"The weather really stinks out there."
Nancy glanced idly out of the window, a sheet of manuscript paper and her pen in her lap as she sighed. "And I really can't get inspired today. I keep thinking about this wretched dinner party tonight and meeting those three girls. What do you reckon, girls? Will we survive?"
"It can't be that bad." Sylva observed, glancing up from her fashion magazine. "We have the power of veto, and hey, we get a free meal out of it, too, at a classy joint like the Red Rock. Why not?"
"I hate fussy meals out." Nancy admitted darkly. "Besides, they're all gonna want to impress us. How are we gonna know any of them are genuine?"
"Cynthia is going." Copper told her with a smile. "And you know she has razor sharp judgement. Also, being a computer, she can probably be more logical and objective than the rest of us. I'm glad Phyllis invited her."
"She wasn't." Sylva looked amused. "She wasn't sure how she'd evade the whole eating idea, but Phyllis cornered her and told her to go or lose her job...so she's coming. She'll just have to avoid the whole food issue if she can."
"Well, at least it's someone else on our side to cast their opinion." Nancy sighed. "I don't know, I'm just really not looking forward to it. I don't like change."
"None of us do, in this case." Copper sighed. "Whilst Topaz isn't yet up, girls, I really wish she hadn't taken this attitude. I mean, we could handle working around a baby, and we want her, not some new musician. She seems to be focusing on the logistics and she doesn't realise how much she means to us to have along."
"I know." Sylva grimaced. "She's my best friend on the planet, Copper, my twin excepted, and I'm gonna so totally hate touring without her."
"I don't know if she's thought it through from that point of view." Nancy said thoughtfully. "And there isn't much we can say without making her feel bad about it, either. She's making the sacrifice for us, really. I don't know how we're to get across to her that she doesn't need to."
"Misfit Music seemed to think she was right." Sylva sighed. "Who knows, maybe she is, maybe logistically it would be a pain, with a small baby in the picture. It's just...well, since we went to Canada and enlisted her as a Jewel there has always been us four. We've been through so much together!"
"And no doubt we'll go through more." Nancy groaned, setting her manuscript aside. "It's no use. My brain's out to lunch."
"I'm still amazed I'm even up at this time." Sylva remarked. "It's before midday and we're not in the studio - guess this is bothering me too."
"Well, tonight we go and we play nice and we see what we make of the three girls." Copper decided. "It's not their fault that we feel so strongly about Topaz staying. And after all, one of them might be a lot of fun. You never know, having a new Jewel might be a blast, once we're used to it, and we're not gonna push Topaz out. She'd still be our housemate, even if she is gonna go solo like she's been talking."
"Maybe." Nancy conceded. "But it still feels odd, that's all. I know nothing lasts forever, but you know, I did think we'd have a bit longer as a band before one of us quit to start a family." She blushed. "In fact, Copper, I rather thought if any of us did it, it'd be you, since you and Aaron are, well, you know, engaged. We always expected you guys to get it together."
"Well, there are all kinds of complicated factors involved in that, as you know." Copper sighed. "Including the fact that I might not even ever be able to have kids. But I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Topaz being pregnant like she is has made me realise I'm not old enough yet to be a mother in my own right. I'm game to wait a few years and then worry about the whole baby situation. Who knows? Maybe the doctor's prediction was wrong. Maybe we'll manage it somehow."
"If you don't, Copper, it'll majorly suck." Sylva told her. "Because you know you're the one of us most naturally maternal."
"I don't know about that." Copper blushed. "But I guess we'll see when Topaz's kiddy is here, won't we? I might run a mile."
"Nope, that'll be me." Nancy looked rueful. "Babies scare the heck out of me, and I'm not afraid to admit it." She frowned. "Hey, was that thunder or did anyone else hear a knock at the door just now?"
"A knock?" Sylva frowned. "I didn't hear anything."
"I thought I heard something too." Copper owned. "I'll go and check, see if someone's there, though in this weather, I can't imagine why anyone would be. Californian storms are best experienced from a safe place indoors!"
She got to her feet, heading into the hall and undoing the catch, swinging back the door and stopping dead to stare at the bedraggled form that stood in the doorway.
She let out an exclamation of surprise, staring at the English girl in some amazement. "What on earth are you doing here?"
"Copper?" Sadie's voice was indistinct and for a fleeting moment Copper wondered if the English girl had been drinking, but this thought was swept away as the words were followed by an unhealthy sounding sneeze. "Can...can I come in?"
"Of course you can." Copper gathered her wits, ushering the girl inside. "You must be soaked, it's awful out there!"
"Didn't...didn't notice." Sadie admitted softly, as her companion led her into the lounge to shrieks of amazement. She shivered. "I'm cold, though..."
"I'm not surprised, you're soaked through!" Copper exclaimed, touching the girl's sleeve. "How long have you been out in that awful weather?"
"I had no money for a cab." Sadie murmured.
"You walked here?" Nancy stared. "In that? Are you mad? It's tipping it down out there!"
"What brings you to America, Sadie?" Sylva eyed the visitor quizzically.
"You should've called and told us you were coming." Copper added. "Topaz is still asleep upstairs - is it her you want to speak to?"
"I..." Sadie faltered, her voice faint and she stumbled, only just being caught by the ready arms of the percussionist. Copper ushered her down into a chair, feeling her forehead and letting out an exclamation.
"You're burning hot!" She announced. "Sadie, can you tell me how long you were out in the rain for? You're gonna be really sick if we don't get you out of those clothes and into some dry ones!"
"I don't remember." Sadie admitted faintly. "I got lost...had to find my way." She sneezed again twice in quick succession, and Copper's curiosity took second place to her concern for the visitor's health as she heard a sinister wheezing sound in the English girl's breathing. .
"Syl, can you scoot upstairs, wake Topaz and find something dry for Sadie to wear? Her bag's as soaked through as she is, and she needs dry things. Oh, and a towel."
"Sure." Sylva got to her feet, haring out of the room at top speed. Nancy came to join Copper at Sadie's side.
"Sadie, why are you in America?" She asked gently. "Did something happen?"
Sadie swallowed hard.
"I...wanted to be safe." She murmured. "Am I safe?"
"Yes, of course you are." Copper assured her quickly. "Why would you think you weren't?"
"He threatened to kill me." Sadie coughed. "I thought..."
"Who did?" Nancy asked. "Your ex-boyfriend?"
"Neal." Sadie nodded, then, "I f...feel sick."
"Nancy, grab a bowl or something." Copper instructed sharply. "Quickly! Just in case we need it."
"I'm gone." Nancy nodded, heading into the kitchen and returning with a disused basin. "Do you think she's gonna hurl?" She wrinkled up her nose. "Gross."
"I think she's got a chill coming on." Copper replied shortly. "And it's no time to be squeamish. She must've been out in the worst of the storm and she must've been out in it for a coupla hours at least, for it to have gotten to her like this."
"Sadie?" At that moment Topaz joined the group, Sylva in tow. "What on earth are you doing here?"
"Topaz..." At the sight of the Canadian, Sadie began to cry softly, and Topaz hurried to comfort her.
"What did he do to you?" She murmured gently. "Did he hurt you?"
Sadie just continued to cry, and Topaz pulled her to her feet, hearing as she did so the slight wheeze of her friend's breathing. Sadie's hands were freezing cold, though her brow was hot with fever and the singer frowned at the dampness of her friend's hair and clothing.
"Listen, you're tired and not feeling well." She said softly. "How about you come upstairs and get dried off, get changed into something that isn't soaking wet and lie down, huh? You must be exhausted, if you walked here, and I'm sure a sleep will do you good. We can always talk later, when you've rested. Will you come with me?"
Sadie took a shuddery breath, then,
"I'm gonna be sick." She whispered. Nancy pulled a face.
"Do you have to?" She demanded.
"Nancy, shut up." Copper snapped. "Sadie's not well, and you're not helping!"
Once the sickness had subsided, Topaz gently took her friend upstairs and, with Copper's help they got her dry and ready for bed. Once beneath the covers, safe in one of the Mansion's many spare rooms, Sadie seemed only too happy to close her eyes, and Topaz watched her for a moment, stroking her hair gently to soothe her panicked tears. Once satisfied the girl was asleep, she left the room, gently closing the door behind her.
"What is she doing here? Does anyone have any idea?" She asked quietly.
"It's something to do with her ex, but more than that I couldn't say." Nancy said. "Do you think she needs a doctor?"
"I think she's got a chill." Topaz frowned. "But there's something else, she's frightened. The fever will probably go away, but I dunno about the fear...and yes, I think she should probably see a doctor."
"I reckon so too." Copper nodded. "I didn't like her cough - did anyone else think she sounded wheezy and out of breath? Not to mention the fact that she has been sick."
"The sickness is probably just a knee-jerk reaction to everything." Topaz responded. "And yes, I thought she sounded wheezy too. Syl said she'd walked here from LA...that's not exactly an easy walk, even if you know the area and the route and the sun is shining. To do it in a full blown rainstorm, when you're new in town..."
"She said she got lost." Copper remembered. "Oh, she must have been walking all morning!"
"It's a hell of a way to come, though." Nancy looked thoughtful. "All the way from Birmingham, England to Los Angeles, California just because some guy messed her over?"
"This isn't just some guy, though." Topaz explained as she led the way downstairs. "She lived with him for a year - he used drugs and was abusive. Possessive, too. She broke off the relationship but he doesn't want to let her go - she thinks he wants to keep tabs on her because she knows about his involvement with drugs and he's worried she'll turn him in. So he keeps her afraid of him, and every so often it gets nasty."
"Do you think he'd kill her, if he could?" Sylva demanded. Topaz shrugged.
"I dunno." She admitted. "All I know is that she came online one night in tears because she'd had a phonecall from him about something or other, and it hadn't been nice. I don't know if you noticed, by the way, but her arms were very bruised just now. I'd say he beat her up."
"Why come all this way, though?" Copper frowned. "Nancy's right, you know. It is a long way. Why not just go to her sister?"
"Perhaps she felt she needed to come this far to get away from him." Topaz replied gravely. "Either way, she's not well and we shouldn't bug her about it till she feels better."
"So what do we tell the doctor?" Nancy asked.
"That she's a friend who's staying with us, but she got caught in the storm." Copper suggested. "It's not untrue, after all."
"Topaz, if she's sick, whatever it is could be contagious." Sylva pointed out. "You probably shouldn't be hanging around her."
"It's cool." Topaz shrugged. "Sadie's sick because of the weather and her own exhaustion, not because of a bug. And even if it is a bug, well, I can't live in a protective tent for nine months, can I? I'm a tough cookie, Syl, and so's the baby. We'll be fine, don't worry."
"She said that he'd threatened to kill her. I think she believed the threat." Nancy said soberly. "How can a guy do something like that and...and get away with it?"
"She's so bruised, it wouldn't surprise me if he tried it." Topaz looked troubled. "I've dated some creeps, guys, but I've never had a guy lay a finger on me that way. If he'd tried I'd have been outta there like a shot. But Sadie's different...I don't think she knows where to go sometimes, or where she fits in."
Nancy scooped up Sadie's discarded bag, sitting down on the sofa and unzipping it.
"If Sadie's bag is drenched then we should make sure her stuff dries." She explained, as her friends shot her a curious look. "There isn't much in here, mind you. A couple of outfits, a nightgown, toothpaste, toothbrush, hairbrush, coupla books, cigarettes, lighter, purse...passport, portable cd player and two or three CDs...hey, what's this?"
"Nancy, those are Sadie's things, you shouldn't be nosing at them." Copper scolded.
"It's hardly a private document, Copper. It's a bus ticket." Nancy smoothed the object out. "Oh my. It's a greyhound ticket."
"From where?" Sylva came to peer at it. "I didn't think they did Greyhound in England!"
"They don't." Nancy was impatient. "It's from New York. You realise, guys, she's been sat on a bus for the last two and a half days...just to get out here? There are the remains of airline tickets in her passport too, as far as New York. She's been travelling for at least three or four days to get to us. No wonder she just collapsed here."
"The poor kid." Copper looked troubled. "She must have been desperate."
"It gets worse." Nancy reported. "Assuming that the bus was on time, it got into LA at around seven am. It's what - almost eleven now? She's been out in the storm since then."
"How do you know that?" Sylva demanded. Nancy waved the bedraggled timetable.
"I read." She responded simply.
"When she wakes up, I'm going to have a serious talk with her, find out what's behind this." Topaz said softly. "Something is, I guarantee it. Sadie's not the type who'd take a big gamble like this for no reason. She had no way of knowing if she could even get here, let alone whether or not we'd be here when she did."
"And of course, whether or not we'd want her here." Copper added softly. "She must have been very scared indeed."
"Well, she stays here now." Topaz said decidedly. "That is, so long as you guys don't mind. She's my friend and I don't want to let her down."
"After all she's been through to get here, then of course she can stay." Sylva told her. "Don't fret it, Topaz. We're not heartless. She can stop here long as she wants."
"She could, if she had a visa." Nancy put in. "But she doesn't have any kind of legit paperwork." She frowned. "So we're going to have to be kinda quiet about the fact she's here, at least till we work out what to do."
"The doctor!" Sylva exclaimed.
"Well, he'll have to come, of course." Topaz responded. "She's feverish and wheezy and I don't think we should leave it. But Nancy is right. We don't want a media scandal and I don't want the girl deported if she's gone to all this trouble."
"We have the new Jewel wannabes - we meet them this evening." Nancy remembered.
"Which we still have to do." Copper nodded.
"Someone should stay with Sadie, if she's sick, so I'll stop back here." Topaz decided. "I don't really need to be at the dinner party anyway."
"If you're sure." Nancy said. Sylva pouted.
"We don't want to leave you out of this." She added.
"Well, you gotta get used to me not being there." Topaz told her lightly. "Don't fret."
"There isn't much else in here." Nancy put in at that moment. "A notebook which might or might not be a diary, so I'm not going to open it, that's none of our business. Half a pack of mints, a bottle of mineral water, a plastic folder with a few photographs in and what looks like...an inhaler? That's about it. Not a lot to bring, all in all."
"An inhaler?" Sylva scooped it up. "Like for asthma?"
"Looks like it." Nancy nodded. "Not that I'd know. Neither Aaron nor I are asthmatic."
"Let me see." Copper held out her hand and Sylva passed it over for the drummer to look at. She frowned.
"It's a salbutamol inhaler, my sister has one just like it." She reported. "Which would explain Sadie's wheezes." She rubbed it carefully dry. "It's a bit damp, I hope it's all right after the storm. It should probably go upstairs with her, in case she needs it."
"I'll take it up in a second." Topaz said. "In the meantime, was someone going to call a doctor?"
"I'll do it." Copper said, reaching for the phone. "What shall I tell him exactly? That she got caught in the weather?"
"That a friend of ours is visiting from England, but she got caught walking in the storm and she's not so well." Topaz responded. "It's true, after all." She paused. "Well, Sadie's my friend, even if she isn't yours."
"She's a friend by association." Sylva assured her. "Besides, if she's staying here, she soon will be a friend of ours. She was pretty cool to hang out with the coupla times we saw her in England. It'll be fine."
"I hope so." Topaz responded. She grabbed the inhaler. "See you folk in a minute. Gonna take this and put it by Sadie's bed, so it's there if she wakes and needs it."
"I can't believe she's dumb enough to smoke, if she's asthmatic too." Sylva picked up the drenched packet of cigarettes. "She must be mad."
"I dunno. Somehow it fits Sadie." Copper mused. "She struck me as having a nervous, wound up kinda temperament. Smoking fits it. Maybe her asthma isn't that bad."
"Well, till she's better, she's not getting these." Sylva decided. Nancy snorted.
"You might as well throw those away." She responded. "They're soaked through and probably won't light up even if she did have them back. Toss them, Syl. She won't need them for a bit anyway, if her chest is bad."
Upstairs in the bedroom, Topaz set the inhaler down on the bedside cabinet, pausing as her gaze fell on the sleeping Briton. She frowned, noting the still-damp lashes and the unevenness of her breathing.
"Poor kid." She murmured, sitting down on the edge of the bed. "But don't worry. We'll look after you. I promise."
Chapter One: Conference
Chapter Two: An Unexpected Houseguest
Chapter Three: The Wannabes
Chapter Four: Sadie Confides
Sadie's Diary: September 6th, 2013
Chapter Five: A Spy
Chapter Six: Inspiration
Sadie's Diary: September 7th, 2013
Chapter Seven: Cynthia Lends A Hand
Sadie's Diary: September 8th, 2013
Chapter Eight: Into The Lion's Den
Sadie's Diary: September 9th, 2013
Chapter Nine: Latisha Admits
Chapter Ten: Dinner At The Starlight
Chapter Eleven: Truth Will Out
Chapter Twelve: The Newest Jewel
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!