Table of Contents [Report This]
Chapter or Story Chapter or Story
I didn't know how I would end this fiction, while I was writing it.
But I did know one thing: Jarod’s altruism saved many lives during his journey. So I thought, maybe those who have been lucky enough to meet him on the road would come to his side, should he need help.
And that's where this chapter comes from.
Ethan and Jesse were waiting impatiently outside the hospital.
It was a sunny warm day. A gentle breeze was blowing and many people walked across the yard to accompany the patients for a walk out in the air.
Broots suddenly appeared, almost running towards them.
He had just come back from a long examination at the NSA; Zane and her agents had trained him properly to build an alibi that would justify his years at The Centre. Zane had also given him the good news that a job was already waiting for him in Washington, and this time he would work for the good guys. He was also thrilled by the fact he would earn more money than at The Centre.
Debbie had been excited to know that they would live in D.C., even if this would mean leaving a pregnant Miss Parker.
The girl was still very fond of her; she saw her like an Aunt on whom she could always count. Parker had promised Debbie that they would see each other at least once a month so that they could still have their own women’s day to which, soon, they would be joined by Clio.
“They’re not here, yet?” Broots asked Ethan, interrupting his conversation with Jesse.
“They should be here any minute. Zoe promised they would get here together.”
“I hope so, it would be hard to find them all.”
“Relax, Zoe knows what she’s doing. She’s a force of nature.” Jesse explained.
At that moment, the hospital parking lot was invaded by a motorcade.
The cars drivers parked the cars in order, one next to the other.
The first of the parade was clearly Zoe’s red convertible.
The woman jumped out of the driver seat like a cat, then she ran towards Ethan and Jesse, hugging them both with joy.
“I’m so happy to see you again, guys!” she exclaimed, excited.
“Is everybody here?”
Zoe nodded in satisfaction, “All the ones we called that could make it in time. We should look for half of the United States, if we really wanted every person helped by Jarod to get here.”
Broots smiled at the woman’s statement. He had never had anything to do with Zoe, but he immediately realized how charming and funny she was; now he understood why Jarod had fancied her in the past.
Miss Parker joined the group right then, without noticing Zoe’s presence. Behind her, Angelo was following his friend like a trustful puppy.
“Ethan, Jarod wanted to see you for – what’s going on here?” her expression changed as soon as she noticed the reddish curly hair in front of her.
Parker, obviously, knew Zoe.
She had looked at her file pictures for hours, back at The Centre. Sometimes she even dreamed of her, even if she would never admit it.
Broots grinned, sensing trouble. That was a scene he didn’t want to miss.
“You must be Miss Parker.” Zoe greeted her, smiling with bitterness at her direction.
“My reputation precedes me.” Parker challenged her, ignoring Zoe’s stretched hand, which was soon retracted.
Zoe smirked, noticing her style. She knew that this situation was embarrassing for them both, “Well, no small talk. Where is Jarod? Don’t tell me the couch potato is still in bed!”
Ethan and Jesse sniggered, Broots’s mouth was wide opened in shock. He couldn’t figure how Zoe would save herself from such impudence.
Parker might as well have fulminated her, “Because of his wound, he was in a coma for many hours and he almost had to put an end to his pretender career. The doctors decided to hospitalize him for a couple of days, you might forgive their caution.”
Zoe smiled through clenched teeth, realizing that Miss Parker was a bitch.
They would probably always hate each other, there couldn’t be any other kind of relationship between two strong women who had shared the same man.
A stranger’s voice softened the tension. It was a voice that none of them ever heard in person, but to Jarod had always meant bad luck.
In more than one occasion.
“Hey!” Argyle yelled, approaching the group with his father Benny.
“Argyle, am I right?” Miss Parker asked him.
“You betcha, Ma’am!” he answered, grabbing her hand and kissing its back. Parker retracted it in disgust.
“Touch me again, and that’s the last thing you do.” she hissed back at him with a deadly smile on her lips.
With her surprise, Argyle and Benny burst into laughter, “You must be Miss Parker.” the older man recognized.
“Enchanted.” she answered, ironically.
“Jarod told us about you, and you’re just like he said: charming, biting, lethal.”
Parker grinned, she thought later she would talk about this with Jarod.
On the other hand, Zoe felt a pang in her heart when she realized how much Jarod cared for Miss Parker, if he spoke to his friends about her.
“Hey, Miss Parker, remember me?” another voice said. This time it was the voice of a man she had met in the past. Bernie Baxley, who hadn’t broken the habit of going around dressed up like Elvis even when he wasn’t working, was walking towards her. He looked fine, he had even lost some weight since the last time Miss Parker had seen him, a few years before.
“I see still have the bad habit of gallivanting around dressed up like a buffoon.” Parker mocked him, even if this time she was sharing a smile with Baxley, who had been a part of Jarod’s life for long.
“Your usual kindness catches me off guard, Miss Parker.” he answered, smiling charmingly at her.
Noticing that many other persons were arriving, Parker questioningly stared at Broots and Ethan.
“Anybody care to explain what the hell is going on here? What’s this, the losers club reunion?”
Broots muttered, “When we noticed that Jarod wasn’t waking up, Ethan and I thought that maybe it would be time for – for his people to take care of him.”
Parker opened her mouth wide, then Ethan talked on, “We used The Centre database to find the names of the persons that Jarod helped in the last few years- We called almost everyone, we wanted them to come and offer their support.”
“Zoe helped us finding them, Miss Parker.” Jesse concluded.
Parker, who really wanted to retort something, changed her mind and closed her mouth. A second later she opened it again just to admit, “Great idea, boys. This is going to be huge.”
Zoe smiled to herself, noticing that it was true that the infamous Ice Queen Miss Parker melted down whenever it came to her Jarod.
“Hello, Miss Parker.” Anna, the woman who had pretended to be helping Mr. Lee while she was actually double-crossing him, greeted her.
Next to her, she saw J.R. and his mother, Marilyin. Parker was particularly fond of that kid; she had been really impressed when she had discovered that Jarod had donated Kyle’s heart to save the boy’s life. She held him, realizing how much he had grown.
“Angelo!” the voice of a boy running beside his parents shouted. It belonged to Davey Simpkins’s, who had never forgotten what Angelo had done for him. The empath was so shocked of seeing Davey hugging him that, for a moment, he sensed Timmy inside of himself.
Parker was touched as never before in her life.
All these people were here for Jarod.
They weren’t statistics, they weren’t witnesses to be interrogated to find out how Jarod had helped them.
They were real, they had come to pay their respects to the man who had made save them, in any possible way.
The group of people in the yard was getting bigger and bigger, so Miss Parker decided to go and get Jarod. She wondered if the doctors would allow him to exit.
Catherine and Margaret were in the room with him along with Sydney, probably sharing memories of Jarod’s past, seeing that they were all laughing. Phillip and Emily had left to fetch Mike Bodie, Jarod’s Indian friend who year before had talked with Jarod about the Major’s past.
When she saw Jarod’s doctor in the corridor, Parker took the chance to ask him permission to take Jarod outside for a surprise. He agreed, knowing that fresh air could only improve Jarod’s condition; but he also recommended not to tire him out.
Parker entered the room with a huge smile on her face.
“There you are, sweetie.” Jarod greeted her.
Parker stopped, losing her smile at once, “Call me that again, I make a hole in your healthy lung.”
Sydney smiled, recognizing his protégées' verbal skirmishes.
“Are you up for a ride?” Parker asked, while an intrigued expression appeared on Jarod’s face.
Simone was talking with Shawn. Next to them were Pat, who had become the girl’s legal guardian after Jarod had saved her in Bahia Grande, and Scotty, Shawn’s father, the ex-convict that Jarod had helped getting rid of the robber Nick Avani. The two kids were telling each other about their lives, getting along very well.
Along with them were also Nicky Parks, the kid Jarod had saved so that he could witness in the case of homicide of a DEA agent, and his mother Carla, who was quietly talking with Emma Barrett and Kim Chen, two women that, as much as her son, had deposed against hideous crimes committed against their beloved ones. Kim Chen had no more sight problems after bringing to justice Col. Chen Thon, and Emma Barrett had found peace for her son’s death as soon as she had reached the witness stand.
Broots couldn’t help but looking at this heterogeneous group of people, getting more and more numerous by the minute. They were coming from everywhere; the technician knew them by sight, every time Jarod had left one of his red notebooks, he had studied their cases. So he wasn’t surprised to see Deborah Clark and her son popping up; she had lost her husband because of two students who had wanted to perpetuate the perfect murder.
With them, the Bracken, father and daughter, who had rebuilt their relationship after the girl had been involved with the creek of Hawk, a so-pretended-telepath who had almost killed her because she had discovered his tricks.
And again, the photographer Rachel Newton, blinded by a bomber attack; Jarod had helped her remembering the culprit’s identity.
Billie Dupree and her uncle Earl were chatting amiably with Jenna McGann and her daughter Cassie. The wonderful Billie was telling about Jarod’s achievements in playing pool and how fast he had become a pro.
Argyle interrupted, pointing out that he had taught Jarod playing golf in just one afternoon.
Jenna, the agent that had worked undercover as Roland Pritchard’s fiancé, chuckled with her daughter, both entertained by Argyle’s silly jokes.
Angelo was communicating with Violet and Doctor Anne Sulvane; the young girl who had spent an entire life as a wild child, was now more accustomed to people. Anne had helped her learning to talk, close to her in every phase of her late education. Angelo understood Violet’s softness like no one else; her story was clearly a lot like his own.
Ethan was listening to Wendy Dawson and her children Rebecca and Ryan’s story; they had been helped by Jarod running away from her ex-husband. The children had believed Wendy dead for a very long time, before Jarod found them, and Ethan felt he shared the same background.
Peter Hale was there with his son, too; he was another man who had made people believe he was dead. Jarod had helped him setting a trap for Craig Winston, allowing his family to reunite.
Two women were confiding each other their most intimate and unpronounceable secrets. They were Melissa Blass, the sex therapist who had been assaulted by her colleague Paul Arnett, and Jill Arnold, whom Jarod had helped recovering from a serious drug addiction to repay her for when her father had done the same for him, at The Centre.
Rachel was here, the former M2 secret agent whom Jarod had met by chance and helped to rejoin her kidnapped children.
Jarod had chosen that incredible woman as an example for Miss Parker when he had asked her to trust her heart and don’t let the Centre take away her happiness.
With her stood Neil Roberts, the radio WLNJ DJ who was still interested in unresolved mysteries, remarking the importance of people like “Middle Man” – the nickname Jarod had assumed when speaking with him at the radio – men who uncovered the powers to be.
They were all there, ready to greet Jarod with open arms.
“Really, would you mind tell me what’s going on or you want me to beg?” Jarod pleaded Miss Parker.
She was pushing the wheelchair and behind her followed Margaret, Sydney and Catherine. All three of them already knew about the boys’ big plan.
Not far from them, Jeff – the doctor – and one of the nurses were looking at Jarod, monitoring that everything was fine.
“As much as I’d love to see you begging, boy wonder –” Parker replied, waiting for the automatic doors to open in front of them, “You won’t need to.”
Jarod stared in disbelief when he saw the huge crowd in the yard.
These were the pretender’s people. His people.
All smiling, just like Jarod remembered leaving them.
He gasped, excited and speechless.
His old-time friend Argyle was the first who approached him, “Well, Big-J, ‘t seems to me that this time we really left you speechless.”
“Argyle.” he whispered, shaking his hand.
Jarod looked at Jeff, imploring the doctor, “May I?”
Jeff nodded with a smile.
Parker approached her mother and Margaret, all secretly enjoying the greetings among Jarod and these people. He had words for everyone, he was eager to know how they were.
Parker had to admit she’d never seen the pretender more satisfied.
For a while, Jarod forgot what he had been through the last few days. He forgot about the Centre, the Scrolls, his family, his mother. Even about Parker.
He felt the need to be alone with his friends, who had come a long way just to be by his side.
Parker didn’t want her mother to see her crying, but she knew better.
Catherine smiled, holding her in a tender embrace, just like she did when she was younger. In her arms, she felt so safe, like she was her little girl again.
“Your son is amazing, Margaret.” She told Jarod’s mother.
The woman nodded, her hands joined almost in a sign of prayer, “It’s so comforting to see how many people he helped, in spite of what he had to endured all his life. It looks like it’s almost worth it, if this is the result.”
Parker agreed with her. She kept wondering what would have been of these people, if Jarod hadn’t been there.
“It’s even more. Jarod is so generous, I can’t possibly fathom why I’m so lucky to have him in my life.”
Feeling his nape itching, almost if he knew that they were talking about him, Jarod turned around and glanced with affection at the women of his life.
Catherine, the woman who had tried to save him and protected him when he was a boy.
And last but not least, the woman who had stolen his heart many years before, when she had appeared in front of him like an angel on the other side of a glass. Parker smiled, nodded slowly to make him understand that he had all the time in the world.
Later, others who hadn’t failed to respond appeared in sight: Major Charles and Emily came back with Mike Bodie, who hugged Jarod like a brother. Behind them, other three important people were walking towards Miss Parker.
The first one was Harriet Tashman, Margaret’s old friend, who had helped Maggie and her husband when they needed refuge from The Centre. Harriet ran to hold Maggie and they stood like that for a long time, making up for the lost time.
Father Moore walked towards Catherine shocked at the realization that his faithful friend was still very much alive.
Finally, Ben Miller. He stood in front of Catherine and Miss Parker with a sincere, trying to keep emotion at bay.
Catherine felt speechless, when she saw him.
“Ben.” she whispered.
Parker observed the scene in awe, wondering if her mother still loved the man that had allowed her to escape from The Centre, even if only for a little while.
“Cat.” he said, lifting a hand to caress her face. The way Catherine closed her eyes at that contact would remind everybody of one of her daughter’s typical mannerisms.
Now that he could watch them together, Ben realized how they truly look alike. “There are so many things to say –”
“Shh, we have time.” Ben interrupted her, holding Catherine in his arms.
Parker couldn’t believe this.
This wasn’t a dream; this wasn’t a pretend.
For the first time in her life, everything she’d ever hoped for was actually happening. When Sydney squeezed her shoulder in sign of affection, she simply smiled at him.
Half an hour later, Miss Parker noticed that Jarod was chatting with Zoe, so she walked slowly towards them, her legs guided more by instinct than by reason, at that moment.
They were clearly talking nonsense and laughing about it, they seemed very in tune with each another.
“You helped my brothers to plan all of this. You really are incredible, Zoe.”
“Thank you, Jarod. This was the least I could do to repay you.” she replied, realizing by the minute how much she would love to be still his.
However, she couldn’t detect any more passion for her in Jarod’s eyes. His expression betrayed the strong affection he still felt for her, maybe Zoe meant to him more than all these other people, but still, it wasn’t that kind of love.
The heat between them had now completely worn off.
And all because of a brunette with breathtaking legs who was standing not far from them. Clearly eavesdropping, Zoe thought.
Zoe made a nod at her rival’s direction, “So, that is Miss Parker.”
Jarod turned around and glanced at her, sighing. For the first time during that day, he noticed how beautiful Parker was.
The short dress she was wearing allowed anyone to have a glimpse on every detail of her legs, even more uplifted by the stilettos that so many times had echoed behind Jarod while she was chasing him.
“Yes, that’s my Parker.” Jarod answered, looking at Zoe.
Zoe tried not show how annoyed she was for the fact that Jarod addressed his former huntress as belonging to him.
“You found what you were looking for, then?”
Jarod smiled, guessing he owed her an explanation, “I’ve spent years running from her, trying to discover who I really was. I hadn’t realized that it was just a way to deny that I already knew who I was, I simply couldn’t admit it.”
Zoe intercepted Miss Parker’s eyes.
“That’s why I could never detach myself completely; deep inside, I’ve always known that we were destined –” Jarod stopped, sighing again.
“ – to end up together?” Zoe finished his sentence.
Parker approached them at that moment, standing behind Jarod but trying not to noticed by him. Jarod felt her presence anyway, and pretended not to.
“We are both the twisted result of a place that ruined our lives. But at least one good thing happened to me while I was at The Centre.”
“What?” Zoe asked, aware that Miss Parker was waiting for an answer too.
Jarod made a sweet smile, “I met her.” he concluded, with a dreaming look.
Zoe nodded, smiling in turn.
Jarod and Miss Parker were meant for each other; she couldn’t get in the way of such an important bond.
Parker reached out to the pretender and kissed his cheek, inducing a slight blush on his face. She enjoyed his expression of pure love for her for a couple of seconds, then she walked away, leaving him alone with his friends again.
Jarod smiled in satisfaction.
Review would be very much appreciated! :)