Arc Three: When Life Goes On...
Shadow Of The Girl

Chapter Nine: Webchat

"Well, how're you tonight?"
Topaz eyed the computer monitor with a grin, as she read Sadie's habitual friendly greeting. The two girls had chatted often online since they had met in London the previous November, and Topaz was fond of her online acquaintance, sometimes able to confide things in her that she found difficult to say out loud even to Sylva, her closest friend.
"Hi." She typed back now. "I'm not so bad, though I'd hardly call this evening. It's only just gone half 2 here! How about you?"
There was a pause, then,
"Oh, I'm ok."
"Something up?" Topaz's brow creased in concern, for she knew that Sadie's life in England was not always easy. Haunted by an abusive ex-boyfriend who seemed determined to keep track of her, there had been times when the English girl had signed online in tears.
"No, there's nothing up." Sadie responded quickly. "I guess I'm just feeling a bit lonely tonight. Cece's gone out with this new stud boyfriend of hers and I'm kinda sitting home alone gathering dust."
"Mm...I know the feeling." Topaz replied, hiding a grin at Sadie's description. "So, you know who hasn't been bothering you any, then?"
"No, actually. It's all gone quiet on the Neal front." Sadie added several smilies to this remark, causing Topaz to laugh. "Which is good. What about you? What's new with Cameron?"
"Still strictly 'just friends'." Topaz typed, adding a suitable grimace for effect. "I hate this, actually. He comes online, we chat for maybe ten minutes then he's off out someplace. I know for sure he had a date the other night, as well...he wasn't sure he should go, but I kinda told him that he should. Me and my big mouth, huh?"
"You're worse than me." Sadie seemed amused. "I thought you hated the idea of him seeing someone else."
"Mm, I think it was a matter of pride." Topaz admitted. "You know, you don't want to beg your ex-boyfriend not to go out with some other chick, and make him think that you're hopeless and needy and can't manage without him there."
"Sure, but can you?"
"Of course I can!" Topaz protested. "I'm doing just fine here without him!"
"Mmhmm." Sadie did not appear convinced.
"Sadie, I mean it!" Topaz retorted. "You and I both know how much I still love him, but I refuse to sit in and mope and cry the whole time. After all, we are speaking, and we're not necessarily broken up forever. I'm not going to do a single thing to make him think that he might not want to see me when he comes out to LA for Syl's birthday."
"I wish I could come." Sadie added a wistful face to emphasise her point. "It was sweet of her to invite me, but I'm working and I could never find the money for a plane ticket there and back."
"It's okay, we all understand." Topaz assured her. "We'll just all come see you next time we're in England, that's a promise. Okay?"
"I'll hold you to it." Sadie replied.
"Hey." At that moment, Sylva pushed open the door of the study, a sandwich in her hand. "Copper said you were up here...who're you talking to?"
"Sadie." Topaz responded with a grin.
"Not Cameron?"
"No...he's out, it seems." Topaz pulled a graphic face. "I don't like the idea that he's out late on a Saturday night, when I know he doesn't work then...but not much I can do about it. After all, we're not an item at the moment and we are allowed to see other people."
"Doesn't mean you have to encourage him." Sylva tool a bite of her sandwich, sitting down on the bed.
"Mm, but I kinda want him to see that the competition ain't up to much." Topaz grinned. "At least, that's what I'm hoping he'll decide. After all, I did screw him over pretty bad with Luca. It's only fair he tastes the other side of the coin too."
"Maybe." Sylva didn't seem persuaded. "Well, say hi to Sadie for me, huh?"
"Sure." Topaz nodded. She turned her attention to the computer once more.
"Syl says hi - she just came in." She typed. "She doesn't think it's good to let Cameron date either."
"Tell her I agree." Came back Sadie's response, and in wry tones Topaz relayed the message to her companion.
"You're all ganging up on me." She added, then, as a green box flashed in the corner of the screen she let out an exclamation.
"He's online!"
"Ok, I'll leave you to it." Sylva looked amused. "Tell Sadie she has the right idea...I'll catch you later. Gonna go watch some flick with a cute guy in it I think."
With that she was gone, and, after telling Sadie that her beau was indeed online, Topaz swallowed hard, then clicked on his name.
"Afternoon." She typed. "How're you?"
"Hi, Rora." The reply came back quickly. "Not bad, kinda tired. I'm not staying on long, I'm just checking email...I'm hoping for one from my tutor."
"Oh, I see." Topaz bit her lip as she typed, glad he could not see her expression. "Were you out tonight?"
"Yeah, Simon and I went to the football." Cameron agreed. "He split with his girlfriend, we wanted a no birds experience." There was a pause, then, "No offence."
"None taken." Topaz assured him. "Hey, you are still coming out here for Syl's party, aren't you?"
"Yes, of course." Cameron responded. "It's not like Syl would let me off, anyhow. I mean, she's organised my flight and everything."
He paused, then,
"So how are things with you? Anything new and exciting?"
"You know. This and that, the usual." Topaz was vague. "We've been kinda busy with everything, so it's nice to get a moment free. I was just talking to Sadie, actually, when you signed in."
She didn't know why she had added that last bit, but she didn't want him to think she was just hanging around online, waiting for him to appear.
"Well, I guess I'd better go to bed, I've an early class and my email isn't here." Cameron typed. "Night, Rora. I'll see you, okay?"
"Oh...sure." Topaz tried to quell the disappointment in her heart. "Bye...sweet dreams, huh?"
"You too." Cameron responded, sending her a smily, then, "Bye for now."
"Well?" Sadie demanded. "You're very that a good sign?"
"Not really." Topaz responded with a sigh as she watched the icon beside Cameron's name switch from green to red. "He came on for about ten seconds to check his email. Sadie, I really hate it when we talk without saying anything. It's like he doesn't want to get into a conversation with me, he always has to have an excuse not to."
"Maybe he just feels awkward?" Sadie suggested.
"Maybe." Topaz returned. "But it's horrible just the same. And I really miss him telling me he loves me when he signs out. He always used to say that and then bye, with a little heart icon. Now...he just says bye and he's gone."
Sadie hesitated, then slowly she typed,
"You have to give him a chance to get over the last time you saw him."
"I know." Topaz admitted. "Ah well. I have you to moan at at least. Tell me if I bore you, won't you?"
"I'm glad of the distraction, and the company." Sadie admitted. "It takes my mind off the mess my own social life is in, to tell you the truth."
"Still, it's good Neal's been quiet, huh?"
"Yeah. Let's hope he found some other bimbo." Sadie responded. "This one's really had enough of him. Hey, I'll be right back, okay? I can't find my lighter and I just dropped my cigarettes all over the place."
"Sure." Topaz could not help laughing at the mental image this conjured up, and somehow picturing Sadie scrabbling around on the floor for her cigarettes made her feel a little better.
"I don't know sometimes what I'd do without you online making me smile." She typed. "Which reminds me, I have something else to tell you. It's all top secret at the moment, but Syl and Aaron went buying rings the other day - we're ninety percent sure that Aaron's gonna ask Copper to marry him at Syl's party."
"Ooh...romantic." Sadie added a heart icon. "Back, by the way, but I'm gonna go grab some food and smoke, then I'm gonna probably go to bed. It's late here as it is - I was just lonely and came online in search of company."
"That's cool." Topaz responded. "You know, I wish you were coming out for Syl's party. We've been chatting so much online since last November time that it almost feels like a real shame not to be able to show you round LA."
"Hey, I'm saving for it." Sadie assured her. "It might take me ten years but I'll get out there eventually. I'm dying to see this mansion you girls live in, anyhow."
"And meet Cynthia, our occasional housemate." Topaz added. "We'll hold you to that, too! You know you're always welcome and there's definitely a room or two free at the Starlight."
"Glad to hear it." Sadie responded. "Okay, guess I'll talk to you soon. Keep me up to date on the Copper engagement saga, huh? I'm a sucker for happy endings."
"Promise." Topaz agreed. "Bye, Sadie. Sleep well."
"I'll do my best." Sadie replied. "Night."
With that the English girl signed off, and Topaz sighed, pushing her chair idly back from the computer desk as she contemplated.
"Cameron's coming out here in two and a half weeks, and whilst Copper might be getting a ring on her finger, I might be getting told that he no longer has any feelings for me." She mused slowly. "I don't really feel jealous of Copper, but it sure would be nice to know what to expect. The way he's been talking to me when I do get to chat - it's like he can't get offline fast enough." She sighed, shutting the computer down. "At least I have Sadie to moan to. It just sucks that she lives so far away."
"Is this a private rant, or can anyone join in?"
A voice from the doorway made her turn, offering Nancy a sheepish smile.
"No, feel free." She responded. "Something bugging you too? I was just having a whinge about Cameron and stuff. Nothing new."
"Oh, okay." Nancy smiled. "Usual kinda rant, huh?" She lounged up against the doorpost. "As for me, no, I'm fine. Nothing is bothering me. However, something is definitely up with Emily."
"Emily? What makes you say that?" Topaz looked startled.
"Girl almost bit my head off today." Nancy responded. "Just out of nowhere she comes stalking down the corridor, face black as thunder, snaps at me and storms out. Plus, Aunt Phyl has been in a nightmare temper all day - and she wasn't all that great before that, either. In fact, ever since she had that guy in her office."
"What guy's this?" Now Topaz was really confused. She got to her feet, making her way towards the door and indicating for Nancy to follow her. "Come on, it's quieter in my room and I need to do something with my hair."
"Cut it all off." Nancy told her with a wry smile. "But no, seriously for a moment...something is definitely afoot. I've spoken to Copper about it and she hasn't noticed anything, and Syl told me to shut up till her film was done. I can't help wondering what's happened, though."
"You think Emily and Phyllis had a fight?"
"Yeah, and I think that the strange guy I saw in Aunt Phyl's office is something to do with it." Nancy nodded, pushing open the door of Topaz's room and leading the way inside, dropping down onto the bed as her friend reached for her hairbrush, taming the golden waves into a neat ponytail. "More I think about it, the more I'm sure of it."
"Do you know who he is?"
"No, not off hand." Nancy shook her head. "But I can't help feeling that I should do. He had something familiar about him."
"Weird." Topaz looked thoughtful. "Old flame of Emily's?"
"Much much too old for that." Nancy assured her. "He was...ooh, I'd say older even than Dad, to be honest. Certainly older than Mom or Aunt Phyl."
Topaz looked startled.
"You don't suppose it was Emily's father?" She demanded. "Eric Raymond?"
"You know, that would make sense." Nancy looked troubled. "I didn't think of him - I suppose I should have."
"Well, one way to find out." Topaz grabbed her jacket. "Come on, we're gonna do some snooping. I worked for Eric in Canada and I know that wherever he is is bad news. Whatever's happened between Emily and Phyllis is bound to have him involved - and we're gonna put a stop to whatever it is he's planning. Come on!"

Prologue: February 1997  
Chapter One: Sirena's Show

Chapter Two: A Plot
Chapter Three: In California
Chapter Four: About Chimera
Chapter Five: Sirena's Aunt
Chapter Six: A Special Quest
Chapter Seven: The Plot Hatches
Chapter Eight: Eric Strikes
Chapter Nine: Webchat
Chapter Ten: Complications
Chapter Eleven: Handling Emily
Chapter Twelve: A Discovery
Chapter Thirteen: A Birthday Surprise

Copper, Nancy, Sylva, Anna, Blade, Raesha, Sirena, Topaz, Aaron, Sophie, Justin, Elliot, Rosita, Luis and any other characters in this fiction which do not appear in the animated Jem series are copyrighted to me (E.A Woolley) as of January 2002 <unless otherwise specified> and are not to be reproduced without permission ANYWHERE. Jetta, Pizzazz, Stormer, Roxy, Raya and all other original Jem characters are the copyright of Hasbro Inc, Sunbow, Christy Marx and the other writers of the Jem series. The future world of Pizzazz, Raya, Jetta, Roxy, Stormer, Clash, Synergy, the fate of Jem and her memorial are all copyrighted to me. The future world of Kimber and Shana is copyrighted jointly to myself and Gemma Dawn.
The concept of 'Jewel' is entirely my own, and any apparent link with any fictional or actual person or persons of this name is entirely coincidental. Equally the characters in this fiction are not based on any real life individual.
The concept behind the future world of Danse, Aja and Craig, the idea behind Jerrica's futureworld and the split of the Holograms is copyrighted to Gemma Dawn, whose Teenangel Outsiders fiction is directly twinned with Just a Dream. The character Sammi and any of the other Teenangel Outsider characters mentioned in this fiction are entirely copyright to Gemma Dawn and appear here only with her permission.
Pay her page a visit!