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Story Notes:

A trifle, I suppose. I was writing an update for another monstrosity and realized I was writing an entirely different story- or whatever this is. There will be a tense present-past-present shift (yes, I know, I'm a bit confused myself.). Whatever it is, it's done.

Author's Chapter Notes:

Disclaimer: they aren't mine.








She loves to hate him, hates to love him, is consumed with self-loathing when she wakes to find him in her bed, his limbs tangled with hers, the two of them tangled in sheets and lies, run-chase, and perpetual one-upmanship.

They are inextricably entangled in the Centre's web, in international hide and seekbe it the Dominican Republic or Istanbul, or wherever it is he goes when he leaves her. And he has to leave. Soon.

Maybe we deserve something more.

Maybe we do what we have to just to get by in this life.

She'd drawn the line in the sand. Finis.


A line in the sand, sand in an hour glassforty-eight hours' worth to be precise. Jarod boldly stepped over the line and into the passenger seat as Parker was slipping the key into the ignition.

Maybe you should leave here and begin a new life.

Mm, her sardonic purr, all control, serrated edge, I could drop you off at the Centre on my way.

There are unspoken rules, protocol: she is not his ally, he isn't her savior.

"Say anything about this to anyone and I'll kill you." Her resolve is as immeasurable, immutable as his hunger for her.

Jarod often gets dragged under, swept away, in the undercurrent of emotions, the ebb and flow of her mercurial moods.

"One more thing, Jarod: I want you out by dawn."


Leaving her the first time had been particuarly difficult, ordered out of bed at gun point, observing through a haze of lust, with sex in his nostrils and the taste of her on his lips, the secrets of her souland bodyingrained on his.

She felt emotionally hi-jacked, profoundly altered. She had been.

A metamorphic event had occurred, a shedding of skin, a disintegration of natural defenses, structural changes at a molecular level. His tenderness had shaken her.


She drenched herself in cool water and a litany of vague obscenities. It's wrongwords stifled, between deep breaths, by the towel she clutched.

Upon pivoting, he was there.

"Is that what your father trained you to believe," asked Jarod hoarsely, tears standing in his narrowed eyes, "That this is wrong?"


It's wrong, Angel. He's a Centre asset, a monster, for God's sake!


Notwithstanding their adversarial inheritance, the snarling and banter it entailsall of which Parker is complicithe's never raised his voice; there is nothing in his countenance to support the accusation.

"We've done nothing wrong," Jarod cried.

Not we, Jarod.

Her traitorous heart conspired against her in a moment of weakness during which Jarod crawled through a small window of opportunity and under her skin; there, he made himself at home andwhether irritating or soothing—refused to be scratched out.

Emotionally parsimonious and constricted, she found it frightening that logic had spun into surreality, a blunder as irrevocable as it is inconceivable, as terrifying as it had been gratifying. As deadly as it is exhilarating.

"We've crossed a line we can't come back from." Eloquently delivered despite the fear coloring his voice.

"Can't come back from? Walk through my door again," she hissed, still clutching the towel, "and they'll have to haul you out in evidence bagsI guarantee you won't come back from that one, geniusboy."

Parker bristled at his snort. Amused by her audacity (not to mention her frothy smile), Jarod elevated his thick brows and the stakes.

I'll see your empty threat, Miss Parker, and raise you a real one.

"Shall I discuss this with Sydney?"

Mother hen? He'll lecture meenjoyable as a perforated ulcer:

If you don’t keep those feelings about Jarod in check, it could be your ruin.

She wanted to slap the simper from Jarod's lipslips that had ghosted the curve of her hips, elicited halting gasps, guttural moans.

Hell of a way to keep things "in check."

Sydney's advice had been neatly deposited into a hand-basket and dropped into the pits of hell. The mistake could not be undone, could only be repeated.


The eerie gray between dusk and dawn falls away, twilight sky bathes the room, ominous shades of blue spill across the sated lovers.

Jarod feels the change, her pulse, and he tenses.

She is awake, tetchy.

Murmuring an apology, he pulls on his jeans. I don't remember being tiredit's not exactly a lie: he's content; instead of sleeping, he protects her from the demons that stalk her dreams until she wakes, accuses with a glare.

She turns away from his slumped shoulders, the long-suffering expression crumpling his face, the tears standing in his eyes.

"We deserve something more." A plea and demand in equal measures.

There is nothing more.

She will not leave the Centre. The reasons are indelibly etched upon her psyche.

She hears the pensive sigh, forlorn footfalls. It could be Thomas' hand on the knob.

There is little consolation.

It's enough.

"I want more," Jarod repeats. Parker feels the weight of his stare, the gravity of his words, and knows he's sealing both their fates for better or worsewhen the door closes.

"We deserve more."



Chapter End Notes:



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