered if he suffered from guilt.

My handlers, although not unnecessarily cruel, were always aloof. Their cruelty was efficient and always served a purpose. But the idea of knowing that someone cared about you, and then inflicting such horrors on you would surely be too much to bear.

The further I looked, the more startling the picture became. This Jarod was an interesting contradiction, and it was plainly clear to see how his training had failed. His relationship with Sydney was fascinating. I was sure that when Sydney saw me with the delectable Miss Parker this afternoon, the first thing our long suffering shrink would do would be to run to his computer to give the Pretender a heads up, and most probably a scolding.

At least that was what I was counting on. Of course, you know what they say about plans. Yes, I know. But I am getting way ahead of myself here.

I failed to uncover any further information in the Delaware mainframe that would answer my burning questions, but I did discover just how truly inept our American cousins really were. But I was pleased to unravel some of the mystery behind the enigmatic Mr Lyle. He was certainly an interesting fellow. I started to understand why he might be so fascinated with me and with his obvious animosity towards his Pretender, I felt some small stirring of sympathy for the hapless Jarod.

As the appointed hour grew near, so did my apprehension. This mission was reverberating with hidden significance. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about the challenge of melting the ice-queen, but the thoughts of getting my hands on Jarod was what really spurred me on. There were secrets here, secrets about my identity that perhaps he could answer.

The strange thing was of course, that this same time yesterday, it had never even occurred to me to ask these kinds of question. Until this photo of Jarod had come into my life, I never would have imagined that I was capable of the blatant rebellion that I was planning. The knowledge of what they would do to me when, if, they found out, somehow made it more thrilling. In fact, I cannot remember a time when I had been so excited about anything

Leaving my questions behind for the moment, I made my way into the town centre of Dover. After checking the surrounding area, confident that I had not been observed, I settled down and waited to see if she would turn up. I had chosen this time because I knew that Sydney had an appointment and he would be sure to see us. Pleased with my own cleverness I waited.

She was late of course. But I had expected that. She strode through the park as if she owned it. Her long coat flowing out behind her. Her short skirt showing off those lovely legs to all who dared to admire them. And turn they did, the men looking with lust, and the women with envy. I wondered if Jarod had ever had her, but I would know soon enough by her reaction.

I watched her scanning the area, the tiny bulge at her back telling me that she was armed, and by the look of her I had no trouble believing that she would be capable of using it. She was far more impressive in the flesh than even her photographs had indicated. She approached the bench, but did not sit. I could tell by her posture that she thought that this was some kind of trap, but she had come alone as directed.

As she waited I smiled. Creeping silently around behind her, I snuck up on her and slid my arms around her waist, relieving her of her weapon in one fluid movement. I might be good, but I was not a total fool.

She stiffened in shock, but relaxed slightly as I nuzzled under her ear. She let out a small moan as I bit on her earlobe. She smelled of expensive perfume and power.

“Jarod!” she hissed when she remembered herself. She turned in my embrace and pushed me away. She was stronger than she appeared too. She was a formidable woman, of that there was no doubt.

“Miss Parker, good to see you looking so lovely.” I drawled.

She immediately reached for her missing gun, a predatory smile crossing her face, making her eyes glitter.

I took a step back and smiled. “Looking for this?” I opened my jacket to show her her own gun carefully snuggled suggestively in the front of my jeans.

“Wanna come get it?” I teased her.

Despite plastering my best grin on my face, her hand struck out like lightening and slapped me. And I had to be in the exact same spot that her brother had hit me a number of times.

“Jarod what the hell do you think you are doing?” The outrage clear on her face. But I had a sneaking suspicion she was more upset with her own reaction than she was with me.

“I am sick of your games. Why the hell am I here? And it better be good or I am going to make you wish you were safe in a sub-level cell.” Despite the fact that she had no weapon, she pulled herself up to her full height and levelled a gaze at me that would drop any normal man.

I waited patiently for her rant to be over. I reached out and gently stroked an errant hair off her face. I think she was more surprised than I was when she didn’t pull back.

I put that look on my face that I know the ladies love, I believe I have been likened to a puppy-dog. Well, it always worked before, and I watched her as she defrosted half a degree. I stroked my finger down her cheek and then withdrew it guiltily.

“Why does it always have to be like this between us?” I took a step closer, we were almost touching now.

Something seemed to crumble inside her. “What do you want from me Jarod?” she asked in a voice, heavy with defeat. It was almost heartbreaking. I wondered if it worked on Jarod. But I wasn’t falling for it. She was not the type to roll over this quickly

I folded her into a chaste embrace, nothing too overt to begin with, but I imagined she would be a wild one when properly motivated.

I smiled as she melted against me, overcoming her initial resistance. But my pride was somewhat wounded when she fought it longer than I would have thought. But she was not totally immune to my charms.

Constantly scanning the area, I was pleased to see the old shrink come out and stop in shock as he noticed us.

“Jarod, has something happened?” she asked, coming to her senses again. She pulled herself away from me, my own vanity demands that I must admit it, she did seem somewhat reluctant to break the embrace.

I could see she was a fighter and was not going to go down easy. She assembled her formidable forces and got herself together. She looked at me with weary eyes and I wondered what was going on between her and Jarod. She seemed to want him but at the same time she was fighting it.

I tried one last time. Bringing my face down slowly, I held her and brought my lips down on hers, in a feather light kiss. Her lips parted slightly and she sighed a delightful little sigh. I withdrew, leaving her wanting more.

“Jarod” she whispered. When she opened her eyes, I could see the uncertainty there. She was not at all prepared for this, but most of all, I don’t think she was prepared for her own reaction. Her eyes sought mine and I smiled at her. For a brief moment, some kind of understanding passed between us. But then it was over.

If she was playing me, and I am not completely sure that she wasn’t, she was very good at this game. She seemed torn somehow, but in the end, her true nature won out, as I knew it must. Her eyes glanced down to her gun, sitting just above my groin and I could see her calculating the odds.

“Still determined to bring me in Miss Parker?” I questioned sadly.

“You know the game Jarod, nothing has changed, now tell me what you came here to tell me.”

“Would you like me to make it easy for you?” I held my hands out, wrists together, just to see how she would react.

She raised her eyebrow, looking at her gun.

“Jarod, why are you here, why in the centre of town, do you know how likely it is that you will be spotted? If you have a death wish, why did you have to involve me in it?”

Out of the corner of my eye, I kept a watch on Sydney. He had moved closer and I could only assume he was trying to confirm what his eyes were telling him were true.

Trying to placate her, I smiled, and spread my hands out at my side.

“C’mon Parker, you know you can't do it.” I said gently. Her eyes flared and I knew that I had hit a sensitive spot, forcing her into the next move.

And as I knew she would, she struck. As fast as a snake. I was looking down the business end of her gun before the last syllable was out of my mouth.

Now it was her turn to smile, and smile she did. It sent a shiver down my spine.

I stood stock still as she took a step closer and buried the muzzle into my impressively developed chest.

“Okay Jarod, it's time to go home. You were a fool for coming here.”

“That might be so, but I am not going back there.”

“Well unless you snuck into my bedroom again and removed the firing pin.” She dug the gun a little further into my chest. I had to react quickly to hide my surprise at that little snippet. Perhaps this Jarod was not such a sap after all.

“Would you like me to?” I asked with a cheeky grin.

I could have easily disarmed her, but this was way too much fun and I was finding out all kinds of interesting bits of information. Perhaps this Jarod was a bit of a dark horse. Well good for you Jarod.

I watched as Sydney came closer, pretending to ignore him, I knew that time was running out and if I wanted to avoid a confrontation with him I had to get out of there very soon. Tempting as it was to stay, I had achieved my goals for this meeting, and as the American’s are fond of saying, it was time to get out of Dodge.

And that was when everything went to hell.

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