Disclaimer: see part one
Author's Note: Well people. I know that some of you won't like it but this will be the final chapter. I hope that you will like how the story goes though and that it is a good ending for the story.
Thanks go to:
Leochick: I just had to let them talk face to face. I'm glad that you liked it and I hope that you will like this one as well. Thank you for reviewing and now enjoy.
Parker's Pretender: Yes, I do think that there is hope… read and find out if there really is in this chapter. Thank you for reviewing and now go on and have fun.
mychakk: You won't have to wait any longer. Glad that you like the story. Thank you for the review and now read on and enjoy.
gemini006007: Yes, I felt that they just had to talk face to face. Glad that you liked the last chapter and hope that you will like this one as well. Thank you for reviewing, Mercy. Now enjoy!
QueenTrione: Thanks for that support. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who found the waiting-thing, as you call it, unavoidable. Thank you for the review and now go on and enjoy.
ANDREA76: As I said to the others; I just had to let them a face-to-face encounter. I'm glad that you like it though. Thank you for telling me so and now have fun with chapter 19.
pretender fan: Getting overconfident, aren't we? #chuckles# They have just been on the verge of breaking of their contact at all and you want me to put some romance in? I don't think that we will get 'that' far but thank you for the feedback anyway. I hope you will like this chapter so read on and find out if you do.
Nancy: I'm glad that you are enjoying the story so much. Thank you for reviewing and now have fun with chapter 19.
Earthdrago: Ay, I should really stop excusing myself with the good old 'I'm not a native speaker' but that's just so easy #grins#. No, you are certainly right with the tenses. Sometimes it just doesn't want to work and the last chapter was one special little piece where I sat several times gnawing at my imaginary pencil and screaming in frustration #grins again# but thanks for telling me. That way I can keep a closer eye on that in the future. Thanks for the tips and as for the cliff hanger… I thought I might give you guys a break #laughs#. Thanks again and now enjoy.
Mfkngst: Glad that you liked the way I used Jarod's addressing Parker. And yes, there is hope. Thank you for reviewing and now have fun with the next part.
Brandy: Glad that you liked the chapter. I know that you want more so here it is. Thank you for reviewing and now enjoy the last chapter.
The Call Part 19
Parker sighed when she walked into her house. The day had been long. Though it was Friday, she had been working till late into the evening.
She put her keys on the desk after shrugging out of her coat.
Pulling a hand through her hair, she walked into the kitchen and got herself a bottle of juice. She fetched a glass and poured some of the juice into it.
A few minutes later, after making herself a sandwich, Parker went over to the living room with her meal.
She sat down on the couch and started munching her food, enjoying the silence around her.
The situation in the Centre had cooled down further. The PTB's had obviously finally gotten the message Jarod had meant to tell. They seemed to be getting the idea that he wouldn't come back anymore and that he wouldn't make any contact again.
It had been a week since Jarod had appeared in the restaurant and they had talked. Well, mainly it had been Parker who had talked. Jarod had listened.
Parker wasn't really sure what to make out of this silence. She knew that Jarod had said that he would have a lot to think but…
Parker huffed. He would tell her in time - he sure would.
Leaving her empty plate on the couch table, she finally went upstairs to get a shower and change out of her clothes.
She came down nearly an hour later again. When she walked into the living room to take her plate into the kitchen, it was gone.
Parker frowned. She wondered if she had already taken it back into the kitchen in an unconscious move.
She walked into the kitchen and there her plate stood, already washed next to the sink to dry. Parker frowned again. She couldn't remember taking it to the sink and rinsing it. She shook her head slightly and then shrugged her shoulders, turning around and walking back over to the living room.
When she entered, Jarod was sitting on the couch facing her.
Her lips curled into a smile. "Well, now it makes sense", she grinned. "So you took the plate into the kitchen."
Jarod smiled and shrugged his shoulders. "I thought that you would be tired after that long day and not up to rinsing it."
"You kept an eye on me today?" She asked, interested.
Jarod shrugged again. "In fact I kept an eye on you the last few days."
"Waiting for the opportune moment to approach you", he answered honestly.
"And this is it?" Parker asked with a quirked eyebrow.
Jarod crocked his head. "Don't know. Tell me?"
"Hopefully", she laughed silently. Jarod's face lit up at the sound while he relaxed.
Parker moved over to the couch slowly. She kept an eye on Jarod to see if he tensed up. When he didn't, she sat down in the armchair next to the couch, looking curiously at him.
Jarod returned her stare. Neither said a word for a few moments.
"You look better than the last time we met, Parker", Jarod spoke up, interrupting the silence.
She nodded. "It's been not as hard as before we talked. You look better yourself."
"I thought a lot the last week", Jarod stated and then looked down.
"And?" Parker asked when he broke off.
Jarod's eyes searched the room until they finally came to rest on her face again. "I believe you, Parker. I was on the verge of believing you even before we talked and when we did, that feeling got stronger", he acknowledged.
"But you didn't believe me then", she stated, not accusing him.
"Yes and no", Jarod responded, averting his eyes once more. "In a way, I knew that you were telling the truth but some part of me warned me to be cautious. After I had been thinking for some hours it finally became clear to me that you didn't betray me and then realization hit in", he looked up and he met her gaze. "I'm sorry that I doubted", he said earnestly.
Parker closed her eyes briefly and then smiled, the tension falling away from her body. "You shouldn't be sorry. I think I would have doubted as hell if I had been in your position", she looked at him. "I don't think I would have come back to give you a second chance. I'm sorry that I was dumb enough to take the bait and go along with Lyle."
He breathed. "You didn't have much of a chance."
"No, I mean the scene on SL-22 where they caught you. I shouldn't have come down with them. I should have known better that to think Lyle only wanted to rub my failure into my face", she looked down at her hands.
"That's nothing you should be sorry for. We both know that Lyle manipulates everyone around him and goes beyond evil to get what he wants", Jarod replied.
"Yes but still…", she huffed.
"How about we stop being sorry for things we had not way of knowing or evading", Jarod suggested and reached out to cup one of Parker's hands that lay in her lap.
She looked up startled when Jarod made contact and then looked down on their hands again when she saw Jarod's reassuring smile.
Parker turned her hand under his and their fingers entwined slightly. When she looked up this time, the startled expression had vanished, being removed by a calm and relaxed one. She smiled slightly at him.
"Ok, that's a deal", she whispered.
"Before I forget: How is your little brother? Is he ok?" Jarod asked genuinely interested and concerned for the child.
"Yeah, he is", Parker huffed and then again looked down at their entwined hands. Looking up, she met Jarod's gaze.
They both looked at each other, both reading the emotions that ran in the other ones face.
"So, what are you going to do now? Will you reappear and resume the game?" Parker asked.
Jarod shook his head. "No, Parker. That's not going to happen. It lies in the past. I decided that it is time to move on."
"You came to say goodbye?" She asked incredulously.
Jarod smiled. "I didn't say that, did I? No, this is not a goodbye. I have no intention to cut the connection anymore. I won't go on living a life on the run. I will disappear from the Centre's radar."
"So this is a goodbye", she accused.
He chuckled and squeezed her hand. "No, it is not", he argued, still smiling. "I said that I will drop from the Centre's radar, emphasis lying on 'The Centre's'. I won't disappear from your radar."
"We won't see each other, right?" She asked.
Jarod grinned. "At least not often but that's nothing new, now is it?"
She shook her head slowly, making Jarod's grin widen. "No, we won't see each other much but there will be phone calls. And maybe, someday, the Centre will lose interest in your service and you can go", he said.
"Maybe, one day you can leave without being afraid of the Centre's wrath and then…", he clarified and then paused. "Then there isn't anything keeping us from seeing each other again. I will wait for that day to come."
Parker blinked. She hadn't thought about such a possibility but maybe Jarod was right. With the prized pretender missing in their cabinet for ever, the Centre would slowly loose influence and perhaps then she could quit without them threatening her life. Maybe there was a possibility to get out of the Centre, to have a life after the Centre.
She finally nodded. "Yeah, maybe you are right. Maybe there is still a chance for me to get out of there, now that my assignment is gone."
Jarod smiled reassuringly at her. "Yes, the chance is there. There is a life without the Centre, Parker."
She nodded a little more convinced. "Then we will have to wait for that day to come."
Jarod smiled. "Yes, and until then", he fingered in his breast pocket and produced a piece of paper. "Until then, we can still keep contact." He gave her the sheet of paper.
Parker looked at it and smiled. It was a number. She looked up questioningly.
"Yes, it is. You can reach me under that number whenever you want", Jarod said, his smile widening.
Parker looked at him a wide smile on her face and wiggled her eyebrows.
Jarod raised a finger at her. "Well, screw that, not every time you want. I would prefer if you don't call in the middle of the night", he chuckled.
Parker joined his soft laughter. The tension and fear had completely vanished. The sheet of paper with the phone number on it was what had shooed it away at last. Jarod had indeed thrown away his anxiety and mistrust and given her the phone number. He had forgiven her and again placed his trust in her.
Jarod spent the rest of the evening and part of the night with Parker. They talked for a long time and strengthened their friendship.
When Jarod finally left, it was as if they had never been ripped apart by the Centre and thrust on different sides of the game.
They parted with a promise for the future, a promise that they would keep in contact and that one day the Centre would be out of their lives.
And maybe there was even more to the promise than they both dared to speak out in that moment.
Hey people. That was it! This story is finished.
Ok, I confess, I have a sequel already waiting for you but it will be a one-chapter-piece. Await it to be up and running in about a week; maybe before.
I got several reviews, asking if/when Jarod and Parker would join forces and go against the Centre. I thought about developing the story into that direction but I decided against it. There will be no war against the Centre started by Parker and/or Jarod. Sorry but that's just not the way it goes. I hope that you liked the ride nonetheless.
I want to thank all of you who supported me during this story by sending reviews and telling me that I was doing fine. You are great guys!
And even though I seemed to have lost Grace somewhere along the way, I'm really grateful. She was the one that made this story possible in the first place. Without her, it would have been a one-chapter story and stayed that way forever. If you are still out there, somewhere and reading this Grace… Thank you!