Chapter Fourteen: Saffron's Advice

"It's been twenty-four hours and she 'asn't said a word to me, Saffron."
Shawn sighed, dropping down into a chair and sending his new friend a doleful look. "I jus' know Eboni's got to 'er and told 'er everything...and I guess I can't blame 'er. I treated 'er abominably, when I think about it...I guess I deserve it."
"People need a chance to be allowed to change." Saffron said gently. "But you should've been honest to Kimber when you first got involved with her. It wasn't fair to keep something like this a secret." She spread her hands. "I must say I'm not charmed by Eboni."
Shawn frowned.
"I wish I'd never met her." He admitted. "What am I goin' to do, Saffron? I love Kimber more than anyone I ever met...but if Eboni won't give me my freedom - and why in 'ell should she? - what chance to I 'ave in convincing Kimber of my good intentions toward 'er?"
Saffron looked thoughtful.
"I don't know that you can, not right away." She said finally. "I think what you need to do is talk to Eboni, one on one, and see if you can't talk her into giving you a divorce. Then you can work on the Kimber situation." She sighed. "I have to admit that you've disappointed me. As a woman who's experienced marriage to someone who likes playing the field and drinking more than his share, I don't like to think of you being that kind of person."
"I 'ope I ain't any more." Shawn replied. "I no longer drink, Saffron, and I'm far more careful about what and who I spend time around. I'm a better man for it - I've grown up a lot. But it doesn't undo the sins of the past." He sighed again. "Thank the lord there were never children...I don't know 'ow I'd 'andle that as an extra twist."
"Being a single mother is no picnic." Saffron said gravely. "I'm glad too that that wasn't the outcome of your marriage."
Shawn shot his companion a sharp look.
"You sound like you know." He observed. Saffron shrugged.
"Maybe I do." She agreed. "But right now I'm not your concern...look."
"Oh, brother." Shawn glanced up, frowning as he recognised his wife coming towards him. "Gimme strength, Saffron. I don't 'ave an idea in my 'ead what to say to 'er."
"I should leave you to it." Saffron got up to leave, but Shawn reached out a hand to stop her.
"No. Stay. I might need your support." He begged. Saffron sighed, but obediently sat back down, nodding her head.
"Okay." She agreed. "Go on."
"Shawn, can I talk to you?" Eboni's composure seemed absolute, though there was a tiny tremor in her voice and Saffron thought that she could see a glimmer of uncertainty in the other girl's eyes. Shawn hesitated, then nodded.
"I suppose we must." He agreed. "Somewhere things 'ave to be settled, Eboni." He paused. "Are you thinkin' straight today?"
"If you mean am I sober, then yes, I am." Eboni agreed. "Ellie and I have had a long talk, Shawn...and if you want a divorce, then you can have one."
"What?" Shawn stared. "But..."
"She made me realise that all I'm doing by staying married to you is letting another man abuse me." Eboni said frankly, taking a seat and casting Saffron a doubtful glance. "But maybe we should be alone to talk about this..."
"I'll go." Saffron took the hint, inwardly glad. "I hope you sort it out...I have to go talk to Shana about costume, anyway."
"That's better." Eboni's green eyes became uncharacteristically grave.
"I still don't understand the sudden change of 'eart." Shawn admitted. "You were dead set against us divorcing - and I know you must've said something to Kimber about it, too. What changed your mind? Not just Danse, surely?"
"No...Kimber herself had a role." Eboni admitted. "I liked her...and I felt sorry for her. The pain I saw in her eyes when I told her the truth...I understood it, Shawn, because I've felt it. I've let my situation near enough ruin my life, and I have a lot of things to deal're one of them." She paused, frowning.
"I don't like you any more than I did yesterday, and I will always loathe you for what you did to me regarding Michel, but two wrongs don't make a right." She said sombrely. "And my mental state needs a break. I can't take the resentment controlling my life any more." She sighed.
"Truth is that I married you because I didn't believe I could do better." She admitted. "You were...well, you know what you were, and I was young and still hurting from what I grew up around. My father was trying his best to get his claws back into me and I was down on my luck in all kinds of ways - you were the only positive thing I had to cling to. In hindsight it wasn't as positive as it seemed."
"You're tellin' me." Shawn sighed. "Eboni, I want to apologise for one thing. The situation with Michel..."
"Don't." Eboni interrupted, holding up her hands. "You can't change it by apologising, and it's too painful to talk about with you."
"I'm sorry all the same." Shawn murmured. "I understand now how you must've felt."
"I still feel it." Eboni corrected him. "Some love is forever, Shawn. At least, it is for us girls."
"That's not fair." Shawn protested. "We're just as capable you know."
"I don't know." Eboni raised a sad smile. "Three months of fidelity before I caught you with that creepy Louise Carpenter. Yes, Shawn, I quite see your point."
There was irony in her tone and Shawn frowned.
"I've learnt." He said softly. "Believe me, Eboni. I 'ave." He paused. "What exactly do you want from me? I mean, if we divorce...what are you gonna do to me?"
"Nothing." Eboni replied. "You've done enough to yourself. But I have debts that need settling, and..."
"Don't worry. You'll get a fair settlement." Shawn assured her. He frowned. "Whether or not Kimber ever speaks to me again, you're right that this is a situation we need to settle. It's time we went our seperate ways an' made somethin' independant of our lives, without worryin' about the shackles we put ourselves under so young."
"Yes." Eboni nodded. She stood.
"I'll leave the rest to you." she said quietly. "I'll trust you to make the be honest, Shawn, I'm not well enough in general to cope with chasing up lawyers. You want this divorce, I hope you'll take responsibility for it."
"I intended to." Shawn agreed. "Thank you, Eboni. I don't deserve it."
"No, you don't." Eboni agreed gravely. "But maybe I do."
With that she was gone, leaving Shawn deep in thought.
Saffron, meanwhile, had run almost straight into Kimber, and one look at the girl's expression prompted her to interfere in the redhead's sadness.
"You look like you need a shoulder to cry on." She observed gently.
Kimber looked startled at the interruption, then she sighed.
"Hi, Saffron." She said. "I dunno. Crying doesn't seem to help anything much."
"You know that he loves you, Kimber."
"How do you know anything about it?"
"I was there when Eboni confronted him." Saffron replied. "Really, Kimber. He does love you, one heck of a lot, and he truly doesn't know how to go on from here. He asked me if I knew how he could begin trying to make things up to you...he doesn't want to lose you."
"He hasn't lost my love." Kimber replied. "The way I feel I don't think he ever will. But the trust, Saffron..."
"Yeah, I know." Saffron sighed. "I think I'm probably hampered in giving advice, too, because I've only known him this past week. You know him better than I do."
"Do I? I don't know that I do." Kimber sighed. "I don't know him in the way Eboni does, or the way Pizzazz does. I know a different Shawn Harrison - how do I find out which one is the real one? I don't want to make a mistake, Saffron...and either way I choose to go could be one!"
"If you love him, then give it time." Saffron said softly. "He said that he's changed - give him a chance to prove to you that he does love you as much as he says he does. Eboni's agreed to a divorce, so there's something to work for."
"She told me that herself." Kimber smiled slightly. "It's odd, Saffron, but I like her. The more I talk to her the more I realise it's hurting her to tell me anything at all. I...guess I never looked at anything this deep before, but feeling the way I do has made me look at it in a more grown up way."
"That's no bad thing, you know." Saffron told her gently. "I married too young to the wrong kind of man, so Eboni and I have things in common. The difference is that Shawn, from all accounts, has tried his hardest to turn over a new leaf."
"Eboni said herself that she didn't know if he was still like he used to be." Kimber admitted. "She said they'd barely spoken in two years or so."
"Kimber, Eboni is a girl with problems." Saffron said quietly. "She flew at Shawn the other day in a drug induced haze, and from what I've gathered of the kind of lifestyle she and Shawn both belonged to, she's out of control. I'm not sure how much you should take from her."
Kimber frowned.
"She had her heart broken. I know how that feels." She intoned softly. "Saffron, I appreciate your help and your know that I do. But I do like Eboni and...and I kinda want to help her. She...she's getting the divorce for me, you know. Because she doesn't want me to be miserable."
Saffron smiled.
"Well, Danse seems to like her, and from all I've seen of Danse she's sensible enough to make the right choices where friends are concerned." She admitted. "All right, I suppose you know best. Maybe the two of you can help each other, who knows?"
"And Shawn?" Kimber asked.
"Shawn you have to give time." Saffron replied softly. "If you want my advice, Kimber, my honest advice, I'd say break things off with him...for now. Tell him that you love him, but you want proof of his good intentions and trustworthiness before you can put your faith in him again."
"How will he prove that?"
"His divorce will be a good start. You gotta know that it's going to be a very public scandal when it gets out that he's been secretly married all this time...if he's willing to go through that for you then he must love you some, at least."
"I guess so." Kimber agreed. "You know, I'm glad that we did this show, even though I'm not glad about the way my heart feels at the moment. I'd never have met you otherwise, and you give real good advice."
Saffron blushed.
"I'm glad you think so." She said finally. "I'm glad to have met you guys too, Kimber. I only hope I've been of some help."
"You have." Kimber nodded. A hint of her old mischievous smile touched her lips. "And maybe you can be of more help yet. Saffron, how fluent is your French?"
"Not bad." Saffron looked surprised. "Why?"
"Well, I had a thought." Kimber replied. "Something to distract me from Shawn and to help Eboni out at the same time, because even though I shouldn't like her I do. She's been through a lot of things, and I'd like to help make her happy."
"What do you have in mind?" Saffron asked.
"Well, when we were talking, she mentioned this French guy called Michel Chabou - I think he's some kind of stage technician." Kimber explained. "I thought that you might know someone who knew him, since you've done shows in Paris that Shawn was also involved in."
Saffron's face cleared.
"I think I understand what you mean." She replied. "I'll see what I can do."

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)