Chapter Four: A Rival
Some miles away, in England's second city, someone else was watching Top
of the Pops, her expression pensive as she listened to Jewel's performance.
"Hey, do you want ketchup with this?"
A voice from the kitchen startled her and she glanced up, smiling at the figure in the doorway.
"I was watching Jewel." She said, indicating the screen and ignoring her companion's question. "Watching Sadie, actually. It's hard to believe that's really her up there, but I know it is. Pretty fantastic, don't you think?"
"I can remember a time when fantastic wasn't the first word that came to mind when you were talking about your sister."
The young man sat down beside her, handing her a plate of chips and setting the ketchup down on the table. "Here. You want ketchup, you do it yourself, huh? You're in some dreamland and I'm not letting my grub go cold because of it."
"Hrm?" The girl looked startled, then blushed. "Sorry. I was just thinking. I know Sadie and I hated each other for the longest time, Grey, but watching her on live television - I feel, well, kinda proud of her, to be honest. She's the Monahue girl made good."
"You ain't so bad yourself, George." Grey winked at her, dipping one of his own chips in the ketchup and eating it. "Not these days. Do you suppose we'll see anything of Big Sister Sadie during this tour, by the way? Can't say it'd be high on my list of priorities if she's gonna be surrounded by a cloud of hype. You don't need hype and you know it. You've managed to seclude yourself away since all the press nine months ago and I don't want people to suddenly pounce on you the moment you're in the limelight."
"What are you, my guard dog?" Georgia retorted. "Anyhow, Sadie already asked me when we were chatting if there was some chance we could meet up. It'll be at home, anyhow, so noone will make a big deal over it. And I won't bring her here...so you needn't worry about that." She glanced around the main room of the apartment with a rueful smile. "I'm not sure there's room for three in this place anyhow."
"It's better than where we were before and I pay my rent legit." Grey returned neatly. "Besides, I wanted to come to Brum to keep an eye on you. God knows you've needed it."
"Yeah, yeah. I know. Between you and Alyssa I've been well looked after." Georgia agreed, putting a chip in her mouth. "Mm...these are good. Local chippy or from the one in town?"
"Local. Best one in the area - why go further?" Grey asked. He picked up the handset, flicking off the television. "Does Alyssa know where you are tonight, by the way?"
"Yes. I said I was coming to your house and she told me to have a good time." Georgia nodded. "I'm not a prisoner you know. Yes, I'm on parole and no, there are places I can't go and things I can't do, but visiting a friend isn't one of them. Besides," she looked rueful. "I don't have many friends here yet. I think Alyssa is glad to see me get out and about on an errand that isn't to see my probation officer or my therapist."
Grey eyed his companion keenly. Georgia was nineteen years old, and somehow she still seemed very young, despite all she had been through. Thick waves of white-blond hair were gathered at the nape of her neck in a red hairtie, and her dark blue eyes still held a hint of her ordeal nine months before. Even now, after many months of therapy and counselling, Georgia still had dreams where the past came back to haunt her, and everyone around her knew it would be a long time before she forgot the fight that had cost the violent and possessive Neal Ridley his life.
His death had brought positives too though, Grey noted now, watching her eat her meal with a smile on his face. She was no longer estranged from her family - her home was now with her eldest sister Alyssa and it had been Sadie to whom Georgia had first confessed, back in the squat where everything had happened. Georgia's drug days were well in the past, for she had fought like a wildcat for her independance, and now, in October she had begun to take much more of an interest in life. She had begun to look for a job, and had discussed the idea of night courses at the local college in order to get her qualifications.
And, of course, it had meant that he had spent time with her, too. Though their relationship was entirely platonic, and Georgia had sworn off romance, Grey was more fond of his young companion than he often admitted, and he was both glad and relieved to see her steady progress.
"So when do you suppose Sadie will be around, then?" He asked now. "And careful what you're doing with that plate! I don't want grease-stains all up my sofa, thank you very much!"
"I'm being careful." Georgia poked a tongue out at him. "And I'm not sure. She said she'd call Alyssa when she was in Birmingham and we'd work something out. It depends when she has a free moment, I suppose." She looked pensive. "I do want to see her, though. When last we met I was a mess - doped up, confused, traumatised by everything. I want her to see that I can fight back too. And, well, I guess I've missed her."
"Not sure I have." Grey admitted. "Oh, she did a lot for you, kid, and I'm not gonna be hostile towards her - her heart is more in the right place than I thought and she came through good for you in January. But Sadie and I won't ever be the best of friends, so don't expect it. Too much water under too many bridges for that."
"Noone's asking you to marry her." Georgia teased. "But you're all nice and polite round Alyssa, so keep it up for Sadie too, huh?"
"Hey, I can be good." Grey winked at her, rummaging in his pocket for his cigarettes and offering the box to her.
"Thanks." Carefully Georgia accepted, allowing him to light it for her. "At least I can do this here without Alyssa going up the wall. I know she doesn't want the kids learning bad habits and Andy would go twice as mental if he saw me, but it's a drag all the same."
"So get your own place." Grey told her with a shrug. Georgia shook her head.
"No money to pay rent right now." She said matter-of-factly. "Besides, technically I'm still clinically depressed and anyway, I don't want to live on my own right at the moment. I like living with Alyssa and Andy and the kids. They make me forget...living there, it's only sometimes at night I remember what happened and what I did. If I was in my own place all day I'd dwell."
"You're not supposed to remember it at all." Grey scolded. "You know that."
"No, but I'm human. What am I supposed to do?" Georgia sighed, taking a slow drag on her cigarette. "I've got as far as accepting that it was an accident, that I didn't murder him but that he died because I fought for my life and if I hadn't he would have killed me. I accept that. I can be rational there. But it doesn't mean I don't remember it, and I probably always will. It'll always be there. Somewhere."
She shivered, and Grey frowned.
"Enough of this subject." He said firmly. "It's almost time for the footie, anyhow."
"Football?" Georgia raised an eyebrow.
"You have an objection?" Grey grinned at her. Georgia rolled her eyes.
"No, depending on who's playing." She bantered back. "But you wouldn't let me watch Top of the Pops."
"Well, it's my TV and I'm still paying for it." Grey told her, scooping up the handset and switching to ITV. "So there you have it."
"Fine." Georgia pushed her plate aside, curling up more comfortably in her corner of the seat with a cushion and inhaling on her cigarette. "Football it is."
"What time do you have to be home?"
"I'm not sixteen, you know. I don't have a curfew."
"I know, but Alyssa called here the last time you were out late. She worries about you."
"I told her I'd be back around eleven." Georgia relented. "And I told her you;d drive me, so I didn't need to worry about missing the last bus."
"Oh, you did, huh?" Grey raised an eyebrow. "I thought my car was only fit for scrap!"
"It is, but it's still a car." Georgia grinned at him. Grey rolled his eyes.
"All right. I'll drop you home." He agreed. "But only if you pipe down and let me watch the match in peace!"
"Sure." Georgia got to her feet. "I'm going to go find a drink, anyhow. Chips are fine but salt makes you so damn thirsty."
"There's beer in the fridge - help yourself." Grey told her, his gaze already fixed to the screen. "Grab me one while you're up, huh?"
Georgia stifled a smile, stubbing out her cigarette and heading into the kitchen in search of the aforementioned beer. As she did so, she paused in the doorway, eying him thoughtfully.
"He's always been such a good friend." She murmured. "Even when I didn't deserve it. He came through for me in January and he's still coming through for me. I don't know...maybe I shouldn't say anything. But..."
She shook her head, frustrated.
"It's too soon, I'm too mixed up and I don't need this crazy stuff." She decided, making her way to the fridge and pulling open the door, scanning the shelves for what she was looking for. "Still...well, maybe I'll ask Sadie. I mean, she dated Neal and lived to tell the tale. More, she's dating again now. She'd know what I should do, and she is my sister. I should be able to ask her advice."
She grabbed two cans of beer, banging the fridge door shut. "I just hope she isn't going to be really busy and swamped with press because of this castle thing. But then, she did promise she'd come visit...Oh well. Guess I'll just wait and see what happens."
* * * * * * * * *
Richard Whatson glared up from his morning newspaper, eying the slim figure as she came through the door, casually banging it shut behind her. "I told you to be here at ten - it's half past already. I don't pay you to hold me up, you know."
"Oh, chill, will you? I was getting my nails done." The girl shrugged her shoulders, dropping down into a chair. "What gives, anyway? You've gone that funny shade of puce you always go when Sammi, Amber and the rest of those smart-alec Teenangel brats decide to get one over on us." Her eyes darkened. "Is that what this is about? More Teenangel crap? Cos if you ask me, I'm about sick of you spending time and attention on your stupid daughter. I thought you were done with her."
She reached across the desk, squeezing his hand. "I mean, you wouldn't want to upset me now, would you? You haven't bought me anything pretty in three weeks, now I come to think of it. Maybe you should think about rectifying that, huh? Something as a "congratulations on your number one single" present?"
"Jesta, this is serious." Mr Whatson pushed her hand away, his expression agitated. "Listen to me, will you? I had a phonecall from one of my agents and it's not good news. You know Jewel are in England at the moment?"
"Jewel? Bah. Who wants to take notice of those rejects?" Jesta dismissed this with a careless gesture, though an angry glint had touched her expression at the mention of the American group. "You worry too much about people on the outside, that's your problem, Dicky-dear. What, you think that some junk act from across the atlantic is going to cause us problems? Pah."
"They already are." Whatson pulled open the drawer of his desk, pulling out a magazine and tossing it towards her. "Here. Read this. Some worthless rag has put up money for Jewel to spend the night in Bainbrook Castle - it's getting them lots of hype and what's more, it's all for charity so they've got the philanthropist vote! Their last single was damn near yours in the chart, Jesta. I won't have any upstart group from the States muscling in on what we're trying to do!"
"So what, you want me to go to Bain...whatever you called it and pull a few bricks down on them?" Jesta smirked. "You're so unoriginal, you know that?"
She perched herself on the end of his desk, meeting his gaze squarely.
"I've met Jewel. You haven't." She said silkily. "And you ain't got a clue how to handle them - whereas I have. Though whether it's worth my time or not, that's a different matter. I'm a number one selling artist, you know. I'm a big deal in these parts. It isn't cool for me to go round rousing up the competition."
"You never have any trouble rousing up the Teenangels." Whatson eyed her warily, noting the conniving expression in the brown eyes. "What's so different about this lot?"
"Simple, Dicky." Jesta reached out a hand to ruffle his hair. "Not my problem. You understand? They're wa-a-y beneath my notice. Unless, of course, you make it worth my while."
"Don't I always?" Whatson raised an eyebrow. Jesta smirked.
"For an old man, I suppose you get by." She said scathingly. "But you know what I mean, so don't pretend you don't. If you want me to get involved with this Jewel business, and wreck my manicure, you better be putting up some pretty damn tempting compensation. Starting with who's paying my hair-stylist's bill next week...not to mention the new outfit I saw in Regent Street."
She pouted. "You don't treat me half as good as you should, you know, considering what I do for you. A little appreciation now and again wouldn't go amiss."
Whatson sent his companion another wary look, then shrugged.
"I have enough hell with my blasted daughter and her group. I don't need this Jewel added to the equation." He said gruffly. "It's in your interests as well as mine that they fail - you know that as well as I do."
"Are you suggesting that I can't hold my own against Jewel or the Teenangels?" Jesta's eyes glinted dangerously and Whatson shook his head hurriedly.
"No, that's not what I'm saying." He said quickly. "Just that they're a pain in the neck and we need to deal with them."
"All right. Here's the deal. You sort out Jewel and I'll make sure you don't go unrewarded."
"Well, that is generous of you." Jesta purred. She winked. "And I suppose I have time in my schedule to play games with a few stupid Americans. But I won't forget...so don't you, either. I don't come cheap, as you know by now. I don't need you, Dicky, but you know full well that you need me."
She touched his cheek, laughter in her eyes, then, as nonchalantly as she had come, she was gone.
Whatson sighed, running his fingers through his hair.
"Well, that takes care of Jewel." He muttered. "Though goodness knows what the price will be this time!"
NO SUCH THING AS GHOSTS
Chapter One: Flight To England
Chapter Two: A TV Welcome
Chapter Three: Avril
Chapter Four: A Rival
Chapter Five: Sadie's Family
Chapter Six: Suspicions
Chapter Seven: Bainbrook Castle
Chapter Eight: Jesta's Game
Chapter Nine: Trapped!
Chapter Ten: The Castle Ghost
Chapter Eleven: To The Rescue
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE NOTE
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!