A Model's Tale

Chapter One: Meredith

"Well, have you girls got everything?"
Meredith Allen glanced at the small girls that stood before her, a frown on her face as she took in their sad expressions. "Your aunt will be here any minute and I don't want to send you out only to find you've forgotten your toothbrushes or something!"
Cerise, the older of the twins pouted.
"We're all ready, Mommy. We're not babies any more." She protested. Her sister Katya nodded her head.
"Yeah. We've got everything." She agreed. She frowned. "Mommy, why do you have to work? It's summer vacation and everyone else is goin' away!"
"I know, and I'm sorry." Meredith sighed, kneeling to hug the two girls tightly. "But this is my career and without it you both know we'd not have food to eat or a place to live. I don't like it any more than you do but we all have to be brave. It's only for a week, after all. I can't let you roam the house on your own while I'm working crazy hours and you know you'll have a good time on the ranch with Auntie Anne-Marie and the rest."
"Maybe." Katya, often more clingy than her twin considered this, a sorrowful expression on her face. "But it'd be more fun if you were there, Mommy. We jus' learned to ride last time, an' we could all go out together for a picnic with the horses..."
"Katya, sweetie, much as I'd love to come, you know that I can't." Meredith interrupted her gently. "I have to be at the studio in less than an hour, and this show is a really big deal. You know it's going to be on national television...do you both promise you'll watch me and bring me luck?"
"If Auntie Anne-Marie says we can." Cerise nodded immediately, her curly bunches bobbing as she did so. "You gonna be wearing pretty stuff?"
"I sure hope so. I haven't seen the outfits yet." Meredith laughed. "And there's the door. Run and get your satchels from the lounge while I let your aunt in, okay?"
"Yes, Mommy!" The two girls agreed, and hand in hand they hurried off in the direction of the lounge. Meredith watched them go with a sigh, then headed slowly to the front door. This was the hardest part of the job, not being able to spend time with her girls when and where she wanted to. But there was noone else to pay the bills.
Meredith was a model, these days a successful one, with a growing reputation in the industry for both her beauty and her professional attitude to the job. She was amiable and easy to work with - one of the secrets of her success - and these days her income was a comfortable one. It hadn't always been that way.
Raised as the youngest of a large family where money had been tight, Meredith had quickly learnt to do without. A bright girl she had graduated high school with a good diploma and had enrolled in university in her home state of California, meaning to get her qualifications and advance up both the social and the academic ladder.
Things had changed, however, when she had met a young man by the name of Ryan Wells. Captivated by his charm she had allowed herself to be coerced into dropping out of college, and they had married when she had been barely nineteen. Within a year he had left her for another woman, leaving behind him two baby girls, Katya and Cerise as his only legacy. For a while life had been tough and Meredith had struggled by on state welfare and help from those of her elder siblings who were not still infuriated at her for wasting her abilities and marrying Ryan. Her parents had died in an accident not long after her High School graduation, so she had not even had that comfort to turn to. But then, when the twins had been two, she had been spotted by a talent scout as a potential model and that had been the start. Over the last three years she had fought to get to the top, through as many bad days as good ones, and now she knew she was almost there. At twenty-five, with two small girls of almost six who both adored her, Meredith's life was finally coming together.
She had long since adopted the name 'Saffron' for her professional work, preferring to keep her business and private lives as seperate as possible, but these days they were overlapping more and more. Now she was to model in a television rock fashion spectacular, and it would mean long and unpredictable hours once more. Much as she loved the spotlight, it was a hard row to hoe when her girls were beginning their summer break after their first ever year of school.
"Thank God for Anne-Marie." She murmured to herself as she undid the latch. "I don't know what we'd do without her!"
"Hey there!" Her sister shot her a grin as she swung open the door. "The monsters ready to go?"
"They tell me so." Saffron nodded her head. "And I guess that's gotta be good enough. Thanks for this, Anne. I don't know how I can repay you for all you've done for us."
"We're sisters, you know you don't need to repay me." Anne-Marie shrugged. "In any case, we like having them. You hand them over to me and get across to that studio before they start to think you've gone AWOL on them, all right? We're all looking forward to seein' you on T.V come the big night!"
"All right." Saffron smiled, then hugged her sister tightly. "You're my guardian angel, I swear it. If I can ever help you then just let me know because I will, all right?"
"Okay." Anne-Marie grinned. "I'll take it as read. And here they are!" As the twins entered the hallway at that moment. "Why, hello there, girls! You all ready to go horse-ridin'?"
"I wish Mommy was comin'." Katya shot her mother a sorrowful look which made Saffron bite her lip.
"Your Mom will call you tonight, I'm sure,and tell you all the exciting things that have happened. Then you can tell her all about your day, too." Anne-Marie picked Katya up, hoisting her up onto her shoulders. "You okay, Cerise? Lookin' forward to Texas?"
"Yeah, I like the horses." Cerise agreed. "Bye bye, Mommy. Don't forget to tell us everything, okay?"
"Every little bit." Saffron promised.
"Are you really gonna meet Jem and the Holograms?" Katya asked her, wide eyed. Saffron nodded.
"Since Shana Elmsford is one of the designers whose work I'm gonna be modelling, I'd say yeah, it's almost a certainty." she agreed. "Oh, Kitty-Kat, don't look so despondant! You know I'm going to miss you both like anything! Now you be good for your aunt and I'll see if I can arrange a treat for you both as a reward. Is it a deal?"
"Deal." Cerise held out her hand solemnly to seal the pact and Saffron took it in hers, shaking it firmly.
"There, now it's a proper promise." She said with a laugh. "Now, I have to go and so do you...I'll talk to you both tonight, right? And no tears, Kat, please...you'll have me going too and I'll make a fine model with mascara streaming down my cheeks!"
This made the unhappy Katya giggle and the final goodbyes were said before Saffron locked up her home, slipping into the driving seat of her car. She always hated it when the twins were away, however hard work they could be. But with any luck there would be plenty to do at the studio and it would take her mind off things. She hoped so.
This was, she knew, a contract too important to let pass her by. Television coverage meant extra publicity, and publicity these days was her bread and butter. The more people who saw her face the better. And modelling Shana Elmsford's designs couldn't be anything but a positive move. She was not into Jem and the Holograms' music in the same way as her youngsters were, but she loved their outfits and had been impressed by all she had heard about the young performer-designer. Normally Shana designed outfits solely for her own band and their performances, but since she had teamed up with a young girl from Martinique, Regine Cesare, she had begun to look upon it more and more with a view to a commercial venture. She was new in the business of fashion, but her reputation already spoke for itself and someone with a professional eye for style like Saffron was already a definite admirer.
She was sketchy still about the format of the show, only that it was being produced within what seemed to be a hopelessly short space of time. As she understood it, it was a fashion show with a rock and roll theme, with various acts performing live and various designers exhibiting their latest showbiz style. There were a couple of other big name models besides herself - Lilianne Courtes, whom she had worked with before on stints in Paris and Brussels, and Chantal Blake, a girl with perfect good looks and a decidedly arrogant temperament. There were also lesser models, young hopefuls dreaming of their big break. But Saffron had never socialised much in the modelling world. For her it was her career and her life was something very separate. In Saffron's world, Cerise and Katya came first and all else a distant second.
Still, as she pulled into the parking lot of the big television studio where rehearsals and preperations were beginning, she knew it was time to leave that world behind.
It was time to be Saffron again.

Chapter One: Meredith
Chapter Two: On Set
Chapter Three: The Misfits
Chapter Four: Old Rivals
Chapter Five: Kimber
Chapter Six: Saffron's Story
Chapter Seven: Enter The Dancers
Chapter Eight: Blast From The Past
Chapter Nine: Kimber and Eboni
Chapter Ten: Visit From The Backers
Chapter Eleven: Chimera's Secret
Chapter Twelve: Danse Takes A Hand
Chapter Thirteen: Decisions
Chapter Fourteen: Saffron's Advice
Chapter Fifteen: Closure


(The Misfits and Holograms and other animated Jem characters are copyrighted to Hasbro Inc. Eboni, Saffron, Chimera, Sakura and all other characters who do not appear in Jem episodes are my own creation. This story is copyrighted to E.A Woolley (2001)