Chapter Nine: A Shock For Sadie
“So, this is it, huh?”
Nancy eyed the building thoughtfully, leaning up against the car to get a better look. “It doesn’t look like anything special.”
“I can’t believe we’ve gone from playing the Millenium Stadium and places like that – okay, granted, as support acts to the Teenangels or other groups – and now we’re doing this.” Sylva observed. “Jetta, what gives?”
“What gives, my girl, is PR. At this stage, no positive publicity is too much publicity, all right?” Jetta said slowly. “Also, the woman called me up and asked me specifically if we had a window…you did, so I said yes. That’s all you need to know.”
“Mom’s gone soft.” Nancy grinned.
“I’ll give you soft.” Jetta raised an eyebrow, glaring at her daughter.
“I think it’s cool we’re playing here.” Copper decided. “It’s a more personal kinda show to the ones we do at big venues. I mean, I love them too, but this is different. And we’re not such amazing brilliant fabulous stars that we can’t spare time to do simpler gigs too! Mama and the Holograms did lots of benefits and charity stuff.”
“Well, we’re here.” Nancy shrugged. “Might as well make the most of it.”
“Hear, hear.” Topaz grinned. “And look at it this way – there are worse places to play. Heck, we could be playing at high school dances.”
“Oh God, spare us!” Sylva exclaimed. “No way am I consenting to that!”
“Shut up, the lot of you, and be professional.” Jetta snapped. “Now, come on. Leave the gear! That’s what these guys are for, they’ll set it up for you. You just come with me an’ smile nicely, okay? Remember that Jewel aren’t very big names here yet. You ‘ave to win ‘em over.”
Sylva exchanged looks with Topaz, who shrug.
“I’m game.” She said simply. “C’mon, Syl…don’t be snooty. Imagine if you’d never come into that diner in Toronto? We’d never have met. Yes, Jewel are bigger stars now than they were then, but we’re all human beings…don’t you think?”
“I guess you’re right.” Sylva sighed. “Okay, okay, I’m coming, and I’ll play nice. It just feels like a major come down, that’s all.”
“Good morning!” A fresh voice interrupted the conversation and they turned to see Jessica smiling at them from the doorway. “I’m Jessica Young – we’ve been expecting you.”
“Jetta Pelligrini – we spoke on the phone.” Jetta gave the woman a slight, businesslike smile. “An’ these are Jewel – Sylva, Copper, Topaz an’ Goldie. Can the blokes come in an’ set up for us?”
“Be my guest.” Jessica nodded, ushering them inside. “It’s so great that you came…it means a lot to the kids to have a break now and again and they’re pretty excited.”
“How many of them are there?” Sylva asked, curious.
“Sixteen at the moment, and five helpers in today.” Jessica responded. “They’re all pretty much good kids on the wrong road, but we’re doing our best to help them back where they belong.”
“They’re lucky.” Topaz remarked. Jessica smiled.
“Yes, I think they are.” She agreed. “I only wish we could help more of them than we can.”
She pushed open the door of the dining room. “This is where we thought you’d set up, if that’s okay. It’s the biggest room we have.”
“Should do fine…acoustics seem good.” Jetta nodded her approval. “And plenty of power points. Okay, girls, quit shirkin’ about an’ get in ‘ere, okay? We got a show to do.”
“Yes, boss.” Nancy muttered under her breath, getting a glare for her trouble, but Jessica had not heard.
“Hey, David, Sadie, quit moving chairs a moment and let me make the introductions.” She called, and the two helpers, who had been immersed in arranging seats turned to face the visitors. Topaz let out a tiny gasp, and Sadie’s face drained of all colour.
“Okay, these are Sadie Monahue and David Bright, two of our helper/counsellors.” Jessica seemed oblivious to the expression on her colleague’s face. “Sadie, Dave, this is Jetta Pelligrini, and these are Jewel.”
“Jewel?” The word seemed to leave Sadie’s lips without her even knowing she’d spoken aloud. Her gaze was fixed on Topaz’s face, and slowly she shook her head. “Oh no…”
“I didn’t expect that.” Topaz admitted, casting Sadie a smile. “I didn’t know you worked here, Sadie.”
“You guys know each other?” Jessica looked confused.
“I…I have to go see to…something.” Sadie murmured, flustered. Then, before anyone could react, she was gone, shutting the door behind her.
Sylva shot Topaz a puzzled look.
“What did you do to her?” She demanded.
“Nothing!” Topaz protested.
“How do you know her, anyhow?” Copper asked.
“She’s the girl who helped me on the train yesterday.” Topaz explained. “I…I don’t understand why she ran off like that, I thought we were friends.” She frowned. “Can you girls handle setting up? I want to find her and find out what’s wrong.”
“Topaz, you barely know the girl…let it go, huh?” Sylva begged. “We’ve a lot to do, you know, and it’d be quicker with four.”
“Please, Syl, there’s something going down here and I’m not gonna be able to focus on singing till I know what it is.” Topaz responded. “I won’t be long, I promise. Copper, Nancy, do you guys mind?”
“Go ahead.” Nancy shrugged. “We can manage.” Copper nodded.
“We have the guys to help out.” She agreed.
“Thanks, guys.” Topaz looked grateful. “I won’t be a minute.”
Before Sylva or Jetta could stop her, she had left via the door Sadie had made her escape through, pausing to assess where the girl might have gone. The door led out into the big garden the property possessed, and, as she walked slowly through the grass, she thought she heard crying. Frowning, she crept up to investigate.
Sure enough, it was Sadie.
“What’s the matter?” Topaz asked gently, startling the other girl as she did so. “Why are you crying, Sadie…what’s wrong?”
“Go away.” Sadie choked back her tears. “You have a concert to do.”
“I’m not going anywhere.” Topaz told her firmly. “Last night I thought we were friends…why did you run off?”
“You’re not who I thought you were.” Sadie said flatly.
“Oh? I’m not?” Now Topaz was utterly bewildered. “How do you mean?”
“You didn’t tell me you were a celebrity!”
“I’m not one.”
“Not in England, perhaps, but I know that Jewel are big news in America.” Sadie snapped back. “Why didn’t you tell me, huh? I actually thought you were like me, last night – that you’d had a rough deal with guys and you understood a little better than most people do. I thought we had stuff in common – now I find out you’re just another rich showoff who’s come to flaunt what she’s got in front of people who don’t have it!”
“That’s stupid!” Topaz’s own temper was seldom aroused, but she found it bubbling up under the unfairness of these accusations. “We’re here because your colleague asked us to come – that was what the phonecall to my boss was about last night. And I didn’t lie to you, Sadie! I told you I was a musician, I was based in LA and I travelled a lot. That’s true.”
“So now I’m stupid, too?” Sadie demanded. “Oh, just go back to your band and play, will you? I’ve nothing to say to you.”
“Well, tough, because I’m not going anywhere till this is settled up.” Topaz said firmly. “And Jewel can’t play the new song without me, so you’ll be doing your kids here out of their concert if you don’t quit this nonsense right now. I didn’t tell you last night about Jewel as such, no. Why should I have? I didn’t want to make a friend because of my job! I like you and I thought that maybe you would be my friend without me having to worry about you being a groupie hanger on type. Was I wrong?”
“You have no damn idea.” Sadie muttered. “I can’t be your friend, don’t you see? I’m not the kind of person you should be seen with!”
“Why, because you work with drug addicts?” Topaz demanded. “Hell, Sadie, I’ve dated some in the past, you know! I’ve been interrogated by police about them and splashed all over the tabloids because of them. Do you think I give two hoots about where someone comes from?” She snorted. “If that’s what you think of me, maybe I will go…perhaps this is pointless.”
She turned to leave, but Sadie called her back. She eyed her companion quizzically.
“I…don’t know.” Sadie admitted, wiping the tears from her eyes. “I thought I could trust you to be honest with me, and you weren’t, and now I don’t know what to think.”
“I didn’t lie, though. If you’d asked me what kind of musician, I’d have told you.” Topaz said levelly, her temper cooling somewhat by this time. “I don’t know what idea you have of famous people, Sadie, but I don’t consider myself any different from when I was waiting that bar in Toronto, except maybe a little older and wiser than I was then. This is me. This is who I am…on stage, off stage, as Topaz and as Aurora Stapleton. I said I wanted us to be friends, I damn well meant it. I told you that I try to mean all I say, and it’s true. Now, it’s up to you – do you want us to be friends?”
Sadie sighed, then she nodded.
“I do.” She agreed. “I’m…I’m sorry. It was a shock, I didn’t expect…” She frowned. “And I didn’t want the press to say bad things about you because you were friends with me, and I’m…well, I’m nobody.”
“You silly.” Topaz laughed, dispelling the last of the tension, and pulling the other girl to her feet, handing her a tissue. “Like it even matters what the press think. I’d rather come on tour and make friends than make fans, to tell you the truth. I love performing, and it pays the bills and keeps me secure, back in LA, but I’m in this job for the music, not for the fame and not for the money. Okay?”
“Okay.” Sadie took the tissue, drying her eyes. “I’m sorry I called you a liar.”
“That’s okay. I’m sorry if I misled you.” Topaz, generous as ever responded. “Are we friends again now?”
“Yeah.” Sadie nodded. “Look at me, I’m a mess.” She sighed again. “I guess since I broke up with Neal it’s not been easy for me to trust in anyone – I’m always afraid they’re gonna rear up and bite me in the end, like him.”
“Well, I don’t bite. Much.” Topaz told her, grinning. “Though I’m not the best of company with a hangover. Look, you go clean yourself up, and I’ll go and help Syl and company set up. Then we’ll play for you and the kids, okay? And you can judge for yourself what kind of musicians we are.”
“All right.” Sadie agreed.
“And I want to introduce you to the others, too.” Topaz continued. “But not when you’ve mascara everywhere, you look like the newest member of the Addams family right now!”
Despite herself, Sadie laughed.
“I needed that.” She admitted. “Okay, I’ll go make myself presentable and quit acting like a moron.” She smiled. “I’m looking forward to hearing you perform.”
“Well, hear us you shall.” Topaz winked. “I’ll see you soon.”
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