Perchance to Dream

 

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Jarod's Apartment

Eve came in to check on Jarod’s progress. She’d given Jarod a problem to work on that dealt with communication between chimpanzees. The improved sign language could also be used by operatives on covert missions. She wanted to be sure that Jarod could work with live subjects that engaged his emotions before she let him work with the children.

“Almost finished?” she asked. It was her way never to anticipate failure.

“Yes. It should only be another day now,” Jarod answered. “Is there something else you want me to work on?”

“I think so,” Eve smiled and patted his arm. “I’ll be back soon to let you know.”

Outside in the corridor, Eve looked back at her notes. Although she didn’t doubt that everything was going according to plan, it might be better to have Jarod work with the children before he found the solution about delivering the drug. Something was distracting Jarod. She felt confident that once he was working with the children the distraction would fade. Jarod was sufficiently compliant. It would just take a little more time.

* * * * * * * * *

Our Lady of Refuge Convent

The woman who carefully looked at herself in the mirror had spent the intervening weeks well. She had been to a hairdresser, and her hairstyle was now shoulder length. She’d kept the waves she’d had from birth, but the color had been changed from a deep red to a lighter brown.

Much more than how I look has changed, Margaret thought. I have to be stronger in order to help my children. Once upon a time, it had seemed that was futile. Emily was grown and would do as she pleased. Somehow, Jarod had grown up without her realizing it. Margaret shuddered. She’d missed so much of her boy’s life. Now, though, there was a second chance.

Today was the day the boy was coming. The idea that there was a brand new member of her family was unbelievably exciting. A chance to start over, to do things right, and to properly protect and teach the boy was something that made her glow with a warmth she hadn’t shown in years.

There was a knock on the door, and Margaret turned to face it. The door swung open. Emily entered first, then the boy. Margaret went over to him and just hugged him.

“I can’t believe you’re really here,” she said, stroking his hair.

“It’s good to be here.” Jordan answered. Emily had briefed him about his task. He needed to give Margaret something to live for, so that they could be a family again. That meant he would have to pretend to be part of a normal family. Margaret had lost contact with reality when she saw Jarod taken from her in Boston. Emily believed the chance to have a normal family again would help push her back into the real world.

Jordan wanted to help his sister, so he was willing to get to know Margaret. But he’d been very definite about refusing to pretend to be Jarod.

“Tell me about yourself. How is school?” Margaret asked.

Jordan looked at Emily.

“I went to school the same way you do, honey. It's best to stick to the truth,” Emily replied to the look. Jordan did simulations. He really hadn’t done many “pretends” and most of those had been planned by others.

“OK. I don’t go to school. I learn at home. It makes it easier, because I don’t have to pretend about stuff I never learned. I like it. And I like visiting with Jarod and Emily even more,” Jordan answered.

Margaret’s hands clasped and unclasped. “I’m glad. Can you stay long?”

“Not too long. Maybe about a week. Da doesn’t know I’m with you, though. He thinks I’m just with Emily,” Jordan replied. He had started calling the Major “Da” a few weeks ago, wanting a name for him which none of the rest of the family used.

This was the hardest part for Margaret. She could face her children, because they were the central reason for her being. If they needed her, she’d be there for them if she at all could. Charles was different. He was her husband and she cared about him. But it had been so long, there had been so many changes since they’d last seen each other. It scared her.

“Mom, it would be good if you’d try and speak with Dad, at least on the phone. It would make both Jordan and I feel better if we weren’t keeping stuff from him. Please.” Emily had been slowly introducing this idea to Margaret all throughout their visits together. She’d asked Max to talk about the good times the three of them had had before the children had been born. She’d hoped that would be enough to let Margaret speak to her husband. She just wasn’t sure.

Margaret’s hands still shook. “Not yet. Later. I promise.”

The two younger people turned the conversation to other things. Jordan did succeed in relaxing her without her calling him Jarod. That, both of them felt, was a big step forward.

As they left, Jordan turned to Emily. “It’s great that she doesn’t think I’m Jarod. But it does mean we’re going to have a problem at some point.”

“What? We’ll get in contact with Jarod again. I’m sure we will,” Emily answered as she opened the car doors.

“It isn’t that simple. Jarod’s a prisoner in the Centre. Getting him out and safe may be a pipe dream,” Jordan answered.

“Dad didn’t tell me that,” Emily muttered. A part of her was furious.

“He asked me to. I wasn’t sure when to tell you. Now seemed like a good time.” Jordan looked out the window at the countryside. “Da’s working with Ethan and others on a plan to get Jarod out. But it will be really hard to do.”

Emily looked at Jordan, who was the closest family member to her in many ways. Both of them liked to be alone. Neither of them tried to fool themselves about what they were feeling.

“And I suppose you don’t think I ought to help,” Emily stated.

“Not after seeing Margaret - my grandmother. She’s gonna need both of us, for maybe a long time. Da will take care of Jarod.” Jordan paused. “I think we may be the children Margaret dreams of. So we can help her. Da is the father Jarod always wanted. So he’ll be better at helping Jarod. That’s how I see it.”

Emily was not happy. She’d have liked to have single-handedly put everything back together again. But things didn’t work like that. “OK. We’ll try it like this for now and then see what happens. I’m really glad you came. It helps.”

“I’m glad,” Jordan answered.

As they went through the green mountains to the hotel where Emily and Jordan were staying, they traveled in a companionable silence. Both of them had learned to cherish the times they were together and to move forward into the future. Now they had to teach that lesson to Margaret. With a little luck, they’d be able to recreate their family into a new, stronger unit.

* * * * * * * * *

Chairman's office
The Centre

Miss Parker entered the room with her usual confidence. She let nothing show on her face of the fatigue the few days of frantic travel had brought. “Hello, Daddy. I’m back.”

“That was fast, angel,” he answered, swiveling his chair to face her. He activated the screen saver before taking his eyes off the monitor to greet her.

Of course, she took note of that. He was obviously working on something he didn’t want her to see, but she could easily have Broots do a scan of the files he had accessed and find out exactly what it was. He didn’t give her enough credit, but in good time, he would understand how he had underestimated her.

She shrugged. “Not really. This is just the first round. I’ve made some recommendations for necessary changes. Once they’re in place, I’ll need to check in again.” Miss Parker faced her father across the desk. “You’ll find it all in my report.”

“Great,” he answered. “What’s next on your schedule?”

Parker sighed inwardly. Life had been so much more comfortable when she blindly trusted her father. “Implementation, of course.” She leaned forward, fixing him with a steady, intent gaze. “There are definite security issues that need to be addressed, and quickly. You’ll present my ideas to the Triumvirate and let me know when I can get started, won’t you?”

“Oh, sure. Of course. Just surprised you didn’t sneak in a little vacation while you were gone. Sure you don’t want to take one now?” he asked.

Parker did smile then. “No. You know as well as I do that if I took a vacation I probably wouldn’t come back to a job. That’s how things have always worked around here.” They were dancing around things, as they always did. Neither one would dare to speak clearly and directly about what was on their minds.

Mr. Parker answered her smile with a bemused chuckle. “I doubt things would be that difficult if my little girl took a break.” He reached for the report and flipped some through some pages. “I’ll take a look at this and get back to you later. Now, get some rest.”

He tossed the report on his desk and shuffled it quickly aside, dismissing her.

She watched him turn back to his computer screen, the report apparently dismissed right along with her.

“Yes, Daddy. Good night,” Parker answered. It wasn’t the time or the place to have an argument. She just hoped that her father would continue to delegate and let her keep out of his way. For now, that would be the best way to keep their truce.

End Of Episode
Perchance to Dream

 
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