Just A Dream...

Chapter Two: Trapped in Toronto

"God, what time is it?"
Aurora Stapleton rolled over in bed, glancing at the alarm clock that sat on her dresser with a frown. "Not seven already? Man, I hate early mornings!"
Pulling herself out of her bed with some reluctance, and grabbing her towel off the back of the wooden chair in the corner, she headed into the shower, a frown on her face.
Boy, did she hate this life.
It had been the same ever since she had left home a year ago. Not that she regretted it, she mused as she ran the shower, idly putting her hand underneath the shards of water to test the temperature. There was only so much she could take of that way of living, and she wasn't a child any more. She was nineteen years old, plenty old enough to be able to choose for herself.
If she was honest, she had had a happy childhood, with a mother who had lavished attention and affection on her only daughter. Aurora's father had died before she had been born, and her mother, who was originally of Quebecois birth had devoted herself to raising his legacy. For sixteen years Aurora's world had been secure.
And then there had been Steven.
No matter how much she tried, she could not like her mother's new husband. She had taken the match as an invasion of her family and had deeply resented his intrusion on her life. She had been away at a cousin's house in Alaska, just across the border, when her mother Melissa had first met the man, and the relationship had been beyond her breaking down by the time she had returned for the holidays. It had come as a nasty shock. For the first time in her life she had rowed with her mother, and things had spiralled from there. Sure that in time Aurora would come round to the match, Melissa had accepted Steven's proposal, and they had been married.
And then Aurora had come in for her second shock.
Steven had his own children.
His eldest child, Rachel had been twenty-one, away in the world on her own and unconcerned much by her father's choice of new bride, but his son Tony, who had been Aurora's age had disliked the match as much as his new stepsister, and had delighted in taking things out on her, taunting her refined lifestyle and calling her soft. A girl of fierce pride and stubborn temper, he had aroused the worst side of her character, and she had begun to draw herself away from her family, spending more and more time with friends away from home, and getting involved with more than one shady boyfriend.
In the end she and her mother had rowed violently and Aurora had let all her bad feelings come to the fore, telling Melissa in no uncertain terms what she thought of her stepfamily. They had not parted on the best of terms, for Aurora had left that very night with little intention of ever coming back. She felt that she could well survive on her own, since, in her perception of things, noone else cared for her these days.
She had gone to Toronto, not really knowing what she was looking for, and, by coincidence she had made the acquantance of one Eric Raymond. The name had meant little to her, but, attracted by her good looks and obvious charm, he had offered her a job as a waitress in one of his chain of nightclubs, and, upon discovering that she could also sing, had convinced her to play a part in the entertainment also. He had set her up in a seedy apartment and her wages were only just enough to live on, but she knew that without this job she would be living on the streets, so she dared not complain.
She had begun to realise just how hard the real world was. What she wanted from life she wasn't sure. All she knew was that in the previous year she had broken almost every one of the naive childhood rules she had set for herself. Her upbringing dictated that she could never be happy in the impoverished and unpleasant conditions of her present lifestyle, but she had no will or ambition to raise herself any further.
Although Aurora's working and social life would have most likely given her mother several fits, had she known of it, she still had a certain number of determined standards. Though people she knew and worked with used various types of drugs, Aurora had firmly refused to be coaxed, despite their best attempts she would not even light up a cigarette with them, conscious of the need to protect her voice in order to keep her job. However, work had taken it's toll on her appearance - her hair was no longer so perfectly and impeccably groomed and her nails no longer immaculately manicured. Her eyes bore shadows from late night hours and early morning waitressing shifts in the diner attached to the club, and in short, life stank.
She dressed quickly, eying her reflection in the mirror with a critical eye and sighing, running her fingers through her golden hair.
"I hate early mornings." she repeated. "And I'm going to be late if I don't get moving!"
The sound of a car horn alerted her to the fact her ride had arrived and she left her apartment, hurriedly slipping her purse onto her shoulder and locking the door behind her. Then she skipped down the flight of stairs and out to the waiting car. Though she possessed a driver's licence, she had no vehicle of her own, for her earnings would not stretch to it, and it was all she could do to provide her share of the gas money that helped fund her transport there.
"Hey, Rora." Shelley Brooke cast her a grin from behind the steering wheel. "You look half asleep, as usual! What were you doing last night?"
"Working, as you well know." Aurora replied ruefully, getting into the front seat of the car. "You're later than usual."
"That's my bad." Jon Mitchell put in from the backseat of the car. "I misplaced the keys to my apartment and held Shelley up some."
"If I step on the gas we'll do it." Shelley replied.
"Hey, Rora, I meant to ask you yesterday, what's the deal with you and Cliff?" Shelley asked as they pulled out of the layby and onto the main road. "I heard you split with him - what's the story?"
"Well, I kinda figured that he was playing life a few levels faster than me." Aurora looked rueful. "To be honest, Shel, I didn't break up with him as much as we were broken up by police intervention."
"Police?" Jon demanded.
"Yeah." Aurora nodded. "He finally got busted for possession." She grimaced. "Turned out that he was also selling the stuff - which I didn't know, incidentally - and I spent a few unhappy hours in interrogation rooms undergoing question after question. Luckily they believed me in the end, or rather they had nothing they could pin on me. I wasn't involved, after all - you guys know I draw the line at that stuff. But I figured it was time I let go of this relationship and looked for a guy who didn't put me second to his dope."
"Makes sense." Jon observed. Shelley looked horrified.
"You were arrested too? You must've been freaked!" She exclaimed. Aurora shook her head.
"Irritated, but not freaked. I knew I hadn't done anything so I knew I'd get off." She replied, grinning. "It was a novelty, anyway, spending a night in a police cell. Anything to stop the boredom!"
"Speaking of boredom, here we are." Shelley grimaced, pulling into the parking lot at the diner-cum-nightclub. "Man, I hope Eric's not checking us out today. We're three minutes late after all, and you know how stingy he is on docking wages."
"He's a jerk." Aurora pulled a face. "Come on. If we sneak in the back he'll never know."
"That's what I like!" Jon laughed. "You're quick thinking, Rora!"
"Have to be." Aurora grinned. "Coming?"
"We're right behind you." Shelley nodded.
"You know, you shouldn't be working this place." Jon dropped his teasing tone for a moment, eying Aurora thoughtfully. "You're too good to be stuck in a dump like this and I'm damn sure that Eric knows it too. You sing way too well to be performing for drunks and dopeheads."
"They're not all drunks and dopeheads." Aurora replied. "It's only when it gets late that things get real bad. And I appreciate the thought, Jon, but what choice do I have? I need this job and I need the money. Guess that means that I'm not too good for any of it." She smiled sheepishly. "In any case, I'm kinda resigned to it now. It's more than some people got, anyway, and it's a lot better than going home."
She slipped on your apron." I'm going to see if we got any custom yet. Catch you later!"
Jon watched her go, then he frowned.
"It's such a waste." He remarked.
"I know." Shelley nodded. "Rora's pretty, talented, clever and friendly...somewhere she's gonna get hurt. She's too much a kid to be working this kind of job." She sighed. "Nineteen's too young, Jon. All that's going to happen is she'll get involved with the wrong guy and she'll either turn up dead in a dumpster the next morning or she'll be pregnant and Eric will kick her out of her job. I don't want her to end up like that."
"Me either." Jon agreed. "To give her credit, though, she doesn't act like she's six years younger than we are. She does have her head screwed on pretty good."
"Not where guys are concerned." Shelley frowned. "I do my best to protect her from the worst when we're waiting tables out there, if I see them hitting on her, but I can't control what she does after hours, more's the pity."
"No." Jon agreed. "I suppose we ought to get to work, you know. She's putting us to shame."
"Guess she is." Shelley nodded. "Okay. There's not a lot more we can do, especially not where Rora's concerned."
"Perhaps one day she'll realise how good she is...and find something better to do with her life." Jon decided. "In the meantime, we have a job to do."

Prologue: The Reason For It
Chapter One: Jewel On Tour
Chapter Two: Trapped in Toronto
Chapter Three: Nancy...and Blade
Chapter Four: The Singer
Chapter Five: Rows
Chapter Six: Defection
Chapter Seven: Topaz
Chapter Eight: Sirena Reveals
Chapter Nine: Confrontations
Chapter Ten: A Broken Heart
Chapter Eleven: Jewel Forever

Copper, Nancy, Sylvie, Anna, Blade, 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.