"You know, Sadie, these are really awesome."
Topaz set the sketches down on the bonnet of the car, casting her companion a smile. "You needn't have anything to worry about. The others and I love them - and thank you for not making me look five months pregnant, it's scary enough realising I'm there. Phyllis will go for these, I'm sure."
"I hope so. From what you guys were saying, she's picky as heck." Sadie looked nervous, retrieving her images and glancing at them. "She could throw me out of her office and rip these to shreds in a second. What if she does?"
"She won't." Topaz told her confidently, indicating for her to get into the passenger side of the vehicle. "Besides, we'll get Jetta to look at them too. You'll like Jetta. Phyllis is kinda full on and scary at first, before you really know her and realise she barks more than she bites, but Jetta is shrewd as they come and she can talk Phyllis into anything, pretty much."
"She's Nancy's mother, isn't she?"
"Yes, that's right. They look alike, too." Topaz nodded, slipping into the driver's seat and starting the engine. "Jetta's English though, like you are. Who knows? Maybe she'll get all patriotic and back you all the way."
"If she's anything like Nancy, I doubt she'll back anything until she's seen it." She said dryly. Topaz laughed.
"Okay, maybe you're right." She admitted. "Hey, how are you settling with us, anyway? You know that I love you to death, of course, but you don't really know the others that well yet."
"I like them." Sadie looked thoughtful. "I know they've adopted me because Im friends with you, but they've been good to me anyhow and I kinda hope, if this works out, that one day I might be able to call them my friends as much as yours. They're so different, though! Copper is sweet and gentle and sympathetic. Nancy is shrewd and blunt and kinda...I can't place it, but she's into her music. And Syl is a party animal like my friend Cece back home." She smiled. "The type who always has an admirer or a boyfriend without being a slut and who's the life and soul of any event."
"You have it in one." Topaz looked amused. "That pretty much sums them up."
"I like Cynthia, too. She's been kind to me."
"Cynthia is kind to everyone, except if you betray her." Topaz told her. "She's the most loyal friend you can find, and she'll do anything in her power for someone she cares for, but if you cross her then beware. She has a hot temper and she doesn't forget."
"I haven't any intention of crossing her." Sadie assured her. "Besides, I don't like being betrayed either. I don't think anyone does."
"No, I suppose not." Topaz agreed. She bit her lip. "Sadie, do you think I'm doing the right thing, where Cameron is concerned? Not telling him and all? When I went for my scan I really felt strange that he wasn't there, when it's such a big deal. Syl came, of course, but you know...I would have loved him to be there."
Sadie looked grave.
"I don't know." She admitted. "I think...I think he'd be very angry, Topaz, if he knew you'd kept it from him this long. And I think he would still come out here."
"How angry? Angry enough...to try and take the kid away? Or would he forgive me?"
"I don't know the man that well. I couldn't say." Sadie admitted. "Is that what's stopping you? I thought..."
"No, it's the medical degree and screwed up future thing that's stopping me, but it occured to me that if he found out, you know, and was really mad at me, he could try...try and take custody." Topaz's tone wavered slightly. "It's making me more and more resolved not to tell him, because after my scan, Sadie, I knew so badly that I wanted this and that noone was going to take it away from me."
"Nobody will." Sadie told her gently. "If you feel like that, Topaz, then you shouldn't broach the subject with him till you've sought some kind of legal advice about the situation. Besides, baby isn't here yet."
"I know." Topaz looked pensive. "I'm planning way ahead, and I could still lose it, but you know, I don't think I will. I'm so totally focused on this now, on leaving Jewel and my solo career idea, that I can't imagine anything changing it. I just hope they can settle on one of those girls to replace me."
"Did you like them?"
"They seemed all right, but that was before I knew one was a spy for someone or something." Topaz sighed. "Cynthia hasn't managed to find out which, either. None of them seem to have any links with the papers printing the stories. It's a mystery."
"Does that computer of hers access the internet too, then?" Sadie looked startled. Topaz stared, almost forgetting for a moment that she was driving, and narrowly missing a pedestrian who had chosen the wrong moment to cross the main street.
"Yes. Synergy. Is it? I thought it was too old."
"What do you know about Synergy?"
"Cynthia showed it to me." Sadie looked confused. "It projects holograms, right? She got it to project holograms of you girls so I could draw from three dimensional models. Don't worry, I know it's supposed to be a secret and I won't tell anyone, if that's what you mean. But I didn't realise it was also online."
"Synergy is a great many things." Topaz said quietly. "I didn't know Cyn had told you about her."
"You said her."
"I meant it."
"Hmm." Sadie's eyes narrowed thoughtfully, but she said no more, and, much to Topaz's relief, changed the subject, for at that moment they pulled into the parking lot of Misfits Music.
"It looks even more imposing on a sunny day." She remarked. "I saw it when I first arrived here, and it was impressive enough then. Phyllis Gabor is very rich, isn't she?"
"Extremely." Topaz nodded her head. She smiled. "I'll be honest with you. From everything I know, she's the only child of Harvey Gabor, a successful businessman who made a fortune then retired in the nineties, leaving a large amount of the money in his daughter's hands and moving to San Diego to live out his years in relative peace. He's a nice guy - a real gentleman, and he doesn't act his age, though he must be in his late eighties now, I would think. I got the impression he was older when Phyllis was born, from something Nancy said." She got out of the car. "Phyllis was spoiled rotten as a child in the financial sense, and money isn't an object to her. When she signed me to the label, she laid out half a million dollars in a heart beat to buy out my existing contract at the diner in Toronto. That's the kind of person we're talking about here. Success, that is important to her. Money is just a means to an end."
"Wow." Sadie got out of the vehicle, gazing up at the big logo. "I don't think that, if I added together every penny I ever had in my whole life, it would ever amount to half a million dollars. That's some buy out."
"I know." Topaz's cheeks pinkened. "I'm rather proud she thought me worth it. She's never said she regretted it."
"Well, I've heard you sing, so I know why she doesn't." Sadie assured her. She gripped her sketches tightly. "Oh, I feel really sick now we're here. What if...?"
"Shh. Don't." Topaz scolded her, locking the car and ushering her into the building. "Believe. Take every chance in life you get, Sadie. You never know when they might stop coming your way."
"Gladys said something similar." Sadie admitted.
"A lady I met on the greyhound, coming here." Sadie grinned. "She was very sweet to me. It made the journey easier to have someone so open and friendly to talk to."
"Ah, I see." Topaz laughed. She waved her hand at the guard on duty.
"Hi, Adam. This is Sadie - she has an appointment to see Miss Gabor, can I take her up or do you want to clear her?"
"Since she's with you, Miss Stapleton, I'm sure it's all legit." Adam smiled back at her. "Miss Gabor and Ms Pelligrini are both in their offices, they got back here after lunch about a half hour ago."
"What kinda mood were they in?" Topaz asked. Adam grinned wryly.
"Well, the lobby's still standing." He joked. Topaz laughed.
"Good, that's what I hoped." She replied. "Thanks, Adam. C'mon Sadie. Elevator's this way, and they're on the top floor."
"How many floors up is that?" Sadie wondered, as they entered the big glass car. Topaz grinned.
"A lot!" She replied, keying in the button and watching the door close. "But don't worry. If you get the go ahead you'll be here a lot and you'll get to know what's what. Besides, all the offices have names on the doors and well, once you've met Miss Gabor, you can't miss her. She has a presence about her."
"Oookay." Sadie swallowed hard, as, with a chime, the car reached it's destination. "I guess this is it."
"Yep." Topaz nodded. "Sadie, one thing. Neither Phyllis nor Jetta know anything about Synergy, okay? Only Aaron and us know...so keep it quiet, huh?"
"I haven't met Aaron yet." Sadie recalled. "Okay, message noted, Topaz. I probably will be too scared to speak, anyway."
"It won't be that bad." She promised, taking her friend by the arm and leading her down the corridor to a big door at the end, rapping firmly on it and waiting to be called in. They soon were, and Sadie found herself stood before the desk, as the most intimidating woman she had ever encounted eyed her with thoughtful, wary green eyes. Phyllis Gabor did not look her full age, for her wealth and her vanity had made her devote a good part of her life to her appearance and health. She was attractive, though more striking than classically pretty, and somehow Sadie could tell that behind the slightly guarded, professional look in her eyes lay a fearsome temper which was to be avoided if possible. Her long, wavy hair was tied firmly back from her face, giving her for once the air of a true businesswoman, for it was
more common to find her behind the desk with hairbrush and compact mirror than it was to find her calculating a tax form. Somehow, to the apprehensive Sadie, something in her expression made her think of a predator, able to lash out in a second and leave devastation in her wake.
Phyllis was not alone, for a tall, slim woman with dark hair was busy by the filing cabinet and she glanced up as the two girls entered, her appearance giving away immediately that this was Jetta Pelligrini, Nancy's mother and Phyllis' business partner, whom Sadie had encountered by sight but not by acquaintance when she had first met the band in England. It seemed an age away now, though, in a totally different world.
It was Phyllis who broke the awkward silence first, turning her gaze on Topaz.
"Well?" She demanded. "What you got for us, Topaz? We ain't got all year for this."
"Phyllis, Jetta, this is Sadie Monahue." Topaz was quick to explain. "She's brought along the sketches that I promised you could see...Sadie?"
"I did what Topaz asked. I hope they're all right." Sadie murmured, timidly proffering the designs across the desk. Phyllis quickly took them from her grasp, spreading them out in front of her.
"You're English!" Jetta exclaimed. Sadie blushed violently red.
"You're from Birmingham." Jetta pursed her lips, pronouncing it "Bir-ming-um". "I can tell by your accent. What's an English artist doin' all the way over 'ere in Los Angeles?"
Had Sadie had more courage, she would have liked to have asked Jetta the same question, but instead she blushed further, casting Topaz a helpless look.
"Sadie and I met in England, when we were touring." Topaz was quick to explain. "She's been out here visiting us, and, well, I discovered she could draw. It just seemed logical."
"They ain't bad." Phyllis observed, rather grudgingly. "Jetta, come see these, will ya? What do you think?"
"I think it's bloody unlikely that this Sadie girl 'as a work permit." Jetta observed shrewdly, obediently coming to look at the pictures. "Well, Topaz? Does she?"
"No." Topaz admitted. "She hasn't any paperwork, but...well..."
"I fixed yours so you figured, if we liked her art, I'd fix hers too?" Phyllis raised an eyebrow. Topaz nodded.
"Well...yes. After all, you know the right people, and..."
"Can it with the flattery." Phyllis interrupted. She glanced at Jetta. "Well? What's your take on all of this?"
"You want my opinion?" Jetta demanded, in a tone which suggested the two businesswomen had had one of their frequent and minor altercations just before the girls had arrived, over who was really top banana at Misfit Music. "I thought this was your ship."
"Shut it with the smart alec jokes, Jetta. This is important. Your daughter's damn album is stuck because we don't have a cover for the album inlay." Phyllis was clearly in no mood for games. "Well?"
Jetta was silent for a moment, narrowing her eyes as she considered.
"The pictures are damn good." She acknowledged finally. "And better than anything we've found 'ere. I say you might as well do as Topaz suggests an' take the girl on." She eyed the nervy Sadie keenly. "Why do I get the feelin' this is more than just a desire to further your art?"
"I want to repay Topaz all of her kindness to me." Sadie murmured. "I...don't want paying, if that will help, I just..."
"Want to stay in America?" Jetta finished quietly. Sadie blushed once more.
"Yes." She whispered. "Very much."
"Hm." Jetta pursed her lips. "And why's that?"
"Things back home aren't so good. I needed to get away." Sadie steeled her courage. "I'll do whatever you want me to do for the album cover for free, if I have to. Please...will you help me?"
"Phyllis, she's staying with us at the Starlight and we don't mind her stopping there long term if need be." Topaz added. "And her pictures - we all felt they were exactly what Jewel needed. Will you take her on? She's better than she thinks she is and I'm sure she'd be a great investment for Misfit Music to have on their books."
"Work permits are extra hassle." Phyllis pursed her lips. "I seem to encounter a lot of people needing them." She glanced at Jetta, who smirked.
"I don't need one these days, duckie. My husband's as much a yank as you are." She said calmly. "I got a green card these days, to stay here till they nail me up in me box." She cast Sadie a look, then, "Do it, Pizzazz. She can draw and it's what we want. Do it."
Phyllis sighed, but Jetta was the only one who could influence her opinions like this and she nodded.
"All right. I'll see to it." She said finally. "Here, fill out this." She thrust a form across the desk. "And do it truthfully. Then leave it with me. I'll get you clearance."
"Thank you." Sadie's blue eyes filled with relieved tears at this and she took the form, idly folding it in her hands. "I will do my best for Jewel, I promise."
"You damn better, kid. Misfit Music has a reputation to uphold." Phyllis told her bluntly. "We are the best and what we do is the best. Remember it. There ain't room for weak links." She pushed a pen across the desk. "Here. You can do it now. I'm goin' down to see whether or not those wretched photographs have been dropped at the desk yet...I'll be right back."
Once she was gone, Sadie carefully settled herself to filling in the form, pausing for a moment as she scanned it.
"What shall I put as my address? Starlight Mansion?" She asked. Topaz nodded.
"Yeah, might as well. Shouldn't she, Jetta?"
"Well if that's where she's stoppin'." Jetta nodded her head. "Topaz, make yourself useful will ya? I was flickin' through your file this mornin' and I left it on the cabinet in the main studio - will you go get it for me?"
"Sure." Topaz looked a little confused but she nodded, leaving the room. Sadie glanced at the executive, a little bit apprehensive. Now what? She was perceptive enough to know that Topaz had been sent on an errand merely to get her out of the room, and she wondered exactly what this dark haired woman, whose grey eyes gave nothing away, was going to say to her.
Jetta perched on Phyllis' desk.
"Look 'ere, kid." She murmured. "I don't know what it is you're runnin' away from back in England, but I want your word to me you ain't on the run from no cops, okay?"
"I swear." Sadie nodded, hoping against hope that she would not be asked about her past too much. "It...it was an abusive boyfriend. He threatened my life and I was afraid. Topaz was the only person I felt I could go to."
"I see." Jetta's grey eyes took on a softer look, as if she understood. Sadie was not to know, of course, that Jetta's own life had been threatened by her own brother, back in England, before a policeman's bullet had silenced the elder Burns child permanently. "Well listen. Misfit Music is everythin' Pizzazz...Phyllis says it is. It's LA's top music company an' it 'as a big reputation. So you do your best an' you'll find you go places. It ain't easy when you come from a foreign country an' 'ave no choice but to settle into a totally different world, but it can be done. I did it. So damn well prove that we ain't made a mistake agreeing to take you on. All right?"
"I mean to do everything I can to repay you." Sadie nodded her head. "I wanted to stay here so badly. It took so much to get here." She bit her lip. "You...sound like you understand a little."
"Maybe I do, love." Jetta shrugged noncommitally. "But that's neither 'ere nor there. Truth is, it'll be my neck on the line if you don't work out, so for both our sakes make sure you do, all right?"
"I promise." Sadie nodded her head, and inwardly deciding that she liked the clever executive already. "There, I've filled it in." As Topaz returned with the file. "What now?"
"Guess you girls better clear off." Jetta shrugged, taking the folder from the singer. "An' you better get drawin'. Don't worry about the permit. It'll be seen to. These things always are." She gestured towards the door. "Go on. We'll 'ave enough to do and so will you, too. No time like the present to start."
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!