Simmons and Hart bookstore, Kingston, NY
Jarod had moved a small table up closer to the register in the front of the store. Hed gone through both the contents of this bookstore and the neighboring ones to develop a specialized collection of books on child development. Previously, Jarod had presumed that intelligence guided by experience would be enough for him to know exactly what to do. Yet his experiences in Australia had shown him that he wasnt aware enough of normal family dynamics to be assured that he could nurture it in every situation. Ordinarily that wasnt a problem. The people Jarod helped were usually more than capable of helping themselves once Jarod had shown them a solution or gotten them out of danger. When the Seraphim were freed from the Centre, they might still be children when it happened. The more research he could do before he made any decisions about what to do next, the better off they all would be.
There was another stack of books on the table. These books dealt with yoga. In the quiet of the back room of the bookstore Jarod had been practicing the interesting exercises. So far, only one person had walked in while he was curled up like a pretzel, and that had been a tourist from New York whose outburst of laughter had so embarrassed her she walked out after having purchased $100 worth of books. Not that Jarod had minded being laughed at. He had been in a particularly funny position, if looked at strictly objectively. The book was correct, however. That position was very relaxing when done properly.
Jarod reopened his computer. He was almost ready to leave. The treatments the Lynford family was undergoing were almost complete. Jarod had been horrified when he discovered that the blood disorder their children had was a result of their parents going for infertility treatment at NuGenesis. It was yet another reason that the Centre had to be shut down carefully, so that all the families whose lives the Centre had harmed could be found and protected.
* * * * * * * * *
Miss Parker's house, Delaware
Miss Parker answered her door, knowing what shed find. Sydney, with briefcase in hand, entered the house right on time. Dependability was a good thing in a subordinate and an even better thing in a friend.
Come in, Syd. Have a seat. Miss Parker moved towards the couch, gesturing for Sydney to take a chair.
What are you planning, Miss Parker? Sydney asked.
A little trip. I need you to cover for me for a couple of days. You go one way, Ill go another. Well meet in between and land at the Centre.
Thats for me to know and you to find out.
It concerns me if it has something to do with Jarod.
It has to do with me. I need some time alone and I need you to buy me that time. Jarod is not now, and has never been, the beginning and end of my existence. There are other things that are important to me. I need to have this break, but I dont want Eve following me or reporting on what I do to Daddy. Can you understand that? Miss Parker asked.
Yes, Miss Parker. And Im your friend. Ill be happy to help, Sydney replied. He could see that whatever had happened to Miss Parker, she wasnt about to share those revelations with him.
Parker nodded and left in one smooth motion. As much as she needed to help Jarod, she still intended to keep certain other priorities. She was going to learn how to help Gabriel deal with being a special child by using her own resources. She was going to be a friend to Merritt. And she was going to learn more about her mothers past. Those were not goals she intended to achieve by relying on Jarod, Broots or Sydney.
* * * * * * * * *
A hotel in Maryland
Sydney had checked into the hotel, and made sure that both rooms looked as though the beds had been slept in. Hed purposely arrived late at night and made sure the night clerk remembered him. Shed also get a call later which would convince her there were two of them in the rooms. But for now it was late enough for Sydney to go to bed.
Sleep, it seemed, wasnt on the agenda yet. His phone rang.
Hello? he answered.
Sydney, I need more information. Jarods voice sounded stressed. Sydney was concerned. Stress couldnt be good for Jarod at this point in his recovery.
The Centre. I need to know what Lyle is up to.
Lyle? Not Eve?
Something in Sydneys voice told Jarod the answer to his question. I take it that Lyle is no longer among the big players at the Centre, and Eve is?
Lyles in the hospital. Apparently the drug therapy isnt working as well as anticipated. Eve, on the other hand, is determined to get you back in the Centre.
I thought Miss Parker was in charge of the hunt for me. Just like old times, Jarod replied.
She is. And she has every intention of being the one to bring you in again. But both Miss Parker and I suspect that Eve has some plans of her own for you. Your escape didnt set well with her and I doubt shell give up easily. You need to be careful, Sydney answered.
Im always careful, Sydney. But this time I may just be mistaken. Jarod hung up the phone and contemplated the stacks of books in front of him. It was time he sent a message to someone at the Centre, preferably in such a way that it got back to Eve. Sydney wasnt likely to engage in gossip, so he couldnt be used like that. So it would have to be a message of a more subtle variety.
Mr. Cox entered his office and walked to his desk, the same way he did every morning. This morning, there was something in his chair -- a teddy bear wearing a sweater with the name 'Eve' stitched into the weave. When he picked it up, it began to play a haunting Japanese melody. Cox put it down. There was no reason for anyone to have left him anything quite so bizarre. Frowning for a moment, he picked up his phone and called Eve.
Ive just received a most peculiar present. It made me think of you.
What is it?
A teddy bear with your name on it. It plays Japanese music when you pick it up.
How quaint. How did it get there?
I dont know.
Neither do I. It isnt my property, nor can I imagine anyone here giving me such an item. And certainly nobody could mistake you for me. Eve paused. Perhaps you should alert Miss Parker. As the head of SIS, she should be informed.
Indeed, Ill do that. But I also intend to look into this myself.
Very well. Keep me informed.
Cox put down the phone. He probably shouldnt have told Eve about the bear, but hed been unable to resist. Whatever plot Jarod had in mind, involving Eve might spread the blame if something later blew up in someones face. Figuratively, of course.
The bear stopped playing music. There was a three second pause, then Jarods voice. Catch me if you can.
Cox growled softly. Jarod was still capable of irritating him. All they had done was slow him down, not stop him. Perhaps alerting Eve had been playing into Jarods hands. On the other hand, seeing Eve come back down in the hierarchy would be pleasant. Still, this had gone on long enough. Next time, Jarod would get a taste of retribution.
* * * * * * * * *
The Liberty Bell
Pretender - © NBC, All rights reserved.
Web Maintenance by Rayhne