Chapter Fourteen: A Phone Call
"I can't believe we're off to Paris." Sylva bounced excitedly from foot
to foot, glancing up at the big departures board. "Can you guys? Paris! Central
city of chic!"
"Watch out, France, Syl's on the way." Nancy grinned.
"It is exciting though." Topaz decided. "And after all that hype in the UK we made a chart position of number 20...Jetta says that's okay for a debut and the song is still selling, so we might go up a notch or two yet. Either way, it means we'll have to come back."
"Which is great by me." Nancy observed.
"Think we'll have any luck on the continent?" Copper wondered. Sylva nodded.
"We will." She said decidedly. "They'll know style when they see it."
"Ever the optimist, that's our Syl." Topaz grinned.
"Did you speak to Cameron before we left?" Copper asked. Topaz nodded.
"Yes." She agreed. "He wished me...well, all of us a lot of luck on the continent and he said he'd email me when I was back in LA. It was nice seeing him." She sighed wistfully. "I wish he could've come to see us off today, but he already cut one day of classes for me and anyhow, Jetta made it clear she didnt want some emotional airport scene, which I think we all know it would be." She shrugged, getting a grip on herself. "Anyhow, I also spoke to Sadie. She's got in touch with someone who teaches guitar at a reasonable rate somewhere in the Birmingham area...apparently you gave her the impetus to do it, Nance."
"She has big potential to be a great guitarist one day." Nancy said with a smile. "She obviously inherited it from her mother, if she was a folk singer."
"It's sad in some ways she's lost that bond." Copper said thoughtfully. "But I think you're right, Nance. And it was sweet of you to encourage her...I got the feeling she needed it."
"She's sweet...but so unsure of her own ability." Topaz nodded. "Syl, what did you make of her?"
"I liked her." Sylva nodded. "And I meant what I said when I told her a friend of yours is a friend of ours, too. But if she's gonna play guitar good she's gonna have to get over her shyness."
"Well, I'm not sure she's shy so much as wary." Topaz looked thoughtful. "I get the feeling she's been hurt a lot in the past. Still, I said I wanted us to be friends and I meant it...I told her I'd email her as soon as we got home, and that she was welcome to email me any time. Who knows, perhaps next time we're in England we'll see her again."
Several miles away, in her Birmingham flat, Sadie too was thinking about
her encounter with Jewel. She had surprised both herself and Alyssa, when
she had shared the news, by fishing out her old guitar and arranging lessons.
But she was also proud of herself, too.
"Mum told me I shouldn't give up, and I know I give up on things too easily." She mused, as she cast a glance at the instrument propped up against the back of her couch. "But Nancy said I was good...and she should know, I s'pose." A wistful smile touched her face. "They were so nice...I just wish they didn't live so far away. I need more friends like that to get me doing stuff again."
A tiny frown touched her expression as she considered her past.
"Would they still like me though, if they knew where I've been and what I've done?" She wondered, biting her lip. "Would they have been so open and kind to me then?" She sighed. "Well, let's hope they never need to know that part of Sadie Monahue. I'm a new girl now, I have a life and friends and a nice job...things are good now. Things are moving forwards."
She sank down into an armchair, lighting a cigarette and reaching for the television handset, flicking idly through the channels as she looked for something to watch. Even though her encounter with Jewel had bolstered her confidence, something still nagged at the back of her mind.
"I suppose he could've just been trying to scare me." She mused, exhaling a cloud of smoke and tapping ash absently into the nearby ashtray. Then she frowned, shaking her head. "No, Sadie, don't turn on your old friends like that. Shock came down here to warn you and he meant it in good faith because that's how he is. That's why he and Amber are so right together, they both deal with things straight down the line." She shivered involuntarily. "I wish Amber were here now...I could always go to her if I was scared."
"Well, I'm a big girl now, I need to stand on my own two feet." She decided. "I have too much going on in my life to worry about someone from the past. It's like they told me when I was in rehab, it's a new beginning. I've spent the last two years rebuilding Sadie Monahue and Sadie Monahue's prospects...that's my focus now. Neal can go to hell for all I care...he's nothing to me now."
As she put her cigarette to her lips once more, the phone shrilled out from the kitchen, making her jump and almost causing her to drop the lit tar stick onto the arm of the chair. Cursing, she stubbed it out into the ashtray, moving to answer the call.
As soon as she'd picked up the phone, however, she wished she hadn't bothered. The voice on the other end of the line was soft, smooth and arrogant...and all too familiar.
With a gasp of fear Sadie slammed the receiver back down, breathing hard. No, it couldn't have been...could it? Her mind was just playing tricks, that's all.
She picked the receiver up again, cautiously, and dialled the trace number, waiting with baited breath for the automated voice to recount the number of her caller.
"You were called today at...five twenty six pm. The caller with...held their number." The voice droned, and uttering a frightened curse Sadie let the receiver slip back into the cradle. Fear coursed through her veins. What if it had been? It had sounded like him.
"But he can't have found me! Shock would've called, Shock promised!" She protested, unaware that in her fright she was remonstrating out loud.
The phone began to ring again, and Sadie jumped back from it, staring at it as though it was going to bite her. Heart pumping in her chest, she waited for the whirr of the answer machine to click into action, hearing her own cheerful tones then a pause. For an instant, time seemed to stop. Then,
"Sadie, it's Neal. I know you're there, and you're listening." The voice came again, arrogant and self-assured. "It's been a while, but I haven't forgotten you. Let's meet up...like old times. Call me back, Sadie...I don't like no for an answer."
With one fluid movement Sadie ripped the phone cable from it's socket on the wall, grabbing her coat and her boots and fleeing her apartment, running down the stairs and out of the front door of the building without pausing to catch her breath. Hailing a taxi, she gabbled out her sister's address, tears beginning to touch her blue eyes as she did so.
This couldn't happen to her now...
What if he found her?
What if he came to see her?
What if he hurt her?
Or worse, what if he hurt those close to her? Her mind flitted in her panic to Sharita and Megan, and she closed her eyes, uttering a silent prayer.
It was out of her hands now. All she could do was hope and pray and try to go on as normal.
More than ever she wished she'd cut work and gone to the airport to see Jewel off, even begged them to take her with them. Had she known how afraid she would be later in the day...but then she steeled herself.
"I can handle this. I have to handle this." She murmured. "Neal isn't going to get me back under his thumb, his days of hurting and using me are over. I'm a new person now and I don't need him. If he comes, well, I'll just tell him I have no intention of telling the police about his activities, so long as he leaves me alone. Yes...that's what I'll do. I'll swear to him..."
At that moment she registered that she had arrived at her sister's home, and, fishing in her pocket for change she paid the driver, hurrying up the steps and rapping on the door. Alyssa swung it open, registering the panic on her sister's face with some consternation, and upon seeing the older girl Sadie's composure broke down into real sobs of fear. Gently Alyssa led her inside, and slowly Sadie explained.
"Well, we're not going to let him." She murmured. "Don't worry, Sadie. Everything is going to be fine."
Chapter One: Jewel In England
Chapter Two: Lovesick
Chapter Three: A New Sensation
Chapter Four: Cameron
Chapter Five: Sadie Gets A Warning
Chapter Six: A Little Love Advice
Chapter Seven: Topaz Makes A Friend
Chapter Eight: At The Halfway House
Chapter Nine: A Shock For Sadie
Chapter Ten: A Family Encounter
Chapter Eleven: Copper Gets A Fan
Chapter Twelve: A Burns Family Secret
Chapter Thirteen: Thicker Than Water
Chapter Fourteen: A Phonecall