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Chapter or Story Chapter or Story
Hey guys, sorry this one is a bit late, got somewhat distracted. I'd promise to never do it again if I didn't know that was a flat out lie. (For those who don't know, I'm a bit of a ditz). But if this helps, the chapter is a bit longer than usual.
Aaanywho, thanks a heap for the lovely reviews, it really makes this fun.
Each character is written by a different author (well almost, some writers add on a second, but that's later in the story), so to help you readers keep it all straight, each character has a different color.
Writer / Character
Jacci - (yet to be revealed)
KatieQ - Miss Parker
Manoline - Broots
Tinanaz - Jarod
TLM - Sydney
Whashaza - Lyle, Alex
A new chapter will be posted approximately twice a week, check end notes for when the next is scheduled to arrive.
About an hour after Miss Parker kicked the hotel door open, the room was crawling with Centre personnel. In between all the people in dark suits was Broots, desperately looking for any clues Jarod might have intentionally left behind. But after searching for what seemed like forever he finally concluded there were none.
Miss Parker looked more annoyed than in months so he was using Sydney as almost a human shield, ducking behind him every time the hissing dragon walked in his direction.
"At least he left the furniture this time. That's something" Broots said, trying to get her to look at the bright side...it didn't work.
Parker motioned to Broots and Sydney as she went into the bedroom, barking an authoritative, "Out!", at the cleaner team finishing up in the room. Not a man hesitated, and within seconds she was alone with Freud and Ripvanwinkle.
For the most part she ignored Broots, the tech was so pathetically jumpy that she was almost afraid that if she glared at him, he would die of heart failure on the spot.
Making an effort to soften her tone, Parker looked into Sydney's apprehensive eyes, "Something is up with your boy Sydney, something terrible. I need you on this one, no more secrets, no more lies."
The psychiatrist only looked at her impassively, and she knew she had to offer him more, extend the proverbial olive branch if you will.
She walked over the window, staring down in the busy street and crossing her arms, "Jarod called me this morning, about two hours too late for it to be his usual tormenting phone call. He hung up on me, but not very rather bluntly questioning me about Lyle's whereabouts. I can't help to assume that my brother is somehow involved in this mess."
Jarod reluctantly opened his eyes. There was a foul tasting in his mouth again and he knew he had been drugged AGAIN. For a few seconds he looked around blankly, then his surroundings registered. This was not the penthouse suite he had reserved, that's for sure. The lumpy mattress and bright orange bedspread pointed that out.
Jarod crawled off the bed and stretched fully upright. A series of cracks sounded as his back popped back into alignment. A look down showed that he was fully dressed, even to the shoes and leather jacket. Nothing was making any sense. How did he get here? Where was here? What was going on?
He stumbled into the bathroom and splashed water on his face. The water helped wake him up, but did little else towards clearing the confusion racing through his brain. He wanted Sydney. Sydney could help clear things up for him. Sydney would protect him. He had to.
He blanked out again, but only for seconds this time. When he looked around again, his cellphone was in his hand. A hand that quickly dialed a familiar number.
"Sydney, refuge. Please. Help me. I'm losing my mind. Help please find me...."
"Parker, he needs our help. No good will come of returning him if he isn't healthy, physically or mentally. Will you consider that if we do find him?" Sydney said.
Miss Parker arched her eyebrows and gave a slight nod, which was about the best Sydney could expect.
Sighing, he told her everything he knew. Nobody could find Jarod better than Miss Parker could. "I've gotten three phonecalls from Jarod in the past 24 hours, all very disturbing and begging for my help. He doesn't sound right; he's not himself. He told me he was losing his mind in the last one and then he hung up again. He never says where he is, so I doubt he even knows. Just a while ago, I received an e-mail with nothing but an address. I don't know what it's for or who sent it. I had assumed it was from you and would lead me here, but clearly I was wrong. I suggest we go to this address and see what we find there. It's not far." He turned to his other colleague. "Broots, do what you have to to try and find out where Lyle is. Miss Parker and Jarod are right; this has his name all over it."
Sydney watched as the wheels turned in her head and he knew she would agree even before she said it. What else did they have to go on? Miss Parker led the way out the door, Broots scrambling along at her heels.
Jarod stumbled into the bathroom and collapsed to his knees in front of the commode. Dry heaves wracked his body as he had had nothing to eat since that burger at the dinner. Heaven only knew how long ago that was, because he didn't. Shivers shook his body uncontrollably and Jarod was starting to feel light-headed. Whatever he had been injected with was playing havoc with his system, and he knew it was an injection because of the bruise forming inside his elbow.
A sudden vision of a laptop covered in numbers filled his mind. A groan sounded.
"Please, no more. Stop. Please."
He didn't know who he was talking to, perhaps no one. But maybe Sydney was there. Sydney would help him. He had called Sydney, hadn't he?
Then all thought slipped away as he collapsed by the toilet.
"What have you found on Lyle, Broots?" Parker questioned harshly. They had elected to stay in their hotel in lieu of returning to the Centre. Parker didn't suspect that Jarod would have the stamina to make it very far in his current condition. The tech gave a garbled reply implying a few more minutes, could he work any damn slower?
Parker walked onto the small balcony of the executive suite where Sydney was leaning against the railing, his features riddled with concern.
"We'll find him, Sydney," she offered as a lame attempt at comfort, or something. The shrink remained silent.
She wouldn't admit it to the psychiatrist, but her concern for the missing labrat was increasingly becoming more desperate. Jarod's trail had more or less dried up, and hence Broots was focusing his efforts entirely on Lyle. It was only a hunch, but she couldn't shake the feeling that Lyle and the pretender's mysterious behavior weren't somehow linked.
She couldn't help but remember what had transpired in Dry River. Lyle's meddling had given her one of her best opportunities of catching Jarod. If that idiot sheriff hadn't intervened, the outcome would have been dramatically different. Perhaps this time she would be just as lucky, or better yet get even closer.
The trio was silent as Broots clicked away at his keyboard searching for a scrap of something to help them. Idle chit chat wasn't really their style so Sydney dove right in.
"I notice you haven't contacted your father regarding your brother's whereabouts," he commented. "Maybe you should."
Her glare implied her reservations toward her family loyalties. "I know he's less than trustworthy, but I'd like to believe your father wouldn't approve of whatever is going on here and would do something within his power to help us find Jarod. That is the goal here."
"Use your brain Sydney!" Parker exclaimed tersely. "Either he knows what Lyle is up to, and he'll lead us down a garden path, or he's just in the dark of the rest of us. I know what I want to believe, but either way it's up to Ripvanwinkle over here to track my brother down." She turned away from the computer, regretting quitting smoking.
"Does this hotel room have a damn mini bar?"
Broots had stayed up all night searching for any lead he could find regarding Mr. Lyle. Finding an electronic trail of a man that hated computers was far from easy. But if there was anything to find he would find it, or so he kept telling himself.
And after three pots of cold coffee, that's exactly what he did. He was going through the Centre's travel log, more in depth now than the past 6 times when he found what he had been looking for. Five weeks ago Mr. Lyle unexpectedly ordered a private jet to Africa.
He thought about waking up Miss Parker to tell her, but quickly realized that if was going to get any sleep in the next days it would dissapear the second she knew he had something. Besides, the sun had already began to rise and she would wake him up in less than an hour anyway.
Lyle tucked at his tie before smoothing his hair. Eyeing his reflection once more he turned back to watch the climbing numbers. He was surrounded by five men, all serious and all dressed immaculately in suits that screamed power. The soft ding announced their destination. Taking a deep breath, he stepped out and turned to the right, following the numbers till he got to the door he wanted. Making sure the men was right behind him, he knocked, hoping that it would be Parker that will open the door and see his surprise.
He couldn’t wait to see her reaction.
Parker stared at her immaculate reflexion in the mirror one last time before moving into the main room of her stylish executive suite.
With almost timed precision the knock sounded on the door. With a stone-face she opened the door ready to spit out some sarcastic greeting to the two members of her pursuit team.
Instead she found herself glaring into Lyle’s dangerous blue eyes. She took a step back in surprise taking in the five men who were surrounding him.
“Little too early to be trolling with the welcome wagon, Lyle,” she stated evenly, matching his deadly stare.
“Hello Sis. Miss me?”
He looked around her, noticing for the first time that the suite was empty. Pushing her out of the way, he entered the room, sending a sweeper to look behind one of the closed doors. When the sweeper shook his head he took out his gun, while another sweeper gripped Miss Parker’s wrist.
“Where are they?” he growled softly, body tense as he waited for an answer.
Parker tore her wrist from the sweeper's tight grasp giving him an ice cold glare of warning, smiling slightly as he stood down. "Where are who?" she questioned sharply approaching her brother. "Haven’t we had a chat about playing these sort of games Lyle? There better be a damn good reason for this."
Lyle tightened his grip on the gun, aware of the dangerous glint in his sister’s eyes.
Damn, she really is beautiful when she’s angry.
“You and your,” he paused, tilting his head slightly before continuing, “research team or whatever the hell you want to call that excuse for a tech and momma bear, are called to appear before a T-Board. Dad asked me to bring you in.”
Parker swallowed down the feeling of disgust as Lyle's hungry eyes preyed into her. "Like hell he did," she spat back, trying her best to ignore the familiar feeling of apprehension to begin to claw at her stomach. "Now is not the time to play politics. Jarod's closer than he's ever been, so you and your musketeers can go tuck your tails between your legs and get the hell out of my way."
Lyle allowed an arrogant grin to emerge. “Sorry Sis, but Dad reassigned me to the chase. You can hand over all your notes. I will take over from here. You are going nowhere except back to the Centre, with your stooges.”
Taking a step closer, he dared to lift his tumbless hand, touching her face briefly, long enough so that she couldn’t bite. “Now be a good little girl and call your stooges over here so that I can start my search for wonder boy.”
“I can’t help but think that you’re behind this sordid little scheme. Always chasing the glory, in the form of our beloved lab rat. Let me give you a reality check Lyle. No matter how bleak the outcome is for Jarod, he has never failed in making you look like an idiot. I can’t wait to see what he has in store for your sorry ass this time.” Parker growled back, grabbing Lyle’s mutated hand and giving his stump a cruel squeeze.
Lyle couldn’t help the grimace as he leaned downwards before managed to snatch his hand out of her grip.
His nostrils flared as anger replaced pain, turning his voice gravely when he spat, “Bitch,” and for a brief moment he thought about hitting her with his gun.
Parker raised her eyebrow in satisfaction as she heard Lyle's disparaging remark. It was not often he lost his cool exterior. “Happy hunting,” She exclaimed as she turned to exit the room. “Oh and Lyle, just so you know there is no hard feelings. I’m going to leave you with exactly what Jarod has left us in the past week. Good luck interpreting without my momma-bear and chairman of Nerds R Us.”
Lyle watched with satisfaction as his sister was brought up short by two men who stepped in her way. He dangled a pair of handcuffs from his forefinger, ignoring the throbbing from her squeeze. “Not without these, Sis.” Pointing the gun at the phone, he continued, “And you’re forgetting something. Syd and the tech, here, five minutes.” Pointing the gun at her midriff, he smiled, “And just so you know, warn them in any way and you’ll be executed on the spot.” He winked before pouting, “Sorry Sis, nothing personal. Tower orders. I’m sure you’ll understand.”
"What is this Lyle, a witch hunt?" Parker snapped as she pulled out her cell. "Get your ass down here." She ordered firmly, glaring dangerously at her brother. "Put those things away Lyle. You're much too old to be playing cops and robbers."
Lyle smirked, shaking his head. “I know you, Sis. I won’t underestimate you. Besides, I’m only following orders.”
Parker took a calming breath, suppressing the urge to throttle her brother. What the hell was going on? Someone had obviously gone to great lengths to put her, Sydney’s and Broots’ asses in a sling. It didn’t take a genius to figure out whom that special somebody was.
A fallen pretender, a MIA brother who showed up at the most inconvenient of times, and now minutes away from being escorted back home with the kind of disgrace that only Jarod deserved.
Lyle clearly wanted her out of the way. What was this, Dry River: the newer and less incompetent version?
“I will figure out what you are up to Lyle.” She warned. “And when I do, nothing you can do or say will save your sorry ass. I can only hope that Jarod will have the balls to do it himself this time, because I promise you what I have in mind will make everything that has happened before look like hugs and puppies.”
“Aww, should I be scared, Parker? I’m not the one about to appear before a T-Board.” Passing the handcuffs on to one of the suits, he watched as they cuffed her hands behind her back. Stepping into her comfort zone, he leaned in and whispered, “I can be your friend. If you let me.” Leaning slightly back, he waited for her answer, seeing the conflict of emotions ranging across her eyes.
"I'm not buying that crap Lyle, not for one minute." Parker sneered back, straightening her posture. "I can take care myself. Always have, always will. You’d be a fool to forget that."
Lyle’s reply was interrupted by the hallway door opening. A stunned Broots stood in shock while Sydney showed his usual calm demeanour. Turning back to his sister, he replied, “I won’t forget, Sis. I promise.” Stepping away from her, he indicated to the sweepers to cuff the duo, “And now that everyone is here, I’ll say adieu. Have fun now.” With that he watched as a very pissed off Parker was dragged off behind the other two, closing the door and leaving him alone in her room.
All was going as plan.