Disclaimer: "The Pretender" and its characters do not belong to me they belong to TNT and NBC and are being used without permission. Please don't sue because I have no money.
Jarod sat in another motel room that was his for the amount of time it would take for him to finish his latest pretend. He sat in the chair that was by the window and watched as the cars drove by and wondered where the people were going and if they had family to go home to. He was seriously thinking that this was going to be the last time that he would have any contact with anyone connected to the Centre. He was so tired of the chase and so tired of talking with Miss Parker and Sydney. He wasn't tired of talking to them, but tired of them not letting their emotions show towards him if they even had emotions towards him. He had tried so many times to reach out to both of them, but they both would push him away. He viewed Sydney as a father and always would, but he knew that Sydney only thought of him as a test subject. It took the kidnapping of Sydney's son Nicolas to crush the hope that Sydney would think of him as a son. He thought that he had gotten through with Miss Parker at the Island, but she pushed his cuffed hands away in the limo at the airport. He knew that it would never happen. That the two people that meant the most to his life would always think of him as a lab rat and a science experiment and he was tired of that. As soon as he was finished with this pretend he would call them and cut all ties with them.
He picked up the phone that was on the bedside table in his motel room and dialed a number. He didn't want to talk to them, so he decided to call them when they were at work.
"This is Sydney. I'm not at home right now, but please leave a message after this beep. Thank you."
"Sydney, this is my last contact with anyone from the Centre after I talk with you and Miss Parker. After today I'm disappearing. I waited all these years for you to tell me that you loved me as a son and yet you say nothing. I remember when I made that Father's Day card for you when I learned about Father's Day after watching Miss Parker giving a gift to her father. I was so saddened that you threw the card away that I made for you right in front of me. I thought that maybe if I endured more pain in the Sims and did well in them then maybe you would be proud of me, but I'm nothing to you. All I am is a science experiment and a lab rat. I've reached out at you so many times. There was this one time that I even said father to you, but I was afraid of your rejection. Then there was the time that I asked you if you ever thought of being my father and you said that was never an option. Did you know that I cried after that? I do have feelings you know. Then it took Nicolas's kidnapping that made me think that you will never think of me as a son. I mean you never knew about him, yet you love him as a son. Remember when I said that maybe you knocked some sense into me. Well, you did. I kept on the hope that you would love me as a son, but that blow to the head did indeed knock some sense into me. I was taken from my family from a young age and brought to the Centre. I looked up to you like a son should. I've got to go now Sydney. I still have Miss Parker to talk to. Goodbye Sydney."
He hung up the phone with a tear running down his eye. He really didn't want to do this, but he knew that he had to.
He dialed Miss Parker's number and got her answering machine.
"What? You know what to do."
"Miss Parker, I just got finished with talking to Sydney's answering machine and now it's your turn. As I told Sydney this is the last contact with anyone from the Centre. After today you will never hear from me again. You will have no more 3 am calls to drag you out of bed, no more clues to your past and no more headaches from me. I don't know what made you hate me so much, but I am truly sorry about that. I never wanted you to hate me. I remember all the good times we had as children. How we explored the Centre. You were the only bright light that I had in that dismal place. I never knew about the outside, Cracker Jacks, or anything else until you taught me. I thought that someday I would get through to you, but I never did. I also thought that I had gotten through to you when we were on the Island, but you shot that theory down when we were in the limo at the airport when you pulled your hands away from mine. Was it because your mother was trying to save me? Is that why you hated me? Or was it because I sent Thomas to you and he died because of me? I'm so sorry about Thomas. I just wanted you to be happy, but as always the Centre took that happiness away from you. He was my friend and I knew that he would make you happy, so I sent him to you. I know you might think that I'm a coward for talking to your answering machine instead of you. I guess I am. I'm sorry for everything that I did to you. Goodbye Miss Parker."
He hung up the phone and gathered his things and pulled away from the place where he was staying. Where would he go? He didn't know now.
Miss Parker's House.
Miss Parker walked into her house and put her things on the couch. She then went to kitchen and poured herself some Vodka and took it into the living room. She looked at her answering machine and saw that there was a message waiting for her. She played it and she stared at it as it played. There was Jarod's voice telling her that he was disappearing. No, Jarod you can't do this. Not to me. She thought to herself. What am I going to do now?
She quickly drank her Vodka and sat the glass down on the table. She grabbed the phone and jabbed the numbers and was waiting for the person on the other side to answer it.
Sydney walked into his house and looked at his answering machine and saw the light blinking. He pressed the button and heard Jarod's voice. He was disappearing for good. My gosh, what have I done. I thought of you as a son Jarod really I did. More so than Nicolas because I watched you grow up and I never did with Nicolas. I've remembered when you asked about me being your father, but I pushed you away. I was so afraid of your rejection too, but I didn't need to worry about that. Yes, I heard you almost say Father. He thought to himself. His eyes misted, as he was about to cry.
The phone rang as he brushed the tears off his face. He went towards it and answered it.
"No, Syd it's me. I see you got your message just like I got mine."
"Yes, I can't believe that he's disappearing."
"I can't either."
"I never got to tell him that I thought of him like a son. I heard him almost say it and he even asked what it would have been like if I was his father, but I told him that, that was never an option. I do love him as a son Parker. Even more so than Nicolas because I watched him grow up."
"I know Sydney, I know. I don't hate him either. I know I'm always mean to him when we talk and he may have thought that I do, but I don't. I still think of him as my friend and I never told him either."
"I know Parker. I hope that we can find him and tell him this."
"Me to Syd."
Miss Parker, Sydney and Broots were in the tech lab trying to find where Jarod was. Suddenly there was a beep that signaled that they had a hit.
"What is it Broots?"
"I think we may have a hit."
After a couple of minutes of typing he had an answer.
"He's in San Diego. At 3544 Winding Way."
"Let's go Sydney. It's just going to be us two that's going after him this time."
"Do you think that's wise?" Asked Broots.
"Yes, I do. Let's go Syd."
They left and boarded the Centre's jet. They sat by the window each with their own thoughts on what might happen when they found Jarod. Miss Parker and Sydney had each heard the recording of what Jarod had said to each of them. Miss Parker had gone over to Sydney's house after their conversation and brought a tape recorder with her.
They quickly got out of the jet and made their way to the car that was waiting for them. As they made their way down Winding Way they saw a figure come out of a house and make their way towards a car in the driveway. They stopped a few feet away from where Jarod was getting into the car and followed him.
They followed him to a park that was nearby. They saw him get out of the car lock it up and walk with his hands in his pocket and his head bowed towards a pond where there were ducks and geese swimming around. They saw him sit down on one of the many benches that lined the pond and watch the ducks and geese splashing around. He was thinner than he was the last time that she had seen him.
"He's lost some weight."
"I see that. Come on Parker let's go."
They approached the pretender as he sat on the bench watching the ducks and the people around him.
Jarod's head jerked towards them as he heard Miss Parker's voice.
"What are you doing here?"
"Come to see you of course."
"How did you find me?"
"Broots found you."
"I guess I didn't cover my tracks very well. I'm not going back with you." He stared at them.
"Is there somewhere we can talk?"
"Why would you want to talk to me?"
"Because we need to talk to you."
"Well, I don't want to talk to you." He got up and walked towards his car.
"Jarod, stop right there."
"Why?" He glared at them.
"Why would you want to talk to a lab rat? Hmm Miss Parker? I know what you call me you know."
"Why don't we go to your house? We followed you from there."
"No. I'm leaving now. Go back from where you came from. I'm finished with talking with you."
"Jarod Please give us a chance. Please?"
"Why should I give you a chance? All you think of me as a science experiment. You don't think of me as a human being. I remember what you told me about Kyle. That he was a test subject just like I was. I'm tired of waiting for something that never comes. Now go."
"I know and I'm so sorry. Please let us have a chance."
"Fine, follow me. If I don't like what you say then you leave. Once you're gone I'm gone."
He pulled his car into the driveway, got out locked the car, made his way to the front door and unlocked it. He ushered the two into his house.
"I know that I shouldn't have invited you here to listen to your lies, but that doesn't mean I have to be rude. Do you want anything to drink or eat?"
He sat on one of the chairs as Sydney and Miss Parker sat on the couch.
"You look thinner that I remember you looking."
He shrugged and looked at them.
"Well, what is it that you want?"
Miss Parker and Sydney looked at each other trying to find out who would go first. Sydney looked at Miss Parker and saw in her eyes that she wanted him to go first.
"Jarod, I'm so sorry that I never told you that I loved you as a son. I know that there have been many times that you have reached out for me and I've pushed you away. I do you know. I love you as a son more so than Nicolas because I watched you grow up from a scared little boy into a very caring young man. You are so much more than a lab rat, or test subject. You are a human being and needed love and caring. I had to distance myself from you and treat you as a test subject to further my emotions towards you. I couldn't let them know that I thought of you as my son. I'm so proud of you of what you do in the world. You help people in the world that would of never had help and nobody's ever helped you."
"You're lying. You want me to believe that so you can make yourself believe it. I know that you love Nicolas as a son and that you would never love me as a son. Did you know that sometimes I cried when I was in my cell? I cried because nobody loved me. I thought what did I do wrong that I was taken from my family and was thrown in a cell? Did you also know that some of those Sims hurt, yet I did them because of you? All I wanted was to be cared for all I got was nightmares and pain."
"Jarod, I'm not lying. It's the truth. I'm just sorry it took me so long to say this to you."
Sydney sighed and looked at Miss Parker. She knew that it was her turn now. They had to get through to Jarod, or maybe they might never find him again.
"Jarod, I'm so sorry that you think that I hate you. No, I don't blame you for my mother's death. I know now that it wasn't your fault. It's the Centre's fault and more importantly it's Mr. Raines's fault. I know that I push you away when you reach out and it's very hard for me to say I'm sorry. It's not your fault that Thomas died either. I don't blame you for that either. I know it's the Centre's fault too. You were just an easy scapegoat for my anger. I know that I treat you as a lab rat because I couldn't afford to think of you as a human being that has feelings too. I know we both have hurt them and for that we are sorry."
"Are you sure, or are these lies?"
"We are not lying to you Jarod."
He looked at both of them and tried to make up his mind whether they were lying to him or not.
"So many times I've reached out to both of you and rejected me on every turn. I want to believe you two and it may take time to do so."
"We'll stay nearby and we'll show that we are sincere."
Days and weeks passed and they were having fun. Jarod put on a little bit more weight now that he had a reason to go on. It took a little bit of time for each of them to get over their issues, but they did.
It was time for the two to go back to Delaware before the Centre caught up with them. He knew that they both had to go and he was okay with that now. After they left Jarod was going to go back into pretending and getting in touch with Sydney and Miss Parker.
"I've missed you my son."
Jarod had a tear in his eye as Sydney told him that. This was the first time that Sydney had called him son.
"I've missed you to Dad."
He knew that he had a biological dad, but he really didn't know him that well. In his heart Sydney would always be his father.
He hugged Miss Parker and Sydney and watched them get into the car and drive off. It would probably take more time for them, but they were on a great start.
He went back into his house and started to pack. He was going to buy a paper and see where it would take him for his next pretend as he got into his car and backed out of the driveway.