Disclaimer: Craig W. Van Sickle, Steven Long Mitchell, and the grand high Mucky Mucks of Fox own The Pretender. I am making no money from this and no copyright infringement is intended. Any similarity to any other story not my own is coincidence.
"Collide;" Howie Day
Summary: This is a PWP? drabble about JMP. Jared visits Miss Parker and reminds her of the past.
Rating: At least PG-13 if not R; rated for strong non-graphic sexual situations.
Timeline: Sometime after the movies? No real spoilers per-se.
Author's Notes: This little drabble came about because my other fic seems to have stalled and I've been watching The Pretender on DVD. This one is very AU but hopefully not OC. I did stray from canon by suggesting that Jared and Miss Parker had a relationship as teenagers. I also have never seen mention of Miss Parker's name at all, so I simply chose a name that seemed to suit as it made sense for the story. And I understand that it is canon to not mention her name, but as I said, it made sense for the story.
The dawn is breaking…A light shining through…You're barely waking…And I'm tangled up in you…
When I'm open, you're closed…Where
I follow, you'll go…I worry I won't see your face
Light up again…
Even the best fall down sometimes…Even the wrong words seem to rhyme…Out of the doubt that fills my mind…I somehow find…You and I collide…
I'm quiet you know…You make a first impression…I've found I'm scared to know I'm always on your mind…
Even the best fall down sometimes…Even the stars refuse to shine…Out of the back you fall in time…I somehow find…You and I collide…
Don't stop here…I lost my place…I'm close behind…
Even the best fall down sometimes…Even the wrong words seem to rhyme…Out of the doubt that fills your mind…You finally find…You and I collide…
You finally find…You and I collide…You finally find…You and I collide…
Miss Parker entered the house carefully, her eyes wary and her gun held ready in a comfortable grip. She scanned the foyer with an almost instinctual ease before moving on to the living room where she was confronted with the evidence of Jared's recent invasion of her home.
Slowly she lowered the gun, certain that the pretender had come and gone, leaving behind only what he had wanted her to see. And when the phone rang it was far from unexpected.
For a moment, Miss Parker considered not answering, but with a small sigh, she finally stalked over to where the phone sat on a elegant end table. The rich scent of roses followed her as her heels crushed the countless petals scattered under her feet.
"What do you want Jared?" She answered the phone curtly, setting the gun down in its place.
"I was just remembering the scent of roses in the rain and a dark haired girl in a garden," Jared's deep voice replied.
"How romantic," Miss Parker sneered.
Jared sighed softly, before he spoke again. "Look at the roses on the mantle piece Miss Parker," he directed.
She did so from where she stood, eyeing the soft pink roses cynically, trying to not notice that Jared had remembered that it had been her favorite color of rose as a girl.
"They're roses Jared," she replied simply.
Miss Parker walked over to the mantle piece and the roses placed there in a simple cut crystal vase. Again, the scent of roses filled the air as her black heels crushed the multi-colored petals scattered across the hardwood floor.
"So," she replied coolly. "Like I said Jared, they're roses. Is that the best you could do? You're slipping Boy-Wonder."
"I said look closely, Miss Parker," Jared answered, his own voice calm, un-phased by his pursuer's crisp replies.
Miss Parker narrowed her winter blue eyes and scanned the long stemmed roses for whatever it was that Jared wanted her to see. It was then that she saw the gleaming gold chain tangled with the thorns.
She settled the phone on her shoulder, tilting her head to hold it in place with her cheek so that she had both hands free. Deftly, she worked the chain loose, hissing sharply as a thorn caught at her finger.
"Careful, Miss Parker, the thorns are sharp," Jared stated the obvious, an almost dark amusement evident in his voice.
She chose to not respond and instead examined the necklace that now gleamed softly in her hand. The links were simple, forming a slender chain, and the pendant was a small pink tinged rose. Miss Parker turned the pendant over and found the inexpertly etched initials that she knew would be there.
"What do you want, Jared?" She asked again, her finger unconsciously tracing the 'J & EP' etched on the back of the rose pendant.
"Like I said Miss Parker, I was just remembering the scent of roses in the rain and a dark haired girl in a garden giving a boy her necklace."
"That was a lifetime ago, Jared," she replied, before she could stop herself.
"Our lifetime, Miss Parker."
Miss Parker held back a weary sigh and walked over to the couch, still holding the necklace in her hand. She kicked off her stylish, but uncomfortable heels and tucked her feet up close.
"I can't believe you kept this," she said finally.
"You wanted me to remember," Jared responded. "And I wanted to remember the girl in the garden," he added after a moment.
"I forgot," she responded coolly. "The minute I was away from The Centre and in boarding school, I put it all out of my mind."
"We both know that that's not true, Miss Parker," Jared chided.
"What do you want, Jared?" She asked a third time, as if it really was the charm.
"I want you to remember," he answered.
Miss Parker was silent, her breathing the only thing letting Jared know that she was still on the other end of the line.
"And what if I don't want to remember, Jared? What if I want to forget rose gardens, and rain, and…and everything?" Miss Parker responded after several moments of heavy silence. "I'm not sixteen anymore, Jared. I'm not the silly, hopeless girl in the garden, no matter how many rose petals you scatter on my floor. I don't want to remember yesterday."
"Then tell me what you do want, Miss Parker."
She was silent, and without answering, she hung up the phone. She twisted the necklace in her hands, trying to not think about when she was sixteen and sneaking into The Centre's rose garden with Jared.
"Oh God, get a grip Parker," she chastised herself, rising from the couch and heading back in the direction of the stairs.
The knock at the door stopped her. As with the phone, she toyed with the idea of not answering before finally walking slowly to the door.
She was unsurprised to see Jared standing on the other side of the door as she opened it. He wore his customary black; black jeans, black silk shirt, and black leather jacket.
"What do you want, Miss Parker?" He asked, as if she hadn't hung up the phone on him. His autumn brown eyes caught at her own winter blue ones, intense in their focus.
For moment, they were frozen as they were, staring each other down from opposite sides of the doorway. Then she reached out impulsively, grabbing the open fabric of his jacket and pulling him to her. For a moment more, she hesitated, suddenly unsure, her eyes searching for something in his. Then she was kissing him, pulling him inside the house as Jared shut the door behind himself.
The scent of roses surrounded them as they walked over the scattered petals, jackets and clothes falling to the floor to join the remains of the flowers until Jared and Miss Parker finally sank to the floor themselves.
She reached for Jared, but he stopped her, holding her hands firmly in his own. His expression was intense as he sought her eyes. "You didn't answer my question, Miss Parker."
"Jared," she said, exasperated, trying to free her hands.
The pretender held her hands firmly though, not flinching as she glared at him. She twisted her hands and the golden chain that had been tangled in her fingers fell free and landed with a small clinking sound on the floor next to their knees.
"Jared," she said again, her voice low, almost a growl.
"Answer the question, Miss Parker."
With a sound very much like a snarl, she answered him by finally pulling free of his grip and rising to her feet, backing away a few steps and facing the man before her with a fierce expression.
Jared reached for the fallen necklace and rose himself. Quietly, he spoke. "I remember a dark haired girl in the rain. I remember you." He took a step forward, and another, until he was close enough that if she wanted to, Miss Parker could reach for him.
"What do you want?" He asked again, intently and persistently.
Miss Parker stared at Jared, her eyes drawn to his lips as she remembered the feel of them against hers. She took a deep breath before she again looked him in the eye.
"I want to remember you," she finally answered. And this time, it was Jared that reached for her, his hands gentle as he pulled Miss Parker to him and his lips warm as they sought hers. When they finally parted, breathless, Jared slipped the necklace around her neck, clasping it gently in place before letting his hands slide down her arms.
Miss Parker shivered and sighed, tilting her head back as Jared nuzzled at her neck. And for a moment, she was overwhelmed with sense memory, her body remembering Jared, welcoming him back after so long away.
Her hands tangled in his dark hair as he relearned her body, his memory of the girl that he had known blending and entangling with the reality of the woman that she had become.
"Lizabeth," he murmured.
At the sound of her name, Miss Parker looked into Jared's eyes, almost black with desire.
"It is your name," he replied, his eyes glinting, amused.
She smirked lightly in response. "I haven't been Elizabeth for a long time. I'm not even sure I know who she is anymore."
"Lizabeth," Jared breathed against her neck, making her shiver. "Is the soft skin here," he murmured, kissing her pulse point. "And here," he continued, finding the sensitive spot right behind her ear.
"She's a dangerous curve," he whispered, tracing his hand along her side and down to her hip until she shivered in response. "And the heat of a fire," he continued as he nibbled lightly at her lips. "With eyes so blue that a man could easily find himself drowning and not care that he was," he murmured, kissing first one eyelid, then another.
"Elizabeth is a singular truth and mystery that has yet to be understood, but always to be sought after and desired," Jared said, his voice low and rough, rich with emotion.
Suddenly, she laughed. "Oh that's good Boy-Wonder. Does that work with all the women?"
He met her eyes. "There's only you," he said before he kissed her, his lips warm against hers. "Just you," he breathed, kissing her again, as if she were his very life. "Always you," he insisted, his expression intense and honest.
"Oh," she breathed, for once left speechless, without a sarcastic comeback ready to hide behind. "Oh."
"Oh," she said again in a gasp as Jared kissed her breathless before lifting her up and carrying her upstairs…
Jared half woke to find himself pleasantly tangled up with Miss Parker and the white silk sheets of her bed. The mellow light of a summer morning filtered through open window as it chased the soft breeze that gently stirred the curtains. It painted golden shadows across the delicate curves of the woman next to him, and finally coaxed Jared from sleep.
He propped himself up on one elbow and considered the revelation and mystery that was this woman who was so entangled in his life. She was the innocent girl that had befriended him as a child and provided him with a light in the darkness of The Centre. But she was also the woman who had done her best to hunt him down and return him to that darkness. She had given him his first chaste kiss and fumbled with him through the first throes of adolescent passion. But she was also the one that had sent sweepers after him and chased him mercilessly from the few moments of happiness that he had been allowed. And in the end, she was as much a fugitive of The Centre as Jared was.
As the pretender watched her sleep, he realized too that the horrors of The Centre no more left Miss Parker than they did himself. She cried softly in her sleep, reaching for him, curling herself tighter around him. He shifted slightly so that he could trail light fingertips across her cheek, gathering her tears as she finally stilled under his touch.
"You need to go," she said quietly, her eyes still closed as she burrowed futher into his embrace, her voice husky from sleep.
He nodded quietly in response, feeling the soft tendrils of her hair tickle his cheek before he slipped out of her arms. Unselfconsciously, he rose from the bed as he was, and made his way back downstairs.
Miss Parker followed, drawing a red silk robe around herself, her footsteps quiet as she trailed quietly after him. She stood at the foot of the stairs and watched him dress, her eyes following his movements as if to capture the moment in case it never came again.
It wasn't until Jared stood before her that she finally broke her silence.
"To remember me," she said quietly, echoing her words from the past as she slipped the necklace loose and placed it in Jared's hand.
Jared closed his hand over the gold chain and its rose pendant as he gave Miss Parker an amused and confident grin. He leaned close and whispered into her ear, "You forget; we're like the breath of stars, 'Lizabeth."
He risked a last kiss before stepping back.
"We can't help but collide," he said, his deep voice full of promise.
Elizabeth Parker watched Jared walk out her front door and into the soft rain and light of a summer morning.
"That I remember,' she whispered…