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The usual disclaimers apply.  I own nothing, just borrowing the characters for a bit...

Allegiance - Chapter Three

       Miss Parker walked briskly into the lab.  Sydney looked up from his desk and smiled.  “Welcome back,” he said warmly.  “How was your trip to Philadelphia?”
       “Fine.  Where’s Broots,” she demanded.
       “Not back from lunch, yet.” the psychiatrist answered.  “Is something wrong?”
       “Lyle and Mr. Raines are up to something,” she said as she began to pace.  “I just came from Lyle’s office.  Seems he’s off on some special project for the Triumvirate.”  She trailed off, shaking her head.
       “What’s so strange about that?” Sydney asked.
       “Nothing,” she looked him square in the eye, “except that they told me about it.”
       “Ummm.  Point taken.”  He rubbed his chin thoughtfully.  “Did they say why?”
       Parker resumed her pacing.  “Something about how, as family we should stick together.  How they’re relying on me to catch Jarod.”  She shook her head.  “No, they are definitely up to no good.”
       “Speaking of Jarod, Lyle sent over a report about Indianapolis.”  Sydney was searching his desk for said report, so he missed the fleeting moment of sheer panic on Miss Parker’s face.  She gave herself a mental shake, telling herself to pull it together or she’d never get through the charade her life had become.  It was getting harder and harder to leave Jarod and return to the Centre.  She read the report and managed to discuss it casually.  When Broots finally arrived, she sent him to work trying to discover just what her brother and Uncle were up to.

***

       A week after their rendezvous in Philadelphia, Jarod arranged for her to meet his family.  Shortly after their wedding, Jarod had met with his family and briefed them all about events on the island.  Ethan’s whereabouts were still unknown to each of them, but Major Charles, Emily, and Michael were there.  Jarod’s father wasn’t particularly thrilled with his son’s choice of brides, but he was civil to her.  Michael and Emily, however, gave her a warm welcome, pleased to see their big brother so happy.  Their lunch meeting was over quickly, and Miss Parker returned to the hotel.  Sydney and Broots were still searching the house Jarod had used for his latest pretend.  She’d brought back the red notebook from Jarod’s latest rescue effort.  Neither man had a clue she’d just met with Jarod and his family instead of interviewing people at Jarod’s last job as she’d told them.
       Once back at the Centre life settled back into it’s usual routine.  They tracked Jarod all over, gathering what clues they could.  Lyle returned from South America and resumed his concurrent investigation of Jarod’s whereabouts.  He and Mr. Raines returned to their normal way of dealing with her, which was to keep her out of the loop.  That was just fine with her.  The less contact she had with her biological father and brother, the better she liked it.

***

       A few weeks later, Miss Parker caught the flu bug going around.  With all of the medical advancements the Centre had made through the years, it always surprised her that their offices, like any other in the world, were subject to the spread of colds and flu between co-workers.  Five days later, they were in a plush hotel in New York City.  The flight had been miserable, as she was still feeling nauseated and ill.  Once they’d been through Jarod’s latest lair, Broots stayed with the sweepers to help box everything for transport back to Delaware. 
       Miss Parker liked to think of herself as a pretty intelligent person.  So she was surprised at how utterly shocked she was, when, after throwing up all of her lunch, Sydney asked her if she could possible be pregnant.
      Her dazed confusion was the only answer Syd needed.  They went back to his hotel suite and he handed her the home pregnancy test kit he’d picked up covertly at the hotel store.  Five minutes later she stood gaping at the double lined indicator on the stick. 
       Positive. 
       “Congratulations, Miss Parker” he said tentatively.
       She looked at him then, “Yeah.”  She then turned her attention back to the little stick.  How had this happened?  Of course, she knew HOW it had happened, but they’d been so careful!  How was she going to break the news to Jarod?
       After a half-hour had passed she finally made her way out of the bathroom.  Sydney was typing notes into his laptop on the coffee table.  He looked up when she entered the room.  “Miss Parker, are you going to be all right?”
       “Yeah.” she nodded.  “Of course I am.”  She crossed the room to where he was sitting on the sofa.    “Sydney, you can’t tell anyone about this.  I don’t want Lyle or Mr. Raines or even Broots to know.”
       “All right.  You won’t be able to keep it a secret for long though.” he pointed out logically.
       “I know.  I just need some time to think.”
       He reached out to touch her hand that she had clenched in a tight fist.  “Miss Parker, are you thinking about not having the baby?”
       Her head darted up and she stared at him.  “Of course not.  I’m keeping the baby.”
       Relieved, he then asked cautiously, “Do you want to tell the father.  He has a right to know.”
       The weight of her predicament weighing heavily on her shoulders, Miss Parker longed to confide in him.  But she and Jarod had made a decision not to trust anyone from the Centre.  She winced and pulled her hand back.  “Hate to break it to you, Syd, but I don’t even know his name,” she replied flippantly.
       She could tell he was disappointed.  She knew, too, he probably believed she’d been with several men on one-night stands and hadn’t bothered to learn their identities.  Fine, let him believe the worst of her, she thought. 
       It would be safer for everyone.

***

       Jarod crept quietly into Miss Parker’s bedroom.  He loved her house here in Blue Cove.  This wasn’t the first time he had sneaked in to spend the night since they’d been married.  It was actually the third.  And he was sure it would not be the last.  It was, however, the first time they’d planned it in advance.  Usually, he only came if he could find the time and was reasonably sure he wouldn’t get caught. 
         She was waiting, curled up on the easy chair.  She smiled; relief that he’d made it safely evident in her face.  She met him halfway and they embraced, kissing ardently.  When he swept her up in his arms and moved toward the bed she tensed.  “We have to talk first,” she said forlornly. 
       “What’s wrong?” he asked, panicked.
       “Nothing’s wrong.  She guided his hand to her still flat abdomen and said simply, “We’re having a baby.”  Her voice was full of wonder and panic all at the same time.
       Jarod stared deep into her eyes and smiled wistfully.  “A baby?  That’s what you couldn’t tell me on the phone?”
      She nodded, biting her lower lip. 
       “Well, this is good news. Right?”  She nodded.  His voice turned stern, “But it means you have to leave the Centre.  I mean it.  I want you safe.”
       Parker sighed.  “I know.  Can we talk about it later?”  She was too keyed up to argue with him. 
       He nodded and set her gently on the bed.

***

       In the wee hours of the morning, before he left, they had a long heart to heart.  They reluctantly decided she should stay a few more months and try to find her mother’s DSA.  She made him promise to call more often so that she could keep him updated.  He made her memorize his father’s secure email address in case of an emergency.  Leaving was one of the hardest things he’d ever done.  Still, he had no choice but to go.  If she couldn’t find the DSA they’d be on the run from the Centre. 
       Running was not the life he wanted for her. 
       Running was not the life he wanted for their child.

***

       Miss Parker sat on the floor next to Angelo in his room.  The walls were painted bright white and, of course, there were no windows.  The fact that the room was located on SL-9 had less to do with that fact, than the reality the room was, in truth, a prison cell. 
       Angelo was pawing through the items Miss Parker had brought with her.  The miniature computerized appointment calendar and jacket both belonged to her brother, Lyle.  Angelo squirmed his head back and forth and muttered “Lin Chu, Lin Chu” several times.  Then he dropped both items on to the floor and grabbed Miss Parker’s hands.  “Can’t save her!”
       Sensing how upset he’d become, she pulled one hand free to sooth his brow.  “It’s okay, Timmy.  It’s okay.”  The voices in her head were screaming causing a raging headache and the childhood name just slipped out. 
       She closed her eyes and took several deep breaths.  Concentrating on her mother’s voice, she was finally able to tune out the others.  When she opened her eyes, Angelo was looking at her strangely.  Miss Parker smiled.  Taking his hand in hers, she gently placed it over her abdomen.  “It’s going to be okay, Angelo.”  The angle at which they were they seated blocked the camera’s view below their shoulders, so Miss Parker did not fear visual detection. 
       Angelo became very somber for a moment, and then his face lit up.  He smiled, but remained silent.

***

       A week later Broots found the obituary for Lin Chu Seng.  Her body had been discovered in a hotel room in Massachusetts.  They had no proof, of course, that Mr. Lyle had even been in Massachusetts, but Miss Parker knew her brother was responsible for the young woman’s death.  She wondered how he’d found the time during his special Triumvirate project.  She sighed audibly in frustration.  They were still no closer to discovering what that special project was. 
 
 

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The Pretender is the property of 20th Century Fox Television, MTM Entertainment, Mitchell/VanSickle Productions, and NBC Studuios.  It aired on NBC, with repeats and original movies on TNT.

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