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"Oh, God," murmured Parker. 

"Hmm," hummed Jarod gruffly, steadily drawing circles on Parker's shoulder with the tips of his fingers. "Most people typically wait at least until morning to decide whether or not having sex with me was a mistake. Considering that it is morning," he added optimistically, "perhaps you should sleep on it before committing to a verdict."

"God, God, God," Parker whispered into the palms of her hands.


"This hardly warrants God in triplicate," Jarod drawled contentedly, cynical and consoling in equal measures. "Can I get you some water? A cup of tea? Oh, I know. How about some perspective: You and I are single consenting adults and the condom is intact and even if it wasn't neither of us is diseased and I like children well enough--of course that would be your decision entirely.

Also, your insanely jealous and physically abusive cop ex-husband  didn't interrupt us by pushing his loaded AR-15 between our joined bodies; We weren't secretly recorded by the PI that my endearingly annoying and often insecure ex-girlfriend hired to spy on me; Your new boyfriend whose favorite recreational activity is extreme bondage and torture didn't walk in and decide to join us--- that experience, in particular, warranted multiple Gods and quite a few expletives as well; Your six children from six different marriages weren't standing in the doorway quietly, and, rather patiently, waiting for us to finish having sex before asking for another drink of water."

"You aren't going to stop talking, are you?" Inquired Parker, weakly.

"Pardon? You're a bit muffled," Jarod said, suggesting softly, "Perhaps if you move your hands away from your face -"

"Stop. Talking. Please."
"Oh. Oh, I see. Now you want me to stop."
"Could you leave?"
"But-- uh, it's my house."

"Oh, fuck," Parker moaned, and proceeded to hiss a torrent of imprecations, all directed at herself. "Fuck. Fuck. Fuck."

"Well, that isn't good. You've gone completely off script here."

Parker scoffed, pushed her hands through her hair, inquired indignantly, "I've gone off script?"

"Yes," answered Jarod gently. "Yes, you have. Your Oh, God adequately conveyed your apparent perturbation-- and perturbation I can understand. After all, mistakes happen and quite often; and then people put their clothes back on and go about their day. I didn't foresee a deep-dive into this next level regret and self-condemnation. We had sex; it happens."

"Not to us," Parker argued, "not with each other.

"It, evidently, does."

"It never did before."

"No," agreed Jarod with a frown. "No, it never did, and that may be one of the few regrets I have, one I'll carry to my grave."

"Your real grave, you mean, mm?"

"Does it mean anything to you, anything at all, that I came back, that I've expressed remorse? Don't I get some credit here?"

"Eli's the only reason you're still here. And if anyone deserves credit it's me-- for not killing you."

"Believe Eli is the only reason I'm here if it's what you need to do to justify your anger; believing it doesn't make it true. I came here to help you."

Parker laughed. "By accusing me of plotting to kill my husband."

"Honestly," Jarod said with a wry smile, "I have no idea why I'd ever believe you are capable of killing anyone. You only threaten to murder me every time we speak."

"I've never threatened my husband."

"No, and that's odd. If your ex-husband hadn't had an affair his ex-lover's ex-husband wouldn't have hired a man to kill him and frame you and I wouldn't be here now. Or is that my fault, too?"

"God," Parker said, breathing the word, tremulously, edging panic, "this was a mistake."

"So monumental a mistake, in fact, that you can't stop reiterating. Thanks," remarked Jarod blandly, disheartened. "I suppose you intend to blame me for this as well."

"I have no objections to that."

"Need I remind you that you broke into my home?"


Jarod needn't.

Parker vividly recalled entering Jarod's home, seeking answers, seeking something she could not name, and finding the last thing she'd expected: Jarod lounging upon the sofa, flipping through paper work, working on his day off, wearing graphite-blue linen lounger shorts and an unbuttoned, short-sleeve white linen shirt that had fallen open to expose his chest and well-defined abdominal muscles.

He'd been reaching for his water glass when Parker, already well acquainted with his house, entered it as if it were hers. Jarod looked up from a stack of folders and nearly stammered an apology for intruding. Instead, he drank his water, replaced the glass, welcomed her cordially. 

"Leaving so soon?" Jarod inquired when Parker swiveledhe couldn't recall ever seeing her move so quickly, not even when she was chasing himbringing four inch Louis Vuitton platform sandals to an ungainly halt. "I don't know what it is you're looking for, however, you're welcome to search my house at your leisure-- as you normally do in my absence. If you'd prefer," Jarod added, addressing her by name, "I'll help you look. Perhaps if you describe the item to me-"

Parker resumed her hasty departure.

"Predictable," sang Jarod, mingling in his voice defeat and gentle admonishment, returning his full attention to his work, "That's right," he murmured dispassionately, "Keep running away."

"I don't run away," rebutted Parker, hotly, in full retreat. Jarod was both amused and crestfallen; she was every bit the criminal maintaining her innocence during the commission of a crime, claiming she wasn't running away from him while, quite literally, running away from him. 

"Mhm," Jarod murmured, "you keep telling yourself that."

Aborting her retreat, Parker turned to face him. "What the hell does that mean?'

"You know exactly what it means."

"I wasn't running," insisted Parker fiercely, confirming that she did, indeed, know precisely what Jarod meant.

"Oh, no?"

"No. I'm leaving."

"Why are you leaving?"

"I didn't know you'd be home," she offered, lamely.

"No, I imagine you didn't," Jarod agreed, rising. "The car's in the shop; I borrowed a crotch rocket from impound; it's parked in the back. What are you looking for hmm? Porn? Sex toys? Compromising photographs? Compelling evidence of a deviant lifestyle that some family court judge will deem unsuitable for children?"

"Should I be?"

"Is this about Eli? Is this resistance to my involvement in Eli's life? Is it?"

Parker narrowed her eyes. "Are you interrogating me?"

"I am a cop and you did break into my house and-" Jarod fell silent, and, at last, drew a breath.

I was interrogating her- interrogating my son's mother. And I was a breath away from uttering the words detain and handcuffs. Christ.

"Are you," Parker shouted.

"I'm curious to know why it is you keep coming around, as are the neighbors. Why are you here?"

"I shouldn't be."

"And yet," sang Jarod, "here you are. You break in, you refuse to answer questions, you don't want to talk, you won't even look at me. You're, clearly, searching for something; it's time to tell me what that something is."

"You," Parker said. 

"Me? You search this house for me when I'm not in it. Why?"

"No. Not---not you."

Jarod exhaled a breath of annoyance and folded his arms across his chest. "It's not your fault that you were taught to believe I'm a monster. If you must know, and, evidently, you must, I believe pornography is a poor substitute for the real thing, and, thus far, I haven't found it necessary to procure a sex aid to satisfy a lover. Also, I'm older than you, yes, but I'm not that old; therefore it isn't necessary to record or photograph any sexual activity, presumably for posterity's sake, that can be reenacted flawlessly. And last I checked it's not a crime to possess any of those items, not in this state, at least, which makes your search all the more futile."

Mm, file that under Things-I-Never-Needed-To-Know-About-Geniusboy.

Parker revolved her eyes, shook her head in negation. "I'm not looking for dirt. Even if I were a judge would be incapable of separating Eli and youwe both know that. I-- should go."

"No," argued Jarod, crossly, "but you should answer my question."

"I don't-- "

Parker's voice abruptly dissolved into silence, startling Jarod. She noted the change in him, the smooth transition from inquisitive and ill-tempered to sympathetic. He waited silently, patiently for her to continue.

"I don't know. I don't know anything anymore, and that's your fault," Parker snarled with renewed anger. "I can't believe you did this to me."

"I didn't do anything to you. I did something for my mother. She was shot; treatment was delayed, recovery was slow, challenging. Her physical and mental health sharply deteriorated. She was incapable of coping on the outside, on the run. How many times do I have to explain this to you? She is my mother. My mother. I thought you, of all people, would understand."

"I understand," asserted Parker forcefully.

"Your baseless accusations and anger are strong indicators that you do not understand."

"No, you don't understand," insisted Parker indignantly, trembling with rage, and Jarod couldn't disagree with her. He understood her anger. He, however, failed to comprehend the violent shudder that Parker attempted to conceal by folding her arms across her breasts.

It occurred to Jarod that the woman should have at least one drop of perspiration on her brow, dressed as she was in black slacks, a gray blouse, and a black suit jacket; the heat wave was unrelenting; he'd simply strolled outside to retrieve the newspaper from the lawn and had returned coated in a sheen of sweat.

"Would you like to sit," offered Jarod, sweetly. "I can hang that jacket up for you if you're warm."

"No thanks."

"I'm going to bring you a glass of water," Jarod said, taking a single step before Parker cried, "No. I don't want water. I want answers and," she drew a breath, exhaled damn it. "I don't want to sit," she said, composing herself with enormous effort. "You fixed the door and made repairs. I didn't ask you to do any of those things. You think you can come here and fix everything. You can't. And- and Eli talks about you constantly and-- it's like," Parker faltered, shook her head, "it's like he's talking about a stranger. A stranger is taking both of my children to a pop concert next weekend. A stranger gave my child a drafting table. I- I share a child with a stranger. A dead one."

"A stranger," Jarod repeated with a scoff. "No, you don't," he asserted incredulously. "Eli has visited me every day this month, and, unlike you, he actually speaks to me and listens; he engages in conversations with me rather than running away in the middle of them because he wants to know his father. You already know who I am. You know me."

"I knew Jarod-the-boy. I know what my father wanted me to believe and how I felt about you--or at least I sometimes knew how I felt," Parker explained softly. "You've been out of my life longer than you were ever in it."

"I was never out of your life. I checked in, kept tabs, I was-"

"Dead," Parker shouted. "It doesn't get any more out of my life than that."

"I'm still here. The little boy you knew is still here."

"No, that little boy died and I grieved for him and now a stranger has taken his place. I didn't know you were alive, I didn't know you were checking in- and I don't even want to know what the hell keeping tabs entails. You come back and act like nothing at all has changed-- because nothing changed for you.

You arranged this little surprise party, shouted "surprise", and you have the audacity to be appalled and offended to discover that I'm surprised. Everything changed for me. And I don't know why in the hell I'm here. God," she groaned, wearily. "I want substance, truth, something more than your bullshit excuses and the incessant procession of pretenses, masks. The real you has to be around here somewhere--  in a stack of photo albums buried beneath winter clothes in the back of the closet or in the attic packed away inside a box labeled miscellaneous."

Or maybe standing in front of you.

"So you're searching for the quintessence of Jarod, what makes me me?"

"Sure," Parker answered with a noncommittal shrug, with absolutely no conviction. "Why the hell not? That makes as much sense as anything else does right now."

"It's nothing concrete, tangible?"

"Apparently not, Genius. Or maybe it is. Or maybe I'm looking for the part of myself that died when your boat exploded and this isn't about you at all. This is a waste of time."

"Please, have a seat. I insist. You seem-- distressed."

Parker laughed softly. "Then at least one of us is exactly what we seem to be."

"I see," remarked Jarod dryly, returning to the sofa and sitting, and dropping his head into his hands. "I haven't lied to you or pretended to be someone I'm not. I've never done that with you. I didn't want to hide from you; I wanted you to know the truth. I wanted you to see me, see what I concealed from everyone else. It was important to me, essential, that you remembered the truth, remembered the real me, that you knew me. And it still is.

And now you're telling me that you don't," Jarod continued through clenched teeth, his voice thick with pain. "How dare you," he said, admonishing her softly; the tenderness of his tone did absolutely nothing to alleviate the sting of his words.

"Jarod," began Parker, contritely.

"No," interrupted Jarod sharply, lifting his head and meeting Parker's stunned gaze. Jarod pushed tears from his face, inquired bitterly, "Did you even read the letters you confiscated from my home?"

"Some," Parker stammered. "And all I could think was who the hell is this guy? You never said any of those things to me."

"No, I didn't. I couldn't --not aloud; I, nevertheless, managed to convey my feelings for you, and don't," Jarod added with a savage snarl, "even dare try deny it. You know exactly what my feelings were," he said, addressing her by the name she'd whispered in his ear when they were children, "and we both know what your feelings were, too, in Glasgow or do you need me to refresh your memory?"

Parker blanched, stiffened, drew a sharp breath; hastily, she hissed, "I don't want to talk about that."

"Mhm, now there's a shocker," Remarked Jarod, sardonically. "We aren't dissimilar, you and I. Your reaction to my letters was precisely my reaction to you sobbing all over my headstone. Naturally, I was appalled by the severity and duration of your grief. And doubtful."

"Doubtful," Parker repeated, narrowing her eyes.

"Yes, I'm afraid so. You'll have to forgive me if the memory of Scotland on infinite loop in my mind significantly diminished the sincerity of your sobs: our intimacy, the limo, you jerking your hand from mine, being led away from you in handcuffs. We almost kissed. That was a pivotal and unforeseen moment abounding with possibilities-- or for me it was; for you it was a reprehensible indiscretion, weakness. You envisioned your downfall. You saw your ruin, demise when you looked into my eyes. In your eyes I saw the rest of my life with you at my side."

Parker averted her eyes, studied hardwood flooring.




Whatever your species could you please split the fuck open and swallow me alive now?


"After our closeness, after everything we shared you chose the Centre. You've always chosen the Centre."

"I chose to end it," Parker reminded Jarod, crisply.

"Yes, you did," Jarod conceded with a tight smile, "and I'd like tell you that your decision to bankrupt the Centre and bring the Triumvirate to its knees lent some validity to your words and tears. Instead, I believed your conscience was hurting you."

Parker nodded faintly and easily confessed, "I did feel responsible; I have a conscience. After the goddamned stunt you pulled it's clear to me that you don't. "

Jarod's laughter startled Parker; it was strangely absent of mirth, agonized, wrong. "It wasn't a stunt. You're hellbent on clinging to this specific narrative in which I'm the evil antagonist, ruthlessly and perpetually, tormenting poor little you; it's unsurprisingly similar to the content of the Centre's dossier on me, the lies your father told you. You refuse to accept the truth. Believing I'm the enemy is easier for you. Isn't it?"

"You think this is easy?" Parker exclaimed, revealing fragility, pain. Jarod opened his mouth to answer but could only stammer her name when she lowered her head and pushed a hand over her brow.

"I'm sorry," Jarod offered at last, helplessly.

"Do. You. Think. This. Is. Easy." Parker sibilated, fiercely enunciating each word, sharpening each letter to a fine point,  brutally piercing Jarod's soul with six swift stabs.

Jarod had never intended to hurt her, had swore to himself he never would. Presently, he feared he could do nothing except hurt her. "Answer me," Parker screamed at him, observing his expression of agony, the frown creasing his forehead. He blinked back tears, composed himself.

"It's learned behavior, a comfortable pattern," Jarod answered somberly, lifting a single eyebrow, and continuing with an enigmatic smile, "You never did quite know what to do with me. Did you? I was an unanswered question, one that you never wanted answered; burying me simplified the complex; when I was alive and the Centre stood, you had to suppress feelingsfeelings, that," he added hastily for clarification's sake, "I know you didn't want to feel; believing I was dead, in some ways, came as a relief to you."

An expression of disgust twisted Parker's face. "Relief," she repeated indignantly.

"Relief," affirmed Jarod. "You no longer had to conceal your feelings for me and you also were never coerced to confront your feelings for me—the latter was too difficult, frightening, complicated. I know hard it was for you; I've always known. I'm sorry that I couldn't make it easier. I'm sorry that you wouldn't allow me to make it easier; I never stopped trying.

If I didn't try hard enough it's because you didn't want me to. You wanted to believe your father, and, when it was convenient for you, you wanted to believe me. You didn't want either of us to be dishonest. You wanted the impossible. And you didn't know where I fit in your life, or if I fit, and you never asked because you were too afraid of the answer and because your father didn't approve of me. He taught you to question your intuition, told you I was your enemy, that you couldn't trust your own memories--- of us.

You began supposedly hating me as a defense mechanism and I'll always hate your father for that. Oddly, you apply the Centre's principles only to me, your feelings for me. That explains why the only embrace we've shared as adults occurred only because you believed I was my brother. And you were enjoying dancing-"

"Jarod," cautioned Parker sharply.

Jarod slowly extended both hands in surrender and whispered her name. "Retract the claws. Okay? Relax. Please. Just-- relax. It was a platonic embrace and a too-brief dance. We both survived."

"Be careful about leaping to premature conclusions," countered Parker, coolly.

"I can assure you that I approach every conclusion involving you with incomparable care. You have a code; you only take life in self defense or when there's no other option and I've always been rather generous with options and respectful of your boundaries; you'll never have to defend yourself against me.

Besides, you don't want to kill me."

"I don't?"

"No, you don't. You do, however, want these threats of bodily harm justified. You want everyone to agree that you have every right to wound and kill me. We both know why you're here."

Parker scoffed, elevated both eyebrows. "We do?"


"What," Parker snarled. "What the hell are you waiting for mm? A drum roll? Tell me," she demanded.

"You're searching for a legitimate reason to hate me, something more than because Daddy told me to; it's what you're accustomed to. You were trained to do it; there were straightforward doctrines, a definitive vocabulary; you know exactly how to hate me, even if you never really did.

I know you never did," concluded Jarod softly, punctuating his words with an amiable smile. "And I know you're probably extraordinarily puzzled that you instinctively trusted me when I surprised you in your garden. You didn't know it was me but you made a judgment call and you were correct. You have reliable instincts- you always have; I know you didn't trust me to keep your visits with the bunnies secret; you didn't trust me at all, in fact, but you trusted your instincts and you were right to trust them. I kept your secret; I lied to Sydney when he questioned me, and I was punished.

You trusted them again the evening we danced; it was instinct and it felt right because it was right; so right, in fact, that you were going to suggest a hotel ---until you discovered I was your partner. You rejected your instincts, blinded yourself to the truth; you didn't want to see it and I know you don't want to hear it. But you sure as hell felt it."

"All right," rejoined Parker, coolly.

"It's all right? You're not going to deny, scream, spit, hiss, claw, hit, kick, kill me?"

"You said killing you would violate my code," answered Parker, softly, dropping her hands at her sides.

"True," Jarod agreed. "I imagine you're considering making an exception this one time-- just for me."

"You have a hell of an imagination, Jarod."

"You don't know the half of it."

Parker laughed. "I'm not certain I want to know."

"And I'm not certain you don't want to know," countered Jarod softly, rising once more, and advancing casually. "My God," he murmured quietly. "It's possible that I've completely misjudged your true intent."

"Yes, Jarod, you did; you were wrong; we've already established that."

"We haven't, however, established your reason for being here; we cannot unequivocally determine the truth until all of the questions have been asked."

"Don't you find interrogations fatiguing? Or do you get off on hearing yourself talk?"

"Your interest in what gets me off is rather intriguing," answered Jarod, flippantly, "not to mention flattering. One final question," vowed Jarod sweetly. "Are you here because you're curious to know what would have happened had you suggested that hotel?  If we hadn't been interrupted in Carthis? Is that," he asked, softly, sidling close to Parkerthe scent of agarwood accompanied Jarodand briefly dropping to his gaze to her lips, "why you're here?"

"No," answered Parker, honestly, "but it's as good a reason as any."

"Is it," Jarod hissed, his eyes suddenly hard, inscrutable. "Are you sure about that," he asked, clutching Parker's shoulders and abruptly hurtling forward, ignoring her throaty cry of surprise at being propelled backwards in a peculiar semi-danceeleven steps specifically, in reversethat ended as abruptly as it had commenced, and with her back pressed to a wall.

There, Jarod slackened his grasp, stroked her shoulders, neck, collar bone. When his fingertips collided with her blouse he didn't hesitate to loosen buttons, continue his exploration.

Jarod was waiting for an answer; Parker had either forgotten the question or believed it was a rhetorical one.

"If you're not sure," Jarod explained, carefully, staring steadily into Parker's eyes, his voice consistently calm and his resolve never wavering, not when he tugged on the under band of her bra to gain access to her breasts nor when he pushed his hands beneath the under band and into her bra and cupped her breasts in his palms, stroked her nipples, "the door is now precisely and conveniently one step to your left; all you have to do is open it and leave. I can assure you that I won't try to stop you."

"What happened to one final question?"

"That was a rough estimate."

"I see. Why in the hell would I leave?"

"Because it's easier, safer," Jarod answered, simply. 


"You found an almost kiss and dance incomprehensible, too difficult to even contemplate, and neither of those involved disrobing," he added, his eyes large, incredulous. "Now," he said, resolved. "Shall I open the door for you?"

"Oh, God," Parker whispered, closing her eyes. "Your hands are-- mm nice. Unless you can open the door with your mind you're not kicking me out. Hey," Parker protested softly when Jarod withdrew his hands from her bra. She met his gaze, started at his stern expression. "Put those back," she demanded with a meaningful glance at his hands.

"Hmm in that case," Jarod remarked lightly, extending one hand and locking the door. "Oh, and if you think my hands are nice you're going to love what I can do with my mouth," he murmured, dropping to his knees and fingering the zipper at her waist, tugging it down.

He pushed his hands into the waistband of her slacks and felt the garment drop without any further coaxing. And Parker resisted the odd, unexpected impulse to reach down, retrieve the garment, conceal herself, leave.

She warred with the absolute wrongness of what they were doing, felt that they were obliterating the laws of man and nature and gods and devils instead of simply defying rules contrived by a crime syndicate that no longer existed.

Parker was appalled that her instinct would, for the first time in her life, steer her away from something as natural, healthy, and enjoyable as sex. She was, perhaps, even more appalled that she was choosing to ignore instinct.

She felt Jarod hands on her taut bottom, kneading, spreading, tilting, lifting. Just hands. Parker consoled herself, pushing her own hands through his hair. They could belong to anyone.

Jarod tugged down the nude and no doubt expensive pantiesrather than shred themand inhaled slowly, grunting his approval, and then smiling covertly at the distinct hitch in Parker's breathing when baritone vibrated flesh. 

Rising to his full height, Jarod disrobed and simply pushed aside his clothes with his toes when they pooled at his bare feet.

"Now you know," Jarod announced with a playful smirk. 

Parker, staring steadily at Jarod's erect penis, hastily lifted her gaze to his face and blinked wide in surprise. "What?"

"Now you know that the answer to that silly boxers or briefs question is neither. You seemed rather interested," Jarod said, lifting her breasts from bra cups, and then seemingly seeking permission before lowering his mouth to her chest. 

"Oh, make no mistake, Genius," said Parker, lasciviously, reaching between their bodies and grasping the appendage, "I'm interested."

Jarod, pushing his lips over her breasts, doing nothing more than simply breathing and observing her areolas contract and her nipples harden, exhaled a low moan. "What did I tell you," he murmured against her chest, boastfully. "Was I right about my mouth or what?"

"Mm," sang Parker blithely, "it's impossible for me to definitively answer that question until additional research has been conducted."

Jarod, lazily circling a nipple with his tongue, indistinctly acknowledged Parker's answer; the movement of his jaw inadvertently aligned his beard and sensitive flesh.

The contact was, surprisingly, not unpleasant, was neither ticklish nor abrasive and was, in absolutely no way, similar to the perpetual needlesque stubble to which she was accustomed.

Nothing is similar.

"So," Jarod said, sinking to his knees, "you need more data, huh? I think," he added playfully, kissing the back of her knees, and her thighs, and then gently parting her legs. "I can do something to expedite that for you."

He thinks?

Jarod licked into her greedily and slowly, repeatedly, each time lengthening his tongue's stroke.

"Oh," Parker gasped.

"Yes," Jarod agreed, his breath spilling over her vulva. "When I'm right, I'm right," he said, seizing her hips with his hands and licking into once more, fully, moving his tongue, counterclockwise, over her clitoris, establishing and maintaining the rhythm that most drove her wild.

When her breathing became deeper and rapid, he dropped his left hand to her labia, pushed a single fingertip into her vagina, and initiated the same unwavering rhythm he had moments earlier with his tongue.

Jarod tightened his hold when she came; he remained oblivious to black painted fingernails drawing his blood and stopped only when she began pushing at his shoulder and finally murmured, breathlessly, "Enough."

"Blasphemy," Jarod retorted. Enough? What the hell is enough? He released her hips, rose.

"Condom," Parker reminded.

"This," Jarod explained, lightly stroking, and then, parting, her labia with two fingers, "doesn't require a condom. "See," he said, pressing gently, but steadily, advancing the digits into her vagina, and, to his dismay, encountering substantial resistance. "Is this okay," he asked when she sucked in a breath through clenched teeth and closed her eyes.

He recalled her reaction to almost kissing him, jerking her hand from his in Glasgow, their dance and its abrupt end. Parker's body, Jarod believed, had been rejecting him for decades and seemed incapable of doing anything else. He feared she was unalterably accustomed to resisting him. "Look at me," he pleaded.

"Shh," Parker hushed him gently. "God," she moaned, arching her body, and then murmuring unintelligibly when he slowly withdrew his fingers. She clutched his forearms—and inadvertently plucked hair from his forearmswhen he buried his fingers inside her a second time.

"But-- uh," he explained, "it's just that you're rather-"

"Yeah," interrupted Parker tartly. "Take a good long look at this body, Genius; everything about it is taut and tone." 
"Point taken," Jarod agreed, withdrawing his fingers; he certainly couldn't disagree.

She is tension incarnate.

Jarod, unceremoniously, gathered her into his arms, observed Parker's eyes widened in surpriseor alarmand then harden. "Sorry," he murmured, drawing her closer and pressing his lips to hers. Parker clutched his face, parted her lips, reciprocated, with eyes open, watching his face, watching him watch her.

Jarod moved slowly across the room and deposited Parker on the arm of the sofa, removed the jacket, blouse, and liberated her breasts.


His words returned to her; Parker had listened with skepticism, disinterest, revulsion. Suddenly, she had a sneaking suspicion that Jarod had not been exaggerating.

"Condom," he affirmed, pulling open an end table drawer and retrieving from it a condom. "Are you comfortable?" He asked, solicitously.

Parker stared at him in stunned silence, and finally mustered a tremulous, "Are you insane?"

"Who isn't," Jarod answered, sheathing himself. He kissed her ankles, the arches of her feet, slowly dragged his lips over her knees, which he then seized and simultaneously lifted and parted.

We both, clearly, are insane.

Parker, instinctively, drew her bent knees to her chest, fully exposing herself, before Jarod could ask. They weren't, wholly, in sync, however. When their hands collided at her mons pubis Jarod hastily withdrew his, and deferred to Parker; it was, after all, her body.

Jarod's gratuitous unease subtly evolved into astonishment when Parker parted her labia, invited him inside.

Your move, Genius.

Jarod grasped her knees, accepted her invitation, filled her completely, observed her abdomen shudder. "God," she murmured.

"Is that," Jarod said with some uncertainty, pushing a hand over her left breast and squeezing her nipple between his fingertips, "a good thing or a-"

"Yes." Parker exhaled her answer and hissed a litany of obscenities, all indistinct, when Jarod withdrew, fully, and filled her again, gradually increasing his rhythm.

Bending over Parker to worship her nipples, Jarod wasn't anticipating her arched hips, her rapid, rather enthusiastic upward lunges. Again, they fell out of sync, became wildly out of sync and their bodies misaligned, resulting in Jarod thrusting against Parker's perineum and unintentionally penetrating Parker's constricting (at that moment) vagina at an incorrect and uncomfortable angle.

Uncomfortable for Jarod.
Painful for Parker.

They both groaned, were, otherwise, silent and still.

"Are you all right?" Jarod asked after several moments.

"I'll live."

"Let's try that again," Jarod said, slowly withdrawing. "From the top. Lie back. All right? And please don't almost fracture my penis again," he added with some incredulity, pressing his left knee into the sofa and his right foot to the floor. "We're going to do this nice and slow," suggested Jarod, sweetly, grasping her knees, pushing her legs apart and lifting her crotch to his mouth. He grasped a hip with one hand, squeezed her breast with the other, thrust his tongue into her vagina, licked into her hungrily.

Fucking flawlessly.

Parker clutched a fistful of Jarod's hair, sucked in a breath- and almost forgot to exhale it. She stammered unintelligibly, and, inexplicably, tugged his head towards her and, simultaneously, shoved his shoulder away from her. Finally, miraculously, when he began caressing her clitoris with his tongue, Parker decided on one, no less painful, course of action: she sank her fingernails into his neck.

She's determined to kill me, one way or another.

He opened her labia with his mouth, rose fractionally, pressed his palms to her thighs, not so much pinioning Parker's bent kneesand the rest of herwith his full weight as massaging her biceps fermoris, gracilis, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus; and she would appreciate that later.

"Isn't that better?" Jarod asked, filling her slowly and rotating his hips and then stretching over her body and pushing his hands beneath her body and drawing her close- and closer still, until, at last, he was cradling her head.

"Getting there," Parker answered softly, rocking her hips moderately, gasping when we withdrew fractionally, and repeated the same measured rhythm.

When his fingertips tenderly brushed her brow, Parker opened her eyes, met his gaze, pressed a forestalling hand to his chest. Jarod said her name, whispered it like a prayer, lifted her mouth to his. "Jarod," cautioned Parker, weakly, repeating his name a number of times, the ire and caution gradually dissolving from her voice with each halting breath she drew, her hardened gaze softening beneath his. "Oh, God," she murmured. "Jarod," Parker panted once more, breathlessly, against his lips.

They kissed deeply, moving together. When she eagerly bucked against him, Jarod released her shoulder, moved his hand over her body, squeezed her hips. 

Cradling Parker's buttocks in one hand and her head in the other, Jarod slightly shifted onto his left elbow, and observed as Parker's hips instinctively tilted towards him, her left leg bent at the knee and tucked high beneath his right arm. It was a brilliant execution of a position he'd only ever seen depicted in a book.

Steadily thrusting, he released her bottom, cupped her face, felt her gradually increase their rhythm.
Several indistinct words erupted, unbidden, from Parker's parted lips; blue eyes closed beneath a deeply knitted brow and then abruptly widened when Jarod's fingertips tightened, marginally, around brunette locks.

Jarod lifted her mouth to his once more, murmured her name against her lips, and drawled in a voice that was entirely foreign to her, "Ladies first."

"Shh," Parker cried, either in an attempt to utter an expletive or in a failed attempt to hiss something cruel or perhaps to silence Jarod. Or perhaps to silence the voices in her head.
Jarod moved his fingertips over her lips, down her neck, between their bodies and in tight circles around her clitoris. He watched her face, watched as blue eyes darkened, briefly took on a vaguely vacant appearance. Her fingertips tightened on the back of his neck, sank into his flesh, and a feral cry departed her throat. He drew her closer, felt her entire body spasm, stiffen.

"Hmm," Jarod hummed deeply, still thrusting steadily. Parker felt his fingers, mercifully, withdraw from clitoris and travel over her body, squeeze her breast, cup her jaw. She watched his face tense, felt him arch, and shudder against her.

"Oh," Parker panted quietly, waiting for an upended universe to right itself again and already suspecting that it never would; the low grunts that accompanied Jarod's climax confirmed Parker's suspicions.

Nothing is ever going to be the same again.

I broke into GeniusBoy's home and I fucked him.
And I liked it.
The bastard.

"Need I remind you?" Jarod repeated.

"Yeah, I broke into your home," Parker confessed, stepping into her slacks and thrusting her hands into her blouse. "Payback's a bitch, isn't it, Genius?"

"In light of -- uh very recent events, no, I can't say that it's a bitch at all. Perhaps you'd like to do it again tomorrow. Does the same time work for you?"

Parker's eyes narrowed. "Perhaps you'd like to fuck off."

"Perhaps I would," agreed Jarod, equably. "My place or yours?"

"Yours, asshole," Parker hissed, her words punctuated by the slamming door.


Chapter End Notes:
I'm displeased with this chapter (90% more than I'm typically displeased with anything I write), specifically, in regards to what transpired in Jarod's home: I dislike that Parker was mortified to face-concealing degrees-- just as she was when she and Jarod almosted in Scotland--no, really, there is proof *

Miss Parker with her face in her hands after almosting Jarod

Even I believed the hands-over-face reaction was quite severe and I'm not even a shipper. But I also believed that Parker should have jumped into the frigid water and swam to catch up with the "last boat" rather than remain on that isle "alone" with Homicidally-Glaring-Jarod- no, really, there is proof* Jarod homicidally-glaring at Miss Parker, shame on him

Rather than try to salvage this thing in some way (as hopeless an endeavor as that seemed) I decided not to overthink fanfic and I posted it as is (like I always do).






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