As Jarod was making up a bed in the corner of Jordan's room for Jacob,
he felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning to find his father standing behind
him, the major held out a paper-wrapped parcel, a look of sadness in his
eyes. Raising an eyebrow, Jarod took it, feeling that the contents were
soft and yielded under his fingers.
"What is it?"
His father swallowed painfully before forcing a small smile. "It's
some of the clothes you wore, the day before you were abducted by the
Centre. Your mother has one set, and I've kept the other with me ever
Jarod gently placed the parcel on the table before drawing the older
man into his arms, his eyes glistening. After several silent moments,
he drew away and started to unfasten the string that bound it. Almost
reverently peeling back the paper, Jarod took out a hand-knitted sweater
and neatly folded pants, which, accompanied by a shirt and a change of
underclothes, made up an outfit that Jacob, despite his age, would fit
into, his diet and environment having left him very small. Out of the
corner of his eye, Jarod cast a glance at his father.
" Jarod's voice broke, but he managed to continue.
"Can you bear to see him in this?"
"Put him in it and we'll see," the older man responded quickly,
turning away. "We'll have to buy him more anyway -- a kid can't live
in one change -- and he doesn't have to keep them."
Nodding, Jarod wrapped the paper over the clothing and watched his father
leave the room as his sister entered. Dropping the bundle onto the older
boy's bed, Jarod placed his hands on Emily's shoulders and drew her towards
him, his eyes keenly searching her face.
"You sure you're okay?"
"I'm fine, really," she assured him. "They didn't do anything
except keep me tied to a chair for hours, and the flight from Idaho gave
me time to get over that. A good sleep and I'll be back to normal."
Emily eyed him curiously. "How do you know Paul?"
"We've met once or twice," Jarod responded carefully, determined
to give the man himself a chance to explain, knowing how much his sister
would resent any interference on his behalf. "But I had no idea you
two were romantically involved."
"We're just friends," she protested indignantly, and Jarod
Grinning, Emily hugged him briefly before drawing away. The smile faded
as she heard loud sobs from the adjoining room and was about to go in
when Jarod stopped her.
"I'll deal with it. You and Y -- Paul go and help Dad."
Hoping that she hadn't noticed his hesitation, Jarod opened the bathroom
door, stretching out an arm in time to prevent Jacob from bolting past
him out into the bedroom. Catching the boy, Jarod firmly closed the door
before looking at Jordan, whose face was flushed.
"What's going on?"
"Hydrophobia," Jordan responded tightly, running a hand impatiently
through his short hair.
Jarod snorted. "I don't believe it."
"All right then," the younger man returned, exasperated. "You
get him into the bath."
Nodding, Jarod knelt in front of Jacob and looked into his eyes, which
revealed the child's fear of the big bathtub full of warm water and bubbles.
"What's the matter, Jacob?"
"Scared," the child muttered between dry sobs. "Water
Jarod nodded again, having guessed at something like this being the cause,
remembering the times when water had been used on him as a punishment,
from a scalding hot shower when he had been interested in his body to
the forced shower Lyle had inflicted with the fire hose when he had been
dragged back to the Centre after Miss Parker had been shot. He could only
imagine the numerous ways Cox would have come up with to punish him, thus
resulting in the child's understandable fear, and Jarod only hoped he
could alleviate it.
"You know, Jacob," he began persuasively. "Water doesn't
Squeezing his eyes tightly shut, the boy nodded vigorously, clutching
Jordan's jacket around his thin, bare shoulders. "Always, with Sir."
"But Sir's not here now," Jarod responded gently. "Only
Jordan and I are here, so let's find out if water hurts when we're here,
Now shaking his head, the child lunged against the arms that were holding
him, but the man simply tightened his grasp a little more, keeping the
"Jacob," he stated kindly. "I'm sure the room where the
water hurt, with Sir, wasn't as nice as this, was it?"
Shooting a quick look around the room, Jacob slowly shook his head before
burying his face in Jarod's shoulder, his small shoulders heaving. The
man stroked the tangled mass of hair on the boy's head, giving him a reassuring
hug. Jordan slid a hand into the bath, although he had already tested
it to ensure that it wasn't too hot, swishing it around and making the
water slap against the smooth sides of the tub. The sound brought Jacob's
head up off Jarod's shoulder and he warily watched Jordan flicking the
water against the tiles as Jarod continued.
"And," he reached into the pocket of his jacket, producing
a colorful plastic toy, "I'm positive you didn't get to play with
a little boat like this one, did you?"
He put the boat into the child's hands, seeing the delight in Jacob's
eyes as his thin fingers closed around the object.
is this for me?"
"For you to play with in the bath," Jarod agreed. He nodded
at the older boy, who pulled a toy helicopter out of his pocket, before
Jarod turned back to the child. "And you can have that too, to play
with in the bath."
Jacob gave him a hopeful look, but there was wariness behind the positive
expression. "Only in the bath?"
"These are specially for the bath," Jarod told him, as Jordan
placed the helicopter on the rim of the tub and spun the prop. "But
there are other toys for when you're out of the bath."
"And books to read," Jordan chimed in, remembering how much
Jacob had seemed to enjoy the time they had spent reading. "Lots
"So, what do you say, Jacob," Jarod put in, smiling briefly
at Jordan before looking back at the boy. "Shall we try the bath?"
Jacob looked from Jarod to Jordan, then at the helicopter, and finally
at the boat in his hands, before hesitantly nodding.
* * * * * * * * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
Sydney glanced at his watch before getting to his feet. With the folder
under his arm, he firmly grasped the walking stick, meeting Broots' eye.
"She'll obviously be a while."
"Sounds like it," the technician agreed. "You've got things
The psychiatrist's lips curled into a smile. "Don't I always? When
Miss Parker's finished, will you tell her that I want to talk to her and
ask her to come and find me?"
"Sure thing." Broots held out a hand. "Want me to mind
that for you?"
Unable to repress a smile at the curiosity in Broots' eyes, Sydney shook
his head. "Thanks, but I'll take care of it."
Making his way to his office, Sydney returned the file to its hiding
place before sitting down at his desk. The box that he had taken from
Angelo's new quarters now sat on the floor beside his feet, and Sydney
carefully lifted it into his lap. Taking out the first of the folders,
a look was enough to show Sydney that this was information about Timmy's
early work at the Centre and his simulation results. Setting it aside
to look through later, Sydney picked up the second, noticing that it was
dated 4/13/70, and, with a shudder of premonition he was unable to suppress,
the psychiatrist replaced the box on the floor and opened the booklet
on his desk.
The first sheet was dated July 3, 1965, and it contained measurements
of a child. The paper bore a rough sketch of a familiar-looking neuro-electric
chair, scribbled notations along the margins suggesting it was being sized
down to fit a child. As Sydney's eyes traveled back to the date on the
top right-hand corner, he suddenly realized why it looked so familiar.
It was only two weeks before the experiment Raines had performed on Rebecca,
and Sydney's right hand clenched into a fist as the anger rose in him.
In an attempt to dispel it, he turned to the next page. This, dated 4/14/70,
contained medical documentation, the observations carried out by a nurse
on SL-27 of an individual Sydney had to assume was Angelo. The observations
continued for almost two weeks, ending in medical notations made in Raines'
It is believed that Angelo will show no further improvement in his
current condition, and is unlikely to be of any further use to the Proteus
Project. This was a calculated risk of Project Harpocrates, and I cannot
feel that an error has been made in allowing the project to go ahead.
We can now begin to explore the potentials that Angelo's new mental and
physical state provides us with. WR.
Sydney lifted his head to stare blankly at the opposite wall, eyes kindling
with anger. To treat a defenseless child in that manner, to coldly calculate
the risks of such an operation, with the knowledge of what it might do
to him, the state it might leave him in, and to be happy, even satisfied,
with such horrendous results -- Sydney was unable to fully express his
feelings at this discovery, worsened by the knowledge that there was nobody
at whom he could direct his anger. Raines was dead, and to bring such
things to the attention of the Chairman would be the signing of his, Sydney's,
own death warrant.
His eyes scanned the information once again, alighting on the name of
the project. Something caught inside Sydney as a sneer curled his lip.
Harpocrates. He could see how, to Raines' twisted sense of humor, the
name would have seemed gloriously appropriate, considering his accurate
prediction of the results of the experiment. Harpocrates -- the Greek
God of silence and secrets. The anger rose in the psychiatrist again as
he leaned back in the chair, staring at the wall of his office for a moment,
before returning his eyes to the paperwork. Closing the folder, his hands
trembling, not from the after-effects of the stroke, but from his own
emotions, Sydney pushed it aside, wishing he could do the same with such
ease to his own feelings of nausea.
* * * * * * * * *
Jarod thoughtfully rocked back on his heels, watching Jordan and Jacob
play with the toys. In the water, the bruises and scars were clearly visible,
evidence of the harsh treatment that the boy had undergone. The child
crowed with delight as Jordan filled a cup with warm water and tipped
it over his head, giggling as the water ran down his face.
"Again!" Jacob cried eagerly, his eyes bright and, for the
first time, free of fear. "Again!"
As Jordan obliged, Jarod soaped the loofah and rubbed it gently over
the little body, watching the child giggle again at the ticklish sensation.
Handing the loofah to Jordan so that he could finish washing the last
of the basement grime off the boy, Jarod rose to his feet and left the
room, returning after a few moments with the clothes that his father had
given him. As he put them on the floor, Jarod picked up a towel.
"Let's see how these fit, shall we?"
Jordan helped the child out of the water, draining the bathtub as Jarod
wrapped a towel around the small body and began to dry him thoroughly.
When that was done, Jarod picked up the clothes, gently helping the child
to don them.
Once he was finished, Jarod got to his feet, visually examining the boy
and feeling a strange tightening of his throat. The clothes fit perfectly,
the child's emaciated frame making him look more like four than six years
old, and Jarod knew that this was the picture his parents would have carried
in their heads of him for 33 years. Picking up the boy, Jarod held him
so that the child was on eye level with the man.
"Do you trust us, Jacob?"
The expression in the boy's eyes became instantly wary, but he slowly
Jarod turned to the younger man, who had been watching this scene silently.
"Son, would you ask your grandfather to come to your room?"
"Sure thing." Jordan opened the door and left the apartment,
heading for Major Charles' room, while Jarod carried Jacob into the bedroom.
Sitting down on Jordan's bed, the man looked at the child.
"Jacob, you don't have to be scared of that person, any more than
you're scared of Jordan or me."
"B-but he yells," the child stammered fearfully, tears welling
in his eyes as his fingers tightened around the collar of the shirt Jarod
wore. "He yells like Sir did."
"He yelled once, because he was unhappy with Jordan," Jarod
corrected gently, unfastening the thin, cold fingers and trapping them
in his warm ones. "But he won't do it again."
Looking at the man in the doorway, Jarod could see the pain in his father's
eyes as he gazed at the boy sitting on his son's lap. Smiling sadly, Jarod
turned to the child on his knee.
"Do you trust me, Jacob?"
The child's fingers tightened around his, turning his gaze from the face
close to him to that in the doorway, eyeing the sad expression in the
man's eyes and the faint smile on his lips, before Jacob once more looked
at Jarod and, very slowly this time, once more nodded his head.
* * * * * * * * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
Picking up the box again, Sydney noticed that it contained a number of
sheets of printed data, names and addresses. The first name that caught
his eye was 'Dragon House,' with the name Zeus alongside it, and Sydney
reached over to his filing cabinet, producing a sheet on which was a list
of coded names for all the Files, which Broots had given him several weeks
earlier. Zeus, he understood almost immediately, was the code for Kyle,
and Sydney flipped through the other pages, rapidly matching names with
Orpheus - Pine Ridge in Virginia, Minnesota. Orpheus was the code-name
Achilles - Catherine Close in Hamilton, Alabama. That would be Mason.
Shiva - Ellinbank in Ulysses, Kansas. That was Yuri.
Page after page contained details of the various houses, including their
accessibility from the ground and the air. Scribbled notations showed
the dates on which they had been used, all on more than one occasion.
Suddenly, gathering the pages together, Sydney turned his chair so that
he could reach the scanner set up on the table behind him. Copying the
data took only a few minutes and, while it was happening, Sydney once
more examined the box. One sheet of paper remained, facedown, and, turning
it over, the psychiatrist took note of the smudges and marks that suggested
the page had been well handled. When his eyes fell on the name of the
safe-house, however, Sydney understood.
It was the place Timmy had been taken, before being brought to the Centre.
As a remnant of the past that he was perhaps able to recall, if only faintly,
Sydney was left in no doubt that this was one of his most treasured pieces
of information. Slipping the page into the scanner, he saved the details
to a disk. Replacing the pages in the box, he stored the simulation results
in a section of the filing cabinet in which he kept information about
Angelo before picking up the box and carrying it to the elevator to return
it to the empath.
* * * * * * * * *
His now-short hair shining in the light, Jacob curled up at Jarod's feet
as the man sat on the sofa in the living room that led off Jordan's bedroom,
reading through the pages of material Jordan had purloined from the cellar
at Cox's house. The boy's eyes were trained fearfully on to the two people
talking quietly in the far corner of the room, one claw-like hand clutching
Jarod's ankle, as the man absent-mindedly stroked his hair.
As Jacob was about to turn his attention to the man on the couch, the
woman rose to her feet and headed towards the doorway that led to the
hall. The man she had been talking to, after watching her leave, stood
and began walking towards the sofa. Instantly, Jacob climbed up to throw
himself into Jarod's arms, trying to hide behind the cushions. Allowing
the papers to fall to the floor, Jarod curled his arms around the emaciated
shoulders, preventing the child from falling off the sofa.
Yuri sighed as he eyed the man and boy. "We need to talk."
"It's okay, Jacob," Jarod soothed, ignoring the comment. "He's
The younger man cast a glance around the otherwise empty room, before
grinning. "You sure about that, Jarod?"
"Probably," the older man amended immediately, not turning
his eyes from the terrified boy's face. When the fear didn't abate, Jarod
raised his voice. "Jordan? Will you come here, son?"
When the young man appeared in the doorway of his bedroom a few seconds
later, a drowsy expression in his eyes suggesting that he had been sleeping,
Jacob squirmed out of Jarod's arms, running over to the older boy and
trying to hide behind him. Picking up Jacob, Jordan watched as Jarod got
off the sofa and opened the door that Emily had shut behind her, letting
the younger Pretender go out ahead of him and nodding to his clone before
also leaving the room.
* * * * * * * * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
Miss Parker drummed her fingers on the desk as he looked at the man seated
"So, if your brother's safe, why are you still sending information
Panic flashed briefly in the man's eyes before they were lowered in the
direction of the floor, but he remained mutinously silent. Morgan waited
for a moment before slamming her fist on the desk.
"Answer me, Sam!"
"It wasn't going to Leiden," the man mumbled.
"Then who?" she hissed, eyes narrow.
Even as she asked the question, a man's face flashed into her mind, along
with the words he had spoken.
We don't seem so capable when intercepting messages as you here in
"Was it Peter Winston?" she demanded suddenly, receiving confirmation
in the way Sam's head snapped up and he stared at her in disbelief.
how did you
"I just did," Morgan told him. Leaning back in the chair, she
folded her arms and eyed him thoughtfully. "Now, what are we going
to do with you, Sam?"
* * * * * * * * *
Yuri turned to Jarod when they were some distance from the building,
watching the older man gazing up at the sky, as the sun began to sink
towards the horizon.
Thank you," he offered, somewhat awkwardly.
"Do you believe me now, Yuri?" Jarod responded softly, still
not looking at the other man. "Do you believe me when I say that
some people are worth saving?"
The younger man's eyes hardened. "The only thing this has shown
me is that there are some people who'll do anything to forward their careers."
Scooping up a clod of hard-baked Texas clay, he crushed it to dust in
the palm of his hand, letting the splinters of gravel blow away through
Jarod eyed him peripherally. "You mean Lyle?"
"I mean Cox," Yuri spat. "What kind of a sick individual
does what he did to that kid?"
Rightly perceiving this to be a hypothetical question, Jarod didn't answer
"People might say that the same thing was done to us," he suggested
"It was nothing like what we went through," Yuri shot back
immediately, his hands clenched in tight fists and stuffed into the pockets
of his jacket. "I'm not blind," he growled, after a moment of
silence. "Even not being able to get anywhere near the kid, I could
see what Cox's done to him. All those bruises and cuts. And it wouldn't
even be Jacob's fault if he couldn't do what Cox wanted him to
Jarod's eyebrows rose at this. "What do you mean?"
Yuri sighed deeply before turning to face the older man.
"Raines made me do some research into cloning, I guess not very
long after Jordan was born. I was working with the material you put together,
and my job was to figure out future stages -- defects that might occur,
ways to correct them
" Trailing off, Yuri glared at the ground
before finishing in hard tones. "And the possibility of cloning clones."
Jarod's tones were full of horror. "You think
"I can't say for sure," Yuri interrupted. "But I had a
look at the notes Jordan took when he got Jacob out of Cox's cellar, and
several of them use codes that I created for the work Raines had me do.
It doesn't make any sense that Cox would have used those terms and codes
if he was simply cloning you again. There had to be a reason for it, and
the only one I can think of is that Jacob isn't you, or not directly.
* * * * * * * * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
Sam looked up from an examination of the floor he had recommenced after
the woman's question to find Miss Parker gazing coolly at him, one eyebrow
slightly raised, her arms still crossed over her chest. When she realized
that she had his attention, Morgan straightened and rested her elbows
on the desk, leaning her chin on her fingers.
"Of course you know that I'll be checking up on this story of yours."
Nodding, Sam reached into the inside pocket of his jacket and produced
a thin roll of paper. "If you went looking, this is all you'd find,"
he told her. "When I talked to my brother about it, he said that
I should give it all to you. In fact," the sweeper added, smiling
faintly. "He said I ought to have told you from the start."
Accepting the pages, the woman fixed him with a steely look.
"Do you trust me, Sam?" Morgan demanded suddenly.
He looked startled. "Well, o
of course, Miss Parker."
"I don't want 'of course,'" she told him. "If I gave you
an order, without any reason for it, would you trust me to have given
you the right one?"
The man straightened in his seat, understanding the test of loyalty.
"Yes," he replied quietly. "Yes, I would."
"Good." Morgan's previously stern expression relaxed somewhat.
"And now, at least, I know I can rely on you."
Sam shot her an interrogative look. "Miss Parker?"
"Some people would call it blackmail," she explained. "I
prefer to think of it as encouragement. If I find that you've betrayed
the trust I'm going to place in you from now on, always assuming this
backs up everything you've said," she tapped the sheets, "you'll
find yourself reported to the Chairman for betraying the Centre."
Rising to his feet, Sam's eyes were free of the haunted expression they
had held for the past few days as he nodded once in agreement. "I
understand, Miss Parker."
Producing a sheet of paper, which contained the first threat they had
found, she placed it on the desk in front of her. "A message will
be sent to the people who were threatening you, with the suggestion that
they desist at once. And, if you'd like," she eyed Sam closely, "I
can also arrange for someone to keep an eye on your home when you're not
there, to make sure that nothing happens to your family."
"I would appreciate that, Miss Parker."
"Good." She smiled. "And now, I've got something for you
to do. You have several hours until you should be going home, I believe."
"Yes, ma'am," he agreed at once. "I was supposed to have
been on duty, but
"But your schedule was changed so we could get to the bottom of
this," she interrupted. "For the next couple of hours, then,
I'd like you to put your 'better than the average man' martial arts skills
to the test." She raised her voice slightly. "Broots, come in
"You want me to teach him?" the sweeper suggested, unsurprised
at the revelation that the technician had been listening to the conversation,
and his boss nodded.
"Yes, I do. I may also get you to keep instructing him in other
areas, too. You have more time for that sort of thing than I do at present."
Broots sidled into the room, his face devoid of color, having overheard
the discussion. "Miss Parker, I
"You said you worked better under pressure," Morgan reminded
him, her eyes twinkling. "And I think Sam could put you under pressure
even better than I could."
"Of course, Miss Parker," the sweeper agreed, straightening
to attention and waiting for a sign from her before he turned. At the
doorway, however, and with a hand on the other man's arm, he suddenly
turned back. "Thank you."
She smiled again. "Earn it, Sam."
"I will, Miss Parker."
As the sweeper opened the door, however, Broots wriggled himself free
from the other man's grip and turned.
"Miss Parker, Sydney said there was something important that he
wanted to talk to you about. He asked if you'd go and see him when you
were done here."
Morgan nodded. "Thank you, Broots." She suddenly grinned. "Have
a good session."
She could hear the audible groan as the door closed.
* * * * * * * * *
"Sleeping," Jarod replied as he came into the living area of
his apartment, to be greeted with this question. "But she's fine,
or will be when she wakes up." He sat in an armchair opposite the
man, speaking before the other Pretender did. "Dad's in Dallas, buying
clothes for Jacob, and Jacob and Jordan are playing in their room. They
won't hear us." He fixed Yuri with a firm look. "When are you
going to tell Emily who you are?"
"I'm not," the younger man retorted, shooting a glance at the
door to make sure that Jarod had shut it.
"My sister isn't stupid," Jarod stated bluntly. "And she's
investigating the Executioner murders -- your murders. How long do you
think it's going to take for her to figure out the connection: that wherever
you are, someone somehow connected to the Centre dies."
"You didn't tell her," Yuri queried curiously. "Why not?"
Jarod examined the carpet for a moment. He knew his reasons for what
he had, or rather had not done. But he also know that Yuri would find
it difficult to empathize with, or even understand them, unless
The older Pretender's lips twitched faintly as he looked up. "You
tell me," he responded. "You tell me my reasons."
The other man raised his hands in a gesture of helplessness. "I
Jarod folded his arms, lounging back in his chair and crossing his ankles
in front of him, a grin that he was unable to suppress on his face. "You
can, and you know it. Become me. After all, that's what we were both trained
to do, Yuri. I had to put myself in your place -- and it wasn't a particularly
fun experience, I may as well tell you. Now it's your turn."
Yuri looked away, unable to cope with the expression of frank amusement
in Jarod's face. As he did so, however, his mind slipped into the processes
that he had learnt of its own accord, and he felt himself taking on the
aspects of the other man that usually afforded him the most grounds for
mockery, ever since reading about them in the files he had uncovered about
the Centre's most successful Pretender.
The younger man felt his shoulders straighten, his head going up, in
the posture Jarod that generally adopted, very different from his own
habit of slouching. Yet at the same time there was a burden on his soul,
the weight of the guilt Jarod carried around with him every day, the knowledge
that his actions had hurt people, or contributed to their deaths. The
determination not to needlessly hurt or torment people, either physically
or emotionally, that Yuri had noticed during their planning to rescue
Emily, seemed to become an important part of him, and it gave him an insight
into the solution he sought. A reason for Jarod's failure to reveal Yuri's
identity to Emily flashed into his mind; one that he instinctively knew
was the right one
"You couldn't," he stated slowly. "There wasn't time when
we first got there, in case one of the sweepers came back, and afterwards
you knew that, if I hadn't come to find you, you might never have managed
to free her, and there's hasn't been a 'right' moment since." Yuri
paused for a moment. "That, and you don't want to hurt her with the
Jarod raised an eyebrow, somewhat surprised at the other man's depth
of understanding, but nodded in agreement. Forcing away the feelings inside
him, Yuri stood and walked over to the screen showing the outside world,
staring blankly out at the gathering darkness.
"My sister thinks you're pretty special," Jarod remarked. "I
hope I won't regret asking this, but I'd like to know your plans for her."
The older Pretender waited for a response, but there was none.
"The Centre doesn't just 'get rid of' somebody unless they view
them as completely useless," Jarod continued after a moment of awkward
silence. "Now, I know Raines' reasons for having you tossed out of
a limo in the middle of nowhere. If you've suddenly discovered a well
of emotion inside the heart that all my lessons in biology taught me must
be in there somewhere, and if my sister's the cause of that, then we're
going to need to make sure nobody associated with the Centre ever finds
it out. Because Lyle had no plans to let Emily go once they had me, and
they definitely wouldn't let her go if they could use her as leverage
to make you do what they wanted."
"I know," Yuri snarled impatiently. "What's the point
of this lecture?"
"How much of what you said to me when you appeared in my apartment
did you mean?" Jarod queried, with understandable curiosity. "Do
you really care about her? Do you care enough to make sure that she was
out of danger, no matter what happened to you? Although it may not have
seemed like it, we came pretty close to being caught today. Would you
try to protect her, even if it endangered your own freedom?"
I don't know!" Yuri protested. "I've never felt
about anyone the way I feel about Emily. She isn't like any other woman
I've ever met. But I don't know what to call this -- I don't even really
know how I feel."
Jarod stood up and walked over to stand in front of the other man, meeting
his gaze steadily, his voice quiet.
"Then I suggest you find out," he stated evenly. "The
Centre's used my emotions against me for my entire life, and I know how
to avoid most of their traps and pitfalls. You don't. And if you really
cared for Emily, you'd walk away from her right now, rather than putting
her in that sort of danger."
Yuri eyed him. "You mean Zoe?"
"Not only," the other man retorted. "Although she was
one instance, yes. Fortunately for me, I had my dad to help. You don't,
Paul. And I hope you never have to face the sort of choice that I did,
because, to be totally blunt, I don't think you could cope with it."
* * * * * * * * *
Blue Cove, Delaware
Miss Parker arrived at the doorway to Sydney's office to find him putting
files in his briefcase. As she tapped on the door, he looked up.
"Did you get my message?"
"Yes." She stepped into the office. "Going home?"
"I was planning to." He smiled somewhat sheepishly. "I've
had a long few days, with probably more walking than is good for me right
Morgan eyed him sternly. "And does this discussion have to happen
"No," he admitted, the smile changing to one of amusement.
"Good." She placed a hand on the case. "Do you have everything?"
Nodding, Sydney seized the cane from its place on the back of his chair,
watching the woman shut the briefcase, pick it up and gesture for him
to lead the way out of the office.
* * * * * * * * *
19 Wilson Boulevard
Blue Cove, Delaware
Sam took off his jacket as he walked through the door, draping it over
the chair in the hallway and venturing towards the rear of the house as
he loosened his tie.
His wife appeared in the doorway, smilingly holding a finger to her lips.
"I've just put Megan to bed, Sam. Keep it down to a dull roar, okay?"
He swept her into his arms. "Call the sitter, Mrs. Arnold. We're
going out for dinner."
She raised an eyebrow. "What happened to you?"
"His baby brother was right, again," a laughing voice stated
from behind the man. "Gotta hate that, don't you, Sammy?"
The sweeper spun around, staring at Alastair, who leaned against the
doorframe, arms folded and his eyes twinkling with laughter, before Sam
pulled his brother into a crushing embrace.