England's Rose

Chapter Four: Never Again

Never in all of her life would one night pass as slowly as that one night did. Alone and afraid in her temporary cell, Sheila let go of her proud inhibitions and her cool calm attitude and truly wept, out of both fear and anger at how badly her brother had betrayed her. Though she had never cared for making ties with people, she had given out her trust to Jeremy, something she rarely did so wholeheartedly. He had burned her, and she would not forget it. Nor would she forgive...and nor would she find it so easy to trust again.
"Never again." she muttered to herself as she hit her hands against the bars in frustration. "Never! Noone is going to take advantage of me again, I swear...from now on Sheila Burns looks out for number one and number one alone!"
"Miss Burns?"
Her vows were interrupted at that moment by a fresh voice, and she glanced up, for once not caring that her makeup was streaky and her hair unkempt. All she wanted was some kind of assurance that the night of hell was over and that she could finally leave her prison.
The officer's voice gave away nothing as he opened the cell, instructing her to accompany him to the main desk. At first fearful and her will to fight broken by her troubled night, Sheila did as she was bidden.
But as soon as she reached her destination, her fears began to fade, replaced as they were by utter relief as she registered the one person she still held out any faint trust in.
"Laura!" she exclaimed.
"Sheila...what 'ave you gotten yourself into this time?" Laura hurried to hug her friend, aware that the other girl needed reassuring. "That no good brother of yours..."
"I...can I go? Can...can I leave?" Sheila turned plaintive eyes on her jailer, who nodded.
"Come with me to collect your personal items, Miss, and then you are free to go." he agreed. "Miss Cunningham has provided you with a full and comprehensive alibi for the night of the crime, and has also cited another possible witness who can back up her story, a delivery boy."
"Pizza." Sheila breathed. "Oh, I forgot..."
"Come on." Her arm protectively around her friend's shoulders, Laura led the dazed girl to collect her belongings. "Let's get you out of this place, huh? If I'd have known last night I'd 'ave driven down to sort you out then!"
"I can't believe 'e'd do this to me." Sheila's voice was numb. "Me own brother, Laura. If you can't trust in blood then who can you trust?"
"You can trust me." Laura said firmly. "'Ere, got everything? Car's outside. I'm takin' you back to my place - a day with your folks is the last thing you need with Jeremy in the lock-up and everything else."
"Sounds good to me." Sheila ran her hands through her messy hair with a sigh. "I'm so tired, Laura...I didn't sleep a wink."
"I'm not surprised. You must have been freaked." Laura unlocked the car, pushing her friend into the passenger seat. "You can take a kip back at my place and then you'll feel better. I'll make you some tea and you can relax. It's over now."
"Yeah, I guess so." Sheila pulled her compact from her bag, examining her reflection then shutting it with a snap.
She frowned.
"I can't believe I actually walked out of there lookin' as much of a mess as this." she muttered. Laura smiled.
"You're starting to sound better already." She observed. "Jeremy's a creep and you know I've always thought so, but he's away from you now and he'll probably get good time for this."
"He'd blinkin' well better." Sheila's eyes narrowed and she clenched her fist. "I 'ate 'im, Laura. I swear I've never 'ated anyone as much as I do 'im right now."
"And I can't say I blame you." Laura replied. "Here we are...safe and sound." Then, "Hey, Sheila, don't cry! It's not worth it, and nor is he!" As with some consternation she registered the fact her friend was crying.
"I can't 'elp it." Sheila lifted her hand to dash them away. "I'm so tired I can barely see straight, Laura."
"Come on, then." Laura realised that the tears were as much pure fatigue as they were trauma, and wisely did not push her friend's emotions any further, instead leading the way into the house, where Sheila dropped down with some relief on the sofa.
"I honestly thought I'd 'ad it this time." she admitted. "Ironic, really, to be put away for somethin' you didn't do, when it's so easy to get away with the things you do."
"You don't break the law, Sheila. Only bend it on occasion." Laura sat down beside her. "Look, I know you've had an 'orrible night, love, and you probably don't want to talk about any of it just yet, but if or when you do, you can tell me. Whatever Jeremy or anyone else does to you, you can always always come to me...I won't let you down."
This was too much for Sheila's delicate composure and she let the tears fall in earnest, allowing herself to be comforted as though she were still a small child in her grandfather's lap. She had grown up strong and independant, but inside of her her sensitivity had never been totally quelled, and betrayal cut through her like a knife. Once she had run out of tears to cry, Laura carefully got to her feet, gently telling her friend once more that things would work out in the end, and then heading into the kitchen to make a pot of tea. By the time she returned to the lounge, however, Sheila was fast asleep, her exhaustion having taken over from her fears. She looked peaceful, but the tears were still wet on her lashes and Laura frowned to see them. Sheila did not cry over little things, in order to let her guard down like this she knew things had to have hurt her friend badly.
"But I won't let 'er down." she mused to herself as she gently covered the sleeping girl with a blanket. "God only knows she 'as noone else to care now. Those parents of 'ers ain't worthy of that name! No matter what, though, she can always come to me.

Chapter One: Life in London
Chapter Two: The Saxophone
Chapter Three: A Friend In Need
Chapter Four: Never Again...

Chapter Five: Sheila's Decision
Chapter Six: A Band In Crisis
Chapter Seven: First Night
Chapter Eight: Making It Happen

Chapter Nine: The Misfits In London
Chapter Ten: On Every Screen...
Chapter Eleven: A Musical Reunion
Chapter Twelve: Jealousy
Chapter Thirteen: An Old Acquaintance
Chapter Fourteen: Doing London
Chapter Fifteen: Sabotage!
Chapter Sixteen: The Final Straw
Chapter Seventeen: Opening Night
Chapter Eighteen: Jetta

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